Government’s sleight of hand trick: LOST Truth, Trust, Honor, and Responsibility

1 Institutional Crime

Here’s how the House’s touted “unanimity” was achieved:
Under a parliamentary motion termed “unanimous consent,” legislative rules can be suspended and any bill can be called up. If any member of Congress objects, the motion is blocked and the bill dies.
[…]
Most of the House and the media had emptied out of the chambers after passage of the $1.1 trillion government spending package.

The Congressional Record will show only three of 425 members were present on the floor to consider the sanctions bill. Two of the three feigned objection, creating the legislative equivalent of a ‘time out.’ They entered a few words of support, withdrew their “objections” and the clock resumed.
According to the clerk’s records, once the bill was considered under unanimous consent, it was passed, at 10:23:55 p.m., without objection, in one recorded, time-stamped second, unanimously.

[Fraud, Extortion, Coercion, Dirty politics and many other forms of deception and tricks to further an agenda is what institutional governance is.
Even if the other 422 Representatives were present another method would have been successful later on.
This amounts to merely giving a plausible excuse to individual members. ~Ron]

Kucinich: Three Members of Congress Just Reignited the Cold War While No One Was Looking

 In its dealings with the European Union, Ukraine could not even get concessions for its citizens to find work throughout Europe. The West does not care about Ukraine, or its people, except for using them to seize a strategic advantage against Russia in the geopolitical game of nations.

By Dennis Kucinich  truthdig.com  December 16, 2014


We’ve superimposed the congressional record on top of a photo of the chamber of the House of Representatives. It shows H.R. 5859 passing by unanimous consent in the span of one second. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Late Thursday night, the House of Representatives unanimously passed a far-reaching Russia sanctions bill, a hydra-headed incubator of poisonous conflict. The second provocative anti-Russian legislation in a week, it further polarizes our relations with Russia, helping to cement a Russia-China alliance against Western hegemony, and undermines long-term America’s financial and physical security by handing the national treasury over to war profiteers.
Here’s how the House’s touted “unanimity” was achieved: Under a parliamentary motion termed “unanimous consent,” legislative rules can be suspended and any bill can be called up. If any member of Congress objects, the motion is blocked and the bill dies.

At 10:23:54 p.m. on Thursday, a member rose to ask “unanimous consent” for four committees to be relieved of a Russia sanctions bill. At this point the motion, and the legislation, could have been blocked by a single member who would say “I object.”  No one objected, because no one was watching for last-minute bills to be slipped through.

Most of the House and the media had emptied out of the chambers after passage of the $1.1 trillion government spending package.

The Congressional Record will show only three of 425 members were present on the floor to consider the sanctions bill. Two of the three feigned objection, creating the legislative equivalent of a ‘time out.’ They entered a few words of support, withdrew their “objections” and the clock resumed.

According to the clerk’s records, once the bill was considered under unanimous consent, it was passed, at 10:23:55 p.m., without objection, in one recorded, time-stamped second, unanimously.

Then the House adjourned. I discovered, in my 16 years in Congress, that many members seldom read the legislation on which they vote. On Oct. 24, 2001, House committees spent long hours debating the Patriot Act. At the last minute, the old bill was swapped out for a version with draconian provisions. I voted against that version of the Patriot Act, because I read it. The legislative process requires attention.

Legislation brought before Congress under “unanimous consent” is not read by most members simply because copies of the bill are generally not available. During the closing sessions of Congress I would often camp out in the House chamber, near the clerk’s desk, prepared to say “I object” when something of consequence appeared out of the blue. Dec. 11, 2014, is one of the few times I regret not being in Congress to have the ability to oversee the process.

The Russia Sanctions bill that passed “unanimously,” with no scheduled debate, at 10:23:55 p.m. on Dec. 11, 2014, includes:
1. Sanctions of Russia’s energy industry, including Rosoboronexport and Gazprom.

2. Sanctions of Russia’s defense industry, with respect to arms sales to Syria.

3. Broad sanctions on Russians’ banking and investments.

4. Provisions for privatization of Ukrainian infrastructure, electricity, oil, gas and renewables, with the help of the World Bank and USAID.

5. Fifty million dollars to assist in a corporate takeover of Ukraine’s oil and gas sectors.

6. Three hundred and fifty million dollars for military assistance to Ukraine, including anti-tank, anti-armor, optical, and guidance and control equipment, as well as drones.

7. Thirty million dollars for an intensive radio, television and Internet propaganda campaign throughout the countries of the former Soviet Union.

8. Twenty million dollars for “democratic organizing” in Ukraine.

9. Sixty million dollars, spent through groups like the National Endowment for Democracy, “to improve democratic governance, and transparency, accountability [and] rule of law” in Russia. What brilliant hyperbole to pass such a provision the same week the Senate’s CIA torture report was released.

10. An unverified declaration that Russia has violated the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, is a nuclear “threat to the United States” and should be held “accountable.”

11. A path for the U.S. withdrawal from the INF Treaty, which went into force in 1988. The implications of this are immense. An entire series of arms agreements are at risk of unraveling. It may not be long before NATO pushes its newest client state, Ukraine, to abrogate the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which Ukraine signed when it gave up its nuclear weapons, and establish a renewed nuclear missile capability, 300 miles from Moscow.

12. A demand that Russia verifiably dismantle “any ground launched cruise missiles or ballistic missiles with a range of between 500 and 5,500 kilometers …”—i.e., 300 and 3,300 miles.

Read the legislation, which Congress apparently didn’t.

As reported on GlobalSecurity.org, earlier that same day in Kiev, the Ukrainian parliament approved a security plan that will:

1. Declare that Ukraine should become a “military state.”

2. Reallocate more of its approved 2014 budget for military purposes.

3. Put all military operating units on alert.

4. Mobilize military and national guard units.

5. Increase military spending in Ukraine from 1 percent of GDP to 5 percent, increasing military spending by $3 billion over the next few years.

6. Join NATO and switch to NATO military standards.

Under the guise of democratizing, the West stripped Ukraine of its sovereignty with a U.S.-backed coup, employed it as a foil to advance NATO to the Russian border and reignited the Cold War, complete with another nuclear showdown.

The people of Ukraine will be less free, as their country becomes a “military state,” goes into hock to international banks, faces structural readjustments, privatization of its public assets, decline of social services, higher prices and an even more severe decline in its standard of living.

In its dealings with the European Union, Ukraine could not even get concessions for its citizens to find work throughout Europe. The West does not care about Ukraine, or its people, except for using them to seize a strategic advantage against Russia in the geopolitical game of nations.

Once, with the help of the West, Ukraine fully weighs in as a “military state” and joins the NATO gun club, its annual defense budget will be around $3 billion, compared with the current defense budget of Russia, which is over $70 billion.

Each Western incitement creates a Russian response, which is then given as further proof that the West must prepare for the very conflict it has created, war as a self-fulfilling prophecy.

That the recent Russia sanctions bill was advanced, “unanimously,” without debate in the House, portends that our nation is sleepwalking through the graveyards of history, toward an abyss where controlling factors reside in the realm of chance, what Thomas Hardy termed “crass casualty.” Such are the perils of unanimity.

Via: riseuptimes.org

http://houselive.gov/MediaPlayer.php?clip_id=11016&view_id=2&embed=1&player_width=320&player_height=240&entrytime=0&stoptime=0&auto_start=0

Click http://houselive.gov/MediaPlayer.php?clip_id=11016&view_id=2&embed=1&player_width=320&player_height=240&entrytime=0&stoptime=0&auto_start=0” target=”_blank”> to watch the video.
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3 comments on “Government’s sleight of hand trick: LOST Truth, Trust, Honor, and Responsibility
  1. RonMamita says:

    Obama to Sign More Sanctions on Russia

    Jason Furman

    President Barack Obama intends to sign a bill that would hammer even new sanctions on Russia and provide weapons to Ukraine. The legislation would impose sanctions on Russian defense companies tied to unrest in Ukraine. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Obama “does intend to sign” the bill despite some concerns about the legislation. Separately, Jason Furman, chairman of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, told reporters Russia’s economic problems are of its “own making” but downplayed their effect on the U.S. economy. Clearly, Furman is unfamiliar with international economics for he cannot see that this is a worldwide crash in emerging markets.

    The Pimco fund for emerging markets held Russian government and corporate bonds in the amount of 800 million US dollars. The fund has lost nine percent of its value on the last Monday alone. The sanctions against Russia have impacted almost every sector including manufacture and agriculture.

    Even in Europe, the Russian Crisis is hitting European companies in all industries. The petroleum giant BP and Even BP-rival Royal Dutch Shell are involved in Russian projects. Then there were a European companies manufacturing cloths and leather jackets for the Russian market that have had the rug pulled out from beneath them first with the sanctions and now with the collapse in the ruble. European famers have been wiped out by the Russian sanctions.

  2. RonMamita says:

    Russian Roulette: Taxpayers Could Be on the Hook for Trillions in Oil Derivatives

    The sudden dramatic collapse in the price of oil appears to be an act of geopolitical warfare against Russia. The result could be trillions of dollars in oil derivative losses; and the FDIC could be liable, following repeal of key portions of the Dodd-Frank Act last weekend.

    Senator Elizabeth Warren charged Citigroup last week with “holding government funding hostage to ram through its government bailout provision.” At issue was a section in the omnibus budget bill repealing the Lincoln Amendment to the Dodd-Frank Act, which protected depositor funds by requiring the largest banks to push out a portion of their derivatives business into non-FDIC-insured subsidiaries.

    Warren and Representative Maxine Waters came close to killing the spending bill because of this provision. But the tide turned, according to Waters, when not only Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, but President Obama himself lobbied lawmakers to vote for the bill.

    It was not only a notable about-face for the president but represented an apparent shift in position for the banks. Before Jamie Dimon intervened, it had been reported that the bailout provision was not a big deal for the banks and that they were not lobbying heavily for it, because it covered only a small portion of their derivatives. As explained in Time:

    The best argument for not freaking out about the repeal of the Lincoln Amendment is that it wasn’t nearly as strong as its drafters intended it to be. . . . [W]hile the Lincoln Amendment was intended to lasso all risky instruments, by the time all was said and done, it really only applied to about 5% of the derivatives activity of banks like Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo, according to a 2012 Fitch report.

    Quibbling over a mere 5% of the derivatives business sounds like much ado about nothing, but Jamie Dimon and the president evidently didn’t think so. Why?

    A Closer Look at the Lincoln Amendment

    The preamble to the Dodd-Frank Act claims “to protect the American taxpayer by ending bailouts.” But it does this through “bail-in”: authorizing “systemically important” too-big-to-fail banks to expropriate the assets of their creditors, including depositors. Under the Lincoln Amendment, however, FDIC-insured banks were not allowed to put depositor funds at risk for their bets on derivatives, with certain broad exceptions.

    In an article posted on December 10th titled “Banks Get To Use Taxpayer Money For Derivative Speculation,” Chriss W. Street explained the amendment like this:

    Starting in 2013, federally insured banks would be prohibited from directly engaging in derivative transactions not specifically hedging (1) lending risks, (2) interest rate volatility, and (3) cushion against credit defaults. The “push-out rule” sought to force banks to move their speculative trading into non-federally insured subsidiaries.

    The Federal Reserve and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency in 2013 allowed a two-year delay on the condition that banks take steps to move swaps to subsidiaries that don’t benefit from federal deposit insurance or borrowing directly from the Fed.

    The rule would have impacted the $280 trillion in derivatives primarily held by the “too-big-to-fail (TBTF) banks that include JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, and Wells Fargo. Although 95% of TBTF derivative holdings are exempt as legitimate lending hedges, leveraging cheap money from the U.S. Federal Reserve into $10 trillion of derivative speculation is one of the TBTF banks’ most profitable business activities.

    What was and was not included in the exemption was explained by Steve Shaefer in a June 2012 article in Forbes. According to Fitch Ratings, interest rate, currency, gold/silver, credit derivatives referencing investment-grade securities, and hedges were permissible activities within an insured depositary institution. Those not permitted included “equity, some credit and most commodity derivatives.” Schaefer wrote:

    For Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, the rule is almost a non-event, as they already conduct derivatives activity outside of their bank subsidiaries. (Which makes sense, since neither actually had commercial banking operations of any significant substance until converting into bank holding companies during the 2008 crisis).

    The impact on Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and to a lesser extent, Wells Fargo, would be greater, but still rather middling, as the size and scope of the restricted activities is but a fraction of these firms’ overall derivative operations.

    A fraction, but a critical fraction, as it included the banks’ bets on commodities. Five percent of $280 trillion is $14 trillion in derivatives exposure – close to the size of the existing federal debt. And as financial blogger Michael Snyder points out, $3.9 trillion of this speculation is on the price of commodities.

    Among the banks’ most important commodities bets are oil derivatives. An oil derivative typically involves an oil producer who wants to lock in the price at a future date, and a counterparty – typically a bank – willing to pay that price in exchange for the opportunity to earn additional profits if the price goes above the contract rate. The downside is that the bank has to make up the loss if the price drops.

    As Snyder observes, the recent drop in the price of oil by over $50 a barrel – a drop of nearly 50% since June – was completely unanticipated and outside the predictions covered by the banks’ computer models. The drop could cost the big banks trillions of dollars in losses. And with the repeal of the Lincoln Amendment, taxpayers could be picking up the bill.

    When Markets Cannot Be Manipulated

    Interest rate swaps compose 82% of the derivatives market. Interest rates are predictable and can be controlled, since the Federal Reserve sets the prime rate. The Fed’s mandate includes maintaining the stability of the banking system, which means protecting the interests of the largest banks. The Fed obliged after the 2008 credit crisis by dropping the prime rate nearly to zero, a major windfall for the derivatives banks – and a major loss for their counterparties, including state and local governments.

    Manipulating markets anywhere is illegal – unless you are a central bank or a federal government, in which case you can apparently do it with impunity.

    In this case, the shocking $50 drop in the price of oil was not due merely to the forces of supply and demand, which are predictable and can be hedged against. According to an article by Larry Elliott in the UK Guardian titled “Stakes Are High as US Plays the Oil Card Against Iran and Russia,” the unanticipated drop was an act of geopolitical warfare administered by the Saudis. History, he says, is repeating itself:

    The fourfold increase in oil prices triggered by the embargo on exports organised by Saudi Arabia in response to the Yom Kippur war in 1973 showed how crude could be used as a diplomatic and economic weapon.

    Now, says Elliott, the oil card is being played to force prices lower:

    John Kerry, the US secretary of state, allegedly struck a deal with King Abdullah in September under which the Saudis would sell crude at below the prevailing market price. That would help explain why the price has been falling at a time when, given the turmoil in Iraq and Syria caused by Islamic State, it would normally have been rising.

    . . . [A]ccording to Middle East specialists, the Saudis want to put pressure on Iran and to force Moscow to weaken its support for the Assad regime in Syria.

    War on the Ruble

    If the plan was to break the ruble, it worked. The ruble has dropped by more than 60% against the dollar since January.

    On December 16th, the Russian central bank counterattacked by raising interest rates to 17% in order to stem “capital flight” – the dumping of rubles on the currency markets. Deposits are less likely to be withdrawn and exchanged for dollars if they are earning a high rate of return.

    The move was also a short squeeze on the short sellers attempting to crash the ruble. Short sellers sell currency they don’t have, forcing down the price; then cover by buying at the lower price, pocketing the difference. But the short squeeze worked only briefly, as trading in the ruble was quickly suspended, allowing short sellers to cover their bets. Who has the power to shut down a currency exchange? One suspects that more than mere speculation was at work.

    Protecting Our Money from Wall Street Gambling

    The short sellers were saved, but the derivatives banks will still get killed if oil prices don’t go back up soon. At least they would have been killed before the bailout ban was lifted. Now, it seems, that burden could fall on depositors and taxpayers. Did the Obama administration make a deal with the big derivatives banks to save them from Kerry’s clandestine economic warfare at taxpayer expense?

    Whatever happened behind closed doors, we the people could again be stuck with the tab. We will continue to be at the mercy of the biggest banks until depository banking is separated from speculative investment banking. Reinstating the Glass-Steagall Act is supported not only by Elizabeth Warren and others on the left but by prominent voices such as David Stockman’s on the right.

    Another alternative for protecting our funds from Wall Street gambling can be done at the local level. Our state and local governments can establish publicly-owned banks; and our monies, public and private, can be moved into them.

    _________________

    Ellen Brown is an attorney, founder of the Public Banking Institute, and author of twelve books including the best-selling Web of Debt. Her latest book, The Public Bank Solution, explores successful public banking models historically and globally. Her 200+ blog articles are at EllenBrown.com.

  3. RonMamita says:

    Chuck Todd Slips & Tells Lewis Black EXACTLY Why The Media Sucks

    Video Posted 3 Jan 2014

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