In This Edition: Enrongate - OK, Let's Play 20 Questions....- Times They Are A Changing - Travel Agents Perks - Civilian Casualties Are Not News - The Die Has Been Cast
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Enrongate - OK, Let's Play 20 Questions....
Q: When the Mexican bailout occurred and the Russian IMF loans in 1998 happened, were did the money go?
It went from one bank account at a NY Fed member bank to another bank account at another NY Fed member bank, indeed it appears that the money never digitally or physically left Wall Street.....
Ok, so lets not talk about money missing from Mexico or Russia, but from the USA....Money missing from US Treasury, HUD and DOD.....
Q: Who is the US depository for the US Treasury?
NY Fed....that is, Morgan-Chase, Citibank, Bank of New York, Goldman, etc....
Q: Who handles all the accounts for the HUD servicing?
Q: Who are the primary dealers on the US Treasury auctions?
Morgan-Chase, Citibank, Bank of New York, Goldman
Q: Who are the firms accused on manipulating the gold market by GATA?
Fed, Morgan-Chase, Citibank, Goldman
GATA also says that there appear to be manipulations of the stock market by the Treasury/Fed...something they call the "plunge protection team."
Q: What dealers are doing that?
Fed, Morgan-Chase, Citibank, Goldman, etc.
Q: Who laundered $3 trillion out of the US Gov't? Where did it go? Who got it?
Don't know but it could not have been pulled out without Fed, Morgan-Chase, Citibank, Goldman knowing how much and where it went....
Q: How did they launder the money offshore?
Q: Who were Enron's big trading partners?
Morgan-Chase, Citibank, Goldman, etc.
Q: Who were Enron's big lenders and investment bankers?
Morgan-Chase, Citibank, Goldman, UBS
Q: How much were Swiss Bank accounts up as of March 2001?
Swiss bank accounts were up by an unexpected $8 trillion in on shore and off shore accounts
Q: The most sensitive Enron trading records were in Enron On Line. It was just auctioned. Who were the big bidders?
Morgan-Chase, Citibank, etc.
Q: Who won control of Enron OnLine?
UBS, one of the largest Swiss banks
Q: Who is the most recent board member of UBS?
Lawrence Weinbach, former Chairman of Arthur Andersen
Q: Other board connections?
Pug Winokur, chairman of Enron's finance committee, is chairman of the compensation committee of the DynCorp board and has a partner who is on the DynCorp board with him, Dudley Mecum who is on Citibank's board. Frank Savage is also a member of Lockheed Martin's board. DynCorp and Lockheed manage substantial information and accounting/payment systems for the agencies with missing money and the agencies in charge of enforcement.
Enron's reported sales through 2000 represented a five year 57% increase.
Q: Did any of that money flow through Houston or did it just flow around NY Fed bank accounts and their offshore correspondents?
Q: And did it flow from a NY Fed bank account that said "US Treasury" on it?
Q: How long would it take DynCorp, manager of the PROMIS system for DOJ paid by the taxpayer, to determine sources and uses of money through the Enron trading accounts and find and seize all offshore Enron monies?
Q: How long would it take a company like Lockheed and DynCorp to help steal it?
Q: How long would an incoming Bush Administration have to keep Enron afloat before the banks had all the money trails safely destroyed?
Q: Why has the DOJ allowed Enron time to sell Enron OnLine and time to shred all their documents and to allow Arthur Andersen time to shred their documents?
Catherine Austin Fitts firstname.lastname@example.org
Times They Are A Changing - Travel Agents Perks
The problems facing travel agents selling Air New Zealand web-site discounted tickets but not receiving a commission for doing so, and Air New Zealand ramping up its sale of seats over the web, is symptomatic of a wider challenge facing retailers generally.
In the past, a manufacturing business starting up generally had either its own associated outlet(s) through which it sold its goods, or the goods were distributed to points of sale through a network of wholesalers or direct to the retailer.
As demand increased, the manufacturer fount it was more efficient and profitable to concentrate on its manufacturing arm and dispense with its own shops, leaving it up to the retailers to recoup those costs (and gain profits) through their mark up of the wholesale cost.
Over the years a cosy relationship developed between the manufacturer, distributor and retailer at the expense of the consumer.
Two things have changed over recent years and more so since the advent of Internet shopping.
Firstly, as competition from cheaper imported and parallel imported goods increased the margins (and therefore profit) came under pressure and decreased as all in the relationship have had to adjust their pricing down to stay in the race.
Secondly, and more importantly, more and more manufacturers have been resorting to the sale of their product direct to the consumer.
This was first (and still is) by direct mail-order or advertising outside of their manufacturing locality and more recently on the Internet with comprehensive web-sites providing a one-stop shop for their product.
This has the effect of increasing their margins tremendously as it still includes some, if not all the distribution cost as well as a good proportion of the ultimate retail margin.
Distribution is generally achieved either through couriers or carrier companies with the consumer footing the bill.
Meanwhile, the Wholesale and Retailer are finding the movement and sale of the product ranges decreasing while continuing to meet their own fixed overheads.
The Travel Agent is now finding itself in a similar dilemma of fixed or increasing overheads competing with a diminishing return driven by a demand for lower pricing.
My guess is that it is not so much what Air New Zealand are doing (no longer playing by the old established rules and cosy duopoly with Travel Agents) but more the fact the decline in business and commissions enjoyed by them will result in business failures and consequent job losses.
While I sympathise with them, the emergence of "no frills" airlines and the Internet had the writing on the wall.
In the words of singer/songwriter Bob Dylan "Times they are a changing" , none more so than in this Technological Revolution which makes the Industrial Revolution seem positively pedestrian.
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Civilian Casualties Are Not News
It seems that about 90% of the American public and 100% of the American Establishment have absolutely no qualms about ferociously attacking anyone who dares make a connection between the United States' past foreign policy actions and what happened on 11 September.
It also seems that any suggestion that the cruel, illegal and unjustifiable revenge rained upon the Afghan people has caused more civilian casualties than 11 September is dismissed as Taliban propaganda, or even worse, simply ignored. One of the most forthright such dismissals comes in a TV quote I have seen several times. Michael Barone, longtime conservative commentator, columnist and Fox News pundit bluntly states: "Civilian casualties are not news. The fact is that they accompany wars."
It's a good point, I suppose. Since bin Laden et al have declared war on the US, and since the US has also said they are now at war, then the 3,000 or so civilian casualties in New York are obviously not even newsworthy. Collateral damage that is of little real consequence. Whoever planned 11 September certainly wanted to show that they could carry out devastating assaults on the symbols (and the very core) of US economic, military and political power. The last one seems to have been foiled over Pennsylvania. But civilian casualties? They might say that the Pentagon and other targets like the CIA or Whitehouse could never be considered civilian targets. And the WTC? They also might say this was a carefully chosen targeting of people who are their enemies, and that collateral damage is just too bad.
If anyone reading this thinks I am trying to condone or justify the despicable crimes of 11 September, think again. It was an horrific crime that should be investigated an punished for in a lawful way. No, what I am actually trying to get at is the fact that in the US and mainstream Western media, collateral damage (killing civilians) is a crime when it occurs in the US, but it is not even important enough to report when it occurs in Afghanistan.
Last year I even wrote to Helen Clark twice regarding these issues. I got two identical form letters telling me the points I had raised would be put in front of the Prime Minister. These days you don't even get a form letter to say that they will eventually get around to responding to the issues raised. You get nothing for your efforts to participate democratically beyond the triennial trip to the polling booth! I also read on Scoop that Clarke was uncomfortable when questioned about civilian Afghan casualties, and made some comment to the effect that they were an unfortunate part of war. It's a dirty job, eh, Helen, keeping up with the bin Ladens and Bushes of this world?
These issues won't just go away, though. They will come back to haunt the US and NZ for a long time to come.
The Die Has Been Cast
First we had the Prime Minister testing the water on Republicanism.
Encouraged by the general lack of adverse reaction, she rapidly moved to abolish the opportunity for New Zealanders to be rewarded for their efforts in the Queen's Honours list.
With little if any public debate, she replaced it with a system of New Zealand's own (not a bad move in itself, just somewhat incongruous without taking the first step).
She follows this with much trumpeting about the $2bn ($870 million of which had already been allocated by the way) to be spent on Defence. Not that much really when one considers it is over a 10-year period which only amounts to $200 million a year spread over the entire defence budget.
All starts to become clear when it is subsequently announced nearly $1bn goes to re-equipping the Army with the majority to be spent in the first 5-years.
Unfortunately, the bulk of this goes to transporting and re-equipping the good old foot soldier that, in today's military environment, is almost as anachronistic as the battle tank.
When did we last see even a light tank (Korean War). When did we last see or deploy any heavy artillery (Vietnam War).
Next she disbands the Air strike wing of the Airforce leaving us with what amounts to nothing more than a New Zealand Air Wing and a weak one at that.
Expenditure on the remnants of this once illustrious force has not yet (to my knowledge) been itemised but is expected to relate to new Hercules, upgrading the Orions and a few helicopters.
And now we see $500 million being allocated to 1 new multi-role vessel, 2 (or may be 3) offshore patrol vessels and the present fleet (4) inshore patrol boats to be upgraded or replaced.
The purchases would allow the navy to meet a wider range of needs in terms of economic security, humanitarian support, fisheries patrol and core naval functions (I wonder just what these are).
In view of the total dumbing down of our defence capabilities, I am surprised the Prime Minister has not yet issued an edict that does away with all Royal Warrants, disbands the New Zealand Defence Force (Force being another anachronism) and its three Services.
She could then unilaterally declare (as she is prone to do) the establishment of a New Zealand National Command made up of The National Guard and Tactical Unit (in recognition of the SAS) to replace the Army. The Extended Range Coastguard to replace the Navy and the Air Support Wing to replace the Airforce.
As a final measure in this whole sorry saga, she takes the opportunity during the Queen's visit to acquaint Her Majesty with the facts of Pacific life according to Helen and advise Her Majesty that Aotearoa-New Zealand is henceforth a Republic and good luck.