09 December 2013
A sign of the times. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.
"The nine largest colleges of the university are King's College London; University College London; Birkbeck, University of London; Goldsmiths, University of London; the London Business School; Queen Mary, University of London; Royal Holloway, University of London; SOAS, University of London; and London School of Economics and Political Science."
Et tu, LSE?
London's Biggest University Bans Student Protests
The University of London has obtained a court order banning student protests on its campuses for the next six months after a demonstration against how the university is run resulted in 38 arrests last week.
“This is a regrettable but necessary step that we have taken in order to prevent the type of violent and intimidating behaviour that we have seen by protesters at Senate House recently,” said Chris Cobb, Chief Operating Officer and University Secretary, regarding the injunction.
Police were brought in to break up a sit-in on Wednesday after which students accused the police of assaulting students.
The students' demands include a halt to privatisation, fair pay for workers and a halt to a controversial plan to close the student union. They are protesting against the way higher education as a whole is controlled they say.
The student union outlined their stance, “Occupations are a legitimate form of dissent. When our university exploits our staff, shuts down our student union, and are utterly unaccountable to the students and staff that give it life and make it function, students have no choice but to gain leverage in whatever way they can.”
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Michael Chessum, president of the University of London Student union said, “I have myself been thrown to the ground and I’ve witnessed widespread violence from the police, including crutches being kicked away from under someone, a lot of swinging punches, and people being beaten to near unconsciousness during their arrest.”
Some 135,090 students (approximately 5% of all UK students) attend one of the University of London's affiliated schools.
Posted by Jesse at 3:21 PM
“What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing."
Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere's Fan
I thought this article below was a striking, insightful and important set of observations from Robert Reich.
Rather than merely link to it, I thought an extended excerpt was appropriate, since it strikes to the heart of a key theme of this Café, the credibility trap that diminishes the reforms essential for a sustainable recovery by co-opting transparency and equal justice under the law, making the governing process both complicit and co-dependent with even the worst abuses and frauds of the monied interests.
Pam Martens has an interesting take on the Fed's role in this shifting of power to the unelected power brokers on Wall Street which you can read here.
I listen carefully to what Robert Reich has to say, and often find it to be well founded and thoughtful. But whenever I quote or link to something of his, it seems as though I get some comment about why I like that liberal. That comes, as so many others know, with the turf of managing a thought centered blog, but it helps to illustrate one of our key problems today. We cannot even speak to one another long enough to identify the problems, without resort to slogans, labels, and shouting.
It is too bad that so many are distracted, if not ensnared, in the well-crafted emotionalism and stage play of the left vs. right puppet show which is put forward in the headlines, while the looting of the nation by its ruling class proceeds virtually unimpeded and to almost everyone's detriment, except for an obscenely fortunate few. This is what the data shows, and the role of policy in this is almost unmistakable, except for those who are willfully blind.
Are there any remaining who would still, at this late date, consider Obama as a real progressive? By now he has been repeatedly shown as merely the less repugnant of two bad choices in which the 'liberal opposition' now resembles the corporate-friendly Republicans of only a couple decades ago. But as Richard Cobden is said to have observed, 'For every credibility gap there is a gullibility gap.'
You may read the entire, original piece here.
JP Morgan Chase, the Foreign Corrupt Practice Act, and the Corruption of America
By Robert Reich
Sunday, December 8, 2013
The Justice Department has just obtained documents showing that JPMorgan Chase, Wall Street’s biggest bank, has been hiring the children of China’s ruling elite in order to secure “existing and potential business opportunities” from Chinese government-run companies.
“You all know I have always been a big believer of the Sons and Daughters program,” says one JP Morgan executive in an email, because “it almost has a linear relationship” to winning assignments to advise Chinese companies. The documents even include spreadsheets that list the bank’s “track record” for converting hires into business deals.
It’s a serious offense. But let’s get real. How different is bribing China’s “princelings,” as they’re called there, from Wall Street’s ongoing program of hiring departing U.S. Treasury officials, presumably in order to grease the wheels of official Washington? Timothy Geithner, Obama’s first Treasury Secretary, is now president of the private-equity firm Warburg Pincus; Obama’s budget director Peter Orszag is now a top executive at Citigroup.
Or, for that matter, how different is what JP Morgan did in China from Wall Street’s habit of hiring the children of powerful American politicians? (I don’t mean to suggest Chelsea Clinton got her hedge-fund job at Avenue Capital LLC, where she worked from 2006 to 2009, on the basis of anything other than her financial talents.)
And how much worse is JP Morgan’s putative offense in China than the torrent of money JP Morgan and every other major Wall Street bank is pouring into the campaign coffers of American politicians — making the Street one of the major backers of Democrats as well as Republicans?
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, under which JP Morgan could be indicted for the favors it has bestowed in China, is quite strict. It prohibits American companies from paying money or offering anything of value to foreign officials for the purpose of “securing any improper advantage.” Hiring one of their children can certainly qualify as a gift, even without any direct benefit to the official.
JP Morgan couldn’t even defend itself by arguing it didn’t make any particular deal or get any specific advantage as a result of the hires. Under the Act, the gift doesn’t have to be linked to any particular benefit to the American firm as long as it’s intended to generate an advantage its competitors don’t enjoy.
Compared to this, corruption of American officials is a breeze. Consider, for example, Countrywide Financial’s generous “Friends of Angelo” lending program, named after its chief executive, Angelo R. Mozilo, that gave discounted mortgages to influential members of Congress and their staffs before the housing bubble burst. No criminal or civil charges have ever been filed related to these loans...
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act is important, and JP Morgan should be nailed for bribing Chinese officials. But, if you’ll pardon me for asking, why isn’t there a Domestic Corrupt Practices Act?
Never before has so much U.S. corporate and Wall-Street money poured into our nation’s capital, as well as into our state capitals. Never before have so many Washington officials taken jobs in corporations, lobbying firms, trade associations, and on the Street immediately after leaving office. Our democracy is drowning in big money.
Corruption is corruption, and bribery is bribery, in whatever country or language it’s transacted in.
08 December 2013
"Another cause of today’s instability is that we now have a society in America, Europe and much of the world which is totally dominated by the two elements of sovereignty that are not included in the state structure: control of credit and banking, and the corporation.
These are free of political controls and social responsibility and have largely monopolized power in Western Civilization and in American society. They are ruthlessly going forward to eliminate land, labor, entrepreneurial-managerial skills, and everything else the economists once told us were the chief elements of production.
The only element of production they are concerned with is the one they can control: capital."
Carroll Quigley, Oscar Iden Lecture Series 3, 1976
In winning, the one percent strips capitalism of what made it work in practice during the 20th century.
And in ruthlessly pressing their advantage, and corrupting the system that has served them, they may bring about their eventual self-destruction. We have any number of examples of this in history and literature.
Posted by Jesse at 11:22 AM
07 December 2013
"He who does not punish evil commands that it be done."
Leonardo da Vinci
I believe that this example of how the Fed and the US government 'directed' gold to preferred parties prior to a major revaluation is even more relevant now than I did when I first wrote about this in 2009.
As you know, I think that a new 'Bretton Woods' will be reconstituted at some point, and what we are seeing right now is a vigorous 'negotiation of terms' between the Anglo-American banking cartel and the developing countries, or at least those that cannot be cowed by force. The wild card is why China has been included so graciously and so deeply in the scheme, and what role they are expected to play.
This has been referred to here and other places for some time now as the 'currency war.'
There is plenty of propaganda, also known as semi-official 'advice,' being put forward in support of the various intentions of the worldly powers. China is clearly urging its people to buy gold for themselves, and the West is encouraging its people to turn their gold over to the Banks. To expect China to act in the interest of the Western peoples is a bit too altruistic to be credible.
And while I do not expect a 'hard confiscation' of gold and silver, given the likelihood of credible resistance at least in the States, I do think that expecting a 'bail-in' to occur, even from so-called allocated assets in storage in a few countries in the Banks' sphere of influence, from the US and the UK to their former colonies and client states, to be increasingly possible.
If this is correct, then the public of America and the UK, not to mention Europe and Japan, may be in for what is colloquially referred to as 'a royal screwing.' That is so dark that it seems to be almost impossible, inhuman. It would be taking money from innocent people, especially the poor and the weak, to bailout the Banks and the thoroughly corrupt monied interests. But based on what we have seen, it is certainly not out of the question.
Let's see how all this plays out.
The Last Time the Feds Devalued the Dollar to Save the Banks
14 January 2009
We dipped once again into the Federal Reserve Bulletin Publication from June, 1934 to take a closer look at the growth of the monetary base, and found an interesting graphic that shows the accounting for the January 1934 devaluation of the dollar and the subsequent result on Bank Reserves in the Federal Reserve System.
As you will recall, the Gold Act, or more properly Executive Order 6102 of April 5, 1933, required Americans to surrender their gold coinage and certificates to the Federal Reserve Banks by May 1, 1933. There were no prosecutions for non-compliance except one benchmark case which was brought voluntarily by a person who wished to challenge the act in court.
After a substantial portion of the gold was turned in by US citizens and taken from their bank based safe deposit boxes, the government officially devalued the dollar from 20.67 to 35.00 per ounce in the Gold Reserve Act of January 31, 1934.
The proceeds from this devaluation were used to provide a significant boost to the Federal Reserve member bank positions as shown in the first chart below.
The inflation visited on the American people because of this action helped to take the CPI as it was then measured up 1200 basis points from about -8% to +4% by the end of 1933. To somewhat offset the monetary inflation the Fed also contracted the Monetary Base which served the nascent recovery in the real economy rather poorly and is viewed widely as one of a series of policy errors.
Considering that the actions did little for the employment situation this was painful medicine indeed to those who were dependent on wages.
Fortunately at the same time FDR was initiating the New Deal programs which, despite continual opposition from a Republican minority in Congress, managed to provide a small measure of relief for the 20+% public that was suffering from unemployment and wage stagnation.
People ask frequently "Will the government seize gold again?"
While there is no certainty involved in anything if a government begins to overturn the law and seize private property, one has to ask for the context and details first to understand what happened and why, to understand the precedent.
Technically, the government did not engage in a pure seize of private property, since at that time the US was on the gold standard, and much of the gold holdings of US citizens were in the form of gold coinage and certificates.
Governments always make the case that the currency is their property and that the user is merely holding it as a medium of exchange. The foundation of the argument was that the government required to recall its gold to strengthen the backing of the US dollar against the net outflows of gold for international trade. The devaluation helped with this as well, since dollars brought less gold for trade balances.
People also ask, "Why didn't the government just revalue the dollar without trying to recall all the gold from the American public?"
The answer would seem to be that this would have been more just, more equitable recompense for the public. The Treasury could have purchased gold from the public to support its foreign trade needs.
But it would have left much less liquidity for the banks.
One can make a better case that the recall of the gold, with the subsequent revaluation to benefit a small segment of the population in the Banks, was a form of seizure of wealth without due compensation. Hence the lack of active prosecutions.
So, will the government take back gold again to save the banks by devaluing the dollar?
Highly unlikely, because they not only do not need to this, since the dollar is no longer backed by gold, and is a form of secular property except perhaps for gold eagles, but they do not have to, because they are devaluing the dollar already to save the banks.
This time the confiscation of wealth to save the banks is called TARP. (And QE I&II, financial asset inflation, and gold leasing and suppression with the soft confiscation of price manipulation. - Jess).
If one thinks about it, US Dollars are being created and provided directly to the banks to boost their free reserves significantly, at a scale comparable and beyond to 1933-34.
The confiscation of wealth is being spread among all holders of US dollars and dollar assets, foreign and domestic, in the more subtle form of monetary inflation.
Granted, the government must be more opaque to mask their actions in order to sustain confidence in the dollar while the devaluation occurs, but this is exactly what is happening, and all that is required to happen in a fiat regime.
There is no need to seize widely held exogenous commodities like gold and oil, but merely dampen any bellwether signals that a significant devaluation of the dollar is once gain being perpetrated on the American people in order to save the banks.
Its fascinating to look carefully at this next chart below.
First, notice the big drop in gold in circulation of 9.8 million ounces, or roughly 36% of the measured inventory at the end of 1932. Think someone was front-running the dollar devaluation? We suspect that the order went out to start pulling in the gold stock to the banks.
The reduction in gold in circulation AFTER the announcement of the Gold Act in April would be about 3.9 million ounces, or roughly 22% of the gold remaining in circulation in March 1933.
Considering that all gold coinage held by banks in the vaults was automatically seized, the voluntary compliance rate is not all that impressive. We are not sure how much of this was being held in overseas hands by non-US entities.
But beyond a doubt, there was an unjust, if not illegal, seizure of wealth by requiring citizen to turn in their gold to the banks, which was then revalued at the beginning of 1934 by 69% from 20.67 to 35 dollars.
It would have been much more equitable to devalue the dollar and to change the basis for dollar/gold first, before requiring private citizens to surrender their holdings. But of course, this would have lessened the liquidity available for direct infusion into the Federal Reserve banks.
06 December 2013
"The powers of financial capitalism had a far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences."
Caroll Quigley, Tragedy and Hope
Gold and silver did not get hit hard on a Non-Farm Payrolls day. Film at 11.
If you look at the Comex inventory report below, you can see that they have bucked up the deliverable inventory to almost 700,000 ounces. And they have managed to knock down the December open interest a bit as well.
Ok guys, time to start moving that bullion, and letting more actual deliveries take place. It looks like you will have December covered.
As for February, who can say.
The Shanghai Gold Exchange says that it intends to attract more foreign investors with new products.
Posted by Jesse at 4:07 PM