U.S. Banking Regulator Warns of a Credit Bubble Fueled by “Alternative Asset Managers”

This isn’t the first time in recent months we have heard serious warnings of a new and potentially quite dangerous credit bubble. Recall back in September, when Blackstone’s head of private equity proclaimed that “we are in the middle of an epic credit bubble.” Well they should know, because according to the article below from Reuters, Blackstone and many other private equity firms are the “alternative asset managers” directly responsible for its creation.

I don’t know about you, but I just can’t wait for another bankster bailout!

From Reuters:

(Reuters) – A U.S. bank regulator is warning about the dangers of banks and alternative asset managers working together to do risky deals and get around rules amid concerns about a possible bubble in junk-rated loans to companies.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has already told banks to avoid some of the riskiest junk loans to companies, but is alarmed that banks may still do such deals by sharing some of the risk with asset managers.

These clowns never learn, and why should they when society just bails them out from their stupidity.

“We do not see any benefit to banks working with alternative asset managers or shadow banks to skirt the regulation and continue to have weak deals flooding markets,” said Martin Pfinsgraff, senior deputy comptroller for large bank supervision at the OCC, in a statement in response to questions from Reuters.

Among the investors in alternative asset managers are pension funds that have funding issues of their own, he said.

“Transferring future losses from banks to pension funds does not aid long-term financial stability for the U.S. economy,” he added.

No, but it’s a great way to transfer risk to the muppets.

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Video of the Day: F*ck the Fed

On this day, when the banker-cartel commonly known as the Federal Reserve is set to announce its latest decision in central planning, I thought it would be wise to revisit an old, yet classic video which calls out this neo-feudal institution for the state-sanctioned criminal enterprise it is.

Neal Fox summarizes my sentiments exactly with three simple words that say it all: F*ck the Fed.

Enjoy.

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Video of the Day: F*ck the Fed originally appeared on A Lightning War for Liberty on January 29, 2014.

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This is Your Congress – NY Rep. Threatens to Throw Journalist Off Balcony and “Break Him in Half”

My home state of New York sure knows how to pick its Congressional Representatives. From Peter King, who for all intents and purposes thinks he is living the life of a capo in a real life Goodfellas movie, to Michael Grimm, another Republican Congressman, these people are literally thugs. As I have said before, I have a lot more respect for the mafia than I do for politicians and bankers, at least the mob faces jail time.

So here’s what happened. From Real Clear Politics:

After being asked by NY1 reporter Michael Scotto about the investigation, Grimm replied, “That’s off-topic. This is only about president’s speech,” and walked off camera.

Scotto briefly concluded his report, and Grimm — assuming the broadcast was over — returned to admonish the reporter. The camera remained on, however. “Let me be clear to you: You ever do that to me again, I’ll throw you off this f—— balcony,” Grimm threatened.

After a brief back-and-forth about the validity of the question, Grimm concluded, “No, no, you’re not man enough, you’re not man enough. I’ll break you in half. Like a boy.”

Never forget that these are the people voting on everything from your civil liberties to going to war. Frightening.

Video of the incident below:

In Liberty,
Michael Krieger

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This is Your Congress – NY Rep. Threatens to Throw Journalist Off Balcony and “Break Him in Half” originally appeared on A Lightning War for Liberty on January 29, 2014.

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State of the Union Preview – What to Expect from the Propagandist in Chief

Tonight, the Propagandist in Chief for the USSA will take the stage and say absolutely nothing meaningful. He will employ trite clichés to appeal to the increasingly small section of the lobotomized population which still somehow supports his oligarch coddling criminality. He will preen and posture and threaten to legislate via executive order like the petty little wannabe dictator he is. Like all of the other speeches he has given before, it will be a verbal assault on the intelligence of all human beings still capable of putting together a string of critical thoughts.

At this time, it makes sense to go back and admire the words of a true American statesman, Theodore Roosevelt. Back in his own State of the Union in 1902 he proclaimed (click on the image for more quotes):

Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 11.50.07 AM

Ah, but we will hear none of that from Barry. No, sentiments such as those are too nuanced, too accurate to serve as effective propaganda. Rather, what we will see will more closely relate to speeches given by former Iraqi Info Minister Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf. This nation has become a circus of stupidity.

In Liberty,
Michael Krieger

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State of the Union Preview – What to Expect from the Propagandist in Chief originally appeared on A Lightning War for Liberty on January 28, 2014.

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A Majority of U.S Technology Professionals Would Accept Bitcoin as Payment Reports WSJ

There’s no telling exactly how accurate this survey is, and whether or not the participants are thinking in terms of part of their paychecks or the entire thing, but if the figures are anywhere near the reported 51%, it is a very positive signal.

People being paid in bitcoin represents a huge step in the process of the currency transitioning into something more akin to the role fiat money plays in everyday life. We may be much closer to this reality than many people think, particularly with the recent launch of the very innovative BitPay Payroll API, which makes it incredibly simple for employees to receive a portion of their wages in bitcoin.

From the Wall Street Journal:

A majority of U.S technology professionals would welcome being paid in bitcoin, according to a survey by event organizer Tech in Motion.

Out of 847 responses to a questionnaire sent to Tech in Motion’s 18,000 members, 51.12% answered “yes, absolutely,” to the question “Would you be interested in being paid for your work in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin?” A further 18.06% ticked “Maybe, let’s see where Bitcoin is in a year or two,” with the remainder saying that they would prefer to be paid in traditional currency. Just 9.92% rejected the option because they “do not think Bitcoin will last,” and 1.18% said they didn’t know what bitcoin was.

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Schindler’s List Producer States: “I Never Feared My Government Until Now”

Earlier today, I wrote an article about the arrest of BitInstant CEO Charlie Shrem on charges of money laundering, and how it demonstrated that the rule of law is completely dead in America. All we have now is selective enforcement of the law, a situation in which a handful of oligarchs can steal with impunity, but politically unpopular or troublesome folks are pursued with tyrannical vigor.

However, Charlie’s case is not the only recent example of selective enforcement. Dinesh D’Souza is yet another. Despite what you may think of Mr. D’Souza (I watched his film and personally found it to be a very weak and superficial criticism of Obama), he is clearly being targeted in a political vendetta. This is obvious in the sense that banker thieves never, ever face prosecution for far greater crimes. Our descent further and further into Banana Republic status is accelerating.

From Newmax:

Gerald Molen, the producer of Dinesh D’Souza’s documentary film “2016: Obama’s America,” says he never feared his government before he learned that D’Souza is under federal investigation for election fraud. 

“I’m a little bit taken aback by the whole thing because he’s such a great American,” Molen said of D’Souza on Newmax TV’s “Steve Malzberg Show.” The conservative writer and commentator understands the process in America and how it works, Molen said.

Molen, who also produced the Academy-award winning “Schindler’s List,” said he has not spoken to D’Souza since he learned of the indictment, and wouldn’t make comments about the specific case until he’s learned all the facts.

Still, he said he would not be surprised if the probe is politically motivated. 

Asked by Malzberg if he ever felt threatened or had any feelings they should not have been making the film, Molen answered, “No. This is America. I’ve never had that feeling,” adding, “I’ve never had the occasion to think that I had to fear my government. I never had the thought that I had reason to think I had to look over my shoulder until now.”

But, he said, he wouldn’t be intimidated out of pursuing future projects.

“It certainly gives me reason to think about it, but no, I won’t back off,” he said. “I’ll keep on doing exactly what I’m doing.”

Video clip below:

Keep on fighting Mr. Molen.

Full article here.

In Liberty,
Michael Krieger

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Schindler’s List Producer States: “I Never Feared My Government Until Now” originally appeared on A Lightning War for Liberty on January 27, 2014.

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Some Money Launderers are More Equal than Others Part 2 – CEO of BitInstant is Arrested

No man escapes when freedom fails, the best men rot in filthy jails. And those who cried, “appease appease” are hung by those they tried to please.

– Anon

Last May, I wrote an article titled: Some Money Launderers are “More Equal” than Others, which likened the U.S. government to the pigs that ruled the roost in George Orwell’s classic novel Animal Farm. In that article, I decided to compare the way the “authorities” used money laundering laws against Liberty Reserve, versus the way they tip-toed around massive money laundering for Mexican drug cartels that HSBC engaged in. Since I wrote that article, JP Morgan has been fined tens of billions of dollars for a cornucopia of criminal activities. Meanwhile, we have yet to see a single executive arrested or put behind bars. Why?

I think it is quite obvious. The United States’ “economy” has devolved into nothing more than a state-sanctioned criminal racket. A handful of oligarchs and the corporations they control, are immune from prosecution no matter what they do. They have a complete and total license to steal with impunity. Meanwhile, if a peasant is caught stealing 10 dollars or found with a dime bag of weed, it is jail for life. ‘Merica.

So now I turn your attention to the breaking news that Charlie Shrem, the impressive, young and very talented kid behind Bitcoin exchange BitInstant, has been arrested. I had a chance to meet Charlie in person last summer at the Inside Bitcoins conference in NYC (I will be once again attended their next conference April 7-8). In my wrap-up article on the conference I wrote:

The event kicked off with keynote speaker Charlie Shrem, founder and CEO of BitInstant. For those who aren’t familiar with it, BitInstant is one of the more convenient ways to acquire bitcoins for cash. Incredibly, he is a mere 23-years old and started the company while still enrolled at Brooklyn College. He shared his experience of pitching venture capital firm after venture capital firm, and his subsequent rejection by each and every one of them. He eventually convinced his mother to seed him the $10,000 needed to start the company.

Shortly after the speech, I was able to chat with Charlie in the hallway and he couldn’t have been nicer. He immediately pointed to my “Bought with Bitcoin” shirt and told me he wanted one. The shirt’s in the mail man.

In light of the above, it makes sense that the U.S. government wants him in jail. It has become quite clear that the “authorities” are intent of either putting all our greatest minds in jail, such as Barrett Brown, or driving them to suicide, as was the case with Aaron Swartz, or forcing them into exile, as is the case with whistleblower-hero Edward Snowden. Meanwhile, it is open season for oligarchs hunting peasants. USA! USA!

From Time:

Charles Shrem, who ran a New York-based Bitcoin exchange, was arrested Monday and charged with engaging in a money laundering scheme with a user of Silk Road, the notorious deep web black market.

In the federal criminal complaint, the Southern District of New York charges Shrem, the 24-year-old CEO of BitInstant, with three counts, including one count operating an unlicensed money transmitting business, one count of money laundering conspiracy and one count willful failure to file suspicious activity report.  Robert Faiella, a Silk Road user who operated under the name “BTCKing,” was charged with one count of operating an unlicensed money transmitting business and one count money laundering conspiracy.

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Working Age Americans are the Majority of People on Food Stamps for the First Time

When people ask me to describe the state of the U.S. economy, what I always say is that it can best characterized as an ongoing state-sanctioned theft. This theft consists of the 0.01% oligarch class intentionally leveraging a corrupt monetary and political system in order to funnel all of the wealth of the non-oligarch rich and middle-class upward to them. The underclasses are kept quiet and in-line via food stamps and other forms of so-called “welfare.”

In reality, I have frequently maintained that food stamps are actually corporate welfare and that the stock market represents food stamps for the 1%. The entire economy is a gigantic bait and switch in which a handful of people rape and pillage everyone else.

With unemployment and GDP statistics hopelessly manipulated, we must look at other data points in order to gain an understanding of how things really stand. Data related to food stamp rolls is one way to gain real insight into the true state of the U.S. economy.

In an excellent article from the Associate Press, we learn several things.

  • For the first time ever, working-age people now make up the majority in U.S. households that rely on food stamps.
  • Food stamp participation since 1980 has grown the fastest among workers with some college training.
  • By education, about 28 percent of food stamp households are headed by a person with at least some college training, up from 8 percent in 1980.

More from the AP:

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a first, working-age people now make up the majority in U.S. households that rely on food stamps — a switch from a few years ago, when children and the elderly were the main recipients. 

Some of the change is due to demographics, such as the trend toward having fewer children. But a slow economic recovery with high unemployment, stagnant wages and an increasing gulf between low-wage and high-skill jobs also plays a big role. It suggests that government spending on the $80 billion-a-year food stamp program — twice what it cost five years ago — may not subside significantly anytime soon.

“High employment, stagnant wages.” Huh? Don’t these people realize we’ve been in a recovery for almost five years now!

Food stamp participation since 1980 has grown the fastest among workers with some college training, a sign that the safety net has stretched further to cover America’s former middle class, according to an analysis of government data for The Associated Press by economists at the University of Kentucky. Formally called Supplemental Nutrition Assistance, or SNAP, the program now covers 1 in 7 Americans.

Notice the statement, “America’s former middle class.” At least they are honest. The middle class is gone.

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Introducing “The Money Oscars” – Jon Stewart on Davos and Financial “Journalists”

Once again, Jon Stewart knocks it out of the park with his unique style of hilarious and cutting social commentary. This time he takes on the orgy of crony capitalists, vacuous celebrities and corrupt politicians that is the World Economic Forum in Davos, or as he calls it, “The Money Oscars.” This is the best Stewart clip I have seen since he recently took it to Chris Christie.

Enjoy.

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Introducing “The Money Oscars” – Jon Stewart on Davos and Financial “Journalists” originally appeared on A Lightning War for Liberty on January 25, 2014.

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Why is a Gigantic War-Blimp About to Fly Above the Skies of Suburban Baltimore?

One of the most disturbing and relentless trends over the past several years has been the redirection of war technology and equipment from the battlefield abroad toward domestic use in the USA. This has resulted in a militarization of police across the nation and has encouraged small towns to use Department of Homeland Security (DHS) grants to purchase ridiculous items such as tanks.

Sadly, it appears this trend is only accelerating. With billions of dollars already spent, and failed wars abroad, the military-industrial complex needs to continue to generate cash flow. May as well just use it against the American people.

We find out from the Washington Post that:

They will look like two giant white blimps floating high above I-95 in Maryland, perhaps en route to a football game somewhere along the bustling Eastern Seaboard. But their mission will have nothing to do with sports and everything to do with war.

The aerostats — that is the term for lighter-than-air craft that are tethered to the ground — are to be set aloft on Army-owned land about 45 miles northeast of Washington, near Aberdeen Proving Ground, for a three-year test slated to start in October. From a vantage of 10,000 feet, they will cast a vast radar net from Raleigh, N.C., to Boston and out to Lake Erie, with the goal of detecting cruise missiles or enemy aircraft so they could be intercepted before reaching the capital.

Interesting, I didn’t realize we were at war. When was the last time cruise missiles were shot into the United States?

Aerostats deployed by the military at U.S. bases in Iraq and Afghanistan typically carried powerful surveillance cameras as well, to track the movements of suspected insurgents and even U.S. soldiers.

Defense contractor Raytheon last year touted an exercise in which it outfitted the aerostats planned for deployment in suburban Baltimore with one of the company’s most powerful high-altitude surveillance systems, capable of spotting individual people and vehicles from a distance of many miles.

The Army said it has “no current plans” to mount such cameras or infrared sensors on the aerostats or to share information with federal, state or local law enforcement, but it declined to rule out either possibility. The radar system that is planned for the aerostats will be capable of monitoring the movement of trains, boats and cars, the Army said.

“No Current plans.” What a bunch of assholes. You know they can’t wait to attach an ARGUS surveillance system to these puppies.

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