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How Economists Duped Us into Attacking Capitalism Instead of Parasitic Rent-Seeking
By Dustin Mineau
Posted December 3, 2016

economic parasitesHave you ever heard of the term "economic rent"? No? That's probably because of the greatest political coup in the history of our republic. In politics, true power comes – not from your argument – but from the ability to steer the conversation to what you want to talk about and away from what you don't want to talk about. The true elites in our society have continued "winning" the political debate by removing a very important concept from the political conversation.

However, for anyone who actually read Adam Smith, you would note that the "invisible hand" was not his only observation of the inner workings of capitalism. Adam Smith recognized that many in the economy were making gobs of money, but weren't contributing anything. He was referring to what was eventually called "economic rent". More...

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To Really 'Make America Great Again,' End the Fed!
By Ron Paul
Posted December 1, 2016

Ron PaulFormer Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President Richard Fisher recently gave a speech identifying the Federal Reserve's easy money/low interest rate policies as a source of the public anger that propelled Donald Trump into the White House. Mr. Fisher is certainly correct that the Fed's policies have "skewered" the middle class. However, the problem is not specific Fed policies, but the very system of fiat currency managed by a secretive central bank.

Federal Reserve-generated increases in money supply cause economic inequality. This is because, when the Fed acts to increase the money supply, well-to-do investors and other crony capitalists are the first recipients of the new money. These economic elites enjoy an increase in purchasing power before the Fed's inflationary policies lead to mass price increases. This gives them a boost in their standard of living. More...

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A Living Wealth Money System
by David Korten
Posted November 29, 2016

living wealth systemMoney, a relatively recent invention, is one of the most useful and beneficial of human technologies. And though it impacts on every aspect of modern life, it is so familiar and its existence so much taken for granted, we rarely step back to reflect on its real nature and significance. See Money Is…

As with any powerful technology, it can also be used that are harmful. The illusions and distortions of our current human relationship to money actively threatens our very survival as a species.

The proper function of any system of money creation and allocation is to match idle real wealth resources with unmet needs of people, communities, and nature. When bankers are reaping multi-million dollar bonuses for themselves while essential needs of millions of people go unmet in the midst of widespread unemployment, it is a powerful indicator of a failed economic system and more particularly of a failed money system. More...

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Half Of The Population Of The World Is Dirt Poor – And The Global Elite Want To Keep It That Way
By Michael Snyder
Posted November 28, 2016

elites want it allCould you survive on just $2.50 a day? According to Compassion International, approximately half of the population of the entire planet currently lives on $2.50 a day or less. Meanwhile, those hoarding wealth at the very top of the global pyramid are rapidly becoming a lot wealthier.

Don't get me wrong – I am a very big believer in working hard and contributing something of value to society, and those that work the hardest and contribute the most should be able to reap the rewards. In this article I am in no way, shape or form criticizing true capitalism, because if true capitalism were actually being practiced all over the planet we would have far, far less poverty today. Instead, our planet is dominated by a heavily socialized debt-based central banking system that systematically transfers wealth from hard working ordinary citizens to the global elite. Those at the very top of the pyramid know that they are impoverishing everyone else, and they very much intend to keep it that way. More...

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What Does It Take to Survive Where You Live?
By Richard Eskow
Posted November 23, 2016

living wageHow much does it take to get by where you live? A new report concludes that current federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour doesn't come close, anywhere in the United States. It takes more than $15 per hour to earn a living wage in most states. When you throw in the rising cost of student debt, low-income Americans are even further underwater.

The report, "Waiting for the Payoff: How Low Wages and Student Debt Keep Prosperity Out of Reach (pdf)," was issued this week by the People's Action Institute. What does it take to get by where you live? A dollars-and-cents answer can be found in this chart, which lays out the living wage in every state. More...

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From Higher Education to Water Treatment, Financialization Is Harming Our Economy
By Carrie Sloan
Posted November 22, 2016

cheering for your teamOne of the standout features of our increasingly financialized economy is a systemic disinvestment in public goods such as infrastructure and education. As the finance sector hoards the wealth our economy produces, wages stagnate, corporations and the wealthy avoid contributing their rightful share in taxes, and money and power coalesces at the top, revenues at all levels of government have declined.

Correspondingly, we have witnessed a turn to austerity measures including big cuts to the budgets of the entities that provide vital public goods, from water to public education. This is no accident -- it's a feature of a rigged economic system in which austerity is the price most of us pay for the wealthiest to get even wealthier. More...

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Trump's $1 Trillion Infrastructure Plan: Lincoln Had a Bolder Solution
By Ellen Brown
Posted November 19, 2016

Lincoln created greenbacksDonald Trump was an outsider who boldly stormed the citadel of Washington DC and won. He has promised real change, but his infrastructure plan appears to be just more of the same -- privatizing public assets and delivering unearned profits to investors at the expense of the people. He needs to try something new; and for this he could look to Abraham Lincoln, whose bold solution was very similar to one now being considered in Europe: just print the money.

Raise taxes, add to the federal debt, privatize -- there is nothing new here. The president-elect needs another alternative; and there is one, something he is evidently open to. In May 2016, when challenged over the risk of default from the mounting federal debt, he said, "You never have to default, because you print the money." The Federal Reserve has already created trillions of dollars for the 1% by just printing the money. The new president could create another trillion for the majority of the 99% who elected him. More...

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Modi Heats Up Indian War Against Cash
By Jeff Berwick
Posted November 13, 2016

war on cashThe battle for a cash-only world is getting hotter. The latest battlefront? India.

Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi – beloved of Western elites for a variety of reasons – has just announced that all 500 Indian rupee Notes ($7.50) and 1,000 Indian rupee ($15) notes will no longer be considered legal tender. The 500 and 1,000 rupee, by the way, are the two largest denominations in India. Equivalent to the US banning the $100 and $50. More...

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Here's How Wall Street Is Ripping You Off, and What You Can Do About It
By Pam Martens and Russ Martens
Posted November 9, 2016

see no evil, speak no evil, hear no evilMembers of Congress were absolutely shocked – shocked! – that the employees of the commercial bank of Wells Fargo had created several million accounts and credit cards that their customers had never asked for simply to meet sales quotas set by the bank and/or to obtain bonuses.

But what is going on every single day at the brokerage firms owned by all of these banking giants is that the stock broker (variously called a financial consultant, financial adviser or Vice President of Investments) is able to triple the commission he collects on the bonds he sells you at his discretion. It's been that way for 30 years, if not longer. More...

Anyone who thinks thinks that either Trump or Clinton will do anything about this, is living an illusion.

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Wall Street Today: Fake Accounts, Fake Money, Fake Courts, Fake Regulators
By Pam Martens and Russ Martens
Posted November 4, 2016

Wall Street fraudThe Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced that Wells Fargo was paying $185 million in fines and penalties for allowing its employees to open "more than two million deposit and credit card accounts" that were not authorized by its customers. The employees were attempting to "hit sales targets and receive bonuses." In one of the most audacious forms of bank fraud, according to the CFPB, employees actually "transferred funds from consumers' authorized accounts to temporarily fund the new, unauthorized accounts." This resulted in untold numbers of customers being charged for insufficient funds in their legitimate accounts or paying overdraft fees.

If anyone ever doubted Senator Bernie Sanders when he repeatedly said during campaign stops that fraud has become a business model on Wall Street, that debate is over. According to the CFPB, this conduct at Wells Fargo went on for five years. Yesterday, Fortune's Stephen Gandel reported that the woman who headed up this division at Wells Fargo, Carrie Tolstedt, will be "walking away with $124.6 million in stock, options, and restricted Wells Fargo shares." Fraud is not only a business model but a road to riches for the overlords on Wall Street. Just ask John Paulson, Sandy Weill, Robert Rubin, John Reed, and Jamie Dimon. More...

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Positive Money: Our Proposals
Posted October 27, 2016

If someone told you that a mountain of personal debt could be cleared via 3 simple changes to the way that money and banking works, would you like to know how? Would you like to see a more stable economy, with more jobs, less personal and government debt? Would you like to see money created free of debt and going into the real economy and support businesses, instead of getting trapped in financial and property markets?
This video explains how 3 simple changes to the way that money and banking works would make all this (and much more) possible. More...

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How the Vampire Squid Gambled – And Lost $1.2 Billion in Sovereign Wealth
by Shah Gilani
Posted October 11, 2016

Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd BlankfeinOn March 18, 2016, the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA), a sovereign wealth fund set up by dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in 2006, filed suit in London at The High Court of Justice's Chancery Division against Goldman Sachs International. The suit claims the fund paid Goldman approximately $350 million to set up trades the LIA says it didn't understand, which lost the fund $1.2 billion, everything it invested.

Instead of fraud, the LIA claims its "causes of action" are "undue influence" and "unconscionable bargain." Goldman decided not to settle and believes it can beat the charges because, you know, there was never any undue influence and Goldman Sachs is not unconscionable. More...

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The big banking scandal Wall Street is hiding from you
by Zach Cartwright
Posted October 10, 2016

Golden SachsYour community's tax dollars are getting quietly pilfered by Wall Street banks, and the banks are doing an excellent job of keeping the how away from you.

The amount of public money spent on just bank fees and interest every year numbers anywhere from the hundreds of billions to the tens of trillions. The exact amount is available through Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFR), though even obtaining the forms can prove to be a challenging task for the average taxpayer curious about how much of their tax dollars and pension funds are getting vacuumed up every year by the bank their city does business with. More...

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The Biggest Heist in Human History
by Mike Whitney
Posted October 8, 2016

biggest heist in human historyNow we've all heard the expression, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result". Well, the Fed has been doing the same thing for the last seven years — dumping money into the financial system while predicting stronger growth. That would seem to suggest that the Fed is insane, but is the Fed insane?

No, in fact, the members of the FOMC are extremely-bright, well-educated professionals who have a solid grasp of the economy and the many intricacies of the financial system. These are smart guys, real smart. So, maybe they have an ulterior motive. Maybe that's why they've stuck with the same failed policies all these years. But if they have an ulterior motive, then what is it? What are they trying to achieve? More...

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Negative Interest Rates and the War on Cash (2)
by Raúl Ilargi Meijer
Posted October 1, 2016

war on cashHistory teaches us that central authorities dislike escape routes, at least for the majority, and are therefore prone to closing them, so that control of a limited money supply can remain in the hands of the very few. In the 1930s, gold was the escape route, so gold was confiscated.

The existence of escape routes for capital preservation undermines the viability of the banking system, which is already over-extended, over-leveraged and extremely fragile. This time cash serves that role. We can therefore expect cash to be increasingly disparaged in order to justify its intended elimination. More...

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A New Economic System for a World in Rapid Disintegration
By C.J. Polychroniou and Lily Sage
Posted September 30, 2016

unsustainable exploitationWe live in ominously dangerous times. The world capitalist system -- having fueled colonialism, imperialism and the constant intensification of labor power exploitation for roughly 500 years -- now threatens the planet with an ecological collapse of unprecedented proportions.

Unsustainable resource exploitation, water pollution (the transformation of lakes, rivers and oceans into garbage dumps) and massive economic inequality are at the root of the possibly irreversible collapse of industrial civilization. Meanwhile, however, too many of us remain caught up in abstract and ahistorical predictions of collapse that fail to offer an alternative realistic vision of a future socio-economic order. More...

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In Praise of Class Traitors; Former Goldman Exec Runs for NJ Governor on Public Banking Platform
By Matt Stannard
Posted September 24, 2016

Chris Christie favors Wall St banksDays after Phil Murphy's call for a publicly-owned Bank of New Jersey sent shockwaves across state and national media, the proposal received an unexpected favor: Governor Chris Christie attacked it, saying the bank itself would eventually need to be bailed out and invoking the common trope that government bureaucrats shouldn't be running the banks.

Murphy, a Democrat and the only declared candidate for New Jersey governor (the election is next year), quickly had his campaign team respond: "Given Chris Christie's nine credit downgrades, lagging economic growth, budget shortfalls built on putting politics before families, broken promises, and subservience to Donald Trump, we'll consider the source." More...

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Financial Totalitarianism in Historical Context
by Nicole Foss
Posted September 13, 2016

the war on cash increases government powerThe same confused, greedy and corrupt central authorities which have set up the global economy for a major bust through their dysfunctional use of existing powers, are now seeking far greater central control, in what would amount to the ultimate triumph of finance over people.

They are now moving to tax what ever people have left over after paying taxes. It has been tried before. As previous historical bubbles began to collapse, central authorities attempted to increase their intrusiveness and control over the population, in order to force the inevitable losses as far down the financial foodchain as possible. More...

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The Secret Global Court: Why Corporate Criminals & Corrupt Politicians Desperately Want TPP
by Mike Krieger
Posted September 3, 2016

TPP protestObama needs to ensure he gets well compensated after leaving office for a job well done protecting, defending and further enriching the global oligarch class. This is precisely why he's so adamant about passing the TPP during the upcoming lame duck session of Congress, when he knows "representatives" who no longer face reelection can be coerced or bribed into voting for this monumental public betrayal.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) ins't really a free trade deal, it's a way for global oligarchs to consolidate, grow and protect their enormous wealth. The investor-state dispute settlement system (ISDS) is perhaps the most nefarious and objectionable aspect of the deal, with this shadowy court system being used to accomplish the following for the super rich and powerful: More...

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The Money Myth Exploded
by Louis Even
Posted August 16, 2016

a banker arrives at the islandOne evening, when our boys were sitting on the beach going over their problem for the hundredth time, they suddenly saw approaching a small boat with a solitary man at the oars. They learned that he was the only survivor of a wreck. His name: Oliver.

"Even though we're lost and cut off from the rest of the world," they told him, "we haven't too much to complain about. The earth and the forest are good to us. We lack only one thing — money. That would make it easier for us to exchange our products."

"Well, you can thank Providence," replied Oliver, "because I am a banker, and in no time at all, I'll set up a system of money guaranteed to satisfy you. Then you'll have everything that people in civilization have." A banker!... A BANKER!... An angel coming down out of the clouds couldn't have inspired more reverence and respect in our men. For, after all, are we not accustomed, we people in civilization, to genuflect before bankers, those men who control the lifeblood of finance? More...

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When Systems Crumble: Looking Beyond Global Capitalism
By Richard D. Wolff
Posted August 14, 2016

employee-employer relations crumbleAs global capitalism staggers painfully, unevenly and dangerously in the wake of its 2008 collapse, its critics divide into two broad camps. One commits to fixing or reforming a capitalism that has somehow lost its way. The other finds capitalism irreparably inadequate and seeks transition to a new and different system.

The two camps see many of the same faults: how capitalism relentlessly deepens inequalities of income, wealth, power and access to culture; capitalism's instability (those socially costly cycles it never managed to prevent); and its consequent injustices. Sometimes the two camps can ally and work together. However, at other times -- such as now -- the camps become more wary of, disaffected from, and competitive with one another. Adding complexity these days, the critics favoring system change are also redefining -- for potential recruits and for themselves -- the new system they seek. More...

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The Dirty Business of U.S. 'Think Tanks'
by Michael Krieger
Posted August 12, 2016

crony capitalism is phony capitalismIt's important to acknowledge that the U.S. economy has morphed into one gigantic lawless crime scene. An environment in which crony insiders who add zero value to society parasitically feast on the country's treasure. In the case of so-called "think tanks," we have organizations receiving copious taxpayer subsidies for the privilege of screwing over the American public.

Indeed, "think tanks" represent a key, overlooked player in the never-ending information war being waged against the American public. A war specifically designed to shape public perception in favor of policies that go against our best interests while making a handful of people extremely wealthy. More...

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Forget Clinton's and Trump's Plans for the Economy: It's Time to Erase Debt and Create Jobs
By Mike Krauss
Posted August 8, 2016

Wall Street extracting your wealthSo far, neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton has offered a credible plan to restart the long-stalled U.S. economy.

There is an alternative. The U.S. Treasury has the power to extinguish debt, rebuild publicly owned infrastructure and propel the economy forward like a rocket. It is the power to create the nation's supply of money, which Congress surrendered to the private banks that own the Federal Reserve upon the Fed's creation in 1913. It's time to take that power back.

This proposal is similar to—but more far-reaching than—the action taken by President Lincoln during the Civil War, when to bypass that era’s banksters and the usurious interest they extracted to finance the war, he had the Treasury issue $450 million of greenbacks. More...

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The Looming Financial Crisis Nobody Is Talking About, But Should Be
by Shaun Bradley
Posted August 3, 2016

financial crisis brewingThe world has been captivated by a continuous stream of disturbing and shocking headlines. Seemingly every other day, different terrorist attacks, police assassinations or political stunts ignite the public into an emotional frenzy. But as fear shuts down critical thinking, banks that control Europe's financial system are entering a death spiral. Despite what establishment media narratives push, the most dangerous threat to our way of life isn't a religious ideology or political divide.

The real risk is a contagion that is undermining the core of the financial system, and the interconnectedness of the globalized economy we live in makes containing the problem nearly impossible. If these dominos continue to fall in Europe, the momentum could carry the destruction to every corner of the globe. More...

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How Much Do Shady Financial Practices Cost You, Exactly?
By Lynn Parramore
Posted July 30, 2016

financial parasitesAmerica's financial system is broken for all but a few at the top — that much is plain. The rest sense that we are stuck on the minus end of some great financial formula, but given the complexity and size of Big Finance, it's hard to pin down exactly why it happens and how it all adds up.

Enter economist Gerald Epstein of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He has dived in and crunched the numbers, and the results are eye-popping. Epstein and his colleague Juan Antonio Montecino look at exactly how families, taxpayers and businesses get ripped off by dubious financial activities and tally up the costs in a new paper for the Roosevelt Institute, "Overcharged: The High Cost of Finance." (The Institute for New Economic Thinking has also supported several papers by Epstein). More...

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Japan's "Helicopter Money" Play: Road to Hyperinflation or Cure for Debt Deflation?
By Ellen Brown
Posted July 29, 2016

helicopter moneyIf the Japanese experiment is in play, it could settle a long-standing dispute over whether helicopter money will "reflate" or simply hyperinflate the money supply.

Not that allowing the government to issue money is so radical. It was the innovative system of Benjamin Franklin and the American colonists. Paper scrip represented the government's IOU for goods and services received. The debt did not have to be repaid in some other currency. The government's IOU was money. The US dollar is a government IOU backed by the "full faith and credit of the United States." More...

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The Federal Reserve is a Ponzi Scheme
By Alan R. Adaschik
Posted July 22, 2016

Federal Reserve is a ponzi schemeMost Americans are proud to be American and consider the United States to be the greatest nation in all of history, and there are many things we can point to which substantiates this belief. However, everything in life is transitory and when all is said and done, history will judge that instead of America being something special to be admired, Americans were suckers who fell hook line and sinker for the worst Ponzi Scheme the world has ever seen: the Federal Reserve Bank, more commonly known as the Fed.

Like a Ponzi scheme, it began with a lie concocted solely to suck in its intended victims — the promise to regulate the US economy such that economic booms and busts would be eliminated. In truth the opposite has been the case since the passage of the Federal Reserve Act in 1913. In fact, the Fed actually played a role in bringing about the Depression of 1929 and the deep recession which presently grips the nation. Secondly, similar to a Ponzi scheme, the Fed takes our money and gives us nothing in return. The money we give to the Fed is not earned for any service it provides, nor is there any reasonable justification for us to give it them. More...

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Is Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Legislation a Hoax?
By Pam Martens and Russ Martens
Posted July 18, 2016

surprise meeting with Financial Stability Oversight CouncilFew have examined Dodd-Frank's failed promises as carefully as Wall Street On Parade. The legislation promised to rein in derivatives – it didn't. It promised to end the future need for taxpayer bailouts of too-big-to-fail banks. It didn't. It promised to institute the Volcker Rule to prevent banks from gambling with insured deposits. It didn't. It promised to reform the practices of the ratings agencies that played a pivotal role in the 2008 collapse. It didn't.

The so-called Volcker Rule provisions of Dodd-Frank that barred the Wall Street banks holding insured deposits from owning private-equity funds (where they could inflate asset values with little push-back) and hedge funds (where they could dump or hide their own losses) have been repeatedly pushed forward and now are not set to go into effect until July of next year – an outrageous seven years after Dodd-Frank was signed into law. More...

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Signs the Government Is Planning to Confiscate Your Retirement Funds
By Jeff Berwick
Posted July 10, 2016

globalist planningWe've warned that bankrupt governments will be eyeing the multi-trillions of dollars in "un-taxed" retirement funds when they get desperate enough.

It is an incredibly common occurrence. It has happened in numerous countries in just recent memory. Poland, Hungary and Bolivia are a few in the last years where retirement funds have been seized. Total funds currently held in private IRA and 401K accounts in the US are estimated to be in the neighborhood of $10 trillion. That number looks awfully enticing to the US government which is currently indebted to the tune of $19 trillion and holding liabilities of over $100 trillion. More...

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TransCanada's $15 Billion Suit Against U.S. is Corporate Nationhood at its Worst
by Mike Levitin
Posted July 6, 2016

If you like NAFTA, you will love the TPP!When the NAFTA nations – United States, Canada and Mexico – meet Wednesday for the annual Three Amigos Summit in Ottawa, climate change and clean energy are expected to dominate the agenda. However, a curiously timed $15 billion lawsuit launched last Friday by TransCanada, which is using NAFTA to sue the U.S. government for its rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline, has undercut the very same climate ideals professed by the North American nations.

Michael Brune, Sierra Club's executive director, wrote this week, "TransCanada's attempt to make American taxpayers hand over more than $15 billion because the company's dirty Keystone XL pipeline was rejected shows exactly why NAFTA was wrong and why the even more dangerous and far-reaching Trans-Pacific Partnership must be stopped in its tracks." More...

If you like NAFTA, you will LOVE the TPP!

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Goldman Sachs Just Ate Denmark for Breakfast
By Jonas Schmidt Hansen
Posted June 18, 2016

so why does our government say we are in Syria?It might be old news that Goldman Sachs makes short-term profit off the work and labor of others. What's new is that this time, the otherwise well functioning and barely corrupt democratic welfare state, Denmark, has become a victim of the bank's inextinguishable hunger for profit.

Goldman Sachs stands to make a huge profit from the purchase of 19% of Denmark's national energy company, Dong Energy, for 8 billion Danish kroner ($1.2 billion) two years ago. When Goldman bought it, the energy company was valued at $6.7 billion, a suspiciously low price. More...

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Wall Street Behing Brazil Coup d'Etat
By Prof. Michel Chossudovsky
Posted June 16, 2016

Clinton's war on Latin AmericaControl over monetary policy and macro-economic reform was the ultimate objective of the Coup d'Etat. The key appointments from Wall Street's standpoint are the Central Bank, which dominates monetary policy as well as foreign exchange transactions, the Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Brazil (Banco do Brasil).

On behalf of Wall Street and the "Washington consensus", the interim post coup "government" of Michel Temer has appointed a former Wall Street CEO (with U.S citizenship) to head the Ministry of Finance. More...

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How Financial Parasites and Debt Bondage Destroy the Global Economy
by Michael Hudson
Posted June 12, 2016

parasites sucking life energyEconomists for the last 50 years have used the term "host economy" for a country that lets in foreign investment. This term appears in most mainstream textbooks. A host implies a parasite. The term parasitism has been applied to finance by Martin Luther and others, but usually in the sense that you just talked about: simply taking something from the host.

But that's not how biological parasites work in nature. Biological parasitism is more complex, and precisely for that reason it's a better and more sophisticated metaphor for economics. The key is how a parasite takes over a host. It has enzymes that numb the host's nervous system and brain. So if it stings or gets its claws into it, there's a soporific anesthetic to block the host from realizing that it's being taken over. Then the parasite sends enzymes into the brain. A parasite cannot take anything from the host unless it takes over the brain. More...

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The Bilderberg 2016 Agenda: Trump, Riots, Migrants, Brexit
by Tyler Durden
Posted June 10, 2016

Bilderbergers meet to extract more profit from the worldEvery year, the world's richest and most powerful business executives, bankers, media heads and politicians sit down in some luxurious and heavily guarded venue, and discuss how to shape the world in a way that maximizes profits for all involved, while perpetuating a status quo that has been highly beneficial for a select few, even if it means the ongoing destruction of the middle class. We are talking, of course, about the annual, and always secretive, Bilderberg meeting.

And, as the Guardian notes, "you know Bilderberg's about to begin when you start seeing the guns." What is really discussed is how to take the existing trends in the world, some favorable, some undesired, and mold them in such a way as to create even more wealth for the world's 0.01%, while perpetutating the existing system, one which even the IMF agrees is no longer working. More...

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The rise of the meta-criminal: Is the NSA manipulating the stock market?
by Jon Rappoport
Posted June 6, 2016

NSA treasure map?Trevor Timm of the Electronic Freedom Frontier dug up a very interesting nugget. It was embedded in the heralded December 2013 White House task force report on spying and snooping.

Under Recommendations, #31, section 2, he found this: "Governments should not use their offensive cyber capabilities to change the amounts held in financial accounts or otherwise manipulate financial systems."

Timm quite rightly wondered: why were these warnings in the report? More...

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Once Middle Class, Millions Are Joining the Ranks of 'Disposable' Americans
By Paul Buchheit
Posted June 1, 2016

disposable peoplePoor Americans are becoming increasingly disposable in our winner-take-all society, as often noted in the passionate writings of Henry Giroux. After 35 years of wealth redistribution to the super-rich, inequality has forced much of the middle class down to near-poverty levels, worsened by the fact that they are also blamed for their own misfortunes.

The evidence for this disposability keeps accumulating: income and wealth—and health—are all declining for middle-class America. Meanwhile, those at the top could not be less concerned. As wealth at the top grows, the super-rich feel they have little need for the rest of society. More...

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The U.S. Government Is Quietly Paying Billions to Wall Street Banks
By Pam Martens and Russ Martens
Posted May 24, 2016

Wall Street - how corrupt is it?Wall Street On Parade has learned, by piecing together the SEC filings of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae and previous Federal Reserve studies, that these two companies that have been in U.S. government conservatorship since the 2008 financial crisis, continue to pay out billions of dollars to the biggest Wall Street banks on their derivatives contracts.

This raises multiple red flags, not the least of which is how much does the U.S. public really understand about the 2008 financial crisis and what appears to be a continuing taxpayer bailout. It is well known at this point that AIG had to be bailed out because it owed over $90 billion on its derivative and security loan contracts to Wall Street and foreign banks. Now, it's looking like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were also Wall Street's derivatives patsies – or "dumb tourists" as author Michael Lewis might say. More...

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Rogue Wave
By Cognitive Dissonance
Posted May 18, 2016

economic tsnuamiUltimately the destructive capacity of any rogue wave is based upon its volume and velocity. In nearly all the examples shown on the reserve currency chart except present day, the 'known world', meaning those currencies that controlled commerce and people's minds within a geographic location, did not encompass the globe or its entire population. Far from it in fact.

Those within the influence of previous reserve currency collapses definitely suffered each time the rogue passed. But there were always nations, resources and people outside the reserve currency system which acted as a buffer when the rogue wave roared through. Such is not the case this time, at least not to the same extent previously. And the proof is perfectly clear when carefully examined. When the Federal Reserve sneezes, emerging nations and their economies suffer massive convulsions.

It truly is different this time because the volume of the coming rogue wave will encircle the globe. Like a massive tsunami, the ripples and reverberations will be massively destructive and circle the globe many times until its energy is finally dissipated. More...

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The New "Water Barons": Wall Street Mega-Banks are Buying up the World's Water
By Jo-Shing Yang
Posted May 17, 2016

theft of the commonsA disturbing trend in the water sector is accelerating worldwide. The new "water barons" — the Wall Street banks and elitist multibillionaires — are buying up water all over the world at unprecedented pace.

The second disturbing trend is that while the new water barons are buying up water all over the world, governments are moving fast to limit citizens' ability to become water self-sufficient (as evidenced by the well-publicized Gary Harrington's case in Oregon, in which the state criminalized the collection of rainwater in three ponds located on his private land, by convicting him on nine counts and sentencing him for 30 days in jail). Let's put this criminalization in perspective: More...

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Why the Economy Should Stop Growing—And Just Grow Up
by David Korten
Posted May 15, 2016

local economyListen to the political candidates as they put forward their economic solutions. You will hear a well-established and rarely challenged narrative. "We must grow the economy to produce jobs so people will have the money to grow their consumption, which will grow more jobs…" Grow. Grow. Grow.

But children and adolescents grow. Adults mature. It is time to reframe the debate to recognize that we have pushed growth in material consumption beyond Earth's environmental limits. We must now shift our economic priority from growth to maturity—meeting the needs of all within the limits of what Earth can provide. More...

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Blaming Hackers Coming to a Bank Account Near You to Steal Your Life Savings
By Joachim Hagopian
Posted May 14, 2016

blaming "hackers" fro theftAdd one more way to lose all your life savings. Many of us have heard about the covert "bail-in laws" that already went into effect this year in Europe making theft of private bank account assets "legal" in this topsy-turvy world where chaos and high crimes rule the day. The precedent was set a couple years ago in Cyprus where private citizens woke up one day and found the money they believed was secure in their banks suddenly stolen by the banks.

Despite the Treasury Department and MSM propaganda that the bailout cost taxpayers only $21 billion, it actually cost Americans trillions in lost housing wealth, 9.3 million citizens lost their homes from 2005-2014 through foreclosure or short sale along with plenty of lost retirement funds and lots of lost jobs. More...

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Proof That the Top 0.1% Create Crashes
by Jeff Nielson
Posted May 13, 2016

top .1% create crashesOur markets and economies are marched up and down in "bubbles" and "crashes", with the duration of these cycles of financial crime now seeming to be fixed at about once every eight years. As the dust settles after each of these eight-year operations, the Fat Cats at the very, very top are found to have gotten much, much wealthier, while almost everyone else ends up significantly poorer.

With this pattern of crime now being obvious, and the pattern of "winners" and "losers" being equally obvious, it doesn't require a rocket scientist to suspect that the Winners have been orchestrating these bubbles and crashes. It is obviously considerably easier to be on the winning side of your (supposed) gambling, when you know in advance what will transpire in the Game. More...

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The Proper Purpose of Money
by David Korten
Posted May 8, 2016

David KortenLet's start with a simple truth. The efforts of economists to justify them notwithstanding, speculation, usury, and accounting manipulation serve no beneficial economic or social purpose. There is no legitimate reason to allow them and certainly no justification for supporting them with public subsidies from the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve.

Money is only a claim on wealth, so making money without producing anything of value is creating claims on the wealth created by others and is an invisible form of theft. More...

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"Not true and they knew it": What Rahm Emanuel's Wall Street craze cost Chicago
by David Dayen
Posted May 7, 2016

Rahm Emmanuel pleases Wall StChicago's struggling public school system had a golden chance to reap billions. Here's where it went wrong. The city of Chicago and its public school system could recoup potentially billions of dollars in overpayments from complicated, unjust deals inked with Wall Street banks, if they pursued legal action or demanded enforcement from federal regulators. But Rahm Emanuel, the current mayor, has refused to chase this opportunity, despite the city's drastic fiscal outlook and the effect on citizens. By contrast, his opponent in the April 7 mayoral run-off election, Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, appears far more likely to take action against a powerful financial sector Emanuel has relied on for campaign contributions.

Beginning over a decade ago, Wall Street banks sold municipalities, school districts, water systems and public hospitals across the country on obscure financial instruments, pitching them as a way to borrow more cheaply than plain-vanilla municipal bonds. But just as homeowners were swindled into loans they couldn't afford during the housing bubble, local governments suffered a similar fate. More...

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Bank of North Dakota Soars Despite Oil Bust: A Public Banking Blueprint for California?
By Ellen Brown
Posted May 6, 2016

Ellen BrownIn November 2014, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Bank of North Dakota (BND), the nation's only state-owned depository bank, was more profitable even than J.P. Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs. The author attributed this remarkable performance to the state's oil boom; but the boom has now become an oil bust, yet the BND's profits continue to climb. Its 2015 Annual Report, published on April 20th, boasted its most profitable year ever.

The BND has had record profits for the last 12 years, each year outperforming the last. In 2015 it reported $130.7 million in earnings, total assets of $7.4 billion, capital of $749 million, and a return on investment of a whopping 18.1 percent. Its lending portfolio grew by $486 million, a 12.7 percent increase, with growth in all four of its areas of concentration: agriculture, business, residential, and student loans. More...

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How Capitalism and Racism Support Each Other
By Richard D. Wolff
Posted April 29, 2016

capitalism and racismThe burdens of capitalism's instability falls much harder on employees than employers, and much harder upon some employees than others. Capitalism thus always faced a basic legitimation problem. How could it justify its unequal distributions of income, wealth and the burdens of its systemic instability among the people whose condition of being "free and equal" capitalism was supposed to guarantee?

One of the major means of managing this legitimation problem has been an ideology of race (alongside other ideologies centered around concepts such as "productivity" and "meritocracy"). Capitalism repurposed race and racism. By dividing human beings, conceptually and practically, into intrinsically different subgroups, capitalism's defenders could explain and justify why its economic benefits (e.g. the status of employer rather than employee) and burdens (unemployment, poverty etc.) were so unequally distributed (both within countries and globally). More...

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How Systems Break: First They Slow Down
by Charles Hugh Smith
Posted April 22, 2016

complex natural systems mirror financial systemsComplex systems like ecological food webs, the brain, and the climate all give off a characteristic signal when disaster is around the corner. The key insight here is that financial systems and indeed economies function as natural systems. The dominant systems do not operate in a vacuum; beneath the surface dominance of one system are many other systems that are suppressed by the dominant system.

The signal, a phenomenon called 'critical slowing down,' is a lengthening of the time that a system takes to recover from small disturbances, such as a disease that reduces the minnow population, in the vicinity of a critical transition. It occurs because a system's internal stabilizing forces—whatever they might be—become weaker near the point at which they suddenly propel the system toward a different state. More...

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New Report Finds Many Large, Profitable U.S. Corporations Pay No Federal Income Taxes
By Andrew Emett
Posted April 19, 2016

corporate tax dodgersBetween 2008 and 2013, General Electric, Boeing, and Verizon paid no federal income taxes. During that period, these three companies amassed more than $102 billion in combined profits, yet they ended up receiving over $4.1 billion in income tax rebates from the IRS.

According to a report last year from U.S. PIRG (Public Interest Research Group) Education Fund and Citizens for Tax Justice, nearly 75% of Fortune 500 companies tucked away $2.1 trillion in accumulated profits offshore to avoid paying U.S. income taxes. In 2014, at least 358 of these massive corporations maintained 7,622 tax haven subsidiaries throughout Panama, Bermuda, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and other havens. More...

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Wall Street Should Pay a Sales Tax, Too
By Sarah Anderson
Posted April 18, 2016

tax the bankersIn case there was any doubt, the presidential election fight has confirmed that blasting Wall Street, even eight years after the financial crisis, is still a vote-getter. Hillary Clinton has said she'd like to jail more bankers. Donald Trump has skewered the hedge fund managers who are "getting away with murder." And Bernie Sanders has made Wall Street accountability a centerpiece of his campaign.

Of course, financial industry lobbyists aren't about to take this lying down. In recent weeks, they've turned up the heat on lawmakers to block one particular measure that Sanders has mentioned in nearly every stump speech: taxing Wall Street speculation. More...

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Regulators Reject 'Living Wills' of Five Financial Giants
by Lisa Lambert
Posted April 17, 2016

bank living wills rejectsU.S. regulators gave a failing grade to five big banks on Wednesday, including JP Morgan and Wells Fargo, on their plans for a bankruptcy that would not rely on taxpayer money, giving them until Oct. 1 to make amends or risk sanctions.

The move officially starts a long regulatory chain that could end with breaking up the banks. Nearly a decade after the financial crisis, it underscored how the debate about banks being "too big to fail" continues to rage in Washington and exasperate on Wall Street. Wednesday's announcement was the first time the two major banking regulators, the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, issued joint determinations flunking banks' plans, commonly called "living wills. More...

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The Lies of Neoliberal Economics (or How America Became a Nation of Sharecroppers)
by Michael Hudson and Chris Hedges
Posted April 4, 2016

sharecroppers So, we spoke in previously about the parasitic quality of the banks, hedge funds and the speculative class that has in essence cannibalized the country – including, interestingly, industry itself, and forced down the throats of the American public an unsustainable debt peonage, whether that's through student loans, predatory credit card interest rates where it's that bait and switch – where you get zero percent interest and next thing you know, you're paying as high as 26 percent, 23 percent.

If you miss a payment. Mortgages, with many houses now underwater because of 2008. I want to look first at the self-identified liberal class within the Democratic Party, including Barack Obama. It often uses the language of economic justice, and will even chastise Wall Street rhetorically, but has been just as committed to this neoliberal project as the Republicans. More...

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Land Worth = GDP and enough to replace all taxes with Land Rent
By Scott Baker
Posted March 31, 2016

time to tax landThe idea of using Land Value to pay for society's needs goes back to biblical times in the old testament, what author John Kelly called "The Other Law of Moses" in his book by the same name. But a more formalized attempt at applying such a land value tax, or, more accurately, site value collection, only came in more modern times.

For reasons explained in detail in Progress and Poverty (1879) by Henry George, we would get far better use of the land if taxes were only collected on that (mostly location), and not on the buildings built on the land. We would get more buildings, with just a Land Value Tax, and more efficient use of the land too. And, as Henry George wrote, "There is enough, and to Spare." More...

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"Don't Owe. Won't Pay." Everything You've Been Told About Debt Is Wrong
by Charles Eisenstein
Posted March 25, 2016

don't owe, won't payThe legitimacy of a given social order rests on the legitimacy of its debts. Even in ancient times this was so. In traditional cultures, debt in a broad sense—gifts to be reciprocated, memories of help rendered, obligations not yet fulfilled—was a glue that held society together. Everybody at one time or another owed something to someone else. Repayment of debt was inseparable from the meeting of social obligations; it resonated with the principles of fairness and gratitude.

The moral associations of making good on one's debts are still with us today, informing the logic of austerity as well as the legal code. A good country, or a good person, is supposed to make every effort to repay debts. Accordingly, if a country like Jamaica or Greece, or a municipality like Baltimore or Detroit, has insufficient revenue to make its debt payments, it is morally compelled to privatize public assets, slash pensions and salaries, liquidate natural resources, and cut public services so it can use the savings to pay creditors. Such a prescription takes for granted the legitimacy of its debts. More...

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National Banks – Ending the Stranglehold of Usury and the Private Money System
by John Reid
Posted March 23, 2016

usury We in the industrialised world, with large concentrations of people simply cannot exist without money. Even those unfortunate enough to be homeless and penniless still require charitable help, where money is also involved. Without money we basically cease to exist. The entire system, our entire being relies upon money.

Monetizing money isn't much different from monetizing the air we breathe. And how ridiculous does that sound? However, this is how we are living, paying for something that should not be a commodity or 'money maker' for someone else.

'Interest' is the cost we unnecessarily pay to have access to that which is vital for our survival and when interest compounds (as it does) we may find ourselves in great financial distress. More...

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Research for Transition
by David Charles
Posted March 14, 2016

the commonsThe reality is that, rather than cooperatives, the value of the commons is predominantly extracted by "for profit" companies. Facebook is Michel's most extreme example of this. The value of the company comes almost entirely from volunteer contributors: its users. But Facebook Inc. extracts 100% of the value.

Hypothetically, if Facebook had been happy with "only" the five billion dollars they asked for when they floated on the New York Stock Exchange instead of the sixteen billion they got, they could have paid over a hundred thousand contributors a hundred thousand dollars each. An extraordinary thought, especially when you consider that Facebook is now worth ten times that initial public offering. The problem with this current economic model is that most of the value created is not put back into the commons. More...

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Rebooting Work: Programming the Economy for People
by Douglas Rushkoff
Posted February 7, 2016

robot productionDigital and robotic technologies offer us both a bounty of productivity as well as welcome relief from myriad repeatable tasks. Unfortunately, as our economy is currently configured, both of these seeming miracles are also big problems. How do we maintain market prices in a world with surplus productivity? And, even more to the point, how do we employ people when robots are taking all the jobs?

Back in the 1940's, when computers were completing their very first cycles, the father of "cybernetics," Norbert Wiener, began to worry about what these thinking technologies might mean for the human employees who would someday have to compete with them. His concern for "the dignity and rights of the worker" in a technologized marketplace were decried as communist sympathizing, and he was shunned from most science and policy circles. More...

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Rahm Emanuel Is Trying To Pay Wall Street Banks Even More for Chicago's Bad Financial Deals
By Saqib Bhatti
Posted Fevruary 6, 2016

Rahm Emmanuel wants to help bank profitsIn an unprecedented move on Wednesday, the Chicago City Council rebuked Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to voluntarily pay banks $106 million in penalties to terminate the city’s remaining interest rate swap agreements. In another unprecedented move, I attempted to explain to my mother what had happened.

I told her, in a mix of English and our native Urdu, that the city had entered into these bad deals that had cost taxpayers millions of dollars, and that a group of us have been calling on the mayor to sue the banks to get the money back. I also told her that, instead of suing the banks, the mayor was trying to pay them all of the future payments for the next 15 years right now in order to get out of the deals.

My mother was shocked. “So instead of paying what he would over the next 15 years, he’s just paying them now?” she asked. I nodded. “That’s just more money for the banks,” she replied. “Why would he do that?” More...

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Is Wall Street Making a Killing off Cities' Debt?
by Susie Cagle
Posted March 3, 2016

NYPD protecting thos stealing their pensions from their accusersPassions often run high at city council meetings in Oakland, California. But July 3, 2012 was something special. One after another, people stepped up to the microphone to plead with the council to stop paying its bills — and, for the most part, the council agreed. Those bills were from Goldman Sachs.

The meeting came after months of public discussion about how to exit a 1998 deal — a fixed-rate swap agreement tied to debt issued to finance pensions — that wasn't working out the way the city had envisioned.

The 5.6 percent fixed rate would be a good deal, the city figured, if interest rates rose to 8 or 9 percent in good fiscal times. But they didn't. The market crashed. Interest rates hit the floor. The swap deal soured. Oakland was stuck paying $4 million in annual interest to Goldman Sachs. By that year, the swap had a negative market value of approximately $15.5 million, the city treasurer informed the council in the lead-up to the July hearing. More...

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Ten Common Sense Economic Truths
by David Korten
Posted February 22, 2016

living economies are possibleThe more closely I look, the more obvious it is that the Old Economy fails because it is based on false values, assumptions, and logic. Those who are working to create a New Economy from the bottom-up intuitively recognize and act on 10 common sense truths foundational to a sound economy.

A proper money system roots the power to create and allocate money in people and communities in order to facilitate the creation of livelihoods and ecologically balanced community wealth. Money properly serves life, not the reverse. Wall Street uses money to consolidate its power to expropriate the real wealth of the rest of the society. Main Street uses money to connect underutilized resources with unmet needs. Public policy properly favors Main Street. More...

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When Cash Is Outlawed… Only Outlaws Will Have Cash
by Bill Bonner
Posted February 20, 2016

Lawrence Summers, why would anyone listen to him?Harvard economist Larry Summers is a reliable source of claptrap. And a frequent spokesman for the Deep State. "It's time to kill the $100 bill," he wrote in the Washington Post.

And now, Mr. Summers wants us to bring our cash to the town square. Instead of $100 bills, he wants to force us to use electronic notations faithfully recorded in a federally regulated bank. Have you ever seen one of these "electronic dollars," dear reader?

The Deep State wants you to use money it can easily control, tax, and confiscate. And paper currency is getting in its way. More...

Why would ANYONE listen to a man who was a key proponent for the deregulating of financial institutions and risky derivatives, who did not forsee the 2008 crash that was the inevitable result even after whistle blowers (whom he ridiculed) provided warnings, and who then went on to micro-manage and lose $1.8 BILLION of Harvard University's endownment funds to a risky mix of stocks, bonds, hedge funds, and private equity?

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Central Banks Are Trojan Horses, Looting Their Host Nations
By Washington's Blog
Posted February 15, 2016

central banks are trojan horsesEconomics professor Richard Werner – who created the concept of quantitative easing – has documented that central banks intentionally impoverish their host countries to justify economic and legal changes which allow looting by foreign interests.

The Fed's main program for dealing with the financial crisis – quantitative easing – benefits the rich and hurts the little guy, as confirmed by former high-level Fed officials, the architect of Japan's quantitative easing program and several academic economists. Indeed, a high-level Federal Reserve official says quantitative easing is "the greatest backdoor Wall Street bailout of all time". Some economists called the bank bailouts which the Fed helped engineer the greatest redistribution of wealth in history. More...

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Financial Oligarchy vs. Feudal Aristocracy
by Ismael Hossein-Zadeh – Anthony A. Gabb
Posted February 14, 2016

NYPD protecting thos stealing their pensions from their accusersUnder the feudal mode of production, peasants were often allowed to cultivate plots of land for themselves on a rental basis. However, those tenant farmers rarely succeeded in becoming landowners in their own rights because a major share of what they harvested was taken away by landlords as rent, often leaving them with a bare subsistence amount of what they produced. When the harvest was poor, they incurred debt. If peasants were unable to pay off their debts, they could find themselves reduced to the condition of serfs or slaves.

Today, under conditions of market dominance by parasitic finance capital, a similar relationship can be detected between the powerful financial oligarchs (as feudal lords of our time), on the one hand, and the public at large (as peasant population of today), on the other. In the same manner as the landed aristocracy of times past extracted rent by virtue of monopolistic ownership of land, so today the financial oligarchy extracts interest and other financial charges by virtue of having concentrated the major bulk of national resources in their hands in the form of finance capital. More...

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How State Banks Bring the Money Home
by Stacy Mitchell
Posted February 9, 2016

community banks help communitesOne of the most significant, but least noticed, consequences of the rapid and dramatic consolidation of the banking industry over the last decade is how much it has hindered the U.S. economy's ability to create jobs.

To begin to understand this, take a look at each end of the banking spectrum. On one end are the nation's 6,900 small, locally owned, community banks. These institutions control $1.4 trillion in assets. That's 11 percent of all bank assets. They currently have $257 billion in loans to small businesses and farms on their books.

On the other end, four giant banks—JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Citibank, and Wells Fargo—now command $5.4 trillion in assets, or 40 percent of the total. Given that they are nearly four times as large as all local banks combined, one might expect that they would have made four times the small-business loans, or about $1 trillion. In fact, these banks have a mere $85 billion in small-business and farm loans on their balance sheets. More...

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What Wall Street Costs America
by Matt Stannard
Posted January 31, 2016

worhippint the golden calfThe financialization of the United States economy has distorted our social, economic, and political priorities. Cities and states across the country are forced to cut essential community services because they are trapped in predatory municipal finance deals that cost them millions of dollars every year. Wall Street and other big corporations engaged in a systematic effort to suppress taxes, making it difficult for cities and states to advance progressive revenue solutions to properly fund public services.

Banks take advantage of this crisis that they helped create by targeting state and local governments with predatory municipal finance deals, just like they targeted cash-strapped homeowners with predatory mortgages during the housing boom. Predatory financing deals prey upon the weaknesses of borrowers, are characterized by high costs and high risks, are typically overly complex, and are often designed to fail. More...

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'Too Big to Fail' Banks Thriving a Few Years After Financial Crisis
By William D. Cohan
Posted January 29, 2016

too big to fail is just too bigNearly eight years after the onset of the financial crisis, its unintended consequences continue to startle and amaze.

Who would have thought that the big banks would pay nearly $200 billion in fines and other considerations to various branches of federal and state governments and that not a single top Wall Street executive would be held responsible for perpetrating the wrongdoing represented by those huge fines?

And who would have thought that nearly a decade after the start of the crisis some of those big banks, in particular JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo, would have year after year of record, or near-record, profits? More...

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Cashless Society War Intensifies During Global Epocalypse
by David Haggith
Posted January 25, 2016

banning cash is central planners dreamCharging people to keep their money in the bank is hard to do so long as cash is available, as people may just withdraw all of their money from those banks in the form of the national cash and squirrel the cash away. In order to penetrate the twilight zone of economics, central banks need to abolish cash to terminate this escape route. Then they can force savers to spend, thereby increasing the flow of money through the economy, by raising the cost of holding money in a bank account as high as it takes to get people to spend their money. No sense letting perfectly good money waste away in an expensive bank account.

Transitioning into a cashless society is the ultimate central planner's dream as it gives central banks total control over money, and money is their proprietary product. More...

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Davos 2016: robots will steal 5 million jobs by 2020
by Jena McGregor
Posted January 23, 2016

Davos The World Economic Forum kicked off on Tuesday, and the theme of this year's gathering of the world's leaders, celebrities, billionaires and the merely wealthy will be what it calls the "Fourth Industrial Revolution".

That's its term for the accelerating pace of technological changes, especially those that are "blurring the lines between the physical, digital and biological spheres" — the combination of things such as artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotechnology and 3D printing. To go with that theme, the WEF has released research looking at the effect all that change will have on jobs. It projects that by 2020, 7.1 million jobs are expected to be lost, versus just 2 million gained. More...

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The Citadel is Breached: Congress Taps the Fed for Infrastructure Funding
by Ellen Brown
Posted January 22, 2016

Federal ReserveFor at least a decade, think tanks, commissions and other stakeholders have fought to get Congress to address the staggering backlog of maintenance, upkeep and improvements required to bring the nation’s infrastructure into the 21st century. Countries with less in the way of assets have overtaken the US in innovation and efficiency, while our dysfunctional Congress has battled endlessly over the fiscal cliff, tax reform, entitlement reform, and deficit reduction.

Both houses and both political parties agree that something must be done, but they have been unable to agree on where to find the funds. Republicans aren’t willing to raise taxes on the rich, and Democrats aren’t willing to cut social services for the poor. More...

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China Flexes Muscles At Shanghai Gold Exchange
by Jeff Nielson
Posted January 21, 2016

China goldThe New Cold War between West and East has already become a Luke-Warm War , and it threatens to become a full-fledged "hot" war. After years of passively reacting to Western crime and aggression; both China and Russia have shown an increasing tendency to adopt a more proactive stance. On the economic front, China has leaped into the international gold market, suddenly and decisively .

After having purchased no gold on the open market for at least six years; China's government has now made large, open market purchases of gold every month , for six, consecutive months. This has already totaled roughly 100 tonnes. Ultimately, this is gold which comes out of the warehouses of the Big Bank crime syndicate. More...

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Shipping Said to Have Ceased.... Is the Worldwide Economy Grinding to a Halt?
by Jeff Berwick
Posted January 13, 2015

empty container shipLast week, I received news from a contact who is friends with one of the biggest billionaire shipping families in the world. He told me they had no ships at sea right now, because operating them meant running at a loss. This weekend, reports are circulating saying much the same thing: The North Atlantic has little or no cargo ships traveling in its waters. Instead, they are anchored. Unmoving. Empty.

Commerce between Europe and North America has literally come to a halt. For the first time in known history, not one cargo ship is in-transit in the North Atlantic between Europe and North America. All of them (hundreds) are either anchored offshore or in-port. NOTHING is moving.

This has never happened before. It is a horrific economic sign; proof that commerce is literally stopped. More...

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The Catastrophic Threat of Bail-Ins
by Jeff Nielson
Posted January 5, 2016

banks will be protectedIt has now been more than two and a half years since the Cyprus Steal , the first "bail-in" perpetrated in the Western world, occurred. Before reviewing the history of this newest financial atrocity, it is necessary to define the terms.

The term "bail-in" describes a scenario in which a bank confiscates private property to indemnify itself for losses it has suffered. A bail-in is a totally lawless theft of assets, as there is no principle of law (of any kind) that could authorize such a seizure of private property. And in fact, there are many principles of law that demonstrate the lawlessness at work here. As with much of the financial crime jargon, "bail-in" is simply another gibberish euphemism like "quantitative easing" or "derivatives." More...

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Larry Summers Lectures Bernie Sanders on Financial and Monetary Policy
By Pam Martens and Russ Martens
Posted January 3, 2015

Larry Summers, key architect of economic collapseRecently Larry Summers penned an opinion piece for the Washington Post, lecturing Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a Presidential candidate, on what Sanders should actually be saying in his own op-eds about reforming the Federal Reserve.

No one will ever accuse Larry Summers of being short on arrogance. After promising the American people in 1999, as Treasury Secretary in the Bill Clinton administration, that pushing through the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act would be "the right framework for America's future financial system," then watching that system collapse as a result of that repeal just nine years later in the worst economic upheaval since the Great Depression, one would think Summers would find some obscure hole in academia and crawl into it. More...

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January 1, 2016: The New Bank Bail-In System Goes Into Effect In Europe
by Michael Snyder
Posted January 2, 2016

bank bail ins are comingMany Americans assume that when they put money in the bank that they have a right to go back and get "their money" whenever they want. But if we all went to the bank at the same time, there wouldn't be nearly enough money for all of us. The reason for this is that the banks only keep a small fraction of our money on hand to satisfy the demands of those that conduct withdrawals on a day-to-day basis. The banks take the rest of the money that we have deposited and use it however they think is best.

If you have money at a bank that goes under, that bank will still be obligated to pay you back, but it may not be able to do so. This is where the FDIC comes in. The FDIC supposedly guarantees the safety of deposits in member banks, but at any given time it only has a very, very small amount of money on hand. More...

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A Crisis Worse than ISIS? Bank "Bail-Ins" Begin…"Your Life Savings Could be Wiped out in a Massive Derivatives Collapse"
By Ellen Brown
Posted December 30, 2015

Cyprus, Greece, Portugal came first, you are nextWhile the mainstream media focus on ISIS extremists, a threat that has gone virtually unreported is that your life savings could be wiped out in a massive derivatives collapse. Bank bail-ins have begun in Europe, and the infrastructure is in place in the US. Poverty also kills.

At the end of November, an Italian pensioner hanged himself after his entire €100,000 savings were confiscated in a bank "rescue" scheme. He left a suicide note blaming the bank, where he had been a customer for 50 years and had invested in bank-issued bonds. But he might better have blamed the EU and the G20's Financial Stability Board, which have imposed an "Orderly Resolution" regime that keeps insolvent banks afloat by confiscating the savings of investors and depositors. Some 130,000 shareholders and junior bond holders suffered losses in the "rescue." More...

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Meanwhile, Over At The "New York" Stock Exchange: Even More Lasers
by Zero Hedge
Posted December 29, 2015

high speed traders, making money out of nothingHigh-frequency trading — the practice of making thousands of algorithmic stock trades per minute — is about to get a big boost in the USA. Anova, a company that specializes in deploying low-latency networks for stock trading, is completing an ultra-high-speed laser network between the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the NASDAQ. The link will be just a few nanoseconds faster than the current microwave and fiber-optic links — but in the world of high-frequency trading (HFT), those nanoseconds could result in millions of dollars in profits for the trading companies. Such is the insanity of the stock markets; such is the unbelievable capacity of HFT to create money out of almost nothing.

Because this, ladies and gentlemen, is what "trading" has become. More...

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Exposing BlackRock: Who's Afraid of Laurence Fink and His Overpowering Institution?
By Andrew Gavin Marshall
Posted December 27, 2015

Lawrence Fink of BlackRockIt's not a bank, nor an insurance company, central bank, finance ministry or sovereign wealth fund. But it advises or owns such institutions. It operates virtually unregulated, often in the background, yet there is scarcely a company, country or region of the planet that this, the world's largest asset management firm, does not touch or influence.

At a mere 27 years of age, BlackRock manages $4.5 trillion in assets, making it the single largest investor on Earth. It manages more wealth than Japan and Germany have in GDP. In fact, only China and the United States have a larger GDP than BlackRock has assets under management. Yet when one includes assets that the company not only manages, but advises upon, the number soars to around $15 trillion, roughly equal to US GDP. More...

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If We Don't Change the Way Money Is Created and Distributed, We Change Nothing
by Charles Hugh Smith
Posted December 26, 2015

private cartel benefits from private money creationMany well-intended people want to reform the status quo for all sorts of worthy reasons: to reduce wealth inequality, restore democracy, create good-paying jobs, and so on. All these goals are laudable, but if we don't change the way money is created and distributed, nothing really changes: wealth inequality will keep rising, governance will remain a bidding process of the wealthy, wages will continue stagnating, etc.

If the money creation/distribution system isn't transformed, "reform" is nothing more than ineffectual policy tweaks that offer do-gooders the illusion of progress.

Few are willing to admit that the way we create and distribute money at the top of the wealth pyramid necessarily generates increasing wealth inequality because once we admit this, we realize 1) the money system itself is the source of inequality and 2) we have to change the money system if we want to stave off the inevitable rise of wealth inequality to the point that it generates social disorder. More...

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Big Banks Caught Using Credit Default Swaps To Destroy Nations
by Jeff Nielson
Posted December 22, 2015

police protecting the big bankersAt the beginning of 2010, readers were presented with what was (at the time) merely a theory. The Big Bank crime syndicate was engaged in the serial manipulation of credit default swaps, in order to (among other things) destroy the economies of entire nations. It's one of the reasons these "financial weapons of mass destruction" (Warren Buffett) were illegal in the U.S. for roughly 100 years, banned under anti-gambling statutes.

The theory was supported by a combination of compelling empirical evidence and logical deduction (i.e. "circumstantial evidence") – roughly the same evidentiary basis by which we obtain most of our criminal convictions in our courts of law. The difference here is that with our governments having abandoned the Rule of Law, there was no one ready or willing to adjudicate over such evidence.

Before moving to the new evidence of an open conspiracy by the Big Banks to manipulate this market, it is necessary to review this older evidence. The chronology begins after the Crash of '08, and takes the form of a comparison of two nations and their economies: Greece and the U.S. More...

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America's Forgotten War Against the Central Banks
by Mike Hewitt
Posted December 21, 2015

debt free moneyA note issued by a central bank, such as the Federal Reserve Note, is bank currency. These notes are given to the government in exchange for an interest-bearing government bond. The primary means to pay for the interest on these bonds is to borrow more bank notes, thus beginning a vicious cycle that ultimately ends with the complete destruction of the currency and bankruptcy of the nation. History is replete with such occurrences. (For a list of countries that have experienced hyperinflation click here ).

This begs the question as to why such a doomed system would exist? The reason is that during the course of the arrangement, which can last for centuries, the central bankers who issue the money amass great fortunes from the large sums of interest collected. In essence it is a transfer of wealth from the many to the elite few. Government leaders prefer such a system because it does not require budgets to be balanced. It is far more politically expedient to borrow, then to directly tax the citizens. More...

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Reinventing Banking: From Russia to Iceland to Ecuador
By Ellen Brown
Posted December 17, 2015

reinventing bankingIceland's government is considering a revolutionary monetary proposal - removing the power of commercial banks to create money and handing it to the central bank. The proposal, which would be a turnaround in the history of modern finance, was part of a report written by a lawmaker from the ruling centrist Progress Party, Frosti Sigurjonsson, entitled "A better monetary system for Iceland.

The findings will be an important contribution to the upcoming discussion, here and elsewhere, on money creation and monetary policy," Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson said. The report, commissioned by the premier, is aimed at putting an end to a monetary system in place through a slew of financial crises, including the latest one in 2008. More...

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The One Bank, Revisited
by Jeff Nielson
Posted December 16, 2015

the one bankApproximately two years ago; a commentary was published entitled "The One Bank". The empirical foundation for the article (and the paradigm) was an extensive computer model, produced by a trio of academics at a university in Switzerland, and originally reviewed in an article from Forbes.

The gist of the computer modeling was that a single "super-entity", by itself, controlled roughly 40% of the global economy. The term "super-entity" is simply a synonym for monopoly. The research further stipulated that ¾ of the 140+ (gigantic) corporate fronts which comprised this mega-monopoly were financial intermediaries (i.e. banks), hence the title, The One Bank. More...

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Benefits For Cities and Municipalities Of a Public Bank
by Mike Krauss, Steve Snyder and Nancy Goldner
Posted December 13, 2015

municiapl bondThis article contains key questions and answers for elected officials, policy makers, treasury staff, bankers, taxpayers and oters. The American people in cities and communities throughout our nation need a strong local banking industry, free of the destructive practices of Wall Street. Local Banks distribute the sustainable and affordable credit our local economies need. Local banks working in partnership with public banks are able to lend additional funds and, in contrast to Wall Street, their profits
do not depend on reckless risk taking.

The result is a more democratic and prosperous local economy in which the benefits are shared by all. And it is within reach. Across the nation, in more than twenty states and a growing list of municipalities, support is growing for the creation of public, "partnership" banks, based, in part, on the model of the hugely effective Bank of North Dakota. More...

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Anatomy of an Oligopoly: the Beer Industry
by Jeff Nielson
Posted December 10, 2015

beer controlled by oligopolyWhy has the standard of living across most of the Western world fallen by more than half over the past 40+ years? Why is Western unemployment at an all-time high, with more than 100 million permanently unemployed people who are not allowed to work? Why does most brand-name beer taste like swill?

Most readers will see no connection between these questions. Some will see a connection between the first and second, and very few will see a common link between all three. In fact, we can answer all of these questions (at least in part) the same way, and the answer is spelled O-L-I-G-O-P-O-L-Y.

Let's take a moment for the definition of terms. An oligopoly is where a handful of corporations (or corporate fronts) have total control over a particular industry or sector. Once they have such control, these corporations inevitably engage in predatory behavior, such as price-gouging consumers and bribing public officials in order to obtain preferential treatment. More...

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Why Does America Need a New Monetary System?
by Byron Dale
Posted December 8, 2015

America needs a new monetary systemOur founding fathers declared that governments are instituted to secure certain unalienable Rights. Among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Certainly in modern America, our monetary system and the principles under which it functions are fundamental to our liberty, our capacity to take care of ourselves, our families and our ability to pursue and realize our dreams and ambitions.

The question we must ask ourselves is: What are the principles under which our monetary system functions? When we think about our present money system and monetary principles, we need to ask ourselves a few questions. Would you agree with me that there is a huge governmental debt? Do you also understand that the private sector debt is over 5 times greater than the public debt? Very few have ever thought about how much debt there is in the private sector. Most people are shocked to learn there is well over 60 trillion 'dollars' of private and public debts (2011 year end figures). More...

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America's 20 richest people have more money than these 152 million people
By Quentin Fottrell
Posted December 3, 2015

extreme wealthThis statistic might even make the 1% feel humbled.

America's 20 wealthiest people — a group that could fit in one Gulfstream G650 jet — are now worth $732 billion, which means they have more wealth than the 152 million people who make up the least wealthy 50% of U.S. households, according to a report released Wednesday by the Institute for Policy Studies. What's more, the "Forbes 400" wealthiest individuals in the U.S. now have a net worth of $2.34 trillion.

"There is a growing concentration of wealth in fewer and fewer hands," says Josh Hoxie, who heads up the Project on Opportunity and Taxation at the institute. More...

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The Global Financial System: Can You Handle the Ugly Truth? Fraud in the Gold Market
By Bill Holter
Posted December 1, 2015

COMEX fraudIt has been said "truth" is a funny concept. What is truth to one may not be to another because opinions vary from one person to another. "Truth" in this context consists of one's opinion or point of view. By this definition truth can be altered, changed or even "made". For example, the truth believed and espoused by MSNBC is far different than that of FOX News, both by the reporters themselves and by viewers. Real truth however cannot be "made", massaged or opined as it is mathematical in origin and more an issue of black and white.

The global financial system has gone awry where economic truth must be masked and hidden to cover the reality. Somehow our central planners think if the people "believe" something …then it "is". I am here to tell you, no it is not. A perfect example of something completely out of whack but melded into the new "normal" are negative interest rates throughout much of Europe. These negative interest rates are no longer for only short dated maturities. Rates are negative in some cases out past 7-10 years! More...

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Public Banks Stop Wall Street From Gambling With Our Money
by Matt Stannard
Posted November 29, 2015

Wall Street can be stoppedWould you gamble away your rent money? How about your kids' college fund, or the money you put aside for food and clothing? If that seems like a terrible idea, then why do cities, counties, and states gamble away our money by giving it to big Wall Street bankers, who throw it into risky derivatives and interest rate swaps? There's a better way--and it's one of our nation's best-kept secrets.

Typically, public banks hold city, county, or state monetary deposits (such as taxes, pension funds, fees, etc.) and may also offer individual savings accounts. Public banks provide credit to businesses, government enterprises, students, farmers and others at low- or no-interest. Because they are run without shareholders or a profit motive, public banks do not need to charge high interest rates or gamble depositors' money in risky Wall Street ventures. More...

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Astonishing report from the Fed says US banks are not "sound"
by Simon Black
Posted November 27, 2015

U.S. banks are not soundLate last week, a consortium of financial regulators in the United States, including the Federal Reserve and the FDIC, issued an astonishing condemnation of the US banking system. Most notably, they highlighted "continuing gaps between industry practices and the expectations for safe and sound banking."

This is part of an annual report they publish called the Shared National Credit (SNC) Review. And in this year's report, they identified a huge jump in risky loans due to overexposure to weakening oil and gas industries. Make no mistake; this is not chump change. More...

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Hang Onto Your Wallets: Negative Interest Rates, the War on Cash, and the $10 Trillion Bail-in
By Ellen Brown
Posted November 21, 2015

no cash acceptedIn uncertain times, "cash is king," but central bankers are systematically moving to eliminate that option. Is it really about stimulating the economy? Or is there some deeper, darker threat afoot?

Remember those old ads showing a senior couple lounging on a warm beach, captioned "Let your money work for you"? Or the scene in Mary Poppins where young Michael is being advised to put his tuppence in the bank, so that it can compound into "all manner of private enterprise," including "bonds, chattels, dividends, shares, shipyards, amalgamations . . . ."?

That may still work if you're a Wall Street banker, but if you're an ordinary saver with your money in the bank, you may soon be paying the bank to hold your funds rather than the reverse. More...

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They're coming for your cash
By Mark Nestmann
Posted November 17, 2015

they are coming for your cashIt might sound like a conspiracy theory spun by right-wing crazies. But judging by the increasing desperation of governments to reboot the world economy, it just might happen. "It" is the recall or confiscation of cash, i.e., dollars, euros, pounds, etc., in physical form. And a key justification that those calling for this radical measure cite is that it reinforces the ability of central banks to impose negative interest rates.

Citicorp's chief economist, a technocrat named Willem Buiter, thinks the US needs much lower interest rates to push the economy out of the doldrums. He thinks negative interest rates around -6% would do the job. But there's one condition: For his plan to work, he says, the government must abolish cash. More...

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How Did the Taxpayer Make Out on the Wall Street Bailout?
By Pam Martens and Russ Martens
Posted November 13, 2015

bnakers love the bailoutsFor starters, forget all those headlines that reassured you that TARP produced a big windfall for taxpayers. There's the fact that TARP was just the part of the iceberg visible above the water. The trillions in bailout loans that were invisible throughout the years of the crash, until court orders and Congressional legislation forced the data into the sunshine, was coming from the Federal Reserve.

As Senator Elizabeth Warren stated to a Senate Committee hearing on March 3 of this year:

"During the financial crisis, Congress bailed out the big banks with hundreds of billions of dollars in taxpayer money; and that's a lot of money. But the biggest money for the biggest banks was never voted on by Congress. Instead, between 2007 and 2009, the Fed provided over $13 trillion in emergency lending to just a handful of large financial institutions. That's nearly 20 times the amount authorized in the TARP bailout." More...

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The clock is ticking on a time bomb that could blow up a free internet: the TPP
by Evan Greer
Posted November 8, 2015

TPP - Obama's legacy?After years of secrecy, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement has finally been released to the public. The shadowy process and overreaching scope of the deal have sparked an international outcry; it's been roundly condemned as an attack on worker's rights, the environment, public health, small businesses and startups. But perhaps the biggest concern is over the impact that it will have on the internet.

The final version of TPP confirms advocates' worst fears. Thanks to, among other things, its dramatic expansion of copyright enforcement, the agreement poses a grave threat to our basic right to access information and express ourselves on the web, and could easily be abused to criminalize common online activities and enforce widespread internet censorship. More...

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If This Doesn't Convince You to Exit the Global Banking System, Then Absolutely Nothing Will
by J.S. Kim
Posted November 7, 2015

who are they protecting?Today, bankers all around the world are making it more and more difficult to withdraw more than $3000 or €3000 per day, and simultaneously making it impossible to pay for, in cash, any item with a price tag in excess of these levels. Though most people are not questioning why this is, this global banker movement to ban all cash transactions should be interpreted as a clear and present danger to the purchasing power of everyone's lifetime of accumulated savings. If you're still not convinced, then think about what the Carbanak theft of $1 billion from global banks truly means.

If we investigated how this hacking group accomplished their theft, we would discover that, at times, they even hacked into bank servers to create currencies out of thin air before transferring this newly created currency to themselves. The fact that these hackers could create currency that did not even exist on the bank's books and then steal it should compel all of us to ask ourselves, "Do we really want to hold the earnings of our cumulative lifetime of labor in digital currencies that have intrinsic values of nearly nothing?" If we realize that bankers can store tens of millions of currency literally on just a few bits on a hard drive on their bank server, and if we understand that we can purchase a 5 Terabyte Western Digital hard drive that can hold 40,000,000,000,000 bits on Amazon for just US$179, then we really should question why we believe that digital bits will ever preserve our lifetime of savings for the next 10 years, or even for just the next 2 years. More...

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The Calm Before The Storm
By Michael Snyder
Posted November 5, 2015

calm before the stormHave you noticed that things have gotten eerily quiet in the month of October? After the chaos of late August and early September, many had anticipated that we would be dealing with a full-blown financial collapse by now, but instead we have entered a period of "dead calm" in which things have become exceedingly quiet in almost every way that you can possibly imagine. Other "watchmen" that I highly respect have made the exact same observation.

Even though the economic numbers are screaming that we have entered a global recession, they aren't really make any headline news. A whole host of major financial institutions around the planet are currently in danger of collapsing and creating the next "Lehman Brothers moment", but none of them has imploded just yet. More...

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The Rigging of the American Market
by Robert Reich
Posted November 4, 2015

the rich are getting richerMuch of the national debate about widening inequality focuses on whether and how much to tax the rich and redistribute their income downward.

But this debate ignores the upward redistributions going on every day, from the rest of us to the rich. These redistributions are hidden inside the market.

The only way to stop them is to prevent big corporations and Wall Street banks from rigging the market. More...

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"Running Out of Money". The US Government On the Brink of Default. How Obama Could Beat the Debt Ceiling
By Ellen Brown
Posted Novemeber1, 2015

Obama debt deiling"Until the control of the issue of currency and credit is restored to government and recognized as its most conspicuous and sacred responsibility, all talk of the sovereignty of Parliament and of democracy is idle and futile" — Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King, 1935

On November 3rd, the US government will again run out of money due to a debt ceiling artificially imposed by Congress. This is the third time in four years that a radical faction has taken the country to the brink of default to extort concessions that are at best only marginally related to the budget.

The debt ceiling is an unconstitutional gimmick that violates the 14th amendment, which says the validity of the government's debt shall not be questioned. The debt was incurred by Congress when it passed the budget, and the money has been borrowed and spent. Congress cannot now refuse to pay. More...

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First They Jailed the Bankers, Now Every Icelander to Get Paid in Bank Sale
by Claire Bernish
Posted October 31, 2015

Icelanders will get a chack after selling off the banksFirst, Iceland jailed its crooked bankers for their direct involvement in the financial crisis of 2008. Now, every Icelander will receive a payout for the sale of one of its three largest banks, Íslandsbanki.If Finance Minister Bjarni Benediktsson has his way — and he likely will — Icelanders will be paid kr 30,000 after the government takes over ownership of the bank. Íslandsbanki would be second of the three largest banks under State proprietorship.

Because Icelanders took control of their government, they effectively own the banks. Benediktsson believes this will bring foreign capital into the country and ultimately fuel the economy — which, incidentally, remains the only European nation to recover fully from the 2008 crisis. Iceland even managed to pay its outstanding debt to the IMF in full — in advance of the due date. More...

This is the exact opposite of what the rest of the world did, and they are all in economic distress.

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Killing Off Community Banks — Intended Consequence of Dodd-Frank?
by Ellen Brown
Posted October 22, 2015

small banks are dying along with Main StreetThe Dodd-Frank regulations are so lethal to community banks that some say the intent was to force them to sell out to the megabanks. Community banks are rapidly disappearing — except in North Dakota, where they are thriving.

The rapid demise of community banking is blamed largely on Dodd-Frank's massively complex rules and onerous capitalization requirements. Just doing the paperwork requires an army of compliance officers, and increased capital and loan requirements are eliminating the smaller banks' profit margins. They have little recourse but to sell to the larger banks, which have large staffs capable of dealing with the regulations, and which skirt the capital requirements by parking assets in off-balance-sheet vehicles.

According to Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, the disappearance of community banks was not an unintended consequence of Dodd-Frank. More...

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Finance Is to Blame for Rise in Inequality
by Wallace Turbeville
Posted October 21, 2015

finance is the cause of inequalityEconomists, policy wonks, and politicians of both persuasions agree that middle class income stagnation, and the inequality that it causes, is the principal economic challenge for the nation. U.S. inequality has been on the rise for more than 30 years, and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development estimates that it has reduced U.S. economic growth more than even the financial crash. This cost is still accruing.

There are vast differences in views of inequality's causes. At one end of the spectrum, conservatives believe that the "makers" create a "rising tide" that lifts all boats. Mainstream progressives take a middle view, believing that individuals fail to take advantage of capitalism's opportunities because they are insufficiently educated or suffer from debilitating disadvantages. More...

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The Wonderland Matrix
by Jeff Nielson
Posted October 16, 2015

who are they protecting?One of the principal traits of sound analysis is that it begins with "definition of terms". It is only minimally productive (if not totally pointless) to attempt to analyze a particular subject matter without first explaining/defining that subject matter. Thus one of the Cardinal Sins of sound analysis is the failure of an analyst to start at the beginning.

In this respect; my own work has been lacking. Numerous recent commentaries have referred to "the Wonderland Matrix", and some previous efforts have even been made in tangentially defining this label. However, nowhere has a full definition/description been provided of what is now one of the most important analytical concepts of the current Western paradigm of fraud and corruption. More...

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The Derivatives Market: Bets, Bookies, and Fraud
by Jeff Nielson
Posted October 8, 2015

casino that does not pay when the house losesHow corrupt, illegal, and utterly irredeemable is the fraudulent casino which the banksters call "the derivatives market"? When these criminals actually manage to lose on their own gambling (despite rigging these markets, themselves), they simply refuse to pay.

In the real world, any casino (legal or otherwise) which refused to pay when the "house" lost would quickly be driven out of business – one way or another. But we don't live in the real world. Almost all of us live in the Wonderland Matrix: a magical realm where "bookies" are allowed to place bets in their own book-making operations, there are no laws, and nothing ever has to make sense. More...

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How Local Governments Got Burned by Private Prison Investments
by Lauren Etter and Margaret Newkirk
Posted October 6, 2015

prisoner quotasJames Parkey spent more than a decade crisscrossing the U.S. selling poor counties on a way to get rich quick. He'd help local governments issue tax-free bonds to build private prisons that would rent beds to the federal government, mainly to hold undocumented immigrants. Parkey's model for financing lockups, which he promoted with help from a team of bond dealers, consultants, and lawyers, led to a boom in prison construction.

They provided local officials with feasibility studies suggesting the facilities would pay for themselves with rental revenue from the U.S. Marshals Service and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Counties were urged to build jails with two to three times more capacity than they'd need for local inmates. They also were advised to act fast to nail down that business, lest they "allow other counties or private developers to capture the market," according to a report given to prospects by Parkey's team. Local development authorities, some created specifically for the detention deals, owned the projects and issued bonds for them whose interest was exempt from federal taxes. More...

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The Blip
By Benjamin Wallace-Wells
Posted October 5, 2015

peasants working someone else's landWhat if everything we've come to think of as American is predicated on a freak coincidence of economic history? And what if that coincidence has run its course? Picture this, arranged along a time line.

For all of measurable human history up until the year 1750, nothing happened that mattered. This isn't to say history was stagnant, or that life was only grim and blank, but the well-being of average people did not perceptibly improve. All of the wars, literature, love affairs, and religious schisms, the schemes for empire-making and ocean-crossing and simple profit and freedom, the entire human theater of ambition and deceit and redemption took place on a scale too small to register, too minor to much improve the lot of ordinary human beings.

In England before the middle of the eighteenth century, where industrialization first began, the pace of progress was so slow that it took 350 years for a family to double its standard of living. In Sweden, during a similar 200-year period, there was essentially no improvement at all. By the middle of the eighteenth century, the state of technology and the luxury and quality of life afforded the average individual were little better than they had been two millennia earlier, in ancient Rome. More...

 

Why Americans Don't Understand Money and Debt And Why It's Important That We Do
by John E. Hemington, Jr.
Posted September 30, 2015

time to learn about money and debtWe need to come to grips with the reality that our nation's debt is largely a fiction which is being used to bludgeon the American populace into submission to the tiny ruling minority who seek to impose austerity and privatize all of the public assets and programs worth stealing and drive the great majority into low wage slavery and helpless poverty.

This is the neoliberal plan and so far it has been executed to perfection through deceit and deception. The nation carries a national debt because Congress elected to require that it do so. Anything Congress can do by legislation it can also undo – if it can escape the clutches of the neoliberal Wall Street cabal that now runs much of the world from the cloistered corridors of central banks. This can only occur if people come to understand just how they are being swindled by the financial lords and rise up and demand that changes be made. More...

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Currency Wars, Battles, And Hostile Actions
By Raymond Matison
Posted September 23, 2015

silver half dollarsIn 1964, our government led a hostile currency action against its people by eliminating silver coins from circulation. As 1965 and subsequent coins did not include silver, the more valuable silver coins quickly disappeared from use with some hoarded by citizens, but most simply were acquired by the Treasury. The reason this had to be done was due to continued inflation, and the subsequent increase in the price of silver in terms of paper currency.

It was a time when gasoline could be purchased for under $0.20 per gallon. While today's gasoline costs between $2-$3 per gallon, you can still purchase that gasoline at the $0.20 price per gallon – if you convert two silver dimes (coin of the realm at that time) to today's fiat currency. Another indication of the loss in the purchasing power of the dollar is shown by the fact that many houses purchased in 1960 for $20,000 could fetch $200,000 before the 2008 real estate meltdown. In some communities the annual real estate taxes due in 2008 and subsequent years were larger than the actual price of the house paid in 1960. More...

 

Capitalism Run Amok: Hungry Kids, Falling Wages and Empty Houses
by Rob Urie
Posted September 20, 2015

banks did more damage than armiesThe fever that gripped the U.S. following the attacks of September, 11, 2001 demonstrated that manufacturing a shared enemy did little to create a deeper commonality of interests amongst nominal citizens. Whatever one may think about the specifics of the attacks— the motives of the attackers, their choice of targets or the veracity of official explanations, it would have required a full scale assault by an established military to destroy as many lives and communities as American born and bred bankers did through predatory mortgage lending in the housing boom and bust. And as much as official apologists would like to deny it, this destruction is wholly in keeping with the market outcomes that now constitute the base credo of the market-state.

The paper-thin bravado that sent heavily armored children and young adults to slaughter innocents in Afghanistan and Iraq for the benefit of Bechtel, Northrup Grumman and Exxon Mobil found its domestic truth in the quivering puddles that had supported the wars suddenly wondering how they were going to feed themselves and their children with their jobs outsourced and their homes in foreclosure. A fortunate few saw their fealty to the system of economic and social dispossession rewarded through the spectacle of social dissolution, through their neighbor's bounty of cheaply-made goods strewn across suburban and ex-urban lawns as sheriffs and their agents made room for fresher members of the tenuous classes. More...

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The Greek Coup: Liquidity as a Weapon of Coercion
By Ellen Brown
Posted September 17, 2015

coup has taken place in GreeceIn the taped conference call for which Yanis Varoufakis is currently facing treason charges, he exposed the trap that eurozone countries are now in. It seems there is virtually no legal way to break free of the euro and the domination of the troika. The government has no access to the critical data files of its own banks, which are controlled by the ECB.

Varoufakis said this should alarm every EU government. As Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King warned in 1935:
"Once a nation parts with the control of its currency and credit, it matters not who makes the nation's laws. Usury, once in control, will wreck any nation."

For a nation to regain control of its currency and credit, it needs a central bank with a mandate to serve the interests of the nation. Banking should be a public utility, serving the economy and the people. More...

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Why We Need a Guaranteed Income. Soon.
by Paul Buchheit
Posted September 12, 2015

Thomas Paine supported basic incomeOur jobs are disappearing. And while large corporations and the super-rich have little care for the average people, it's time we consider the dangerously divided world we've created for generations to come. In the not-too-distant future we might wait around for a package delivery, hurry off to class, grab a taxi downtown, meet the family for dinner, and then take the train home. All without being served by a single human being. No delivery person, no teacher, no cab driver, no food server, no train conductor.

Our jobs are disappearing. The benefits of a half-century of productivity, in which we and our parents all played a role, have largely accrued to the relatively few people who know how to make money by coordinating all the technological components, or by managing the money themselves. And despite the relentless optimism of starry-eyed pundits and tech leaders, the great majority of Americans will NOT be prepared to turn new technologies into life-sustaining employment. More...

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Local Production Means Jobs and Prosperity
by Tom Chatham
Posted September 10, 2015

local productionWith over 93 million unemployed working age adults in America and the economy beginning to go negative again, if you are fortunate enough to have a job it may not last much longer. It is easy to keep a positive attitude about the economy when you get a paycheck every week but life after the paychecks stop will change your outlook a great deal. That is the reality that is about to overtake the working class in the coming months.

The primary mechanism that has tipped the economy onto a downhill trajectory is the route that circulating money has taken in the past few decades. In the past much of the money was kept in circulation in the local economy resulting in the creation of many local jobs. With the new corporate model, most of the profit is siphoned out of the local economy and goes to wall street profiteers. This has resulted in the destruction of many local jobs while the few at the top of the wealth pyramid get richer much faster as time goes on. More...

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At Jackson Hole: Be Very Afraid, Bankers are Channeling their Inner Rothschild
By David Hague
Posted September 9, 2015

bankers rule the worldFirst, let me capture your undivided attention. This will strike fear into your heart. To accomplish this, I will quote the sacred words of the primogenitor of all bankers, Mayer Amschel Rothschild, founder of the House of Rothschild. It was he who, famously opined, "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws". If one casts a discerning eye around the world these words are even more chilling.

One realizes that our bankers are channeling their inner Rothschild. They are in the process of, simply put, world domination. Click away from this commentary now if you dare, but before you do, let me declaim to you a passage from the letter that set the wheels in motion in 1863. The letter is from the "Book of Rothschild, Chapter 11, verses 3-12″. The letter ingenuously explains how simple it is for bankers to rule the world. These words, written with unalloyed exuberance and accuracy, are the blueprint being used today to create a "New World Order" ruled by our bankers. More...

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Wall Street Parasites Have Devoured Their Hosts — Your Retirement Plan and the U.S. Economy
By Pam Martens
Posted September 4, 2015

Wall Street stealing pensions and retirementIn his new book, "Killing the Host," Hudson hones an exquisitely gripping journey from Wall Street's original role as capital allocator to its present-day parasitism that has replaced U.S. capitalism as an entrenched, politically-enforced economic model across America. Millions of American have long suspected that their inability to get financially ahead is an intentional construct of Wall Street’s central planners. 

This book is a must-read for anyone hoping to escape the most corrupt era in American history with a shirt still on his parasite-riddled back. Now Hudson, in an elegant but lethal indictment of the system, confirms that your ongoing struggle to make ends meet is not a reflection of your lack of talent or drive but the only possible outcome of having a blood-sucking financial leech affixed to your body, your retirement plan, and your economic future. More...

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A Layman's Explanation Of The Wall Street Rigged Casino Analogy
by Mark St.Cyr
Posted September 3, 2015

Wall Street casinoYou hear on the television, radio, or print that there's been big gains with some never before seen larger "jackpot" happening down at the casino. (i.e., stock market) Now, curiosity has got the best of you. So, you decide to go see for yourself. Maybe, you've also decided to take along a good portion of any savings you might have "just in case" there is money to be made. For you've now caught that little scratch in the back of your mind "Hey, who knows, maybe things have changed, but I'm going to have to play to win so…." And off you go.

Let's assume for simplicity sake that casinos are nothing new to you. You've been in a few and dabbled let's say a decade ago. You know how they work where all the beautiful lights, and giveaway buffets are all paid with losers money. You remember these places almost always being full to capacity. People were laughing, eating, drinking, and all the trappings. So there you are eager to see what all the buzz is about for surely – if the jackpots have never been higher, then surely the place must be hopping. More...

 

The Crash of 2016: Wall Street Gets Ready
By Mike Krauss
Posted September 2, 2015

run with your moneyIn the more than six years since the 2008 Wall Street crash, nothing has been done to rein in the abuses of the parasites in pin stripes that were its cause. Another crash is inevitable.

My guess is, it will come in late 2016, when the banksters have selected the candidate for president that will be as dependable an ally as the incumbent he or she will replace, as they did in 2008, to insure maximum political protection.

Give the devil his due. Understanding that in the next crash, the American people would crucify any president or member of Congress that approves another bail out, the banksters have set up an automatic bail out, which will be called by other names. More...

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The Financial Times Calls for Ending Cash, Calls it a "Barbarous Relic"
by Michael Krieger
Posted August 29, 2015

no cash acceptedSo what about the reasoning for ending people's ability to physically hold on to their own money? Wait, you'll never guess, yes, it's apparently necessary in order to give the least democratic, most destructive entities on planet earth, Central Banks, more power.

In the mind of an economic tyrant, banning cash represents the holy grail. Forcing the plebs onto a system of digital fiat currency transactions offers total control via a seamless tracking of all transactions in the economy, and the ability to block payments if an uppity citizen dares get out of line. More...

In case you think this can not happen here in the "land of the free", the state of Louisiana has banned cash transactions for any used goods.

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An Unexplored Side of the Greek Financial Crisis: Two Economies, One Currency
By Bill Miller
Posted August 28, 2015

greek austeritySome will argue that investments put money to work, also creating social good - and yes, this is often the case. However, even in the best of such cases, the ability of money to circulate freely is constricted. If it were not, the rich could not remain rich. To remain wealthy, there must be an ability to recall dollars at some point; thus "spending" is turned into a "loan." Moreover, the loan is offered at "interest," thereby recalling even more dollars than were initially offered.

When stated so simply, it becomes clear that such an unbalanced flow of money makes a crisis inevitable at some point. The only way to delay (not avoid, but delay) it is through continual expansion of the economy - and the money supply in particular. This is euphemistically referred to as "growth." Yet the above dynamics ensure that each expansion will eventually be absorbed, recreating the crisis at an ever-greater level of inequity. More...

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Fixing Our Broken Economy: A Simple Guide for the Rest of Us
by Positive Money
Posted August 26, 2015

system is not brokenWe see all around that the economy is broken. We have an unemployed labour force and we have empty factories, offices and shops – everything we need in fact to produce the goods and services we need. Yet the economy seems to be unable to produce enough real wealth, for lack of money. What is going wrong? The root of the problem is the privatisation of the creation of money.

Money is not the same as wealth. Real wealth comes from people using their skills to produce goods and services that other people want. Money is a claim on that real wealth, a tally of how much wealth we are entitled to. Money is the life-blood of the real economy.

Money and debt are created when banks make loans. If someone takes out a mortgage and buys a house, then the borrower ends up with debt, and the person who sold the house ends up with money. Neither the debt nor the money existed before the mortgage was taken out. More...

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Life For Rent
by Don Findlay
Posted August 25,2015

the game is riggedWe are born, in this world into a game that has already started. We arrive late.... really late, for the game is nearly completed. As in Monopoly, all of the properties are owned, and everywhere we land, rents must be paid.

We have no choice... these are the rules of the game. The game is not an option. There is not other way to survive. The land and the resources necessary for alternatives are gone and laws prevent us from hunting, fishing, and cultivating independent socities. To survive we need money and money is the key to winning the game.

All talk of freedom is absurd. We are only "free" to get into their game. The rules are set, quitting is illegal, so get started "earning a living".We have no inherent human right to be alive. We must earn our right to exist by submitting to the authority of those who are winning at the game. More...

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"Don't Owe. Won't Pay." Everything You've Been Told About Debt Is Wrong
by Charles Eisenstein
Posted August 23, 2015

debt slaveryThe legitimacy of a given social order rests on the legitimacy of its debts. Even in ancient times this was so. In traditional cultures, debt in a broad sense—gifts to be reciprocated, memories of help rendered, obligations not yet fulfilled—was a glue that held society together. Everybody at one time or another owed something to someone else. Repayment of debt was inseparable from the meeting of social obligations; it resonated with the principles of fairness and gratitude.

Today a burgeoning debt resistance movement draws from the realization that many of these debts are not fair. Most obviously unfair are loans involving illegal or deceptive practices—the kind that were rampant in the lead-up to the 2008 financial crisis. From sneaky balloon interest hikes on mortgages, to loans deliberately made to unqualified borrowers, to incomprehensible financial products peddled to local governments that were kept ignorant about their risks, these practices resulted in billions of dollars of extra costs for citizens and public institutions alike. More...

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Trumping the Federal Debt Without Playing the Default Card
by Ellen Brown
Posted August 21, 2015

not a federal reserve noteHow can the country remain strong with very little debt, without defaulting on Social Security, Medicare, or the federal debt itself?

There is a way. The government can reduce the debt by buying it – and ripping it up. The debt can be bought either with debt-free US Notes of the sort issued during the Civil War, or with US dollars issued by the Federal Reserve in the form of "quantitative easing."

The vast majority of the money supply today is created by banks when they make loans, as the Bank of England recently acknowledged. Banks create money by "monetizing" debt, turning loans into the digital deposits that make up most of the circulating money supply. The government could push the reset button by monetizing its own debt, turning it into what it should have been all along – debt-free, interest-free dollars. More...

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Essential Reading on What Wall Street Costs America
by Matt Stannard
Posted August 19, 2015

police protecting theivesThe financialization of the United States economy has distorted our social, economic, and political priorities. Cities and states across the country are forced to cut essential community services because they are trapped in predatory municipal finance deals that cost them millions of dollars every year. Wall Street and other big corporations engaged in a systematic effort to suppress taxes, making it difficult for cities and states to advance progressive revenue solutions to properly fund public services.

Banks take advantage of this crisis that they helped create by targeting state and local governments with predatory municipal finance deals, just like they targeted cash-strapped homeowners with predatory mortgages during the housing boom. Predatory financing deals prey upon the weaknesses of borrowers, are characterized by high costs and high risks, are typically overly complex, and are often designed to fail.

Predatory municipal finance has a real human cost. Every dollar that cities and states send to Wall Street does not go towards essential community services. Across the country, cuts to public services and other austerity measures have a disparate impact on the working class communities of color that were also targeted for predatory mortgages and payday loans, further exacerbating their suffering.The primary goal of government is to provide residents with the services they need, not to provide bankers with the profits they seek. More...

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An economic earthquake is rumbling
by Bob Livingston
Posted August 11, 2015

wake up AmericaWhile the people sleep, an economic earthquake rumbles underneath. The day that they begin to feel the quake draws near. History will record that in this decade more people will lose more money (forget about the trillions of dollars already lost) than at any time in our history, including during the Great Depression.

At the same time, a very small group has made and will make huge sums of money. Many people have been in hard times since 2008, thanks to bursting housing and derivatives bubbles — both fueled by the Federal Reserve's money printing and both predicted by me in my Letter and by many other writers. For those of us who are not well-connected (those of us who are not in the 1 percent), there has been no relief. While the banksters got bailouts and Wall Street and the banksters benefited from the money printers, the middle class was impoverished. Savings were wiped out. More...

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The Only Way The Rich Get Richer Is If The Rest Of Us Get Poorer
by Raul Ilargi Meijer
Posted August 9, 2015

rich get richer, we get poorerThe whole system of bailouts, be it in Greece or in the US, was never anything else than a transfer of public money to private interests, with the express aim of making good on the lost wagers of that private sector. With impunity, no less.

And no, the losses have not disappeared. Nor have they been written down. They have instead been transferred to fester in dark vaults, hidden behind swaps and other derivatives, and on central bank balance sheets. But that won't last either. If we wake up in time to this new reality, we may, and that's still only may, be able to prevent the worst, prevent something akin to the same punitive measures the Troika has unleashed upon Greek society, fully wrecking it in the process, its healthcare system, the safety nets for its most needy. More...

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The Quadrillion Dollar Derivative Debt and the "Bail-in": When you Deposit Funds in a Bank, it Becomes "Their Money"
By Bill Holter
Posted August 5, 2015

Bail in plans have been developedThe world is awash with "promises". Nearly everything we think of as having "value" is because of a promise behind it. A few examples; your bank accounts, retirement funds, bonds and even the dollar bills in your pocket. Your bank account for example, once you deposit the money it is no longer yours. You can argue this if you wish but we now know this is true for sure after recent "bail in" legislations passed throughout the west. When you deposit funds into a bank, it then becomes "their money" held for you …they "owe" it to you.

All in all, there are over $1 quadrillion worth of derivatives (1000 Trillion!) outstanding. The problem with this is the "tail" is bigger than the dog. In other words, the amount of derivatives outstanding dwarfs the total amount of money outstanding and thus the ability to "pay" and make good on the contracts. The other side of this coin are contracts promising to deliver something. Here I am thinking both gold and silver. There are far more (100-1 or more) obligations outstanding than there are ounces or kilos available to deliver. This is a default just waiting to happen. More...

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Yes, there is an alternative to capitalism: Mondragon shows the way
by Richard Wolff
Posted August 4, 2015

alternative to capitalismWe are to believe, with Margaret Thatcher, that an economic system with endlessly repeated cycles, costly bailouts for financiers and now austerity for most people is the best human beings can do? Capitalism's recurring tendencies toward extreme and deepening inequalities of income, wealth, and political and cultural power require resignation and acceptance – because there is no alternative?

Of course, alternatives exist; they always do. Every society chooses – consciously or not, democratically or not – among alternative ways to organize the production and distribution of the goods and services that make individual and social life possible. More...

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Debt Slaves: 7 Out Of 10 Americans Believe That Debt 'Is A Necessity In Their Lives'
By Michael Snyder
Posted August 1, 2015

debt slaveryCould you live without debt? Most Americans say that they cannot. According to a brand new Pew survey, approximately 7 out of every 10 Americans believe that "debt is a necessity in their lives", and approximately 8 out of every 10 Americans actually have debt right now. Most of us like to think that "someday" we will get out of the hole and quit being debt slaves, but very few of us ever actually accomplish this. That is because the entire system is designed to trap us in debt before we even get out into the "real world" and keep us in debt until we die. Sadly, most Americans don't even realize what is being done to them.

In America today, debt is considered to be just part of normal life. We go into debt to go to college, we go into debt to buy a vehicle, we go into debt to buy a home, and we are constantly using our credit cards to buy the things that we think we need. More...

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The War On Cash: Why Now?
by Charles Hugh Smith
Posted July 31, 2015

war on cash = capital controls Before we get to that, let's distinguish between physical cash — currency and coins in your possession — and digital cash in the bank. The difference is self-evident: cash in hand cannot be confiscated by a "bail-in" (i.e., officially sanctioned theft) in which the government or bank expropriates a percentage of cash deposited in the bank.

Cash in hand cannot be chipped away by negative interest rates or fees.

Cash in the bank cannot be withdrawn in a financial emergency that shutters the banks (i.e., a bank holiday). When pundits suggest cash is "obsolete," they mean physical paper money and coins, not cash in a bank. Cash in the bank is perfectly fine with the government and its well-paid yes-men (paging Mr. Rogoff and Mr. Buiter) because this cash can be expropriated by either "bail-ins" or by negative interest rates. More...

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Introducing "Trickle-Out Oligarch Economics" – How at Least $21 Trillion in Wealth Fled Offshore
by Michael Krieger
Posted July 29, 2015

how many homeless families does it take to make a billionaireThe world's super-rich have taken advantage of lax tax rules to siphon off at least $21TRILLION, (that would be $21,000 BILLION!) and possibly as much as $32tn, from their home countries and hide it abroad – a sum larger than the entire American economy. Since this doesn't include non-financial assets, you can be sure the actual number is multiples higher. We have all seen how oligarchs worldwide are using houses and other tangible assets as overseas bank accounts.

Assuming that super-rich investors earn a relatively modest 3% a year on their $21TRILLION, taxing that vast wall of money at 30% would generate a very useful $189bn a year – more than rich economies spend on aid to the rest of the world. The sheer scale of the hidden assets held by the super-rich also suggests that standard measures of inequality, which tend to rely on surveys of household income or wealth in individual countries, radically underestimate the true gap between rich and poor. More...

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$900 Million Payday Is Billionaires' Reward For Crushing Twinkie-Maker's Labor Unions
by Tyler Durden
Posted July 24, 2015

Truth is treason in an empire of liesThe Hostess company sought to crush labor unions who "refused to negotiate in good faith", and as a result the company went bankrupt, thereby ending all of its legacy labor agreements once and for all. Sure enough, freed of its cash-draining labor obligations, Hostess suddenly became a very attractive target and not only did it survive but it fourished when in 2013 Private Equity titan Apollo Global Management and billionaire investor C. Dean Metropoulos acquired the maker of Twinkies from liquidation.

Very shortly thereafter, the equity investors did everything they could to reward themselves for an investment in the newly labor union-free company, which was quite viable as a standalone entity because demand for its products was as high as ever (the US will never have a problem with lack of obesity) and tried first to sell the company and then to take it public. They were unable do achieve either, so they decided to take a third route, one which takes advantage of the unprecedented debt bubble.

As Bloomberg reports, "Hostess is selling $1.23 billion of term loans. Of that, $905 million will be used to pay a dividend to its shareholders, according to Standard & Poor's. That's more than double what they paid for the business." Translated: after investing $410 million in March 2013, two billionaires are about to make a $500 million return an investment they have held just over two years, with the blessing of a whole lot of debt investors. And all they had to do was pick up the carcass of a company which did nothing more than crush its unions. More...

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The Confiscation of Bank Savings to "Save the Banks": The Diabolical Bank "Bail-In" Proposal
By Prof Michel Chossudovsky
Posted July 20, 2015

bank depositor confiscations coming soonBail ins have been envisaged in numerous countries. What this means is that the money confiscated from bank accounts would be used to meet the failed bank's financial obligations. In return, the holders of the confiscated bank deposits would become stockholders in a failed financial institution on the verge of bankruptcy.

Bank savings would be transformed overnight into an illusive concept of capital ownership. The confiscation of savings would be adopted under the disguise of a bogus "compensation" in terms of equity.

What is envisaged is the application of a selective process of confiscation of bank deposits, with a view to collecting debt while also triggering the demise of "weaker" financial institutions. In the US, the procedure would bypass the provisions of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) which insures deposit holders against bank failures. More...

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Soulless Economics
by Robert Koehler
Posted July 19, 2015

how much is enough?We cannot bring about a change in humanity without a change in our economic system, which asks for sacrifice only from those who already have next to nothing and has no language that values generosity, except the sort that flows from the poor to the rich (but then it's called "interest"). The present system does not acknowledge our connectedness to one another or to the planet or in any way understand that true, lasting prosperity emerges from sharing and giving, not exploitation.

This economic system is a relic of the Industrial Age, or perhaps it's a relic of the Agricultural Revolution. It's imbued with deep prejudices — human beings can be bought and sold, the nurturing of human life (women's work) has no monetary value whatsoever — and reinforces our place outside the circle of life, separated from one another and from our deepest values. More...

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Greece: Sound and Fury Signifying Much
by Paul Craig Roberts (Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under Ronald Reagan)
Posted July 18, 2015

Greece being looted by the 1%All of Europe, and insouciant Americans and Canadians as well, are put on notice by Syriza's surrender to the agents of the One Percent. The message from the collapse of Syriza is that the social welfare system throughout the West will be dismantled.

The Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras has agreed to the One Percent's looting of the Greek people of the advances in social welfare that the Greeks achieved in the post-World War II 20th century. Pensions and health care for the elderly are on the way out. The One Percent needs the money.

The protected Greek islands, ports, water companies, airports, the entire panoply of national patrimony, is to be sold to the One Percent. At bargain prices, of course, but the subsequent water bills will not be bargains. More...

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The 75 Trillion Dollar Shadow Banking System Is In Danger Of Collapsing
By Michael Snyder
Posted July 12, 2015

shadow banking failure soonKeep an eye on the shadow banking system – it is about to be shaken to the core. According to the Financial Stability Board, the size of the global shadow banking system has reached an astounding 75 trillion dollars. It has approximately tripled in size since 2002. In the U.S. alone, the size of the shadow banking system is approximately 24 trillion dollars.

At this point, shadow banking assets in the United States are even greater than those of conventional banks. These shadow banks are largely unregulated, but governments around the world have been extremely hesitant to crack down on them because these nonbank lenders have helped fuel economic growth. But in the end, we will all likely pay a very great price for allowing these exceedingly reckless financial institutions to run wild. More...

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"Guerrilla Warfare Against a Hegemonic Power": The Challenge and Promise of Greece
by Ellen Brown
Posted July 12, 2015

Greek ATM waiting lineBanks create money when they make loans. Greece could restore the liquidity desperately needed by its banks and its economy by nationalizing the banks and issuing digital loans backed by government guarantees to its ailing businesses. Greece could provide an inspiring model of sustainable prosperity for the world. But it is being strangled by a hegemonic power in a financial war that is being waged against us all.

On July 4, 2015, one day before the national vote on the austerity demands of Greece's creditors, it was rumored in the Financial Times that Greek banks were preparing to "bail in" (or confiscate) depositor funds to replace the liquidity choked off by the European Central Bank. As reported in Zerohedge, the government was prepared to pursue three "nuclear options" to protect the deposits of the Greek people. More...

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Job Losses and Obama's TPP: The Deadly Impacts of Trade Agreements on Employment
By Stephen Lendman
Posted July 3, 2015

TPP, TISA, TTIP will cost jobsOn Monday, Obama signed regressive Fast Track legislation into law – giving himself diktat power to ram through Congress anti-populist trade bills like TPP with minimal debate and no amendments.

Besides other provisions benefitting investors at the expense of public welfare, it's a jobs killer/environment destroyer.

Nothing Obama says is credible. "The Trans-Pacific Partnership includes strong protections for workers and the environment," he blustered in remarks before signing what demands rejection. More...

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The Care and Feeding of a Financial Black Hole
by Dmitry Orlov
Posted July 2, 2015

black hole sucks your moneyIn the United States, so far the black hole has been sucking in individual families (although it does sometimes suck in entire cities, like Detroit, Michigan, or Bakersfield, California, or Camden, New Jersey). With the help of the fraudulent mortgage racket, it sucks in houses, and spits them out again encumbered with bad debt. With the help of the medical industry, it sucks in sick people and spits them out again, bankrupt. With the help of the higher education racket, it sucks in hopeful young people, and spits them out as graduates, with worthless degrees and saddled with mountainous student debt. With the help of the military-industrial complex, it sucks in just about anything and spits out corpses, invalids, environmental damage, terrorists and global instability. And so on.

But the black hole can also suck in entire countries. Right now it's busy trying to suck in Greece, but it's having a hard time with it, because Greece is, of all things, a democracy. This has the black hole's puppets in quite a state at the moment, and starting to clamor for "regime change" in Greece, so that Greece can be made to capitulate before the black hole gets hungry. More...

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An Inadvertent Warning From BlackRock - Get Your Money Out Of Mutual Funds ASAP
by Investment Research Dynamics
Posted July 1, 2015

Blackrock expecting troubleWe may have been early on warning about leaving your savings in the financial system. It's okay to be too early getting your money out of the system but it's fatal to be just one second too late. The gates are already in place in money market funds just waiting for the signal to be lowered. BlackRock's filing with the SEC to enable "have cash" funds to lend to "heavy redemption" funds should send shivers down the spine of anyone with funds invested in any BlackRock fund. In fact, it should horrify anyone invested in any mutual fund.

I warned last summer when the money market funds received authorization to put redemption gates in place that it was time to remove your money from these instruments. The only reason a gate would be needed is if the people running the funds believed that there were risk events coming that would necessitate the gates. More...

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US Conference of Mayors to Consider Wall Street Bank Fees & Public Banking
by Pamela Powers Hannley
Posted June 29, 2015

US conference of mayors explore public bankingAt their meeting on June 19-22, the US Conference of Mayors will be considering hundreds of resolutions on everything from gun safety to tax incentives to jobs and education. Tucked into that long list of resolutions is the "Mayors Resolution on Strengthening Municipal Finances".

This resolution addresses the millions of dollars in fees that Wall Street banks charge cities and challenges mayors to negotiate with bankers to reduce these fees or, alternatively, seek other more affordable means of financing– like establishment of a public bank.

How do cities amass such high banking service fees? A major way that cities accrue debt (and related fees and interest) is through bond issues. For example, in recent years voters approved a city bond issue to fix the roads and a county bond issue to build a new animal shelter. On Election Day 2015, voters will be asked to approve yet another bond issue— this one covering everything but the kitchen sink. Listen up, people! Bond issues are not a panacea for all local funding needs. Yes, bond issues allow us to have the services, facilities, and infrastructure improvements we need but can't fit into the budget– thanks to budget cuts by the Legislature– but bond issues carry a hefty long-term price tag. More...

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Pop Goes The Bubble
by Dmitry Orlov
Posted June 26, 2015

this bubble will burstI know that many people see national finances as an impenetrable fog of numbers and acronyms, which they feel is best left up to financial specialists to interpret for them. But try to see national finances as a henhouse, yourself as a hen, and financial specialists as foxes. Perhaps you should pay a little bit of attention—perhaps a bit more than one would expect from a chicken?

So how can an ever-shrinking economy with a continuously rising unemployment rate be producing ever-higher stock valuations?

Simple! The stock prices are being driven up by the actions of the Federal Reserve. Since the great financial crisis of 2007, when the entire financial system almost collapsed, the Federal Reserve, through its Quantitative Easing (QE), has been making funds available at minimal cost to a set of financial institutions deemed "too big to fail." More...

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If You Have Money in a US Bank Account Be Aware!
By Chris Vermeulen
Posted June 25, 2015

Cyprus like theft coming to U.S.The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 is better known as "The Dodd-Frank Act" to the American public. What the American public does not know about, is that it codifies a "bail-in" provision that ensures that the United States can conduct the type of bail-in that we saw in Cyprus.

The bank bailouts of 2008 and 2009 will now be history as Dodd-Frank authorizes the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. to recapitalize failed financial institutions by confiscating customers' deposits. A bail-in takes place before a bankruptcy under current regulations, regulators would have the power to impose losses on bank depositors while leaving other creditors of similar stature, such as derivatives counter-parties untouched. If your bank goes bust then your deposits/savings will be taken from you and turned into shares of the bank. You have no say in the matter because in legal terms, as a bank depositor, you are just an unsecured creditor of the bank. More...

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Fast-Track Hands the Money Monopoly to Private Banks — Permanently
by Ellen Brown
Posted June 17, 2015

banker money monopolyIn March 2014, the Bank of England let the cat out of the bag: money is just an IOU, and the banks are rolling in it. So wrote David Graeber in The Guardian the same month, referring to a BOE paper called "Money Creation in the Modern Economy." The paper stated outright that most common assumptions of how banking works are simply wrong. The result, said Graeber, was to throw the entire theoretical basis for austerity out of the window.

The revelation may have done more than that. The entire basis for maintaining our private extractive banking monopoly may have been thrown out the window. And that could help explain the desperate rush to "fast track" not only the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), but the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA). TiSA would nip attempts to implement public banking and other monetary reforms in the bud. More...

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How Obama's "Trade" Deals Are Designed To End Democracy
by Eric Zuesse
Posted June 16, 2015

TPP why so secret?As I previously reported, it really, truly, is the case that the "World's Richest 80 People Own Same Amount as World's Bottom 50%." And, furthermore, the only rigorous scientific study that has ever been done of the extent to which a recognized 'democratic' country actually is a democracy found that that nation definitely is not. The nation was the United States. The U.S. was discovered to be, and long to have been, a dictatorship, in which the people who are not in the richest 10% have no impact whatsoever on the nation's policies.

The fact that these 'trade' deals are being pushed right now, means that the people who are in power have concluded that, already, 'the free world' is so dictatorial, that the chances that their plan can now be imposed globally are about as good as is likely ever to be the case again. The time is ripe for them to establish a global corporate dictatorship. The political money this year will be flowing like never before. More...

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The One Bank, Revisited
By Jeff Nielson
Posted June 14, 2015

bailouts were a fraudGoldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Barclays, Credit Suisse, UBS, Merrill Lynch, Bear Stearns, and Lehman Brothers are among the Big Banks listed as being tentacles of this enormous, financial crime syndicate. Note that the latter names on that list are deceased, (supposed) "casualties" of the Crash of '08. But with all of these financial tentacles part of a single whole; this proves that the bail-outs which came after that event, and even the crash itself were pure fraud.

All of these financial losses were internal: one tentacle of the crime syndicate (supposedly) "losing money" to another tentacle of the same entity, meaning they were just phony, paper-losses which never really existed. The tentacle on the receiving end of the "losses" was enriched by that amount, meanwhile the tentacle on the losing end was indemnified via (fraudulent) taxpayer-funded "bail-outs". Heads I win; tails you lose. More...

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Three charts that show Iceland's economy recovered after it imprisoned bankers and let banks go bust - instead of bailing them out
by Hazel Sheffield
Posted June 13, 2015

Iceland jailed its bankersIceland also allowed bankers to be prosecuted as criminals – in contrast to the US and Europe, where banks were fined, but chief executives escaped punishment.

The chief executive, chairman, Luxembourg ceo and second largest shareholder of Kaupthing, an Icelandic bank that collapsed, were sentenced in February to between four and five years in prison for market manipulation.

This year the International Monetary Fund declared that Iceland had achieved economic recovery 'without compromising its welfare model' of universal healthcare and education. More...

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Why the TPP Is a Terrible Deal for Most Americans
by Representative John Conyers
Posted June 12, 2015

TPP=NAFTA on steroidsBoth the TPP and the forthcoming Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership present a series of unforeseen risks that cannot be easily quantified in economic terms. Consider how a key element of the trade deals known as the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism would allow foreign corporations to challenge US health, safety, and environmental protections. If US regulators ban production of a toxic chemical manufactured by a foreign firm for fears that it may end up in our food system or in our air, the manufacturer of that chemical could, under the terms of a trade agreement, challenge our government before a special international ISDS tribunal for frustrating its expectations and ultimately demand compensation for anticipated future profits.

The special tribunal—often comprised of highly compensated corporate lawyers rather than professional judges—could require US taxpayers to pay the firm millions in damages, and the ruling could not be challenged in our domestic courts. This shadowy system is already the reality under NAFTA and other trade agreements, and it would be expanded dramatically under the TPP. More...

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The Secret Trade in Services Agreement (TISA)
By Stephen Lendman
Posted June 10, 2015

another secret corporate sovereignty "treaty"Most people never heard of it. They're not told how they're systematically deceived, lied to and swindled. There's nothing fair about US free trade agreements. In June 2014, WikiLeaks released a secret TISA Financial Services Annex text covering 50 countries and over two-thirds of world trade in services.

It aims for deregulating global financial services markets more than already. It allows unrestricted exchange of personal and financial data.The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) calls the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and TISA "a trifecta of trade agreements (Obama) could sign under Fast Track without full congressional oversight" if authority to do so is granted.

TISA is another nightmarish anti-consumer measure. It mandates global rules affecting Internet use and other "free flow of information" restrictions. More...

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Literally, Your ATM Won't Work…
By Bill Bonner
Posted June 9, 2015

Cyprus was the trial balloon for confiscationWhile we were thinking about what was really going on with today's strange new money system, a startling thought occurred to us. Our financial system could take a surprising and catastrophic twist that almost nobody imagines, let alone anticipates.

Do you remember when a lethal tsunami hit the beaches of Southeast Asia, killing thousands of people and causing billions of dollars of damage?

Well, just before the 80-foot wall of water slammed into the coast an odd thing happened: The water disappeared. The tide went out farther than anyone had ever seen before. Local fishermen headed for high ground immediately. They knew what it meant. But the tourists went out onto the beach looking for shells!

The same thing could happen to the money supply. There's Not Enough Physical Money. Here's how… and why: More...

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The "Better Than Cash Alliance" Has An Orwellian Plan
by Seth Mason
Posted June 8, 2015

Orwell's 1984 dystopian societyIn the fall of 1910, under the pretense of a duck hunting trip, a group of powerful bankers, political figures, and businessmen met at Jekyll Island, GA to plan the creation of a central bank for the United States. The "game" that this elite group of "hunters" brought back to their ivory towers of Lower Manhattan and Capitol Hill was the blueprint for one of the most destructive financial institutions in modern history, the Federal Reserve.

One-hundred years later, another group of powerful bankers, political figures, and businessmen have converged to promote a cashless society, an economic system that would compel every man, woman, and child to utilize proprietary, government-monitored electronic systems to make purchases of any kind. This group, which calls itself the Better Than Cash Alliance, is as dangerous as the group of "outdoor enthusiasts" that met at Jekyll Island that fateful early-20th Century November.

And, just like the Jekyll Island group sold their grand plans based on a lie (they claimed that the Fed would guarantee liquidity in times of financial panics), the Better Than Cash Alliance is selling the idea of a cashless society based on the farce that eliminating cash would stimulate entrepreneurship among the poor. In reality, the elimination of cash would reduce a great many opportunities for entrepreneurship for people of few means. More...

orwellian organization

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Global Capitalist Crisis and the North American Free Trade Agreement: Reflections 21 Years On
By William I. Robinson
Posted June 6, 2015

TPP - corporate coupRecent US Senate approval won by President Obama for "fast-track" negotiation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal has thrust "free trade" and capitalist globalization again into the headlines. Often referred to as "NAFTA on steroids," the TPP is but the latest in more than two decades of "free trade" agreements that have helped open up the world to transnational corporate plunder.

If we want to understand such deals we would do well to reflect on the first of these, the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, which went into effect in January 1994. We cannot understand NAFTA without understanding the larger picture of which NAFTA and the TPP form part: the new system of global capitalism and the crisis of that system. More...

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Bernanke & Greenspan Have Destroyed America, People Don't Realize What Is Coming
By Peter Schiff and Mike Maloney
Posted June 5, 2015

Bernancke and Greenspan have destroyed AmericaBernacke and Greenspan have absolutely destroyed America. People don't realize what is coming from the stored up energy from the manipulations that they did.

When you've been on 0% for 6 years you develop an addiction to that. We have built an entire economy around free money. You can't take that away even if the interest rates are still low, even if they went to just 2% to 3%. Yes that's still low. But not low enough for an economy addicted to 0%. If you're a heroin addict and your body is used to a certain amount of heroin then your pusher says "I can only give you half of what I normally give you, but you still have some heroin." That's not gonna cut it. You're already gonna start going through withdrawal. More...

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JPMorgan Tech Workers Have New Conspiracy Theories
By Pam Martens and Russ Martens
Posted June 2, 2015

JP Morgan another conspiracy?Since December 2013 there have been a rash of unusual deaths among workers at JPMorgan Chase, including alleged leaps from buildings and two separate alleged murder-suicides in New Jersey. A noteworthy number of the deaths have been among technology workers. With the exception of Julian Knott, who was a high level technology expert for JPMorgan in both London and later at the firm's high tech Global Network Operations Center in Whippany, New Jersey, all of the individuals were under 40.

The fact that JPMorgan Chase holds an estimated $179 billion in life insurance on its workers, and in some cases, prior workers, whose death benefit pays to the bank not the family of the employee, has raised concerns of more than just trading conspiracies at JPMorgan Chase. More...

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The New "Water Barons": Wall Street Mega-Banks are Buying up the World's Water
By Jo-Shing Yang
Posted May 26, 2015

water barons cornering marketA disturbing trend in the water sector is accelerating worldwide. The new "water barons" — the Wall Street banks and elitist multibillionaires — are buying up water all over the world at unprecedented pace.

Familiar mega-banks and investing powerhouses such as Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, UBS, Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, Macquarie Bank, Barclays Bank, the Blackstone Group, Allianz, and HSBC Bank, among others, are consolidating their control over water. Wealthy tycoons such as T. Boone Pickens, former President George H.W. Bush and his family, Hong Kong's Li Ka-shing, Philippines' Manuel V. Pangilinan and other Filipino billionaires, and others are also buying thousands of acres of land with aquifers, lakes, water rights, water utilities, and shares in water engineering and technology companies all over the world.

The second disturbing trend is that while the new water barons are buying up water all over the world, governments are moving fast to limit citizens' ability to become water self-sufficient (as evidenced by the well-publicized Gary Harrington's case in Oregon, in which the state criminalized the collection of rainwater in three ponds located on his private land, by convicting him on nine counts and sentencing him for 30 days in jail). More...

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War Threat Rises As Economy Declines
by Paul Craig Roberts
(Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under Ronald Reagan)
Posted May 18, 2015

economic decline for the middle classJust as the Soviet collapse unleashed US hegemony, it gave rise to jobs offshoring. The Soviet collapse convinced China and India to open their massive underutilized labor markets to US capital. US corporations, with any reluctant ones pushed by large retailers and Wall Street's threat of financing takeovers, moved manufacturing, industrial, and tradable professional service jobs, such as software engineering, abroad.

This decimated the American middle class and removed ladders of upward mobility. US GDP and tax base moved with the jobs to China and India. US real median family incomes ceased to grow and declined. Without income growth to drive the economy, Alan Greenspan resorted to an expansion of consumer debt, which has run its course. Currently there is nothing to drive the economy. More...

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Don't Be Afraid of a Municipal Bank
By Otis Bullock
Posted May 14, 2015

Public bank for Philadelphia would help local economyA municipal bank can work and can grow Philadelphia's economy. A prime example of a successful public bank is the public Bank of North Dakota (BND). BND earned $94 million last year in profits for North Dakota's 740,000 residents. BND deposits roughly half its profits into the State's general budget and uses the other half to increase its capitalization in order to make more loans. In the past decade, BND has returned over $300 million to the general fund. In addition to lending based on a formula that includes both its public deposits and its capitalization, BND also has access to low-cost Federal Home Loan Bank capital.

BND is not required to contribute to FDIC insurance because it is not a retail bank and it is backed instead by the full faith and credit of the State of North Dakota. This and its partnership arrangements with local banks lower its operating costs considerably. The BND has averaged more than 25 percent return on equity over the past 16 years. Since 2008, BND's annual return on investment has been between 17 percent and 26 percent. More...

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Free Trade is Plutocratic Propaganda
by Daniel Drew
Posted May 12, 2015

plutocrat propagandaLike The Ministry of Truth in George Orwell's 1984, sometimes, the most effective way to lie is to use the most innocent words. No word is more susceptible to propaganda-leveraging than "freedom." Attach that word to any concept, and all of a sudden, it's unassailable. That's exactly what happened with "free trade."

Proponents of free trade will often use the simplest analogies to convey their point, as if you were retarded. The reason they have to resort to such caveman illustrations is because free trade does not exist in the real world. There is no such thing as equality of bargaining power. If someone has ten million dollars and you have zero dollars, anything above zero is an "improvement" in your situation. The free trade economists will say this person with zero dollars is "free" to work for $1 per hour, and they will do so because it improves their situation. This is what "freedom" means to free trade economists.

If you doubt the free trade economists, they will call you a "protectionist," as if protecting your country's economy were some kind of grievous transgression. In fact, nothing is more American than shunning free trade nonsense. More...

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Celebrating the Flash Crash With a Wall Street Sales Tax
By Dean Baker
Posted May 7, 2015

Wall St Tax for the parasitesIf a trader has designed a mathematical algorithm that allows them to jump in and buy large blocks of Apple stock just as a pension fund is looking to make a major purchase of shares, then the trader will get a portion of the gains that otherwise would have gone to the pension fund. This story applies to all areas of the market. Farmers that sell futures on their crops, airlines that buy futures on jet fuel, mutual funds buying government bonds, all can expect to see a part of their gains siphoned off by short-term traders that manage to beat them on market timing.

The traders now siphon off more than $200 billion (1.3 percent of GDP) a year from the productive economy. Much of this money is the income of super-rich bankers and hedge fund partners.

There is a simple and easy way to reduce the amount of money being drained away by short-term traders. A financial transactions tax, effectively a modest sales tax applied to trades, would drastically reduce the amount of short-term trading while raising a huge amount of revenue. More...

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The Political Roots of Widening Inequality
By Robert Reich
Posted May 6, 2015

government- master or servant?The standard explanation has allowed some to argue, for example, that the median wage of the bottom 90 percent -- which for the first 30 years after World War II rose in tandem with productivity -- has stagnated for the last 30 years, even as productivity has continued to rise, because middle-income workers are worth less than they were before new software technologies and globalization made many of their old jobs redundant. They therefore have to settle for lower wages and less security. If they want better jobs, they need more education and better skills. So hath the market decreed.

Yet this market view cannot be the whole story because it fails to account for much of what we have experienced. For one thing, it doesn't clarify why the transformation occurred so suddenly. The divergence between productivity gains and the median wage began in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and then took off. Yet globalization and technological change did not suddenly arrive at America's doorstep in those years. What else began happening then? More...

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Iceland's Economic Revolution
by F. William Engdahl
Posted May 4, 2015

Iceland jailed its bankersWhen the dust settled, relative to the size of its economy, Iceland's systemic banking collapse ranked as the largest experienced by any country in economic history. By the October 2008 the country's three major banks–Glitnir bank, Landsbanki and Iceland's largest bank, Kaupþing were placed into state receivership, nationalized. That was the same time US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, bailed out AIG, Goldman Sachs and his old buddies on Wall Street with "socialized" losses dumped on American taxpayers.

Unlike Greece or Ireland or other EU countries or the USA, the Iceland Parliament and government refused to give unlimited state guarantee to save the private banks.Iceland decided to go it alone and focus on rebuilding her devastated real economy.

The results are quite opposite the results in the EU where the brutal IMF and ECB and EU austerity policies have turned a banking crisis into a major economic crisis across the EU. More...

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Fast track to corporate hegemony
By Mike Krauss
Posted May 2, 2015

corporate coupThirty years ago I had my first experience of marketing for a corporation. I learned that the most often used word in marketing and advertising is "free." I recall this lesson as I follow the debate on the "Trans Pacific Partnership" (TPP), which is being sold as a "free" trade agreement. "Free" sells.

What exactly is being sold in the TPP ? To answer that question, you need to read the fine print. But you can't. TPP has been negotiated in almost total secrecy by a team of about 600 lawyers, working for the major trans-national corporations.

The text of the treaty has been classified as "Secret" by U.S. negotiators. Even members of Congress are not permitted access. The deal will be presented to Congress on a "fast track" -- no opportunity for Congress to modify the details. One vote, yes or no on the entire treaty as presented -- a done deal. More...

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Our Financial Future: Infinite Greed Meets a Funny Thing Called Karma
by Charles Hugh Smith
Posted May 1, 2015

who are they protecting?Somewhere along the line, we lost the ability to distinguish between earning a profit and maximizing private gain by any means, i.e. Infinite Greed. If you insist on making this distinction now, you anger a lot of people, as it blows the capitalist cover of Infinite Greed.

The distinction between earning a profit and maximizing private gain by any means angers not just the few benefiting from the useful delusion that Infinite Greed is simply profit on overdrive; it seems to anger everyone who believes the Status Quo of burning mountains of coal to power towel warmers, sitting in traffic burning petrol two hours a day and central banks enriching the already wealthy is not just sustainable but gol-darned good. More...

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The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). Promoting Global Tyranny Run By Corporations
By Washington's Blog
Posted April 27, 2015

are you ready for corporate rule?The powers-that-be are pushing this week to fast track a horrible treaty which would destroy America. The treaty is called the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).

The U.S. Trade Representative – the federal agency responsible for negotiating trade treaties – has said that the details of the TPP are classified due to "national security".

Parts of the TPP won't be declassified for four years … even if it's passed. Why's the deal being kept secret? Because it would be impossible to pass if the public knew what was really in it. Ron Kirk, until recently Mr. Obama's top trade official, was remarkably candid about why he opposed making the text public: doing so, he suggested to Reuters, would raise such opposition that it could make the deal impossible to sign. But it's not only being hidden from the American people … it's being hidden even from most U.S.Congress members. More...

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How Wall St Has Quietly Bilked Billions from Cities Across the US
By Ed Walker
Posted April 23, 2015

water shgutoffs to pay bankersThe impact of these transactions on cities is horrifying. For example, the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) paid $547 million in termination fees to banks on its interest rate swaps in FY 2012. It has been estimated that more than 40 percent of Detroiters' water bills now go toward paying down these termination fees. Fn. omitted.

In fiscal year 2013, Los Angeles paid $290 million in publicly-disclosed financial fees, while it cut services, including road repairs, by 19%. Other cities have similar horror stories.

The Obama Administration has completely ignored the plight of the citizens of these towns. From the outset Obama decided to help banks and creditors, the people who caused the Great Crash, and to ignore the staggering problems facing debtors. This became certain when the administration refused to support bankruptcy cramdown, one of the few steps that would have actually helped debtors, while inflicting losses on the lenders who made bad loans. More...

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Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP): Job Loss, Lower Wages and Higher Drug Prices
by Public Citizen
Posted April 22, 2015

ready for corporate personhoodHave you heard? The TPP is a massive, controversial "free trade" agreement currently being pushed by big corporations and negotiated behind closed doors by officials from the United States and 11 other countries – Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. Although it is called a "free trade" agreement, the TPP is not mainly about trade. Of TPP's 29 draft chapters, only five deal with traditional trade issues. One chapter would provide incentives to offshore jobs to low-wage countries. Many would impose limits on government policies that we rely on in our daily lives for safe food, a clean environment, and more. Our domestic federal, state and local policies would be required to comply with TPP rules.

The TPP would even elevate individual foreign firms to equal status with sovereign nations, empowering them to privately enforce new rights and privileges, provided by the pact, by dragging governments to foreign tribunals to challenge public interest policies that they claim frustrate their expectations. The tribunals would be authorized to order taxpayer compensation to the foreign corporations for the "expected future profits" they surmise would be inhibited by the challenged policies. More...

This deal has been called "NAFTA On Steroids". If you thought corporate personhood was bad, just wait until we have corporate nationhood.

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One Last Look At The Real Economy Before It Implodes - Part 5
by Brandon Smith
Posted April 19, 2015

economic collapse comingAt the level of international banking and monetary policy, there is absolutely NO indication of any legitimate conflict between the East and the West. Again, such battles are only theater for the masses. But what purpose does this theater serve?

The fake economic war between East and West provides cover and rationale for the true goal of the internationalists: the destruction of the dollar as the world reserve currency and the ascendency of the Special Drawinf Rights (SDR) global monetary system. The endgame of the bankers is, of course, global government. It has been the longtime dream of the Fabian socialists permeating the central banking universe. A global currency system and centralized economic management are first-step psychological weapons against the public. If the world operates on a singular currency mechanism and a singular economic authority, why not have a singular governmental system as well?

The elites are preparing for this event, and they are not content only to trigger it then sit back and watch it happen. They also hope to construct a new image for themselves as the prophets who tried to warn the world — the financial “sages” who would be our rescuers. More...

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Wall Street's Wealth Transfer System Is Imperiling the U.S. Economy
By Pam Martens
Posted April 18, 2015

Wall Street greedFor nine years now we have written about Wall Street's institutionalized system of transferring wealth from decent, hardworking Americans to the denizens of Wall Street and those it selectively chooses to favor in the one percent class. The methods of wealth transfer are as diverse as they are diabolical, thus even well intentioned members of Congress cannot stem the havoc on the financial well being of the average American and the overall economy.

One facet that all of these wealth transfer systems have in common is that they all masquerade under a benign sounding name. The 401(k) plan is viewed by most Americans as a way to save for retirement. That's a good thing – right? It is not a good thing when two-thirds of your savings over a working lifetime end up in Wall Street's pocket, as carefully demonstrated by Frontline and math-checked by us. More...

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How Wall Street Used Swaps to Get Rich at the Expense of Cities
by Ed Walker
Posted April 16, 2015

Wall Street comes before waterThe Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) paid $547 million in termination fees to banks on its interest rate swaps in FY 2012. It has been estimated that more than 40 percent of Detroiters' water bills now go toward paying down these termination fees.

In fiscal year 2013, Los Angeles paid $290 million in publicly-disclosed financial fees, while it cut services, including road repairs, by 19%. Other cities have similar horror stories.

The Obama Administration has completely ignored the plight of the citizens of these towns. From the outset Obama decided to help banks and creditors, the people who caused the Great Crash, and to ignore the staggering problems facing debtors. This became certain when the administration refused to support bankruptcy cramdown, one of the few steps that would have actually helped debtors, while inflicting losses on the lenders who made bad loans. More...

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The Six Too Big to Fail Banks in the U.S. Have 278 Trillion Dollars of Exposure to Derivatives
By Michael Snyder
Posted April 15, 2015

another too big to failThe very same people that caused the last economic crisis have created a 278 TRILLION dollar derivatives time bomb that could go off at any moment. When this absolutely colossal bubble does implode, we are going to be faced with the worst economic crash in the history of the United States. During the last financial crisis, our politicians promised us that they would make sure that "too big to fail" would never be a problem again. Instead, as you will see below, those banks have actually gotten far larger since then. So now we really can't afford for them to fail.

The six banks that I am talking about are JPMorgan Chase, Citibank, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo. When you add up all of their exposure to derivatives, it comes to a grand total of more than 278 trillion dollars. But when you add up all of the assets of all six banks combined, it only comes to a grand total of about 9.8 trillion dollars. In other words, these "too big to fail" banks have exposure to derivatives that is more than 28 times greater than their total assets. This is complete and utter insanity, and yet nobody seems too alarmed about it. For the moment, those banks are still making lots of money and funding the campaigns of our most prominent politicians. Right now there is no incentive for them to stop their incredibly reckless gambling so they are just going to keep on doing it. More...

To wrap your mind around the figure of $278 Trillion, it is the same thing as 278 Million Billion dollars. The GDP of the entire planet is $70 Trillion.

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Today's Money Regimes Are Doomed To Failure
by Charles Hugh Smith
Posted April 12, 2015

fiat money is dommedLet's imagine that we have a $1 billion line of credit with our central bank at an interest rate of .25%--one-quarter of 1%. We don't need to post any collateral, and the central bank has given us whispered assurances that should we lose the money in risky gambles, the losses will be made good by the taxpayers.

This is called moral hazard: the risks have been disconnected from the consequences.If we make a profit with the borrowed money, it's ours to keep. If we lose the borrowed money, the taxpayers will foot the bill. It's difficult to imagine a better deal: near-zero interest rate, no collateral, and no risk of having to suffer the consequences of losing the borrowed money. More...

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How Big Business Is Helping Expand NSA Surveillance
by Lee Fang
Posted April 9, 2015

corporate complicity in NSA spyingSince November 11, 2011, with the introduction of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, American spy agencies have been pushing laws to encourage corporations to share more customer information. They repeatedly failed, thanks in part to NSA contractor Edward Snowden's revelations of mass government surveillance. Then came Republican victories in last year's midterm Congressional elections and a major push by corporate interests in favor of the legislation.

Today, the bill is back, largely unchanged, and if congressional insiders and the bill's sponsors are to believed, the legislation could end up on President Obama's desk as soon as this month. In another boon to the legislation, Obama is expected to reverse his past opposition and sign it, albeit in an amended and renamed form (CISPA is now CISA, the "Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act"). The reversal comes in the wake of high-profile hacks on JPMorgan Chase and Sony Pictures Entertainment. The bill has also benefitted greatly from lobbying by big business, which sees it as a way to cut costs and to shift some anti-hacking defenses onto the government. More...

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Warren Buffett the Slumlord – Predatory Loans, Kickbacks and Preying on the Poor at Clayton Homes
by Michael Krieger
Posted April 8, 2015

Warren Buffet - preying on the poorThe disastrous deal ruined their finances and nearly their marriage. But until informed recently by a reporter, they didn't realize that the homebuilder (Golden West), the dealer (Oakwood Homes) and the lender (21st Mortgage) were all part of a single company: Clayton Homes, the nation's biggest homebuilder, which is controlled by its second-richest man — Warren Buffett.

Buffett's mobile-home empire promises low-income Americans the dream of homeownership. But Clayton relies on predatory sales practices, exorbitant fees, and interest rates that can exceed 15 percent, trapping many buyers in loans they can't afford and in homes that are almost impossible to sell or refinance, an investigation by The Seattle Times and Center for Public Integrity has found. More...

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Is Dodd-Frank Killing Community Banks? The More Important Question is How to Save Them
by Matt Stannard
Posted April 5, 2015

Too bif to fail is getting even biggerArguments have emerged from all sections of the banking spectrum concerning the causes of community banks' decline. Many observers argue that Dodd Frank's regulations disproportionately impact community banks. But there is no consensus on this. In this morning's American Banker, banking industry consultant and investor J.V. Rizzi takes the opposite view. "There are many things to dislike about the Dodd-Frank Act," he writes. "Causing the demise of community banks, however, is not one of them." Rizzi correctly points out that "the number of community banks with assets under $100 million dropped from 13,000 in 1995 to 2,625 in 2010--before Dodd-Frank was enacted. The number of small community banks had dropped under 1,900 by 2014."

Why is this important? Here are seven reasons: More...

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TPP Power Grab: World Bank, Goldman Sachs, Coucil on Foreign Relations
by William F. Jasper
Posted April 3, 2015

TPP protestThe recently leaked Chapter 2 of the secret Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), as we reported here on March 31, proposes transferring enormous judicial powers to the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), a branch of the corrupt, world-government-promoting World Bank.

The TPP draft text proposes creating tribunals (courts) that could overrule the decisions of our state and federal courts, as well as our local, state and federal laws — and our state and national constitutions. This is already occurring under similar tribunals established by the NAFTA and WTO agreements. More...

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Iceland To Take Back The Power To Create Money
by Raúl Ilargi Meijer
Posted April 1, 2015

Iceland taking back its powerWho knew that the revolution would start with those radical Icelanders? It does, though. One Frosti Sigurjonsson, a lawmaker from the ruling Progress Party, issued a report today that suggests taking the power to create money away from commercial banks, and hand it to the central bank and, ultimately, Parliament.

Can't see commercial banks in the western world be too happy with this. They must be contemplating wiping the island nation off the map. If accepted in the Iceland parliament , the plan would change the game in a very radical way. It would be successful too, because there is no bigger scourge on our economies than commercial banks creating money and then securitizing and selling off the loans they just created the money (credit) with. More...

Because so many in the public are so illiterate about our monetary system, they may not realize just what an earth shaking event this actually is.

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The Bail-In: How You and Your Money Will Be Parted During the Next Banking Crisis
By John Lawrence
Posted March 28, 2015

money is not safe in the big banksThere will be no more taxpayer bailouts for the Big Wall Street banks. That much has been established by the lobbied to death Dodd-Frank banking reform (yeah, right) bill. However, instead of taking money from the government (taxpayers), the principal has been established that the next source of money for profligate banks will be your deposit accounts. Yeah, that's right, the money to stabilize the banking sector during the next crisis will come out of your savings and checking accounts.

To add insult to injury – since the banks pay you zero percent on your savings account in the first place – the banks have the right to confiscate your funds if they crash the economy again as they did in 2008. Remember the Great Recession? It's coming again to a bank near you.

How can they do this, you ask? Simple. When you deposit money in a checking or savings account, that money no longer belongs to you. Technically and legally, it becomes the property of the bank, and the bank just issues you what amounts to an IOU. As far as the bank is concerned, it's an unsecured debt. More...

This video also explains how public and private funds are no longer safe in the big banks.

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Life for Rent
by Don Findlay
Posted March 27, 2015

game is riggedWe are born, in this world, into a game that's already started. We arrive late..... really late, for the game is nearly completed. As in Monopoly, all of the properties are owned and everywhere we land, rents must be paid. We have no choice... these are the rules of the game. The game is not an option. There is no other way to survive. Thenland and resources necessary for alternatives are gone and laws protect us from hunting, fishing, and cultivating sustaoable socities. To survive we need money and money is the key to winning to winning the game.

All talk of freedom is absurd. We are only "free" to get into their game. The rules are set, quitting is illegal, so get started "earning a living". We have no inherent human right to be alive. We must earn our right to exist by submitting to the authority of those in charge of the game. More...

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Debt-damned economics: either learn monetary reform, or kiss your assets goodbye
by Carl Herman
Posted March 24, 2015

Monetary reform for real prosperityThe American Monetary Institute has a proposal called the American Monetary Act (49) to do this. This proposal was also endorsed by America's best-known economist, Milton Friedman, as the single most important action possible for US economic improvement (see footnote 14 on this monetary reform proposal [50]).

The benefits are astounding: the American public would no longer pay over $400 billion every year for national debt interest payments (because almost 50% of the debt is intra-governmental transfers, this is a savings of over $200 billion/year). If lending is run at a non-profit rate or at nominal interest returned to the American public (for infrastructure, schools, fire and police protection, etc.) rather than profiting the banks, the savings to the US public is conservatively $2 trillion (51). If the US Federal government increased the money supply by 3% a year to keep up with population increase and economic growth, we could spend an additional $500 billion yearly into public programs, or refund it as a public dividend (52). More...

Too many people think that the current monetary system is the only way because that is all they have known. This proposal has the potential to transform our society.

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The New "Water Barons": Wall Street Mega-Banks are Buying up the World's Water
By Jo-Shing Yang
Posted March 23, 2015

oligarchs buying up water resourcesA disturbing trend in the water sector is accelerating worldwide. The new "water barons" — the Wall Street banks and elitist multibillionaires — are buying up water all over the world at unprecedented pace.

Familiar mega-banks and investing powerhouses such as Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, UBS, Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, Macquarie Bank, Barclays Bank, the Blackstone Group, Allianz, and HSBC Bank, among others, are consolidating their control over water. Wealthy tycoons such as T. Boone Pickens, former President George H.W. Bush and his family, Hong Kong's Li Ka-shing, Philippines' Manuel V. Pangilinan and other Filipino billionaires, and others are also buying thousands of acres of land with aquifers, lakes, water rights, water utilities, and shares in water engineering and technology companies all over the world.

The second disturbing trend is that while the new water barons are buying up water all over the world, governments are moving fast to limit citizens' ability to become water self-sufficient (as evidenced by the well-publicized Gary Harrington's case in Oregon, in which the state criminalized the collection of rainwater in three ponds located on his private land, by convicting him on nine counts and sentencing him for 30 days in jail). More...

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The "Official" Unemployment Rate Has Become Meaningless – Here's Why
by Michael Snyder
Posted March 18, 2015

propagandaEarlier this month we learned that the official "unemployment rate" has [supposedly] fallen to 5.5%. Since an unemployment rate of 5% is considered to be "full employment" by many economists, many in the mainstream media took this as a sign that the U.S. economy has almost fully "recovered" since the last recession. In fact, according to the Wall Street Journal, some Federal Reserve officials believe that "the U.S. economy is already at full employment".

It is my contention that the official "unemployment rate" has become so politicized and so manipulated that it is essentially meaningless at this point.Since February 2008, the size of the U.S. population has grown by 16.8 million people, but the number of full-time jobs has actually decreased by 140,000. More...

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The ECB's Noose Around Greece: How Central Banks Harness Governments
by Ellen Brown
Posted March 13, 2015

Greeks being robbedThe noose around Greece's neck is this: the European Central Bank (ECB) will not accept Greek bonds as collateral for the central bank liquidity all banks need, until the new Syriza government accepts the very stringent austerity program imposed by the troika (the EU Commission, ECB and IMF). That means selling off public assets (including ports, airports, electric and petroleum companies), slashing salaries and pensions, drastically increasing taxes and dismantling social services, while creating special funds to save the banking system.

These are the mafia-like extortion tactics by which entire economies are yoked into paying off debts to foreign banks – debts that must be paid with the labor, assets and patrimony of people who had nothing to do with incurring them. National central banks are no longer tools of governments for the benefit of the people. Governments have become tools of a global central banking system serving the interests of giant international financial institutions. These "too big to fail" behemoths must be saved at the expense of local banks, their depositors, and local economies generally. More...

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Former SEC Director Admits The Truth: The Market Is Rigged
by Tyler Durden
Posted March 12, 2015

John Ramsay, former SEC DirectorThe current market ecosystem is not sustainable, and significant changes are coming one way or another," Ramsay said in a speech delivered at a New York technology conference in September. Ramsay said his opinions grew more critical in recent years as he watched the market fragment into 11 public exchanges and more than 40 less-regulated private venues such as dark pools.

Trading became more complex and prone to technological malfunctions in the face of rules that were supposed to boost competition and create new choices for investors, he said. He outlined how the market lost its way: conflicts of interest among brokers, a two-tier system favoring the speediest and a general sense that today's rules have been crafted to the benefit of insiders.

Is "crafted for the benefit of insiders" not the very definition of a rigged game? More...

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Turning the European Debt Myth Upside-Down
by Conn Hallinan
Posted March 12, 2015

irish protestsMyths are dangerous because they rely more on cultural memory and prejudice than facts.

And behind the current crisis between Greece and the European Union (EU) lies a fable that bears little relationship to why Athens and a number of other countries in the 28-member organization find themselves in deep distress.The tale is a variation of Aesop's allegory of the industrious ant and the lazy, fun-loving grasshopper. The "northern countries" - especially Germany, the Netherlands, Britain, and Finland - play the role of the ant, and Greece, Spain, Portugal, and Ireland the part of the grasshopper.

The ants are sober and virtuous, while the grasshoppers are spendthrift, corrupt lay-abouts who have spent themselves into trouble and now must pay the piper. The problem is that this myth bears almost no relationship to the actual roots of the crisis or what the solutions might be. And it perpetuates a fable that the debt is the fault of individual countries rather than a serious crisis at the very heart of the EU. More...

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Financial Collapse Leads To War
by Dmitry Orlov
Posted March 6, 2015

war to divert attentionThe US has surrendered its sovereignty to a clique of financial oligarchs. Having nobody at all to answer to, this American (and to some extent international) oligarchy has been ruining the financial condition of the country, running up staggering levels of debt, destroying savings and retirements, debasing the currency and so on. The inevitable end-game is that the Federal Reserve (along with the central banks of other "developed economies") will end up buying up all the sovereign debt issuance with money they print for that purpose, and in the end this inevitably leads to hyperinflation and national bankruptcy. A very special set of conditions has prevented these two events from taking place thus far, but that doesn't mean that they won't, because that's what always happens, sooner or later.

Now, let's suppose a financial oligarchy has seized control of the country, and, since it can't control its own appetites, is running it into the ground. Then it would make sense for it to have some sort of back-up plan for when the whole financial house of cards falls apart. Ideally, this plan would effectively put down any chance of revolt of the downtrodden masses, and allow the oligarchy to maintain security and hold onto its wealth. Peacetime is fine for as long as it can placate the populace with bread and circuses, but when a financial calamity causes the economy to crater and bread and circuses turn scarce, a handy fallback is war. More...

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The Fed's History of Assassination
by Shah Gilani
Posted March 1, 2015
Fed is a PRIVATE bank

Shah Gilani writes: The Federal Reserve System has a very dark history.

I'm talking about a history of murder.Maybe you didn't know, but there's a theory that the Fed ordered John F. Kennedy's assassination.

Today, I'll share with you the facts behind that theory. And then I'll show you the facts that prove the Fed is guilty of even more murders. More...

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Swimming with the Sharks: Goldman Sachs, School Districts, and Capital Appreciation Bonds
by Ellen Brown
Posted February 23, 2015

vampire squidRemember when Goldman Sachs – dubbed by Matt Taibbi the Vampire Squid – sold derivatives to Greece so the government could conceal its debt, then bet against that debt, driving it up? It seems that the ubiquitous investment bank has also put the squeeze on California and its school districts. Not that Goldman was alone in this; but the unscrupulous practices of the bank once called the undisputed king of the municipal bond business epitomize the culture of greed that has ensnared students and future generations in unrepayable debt.

In 2008, after collecting millions of dollars in fees to help California sell its bonds, Goldman urged its bigger clients to place investment bets against those bonds, in order to profit from a financial crisis that was sparked in the first place by irresponsible Wall Street speculation. Alarmed California officials warned that these short sales would jeopardize the state's bond rating and drive up interest rates. But that result also served Goldman, which had sold credit default swaps on the bonds, since the price of the swaps rose along with the risk of default. More...

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Rothschild vs. Rothschild
by Jeff Nielson
Posted January 22, 2015

we are the foodHaving plundered all our wealth; what we now have, effectively, is a massive, bloated, 300-lb parasite (the Rothschild clan) attempting to "feed" off of a 100-lb host – the emaciated West. It's impossible, and we see this reflected in our economic reality, once we look past the saturation lies of the Corporate media.

Despite six years of permanent zero/near-zero interest rates (the most-extreme form of quasi-legitimate, monetary stimulus which is even theoretically possible); all of these Western economies (with the partial exception of Germany) remain totally lifeless. The only "growth" which has taken place in the West since the Crash of '08 is the (exponential) growth in the size of the economic lies being told to us about our economies, by our own governments. More...

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Benefits Of a Public Bank For Cities and Municipalities
by Mike Krauss, Steve Snyder & Nancy Goldner
Posted February 16, 2015

Key Questions and Answers for Elected Officials and Policy Makers, Treasury Staff, Bankers, Taxpayers and Voters

keep the money localIn cites large and small – Boston, Philadelphia, Allentown, Pittsburgh, New Brunswick, Chattanooga, Houston, Chicago, Santa Fe, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles – mayors, council members, candidates and community leaders are stepping up to free their communities from the ruinous banking of the Too-Big-To-Fail banks – that failed and will in all likelihood fail once again.

Public banks partner with our existing community banks, credit unions, financial institutions and development agencies to provide affordable and sustainable credit for locally-directed economic development and jobs creation. The partnership supports sound municipal finance, lowers public debt, contributes substantial non-tax revenue to the general funds of our local governments and creates solid economic opportunity.

We invite you to learn about Public "Partnership" Banking and join the campaign to create the urgently needed alternative to a dangerously concentrated and failed banking industry. More...

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Why Public Banks Outperform Private Banks: Unfair Competition or a Better Mousetrap?
by Ellen Brown
Posted February 14, 2015

Bank of North DakotaPublic banks in North Dakota, Germany and Switzerland have been shown to outperform their private counterparts. Under the TPP and TTIP, however, publicly-owned banks on both sides of the oceans might wind up getting sued for unfair competition because they have advantages not available to private banks.

Then what does explain it? The Bank of North Dakota (BND)turns a tidy profit year after year because it has substantially lower costs and risks then private commercial banks. It has no exorbitantly-paid executives; pays no bonuses, fees, or commissions; has no private shareholders; and has low borrowing costs. It does not need to advertise for depositors (it has a captive deposit base in the state itself) or for borrowers (it is a wholesome wholesale bank that partners with local banks that have located borrowers). The BND also has no losses from derivative trades gone wrong. It engages in old-fashioned conservative banking and does not speculate in derivatives. More...

There are more small banks per capita in North Dakota than any other state. The partnerships between the small banks and the BND has worked to the benefit of the people in North Dakota, not Wall Street.

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Gallup CEO Fears He Might "Suddenly Disappear" for Questioning U.S. Jobs Data
By Pam Martens and Russ Martens
Posted February 9, 2015

Gallup-CEO-Jim-Clifton worries about being "disappeared"Years of unending news stories on U.S. government programs of surveillance, rendition and torture have apparently chilled the speech of even top business executives in the United States. Yesterday, Jim Clifton, the Chairman and CEO of Gallup, an iconic U.S. company dating back to 1935, told CNBC that he was worried he might "suddenly disappear" and not make it home that evening if he disputed the accuracy of what the U.S. government is reporting as unemployed Americans.

The CNBC interview came one day after Clifton had penned a gutsy opinion piece on Gallup's web site, defiantly calling the government's 5.6 percent unemployment figure "The Big Lie" in the article's headline. His appearance on CNBC was apparently to walk back the "lie" part of the title and reframe the jobs data as just hopelessly deceptive. More...

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World Bank Whistleblower Reveals How The Global Elite Rules The World
By Michael Snyder
Posted February 7, 2015

Karen Hudes - whistleblowerKaren Hudes is a graduate of Yale Law School and she worked in the legal department of the World Bank for more than 20 years. In fact, when she was fired for blowing the whistle on corruption inside the World Bank, she held the position of Senior Counsel. She was in a unique position to see exactly how the global elite rules the world, and the information that she is now revealing to the public is absolutely stunning. According to Hudes, the elite uses a very tight core of financial institutions and mega-corporations to dominate the planet.

The goal is control. They want all of us enslaved to debt, they want all of our governments enslaved to debt, and they want all of our politicians addicted to the huge financial contributions that they funnel into their campaigns. Since the elite also own all of the big media companies, the mainstream media never lets us in on the secret that there is something fundamentally wrong with the way that our system works.

Remember, this is not some "conspiracy theorist" that is saying these things. This is a Yale-educated attorney that worked inside the World Bank for more than two decades. More...

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The Face of the Oligarch Recovery – Luxury Skyscrapers Stay Empty as NYC Homeless Population Hits Record High
by Michael Krieger
Posted February 6, 2015

most people are one paychack away from thisNowhere is the fraudulent and criminal "oligarch recovery" more on display than in my hometown of New York City. Despite benefitting more than any other community from an enormous taxpayer bailout of the industry that destroyed the economy, financial services, the vast majority of the wealth has been allocated to a handful of oligarchs.

To make matters even worse, American public policy, if you can even call it that, has been to encourage overseas oligarchs to park billions of dollars in U.S. real estate that largely sits uninhabited. Manhattan is a perfect example of this unproductive behavior and misallocation of capital. The Census Bureau estimates that 30 percent of all apartments in the quadrant from 49th to 70th Streets between Fifth and Park are vacant at least ten months a year. More...

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Rigging the Rules: The Next Corporate Sting
by Robert Borosage
Posted February 3, 2015

Corporate Statets Of AmericaGlobal corporations have managed to create a perverse tax dodge in the U.S. tax code. Any profits they make or report abroad can be squirreled away – deferred – tax-free until they are "repatriated" – brought back for use in the U.S. Large global corporations find creative ways to report billions of profits in tax havens like the Cayman Islands. Then they lobby fiercely for a one-time tax "holiday" to bring the money back home, promising it will produce jobs and investment.

The last time they pulled this scam, they got a huge tax break and the money was largely used for mergers and stock buybacks, hiking the bonuses of the executive suite and doing virtually nothing for jobs. Worse, more corporations decided they could benefit from the scam, and started reporting more of their profits abroad. Only small business and patriotic corporations face the nominal corporate tax rate of 35 percent. Now some $2 trillion dollars resides sheltered from US taxes, and the lobbying for another holiday has grown fierce. More...

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Naomi Prins: The Sinister Evolution Of Our Modern Banking System
By Adam Taggart
Posted Febriary 2, 2015

Naomi PrinsIt began with the period before the 1970s when different people were rising to leadership in banks, and worsened in the 80s when we started seeing people who had more sociopathic tendencies or less ability to appreciate the idea of the public's economic stability being beneficial to growing their institutions. They no longer viewed it as necessary.

And with the advent of the larger futures market, the options market, the derivatives market, and all the off-shore elements of banking that were able to be developed, so much capital was now available and off of the books that the idea of maintaining some sort of a connection to stability policy -- or even to whatever the Presidency might want -- dissolved. At the same time, all the Presidents that were involved in running the country around that time didn't ask or require accountability towards financial stability from them. More...

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Acceleration Of Events With Rising Chaos – US Dollar Death Foretold
by Jim Willie CB
Posted February 1, 2015

death of the dollarIn the closing months of 2014, on numerous occasions the position was put forth that as the days of January stacked up, toward the end of the month and going into February, that the global financial structures would show severe strain, widespread disruptions, and possible signs of cracks in breakdown. The forecasts were clearly stated and repeated. Even the present flow of events has been shocking, despite the expectation. The forecast certainly has proved correct. The disruptive events and pace of systemic breakdown are surely going to continue.

The year will go down in history as extremely messy, extremely chaotic, and extremely important in the demise of the USDollar. Check the 7-year cycle for an amazing sequence that goes back to the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo, the 1980 Gold & Silver Hunt Brothers peak, the 1987 Black Monday, the 1994 Irrational Exuberance with ensuing Asian Meltdown, the 2001 Inside 9/11 Job, and the 2008 Lehman failure. The year 2015 will be known for the USDollar demise with full fireworks, set up with Ukraine and the European repeat of Waterloo. A quickening pace of events is highly indicative in two natural types in nature, namely the lead up to a natural earthquake, and the lead up to a human childbirth. More...

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Teachers' Retirement Funds are Piling into Manhattan Real Estate at Record High Prices
by Michael Krieger
Posted January 30, 2015

Pension funds setup as suckersRather than buying equity interests in buildings, TIAA-CREF and KTCU are seeking to invest in mortgages backed by office towers, retail properties, warehouses and apartments in major U.S. cities. The venture between the two companies, which manage teachers' savings in their respective countries, is 51 percent owned by TIAA-CREF and 49 percent held by Seoul-based KTCU.

This is a classic case of groupthink amongst asset managers. Everyone thinks these assets are safe and untouchable, so they are all piling into the same trade. It appears clear that pension funds are being set up as the ultimate bag holders when the latest Central Bank bubble pops, and in the meantime, they are a perfect source of illegal fee gouging. A win-win for financial oligarchs. More...

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Evidence Grows Showing Wall Street as a Negative Economic Force
By Pam Martens and Russ Martens
Posted January 29, 2015

Wall street hurts Main StreetWall Street's overarching function today is that of an institutionalized wealth transfer mechanism, propped up by compromised regulators and a dysfunctional Congress. As the PBS program Frontline reported in 2013, if your work career spans 50 years and you receive the historic return of 7 percent on stocks in your 401(k) plan, the 2 percent typical fee charged by Wall Street mutual funds will gobble up almost two-thirds of your account.

The Frontline program was called "The Retirement Gamble." Wall Street On Parade checked the math and found this was not a gamble but a certainty: "under a 2 percent 401(k) fee structure, almost two-thirds of your working life will go toward paying obscene compensation to Wall Street; a little over one-third will benefit your family – and that's before paying taxes on withdrawals to Uncle Sam." More...

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The Trans-Pacific Partnership Will Sink the Middle Class
By Thom Hartmann
Posted January 28, 2015

TPP great deal for the 1%Six years into his presidency, President Obama is now taking heat from a surprising place: congressional Democrats, who are lining up against his plan to force the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) through Congress without any debate whatsoever.If approved, the TPP, or as I like to call it, the Southern Hemisphere Asian Free Trade Agreement -- SHAFTA -- would create a whole new set of rules regulating the economies of 12 countries on four different continents bordering the Pacific Ocean.

Unfortunately, because the TPP is being negotiated almost entirely in secret, we don't know a lot about it. What we do know about it, though, comes almost entirely from leaks, and those leaks paint a pretty scary picture. More...

The TPP has been referred to as "NAFTA on Steroids". Remember when presidential candidate Ross Perot warned about about that sucking sound of jobs disappearing if NAFTA was passed? Well, it turns out he was right. Now "our leaders" want even more powerful version of NAFTA.

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What is TTIP? And six reasons why the answer should scare you
by Lee Williams
Posted January 27, 2015

corporate coup taking placeHave you heard about TTIP? If your answer is no, don't get too worried; you're not meant to have.
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is a series of trade negotiations being carried out mostly in secret between the EU and US. As a bi-lateral trade agreement, TTIP is about reducing the regulatory barriers to trade for big business, things like food safety law, environmental legislation, banking regulations and the sovereign powers of individual nations. It is, as John Hilary, Executive Director of campaign group War on Want, said: "An assault on European and US societies by transnational corporations."

Since before TTIP negotiations began last February, the process has been secretive and undemocratic. This secrecy is on-going, with nearly all information on negotiations coming from leaked documents and Freedom of Information requests. But worryingly, the covert nature of the talks may well be the least of our problems. Here are six other reasons why we should be scared of TTIP, very scared indeed: More...

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The Anatomy of a Bail-In
By Andy Sutton
Posted January 25, 2015

MF Global model for bail insWhen it all crumbles and everyone starts scrambling, bear in mind that the law has now made your bank deposits available to do a bail-in and make good on that bad bet. And since you're now an unsecured creditor rather than a depositor, you
a) have no FDIC protection
b) have no recourse.

Congratulations. You woke up on a Friday morning having $25,000 in bank deposits and literally by the time the bank opens Monday you have x shares in a busted bank. And yes it can happen that fast. Anyone who doesn't think it can, should remember Lehman in 2008. While it wasn't a bail-in at that point, look at the velocity with which that outfit hit the mat, never to get up. Look at Cyprus. Friday afternoon there are tremors and by Monday morning, the banks are locked up like Fort Knox and the ATMs are out of money.

The US has already crafted its resolution mechanisms along with most of the G20. The EU has just ordered its member nations to the do the same. In my opinion, anyone who stores more than a trivial amount of cash in a commercial bank should be sentenced to spend the next month in Massachusetts figuring out how many of Tom Brady's precious pigskins were improperly inflated. More...

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The 1% Dine in Davos as Latin America Pulls People Out of Poverty
By Cyril Mychalejko
Posted January 26, 2015

class warfareThe world's billionaires and political elites have swooped into the Swiss resort town of Davos in about 1,700 private jets this week to rub elbows at cocktail parties and glad-hand at the annual World Economic Forum. Some time after paying at least $71,000 to get there, and in between networking and sealing business deals, these world leaders are also expected to solve some of the globe's most pressing problems as outlined in the World Economic Forum Global Risks 2015 report.

However, the biggest risk the world faces may be the Forum's continued neoliberal economic policies its members advocate that have created the crises it supposedly seeks to redress. These crises include climate change, resource scarcity, high structural underemployment, violent interstate conflicts, and the failure of national governance. Davos is all about casting the super rich as being the good guys, the heroes. It's about perpetuating the myth that the rich can save the world with their kindness and philanthropy. More...

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A Billionaire Lectures Serfs in Davos –
Claims "America's Lifestyle Expectations are Far Too High"

by Michael Krieger
Posted January 25, 2015

billionaires lecture to serfsJust when you thought it couldn't get any worse, it has. Enter billionaire Jeff Greene, who's comments at Davos make Sam Zell look enlightened.

Billionaire Jeff Greene, who amassed a multibillion dollar fortune betting against subprime mortgage securities, says the U.S. faces a jobs crisis that will cause social unrest and radical politics.

"America's lifestyle expectations are far too high and need to be adjusted so we have less things and a smaller, better existence," Greene said in an interview today at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. "We need to reinvent our whole system of life."

Wait a minute, "we" need to reinvent our whole system of life? I'm curious, Mr. Greene, how specifically will YOU be adjusting your lifestyle expectations? I didn't think so. More...

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The Coming War on Pensions
by Michael Hudson
Posted January 22, 2015

who are they protecting?Few people realize how radical the new U.S. budget law was. Budget laws are supposed to decide simply what to fund and what to cut. A budget is not supposed to make new law, or to rewrite the law. But that is what happened, and it was radical.

Critics have focused on how there must be a loser for every winner in a derivatives contract. The problem is that if banks lose, the government will bail them out just as it did in 2008. Less attention has been paid to what happens if banks win. They will win largely in making bets against pension funds. Indeed, pension funds have not been treated well by Wall Street in recent years. More...

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If It's Not A Hard Asset, It's No Asset
by Tom Chatham
Posted January 17, 2015

stock certificateIn normal times, little pieces of paper or plastic make everyday life possible but when normal times end you need something in hand you can actually use. Keep in mind that any wealth you have invested or in the bank or retirement account is potential wealth. It only becomes actual wealth when you trade it in for something you actually need or want. It only becomes wealth when you trade it for hard assets.

There is a reason people give lists of physical goods to deal with a crisis. You cannot use potential wealth to provide everyday needs, it takes physical goods. Many people like to say you cannot eat gold, well a paper certificate does not make a very good meal either. The primary difference is that gold has a store of value because it takes work to produce it just like copper, nickel or any other metal, it just happens to be worth more because it is harder to produce than others due to lower quantities in the ground. More...

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Vermonters Lobby for Public Bank—And Win Millions for Local Investment Instead
by Alexis Goldstein
Posted January 15, 2015

Vermont almost gets public bankAdvocates didn't get the public bank they wanted. But the compromise they reached in the end was still a rare and significant win over Wall Street banks. Right before 2014 came to a close, Wall Street won an enormous victory in the year-end spending bill. The so-called "CRomnibus" bill, which included language written by Citigroup lobbyists, gutted a key piece of Wall Street reform meant to prevent future bailouts of big banks with taxpayer money.

This win came after the financial industry spent years chipping away at the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which passed in 2010. Wall Street lobbyists gained little victories along the way, but never stopped asking for more. By making bold and ongoing asks, Wall Street was able to win, even when lawmakers sought a compromise.

There's another group of Americans, however, with a different agenda for the future of banking—people who are also pushing hard for policy change. They're advocates of public banking, and they want to see new banks created that would be owned and operated by the government, usually at the state or city level. (This would greatly increase the amount of investment capital available for small business development, local infrastructure, and affordable public transportation, none of which are much favored by private banks seeking a high return on investment.) More...

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The crash of 2016: Wall Street gets ready
By Mike Krauss
Posted January 10, 2015

your money will be stolenIn the more than six years since the 2008 Wall Street crash, nothing has been done to rein in the abuses of the parasites in pin stripes that were its cause. Another crash is inevitable.

My guess is, it will come in late 2016, when the banksters have selected the candidate for president that will be as dependable an ally as the incumbent he or she will replace, as they did in 2008, to insure maximum political protection.

But it could come sooner, unscripted, set off perhaps by a bad bet in the almost $300 TRILLION (yes with a T) derivatives casino. But whenever it comes, what happens next? Another panic on Wall Street, the banksters desperate to call in their bets and not be the one left standing when the music stops, forced into bankruptcy? More...

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The Coming War on Pensions
by Michael Hudson
Posted January 7, 2015

Wall St after your pensionOn the Senate's last day in session in December, it approved the government's $1.1 trillion budget for coming fiscal year. Few people realize how radical the new U.S. budget law was. Budget laws are supposed to decide simply what to fund and what to cut. A budget is not supposed to make new law, or to rewrite the law. But that is what happened, and it was radical.

Most of the attention has been paid to Elizabeth Warren's eloquent attack on the government guaranteeing bank trades in derivatives. Written by Citigroup lobbyists, this puts taxpayer funds behind future bank bailouts if banks make more bad bets on complex financial derivatives, such as packaged junk mortgage loans.

Critics have focused on how there must be a loser for every winner in a derivatives contract. The problem is that if banks lose, the government will bail them out just as it did in 2008. Less attention has been paid to what happens if banks win. They will win largely in making bets against pension funds. Indeed, pension funds have not been treated well by Wall Street in recent years. More...

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Bail-In Normalization
by Andy Sutton
Posted January 4, 2015

We are next for bail-insThe G20 recently adopted the FDIC/BOE bail-in resolution mechanism at its last meeting. What this means is that all member nations are now urged to codify the bail-in into their laws. Many, including the United States, have already done so. Nothing has been taken yet. This is just another step towards the normalization of stealing depositor money to cover bank losses.

There is a lot of psychology at work here. At first, the idea of stealing bank deposits to cover losses seems like theft – which it is. But the public is so against using taxpayer money after 2008 because it saw how crooked that was that anything, ANYTHING, is better than taxpayer funded bailouts. So let's introduce the idea of a bail-in. After all, if you deposit your money in an institution and it fails, shouldn't you share the risk? It never was supposed to be that way, but ok. So then we'll write up a bunch of whitepapers, try it all out on some poor people on an island nobody has ever heard of (meanwhile warning the big money that the ax is about to fall), then cause absolute chaos over the course of a two week period. The sad thing is that test was a success. The sheep took their shearing with little in the way of resistance – what could they do really – and even more importantly, the rest of the sheep around the world were too busy wrapped up in Snapchat and Twitter to even notice what had just taken place. But ignorance is bliss, right? More...

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The American People Are Utterly Clueless About What Is Going To Happen As We Enter 2015
by Michael Snyder
Posted January 3, 2015

clueless about 2015The American people are feeling really good right about now. For example, Gallup's economic confidence index has hit the highest level that we have seen since the last recession. In addition, nearly half of all Americans believe that 2015 will be a better year than 2014 was, and only about 10 percent believe that it will be a worse year. And a lot of people are generally feeling quite good about the people that have been leading our nation. According to Gallup, once again this year Hillary Clinton is the most admired woman in America and Barack Obama is the most admired man in America. I don't know what that says about our nation, but it can't be good. Unfortunately, when things seem to be going well common sense tends to go out the window.

Sadly, what we are experiencing right now is so similar to what we witnessed in 2007 and early 2008. The stock market had been on a great run, people were flipping houses like crazy and most people were convinced that the party would never end. But then it did end – very painfully. The signs of trouble were there, but most people chose to ignore them. More...

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How a Hedge Fund Made $100 Million From New Jersey's Desperation
By Cezary Podkul
Posted January 1, 2015

hedge fund vulturesWhen state Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff briefed lawmakers on New Jersey's ailing budget in April, he brought good news. His office had just raised a welcome $92 million thanks to a deal that bailed out two bond issues headed for default.

New Jersey had no legal obligation to make good on the debts, which were backed by payments from a national settlement with the nation's leading tobacco companies. But Sidamon-Eristoff said the bailout was a "no brainer" because it protected the state's reputation with lenders and raised badly needed cash.

An examination of this transaction by ProPublica shows that the argument for the deal was far from clear cut. As it bailed out bond investors, New Jersey traded away an estimated $400 million in future tobacco revenues that would have flowed into state coffers starting in 2017. More...

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It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas – of 2008
By Pam Martens
Posted December 31, 2014

Fed is looking like Wizard of OzWe are watching a collapse in industrial commodity prices, including crude oil. Yields on junk bonds (high yield debt) have risen dramatically. Investors have sought out the safe haven of U.S. Treasury notes, driving the yield lower as junk bond yields rise from an exit flight out of higher risk securities.

The above paragraph could just as well be describing December of 2008. Unfortunately, it's also an apt description of where we find ourselves on December 30, 2014. Aside from the irrationally exuberant U.S. stock market, there are two other serious mismatches that don't compute between December of 2008, in the midst of the greatest financial collapse on Wall Street since the Great Depression, and December 2014. First, the publicly traded stocks of the largest Wall Street banks were in precipitous decline in late 2008, as they should have been, since rising levels of distressed debt and crashing industrial commodity prices mean the economy is weakening and banks will take a hit to earnings. Bizarrely, today, the share prices of Citigroup, Bank of America, and JPMorgan Chase are actually higher than where they started the year. More...

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Hedge Funds cannibalize public-teacher pension funds
By Danny Weil
Posted December 30, 2014

srealing public pensionsIf you are a public-school teacher in the state of Kentucky, you should be aware that the state has a memorandum in place for you: You have no right to know the details of the investments being made with your retirement savings, how they are being managed, by whom and why. Your investments and contributions to your pension funds for your retirement are now controlled by the same Wall Street financial gang-bangers and cabal that brought down the US economy. This is one of the biggest enigmas as to why the 'stock market' is so high; the privatization of public-pension funds.

The lack of transparency, accountability and the denial of information about teacher-retirement funds was the latest case of public officials obstructing the release of data about how they are managing billions of dollars of public employees' retirement 'nest eggs' in the interest of Wall Street predators. Although some of the fine print of the public-pension investments has occasionally oozed through to pensioners, the agreements are tightly retained in the majority of states and cities where teachers work, live and breathe. More...

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Going off the reservation: investing in the Free Lakota Bank
By Scott Baker
Posted December 26, 2014

Free lakota Bank coinsMany people are looking to escape the traditional commercial banking system. Nearly 3,000 S&L banks went under during the S&L crisis of the early 1990s, and over 500 commercial banks (S&Ls were essentially extinguished as a class of banks after the S&L crisis) have joined them since the 2008 crisis. Today, the 6 largest banks control over 2/3 of all bank assets. And these huge banks don't make many loans, and even less to small businesses. JP Morgan, one of the largest banks, has just a 31% loan-to-asset ratio. The rest goes towards derivatives, wealth management, mergers and proprietary trading.

As for the bankruptcies of the cascade of failing small banks Too Small to Survive (TSTS), the FDIC has, so far, been able to handle such bank defaults by combining failing banks with stronger ones, or offering up its own money (the FDIC fund is currently set at $25B, though they have access to Treasury money at low rates), typically over a weekend, so that depositors seamlessly, albeit surprisingly, discover the bank they had deposited into on Friday is different from the one they have deposits in on Monday. However, a recent American Banker article claimed the small banking model was "not sustainable." More...

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The Morality and Legality of Debt Jubilee, Part III
by Jeff Nielson
Posted December 23, 2014

debt jubileeIn Parts I and II (click Sprott News), readers saw how all of the public debts of our nations (past and present) were the direct result of fraud, and thus legally unenforceable – on two bases. Firstly; the bankers of these Big Banks proclaimed themselves the world's foremost financial experts. On that basis; they not only received privileged treatment for these Big Banks, they were recipients of confidential financial and economic information from our governments, as fiduciaries who were claiming to be acting in our best interests.

In reality, these Con Men never had anything on their minds other than burying our nations in debt, in their own best interests. However, based upon the well-established legal doctrine of "fraudulent misrepresentation"; these fiduciary financial "experts" owed us a duty of honesty. Having violated that duty (incessantly); the multi-trillion dollar IOU's that the One Bank is holding (in the form of our national debts) are illegal and unenforceable. But there is also a second basis for legally repudiating these debts, in full. More...

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Russian Roulette: Taxpayers Could Be on the Hook for Trillions in Oil Derivatives
by Ellen Brown
Posted December 21, 2014

no more bailoutsThe sudden dramatic collapse in the price of oil appears to be an act of geopolitical warfare against Russia. The result could be trillions of dollars in oil derivative losses; and the FDIC could be liable, following repeal of key portions of the Dodd-Frank Act last weekend.

Senator Elizabeth Warren charged Citigroup last week with "holding government funding hostage to ram through its government bailout provision." At issue was a section in the omnibus budget bill repealing the Lincoln Amendment to the Dodd-Frank Act, which protected depositor funds by requiring the largest banks to push out a portion of their derivatives business into non-FDIC-insured subsidiaries. More...

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IMF Now Ready To Slam The Door On The U.S. And The Dollar
by Brandon Smith
Posted December 19, 2014

this is the end gameThis is it, folks; this is the endgame right in front of our faces. The year of 2014 is the new 2007, with all the negative potential but 100 times more explosive going into 2015. Our nation has wallowed in slowly degrading financial conditions for years, hidden by fake economic statistics and manipulated stock prices. All of it has been a prelude to a much more frenetic and shocking event.

The delusion perpetuated in the mainstream media is that the IMF is a U.S.-dominated institution. I have outlined on many occasions why this is false. The IMF like all central banks is dominated by the international corporate banking cartel. Central banks are merely front organizations for globalists.

We expect a hailstorm of geopolitical crises over the next year to provide cover for the shift away from the dollar. Ultimately, the death of the dollar will be hailed in the mainstream as a "good and necessary thing." They will call it "karma." They will call it "progress." They will even call it "decentralization" and a success for the free market. But it will not feel like a positive development for the American public, who will suffer greatly as the dollar crumblesThe long-term goal of globalists has been to consolidate all currency systems and central banks under the outward control of the International Monetary Fund and the Bank Of International Settlements, as I outlined in "The Economic Endgame Explained." More...

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Elizabeth Warren Offers 9 Damned Good Reasons to Split Citibank into Pieces
by Steven Rosenfeld
Posted December 17, 2014

Titanic was also Too Big To FailThe Massachusetts senator says enough is enough: it's time to end too-big-to-fail. The banking giant Citigroup is a puppetmaster pulling the strings behind many key economic policy decisions being made in Washington, according to Massachusetts' Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren. She called the corporation's unbridled power and influence "unprecedented," and said it is hurting the country.

Warren singled out Citigroup in the last of a series of speeches that she gave in recent days to oppose a provision in the just-passed 2015 federal budget that made taxpayers again responsible for losses from extremely risky trades by investment banks—the same activity that ignited the financial crisis and worldwide recession in 2008. After that meltdown, Congress passed the so-called Dodd-Frank law to reform excessive, greed-fueled Wall Street behavior, including ending taxpayer bailouts for those banks. More...

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Remarks by Senator Warren on Citigroup and its bailout provision
Posted December 15, 2014



Looks like the money that the big banks "invested" in our government for the 2014 campaigns is already paying off.
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Bail-In and the Financial Stability Board: The Global Bankers' Coup
by Ellen Brown
Posted December 15, 2014

Wall street coupOn December 11, 2014, the US House passed a bill repealing the Dodd-Frank requirement that risky derivatives be pushed into big-bank subsidiaries, leaving our deposits and pensions exposed to massive derivatives losses. The bill was vigorously challenged by Senator Elizabeth Warren; but the tide turned when Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorganChase, stepped into the ring. Perhaps what prompted his intervention was the unanticipated $40 drop in the price of oil. As financial blogger Michael Snyder points out, that drop could trigger a derivatives payout that could bankrupt the biggest banks. And if the G20's new "bail-in" rules are formalized, depositors and pensioners could be on the hook.

The new bail-in rules were discussed in my last post here. They are edicts of the Financial Stability Board (FSB), an unelected body of central bankers and finance ministers headquartered in the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland. Where did the FSB get these sweeping powers, and is its mandate legally enforceable? More...

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The Mother of all Bank Runs!
By Bill Holter
Posted December 10, 2014

bank runDo you remember seeing old pictures of the Great Depression which depicted "lines"? There were two types, bread lines and also lines to the front doors of banks. While we don't see any bread lines today, trust me, there are bread lines in every single state, and long ones at that. Nearly 50 million people in the U.S. survive on SNAP, EBT cards or whatever they are called in your state. Can you imagine the "confidence" it would instill if each day on your way to work you saw massive lines of people waiting for breakfast? Or, when you came home from work you turn on your television only to see long lines again, this time for supper?

I can see it now, some reporter out on the street giving us the "good" unemployment, inflation or GDP news with a line of people in the background waiting for food. My point? False economic news would be harder to "sell" and even harder to "stomach" (pun intended). Back during the Great Depression there were also the other type of lines, these formed in front of banks. Many banks either "ran out of money" or had poor investments which led to their demise. We also had this type of activity in the U.S. in 2008-09 …but again, we just didn't see them. More...

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Gambling Banksters - How Many Warnings Do You Need?
By Rudy Avizius
Posted December 4, 2014

derivatives implosionSo you think your money is safe? Let's examine why that assumption could cost you all or part of your savings. Would you be surprised to learn that money sitting in everyday peoples' savings accounts in Cyprus was confiscated in order to "stabilize" the banks? If you are surprised by this news, hopefully this article will provide you with an incentive to do some research. This article is filled with links to more information, and I encourage you to follow them. If you are aware of this bank confiscation, do not make the mistake of believing that it is an isolated event that "cannot happen here".

So you still think that this "cannot happen here" because the FDIC will protect your money? Consider that our largest banks have derivative contracts with a notional value of more than $700 trillion (think $700,000 BILLION!). The entire world GDP is only $70 trillion, therefore the liabilities of the big banks could not be covered by the entire GDP of the United States. Does this sound similar to what happened in Cyprus? Does this sound similar to the gambler at the beginning of this article? What is very important to keep in mind is that Cyprus is a small country and that much larger outside forces came in to "stabilize" the banks. If one (or more) of the large U.S. banks experiences a derivative failure, there is not enough money on the planet to "stabilize" them. More...

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New Banking Rules: Cyprus-style Bail-ins to Take Deposits and Pensions
by Ellen Brown
Posted December 3, 2014

Cyprus deposit confiscationsOn the weekend of November 16th, the G20 leaders whisked into Brisbane, posed for their photo ops, approved some proposals, made a show of roundly disapproving of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and whisked out again. It was all so fast, they may not have known what they were endorsing when they rubber-stamped the Financial Stability Board's "Adequacy of Loss-Absorbing Capacity of Global Systemically Important Banks in Resolution," which completely changes the rules of banking.

Rather than reining in the massive and risky derivatives casino, the new rules prioritize the payment of banks' derivatives obligations to each other, ahead of everyone else. That includes not only depositors, public and private, but the pension funds that are the target market for the latest bail-in play, called "bail-inable" bonds.

"Bail in" has been sold as avoiding future government bailouts and eliminating Too Big To Fail (TBTF). But it actually institutionalizes TBTF, since the big banks are kept in business by expropriating the funds of their creditors. More...

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The scheme to seize depositors' money
by Mike Krauss
Posted December 2, 2014

Cyprus banks seized depositsRecently, the heads of state of the G20, the developed nations, met in Brisbane, Australia. One piece of business was the advancement of new banking rules that will allow what were called the Too Big to Fail Banks, and are now called Global Systemically Important Banks (G-SIBs) to seize depositors money to save themselves in the next crash. Worried that the politicians they have bought won't stay bought, that their nerve may fail them when confronted with a demand for trillion dollar bail outs in the next crash and that democratic government might assert itself, the banksters have a Plan B: an automatic "bail in."

This is what the FSB calls "robust arrangements for dealing with stress in the financial system." In this soon to be global paradigm, as one commentator explained, "banks [will] no longer recognize your deposits as money, but as liabilities and securitized capital owned and controlled by the bank or institution, just part of a commercial bank's capital structure." More...

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Senate Report: Scale of Wall Street Holdings Are "Unprecedented in U.S. History"
By Pam Martens
Posted November 29, 2014

Senator LevinLast Thursday, the U.S. Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, chaired by Senator Carl Levin, released an alarming 396-page report that details how Wall Street's too-big-to-fail banks have quietly, and often stealthily through shell companies, gained ownership of a stunning amount of the nation's critical industrial commodities like oil, aluminum, copper, natural gas, and even uranium. The report said the scale of these bank holdings "appears to be unprecedented in U.S. history."

Adding to the hubris of the situation, the Wall Street banks' own regulator, the Federal Reserve, gave its blessing to this unprecedented and dangerous encroachment by banking interests into industrial commodity ownership and has effectively looked the other way as the banks moved into industrial commerce activities like owning pipelines and power plants. More...

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The Fraud in Fractional Reserve Banking
By Frank Hollenbeck
Posted November 28, 2014

fractional reserve banking is fraudSuppose you bring a fur coat to a dry cleaner, and discover that the owner allowed his wife to wear it before cleaning it (which is also the subject of an episode from Seinfeld). Or, suppose you gave your car keys to a hotel valet and, when attempting to pick up the car later, were told your automobile was lent to teenagers who took it for a joy ride while you slept at the hotel. You would not be too happy, and for good reason. When you surrendered your clothes or your car keys it was a bailment. You retained ownership and gave the clothes or car keys for safekeeping. In no shape or form, did you surrender ownership of the items or lend out your property.

Suppose you lived in the 18th century and had 100 ounces of gold. It's heavy and you do not live in a safe neighborhood, so you decide to bring it to a goldsmith for safekeeping. In exchange for this gold, the goldsmith gives you ten tickets where each is clearly marked as claims against 10 ounces. Now, gold is heavy and burdensome to carry, so in a short period of time, those claims will start circulating in place of gold. This is the creation of near monies. This doesn't mean you have given up your ownership claims on gold, but have used a simpler way of transferring ownership of this gold. More...

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Prosperity Amidst the Ruins
by Charles Hugh-Smith
Posted November 27, 2014

prosperity for the fewAll the blather about "growth" and GDP is just propaganda to misdirect our attention from the real problem: the total domination of governance and finance by a class of vested interests and mega-wealthy cartels/oligarchies.

It's striking: as economies stagnate, the top tier is living even larger while the low-income masses sink further into marginalized poverty. I call this widening divide between the vested interests/wealthy and the rest of society prosperity amidst the ruins. How can the top slice prosper while the rest of the populace suffers from higher taxes, stagnant wages and a collapse of employment/enterprise opportunities? More...

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Treasury Nominee Eligible for "Revolving Door" Rewards
By Michael Smallberg
Posted November 23, 2014

another Wall St executive at TreasuryPresident Obama's nominee for a senior post at the Treasury Department could receive a variety of financial benefits from his current Wall Street employer if he's confirmed for the position, according to newly posted ethics records. The nominee's financial disclosure shows how a Wall Street firm can reward an executive who moves into a powerful government position where he can help shape regulatory policy and affect the fortunes of the financial industry.

Antonio Weiss is currently the Global Head of Investment Banking at Lazard, which describes itself as the "world's leading independent financial advisory and asset management firm." Last week, President Obama nominated Weiss to serve as Treasury's Under Secretary for Domestic Finance. In certain circumstances, when the government hires Wall Street veterans, it allows them to receive accelerated financial rewards from their long-term pay plans that would normally mature (or "vest") over time. Weiss is eligible for several of these rewards, according to documents posted online this week by the Office of Government Ethics. According to Weiss's financial disclosure form, his retirement agreement with Lazard provides for the "acceleration of vesting of restricted stock units, restricted stock, deferred compensation, and restricted LAM interests." More...

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Wall Street Journal Reports: Bank of North Dakota Outperforms Wall Street
By Ellen Brown
Posted November 22, 2014

Ellen BrownWhile 49 state treasuries were submerged in red ink after the 2008 financial crash, one state's bank outperformed all others and actually launched an economy-shifting new industry. So reports the Wall Street Journal this week, discussing the Bank of North Dakota (BND) and its striking success in the midst of a national financial collapse led by the major banks.

The reason for its success? As the sole repository of the state of North Dakota's revenue, the bank has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of the boom in Bakken shale-oil production from hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. In fact, the bank played a crucial part in kick-starting the oil frenzy in the state in 2008 amid the financial crisis.

That is how the Wall Street-owned media routinely write off the exceptional record of this lone publicly-owned bank, crediting it to the success of the private oil industry. But the boom did not make the fortunes of the bank. It would be more accurate to say that the bank made the boom. More...

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Enough Is Enough: The President's Latest Wall Street Nominee
by Elizabeth Warren
Posted Novemebr 21, 2014

Elizabeth WarrenLast Wednesday, President Obama announced his nomination of Antonio Weiss to serve as Under Secretary for Domestic Finance at the Treasury Department. This is a position that oversees Dodd-Frank implementation and a wide range of banking and economic policymaking issues, including consumer protection.

So who is Antonio Weiss? He's the head of global investment banking for the financial giant Lazard. He has spent the last 20 years of his career at Lazard -- most of it advising on international mergers and acquisitions.

The over-representation of Wall Street banks in senior government positions sends a bad message. It tells people that one -- and only one -- point of view will dominate economic policymaking. It tells people that whatever goes wrong in this economy, the Wall Street banks will be protected first. That's yet another advantage that Wall Street just doesn't need. More...

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The Economic End Game Explained
by Brandon Smith
Posted November 14, 2014

move towards centralized currencyThroughout history, in most cases of economic collapse the societies in question believed they were financially invincible just before their disastrous fall. Rarely does anyone see the edge of the cliff or even the bottom of the abyss before it has swallowed a nation whole. This lack of foresight, however, is not entirely the fault of the public. It is, rather, a consequence caused by the manipulation of the fundamental information available to the public by governments and social gatekeepers.

What the past proves, time and time again, is that establishment trained and educated economists are perhaps the most useless of all analysts. They are perpetually wrong. Only independent analysts have ever been able to predict anything of value as far as our economic future — not because they are psychic, but because they have the advantage of standing outside the foggy propaganda of brainwashed financial academia. More...

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Despite Outcry of Opposition, Obama Pushes "Horrific" Trade Deal in Asia
by Jon Queally
Posted November 11, 2014

TPP, deal for the 1%Though president once railed against so-called "free trade" agreements, he has now become outspoken champion of secretive deals that critics call attack on democracy, workers, and the planet. Despite consistent and vocal opposition from organized labor, environmentalists, progressive economy experts and others warning against the damaging impacts of a trans-Pacific trade agreement that remains under negotiations by the U.S. and twelve other nations, President Obama on Monday once again voiced his support for what he said would be a "historic" agreement.

In Beijing for talks with his Chinese counterpart and to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, Obama championed the so-called "free trade" deal, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), even though critics have described the agreement as a "horrific" corporate giveaway that would further codify the undemocratic mechanisms of global trade, breaking down protections for workers, consumers, and the planet's natural systems. More...

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The Unequal State of America:Redistributing Up
By Deborah Nelson & Himanshu Ojha
Posted November 6, 2014

wealth redistributed upThe federal government has emerged as one of the most potent factors driving income inequality in the United States - especially in the nation's capital. In the town that launched the War on Poverty 48 years ago, the poor are getting poorer despite the government's help. And the rich are getting richer because of it.

The top 5 percent of households in Washington, D.C., made more than $500,000 on average last year, while the bottom 20 percent earned less than $9,500 - a ratio of 54 to 1. That gap is up from 39 to 1 two decades ago. It's wider than in any of the 50 states and all but two major cities. This at a time when income inequality in the United States as a whole has risen to levels last seen in the years before the Great Depression. More...

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Members of the world's richest club make half-a-million bucks per minute
by Barbara Kollmeyer
Posted November 1, 2014

extreme wealth Indeed, the rich are getting richer. And as the notorious financier, Gordon Gekko says, in the 1980s film "Wall Street:" "Rich enough to not waste time."

The wealthiest 85 people on the planet saw their collective net worth grow a whopping $668 million every day, between March of this year and March 2013, said Oxfam, in a report released Wednesday.Put another way, the ultra-rich generated the equivalent of nearly a half-a-million dollars—every minute of every day, for a year.That's wealth even Gordon Gekko might envy.

But those ballooning riches only serve to highlight the sort of troubling income inequality illustrated by economists like Thomas Piketty, in his "Capital in the Twenty-First Century." More...

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Inflation 101 - Why Prices Always Go Up
by W. P. Miller
Posted October 31, 2014

inflationDo you ever stop to wonder why prices for the great range of consumer goods and services relentlessly increase over time? (I like the "TP Index": toilet paper - something we all use, doesn't require much explaining, demand stays consistent. Price has roughly doubled in the past decade.) Most of us are struggling these days to maintain an adequate lifestyle in the face of stagnant or declining (or absent) wages, and this is made more difficult by the fact that the cost of living seems to go up year after year after year.

We commonly think of this as inevitable as the laws of physics, yet money is a human-created institution. How does it come to be that money buys less each year? Why should prices routinely increase? An apple in the year 1914 is still an apple in year 2014, but why does it now cost 10 or 20 times more? More...

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Τhe Transnational Elite and the New World Order (NWO)
By Takis Fotopoulos
Posted October 30, 2014

transnational elitesThis article attempts a brief historical description of the emergence of the New World Order (NWO) based on neoliberal globalization, in the last thirty or so years ago. The Transnational Elite is defined in this context as a network of interconnected elites controlling each major field of social life (economic, social, ideological and so on) and its function is similar to that of the national elite in the pre-globalization era of nation-states.

Last weekend thousands of European citizens across Europe took part in demonstrations against the New World Order (NWO) of neoliberal globalization and the Transnational Elite (TE) ― mainly the transnational elites' network based in the G7 countries ― which runs it. The reason was the latest TE plan for a transatlantic trade deal called "Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership" (TTIP). More...

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Battle for Control of the Monetary System: The Public Good vs. Private Banks
by Jim Tarbell
Posted October 21, 2014

"Let us control the money of a nation, and we care not who makes its laws" –Maxim of the House of Rothschilds

Main St prosperityMoney's invention 2300 years ago provided humans with a powerful tool to carry on an economic system. But maximum benefit from the monetary system depends on the monetary system serving the common good. We all rely on a well-functioning monetary supply for our daily bread. For the first two thousand years, maximum benefit from the monetary system was ensured by keeping the
money supply under public control.

As capitalism developed, and wealthy merchants increasingly exercised the private power that money gave them, a pitched public vs. private battle grew over control of monetary systems. More...

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The Road To Serfdom: Connecting Detroit, Argentina and Greece
by Carl Gibson
Posted October 17, 2014

privatizing public assetsIf you want to fully understand the game at play in the bankruptcies and privatization of public assets in Detroit, Argentina, and Europe, play Monopoly.

The game of Monopoly was originally known as "The Landlord Game," which was meant to show players the perils of unregulated capitalism. In the game, wealthy investors buy up property, including utilities like electricity and water, along with the railroad systems, with the end goal of owning everything. Monopoly inevitably ends with all the wealth accumulating to one player while the other is forced to sell off everything they own to pay off their debt. And if one plays the right card, they can even get out of jail free. The global game of Monopoly has now opened a board in one of America's largest cities.

Detroit may have just made a deal to sell off enough public assets to satisfy Syncora, one of its top creditors. The bond insurer lays claim to some $400 million of insurance on Detroit's bonds, and is demanding a bailout from the city's taxpayers and pensioners as a result of its gambling loss. More...

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Building an Ark: How to Protect Public Revenues from the Next Meltdown
by Ellen Brown
Posted October 13, 2014

protecting public moneyConcerns are growing that we are heading for another banking crisis, one that could be far worse than in 2008. But this time, there will be no government bailouts. Instead, per the Dodd-Frank Act, bankrupt banks will be confiscating (or "bailing in") their customers' deposits.That includes local government deposits. The fact that public funds are secured with collateral may not protect them, as explained earlier here. Derivative claims now get paid first in a bank bankruptcy; and derivative losses could be huge, wiping out the collateral for other claims.

Besides their reckless derivatives gambling, these monster-sized banks have earned our distrust by being caught in a litany of frauds. In an article in Forbes titled "Big Banks and Derivatives: Why Another Financial Crisis Is Inevitable," Steve Denning lists rigging municipal bond interest rates, LIBOR price-fixing, foreclosure abuses, money laundering, tax evasion, and misleading clients with worthless securities. Particularly harmful to local governments have been interest rate swaps misrepresented as protecting government agencies from higher rates. More...

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Argentina and Wall Street's Vulture Funds: "Economic Terrorism" and the Western Financial System
By Peter Koenig
Posted October 11, 2014

vulture funds force Argentina default"Today you pretend making a coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), but in fact you're their allies," Those are the frank words by Cristina Fernandez Kirchner, the Argentinian President, spoken in a calm and secure voice at the UN General Assembly last Friday, 3 October 2014.

Similarly, she referred to the western financial system as economic terrorism, as in vultures – the vulture funds that thanks to New York judge Griesa have put Argentina – a solvent country, willing and capable of paying their debt, in default. He ruled that the vulture funds, Griesa's clients and paymasters, needed to be paid in full, i.e. 100%, equal to US$ 1.5 billion, when close to 93% of all creditors agreed on a restructured reimbursement rate of about 20%. More...

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5 U.S. Banks Each Have More Than 40 Trillion Dollars In Exposure To Derivatives
by Michael Snyder
Posted September 27, 2014

banker casinoWhen is the U.S. banking system going to crash? I can sum it up in three words. Watch the derivatives. It used to be only four, but now there are five "too big to fail" banks in the United States that each have more than 40 trillion dollars in exposure to derivatives. Today, the U.S. national debt is sitting at a grand total of about 17.7 trillion dollars, so when we are talking about 40 trillion dollars we are talking about an amount of money that is almost unimaginable.

And unlike stocks and bonds, these derivatives do not represent "investments" in anything. They can be incredibly complex, but essentially they are just paper wagers about what will happen in the future. The truth is that derivatives trading is not too different from betting on baseball or football games. Trading in derivatives is basically just a form of legalized gambling, and the "too big to fail" banks have transformed Wall Street into the largest casino in the history of the planet. When this derivatives bubble bursts (and as surely as I am writing this it will), the pain that it will cause the global economy will be greater than words can describe. More...

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The Myth That Sold the Financial Bailout
By Dean Baker
Posted September 21, 2014

bailout was not neededMonday marked the sixth anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers. The investment bank's bankruptcy accelerated the financial meltdown that began with the near collapse of the investment bank Bear Stearns in March 2008 (saved by the Federal Reserve and JPMorgan) and picked up steam with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac going under the week before Lehman's demise. The day after Lehman failed, the giant insurer AIG was set to collapse, only to be rescued by the Fed.

With the other Wall Street behemoths also on shaky ground, then–Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson ran to Capitol Hill, accompanied by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and New York Fed President Timothy Geithner. Their message was clear: The apocalypse was nigh. They demanded Congress make an open-ended commitment to bail out the banks. In a message repeated endlessly by the punditocracy ever since, the failure to cough up the money would have led to a second Great Depression. More...

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America's Rotting Empire: Billionaires Galore & A Crumbling Infrastructure
By CJ Werleman
Posted September 20, 2014

billionaires starve the rest of usAmerica has the most billionaires in the world, but not a single U.S. city ranks among the world’s most livable cities. Not a single U.S. airport is among the top 100 airports in the world. Our bridges, road and rail are falling apart, and our middle class is being guttered out thanks to three decades of stagnant wages, while the top 1 percent enjoys 95 percent of all economic gains.

A rigged tax code and a bloated military budget are starving the federal and state governments of the revenue it needs to invest in infrastructure, which means today America looks increasingly like a second rate nation, and now new data shows America’s intellectual resources are also in decline. More...

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A Public Bank Option for Scotland
By Ellen Brown
Posted September 18, 2014

public bank for Scotland?The People of Scotland have an opportunity to extricate themselves from the socio-psychopathic global corporatists and the temple of outrageous and excessive abject materialism. However, it is not going to be an easy ride . . . .

If Alex Salmond and the SNP [Scottish National Party] are serious about keeping the Pound Stirling as the Currency of Scotland, there will be no independence. Likewise if Scotland embraces the Euro, Scotland will rapidly become a vassel state of the Euro-Federalists, who will asset strip the nation in the same way that, Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain have been stripped of their entire national wealth and much of their national identity. More...

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Bogus Trading, Speculation in the Silver Market
By Bill Holter
Posted September 17, 2014

silver manipulationI wrote an article titled "Kill Switch" a couple of weeks back where I hypothesized the Chinese are the ones behind the very high (and very curious) open interest in COMEX silver, I want to revisit this. I want to revisit this because of the action this past week and this past Thursday in particular.

Silver dropped almost 50 cents on Thursday and broke through the $19 level to the downside. Please remember that silver has a global "all in cost" of production somewhere near $25 per ounce so these prices will only augur for much less supply. "Supply" in this case is REAL supply of raw silver to be used for electronics, solar panels, jewelry, investment etc.. Common sense tells you if you must sell your product for a loss you will either sell less of it, not sell any of it, or sell all that you can for cash flow and go bankrupt …supply will dry up. More...

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Economic Hitmen Robbing Public Resources Across Detroit, Argentina and Greece
by Carl Gibson
Posted September 15, 2014

economic hitmenIf you want to fully understand the game at play in the bankruptcies and privatization of public assets in Detroit, Argentina, and Europe, play Monopoly.

The game of Monopoly was originally known as "The Landlord Game," which was meant to show players the perils of unregulated capitalism. In the game, wealthy investors buy up property, including utilities like electricity and water, along with the railroad systems, with the end goal of owning everything. Monopoly inevitably ends with all the wealth accumulating to one player while the other is forced to sell off everything they own to pay off their debt. And if one plays the right card, they can even get out of jail free. The global game of Monopoly has now opened a board in one of America's largest cities. More...

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Preparing To Asset-strip Local Government? The Fed's Bizarre New Rules
by Ellen Brown
Posted September 12, 2014

cash strapped citiesIn an inscrutable move that has alarmed state treasurers, the Federal Reserve, along with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, just changed the liquidity requirements for the nation's largest banks. Municipal bonds, long considered safe liquid investments, have been eliminated from the list of high-quality liquid collateral. assets (HQLA). That means banks that are the largest holders of munis are liable to start dumping them in favor of the Treasuries and corporate bonds that do satisfy the requirement.

Muni bonds fund the nation's critical infrastructure, and they are subject to the whims of the market: as demand goes down, interest rates must be raised to attract buyers. State and local governments could find themselves in the position of cash-strapped Eurozone states, subject to crippling interest rates. More...

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Profits Soar As Pentagon Leans on Private Corporations for Special Ops
by Jon Queally
Posted September 10, 2014

private military contractsPrivate military contractors are reaping billions of dollars in profitable rewards from the U.S. government's global network of clandestine counter-terrorism and other overseas operations, according to a new report that examines the high-levels of integration between for-profit corporations and the Pentagon's global military and surveillance apparatus.

The new report—titled US Special Operations Command Contracting: Data-Mining the Public Record—written by researcher Crofton Black and commissioned by the U.K.-based Remote Control Project, shows that "corporations are integrated into some of the most sensitive aspects" of operations conducted by the U.S. Special Operations Command (or USSOCOM). Those activities, according to the report include: flying drones and overseeing target acquisition, facilitating communications between forward operating locations and central command hubs, interrogating prisoners, translating captured material, and managing the flow of information between regional populations and the US military. More...

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No Economy For Americans
By Dr. Paul Craig Roberts (Asst. Sec. of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration)
Posted September 9, 2014

low paying jobsAs I have reported for many years, the US economy no longer is capable of creating goods producing jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics August payroll jobs report shows zero manufacturing jobs. I read the other day that the US now has four or five times more people on food stamps than in manufacturing jobs.

The jobs of the New Economy are in lowly paid, nontradable domestic services–the jobs that characterize a Third World Economy. Deregulated free-market America has created an economy that serves only the few, which explains the extraordinary concentration in the 21st century of income and wealth in fewer and fewer hands–another defining characteristic of a Third World country.

American capitalism has failed. It can no longer produce jobs for the work force, and its profits come from its political ability to impose costs on the American population. More...

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NATO Dead, King Dollar Wrecked
By Jim Willie
Posted September 6, 2014

dollar and NATO collapseA climax is fast approaching. The USDollar is stuck in the implosion stage. Its many supporting structures are in simultaneous collapse. The paradox worth repeating is that the USDollar will rise and rise and rise, then vanish, as the United States must take its rightful place in the Third World. The USDollar will be rejected, the climax of its dismissal to come from the pain it causes. No nation can compete with the USDollar, as it is printed off the Weimar press by the US Federal Reserve, the oil burning, the screech audible from afar.

The USGovt is left with no more options than war, since the financial front has been lost to insolvency, market interference, bond fraud, and leveraged corruption. The King Dollar has been wrecked, knocked off its throne, never to return to prestige. Emerging is the new Eastern Alliance based upon the three centers of Russia, China, and Germany. The Eurasian Trade Zone is coming into view. The difficult decisions must be made by Germany. More...

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Breaking Up [the Banks] May Not Be Quite So Hard To Do
Bartlett Naylor
Posted September 1, 2014

Break up the big banksAs America approaches the sixth anniversary of the 2008 financial crash, here's an encouraging thought: The mega-banks can be broken up. It's already in the law. Forty-one words of the 2,000-page Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform Act empower the regulators to take this step. To exercise this momentous power, the regulators must take some initial steps in preparation. And on August 5, 2014, the regulators did just that.

These banks were simply too big to fail (TBTF). What's more, the government's crisis managers actually made the TBTF problem worse by consolidating some of the smaller, failing firms, with the largest failing firms. To JP Morgan's sprawling empire, for example, the government added Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual. More...

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How The Coming Silver Price Bubble Will Develop
by Ted Butler
Posted August 28, 2014

silver price manipulatedThe stage is set for something the world has never experienced previously – an asset bubble accompanied with an industrial shortage. The two greatest upward price forces known to man, an asset bubble and a genuine commodity shortage, appear set to combine in silver. Either one, alone, would have a profound impact on the price, but the combination seems both inevitable and almost impossible to contemplate in terms of how high the price of silver could be driven. And it's hard to see how intense investment buying wouldn't trip off industrial user attempted inventory stockpiling or vice versa; it doesn't matter which comes first.

Tying everything together, there is one and only one explanation for why silver is so undervalued and the asset bubble/industrial shortage hasn't occurred yet – the ongoing price manipulation on the COMEX. Massive amounts of paper contracts traded between two groups of large speculators (technical funds and commercials), measuring in the hundreds of millions of ounces and completely unrelated to the supply/demand fundamentals have set the price of silver. This COMEX price control is both the curse and the promise in that it not only explains the undervaluation, it will explain why it seems inevitable for an asset bubble/user shortage to develop. More...

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Plundering the Planet: Rigged Corporate "Free Trade Partnerships" and "Climate Change Agreements"
By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers
Posted August 27, 2014

plundering the planetWhat do rigged corporate trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Paris Treaty, an international climate agreement to be signed in 2015, have in common? They are both tools being pushed by the power elite to rip away our hopes for democracy and to commodify all things to monetize them for profit.

It is this drive by multinational corporations to patent and control even living beings such as plants and animals and to privatize even elements that are essential to life such as water which connects all human beings on the planet. We are in a global battle of the people versus the plutocrats and this battle has a ticking timer called the climate crisis. More...

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Gold And Silver Low Prices Are NOT The Reason To Own Precious Metals
by Michael Noonan
Posted August 25, 2014

DHS ordered 3 billion hollow point bullets"ISIS poses a greater threat than 9/11. This is way beyond anything we have ever seen. We must prepare for everything. Get ready!" US Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel.

Whoa, Chuckie...back off a bit, here. Just who do you think it was that helped create the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, aka ISIS, fund them, train them, and provide the best weapons for them? Can you spell U S, as in a part of your title description as Secretary of Defense? Are you really telling America, and the world, that you are actually that clueless?

Nobel Peace Prize recipient and primary world warmonger, Barack Obama, has been itching to start a war in Syria. Why? To stop Russia from achieving its flow of LNG from East to West, a fact to which Obama will not openly admit. Turns out, bloggers on the internet can accept some credit for exposing Obama's false flag excuses for attempting to overthrow Assad. How did Obama's war machine, [mostly CIA-led], plan to oust Assad? By backing ISIS in every way possible: funds, training and weapons. ISIS is as much of an outgrowth of Western [US] meddling in that part of the Middle East as anything else. More...

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Tear Gas, Stun Grenades, Sound Cannons: Companies Profiting From Police Crackdowns Like Ferguson
by Alex Kane
Posted August 24, 2014

Money to be made on conflictSales of all those military grade weapons are making people rich.he tear-gas, rubber bullets and smoke bombs fired in Ferguson, Missouri have fed outrage over police militarization in the U.S. In response to the shocking images, Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill said, "We need to de-militarize this situation." Journalists reporting live on the demonstrations sparked by the police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown expressed befuddlement as to why the police needed high-caliber weapons better suited for war zones than protests in an American city.

But one group of people is decidedly happy about the militarized response in Ferguson: those who work in the weapons industry. The array of police forces--the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the St. Louis county and city police and local Ferguson officers--that descended on the largely black Missouri city have used the products these corporations are selling in abundance. Tear gas, rubber bullets, smoke bombs, stun grenades, armored personnel carriers, sound cannons and high-caliber rifles have all been deployed to quell the unrest, though they have contributed to anger over police tactics. More...

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Senator Elizabeth Warren Versus Paul Krugman on Too Big to Fail
By Pam Martens and Russ Martens
Posted August 20, 2014

Elizabeth Warren takes on KrugmanYesterday, Krugman's Dodd-Frank fantasy lost further credibility when Senator Elizabeth Warren released a letter that she and eleven of her Congressional colleagues had sent to the Federal Reserve, warning that one of its Dodd-Frank proposed rules "invites the same sort of backdoor bailout we witnessed five years ago."

Senator Warren and her colleagues clearly smell the possibility of another Citigroup-type situation occurring again. In the letter, they request that the Fed adopt a broader definition of insolvent "so that the Board could not use its emergency lending program to save an institution that is on the verge of bankruptcy." More...

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NAFTA Is 20 Years Old – Here Are 20 Facts That Show How It Is Destroying The Economy
by Michael Snyder
Posted August 18, 2014

TPP why so secretBack in the early 1990s, the North American Free Trade Agreement was one of the hottest political issues in the country. When he was running for president in 1992, Bill Clinton promised that NAFTA would result in an increase in the number of high quality jobs for Americans that it would reduce illegal immigration. Ross Perot warned that just the opposite would happen. He warned that if NAFTA was implemented there would be a "giant sucking sound" as thousands of businesses and millions of jobs left this country. Most Americans chose to believe Bill Clinton. Well, it is 20 years later and it turns out that Perot was right and Clinton was dead wrong. But now history is repeating itself, and most Americans don't even realize that it is happening. As you will read about at the end of this article, Barack Obama has been negotiating a secret trade treaty that is being called "NAFTA on steroids", and if Congress adopts it we could lose millions more good paying jobs.

It amazes me how the American people can fall for the same lies over and over again. The lies that serial liar Barack Obama is telling about "free trade" and the globalization of the economy are the same lies that Bill Clinton was telling back in the early 1990s. More...

The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement represents one of the greatest threats to our sovereignty as nations will come under the juristiction of corporate run tribunals.

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The Bank for International Settlements' Backdoor Betrayals
by Bruno de Landevoisin
Posted August 15, 2014

BIS laundered Nazi goldThe Bank for International Settlements, otherwise known as the BIS, should more aptly be named the Bank for International division and domination. It's clearly an institution with global reach, whose hidden covert purpose is to impose the financial globalist's agenda on all sovereign nation states. The above luminous photo is of their luxurious Headquarters.

Ten times a year, once a month except in August and October, a small group of well dressed men arrives in Basel, Switzerland. Carrying elegant overnight bags and stylish brief cases, they discreetly check into the Euler Hotel, across from the railroad station. They come to this quiet city from places as disparate as Tokyo, Paris, Brasília, London, and Washington, D.C., for the regular meeting of the most exclusive, secretive, and powerful supranational club in the world. More...

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Critical Moment To Stop The TPP & Other Rigged Trade Agreements
By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers
Posted August 14, 2014

TPP is a NAFTA on steroidsThe TPP and TAFTA represent a new era of deception and back-room dealing to pass laws that have nothing to do with trade, but that hand even greater power to multinational corporations to profit from everything no matter the consequences for the health of people and the planet. For the first time, the text of the agreements has been classified and they are being negotiated in secret with hundreds of corporate advisers and minimal involvement by Congress. In order to complete the agreements without transparency and public input, the President has asked Congress to grant him the authority to sign them, 'Fast Track,' a form of Trade Promotion Authority.

As elections get closer, Democratic Party leaders in Congress are getting the message out to inside-the-beltway activists groups that they are unifying to support giving President Obama some form of Fast Track. Congress be warned: The people are watching and are onto the rigged trade corruption scheme. Members of Congress will pay a political price, with the end of their careers, if they continue to force their failed trade strategy on the nation and the world. More...

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The De-industrialization of America
by Paul Craig Roberts, Dave Kranzler, and John Titus
Posted August 13, 2014

closed factoryAlthough you would never know it from the reports from the US financial press, the poor job prospects that Americans face now rival those of India 30 years ago. American university graduates are employed, if they are employed, not as software engineers and managers but as waitresses and bartenders. They do not make enough to have an independent existence and live at home with their parents. Half of those with student loans cannot service them. Eighteen percent are either in collection or behind in their payments. Another 34% have student loans in deferment or forbearance. Clearly, education was not the answer.

Jobs off-shoring, by lowering labor costs and increasing corporate profits, has enriched corporate executives and large shareholders, but the loss of millions of well-paying jobs has made millions of Americans downwardly mobile. In addition, jobs off-shoring has destroyed the growth in consumer demand on which the US economy depends with the result that the economy cannot create enough jobs to keep up with the growth of the labor force. More...

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Engineering Failed States: The Strategy of Global Corporate Imperialism
By Gilbert Mercier
Posted August 12, 2014

corporate imperialismImperialism has long been a collective disease for humanity. In its current perverse capitalist incarnation, imperialism's methods have become even more brutal and ruthless. If the physical destruction of a country's infrastucture is still in the foreground, this is used in conjunction with the creation or revival of civil wars, ethnic or bloody sectarian conflicts in previously stable national entities. Corporate imperialism aims to break the national spirit. The few remaining sovereign nations are the final obstacles to the looming threat of a global transnational corporate empire. Corporate imperialism's only concern is the bottom line: it is on a permanent quest to maximize profit.

It is not about bringing the supposed gift of civilization to savages anymore, unlike the old-fashioned imperialist adventures. In this context, why bother to rebuild the shattered countries when the only goal is to plunder resources, either natural or human? Public resources are allocated to reconstruction, but these resources usually disappear in black holes of corporate war profiteers such as Halliburton in the US. Wrecked countries are never rebuilt because they are easier to exploit while they are in a shambles. More...

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Why Germany is Backing Away from a Trade Deal that Lets Corporations Sue the Government
by Alexis Goldstein
Posted August 9, 2014

rejecting corporate tribunals in TPPThe deal is called the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, or CETA. It's part of a new wave of large, aggressive trade deals that also includes the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the United States and the European Union, and the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) between 12 countries of the Pacific Rim.

Corporations have used the NAFTA tribunals to win big-ticket monetary settlements from the taxpayers of nations whose domestic laws interfere with corporate profits. According to a report by the consumer-rights advocacy group Public Citizen, there are 17 pending claims in which corporations are seeking a total of $38 billion through NAFTA and other deals. More...

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Too Big To Fail Is Alive And More Dangerous Than Ever
by David Stockman
Posted August 8, 2014

Too bog to fail even biggerPractically since the day Lehman went down in September 2008 Washington has been conducting a monumental farce. It has been pretending to up-root the causes of the thundering financial crisis which struck that month and to enact measures insuring that it would never happen again. In fact, however, official policy has done just the opposite.

At the same time, the giant regulatory diversion known as Dodd-Frank has actually permitted the TBTF banks to get even bigger and more dangerous. Indeed, JPM and BAC were taken to their present unmanageable size by regulators—ostensibly fighting the last outbreak of TBTF—who imposed or acquiesced to the shotgun mergers of late 2008. So now these same regulators, who have spent four years stumbling around in the Dodd-Frank puzzle palace confecting thousands of pages of indecipherable regulations, slam their wards for not having sufficiently robust "living wills". C'mon! This is just another Washington double-shuffle. More...

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Don't Be Fooled: Banks Still Too Big to Fail
by Michael Winship
Posted August 6, 2014

banks still too big to failAnalyzing a government report is like eating and digesting a meal — better to take it slowly than gobble quickly and suffer the possible consequences.

Example: last Thursday's report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on whether or not large financial institutions were still perceived as "too big to fail."

The immediate takeaway by many in the media, government and investment community was that the need for a taxpayer subsidy like the bailouts of 2008 "may have declined or reversed in recent years" and, in the words of Mary J. Miller, the Treasury Department's under secretary for domestic finance, "We believe these results reflect increased market recognition of what should now be evident – Dodd-Frank ended 'too big to fail' as a matter of law." But with just a little time to digest the GAO's findings, much of the response has shifted to, "Not so fast." More...

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Internationalists Are Pushing The World Towards Globally Engineered Economic Warfare
by Brandon Smith
Posted August 3, 2014

Bank for International Settlements - Tower of BabelWe are all aware of the prevalence of the false Left/Right paradigm in American politics. Hopefully most people in the Liberty Movement understand, for example, that any impeachment or lawsuit proceedings against Barack Obama will be nothing more than a crafted circus designed to accomplish nothing – a con game to placate conservatives with useless top-down solutions while the country burns around their ears.

It is all about false paradigms; dividing the masses into numerous conflicting sides and pitting them against each other when they should be fighting against the elites.

The false East/West paradigm is perhaps the most dangerous lie facing free men today. It is a lie that may very well define our generation if not our century. I have outlined in multiple articles the substantial evidence that proves beyond a doubt that Russia and China are members of the globalist agenda, and that the tensions between our two hemispheres are completely fabricated. More...

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Will the Global Financial System Survive? What are the Triggers for a Crash?
By Lars Schall
Posted August 2, 2014

financial behemothsThe financial sector is so powerful vis-à-vis politics because a very unhealthy one-sided relationship exists between the political system and the financial industry. Let's take a closer look: How does a government fund itself? It collects taxes, and it sells government bonds. Who buys these government bonds for the most part? Banks and insurance companies! So who holds the reins here? It's the creditor, of course, who gives the commands and who says which laws can and cannot be passed against him. This is also the reason why nothing has changed since the crisis in 2008. The hand that gives is always above the hand that takes.

Moreover, the financial industry has succeeded in establishing structures outside of the law and saturating itself with cheap money from the central banks. This has made them even bigger, more powerful and, most importantly, more systemically important, which has only increased their ability to coerce governments and citizens when the next crisis comes. More...

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You Can't Taper a Ponzi Scheme: Time to Reboot
By Ellen Brown
Posted July 31, 2014

Federal Reserve ChairAt one time, manipulating interest rates was the Fed's stock in trade for managing the money supply; but that tool too has lost its cutting edge. Rates are now at zero, as low as they can go – unless they go negative, meaning the bank charges the depositor interest rather than the reverse. That desperate idea is actually being discussed. Meanwhile, rates are unlikely to be raised any time soon. On July 23rd, Bloomberg reported that the Fed could keep rates at zero through 2015.

One reason rates are unlikely to be raised is that they would make the interest tab on the burgeoning federal debt something taxpayers could not support. According to the Treasury's website, taxpayers pay about $400 billion a year in interest on the federal debt, just as they did in 2006 — although the debt has nearly doubled, from $9 trillion to over $16 trillion. The total interest is kept low by extremely low interest rates. More...

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Forget What They Say And Watch What They Do
by Mark St. Cyr
Posted July 30, 2014

bail in = confiscationOne of the (and I do mean the) most ominous signs I have seen over the last few years where if something were to go wrong the very place that is supposedly the safest in most people's eyes and where a great bulk of ordinary people's money is parked; was just quietly approved permission that in the event they deem as "a panic" (my word not theirs) they will put up gates. i.e., Separate you from your money.

This seemingly inconsequential event as is being portrayed by the under reporting of it through out all the media is absolutely breath-taking. The vast majority of people have absolutely no clue, and for all intents and purposes appear to not want too either. This is where things can go bad very, very, quickly in my opinion.

The troubling fact that gives this issue credence as the one you should pay close attention to, is when you also hear in concert heads of state from not only other countries but right here at home where the tenor and tone starts to ring tones of "bail in" i.e., Bail out was how the banks got your money via you tax dollars. Bail in will be how the banks are going to get your money via your deposits. That's what surely is being proposed or considered should another crisis occur and the banks need to be bailed out – again. More...

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Israel Grants First Golan Heights Oil Drilling License To Dick Cheney-Linked Company
by Michael B. Kelley
Posted July 24, 2014

Dick Cheney crony capitalistIsrael has granted a U.S. company the first license to explore for oil and gas in the occupied Golan Heights, John Reed of the Financial Times reports.

A local subsidiary of the New York-listed company Genie Energy — which is advised by former vice president Dick Cheney and whose shareholders include Jacob Rothschild and Rupert Murdoch — will now have exclusive rights to a 153-square mile radius in the southern part of the Golan Heights.

That geographic location will likely prove controversial. Israel seized the Golan Heights in the Six-Day War in 1967 and annexed the territory in 1981. Its administration of the area — which is not recognized by international law — has been mostly peaceful until the Syrian civil war broke out 23 months ago. More...

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You Know a Politician or Talking Head Is Clueless When...
by Rudy Avizius
Posted July 20, 2014

Often you watch TV and some politician or talking head starts spouting on some subject as if they are an expert in that field. It is easy to be taken in unless you are knowledgeable in that subject. This video is on a subject that affects everyone (money) and after watching it, you will be able to spot a clueless politician or talking head.

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Capitalism's Deeper Problem
By Richard D Wolff
Posted July 18, 2014

deep problems in capitalismRecent press reports refer to troubling price increases for such assets as real estate, government bonds, companies targeted for acquisition and artwork. A New York Times front-page headline read "The Everything Boom, or Maybe the Everything Bubble."

Yet while asset prices soar, the production of goods and services, employment and workers' incomes are not recovering and resuming growth. Instead, Western Europe, North America and Japan are stuck in a longer, deeper crisis than almost anyone expected. Millions have left the labor force. Wages, benefits and job security are declining; the so-called "middle classes" are evaporating. Having promised "recoveries," desperate governments inject massive new quantities of money into their economies. What they accomplish most are fast-rising asset prices. More...

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The Real Purpose Of The IMF
by Luke Eastwood
Posted July 16, 2014

IMF = Debt slaveryTo much trumpeting the IMF have kindly agreed to help out desperate and war torn Ukraine. How wonderful they are we are all meant to think, but the truth couldn't be more opposite.

The International Monetary Fund was set up in 1945, describing itself as an "organization of 188 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world."

This all sounds very laudable, but in reality the IMF has a very different purpose from that which is stated. If you look at the history of the IMF's intervention in countries around the world you will see a trail of disaster and looting that repeats time and time again wherever they go. More...

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U.S. Government Ties El Salvador USD 277 M Aid Package to Monsanto's GMO Seeds
by John and Ocean Robins
Posted July 11, 2014

Monsanto harmful corporationIt has come to light that the U.S. government is withholding $277 million in aid money from El Salvador in order to pressure it to accept Monsanto's GM seeds.

The President of the El Salvadoran Center for Appropriate Technologies (CESTA), Ricardo Navarro, has demanded that the U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador, Mari Carmen Aponte, stops pressurizing the Government of El Salvador to buy Monsanto's GM seeds rather than non-GMO seeds from domestic suppliers. "There is a harmful corporation on the planet called Monsanto … it is truly disturbing that the U.S. is trying to promote them …" concluded Navarro, who hopes that the Members of the El Salvadoran Legislative Assembly do not accept any manipulation by the U.S. More...

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18 Signs That The Global Economic Crisis Is Accelerating As We Enter H2 2014
by Michael Snyder
Posted July 4, 2014

economic crisis accelaeratingA lot of people that I talk to these days want to know "when things are going to start happening". Well, there are certainly some perilous times on the horizon, but all you have to do is open up your eyes and look to see the global economic crisis unfolding. As you will see below, even central bankers are issuing frightening warnings about "dangerous new asset bubbles" and even the World Bank is declaring that "now is the time to prepare" for the next crisis.

Most Americans tend to only care about what is happening in the United States, but the truth is that serious economic trouble is erupting in South America, all across Europe and in Asian powerhouses such as China and Japan. And the endless conflicts in the Middle East could erupt into a major regional war at just about any time. We live in a world that is becoming increasingly unstable, and people need to understand that the period of relative stability that we are enjoying right now is extremely vulnerable and will not last long. More...

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Detroit and Iraq: Plundered by the Same Bandits
By Margaret Kimberley
Posted June 28, 2014

Detroit plundered by criminals in suitsThe ugly face of empire and disaster capitalism is visible all over the world. Detroit, Michigan, was once a thriving city but was sent into a tailspin by the deindustrialization of the United States, white flight, and institutional racism which blamed black people who were in fact the victims of catastrophe. The coup de grace was delivered by big banks like UBS, Bank of America and Barclays, which sold risky derivatives schemes to corrupt Detroit politicians. When the financial deal inevitably headed south, the banks were the creditors first in line for a payout.

Far back in that line were the workers and people of Detroit. The emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, whose very position they had voted against establishing, rules the city. The new mayor is a figurehead and the people have no representation as the Republican governor and emergency manager remake the city for capital and the gentrifying settler class. "All of former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's incompetence could not have created the ongoing occupation of Detroit by the thieves in high places." More...

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Another Secret Trade Agreement - TISA
by James Hall
Posted June 26, 2014

WikiLeaks gets the truth outThe significance of the TPP -Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and the TTIP - Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement has your head spinning already, now add another globalist gift to the Corporatocracy model of total trade domination, the TISA - Trade In Services Agreement. According to the trade group, Coalition of Service Industries, "the TISA is currently being negotiated in Geneva, Switzerland with 50 participants that represent 70 percent of the world's trade in services . . .

Just one question, that never seems to get an answer. Why do all these "so called" beneficial trade agreements doom the United States to a permanent balance of trade deficit? More...

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Buying Up the Planet: Out-of-control Central Banks on a Corporate Buying Spree
by Ellen Brown
Posted June 21, 2014

Central banks buying real assets with paper they printedCentral banks have the power to create national currencies with accounting entries, and they are traditionally very secretive. We are not allowed to peer into their books. It took a major lawsuit by Reuters and a congressional investigation to get the Fed to reveal the $16-plus trillion in loans it made to bail out giant banks and corporations after 2008.

What is to stop a foreign bank from simply printing its own currency and trading it on the currency market for dollars, to be invested in the US stock market or US real estate market? What is to stop central banks from printing up money competitively, in a mad rush to own the world's largest companies? More...

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The Death Of The Rust Belt
by Michael Snyder
Posted June 20, 2014

rust beltIf you want your country to have a great economy it has got to produce wealth. And one of the primary ways to produce wealth is to make stuff. Immediately after World War II, the United States had the greatest manufacturing base the world had ever seen and we outproduced the rest of the planet combined. Great manufacturing cities sprouted up all over America and the middle class thrived. It was truly a great time to be an American.

But then we decided to start shipping in cheaper products from overseas. At first it didn't create too much of a problem for our massive economy, but eventually the floodgates opened up and we lost tens of thousands of manufacturing facilities and millions upon millions of good paying jobs. Our labor pool was merged with the labor pool of countries such as communist China where it is legal to pay slave labor wages to manufacturing workers. Needless to say, our workers could not compete with that and our middle class started to shrink rapidly. More...

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Extreme Acts of Greed Against the American People
by Paul Bucheit
Posted June 17, 2014

police protecting and serving the richExamples of extreme inequality are becoming easier to find. Progressive leaders have us thinking about revolution. If a revolution is to take place, Americans - especially young Americans - need to know the facts, and they need to know how they're getting cheated, and they need to get angry. The following should help.

U.S. wealth grew from $47 trillion to $72 trillion in the four years after the recession, largely as a reflection of continued American productivity. In other words, a full one-third of the total wealth in the U.S. in 2013 was generated since 2009. But the richest 10 percent took all of it.

That's $6 trillion per year in new wealth for the rich. In contrast, the total annual cost of 'entitlements' and the safety net is less than $2 trillion. More...

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The New World Order And The Rise Of The East
by Brandon Smith
Posted June 6, 2014

New World OrderThe call on both sides for a new monetary system and the end of the dollar as world reserve seems to greatly contradict the fantasy that the East and West are fundamentally at odds. The progression towards a world currency and/or economic governance also appears to be growing along with the consolidation of economic and military ties between Eastern nations. This would suggest that the rise of the East and the crippling of Western elements is actually advantageous to global bankers in the long term.

While disinformation agents and media shills have attempted to downplay any danger to the strength of America and the dollar, Eastern governments have been swiftly establishing alliances and decoupling from U.S. influence. More...

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Infrastructure Sticker Shock: Financing Costs More Than Construction
By Ellen Brown
Posted June 3, 2014

bonds double infrastructure costsFunding infrastructure through bonds doubles the price or worse. Costs can be cut in half by funding through the state's own bank. A general rule for government bonds is that they double the cost of projects, once interest has been paid. The San Francisco Bay Bridge earthquake retrofit was originally slated to cost $6.3 billion, but that was just for salaries and physical materials. With interest and fees, the cost to taxpayers and toll-payers will be over $12 billion.

There is another alternative. In the last five years, China has managed to build an impressive 4000 miles of high-speed rail. Where did it get the money? The Chinese government has a hidden funding source: it owns its own banks. That means it gets its financing effectively interest-free. More...

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Bilderberg 2014: War Criminals, Big Oil and "Too Big to Jail" Banksters Meet in Secrecy
By Julie Lévesque
Posted June 2, 2014

BIlderbergers - No New World orderThe highly secretive Bilderberg group is holding its 62nd annual conference in Denmark from May 29 to June 1 at the Copenhagen Marriott Hotel in Denmark. This year's conference is a mingling of military-intelligence, politicians, finance, oil, media, academia and neocon think tanks. (Click here for the official list of attendees. Note that there are always participants who are not mentioned on the list given to the public.)

While Bilderberg claims its annual conference is "to foster dialogue between Europe and North America", the Worldwide monetary system as well as the US-NATO global war agenda are slated to be discussed behind closed doors. According to Bilderberg expert Daniel Estulin, the group went as far as planning the 2008 economic crisis. More...

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U.S. Retail Economic Death Rattle Grows Louder
by James Quinn
Posted May 28, 2014

Space Available- growing trendThe absolute collapse in retail visitor counts is the warning siren that this country is about to collide with the reality Americans have run out of time, money, jobs, and illusions. The exponential growth model, built upon a never ending flow of consumer credit and an endless supply of cheap fuel, has reached its limit of growth. The titans of Wall Street and their puppets in Washington D.C. have wrung every drop of faux wealth from the dying middle class. There are nothing left but withering carcasses and bleached bones.

Once the Wall Street created fraud collapsed and the waves of delusion subsided, retailers have been revealed to be swimming naked. Their relentless expansion, based on exponential growth, cannibalized itself, new store construction ground to a halt, sales and profits have declined, and the inevitable closing of thousands of stores has begun. More...

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The (Other) Truth About The Financial Crisis: 10 "Geithner-Sized" Myths Exposed
by Jennifer Taub
Posted May 26, 2014

bank fraudAfter the crisis, many expected that the blameworthy would be punished or at the least be required to return their ill-gotten gains—but they weren't, and they didn't. Many thought that those who were injured would be made whole, but most weren't. And many hoped that there would be a restoration of the financial safety rules to ensure that industry leaders could no longer gamble the equity of their firms to the point of ruin. This didn't happen, but it's not too late. It is useful, then, to identify the persistent myths about the causes of the financial crisis and the resulting Dodd-Frank reform legislation and related implementation.

Deregulation and regulatory forbearance—too little regulation, rather than too much—contributed to the crisis. The entire toxic- mortgage supply chain was enabled by decades of deregulation and desupervision. The Levin-Coburn Report included more than eighty pages focused exclusively on the regulatory failure at one agency, the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS). It also made recommendations for further reform beyond Dodd-Frank's changes. More...

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Detroit Statement
by Matt Stannard
Posted May 22, 2014

People fighting Wall Street bankersIn solidarity with the people of Detroit, we call for a public solution to the crises caused by predatory banks and crony capitalism.

Detroit's "bankruptcy" demonstrates the failure of the big bank model to fulfill the obligations that enable the American dream. In the early 20th Century, as industrialization of cities increased in earnest, Detroit and other cities developed around a social contract –embodied in documents such as the "Treaty of Detroit" between the United Auto Workers and General Motors in 1950. The excesses of capitalism would be tempered by community responsibility; working class people would benefit along with the owning class; and shared sacrifice would minimize the impacts when times were bad.

We salute the people of Detroit for resisting a bail-in bankruptcy they did not create. We call on state, county, and municipal governments to open public banks. We ask policy makers and citizens to take further steps to democratize our economy. More...

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The Privatization Scam: 5 Horror Stories of Gov't Outsourcing to Greedy Private Companies
By Dave Johnson
Posted May 17, 2014

privatization of public assetsHere's the scam: For decades we've been subjected to constant propaganda that government is inefficient and bureaucratic and expensive. We're told that the answer is to "privatize," or "outsource" government functions to private businesses and they will do things more efficiently and everyone comes out ahead. As a result we have experienced decades of privatization of government functions.

So how has wave of privatization this worked out? Has privatization saved taxpayers money and improved services to citizens? Simple answer: of course not. If a company can make a profit doing something the government had been doing, it means that we're losing out one way or another. It's simple math. And the result of falling for the privatization scam is that taxpayers have been fleeced, services to citizens have been cut way back and communities have been made poorer. But the companies that convinced governments to hand over public functions have gotten rich off of the deal. How is this a surprise? More...

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Hoenig: Wall Street Banks "Excessively Leveraged" at 22 to 1 Ratios
By Pam Martens
Posted May 12, 2014

Ex Fed syas banks overleveragedThis past Wednesday, Thomas Hoenig, the Vice Chairman of the FDIC and former President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, gave a presentation to the Boston Economic Club warning that Dodd-Frank has not put an end to taxpayer bailouts. Hoenig explained why in plain-spoken language the average person can absorb.

Hoenig has consistently shown the courage of his convictions in calling for breaking up the biggest Wall Street banks through the restoration of the Glass-Steagall Act (strongly advocated by Wall Street On Parade as well) and warning that the complexity, leverage and interconnectedness of Wall Street banks that brought on the 2008 financial collapse has not ended. More...

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Time to Act: Pension Funds are Drying Up
By Peter Krauth
Posted April 28, 2014

stealing pensionsOn numerous occasions, I've told you to remain on lookout for threats to your savings, including the proposed new MyRA account. If you've been counting on your pension, whether from work or even Social Security, you may want to revise those plans, as most are way underfunded.

Research by Bridgewater Associates, the world's largest hedge fund, estimates that 85% of public pensions could go bust within 30 years. Public pension funds currently have about $3 trillion in assets, but will need to pay out nearly $10 trillion over the next several decades. That would require average annual returns around 9%, but Bridgewater estimates they'll only earn about 4%, leaving pensions severely underfunded as paid benefits exceed contributions and returns. More..

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The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP): When Foreign Investors Sue the State
By Martin Khor
Posted April 23, 2014

TPP- great deal for the 1 percentThe investor-state dispute system, whereby foreign investors can sue the host-country government in an international tribunal, is one of the issues being negotiated in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.

In the public debate surrounding the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), an issue that seems to stand out is the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) system. It would enable foreign investors of TPPA countries to directly sue the host government in an international tribunal.

Under the clause on fair and equitable treatment, which is contained in many existing trade and investment treaties, investors have sued on the ground of non-renewal or change in the terms of a licence or contract and changes in policies or regulations that the investor claims will reduce its future profits. Finally, investors can sue on the ground of "indirect expropriation". Tribunals have ruled in favour of investors that claimed losses due to government policies or regulations, such as tighter health and environmental regulations. More...

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'Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt,' by Michael Lewis
A Review by Susan Antilla
Posted April 22, 2014

Flash Boys, Wall Street revoltEvery reporter who's gone a few rounds with the powers that be on Wall Street recognizes the cue that they're on to something: The broker or bank executive or snarly in-house flack derides you as a flaming idiot for your ill-advised view of their very important work.

For his new book, "Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt," Michael Lewis has earned recognition in some Wall Street circles as the flaming idiot of the moment. The most likely explanation is that his polemic against the stock market abuses of high-frequency traders has struck an acutely touchy nerve.

"Flash Boys" deconstructs the byzantine world of Wall Street's high-frequency stock trading, the algorithm-driven transactions considered a boon to smooth and inexpensive markets by some, an exploitative labyrinth by others. More...

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World Bank Whistleblower Reveals How The Global Elite Rules The World
By Michael Snyder
Posted April 21, 2014

global elite rule the worldKaren Hudes is a graduate of Yale Law School and she worked in the legal department of the World Bank for more than 20 years. In fact, when she was fired for blowing the whistle on corruption inside the World Bank, she held the position of Senior Counsel.

She was in a unique position to see exactly how the global elite rules the world, and the information that she is now revealing to the public is absolutely stunning. According to Hudes, the elite uses a very tight core of financial institutions and mega-corporations to dominate the planet.

Karen HudesThe goal is control. They want all of us enslaved to debt, they want all of our governments enslaved to debt, and they want all of our politicians addicted to the huge financial contributions that they funnel into their campaigns. Since the elite also own all of the big media companies, the mainstream media never lets us in on the secret that there is something fundamentally wrong with the way that our system works. More...

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The Global Money Matrix: The Forces behind America's Economic Destruction
By Dr. Gary Null
Posted April 19, 2014

Money matrix destructionIn the midst of this economic turmoil there is one group that still manages to flourish: the global elite. With more than $32 trillion stashed in offshore banks around the world, the wealth of the so-called "1%" is staggeringly obscene and grows by the day.[vii] Their aggregate wealth, larger than the US GDP and national debt combined, is a testament to the tremendous influence and lobbying power held by a coterie of private interests that dominate nearly every sector of society.

Instead of reining in the inordinate control exercised by the elite, most of our elected officials have become little more than shills for these corporate overlords, creating policies that favor their campaign donors instead of the American people. Hundreds of millions of dollars were funneled into Barack Obama's 2012 presidential campaign by donors whose business affiliations run the gamut from real estate and finance to media and law firms. More...

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What's the Difference Between Fascism, Communism and Crony-Capitalism? Nothing
by Charles Hugh Smith
Posted April 18, 2014

no difference between fascism and crony capitalismThe essence of crony-capitalism is the merger of state and corporate power--the definition of fascism.When it comes to the real world, the difference between fascism, communism and crony-capitalism is semantic. Let's start with everyone's favorite hot-word, fascism, which Italian dictator Benito Mussolini defined as "the merger of state and corporate power." In other words, the state and corporate cartels are one system.

The essence of crony-capitalism is of course the merger of state and corporate power. There are two sets of laws, one for the non-elites and one for cronies, and two kinds of capitalism: the free-market variety for small businesses that are unprotected by the state and the crony variety for corporations, cartels and state fiefdoms protected by the state.

Since crony-capitalism is set up to benefit parasitic politicos and their private-sector cartel benefactors, reform is impossible. Even the most obviously beneficial variety of reform--for example, simplifying the 4 million-word U.S. tax code--is politically impossible, regardless of who wins the electoral equivalent of a game show (i.e. Demopublicans vs. Republicrats). More...

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The Hedge Fund Managers Tax Break: Because Wall Streeters Want Your Money
By Dean Baker
Posted April 16, 2014

Wall Street wants your moneyThe coming of tax day provides a great opportunity for everyone to focus on their favorite tax break, and there are many from which to choose. However for all the sneaky and squirrelly ways that the rich use to escape their tax liability, none can beat the hedge fund managers' tax break. This is the way the rich tell the rest of us, because they are rich and powerful, the law doesn't apply to them.

The hedge fund managers' tax break, which is also known as the carried interest tax deduction, is different from other tax breaks in that it has no economic rationale. With most other tax breaks there is at least an argument as to how it serves some socially useful purpose. That is not the case with the hedge fund managers' tax break. This is simply a case where the rich don't feel like paying taxes and are saying to the rest of us, "what are you going to do about it?" More...

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How to Liberate America from Wall Street Rule
by New Economy Working Group
Posted April 15, 2014

Liberate the U.S. from Wall StreetHow to Liberate America from Wall Street Rule is a report of the New Economy Working Group produced in collaboration with the New Economy Network; it is an outcome of a series of conversations focused on building a policy agenda for transforming our money system. David Korten is the lead author; participating organizations include Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, Capital Institute, Democracy Collaborative, Green America, Institute for Policy Studies, Living Economies Forum, New Economy Network, New Rules Project, Institute for Local Self-Reliance, Public Banking Institute, RSF Social Finance, and YES! Magazine.

The report calls for building a money/banking/finance system of local financial institutions that are transparent, accountable, rooted in community and dedicated to funding activities that build community wealth and meet community needs. The proposed system will look quite similar to the one that existed in the United States before the wave of financial deregulation that began in the 1960s. The How to Liberate America from Wall Street Rule report briefly traces that history, outlines its devastating consequences, and presents an agenda for corrective action to change the system rules, structure, and culture. More...

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Fault Runs Deep in Ultrafast Trading
By Andrew Ross Sorkin
Posted April 13, 2014

high frequency trading rigs the market"The United States stock market, the most iconic market in global capitalism, is rigged." That's what Michael Lewis told Steve Kroft on the CBS show "60 Minutes" on Sunday evening. It was a clever, if hyperbolic, way for Mr. Lewis to describe the topic of his important new book, "Flash Boys," a make-your-blood-boil read about the abusive way that high-frequency trading works.

Mr. Lewis's well-crafted narrative highlights a perverse system on Wall Street that has allowed certain professional investors to pay hundreds of millions of dollars a year to locate their computer servers close to stock exchanges so they can make trades milliseconds ahead of everyone else.

In some cases, the superfast investors are able to glean crucial information from the stream of trading data flowing into their systems that allows them to see what stocks other investors are about to buy before they are able to complete their orders. More...

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Is the US or the World Coming to an End?
by Paul Craig Roberts (Asst Secretary of the Treasury under the Reagan Administration)
Posted April 12, 2014

Us or world collapse?2014 is shaping up as a year of reckoning for the United States.Two pressures are building on the US dollar. One pressure comes from the Federal Reserve's declining ability to rig the price of gold as Western gold supplies shrivel and market knowledge of the Fed's illegal price rigging spreads. The evidence of massive amounts of naked shorts being dumped into the paper gold futures market at times of day when trading is thin is unequivocal. It has become obvious that the price of gold is being rigged in the futures market in order to protect the dollar's value from QE.

The other pressure arises from the Obama regime's foolish threats of sanctions on Russia. Other countries are no longer willing to tolerate Washington's abuse of the world dollar standard. Washington uses the dollar-based international payments system to inflict damage on the economies of countries that resist Washington's political hegemony. More...

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Money, Money, Everywhere
By Rep. Alan Grayson
Posted April 7, 2014

not helping Main StreetIn an age of disparity, corporate wealth is far from an indicator of economic health. Companies sitting on cash—the financial newsletter thinks that this is great news! Spectacular news! How nice—for them.

Here is more great news for Big Business: Corporations have been largely excused from paying taxes. The Government Accountability Office found earlier this year that the average effective tax rate on U.S. corporations is only 12.6 percent of their income. That's low enough to make Mitt Romney jealous. Hooray, say the financial newsletters! More spectacular news!

But what about the non-corporate entities in America? How are those bags of flesh and bones known as "human beings" faring? More...

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All The Presidents' Bankers: The Hidden Alliances That Drive American Power
by Naomi Prins
Posted April 6, 2014

government partnersWhile 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. More...

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Tax Dodging Companies Hoarding Nearly One Trillion Overseas
by Andrea Germanos
Posted April 2, 2014

tax cheats hurt Main StreetNew analysis, hearing, report make clear: tax dodging corporations siphon revenue that could help Main Street. Profits for U.S. companies are at a record high, yet companies have hoarded nearly one trillion overseas to dodge U.S. taxes, a new Moody's analysis shows.

The findings, based on an analysis that looked at U.S. non-financial, Moody's-rated companies, also reveal that these companies had stockpiled $1.64 trillion in cash at the end of 2013. That's about up about 12 percent from the year before.Leading the pack of cash hoarders is Apple, which stockpiled $158.8 billion last year.One of the companies exploiting tax loopholes to avoid paying U.S. taxes is Peoria, Illinois-based Caterpillar, which was scrutinized Tuesday at a Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations hearing. More...

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How Wall Street Is Sucking Huge Amounts of Money from Los Angeles
By Les Leopold
Posted March 28, 2014

Wall street parasitesLos Angeles paid at least $204 million in fees to Wall Street in 2013, and probably significantly more, in addition to principle and interest payments, according to the report, "No Small Fees: LA Spends More on Wall Street than Our Streets." The study, issued today by a coalition of unions and community organizations, shows that due to revenue losses from the "Great Recession," L.A. "all but stopped repairing sidewalks, clearing alleys and installing speed bumps. It stopped inspecting sewers, resulting in twice the number of sewer overflows." L.A. spends at least $51 million more in Wall Street in fees than it allocates for its entire budget for the Bureau of Street Services.

The researchers caution that the $204 million figure likely underestimates the true amount, because under current disclosure rules, deals made with private equity companies and hedge funds do not have to be publically disclosed. Also, because the city does not list all these fees in one centralized report, hundreds of individual documents must be reviewed to uncover the amounts. More...

Los Angeles could easily avoid these "fees" and interest payments by simply starting its own public bank. However, that may prove difficult as Wall Street will send its lobbyists with their $2000 suits to "persuade" the city legislators why they should continue with the current system of money redistribution from the city to Wall Street.

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A First Look At New Report On Crony Capitalism – Trillions In Corporate Welfare
by Michael Krieger
Posted March 28, 2014

crony capitalismOne of the primary topics on this website since it was launched has been the extremely destructive and explosive rise of crony capitalism throughout the USA. It is crony capitalism, as opposed to free markets, that has led to the gross inequality in American society we have today. Cronyism for the super wealthy starts at the very top with the Federal Reserve System, which consists of topdown economic central planners who manipulate the money supply and hence interest rates for the benefit of the financial oligarch class. It then trickles down through lobbyist money into the halls of Washington D.C., and ultimately filters down to local governments and then the average person on the street gaming welfare or disability.

As such, we now live in a culture of corruption and theft that is pervasive throughout society. One thing that bothers me to no end is when fake Republicans focus their criticism on struggling people who need welfare or food stamps to survive. They have this absurd notion that the whole welfare system doesn't start with the multinational corporations and Central Banks at the top. In reality, it is at the top where the cancer starts, and that's where we should focus in order to achieve real change. More...

In the time it takes a person to complain about the food stamp recipient buying a candy bar, Exxon will have received $9,000 in government subsidies.

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"Fairy Tale" Economics: "Sovereign Debt Default is Impossible"
By Matthias Chang
Posted March 26, 2014

Fairy tale economicsWhat prompted me to write the present article is because some central bankers have been spewing nonsense, and because if many out there don't use common sense, they will suffer enormous financial losses. Anyone who agrees that there can be no sovereign defaults has a fickle memory or no memory at all. Additionally, they have also forgotten the economic dogmas spread by Nobel Laureates, central bankers, financial advisers etc. which alas turned out to be fairy tales. And it was only just five years ago. People do have short memories.

Before we get to the bottom of the impossibility of sovereign defaults, let's examine some other "impossibilities" often touted by the so-called economic experts, those that have the "magical" alphabets behind their names – PhD, especially from Ivy League universities. I prefer to call these so-called experts "Phony Donkeys". No doubt there are exceptions, but not many. More..

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The Fourteen Year Economic Recession
by James Quinn
Posted March 25, 2014

stealing from the workersThe owners of this country (bankers, billionaires, corporate titans, politicians) want more for themselves and less for everyone else. They want an educational system that creates ignorant, obedient, vacuous, obese dullards who question nothing, consume mass quantities of corporate processed fast food, gaze at iGadgets, are easily susceptible to media propaganda and compliant to government regulations and directives. They don't want highly educated, critical thinking, civil minded, well informed, questioning citizens understanding how badly they have been screwed over the last century. I'm sorry to say, your owners are winning in a landslide.

We've become a nation of techno-narcissistic, math challenged, reality TV distracted, welfare entitled, materialistic, gluttonous, indebted consumers of Chinese slave labor produced crap. There are more Americans who know the name of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian's bastard child (North West) than know the name of our Secretary of State (Ketchup Kerry). Americans can generate a text or tweet with blinding speed but couldn't give you change from a dollar bill if their life depended upon it. While the ignorant masses are worked into a frenzy by the media propaganda machine over gay marriage, diversity, abortion, climate change, and never ending wars on poverty, drugs and terror, our owners use their complete capture of the financial, regulatory, political, judicial and economic systems to pillage the remaining national wealth they haven't already extracted. More...

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25 Fast Facts About The Federal Reserve: "Biggest Ponzi Scheme in World History"
By Michael Snyder
Posted March 20, 2014

Federal ReserveAs we approach the 100 year anniversary of the creation of the Federal Reserve, it is absolutely imperative that we get the American people to understand that the Fed is at the very heart of our economic problems. It is a system of money that was created by the bankers and that operates for the benefit of the bankers. The American people like to think that we have a "democratic system", but there is nothing "democratic" about the Federal Reserve. Unelected, unaccountable central planners from a private central bank run our financial system and manage our economy.

There is a reason why financial markets respond with a yawn when Barack Obama says something about the economy, but they swing wildly whenever Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke opens his mouth. The Federal Reserve has far more power over the U.S. economy than anyone else does by a huge margin. The Fed is the biggest Ponzi scheme in the history of the world, and if the American people truly understood how it really works, they would be screaming for it to be abolished immediately. The following are 25 fast facts about the Federal Reserve that everyone should know. More...

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Today We're All Irish: Debt Serfdom Comes to America
By Ellen Brown
Posted March 19, 2014

debt is the slavery of the "free"In the American South (mainly New Orleans), the Irish lived in swamp land infested with disease. Here, Irish men were looked upon as actually lower than slaves. As one historian put it, if a plantation owner lost a slave, he lost an investment; if he lost a laborer, he could always get another. Because the Irish workers were plentiful and expendable, they were often sent in to do dangerous jobs for which the slave-owners were reluctant to send their valuable slaves.

This form of "debt slavery" or "debt peonage" was not just an accidental development of history. It was a deliberately-planned alternative to the slave arrangement in which owners were responsible for the feeding and care of a dependent population, and it is still with us today. Although European financiers were in favor of an American Civil War that would return the United States to its colonial status, they admitted privately that they were not necessarily interested in preserving slavery. They preferred "the European plan": capital could exploit labor by controlling the money supply, while letting the laborers feed themselves. More...

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Why commercial banks should support a publicly-owned SuperBank in Florida
By Farid Khavari
Posted March 18, 2014

public bank for FloridaTo many bankers, the first thing that comes to mind when a publicly-owned bank is proposed is "socialism". In fact, a publicly-owned bank could be the best thing that ever happened for Florida's banks, and the correct term is "Public Capitalism."

A publicly-owned SuperBank can create jobs by organizing and financing demand, and by reducing costs that otherwise absorb disposable income. A publicly owned bank can mop up the inventory of foreclosed homes and finance them for customers who would not otherwise qualify, by keeping low-interest short term mortgages in the bank's filing cabinet instead of reselling them. Most importantly, by monetizing new activity the SuperBank would inject billions of dollars per year into Florida's economy. As long as the money created supports new wealth-creating activity, adding money to the system is not inflationary. More...

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Vermonters Want To Try a New Way of Banking
By Kevin Mathews
Posted March 15, 2014

building a new economyVermont is currently considering massive changes in the way it conducts banking by instituting a public bank of its own.

The proposal would give Vermont Economic Development Authority a banking license and allocate it 10% of taxes collected by the state, rather than the current scenario where large banks outside of the state hold (and use) Vermont's money. With Vermont in control of its own finances, the state could use the money to fund projects that benefit the state and local economies, including granting loans to Vermonters.

More than 20 Vermont towns met this month to weigh the merits of public banking and the response was extremely favorable. By a margin of about 2:1, Vermonters advocated for public banking. More...

This is a critical first step in taking power away from Wall Street and giving back to the people. The Money Changers realize that if this trend were to spread, it would be a stake in their vampire hearts. Watch carefully as the Money Changers get their puppets in the media to criticize, ridicule, and generally trash this public bank in their efforts to protect the money flow into their coffers.

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Cloudy With a Chance of Radicalism. Or... Turning the Tables on the Big Banks?
By Hannah Appel & JP Massar
Posted March 14, 2014

Eminent Domain to save homeownersIn an earlier essay, Hannah and I told the story of Richmond, California, a small city with big plans to end its foreclosure crisis via a novel use of eminent domain.

If successful, this plan could set a nationwide precedent, and Strike Debt Bay Area (@StrikedebtBA), among other groups, is fighting to push it through against pressure from big banks and big government alike. But there's a new twist on the concept of using eminent domain that could have far wider implications not only for the foreclosure crisis, but also for the power of big banks. In this post we explore that twist - referred to here as "clouded chain of title" - and its potential implications. More...

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The Real Story Behind the Detroit Pension Fight and What it Means to America's Future
By Lynn Stuart Parramore
Posted March 9, 2014

is Detroit the canary in the cloal mine for the 99%?Is Detroit the canary in the coal mine for the 99 percent?

When the city of Detroit filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy in July 2013, America sucked in a collective gasp. This was the largest municipal bankruptcy filing in U.S. history by the amount of debt ($18–20 billion), and Detroit was the largest city ever to officially go bust.

A few months before the bankruptcy, the state of Michigan appointed an emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, to sort things out in Motor City. Orr was given extraordinary powers to rewrite contracts and liquidate some of the city's most valuable assets. The burning question: Who would be responsible for the enormous debt? Soon enough it became clear that the folks who would be asked to take the hit were not those who created the problems. Just as in so many other parts of the world in the wake of the 2007-'08 financial meltdown, innocent people who did nothing but get up every day and go to work would be asked to pay the bill. More...

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The Powers and Abuses of America's Mega-Corporations
By Dr. Gary G. Kohls
Posted March 6, 2014

buying powerIn 2010 the NeoConservative, pro-corporate, anti-democratic Roberts' 5/4 Supreme Court's decided in the Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission ruling to grant personhood to corporations by allowing unlimited, anonymous monetary contributions to political campaigns and candidates. This ruling, called by many to be the worst Supreme Court decision of the past century, has emboldened the already powerful and corruptible multinational corporations (that now have achieved dominion over US politics as well as the economy) to "buy" any number of politicians and brain-wash voters by multi-million dollar ad campaigns that the rest of us can't afford to counter in state and national elections.

The US Supreme Court has thus made legal the absurd notion that inanimate corporations like PolyMet and GTac (potential despoilers of northern Minnesota and northern Wisconsin's irreplaceable wetlands, aquifers and aboriginal land and water rights) deserve the same privileges (but not the same responsibilities) as living humans. More...

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The National Debt Cannot Be Paid Off
by Keith Weiner
Posted February 28, 2014

debt can never be repayedTo understand debt, credit and the importance of redemption, consider Joe borrowing sugar from neighbor Sue. To pay Sue back, Joe goes to the store, buys sugar and hands it to Sue. Not only is Sue repaid; the debt goes out of existence—it is extinguished. Borrowing money used to be like borrowing sugar. The repayment of debt in gold-backed dollars settled the loan and wiped the debt clean.

Not anymore, since Nixon detached the dollar from gold. By making people pay with paper-only dollars, each debt is transferred, not cleared.

Suppose Sue owed Joe $1,000, then hands Joe ten $100 bills. Sue gets out of the debt loop. But now the Fed owes Joe the $1,000. What does Joe do? He deposits his cash in a bank. Now the bank owes Joe money, while the Fed owes the bank. What does the bank do? It buys a Treasury bond. Now the Treasury owes the bank. And so on. More...

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State banks would mean jobs, credit and investment: Why don't we?
by Systemic Disorder
Posted February 23, 2014

jobs, investment, and lower taxesOne of the many problems with the current banking system is that your tax money helps fuel speculation. Unless there is a public bank that your local government can place deposits into, revenues are the playthings of big banks.

Some of that money will go toward investment via loans — at a hefty profit to the bank, of course — but a significant portion will go toward risky, socially harmful speculation. What if these public funds were instead put in a professionally run public bank? There would be more funds available for investment, significant savings on interest costs and more jobs would be created. That is the conclusion of a series of studies examining the issue. More...

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How the Credit Card Gravy Train Is Running Over You
by Ellen Brown
Posted February 16, 2014

you are paying a bank taxThe credit card business is now the banking industry's biggest cash cow, and it's largely due to lucrative hidden fees. You pay off your credit card balance every month, thinking you are taking advantage of the "interest-free grace period" and getting free credit. You may even use your credit card when you could have used cash, just to get the free frequent flier or cash-back rewards. But those popular features are misleading. Even when the balance is paid on time every month, credit card use imposes a huge hidden cost on users—hidden because the cost is deducted from what the merchant receives, then passed on to you in the form of higher prices.

Visa and MasterCard charge merchants about 2% of the value of every credit card transaction, and American Express charges even more. That may not sound like much. But consider that for balances that are paid off monthly (meaning most of them), the banks make 2% or more on a loan averaging only about 25 days (depending on when in the month the charge was made and when in the grace period it was paid). Two percent interest for 25 days works out to a 33.5% return annually (1.02^(365/25) – 1), and that figure may be conservative. More...

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JPMorgan Vice President's Death in London Shines a Light on the Bank's Close Ties to the CIA
By Pam Martens and Russ Martens
Posted February 13, 2014

Jp Morgan's CIA connectionThe nonstop crime news swirling around JPMorgan Chase for a solid 18 months has started to feel a little spooky – they do lots of crime but never any time; and with each closed case, a trail of unanswered questions remains in the public's mind.

Just last month, JPMorgan Chase acknowledged that it facilitated the largest Ponzi scheme in history, looking the other way as Bernie Madoff brazenly turned his business bank account at JPMorgan Chase into an unprecedented money laundering operation that would have set off bells, whistles and sirens at any other bank.

The U.S. Justice Department allowed JPMorgan to pay $1.7 billion and sign a deferred prosecution agreement, meaning no one goes to jail at JPMorgan — again. More...

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Wall Street Mega Banks Own Tankers, Pipelines, Utilities, Mines, Metal Warehouses – And That's Not the Worst of It
By Pam Martens
Posted Feb 10, 2014

Wall St owns the nationThere was a distinct chill in the air yesterday as questioning got underway in the U.S. Senate's hearing on whether the Wall Street mega banks that caused the greatest economic collapse since the Great Depression from 2008 through 2010 should be allowed to effectively control the price of aluminum and other metals by owning metal warehouses and creating bottlenecks in delivery; or allowed to own oil pipelines, terminals and tankers while trading trillions of dollars a year in oil futures – potentially rigging that market against the consumer.

It's not that there's limited evidence that these firms will rig markets. These are the same firms that are serially charged and pay enormous fines for fraud and cartel-like behavior. Traders even refer to themselves as "The Cartel" and "The Bandits' Club" in chat rooms. More...

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Who Owns The Federal Reserve?
By Ellen Brown
Posted Feb 9, 2014

Federal Reserve - Private cartel"Some people think that the Federal Reserve Banks are United States Government institutions. They are private monopolies which prey upon the people of these United States for the benefit of themselves and their foreign customers; foreign and domestic speculators and swindlers; and rich and predatory money lenders."

– The Honorable Louis McFadden, Chairman of the House Banking and Currency Committee in the 1930s

The Federal Reserve (or Fed) has assumed sweeping new powers in the last year. In an unprecedented move in March 2008, the New York Fed advanced the funds for JPMorgan Chase Bank to buy investment bank Bear Stearns for pennies on the dollar. The deal was particularly controversial because Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan, sits on the board of the New York Fed and participated in the secret weekend negotiations.1 In September 2008, the Federal Reserve did something even more unprecedented, when it bought the world's largest insurance company. More...

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The Final Swindle Of Private American Wealth Has Begun
By Brandon Smith
Posted Feb 7, 2014

theft of savings and pensionsI have never had any doubt that the U.S. economy as we know it was headed for total and catastrophic collapse, the only question was when, exactly, the final trigger event would occur. As I have pointed out in the past, economic implosion is a process. It grows over time, like the ice shelf on a mountain developing into a potential avalanche. It is easy to shrug off the danger because the visible destruction is not immediate, it is latent; but when the avalanche finally begins, it is far too late for most people to escape.

If you view the progressive financial breakdown in America as some kind of "comedy of errors" or a trial of unlucky coincidences, then there is not much I can do to educate you on the reasons behind the carnage. If, however, you understand that there is a deliberate motivation behind American collapse, then what I have to say here will not fall on biased ears. More..

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American Factory Workers Getting $33,029 Yearly Bonuses May Sound Insane, But It's True
By Frank Koller
Posted Feb 4, 2014

Lincoln electric pays workers bomusOn a Friday afternoon in mid-December, Lincoln Electric (NASDAQ: LECO ) announced the details of its 2013 profit-sharing bonus to the firm's 3,000 American employees, most of whom work in Cleveland (with 7,000 more worldwide).For 80 uninterrupted years, starting in the Great Depression, Lincoln Electric has made a profit; once again, it was time to share a part of it with employees.

(Warning: Check your pulse.)

For 2013, the average Lincoln Electric worker's bonus was $33,029, representing 62% of base wages or salary. More...

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Studies Reveal Consensus: Trade Flows during "Free Trade" Era Have Exacerbated U.S. Income Inequality
by Ben Beachy
Posted Feb 2, 2014

TPP and income inequalityObama cannot have it both ways: he cannot propose to close the yawning income gap while pushing to Fast Track through Congress a controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) "free trade" deal that would widen the gap. The TPP would expand the status quo "free trade" model that study after study has found to be an increasingly significant contributor to U.S. income inequality.

As unfair trade deals have been Fast Tracked into law, U.S. income inequality has jumped to levels not seen since the robber baron era. Today, the richest 10 percent of the U.S. is taking over half of the economic pie, while the top 1 percent is taking more than one fifth. More...

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Enough Is Enough: Fraud-ridden Banks Are Not California's Only Option
By Ellen Brown
Posted Jan 31, 2014

public banking is the alternative"Epic in scale, unprecedented in world history." That is how William K. Black, professor of law and economics and former bank fraud investigator, describes the frauds in which JPMorgan Chase (JPM) has now been implicated. They involve more than a dozen felonies, including bid-rigging on municipal bond debt; colluding to rig interest rates on hundreds of trillions of dollars in mortgages, derivatives and other contracts; exposing investors to excessive risk; failing to disclose known risks, including those in the Bernie Madoff scandal; and engaging in multiple forms of mortgage fraud.

It seems we must bow to our oppressors because we have no viable alternative – or do we? What if there is an alternative that would not only save the city money but would be a safer place to deposit its funds than in Wall Street banks? More...

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The Stealth Privatization of Pennsylvania's Bridges
By Ellen Dannin
Posted Jan 30, 2014

fleecing of the publicPennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett's administration has decided to sign a 40-year contract to privatize the state's crumbling bridges, but there has been little to no media coverage of the deal and what it will mean for two generations of Pennsylvanians.

At midnight of January 20, 2014, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette announced that the administration of Gov. Tom Corbett finally decided to take action on the state's crumbling bridges. The action it is taking is to sign a 40-year contract to privatize Pennsylvania bridges.

The word privatization does not appear in any of the announcements. Instead, PennDOT refers to the project as a public-private partnership. However, whether called a PPP, P3, public-private partnership, contracting out or privatization, the result is the same. Infrastructure privatization - that is privatization of roads, bridges, parking garages, parking meters, airports and the like - involves signing a contract, generally for a term of 30 to 99 years. More...

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How the True Parasites from the Private Sector Suck the System Dry
by Michael Lind
Posted Jan 29, 2014

parasites living off the labor of othersYou don't have to be a Tea Party conservative to believe that the economy is threatened when there are too many "takers" and not enough "makers." The "takers" who threaten the dynamism and fairness of industrial capitalism the most in the 21st century are not the welfare-dependent poor — the villains of Tea Party propaganda — but the rent-extracting, unproductive rich.

The term "rent" in this context refers to more than payments to your landlords. As Mike Konczal and many others have argued, profits should be distinguished from rents. "Profits" from the sale of goods or services in a free market are different from "rents" extracted from the public by monopolists in various kinds. Unlike profits, rents tend to be based on recurrent fees rather than sales to ever-changing consumers. While productive capitalists — "industrialists," to use the old-fashioned term — need to be active and entrepreneurial in order to keep ahead of the competition, "rentiers" (the term for people whose income comes from rents, rather than profits) can enjoy a perpetual stream of income even if they are completely passive. More...

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Will Digital Currency Replace the US Dollar? Wall Street Strategy to Make Bitcoin the Global Currency?
By Matthias Chang
Posted Jan 21, 2014

Bitcoin- next globalist currency?Bitcoin started quietly, almost a non-event, but lately (especially in 2013) it has been aggressively promoted by Mainstream media, but more importantly by some very important and powerful financial elites. This ought to alert anyone who is concerned about the state of the dying global fiat money system.

To me, this is the irrefutable admission by the financial powers that there has been in place a strategic plan for the replacement of the US dollar as the global reserve currency and a restructuring of the global fiat (paper) money system with a global fiat (digital) money system – Bitcoin.

The introduction of Bitcoin is another admission that the financial powers are also considering the replacement of the FED as well as the central banks of the developed economies (i.e. ECB, BOE, BOJ etc.) sometime in the future and substitute the control by central banks with super-super computers networking the global economy controlled by a handful of techno-corporations and behind this front, the power of the 0.01 per cent financial elites. Let me assure you that this is no conspiracy theory. More...

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NAFTA's Deplorable Legacy
By Stephen Lendman
Posted Jan 19, 2014

NAFTA- The giand sucking sound of jobsNAFTA proponents promised tens of thousands of newly created jobs. Small farmers would export their way to wealth.Mexican living standards would rise. Economic opportunities would reduce regional immigration to America. Promises made never materialized. Reality disproved hype. It does it every time. Ideologues praising NAFTA are exposed.

They're frauds. They're defrocked. They're discredited liars.A decade post-NAFTA, about a million US jobs were lost. America's Mexican trade deficit alone cost around 700,000 jobs by 2010. Government data show nearly five million US manufacturing disappeared since 1994. Scores of US companies promised to create specific numbers of jobs if NAFTA passed. They cut them hugely instead.

General Electric cut nearly 5,000 jobs. Chrysler eliminated over 7,700. Nearly 600 Caterpillar workers lost out. Many other companies betrayed their workforces and communities the same way. Since NAFTA's implementation, the income of America's richest 10% rose 24%. For its top 1%, it was 58%. "NAFTA-style trade helps explain the soaring inequality," says Public Citizen. More...

If you liked NAFTA, you will love the TPP. It will be NAFTA on steroids.

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Parasitic Derivatives - One Quadrillion Dollars: Too Big to Understand
by David Hague
Posted Jan 17, 2014

derivatives - financial weapons of mass destructionFor those of you who are unschooled on the topic of derivatives, allow me to explain. Derivatives are abstract financial instruments, which, like parasites, can attach themselves to all manner of stocks, bonds, mortgages, commodity, debt obligations, currency exchange, interest rate fluctuations…in short, anything. Derivatives exist in the 'twilight zone' of the banking industry. Like black holes, their presence and massive influence are acknowledged yet the true influence on the global economy of this quadrillion dollar 'event horizon' is only theoretical. The near catastrophic disasters at Barings , JP Morgan and AIG are small examples of their destructive powers.

How dangerous are derivatives? They almost destroyed the world's largest insurance company, AIG, as well as the global economy. Seriously, you don't remember? Just Google the words AIG and collapse. Alternately you might call Jamie Dimon at JP Morgan and ask him if Derivatives are dangerous.

Have recent regulatory changes made the world economy less likely to implode from a derivative fuelled explosion? Actually as one might expect, thanks to regulatory enhancements that had to run the gauntlet of bank lobbyists prior to their approval, the world's economy is in more danger than ever from a derivatives inspired meltdown. More...

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Capitalism in Crisis: Who Are the Real "Takers"?
By Bernard Weiner, PhD
Posted Jan 6, 2014

who are the parasitesIn our own time, we're still suffering the after-effects of a semi-permanent economic depression fueled by greed and the lack of tough, appropriate regulation of the finance and banking sectors. The economy remains in dire straits; the gap between the truly wealthy and the rest of us shows little signs of closing. The long-touted "American Dream" no longer offers a means by which many of the poor and middle class can make their way up the socioeconomic ladder.

Outside of the top 1% extremely wealthy, few have much disposable income, there are few good-paying jobs for the working class, partly because of outsourcing abroad, increasing robotization, unimaginative, old-style business thinking, etc. Moreover, violence and threats of violence have increased in our class-based inequality system. More...

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For Financial Speculators, Profit Means Plunging the Masses into Crippling forms of Debt
by Chris Hedges
Posted Jan 3, 2014

speculators live off the work of othersOnce speculators are able to concentrate wealth into their hands they have, throughout history, emasculated government, turned the press into lap dogs and courtiers, corrupted the courts and hollowed out public institutions, including universities, to justify their looting and greed. Today's speculators have created grotesque financial mechanisms, from usurious interest rates on loans to legalized accounting fraud, to plunge the masses into crippling forms of debt peonage. They steal staggering sums of public funds, such as the $85 billion of mortgage-backed securities and bonds, many of them toxic, that they unload each month on the Federal Reserve in return for cash. And when the public attempts to finance public-works projects they extract billions of dollars through wildly inflated interest rates.

Speculators at megabanks or investment firms such as Goldman Sachs are not, in a strict sense, capitalists. They do not make money from the means of production. Rather, they ignore or rewrite the law—ostensibly put in place to protect the vulnerable from the powerful—to steal from everyone, including their shareholders. They are parasites. They feed off the carcass of industrial capitalism. They produce nothing. They make nothing. They just manipulate money. Speculation in the 17th century was a crime. Speculators were hanged. More...

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U.S. Economy 2013 Dense Fog Turns Into Toxic Smog
By James Quinn
Posted Jan 2, 2014

watch more TVThe course of human history is determined by recurring cyclical themes based upon human frailties that have been perpetual through centuries of antiquity. The immense day to day noise of an inter-connected techno-world awash in inconsequentialities and manipulated by men of evil intent is designed to divert the attention of the masses from the criminal activities of those in power. It has always been so.

There have always been arrogant, ambitious, greedy, power hungry, deceitful men, willing to take advantage of a fearful, lazy, ignorant, selfish, easily manipulated populace. The rhythms of history are unaffected by predictions of "experts" who are paid to spin yarns in order to sustain the status quo. There is no avoiding the consequences of actions taken and not taken over the last eighty years. We are in the midst of a twenty year period of Crisis that was launched in September 2008 with the worldwide financial collapse, created by the Federal Reserve, their Wall Street owners, their bought off Washington politicians, and their media and academic propaganda machines. More...

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Trans Pacific Partnership Is A "Corporatist Power Grab", Shrouded In "Big Brother-Like Secrecy"
By Washington's Blog
Posted Dec 30, 2013

TPP is a corporate coupThe U.S. Trade Representative – the federal agency responsible for negotiating trade treaties – has said that the details of the Trans Pacific Partnership are classified due to "national security". A Congressman who has seen the text of the treaty says:

There is no national security purpose in keeping this text secret … this agreement hands the sovereignty of our country over to corporate interests.

It will increase the cost of borrowing, make prescription drugs more expensive, destroy privacy, harm food safety, and – yes - literally act to destroy the sovereignty of the U.S. and the other nations which sign the bill. To give an idea of what would happen to American law if TPP passes, just look at Equador …

It's courts awarded billions against Chevron for trashing huge swaths of rainforest. But then a private arbitration panel simply ignored the country's court system. If TPP passes, American courts will be sidelined as well. More...

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100 Years Is Enough: Time to Make the Fed a Public Utility
by Ellen Brown
Posted Dec 28, 2013

Federal Reserve, a private cartel of banksDecember 23, 2013, marks the 100th anniversary of the Federal Reserve, warranting a review of its performance. Has it achieved the purposes for which it was designed? The answer depends on whose purposes we are talking about. For the banks, the Fed has served quite well. For the laboring masses whose populist movement prompted it, not much has changed in a century.

It may be time for a new populist movement, one that demands that the power to issue money be returned to the government and the people it represents; and that the Federal Reserve be made a public utility, owned by the people and serving them. The firehose of cheap credit lavished on Wall Street needs to be re-directed to Main Street. More...

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Detroit Bankruptcy Starts Nationwide Public Banking Debate.
by Jerry Alatalo
Posted Dec 26, 2013

Detroit needs a public bankBy now most Americans are aware of the City of Detroit's being judged "eligible" for bankruptcy. There are a number of factors which played a part resulting in this current state of affairs. Most would acknowledge that de-industrialization, where corporations have closed down manufacturing plants and moved those operations to nations where drastically less expensive labor was available – to do the work previously done by Americans - began, decades ago, the downward spiral of harmful economic conditions for governments at all levels.

Many have asserted that Detroit's financial condition has also been the result of other factors, such as years of mismanagement, an unfortunate assessment given the conditions in Detroit which have been out of the control of the city's elected representatives. Detroit is known as the "Motor City" and in years past enjoyed a booming economy and thousands of good jobs in the automotive sector. Unfortunately for Americans, with Detroit's people being especially hard hit, the beginning of outsourcing of jobs was a continuing trend which closed plants across the nation. More...

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On The 100th Anniversary Of The Federal Reserve Here Are 100 Reasons To Shut It Down Forever
by Michael Snyder
Posted Dec 25, 2013

treasonDecember 23rd, 1913 is a date which will live in infamy. That was the day when the Federal Reserve Act was pushed through Congress. Many members of Congress were absent that day, and the general public was distracted with holiday preparations. Now we have reached the 100th anniversary of the Federal Reserve, and most Americans still don't know what it actually is or how it functions. But understanding the Federal Reserve is absolutely critical, because the Fed is at the very heart of our economic problems.

Since the Federal Reserve was created, there have been 18 recessions or depressions, the value of the U.S. dollar has declined by 98 percent, and the U.S. national debt has gotten more than 5000 times larger. This insidious debt-based financial system has literally made debt slaves out of all of us, and it is systematically destroying the bright future that our children and our grandchildren were supposed to have. If nothing is done, we are inevitably heading for a massive amount of economic pain as a nation. The following are 100 reasons why the Federal Reserve should be shut down forever... More...

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Dollar Hegemony,"Monetary Geopolitics" and the IMF: The Symbiosis between Global Finance and Power Politics
By José Miguel Alonso Trabanco
Posted Dec 24, 2013

dollar powerA full challenge to the domination of the US dollar as the world central-bank reserve currency entails a de facto declaration of war on American power and, as a result, the United States is willing to fight wars to defend its national currency (Engdahl, 2006) because "an end to the dollar's reserve currency status would impose material constraints on the United States to finance its deficits, and lead to a major loss of prestige and power projection capabilities" (Drezner, 2010). A possibility is that "widespread oil pricing in alternative currencies or perhaps the bartering of oil would then threaten U.S. hegemony by crimping the relative global demand for dollars" (Roby, 2010).

Nevertheless, perpetual hierarchic supremacy of the dollar cannot be taken for granted:

"Sooner or later, confidence in the dollar is bound to be undermined by America's chronic payments deficits, which add persistently to the country's looming foreign debt […] The exorbitant privilege obviously cannot endure forever; America's spending cannot indefinitely exceed its income. In the absence of significant policy reforms to reverse the deficits, the world's trust in the dollar is bound […] to be eroded. Dollar accumulations will eventually dry up and could even turn into massive sales" (Cohen, 2008). More...

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Federal Reserve: 100 Years of Failure
by James Hall
Posted Dec 22, 2013

Federal Reserve ClevelandResearching economic publications on the first century of the Federal Reserve System provides a wealth of financial information that attempts to explain the way the central bank works. Rarely will the academic studies and official reports address the raw nature of a money creation by a private banking monopoly. The common practice of disparaging sources outside government or corporatist business circles, attempts to avoid addressing, much less confronting the plutocracy that controls the debt created money system.

One such source list of the ownership of the Federal Reserve, compiled by Thomas D. Schauf appears on The Federal Reserve Scam! However, before getting to the particulars of the actual families behind the central banking cabal, it is important to go directly to the source of the primary chronicler who investigated and exposed the scheme. More...

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Think Globally, Bank Locally
by Eric Utne
Posted Dec 21, 2013

police guarding wall st bullWhen Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich and talk radio types rail about the Federal Reserve and Wall Street and international bankers, do the words fringe and conspiracy theory and even wack jobs come to mind? Me too. Or at least they used to—but that was before the economic meltdown shook the world.

Since then I've been talking with everyone I know, and some people I don't know, about what happened to our money and why, what's going on with it now, and how we can change the system. More...

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83 Numbers From 2013 That Are Almost Too Crazy To Believe
By Michael Snyder
Posted Dec 20, 2013

can't believe itDuring 2013, America continued to steadily march down a self-destructive path toward oblivion. As a society, our debt levels are completely and totally out of control. Our financial system has been transformed into the largest casino on the entire planet and our big banks are behaving even more recklessly than they did just before the last financial crisis. We continue to see thousands of businesses and millions of jobs get shipped out of the United States, and the middle class is being absolutely eviscerated.

Due to the lack of decent jobs, poverty is absolutely exploding. Government dependence is at an all-time high and crime is rising. Evidence of social and moral decay is seemingly everywhere, and our government appears to be going insane. If we are going to have any hope of solving these problems, the American people need to take a long, hard look in the mirror and finally admit how bad things have actually become. More...

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They're Planning the First Legal "Bank Robbery" in U.S. History
By Peter Krauth
Posted Dec 19, 2013

banks robbing YOUSo-called "bail-ins," which give banks the right to dip into your savings to pay for their lousy financial decisions, have been on the table for years, ever since Cyprus tested the idea. But they're moving beyond the "testing phase" now.The latest clue came from a seemingly benign banking conference on December 2, when one man revealed some frightening central government intentions.

And anyone taking careful notes understands the consequences.They're huge.You see, the most direct impact will be felt by the biggest account holders. But the indirect impact will hit everyone.

401(k)s... IRAs... Individual brokerage accounts... More...

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What the World Could Be: 4 Short Videos to See Economic Solutions
By Carl Herman
Posted Dec 17, 2013

Break free of interest burdenIf one understands the mechanics of creating what we use for money and so-called bank loans (credit creation), the answers are obvious to:

end the national debt
have full-employment for infrastructure investment (this results in falling prices because infrastructure creates more economic value than investment cost)
release trillions in so-called "rainy day" funds documented in government agencies' comprehensive annual financial reports (CAFRs)
Complete explanation and documentation of these facts, offered as early as Benjamin Franklin's pamphlet on how to operate governments without taxes (from colonial Pennsylvania's application of obvious solutions):

And… it's gone! The Fed and US could simply CANCEL all $5 trillion of intragovernmental debt
More...

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NSA Inks Landmark Deal to Share Information With Central Banks
by David Hague
Posted Dec 10, 2013

Federal ReserveDear reader put away your charts and graphs. Forget about fundamental and technical analysis. Ignore financial statements and trends. The extraordinary agreement to share information between the National Security Agency [NSA], a host of European, Russian, Canadian and Chinese spy agencies and the world's Central Banks will ensure that the only relevant force in Global Stock markets will be the trading activity of the world's Central Banks. Thanks to the data gathering of the NSA and its subsidiary spy agencies around the world, the Central Banks will be privy to the most confidential conversations and communications from the boardroom, the bedroom and the trading floor. Central Banks will now be able to trade with inside information that could only be dreamed about in years gone by.

"Poppycock!" you say. "Balderdash!" you exclaim. Dear reader, I too shared your cynicism and disbelief regarding the possibility of such an agreement existing until I spoke with my good friend and trusted confidante Gustavo Laframboise-Pierre, Global Director of Statistical Creation at the European Central Bank [ECB]. More...

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A Hard Lesson from Detroit: They Will Steal Your Pension
by David Cay Johnston
Posted Dec 8, 2013

bankers steal pensionsAnyone in a public-sector job looking forward to retiring in comfort should look carefully at what is going on in Detroit and Springfield, Ill. Sherlock Holmes would call it the case of the missing pension money.
News leaking out this week from the Motor City tells how the enormous gap between the pensions workers earned and the money set aside to pay for them will be closed. By stealing from the workers.

Courts, legislatures, and corporations are all working in concert not to pay the full benefits owed. For decades, political and business leaders failed to set aside the right amount of money each payday to cover the pensions workers earned and, in some cases, covered up the mismanagement of pension fund investments. More...

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Alaska could walk away from Wall Street with a public bank of its own
by Ray Southwell
Posted Dec 6, 2013

public bank laternative to Wall StBanks have a great privilege. They create debt/money with a few strokes on a computer keyboard. Then they charge interest on this newly created "money." It's called Fractional Reserve Banking. All banks, but one, are privately owned. By law, these private banks have one objective, making profits for their shareholders. It is all about profits for the private banks.

It is a failed system. Booms and busts are created by the improper use of this newly created money. We could change the Federal Reserve Banking system. However, Washington D.C. has lost its way and we are foolish believing things are ever going to improve at the federal level. The cabal of private Wall Street banks run the show and must make profit for the few. More...

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Public Banking Is the Answer
By Ruth Conniff
Posted Dec 1, 2013

public banks are the answerCo-ops, renewable energy, sustainable agriculture. . . all of these efforts to create a better society run counter to the values of Wall Street. Wall Street speculators have badly distorted our economy and our communities by maximizing short-term profits at the expense of the public's long-term interests.

And then, with their chokehold on Washington, they have managed to hold us up for trillions of dollars in bailout funds after gambling our money away. Meanwhile, these same financial institutions use predatory lending practices to steal money from the poor. And when it comes time to financing public-works projects, we lose billions by paying their inflated interest rates. More...

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Bank Deposits Confiscation: The "Cyprus Experiment" and the Launch of a Global Trend
by Valentin Katasonov
Posted Nov 29, 2013

cyprus was a test runIn March 2013 the events in Cyprus shock the world to hit the radar screen of world media.The bank deposits were confiscated.

Some tried to make it look as an emergency measure, an exclusion from the rules that define banking activities and the functioning of market economy. But there is a solid ground to believe the confiscations are to become a routine feature of everyday life.

The events were normally painted as some kind of poorly planned ad libbed decision on the part of the European Union carried out by Cyprus government. It was a one-time action, a step taken under the pressure of circumstances. We view it differently, in our opinion it was a well prepared concerted action approved at top level including actors outside Europe. The very operation should be defined as a precedent, an experiment or a test. Or, to be exact, the test to launch a global trend and the confiscation spread around the world. More...

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How Wall Street's New Empire of Rental Homes Could Blow Up the Economy
By Laura Gottesdiener
Posted Nov 28, 2013

another crash comingYou can hardly turn on the television or open a newspaper without hearing about the nation's impressive, much celebrated housing recovery. Home prices are rising! New construction has started! The crisis is over! Yet beneath the fanfare, a whole new get-rich-quick scheme is brewing.

Over the last year and a half, Wall Street hedge funds and private equity firms have quietly amassed an unprecedented rental empire, snapping up Queen Anne Victorians in Atlanta, brick-faced bungalows in Chicago, Spanish revivals in Phoenix. In total, these deep-pocketed investors have bought more than 200,000 cheap, mostly foreclosed houses in cities hardest hit by the economic meltdown.

Wall Street's foreclosure crisis, which began in late 2007 and forced more than 10 million people from their homes, has created a paradoxical problem. Millions of evicted Americans need a safe place to live, even as millions of vacant, bank-owned houses are blighting neighborhoods and spurring a rise in crime. Lucky for us, Wall Street has devised a solution: It's going to rent these foreclosed houses back to us. In the process, it's devised a new form of securitization that could cause this whole plan to blow up—again. More...

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The Money Changers Serenade: A New Bankers' Plot to Steal Your Deposits
By Dr. Paul Craig Roberts (former Asst. Sec. of the US Treasury under President Reagan)
Posted Nov 22, 2013

protect the bankersFormer Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, a protege of Treasury Secretaries Rubin and Summers, has received his reward for continuing the Rubin-Summers-Paulson policy of supporting the "banks too big to fail" at the expense of the economy and American people. For his service to the handful of gigantic banks, whose existence attests to the fact that the Anti-Trust Act is a dead-letter law, Geithner has been appointed president and managing director of the private equity firm, Warburg Pincus and is on his way to his fortune.

When a person becomes a Treasury official it is made clear that the choice is between serving the banks and becoming rich or trying to serve the public and becoming poor. Few make the latter choice. More...

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The Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty is the complete opposite of 'free trade'
by Mark Weisbrot
Posted Nov 20, 2013

TPP is a corporate coupThe TPP would strip our constitutional rights, while offering no gains for the majority of Americans. It's a win for corporations. The proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement among 12 governments, touted as one of the largest "free trade" agreements in US history, is running into difficulties as the public learns more about it. Last week 151 Democrats and 23 Republicans (pdf) in the House of Representatives signed letters to the US chief negotiators expressing opposition to a "fast track" procedure for voting on the proposed agreement. This procedure would limit the congressional role and debate over an agreement already negotiated and signed by the executive branch, which the Congress would have to vote up or down without amendments.

Most Americans couldn't tell you what "fast track" means, but if they knew what it entails they would certainly be against it. More...

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Wikileaks publishes draft of secretive TPP trade pact
by Steven Musil
Posted Nov 15, 2013

TPP threatens Internet freedomWikileaks released on Wednesday what it called the draft text of a secretly negotiated international economic treaty that critics warn could limit Internet freedoms.

The document-leaking organization published a draft of the Intellectual Property Rights chapter for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a proposed free-trade agreement between the US and 11 Pacific Rim nations that's been under negotiation for nearly three years. However, because the Obama administration has deemed the talks to be classified information, this appears to be the first time the public is getting a glimpse at the pact.

"One could see the TPP as a Christmas wish-list for major corporations, and the copyright parts of the text support such a view," Matthew Rimmer, an expert in intellectual property law, told the Sydney Morning Herald. "Hollywood, the music industry, big IT companies such as Microsoft and the pharmaceutical sector would all be very happy with this." More...

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The Entire Fiat Money System is Bankrupt: Demise of the Global US Fiat Dollar Reserve Currency
By Matthias Chang
Posted Nov 7, 2013

fiat dollar demisePrior to the Global Financial Tsunami of 2008, I had written several articles exposing the global Too Big To Fail (TBTF) banks as financial rapists and predators and they would cause untold havoc to the financial system.

Post the crisis, I had also warned that these global TBTF banks are all insolvent and the toxic assets on their balance sheets would exceed US$20 trillion at the minimum. The entire fiat money system is bankrupt. Printing toilet paper money by the trillions does not make the system solvent. It is a clear admission that the system is totally broken.

The banking Humpty-Dumpty has fallen from the wall and shattered into a thousand pieces! The confirmation for this is the fact that all central banks led by the FED have only one aim – to create massive asset inflation. How can a stock market of a bankrupt nation be at an all-time high? More...

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The bank guarantee that bankrupted Ireland, and the solution staring everyone in the face
by Ellen Brown
Posted Nov 5, 2013

Irish debt slaveryThe Irish have a long history of being tyrannized, exploited, and oppressed - from the forced conversion to Christianity in the Dark Ages, to slave trading of the natives in the 15th and 16th centuries, to the mid-nineteenth century "potato famine" that was really a holocaust. The British got Ireland's food exports, while at least one million Irish died from starvation and related diseases, and another million or more emigrated.

Today, Ireland is under a different sort of tyranny, one imposed by the banks and the troika - the EU, ECB and IMF. The oppressors have demanded austerity and more austerity, forcing the public to pick up the tab for bills incurred by profligate private bankers. More..

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Huge Cracks In US Financial Fortress, Petro-Dollar Final Death Throes Stock-Markets
By Jim Willie CB
Posted Nov 4, 2013

dollar collapseMany analyst writers choose the Black Swan analogy to describe deeply ominous events in progress, with little forward notice. The analogy simply does not fit anymore, as an armada of black swans is more appropriate, spotted on regular and frequent sightings. The Jackass preference is to describe a series of major cracks in the financial fortress that defends the USDollar system and its decrepit USTreasury Bond shuttle buggy.

The vehicle is overloaded with supply and bereft of investors, upheld by a printing press, explained by pure heresy. Its derivative coil on the undercarriage axle system is broken from the overdone leverage and hidden machinations. The integrity of the USD/USTB brand name was cast off the American coat of arms along with the Lehman Brothers killing to save Goldman Sachs, the adoption of Fannie Mae to conceal the fraud, and the AIG to contain the derivative payouts. The October Hat Trick Letter explains the Wall Street saga behind the scenes on the GSax rescue, managed by the USDept Treasury office. More...

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Debt No More! How Obama can defeat Austerity Thugs by Using the Constitution and Debt-Free Money
by Scott Baker
Posted October 19, 2013

constitution specifies debt free moneyWell, we narrowly escaped a debt default...again. But like the Terminator, the debt ceiling will be baaaccckkk... It'll be back in January, in fact. so, it's worth reviewing the president's true options before then.

The only things that have changed is that there are now even more commentators insisting that the president has options to defeat a recalcitrant, dysfunctional, contradictory, Congress that may, in a matter of days, violate the constitution by not providing the means necessary to pay the country's existing bills. However, the president (and not Congress) is ALREADY violating the constitution by subverting the will of Congress in paying for some authorized things and not others, and needs to stop immediately, before his credibility is eroded even further by nit-picking, sound-biting, Congressional Representatives who stage photo-ops at closed WWII memorials, while allowing children on food stamps to go hungry off camera. More...

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Corporations Ask to Write their Own Regulations via "Trade" Deal
by Public Citizen
Posted October 16, 2013

corporations write lawsThe New York Times has just reported that European government officials have been taking pains to entertain corporations' deregulatory demands for the Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA). The European Commission appears to have mistakenly released minutes of confidential government meetings held with U.S. and European corporations to see how their priorities could shape the proposed U.S.-EU deal. This may not come as a shock to those in the U.S. who know that the Obama administration has been regularly soliciting private advice on both TAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) from about 600 corporate trade "advisors" who are granted privileged access to negotiators and secretive trade texts.

But the just-released minutes of the meetings between EU officials and U.S. and European corporate heads (among other documents unearthed by Corporate Europe Observatory and the New York Times) reveal the incredible extent to which corporations are pushing for TAFTA to rewrite health, environmental, financial and other safeguards to be more convenient to industry interests. Here are a few of the sweeping TAFTA demands explicitly expressed by the corporations of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and BusinessEurope. More...

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The Nightmare Scenario: A Repo Implosion
By Mike Whitney
Posted October 15, 2013

economic collapsePresident Barack Obama is determined to prevail in his battle with GOP congressional leaders on the debt ceiling issue, but not for the reasons stated in the media. Obama is less concerned with the prospect of higher interest rates and frustrated bondholders than he is with the big Wall Street banks who would be thrust back into crisis if there is no resolution before October 17. Absent a debt ceiling deal, the repurchase market -- known as repo -- would undergo another deep-freeze as it did in 2008 when Lehman Brothers defaulted triggering a run on the Reserve Primary Fund which had been exposed to Lehman's short-term debt.

The frenzied sell-off sparked a widespread panic across global financial markets pushing the system to the brink of collapse and forcing the Federal Reserve to backstop regulated and unregulated financial institutions with more than $11 trillion in loans and other obligations. The same tragedy will play out again, if congress fails lift the ceiling and reinforce the present value of US debt. More...

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Enron billionaire expands craven plot to abuse workers
by David Sirota
Posted October 8, 2013

looting worker pensionsA billionaire's scheme to loot public workers' pensions now includes a shadowy front group -- and brand-new target. A week after the simultaneous release of my Institute for America's Future report and Matt Taibbi's Rolling Stone investigation into John Arnold, huge news hit California: The Enron billionaire whose former company wrecked the Golden State's economy appears to be using a shadowy Texas front group to now try to loot the Golden State's public pension system.

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, a Democrat pushing a controversial idea to dial down government retirement benefits, asked a Houston-based group (called Action Now Initiative) to give $200,000 to his local chamber of commerce last summer for "policy analysis for statewide pension reform" according to a report Reed filed in August. Of course, the word "reform," is now the preferred euphemism for "rip-off scheme." In the context of pensions, it means pleading poverty to justify cuts to public employees guaranteed retirement income, all while preserving massive corporate welfare and, in many cases, funneling pension cash to Wall Street hedge fund managers. More...

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Report Exposes the Right-Wing Tag Team Plotting Against Pensions
By Isaiah J Poole
Posted September 4, 2013

Wall St out to loot pensionsNews stories around the country have trumpeted a public pension "crisis" in various states, featuring elected officials who insist that these crises justify slashing the retirement benefits of public employees. Leading this effort is the Pew Charitable Trusts' Public Sector Retirement Systems Project and the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. Their role in ginning up the sense of crisis, and in pushing state legislatures to dismantle pension systems that have served workers well for decades and could serve them well for decades more, is exposed in an Institute for America's Future report released today, "The Plot Against Pensions."

The Laura and John Arnold Foundation is run by conservative political operatives and consultants, and funded by John Arnold, an Enron billionaire. His only major experience with pension management was his role in a company whose collapse destroyed its own workers' pensions and helped to damage the financial stability of public pension funds across America that held Enron stock. More...

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Protest against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Secret Negotiations behind Closed Doors
By Kevin Zeese
Posted September 3, 2013

Stop the corporate coup TPPWe decided to expose these secret negotiations by going right to their national office and plastering the Office of the US Trade Representative with messages that let them and the public know what they are doing. We took over their office building today, and plan to continue to escalate tactics in Congress and wherever we see opportunities to expose the TPP, stop the undermining of democracy through Fast Track and have a real debate over whether the US wants rigged trade for big transnational corporations or fair trade that puts people and the planet before profits.

So far, the TPP has been drafted with an unprecedented degree of secrecy. While information has been kept from the public more than 600 corporate advisers have access to the treaty's text – including companies such as Halliburton, Monsanto, Walmart, and Chevron. The Obama administration has kept the TPP classified, making it the first-ever classification of a trade agreement. In addition to denying public access to its text, the president has urged Congress to use Fast Track to pass the treaty. Fast Track would limit congressional consideration of the text to a quick up or down vote and give President Obama the power to sign and negotiate the treaty. This turns the Constitution on its head as the Commerce Clause authorizes Congress to "regulate commerce among nations" not the president." More...

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Wall Street Predators Wage Secret War on American Retirements
By Lynn Stuart Parramore
Posted October 2, 2013

looting pension fundsLips are smacking on Wall Street. Today's tasty treat? The pensions of hard-working people across America. Financial hustlers have been working overtime to convince the population that we are in the midst of an "unfunded liability crisis" in which states and cities can no longer afford to pay pensions to public workers. Here's the truth: Wall Street predators have had their hands in the pension cookie jar for decades, and now they're poised to gobble up the retirements of teachers and firefighters in yet another orgy of greed.

Unknown to much of the public, Wall Street has been soaking state and municipal coffers with derivatives schemes and various frauds for years. As Alexander Arapoglou and Jerri-Lynn Scofield have explained, not only have Wall Street banks screwed public finances with fancy credit default swaps and other "innovative" financial products that blow up in the faces of cities and states, they have also been engaged in widespread frauds that squeeze pension yields. More...

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Financial Armageddon Looting Machine: Looming Mass Destruction from Derivatives
by Ellen Brown
Posted October 1, 2013

derivatives armageddonWhen MF Global went down it did so because its repo, derivative and hypothecation partners essentially foreclosed on it. And when they did so they then 'looted' the company. And because of the co-mingling of clients money in the hypothecation deals the 'looters' also seized clients money as well. . . JPMorgan allegedly has MF Global money while other people's lawyers can only argue about it.

MF Global was followed by the Cyprus "bail-in" – the confiscation of depositor funds to recapitalize the country's failed banks. This was followed by the coordinated appearance of bail-in templates worldwide, mandated by the Financial Stability Board, the global banking regulator in Switzerland.

Bail-in policies are being necessitated by the fact that governments are balking at further bank bailouts. In the US, the Dodd-Frank Act (Section 716) now bans taxpayer bailouts of most speculative derivative activities. That means the next time we have a Lehman-style event, the banking system could simply collapse into a black hole of derivative looting. More...

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Looting the Pension Funds
by Matt Taibbi
Posted September 29, 2013

wall st raiding pension fundsIn the final months of 2011, almost two years before the city of Detroit would shock America by declaring bankruptcy in the face of what it claimed were insurmountable pension costs, the state of Rhode Island took bold action to avert what it called its own looming pension crisis. Led by its newly elected treasurer, Gina Raimondo – an ostentatiously ambitious 42-year-old Rhodes scholar and former venture capitalist – the state declared war on public pensions, ramming through an ingenious new law slashing benefits of state employees with a speed and ferocity seldom before seen by any local government.

Raimondo's strategy for saving money involved handing more than $1 billion – 14 percent of the state fund – to hedge funds, including a trio of well-known New York-based funds: Dan Loeb's Third Point Capital was given $66 million, Ken Garschina's Mason Capital got $64 million and $70 million went to Paul Singer's Elliott Management. The funds now stood collectively to be paid tens of millions in fees every single year by the already overburdened taxpayers of her ostensibly flat-broke state. Felicitously, Loeb, Garschina and Singer serve on the board of the Manhattan Institute, a prominent conservative think tank with a history of supporting benefit-slashing reforms. The institute named Raimondo its 2011 "Urban Innovator" of the year. More...

So here we now have some perspective on the absurdity of police beating the heads and pepper spraying the very people who are pointing and calling out the Wall St. criminals who are raiding the police pensions.

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Cyprus-Style Wealth Confiscation Is Now Happening All Over The Globe
by Michael Snyder
Posted September 26, 2013

Cyprus confiscationsNow that "bail-ins" have become accepted practice all over the planet, no bank account and no pension fund will ever be 100% safe again. In fact, Cyprus-style wealth confiscation is already starting to happen all around the world. As you will read about below, private pension funds were just raided by the government in Poland, and a "bail-in" is being organized for one of the largest banks in Italy. Unfortunately, this is just the beginning. The precedent that was set in Cyprus is being used as a template for establishing bail-in procedures in New Zealand, Canada and all over Europe. It is only a matter of time before we see this exact same type of thing happen in the United States as well. From now on, anyone that keeps a large amount of money in any single bank account or retirement fund is being incredibly foolish.

Let's take a look at a few of the examples of how Cyprus-style wealth confiscation is now moving forward all over the globe.For years, there have been rumors that someday the U.S. government would raid private pension funds. Well, in Poland it just happened. More...

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The Average American Family Pays $6,000 a Year in Subsidies to Big Business
By Paul Bucheit
Posted September 24, 2013

families pay corporate subsidiesThat's more than an insult—it's an attack.The average American family pays $6,000 a year in subsidies to big business.

That's over and above our payments to the big companies for energy and food and housing and health care and all our tech devices. It's $6,000 that no family would have to pay if we truly lived in a competitive but well-regulated free-market economy. The $6,000 figure is an average, which means that low-income families are paying less. But it also means that families (households) making over $72,000 are paying more than $6,000 to the corporations. More...

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How Interest Rate Swaps Are Crushing America's Cities
By Garrett Baldwin
Posted September 23, 2013

Wallt St hustles Main StIt's something you may not even have heard of, but the massive financial burden of interest rate swaps is pressuring city budgets and pinching taxpayers more every year.The idea behind interest rate swaps seems logical enough. Interest rate swaps are financial contracts meant to protect borrowers from drastic increases in costs related to the yield of their debts.

All across the country, cities and local agencies got into bed with Wall Street in the hopes of reducing their financial burdens on borrowing costs. Now, those plans have backfired...

To understand what went wrong, you need to know how interest rate swaps work. More...

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Verizon's Plan to Break the Internet
by Timothy Karr
Posted September 22, 2013

Verizon wants to own the InternetVerizon has big plans for the Internet. And if that doesn't worry you, it should. The company is trying to overturn the Federal Communications Commission's Open Internet Order, which prevents Internet service providers from blocking, throttling or otherwise discriminating against online content.

For years, ISPs like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon have said that Net Neutrality rules are unnecessary. They've insisted they would never block access to one site or favor another. These companies have also suggested that the millions of people who joined the movement to protect the open Internet were chasing goblins.

In court last week, the judges asked whether the company intended to favor certain websites over others."I'm authorized to state from my client today," Verizon attorney Walker said, "that but for these rules we would be exploring those types of arrangements." More...

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The Armageddon Looting Machine: The Looming Mass Destruction From Derivatives
by Ellen Brown
Posted September 19, 2013

financial armegeddonIncreased regulation and low interest rates are driving lending from the regulated commercial banking system into the unregulated shadow banking system. The shadow banks, although free of government regulation, are propped up by a hidden government guarantee in the form of safe harbor status under the 2005 Bankruptcy Reform Act pushed through by Wall Street. The result is to create perverse incentives for the financial system to self-destruct.

Five years after the financial collapse precipitated by the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy on September 15, 2008, the risk of another full-blown financial panic is still looming large, despite the Dodd-Frank legislation designed to contain it. More...

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NSA Spying Seen Risking Billions in U.S. Technology Sales
by Allan Holmes
Posted September 12, 2013

NSA spying hurts businessA congressional committee's effective blacklisting of Huawei Technologies Co.'s products from the U.S. telecommunications market over allegations they can enable Chinese spying may come back to bite Silicon Valley.

Reports that the National Security Agency persuaded some U.S. technology companies to build so-called backdoors into security products, networks and devices to allow easier surveillance are similar to how the House Intelligence Committee described the threat posed by China through Huawei. More...

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International Criticism Escalates Against TPP as Negotiations Go Further Underground
by Maira Sutton
Posted September 11, 2013

TPPThis week, trade delegates met in San Francisco to discuss the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement's e-commerce chapter. It's likely that this secret chapter carries provisions that whittle away at user data protections [pdf]. But we weren't able to say so at this meeting. Not only have they neglected to notify digital rights groups—including EFF, which is based in San Francisco—about the meeting, we could not even discover where it was taking place.

Delegates from TPP countries are right now holding these secretive "inter-sessional" meetings here and in other undisclosed cities around the world. Trade reps for specific issue areas are hammering out "unresolved" issues that are holding up the conclusion of the agreement, and doing so by becoming even more secretive and evasive than ever.

We only heard about a TPP meeting on intellectual property in Mexico City in September through the diplomatic rumor-mill, since the US Trade Rep is no longer bothering to announce the dates or locations of these closed-door side meetings. During this round in Mexico, countries that have been resistant to U.S. demands to sign onto highly restrictive copyright enforcement standards may ultimately be strong-armed into doing so. More...

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Making the World Safe for Bankers: Syria in the Crosshairs
by Ellen Brown
Posted September 8, 2013

Making world safe for bankersIraq and Libya have been taken out, and Iran has been heavily boycotted. Syria is now in the cross-hairs. Why? Here is one overlooked scenario.

In an August 2013 article titled "Larry Summers and the Secret 'End-game' Memo," Greg Palast posted evidence of a secret late-1990s plan devised by Wall Street and U.S. Treasury officials to open banking to the lucrative derivatives business. To pull this off required the relaxation of banking regulations not just in the US but globally. The vehicle to be used was the Financial Services Agreement of the World Trade Organization.

The "end-game" would require not just coercing support among WTO members but taking down those countries refusing to join. Some key countries remained holdouts from the WTO, including Iraq, Libya, Iran and Syria. In these Islamic countries, banks are largely state-owned; and "usury" – charging rent for the "use" of money – is viewed as a sin, if not a crime. That puts them at odds with the Western model of rent extraction by private middlemen. Publicly-owned banks are also a threat to the mushrooming derivatives business, since governments with their own banks don't need interest rate swaps, credit default swaps, or investment-grade ratings by private rating agencies in order to finance their operations. More...

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Canadian Deposits As Safe As Cypriot Deposits
by Jeff Berwick
Posted September 7, 2013

money at risk in the big banksRest easy, Canadians, for your bank accounts are going to be made as safe as those bank accounts in Cyprus. Just take a look at the Canadian government's budget plan for 2013, particularly pages 144 and 145 of Economic Action Plan 2013. There the Canadian government promises to use Canadian deposits to save "systematicaly important" banks.

The Government proposes to implement a "bail-in" regime for systemically important banks.This regime will be designed to ensure that, in the unlikely event that a systemically important bank depletes its capital, the bank can be recapitalized and returned to viability through the very rapid conversion of certain bank liabilities into regulatory capital. This will reduce risks for taxpayers. The Government will consult stakeholders on how best to implement a bail-in regime in Canada. Implementation timelines will allow for a smooth transition for affected institutions, investors and other market participants. More...

America, the same applies to your personal deposits and those of your municipalities, universities, counties, and pension funds in any of the big banks. This video outlines the risks.

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Greg Palast: Potential Fed Chair Summers at Heart of Global Economic Crisis
by Jaisal Noor
Posted September 4, 2013

Larry Summers crash architectInvestigative journalist Greg Palast has obtained a secret memo authored by then deputy Treasury secretary Larry Summers and his protégé Timothy Geithner detailing their plans to roll back financial regulation. In the piece, titled "The Confidential Memo at the Heart of the Global Financial Crisis" for Vice, Palast writes:

"The Memo confirmed every conspiracy freak's fantasy: that in the late 1990s, the top U.S. Treasury officials secretly conspired with a small cabal of banker big-shots to rip apart financial regulation across the planet. When you see 26.3 percent unemployment in Spain, desperation and hunger in Greece, riots in Indonesia and Detroit in bankruptcy, go back to this End Game memo, the genesis of the blood and tears." More...

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Government Documents Showing Plans For Deposit Confiscation
by Rudy Avizius
Posted September 2, 2013

Below are links to official government websites and the documents that clearly describe how depositor funds will be confiscated when the next crsis hits. Remember, as a depositor in a bank, under the law you are considered an UNSECURED creditor.

Confiscation plansFDIC-Bank of England Joint Paper

European Union

New Zealand

Canada

Click here for video on how public funds in the big banks are at risk.

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MFGlobal Reveals You Are A Bank Counter-Party
by Barry Ritholtz
Posted September 2, 2013

MF Global lossesThere has been enormous pushback against what should be a simple piece of prophylactic rules on proprietary trading by depository banks. Why? The profits of speculation goes to banks, driving bonuses and compensation; but the ultimate risk of loss lay with the FDIC and taxpayer. If the banks blow up, someone else besides the banker pays.

Privatized gains, socialized losses.

I want to take a few moments to briefly explain why this rule is so important to taxpayers, especially following the collapse of MF Global and the loss of billions of client assets.Recall the basic facts of MFG: Management engaged in leveraged speculations with monies — whether it was their own or clients became irrelevant as the losses were so great as to wipe out much more capital than the bank actually had. Billions in losses meant MFG was insolvent and was wound down. On the winning sides of those trades were folks like JPM and George Soros. It is neither their duty nor obligation to verify whose money is on the other side of the trade — the clearing firms make sure the trade settles. More...

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The Leveraged Buyout of America
by Ellen Brown
Posted September 1, 2013

banks leverage buyingGiant bank holding companies now own airports, toll roads, and ports; control power plants; and store and hoard vast quantities of commodities of all sorts. They are systematically buying up or gaining control of the essential lifelines of the economy. How have they pulled this off, and where have they gotten the money?

In a letter to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke dated June 27, 2013, US Representative Alan Grayson and three co-signers expressed concern about the expansion of large banks into what have traditionally been non-financial commercial spheres. More...

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Public Banking Institute Calls Largest Wall Street Banks "Unsafe," and Backs It Up
By Pam Martens
Posted August 30, 2013

Mike KraussThe Public Banking Institute has released a new video making serious claims, backed by graphs and government documents, that the largest Wall Street banks are an unsafe choice for the savings of moms, pops and public payrolls. Citing a December 10, 2012 jointly approved plan between the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Bank of England, which resides on the FDIC's federal web site, the organization says depositors in the U.S. could see portions of their deposits confiscated, similar to what happened in Cyprus, should there be another Wall Street collapse as occurred in 2008.

The first question, of course, is why the U.S. government is negotiating its banking policy with the United Kingdom instead of the U.S. Congress. The obvious answer is that global banks, now allowed to troll the planet in search of the next high-flying derivatives trade, must harmonize their rules to pacify their foreign regulators. More...

"Until the Glass-Steagall Act is restored by the U.S. Congress, until prosecutors rid Wall Street of its serial wrongdoers parked in the executive suites, it's best to pay careful attention to this Public Banking Institute video." - Pam Martens

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Avaricious Brilliance for Economic Disaster
by Ralph Nader
Posted August 29, 2013

Larry SummersThe widening circle applauding megamillionaire Larry Summers –of Harvard University, Washington, D.C. and Wall Street – agrees on one word to describe the colossal failure – Brilliant! That circle includes Barack Obama, who appointed Summers in 2009 to be his chief economic advisor, Bill Clinton, who made him Secretary of the Treasury, and the Harvard Board of Overseers, who named him president of Harvard University in 2001.

With Clinton and his promoter, Robert Rubin, who preceded him at the Treasury post before making over $100 million at Citigroup, Summers brilliantly deregulated Wall Street in 1999 and 2000 thus setting up one of corporate capitalism's most harmful speculative binges.

At Harvard, Summers remained brilliant in advising the University's huge endowment into risky investments that lost it billions of dollars. His brilliance also led him to say that women just weren't cut out for heavy duty scientific work. More...

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Pinching Pensions to Keep Wall Street Fat and Happy
by Dean Baker
Posted August 28, 2013

Stealing pensions for Wall StThe debate over public pensions shows clearly the contempt that the elites have for ordinary workers. While elites routinely preach the sanctity of contract when it works to benefit the rich and powerful, they are happy to treat the contracts that provide workers with pensions as worthless scraps of paper.

We see this attitude on display currently in the Detroit bankruptcy proceedings. It is even more clearly on display in efforts by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to default on the city's pension obligations.The basic story in both cases is that the contracts that workers had labored under are being laughed at by the elites because they find it inconvenient to carry through with the terms. In the case of Detroit, public sector workers face the loss of much of their pension as a result of the city's effort to declare bankruptcy. More...

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Truthdigger of the Week: Ellen Brown
by Alexander Reed Kelly
Posted August 27, 2013

Ellen brownWhat could happen if we took authority over banking away from Wall Street and gave it to the public? We're told this is a bad idea—finance is too complex for common people. No doubt this is true. But as events of the last decade have shown, banking in its current form is too complicated even for Harvard-educated "financial wizards" to understand.

Of course, that's the point. If the public can't comprehend what the financial class is doing, then it'll have a difficult time recognizing crimes are being committed. "Financial instruments" such as "derivatives" function as cloaks of theoretical obscurity behind which expensively dressed men may steal and kill with impunity. More...

The comments and discussion at the end of this article are excellent!

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Money Is Not Safe In The Big Banks
by Rudy Avizius
Posted August 24, 2013


People think that money is safe in the big banks because the FDIC will protect the deposits. This assumption is not based on the facts. This video will show official government documents that describe the plans for confiscating deposits when, (not if) a big bank fails. Individual, as well as public funds from municipal, university, county deposits are at serious risk. YOUR taxpayer money will disappear in the next crisis! Public officials in charge of taxpayer funds need to be aware of the dangers here. The loss of taxpayer funds  and the inability to meet payrolls and obligations will certainly prompt a response that will both immediate and forceful. 

This video will show how Cyprus was not a one-time event and how the Cyprus confiscation was planned well in advance and how M.F. Global was the blueprint for future confiscations and how a legal precedent was created when these losses were upheld by the legal system.  

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Ripping Off Young America: The College-Loan Scandal
by Matt Taibbi
Posted August 19, 2013

Student debt kills dreamsThough this was just the thinnest of temporary solutions – Congressional Budget Office projections predicted interest rates on undergraduate loans under the new plan would still rise as high as 7.25 percent within five years, while graduate loans could reach an even more ridiculous 8.8 percent – the jobholders on Capitol Hill couldn't stop congratulating themselves for their "rare" "feat" of bipartisan cooperation. "This proves Washington can work," clucked House Republican Luke Messer of Indiana, in a typically autoerotic assessment of the work done by Beltway pols like himself who were now freed up for their August vacations.

Not only had the president succeeded in moving the goal posts on his spring scandals, he'd teamed up with the Republicans to perpetuate a long-standing deception about the education issue: that the student-loan controversy is now entirely about interest rates and/or access to school loans. More...

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New Monetary Systems for a Sustainable Democracy and "The Great Turning"
by Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese
Posted August 15, 2013

resilient monetary systemOur money system is ill-equipped to help us solve the pervasive socio-economic and ecological challenges we face. Transformation of our money system is critical because monetary diversity is just as important to human survival as biodiversity is to the fate of the earth.

There is a lot that we can learn from nature, and one important lesson is that diverse systems have greater strength and resilience. When conditions change, various components within a diverse system will step in to pick up where others fail. The weaknesses of monocultures are evident in agricultural systems where crops either flourish or wither each season. We also know that using permaculture, in which multiple types of plants are grown together to fill different functions and aid each other, creates greater abundance. More...

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The Cult Of Economic Propaganda
by Andrew McKillop
Posted August 13, 2013

false government dataCOMPULSIVE LYING - Modern economic communication can be called a degenerate art. For the Nazi regime 'entartete Kunst' meant degenerate art and described virtually all modern art – which was banned as anti-German. Today, economic propaganda has reached a high point of degeneracy, falsifying all and any information with a very simple goal. The information available to anybody – whether specialists or ordinary citizens – is no longer sure. Consequently we do not know what is really happening, but more important, almost nobody cares. This is one key goal of any propaganda campaign – to produce a confused, disoriented, fearful and childish-minded public craving for reassurance.

This propaganda comes from the same political sources which for decades lectured us about the horrors of inflation. An economic war hero (or criminal) of the early 1980s, US Fed chief Paul Volker was lauded to the point of hysteria for raising interest rates to 20% - even higher than official inflation of the time. Today we need 0 % interest rates and in Japan, a bizarre and clumsy monetary experiment is underway to try raising inflation while trying to devalue the JPY, using zero interest rates. More..

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U.S. threatens to curtail lending in cities that resort to eminent domain
by Alejandro Lazo
Posted August 11, 2013

bank owned homeThe nation's top housing finance regulator threatened to choke off mortgage lending in cities that use eminent domain to seize underwater loans from lenders. The salvo from the Federal Housing Finance Agency came Thursday, on the heels of a lawsuit directed by major Wall Street firms and U.S.-sponsored mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac against the Bay Area city of Richmond.

Richmond is the first to push forward with the plan, also being debated in cities across the state and nation. Richmond wants to require lenders and investors to sell underwater mortgages at a deep discount. The city would then refinance borrowers into more-affordable mortgages. More...

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The "Part Time-ification" of America: How We've Been Conned Again
by Keith Fitz-Gerald
Posted August 9, 2013

parttime jobsBy now, you've had a few days to digest the "wonderful" jobs numbers reported from Washington last Friday. Well, don't get too excited about the economy. We've been conned again.

First off, 59% of all jobs created this year are in 3 sectors: Leisure/Hospitality, Retail Trade and Administrative/Waste Services. Wages in those sectors have fallen by 0.7%. These jobs pay an average of $15.80 per hour versus the $23.98 average hourly wage. Which means "jobs creation" just equals cheaper labor.

The American jobs participation rate is at 34-year lows and falling, as people give up and leave the workforce. Underemployment is between 14% and 15% and rising. America still suffers from 2 million fewer jobs today than it did when the financial crisis started. More...

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The "New Economy" Is The No Jobs Economy
by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts
Posted August 8, 2013

Matrix statisticsOne of my most popular columns was about escaping from the Matrix existence in which Americans live. It is a world of disinformation and misinformation in which facts are fiction, and abstract theories are substituted for empirical reality.

Official government statistics are make-believe. The government makes inflation and unemployment disappear by how it defines inflation and unemployment, and it makes the economy grow by how it defines Gross Domestic Product. The definitional basis determines the statistical result.

Inflation is made to disappear by substituting lower priced items for higher priced items and by defining price rises as quality improvements. Thus, the higher prices don't count as inflation. Unemployment disappears by defining discouraged workers who cannot find employment as people who are no longer in the work force. They simply are disappeared out of the ranks of the unemployed. More...

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Detroit is Not Broke!
by Scott Baker
Posted August 7, 2013

Detroit is not brokeThe on-again-off-again pending bankruptcy of what was formerly America's 4th largest city, Detroit, has been all over the news lately. In all of these stories, whether blaming the collapse of the domestic auto industry , profligate workers taking pensions, or, even closer to the truth, speculators (read: banks) who precipitated a housing collapse , and even the fact that only 53% of City property owners paid their 2011 property taxes while approximately $246.5 million in taxes and fees went uncollected for 2011, of which $131 million was due to the City - there is one glaring omission of coverage, whether Detroit is, in fact, broke. One would think that with such extensive coverage of everything from the city's crumbling infrastructure to its money-and-personnel starved police department's pathetic 10% crime-solving rate and 58-minute police department responses , that at least some research would have been given to whether Detroit is, in fact, out of money.

Note; I didn't say, "whether Detroit is bankrupt." Bankruptcy is a legal finding. Being out of money is a statement of fact. There is a crucial difference, as we shall see. More...

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The Detroit Bail-In Template: Fleecing Pensioners to Save the Banks
by Ellen Brown
Posted August 6, 2013

Bankers stealing pensionsThe Detroit bankruptcy is looking suspiciously like the bail-in template originated by the G20's Financial Stability Board in 2011, which exploded on the scene in Cyprus in 2013 and is now becoming the model globally. In Cyprus, the depositors were "bailed in" (stripped of a major portion of their deposits) to re-capitalize the banks. In Detroit, it is the municipal workers who are being bailed in, stripped of a major portion of their pensions to save the banks.

Derivative claims are considered "secured" because the players must post collateral to play. They get not just priority but "super-priority" in bankruptcy, meaning they go first before all others, a deal pushed through by Wall Street in the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 2005. Meanwhile, the municipal workers, whose pensions are theoretically protected under the Michigan Constitution, are classified as "unsecured" claimants who will get the scraps after the secured creditors put in their claims. The banking casino, it seems, trumps even the state constitution. The banks win and the workers lose once again. More...

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Green Light for City-Owned San Francisco Bank
by Ellen Brown
Posted August 2, 2013

Public bank for municipalitiesA number of other California cities that have explored forming their own banks are also affected by this opinion. As of June 2008, 112 of California's 478 cities are charter cities, including not only San Francisco but Los Angeles, Richmond, Oakland and Berkeley. A charter city is one governed by its own charter document rather than by local, state or national laws.

That leaves the question whether a publicly-owned bank would put taxpayer money at risk. The Bank of North Dakota, the nation's only state-owned bank, has posed no risk to depositors or the state's taxpayers in nearly a century of successful operation. Further, in this latest recession it has helped the state achieve a nationwide low in unemployment (3.2%) and the only budget surplus in the country.

Meanwhile, the recent wave of bank scandals has shifted the focus to whether local governments can afford to risk keeping their funds in Wall Street banks. More...

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Trash The TPP: Why It's Time to Revolt Against the Worst "Trade Agreement: in History
by Kevin Zeeze and Margaret Flowers
Posted July 24, 2013

why so secret?Odds are that you have not have heard of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. While the TPP has been under negotiation since 2008, talks have largely been done in secret and not covered by the mass media.

The media black-out is quite impressive since this is the largest corporate trade agreement to be negotiated since the World Trade Organization got underway in 1995. Commonly called a global corporate coup, the TPP makes transnational corporations more powerful than governments. Others call it "NAFTA on steroids" because it will multiply the failures of NAFTA.

IF PEOPLE KNEW ITS CONTENTS, IT COULD NOT PASS! The TPP details are being kept secret from everyone except for the 600 corporate advisers who can read the text on their computers as it is being created, and help the US Trade Representative draft the language. These include the biggest transnational corporations like WalMart, Bank of America, JPMorgan, Pfizer and Monsanto or their trade associations. The TPP is being drafted of, by and for the transnational corporations. More...

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19 Reasons To Be Deeply Concerned About The Global Economy
by Michael Snyder
Posted July 19, 2013

storm comingIs the global economic downturn going to accelerate as we roll into the second half of this year? There is turmoil in the Middle East, we are seeing things happen in the bond markets that we have not seen happen in more than 30 years, and much of Europe has already plunged into a full-blown economic depression. Sadly, most Americans will never understand what is happening until financial disaster strikes them personally. As long as they can go to work during the day and eat frozen pizza and watch reality television at night, most of them will consider everything to be just fine.

Unfortunately, the truth is that everything is not fine. The world is becoming increasingly unstable, we are living in the terminal phase of the greatest debt bubble in the history of the planet and the global financial system is even more vulnerable than it was back in 2008. Unfortunately, most people seem to only have a 48 hour attention span at best these days. They don't have the patience to watch long-term trends develop. And the coming economic collapse is not going to happen all at once. Rather, it is like watching a very, very slow-motion train wreck happen.

The coming economic nightmare is going to unfold over a number of years. Yes, there will be moments of great panic, but mostly it will be a steady decline into economic oblivion. And there are a lot of indications that the second half of this year is not going to be as good as the first half was. More...

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Meet the Elites Inside the $4 Trillion Global Powerhouse Bank of JP Morgan Chase
by Andrew Gavin Marshall
Posted July 17, 2013

4 trillion bankIn the midst of the scandal, the bank faced a potential "revolt" of its shareholders in a bid to strip Dimon of his dual role as CEO and Chairman. In confidential government reports which were leaked to The New York Times, the bank was accused of "manipulative schemes" which transformed "money-losing power plants into powerful profit centers" while executives made "false and misleading statements" under oath.

Yet even in the midst of scandal, Jamie Dimon was praised in a storm of support by billionaires, corporate kingpins and media barons. Calling JPMorgan Chase "as good a bank as there is," New York City mayor and billionaire media baron Michael Bloomberg went on to call Dimon "a very smart, honest, great executive." News Corporation chairman Rupert Murdoch praised Dimon as "one of the smartest, toughest guys around," while Jack Welch, former chairman and CEO of General Electric, referred to him as a "great leader" and said he had earned the "right to hold both Chairman and CEO titles." To top it off, billionaire investor and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffet, dubbed Dimon "a fabulous banker." More...

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Stopping the Trans-Pacific Partnership: Global Revolt Against Corporate Domination
by Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese
Posted July 12, 2013

secret deal for the richWe are in the midst of an epic battle between the people of the world and transnational corporations. Wealthy governments and corporations are merging in a global system in which private corporations have absolute power over your life. This is a battle the people can win and when we do it will show that we can defeat corporate power on issue after issue.

The 1999 battle in Seattle to stop the World Trade Organization (WTO) from granting increased power to transnational corporations and the negative consequences of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) created broad public awareness about the ways that 'free trade' hurts people and the planet. As a result, in the past few decades, the WTO has effectively been unable to move forward with its neoliberal economic agenda. And the United States was forced to move to smaller country-by-country trade agreements, many of which were stopped by public pressure. More...

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40 Statistics About The Fall Of The U.S. Economy That Are Almost Too Crazy To Believe
by Michael Snyder
Posted July 11, 2013

economic declineIf you know someone that actually believes that the U.S. economy is in good shape, just show them the statistics in this article. When you step back and look at the long-term trends, it is undeniable what is happening to us. We are in the midst of a horrifying economic decline that is the result of decades of very bad decisions. 30 years ago, the U.S. national debt was about one trillion dollars. Today, it is almost 17 trillion dollars. 40 years ago, the total amount of debt in the United States was about 2 trillion dollars. Today, it is more than 56 trillion dollars.

At the same time that we have been running up all of this debt, our economic infrastructure and our ability to produce wealth has been absolutely gutted. Since 2001, the United States has lost more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities and millions of good jobs have been shipped overseas. Our share of global GDP declined from 31.8 percent in 2001 to 21.6 percent in 2011. The percentage of Americans that are self-employed is at a record low, and the percentage of Americans that are dependent on the government is at a record high. The U.S. economy is a complete and total mess, and it is time that we faced the truth. More...

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Think Your Money is Safe in an Insured Bank Account? Think Again
by Ellen Brown
Posted July 10, 2013

your money is not safeAlthough the bail-in template did not hit the news until it was imposed on Cyprus in March 2013, it is a global model that goes back to a directive from the Financial Stability Board (an arm of the Bank for International Settlements) dated October 2011, endorsed at the G20 summit in December 2011. In 2009, the G20 nations agreed to be regulated by the Financial Stability Board; and bail-in policies have now been established for the US, UK, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada, among other countries. (See earlier articles here and here.)

Who should bear the loss in the event of systemic collapse? The choices currently on the table are limited to taxpayers and bank creditors, including the largest class of creditor, the depositors. Imposing the losses on the profligate banks themselves would be more equitable , but if they have gambled away the money, they simply won't have the funds. The rules need to be changed so that they cannot gamble the money away. More...

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Oligarchs of the New Feudal Order Have Big Plans for You
By Michael Hudson
Posted July 9, 2013

the new feudalismBuy the Pavement and Charge You to Walk - A post-bubble environment of debt-strapped austerity is empowering the financial sector to become an oligarchy much like landlords in the 19th century. In place of a new bubble, financial elites are demanding privatization sell-offs from debt-strapped governments. Pressure is being brought to bear on Detroit to sell off its most valuable paintings and statues from its art museums. The idea is to sell their artworks for tycoons to buy as trophies, with the money being used to pay bondholders.

This is a different kind of inflation than one finds from strictly financial bubbles. It is creating a new neo-feudal rentier class eager to buy roads to turn into toll roads, to buy parking-meter rights (as in Chicago's notorious deal), to buy prisons, schools and other basic infrastructure. The aim is to build financial charges and tollbooth rents into the prices charged for access to these essential, hitherto public services. Prices are rising not because costs and wages are rising, but because of monopoly rents and other rent-extraction activities. More...

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The Privatization of War: Mercenaries, Private Military and Security Companies (PMSC)
by Jose L. Gomez del Prado
Posted July 5, 2013

private mercenariesPrivate military and security companies (PMSC) are the modern reincarnation of a long lineage of private providers of physical force: corsairs, privateers and mercenaries. Mercenaries, which had practically disappeared during the XIXth and XXth centuries, reappeared in the 1960's during the decolonization period operating mainly in Africa and Asia. Under the United Nations a convention was adopted which outlaws and criminalizes their activities. Additional Protocol I of the Geneva Conventions also contains a definition of mercenary.

These non-state entities of the XXIst century operate in extremely blurred situations where the frontiers are difficult to separate. The new security industry of private companies moves large quantities of weapons and military equipment. It provides services for military operations recruiting former militaries as civilians to carry out passive or defensive security. More...

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How Many Warnings Do You Need?
by Rudy Avizius
Posted July 1, 2013

Coming to a big bank near youSo you think your money is safe? Let's examine why that assumption could cost you all or part of your savings. Would you be surprised to learn that money sitting in everyday peoples' savings accounts in Cyprus was confiscated in order to "stabilize" the banks? If you are surprised by this news, hopefully this article will provide you with an incentive to do some research. This article is filled with links to more information, and I encourage you to follow them. If you are aware of this bank confiscation, do not make the mistake of believing that it is an isolated event that "cannot happen here".

Consider yourself warned, money is not safe in the big banks. The MF Global losses, the Cyprus confiscations, the Sentinel case, the FDIC/BOE Joint Paper, the plans in the European Union, Canada, New Zealand, and Spain to raid private accounts, and finally the information in this article should be raising all sorts of red flags. HOW MANY WARNINGS DO YOU NEED? Personal accounts, as well as any school, municipal, county, and state funds that are deposited in any of the big banks are not safe. The plans for confiscation have already been developed, they have been approved, they are awaiting the next crisis. More...

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The Trans-Pacific Partnership: Global Corporate Coup, Assault on Democracy and National Sovereignty
by Kevin Zeese
Posted June 22, 2013

corporate coupAccording to Ron Kirk former US Trade Representative: making the text public would raise such opposition that it could make the deal impossible to sign. There is a battle building between the people of the planet and transnational corporations. The battleground is the Trans-Pacific Partnership. It is a battle the people can win if we act in solidarity.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a global corporate coup that makes corporations more powerful than governments and undermines our national sovereignty. While the public and media are not allowed to see the text, and members of Congress only receive limited, heavily restricted access, 600 corporations have been advising the president and suggesting amendments as they have full access to the documents. This includes some of America's worst corporate citizens: Monsanto, Walmart, Bank of America, JP Morgan, Phiser and big Pharma, Cargill, Exxon-Mobil, Chevron among them. More...

The TPP is even more dangerous than the Citizens United ruling. This is nothing less than a corporate coup in the disguise of a trade deal. This agreement is NAFTA on steroids!

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Americans! Where's the Outrage Regarding Your Financial Situation?
by Michael Snyder
Posted Jun 18, 2013

inequalityWhy aren't Americans saying: "I'm mad as hell and I won't take it any more!"?

The mainstream media and our politicians are not telling us the truth. We are being told that we just need to accept our lower standard of living and most Americans seem willing to accept that reality because they keep sending most of the exact same bozos back to Washington D.C.

As our economic system continues to degenerate, Americans are going to become increasingly desperate and, sadly, desperate people do desperate things. Already we are beginning to see signs that the fabric of American society is starting to be ripped to shreds. There is a limit to how many people we can actually put in prison. The reality is that the number of Americans in prison has nearly tripled since 1987. Our prisons are already dangerously overcrowded. As society falls apart, many communities will simply not be able to shove more people behind bars. What are our leaders doing about all of this? What is going to happen if the economy gets even worse? Well, they appear to be too busy fighting with each other and cheating on their wives to do much about our problems.

This country is a complete and total mess. Tens of millions of American families are flat broke and are about to slip into poverty. Meanwhile, our politicians continue to prove that they are some of the most corrupt on the planet. More...

It's amazing how so many millions of people became so shiftless and lazy after the bankers trashed the economy in 2008.

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Corporations are Colonizing Us with Trade Deals, and Wall Street Wants In
by Richard Eskow
Posted June 12, 2013

Corporate States of AmericaAfter 237 years, we're becoming a colony again. Our nation's losing the right to self-determination it fought so hard to win, and it's happening on a scale unseen since the days of George III. As is so often the case these days, this wholesale loss of our rights is being underwritten by corporate interests.

And, as usual, it's being called "bipartisan" – by corporations who "buy" both Republican and Democratic "partisans." Republicans cheered George W. Bush for saying, "I will never place U.S. troops under U.N. command." Democrats cheered Barack Obama for saying, "I want us to control our own energy destiny."

But both leaders pushed trade agreements that surrender our sovereign rights to faceless bureaucrats in international bodies – bodies that are dominated by multinational corporations. More...

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Transcend Conditioned Consciousness None But Ourselves Can Free Our Minds
by David DeGraw
Posted June 11, 2013

money addictsAfter analyzing the most recent data, here's the headline: US millionaire households now have $50 trillion in wealth. They have $39 trillion in legally accounted for wealth, and an estimate of $11 trillion hidden in offshore accounts.

Let that sink in for a moment… 50 TRILLION DOLLAR$.Most people cannot even comprehend how much $1 trillion is, let alone $50 trillion. One trillion is equal to 1000 billion, or $1,000,000,000,000.00.

Only one-tenth of one percent of the population makes one million dollars a year, and, again, most of that wealth is in the top one-hundredth of one percent.

To show how consolidated the wealth is, even in the upper most portion of the top one percentile, the richest 400 people have as much wealth as 185 million Americans combined; that's only 400 people with as much wealth as 60% of the entire US population. Imagine what could be done with that amount of wealth. Imagine the implications, the possibilities. Imagine how we could evolve society, to the benefit of everyone, with modern technology and just a fraction of that staggering amount of wealth. More...

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Setting the Record Straight: Did Monsanto Really Buy Blackwater (Xe)?
by Anthony Gucciardi
Posted May 30, 2013

Blackwater-Monsanto axisThere has been a great deal of publicity over the potential purchase of Blackwater (now known as Academi, and Xe before that) by mega corporation Monsanto.

While the two seem to be a great match, as they both fail to consider the morality and consequence of their actions, it seems that Monsanto is only involved with Blackwater ininfiltrating activist groups who are opposed to the biotech giant — an operation quite sinister enough.

The truth of the matter is that Academi (Blackwater) was purchased by private investors, and the heavily sourced article written by Jeremy Scahill in The Nation actually says nothing about Monsanto buying Blackwater.

What the articles does say, however, is that Monsanto and Blackwater are indeed working together to target anti-Monsanto activists and organizations. More...

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The End of Capitalism As We Know It
by Peter Kellow
Posted May 21, 2013

Capitalism has crashedSomething is happening in the world economy that has not happened before within historical memory. It concerns the future of nation states of the world – all of them. It concerns a way in which state activity is essential to capitalism.

You won't hear this from orthodox economists and commentators for they do not take account of the way that money creation distorts the operation of the "free" economy. And they do not appreciate why the creation of vast amounts of new money is necessary to the functioning of capitalism under the current economic model. This is primarily because the classical economic theory which, in spite of undergoing development in the twentieth century, remains largely intact with its fundamental flaws preserved. And the most basic flaw in orthodoxy economic theory is that it refuses to see the economy as a dynamic changing system. It attempts to understand what is happening as if the whole economy were static and subject to simple mathematical equations. More...

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Upcoming Trans-Pacific Partnership Looks Like Corporate Takeover
by Dave Johnson
Posted May 18, 2013

TPP-Why So Secret?You will be hearing a lot about the upcoming Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. TPP's negotiations are being held in secret with details kept secret even from our Congress. But giant corporations are in the loop.

The coming TPP is a very, very big deal. If it is agreed to by the Senate and signed by the President it will override American laws in many areas. We won't be allowed to enforce laws and regulations that impede the "rights" granted to big corporations under this agreement, and it will be very hard to rescind the agreement once signed, no matter how much damage might result. Just look at how NAFTA, China's entry into the WTO and other agreements are causing huge trade deficits and sending jobs, factories and industries out of the country while dramatically increasing income and wealth inequality. More...

This article "connects the dots" on how passage of the TPP poses a grave threat to our national sovereignty and our freedoms.

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The True Story of the Bilderberg Group and What They May Be Planning Now
by Stephen Lendman
Posted May 17, 2013

Bilderberg New World OrderThe Group's grand design is for "a One World Government (World Company) with a single, global marketplace, policed by one world army, and financially regulated by one 'World (Central) Bank' using one global currency."

The Bilderberger-Rockefeller scheme is to make their views "so appealing (by camouflaging them) that they become public policy (and can) pressure world leaders into submitting to the 'needs of the Masters of the Universe.' " The "free world press" is their instrument to disseminate "agreed-upon propaganda."

Arkansas governor Bill Clinton, for example, who attended in 1991. "There, David Rockefeller told (him) why the North American Free Trade Agreement….was a Bilderberg priority and that the group needed him to support it. The next year, Clinton was elected president," and on January 1, 1994 NAFTA took effect. Numerous other examples are similar, including who gets chosen for powerful government, military and other key positions. More...

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Are We On The Verge Of Witnessing The Death Of The Paper Gold Scam?
by Michael Snyder
Posted May 13, 2013

Gold vaults emptyThe legal claims on physical gold far exceed the amount of physical gold that the banks actually have by a very, very wide margin. And right now the bankers are scared out of their wits because their warehouses are being drained of physical gold at a frightening rate. So what happens when their physical gold is gone but they still have lots and lots of people with legal claims to gold? When that moment arrives, it will represent the end of the paper gold scam.

Many believe that the recent takedown of the price of paper gold was a desperate attempt by the bankers to put off that day of reckoning, but it appears to have greatly backfired on them. Instead of cooling off demand for precious metals, it has unleashed a massive "gold rush" all over the globe. Meanwhile, word has been spreading among wealthy families in both North America and Europe that they had better grab their physical gold out of the banks while they still can.

This is creating havoc in the financial community, and at least one major international bank has already declared that it will only be settling those accounts in cash from now on. The paper gold scam is starting to unravel, and by the time this is all over it is going to be a complete and total nightmare for global financial markets. More...

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A Look Back at the Flash Crash of 2010: When Will it Happen Again?
by Greg Madison
Posted May 12, 2013

high frequency tradingThe SEC and the NYSE have embraced high-frequency traders, offering those who can afford it leased space next to the exchange. They insist that high-frequency traders act as market makers, setting prices and providing liquidity. In reality, they are tolerating - even encouraging - manipulation and access-peddling to those who can afford the huge outlay needed to run and maintain a high-frequency trading system. Shah Gilani wrote that chains of fixed microwave towers are going up all over New York and Chicago to enable speedier communication between the two financial command centers, in part to enhance high-frequency trading systems.

Bloomberg has found that sometime in the spring or summer, Hibernia Atlantic will start laying cable for Project Express - a new trans-Atlantic cable which will shave milliseconds off the current 60 milliseconds it takes for information to travel between the East Coast of the United States and Western Europe. Project Express is being built expressly for traders at a cost of $300 million. High-frequency traders will surely make very good - and profitable - use of those milliseconds. More...

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Financial Experts with Great Prediction Records Are Saying Another Economic Meltdown is Imminent
by Richard Clark
Posted May 9, 2013

meltdownThe first Currency War led to the Great Depression, Hitler's rise, and World War II. Currency War II led to the economic malaise of the late 1970s and early 1980s, where double-digit inflation and unemployment, as well as a severe energy crisis, made life in America very difficult for folks on Main Street. Now Rickards is presenting downright frightening and highly sensitive evidence that this third currency war we are entering right now will be the most destructive in history.

A Reuters analysis confirms that a counteroffensive is now underway as other countries retaliate against the United States. The evidence is irrefutable: Seventy-eight (78) quantitative easing countermeasures have already been enacted from both our international allies and our foes . England's money supply has recently increased almost 90 percent. Japan's is up about 125 percent. Meanwhile, the former Director of National Intelligence has stated that this should now be our primary concern as a country.

Bloomberg has warned that Currency War III (and Ben Bernanke in particular) have not only flooded America's economy with future inflation, but China's economy as well. More...

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Stunning Facts About How the Banking System Really Works … And How It Is Destroying America
by WashingtonsBlog
Posted May 8, 2013

banker corruptionTo understand the core problem in America today, we have to look back to the very founding of our country.

The ability for America and the 50 states to create its own credit has largely been lost to private bankers. The lion's share of new credit creation is done by private banks, so – instead of being able to itself create money without owing interest – the government owes unfathomable trillions in interest to private banks.

Read this background to understand how money is really created in our crazy current banking system. And read this and this to learn why we are paying trillions of dollars to the big banks in unnecessary interest costs.

America may have won the Revolutionary War, but it has since lost one of the main things it fought for: the freedom to create its own credit instead of having to beg for credit from private banks at a usurious cost. More...

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No Bank Deposits Will Be Spared from Confiscation
by Matthias Chang
Posted April 27, 2013

Arrest the bankersI challenge anyone to prove me wrong that confiscation of bank deposits is legalized daylight robbery. Bank depositors in the UK and USA may think that their bank deposits would not be confiscated as they are insured and no government would dare embark on such a drastic action to bail out insolvent banks.

If a cashier in a supermarket removes $100 from the till on Friday to have a frolic on Saturday, he has committed theft, even though he may replace the $100 on Monday without the knowledge of the owner / manager of the supermarket. The $100 the cashier stole on Friday is also indistinguishable from the $100 he put back in the till on Monday. In both situations – the wheat in the warehouse and the $100 dollar bill in the till, which have been unlawfully misappropriated would constitute a crime.

Keep this principle and issue at the back of your mind. Now we shall proceed with the money that you have deposited with your banker. More...

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Remaking the Federal Reserve, Building Public Banks and Opting Out of Wall Street
by Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese
Posted April 22, 2013

bypassing Wall StIn Part I of this series, we examined breaking up the too-big-to-fail-or- jail banks, regulating them - especially their massive and risky derivatives trading - and more aggressively enforcing laws and regulations against security fraud. In Part II, we examine how to remake the Federal Reserve into a transparent, democratic institution that serves the necessities of the people and the economy, not just the bankers; how to develop public banks in every state and many cities throughout the nation; and how people can opt out of Wall Street right now.

Henry Ford said, "It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning." Why? Because, as Thomas Edison pointed out, "If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill. The element that makes the bond good, makes the bill good ... It is absurd to say our country can issue $30 million in bonds and not $30 million in currency. Both are promises to pay, but one promise fattens the usurers and the other helps the people." More...

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Gold Price Plummet Is Latest AMSCAM Fraud
by James West
Posted April 16, 2013

where is the gold?Today gold has dropped $133 from last week's close. Friday's assassination attempt, which as the price of gold drop from $1,560 and ounce to $1475 per ounce, by futures market shorts is remarkable on two fronts. First is that there were 400 tonnes of (paper) gold sold, or one quarter of global annual production. In one day. The second is that this was such an obvious short play – nobody but nobody could deliver 400 tonnes of physical gold in June if they had to – that it absolutely screams "collusion". What's more, the sentiment in the mainstream financial press before the assault began, led by Goldman Sachs, who on Thursday proclaimed it was time to short gold, was massively bearish.

This is the best example yet of how the U.S. Federal Reserve-sponsored, American Syndicate of Collusion and Manipulation (AMSCAM) operates. Its as plain as the false U.S. economic recovery, and anybody who can't see it should consider a lobotomy. Soaring stock markets are the visible outcome of the continuous capital fabrication, and are the incentive to the banks to undertake the enterprise. More...

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Gold Market Price Crash
by Bill Downey
Posted April 15, 2013

Physical metal drawdownThere's been a recent huge draw down of physical gold at the New York COMEX and at the JP Morgan Chase depository. Look at the physical market draw down on the charts below. It has taken a drastic plunge.

You can imagine the dilemma this is causing for the market interests behind these inventories. If the inventory runs out and one cannot meet deliveries then it has to be bought on the open market. Not only that but it could cause a run up in prices that would hurt the shorts in the market.

The only way out of this dilemma for the market controllers would be to devise a plan that would collapse the market and trip up all the stops at the correction lows in gold of 1525 thereby setting off the stop loss orders under this important market low. And what if the plan included a way to stop the physical market from purchasing gold under 1525 while that correction was underway? That would be brilliant. They have to hatch a plan and carefully orchestrate it in a series of events that takes the gold market by completely by surprise and force players out of their long positions. More..

This excellent article outlines how the markets are no longer free and are totally manipulated to the benefit of the economic elites.

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Secret Files Expose Offshore's Global Impact
By Gerard Ryle, Marina Walker Guevara, Michael Hudson, Nicky Hager, Duncan Campbell and Stefan Candea
Posted April 14, 2013

secrecy for saleDozens of journalists sifted through millions of leaked records and thousands of names to produce ICIJ's investigation into offshore secrecy ­ A cache of 2.5 million files has cracked open the secrets of more than 120,000 offshore companies and trusts, exposing hidden dealings of politicians, con men and the mega-rich the world over.

The secret records obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists lay bare the names behind covert companies and private trusts in the British Virgin Islands, the Cook Islands and other offshore hideaways. The records detail the offshore holdings of people and companies in more than 170 countries and territories.

The hoard of documents represents the biggest stockpile of inside information about the offshore system ever obtained by a media organization. The total size of the files, measured in gigabytes, is more than 160 times larger than the leak of U.S. State Department documents by Wikileaks in 2010. More...

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Winner Takes All: The Super-priority Status of Derivatives
by Ellen Brown
Posted April 12, 2013

theft of depositer accountsCyprus-style confiscation of depositor funds has been called the "new normal." Bail-in policies are appearing in multiple countries directing failing TBTF banks to convert the funds of "unsecured creditors" into capital; and those creditors, it turns out, include ordinary depositors. Even "secured" creditors, including state and local governments, may be at risk. Derivatives have "super-priority" status in bankruptcy, and Dodd Frank precludes further taxpayer bailouts. In a big derivatives bust, there may be no collateral left for the creditors who are next in line.

Shock waves went around the world when the IMF, the EU, and the ECB not only approved but mandated the confiscation of depositor funds to "bail in" two bankrupt banks in Cyprus. A "bail in" is a quantum leap beyond a "bail out." When governments are no longer willing to use taxpayer money to bail out banks that have gambled away their capital, the banks are now being instructed to "recapitalize" themselves by confiscating the funds of their creditors, turning debt into equity, or stock; and the "creditors" include the depositors who put their money in the bank thinking it was a secure place to store their savings. More...

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The Confiscation of Bank Savings to "Save the Banks": The Diabolical Bank "Bail-In" Proposal
by Prof Michel Chossudovsky
Posted April 5, 2013

It can happen in the U.S.There are provisions in both the UK and the US pertaining to the confiscation of bank deposits. In a joint document of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Bank of England, entitled Resolving Globally Active, Systemically Important, Financial Institutions, explicit procedures were put forth whereby "the original creditors of the failed company ", meaning the depositors of a failed bank, would be converted into "equity".

What this means is that the money confiscated from bank accounts would be used to meet the failed bank's financial obligations. In return, the holders of the confiscated bank deposits would become stockholders in a failed financial institution on the verge of bankruptcy.

Bank savings would be transformed overnight into an illusive concept of capital ownership. The confiscation of savings would be adopted under the disguise of a bogus "compensation" in terms of equity. Because depositors are provided with a bogus compensation, they are not eligible to the FDIC deposit insurance. More...

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Think Your Bank Deposits Will Always Be 100 Percent Guaranteed by the FDIC? Think Again
by Gaius Publius
Posted April 4, 2013

bankers robbing YOUYou know that the EU-forced solution to the failure of banks in Cyprus is to require the Cypriot government to confiscate ("tax") deposits. That news is everywhere you look; it's not in dispute or doubt. The latest has depositor losses at 60% due to the bailout-related "one-time" tax.

"Confiscating deposits" is exactly the opposite of "insuring deposits," which is what is required in the EU, and also offered by the FDIC (as the ads say, "your deposits are insured up to $250,000″).

There's an international move by national governments to write regulations that permit deposit confiscation in the case of bank failure. This is exactly the Cyprus model, and if the news stories are correct, confiscating deposits was being considered or enabled prior to Cyprus bank-failures. More...

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"Be afraid": Pirates in pinstripes
by Mike Krauss
Posted April 2, 2013

pinstriped criminalsLike a fleet of pirate ships, mad for money, heedless of risk, Wall Street raids on.

Last week in testimony and a report from a Senate investigation, it became chillingly clear that no one has any idea of the magnitude of the risks Wall Street takes; nor when the next insanely leveraged deal will collapse, taking who knows how much of an already wounded U.S. economy with it.At issue was the $6 billion plus loss incurred by JP Morgan in a deal by a "rogue trader" who came to be known as the "London Whale," because he nearly sank the bank.

But what Senate investigators brought to light is that far from being a "rogue," the trader was doing what he was paid to do and expected to do — gambling with other people's money, for his and the firm's profit. No one has any idea of the magnitude of the risks as the pirates search for more loot. More...

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TransPacific Partnership Will Undermine Democracy, Empower Transnational Corporations
by Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese
Posted April 1, 2013

secretly negotiated corporate pactOur country's democratic values could be under threat if President Obama fast tracks the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

On critical issues, the massive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) being negotiated in secret by the Obama administration will undermine democracy in the United States and around the world and further empower transnational corporations. It will circumvent protections for health care, wages, labor rights, consumers' rights and the environment, and decrease regulation of big finance and risky investment practices.

The only way this treaty, which will be very unpopular with the American people once they are aware of it, can be approved is if the Obama administration avoids the democratic process by using an authority known as "Fast Track," which limits the constitutional checks and balances of Congress.

If the TPP is approved, the sovereignty of the United States and other member nations will be dissipated by trade tribunals that favor corporate power and force national laws to be subservient to corporate interests. More...

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Yes, We Can Have Banks That Work for the People
by Richard Eskow
Posted March 30, 2013

Banks can work for the peopleWe all know the banking system is broken. It's easy to become pessimistic in the face of corporate and political corruption, but the system can be changed. We've done it before, and we can do it again.

One pathway to genuine reform is "public banking": the establishment of banks that are owned at operated by the government, and which serve people and small businesses directly. Here's why public banking should be included in the agenda for deep and genuine financial reform.

There's a working model for state banking. More...

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Stunning Facts About How the Banking System Really Works … And How It Is Destroying America
by Washingtons Blog
Posted March 28, 2013

Bankers destroying AmericaTo understand the core problem in America today, we have to look back to the very founding of our country. The Founding Fathers fought for liberty and justice. But they also fought for a sound economy and freedom from the tyranny of big banks:

"[It was] the poverty caused by the bad influence of the English bankers on the Parliament which has caused in the colonies hatred of the English and . . . the Revolutionary War." - Benjamin Franklin

"There are two ways to conquer and enslave a nation. One is by the sword. The other is by debt." - John Adams

"If the American people ever allow the banks to control issuance of their currency, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers occupied". — Thomas Jefferson...........More...

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Do We Really Need the Federal Reserve?
By Keith Fitzgerald
Posted March 27, 2013

Federal reserveLast week I spent two days speaking to senior government officials and business leaders in Bermuda, which is one of the world's leading international insurance and reinsurance hubs. The men and women in the room are responsible for hundreds of millions in assets worldwide.

As I was finishing up, I received one of the most provocative questions I've gotten in a long time from the darkness beyond the stage lights: "Does any nation really need a "Fed,'" asked one of the directors?

The answer is, unequivocally, "no." Especially if it's modeled after the United States Federal Reserve. More...

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How the True Parasites from the Private Sector Suck the System Dry
by Michael Lind
Posted March 25, 2013

rentier parasitesYou don't have to be a Tea Party conservative to believe that the economy is threatened when there are too many "takers" and not enough "makers." The "takers" who threaten the dynamism and fairness of industrial capitalism the most in the 21st century are not the welfare-dependent poor — the villains of Tea Party propaganda — but the rent-extracting, unproductive rich.

The term "rent" in this context refers to more than payments to your landlords. As Mike Konczal and many others have argued, profits should be distinguished from rents. "Profits" from the sale of goods or services in a free market are different from "rents" extracted from the public by monopolists in various kinds. Unlike profits, rents tend to be based on recurrent fees rather than sales to ever-changing consumers. While productive capitalists — "industrialists," to use the old-fashioned term — need to be active and entrepreneurial in order to keep ahead of the competition, "rentiers" (the term for people whose income comes from rents, rather than profits) can enjoy a perpetual stream of income even if they are completely passive. More...

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The Battle of Cyprus: The Long-planned Deposit Confiscation Scheme
by Ellen Brown
Posted March 24, 2013

banks robbing peopleThe deposit confiscation scheme has long been in the making. US depositors could be next . . . .

Most people would be surprised to learn that they are legally considered "creditors" of their banks rather than customers who have trusted the bank with their money for safekeeping, but that seems to be the case.The bank gets the money. The depositor becomes only a creditor with an IOU. The bank is not required to keep the deposits available for withdrawal but can lend them out, keeping only a "fraction" on reserve, following accepted fractional reserve banking principles. When too many creditors come for their money at once, the result can be a run on the banks and bank failure.

That situation could be looming even now in the United States. As Gretchen Morgenson warned in a recent article on the 307-page Senate report detailing last year's $6.2 billion trading fiasco at JPMorganChase: "Be afraid." The report resoundingly disproves the premise that the Dodd-Frank legislation has made our system safe from the reckless banking activities that brought the economy to its knees in 2008. More...

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Corporate-Backed Trans-Pacific Partnership Shrouded in Secrecy
by Sam Knight
Posted March 22, 2013

TPP, why so secret?The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a multilateral trade deal currently being hammered out by the United States and ten other countries, could end up affecting every human being and dollar of wealth on the planet. The extent to which it will is clear to no one, apart from negotiators.

Recent reports in the Japanese and Australian media indicate that Japan is set to join. Thus, even the most minor of edits to the draft text could end up making or breaking people from Brisbane to Bangor. But legislators around the world are being kept in the dark about what they're voting on until the deal is hammered out; it's expected to be completed this year. When it's finished, if the experience of Congress here is any indication, legislators will be feeling extraordinary pressure from corporate lobbyists and their heads of state to accept the deal without a fuss. More...

You can be sure when the representatives of the largest corporations meet behind closed doors and reveal no details, not even to elected representatives, the results will not be good for the people. This shows that the corporations are now more powerful than the government.

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Jim Rogers: Major Crash Ahead For U.S. Investors
By Terry Weiss
Posted March 20, 2013

crash comingIn a newly released documentary that went viral last month, a team of influential economic experts say they have discovered a "frightening pattern" they believe points to a massive economic catastrophe unlike anything ever seen before.

"What this pattern represents is a dangerous countdown clock that's quickly approaching zero," said Keith Fitz-Gerald, the Chief Investment Strategist for the Money Map Press, who predicted the 2008 oil shock, the credit default swap crisis that helped bring about the recession, and the Greek and European fiscal catastrophe that is still wreaking havoc until this day.

According to polls, the average American is sensing danger. A recent survey found that 61% of Americans believe a catastrophe is looming - yet only 15% feel prepared for such a deeply troubling event.

Fitz-Gerald says people should take immediate steps to protect themselves from what is happening."If our research is right," says Fitz-Gerald, "Americans will have to make some tough choices on how they'll go about surviving when basic necessities become nearly unaffordable and the economy becomes dangerously unstable." More...

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How Deregulation Resurrected American Economic Insecurity
by Paul Craig Roberts (Asst Secretary of the US Treasury in the Reagan Administration)
Posted March 9, 2013

CIA tortureFew people see the disconnect between the propaganda about the goodness of America and the evil that its government practices. Torture was banned. Its practice was made the act of a war criminal government. But the Bush and Obama regimes have resurrected torture as a defense of the state against citizens who reveal its crimes and against those who resist its aggression.

The CIA official who revealed that the US government was torturing detainees in violation of US and international law, John Kiriakou, was subjected to wrongful prosecution and sentenced to prison. The elected officials who approved the torture and those who conducted the torture remain free of all charges to torture again. More...

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Lords of Disorder: Billions for Wall Street, Sacrifice for Everyone Else
by Richard Eskow
Posted March 7, 2013

Lloyd BlankfeinThe President's "sequester" offer slashes non-defense spending by $830 billion over the next ten years. That happens to be the precise amount we're implicitly giving Wall Street's biggest banks over the same time period.

We're collecting nothing from the big banks in return for our generosity. Instead we're demanding sacrifice from the elderly, the disabled, the poor, the young, the middle class – pretty much everybody, in fact, who isn't "too big to fail."

That's injustice on a medieval scale, served up with a medieval caste-privilege flavor. The only difference is that nowadays injustices are presented with spreadsheets and PowerPoints, rather than with scrolls and trumpets and kingly proclamations. More...

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How Congress Could Fix Its Budget Woes, Permanently
by Ellen Brown
Posted February 14, 2013

private control over moneyWe have bought into the idea that there is not enough money to feed and house our population, rebuild our roads and bridges, or fund our most important programs -- that there is no alternative but to slash budgets and deficits if we are to survive. We have a mountain of critical work to do, improving our schools, rebuilding our infrastructure, pursuing our research goals, and so forth. And with millions of unemployed and underemployed, the people are there to do it. What we don't have, we are told, is just the money to bring workers and resources together.

But we do have it. Or we could.

Money today is simply a legal agreement between parties. Nothing backs it but "the full faith and credit of the United States." The United States could issue its credit directly to fund its own budget, just as our forebears did in the American colonies and as Abraham Lincoln did in the Civil War. Any serious discussion of this alternative has long been taboo among economists and politicians. More..

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Who Controls The Money? An Unelected, Unaccountable Central Bank Of The World Secretly Does
by Michael Snyder
Posted February 10, 2013

Bank for International SettlementsAn immensely powerful international organization that most people have never even heard of secretly controls the money supply of the entire globe. It is called the Bank for International Settlements, and it is the central bank of central banks. It is located in Basel, Switzerland, but it also has branches in Hong Kong and Mexico City. It is essentially an unelected, unaccountable central bank of the world that has complete immunity from taxation and from national laws. Even Wikipedia admits that "it is not accountable to any single national government."

The Bank for International Settlements was used to launder money for the Nazis during World War II, but these days the main purpose of the BIS is to guide and direct the centrally-planned global financial system. Today, 58 global central banks belong to the BIS, and it has far more power over how the U.S. economy (or any other economy for that matter) will perform over the course of the next year than any politician does. Every two months, the central bankers of the world gather in Basel for another "Global Economy Meeting". During those meetings, decisions are made which affect every man, woman and child on the planet, and yet none of us have any say in what goes on. The Bank for International Settlements is an organization that was founded by the global elite and it operates for the benefit of the global elite, and it is intended to be one of the key cornerstones of the emerging one world economic system. It is imperative that we get people educated about what this organization is and where it plans to take the global economy. More...

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The "Fiscal Cliff" Is A Diversion: The Derivatives Tsunami and the Dollar Bubble
by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury under Reagan
Posted February 6, 2013

fiscal cliff?The "fiscal cliff" is another hoax designed to shift the attention of policymakers, the media, and the attentive public, if any, from huge problems to small ones.

The fiscal cliff is automatic spending cuts and tax increases in order to reduce the deficit by an insignificant amount over ten years if Congress takes no action itself to cut spending and to raise taxes. In other words, the "fiscal cliff" is going to happen either way.

The problem from the standpoint of conventional economics with the fiscal cliff is that it amounts to a double-barrel dose of austerity delivered to a faltering and recessionary economy. Ever since John Maynard Keynes, most economists have understood that austerity is not the answer to recession or depression. Regardless, the fiscal cliff is about small numbers compared to the Derivatives Tsunami or to bond market and dollar market bubbles. More...

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UK prepares new law to break up errant banks
by Laura Noonan and Matt Scuffham
Posted February 5, 2013

too big to failBritish banks that fail to shield their day-to-day banking from risky investment activities could be broken up, finance minister George Osborne said on Monday, bowing to political pressure to come down harder on reckless lenders. European countries are retooling their financial systems to prevent a repeat of the 2008 financial crash, trying to strike a balance between popular calls for banks to be reined in and warnings that too tight a leash will choke off recovery.

With Britain's banks buffeted by scandal and part-nationalized Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) set to be fined up to 500 million pounds this week for interest rate rigging, Osborne decided to "electrify" the ring-fence around banks' core retail activities with the threat of break-up.

"Our country has paid a higher price than any other major economy for what went so badly wrong in our banking system. The anger people feel is very real," Osborne said in a speech ahead of the publication of the banking reform legislation. More...

This is the OPPOSITE of the United States does. Here we provide "get out of jail free" cards to the bankers no matter what crime they have committed, and then the government wonders why the fraud continues and the economy does not heal.

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Trillion Dollar Coin: Joke or Game Changer
by Ellen Brown
Posted January 21, 2013

U.S. borrowing from these bankersIt's all good fun – or is it? Most commentators have missed the real significance of the trillion dollar coin. It is not just about political gamesmanship. For centuries, a secret battle has raged over who should create the nation's money supply – governments or banks. Today, all that is left of the US Treasury's money-creating power is the ability to mint coins. If we the people want to reclaim that power so that we can pay our obligations when due, the Treasury will need to mint more than nickels and dimes. It will need to create some coins with very large numbers on them.

To bail out the banks, the Federal Reserve, as head of the private banking system, issued over $2 trillion as "quantitative easing," simply by creating the money on a computer screen. Congress, the White House, and the Treasury all rolled over and acquiesced. When it was proposed that the government bail itself out of its budget woes by minting a $1 trillion coin, the Federal Reserve said it would not accept the Treasury's legal tender. And the White House again acquiesced, evidently embarrassed to have entertained this "ludicrous" alternative.

Somehow we have come to accept that it is less silly for the central bank to create money out of thin air and lend it at near zero interest to private commercial banks, to be re-lent to the public and the government at market interest rates, than for the government to simply create the money itself, debt- and interest-free. More...

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The Trillion Dollar Coin: What You Need To Know
by Rudy Avizius
Posted January 19, 2013

Cost of printing moneyThe idea here is that the Treasury Dept has the legal right to issue such a coin, deposit the coin in an account at the Federal Reserve, and then draw upon the account to fund projects approved by Congress. This idea hits at the heart of the power structure across the planet, which has at its core, the ability to create money out of thin air. Currently our entire money supply is created out of thin air by private banks which in turn charge interest on that money. There are many people who, because of its official sounding name, think the Federal Reserve is a branch or part of the U.S. government. However, they are very mistaken. The Federal Reserve is no more federal than Federal Express. The Federal Reserve is simply a [powerful] cartel of private banks with an official sounding name that has usurped the right to print our money, a power bestowed upon Congress in the Constitution by the founding fathers.

What most people also do not know is that every single dollar in circulation has to be borrowed by somebody. In other words, the entire money supply is DEBT BASED and someone is paying interest on that debt to the private bankers. In fact the total cost for 2012 for just servicing the interest on the U.S. government debt was an astounding $359 billion and $454 billion the year before. The interest on our debt for those two years exceeds the entire stimulus bill of 2009.  Think of what we could do with that much money every year: transportation, healthcare, modernizing the electric grid, education, research, are just a few examples that quickly come to mind. More...

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Federal Reserve May Pause Quantitative Easing
by James Hall
Posted January 11, 2013

disinformationAn obscure report that the Federal Reserve may suspend the monetization of purchasing Treasury Bonds has the smell of disinformation.

The financial media is pushing the success of the QE's rescues. One example is the TV commercial where AIG advertises the end of its bailout. AIG has just launched a two-week, multimedia campaign seeking to reintroduce itself after its role in sparking the Great Recession, MediaPost reported yesterday. "The company got an $85 billion bailout as the government took about an 80% stake."

The ballyhoo over paying back the loans steers clear of the real reason why AIG was "Too Important" to fail; namely, to salvage the incalculable derivative obligations. Rescuing the money center banks has always been the intent of the "Too Big to Fail" taxpayer salvage schemes.

But when will the limit of such gifts be reached? When the banks are satisfied or when the Treasury is emptied and looted, as the cost of extending the usury based financial system. Future generations do not have a chance for economic prosperity as long as the Federal Reserve continues the bond-buying thievery. More...

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Secrets and Lies of the Bailout
by Matt Taibbi
Posted January 8, 2013

bailouts for the richThe federal rescue of Wall Street didn't fix the economy – it created a permanent bailout state based on a Ponzi-like confidence scheme. And the worst may be yet to come. It has been four long winters since the federal government, in the hulking, shaven-skulled, Alien Nation-esque form of then-Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, committed $700 billion in taxpayer money to rescue Wall Street from its own chicanery and greed. To listen to the bankers and their allies in Washington tell it, you'd think the bailout was the best thing to hit the American economy since the invention of the assembly line. Not only did it prevent another Great Depression, we've been told, but the money has all been paid back, and the government even made a profit. No harm, no foul – right?

Wrong.

It was all a lie – one of the biggest and most elaborate falsehoods ever sold to the American people. We were told that the taxpayer was stepping in – only temporarily, mind you – to prop up the economy and save the world from financial catastrophe. More...

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The Financial Elite's War Against the US Economy
by Michael Hudson
Posted January 6, 2012

financial elitesToday's economic warfare is not the kind waged a century ago between labor and its industrial employers. Finance has moved to capture the economy at large, industry and mining, public infrastructure (via privatization) and now even the educational system. (At over $1 trillion, U.S. student loan debt came to exceed credit-card debt in 2012.) The weapon in this financial warfare is no larger military force. The tactic is to load economies (governments, companies and families) with debt, siphon off their income as debt service and then foreclose when debtors lack the means to pay. Indebting government gives creditors a lever to pry away land, public infrastructure and other property in the public domain. Indebting companies enables creditors to seize employee pension savings. And indebting labor means that it no longer is necessary to hire strikebreakers to attack union organizers and strikers.

The aim of financial warfare is not merely to acquire land, natural resources and key infrastructure rents as in military warfare; it is to centralize creditor control over society. In contrast to the promise of democratic reform nurturing a middle class a century ago, we are witnessing a regression to a world of special privilege in which one must inherit wealth in order to avoid debt and job dependency. More...

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A 'Grand Bargain' on the Fiscal Cliff Could Be a Grand Betrayal
by Robert L. Borosage
Posted January 1, 2013

betrayalThe grand bargain being discussed in Washington reflects an elite consensus far removed from what voters want. Americans want action on jobs, and most support the president's call to raise taxes on the rich. Overwhelmingly, they want basic family security programs protected. Any deal that cuts Medicare and Social Security, slows growth and increases unemployment will look a lot more like a grand betrayal than a grand bargain. And virtually the entire organized base of the Democratic Party, from unions to civil rights and women's groups, is mobilizing in opposition.

The grand bargain not only offers the wrong answer; it poses the wrong question. In Washington, the bargainers intone the same mantra: It is a time for shared sacrifice. Everything must be on the table, from Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security to tax hikes. We must all do our part.

The call for shared sacrifice makes no sense given that in recent decades, the rewards have not been shared. The middle class lost ground even before the Great Recession, while the wealthiest 1 percent pocketed about two-thirds of the rewards of growth. In the first year after the recession, the top 1 percent pocketed a staggering 93 percent of income growth, as the stock market roared back but housing values and wages did not. More...

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Fix the Debt's New Email: Too Cruel to Laugh, Too Ridiculous to Cry
by Richard Eskow
Posted December 26, 2012

trojan horseFix the Debt, a front group for corporations, billionaires, and defense contractors, wants people to call their Representatives and demand that they avoid the "fiscal cliff." The group's latest email is so badly written that it cries out for laughter, but its potential consequences call out for tears.

Here are some scripts that the group's real beneficiaries might want to use:

-- I'm rich as hell -- I mean, I'm not naming figures, but we're talking stinkin' rich -- and I want to cut Social Security and Medicare while lowering my own corporate and personal taxes.

-- I'm a corporate CEO who's been shipping jobs overseas, and we've had record profits while paying record-low amounts to the IRS. But that's not enough. I want to do even less for my country. More..

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Fiscal Cliff: Let's Call Their Bluff!
by Ellen Brown
Posted December 22, 2012

fiscal cliiff contrived crisisThe "fiscal cliff" has all the earmarks of a false flag operation, full of sound and fury, intended to extort concessions from opponents. The cliff is really just a trumped-up annual budget discussion. The most likely outcome is a combination of tax increases, spending cuts and kicking the can down the road.

Yet the media coverage has been "panic-inducing, falling somewhere between that given to an approaching hurricane and an alien invasion." In the summer of 2011, this sort of media hype succeeded in causing the Dow Jones Industrial Average to plunge nearly 2000 points. But this time the market is generally ignoring the cliff, either confident a deal will be reached or not caring.

Be Careful What You Wish for: Fiscal Hostage-Taking Could Backfire...Taxpayers and governments that are pushed too far have been known to resort to more radical measures, and there are some on the table that could fix the problem at its core. Here are a few that are receiving media attention. More...

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The Fiscal Cliff Is A Diversion: The Derivatives Tsunami and the Dollar Bubble
By Paul Craig Roberts, Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury under Ronald Reagan
Posted December 17, 2012

fiscal cliff diversionThe "fiscal cliff" is another hoax designed to shift the attention of policymakers, the media, and the attentive public, if any, from huge problems to small ones. The fiscal cliff is automatic spending cuts and tax increases in order to reduce the deficit by an insignificant amount over 10 years if Congress takes no action itself to cut spending and to raise taxes. In other words, the "fiscal cliff" is going to happen either way.

The problem from the standpoint of conventional economics with the fiscal cliff is that it amounts to a double-barrel dose of austerity delivered to a faltering and recessionary economy. Ever since John Maynard Keynes, most economists have understood that austerity is not the answer to recession or depression. More...

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The Coming Derivatives Panic That Will Destroy Global Financial Markets
by John Rolls
Posted December 14, 2012

impending derivative collapseThere is a reason why Warren Buffett once referred to derivatives as "financial weapons of mass destruction". Nobody really knows the total value of all the derivatives that are floating around out there, but estimates place the notional value of the global derivatives market anywhere from 600 trillion dollars all the way up to 1.5 quadrillion dollars.

Keep in mind that global GDP is somewhere around 70 trillion dollars for an entire year. So we are talking about an amount of money that is absolutely mind blowing. So who is buying and selling all of these derivatives? Well, would it surprise you to learn that it is mostly the biggest banks?

It would be hard to overstate the recklessness of these banks. The numbers that you are about to see are absolutely jaw-dropping. According to the Comptroller of the Currency, four of the largest U.S. banks are walking a tightrope of risk, leverage and debt when it comes to derivatives. More...

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Our Collapsing Economy and Currency
by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts (Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, President Reagan's first term)
Posted December 10, 2012

fiscal cliff hoaxIs the "fiscal cliff" real or just another hoax? The answer is that the fiscal cliff is real, but it is a result, not a cause. The hoax is the way the fiscal cliff is being used.

The fiscal cliff is the result of the inability to close the federal budget deficit. The budget deficit cannot be closed because large numbers of US middle class jobs and the GDP and tax base associated with them have been moved offshore, thus reducing federal revenues. The fiscal cliff cannot be closed because of the unfunded liabilities of eleven years of US-initiated wars against a half dozen Muslim countries–wars that have benefitted only the profits of the military/security complex and the territorial ambitions of Israel. The budget deficit cannot be closed, because economic policy is focused only on saving banks that wrongful financial deregulation allowed to speculate, to merge, and to become too big to fail, thus requiring public subsidies that vastly dwarf the totality of US welfare spending. More...

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Goldman Sachs Spreads Its Wings
by Andrew McKillop
Posted December 3, 2012

Goldman SachsGS operates as a vulture on steroids, never shrinking from first crippling its victim, before gutting it. This Alpha Male Vulture operating style could be compared with legendary always-winning cycle champion Lance Armstrong. Only years after his always-wins did we find out why: he was just another cheat, just another druggy. Questions such as why US and European national finances are so bad, and get worse, are not only able to be answered by the two letters "GS" but its alumni and partners, sufficiently remunerated, can be said to have operated a global coup d'etat in the world of finance.

Why the working and increasingly unemployed people of Greece, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Ireland and a long list of other countries suffer under austerity, sacrifice their pensions, earn lower wages and pay higher taxes is that spinning out the debt circus to a multi-decade-long web of poverty for most, but riches for GS and its "agents and servants", is the only goal of the vulture firm. More...

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CEOs Who Collect Billions In Govt. Money Demand Cuts To Poor, Elderly
by Christina Wilkie and Ryan Grim
Posted November 27, 2012

parasites demand austerityThe corporate CEOs who have made a high-profile foray into deficit negotiations have themselves been substantially responsible for the size of the deficit they now want closed.

The companies represented by executives working with the Campaign To Fix The Debt have received trillions in federal war contracts, subsidies and bailouts, as well as specialized tax breaks and loopholes that virtually eliminate the companies' tax bills.

During the past few days, CEOs belonging to what the campaign calls its CEO Fiscal Leadership Council -- most visibly, Goldman Sachs' Lloyd Blankfein and Honeywell's David Cote -- have barnstormed the media, making the case that the only way to cut the deficit is to severely scale back social safety-net programs -- Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security -- which would disproportionately impact the poor and the elderly.

As part of their push, they are advocating a "territorial tax system" that would exempt their companies' foreign profits from taxation, netting them about $134 billion in tax savings, according to a new report from the Institute for Policy Studies titled "The CEO Campaign to 'Fix' the Debt: A Trojan Horse for Massive Corporate Tax Breaks" -- money that could help pay off the federal budget deficit. More...

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The Trans-Pacific Partnership As A Corporate Coup
by Andrew Gavin Marshall
Posted November 25, 2012

secret deal for the ruling classLuckily for the populations and societies that will be affected by the agreement, there are public research organizations and alternative media outlets campaigning against it – and they've even released several leaks of draft agreement chapters. From these leaks, which are not covered by mainstream corporate-controlled news outlets, we are able to get a better understanding of what the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) actually encompasses.

For example, public interest groups have been warning that the TPP could result in millions of lost jobs. As a letter from Congress to United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk stated, the TPP "will create binding policies on future Congresses in numerous areas," including "those related to labor, patent and copyright, land use, food, agriculture and product standards, natural resources, the environment, professional licensing, state-owned enterprises and government procurement policies, as well as financial, healthcare, energy, telecommunications and other service sector regulations." In other words, as promised, the TPP goes far beyond "trade." More...

To anyone who is not familiar with the TPP, this represents a threat far greater than the Citizens United ruling by the US Supreme Court. If implemented, this agreement will hard code corporate dominance over sovereign governments into international law that will supercede any federal, state, or local laws of any member country. This document alone should set alarm bells ringing, but if one steps back and looks at the larger picture, the future ramifications look even more ominous.

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The Fiscal Cliff is a Mole Hill Compared to This
by Shah Gilani
Posted November 15, 2012

over the cliffEveryone is afraid of falling off the "fiscal cliff." But there's another dangerous countdown clock about hit to zero.And no one is talking about it, even though it will spell even more financial problems for us all.

At midnight on December 31, 2012, the Transaction Account Guarantee (TAG) program will expire. The TAG program was initiated at the height of the credit crisis when depositors were fleeing banks for fear they would go under.

To quell what was turning into a run on banks, the FDIC upped regular deposit insurance from $100,000 to $250,000 and under the TAG banner initiated unlimited insurance for all non-interest bearing transaction accounts. It's the second part that's important because that's the piece that will soon come to an end. When the unlimited insurance expires, corporations, businesses and depositors -- whose soon- to- be- uninsured deposits, which total some $1.4 trillion, are likely to flee smaller banks -- will rush into money market funds and seek the safety of short-term U.S. Treasuries.

This will create serious negative repercussions affecting our economic future. More...

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Why Occupy's Plan To Cancel Consumer Debts Is Brilliant
by Charles Eisenstein
Posted November 14, 2012

debt slaveA new initiative is re-energising the Occupy movement. Called the Rolling Jubilee, it is a plan to use money from donations to buy distressed consumer debt from lenders at a marked down price, just as debt collection agencies normally would. But instead of hounding debtors for payments, it will simply cancel the debts. The hope is that the liberated debtors will themselves contribute to the fund, "rolling" the jubilee forward.

The Rolling Jubilee is a genius move for several reasons. First, debt relief is a transpartisan message that eludes conventional political categorisation. As such, it returns Occupy to its origins as an advocate for the wellbeing of ordinary people, neither leftwing nor rightwing. The Rolling Jubilee says, non-threateningly, "We just want to help people in this unfair system." More...

For just $5,000 , this movement recently just purchased $100,000 worth of medical debt. They have taken a little piece of humanity back from the hands of the creditors. Within weeks these debtors will be receiving a certified letter informing them that their debts have been abolished. Consider LEVERAGING your donation to help those drowning in debt by visiting http://rollingjubilee.org

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Why Bankers Rule the World, It's the Interest Stupid!
by Ellen Brown
Posted November 12, 2012

banker greedIn the 2012 edition of Occupy Money released last week, Professor Margrit Kennedy writes that a stunning 35% to 40% of everything we buy goes to interest. This interest goes to bankers, financiers, and bondholders, who take a 35% to 40% cut of our GDP. That helps explain how wealth is systematically transferred from Main Street to Wall Street. The rich get progressively richer at the expense of the poor, not just because of "Wall Street greed" but because of the inexorable mathematics of our private banking system.

This hidden tribute to the banks will come as a surprise to most people, who think that if they pay their credit card bills on time and don't take out loans, they aren't paying interest. This, says Dr. Kennedy, is not true. Tradesmen, suppliers, wholesalers and retailers all along the chain of production rely on credit to pay their bills. They must pay for labor and materials before they have a product to sell and before the end buyer pays for the product 90 days later. Each supplier in the chain adds interest to its production costs, which are passed on to the ultimate consumer. Dr. Kennedy cites interest charges ranging from 12% for garbage collection, to 38% for drinking water to, 77% for rent in public housing in her native Germany. More...

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What If We Adopted A System Where The Banks Did Not Create Our Money?
by Michael Snyder
Posted November 8, 2012

private banks create moneyWhat if there was a financial system that would eliminate the need for the federal government to go into debt, that would eliminate the need for the Federal Reserve, that would end the practice of fractional reserve banking and that would dethrone the big banks? Would you be in favor of such a system? A surprising new IMF research paper entitled "The Chicago Plan Revisited" by Jaromir Benes and Michael Kumhof is making waves in economic circles all over the globe.

The paper suggests that the world would be much better off if we adopted a system where the banks did not create our money. So instead of a system where more money is only created when more debt is created, we would have a system of debt-free money that is created directly by national governments. More...

Our current "debt based" monetary system is at the very root of most of our problems. Most people do not think about how money comes into existence and who controls its supply. If more people became aware of this and started the push to change it, the nation and even the world would be a much better place.

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Central Banks Gold War Begins!
by Jim Willie CB
Posted November 5, 2012

gold war beginningThe bond fraud and gold market fraud and futures brokerage fraud and central bank bond monetizations, and desperate reactions to insolvent broken national banking systems, and continued flow of government red ink in deficits, all these activities have motivated nations to check their gold bank accounts. What they see scares them witless, but it pushes them into action. The demand by Chavez in Venezuela over a year ago served as a stark wakeup call. Imagine mature experienced savvy German bank officials observing a socialist backwater Latino renegade like Chavez leading the way in defense from Western banker corruption and colossal thefts. Finally, the Germans are taking action. They tried in September to view their gold account in the New York Fed, but were turned away with insults and disdain. Word has come that the shun event in the Big Apple was probably the fifth time in the last few years that a German delegation has been turned away. The situation is as complex as it is dicey.

Wealth is under heavy attack. The impact has caused an undercurrent by the US and UK bankers in pursuit of gold supply to satisfy demands, like from Venezuela. The elite are having their gold vaults raided, done as loans to the major central banks and bullion bank centers. Resentment builds.

Alternative supply sources have been urgently needed, thus the project in Libya. Thus the MFGlobal thefts. The list goes on, but the need is rising far faster than the channels can be supplied. Desperation has set in with the major bullion bankers and their clever craftsmen who manage markets with leverage, derivatives, and propaganda. More...

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The Global Banking 'Super-Entity' Drug Cartel: The "Free Market" of Finance Capital
by Andrew G Marshall
Posted October 31, 2012

the real mastersI would like to introduce you, the reader, to some realities of our global banking system, resting on the rhetoric of free markets, but functioning, in actuality, as a global cartel, a "super-entity" in which the world's major banks all own each other and own the controlling shares in the world's largest multinational corporations, influence governments and policy with politicians in their back pockets, routinely engaging in fraud and bribery, and launder hundreds of billions of dollars in drug money, not to mention arms dealing and terrorist financing.

These are the "too big to fail" and "too big to jail" banks, the centre of our global economy, what we call a "free market," implying that the global banks – and corporations – have "free reign" to do anything they please, engage in blatantly criminal activities, steal trillions in wealth which is hidden offshore, and never get more than a slap on the wrist. This is the real "free market," a highly profitable global banking cartel, functioning as a worldwide financial Mafia. More...

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Voluntary Servitude Begins With Debt
by Richard Mills
Posted October 29, 2012

web of debtSir Josiah Stamp, president of the Rothschild Bank of England and the second richest man in Britain in the 1920s, said the following in 1927 at the University of Texas:

"The modern banking system manufactures money out of nothing. The process is perhaps the most astounding piece of sleight of hand that was ever invented. Banking was conceived in inequity and born in sin. Bankers own the Earth. Take it away from them but leave them the power to create money, and with a flick of a pen, they will create enough money to buy it back again. Take this great power away from them and all great fortunes like mine will disappear, for then this would be a better and happier world to live in. But if you want to continue to be the slaves of bankers and pay the cost of your own slavery, then let bankers continue to create money and control credit." More...

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5 Huge Myths About Social Security
by Ilan Moscovitz
Posted October 18, 2012

Social Security is NOT brokeSocial Security has been providing Americans with old age, disability, and widow and orphan insurance for as many as 77 years. But like so many of today's crucial financial topics, it's also shrouded in myth. Here are five big ones.

Myth No. 1: Social Security is going bankrupt
The biggest misunderstanding out there relates to Social Security's financial challenges. (A Google search for "Social Security bankruptcy" turned up 50 million hits.) But the fact is that Social Security isn't going bankrupt, nor is bankruptcy really possible as the system is currently set up.

Here's the source of the confusion: Historically, Social Security has collected more than it paid out. The extra money built up in a trust fund that collects interest. But due to demographic and economic changes (more on that in a minute), it's expected that insurance payments will begin to exceed income in 2021. Around 2033, the fund will run out. But even then, the revenue Social Security collects each year would still be enough to pay out about three-quarters of scheduled benefits as far as the eye can see. More...

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How Wall Street Hijacked America and Became Master of the Tradable Universe
by Shah Gilani
Posted October 16, 2012

Dick Fulds homeIn the old days, Wall Street brokers made their (very nice, thank you) living mostly buying and sometimes selling stocks for customers under a fixed-commission umbrella.That umbrella, not surprisingly, was held up by the industry, which (wink, wink) took the term "fixed" to a level that looked like price fixing (because it was).

In the 1970s, new-on-the-scene wannabe discounters (namely Charles Schwab) who weren't part of the old guard made the case for a free-for-all, let commissions fall from competition, federal case… and won. On May 1, 1975 – known in the industry as May Day – negotiated commissions came into being.

All the old "customers' men" were aghast. What was going to happen to their lofty salaries? And worse, if commoners were going to have cheap transaction costs, would they start buying and even selling stocks on their own, without the sage advice of brokers? More...

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Big Bank Derivative Bets Nearly Double In Six Years
by Peter G. Miller
Posted October 5, 2012

derivative armegeddonAmerica's major banks now hold derivatives with a notational worth of $225 trillion – about a third of the world total. No kidding. Trillion. And that's up from a mere $120 trillion six years ago. Rather than being weened off derivatives, America's big banks are more deeply entrenched then ever.

Hopefully Wall Street has it figured out just right and there won't be any major losses, say a few billion here or there. After all, when has Wall Street ever been wrong about financial instruments?

While many in Washington would like to limit derivatives trading, make such trades open to public scrutiny or both, Wall Street is vehemently against regulation. In fact, there's a simple way to resolve derivative worries. Allow unlimited derivatives trading — but only by individuals and partnerships willing to personally take the risk of profits and losses. More...

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Death Knell For the U.S. Dollar
by Jim Willie CB
Posted Spetember 27, 2012

death of the dollarThe recent decision by the US Federal Reserve to contaminate the financial body until it responds favorably was the last straw in my book. Witness a declaration of permanent QE and hyper monetary inflation of the most virulent strain, unsterilized. The USFed is essentially admitting failure. The signal serves as the loudest death knell for the USDollar among many in a sequence. On a similar parallel note, lighter and more humorous, one might be reminded of the pirate swash buckling style of yelling at the swabbies that the beatings will continue until morale improves. The QE bond monetization of USGovt debt has turned viral and entrenched.

It is sold as stimulus, when in fact it acts like a giant wet blanket on the USEconomy. It is intended as stimulus to businesses, but the effect is felt on the financial speculation and on Asian direct business investment. In the past the emergency lever device had been successful only because it was used on a temporary basis. But now the USFed high priest assures it is a permanent fixture, a sign of their failure. The public is too ignorant to comprehend the ruin. They can only see the threat to their personal ruin. More...

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Enlightened Economics: There is an Alternative
by Mark Dempsey
Posted Spetember 25, 2012

out of money?Republicans and Democrats have been explaining that "There Is No Alternative," we need public policies promoting austerity because government is "out of money." The question seems to be not "do we need austerity?" but "will we be austere sooner or austere later?" Meanwhile, the bipartisan consensus is that the government is definitely out of money.

But these assertions are at odds with the common knowledge that the U.S. government literally creates its own money. Unlike the euro, the dollar is a sovereign, fiat currency, unconstrained by exchange rates or treaties. And since Nixon closed the gold window, government can issue dollars without waiting for gold or silver mines to provide any backing for them. So we can't possibly be "out of money," any more than the Bureau of Weights and Measures can be "out of inches." More...

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Banks Are Setting Us Up for Another Fall
by Keith Fitz-Gerald
Posted September 20, 2012

your pensions at riskJust five years after they played a primary role in engineering the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, America's big banks are quietly setting the world up to do it all over again. Only this go-round the costs will be far higher and the damage much worse. This time the fall could be $2.6 trillion or more.

These same banks that have already driven the world to the brink of financial oblivion and been bailed out once may need another $2.6 trillion dollars or more to backstop the unregulated $648 trillion derivatives playground they've created for themselves. And don't think for a minute that your money isn't at risk either...

If you have a retirement fund, a money market fund or are invested in any sort of pension plan whatsoever, you are already involved in this game whether you signed up to play or not. More...

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The Short, Miserable Life of American Prosperity
by John Kozy
Posted September 17, 2012

banker greedThe Panic of 1873 was a financial crisis which triggered a severe international economic depression. It was known as the "Great Depression" until the 1930s, but it goes unmentioned today. In the United States, this depression was caused by the collapse of Jay Cooke & Company, a major American banking establishment. Jay Cooke & Company was the Lehman Brothers of the time. The economy was brought down by, yes, bankers.

It happened again in 1893. Deceptive railroad financing set off a series of bank failures. The bankers did it again.

If that weren't enough, it happened again in 1907. The panic, also known as the 1907 Bankers' Panic was triggered by a failed attempt to corner the market on stock of the United Copper Company.

Is that all? No, it happened again in 1929, causing what is known as the Great Depression.

People, these are not isolated events. They are not infrequent. They are not accidental. They always result from bankers trying to acquire greater profits by cheating. More...

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TPP - Why So Secret?
Video by End The Illusion
Posted 9/11/2012


This so called free trade agreement represents a threat even greater than the Citizens United ruling. The Trans Pacific Partnership agreement is being negotiated and the details are kept totally secret with not even members of Congress and the Senate having access to the text. If implemented, this agreement will hard code corporate dominance over sovereign governments into international law that will supercede any federal, state, or local laws of any member country. This document should set alarm bells ringing.

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Currency Twisters and Firestorms on Central Banks Obvious Failure
by Jim Willie CB
Posted Sept 1, 2012

Morgan Stanley failure eminentMorgan Stanley is going to the slaughterhouse. Its implosion will result from lost control, and the reversion to antiquated systems will only hasten their demise. Wall Street will wish to exploit the failure, like stealing funds, like destroying documents, like concealing derivative positions, like receiving government slush funds for slimy patch projects, their usual Modus Operandi. In criminal parlance, they will create a black hole into which things vanish. They will attempt to add to the confusion, which might itself backfire and deliver more lethal challenges to the entire USDollar & USTreasury complex. This time, the spotlights will shine more brightly to reveal the activity in the shadows and crevices.

The part that many analysts might miss is that Morgan Stanley has perhaps over 300 thousand private stock brokerage accounts, with over 17,500 brokers. The Morgan Stanley failure might feature the first theft of private stock accounts. The critical jump might occur in account thefts from futures brokerage to stock brokerage, which began in November 2011 with MFGlobal, then appeared in July with Peregrine Financial Group (PFG-Best). All private accounts from MFG and PFG have been pilfered, with a blessing of the theft by the courts, seen in the Sentinel Mgmt Group ruling. The federal Appellate court's August ruling (CLICK HERE) sets precedent for future private segregated account thefts, which were once considered sacred and untouchable. No more in the United States, not in the unfolding of criminality that stretches from USGovt offices to top corporate offices, with blessings sprinkled by the courts. More...

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Greed and Debt: The True Story of Mitt Romney and Bain Capital
by Matt Taibbi
Posted August 30, 2012

economic vulturesWhen Bain borrows all of that money from the bank, it's the target company that ends up on the hook for all of the debt.

Now your troubled firm – let's say you make tricycles in Alabama – has been taken over by a bunch of slick Wall Street dudes who kicked in as little as five percent as a down payment. So in addition to whatever problems you had before, Tricycle Inc. now owes Goldman or Citigroup $350 million. With all that new debt service to pay, the company's bottom line is suddenly untenable: You almost have to start firing people immediately just to get your costs down to a manageable level.

Once all that debt is added, one of two things can happen. The company can fire workers and slash benefits to pay off all its new obligations to Goldman Sachs and Bain, leaving it ripe to be resold by Bain at a huge profit. Or it can go bankrupt – this happens after about seven percent of all private equity buyouts – leaving behind one or more shuttered factory towns. Either way, Bain wins. By power-sucking cash value from even the most rapidly dying firms, private equity raiders like Bain almost always get their cash out before a target goes belly up. More...

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If you Like NAFTA, You'll Love TPP
by Rudy Avizius
Posted August 26, 2012

TPP will hurt YOUThe details contained in this TPP agreement will result in total corporate global governance . In this new system the role of elected governments will be to serve as subservient agents for our [corporate] nterests. The institutions under governments such as the armies, police, and courts will also serve our [corporate] interests, while being financed by the taxpayers of that country. The status of the member states will be locked-in, similar to countries once they are inside the Eurozone.

In the future, once this agreement has been ratified, Internet censorship regulations will be passed that are much stronger than the previous ones we tried to pass, such as ACTA, SOPA, and PIPA. This will lock down the Internet so we can use it for our [corporate] purposes. Once this has been accomplished, the public masses will have no alternatives except for our controlled media. More...

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Are Preparations Being Made For Worldwide Financial Collapse?
by Michael Snyder
Posted August 22, 2012

preparing for collapse?Unfortunately, we are not privy to the quiet conversations that are taking place in corporate boardrooms and in the halls of power in places such as Washington D.C. and London, so all we can do is try to make sense of all the clues that are all around us.

Last week, it was revealed that the U.S. government has been secretly directing five of the biggest banks in America "to develop plans for staving off collapse" for the last two years. By itself, that wouldn't be that big of a deal but when you add that piece to the dozens of other clues of imminent financial collapse, a very troubling picture begins to emerge. More...

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What to Do When Every Market Is Manipulated
by Chris Martenson
Posted August 19, 2012

manipulated marketsIf you don't know who the sucker at the card table is, it's you.
~ old gambler's saying

How are we supposed to make decisions in today's rigged and often fraudulent market environment? Where should you put your money if you don't know where the risks lie? How does one control risk when control fraud runs rampant?

Unfortunately, there are no perfect answers to these questions. Instead, the task is to recognize what sort of world we happen to live in today and adjust one's actions to the realities as they happen to be. The purpose of this report is not to stir up resentment or anger -- although those are perfectly valid responses to the abuses we are forced to live with -- but to simply acknowledge the landscape as it is so that we can make informed decisions. More...

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America is Not Broke!
By Scott Baker
Posted August 16, 2012

debt free moneyAmericans of all political beliefs have been told repeatedly that America is broke, that something must be cut and/or taxes raised or we will drown in debt. While the debt is real, it pales in comparison to the 10s of trillions available to us - if we know where to look.

In short, America is Not Broke!

The following multi-trillion dollar economic reforms would completely turn the American economy around to the positive, forever. The first three have all been implemented to some degree in our history. All four are consistent with American values of competition, fair play, economic and ecological sustainability, meritocracy, profiting from one's own labor, and Lincoln's ideal of an America by, for and of the People. More...

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Why The Government Is Destroying The U.S. Dollar
by Dan Amerman
Posted August 14, 2012

dollar erosionIn this article we will take a holistic approach to how individual short term, medium and long term pressures all come together to leave the government with effectively no choice but to create a substantial rate of inflation that will steadily destroy the value of the dollar.

If you have savings, if you rely on a pension, if you are a retiree or Boomer with retirement accounts - any one of these five fundamental motivations is by itself a grave peril to your future standard of living. However, it is only when we put all five together and see how the motivations reinforce each other, that we can understand what the government has been and intends to continue doing, and then begin the search for personal solutions. .More...

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Goldman Sachs Secretly Believes That An Economic Collapse Is Coming
by Michael T. Snyder
Posted August 11, 2012

Goldman SachsGoldman Sachs is doing it again. Goldman is telling the public that everything is going to be just fine, but meanwhile they are advising their top clients to bet on a huge financial collapse. A 54 page report authored by Goldman strategist Alan Brazil was distributed to institutional clients. The general public was not intended to see this report. Fortunately, some folks over at the Wall Street Journal got their hands on a copy and they have filled us in on some of the details.

It turns out that Goldman Sachs secretly believes that an economic collapse is coming, and they have some very interesting ideas about how to make money in the turbulent financial environment that we will soon be entering. In the report, Brazil says that the U.S. debt problem cannot be solved with more debt, that the European sovereign debt crisis is going to get even worse and that there are large numbers of financial institutions in Europe that are on the verge of collapse. If this is what people at the highest levels of the financial world are talking about, perhaps we should all start paying attention. More...

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Yellow Brick Road: The Fed and A New Path to Debt Freedom
by Ellen Brown
Posted August 9, 2012

In this special underground interview, Rebellious Truths joins Ellen Brown, author of Web of Debt and Chairman of the Public Banking Institute. In this mind-blowing exchange, Ellen Brown exposes buried truths, manipulations, and fallacies about our economy; truths vital to understanding how our money system really works.

She also provides a simple solution to getting rid of our debt now and forever: we the people print the money, not the debt-based and privately owned Federal Reserve.

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Are High Frequency Traders Rigging the Stock Market?
by Doug Horning
Posted August 8, 2012

rigged marketDoug Hornig, Casey Research writes: High-frequency traders (HFT) have no interest in any company whose stock they're trading. They don't care about its earnings, what sector it's in, nor who's on the board of directors.

They neither know nor care how it fares in technical analysis, and they don't give a damn about its long-term prospects. Likely as not, they don't even know its name.

At the end of every day, after trading tens of millions of shares, they don't want a single share of stock on their books at all.What attracts them is making a tiny profit on an opportunity that comes and goes in the blink of an eye. More...

These high frequency traders are the ones who would be impacted by a Transaction Tax. Despite their claims, these the people are not "investors", they are gamblers. Real investors would not be affected by such a tax

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How to Start Your Own Private Currency
by Derek Thompson
Posted August 2, 2012

Creating a new currencyThe easiest way to start a currency is to draw up an I.O.U. system that allows your friends to trade hours of work. Hundreds of shops in Ithaca, NY, accept "Ithaca HOURs," a local currency backed, not by gold, but by man-hours. I spend an hour mowing an Ithaca lawn and receive a paper note for one HOUR. I walk to the barber's, hand him the piece of paper, and he cuts my hair. Now my neighbor's grass is shorter, my hair is kempt, and my barber is one HOUR richer. And it's all thanks to transactions that might not have happened were it not for a private currency.

The success of Ithaca HOURS shows you don't need to be a conspiracy theorist to see the virtue of private currencies. Maybe you want to create a new revenue stream that stays within your community (see right). Maybe you see a currency shortage and want a new way to grease exchanges. Maybe you want to buy goods in a virtual world like Second Life. Or maybe you want a fast, frictionless currency and you've found thousands of consumers who want the same thing. More...

For another article on the advantages of a local currency, click here.

One key ingredient is missing that would make Ithaca Hours a full success. If Ithaca accepted tax payments in Ithaca Hours, there would be no problem with employees or merchants worrying if they would get "stuck" with too many.

Many people think that the big shock was in 2008. Well that was just the earthquake, the tsunami is still coming. Once the big collapse happens, Places like Ithaca will be able to thrive outside of the corrupt banking and monetary system we now have.

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The Gilded Age of Bankers or Banksters
by Richard Mills
Posted July26, 2012

neoFeudalismMark Twain called the late nineteenth century the "Gilded Age" - meaning that the period was golden on the surface but underneath the thin veneer was a cesspool of banksterism, greed and graft, shady business practices, scandal plagued politics and overt displays of upper class consumerism and materialism.

If we stop looking in the rear view mirror right here and fast forward to the future we're struck by the many similarities to today's present conditions.

We have at least equaled or exceeded the extremes of inequality achieved by our late 19th century predecessors. The comparisons between Twain's Gilded Age and our present circumstances are numerous: crony capitalism and government, the mortgage and banking crisis, big business tax breaks, the creation of complex financial instruments, small factories and workshops closing, unemployment exploding, unemployed workers demonstrating, corruption, ostentatious spending, wage depression, massive urbanization and the use of police, armed force, to break up demonstrations. More...

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Titanic Banks Hit LIBOR Iceberg
by Ellen Brown
Posted July 22, 2012

web of debtAt one time, calling the large multinational banks a "cartel" branded you as a conspiracy theorist. Today the banking giants are being called that and worse, not just in the major media but in court documents intended to prove the allegations as facts. Charges include racketeering (organized crime under the U.S. Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act or RICO), antitrust violations, wire fraud, bid-rigging, and price-fixing. Damning charges have already been proven, and major damages and penalties assessed. Conspiracy theory has become established fact.

State and local officials across the country are now meeting to determine their damages from interest rate swaps, which are held by about three-fourths of America's major cities. Damages from LIBOR rate-rigging are being investigated by Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, officers at CalPERS (California's public pension fund, the nation's largest), and hundreds of hospitals. More...

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The Woes of Regulation
by Shah Gilani
Posted July 19, 2012

regulationsLike most people, I hate to admit it when I'm wrong. But today, I admit it. I have been wrong about regulation. All wrong. I've been calling for more, better regulations to stem the fraud and wicked ways of errant Wall Streeters.

But it's come to light, in a sad and almost tragic way, that this whole regulation thing is wrong from the get-go. After all, it ruined one poor man's near-perfect life. And that's where I draw the line. Thanks to a suicide note, penned before (obviously) his attempted mea culpa exit stage left, which thankfully failed, we know why poor Russell Wasendorf Sr. was so distraught. More...

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Extreme Danger Signs
by Jim Willie CB
Posted July 14, 2012

reality checkForget what the political leadership claims on a USEconomic recovery. Reality could not be farther from their claims, as their credibility is strained. Their deception and wishful thinking put to public speeches could not have been more incorrect. The domestic gasoline volume sales from refiners has fallen a ripe 50% since the 2007 peak. Notice that Quantitative Easing, the hyper monetary inflation designed to purchase USTreasury Bonds and USAgency Bonds that almost no global creditor wishes to buy, did not result in stimulus. Instead as my claim has been, it results in capital destruction from rising costs, vanishing profit margins, and retired equipment.

The attorneys and aggrieved victims [of the LIBOR scandal] are lined up, as perhaps over 900 thousand lawsuits will come. That is how many adjustable rate mortgages were arranged from 2005 to 2009, with underwriting banks serving the complaints. The army of US legal beagles is on the job. The lost income to the victims is obvious. The lawsuits will eventually target the central banks. The fraud reaches into the $trillions easily, when all the derivatives are factored in. Think many $trillions in volume times small percentages skimmed illegally. The mainstream press carefully avoids such topics. Do a GOOGLE search of "municipal lawsuits LIBOR" to produce 21.1 million hits. This story will be gathering momentum for several months, and be in the headlines a year from now. More...

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America the Beautiful: A Fire Sale for Foreign Corporations
by Dr Brian Moench
Posted July 13, 2012

TPP contry leadersThis may be one of the most important stories ever ignored by the so-called "lame-stream, liberal" media. It's unlikely you're losing sleep over US trade negotiations, but the unfolding business agreement among the US and eight Pacific nations -the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) - should cause every US citizen, from the Sierra Club to the Tea Party to get their pitch forks and torches out of the closet and prepare to "storm the Bastille."

The TPP negotiations have been going on for two years under extreme secrecy, no information has been made available to either the press or Congress about the US position. But on June 12, a document was leaked to the watchdog group, Public Citizen, revealing the current US position and the reason for the secrecy. The contents are surreal, shocking and prima facia evidence for how corporations have become the master puppeteers of our government. More...

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The Trans-Pacific Partnership: A Global Attack by the One Percent
by Mark Vorpahl
Posted July 9, 2012

Trans Pacific partnership secrecyDuring the week of July 1st – 7th an international cabal of corporate lobbyists has been meeting behind closed doors in San Diego. Their aim is moving the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) towards completion. For over two years TPP negotiations have been in process, yet the proposals and agreements made so far have been carefully kept from public view, until recently.

A leaked TPP document, published at Public Citizen, has revealed what the 600 corporate advisers involved in the negotiations, including representatives from Verizon, FedEx, and Walmart, have been up to. Considering the contents of this document, it is no wonder why the public and even elected representatives have been kept in the dark. More...

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Trans Pacific Partnership: A Trade Deal From Hell
by Stephen Lendman
Posted July 7, 2012

SECRET DEALObama and political Washington support an alphabet soup of repressive police state laws, other freedom destroying measures, and hellish trade deals. SOPA, PIPA, and CISPA threaten online freedom. Free speech and civil protections are endangered species. So are other inviolable rule of law provisions. With bipartisan support, they're heading for the trash bin of history.

Obama officials secretly negotiated and adopted ACTA (the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement). It established unrestricted supranational global trade rules. Its provisions trample on national sovereignty, privacy and personal freedoms. Power brokers want secretive provisions established with no public knowledge of their destructive harm. TPP aims to rewrite global IP enforcement rules. It also includes numerous other anti-populist mandates. More...

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The Tiny Tax That Terrifies Wall St
by Sam Pizzigati
Posted June 25, 2012

tax speculationThe most lavishly paid bank CEO in America, Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase, sashayed back to Capitol Hill last Tuesday for still another congressional hearing on JPMorgan's billions in speculative trading losses this past spring.

Dimon didn't have much trouble fending off the few tough questions that came his way from lawmakers on the House Financial Services Committee. But Dimon and his fellow Wall Streeters may have much more trouble handling a new campaign — for taxing financial speculation — that launched the same day Dimon testified.

In Europe, the Robin Hood campaign has already gained serious political momentum, even support from Angela Merkel, the conservative German chancellor. In the United States, two lawmakers — Rep. Peter DeFazio from Oregon and Senator Tom Harkin from Iowa — have a transaction tax bill pending. More...

For those who think that this tax will "stifle" the small investor, the law could specify that the first 100 transaction in a given year are exempt from the tax. High frequency trading is gambling and speculation, not investment. If the above exemption were made, only the high frequency trading is affected.

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Ending of Extend and Pretend Means Capital Flight, Capital Controls and Capital Fear
by Nicole Foss
Posted June 19, 2012

capital controlsThe ending of extend-and-pretend is ushering in a new era of fear and uncertainty which is rapidly evolving into the next phase of the on-going credit crunch.

It is becoming clearer to many that the problems run much deeper than they had perceived, and more people all the time are realizing the systemic nature of the risks we are facing. Fear leads to knee-jerk reactions. In financial markets, it leads to volatility and self-fulfilling prophecies to the downside. It leads to capital flight, and then to capital controls.

There are no no-risk solutions, but different options will suit different people, depending on their circumstances. Some may choose to store assets in another jurisdiction or in another currency if those options are available, but losing control over assets abroad is a distinct possibility, as is difficulty in converting the currency chosen as a store of value back into something that will functions as cash at home. More...

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State Budget Shell Game
by Mike Kruass
Posted June 11, 2012

Populist bankFor almost four years, the administration and Congress have showered money, protection and even praise on those who caused an economic catastrophe that still rolls across America like a slow motion tidal wave.

It is crystal clear who Washington represents, and what the American people can expect from the next administration and Congress -– more of the same, rhetoric and excuses. But the needs of the American people can't wait another four years. States and local governments must do the job Washington will not. New leaders and new ideas are urgently needed. One such idea is public banking.

A public bank, such as the hugely successful Bank of North Dakota (BND), is capitalized with public funds, has one shareholder — the people — no outrageous compensation for managers and no incentive to gamble. More...

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Bob ChapmanWe regret to inform our readers that Bob Chapman passed away on June 4, 2012. Bob fought hard for truth and to make our country finally became a free Republic once again. It is truly a sad time for us all.

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Priceless: How The Federal Reserve Bought The Economics Profession
by Elyse Siegel, Julian Hattem, Jeff Muskus and Jenna Staul
Posted June 5, 2012

Federal Reserve bought economics professionThe Federal Reserve, through its extensive network of consultants, visiting scholars, alumni and staff economists, so thoroughly dominates the field of economics that real criticism of the central bank has become a career liability for members of the profession, an investigation by the Huffington Post has found.

This dominance helps explain how, even after the Fed failed to foresee the greatest economic collapse since the Great Depression, the central bank has largely escaped criticism from academic economists. In the Fed's thrall, the economists missed it, too. More...

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The Instant solution to the new Depression: debt-free money
by Scott Baker
Posted June 4, 2012

only banks create moneyTwo deeper First Principles questions of the world's political leaders must be asked:

1. Are there jobs to be done? If the answer is no, immediately book a plane to whatever country that leader represents, because obviously they are living in Paradise, where no one lives in poverty, no one grows old or sick, the roads are perfectly paved and ridden over by driverless non-polluting cars dropping the kids off at schools where learning is so fun and efficient it only needs to be held 3 days a week -- a good thing, since that's all their parents have to work, though they are doing such interesting jobs they typically take a second job just for the pure enjoyment of it, since they no longer need money!

2. Are there people who want to do the jobs? Don't let the leaders weasel out of this by saying "oh, yes, but there is no money?" That is not the question! The question is, "Are there people who want to do the jobs?" Education too, comes with work experience; no one walks into a new job perfectly trained. That ought to go without saying.

So, what is stopping people from doing jobs they want to do, that must be done? Money. That's all. Little green pieces of paper. Who controls the money supply? Banks. They create money whenever they issue loans. More...

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The DISEASE is our Monetary System
by Rudy Avizius
Posted May 28, 2012

Not a Federal Reserve NoteConsider these questions: If you owned a printing press in your basement and could LEGALLY print your own money…

1. would you choose to pay your bills by printing the money you needed?
OR
2. would you choose to pay your bills by going to the bankers for a loan?

Of course you would print your own money. Our government is in exactly this same position. It can legally print its own money as stipulated by the Constitution, and yet we have the spectacle of our the government going to private bankers to borrow money to pay its bills, rather printing its own debt free money. Most people are not aware of this fact, and that is by design.

Can you imagine yourself printing your money, then selling these same bills for the cost of printing to a private bank? Then imagine yourself then going back to the bank and borrowing that same money at face value plus interest. More...

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Recovery or Economic Collapse? Bet on Collapse
by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts
Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan's first term
Posted May 21, 2012

Collapse coming?Few Americans and no Washington policymakers understand the dire situation. They are too busy hyping a non-existent recovery and the next war. Statistician John Williams reports that when correctly measured as a cost of living indicator, which the CPI no longer is, the current inflation rate in the US is 5 to 7 percentage points higher than the officially reported rate, as every consumer knows. The unemployment rate falls because, and only because, people unable to find jobs drop out of the labor force and are no longer counted as unemployed. Every informed person knows that the official inflation and unemployment rates are fictions; yet, the presstitute media continue to report the rates with a straight face as fact.

Will a dollar bubble become the largest bubble in economic history?

When the dollar goes, interest rates will escalate, and bond prices will collapse. Everyone who sought safety in US Treasuries will be wiped out. We should all be aware that such outcomes are not part of the public debate. More...

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Video: The Debt Trap -- So Easy, Even a 12 year old Understands!
by Victoria Grant
Posted May 10, 2012

Victoria, a 12 year old girl gave a presentation in front of 600 people at a Rotary Club and her presentation quickly went viral on YouTube. This young girl understands and gets what only 1 in 10,000 adults understands. It is time to educate yourself on our debt based monetary system and the huge interest burdens it places on you, your children, and your grand children. The bankers do not want you to understand this system, because it enriches them at everyone else's expense. If she can figure this out, you can too!

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Video: "Corporate Socialism" alive and well in America
by David Kay Johnson
Posted May 2, 2012

 

There are companies that have negotiated that they get to keep the state income taxes that their employees pay. The result of this is that all taxpayers in that state are essentially subsidizing that business. This is not free market, this is corporate socialism at its worst.

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How States Can Protect Themselves From Financial Collapse
by Brandon Smith
Posted April 18, 2012

Bank of North DakotaThe States of America are, truly, children of the Constitution. The legal framework that is the foundation of State sovereignty and internal administration was unprecedented when the United States won its independence. States were designed to decentralize and keep in check the power of the Federal government. They were meant to be the guardians at the gate, the barrier to the formation of oligarchy or outright dictatorship. This, of course, has changed drastically.The battle over centralized versus decentralized authority and economy has been going on for quite some time. It is undeniably critical in our current climate of crisis, under a government that is bankrupt in every sense and a currency that is on the verge of calamity.

The following is a step-by-step method that States could use to accomplish the task of insulation from financial crisis and Federal control. Much of it hinges on a willingness by State governments to actually pursue independence, which might seem like a naïve dream to most of us. More...

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A Doomsday View of 2012
by James Petras
Posted April 17, 2012

Collapse of EuroMany of the major institutions and economic relations which were cause and consequence of world and regional capitalist expansion over the past three decades are in the process of disintegration and disarray. The previous economic engines of global expansion, the U.S. and the European Union, have exhausted their potentialities and are in open decline. The new centers of growth - China, India, Brazil and Russia - have run their course and are de-accelerating rapidly and will continue to do so throughout the year.

The austerity programs imposed in Europe, from England to Latvia to southern Europe will really take hold in 2012. Massive public sector firings and reduced private sector salaries and job opportunities will lead to a year of permanent class warfare and regime challenges. The 'austerity policies' in the South, will be accompanied by debt defaults resulting in bank failures in France and Germany. England's financial ruling class, isolated from Europe, but dominant in England, will insist that the Conservatives 'repress' labor and popular unrest. A new tough neo-Thatcherite style of autocratic rule will emerge; the Labor-trade union opposition will issue empty protests and tighten the leash on the rebellious populace. In a word, the regressive socio-economic policiesput in place in 2011 have set the stage for new police-state regimes and more acute and possibly bloody confrontations with workers and unemployed youth with no future. More...

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The Golden Eye of the Debt Hurricane
by Jim Willie CB
Posted April 16, 2012

hurricane eyeWhat an incredibly complex confusing and treacherous month. It can be safely said that 80% of the activity is almost totally kept from the public. The financial system is breaking in an accelerated fashion. The most significant two factors at work are the Iran sanctions and their powerful backfire, and the futile efforts in Europe to stem the banking center collapse. The anti-USDollar federation that spans widely across the globe is gathering strong momentum. Financial aggression is being met by financial alternative development.

As Greece moved off the daily news fabrication factory, the reality of a collapse in Spain and Italy has moved to the front center of observations. Meanwhile, the American nitwits continue to argue over Quantitative Easing when it never stopped, and in fact, went global under their noses. The US news machine, dominated by the syndicate, churns out absurdities after more nonsensical bites on an economic recovery. The subprime loan machinery has ramped up. The retail factor does not tell of strength, but of weakness. Spending on consumption does not indicate strength, but a path to ruin still not well recognized. The gap between reality and reports is diverging. More...

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The Banks Win, Again
by Shah Gilani
Posted March 30, 2012

big banks winFinally, some well-deserved help for beleaguered monster banks is on its way. Make that, well on its way.

Those poor big banks accidently and inadvertently got caught up making so many easy loans to deserving, hard-up borrowers, who wanted to buy overpriced dream homes, and a few million other folks who deserved two homes and McMansions to keep up with the Joneses (you know the Joneses… most of them were "friends of Angelo").

But now, at last, the banks are making profits again. After suffering the indignity of insolvency and near collapse for all their hard work, the New Samaritans are still being haunted by their generosity, as regulators hound them into settlement submission, merely for doing God's work. More...

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Explaining Central Banking to the Publicly Educated
by Jeff Berwick
Posted March 30, 2012

Trashed the economyDon't understand economics? And the thought of even trying makes your eyes cross?

That's what they want. Government, which is an artificial, unnecessary construct has made a concerted effort to make economics sound as difficult as possible for decades. The reason? They can use your programmed ignorance as the publicly "educated" to confuse you about how they manipulate the economy for their benefit.

Economics is simple. Nearly the full extent of it can be taught in a near pamphlet, as has been done in Henry Hazlitt's "Economics in One Lesson". That is the full extent that any individual needs and should know about economics. More...

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The Dallas Fed Weighs In With Report on Size of the Big Banks
by Wallace Turbeville
Posted March 27, 2012

too big to failThe Federal Reserve Board of Dallas released a report from its chief researcher, Harvey Rosenblum, which has caused quite a stir. The report cites Fed statistics showing that the five largest US banks hold a remarkable 52% of all bank assets.

The most dramatic part of the report and the covering letter by Dallas Fed President Richard W. Fisher is that they call for a "downsizing" of these megabanks. Their primary argument is that financial institutions remain "too-big-to-fail," risking another painful and damaging bailout if a large financial crisis is threatened. In their view, the continuing cloud of too-big-to-fail hanging over the economy is simply intolerable and costly. More...

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The Parasites of Big Finance
by Ralph Nader
Posted March 23, 2012

illusionary recoveryTraders making speculative money from speculative money, traded in trillions of dollars, now hold hostage the real economy wherein people make money from providing needed or wanted goods and services. The fate of American workers, their pensions and the real businesses that employ them, rests on the globalized dominoes that a teetering Greece could set in motion. This is the craven logic of a global casino economy, driven by split-second computerized algorithms and camouflaged by the phony theory of "free trade" which is really corporate-managed trade.

The U.S. does not need to be shackled by the global corporatists to what may happen in Greece or Spain or Portugal. We should be less dependent on financial economies abroad and more self-reliant and independent of the global economy's dangerously contagious risks. More...

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Bernanke Seen Not Knowing Jobless Rate Less Than Fed Predictions
By Caroline Salas Gage and Steve Matthews
Posted March 19, 2012

bernackeDavid Waldrop, 59, says he considers himself retired after searching unsuccessfully for work comparable to the job he lost in July 2007 at the U.S. Department of Energy in Atlanta. "There was certainly nothing in my area at my level," he said. While the right opening might pull him back to employment, for now he sees his exit from the U.S. labor force as permanent. "I don't see it happening," he said. "I don't see anything offering opportunities."

Waldrop is one of millions who have dropped out of the labor market in the aftermath of the deepest recession since the Great Depression, causing the employment-to-population ratio to fall to 58.6 percent from 62.7 percent at the end of 2007. More...

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The Relationships Between Wall Street, the Fed, and Politicians Are Crumbling
by Graham Summers
Posted March 17, 2012

banker end gameThe relationships that most matter for stocks are those between the Federal Reserve, Wall Street, and the White House. The policy that matters most is the Fed's ability to convince the market that it can and will keep the markets up without letting inflation get out of control.

Regarding the relationships that matter, I've stated for months now that we are going to see them crumble. This process has already begun in the sense that we've seen:

1) Key Wall Street players hiring famed defense attorneys (Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs) in preparation for future litigation.

2) The Fed distancing itself from its responsibility for the Crisis by:
a.Suing Goldman Sachs
b.Opening itself to Q&A sessions and townhall meetings
c.Having "pro Fed" editorials written in the Wall Street Journal
d.Putting the blame for the Crisis and the US's financial weakness on Congress's shoulders

3) Various members of Congress (especially Ron Paul) and GOP Presidential candidates taking aim at the Federal Reserve. More...

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U.S. Economy Extend and Pretend is Coming To An End
by James Quinn
Posted February 29, 2012

Near the end gameThe real world revolves around cash flow. Families across the land understand this basic concept. Cash flows in from wages, investments and these days from the government. Cash flows out for food, gasoline, utilities, cable, cell phones, real estate taxes, income taxes, payroll taxes, clothing, mortgage payments, car payments, insurance payments, medical bills, auto repairs, home repairs, appliances, electronic gadgets, education, alcohol (necessary in this economy) and a countless other everyday expenses. If the outflow exceeds the inflow a family may be able to fund the deficit with credit cards for awhile, but ultimately running a cash flow deficit will result in debt default and loss of your home and assets. Ask the millions of Americans that have experienced this exact outcome since 2008 if you believe this is only a theoretical exercise. The Federal government, Federal Reserve, Wall Street banks, regulatory agencies and commercial real estate debtors have colluded since 2008 to pretend cash flow doesn't matter. Their plan has been to "extend and pretend", praying for an economic recovery that would save them from their greedy and foolish risk taking during the 2003 – 2007 Caligula-like debauchery. More...

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How Greece Could Take Down Wall Street
by Ellen Brown
Posted February 25, 2012

Greece debtCDS are a form of derivative taken out by investors as insurance against default. According to the Comptroller of the Currency, nearly 95% of the banking industry's total exposure to derivatives contracts is held by the nation's five largest banks: JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, HSBC, and Goldman Sachs. The CDS market is unregulated, and there is no requirement that the "insurer" actually have the funds to pay up. CDS are more like bets, and a massive loss at the casino could bring the house down.

Players who have hedged their bets by betting both ways cannot collect on their winning bets; and that means they cannot afford to pay their losing bets, causing other players to also default on their bets. The dominos go down in a cascade of cross-defaults that infects the whole banking industry and jeopardizes the global pyramid scheme. The potential for this sort of nuclear reaction was what prompted billionaire investor Warren Buffett to call derivatives "weapons of financial mass destruction." It is also why the banking system cannot let a major derivatives player—such as Bear Stearns or Lehman Brothers—go down. More...

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Banking on Failure
by Public Citizen Report
Posted February 11, 2012

House of cardsBetting on the misfortune of others has an unsettling quality to it. It just feels wrong. Under our current financial regulatory regime, speculators freely gamble on businesses failing and countries defaulting. In addition to its unseemliness, betting on others' failure poses a grave risk to our financial system. Because these transactions are not transparent and are poorly regulated, we have little idea who is betting against whom or to what extent. This creates uncertainty in the market and proliferates risk. Additionally, betting on others' failure fundamentally changes the nature and purpose of financial markets. In theory, markets are supposed to allocate capital efficiently, benefiting individuals, businesses, and society as a whole. Banking on failure skews incentives such that investors profit when others fail.

CDS are the destabilizing instruments that facilitated the financial meltdown of 2008. At first glance, CDS look like insurance products. But because speculators can use them to profit from and even enable failure, CDS can also be gambling products. More...

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Lessons From MF Global - Is Your Money at Risk?
by Ed Pawelec
Posted January 28, 2012

criminal theft of customer accountsAllegedly, as much as $1.2 billion in customer funds have been "misplaced" which would appear to be clearly against the law. Customer funds are supposedly sacred in the brokerage/bank/etc. business. Should one of these custodians of investor funds go belly up because a proprietary trade (where the firm is supposedly risking its own capital) went wrong, then the customers should not be on the hook.

One of the causes of the MF blow up is related to re-hypothecation. Most brokers and asset managers in the US are allowed to hypothecate and/or re-hypothecate assets held in customer margin accounts. This works similarly to a mortgage. You own your home, but the bank that holds your mortgage has a claim on that asset if you fail to pay. In other words, despite the fact that you are the owner of the asset, the bank has a "hypothetical" claim against that asset through the lien on your house -- thus the term hypothecation. More...

from marketing flyer

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Our Next "Lehman Moment" Is Coming Fast
by Shah Gilani
Posted January 19, 2012

next Lehman coming soonIt's musical chairs, and sooner or later the music is going to stop. Greece looks like it will be the first one standing, or in this case, falling down. Portugal could be next, or Spain, or Italy. Greece has more than $1.26 trillion (1 trillion euros) of public sector debt outstanding. Do you think that a real default isn't going to crush a lot of banks? Wake up. And if you think that Greece defaulting (or even forcing a 50% haircut on private investors, that would be banks, folks) wouldn't spill over into other countries and across the globe... wake up.

Ah, then there's that little downgrade thing that happened on Friday after European markets were closed. Just because the downgrade of the U.S. from AAA to AA+ didn't cause our borrowing costs to rise doesn't mean it isn't going to happen in Euroland.

It will happen. Downgrades will trigger new capital calls as margin requirements will increase to offset the lower quality of collateral, we're talking about the same collateral folks, the same sovereign bonds. It's an increasing pile, make that pyre, and it's going to self-ignite. More...

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Wall Street's Ratings Agencies Undermine Europe's Attempt at Economic Recovery Acting Like Financial Terrorists
by Danny Schechter
Posted January 17, 2012

financial tyrannyWe live in an increasingly degraded country. Our politics are degraded and a laughing stock to the world. Our military is demoralized and degraded with soldiers urinating on dead civilians and awaiting deployment orders for the next illegal intervention. Our education system has been degraded with standards falling and pervasive defunding. Our transportation system, ditto.

I could go on, but I don't have to. We are all living the decline with downward mobility, jobless and foreclosures, to cite a few trends that make life so miserable for so many.

Now, our godlike financial ratings agencies have decided to degrade nine countries struggling to fix their financial crisis. The decision by Standard and Poors (Best renamed, "It is now Standard to Be Poor") to downgrade credit ratings for France, Italy, Austria and six other European countries signals those nations that Wall Street has them by the cojones. Their costs for borrowing will go up.

They are being warned: We are in Charge. Do as we say! More...

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The Mystery and Magic of Money
Marilyn Mehlmann
Posted January 14, 2012

Banks create money our of thin air"Do you know who makes money?" challenges Bernard Lietaer, Belgian professor at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. The answer turns out to be simple. The answer is unexpectedly simple, though it does have a chicken-and-egg quality: Whoever is in power in a society, creates its money. If you want to know who is in power, look for the money-maker.

James Robertson, speaking in London in 2000, points out that the banks have been enjoying a free-lunch table for many years. In three decades there have been 97 bank crashes in the world. That's an average of more than three a year. There's surely a lesson here:
Part One of the lesson is that money is made out of nothing but the trust between you and me and the system.
Part Two of the lesson is also very simple; it's "heads I win, tails you lose". If the banks are successful, they keep the profits. If they fail, the public pays. More...

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Plan to Keep Your Assets Safe From an Out-of-control Government
by Terry Coxon
Posted December 22, 2011

protect your moneyThere is a sense that from here on, anything goes. The politicians will do whatever they find convenient, because there is no longer anything to stop them – not an electorate that is jealous of its freedoms and certainly not the Constitution, which is now just a playhouse for judicial imagineering. No one can know what's coming next from the government and the financial system it has fostered, but for many of us there is an awful suspicion that we are not going to like it.

Most Americans still have yet to stick a single financial toe across the border, but more and more are considering it. Many, perhaps millions of toes are now twitching at the thought. Their owners want to end their absolute dependence on what happens in the US. They want to prepare for whatever is coming down the road, even though they don't know what it will be. They want to be as ready as possible, even though their worries can only guess at what's ahead. More...

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The Fed Grants $7.77 Trillion in Secret Bank Loans
by Dennis Kucinich
Posted December 21, 2011

Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), a longtime advocate for reform of the Federal Reserve, is sharply criticizing the Federal Reserve today after Bloomberg news reported that the Federal Reserve secretly committed nearly $8 trillion in support to American and international financial institutions during the 2008 bailout. Kucinich recorded a video for his website before going to the floor of the House of Representatives to call upon Congress to reclaim its Constitution primacy over monetary policy.

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Lessons for Europe From Argentina:Testing Ground for Engineering Financial Collapse
by Adrian Salbuchi
Posted December 19, 2011

Chase's David RockefellerExactly ten years ago Argentina suffered a full-scale financial and governmental collapse. That was the end-result of over a decade of doing exactly what the IMF, international bankers, rating agencies and global "experts" told us to do.
Argentina's economy all but collapsed; people took to the streets banging pots and pans, screaming and yelling, calling all bankers 'thieves, criminals, crooks, swindlers and robbers' but… the big mega-bank bronze gates all remained tightly shut. No one got their money back.

Clearly, this was a massive banker-orchestrated, government-backed robbery of the assets and savings of 40 million Argentinians.Half our population quickly fell below the poverty line, GDP contracted by almost 40% in 2002, millions lost their jobs, their savings, their homes to foreclosures, their livelihoods and yet… not one single bank folded or collapsed!

So, "Occupy Wall Street" demonstrators, lend me your ears! You haven't got a chance! The global money masters already made their financial war game exercise in Argentina. More...

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Pathogenesis of Central Bank Ruin
by Jim Willie CB
Posted December 16, 2011

Where's the money and silver?Here is the smoking gun. Days after the MF Global bankruptcy was filed, and a vast array of deliveries in silver were expunged. The silver vault inventory tells the story of the crime. JPMorgan simply converted what should have been MF Global client silver into JPM licensed vaults. Review the timeline. MF Global declared bankruptcy on October 31st. About a week later the CME began reporting that 1.4 million ounces of Registered silver was unaccounted for and unavailable for delivery, including 627,182 ounces from non-cartel banks. About 7 to 10 days afterwards, JPMorgan suddenly reported a deposit of 613,738 ounces into Eligible vaults. Exactly seven days later, JPMorgan adjusted this silver into Registered vaults. JPMorgan had not seen one significant silver deposit in months prior to this bountiful day. Great work on the part of the Silver Doctors to decipher the story. The charade continues before the USCongress. They are told of claims that investigators are searching avidly for the missing funds. They know where the funds are, in JPMorgan London accounts. They told us they were avidly looking for Madoff Funds too. They know where those funds are too, in the Land of Yodels. Reckoning is coming.

Big bank failures are coming. Unspeakable debt monetization is coming. Flash events are coming. More vanishing acts for private accounts are coming. Divergence in the gold price is coming that will shut down the COMEX altogether during a parade of lawsuits, but probably not prosecution. National debt defaults are coming. The new 2012 year will prove to be a tumultuous year, will chaos reigning and the global monetary system laid to waste. More...

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The Bankers' New Gold
by Jeff Nielson
Posted December 16, 2011

100 to 1 leveragingIn a fresh sign of bankster desperation, we recently learned that they have pushed lease rates for gold to the lowest, negative level in history – i.e. they are paying people more money to "borrow" their gold than at any other time. We know this is a sign of desperation, because back in the real world, buyers are paying premiums near record-highs to buy their (real) gold.

There are numerous implications regarding this latest bankster tactic to suppress the gold market, but before getting into those let's explore all of the reasons why bankers like "leasing gold" in the first place. The starting point is to note that it is with gold-leasing that we see the beginnings of the banksters' 100:1 leverage in the gold market. More...

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Pulling Back the Curtain on the Wall Street Money Machine
by Ellen Brown
Posted December 9, 2011

Our debt is not sovereignOn November 27, Bloomberg News reported the results of its successful case to force the Federal Reserve to reveal the lending details of its 2008-09 bank bailout. Bloomberg reported that by March 2009, the Fed had committed $7.77 trillion in below-market loans and guarantees to rescuing the financial system; and that these nearly interest-free loans came without strings attached.

We have been distracted here and in Europe by a sudden panic over our "sovereign debt" crises, when the real crisis is that our debt is NOT sovereign. We are indentured to a Wall Street money machine that creates our money and lends it back to us at interest, money our sovereign government could be creating itself, with full democratic oversight and accountability to the people. We have forgotten our roots, when the American colonists thrived on a system of money created by the people themselves, debt-free and interest-free. The continued dominance of the Wall Street money machine depends on that collective amnesia. The fact that this memory is surfacing again may be the machine's greatest threat—and our greatest hope as a nation. More...

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Bank's leaked email admits "Occupy movement could impact our industry"
By David Edwards
Posted December 8, 2011

Occupy foreclosed homesA national effort to reclaim vacant properties has one of the country's largest lenders scrambling.

The financial website Zero Hedge has allegedly obtained a memo from Bank of America's field services operation warning, "We need to make sure we are all prepared."

Vocal New York organizer Sean Barry told Raw Story Tuesday that an action known as "Occupy Our Homes" would place foreclosed and homeless families in otherwise-vacant homes. That effort began Tuesday with over 40 events in more than 20 cities. More...

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One Bank to Rule Them All
by Mike Whitney
Posted December 5, 2011

Banker blackmailSo what does Draghi (head of the European Central Bank) want? He wants his ministers to control national budgets, he wants more money diverted from working people into an over-bloated financial system, he wants his own appointments in positions of power (ie–check Italy and Greece's new "technocratic" governments), he wants to dictate economic policy, he wants to abolish the welfare state and the social safety net, he wants to keep Europe in a permanent state of Depression ("austerity measures") so more of the Euro Zones's wealth flows to the 1 percent at the top.

Take a good look: This is the future of European democracy; one country after another stuffed into a fiscal straitjacket while their public assets are privatized, their unions are crushed, and their sovereignty is surrendered to unelected bankers and eurocrats.

Europe is being handed over to big finance on a silver platter. This isn't a crisis; it's blackmail. More...

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The Fed's 16 Trillion Dollar Bailout of the Too Big To Fail Banks
by Lew Rockwell
Posted December 4, 2011

Biggest Fed borrowerWhat you are about to read should absolutely astound you. During the last financial crisis, the Federal Reserve secretly conducted the biggest bailout in the history of the world, and the Fed fought in court for several years to keep it a secret. Do you remember the TARP bailout? The American people were absolutely outraged that the federal government spent 700 billion dollars bailing out the "too big to fail" banks. Well, that bailout was pocket change compared to what the Federal Reserve did. As you will see documented below, the Federal Reserve actually handed more than 16 trillion dollars in nearly interest-free money to the "too big to fail" banks between 2007 and 2010. So have you heard about this on the nightly news? Probably not.

Not only did the Federal Reserve give 16.1 trillion dollars in nearly interest-free loans to the "too big to fail" banks, the Fed also paid them over 600 million dollars to help run the emergency lending program. According to the GAO, the Federal Reserve shelled out an astounding $659.4 million in "fees" to the very financial institutions which caused the financial crisis in the first place.

In addition, it turns out that trillions of dollars of this bailout money actually went overseas. According to the GAO audit, approximately $3.08 trillion went to foreign banks in Europe and in Asia. More...

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Bailout Bandits: The Biggest Borrowers From the U.S. Federal Reserve
by Money Morning Staff Report
Posted December 2, 2011

Cheap money for banksThe Eurozone debt crisis has replaced the U.S. financial crisis as the disaster du jour. But make no mistake: U.S. taxpayers will be paying the tab for the U.S. crisis for years.

That's evidently not true of the banking sector, however, whose massive financial-crisis windfall is just now coming to light. In its January issue, Bloomberg Markets magazine reveals that - at the March 9, 2009 nadir of the financial crisis - the U.S. Federal Reserve had committed $7.77 trillion to rescuing the American financial system. That total was more than half the value of all that was produced in the U.S. economy for that entire year.

While this was going on however, it was a deep, dark secret. The Fed never let on, for instance, that American banks were in such deep trouble that they required a combined $1.2 trillion on Dec. 8, 2008 - "their neediest day," Bloomberg said.

But here's the best part: Many of the biggest banks have ended up doing great as a result of the central bank's largesse. More...

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Bankers have seized Europe: Goldman Sachs Has Taken Over
by Paul Craig Roberts
Posted November 27, 2011

Goldman SachsIf Germany's creditworthiness is in doubt, how can Germany be expected to bail out other countries? Evidence that Germany's failed bond auction was orchestrated is provided by troubled Italy's successful bond auction two days later.
Strange, isn't it. Italy, the largest EU country that requires a bailout of its debt, can still sell its bonds, but Germany, which requires no bailout and which is expected to bear a disproportionate cost of Italy's, Greece's and Spain's bailout, could not sell its bonds. In my opinion, the failed German bond auction was orchestrated by the US Treasury, by the European Central Bank and EU authorities, and by the private banks that own the troubled sovereign debt.

My opinion is based on the following facts. Goldman Sachs and US banks have guaranteed perhaps one trillion dollars or more of European sovereign debt by selling swaps or insurance against which they have not reserved. The fees the US banks received for guaranteeing the values of European sovereign debt instruments simply went into profits and executive bonuses. This, of course, is what ruined the American insurance giant, AIG, leading to the TARP bailout at US taxpayer expense and Goldman Sachs' enormous profits. More...

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The Hallmark of the Fed is Duplicity, or, What's Risky is Safe
by Rob Kirby
Posted November 26, 2011

Federal Reserve CollusionThe purpose of this paper is to highlight how hegemonic American economic doctrine has infected global economics in creating a surreal plutocratic corporatocracy, or in other words, what's black is white, what's up is down, what's safe is risky, you get the idea!

"President George W. Bush bestowed on his [then] intelligence czar, John Negroponte, broad authority, in the name of national security, to excuse publicly traded companies from their usual accounting and securities-disclosure obligations. Notice of the development came in a brief entry in the Federal Register, dated May 5, 2006, that was opaque to the untrained eye."

What this means folks, if institutions like J.P. Morgan, Goldman or Morgan Stanley are deemed to be integral to U.S. National Security - can be "legally" excused from reporting their true financial condition – including KEEPING TWO SETS OF BOOKS. More...

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The Goldman Rule: Don't Let This Puppet Master Pull Your Strings
by Shah Gilani
Posted November 22, 2011

Goldman SachsLet me start with the nexus of power and money in this country. That nexus resides exactly where Wall Street and Washington intersect. Each serves the other and the middle-class be damned. You see, the "revolving door" metaphor that's so often used to describe the relationship between Wall Street and Washington isn't exactly accurate.

The reality is that there is no revolving door. There are no doors at all. It is more like one giant corridor where all the water cooler talk is about paying for campaigns, paying lobbyists, and paying bonuses. There's a reason why Goldman Sachs is derisively referred to as "Government Sachs." The flow of executives and operatives between Goldman and Washington, and even other world governments and central banks for that matter, is legendary.

I can't point out all the connections - there are simply too many. But I will point out a few that you may not be aware of. More...

Check the article below to see how the financial industry is the top recipient of government subsidies.

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Whirlwind Debt Crisis Ensures Gold $2000 Assured
by Jim Willie CB
Posted November 17, 2011

Bank failuresBarclays has declared that Italy is finished kaput. The next Greek ruin on the plaza square is happening in Rome. The bond market is rejecting Italy loudly. Time has run out on Italy. Watch for France to catch the viral contagion, being a major creditor. The Euro Central Bank is the only buyer of Italian Govt Bonds. They are the focus for action. When Italy erupts, it will spread to Spain first, and then quickly to France as its primary creditor. The nation of Spain is not in the news much at all, but it will be next year, just like Italy with the same type of problems, but compounded by a bigger housing bust. The research staff at Barclays in London has declared that Italy is formally finished and cooked, as they put it "Italy is now mathematically beyond the point of no return." The Greek tragedy has finally struck Italy. Expect violence on the streets of Rome and other cities, an Italian tradition where innocuous brands of communism have splintered roots.

The next PIIGS domino is soon to fall, for certain to take down Spanish Govt Bonds also. The new head of the EuroCB, the resplendent GSax pedigreed Mario Draghi, must cover the debt or watch the European Monetary Union crumble in a sea of fire. The central bank must make overt commitments of magnitude. If the crumble happens upon inaction, expect 20 Lehman events with numerous bank failures, starting with France. The conflagration would extend to London and New York.

The entire system is collapsing without potential remedy unless all major banks are liquidated, and that will never happen. They house the political power center, and the bond fraud laboratories. At the heart of the vulnerability is the fractional banking system itself. Insolvency arrives quickly and only worsens until a run occurs. Then comes rampant bank failures. More...

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The 1% are the very best destroyers of wealth
by George Monbiot
Posted November 12, 2011

Wealth concentrationIf wealth was the inevitable result of hard work and enterprise, every woman in Africa would be a millionaire. The claims that the ultra-rich 1% make for themselves – that they are possessed of unique intelligence or creativity or drive – are examples of the self-attribution fallacy. This means crediting yourself with outcomes for which you weren't responsible. Many of those who are rich today got there because they were able to capture certain jobs. This capture owes less to talent and intelligence than to a combination of the ruthless exploitation of others and accidents of birth, as such jobs are taken disproportionately by people born in certain places and into certain classes.

The findings of the psychologist Daniel Kahneman, winner of a Nobel economics prize, are devastating to the beliefs that financial high-fliers entertain about themselves. He discovered that their apparent success is a cognitive illusion. More...

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The Continuing Zombification of the US Economy
by Bill Bonner
Posted November 9, 2011

Parasites on the economyWe have been exploring the zombification of the US economy. Major industries – finance, health, education and defense – have been taken over by zombies, parasites whose real interest is to transfer wealth to themselves, from the part of the economy that remains productive.

As the economy becomes more zombified, the part of it dominated by these non-productive industries increases, leaving fewer resources for the productive part. And as the productive part weakens, so does the entire economy's ability to produce real wealth, or grow its way out of debt. More...

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Time to turn outrage over bank fees toward entire financial industry
by Tom Petruno
Posted November 6, 2011

POlice arrestPopular outrage forced Bank of America Corp. to drop the idea of a $5-a-month debit card fee. Now imagine what that outrage could achieve if it were let loose across the financial industry.

How many mutual funds, if faced with that kind of people-power backlash, could justify the management and marketing fees they're charging investors?

How many banks would find their deposits running out the door if savers really took the time to shop around for the best rates?

How many company 401(k) retirement savings plans would offer better investment choices if workers took an active role in monitoring the plans and agitating for improvements?

None of this is easy — certainly not as easy as posting an angry comment on a blog trashing BofA. But the potential savings or added income for investors, savers and borrowers could far exceed the $60 a year that BofA would have siphoned away with the debit card fee. "Far too many consumers are sloppy with their finances," says Greg McBride, senior analyst at Bankrate.com. More...

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The Pentagon's Planet of Bases
by Nick Turse
Posted November 1, 2011

nerve center for the American empireThere are more than 1,000 US military bases dotting the globe. To be specific, the most accurate count is 1,077. Unless it's 1,088. Or, if you count differently, 1,169. Or even 1,180. Actually, the number might even be higher. Nobody knows for sure.

In a recent op-ed piece, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof made a trenchant point: "The United States maintains troops at more than 560 bases and other sites abroad, many of them a legacy of a world war that ended 65 years ago. Do we fear that if we pull our bases from Germany, Russia might invade?"

The empire of bases, while still at or close to its height, is destined to shrink. The military is going to have to scale back its foreign footholds and lessen its global footprint in the years ahead. Economic realities will necessitate that. The choices the Pentagon makes today will likely determine on what terms its garrisons come home tomorrow. At the moment, they can still choose whether coming home will look like an act of magnanimous good statesmanship or inglorious retreat. More...

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The Need For Monetary Reform
by American Monetary Institute
Posted October 12, 2011

privately created moneyMonetary reform is the critical missing element needed to move humanity back from the brink of economic destruction and nuclear disaster, away from a future dominated by fraud, ugliness and warfare, toward a world of justice and beauty.

Thus the money issuing power should never be alienated from democratically elected government and placed ambiguously into private hands as it is in America in the Federal Reserve System today. Indeed, most people would be surprised to learn that the bulk of our money supply is not created by our government, but by private banks when they make loans. Through the Fed's fractional reserve process the system creates "money" when banks make loans into accounts; so most of our money is issued as interest-bearing debt. More...

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US Corporations Moving to Offshore Tax Havens
by Bob Chapman
Posted September 22, 2011

Off shore tax havensOne of the greatest detriments to job creation in the US is the overseas income deferral law. This unbelievable gift to transnational corporations is at the heart of free trade, globalization, offshoring and outsourcing. Presently these corporations are sitting on $2.2 trillion in untaxed profits, which is costing the American taxpayer almost $800 billion in lost tax revenue if like in 2006 they are allowed to bring the funds back at 5-1/4% taxation. Those conglomerates want to bring those funds back into the US tax free, which means $1 trillion in lost taxes, taking advantage of the current financial situation in the US.

Five years ago Congress passed legislation allowing $350 billion to be returned to the US at 5-1/4% taxation, not the normal 35%, because these corporations said they would use the funds to create jobs. Very few jobs were created and a large part of the funds were used to purchase company stock, which rose in value, allowing the officers of these corporations to sell stock from options and make billions of dollars in profit for themselves. These are the same corporations that have been responsible for the loss of 11.7 million jobs, the loss of good paying jobs 450,000 American companies and the loss of hundreds of billions of dollars in tax revenue. These corporations are responsible for the heart of American manufacturing being ripped out of America. It over time has spread as well into service and professional industries. More...

The combined deficits of all 50 states is $250 billion. These untaxed profits could cover these deficits more than 3 times over.

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When using cash is better than credit
by Jeanette Pavini
Posted September 7, 2011

bad credit card relationship?So the question is, do we turn over less of our money if we pay in cash as opposed to using plastic? And why?

MIT researchers found that people spend more if they are in a setting where they are able to use credit cards. Catherine Tucker, a professor at MIT Sloan School of Management, said, "I think the question is not whether consumers have a healthy relationship with cash, but whether they have an unhealthy relationship with credit cards." More...

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Full-Blown Civil War Erupts On Wall Street
by David DeGraw
Posted September 4, 2011

Wall Street civil warAs reality finally hits the financial elite, they start turning on each other. Finally, after trillions in fraudulent activity, trillions in bailouts, trillions in printed money, billions in political bribing and billions in bonuses, the criminal cartel members on Wall Street are beginning to get what they deserve. As the Eurozone is coming apart at the seams and as the US economy grinds to a halt, the financial elite are starting to turn on each other. The lawsuits are piling up fast.

We need to keep in mind that the Federal Reserve has known about all of this criminal activity from the start. Yet, they have done everything they could, and are still trying, to keep this criminal operation up and running. As all these criminal banks begin to blow up, let's not forget who their central bank is and what they have done to the American people. More...

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9 Trillion Dollars Missing from Federal Reserve
by Global Research TV
Posted August 30, 2011

Rep. Alan Grayson asks the Federal Reserve Inspector General about the trillions of dollars lent or spent by the Federal Reserve and where it went, and the trillions of off balance sheet obligations. Inspector General Elizabeth Coleman responds that the IG does not know and is not tracking where this money is.

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Big Banks Bonus Bonanza
Posted August 19, 2011

Banker bonusesWall Street is at it again in 2010, after paying out all-time record bonuses last year. The top six banks alone are on track to pay out $143 billion in bonuses and compensation this year, more than enough money to fill the entire $130 billion budget gap for every state in the country for FY 2011. $143 billion could create 3.6 million jobs if pumped directly into the economy. With just half of the money, the banks could reset the principals and interest rates on all underwater mortgages in the country to market rates, pumping $73 billion into the national economy.

Moreover, the $73 billion it would take to reset all underwater homeowners' principals and interest rates would be about half of the $143 billion the top six banks alone are getting ready to pay in 2010 in bonuses and compensation. Even if the top six banks were to absorb the full cost of modifying all underwater mortgages in the country, they would still have $70 billion left for bonuses and compensation. Instead of taking home $12.6 million like he did last year, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon would take home $6.1 million. He would still be one of the highest paid men in America. More...

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The Next Financial Crisis Will Be Hellish, And It's On Its Way
by Addison Wiggin
Posted August 5, 2011

Bernacke & Volkner"There is definitely going to be another financial crisis around the corner," says hedge fund legend Mark Mobius, "because we haven't solved any of the things that caused the previous crisis." We're raising our alert status for the next financial crisis. We already raised it last week after spreads on U.S. credit default swaps started blowing out. We raised it again after seeing the remarks of Mr. Mobius, chief of the $50 billion emerging markets desk at Templeton Asset Management.

Speaking in Tokyo, he pointed to derivatives, the financial hairball of futures, options, and swaps in which nearly all the world's major banks are tangled up. More...

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How Deep is the Global Economic Rabbit Hole?
by Greg B. Tomlinson
Posted August 2, 2011

How deep is the rabbit hole?Quite simply, the world's debt hole is deeper than any reasonable person can comprehend. It is difficult to define, and it is not terribly easy to write about - really it's more of a concept than something that you can actually sink your teeth into. You won't see an abundance of stories or editorials on this topic; in fact the financial media avoids the global debt situation like the plague for good reason. Sure, they talk about chunks of it, but almost never in total. However, with your indulgence, it is the purpose of this piece to bring us all a bit closer to not just understanding how dangerous things have become to all of us personally, but more importantly to frame the problem in terms of history and scale.

The economy is acting like a beloved plant you neglected and are now trying to bring back. What you don't know is that you killed 90% of the roots because you are deceived by a green shoot or two. You wake with the realization that your only real choice is to remove all the dead, repot it and prune it back to only what the remaining roots can support. Or you can be like the world's governments and economic leaders – flood it with water, fertilizer and sunlight then curse your "stupid" plant for being such an unappreciative slacker. More...

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What An American Bank Run Would Look Like
by Tyler Durden
Posted July 26, 2011

British Bank RunTechnically the title of this post is wrong: the truth is that nobody could possibly know or predict what a bank run would looks like in details suffice to say that it would have terminal and devastating results on the global economy. One needs only remember what happened when the Reserve Fund broke the buck and the $3 billion money market industry was at risk of unwinding (for those who do not, Paul Kanjorski does a good summary here).

The truth is that should there be a D-Day in the American banking system and there is a global scramble for physical paper (ignore gold) the conversion ratio for binary dollars into hard ones could be as high as 30 to 1. Which begs the question: should one apply a 90% discount when evaluating their electronic dollar exposure? That, and many other questions too. More...

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Imperial Decline: Multi-Billion-Dollar Terrorists and the Disappearing Middle Class
by Prof. James Petras
Posted July 21, 2011

The empire crumblesIt is absurd to believe that the Pentagon and White House would spend $10 billion a month just to hunt down a handful of terrorists ensconced in the mountains of Afghanistan . So what is the war in Afghanistan about? The Taliban have never engaged in any terrorist act against the territorial United States or its overseas presence. The Taliban have always maintained their fight was for the expulsion of foreign forces occupying Afghanistan . Hence the Taliban is not part of any "international terrorist network". If the US war in Afghanistan is not about defeating terrorism, then why the massive expenditure of funds and manpower for over a decade?

The crumbling empire has depleted the US treasury. As the Congress and White House fight over raising the debt ceiling, the cost of war aggressively erodes any possibility of maintaining stable living standards for the American middle and working classes and heightens growing inequalities between the top 1% and the rest of the American people. Imperial wars are based on the pillage of the US treasury. The imperial state has, via extraordinary tax exemptions, concentrated wealth in the hands of the super-rich while the middle and working classes have been pushed downward, as only low paid jobs are available. More...

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Armada of Black Swans Hitting U.S. Economy and Financial Markets
by Jim Willie CB
Posted July 21, 2011

Over the economic edgeThe term Black Swan, generally it refers to the extreme oddity that passes through view, shows up on the radar, the extreme warning signal being dire, but is largely ignored by the masses, regarded as the exception or outlier event. THE BLACK SWAN HAS BECOME THE NATIONAL BIRD!! When a few black swans appear, the alert analysts pay heed and express their warnings. When an armada of black swans appear, the message is clear. A systemic failure is in progress, and the important foundations are crumbling.

Consider the following black swan specimens, each of which is astounding, each alarming, each serving as one more added element to the ruined situation. The swan organization is admittedly rough, but the regiments are put in sensible order. Any small handful of these signals would qualify as forewarning a profound crisis. Not anymore, since crisis is the new normal. Not anymore, since black swans adorn the entire landscape. A healthy white swan gradually suffers from toxic exposure, quickly to turn black from a putrefaction process. Apologies for overlooking at least a dozen other important other black swans, as time and space did not permit the exhaustive catalogue process. Emphasis was given to the United States ponds and its migratory bird population. More...

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Global Economic Crisis: Finance Is the New Mode of Warfare
by Michael Hudson
Posted July 18, 2011

Financial class warfareCutbacks in federal spending mean that the states can't cover their own budgets – and their constitutions prevent many from running deficits. It looks like there will be little federal revenue to share with Minnesota or Wisconsin or the city of Chicago.They're going to have to sell their roads and streets, sell their infrastructure and their public utilities, sell off whatever business enterprises they have that can bring in credit. These assets themselves will be sold on credit, to buyers who then will "expense" their profits as tax-deductible interest. So governments will not get the potential user fees that result from putting up parking meters on their sidewalks, tollbooths on their roads and other rent extraction facilities on their other assets. The financial sector will take all this.

The federal government may also become a seller.It has the Postal Service, and already is privatizing its army to private contractors.Newspapers have joked about Greece selling its Parthenon and other tourist sites. Imagine the U.S. Government selling its national parks and forests – to buyers who borrow the money from the banks. This would let the banks "earn their way out of debt" by creating a huge new market for them in privatizing and cutting up what used to be the public domain. It will end up in the hands of the wealthiest 10 percent of the population.

In this respect the class war is back in business.We're going into a depression that is unnecessary – except to drive down wage levels and strip away government obligations to pay for Social Security, Medicare and other public programs. More...

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A Financial Permanent Crisis
by Andy Sutton
Posted July 9, 2011

permanent financial crisisAs the financial world breathed a collective sigh of relief as the Greek Parliament voted to impose further austerity measures on the people of Greece, I wondered aloud to no one in particular how many times we'd have to see this movie before people finally realize that this crisis is a permanent one.

There are many analogies that we could use to illustrate what has gone on, but probably the best is a trauma patient coming into the hospital with a severed carotid artery. Instead of performing surgery and repairing the wound, doctors throw the unlucky fellow on a gurney with a piece of gauze taped over the incision. Every so often they check back in, throw another piece of gauze on it and walk out, never fixing the problem. That is precisely what is going on with regards to the Eurozone mess. And America's too. Lots of tape and gauze with precious little in the way of real solutions has been the norm for quite some time now and there is no reason to think that this will change unless it is out of dire necessity. More...

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The Great Misdiagnosis of the U.S. Economy, Problem is Insolvency Not Liquidity
by Jim Willie CB
Posted July 2, 2011

insolvencyIn the last three years, at least 100 direct questions have come to my INBOX or telephone, asking what solution might come. My answer has been consistent, that no solution is even pursued. The objective is not remedy, but rather retained power by the banksters. Any meaningful remedy must begin with a foundation of liquidated failed insolvent big US banks. That will never happen, since they hold the power over the USGovt and control the USDollar printing press. We are witnessing moral hazard over the top, the acceptance of the most dangerous risk. The entire concept of Too Big To Fail for banks ensures no serious attempt to deal with the problems, no meaningful policy to encourage recovery, and a sinking toward systemic failure. The business model leads always to a climax of ruin.

The national implosion, disintegration, and ruin of Greece is in full view. The plight of the United States debt situation is 100 times worse than Greece. The people of Athens are angry, with focus of their anger on the duplicitous and corrupted politicians who favor the bankers and yield to their demands. The people of the United States are angry but less perceptive. They still believe the mean nasty oil producers are lifting gasoline prices, still believe mean nasty speculators are lifting food prices, still believe mean nasty Chinese are lifting import prices, but have clearly come to believe that mean nasty bankers are illegally foreclosing on their homes. The intentional poor education on economic and financial matters has left the American public as mere cannon fodder on the financial battle field. More...

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Seven reasons to avoid Wall Street 'protection rackets'
by Brett Arends
Posted July 2, 2011

protection racketA "protection racket" is where a group of people puts you at risk of disaster and then generously offers to sell you protection against that very risk, usually at a very high price.

Now hold that definition in mind while you contemplate the fact that Wall Street is trying to sell you insurance against another financial crisis.

According to a front-page report in the New York Times , Wall Street banks and hedge funds are raising billions by selling "tail risk" or "black swan" funds that will keep you solvent, in case some unnamed reckless greedheads somehow crash the markets like they did back in 2008.

You couldn't make it up. It's like the town pyromaniac going door to door selling fire insurance. More...

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The American Empire Hangs in the Balance as the ghosts of Roman Emperors Whisper
by James Quinn
Posted June 25, 2011

Collapse of RomeThe talking points of the super rich, which are pounded into the brains of slumbering Americans, are they pay all the taxes, create all the jobs, create all the wealth, and drive innovation. The facts say otherwise. The super rich aren't creators, they are destroyers. The top 0.1% richest Americans didn't get rich by creating new companies and letting their entrepreneurial talents shine. These 152,000 people, with an average income of $5.6 million per year are overwhelmingly executives at large corporations, banks, law firms, and real estate firms. These people account for 68% of the richest of the rich. Entrepreneurial creators and producers account for less than 10% of the richest Americans. The executives that make up the 68% are masters of creating debt, wealth for themselves by peddling debt to the middle class, and creating jobs in China and India by outsourcing U.S. jobs.

The average income of the 137 million people that sit at the bottom of the income pyramid has declined by 1% since 1970. The people at the top of the pyramid saw their average income rise by 385%. Was this because they worked harder? No. It was because they used their existing wealth to buy politicians and pay lobbyists to write laws, create loopholes, reduce regulations, and alter the tax code in their favor. This was not a conspiracy. It was human nature. Humans are driven by greed and fear. Lusting for power and wealth is a common human frailty. Those who are able to acquire wealth and power through their superior abilities and intellect are usually driven individuals. It is built into their DNA to seek more wealth and power. More.

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Why jobs keep vanishing
by Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele
Posted June 19, 2011

Our biggest export, JOBSGenerations of politicians from both parties have failed to stem the country's rising trade deficit. That's the real reason jobs keep disappearing and workers' living standards keep dropping. Washington is obsessed with the budget deficit. It's all that lawmakers can talk about. The hysteria is such that they can't even agree on raising the ceiling on the national debt.

There's only one problem: Congress is wrought up over the wrong deficit. The real deficit issue that has been out of control for 35 years is the trade deficit. That's the one that has decimated the American workforce, blocked the creation of millions of jobs, created millions more jobs for people in other countries, triggered pay cuts for millions of workers who still have jobs in the United States, and generally lowered the standard of living for many at the bottom and in the middle of the economic pile. Those at the top have flourished quite nicely under this policy. More...

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Hyperinflation Special Report (2011)
by ShadowStats
Posted June 18, 2011

dollar collapseThe U.S. economic and systemic-solvency crises of the last four years only have been precursors to the coming Great Collapse: a hyperinflationary great depression. Such will encompass a complete collapse in the purchasing power of the U.S. dollar; a collapse in the normal stream of U.S. commercial and economic activity; a collapse in the U.S. financial system as we know it; and a likely realignment of the U.S. political environment. Outside timing on the hyperinflation remains 2014, but there is strong risk of the currency catastrophe beginning to unfold in the months ahead. It may be starting to unfold as we go to press in March 2011, but moving into a full blown hyperinflation could take months to a year, beyond the onset, depending on the developing global view of the dollar and reactions of the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve.

With no viable or politically-practical way of balancing U.S. fiscal conditions and avoiding this financial economic Armageddon, the best that individuals can do at this point is to protect themselves, both as to meeting short-range survival needs as well as to preserving current wealth and assets over the longer term. Efforts there, respectively, would encompass building a store of key consumables, such as food and water, and moving assets into physical precious metals and outside of the U.S. dollar. More...

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A Beginners Guide to Shadow Banking, Financial Crisis and Repo
by Mike Whitney
Posted June 14, 2011

BernackeWhat if I told you that the financial crisis could be explained in just two words? Would you believe me?

It's true, and oddly enough, neither of the words is "subprime". So, what are the words? ----Bank run.

The financial crisis was actually a run on the banking system. Only it wasn't a run in the usual sense of the word where jittery depositors line up on the street waiting to withdraw their savings, but a run on the shadow banking system where traditional banks get their funding via short-term loans in what's called the "repo market". (short for "repurchase agreement") The shadow banking system has become a critical part of the infrastructure of the modern financial system. It provides a way for banks to move credit risk off their balance sheets, thus reducing the amount of capital they need to support their operations. The banks argue that this new system has made credit cheaper for borrowers which, in turn, generates more activity and growth in the economy. But, of course, the risks are much greater too, as we can see from trillions of dollars that were lost following the meltdown of 2008. These risks cannot be contained as long as shadow banks remain unregulated. More...

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The Rich Are Destroying the Economy
by Shamus Cooke
Posted June 13, 2011

Wealthy killing economyEver since the Great Recession shook the foundations of the U.S. economy, President Obama has been promising recovery. Evidence of this recovery, we were told, was manifested in the massive post-bailout profits corporations made. Soon enough, the President assured us, these corporations would tire of hoarding mountains of cash and start a hiring bonanza, followed by raising wages and benefits. It was either wishful thinking or conscious deception. The recent stock market meltdown has squashed any hope of a corporate-led recovery.

The Democrats fought the recession by the same methods the Republicans used to create it: allowing the super rich to recklessly dominate the economy while giving them massive handouts. This strategy, commonly referred to as Reaganomics or Trickle Down Economics, is now religion to both Democrats and Republicans; never mind the staged in-fighting for the gullible or complicit media. More...

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Gold, The Real Reason for the Fall of Dominique Strauss-Kahn
by Andrew McKillop
Posted June 13, 2011

Gold bullionGermany is therefore always interested in buying gold, especially at a low price, which the IMF is unquely placed to facilitate and organize. Methods used by the IMF feature the issuance - or printing - of its own near-money Special Drawing Rights, and the swapping of these for central bank gold from "assisted countries". The aided country will, through IMF magic, report an increase - not a decrease - in its central bank holdings despite the physical gold being transported out of the country. The official logic is that raised amounts of theoretical-only gold in its central banks vaults will stem speculation against the national currency, as part of the economic healing process. When this produces new economic strength, the central bank can buy back the gold it swapped for SDRs, using these to exchange for dollars, euro, yen, British pounds or Swiss Francs and cover its trade deficit crisis, budget crisis, or other transitional economic stress during "IMF adjustment". More...

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U.S. Hurtles Toward System Failure
by Jim Willie
Posted June 10, 20
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systemic failureThe combination of $trillion bond fraud, dependence on inflating home equity for economic development, oversized cars, oil dependence, constant market intervention, insolvent banks, insolvent homes, outsourced industry, endless war, budget deadlock amidst runaway deficits, raided US gold treasury, mammoth future benefit obligations, and handing over the keys at USDept Treasury to Goldman Sachs has left the United States to fend off systemic failure. The creeping price inflation that stems from USFed hyper monetary inflation and total ignorance on basics of capitalism like business formation have left the US vulnerable to disorder and chaos. The chaos in fact grows with the passage of time and the ruin of money, against a background of a cruel middle class squeeze. With one citizen in seven on food stamps and over 22% of the population jobless, the sunset of the American Empire is well along. The banker oligarchs are gradually killing the nation, its democracy, and its wealth engines during a sustained strangulation process.

This paragraph should be read twice: One should constantly remember that no solution to the financial crisis has been installed, nothing fixed, no big banks liquidated, no end to monetary inflation, no end to outsized USGovt deficits, no change of Goldman Sachs running the USGovt finance ministry, no discharge of big bank home inventory, no end to secretive subterranean support of stocks and bonds, no revival of the housing market, no return of US industry from Asia, no prosecution of Wall Street for multi-$trillion bond fraud, no end to money laundering of narco funds to Wall Street banks, no interruption to the endless costly wars, no end to the propaganda obediently pumped out by the US press & media networks. Nothing has changed except that some commodities are lower in price, including the queen Silver. More...

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Nearly Half Of America Says U.S. Nearing Great Depression
CNN Poll
Posted June 10, 2011

Economic fatalismSome economists might be worried about a double-dip recession, but a large number of Americans have an even worse scenario in mind.

Approximately 48 percent of Americans say they think that a Great Depression is either very or somewhat likely to occur within the year, according to a CNN Opinion Research Poll, the highest percentage of respondents that have stated that level of certainty since CNN first started asking the question in October 2008.

The high percentage of Americans that say they believe that there will be an economic depression should raise alarm bells in and of itself, says CNN polling director Keating Holling. "That's not just economic pessimism," Holling told CNN, reflecting on the polling results, "that's economic fatalism." More...

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Why Washington Isn't Doing Squat About Jobs and Wages
by Robert Reich
Posted June 8, 2011

unemployedThe silence is deafening. While the rest of the nation is heading back toward a double dip, Washington continues to obsess about future budget deficits. Why?

Republicans don't want to do anything about jobs and wages. They're so intent on unseating Obama they'd like the economy to remain in the dumps through Election Day. They also see the lousy economy as an opportunity to sell Americans their big lie that government spending is the culprit — and jobs will return if spending is cut and government shrinks.

Democrats, meanwhile, don't want to admit the recovery has stalled. They worry such talk will further undermine consumer confidence or spook the bond market. They don't want to head into the election year sounding downbeat. And they don't think they have the votes for anything that will have much effect before Election Day anyway.

But there's a third reason for Washington's inaction. It's not being talked about — which is itself evidence of the problem. More...

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Offshoring Has Destroyed the Economy
by Paul Craig Roberts
Posted June 2, 2011

Offshored jobsFor a decade I have warned that US corporations, pressed by Wall Street and large retailers such as Wal-Mart, to move offshore their production for US consumer markets, were simultaneously moving offshore US GDP, US tax base, US consumer income, and irreplaceable career opportunities for American citizens.

Among the serious consequences of offshoring are the dismantling of the ladders of upward mobility that made the US an "opportunity society," an extraordinary worsening of the income distribution, and large trade and federal budget deficits that cannot be closed by normal means. These deficits now threaten the US dollar's role as world reserve currency. More...

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The American Manufacturing Crisis and Why it Matters
by Ian Fletcher
Posted May 28, 2011

Manufacturing in troubleDespite the denial chorus of the same politicians, financiers, and economists who told us prior to 2008 that our financial sector was fine, the American public is increasingly aware of the truth: American manufacturing is in a state of deep crisis.

When technological advances take place in the foreign industry, manufacturing is frequently located in that country to be near the source of the R&D. The issue of co-location of R&D and manufacturing is especially important because it means the value-added from both R&D and manufacturing will accrue to the innovating economy, at least when the technology is in its formative stages. Thus, an economy that initially controls both R&D and manufacturing can lose the value-added first from manufacturing and then R&D in the current technology life cycle—and then first R&D followed by manufacturing in the subsequent technology life cycle.

It is no accident that 90 percent of electronics research and development now takes place in Asia, hardly boding well for America's future in an industry we dominated as recently as the early 1970s. More...

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The Federal Reserve Destroying the U.S. Empire, A Fistful of Dollars
by James Quinn
Posted May 5, 2011

Fistful of dollarsIt is not easy to destroy the greatest empire in the history of mankind. The 20th Century was the American Century, but as with all empires, the combination of hubris, monetary debasement, imperial overreach and delusional overconfidence have set in motion the inevitable downfall of the American Empire. Without Federal Reserve intervention in the financial markets since September 2008, the biggest banks in the world would have entered bankruptcy liquidation. The U.S. economy would have experienced a 10% to 20% fall in GDP. The unemployment rate would have soared above 15%. The stock market would have fallen 70%. Wealthy bondholders and stockholders would have seen their wealth cut in half. Incumbent politicians would have all been thrown out of office. The richest Americans, constituting the ruling class, would have borne the brunt of the pain.

When this toxic brew of fraud and debt exploded in their faces, the value of the assets on their books plunged by 30% to 40% in 2008 and 2009. The 10 biggest financial institutions in the country were effectively bankrupt. An orderly bankruptcy liquidation that wiped out the bondholders, stockholders and top executives was the solution to excessive risk taking and failure.

This was an unacceptable solution to the billionaire class that owns half the financial wealth in the country. The President was a multi-millionaire. The Treasury Secretary was a billionaire. There were 250 millionaires in Congress. The top executives of the banks that own and control the Federal Reserve are multi-millionaires. The owners and talking head pundits of the mainstream media are all in the billionaire/millionaire class. The cover story used to bilk $700 billion from middle class taxpayers into the coffers of Wall Street mega-banks was that if we didn't hand over the loot, the financial system would collapse and a Great Depression would ensue. More...

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Money and The Truth about America
by John Kozy
Posted May 1, 2011

America and moneySupplying people with needed products or services is not any vendor's goal; extracting profit is. That's why bankers won't accept the furniture mentioned in the first paragraph of this piece as collateral. Furthermore the entire American commercial code centralizes this purpose and protects the rights of vendors to engage in it. That's why in a commercial bankruptcy, the bankrupt company's assets go first to commercial and last to human creditors. It's why companies can sell you products that don't work but you can't buy products with checks that don't work. You can't even buy products that don't work with checks that don't work. It's why the Fed exists and why bankers and companies get bailouts but people don't. It's also why no banker will ever go to jail for the fraud committed in the housing collapse and the foreclosure scandals. What most people view as fraudulent activity is, in fact, what America does, and what America does is done for the sake of money, not for the sake of people. It's why the maxim is let the buyer, not the vendor, beware. But if the economy were designed equitably, no one would need to beware. Buyers are told to beware because even the legal system recognizes that the economy cheats. In fact, if questioning the practices of bankers were allowed, the entire basis of the "American way of life" would be called into question, and the legal system cannot allow it. More...

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10 Doomsday trends America can't survive
by Paul B. Farrell
Posted April 20, 2011

Economic collapseWe are past the point of no return, thanks to the Super-Rich. Yes, Super-Rich Capitalists will fight to the death. But destiny is trapped in our DNA, historians warn, and will not change. America is run by these short-term thinkers. They never learn the lessons of history. They do not want you to know that their capitalism is self-destructive, that capitalism's cycle is in a suicidal end game, that their "mutant capitalism," as Bogle calls it, is destroying the very soul of America's democracy.

Capitalism has become a religion for the Super Rich, with many such "saviors." Heresies must be denied, such as this one: Doomsday Capitalism is destroying America from within. Here are highlights, with links to a few of the earlier hundred columns on topic. Ten macro trends building to a perfect storm, a critical mass, a flash point: more...

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Sounds of Resistance
by Rudy Avizius
Posted April 20, 2011

Flag lapel "patriot"2 out of 3 corporations pay no federal taxes. Some of the biggest tax evaders include Exxon, Verizon, Bank of America, Boeing, CitiGroup, among others. These corporate executives sit there with their "patriotic" flags on their lapels, while they scheme how to avoid paying their fair share of taxes, cut deals to ship American jobs overseas, and setup tax havens in the Caribbean. Is it any wonder that the rest of the country is mired in this economic misery while they prosper?

We don't have a budget crisis in Washington. We have a MORAL CRISIS. When Congress can seriously debate forcing veterans into homelessness, cutting early childhood education, Pell grants for our students, heating assistance for the elderly, and cutting food aid to pregnant women and children, while giving tax breaks to billionaires and large corporations, something is very, very wrong.

If these corporations paid their share, we would not need to be cutting these programs. So on Friday April 15, 2011 hundreds of people met at Union Square Park in New York to protest this fact. This event was called the Sounds of Resistance and the target was Bank of America. While this bank received $billions in taxpayer funds, it made $billions in profits, it was busy foreclosing on millions of homeowners, all while working very hard to create over a hundred foreign tax havens to avoid paying taxes on their profits.

Click here for video on YouTube site.

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Big U.S. Firms Shift Hiring Abroad
by David Wessel
Posted April 20, 2011

Our biggest export.... jobs!U.S. multinational corporations, the big brand-name companies that employ a fifth of all American workers, have been hiring abroad while cutting back at home, sharpening the debate over globalization's effect on the U.S. economy.

The companies cut their work forces in the U.S. by 2.9 million during the 2000s while increasing employment overseas by 2.4 million, new data from the U.S. Commerce Department show. That's a big switch from the 1990s, when they added jobs everywhere: 4.4 million in the U.S. and 2.7 million abroad.

The growth of their overseas work forces is a sensitive point for U.S. companies. Many of them don't disclose how many of their workers are abroad. And some who do won't talk about it. More...

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American Workers Got What They Deserved
by Ray Buursma
Posted April 1, 2011

PropogandaAre you an American employee? If so, today's column will likely offend you. If you'd rather not be offended, read no further. If you continue and then complain, I'm sorry, but that simply proves you're, well, stupid. But then again, stupidity plays a large role in today's topic.

Still reading? OK. You've had fair warning.

So you're an American employee. Maybe you make car parts. Maybe you're an engineer or designer. Maybe you're an accountant, store clerk or tradesman. Whatever you do, you're probably stupid or lazy. Yes, I wrote it, and I mean it. You are either stupid or lazy. Maybe both. More...

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Extend and Pretend is Wall Street Banks Friend
by James Quinn
Posted April 1, 2011

Bailout the Billionaire$The storyline that has been sold to the public by the Federal government, Wall Street, and the corporate mainstream media over the last two years is the economy is recovering and the banking system has recovered from its near death experience in 2008. Wall Street profits in 2009 & 2010 totaled approximately $80 billion. The stock market has risen almost 100% since the March 2009 lows. Wall Street CEOs were so impressed by this fantastic performance they dished out $43 billion in bonuses over the two year period to their thousands of Harvard MBA paper pushers. It is amazing that an industry that was effectively insolvent in October 2008 has made such a spectacular miraculous recovery. The truth is recovery is simple when you control the politicians and regulators, and own the organization that prints the money.

It should warm your heart to know that Financial Profits have amazingly reached their pre-crash highs. All it took was the Federal Reserve taking $1.3 trillion of bad loans off their books, overstating the value of their remaining loans by 40%, borrowing money from the Fed at 0%, relying on the Bernanke Put so their trading operations could gamble without fear of losses, and lastly by pretending their future losses will be lower and relieving their loan loss reserves. The banking industry didn't need to do any of that stodgy old school stuff like make loans to small businesses. Extending and pretending is much more profitable.

The big four of JP Morgan, Citigroup, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo should have undergone orderly bankruptcy liquidation in 2008. They took on a vast amount of leverage and a vast amount of risk. Their greedy bets went bad. In a true capitalist system, they would have failed. Instead, in our crony capitalist system, they were bailed out by taxpayers and continue to function as zombie banks pretending to be healthy. More...

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Globalists Target 100% State Owned Central Bank of Libya
by Patrick Henningsen
Posted March 31, 2011

Globalist takepver target?One seldom mentioned fact by western politicians and media pundits: the Central Bank of Libya is 100% State Owned. The world's globalist financiers and market manipulators do not like it and would continue to their on-going effort to dethrone Muammar Muhammad al-Gaddafi, bringing an end to Libya as independent nation.

Currently, the Libyan government creates its own money,the Libyan Dinar, through the facilities of its own central bank. Few can argue that Libya is a sovereign nation with its own great resources, able to sustain its own economic destiny. One major problem for globalist banking cartels is that in order to do business with Libya, they must go through the Libyan Central Bank and its national currency, a place where they have absolutely zero dominion or power-broking ability.

When the smoke eventually clears from all the cruise missiles and cluster bombs, you will see the Allied reformers move in to reform Libya's monetary system, pumping it full of worthless dollars, priming it for a series of chaotic inflationary cycles.

Libya also holds more bullion as a proportion of gross domestic product than any country except Lebanon, according to the London-based World Gold Council using January data from the International Monetary Fund. Will this gold remain in Libya once Allied forces have taken control of Tripoli, or will it lost, or exchanged for pallets upon pallets of paper aka US dollars? More...

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Secretive Plan For a Global Currency
by Ellen Brown
Posted March 28, 2011

Bank for International SettlementsBy acting together to fulfill these pledges we will bring the world economy out of recession and prevent a crisis like this from recurring in the future. We are committed to take all necessary actions to restore the normal flow of credit through the financial system and ensure the soundness of systemically important institutions, implementing our policies in line with the agreed G20 framework for restoring lending and repairing the financial sector. We have agreed to support a general SDR (Special Drawing Rights) allocation which will inject $250bn into the world economy and increase global liquidity.– G20 Communiqué, London, April 2, 2009

Is the Group of Twenty Countries (G20) envisaging the creation of a Global Central bank? Who or what would serve as this global central bank, cloaked with the power to issue the global currency and police monetary policy for all humanity? When the world's central bankers met in Washington in September 2008 at the height of the financial meltdown, they discussed what body might be in a position to serve in that awesome and fearful role. A former governor of the Bank of England stated:

The answer might already be staring us in the face, in the form of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS)... The IMF tends to couch its warnings about economic problems in very diplomatic language, but the BIS is more independent and much better placed to deal with this if it is given the power to do so. More...

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Surf Warning: Tsunami to Lift Gold
by Jim Willie CB
Posted March 24, 2011

Gold to riseA point to never lose sight of in the last two weeks is that the USGovt manages a monetary nuclear reactor that is also in core meltdown, with USTreasury Bonds as the fuel rods whose radiation has a USDollar odor. The accelerating piles of debt and money have been routinely spread systematically in a grand complicated coordinated reaction, the core of which is the United States. Watch for any interruption to the massive flow of funds into the reactor, which the G-7 central bankers were keenly aware of last week, but without mention. As with all asset bubbles, the required funds grow exponentially to maintain the asset bubble, here the USTreasury Bond. The reactor cannot lose its flow, or else a meltdown occurs.

A systemic breakdown is occurring, in the Weimarization of the USDollar. Last Thursday, the world went Weimar. Gold noticed, and its scout Silver pulls the golden bridle bit. More...

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US may soon hit several debt walls
by Scott S. Powell
Posted March 7, 2011

National Debt ClockNobody wants to say it, but a major reason corporations are not creating many jobs and expanding in the United States is the increasing systemic risk being created by Washington.

The United States is supposedly in economic recovery, yet President Obama projects a record $1.6 trillion deficit for 2011 - with years more trillion-dollar annual deficits and escalating debt ahead. Government debt is growing by $120 billion a month, three times faster than the $40 billion monthly increase in GDP. What is going on?

The real issue is not the U.S. government's debt ceiling to accommodate ongoing deficit spending, but rather the wall that we are about to hit: foreign governments balking at financing U.S. debt except at significantly higher yields to offset the inflationary impact of the dollar's declining value. More...

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Crank Up the Casino! Wall Street's Newest Ploy to Gorge on America's Economic Suffering
by Lynn Parramore
Posted February 10, 2011

Record financial profitsOnce upon a time, as my colleague Tom Ferguson explained to me, English insurers discovered that scoundrels would buy insurance on ships they didn't own and then leak voyage details to the French navy, so they could collect. Guess who sells most municipal bonds? Many of the same people who'll be betting on their failure now. See a problem here? If you don't own the underlying asset, then credit default swaps are simply gambling. So what we are talking about is an extension of casinos to every state and city in America. The European Union is finally moving on these vultures. But not us, it seems.

The perversity of gorging on suffering never seems to bother the American financial sector. JPMorgan feeds on our hunger with its lucrative food stamp card business. And AIG gets into the game of letting strangers bet on your life. Why shouldn't hedge funds make a little extra dough from the collapse of your hometown? More...

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More Than Gold and Silver Prices Are Being Manipulated
By Patrick A. Heller
Posted January 27, 201
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Market manipulationOver time, I have explained how various activities in the gold and silver markets are not the signs of normal free market trading. Invariably, these abnormal trading tactics result in suppressing gold and silver prices.

In the split second of time after another brokerage enters a buy order for a stock, these ultra fast computers can automatically detect that order, arrange to buy the stock before the original order is filled, then sell the stock to the original purchaser at a price that was at least a few cents higher to the buyer than if the computer had never intervened. Compound this activity by thousands of trades per second all day long every day and you can understand how these brokerages have increased their reported profits despite lower volume from private investors. A side benefit to the US government is that this activity also tends to drive stock prices higher no matter what the state of the economy. More...

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Financial Crisis Was Avoidable, Inquiry Finds
By Sewell Chan
Posted January 26, 2011

Bernacke and GreenspanThe 2008 financial crisis was an "avoidable" disaster caused by widespread failures in government regulation, corporate mismanagement and heedless risk-taking by Wall Street, according to the conclusions of a federal inquiry.

The commission that investigated the crisis casts a wide net of blame, faulting two administrations, the Federal Reserve and other regulators for permitting a calamitous concoction: shoddy mortgage lending, the excessive packaging and sale of loans to investors and risky bets on securities backed by the loans.

"The greatest tragedy would be to accept the refrain that no one could have seen this coming and thus nothing could have been done," the panel wrote in the report's conclusions, which were read by The New York Times. "If we accept this notion, it will happen again." More...

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12 Economic Collapse Scenarios That We Could Potentially See In 2011
by Chris Kitze
Posted January 21, 2011

Economic collapseWhat could cause an economic collapse in 2011? Well, unfortunately there are quite a few "nightmare scenarios" that could plunge the entire globe into another massive financial crisis. The United States, Japan and most of the nations in Europe are absolutely drowning in debt. The Federal Reserve continues to play reckless games with the U.S. dollar. The price of oil is skyrocketing and the global price of fo