by Tyler Durden via zerohedge.com
While it is widely assumed that the too-big-to-fail banks in the US (and elsewhere) are beyond the criminal justice system – based on simple empirical fact – when the Attorney General of the United States openly admits to the fact that he is “concerned that the size of some of these institutions becomes so large that it does become difficult for us to prosecute them,” since, “it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy,” one has to stare open-mouthed at the state of our union. It appears, just as the proletariat assumed, that too-big-to-fail banks are indeed too-big-to-jail.
GRASSLEY: On the issue of bank prosecution, I’m concerned that we have a mentality of too-big-to-jail in the financial sector of spreading from fraud cases to terrorist financing and money laundering cases — and I cite HSBC. So I think we’re on a slippery slope.
HOLDER: The concern that you have raised is one that I, frankly, share. And I’m not talking about HSBC now. That (inaudible) be appropriate.
But I am concerned that the size of some of these institutions becomes so large that it does become difficult for us to prosecute them when we are hit with indications that if you do prosecute, if you do bring a criminal charge, it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy. And I think that is a function of the fact that some of these institutions have become too large.
Again, I’m not talking about HSBC. This is just a — a more general comment. I think it has an inhibiting influence — impact on our ability to bring resolutions that I think would be more appropriate. And I think that is something that we — you all need to — need to consider. So the concern that you raised is actually one that I share.
In his new book, At the Brink, economist and author John Lott Jr., assesses the presidency of Barack Obama and recalls conversations regarding gun laws they had while working at the University of Chicago.
In Chapter Three, Mr. Lott discusses gun-control and takes the reader back to his time at the University of Chicago, where he and then-professor Barack Obama spoke on numerous occasions about guns in America.
“I don’t believe people should be able to own guns,” Obama told Lott one day at the University of Chicago Law School.
Lott explains that he first met Obama shortly after completing his research on concealed handgun laws and crime.
“He did not come across as a moderate who wanted to bring people together,” Lott writes.
After he introduced himself to Obama, Lott suggested that they have lunch one day to discuss their views on guns. According to Lott, Obama “grimaced and turned away.” That was the way many conversations with Obama ended, Lott says.
Although the Law School was famous for the openness of its faculty and friendly engagement, Lott says, “Obama…preferred silent, scowling disdain to collegiality.”
President Barack Obama describes his views on guns much differently now that he is on the national stage, Lott believes, pointing to an interview on Fox News in which Obama states, “I have said consistently that I believe that the Second Amendment is an individual right.”
But, Lott isn’t convinced:
“Despite his assurance to Fox News that he understands the Second Amendment, it’s a good bet that the positions Obama took on guns during his time at Chicago reveal his true convictions.”
The chapter documents the actions that Obama has taken on guns, citing the following:
In 1996, Obama supported a ban on handguns
In 1998, he supported a ban on the sale of all semi-automatic guns
In 2004, he advocated banning gun sales within five miles of a school or park, which would have shut down nearly all gun stores
Mr. Lott concludes the chapter, titled, “Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered,” writing, “Barack Obama is the most anti-gun president ever. That claim is based not on my own interactions with him back in the 1990′s but on his own public record over many years.”
He ends with a warning:
“The greatest threat is in his [Obama's] power to reshape the federal courts…Each appointment to the Supreme Court could determine whether the people are allowed to keep their guns.”
Please review and again, pass on your thoughts!
Commentary by Michael Snyder of Economic Collapse
The Federal Reserve continues to pump up this “bubble economy” by recklessly printing money and by setting interest rates artificially low, and the U.S. Congress continues to stand aside and allow them to systematically destroy our economy. The U.S. Congress could choose to end this madness at any time, but the truth is that Congress won’t even pass a law that would allow the American people to see what is going on over at the Federal Reserve. Congress has voted down every single bill that would authorize a comprehensive audit of the Federal Reserve. So the folks over at the Fed will continue to be able to destroy our future in secret. In fact, back in July Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke actually sent five thank you letters to members of Congress that gave speeches on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives encouraging their fellow lawmakers to vote against the bill to audit the Fed. Since the U.S. Congress continues to refuse to do anything to hold the Federal Reserve accountable, the Fed will continue to print unprecedented amounts of money, it will continue to set interest rates insanely low and it will continue to pump up the greatest debt bubble in the history of the world. Unfortunately, all debt bubbles eventually burst, and when this one does it is going to be a financial nightmare unlike anything we have ever seen before.
It was Politico that first broke the story about the thank you letters that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke sent to five members of Congress back in July. Bernanke acknowledged in the letters that there was never any worry that the “Audit the Fed” bill would actually get through Congress and be signed into law, but he was still extremely grateful that a number of members of Congress got up and publicly denounced the bill….
In July, the Fed chairman sent letters of gratitude to five Democratic members of Congress after they delivered speeches on the House floor urging fellow lawmakers to reject the “Audit the Fed” bill authored by retiring Texas Republican Ron Paul, the central bank’s chief antagonist.
Their efforts failed to defeat the bill, but they were not in vain, at least in Bernanke’s eyes.
“While the outcome of the vote was not in doubt, your willingness to stand up for the independence of the Federal Reserve is greatly appreciated,” Bernanke wrote in the letters, which were obtained by POLITICO through a Freedom of Information Act request.
So who did Bernanke send those letters to?
According to Politico, the thank you letters were delivered to U.S. Representatives Barney Frank, Elijah Cummings, Melvin Watt, Carolyn Maloney and Steny Hoyer.
By refusing to take action against the Federal Reserve, the U.S. Congress is silently endorsing their incredibly foolish policies.
Sadly, most Americans don’t even realize that the Federal Reserve has more control over our economy than anyone else does. Most Americans that are actually concerned about politics are busy arguing over whether Obama or Romney will be better for the economy when it is actually the Fed that controls the levers of economic power.
Just think about it.
The Federal Reserve played a major role in creating the housing bubble which severely damaged our financial system a few years ago.
As the chart below shows, after 9/11 the Federal Reserve dropped interest rates to historically low levels. This allowed potential home buyers to get into much larger mortgages, and the big banks (which the Fed supposedly “regulates”) started making home loans to almost anyone with a pulse.
When interest rates started to go back up to normal levels in 2005, many home owners discovered that their adjustable rate mortgages started to become much more painful. By 2007, we started to see a massive wave of mortgage defaults. In 2008, the financial system crashed.
In response to the financial crisis of 2008, the Federal Reserve dropped interest rates to record low levels. The effective federal funds rate is essentially at zero at this point, and the Fed has promised to keep interest rates at ultra-low levels all of the way into 2015.
But didn’t artificially low interest rates cause many of our problems in the first place? The central planners over at the Fed are convinced that this is the right course for our economy, but can we really live in a zero interest rate bubble indefinitely? Won’t this eventually cause even greater problems?….
The Fed is also destroying our economy by recklessly printing money.
Once upon a time, the U.S. monetary base rose at a very steady pace. But since the financial crisis of 2008, Ben Bernanke has been flooding the financial system with money and this has caused an unprecedented explosion in our money supply.
It isn’t too hard to see from this chart what the foolish “quantitative easing” policies of the Federal Reserve have done to our monetary base….
Fortunately a lot of the money from previous rounds of quantitative easing is being stashed by the big banks as “excess reserves” with the Federal Reserve, but when that money starts flowing into the “real economy” (and it will at some point), we are going to have a major problem on our hands.
But more than tripling our monetary base was not enough for Bernanke. He recently announced yet another round of quantitative easing which he says will last indefinitely.
Basically, Bernanke is taking a sledgehammer to the U.S. dollar. Our currency is being systematically destroyed, and the U.S. Congress is standing by and doing nothing.
For a lot more on why QE3 is going to be so incredibly destructive for our economy, please see the following five articles….
The Federal Reserve seems to think that printing more money is always the solution to whatever economic problems we are having.
But of course the Fed has been debasing our currency from the very beginning. The entire Federal Reserve system is designed to create inflation.
From the time that the Federal Reserve was created back in 1913, the purchasing power of a U.S. dollar has declined from $1.00 to only about 4 pennies today.
And now Bernanke seems bound and determined to wipe out those last 4 pennies.
The Federal Reserve system was also designed to create a never ending spiral of government debt.
Sadly, most Americans simply have no idea where money comes from. Most Americans have no idea that money that the Federal Reserve zaps into existence out of thin air is loaned to the U.S. government at interest. Most Americans have no idea that the primary reason why we are 16 trillion dollars in debt is because this is what the system was designed to do to us.
Today, the U.S. national debt is more than 5000 times larger than it was when the Federal Reserve was originally created in 1913. This did not happen by accident….
Not that our politicians should be off the hook for this. They have been spending money as if there is no tomorrow. Most of them have shown no concern at all about the legacy of debt that they are passing on to future generations of Americans.
If our politicians had been more responsible, the national debt would still be there, but it would be at a much more manageable level.
If we ever want to totally get rid of our national debt, the Federal Reserve must be abolished.
There is no other way.
And government debt is not the only bubble that the Federal Reserve has pumped up.
The following is a chart that shows the growth of all forms of debt (government, business, consumer, etc.) in the United States. The total amount of debt in the United States has grown from less than $2 trillion to more than $55 trillion over the past 40 years….
How in the world could we have been so foolish?
How in the world did we allow the total amount of debt in our country to get more than 27 times larger over the past 40 years?
As you can see, there was a slight “hiccup” in the bubble as a result of the financial crisis of 2008, but now it has started growing again.
At this point our entire financial system is based on debt, and if the debt bubble does not continue to expand the entire thing will collapse.
But no financial bubble grows forever. History has proven that to us over and over.
At some point this bubble is going to burst.
When it does, we will either experience a deflationary collapse or a hyperinflationary collapse depending on how “the powers that be” respond to what is happening.
History has shown us that financial collapse is often accompanied by social upheaval. Many times it even leads to war.
So what will happen to America when our economic collapse happens?
That is a very good question.
How would you answer it?
SANAA, Yemen — Chanting “death to America” and “death to Israel,” hundreds of protesters angered by an anti-Islam film stormed the U.S. Embassy compound in Yemen’s capital and burned the American flag on Thursday, the latest in a series of attacks on American diplomatic missions in the Middle East.
The string of assaults this week, in Yemen, Egypt and the storming of a U.S. consulate in Libya that killed four Americans, point to an increased boldness among Islamists who have become more powerful since last year’s wave of revolts toppled authoritarian leaders.
The anger over the movie denigrating Islam’s Prophet Muhammad has also put the region’s new leaders — some of whom are themselves Islamists — in a difficult corner, between a base demanding a free hand to respond to the insult and U.S. pressure to crack down. In the past, protests have broken out over perceived insults to Islam from the West, but in Arab countries they never escalated to the degree of breaching embassies, suggesting now hard-liners feel they can act with impunity.
Why do people get so upset over a movie? Aren’t we all a little bit above this shit? What do you think? Let mr. XXX Extreme know!!
MK Talab el-Sana was outside the US Embassy in Tel Aviv on Thursday with protestors angered over the film released in the United States. El-Sana called for United Nations intervention, warning that if the international body does not act, “the situation will turn into Gog and Magog”.
Seeking to inflame the protestors, who carried a blood-stained Israeli flag, he called the film Desert Warriors “an abomination” and “sacrilegious”. Not wishing to miss the opportunity, the Arab MK also blamed “Zionist elements” for their influence in such a film, for “encouraging Islamophobia”.
Sheikh Kamil Khatib, deputy of the Northern Islamic Movement added: “We cannot demand that the Israeli government punish the Israeli filmmakers, because the government itself is responsible for the desecration of mosques and for passing racists laws.”
MK Dr. Ahmed Tibi warned the reaction to the movie mustn’t be violent, adding murder is contrary to Islam. He too pointed a finger of blame at Israel for “fostering intolerance”.
Do you agree with this winner?
US motorcycle deaths have more than doubled since 1997. Bikers’ response: Leave us alone.
—By Rick Schmitt former reporter for the Los Angeles Times and the Wall Street Journal, is a contributor to Fairwarning.org.
In recent years, even as deaths on the nation’s roads and highways have fallen to their lowest levels in more than a half-century, motorcyclists are dropping like flies. Fatal crashes involving motorcycles have more than doubled since 1997—they now account for 1 in 7 traffic deaths, killing some 4,500 bikers a year.
So how are riders’ groups responding to the carnage? In short, by lobbying Congress to make regulators leave them alone.
If the bikers have it their way, the nation’s chief traffic cop, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), will no longer be able to fund state police checkpoints to ensure that motorcyclists are wearing helmets that actually work—as opposed to the stylish-but-useless novelty numbers many bikers wear to get around state helmet laws.