If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.

Friday, September 30, 2011

FuturICT | Living Earth Platform

The FuturICT Knowledge Accelerator is a previously unseen multidisciplinary international scientific endeavour with focus on techno-socio-economic-environmental systems.

The ultimate goal of the FuturICT flagship project is to understand and manage complex, global, socially interactive systems, with a focus on sustainability and resilience. Revealing the hidden laws and processes underlying societies probably constitutes the most pressing scientific grand challenge of our century and is equally important for the development of novel robust, trustworthy and adaptive information and communication technologies (ICT), based on socially inspired paradigms.

FuturICT as a whole will act as a Knowledge Accelerator, turning massive data into knowledge and technological progress. In this way, FuturICT will create the scientific methods and ICT platforms needed to address planetary-scale challenges and opportunities in the 21st century. Specifically, FuturICT will build a sophisticated simulation, visualization and participation platform, called the Living Earth Platform.

This platform will power Exploratories, to detect and mitigate crises, and Participatory Platforms, to support the decision-making of policy-makers, business people and citizens, and to facilitate a better social, economic and political participation.

Website: FuturICT

FuturICT Documentary

FuturICT - New Science and Technology to Manage Our Complex, Connected World

Thursday, September 29, 2011

RAP NEWS 9 - The Economy ^_^ (with Ron Paul & Peter Joseph)

Rap News 9 features two VIP Internet grandees who have uploaded gigabytes of truth via the one remaning free frequency - the internet - to feed a discerning and ravenous audience, hungry for answers: US Congressman, Ron Paul, and Zeitgeist film-maker, Peter Joseph. Whilst these two fine folk agree with each other on many things, fortunately, there's no shortage of issues to rap-battle about.

RAP NEWS 9 - The Economy ^_^ (with Ron Paul & Peter Joseph)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

GREECE REVOLT - Greeks worn down by drumbeat of strikes

As austerity bites and international lenders demand higher taxes and more cuts to salaries and pensions, ordinary Greeks are being worn down by the daily grind of strikes and protests that have come to punctuate their lives.

Unions highlight the damage they say is being done to the Greek economy by rounds of austerity measures, including an unpopular property tax as well as higher drinks, tobacco and car prices, while the government says strikes will stall recovery.

"It's ordinary people suffering, not the parliament's 300 lawmakers," said Cleo Soulioti, 54 on Syntagma Square, the epicenter of protest which witnessed bloody clashes in June. "We are all angry but it's not right to take it out on each other."

Air travelers to and from Greece have endured delays of up to four hours due to go-slows by air traffic controllers. Tourists have been forced to replan their excursions because of wildcat work stoppages.

"It's normal that people are fed up, we want them to understand," railway unionist Dinos Sourmelis told Reuters. "We are not fighting for ourselves, we are also fighting for them and our children's future."

Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos's news conference on Tuesday to explain Greece's commitment to belt-tightening measures to reassure the international lending community was interrupted by irate ministry officials inside and noisy protesters outside the building.


On Wednesday, taxi drivers, city tram and bus drivers, tax officials, and customs officers will stage action with hospital doctors striking the next day.

But nationwide strikes by public and private sector unions on October 5 and 19 could be the real flashpoints.

"The Greek society's tolerance is being tested," said Takis Theodorikakos, head of GPO pollsters.

The big demonstrations by the ADEDY and GSEE unions, which represent 2.5 million people or half the Greek workforce, are most likely to act as lightning rods for deep-felt discontent and anger with Venizelos's debt strategy.

Thousands of small businesses and retail shops have shut down since the crisis broke out in 2009. Consumption in the debt-laden country, which faces its third straight year of recession, has dropped significantly but transport strikes have also been a factor in shuttering up businesses.

"When we opened less than a year ago, we didn't expect it to be like this day after day," said 28-year-old pharmacy employee Irene Stefanatou, on Tuesday.

"We can't work like this. There is no business. People avoid coming to the center and when they want to come, transport is on strike," she said as a small march by transport workers passed.

Taxis staged a 19-day nationwide strike in the summer, disrupting tourism, the debt-strapped country's biggest revenue earner, and stretching the patience of a nation which is used to and usually sympathetic to industrial action.

One big concern is whether the disruption could bring with it extreme consequences.

About 100 people were injured during clashes between protesters and riot police on June 29 and 30, but many vividly remember the unrest of May last year when three bank employees were killed during a petrol bomb attack.

Continue reading - Reuters - Greeks worn down by drumbeat of strikes

Thousands protest property tax in Greece

Giordano Bruno GlobalShift University


The Giordano Bruno GlobalShift University is a humanistic online institution, committed to creating informed and ethical agents of change who bring a new consciousness, a fresh voice and up-to-date thinking to the global community, transforming obsolete paradigms and empowering the co-creation of an equitable, responsible and sustainable world.


The Giordano Bruno GlobalShift University strives to become the world’s pre-eminent humanistic online institution of higher learning, serving young people, and people of all ages, without regard to nationality, ethnic background, belief system or other conditions that have hindered communication and interconnectedness among the people and cultures of the human community.

The University focuses not on traditional methods of education, but on a new pedagogy for this century that preserves cultural heritage and develops comprehensive knowledge. It also serves as a permanent laboratory to examine and update human thinking in order to produce professionals who are capable of transforming outdated dysfunctional structures.

This vision requires building new and ever-evolving curricula and educational delivery systems that leverage the power and reach of digital tools to engage learners in self-learning through interdisciplinary collaboration in the framework of a horizontally integrated learning environment.


Non-subordination represents a stand for autonomy of thought that transcends subordination which is created by artificial identities, customs and habits that incubate insecurity, fear, and unfairness.

Social Responsibility means that we strive to generate a new ethic of sustainability for the earth and all people together with an unstoppable commitment to the development of our communities in the new millennium.

Innovation and Creativity enhances the cognitive potential of the right brain. Its cultivation motivates the Giordano Bruno GlobalShift University faculty, staff, and students to discover new holistic currents of thought that will find new solutions in every milestone of their lives.

An Open Letter to the Youth of the World by Dr. Ervin Laszlo

Website: Giordano Bruno GlobalShift University

Giordano Bruno University Video

Why Credit Deflation Is More Likely Than Mass Inflation: An Austrian Overview of the Inflation Versus Deflation Debate


Read also: Austrian Economics - A Primer by Dr Eamonn Butler

Euro Crisis Makes Fed Lender of Only Resort

The Federal Reserve, chastised by Congress for lending money to foreign institutions such as the Central Bank of Libya, is once again the lender of last resort for banks around the world it knows little about.

Three years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., money-market borrowing rates for dollars are rising, leading the Fed and European Central Bank to make the currency available to Europe’s institutions for as many as three months. U.S. prime money-market funds cut their exposure to euro-zone bank deposits and commercial paper, or short-term IOUs, to $214 billion in August from $391 billion at the end of last year, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. data.

The failure of regulators worldwide to address European banks’ fragile dependence on short-term funding is “putting the Fed in a really awkward position,” said Karen Shaw Petrou, managing partner at Federal Financial Analytics, a Washington regulatory research firm whose clients include the biggest U.S. banks. The swaps with Europe “are an extremely advantageous political football” for critics of the Fed, she said.

The extended funding comes as the U.S. central bank is already under fire for its unprecedented monetary stimulus. Republican leaders including Representative John Boehner of Ohio and Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky wrote Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and the Board of Governors on Sept. 19, asking them to “resist further extraordinary intervention in the U.S. economy.”

Lawmaker Criticism

Representative Ron Paul, a Texas Republican who wants to abolish the Fed, and Senator Bernard Sanders, a Vermont independent, have criticized its loans to foreign institutions.

“The Fed has made good on most of its investments over the years, but increasing its exposure and that of the U.S. government to foreign banks is a moral-hazard problem,” said Edward Royce of California, the third most-senior Republican on the House Financial Services Committee. “We are effectively incentivizing U.S. money-market funds to continue to finance these banks.”

U.S. regulators also are becoming less patient with what are turning out to be dollar-funding runs against foreign banks. Financial institutions are too dependent on short-term money- market investors that tend “to flee at the first signs of distress,” William C. Dudley, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, said Sept. 23 in a Washington speech. Regulators also lack access to data on foreign institutions operating in the U.S. that would allow them to “make informed judgments about the adequacy of such firms’ capital and liquidity buffers,” he said.

Large Losses

Investors are fleeing because of concern that banks will take large losses if a euro-zone nation such as Greece defaults. Europe’s debt crisis has generated as much as 300 billion euros ($408 billion) in credit risk for the region’s banks, the International Monetary Fund said last week.

Against the euro, the dollar is heading for its biggest monthly advance since November last year as European policy makers fail to contain their region’s sovereign-debt crisis. It was little changed today at $1.3575 at 3:11 p.m. in Tokyo.

The London Interbank Offered Rate at which banks say they can borrow for three months in dollars rose for a 13th day on Sept. 27 to 0.36522 percent from 0.36278 percent the previous day, according to data from the British Bankers’ Association.

ECB Coordination

The ECB said Sept. 15 it will coordinate with the Fed and other central banks to provide three-month dollar loans to banks to ensure they have enough of the currency through the end of the year. The Fed bears no foreign-exchange or credit risk on the swap lines because the Frankfurt-based ECB is its counterparty.

There were $575 million in outstanding swaps with foreign central banks as of Sept. 21, Fed data show. The ECB loaned a similar amount of cash to two euro-area banks earlier this month in seven-day transactions. The first of three ECB three-month dollar-loan offers starts Oct. 12.

The Fed facility provides a critical “ceiling” on funding squeezes that allows investors to avoid panic and distinguish between healthy and troubled banks, said Jerome Schneider, head of the short-term strategies and money-markets desk at Pacific Investment Management Co. in Newport Beach, California.

“What you don’t want to have is liquidity risk become intertwined with solvency risk,” Schneider said. The swap lines are “the foundation right now to provide a backstop.”

Continue reading - Bloomberg - Euro Crisis Makes Fed Lender of Only Resort

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Rep. Ron Paul: The country is ripe for revolution

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul rallied a sold- out crowd of more than 1800 of his most ardent under-thirty-year-old supporters in New York City Monday night.

Tickets to the event cost $20-25. It was originally scheduled to take place at the famed Webster Hall's Marlin Room, but, the event had to be moved to a room twice as large at the last minute due to an overwhelming response. The final setting was in the Grand Ballroom, which has hosted celebrities to the scale of Mick Jagger and Madonna.

"We are seeing a level of enthusiasm for Ron Paul that can be compared with President Obama in 2008", said Eric Brakey, Media Coordinator for NYC Liberty HQ, the grassroots organization hosting the rally for the candidate. "Congressman Paul's youth support is different now than it was during his last presidential campaign. It's more organized and it's picking up steam and continues to grow".

As the longtime congressman from Texas stepped onto the stage, the crowd screamed with enthusiasm. The audience's biggest reaction came when he spoke about ending the Federal Reserve. "The country has changed in the last four years, but my message hasn't changed" Paul said. "The country is ripe for a true revolution".

Responding to an earlier interview with Jon Stewart, he told the crowd that he is largely ignored by the media for a couple of reasons, one being that "people in charge don't want to hear our message".

Paul, who's making his third bid for the White House, devoted the final moments of his speech to President Obama. "Obama thinks he is going to spend a billion dollars on his [re-election] campaign", but "when truth prevails you don't need a billion dollars".

And to that, the audience burst out chanting the candidate's name and didn't stop until long after he excited the room.

via CNN - Rep. Ron Paul: The country is ripe for revolution

Ron Paul at Webster hall, NYC Part 1

Ron Paul at Webster hall, NYC Part 2

The Simulation Hypothesis

A very real possibility that we are actually living in a computer simulation.

Computer Simulation Video

You are simply, very advanced simulation.

Why Reality is a Computed Simulation

Do we really exist?

German turmoil over EU bail-outs as top judge calls for referendum

Germany's top judge has issued a blunt warning that no further fiscal powers may be surrendered to Europe without a new constitution and a popular referendum, vastly complicating plans to boost the EU's rescue machinery to €2 trillion (£1.7 trillion).

Andreas Vosskuhle, head of the constitutional court, said politicians do not have the legal authority to sign away the birthright of the German people without their explicit consent.

"The sovereignty of the German state is inviolate and anchored in perpetuity by basic law. It may not be abandoned by the legislature (even with its powers to amend the constitution)," he said.

"There is little leeway left for giving up core powers to the EU. If one wants to go beyond this limit – which might be politically legitimate and desirable – then Germany must give itself a new constitution. A referendum would be necessary. This cannot be done without the people," he told newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine.

The extraordinary interview comes just days before the Bundestag votes on a bill to revamp the EU's €440bn bail-out fund (EFSF), enabling it to purchase EMU bonds pre-emptively and recapitalise banks.

Tensions are running high after it emerged over the weekend that officials are working on plans sketched by the US Treasury and the European Commission to "leverage" the firepower of the EFSF to €2 trillion, in conjunction with lending from the European Central Bank.

"A new multi-trillion programme is being cooked up in Washington and Brussels, while the wool is being pulled over the eyes of Bundestag and German public. This is unacceptable," he said.

Prince Hermann Otto zu Solms-Hohensolms-Lich, the Bundestag's deputy president and finance chief for the Free Democrats (FDP) in the ruling coalition, expressed outrage over the secret plans.

"Unless the German finance minister can give an immediate assurance that there will be no leveraged formula, I will not vote for this law. We might as well dispense with months of negotiations if all this means is that the Bundestag will be circumvented and served cold left-overs," he said.

The accusation that German leaders are conspiring with EU officials to emasculate the Bundestag is highly sensitive, going to the core of the raging debate in recent months over EU encroachments on German democracy.

Dr Vosskuhle said that the improvisation of far-reaching policies had become "dangerous", and warned against schemes to circumvent the rule of law with backroom deals. "Germany has a great affinity for the rule of law. People expect the political class to obey the rules."

He reminded leaders that the court had set clear boundaries to EU bail-outs in a ruling earlier this month, although it gave the go-ahead for the package of measures agreed so far.

"Our judgment makes clear that the Bundestag cannot abdicate its fiscal responsibilities to other actors. And no permanent mechanism may be created that entails taking over the liabilities of other states," he said. When asked whether eurobonds are off limits, Dr Vosskuhle said any ruling by the judges would be "pretty clear".

"It is quite dangerous when a feeling builds up in Germany that the country is being overrun, and specifically, that such an important country is being outvoted in the ECB," he told Der Standard.

There is little doubt that Chancellor Merkel can pass the EFSF bill with the help of the Social Democrats and Greens. It is less clear whether she can survive the vote without an absolute majority from her own coalition. Green leader Jurgen Trittin said her government would be "finished" if it has to rely on opposition votes.

"There is no cheap, risk-free leveraging option for the EFSF any more," said David Beers, S&P's head of sovereign ratings. "We're getting to a point where the guarantee approach .. is running out of road," he said, adding the various options under discussion could have "potential credit implications".

The Social Democrats are using their political leverage over the EFSF vote to push for greater "haircuts" for banks holding Greek debt. This creates a fresh set of dangers.

Deutsche Bank chief Josef Ackermann implored politicians not to open "Pandora's Box", warning of a domino effect across Europe if the existing deal for writedowns of 21pc on Greek debt is breached. "If the financial sector is further weakened, the real economy will pay a high price," he said.

Pavan Wadhwa from JP Morgan said a bigger restructuring of Greek debt could backfire badly unless proper defences are in place. "If this occurs without a simultaneous and credible plan to recapitalise the banking sector, it could prompt a full-blown crisis," he said.

Continue reading - German turmoil over EU bail-outs as top judge calls for referendum

New Jersey Senator Mike Doherty Endorses Ron Paul

Ron Paul get's endorsement from New Jersey Senator Mike Doherty September 26 2011 in Trenton New Jersey's State House Steps.. NEW JERSEY LOVES RON PAUL

Ron Paul get's endorsement from New Jersey Senator Mike Doherty

Monday, September 26, 2011

MUST WATCH! Meltdown - The Secret History of the Global Financial Collapse 2010

Great documentary explaining the FINANCIAL MELTDOWN.

Meltdown (pt 1-4) The Secret History of the Global Financial Collapse 2010

Meltdown (pt 2-4) The Secret History of the Global Financial Collapse 2010

Meltdown (pt 3-4) The Secret History of the Global Financial Collapse 2010

Meltdown (pt 4-4) The Secret History of the Global Financial Collapse 2010

Rock The Revolution

One of the reasons that Ron Paul so often gets things right is because he is a student of history.

He was able to predict the housing bubble and bust, explaining in detail not only what would happen but also why it would happen. He predicted the wiping out of homeowners’ equity nationwide and the massive losses that would be borne by the banking sector.

He predicted that the decade following 9-11 would see massive expansion of government spending, especially on welfare and entitlements, with a large increase in the number of people who depend on the government for economic security. He predicted the decade’s reduction of civil liberties at home and the expansion of militarism abroad. He predicted the credit crisis and the collapse of the dollar, which are ongoing. He even predicted the flocking of investors to gold, which we are seeing today. He told us what we needed to do to avoid all of these things, but not one listened.

Given Ron Paul’s record, Zak Carter, a US Army veteran of Kosovo and Iraq, probably made a safe bet when he decided to devote four months of his life to bringing about another one of Dr. Paul’s predictions: “I always knew that if you were going to have a revolution, you needed to things: young people and music”. Ron Paul already has many young followers; Zak is bringing the music to get him thousands more.

Mr. Carter is the organizer of the “Rock the Revolution Tour” (rocktherevolutiontour.com) for the peace-loving, freedom-protecting, Constitution-defending Congressman seer. Bringing together bands from all over the nation, he already has concerts lined up in 25 cities from Seattle on Oct 15th and to Boston on Dec 16th.

Although the names of some of the biggest artists are still under wraps, we already know that the likes of Europa, Rise, Concise and Krookid, Jordan Page, Rothbard, J.D. Nero, the Voice of Independence, Billy Blaze and Per Capita will be playing. Some of the acts will be accompanying the tour from start to finish. Others will be playing in their home regions.

Throughout history, music has been at the core of massive cultural and political change, and it has been at its most powerful in defense or celebration of humanity’s highest ideals, such as Peace in the ‘60s, the End of Hunger in the ‘80s (remember Bob Geldoff’s Band Aid?), and now, in 2011, Liberty.

If that sounds like a fanciful comparison, consider that the artists at the Rock the Revolution Tour aren’t there to promote a politician (although they’ll likely be voting for him) as much as they are to celebrate the most important, most American, principle for which he stands. Liberty, like music, is empowering and, well, liberating…

Ron Paul has arguably the most diverse grassroots support of any candidate for the presidency in 2012, but young adults are disproportionately represented in his growing, passionate base. The new political generation is bypassing the mainstream media to go straight to the candidates’ speeches, interviews and voting records, which can now all be found online. More importantly, they are reading economists, thinkers and political ideas that haven’t had much play in the public schools or the media for generations. Their Paulian “a-ha” moment invariably occurs when they see that neither mainstream Democrats nor mainstream Republicans have the answers to what ails the country today: indeed, they are the people who have gotten us into this mess of war, loss of civil liberties and crony corporatism. It’s time for something, someone, completely different.

Young people from high-school-age to their early 30s are, as they have been throughout history, the most open to a whole new paradigm… And what’s not to like about a new paradigm of non-aggression, the Constitution, individual liberty and responsibility and sound money – all things that Ron Paul has been talking about and voting for for years?

Unfortunately for the Ron Paul campaign, much of the American population does not yet know much about their man, and since those people don’t know what they’re missing, they have no particular reason to google him. Fortunately for Ron Paul’s chances, though, the demographic to which he appeals most strongly is generally up for some good live music – especially when it’s free. Zak Carter’s Rock the Revolution Tour will be exploiting that fact to get their attention.

Conceived only a few weeks ago, the project already has an extraordinary momentum that suggests that it is likely to become big enough to reach hundreds of thousands. At worst, they’re all going to have a really good time. At best, they’ll consider the possibility that politics is not, in fact, all the same, and that “Rock the Revolution” is just the opening act of a much bigger event - a Revolution to Rock America.


Fiat Money

Despite every effort by governments, the gap between rich and poor continues to grow. It is now the biggest it has even been in history. All sorts of reasons for this have been proffered, but few, however, seem to realise that is a simple, inevitable consequence of our system of money and credit. This video, a shorter version of which appears in the film The Four Horsemen, explains ...

Fiat Money

ECB: Preventing spillovers on the global economy

Speech by Jean-Claude Trichet, President of the ECB
at the Bretton Woods Committee, International Council Meeting 2011
Washington, 23 September 2011

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is now four years after the outbreak of the global financial crisis, and three years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, which were stark reminders of how much financial integration and globalisation made all economies interdependent.

This interdependence creates benefits but also adverse spillovers which may arise in all domains, from inadequate macro policy choices to private market imperfections. I will focus today on two key areas of policy interest to address spillovers in the global economy: (1) reforming global finance, and (2) strengthening policy discipline at the domestic and global level, before turning to how the euro area can contribute to global stability.

1. Reforming global finance

At the Pittsburgh Summit in 2009, G20 leaders agreed ‘to do everything needed to repair our financial system and to maintain the global flow of capital’. The November 2011 G20 Cannes summit will take stock of where we stand in terms of implementation of this important reform agenda.

In a number of areas, important decision have already been taken, notably as regards the improvement of bank capital with the agreement on Basel III, and the development of macro-prudential frameworks. In other areas, we are close to concluding our work, in particular as regards a new global framework on systemically important financial institutions (SIFIs).

In those areas where decisions have already been taken by the international community, implementation is now key. The G20 yesterday committed to full implementation of Basel III along the agreed timelines. The EU has already started this process early with the European Commission putting its proposals on the table for the so-called Capital Requirements Directive IV, which will translate Basel III into the legal framework of the EU Member States.

In terms of macro-prudential framework, the European Systemic Risk Board has started its operation this year. All jurisdictions must ensure timely implementation so that we can ensure that we have done everything to make a difference as regards the resilience of the global, regional and national financial systems.

Let me briefly highlight three key areas on which we need to stay committed and where swift progress is of the essence.

The first challenge may come from the shadow banking sector. The introduction of more stringent capital requirements may provide incentives for banks to shift part of their activities outside the regulatory realm. It is therefore decisive that we continue our work to improve our capacity to identify and assess the potential risks stemming from the shadow banking system. This includes regulatory reform of money market funds, securitisation and the interaction with the banking sector.

The second challenge is how to keep pace with financial innovation. Improving the OTC and commodity derivatives markets is a key part of this agenda, It is a complex matter and one in which alignment of details is essential to avoid regulatory arbitrage.

The third challenge is to enhance transparency across the board: with regards to markets, institutions, and products. Insufficient information contributes to mispricing of risks, mistrust among market participants, which can result into downturns and crises. At our October meeting of G20 Finance Ministers and Central Banks Governors we will be discussing IOSCO “recommendations to promote markets’ integrity and efficiency to mitigate the risks posed to the financial system by the latest technological developments”.

2. Improving policy discipline globally

Aside from a more resilient global financial system, we need to have more disciplined macro policies as the lack of discipline in macroeconomic policies in several countries led to the build-up of unsustainable external imbalances before the financial crisis.

There is still a gap between the degree of economic integration and the willingness of policy makers to take into account interdependence and spillovers.

Keeping one’s house in order is no longer sufficient in an integrated world. Spillovers from the rest of the world can influence economies considerably. Multilateral surveillance is now being enhanced along two tracks. The informal G20 track and the formal IMF track.

The G20 Framework for Strong, Sustainable and Balanced Growth, incorporates a first systematic multilateral assessment of global imbalances. It comes at an appropriate time because four years after the crisis, global imbalances remain unsustainably high. The sum of the current account balance (in absolute terms) of the major economies are projected to remain close to 2.5% of world GDP in the next few years. This is less than their pre-crisis peak (over 3% of world GDP), but still twice as high as in the early 1990s, before the acceleration in financial and real globalization.

It is now of foremost importance to implement the Framework effectively, and to fully live up to the expectations that the G20 process raised internationally. The G20 Cannes Summit will provide a litmus test.

Multilateral surveillance of domestic policies of systemic countries to ensure their orientation towards medium term stability and sustainability is being strengthened in the IMF as well.

The recently conducted first round of IMF spillover reports, the Consolidated Multilateral Surveillance Report to the IMFC and the current triennial review of IMF surveillance can be seen as useful steps towards a broader and more comprehensive framework.

3. Strengthening governance in the euro area

The need to strengthen discipline is understood strongly on our side of the Atlantic, so that the euro area can do its part in contributing to global stability.

The earlier economic governance framework has proved to be insufficiently binding while lacking appropriate comprehensiveness.

The requirements for a very significant reinforcement of the fiscal surveillance of the Stability and Growth Pact and for the creation of a new surveillance of competitive indicators and macroeconomic policy have been discussed widely and in much detail by euro area authorities. We have embarked on a deep and comprehensive reform of its economic governance to reinforce economic policy coordination.

The Governing Council of the ECB has called for a “quantum leap” in the economic governance of the euro area. This includes in particular (i) greater automaticity of sanctioning mechanisms, particularly in the Stability and Growth Pact (ii) as well as truly independent fiscal and economic analyses of macroeconomic imbalances.

The recent conclusion of the negotiations between the European Parliament and the EU Council on the economic governance reform package are welcome. Fiscal surveillance will become stronger and more coherent with the reinforcement of the Stability and Growth Pact. While falling short of the quantum leap that the ECB was advocating, this agreement strengthens the initial Commission proposals in many ways and is thus a step in the right direction.

The EU budgetary frameworks will also be strengthened, including through the introduction of fiscal rules at the national level. The so-called “European Semester” can be expected to provide ex-ante and integrated guidance to the Member States for the formulation of national budgets and structural reforms for the following year.

This will be complemented by the introduction of a macroeconomic surveillance procedure, which closes an important gap in the economic governance framework. It is key for this framework to be rigorously applied, including in terms of the indicators used, in order to consolidate the effectiveness of this new procedure to assess in particular euro area Member States experiencing sustained losses of competitiveness and large current account deficits. The focus needs to be on the prevention of situations creating risks to economic, budgetary and financial stability in the euro area. In addition, this macroeconomic surveillance procedure should rely on transparent and effective trigger mechanisms.

Let me conclude with three key messages to policy makers – in advanced and emerging market economies alike – who all have a role to play to address the challenges that are ahead of us.

First, what has already been decided has to be implemented expeditiously, comprehensively and fully. This requires resolve and fortitude on the part of the public authorities, but also lucidity on the part of the private sector.

Second, there can be no complacency as regards the unfinished part of our reform agenda for a stronger international financial architecture. And I cannot help saying that on top of what is clearly identified by the international community as the urgent issues under discussion in the Financial Stability Board and the G20, we are far from understanding the potential global systemic instability that is associated today with the sheer size of the non-banking sector which experienced an exponential growth over the last 20 years.

Third, as regards the euro area and the sovereign debt crisis, of which the euro area is currently the epicentre, the euro area central banks, and the ECB in particular, have been permanently calling for sound economic policy management, in particular in the fiscal domain, for structural reforms and for reinforced economic governance. As independent institutions that are devoted to stability and that are medium- to long-term oriented, we are an anchor of stability and confidence. This is especially valuable in the turbulent market environment that we are witnessing and that is characterised by acute tensions of some sovereign signatures which are causing negative spillovers on others.

Only a few weeks ago, the central bankers were all meeting in the BIS headquarters in Basel in our Global Economy Meeting. Reporting to the press afterwards, I stressed that we were all very closely “united in purpose”: each of us in our own economy, with its different features and challenges, striving to solidly anchor inflation expectations, preserve stability and consolidate confidence. Meeting here in Washington, authorities have the opportunity to display the same unity in purpose to address their economic challenges at home, prevent negative spillovers for the global economy and consolidate confidence in the world recovery.

Now, at the end of this exposition, it might be useful for me to tell you what is the assessment that the European Systemic Risk Board has expressed after its last meeting only two days ago:

Since its previous meeting on 22 June 2011, risks to the stability of the EU financial system have increased considerably. Key risks stem from potential further adverse feedback effects between sovereign risks, funding vulnerabilities with the EU banking sector, and a weakening growth outlook both at the global and the EU level. Over the past few months, sovereign stress had moved from smaller economies to some of the larger EU countries. Signs of stress are evident in many European government bond markets, while the high volatility in equity markets indicates that tensions have spread across capital markets around the world. The situation has been aggravated by the progressive drying-up of bank funding markets, and availability of US dollar funding to EU banks had also decreased significantly. In that context, central banks have decided on coordinated US dollar liquidity-providing operations with longer maturities. The high interconnectedness in the EU financial system has led to a rapidly rising risk of significant contagion. This is threatening financial stability in the EU as a whole and adversely impacts the real economy in Europe and beyond.

Looking ahead, decisive and swift action is required from all authorities. In the immediate future this includes: (1) implementing, fully and rapidly, the measures agreed upon at the 21 July meeting of the Heads of State or Government of the euro area; (2) adopting sustainable fiscal policies and growth-enhancing structural measures so as to achieve or maintain credibility of sovereign signatures in global markets; and (3) enhancing the coordination and consistency of communication.

Authorities must act in unison with a total commitment to safeguard financial stability. Supervisors should coordinate efforts to strengthen bank capital, including having recourse to backstop facilities, taking benefit from the possibility of the European Financial Stability Facility to lend to governments in order to recapitalise banks, including in non-programme countries.

I thank you for your attention.

Source: ECB: Preventing spillovers on the global economy

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Ron Paul's Speech at LSU: Promote Peace and Prosperity!

2012 Republican Presidential candidate Ron Paul spoke to a capacity crowd in Baton Rouge at Louisiana State University's Union Theater tonight.

The visit marked the first on-campus visit since the launch of his Youth for Ron Paul initiative, and it exceeded expectations with more than 1,250 LSU students, other youth and the at-large community.

"The sense of excitement here at LSU just after Dr. Paul's successful visit to Florida was palpable, as young supporters and Baton Rouge residents demonstrated that Ron Paul's support is found everywhere nationwide," said Ron Paul 2012 National Campaign Chairman Jesse Benton.

"Remember, at this first YFP event -- which we plan to duplicate on other campuses -- there were no freebies, no exclusive opportunities to greet the candidate, and no well-organized straw poll event. There was just Ron Paul, which appears to be more than enough to draw the 1,250 or so supporters," said Mr. Benton.

The visit to LSU for the YFP event occurred immediately prior to Dr. Paul's presiding over the grand opening celebration of his Louisiana state headquarters, also in Baton Rouge which drew an additional crowd of 700.

"I think I speak for YFP supporters nationwide when I say how pleased we are with the turnout at this inaugural event and the campaign's demonstration of young people's enthusiasm," Edward King, National Youth Coordinator, said.

"This encouraging turnout shows just how popular Ron Paul's ideas are among youth, who this election cycle will comprise a core set of voters and volunteers," said Mr. King.

Continue reading - Ron Paul Speaks to Capacity Crowd at Louisiana State University Event

Ron Paul's Speech at LSU: Promote Peace and Prosperity!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

IMF: Global economy needs collective action now

IMF chief Christine Lagarde has called for countries to "act now and act together" to keep on the path to economic recovery.

"We are by no means strangers, and we are linked by a common destiny," she said at the annual meeting of the IMF and the World Bank in Washington.

"And these turbulent times must bind us ever closer together."

Speaking in Washington, where the G20 is also gathering, Mr Osborne said European leaders had six weeks to end the crisis.

'Dark clouds'

But she added: "There are dark clouds over Europe and there is huge uncertainty in the US. And with that we could risk a collapse in global demand."

"Well, so what? Let's remove the clouds and remove the uncertainty. Easier said than done, and it requires clearly a collective action.

"We are all in it together and nobody should be under any illusion that there could be a de-coupling."

Global shares had slumped on Thursday, sparked by a Federal Reserve warning late the previous day about the outlook for the US economy.

And on Friday, Greece denied media reports it was contemplating defaulting on its debts, with creditors taking a 50% hit on Greek government bonds.

"All other discussions, rumours, comments and scenarios which are diverting our attention from this central target and Greece's political obligation... do not help our common European task," he said.

Also on Friday, credit rating agency Moody's downgraded eight Greek banks due to concerns about Greece's ability to pay back its debts.

Two of the Greek banks downgraded, the Emporiki Bank of Greece and General Bank of Greece, are majority-owned by France's Credit Agricole and Societe Generale respectively.


Thursday's market falls had sparked the G20 to announce a commitment "to take all necessary actions to preserve the stability of banking systems and financial markets as required".

Ms Lagarde said: "There is a path to recovery. It's narrower than it was three years ago but there is a path and we have options."

It said it would follow up this pledge with a "bold action plan" at the beginning of November.

"The statement from the G20 last night may have taken the edge off the current bitter market sentiment, but the reassurances from the finance ministers lack substance," said Jane Foley at Rabobank.

"Until politicians back their actions with words in respect to moving closer to a solution to the eurozone debt crisis, markets will continue to worry about a messy and painful outcome from the eurozone debt crisis."

The G20 has given little hint of what action it may take, but markets have long been calling for a substantial increase in the eurozone's communal bailout fund, the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), from its agreed level of 440bn euros ($596bn; £385bn).

Many investors also want the eurozone to issue bonds guaranteed by every one of the 17-member nations - so-called eurobonds. However, a number of policymakers, particularly those in Germany, have resisted the idea.

In July, European finance ministers proposed making the EFSF more flexible, allowing it to buy individual government bonds - which would bring down the cost of borrowing for heavily indebted nations - and to offer emergency credit lines to banks. However, the proposals have not yet been ratified.

Sense of urgency

Analysts say far swifter action is needed in order to soothe investors' jittery nerves.

"Markets work on a second-by-second basis, while politicians seem to be working to a monthly calendar," Jeremy Stretch from CIBC told the BBC.

UK Chancellor George Osborne also said that time was of the essence.

"There is a far greater sense of urgency than there was three weeks ago about the necessity for the eurozone to address its problems and there is pressure on the eurozone from across the international community," he told the BBC.

He said there was a recognition that a solution needed to be found in weeks not months, and a comprehensive solution needed to come from the G20 leaders' meeting in November.

"The thing that really brought the world to a better place in 2008 was genuine collective action involving both the developed and the developing world through the G20," he told the BBC.

"The fact that they're all there together in [Washington] DC this weekend should lay the framework for thoughts about quite significant actions... sometime between now or possibly at the November G20 in France."

Continue reading - BBC - IMF: Global economy needs collective action now

Friday, September 23, 2011

Henry Markram: Simulating the Brain — The Next Decisive Years

Henry Markram, Ph.D., Director of the Blue Brain Project at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, speaks at the International Supercomputing Conference 2011.

Henry Markram: Simulating the Brain — The Next Decisive Years [1/3]

Henry Markram: Simulating the Brain — The Next Decisive Years [2/3]

Henry Markram: Simulating the Brain — The Next Decisive Years [3/3]


How to make movies of what the brain sees

OpenCog: An Open Source Software Framework & A Design and Vision for Advanced AGI

OpenCog: An Open Source Software Framework & A Design and Vision for Advanced AGI

AGI 2011: OpenCog

Humanity+ @Hong Kong - Ben Goertzel

Zeitgeist Music Medley - Live Performance

Rochester, MN Zeitgeist Movement Chapter performing music from the Zeitgeist film series during Zeitgeist Day 2011.

Zeitgeist Music Medley - Live Performance

Thursday, September 22, 2011

GREECE REVOLT - Greeks strike amid pain and anger over austerity

Greek workers staged a 24-hour strike on Thursday bringing the transport system to a standstill in protest against the government's decision to intensify its austerity drive to secure more aid and save the debt-laden country from bankruptcy.

Tens of thousands of angry union members prepared to march later on Thursday to parliament in Athens as part of the first big nationwide protests since late June when daily demonstrations culminated in bloody clashes with police.

Striking taxi drivers and bus, metro and rail workers forced commuters to use their own cars, triggering kilometres-long traffic jams and stranding tourists at hotels in Athens' ancient city centre.

"The situation is dramatic, all major streets are jammed," said one traffic police official, who declined to be named. A stoppage by air traffic controllers delayed 100 flights by up to four hours and dozens more in an out of Greece were cancelled.

After European Union and International Monetary Fund inspectors made clear they were losing patience over the government's failure to meet the targets of a bailout, the cabinet agreed on Wednesday to front-load austerity measures.

Policymakers and economists fear a Greek default on its 340-billion-euro debt could set global markets tumbling and push other vulnerable euro zone members like Italy and Spain over the edge, potentially splitting the currency area.

The chairman of Goldman Sachs' overseas arm said on Thursday the Greek situation was a major threat to the euro, while Canada said it could trigger a global banking crisis if Europe did not get it under control.

As well as cutting pensions and extending a real estate tax rise, the cabinet put 30,000 civil servants in "labour reserve" this year, cutting their pay to 60 percent and giving them 12 months to find new work in the state sector or lose their jobs.


"This is a policy we do not tolerate, we do not want. We are in continuous, total, permanent opposition to it," said Yannis Panagopoulos, president of private sector employees union GSEE, speaking on state NET TV.

With the economy expected to contract by at least 5 percent this year -- after a 4.4 percent slump in 2010 -- and unemployment at 16 percent and rising, most Greeks hold little hope austerity measures will help the nation emerge from crisis.

"We are living in terror that we may lose our jobs, our lives. Even if these lay-offs are necessary, we are not being treated like humans," said Costas Andrianopoulos, 32, who works at the National theatre.

"They cut our wages and our pensions and we took it. But I don't believe any more that any of this is for the good of the country. We'll be sacrificed for nothing. We can't avoid default, We have no hope."

Continue reading - Reuters - Greeks strike amid pain and anger over austerity

Greeks strike over new austerity measures

King Moves Closer to Fed on Global Stimulus

Bank of England Governor Mervyn King has moved closer toward joining the Federal Reserve in a global push to add stimulus and stave off renewed recessions.

Economists at JPMorgan Chase and Co. and RBC Capital Markets see the U.K. central bank starting to buy 50 billion pounds ($77 billion) of assets by November after most of its policy makers said more so-called quantitative easing is “increasingly probable.” JPMorgan economist Malcolm Barr in London said weak survey data could prompt a move in October.

A cooling global economy and the threat from Europe’s debt crisis have refocused policy makers’ attention away from inflation risks to avoiding a slide back into recession. The Fed late yesterday said it will rebalance its Treasury holdings to cut longer-term borrowing costs, Sweden’s Riksbank said slowing growth may warrant a rate cut, while the Swiss National Bank lowered its benchmark to zero earlier this month.

“Concerns about inflation carry much less weight now that the focus has shifted to growth,” said Samuel Tombs, an economist at Capital Economics Ltd. in London. “They’ve given a clear steer that they’ll announce more asset purchases in the coming months, if not October then November is quite likely.”

‘Materially Weaker’

Minutes of the central bank’s Sept. 7-8 meeting published yesterday showed that officials now see second-half growth being “materially weaker” than previously projected. They will announce their next policy decision on Oct. 6.

While most of the Monetary Policy Committee sees more QE as likely, Bank of England Chief Economist Spencer Dale indicated yesterday he may not be among that group. Dale, who ended a push for a rate increase in August, said any decision on stimulus needs to be “weighed against the backdrop of continuing high inflation.”

The bank has forecast that consumer-price growth will accelerate to 5 percent in the coming months, more than twice its target. At the same time, economic expansion slowed to 0.2 percent in the second quarter, consumer confidence is declining and manufacturing and services gauges fell in August.

Recession Risk

With the risk of recession, everything possible has to be done,” Mario Blejer, who was an adviser to King from 2003 to 2008, said in an interview. “U.K. inflation is already too high and there are issues about the bank meeting its target. But in the current context, the damage from a second recession overwhelms all the other issues.”

The Fed said yesterday it would replace much of the short- term debt in its portfolio with longer-term Treasuries in a move dubbed “Operation Twist.” The central bank will buy $400 billion of bonds with maturities of six to 30 years through June while selling an equal amount of debt maturing in three years or less.

Barclays Capital said Sept. 20 that the European Central Bank will cut its benchmark interest rate by a quarter point to 1.25 percent next month, reversing one of its increases earlier this year, in an attempt to ease tensions on money markets.

Government Pressure

Pressure on the Bank of England to aid the recovery is growing as Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne vows to stick to his spending-cut plan to reduce the deficit, a move that opposition politicians say is undermining the recovery. Business Secretary Vince Cable repeated a call yesterday for the central bank to expand beyond its government bond purchases.

Britain is facing the fifth-largest fiscal squeeze among advanced economies, according to IMF data analyzed by the London-based Institute for Fiscal Studies. Only Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Iceland are on course to see deeper cuts to 2015.

The MPC minutes showed officials voted 8-1 to keep the bond program unchanged and were unanimous in holding the key interest rate at a record-low 0.5 percent. Still, the decision to maintain the current stimulus was “finely balanced.”

Morgan Stanley currency strategist Tim Davis said yesterday that the pound, which has fallen 6 percent against the dollar in the last month, may weaken further as the Bank of England moves closer to policy loosening.


The pound had been supported by safe haven flows attracted by the U.K.’s stable monetary and fiscal policy, but the increased prospect of QE may have significantly removed this pillar of support,” Davis said in a note, adding he sees the currency at $1.53 by the end of the year. “We remain fundamentally bearish.”

Adam Posen, who has been voting for a 50 billion-pound expansion of the bond program since November, stepped up his push this month, saying the bank may need to buy as much as 100 billion pounds within three months and that officials’ delay in acting has made economic prospects “worse.”

“Additional QE may not be far away,” said Jamie Dannhauser, an economist at Lombard Street Research in London. “Unless there is an improvement in financial-market conditions, the MPC may be minded to ease policy as soon as next month, at the latest in November.”

Continue reading - Bloomberg - King Moves Closer to Fed on Global Stimulus

IMF warns of threat to global banking system

The International Monetary Fund has warned that the global financial system is more vulnerable now than at any time since the 2008 financial crisis.

Some European banks are particularly weak and "urgently need to bolster their capital levels", the IMF said in its Global Financial Stability Report.

It said time is "running out to tackle vulnerabilities" that threaten the banking system and economic recovery.

On Tuesday, the IMF cut economic growth forecasts for Europe, the US and Japan.

Extra funds

The IMF's twice-yearly stability report said the risks to banks and financial markets had grown.

Fearful that some governments could default and that the global economy may return to recession, banks may start conserving cash, cutting access to capital and increasing borrowing costs.

As intra-bank lending freezes, the weaker European firms will struggle.

Europe should consider tapping its Financial Stability Facility - a fund set up to provide aid to indebted countries - to support their weakest banks, the IMF said.

"Some European banks urgently need to bolster their capital levels," the report said.

"In current market conditions, however, this may not always be possible, so public backstops, first at the national level and ultimately through the European Financial Stability Facility should be used to provide capital to banks as needed."

The Washington-based IMF estimates that the eurozone debt crisis has directly cost banks in the European Union 200bn euros ($273bn; £176bn) since the end of 2009.

The 187-member group is holding its annual meeting at the end of this week in Washington, bringing together finance ministers and central bankers from around the world.

The report also said: "Restoring confidence in the stability of the US housing market is the key to bolstering the prospects for US banks."

On Tuesday the IMF's chief economist, Olivier Blanchard, said that "Europe must get its act together", and he criticised its leaders for being "one step behind the action".

The IMF also cut its growth forecasts for all the major European economies.

Continue reading - BBC - IMF warns of threat to global banking system

Ron Paul's Full Speech at LPAC: "Don't Steal - the Government Hates Competition!"

Introduction by actor Vince Vaughn

Vince Vaughn: I Called Ron Paul to Talk about the Fed

Ron Paul's Full Speech at LPAC: "Don't Steal - the Government Hates Competition!"


Ron Paul 1988 prophetically warning us of the banking crisis!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

IMF: Economy enters 'dangerous phase'

The global economy has entered a "dangerous new phase" of sharply lower growth, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The organisation warned that continuing political and economic woes in the US and eurozone could force them back into recession.

The IMF says the prognosis for economies in the developed world is "weak and bumpy expansion".

It predicts their GDP will expand "at an anaemic pace of 1.5% in 2011".

The IMF believes global growth will shrink to 4% in 2012, from 5% last year, on factors such as "major financial turbulence in the eurozone".

It slashed the its growth projections for the 17-nation eurozone to 1.6% in 2011, down from 2% predicted in June. Next year, growth will be 1.1%, down from 1.7%.

The US - the world's largest economy - is likely to have weak growth "for years to come".

Acting together

The IMF stressed said strong leadership would crucial in staving off recession in the US and eurozone.

IMF chief economist Olivier Blanchard said that eurozone countries were lagging in the race to solve the sovereign debt crisis.

He said: "There is a wide perception that policymakers are one step behind the action. Europe must get its act together."

The perceived weakness in eurozone governments' response is one of the main factors behind the recent market turmoil.

"Leaders must stand by their commitments to do whatever it takes to preserve trust in national policies and the euro," the report said.

The IMF's statements come after credit rating agency Standard and Poor's downgraded Italy's debt rating amid mounting concerns about the country's finances.

And on Monday, the IMF warned Greece to implement agreed reforms or miss an 8bn-euro bailout instalment set for October, viewed as vital to keeping state finances afloat.

"Fragile" financial institutions needed to get private cash to survive over funds from the public purse, or be "restructured or closed", said the IMF.

In a speech on Tuesday, European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia also warned more banks in the region may need extra cash.

He said: "The worsening of the sovereign debt crisis, its impact on a fragile banking system and the continuing tensions in funding markets all point to the possible needs for further recapitalistion of banks on top of the nine that failed the stress tests earlier this year."

US concerns

The IMF report also voices concerns about the US economic recovery and the chance it might "suffer further blows" including a weak housing market and worsening financial conditions.

It warns that either of the issues could drag both the US and the euro area into recession.

It suggests that the US needs to devise a plan to "put public debt on a sustainable path and implement policies to sustain the recovery".

The IMF has also voiced fears that the US is facing what it calls a "very sluggish recovery of employment".

"Although [US] unemployment is below post-World War II highs, job losses during the crisis were unprecedented and came on top of lacklustre employment performance during the preceding decade," the report said.

It added that news of the US housing market had been disappointing, with "no end in sight to the overhang of excess supply and declining prices".

Continue reading - BBC - IMF: Economy enters 'dangerous phase'

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

CHILE REVOLT - Student protests in Chile

The ongoing student demonstrations in Chile began as a protest over the costs, profits, and fairness of higher education there. They have since attracted other segments of Chilean society venting frustration over wages, health care, and other issues. Uniting the protesters is common dissatisfaction with hugely unpopular President Sebastian Pinera and social inequality. Workers joined a 48-hour general strike in August which, like many demonstrations during the course of the protests, was met with police using tear gas and water cannons on the participants. With changes in the education system still unsettled, the student protests are likely to continue. Chileans yesterday celebrated their national independence day.

via Student protests in Chile

MUST READ! Ron Paul Can Win

It's hard to tell if the idea that Ron Paul cannot win in 2012 is more ignorant, in its complete lack of historical sophistication, or more arrogant, in its claim to certainty amid all the complexity of 300 million lives and the myriad issues that affect them.

Sometimes, perhaps once in a few generations, a nation can undergo what a mathematician or physicist would call a "phase change." The classic example of such a thing is a pile of sand. Every grain you add makes the pile slightly steeper and slightly higher without moving any of the other grains inside the pile, until eventually one grain is added that causes an avalanche of sand down the sides of the pile, moving thousand of grains and changing the shape of the pile.

Such behavior can be exhibited by all complex systems, and a nation -- it should be obvious -- is much more complex than a pile of sand.

The important point for those who would presume to make such grand predictions as "Dr. Paul cannot win" is that no examination of the pile of sand before the point of avalanche would tell you that, or when, the avalanche will eventually happen.

But happen it does; indeed, happen it must.

And there are numerous examples of abrupt and dramatic phase change in the politics of great nations.

The U.K., the country of my birth, provides a compelling and closely relevant example. As every schoolboy knows, Churchill led Britain to victory in the Second World War. Indeed, he did as much as any man on Earth ever has to save civilization as we know it.

Three months after the entire nation poured into the streets to cheer this great leader (the man a few years ago voted by Britons the greatest Briton of all time), Churchill went to the country in a general election to retain his position as prime minister. There was simply no way he could lose. The best slogan the Labour party, his opposition, could come up with was, "Cheer Churchill. Vote Labour."

And amazingly, that is exactly what the nation did. Churchill was defeated. No one anywhere -- including the people of Britain who voted in the election -- had even thought about the possibility. No newspaper had considered it. After all, the election was a foregone conclusion in Churchill's favor. And yet an unseen, perhaps unconscious, will of the people caused a cultural and political phase-change in the British nation that they neither knew they wanted nor knew they had the power to cause.

Many historians now say that the unseen sentiment that produced this result that shocked not just the British but the whole world was the idea that all the blood and treasure lost to maintain the freedom of the British empire and the Western world demanded something more than continuation of the old political settlement. After a huge crisis, the people wanted a whole new system. In 1945, the Labour Party, with its vision of state-delivered cradle-to-grave security of health and basic material well-being (welfare state), in some way met that national desire for a grand political change.

Following what was in fact a landslide victory for the Labour party, the character of the nation changed massively, and more change rapidly followed in the British identity, as an empire was lost and the mantle of the world's greatest power was handed to the U.S.A.

Those who have noted that one of Ron Paul's greatest qualities is his humility might also be interested to know that Churchill had put down Clement Attlee, who defeated him, with the words, "A modest little man, with much to be modest about."

Perhaps a more fanciful comparison, but nonetheless indicative: no one in China was predicting that the Long March of Mao, which began in defeat and despair, would end in Beijing with victory and the proclamation of a whole new nation under a whole new political system.

And which newspapers were pondering the possibility of the First World War just a month before it happened?

We cannot see past a phase change. I don't know if the U.S.A. will have undergone one at the time of the 2012 election, but the necessary conditions for one are all in place, as far as I can tell.

One has to reach back a good way in American history for a time of such rapidly rising sentiment that not only are our leaders unable even to think of real solutions to the problems of greatest concern (rather than just making expedient changes at the margin), but also that the prevailing political and economic system is structurally incapable of delivering any long-term solutions in its current form.

The sheer range and interconnectedness of the problems that the nation faces are such that any permanent solution to any one of them will require profound systemic change that will necessarily upset many economic, political and cultural equilibria. And that is nothing more than a definition of a national phase change.

The average American may not know what is to be done, but she can sense when the system has exhausted all its possibilities. At that point, not only does the phase change become reasonable; it becomes desirable -- even if what lies on the other side cannot be known.

As anyone can find out just by talking to a broad cross-section of Ron Paul's supporters, his base is not uniform in its agreement on the standard issues of typical American party-political conflict. In fact, Paul supporters vary significantly even in their views of what in the old left-right paradigm were the "wedge-issues." Rather, they are united around concepts that could almost be called meta-political: whether left and right really exist, and, if they do, whether they are really opposed; whether centralized government should even be the main vehicle for political change, etc.; and whether there are some principles that should be held sacrosanct for long-term benefit, even when they will hurt in the short-run.

For those with eyes to see, such realignments and re-prioritization may even be glimpses of America after its next phase change.

If Ron Paul has committed support from 10 percent of the adult population, and most of that 10 percent support him precisely because they believe he represents a whole new political system, an entirely new political settlement, then we may be close to critical mass -- just a few grains of sand short of the avalanche.

Another piece of evidence that the nation is close to a phase change and a gestalt switch is the very fact that the prevailing paradigm (from which the mainstream media, established political class, etc., operate) has to ignore huge amounts of data about Ron Paul and the movement around him to continue to make any sense. The studied neglect of data as "irrelevant" is invariably indicative that the neglected data are hugely important. If information doesn't really matter, why go to all the effort of ignoring it?

Specifically, on all the metrics that a year ago everyone accepted as useful indicators of political standing, Ron Paul is not just a front-runner but a strong one.

First, and most directly, he does extremely well in polls. The organization of his grassroots support is not just excellent; it is remarkable, by historic and global measures. His ability to raise money from actual voters is second to none. His appeal to independents and swing voters is an order of magnitude greater than that of his competitors. Secondarily, he has more support from military personnel than all other candidates put together, if measured by donations; he has the most consistent voting record; he has the magical quality of not coming off as a politician; he oozes integrity and authenticity, and, as far as we know, he has a personal life and marriage that reflects deep stability and commitment.

To believe that Ron Paul's victory is a long shot in spite of all standard indicators that directly contradict this claim is to throw out all norms with which we follow our nation's politics -- and that is a huge thing to do. The only way it can be done honestly is to present another set of contradictory reasons or metrics that are collectively more powerful than all those that you are rejecting. I am yet to find them.

If it is true that the studied neglect of data to hold tight to a paradigm is the best evidence that the paradigm is about to collapse, then the massive and highly subjective neglect of all things Paulian is specific evidence that the country is moving in Paul's direction.

Of course, none of this means that Paul will definitely win. But it does mean that a bet against him by a politician is foolhardy and by a journalist is dishonest.

It is worth returning to Churchill's career for an even more delicious example: just days before he became the great wartime leader, his career had been written off as that of a kook, and he was being discussed as someone who had extreme ideas and whose thinking did not reflect the mood of the nation. The House of Commons was abuzz with his decline and imminent fall.

And then, rather suddenly, something he had been saying for many years -- that there was something rotten in the state of Germany -- became so obvious that it could no longer be avoided. Once the nation saw that he had been right all along, he became the leader of the free world in very short order. His career changed. Britain changed. The world changed. No one had seen that coming, either. In fact, everyone thought they knew what was coming: the kook was about to disappear into political backwaters, if not the political wilderness.

Do I even need to draw the parallel?

If Paul wins, it won't be because he is the kind of candidate Americans have always gone for. It will be precisely because Americans have collectively decided on a dramatically new way of doing business -- a new political and economic paradigm -- and then he'll not only have ceased to be a long shot; he'll be the only shot.

Continue reading - Ron Paul Can Win

A Little Inflation Can Be a Dangerous Thing

IN all the commentary about Ben S. Bernanke’s recent speech in Jackson Hole, Wyo., little attention has been paid to six crucial words: “in a context of price stability.” Those words concluded a discussion by Mr. Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, of what tools the central bank could consider appropriate to promote a stronger economic recovery.

Ordinarily, a central banker’s affirming the importance of price stability is not headline news. But consider the setting. There is great and understandable disappointment about high unemployment and the absence of a robust economy, and even concern about the possibility of a renewed downturn. There is also a sense of desperation that both monetary and fiscal policy have almost exhausted their potential, given the size of the fiscal deficits and the already extremely low level of interest rates.

So now we are beginning to hear murmurings about the possible invigorating effects of “just a little inflation.” Perhaps 4 or 5 percent a year would be just the thing to deal with the overhang of debt and encourage the “animal spirits” of business, or so the argument goes.

It’s not yet a full-throated chorus. But remarkably, at least one member of the Fed’s policy making committee recently departed from the price-stability script.

The siren song is both alluring and predictable. Economic circumstances and the limitations on orthodox policies are indeed frustrating. After all, if 1 or 2 percent inflation is O.K. and has not raised inflationary expectations — as the Fed and most central banks believe — why not 3 or 4 or even more? Let’s try to get business to jump the gun and invest now in the expectation of higher prices later, and raise housing prices (presumably commodities and gold, too) and maybe wages will follow. If the dollar is weakened, that’s a good thing; it might even help close the trade deficit. And of course, as soon as the economy expands sufficiently, we will promptly return to price stability.

Well, good luck.

Some mathematical models spawned in academic seminars might support this scenario. But all of our economic history says it won’t work that way. I thought we learned that lesson in the 1970s. That’s when the word stagflation was invented to describe a truly ugly combination of rising inflation and stunted growth.

My point is not that we are on the edge today of serious inflation, which is unlikely if the Fed remains vigilant. Rather, the danger is that if, in desperation, we turn to deliberately seeking inflation to solve real problems — our economic imbalances, sluggish productivity, and excessive leverage — we would soon find that a little inflation doesn’t work. Then the instinct will be to do a little more — a seemingly temporary and “reasonable” 4 percent becomes 5, and then 6 and so on.

What we know, or should know, from the past is that once inflation becomes anticipated and ingrained — as it eventually would — then the stimulating effects are lost. Once an independent central bank does not simply tolerate a low level of inflation as consistent with “stability,” but invokes inflation as a policy, it becomes very difficult to eliminate.

It is precisely the common experience with this inflation dynamic that has led central banks around the world to place prime importance on price stability. They do so not at the expense of a strong productive economy. They do it because experience confirms that price stability — and the expectation of that stability — is a key element in keeping interest rates low and sustaining a strong, expanding, fully employed economy.

At a time when foreign countries own trillions of our dollars, when we are dependent on borrowing still more abroad, and when the whole world counts on the dollar’s maintaining its purchasing power, taking on the risks of deliberately promoting inflation would be simply irresponsible.

It is that conviction that underlies Mr. Bernanke’s six words. Let’s not forget them.

President Obama has now set out new proposals to support economic growth. I hope he will be able to work with a responsible Congress to find the common ground that is urgently needed to deal with the economic challenges before us, restoring a healthy economy “in a context of price stability.” I also hope they will reach agreement early next year on a strong program to deal responsibly with our huge budget deficit over the years ahead.

Paul A. Volcker was chairman of the Federal Reserve from 1979 to 1987.

via NY Times - A Little Inflation Can Be a Dangerous Thing

Niall Ferguson: The 6 killer apps of prosperity

Over the past few centuries, Western cultures have been very good at creating general prosperity for themselves. Historian Niall Ferguson asks: Why the West, and less so the rest? He suggests half a dozen big ideas from Western culture -- call them the 6 killer apps -- that promote wealth, stability and innovation. And in this new century, he says, these apps are all shareable.

Niall Ferguson: The 6 killer apps of prosperity

Monday, September 19, 2011

US REVOLT - US Day of Rage


Wall Street is a huge contributor to the political machine, which in turns enables Wall Street's corporate plunder of our nation. Both the Democratic and Republican parties set the bankster agenda because of the MONEY. When we at US Day of Rage speak of 'taking the MONEY out of politics', we have no choice but to focus on the sources of the MONEY.

Bought by hard and soft dollars, disloyal, incompetent, and wasteful interests have usurped our nation’s civil and military power, spawning a host of threats to liberty and national security.
We demand satisfaction for the wrongs done to our nation and its people.

The Plan

US Day of Rage has a plan that will overcome even the most totalitarian attempts to suppress the First Amendment.
We are taking the high ground on the public sidewalks. Citizens United versus FEC, the Department of Homeland Security & the NYPD/CIA protect corporations' 1st amendment rights. Citizens should have at the very least the same protection September 17 on public sidewalks.

via US Day of Rage


Despite Arrests, Wall Street Protesters March On

Occupy Wall Street -- Police Brutality, Arrests, MSM blackout


USA: 'Day Of Rage' Protest On Wall Street

Faceoff at 55 Wall St.

New York City Protest - Occupy Wall Street - Video and Photo

Occupy Wall Street Protest - September 17th - It Has Begun

"Occupy Wall Street": Thousands March in NYC Financial District, Set Up Protest Encampment


US Day Of Rage Protest in Seattle in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street NYC


San Francisco Day Of Rage - Moving up the street #1

San Francisco Day Of Rage - Moving up the street #2

San Francisco Day Of Rage - Moving up the street #2.5

San Francisco Day Of Rage - Moving up the street #3

Sliding toward financial crisis

Three years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the world's financial system is sliding toward another major crisis.

At stake is the global recovery and future shape of Europe.

Calls are mounting for financial leaders of the world's biggest economies meeting this week to take bold action, not on the scale of the $1 trillion rescue package of March 2009 but something equally important in policy terms.

The challenge for the Group of 20 talks in Washington on Thursday and Friday is to prevent a sovereign debt crisis centered in Greece from turning into a full-blown banking crisis. Such a crisis could engulf other indebted European countries, lead to messy defaults and plunge the region and world back into economic and financial turmoil.

"We have entered a dangerous new phase of the crisis," said Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, last Thursday. "To navigate it, we need strong political will across the world -- leadership over brinkmanship."

World Bank President Robert Zoellick a day earlier said: "The time for muddling through is over."

Pieces of a multipronged approach to the crisis have come into focus and should solidify further this week.

The political hurdles remain significant but if the parts of the program are endorsed by G20 finance ministers and central bankers, and their governments continue to deliver, investment strategists say turmoil in markets should abate.

Two factors are driving the crisis -- political discord within Europe over how much support to give indebted euro-zone governments that are implementing tough fiscal austerity programs; and vulnerabilities within the region's financial system, especially in France where banks hold 671.6 billion euros of government debt of high-deficit euro-zone countries.

These factors have fed upon each other in a vicious cycle. Talk among top German officials of Greece defaulting or leaving the euro zone has accelerated investor withdrawal of short-term funding to French banks, raising concerns about bank solvency.

To halt the cycle, the following steps are coming together:

* To support growth and ease lending costs, a growing number of central banks worldwide are loosening monetary conditions -- an action likely to win the G20's endorsement for countries where inflationary pressures are in check.

The Federal Reserve will play its part on Wednesday when it is expected to announce a plan to lower longer-term interest rates by shifting the balance of its $2.8 trillion securities portfolio away from short-term debt. How aggressively it does this, and whether it also cuts the interest rate paid to banks on their excess reserves held at the Fed, an idea gaining traction in markets, will signal the Fed's degree of concern over the economic slowdown.

* To address concerns about the ability of governments to service their debt, European finance ministers are considering proposals to leverage their 440 billion-euro European Financial Stability Fund, which should be up and running by month's end. The United States has suggested increasing the EFSF firepower roughly ten-fold to give it the capacity to handle a sovereign bailout the size of Italy or help recapitalize banks.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner got a cool reception from EU finance officials on Friday in Poland where he went to propose the leverage idea and warned of "catastrophic risk" if Europe fails to act more firmly. Some EU ministers rankled at what they saw as a U.S. lecture.

But market participants were confident its practical appeal would eventually win the day. Leveraging the EFSF costs European governments nothing upfront, they duck the political difficulty of raising more funds if a major EU country runs into trouble, it provides funds to recapitalize banks if needed and would earn them market confidence. Semi-annual meetings at the International Monetary Fund and World Bank this week give EU leaders a further chance to discuss its merits.

* On bank liquidity, the European Central Bank's bold action last week to arrange three-month dollar funding for banks has shown ECB capacity to lead -- despite German dissent within its ranks -- and alleviate liquidity problems for European banks.

* On bank solvency, the issue is trickier. Europeans sharply disagree with U.S. officials and the International Monetary Fund that their banks need more capital. The IMF has estimated a 200 billion-euro shortfall, a number that may be revisited in an IMF report this week. If EU officials agree to flexible usage of the EFSF, they could recapitalize the banks quickly.

* On sovereign solvency, governments continue to make progress, albeit slow, in reducing budget deficits. Italy last week adopted a plan for a balanced budget by 2013. In the United States, President Barack Obama on Monday lays out his preferred course for medium-term deficit reduction.

The final ingredient is the political resolve to stick to this package of programs. Eswar Prasad, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, said the job of the IMF this week is to nudge countries in this direction and highlight serious dangers ahead.

"The alternative is political paralysis, which we are seeing in many of these countries and could lead to very substantial risks for the longer term. And that's the big concern," he said.

Continue reading - Reuters - Sliding toward financial crisis

ROCK STAR Welcome for Ron Paul at the California GOP Convention

The California Republican Party’s 2011 Straw Poll was held today between 9:00AM – 5:00PM, where CRP members, associate members, and registered guests were allowed to choose their favorite from among the 11 official Republican presidential candidates.

A full breakdown of the results is copied below. A total of 833 ballots were cast during the 2011 Straw Poll which included a write-in opportunity for the first time.
2011 Straw Poll Full Results (Votes, %)

1. Ron Paul (374, 44.9%)
2. Rick Perry (244, 29.3%)
3. Mitt Romney (74, 8.8%)
4. Michele Bachmann (64, 7.7%)
5. Jon Huntsman (17, 2.0%)
6. Herman Cain (15, 1.8%)
7. Newt Gingrich (14, 1.7%)
8. Thad McCotter (7, 0.8%)
9. Rick Santorum (7, 0.8%)
10. Gary Johnson (2, 0.2%)
11. Fred Karger (1, 0.1%)
12. Write-ins (15, 1.8%)

Rock Star Welcome for Ron Paul at the California Republican Party Convention

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Keynes: The Sunny Economist

FOR someone who’s been dead for 65 years, John Maynard Keynes has amazing presence. Open a paper, click on a blog or TV, and, voilà, like Waldo, he’s everywhere. The British economic oracle — whose boyhood nickname Snout should tell you that a pretty face isn’t why he’s hot — gets more Google hits than Leonardo DiCaprio. Gov. Rick Perry of Texas apparently got so fed up with the old scene stealer that he interrupted a recent Republican debate to flash his rivals the news that Keynes was, well, deceased.

For some, Keynes is the hero who rescued the West from the Great Depression, for others the villain to blame for the current mess. To me, he’s neither, but rather the Winston Churchill of economics, radiating optimism when things looked bleakest, never so happily engaged as in a national or global emergency.

An emergency is what we’re having now, of course. Unemployment has been stuck around 9 percent for more than two years. Business is treading water. Families have less cash to spend. Markets are in turmoil. All our old anxieties have us by the throat again: the American Dream is dead; the middle class is disappearing; our children won’t live as well as we do. Never mind that similar fears proved groundless in the past. When you’re scared in the middle of the night, it’s almost impossible to imagine morning.

Keynes could, though. He had a surprising ability to see beyond the grim present to better days — especially for someone who famously noted that “in the long run we are all dead.

Keynes’s sunny optimism was most striking in the midst of one of the darkest chapters of modern economic history. If we think of the recession of 2007-9 as a Category 1 hurricane, the Great Depression would qualify as a Category 5. Income, per person, was one-fifth of what it is today, adjusted for inflation. Unemployment was nearly three times as high. More than a third of the population was destitute. There were virtually no government benefits.

Preachers talked of Armageddon, and pundits contemplated “the possibility that the Western system of society might break down and cease to work.” Keynes, however, reassured fellow citizens, in a silvery, seductive voice that was one of his sexiest features, that what came before “was not a dream. This is a nightmare, which will pass away with the morning.”

Admittedly, Keynes had no more seen the hurricane coming than his counterparts predicted the crises of 1893 or 1907 or those of the 1990s or 2008. Irving Fisher’s ill-timed pronouncement, just before the crash of 1929, that “stocks have reached a permanently high plateau” will never be forgotten. Keynes was equally surprised and forced to put his two favorite Impressionist paintings up for sale. Still, he wasn’t about to waste time ruing past failures when panic was in the air. Instead, he quickly began reassuring the British public that “we are suffering just now from a bad attack of economic pessimism.” Boldly, he predicted that by the time his great-nieces and great-nephews were adults, mankind would have solved its “economic problem.” At least in the West, the material requisites for a good life would be available to all.

He did not dismiss the dangers of 25 percent unemployment, nor advocate that government embrace nature’s cure and wait it out. But he disagreed vehemently with those who called for draconian or dictatorial measures. He insisted that the Western economies were suffering from a mechanical breakdown for which there was a relatively easy fix. (For someone who didn’t drive, he was inordinately fond of vehicular metaphors.)

There was, moreover, a solution. Breaking the vicious circle that deflation was creating for farmers and businessmen was well within the power of governments. All the monetary authorities had to do was lower interest rates by creating more money until business could raise prices and would find it worthwhile to begin investing again.

When the Depression failed to respond to monetary policy but instead deepened and spread, Keynes went back to the drawing board. By 1936 he had worked out a new theory of slumps resistant to the usual cures of easy money and low interest rates, calling it, with his trademark lack of modesty, “The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money.”

What never changed during the Depression and the Second World War was Keynes’s positive mind-set.

On what, exactly, did Keynes’s faith in the future rest, apart from his upbeat temperament and can-do British spirit? Confidence in the “apparatus of the mind,” his term for thinking like an economist. His great innovation was to create — in parallel with America’s Fisher — an “economics of the whole” that was useful for understanding and treating temporary but dangerous economic breakdowns.

KEYNES straddled the Old World notion that the best a member of the working classes could do was to accept his station in life, and the New World order in which it was accepted that nations and people could make their own destinies. By the time he settled on economics, the once dismal science had become, if not exactly gay, then no longer grim, hopeless or resigned.

Alfred Marshall, the man most responsible for Keynes’s career choice, was also the one most responsible for the new way of thinking. To paraphrase a great American economist, Paul Samuelson: before Marshall, economics was about what you couldn’t change. The new economics was about what you could.

Consider the dismal science when Marshall took it up. There was no cheering up Karl Marx, who, landing in London in 1849, witnessed the Victorian economic miracle and, to quote Gladstone, 20 years of improvement in the “average condition of the British laborer ... unexampled in the history of any country and of any age.” The British founders of political economy were scarcely less glum. John Stuart Mill, a libertarian, socialist and supporter of unions and women’s rights, doubted whether democratic reforms or technological progress could have much effect on how the average Briton lived.

When he published “Das Kapital” in 1867, Marx claimed that he was revealing society’s “law of motion.” Yet he had never bothered to visit a single factory. Marshall devoted months every year to touring factories in virtually every major industry, interviewing businessmen, trade union leaders and workers. A trip to America confirmed that competition was the ingenious mechanism that compelled managers to constantly improve their operations, then to share the gains with workers. If wages depended on productivity, workers themselves — and their elected representatives — could influence their prospects by pursuing or promoting mobility, education and public health.

The new, cheerful social science that Marshall pioneered and Keynes and others innovated was a genuine revolution in human thinking that changed the lives of everyone on the globe. What would Keynes say if he were, say, to appear on CNBC tomorrow? That we’ve overcome a dozen challenges as bad or worse, that the tenfold rise in standards since Jane Austen’s lifetime shows that we’ve done more things right than wrong, and that the “apparatus of the mind” — which demands that we let facts change our minds, engage our critics and see common ground — is infinitely more helpful in a crisis than ideology or raw emotion.

And what would Keynes do now? Go shopping, I suspect. This was the “incorrigible optimist,” his biographer Robert Skidelsky relates, who made a big bet on the United States recovery in 1936 and hung on when it collapsed again in 1937. It may have looked like midnight but Keynes knew that morning would come again.

Continue reading - NY Times - Keynes: The Sunny Economist