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EconomicArticle Archive for 2013


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Trans Pacific Partnership Is A "Corporatist Power Grab", Shrouded In "Big Brother-Like Secrecy"
By Washington's Blog
Posted Dec 30, 2013

TPP is a corporate coupThe U.S. Trade Representative – the federal agency responsible for negotiating trade treaties – has said that the details of the Trans Pacific Partnership are classified due to "national security". A Congressman who has seen the text of the treaty says:

There is no national security purpose in keeping this text secret … this agreement hands the sovereignty of our country over to corporate interests.

It will increase the cost of borrowing, make prescription drugs more expensive, destroy privacy, harm food safety, and – yes - literally act to destroy the sovereignty of the U.S. and the other nations which sign the bill. To give an idea of what would happen to American law if TPP passes, just look at Equador …

It's courts awarded billions against Chevron for trashing huge swaths of rainforest. But then a private arbitration panel simply ignored the country's court system. If TPP passes, American courts will be sidelined as well. More...


100 Years Is Enough: Time to Make the Fed a Public Utility
by Ellen Brown
Posted Dec 28, 2013

Federal Reserve, a private cartel of banksDecember 23, 2013, marks the 100th anniversary of the Federal Reserve, warranting a review of its performance. Has it achieved the purposes for which it was designed? The answer depends on whose purposes we are talking about. For the banks, the Fed has served quite well. For the laboring masses whose populist movement prompted it, not much has changed in a century.

It may be time for a new populist movement, one that demands that the power to issue money be returned to the government and the people it represents; and that the Federal Reserve be made a public utility, owned by the people and serving them. The firehose of cheap credit lavished on Wall Street needs to be re-directed to Main Street. More...


Detroit Bankruptcy Starts Nationwide Public Banking Debate.
by Jerry Alatalo
Posted Dec 26, 2013

Detroit needs a public bankBy now most Americans are aware of the City of Detroit's being judged "eligible" for bankruptcy. There are a number of factors which played a part resulting in this current state of affairs. Most would acknowledge that de-industrialization, where corporations have closed down manufacturing plants and moved those operations to nations where drastically less expensive labor was available – to do the work previously done by Americans - began, decades ago, the downward spiral of harmful economic conditions for governments at all levels.

Many have asserted that Detroit's financial condition has also been the result of other factors, such as years of mismanagement, an unfortunate assessment given the conditions in Detroit which have been out of the control of the city's elected representatives. Detroit is known as the "Motor City" and in years past enjoyed a booming economy and thousands of good jobs in the automotive sector. Unfortunately for Americans, with Detroit's people being especially hard hit, the beginning of outsourcing of jobs was a continuing trend which closed plants across the nation. More...


On The 100th Anniversary Of The Federal Reserve Here Are 100 Reasons To Shut It Down Forever
by Michael Snyder
Posted Dec 25, 2013

treasonDecember 23rd, 1913 is a date which will live in infamy. That was the day when the Federal Reserve Act was pushed through Congress. Many members of Congress were absent that day, and the general public was distracted with holiday preparations. Now we have reached the 100th anniversary of the Federal Reserve, and most Americans still don't know what it actually is or how it functions. But understanding the Federal Reserve is absolutely critical, because the Fed is at the very heart of our economic problems.

Since the Federal Reserve was created, there have been 18 recessions or depressions, the value of the U.S. dollar has declined by 98 percent, and the U.S. national debt has gotten more than 5000 times larger. This insidious debt-based financial system has literally made debt slaves out of all of us, and it is systematically destroying the bright future that our children and our grandchildren were supposed to have. If nothing is done, we are inevitably heading for a massive amount of economic pain as a nation. The following are 100 reasons why the Federal Reserve should be shut down forever... More...


Dollar Hegemony,"Monetary Geopolitics" and the IMF: The Symbiosis between Global Finance and Power Politics
By José Miguel Alonso Trabanco
Posted Dec 24, 2013

dollar powerA full challenge to the domination of the US dollar as the world central-bank reserve currency entails a de facto declaration of war on American power and, as a result, the United States is willing to fight wars to defend its national currency (Engdahl, 2006) because "an end to the dollar's reserve currency status would impose material constraints on the United States to finance its deficits, and lead to a major loss of prestige and power projection capabilities" (Drezner, 2010). A possibility is that "widespread oil pricing in alternative currencies or perhaps the bartering of oil would then threaten U.S. hegemony by crimping the relative global demand for dollars" (Roby, 2010).

Nevertheless, perpetual hierarchic supremacy of the dollar cannot be taken for granted:

"Sooner or later, confidence in the dollar is bound to be undermined by America's chronic payments deficits, which add persistently to the country's looming foreign debt […] The exorbitant privilege obviously cannot endure forever; America's spending cannot indefinitely exceed its income. In the absence of significant policy reforms to reverse the deficits, the world's trust in the dollar is bound […] to be eroded. Dollar accumulations will eventually dry up and could even turn into massive sales" (Cohen, 2008). More...


Federal Reserve: 100 Years of Failure
by James Hall
Posted Dec 22, 2013

Federal Reserve ClevelandResearching economic publications on the first century of the Federal Reserve System provides a wealth of financial information that attempts to explain the way the central bank works. Rarely will the academic studies and official reports address the raw nature of a money creation by a private banking monopoly. The common practice of disparaging sources outside government or corporatist business circles, attempts to avoid addressing, much less confronting the plutocracy that controls the debt created money system.

One such source list of the ownership of the Federal Reserve, compiled by Thomas D. Schauf appears on The Federal Reserve Scam! However, before getting to the particulars of the actual families behind the central banking cabal, it is important to go directly to the source of the primary chronicler who investigated and exposed the scheme. More...


Think Globally, Bank Locally
by Eric Utne
Posted Dec 21, 2013

police guarding wall st bullWhen Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich and talk radio types rail about the Federal Reserve and Wall Street and international bankers, do the words fringe and conspiracy theory and even wack jobs come to mind? Me too. Or at least they used to—but that was before the economic meltdown shook the world.

Since then I've been talking with everyone I know, and some people I don't know, about what happened to our money and why, what's going on with it now, and how we can change the system. More...


83 Numbers From 2013 That Are Almost Too Crazy To Believe
By Michael Snyder
Posted Dec 20, 2013

can't believe itDuring 2013, America continued to steadily march down a self-destructive path toward oblivion. As a society, our debt levels are completely and totally out of control. Our financial system has been transformed into the largest casino on the entire planet and our big banks are behaving even more recklessly than they did just before the last financial crisis. We continue to see thousands of businesses and millions of jobs get shipped out of the United States, and the middle class is being absolutely eviscerated.

Due to the lack of decent jobs, poverty is absolutely exploding. Government dependence is at an all-time high and crime is rising. Evidence of social and moral decay is seemingly everywhere, and our government appears to be going insane. If we are going to have any hope of solving these problems, the American people need to take a long, hard look in the mirror and finally admit how bad things have actually become. More...


They're Planning the First Legal "Bank Robbery" in U.S. History
By Peter Krauth
Posted Dec 19, 2013

banks robbing YOUSo-called "bail-ins," which give banks the right to dip into your savings to pay for their lousy financial decisions, have been on the table for years, ever since Cyprus tested the idea. But they're moving beyond the "testing phase" now.The latest clue came from a seemingly benign banking conference on December 2, when one man revealed some frightening central government intentions.

And anyone taking careful notes understands the consequences.They're huge.You see, the most direct impact will be felt by the biggest account holders. But the indirect impact will hit everyone.

401(k)s... IRAs... Individual brokerage accounts... More...


What the World Could Be: 4 Short Videos to See Economic Solutions
By Carl Herman
Posted Dec 17, 2013

Break free of interest burdenIf one understands the mechanics of creating what we use for money and so-called bank loans (credit creation), the answers are obvious to:

end the national debt
have full-employment for infrastructure investment (this results in falling prices because infrastructure creates more economic value than investment cost)
release trillions in so-called "rainy day" funds documented in government agencies' comprehensive annual financial reports (CAFRs)
Complete explanation and documentation of these facts, offered as early as Benjamin Franklin's pamphlet on how to operate governments without taxes (from colonial Pennsylvania's application of obvious solutions):

And… it's gone! The Fed and US could simply CANCEL all $5 trillion of intragovernmental debt


NSA Inks Landmark Deal to Share Information With Central Banks
by David Hague
Posted Dec 10, 2013

Federal ReserveDear reader put away your charts and graphs. Forget about fundamental and technical analysis. Ignore financial statements and trends. The extraordinary agreement to share information between the National Security Agency [NSA], a host of European, Russian, Canadian and Chinese spy agencies and the world's Central Banks will ensure that the only relevant force in Global Stock markets will be the trading activity of the world's Central Banks. Thanks to the data gathering of the NSA and its subsidiary spy agencies around the world, the Central Banks will be privy to the most confidential conversations and communications from the boardroom, the bedroom and the trading floor. Central Banks will now be able to trade with inside information that could only be dreamed about in years gone by.

"Poppycock!" you say. "Balderdash!" you exclaim. Dear reader, I too shared your cynicism and disbelief regarding the possibility of such an agreement existing until I spoke with my good friend and trusted confidante Gustavo Laframboise-Pierre, Global Director of Statistical Creation at the European Central Bank [ECB]. More...


A Hard Lesson from Detroit: They Will Steal Your Pension
by David Cay Johnston
Posted Dec 8, 2013

bankers steal pensionsAnyone in a public-sector job looking forward to retiring in comfort should look carefully at what is going on in Detroit and Springfield, Ill. Sherlock Holmes would call it the case of the missing pension money.
News leaking out this week from the Motor City tells how the enormous gap between the pensions workers earned and the money set aside to pay for them will be closed. By stealing from the workers.

Courts, legislatures, and corporations are all working in concert not to pay the full benefits owed. For decades, political and business leaders failed to set aside the right amount of money each payday to cover the pensions workers earned and, in some cases, covered up the mismanagement of pension fund investments. More...


Alaska could walk away from Wall Street with a public bank of its own
by Ray Southwell
Posted Dec 6, 2013

public bank laternative to Wall StBanks have a great privilege. They create debt/money with a few strokes on a computer keyboard. Then they charge interest on this newly created "money." It's called Fractional Reserve Banking. All banks, but one, are privately owned. By law, these private banks have one objective, making profits for their shareholders. It is all about profits for the private banks.

It is a failed system. Booms and busts are created by the improper use of this newly created money. We could change the Federal Reserve Banking system. However, Washington D.C. has lost its way and we are foolish believing things are ever going to improve at the federal level. The cabal of private Wall Street banks run the show and must make profit for the few. More...


Public Banking Is the Answer
By Ruth Conniff
Posted Dec 1, 2013

public banks are the answerCo-ops, renewable energy, sustainable agriculture. . . all of these efforts to create a better society run counter to the values of Wall Street. Wall Street speculators have badly distorted our economy and our communities by maximizing short-term profits at the expense of the public's long-term interests.

And then, with their chokehold on Washington, they have managed to hold us up for trillions of dollars in bailout funds after gambling our money away. Meanwhile, these same financial institutions use predatory lending practices to steal money from the poor. And when it comes time to financing public-works projects, we lose billions by paying their inflated interest rates. More...


Bank Deposits Confiscation: The "Cyprus Experiment" and the Launch of a Global Trend
by Valentin Katasonov
Posted Nov 29, 2013

cyprus was a test runIn March 2013 the events in Cyprus shock the world to hit the radar screen of world media.The bank deposits were confiscated.

Some tried to make it look as an emergency measure, an exclusion from the rules that define banking activities and the functioning of market economy. But there is a solid ground to believe the confiscations are to become a routine feature of everyday life.

The events were normally painted as some kind of poorly planned ad libbed decision on the part of the European Union carried out by Cyprus government. It was a one-time action, a step taken under the pressure of circumstances. We view it differently, in our opinion it was a well prepared concerted action approved at top level including actors outside Europe. The very operation should be defined as a precedent, an experiment or a test. Or, to be exact, the test to launch a global trend and the confiscation spread around the world. More...


How Wall Street's New Empire of Rental Homes Could Blow Up the Economy
By Laura Gottesdiener
Posted Nov 28, 2013

another crash comingYou can hardly turn on the television or open a newspaper without hearing about the nation's impressive, much celebrated housing recovery. Home prices are rising! New construction has started! The crisis is over! Yet beneath the fanfare, a whole new get-rich-quick scheme is brewing.

Over the last year and a half, Wall Street hedge funds and private equity firms have quietly amassed an unprecedented rental empire, snapping up Queen Anne Victorians in Atlanta, brick-faced bungalows in Chicago, Spanish revivals in Phoenix. In total, these deep-pocketed investors have bought more than 200,000 cheap, mostly foreclosed houses in cities hardest hit by the economic meltdown.

Wall Street's foreclosure crisis, which began in late 2007 and forced more than 10 million people from their homes, has created a paradoxical problem. Millions of evicted Americans need a safe place to live, even as millions of vacant, bank-owned houses are blighting neighborhoods and spurring a rise in crime. Lucky for us, Wall Street has devised a solution: It's going to rent these foreclosed houses back to us. In the process, it's devised a new form of securitization that could cause this whole plan to blow up—again. More...


The Money Changers Serenade: A New Bankers' Plot to Steal Your Deposits
By Dr. Paul Craig Roberts (former Asst. Sec. of the US Treasury under President Reagan)
Posted Nov 22, 2013

protect the bankersFormer Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, a protege of Treasury Secretaries Rubin and Summers, has received his reward for continuing the Rubin-Summers-Paulson policy of supporting the "banks too big to fail" at the expense of the economy and American people. For his service to the handful of gigantic banks, whose existence attests to the fact that the Anti-Trust Act is a dead-letter law, Geithner has been appointed president and managing director of the private equity firm, Warburg Pincus and is on his way to his fortune.

When a person becomes a Treasury official it is made clear that the choice is between serving the banks and becoming rich or trying to serve the public and becoming poor. Few make the latter choice. More...


The Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty is the complete opposite of 'free trade'
by Mark Weisbrot
Posted Nov 20, 2013

TPP is a corporate coupThe TPP would strip our constitutional rights, while offering no gains for the majority of Americans. It's a win for corporations. The proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement among 12 governments, touted as one of the largest "free trade" agreements in US history, is running into difficulties as the public learns more about it. Last week 151 Democrats and 23 Republicans (pdf) in the House of Representatives signed letters to the US chief negotiators expressing opposition to a "fast track" procedure for voting on the proposed agreement. This procedure would limit the congressional role and debate over an agreement already negotiated and signed by the executive branch, which the Congress would have to vote up or down without amendments.

Most Americans couldn't tell you what "fast track" means, but if they knew what it entails they would certainly be against it. More...


Wikileaks publishes draft of secretive TPP trade pact
by Steven Musil
Posted Nov 15, 2013

TPP threatens Internet freedomWikileaks released on Wednesday what it called the draft text of a secretly negotiated international economic treaty that critics warn could limit Internet freedoms.

The document-leaking organization published a draft of the Intellectual Property Rights chapter for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a proposed free-trade agreement between the US and 11 Pacific Rim nations that's been under negotiation for nearly three years. However, because the Obama administration has deemed the talks to be classified information, this appears to be the first time the public is getting a glimpse at the pact.

"One could see the TPP as a Christmas wish-list for major corporations, and the copyright parts of the text support such a view," Matthew Rimmer, an expert in intellectual property law, told the Sydney Morning Herald. "Hollywood, the music industry, big IT companies such as Microsoft and the pharmaceutical sector would all be very happy with this." More...


The Entire Fiat Money System is Bankrupt: Demise of the Global US Fiat Dollar Reserve Currency
By Matthias Chang
Posted Nov 7, 2013

fiat dollar demisePrior to the Global Financial Tsunami of 2008, I had written several articles exposing the global Too Big To Fail (TBTF) banks as financial rapists and predators and they would cause untold havoc to the financial system.

Post the crisis, I had also warned that these global TBTF banks are all insolvent and the toxic assets on their balance sheets would exceed US$20 trillion at the minimum. The entire fiat money system is bankrupt. Printing toilet paper money by the trillions does not make the system solvent. It is a clear admission that the system is totally broken.

The banking Humpty-Dumpty has fallen from the wall and shattered into a thousand pieces! The confirmation for this is the fact that all central banks led by the FED have only one aim – to create massive asset inflation. How can a stock market of a bankrupt nation be at an all-time high? More...


The bank guarantee that bankrupted Ireland, and the solution staring everyone in the face
by Ellen Brown
Posted Nov 5, 2013

Irish debt slaveryThe Irish have a long history of being tyrannized, exploited, and oppressed - from the forced conversion to Christianity in the Dark Ages, to slave trading of the natives in the 15th and 16th centuries, to the mid-nineteenth century "potato famine" that was really a holocaust. The British got Ireland's food exports, while at least one million Irish died from starvation and related diseases, and another million or more emigrated.

Today, Ireland is under a different sort of tyranny, one imposed by the banks and the troika - the EU, ECB and IMF. The oppressors have demanded austerity and more austerity, forcing the public to pick up the tab for bills incurred by profligate private bankers. More..


Huge Cracks In US Financial Fortress, Petro-Dollar Final Death Throes Stock-Markets
By Jim Willie CB
Posted Nov 4, 2013

dollar collapseMany analyst writers choose the Black Swan analogy to describe deeply ominous events in progress, with little forward notice. The analogy simply does not fit anymore, as an armada of black swans is more appropriate, spotted on regular and frequent sightings. The Jackass preference is to describe a series of major cracks in the financial fortress that defends the USDollar system and its decrepit USTreasury Bond shuttle buggy.

The vehicle is overloaded with supply and bereft of investors, upheld by a printing press, explained by pure heresy. Its derivative coil on the undercarriage axle system is broken from the overdone leverage and hidden machinations. The integrity of the USD/USTB brand name was cast off the American coat of arms along with the Lehman Brothers killing to save Goldman Sachs, the adoption of Fannie Mae to conceal the fraud, and the AIG to contain the derivative payouts. The October Hat Trick Letter explains the Wall Street saga behind the scenes on the GSax rescue, managed by the USDept Treasury office. More...


Debt No More! How Obama can defeat Austerity Thugs by Using the Constitution and Debt-Free Money
by Scott Baker
Posted October 19, 2013

constitution specifies debt free moneyWell, we narrowly escaped a debt default...again. But like the Terminator, the debt ceiling will be baaaccckkk... It'll be back in January, in fact. so, it's worth reviewing the president's true options before then.

The only things that have changed is that there are now even more commentators insisting that the president has options to defeat a recalcitrant, dysfunctional, contradictory, Congress that may, in a matter of days, violate the constitution by not providing the means necessary to pay the country's existing bills. However, the president (and not Congress) is ALREADY violating the constitution by subverting the will of Congress in paying for some authorized things and not others, and needs to stop immediately, before his credibility is eroded even further by nit-picking, sound-biting, Congressional Representatives who stage photo-ops at closed WWII memorials, while allowing children on food stamps to go hungry off camera. More...


Corporations Ask to Write their Own Regulations via "Trade" Deal
by Public Citizen
Posted October 16, 2013

corporations write lawsThe New York Times has just reported that European government officials have been taking pains to entertain corporations' deregulatory demands for the Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA). The European Commission appears to have mistakenly released minutes of confidential government meetings held with U.S. and European corporations to see how their priorities could shape the proposed U.S.-EU deal. This may not come as a shock to those in the U.S. who know that the Obama administration has been regularly soliciting private advice on both TAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) from about 600 corporate trade "advisors" who are granted privileged access to negotiators and secretive trade texts.

But the just-released minutes of the meetings between EU officials and U.S. and European corporate heads (among other documents unearthed by Corporate Europe Observatory and the New York Times) reveal the incredible extent to which corporations are pushing for TAFTA to rewrite health, environmental, financial and other safeguards to be more convenient to industry interests. Here are a few of the sweeping TAFTA demands explicitly expressed by the corporations of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and BusinessEurope. More...


The Nightmare Scenario: A Repo Implosion
By Mike Whitney
Posted October 15, 2013

economic collapsePresident Barack Obama is determined to prevail in his battle with GOP congressional leaders on the debt ceiling issue, but not for the reasons stated in the media. Obama is less concerned with the prospect of higher interest rates and frustrated bondholders than he is with the big Wall Street banks who would be thrust back into crisis if there is no resolution before October 17. Absent a debt ceiling deal, the repurchase market -- known as repo -- would undergo another deep-freeze as it did in 2008 when Lehman Brothers defaulted triggering a run on the Reserve Primary Fund which had been exposed to Lehman's short-term debt.

The frenzied sell-off sparked a widespread panic across global financial markets pushing the system to the brink of collapse and forcing the Federal Reserve to backstop regulated and unregulated financial institutions with more than $11 trillion in loans and other obligations. The same tragedy will play out again, if congress fails lift the ceiling and reinforce the present value of US debt. More...


Enron billionaire expands craven plot to abuse workers
by David Sirota
Posted October 8, 2013

looting worker pensionsA billionaire's scheme to loot public workers' pensions now includes a shadowy front group -- and brand-new target. A week after the simultaneous release of my Institute for America's Future report and Matt Taibbi's Rolling Stone investigation into John Arnold, huge news hit California: The Enron billionaire whose former company wrecked the Golden State's economy appears to be using a shadowy Texas front group to now try to loot the Golden State's public pension system.

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, a Democrat pushing a controversial idea to dial down government retirement benefits, asked a Houston-based group (called Action Now Initiative) to give $200,000 to his local chamber of commerce last summer for "policy analysis for statewide pension reform" according to a report Reed filed in August. Of course, the word "reform," is now the preferred euphemism for "rip-off scheme." In the context of pensions, it means pleading poverty to justify cuts to public employees guaranteed retirement income, all while preserving massive corporate welfare and, in many cases, funneling pension cash to Wall Street hedge fund managers. More...


Report Exposes the Right-Wing Tag Team Plotting Against Pensions
By Isaiah J Poole
Posted September 4, 2013

Wall St out to loot pensionsNews stories around the country have trumpeted a public pension "crisis" in various states, featuring elected officials who insist that these crises justify slashing the retirement benefits of public employees. Leading this effort is the Pew Charitable Trusts' Public Sector Retirement Systems Project and the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. Their role in ginning up the sense of crisis, and in pushing state legislatures to dismantle pension systems that have served workers well for decades and could serve them well for decades more, is exposed in an Institute for America's Future report released today, "The Plot Against Pensions."

The Laura and John Arnold Foundation is run by conservative political operatives and consultants, and funded by John Arnold, an Enron billionaire. His only major experience with pension management was his role in a company whose collapse destroyed its own workers' pensions and helped to damage the financial stability of public pension funds across America that held Enron stock. More...


Protest against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Secret Negotiations behind Closed Doors
By Kevin Zeese
Posted September 3, 2013

Stop the corporate coup TPPWe decided to expose these secret negotiations by going right to their national office and plastering the Office of the US Trade Representative with messages that let them and the public know what they are doing. We took over their office building today, and plan to continue to escalate tactics in Congress and wherever we see opportunities to expose the TPP, stop the undermining of democracy through Fast Track and have a real debate over whether the US wants rigged trade for big transnational corporations or fair trade that puts people and the planet before profits.

So far, the TPP has been drafted with an unprecedented degree of secrecy. While information has been kept from the public more than 600 corporate advisers have access to the treaty's text – including companies such as Halliburton, Monsanto, Walmart, and Chevron. The Obama administration has kept the TPP classified, making it the first-ever classification of a trade agreement. In addition to denying public access to its text, the president has urged Congress to use Fast Track to pass the treaty. Fast Track would limit congressional consideration of the text to a quick up or down vote and give President Obama the power to sign and negotiate the treaty. This turns the Constitution on its head as the Commerce Clause authorizes Congress to "regulate commerce among nations" not the president." More...


Wall Street Predators Wage Secret War on American Retirements
By Lynn Stuart Parramore
Posted October 2, 2013

looting pension fundsLips are smacking on Wall Street. Today's tasty treat? The pensions of hard-working people across America. Financial hustlers have been working overtime to convince the population that we are in the midst of an "unfunded liability crisis" in which states and cities can no longer afford to pay pensions to public workers. Here's the truth: Wall Street predators have had their hands in the pension cookie jar for decades, and now they're poised to gobble up the retirements of teachers and firefighters in yet another orgy of greed.

Unknown to much of the public, Wall Street has been soaking state and municipal coffers with derivatives schemes and various frauds for years. As Alexander Arapoglou and Jerri-Lynn Scofield have explained, not only have Wall Street banks screwed public finances with fancy credit default swaps and other "innovative" financial products that blow up in the faces of cities and states, they have also been engaged in widespread frauds that squeeze pension yields. More...


Financial Armageddon Looting Machine: Looming Mass Destruction from Derivatives
by Ellen Brown
Posted October 1, 2013

derivatives armageddonWhen MF Global went down it did so because its repo, derivative and hypothecation partners essentially foreclosed on it. And when they did so they then 'looted' the company. And because of the co-mingling of clients money in the hypothecation deals the 'looters' also seized clients money as well. . . JPMorgan allegedly has MF Global money while other people's lawyers can only argue about it.

MF Global was followed by the Cyprus "bail-in" – the confiscation of depositor funds to recapitalize the country's failed banks. This was followed by the coordinated appearance of bail-in templates worldwide, mandated by the Financial Stability Board, the global banking regulator in Switzerland.

Bail-in policies are being necessitated by the fact that governments are balking at further bank bailouts. In the US, the Dodd-Frank Act (Section 716) now bans taxpayer bailouts of most speculative derivative activities. That means the next time we have a Lehman-style event, the banking system could simply collapse into a black hole of derivative looting. More...


Looting the Pension Funds
by Matt Taibbi
Posted September 29, 2013

wall st raiding pension fundsIn the final months of 2011, almost two years before the city of Detroit would shock America by declaring bankruptcy in the face of what it claimed were insurmountable pension costs, the state of Rhode Island took bold action to avert what it called its own looming pension crisis. Led by its newly elected treasurer, Gina Raimondo – an ostentatiously ambitious 42-year-old Rhodes scholar and former venture capitalist – the state declared war on public pensions, ramming through an ingenious new law slashing benefits of state employees with a speed and ferocity seldom before seen by any local government.

Raimondo's strategy for saving money involved handing more than $1 billion – 14 percent of the state fund – to hedge funds, including a trio of well-known New York-based funds: Dan Loeb's Third Point Capital was given $66 million, Ken Garschina's Mason Capital got $64 million and $70 million went to Paul Singer's Elliott Management. The funds now stood collectively to be paid tens of millions in fees every single year by the already overburdened taxpayers of her ostensibly flat-broke state. Felicitously, Loeb, Garschina and Singer serve on the board of the Manhattan Institute, a prominent conservative think tank with a history of supporting benefit-slashing reforms. The institute named Raimondo its 2011 "Urban Innovator" of the year. More...

So here we now have some perspective on the absurdity of police beating the heads and pepper spraying the very people who are pointing and calling out the Wall St. criminals who are raiding the police pensions.


Cyprus-Style Wealth Confiscation Is Now Happening All Over The Globe
by Michael Snyder
Posted September 26, 2013

Cyprus confiscationsNow that "bail-ins" have become accepted practice all over the planet, no bank account and no pension fund will ever be 100% safe again. In fact, Cyprus-style wealth confiscation is already starting to happen all around the world. As you will read about below, private pension funds were just raided by the government in Poland, and a "bail-in" is being organized for one of the largest banks in Italy. Unfortunately, this is just the beginning. The precedent that was set in Cyprus is being used as a template for establishing bail-in procedures in New Zealand, Canada and all over Europe. It is only a matter of time before we see this exact same type of thing happen in the United States as well. From now on, anyone that keeps a large amount of money in any single bank account or retirement fund is being incredibly foolish.

Let's take a look at a few of the examples of how Cyprus-style wealth confiscation is now moving forward all over the globe.For years, there have been rumors that someday the U.S. government would raid private pension funds. Well, in Poland it just happened. More...


The Average American Family Pays $6,000 a Year in Subsidies to Big Business
By Paul Bucheit
Posted September 24, 2013

families pay corporate subsidiesThat's more than an insult—it's an attack.The average American family pays $6,000 a year in subsidies to big business.

That's over and above our payments to the big companies for energy and food and housing and health care and all our tech devices. It's $6,000 that no family would have to pay if we truly lived in a competitive but well-regulated free-market economy. The $6,000 figure is an average, which means that low-income families are paying less. But it also means that families (households) making over $72,000 are paying more than $6,000 to the corporations. More...


How Interest Rate Swaps Are Crushing America's Cities
By Garrett Baldwin
Posted September 23, 2013

Wallt St hustles Main StIt's something you may not even have heard of, but the massive financial burden of interest rate swaps is pressuring city budgets and pinching taxpayers more every year.The idea behind interest rate swaps seems logical enough. Interest rate swaps are financial contracts meant to protect borrowers from drastic increases in costs related to the yield of their debts.

All across the country, cities and local agencies got into bed with Wall Street in the hopes of reducing their financial burdens on borrowing costs. Now, those plans have backfired...

To understand what went wrong, you need to know how interest rate swaps work. More...


Verizon's Plan to Break the Internet
by Timothy Karr
Posted September 22, 2013

Verizon wants to own the InternetVerizon has big plans for the Internet. And if that doesn't worry you, it should. The company is trying to overturn the Federal Communications Commission's Open Internet Order, which prevents Internet service providers from blocking, throttling or otherwise discriminating against online content.

For years, ISPs like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon have said that Net Neutrality rules are unnecessary. They've insisted they would never block access to one site or favor another. These companies have also suggested that the millions of people who joined the movement to protect the open Internet were chasing goblins.

In court last week, the judges asked whether the company intended to favor certain websites over others."I'm authorized to state from my client today," Verizon attorney Walker said, "that but for these rules we would be exploring those types of arrangements." More...


The Armageddon Looting Machine: The Looming Mass Destruction From Derivatives
by Ellen Brown
Posted September 19, 2013

financial armegeddonIncreased regulation and low interest rates are driving lending from the regulated commercial banking system into the unregulated shadow banking system. The shadow banks, although free of government regulation, are propped up by a hidden government guarantee in the form of safe harbor status under the 2005 Bankruptcy Reform Act pushed through by Wall Street. The result is to create perverse incentives for the financial system to self-destruct.

Five years after the financial collapse precipitated by the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy on September 15, 2008, the risk of another full-blown financial panic is still looming large, despite the Dodd-Frank legislation designed to contain it. More...


NSA Spying Seen Risking Billions in U.S. Technology Sales
by Allan Holmes
Posted September 12, 2013

NSA spying hurts businessA congressional committee's effective blacklisting of Huawei Technologies Co.'s products from the U.S. telecommunications market over allegations they can enable Chinese spying may come back to bite Silicon Valley.

Reports that the National Security Agency persuaded some U.S. technology companies to build so-called backdoors into security products, networks and devices to allow easier surveillance are similar to how the House Intelligence Committee described the threat posed by China through Huawei. More...


International Criticism Escalates Against TPP as Negotiations Go Further Underground
by Maira Sutton
Posted September 11, 2013

TPPThis week, trade delegates met in San Francisco to discuss the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement's e-commerce chapter. It's likely that this secret chapter carries provisions that whittle away at user data protections [pdf]. But we weren't able to say so at this meeting. Not only have they neglected to notify digital rights groups—including EFF, which is based in San Francisco—about the meeting, we could not even discover where it was taking place.

Delegates from TPP countries are right now holding these secretive "inter-sessional" meetings here and in other undisclosed cities around the world. Trade reps for specific issue areas are hammering out "unresolved" issues that are holding up the conclusion of the agreement, and doing so by becoming even more secretive and evasive than ever.

We only heard about a TPP meeting on intellectual property in Mexico City in September through the diplomatic rumor-mill, since the US Trade Rep is no longer bothering to announce the dates or locations of these closed-door side meetings. During this round in Mexico, countries that have been resistant to U.S. demands to sign onto highly restrictive copyright enforcement standards may ultimately be strong-armed into doing so. More...


Making the World Safe for Bankers: Syria in the Crosshairs
by Ellen Brown
Posted September 8, 2013

Making world safe for bankersIraq and Libya have been taken out, and Iran has been heavily boycotted. Syria is now in the cross-hairs. Why? Here is one overlooked scenario.

In an August 2013 article titled "Larry Summers and the Secret 'End-game' Memo," Greg Palast posted evidence of a secret late-1990s plan devised by Wall Street and U.S. Treasury officials to open banking to the lucrative derivatives business. To pull this off required the relaxation of banking regulations not just in the US but globally. The vehicle to be used was the Financial Services Agreement of the World Trade Organization.

The "end-game" would require not just coercing support among WTO members but taking down those countries refusing to join. Some key countries remained holdouts from the WTO, including Iraq, Libya, Iran and Syria. In these Islamic countries, banks are largely state-owned; and "usury" – charging rent for the "use" of money – is viewed as a sin, if not a crime. That puts them at odds with the Western model of rent extraction by private middlemen. Publicly-owned banks are also a threat to the mushrooming derivatives business, since governments with their own banks don't need interest rate swaps, credit default swaps, or investment-grade ratings by private rating agencies in order to finance their operations. More...


Canadian Deposits As Safe As Cypriot Deposits
by Jeff Berwick
Posted September 7, 2013

money at risk in the big banksRest easy, Canadians, for your bank accounts are going to be made as safe as those bank accounts in Cyprus. Just take a look at the Canadian government's budget plan for 2013, particularly pages 144 and 145 of Economic Action Plan 2013. There the Canadian government promises to use Canadian deposits to save "systematicaly important" banks.

The Government proposes to implement a "bail-in" regime for systemically important banks.This regime will be designed to ensure that, in the unlikely event that a systemically important bank depletes its capital, the bank can be recapitalized and returned to viability through the very rapid conversion of certain bank liabilities into regulatory capital. This will reduce risks for taxpayers. The Government will consult stakeholders on how best to implement a bail-in regime in Canada. Implementation timelines will allow for a smooth transition for affected institutions, investors and other market participants. More...

America, the same applies to your personal deposits and those of your municipalities, universities, counties, and pension funds in any of the big banks. This video outlines the risks.


Greg Palast: Potential Fed Chair Summers at Heart of Global Economic Crisis
by Jaisal Noor
Posted September 4, 2013

Larry Summers crash architectInvestigative journalist Greg Palast has obtained a secret memo authored by then deputy Treasury secretary Larry Summers and his protégé Timothy Geithner detailing their plans to roll back financial regulation. In the piece, titled "The Confidential Memo at the Heart of the Global Financial Crisis" for Vice, Palast writes:

"The Memo confirmed every conspiracy freak's fantasy: that in the late 1990s, the top U.S. Treasury officials secretly conspired with a small cabal of banker big-shots to rip apart financial regulation across the planet. When you see 26.3 percent unemployment in Spain, desperation and hunger in Greece, riots in Indonesia and Detroit in bankruptcy, go back to this End Game memo, the genesis of the blood and tears." More...


Government Documents Showing Plans For Deposit Confiscation
by Rudy Avizius
Posted September 2, 2013

Below are links to official government websites and the documents that clearly describe how depositor funds will be confiscated when the next crsis hits. Remember, as a depositor in a bank, under the law you are considered an UNSECURED creditor.

Confiscation plansFDIC-Bank of England Joint Paper

European Union

New Zealand


Click here for video on how public funds in the big banks are at risk.


MFGlobal Reveals You Are A Bank Counter-Party
by Barry Ritholtz
Posted September 2, 2013

MF Global lossesThere has been enormous pushback against what should be a simple piece of prophylactic rules on proprietary trading by depository banks. Why? The profits of speculation goes to banks, driving bonuses and compensation; but the ultimate risk of loss lay with the FDIC and taxpayer. If the banks blow up, someone else besides the banker pays.

Privatized gains, socialized losses.

I want to take a few moments to briefly explain why this rule is so important to taxpayers, especially following the collapse of MF Global and the loss of billions of client assets.Recall the basic facts of MFG: Management engaged in leveraged speculations with monies — whether it was their own or clients became irrelevant as the losses were so great as to wipe out much more capital than the bank actually had. Billions in losses meant MFG was insolvent and was wound down. On the winning sides of those trades were folks like JPM and George Soros. It is neither their duty nor obligation to verify whose money is on the other side of the trade — the clearing firms make sure the trade settles. More...


The Leveraged Buyout of America
by Ellen Brown
Posted September 1, 2013

banks leverage buyingGiant bank holding companies now own airports, toll roads, and ports; control power plants; and store and hoard vast quantities of commodities of all sorts. They are systematically buying up or gaining control of the essential lifelines of the economy. How have they pulled this off, and where have they gotten the money?

In a letter to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke dated June 27, 2013, US Representative Alan Grayson and three co-signers expressed concern about the expansion of large banks into what have traditionally been non-financial commercial spheres. More...


Public Banking Institute Calls Largest Wall Street Banks "Unsafe," and Backs It Up
By Pam Martens
Posted August 30, 2013

Mike KraussThe Public Banking Institute has released a new video making serious claims, backed by graphs and government documents, that the largest Wall Street banks are an unsafe choice for the savings of moms, pops and public payrolls. Citing a December 10, 2012 jointly approved plan between the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Bank of England, which resides on the FDIC's federal web site, the organization says depositors in the U.S. could see portions of their deposits confiscated, similar to what happened in Cyprus, should there be another Wall Street collapse as occurred in 2008.

The first question, of course, is why the U.S. government is negotiating its banking policy with the United Kingdom instead of the U.S. Congress. The obvious answer is that global banks, now allowed to troll the planet in search of the next high-flying derivatives trade, must harmonize their rules to pacify their foreign regulators. More...

"Until the Glass-Steagall Act is restored by the U.S. Congress, until prosecutors rid Wall Street of its serial wrongdoers parked in the executive suites, it's best to pay careful attention to this Public Banking Institute video." - Pam Martens


Avaricious Brilliance for Economic Disaster
by Ralph Nader
Posted August 29, 2013

Larry SummersThe widening circle applauding megamillionaire Larry Summers –of Harvard University, Washington, D.C. and Wall Street – agrees on one word to describe the colossal failure – Brilliant! That circle includes Barack Obama, who appointed Summers in 2009 to be his chief economic advisor, Bill Clinton, who made him Secretary of the Treasury, and the Harvard Board of Overseers, who named him president of Harvard University in 2001.

With Clinton and his promoter, Robert Rubin, who preceded him at the Treasury post before making over $100 million at Citigroup, Summers brilliantly deregulated Wall Street in 1999 and 2000 thus setting up one of corporate capitalism's most harmful speculative binges.

At Harvard, Summers remained brilliant in advising the University's huge endowment into risky investments that lost it billions of dollars. His brilliance also led him to say that women just weren't cut out for heavy duty scientific work. More...


Pinching Pensions to Keep Wall Street Fat and Happy
by Dean Baker
Posted August 28, 2013

Stealing pensions for Wall StThe debate over public pensions shows clearly the contempt that the elites have for ordinary workers. While elites routinely preach the sanctity of contract when it works to benefit the rich and powerful, they are happy to treat the contracts that provide workers with pensions as worthless scraps of paper.

We see this attitude on display currently in the Detroit bankruptcy proceedings. It is even more clearly on display in efforts by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to default on the city's pension obligations.The basic story in both cases is that the contracts that workers had labored under are being laughed at by the elites because they find it inconvenient to carry through with the terms. In the case of Detroit, public sector workers face the loss of much of their pension as a result of the city's effort to declare bankruptcy. More...


Truthdigger of the Week: Ellen Brown
by Alexander Reed Kelly
Posted August 27, 2013

Ellen brownWhat could happen if we took authority over banking away from Wall Street and gave it to the public? We're told this is a bad idea—finance is too complex for common people. No doubt this is true. But as events of the last decade have shown, banking in its current form is too complicated even for Harvard-educated "financial wizards" to understand.

Of course, that's the point. If the public can't comprehend what the financial class is doing, then it'll have a difficult time recognizing crimes are being committed. "Financial instruments" such as "derivatives" function as cloaks of theoretical obscurity behind which expensively dressed men may steal and kill with impunity. More...

The comments and discussion at the end of this article are excellent!


Money Is Not Safe In The Big Banks
by Rudy Avizius
Posted August 24, 2013

People think that money is safe in the big banks because the FDIC will protect the deposits. This assumption is not based on the facts. This video will show official government documents that describe the plans for confiscating deposits when, (not if) a big bank fails. Individual, as well as public funds from municipal, university, county deposits are at serious risk. YOUR taxpayer money will disappear in the next crisis! Public officials in charge of taxpayer funds need to be aware of the dangers here. The loss of taxpayer funds  and the inability to meet payrolls and obligations will certainly prompt a response that will both immediate and forceful. 

This video will show how Cyprus was not a one-time event and how the Cyprus confiscation was planned well in advance and how M.F. Global was the blueprint for future confiscations and how a legal precedent was created when these losses were upheld by the legal system.  


Ripping Off Young America: The College-Loan Scandal
by Matt Taibbi
Posted August 19, 2013

Student debt kills dreamsThough this was just the thinnest of temporary solutions – Congressional Budget Office projections predicted interest rates on undergraduate loans under the new plan would still rise as high as 7.25 percent within five years, while graduate loans could reach an even more ridiculous 8.8 percent – the jobholders on Capitol Hill couldn't stop congratulating themselves for their "rare" "feat" of bipartisan cooperation. "This proves Washington can work," clucked House Republican Luke Messer of Indiana, in a typically autoerotic assessment of the work done by Beltway pols like himself who were now freed up for their August vacations.

Not only had the president succeeded in moving the goal posts on his spring scandals, he'd teamed up with the Republicans to perpetuate a long-standing deception about the education issue: that the student-loan controversy is now entirely about interest rates and/or access to school loans. More...


New Monetary Systems for a Sustainable Democracy and "The Great Turning"
by Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese
Posted August 15, 2013

resilient monetary systemOur money system is ill-equipped to help us solve the pervasive socio-economic and ecological challenges we face. Transformation of our money system is critical because monetary diversity is just as important to human survival as biodiversity is to the fate of the earth.

There is a lot that we can learn from nature, and one important lesson is that diverse systems have greater strength and resilience. When conditions change, various components within a diverse system will step in to pick up where others fail. The weaknesses of monocultures are evident in agricultural systems where crops either flourish or wither each season. We also know that using permaculture, in which multiple types of plants are grown together to fill different functions and aid each other, creates greater abundance. More...


The Cult Of Economic Propaganda
by Andrew McKillop
Posted August 13, 2013

false government dataCOMPULSIVE LYING - Modern economic communication can be called a degenerate art. For the Nazi regime 'entartete Kunst' meant degenerate art and described virtually all modern art – which was banned as anti-German. Today, economic propaganda has reached a high point of degeneracy, falsifying all and any information with a very simple goal. The information available to anybody – whether specialists or ordinary citizens – is no longer sure. Consequently we do not know what is really happening, but more important, almost nobody cares. This is one key goal of any propaganda campaign – to produce a confused, disoriented, fearful and childish-minded public craving for reassurance.

This propaganda comes from the same political sources which for decades lectured us about the horrors of inflation. An economic war hero (or criminal) of the early 1980s, US Fed chief Paul Volker was lauded to the point of hysteria for raising interest rates to 20% - even higher than official inflation of the time. Today we need 0 % interest rates and in Japan, a bizarre and clumsy monetary experiment is underway to try raising inflation while trying to devalue the JPY, using zero interest rates. More..


U.S. threatens to curtail lending in cities that resort to eminent domain
by Alejandro Lazo
Posted August 11, 2013

bank owned homeThe nation's top housing finance regulator threatened to choke off mortgage lending in cities that use eminent domain to seize underwater loans from lenders. The salvo from the Federal Housing Finance Agency came Thursday, on the heels of a lawsuit directed by major Wall Street firms and U.S.-sponsored mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac against the Bay Area city of Richmond.

Richmond is the first to push forward with the plan, also being debated in cities across the state and nation. Richmond wants to require lenders and investors to sell underwater mortgages at a deep discount. The city would then refinance borrowers into more-affordable mortgages. More...


The "Part Time-ification" of America: How We've Been Conned Again
by Keith Fitz-Gerald
Posted August 9, 2013

parttime jobsBy now, you've had a few days to digest the "wonderful" jobs numbers reported from Washington last Friday. Well, don't get too excited about the economy. We've been conned again.

First off, 59% of all jobs created this year are in 3 sectors: Leisure/Hospitality, Retail Trade and Administrative/Waste Services. Wages in those sectors have fallen by 0.7%. These jobs pay an average of $15.80 per hour versus the $23.98 average hourly wage. Which means "jobs creation" just equals cheaper labor.

The American jobs participation rate is at 34-year lows and falling, as people give up and leave the workforce. Underemployment is between 14% and 15% and rising. America still suffers from 2 million fewer jobs today than it did when the financial crisis started. More...


The "New Economy" Is The No Jobs Economy
by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts
Posted August 8, 2013

Matrix statisticsOne of my most popular columns was about escaping from the Matrix existence in which Americans live. It is a world of disinformation and misinformation in which facts are fiction, and abstract theories are substituted for empirical reality.

Official government statistics are make-believe. The government makes inflation and unemployment disappear by how it defines inflation and unemployment, and it makes the economy grow by how it defines Gross Domestic Product. The definitional basis determines the statistical result.

Inflation is made to disappear by substituting lower priced items for higher priced items and by defining price rises as quality improvements. Thus, the higher prices don't count as inflation. Unemployment disappears by defining discouraged workers who cannot find employment as people who are no longer in the work force. They simply are disappeared out of the ranks of the unemployed. More...


Detroit is Not Broke!
by Scott Baker
Posted August 7, 2013

Detroit is not brokeThe on-again-off-again pending bankruptcy of what was formerly America's 4th largest city, Detroit, has been all over the news lately. In all of these stories, whether blaming the collapse of the domestic auto industry , profligate workers taking pensions, or, even closer to the truth, speculators (read: banks) who precipitated a housing collapse , and even the fact that only 53% of City property owners paid their 2011 property taxes while approximately $246.5 million in taxes and fees went uncollected for 2011, of which $131 million was due to the City - there is one glaring omission of coverage, whether Detroit is, in fact, broke. One would think that with such extensive coverage of everything from the city's crumbling infrastructure to its money-and-personnel starved police department's pathetic 10% crime-solving rate and 58-minute police department responses , that at least some research would have been given to whether Detroit is, in fact, out of money.

Note; I didn't say, "whether Detroit is bankrupt." Bankruptcy is a legal finding. Being out of money is a statement of fact. There is a crucial difference, as we shall see. More...


The Detroit Bail-In Template: Fleecing Pensioners to Save the Banks
by Ellen Brown
Posted August 6, 2013

Bankers stealing pensionsThe Detroit bankruptcy is looking suspiciously like the bail-in template originated by the G20's Financial Stability Board in 2011, which exploded on the scene in Cyprus in 2013 and is now becoming the model globally. In Cyprus, the depositors were "bailed in" (stripped of a major portion of their deposits) to re-capitalize the banks. In Detroit, it is the municipal workers who are being bailed in, stripped of a major portion of their pensions to save the banks.

Derivative claims are considered "secured" because the players must post collateral to play. They get not just priority but "super-priority" in bankruptcy, meaning they go first before all others, a deal pushed through by Wall Street in the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 2005. Meanwhile, the municipal workers, whose pensions are theoretically protected under the Michigan Constitution, are classified as "unsecured" claimants who will get the scraps after the secured creditors put in their claims. The banking casino, it seems, trumps even the state constitution. The banks win and the workers lose once again. More...


Green Light for City-Owned San Francisco Bank
by Ellen Brown
Posted August 2, 2013

Public bank for municipalitiesA number of other California cities that have explored forming their own banks are also affected by this opinion. As of June 2008, 112 of California's 478 cities are charter cities, including not only San Francisco but Los Angeles, Richmond, Oakland and Berkeley. A charter city is one governed by its own charter document rather than by local, state or national laws.

That leaves the question whether a publicly-owned bank would put taxpayer money at risk. The Bank of North Dakota, the nation's only state-owned bank, has posed no risk to depositors or the state's taxpayers in nearly a century of successful operation. Further, in this latest recession it has helped the state achieve a nationwide low in unemployment (3.2%) and the only budget surplus in the country.

Meanwhile, the recent wave of bank scandals has shifted the focus to whether local governments can afford to risk keeping their funds in Wall Street banks. More...


Trash The TPP: Why It's Time to Revolt Against the Worst "Trade Agreement: in History
by Kevin Zeeze and Margaret Flowers
Posted July 24, 2013

why so secret?Odds are that you have not have heard of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. While the TPP has been under negotiation since 2008, talks have largely been done in secret and not covered by the mass media.

The media black-out is quite impressive since this is the largest corporate trade agreement to be negotiated since the World Trade Organization got underway in 1995. Commonly called a global corporate coup, the TPP makes transnational corporations more powerful than governments. Others call it "NAFTA on steroids" because it will multiply the failures of NAFTA.

IF PEOPLE KNEW ITS CONTENTS, IT COULD NOT PASS! The TPP details are being kept secret from everyone except for the 600 corporate advisers who can read the text on their computers as it is being created, and help the US Trade Representative draft the language. These include the biggest transnational corporations like WalMart, Bank of America, JPMorgan, Pfizer and Monsanto or their trade associations. The TPP is being drafted of, by and for the transnational corporations. More...


19 Reasons To Be Deeply Concerned About The Global Economy
by Michael Snyder
Posted July 19, 2013

storm comingIs the global economic downturn going to accelerate as we roll into the second half of this year? There is turmoil in the Middle East, we are seeing things happen in the bond markets that we have not seen happen in more than 30 years, and much of Europe has already plunged into a full-blown economic depression. Sadly, most Americans will never understand what is happening until financial disaster strikes them personally. As long as they can go to work during the day and eat frozen pizza and watch reality television at night, most of them will consider everything to be just fine.

Unfortunately, the truth is that everything is not fine. The world is becoming increasingly unstable, we are living in the terminal phase of the greatest debt bubble in the history of the planet and the global financial system is even more vulnerable than it was back in 2008. Unfortunately, most people seem to only have a 48 hour attention span at best these days. They don't have the patience to watch long-term trends develop. And the coming economic collapse is not going to happen all at once. Rather, it is like watching a very, very slow-motion train wreck happen.

The coming economic nightmare is going to unfold over a number of years. Yes, there will be moments of great panic, but mostly it will be a steady decline into economic oblivion. And there are a lot of indications that the second half of this year is not going to be as good as the first half was. More...


Meet the Elites Inside the $4 Trillion Global Powerhouse Bank of JP Morgan Chase
by Andrew Gavin Marshall
Posted July 17, 2013

4 trillion bankIn the midst of the scandal, the bank faced a potential "revolt" of its shareholders in a bid to strip Dimon of his dual role as CEO and Chairman. In confidential government reports which were leaked to The New York Times, the bank was accused of "manipulative schemes" which transformed "money-losing power plants into powerful profit centers" while executives made "false and misleading statements" under oath.

Yet even in the midst of scandal, Jamie Dimon was praised in a storm of support by billionaires, corporate kingpins and media barons. Calling JPMorgan Chase "as good a bank as there is," New York City mayor and billionaire media baron Michael Bloomberg went on to call Dimon "a very smart, honest, great executive." News Corporation chairman Rupert Murdoch praised Dimon as "one of the smartest, toughest guys around," while Jack Welch, former chairman and CEO of General Electric, referred to him as a "great leader" and said he had earned the "right to hold both Chairman and CEO titles." To top it off, billionaire investor and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffet, dubbed Dimon "a fabulous banker." More...


Stopping the Trans-Pacific Partnership: Global Revolt Against Corporate Domination
by Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese
Posted July 12, 2013

secret deal for the richWe are in the midst of an epic battle between the people of the world and transnational corporations. Wealthy governments and corporations are merging in a global system in which private corporations have absolute power over your life. This is a battle the people can win and when we do it will show that we can defeat corporate power on issue after issue.

The 1999 battle in Seattle to stop the World Trade Organization (WTO) from granting increased power to transnational corporations and the negative consequences of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) created broad public awareness about the ways that 'free trade' hurts people and the planet. As a result, in the past few decades, the WTO has effectively been unable to move forward with its neoliberal economic agenda. And the United States was forced to move to smaller country-by-country trade agreements, many of which were stopped by public pressure. More...


40 Statistics About The Fall Of The U.S. Economy That Are Almost Too Crazy To Believe
by Michael Snyder
Posted July 11, 2013

economic declineIf you know someone that actually believes that the U.S. economy is in good shape, just show them the statistics in this article. When you step back and look at the long-term trends, it is undeniable what is happening to us. We are in the midst of a horrifying economic decline that is the result of decades of very bad decisions. 30 years ago, the U.S. national debt was about one trillion dollars. Today, it is almost 17 trillion dollars. 40 years ago, the total amount of debt in the United States was about 2 trillion dollars. Today, it is more than 56 trillion dollars.

At the same time that we have been running up all of this debt, our economic infrastructure and our ability to produce wealth has been absolutely gutted. Since 2001, the United States has lost more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities and millions of good jobs have been shipped overseas. Our share of global GDP declined from 31.8 percent in 2001 to 21.6 percent in 2011. The percentage of Americans that are self-employed is at a record low, and the percentage of Americans that are dependent on the government is at a record high. The U.S. economy is a complete and total mess, and it is time that we faced the truth. More...


Think Your Money is Safe in an Insured Bank Account? Think Again
by Ellen Brown
Posted July 10, 2013

your money is not safeAlthough the bail-in template did not hit the news until it was imposed on Cyprus in March 2013, it is a global model that goes back to a directive from the Financial Stability Board (an arm of the Bank for International Settlements) dated October 2011, endorsed at the G20 summit in December 2011. In 2009, the G20 nations agreed to be regulated by the Financial Stability Board; and bail-in policies have now been established for the US, UK, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada, among other countries. (See earlier articles here and here.)

Who should bear the loss in the event of systemic collapse? The choices currently on the table are limited to taxpayers and bank creditors, including the largest class of creditor, the depositors. Imposing the losses on the profligate banks themselves would be more equitable , but if they have gambled away the money, they simply won't have the funds. The rules need to be changed so that they cannot gamble the money away. More...


Oligarchs of the New Feudal Order Have Big Plans for You
By Michael Hudson
Posted July 9, 2013

the new feudalismBuy the Pavement and Charge You to Walk - A post-bubble environment of debt-strapped austerity is empowering the financial sector to become an oligarchy much like landlords in the 19th century. In place of a new bubble, financial elites are demanding privatization sell-offs from debt-strapped governments. Pressure is being brought to bear on Detroit to sell off its most valuable paintings and statues from its art museums. The idea is to sell their artworks for tycoons to buy as trophies, with the money being used to pay bondholders.

This is a different kind of inflation than one finds from strictly financial bubbles. It is creating a new neo-feudal rentier class eager to buy roads to turn into toll roads, to buy parking-meter rights (as in Chicago's notorious deal), to buy prisons, schools and other basic infrastructure. The aim is to build financial charges and tollbooth rents into the prices charged for access to these essential, hitherto public services. Prices are rising not because costs and wages are rising, but because of monopoly rents and other rent-extraction activities. More...


The Privatization of War: Mercenaries, Private Military and Security Companies (PMSC)
by Jose L. Gomez del Prado
Posted July 5, 2013

private mercenariesPrivate military and security companies (PMSC) are the modern reincarnation of a long lineage of private providers of physical force: corsairs, privateers and mercenaries. Mercenaries, which had practically disappeared during the XIXth and XXth centuries, reappeared in the 1960's during the decolonization period operating mainly in Africa and Asia. Under the United Nations a convention was adopted which outlaws and criminalizes their activities. Additional Protocol I of the Geneva Conventions also contains a definition of mercenary.

These non-state entities of the XXIst century operate in extremely blurred situations where the frontiers are difficult to separate. The new security industry of private companies moves large quantities of weapons and military equipment. It provides services for military operations recruiting former militaries as civilians to carry out passive or defensive security. More...


How Many Warnings Do You Need?
by Rudy Avizius
Posted July 1, 2013

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

Consider yourself warned, money is not safe in the big banks. The MF Global losses, the Cyprus confiscations, the Sentinel case, the FDIC/BOE Joint Paper, the plans in the European Union, Canada, New Zealand, and Spain to raid private accounts, and finally the information in this article should be raising all sorts of red flags. HOW MANY WARNINGS DO YOU NEED? Personal accounts, as well as any school, municipal, county, and state funds that are deposited in any of the big banks are not safe. The plans for confiscation have already been developed, they have been approved, they are awaiting the next crisis. More...


The Trans-Pacific Partnership: Global Corporate Coup, Assault on Democracy and National Sovereignty
by Kevin Zeese
Posted June 22, 2013

corporate coupAccording to Ron Kirk former US Trade Representative: making the text public would raise such opposition that it could make the deal impossible to sign. There is a battle building between the people of the planet and transnational corporations. The battleground is the Trans-Pacific Partnership. It is a battle the people can win if we act in solidarity.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a global corporate coup that makes corporations more powerful than governments and undermines our national sovereignty. While the public and media are not allowed to see the text, and members of Congress only receive limited, heavily restricted access, 600 corporations have been advising the president and suggesting amendments as they have full access to the documents. This includes some of America's worst corporate citizens: Monsanto, Walmart, Bank of America, JP Morgan, Phiser and big Pharma, Cargill, Exxon-Mobil, Chevron among them. More...

The TPP is even more dangerous than the Citizens United ruling. This is nothing less than a corporate coup in the disguise of a trade deal. This agreement is NAFTA on steroids!


Americans! Where's the Outrage Regarding Your Financial Situation?
by Michael Snyder
Posted Jun 18, 2013

inequalityWhy aren't Americans saying: "I'm mad as hell and I won't take it any more!"?

The mainstream media and our politicians are not telling us the truth. We are being told that we just need to accept our lower standard of living and most Americans seem willing to accept that reality because they keep sending most of the exact same bozos back to Washington D.C.

As our economic system continues to degenerate, Americans are going to become increasingly desperate and, sadly, desperate people do desperate things. Already we are beginning to see signs that the fabric of American society is starting to be ripped to shreds. There is a limit to how many people we can actually put in prison. The reality is that the number of Americans in prison has nearly tripled since 1987. Our prisons are already dangerously overcrowded. As society falls apart, many communities will simply not be able to shove more people behind bars. What are our leaders doing about all of this? What is going to happen if the economy gets even worse? Well, they appear to be too busy fighting with each other and cheating on their wives to do much about our problems.

This country is a complete and total mess. Tens of millions of American families are flat broke and are about to slip into poverty. Meanwhile, our politicians continue to prove that they are some of the most corrupt on the planet. More...

It's amazing how so many millions of people became so shiftless and lazy after the bankers trashed the economy in 2008.


Corporations are Colonizing Us with Trade Deals, and Wall Street Wants In
by Richard Eskow
Posted June 12, 2013

Corporate States of AmericaAfter 237 years, we're becoming a colony again. Our nation's losing the right to self-determination it fought so hard to win, and it's happening on a scale unseen since the days of George III. As is so often the case these days, this wholesale loss of our rights is being underwritten by corporate interests.

And, as usual, it's being called "bipartisan" – by corporations who "buy" both Republican and Democratic "partisans." Republicans cheered George W. Bush for saying, "I will never place U.S. troops under U.N. command." Democrats cheered Barack Obama for saying, "I want us to control our own energy destiny."

But both leaders pushed trade agreements that surrender our sovereign rights to faceless bureaucrats in international bodies – bodies that are dominated by multinational corporations. More...


Transcend Conditioned Consciousness None But Ourselves Can Free Our Minds
by David DeGraw
Posted June 11, 2013

money addictsAfter analyzing the most recent data, here's the headline: US millionaire households now have $50 trillion in wealth. They have $39 trillion in legally accounted for wealth, and an estimate of $11 trillion hidden in offshore accounts.

Let that sink in for a moment… 50 TRILLION DOLLAR$.Most people cannot even comprehend how much $1 trillion is, let alone $50 trillion. One trillion is equal to 1000 billion, or $1,000,000,000,000.00.

Only one-tenth of one percent of the population makes one million dollars a year, and, again, most of that wealth is in the top one-hundredth of one percent.

To show how consolidated the wealth is, even in the upper most portion of the top one percentile, the richest 400 people have as much wealth as 185 million Americans combined; that's only 400 people with as much wealth as 60% of the entire US population. Imagine what could be done with that amount of wealth. Imagine the implications, the possibilities. Imagine how we could evolve society, to the benefit of everyone, with modern technology and just a fraction of that staggering amount of wealth. More...


Setting the Record Straight: Did Monsanto Really Buy Blackwater (Xe)?
by Anthony Gucciardi
Posted May 30, 2013

Blackwater-Monsanto axisThere has been a great deal of publicity over the potential purchase of Blackwater (now known as Academi, and Xe before that) by mega corporation Monsanto.

While the two seem to be a great match, as they both fail to consider the morality and consequence of their actions, it seems that Monsanto is only involved with Blackwater ininfiltrating activist groups who are opposed to the biotech giant — an operation quite sinister enough.

The truth of the matter is that Academi (Blackwater) was purchased by private investors, and the heavily sourced article written by Jeremy Scahill in The Nation actually says nothing about Monsanto buying Blackwater.

What the articles does say, however, is that Monsanto and Blackwater are indeed working together to target anti-Monsanto activists and organizations. More...


The End of Capitalism As We Know It
by Peter Kellow
Posted May 21, 2013

Capitalism has crashedSomething is happening in the world economy that has not happened before within historical memory. It concerns the future of nation states of the world – all of them. It concerns a way in which state activity is essential to capitalism.

You won't hear this from orthodox economists and commentators for they do not take account of the way that money creation distorts the operation of the "free" economy. And they do not appreciate why the creation of vast amounts of new money is necessary to the functioning of capitalism under the current economic model. This is primarily because the classical economic theory which, in spite of undergoing development in the twentieth century, remains largely intact with its fundamental flaws preserved. And the most basic flaw in orthodoxy economic theory is that it refuses to see the economy as a dynamic changing system. It attempts to understand what is happening as if the whole economy were static and subject to simple mathematical equations. More...


Upcoming Trans-Pacific Partnership Looks Like Corporate Takeover
by Dave Johnson
Posted May 18, 2013

TPP-Why So Secret?You will be hearing a lot about the upcoming Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. TPP's negotiations are being held in secret with details kept secret even from our Congress. But giant corporations are in the loop.

The coming TPP is a very, very big deal. If it is agreed to by the Senate and signed by the President it will override American laws in many areas. We won't be allowed to enforce laws and regulations that impede the "rights" granted to big corporations under this agreement, and it will be very hard to rescind the agreement once signed, no matter how much damage might result. Just look at how NAFTA, China's entry into the WTO and other agreements are causing huge trade deficits and sending jobs, factories and industries out of the country while dramatically increasing income and wealth inequality. More...

This article "connects the dots" on how passage of the TPP poses a grave threat to our national sovereignty and our freedoms.


The True Story of the Bilderberg Group and What They May Be Planning Now
by Stephen Lendman
Posted May 17, 2013

Bilderberg New World OrderThe Group's grand design is for "a One World Government (World Company) with a single, global marketplace, policed by one world army, and financially regulated by one 'World (Central) Bank' using one global currency."

The Bilderberger-Rockefeller scheme is to make their views "so appealing (by camouflaging them) that they become public policy (and can) pressure world leaders into submitting to the 'needs of the Masters of the Universe.' " The "free world press" is their instrument to disseminate "agreed-upon propaganda."

Arkansas governor Bill Clinton, for example, who attended in 1991. "There, David Rockefeller told (him) why the North American Free Trade Agreement….was a Bilderberg priority and that the group needed him to support it. The next year, Clinton was elected president," and on January 1, 1994 NAFTA took effect. Numerous other examples are similar, including who gets chosen for powerful government, military and other key positions. More...


Are We On The Verge Of Witnessing The Death Of The Paper Gold Scam?
by Michael Snyder
Posted May 13, 2013

Gold vaults emptyThe legal claims on physical gold far exceed the amount of physical gold that the banks actually have by a very, very wide margin. And right now the bankers are scared out of their wits because their warehouses are being drained of physical gold at a frightening rate. So what happens when their physical gold is gone but they still have lots and lots of people with legal claims to gold? When that moment arrives, it will represent the end of the paper gold scam.

Many believe that the recent takedown of the price of paper gold was a desperate attempt by the bankers to put off that day of reckoning, but it appears to have greatly backfired on them. Instead of cooling off demand for precious metals, it has unleashed a massive "gold rush" all over the globe. Meanwhile, word has been spreading among wealthy families in both North America and Europe that they had better grab their physical gold out of the banks while they still can.

This is creating havoc in the financial community, and at least one major international bank has already declared that it will only be settling those accounts in cash from now on. The paper gold scam is starting to unravel, and by the time this is all over it is going to be a complete and total nightmare for global financial markets. More...


A Look Back at the Flash Crash of 2010: When Will it Happen Again?
by Greg Madison
Posted May 12, 2013

high frequency tradingThe SEC and the NYSE have embraced high-frequency traders, offering those who can afford it leased space next to the exchange. They insist that high-frequency traders act as market makers, setting prices and providing liquidity. In reality, they are tolerating - even encouraging - manipulation and access-peddling to those who can afford the huge outlay needed to run and maintain a high-frequency trading system. Shah Gilani wrote that chains of fixed microwave towers are going up all over New York and Chicago to enable speedier communication between the two financial command centers, in part to enhance high-frequency trading systems.

Bloomberg has found that sometime in the spring or summer, Hibernia Atlantic will start laying cable for Project Express - a new trans-Atlantic cable which will shave milliseconds off the current 60 milliseconds it takes for information to travel between the East Coast of the United States and Western Europe. Project Express is being built expressly for traders at a cost of $300 million. High-frequency traders will surely make very good - and profitable - use of those milliseconds. More...


Financial Experts with Great Prediction Records Are Saying Another Economic Meltdown is Imminent
by Richard Clark
Posted May 9, 2013

meltdownThe first Currency War led to the Great Depression, Hitler's rise, and World War II. Currency War II led to the economic malaise of the late 1970s and early 1980s, where double-digit inflation and unemployment, as well as a severe energy crisis, made life in America very difficult for folks on Main Street. Now Rickards is presenting downright frightening and highly sensitive evidence that this third currency war we are entering right now will be the most destructive in history.

A Reuters analysis confirms that a counteroffensive is now underway as other countries retaliate against the United States. The evidence is irrefutable: Seventy-eight (78) quantitative easing countermeasures have already been enacted from both our international allies and our foes . England's money supply has recently increased almost 90 percent. Japan's is up about 125 percent. Meanwhile, the former Director of National Intelligence has stated that this should now be our primary concern as a country.

Bloomberg has warned that Currency War III (and Ben Bernanke in particular) have not only flooded America's economy with future inflation, but China's economy as well. More...


Stunning Facts About How the Banking System Really Works … And How It Is Destroying America
by WashingtonsBlog
Posted May 8, 2013

banker corruptionTo understand the core problem in America today, we have to look back to the very founding of our country.

The ability for America and the 50 states to create its own credit has largely been lost to private bankers. The lion's share of new credit creation is done by private banks, so – instead of being able to itself create money without owing interest – the government owes unfathomable trillions in interest to private banks.

Read this background to understand how money is really created in our crazy current banking system. And read this and this to learn why we are paying trillions of dollars to the big banks in unnecessary interest costs.

America may have won the Revolutionary War, but it has since lost one of the main things it fought for: the freedom to create its own credit instead of having to beg for credit from private banks at a usurious cost. More...


No Bank Deposits Will Be Spared from Confiscation
by Matthias Chang
Posted April 27, 2013

Arrest the bankersI challenge anyone to prove me wrong that confiscation of bank deposits is legalized daylight robbery. Bank depositors in the UK and USA may think that their bank deposits would not be confiscated as they are insured and no government would dare embark on such a drastic action to bail out insolvent banks.

If a cashier in a supermarket removes $100 from the till on Friday to have a frolic on Saturday, he has committed theft, even though he may replace the $100 on Monday without the knowledge of the owner / manager of the supermarket. The $100 the cashier stole on Friday is also indistinguishable from the $100 he put back in the till on Monday. In both situations – the wheat in the warehouse and the $100 dollar bill in the till, which have been unlawfully misappropriated would constitute a crime.

Keep this principle and issue at the back of your mind. Now we shall proceed with the money that you have deposited with your banker. More...


Remaking the Federal Reserve, Building Public Banks and Opting Out of Wall Street
by Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese
Posted April 22, 2013

bypassing Wall StIn Part I of this series, we examined breaking up the too-big-to-fail-or- jail banks, regulating them - especially their massive and risky derivatives trading - and more aggressively enforcing laws and regulations against security fraud. In Part II, we examine how to remake the Federal Reserve into a transparent, democratic institution that serves the necessities of the people and the economy, not just the bankers; how to develop public banks in every state and many cities throughout the nation; and how people can opt out of Wall Street right now.

Henry Ford said, "It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning." Why? Because, as Thomas Edison pointed out, "If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill. The element that makes the bond good, makes the bill good ... It is absurd to say our country can issue $30 million in bonds and not $30 million in currency. Both are promises to pay, but one promise fattens the usurers and the other helps the people." More...


Gold Price Plummet Is Latest AMSCAM Fraud
by James West
Posted April 16, 2013

where is the gold?Today gold has dropped $133 from last week's close. Friday's assassination attempt, which as the price of gold drop from $1,560 and ounce to $1475 per ounce, by futures market shorts is remarkable on two fronts. First is that there were 400 tonnes of (paper) gold sold, or one quarter of global annual production. In one day. The second is that this was such an obvious short play – nobody but nobody could deliver 400 tonnes of physical gold in June if they had to – that it absolutely screams "collusion". What's more, the sentiment in the mainstream financial press before the assault began, led by Goldman Sachs, who on Thursday proclaimed it was time to short gold, was massively bearish.

This is the best example yet of how the U.S. Federal Reserve-sponsored, American Syndicate of Collusion and Manipulation (AMSCAM) operates. Its as plain as the false U.S. economic recovery, and anybody who can't see it should consider a lobotomy. Soaring stock markets are the visible outcome of the continuous capital fabrication, and are the incentive to the banks to undertake the enterprise. More...


Gold Market Price Crash
by Bill Downey
Posted April 15, 2013

Physical metal drawdownThere's been a recent huge draw down of physical gold at the New York COMEX and at the JP Morgan Chase depository. Look at the physical market draw down on the charts below. It has taken a drastic plunge.

You can imagine the dilemma this is causing for the market interests behind these inventories. If the inventory runs out and one cannot meet deliveries then it has to be bought on the open market. Not only that but it could cause a run up in prices that would hurt the shorts in the market.

The only way out of this dilemma for the market controllers would be to devise a plan that would collapse the market and trip up all the stops at the correction lows in gold of 1525 thereby setting off the stop loss orders under this important market low. And what if the plan included a way to stop the physical market from purchasing gold under 1525 while that correction was underway? That would be brilliant. They have to hatch a plan and carefully orchestrate it in a series of events that takes the gold market by completely by surprise and force players out of their long positions. More..

This excellent article outlines how the markets are no longer free and are totally manipulated to the benefit of the economic elites.


Secret Files Expose Offshore's Global Impact
By Gerard Ryle, Marina Walker Guevara, Michael Hudson, Nicky Hager, Duncan Campbell and Stefan Candea
Posted April 14, 2013

secrecy for saleDozens of journalists sifted through millions of leaked records and thousands of names to produce ICIJ's investigation into offshore secrecy ­ A cache of 2.5 million files has cracked open the secrets of more than 120,000 offshore companies and trusts, exposing hidden dealings of politicians, con men and the mega-rich the world over.

The secret records obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists lay bare the names behind covert companies and private trusts in the British Virgin Islands, the Cook Islands and other offshore hideaways. The records detail the offshore holdings of people and companies in more than 170 countries and territories.

The hoard of documents represents the biggest stockpile of inside information about the offshore system ever obtained by a media organization. The total size of the files, measured in gigabytes, is more than 160 times larger than the leak of U.S. State Department documents by Wikileaks in 2010. More...


Winner Takes All: The Super-priority Status of Derivatives
by Ellen Brown
Posted April 12, 2013

theft of depositer accountsCyprus-style confiscation of depositor funds has been called the "new normal." Bail-in policies are appearing in multiple countries directing failing TBTF banks to convert the funds of "unsecured creditors" into capital; and those creditors, it turns out, include ordinary depositors. Even "secured" creditors, including state and local governments, may be at risk. Derivatives have "super-priority" status in bankruptcy, and Dodd Frank precludes further taxpayer bailouts. In a big derivatives bust, there may be no collateral left for the creditors who are next in line.

Shock waves went around the world when the IMF, the EU, and the ECB not only approved but mandated the confiscation of depositor funds to "bail in" two bankrupt banks in Cyprus. A "bail in" is a quantum leap beyond a "bail out." When governments are no longer willing to use taxpayer money to bail out banks that have gambled away their capital, the banks are now being instructed to "recapitalize" themselves by confiscating the funds of their creditors, turning debt into equity, or stock; and the "creditors" include the depositors who put their money in the bank thinking it was a secure place to store their savings. More...


The Confiscation of Bank Savings to "Save the Banks": The Diabolical Bank "Bail-In" Proposal
by Prof Michel Chossudovsky
Posted April 5, 2013

It can happen in the U.S.There are provisions in both the UK and the US pertaining to the confiscation of bank deposits. In a joint document of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Bank of England, entitled Resolving Globally Active, Systemically Important, Financial Institutions, explicit procedures were put forth whereby "the original creditors of the failed company ", meaning the depositors of a failed bank, would be converted into "equity".

What this means is that the money confiscated from bank accounts would be used to meet the failed bank's financial obligations. In return, the holders of the confiscated bank deposits would become stockholders in a failed financial institution on the verge of bankruptcy.

Bank savings would be transformed overnight into an illusive concept of capital ownership. The confiscation of savings would be adopted under the disguise of a bogus "compensation" in terms of equity. Because depositors are provided with a bogus compensation, they are not eligible to the FDIC deposit insurance. More...


Think Your Bank Deposits Will Always Be 100 Percent Guaranteed by the FDIC? Think Again
by Gaius Publius
Posted April 4, 2013

bankers robbing YOUYou know that the EU-forced solution to the failure of banks in Cyprus is to require the Cypriot government to confiscate ("tax") deposits. That news is everywhere you look; it's not in dispute or doubt. The latest has depositor losses at 60% due to the bailout-related "one-time" tax.

"Confiscating deposits" is exactly the opposite of "insuring deposits," which is what is required in the EU, and also offered by the FDIC (as the ads say, "your deposits are insured up to $250,000″).

There's an international move by national governments to write regulations that permit deposit confiscation in the case of bank failure. This is exactly the Cyprus model, and if the news stories are correct, confiscating deposits was being considered or enabled prior to Cyprus bank-failures. More...


"Be afraid": Pirates in pinstripes
by Mike Krauss
Posted April 2, 2013

pinstriped criminalsLike a fleet of pirate ships, mad for money, heedless of risk, Wall Street raids on.

Last week in testimony and a report from a Senate investigation, it became chillingly clear that no one has any idea of the magnitude of the risks Wall Street takes; nor when the next insanely leveraged deal will collapse, taking who knows how much of an already wounded U.S. economy with it.At issue was the $6 billion plus loss incurred by JP Morgan in a deal by a "rogue trader" who came to be known as the "London Whale," because he nearly sank the bank.

But what Senate investigators brought to light is that far from being a "rogue," the trader was doing what he was paid to do and expected to do — gambling with other people's money, for his and the firm's profit. No one has any idea of the magnitude of the risks as the pirates search for more loot. More...


TransPacific Partnership Will Undermine Democracy, Empower Transnational Corporations
by Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese
Posted April 1, 2013

secretly negotiated corporate pactOur country's democratic values could be under threat if President Obama fast tracks the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

On critical issues, the massive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) being negotiated in secret by the Obama administration will undermine democracy in the United States and around the world and further empower transnational corporations. It will circumvent protections for health care, wages, labor rights, consumers' rights and the environment, and decrease regulation of big finance and risky investment practices.

The only way this treaty, which will be very unpopular with the American people once they are aware of it, can be approved is if the Obama administration avoids the democratic process by using an authority known as "Fast Track," which limits the constitutional checks and balances of Congress.

If the TPP is approved, the sovereignty of the United States and other member nations will be dissipated by trade tribunals that favor corporate power and force national laws to be subservient to corporate interests. More...


Yes, We Can Have Banks That Work for the People
by Richard Eskow
Posted March 30, 2013

Banks can work for the peopleWe all know the banking system is broken. It's easy to become pessimistic in the face of corporate and political corruption, but the system can be changed. We've done it before, and we can do it again.

One pathway to genuine reform is "public banking": the establishment of banks that are owned at operated by the government, and which serve people and small businesses directly. Here's why public banking should be included in the agenda for deep and genuine financial reform.

There's a working model for state banking. More...


Stunning Facts About How the Banking System Really Works … And How It Is Destroying America
by Washingtons Blog
Posted March 28, 2013

Bankers destroying AmericaTo understand the core problem in America today, we have to look back to the very founding of our country. The Founding Fathers fought for liberty and justice. But they also fought for a sound economy and freedom from the tyranny of big banks:

"[It was] the poverty caused by the bad influence of the English bankers on the Parliament which has caused in the colonies hatred of the English and . . . the Revolutionary War." - Benjamin Franklin

"There are two ways to conquer and enslave a nation. One is by the sword. The other is by debt." - John Adams

"If the American people ever allow the banks to control issuance of their currency, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers occupied". — Thomas Jefferson...........More...


Do We Really Need the Federal Reserve?
By Keith Fitzgerald
Posted March 27, 2013

Federal reserveLast week I spent two days speaking to senior government officials and business leaders in Bermuda, which is one of the world's leading international insurance and reinsurance hubs. The men and women in the room are responsible for hundreds of millions in assets worldwide.

As I was finishing up, I received one of the most provocative questions I've gotten in a long time from the darkness beyond the stage lights: "Does any nation really need a "Fed,'" asked one of the directors?

The answer is, unequivocally, "no." Especially if it's modeled after the United States Federal Reserve. More...


How the True Parasites from the Private Sector Suck the System Dry
by Michael Lind
Posted March 25, 2013

rentier parasitesYou don't have to be a Tea Party conservative to believe that the economy is threatened when there are too many "takers" and not enough "makers." The "takers" who threaten the dynamism and fairness of industrial capitalism the most in the 21st century are not the welfare-dependent poor — the villains of Tea Party propaganda — but the rent-extracting, unproductive rich.

The term "rent" in this context refers to more than payments to your landlords. As Mike Konczal and many others have argued, profits should be distinguished from rents. "Profits" from the sale of goods or services in a free market are different from "rents" extracted from the public by monopolists in various kinds. Unlike profits, rents tend to be based on recurrent fees rather than sales to ever-changing consumers. While productive capitalists — "industrialists," to use the old-fashioned term — need to be active and entrepreneurial in order to keep ahead of the competition, "rentiers" (the term for people whose income comes from rents, rather than profits) can enjoy a perpetual stream of income even if they are completely passive. More...


The Battle of Cyprus: The Long-planned Deposit Confiscation Scheme
by Ellen Brown
Posted March 24, 2013

banks robbing peopleThe deposit confiscation scheme has long been in the making. US depositors could be next . . . .

Most people would be surprised to learn that they are legally considered "creditors" of their banks rather than customers who have trusted the bank with their money for safekeeping, but that seems to be the case.The bank gets the money. The depositor becomes only a creditor with an IOU. The bank is not required to keep the deposits available for withdrawal but can lend them out, keeping only a "fraction" on reserve, following accepted fractional reserve banking principles. When too many creditors come for their money at once, the result can be a run on the banks and bank failure.

That situation could be looming even now in the United States. As Gretchen Morgenson warned in a recent article on the 307-page Senate report detailing last year's $6.2 billion trading fiasco at JPMorganChase: "Be afraid." The report resoundingly disproves the premise that the Dodd-Frank legislation has made our system safe from the reckless banking activities that brought the economy to its knees in 2008. More...


Corporate-Backed Trans-Pacific Partnership Shrouded in Secrecy
by Sam Knight
Posted March 22, 2013

TPP, why so secret?The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a multilateral trade deal currently being hammered out by the United States and ten other countries, could end up affecting every human being and dollar of wealth on the planet. The extent to which it will is clear to no one, apart from negotiators.

Recent reports in the Japanese and Australian media indicate that Japan is set to join. Thus, even the most minor of edits to the draft text could end up making or breaking people from Brisbane to Bangor. But legislators around the world are being kept in the dark about what they're voting on until the deal is hammered out; it's expected to be completed this year. When it's finished, if the experience of Congress here is any indication, legislators will be feeling extraordinary pressure from corporate lobbyists and their heads of state to accept the deal without a fuss. More...

You can be sure when the representatives of the largest corporations meet behind closed doors and reveal no details, not even to elected representatives, the results will not be good for the people. This shows that the corporations are now more powerful than the government.


Jim Rogers: Major Crash Ahead For U.S. Investors
By Terry Weiss
Posted March 20, 2013

crash comingIn a newly released documentary that went viral last month, a team of influential economic experts say they have discovered a "frightening pattern" they believe points to a massive economic catastrophe unlike anything ever seen before.

"What this pattern represents is a dangerous countdown clock that's quickly approaching zero," said Keith Fitz-Gerald, the Chief Investment Strategist for the Money Map Press, who predicted the 2008 oil shock, the credit default swap crisis that helped bring about the recession, and the Greek and European fiscal catastrophe that is still wreaking havoc until this day.

According to polls, the average American is sensing danger. A recent survey found that 61% of Americans believe a catastrophe is looming - yet only 15% feel prepared for such a deeply troubling event.

Fitz-Gerald says people should take immediate steps to protect themselves from what is happening."If our research is right," says Fitz-Gerald, "Americans will have to make some tough choices on how they'll go about surviving when basic necessities become nearly unaffordable and the economy becomes dangerously unstable." More...


How Deregulation Resurrected American Economic Insecurity
by Paul Craig Roberts (Asst Secretary of the US Treasury in the Reagan Administration)
Posted March 9, 2013

CIA tortureFew people see the disconnect between the propaganda about the goodness of America and the evil that its government practices. Torture was banned. Its practice was made the act of a war criminal government. But the Bush and Obama regimes have resurrected torture as a defense of the state against citizens who reveal its crimes and against those who resist its aggression.

The CIA official who revealed that the US government was torturing detainees in violation of US and international law, John Kiriakou, was subjected to wrongful prosecution and sentenced to prison. The elected officials who approved the torture and those who conducted the torture remain free of all charges to torture again. More...


Lords of Disorder: Billions for Wall Street, Sacrifice for Everyone Else
by Richard Eskow
Posted March 7, 2013

Lloyd BlankfeinThe President's "sequester" offer slashes non-defense spending by $830 billion over the next ten years. That happens to be the precise amount we're implicitly giving Wall Street's biggest banks over the same time period.

We're collecting nothing from the big banks in return for our generosity. Instead we're demanding sacrifice from the elderly, the disabled, the poor, the young, the middle class – pretty much everybody, in fact, who isn't "too big to fail."

That's injustice on a medieval scale, served up with a medieval caste-privilege flavor. The only difference is that nowadays injustices are presented with spreadsheets and PowerPoints, rather than with scrolls and trumpets and kingly proclamations. More...


How Congress Could Fix Its Budget Woes, Permanently
by Ellen Brown
Posted February 14, 2013

private control over moneyWe have bought into the idea that there is not enough money to feed and house our population, rebuild our roads and bridges, or fund our most important programs -- that there is no alternative but to slash budgets and deficits if we are to survive. We have a mountain of critical work to do, improving our schools, rebuilding our infrastructure, pursuing our research goals, and so forth. And with millions of unemployed and underemployed, the people are there to do it. What we don't have, we are told, is just the money to bring workers and resources together.

But we do have it. Or we could.

Money today is simply a legal agreement between parties. Nothing backs it but "the full faith and credit of the United States." The United States could issue its credit directly to fund its own budget, just as our forebears did in the American colonies and as Abraham Lincoln did in the Civil War. Any serious discussion of this alternative has long been taboo among economists and politicians. More..


Who Controls The Money? An Unelected, Unaccountable Central Bank Of The World Secretly Does
by Michael Snyder
Posted February 10, 2013

Bank for International SettlementsAn immensely powerful international organization that most people have never even heard of secretly controls the money supply of the entire globe. It is called the Bank for International Settlements, and it is the central bank of central banks. It is located in Basel, Switzerland, but it also has branches in Hong Kong and Mexico City. It is essentially an unelected, unaccountable central bank of the world that has complete immunity from taxation and from national laws. Even Wikipedia admits that "it is not accountable to any single national government."

The Bank for International Settlements was used to launder money for the Nazis during World War II, but these days the main purpose of the BIS is to guide and direct the centrally-planned global financial system. Today, 58 global central banks belong to the BIS, and it has far more power over how the U.S. economy (or any other economy for that matter) will perform over the course of the next year than any politician does. Every two months, the central bankers of the world gather in Basel for another "Global Economy Meeting". During those meetings, decisions are made which affect every man, woman and child on the planet, and yet none of us have any say in what goes on. The Bank for International Settlements is an organization that was founded by the global elite and it operates for the benefit of the global elite, and it is intended to be one of the key cornerstones of the emerging one world economic system. It is imperative that we get people educated about what this organization is and where it plans to take the global economy. More...


The "Fiscal Cliff" Is A Diversion: The Derivatives Tsunami and the Dollar Bubble
by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury under Reagan
Posted February 6, 2013

fiscal cliff?The "fiscal cliff" is another hoax designed to shift the attention of policymakers, the media, and the attentive public, if any, from huge problems to small ones.

The fiscal cliff is automatic spending cuts and tax increases in order to reduce the deficit by an insignificant amount over ten years if Congress takes no action itself to cut spending and to raise taxes. In other words, the "fiscal cliff" is going to happen either way.

The problem from the standpoint of conventional economics with the fiscal cliff is that it amounts to a double-barrel dose of austerity delivered to a faltering and recessionary economy. Ever since John Maynard Keynes, most economists have understood that austerity is not the answer to recession or depression. Regardless, the fiscal cliff is about small numbers compared to the Derivatives Tsunami or to bond market and dollar market bubbles. More...


UK prepares new law to break up errant banks
by Laura Noonan and Matt Scuffham
Posted February 5, 2013

too big to failBritish banks that fail to shield their day-to-day banking from risky investment activities could be broken up, finance minister George Osborne said on Monday, bowing to political pressure to come down harder on reckless lenders. European countries are retooling their financial systems to prevent a repeat of the 2008 financial crash, trying to strike a balance between popular calls for banks to be reined in and warnings that too tight a leash will choke off recovery.

With Britain's banks buffeted by scandal and part-nationalized Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) set to be fined up to 500 million pounds this week for interest rate rigging, Osborne decided to "electrify" the ring-fence around banks' core retail activities with the threat of break-up.

"Our country has paid a higher price than any other major economy for what went so badly wrong in our banking system. The anger people feel is very real," Osborne said in a speech ahead of the publication of the banking reform legislation. More...

This is the OPPOSITE of the United States does. Here we provide "get out of jail free" cards to the bankers no matter what crime they have committed, and then the government wonders why the fraud continues and the economy does not heal.


Trillion Dollar Coin: Joke or Game Changer
by Ellen Brown
Posted January 21, 2013

U.S. borrowing from these bankersIt's all good fun – or is it? Most commentators have missed the real significance of the trillion dollar coin. It is not just about political gamesmanship. For centuries, a secret battle has raged over who should create the nation's money supply – governments or banks. Today, all that is left of the US Treasury's money-creating power is the ability to mint coins. If we the people want to reclaim that power so that we can pay our obligations when due, the Treasury will need to mint more than nickels and dimes. It will need to create some coins with very large numbers on them.

To bail out the banks, the Federal Reserve, as head of the private banking system, issued over $2 trillion as "quantitative easing," simply by creating the money on a computer screen. Congress, the White House, and the Treasury all rolled over and acquiesced. When it was proposed that the government bail itself out of its budget woes by minting a $1 trillion coin, the Federal Reserve said it would not accept the Treasury's legal tender. And the White House again acquiesced, evidently embarrassed to have entertained this "ludicrous" alternative.

Somehow we have come to accept that it is less silly for the central bank to create money out of thin air and lend it at near zero interest to private commercial banks, to be re-lent to the public and the government at market interest rates, than for the government to simply create the money itself, debt- and interest-free. More...


The Trillion Dollar Coin: What You Need To Know
by Rudy Avizius
Posted January 19, 2013

Cost of printing moneyThe idea here is that the Treasury Dept has the legal right to issue such a coin, deposit the coin in an account at the Federal Reserve, and then draw upon the account to fund projects approved by Congress. This idea hits at the heart of the power structure across the planet, which has at its core, the ability to create money out of thin air. Currently our entire money supply is created out of thin air by private banks which in turn charge interest on that money. There are many people who, because of its official sounding name, think the Federal Reserve is a branch or part of the U.S. government. However, they are very mistaken. The Federal Reserve is no more federal than Federal Express. The Federal Reserve is simply a [powerful] cartel of private banks with an official sounding name that has usurped the right to print our money, a power bestowed upon Congress in the Constitution by the founding fathers.

What most people also do not know is that every single dollar in circulation has to be borrowed by somebody. In other words, the entire money supply is DEBT BASED and someone is paying interest on that debt to the private bankers. In fact the total cost for 2012 for just servicing the interest on the U.S. government debt was an astounding $359 billion and $454 billion the year before. The interest on our debt for those two years exceeds the entire stimulus bill of 2009.  Think of what we could do with that much money every year: transportation, healthcare, modernizing the electric grid, education, research, are just a few examples that quickly come to mind. More...


Federal Reserve May Pause Quantitative Easing
by James Hall
Posted January 11, 2013

disinformationAn obscure report that the Federal Reserve may suspend the monetization of purchasing Treasury Bonds has the smell of disinformation.

The financial media is pushing the success of the QE's rescues. One example is the TV commercial where AIG advertises the end of its bailout. AIG has just launched a two-week, multimedia campaign seeking to reintroduce itself after its role in sparking the Great Recession, MediaPost reported yesterday. "The company got an $85 billion bailout as the government took about an 80% stake."

The ballyhoo over paying back the loans steers clear of the real reason why AIG was "Too Important" to fail; namely, to salvage the incalculable derivative obligations. Rescuing the money center banks has always been the intent of the "Too Big to Fail" taxpayer salvage schemes.

But when will the limit of such gifts be reached? When the banks are satisfied or when the Treasury is emptied and looted, as the cost of extending the usury based financial system. Future generations do not have a chance for economic prosperity as long as the Federal Reserve continues the bond-buying thievery. More...


Secrets and Lies of the Bailout
by Matt Taibbi
Posted January 8, 2013

bailouts for the richThe federal rescue of Wall Street didn't fix the economy – it created a permanent bailout state based on a Ponzi-like confidence scheme. And the worst may be yet to come. It has been four long winters since the federal government, in the hulking, shaven-skulled, Alien Nation-esque form of then-Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, committed $700 billion in taxpayer money to rescue Wall Street from its own chicanery and greed. To listen to the bankers and their allies in Washington tell it, you'd think the bailout was the best thing to hit the American economy since the invention of the assembly line. Not only did it prevent another Great Depression, we've been told, but the money has all been paid back, and the government even made a profit. No harm, no foul – right?


It was all a lie – one of the biggest and most elaborate falsehoods ever sold to the American people. We were told that the taxpayer was stepping in – only temporarily, mind you – to prop up the economy and save the world from financial catastrophe. More...


The Financial Elite's War Against the US Economy
by Michael Hudson
Posted January 6, 2013

financial elitesToday's economic warfare is not the kind waged a century ago between labor and its industrial employers. Finance has moved to capture the economy at large, industry and mining, public infrastructure (via privatization) and now even the educational system. (At over $1 trillion, U.S. student loan debt came to exceed credit-card debt in 2012.) The weapon in this financial warfare is no larger military force. The tactic is to load economies (governments, companies and families) with debt, siphon off their income as debt service and then foreclose when debtors lack the means to pay. Indebting government gives creditors a lever to pry away land, public infrastructure and other property in the public domain. Indebting companies enables creditors to seize employee pension savings. And indebting labor means that it no longer is necessary to hire strikebreakers to attack union organizers and strikers.

The aim of financial warfare is not merely to acquire land, natural resources and key infrastructure rents as in military warfare; it is to centralize creditor control over society. In contrast to the promise of democratic reform nurturing a middle class a century ago, we are witnessing a regression to a world of special privilege in which one must inherit wealth in order to avoid debt and job dependency. More...


A 'Grand Bargain' on the Fiscal Cliff Could Be a Grand Betrayal
by Robert L. Borosage
Posted January 1, 2013

betrayalThe grand bargain being discussed in Washington reflects an elite consensus far removed from what voters want. Americans want action on jobs, and most support the president's call to raise taxes on the rich. Overwhelmingly, they want basic family security programs protected. Any deal that cuts Medicare and Social Security, slows growth and increases unemployment will look a lot more like a grand betrayal than a grand bargain. And virtually the entire organized base of the Democratic Party, from unions to civil rights and women's groups, is mobilizing in opposition.

The grand bargain not only offers the wrong answer; it poses the wrong question. In Washington, the bargainers intone the same mantra: It is a time for shared sacrifice. Everything must be on the table, from Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security to tax hikes. We must all do our part.

The call for shared sacrifice makes no sense given that in recent decades, the rewards have not been shared. The middle class lost ground even before the Great Recession, while the wealthiest 1 percent pocketed about two-thirds of the rewards of growth. In the first year after the recession, the top 1 percent pocketed a staggering 93 percent of income growth, as the stock market roared back but housing values and wages did not. More...

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