Astroturf war

Sat, Feb 8, 2014 - 3:56am

When I was growing up, a nearby town had a beloved ice cream and cake shop that my parents would take us to from time to time as a treat. As I grew older, I’d reserve a portion of my allowance to indulge in the gelato they served whenever we would visit. In high school it was a place to sip coffee, eat cake and spend time with with one's date or friends. It was a quintessential small family business, which thrived by reputation and word of mouth. In a time when people were reluctant to spend on luxuries and indulgences, the owner had the good sense to provide excellent product at reasonable prices, that kept customers loyal through generations. I’ve taken my own kids there since.

One cold winter night twenty years ago, a professional assassin murdered the confectioner, his wife and two sons in their home, while they slept, with one of these. While a professional hitman was arrested, charged with killing three other people with the same weapon the previous week, the court found insufficient evidence to convict him of the last four. He is nevertheless in prison until 2020, after which he has several consecutive life sentences to serve in Serbia (hopefully in sickening solitude…).

Despite the inevitability of a life sentence, the guy continued to claim he was framed for the last job (while taking responsibility for the earlier deaths). No one but the counterparty involved knows the reason that the pastry chef and his family had to die.

It was a time of the Wild, Wild East. Oligarchs were on the rise, fortunes were being made (by carving up what had heretofore been national property, as well as outright stealing from individuals through threats or violence). Strip clubs and brothels were blown up, organized crime and drug enforcement detectives and captains were cavorting with ‘family heads’ and madames. Territory was carved up, fenced, borders marked. Honest cops suffered an epidemic of ‘ugly suicides’, with two shots to the back of the head. Eventually things settled down, and the kleptocracy transitioned into more ‘respectable’, official and legally sanctioned channels.

This same process has taken place countless times in countless eras, when there is a ‘changing of the guard’, a temporary upset in the distribution of the chips around the table, and to greater-lesser extent, the composition of the Players at the table. It took place around the same time in Russia, as well as all the other satellite states. In the case of some neighbors, this involved violence on a more massive scale that in other places -- but was essentially about the same thing. Wealth, land, resources, power. In the US, this process largely finished around the end of the 19th and early 20th century, as the robber barons and monopolists and the original banksta John Pierpont himself cemented their grip on the nation’s lifeblood and nervous system, while going to great lengths to present themselves as benevolent aristocrats to be respected and looked up to. The story of the Corleone family is (for all intents and purposes) a true one, only the names had been changed. It goes on to this day, though banksters have the advantage of starting from (what used to be) a respectable, professional facade.

The current outbreak of sudden death syndrome among financial professionals -- that seems to go back even further than just the four most recent ones – are getting prominently mentioned on not only RT and ZH (and any number of alternative news sites) – but in the center-of-mainstream media as well. In September of last year, the CFO of Zurich Insurance apparently took his own life, casting blame in his note on his boss, former Deutsche Bank CEO Josef Ackerman. The ex-head-honcho of DB promptly resigned from the Chief Executive position. Interestingly this rather high-profile affair sunk quickly into the background noise (though I found it notable at the time).

It feels a lot to me like this is simply the physical manifestation of a turf war. Whether it’s truly the ‘classically’ illegal drug/arms/human traffickers who want to send a warning to protect their assets and revenue stream, or whether these unfortunate souls were casualties as soldiers in the ongoing currency war remains to be seen. There was an early session with Jim Willie on TFMR that had a line that I remembered that seemed apt to apply to the current situation: “There’s a new sheriff in town.” Though he was using the expression in a different context, this ‘clean-up/show of force’ seems to me to indicate that someone(s) want to make known their reach, power, and absolute unwillingness to compromise. BUT ONLY TO OTHERS IN THE BANKING PROFESSION.

The fact that instead of straight-up hits we are seeing suicides is not necessarily indicative of which layer of the parasitic national/corporate/’real criminal’ (but I repeat myself) complex may be involved – though my guess is that the main desired effect of the instances is silence and cooperation. Obviously the dead ones tell no tales, and staying alive can be a powerful motivator for those left in corner offices and walnut-paneled rooms.

The concurrent investigations from regulatory bodies in the UK, Germany and the US are somewhat coincidental, both in the areas of foreign currency trading, gold and silver trading and derivatives. The fact that major banks are divesting themselves of commodity trading platforms and units (not to mention warehouses and VAULTS) also has nothing to do with any of the ongoing violence. The (quickly retracted) trial balloon of Ms. Masters on the CFTC advisory panel is also pure coincidence. Why would anyone think there is a muscling-out going on as we speak?

The only consternation I have in this regard is that whether the aim is simply to keep the charade going by avoiding convictions, or if there really IS a forceful realignment of the landscape going on, escalation seems like a distinct possibility.

Of course, it could potentially all be chalked up to a simple increase in the stress level, anxiety and general malaise of the pressures the financial industry exerts on its practitioners. Those poor folks really have it tough these days.

(via Jesse)

About the Author


Pseudozero · Feb 8, 2014 - 4:09am


stack on

thurd aye · Feb 8, 2014 - 4:38am

Still here,howdy folks,Im

Still here,howdy folks,Im taking silver while yr all asleep,)))


ferretflat · Feb 8, 2014 - 5:13am

Can't sleep

Can't sleep for worrying about the fates of those pour unfortunate banksters!

Gold Dog · Feb 8, 2014 - 6:11am

Me too,

Those poor, poor people!

Your friend,


vonburpenstein · Feb 8, 2014 - 6:41am

yo dog...

U still up from last night or just an early riser?

5th or so....

tyberious · Feb 8, 2014 - 7:33am
silver66 · Feb 8, 2014 - 7:38am

Good post

I thought of the book series Game of Thrones as I read your post and the cleansing that happens when the King dies and a new King comes in

Natural process at the top it seems


Maximillion · Feb 8, 2014 - 8:04am

Something's not right

According to the Germans, the stated reason for the slow return of their gold held by the FED is that they can only get insurance for 1 Ton shipments at a time, yet the gold drain from London to the East via Switzerland is stated to be 1000 Tons per month! One would have thought it would have been a lot easier to protect gold shipments crossing the Atlantic ocean (as there are less hiding places for bandits at sea), than over the land masses and borders between London and China?

I don't know what dope came up with this MOPE shipment problem, but it doesn't hold water!

· Feb 8, 2014 - 8:12am

Dead bankers....A few

Dead bankers....

A few different scenarios. A garden variety issue of overbilling and trying to find a way to not breach your oath of confidentiality and keep your job. Garden variety whistleblower type is not my first guess because it is almost done overtly now and would I believe that these guys turn states evidence to what end? Save society? Save their soul? Doesn't often work. .. Put it on the clip board

How about something a bit more insidious. Evil powers and pacts with the devil? And finding out your firm is involved in drug smuggling and weapons smuggling? Very Bohemian Grovish.

Hangings, electrocutions, falling of train platforms. all to keep the power. Classic

Gold Dog · Feb 8, 2014 - 8:25am


Just up extremely early...much paper work to attend to this weekend.

No fun at all!

All work and no play,


¤ · Feb 8, 2014 - 8:54am

Some ancient thoughts on bankers...

Is Banking Criminal? What the World's Ancient Philosophers & Religions Say:

Note the irony of how those who are the greatest practitioners of interest banking claim membership in the religions most emphatically against charging interest.


8FoldPath.jpg?height=200&width=200 "One discerns wrong livelihood as wrong livelihood, and right livelihood as right livelihood. And what is wrong livelihood? Scheming, persuading, hinting, belittling, and charging interest. This is wrong livelihood."

--Siddharta Gautama Buddha in his sermon on the Eightfold Path (Majjhima Nikaya Suttra 117)

see also The Way of Buddhism


star%20of%20david%20brown.jpgIf one has charged interest or taken increase-- shall he then live? He shall not live! If he has done any of these abominations, he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon him. -- Prophet Ezekiel (18:13)

He does not put out his money at interest, nor does he take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things will never be shaken.

--David (Psalm 15:5)

He who increases his wealth by interest and usury gathers it for him who is gracious to the poor.
--Solomon (Proverbs 28:8)

You shall not charge interest to your brother--interest on money or food or anything that is lent out at interest.

--Moses (Deuteronomy 23:19)
One who lends money on usury cannot be regarded as reformed until he tear up his account-books and effect a complete reformation. 
(Talmud, Tractate Sanhedrin II.--JUDICIAL PROCEDURE: "Those who are Eligible and those who are Ineligible as Judges or Witnesses" III.3. M. T. V. 2.) He who lives by usury in this world shall not live in the world to come. (Midrash, Exodus Rabba 31). There were also some who said,

"We have mortgaged our lands and vineyards and houses, that we might buy grain because of the famine." 

There were also those who said,

"We have borrowed money for the king's tax on our lands and vineyards... and indeed we are forcing our sons and our daughters to be slaves, and some of our daughters have been brought into slavery. It is not in our power to redeem them, for other men have our lands and vineyards." 

And I became very angry when I heard their outcry and these words. After serious thought, I rebuked the nobles and rulers, and said to them,

"Each of you is exacting usury from his brother."

So I called a great assembly against them....

"Please, let us stop this usury! Restore now to them, even this day, their lands, their vineyards, their olive groves, and their houses, also one percent of the money and the grain, the new wine and the oil, that you have charged them."

--Nehemiah (5:3-7,10-11)

Note how Nehemiah was utterly appalled about even 1% interest! This would be considered charity by today's banking standards! This blows the argument of many self-proclaimed Jews & Christians who claim, along with many Muslims, Buddhists, & Hindus, that usury is "excessive interest," while "regular interest" is okay. Usury is interest is usury is interest: there is no difference. 

Lo and Behold, the very Garden of Eden story is about lending at interest. 

Please see The Seven Headed Dragon: World Commerce

see also The Way of Judaism


CelticCross.gif?height=200&width=200 Forgive us our debts, even as we forgive our debtors.

--Jesus (Matthew 6:12)

And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. -- Jesus Christ (Luke 6:34-35)

 Jesus said, "If you have money, do not lend it at interestRather, give to someone from whom you will not get it back."

 (Gospel of Thomas 95)

Owe no person anything, except to love one another.

 --Apostle Paul (Romans 13:8)

He who takes interest for a loan of money acts unjustly for he sells what does not exist. It is wrong in itself to take a price (usury) for the use of money lent, and as in the case of other offences against justice, one is bound to make restitution of his unjustly acquired money.

--Saint Thomas Aquinas

Many "Christian" businessmen theologians erroneously state that the New Testament is silent about forbidding interest. But the New Testament clearly goes even a step beyond forbidding interest, telling us to lend, expecting nothing at all in return. On top of that, we are to not even owe. On top of that, we are to forgive all debts! 

Central to Jesus' message is that debt and sin are one and the same.

Lo and Behold, the very Garden of Eden story is about lending at interest. 

Please see The Seven Headed Dragon: World Commerce

See also The Way of Christianity, Judaism's Estranged Daughter


Those who swallow down interest cannot arise except as one whom Satan has prostrated by his touch does raise. . . . . Allah does not bless charging interest, and He causes charitable deeds to prosper, and Allah does not love any ungrateful sinner. Surely they who believe and do good deeds and keep up prayer and give charity, they shall have their reward from their Lord, and they shall have no fear, nor shall they grieve. O you who believe! Be careful of your duty to Allah and forgive what remains due from charging interest, if you are believers.

(Quran 2:275-278)

And whatever you give in interest, so that it may increase in the property of men, it shall not increase with Allah; and whatever you give in charity, desiring Allah's pleasure-- it is you who shall receive manifold. (Quran 30:39)

O you who believe, you shall not take interest, compounded over and over. Observe God, that you may succeed. (Quran 3:130)

And for charging interest, which was forbidden, and for consuming the people's money illicitly. We have prepared for the disbelievers among them painful retribution. (Quran 4:161)  The Messenger of God used to pray in his prayers, and said:  "O Allah! I seek refuge in you from sin and from being in debt." Someone asked him, "How often do you, O Messenger of Allah, seek refuge from being in debt?" He said: "When a man is in debt he speaks and tells lies, and he promises and breaks the promise." (Hadith, Bukhari 43:10) And if the debtor is in straightness, then let there be a postponement until he is in ease; and if you forgive it as charity it is better for you, if you knew. (Quran 2:280) "The Messenger of God said, cursed is the usurer and the man who pays usury and the writer of the transaction and the two witnesses thereof," and he said, "They are alike." (Hadith, Muslim Mishkat 12:4) A time will come over people when not a single person will remain who does not swallow down usury, and if one does not swallow it, its vapor will overtake him. --Muhammad (Hadith, Abu Dawud Mishkat 12:4) Even despite Islam's clear denouncement of all forms of interest, there are businessmen "Muslims" who pull the same trick as westerners, claiming that "usury" means "excessive interest" and that "regular interest" is okay. Yet, the scriptural Arabic word for usury is riba (an excess or addition), meaning an addition over and above the principal sum that is lent [Lane's Arabic-English Lexicon], showing no distinction between usuryand interest. Then there are others who disagree, yet support "Islamic" banking which claims not to charge interest. Instead, the "Islamic" bank buys the item the borrower wants to buy and sells it to the borrower at a profit. Isn't charging interest under such pretense even more deceptive than out-rightly charging interest?
See also The Way of Islam (Peaceful Submission)


 A Brâhmana and a Kshatriya shall not lend anything at interest... 'He who acquiring property cheap, gives it for a high price, is called a usurer and blamed among those who recite the Veda.'

'God weighed in the scales the crime of killing a learned Brâhmana against the crime of charging interest; the slayer of the Brâhmana remained at the top, the charger of interest sank downwards.'

(Vasishtha, The Sacred Laws of the Aryas, Part II, Chptr 2, vs 40-42)

A person of yoga obtains everlasting peace  by abandoning the rewards of action. The person ignorant of yoga, selfishly attached to reward, remains bound.
(Bhagavad Gita 5:12. This verse, in fact, is representative of the very theme of the Bhagavad Gita)

Note how the Hindu Sage Vasishtha considered charging interest a crime worse than murder. Real and blatant slavery of men, women and children, is rampant in India because of India's disregard for her own Hindu principles.

Also, as in Christianity, we see in the Bhagavad Gita that later Hinduism goes even a step beyond forbidding charging interest, imploring us over and over and over to do nothing for the sake of reward, give expecting nothing in return, but simply to do for the sake of doing.

See also The Way of Hinduism


SikhSymbol.png?height=200&width=177 Riches do not remain with anyone - 

not even the golden palaces of Sri Lanka.

People gather and hoard their possessions, 

and give nothing to anyone else . . . . 

the poor fools think that everything is theirs.

Listen, you foolish and ignorant mind –

only His Will prevails.

My Banker is the Great Lord and Master. 

I am only His petty merchant.

This soul and body all are His. 

He Himself kills, and brings back to life.

(Guru Nanak Dev, p 155)

My only Support is the Naam, 

the Name of the Lord; 

as He keeps me, I survive.

The leaders and kings shall not remain.

The bankers shall die, 

after accumulating their wealth and money.

Grant me, O Lord, 

the wealth of Your Ambrosial Naam.

(Guru Nanak Dev, p. 227)

The shopkeeper who visited the Guru, had deserved to die by an impaling stake for the sins of deceit and usury, but, as be continued to progress in virtue, the impaling stake was reduced in size till it became merely a thorn. Having been pierced by it, he had fully expiated the sins of a former birth. Thus may the decree of destiny be altered by the practice of virtue.

(Life Of Guru Nanak: Chapter V, sec IV)

See also The Way of Sikhism

Greek Philosophy

pentagram.png?height=200&width=200 No one shall deposit money with anyone he does not trust, nor lend at interest, since it is permissible for the borrower to refuse entirely to pay back either interest or principle."

 --Plato (Laws)

The trade of the petty usurer is hated with most reason: it makes a profit from currency itself, instead of making it from the process which currency was meant to serve. Their common characteristic is obviously their sordid greed.... Hence of all the kinds of wealth acquisition this one is the most unnatural.

 --Aristotle (Politics)


  • rastafari.jpg?height=200&width=180 When a man hath the power to do that which is good, and he watcheth himself and telleth his neighbour, he becometh as it were the owner of two talents, and yet other two talents are added to him, and he getteth abundant reward from God. For he hath done it himself and taught his neighbour to do it, and because of this his reward shall he exceedingly great. And again, blessed shall ye be if ye give your possessions, without usury and not as loans.
  • (The ancient Ethiopian Kebra Nagast, 90. "How Azariah praised the Queen and her city")

Bahá’í Faith

BahaiSymbol.jpg?height=192&width=200 Many ecclesiastics in Persia have, through innumerable
designs and devices, been feeding on illicit gains obtained
by usury. They have contrived ways to give its outward
form a fair semblance of lawfulness. They make a plaything
of the laws and ordinances of God, but they understand not.
(Tablets of Baha'u'llah Revealed after the Kitab-I-Aqdas. +P134)
sierra skier · Feb 8, 2014 - 9:32am

Their Empire Must be Crumbling

And there is no way to stop it. Those in the know who are about to falter are eliminated as weak hands. Things must be getting closer as it appears desperation is rising. They have dug their own hole and have no way to fill it back in.

It will be very curious to see what the final trigger event turns out to be. You can only stretch a rubber band so far before it snaps.

ag1969 · Feb 8, 2014 - 9:52am

The banker problem

Here is a quick story that reveals the true nature of bankers, and why more of them will be committing suicide in the near future:

A guy walks into a bank and says to the teller at the window, "I want to open a fuckin' checking account"
To which the lady replied, "I beg your pardon, what did you say?"
"Listen up dammit, I said I want to open a fuckin' checking account right now."
"Sir, I'm sorry but we do not tolerate that kind of language in this bank!" The teller left the window and went over to the bank manager and told him about her situation. They both returned and the manager asked, "What seems to be the problem here?"
"There's no damn problem," the man said, "I just won 50 million in the lottery and I want to open a fuckin' checking account in this damn bank!"
"I see sir," the manager said, "and this bitch is giving you a hard time?"

TomMack · Feb 8, 2014 - 10:19am

it starts out innocently

then escalates quickly: next thing you know you owe 10 hamburgers!

it seems easy but is really very hard.

ps it is 5 seconds the video diplayed when i previewed it ...who knows?

pss stack on looks like a bottom has put in.

Biochar · Feb 8, 2014 - 11:14am

Field Turf

Took part in the Seahawks victory parade on Wednesday. Over 700,000 people and not a single arrest, great performane by the Spirit of 12s community... outshined only by the team's performane on the field last Sunday. Interesting though, ten of us from work made the trek to downtown for the parade with fully charged mobile phones. When we tried to use them to take photos (we were scattered individually in a 7 block long area along 4th Avenue near the stadium) our screens all showed icons that our batteries were dead and needed a recharge. Had to turn off the phones and reboot, they'd work for a few minutes and then the 'battery drained' screen would appear again. DHS testing out some new equipment? Glad I had my Nikon with me.


Sea Gals

Go Hawks

Patrancus · Feb 8, 2014 - 11:18am

Temple Turf

1. Cleansing the Temple

(1888.4) 173:1.1 A huge commercial traffic had grown up in association with the services and ceremonies of the temple worship. There was the business of providing suitable animals for the various sacrifices. Though it was permissible for a worshiper to provide his own sacrifice, the fact remained that this animal must be free from all “blemish” in the meaning of the Levitical law and as interpreted by official inspectors of the temple. Many a worshiper had experienced the humiliation of having his supposedly perfect animal rejected by the temple examiners. It therefore became the more general practice to purchase sacrificial animals at the temple, and although there were several stations on near-by Olivet where they could be bought, it had become the vogue to buy these animals directly from the temple pens. Gradually there had grown up this custom of selling all kinds of sacrificial animals in the temple courts. An extensive business, in which enormous profits were made, had thus been brought into existence. Part of these gains was reserved for the temple treasury, but the larger part went indirectly into the hands of the ruling high-priestly families.

(1888.5) 173:1.2 This sale of animals in the temple prospered because, when the worshiper purchased such an animal, although the price might be somewhat high, no more fees had to be paid, and he could be sure the intended sacrifice would not be rejected on the ground of possessing real or technical blemishes. At one time or another systems of exorbitant overcharge were practiced upon the common people, especially during the great national feasts. At one time the greedy priests went so far as to demand the equivalent of the value of a week’s labor for a pair of doves which should have been sold to the poor for a few pennies. The “sons of Annas” had already begun to establish their bazaars in the temple precincts, those very merchandise marts which persisted to the time of their final overthrow by a mob three years before the destruction of the temple itself.

(1889.1) 173:1.3 But traffic in sacrificial animals and sundry merchandise was not the only way in which the courts of the temple were profaned. At this time there was fostered an extensive system of banking and commercial exchange which was carried on right within the temple precincts. And this all came about in the following manner: During the Asmonean dynasty the Jews coined their own silver money, and it had become the practice to require the temple dues of one-half shekel and all other temple fees to be paid with this Jewish coin. This regulation necessitated that money-changers be licensed to exchange the many sorts of currency in circulation throughout Palestine and other provinces of the Roman Empire for this orthodox shekel of Jewish coining. The temple head tax, payable by all except women, slaves, and minors, was one-half shekel, a coin about the size of a ten-cent piece but twice as thick. By the times of Jesus the priests had also been exempted from the payment of temple dues. Accordingly, from the 15th to the 25th of the month preceding the Passover, accredited money-changers erected their booths in the principal cities of Palestine for the purpose of providing the Jewish people with proper money to meet the temple dues after they had reached Jerusalem. After this ten-day period these money-changers moved on to Jerusalem and proceeded to set up their exchange tables in the courts of the temple. They were permitted to charge the equivalent of from three to four cents commission for the exchange of a coin valued at about ten cents, and in case a coin of larger value was offered for exchange, they were allowed to collect double. Likewise did these temple bankers profit from the exchange of all money intended for the purchase of sacrificial animals and for the payment of vows and the making of offerings.*

(1889.2) 173:1.4 These temple money-changers not only conducted a regular banking business for profit in the exchange of more than twenty sorts of money which the visiting pilgrims would periodically bring to Jerusalem, but they also engaged in all other kinds of transactions pertaining to the banking business. Both the temple treasury and the temple rulers profited tremendously from these commercial activities. It was not uncommon for the temple treasury to hold upwards of ten million dollars while the common people languished in poverty and continued to pay these unjust levies.

(1889.3) 173:1.5 In the midst of this noisy aggregation of money-changers, merchandisers, and cattle sellers, Jesus, on this Monday morning, attempted to teach the gospel of the heavenly kingdom. He was not alone in resenting this profanation of the temple; the common people, especially the Jewish visitors from foreign provinces, also heartily resented this profiteering desecration of their national house of worship. At this time the Sanhedrin itself held its regular meetings in a chamber surrounded by all this babble and confusion of trade and barter.

(1890.1) 173:1.6 As Jesus was about to begin his address, two things happened to arrest his attention. At the money table of a near-by exchanger a violent and heated argument had arisen over the alleged overcharging of a Jew from Alexandria, while at the same moment the air was rent by the bellowing of a drove of some one hundred bullocks which was being driven from one section of the animal pens to another. As Jesus paused, silently but thoughtfully contemplating this scene of commerce and confusion, close by he beheld a simple-minded Galilean, a man he had once talked with in Iron, being ridiculed and jostled about by supercilious and would-be superior Judeans; and all of this combined to produce one of those strange and periodic uprisings of indignant emotion in the soul of Jesus.

(1890.2) 173:1.7 To the amazement of his apostles, standing near at hand, who refrained from participation in what so soon followed, Jesus stepped down from the teaching platform and, going over to the lad who was driving the cattle through the court, took from him his whip of cords and swiftly drove the animals from the temple. But that was not all; he strode majestically before the wondering gaze of the thousands assembled in the temple court to the farthest cattle pen and proceeded to open the gates of every stall and to drive out the imprisoned animals. By this time the assembled pilgrims were electrified, and with uproarious shouting they moved toward the bazaars and began to overturn the tables of the money-changers. In less than five minutes all commerce had been swept from the temple. By the time the near-by Roman guards had appeared on the scene, all was quiet, and the crowds had become orderly; Jesus, returning to the speaker’s stand, spoke to the multitude: “You have this day witnessed that which is written in the Scriptures: ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations, but you have made it a den of robbers.’”

ancientmoney · Feb 8, 2014 - 11:56am

German gold repatriation . . .

Germany is likely to obtain more gold by its Olympic athletes winning top prize than by shipments from the Fed.

Especially after Merkel got into a hissy fit after Nuland's faux pas (fuck the EU).

achmachat · Feb 8, 2014 - 12:14pm

Sochi Gold...

that would be a LOT of gold medals, as there's just 6 grams of gold per gold medal!
(the gold medals are made out of 525 grams of .960 silver with 6 grams of gold plating)

JAL · Feb 8, 2014 - 1:16pm

NHS Petition: "Don't sell our personal medical information..."

"Your medical records could be sold to the highest bidder. But not if we can stop it.

Starting this year, private companies will be able to buy information on us from the NHS’s new universal patient database -- including everything from mental health conditions, sexually transmitted infections and diseases like cancer -- all linked to your postcode, gender and ethnicity.

We’ve all been opted into the scheme by the government without our knowledge. And the clock is ticking -- the government has said they will upload our private data in a matter of just a few weeks. If we’re going to stop this, we have to act now.

Tell Jeremy Hunt and the NHS not to sell our private medical data.

It doesn’t really get more private than what you discuss with your doctor. They know the most personal things about us -- like whether we’ve ever been depressed, had an embarrassing infection or struggled with drug & alcohol problems. Now imagine, private companies trawling through your records looking for interesting information.

The government claims that individuals won’t be able to be identified. However, many experts have warned that under the current plans, we could easily be singled out through simple cross-referencing of other databases -- especially if you have a rare or unusual condition. Imagine your employer finding that you might have had an abortion when you were a teenager. Or your insurance company finding out you are HIV positive. The consequences for us as individuals could be huge.

We know that when we act together, we can bring about real change. When we fought to get High Street names like River Island and Edinburgh Woollen Mill to sign up to protect Bangladeshi factory workers, we won! Now we need to step up to defend something precious -- our right to privacy.

Tell Jeremy Hunt to stop the sale of our personal medical information to big corporations."


"Wow -- in less than 3 days, over 143,822 people have signed our petition urging Jeremy Hunt and the NHS not to sell our private medical records!" ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Further background....
ancientmoney achmachat · Feb 8, 2014 - 1:18pm

@achmachat . . .

"that would be a LOT of gold medals"


DollarMenu2 · Feb 8, 2014 - 2:11pm


According to a posting on Silver Doctors, Jim Willie thinks the 'suicides' were to whistle-blowers.

These weren't the bad guys, they were going to help regulators/investigators.

Not a good environment for future WBs if true.


¤ · Feb 8, 2014 - 4:00pm

News Dragnet: ¤ World ¤

Trouble Ahead for the World Economy? - The Economist
The Specter of Nuclear Havoc - Korea Herald

Is Syria Now a Direct Threat to the U.S.? - David Rohde, Reuters
Once Again, Olympics Hijacked By Evil - Dominic Sandbrook, Daily Mail
U.S. Is Losing the War of Wills with Iran - Christopher Griffin, RCWorld
It's About to Get Worse in Venezuela - Andres Oppenheimer, Miami Herald
U.S. Supporting Oppression in Egypt - Ahmed Maher, Washington Post
The Arab Spring Heads to Russia - Michael Bohm, Moscow Times
Iran's Bomb in the Basement - Caroline Glick, Jerusalem Post
Why Is the Left Obsessed with Israel? - Claude Fischer, Boston Review
Scottish Independence Would Be a Blow to UK - J. Freedland, Guardian
China Pokes Nose into America's Backyard - Shannon Tiezzi, Diplomat
The F-Bomb Heard Round the World - Walter Mead, The American Interest
How the Left Still Runs Britain - Dennis Sewell, The Spectator
Three Reasons South Korea Is a Tech Paradise - Greg Scoblete, RCT
Mystery Illness Killing Thousands in Central America - Amar Toor, Verge
Kerry Is a Magnificent Secretary of State - Gwynne Dyer, Japan Times

The Geopolitics of the Sochi Olympics - Foreign Policy Research Institute
U.S. Public Opinion and Iran: Don't Trust the Polls - Running Numbers
Will We See a Softer Iran Following a Nuclear Agreement? - ORG
Iran's Economy Is Improving, So Much for Pressure - FDD

Putin's Fraught Games - David Remnick, The New Yorker
Putin Isn't Out to Impress Western Media - Nikolas Gvosdev, Nat'l Interest
Olympics Actually Don't Unite the Globe - Michael Rubin, Foreign Policy
Assad's Low-Tech WMD: Starvation - Anne Applebaum, Washington Post
Will Asia Ignite a Second Arab Spring? - Zachary Keck, The Diplomat
As Olympics Arrive, Russia Experiences Downturn - Steven Myers, NYT
Russia's Dagestan Simmers with Violence - Julia Smirnova, Die Welt
Nationalism Isn't a Threat to European Peace - Daniel Hannan, Telegraph
Russia, EU in 'Bidding War' for Ukraine - Rick MacInnes-Rae, CBC News
Will Quebec's Secularism Debate Fizzle Out? - Chris Selley, National Post
Developing Economies Hit a BRICS Wall - Follath & Hesse, Der Spiegel
Why Dictators Love the Olympics - Garry Kasparov, The Daily Beast

Problems at Sochi Reflect Problem in Russia - David Francis, Fiscal Times
Sochi Haunted by Forgotten Genocide - Oliver Bullough, The New Republic
Ukraine's Culture War - Nicolai Petro, The National Interest
U.S. Profanity and Impotence in Ukraine - Leonid Bershidsky, Bloomberg
The NSA Is Not Alone - Max Boot, Commentary
Where's America's Strategy? - Andy Zelleke & Justin Zorn, The Diplomat
Barack Obama Isn't Disengaged from the World - Fred Kaplan, Slate
On Iran, a Misleading Cold War Analogy - Elliott Abrams, Weekly Standard
Fallacies of the Iran Deal Fantasy - Amir Taheri, New York Post
Pakistan's Journalists Cave to the Taliban - Beenish Ahmed, Foreign Policy
Kazakh President Wants to Drop the 'Stan' - Dmitry Solovyov, Reuters

Why So Much Anarchy? - Robert Kaplan, Stratfor

We May Be 7 Months Away from the End of Britain - Alex Massie, Spectator
Why Is Vladimir Putin Smiling? - John Fund, National Review
Putin's Occupation Olympics - Eugene Kontorovich, Reuters
Obama's Dangerous Iran Game Becoming Clear - Peter Foster, Telegraph
Iran, Israel and the Politics of Gesture - Meir Javedanfar, Al Monitor
Inside Egypt's War on Journalists - Sharif Abdul Quddus, Mada Masr
No More Mr. Nice Putin - Fiona Hill & Steven Pifer, Los Angeles Times
If You're Going to Sochi, Take a Flak Jacket - Alex Berezow, RealClearWorld
Stop Pinning Mideast Unrest on Colonialism - Michael Young, The National
The New Hawks Shaping German Foreign Policy - David W. Wise, RCW
Behind the Biggest Population Boom in History - Alan Weisman, Medium
Japan's War on History Comes to America - Edward Jackfert, Nat'l Interest
A Tale of Two Talibans - D. Suba Chandran, The Hindu

¤ · Feb 8, 2014 - 4:01pm

Russian adviser threatens Ukraine with military force

Russian adviser threatens Ukraine with military force

Nele Obermueller and Olga Rudenko, Special for USA TODAY

Sergei Chuzavkov, AP

A protester guards a barricade in front of riot police in Kiev on Thursday.

KIEV, Ukraine — Ukrainian protesters said Thursday they have no doubt Russia will intervene militarily in the unrest here if the Moscow-aligned president gives in to demands for more freedoms and stronger ties to the West.

"Everyone knows that Russia is going to send troops to Ukraine – we have known it for a long time now," said Kateryna Chorna of Kiev who has regularly taken part in the anti-government protests that started in November.

"And everyone knows that some of (the Russian troops) are already here, but nobody wants to speak openly about it because nobody wants to fight our brothers," she said, referring to a widespread belief that members of the Russian military make up the police force and hired provocateurs trying to sabotage and subdue the protests.

Protesters expressed their fears as a senior U.S. diplomat arrived in Kiev to try to help find a resolution to the country's political crisis, and an adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened Ukraine with attack.

Sergei Glazyev accused the United States on Thursday of funding the Ukrainian "rebels" by as much as $20 million a day for weapons and other supplies. He urged the Ukrainian government to put down the "attempted coup," or Russia may have to intervene under the terms of a 1994 agreement between the United States and Russia, according to the Ukraine edition of the Russian daily Kommersant


Glazyev was alluding to the Budapest Memorandum, a treaty in which Ukraine agreed to turn over a nuclear arsenal on its soil left over after the fall of the Soviet Union, of which Ukraine was a part until it dissolved in 1991.

In return, the United States, United Kingdom and Russia, nuclear powers all, guaranteed to respect the independence and the borders of Ukraine and reaffirmed their commitment to seek immediate United Nations Security Council action should Ukraine become a victim of an act of aggression.

The memorandum, which is not binding, refers only to "nuclear aggression" and it requires the signatories to consult each other if other unspecified aggression arises.

Glazyev said the agreement binds Russia and the United States "to intervene when conflicts of this kind arise. And what the Americans are doing now, unilaterally and crudely interfering in the internal affairs of Ukraine, is a clear breach of that treaty."

Thursday, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland met separately in Kiev with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and with opposition leaders to find a solution to the conflict. Yanukovych is scheduled to meet with Putin on Friday at the opening of the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Protesters want Yanukovych to resign and for his successor to sign an economic treaty with the European Union that Yanukovych rejected in favor of a $15 billion loan and gas deliveries from Putin.


Igor Kovalenko, epa

Protesters sing while resting on the barricades during protests in Kiev on Thursday.

Nuland's visit comes amid growing frustration over parliament's failure to enact constitutional changes and an amnesty for protesters. The legislature met three days this week but produced no results and adjourned Thursday until next week.

In Kiev on Thursday, about 2,000 demonstrators marched toward parliament carrying a banner reading, "We are tired of waiting."

The United States and the European Union have called for Yanukovych and the opposition to reach a compromise and warned Yanukovych against using force against the protesters.

The European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, adopted a non-binding resolution Thursday urging the bloc's 28 nations to prepare targeted sanctions such as freezing assets of "Ukrainian officials, legislators and oligarchs personally responsible for the attacks on and deaths of protesters."

Glazyev said the Ukrainian government needs to spurn outsiders and put down the insurrection with force.

"The Ukrainian government is making a mistake by resisting the use of force to solve the crisis, and if the protesters will not disperse, the violent suppression of protests will be inevitable," he said. "In a situation where the authorities face an attempted coup, they simply have no other course of action – otherwise, the country could be plunged into chaos."

The protests, which have seen hundreds of thousands take to the streets, had remained largely peaceful but turned violent last month as demonstrators clashed with police, leading to at least four deaths.

The United States and the EU want the opposition to share in government. Yanukovych offered leading opposition figures high-level posts in the government, but they rejected the offer, calling for new elections.

Analysts say that although Russia has a special interest in Ukraine, Glazyev does not speak for Putin and is exaggerating the threat of military force.

"Mr. Glazyev has a record of making inflammatory statements about Ukraine – to my knowledge, he does not speak for the Russian government on Ukraine," said John Lough, an analyst specializing on the Russia and Eurasia at the Chatham House think-tank in London. "I think that any potential intervention by Russia would be political and economic, and certainly not military."

Some protesters say the Ukrainian government is playing for time and would welcome Russian military intervention if protesters refuse to back down.

"The only question is if they will act now or after the Winter Olympics end," Chorna said. "Me, my family and my friends, we are all very worried about this because it will have impact on business, on salaries, benefits."

¤ · Feb 8, 2014 - 4:28pm

Russia After Sochi....Ukraine Comes Into Focus

Russia After Sochi Image Credit: REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov Russia After Sochi

Long after the closing ceremony, questions will linger about Russia’s role in the world.

By Stephen Sestanovich February 08, 2014

By hosting the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia has brought a surge of international attention to the state of its economy, its interethnic relations, its domestic politics, and its foreign policy. Already much of the scrutiny has become unwelcome.

The staggering $50 billion price tag for the Games highlights official waste, fraud, and abuse. The threat of terrorist attacks reminds the world of the volatile state of Russia’s southern regions and the separatist movements that operate there. Legislation on so-called gay and lesbian “propaganda” calls attention to the illiberal elements of President Vladimir Putin’s governing ideology. The reluctance of many foreign leaders to come to Sochi provides a convenient scorecard by which to evaluate Russia’s global standing.

Corruption, terrorism, human rights protests, high-level no-shows—all these represent ways in which the Sochi Olympics have embarrassed Putin. Yet in each case, the problem goes well beyond any connection to the Games. Each reflects a major tension in the system that Putin has created. And even if all goes well at Sochi, they suggest continuing challenges for the Western effort to create a cooperative relationship with Russia.

A Slowing Economy

Rapid economic growth has, for many Russians, been the most important achievement of Putin’s tenure. Between 1999, when he became prime minister and then acting president, and 2008, on the eve of the global financial crisis, annual growth averaged 6.9 percent. The impact of the crisis was severe for Russia, but the recovery was also quick. Rebounding smartly, growth in the three years after 2009 averaged 4.1 percent.

Last year, however, the Russian economy slowed significantly. Growth was only 1.4 percent, and the World Bank forecasts only slightly higher growth (2.2 percent for 2014); other forecasts are lower still. If so, Russia will be the slowest growing of the BRICS economies in the year ahead. Inflation, meanwhile, remains relatively high—approximately 6~7 percent in 2013; it is likely to continue at that rate in 2014. And all this has occurred with the price of oil, a key Russian export, still high. In the event of a real drop, economic forecasts become much more negative.

When the slowdown began, Putin sought to deflect blame for it; he traced lower growth to economic difficulties in Europe as a whole. More recently, he has acknowledged that the causes are “internal, not external.” Russian economists, businessmen, and officials are now engaged in a debate about how to respond. Among Western-trained experts, the right course has seemed relatively clear-cut: Russia needs market-based solutions that allow more small- and medium-sized businesses to form, reduce the size and power of state corporations, lighten the burden of corruption, and encourage both foreign and domestic investment.

Putin has embraced some of these ideas, but has given few indications that he is ready to change course. Some of his pronouncements have, in fact, had a distinctly atavistic flavor (like his proposal to recreate Soviet-era mechanisms for evaluating national economic competitiveness).

Ethnic Friction

Chechen separatism and associated terrorist activity originating in the North Caucasus have gripped Russia’s attention for two decades. They are a headline-grabber for the Sochi Games too. But the challenge posed by violent extremism may not be the most severe ethnic policy problem Russia faces in the coming decade. That distinction should probably go instead to...... (continued)

· Feb 8, 2014 - 4:30pm

@Biochar re: Seattle

I would be surprised if your smartphones' behavior did not have something to do with this:

"If you're walking around downtown Seattle, look up: You'll see off-white boxes, each one about a foot tall with vertical antennae, attached to utility poles. If you're walking around downtown while looking at a smartphone, you will probably see at least one—and more likely two or three—Wi-Fi networks named after intersections: "4th&Seneca," "4th&Union," "4th&University," and so on. That is how you can see the Seattle Police Department's new wireless mesh network, bought from a California-based company called Aruba Networks, whose clients include the Department of Defense, school districts in Canada, oil-mining interests in China, and telecommunications companies in Saudi Arabia."

It' supposed to be turned off, since last November. Like, you know, the Constitution is supposed to be in effect, and Congress is supposed to represent the interests of citizens.

ag1969 · Feb 8, 2014 - 4:33pm


There is so much news lately trying to paint Russia and Putin in such a horrible light. I guess it all depends what one uses for a baseline, but it seems to me that there is a whole lot more "EvilEmpire" type activity coming from my contry's gov't than Russia's.

I am stunned at how the US Mainstream Media has been pumping how unsafe Sochi is. I have seen little to no coverage of the actual athletes and the Olympic Spirit, instead I am innundated with Terrorist threats, fear, Obama, and bullshit. It has ruined the Olympic Feeling I used to get.

I am sure Putin and the Russian Gov't are not all sunshine and roses, but the stink is emanating from every country out there these days.

I guess TPTB really had little left to steal from the peasants, so they decided to steal the Olympics from us with their fear paradigm.

Oh, look, the people are down, we might as well kick 'em!

I feel like I am trapped inside a powerpoint presentation. Every event these days is a pre-scripted sales pitch.

Time to listen to some tunes before I end up in the corner incoherently mumbling to myself.

Led Zeppelin - Achilles Last Stand (Album Version)
Keg · Feb 8, 2014 - 4:39pm

Thoughts on bankers

Maybe this says it best:

Neither a borrower nor a lender be;
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.

From William Shakespeare's Hamlet

I think the religious teachings on interest and usury are mostly pointing out that we should not take advantage of our fellow man. But I don't blame just the banker when I see people living beyond their paychecks on credit or people speculating using credit that get into financial trouble.

JAL · Feb 8, 2014 - 5:35pm

NHS petition link...


Sorry, the link didn't post last time...

Enjoy the rest of the weekend Turdville!

Patrancus · Feb 8, 2014 - 8:55pm

My Ukrainian friend Pav

has told me of his adventure of escape from Ukraine many years ago, he escaped with his life and the life of a young woman whom he married and had last I counted 8 children, they are a beautiful family. He operates a trucking business and works very hard to provide for his wife and children. He found me one day all on his own when he was having legal troubles with somebody who would not pay him for the trucking work he had performed. He had already obtained his court Judgment though was at the point of what he should do next in order to collect his judgment. I decided to help him as I had some experience in these matters of Judgment collection, and Pav was really a sincere guy who loved America, so we proceeded to work together, and within a couple months had collected all the money from the Judgment debtor and we became trusted friends. All he could ever say about Russians is that they are all pigs for stealing his family and his country of origin, if I were a Russian today I would be very careful about messing with an army of Pav's

mac · Feb 9, 2014 - 2:17am

Gold to spike!

Ukraine will be gold's spur!!!

Mossad and Cia (Nato) ain't gonna pull this one off boys and girls.

How many wars can be paid for these days. Tens of millions of the american people starve, no problem, the military moves on, gets in the face of China now, and Russia, too, wow, insanity!

Hey, does the Pres BO have a valid birth certificate? No.

And there is nothing any of us can do about anything? MSM is owned (by whom, do you even know!), the blue and red team are a hoax, so it is totalitarian fascism. The "indespensible ones" are really "useless idiots" aka as Sheeple or Zombies

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