Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Goodbye 2013, Goodbye

As 2013 winds down and gives way to 2014, there is no commentary today. Instead, our sincerest wishes for a Happy and Prosperous New Year to all who come to this site today.

Thank you for visiting the blog throughout the year.  Thank you for your comments, your emails and sharing your thoughts.

Have a safe, memorable night and may 2014 find you all in good health.


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Monday, December 30, 2013

THE most important news story of 2013 - NSA regularly intercepts laptops/other electronic devices to implant malware. All iPhones now compromised too.

Way back on June 10th we had a post titled "The most important news story since Watergate."And as the year draws to a close we will update with two significant revelations from yesterday and today.

The very idea that a government organization has been collecting information for seven years on every phone call, domestic and international, that Americans make was long rumoured and dismissed as the ramblings of the tin foil hat crowd.

But it turns out it's all true.

The US National Security Agency has recorded and logged every phone call, every email, every internet post you have made and stored it. They have done this with the implicit support (and granted access by) organizations such as Facebook and Google.

What we are learning has come to us courtesy of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden (who should have been Time's Person of the Year)

Since then it has come out that the NSA has hacked the phones of world leaders.

Yesterday Germany's Spielgel magazine revealed stunning revelations which exposed the spy agency's 50 page catalog of "backdoor penetration techniques"
These NSA agents, who specialize in secret back doors, are able to keep an eye on all levels of our digital lives - from computing centers to individual computers, and from laptops to mobile phones. For nearly every lock, ANT seems to have a key in its toolbox. And no matter what walls companies erect, the NSA's specialists seem already to have gotten past them.
It gets better, because when simple penetration is not enough, the NSA adds "implants."
In cases where TAO's usual hacking and data-skimming methods don't suffice, ANT workers step in with their special tools, penetrating networking equipment, monitoring mobile phones and computers and diverting or even modifying data. Such "implants," as they are referred to in NSA parlance, have played a considerable role in the intelligence agency's ability to establish a global covert network that operates alongside the Internet.
And how are those "implants" added?

Der Spielgel reports that the NSA regularly intercepts shipments of laptops and other electronic devices in order to implant physical listening devices and install advanced malware. This process, called interdiction, can give authorities instant remote access to a subject’s computer without them being any the wiser.

Interdiction is undertaken by the NSA’s superhacker team known at Tailored Access Operations (TAO). It is not impossible to deliver malware to a target computer after the fact, but the risk is far lower if the surveillance tools can be installed before a device reaches the buyer.

TAO is reportedly able to divert a computer order from a computer manufacturer to its network of secret workshops where the modifications can be made before returning the packages to the shipping company.

But if that bombshell isn't significant enough, Jacob Applebaum (@ioerror) at the 30th Chaos Communication Congress, dropped another stunner today.

Applebaum outlined the complete and detailed description of how the NSA bugs, remotely, your iPhone.

The way the NSA accomplishes this is using software known as Dropout Jeep, which it describes as follows:
"DROPOUT JEEP is a software implant for the Apple iPhone that utilizes modular mission applications to provide specific SIGINT functionality. This functionality includes the ability to remotely push/pull files from the device. SMS retrieval, contact list retrieval, voicemail, geolocation, hot mic, camera capture, cell tower location, etc. Command, control and data exfiltration can occur over SMS messaging or a GPRS data connection. All communications with the implant will be covert and encrypted."
The most disturbing thing, as Applebaum notes, is:
"Do you think Apple helped them build that? I don't know. I hope Apple will clarify that. Here's the problem: I don't really believe that Apple didn't help them, I can't really prove it but [the NSA] literally claim that anytime they target an iOS device that it will succeed for implantation. Either they have a huge collection of exploits that work against Apple products, meaning that they are hoarding information about critical systems that American companies produce and sabotaging them, or Apple sabotaged it themselves. Not sure which one it is. I'd like to believe that since Apple didn't join the PRISM program until after Steve Jobs died, that maybe it's just that they write shitty software."
So has the NSA hacked all iPhones, or is Apple working with the NSA to by pass the need to hack and is directly installing malware on your phone? The disturbing revelations continue.

And we humbly predict the repercussions from Snowden's whistleblowing (particularly economic repercussions) will ripple across the coming decades in a more profound way than did the events of Watergate in 1974 or the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001.

If you follow on twitter, we will continue to re-tweet important developments on this topic.

To see youtube clips of Applebaum's full presentation, follow this link to the Zero Hedge post.


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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Realtor Carols?

The above was from Realtor Steve Missall. Next one comes from Realtor Patti Reid:

From Mike Pero Real Estate:

Realtor David Tubman:

Realtor Sue Eller:

From Karen Guy, REALTOR ~ Coldwell Banker Horizon Realty:

"Open House" (to the tune of Jingle Bells) again by Realtor Sue Eller:

And what holiday song collection would be complete without 'Carol of the Flippers':

Thankfully, the holiday season is almost over.


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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Media Manipulation

As we look back on the year that was, the dominant theme of 2013 has been media manipulation by the real estate industry.'

Leading the way was MAC Marketing Solutions, the condo marketing firm exposed for lying to and deceiving the public on TV.

But MAC was only the most visible example this year.  Media manipulation in the real estate industry  has been a source of contempt by the likes of this site and other excellent venues like Garth Turner's blog.

Fake mansions, paid individuals in condo line ups to create 'buzz', monthly 'Franken numbers', real estate agents posing as buyers, the list goes on and on.

But nothing is as particularly galling as the real estate press release regurgitated as news. 

Pundits, such as Garth Turner, regularly rail against a lazy and corrupt media who allow themselves to be used as pawns by a gleeful industry more than happy to feed them content.

Each month you can do scan of the nation's media and see a story regurgitated virtually word for word in publication after publication and news broadcast after news broadcast.

And it isn't just the case for real estate. It is the disease of our media today and it is so widespread it has become comical. Check out this example which Conan O'Brien couldn't help but lambast on a recent show:

Why write your own story when you can simply rehash the script from a press release dropped in front of you.  Conan calls it 'scary' and 'frightening', an understatement if we ever heard one. But this type of media manipulation currently shapes everything you read, hear and watch.


In the old days, we only had a few threats to fear when it came to media manipulation: the government propagandist and the hustling publicist. They were serious threats, but vigilance worked as a clear and simple defence They were the exceptions rather than the rule—they exploited the fact that the media was trusted and reliable.

The late Andrew Brietbart, a master media manipulator,  once said: “Feeding the media is like training a dog. You can’t throw an entire steak at a dog to train it to sit. You have to give it little bits of steak over and over again until it learns.”

And it's clear the major mainstream media has been well trained.

In our real estate focused country, that's what the real estate manipulator's have artfully achieved - they have trained the media. It's crucial to their business.

Thankfully there are bloggers like Turner, VREAA and the contributors to Vancouver Condo Info whose vigilance is omnipresent.

Today we salute you all.

(For a great holiday game, don't forget to check out: MAC Marketing's version of Where's Waldo")


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Friday, December 27, 2013

Boxing Day in China. What were they buying?

It's the day after  Boxing Day and last night's news was full of the craziness at the malls and shopping centres.  

While the North American consumer is rushing to spend what little savings they have left and grab that last deal from the local inventory-clearance bin on plastic Made in China trinkets or marked-down clothing, Chinese consumers are likewise scrambling to buy products.

Only, unlike in the North America, the object of China's affection is not some gizmo that will end up in the local landfill within 3-6 months. China News Network shows what it is.
Google Translated from Chinanews:
Gold price lower and lower end of the Christmas rush of people buying

Taiyuan a gold shop gold prices as low as 287 yuan / gram, people flocked buying gold jewelry. Western Christmas in China has gradually become the "Consumer Day", much of the gold market on this day after discounts, plus the price of gold hovering cheap Christmas discounts, and more gold has broken 300 yuan / gram mark.

With the recent stumble endlessly international gold prices, gold investment income in 2013 or will be achieved for the first time in 13 years is negative. As for 2014, the price of gold, most institutions are still bearish.

Publicly available data show that this year, gold prices fell more than 25%. The picture shows a gold shop in Taiyuan people flocked to buy.

(hat tip to Zero Hedge)


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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Happy Boxing Day

What is Boxing Day, and why do Canadians celebrate it?

Every year Boxing Day is a holiday, a post-Christmas recovery for some, a chance to self shop for gifts at massive discount pieces for others.

Observed annually on December 26 in Canada, the U.K. and Commonwealth countries around the world, Boxing Day was traditionally the day employers would give their staff Christmas presents, called "boxes," to celebrate the season. 
There's no exact definition of Boxing Day, though some tie it to British servants who helped their lords and ladies with Christmas dinner and literally took home boxes (and got a day off) the next day. Samuel Pepys noted the existence of such boxes in his diary in 1663.

In Canada, as well as the U.K. and Australia, December 26 is now better known as a day for scooping up shopping deals, similar to Black Friday in the U.S. Most stores open their doors early and discount prices on items ranging from clothing to technology to appliances. In recent years, some shops have started their sales even before Christmas has begun, hoping for more spending from customers.

In other countries, December 26 has taken on a different name. In Germany, Poland, Scandinavia and the Netherlands, it's known as Second Christmas Day, simply extending the holiday for an extra day. In Ireland, they celebrate St. Stephen's Day, or the Day of the Wren, participating in parades in masks and suits.
But in modern times the day after Christmas is now usually a statutory holiday and the concept of servants is all but gone. As a result, as the Huffington Post notes, we now often give those 'boxes' to ourselves.

What ever it is you are doing today, Happy Boxing Day.


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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas


Perhaps the happiest and most joyous times of your dutiful blogger's lives have come on Christmas morning/day.

Christmas Eve was a day of anticipation, last-minute preparations, or perhaps both.  But that always paled to the magic of Christmas Day!

It is a lifetime of memories that are renewed afresh each year when dragging out of ornaments (both antique and new) to turn a beautiful tree into a splendid one. Earlier this week wreaths were hung on doorways in memory of family traditions past.  We will awake today to repeat those traditions and create new memories.

Even if you don't celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday, it's such a festive time of year, a national holiday and a day of dinners with family and friends. Regardless of your beliefs and traditions, I hope you allow us to wish you the happiest of times and, if you will permit,  a very, Merry Christmas.

Thank you for making this blog a part of your daily rituals.

(For a great holiday game, don't forget to check out: MAC Marketing's version of Where's Waldo")


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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Twas the Night Before Christmas

To all who come to this blog today we wish for you the happiest of holidays. Thank you for dropping by to indulge our thoughts, our viewpoints, our ramblings.

Holiday cheer to all the realtors, bloggers, R/E watchers and interested parties in precious metals and economic policy.

We enjoy this blog and we enjoy the emails/comments you send and post. If you pop by today, take a moment to leave a comment. We would love to hear from you.

To those who so diligently send us links, thoughts and comments, it is greatly appreciated despite the fact we may not necessary respond personally to each one.

Happy Christmas to all... the best of the season to you and your families... and to all a good night.

"Trim every blessed needle on the blessed Christmas tree. Christmas comes tomorrow. Trim you, trim me."

(For a great holiday game, don't forget to check out: MAC Marketing's version of Where's Waldo")


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Monday, December 23, 2013

Mon Post #3: Adrian Salbuchi OP ED, "FED up? Hundred years of manipulating the US dollar"

A couple of quotes from an excellent Op Ed piece by Adrian Salbuchi, a political analyst, author, speaker and radio/TV commentator in Argentina. 

The article, marking the 100th anniversary of the creation of the US Federal Reserve, is titled: FED up? Hundred years of manipulating the US dollar
In a Public Broadcast System (PBS) interview on “News Hour” aired on September 18, 2007, US journalist Jim Lehrer had this Q&A session with former decades-long Fed Chairman (and JP Morgan bank officer) Alan Greenspan:

Jim Lehrer: “What is the proper relationship between a chairman of the Fed and a president of the United States?”

Alan Greenspan: “Well, first of all, the Federal Reserve is an independent agency, and that means, basically, that there is no other agency of government which can overrule actions that we take. So long as that is in place and there is no evidence that the administration or the Congress or anybody else is requesting that we do things other than what we think is the appropriate thing, then what the relationships are don’t frankly matter.”

Huh? If you’re a US citizen, you should re-read the above once or twice.
But don’t think that the FED’s global financial enslavement system is simply aimed outside the US; it kicked off a century ago by first silently enslaving the very people of the United States it is supposed to serve.

Here’s how that works: every time the US Government decides to put money into circulation – those 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 dollar bills we’re all so familiar with – instead of asking the government mint to print them at a penny’s cost in paper and ink, the government instead asks the private banksters at the Fed to print those bills for the Treasury, in exchange delivering to the Fed interest-bearing US Treasury Bills and Bonds, which translates into trillions of dollars’ in profits funneled to the private banking elite though the Fed.

It was all so well planned a hundred years ago, that just before the Federal Reserve Act was passed on December 23, 1913, they also maneuvered to close this parasitic circle, for if the US Government was to begin making gigantic interest payments to the Fed just for printing its own money, they first needed to have a revenue scheme in place to milk the American taxpayer: the Income Tax Act!
Not that you haven’t been warned. In 1923, Minnesota representative, Charles Lindbergh, father of the famous aviator, sent an early warning: “The financial system has been turned over to the Federal Reserve Board which administers the finance system by authority of a purely profiteering group. The system is private, conducted for the sole purpose of obtaining the greatest possible profits from the use of other people’s money.”
One final excerpt,
Even president John Kennedy understood this when he issued Executive Order No. 11110 on June 4, 1963, ordering the US Treasury to print zero-interest public money to the tune of 4.3 billion dollars, fully bypassing the Fed. But he too ran into some trouble in Dallas barely five months later on 22 November.

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Mon Post #2: 100 Anniversary of the US Federal Reserve and Income Tax

(Just a reminder, don't forget to check out: MAC Marketing's version of Where's Waldo")

December 23rd, 1913 is a date which will live in infamy. 

That was the day when the Federal Reserve Act was pushed through Congress. Many members of Congress were absent that day, and the general public was distracted with holiday preparations. 

Now we have reached the 100th anniversary of the Federal Reserve, and most Americans still don't know what it actually is or how it functions. 

But understanding the Federal Reserve is absolutely critical, because the Fed is at the very heart of our economic problems. Since the Federal Reserve was created, there have been 18 recessions or depressions, the value of the U.S. dollar has declined by 98 percent, and the U.S. national debt has gotten more than 5000 times larger. 

This insidious debt-based financial system has literally made debt slaves out of all of us, and it is systematically destroying the bright future that our children and our grandchildren were supposed to have. If nothing is done, we are inevitably heading for a massive amount of economic pain as a nation. 

The following are 100 reasons (courtesy of MND) as to why the Federal Reserve should be shut down forever…
  • #1 We like to think that we have a government "of the people, by the people, for the people", but the truth is that an unelected, unaccountable group of central planners has far more power over our economy than anyone else in our society does. 
  • #2 The Federal Reserve is actually "independent" of the government. In fact, the Federal Reserve has argued vehemently in federal court that it is "not an agency" of the federal government and therefore not subject to the Freedom of Information Act  
  •  #3The Federal Reserve openly admits that the 12 regional Federal Reserve banks are organized "much like private corporations".
  • #4 The regional Federal Reserve banks issue shares of stock to the "member banks" that own them.
  • #5 100% of the shareholders of the Federal Reserve are private banks. The U.S. government owns zero shares.
  • #6 The Federal Reserve is not an agency of the federal government, but it has been given power to regulate our banks and financial institutions. This should not be happening.
  • #7 According to Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, the U.S. Congress is the one that is supposed to have the authority to "coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures". So why is the Federal Reserve doing it?
  • #8 If you look at a "U.S. dollar", it actually says "Federal Reserve note" at the top. In the financial world, a "note" is an instrument of debt.
  • #9 In 1963, President John F. Kennedy issued Executive Order 11110 which authorized the U.S. Treasury to issue "United States notes" which were created by the U.S. government directly and not by the Federal Reserve. He was assassinated shortly thereafter.
  • #10 Many of the debt-free United States notes issued under President Kennedy are still in circulation today.
  • #11 The Federal Reserve determines what levels some of the most important interest rates in our system are going to be set at. In a free market system, the free market would determine those interest rates.
  • #12 The Federal Reserve has become so powerful that it is now known as "the fourth branch of government".
  • #13 The greatest period of economic growth in U.S. history was when there was no central bank.
  • #14 The Federal Reserve was designed to be a perpetual debt machine. The bankers that designed it intended to trap the U.S. government in a perpetual debt spiral from which it could never possibly escape. Since the Federal Reserve was established 100 years ago, the U.S. national debt has gotten more than 5000 times larger.
  • #15 A permanent federal income tax was established the exact same year that the Federal Reserve was created. This was not a coincidence. In order to pay for all of the government debt that the Federal Reserve would create, a federal income tax was necessary. The whole idea was to transfer wealth from our pockets to the federal government and from the federal government to the bankers.
  • #16 The period prior to 1913 (when there was no income tax) was the greatest period of economic growth in U.S. history.
  • #17 Today, the U.S. tax code is about 13 miles long.
  • #18 From the time that the Federal Reserve was created until now, the U.S. dollar has lost 98 percent of its value.
  • #19 From the time that President Nixon took us off the gold standard until now, the U.S. dollar has lost 83 percent of its value.
  • #20 During the 100 years before the Federal Reserve was created, the U.S. economy rarely had any problems with inflation. But since the Federal Reserve was established, the U.S. economy has experienced constant and never ending inflation.
  • #21 In the century before the Federal Reserve was created, the average annual rate of inflation was about half a percent. In the century since the Federal Reserve was created, the average annual rate of inflation has been about 3.5 percent.
  • #22 The Federal Reserve has stripped the middle class of trillions of dollars of wealth through the hidden tax of inflation.
  • #23 The size of M1 has nearly doubled since 2008 thanks to the reckless money printing that the Federal Reserve has been doing.
  • #24 The Federal Reserve has been starting to behave like the Weimar Republic, and we all remember how that ended.
  • #25 The Federal Reserve has been consistently lying to us about the level of inflation in our economy. If the inflation rate was still calculated the same way that it was back when Jimmy Carter was president, the official rate of inflation would be somewhere between 8 and 10 percent today.
  • #26 Since the Federal Reserve was created, there have been 18 distinct recessions or depressions: 1918, 1920, 1923, 1926, 1929, 1937, 1945, 1949, 1953, 1958, 1960, 1969, 1973, 1980, 1981, 1990, 2001, 2008.
  • #27 Within 20 years of the creation of the Federal Reserve, the U.S. economy was plunged into the Great Depression.
  • #28 The Federal Reserve created the conditions that caused the stock market crash of 1929, and even Ben Bernanke admits that the response by the Fed to that crisis made the Great Depression even worse than it should have been.
  • #29 The "easy money" policies of former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan set the stage for the great financial crisis of 2008.
  • #30 Without the Federal Reserve, the "subprime mortgage meltdown" would probably never have happened.
  • #31 If you can believe it, there have been 10 different economic recessions since 1950. The Federal Reserve created the "dotcom bubble", the Federal Reserve created the "housing bubble" and now it has created the largest bond bubble in the history of the planet.
  • #32 According to an official government report, the Federal Reserve made 16.1 trillion dollars in secret loans to the big banks during the last financial crisis. The following is a list of loan recipients that was taken directly from page 131 of the report...
Citigroup - $2.513 trillion
Morgan Stanley - $2.041 trillion
Merrill Lynch - $1.949 trillion
Bank of America - $1.344 trillion
Barclays PLC - $868 billion
Bear Sterns - $853 billion
Goldman Sachs - $814 billion
Royal Bank of Scotland - $541 billion
JP Morgan Chase - $391 billion
Deutsche Bank - $354 billion
UBS - $287 billion
Credit Suisse - $262 billion
Lehman Brothers - $183 billion
Bank of Scotland - $181 billion
BNP Paribas - $175 billion
Wells Fargo - $159 billion
Dexia - $159 billion
Wachovia - $142 billion
Dresdner Bank - $135 billion
Societe Generale - $124 billion
"All Other Borrowers" - $2.639 trillion
  • #33 The Federal Reserve also paid those big banks $659.4 million in "fees" to help "administer" those secret loans.
  • #34 During the last financial crisis, big European banks were allowed to borrow an "unlimited" amount of money from the Federal Reserve at ultra-low interest rates.
  • #35 The "easy money" policies of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke have created the largest financial bubble this nation has ever seen, and this has set the stage for the great financial crisis that we are rapidly approaching.
  • #36 Since late 2008, the size of the Federal Reserve balance sheet has grown from less than a trillion dollars to more than 4 trillion dollars. This is complete and utter insanity.
  • #37 During the quantitative easing era, the value of the financial securities that the Fed has accumulated is greater than the total amount of publicly held debt that the U.S. government accumulated from the presidency of George Washington through the end of the presidency of Bill Clinton.
  • #38 Overall, the Federal Reserve now holds more than 32 percent of all 10 year equivalents, and that percentage is rising by about 0.3 percent each week.
  • #39 Quantitative easing creates financial bubbles, and when quantitative easing ends those bubbles tend to deflate rapidly.
  • #40 Most of the new money created by quantitative easing has ended up in the hands of the very wealthy.
  • #41 According to a prominent Federal Reserve insider, quantitative easing has been one giant "subsidy" for Wall Street banks.
  • #42 As one CNBC article recently stated, we are seeing absolutely rampant inflation in "stocks and bonds and art and Ferraris".
  • #43 Donald Trump once made the following statement about quantitative easing: "People like me will benefit from this."
  • #44 Most people have never heard about this, but a very interesting study conducted for the Bank of England shows that quantitative easing actually increases the gap between the wealthy and the poor.
  • #45 The gap between the top one percent and the rest of the country is now the greatest that it has been since the 1920s.
  • #46 The mainstream media has sold quantitative easing to the American public as an "economic stimulus program", but the truth is that the percentage of Americans that have a job has actually gone down since quantitative easing first began.
  • #47 The Federal Reserve is supposed to be able to guide the nation toward "full employment", but the reality of the matter is that an all-time record 102 million working age Americans do not have a job right now. That number has risen by about 27 million since the year 2000.
  • #48 For years, the projections of economic growth by the Federal Reserve have consistently overstated the strength of the U.S. economy. But every single time, the mainstream media continues to report that these numbers are "reliable" even though all they actually represent is wishful thinking.
  • #49 The Federal Reserve system fuels the growth of government, and the growth of government fuels the growth of the Federal Reserve system. Since 1970, federal spending has grown nearly 12 times as rapidly as median household income has.
  • #50 The Federal Reserve is supposed to look out for the health of all U.S. banks, but the truth is that they only seem to be concerned about the big ones. In 1985, there were more than 18,000 banks in the United States. Today, there are only 6,891 left.
  • #51 The six largest banks in the United States (JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley) have collectively gotten 37 percent larger over the past five years.
  • #52 The U.S. banking system has 14.4 trillion dollars in total assets. The six largest banks now account for 67 percent of those assets and all of the other banks account for only 33 percent of those assets.
  • #53 The five largest banks now account for 42 percent of all loans in the United States.
  • #54 We were told that the purpose of quantitative easing is to help "stimulate the economy", but today the Federal Reserve is actually paying the big banks not to lend out 1.8 trillion dollars in "excess reserves" that they have parked at the Fed.
  • #55 The Federal Reserve has allowed an absolutely gigantic derivatives bubble to inflate which could destroy our financial system at any moment. Right now, four of the "too big to fail" banks each have total exposure to derivatives that is well in excess of 40 trillion dollars.
  • #56 The total exposure that Goldman Sachs has to derivatives contracts is more than 381 times greater than their total assets.
  • #57 Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has a track record of failure that would make the Chicago Cubs look good.
  • #58 The secret November 1910 gathering at Jekyll Island, Georgia during which the plan for the Federal Reserve was hatched was attended by U.S. Senator Nelson W. Aldrich, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Department A.P. Andrews and a whole host of representatives from the upper crust of the Wall Street banking establishment.
  • #59 The Federal Reserve was created by the big Wall Street banks and for the benefit of the big Wall Street banks.
  • #60 In 1913, Congress was promised that if the Federal Reserve Act was passed that it would eliminate the business cycle.
  • #61 There has never been a true comprehensive audit of the Federal Reserve since it was created back in 1913.
  • #62 The Federal Reserve system has been described as "the biggest Ponzi scheme in the history of the world".
  • #63 The following comes directly from the Fed's official mission statement: "To provide the nation with a safer, more flexible, and more stable monetary and financial system." Without a doubt, the Federal Reserve has failed in those tasks dramatically.
  • #64 The Fed decides what the target rate of inflation should be, what the target rate of unemployment should be and what the size of the money supply is going to be. This is quite similar to the "central planning" that goes on in communist nations, but very few people in our government seem upset by this.
  • #65 A couple of years ago, Federal Reserve officials walked into one bank in Oklahoma and demanded that they take down all the Bible verses and all the Christmas buttons that the bank had been displaying.
  • #66 The Federal Reserve has taken some other very frightening steps in recent years. For example, back in 2011 the Federal Reserve announced plans to identify "key bloggers" and to monitor "billions of conversations" about the Fed on Facebook, Twitter, forums and blogs. Someone at the Fed will almost certainly end up reading this article.
  • #67 Thanks to this endless debt spiral that we are trapped in, a massive amount of money is transferred out of our pockets and into the pockets of the ultra-wealthy each year. Incredibly, the U.S. government spent more than 415 billion dollars just on interest on the national debt in 2013.
  • #68 In September, the average rate of interest on the government’s marketable debt was 1.981 percent. In January 2000, the average rate of interest on the government’s marketable debt was 6.620 percent. If we got back to that level today, we would be paying more than a trillion dollars a year just in interest on the national debt and it would collapse our entire financial system.
  • #69 The American people are being killed by compound interest but most of them don't even understand what it is. Albert Einstein once made the following statement about compound interest… "Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it … he who doesn’t … pays it."
  • #70 Most Americans have absolutely no idea where money comes from. The truth is that the Federal Reserve just creates it out of thin air. The following is how I have previously described how money is normally created by the Fed in our system… When the U.S. government decides that it wants to spend another billion dollars that it does not have, it does not print up a billion dollars. Rather, the U.S. government creates a bunch of U.S. Treasury bonds (debt) and takes them over to the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve creates a billion dollars out of thin air and exchanges them for the U.S. Treasury bonds.
  • #71 What does the Federal Reserve do with those U.S. Treasury bonds? They end up getting auctioned off to the highest bidder. But this entire process actually creates more debt than it does money… The U.S. Treasury bonds that the Federal Reserve receives in exchange for the money it has created out of nothing are auctioned off through the Federal Reserve system. But wait. There is a problem. Because the U.S. government must pay interest on the Treasury bonds, the amount of debt that has been created by this transaction is greater than the amount of money that has been created. So where will the U.S. government get the money to pay that debt? Well, the theory is that we can get money to circulate through the economy really, really fast and tax it at a high enough rate that the government will be able to collect enough taxes to pay the debt. But that never actually happens, does it? And the creators of the Federal Reserve understood this as well. They understood that the U.S. government would not have enough money to both run the government and service the national debt. They knew that the U.S. government would have to keep borrowing even more money in an attempt to keep up with the game.
  • #72 Of course the U.S. government could actually create money and spend it directly into the economy without the Federal Reserve being involved at all. But then we wouldn't be 17 trillion dollars in debt and that wouldn't serve the interests of the bankers at all.
  • #73 The following is what Thomas Edison once had to say about our absolutely insane debt-based financial system… That is to say, under the old way any time we wish to add to the national wealth we are compelled to add to the national debt. Now, that is what Henry Ford wants to prevent. He thinks it is stupid, and so do I, that for the loan of $30,000,000 of their own money the people of the United States should be compelled to pay $66,000,000 — that is what it amounts to, with interest. People who will not turn a shovelful of dirt nor contribute a pound of material will collect more money from the United States than will the people who supply the material and do the work. That is the terrible thing about interest. In all our great bond issues the interest is always greater than the principal. All of the great public works cost more than twice the actual cost, on that account. Under the present system of doing business we simply add 120 to 150 per cent, to the stated cost. But here is the point: If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill. The element that makes the bond good makes the bill good.
  • #74 The United States now has the largest national debt in the history of the world, and we are stealing more than 100 million dollars from our children and our grandchildren every single hour of every single day in a desperate attempt to keep the debt spiral going.
  • #75 Thomas Jefferson once stated that if he could add just one more amendment to the U.S. Constitution it would be a ban on all government borrowing…. I wish it were possible to obtain a single amendment to our Constitution. I would be willing to depend on that alone for the reduction of the administration of our government to the genuine principles of its Constitution; I mean an additional article, taking from the federal government the power of borrowing.
  • #76 At this moment, the U.S. national debt is sitting at $17,251,528,475,994.19. If we had followed the advice of Thomas Jefferson, it would be sitting at zero.
  • #77 When the Federal Reserve was first established, the U.S. national debt was sitting at about 2.9 billion dollars. On average, we have been adding more than that to the national debt every single day since Obama has been in the White House.
  • #78 We are on pace to accumulate more new debt under the 8 years of the Obama administration than we did under all of the other presidents in all of U.S. history combined.
  • #79 If all of the new debt that has been accumulated since John Boehner became Speaker of the House had been given directly to the American people instead, every household in America would have been able to buy a new truck.
  • #80 Between 2008 and 2012, U.S. government debt grew by 60.7 percent, but U.S. GDP only grew by a total of about 8.5 percent during that entire time period.
  • #81 Since 2007, the U.S. debt to GDP ratio has increased from 66.6 percent to 101.6 percent.
  • #82 According to the U.S. Treasury, foreigners hold approximately 5.6 trillion dollars of our debt.
  • #83 The amount of U.S. government debt held by foreigners is about 5 times larger than it was just a decade ago.
  • #84 As I have written about previously, if the U.S. national debt was reduced to a stack of one dollar bills it would circle the earth at the equator 45 times.
  • #85 If Bill Gates gave every single penny of his entire fortune to the U.S. government, it would only cover the U.S. budget deficit for 15 days.
  • #86 Sometimes we forget just how much money a trillion dollars is. If you were alive when Jesus Christ was born and you spent one million dollars every single day since that point, you still would not have spent one trillion dollars by now.
  • #87 If right this moment you went out and started spending one dollar every single second, it would take you more than 31,000 years to spend one trillion dollars.
  • #88 In addition to all of our debt, the U.S. government has also accumulated more than 200 trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities. So where in the world will all of that money come from?
  • #89 The greatest damage that quantitative easing has been causing to our economy is the fact that it is destroying worldwide faith in the U.S. dollar and in U.S. debt. If the rest of the world stops using our dollars and stops buying our debt, we are going to be in a massive amount of trouble.
  • #90 Over the past several years, the Federal Reserve has been monetizing a staggering amount of U.S. government debt even though Ben Bernanke once promised that he would never do this.
  • #91 China recently announced that they are going to quit stockpiling more U.S. dollars. If the Federal Reserve was not recklessly printing money, this would probably not have happened.
  • #92 Most Americans have no idea that one of our most famous presidents was absolutely obsessed with getting rid of central banking in the United States. The following is a February 1834 quote by President Andrew Jackson about the evils of central banking…. I too have been a close observer of the doings of the Bank of the United States. I have had men watching you for a long time, and am convinced that you have used the funds of the bank to speculate in the breadstuffs of the country. When you won, you divided the profits amongst you, and when you lost, you charged it to the Bank. You tell me that if I take the deposits from the Bank and annul its charter I shall ruin ten thousand families. That may be true, gentlemen, but that is your sin! Should I let you go on, you will ruin fifty thousand families, and that would be my sin! You are a den of vipers and thieves. I have determined to rout you out and, by the Eternal, (bringing his fist down on the table) I will rout you out.
  • #93 There are plenty of possible alternative financial systems, but at this point all 187 nations that belong to the IMF have a central bank. Are we supposed to believe that this is just some sort of a bizarre coincidence.
  • #94 The capstone of the global central banking system is an organization known as the Bank for International Settlements. The following is how I described this organization in a previous article… An immensely powerful international organization that most people have never even heard of secretly controls the money supply of the entire globe. It is called the Bank for International Settlements, and it is the central bank of central banks. It is located in Basel, Switzerland, but it also has branches in Hong Kong and Mexico City. It is essentially an unelected, unaccountable central bank of the world that has complete immunity from taxation and from national laws. Even Wikipedia admits that "it is not accountable to any single national government." The Bank for International Settlements was used to launder money for the Nazis during World War II, but these days the main purpose of the BIS is to guide and direct the centrally-planned global financial system. Today, 58 global central banks belong to the BIS, and it has far more power over how the U.S. economy (or any other economy for that matter) will perform over the course of the next year than any politician does. Every two months, the central bankers of the world gather in Basel for another "Global Economy Meeting". During those meetings, decisions are made which affect every man, woman and child on the planet, and yet none of us have any say in what goes on. The Bank for International Settlements is an organization that was founded by the global elite and it operates for the benefit of the global elite, and it is intended to be one of the key cornerstones of the emerging one world economic system.
  • #95 The borrower is the servant of the lender, and the Federal Reserve has turned all of us into debt slaves.
  • #96 Debt is a form of social control, and the global elite use all of this debt to dominate all the rest of us. 40 years ago, the total amount of debt in our system (all government debt, all business debt, all consumer debt, etc.) was sitting at about 2 trillion dollars. Today, the grand total exceeds 56 trillion dollars.
  • #97 Unless something dramatic is done, our children and our grandchildren will be debt slaves for their entire lives as they service our debts and pay for our mistakes.
  • #98 Now that you know this information, you are responsible for doing something about it.
  • #99 Congress has the power to shut down the Federal Reserve any time that they would like. But right now most of our politicians fully endorse the current system, and nothing is ever going to happen until the American people start demanding change.
  • #100 The design of the Federal Reserve system was flawed from the very beginning. If something is not done very rapidly, it is inevitable that our entire financial system is going to suffer an absolutely nightmarish collapse.
Finally, an animated explanation of the US Federal Reserve and why today's date is significant.


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Mon Post #1: A Festivus for the Restivus

Ahh the rush of the holidays.  A couple of posts for you today, but we start with a whimsical one. Did you know today is Festivus?

Festivus is a well-celebrated Seinfeld parody that has become a secular holiday celebrated on December 23. It serves as an alternative to participating in the pressures and commercialism of the Christmas holiday season.

Originally a family tradition of scriptwriter Dan O'Keefe working on the American sitcom Seinfeld, the holiday entered popular culture after it was made the focus of a 1997 episode of the program.

The holiday's celebration, as it was shown on Seinfeld, includes a Festivus dinner, an unadorned aluminum "Festivus pole," practices such as the "Airing of Grievances" and "Feats of Strength," and the labeling of easily explainable events as "Festivus miracles."

The episode refers to it as "a Festivus for the rest of us", referencing its non-commercial aspect. It has also been described as a "parody holiday festival" and as a form of playful consumer resistance.

Some atheists advocate Festivus because of its lack of religious significance, and have joined other people in erecting "festivus poles" alongside public diys of the crèche of Christmas and the menorah of Hanukkah.

Let the airing of grievances begin.

Happy Festivus everyone!

(Don't forget to check out: MAC Marketing's version of Where's Waldo")


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Saturday, December 21, 2013

MAC Marketing's version of 'Where's Waldo'?

Remember the MAC Marketing crossword puzzle? We made a post about it back on June 11th, 2013.

Hilarity ensued over in the comments section of one of Vancouver's leading real estate chat sites when Vancouver Condo Info advised that the infamous MAC Marketing Solutions (you remember them... the condo marketing firm exposed for lying to and deceiving the public on TV) had come out with a Vancouver real estate-themed crossword puzzle contest to celebrate their 50th contributing article to the publication New Condo Guide.

The post generated a slew of responses on VCI, most making suggestions for MAC about potential crossword clues and answers:

One VCI contributor even crafted his own version of the crossword.

Well now MAC Marketing seems to have another game for us to play. MAC's 2013 holiday greeting is out and it not only reminds us of their summer time crossword puzzle, but also of the famous  "Where's Waldo" puzzles. 

Simply add numbers to this gallery of MAC personalities and we can play "where are the 2013 MAC scandal employees." 

(click on image to enlarge):

In case you have forgotten who those employees are, let's recap. First there is the infamous 'Chris Lee'.

Chris is fake name for the MAC Marketing sales assistant who, along with MAC administrative assistant Amanda Lee, presented themselves as house-hunting sisters to CBC-TV and CTV-BC.  Here is a screenshot of 'Chris' from the CBC story:

After the scandal we noted she was still working for MAC. Can you spot her in the MAC holiday greeting?

Next there is Amanda Lee:

Here is a CTV screenshot of Amanda next to one of Amanda Lee's Facebook photos (which initially caused us to question the whole deception): 

'Chris' and Amanda claimed they are primary scouting for a condo in advance of their parents arrival from China for the Lunar New Year.  Supposedly their parents were coming to help them purchase a condo.

Once exposed, CTV pulled no punches in capturing the essence of their story in one shot:

In addition to Chris and Amanda, there was also the older blonde MAC sales rep who quarterbacked the fake condo buying sisters through the Maddox sales centre for the TV deception. Here is a screenshot from the CBC story:

Is she in the MAC holiday greeting?

Let's not forget the MAC sales director who possibly set up the photo shoot, Melanie Briggs. CBC-TV reporter Matthew Black advises Briggs was supposed to be in attendance at the media spot but was a no-show. Was she involved in the pre-planning of this deception?

For bonus points you can hunt for Janet Frost, MAC Marketing's Director of Sales. In an unrelated episode, Frost was suspended for 21 days by the RECBC for misconduct while associated with Maverick Real Estate (see this post and this post).

You could also check to see if Sharon Matsumoto is there. Ms. Matsumoto was the subject of an April 15th, 2013 RECBC disciplinary decisionWe posted about the decision and the fact that google showed numerous links between Ms. Matsumoto and MAC Marketing. Presumably she isn't currently with MAC, but who knows for sure?

Last, but not least, there is MAC Marketing President Cameron MacNeill:

In the Vancouver Sun McNeill stated:
“I don’t know all the details about what precisely happened that day. I want to get to the bottom of this. I don’t know if it was an overzealous employee or if this happened in a formalized way.”
All-in-all it looks like great holiday fun as you hunt for these seven leading 2013 MAC Marketing personalities. How many could you 'find'?

Hopefully 2014 will bring some results on the RECBC investigation into the scandal and we can find out answers to the questions McNeill himself asked. Because we're sure if all this happened in a formalized' way, condo buyers would want to know… especially if the employees involved in any 'formalized' deception are still active in selling real estate.

For those who may have missed it, here is the CBC coverage of the scandal:

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Bank of Canada Governor Poloz continues to insist housing will have 'soft landing'

A portion of an interview between Bloomberg News and Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz on December 18th, 2013.

Right from the first question about the housing bubble you have to raise your eyebrows as the reporter begins with the premise that Canada is "immune" to a bubble. The hubris is palpable:
Q: Other economies have seen housing crashes. Canada’s home prices seem overvalued. What makes Canada immune to a bubble?

A: “First of all, puffing up the household sector, and therefore housing and cars and stuff, that was exactly one of the consequences of the easy monetary policy.”

“When you had exports actually caved in, and the only way to fill that in was to cut rates and see who would do the spending. The household sector did the spending, they did the borrowing. So they did the heavy lifting and that made a milder recession. So usually, a year or two later, you’re done. You don’t get the accumulated side effects. Here, we’re going into our fifth year and the accumulated side effects are starting to get bigger, and that is, gradually, more and more house-buying and indebtedness, and the risk that prices have gone above their fundamentals somehow. I won’t get into a debate about how much that might be, because there’s a lot of different methods to do that. It’s a very hard thing to do.”

“But the important point is that that’s a natural consequence; we were aware of it all along. And secondly, that it went very gradually. A bubble usually doesn’t look like that. If you look at those charts that people look at, the level sounds like a big number. However, it’s been going up gradually for six years in a row. Usually, when you have a bubble, it looks like the left-hand side of an Eiffel Tower. It goes up really fast, and then you can predict, well, that bubble’s going to break, you’re going to get the right-hand side of the Eiffel Tower. If you go back to 1986, 87, 88, 89, that’s what you saw. So there’s a big difference in level versus the dynamic, I think.”

So can this thing have a soft landing? Yeah, all it has to do is gradually wind down in the opposite way through judicious monetary policy and continued growth and the fundamentals keep improving.”

Q: Are you talking about house prices or debt levels?

A: “All of those things. Those are the things we look at to ask are the household imbalances becoming too extreme. The house-price chart, relative to rent or relative to income, they’ve just gone up very, very gradually over the last six years. So soft landing is your best bet from that kind of situation. That’s historically the way it looks.”

Q: But the debt-income level is still rising. Doesn’t it need to decline at some point?

A: “Or flatten, would be the more likely scenario. And that could come from increased growth in the economy and therefore incomes. It’s probably the most likely way it would come. It doesn’t need the numerator to do the correcting.”

“We have significant slowing in both the regular credit and overall housing spending until we got late in the summer and people took advantage of low rates and said we better get in there. We believe that’s a pulling-forward, takes two or three months for us to make sure that’s true. The question you raise is a perfectly valid one, but we don’t have enough data today to make a judgment. We just won’t extrapolate it. We look to our structure, and talk to people, and what are banks seeing, etc., and we’re pretty comfortable with our soft-landing belief.”

Q: Will you be the Governor responsible for the longest pause in interest rates since the 1940s?

A: “We had never seen conditions like we faced in 2008-09. We had never seen that before. The bubble-crater story, the closest thing we’ve got to compare is the 1930s. And I’ll argue that policy making was far smarter this time around than they were in the 1930s. Good for all of us. Coordinated, other countries doing it, everybody’s doing it. And so that buffered the downside, and it could have been much worse. People lose sight of that every day. It’s been enough years that people think, why haven’t you done something more? Well, we still have that pull from that crater underneath us. We point to those things where natural growth so far has failed us. Growth is all-induced growth. That’s policy doing that for us. Let’s not forget that. As we see those animal spirits becoming more normalized, then we’ll be able to withdraw that and we’ll be happy again.”

“I can’t make a statement around what you said. It’ll take whatever it takes. We’re not going to do something silly here just because it’s been a long time. We’ve got a job to do. We’re going to do what we can to make sure that inflation gets back to normal, the economy gets back to normal, and young folks get their first jobs, whatever. There are soft spots in the economy, even though we’ve had a better experience than many other countries, it’s not ideal.”
All it (the non-existent bubble) has to do is gradually wind down in the opposite way through judicious monetary policy and continued growth and the fundamentals keep improving.

Easy Peasy, eh?.


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