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Clifford Taylor Fleischbein has been in full-time self-employment since 1975 earning revenue as a entrepreneur consultant, with the most recent passage of twenty years generating income from On-demand services for Information technology consulting, Database Management, Marketing, Change Management, and Customer relationship management job projects.

The Three Laws of Robotics by Issac Asimov

The Three Laws of Robotics (often shortened to The Three Laws or known as Asimov’s Laws) are a set of rules devised by the science fiction author Isaac Asimov. The rules were introduced in his 1942 short story “Runaround“, although they had been foreshadowed in a few earlier stories. The Three Laws, quoted as being from the “Handbook of Robotics, 56th Edition, 2058 A.D.”, are:

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.[1]

These form an organizing principle and unifying theme for Asimov’s robotic-based fiction, appearing in his Robot series, the stories linked to it, and his Lucky Starr series of young-adult fiction. The Laws are incorporated into almost all of the positronic robots appearing in his fiction, and cannot be bypassed, being intended as a safety feature. Many of Asimov’s robot-focused stories involve robots behaving in unusual and counter-intuitive ways as an unintended consequence of how the robot applies the Three Laws to the situation in which it finds itself. Other authors working in Asimov’s fictional universe have adopted them and references, often parodic, appear throughout science fiction as well as in other genres.

The original laws have been altered and elaborated on by Asimov and other authors. Asimov himself made slight modifications to the first three in various books and short stories to further develop how robots would interact with humans and each other. In later fiction where robots had taken responsibility for government of whole planets and human civilizations, Asimov also added a fourth, or zeroth law, to precede the others:

  1. A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.

The Three Laws, and the zeroth, have pervaded science fiction and are referred to in many books, films, and other media.

Glass-Steagall Emergency Banking Act needed for 2017

Banking Act of 1933 (Glass-Steagall)

June 16, 1933

The Glass-Steagall Act effectively separated commercial banking from investment banking and created the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, among other things. It was one of the most widely debated legislative initiatives before being signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in June 1933.

President Roosevelt signs the Glass-Steagall Act alongside the bill"s co-sponsors, Senator Carter Glass and Representative Henry Steagall, and others.

Roosevelt Signing the Glass-Steagall Act (Photo: Bettmann/Bettmann/Getty Images)

by Julia MauesOffsite link, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

The emergency legislation that was passed within days of President Franklin Roosevelt taking office in March 1933 was just the start of the process to restore confidence in the banking system. Congress saw the need for substantial reform of the banking system, which eventually came in the Banking Act of 1933, or the Glass-Steagall Act. The bill was designed “to provide for the safer and more effective use of the assets of banks, to regulate interbank control, to prevent the undue diversion of funds into speculative operations, and for other purposes.” The measure was sponsored by Sen. Carter Glass (D-VA) and Rep. Henry Steagall (D-AL). Glass, a former Treasury secretary, was the primary force behind the act. Steagall, then chairman of the House Banking and Currency Committee, agreed to support the act with Glass after an amendment was added to permit bank deposit insurance.1 On June 16, 1933, President Roosevelt signed the bill into law. Glass originally introduced his banking reform bill in January 1932. It received extensive critiques and comments from bankers, economists, and the Federal Reserve Board. It passed the Senate in February 1932, but the House adjourned before coming to a decision. It was one of the most widely discussed and debated legislative initiatives in 1932.

Some background: In the wake of the 1929 stock market crash and the subsequent Great Depression, Congress was concerned that commercial banking operations and the payments system were incurring losses from volatile equity markets. An important motivation for the act was the desire to restrict the use of bank credit for speculation and to direct bank credit into what Glass and others thought to be more productive uses, such as industry, commerce, and agriculture.

In response to these concerns, the main provisions of the Banking Act of 1933 effectively separated commercial banking from investment banking. Senator Glass was the driving force behind this provision. Basically, commercial banks, which took in deposits and made loans, were no longer allowed to underwrite or deal in securities, while investment banks, which underwrote and dealt in securities, were no longer allowed to have close connections to commercial banks, such as overlapping directorships or common ownership. Following the passage of the act, institutions were given a year to decide whether they would specialize in commercial or investment banking. Only 10 percent of commercial banks’ total income could stem from securities; however, an exception allowed commercial banks to underwrite government-issued bonds. The separation of commercial and investment banking was not controversial in 1933. There was a broad belief that separation would lead to a healthier financial system. It became more controversial over the years and in 1999 the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act repealed the provisions of the Banking Act of 1933 that restricted affiliations between banks and securities firms.

The act also gave tighter regulation of national banks to the Federal Reserve System, requiring holding companies and other affiliates of state member banks to make three reports annually to their Federal Reserve Bank and to the Federal Reserve Board. Furthermore, bank holding companies that owned a majority of shares of any Federal Reserve member bank had to register with the Fed and obtain its permit to vote their shares in the selection of directors of any such member-bank subsidiary.

Another important provision of the act created the Federal Deposit Insurance CorporationOffsite link (FDIC), which insures bank deposits with a pool of money collected from banks. This provision was the most controversial at the time and drew veto threats from President Roosevelt. It was included at the insistence of Steagall, who had the interests of small rural banks in mind. Small rural banks and their representatives were the main proponents of deposit insurance. Opposition came from large banks that believed they would end up subsidizing small banks. Past attempts by states to instate deposit insurance had been unsuccessful because of moral hazard and also because local banks were not diversified. After the bank holiday, the public showed vast support for insurance, partly in the hope of recovering some of the losses and partly because many blamed Wall Street and big bankers for the Depression. Although Glass had opposed deposit insurance for years, he changed his mind and urged Roosevelt to accept it. A temporary fund became effective in January 1934, insuring deposits up to $2,500. The fund became permanent in July 1934 and the limit was raised to $5,000. This limit was raised numerous times over the years until reaching the current $250,000. All Federal Reserve member banks on or before July 1, 1934, were required to become stockholders of the FDIC by such date. No state bank was eligible for membership in the Federal Reserve System until it became a stockholder of the FDIC, and thereby became an insured institution, with required membership by national banks and voluntary membership by state banks. Deposit insurance is still viewed as a great success, although the problem of moral hazard and adverse selection came up again during banking failures of the 1980s. In response, Congress passed legislation that strengthened capital requirements and required banks with less capital to close.

The act had a large impact on the Federal Reserve. Notable provisions included the creation of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) under Section 8. However, the 1933 FOMC did not include voting rights for the Federal Reserve Board, which was revised by the Banking Act of 1935 and amended again in 1942 to closely resemble the modern FOMC.

Prior to the passage of the act, there were no restrictions on the right of a bank officer of a member bank to borrow from that bank. Excessive loans to bank officers and directors became a concern to bank regulators. In response, the act prohibited Federal Reserve member bank loans to their executive officers and required the repayment of outstanding loans.

In addition, the act introduced what later became known as Regulation Q, which mandated that interest could not be paid on checking accounts and gave the Federal Reserve authority to establish ceilings on the interest that could be paid on other kinds of deposits. The view was that payment of interest on deposits led to “excessive” competition among banks, causing them to engage in unduly risky investment and lending policies so that they could earn enough income to pay the interest. The prohibition of interest-bearing demand accounts has been effectively repealed by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. Beginning July 21, 2011, financial institutions became allowed, but not required, to offer interest-bearing demand accounts.

  • 1Glass and Steagall also cosponsored the Banking Act of 1932, which was also commonly referred to as the Glass-Steagall Act prior to the passage of the Banking Act of 1933.

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. “Banking Act of 1933.” June 16, 1933, link.

Friedman, Milton and Anna J. Schwartz. A Monetary History of the United States 1867-1960. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1963.

Meltzer, Allan. A History of the Federal Reserve Volume 1: 1913-1951. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003.

Preston, Howard H. “The Banking Act of 1933.” The American Economic Review 23, no. 4 (December 1933): 585-607.

Shughart II, William. “A Public Choice Perspective of the Banking Act of 1933.” Cato Journal 7, no. 3 (Winter 1988).

Silber, William. “Why Did FDR’s Bank Holiday Succeed?” Federal Reserve Bank of New York Economic Policy Review, July 2009.

Wells, Donald. The Federal Reserve System: A History. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, 2004.

White, Lawrence J. “The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999: A Bridge Too Far? Or Not Far Enough?” Suffolk University Law Review 43, no. 4 (August 2010).

Emergency Banking Act of 1933

March 9, 1933

Signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on March 9, 1933, the legislation was aimed at restoring public confidence in the nation’s financial system after a weeklong bank holiday.

President Franklin Roosevelt signing the Emergency Banking Act

Roosevelt Signing the Emergency Banking Act (Photo: Bettmann/Bettmann/Getty Images)

by Stephen GreeneOffsite link, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

“The emergency banking legislation passed by the Congress today is a most constructive step toward the solution of the financial and banking difficulties which have confronted the country. The extraordinary rapidity with which this legislation was enacted by the Congress heartens and encourages the country.”
– Secretary of the Treasury William Woodin, March 9, 1933

“I can assure you that it is safer to keep your money in a reopened bank than under the mattress.”
– President Franklin Roosevelt in his first Fireside Chat, March 12, 1933

Immediately after his inauguration in March 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt set out to rebuild confidence in the nation’s banking system. At the time, the Great Depression was crippling the US economy. Many people were withdrawing their money from banks and keeping it at home. In response, the new president called a special session of Congress the day after the inauguration and declared a four-day banking holiday that shut down the banking system, including the Federal Reserve. This action was followed a few days later by the passage of the Emergency Banking Act, which was intended to restore Americans’ confidence in banks when they reopened.

The legislation, which provided for the reopening of the banks as soon as examiners found them to be financially secure, was prepared by Treasury staff during Herbert Hoover’s administration and was introduced on March 9, 1933. It passed later that evening amid a chaotic scene on the floor of Congress. In fact, many in Congress did not even have an opportunity to read the legislation before a vote was called for.

Two photos; the image to the left shows New York’s deserted financial district during the bank holiday of March 1933, while the image to the right shows President Franklin Roosevelt giving a fireside chat to the American people.

NY Financial District and President Franklin Roosevelt Fireside Chat (Photo: Associated Press)

In his first Fireside Chat on March 12, 1933, Roosevelt explained the Emergency Banking Act as legislation that was “promptly and patriotically passed by the Congress … [that] gave authority to develop a program of rehabilitation of our banking facilities. … The new law allows the twelve Federal Reserve Banks to issue additional currency on good assets and thus the banks that reopen will be able to meet every legitimate call. The new currency is being sent out by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing to every part of the country.”

The Act, which also broadened the powers of the president during a banking crisis, was divided into five sections:

  • Title I expanded presidential authority during a banking crisis, including retroactive approval of the banking holiday and regulation of all banking functions, including “any transactions in foreign exchange, transfers of credit between or payments by banking institutions as defined by the President, and export, hoarding, melting, or earmarking of gold or silver coin.”
  • Title II gave the comptroller of the currency the power to restrict the operations of a bank with impaired assets and to appoint a conservator, who “shall take possession of the books, records, and assets of every description of such bank, and take such action as may be necessary to conserve the assets of such bank pending further disposition of its business.”
  • Title III allowed the secretary of the treasury to determine whether a bank needed additional funds to operate and “with the approval of the President request the Reconstruction Finance Corporation to subscribe to the preferred stock in such association, State bank or trust company, or to make loans secured by such stock as collateral.”
  • Title IV gave the Federal Reserve the flexibility to issue emergency currency—Federal Reserve Bank Notes—backed by any assets of a commercial bank.
  • Title V made the act effective.

In that Fireside Chat, Roosevelt announced that the next day, March 13, banks in the twelve Federal Reserve Bank cities would reopen. Then, on March 14, banks in cities with recognized clearing houses (about 250 cities) would reopen. On March 15, banks throughout the country that government examiners ensured were sound would reopen and resume business.

Roosevelt added one more boost of confidence: “Remember that no sound bank is a dollar worse off than it was when it closed its doors last week. Neither is any bank which may turn out not to be in a position for immediate opening.”

What would happen if bank customers again made a run on their deposits once the banks reopened? Policymakers knew it was critical for the Federal Reserve to back the reopened banks if runs were to occur. To ensure the Fed’s cooperation to lend freely to cash-strapped banks, Roosevelt promised to protect Reserve Banks against losses. In a telegram dated March 11, 1933, from Treasury Secretary William Woodin to New York Fed Governor George Harrison, Roosevelt said,

“It is inevitable that some losses may be made by the Federal Reserve banks in loans to their member banks. The country appreciates, however, that the 12 regional Federal Reserve Banks are operating entirely under Federal Law and the recent Emergency Bank Act greatly enlarges their powers to adapt their facilities to a national emergency. Therefore, there is definitely an obligation on the federal government to reimburse the 12 regional Federal Reserve Banks for losses which they may make on loans made under these emergency powers. I do not hesitate to assure you that I shall ask the Congress to indemnify any of the 12 Federal Reserve banks for such losses.”

Was the Emergency Banking Act a success? For the most part, it was. When banks reopened on March 13, it was common to see long lines of customers returning their stashed cash to their bank accounts. Currency held by the public had increased by $1.78 billion in the four weeks ending March 8. By the end of March, though, the public had redeposited about two-thirds of this cash.

Wall Street registered its approval, as well. On March 15, the first day of stock trading after the extended closure of Wall Street, the New York Stock Exchange recorded the largest one-day percentage price increase ever, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average gaining 8.26 points to close at 62.10; a gain of 15.34 percent.

Other legislation also helped make the financial landscape more solid, such as the Banking Act of 1932 and the Reconstruction Finance Corporation Act of 1932. The Emergency Banking Act of 1933 itself is regarded by many as helping to set the nation’s banking system right during the Great Depression.

The Emergency Banking Act also had a historic impact on the Federal Reserve. Title I greatly increased the president’s power to conduct monetary policy independent of the Federal Reserve System. Combined, Titles I and IV took the United States and Federal Reserve Notes off the gold standard, which created a new framework for monetary policy.1

Title III authorized the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) to provide capital to financial institutions. The capital injections by the RFC were similar to those under the TARP program in 2008, but they were not a model of the actions taken by the Fed in 2008-09. In neither episode did the Fed inject capital into banks; it only made loans.

  • 1The gold standard was partially restored by the Gold Reserve Act of 1934. The United States remained on the gold standard until 1971.

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. “Documents and Statements Pertaining to the Banking Emergency, Presidential Proclamations, Federal Legislation, Executive Orders, Regulations, and Other Documents and Official Statements, Part 1, February 25 – March 31, 1833.” 1933, link.

History Matters, the U.S. Survey Course on the Web. “‘More Important Than Gold’: FDR’s First Fireside Chat.” Accessed September 30, 2013, link.

Silber, William L. “Why Did FDR’s Bank Holiday Succeed?Offsite link” Federal Reserve Bank of New York Economic Policy Review, July 2009, 19-30.

President Trump: Dismantling the Post-World War II International Order

While watching CNN this morning an interesting segment focused on how Trump is dismantling the international order which has existed since the end of the last world war. Fareed Zakaria used America’s exit from the non-binding Paris Climate Agreement as the springboard for further discussion around how Trump is shifting the global position of the United States. For readers following my blog posts this concept is old news, as we have been discussing the transformation of the international governance framework since Dec 31, 2013.

Two years ago when Donald Trump announced his candidacy for the office of President, I posted the idea that his purpose was to sell the multilateral framework to the American people and realign Anglo-American economic and governance policies with those of the international banking interests.

The overabundance of air time which CNN gave Trump throughout the election, and in fact still do, is not an accident. Standing back and studying the whole forest we can begin to see that Trump has been casted in the role of bad cop for one demographic while serving as the good cop for another. This diametric is a powerful weapon which can control and manipulate both public opinion and public expectation.

The end of World War Two was the previous turning point for the international banking interests. It was when the Bretton Woods Monetary Conference designed the economic and banking system for the rest of the century. The creation of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank were directly related to this agreement, but also served as seeds for a future transformation.

Zakaria’s reference to the post-war dismantling has everything to do with the reserve role given to the US dollar under Bretton Woods. The dominance of the USD for eight decades has contributed to the evolution of economic and governance policies which served as an extension of the political, industrial and academic interests of the Anglo-American establishment.

These interests built wealth and organizations around the role of the USD which acted as self-serving vehicles and moved separate from the broader international banking interests. This was allowed to continue because it served a purpose and American hegemonic strength was kept in check through a large contingent of geopolitical and economic strategies.

This American world and its infrastructure became the dominant weapons used against nations and regions which did not evolve along the lines demanded by the international banking interests. NATO, the United Nations, Bilderberg, the IMF, World Bank, and a host of other think tanks and non-governmental organizations all represent this post war international order.

Now that the multilateral monetary and governance frameworks have been agreed upon by the rest of the world there is no need for the Anglo-American establishment to maintain total control and influence over the world. Those in business, politics and academia resisted the reforms and policy adjustments required to transform the international order into a true multilateral framework. Power and access to endless wealth is never willing relinquished.

This was expected and planned for, which brings us to Donald Trump and his well scripted platform which began in the 1980’s. Every one of Trump’s talking points are finely engineered to communicate a complex message in simple plain speak. The dismantling of the post war international order is now the mandate of the international banking interests and cannot be stopped.

There have been those within the American establishment who were likely caught by surprise with Trump and his agenda. But it is beginning to appear that there is a common message being communicated with variations over negotiations.

All the while the American people are being sold on something they never would have agreed with if it had been communicated directly. The threat of globalism and a New World Order were so hammered into us through an alternative media which sprung out of nowhere with the emergence of the internet. This is the same alternative media which is now supporting Trump and is beginning to grow with the populist wave of anti-globalism.

But these alternative media personalities are doing nothing to cover the actual transformation of the international order and the true purpose of the Trump agenda. The thesis presented here on POM has been proven accurate for so long now, and on so many points, that it is illogical that the large alternative media have not picked up on the themes.

When I saw the headline on CNN this morning I looked over at Marianne and said “there is another verification of everything I have been writing for four years”. But the message isn’t getting out. Both the mainstream media and alternative media do not discuss this intentional and planned dismantling of the international order which has built up on the back of the USD.

As far as I can tell the alternative media is complicit in the engineering and spread of the Trump narrative. The purpose of the alternative media has been to build up the cognitive dissonance and Hegelian Dialectic within the Western mind of the disorganized masses. It is my conclusion that many of these websites and personalities are manufactured and maintained through intelligence agencies and other covert groups which operate outside the confines of national interests. The scripting of the New World Order narrative and the threat to America are too aligned with the unfolding dismantling and transformation of the international framework to be a coincidence.

The POM thesis will continue to be the most accurate analysis available but will remain on the margins of alternative media for the simple fact that the site is owned and operated by just me. There is no involvement with agencies, think tanks, or other groups and organizations which support the narrative described above. It is just me reading, researching, and writing as a sideline to my career in mining. There are no advertisers on the site who I have to worry about offending. There is only the small army of POM subscribers and members who I am committed to providing accurate and thoughtful information.

Fellow Canadian writer and researcher Henry Makow recently posted an article on his site which discussed the role of the Canadian Securities Intelligence Service in the creation of the neo-Nazi Heritage Front. Operation Governor took place between 1988 and 1994 and instigated racists acts across the nation. These tactics evolved with the internet and provided such agencies with a whole new battlefield from where they could orchestrate cultural and socioeconomic engineering. To think that such agencies and organizations haven’t created the alternative media and its host of personalities would be a miscalculation.

Logic follows that the alternative media (who pumped the New World Order threat narrative for years) are supporting Trump, and Trump in turn represents the scripting of the international banking interests. The connection flows from one to the other with relative ease but is completely ignored by the large presence and influence of both the mainstream and alternative media. Both serve opposing sides to the dialectic engineering. Within the middle ground between both the dismantling continues.

Iraq with World Bank Group set strategy for country restoration

The thing is, the amount of people that get it, are not a concern for the CBI to a potential front running of the IQD. There is just not that many people that get it.

(Effectively that is what the article suggests is a viable option, by telling us 06/30/2017 or before Iraq will receive ESCROW funds back.)

The UN is telling the world that the IQD is or Iraq if you will, is going to be sanction free by and or before the end of June 2017. That simple. International!  So, if they are that confident and Ban Ki Moon tells the world on a late Friday after markets close, that the not only is game on, the game is about to end.  A good thing..

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, and its partners officially launched the first  independent institute of directors in Iraq to promote principles of good corporate governance, boost transparency, and help attract more private investment.

The Kurdistani Institute of Directors (KIoD) will be providing corporate governance services in Iraq and the Middle East and North Africa Region, to help strengthen the role of independent directors and boards, and raise awareness of best corporate governance practices. The Erbil Chamber of Commerce and Trade is supporting these efforts.

The initiative is another step in IFC’s strategy to spur private sector growth in Iraq by improving smaller businesses’ management skills, business performance and competitiveness. It is also part of IFC’s aim to scale up support for fragile and conflict-affected states, where private sector investment is key to create jobs and spur growth.

“Strong corporate governance standards are vital for economic success. By building the capacity of national institutes, we are helping companies improve competitiveness and create jobs,” said Mouayed Makhlouf, IFC’s regional director for the Middle East and North Africa. “We hope this project will also open the door to more private sector investment in Iraq, and enhance the potential for long-term development.”

Companies operating in conflict-affected environments face unique corporate governance challenges. For the last several years, IFC has been working to help promote stronger corporate governance and transparency in Iraq. With IFC support, the newly established institute KIoD has already conducted its first corporate governance event, providing training for 20 entrepreneurs in Erbil.
So far, IFC has provided corporate governance services to five companies in Iraq and conducted nine specialized events, reaching about 447 participants and helping to build the capacity of 16 Iraqi trainers to deliver training through a network of specialized providers. IFC is implementing the corporate governance program in Iraq in partnership with the governments of Japan and Spain.
Iraq Daily Journal

Masking the IMF Standard Drawing Right with a New Gold Standard

A recent article in Forbes has suggested that the Trump Presidency has three options regarding the international monetary system. One option is to continue with the dollar as the primary reserve currency. Most readers will be aware of the challenges from such a continuation. The growing imbalances within the existing system are creating the need for a structural change. So this really is not an option worth considering.

The second option which Forbes suggests is to use the Special Drawing Right (SDR) of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as the global reserve asset. This concept has been thoroughly reviewed and explained JC Collins on his Philosophy Of Metrics web site and does provide a viable path forward pending what solutions and protections are put forward to address concerns over loss of sovereignty.

A third option which Forbes puts forward is the return to a new gold standard. This option has also been discussed and reviewed on Philosophy Of Metrics in the article The Greatest Deal of All Time – A Trump Gold Standard and on the Republican Party of Canada site with the article An Incremental Return to Gold-Backed National Currencies – And Why A Supra-Sovereign SDR Reserve Asset May Just Make That Work.

Both articles taken together provide a focused picture on the possible solution of gold-backed national currencies being used in conjunction with the SDR to re-balance the international monetary framework.

There are some key people in the Trump Administration, as discussed in the first article, who are positioning policies which will facilitate the transition to a partial gold support for the dollar. This will be called a new gold standard regardless of the percentage or depth of gold support.

It has been noted that the recent communiqué from the IMF no longer mentions the need to resist protectionism. This is revealing in that it aligns with the previous discussions we have had since 2015 about the Trump platform representing a “New Modern Nationalism” which will be used to sell the transformation of the international monetary system and manufacture the domestic support for major policy changes back home in America.

These changes include everything from devaluing the dollar and forcing the appreciation of the Chinese renminbi. Both of these have been openly discussed in the last few months and will continue to be discussed as more of the geopolitical challenges of this transformation are sorted out on the international stage.

Where Forbes defines option two and three as an either /or decision, I would suggest that it will be a combination of both. The new nationalism which is sweeping across the world will enhance a re-negotiation of trade deals and encourage fundamental changes to the existing dollar based exchange rate arrangements. This will force a drastic shifting of wealth and access to resources in the world. It is that reason more than anything else which is the source of the ongoing geopolitical tension in the world.

Readers can reference the POM article The Great War for Eurasia for a better understanding.

The number one concern with the concept of using the SDR as the international reserve asset in place of the USD is that it would mean the loss of sovereignty for nations. The SDR system taken to its ultimate corrupted form would mean that once sovereign nations no longer have control over their domestic money supply. This is not necessarily true as discussed in the linked articles above. Though it could be true if proper controls and policies are not put in place through re-negotiated trade deals and exchange rate arrangements.

For many this risk is too great and the SDR framework would have some huge hurdles to overcome. This will also depend on how it is sold to the mass populations of each nation. Some countries will absorb the change without little hesitation as they would stand to gain and be better positioned.

But there are nations, such as America, where an SDR system could be perceived as detrimental based on the fact that the US dollar has in essence been the international reserve asset since at least the end of the last world war. This “loss of power and influence” is being packaged and sold as Trump’s new nationalism and the BREXIT vote. Their is a high probability that Marine Le Pen will also be elected in France this weekend as previously predicted here on POM.

Behind the scripted media presentations on a possible new gold standard will be the fine print on the role of the SDR in the international monetary system. The use of domestic currencies, such as the USD, to balance global trade, will need to be avoided.

When Trump said in a speech that he is against a “global currency” and a “world government” most alternative media interpreted that to mean that he is against globalization. But globalization is only changing hats and will continue under the new modern nationalism with re-negotiated trade deals and the use of the SDR to balance global trade.

This has been the objective all along.

Such a role for the SDR could be presented as not being a global currency because it is only used for trade purposes and no one is walking around with SDR in their wallet or in their bank accounts.

The realities of a Trump Presidency are now settling in on the American people. There has been some flip-flopping and the continuation of the existing American foreign policy, which is evident in the bombing of Afghanistan and the missile strike in Syria. Outside of which establishment people are holding the reins, it would appear that not much has changed regarding Anglo-American policies and strategies.

The post How Rothschild Inc. Saved Donald Trump provides some explanation for the emerging Trump realities. Taken at first by many as wrong, the article itself is proving extremely accurate considering it was written last summer and before people were named to the Trump administration. Wilbur Ross, former Rothschild Inc. executive who was discussed in the linked POM article, is now the Secretary of Commerce and will be instrumental in forming the new American economic and trade policies.

That should be the biggest clue to all that the ongoing international strategies are continuing with the Trump Presidency. There is no reason to think that this will also not apply to the call for a larger role for the SDR.

A partial gold standard for the USD and other major currencies acting as the front man could very well direct attention away from the SDR background and deeper changes to the international monetary framework. Understanding the fundamentals of this transformation is the best thing we can do to grasp and predict what is to come next.

(1977) Lisa to Clifford.. this workboot shoe represents your future!

Dearest Clifford:

This shoe (workboot) represents your future!

Your drive and ambition will cause you to wear out many pairs of workboots just like this one.  This boot is my wish to you for happiness.  Unlike regular workboots, this workboot will never wearout, because if it does, it will represent the failure to follow your dreams!

This boot is small like you in comparison to the big world, but powerful in its potential.

Treat this boot as you would me, gentle and kind.

Like this boot, of which many hours were spent to make it, is our friendship which will never wear out, either.  Go more quietly and softly along your path to success; the world can’t be conquered by a voice!

Love to you on your birthday, spend it wisely.



Trump’s Doctrine and the Development of Global Free and FAIR Trade

How to reduce American influence
over Global Institutions

Based on recent news releases, it would appear that even the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Managing Director, Christine Lagarde, is picking up on Trump’s language and his business doctrine when she recently stated that “the IMF has always been a supporter of free and fair trade”. This comes as no surprise as the Donald Trump Presidency has in essence hijacked the international process through its strategic take-over of one of the world’s largest economies and contributors to the IMF’s financing arrangements.

The use of the word “FAIR” alongside “FREE” in the recent references to international trade stems from Trump’s speeches in the primaries and campaign season of 2016. While giving massive rallies across the United States he would express the need for free and fair trade, always with an emphasis on the word “FAIR”.

The fact the the IMF is now using that term in its official statements is very telling of the trend moving forward.

But, it could also be an example of how much of this global monetary transformation is being scripted and the primary talking points issued before hand for use in a specific and strategic manner.


Such a thing does not require a conspiracy of vast proportions or even that much orchestration. Political campaigns and politics in general use such talking point strategies as a matter of routine. This can be observed across the nightly news spectrum as political surrogates march forth with common messages and alignments meant to spread their parties vision to the masses. Large corporations also use such methods in order to maintain one message and one face to potential investors and business partners.

The international institutions, which have governed the world since 1944,

The Bretton Woods Conference, officially known as the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference, was a gathering of delegates from 44 nations that met from July 1 to 22, 1944 in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, to agree upon a series of new rules for the post-WWII international monetary system.

are on the verge of some fundamental changes on how they operate and function in relation to one another. The suggested mandates and policy changes are being issued from the think-tanks and working groups across the political, corporate and banking broad-bands. The message from Madame Lagarde at the IMF is loud and clear – the Trump mandate is the direction in which the world framework needs to shift.

This shift is not the design of Trump alone. The new American President of 2017 is the salesman for the implementation of the multilateral monetary and financial frameworks which are meant to re-organize and re-balance the global monetary system.

Some new readers may not understand exactly what this entails but its core mandate is the reduction of the USD denominated foreign exchange reserves which are held in central banks around the world. The accumulation of USD denominated reserves is the number one concern which needs to be addressed before broader and more systemic matters can be managed and minimized.

The People’s Bank of China is the largest holder of USD denominated debt outside of the Federal Reserve itself. The relationship between the American dollar and the Chinese renminbi is the pivot point for a large portion of these monetary adjustments and changes. America has the largest trade deficit and China has the largest trade surplus. Both nations are the two largest economies in the world with all others caught in the twisting and tightening motion which exist between both opposing positions.

As China is attempting to shift its economy from the traditional trade exporting model to a consumption based model like the West, it finds the Renminbi (RMB) currency in an inconvenient position. The peg China maintains against the USD ensures that a strengthening American dollar will put increased downward pressure on it, and any attempts to keep the RMB from depreciating requires the People Bank of China (PBoC) to unload American dollars in it’s foreign exchange reserves.

While this is in fact the end goal, China finds its reserves slowly depleting while no appreciation of the RMB is taking place. Currently, the objective in Beijing is to decrease the export of cheaply made goods and invest more in domestic consumption with Renminbi denominated financial instruments. This requires China’s RMB to appreciate, not depreciate, in order to become more attractive to foreign investors.

The role of trade between the worlds two largest economies, and those caught in the middle, which amounts to everyone else, is the fundamental mechanism which will contribute to the transformation of the international monetary system from the existing unipolar USD based system to a more “FREE” and “FAIR” framework based on the use of multiple currencies and the slow integration of a supra-sovereign asset, such as the Special Drawing Right (SDR) of the IMF.

A new set of governance reforms are being rolled out by the IMF Board of Directors over the next few years with a focus on 2019 for approval and implementation by 2022. This builds on the 2010 Quota and Governance Reforms which were agreed upon in 2009 by all the 188 nations of the world except one, but were not implemented and enacted until December 2016 by the US Congress, which held 16% of a quorum vote when 85% is required to pass anything through the IMF (the US again bullied the rest of the world).

The dominate role of the United States within the Funds operating framework will be discussed as a part of these “negotiations” with the expectation that Trump will demand a decrease in financial contributions to the IMF arrangements.

This will correspond with further decreases in American contributions to other international institutions, such as the G20, World Bank, NATO, and even the United Nations. This is where salesman Trump operates in his sweet spot as the quintessential business-political personality who will package and sell America’s changing role in the international community.

The reduction in USD denominated assets around the world will assist in this transformation in that America will no longer be able to contribute the majority of funding to these institutions. This lower demand for the dollar will allow for it to depreciate against the currencies of its largest trading partners, which in turn will make American made goods more affordable and increase exports. This translates into more domestic jobs and increased GDP which in turn lowers the debt-to-GDP ratio making debt more manageable.

China is in the exact opposite situation, as described above. It needs to have the Renminbi (RMB) appreciate so it can reduce its exports.

Let’s not forget the rest of the world churning in the middle. The changes to currency arrangements and trade deals are the fundamental tools which will be used to re-organize and re-balance the world. This is why the addition of the term “FAIR” has now been added to the global trade lexicon alongside “FREE”. Both are meant to shift our perception of world trade and how nations begin to interact with one another on a different platform.

The corresponding reduction in American contribution and participation in the global institutions will align with these broader monetary and financial changes. Other nations will be able to increase their own contributions and participation as the Trump doctrine leaves behind a well strategized and scripted vacuum.

The Ranch House at 1211 Rivera Drive and its Bunk House ‘Man Cave’

Hello all:

Maverick leaving his music career for full-time employment as an underwater diver.
Clifford “Maverick” Taylor Fleischbein: in 1974 he was an active Oceanologist working for Oceanic Marine Corp. in San Diego, California, working as a professional underwater recovery diver.

Maverick, here…

I am writing for you and for myself as I’m making plans…


My new plan for the 1st QTR 2017, is a road trip [and this writing is an invitation for anyone looking for a ride]; through Northern California, arriving in Sacramento to spend six (6) days on the Ranch and living in the Bunk House (apt. of grandpa living in 1952 – great-grandpa to some readers, Orvil Fleischbein was the name of my father’s father.)

The Bunk House today (2017-May-01):

I will return PROMPTLY to San Diego by driving the US-5 Interstate in one (1) day, with 8-hours rest before going back to work at Jiffy Lube! (L.O.L.)

[SIDE THOUGHT]: I need to go back through my archives and rebuild my family documents (since my original research collected from 1972 through 1981 {Clifford V.F. Taylor’s. college years} was tossed out into the alley dumpster in Ocean Beach near our home in 1989 at the address of: 1868 Bacon St #A and #B, San Diego, CA 92107) based on the newer records that I have gleaned since the old-records lost in 1981. My new chronicle of the family tree is now based on many years of history lived, but also certified training by U.C.Santa.Barbara. and four (4) years field experience practicing and recording for the U.S. Smithsonian Institute information about the preservation of Cultural and Archaeological U.S. Natural Resources (google = Clifford V.F.Taylor San Diego 1979 – 1985) {I remember the stories from my dad, but the names challenge me}

Back to the trip planning…

I’m thinking of taking two (2) days to drive north, using the old US-395 highway; where I can now view and inspect the road improvements I’ve recently heard of.

This trip will bring me north, through the east side of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. I will drive up the mountains through the Donner Pass.

The Donner Party (sometimes called the Donner-Reed Party) was a group of American pioneers led by George Donner and James F. Reed who set out for California in a wagon train in May 1846. They were delayed by a series of mishaps and mistakes, and spent the winter of 1846–47 snowbound in the Sierra Nevada.

I will be driving through the pass, stopping at Donor Lake to review the stomping grounds that I lived at for two (2) summers {the years 1970 – 71} in a cabin, just a few lanes down the road from Donner Lake shore-line.  I lived with Robert ‘Bob’ Day because he needed to live in the mountains in the summer to reduce asthma attacks. I was invited to be his escort, friend and helper. It was these long, hot, summer nights that Bob and I found the time to learn many new, popular radio songs (Neil Young, Stones, Steve Miller, The Band, Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks band). And, Bob Day learned to play his guitar by watching and learning with Clifford “Maverick” Taylor (1970-71)

The plan is to have one night stay, camping out, and arrive at the Sacto Rancho by mid morning the 2nd day of driving.

Would you be interested in taking the road trip with me?

I will be taking my music and movie gear with me intending to host one-evening to my neighbors (you are invited).

If it hasn’t been too wet in March, then I might consider asking Jeff Archer if I can borrow the dirt bike and the motor/bike travel stand… AGAIN! I’d love another day at the Prairie City OHV near Rancho Cordova area by our ranch.

So, again… what is your 2017 Spring schedule looking like?

I need a copy of your schedule (ASAP) to finalize my plans. I’m taking the old Coleman stove from my dad, back to the Ranch and will be using it on this camping trip. And some of my guitar music equipment will be moved to the Ranch.

Best Regards,

~ Dad


Clifford’s growing understanding of the GCR that keeps him hoping and believing

Attn: Richard Wells

Maybe reading some of my blog collection will help you understand my developing perspective of the GCR.

I pray for a “POP” in the GCR implementation, but I’m pragmatic regarding the process of a global international banking system being created to sustain a GCR event.


If the GCR does not happen soon, I hope to live long enough to see devalued currencies rise to their rightful norm without American USD interference, within my life-time.

It has been one-full-year in which I solely own the property in Sacramento without Karen, my deceased sister. Hoorah! It feels good to be the sole owner of the property that I call: “The Ranch” where my father built the Ranch-Style House, and my grand-father’s apt called “The Bunk House”; i.e. my man-cave.

I’ll setup a slide show of photos and share how the property has evolved. I removed four (4) dead trees last year (2016) and the land look BIGGER ! 😋

I’m planning to visit my “Ranch” and “bunk-house” in Sacramento the last part of March 2017 (1st quarter maintenance to property – visit). Might you be available for a visit?

Kind regards,

Clifford “Maverick” Taylor
(858) 576 – 8363

Lost Any Liberal Friends?


HI Cliff,

How are you? Was a great inauguration… any comments,
I’d love to hear.

Have you lost any liberal friends, or do you steer clear from them??


Grace Awake



I’ve been trying for months to inform my liberal, socialist, police-state ideologists that the appearance and election of Donald Trump to the political stage of the world’s most powerful country is a geo-political move of global proportions in support of a new, multilateral currency system with the intent to revalue the currency of emerging nations and re-balance the global economic system. It is a move away from seven decades of unipolar USD based global reserve currency pushed by the Western banking system and American Corporate imperialism.

And, more specifically, the liberal mandates of open societies and left-leaning freedoms have crashed into the walls of rational thought and real-world functioning progressive ideals. This was one of the most predictable outcomes in our world for the simple fact that the liberal-left and its proposed values and virtues are based on a fraudulent position which was promised to empower the people and end the threat of totalitarianism, but in fact weakened the moral fiber of civilization and skewed the diametric truths.

It has long been declared that the alternative to the mandates of liberalism is authoritarianism, totalitarianism, fascism, and the scalable loss of freedoms as society moves further to the right. This gross mischaracterization has been embedded in our culture through left-funded media and education strategies which have both arrested and corrupted the minds of generations.

Whether you consider the development of these diametric left and right political ideologies as chance or engineering matters less than the need to understand the path civilization takes as it shifts between one and the other. The human mind demands opposition as a method of advancement and learning. This foundational principle is hardcoded into our world and the human powerbase has mastered the art of harnessing it for the purpose of socioeconomic engineering. The diametric exists in spite of the human need for oneness and brotherhood.

The truth of the matter is that the extreme of the left or the right both act as catalysts for a return to the other. A civilization surrendered to extreme right authoritarianism will build an inner momentum for a return to the freedoms inherent in the center. This momentum becomes an unstoppable train which overshoots the center and reengineers culture and governance towards the far left. Equally so, a civilization weakened to extreme left openness and unaccountability will develop an outer momentum for a return to decency, strength and personal responsibility. The overshoot is just as dramatic.

The all or nothing approach of the liberal-left towards a full open society establishes a need for totalitarianism in the same manner that the extreme right presents its own justification. Harsh loss of personal freedoms and strong authoritarianism are required to hold both the left and the right in their extreme diametric positions. Neither can use the risk of authoritarianism as the justification to prevent the other from arising as the end result will always be the same.

The frequency of executive orders by the Obama administration and the use of regulations are examples of what we are discussing. The momentum towards a full open society built on the mandates of the liberal left has destroyed itself in the same manner that an extreme right ideology would have.

Those in the world who can grasp and understand the mechanics and methodology of this shifting diametric have an opportunity, and in fact a responsibility, to plan staged cultural and socioeconomic interceptions which would be meant to manage the return momentum and create a structural framework at the center which would hold the weight of a civilization with a growing self-awareness.

The dogma of “do what thou wilt” is the built-in weakness of the far liberal left in the same manner that “do what we tell you to do” is with the far right. The extreme of either ideology emerges near and at the end of civilizations. Other ancillary factors such as monetary policy and war act as further catalysts but the corruption begins within first, such as it does in our personal lives.

The road from fascist Germany in World War Two to liberal-left Germany today which has enacted self-destructive governance policies is a perfect example of this swing between extreme left and extreme right. The open borders and open society framework has failed not just in Germany and Europe, but across the world and political spectrums. The governed populations are beginning to accept that there is an ideological disease which has pushed western civilization to the brink of an identity collapse just out there on the edge of the extreme liberal-left platform.

The response is the “new modern nationalism” which we have discussed and is represented by the election of Donald Trump, the BREXIT vote, and the emergence of strong conservative-right candidates in nations around the world.

But with the death of worldwide liberalism also comes the end of American unipolar imperialism which has functioned as an extension of the international reserve status of the dollar and by default the once influential liberal-left culture which has dominated in varying degrees since the passage of the Federal Reserve Act in 1913. The shift towards a multilateral (or multipolar) monetary framework is releasing American culture from the death grip of this responsibility and allowing for a restructuring of the US financial system, the function of the Federal Reserve, and the geopolitical world.

The geopolitical transformation has been manifesting with shifting alliances in the Pacific as once America allies, such as the Philippines, are moving closer to China. The orientation of Eastern Europe is also a place where further changes can be expected as Ukraine remerges as a strong Russian partner. As an extension, we can assume that once important regions and nations, such as the American military presence in South Korea because of the North Korean threat will be reversed and new balances and borders sought.

Recent statements by Trump would suggest that he has communicated to China that the time has come to address the North Korean situation. Whether the eroding American establishment has indirectly supported the North Korean regime as a pretext to justify its presence in the South matters little now as the script unfolds and China cleans up the mess in its own backyard.

All of this does not bode well for the ideological objectives of worldwide liberalism. But we need to be cautious that authoritarian rulers do not emerge who would take advantage of this swing towards the new modern nationalism. Such rulers can care little for ideological allegiances as long as their rule is enforced and maintained.

The liberal-left and the conservative-right are tools for maintaining the momentum in the pendulums swing arc. The time may be past to prevent the emergence of an extreme right as the world shifts and liberalism is crushed under the weight of the new modern nationalism. But let these words settle upon us as we observe and learn the pattern of human nature and the unseen forces in this world. This is the rational approach and the logical end to that which is illogical and irrational.

With Donald Trump, we are moving this nation toward a multi-lateral global currency system without the old American establishment and their imperialistic form of democracy.


Clifford “Maverick” Taylor

President Donald Trump’s Inauguration Speach: 2017-01-20

Chief Justice Roberts, President Carter, President Clinton, President Bush, President Obama, fellow Americans and people of the world, thank you.

We, the citizens of America, are now joined in a great national effort to rebuild our country and restore its promise for all of our people.

Together, we will determine the course of America and the world for many, many years to come. We will face challenges. We will confront hardships. But we will get the job done.

Every four years we gather on these steps to carry out the orderly and peaceful transfer of power.

And we are grateful to President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama for their gracious aid throughout this transition.

They have been magnificent.

Thank you.

Today’s ceremony, however, has a very special meaning because today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another or from one party to another, but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving it back to you, the people.

For too long, a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have bore the cost. Washington flourished, but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered but the jobs left and the factories closed.

The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories. Their triumphs have not been your triumphs. And while they celebrated in our nation’s capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.

That all changes starting right here and right now, because this moment is your moment. It belongs to you.

It belongs to everyone gathered here today and everyone watching all across America. This is your day.

This is your celebration.

And this, the United States of America, is your country.

What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people.

January 20th, 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again.

The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer. Everyone is listening to you now. You came by the tens of millions to become part of a historic movement, the likes of which the world has never seen before.

At the center of this movement is a crucial conviction that a nation exists to serve its citizens. Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families and good jobs for themselves.

These are just and reasonable demands of righteous people and a righteous public. But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists.

Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities, rusted out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation.

An education system flush with cash but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge.

And the crime and the gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential. This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.

We are one nation, and their pain is our pain.

Their dreams are our dreams, and their success will be our success. We share one heart, one home and one glorious destiny.

The oath of office I take today is an oath of allegiance to all Americans.

For many decades we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry, subsidized the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military.

We’ve defended other nations’ borders while refusing to defend our own. And we’ve spent trillions and trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay.

We’ve made other countries rich while the wealth, strength and confidence of our country has dissipated over the horizon.

One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores with not even a thought about the millions and millions of American workers that were left behind.

The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed all across the world. But that is the past, and now we are looking only to the future.

But that is the past and now we are looking only to the future.

We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital and in every hall of power. From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first — America first.

Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs will be made to benefit American workers and American families. We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs.

Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength. I will fight for you with every breath in my body. And I will never, ever let you down.

America will start winning again, winning like never before.

We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth, and we will bring back our dreams. We will build new roads and highways and bridges and airports and tunnels and railways all across our wonderful nation. We will get our people off of welfare and back to work rebuilding our country with American hands and American labor. We will follow two simple rules — buy American and hire American.

We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world.

But we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first. We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone but rather to let it shine as an example. We will shine for everyone to follow.

We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones. And unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the earth.

At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America and through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other. When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.

The Bible tells us how good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity. We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreement honestly but always pursue solidarity. When America is united, America is totally unstoppable.

There should be no fear. We are protected, and we will always be protected. We will be protected by the great men and women of our military and law enforcement. And most importantly, we will be protected by God.

Finally, we must think big and dream even bigger. In America, we understand that a nation is only living as long as it is striving. We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action, constantly complaining but never doing anything about it. The time for empty talk is over. Now arrives the hour of action.

Do not allow anyone to tell you that it cannot be done. No challenge can match the heart and fight and spirit of America. We will not fail. Our country will thrive and prosper again. We stand at the birth of a new millennium, ready to unlock the mysteries of space, to free the earth from the miseries of disease and to harness the energies, industries and technologies of tomorrow. A new national pride will stir ourselves, lift our sights and heal our divisions. It’s time to remember that old wisdom our soldiers will never forget — that whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots.

We all enjoy the same glorious freedoms, and we all salute the same great American flag.

And whether a child is born in the urban sprawl of Detroit or the windswept plains of Nebraska, they look up at the same night sky, they fill their heart with the same dreams and they are infused with the breath of life by the same Almighty Creator.

So to all Americans in every city near and far, small and large, from mountain to mountain, from ocean to ocean, hear these words — you will never be ignored again.

Your voice, your hopes and your dreams will define our American destiny. And your courage and goodness and love will forever guide us along the way. Together, we will make America strong again. We will make America wealthy again. We will make America proud again. We will make America safe again. And yes, together, we will make America great again.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.

Thank you!

God bless you!

And God bless America.

Tavis Smiley interviews Oliver Stone regarding the film: SNOWDEN

Tonight, a conversation with award-winning filmmaker, Oliver Stone. The DVD and Blu-ray release of his film, “Snowden”, comes out December 27 and there’s also a new book out about his work. It’s called “The Oliver Stone Experience”. We’ll talk about that and much more tonight with filmmaker, Oliver Stone.

Tavis: Pleased to welcome award-winning director, Oliver Stone, back to this program. His latest project is called “Snowden”, which releases December 27 on DVD and on Blu-ray.

There is also a wonderful and very heavy coffee table book called “The Oliver Stone Experience”, which delves into his film work over the years. We’ll get to this later in the program. Before we start our conversation, though, with Oliver Stone, first a clip from “Snowden”.


Tavis: You buy that? You believe that? That secrecy is security and security is victory?

Oliver Stone: No, Tavis. He buys it and that is an argument that the national security people always make, that we are running an empire basically since World War II that has gotten so big and it’s so vast. And we have to know everything in order to preserve it and to maintain it. That’s basically the argument. We have to know everything.

Tavis: Yeah. What do you make of that argument?

Stone: Well, it stems from the film. “Snowden” is–you know, I got into this issue when, you remember, he broke the news in June of 2013. That was pretty stunning stuff.

It was evidence finally that the national security agency had gone way beyond its mandate and it was collecting information not just on American citizens, but on everybody in the world, on corporations, on banks, on governments, on people that it was interested in. It’s a vast operation beyond any comprehension.

Most people were really shocked. I was. Then I got into it with Ed. I went to Moscow and I met him, made many trips. And he told us more and more. He didn’t warm up right away. He was very cautious and he told us more over these nine visits over about a year.

And what happens is that, you see, he and I both agree. I mean, a lot of people agree that, if you really are fighting terrorism which was the original excuse given for this, you have to have selected targeting, which is to concentrate on the terrorist and his people around him, and they’re all findable.

Usually, we have a pretty good trace on them and you use human intelligence, you use signals intelligence. You know, we tracked a lot of the phone numbers of the people at 9/11. We had that before.

This is all true, but we have to really concentrate on that amount of targeting and focus on that and have the agencies communicate with each other. The FBI, the NSA, the CIA don’t communicate. And even though we add more intelligence agencies, the communication is not really working that well.

So here we are in this situation where we’re getting so much information that, in a sense, it’s so vast for our computers—although we build bigger and bigger computers, you know, I’m hearing stories now about new types of computers, you know, quantum computers and stuff like this—it’s getting out of hand. I mean, no one knows what’s going on in the world.

And the movie that we just picked is not only about surveillance. It’s also about cyberterrorism, cyberwarfare which is a new form of warfare which, I mean, Americans don’t know anything about, as well as drone warfare which comes from data mining.

Tavis: I don’t need to ask you, but I’m going somewhere with this, so stay with me. I don’t need to ask you whether you think that Edward Snowden is a traitor or a patriot. I think your views on that are pretty clear. But there are people whose views on Edward Snowden have changed over the years and there are other persons whose views have not changed. I want to talk about a couple of different people in those various categories and get your take on it.

Let me start with former Attorney General Eric Holder who was once a staunch critic of Edward Snowden and has said on the record since then that he does think that Snowden provided a public service. That’s his phrase, that he did provide a public service. You think it was a public service?

Stone: I do, I do. You know, Mr. Snowden, he always gave his motivations. He said, “I’m giving this information responsibly to journalists who’ve reported on this and it’s up to them to propagate what they think is in the interests of the American people.”

He always said that. He never veered from that story. He didn’t make any money off of this. I don’t know of any traitor who gives information away for free. He’s maintained that from the beginning, from the first time he met them in June until now. So the profit motive is out.

People who’ve actually seen this movie, actually seen it, have said, well, I’ve changed my mind on Snowden and I really think he should be pardoned or he should be brought back to the United States and given a minimal sentence for breaking the law. He always said, “I’m breaking this law in the service of a higher law” which is what Martin Luther King said.

Tavis: Absolutely.

Stone: You have to sometimes ruffle the…

Tavis: An unjust law is no law at all, yeah.

Stone: Not only that, I mean, it was just–he was shocked because he’s a bit of a boy scout in that way. He was very pure. He was a Libertarian, Conservative, Army family background. After he’d been in the NSA for a few years, he was surprised at just the crossing of barriers into personal lives every day that we were doing this and not questioning it.

It’s against the Constitution. You have to have reasonable cause to survey somebody, reasonable cause. There was no reasonable cause given and, especially when you take on the whole population of the United States, we’re not terrorists.

Tavis: I want to come back to Snowden’s politics in just a second because it’s a fascinating part of the journey that you took. But I want to stick with this point I made a moment ago of quoting a couple of other people who have their own thoughts about Edward Snowden.

So I mentioned Eric Holder and how he started to change on his view of Edward Snowden, it would appear, from the quote that I referenced a moment ago.

Now Congressman Mike Pompeo who Donald Trump, as you know, has picked to be the head of the CIA–I wrote this down. I wanted to make sure I quoted him correctly–has referred to Edward Snowden–this is a quote–“the traitor, Edward Snowden–that’s how he refers to him–“as the traitor, Edward Snowden”.

This is the guy who would run the CIA if approved by the Senate, nominated by Mr. Trump, and he has called for Edward Snowden to be executed. So what do you make of the guy that may run the CIA who has heretofore at least called for Edward Snowden, the traitor, to be executed?

Stone: Well, you’re jumping way ahead of me here. The movie was based on the idea that you would see it, you know, that this Congressman might see it, but they don’t even give it any thought. They have an ideological stance on it and you’re saying he’s preset, he should be executed. Trump said the same thing at one point a few years ago.

You know, life is much more complicated than that and you should be able to change your views as you go through life. This fellow presumably will get appointed to the CIA. He’s also advocating Guantanamo opening again, more prisoners, and also torture, he seems to be fine with torture.

So it’s all going in one direction which is pretty rigid. It’s another America. It’s going back to the dark side of Mr. Cheney, Dick Cheney.

Tavis: President Obama was asked just on Friday about Edward Snowden, as you probably already know. Certainly Oliver Stone knows this.

Stone: No, I didn’t know.

Tavis: There is a big movement afoot and I suspect it’s going to grow in the coming weeks to press President Obama to pardon Edward Snowden before he leaves office–don’t laugh–but there’s going to be a huge press for him to do that before he leaves office.

President Obama was asked about this on Friday and this is a direct quote. “I can’t pardon somebody who hasn’t gone before a court and presented themselves, so that’s not something I would comment on at this point.” That’s President Obama on Friday when asked about whether he would pardon Edward Snowden.

I guess the question is whether you think there is any chance that Barack Obama, before he leaves the White House, would pardon Edward Snowden?

Stone: I wish he would or at least pre-pardon him, you know. I mean, make the condition such that he could be pardoned. No, it’d be the merciful thing to do and a graceful thing for him. I mean, he’s done many good things, but he hasn’t changed the system, the surveillance system at all. We’ve maintained a war state. We’re still very much in this kind of neoconservative lock that we fell into with George Bush.

So I have not seen that sense of pardon in him. He’s a tough man, Obama. I’ve lost a lot of respect. I thought the 2008 election was going to be a different movement. We’re gonna get rid of this madness that we’re living in and I’m very disappointed.

But I do think he’s done some good things. He hasn’t pressed the war in Syria to the place where it could have been suicidal for us as well as the Syrians. But Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, was of another nature and I think she was much tougher than Obama. Obama’s regarded as weak by Trump, so I worry about that.

You know, he wasn’t weak. If you have a powerful country such as we have, the most powerful in the world, you have to learn the power of soft power. You have to be forgiving and you can’t always seek enemies in the world. And this is what I fear is what’s going to happen in this new administration.

Tavis: How do you juxtapose his conservative politics with what he actually did? Because when you get a chance to see the film and read more about this guy, you see that his politics have been a bit conservative.

Stone: He was, yeah. He came from a southern family, two generations of FBI and military. He expressed those opinions when he was young and they’re in the movie, some of them. He was definitely pro Iraq War. He signed up for the military. He went in and he had a fragile body. He broke his legs, not a major break, but it was enough to keep him out.

Then he went over and volunteered for the CIA and he got in because he was quite good on a computer, very smart young man. And, basically, once he got in, he did his job very well except he was posted in Geneva, he was posted in Maryland, he was posted in Japan where he learned a lot about cyberterrorism, and then he moved on to Hawaii.

So he became more valuable as he went. One of the programs he built was Epic Shelter, which was used as a backup program which is very helpful to our global presence. But at the same time, he got more leeway.

He was a contractor essentially for the NSA at the end. And in Hawaii, he was able to access cyber offensive operations as well as defensive operations. He was covering China and Pakistan. But he knows a lot about cyberwarfare and a lot about drone warfare.

So what he was seeing, we were putting these offensive capabilities to use. We were hacking a lot of different places. As you may not remember, because it’s been sort of covered up in history, in 2009, Obama launched the Stuxnet virus against Iran. It was not discovered, I believe, until June or so of the following year, 2010.

But the deal was Obama was told by his “intelligence” people that this Stuxnet virus would not go beyond the borders of Iran and it would end where it ended, and would never be traced to the United States or Israel, who are its originators.

All three things turned out to be wrong. The virus did limited damage in Iran. They rebuilt those reactors and then, on top of that, it moved on into other countries and it could not be stopped for a while. And it was traced ultimately with a lot of research to the United States and Israel. So, I mean, we launched a warlike device which is a form of cyberwarfare in Iran in 2009, and we were doing it since 2006, I’m told.

There were earlier prototypes of Stuxnet, but they weren’t working. So in 2009, we essentially declared a new form of warfare and said here we are, and we thought we’d hide it, but we couldn’t. Other countries figured it out and they started to copy us.

In fact, Russia was soon behind us as well as China is very good at it. They’re smart. There’s a lot of independent hackers in the world that are very like Dr. No’s. They operate on their own and they can do enormous damage.

And as a result, we have all kinds of accusations about cyberwarfare going on. You heard a lot during the election campaign and many of them were silly and really out of hand, based on a sort of McCarthy-like fear of Russia or China.

So we’re in a mess right now. We need a cyber treaty between countries. We really have to sit down and renegotiate this thing because no one knows what–as Snowden says, surveillance is in freefall. I mean, no one knows what’s happening.

Tavis: Is Trump the right person to hit the reset button with Russia, since you referenced it? And what does that look like, do you think?

Stone: I really hope so, because if I had one beef, the major obstacle I had with Ms. Clinton, what I’m most scared of her, was this Russia situation. She was certainly pressing the Russia button making accusations about their cyberwarfare influencing the election and so forth and so on.

It was, I thought, outrageous claims and she should have not made them because she had a short rope to hang herself with…

Tavis: Or put the evidence out.

Stone: Yeah. There was no evidence either.

Tavis: Either/or, I mean, yeah.

Stone: In fact, a lot of people I know in the intelligence world—you can reference James Bamford. He’s written a lot about the National Security Agency–do think it’s probably an insider at the Democratic National Committee that was upset about the bad things that the officers were doing there.

They were trying to block Sanders. They were also selling ambassadorships. Four major officials resigned, you know. They were in some way implicit in this thing. One was a treasurer too.

So these were not mild accusations. These were serious accusations of malfeasance against officials. In other words, Ms. Clinton–well, going back to your original question on Trump. God, I hope so. You know, if there’s one good…

Tavis: The Trump-Putin relationship, friendship, whatever it is, doesn’t scare you?

Stone: No, it doesn’t scare me at all because–I mean, you’re asking me several questions here. No, Russia has not behaved aggressively towards the United States, believe it or not. It’s been the United States has been behaving very aggressively towards Russia for many years. This has been going on since we expanded NATO.

I don’t know if you remember, we had Gorbachev and Baker back in the 90s agreed that NATO would not expand eastward. Well, we’ve expanded to 13 countries. The first Clinton, then Bush, and then Obama, three presidents have expanded NATO to the east. There’s no reason to have that organization which is a defensive organization made after World War II still existing.

Tavis: Of course, the NATO argument, as you well know–I’m telling you stuff you already know–the NATO argument is that if we don’t expand particularly in that region of the world, then Putin runs amok.

Stone: But he hasn’t run amok. He has not run amok. Contrary, if you look at the figures, Russia’s been shrinking. They lost 21 million Russians in the 1990s. They were cut off from Russia. He has never expressed an interest in revitalizing that empire.

He is trying to keep his land mass complete and, if you look at the history of NATO which is taking it right to the border and looking at the hostility of his neighbors, looking at the abrogation in 2002, George Bush unilaterally revoked the ABM Treaty which we had signed with Russia.

Nixon and Brezhnev had signed it in 1972. That’s a big treaty, Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. He just said it’s off the table. So how can the United States be trusted if it breaks treaties like this? There’s been a lot of provocation to Russia in many ways.

And because the United States has been very concerned about the Eurasian-Chinese unification sort of, the idea of a big economic bloc emerging from Eurasia with China, China is the biggest economic power in the world besides us. But Russia has 10%. As Julian Assange has said, Russia has 10% of our domestic economy. They don’t have anything like it. They’re a smaller country.

They’re like a European country and they have a smaller military, but they have an effective military. They spend–what is it–20% of our spending on defense. There’s no evidence that Russia is trying to be something bigger than it is. They’re trying to stay alive is what I’m trying to say.

Tavis: Let me circle back to the film. There have been award-winning documentaries that come to mind about Edward Snowden. What were the challenges or the reasons, the rationale, for your interest in wanting to do it as a feature film?

Stone: Because when I heard the story from Snowden, it was inside information. No one had ever written or done anything about the National Security Agency with realism yet. There’s been very few books written on it. Bamford is one of them, James Bamford. But getting inside the dialog, the mindset, the sets, the way they look, this is crucial stuff. We went on Ed’s story and it is his story, his point of view.

There has been no convincing counter story from the National. Security Agency blaming him. He is what he is. He’s a smart young man who worked his way up through the NSA where he saw these horrible things going on and he said, “Let the public decide.”

Well, the public, unfortunately, did not understand it because that story broke in 2013 and there’s been no reaction. We’re still in this state we’re in. There were some mild reforms, yes, but essentially he brought–I think we have accepted the fact that the government is a global surveillance state.

We accept it, but we don’t understand the implications of that. And that’s what I’m trying to say to you. We have gathered more data than any single person. We’ve tapped everybody.

We have 22,000 miles up in space. We have satellites with antenna on them as big as the Eiffel Tower listening in on everything. So let’s say we have a coups recently in Brazil. Dilma Rousseff is removed from office. She was a leftist. She was the inheritor of Lula’s Workers’ Party.

I think it was an interesting story about why she was removed with what information. Because we were tapping Petrobras, which is the oil company of Brazil, as we were tapping a lot of the companies in Venezuela and so forth.

So we gave information maybe to the opposition party and they used that to bring all kinds of corruption charges against her. That’s a possibility. So you get a lot of pressure from this information. You can create coup d’états.

In Ukraine, there was a tremendous amount of help form the United States giving to the Ukrainian government which overthrew, again, its president who was democratically elected, overthrew him, instead of waiting for another election.

So if we keep promoting regime change, as Hillary Clinton has said, in these countries, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Ukraine, Turkey maybe–we tried a month or two ago. There was a big coups in Turkey that came very close–Brazil.

I’m saying these are significant changes in countries and we don’t have that right. It seems to me that we are using this power we have to listen in on everybody to promote the agenda we want.

Now what is the agenda? We’ve never argued this with the public. We’ve never debated what should the United States be doing? Should we be going around the world policing it? Demanding regime change when we don’t like a leader? This has happened since 1940s. It’s been going on.

We’ve had at least 100 changes of government that we’ve been involved in. Is this the right role for the U.S.? If we are really out for the United States, if we think about America first, to use Trump’s quote, which is important, I suppose, to say, look, let’s think about America.

What’s good for our health? It’s not changing regimes around the world because they’re not going to attack us. We’re pretty mighty, as it is. Let me finish my point. The idea is that, if we’re America first, let’s concentrate on America. Let’s build up the infrastructure here, and that’s one good thing he said.

Horrible things he said, but one good thing was let’s try to build up this American infrastructure. Let’s put the jobs here. Now he may not succeed, but we can sure build our bridges and roads and try to re-ignite our country economically. We know we’re sagging. We feel it.

Tavis: Whether Mike Pompeo, the future head of the CIA, or just an everyday American, sees this film, what is it about the film that will get them to reconsider their view of him if they take his…

Stone: You know, a film operates in a dramatic level. It’s…

Tavis: It’s powerful.

Stone: It’s human. It makes the human. You understand his story. The public didn’t understand Snowden in 2013. He thought he was–he’s a guy who gave away secrets. That makes him a bad guy in American parlance, but if you look into why he did it and what his life was like and look at his girlfriend, his relationship, he stayed human.

There was a part of him that was honest and pure, and I think we appeal to that in the American people and they will see why he did it. Many Americans would do the same thing if they could. The thing is, he had the courage at 29 years old.

At 29, imagine what you were like at 29. To walk away from the money, the job, the girlfriend? He had a beautiful life in Maryland, but he said no. My conscience is my guide and he lived up to it.

Tavis: This book is not by you, but it is about you. Tell me about “The Oliver Stone Experience”.

Stone: Well, I happen to like it [laugh]. Matt Seitz is a television critic for New York Magazine and he’s written about film extensively, loves film. He’s a man who’s not harshly judgmental, to put it that way, and he’s a very sweet man. He’s a good writer and he’s written about films and this is five years of his work.

He put it out and I gave him access to my files. He went through them. He used what he wanted. There was no negatives. I didn’t put any conditions on it, and this is what he wrote. Some of it, I agree with, some of it I don’t, but I think it’s interesting because, if you’re interested in any particular film I’ve done over those 20 films over, whatever, 25 years, it’s there.

Tavis: It’s called “The Oliver Stone Experience”, as he just said, analyzing his 20 films over this period. And the movie, “Snowden”, by Oliver Stone on Blu-ray and DVD December 27, if you want to have a copy in your personal library. Oliver Stone, always good to have you on the program, sir. Thanks for coming to see us.

Stone: My pleasure. That was fast.

Tavis: Always. You got so much to say, which is why we want you on.

Stone: Did we actually last for 24?

Tavis: We lasted. We got through it.

Stone: Really?

Tavis: Yes. That’s our show for tonight [laugh]. Thanks for watching…  And, as always, keep the faith.


All The Presidents’ BANKERS: The Hidden Alliances That Drive American Power

Who Rules America?

 All The Presidents’ Bankers is a groundbreaking narrative of how an elite group of men transformed the American economy and government, dictated foreign and domestic policy, and shaped world history.

Culled from original presidential archival documents, All The Presidents’ Bankers delivers an explosive account of the hundred-year interdependence between the White House and Wall Street that transcends a simple analysis of money driving politics, or greed driving bankers.

nomi-prins-journalistThe author, Nomi Prins, ushers the reader into the intimate world of exclusive clubs, vacation spots, and Ivy League universities that binds presidents and financiers.  She unravels the multi-generational blood, intermarriage, and protege relationships that have confined national influence to a privileged cluster of people.  These families and individuals recycle their power through elected office and private channels in Washington, DC.

All the Presidents’ Bankers sheds new light on pivotal historic events, such as why, after the Panic of 1907, America’s dominant bankers convened to fashion the Federal Reserve System; how J.P. Morgan’s ambitions motivated President Wilson during World War I; how Chase and National City Bank chairmen worked secretly with President Roosevelt to rescue capitalism during the Great Depression while J.P. Morgan Jr. invited Roosevelt’s son yachting; and how American financiers collaborated with President Truman to construct the World Bank and IMF after World War II.

Prins divulges how, through the Cold War and Vietnam era, presidents and bankers pushed America’s superpower status and expansion abroad, while promoting broadly democratic values and social welfare at  home.  But from the 1970s, Wall Street’s rush to secure Middle East oil profits altered the nature of political-financial alliances.  Bankers’ profit motive trumped heritage and allegiance to public service, while presidents lost control over the economy, as was dramatically evident in the financial crisis of 2008.

The unprecedented history of American power illuminates how the same financiers retained their authoritative position through history, swaying presidents regardless of party affiliation.  All the Presidents’ Bankers explores the alarming global repercussions of a system lacking barriers between public office and private power.  Prins leaves the reader with an ominous choice: either we break the alliances of the power elite, or they will break us.



Economic Collapse, Bailout & All The Presidents’ Bankers with Nomi Prins
BuzzSaw interview (September 5, 2014)

The following is an excerpt from ALL THE PRESIDENTS’ BANKERS: The Hidden Alliances that Drive American Power by Nomi Prins (on sale April 8, 2014).  Reprinted with permission from Nation Books. Nomi Prins is a former managing director at Goldman Sachs.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / the associated press Wall Street executives Lloyd Blankfein, Jamie Dimon, John Mack and Brian Moynihan (from left) are sworn-in prior to testifying before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission Wednesday.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais / the associated press
Wall Street executives Lloyd Blankfein, Jamie Dimon, John Mack and Brian Moynihan (from left) are sworn-in prior to testifying before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission Wednesday.

When What Was Good for Wall Street Was Good for the President

Wall Street’s War

While the protests against the Vietnam War intensified in the first years of the Nixon administration, the financial elite was fighting its own war—over the future of banking and against Glass-Steagall regulations. National City Bank chairman Walter Wriston was a steadfast warrior in related battles, as he fought with Chase chairman David Rockefeller for supremacy over the US banker community and for dominance over global finance.

Rockefeller’s sights were set on a grander prize, one with worldwide implications: ending the financial cold war. He made his mark in that regard by opening the first US bank in Moscow since the 1920s, and the first in Beijing since the 1949 revolution.

Augmenting their domestic and international expansion plans, both men and their banks prospered from the emerging and extremely lucrative business of recycling petrodollars from the Middle East into third world countries. By acting as the middlemen—capturing oil revenues and transforming them into high-interest-rate loans, to Latin America in particular—bankers accentuated disparities in global wealth. They dumped loans into developing countries and made huge amounts of money in the process. By funneling profits into debts, they caused extreme pain in the debtor nations, especially when the oil-producing nations began to raise their prices. This raised the cost of energy and provoked a wave of inflation that further oppressed these third world nations, the US population, and other economies throughout the world.

Bank Holding Company Battles

When Eisenhower signed the 1956 Bank Holding Company Act banning interstate banking, he left a large loophole as a conciliatory gambit: a gray area as to what big banks could consider “financially-related business,” which fell under their jurisdiction. In practice, that meant that they could find ways to expand their breadth of services while they figured out ways to grow their domestic grab for depositors. On May 26, 1970, the “Big Three” bankers— Wriston and Rockefeller, along with Alden “Tom” Clausen, chairman of Bank America Corporation—appeared before the Senate Banking and Currency Committee to press their case for widening the loophole.

During the proceedings, Wriston led the charge on behalf of his brethren in the crusade. Tall, slim, elegantly dressed, and the most articulate of the three, he dramatically called on Congress to “throw off some of the shackles on banking which inhibit competition in the financial markets.”

The global financial landscape was evolving. Ever since World War II, US bankers hadn’t worried too much about their supremacy being challenged by other international banks, which were still playing catch-up in terms of deposits, loans, and global customers. But by now the international banks had moved beyond postwar reconstructive pain and gained significant ground by trading with Cold War enemies of the United States. They were, in short, cutting into the global market that the US bankers had dominated by extending themselves into areas in which the US bankers were absent for US policy reasons. There was no such thing as “enough” of a market share in this game. As a result, US bankers had to take a longer, harder look at the “shackles” hampering their growth. To remain globally competitive, among other things, bankers sought to shatter post-Depression legislative barriers like Glass-Steagall.

They wielded fear coated in shades of nationalism as a weapon: if US bankers became less competitive, then by extension the United States would become less powerful. The competition argument would remain dominant on Wall Street and in Washington for nearly three decades, until the separation of speculative and commercial banking that had been invoked by the Glass-Steagall Act would be no more.

Wriston deftly equated the expansion of US banking with general US global progress and power. It wasn’t so much that this connection hadn’t occurred to presidents or bankers since World War II; indeed, that was how the political-financial alliances had been operating. But from that point on, the notion was formally and publicly verbalized, and placed on the congressional record. The idea that commercial banks served the country and perpetuated its global identity and strength, rather than the other way around, became a key argument for domestic deregulation—even if, in practice, it was the country that would serve the banks.

The Penn Central Debacle

There was, however, a fly in the ointment. To increase their size, bankers wanted to be able to accumulate more services or branches beneath the holding company umbrella. But a crisis in another industry would give some legislators pause. The Penn Central meltdown, the first financial crisis of Nixon’s presidency, temporarily dampened the ardency of deregulation enthusiasts. The collapse of the largest, most diverse railroad holding company in America was blamed on overzealous bank lending to a plethora of non-railroad-oriented entities under one holding company umbrella. The debacle renewed debate about a stricter bank holding company bill.

Under Wriston’s guidance, National City had spearheaded a fifty-three-bank syndicate to lend $500 million in revolving credit to Penn Central, even when it showed obvious signs of imminent implosion.

Penn Central had been one of the leading US corporations in the 1960s. President Johnson had supported the merger that spawned the conglomerate on behalf of a friend, railroad merger specialist Stuart Saunders, who became chairman. He had done this over the warnings of the Justice Department and despite allegations of antitrust violations called by its competitors. With nary a regulator paying attention, Penn Central had morphed into more than a railroad holding company, encompassing real estate, hotels, pipelines, and theme parks. Meanwhile, highways, cars, and commercial airlines had chipped away at Penn Central’s dominant market position. To try to compensate,
Penn Central had delved into a host of speculative expansions and deals. That strategy was failing fast. By May 1970, Penn Central was feverishly drawing on its credit lines just to scrounge up enough cash to keep going.

The conglomerate demonstrated that holding companies could be mere shell constructions under which other unrelated businesses could exist, much as the 1920s holding companies housed reckless financial ventures under utility firm banners.

Allegations circulated that Rockefeller had launched a five-day selling strategy of Penn Central stock, culminating with the dumping of 134,400 shares on the fifth day, based on insider information he received as one of the firm’s key lenders. He denied the charges.

In a joint effort with the bankers to hide the Penn Central debacle behind a shield of federal bailout loans, the Pentagon stepped in, claiming that assisting Penn Central was a matter of national defense.5 Under the auspices of national security, Washington utilized the Defense Production Act of 1950, a convenient bill passed at the start of the Korean War that enabled the president to force businesses to prioritize national security–related endeavors.

On June 21, 1970, Penn Central filed for bankruptcy, becoming the first major US corporation to go bust since the Depression. Its failure was not an isolated incident by any means. Instead, it was one of a number of major defaults that shook the commercial paper market to its core. (“Commercial paper” is a term for the short-term promissory notes sold by large corporations to raise quick money, backed only by their promise to pay the amount of the note at the end of its term, not by any collateral.) But the agile bankers knew how to capitalize on that turmoil. When companies stopped borrowing in the flailing commercial paper market, they had to turn to major banks like Chase for loans instead. As a result, the worldwide loans of Chase, First National City Bank, and Bank of America surged to $27.7 billion by the end of 1971, more than double the 1969 total of $13 billion.

A year later, the largest US defense company, Lockheed, was facing bankruptcy, as well. Again bankers found a way to come out ahead on the people’s dime. Lockheed’s bankers at Bank of America and Bankers Trust led a syndicate that petitioned the Defense Department for a bailout on similar national security grounds. The CEO, Daniel Haughton, even agreed to step down if an appropriate government loan was provided.

In response, the Nixon administration offered $250 million in emergency loans to Lockheed—in effect, bailing out the banks and the corporation. To explain the bailout at a time when the general economy was struggling, Nixon introduced the Lockheed Emergency Loan Act by stating, “It will have a major impact on the economy of California, and will contribute greatly to the economic strength of the country as a whole.” After the bill was passed, not a single Lockheed executive stepped down.

It would take several years of political-financial debate and more bailouts to sustain Penn Central. One 1975 article labeled the entire episode “The Penn-C Fairy Tale” and condemned the subsequent federal bailout: “While the country is in the worst recession since the depression and unemployment lines grow longer every day, Congress is dumping another third of a billion dollars of your tax payer dollars down the railroad rat hole.” (The incident was prologue: Congress would lavish hundreds of billions of dollars to sustain the biggest banks after the 2008 financial crisis, topped up by trillions of dollars from the Fed and the Treasury Department in the form of loans, bond purchases, and other subsidies.)

More Bank Holding Company Politics

Despite the Penn Central crisis, the revised Bank Holding Company Act decisively passed the Senate on September 16, 1970, by a bipartisan vote of seventy-seven to one. The final version was far more lenient than the one that Texas Democrat John William Wright Patman, chair of the House Committee on Banking and Currency, or even the Nixon administration had originally envisioned. The revised act allowed big banks to retain nonbank units acquired before June 1968. It also gave the Fed greater regulatory authority over bank holding companies, including the power to determine what constituted one. Language was added to enable banks to be considered one-bank holding companies if they, or any of their subsidiaries, held any deposits or extended any commercial loans, thus broadening their scope.

President Nixon signed the bill into law without fanfare on New Year’s Eve 1970. In fact, his inner circle decided against making a splash about it. They didn’t think the public would understand or care. Plus, they realized that there was a prevailing attitude that the Nixon administration had favored the big banks, and though it had, this was not something they wanted to draw attention to.

The End of the Gold Standard

The top six banks controlled 20 percent of the nation’s deposits through one-bank holding companies, but second place in that group wasn’t good enough for Wriston, who noted to the Nixon administration that his bank was really the “caretaker of the aspirations of millions of people” whose money it held. Wriston flooded the New York Fed with proposals for expansion. His applications “were said to represent as many as half of the total of all of the banks.” The Fed was so overwhelmed, it had to enlist First National City Bank to interpret the new law on its behalf.

By mid-1971, the Fed had approved thirteen and rejected seven of Wriston’s applications. His biggest disappointment was the insurance underwriting rejection. The possibility of converting depositors for insurance business had been tantalizing. It would continue to be a hard-fought, ultimately successful battle.

Around the same time, New York governor Nelson Rockefeller (David Rockefeller’s brother) approved legislation permitting banks to set up subsidiaries in each of the state’s nine banking districts. This was a gift for Wriston and David Rockefeller, because it meant their banks could expand within the state. Each subsidiary could open branches through June 1976, when the districts would be eliminated and banks could merge and branch freely.

Several months later, First National City Bank was paying generous prices to purchase the tiniest upstate banks, from which it began extending loans to the riskiest companies and getting hosed in the process; a minor David vs. Goliath revenge of local banks against Wall Street muscle.

By that time, the stock market had turned bearish, and foreign countries were increasingly demanding their paper dollars be converted into gold as they shifted funds out of dollar reserves. Bankers, meanwhile, postured for a dollar devaluation, which would make their cost of funds cheaper and enable them to expand their lending businesses.

They knew that the fastest way to further devalue the dollar was to sever it from gold, and they made their opinions clear to Nixon, taking care to blame the devaluation on external foreign speculation, not their own movement of capital and lending abroad.

The strategy worked. On August 15, 1971, Nixon bashed the “international money speculators” in a televised speech, stating, “Because they thrive on crises they help to create them.”16 He noted that “in recent weeks the speculators have been waging an all-out war on the American dollar.” His words were true in essence, yet they were chosen to exclude the actions of the major US banks, which were also selling the dollar. Foreign central banks had access to US gold through the Bretton Woods rules, and they exercised this access. Exchanging dollars for gold had the effect of decreasing the value of the US dollar relative to that gold. Between January and August 1971, European banks (aided by US banks with European branches) catalyzed a $20 billion gold outflow.

As John Butler wrote in The Golden Revolution, “By July 1971, the US gold reserves had fallen sharply, to under $10 billion, and at the rate things were going, would be exhausted in weeks. [Treasury Secretary John] Connally was tasked with organizing an emergency weekend meeting of Nixon’s various economic and domestic policy advisers. At 2:30 p.m. on August 13, they gathered, in secret, at Camp David to decide how to respond to the incipient run on the dollar.”

Nixon’s solution, pressed by the banking community, was to abandon the gold standard. In his speech the president informed Americans that he had directed Connally to “suspend temporarily the convertibility of the dollar into gold or other reserve assets.” He promised this would “defend the dollar against the speculators.” Because Bretton Woods didn’t allow for dollar devaluation, Nixon effectively ended the accord that had set international currency parameters since World War II, signaling the beginning of the end of the gold standard.

Once the dollar was no longer backed by gold, questions surfaced as to what truly backed it (besides the US military). According to Butler, “The Bretton Woods regime was doomed to fail as it was not compatible with domestic US economic policy objectives which, from the mid-1960s onwards, were increasingly inflationary.”

It wasn’t simply policy that was inflationary. The expansion of debt via the joint efforts of the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve was greatly augmented by the bankers’ drive to loan more funds against their capital base. That established a debt inflation policy, which took off after the dissolution of Bretton Woods. Without the constraint of keeping gold in reserve to back the dollar, bankers could increase their leverage and speculate more freely, while getting money more easily from the Federal Reserve’s discount window. Abandoning the gold standard and “floating” the dollar was like navigating the waters of global finance without an anchor to slow down the dispersion of money and loans. For the bankers, this made expansion much easier.

Indeed, on September 24, 1971, Chase board director and former Treasury Secretary C. Douglas Dillon (chairman of the Brookings Institution and, from 1972 to 1975, the Rockefeller Foundation) told Connally that “under no circumstances should we ever go back to assuming limited convertibility into gold.” Chase Board chairman David Rockefeller wrote National Security Adviser (and later Secretary of State) Henry Kissinger to recommend “a reevaluation of foreign currencies, a devaluation of the dollar, removal of the U.S. import surcharge and ‘buy America’ credits, and a new international monetary system with greater flexibility . . . and less reliance on gold.”

With the dollar devalued, investors poured money into stocks, fueling a rally from November 1971 led by the “Nifty Fifty,” a group of “respectable” big-cap growth stocks. These were being bought “like greyhounds chasing a mechanical rabbit” by pension funds, insurance companies, and trust funds. The Chicago Board of Trade began trading options on individual stocks in 1973 to increase the avenues for betting; speculators could soon thereafter trade futures on currencies and bonds.

The National Association of Securities Dealers rendered all this trading easier on February 8, 1971, when it launched the NASDAQ. The first computerized quote system enabled market makers to post and transact over-the-counter prices quickly. With the stock market booming again, NASDAQ became a more convenient avenue for Wall Street firms to raise money. Many abandoned their former partnership models whereby the firm’s partners risked their own capital for the firm, in favor of raising capital by selling the public shares. That way, the upside—and the growing risk—would also be diffused and transferred to shareholders. Merrill Lynch was one of the first major investment bank partnerships to go “public” in 1971. Other classic industry leaders quickly followed suit.

Meanwhile, corporations were finding prevailing lower interest rates more attractive. Instead of getting loans from banks, they could fund themselves more cheaply by issuing bonds in the capital markets. This took business away from commercial banks, which were restricted by domestic regulation from acting as issuing agents. But bankers had positioned themselves on both sides of the Atlantic to get around this problem, so they were covered by the shift in their major customers’ financing preferences. While their ability to service corporate demand was dampened at home, overseas it roared. Currency market turmoil also led many countries to the Eurodollar market for credit, where US banks were waiting. Thus, the credit extended through international branches of major US banks tripled to $4.5 billion from 1969 to 1972.

The market rally, cheered on by the media, was enough to bolster Nixon’s fortunes. In the fall of 1972, Nixon was reelected in a landslide on promises to end the Vietnam War with “peace and honor.” Wall Street reaped the benefits of a bull market, and more citizens and companies were sucked into new debt products. The Dow hit a 1970s peak of 1,052 points in January 1973, as Nixon began his second term.

Maverick and the Coalition with Tamara take the stage for Escondido City Mayor’s “Unity In The Community”

Clifford “Maverick” Taylor Fleischbein is now working for fun in his return to the stage, performing his energetic guitar playing and singing with the young and vibrant Tamara Rodriguez:


The collaboration of these two artists will bring the musical sounds like “I Talked To ItalianO” with the fine blending of Techo-Pop sounds with Maverick’s unique and discernible guitar chops:


How Wolves Changed the Eco System of Yellow Stone National Park

Published on Feb 13, 2014

If you likes How Wolves Change Rivers, check out How Whales Change Climate:…

For more from George Monbiot, visit and for more on “rewilding” visit and/or check out George Monbiot’s book Feral: rewilding the land, the sea and human life:

NOTE: There are “elk” pictured in this video when the narrator is referring to “deer.” This is because the narrator is British and the British word for “elk” is “red deer” or “deer” for short. The scientific report this is based on refers to elk so we wanted to be accurate with the truth of the story.

“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.” – John Muir

When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in the United States after being absent nearly 70 years, the most remarkable “trophic cascade” occurred. What is a trophic cascade and how exactly do wolves change rivers? George Monbiot explains in this movie remix.

Narration from TED: “For more wonder, rewild the world” by George Monbiot. Watch the full talk, here:

B-Roll Credits:
“Greater Yellowstone Coalition – Wolves” (
“Wolf Mountain” (
“Primodial – Yellowstone” (
“Timelapse: Yellowstone National Park” (
“Yellowstone” (
“Howling Wolves – Heulende Wölfe” (
“Fooled by Nature: Beaver Dams” (

Music Credits:
“Unfoldment, Revealment, Evolution, Exposition, Integration, Arson” by Chris Zabriskie (

This video was edited by Steve Agnos with editorial assistance from Chris Agnos (who also conceived the idea for the video) the brothers behind Sustainable Man. For more from Steve Agnos visit or

For any concerns or questions, you may contact us at

FAIR USE NOTICE: This video may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes only. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 106A-117 of the US Copyright Law.