UltraLong Bond Madness – Issuance of Debt with 30 Year+ Maturity Soars 22% in 2014

Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at 11.54.44 AMYesterday, the Wall Street Journal published an article highlighting the surge in what it calls “ultralong” bonds, defined as having a maturity of more than 30 years. The findings are simply stunning. In what may seem counterintuitive, bond yields at hundred year plus lows in many countries has led major investment firms to rush into ever riskier and longer duration fixed income securities just to earn some income. This has opened the floodgates to governments and corporations looking to lock in low yields on debt they won’t have to pay back for a generation.

Just to name a few, this year we have already seen a 100-year bond sale by Mexico, two separate 50-year bond issuances by Canada, and wait for this one, Spain of all countries is set to try to sell a 50-year bond!

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Video of the Day – Godfrey Reggio’s Haunting and Incredibly Accurate Prediction of Our Orwellian Future…from the 1970s

Screen Shot 2014-08-05 at 4.58.43 PMThere have been many artists, writers and intellectuals who were able to see the writing on the wall regarding our Orwellian future many decades ago. Several of them became so concerned they took it upon themselves to warn us of the dangers in no uncertain terms, with Aldous Huxley perhaps being the most prescient (see: Brave New World Revisited…Key Excerpts and My Summary).

A lesser known individual who also accurately warned us about the dangers faced of a totalitarian government/corporate partnership dead set on the destruction of privacy is filmmaker Godfrey Reggio.

Back in 1972 Mr. Reggio founded the Institute for Regional Education (IRE), which partnered with the American Civil Liberties Union in New Mexico to create a series of advertising spots purchased for television, radio, newspapers, and billboards that warned of the forthcoming technological fascist state.

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Meet OIRA – The Secretive White House Office with Disturbing Regulatory Powers

Screen Shot 2014-08-05 at 11.42.23 AMBut in practice, OIRA operates largely in secret, exempt from most requests under the Freedom of Information Act. It routinely declines to release the changes it has proposed, the evidence it has relied upon to make them, or the identities and affiliations of White House advisers and other agencies’ staff it has consulted. OIRA doesn’t even disclose the names and credentials of its employees other than its two most senior officials.

In 2013 the Administrative Conference, an independent federal agency that reviews government administrative processes, released a study of OIRA’s effect on the application and interpretation of science the agencies gather and analyze to write rules. In examining a group of air-quality regulations, the study found that most of OIRA’s suggestions involved substantive changes. The report concluded that in some instances, the office has proposed changes to the basic science underlying the rules. These included revising numbers in tables created by the EPA, altering technical discussions and recommending different standards altogether.

- From ProPublica’s extremely important article: Lobbyists Bidding to Block Government Regs Set Sights on Secretive White House Office.

Have you ever heard of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, otherwise known as OIRA? Yeah, neither had I.

As someone who prides himself on being a relatively informed citizen, it is always shocking and disturbing when I learn of a powerful organization operating in the shadows of America’s faux democracy with which I am almost entirely unfamiliar. While I’m sure I’ve read many articles in which OIRA was mentioned, I had never fully understood exactly what it is, and how it is used by lobbyists and large corporate interests to further entrench the established oligarchic power structure. We can thank ProPublica for providing this service.

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U.S. Government Caught Using Humanitarian HIV Program as a Front to Foster Cuban Dissent

Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 2.05.26 PMRegular readers of Liberty Blitzkrieg will recall that earlier this year I highlighted how the U.S. government covertly created a “Cuban Twitter” called ZunZuneo in a failed attempt to overthrow the island nation’s regime. The elaborate plot was implemented under the umbrella of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which is responsible for overseeing billions of dollars in U.S. humanitarian aid. If you need a refresher, check out the post: Conspiracy Fact – How the U.S. Government Covertly Invented a “Cuban Twitter” to Create Revolution.

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Another Settlement – JP Morgan Receives Slap on the Wrist Despite Years of Fraudulent CFTC Data

Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 10.33.30 AMThe Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has been long viewed as one of the most corrupt of American institutions – and that’s saying a lot. Putting aside all the accusations with regard to silver manipulation in recent years, the most stunning controversy occurred back in 2010 when a retiring judge accused the other remaining judge of being a total bought and paid for Wall Street crony.

The retiring judge was George Painter, who accused fellow judge Bruce Levine of not once ever ruling in favor of an investor in his 20 years on the bench. Not only that, but he claimed this was the result of a promise Levine made to Wendy Gramm, the former head of the CFTC and the wife of Phil Gramm. Phil Gramm was the Congressman who spearheaded the repeal of Glass-Steagall in 1999, which is seen by many (including myself) as one of the most catastrophic pieces of legislation in American history since it laid the groundwork for the financial crisis of 2008, as well as the continued cancerous permanence and power of TBTF banks. FiredogLake covered the CFTC controversy in 2010:

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Saudi Man Receives 3 Year Prison Sentence and 450 Lashes for Being Gay

Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 1.14.41 PMSaudi Arabia and its Medieval, inhumane monarchy has been a highlighted topic on Liberty Blitzkrieg for well over a year now. My government’s close alliance with this autocratic, homophobic and primitive fiefdom exposes the sham that is U.S. foreign policy more clearly than anything else. In exposing this authoritarian regime for what it really is, I hope that the American public will never again fall for war under the guise of false “humanitarian” purposes. There is nothing whatsoever humanitarian about U.S. foreign policy.

From the UK Independent:

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The “Nanny States of America” – Mother Arrested for Allowing 7-Year-Old Son Walk to Park Alone

Screen Shot 2014-07-30 at 3.15.05 PMI remember all throughout my childhood hearing tales of how my father and his friends would run around for countless hours playing all over his Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn neighborhood. He and his friends were quite young and completely unaccompanied. His mother was busy at home, and he cherished those moments in between school and dinnertime. In fact, the many stories he told my brother and I always came with a nostalgic smile related to the memories of those fleeting, precious moments of “dangerous freedom.”

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“Three Lost Decades” – How the American Middle Class is 20% Poorer Now vs. 1984

Screen Shot 2014-07-30 at 11.16.01 AMLike so many other things in popular American culture, this quaint notion of a “middle class” in the U.S. is at this point nothing more than a myth; a rapidly fading fantasy from a bygone era. As myself and many others have noted for quite some time, the decimation of the middle class began long ago. It really got started in the early 1970′s after Nixon defaulted on the gold standard and financialization began to take over the American economy. Median real wages haven’t increased since that time and the rest is history.

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Silicon Valley Artist Strikes at the Heart of Obama’s Oligarch Infatuation – “A Feast in Time of Plague”

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 1.57.24 PMLast week, I highlighted a series of billboards and painted benches that sprung up overnight in Hollywood as Obama prepared to host a $32,000 a plate fundraiser at the home of Scandal creator Shonda Rhimes.  Naturally, this was merely stop number one on Obama’s oligarch groveling circus.  The next stop on the crony train is another $32,000 a plate fundraiser. This time with none other than Nancy Pelosi.

Fortunately for us, California’s ever creative street artists were right there waiting for him. This is what they delivered:

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Former Aide to Bill Clinton Speaks – “My Party Has Lost its Soul”

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 10.37.26 AMOne reason we know voters will embrace populism is that they already have. It’s what they thought they were getting with Obama. In 2008 Obama said he’d bail out homeowners, not just banks. He vowed to fight for a public option, raise the minimum wage and clean up Washington. He called whistle-blowers heroes and said he’d bar lobbyists from his staff. He was critical of drones and wary of the use of force to advance American interests. He spoke eloquently of the threats posed to individual privacy by a runaway national security state.

He turned out to be something else altogether. To blame Republicans ignores a glaring truth: Obama’s record is worst where they had little or no role to play. It wasn’t Republicans who prosecuted all those whistle-blowers and hired all those lobbyists; who authorized drone strikes or kept the NSA chugging along; who reneged on the public option, the minimum wage and aid to homeowners. It wasn’t even Republicans who turned a blind eye to Wall Street corruption and excessive executive compensation. It was Obama.

A populist revolt among Democrats is unlikely absent their reappraisal of Obama, which itself seems unlikely. Not since Robert Kennedy have Democrats been so personally invested in a public figure. Liberals fell hardest so it’s especially hard for them to admit he’s just not that into them. 

- From Bill Curry’s excellent article in SalonMy party has lost its soul: Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and the victory of Wall Street Democrats.

Bill Curry’s article published this past Sunday by Salon is simply extraordinary. One of the things I’ve felt has been lacking in America for some time is the ability for well-meaning people within the “power structure” to look inward and be honest with themselves about the immoral decay fellow members of their socio-economic class have wrought upon the nation via a singleminded pursuit of wealth and power. A perfect example of an ignorant, destructive oligarch completely devoid of self-awareness was put on full display earlier this year when Sam Zell appeared on Bloomberg TV and essentially said the poor just need to act more like the rich.

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