How Big Business Is Helping Expand NSA Surveillance
by Lee Fang
Posted April 9, 2015
Since 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…
Warren Buffett the Slumlord – Predatory Loans, Kickbacks and Preying on the Poor at Clayton Homes
by Michael Krieger
Posted April 8, 2015
The 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…
Is Dodd-Frank Killing Community Banks? The More Important Question is How to Save Them
by Matt Stannard
Posted April 5, 2015
Arguments 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…
TPP Power Grab: World Bank, Goldman Sachs, Council on Foreign Relations
by William F. Jasper
Posted April 3, 2015
The 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…
Iceland To Take Back The Power To Create Money
by Raúl Ilargi Meijer
Posted April 1, 2015
Who 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.
The Bail-In: How You and Your Money Will Be Parted During the Next Banking Crisis
By John Lawrence
Posted March 28, 2015
There 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.
Life for Rent
by Don Findlay
Posted March 27, 2015
We 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…
Debt-damned economics: either learn monetary reform, or kiss your assets goodbye
by Carl Herman
Posted March 24, 2015
The 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 ).
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.
The New “Water Barons”: Wall Street Mega-Banks are Buying up the World’s Water
By Jo-Shing Yang
Posted March 23, 2015
A 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…
The “Official” Unemployment Rate Has Become Meaningless – Here’s Why
by Michael Snyder
Posted March 18, 2015
Earlier 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…