On one front after another, the Federal Reserve is coming under siege.
On Saturday, to begin, the hacker group calling itself “Anonymous” issued a video manifesto calling for “a relentless campaign of nonviolent, peaceful civil disobedience.”
“We aim to break up the global banking cartel centered at the Federal Reserve, International Monetary Fund, Bank of International Settlements [sic] and World Bank,” Anonymous says.
The group has been around for years, but made its biggest impact last fall, when WikiLeaks began releasing its stash of State Department cables.
As Amazon, PayPal, Visa and MasterCard all cut off their business ties with WikiLeaks, Anonymous launched “distributed denial of service” attacks – basically slamming their websites with so much traffic until they were forced to shut down.
“As a first sign of good faith,” says the manifesto, “we demand Ben Bernanke step down as Federal Reserve chairman.”
This morning, Anonymous released some emails given to them by a former employee at Bank of America. The emails are separate from the BoA documents that WikiLeaks is sitting on.
The emails haven’t been independently verified…but they appear to show that, among other things, loan numbers were routinely falsified with the intent of putting mortgage holders in default. You think the “robo-signing” scandal was a big deal? Wait until this one gets legs.
Anonymous is nothing if not ambitious. And they have a rising tide of public anger on their side.
Then, on the same day the tsunami devoured 100 miles of Japanese coastline, New York Fed chief William Dudley – a 21-year vet of Goldman Sachs – stepped out of his bubble to explain Fed policy to real people in Queens.
It might not have been the first time Dudley attempted to gain the trust of the hoi polloi, but we’re pretty sure it’ll be the last. The details here were reported widely. We divined the scene from a Reuters report.
First Dudley swore up and down that inflation was no problem. “When was the last time, sir,” came a reply from the audience, “that you went grocery shopping?”
Dudley boldly proceeded to explain the concept of “core CPI” – the cost-of-living measure designed for people who don’t eat or consume energy. Heh, we know firsthand how well that goes over…
Then in a brilliant stroke, he pointed to Apple’s shiny new iPad 2 to illustrate his point. “Today you can buy an iPad 2 that costs the same as an iPad 1 that is twice as powerful,” he gamely explained. “You have to look at the prices of all things.”
“I can’t eat an iPad,” someone yelled from the crowd. How big a leap is it from “I can’t eat an iPad” to “douse myself with gasoline and light my body on fire in the street”, we wondered while reading the report. Depends entirely on who’s listening, we suspect.
An Anonymous Attack on the “Global Banking Cartel” originally appeared in the Daily Reckoning. The Daily Reckoning now provides over half a million subscribers with literary economic perspective, global market analysis, and contrarian investment ideas.