just another guy with straw for brains …
Segment #1: This week in free energy
Presenter: Sterling Allan, CEO, founder of New Energy Congress
Estimated Time: 20 minutes
Segment #2: Scarecrow’s News Rant – Congress is exempt from insider trading ? Yup!!!
Presenter: an editorial by SmartScarecrow
Estimated time: 10 minutes
The Congress Insider Trading Scandal Is Outrageous
By Henry Blodget | Daily Ticker – Tue, Nov 15, 2011 7:23 AM EST
You cannot read the description of the personal stock trading allegedly conducted by Rep. Spencer Bachus and other members of Congress during the financial crisis and conclude anything other than the following:
Our government is completely corrupt.
Yes, this behavior may be technically legal, because of an absurd loophole that makes insider-trading rules not apply to Congress.
Yes, this behavior may be widespread on Capitol Hill.
But there is no universe in which a reasonable person would consider this behavior ethical or okay. And for the 300+ million Americans who aren’t members of Congress, it would be just plain illegal
Many members of Congress seem guilty here, including John Kerry, Dick Durbin, and Jim Moran. But Spencer Bachus takes the cake.
According to a new book called Throw Them All Out by Peter Schweizer, as relayed by Dave Weigel at Slate, Rep. Bachus made more than 40 trades in his personal account in the summer and fall of 2008, in the early months of the financial crisis.
The fact that Bachus personally traded on private information he received as a result of his job is bad enough. The fact that he was the ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee at the time is simply outrageous.
In one case, the day after getting a private briefing on the collapsing economy and financial system from Ben Bernanke and Hank Paulson, Rep. Bachus effectively shorted the market (by buying options that would rise if the market tanked.)
A few days later, after the market tanked, Bachus sold his position and nearly doubled his money.
If a corporate executive or Wall Street trader did this–cashed in personally after getting private, non-public information from his work–Rep. Bachus and every other member of Congress would be screaming from the rooftops about how the financial system is deeply corrupt and how the executive should be charged with insider trading.
And they would be right.
Rep. Bachus should return whatever money he made by betting on the direction of the markets (or anything else) in the fall of 2008. He should apologize for his behavior and jaw-dropping lack of judgement. He should urge his fellow members of Congress to immediately enact legislation that defends the fairness of the markets by holding Congress to the same insider trading laws as everyone else. He should then resign in disgrace.
Here’s the passage from Throw Them All Out, as relayed by Slate’s Dave Weigel. According to Weigel, it is only one of many examples of Bachus’s insider trading:
On the evening of September 18, at 7 p.m., Bachus received [a] private briefing for congressional leaders by Hank Paulson and Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Ben Bernanke about the current state of the economy. They sat around a long table in the office of Nancy Pelosi, then the Speaker of the House. These briefings were secretive. Often, cell phones and Blackberrys had to be surrendered outside the room to avoid leaks.
What Bachus and his colleagues heard behind closed doors was stunning. As Paulson recounts, “Ben [Bernanke] emphasized how the financial crisis could spill into the real economy. As stocks dropped perhaps a further 20 percent, General Motors would go bankrupt, and unemployment would rise . . . if we did nothing.” The members of Congress around the table were, in Paulson’s words, “ashen-faced.”
Bernanke continued, “It is a matter of days before there is a meltdown in the global financial system.” Bachus was among those who spoke. According to Paulson, he suggested recapitalizing the banks by buying shares.
The meeting broke up. The next day, September 19, Congressman Bachus bought contract options on Proshares Ultra-Short QQQ, an index fund that seeks results that are 200% of the inverse of the Nasdaq 100 index. In other words, he was shorting the market. It was an inexpensive way to bet that the market would fall. He bought options for $7,846 on a day when the Dow Jones Industrial Average opened at 8,604. A few days later, on September 23, after the market had indeed fallen, he sold the options for over $13,000 and nearly doubled his money.
Stock trading case and conviction
Main article: ImClone stock trading case
According to U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Stewart avoided a loss of $45,673 by selling all 3,928 shares of her ImClone Systems stock on December 27, 2001, after receiving material, nonpublic information from Peter Bacanovic, who was Stewart’s broker at Merrill Lynch. The day following her sale, the stock value fell 16%.
In the months that followed, Stewart drew heavy media scrutiny, including a Newsweek cover headlined “Martha’s Mess”. Notably, on June 25, 2002, CBS anchor Jane Clayson grilled Stewart on the air about ImClone during her regular segment on The Early Show. Stewart continued chopping cabbage and famously quipped, “I just want to focus on my salad”. On October 3, 2002, Stewart resigned her position, held for four months, on the board of directors of the New York Stock Exchange, following a deal prosecutors had made with Douglas Faneuil, an assistant to Bacanovic.
On June 4, 2003, Stewart was indicted by the government on nine counts, including charges of securities fraud and obstruction of justice. Stewart voluntarily stepped down as CEO and Chairwoman of MSLO, but stayed on as chief creative officer. She went on trial in January 2004. Prosecutors showed that Bacanovic had ordered his assistant to tell Stewart that the CEO of ImClone, Samuel D. Waksal, was selling all his shares in advance of an adverse Food and Drug Administration ruling. The FDA action was expected to cause ImClone shares to decline. After a highly publicized five-week jury trial that was the most closely watched of a wave of corporate fraud trials, Stewart was found guilty in March 2004 of conspiracy, obstruction of an agency proceeding, and making false statements to federal investigators, and was sentenced in July 2004 to serve a five month term in a federal correctional facility and a two year period of supervised release (to include five months of electronic monitoring).
Bacanovic and Waksal were also convicted of federal charges and sentenced to prison terms. Stewart also paid a fine of $30,000.
In August 2006, the SEC announced that it had agreed to settle the related civil case against Stewart. Under the settlement, Stewart agreed to disgorge $58,062 (including interest from the losses she avoided), as well as a civil penalty of three times the loss avoided, or $137,019. She also agreed to a five-year ban from serving as a director, CEO, CFO, or any other officer role responsible for preparing, auditing, or disclosing financial results of any public company. In June 2008, the UK Border Agency refused to grant her a visa to enter the United Kingdom because of her criminal conviction for obstructing justice. She had been planning to speak at the Royal Academy on fashion and leisure industry matters.
Federal Prison Camp, Alderson, where Martha Stewart was confined
Stewart wanted to go to prison in Connecticut or Florida. She did not want to serve at Federal Prison Camp, Alderson in West Virginia, due to its remote location; in 2004, her lawyer said that the remoteness would make it difficult for Stewart’s then-90 year old mother to visit. Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum recommended to the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) that Stewart be given her first choice, Federal Correctional Institution, Danbury, or her second choice, Federal Correctional Complex, Coleman. However, a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Justice said that the BOP would not send her to FCI Danbury because the news media could too easily access the facility. The bureau could not send Stewart to FCC Coleman because of complications from Hurricane Ivan; the Coleman complex filled because inmates from Federal Correctional Institution, Marianna were moved to Coleman. Therefore, the Federal Bureau of Prisons assigned Stewart to Alderson. The spokesperson said that he was concerned that the assignment to Alderson could be perceived as being vindictive. Alexis Stewart said that she believed that the BOP “may have made a point of sending her far away”.
Cedarbaum ordered Stewart to report to her prison sentence before 2 pm on October 8, 2004. By September 27, 2004, Stewart received the BOP ID 55170-054. At about 6:15 am on October 8, 2004, she reported to FPC Alderson. Stewart said that her prison nickname was “M. Diddy”. While in confinement, she took a job and became an informal liaison between the administration and her fellow inmates. The People special, Scandals! That Rocked America, stated “Some expected America’s goddess of domestic perfection to fall into terminal despair. Instead, with the drive that would make her a billionaire, Stewart took her lemon of a sentence and made lemonade. Heck, she made a lemon soufflé.” Stewart was released from FPC Alderson at 12:30 am on March 4, 2005. She was then placed in a two year term of supervised release; during five of those months, she was placed in home confinement with electronic monitoring. Stewart served her home confinement at her residence in Bedford, New York. She was allowed to leave her house for 48 hours per week for work-related visits. After her home confinement ended, but while her supervised release continued, she was required to remain employed and required to not associate with people with criminal records. In addition, during the supervised release, she was required to receive permission from federal officials if she was going to leave the jurisdiction of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Segment #3: Feature Presentation – The projects of YouTube user STIVEP1
Presenter: SmartScarecrow & Wesley (aka: stivep1)
Estimated time: 45 minutes
1:33 to 7:15
Segment #4: Audience Q&A Session
Moderator: SmartScarecrow & Wesley (aka: stivep1)
Estimated time: 10 minutes
Segment #1: This week in free energy
Presenter: Sterling Allan, CEO, founder of New Energy Congress
Estimated Time: 20 minutes
Segment #2: Scarecrow’s News Rant – A circular history lesson – 213 years ago today
Presenter: an editorial by SmartScarecrow
Estimated time: 10 minutes
Today we have “The Patriot Act”. 213 years ago, it was called “The Alien and Sedition Act”. History tends to repeat itself. Tonight we examine what Thomas Jefferson and other political thinkers of his day might have thought of our “War against terror” and its resulting abuses of power by the “General Government”.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
November 10th, 1798.
THE House, according to the standing order of the day, resolved itself into a committee of the whole on the state of the commonwealth, Mr. Caldwell in the chair; and after some time spent therein, the Speaker resumed the chair, and Mr. Caldwell reported that the committee had, according to order, had under consideration the Governor’s address, and had come to the following resolutions thereupon, which he delivered in at the clerk’s table, where they were twice read and agreed to by the House.
1. Resolved, That the several states composing the United States of America, are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their general government; but that by compact, under the style and title of a Constitution for the United States, and of amendments thereto, they constituted a general government for special purposes, delegated to that government certain definite powers, reserving, each state to itself the residuary mass of right to their own self-government; and that whensoever the general government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force: That to this compact each state acceded as a state, and is an integral party, its co-states forming as to itself, the other party: That the government created by this compact was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself; since that would have made its discretion, and not the Constitution, the measure of its powers; but that, as in all other cases of compact among parties having no common judge, each party has an equal right to judge for itself, as well of infractions, as of the mode and measure of redress.
2. Resolved, That the Constitution of the United States having delegated to Congress a power to punish treason, counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the United States, piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offences against the laws of nations, and no other crimes whatever, and it being true as a general principle, and one of the amendments to the Constitution having also declared, “that the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people ;” therefore, also, the same act of Congress, passed on the 14th day of July, 1798, and entitled, “an act in addition to the act entitled, an act for the punishment of certain crimes against the United States;” as also the act passed by them on the 27th day of June, 1798, entitled, “an act to punish frauds committed on the Bank of the United States,” (and all other their acts which assume to create, define, or punish crimes other than those enumerated in the Constitution,) are altogether void, and of no force, and that the power to create, define, and punish such other crimes is reserved, and of right appertains, solely and exclusively, to the respective states, each within its own territory.
3. Resolved, That it is true as a general principle, and is also expressly declared by one of the amendments to the Constitution, that ” the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people;” and that no power over the freedom of religion, freedom of speech, or freedom of the press, being delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, all lawful powers respecting the same did of right remain, and were reserved to the states, or to the people ; that thus was manifested their determination to retain to themselves the right of judging how far the licentiousness of speech and of the press may be abridged without lessening their useful freedom, and how far those abuses which cannot be separated from their use, should be tolerated rather than the use be destroyed; and thus also they guarded against all abridgment by the United States of the freedom of religious opinions and exercises, and retained to themselves the right of protecting the same. as this state by a law passed on the general demand of its citizens, had already protected them from all human restraint or interference: and that in addition to this general principle and express declaration, another and more special provision has been made by one of the amendments to the Constitution, which expressly declares, that ” Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press,” thereby guarding in the same sentence, and under the same words, the freedom of religion, of speech, and of the press, insomuch, that whatever violates either, throws down the sanctuary which covers the others, and that libels, falsehoods, and defamations, equally with heresy and false religion, are withheld from the cognizance of federal tribunals: that therefore the act of the Congress of the United States, passed on the 14th day of July, 1798, entitled, “an act in addition to the act for the punishment of certain crimes against the United States,” which does abridge the freedom of the press, is not law, but is altogether void and of no effect.
4. Resolved, That alien-friends are under the jurisdiction and protection of the laws of the state wherein they are; that no power over them has been delegated to the United States, nor prohibited to the individual states distinct from their power over citizens; and it being true as a general principle, and one of the amendments to the Constitution having also declared, that “the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people,” the act of the Congress of the United States, passed on the 22d day of June, 1798, entitled “an act concerning aliens,” which assumes power over alien-friends not delegated by the Constitution, is not law, but is altogether void and of no force.
5. Resolved, That in addition to the general principle as well as the express declaration, that powers not delegated are reserved, another and more special provision inserted in the Constitution, from abundant caution, has declared, “that the migration or importation of such persons as any of the states now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the year 1808:” that this commonwealth does admit the migration of alien-friends described as the subject of the said act concerning aliens; that a provision against prohibiting their migration, is a provision against all acts equivalent thereto, or it would be nugatory; that to remove them when migrated, is equivalent to a prohibition of their migration, and is therefore contrary to the said provision of the Constitution, and void.
6. Resolved, That the imprisonment of a person under the protection of the laws of this commonwealth, on his failure to obey the simple order of the President, to depart out of the United States, as is undertaken by the said act, entitled “an act concerning aliens,” is contrary to the Constitution, one amendment to which has provided, that “no person shall be deprived of liberty without due process of law,” and that another having provided, “that in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a public trial by an impartial jury, to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation, to be confronted with the witnesses against him, to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favour, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defence,” the same act undertaking to authorize the President to remove a person out of the United States, who is under the protection of the law, on his own suspicion, without accusation, without jury, without public trial, without confrontation of the witnesses against him, without having witnesses in his favour, without defence, without counsel, is contrary to these provisions, also, of the Constitution, is therefore not law, but utterly void and of no force.
That transferring the power of judging any person who is under the protection of the laws, from the courts to the President of the United States, as is undertaken by the same act, concerning aliens, is against the article of the Constitution which provides, that “the judicial power of the United States shall be vested in courts, the judges of which shall hold their offices during good behaviour,” and that the said act is void for that reason also; and it is further to be noted, that this transfer of judiciary power is to that magistrate of the General Government, who already possesses all the executive, and a qualified negative in all the legislative powers.
7. Resolved, That the construction applied by the General Government, (as is evinced by sundry of their proceedings,) to those parts of the Constitution of the United States which delegates to Congress a power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises; to pay the debts, and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States, and to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the powers vested by the Constitution in the Government of the United States, or any department thereof, goes to the destruction of all the limits prescribed to their power by the Constitution: that words meant by that instrument to be subsidiary only to the execution of the limited powers, ought not to be so construed as themselves to give unlimited powers, nor a part so to be taken, as to destroy the whole residue of the instrument: that the proceedings of the General Government under colour of these articles, will be a fit and necessary subject for revisal and correction at a time of greater tranquillity, while those specified in the preceding resolutions call for immediate redress.
8. Resolved, That the preceding resolutions be transmitted to the senators and representatives in Congress from this commonwealth, who are hereby enjoined to present the same to their respective houses, and to use their best endeavours to procure, at the next session of Congress, a repeal of the aforesaid unconstitutional and obnoxious acts.
9. Resolved, lastly, That the Governor of this commonwealth be, and is hereby authorized and requested to communicate the preceding resolutions to the legislatures of the several states, to assure them that this commonwealth considers union for specified national purposes, and particularly for those specified in their late federal compact, to be friendly to the peace, happiness, and prosperity of all the states: that, faithful to that compact, according to the plain intent and meaning in which it was understood and acceded to by the several parties, it is sincerely anxious for its preservation : that it does also believe, that to take from the states all the powers of self-government, and transfer them to a general and consolidated government, without regard to the special obligations and reservations solemnly agreed to in that compact, is not for the peace, happiness or prosperity of these states: and that therefore, this commonwealth is determined, as it doubts not its co-states are, tamely to submit to undelegated and consequently unlimited powers in no man or body of men on earth: that if the acts before specified should stand, these conclusions would flow from them; that the general government may place any act they think proper on the list of crimes, and punish it themselves, whether enumerated or not enumerated by the Constitution, as cognizable by them; that they may transfer its cognizance to the President or any other person, who may himself be the accuser, counsel, judge and jury, whose suspicions may be the evidence, his order the sentence, his officer the executioner, and his breast the sole record of the transaction; that a very numerous and valuable description of the inhabitants of these states being, by this precedent, reduced as outlaws to the absolute dominion of one man, and the barrier of the Constitution thus swept away from us all, no rampart now remains against the passions and the power of a majority of Congress, to protect from a like exportation or other more grievous punishment the minority of the same body, the legislatures, judges, governors, and counsellors of the states, nor their other peaceable inhabitants who may venture to reclaim the constitutional rights and liberties of the states and people, or who, for other causes, good or bad, may be obnoxious to the views, or marked by the suspicions of the President, or be thought dangerous to his or their elections, or other interests public or personal: that the friendless alien has indeed been selected as the safest subject of a first experiment; but the citizen will soon follow, or rather has already followed; for, already has a sedition-act marked him as its prey: that these and successive acts of the same character, unless arrested on the threshold, may tend to drive these states into revolution and blood, and will furnish new calumnies against republican governments, and new pretexts for those who wish it to be believed, that man cannot be governed but by a rod of iron: that it would be a dangerous delusion, were a confidence in the men of our choice, to silence our fears for the safety of our rights: that confidence is everywhere the parent of despotism; free government is founded in jealousy, and not in confidence; it is jealousy and not confidence which prescribes limited constitutions to bind down those whom we are obliged to trust with power: that our Constitution has accordingly fixed the limits to which and no further our confidence may go; and let the honest advocate of confidence read the alien and sedition-acts, and say if the Constitution has not been wise in fixing limits to the government it created, and whether we should be wise in destroying those limits? Let him say what the government is if it be not a tyranny, which the men of our choice have conferred on the President, and the President of our choice has assented to and accepted, over the friendly strangers, to whom the mild spirit of our country and its laws had pledged hospitality and protection: that the men of our choice have more respected the bare suspicions of the President, than the solid rights of innocence, the claims of justification, the sacred force of truth, and the forms and substance of law and justice. In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief, by the chains of the Constitution. That this commonwealth does, therefore, call on its co-states for an expression of their sentiments on the acts concerning aliens, and for the punishment of certain crimes herein before specified, plainly declaring whether these acts are or are not authorized by the Federal compact. And it doubts not that their sense will be so announced, as to prove their attachment unaltered to limited government, whether general or particular, and that the rights and liberties of their co-states, will be exposed to no dangers by remaining embarked on a common bottom with their own: That they will concur with this commonwealth in considering the said acts as so palpably against the Constitution, as to amount to an undisguised declaration, that the compact is not meant to be the measure of the powers of the general government, but that it will proceed in the exercise over these states of all powers whatsoever: That they will view this as seizing the rights of the states, and consolidating them in the hands of the general government with a power assumed to bind the states, (not merely in cases made federal,) but in all cases whatsoever, by laws made, not with their consent, but by others against their consent: That this would be to surrender the form of government we have chosen, and to live under one deriving its powers from its own will, and not from our authority; and that the co-states, recurring to their natural right in cases not made federal, will concur in declaring these acts void and of no force and will each unite with this commonwealth, in requesting their repeal at the next session of Congress.
EDMUND BULLOCK, S. H. R.
JOHN CAMPBELL, S. S. P. T.
Passed the House of Representatives, Nov. 10th, 1798.
Attest, THOMAS TODD, C. H. R.
In Senate, November 13th, 1798, unanimously concurred in.
Attest, B. THRUSTON, Clk. Sen.
Approved November 16th, 1798. JAMES GARRARD, G. K.
By the Governor. HARRY TOULMIN,
Secretary of State.
As a sidebar, an election update
Rick Perry wounds self mortally and may be out of the running after his really poor performance in the Republican Party debates on 11/9/2011.
CNBC polls America! “Who won the debate?” … duh … poll pulled when it is clear that Ron Paul was runaway victor! Instead of the raw numbers, they have substituted talking heads discussing “until someone addresses Romney”. Bottom line, more of what we have grown to expect.
Yet another sidebar, fog of war forming over Iran
Weapons of Mass Destruction revisited – its deja vu all over again!
Iran: WMDs Redux
by Stephen Lendman
Here we go again. Everything that goes around, comes around. We’ve seen it all before, each time fake. Nothing’s different now.
Previous articles said US intelligence assessments through March 2011 found no evidence of Iranian nuclear weapons development.
During his December 1, 1997 – November 30, 2009 tenure as IAEA director general, Mohamed ElBaradei concurred. He carefully avoided anti-Iranian rhetoric and baseless charges.
After his departure, agency policy changed. IAEA was established as an intergovernmental scientific and technical cooperation forum. It was also to insure safe, peaceful nuclear technology applications. Initially independent, it now reports to the General Assembly and Security Council.
Current head, Yukiya Amano, politicized IAEA policy for Western interests, mainly Washington’s. Doing so plays with fire, given nuclear technology stakes.
Lies launch all wars, including America’s post-WW II. Israel’s also.
Bogusly accusing Iran of developing nuclear weapons refutes known evidence claiming otherwise.
Washington enlisted Yamano to lie. He didn’t disappoint. Ahead of his report’s release, he visited Washington for instructions. Exposing his duplicity is vital.
War must be prevented at all costs. Hopefully world leaders won’t tolerate it.
On November 8, former Pentagon official Michael Maloof told Press TV:
“There are some very serious questions (about Yamano’s) study. It’s obviously a basis for creating an atmosphere for launching an attack on Iran.”
“My sources tell me here in Washington that they monitor Israeli activities, and they see (things happening) unabated. There are preparations for cancellation of civilian leave, not only these tests, but also fueling and arming missiles. It’s building up to a crescendo!”
“I have not seen, and no one has convinced me, that Iran is going beyond just enriching uranium for the purpose of medical and other (nonmilitary) purposes.”
“I’m really concerned that some accident is going to create another hostility.”
He worries most about Israeli recklessness, regardless of whether Washington approves. Whether war winds target Iran isn’t known. Only the fullness of time will tell.
Iraq – the Last Deception
Robert Abele discussed it in his book titled, “Anatomy of a Deception: A Reconstruction and Analysis of the Decision to Invade Iraq.”
Reconstructing public dialogue, he explained events ahead of bombing, invading and occupying Iraq. No casus belli existed. Inventing one followed. Alleged evidence was fabricated. The cradle of civilization was destroyed.
Abele discussed manipulating public opinion four ways relating to:
Washington’s imperial ambitions;
major media support, cheerleading US wars;
public ignorance, lack of critical thinking, and indifference; and
violations of international law and ethical principles.
All wars follow similar patterns based on lies, misinformation and deception, including World Wars I and II.
Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber’s book, titled “Weapons of Mass Deception: The Uses of Propaganda in Bush’s War on Iraq” covered similar ground, including how professional PR strategies, euphemisms, and jargon manipulate public thinking.
When evidence doesn’t exist, it’s invented. Later when discovered untrue, it’s too late. People are persuaded to think wars make them safer. They never did and don’t now. Wars beget more of them, benefitting profiteers and duplicitous politicians only.
James Bamford’s book titled, “A Pretext for War: 9/11, Iraq, and the Abuse of America’s Intelligence Agencies” discussed destruction, detection and deception in three parts.
Part three covered manipulative Washington and Israeli duplicity used to justify attacking Iraq, oust Saddam, install a pro-US puppet regime, benefit Israel by removing a rival, and change the Middle East map.
September 11, the war on terror, WMDs, mushroom shaped cloud hysteria, manipulated intelligence, the Al Qaeda connection, and more hyped nonexistent threats to generate fear and enlist public support.
Patterns repeat in all wars. Only aggressors, targets, and language change. Aims and tactics are consistent. Death, destruction and human misery follow.
Definition of WMDs
Weapons of mass destructions (WMDs) include chemical, biological and radiological devices capable of causing widespread death and destruction.
Wikipedia defines them as weapons able to “kill and bring significant harm to a large number of humans (and other life forms) and/or cause great damage to man-made structures (e.g. buildings), natural structures (e.g. mountains), or the biosphere in general.”
“The scope and application of the term has evolved and been disputed, often signifying more politically than technically.”
WMDs – Pretext for Attacking Iraq
Iraq had no nuclear weapons. After Operation Desert Storm, UNSCOM inspectors destroyed its chemical and biological ones. In June 1999, chief weapons inspector Scott Ritter told an interviewer:
“When you ask the question, ‘Does Iraq possess militarily viable biological or chemical weapons?’ the answer is no! It is a resounding NO.”
“Can Iraq produce today chemical weapons on a meaningful scale? No! Can Iraq produce biological weapons on a meaningful scale? No! Ballistic missiles? No! It has ‘no’ access across the board.”
“So from a qualitative standpoint, Iraq has been disarmed. Iraq today possesses no meaningful weapons of mass destruction capability.”
Nonetheless, Bush administration officials, Ahmed Chalabi, other duplicitous Iraqis, fake intelligence sources, paid-to-lie experts, PR manipulators, and media scoundrels like New York Times writer Judith Miller falsely claimed Saddam maintained covert WMD stockpiles.
Britain’s Dodgy Dossier cooked the books to fit Bush administration policy to attack, invade and occupy Iraq without cause, using fake intelligence.
Later evidence confirmed no WMD threat when it was too late to matter. Pre-war claims were false. Mushroom shaped cloud threats were bogus. Mobile biological weapons production was nonexistent.
Documents alleging Saddam bought Niger yellowcake uranium power were forged. He used aluminum tubes for artillery shells, not nuclear weapons. No evidence proved uranium centrifuge designs, development or production.
Nonetheless, lies justified lawless aggression against a nonbelligerent country posing no threat. Neither was Afghanistan, Libya, other post-WW II targets, and Iran.
Iran hasn’t attacked another country in over 200 years. It’s been targeted numerous times. America today covets its oil and gas resources. It wants its current regime replaced by another it controls. Bogusly calling Iran an existential threat, Israel wants a regional rival eliminated.
Whether or not war’s planned isn’t known. Discounting it ignores a threat too serious to ignore. Haaretz military affairs writer Amos Harel believes sanctions, not conflict, is likely, saying:
“The vast majority of the information in (IAEA’s) report has been in the hands of Western intelligence agencies for a relatively long time.”
America’s National Intelligence Estimate refuted claims about an alleged nuclear weapons program and Iranian threat. Stiffer sanctions, not war, may follow Amano’s report, Harel believes. Israel wants them to be “paralyzing, delivering a deadly blow to the Iranian banking system as well as to the country’s oil industry.”
Whether China, Russia and other nations will agree is doubtful. Washington pressure may impose them anyway.
National Journal writer Marc Ambinder headlined, “White House: IAEA Report Doesn’t Change Assessment of Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions,” saying:
An unnamed senior administration official told reporters on a conference call that:
“The IAEA does not assert that Iran has resumed a full scale nuclear weapons program nor does it have a program about how advanced the programs really are.”
IAEA, however, claims Iran carried “out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear device” with no evidence proving it.
The Washington Post headlined, “Obama administration readies new Iran sanctions in light of UN report on Tehran’s nuclear aims,” saying:
IAEA’s report wasn’t “a game-changer.” Nonetheless, unilateral sanctions and others with international partners are planned. Efforts to isolate Iran and harm its economy will intensify. War perhaps will follow.
On and off threats persisted for years. Current rhetoric is more shrill than earlier. Whether or not replicating Libya is planned isn’t known. Iran represents a much greater prize.
In 2010, it had the world’s third largest proved oil reserves after Saudi Arabia and Canada. Libya has less than a third as much. After Russia, Iran has the second largest gas reserves. Washington covets control to deny enemies and rivals free access.
On Russia Today (RT.com), former CIA officer Philip Giraldi discounted IAEA’s report, saying:
“I would be very skeptical about this report that is coming out of the International Atomic Energy because the IAEA doesn’t really have any intelligence capabilities of its own. It is relying on reports that are coming from other people. I would rather suspect these reports are coming from the US and Israel.”
“You may have a piece of evidence of some kind, but that piece of evidence is subject to your interpretation. When they saw aerial photographs in Iraq showing certain things, they interpreted those photographs to mean something which was not correct.”
Iran Answers Critical Questions
Press TV said Iran’s IAEA envoy Ali-Asghar Soltanieh offered Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) members “critical information about Iran’s nuclear program” to cool current hysteria following Amano’s report.
Attending an extraordinary NAM session, he answered “20 critical questions” and related issues.
Question 1: After 4,000 inspection days, has IAEA detected “even one gram of uranium being diverted for military purposes?”
Question 2: Has IAEA found any nuclear activities and materials used for military activities?
Question 3: “Was Iran ethically obliged to declare Natanz enrichment facility before 2003?”
No, given nothing introduced there until 2003!
Question 4: “Was Iran legally obliged to declare” Arak’s (IR40) heavy water research reactor before 2003?
Question 5: Under the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement to report Arak’s heavy water production before 2003, was Iran obliged to do so for the IAEA?
Question 6: Was Iran legally obliged until 2003 “to declare uranium conversion Facilities (UDF)?”
Question 7: Was Iran legally obliged “to declare uranium mines including Gachin and Saghand….?”
Question 8: Did IAEA inspections detect any nuclear material or activity used as part of a nuclear weapons program?
Question 9: Did IAEA’s Action Plan announce “no other issue in addition to what was listed in 2007?”
Question 10: Was IAEA obliged to submit “Alleged Studies” documents to Iran?
Question 11: Did IAEA fulfill its obligations regarding submitting alleged evidence?
Question 12: Did IAEA confirm its “Alleged Studies” authenticity?
Question 13: What was Iran’s INFOSIRC/711 obligation?
Per Paragraph III, it was to study the document and report its evaluation to IAEA.
Question 14: Was Iran obliged to hold meetings, interviews or allow sampling regarding the “Alleged Studies?”
Question 15: Did Iran implement the Additional Protocol?
Question 16: Did Iran implement the Subsidiary Arrangement of the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement Modified Code 3.1?
Question 17: When and why did Iran halt its voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol and Modified Code 3.1?
Voluntary implementation stopped after two and a half years because Iran’s technical nuclear case was unfairly referred to the Security Council in 2006.
Question 18: Have all Iranian nuclear materials been measured and remain supervised to assure safe, peaceful operations?
Question 19: Did Iran cooperate with unannounced inspections?
Yes, including on two hours notice!
Question 20: “Why does Iran deem” the Board of Governors and Security Council illegal?
Because its legal nuclear program was politicized. Hostile countries manipulated the IAEA, turning the agency into a US-dominated Security Council watchdog to deprive Iran and other developing countries “of their ‘absolute right’ to use peaceful nuclear energy as stipulated in the IAEA Statute.”
Other relevant questions include why nuclear programs of other countries aren’t as closely scrutinized as Iran’s?
Why aren’t nuclear armed and dangerous nations like America and Israel inspected?
Why haven’t nuclear armed Israel, India and Pakistan been sanctioned for not signing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty?
Why wasn’t Iran given credit for signing and abiding by its provisions?
Why does IAEA let America, Israel and other Western allies bully Iran unfairly?
Why does IAEA under Amano do it?
Why isn’t Iran’s peaceful nuclear program accepted as fact when no evidence suggests otherwise?
Why are secret US and Israeli nuclear weapons development, production, and testing unmentioned and unmonitored?
Why doesn’t IAEA fulfill its peaceful nuclear energy use mandate unpoliticized?
Under Amano, it’s a Washington controlled tool. As a result, Iran’s unfairly targeted while real nuclear outlaws freely terrorize other nations lawlessly!
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com.
Also visit his blog site at http://sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.
Segment #3: Feature Presentation – ZeroFossilFuel discusses lessons learned after 9 days without electricity
Presenter: SmartScarecrow & ZeroFossilFuel
Estimated time: 45 minutes
We hope to have ZeroFossilFuel on tonight to discuss with us the lessons learned after spending 9 days without electricity. We hope this works out, but you should be aware that Zero is on call and we could be forced into a last minute change of plans if he gets called away.
Segment #4: Audience Q&A Session
Moderator: SmartScarecrow & ZeroFossilFuel
Estimated time: 10 minutes
For the next 24 hours, I will be broadcasting two documentary films on my Justin TV channel located at http://justin.tv/smartscarecrow …
The first is called The Light Bulb Conspiracy which discusses the transition of our consumer economy to planned obsolescence.
The second is called The Calling which discusses trends in the changing consciousness of human beings.
These films are somewhat controversial and are not often seen. While I do not endorse the material presented, the films are thought provoking and are intended to get you thinking about things you may not have considered previously.
Segment #1: This week in free energy
Presenter: Sterling Allan, CEO, founder of New Energy Congress
Estimated Time: 20 minutes
Segment #2: Scarecrow’s News Rant – MF Global, another Lehman Brothers moment?
Presenter: an editorial by SmartScarecrow
Estimated time: 10 minutes
Notice regarding CME, NYMEX and ICE Action
Due to MF Global Holdings Ltd. and its finance subsidiary, MF Global Finance USA Inc., filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Petition, the CME Group, NYMEX and ICE are accepting “liquidation only” orders from MF Global clients, and have restricted electronic access to their markets.
This means that you may place offsetting orders for current open positions at MF Global, but may not place any new orders. Performance of your trades is guaranteed by exchange clearinghouses.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MF Global Holdings Ltd. Announces Filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Petition
NEW YORK, Oct 31, 2011 — MF Global Holdings Ltd. and its finance subsidiary, MF Global Finance USA Inc., announced today a filing under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code with the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.
The Board of Directors of both entities authorized the filing of the Chapter 11 petition in order to protect their assets.
MF Global (OTC Markets Group: MFGLQ), formerly known as Man Financial, was a major global financial derivatives broker. MF Global provided exchange-traded derivatives, such as futures and options as well as over-the-counter products such as contracts for difference (CFDs), foreign exchange and spread betting. MF Global was also a primary dealer in United States Treasury securities. The company filed for bankruptcy protection on 31 October 2011, with the brokerage unit to be liquidated after liquidity problems arising from investments in European sovereign bonds.
MF Global was the brokerage segment of Man Group until 2007, when the business decided to split the investment and brokerage businesses so they could each focus on their own markets. An IPO was done for the brokerage business which was renamed MF Global to distinguish it from the investment business which remained as Man Group. The company was registered in Bermuda, but subsequently moved its registration and headquarters to the United States.
MF Global traces its roots to the sugar trading business started by James Man in England in 1783, which evolved into broader commodities trading before its later transformation into a financial services business during the 1980s.
Its former parent, then known as ED&F Man, diversified from pure cash commodities into commodity futures in the late 1970s, and established the Anderson Man futures brokerage in 1981. It later changed its name to ED&F Man International and then Man Financial, before adopting the current brand following the IPO and separation of the brokerage from the asset management operation.
ED&F Man operated as a partnership through to the 1970s, when it started an international expansion which, by 1983, saw its staff climb to 650 employees. ED&F Man listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1994, changing its name to Man Group in 2000. Its agricultural business, which retained the EDF Man name, was sold to management the same year.
The rapid expansion of the Man Investments unit in the emerging hedge fund management business shrouded many investors from the development of its brokerage unit.
Man Financial embarked on a series of acquisitions, which expanded its product capability and geographic reach, starting in 1989 with the purchase of the Chicago-based GNP Commodities, and including well-known industry names such as Geldermann, Gerald Metals, Tullett & Tokyo Futures, First American Discount Corp., Australia’s Ord Minnett and GNI.
The 2002 purchase of GNI was the largest of these and gave Man Financial access to the then growing Contract for difference market and GNI’s trading platform GNI touch.
However, 2005 saw Man Financial make its largest deal with the transformative $323 million acquisition of client assets and accounts from entities of Refco, following the U.S. financial-services group’s collapse in late 2005. The Refco deal followed a hotly-contested auction with Cerberus Capital, the private equity group, and boosted Man Financial’s scale in retail and institutional business.
On March 17, 2008, shares of MF Global plummeted on liquidity fears. The CME, ICE, Nymex and CFTC issued statements confirming MF Global was in compliance with regulatory and financial requirements.
On October 25, 2011 MF Global reported a $191.6 million quarterly loss as a result of trading on European government bonds. In response Moody’s and Fitch cut the company’s credit rankings to junk. Jon Corzine, the former New Jersey governor who led MF Global, was working to find a buyer, according to several reports.
The firm’s board met through the weekend of October 29/30 in New York to consider options including a sale to avert failure, according to a person with direct knowledge of the situation. It was stopped from doing new business with the New York Fed until it showed it was able to fulfill its responsibilities as a primary dealer, according to a statement on the regulator’s website. Trading in MF Global’s stock was halted.
On October 31, 2011, MF Global filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The Wall Street Journal reported that MF Global would seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after investing $6 billion in sovereign bonds issued by European countries. According to the CME Group Inc., MF Global broke rules on keeping customer money separate from its own trading accounts. On August 31, 2011 MF Global had $7.3 billion in customer assets, according to Commodity Futures Trading Commission data
From Reuters: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/01/us-mfglobal-idUSTRE79R4YY20111101
By Jonathan Spicer and Nick Brown
NEW YORK | Tue Nov 1, 2011 1:58pm EDT
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Jon Corzine’s bid to revive his Wall Street career crashed and burned on Monday when his futures brokerage MF Global Holdings Ltd filed for bankruptcy protection following bad bets on euro zone debt.
Corzine, 64, who once ran Goldman Sachs before becoming a U.S. senator and then governor of New Jersey, had been trying to turn the more than 200-year-old MF Global into a mini Goldman by taking on more risky trades.
But once regulators forced it to fully disclose the bets on debt issued by countries including Italy, Portugal and Spain, it rapidly unraveled with no buyers willing to step in.
MF Global’s meltdown in less than a week made it the biggest U.S. casualty of Europe’s debt crisis, and the seventh-largest bankruptcy by assets in U.S. history.
The company’s shares plunged last week as its credit ratings were cut to junk. The Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing came after talks to sell a variety of assets to Interactive Brokers Group Inc broke down earlier on Monday, a person familiar with the matter said.
There were also signs that some of its customer accounts that are supposed to be segregated and protected from the rest of the business had suffered what regulators described as “possible deficiencies.”
“Early this morning, MF Global informed the regulators that the transaction had not been agreed to and reported possible deficiencies in customer futures segregated accounts held at the firm,” the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission said in a joint statement.
A bankruptcy proceeding led by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation would be the “most prudent course of action to protect customer accounts and assets,” they said.
The New York Times reported later on Monday that federal regulators had discovered that hundreds of millions of dollars in customer money had gone missing from MF Global.
Less than $700 million was missing by late Monday, down from nearly $1 billion earlier, the paper reported on its website.
Regulators are looking into whether the brokerage used some of the money to support its own trades, the Times reported, citing unnamed sources.
MF Global was not immediately available to comment on the Times’ report.
Regulators had expressed “grave concerns” about the viability of MF Global, which filed for bankruptcy only after “no viable alternative was available in the limited time leading up to the regulators’ deadline,” the company’s chief operating officer, Bradley Abelow, said in a court filing.
One of the regulators that pressed MF Global, the CFTC, was unhappy with the brokerage’s failure to give it the required data and records.
“(T)o date we don’t have the information that we should have,” said a source close to the CFTC.
In the end, regulators and markets reacted swiftly to MF Global’s troubles, which may have been exacerbated by Corzine’s affinity for risk-taking over the course of a career that took him to the top echelons of Wall Street and then into politics.
“They went for what would be a very profitable trade with European sovereign debt that obviously has blown up in their face, and brought the company down,” said Dave Westhouse, vice president of Chicago retail broker PTI Securities and Futures.
The bankruptcy is reminiscent of the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008 at the height of the financial crisis. But market participants said the impact from this collapse, far smaller, would likely be contained.
Still, MF Global’s 2,870 employees, as well as trading counterparties, were left scrambling and confused on Monday, as MF Global halted its shares but did not file for bankruptcy until well after U.S. markets had opened.
Trading activity in gold, crude oil and grain futures slowed to a crawl as the bankruptcy forced a chaotic scramble to untangle trading positions.
“Ultimately it will have lost all confidence of its investor base,” Michael Epstein, a restructuring adviser with CRG Partners, said of MF Global. “I’m not sure what restructuring it actually does. In some respects, it’s a baby Lehman, in effect.”
There was also uncertainty over Wall Street’s exposure.
JPMorgan Chase & Co’s exposure for a $1.2 billion syndicated loan to MF Global is less than $100 million, a source at the bank said. Deutsche Bank AG is listed in the court filing as a trustee for bondholders with $1 billion of claims. The banks declined to comment.
The impact on the markets should be smaller and nothing like when Lehman failed and hedge funds had money locked up with the firm for months, said Jeff Carter, an independent futures trader in Chicago.
At the Chicago Board of Trade, three traders wearing MF Global jackets were seen leaving prior to the opening of pit trading, and floor sources told Reuters they had been turned away after their security access cards were denied.
Back outside the Manhattan office, one MF Global employee said all he knew about the bankruptcy was what has been on TV. The company’s HR department, meanwhile, was busy making calls withdrawing job offers it made in the past few weeks, according to a person familiar with the situation.
“A sale here is potentially the best outcome for employees because the company will continue to operate as opposed to slowly winding down,” said Dan McElhinney, the managing director of corporate restructuring for Epiq Systems.
“I think there will be a lot of effort to tee up the sale pretty quickly here.”
The New York Federal Reserve terminated MF Global as one of its primary dealers. CME Group Inc, IntercontinentalExchange Inc, Singapore Exchange Ltd and Singapore’s central bank, among others, halted the broker’s operations in some form except for liquidations.
European clearinghouse LCH.Clearnet declared MF Global in default.
THE ROAD TO BANKRUPTCY
Corzine was trying to transform MF Global from a brokerage that mainly places customers’ trades on exchanges into an investment bank that bets with its own capital.
In the past week, the company posted a quarterly loss and its shares fell by two-thirds as investors focused on the euro zone bets and the effect of low interest rates, which hurt profits from its core brokerage operations.
MF Global scrambled through the weekend and into Monday to find buyers for all or parts of the company, while at the same time hiring restructuring and bankruptcy advisers in case nothing could be done.
In the court filing explaining what went wrong, MF Global pointed a finger at regulators. The bankruptcy was hastened by pressure from the CFTC, SEC and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, wrote Abelow, the COO.
FINRA ordered that its U.S. broker-dealer unit, called MFGI, boost net capital, and then reveal a $6.3 billion stake in short-term debt from European sovereigns with “troubled economies,” he wrote.
Market concerns over such exposures led to MF Global being downgraded to “junk” status by various credit rating agencies, sparking margin calls that threatened liquidity, he added.
“Concerned about the events of the past week, some of MFGI’s principal regulators — the CFTC and the SEC — expressed their grave concerns about MFGI’s viability.”
MF Global in the filing did not elaborate on the regulators’ concerns or the reasons behind them.
FINRA declined to comment.
According to a July proxy filing, Corzine would be entitled to $12.1 million in severance, prorated bonus and other benefits upon being terminated without cause. Two other executives would be entitled to more: retail operations chief Randy MacDonald could get $17.9 million and Abelow could get $13.7 million.
However, federal bankruptcy law may limit any possible severance payouts.
First-day hearings in the case were scheduled for Tuesday at 3 p.m. in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan. Among other things, MF Global is expected to seek permission from Judge Martin Glenn to use cash collateral to keep operating its business, court papers show.
By filing for bankruptcy, MF Global freezes the value of its free-falling notes and gives potential suitors a clearer picture of the losses they would be taking on, said Bill Brandt, CEO of Chicago-based turnaround firm Development Specialists Inc.
If a sale is in the offing, he added, the buyer may be a European bank or sovereign government, as such entities would be particularly keen on stopping the slide and maximizing the value of the notes.
“The real question is how many assets will be left to transfer,” said Niamh Alexander, an analyst at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods. “Customers might move very quickly and it may be that every hour that passes shrinks the portfolio of assets that could be transferred” to a buyer, she said.
The bankruptcy is the latest flop for finance-focused private equity fund J.C. Flowers, whose other recent investments include nationalized German bank Hypo Real Estate.
After dividends the private equity firm has received for its preferred shares, J.C. Flowers’ net exposure to MF Global is $47.8 million, according to a source familiar with the matter. The firm declined to comment.
MF Global hired boutique investment bank Evercore Partners to help find a buyer, separate sources said last week.
The broker’s deeply distressed 6.25 percent notes maturing in 2016 fell 4 cents to 46 on the dollar, according to the Trace, which reports bond trades. The price had earlier fallen as low as 15 cents.
MF Global shares remained halted in New York.
(Additional reporting by Paritosh Bansal, Jonathan Stempel, Caroline Humer, Matthew Goldstein, David Sheppard, Jessica Toonkel, Michael Erman, Lynn Adler, David Henry, Dan Wilchins and Lauren LaCapra in NEW YORK, Tom Hals in WILMINGTON, Doris Frankel in CHICAGO, Jessica Hall in PHILADELPHIA, Christopher Doering in WASHINGTON, Narayanan Somasundaram in SYDNEY, and Douwe Miedema and Dominic Lau in LONDON; editing by Erica Billingham, Matthew Lewis, Dave Zimmerman, Andre Grenon, Gary Hill)
Segment #3: Feature Presentation – The projects of YouTube user Hunwick9
Presenter: SmartScarecrow & Hunwick9
Estimated time: 45 minutes
This presentation was recorded on Tuesday November 1st, 2011. YouTube user Hunwick9 lives in Melbourne Australia so trying to do a live presentation would have been a bit difficult.
In this presentation, two of the most recent projects of Hunwick9 are displayed and discussed.
One is a pretty damn cool portable electrical power generation device of rather innovative design. The device is primarily constructed of conponents that can be purchased off the shelf but are integrated in a way that is rather unique.
The other project discussed is rather advanced from a technical point of view. A two cylinder 2-Cycle gasoline engine constructed from a pair of single cylinder engines. A lot of engineering and custom machining went into this very unusual power plant.
Unfortunately, because this presentation was recorded in advance and Hunwick9 will probably be in the middle of his work day when the presentation is aired, we will not be able to take audience questions and comments for the builder. But Hunwick9 can be contacted via his YouTube channel if any might be interested in discussing these projects with him.
Segment #4: Audience Q&A Session
Estimated time: 10 minutes