February 2009


U.S. charges Stanford with massive Ponzi scheme
By Anna Driver
Fri Feb 27, 8:38 pm ET

HOUSTON (Reuters) – U.S. securities regulators on Friday accused Texas billionaire Allen Stanford, his college roommate and three of their companies of carrying out a “massive Ponzi scheme” over at least a decade and misappropriating at least $1.6 billion of investors’ money.

~~~~

In an amended complaint filed in a federal court in Dallas, the Securities and Exchange Commission increased its civil charges against Stanford to include a Ponzi scheme where early investors are paid with the money of new clients.

So what exactly is this “Ponzi scheme” that these people are being charged with?

From Wikipedia:

A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment operation that pays returns to investors from their own money or money paid by subsequent investors rather than from profit.

So, according to the US government, it a crime to get people to invest money into something, then paying them back with the money from new investors, rather than from profits realized from their own original investments?

Here’s what Terry Easton had to say about Ponzi schemes in Human Events Online:

Of course, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and ERISA are not really true insurance programs. Unlike legitimate privately-run insurance companies, there is no reserve pool of assets to tap into when needed to pay out to future beneficiaries. The money collected in premiums is not used for investments, it’s simply used to immediately pay the current bills of earlier insured people. Contrary to what a former national politician once alleged, there (alas) is no “lock box” with a treasure trove of assets safely tucked away in the government vaults. What really exists is yet another Ponzi scheme this time made legal by government definition.

Government defines and redefines what constitutes fraud at will, making an act punishable when carried out by an individual, but not punishable when carried by the members of Congress.

Looks like the Feds are eliminating the competition when it comes to Ponzi schemes…sort of reminds me of Al Capone’s business plan.

You all remember Capone don’t you?

He was a thug from Chicago who painted himself as a public servant.

“Public service is my motto. Ninety percent of the people in Chicago drink and gamble. I’ve tried to serve them decent liquor and square games.” — Al Capone

Ninety percent?

There’s the flaw in Al’s plan. If he had just given ninety five percent of the people something, he could have run for office and gotten himself elected, instead of jailed for tax evasion.

At the very least, he was qualified to run the IRS.

Reuters reports that NY State AG Andrew Cuomo is demanding a listing of bonuses paid off by Bank of America to its top officers, and the Socialist witch hunt trials of the American bourgeois officially begins…

NEW YORK (Reuters) – New York’s top legal officer on Thursday demanded Bank of America Corp Chief Executive Kenneth Lewis provide names of Merrill Lynch executives who received 2008 bonuses, and how much they got, before the bank’s takeover of the firm in January.

Executive compensation is a burning issue in the financial industry and challenges to pay are being led by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, whose office deposed former Merrill CEO John Thain on Tuesday for a second time over $3.6 billion in bonuses.

“I answered all the questions to the best of my knowledge and hopefully brought some clarity,” Lewis told reporters after he gave a deposition in Manhattan to Cuomo’s lawyers on Thursday that lasted about four hours.

“It’s been a long evening and I’m tired,” said Lewis, who was served a subpoena for the list of names.

A Bank of America spokesman, who was with Lewis during the deposition, said he had not been given an indication of whether Lewis would have to return for further questioning.

Cuomo’s special assistant, Benjamin Lawsky, said on Thursday night that the office was “very disappointed” that the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank had not provided the information previously.

“We’ve been asking for a list of who got what,” said Lawsky.

Cuomo began questioning bonus plans in October after nine banks received $125 billion in U.S. Treasury funds.

It is not the business of government to “demand” information about how companies remunerate their employees. They claim however, that having given them monies in the “bailout”, they now have the right to demand that information from these banks.

Then again, it wasn’t within the government’s Constitutional power to take money from the people, and hand it over to private businesses. Nowhere in the Constitution is that power granted to the Federal government. And Andrew Cuomo doesn’t work for the Federal government, so he has less than no right to demand anything from anyone.

Any history buff worth their salt will recognize Cuomo’s inquiry as a Marxist populist trial.

According to Marxist thought, anyone who is a property owner is considered wealthy and as such exploitive of the working class. Lenin called those people the bourgeois, and Comrade Obama and his Demobolsheviks appear to be doing that very same thing. Listen closely to the Chairman Barack’s speech to Congress, and you’ll clearly hear the subtle message…private industry is at fault for this economic mess, but the government is going to fix all they did, and protect us all from the evil being known as a “Wall Street executive.”

As bad as this economic downturn is, as much as people have lost these past few months, the amount of wealth lost by America is dwarfed by the amount of wealth created by Wall Street since the Depression, and that amount is insignificant when compared to the trillions of dollars squandered by Washington.

What politicians in DC are NOT telling anyone is that when accounting for future obligations that the US is already committed to pay out (Medicare, Social Security, etc) the US debt is a staggering 65 trillion dollars.

debt

So, our only hope for the future lies with those who CREATE wealth, those evil Wall Street executives, and NOT with a government who fails to understand that this economic downturn was caused by amassing debt that we were incapable of paying off. In fact, it is a known fact that governments cannot create wealth, they can only seize it, squander it, or redistribute it.

Washington is trying to bring us out of a crisis brought about by out of control borrowing that we are incapable of paying off, by cranking up the debt frenzy again. And no stimulus plan, no government bailout is going to help when that debt comes due.

The only capital we will have left to pay it with will be our freedom, and that’s the hidden strings of Comrade Obama’s Socialist agenda.

Nasdorovia comrades!

Shhhhh! Top generals sign secrecy letter on budget

By PAULINE JELINEK – 16 hours ago

WASHINGTON (AP) — They long ago pledged honor and duty to country, but this year their spoken word was not enough.

Top Pentagon generals and admirals had to sign a letter promising to keep defense budget details secret if they wanted to work on the military’s fiscal plan.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates set the rule, requiring for the first time that each military and civilian official helping prepare the budget sign a non-disclosure statement, Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said Wednesday.

The entire Joint Chiefs of Staff signed, promising not to leak information while the budget was being put together. Gates also signed, as did all the high-ranking civilian defense officials working on the budget document, Morrell told a Pentagon press conference.

“He wants to create an environment in which the best possible budget can be built,” Morrell said of Gates. “And he believes the only way to do that is to make sure that we are doing this in utter and complete secrecy until that budget is rolled out.”

President Barack Obama plans to submit his budget to Congress on Thursday.

That’s odd…I seem to recall a pledge from Obama for transparency in government.

As a matter of fact, here’s a direct quote from www.barackobama.com on that very subject:

Plan to Change Washington
The Problem

Secrecy Dominates Government Actions: The Bush administration has ignored public disclosure rules and has invoked a legal tool known as the “state secrets” privilege more than any other previous administration…

Mr. Obama even posted a directive on the White House website directing all levels of government to exude transparency!

My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government.

Then again, he promised to keep lobbyists out of his cabinet, then broke his word.

He’s hired a tax cheat to run the IRS, and a lobbyist as his assistant.

He promised that change would come to Washington, then proceeded to surround himself with government insiders as soon as he took office.

I guess that the openness in government that Obama promised is manifesting itself in the transparency of his lies, and the only fresh face that will come to DC anytime soon, is the Obama family’s new dog…whenever he does show up.

Back in college, in anthropology class to be exact, we spent quite a long period of time discussing the validity (or lack of validity) of Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory. In essence, Maslow argued that human needs fall into a series of rising levels of importance, and that one will not address a higher level, until such a time as the lower level’s needs are satisfied.

Here is a fairly concise explanation of the theory (from Wikipedia):

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is predetermined in order of importance. It is often depicted as a pyramid consisting of five levels: the first lower level is being associated with Physiological needs, while the top levels are termed growth needs associated with psychological needs. Deficiency needs must be met first. Once these are met, seeking to satisfy growth needs drives personal growth. The higher needs in this hierarchy only come into focus when the lower needs in the pyramid are met. Once an individual has moved upwards to the next level, needs in the lower level will no longer be prioritized. If a lower set of needs is no longer being met, the individual will temporarily re-prioritize those needs by focusing attention on the unfulfilled needs, but will not permanently regress to the lower level. For instance, a businessman at the esteem level who is diagnosed with cancer will spend a great deal of time concentrating on his health (physiological needs), but will continue to value his work performance (esteem needs) and will likely return to work during periods of remission.

Maslow’s pyramid:

pyramid

According to Maslow, an individual who lacks air to breathe, is starving from lack of food, is incapable of functioning because of lack of sleep, or lacks in any of the other physiological needs connected with survival, will think of nothing other than resolving those deficiencies before moving along to other needs; these physiological deficiencies also include shelter, warmth, drink, etc.

It is not until an individual has satisfied one level of deficiencies, that the next level of needs become clear, and so on.

The last level, self-actualization, is addressed by those in society who have risen to a level where other (deficiency) needs no longer require their undivided attention.

In a free market society, the last two levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy are achievable to nearly all its members, as the members of that society are able to work (within the law) to amass wealth without limits by any number of methods, including (but not limited to) business acumen, artistic or athletic talent, and last but not least, sheer luck, or accident of birth.

So then, what does all this have to do with Socialism, and more importantly, Socialism and America?

Americans are losing their homes, jobs by the millions have been lost, health care is expensive, and unaffordable to many. There are more Americans trying to resolve the deficiencies of the lower levels of Maslow’s pyramid today, than at any time since the Great Depression. The government, behind the leadership of the most leftist members of the Democratic Party is positioning itself as the sole solution to those needs.

That’s the classic Socialist/Communist model…if the people are kept busy standing in lines outside government-run grocery stores, waiting for their food rations, they will have very little time to dissent from the government policies that got them to those lines to begin with. What dissent will manifest itself, will be in the form of civil disturbances, quickly brought under control by the forces available only to government, and all in the name of the common good and tranquility.

That “belonging needs” level in Maslow’s pyramid, will be utilized by government to control the masses. They will first ask, then later require, for people to become part of the effort to “build” a better society, to join the government in working for the common good, to “volunteer.”

The next level will be the government’s tool, not so much to reward effort, but to illustrate the government’s benevolence, and “reward” with accolades those who best march in step with its agenda.

Under Socialism, the last rung in Maslow’s pyramid will never be achievable for anyone outside the ruling class; in that system, there is only communal growth, never personal, as personal growth and personal achievements will be tagged with labels like “greed”, and an enemy to society.

We are headed that way…led by an openly Socialist administration, and fueled by an economic crisis created in great part by the very government that now wants to position itself as our savior. If Maslow is correct, faced with the real possibility of finding ourslves, and our families homeless, even the most Conservative among us will discard political ideology, and take that government housing, those food stamps before watching our kids go hungry, and socialized medicine when they become ill.

From that moment on, it will be the government maintaining us preoccupied with filling our deficiency needs, by controlling the flow of goods and services, and never allowing the people to strive for the higher rungs in Maslow’s pyramid, other than within the government itself.

Once we’ve taken from the government’s extended hand, there will be no returning back to the America of our fathers.

WASHINGTON – Eric Holder, the nation’s first black attorney general, said Wednesday the United States was “a nation of cowards” on matters of race, with most Americans avoiding candid discussions of racial issues. In a speech to Justice Department employees marking Black History Month, Holder said the workplace is largely integrated but Americans still self-segregate on the weekends and in their private lives.

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“If we’re going to ever make progress, we’re going to have to have the guts, we have to have the determination, to be honest with each other. It also means we have to be able to accept criticism where that is justified,”

Fair enough Eric…I’ll start this “candid” discussion.

It’s disingenuous to stand and deliver a speech critical of American’s reluctance to face the issue of race (and racism) during “Black History Month” WITHOUT calling the idea of Black History month as being racist, and separatist.

It is cowardly, for you not to call the Congressional Black Caucus a racist and separatist organization, and demand that it be disbanded in the name of racial equality in America.

It is cowardly not to call for the dissolution of the Black Entrainment Network, unless in the spirit of the Fairness Doctrine, a White Entertainment Network is created by our lawmakers.

So Eric be a man and lead this discussion, don’t just point fingers and call names.

By the way…I haven’t forgotten

Elián

A bust of the former prime minister once voted the greatest Briton in history, which was loaned to George W Bush from the Government’s art collection after the September 11 attacks, has now been formally handed back.

The bronze by Sir Jacob Epstein, worth hundreds of thousands of pounds if it were ever sold on the open market, enjoyed pride of place in the Oval Office during President Bush’s tenure.

But when British officials offered to let Mr Obama to hang onto the bust for a further four years, the White House said: “Thanks, but no thanks.”

Telegraph U.K.

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

To some, this could appear to be an odd place to quote George Santayana, an American President never having sent the bust of a historical British Prime Minister packing before, but the past may be repeating itself, in an admittedly subtle and oblique manner, but repeating itself nevertheless, and the vast numbers of Americans who do not remember it (or were never taught its lessons) are condemning the rest of the country, and future generations to repeat it.

This isn’t about Sir Winston…directly.

Bush IS related to Sir Winston, then again, so is Obama, but that’s not what this is about. It isn’t even about how Sir Winston as a wartime leader, was prepared to make unpopular decision that he believed necessary to achieve victory, very much like President Bush.

This is about Obama following Bush to the Office of POTUS, about who followed Sir Winston as PM, and the lasting impact that the election of a Socialist had on the British economy.

Clement Attlee, Sir Winston’s Deputy Prime Minister in the wartime coalition government, led the Labour Party to a landslide victory in the 1945 general election. He was a Keynesian (not to be confused with Kenyan), who saw the government as the solution to England’s post-war economic hardships. Some believe that the unexpected victory by the Labour Party was fueled by Sir Winston himself, who (during a radio interview) suggested that the implementation of Attlee’s socialist agenda would require “some form of Gestapo” to be created. Again, that’s not to be confused with anything currently happening in the U.S.

Incidentally…and curiously reminiscent of recent events, upon meeting with King George VI, Attlee’s first words to HRM were “I’ve won the election”, which in American English translates to “I won.”

But I digress.

PM Clement nationalized major industries and public utilities, and created a National Health Care Service in his Keynesian effort to rebuild the British economy, and while unemployment dropped to unprecedented levels (then again, the population was greatly diminished by the war), the country saw itself plunged into a chaos of shortages, including food and fuel.

One of Attlee’s most “important” pieces of legislation, was the National Insurance Act of 1946, which added the final touch to a Socialist’s “cradle to grave” welfare State. “Various other pieces of legislation provided for child benefit and support for people with no other source of income.” Source

Jon Maynard Keynes worked closely with PM Attlee during a near-crisis created by the end of the American Lend-Lease program, and personally negotiated a deal which had to be ended within five weeks of its implementation, to stop the currency crisis created by the Keynesian solution.

Fortunately, “Keynesian” was not a word in the American English Dictionary in a post World War II US. No industries were nationalized, health care wasn’t socialized, and there was neither a currency crisis, nor shortages of anything.

In fact, the US took the exact opposite direction of PM Attlee’s policies, and headed off into what today is recognized as perhaps being the greatest explosion in investment, production, trade, science and technique in the whole of human history.

So, how does all this relate to President Obama, and that bust of Sir Winston sent a-packing?

A subtle warning perhaps, one that will in all likelihood go unheeded.

The British economy (somewhat) recovered from PM Attlee’s Keynesian policies with the election of Margaret Thatcher, who went about the business of privatizing nationalized industries, selling off utilities, and adapting monetarist policies to reduce inflation…and finally, three decades after the end of World War II, the British economy boomed.

Bu some of Attlee’s policies are so deeply rooted in British society, that they will not be budged, and any politician not paying homage to socialized medicine, and national health insurance faces certain defeat.

How’s that working out for the Brits?

The shake-up of NHS dentistry has been a disaster with standards of care dropping and almost one million fewer people being treated on the health service under the new system, a damning report by MPs has found.

Dentists now have no financial incentive to treat complex cases and patients are being pushed unnecessarily into the hospital system

Instead of improving access to NHS dentistry the reforms have made it worse, the report by the House of Commons Health Select Committee found.

The number of dentists working in the health service has fallen, the number of NHS treatments carried out has dropped and in many areas patients are still experiencing severe difficulties in finding a dentist to treat them.

Worryingly, complex treatments carried out on the NHS have dropped by half while both referrals to hospital and tooth extractions have increased.

This suggests dentists are simply removing teeth rather than taking on complicated treatments because they have become uneconomical to provide.

The report said that in the two years following the introduction of the new contract in April 2006, 900,000 fewer people saw an NHS dentist than in the last two years of the previous system. Even this could be an underestimate, it said.

Ministers introduced the reforms to the dental contract despite widespread concern they would not improve access to care. The contract was so unpopular that more than one in ten dentists refused to sign it and more than a third signed it in dispute.

However, the then health minister in charge of dentistry Rosie Winterton insisted: “The reforms will improve access, encourage more preventive dentistry and provide a stable income for dentists.” — Source

In 2004, Attlee was ranked as the greatest British Prime Minister (Winston Churchill ranked second) of the 20th Century by a poll of academics…a less surprising result that one may imagine, all things considered.

Oh…perhaps none of this has anything to do with President Obama’s decision to return that bust. According to the President’s grandmother (pictured below) the President’s Kenyan (not to be confused with Keynesian) grandfather may have been tortured by British troops during the Mau Mau uprising.

Who knows?

That could be it, and we have nothing to worry about.

Except bad teeth.

P.S. I want to thank my good friend Ed over at Vox Clamantis in Deserto for putting this idea in my head. It all began with his constant comments about British socialism, Britons, and their bad teeth.

Blame him.

UPDATE

Diana West, writing for Jewish World Review sheds light on the story of Granpappy Obama’s torture at the hands of the Brits:

As noted by the blogger Papa Whiskey via the Jawa Report, Obama’s grandfather was jailed and tortured between 1949 and 1951. That’s the story according to his widow, Obama’s “Granny Sarah.” Of course, Granny Sarah is also a primary source of the claim that Obama was born in Kenya, so who really knows? Obama himself has offered conflicting accounts in both cases.

In his memoir “Dreams of My Father,” Obama describes his grandfather’s detention as lasting “over six months” before he was found innocent (no mention of torture).

Whatever the case, Churchill didn’t become prime minister for the second time until the end of 1951. The Mau Mau Rebellion didn’t begin until the end of 1952, one year after Obama’s grandfather’s release.

A new bill introduced by Florida by Rep. Alcee Hastings (D) has gotten little attention from the main stream media, in spite of some rather disturbing (and vague) verbiage:

HR 645 IH

111th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 645

To direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to establish national emergency centers on military installations.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

January 22, 2009

Mr. HASTINGS of Florida introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and in addition to the Committee on Armed Services, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned

A BILL

To direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to establish national emergency centers on military installations.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ‘National Emergency Centers Establishment Act’.

SEC. 2. ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL EMERGENCY CENTERS.

    (a) In General- In accordance with the requirements of this Act, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall establish not fewer than 6 national emergency centers on military installations.
    (b) Purpose of National Emergency Centers- The purpose of a national emergency center shall be to use existing infrastructure–

      (1) to provide temporary housing, medical, and humanitarian assistance to individuals and families dislocated due to an emergency or major disaster;
      (2) to provide centralized locations for the purposes of training and ensuring the coordination of Federal, State, and local first responders;
      (3) to provide centralized locations to improve the coordination of preparedness, response, and recovery efforts of government, private, and not-for-profit entities and faith-based organizations; and
      (4) to meet other appropriate needs, as determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security.

WHOA!!!!!

Back up there Alcee!

What the Hell are these “appropriate needs” to be determined under some future “national emergency” declared by Obama’s Secretary of Homeland Security?

What are the government’s limitations here?

This language is just vague enough to make me cringe.

Los Lost Cojones better take this bill apart before it gets any farther than Alcee Hasting’s imagination.

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