Archive for November, 2009

Paul Craig Roberts on The Alex Jones Show :The Ugly Truth

Posted in Alex Jones, economic tyranny, Economy, International Bankers, New World Order, Police State/Martial Law, The Federal Reserve, Thoughts, Unconstitutional with tags , , , , , on November 29, 2009 by truthwillrise

 

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Legendary Financial Historian Ed Griffin on the Economic Crisis, the Monetary Elite and the Future of the Internet

Posted in economic tyranny, Economy, Fiat Currency, International Bankers, New World Order, News, The Federal Reserve with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 29, 2009 by truthwillrise

 


G. Edward Griffin

 

Guest Interview

11/29/2009 – with Scott Smith

The editors of the Daily Bell are pleased to publish an exclusive follow-up interview with legendary hard-money historian G. Edward Griffin who has much to say about the economic crisis, the mood of the monetary elite and the effect of the Internet on freedom.

Introduction: Mr. Griffin is a distinguished film producer, author and political lecturer. He is the founder of Freedom Force International, a libertarian-oriented activist network focused on advancing individual freedom. First released in 1994, Mr. Griffin’s best-selling financial book, The Creature from Jekyll Island, is a no-holds-barred look into the inner workings of the Federal Reserve banking system, or cartel if you will. Mr. Griffin peels back the layers of obstruction to rational analysis and leads the reader on a wonderfully researched, although disturbing, journey from the very beginning, when the Fed was still in the planning stages, up to the present, where it is now struggling to survive. For many years, the editors of the Daily Bell have been avid readers of Mr. Griffin’s tremendous literary contributions on free markets and personal liberty. His insights are especially noteworthy given the validity of his vision and the exciting and troublesome nature of the times in which we live.

Daily Bell: Has the stimulus helped? Why or why not?

Griffin: Has the stimulus helped? I guess the question is has the stimulus helped whom? Or What? The general idea is that the stimulus is supposed to stimulate the American economy and help the American people and in that I don’t believe that there is any reason to think that it has helped at all. I don’t think it was really designed to do that at all. It was designed to be sold that way but I don’t think that anyone in Washington thought that it would actually accomplish the end objective. Now I suppose that some people did think so, I would have to backtrack on that, there are some collectivists that believe the government can solve all problems, that the government can take everything from the citizens and redistribute it back to them in a more efficient manner. There are people like that out there and they thought the stimulus package would help. Surely everybody understands that the money that is being spent is coming out of the pockets of the very people it is supposed to help.

Daily Bell: From the central banking mechanism?

Griffin: Yes, the government doesn’t have this money. The government is spending this money but they don’t have this money, and the paradox there is that they are not collecting it from taxes but they are just creating it out of nothing. They are using the Federal Reserve mechanism to create this money out of nothing, push it into the economy and then that results in inflation. The cost of it is born by everybody but it is usually born mostly by the people at the bottom of the economic scale who will feel the effects of inflation the most.

Daily Bell: Modern governments are supposed to take care of the poor, but often it doesn’t work that way.

Griffin: The very wealthy don’t suffer too much from the effects of inflation and the upper middle class get by OK, but the bottom part of the middle class and those who are on limited incomes have a real tough time with inflation. So I am saying the cost of all these stimulus packages are falling on the very people who are supposedly to be helped and not only that, the benefit is not going to those people at all but to the politically favored class, those who are in government jobs or government contracts with the government. It is going to the banks, going to the insurance companies, the big corporations – all who have strong lobbying influence with Washington. The money is coming from the middle and lower class and going to the politically favored class. So is it helping? It is helping the politically favored class a lot, it is helping the politicians a lot because they can posture and grandstand and say we are doing something, we are taking charge here. So it is helping them. But as for helping the economy or the people at large, it is a miserable failure.

Daily Bell: Are we headed toward price inflation?

Griffin: I think we are going to see some continued deflation in the economy, particularly in the bubble sectors. These markets had a long way to contract and I don’t think they are finished. However, it is inevitable that we are going to see price inflation and lots of it. Probably hyper-inflation because the only thing these people in Washington know is how to print more money which almost inevitably leads to higher prices.

Daily Bell: Isn’t price inflation already in the system?

Griffin: Of course it is, particularly in cost of living sectors – food, education and healthcare. Things people have to deal with every day. We are already are seeing price inflation there.

Daily Bell: Price inflation, which inevitably results from the printing of money. …

Griffin: What is interesting when you have a complete understanding about this, is to realize that while they are creating tremendous amounts of money out of nothing and pouring it into the economy through the politically favored class, as I mentioned earlier, at the same time a tremendous amount of money is dropping out of the system at the bottom because of the collapse of real estate values, the loss of savings, the writing off of bad loans, mortgages or writing off a $20k or $30k credit card bill or whatever the debt is. And eventually they go into bankruptcy court and they are cleared of that debt, that money literally goes out of existence.

Daily Bell: So inflation – which is actually the quantity of money – is evening out for the moment?

Griffin: With the fiat money system, money comes in and out of existence and people sometimes forget that fact. So in these economic downturn times, a lot of money is disappearing and at the same time is appearing at the top. The thing to keep your eye on is where the money is going out of the system. It’s coming out of the middle class. These are the people that have lost their savings, have lost the equity in their homes. They have lost all the money that they thought they had in the way of assets, a lot of it anyway. So we see there is money going out and at the same time there is money coming in. It is a transfer of wealth. The wealthy, because of the political connections, are making more and more money and the middle class is literally being squeezed. These guys at the top hope to squeeze these middle guys out of existence.

Daily Bell: Is the power elite running scared?

Griffin: I wouldn’t say they are running scared. I think they are cautious. I think things are unfolding pretty much the way they had anticipated all along. I think these people are smart enough to realize that as we come closer and closer to their New World Order, as they like to call it, the system is becoming more and more a command economy rather than a free market.

Daily Bell: But aren’t people waking up?

Griffin: There is a lot of upheaval going on. I think there is anticipation that there is a lot of waking up going on. But I think they have been preparing for that. I think they are cautious, but I think they fully expect to contain that or possibly turn it to their advantage. For example, if they could encourage rebellion, revolts and riots, that would provide the excuse for martial law. I think the motivation behind their equipping police forces and national guard units with crowd control weapons and the reason they have been building these massive FEMA concentration camps all around the country, is their anticipation of the need for a final crackdown.

Daily Bell: Has the Internet contributed to elite setbacks?

Griffin: I think the Internet has been the most powerful force to set back the plans of the power elite. They hate the Internet, they hate the free exchange of information. You can see the impact all around the world. The totalitarian systems are moving heaven and earth in order to regulate and restrict the free use of the Internet. They want to control it. They can control it. And they are working very hard as we speak to maneuver the legislation so that they will control it.

Daily Bell: How are they going about it?

Griffin: They are trying to sell it to the average person as a good move for the public. They are trying to convince people that if the government doesn’t control the Internet then we will have pornography, people will have their privacy stolen, children will be abused. A lot of people don’t really understand the real issues. They say “oh yeah, naturally we need more and more regulation on the Internet.”

Daily Bell: This is being done independently by governments?

Griffin: Actually, there is a movement afoot for the United Nations to control the Internet. The idea is that international control would be fairer than what we’ve got now, which is a good deal of American control. Of course, most countries don’t make any pretense of respecting individual rights or free-speech. They are totalitarian in nature. The whole world is filled with dictatorships of one kind or another, and these people have no respect for human rights or freedom of speech. You can be sure that if the United Nations winds up in control that the free exchange of information that the whole thing will come to a shuttering stop!

Daily Bell: Not a pleasant thought. But meanwhile, the power elite has other things to occupy itself with. Is it fair to say that the fiat money system is broken beyond repair?

Griffin: No, the fiat money system is all that the world has right now. Of course, it is not working well at all and thus there has been talk of a new monetary system – one that might possibly be backed a little bit by gold or silver. But that’s what they always say to sell it in the early stages. If you look at the people who are making these statements, the Western world leaders, they are enemies of gold and silver. They love fiat money. They want to control it because it’s a means of strengthening their hand over the people. Fiat money is not dead by any means.

Daily Bell: Is there more unrest in the West than the mainstream media suggests?

Griffin: Good question, I don’t know that I am qualified to answer that. My contacts indicate that there is a lot of unrest when you get out beyond informed groups to the people who make up the bulk of the population. But it’s unrest that is not knowledgeable; it’s not based on information.

Daily Bell: What is the trigger, then?

Griffin: It’s based on emotion and envy and anger and I am afraid that that kind of unrest can be used to bring about the very opposite of what we need in this world. If you can manipulate the mobs into being angry, say for example, at capitalism, then you can end up with something even worse.

Daily Bell: Yes, that’s why change has to be non-violent.

Griffin: And it has to be knowledgeable. It’s not knowledgeable to say the banks are failing and therefore capitalism has failed, so let’s try socialism. What’s left out of that argument is that the banks are not functioning within a free-market system. The banks in the world today are a prime example of collectivism. They are in bed with the government. They couldn’t exist without government favoritism and government monopoly. The banks and the government are practically one in the same. That’s not capitalism, that’s not free enterprise competition. But the masses have been told that that is capitalism. So when the collectivist system goes belly up, as it periodically does, then those who are misled can get angry at capitalism, which is the wrong target. I worry about that kind of rising resentment and anger in the world because it is not based on facts.

Daily Bell: Yet understanding of free-markets has taken off in the last decade, thanks to the Internet in large part.

Griffin: Funny, I am thinking that there are two parts in my brain fighting against each other at the moment. On the one hand I want to say something very positive and encouraging because there certainly are strong signs of a growing movement for the free market. But when you look at who is still in charge of the world’s governments and institutions, it’s still a very small component of the larger scene.

Daily Bell: But it is growing? …

Griffin: Yes, it is definitely growing and I believe it has a solid base to it. In fact, I get a great deal of encouragement from that. We just have to keep the fire under it and I think as more and more people become upset with the collapse going on around them, they will honestly start looking for a new way. And thanks to the Internet, many are starting to realize that we haven’t had free-enterprise capitalism, we haven’t had free markets for many years. I’m encouraged by that, but we still have a long way to go.

Daily Bell: We compared the Internet to the Gutenberg press and said the results would be similar. Do you think so?

Griffin: I think that is a good analogy. The Gutenberg press made information available to the masses and the Internet has done the same. Good analogy, yes.

Daily Bell: We’ve spoken about some general threats to the freedom of the Internet. Will the current American administration be able to crack down on the Internet and censor its messages about free-markets and freedom in general?

Griffin: The current administration can do anything it wants to do. That is the answer to the question. They have the political power, the military power and the economic power. They own the economy and they control the military. And the media goes along with everything they want to do. I think they want a crack down, and will try, but they are going to need some kind of an excuse. They are going to need some kind of a major event to justify it.

Daily Bell: Will Ron Paul and his free-market message have an increasing impact on American politics?

Griffin: I believe he will, but I don’t know if it will be because of his personal involvement or this thing that we might call the Ron Paul phenomenon. Ron Paul generated this phenomenon because of his astoundingly excellent position on so many policies and because he ran as a candidate of a major political party which gave him visibility, which he would never have had, particularly with young people. Once that is started, it can’t be stopped really. Once the bell is rung it can’t be un-rung. So I think, even if Ron Paul is not personally involved in any more political movements, that the Ron Paul phenomenon is going to continue to grow.

Daily Bell: We think the conservative movement is desperate to co-opt the libertarian message and has launched a number of artificial candidates to do so including notably Sarah Palin. Agree?

Griffin: I agree that that is a strategy they have considered and would execute if they could. When it comes to particular candidates, I don’t know enough about them. Sarah Palin is very hard to pin down. I don’t know what her political philosophy is. And that worries me, because if someone is offering themselves for leadership, especially in these troubled times, they have to stand up and say what it is they believe in. I am talking about real principles and not just in terms of whether we should or shouldn’t drill oil. That’s an issue, and an interesting issue, but what are the principles, what is the ideology, what is the yardstick that will be used, the guidelines that will be used to make all the decisions that come down the line.

Daily Bell: She comes off as free-market oriented in some ways but not in others. Most notably her ongoing support for the military industrial complex is problematic.

Griffin: I don’t know what her philosophy is. But I have a feeling that what you said is absolutely correct, that they are going to package her as a quote “conservative” whatever that means. Certainly, they are going to package her as a constructive alternative to Obama. Yet when it comes to the real issues like the loss of American sovereignty, the abolition of the Federal Reserve System, important issues like that, we don’t know where she stands.

Daily Bell: We think the American intel establishment is launching more and more conspiratorial and pro-war Internet sites – ones that nonetheless feature free-market rhetoric – in order to confuse the public. Agree?

Griffin: I am not aware of them but it sounds like something they should do. If I was running their strategy, that is exactly what I would do. I don’t know what sites you would be referring to but I would expect that to be the case.

Daily Bell: Will the American establishment media ever get to the bottom of 9/11?

Griffin: The American establishment media will never get to the bottom of 9/11 because they are controlled by the same financial and political forces that seem in some sense responsible for 9/11. I am talking about that cluster of personalities on the Council of Foreign Relations and the people that circle around them. They are the ones that are really calling the shots, not only in the government, but also in the media, educational systems, foundations, etc. The media is as much a part of that group as the government. So I don’t expect to see the media break step with the official position of the government.

Daily Bell: Why did John Farmer, the 9/11 Commission lead litigator, recently come out with a book that basically accused the entire American military, political and industrial structure of lying about what happened on that terrible day?

Griffin: I don’t know, I have not read the book but I am guessing that it might be a kind of decoy to lead people away from the real issue. I suspect that it is part of a decoy. Make a half confession instead of a fuller one.

Daily Bell: Did you ever believe this sort of free-market movement would exist – as it evidently does – within your lifetime?

Griffin: I never questioned whether there would be a free market movement – I was determined to be part of it. That is much of the focus of my work. Yes I did expect to see it.

Daily Bell: Can you list some of your own notable accomplishments – outside of writing one of the best books ever on the Federal Reserve – in aiding this trend?

Griffin: As far as my own work is concerned, others would be better to evaluate how effective that was. I just keep chugging away as best I can.

Daily Bell: What do you believe will happen within the next ten years? Are you optimistic for free markets and freedom in the West and in particular in America?

Griffin: I divide my view into the short view of history and the long view. I have to be honest and say in the short run that I am very pessimistic. I believe that the forces that brought us to this situation are firmly in control of the systems of the world right now. I don’t think we are going to see a turn around in the short term.

Daily Bell: You are speaking of governmental forces?

Griffin: No, I’m not just talking about the political structures, but about the media centers and the educational systems and the labor unions, the church organizations. All the great power centers where people have their leaders and derive their opinions. Those are now all firmly in the hands of collectivists who have this single goal of establishing a new world order based on the model of collectivism.

Daily Bell: You see it as very pervasive.

Griffin: They are in charge. Anyone who thinks we are going to turn that around quickly, well, I don’t think he or she is being realistic. But that does not mean that the long view cannot be favorable. I’m much more optimistic in the longer term. There’s no way to stop this thing in my view. They can stop some of us, but they can’t stop all of us. The ideas cannot be stopped. Once people understand the truth, they are not ever going to easily forget it.

Daily Bell: You’ve done a great deal to help with that effort.

Griffin: All of us together are building a movement where an understanding of free-enterprise and free-markets is reaching the point of critical mass. People are passing the word. Books are being written. DVD’s are being distributed. Outside of the mainstream media, the Internet is having a powerful impact. The overall flow of information is pretty strong right now. It is going to take about two generations, in my opinion, but in the long run I see total victory for free markets and for personal freedom. I feel really good about that.

Daily Bell: From our point of view, the Middle Eastern wars are intended to spread Western-style collectivist democracy to the Islamic world. Has the West stumbled in its war against the Muslim religion (failure in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, etc.)?

Griffin: Have they stumbled? In my view, the conflict between the Western world and Islam is largely manufactured. There is no question that there are extreme groups within Islam, but my own research leads me to the conclusion that those are the very groups that have been fronted, aided and abetted by forces within America because they wanted to create an enemy – a dreaded foe to justify all the other schemes.

Daily Bell: The BBC, in a program last year came to a similar conclusion.

Griffin: Without an enemy, they cannot fight a war. Without a war, they cannot justify being in the Middle East. If they are not in the Middle East, they can’t control the oil and on and on you go.

Daily Bell: So … it’s at least partially manufactured?

Griffin: The war against Islam is manufactured and is actually a war that need not be. Did they fumble the war? No they created it! They created it and it is just a meme. They don’t want to win the war! They want to fight the war for ten years, twenty years, thirty years. They are not fumbling it. It is exactly what they want. It is not a question of winning or losing, it’s a question of just having it, prolonging it and using it as a means of scaring the daylights out of the American people and conditioning them to accept the loss of their freedom at home.

Daily Bell: Homeland Security is a dangerous institution in our opinion and one of the prime outcomes of 9/11. Do you see it being rolled back?

Griffin: I do not see it being rolled back under the present regime. It is not there because the American people wanted it, it is there because rulers wanted it and we still have the same rulers. I don’t see any reason why they would roll it back. They might try to tidy it up a little bit, so far as public relations are concerned. But I would be very surprised if they cut its budget, cut its staff, cut its powers or anything like that. I think it is going to continue to expand, all aspects of it.

Daily Bell: We had a polite but public argument with the savvy Ellen Brown. Can you give us a further response to Ellen Brown’s (Brownian) perspective on nationalizing banks since they, rather than the Federal Reserve, are responsible in her view for banking abuses?

Griffin: Well I am not aware of that debate, but I am certainly able to address the issue of nationalizing banks. There is no reason in my mind for the banking system, or for that matter, the automobile industry, the motion picture industry, housing or any other part of American life to be run by the government. I don’t see any reason for the hospitals or medical clinics to be run by the government either.

Daily Bell: Good point.

Griffin: The idea that whenever there is a problem the solution is for the government to go in and take control is one of the most absurd and childish concepts I have ever heard of. The idea that the government can do anything better than the free market is just based on complete absence of understanding how the free market works. The only thing I think the government can do better than anybody else is to fight a war. The only thing a government can do better is to kill and destroy, and that is what it is good at. If war is used to kill and destroy in defense of a nation, in defense but not as an aggressive act, and it is used to defend the lives, liberty and property of its citizens then war performs a proper function, in my view.

Daily Bell: So you see a need for some kind of limited government, practically speaking.

Griffin: It is tragic that we have to defend ourselves. But history shows if you cannot defend yourself then you become a slave to someone who moves in and takes over. So we need to have the killing machine, but that’s about all.

Daily Bell: But not the banking system?

Griffin: The idea that government should be running the banks is absurd. The American government has been in the banking business since 1913 when the Fed was founded. The solution is not to get more into the banking business but to get the government out of it completely. So I would say no, let’s get the government out of the banks completely and then make the banks follow the rules and regulations that any other business must follow. Give them no favoritism, no subsidy, no bailouts. Make them honor their contracts and if they fail then they fail. Let new banks come into existence.

Daily Bell: How long has gold and silver been used as money? We think silver anyway is a substance that has been used in commerce for up to 10,000 years of human history, not 2,000 as certain monetary authorities suggest.

Griffin: I would have to get my notes out on exact dates but it doesn’t really make any difference if it’s been 2,000 years or 10,000 years. The real issue is not how long but how well it has performed in that function. When you look at the historical record, there is nothing that has done as well as gold or silver as a medium of exchange because it has all of the essential qualities required of money. It is not perishable, it’s divisible, it has great value and it can be precisely measured. People have used just about everything for a medium of exchange but nothing has worked as well as gold and silver for thousands of years. The record is clear on it. That is what history has chosen over and over again. Why do we have to go looking around for something else? I don’t understand that.

Daily Bell: Do you have any other comments to make regarding where we are at this point in the 2000s rather unique history?

Griffin: The only comment I would like to make is that it is an exciting time in which to live. I am glad I am living at this time. I am glad because, for me or anybody else who is a free-market thinking person and one who cares about the future, it gives us an opportunity to make a difference in the world. I think it is a wonderful time to be alive.

Daily Bell: Thank you, Ed. You continue to make a huge difference. It is always a pleasure and an honor to speak to a free-market legend in his own lifetime!
After Thoughts with Scott Smith

Scott SmithWhat can we say about this remarkable man and the remarkable and honest answers he has provided us? Ed Griffin has fought for freedom throughout his life and his famous book on the Federal Reserve has in one way or another inspired millions to question their assumptions about money and the reality of their lives in modern society.

Ed Griffin is an achiever for freedom and he has continuously made an effort to advance its cause. We don’t have any explanation for what makes Ed Griffin go. He obviously does what he does because he has to do it. We’re just glad he’s around.

If we had any quibble with this interview (how can we, really?) it would be in the area of pessimism – even short-term pessimism. We know Ed was just explaining his viewpoint as honestly as possible, but we think, generally, that pessimism probably expends negative energy that would be better spent doing positive things.

And Ed, despite his views about the elite and their controlling ways, has quite obviously never let pessimism slow him down. He went out and wrote a tremendous book (one of a number he has written) that literally changed people’s lives and perceptions of their culture.

Additionally, Ed is very active in the peaceful fight for freedom in America. He may be pessimistic, short term, but he is the most active pessimist we know. Every day he gets up and does his part, his share, to fight collectivism and to try to gain back some ground for the American Constitution.

For us, Ed is a great inspiration – as a leader, as a fighter in a peaceful revolution of ideas and as a person who has created a life based on an inspiring and important belief structure that he obviously built up on his own. Ed, by the way, lived much of his life in a pre-Internet era. Much of his adult work was conducted pre-Internet, which makes it all the more noteworthy.

For us, of course, as we have often reported, the Internet is something of a game-changer. We look at what the Internet has allowed people to accomplish in terms of supporting freedom, and we begin to believe that the changes that have been made by the Internet are “already in the pipeline.”

Yes people’s minds have already been changed. Now, Ed Griffin believes it may take another two generations to show overwhelming results. But maybe not. There is, as Ed himself agrees, a foundational freedom movement in America, and we see one growing in Britain as well. There are setbacks in all things, and cyclical turnings as well. But people like Ed Griffin and Ron Paul inform us through their actions and intent that there are always two sides at work – and at least two stories being told simultaneously. And maybe, ironically, Ed’s own efforts may contribute to speeding things up. Freedom, real freedom, may not take two generations to achieve.

We want to end by observing that Ed Griffin-a man who certainly ought to know – sees many positives in the world today and in the Internet as well. What we’ll take away from this interview is the energy it exudes, and the excitement that Ed obviously has about the future of freedom, even as he acknowledges, realistically, the challenges ahead.

Thanks again, Mr. Griffin, for all you’ve done and have yet to do.

Interviews and after-thoughts may include the contributions of several Daily Bell editors and writers.

Congress is losing its patience with the Fed

Posted in economic tyranny, Economy, Fiat Currency, International Bankers, New World Order, News, Shadow Government, Stupid Government Tricks, The Federal Reserve, Tyranny, Unconstitutional with tags , , , , , , on November 24, 2009 by truthwillrise

Lawmakers on both sides question power, handling of Wall Street bailouts

The Associated Press
WASHINGTON – Suddenly the Federal Reserve is everybody’s punching bag.

Strip the Fed of its bank regulation powers, some in Congress are demanding. Get probing audits of its behind-the-scenes operations, others say.

The chairman of the Federal Reserve Board is always fair game for criticism and second-guessing, usually over interest rate actions. But this year the criticism is much broader as Congress responds to widespread public anger that the Fed bailed out Wall Street but not ordinary Americans, and with unemployment in double digits.

Former Fed Chairman William McChesney Martin Jr. famously said that the central bank’s job was to yank away the punchbowl just when everybody is starting to party. And while Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has signaled the Fed will keep interest rates low for now, a round of higher rates inevitably will come.

The Fed finds itself both the punchbowl keeper and the punching bag. Imagine the outcry when it does begin to crank up rates — perhaps just ahead of next year’s midterm elections.

Fireworks seem likely at Senate confirmation hearings early next month on President Barack Obama’s nomination of Bernanke to a second four-year term as chairman.

Many economists and Fed watchers say congressional efforts to rein in the Fed’s powers could interfere with the central bank’s ability to help guide the fragile economy to recovery.

The Fed’s very independence and its unique ability among U.S. institutions to create money out of thin air enabled it to act quickly to stabilize the nation’s financial system after it froze up last September after the bankruptcy of the Lehman Brothers investment house, Fed backers say.

“It might have been the Fed’s finest moment when it had to jump into the market,” said David M. Jones, a former Fed economist and president of DMJ Advisors, a Denver-based consulting firm. “We still have to wait to see how effective the Fed is in its exit strategy and whether it can keep inflation in check. But this badgering by Congress, even if there is populist sentiment, is inappropriate.”

The Fed’s aggressive intervention also set the stage for the current criticism. Many lawmakers question whether the Fed’s money machine has mainly benefited financial markets and not the broader economy. Lawmakers are also peeved that the central bank acted without congressional involvement when it brokered the 2008 sale of failed investment bank Bear Stearns and engineered the rescue of insurer American International Group.

Bernanke, first appointed by President George W. Bush, has worked closely with both Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Bush Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson in confronting the worst financial crisis in decades. Geithner also has gotten his share of congressional wrath, mainly for his administering of the $700 billion bank bailout fund.

“In the past, the Federal Reserve was held in very high esteem,” said Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, a libertarian-leaning Republican who twice ran for president and remains a darling of skeptics of Washington. Now, it’s “the source of our problem,” suggests Paul, author of the best-seller “End the Fed.”

Usually an outlier, Paul suddenly has found an army of at least 307 House colleagues and 30 senators marching behind his legislation to subject the Fed to intense scrutiny by Congress’ Government Accountability Office. The House Financial Services Committee endorsed Paul’s approach 43-26 last week over objections from its chairman, Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass.

The bill would authorize Congress to audit not only the Fed’s lending programs but its basic decisions to set monetary policy by raising or lowering interest rates. Paul has been introducing a version every year since the early 1980s, but this is the first time it has garnered any serious attention.

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd, D-Conn., who will preside over Bernanke’s confirmation hearings, has proposed legislation that would strip the Fed of its bank-regulation authority and give the Senate a role in selecting the 12 regional Federal Reserve bank presidents.

Dodd says his measure would return the Fed to its core mission of setting monetary policy, claiming it proved itself “an abysmal failure” by not cracking down on risky lending practices that led to the financial meltdown.

Dodd is in an extremely tight battle for re-election, even though he has served in Congress for 35 years.

“I don’t think it ever hurts to have a member of Congress stand up and denounce the Fed. There is a lot of anger out there, and this is basically a therapeutic gesture,” said Ross Baker, a political scientist at Rutgers University.

Still, Baker said, it probably isn’t wise to tamper with the formula that makes the Fed “very much an anomaly in American government. It’s independent, it has to be. You don’t want the Fed to be under the control of the president. And it kind of sits out there — not in the executive branch, not in the legislative branch, not in the judicial branch. Sort of its own little element in the separation-of-powers constellation.”

While the Fed is subject to some congressional oversight, its decisions don’t have to be ratified by the president or Congress. Fed officials are not paid with money appropriated by Congress.

Should Bernanke be worried?

“Not only should be worried, he’s clearly ratcheted up his game in terms of his communications with Congress,” said Norman Ornstein, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

Ornstein said the Fed bashing this time is different from before, with “a broader base of support. And it’s coming from people who in the past would not have hit the Fed. There’s a lot of populist anger out there — on the left, in the center and on the right. And politicians are responsive to that.”

Algeria court acquits two ex-Guantanamo detainees

Posted in 9/11, International Bankers, New World Order, News, Police State/Martial Law, the 9/11 Files with tags , , on November 22, 2009 by truthwillrise

ALGIERS (Reuters) – Two men who had been held for seven years in the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay on suspicion of belonging to an extremist group were acquitted in an Algerian court on Sunday, state media reported.

The two men alleged during their trial in Algeria on terrorism charges that they were “brutally tortured” while in detention in Guantanamo Bay, Algeria’s official APS news agency cited court documents as saying.

The men were arrested in Pakistan after the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States and transferred to Guantanamo Bay where they were held without trial before being sent home to Algeria last year, the agency reported.

The court in Algiers rejected prosecution arguments the two men, named as Faghoul Abdelli and Mohamed Terari, were members of a terrorist group and acquitted them, the agency said.

The United States set up the prison at Guantanamo Bay, in Cuba, after the September 11 attacks to detain terrorism suspects. Human rights activists say the detentions are in violation of international law.

U.S. President Barack Obama has said the prison will be closed by January 22, 2010, although his officials have since acknowledged it will be difficult to meet that deadline.

Twelve Algerian citizens remain in the prison, according to the Center for Constitutional Rights, a U.S. non-governmental group that has represented many of the detainees seeking release.

INCREASE IN MISTAKEN IDENTITY LANDING MORE INNOCENT PEOPLE IN COLLIER, LEE JAILS

Posted in General, Identity Theft, Legal, Life Improvement, News with tags , , , , , on November 22, 2009 by truthwillrise

By AISLING SWIFT
Published Saturday, November 21, 2009

NAPLES — When Barron Collier High School assistant football coach Johnny Drummond Smith was arrested Monday on a domestic battery charge, it would take several days to clear his name.

He was thrown in jail and held without bond, until defense attorney Michelle Hill provided Collier County Judge Vince Murphy with strong evidence: He couldn’t have been in Jacksonville when the crime occurred.

Murphy reviewed the evidence and Smith’s testimony and decided he should be released on a $1,000 bond. He walked out of jail Wednesday, but still was on leave from his job and faced prosecution in Duval County.

Friday, an assistant state attorney in Jacksonville dropped the case after investigators were unable to find Smith’s accuser and a witness, her sister.

For 38-year-old Smith, it was a quick end to a case of mistaken identity.

“Let’s say this happened to a convenience store employee who didn’t have all these people on his side, do you think this would have happened this quickly?” Hill asked. “The outcome would not have been the same.”

“We also got lucky with Judge Murphy,” she said. “Some other judges would have said, ‘A judge in Jacksonville set no bond, it’s no bond.’’’

For many, untangling a mixup or stolen identity takes weeks, months — even longer.

On Friday, Anthony David Falangas, 25, of North Naples, stood before Collier Circuit Judge Fred Hardt, charged with two counts of attempting to obtain a prescription by fraud, a third-degree felony.

It was a hearing tailored to quickly prove his innocence and end Falangas’ troubles. He’d been thrown in jail July 8 and posted $5,000 bond a day later, but faces up to five years in state prison if convicted.

Defense attorney Donald Day wanted to prove Falangas, a salesman, was at work when someone used his stolen identification to fill two Roxicodone prescriptions at Wooley’s Pharmacy on June 26. The man fled while a pharmacist verified the prescriptions.

But the prosecutor didn’t have the exact time and the pharmacy video wasn’t working that day, so the judge ordered the State Attorney’s Office to provide the records and scheduled another hearing.

It was Falangas’ fourth time in court.

“We were hoping the video would have busted it wide open,” Day said of an arrest he suspects is linked to a recent bust of a large prescription drug ring that used stolen identities.

Like Falangas, Smith’s photograph was in the newspaper. Smith’s story also was on the TV news, where he professed his innocence.

Many charged in mistaken or stolen identity cases lose their jobs or are suspended from work. They suffer embarrassment, depression and anxiety and must pay an attorney and a bondsman.

“The unjustified loss of even a moment’s liberty is a tragedy,” Murphy said Friday. “. . . Sadly, Mr. Smith can never recover what was taken from him, but in the context of an admittedly imperfect system, we were able to allow his release fairly quickly.”

■ ■ ■

Like Falangas, Smith had an alibi: He was at work.

Shayla S. Evans, 25, of Jacksonville, told police Smith grabbed her hair and dragged her down a staircase at 4:25 p.m. Nov. 13, 2008, kicked her and beat her, then slashed her with a knife. She said they’d had a yearlong relationship, but had broken up four months earlier.

Smith was arrested Monday night after a Collier County deputy conducted a routine check of license tags. He knew nothing about the battery and was allowed to make a few calls, then was booked into the jail to await a hearing at 2 p.m. Tuesday.

In court, Hill asked Smith several questions to prove his innocence. Although Murphy granted a low bond, his release wasn’t quick.

“Jacksonville had to enter the bond into their system on that warrant and they couldn’t reach anyone in Jacksonville,” Hill said. “Thank God, we had a sergeant in the jail here who was a really nice guy and kept calling and calling.”

Duval court records list 209 cases involving Johnny Smiths, including two for Johnny D. Smith, who is only a month younger. Many have middle names or initials, but many are just Johnny Smith.

Evans’ sister believes she just wanted to protect her real boyfriend, so she picked a name, Johnny Smith, and pointed to a photo.

■ ■ ■

Hill said mistakes can occur when someone enters a name wrong in the national police computer, or someone, usually a relative, steals a name to avoid paying a ticket.

Two years ago, defendants with numerous aliases became such a problem in Collier that County Judge Christine Greider created a prototype legal order for judges to remove stolen names from court and county records.

County Judge Mike Carr had so many cases, he pushed the Sheriff’s Office to verify fingerprints of all defendants to confirm identities. He got The Florida Bar to change its professional ethics rules to force lawyers whose clients have provided false information to disclose it in court.

Hill represents a man whose brother used his name when he got a traffic citation.

“Of course, the brother didn’t go to court,” Hill said of the innocent man. “Then months and months later, he gets arrested on a warrant and can’t get out.”

Nowadays, Hill said, mistaken identity cases are straightened out more quickly due to technology.

Information is put through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s driver and vehicle information database which pulls up a driver license photo, Hill said.

Officials also can check fingerprints at the jail, which pulls up a photo and prior arrests if there’s a “hit.” That fingerprint check often reveals suspects who provide fake names.

Although technology helps unravel a mixup, it also prompted an increase in identity theft.

“It’s so perfected now,” Day said. “You could print out a nice ID on your computer. This is happening in every city in the U.S. You’d be shocked at how often it happens. The problem is it’s very difficult to resolve.”

Falangas’ license was stolen and his credit card information also was obtained, Day said, although it’s uncertain how or when.

“It’s very common for someone to call our office and say, ‘I’ve been charged with something in Tallahassee and I’ve never been in Tallahassee,” Day said.

Although a law went into effect a few years ago that requires law enforcement officers to get a thumb print from drivers who don’t provide a license, Day said it’s not always done.

“That law was to protect us,” Day said. “I’ve had clients who have had nine-page driving records in places they’ve never been.”

■ ■ ■

In July 2006, Theodore William Wuschke sued then- Collier County Sheriff Don Hunter and Deputy Charles H. Smith after he was arrested and thrown in jail after a routine traffic stop on July 7, 2002, because his name was an alias used by Robert James Mickens.

It was the second time in less than a year the 38-year-old Golden Gate man had been arrested and jailed on the 1993 warrant for a probation violation, according to his lawsuit in U.S. District Court, which said Wuschke didn’t have the tattoo on his right ankle that Mickens had.

The lawsuit accused Hunter of false arrest, false imprisonment and willfully failing to update inaccurate information in his agency’s computers after Wuschke’s first arrest on Oct. 1, 2001.

It was settled about a year later for $50,000.

“They made sure that wasn’t going to happen again,” said Wuschke’s attorney, Michael R.N. McDonnell of Naples, who said Wuschke had no prior convictions. “The poor guy was so upset. He was pleasant about it the first time. He understood it was a mistake.”

■ ■ ■

Jill Lennon, courts director for the Collier court clerks office, said people often come to the courthouse to say they received a notice their license was being suspended for something they didn’t do.

“We help and go above and beyond because that person is a victim,” Lennon said. “We walk them over to be fingerprinted at the Sheriff’s Office and to go to the State Attorney’s Office to straighten it out.”

Usually it’s a relative, she said, or the victim suspects someone and can’t prove it. Deputies try to find the real suspect, she said, but sometimes they can’t, “so we change them to John Doe in our computer.”

Scroll through the Collier Court criminal records at http://www.collierclerk.com and you’ll find 38 John Does and two Jane Does.

“There are people who have been arrested over and over again in multiple counties they’ve never been in,” she said. “They carry paperwork in their vehicle to prove they’re not that person.”

* * * * *

For information on identity theft and how to correct credit card or driver license identity theft, go to: http://www.flhsmv.gov/idtheft.html

Unfortunately, cases such as these are becoming far too common. Identity theft is a serious problem.
You can also learn more about identity theft, please go to http://www.prepaidlegal.com/idt/bking62. -truthwillrise

Dems Have 60 for Health Care; Lincoln a ‘yes’

Posted in New World Order, News, Poison Foods and Products, Stupid Government Tricks with tags , , , on November 21, 2009 by truthwillrise

WASHINGTON (AP) – Democrats have hit the magic number of 60 to move ahead on historic health care legislation.

Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln said on the Senate floor that she will vote with her party, hours before the 8 p.m. EST roll call.

She said it was important that the Senate begin debate on a critical issue.

The centrist Democrat was the lone holdout. Facing unanimous Republican opposition, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid needed the 58 Democrats and two independents to vote to move forward on the sweeping bill to remake the nation’s health care system.

Shortly before 1 p.m. EST, another centrist fence-sitter, Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, said she would vote yes.

1.5 Million Medical Files At Risk in Health Net Data Breach

Posted in Economy, General, Identity Theft, Legal, Life Improvement, News with tags , , , , on November 20, 2009 by truthwillrise

By Matthew Sturdevant
The Hartford Courant
November 19,2009

A hard drive with seven years of personal and medical information on about 1.5 million Health Net customers, including 446,000 in Connecticut, was lost six months ago and was first reported Wednesday, state and company officials said.

The insurance company informed the state attorney general’s office and the Department of Insurance Wednesday of the security breach that puts personal medical records at risk in a historic lapse, the first of its kind to be publicly reported.

A portable, external hard drive with Social Security numbers and medical records “disappeared” and is still missing from the insurer’s Northeast headquarters in Shelton, a Health Net spokeswoman said Wednesday.

A hard drive with seven years of personal and medical information on about 1.5 million Health Net customers, including 446,000 in Connecticut, was lost six months ago and was first reported Wednesday, state and company officials said.

The insurance company informed the state attorney general’s office and the Department of Insurance Wednesday of the security breach that puts personal medical records at risk in a historic lapse, the first of its kind to be publicly reported.

A portable, external hard drive with Social Security numbers and medical records “disappeared” and is still missing from the insurer’s Northeast headquarters in Shelton, a Health Net spokeswoman said Wednesday.

The hard drive contains Social Security numbers, medical records and health information dating to 2002 for 1.5 million customers — past and present — in Arizona, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York, the spokeswoman said.

The data were compressed, but not encrypted. The information is formatted as images and requires a special computer program to be read, state and company officials said. Health Net plans to send out letters to its customers notifying them of the breach.

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and Insurance Commissioner Thomas Sullivan each said he is investigating what happened, and why the company waited six months to report the incident.

The data breach is another in a series of information security lapses involving Connecticut residents in recent months. Most, including a large breach of People’s United Bank customer information, have included bank records or Social Security numbers. The missing hard drive at Health Net is the first publicly reported, widespread release of patients’ medical records, at least in recent state history.

“Health Net’s incomprehensible foot-dragging demonstrates shocking disregard for patients’ financial security, as well as loss of their highly sensitive and confidential personal health information,” Blumenthal said in a prepared statement.

Sullivan said his office is requiring Health Net to offer credit protection monitoring through Debix, a company that provides identity-theft protection services.

“My main concern is protecting the members and participating providers,” Sullivan said. “We are currently working with Health Net to ensure adequate notification and protections for all involved.”

Health Net suggests that customers with questions call the company phone number on the back of their benefits card, said Alice Chaves Ferreira, a spokeswoman for Health Net of the Northeast Inc.

“Health Net will provide credit monitoring for over two years — free of charge — to all impacted members who elect this service, and will provide assistance to any member who has experienced any suspicious activity, identity theft or health care fraud between May 2009 and their date of enrollment with our identity protection service,” Chaves Ferreira said.

The company didn’t know what information was on the hard drive, which is why the information wasn’t reported sooner, Chaves Ferreira said. Health Net conducted a lengthy investigation, including a forensic review by computer experts, she said.

It was only then that the company concluded the lost data included a vast trove of information.

Earlier this month, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Connecticut reported that a laptop was stolen this summer in the Chicago area, compromising personal information of nearly 850,000 doctors, therapists and other health care providers in 50 states, including 19,000 in Connecticut.

Last year, Bank of New York Mellon lost computer tapes that jeopardized information on more than 600,000 state residents, including many account holders at People’s United Bank.

Yet another data breach has exposed millions potentially to identity theft. If you concerned that you may be affected by this latest data breach, know someone who may be , or want to learn more about identity theft, log on to http://www.prepaidlegal.com/idt/bking62