Saturday, January 7, 2012

Nobody is

Remember kids...

You can't spell propaganda without "PR." That's an original, and you may quote me.--jef

Supreme Court to rule on whether drug-sniffing dogs violate 4th Amendment

(Considering the NDAA wiped out the 4th amendment, as well as the 5th, 6th and 8th amendments, I would wager that the Roberts Court rules that drug dogs do not violate the 4th amendment--as it no longer applies to US citizens anyway.--jef)


By Agence France-Presse
Friday, January 6, 2012
WASHINGTON — The US Supreme Court agreed Friday to hear a case to determine whether the use of police dogs sniffing for drugs outside homes is a violation of the constitutional rights of the residents.

The case involves a Miami homeowner accused of growing marijuana in his house, who contends the dog’s sniffing on his porch was the same as an illegal “search” of his home.

The Fourth Amendment requires police to present evidence to a judge that a crime has occurred, then obtain a warrant before they can search a home.

Miami-Dade police had no search warrant before Franky the dog signaled to his handler that he detected marijuana at the home of Joelis Jardines in December 2006.

Instead, they used Franky’s signal of sitting down as the primary evidence to obtain a warrant.

A subsequent police search found 179 marijuana plants in a hydroponic lab in the house. Jardines was arrested as he tried to flee out the back door.

The trial judge dismissed the evidence against Jardines, saying it was obtained through illegal search and seizure. A state appeals court reversed the ruling and reinstated marijuana charges against Jardines.

The Florida Supreme Court threw out the case again last April, saying lax restrictions on use of police dogs could lead to widespread abuse of homeowners’ privacy.

“There is simply nothing to prevent (police) agents from applying the procedure in an arbitrary or discriminatory manner, or based on whim and fancy, at the home of any citizen,” the Florida Supreme Court majority opinion said.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi appealed to the US Supreme Court.

Bondi argues in her legal filings that a dog breathing air outside a home is not the same as a search.

She also says a ruling that deprives police of using drug-sniffing dogs to gather evidence would seriously interfere with law enforcement.

“And most importantly, the Florida Supreme Court’s decision strips law enforcement of an irreplaceable tool in detecting those who grow marijuana in their living rooms; construct meth labs in their kitchens; hide bodies in their basements; or make bombs in their garages,” Bondi’s petition says.

“Dogs can detect all these activities by the simple act of breathing.”

Eighteen states and the territory of Guam filed briefs to support Bondi’s petition.

The Supreme Court has traditionally held that homes are entitled to greater privacy rights than public spaces or automobiles when police use dogs to search for illegal activity.

The justices are likely to issue a ruling by June.

A Nightmare on Wall Street

Brain power can decline from age 45: study

"What a drag it is getting old"... ~ Mick Jagger

by Agence France-Presse
Friday, January 6, 2012
Cognitive skills can start to fall from the age of 45, not from around the age of 60 as is commonly thought, according to research published on Friday by the British Medical Journal (BMJ).

Researchers led by Archana Singh-Manoux from the Centre for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health in France and University College London observed 5,198 men and 2,192 women over a 10-year period from 1997.

The volunteers were London civil servants aged between 45 and 70 who had been enrolled in a long-term health study.

Over the 10 years, the participants were tested three times — for memory, vocabulary, and skills in aural and visual comprehension.

During this time, there was a 3.6-percent decline in mental reasoning in men aged 45-49 and a 9.6-percent fall in those aged 65-70. The corresponding figures for women were 3.6 and 7.4 percent.

“Cognitive decline is already evident in middle age,” says the paper, which defines this as the years from 45 to 49.

The findings should spur further research into spotting and braking cognitive deterioration, the authors hope.

Many societies face an “exponential increase” in the number of elderly people as a result of increases in life expectancy, they note.

“These changes are likely to have a profound influence on individuals’ lives and society at large. Poor cognitive status is perhaps the single most disabling condition in old age.”

Stolen: $1.1 Trillion in Financial Instruments Intended to Support Humanitarian Purposes

( As far as "conspiracy theories" go, this one is pretty wild. The fact that 2 Japanese nationals were arrested in Italy with $134 billion in US bonds is legitimate. Other than the "usual suspects" common to most conspiracy theories--which this one has some of them--it doesn't seem too farfetched. I lean to the opinion that the bonds are counterfeit. Don't know how that would affect the trillion dollar lawsuit, however. Of course, I'm just a simple blogger trying to maintain during these troubled times. Give it a read and see what you think. I'd love to find some sort of cross reference, and if I do, I'll post it. If anyone else does--the 4 or 5 of you who read this blog regularly--hit me with it. Cheers! Oh, and Happy New Year! A little late, but hey!--jef)


Bizarre Claim for $1 Trillion

     The 111-page federal complaint involves a range of entities common to conspiracy theorists, including the Vatican Illuminati, the Masons, the "Trilateral Trillenium Tripartite Gold Commission," and the U.S. Federal Reserve.

     Plaintiff Neil Keenan claims he was entrusted in 2009 with the financial instruments - which included U.S. Federal Reserve notes worth $124.5 billion, two Japanese government bonds with a combined face value of $19 billion, and one U.S. "Kennedy" bond with a face value of $1 billion - by an entity called the Dragon Family, which is a group of several wealthy and secretive Asian families.

     "The Dragon family abstains from public view and knowledge, but, upon information and belief, acts for the good and better benefit of the world in constant coordination with higher levels of global financial organizations, in particular, the Federal Reserve System," Keenan claims.

     "During the course of its existence over the last century, the Dragon family has accumulated great wealth by having provided the Federal Reserve Bank and the United States Government with asset assignments of gold and silver via certain accounts held in Switzerland, for which it has received consideration in the form of a variety of Notes, Bonds and Certificates such as those described ... that are an obligation of the Federal Reserve System."

     Keenan says that with accrued interest the instruments are now worth more than $1 trillion. He says the family designated him as its principal in an effort to select certain registered and authorized Private Placement Investment Programs (PPPs) for the benefit of unspecified global humanitarian efforts.

     In his remarkable complaint, Keenan claims that the U.S. government stole enormous amounts of money - delivered in gold and other precious metals - from the Dragon Family many years ago, and that the money was placed into the Federal Reserve System for the benefit and underwriting support of the dollar, "which was to become and currently remains the global reserve currency."

     Keenan claims the conspiracy began with the illegal detention of two Japanese citizens, Akihiko Yamaguchi and Mitsuyoshi Watanabe, and the seizure of $134.5 billion in bonds they were holding in Italy, in June 2009.

     Yamaguchi can best be described as Keenan's predecessor in trying to place Dragon Family instruments in legitimate PPPs to advance the group's humanitarian aims, according to the complaint.

     Keenan says he came to know both Yamaguchi and the Dragon Family through the Japanese man's efforts on the group's behalf, and that he introduced them to a bank in Cyprus with which they could do business.

     Keenan says that in gratitude, Yamaguchi sought and was granted approval to execute a special power of attorney, whereby Keenan would also act on behalf of the Dragon Family to place their assets in PPPs.

     It was then, he says, that he took possession of the instruments that are the heart of the lawsuit. For his assistance, Keenan says, he was to receive a profit share amounting to 30 percent of any particular PPP he arranged.

     A month after the Japanese men were detained, an man named Leo Zagami, "a self-described 33rd degree Free Mason, who, as of April 2008, had reportedly claimed to be the leader of a breakaway faction of the Knights of Templar and high-level Free Masons centered around the elite of the Masons P2 (propaganda Due) Lodge in Monte Carlo," arrived on the scene, according to the complaint. (Parentheses in complaint.)

     Zagami claimed to be a representative of the Vatican Illuminati and other European sect societies and "had been looking to make contact with certain Asian Secret Societies," the complaint states.

     During a meeting in Japan, he says, he told a contact that Yamaguchi and Watanabe had been "set up" and that he had inside information about the seized instruments.

     Subsequently, he introduced his contact in Japan to defendant Daniele Dal Bosco, a Vatican banker and associate of the P2 Masonic Lodge, who "would be able to 'cash the bonds seized by the Italian Treasury Police,'" according to the complaint.

     The complaint alleges a complicated history with many moving parts and scores of internationally known and unknown characters, the sum of which is that Keenan claims he was entrusted with billions of dollars in bonds by the Dragon Family.

     He claims that soon, he and Dal Bosco were in daily contact via Skype and they arranged to meet in Italy. During these conversations, Dal Bosco represented that he was not only financial advisor to Zagami, but also to the Vatican, Vatican City, Rome, and the treasurer for the P2 Masonic Lodge.

     As a result, Keenan said, although he tried keep personal possession of the financial instruments with which he was entrusted, he nevertheless came to trust Dal Bosco, and turned the bonds over to him for "temporary safekeeping and custodianship".

     Dal Bosco absconded with the bonds and sought assistance in selling the instruments "in the global marketplace through stealth, conversion and bribery," Keenan claims.

     He claims that as the conspiracy continued to unfold, various high level officials repeatedly offered him a bribe of $100 million to "release" the instruments without disclosing their theft to the Dragon family, and to allow the instruments to be converted to a so-called UN "Sovereign Program" wholly under the auspices, protection and umbrella of the sovereign immunity enjoyed by the defendants.

     Other defendants include UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon, Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Giancarlo Bruno, who is identified as head of the banking industry for the World Economic Forum, Italy's ambassador to the UN Cesare Maria Ragaflini, Ray C. Dam, president of the Office of International Treasury Control, and David A. Sale, the deputy chief of the council for the cabinet of the OITC.

     Keenan seeks the return of the stolen instruments, punitive damages and court costs on multiple claims of fraud, breach of contract and violation of international law.

     He is represented by William H. Mulligan Jr., with Bleakley, Platt & Schmidt of White Plains, N.Y.



US government securities seized from Japanese nationals, not clear whether real or fake, bonds worth US $134.5 billion. This is the largest financial smuggling case in history. But are they real? Concern over ‘funny money’ or counterfeit securities is spreading in Asia. The international press is silent.

Milan (AsiaNews) –  Italy’s financial police (Guardia italiana di Finanza) has seized US bonds worth US $134.5 billion from two Japanese nationals at Chiasso (40 km from Milan) on the border between Italy and Switzerland. They include 249 US Federal Reserve bonds worth US $500 million each, plus ten "Kennedy" bonds and other US government securities worth a billion dollar each. 
Italian authorities have not yet determined whether they are real or fake, but if they are real, the attempt to take them into Switzerland would be the largest financial smuggling operation in history; if they are fake, the matter would be even more mind-boggling because the quality of the counterfeit work is such that the fake bonds are indistinguishable from the real ones.

What caught the policemen’s attention were the billion dollar securities. Such a large denomination is not available in regular financial and banking markets. Only sovereign states handle such amounts of money.

The question now is who could or would counterfeit or smuggle these non-negotiable bonds.
In order to stop money laundering Italian law sets a ceiling of €10,000 per person for importing or exporting money without declaring it. The penalty for violating the law is 40 per cent of the money seized.

If the certificates were real, for Italy, it would be like hitting the jackpot. The fine alone would amount to €38 billion, five times the estimated cost of rebuilding quake-devastated Abruzzi region. It would help Italy’s eliminate its public deficit.

If the certificates are fakes the two Japanese nationals could get a very lengthy jail sentence for fraud.

As soon as the seizure was made, the US Embassy in Rome was informed. Italian and US secret services were called in to assist the Italian financial police.

Some important international financial newspapers had already reported on the existence of ‘funny money’ circulating on parallel, i.e. unofficial, financial markets.

For AsiaNews a few points need considering:
  1. When it comes to Italy, the world press has tended to focus on Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi’s personal problems rather than on stories like the bonds smuggling affair which has been front page on Italian newspapers.
  2. The fear of counterfeit bonds and securities has spread across Asia with the result that real securities are also considered with suspicion.
  3. During the Second World War several countries at war printed and put in circulation perfectly counterfeit enemy money. It is also historically established that some central banks, like the Bank of Italy 65 years ago, issued the same securities twice (identical registered number and code). This way they could print more money with legal tender than they officially declared. The main difference though is that 65 years ago the world was involved in a bloody war, which is not the case today.


Japan Probes Report Two Seized With Undeclared Bonds

June 12 (Bloomberg) -- Japan is investigating reports two of its citizens were detained in Italy after allegedly attempting to take $134 billion worth of U.S. bonds over the border into Switzerland.

“Italian authorities are in the midst of the investigation, and haven’t yet confirmed the details, including whether they are Japanese citizens or not,” Takeshi Akamatsu, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said by telephone today in Tokyo. “Our consulate in Milan is continuing efforts to confirm the reports.”

An official at the Consulate General of Japan in Milan, who only gave his name as Ikeda, said it still hasn’t been confirmed that the individuals are Japanese. “We are in contact with the Italian Financial Police and the Italian Public Prosecutor’s Office,” Ikeda said by phone today.

The Asahi newspaper reported today Italian police found bond certificates concealed in the bottom of luggage the two individuals were carrying on a train that stopped in Chiasso, near the Swiss border, on June 3.

The undeclared bonds included 249 certificates worth $500 million each, the Asahi said, citing Italian authorities. The case was reported earlier in Italian newspapers Il Giornale and La Repubblica and by the Ansa news agency.

If the securities are found to be genuine, the individuals could be fined 40 percent of the total value for attempting to take them out of the country without declaring them, the Asahi said.

The Italian embassy in Tokyo was unable to confirm the Asahi report.


(Though not a fan of the Beck, I will give credit where it is due. None of the other networks felt the need to report on this story. The irrefutable fact is that two Japanese nationals were arrested with $134 billion in US bonds. That part is true. How it pertains to the lawsuit in the first story in this post remains to be seen.--jef)

from David Wilcock

Notice that Beck says FOX contacted the Treasury Department about this case, and received an official blow-off letter in response -- basically saying they had "no comment" on this 134 billion dollars in US bonds, seized at the Italian border, as it was "evidence in an ongoing investigation."

Beck then goes on to put up the numbers of which countries hold the largest numbers of US bonds. In order, they are China at $763.5 billion, Japan at $685.9 billion, the United Kingdom at $152.8 billion, Russia at $137.0 billion and Brazil at $126.0 billion.

Based on the public, unclassified numbers, $134.5 billion in US bonds could only have been produced by Russia, the UK, Japan or China... no one else. The amount of money is so huge that if Russia produced it, they would only have 2.5 billion dollars in US bonds left.

Joe Wiesenthal, the editor of, said that whether this was a government dumping its bonds or a counterfeit operation, it was "gigantic" in scope and "unlike anything we've ever seen -- not just in size but also in sophistication."

According to Wiesenthal, in order to counterfeit these bonds, "it would be the kind of technology you would expect only a government to have." Wiesenthal also believes the 1934 issuance date on the bonds suggests they may be elaborate forgeries.


Dear Mr. Geithner:

No doubt you are already aware of the wild stories circulating in response to the news that two Japanese nationals were caught trying to smuggle some $134 billion in US Government bearer bonds into Switzerland from Italy. Since the Secret Service seems a bit slow in addressing the issue (What's the problem? Haven't you hired an undersecretary of Secret Service motivation yet? Couldn't you get Agent Frank Horrigan out of retirement and send him on special assignment or something?) and the Italians change their story about the instruments almost as often as they change governments, we thought you might benefit from some of our analysis.

Obviously, with respect to authenticity, there are three options:
  1. All the documents are fake.
  2. Some of the documents are fake.
  3. None of the documents are fake.
Taking these in order-

1. All the documents are fake. (Likely)

If all the documents are fake then the possibilities narrow to some degree:

Perhaps the work of a technically sophisticated but socially inept counterfeiting operation that is most likely attempting to dupe gullible private citizens or low-level managers. As of today an Italian Colonel in the Guardia di Finanza was complimenting the workmanship of the documents and speculating some of them might be authentic (at least to the European press). Leaving aside for a moment the rather dire career consequences such pronouncements might have, one assumes the Italians have some experience with forged documents. Admittedly, however, such expertise might not readily flow up to an officer politically focused enough to reach the rank of Colonel in any Italian organization. (I think I met one at a party in Miami once).

It would be a short-lived game once someone tried to pass one to an institution of any note. One assumes any bank large enough to accept such instruments into anything other than a safe-deposit box has best-practices methods to authenticate them, the key portion of which would be contacting the issuer (since the Fed doesn't issue/hasn't issued bonds like this, this would have to be the Treasury). Obviously, the Treasury would maintain specimen copies and make these available via facsimile transmission for a first-blush gut check. Still, Swiss institutions are highly unlikely to accept even authentic bearer instruments from a U.S. issuer without a very detailed provenience investigation. Further, even bearer bonds are serialized, meaning that it should be a trivial matter to establish if the securities these documents purport to be were actually issued. As technically sophisticated as such forgeries might be, absent access to authentic originals, details like issue dates and proper serial numbers would be hard to obtain.

Some support for this theory:

None of the coupons on the various documents appear to have been clipped. Since the Treasury has not issued bearer bonds since 1982 or 1985 (depending who at Treasury you ask) if these documents were authentic someone has taken a serious inflation beating on the deferred interest payments. (Turns out that high denomination instruments weren't printed after late 1969).

The Treasury claims that less than 1% of "marketable securities" are in bearer form. $134 billion in bearer bonds would imply some $13 trillion in marketable securities (assuming that class includes these bonds). This conflicts with the amount of "Total Marketable U.S. Treasury Securities Outstanding" for November 2008, as reported in Table B-87 of the 2009 "Economic Report of the President." That document lists total Marketable U.S. Treasury Securities Outstanding" as $5.82 trillion. All outstanding Treasury securities are listed in the same table as $10.66 trillion with "Unmarketable Securities" taking up $4.83 trillion. Note that in the category of "Marketable Securities" "Treasury Bonds" are listed at a "mere" $594.6 billion.

Even if we choose to discount the Treasury's offhand "1%" figure, it is difficult to imagine that a huge portion of the outstanding treasury securities would be in the form just a few, similar documents that somehow found their way into a single briefcase on the Swiss-Italian border.

High quality counterfeit "Federal Reserve Bonds" and the like are apparently common and seem to originate from Indonesia and other places where unrest has permitted high quality presses to fall into nefarious hands.

2. Some of the documents are fake. (Possible).

This would be quite possible if our two Ninja Smugglers were delivering a sample original document and a set of fake duplicates to show a buyer the quality of the forgeries. In this case you are still dealing with a technically competent counterfeiting operation, but now you have one with access to at least one of the originals. That begins to feel like a state sponsored operation, or, at the very least, a rather amazing theft story. One wonders why the theft of a $500 million bearer bond (the smallest possible denomination according to the Guardia di Finanza) would not be reported, but stranger things have happened behind the walls of an embarrassed bank.

The Treasury did in fact issue $500 million denominated instruments between 1955 and 1969, starting in early 1955 along with $100 million instruments. In fact, all of the Treasury bonds printed in the early 1950s were bearer instruments with coupons. Imagine processing half a million coupons and you start to understand why the larger denominations were attractive. The last were apparently printed in late 1969. It seems clear that $1 billion instruments were never issued. Those would appear to be forgeries.

Taking the "theft" example, having no hope of passing the document (provenience investigation) one could still maximize value by counterfeiting it and, as before, selling the result to foreign intelligence services, governments, or just gullible American/Japanese/French tourists in Italy/Switzerland.

It is also entirely possible that this is the work of a government. (Foreign or domestic). There is quite a great deal of precedent here The German Operation Bernhard, named for SS Major Bernhard Krüger, forged a huge number of small and medium denomination Bank of England pound notes during World War II, to provide their agents with currency, to pay for war material from foreign sources and to destabilize the British economy. At its peak the work was of such high quality that the Bank of England itself readily accepted the currency. Over GBP 100,000,000 was printed just in 1945. The Germans actually planned... wait for it... wait for it... to drop the currency from airplanes over England (apparently the very few helicopters that existed at the time had insufficient range) but the Luftwaffe, badly weakened by then, did not have the air power. Examples of the notes still occasionally turn up though the Bank of England invalidated several series of the relevant currency denominations in response to the counterfeits.

More recently, the origins of high quality forgeries of $100 notes, the "PN-14342" family, have been attributed to Iran (which printed its own currency on Intaglio presses prior to the revolution) North Korea, Russia and even the CIA (permitting it to evade congressional budget oversight).

Motives for foreign counterfeiting of such notes should be obvious. They are less so, perhaps, for high denomination bearer bonds. This is the hitch in this "fake" bit. That's a lot of bonds to have in the same place and one assumes even a Guardia di Finanza Cadet would notice if the serial numbers were all the same and not bother to pester the American Secret Service for authentication. Why print more than one serial number with such high denominations? Lot of work, that. Could it really be that no one noticed this? (Well, it is Italy, after all).

3. None of the documents are fake (unlikely).

For the purposes of amusement, and delving for a moment into (REALLY into) the realm of aluminum foil (Haven't you ever stopped to wonder who it was who pulled real tin-foil off the market and forced everyone to move to the aluminum variety? And why?) there is the (slim) possibility that you printed the damn things. That splits us into a number of alternatives:

Some foreign government (no corporate entity or individual has $134 billion laying around) has been holding the things to use as portable cash in emergencies. (This would explain the lack of coupon clipping- who cares about interest when you are just looking for portable wealth?) Or perhaps they haven't even been holding them for a long while, but exchanged them recently to facilitate their clandestine cross-border movement- perhaps even with the acquiescence/assistance of the Treasury. (After all, it would look pretty bad if that much U.S. debt was moved around openly). Here ya go [China (~$760 billion)/Japan (~$680 billion)/Russia (~$140 billion)] a bunch of bearer bonds we had laying around in the archives so you can smuggle the things into Switzerland.

Technically the difference between a valid and invalid Treasury bond is the willingness of the Treasury to accept it. Excellent deniability here. If anything at all happens you can just disavow the documents, reissue some other ones, or not, whatever. This would answer the question "how did anyone think that any bank would accept such large denominations?" The Treasury would validate the documents, of course. This would, however, not answer the question as to why two individuals traveling on Japanese passports would be attempting to slip into Switzerland in the best amateur hour smuggling operation since the guy who dropped two kilos of cocaine on the floor while standing at the immigration counter at JFK.

What might answer that question in this highly unlikely but entertaining scenario is the fact that this sort of rank incompetence is quite characteristic of the Japanese generally and Japanese Intelligence (Naikaku Jōhō Chōsashitsu) specifically. Hardly a month goes by without news of some executive with a case filled with brand new U.S. hundred dollar bills in Tokyo. At one point in 1998 a briefcase with $50 million in negotiable instruments was left in the Tokyo subway by an intoxicated bank executive.

Perhaps Japan wants to move capital offshore in preparation for general hostilities related to North Korea's increasingly evident mental deficiency.

We have heard a few reports that the individuals weren't arrested (though these aren't well sourced) and the Japanese consulate doesn't seem to know (or want to tell anyone) if they are actually Japanese nationals. (What's the hold up? You've got passports and passport numbers. Should be a matter of hours to get that figured out).

We would be remiss if we did not point out the (fanciful) possibility that this was the Treasury's doing entirely. Why?

Perhaps you intentionally orchestrated the discovery of the instruments which you will now rule counterfeit to cast doubt on similar instruments you would prefer not to redeem. (Play rough with us, China, see what happens).

Perhaps you were establishing credit with a foreign financial institution from which you could buy more Treasuries (hah) or otherwise buoy the market (S&P 500 futures are a popular theory for manipulation these days) without tipping the Treasury/Fed's hand in the process. (Credit Suisse and UBS both have enough AUM to conceal a "mere" $134 billion).

Perhaps you wanted an easy way to tip the debt crippled Italy 40% of $134 billion (the forfeiture fine for failing to declare) without congressional oversight. That buys a lot of Fiats. China or Japan will probably be blamed for the "incident" and no one will be surprised if it is hushed up. Instead everyone will assume that the remaining 60% went back to the original holder and Italy gets $53 billion without a lot of questions. Clever, Mr. Geithner, JamesTim Geithner.

Of course, any of these "they're real" options brings up a rather serious question:

Since these securities appear to have been off the books, and none of the Treasury disclosures about foreign or domestic holdings would seem to support this many bearer instruments (much less this many in the same place) how do we (does anyone) ever believe any statements about the size of outstanding U.S. debt again?

Whatever the case you have to admit that it is a sad state of affairs when, under your stewardship of the Department of the Treasury, an incident like this stirs up even the slightest suspicion rather than being immediately relegated to pages of "Treasury Debt of Honor," the latest Tom Clancy pulp to be found in the "thriller" section of one of LaGuardia's HMSHost owned bookstores.

We challenge you to do the right thing. That, of course, is to come out with a clear, concise statement ending the sort of speculation that, while currently confined to fringe financial blogs, has begun to creep into major outlets. (Handelsbaltt, for instance). Be careful, though. If someone suddenly notices that Italy has gone on a spending spree (Dodge Vipers for EVERYONE!) we hope you have a good lawyer. (Though, after the Turbo Tax Teflon, we suppose that's not really an issue).

The Strange Inconsistencies Behind the $134.5 Billion Bearer Bond Mystery
June 16th, 2009

Here’s yet another huge financial story that has been virtually blacked out by the US financial media. Although on the surface, this story appears to be a non-event, if we consider some of the released facts about this case, you will understand why I consider it to be a huge story. On June 8th, the Asia News reported the following story:

“Italy’s financial police (Guardia italiana di Finanza) has seized US bonds worth US 134.5 billion from two Japanese nationals at Chiasso (40 km from Milan) on the border between Italy and Switzerland. They include 249 US Federal Reserve bonds worth US$ 500 million each, plus ten Kennedy bonds and other US government securities worth a billion dollars each. Italian authorities have not yet determined whether they are real or fake, but if they are real the attempt to take them into Switzerland would be the largest financial smuggling operation in history; if they are fake, the matter would be even more mind-boggling because the quality of the counterfeit work is such that the fake bonds are undistinguishable from the real ones.”

Here are just a few fascinating facts about this case (at least they are being reported as “facts” at this current time):
(1) Though the smugglers have been identified in the press as “Japanese nationals” there has yet to be any confirmation if the smugglers were indeed Japanese or of some other ethnicity. How difficult is it to confirm the ethnicity of the smugglers and why is this information being kept secret?

(2) According to a brief Bloomberg article regarding this story, the seized bearer bonds allegedly were dated as of 1934. Since bearer bonds in denominations of $500 million did not exist in 1934, the bonds were deduced as fake, though the Italian police are still waiting for a declaration regarding the bonds’ authenticity from the SEC. There is something truly “off” about this declaration. How can the quality of the forged bearer bonds be so meticulous that they “are indistinguishable from the real ones”, yet the people involved in the alleged forgery so ill-informed as to not date the bearer bonds with a more recent year that would not immediately identify them as fraudulent? How hard would it have been to date the bearer bonds with a more recent year? An equivalent analogy would be if an expert art forger meticulously re-created a Picasso oil canvass and then erroneously signed the work with the wrong artist’s name. This story just does not add up.

(3) The Bloomberg story also reported that there is no known existence of the alleged 10 Kennedy bonds that were discovered in the smuggler’s suitcases, each with a denomination of $1 billion. Again, this discovery defies any logical explanation. Why would expert counterfeiters make 249 bearer bonds with denominations of $500 million apiece, each undistinguishable from the real thing, and then instead of just making 20 more such bonds, decide to make 10 bonds in denominations of $1 billion a piece in a bearer bond design that has never existed? Were the alleged counterfeiters just too lazy to confirm if Kennedy bearer bonds were ever a legitimately issued security? Again, this story makes no sense.

(4) On March 30, 2009, the US Treasury Department announced that USD $134.5 billion remained in its Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). The stated amount of seized bearer bonds was $134.5 billion. Coincidence?

(5) The two well-dressed Japanese men opted to travel to Chiasso on a local train normally full of Italian manual laborers commuting to Switzerland. If they were really intent on successfully smuggling these bonds, counterfeit or real, why would they not take more care to select a travel route in which it was literally impossible for them not to stick out like two sore thumbs? Again, this part of the story defies all logic.

(6) The bearer bonds were discovered in a hidden briefcase compartment after a customs inspection. Again, if the bonds were indeed authentic and owned by a nation state, they could have been transported in a diplomatic pouch exempt from customs searches that would have guaranteed transport without detection.

Thus, all of the above irreconcilable and illogical points, other than the coincidence of the amount of the bearer bonds exactly matching the remaining TARP fund amount declared on March 30th, seem to indicate that not only were the seized bearer bonds counterfeit, but also that the smugglers were intent on being caught.

Before I continue, let’s review the purpose of bearer bonds.

Here is the Wikipedia definition of bearer bonds: 
“A bearer bond is a debt security issued by a business entity, such as a corporation, or by a government. It differs from the more common types of investment securities in that it is unregistered – no records are kept of the owner, or the transactions involving ownership. Whoever physically holds the paper on which the bond is issued owns the instrument. This is useful for investors who wish to retain anonymity. The downside is that in the event of loss or theft, bearer bonds are extremely difficult to recover.” 

If you recall the Michael Mann movie “Heat”, starring Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino, during a daring daytime armored car robbery, the criminals specifically targeted millions of dollars of bearer bonds for theft precisely because of the above qualities of bearer bonds that make them very difficult to trace. Again, due to the properties of bearer bonds, it seems highly unlikely that $134.5 billion of bearer bonds would be transported, if they were real, by two men with no security, since theft guarantees that they would be lost forever.

Thus far, about the only piece of information that appears to be reliable as reported by various news sources regarding this huge mystery is the remarkable authenticity of the 249 seized bearer bonds in denominations of USD $500 million. If any of the other facts, as they are being reported, are remotely accurate, then the bearer bonds were likely counterfeit. Still, the interesting part of this story, at least to me, is that the smugglers seemed intent on being caught with the counterfeit bonds. This leads me back to my previous question. What possible reason would the smugglers have for wanting to be caught? One of the quickest ways to sabotage and usher in the death of a currency is to raise legitimate questions about its ability to withstand counterfeiting efforts. Prove that counterfeiting is not only possible but highly likely, and the world’s confidence in the sabotaged currency will undoubtedly plummet. 

In fact, this very tactic was applied during World War II when the Nazis launched Operation Bernhard in an attempt to crash the British economy by producing, by 1945, 132 million expertly counterfeited British pounds, a figure that represented roughly 15% of all real British pounds in circulation at the time. The counterfeit pounds were produced by expert printers and engravers supervised by an SS officer named Bernhard Krueger. As well, historical evidence exists that the Allies considered launching a counter-counterfeit plan against the Nazis as well. During this time, it was also alleged that the Bank of Italy counterfeited their own money by issuing the same securities twice with identical registered numbers and codes in order. The purpose of this counterfeiting was to secretly expand monetary supply without public transparency or accountability. Perhaps then, this $134.5.billion bearer bond mystery was an attempt of a nation state to shake the world’s confidence in the position of the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency.

There should be little debate that the world’s emerging economies in Russia, Brazil, China and certain Gulf Nations are at economic war today with the world’s Western nations and their economic allies. The currency war being fought today is sure to get much uglier in the foreseeable future, in both open tactics as well as secretly executed tactics. Currently, if the currency war were the world series of poker, the US and the UK would be holding a pair of 2s and relying on nothing but bluffs to keep the rest of the world at bay. Conversely, the Chinese and other emerging nations with large surpluses would be holding straight or royal flushes, and likely quietly maneuvering to go “all in” at some point. 

Given that the discovery of $134.5 billion of bearer bonds in the suitcases of two Japanese nationals in Chiasso, Italy on the border of Switzerland qualifies as one of the largest smuggling operations in history, and given the various implications of such an act and the possible players involved, the silence regarding this huge story is simply stunning. It is not a huge story, per se, because of the counterfeiting operation, because accusations and revelations of massive money counterfeiting operations have occured in the past. It is a huge story, rather, due to all the inconsistencies of the story and the potential explanations that could explain these inconsistencies. The larger story at hand is, who are the players (nations) involved, and what was the intention of this likely counterfeiting operation? Maybe the future will reveal the answers to these questions. But maybe not.

(This article above raises some good points. The article below is very dismissive and says the Treasury Dept claims the bonds are fake, which when you consider the questions raised by the article above, it doesn't make sense.--jef)
Smuggled $134 billion in T-bonds are fakes, U.S. says
Speculation about the Italian smuggling case involving $134 billion in purported U.S. Treasury bonds may have been fun while it lasted, but the Treasury Department says today the bonds are bogus.

"They’re obvious fakes," said Steve Meyerhardt, a spokesman for the Treasury's Bureau of Public Debt in Washington.

Two Japanese men were detained by Italian authorities last week after they were caught trying to enter Switzerland with what appeared to be $134 billion in U.S. Treasury bonds in a suitcase.

As I noted in this post on Wednesday, conspiracy theories have run wild in the blogosphere based on the few details that had emerged about the case -- and because mainstream media had largely ignored the story.

Meyerhardt said Treasury authorities could see immediately from photos of the bonds that they were doctored.

What’s more, the package of bonds was said to include "Kennedy" bonds worth $1 billion each. "There is no such thing as a Kennedy bond," Meyerhardt said.

Most important, the total of Treasury paper "bearer" bonds outstanding is a mere $105 million, he said. The Treasury has been issuing bonds solely in electronic form since 1986, although a relative handful of investors never bothered to convert their bearer bonds to electronic form.

And yes, I realize that there’s probably nothing Treasury can say to satisfy people who believe that there’s something more sinister going on here. (douchebag!--jef   ;| )

The big question, still, is what the apparent forgerers hoped to do with the paper.

(Well, I'm not satisfied. That goes without saying, since this is a 2.5 yr old story that I just found out about. I will continue to post more as I find it. Admittedly, many of this info came care of links posted by David Wilcock.--jef)

Friday, January 6, 2012

40,000 New Laws Nationwide for 2012

(So, with 22% REAL unemployment nationwide, with 2 out of 3 families struggling to make ends meet, struggling to stay in their homes and avoid foreclosure, desperately seeking any kind of employment for any wage, what is the response of lawmakers across the country? 40,000 new fucking laws! More ways to fine us, jail us, imprison us, indefinitely detain and torture us, to FUCK with us. I really am aghast at this bit of information. We know about NDAA, and SOPA, the biggest assrapers of our civil liberties, but there are 39,998 other laws taking effect soon--at least a hundred or so which will directly affect you. 

Civil disobedience is a must at this point. Those with power look down with such disdain on those of us without power that they believe it their divine right to fuck with us in every conceivable way possible. They keep stabbing the caged lion with a pointed stick, starving it periodically, hurting it. But, like the white tiger that ate whichever, Seigfried or Roy--that lion will bide its time, waiting, enduring all the shit splattered over it, in its food and water, being poked and fucked with...but when there is the slightest opening, the slimmest point through which to leap or pounce, the lion might be killed quickly, but it will die with the head of its tormentor clutched within its teeth and jaws, no longer a threat to any of the other lives caged by so many insipid new laws with the only purpose being to curtail freedom, keep us in line, increase their revenue by stealing our meager funds and property. Many would die for that chance, even if they failed to trap their target--just the chance is all they'll want after the torment and despair they were gleefully put through. 

Debtor's prisons are back, ladies and gentlemen. May your god keep you free from them if you lose your ability to pay your bills suddenly or for a long period of time. Expect there to be a rise in the number of small time bounty hunters tracking down misdemeanor offenders, parents behind on child support, students behind on their loan payments, credit card defaulters, repos...bill collectors armed with zipties and tazers. 

Brave New World? No, chickenshit new world is a more accurate description. Chickenshit faux authority junkies...closet fascists drooling over the near completion of the total police state--where citizens are felt up or apprehended purely at the whim of the cop soldier dicks with a hard-on for fucking with people. It doesn't get any better, and if it doesn't touch you yet, then you should watch your ass--there isn't a soul who is reading or will read this post who is above being dicked with by the "powers that be." Billionaires don't read small time blogs...Savor the small moments of joy you get from time to time. They will be the fond memories you use to get through the wretched times to come. It won't be some post-apocalyptic b-movie nightmare--if WWIII begins as a result of the Iran/China/Russia vs. Israel/EU/US standoff, there won't be any place for anybody. But if those govts can keep their dicks in their panties, our lives will be like the great depression, but with TV and smartphones, most of which won't work due to delinquent payments. More like Japan's lost decade but with debtor's prisons and 40,000 new laws to fuck us every which way. The worst is yet to come--2/3 of the country still think things will get better because network or cable news tells them it will. Bless their hearts...--jef)

Minor Earthquake Reported near Dallas Love Field Overnight

Friday, 06 Jan 2012

DALLAS - Did you feel the earth move? A minor earthquake was reported near the Preston Hollow area of Dallas just after midnight Friday morning, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
The USGS recorded a 2.0-magnitude earthquake centered on Northwest Highway near Sunnybrook Lane -- that's between Inwood and Midway Roads, about three miles east of Love Field Airport.

Although the tremor was minor, it was deep -- measuring about 3 miles below the earth's surface, geologists say.

So far, there have been no reports of damage.

Ominous Phrase

Here's a phrase that will sum up life in the US, under 2011 NDAA...guilty--regardless if proven innocent.

Gone are the 4th, 5th, 6th and 8th amendments -- 2/3 of the Bill of Rights.

Even if Obama doesn't execute the 2011 NDAA to its fullest extent, he has allowed all future presidents to wield that tyrannical power.

Understand that if you think I and those like me are making too big a deal of this issue.

Alternate Unemployment Charts - The REAL Numbers

The seasonally-adjusted SGS Alternate Unemployment Rate reflects current unemployment reporting methodology adjusted for SGS-estimated long-term discouraged workers, who were defined out of official existence in 1994. That estimate is added to the BLS estimate of U-6 unemployment, which includes short-term discouraged workers.

The U-3 unemployment rate is the monthly headline number. The U-6 unemployment rate is the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) broadest unemployment measure, including short-term discouraged and other marginally-attached workers as well as those forced to work part-time because they cannot find full-time employment.

 Courtesy of

Brazil fans of HELLBLAZER respond to SPIDERLEGS version of VENUS of the HARD SELL

(A post with comments on a Brazilian website about SPIDERLEGS' take on a fictional punk song--"Venus of the Hardsell"--by a fictional punk band--Mucous Membrane--from the pages of John Constantine: HELLBLAZER. English translation below the Portugese.--jef)
Hellblazer Fãs gravam música da banda fictícia de John Constantine

Assista ao clipe de "Venus of the Hardsell" criado pela banda Spiderlegs

Carina Toledo
04 de Julho de 2011

John Constantine, o mago inglês da série Hellblazer, teve uma breve carreira musical no fim da década de 70, quando metade da juventude britânica queria ser os Sex Pistols. Era a banda Membrana Mucosa, com os amigos Gary Lester, Les e Beano. Assim como tudo na vida de Constantine, a banda terminou em tragédia, mas deixou um hit constantemente citado nas HQs: “Venus of the Hardsell”.

  Agora, você pode finalmente ter uma ideia de como seria ouvir Constantine. Fãs do personagem gravaram a música “Venus of the Hardsell”, a partir da letra publicada em Hellblazer Annual #1 (HQ inédita no Brasil; o letrista foi o escritor Jamie Delano). E ainda fizeram um vídeo com cenas da HQ. Assista:

A música foi gravada pela desconhecida Spiderlegs, que tenta reproduzir como seria uma bandinha britânica de garagem do final dos anos 70. O vídeo está há pouco mais de um mês no YouTube, e nas informações comenta-se que em breve deve acontecer uma regravação.
A homenagem chega em momento especial para Constantine. Além de agora dividir seu tempo entre o Universo DC normal e a continuidade diferente na Vertigo – onde em breve vai poder se gabar de ter o gibi com a mais alta numeração entre Marvel e DC -, o anti-herói terá retrospectiva em coletâneas que vão republicar Hellblazer desde a primeira edição. A Panini já anunciou que vai seguir a onda aqui, prometendo para este ano o encadernado John Constantine: Hellblazer – Origens.

Leia mais sobre Hellblazer


Hellblazer Fans record music of the fictitious band of John Constantine

Listen to the clip of “Venus of The Hardsell” created by the band Spiderlegs

Carina Toledo
04 of July of 2011

John Constantine, English magus of the Hellblazer series, had a brief musical career in the end of the decade of 70, when half of British youth wanted to be the Sex Pistols. She was the band Mucous Membrane, with the friends Gary Lester, Les and Beano. As well as everything in the life of Constantine, the band finished in tragedy, but hit cited in the HQs left one constantly: “Venus of the Hardsell”.

Now, you can finally have an idea of as she would be to hear Constantine. Fans of the personage had recorded music “Venus of the Hardsell”, from the letter published in Hellblazer Annual #1 (HQ unknown in Brazil; the letrista was the writer Jamie Delano). had still made a video with scenes of the HQ. It attends:
Music was recorded by the stranger Spiderlegs, who tried to reproduce as one would be in a British garage band of the end of the 70s. The video is little has more than one month in the YouTube, and in the information it is commented that soon a rerecording will happen.
The homage arrives at special moment for Constantine. Beyond now dividing its time between normal Universe DC and the different continuity in the Vertigo - where soon he goes to be able to brag itself to have the comics with the highest numeration between Marvel and DC -, the anti-hero will have retrospect in coletâneas that go to republish Hellblazer since the first edition. The Panini already announced that it goes to follow the wave here, promising for this year the bound John Constantine: Hellblazer - Origins.

It reads more on Hellblazer

ronaldo ronaldo (05/07/2011 08:36: 50)   2★ 0  
as a rock band old guard, I loved, I found fo@#$! very good homagem… wanted to see as track in the film, in a ugly scene of treta….

Celso Celso (04/07/2011 19:45: 58)   3★ 0  
It was valid for the homage the John Constantine, one of my favourite personages to the side of Spider Jerusalem.

Carlos Carlos (04/07/2011 18:02: 28)   14★ 0  
  I pause that it has exactly left this new bound with first histories therefore spare me is that they are all the essence of the personage, very good there this initiative of this band.

DomnRamon DomnRamon (04/07/2011 17:59: 47)   188★ 1  

Constantine is my typebof adolescence hero. Grand, at least, the initiative.

@_JJunior @_JJunior (04/07/2011 17:52: 07)   114★ 1 
EXCELLENT MUSIC! Much fuck. These bound (Panini origins) are the light in the end of the tunnel of Brazil!

Aklash Aklash (04/07/2011 17:49: 59)   410★ 0  
Music could have most been worked, oddly found the placed letter with the time of music…

Hector Hector (04/07/2011 14:26: 23)   410★ 5 
Well punk, style Sex Pistols… good homage of the fans ace roots of the personage.

Aklash Aklash (04/07/2011 17:52: 43)   410★ 0
I found acceptable. the music, the initiative and the substance.

Massayuki Massayuki (04/07/2011 14:20: 16)   96★ 1 
Excellent Rock'n Roll, excellent music. For the video clip they could film this sequência of the HQ.

Thursday, January 5, 2012


Buying Congress in 2012

Thursday, January 5, 2012 by
Time to Stop Being Cynical About Corporate Money in Politics and Start Being Angry 

by Bill McKibben
My resolution for 2012 is to be naïve -- dangerously naïve.

I’m aware that the usual recipe for political effectiveness is just the opposite: to be cynical, calculating, an insider. But if you think, as I do, that we need deep change in this country, then cynicism is a sucker’s bet. Try as hard as you can, you’re never going to be as cynical as the corporations and the harem of politicians they pay for.  It’s like trying to outchant a Buddhist monastery. 

Here’s my case in point, one of a thousand stories people working for social change could tell: All last fall, most of the environmental movement, including, the group I helped found, waged a fight against the planned Keystone XL pipeline that would bring some of the dirtiest energy on the planet from Canada through the U.S. to the Gulf Coast. We waged our struggle against building it out in the open, presenting scientific argument, holding demonstrations, and attending hearings.  We sent 1,253 people to jail in the largest civil disobedience action in a generation.  Meanwhile, more than half a million Americans offered public comments against the pipeline, the most on any energy project in the nation’s history.

And what do you know? We won a small victory in November, when President Obama agreed that, before he could give the project a thumbs-up or -down, it needed another year of careful review.  (The previous version of that review, as overseen by the State Department, had been little short of a crony capitalist farce.)  Given that James Hansen, the government’s premier climate scientist, had said that tapping Canada’s tar sands for that pipeline would, in the end, essentially mean “game over for the climate,” that seemed an eminently reasonable course to follow, even if it was also eminently political.

A few weeks later, however, Congress decided it wanted to take up the question. In the process, the issue went from out in the open to behind closed doors in money-filled rooms.  Within days, and after only a couple of hours of hearings that barely mentioned the key scientific questions or the dangers involved, the House of Representatives voted 234-194 to force a quicker review of the pipeline.  Later, the House attached its demand to the must-pass payroll tax cut.

That was an obvious pre-election year attempt to put the president on the spot. Environmentalists are at least hopeful that the White House will now reject the permit.  After all, its communications director said that the rider, by hurrying the decision, “virtually guarantees that the pipeline will not be approved.”

As important as the vote total in the House, however, was another number: within minutes of the vote, Oil Change International had calculated that the 234 Congressional representatives who voted aye had received $42 million in campaign contributions from the fossil-fuel industry; the 193 nays, $8 million.

Buying Congress
I know that cynics -- call them realists, if you prefer -- will be completely unsurprised by that. Which is precisely the problem.

We’ve reached the point where we’re unfazed by things that should shake us to the core. So, just for a moment, be naïve and consider what really happened in that vote: the people’s representatives who happen to have taken the bulk of the money from those energy companies promptly voted on behalf of their interests.

They weren’t weighing science or the national interest; they weren’t balancing present benefits against future costs.  Instead of doing the work of legislators, that is, they were acting like employees. Forget the idea that they’re public servants; the truth is that, in every way that matters, they work for Exxon and its kin. They should, by rights, wear logos on their lapels like NASCAR drivers.

If you find this too harsh, think about how obligated you feel when someone gives you something. Did you get a Christmas present last month from someone you hadn’t remembered to buy one for? Are you going to send them an extra-special one next year?

And that’s for a pair of socks. Speaker of the House John Boehner, who insisted that the Keystone approval decision be speeded up, has gotten $1,111,080 from the fossil-fuel industry during his tenure. His Senate counterpart Mitch McConnell, who shepherded the bill through his chamber, has raked in $1,277,208 in the course of his tenure in Washington.

If someone had helped your career to the tune of a million dollars, wouldn’t you feel in their debt? I would. I get somewhat less than that from my employer, Middlebury College, and yet I bleed Panther blue.  Don’t ask me to compare my school with, say, Dartmouth unless you want a biased answer, because that’s what you’ll get.  Which is fine -- I am an employee.

But you’d be a fool to let me referee the homecoming football game. In fact, in any other walk of life we wouldn’t think twice before concluding that paying off the referees is wrong. If the Patriots make the Super Bowl, everyone in America would be outraged to see owner Robert Kraft trot out to midfield before the game and hand a $1,000 bill to each of the linesmen and field judges.

If he did it secretly, the newspaper reporter who uncovered the scandal would win a Pulitzer. But a political reporter who bothered to point out Boehner’s and McConnell’s payoffs would be upbraided by her editor for simpleminded journalism.  That’s how the game is played and we’ve all bought into it, even if only to sputter in hopeless outrage.

Far from showing any shame, the big players boast about it: the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, front outfit for a consortium of corporations, has bragged on its website about outspending everyone in Washington, which is easy to do when Chevron, Goldman Sachs, and News Corp are writing you seven-figure checks.

This really matters.  The Chamber of Commerce spent more money on the 2010 elections than the Republican and Democratic National Committees combined, and 94% of those dollars went to climate-change deniers.  That helps explain why the House voted last year to say that global warming isn’t real.

It also explains why “our” representatives vote, year in and year out, for billions of dollars worth of subsidies for fossil-fuel companies. If there was ever an industry that didn’t need subsidies, it would be this one: they make more money each year than any enterprise in the history of money. Not only that, but we’ve known how to burn coal for 300 years and oil for 200.

Those subsidies are simply payoffs. Companies give small gifts to legislators, and in return get large ones back, and we’re the ones who are actually paying.

Whose Money?  Whose Washington?
I don’t want to be hopelessly naïve. I want to be hopefully naïve. It would be relatively easy to change this: you could provide public financing for campaigns instead of letting corporations pay. It’s the equivalent of having the National Football League hire referees instead of asking the teams to provide them.

Public financing of campaigns would cost a little money, but endlessly less than paying for the presents these guys give their masters. And it would let you watch what was happening in Washington without feeling as disgusted.  Even legislators, once they got the hang of it, might enjoy neither raising money nor having to pretend it doesn’t affect them.

To make this happen, however, we may have to change the Constitution, as we’ve done 27 times before.

This time, we’d need to specify that corporations aren’t people, that money isn’t speech, and that it doesn’t abridge the First Amendment to tell people they can’t spend whatever they want getting elected. Winning a change like that would require hard political organizing, since big banks and big oil companies and big drug-makers will surely rally to protect their privilege.

Still, there’s a chance.  The Occupy movement opened the door to this sort of change by reminding us all that the system is rigged, that its outcomes are unfair, that there’s reason to think people from across the political spectrum are tired of what we’ve got, and that getting angry and acting on that anger in the political arena is what being a citizen is all about.

It’s fertile ground for action.  After all, Congress’s approval rating is now at 9%, which is another way of saying that everyone who’s not a lobbyist hates them and what they’re doing. The big boys are, of course, counting on us simmering down; they’re counting on us being cynical, on figuring there’s no hope or benefit in fighting city hall. But if we’re naïve enough to demand a country more like the one we were promised in high school civics class, then we have a shot.

A good time to take an initial stand comes later this month, when rallies outside every federal courthouse will mark the second anniversary of the Citizens United decision. That’s the one where the Supreme Court ruled that corporations had the right to spend whatever they wanted on campaigns.

To me, that decision was, in essence, corporate America saying, “We’re not going to bother pretending any more. This country belongs to us.”

We need to say, loud and clear: “Sorry. Time to give it back.”

Buddy Roemer: "Special interests own our government"

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Former Louisiana Governor Buddy Roemer, a Republican presidential candidate, blasted the influence of money on American politics during an appearance Thursday on MSNBC.

As part of his presidential campaign, Roemer has stressed the need for campaign finance reform. He has vowed to only accept campaign contributions under $100.

“I’m the only person running for the President of the United States who has been a congressman and a governor,” he said. “I’m the only person running for the President of the United States who doesn’t have a Super PAC, who doesn’t take PAC money, who goes directly to the people. I mean, my god, who do you want as president? A guy taking million dollar checks under the table? Or a woman or man who is free to lead?”

“There have been sixteen national debates. I haven’t been asked to be one a single one of them.”

Roemer accused Jon Huntsman, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama of being connected with illegal Super PACS. The Super PACS, according to Roemer, were coordinating with the candidates’ campaigns.

“Special interests own our government,” he said. “Where are the people? They’ve disappeared.”