Photo Blocker Spray to Stop Tickets in the Mail

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Real Reason Spitzer was Ousted?

Here come the crazy conspiracy theories, or maybe not. Get some popcorn, sit down and enjoy the show.

Elliot's Mess And The $200 Million Bailout

By Greg Palast
3-14-8

While New York Governor Eliot Spitzer was paying an 'escort' $4,300 in a hotel room in Washington, just down the road, George Bush's new Federal Reserve Board Chairman, Ben Bernanke, was secretly handing over $200 billion in a tryst with mortgage bank industry speculators.

Both acts were wanton, wicked and lewd. But there's a BIG difference. The Governor was using his own checkbook. Bush's man Bernanke was using ours.

This week, Bernanke's Fed, for the first time in its history, loaned a selected coterie of banks one-fifth of a trillion dollars to guarantee these banks' mortgage-backed junk bonds. The deluge of public loot was an eye-popping windfall to the very banking predators who have brought two million families to the brink of foreclosure.

Up until Wednesday, there was one single, lonely politician who stood in the way of this creepy little assignation at the bankers' bordello: Eliot Spitzer.

Who are they kidding? Spitzer's lynching and the bankers' enriching are intimately tied.

HOW? FOLLOW THE MONEY.

The press has swallowed Wall Street's line that millions of US families are about to lose their homes because they bought homes they couldn't afford or took loans too big for their wallets. Ba-LON-ey. That's blaming the victim.

Here's what happened. Since the Bush regime came to power, a new species of loan became the norm, the 'sub-prime' mortgage and it's variants including loans with teeny 'introductory' interest rates. From out of nowhere, a company called 'Countrywide' became America's top mortgage lender, accounting for one in five home loans, a large chuck of these 'sub-prime's.

Here's how it worked: The Grinning Family, with US average household income, gets a $200,000 mortgage at 4% for two years. Their $955 a month payment is 25% of their income. No problem. Their banker promises them a new mortgage, again at the cheap rate, in two years. But in two years, the promise ain't worth a can of spam and the Grinnings are told to scram - because their house is now worth less than the mortgage. Now, the mortgage hits 9% or $1,609 plus fees to recover the 'discount' they had for two years. Suddenly, payments equal 42% to 50% of pre-tax income. Grinnings move into their Toyota.

Now, what kind of American is 'sub-prime'. Guess. No peeking. Here's a hint: 73% of HIGH INCOME Black and Hispanic borrowers were given sub-prime loans versus 17% of similar-income Whites. Dark-skinned borrowers aren't 'stupid', they had no choice. They were 'steered' as it's called in the mortgage sharking business.

"Steering," sub-prime loans with usurious kickers, fake inducements to over-borrow, called 'fraudulent conveyance' or 'predatory lending' under US law, were almost completely forbidden in the olden days (Clinton Administration and earlier) by federal regulators and state laws as nothing more than fancy loan-sharking.

But when the Bush regime took over, Countrywide and its banking brethren were told to party hardy "it was OK now to steer'm, fake'm, charge'm and take'm."

BUT THERE WAS THIS ANNOYING PARTY-POOPER.

The Attorney General of New York, Eliot Spitzer, who sued these guys to a fare-thee-well. Or tried to.

Instead of regulating the banks that had run amok, Bush's regulators went on the warpath against Spitzer and states attempting to stop predatory practices. Making an unprecedented use of the legal power of 'federal pre-emption', Bush-bots ordered the states to NOT enforce their consumer protection laws.

Indeed, the feds actually filed a lawsuit to block Spitzer's investigation of ugly racial mortgage steering. Bush's banking buddies were especially steamed that Spitzer hammered bank practices across the nation using New York State laws.

Spitzer not only took on Countrywide, he took on their predatory enablers in the investment banking community. Behind Countrywide was the Mother Shark, its funder and now owner, Bank of America. Others joined the sharkfest: Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch and Citigroup's Citibank made mortgage usury their major profit centers. They did this through a bit of financial legerdemain called 'securitization.'

What that means is that they took a bunch of junk mortgages, like the Grinnings, loans about to go down the toilet and re-packaged them into 'tranches' of bonds which were stamped 'AAA' - top grade - by bond rating agencies. These gold-painted turds were sold as sparkling safe investments to US school district pension funds and town governments in Finland (really).

When the housing bubble burst and the paint flaked off, investors were left with the poop and the bankers were left with bonuses. Countrywide's top man, Angelo Mozilo, will 'earn' a $77 million buy-out bonus this year on top of the $656 million - over half a billion dollars he pulled in from 1998 through 2007.

BUT THERE WERE RUMBLINGS THAT THE PARTY WOULD SOON BE OVER.

Angry regulators, burned investors and the weight of millions of homes about to be boarded up were causing the sharks to sink. Countrywide's stock was down 50%, and Citigroup was off 38%, not pleasing to the Gulf sheiks who now control its biggest share blocks.

Then, on Wednesday of this week, the unthinkable happened. Carlyle Capital went bankrupt. Who? That's Carlyle as in Carlyle Group. James Baker, Senior Counsel. Notable partners, former and past: George Bush, the Bin Laden family and more dictators, potentates, pirates and presidents than you can count.

The Fed had to act. Bernanke opened the vault and dumped $200 billion on the poor little suffering bankers. They got the 'public treasure' and got to keep the Grinning's house. There was no 'quid' of a foreclosure moratorium for the 'pro quo' of public bail-out. Not one family was 'saved,' but not one banker was left behind.

Every mortgage sharking operation shot up in value. Mozilo's Countrywide stock rose 17% in one day. The Citi sheiks saw their company's stock rise $10 billion in an afternoon.

And that very same day the bail-out was decided - what a coinkydink! - the man called "The Sheriff of Wall Street" was cuffed.

SPITZER WAS SILENCED.

Do I believe the banks called Justice and said "Take him down today!" Naw, that's not how the system works. But the big players knew that unless Spitzer was taken out, he would create enough ruckus to spoil the party. Headlines in the financial press, one was 'Wall Street Declares War on Spitzer' - made clear to Bush's enforcers at Justice who their number one target should be. And it wasn't Bin Laden.

It was the night of February 13 when Spitzer made the bone-headed choice to order take-out in his Washington Hotel room. He had just finished signing these words for the Washington Post about predatory loans:

'Not only did the Bush administration do nothing to protect consumers, it embarked on an aggressive and unprecedented campaign to prevent states from protecting their residents from the very problems to which he federal government was turning a blind eye.'

Bush, said Spitzer right in the headline: 'was the 'Predator Lenders' Partner in Crime.' The President, said Spitzer, was a fugitive from justice. And Spitzer was in Washington to launch a campaign to take on the Bush regime and the biggest financial powers on the planet.

Spitzer wrote: When history tells the story of the subprime lending crisis and recounts its devastating effects on the lives of so many innocent homeowners the Bush administration will not be judged favorably."

FALLEN ON HIS OWN GUN

But now, the Administration can rest assured that this love story - of Bush and his bankers - will not be told by history at all ''now that the Sheriff of Wall Street has fallen on his own gun.''

A note on 'Prosecutorial Indiscretion.'

Back in the day when I was an investigator of racketeers for government, the federal prosecutor I was assisting was deciding whether to launch a case based on his negotiations for airtime with 60 Minutes. I'm not allowed to tell you the prosecutor's name, but I want to mention he was recently seen shouting: "Florida is Rudi country! Florida is Rudi country!"

Not all crimes lead to federal bust or even public exposure. It's up to something called 'prosecutorial discretion.'

Funny thing, this "discretion." For example, Senator David Vitter, Republican of Louisiana, paid Washington DC prostitutes to put him diapers (ewww!), yet the Senator was not exposed by the US prosecutors busting the pimp-ring that pampered him.

Naming and shaming and ruining Spitzer - rarely done in these cases - was made at the 'discretion' of Bush's Justice Department.

Or maybe we should say, 'indiscretion.'

************

www.GregPalast.com
Greg Palast, former investigator of financial fraud, is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Armed Madhouse and The Best Democracy Money Can Buy

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Ron Paul Republican Party Deserves to be Punished

Elites Power Grab to Take over America

Rule by fear or rule by law?

Monday, February 4, 2008

The power of the Executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charge known to the law, and particularly to deny him the judgment of his peers, is in the highest degree odious and is the foundation of all totalitarian government whether Nazi or Communist."

- Winston Churchill, Nov. 21, 1943

Since 9/11, and seemingly without the notice of most Americans, the federal government has assumed the authority to institute martial law, arrest a wide swath of dissidents (citizen and noncitizen alike), and detain people without legal or constitutional recourse in the event of "an emergency influx of immigrants in the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs."

Beginning in 1999, the government has entered into a series of single-bid contracts with Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR) to build detention camps at undisclosed locations within the United States. The government has also contracted with several companies to build thousands of railcars, some reportedly equipped with shackles, ostensibly to transport detainees.

According to diplomat and author Peter Dale Scott, the KBR contract is part of a Homeland Security plan titled ENDGAME, which sets as its goal the removal of "all removable aliens" and "potential terrorists."

Fraud-busters such as Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Los Angeles, have complained about these contracts, saying that more taxpayer dollars should not go to taxpayer-gouging Halliburton. But the real question is: What kind of "new programs" require the construction and refurbishment of detention facilities in nearly every state of the union with the capacity to house perhaps millions of people?

Sect. 1042 of the 2007 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), "Use of the Armed Forces in Major Public Emergencies," gives the executive the power to invoke martial law. For the first time in more than a century, the president is now authorized to use the military in response to "a natural disaster, a disease outbreak, a terrorist attack or any other condition in which the President determines that domestic violence has occurred to the extent that state officials cannot maintain public order."

The Military Commissions Act of 2006, rammed through Congress just before the 2006 midterm elections, allows for the indefinite imprisonment of anyone who donates money to a charity that turns up on a list of "terrorist" organizations, or who speaks out against the government's policies. The law calls for secret trials for citizens and noncitizens alike.

Also in 2007, the White House quietly issued National Security Presidential Directive 51 (NSPD-51), to ensure "continuity of government" in the event of what the document vaguely calls a "catastrophic emergency." Should the president determine that such an emergency has occurred, he and he alone is empowered to do whatever he deems necessary to ensure "continuity of government." This could include everything from canceling elections to suspending the Constitution to launching a nuclear attack. Congress has yet to hold a single hearing on NSPD-51.

U.S. Rep. Jane Harman, D-Venice (Los Angeles County) has come up with a new way to expand the domestic "war on terror." Her Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007 (HR1955), which passed the House by the lopsided vote of 404-6, would set up a commission to "examine and report upon the facts and causes" of so-called violent radicalism and extremist ideology, then make legislative recommendations on combatting it.

According to commentary in the Baltimore Sun, Rep. Harman and her colleagues from both sides of the aisle believe the country faces a native brand of terrorism, and needs a commission with sweeping investigative power to combat it.

A clue as to where Harman's commission might be aiming is the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, a law that labels those who "engage in sit-ins, civil disobedience, trespass, or any other crime in the name of animal rights" as terrorists. Other groups in the crosshairs could be anti-abortion protesters, anti-tax agitators, immigration activists, environmentalists, peace demonstrators, Second Amendment rights supporters ... the list goes on and on. According to author Naomi Wolf, the National Counterterrorism Center holds the names of roughly 775,000 "terror suspects" with the number increasing by 20,000 per month.

What could the government be contemplating that leads it to make contingency plans to detain without recourse millions of its own citizens?

The Constitution does not allow the executive to have unchecked power under any circumstances. The people must not allow the president to use the war on terrorism to rule by fear instead of by law.

Lewis Seiler is the president of Voice of the Environment, Inc. Dan Hamburg, a former congressman, is executive director.

This article appeared on page B - 7 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Monday, March 10, 2008

War At Any Cost?

From Rep. Paul's testimony to the Joint Economic Committee Hearing, February 28, 2008.
In recent months the undeclared war in Iraq seems not to have been on the minds of most Americans. News of the violence and deprivation which ordinary Iraqis are forced to deal with on a daily basis rarely makes it to the front pages. Instead, we read in the newspapers numerous slanted stories about the how the surge is succeeding and reducing violence. Never does anyone dare to discuss the costs of the war or its implications.
There are the direct costs of the war, the costs of maintaining bases, providing food, water, and supplies, which the administration vastly underestimated before embarking on their quest in Iraq. These costs run into the tens of billions of dollars per month, and I shudder to think what the total direct costs will add up to when we finally pull out.
Then there are the opportunity costs, those which decision makers in Washington almost never discuss. Imagine that the war in Iraq had never happened, and the hundreds of billions of dollars we have spent so far were still in the hands of taxpayers and businesses. How many jobs could have been created, how much money could have been saved, invested, and put to productive use?
Unfortunately, it appears too many policymakers in Washington still cling to the broken window fallacy, long since discredited by the 19th century French economist Frederic Bastiat, that destruction is a good thing because jobs are created to rebuild what is destroyed. This pernicious fallacy is unfortunately widespread in our society today because those in positions of power and influence only recognize what is seen, and ignore what is unseen.
Running a deficit of hundreds of billions of dollars per year in order to fund our misadventure is unsustainable. Eventually those debts must be repaid, but this country is in such poor financial shape that when our creditors come knocking, we will have little with which to pay them. Our imperial system of military bases set up in protectorate states around the world is completely dependent on the continuing willingness of foreigners to finance our deficits. When the credit dries up we will find ourselves in a dire situation. Americans will suffer under a combination of confiscatory taxation, double-digit inflation, and the sale of massive amounts of land and capital goods to our foreign creditors.
The continuation of the war in Iraq will end in disaster for this country. Parallels between the Roman Empire and our own are numerous, although our decline and fall will happen far quicker than that of Rome. The current financial crisis has awakened some to the perils that await us, but solutions that address the root of the problem and seek to fix it are nowhere to be found. There must be a sea change in the attitudes and thinking of Americans and their leaders. The welfare-warfare state must be abolished, respect for private property and individual liberties restored, and we must return to the limited-government ideals of our Founding Fathers. Any other course will doom our nation to the dustbin of history.

IRS Makes Chilling Proclamation

By Devvy Kidd

October 1, 2003

NewsWithViews.com

On September 16, 2003, the IRS hosted a press conference to announce a new partnership with the states of the Union to further violate the rights of Americans in their quest to "generate more revenues."

While it's nothing new for the IRS to continue their unchecked rampage against the American people, there was much more to this little press conference than most folks can appreciate, so I'll spell it out here for everyone.

Since 1999, We the People Foundation for Constitutional Education, Inc., based in New York and headed up by Robert Schulz, have petitioned the federal government to answer serious, legitimate questions regarding the legitimacy of the federal income tax and the deliberate misapplication of Title 26 against domestic Americans.

Since 1999, not one single employee, agent or representative of the IRS or the DOJ have felt the need to answer the questions of the people. As is typical with a tyrannical government, these servants of the people have forgotten something very important: This government was created of, by and for the people of these united States of America and the power still lies with the people.

The most chilling of remarks

During this press conference, a senior IRS official by the name of Terry Lemons made the following proclamation in response to a question by David Cay Johnston of the NY Times: Why won't the IRS answer the questions set forth in the petitions from We the People Foundation?

According to Johnston, Lemons said the government is answering our Petitions through "enforcement actions."

The government will now answer legitimate petitions for redress of grievance under the First Amendment through the use of brute force because that’s exactly what the IRS’ "enforcement actions" amount to every day of the week.

This statement by Mr. Lemons is chilling and should be the clarion call to every American out there who values freedom and believes that our rights, so articulately defined in the Bill of Rights, cannot be nullified or taken away by Mr. Lemons or any government official. Finish Article

Sunday, March 9, 2008

John McCain The Most Flawed Presidential Candidate in History

It is now clear that what is left of the Republicon Party, after being fatally poisoned by the Bush administration, intents to commit suicide by nominating Senator John McCain (R-Hanoi) for the presidency. Where do I start?

THE EARLY YEARS

McCain spent his boyhood in exclusive boarding schools where staffers were paid to put up with his tirades. We all did some immature things before we matured. But with McCain, the tirades continue today.

Had he not been the son and grandson of admirals, there is scant chance he would have been admitted to the U.S. Naval Academy. Given his behavior patterns and academics, had he not been the son and grandson of admirals, there is little doubt he would have been thrown out. Instead, in 1958 he managed to graduate 894 out of 899. Had he not been the son and grandson of admirals, he is no chance he would have been accepted into the prestigious naval flight training program over far better qualified officers. On his way to becoming a North Vietnamese ace, the aviator lost 3 expensive aircraft on routine, non-combat flights. Little was made of all that, because he was, you know, the son and grandson of admirals.

McCain’s most horrendous loss occurred in 1967 on the USS Forrestal. Well, not horrendous for him. The starter motor switch on the A4E Skyhawk allowed fuel to pool in the engine. When the aircraft was “wet-started,” an impressive flame would shoot from the tail. It was one of the ways young hot-shots got their jollies. Investigators and survivors took the position that McCain deliberately wet-started to harass the F4 pilot directly behind him. The cook off launched an M34 Zuni rocket that tore through the Skyhawk’s fuel tank, released a thousand pound bomb, and ignited a fire that killed the pilot plus 167 men. Before the tally of dead and dying was complete, the son and grandson of admirals had been transferred to the USS Oriskany.

As a rising naval officer, McCain was surrounded by rumors of numerous adulterous affairs, such as used to be called “conduct unbecoming an officer.” Author and biographer Robert Timberg has detailed several of McCain’s sexual relationships with subordinates when serving as a Squadron Leader and an Executive Officer. I think we all know such behavior is a clear violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, in other words, a crime.

When McCain’s application to the National War College was rejected, according to noted author and researcher Joel Skousen, he whined to daddy who pulled strings with the Secretary of the Navy.

PRISONER OR HONORED GUEST?

McCain’s 5½-year stay at the Hanoi Hilton (officially Hoa Loa Prison) has ever since been the subject of great controversy. He maintains that he was tortured and otherwise badly mistreated. One of many who disagree is Dennis Johnson, imprisoned at Hanoi and never given treatment for his broken leg. He reports that every time he saw McCain, who was generally kept segregated, the man was clean-shaven, dressed in fresh clothes, and appeared comfortable among North Vietnamese Army officers. He adds that he frequently heard McCain’s collaborative statements broadcast over the prison’s loud speakers.

On October 26, 1967, McCain’s A-4 Skyhawk was shot down over Hanoi. The fractures of 1 leg and both arms were reportedly due to his failure to tuck them in during ejection. According to U.S. News & World Report (May 14, 1973), McCain didn’t wait long before offering military information in return for medical care. While an extraordinary patient at Gi Lam Hospital, he was visited by a number of dignitaries, including, to quote McCain himself, General Vo Nguyen Giap, the national hero of Dienbienphu.

Jack McLamb is a highly respected name in law enforcement circles. After 9 years of clandestine operations in Cambodia and unmentionable areas, he returned home to Phoenix where he became one of the most decorated police officers on record. Twice McLamb was named Officer of the Year. He went on to become an FBI hostage negotiator. This man has stated that every one of the many former POWs he has talked with consider McCain a traitor. States McLamb, “He was never tortured…The Vietnamese Communists called him the Songbird, that’s his code name, Songbird McCain, because he just came into the camp singing and telling them everything they wanted to know.” McLamb further quotes former POWs as saying McCain starred in 32 propaganda videos in which he denounced his country and comrades.

The Glavnoje Razvedyvatel’noje Upravlenije is the Soviet’s military intelligence division. Numerous sources confirm that during the Nam Era, the English-speaking Vietnamese who conducted interrogations of American prisoners were always overseen by Russian GRU officers. The ranking GRU officer at the Hanoi Hilton had a multilingual teenage son who was tasked with translating all interrogation reports into Russian. He would become known only as T. Cont-Source

50% of U.S Gold is Missing, Massive Theft?

U.S. central banks may have less than half the gold they claim to possess in their vaults, charges a watchdog group in an ad scheduled for publication in the Wall Street Journal this week.
As WND reported, the Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee, or GATA, claims the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Treasury are surreptitiously manipulating the country's gold reserves by participating in undisclosed leases, according to an advance copy WND obtained of the ad running in Thursday's edition of the Journal.
GATA believes much of the borrowed gold out on lease will never be returned to the central banks.
"With the demand for gold so strong worldwide, it has become impossible to return much of the leased gold without driving the price to the moon," said GATA's chairman, William J. Murphy III.
"Most observers calculate central bank reserves are supposed to have about 30,000 tons of gold worldwide in their vaults, but we believe the amount of gold actually there may be more like 15,000 tons," Murphy said. "The rest of the gold is gone."
The U.S. Treasury denies the claim, insisting the stock is accounted for regularly.


"We want to expose and stop the manipulation of the gold market by the United States Treasury and Federal Reserve right now," Murphy said.
"The purpose of this ad is to wake people up in the investment world as to what is going on behind the scenes in the U.S. gold and financial markets," Murphy told WND.
He explained GATA has decided to pay the Wall Street Journal $264,000 for a one-time placement of the full page ad in the national edition because the financial press has not covered the story.
"We have had two major international conferences since 2001; the mainstream financial press has blackballed our message," Murphy explained.
"Anybody Seen Our Gold?" the ad is titled, charging U.S. gold reserves held at depositories such as Fort Knox or West Point may have been seriously depleted as they are shipped overseas to settle complex transactions utilized by the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Treasury to suppress prices.
GATA further charges the U.S. government strategy to manipulate the price of gold has begun to fail.
"The objective of this manipulation is to conceal the mismanagement of the U.S. dollar so that it might retain its function as the world?s reserve currency," the ad copy reads.
"Gold's recent rise toward $900 per ounce shows that the price suppression scheme is faltering," GATA says. "When it is widely understood how central banks have been suppressing gold, its price may rise to $3,000 or $5,000 an ounce or more."
As evidence of gold price manipulation by the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve, GATA cites Treasury's weekly report of the government's international reserve position that since May has listed gold loans and swaps as a line item in accounting for U.S. gold reserves.
The ad also cites a July 24, 1998, statement by then-Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, who told Congress "central banks stand ready to lease gold in increasing quantities should the price rise."
The most recent U.S. Treasury statement of the U.S. international reserve position, released Jan. 24, lists the total U.S. foreign currency reserves as $71.515 billion, of which $11.041 billion is listed as gold (including gold deposits and, if appropriate, gold swapped).
The Bank of International Settlements reports the gold derivatives market hit a peak of $640 billion dollars in December 2006.
Murphy emphasizes that tracing the derivatives back to central bank gold transactions and determining precisely the degree to which the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Treasury are involved is not possible now, given the lack of public accountability and transparency built into the gold derivatives financial system worldwide.
Murphy said his group filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve "to find out what this line item is all about."
"What is the true status of the U.S. gold that is supposed to belong to the American people?" he asked. "Has U.S. gold been put into play without the Treasury or Fed letting the American people know?"
A statement on Treasury's website claims the agency's Exchange Stabilization Fund has not been used to manipulate gold prices. But no statement could be found on the Treasury website that categorically denies the agency engages in gold swaps, leases or futures contracts for reasons other than to manipulate the price of gold.
The London Bullion Market Association lists on its website more than 80 members working as "bullion bank market makers" engaged in the worldwide gold commodities market place as principals originating and participating in various gold derivative products, including gold leases and swaps.
The U.S. members of the London Bullion Market Association listed include Bear Stearns Forex Inc., Goldman Sachs International, JP Morgan Chase Bank, Bank of America, Citibank, Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley.
A legal memorandum filed Feb. 28, 2003, on behalf of Barrick Gold Corporation, a major gold company affiliated with bullion bank J. P. Morgan, admitted Barrick engages with central banks in gold leases and other gold derivative transactions, without specifically admitting whether any such transactions were conducted on behalf of the Federal Reserve and Treasury.
In September 1999, European central banks meeting in Washington signed what has become known as the "Washington Accord," an agreement in which the banks agreed to limit the amount of their gold sales to 400 tons per year and not to expand their leasing operations during the five years of the agreement.
Under a gold lease, a central bank loans gold to a bullion bank at a nominal rate of interest, typically 1 percent.
The bullion banks then takes the gold lease to a commodities market such as the London Bullion Market, where the physical gold is sold, thereby adding to the supply of gold available on the market.
Problems develop when the price of gold rises dramatically, such as it has in recently months, with gold currently running over $900 an ounce.
Now, when the leased gold needs to be returned to the central banks at the end of the lease period, the bullion banks may have to go into the market and buy gold at a much higher price than the price when the gold initially was leased.
To hedge against the risk, bullion banks typically buy futures contracts or gold call options to secure gold delivery at a specified future date for a specified future price.
In the world of gold derivatives, a wide variety of contracts exist, including transactions in which central banks swap gold reserves, so they can carry out leasing or other gold derivative transactions using the gold of the other central bank rather than their own.
Gold swaps make central bank gold transactions even less transparent and more difficult to track.
Under current International Monetary Fund rules, central banks do not have to disclose on their financial statements how much of the gold in their stated reserves is encumbered by derivative contracts, including gold leases and swaps.
Nor are bullion banks required to disclose to the public the contracts under which they lease gold from central banks.
Gold yesterday hit a new all-time high, with futures contracts for February delivery surging to $929.80 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange in mid-day trading.

This article first appeared on January 29, 2008. Source

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Short History of the Sons of Liberty Flag


The Sons of liberty flag was created in 1767 by Samuel Adams up in Boston. The flag was hung on the Liberty Tree, which became famous for being the site of the Stamp Act rebellion. The Rebellious Stripes flag was 9 Red and White vertical striped flag. The Sons of liberty flag origin goes back to the Vikings; where a war ship named the Drakkur, or Dragon ship flew the flag. Was the flag with vertical stripes a way of rebelling against the British East-India company? The British East India company was the one with the Tea that the Sons of Liberty dumped into Boston harbor.
The British East India company flew a flag called the Grand Union flag which later became the flag of the American Revolution in 1775! That flag was a horizontal Red and White flag with a British Jack in the upper left canton. This was the flag that was flown during the entire American Revolution, not the Betsy Ross flag that was so prominently displayed in the film the Patriot starring Mel Gibson.