August 28, 2011

2010 'Citizens United' Decision Made Corporations and Unions Political Powers

Citizens United came after years where the Court chipped away at existing, needed campaign laws. Now the new ruling has unlocked massive campaign spending, much of it through front groups, cutouts, and nonprofits, without disclosing who is paying the bill. Money talks, but refuses to leave its name. In 2010, the anonymous funding vastly favors the GOP. Other years, the money may favor Democrats. But there can be little doubt it will warp policymaking. For example, lawmakers who vote on bank regulation will know that a pro-consumer stance could be punished with sudden, secret spending for a foe. Lobbyists have a new bludgeon with which to persuade. Did Citizens United matter? The answer is yes—significantly. And unless remedied, the ruling points toward a truly dystopian future, when candidates, campaigns, and parties are drowned out by special interest funding as loud as it is stealthy. - Michael Waldman, Supreme Court's Citizens United Decision Will Warp Policymaking, September 27, 2010

The Citizens United decision does far more than simply provide Fortune 500 companies with a massive megaphone to blast their political views to the masses; it also empowers them to drown out any voices that disagree with them. In 2008, the Obama and McCain campaigns combined spent just over $1.1 billion, an enormous, record-breaking sum at the time. $1.1 billion is nothing, however, compared to the billions of dollars in tax subsidies given to the oil industry every year, or the $117 billion fee President Obama wants to impose on the Wall Street bankers who created the Great Recession. Indeed, with hundreds of billions of dollars of corporate profits at stake every time Congress begins a session, wealthy corporations would be foolish not to spend tens of billions of dollars every election cycle to make sure that their interests are protected. No one, including the candidates themselves, have the ability to compete with such giant expenditures. - Ian Millhiser, Citizens United Decision: ‘A Rejection of the Common Sense of the American People’, Think Progress, January 21, 2010

The modern division of labor consists of a ruling class (top 1%) that control about 40% of all financial assets, a managerial class ( the top 2%-10%) who control about 35% of all assets, with the other 90% of the working masses dividing up the 25% that’s left. The pyramid is organized by a complex and highly specialized division of labor, state-run education, massive corporations, government bureaucracy, the judiciary, intelligence organizations, mediatic propaganda machines and mainstream religion. Those rare few that actually wake up and see the zombie world are quickly diagnosed by the DSM-5 and given anti-depressants. There are two things everyone wants all the time, and one of them is money. Control of the money is the magic wand that rules the world. All the other religious, patriotic and historical paraphernalia are directly related to allowing the 1% to control the creation of money. Take that away, and they are nothing but media hacks. The current era which began with the creation of the Federal Reserve and the involvement of the United States in WWI is coming to an end. The great mistake most “awake” people make is believing redemption is at hand while underestimating the ruling class. The masters of propaganda and finance and are much more in control then they will ever reveal through their own channels. Their imaginations are immense and their capacity to orchestrate drama has no limits. They are the voice of reason while the dissenters are “diagnosed” with a collection of ailments that quickly marginalize them. - Robert Bonomo, What QE3 Will Look Like, Activist Post, August 12, 2011

What the Founding Fathers Thought About Corporations

Corporations can literally and legally buy elections and shape the government like never before in our nation’s history.

By Stephen D. Foster Jr., Addicting Info
July 4, 2011

Citizens United — this is the 2010 Supreme Court case that shocked America, influenced an election, and reversed over 100 years of campaign finance laws. In this case, corporations were declared as people and as such declared to have the same rights as people do. It also opened the doors for corporations to pour unprecedented amounts of campaign donations into elections; and what’s more, these donations can be totally secret. Corporations can now literally and legally buy elections and shape the government like never before in our nation’s history.

The economic world we live in today is dominated by corporations. Huge corporations that boast massive profits and span continents. But corporations also wield political power and are lobbying heavily to be free from any and all government regulations that would make them responsible and liable. Republicans have been defending corporations since the late 1800′s and have literally gone on a history revising crusade to show that even the founding fathers supported corporations. But is this the case? What did the founders really think about corporations?

The origin of modern corporations can be traced all the way back to 17th century England when Queen Elizabeth I created the East India Trading Company. At first, corporations were small, quasi government institutions that were chartered by the crown for a specific purpose. If corporations stepped out of line, the crown did not hesitate to revoke their charters. Corporations generated so much revenue that they even began taking on increased political power. Corporations were also organized to finance large projects such as exploration, which leads us to the American colonies.

To say that the founding fathers supported corporations is very absurd. Its quite the opposite in fact. Corporations like the East India Trading Company were despised by the founders and they were just one reason why they chose to revolt against England. Corporations represented the moneyed interests much like they do today and they often wielded political power, sometimes to the point of governing a colony all by themselves like the Massachusetts Bay Company did.

But there is more evidence that the Revolutionary generation despised corporations. The East India Company was the largest corporation of its day and its dominance of trade angered the colonists so much, that they dumped the tea products it had on a ship into Boston Harbor which today is universally known as the Boston Tea Party. At the time, in Britain, large corporations funded elections generously and its stock was owned by nearly everyone in parliament. The founding fathers did not think much of these corporations that had great wealth and great influence in government. And that is precisely why they put restrictions upon them after the government was organized under the Constitution.

After the nation’s founding, corporations were granted charters by the state as they are today. Unlike today, however, corporations were only permitted to exist 20 or 30 years and could only deal in one commodity, could not hold stock in other companies, and their property holdings were limited to what they needed to accomplish their business goals. And perhaps the most important facet of all this is that most states in the early days of the nation had laws on the books that made any political contribution by corporations a criminal offense. When you think about it, the regulations imposed on corporations in the early days of America were far harsher than they are now.

That is hardly proof that the founders supported corporations. In fact its quite the opposite. The corporate entity was so restrictive that many of America’s corporate giants set up their entities to avoid the corporate restrictions. For example, Andrew Carnegie set up his steel company as a limited partnership and John D. Rockefeller set up his Standard Oil company as a trust which would later be rightfully busted up into smaller companies by Theodore Roosevelt.

For those who need more evidence, how about statements from the founders themselves. As we all know, big banks are also considered corporations and here is what Thomas Jefferson thought about them. In an 1802 letter to Secretary of State Albert Gallatin, Jefferson said,

“If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their money, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them (around the banks), will deprive the people of their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.”

Thomas Jefferson also said this in 1816,

“I hope that we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.”

Jefferson wasn’t the only founding father to make statements about corporations. John Adams also had an opinion.

“Banks have done more injury to the religion, morality, tranquility, prosperity, and even wealth of the nation than they can have done or ever will do good.”

These statements make it pretty clear that corporations were not trusted by the founders. The founders knew that huge corporations only preyed upon the people. But as the founding generation began to fade away, corporations began using their power to gain political favor and eventually that political favor would turn into political power. And corporations would take advantage of a war to do it.

As the Civil War raged across the land, corporations made an effort to take advantage of the situation, selling products at high prices, especially to the government. Corporations even sold to both sides throughout the war. Basically, corporations proved even then that they had no allegiance to any country when great profits were at stake. Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican to be President also had plenty to say about corporations…

“The money powers prey upon the nation in times of peace and conspire against it in times of adversity. The banking powers are more despotic than a monarchy, more insolent than autocracy, more selfish than bureaucracy. They denounce as public enemies all who question their methods or throw light upon their crimes. I have two great enemies, the Southern Army in front of me and the bankers in the rear. Of the two, the one at my rear is my greatest foe.”

And in a November 21, 1864 letter to Col. William F. Elkins, Lincoln wrote,

“We may congratulate ourselves that this cruel war is nearing its end. It has cost a vast amount of treasure and blood … It has indeed been a trying hour for the Republic; but I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. As a result of war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands, and the Republic is destroyed. I feel at this moment more anxiety for the safety of my country than ever before, even in the midst of war. God grant that my suspicions may prove groundless.”

Unfortunately, Lincoln’s suspicions were anything but groundless. They were in fact, prophetic. After the Civil War, corporations began aligning themselves with Republican politicians, who proved themselves to be up to the task of helping corporations gain more power. Corporations had free reign and total power over its workforce and could sell virtually anything they wanted even if the product was a bad one. Corporations treated workers like slaves. Wages were extremely low. Workers received no benefits, no vacation days, no health insurance, no workers compensation. President Grover Cleveland witnessed how corporations treated its labor force and had this to say in 1888,

“As we view the achievements of aggregated capital, we discover the existence of trusts, combinations, and monopolies, while the citizen is struggling far in the rear, or is trampled beneath an iron heel. Corporations, which should be the carefully restrained creatures of the law and the servants of the people, are fast becoming the people’s masters.”

To put it bluntly, corporations didn’t care about its workers or the people who bought their products. The only rule of the game was to make as much profit as possible, no matter what. As the 19th century ended and the 20th century began, corporations were getting bigger and bigger. Many began buying up smaller companies, becoming monopolies that controlled whole industries. This practice eliminated competition and as a result, prices had skyrocketed and no one could challenge them. That was, until Theodore Roosevelt became the President.

Theodore Roosevelt did not hate corporations. He simply wanted them to treat workers how they deserved to be treated and to serve the public faithfully and honestly. He believed in honest competition and fair prices. Roosevelt believed that government had not only a duty, but a right to regulate corporations just as the founding generation had done, stating that,

“The great corporations which we have grown to speak of rather loosely as trusts are the creatures of the State, and the State not only has the right to control them, but it is duty bound to control them wherever the need of such control is shown.”

And in his State of The Union Address in 1902, Roosevelt stated his intentions toward corporations.

“Our aim is not to do away with corporations; on the contrary, these big aggregations are an inevitable development of modern industrialism, and the effort to destroy them would be futile unless accomplished in ways that would work the utmost mischief to the entire body politic. We can do nothing of good in the way of regulating and supervising these corporations until we fix clearly in our minds that we are not attacking the corporations, but endeavoring to do away with any evil in them. We are not hostile to them; we are merely determined that they shall be so handled as to serve the public good. We draw the line against misconduct, not against wealth.”

To that end he fought for corporate regulation, he fought for fair wages for workers, he fought for safe and healthy work environments, and he fought to protect consumers. And the people loved him for it. Roosevelt’s policies toward corporations were immensely popular. He busted up so many giant corporations that he became known as a “trust buster”. The busting up of these corporations created a lot more competition for customers and for employees, resulting in higher wages and lower prices and more jobs. And you know what? Corporate profits did just fine.

Teddy never stopped fighting for workers and consumers even after his presidency when he said this as the Progressive Party candidate for President in 1912,

“We wish to control big business so as to secure among other things good wages for the wage-workers and reasonable prices for the consumers. Wherever in any business the prosperity of the businessman is obtained by lowering the wages of his workmen and charging an excessive price to the consumers we wish to interfere and stop such practices. We will not submit to that kind of prosperity any more than we will submit to prosperity obtained by swindling investors or getting unfair advantages over business rivals.”

Roosevelt didn’t win the presidency in 1912, although he most certainly would have if the Republican ticket hadn’t been split. But Woodrow Wilson would continue the fight for workers and consumers. As America entered the 1920′s, corporations began to gain political favors once again as business minded Republicans controlled the White House and Congress. Regulations were being stripped away and banks as large entities were on the rise. These banks and corporations abused the stock market which would lead to the crash of 1929 and the Great Depression. Corporate profits had surged throughout the decade and unfair speculation had caused economic bubbles that had to burst.

Corporate bosses also flexed their muscles over America’s legal system, spending great deals of money to get away with nearly anything. In a statement of sarcasm that speaks to this despicable practice, Senator George Norris, after an industrialist was acquitted of charges of corruption, said that “We ought to pass a law that no man worth $100,000,000 should be tried for a crime.”

The Franklin Roosevelt era would bring new calls for corporate regulation and corporate tax hikes. These new regulations once again kept corporations honest and protected consumers. Workers also benefited from these new regulations, getting fair wages, pensions, and safe working conditions. Corporations were taxed at a rate of 91% and even with all of that, corporations still made huge profits. Life changed dramatically for the middle class. People had jobs with livable wages and promise for the future. Corporations once again served a purpose as consumers were treated fairly and the economy soared. Unemployment was also very low. But these trends did not last long as corporate greed would once again fuel another grab for political power. Corporations began aligning themselves more and more with the Republican Party, and as this relationship grew, corporations found a way to make record profits.

Throughout the 1980′s up to today, corporations have outsourced millions of American jobs to cheap labor overseas. As a result of this, corporate profits have broke record after record, while the unemployment rate has jumped higher and higher. Corporate tax rates began getting lower and lower, while more tax loopholes were created to help corporations evade most of them altogether.

When the Republican Party took control of government in 2001, they went on a crusade on behalf of corporations (how could they refuse, they were on the payroll), to blame workers for economic downturns and outsourcing. Corporations also decided to take advantage of a national tragedy.

After 9/11, there was an understandable push to go to war against terrorists hiding in Afghanistan. But corporations, as in other times of war and tragedy, began pushing for a war against Iraq. And they got their wish. Corporations have since made billions in war profits off of the War in Iraq and have proven once again that profit is far more important than the lives of soldiers. Lincoln was right. This is yet another reason why corporations need to be put in their place. As Henry Ford once said, “Do you want to know the cause of war? It is capitalism, greed, the dirty hunger for dollars. Take away the capitalist and you will sweep war from the earth.”

Republicans are now on the verge of stripping away all corporate regulations and worker’s rights. But it was the 2010 Citizens United decision that really made corporations into political powers. Not only were corporations declared to be people but corporations also now have the power to buy elections at will. The problem with this Supreme Court decision is that it goes against everything the founding fathers believed in. In the Constitution, it says

“We the people…”, not “We the corporations…”.
The founding fathers never addressed corporations in the Constitution because it never occurred to them that corporations would be perceived as people. And why would they have? Corporations don’t eat, they don’t breathe, they don’t vote, they don’t fight battles in wars. Remember all the limitations the founders placed on corporations mentioned earlier? In the Constitution, the founders speak only of the people. The founders did not limit lifetimes of people, nor did they outlaw a persons right to donate to political campaigns. They also did not limit people to specific life goals like they did with corporations.

This should make it absolutely clear that the founders never intended for corporations to be people. The decision by the clearly activist, conservative majority of the court is an abomination that can never be Constitutionally justified. Now it is our duty to call on Congress to bring forward a Constitutional Amendment that bans corporate personhood and bans corporations from interfering with government and legal elections that only real people have the right to donate to and vote in. Because whatever these greedy, arrogant CEO’s and Republicans think, its the opinion of the founding generation that matters most. Corporations are not people. People are people.

Citizens United Decision Profoundly Affects Political Landscape

By Spencer MacColl,
May 5, 2011
The slide show above shows how political spending by outside groups has morphed over the years and how Citizens United made it easier for big donors to pay for political advertisements. Click bottom right hand corner to view presentation full screen.
Unprecedented political spending. Secret donors. New ways for unions and corporations to spend money on politics.

An analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics reveals that the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission Supreme Court ruling of January 2010 has profoundly affected the nation's political landscape.

Corporations and unions both benefited from the ruling, being able to use their general treasuries to pay for independent expenditures for the first time.

Unions spent more than $17.3 million from their general treasuries on independent expenditures opposing Republican candidates such as Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) and James Renacci (R-Ohio). The American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees spent more than $7 million out of their general treasury, the most of any other union.

The National Education Association had a different strategy. It set up a so called "super PAC" and financed it with $3.3 million from its general treasury. Pre-Citizens United unions could only spend money on independent expenditures using funds that were voluntarily donated to their political action committee by union members. Now unions can tap into funds that come directly from union member's dues. Unions are still banned from using their treasuries to donate to congressional campaigns and party committees.

Corporations generally did not directly get involved in political spending but rather donated more than $15 million to a new type of political group known as a "super PAC". These groups may raise unlimited amounts of money from any source as long as the donors are disclosed and the groups only spend money on independent expenditures. The top two corporate donors in 2010 were TRT Holdings and Alliance Resource Partners, which each donated about $2.5 million to the 'super PAC' American Crossroads. Corporate donations are likely higher than reported as conservative non-profit groups spent $121 million without disclosing where the money came from.

The ruling allowed corporations and unions to use their general treasuries to pay for political advertisements that expressly call for the election or defeat of a candidate, also known as independent expenditures. This ruling subsequently allowed non-profit corporations under the tax code 501c to spend unlimited amounts of money running these political advertisements while not revealing their donors.

Influencing elections cannot, by law, be the primary purpose of the non-profits.

These nonprofits certainly took advantage of their new power, however, spending $61.3 million on independent expenditures in 2010.

Top findings of the Center's study include:
  • The percentage of spending coming from groups that do not disclose their donors has risen from 1 percent to 47 percent since the 2006 midterm elections
  • 501c non-profit spending increased from zero percent of total spending by outside groups in 2006 to 42 percent in 2010.
  • Outside interest groups spent more on election season political advertising than party committees for the first time in at least two decades, besting party committees by about $105 million.
  • The amount of independent expenditure and electioneering communication spending by outside groups has quadrupled since 2006.
  • Seventy-two percent of political advertising spending by outside groups in 2010 came from sources that were prohibited from spending money in 2006

Study Shows Powerful Corporations Really Do Control the World's Finances
August 19, 2011

For many years conventional wisdom has said that the whole world is controlled by the monied elite, or more recently by the huge multi-national corporations that seem to sometime control the very air we breathe. Now, new research by a team based in ETH-Zurich, Switzerland, has shown that what we’ve suspected all along, is apparently true. The team has uploaded their results onto the preprint server arXiv.

Using data obtained (circa 2007) from the Orbis database (a global database containing financial information on public and private companies) the team, in what is being heralded as the first of its kind, analyzed data from over 43,000 corporations, looking at both upstream and downstream connections between them all and found that when graphed, the data represented a bowtie of sorts, with the knot, or core representing just 147 entities who control nearly 40 percent of all of monetary value of transnational corporations (TNCs).

In this analysis the focus was on corporations that have ownership in their own assets as well as those of other institutions and who exert influence via ownership in second, third, fourth, etc. tier entities that hold influence over others in the web, as they call it; the interconnecting network of TNCs that together make up the whole of the largest corporations in the world. In analyzing the data they found, and then in building the network maps, the authors of the report sought to uncover the structure and control mechanisms that make up the murky world of corporate finance and ownership.

To zero in on the significant controlling corporations, the team started with a list of 43,060 TNCs taken from a sample of 30 million economic “actors” in the Orbis database. They then applied a recursive algorithm designed to find and point out all of the ownership pathways between them all. The resulting TNC network produced a graph with 600,508 nodes and 1,006,987 ownership connections. The team then graphed the results in several different ways to show the different ways that corporate ownership is held; the main theme in each, showing that just a very few corporations through direct and indirect ownership (via stocks, bonds, etc.) exert tremendous influence over the actions of those corporations, which in turn exert a huge impact on the rest of us.

The authors conclude their report by asking, perhaps rhetorically, what are the implications of having so few exert so much influence, and perhaps more importantly, in an economic sense, what the implications are of such a structure on market competitiveness.

More information: The network of global corporate control, Stefania Vitali, James B. Glattfelder, Stefano Battiston, arXiv:1107.5728v1 [q-fin.GN]

The structure of the control network of transnational corporations affects global market competition and financial stability. So far, only small national samples were studied and there was no appropriate methodology to assess control globally. We present the first investigation of the architecture of the international ownership network, along with the computation of the control held by each global player. We find that transnational corporations form a giant bow-tie structure and that a large portion of control flows to a small tightly-knit core of financial institutions. This core can be seen as an economic "super-entity" that raises new important issues both for researchers and policy makers.

2010 Election Spending Up 40 Percent, Watchdog Estimates

ABC News
October 19, 2010

With just under two weeks before voters head to the polls, the 2010 midterm election cycle is on track to be the most expensive in history, flush with 40 percent more cash than in 2008, according to the latest figures from the nonpartisan Campaign Finance Institute.

The group estimates $564 million will be spent by political committees and nonprofit groups this year, including $334 million by pro-Republican organizations and $230 million by pro-Democratic groups.

Experts say spending by independent third-parties are driving the surge, infusing 73 percent more cash into the campaign through mid-October than they did two years ago.

President Obama and top Democrats have pointed to the record sums as the basis for their criticism of groups like Crossroads GPS and Americans for Prosperity, which don't have to disclose the identities of their donors.
"Their lips are sealed, but the floodgates are open," Obama said. "If we just stand by and allow the special interests to silence anybody who's got the guts to stand up to them, our country is going to be a very different place."
The administration has said the Supreme Court's "Citizens United" decision has played a key role in unleashing the flood of cash, by lifting campaign finance restrictions on direct, independent electioneering by corporations, and unions using their general funds in the weeks before elections.

But Campaign Finance Institute executive director Michael Malbin said it's too soon to tell whether the court's decision facilitated an influx of new money – or just allowed corporations to spend it differently.
"While the [Supreme Court's] decision enables more direct business participation, it does not mean more business corporations will feel an incentive to act in this way, instead of giving money through intermediaries (including trade associations and non-profit advocacy groups) as they have done in the past," he said. "The evidence so far is mixed; any conclusion is highly premature."
Impact of Citizens United Debated

Malbin points out that a significant amount of campaign spending by third party groups does not have to be reported at all, under the law. Moreover, groups that do report, occasionally overestimate spending to gain a competitive advantage, or underestimate to later show they exceeded expectations, he said.

Many corporations may also be wary of directly, publicly tying their names to specific candidates. Target Corp. and Best Buy, for example, drew fire earlier this year when they made direct contributions to a political group supporting Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer.

And some experts say the uptick in political spending by third-party groups may simply be continuing through the channels that they have always used.
"The day before 'Citizens United,' corporations had the right to make unlimited contributions to issue advocacy," said Allison Hayward of the Center for Competitive Politics. "The one thing that's changed is specific advocacy [for candidates]… There would have been a lot of spending even if there hadn't been 'Citizens United.'"
Still, skeptics say the court's decision has undoubtedly given business corporations new confidence in directly campaigning for or against a candidate, and allowed them to give secretly to nonprofit interest groups, like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which orchestrate elaborate election advertising campaigns.
"'Citizens United' represents an enormous change in how elections are funded," said Trevor Potter, president of the Campaign Legal Center, adding that, in his view, even if the influence of 'Citizens United' is not fully apparent it is definitely having an effect.

August 23, 2011

The Ruling Elite Want Our 401(k)s to Pay Down the Federal Debt; Debt Deal Establishes 'Super Committee', Promises Future Cuts, and Includes Constitutional Amendment Requiring the Feds to Balance the Budget

Will government commandeer private pension plans, 401Ks and IRA’s in return for a government guaranteed annuity; will these retirement plans be traded for US Treasuries; or like one bill says, limit the amounts that can be removed and how many times you can remove funds?...Tax loopholes will be closed, Social Security and Medicare will be capped in the midst of roaring inflation, and tax brackets will be adjusted to increase the tax bite. This exercise is called Cut, Cap and Balance. HR 2560 only perpetuates the status quo. The sad fact is there is no balance in this idea. There is no real attempt to cut anything, except Social Security and Medicare so that the military industrial complex can continue to reap profits and kill off our young in undeclared no-win wars, only designed to plunder countries. Of course, the excuse for this is the global war on terror, which has never and does not exist. Wars are to be endless and perpetual in the search of peace. - Economic Recovery Remains Elusive, International Forecaster Weekly, July 23, 2011

HR 2560, the Cut, Cap, and Balance Act, only serves to sanction the status quo by putting forth a $1 trillion budget deficit and authorizing a $2.4 trillion increase in the debt limit. When I say this bill sanctions the status quo, I mean it quite literally. First, it purports to eventually balance the budget without cutting military spending, Social Security or Medicare. This is impossible. These three budget items already cost nearly $1 trillion apiece annually. This means we can cut every other area of federal spending to zero and still have a $3 trillion budget. Since annual federal tax revenues almost certainly will not exceed $2.5 trillion for several years, this Act cannot balance the budget under any plausible scenario. Second, it further entrenches the ludicrous beltway concept of discretionary vs. nondiscretionary spending. America faces a fiscal crisis, and we must seize the opportunity once and for all to slay Washington's sacred cows — including defense contractors and entitlements. All spending must be deemed discretionary and reexamined by Congress each year. To allow otherwise is pure cowardice. Third, the Act applies the nonsensical narrative about a "Global War on Terror" to justify exceptions to its spending caps. Since this war is undeclared, has no definite enemies, no clear objectives, and no metric to determine victory, it is by definition endless. Congress will never balance the budget until we reject the concept of endless wars. Finally, and most egregiously, this Act ignores the real issue: total spending by government. As Milton Friedman famously argued, what we really need is a constitutional amendment to limit taxes and spending, not simply to balance the budget. What we need is a dramatically smaller federal government; if we achieve this, a balanced budget will take care of itself. - Ron Paul, Ron Paul's Statement Against HR 2560, the "Cut, Cap and Balance Act", July 20, 2011

Really, what can be done to take down these known criminals in Washington? Even though it would be justified, I don’t see our military ever enforcing and coming against the government for their criminality. What next? Federal Court? That certainly won’t work…the Fed vs. the Fed has never gotten the voice of the people anywhere…so know what? Sure, I think it’s a big mistake by government and Obama to take this position; it could surely move us one BIG step closer to the riots and anarchy in the streets. A Revolution by the people that will bring about Martial Law? I don’t see how this wild beast can/will be brought to justice and reigned in…they’ve been walking all over the people of this country for a long time. As Nancy Pelosi arrogantly said when someone opposed the authority of the government: “Are You Serious”. - Veterans and retired people are held hostage to Washington criminals, comment by David, July 12, 2011

Super Congress: Easy Prey for the Military-Industrial Complex:

Twelve Bought Off Officials Will Make Up the New Super Congress

Super Congress: A Financial Death Panel That Will Help the Banks Loot and Rape America

“When a government is dependent upon bankers for money, they and not the leaders of the government control the situation, since the hand that gives is above the hand that takes. Money has no motherland; financiers are without patriotism and without decency; their sole object is gain.” – Napoleon

“The government should create, issue, and circulate all the currency and credit needed to satisfy the spending power of the government and the buying power of consumers. The privilege of creating and issuing money is not only the supreme prerogative of government, but it is the government’s greatest creative opportunity. The financing of all public enterprise, and the conduct of the treasury will become matters of practical administration. Money will cease to be master and will then become servant of humanity.” – Abraham Lincoln

“If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their Fathers conquered.” – Thomas Jefferson

The Excavator
August 6, 2011

The power of life and death over what’s left of the American economy and the millions of people who depend on Social Security checks now rests in the hands of twelve bought off officials who will make up the new Super Congress.

According to NPR, Paul Ryan, Eric Cantor, Harry Reid, and Mitch Mcconnell could be tapped to serve as the top destroyers of America, taking direct orders from the criminal bankers on Wall Street.

The Super Congress will use dictatorial powers to bypass constitutional checks and balances and ram a fascist agenda through Congress under the flawed premise that they are bringing the fiscal house in order.

What is not mentioned is that America’s fiscal house was destroyed when Congress was bullied into handing over trillions of dollars to banks that committed fraud in September 2008.

That act of high treason was preceded by another act of high treason seven years earlier, when the Bush administration staged the false flag 9/11 attacks. The attacks were used to justify a manufactured war on terrorism that has channelled trillions of dollars from the American people into a tiny oligarchy that controls the financial-military-industrial complex.

But that history is missing in the corporate media. Instead of informing the American people about the robbery and treason that has taken place, news anchors and reporters are spreading lies and disinformation that Social Security is an unfunded liability and needs to be cut in order for America to have a sound economic future.

The Peter G. Peterson Foundation is behind a billion dollar propaganda campaign that is injecting these lies into the media to control the political discourse and help the financial parasites and oligarchs to loot Social Security and Medicare.

Back in April 2010, economist Dean Baker exposed Peterson’s trickery and corruption, writing:

The media should be jumping on deficit hawks like Peterson, asking him why anyone should take him seriously now when he was so incredibly and disastrously wrong about the economy just a few years ago. Unfortunately, Peterson doesn’t get questions like that; he just gets praise for his willingness to try to take Social Security and Medicare away from retired workers.

The problem is that Peterson has billions of dollars. To the national media and other actors in national policy debates, Peterson’s wealth matters much more than whether or not what he is saying makes sense.

Who is Pete Peterson and why does he want to kill Social Security?

Peterson is a connected insider and a surrogate for the financial parasites that have occupied and looted America since the creation of the private Federal Reserve Bank in 1913. Peterson served as the Chairman of the corrupt Council on Foreign Relations from 1985 to 2007, following the chairmanship of David Rockefeller. He was also Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York from 2000 to 2004, the most important of the Federal Reserve banks.

Peterson’s aims are the aims of the global private banking cartel that wants to get rid of the social safety net, destroy the American middle class, abolish nation states, and establish a new world authoritarian government that they will control.

On May 25, 2010, Jane Hamsher wrote an article that focused on the political foundations that are funded by Peterson to deliver the false message to the American people that the Social Security System is broken. Hamsher said:

Many of the efforts Peterson funds focus on teaching young people. The message that social security is in trouble, and will not be there for you when you get old unless it is “fixed,” has been a key tenet of Peterson’s campaign. The 990 indicates that in addition to financing the propaganda film I.O.U.S.A., he spent $1,124,987 on MTV advertising. I’ve been told that this is a very compelling message to young staffers in the White House, who support the concept of cutting benefits in order to “save” Social Security.

If Pete Peterson, David Rockefeller, and other criminal financiers have their way, the American people’s pensions will be looted along with America’s national infrastructure as soon as they are privatized and handed over to politically connected banks and corporations. The crooks in the Super Congress will try to sell the massive rip-off to the American people as “fiscal sanity.”

Once the riots begin and martial law is declared, the Super Congress will take over and run Washington while the rest of the Congress will be told to go home for their own safety.

The media propaganda machine might say something like:

“Congressmen and Senators are being threatened with assassination as protests increase in Washington, so for their own safety they have been sent back to their districts with security guards assigned to them. Meanwhile, the Super Congress that was created back in August will stay behind to carry out their congressional duties.”

Can you see the bigger picture? It may not be evident now, but in six months or a year from now we will see the real reasons why the Super Congress was created.

Can you see the death and destruction that awaits America because of the treason that has been committed against the American people and U.S. Constitution?

The reason this new power grab by the Super Congress is so dangerous is because it represents the official end of constitutional government in the United States. Combine the power of the Super Congress with the power of dictatorial executive orders that have been used by Bush and Obama, and what you get is the absolute destruction of freedom, the American Constitution, and the rule of law.

The Super overlords in the new imperial Congress and President Obama will force austerity cuts on the American people, just like the paid-off politicians are doing in Greece. America will go through what Greece is going through right now, and what Argentina went through in the beginning of the last decade except it will be ten times worse in America.

They are not capitalists and representatives of the free-market, they are corporate fascists and oligarchical monopolists. So don’t blame capitalism for America’s destruction. Blame plutocracy. Blame stupidity. Blame media brainwashing. Blame treason.

Investigative journalist Greg Palast covered the IMF rape of Argentina. On August 12, 2001, Palast wrote in an article called, Who Shot Argentina? The Finger Prints On the Smoking Gun Read ‘I.M.F.’:

Next to the still warm corpse of Argentina’s economy, the killer had left a smoking gun with his fingerprints all over it.

The murder weapon is called, “Technical Memorandum of Understanding,” dated September 5, 2000. It signed by Pedro Pou, President of the Central Bank of Argentina for transmission to Horst Kohler, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund.

The IMF vultures have gobbled numerous third-world nations in the last few decades and left millions of human beings to rot and die like animals. But America is different. You can not gobble up a nation where the people have more guns than the government.

Plus, there is a massive political awakening happening in America. The American people are waking up to the fact that America has been financially and spiritually occupied since 1913 by the same parasitic financial system that was defeated by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and the revolutionary American colonists.

There was a counter revolution in the late 19th and early 20th century. America, like most other nations, was turned into a colony of a global financial empire that treats nations in the same way that prisons are treated. The people are worked to death and their wealth is stolen from them through an income tax that goes directly to the managers of the global financial cartel who contribute nothing of value to society.

The money that global financiers lend to national governments through their private central banks is made out of thin air. And when they stop lending, the economy stops and people die.

On May 4, 2010, Palast said on the Alex Jones show that there is an economic crisis and an unemployment crisis because there is no credit in the economy:

Obama made a claim that he saved the financial system. No he didn’t. He saved the financiers, and he doesn’t seem to understand there is a difference between financiers who were bailed out and the financial system. Try to get a loan today. Try to get a mortgage today. You can’t. If you’re a small business you can’t borrow money today. It’s impossible. No one will give you money. There is no credit in the system. That’s why we’re on our knees.

The financiers at the Federal Reserve who are holding America hostage and destroying the American economy can be classified as financial terrorists and war criminals. They are engaging in economic warfare against the American people. Other nations that are ruled by the IMF and private global central banks are also being financially conquered.

“The people of Greece need to stand up to financial terrorism because Greece goes down, Ireland goes down, Portugal goes down, Spain goes down, and they’re going to come to the U.S. And the U.S. is going down by the same financial terrorists,” said financial analyst Max Keiser in June.

The time for resistance to the financial occupation of the planet has come. This is our generation’s fight. We must get rid of the IMF, World Bank, WTO, Federal Reserve Bank, and other private central banks that are looting every country they’re in.

Public banking is an idea whose time has come.

Balanced Budget Amendment to Get Votes in Congress

The only way the feds can balance the budget is to seize private retirement assets. Private retirement assets in the United States grew by 9% in 2010, from $16.0 trillion in 2009 to $17.5 trillion in 2010. However, the market lost $2 trillion in value during the first week of August 2011.

The Associated Press
August 22, 2011

As a "super committee" tries to find $1.5 trillion in new deficit cuts this fall, Republicans will be pressing a far more ambitious goal: passing an amendment to the Constitution to require a balanced federal budget.

The idea is being pushed most forcefully by conservative activists eager to shrink the government and its spending but disappointed with the results they've achieved so far in Washington, where Democrats control both the White House and the Senate.

"Spending cuts and caps are steps in the right direction," said Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas. But a balanced budget amendment is "the only permanent solution to control government spending and end our nation's spending-driven debt crisis," Sessions said.

House GOP leaders — short of the two-thirds margin required to pass the amendment — have held off scheduling a vote. But both House and Senate are required to hold votes this fall as one of the conditions of recently enacted legislation to raise the government's borrowing cap.

It's a decidedly uphill battle, even though Republicans control the House with larger numbers than they had in 1995, when a balanced budget amendment sailed through the chamber with 300 votes. It fell just one supporter short of the required two-thirds margin in the Senate.

There appear to be fewer Democratic backers now than there were in 1995, when 72 House Democrats voted for the amendment. For starters, there are far fewer southern white conservative and moderate Democrats in the House than there were back then.

And Republicans have made the task more difficult by pushing a significantly more stringent tea party-backed version of the amendment now than they did in 1995. The new version would virtually make it impossible for future Congresses to raise taxes by requiring a two-thirds vote in both House and Senate. It also would force a huge shrinking of government programs by capping spending at 18 percent of the nation's total economic output each year. This year, government spending is running about 25 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP), the widest measure of the U.S. economy.

Democrats won't back the stricter version. But if House leaders also press a vote on the 1995 version — which permits tax increases by a simple majority vote — they'll run into opposition from conservative activists like Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform, who say the old version is a recipe for higher taxes.

"There are lots of reasons not to like the original balanced budget amendment," Norquist said, warning that it could lead to tax increases imposed by lawmakers squeamish about cutting spending, or even by federal courts.

Given the enormity of the nation's fiscal gap, future Congresses facing a balanced-budget mandate would surely consider tax increases as a way to ease cuts to defense, Social Security, Medicare and other domestic programs.

Even tea party-driven House Republicans shunned such cuts earlier this year when adopting a nonbinding GOP budget blueprint that forecast deficits in the $400 billion range for most of the decade. Republican decided against offering a balanced budget because it would have forced cuts on current recipients of Medicare and Social Security benefits.

Lawmakers did have an opportunity to vote for balancing the budget in the form of a much stiffer budget plan offered by the conservative Republican Study Committee, which promised a balanced ledger by the end of the decade.

That balanced-budget plan, however, won only 119 votes in the 435-member House in April and a majority of Republicans opposed it. The balanced-budget blueprint relied on massive cuts to domestic programs like health care and food aid for the poor. It also featured politically implausible proposals like raising the eligibility age for full Social Security retirement benefits to 70.

In 1995, the failure of the balanced budget amendment to pass the Senate propelled then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., to engineer congressional passage of a seven-year balanced-budget plan. It fell prey to a veto by President Bill Clinton but set the stage for a bipartisan balanced budget two years later.

The so-called super committee is required to produce cuts in the range of $1.2 trillion to $1.5 trillion — too small to satisfy the tea party-driven House. So a vote on a balanced budget amendment is an opportunity to take a tougher stand, even as lawmakers are spared difficult votes on concrete proposals to cut spending further. Should the amendment win two-thirds votes in both the House and Senate, that would negate the requirement for the supercommittee's deficit cuts or an alternative $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts if the panel fails to find a compromise or its recommendation is rejected by Congress.

The proposed amendment also is an opportunity for Democrats to cast a tough-on-spending vote. Sixteen House Democrats have signed on to the version that passed the House in 1995. So far, Rep. Mike McIntyre of North Carolina is the only Democrat to sign on to the tea party-backed version requiring two-thirds supermajorities in the House and Senate to raise taxes.

It would take 48 Democratic votes to pass either amendment, assuming that all 240 House Republicans vote for it as well. Rep. Robert Goodlatte, R-Va., a top sponsor of both versions, is optimistic.

"We have folks across the geographic spectrum of the Democratic Party who are supporting the effort," said Goodlatte, citing Reps. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., and Jason Altmire, D-Pa. "I think there's a good chance that this can be passed."

But Gingrich in 1995 had an advantage that today's GOP leaders lack — recent votes by scores of Democrats in favor of the idea. In 1992 and 1994, the Democratic-controlled House rejected attempts by a coalition of conservative Democrats and minority Republicans to pass the balanced budget amendment, falling less than a dozen votes short each time. When Republicans took over the House in 1995, there was a ready pool of Democratic votes.

The House hasn't voted on a balanced budget amendment since, even though it's been controlled by Republicans for most of that time. The Senate fell tantalizingly short in 1997.

Regardless of how the vote turns out in the House, the amendment's prospects are dim in the Senate, where Democrats control 53 of the 100 seats. It would take at least 20 Democratic votes to pass the measure if every Republican votes for it.

All 47 Republicans, however, are backing a tea party version drafted by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, requiring two-thirds votes to raise taxes and capping spending at 18 percent of GDP. When unveiling the tea party-backed measure in March, top sponsors like Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, declined to say whether they could vote for the old version they so enthusiastically backed in the 1990s.

If any amendment were to be adopted by Congress it would then have to be ratified by 38 state legislatures to become part of the Constitution.

Ron Paul: Freeze the Budget and Stop Plundering the American People!:

On July 31, 2011, Obama and congressional leaders announced an agreement on an emergency deal to avoid the nation's first-ever financial default. Obama said that, if enacted, the agreement would mean "the lowest level of domestic spending since Dwight Eisenhower was president" more than a half century ago. Obama said there will be no initial cuts to 'entitlement programs' like Social Security and Medicare, but he said both could be on the table along with changes in tax law as part of future cuts. In the first stage under the agreement, the nation's debt limit would rise immediately by nearly $1 trillion and spending would be cut by a slightly larger amount over a decade. That would be followed by creation of the new congressional committee ['super congress' comprising a committee of 12] that would have until the end of November to recommend $1.8 trillion or more in deficit cuts, targeting benefit programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, or overhauling the tax code. Those deficit cuts would allow a second increase in the debt limit. If the committee failed to reach its $1.8 trillion target, or Congress failed to approve its recommendations by the end of 2011, lawmakers would then have to vote on a proposed constitutional balanced-budget amendment. The deal would allow the debt limit to rise by enough to tide the Treasury over until after the 2012 elections. But it appeared Obama's proposal to extend the current payroll tax holiday beyond the end of 2011 would not be included, nor his call for extended unemployment benefits for victims of the recession.

As reported on July 24, 2011 by the Huffington Post’s Ryan Grim: “This ‘Super Congress,’ composed of members of both chambers and both parties, isn’t mentioned anywhere in the Constitution, but would be granted extraordinary new powers. Under a plan put forth by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and his counterpart Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), legislation to lift the debt ceiling would be accompanied by the creation of a 12-member panel made up of 12 lawmakers — six from each chamber and six from each party. Legislation approved by the Super Congress — which some on Capitol Hill are calling the ‘super committee’ — would then be fast-tracked through both chambers, where it couldn’t be amended by simple, regular lawmakers, who’d have the ability only to cast an up or down vote. With the weight of both leaderships behind it, a product originated by the Super Congress would have a strong chance of moving through the little Congress and quickly becoming law. A Super Congress would be less accountable than the system that exists today, and would find it easier to strip the public of popular benefits. Negotiators are currently considering cutting the mortgage deduction and tax credits for retirement savings, for instance, extremely popular policies that would be difficult to slice up using the traditional legislative process.”

The Truth About the Debt Deal: It's Pretty Much Meaningless

Business Insider
August 1, 2011

The "historic, bipartisan compromise" reached to raise the debt limit does not end the struggle to reign in the federal deficit — in fact, it pushes the most difficult decisions off into the future.

More surprising, the debt deal actually cuts almost nothing now--it just promises future cuts that may or may not materialize.

There are very few specific cuts in the deal — and the $1 trillion in immediate cuts are almost entirely constituted of caps on future spending. And those caps are not required to be honored by future congresses.

The "real" spending cuts to current programs will come out of a bipartisan committee of Representatives and Senators, which is charged with finding an additional $1.5 trillion in savings from the federal deficit.

But White House and Republican leaders appear split on exactly what the so-called "Super Committee" can do. In a presentation to his caucus, Speaker of the House John Boehner said it would "be effectively...impossible for [the] Joint Committee to increase taxes," even though it could consider reforming the tax code.

White House officials strongly pushed back on that remark, saying revenue-increasing reform is possible — even though it almost certainly would not be able to get through Congress.

The committee is modeled on "BRAC" or the Base Realignment and Closure Commission, whose recommendations are presented to Congress for a straight up-or-down vote with no amendments allowed. Instead of non-partisan commissioners, each congressional leader will appoint three members of Congress to the committee.

If the Super-Committee can't reach an agreement, or their recommendations cannot pass Congress, deep "real" spending cuts, which are painful to both sides, would take effect. For Democrats, entitlement cuts are at risk, while Republicans would see cuts to defense spending.

Additionally, President Barack Obama has the ability to veto an extension of the Bush tax cuts if he deems the committee's solution insufficiently "balanced."

So, again, other than cuts to federally subsidized student loans to graduate and professional school students, the debt deal actually cuts NOTHING now, and only promises future reductions that may never materialize.

In short, for the past month, Congress has been arguing about little more than an agreement to reach an agreement at some point in the future. Your tax dollars at work.

It's a Deal: Obama, Congress Will Avert Default

The deal would allow the debt limit to rise by enough to tide the Treasury over until after the 2012 elections

The Associated Press
July 31, 2011

Ending a perilous stalemate, President Barack Obama and congressional leaders announced agreement Sunday night on an emergency deal to avoid to avert the nation's first-ever financial default. The arrangement would cut more than $2 trillion from federal spending over a decade.

The dramatic agreement, with scant time remaining before Tuesday's deadline, "will allow us to avoid default and end the crisis that Washington imposed on the rest of America," Obama said.
Default "would have had a devastating effect on our economy," the president said at the White House, relaying the news to the nation and to financial markets around the world. He thanked the leaders of both parties.

House Speaker John Boehner telephoned Obama at mid-evening to say the agreement had been struck, officials said.

No votes were expected in either house of Congress until Monday at the earliest, to give rank-and-file lawmakers time to review the package. But leaders in both parties were already beginning the work of rounding up votes.

In a conference call with his rank and file, Boehner said the agreement "isn't the greatest deal in the world, but it shows how much we've changed the terms of the debate in this town."

Obama underscored that point. He said that, if enacted, the agreement would mean "the lowest level of domestic spending since Dwight Eisenhower was president" more than a half century ago.

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid provided the first word of the agreement.

"Sometimes it seems our two sides disagree on almost everything," he said. "But in the end, reasonable people were able to agree on this: The United States could not take the chance of defaulting on our debt, risking a United States financial collapse and a world-wide depression."

In his remarks, Obama said there will be no initial cuts to entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare. But he said both could be on the table along with changes in tax law as part of future cuts. That was a reference to a special joint committee of lawmakers [the 'super congress' or committee of 12] that will be established to recommend a second round of deficit reductions, to be voted on by Congress before year's end as part of an arrangement to raise the debt ceiling yet again. That is expected to be necessary early next year.

Pending final passage, the agreement marked a dramatic reach across party lines that played out over six months and several rounds of negotiating, interspersed by periods of intense partisanship.

A final stick point had concerned possible cuts in the nation's defense budget in the next two years. Republicans wanted less. Democrats pressed for more in an attempt to shield domestic accounts from greater reductions.

Details apparently included in the agreement provide that the federal debt limit would rise in two stages by at least $2.2 trillion, enough to tide the Treasury over until after the 2012 elections.

Big cuts in government spending would be phased in over a decade. Thousands of programs - the Park Service, Labor Department and housing among them - could be trimmed to levels last seen years ago. No Social Security or Medicare benefits would be cut, but the programs could be scoured for other savings. Taxes would be unlikely to rise.

Without legislation in place by Tuesday, the Treasury will not be able to pay all its bills, raising the threat of a default that administration officials say could inflict catastrophic damage on the economy. If approved, though, a compromise would presumably preserve America's sterling credit rating, reassure investors in financial markets across the globe and possibly reverse the losses that spread across Wall Street in recent days as the threat of a default grew.

Officials familiar with the negotiations said that McConnell had been in frequent contact with Vice President Joe Biden, who has played an influential role across months of negotiations.

  1. In the first stage under the agreement, the nation's debt limit would rise immediately by nearly $1 trillion, and spending would be cut by a slightly larger amount over a decade.

  2. That would be followed by creation of the new congressional committee that would have until the end of November to recommend $1.8 trillion or more in deficit cuts, targeting benefit programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, or overhauling the tax code.

  3. Those deficit cuts would allow a second increase in the debt limit.

  4. If the committee failed to reach its $1.8 trillion target, or Congress failed to approve its recommendations by the end of 2011, lawmakers would then have to vote on a proposed constitutional balanced-budget amendment.

  5. If that failed to pass, automatic spending cuts totaling $1.2 trillion would automatically take effect, and the debt limit would rise by an identical amount. Social Security, Medicaid and food stamps would be exempt from the automatic cuts, but payments to doctors, nursing homes and other Medicare providers could be trimmed, as could subsidies to insurance companies that offer an alternative to government-run Medicare.

Officials describing those steps spoke on condition of anonymity, citing both the sensitivity of the talks and the potential that details could change.

The deal marked a classic compromise, a triumph of divided government that would let both Obama and Republicans claim they had achieved their objectives.

As the president demanded, the deal would allow the debt limit to rise by enough to tide the Treasury over until after the 2012 elections.

But it appeared Obama's proposal to extend the current payroll tax holiday beyond the end of 2011 would not be included, nor his call for extended unemployment benefits for victims of the recession.

Republicans would win spending cuts of slightly more than the increase in the debt limit, as they have demanded. Additionally, tax increases would be off-limits unless recommended by the bipartisan committee that is expected to include six Republicans and six Democrats. The conservative campaign to force Congress to approve a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution would be jettisoned.

Congressional Democrats have long insisted that Medicare and Social Security benefits not be cut, a victory for them in the proposal under discussion. Yet they would have to absorb even deeper cuts in hundreds of federal programs than were included in Reid's bill, which many Democrats supported in a symbolic vote on the House floor on Saturday.

As details began to emerge, one liberal organization, Progressive Change Campaign Committee, issued a statement that was harshly critical.

"Seeing a Democratic president take taxing the rich off the table and instead push a deal that will lead to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefit cuts is like entering a bizarre parallel universe - one with horrific consequences for middle-class families," it said.

While politically powerful business groups like the Chamber of Commerce are expected to support the deal, tea party organizations and others have looked disapprovingly on legislation that doesn't require approval of a balanced-budget amendment. If they keep to that position, it could present Boehner a challenge in lining up enough votes to support a compromise, just as Obama may have to stand down rebels within his own party.

Your Private Wealth Is Threatened By Government Revenue Needs and Treasury Debt

This is Part 2 of Ron Holland's speech Down Argentine Way presented on the recent FreedomFest Untitled 1 financial cruise down in South America during November.

By Ron Holland
January 18, 2011

There is nothing very complicated or prophetic about forecasting how Washington plans to steal much of the remaining private wealth of most American citizens over the next decade or so. This is the norm in history and politics throughout world history and this has always been the major function of governments.

While the Anglo-American establishment has whitewashed this part of history, politics and information over the last 150 years, today with the internet, the truth of our history is apparent to anyone willing to do the research.

Just as the citizens of America and Great Britain have in the past financially benefited from living under the Anglo-American Axis in many ways, today in these twilight latter-days of the empire so we will suffer under the wealth confiscation and likely retribution from the rest of the world due to the accident of our birthplace and citizenship.

As the American national debt grows larger, here are 15-plus probable attacks on your wealth over the coming ten years.

Your assets, benefits and future prosperity will be forfeit to Washington's elites as they try to buy time to right a sinking ship -- and to no avail. The impact on our wealth and future prosperity will likely dwarf what has happened before in Argentina, during the Russian collapse and in Germany with the post First World War Weimer republic.

This essay will discuss the threats and possible new taxes, penalties and controls designed to transfer wealth from the private sector to the federal government.
  • Social Security Theft - As we see today in France, Social Security retirement ages will be further extended into the future. Wealthy Americans will be "means tested" and entirely forfeit their benefits, and Washington will eventually end cost-of-living adjustments for all but the poorest Social Security recipients.

  • Manipulate Cost of Living Adjustments & Statistics To Steal Your Wealth - Even those receiving existing benefits will find their cost-of-living adjustments dramatically reduced over time with false inflation statistics just as we see today.

  • The End of Capital Gains - The severe depth of the recession has bought US investors a couple of years extension of capital gains, but this will not be a permanent benefit regardless of the party in power. First, favorable capital gains treatment will likely be ended for all privately-owned investments except for US domestic stock and bond investments. Foreign stocks and bonds will be taxed at regular income tax levels while domestic securities, other than (non-productive assets) including mining and natural resource companies, will still be provided favorable capital gains treatment. If they are able to manipulate the stock market to new highs, then expect an eventual end to capital gains for US equities.

  • The Probable Imposition of a Non-Productive Asset Gain Tax - Americans with highly-appreciated precious metals investments (including numismatics and collectibles) will find a substantial amount of their gains charged with an emergency non-productive asset gain tax. Not only will you lose capital gains treatment but expect an additional high penalty tax on gains as the last thing the establishment wants is hard money investors benefiting while the rest of population find their investments collapsing in value.

  • This Tax Will Likely Be Extended to Mining and Natural Resource Stocks - Another reason to take your profits sooner rather than later in a crisis situation where the public with conventional investments will clamor for this type of retroactive tax.

  • A Two-Tier Gold Price Structure - At the very least, there may well be a government enforced set or internal price for precious metals sales that operates outside the free-market pricing outside the jurisdiction of the United States. This could be handled by the non-productive asset tax mentioned about or used during a time of government gold confiscation to pay lower prices to American investors than the price outside of America. This is what happened during Roosevelt's earlier gold confiscation; and don't expect Congress to help you.

  • The Risk of Private Gold Confiscation Will Continue To Increase - When the dollar and Treasury market crashes, Washington will enact legislation or use Presidential Executive Orders against gold investors to curtail your profits, add a confiscatory non-productive asset tax or confiscate your gold with some type of fiat currency exchange. In any case, they plan to end up with your gold as this will be the basis of a fake gold standard which may be used as the pretense to confiscate your gold. This will take place during the coming bond and dollar crisis by Presidential Executive Order. (Next month's letter will have a discussion on Presidential Executive Orders past and future.)

  • The Fed & Washington Might Manufacture A Fake Gold Standard - Free-market public and private currency competition should replace the failed fiat currencies in use around the world today, But Washington will not give up their monopoly on currency creation without a fight and fraud against the American people; and in the latter stages of a dollar crash we can expect some type of complicated, fake gold standard or backing as a final fallback position. Just plan on this happening and it may well be the excuse used for outright gold confiscation.

  • Washington Will Confiscate Large Private Retirement Fund Balances - Hungry, Bulgaria and Poland are already seizing private retirement funds to meet budget shortfalls. This will take place in the United States. Read the current report on the European pension seizures later in the newsletter under "What You Might Have Missed in the Press".

    The long-term confiscation and control idea is to eventually force all retirement benefits under the new automatic/mandatory IRA program where everything will be combined with and managed like your Social Security benefits. Wealthy and productive Americans will find their retirement benefits used to support the trillions in underfunded union, state and local government employee plans.

  • Remaining Retirement Funds May Be Forced Into Mandated US Treasury Obligations - As in Europe, you can expect a percentage of your remaining retirement funds, and new required contributions in the proposed Automatic IRA accounts, will be forced into government bond obligations; and your funds will become the buyer of last resort of US Treasury debt. While the Chinese, Japan and offshore nations, central banks and investors are dumping Treasuries, your retirement security will be sacrificed to provide liquidity for investors selling the debt obligations.

  • All Productive Working Americans Will Be Forced Into A Mandatory, Automatic IRA Scheme With Required Annual Contributions - Americans with limited or no savings may actually benefit with this program while those of us with substantial retirement assets will find our benefits stolen to prop up the retirement programs of cities, states and unions.

  • Home Values May Continue To Decline From the Bubble Levels - There are still substantial levels of foreclosures and short sales on the market, which will be followed by more homes (currently held off the market due to low demand ) being listed for sale during any temporary price upturn.

  • An End to the Home Interest Deduction - Proposals in Congress are already putting the home interest deduction on the table of deduction to be reduced or eliminated in the future. I project the home interest deductions will first be eliminated for wealthy homeowners and later expanded to the middle class. This will create further downward pressure on real estate values; and the current weakness may buy some time for homeowners.

  • Rising Income & Estate Taxes - We have already seen this play out during the Lame Duck session of Congress. Estate taxes have been restored; and the only question is, will the rate remain at current levels or go up. Second, the Bush tax cuts have been extended for two years due to the bad economy, but both parties will soon raise income taxes due to revenue needs.

  • A National Sales or VAT Tax Is Coming - Most western nations already have a VAT tax, and this is also already in discussion stages by Congress. Expect an initial tax rate of 5% or more in addition to existing state, county and city sales taxes; and the rates will only go up from there.

  • State, Municipal & Union Bankruptcies & You Pick Up the Bill - Note that these costs, which will be bailed out by the federal government in many cases and ultimately by the taxpayers, will be in addition to the coming bailout on their existing retirement and health benefit plans. Note that there is finally some good news on this front as many Democrats and Republicans are attempting to curb the growth and powers of parasitic public employee unions.
What Should Americans Do About Washington's National Debt?

Everyone with any intelligence in the US and around the world knows that there is no way for Washington to manage the tens of trillions in debt and unfunded liabilities short of ultimate repudiation or hyperinflation. Thanks to Wall Street, bankers, and the Anglo-American financial elite, our ruinous debt-financing Ponzi scheme has been exported to most Western nations as their politicians have made a compact with the devil in delivering vote-buying programs and postponing the interest and debt reduction to future generations.

Watch the cuts and subsequent riots in Greece, Ireland, the United Kingdom and you'll see just a little of the future for the United States with its faltering world reserve currency status.

The question is, should the citizens and the formerly sovereign states of the United States wait for Washington's foreign creditors to seize the remaining government and private assets left after our politicians have finished with us?

Our politicians are in the process of totally bankrupting the country, individual states and municipalities; and in a less than a decade will have confiscated most private wealth and placed tens of trillions of more debt on future generations. Should we act now before Congress and our politicians loot our personal, retirement and real estate wealth; destroy our Treasury obligations; and kill the dollar? Should we democratically take matters into our own hands before the looming dollar and debt crisis?

One alternative is for Americans in the individual states to organize and work toward a "Washington National Debt Constitutional Amendment" and repudiate much of the Washington government debt before it bankrupts every private American citizen. Otherwise, the massive increase in the level of indebtedness due to the meltdown and depression may first bring down the Treasury market followed by the US dollar; and this will destroy the American economy for decades to come.

The American people need to meet the problem on terms which will make the best of a difficult situation for the nation and our personal financial security instead of allowing foreign creditors, our financial establishment, and Washington to buy more time for them through the confiscation of our private wealth, financial security and liberty.

Only a grassroots effort by the American people through state-nullification or the constitutional amendment process have any hope of success. The alternative is to expect those who are destroying our economy and nation to solve the problem they created without sacrificing us in the process. This is just wishful and foolish thinking.

On December 21, 1913 the New York Times stated,
"New York will be on a firmer basis of financial growth, and we shall soon see her the money center of the world."
This was one day before the Federal Reserve Act was hurriedly passed and signed into law with limited debate by a Congress controlled by Washington and banking special interests.

These undemocratic tactics were designed then -- just as today -- to thwart the will and overwhelming opposition of the American people to expensive handouts for Wall Street and those shadowy few who stand behind the banking system.

Now, Washington's illegitimate national debt is growing exponentially due to the bailouts and stimulus bills as Congress tries to jump-start a depression threatened economy. This additional debt load will, within the next decade, bankrupt our nation and impoverish most productive, working Americans.

The Federal Reserve, together with the above financial elites, essentially manufactured the credit and real-estate bubble. The result: continued enhancement of foreign investment in their Treasury debt Ponzi scheme along with obscene profits for Wall Street at the expense of the American people.

This scam by our financial establishment makes Bernard Madoff's despicable actions look like Mother Teresa's charity operation in comparison. An unintentional consequence of these actions was the meltdown in markets, the credit crisis and spreading global depression when the bubble finally burst.

Now there is a cover-up of the cause and coming global run, crash and probable collapse of US Treasury obligations because of the dramatic increase in Washington's national debt to unsustainable levels. This economic tidal wave threatens the financial security and wealth of every American along with their savings, real estate, retirement plans, investment portfolios as well as their promised Social Security and Medicare benefits.

Concerned Americans must bypass a corrupt Congress and the leadership of both political parties often controlled by special interests at the national level and seek a debt solution through the constitutional amendment and nullification process starting at the state level.

Repudiating the illegitimate national debt of Washington politicians and special interests will allow existing treasury-debt-obligation owners and investors time to dispose of the unlawful debt created only to profit special financial and corporate interests. They own and control majorities in the House and Senate, much of the party leadership positions, and the Federal Reserve System ...

Bankrupted States = Constitutional Convention and the Proposed Constitution for the 'Newstates of America'

December 24, 2008

The strategically planned and forthcoming Constitutional Convention, which will address “a balanced budget,” is quite a cover story. Therefore, let us consider the truth behind this elaborate usurpation scheme.

As the country is failing in every direction -- from the former individual in America to each and every individual state in the country, the total economic crash of EVERYTHING -- and all converging at the very same time and as we speak -- is, let us say, extraordinarily convenient.

Add this convenience to the fact that on March 27, 1969, President Richard Nixon divided the country into 10 regions via the Government Reorganization Act. Then with Nixon’s Executive Order 11647, the nation was divided up into 10 administrative regions on February 14, 1972 (Federal Register February 12, 1972, Vol. 37, No. 30), which also established the Federal Regional Council for the newly designed 10 regions.

Now, why did former President Richard Nixon redefine the United States? He did so because the United Nations passed a resolution that the United States must reorganize into 10 regions. Can you name your regional directors? Who are these councils, and where are their office buildings? Actually, you don’t know because they were not “elected,” nor are they mentioned on your tell-a-visions. Your regional councilmen are “appointees.” Can you tell me who appointed them to regional power? Bet you can’t.

And the reorganizing of our former nation, achieved more than 25 years ago, and of which you know nothing, certainly suggests that “government” as we knew it changed a long time ago. With all this information now in hands, ask yourselves what would happen in the event of a really big, national “crisis?” What powers do your states hold, or for that matter, your counties or local governments hold -- especially since they are all bankrupt AND have regional managers.

Add this to your plate: now that you know your nation has been redrawn and redistributed, what if I told you that a new constitution was written at the same time the country was divided into 10 regions? Ever heard of the Proposed Constitution for the Newstates of America?

In 1964, the Ford Foundation funded an outfit called the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions to write a new constitution for our nation. After 40 drafts, a staff of 100+ people, and at a cost of 2.5 million dollars a year, a decade later (1974) the Proposed Constitution for the Newstates of America was finished. Mind you -- a ten year, $25,000,000.00 project…let us therefore assume that the funding foundation(s) were very serious about this investment. And two years later, in 1976, Mr. Nelson Rockefeller, who at that time was the president of the Senate, introduced HCR 28, which called for an unlimited Constitutional Convention -- the perfect tool whereby to dissolve our current constitution and implant the handily written new constitution -- and all without congressional oversight or public knowledge.

Didn’t go well for Nelson in 1976, but guess what? A new Constitutional Convention is right around our corners again -- with 32 states requesting the Con-Con, and with only 34 required for it’s convening -- and with most American states now totally, conveniently, bankrupt.

Look at it this way: the Feds can not possibly bail out 50 states because they’ve already given all our money away -- right? And we can’t pay taxes anyway because we have no jobs. Gosh…what can the Feds possibly do to rectify this horrible situation?

Dialectically speaking, they’ve had their answer of choice in the wings for decades. It’s called dissolving state, county, and local powers for centralized power. Gosh…it’s the United Nations mandate for one world government and regionalization of the United States -- as commanded in the 1960’s. Do tell, folks…do tell.

The current economic “crisis” is the tool, the highly planned and patient tool, to set up the global governing bureaucracy for real and for certain with the second convening of the Constitutional Convention in the wings. The big wigs tried it before in 1976, and they are trying again, but this time having manufactured national bankruptcy as public fear-based appeasement.

I suggest you read your forthcoming constitution, which is also your forthcoming nightmare. Here is just a taste of your global privileges from your Constitution for the Newstates of America:

Article 1A Sec. 1 - 'Freedom of expression shall not be abridged except in declared emergency."

Article 1A Sec. 8 - "The practice of religion shall be privileged."

Article 1B Sec. 8 - "Bearing of arms shall be confined to the police, members of the armed forces, and those licensed under law." See the note below from a respected teacher [and friend] in the UK:

"Britain is already divided into regions. The region of Kent includes a bit of France. Most of our laws now come from Brussels. We have never agreed to this. After Heath lied to get a 'yes' to the Common Market in 1879 or so, Lib Lab Con in the house of Commons have steadily, traitorously handed over government of our land to Brussels. We do not elect the officials in the regions. Most people are unaware they exist.... MPs have given up representing us. Many people are just TV fodder."

Check Out These Important Links:

IMF and CFR Insider Recruited by Obama White House
Peter Schiff on the IMF – ‘They don’t help the countries’
Argentina and the IMF – Michel Chossudovsky on The Corbett Report

Alex Jones – Bankrupting Us is The Goal!!
Austerity Fascism Is Coming And It Will Be Brutal
Greg Palast Tells How The IMF Set-Up Iceland & Greece on Alex Jones Tv
Greg Palast: “Remove the Bloodsuckers”
John Perkins Lecture at the University of Iceland in April 2009
John Perkins: Economic Hitmen – Understanding NWO Mafia Corporatism Warfare

Keiser Report – ‘U.S. Going Down Next After Greece’
Gerald Celente: ‘IMF – International Mafia Federation’
Keiser Report: Michael Hudson: IMF Assassins to destroy Greek economy
Paul Craig Roberts – Stealing from Social Security to Pay for Wars and Bailouts
(MUST SEE!) Catherine Austin Fitts: The Looting Of America
Ellen Brown – Restoring Economic Sovereignty: The Push for State-Owned Banks

Ron Paul: Constitutional Amendment Needed to Limit Taxes and Spending
Ron Paul Issues Budget Statement
Washington Times — Rand Paul: Spending cuts must include Pentagon
Ron Paul: My Plan for a Freedom President

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