“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Saturday, December 26, 2015


Switzerland to hold referendum on banning private banks from creating money



Published time: 25 Dec, 2015 23:12

A radical initiative to strip private banks of their power to “create money” and make it exclusively a central bank privilege has gathered enough support for the Swiss government to announce a referendum on the issue. A vote in favor may result in a return to 100 percent reserve banking.

“Banks won’t be able to create money for themselves anymore, they’ll only be able to lend money that they have from savers or other banks, or even, if necessary, money that the Swiss National Bank has provided them,” the campaign said in a statement on their petition website.

As soon the petition concerning changes to the Swiss banking system had received more than 100,000 valid signatures, the Swiss government confirmed it would hold the referendum, according to the Telegraph. The date when the country will vote to decide whether private banks should be keep their power of creating money has not yet been set.

The move comes as part of the Swiss Sovereign Money Initiative (known as the Vollgeld-Initiative in German) that seeks to put an end to financial speculations. The group is concerned with the current state of affairs in traditional fractional reserve banking, where real coins, banknotes and central bank liabilities account for only a minor part of money in circulation, while most of it exists as electronic cash created by private banks.

“Most people believe that the money they have in their bank accounts is real money... This is wrong! Money in a bank account is… a promise the bank makes to provide money, but it is not itself legal tender,” they group explains in their statement.

The initiative claims that it strives to change the system so that it complies with the Swiss Constitution, guaranteeing safety and avoiding such phenomena as finance bubbles and empty money.

If the change is introduced, Swiss banks would have to look for a workaround to continue providing their clients with the usual set of services.

This won’t be a first referendum on monetary policy in the recent history of Switzerland. The Swiss voted against a law that would increase country’s gold reserves from 7 percent to 20 percent back in 2014, despite early polls showing increasing support for the initiative.




    WALL STREET is still out of control. Seven years ago, the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department bailed out the largest financial institutions in this country because they were considered too big to fail. But almost every one is bigger today than it was before the bailout. If any were to fail again, taxpayers could be on the hook for another bailout, perhaps a larger one this time.

    To rein in Wall Street, we should begin by reforming the Federal Reserve, which oversees financial institutions and which uses monetary policy to maintain price stability and full employment. Unfortunately, an institution that was created to serve all Americans has been hijacked by the very bankers it regulates.

    The recent decision by the Fed to raise interest rates is the latest example of the rigged economic system. Big bankers and their supporters in Congress have been telling us for years that runaway inflation is just around the corner. They have been dead wrong each time. Raising interest rates now is a disaster for small business owners who need loans to hire more workers and Americans who need more jobs and higher wages. As a rule, the Fed should not raise interest rates until unemployment is lower than 4 percent. Raising rates must be done only as a last resort — not to fight phantom inflation.

    What went wrong at the Fed? The chief executives of some of the largest banks in America are allowed to serve on its boards. During the Wall Street crisis of 2007, Jamie Dimon, the chief executive and chairman of JPMorgan Chase, served on the New York Fed’s board of directors while his bank received more than $390 billion in financial assistance from the Fed. Next year, four of the 12 presidents at the regional Federal Reserve Banks will be former executives from one firm: Goldman Sachs.

    These are clear conflicts of interest, the kind that would not be allowed at other agencies. We would not tolerate the head of Exxon Mobil running the Environmental Protection Agency. We don’t allow the Federal Communications Commission to be dominated by Verizon executives. And we should not allow big bank executives to serve on the boards of the main agency in charge of regulating financial institutions.


    1. {...}

      If I were elected president, the foxes would no longer guard the henhouse. To ensure the safety and soundness of our banking system, we need to fundamentally restructure the Fed’s governance system to eliminate conflicts of interest. Board members should be nominated by the president and chosen by the Senate. Banking industry executives must no longer be allowed to serve on the Fed’s boards and to handpick its members and staff. Board positions should instead include representatives from all walks of life — including labor, consumers, homeowners, urban residents, farmers and small businesses.

      The Fed must also make sure that financial institutions are investing in the productive economy by providing affordable loans to small businesses and consumers that create good jobs. How? First, we should prohibit commercial banks from gambling with the bank deposits of the American people. Second, the Fed must stop providing incentives for banks to keep money out of the economy. Since 2008, the Fed has been paying financial institutions interest on excess reserves parked at the central bank — reserves that have grown to an unprecedented $2.4 trillion. That is insane. Instead of paying banks interest on these reserves, the Fed should charge them a fee that would be used to provide direct loans to small businesses.

      Third, as a condition of receiving financial assistance from the Fed, large banks must commit to increasing lending to creditworthy small businesses and consumers, reducing credit card interest rates and fees, and providing help to underwater and struggling homeowners.


    2. {...}

      We also need transparency. Too much of the Fed’s business is conducted in secret, known only to the bankers on its various boards and committees. Full and unredacted transcripts of the Federal Open Market Committee must be released to the public within six months, not five years, which is the custom now. If we had made this reform in 2004, the American people would have learned about the housing bubble well in advance of the financial crisis.

      In 2010, I inserted an amendment in Dodd-Frank to audit the emergency lending by the Fed during the financial crisis. We need to go further and require the Government Accountability Office to conduct a full and independent audit of the Fed each and every year.

      Financial reforms must not stop with the central bank. We must reinstate Glass-Steagall and break up the too-big-to-fail financial institutions that threaten our economy. But we need to start with fundamental change. The sad reality is that the Federal Reserve doesn’t regulate Wall Street; Wall Street regulates the Fed. It’s time to make banking work for the productive economy and for all Americans, not just a handful of wealthy speculators. And it begins by making the Federal Reserve a more democratic institution, one that is responsive to the needs of ordinary Americans rather than the billionaires on Wall Street.

      Bernie Sanders is a senator from Vermont and a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president.


    3. And Ted Cruz's wife was a VP at Goldman Sachs, so we know where his allegiance lies.

  2. Somehow, I would like to have a super majority of the elected governors of the fifty states control the courts, spending and taxation as well as the the banking system. The first step would be to have the state houses select one US Senator and the governor select the other, all of them subject to recall at any time.

    Public financing of elections would break the stranglehold that Washington and their corporate sponsors have on the US public, which is now the servant to their federal masters.

    1. Just repeal the 17th Amendment to the Constitution.

  3. I believe each industrious at home upwardly mobile counterfeiter should be creating the money.

    And there is a lot of it these days now too.

    The Casinos are always on the lookout for fake $100s.

    It's about the only way to fight back against the Casinos.

    I talked to a guy out there once who seemed to know a lot about it.

    Getting the correct paper was a big deal.

    I think he said it had a cotton component, IIRC.

    Anyway he knew somewhere in Spokane where it could be purchased legally.

    A bank probably wouldn't accept the final product, but the Casino machines often do.

    What with the Wall Street bankers, the Jews, who control most of the banks, as we all know, and who control the press too, the political parties, the Fed, the Corporations.....yup, what this country needs is more good home grown counterfeiters.

    The Little Guy deserves a break.

    1. And I forgot to mention the IRS....

      Nobody but nobody is standing up for the non college educated white working class man.

      Let them create their own money !

      Two weeks vacation a year, always behind in supporting a family and getting a decent place to live, their labor absolutely essential to the country....

      Nobody is looking out for them, the Democrats being focused on the blacks, the illegal aliens, the transgendered even seem more important, and they blab on about this idiotic 'war on women' shit....

      As one of the ladies raped by Bill Clinton has said, "Hillary Clinton IS the war on women." She did her level best to ruin some of Bill's victims.

      One of these woman, Broderick or something, is doing her best to dog Hillary's campaign.

      God Speed to her.

      And the Republicans aren't looking out for them either.

      Nor the Tea Party.

      They got no voice.

    2. And Obama has increased the national debt, which used to be described as a line of $100 bills going out to the moon, to a pile of $100 bills out to Pluto and beyond.

    3. Obama has increased the national debt, ...

      Another error, Robert.
      It is the US Congress that controls the the debt ceiling, controls the budget and the expenditures of the US government, not the President.

      You should have studied civics.

  4. ...As untold millions of dollars pour into the shadowy campaign troughs of the presidential candidates, voters need to be reminded of the rosy assumptions of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision that legitimized the new spending frenzy.

    In allowing unlimited spending on candidates by corporations and unions, the court’s decision, in 2010, blithely pronounced, “A campaign finance system that pairs corporate independent expenditures with effective disclosure has not existed before today.” Effective disclosure exists?

    The court majority in the 5-to-4 decision should have been watching this month when the Republican-controlled Congress, which has firmly bottled up all campaign disclosure legislation, voted to further cripple disclosure at two of its most vital points.

    In the new budget bill, Republicans inserted a provision blocking the Internal Revenue Service from creating rules to curb the growing abuse of the tax law by thinly veiled political machines posing as “social welfare” organizations. These groups are financed by rich special-interest donors who do not have to reveal their identities under the tax law. So much for effective disclosure at the I.R.S.

    In another move to keep the public blindfolded about who is writing big corporate checks for federal candidates, the Republicans barred the Securities and Exchange Commission from finalizing rules requiring corporations to disclose their campaign spending to investors. It was Citizens United that foolishly envisioned a world in which: “Shareholders can determine whether their corporation’s political speech advances the corporation’s interest in making profits, and citizens can see whether elected officials are ‘in the pocket’ of so-called moneyed interests.”

    In acting to seal that pocket and hobble the I.R.S., congressional Republicans are advancing what has become the dark age of plutocratic money in campaign spending. At every turn, they are veiling the truth about the special-interest ties they have with rich donors shopping for favors. Since the Citizens United decision in January 2010, politicians have collected more than $500 million in dark money from phantom donors, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, with hundreds of millions more expected in the current campaign.

    1. The IRS can now take your passport away if they allege you owe back taxes.

      Meanwhile Syrians and other Moslems can waltz in here, impossible to 'vet'.

      Now we have families and children from the Central American countries pouring in....they are not legitimate refugees either. Not since they made it to Mexico.

      Let the Mexicans take care of them.

      Chance of that ?


      We'd be better off paying the Mexicans to take care of them.

      The Mexicans having dumped their unwanted mega-millions here.

    2. The Mexicans having dumped their unwanted mega-millions here.

      Wrong, again, Robert.
      Those millions of Mexicans that have immigrated to the US were welcomed, by US, with open arms.
      Those worker are providing your monthly stipend from the Federal government. Paying taxes to the US treasury with little chance of ever receiving Federal benefits in recompense.

    3. The US wanted those millions of low income workers ... Or they would not have been allowed access into the country.

      Do not listen to the rhetoric concerning those workers, look at the reality created by Ronald Reagan and the US Congress, the immigration laws that they enacted and the consequences of those laws and policies.

      The lack of border security that has always been the policy, since, regardless of who the President has been.

    4. Agree about the lack of border security.

      The Mexicans, however, are dumping their unwanted. Their border security on their southern border is pretty tight.

      They do nothing whatsoever in trying to issue passports etc to the US. They encourage people to leave.

      The whole thing sucks.

      The great fence, on our part, that was supposedly funded by Congress for at least some parts of the border of course remains for the most part unbuilt.

  5. The Swedes may be nice people, but don't ever make the mistake of calling the last two or three generations of them intelligent -

    December 26, 2015
    Goodbye, Sweden
    By Thomas Lifson

    Pat Condell is the most outspoken and eloquent commentator in the English-speaking world. (Hello, Dr. Krauthammer: maybe it’s time to take a vacation from the Beltway and realize what’s really going on and why the elites of the world in their bubble are so out of touch.) Perhaps he is too outspoken for Fox News Channel, but that is their loss. The rest of us can watch him on our computers and handheld devices and avoid those endlessly rising cost of cable TV subscriptions.

    I must confess: my heart breaks for Sweden. Like anyone born and raised in Minnesota, I feel a certain closeness to that country and feel a familiarity that transcends my visit to it long ago. Despite their embrace of political correctness, the Swedes are at heart very decent, humane people, their main faults being a desire to please others in their community (which leads to silencing dissent and conformity) and self-righteous hypocrisy. But these are minor blemishes considering the personal decency most people center their lives around.

    Taking advantage of Sweden’s generosity, Muslim immigrants have been arriving in large numbers, and in recent months, catastrophically overwhelming the country’s budget and facilities to house and feed them.

    The few minutes you spend watching Condell’s commentary will reward you: VIDEO

    Having worn myself out with despairing thoughts, I take leave.

    1. Join the discussion…

      Alecto • 28 minutes ago

      As an eye-popping companion piece to Condell's rational sanity, check out the insanity of this moronic piece cited by Drudge on the growth of "nationalism" (oooooh, scary for the multi-culti crowd):


      Share ›
      laci2ke Alecto • 16 minutes ago

      Thanks for the link - and the editorial slant is so far to the left, that it's become commonplace now in most western media, that to protect and preserve one's country and its culture is being viewed as a xenophobic act at best, and criminal behavior at worst. Horrifying to witness this unfolding destruction of western values and mores.


      Share ›
      Jay Stevens • an hour ago

      I said, "Good bye." about 10 years ago when the Swedish government thought it was more sensible to embrace multiculturalism than Muslim rape statistics.


      Share ›
      ricpic • 34 minutes ago

      For those of us who grew up "Eurocentric," which is the PC way of putting down a culture so far above every other culture that there is simply no comparison, the death of Sweden (and likely the rest of Western Europe if the current drift continues) what?...a tragedy hardly encompasses it. The horror. The unimaginable horror. The loss. And yet it is happening. Surreal.


      Share ›
      KristenSuzanneM • 36 minutes ago

      It is truly a tragedy that the people of this lovely Scandinavian country have brought upon themselves. It's entirely too late for them now. It's a shame they don't realize they've committed cultural and geographical suicide.


      Share ›
      SortOfNot KristenSuzanneM • 31 minutes ago

      It's coming to the body of Europe next, with a brutish push for it in the US by the preezy POS.
      If you want to predict the outcome, watch Sweden.


      Share ›
      Jon in MD 22 KristenSuzanneM • 28 minutes ago

      And demographic suicide. It's what happens when native born woman check out of their wonderful western civilization and embrace the third world by refusing to bear children.

      Don't worry though, once the Muslims take over the birth rate will shoot up.


      Share ›
      Alecto • 27 minutes ago

      Yeah, and England is next, Condell! Better wake up Europe!


      Share ›
      Hack2ey • 28 minutes ago

      "...the Swedes are at heart very decent, humane people, their main faults being a desire to please others in their community (which leads to silencing dissent and conformity) and self-righteousness..."


      The Swedes are at the very end of a cold, calculated and leftist suicide ritual. Pretty much all that remains to be done is the toe-tag and chalk outline. Lifson, you can eulogize and silver-tongue them all you want, but it won't wash. Their destruction isn't the result of a meteor strike or a tsunami. They've done this to themselves. And for that, they deserve no sympathy whatsoever.

      Stupid is as stupid does.

      And we're next, unless we do a forensic post mortem analysis and learn some cold, clear lessons. Immediately would be good.


      Share ›
      Marlin Fishhead • an hour ago

      I will applaud when Sweden goes full Islamic and their own people are killed.
      They will have earned every bit of it.


      Share ›
      Prof. Gaptoof • 28 minutes ago

      Guess where Israel sent the African negroes who had wandered in... that's right. Sweden.


  6. Reuters
    BAGHDAD - Iraqi troops have pushed deeper into the heart of the last remaining district held by Islamic State in the city of Ramadi, despite being slowed by bombs and booby traps, army spokesmen said on Saturday.

  7. Median income in October 2015
    ($56,671) was 5.3 percent higher than in October 2014 ($53,826), and 9.3 percent higher
    than in August 2011 ($51,860).

    Median Income

    1. Note: These numbers are in Oct. 2015 Dollars, and are deflated by the CPI.

      If they were deflated by the PCE (personal consumption expenditures) Index, they would already be at a new all-time high.

  8. SOUTHWEST ASIA, December 26, 2015 — U.S. and coalition military forces have continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Syria and Iraq, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.

    Officials reported details of the latest strikes, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.

    Strikes in Syria

    Attack and remotely piloted aircraft conducted five strikes in Syria:

    -- Near Raqqah, one strike wounded an ISIL fighter.

    -- Near Manbij, three strikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL building and wounded an ISIL fighter.

    -- Near Mara, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit.

    Strikes in Iraq

    Fighter and bomber aircraft conducted 12 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of the Iraqi government:

    -- Near Fallujah, two strikes destroyed two ISIL tunnels and two ISIL improvised explosive device factories and wounded an ISIL fighter.

    -- Near Mosul, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.

    -- Near Qayyarah, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.

    -- Near Ramadi, three strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed two ISIL tactical vehicles, six ISIL fighting positions, four ISIL vehicles, two ISIL vehicle-borne IED factories, two ISIL heavy machine gun positions, an ISIL sniper position and two houses ISIL had rigged with explosives, and two ISIL fighters were wounded.

    -- Near Sinjar, four strikes destroyed three bridges and a culvert that ISIL terrorists had used.

    Task force officials define a strike as one or more kinetic events that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single, sometimes cumulative, effect. Therefore, officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIL vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against buildings, vehicles and weapon systems in a compound, for example, having the cumulative effect of making those targets harder or impossible for ISIL to use. Accordingly, officials said, they do not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target.

  9. As we speak, 32% of the electricity used by the World's 8th. Largest Economy is being produced by Renewable Sources.

    1/3 going for 1/2

  10. One of my resolutions for the New Year is to only read Jihad Watch once a week.

    Reading it every day as I have been doing for a long time is just too depressing.

  11. Hmmm: Budget deal quashes federal payouts for police asset-forfeiture programs
    posted at 3:01 pm on December 26, 2015 by Ed Morrissey

    Share on Facebook

    Perhaps the omnibus passed last week had at least one small silver lining. The Department of Justice notified police departments that it would no longer provide them with an option of partnering with them on asset forfeiture cases and sharing the proceeds, thanks to budget cuts put in place in the final FY2016 budget. As the Washington Post’s Christopher Ingraham explains, the partnership allowed local police departments to evade tougher scrutiny on forfeiture cases and use the lax federal law to keep much more from their seizures:

    The Department of Justice announced this week that it’s suspending a controversial program that allows local police departments to keep a large portion of assets seized from citizens under federal law and funnel it into their own coffers.

    The “equitable-sharing” program gives police the option of prosecuting asset forfeiture cases under federal instead of state law. Federal forfeiture policies are more permissive than many state policies, allowing police to keep up to 80 percent of assets they seize — even if the people they took from are never charged with a crime.

    The DOJ is suspending payments under this program due to budget cuts included in the recent spending bill.

    “While we had hoped to minimize any adverse impact on state, local, and tribal law enforcement partners, the Department is deferring for the time being any equitable sharing payments from the Program,” M. Kendall Day, chief of the asset forfeiture and money laundering section, wrote in a letter to state and local law enforcement agencies.

    It wasn’t just the budget cuts, but also the losses that the DoJ has sustained with the program:

    In addition to budget cuts last year, the program has lost $1.2 billion, according to Day’s letter. “The Department does not take this step lightly,” he wrote. “We explored every conceivable option that would have enabled us to preserve some form of meaningful equitable sharing. … Unfortunately, the combined effect of the two reductions totaling $1.2 billion made that impossible.”

    In truth, this program seems indefensible, both morally and on the basis of federalist principles. Let’s start with the latter. Local police have to operate within the Constitution, of course, but their oversight and accountability start with their local communities and the states in which they operate. States have responded to the controversies over asset forfeiture by restricting the circumstances in which police can seize, keep, and convert property to their own use. Having the federal government provide a back door around those restrictions in exchange for a share of the loot violates the federalist principles.

    Morally, though, it’s even worse. It interferes with the relationship the police have with their communities in a way that erodes trust and accountability. If the local community and the state cannot create the legal code and the manner in which it is enforced, then the law enforcement agencies lose their moral authority to operate. Furthermore, states have passed laws limiting the percentage of assets police can keep to dial down the incentives for abuse. The DoJ program defeated those efforts.

    Most egregiously, the DoJ provided a way to allow police to keep seized assets even in the absence of a conviction when they otherwise might not have been able to do so. That is itself a morally repugnant policy. That’s why some states and local communities have passed laws to prevent it — laws that the DoJ conspired to thwart.

    This doesn’t make the omnibus a good bill, or even an acceptable compromise. It’s terrible for a number of reasons. However, when it comes to FY2017’s budget, let’s keep this particular cut in place and put a stake through the heart of this particular end run around federalism.

    Hot Air

    1. Most egregiously, the DoJ provided a way to allow police to keep seized assets even in the absence of a conviction when they otherwise might not have been able to do so. That is itself a morally repugnant policy. That’s why some states and local communities have passed laws to prevent it — laws that the DoJ conspired to thwart.

      I had never heard of such an idiotic business.

      Too much reading Jihad Watch.