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US Government Busted For Using Pirated Software To Manage Army Troop Movements | Zero Hedge

US Government Busted For Using Pirated Software To Manage Army Troop Movements | Zero Hedge.

When the US government said the sequester would cripple its ability to single-handedly rule over the world, it wasn’t kidding. Either that, or Joe Biden’s Joint Strategic Plan to “curb” copyright infringement was just a case of very confused humor by the vice president gone badly wrong, and he meant to “encourage.” Whatever the reason, the fact that the Obama administration was just busted with a $50 million case of software piracy involving none other than the US Army, is indicative that while the Bureau of Labor Statistics was adopting all the best features of the Chinese Department of Truth, the US government was busy copycatting China’s respectful approach toward intellectual property. Yet what is even worse, is that the software that was pirated managed the US army’s troop and supply movements: in other words, the US government relied on pirated software to prepare for and engage in eventual war.

Specifically, the army “used Apptricity’s integrated transportation logistics and asset management software across the Middle East and other theaters of operation. The Army has also used the software to coordinate emergency management initiatives, including efforts following the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti.”

Here’s what happened, as reported by RT: in 2004, Apptricity agreed with the US Army to license the troop-movement software, allowing the government to use it on five servers and 150 standalone devices. What happened instead is that the Army proceeded to use the softward around the world.  “The improper installation of thousands of unlicensed copies of software was discovered incidentally, when the US Army Program Director said during Strategic Capabilities Planning 2009 that thousands of devices had Apptricity software.”

Ultimately, 93 servers and over 9,000 standalone devices of the Army had the unlicensed software. Apptricity figured it was owed US$224 million based on usual fees of US$1.35 million per server and US$5,000 per device.

Upon discovering just how vast the US government piracy stretched Apptricity sued the government, accusing the US military of willful copyright infringement. It won, and the government went on to admit the illegal use and entered into lengthy negotiations with Apptricity to settle. The cost to the Obama administration from being caught in the act: $50 million in damages.

RT does a great summary of yet another instance of remarkable hypocrisy by the “most transparent administration ever.”

While the Obama administration’s has launched efforts against intellectual property theft – including the Joint Strategic Plan run by Vice President Joe Biden that aims to curb copyright infringement – the US Army was concurrently using pirated Apptricity enterprise software that manages troop and supply movements.

The Administration has yet to comment on the settlement. But Biden’s words upon announcing the federal anti-copyright-infringement plan ring clear.

“Piracy is theft, clean and simple.”

Even when it was your subordinates that engaged in theft? Surely someone’s hand will be slapped, right? But one can be absolutely certain: neither Biden nor Obama “had any idea”…

What was not mentioned anywhere, however, is just how the US government spent the hundreds of millions in appropriated funds, because it is guaranteed that the Army was allotted the full mandated amount by Congress to purchase every single piece of Apptricity software it would ever need. And still somehow $200 million disappeared. Of course in any non-banana republic, a legal system might inquire in whose pockets this excess cash ended up. Which of course means that in the US nobody will even consider this eventuality, especially since Ben Bernanke prints that amount in roughly 5 minutes every day.

Finally, one wonders: what would happen if in the middle of a Syrian (or any other) war suddenly the US army was halted dead in its tracks when HQ got a flashing red “Your 30 Day trial period has expired. Please insert activation code now” notification. We can only hope US drone command didn’t get its copy of “Blow Up Innocent Women And Children From 10,000 Miles Away Ver 1.0” on the Moscow black market.

 

Ron Paul Asks “Can Karzai Save Us?” | Zero Hedge

Ron Paul Asks “Can Karzai Save Us?” | Zero Hedge.

After a year of talks over the post-2014 US military presence in Afghanistan, the US administration announced last week that a new agreement had finally been reached. Under the deal worked out with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, the US would keep thousands of troops on nine military bases for at least the next ten years.

It is clear that the Obama Administration badly wants this deal. Karzai, sensing this, even demanded that the US president send a personal letter promising that the US would respect the dignity of the Afghan people if it were allowed to remain in the country. It was strange to see the US president go to such lengths for a deal that would mean billions more US dollars to Karzai and his cronies, and a US military that would continue to prop up the regime in Kabul.

Just as the deal was announced by Secretary of State John Kerry and ready to sign, however, Karzai did an abrupt about-face. No signed deal until after the next presidential elections in the spring, he announced to a gathering of tribal elders, much to the further embarrassment and dismay of the US side. The US administration had demanded a signed deal by December. What may happen next is anybody’s guess. The US threatens to pull out completely if the deal is not signed by the end of this year.

Karzai should be wary of his actions. It may become unhealthy for him. The US has a bad reputation for not looking kindly on puppet dictators who demand independence from us.

Yet Karzai’s behavior may have the unintended benefit of saving the US government from its own worst interventionist instincts. The US desire to continue its military presence in Afghanistan – with up to 10,000 troops – is largely about keeping up the false impression that the Afghan war, the longest in US history, has not been a total, catastrophic failure. Maintaining a heavy US presence delays that realization, and with it the inevitable conclusion that so many lives have been lost and wasted in vain. It is a bitter pill that this president, who called Afghanistan “the good war,” would rather not have to swallow.

The administration has argued that US troops must remain in Afghanistan to continue the fight against al-Qaeda. But al-Qaeda has virtually disappeared from Afghanistan.
 What remains is the Taliban and the various tribes that have been involved in a power struggle ever since the Soviets left almost a quarter of a century ago. In other words, twelve years later we are back to the starting point in Afghanistan.

Where has al-Qaeda gone if not in Afghanistan? They have branched out to other areas where opportunity has been provided by US intervention. Iraq had no al-Qaeda presence before the 2003 US invasion. Now al-Qaeda and its affiliates have turned Iraq into a bloodbath, where thousands are killed and wounded every month. The latest fertile ground for al-Qaeda and its allies is Syria, where they have found that US support, weapons, and intelligence is going to their side in the ongoing war to overthrow the Syrian government.

In fact, much of the US government’s desire for an ongoing military presence in Afghanistan has to do with keeping money flowing to the military industrial complex. Maintaining nine US military bases in Afghanistan and providing military aid and training to Afghan forces will consume billions of dollars over the next decade. The military contractors are all too willing to continue to enrich themselves at the expense of the productive sectors of the US economy.

Addressing Afghan tribal elders last week, Karzai is reported to have expressed disappointment with US assistance thus far: “I demand tanks from them, and they give us pickup trucks, which I can get myself from Japan… I don’t trust the U.S., and the U.S. doesn’t trust me.”  

Let us hope that Karzai sticks to his game with Washington.Let the Obama administration have no choice but to walk away from this twelve-year nightmare. Then we can finally just march out.

 

 

Don’t Worry – The Government Says That The Inflation You See Is Just Your Imagination

Don’t Worry – The Government Says That The Inflation You See Is Just Your Imagination. (source)

If you believe that there is high inflation in the United States, you are just imagining things.  That is the message that the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve would have us to believe.  You might have noticed that the government announced on Wednesday that the cost of living increase for Social Security beneficiaries will only be 1.5 percent next year.  This is one of the smallest cost of living increases that we have ever seen.  The federal government is able to get away with this because the official numbers say that there is hardly any inflation in the U.S. right now.  Of course anyone that shops for groceries or that pays bills regularly knows what a load of nonsense the official inflation rate is.  The U.S. government has changed the way that inflation is calculated numerous times since 1978, and each time it has been changed the goal has been to make inflation appear to be even lower.  According to John Williams of shadowstats.com, if the inflation rate was still calculated the same way that it was back when Jimmy Carter was president, the official rate of inflation would be somewhere between 8 and 10 percent today.  But if the mainstream news actually reported such a number, everyone would be screaming and yelling about getting inflation under control.  Instead, the super low number that gets put out to the public makes it look like the Federal Reserve has plenty of room to do even more reckless money printing.  It is a giant scam, but most Americans are falling for it.

Meanwhile, the prices of the things that most Americans buy on a regular basis just keep going up.  The following are just a few examples of price inflation that we have seen lately…

-McDonald’s has killed the dollar menu because it is becoming impossible to “make any money selling burgers for $1“.

But don’t worry – the government says that the inflation you see is just your imagination.

-Amazon.com has raised the minimum order size required for free shipping from $25 to $35.

But don’t worry – you can afford to order more stuff thanks to the great new job that you got during this “economic recovery”.

-It is being projected that those using natural gas to heat their homes will see their heating costs rise by 13 percent this winter.

But don’t worry – “global warming” should kick in to high gear any day now.

-The price of chocolate has gone up by 45 percent since 2007, and it is being projected that it will now be increasing at an even faster pace.

But don’t worry – eating chocolate is bad for you anyway.

-Thanks to Obamacare, the health insurance premiums of many American families are absolutely skyrocketing.  As I wrote about the other day, one family down in Texas just got a letter informing them that their health insurance premiums are going up by 539 percent.

But don’t worry – this is just “health care reform” in action.

Meanwhile, things just continue to get tougher for middle class American families.  Household incomes have actually been declining for five years in a row and total consumer credit has risen by a whopping22 percent over the past three years.

The quality of our jobs continues to go down and our paychecks are not keeping up with inflation.  In fact, 40 percent of all U.S. workers are now making less than what a full-time minimum wage worker made back in 1968 after you account for inflation.

So what do the “authorities” say that the solution to our problems is?

They want even more inflation of course.  According to CNBC, many Federal Reserve officials (including Janet Yellen) believe that what the U.S. economy really needs is a lot more inflation…

Inflation is widely reviled as a kind of tax on modern life, but as Federal Reserve policy makers prepare to meet this week, there is growing concern inside and outside the Fed that inflation is not rising fast enough.

Some economists say more inflation is just what the American economy needs to escape from a half-decade of sluggish growth and high unemployment.

The Fed has worked for decades to suppress inflation, but economists, including Janet Yellen, President Obama’s nominee to lead the Fed starting next year, have long argued that a little inflation is particularly valuable when the economy is weak. Rising prices help companies increase profits; rising wages help borrowers repay debts. Inflation also encourages people and businesses to borrow money and spend it more quickly.

The rest of that article goes on and on about how wonderful inflation is for an economy and about how the U.S. economy desperately needs some more of it.

Well, if that was actually true, then the Weimar Republic should have had one of the best economies in the history of mankind.

But this inevitably happens when a nation starts producing fiat currency that is backed by absolutely nothing.  There is always a temptation to just print a little bit more.

In the end, we are going to be destroyed by our own foolishness.  We have the de facto reserve currency of the planet, and the rest of the world has trusted it for decades.  But now we are systematically destroying our currency, and the rest of the globe is looking on in horror.

If you want to see a very good example of the impact that inflation has had on our economy in recent years, just check out this amazing chartwhich shows what the Federal Reserve’s reckless policies have done to the prices of commodities.

Ultimately, the U.S. dollar will be destroyed, and we will have done it to ourselves.

Many people are attempting to protect themselves against this inevitability by putting a lot of their money into hard assets such as gold and silver, but before you do that you might want to make sure that you don’t have a vengeful spouse that will toss it all into a dumpster someday.  The following is from a recent New York Post article

A Colorado man was so angry at his ex-wife for divorcing him that he had the couple’s life savings of $500,000 converted to gold — then tossed it in a dumpster so she couldn’t have any of it, the Colorado Springs Gazette reports.

In June, Earl Ray Jones, 52, of Divide, Colorado, was ordered by a judge to pay $3,000 a month to the woman he’d been married to for 25 years, so he pillaged the couple’s retirement account and had it converted into 22 pounds worth of gold and silver bars,  the paper reports.

Jones claims he then tossed the modern-day treasure into a dumpster behind a motel, where he had been living temporarily, later telling the judge he had no money to give his ex-wife, according to the paper.

Did that story make you smile?  It sure did the trick for me.

But that story is also a picture of what the Federal Reserve is doing with our dollar.

Our currency has been used for decades by almost everyone else around the planet.  In fact, more U.S. dollars are used outside of our country than inside of it.

But now the Federal Reserve is systematically trashing the dollar and the rest of the globe is starting to lose faith in it.

Instead of realizing their mistakes, Fed officials say that we need to create even more inflation and they just keep on wildly printing more money.

In the end, we will all pay a great price for their foolishness.

 

Hypocrisy as a Weapon-Washington’s Blog

Washington’s Blog. (source)

Hypocrisy as a Weapon

U.S. leaders have long:

  • Labeled indiscriminate killing of civilians as terrorism.  Yet the American military  indiscriminately kills innocent civilians (and see this),  calling it “carefully targeted strikes”.   For example, when Al Qaeda, Syrians or others target people attending funerals of those killed – or those attempting to rescue people who have been injured by – previous attacks, we rightfully label it terrorism.  But the U.S. government does exactly the same thing (more), pretending that it is all okay
  • Scolded tyrants who launch aggressive wars to grab power or plunder resources. But we ourselves have launched a series of wars for oil (and here) and gas

Can you spot a pattern of hypocrisy?

Indeed, the worse the acts by officials, the more they say we it must be covered up … for “the good of the country”.

For example, Elizabeth Goitein – co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program at New York University School of Law’s Brennan Center for Justice – writes:

The government has begun to advance bold new justifications for classifying information that threaten to erode the principled limits that have existed — in theory, if not always in practice — for decades. The cost of these efforts, if they remain unchecked, may be the American public’s ability to hold its government accountable.

***

The government acknowledged that it possessed mug shots, videos depicting forcible extractions of al-Qahtani from his cell and videos documenting various euphemistically termed “intelligence debriefings of al-Qahtani.” It argued that all of these images were properly classified and withheld from the public — but not because they would reveal sensitive intelligence methods, the traditional justification for classifying such information. The government did not stake its case on this time-tested argument perhaps because the details of al-Qahtani’s interrogations have been officially disclosed through agency reports and congressional hearings. Instead, the government argued that the images could be shielded from disclosure because the Taliban and associated forces have previously used photos of U.S. forces “interacting with detainees” to garner support for attacks against those forces. Even more broadly, the government asserted that disclosure could aid in the “recruitment and financing of extremists and insurgent groups.”

***

The government’s argument echoed a similar claim it made in a lawsuit earlier this year over a FOIA request for postmortem photographs of Osama bin Laden. A CIA official attested that these images could “aid the production of anti-American propaganda,” noting that images of abuse at Abu Ghraib had been “very effective” in helping Al-Qaeda to recruit supporters and raise funds. The appeals court did not address this argument, however, resting its decision on the narrower ground that these particular images were likely to incite immediate violence.

The judge in al-Qahtani’s case showed no such restraint. She held that the photos and videos were properly classified because “it (is) both logical and plausible that extremists would utilize images of al-Qahtani … to incite anti-American sentiment, to raise funds, and/or to recruit other loyalists.” When CCR pointed out that this result was speculative, the judge responded that “it is bad law and bad policy to second-guess the predictive judgments made by the government’s intelligence agencies.” In short, the government may classify information, not because that information reveals tactical or operational secrets but because the conduct it reveals could in theory anger existing enemies or create new ones.

This approach is alarming in part because it has no limiting principle. The reasons why people choose to align themselves against the United States — or any other country — are nearly as numerous and varied as the people themselves. Our support for Israel is considered a basis for enmity by some. May the government classify the aid we provide to other nations? May it classify our trade policies on the basis that they may breed resentment among the populations of some countries, thus laying the groundwork for future hostile relations? May it classify our history of involvement in armed conflicts across the globe because that history may function as “anti-American propaganda” in some quarters?

Perhaps even more disturbing, this justification for secrecy will be strongest when the U.S. government’s conduct most clearly violates accepted international norms. Evidence of human rights abuses against foreign nationals, for instance, is particularly likely to spark hostility abroad. Indeed, the judge in the al-Qahtani FOIA case noted that “the written record of (al-Qahtani’s) torture may make it all the more likely that enemy forces would use al-Qahtani’s image against the United States” — citing this fact as a reason to uphold classification.

Using the impropriety of the government’s actions as a justification for secrecy is the very antithesis of accountability. To prevent this very outcome, the executive orderthat governs classification forbids classifying a document to “conceal violations of law” or to “prevent embarrassment to a person, organization, or agency.” However, a federal judge in 2008 interpreted this provision to allow classification of information revealing misconduct if there is a valid security reason for the nondisclosure. Together, this ruling and the judge’s opinion in the al-Qahtani FOIA case eviscerate the executive order’s prohibition: The government can always argue that it classified evidence of wrongdoing because the information could be used as “anti-American propaganda” by our adversaries.

Human rights advocates cannot rely on al-Qahtani to tell us what the photos and videos would reveal. The government asserts that his own knowledge of what occurred at Guantánamo — knowledge he gained, not through privileged access to government documents but through his personal experience — is a state secret. The words that Guantánamo detainees speak, once transcribed by their attorneys, are “presumptively classified,” and the government determines which of those words, if any, may be released. Legally, the government may classify only information that is “owned by, produced by or for, or is under the control of the United States Government.” Because the detainees are under the government’s control, so, apparently, are the contents of their memory.

That’s why high-level CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou was prosecuted him for espionage after he blew the whistle on illegal CIA torture.*

Obviously, the government wants to stop whistleblowers because they interfere with the government’s ability to act in an unaccountable manner. As Glenn Greenwald writes:

It should not be difficult to understand why the Obama administration is so fixated on intimidating whistleblowers and going far beyond any prior administration – including those of the secrecy-obsessed Richard Nixon and George W Bush – to plug all leaks. It’s because those methods are the only ones preventing the US government from doing whatever it wants in complete secrecy and without any accountability of any kind.

But whistleblowers also interfere with the government’s ability to get away with hypocrisy.  As two political science professors from George Washington University (Henry Farrell and Martha Finnemore) show, the government is so hell-bent to punish Manning and Snowden because their leaks are putting an end to the ability of the US to use hypocrisy as a weapon:

The U.S. establishment has often struggled to explain exactly why these leakers [Manning, Snowden, etc.] pose such an enormous threat.

***

The deeper threat that leakers such as Manning and Snowden pose is more subtle than a direct assault on U.S. national security: they undermine Washington’s ability to act hypocritically and get away with itTheir danger lies not in the new information that they reveal but in the documented confirmation they provide of what the United States is actually doing and why. When these deeds turn out to clash with the government’s public rhetoric, as they so often do, it becomes harder for U.S. allies to overlook Washington’s covert behavior and easier for U.S. adversaries to justify their own.

***

As the United States finds itself less able to deny the gaps between its actions and its words, it will face increasingly difficult choices — and may ultimately be compelled to start practicing what it preaches. Hypocrisy is central to Washington’s soft power — its ability to get other countries to accept the legitimacy of its actions — yet few Americans appreciate its role.

***

American commitments to the rule of law, democracy, and free trade are embedded in the multilateral institutions that the country helped establish after World War II, including the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations, and later the World Trade Organization. Despite recent challenges to U.S. preeminence, from the Iraq war to the financial crisis, the international order remains an American one. This system needs the lubricating oil of hypocrisy to keep its gears turning.

***

Of course, the United States has gotten away with hypocrisy for some time now. It has long preached the virtues of nuclear nonproliferation, for example, and has coerced some states into abandoning their atomic ambitions. At the same time, it tacitly accepted Israel’s nuclearization and, in 2004, signed a formal deal affirming India’s right to civilian nuclear energy despite its having flouted the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty by acquiring nuclear weapons. In a similar vein, Washington talks a good game on democracy, yet it stood by as the Egyptian military overthrew an elected government in July, refusing to call a coup a coup. Then there’s the “war on terror”: Washington pushes foreign governments hard on human rights but claims sweeping exceptions for its own behavior when it feels its safety is threatened.

***

Manning’s and Snowden’s leaks mark the beginning of a new era in which the U.S. government can no longer count on keeping its secret behavior secret. Hundreds of thousands of Americans today have access to classified documents that would embarrass the country if they were publicly circulated. As the recent revelations show, in the age of the cell-phone camera and the flash drive, even the most draconian laws and reprisals will not prevent this information from leaking out. As a result, Washington faces what can be described as an accelerating hypocrisy collapse — a dramatic narrowing of the country’s room to maneuver between its stated aspirations and its sometimes sordid pursuit of self-interest. The U.S. government, its friends, and its foes can no longer plausibly deny the dark side of U.S. foreign policy and will have to address it head-on.

***

The era of easy hypocrisy is over.

Professors Farrell and Finnemore note that the government has several options for dealing with ongoing leaks.  They conclude that the best would be for the government to actually do what it says.

What a novel idea …

* Note: That may be why Guantanamo is really being kept open, and even prisoners that the U.S. government admits are innocent are still being blocked from release: to cover up the widespread torture by keeping the evidence – the prisoners themselves – in a dungeon away from the light of day.

 

 

Silver vs. Fiat Currencies & The Debt Ceiling Delusion : SRSrocco Report

Silver vs. Fiat Currencies & The Debt Ceiling Delusion : SRSrocco Report. (source)

Silver vs. Fiat Currencies & The Debt Ceiling Delusion

As the U.S. Government continues to waste time debating over the “Debt Ceiling Delusion”, the death of the fiat monetary system grows closer.  Since 2000, the value of gold and silver have increased substantially compared to the world’s fiat currencies.

Silver vs Fiat Currencies

According to GoldSilver.com article, Race to Debase 2000 – 2013 Q3 Fiat Currencies vs. Gold & Silverfiat currency has lost on average of 78.16% of its value compared to silver.

You can check and see which currencies have lost the most of their value compared to silver and gold at the link above.  Below is only part of the table which includes 120 fiat currencies from around the globe:

Table Silver vs Fiat Currencies

If you had purchased silver in South Africa in 2000, it would be worth 563% more today.  We can see also why the Vietnamese have been buying the precious metals as silver is worth 519% more today than it was in 2000.

The world is now in the last stages of the Fiat Monetary System.  The debate on the U.S. Debt Ceiling is masquerading the fact that there is no solution or remedy except a grand collapse of the financial system.

Mike Maloney explains in this brief video how there is always much more debt than available currency in existence to pay back the debt:

 

Video Link Here:  Why The Debt Ceiling is Impossible – It’s a Delusion

This is also a preview of Episode 4 of the series, Hidden Secrets of Money which I highly recommend watching the full version when it is released shortly.

Gold & Silver Will Be Much More than Stores of Value

As I have mentioned in prior articles, many precious metal analysts believe gold and silver are either “Insurance” or “Stores of Value” rather than investments.  They believe that the precious metals should be held as insurance against the collapse of currency or governments, while others believe that it will retain a store of value against inflation and etc.

While I believe these are valid reasons to own gold and silver, they fail to address the energy issues going forward and their impact on the monetary metals.  The Dollar was able to survive for another 3+ decades after gold and silver peaked in 1980, due to a rising global energy supply.

A Fiat Monetary System based on fractional reserve and compound interest needs a growing energy supply to survive.  Peak Oil should have already come and gone several years ago, however massive amounts of new debt allowed non-commercial oil deposits to be extracted.

Even though shale oil production from the Bakken in North Dakota has provided a great deal of oil to the United States, it has come at cost.  According to Rune Likvern of Fractional Flow, his estimated cumulative net cash flow of the Shale Oil producers in the Bakken is now at a Negative $16 billion.

July 2013 Estimated Net Cash Flow Bakken

The Red area of the chart shows the estimated cumulative net cash flow and the black bars represent the monthly net cash flow.  Thus, the shale oil companies in the Bakken had to acquire an estimated $16 billion of additional funding not providing by their operations alone.

Unfortunately, unconventional oil resources such as Shale oil and gas will not be able to allow “Business as Usual” in the world to continue as the costs are greater than what consumers can afford to pay.

This is indeed the reason why we have been witnessing the “Great Shale Energy Hype” by the oil industry and official institutions.  Without shale oil or gas, the Fiat Monetary System would have more than likely died a few years ago.

Gold and silver will become excellent investments as they will be the GO TO ASSETS as most others will become increasingly worthless as the global energy supply peaks and declines.  Furthermore, it may not be prudent to switch out of the majority of ones gold and silver investments and into other asset classes when the GREAT REVALUATION OCCURS.

I will explain why in more detail in the future.  However, most Real Estate values on average will decline substantially in a peak energy environment.  Real Estate in selected areas and regions will do better than others.  Moreover, warehouse and commercial real estate will suffer significantly as the market will deal with decades of overbuilding on top of dwindling demand.

Very few realize just how much a peak energy environment will affect the economy and their investments going forward.  The SRSrocco Report will provide information and updates on how energy will impact the precious metals, mining and overall economy.

 

The Coming Great American Foreclosure | project chesapeake

The Coming Great American Foreclosure | project chesapeake. (source)

Prior to 1913 the U.S. treasury issued treasury notes as currency that was backed by gold. The Gold and Silver certificates could be converted into silver and gold on demand. This kept the government on a financial leash to prevent over spending. The treasury printed its own money so they did not have to borrow it. They could print as much money as they had gold to back it.

In 1913 a non-elected body called the Federal Reserve, which is owned by some of the largest banks in the world, became the issuer of U.S. currency. This establishment went on to replace all of the sound money in the U.S. with what is today a totally fiat currency. In 1971 we were taken off of the gold standard thus allowing the FED to print as much money as they wished with absolutely no backing other than the good faith of the U.S. Government.

When the government wants to borrow money they print treasury bonds which are sold by selected traders. The bonds are sold as an interest bearing investment. The more credit worthy the issuer is, the lower the interest rate will be. This is an indication of how safe the bond is.

Just like an IOU, the bonds are the same as cash. The perception of cash value is based on the perceived ability of the issuer to repay the IOU. If it is suspected that the IOU may not be honored, it may be sold at a discount to unload it onto someone else before the issuer defaults on repayment and it becomes worthless.

When the demand for bonds is not sufficient to absorb all of the new bonds, the FED must buy them to prevent a failed auction. A failed auction would bring the credit worthiness of the U.S. into question. This would cause the interest rates to go up to reflect the increased risk.

When the U.S. issues bonds as repayment for the loan, the holders of these bonds have the ability to call the loan if they want. This is done by demanding payment at maturity of the bond rather than rolling it over into more bonds.

As the U.S. increases its’ deficit spending, its’ credit worthiness will come into question. This will cause those holding U.S. bonds to dump them for something more secure. When no one else will buy them anymore, the FED must purchase them to keep the dollar stable. We are seeing this happen now. Eventually the FED will own all of the outstanding bonds if the crisis goes on long enough. When the FED has to buy bonds it must print new money to buy them. This is called monetizing the debt. This is very inflationary.

Keep in mind that the FED is owned by other banks. What the FED owns, they actually own.

Since the U.S. government no longer prints its’ own money, it must go to the FED to get more currency if government revenues are insufficient. If the FED should one day say it will no longer issue currency to the government until the bonds it is holding are satisfied, what would the U.S. government be able to pay them with? If you borrow money from a bank and cannot repay it, they ultimately come for your assets to satisfy the loan. That is a lesson the Greeks are now learning.

The U.S. government has some very nice assets in the form of pristine real estate, much of it with a great deal of mineral wealth beneath it. If they cannot pay the banks, the bankers may demand assets in return. If you don’t think the banks would do something like that, you obviously have not been paying attention to world events lately. It may not even be the FED bankers. It could be anyone with the funds to buy up all of the worthless bonds. Someone like the IMF perhaps.

This is a larger version of what happened during the great depression. People that owned land but had no money would get a line of credit at a store to buy food. The store would continue to extend credit until it reached a certain level then they would suddenly demand payment. The people were unable to pay their bill so the store owner would demand their land as payment. This was the intention of the store owner all along. I know because this is how some of the largest farms in my county came into existence at that time.

The people never agreed to use their land as collateral for the credit, but after the debt was created, they had no other recourse. This is the position the U.S. will likely be placed in to deprive Americans of the land the rightfully own. Those in power that get a piece of the pie will willingly support this option. Americans will lose the land their forefathers fought for, all for a pile of worthless paper printed out of thin air that ultimately destroyed their standard of living.

This may not be the future of this country but at this point in time it seems likely. Unless the public understands how this could happen and resolve to fight it if it ever does come to pass, we could lose it all overnight. One thing is for certain. Whoever comes to foreclose on America will not be willing to give up easily.

 

Another One Trillion Dollars ($1,000,000,000,000) In Debt

Another One Trillion Dollars ($1,000,000,000,000) In Debt. (source)

Did you know that the U.S. national debt has increased by more than a trillion dollars in just over 12 months?  On September 30th, 2012 the U.S. national debt was sitting at$16,066,241,407,385.89.  Today, it is up to $17,075,590,107,963.57.  These numbers come directly from official U.S. government websites and can easily be verified.  For a long time the national debt was stuck at just less than 16.7 trillion dollars because of the debt ceiling fight, but now that the debt ceiling crisis has been delayed for a few months the national debt is soaring once again.  In fact, just one day after the deal in Congress was reached, the U.S. national debt rose by an astounding 328 billion dollars.  In the blink of an eye we shattered the 17 trillion dollar mark with no end in sight.  We are stealing about $100,000,000 from our children and our grandchildren every single hour of every single day.  This goes on 24 hours a day, month after month, year after year without any interruption.

Over the past five years, the U.S. government has been on the greatest debt binge in history.  Unfortunately, most Americans don’t realize just how bad things have gotten because the true budget deficit numbers are not reported on the news.  The following is where the U.S. national debt has been on September 30th during the five years previous to this one…

09/30/2012: $16,066,241,407,385.89

09/30/2011: $14,790,340,328,557.15

09/30/2010: $13,561,623,030,891.79

09/30/2009: $ 11,909,829,003,511.75

09/30/2008: $10,024,724,896,912.49

The U.S. national debt is now 37 times larger than it was 40 years ago, and we are on pace to accumulate more new debt under the 8 years of the Obama administration than we did under all of the other presidents in U.S. history combined.

Of course all of the blame can’t be placed at the feet of Obama.  During the last two elections the American people have given the Republicans a solid majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the government cannot spent a single penny without their approval.

Unfortunately, House Speaker John Boehner and the Republicans that are allied with him have repeatedly turned their backs on the people that gave the Republicans the majority and they have authorized trillions of dollars of new debt which will be passed on to future generations of Americans…

Since John Boehner became speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives on Jan. 5, 2011, the debt of the federal government has increased by $3,064,063,380,067.72. That is more than the total federal debt accumulated in the first 200 years of the U.S. Congress–during the terms of the first 48 speakers of the House.

In fact, if all of that debt had been given directly to the American people, every household in America would have been able to buy a new truck

The $26,722 in new debt per household accumulated under Speaker Boehner would have been more than enough to buy every household in the United States a minivan or pickup truck–or to pay three years of in-state tuition (not counting room and board) at the typical state college.

Sometimes we forget just how much money a trillion dollars is.  In aprevious article, I included some illustrations that I believe are helpful…

-If you were alive when Jesus Christ was born and you spent one million dollars every single day since that point, you still would not have spent one trillion dollars by now.

-If right this moment you went out and started spending one dollar every single second, it would take you more than 31,000 years to spend one trillion dollars.

We are doing the exact same thing that Greece did, only on a much larger scale.  What we are doing is not even close to sustainable, and it will inevitably end very, very badly.  The following is what Michael Pento, the president of Pento Portfolio Strategies, told RT the other day…

“That $17 trillion everybody says its 107 percent of GDP, that’s true. But who really cares about the percentage of GDP? It’s the percentage of the debt as a percentage of the revenue – its 700 percent of our revenue. Deficits are growing at 30 percent of our revenue every year added to the deficits we have already. So it’s unsustainable. What is going to happen eventually – a currency and bond market collapse! And it’s not going out 20 years, as I also heard someone mention. In 2016 we’ll probably be spending 40 percent of all of our revenue just to service our debt. That is what the interest payments will equal.”

The U.S. debt situation is so bad that even the Prime Minister of Cyprus is scolding us…

“The U.S. has been fortunate in the sense that it’s like a bank, it prints the money that other people accept. So you can live beyond your means over an extended period of time without being punished by the market.”

Unfortunately, we will not be able to live way beyond our means forever.  Reality is going to catch up with us at some point.

Right now, the rest of the world is lending us giant mountains of money at interest rates that are far below the real rate of inflation.  This is extremely irrational behavior, and this state of affairs will probably not last too much longer.

But if interest rates go up, it will absolutely cripple the U.S. economy.  For much more on this, please see this article.

And what would make things much, much worse is if the rest of the globe starts moving away from using the U.S. dollar.  At the moment, the U.S. dollar is the de facto reserve currency of the planet and this creates a tremendous demand for U.S. dollars and U.S. debt.

If that changes, it will be absolutely catastrophic for the United States, and unfortunately there are already lots of signs that this is already starting to happen.  I wrote about this in my recent article entitled “9 Signs That China Is Making A Move Against The U.S. Dollar“.

But don’t just take my word for it.  Just a couple of days ago a major U.K. newspaper came to the same conclusions…

China has overtaken the US as the world’s largest oil importer and goods trading nation. Over the next five years, it will surpass the rest of the world combined in its consumption of base metals.

Given the scale of the country’s consumption of fossil fuels and raw materials, it is only a matter of time before the renminbi replaces the dollar as the primary currency for trading commodities and resources such as crude oil and iron ore.

The debt ceiling farce in Washington and China’sgrowing reluctance to continue underwriting the US economy by buying up its bonds and adding to America’s near $17 trillion (£10.5 trillion) debt mountain suggests that this tectonic shift in the global trade system could be just around the corner.

So what will happen when the rest of the world decides that they don’t need to use our dollars or buy our debt any longer?

At that point the consequences of decades of incredibly foolish decisions will result in an avalanche of economic pain that the American people are not prepared for.

Earlier today, I came across a photograph that perfectly captures what America is heading for.  The following photo of Mt. Rushmore crying has not been photoshopped.  It was taken by Megan Ahrens and it was posted on the Tea Party Command Center.  If George Washington was alive today, this is probably exactly how he would feel about the nation that he helped establish…

Mt. Rushmore Crying

 

China’s Dagong Downgrades US To A- From A | Zero Hedge

China’s Dagong Downgrades US To A- From A | Zero Hedge. (source)

Since all US rating agencies (Fitch is majority French-owned) have been terrified into submission and will never again touch the rating of the US following the DOJ’s witch hunt of S&P, any US rating changes on the margin will come from abroad. Like China’s Dagong rating agency, which several hours ago just downgraded the US from A to A-, maintaining its negative outlook. The agency said that while a default has been averted by a last minute agreement in Congress, the fundamental situation of debt growth outpacing fiscal income and GDP remains unchanged. “Hence the government is still approaching the verge of default crisis, a situation that cannot be substantially alleviated in the foreseeable future.”

Among the other Dagong zingers:

  • The partial U.S. federal government shutdown apparently highlights the deterioration of the government’s solvency, pushing the sovereign debts into a crisis status.
  • Since the outbreak of the U.S. debt crisis in 2008, the deviation between the federal government’s sources of debt repayments and the country’s real wealth creation capacity has been constantly broadened. The huge amount of government debts that lack the basis of repayment always stands on the brink of default, and this situation is difficult to change in the long term. The federal government debt stock increased by 60.7% between 2008 and 2012 when the nominal GDP increased by only 8.5% while the fiscal income decreased by 2.9%, which indicates that fiscal income is losing its means as the primary source of debt repayments.
  • Liquidity has been continuously injected into international financial markets from the U.S., which indirectly plays a key role in combating against the risk of government default. This implicit debt default behavior infringes upon the benefits of creditors.
  • The debt ceiling has been extended continually, increasing the total amount of the federal government debts. In order to avoid the sovereign debt default, it becomes an inevitable choice for the U.S. government to repay its old debts through raising new debts. The fact that the debts grow faster than the fiscal incomes will further impair the federal government’s solvency.
  • The Democrats and the Republicans of U.S. do not have a consistent strategy target to solving the sovereign debt problem.

To be sure a Chinese rating agency is just that, Chinese, and its opinions are rooted in nationalistic pride as much as S&P and Moody’s AAA take on the housing bubble in 2005-2007 were rooted in mathematical logic, but the implications of this latest shot across the bow by the country which last weekend said the time has come to strip the dollar of its reserve currency status, are clear. And, at its core, Dagong is correct: because all the US really has done is kick the can for another three months, something the domestic rating agencies would also admit if they were not terrified of expressing the truth.

The logic in the full Dagong release below is self-evident:

Dagong Downgrades the U.S. Sovereign Credit Ratings to A-

On October 16, 2013 EST, the U.S. Congress approves the resolution to end the partial government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling. By such means the U.S. Federal Government can avoid the default crisis for the moment. However the fundamental situation that the debt growth rate significantly outpaces that of fiscal income and GDP remains unchanged. For a long time the U.S. government maintains its solvency by repaying its old debts through raising new debts, which constantly aggravates the vulnerability of the federal government’s solvency. Hence the government is still approaching the verge of default crisis, a situation that cannot be substantially alleviated in the foreseeable future. In light of these facts, Dagong Global Credit Rating Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as “Dagong”) decides to downgrade the local and foreign currency credit ratings of the U. S., which has already been on the negative watch list, to A- from A, maintaining a negative outlook. The rationale that supports the conclusion is as follows:

1. The partial U.S. federal government shutdown apparently highlights the deterioration of the government’s solvency, pushing the sovereign debts into a crisis status. The U.S. federal government announced its shutdown on Oct. 1, 2013, a radical event that reflects the liquidity shortage aroused by depleting stock of debts without the increase of new debts, directly resulting in the federal government lack of the funds for its normal function. The partial U.S. government shutdown is an inevitable outcome of its long-term failure to pay its excessive debts. During the fiscal years from 2008 to 2012, the ratio of the federal government’s stock of debts to fiscal income increased from 4.0 to 6.6. Under such circumstances, the federal government that can hardly sustain its own expenses, not mentioning collecting reliable income to cover its huge amount of debts. Substantial decrease of the U.S. government’s solvency is proven by this shutdown incident, which pushes the federal government into a crisis position of debt cliff and default.

2. Since the outbreak of the U.S. debt crisis in 2008, the deviation between the federal government’s sources of debt repayments and the country’s real wealth creation capacity has been constantly broadened. The huge amount of government debts that lack the basis of repayment always stands on the brink of default, and this situation is difficult to change in the long term. The federal government debt stock increased by 60.7% between 2008 and 2012 when the nominal GDP increased by only 8.5% while the fiscal income decreased by 2.9%,which indicates that fiscal income is losing its means as the primary source of debt repayments. Because of the fact that the federal government now depends highly on borrowing new debts to repay its old ones, vulnerability of its debt chain is accumulated so that technically debt default may occur at any time. For the fundamentals of government debt repayment condition will not be essentially improved, the federal government’s debt cliff will persist in the long term.

3. Liquidity has been continuously injected into international financial markets from the U.S., which indirectly plays a key role in combating against the risk of government default. This implicit debt default behavior infringes upon the benefits of creditors. In order to avoid the debt default caused by the lack of debt repayment sources such as fiscal incomes, the U.S. government has been taking advantage of the international currency dominance of the U.S. dollar to monetize its debts and has been taking quantitative easing monetary policy to maintain its government solvency since 2008. The devaluation of the stock of debts hereby directly damages the creditors’ interests. Dagong estimates that the depreciation of the U.S. dollar caused a loss of USD628.5bn on foreign creditors over the years of 2008 to 2012.

4. The debt ceiling has been extended continually, increasing the total amount of the federal government debts. In order to avoid the sovereign debt default, it becomes an inevitable choice for the U.S. government to repay its old debts through raising new debts. The fact that the debts grow faster than the fiscal incomes will further impair the federal government’s solvency. Ever since Obama’s inauguration in 2009, the U.S. Congress has extended the debt ceiling for five times, reaching a total volume of USD5.1tn. This further raise of the debt ceiling shows the government’s incapability of improving its solvency by improving the basic economic and fiscal elements.

5. The Democrats and the Republicans of U.S. do not have a consistent strategy target to solving the sovereign debt problem. As the issue of paying sovereign debts falls into a tool that the parties make use of to realize their own interests, the political environment is unfavorable for eliminating the risk of its sovereign debt default in the long term. The recurrence of the bi-partisan conflict over debt ceiling once again reveals the U.S. superstructure’s incapacity to solve national debt crisis. A debt crisis evolves into a political crisis, which in turn exacerbates the debt crisis. Such political
environment over debt repayment renders the dim and pale prospect of the U.S. federal government’s solvency.

 

 

What China Thinks of the Shutdown | China Power | The Diplomat

What China Thinks of the Shutdown | China Power | The Diplomat. (FULL ARTICLE)

In the midst of a domestic crisis, it is easy to forget that the rest of the world is watching. Now that the U.S. federal government has shut down for the first time since the mid 1990s, the talk of the town is the political problems of the world’s largest economy and sole superpower. In China, most media reports about the shutdown have been merely informative, but every now and then they offer a rare insight into what the Chinese have learned about America’s shortcomings.

“As far as the Chinese populace is concerned, the government shutdown is like the Arabian Nights,” writesWang Xuejing of Hong Kong Daily News. Evidently, for the citizens of a totalitarian state, the prospect of a government shutdown seems otherworldly. The newspaper Qilu Wanbao complains, “To us, far on the other side of the ocean, the information appears contradictory. Some say Americans are furious […] Some say [everyday] life remains unchanged. Have or haven’t Americans been affected by the federal shutdown?”

The notion of a government shutdown is strange for the average Chinese person because its consequences in the People’s Republic would go far beyond closed federal agencies and parks. In mainland China, and increasingly Hong Kong, every school and every agency (national and local) answers to a party minder. Banking and internet traffic are also closely monitored by Beijing. Should the party overseers be absent one day, many organizations crucial to China’s social structure would suddenly find themselves without official guidance. The effects of such an abrupt and unfamiliar decentralization are impossible to predict….

 

Central Planning, Lying Career Politicians, and the US Ponzi Debt Scheme | Gains Pains & Capital

Central Planning, Lying Career Politicians, and the US Ponzi Debt Scheme | Gains Pains & Capital. (FULL ARTICLE)

The political class in Washington has failed to reach a deal. They are effectively playing a game of chicken with the markets to see who blinks first. As usual, there are plenty of lies and spin swirling around this situation.

The US Treasury has stated it will run out of cash on October 17.

This in of itself is a strange claim as technically we hit the debt limit back in May and have been resorting to “extraordinary” measures since then. I don’t recall anyone in at the Treasury talking about the importance of the “debt ceiling” then, do you?

Secondly, the Government has effectively been running a Ponzi scheme with our debt for the greater part of 20 years. Over $5.7 trillion of our debt is owned by the Federal Government, ($2.1 trillion is owned by the Fed, $2.6 trillion is owned by Social Security, and over $1 trillion is owned by various Federal Retirement entities).

Indeed, the single largest owner of US debt is not in fact China, but our own Government. We’ve been running this kind of scheme for over 20 years.

Now this is not to say that a debt ceiling breach or a possible default on some payments are NOT huge issues. What I am saying is that the US Government can shuffle money around just as it has for the last 20 years to insure that we meet our debt obligations….

 

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