Monthly Archives: December 2011

A Little of This, a Little of That

Just a few pictures for the day…And a couple of late Christmas pics to start it off…

You dint get enough presents from Santa this year?  This is why:

Where did our Christmas traditions come from? 

This is what I want my next Christmas tree to look like: 

I know this one has gone around a few times, but I love it: 

As I’m sitting here drinking my elixir of life…

How true is this? ;-)

This one is me in a nutshell…

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Categories: Humor | Leave a comment

Thank God Almighty I’m Free at Last!

The semester from hell has finally ended, and I’ve enjoyed several days at home, relaxing with family and friends.  I’ve been thinking about the past fall semester and have come to a couple of conclusions about some things:

 

  • Most of my students are only about five years younger than I am, but I guess they think that I don’t know about Google, Wikipedia, or copy/paste.
  • Even when my students deserve it, I just can’t bring myself to give them a zero.  So, instead I give them something like a 7; turns out that a 7 will freak out students more than a zero will, and then I get to sleep well at night.
  • My students know that they don’t have to be completely formal with me, but when I get an email that starts of with “Hey Jakey :)”  I just stop reading and hit delete.  Smileys in an email?  To your instructor?  REALLY?
  • I found this comic strip that pretty accurately depicts the stages of procrastination:
  • I got a study carrel (cubicle) in the library this past semester.  It’s nice because at least I know I’ll always have a quiet place to study.  But by the end of the semester I realized I had been hoarding about 25 books in there, even though I hadn’t checked them out (so, they would still show up at “on the shelf” if anyone was looking for them online).  Normally, I hate when people do this, but when I tried to make myself put them back out of moral obligation, I found myself shrinking back into the dark corner of my carrel, stroking my favorites, hissing “My preciousses…
  • This one is related to the above point: I searched the university’s library for a particular book this semester.  It was going to be THE perfect book for a class, but of course, the university didn’t have it.  Someone had checked it out.  So, I put in yet another ILL (inter-library loan) request to find some other library in the country that had it.  And then I added a little snide comment on the request about how I have to ILL more books than I can actually find in the university library.  About ten days later, the book showed up for me and it struck me that it looked really familiar.  I went home and looked on my bookshelf…Oops.  I was the one that already had it checked out from the university library! 
  • I’ve found out that there are certain words, that no matter how often I’ve had to type them, I cannot spell or type them correctly to save my life: memorial, persecution, characteristic.  And one that I usually misspell so badly that spell check doesn’t even have any suggestions:  individual.  See:
  • I hate when my body’s physically exhausted, but when I lay down to sleep, my mind is still racing. So, I try counting sheep. But then I end up wanting to ask historiographical or theoretical questions about the sheep: where are these sheep coming from? What socio-economic forces are causing these sheep to jump? How can I adequately cite & reference these sheep, and who has talked about these sheep before me? Are these even sheep? For that matter, what is a sheep? …. Grad school will warp you.
  • I am a stress eater and a stress cleaner.  That means that after the end of this semester my pants are a lot tighter, but my apartment is clean as hell!
  • Sometime around midterm this semester, when I was overwhelmed and having trouble finding the motivation to write papers, read my books, and grade papers, I found myself thinking, I wish Professor Dumbledore lived in our History tower.  I’d go see him right now.
  • A few weeks ago, as I was about to submit my final paper, I was proofreading it again to search for any typos or anything else wrong with it.  After getting to the end of the first page, I got bored reading my own paper, thought Fuck it, and then hit the send button.
  • Once I hit send, I did my happy-history-nerd dance.  Yes, I have a happy-history-nerd dance, and no, there is no video to show it.
Categories: edumacation, Entertainment, Humor | 4 Comments

Is “Xmas” Blasphemy?

Well, we’re deep into the Christmas season and I’ve seen my fair share of Facebook updates asking me not to use “Xmas” because it’s “taking the Christ out of Christmas.”  I just wanted to take a few minutes to explain the history of “Xmas” to show that it’s not a secular attack on Christmas.

Xmas comes from a Greek abbreviation,  and of course, Greek has an alphabet that is different from good ol’ English, especially when hand written.  The Greek for “Christ” was Χριστός and would be pronounced something like “Chi-rho.” The Greek letter “Chi,”which looks like an English letter “X” was the first letter of the Greek word for “Christ”(again, see: Χριστός) which means “the anointed one.”  When scribes were writing documents, they would oftentimes shorten Χριστός to simply “X.” (And who’s going to blame them?!)

This shorthand abbreviation was widely accepted, and by the Middle Ages, the head of the Church in Rome even began using the abbreviation, such as in “Xian” for “Christian,” or “Xianity” for “Christianity,” and yep, “Xmas” for “Christmas” (the “mas” part of Xmas is from the Latin-derived Old English word for “Mass”).  Of course, the pronunciation would have been different as well.  Instead of “CH” being pronounced like a “K” in English “Christmas”, the “CH” would have actually been pronounced like in “chew”.  So, it would have come out something like “Chiromas.”

While the symbol X for “Chirho” may have come from shorthand, it was the Church that sanctioned it as an official abbreviation.

The idea of X as an abbreviation for the name of Christ came into use in our culture with no intent to show any disrespect for Jesus. The church has also used the symbol of the fish historically because it is an acronym. Fish in Greek (ichthus) involved the use of the first letters for the Greek phrase “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior.” So the early Christians would take the first letter of those words and put those letters together to spell the Greek word for fish. That’s how the symbol of the fish became the universal symbol of Christendom. There’s a long and sacred history of the use of X to symbolize the name of Christ, and from its origin, it has meant no disrespect.

So, Xmas isn’t taking Christ out of Christmas; it’s actually just the historical, Church-sanctioned abbreviation of Christmas.  We just have to keep in mind when we’re talking about what’s “real” or not that English wasn’t even a language yet (at least not in the form we use it, and it definitely wasn’t used by officials of the church), so actually nothing in English is the “right” or “real” way to say it, meaning it’s not the original.  

That’s what I’ve read in a couple of places anyway – I’m by no means an expert in Greek-English linguistics, so if anyone has any other information on the topic, I’d love to hear it.

With that being said, I wish you all a Merry Christmas,  a Happy Hanukkah, a Happy New Years, or just a Happy Holidays in general.  As my Nanny says, don’t take my saying “Happy Holidays” as a some convoluted “war on Christmas.”  It just means that I want you to enjoy all the holidays that happen around the time while we’re changing our calendars: from Thanksgiving to Christmas and New Years, from the non-Christian holidays, and hell even Valentine’s Day and maybe even St. Patty’s day, too!

So, to all’o’yall, I wish a Happy Holidays!

Holidays Coexist

Categories: History, Religion | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Secretary Clinton’s Speech in Recognition of Intl. Human Rights Day

On Tuesday, December 6, 2011, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave a historic speech at the United Nations in Geneva, discussing the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  While applauding the forging of such a document (in 1948) and its success in helping to achieve equality and dignity for many minority groups across the globe, she acknowledged that there is still one minority that is consistently left out of the push for equality:  the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender community.

This address focuses on the LGBT community in particular, but so many things she says apply to all human beings on this Earth.  Indeed, Secretary Clinton proclaimed that, “Gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights.”

Her message was powerful, succinct and clear.  Take the time to watch all 30 minutes of the speech.   Some of my favorite lines are below, but then I will also provide the transcript of her whole speech.

“No practice or tradition trumps the human rights that belong to all of us.  Rarely are cultural and religious traditions and teachings actually in conflict with the protection of human rights.  Indeed our religion and our culture are sources of compassion and inspiration toward our fellow human beings.  

Minorities can never achieve the majorities necessary for political change.  So when any part of humanity is sidelined, the rest of us cannot sit on the sidelines.  When we see denials and abuses of human rights and fail to act, that sends the message to these deniers and abusers that they won’t suffer any consequences for their actions.  But when we do act, we send a powerful moral message.”  

That made me think of a couple of different quotes:

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

and

“Sometimes we must interfere.  When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Whenever men or women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must – at that moment – become the center of the universe.”  – Elie Wiesel

 

Full text of the speech (thanks to the U.S. Department of State’s website): 

“Remarks in Recognition of International Human Rights Day”

Good evening, and let me express my deep honor and pleasure at being here. I want to thank Director General Tokayev and Ms. Wyden along with other ministers, ambassadors, excellencies, and UN partners. This weekend, we will celebrate Human Rights Day, the anniversary of one of the great accomplishments of the last century.

 

Beginning in 1947, delegates from six continents devoted themselves to drafting a declaration that would enshrine the fundamental rights and freedoms of people everywhere. In the aftermath of World War II, many nations pressed for a statement of this kind to help ensure that we would prevent future atrocities and protect the inherent humanity and dignity of all people. And so the delegates went to work. They discussed, they wrote, they revisited, revised, rewrote, for thousands of hours. And they incorporated suggestions and revisions from governments, organizations, and individuals around the world.

At three o’clock in the morning on December 10th, 1948, after nearly two years of drafting and one last long night of debate, the president of the UN General Assembly called for a vote on the final text. Forty-eight nations voted in favor; eight abstained; none dissented. And the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted. It proclaims a simple, powerful idea: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. And with the declaration, it was made clear that rights are not conferred by government; they are the birthright of all people. It does not matter what country we live in, who our leaders are, or even who we are. Because we are human, we therefore have rights. And because we have rights, governments are bound to protect them.

In the 63 years since the declaration was adopted, many nations have made great progress in making human rights a human reality. Step by step, barriers that once prevented people from enjoying the full measure of liberty, the full experience of dignity, and the full benefits of humanity have fallen away. In many places, racist laws have been repealed, legal and social practices that relegated women to second-class status have been abolished, the ability of religious minorities to practice their faith freely has been secured.

In most cases, this progress was not easily won. People fought and organized and campaigned in public squares and private spaces to change not only laws, but hearts and minds. And thanks to that work of generations, for millions of individuals whose lives were once narrowed by injustice, they are now able to live more freely and to participate more fully in the political, economic, and social lives of their communities.

Now, there is still, as you all know, much more to be done to secure that commitment, that reality, and progress for all people. Today, I want to talk about the work we have left to do to protect one group of people whose human rights are still denied in too many parts of the world today. In many ways, they are an invisible minority. They are arrested, beaten, terrorized, even executed. Many are treated with contempt and violence by their fellow citizens while authorities empowered to protect them look the other way or, too often, even join in the abuse. They are denied opportunities to work and learn, driven from their homes and countries, and forced to suppress or deny who they are to protect themselves from harm.

I am talking about gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people, human beings born free and given bestowed equality and dignity, who have a right to claim that, which is now one of the remaining human rights challenges of our time. I speak about this subject knowing that my own country’s record on human rights for gay people is far from perfect. Until 2003, it was still a crime in parts of our country. Many LGBT Americans have endured violence and harassment in their own lives, and for some, including many young people, bullying and exclusion are daily experiences. So we, like all nations, have more work to do to protect human rights at home.

Now, raising this issue, I know, is sensitive for many people and that the obstacles standing in the way of protecting the human rights of LGBT people rest on deeply held personal, political, cultural, and religious beliefs. So I come here before you with respect, understanding, and humility. Even though progress on this front is not easy, we cannot delay acting. So in that spirit, I want to talk about the difficult and important issues we must address together to reach a global consensus that recognizes the human rights of LGBT citizens everywhere.

The first issue goes to the heart of the matter. Some have suggested that gay rights and human rights are separate and distinct; but, in fact, they are one and the same. Now, of course, 60 years ago, the governments that drafted and passed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights were not thinking about how it applied to the LGBT community. They also weren’t thinking about how it applied to indigenous people or children or people with disabilities or other marginalized groups. Yet in the past 60 years, we have come to recognize that members of these groups are entitled to the full measure of dignity and rights, because, like all people, they share a common humanity.

This recognition did not occur all at once. It evolved over time. And as it did, we understood that we were honoring rights that people always had, rather than creating new or special rights for them. Like being a woman, like being a racial, religious, tribal, or ethnic minority, being LGBT does not make you less human. And that is why gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights.

It is violation of human rights when people are beaten or killed because of their sexual orientation, or because they do not conform to cultural norms about how men and women should look or behave. It is a violation of human rights when governments declare it illegal to be gay, or allow those who harm gay people to go unpunished. It is a violation of human rights when lesbian or transgendered women are subjected to so-called corrective rape, or forcibly subjected to hormone treatments, or when people are murdered after public calls for violence toward gays, or when they are forced to flee their nations and seek asylum in other lands to save their lives. And it is a violation of human rights when life-saving care is withheld from people because they are gay, or equal access to justice is denied to people because they are gay, or public spaces are out of bounds to people because they are gay. No matter what we look like, where we come from, or who we are, we are all equally entitled to our human rights and dignity.

The second issue is a question of whether homosexuality arises from a particular part of the world. Some seem to believe it is a Western phenomenon, and therefore people outside the West have grounds to reject it. Well, in reality, gay people are born into and belong to every society in the world. They are all ages, all races, all faiths; they are doctors and teachers, farmers and bankers, soldiers and athletes; and whether we know it, or whether we acknowledge it, they are our family, our friends, and our neighbors.

Being gay is not a Western invention; it is a human reality. And protecting the human rights of all people, gay or straight, is not something that only Western governments do. South Africa’s constitution, written in the aftermath of Apartheid, protects the equality of all citizens, including gay people. In Colombia and Argentina, the rights of gays are also legally protected. In Nepal, the supreme court has ruled that equal rights apply to LGBT citizens. The Government of Mongolia has committed to pursue new legislation that will tackle anti-gay discrimination.

Now, some worry that protecting the human rights of the LGBT community is a luxury that only wealthy nations can afford. But in fact, in all countries, there are costs to not protecting these rights, in both gay and straight lives lost to disease and violence, and the silencing of voices and views that would strengthen communities, in ideas never pursued by entrepreneurs who happen to be gay. Costs are incurred whenever any group is treated as lesser or the other, whether they are women, racial, or religious minorities, or the LGBT. Former President Mogae of Botswana pointed out recently that for as long as LGBT people are kept in the shadows, there cannot be an effective public health program to tackle HIV and AIDS. Well, that holds true for other challenges as well.

The third, and perhaps most challenging, issue arises when people cite religious or cultural values as a reason to violate or not to protect the human rights of LGBT citizens. This is not unlike the justification offered for violent practices towards women like honor killings, widow burning, or female genital mutilation. Some people still defend those practices as part of a cultural tradition. But violence toward women isn’t cultural; it’s criminal. Likewise with slavery, what was once justified as sanctioned by God is now properly reviled as an unconscionable violation of human rights.

In each of these cases, we came to learn that no practice or tradition trumps the human rights that belong to all of us. And this holds true for inflicting violence on LGBT people, criminalizing their status or behavior, expelling them from their families and communities, or tacitly or explicitly accepting their killing.

Of course, it bears noting that rarely are cultural and religious traditions and teachings actually in conflict with the protection of human rights. Indeed, our religion and our culture are sources of compassion and inspiration toward our fellow human beings. It was not only those who’ve justified slavery who leaned on religion, it was also those who sought to abolish it. And let us keep in mind that our commitments to protect the freedom of religion and to defend the dignity of LGBT people emanate from a common source. For many of us, religious belief and practice is a vital source of meaning and identity, and fundamental to who we are as people. And likewise, for most of us, the bonds of love and family that we forge are also vital sources of meaning and identity. And caring for others is an expression of what it means to be fully human. It is because the human experience is universal that human rights are universal and cut across all religions and cultures.

The fourth issue is what history teaches us about how we make progress towards rights for all. Progress starts with honest discussion. Now, there are some who say and believe that all gay people are pedophiles, that homosexuality is a disease that can be caught or cured, or that gays recruit others to become gay. Well, these notions are simply not true. They are also unlikely to disappear if those who promote or accept them are dismissed out of hand rather than invited to share their fears and concerns. No one has ever abandoned a belief because he was forced to do so.

Universal human rights include freedom of expression and freedom of belief, even if our words or beliefs denigrate the humanity of others. Yet, while we are each free to believe whatever we choose, we cannot do whatever we choose, not in a world where we protect the human rights of all.

Reaching understanding of these issues takes more than speech. It does take a conversation. In fact, it takes a constellation of conversations in places big and small. And it takes a willingness to see stark differences in belief as a reason to begin the conversation, not to avoid it.

But progress comes from changes in laws. In many places, including my own country, legal protections have preceded, not followed, broader recognition of rights. Laws have a teaching effect. Laws that discriminate validate other kinds of discrimination. Laws that require equal protections reinforce the moral imperative of equality. And practically speaking, it is often the case that laws must change before fears about change dissipate.

Many in my country thought that President Truman was making a grave error when he ordered the racial desegregation of our military. They argued that it would undermine unit cohesion. And it wasn’t until he went ahead and did it that we saw how it strengthened our social fabric in ways even the supporters of the policy could not foresee. Likewise, some worried in my country that the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” would have a negative effect on our armed forces. Now, the Marine Corps Commandant, who was one of the strongest voices against the repeal, says that his concerns were unfounded and that the Marines have embraced the change.

Finally, progress comes from being willing to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. We need to ask ourselves, “How would it feel if it were a crime to love the person I love? How would it feel to be discriminated against for something about myself that I cannot change?” This challenge applies to all of us as we reflect upon deeply held beliefs, as we work to embrace tolerance and respect for the dignity of all persons, and as we engage humbly with those with whom we disagree in the hope of creating greater understanding.

A fifth and final question is how we do our part to bring the world to embrace human rights for all people including LGBT people. Yes, LGBT people must help lead this effort, as so many of you are. Their knowledge and experiences are invaluable and their courage inspirational. We know the names of brave LGBT activists who have literally given their lives for this cause, and there are many more whose names we will never know. But often those who are denied rights are least empowered to bring about the changes they seek. Acting alone, minorities can never achieve the majorities necessary for political change.

So when any part of humanity is sidelined, the rest of us cannot sit on the sidelines. Every time a barrier to progress has fallen, it has taken a cooperative effort from those on both sides of the barrier. In the fight for women’s rights, the support of men remains crucial. The fight for racial equality has relied on contributions from people of all races. Combating Islamaphobia or anti-Semitism is a task for people of all faiths. And the same is true with this struggle for equality.

Conversely, when we see denials and abuses of human rights and fail to act, that sends the message to those deniers and abusers that they won’t suffer any consequences for their actions, and so they carry on. But when we do act, we send a powerful moral message. Right here in Geneva, the international community acted this year to strengthen a global consensus around the human rights of LGBT people. At the Human Rights Council in March, 85 countries from all regions supported a statement calling for an end to criminalization and violence against people because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.

At the following session of the Council in June, South Africa took the lead on a resolution about violence against LGBT people. The delegation from South Africa spoke eloquently about their own experience and struggle for human equality and its indivisibility. When the measure passed, it became the first-ever UN resolution recognizing the human rights of gay people worldwide. In the Organization of American States this year, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights created a unit on the rights of LGBT people, a step toward what we hope will be the creation of a special rapporteur.

Now, we must go further and work here and in every region of the world to galvanize more support for the human rights of the LGBT community. To the leaders of those countries where people are jailed, beaten, or executed for being gay, I ask you to consider this: Leadership, by definition, means being out in front of your people when it is called for. It means standing up for the dignity of all your citizens and persuading your people to do the same. It also means ensuring that all citizens are treated as equals under your laws, because let me be clear – I am not saying that gay people can’t or don’t commit crimes. They can and they do, just like straight people. And when they do, they should be held accountable, but it should never be a crime to be gay.

And to people of all nations, I say supporting human rights is your responsibility too. The lives of gay people are shaped not only by laws, but by the treatment they receive every day from their families, from their neighbors. Eleanor Roosevelt, who did so much to advance human rights worldwide, said that these rights begin in the small places close to home – the streets where people live, the schools they attend, the factories, farms, and offices where they work. These places are your domain. The actions you take, the ideals that you advocate, can determine whether human rights flourish where you are.

And finally, to LGBT men and women worldwide, let me say this: Wherever you live and whatever the circumstances of your life, whether you are connected to a network of support or feel isolated and vulnerable, please know that you are not alone. People around the globe are working hard to support you and to bring an end to the injustices and dangers you face. That is certainly true for my country. And you have an ally in the United States of America and you have millions of friends among the American people.

The Obama Administration defends the human rights of LGBT people as part of our comprehensive human rights policy and as a priority of our foreign policy. In our embassies, our diplomats are raising concerns about specific cases and laws, and working with a range of partners to strengthen human rights protections for all. In Washington, we have created a task force at the State Department to support and coordinate this work. And in the coming months, we will provide every embassy with a toolkit to help improve their efforts. And we have created a program that offers emergency support to defenders of human rights for LGBT people.

This morning, back in Washington, President Obama put into place the first U.S. Government strategy dedicated to combating human rights abuses against LGBT persons abroad. Building on efforts already underway at the State Department and across the government, the President has directed all U.S. Government agencies engaged overseas to combat the criminalization of LGBT status and conduct, to enhance efforts to protect vulnerable LGBT refugees and asylum seekers, to ensure that our foreign assistance promotes the protection of LGBT rights, to enlist international organizations in the fight against discrimination, and to respond swiftly to abuses against LGBT persons.

I am also pleased to announce that we are launching a new Global Equality Fund that will support the work of civil society organizations working on these issues around the world. This fund will help them record facts so they can target their advocacy, learn how to use the law as a tool, manage their budgets, train their staffs, and forge partnerships with women’s organizations and other human rights groups. We have committed more than $3 million to start this fund, and we have hope that others will join us in supporting it.

The women and men who advocate for human rights for the LGBT community in hostile places, some of whom are here today with us, are brave and dedicated, and deserve all the help we can give them. We know the road ahead will not be easy. A great deal of work lies before us. But many of us have seen firsthand how quickly change can come. In our lifetimes, attitudes toward gay people in many places have been transformed. Many people, including myself, have experienced a deepening of our own convictions on this topic over the years, as we have devoted more thought to it, engaged in dialogues and debates, and established personal and professional relationships with people who are gay.

This evolution is evident in many places. To highlight one example, the Delhi High Court decriminalized homosexuality in India two years ago, writing, and I quote, “If there is one tenet that can be said to be an underlying theme of the Indian constitution, it is inclusiveness.” There is little doubt in my mind that support for LGBT human rights will continue to climb. Because for many young people, this is simple: All people deserve to be treated with dignity and have their human rights respected, no matter who they are or whom they love.

There is a phrase that people in the United States invoke when urging others to support human rights: “Be on the right side of history.” The story of the United States is the story of a nation that has repeatedly grappled with intolerance and inequality. We fought a brutal civil war over slavery. People from coast to coast joined in campaigns to recognize the rights of women, indigenous peoples, racial minorities, children, people with disabilities, immigrants, workers, and on and on. And the march toward equality and justice has continued. Those who advocate for expanding the circle of human rights were and are on the right side of history, and history honors them. Those who tried to constrict human rights were wrong, and history reflects that as well.

I know that the thoughts I’ve shared today involve questions on which opinions are still evolving. As it has happened so many times before, opinion will converge once again with the truth, the immutable truth, that all persons are created free and equal in dignity and rights. We are called once more to make real the words of the Universal Declaration. Let us answer that call. Let us be on the right side of history, for our people, our nations, and future generations, whose lives will be shaped by the work we do today. I come before you with great hope and confidence that no matter how long the road ahead, we will travel it successfully together. Thank you very much.

Categories: Ideas & Philosophy, Politics/Current Events | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Science is the Poetry of Reality

A friend shared this awesome YouTube video called the Symphony of Science.

“The story of humans is the story of ideas that shed light into dark corners”

Categories: Ideas & Philosophy, Science/Technology | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Breaking News

The Wall Street Pentagon Papers: Biggest Scam In World History Exposed: Are The Federal Reserve’s Crimes Too Big To Comprehend?

By  
The Public Record
Dec 10th, 2010

David DeGraw, a regular contributor to The Public Record, is an investigative journalist whose work has been featured in numerous publications and websites. He is the founder and editor of AmpedStatus.com, editorial director ofMediaChannel.org and author of The Economic Elite Vs. The People of the United States.

Ben Bernanke, Chairmen of the Federal Reserve

To read the original article at The Public Record, click here.

What if the greatest scam ever perpetrated was blatantly exposed, and the US media didn’t cover it? Does that mean the scam could keep going? That’s what we are about to find out.

I understand the importance of the new WikiLeaks documents. However, we must not let them distract us from the new information the Federal Reserve was forced to release. Even if WikiLeaks reveals documents from inside a large American bank, as huge as that could be, it will most likely pale in comparison to what we just found out from the one-time peek we got into the inner-workings of the Federal Reserve. This is the Wall Street equivalent of the Pentagon Papers.

I’ve written many reports detailing the crimes of Wall Street during this crisis. The level of fraud, from top to bottom, has been staggering. The lack of accountability and the complete disregard for the rule of law have made me and many of my colleagues extremely cynical and jaded when it comes to new evidence to pile on top of the mountain that we have already gathered. But we must not let our cynicism cloud our vision on the details within this new information.

Just when I thought the banksters couldn’t possibly shock me anymore… they did.

We were finally granted the honor and privilege of finding out the specifics, a limited one-time Federal Reserve view, of a secret taxpayer funded “backdoor bailout” by a small group of unelected bankers. This data release reveals “emergency lending programs” that doled out $12.3 TRILLION in taxpayer money – $3.3 trillion in liquidity, $9 trillion in “other financial arrangements.”

Wait, what? Did you say $12.3 TRILLION tax dollars were thrown around in secrecy by unelected bankers… and Congress didn’t know any of the details?

Yes. The Founding Fathers are rolling over in their graves. The original copy of the Constitution spontaneously burst into flames. The ghost of Tom Paine went running, stark raving mad screaming through the halls of Congress.

The Federal Reserve was secretly throwing around our money in unprecedented fashion, and it wasn’t just to the usual suspects like Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Citigroup, Bank of America, etc.; it was to the entire Global Banking Cartel. To central banks throughout the world: Australia, Denmark, Japan, Mexico, Norway, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, England… To the Fed’s foreign primary dealers like Credit Suisse (Switzerland), Deutsche Bank (Germany), Royal Bank of Scotland (U.K.), Barclays (U.K.), BNP Paribas (France)… All their Ponzi players were “gifted.” All the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations got their cut.

Talk about the ransacking and burning of Rome! Sayonara American middle class…

If you still had any question as to whether or not the United States is now the world’s preeminent banana republic, the final verdict was just delivered and the decision was unanimous. The ayes have it.

Any fairytale notions that we are living in a nation built on the rule of law and of the global economy being based on free market principles has now been exposed as just that, a fairytale. This moment is equivalent to everyone in Vatican City being told, by the Pope, that God is dead.

I’ve been arguing for years that the market is rigged and that the major Wall Street firms are elaborate Ponzi schemes, as have many other people who built their beliefs on rational thought, reasoned logic and evidence. We already came to this conclusion by doing the research and connecting the dots. But now, even our strongest skeptics and the most ardent Wall Street supporters have it all laid out in front of them, on FEDERAL RESERVE SPREADSHEETS.

Even the Financial Times, which named Lloyd Blankfein its 2009 person of the year, reacted by reporting this: “The initial reactions were shock at the breadth of lending, particularly to foreign firms. But the details paint a bleaker and even more disturbing picture.”

Yes, the emperor doesn’t have any clothes. God is, indeed, dead. But, for the moment at least, the illusion continues to hold power. How is this possible?

To start with, as always, the US television “news” media (propaganda) networks just glossed over the whole thing – nothing to see here, just move along, back after a message from our sponsors… Other than that obvious reason, I’ve come to the realization that the Federal Reserve’s crimes are so big, so huge in scale, it is very hard for people to even wrap their head around it and comprehend what has happened here.

Think about it. In just this one peek we got at its operations, we learned that the Fed doled out $12.3 trillion in near-zero interest loans, without Congressional input.

The audacity and absurdity of it all is mind boggling…

Based on many conversations I’ve had with people, it seems that the average person doesn’t comprehend how much a trillion dollars is, let alone 12.3 trillion. You might as well just say 12.3 gazillion, because people don’t grasp a number that large, nor do they understand what would be possible if that money was used in other ways.

Can you imagine what we could do to restructure society with $12.3 trillion? Think about that…

People also can’t grasp the colossal crime committed because they keep hearing the word “loans.” People think of the loans they get. You borrow money, you pay it back with interest, no big deal.

That’s not what happened here. The Fed doled out $12.3 trillion in near-zero interest loans, using the American people as collateral, demanding nothing in return, other than a bunch of toxic assets in some cases. They only gave this money to a select group of insiders, at a time when very few had any money because all these same insiders and speculators crashed the system.

Do you get that? The very people most responsible for crashing the system, were then rewarded with trillions of our dollars. This gave that select group of insiders unlimited power to seize control of assets and have unprecedented leverage over almost everything within their economies – crony capitalism on steroids.

This was a hostile world takeover orchestrated through economic attacks by a very small group of unelected global bankers. They paralyzed the system, then were given the power to recreate it according to their own desires. No free market, no democracy of any kind. All done in secrecy. In the process, they gave themselves all-time record-breaking bonuses and impoverished tens of millions of people – they have put into motion a system that will inevitably collapse again and utterly destroy the very existence of what is left of an economic middle class.

That is not hyperbole. That is what happened.

We are talking about trillions of dollars secretly pumped into global banks, handpicked by a small select group of bankers themselves. All for the benefit of those bankers, and at the expense of everyone else. People can’t even comprehend what that means and the severe consequences that it entails, which we have only just begun to experience.

Let me sum it up for you: The American Dream is O-V-E-R.

Welcome to the neo-feudal-fascist state.

People throughout the world who keep using the dollar are either A) Part of the scam; B) Oblivious to reality; C) Believe that US military power will be able to maintain the value of an otherwise worthless currency; D) All of the above.

No matter which way you look at it, we are all in serious trouble!

If you are an elected official, (I know at least 17 of you subscribe to my newsletter) and you believe in the oath you took upon taking office, you must immediately demand a full audit of the Federal Reserve and have Ben Bernanke and the entire Federal Reserve Board detained. If you are not going to do that, you deserve to have the words “Irrelevant Puppet” tattooed across your forehead.

Yes, those are obviously strong words, but they are the truth.

The Global Banking Cartel has now been so blatantly exposed, you cannot possibly get away with pretending that we live in a nation of law based on the Constitution. The jig is up.

It’s been over two years now; does anyone still seriously not understand why we are in this crisis? Our economy has been looted and burnt to the ground due to the strategic, deliberate decisions made by a small group of unelected global bankers at the Federal Reserve. Do people really not get the connection here? I mean, H.E.L.L.O. Our country is run by an unelected Global Banking Cartel.

I am constantly haunted by a quote from Harry Overstreet, who wrote the following in his 1925 groundbreaking study Influencing Human Behavior: “Giving people the facts as a strategy of influence” has been a failure, “an enterprise fraught with a surprising amount of disappointment.”

This crisis overwhelmingly proves Overstreet’s thesis to be true. Nonetheless, we solider on…

Here’s a roundup of reports on this BernankeLeaks:

Prepare to enter the theater of the absurd…

I’ll start with Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont). He was the senator who Bernanke blew off when he was asked for information on this heist during a congressional hearing. Sanders fought to get the amendment written into the financial “reform” bill that gave us this one-time peek into the Fed’s secret operations. (Remember, remember the 6th of May, HFT, flash crash and terrorism. “Hey, David, Homeland Security is on the phone! They want to ask you questions about some NYSE SLP program.”)

In an article entitled, “A Real Jaw-Dropper at the Federal Reserve,” Senator Sanders reveals some of the details:

At a Senate Budget Committee hearing in 2009, I asked Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke to tell the American people the names of the financial institutions that received an unprecedented backdoor bailout from the Federal Reserve, how much they received, and the exact terms of this assistance. He refused. A year and a half later… we have begun to lift the veil of secrecy at the Fed…

After years of stonewalling by the Fed, the American people are finally learning the incredible and jaw-dropping details of the Fed’s multi-trillion-dollar bailout of Wall Street and corporate America….

We have learned that the $700 billion Wall Street bailout… turned out to be pocket change compared to the trillions and trillions of dollars in near-zero interest loans and other financial arrangements the Federal Reserve doled out to every major financial institution in this country.…

Perhaps most surprising is the huge sum that went to bail out foreign private banks and corporations including two European megabanks — Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse — which were the largest beneficiaries of the Fed’s purchase of mortgage-backed securities….

Has the Federal Reserve of the United States become the central bank of the world?… [read Global Banking Cartel]

What this disclosure tells us, among many other things, is that despite this huge taxpayer bailout, the Fed did not make the appropriate demands on these institutions necessary to rebuild our economy and protect the needs of ordinary Americans….

What we are seeing is the incredible power of a small number of people who have incredible conflicts of interest getting incredible help from the taxpayers of this country while ignoring the needs of the people. [read more]

In an article entitled, “The Fed Lied About Wall Street,” Zach Carter sums it up this way:

The Federal Reserve audit is full of frightening revelations about U.S. economic policy and those who implement it… By denying the solvency crisis, major bank executives who had run their companies into the ground were allowed to keep their jobs, and shareholders who had placed bad bets on their firms were allowed to collect government largesse, as bloated bonuses began paying out soon after.

But the banks themselves still faced a capital shortage, and were only kept above those critical capital thresholds because federal regulators were willing to look the other way, letting banks account for obvious losses as if they were profitable assets.

So based on the Fed audit data, it’s hard to conclude that Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke was telling the truth when he told Congress on March 3, 2009, that there were no zombie banks in the United States.

“I don’t think that any major U.S. bank is currently a zombie institution,” Bernanke said.

As Bernanke spoke those words banks had been pledging junk bonds as collateral under Fed facilities for several months…

This is the heart of today’s foreclosure fraud crisis. Banks are foreclosing on untold numbers of families who have never missed a payment, because rushing to foreclosure generates lucrative fees for the banks, whatever the costs to families and investors. This is, in fact, far worse than what Paul Krugman predicted. Not only are zombie banks failing to support the economy, they are actively sabotaging it with fraud in order to make up for their capital shortages. Meanwhile, regulators are aggressively looking the other way.

The Fed had to fix liquidity in 2008. That was its job. But as major banks went insolvent, the Fed and Treasury had a responsibility to fix that solvency issue—even though that meant requiring shareholders and executives to live up to losses. Instead, as the Fed audit tells us, policymakers knowingly ignored the real problem, pushing losses onto the American middle class in the process.” [read more]

Even the Financial Times is jumping ship:

Sunlight Shows Cracks in Fed’s Rescue Story

It took two years, a hard-fought lawsuit, and an act of Congress, but finally… the Federal Reserve disclosed the details of its financial crisis lending programs. The initial reactions were shock at the breadth of lending, particularly to foreign firms. But the details paint a bleaker, earlier, and even more disturbing picture…. An even more troubling conclusion from the data is that… it is now apparent that the Fed took on far more risk, on less favorable terms, than most people have realized. [read more]

In true Fed fashion, they didn’t even fully comply with Congress. In a report entitled, “Fed Withholds Collateral Data for $885 Billion in Financial-Crisis Loans,” Bloomberg puts some icing on the cake:

For three of the Fed’s six emergency facilities, the central bank released information on groups of collateral it accepted by asset type and rating, without specifying individual securities. Among them was the Primary Dealer Credit Facility, created in March 2008 to provide loans to brokers as Bear Stearns Cos. collapsed.

“This is a half-step,” said former Atlanta Fed research director Robert Eisenbeis, chief monetary economist at Cumberland Advisors Inc. in Sarasota, Florida. “If you were going to audit the facilities, then would this enable you to do an audit? The answer is ‘No,’ you would have to go in and look at the individual amounts of collateral and how it was broken down to do that. And that is the spirit of what the requirements were in Dodd-Frank.” [read more]

See also:

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