Debate about Secret Session in House of Representatives (videos)

Dandelion Salad

Part 2 here:  Debate about Secret Session in House of Representatives Part 2 (videos)

CSPANJUNKIEdotORG

March 13, 2008 C-SPAN

Vodpod videos no longer available. from www.youtube.com posted with vodpod

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Dennis Kucinich: You Can’t Secure Our Nation With LIES!

Kucinich-Dennis

Contribute to Kucinich for Congress

Israel threatens Lebanon with war

Dandelion Salad

Global Research, March 13, 2008
Press TV

Thu, 13 Mar 2008 18:47:28

Israel has threatened to wage another war against Lebanon if Hezbollah retaliates for the killing of its commander, Imad Mughniyah.

Israel’s Channel 10 News said the regime has sent a letter to Hezbollah, threatening to launch a massive attack on Lebanon.

It said Israeli military forces were put on high alert “inside and outside Israel” amid concerns about possible attacks by Hezbollah at the end of the 40-day mourning period for Mughniyah, who was assassinated by a car bombing in Damascus Feb. 12.

Israeli war minister Ehud Barak has also declared that the regime was ready “on all fronts.”

Israel fought a 33-day war against Hezbollah in summer 2006 to destroy the military power of the resistance group, but a recently published Winograd report revealed that the conflict brought a humiliating defeat for the regime.

SB/RE

The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: crgeditor@yahoo.com

www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

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© Copyright, Press TV, 2008
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8325

Predatory Lenders’ Partner in Crime by Former NY Gov Eliot Spitzer

Dandelion Salad

by Former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer
Global Research, March 14, 2008
Washington Post – 2008-02-14

The following oped by Eliot Spitzer was published barely a month prior to the unfolding scandal and his demise as Governor of the State of New York.

Does the scandal bear any relationship to Spitzer’s intent to reveal the criminal nature of the subprime mortgage scam and the role of the Bush administration. Was the scandal intended to silence Eliot Spitzer?

Continue reading

Olbermann: State Of Confusion + Defiant Decider + McAgents Of Intolerance

Dandelion Salad

Ryokibin

Mar. 13, 2008

State Of Confusion 

Keith speaks with Howard Fineman.

States of Confusion: The lyric was sung with gusto by Howard DaSilva as Ben Franklin in the movie “1776.” It was about a struggle by the Founding Fathers, each of whom wanted to avoid writing the declaration of Independence… But tonight it has unexpected relevance to the 2008 Democratic Primary. “I won’t put politics on paper — it’s a mania… “So I refuse, to use the pen, in Pennsylvania.” Our fifth story on the Countdown: the Clinton Campaign is using its pen, Strategist Mark Penn, in Pennsylvania, but may wish it hadn’t. First, Penn declared Barock Obama incapable of winning the general election if he couldn’t beat Clinton in the Keystone State… Then, the campaign tried to backtrack and insist he hadn’t and had only said it raised “serious questions.” Indeed.

Defiant Decider 

Keith speaks with Rachel Maddow.

Spy Way or the Highway: The House floats a FYCA Bill that doesn’t protect the Administration? The President promises a veto saying –quote– “Voting for this bill would make our country less safe”. The Head of U-S Central Command disagrees with the White House on Iraq and Iran? The President asks the Defense Secretary to –quote– “handle it”, and suddenly, there’s a resignation letter. Our third story on the Countdown — every once in awhile George W. Bush does something nefarious, to remind us all, that he’s still around.

Working Hard For The Money 

Keith speaks with Michael Musto.

Spitz Takes: If you think it callous to be making jokes about a man who had to bail out during his 15th month as governor of New York after being caught in a prostitution sting… Relax. Our number one story on the Countdown: Eliot Spitzer’s successor, Governor-To-Be David Paterson, asked at his first news conference today, quote, “so New Yorkers don’t have to go through this again, have you ever patronized a prostitute.” Paterson’s answer: “Only the lobbyists.” Thank you, try the veal, please tip your precinct captains, I’m here all term…

McAgents Of Intolerance 

Keith speaks with Dana Milbank.

Spare the Rod: While Senators Clinton and Obama re-enact Punch and Judy… Senator McCain, freed of the responsibility of campaigning to mainstream America, or even while the media was watching, found a new religious group to cross off his campaign mailing list… Muslims. In our fourth story tonight, on February 27th, McCain angered Catholics and, y’know, sane people… when he happily accepted the endorsement of…

Bushed! 

Iraq-Gate

You lied, they died-Gate

Halliburton-Gate

World’s Worst

Worse: Michael O’Hanlon

Worser: Lou Dobbs

Worst: Billy Crystal

see

President Bush Addresses FISA Legislation (video)

Nanotech Exposed in Grocery Store Aisles

Dandelion Salad

Time to plant a garden, friends. ~ Lo

Global Research, March 13, 2008
Friends of the Earth

March 11, 2008 For Immediate Release

For more information contact:
Nick Berning, 202-222-0748
Ian Illuminato, 202-222-0735

Report finds Miller Light, Cadbury and other brands have toxic risks

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Untested nanotechnology is being used in more than 100 food products, food packaging and contact materials currently on the shelf, without warning or new FDA testing, according to a report released today by Friends of the Earth.

The report, Out of the Laboratory and onto Our Plates: Nanotechnology in Food and Agriculture, found nanomaterials in popular products and packaging including Miller Light beer, Cadbury Chocolate packaging and ToddlerHealth, a nutritional drink powder for infants sold extensively at health food stores including WholeFoods.

“Nanotech food was put on our plates without FDA testing for consumer safety,” said Ian Illuminato, Friends of the Earth Health and Environment Campaigner. “Consumers have a right to know if they are taste-testing a dangerous new technology.”

Existing regulations require no new testing or labeling for nanomaterials when they are created from existing approved chemicals, despite major differences in potential toxicity. The report reveals toxicity risks of nanomaterials such as organ damage and decreased immune system response.

“Nanotechnology can be very dangerous when used in food,” said report co-author Dr Rye Senjen. “Early scientific evidence indicates that some nanomaterials produce free radicals which destroy or mutate DNA and can cause damage to the liver and kidneys.”

Report co-author Georgia Miller, Friends of the Earth Australia Nanotechnology Project Coordinator, said many of the world’s largest food companies, including Heinz, Nestle, Unilever and Kraft are currently using and testing nanotechnology for food processing and packaging. Without increased federal oversight, these companies could begin sale of these products whenever they choose.

“There is no legal requirement for manufacturers to label their products that contain nanomaterials, or to conduct new safety tests,” said Miller. “This gives manufacturers the ability to force-feed untested technology to consumers without their consent.”

Nanotechnology, the manipulation of matter at the scale of atoms and molecules, is now used to manufacture nutritional supplements, flavor and colors additives, food packaging, cling wrap and containers, and chemicals used in agriculture.

Friends of the Earth calls on the FDA to stop the sale of all nano food, packaging, and agricultural chemicals until strong scientific regulations are enacted to ensure consumer safety and until ingredients are labeled,” said Illuminato.

The report, released internationally today in the U.S., Europe and Australia, details more than a hundred nano food, food packaging and food contact products now on sale internationally. The Australian government has already welcomed the report and announced that it will begin exploring regulation of nano food and nano agriculture as a result of the report.

The full report can be found at www.foe.org.

Friends of the Earth is the U.S. voice of an influential, international network of grassroots groups in 70 countries. Since 1969, Friends of the Earth has been at the forefront of high-profile efforts to create a more healthy, just world. One of its current campaigns focuses on combating the spread of nanotechnology without regulation and oversight.

http://action.foe.org/pressRelease.jsp?press_release_KEY=343

The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: crgeditor@yahoo.com

www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com
© Copyright , Friends of the Earth, 2008
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8326

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Food

Gardening

GMO

Fallon falls: Iran should worry by Gareth Porter

Dandelion Salad

by Gareth Porter
Global Research, March 13, 2008
IPS

WASHINGTON – Admiral William Fallon’s request to quit his position as head of the US Central Command (CENTCOM) and to retire from the military was apparently the result of a George W Bush administration decision to pressure him to resign.

Announcing the resignation, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said he believed it was “the right thing to do”, thus indicating the administration wanted it. Gates added that it would be “ridiculous” to suggest that Fallon’s resignation signaled that the US planned to go to war with Iran.

Gates said Fallon’s position would be filled by his top deputy, Army Lieutenant General Martin Dempsey, until a permanent replacement was confirmed by the Senate.

On Monday, Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell, asked whether Gates still had full confidence in Fallon, would only say that Fallon “still enjoys a working – a good working relationship with the secretary of defense”, and then added, “Admiral Fallon serves at the pleasure of the president.”

The resignation came a few days after the publication of an Esquire magazine article profiling Fallon in which he was described as being “in hot water” with the White House and justified public comments departing from the Bush administration’s policy toward Iran. The publicity that followed the article – titled The Man Between War and Peace – accelerated the pressure on Fallon to resign.

But “Fox” Fallon almost certainly knew that he would be fired when he agreed to cooperate with the Esquire magazine profile. On Tuesday, Fallon issued a statement, “Recent press reports suggesting a disconnect between my views and the president’s policy objectives have become a distraction at a critical time and hamper efforts in the CENTCOM region.”

The resignation brings to an end a year during which Fallon clashed with the White House over policy toward Iran and with General David Petraeus and the White House over whether Iraq should continue to be given priority over Afghanistan and Pakistan in US policy.

Fallon’s greatest concern appears to have been preventing war with Iran. He was one a group of senior military officers, apparently including most of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who were alarmed in late 2006 and early 2007 by indications that Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney were contemplating a possible attack on Iran.

Gates chose Fallon to replace General John P Abizaid as CENTCOM chief shortly after a December 13, 2006 meeting between Bush and the Joint Chiefs at which Bush reportedly asked their views on a possible strike against Iran.

Colonel W Patrick Lang, a former intelligence officer on the Middle East for the Defense Intelligence Agency, told the Washington Post last week that Fallon had said privately at the time of his confirmation that an attack on Iran “isn’t going to happen on my watch”. When asked how he could avoid such a conflict, Fallon reportedly responded, “I have options, you know.” Lang said he interpreted that comment as implying Fallon would step down rather than follow orders to carry out such an attack.

As Inter Press Service (IPS) reported last May, Fallon was also quoted as saying privately at that time, “There are several of us trying to put the crazies back in the box.” That was an apparent reference to the opposition by the Joint Chiefs of Staff to an aggressive war against Iran.

Even before assuming his new post at CENTCOM, Fallon expressed strong opposition in mid-February to a proposal for sending a third US aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf, to overlap with two other carriers, according to knowledgeable sources. The addition of a third carrier was to be part of a broader strategy then being discussed at the Pentagon to intimidate Iran by making a series of military moves suggesting preparations for a military strike. The plan for a third carrier task force in the Gulf was dropped after Fallon made his views known.

Fallon reportedly made his opposition to a strike against Iran known to the White House early on in his tenure, and his role as CENTCOM commander would have made it very difficult for the Bush administration to carry out a strike against Iran, because he controlled all ground, air and naval military access to the region.

But Fallon’s role in regional diplomacy proved to be an even greater source of friction with the White House than his position on military policy toward Iran. Personal relations with military and political leaders in the Middle East had already become nearly as important as military planning under Fallon’s predecessors at CENTCOM.

Fallon clearly relished his diplomatic role and did not hesitate to express views on diplomacy that were at odds with those of the administration. Last summer, as Cheney was maneuvering within the administration to shift US policy toward an attack on bases in Iran allegedly connected to anti-US Shi’ite forces in Iraq, Fallon declared in an interview, “We have to figure out a way to come to an arrangement [with Iran].”

When Sunni Arab regimes in the Middle East became alarmed about the possibility of a US war with Iran, Fallon made statements on three occasions in September and November ruling out a US attack on Iran. Those statements contradicted the Bush administration’s policy of keeping the military option “on the table” and soured relations with the White House.

Fallon also antagonized administration officials by pushing for a faster exit from Iraq than the White House and Petraeus wanted. Fallon had a highly-publicized personal and policy clash with Petraeus, for whom he reportedly expressed a visceral dislike. Sources familiar with reports of his meetings with Petraeus in Baghdad last March told IPS last spring that he called him an “ass-kissing little chickenshit” in their first meeting.

Fallon later denied that he had used such language, suggesting to Esquire that the sources of the report were probably army officers who were indulging in inter-service rivalry with the navy. In fact, however, the sources of the report were supporters of Fallon.

Fallon’s quarrel with Petraeus was also related to the latter’s insistence on keeping US troops in Iraq, even while the North Atlantic Treaty Organization position in Afghanistan was growing more tenuous. Fallon was strongly committed to a strategy that gave priority to Afghanistan and Pakistan as the central security challenges to the United States in the Middle East and Asia.

Fallon made his distaste for a long war in Iraq very clear from the beginning. He ordered subordinates to stop using the term “long war”, which had been favored by the Bush administration. He was reported to be concerned that the concept would alienate people across the Middle East by suggesting a US intention to maintain troops indefinitely in Muslim countries.

Fallon’s policy positions made him unpopular among neo-conservative supporters of the administration. One neo-conservative pundit, military specialist Max Boot, criticized Fallon last November for his public comment ruling out a strike against Iran and then suggested in January that Petraeus should replace the “unimpressive” Fallon at CENTCOM.

Fallon was playing a complex political game at CENTCOM by crossing the White House on the two most politically sensitive issues in Middle East policy. As a veteran bureaucratic infighter, he knew that he was politically vulnerable. Nevertheless, he chose late last year not to lower his profile but to raise it by cooperating fully with the Esquire article.

IPS has learned that Fallon agreed to sit for celebrity photographer Peter Yang at CENTCOM headquarters in Tampa on December 26 for the Esquire spread, despite the near-certainty that it would exacerbate his relations with the White House. That may have been a signal that he already knew that he would not be able to continue to play the game much longer and was ready to bring his stormy tenure at CENTCOM to an end.

Gareth Porter is an historian and national security policy analyst. The paperback edition of his latest book, Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam, was published in 2006.

The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: crgeditor@yahoo.com

www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com
© Copyright Gareth Porter, IPS, 2008
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8324

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NBC Makes Mockery of US Constitution & Rule of Law (video)

Disagreements by Top Military Brass regarding Bush-Cheney War Plans by Michel Chossudovsky

Threat of Iran War More Real: End the World for What? By Liam Bailey

New UN Sanctions Make US-Iran War More Likely

‘Fox’ Fallon Fired – And we’re f*cked… By Justin Raimondo

Why Fallon’s Resignation is Frightening (video)

Fears of strike on Iran rise as Admiral Fallon quits by Chris Stephen

6 Signs the U.S. May Be Headed for War in Iran by Terry Atlas

Roubini’s Nightmare Scenario; A Vicious Circle Ending In A Systemic Financial Meltdown By Mike Whitney

Dandelion Salad

By Mike Whitney
03/13/08 “ICH

“It’s another round of the credit crisis. Some markets are getting worse than January this time. There is fear that something dramatic will happen and that fear is feeding itself.”

— Jesper Fischer-Nielsen, interest rate strategist at Danske Bank, Copenhagen; Reuters

Yesterday’s action by the Federal Reserve proves that the banking system is insolvent and the US economy is at the brink of collapse. It also shows that the Fed is willing to intervene directly in the stock market if it keeps equities propped up. This is clearly a violation of its mandate and runs contrary to the basic tenets of a free market. Investors who shorted the market yesterday, got clobbered by the not so invisible hand of the Fed chief.

In his prepared statement, Bernanke announced that the Fed would add $200 billion to the financial system to shore up banks that have been battered by mortgage-related losses. The news was greeted with jubilation on Wall Street where traders sent stocks skyrocketing by 416 points, their biggest one-day gain in five years.

“It’s like they’re putting jumper cables onto a battery to kick-start the credit market,” said Nick Raich, a manager at National City Private Client Group in Cleveland. “They’re doing their best to try to restore confidence.”

“Confidence”? Is that what it’s called when the system is bailed out by Sugar-daddy Bernanke?

To understand the real meaning behind the Fed’s action; it’s worth considering some of the stories which popped up in the business news just days earlier. For example, last Friday, the International Herald Tribune reported:

“Tight money markets, tumbling stocks and the dollar are expected to heighten worries for investors this week as pressure mounts on central banks facing what looks like the “third wave” of a global credit crisis….Money markets tightened to levels not seen since December, when year-end funding problems pushed lending costs higher across the board.”

The Herald Tribune said that troubles in the credit markets had pushed the stock market down more than 3 percent in a week and that the same conditions which preceded the last two crises (in August and December) were back stronger than ever. In other words, liquidity was vanishing from the system and the market was headed for a crash.

A report in Reuters reiterated the same ominous prediction of a “third wave” saying:

“The two-year U.S. Treasury yields hit a 4-year low below 1.5 percent as investors flocked to safe-haven government bonds….The cost of corporate bond insurance hit record highs on Friday and parts of the debt market which had previously escaped the turmoil are also getting hit.”

Risk premiums were soaring and investors were fleeing stocks and bonds for the safety of government Treasuries; another sure sign that liquidity was disappearing.

Reuters:

“The level of financial stress is … likely to continue to fuel speculation of more immediate central bank action either in the form of increased liquidity injections or an early rate cut,” Goldman Sachs said in a note to clients.”

Indeed. When there’s a funding-freeze by lenders, investors hit the exits as fast as their feet will carry them. That’s why the lights started blinking red at the Federal Reserve and Bernanke concocted a plan to add $200 billion to the listing banking system.

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman also referred to a “third wave” in his article “The Face-Slap Theory”. According to Krugman, “The Fed has been cutting the interest rate it controls – the so-called Fed funds rate – (but) the rates that matter most directly to the economy, including rates on mortgages and corporate bonds, have been rising. And that’s sure to worsen the economic downturn.”…(Now) “the banks and other market players who took on too much risk are all trying to get out of unsafe investments at the same time, causing significant collateral damage to market functioning.” What the Times’ columnist is describing is a run on the financial system and the onset of “a full-fledged financial panic.”

The point is, Bernanke’s latest scheme is not a remedy for the trillion dollar unwinding of bad bets. It is merely a quick-fix to avoid a bloody stock market crash brought on by prevailing conditions in the credit markets.

Bernanke coordinated the action with the other members of the global banking cartel—The Bank of Canada, the Bank of England, the European Central Bank, the Federal Reserve, and the Swiss National Bank—and cobbled together the new Term Securities Lending Facility (TSLF), which “will lend up to $200 billion of Treasury securities to primary dealers secured for a term of 28 days (rather than overnight, as in the existing program) by a pledge of other securities, including federal agency debt, federal agency residential-mortgage-backed securities (MBS), and non-agency AAA/Aaa-rated private-label residential MBS. The TSLF is intended to promote liquidity in the financing markets for Treasury and other collateral and thus to foster the functioning of financial markets more generally.” (Fed statement)

The plan, of course, is wildly inflationary and will put additional downward pressure on the anemic dollar. No matter. All of the Fed’s tools are implicitly inflationary anyway, but they’ll all be put to use before the current crisis is over.

The Fed’s statement continues: “The Federal Open Market Committee has authorized increases in its existing temporary reciprocal currency arrangements (swap lines) with the European Central Bank (ECB) and the Swiss National Bank (SNB). These arrangements will now provide dollars in amounts of up to $30 billion and $6 billion to the ECB and the SNB, respectively, representing increases of $10 billion and $2 billion. The FOMC extended the term of these swap lines through September 30, 2008.”

So, why is the Fed issuing loans to foreign banks? Isn’t that a tacit admission of its guilt in the trillion dollar subprime swindle? Or is it simply a way of warding off litigation from angry foreign investors who know they were cheated with worthless toxic bonds? In any event, the Fed’s largess proves that the G-10 operates as de facto cartel determining monetary policy for much of the world. (The G-10 represents roughly 85% of global GDP)

As for Bernanke’s Term Securities Lending Facility (TSLF) it is intentionally designed to circumvent the Fed’s mandate to only take top-grade collateral in exchange for loans. No one believes that these triple A mortgage-backed securities are worth more than $.70 on the dollar. In fact, according to a report in Bloomberg News yesterday: “AAA debt fell as low as 61 cents on the dollar after record home foreclosures and a decline to AA may push the value of the debt to 26 cents, according to Credit Suisse Group.

“The fact that they’ve kept those ratings where they are is laughable,” said Kyle Bass, chief executive officer of Hayman Capital Partners, a Dallas-based hedge fund that made $500 million last year betting lower-rated subprime-mortgage bonds would decline in value. “Downgrades of AAA and AA bonds are imminent, and they’re going to be significant.” Bass estimates most of AAA subprime bonds in the ABX indexes will be cut by an average of six or seven levels within six weeks.” (Bloomberg News) The Fed is accepting these garbage bonds at nearly full-value. Another gift from Santa Bernanke.

Additionally, the Fed is offering 28 day repos which –if this auction works like the Fed’s other facility, the TAF—the loans can be rolled over free of charge for another 28 days. Yippee. The Fed found a way to recapitalize the banks with permanent rotating loans and the public is none the wiser. The capital-starved banksters at Citi and Merrill must feel like they just won the lottery. Unfortunately, Bernanke’s move effectively nationalizes the banks and makes them entirely dependent on the Fed’s fickle generosity.

The New York Times Floyd Norris sums up Bernanke’s efforts like this:

“The Fed’s moves today and last Friday are a direct effort to counter a loss of liquidity in mortgage-backed securities, including those backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Given the implied government guarantee of Freddie and Fannie, rising yields in their paper served as a warning sign that the crunch was worsening and investor confidence was waning. On Oct. 30, the day before the Fed cut the Fed funds rate from 4.75 percent to 4.5 percent, the yield on Fannie Mae securities was 5.75 percent. Today the Fed Funds rate is 3 percent, and the Fannie Mae rate is 5.71 percent, virtually the same as in October…..A sign of the Fed’s success, or lack of same, will be visible in that rate. It needs to come down sharply, in line with Treasury bond rates. Today, the rate was up for most of the day, but it did fall back at the end of the day. Watch that rate for the rest of the week to see indications of whether the Fed’s move is really working to restore confidence.”

Norris is right; it all depends on whether rates go down and whether that will rev-up the moribund housing market again. Of course, that is predicated on the false assumption that consumers are too stupid to know that housing is in its biggest decline since the Great Depression. This is just another slight miscalculation by the blinkered Fed. Housing will not be resuscitated anytime in the near future, no matter what the conditions; and you can bet on that. The last time Bernanke cut interest rates by 75 basis points mortgage rates on the 30-year fixed actually went up a full percentage point. This had a negative affect on refinancing as well as new home purchases. The cuts were a total bust in terms of home sales.

Still, equities traders love Bernanke’s antics and, for the next 24 hours or so, he’ll be praised for acting decisively. But as more people reflect on this latest manuver, they’ll see it for what it really is; a sign of panic. Even more worrisome is the fact that Bernanke is quickly using every arrow in his quiver. Despite the mistaken belief that the Fed can print money whenever it chooses; there are balance sheets constraints; the Fed’s largess is finite. According to MarketWatch:

“Counting the currency swaps with the foreign central banks, the Fed has now committed more than half of its combined securities and loan portfolio of $832 billion, Lou Crandall, chief economist for Wrightson ICAP noted. ‘The Fed won’t have run completely out of ammunition after these operations, but it is reaching deeper into its balance sheet than before.”

Steve Waldman at interfluidity draws the same conclusion in his latest post:

“After the FAF expansion, repo program, and TSLF, the Fed will have between $300B and $400B in remaining sterilization capacity, unless it issues bonds directly.” (Calculated Risk)

So, Bernanke is running short of ammo and the housing bust has just begun. That’s bad. As the wave of foreclosures, credit card defaults and commercial real estate bankruptcies continue to mount; Bernanke’s bag o’ tricks will be near empty having frittered most of his capital away on his Beluga-munching buddies at the investment banks.

But that’s only half the story. Bernanke and Co. are already working on a new list of hyper-inflationary remedies once the credit troubles pop up again. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Fed has other economy-busting scams up its sleeve:

“With worsening strains in credit market threatening to deepen and prolong an incipient recession, analysts are speculating that the Federal Reserve may be forced to consider more innovative responses -– perhaps buying mortgage-backed securities directly.

“As credit stresses intensify, the possibility of unconventional policy options by the Fed has gained considerable interest, said Michael Feroli of J.P. Morgan Chase. He said two options are garnering particular attention on Wall Street: Direct Fed lending to financial institutions other than banks and direct Fed purchases of debt of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac or mortgage-backed securities guaranteed by the two shareholder-owned, government-sponsored mortgage companies. (“Rate Cuts may not be Enough”, David Wessel, Wall Street Journal)

Wonderful. So now the Fed is planning to expand its mandate and bail out investment banks, hedge funds, brokerage houses and probably every other brandy-swilling Harvard grad who got caught-short in the subprime mousetrap. Ain’t the “free market” great?

But none of Bernanke’s bailout schemes will succeed. In fact, all he’s doing is destroying the currency by trying to reflate the equity bubble. And how much damage is he inflicting on the dollar? According to Bloomberg, “the risk of losses on US Treasury notes exceeded German bunds for the first time ever amid investor concern the subprime mortgage crisis is sapping government reserves….Support for troubled financial institutions in the U.S. will be perceived as a weakening of U.S. sovereign credit.”

America is going broke and the rest of the world knows it. Bernanke is just speeding the country along the ever-steepening downward trajectory.

Timothy Geithner, President of the New York Fed put it like this:

“The self-reinforcing dynamic within financial markets has intensified the downside risks to growth for an economy that is already confronting a very substantial adjustment in housing and the possibility of a significant rise in household savings. The intensity of the crisis is in part a function of the size of the preceding financial boom, but also of the speed of the deterioration in confidence about the prospects for growth and in some of the basic features of our financial markets. The damage to confidence—confidence in ratings, in valuation tools, in the capacity of investors to evaluate risk—will prolong the process of adjustment in markets. This process carries with it risks to the broader economy.”

Without a hint of irony, Geithner talks about the importance of building confidence on a day when the Fed has deliberately distorted the market by injecting $200 billion in the banking system and sending the flagging stock market into a steroid-induced rapture. Astonishing.

The stock market was headed for a crash this week, but Bernanke managed to swerve off the road and avoid a head-on collision. But nothing has changed. Foreclosures are still soaring, the credit markets are still frozen, and capital is being destroyed at a faster pace than any time in history. The economic situation continues to deteriorate and even unrelated parts of the markets have now been infected with subprime contagion. The massive deleveraging of the banks and hedge funds is beginning to intensify and will continue to accelerate until a bottom is found. That’s a long way off and the road ahead is full of potholes.

“In the United States, a new tipping point will translate into a collapse of the real economy, final socio-economic stage of the serial bursting of the housing and financial bubbles and of the pursuance of the US dollar fall. The collapse of US real economy means the virtual freeze of the American economic machinery: private and public bankruptcies in large numbers, companies and public services closing down massively.” (Statement from The Global Europe Anticipation Bulletin (GEAB)

Is that too gloomy? Then take a look at these eye-popping charts which show the extent of the Fed’s lending operations via the Temporary Auction Facility. The loans have helped to make the insolvent banks look healthy, but at great cost to the country’s economic welfare. http://benbittrolff.blogspot.com/2008/03/really-scary-fed-charts-march.html

The Fed established the TAF in the first place; to put a floor under mortgage-backed securities and other subprime junk so the banks wouldn’t have to try to sell them into an illiquid market at fire-sale prices. But the plan has backfired and now the Fed feels compelled to contribute $200 billion to a losing cause. It’s a waste of time.

UBS puts the banks total losses from the subprime fiasco at $600 billion. If that’s true, (and we expect it is) then the Fed is out of luck because, at some point, Bernanke will have to throw in the towel and let some of the bigger banks fail. And when that happens, the stock market will start lurching downward in 400 and 500 point increments. But what else can be done? Solvency can only be feigned for so long. Eventually, losses have to be accounted for and businesses have to fail. It’s that simple.

So far, the Fed’s actions have had only a marginal affect. The system is grinding to a standstill. The country’s two largest GSEs, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which are presently carrying $4.5 trillion of loans on their books, are teetering towards bankruptcy. Both are gravely under-capitalized and (as a recent article in Barron’s shows) Fannies equity is mostly smoke and mirrors. No wonder investors are shunning their bonds. Additionally, the cost of corporate bond insurance is now higher than anytime in history, which makes funding for business expansion or new projects nearly impossible. The wheels have come of the cart. The debt markets are upside-down, consumer confidence is drooping and, as the Financial Times states, “A palpable sense of crisis pervades global trading floors.” It’s all pretty grim.

The banks are facing a “systemic margin call” which is leaving them capital-depleted and unwilling to lend. Thus, the credit markets are shutting down and there’s a stampede for the exits by the big players. Bernanke’s chances of reversing the trend are nil. The cash-strapped banks are calling in loans from the hedge funds which is causing massive deleveraging. That, in turn, is triggering a disorderly unwind of trillions of dollars of credit default swaps and other leveraged bets. Its a disaster. Economist Nouriel Roubini predicted the whole sequence of events six months before the credit markets seized and the Great Unwind began”. Here’s a sampling of his recent testimony before Congress:

Roubini’s Testimony before Congress:

“There is now a rising probability of a “catastrophic” financial and economic outcome; a vicious circle where a deep recession makes the financial losses more severe and where, in turn, large and growing financial losses and a financial meltdown make the recession even more severe. The Fed is seriously worried about this vicious circle and about the risks of a systemic financial meltdown….Capital reduction, credit contraction, forced liquidation and fire sales of assets at below fundamental prices will ensue leading to a cascading and mounting cycle of losses and further credit contraction. In illiquid market actual market prices are now even lower than the lower fundamental value that they now have given the credit problems in the economy. Market prices include a large illiquidity discount on top of the discount due to the credit and fundamental problems of the underlying assets that are backing the distressed financial assets. Capital losses will lead to margin calls and further reduction of risk taking by a variety of financial institutions that are now forced to mark to market their positions. Such a forced fire sale of assets in illiquid markets will lead to further losses that will further contract credit and trigger further margin calls and disintermediation of credit.

To understand the risks that the financial system is facing today I present the “nightmare” or “catastrophic” scenario that the Fed and financial officials around the world are now worried about. Such a scenario – however extreme – has a rising and significant probability of occurring. Thus, it does not describe a very low probability event but rather an outcome that is quite possible.”

Roubini has been right from the very beginning, and he is right again now. Bernanke can place himself at the water’s edge and lift his hands in defiance, but the tide will come in and wash him out to sea anyway. The market is correcting and nothing is going to stop it.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

see

Watching the Dollar Die By Paul Craig Roberts

Republicans & “Free Market” Zealots Bring Death To America

Ron Paul: Our Empire is Coming Down! (video)

Dennis Kucinich: You Can’t Secure Our Nation With LIES!

Ron Paul on Cavuto: Federal Reserve’s $200 Billion Injection

Plan To Spray Toxic Biological Chemicals Over San Francisco Announced

Dandelion Salad

Use your own judgment on this one as I’m not familiar with this source, but I do trust the site that recommended reading this (CLG).  ~ Lo

by Rami Nagel
http://www.naturalnews.com
Tuesday, March 11, 2008

People of the world, the US Government is planning to poison more than two million people, in California, using an untested biological “pesticide” this summer. The chemical to be sprayed is classified by the EPA as a “pesticide” and the plan is to douse cities with this chemical designed to stick on everything for 90 days or longer. This application is not a one time event, but will continue every 1-3 months for as long as five years. The pesticide to be sprayed is not designed to harm the light brown apple moth’s who it is designed for, but merely to confuse its mating habits. While harmless to moths, the pesticide has been documented to harm humans.

…continued

h/t: CLG
FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

see

Breaking the Nuremberg Code: The US Military’s Human-Testing (videos)

Food, Fuel, & Fascism: Their Election Or Your Life? By Carolyn Baker

Dandelion Salad

By Carolyn Baker
Speaking Truth to Power
Thursday, 13 March 2008

After two years of managing the Truth To Power website and subsequent to many more years of researching domestic and geopolitical events and trends, it is chilling to witness so much of what “prophets” like Mike Ruppert, Matt Savinar, Catherine Austin Fitts, Richard Heinberg, Matt Simmons, Dmitry Orlov, myself, and many others have been forecasting for nearly a decade or longer. We are no longer prophets but truly historians, and yet I take no pleasure in the accuracy of these forecasts or in the fact that our dire predictions are unfolding before our eyes. When I use the word “chilling”, I mean just that, while at the same time, I feel sorrow that so many are yet still so comatose to the reality of the cataclysm that is manifesting around them. While I feel fear and sadness for them, I have no energy now to expend on them. As most readers of this site know, my life is all about preparation and building community in order to navigate the inevitable.

These are the last hours on the deck of the Titanic, and the chamber orchestra is now playing “Nearer My God To Thee” as the ship continues to take on barrels of water per second, and all but one or two lifeboats have been filled to capacity and launched into the open seas of escape from the capsizing horror-and with no guarantees that they will survive. Throngs of the doomed are drowning in the steerage compartments below-those indigent, third-class, “racially impure” masses of humanity that the “first-class”, who helped design the “unsinkable” vessel, kept locked away below the decks of obscene privilege and conspicuous consumption. Some say that economic depressions don’t affect the poor because they are already poor, but I’m certain that a black mother in the projects who can now give her kids only two meals a day will become acutely aware, as will her children, when she can only give them one.

…continued

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

see

Celebrating Un-President’s Day: Why I Will Not Vote For A President In 2008 By Carolyn Baker

Uncounted – The New Math of American Elections (video)

Hacking Democracy (must see videos; 2006)

Naomi Wolf Celebrated Author of “The End of America” (must-see video)

Who cares if Eliot Spitzer hires prostitutes? + The Spitzer Sex Sting: A Few More Questions

Homegrown Revolution: Radical Change Taking Root

Genetically Modified Food – Panacea or poison (must-see video)