Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Federal Reserve welcomes a Brave New Economy

Federal Reserve welcomes a Brave New Economy – how the Fed is robbing the public in open daylight. Maiden Lane Special Purpose Vehicles purchased toxic mortgages like option ARMs and commercial real estate.

The global economy seems to be facing a Brave New World envisioned by Aldous Huxley where the world is operating under a command economy and all citizens are psychologically conditioned from to birth to value consumption.  The Federal Reserve is the ultimate spend more than you earn machine.  It is amazing that a few hours after the US national public debt crossed the $14 trillion threshold (yes, we crossed this line on the last day of the year) that this euphoria is setting in only because people spent money during the holiday season.  “Ending is better than mending” is a platitude repeated in Brave New World.  It would seem that with credit cards burning holes in wallets many went ahead and spent money they did not have this holiday season.  The conditioning has been strong and has provided substantial distraction from the bigger heist committed by the Federal Reserve.

us public debt
The Fed doesn’t even attempt to hide the fact that they are bailing out some of the worst toxic waste in the market.  This was accomplished through many archaic mechanisms including the oddly named Maiden Lane Special Purpose Vehicles (SPV).  Take for example Maiden Lane II:
maiden lane ii
Source:  New York Fed
The above is from a report conducted in April of 2010.  You would think that this data would be hard to find but the Fed and Wall Street is starting to come to the conclusion that they can simply create complicated names with weird acronyms and most of the public will be consumed with spending instead of mending.  Just look at the above closely.  This Maiden Lane is full of option ARMs, subprime, and junk Alt-A loans.  This is the waste found in the financial sewers of Wall Street and here it is sitting on the balance sheet of our central bank.  Not only is it sitting there, this data is publicly available and is a clear indication that the Fed has bailed out many banking institutions through shadow methods.  They simply shifted junk from one entity onto the backs of the American taxpayer.  It is interesting that BlackRock Financial Management is the manager of this SPV:
“BlackRock Financial Management, Inc. (the “Investment Manager” or “BlackRock”) manages the investment portfolio of the LLC under a multi-year contract with FRBNY that includes provisions governing termination. BNYM provides administrative services and has been appointed to serve as collateral agent under multi-year contracts with FRBNY that include provisions governing termination.”
In other words, you have banks shifting junk from one garbage can to another and letting the excess expenses run off and pollute the average American either through dilution of their currency or creeping inflation.  This is not the only Maiden Lane out there.  We have others that are heavily leveraged with commercial real estate debt:
maiden lane balance
More toxic mortgage waste that was bailed out with no Congressional approval.  This Maiden Lane is specifically setup for the Bear Stearns fiasco.  Maiden Lane II was focused on waste run off from the AIG debacle.  In the end the Federal Reserve is the waste management solution for the banking industry using the American taxpayer as the filter to wash off the financial sewage of Wall Street and their years of bad gambles.  They do not even bother to hide this since this is all accessible from the New York Fed website.  Of course what they do hide is the larger trillions of dollars that are currently sitting on their balance sheet.
While much of this junk sits in ruin the stock market seems to have forgotten about this and is bursting upwards and has taken a pill of soma:
TED spread
Source:  Bloomberg
The above is the TED spread which reflects the difference in interest rates between interbank loans and short-term US government debt.  A lower TED spread reflects lower credit risk in the economy and as you can see during the crisis months the spread went to 465 basis points.  Today it stands at 16.69 which is lower than the days prior to the economic crisis and when the stock market peaked!  In other words, forget about the European debt problems or the $14 trillion in US national debt or the fact that many states are facing bankruptcy.  Things are looking up just because people shopped a bit during the holidays with credit cards.  Keep taking that financial soma.
The amount of bad debt banks have is still incredible.  Look at the amount of negative equity in the US still looming in the ether:
negative equity rates
The banking system is largely insolvent and the FDIC is trying to put out a forest fire with an eye dropper.  As long as people can collectively pretend things are fine then the system can go on for a bit longer.  This is why the Fed can publish data like the above which frankly is outrageous and outright robbery yet nothing is done about it.  Our politicians need to protect the financial interest of the people yet with so much money tied up in the political arena the interests of Wall Street are first and foremost.  That is why we have 17 percent unemployment and underemployment and 43 million Americans on food stamps.  At the same time Disneyland over the holidays set a park record for attendance.  Just like the questionable assets in these SPVs, the Fed and Wall Street are trying to figure out another method of putting the horrible employment and wage stats of average Americans into a SPV so the media can keep feeding the public a line that all is well.
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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

alternative news, alternative world news, world news

alternative news, alternative world news, world news

Pentagon in $9.1bn fraud case in Iraq

Tue Jan 4, 2011 2:35PM

Iraq’s Supreme Audit Court says the US Ministry of Defense has failed to account for the USD 9.1 billion misspent discretionary funds during Iraq’s occupation.

Iraq Oil Field
Iraq Oil Field

The Pentagon received USD 9.1 billion back in 2004 from the US–led occupation authority funds set up to benefit Iraqi people with assets seized from the previous regime of Saddam Hussein.
According to Iraqi newspaper al–Bayanat al–Jadidah, this recent release follows the 2010 finding of USD 8.7 billion in Iraq funds not accounted for.
The sum had been allocated for reconstruction projects in Iraq, the auditing office said.
An Iraqi auditing official said the audit’s president has twice failed to send its representatives to attend the audit’s international meetings.
The audit found that defense agencies receiving the money had failed to set up required treasury accounts and managing organizations for the funds.


© Copyright 2010 Press TV. All rights reserved.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

BIG BROTHER: The Police State Mentality in the Electronic Age

This article is about the freedom vs mass government surveillance systems.

You will be able to read the article (with links) by clicking on
by going to Dr. Tremblay's new book site “The Code for Global Ethics” for the article without links:
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Greetings and Happy New Year.

Carole JEAN
Editor of Dr. R. Tremblay's work
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Cher éditeur,

Même si le blogue "Big Picture World" est avant tout destiné à un public américain, vous pouvez prendre connaissance d'un article du professeur Tremblay, en langue anglaise, lequel porte sur la montée de la mentalité de l'état policier aux États-Unis. L'article s'intitule "BIG BROTHER: La mentalité de l'état policier à l'ère électronique."

Vous pouvez en prendre connaissance en cliquant sur le site suivant:
en visitant le site du nouveau livre du professeur Tremblay aux États-Unis:
Vous avez pleine liberté de reproduire ou de traduire ce texte. 

Veuillez aussi prendre note que le dernier livre du professeur Tremblay “Le Code pour une éthique globale” est maintenant disponible chez:

Amazon Canada;

et chez Amazon France:
Bien à vous,

Carole JEAN, 
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Article  # 1132
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
BIG BROTHER: The Police State Mentality in the Electronic Age
by Rodrigue Tremblay []

“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
Benjamin Franklin (1706 - 1790), American inventor, journalist, printer, diplomat, and statesman (1775)

“Americans used to roar like lions for liberty; now we bleat like sheep for security.”
Norman Vincent Peale (1898 –1993), American Christian preacher and author

"A Party member lives from birth to death under the eye of the Thought Police. Even when he is alone he can never be sure that he is alone. ...At the apex of the pyramid comes Big Brother. Big Brother is infallible and all-powerful. Every success, every achievement, every victory, every scientific discovery, all knowledge, all wisdom, all happiness, all virtue, are held to issue directly from his leadership and inspiration."
George Orwell (1903-1950) (Eric Arthur Blair), (book: 1984)

“Since information gives power, access to personal files can lead to unreasonable pressures, even blackmail, especially against those with the least resources, people who depend upon public programs, for example. Big Brother isn't a camera. Big Brother is a computer.”
C.J. Howard, political novelCybercash

In 2049, when the 100th anniversary of the publication of George Orwell political novel “1984” will be celebrated, it will be recalled that the immediate post September 11, 2001 period marked the beginning of a gradual decline in personal liberty and freedom, especially in the United States but also elsewhere, and the emergence of a great information-obsessed Leviathan. Freedom rarely disappears in one fell swoop. Its disappearance is rather the end result of a thousand encroachments.

Pushed to the extreme and without clear democratic oversight, it becomes the mark of a totalitarian state, when authorities feel that they never have enough information on the people. It is because information is power and state bureaucrats and politicians naturally like to be in control; on the one hand, releasing as little information about their own actions through an imposed secrecy, and on the other, accumulating as much information as possible about the citizens.

And today, modern governments have all the tools to transform their country into a creeping police state, more so now then ever before, in this electronic age. They have access to information technology that previous full-fledged “police state” governments could only have dreamed about.

Nowadays, with super computers and revolutionary new models to gather information and build databases, governments, i.e. bureaucrats and politicians, are in a position as never before to accumulate and correlate tremendous amounts of personal information on their citizens, from public (federal, state and local) as well as from a plethora of private sources. Government intelligence on each and every citizen is thus rendered much easier and, I would add, much more frightening. Indeed, the potential for abuse is enormous.

In 2002, for example, retired Vice Admiral John Poindexter proposed that the U.S. government create a tracking and monitoring system called "Total Information Awareness", in order for the U.S. government to gather information in a preventive way about individuals from widely varied sources, including tax records, telephone calling records, credit card charges, banking transactions, airline or ship reservations, and various biometric databases, without taking into consideration civil liberties or a citizens' right to privacy, the U.S. Privacy Act of 1974, or without having to request search warrants and without having to give prior notice to the persons involved. —The pretext was to allow the government to thwart possible terrorist activity, thus creating an unlimited appetite for information.

Well, there are clear signs that this massive data mining system on individuals is now solidly in place and is in full operation and can be expected to grow over time. George Orwell must be turning in his grave.

First, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s network of fusion centers, launched in 2003, has allowed the government to centralize a host of previously disparate information about Americans and foreigners alike, whether related to personal and business records, drivers licenses, local taxes, local infractions, police records, etc., through a host of coordinated information-sharing networks. (N.B.: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was established on November 25, 2002 and is the domestic equivalent of the Department of Defense.)

Secondly, central provisions of the USA Patriot Act, signed into law by President George W. Bush on October 26, 2001, allow the government to operate roving wire taps, search any individual’s business, personal, and even library records upon presentation of a national security letter, and spy on so-called "lone wolf" suspects, i.e., foreign nationals who have no known links to groups designated as terrorist. On this, the current Obama administration, by extending those provisions, is scarcely different from the previous Bush administration.

Thirdly, since passports and tight intelligence screening have been made a requirement for most international travel by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, since January 1, 2008, every individual traveling in and out of the United States has all his or her whereabouts and movements recorded so the government knows at all times his or her address and the places he or she has traveled to and from.

For instance, U.S. Transportation Security Administration's recent decision to use full-body airport X-ray scanners and full body groping at airports is another example where so-called security procedures are applied blindly and indiscriminately. There is more to come, since it has been announced that such invasive intelligence screening is coming to hotels and shopping malls, as well as to trains, buses and ports, etc.

These are some of the main features of the new government apparatus to gather information on people. There are many others. —Take for instance the requirement, since 2002, that all American high schools must give Pentagon military recruiters the names and contact information of all their juniors and seniors. Failure to comply on their part may result in the loss of government funding.

The logical next step for the U.S. government would be to follow a recent Italy's lead and outlaw outright the use of cash for most transactions, except for small ones, thus providing the government even more minute information about an individual's income, purchases and displacements. Nothing will escape the watching eye of the government in the electronic age. People will be filed, photographed and corralled.

Indeed, the way mass government surveillance systems are growing, by year 2020, chances are good that Americans will be living in a “Brave New World”!

—CYBER BIG BROTHER would know it all and it will be watching you.
Rodrigue Tremblay
is professor emeritus of economics at the University of Montreal
and can be reached at He is the author of the book "The Code for Global Ethics" at:
The bookThe Code for Global Ethics, Ten Humanist Principles”, by Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay, prefaced by Dr. Paul Kurtz, has just been released by Prometheus Books.
Please visit the book site at:
See it on Amazon USA:

See it on Amazon Canada:

See it on Amazon UK:

or, in Australia at:

Please ask your favorite bookstore and your local library to order
the book: The Code for Global Ethics, Ten Humanist Principles,
by Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay, prefaced by Dr. Paul Kurtz, Prometheus Books, 2010, 300 p. ISBN: 978-1616141721.

*****The French version of the book is also now available. See:
or on Amazon Canada
Posted, Tuesday, January 4, 2011, at 5:30 am
Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information and education purposes only and is not intended in any way as personal advice of any sort.

© 2011 by Big Picture World Syndicate, Inc.


The Best TEDtalks & Ideas Worth Spreading

ZORIAH - blog

Posted: 01 Jan 2011 08:04 PM PST
I wanted to put together a list of what I believe are the best, top, number one, most interesting TED Talks of all time. There are so many great TEDtalks it is really hard to choose favorites, but below are just a few of mine.
Over the past several years I have found few things more inspiring than the ideas expressed in TED Talks. For those of you who may not have heard of TEDTalks, here is a bit more info:
TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) is a series of conferences designed to make "ideas worth spreading" available for the general public to experience. Basically they gather together some of the greatest and most inspiring people on the planet and give them 18 minutes to express their ideas in lectures. These lectures are then put on the internet for the world to hear and see. There is plenty more information on the net about how and why it was started so I wont go into it in detail here.
I will say that it is incredible to me the amount of knowledge one can gain (for free) just by watching these wonderful lectures and presentations. To have this wealth of knowledge available to us is truly a gift and for those of you who have not had a chance to fall in love with TED, I hope this post will get you on your way.
I am making this post on New Years Day because we talk about New Years Resolutions and if these TED talks cant inspire you to come up with a few, maybe nothing can. I would also like to encourage people to not limit their resolutions to just new years. We always need to push ourselves to be better and this is something we need to do year round, not just on one day and maybe a couple weeks following.
I have written a tiny bit about each talk below the title but most of them you just need to watch to get the full experience. They all contain so many wonderful and inspirational ideas and thoughts, it is hard to sum them up and absolutely no way I could do it as eloquently as the speakers themselves do.

If there are TED talks that you love or that have inspired you, please post links to them in the comments section. I would love for this to become a long list of some of the best of the over 800 TED Talks. I also look forward to watching your favorite TED Talks myself. I will add more of my favorites in separate posts every couple of months.
Matt Ridley - When Ideas Have Sex
A wonderful lecture on how we use our "collective brain."

Ken Robinson - Schools Kill Creativity
"If you are not prepared to be wrong, you will never come up with anything original."

Ken Robinson - Bring on The Learning Revolution!
Making the case for schools to become more personalized and less standardized, letting children's natural talents shine through.

Dan Gilbert - Why Are We Happy
Synthetic vs Natural Happiness...very interesting.

Benjamin Zander - Music, Vision, Passion and Shining Eyes
"I will never say anything that could not stand as the last thing I ever say."

Dave Eggers - Once Upon a School
An inspiring story about normal people thinking outside the box and helping children learn in a unique way.

Rory Sutherland - Life Lessons From an Ad Man

A change in perceived value can be just as satisfying as a change in real value. A new way of looking at life.

Jonathan Harris - Collecting Stories
For all of us that love stories and searching for new and effective ways of telling them.

Sheena Lyengar - The Art of Choosing
A wonderful lecture about how we make and feel about our choices.

James Nachtwey - Searing Photos of War
The great photojournalist and war photographer presents and talks about his images.

Hans Rosling - The Best Stats You've Ever Seen
An interesting way of looking at the developing world.

Dean Kamen - A New Prosthetic Arm
A short piece on the development of a new technology.

James H Kunstler - Disecting Suburbia
This scathing commentary on suburban america is such a wonderful series of observations and one of the reasons I get depressed in the vast majority of areas in the US. One of my favorite wake up calls.

Majora Carter - Greening The Ghetto
A reminder that you don't have to go far to find poverty and injustice but also the inspiration that these things can be reversed.

Malcolm Gladwell - Spaghetti Sauce
Although it is interesting throughout, the real pay off is the final sentence :)

Theo Jansen - Creating Creatures
Nothing is more amazing than human creativity!

Ursus Wehrli - Tidying Up Art
A funny, utilitarian view on art and organization :) The comments on order and chaos are really nice.

Jill Bolte Taylor - Stroke of Insight
A pretty amazing story of a brain scientist's experience and analysis of her own stroke

Joshua Klein - The Intelligence of Crows
One mans quest to prove an idiot at a party wrong :)

Nellie McKay - Singing "Mother of Pearl" and "If I Had You"
I am sure there are some, but I don't know how anyone could not good.

Nathaniel Kahn - My Architect
The part in Bangladesh is wonderful for anyone who loves architecture...and people.

Moshe Safdie - Building Uniqueness
Some of the best architecture of this time!!!

Please don't forget to post links to your favorite TED Talks in the comments section below and feel free to comment on the talks I have included in this post.


A TEACHING FOR MEN: A Hole in Your Fence

There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His Father
gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his
temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence.
The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the
next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number
of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down. He discovered
it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.
Finally the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He
told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now
pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper.
The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his
father that all the nails were gone. The father took his son by
the hand and led him to the fence. He said, “You have done
well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will
never be the same.”
When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one.
You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won’t matter
how many times you say I’m sorry, the wound is still there.
A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one.
Friends are very rare jewels, indeed. They make you smile and
encourage you to succeed. They lend an ear, they share words
of praise, and they always want to open their hearts to us. Please forgive me  if I have ever left a hole  in your fence.
-  author unknown (to me)
Submitted by Luc Majno