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Political Article Archive for 2014

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Politics

Memo To WSJ: The CRomnibus Abomination Was Not 'A Rare Bipartisan Success'
by David Stockman
Posted December 20, 2014

class action suit against bankersThe rank economic cheerleading in the guise of "news" printed by the Wall Street Journal, Reuters and the rest of the financial press never ceases to amaze. But on the heels of Congress' pathetic capitulation to Wall Street over the weekend you have to wonder if even the robo-writers who compose the headlines are on the take.

Not only did Citigroup and the rest of the big Wall Street banks succeed in gutting the "push-out" requirements of Dodd-Frank, thereby extending their lease to gamble in the derivatives market with FDIC (i.e. taxpayer) guaranteed money. Crony Capitalism also got a huge bonanza in the form of a 10X increase in the contribution limit to party committees. Now the heavy hitters can actually give $230,000 annually to the GOP and Dem campaign committees. And this is supposed to merit praise? More...

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Pigmen Win Again
By James Quinn
Posted December 18, 2014

congress at the troughAfter the disgusting example of politicians of both spineless parties bowing down before Wall Street, the military industrial complex and corporate interests this weekend with the passage of a bloated pig of a spending bill totaling $1.1 trillion, how can anyone not on the payroll of the vested interests not admit there is only one party – and it serves only the needs of the wealthy business interests. Obama, champion of the common folk, signed this putrid example of political corruption and corporate capture of the American political system. For all the believers who voted for the red team in the November mid-terms, this is what you got – a bipartisanship screwing of the American people.

What this entire debacle has proven is that voting doesn't matter. Your vote is meaningless. Political parties are nothing more than a front for the vested interests. The corrupt politicians are bought and sold by Wall Street and corporate interests. The bills are written by lobbyists for the vested interests. When a spending bill is over 1,700 pages, the purpose is to obscure, hide and insert provisions that will benefit those with money to influence the process at the expense of average Americans. None of the perpetrators in Congress actually read this bill. The public had no say regarding this bill. If this is what bipartisan cooperation looks like, I'll take gridlock. The system has been so completely captured by those pulling the wires, they no longer even pretend to care what we think. They keep winning and care not about the consequences of their ruthless despicable pillaging. More...

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If This is the Kind of 'Bipartisanship' Coming in 2015, the Country Is In Dire Straits
By Robert Weissman
Posted December 16, 201
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corporate puppets in WashingtonWe’ve just seen the worst that Washington has to offer with the “cromnibus” government spending bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last night.

Instead of Congress passing a clean funding bill along lines that were previously agreed to and had bipartisan acceptance, Big Business exercised its insider influence and took advantage of an artificially rushed and secretive process to cut deals to enhance the political influence of the super-rich, put taxpayers on the hook – again – for Wall Street recklessness and make our roads less safe.

Moneyed interests maneuvered to eviscerate campaign spending rules, so that a super-rich couple may now contribute up to $3 million to a national political party in a single (two-year) election cycle. It’s a certainty that this move will be followed up by calls to “level the playing field” and permit the same monstrous contributions to candidates and political committees. More...

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"The Most Egregious Sections Of Law I've Encountered During My Time As A Representative"
by Mike Krieger
Posted Cecember 14, 2014

corruptionWhile most Americans are busy Christmas shopping and making preparations for trips to see family, Congress remains hard at work doing what it does best. Giving gifts to Wall Street and trampling on citizens' civil liberties.

I knew the plebs were about to be royally screwed a week ago when I published the post: Wall Street Moves to Put Taxpayers on the Hook for Derivatives Trades. The piece concluded with the following:

Remember what Wall Street wants, Wall Street gets. Have a great weekend chumps.

Naturally, Wall Street got what it wanted. In fact, this provision was so important to the financial oligarchs that Jaime Dimon called around to encourage our (Wall Street's) representatives to support it. More...

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Reckless Congress 'Declares War' on Russia
by Ron Paul
Posted December 7, 2014

Ron Paul warns about warThe US House recently passed what I consider to be one of the worst pieces of legislation ever. H. Res. 758 was billed as a resolution "strongly condemning the actions of the Russian Federation, under President Vladimir Putin, which has carried out a policy of aggression against neighboring countries aimed at political and economic domination."

In fact, the bill was 16 pages of war propaganda that should have made even neocons blush, if they were capable of such a thing.

If anyone thinks I am exaggerating about how bad this resolution really is, let me just offer a few examples from the legislation itself: More...

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With Election Over, First Order of Business Is $450 Billion Corporate Tax Break
By Dave Johnson
Posted December 1, 2014

who are they protecting?The election is over. Congress is back in Washington. The first order of business after the election is to give big tax breaks to the corporations – $450 billion worth.

Every year Congress renews a package of "temporary" corporate tax breaks. The renewal process is called "tax extenders" because they extend the term of these temporary breaks. So now the Congress is working on this year's extenders package, except this time it wants to just make many of them (the ones that mostly give handouts to giant corporations and campaign donors) permanent. The Washington Post calls this process "a periodic bonanza for lobbyists." More...

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Dividing the Spoils
by Bill Moyers
Posted November 23, 2014

who are they protecting?Consider the new report from the watchdog Sunlight Foundation: From 2007 to 2012, the two hundred most politically active corporations in the United States spent almost $6 billion for lobbying and campaign contributions. And they received more than $4 trillion in US government contracts and other forms of assistance. That's $760 for every dollar spent on influence, a stunning return on investment.

Our government has become a clearing house for corporations and plutocrats whose dollars grease the wheels for lucrative contracts and easy regulation. It's all pay for play, and look the other way. Partisans of the system say, hey, it's just business as usual, but that, of course, is the problem. We were struck by this headline in The Washington Post after the November elections: "Parties head back to Capitol to begin carving up spoils, remains from midterms." Right: Not only leadership posts and committee chairmanships, but carving, dividing up the spoils also means divvying up the loot. And those contributions were not made for the sake of charity. More..

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Dozens of Communities Vote to Boot Big Money from Politics
by Deirdre Fulton
Posted November 9, 2014

government by the highest bidderCitizens in dozens of communities voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday for their legislators to pass a constitutional amendment to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision, which opened the door for the super-rich and corporations to trample democracy.

As they headed to the polls to vote in what turned out to be the most expensive midterm election in history—one in which outside money from undisclosed sources played an outsized role and the number of small individual donors shrank—voters across the country made clear their desire to end corporate personhood and get big money out of politics.

The local measures, which were all similarly worded, gained anywhere from 70 percent of the vote in Milwaukee County to 83 percent support in the village of Park Ridge. There are now 54 jurisdictions in Wisconsin that have called for such an amendment, in addition to 16 state legislatures and well over 500 municipalities nationwide. More...

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We are losing badly to the corporate state. Here's what we need to do.
by Don Hazen
Posted October 27, 2014

corporate governance As the Editor of AlterNet for 20 years, I have read and seen the entire range of horrendous and growing problems we face as a society and globe virtually every day. It is not just climate change, or ISIL, or Ferguson, or poverty and homelessness, or more misogynistic murdering of women, or the Democrats about to lose the Senate as Obama gets more unpopular. It is much, much more. Every day. It passes by before my eyes. At AlterNet, there are no issue silos—there is just the open faucet of depressing political information coming and going every hour of every day (with the occasional story of success and inspiration).

So I am sorry to share my deep-seated opinion, which should jibe with anyone who is paying attention. After decades of engagement in progressive politics and media, it is very clear to me: we progressives, liberals, common sense people, are losing badly to the conservative business state, the tyranny of massively expanding tech companies, theocratic right-wing forces and pervasive militarism, home and abroad. By virtually every measure, things are getting worse. And are trending much, much worse in ways we can easily measure, like inequality, climate, militarization of police forces, etc., and in ways that are more psychological and emotional. More...

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The District of Corruption – America's Glittering Capital
by Thomas Magstadt
Posted October 26, 2014

District of CorruptionWashington, DC, is not like other cities in America. Money is no object. Don't believe it? Pay a visit there and have a look around, you'll see your tax dollars at work…

Ever wonder about the "DC" in Washington, DC? When I went to graduate school and later worked in that glittering city, I never gave it much thought. Having returned from a recent visit to the nation's capital, however, I can't help but think that some avenging angel tricked the founding fathers into putting these two odd initials – DC – in the name of the place.

Other cities scratch and scramble for monies necessary to maintain decent schools, roads, water and sewer lines, fire and police departments, and the like. But, to repeat, Washington is different. It's different for one simple reason: Washington is where a lot of your tax dollars – billions, if not trillions – go to die. More...

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Beyond Orwellian Nightmares and Neoliberal Authoritarianism
By Henry A. Giroux
Posted October 16, 2014

we will protect youCentral to George Orwell's nightmarish vision of a totalitarian society was a government so powerful that it not only dominated all of the major institutions in a society, but it also was quite adept at making invisible its inner workings of power. This is what some have called a shadow government, deep state, dual state or corporate state.

In the deep state, politics becomes the domain of the ultra-wealthy, the powerful few who run powerful financial services, big corporations and the imperious elite of the defense industries and other components of the military-industrial complex. Corporate interests such as ExxonMobil and other fossil fuel companies, megabanks such as Bank of America, and defense industries such as Boeing, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin are powerful lobbying groups and as such have control of the major seats of political power and the commanding institutions necessary to insure that the deeply anti-democratic state rules in the interests of the few while exploiting and repressing the many. More...

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Computerized Election Theft and the New American Century
By Jonathan D. Simon
Posted October 15, 2014

voting machine fraudMany despairing observers of The New American Century have asked me whether - given the recent revelations about NSA surveillance, along with other signs that American democracy is deteriorating irrespective of which party governs - an honest vote counting system would even matter anymore. A fair question to which I believe the ultimate, if uneasy, answer is "Yes."

There was a brief glimpse during the Occupy movement of what public anger at American Systemic Injustice might come to if it found a way to assemble, to come out of its isolated private homes and apartments and shelters and cubicles into the public squares of the nation. It was a powerful image, one that so shook US rulers in their corporate and governmental corridors of power that they soon resorted to a federally-coordinated blitzkrieg to empty those squares and kill Occupy before it multiplied any further and before the Bastille was in any real danger. More...

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An Ebola Outbreak Would Be Advantageous For Globalists
by Brandon Smith
Posted October 12, 2014

ebola good for globalistsIt's sad to say with such finality, but a universal fact of existence is that most of the people you meet in this life are fundamentally and functionally ignorant. Not necessarily stupid, but certainly ignorant. Ignorance comes not from a lack of intelligence, but from a denial of knowledge and truth. That is to say, ignorance takes hold when people decide to act as though they know and understand a thing, even if they do not. Ignorance prevails when a society or nation chooses to value the appearance of expertise, to value the theater of overconfidence, and to cheer for the bluster of morons rather than admit that they have unanswered questions on subjects they do not yet grasp. For nothing is worse for the self absorbed than to acknowledge that they do not know.

Entire nations have fallen throughout history because of this terrible weakness...

By extension, such ignorance is not just an inherent disease but also an easily exploitable disease. When we refuse to think critically and examine our surroundings thoroughly, we become like grazing gazelles oblivious to the predators encircling us in the tall grass. And, just as there are predatory individuals that hide amongst us, there are are also predatory oligarchs that camouflage themselves as benevolent politicos and financial professionals standing above us. Normal predators we fear, establishment predators we invite into our homes as protectors, saviors, and partners. More...

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The Surprising Reason that Crushing Economic Inequality Isn't More of Election Issue
By David Sirota
Posted October 6, 2014

greedy workersIf critics of income inequality are wondering why the growing gap between rich and poor hasn't been a more potent political issue in the upcoming elections, a new study offers some answers: Americans grossly underestimate this inequality. That's one of the key findings of a survey showing the gap between CEO and average worker pay in America is more than 10 times larger than the typical American perceives.

In the report, Harvard University and Chulalongkorn University researchers analyzed survey data from 40 countries about perceptions of pay gaps between rich and poor. In every country, respondents underestimated the size of the gap between CEO and average worker pay. In the United States, for example, the researchers found the median American respondent estimated that the ratio of CEO to worker income is about 30-to-1. In reality, the gap is more than 350-to-1. More...

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Super PAC(ked) With Out-of-State Money
by Lalita Clozel
Posted October 4, 2014

bidding for governanceThey may be called super PACs, but they can't be everywhere at once. It's become fashionable for these committees, which can spend unlimited amounts on ads backing or attacking candidates anywhere in the country, to tout their allegiance to a state. But as often as not, an OpenSecrets Blog analysis found, they run mainly on out-of-state money.

We tallied up all the super PACs with a state or regional reference in their name that have spent money on ads this election cycle. Out of 34 of these supposedly home-grown super PACs, only 17 had received at least half of their contributions of more than $200 from within the state. More...

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Barbarism Versus Stupidism
by Howard Kunstler
Posted September 24, 2014

stupidity or barbarismIn my lifetime, the USA has not blundered into a more incoherent, feckless, and unfavorable foreign policy quandary than we see today.

The US-led campaign to tilt Ukraine to Euroland and NATO — and away from the Russian-led Eurasian Customs Union — turned an "intelligence" fiasco into a strategic humiliation for the Obama White House. Notice that the story has vamoosed utterly from the American media headlines, even when the Russian Engineers' Union issued a report last week asserting that the Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 was most likely shot down by 30mm cannon fire from Ukrainian military aircraft. The USA State Department didn't deign to refute it because doing so would have drawn attention to the fact that it was the only plausible explanation for what happened. More...

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The Coming Climate Revolt
by Chris Hedges
Posted September 23, 2014

NYC climate rally 2014We have undergone a transformation during the last few decades—what John Ralston Saul calls a corporate coup d'état in slow motion. We are no longer a capitalist democracy endowed with a functioning liberal class that once made piecemeal and incremental reform possible. Liberals in the old Democratic Party no longer exist within the Democratic Party, as Nader has been lamenting for several years. They were pushed out as corporate donors began to transform the political landscape with the election of Ronald Reagan. And this is why the Democrats have not, as Bill Curry points out, enacted any major social or economic reforms since the historic environmental laws of the early '70s.

We are governed, rather, by a species of corporate totalitarianism, or what the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin describes as "inverted totalitarianism." By this Wolin means a system where corporate power, while it purports to pay fealty to electoral politics, the Constitution, the three branches of government and a free press, along with the iconography and language of American patriotism, has in fact seized all the important levers of power to render the citizen impotent. More...

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Wall Street Declares Victory Against the American People: The Banking Elites are Now Waging War against One Another
By Eric Zuesse
Posted September 4, 2014

rich have declared victoryOn August 31st, the Republican political site Politico bannered "Wall Street Republicans' Dark Secret: Hillary Clinton 2016," and Ben White and Maggie Haberman delivered a blockbuster report about the big-money Republican donors they had talked to, who confided (not for specific attribution, though) that they might finance Hillary Clinton to become President, if Jeb Bush announces after November's mid-terms that he won't run for the Republican Presidential nomination. Ms. Clinton is so appealing to Republican aristocrats, many of them will back her if Republicans won't nominate Bush.

Of course, virtually all Democratic aristocrats are already pouring money into the place-holding fundraising campaign for Clinton's expected entrance into the Democratic Presidential contest.

This means that virtually the entire aristocracy will be flooding Clinton's Presidential war-chest, unless Jeb Bush seeks the Republican nomination. More...

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The Time Is Ripe For A False-Flag Attack On American Soil
by Brandon Smith
Posted August 31, 2014

scapegoat for next false flag?I believe the time is in fact ripe for a large scale false-flag on American soil. It may be a singular attack limited to a city or region, or, numerous smaller attacks executed in concert. I see the media overload of ISIS fever as a means to condition the public to believe in the ISIS myth – the myth that they are a sophisticated international super-terrorist conglomerate; a real life Legion of Doom. If Americans are conned into buying this myth, they may also be fooled into abandoning their Constitutional liberties and natural freedoms in the face of a well planned attack blamed on ISIS elements. I believe there will likely come a day when the mere act of exposing the lie or standing against government overreach will be called "treason", and people like myself will be labeled "no better than ISIS".

With all this hype circling ISIS, I have to suggest that maybe, just maybe, we are being given the ultimate scapegoat for the ultimate false flag attack. When building the narrative of a traditional story, the hero is really a secondary character, because the hero is only as impressive as the villain he must eventually defeat. If you look at mainstream media and geopolitics as a theater script, rather than a series of random events, it appears as though ISIS is being built up as a villain so pervasive and devious the group could accomplish ANYTHING. More...

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10 Big Fat Lies and the Liars Who Told Them
by Chuck Lewis
Posted August 11, 2014

big fat liesInvestigative journalist Chuck Lewis joined Bill recently to discuss his new book, 935 Lies: The Future of Truth and the Decline of America's Moral Integrity, that looks at the history of government officials and media pundits speaking and repeating (and repeating and repeating) untruths to shape public opinion and policy.

The title of the book refers to the number of times President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and other top administration officials made false statements in the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. But the book has a far greater scope, looking at how lies have shaped American policy over several decades. Here are 10 notable whoppers that affected hundreds, thousands, and in some cases, millions of lives. More...

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America's Massive National Security State Is the 4th Branch of Government
by Tom Engelhardt
Posted August 5, 2014

where are the chacks and balances?As every schoolchild knows, there are three check-and-balance branches of the U.S. government: the executive, Congress, and the judiciary. That's bedrock Americanism and the most basic high school civics material. Only one problem: it's just not so.

During the Cold War years and far more strikingly in the twenty-first century, the U.S. government has evolved. It sprouted a fourth branch: the national security state, whose main characteristic may be an unquenchable urge to expand its power and reach. Admittedly, it still lacks certain formal prerogatives of governmental power. Nonetheless, at a time when Congress and the presidency are in a check-and-balance ballet of inactivity that would have been unimaginable to Americans of earlier eras, the Fourth Branch is an ever more unchecked and unbalanced power center in Washington. Curtained off from accountability by a penumbra of secrecy, its leaders increasingly are making nitty-gritty policy decisions and largely doing what they want, a situation illuminated by a recent controversy over the possible release of a Senate report on CIA rendition and torture practices. More...

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Utility Trade Group Funds ALEC Attack on Americans Using Solar
by Nick Surgey
Posted August 4, 2014

war against solar panel ownersAs the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) prepares to meet in Dallas this week, the Center for Media and Democracy has uncovered new evidence that Edison Electric Institute (EEI) -- the trade association for the U.S. utility industry -- has been funding ALEC's legislative assault on solar energy.

Although ALEC recently proclaimed that it was being falsely portrayed as "anti-clean energy," these latest revelations confirm that ALEC continues to pursue a polluters' wish list, despite its PR pronouncements.

"Solar Is Dumb," says ALEC Legislator. More...

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The Emperor's Rage: Let Chaos Envelop the World!
By Prof. James Petras
Posted August 1, 2014

Obama militaryAt the center of chaos, the wild-eyed President Obama strikes blindly, oblivious of the consequences, willing to risk a financial debacle or a nuclear war. He enforces sanctions against Iran; imposes sanctions on Russia; sets up missile bases five launch minutes from Moscow; sends killer drones against Pakistan, Yemen and Afghanistan; arms mercenaries in Syria; trains and equips Kurds in Iraq and pays for Israel's savagery against Gaza.

Nothing works.

The Chaos President is blind to the fact that starving one's adversaries does not secure submission: it unites them to resist. Regime change, imposing proxies by force and subterfuge, can destroy the social fabric of complex societies: Million of peasants and workers become uprooted refugees. Popular social movements are replaced by organized criminal gangs and bandit armies. More...

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Comcast's Worst Nightmare: How Tennessee Could Save America's Internet
By David Sirota
Posted July 29, 2014

threat to the cabke companiesThe business lobby often demands that government get out of the way of private corporations, so that competition can flourish and high-quality services can be efficiently delivered to as many consumers as possible. Yet, in an epic fight over telecommunications policy, the paradigm is now being flipped on its head, with corporate forces demanding the government squelch competition and halt the expansion of those high-quality services. Whether and how federal officials act may ultimately shape the future of America's information economy.

The front line in this fight is Chattanooga, Tennessee, where officials at the city's public electric utility, EPB, realized that smart-grid energy infrastructure could also provide consumers super-fast Internet speeds at competitive prices.The result is a system that now provides the nation's fastest broadband speeds at prices often cheaper than the private competition. As the Chattanooga Times Free Press noted a few years back, "EPB offers faster Internet speeds for the money, and shows equal pep in both uploading and downloading content, with Comcast and AT&T trailing on quickness." More...

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N.J. gives $260 million tax break to energy company with political ties
By Salvador Rizzo
Posted July 15, 2014

crony capitalismNew Jersey officials today approved a $260 million package of tax credits — the third-largest economic subsidy in state history — for a nuclear-energy company planning to build reactors on the Camden waterfront.
It was the largest tax subsidy awarded in recent years by the state Economic Development Authority, and it went to Holtec International, a Marlton-based company whose board includes one of the state's most influential Democrats, George Norcross.

Under the terms of the award, Holtec will create 235 new full-time positions and relocate 160 existing jobs from other parts of the state to Camden. Once those workers are in place, the firm will reap subsidies of $26 million a year for 10 years. In exchange, New Jersey will realize $155,520 in net economic benefits over 35 years, the authority estimated. Under the terms of the agreement, however, the company is required to stay at the Camden location for only 15 years. More...

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America's Real Foreign Policy: Global Corporatization by Force
by Noam Chomsky
Posted July 7, 2014

who is the military really protecting?Whose security is the U.S. military and foreign service protecting?

The question of how foreign policy is determined is a crucial one in world affairs. In these comments, I can only provide a few hints as to how I think the subject can be productively explored, keeping to the United States for several reasons. First, the U.S. is unmatched in its global significance and impact.

Second, it is an unusually open society, possibly uniquely so, which means we know more about it. Finally, it is plainly the most important case for Americans, who are able to influence policy choices in the U.S. -- and indeed for others, insofar as their actions can influence such choices. The general principles, however, extend to the other major powers, and well beyond. More...

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US War Against Russia Is Already Underway
by Paul Craig Roberts, (Asst. Sec. of the Treasury during Reagan Administration)
Posted July 3, 2014

Putin shows restraintIn the real sense, there is no longer an American national interest. There is the interest of these powerful interest groups. And we've had these recent studies from scholars who have found that the American public has no input whatsoever into government decisions or into policy decisions. The conclusion of the recent study, which looked at thousands of government decisions, was that the American people have zero input into the formation of policy.

So, in that sense, the US is sort of making itself vulnerable in many ways. For example, look at the economic policy. For years now, in order to support a handful of large banks the Federal Reserve is creating trillions of dollars, new dollars. More...

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How Did the Clintons Become So Rich?
By Zaid Jilani
Posted July 2, 2014

hos did the Clintons get their wealth?The real scandal is not that the former president and first lady are so wealthy, but how they got that wealthy. Clinton didn't just make "a lot of money" when he left the White House. Together, the Clintons pulled in $111 million from 2000 to 2007 — far more than what most people would consider a lot.

As Hillary Clinton grappled with foreign policy issues in Pakistan, Turkey and the Middle East, Bill Clinton took home $175,000 from the Middle East Institute, a think tank that does work in those areas. In 2011 she filmed a video congratulating Kuwait on its independence; a few months later, he was paid a $175,000 honorarium from the Kuwait America Foundation.

Shortly after stepping down from her post, the she then embarked on her own spree of paid speeches, which don't have to be disclosed because neither Clinton is a public official anymore. But from voluntarily disclosures and press reports, we know that she gave at least two paid speeches to Goldman Sachs for $200,000 each. Although she has not disclosed her full remarks at these events, a number of attendees talked to Politico about her tone and content. "Clinton offered a message that the collected plutocrats found reassuring, according to accounts offered by several attendees, declaring that the banker-bashing so popular within both political parties was unproductive and indeed foolish," read the article. More...

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Western World Is Upside Down
by Michael Noonan
Posted June 24, 2014

upsidedown worldWhat makes sense any more? In the United States, all one hears in the news is lies, deceit, and propaganda. In the EU, Mario Draghi "dictates" what is [un]real, backed by a host of unelected, non-representative NWO bureaucrats. In the UK, do not know if anyone is really in charge. Regardless, there is no truth being told, in fact, the truth is actively being hidden and/or suppressed. Governments are circling the wagons against people. Banks are being protected, at all costs, literally.

We live in an Alice In Wonderland, circa Orwell's 1984 world. Everything is upside down, and that includes the price for gold and silver. In the United States, if you do not like what you hear from the inept central planners, or if you choose to criticise what you hear, you run risk of being branded a "terrorist," certainly one who is a threat to the existing regime. More...

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Mystery Surrounding The Bilderberg Group Conclave
By Russ Baker
Posted June 20, 2014

New World OrderThe Bilderberg Group is so inherently bizarre that its yearly gatherings generate extreme reactions. Those who openly profess the belief that the Bilderbergers essentially run the world pay it a whole lot of attention, usually trooping to the scene to stage colorful protests. The media, by and large, ignores it.

A key question worth asking, of course, is how officials from companies that derive such a big share of their profits from war get along with those ostensibly concerned with advancing the cause of peace. Another is about what kinds of "public policy" think tanks find themselves in alignment with ruthlessly profit-oriented executives. More...

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Let "Dollar" Collapse Or Choose War. Elites Will Opt For War
by Michael Noonan
Posted June 12, 2014

keeping the world safe for corporationsThe world has never been in a position like this before, where all global currencies are fiat and dependent upon central banker power. The push for a New World Order is inexorable, and make no mistake, the monied elites are fully in control, or almost so. We maintain this is why so many in the Precious Metals community have miscalculated the timing for when gold and silver would take off to the upside, collapsing the Fed's fiat "dollar," or as a result thereof.

Ukraine is truly the test where East meets West. It is the US-led coup that is a staging ground for an assault on Russia. Obama is leading the charge, once again, choosing the drums of war to get across the message that to challenge the supremacy of the "dollar" as the world's reserve currency, [as the ATM machine used by the elites to pillage the world's assets and remain in control], can have a serious outcome. More...

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The Purchase Of Our Republic
by Y. Falkson
Posted June 7, 2014

how can a politician represent youAmericans know that something is wrong, deeply wrong. They see signs of the problem everywhere: income inequality, growing concentration and power of mega corporations, political donations/corruption, the absence of jobs with decent salaries, the explosion of the US prison population, healthcare costs, student loan debt, homelessness, etc. etc.

However, the true causes and benefactors behind these problems are purposely hidden from view. What Americans see is Kabuki Theater of a functioning form of capitalism and democracy, but beyond this veneer our country has devolved into the exact opposite.

Those who benefit from this crony capitalist state go to extreme lengths to paper over the reality and convince Americans that the system works, the American Dream is still a reality and that American democracy is in fact democratic. More...

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The Detroit Model: Permanent Rule by the Banks
by Jerry White
Posted May 16, 2014

rule by the banksThe Michigan legislature is debating a series of bills to impose a financial authority on Detroit that would remain in place long after the city emerges from bankruptcy. An unelected financial "oversight" committee, known as the Michigan Settlement Administration Authority (MSAA), would run the city for two decades, effectively usurping the local government.

When the governor of Michigan installed Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr in Detroit last March, it was presented as a temporary measure, lasting 18 months at most. Now, according to the restructuring plan submitted by Orr, a bankruptcy lawyer with close ties to Wall Street, a new body "composed of individuals with recognized financial competence and experience" will have the authority to limit city borrowing and expenditures and tear up labor agreements. More...

Funny how the "sanctity of the contract" was paramount in the justification to pay billions in banker bonuses after the bailouts, but not so important when it comes to paying pensioners living off of $19,000 a year.

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False East/West Paradigm Hides The Rise Of Global Currency
by Brandon Smith
Posted May 10, 2014

false East/West paradigmDespite popular belief, very few things in our world are exactly what they seem. That which is painted as righteous is often evil. That which is painted as kind is often malicious. That which is painted as simple is often complex. That which is painted as complex often ends up being disturbingly two dimensional. Regardless, if a person is willing to look only at the immediate surface of a thing, he will never understand the content of the thing.

This fact is nowhere more evident than in the growing "tensions" between the elites of the West and the elites of the East over the crisis in Ukraine.

I am continually astonished at the refusal of many otherwise intelligent people to consider the evidence or even the possibility that there is, in reality, no fundamental political or philosophical conflict between the power brokers of the East and the West. As I outlined in great detail in Russia Is Dominated By Global Banks, Too, the truth is they are both working toward the same goal; and both ultimately benefit from an engineered and theatrical display of international brinksmanship. More...

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Please Stop Me Before I Vote for a Bought-&-Paid-For Demopublican Again
by Charles Hugh Smith
Posted May 5, 2014

puppet governmentIf we only voted for unbuyable candidates, money would become poison in politics rather than mother's milk.

The solution to money in politics is simple: stop voting for politicos who accept millions of dollars in bribes, ahem, campaign contributions and who court lobbyists. It's really that easy: stop rewarding those who collect millions and start punishing them by refusing to vote for any politician who accepts more than $100 from any entity in any one election cycle.

As with so many other issues, we have been well-trained to expect a centralized authority to save us from ourselves: in effect, we're asking the Supreme Court, Congress, etc. to please stop us before we vote for a bought-and-paid-for politico again. Nobody forces us to vote for the candidate who raises the most money and blows it on media buys to persuade us that they're not bought-and-paid-for. But think about it: the very fact this craven toady can afford to spend millions of dollars on advertising proves he/she is well and truly bought-and-paid-for. More...

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Polls: Americans Are Sick of the War On Terror, War On Drugs … And All of the Other Failed U.S. Wars
by Washington's Blog
Posted May 2, 2014

let the rich fight their own warsThe American people are now overwhelmingly opposed to more war in Ukraine, Syria, Iran and elsewhere.

A new Wall Street Journal/NBC poll shows:

Americans in large numbers want the U.S. to reduce its role in world affairs even as a showdown with Russia over Ukraine preoccupies Washington ….

In a marked change from past decades, nearly half of those surveyed want the U.S. to be less active on the global stage, with fewer than one-fifth calling for more active engagement—an anti-interventionist current that sweeps across party lines. More...

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Senate Agrees: US People Can't Know Overseas Drone Death Toll
by Jon Queally
Posted April 30, 2014

James Clapper, lied to CongressAt behest of intelligence chief, Senate removes "modest" provision that would reveal number of people killed by US attacks overseas.The Senate Intelligence Committee and the Obama administration agree on this: the American people should not know the number of people killed by U.S. drone attacks overseas, nor should they hope to understand the circumstances under which such lethal killings are authorized or executed.

This high-level agreement was confirmed on Monday after a "modest" provision designed to add transparency to the US drone assassination program was killed in the Senate committee following objections by the Obama administration's intelligence chief. More...

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How the Obscenely Wealthy Are Strangling Our Democracy
By Steven Rosenfeld
Posted April 24, 2014

Money buying electionsA new academic paper by Princeton University's Martin Gilens and Northwestern University's Benjamin Page has made national headlines by concluding that wealthly Americans almost always get what they want from the political system regardless of what middle-class and working-class people seek from the government.

Most people in a democracy think that the government pays a lot of attention to average citizens. And what we found was when average citizens disagree with more affluent people and more organized interest groups, the average citizens lose out almost always. In other words, they have almost no independent influence. More...

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Beware Anything Called Corporate Tax "Reform"
by Dave Johnson
Posted March 31, 2014

beware of corporate tax "reforms"Corporate tax policy involves a lot of complicated accounting language, so people tend to tune out. But you should pay attention because there is big money involved – really, really big money that could be used for roads, courts, schools, health care and all the other things government does to make our economy and our lives better.

Tax policy is one of those subjects that most people ignore. Lots of the work is done behind the scenes. Lobbyists own the process, so any reform means those with the biggest lobbyist budget come out ahead. The huge tax breaks tend to sneak through while people are not paying attention, and then we find out that the money is gone. The lobbying world knows how to game this system and a round of tax-game playoffs is about to begin. More...

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Banks Have Become the Permanent Government of Europe
by Ellen Brown
Posted March 31, 2014

behind the curtain of OzOn March 20, 2014, European Union officials reached an historic agreement to create a single agency to handle failing banks. Media attention has focused on the agreement involving the single resolution mechanism (SRM), a uniform system for closing failed banks. But the real story for taxpayers and depositors is the heightened threat to their pocketbooks of a deal that now authorizes both bailouts and "bail-ins" – the confiscation of depositor funds. The deal involves multiple concessions to different countries and may be illegal under the rules of the EU Parliament; but it is being rushed through to lock taxpayer and depositor liability into place before the dire state of Eurozone banks is exposed.

Under the new EU banking union, before the taxpayer-financed single resolution fund can be deployed, shareholders and depositors will be "bailed in" for a significant portion of the losses. The bankers thus win both ways: they can tap up the taxpayers' money and the depositors' money. More...

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The State, the Deep State, and the Wall Street Overworld
By Prof Peter Dale Scott
Posted March 16, 2014

deep state - shadow governmentIn the last decade it has become more and more obvious that we have in America today what the journalists Dana Priest and William Arkin have called two governments: the one its citizens were familiar with, operated more or less in the open: the other a parallel top secret government whose parts had mushroomed in less than a decade into a gigantic, sprawling universe of its own, visible to only a carefully vetted cadre – and its entirety…visible only to God.

There is the visible government situated around the Mall in Washington, and then there is another, more shadowy, more indefinable government that is not explained in Civics 101 or observable to tourists at the White House or the Capitol. The former is traditional Washington partisan politics: the tip of the iceberg that a public watching C-SPAN sees daily and which is theoretically controllable via elections. The subsurface part of the iceberg I shall call the Deep State, which operates according to its own compass heading regardless of who is formally in power. More...

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The "Deep State" - How Much Does It Explain?
By Mike Lofgren
Posted March 1, 2014

Military-industrial-security complexEveryone knows about the military-industrial complex, which, in his farewell address, President Eisenhower warned had the potential to "endanger our liberties or democratic process" but have you heard of the "Deep State?"

Mike Lofgren, a former GOP congressional staff member with the powerful House and Senate Budget Committees, joins Bill to talk about what he calls the Deep State, a hybrid of corporate America and the national security state, which is "out of control" and "unconstrained." In it, Lofgren says, elected and unelected figures collude to protect and serve powerful vested interests. "It is … the red thread that runs through the history of the last three decades. It is how we had deregulation, financialization of the economy, the Wall Street bust, the erosion or our civil liberties and perpetual war." More...

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Why the First Issue Is Money in Politics
by John Light
Posted February 17, 2014

finest government money can buyConstitutional scholar and activist Lawrence Lessig, often says that his crusade is the most urgent in America because it impacts virtually every other issue. From achieving tax reform to fighting climate change to strengthening the social safety net, we will see no progress until the wealthy entities that benefit can no longer buy up politicians to prevent the status quo from changing.

"The people who want to stop reform will pay an enormous amount of money to be able to achieve that," Lessig told us when we met during his march. "…What this system has done is made the politics of dysfunction incredibly profitable." Some lobbyists, he noted, even advertise their ability to exploit the system and use legislators to "delay and obstruct" progress in Congress.

"We will never get your issue solved until we fix this issue first," Lessig said in a TED talk last year. "So it's not that mine is the most important issue. It's not. Yours is the most important issue, but mine is the first issue, the issue we have to solve before we get to fix the issues you care about." More...

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Study: Polarization and Gridlock Work Well for Rich Americans
by Joshua Holland
Posted Feb 12, 2014

gridlock works well for elitesAt the end of 2013, only 12 percent of Americans held a positive view of Congress – three points above the all-time low set earlier in the year, according to Gallup. Two out of three respondents to a CNN/ORC poll said this was the worst functioning Congress they'd seen in their lifetimes. And these dismal views weren't just the product of subjective impressions – in its first year, the 113th Congress managed to pass only 66 bills, the fewest in the 40 years for which reliable data exists.

But a study published last November in The Journal of Politics suggests that this sorry state of affairs is good news for a small group of Americans at the top of the economic pile. "Washington gridlock helps the super-rich stay rich, and get richer," says Thomas Volscho, a sociologist at the City University of New York and one of the authors of the study. "And the richer they get, the more the gridlock actually helps them." More...

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John Kerry vs. Hillary Clinton on the Keystone XL Report
By Eric Zuesse
Posted Feb 3, 2014

Clinton vs Kerry on XL PipelineBack on 26 March 2013, I headlined, regarding Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's revised Keystone XL pipeline report, that "State Department's Keystone XL 'Study' [Is] Now Exposed as a Triple Hoax," and documented that Clinton's redo of her earlier faked report was itself fake, because: first, "The study does discuss 'Climate Change Impacts on the Proposed Project,' but not the proposed project's impacts on climate change"; and, second, because it was not written by the State Department but by an oil-industry contracting firm (ERM Inc.) that Clinton's State Department had non-competitively assigned to be performed by the company that was selected for this purpose by the corporation (TransCanada) that would own the pipeline; and, third, because that contractor had no climatologist. Both of Clinton's reports were simply fakes; they were barely disguised promo-pieces for TransCanada.

The new XL report from Kerry's State Department was issued on a Friday night (January 31st) like Clinton's was, in order for it to be buried in the weekend's news, like Clinton's was. It is not quite such a fake as Clinton's were. First, it almost discusses the proposed project's impacts on climate change. Second, it was actually written by the State Department; but, still, it had no participation from a climatologist. More...

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What a Paul Craig Roberts Administration Would Look Like
By Dr. Paul Craig Roberts,  former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury under Ronald Reagan
Posted Jan 25, 2014

Paul Craig RobertsUnless I am being spoofed, several hundred readers wrote me in as their selection for President. I am honored. Some asked if I were elected by write-ins and not instantly assassinated, who would I appoint? An easy question to answer.

Nomi Prins would be Secretary of the Treasury, and Pam Martens would be Deputy Secretary of the Treasury.
Lew Rockwell would be the chairman of the Federal Reserve.
Michael Hudson would be chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors.
Homeland Security would be abolished.
Julian Assange and John Pilger would be heads of the Public Broadcasting Corporation.
Gerald Celente would be White House Press Secretary.
John Williams (shadowstats.com) would be in charge of federal statistics.
Brooksley Born would be in charge of all federal financial regulatory agencies.
Noam Chomsky would be US Ambassador to the UN.
David M. Walker would be Director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Key members of the Bush and Obama regimes from the president down, and every neoconservative would be handed over to the war crimes tribunal for trial. I could go on. There are two or three hundred appointments to fill, but I think the picture is clear. It would be an administration that represented Americans, not special interests and foreigners, and an administration that put the country back in order. More...

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Bipartisan New World Order: Fast Tracking the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers
Posted Jan 23, 2014

New World Order - TPPThe White House is calling January "TPA (Trade Promotion Authority) Month" and has made it their task to pass Fast Track. President Obama needs Fast Track to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). When Congress returned this month, a bill was quickly introduced after delays of more than a year. bipartisan
The lies begin with title of the bill: "The Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities Act of 2014." Bi-partisan? In the House there was only one sponsor, Republican David Camp (MI). The Republicans demanded the Democrats add a sponsor before it was introduced, but due to public pressure, they could not find one.

The only Democrat on the bill in the Senate is Max Baucus (MT) — the senator who gave us the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy and who is leaving the senate to become Ambassador to China. So, the bill is only bi-partisan until he heads off to his new job. More...

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TPP Toxicity Grows, We Can Stop It
By Kevin Zeese
Posted Jan 18, 2014

TPP - NAFTA on steroidsThe White House is calling January "TPA (Trade Promotion Authority) Month" and has made it their task to pass Fast Track. President Obama needs Fast Track to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). When Congress returned this month, a bill was quickly introduced after delays of more than a year. The lies begin with title of the bill: "The Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities Act of 2014." Bi-partisan? In the House there was only one sponsor, Republican David Camp (MI). The Republicans demanded the Democrats add a sponsor before it was introduced, but due to public pressure, they could not find one.

Leaks are sinking the TPP like the Titanic on its way to the bottom of the ocean. Ron Kirk, the former US Trade Rep said they were keeping it secret because the more people knew, the less they would like the TPP and it would become so unpopular it could never become law. Each leak has proven him right. More...

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After 20 Years of NAFTA Poverty, Lawmakers Move to Fast-Track TPP
by Sarah Lazare
Posted Jan 12, 2014

TPP = Corporate CoupOn the heels of NAFTA's "20 years of regret" anniversary, U.S. lawmakers are aggressively pushing legislation to fast-track what has been called NAFTA on steroids: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Three powerful lawmakers —House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI), Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) — announced legislation (pdf) Thursday that would allow the Obama administration to fast-track approval of this behemoth trade deal.

Known as "trade promotion authority," the legislation would allow the Obama administration to dodge deliberation and amendments from Congress. Public Citizen summarizes:

Whether or not the president obtains the listed negotiating objectives, the bill would empower the president to sign a trade pact before Congress votes on it with a guarantee that the executive branch can write legislation to implement the pact and alter wide swaths of existing U.S. law and obtain both House and Senate votes within 90 days. That legislation is not subject to markup and amendment in committee, all amendments are forbidden during floor votes and a maximum of 20 hours of debate is permitted in the House and Senate. More...

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