Prosecutable US Crimes Against Humanity In Korea

Via: ICH

By Jay Janson

March 31, 2013 “Information Clearing House” – While staring at the New York Times front page photo of the bat-winged nuclear-capable B-2 Stealth Bombers up in the blue sky on their first non-stop long-range mission from the US on their way to a practice sortie to end in a mock bombing drop of inert munitions on a range off South Korea’s coast, I ponder.

The thought that ‘enough is enough’ will apparently never arise in the mind-set of those commanding the first planet-encompassing space-age military, blown up now to an uncontrollable magnitude and fueled by an uninterrupted flow of trillions of dollars by ledger line pre-occupied elite of the speculative investment banking community; a community possibly still being led by multi-war promoting confidants of ninety-eight year old David Rockefeller.1

Former president of Korea, Lee Myung-bak dutifully bought loads of new US weapons of mass destruction. Does he ever remember watching his two tiny siblings begin to slowly die before his eyes during a US bombing raid on his family’s farm? As the nuclear capable black bat wings make their run over her beloved Korea, does the new President, Park Geun-hye, keep in mind her father’s point blank assassination by the head of the, allegedly American overseen, Korean CIA?

Read more: here

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David Stockman: We’ve Been Lied To, Robbed, And Misled

Via: PeakProsperity

And we’re still at risk of it happening all over again

by Adam Taggart
Saturday, March 30, 2013, 12:42 PM

Then, when the Fed’s fire hoses started spraying an elephant soup of liquidity injections in every direction and its balance sheet grew by $1.3 trillion in just thirteen weeks compared to $850 billion during its first ninety-four years, I became convinced that the Fed was flying by the seat of its pants, making it up as it went along. It was evident that its aim was to stop the hissy fit on Wall Street and that the thread of a Great Depression 2.0 was just a cover story for a panicked spree of money printing that exceeded any other episode in recorded human history.
-David Stockman, The Great Deformation

David Stockman, former director of the OMB under President Reagan, former US Representative, and veteran financier is an insider’s insider. Few people understand the ways in which both Washington DC and Wall Street work and intersect better than he does.

In his upcoming book, The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America, Stockman lays out how we have devolved from a free market economy into a managed one that operates for the benefit of a privileged few. And when trouble arises, these few are bailed out at the expense of the public good.

By manipulating the price of money through sustained and historically low interest rates, Greenspan and Bernanke created an era of asset mis-pricing that inevitably would need to correct. And when market forces attempted to do so in 2008, Paulson et al hoodwinked the world into believing the repercussions would be so calamitous for all that the institutions responsible for the bad actions that instigated the problem needed to be rescued — in full — at all costs.

Read more: here

Some truth spoken….good read…
-Moose

Do Not Use Safety Deposit Boxes

Via: DinarVets

Posted 30 January 2011 – 08:54 AM

U.S DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY HAS TOLD BANKS – IN WRITING – IT MAY INSPECT SAFE DEPOSIT BOXES WITHOUT WARRANT AND SEIZE ANY GOLD, SILVER, GUNS OR OTHER VALUABLES IT FINDS INSIDE THOSE BOXES!

According to in-house memos now circulating, the DHS has issued orders to banks across America which announce to them that “under the Patriot Act” the DHS has the absolute right to seize, without any warrant whatsoever, any and all customer bank accounts, to make “periodic and unannounced” visits to any bank to open and inspect the contents of “selected safe deposit boxes.”

Further, the DHS “shall, at the discretion of the agent supervising the search, remove, photograph or seize as evidence” any of the following items “bar gold, gold coins, firearms of any kind unless manufactured prior to 1878, documents such as passports or foreign bank account records, pornography or any material that, in the opinion of the agent, shall be deemed of to be of a contraband nature.”

DHS memos also state that banks are informed that any bank employee, on any level, that releases “improper” “classified DHS Security information” to any member of the public, to include the customers whose boxes have been clandestinely opened and inspected and “any other party, to include members of the media” and further “that the posting of any such information on the internet will be grounds for the immediate termination of the said employee or employees and their prosecution under the Patriot Act.” Safety deposit box holders and depositors are not given advanced notice when failed banks shut their doors.

Read more: here

Just had to bring this up…
Seems more pertinent now after Cyprus and all…
-Moose

Letter to the Editor: Don’t Let Corporate Masters Destroy UT

Via: Independent Collegian

By Zachary I. Rasey
Published: Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Our University is in financial trouble and Supreme Commander Scarborough’s nefarious plan to save us from a financial crash is egregious for students. The provost’s budget, which I painstakingly drudged through, labels students as “customers” who need to be “marketable outputs” to the economy. Scarborough, along with Lord Jacobs, has colluded with Wall Street to write the report. In the budget power point, Moody’s Investment Services is quoted several times. That is, our Supreme Commander has used the advice from the very blood sucking corporation that contributed to the financial collapse of 2008 causing a global recession.

I do not have retrograde amnesia. I haven’t forget how our parents lost their mortgages and their retirements — have you forgotten? What will our Lord and masters do to our education and our higher educational system?

If a large, powerful corporation is allowed to inflict the business model view of higher education upon our institution, we will have a dystopic vision on the purpose of education that is skewed toward the advancement of the production of cheap laborers who are incapable of thinking abstractly. Student’s stamped-out, watered-down degrees will be nothing more than technical training for the workforce — not for a more just, equal, collective, peaceful society. After all, higher education’s purpose is: social mobility for the lower economic class, self-awareness, meta-cognition, and creating free-willed citizens capable of the abstract thought processes and reasoning that is required to be an active participant in Democracy and in society.

Now, “Imagine 2017” when the privatizing of our University will continue to keep the poor from reaching higher consciousness and create robotic technocrats incapable of functioning properly in community with other human beings. This will bankrupt us further foisting upon us (the taxpayer or the students) the bill as the administrators abscond with our money and create further inequities. The humanities and arts will be lost in a way that slowly squeezes them out of higher education completely. Combining the traditional liberal arts studies by first integrating them with other more “employment oriented” classes is just a strategy to eliminate them entirely.

Read more: here

But how will corporations get the right product?
-Moose

Here’s Why You Hate Your Cable Company

Via: All Things D

March 30, 2013 at 4:00 am PT

Hate your cable TV (or satellite TV, or telco TV) company? Here’s why — and why it’s not going to change anytime soon — explained in 98 concise seconds.

Hard to believe no one has done this before, but kudos to Extremely Decent Films for nailing it.

Warning: If your workplace or home isn’t cool with some well-placed profanity, then this video isn’t safe for your workplace or home.

Read more: here

Judge Dismisses Most Claims In Libor Lawsuits, Ruling In Favor Of Big Banks

Via: Reuters

By Nate Raymond

NEW YORK | Fri Mar 29, 2013 6:03pm EDT

(Reuters) – A judge on Friday dismissed a “substantial portion” of claims facing a number of banks in a barrage of lawsuits accusing them of interest-rate rigging.

U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald in Manhattan ruled for the banks, which include Bank of America Corp (BAC.N), JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) and others, of allegedly manipulating the London Interbank Offered Rate, commonly known as Libor.

The judge granted the banks’ motion to dismiss the plaintiffs’ federal antitrust claims and partially dismissed their claims of commodities manipulation. She also dismissed racketeering and state-law claims.

The decision is a significant setback for private plaintiffs, whose lawsuits had been consolidated before the New York judge as part of a multidistrict litigation proceeding.

In a 161-page opinion, Buchwald said she recognized her ruling might be “unexpected,” since several defendants had paid billions of dollars in penalties to government regulatory agencies.

Read more: here

Can you say crooked judge?…Read up on Naomi’s other interesting decisions…ruling in favor of Monsanto!
-Moose 

A Tale of Two Londons

Via: Vanityfair

Who really lives at One Hyde Park, called the world’s most expensive residential building? Its mostly absentee owners, hiding behind offshore corporations based in tax havens, provide a portrait of the new global super-wealthy.

By Nicholas Shaxson April 2013

Up until the 18th century, Knightsbridge, which borders genteel Kensington, was a lawless zone roamed by predatory monks and assorted cutthroats. It didn’t come of age until the Victorian building boom, which left a charming legacy of mostly large and beautiful Victorian houses, with their trademark white or cream paint, black iron railings, high ceilings, and short, elegant stone steps up to the front door.

This will not be the impression a visitor now gets as he emerges from the Knightsbridge subway station’s south exit. He will be met by four hulking joined-up towers of glass, metal, and concrete, sandwiched between the Victorian splendors of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, to the east, and a pretty five-story residential block, to the west. This is One Hyde Park, which its developers insist is the world’s most exclusive address and the most expensive residential development ever built anywhere on earth. With apartments selling for up to $214 million, the building began to smash world per-square-foot price records when sales opened, in 2007. After quickly shrugging off the global financial crisis the complex has come to embody the central-London real-estate market, where, as high-end property consultant Charles McDowell put it, “prices have gone bonkers.”

From the Hyde Park side, One Hyde Park protrudes aggressively into the skyline like a visiting spaceship, a head above its red-brick and gray-stone Victorian surroundings. Inside, on the ground floor, a large, glassy lobby offers what you’d expect from any luxury intercontinental hotel: gleaming steel statues, thick gray carpets, gray marble, and extravagant chandeliers with radiant sprays of glass. Not that the building’s inhabitants need venture into any of these public spaces: they can drive their Maybachs into a glass-and-steel elevator that takes them down to the basement garage, from which they can zip up to their apartments.

The largest of the original 86 apartments (following some mergers, there are now around 80) are pierced by 213-foot-long mirrored corridors of glass, anodized aluminum, and padded silk. The living spaces feature dark European-oak floors, Wenge furniture, bronze and steel statues, ebony, and plenty more marble. For added privacy, slanted vertical slats on the windows prevent outsiders from peering into the apartments.

In fact, the emphasis everywhere is on secrecy and security, provided by advanced-technology panic rooms, bulletproof glass, and bowler-hatted guards trained by British Special Forces. Inhabitants’ mail is X-rayed before being delivered.

The secrecy extends to the media, many of whose members, including myself and the London Sunday Times’s and Vanity Fair’s A. A. Gill, have tried but failed to gain entry to the building. “The vibe is junior Arab dictator,” says Peter York, co-author of The Official Sloane Ranger Handbook, the riotous 1982 style guide documenting the shopping and mating rituals of a certain striving class of Brits, who claimed Knightsbridge’s high-end shopping area, which stretches from Harrods to Sloane Square, as their urban heartland.

Read more: here

Majoring in Drones: Higher Ed Embraces Unmanned Aircraft

Via: Time

By Victor LuckersonMarch 18, 2013

Zachary Waller always wanted to be a commercial airline pilot as a kid. The prestige and paycheck associated with being the captain of a huge airliner appealed to him. But shortly after he arrived at the University of North Dakota in 2008, he realized he could actually take to the skies and secure a good job without having his feet leave the ground. He decided to pursue a new degree that the department of aviation was offering — unmanned-aircraft-systems operations. He spent his college years studying drones.

“There were no textbooks,” Waller says of the program’s early years. “Nothing like this had ever been taught in an academic setting.” When he began studying unmanned aircraft in 2009, there were about 15 students in the major. Today, 120 students are enrolled in the program.

It’s not just a North Dakota phenomenon. Curriculums and research projects related to drones are cropping up at both large universities and community colleges across the country. In a list of 81 publicly funded entities that have applied for a certificate of authorization to fly drones from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), more than a third are colleges, according to FAA documents obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Schools — and their students — are jockeying for a position on the ground floor of a nascent industry that looks poised to generate jobs and research funding in the coming years.

“We get a lot of inquiries from students saying, ‘I want to be a drone pilot,’” says Ken Polovitz, the assistant dean in the University of North Dakota’s John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences. “The Grand Forks region has become a hotbed for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).”

Read more: here

This is great…
Learning to kill better….
Can’t wait till one of these kids go rogue….
-Moose

How Rich Is the Catholic Church?

Via: Slate

Nobody really knows, because religious groups don’t need to follow regular accounting and disclosure rules.

By Matthew Yglesias Posted Thursday, March 14, 2013

Pope Francis is not just the spiritual leader of one of the world’s major religions: He’s also the head of what’s probably the wealthiest institution in the entire world. The Catholic Church’s global spending matches the annual revenues of the planet’s largest firms, and its assets—huge amounts of real estate, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Vatican City, some of the world’s greatest art—surely exceed those of any corporation by an order of magnitude.

But it turns out to be surprisingly difficult to understand exactly how rich the church is. That’s in part because church finances are complicated. But it’s also because, in the United States at least, churches in general are exempted from the financial reporting and disclosure requirements that otherwise apply to nonprofit groups. And it turns out, that exemption may have undesirable consequences.

The main thing we know about Catholic Church finance is that in cash flow terms, the United States is by far the most important branch. America is a rich country with a large population of Catholics. What’s more, America’s Catholic population is a religious minority. That’s meant that, rather than using political clout to influence the shape of mainstream government institutions, as in an overwhelmingly Catholic country such as Brazil, the Catholic Church in the United States has created a parallel state: a vast web of schools, hospitals, universities, and charities that serve millions of clients.

Read more: here

US Begins Regulating BitCoin, Will Apply "Money Laundering" Rules To Virtual Transactions

Via: ZeroHedge

Last November, in an act of sheer monetary desperation, the ECB issued an exhaustive, and quite ridiculous, pamphlet titled “Virtual Currency Schemes” in which it mocked and warned about the “ponziness” of such electronic currencies as BitCoin. Why a central bank would stoop so “low” to even acknowledge what no “self-respecting” (sic) PhD-clad economist would even discuss, drunk and slurring, at cocktail parties, remains a mystery to this day. However, that it did so over fears the official artificial currency of the insolvent continent, the EUR, may be becoming even more “ponzi” than the BitCoins the ECB was warning about, was clear to everyone involved who saw right through the cheap propaganda attempt. Feel free to ask any Cypriot if they would now rather have their money in locked up Euros, or in “ponzi” yet freely transferable, unregulated BitCoins.

Read more: here 

Are the US regulators feeling threatened by a more stable currency?
-Moose

AP: Costs of US Wars Linger For Over 100 Years

Via: AP

By MIKE BAKER — Mar. 19 1:46 PM EDT


Chart shows the amount the US Government spends in payments to disabled veterans, 
wartime veterans and their survivors since 1970.

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — If history is any judge, the U.S. government will be paying for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars for the next century as service members and their families grapple with the sacrifices of combat.

An Associated Press analysis of federal payment records found that the government is still making monthly payments to relatives of Civil War veterans — 148 years after the conflict ended.

At the 10 year anniversary of the start of the Iraq war, more than $40 billion a year are going to compensate veterans and survivors from the Spanish-American War from 1898, World War I and II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the two Iraq campaigns and the Afghanistan conflict. And those costs are rising rapidly.

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray said such expenses should remind the nation about war’s long-lasting financial toll.

“When we decide to go to war, we have to consciously be also thinking about the cost,” said Murray, D-Wash., adding that her WWII-veteran father’s disability benefits helped feed their family.

Alan Simpson, a former Republican senator and veteran who co-chaired President Barack Obama’s deficit committee in 2010, said government leaders working to limit the national debt should make sure that survivors of veterans need the money they are receiving.

“Without question, I would affluence-test all of those people,” Simpson said.

With greater numbers of troops surviving combat injuries because of improvements in battlefield medicine and technology, the costs of disability payments are set to rise much higher.

The AP identified the disability and survivor benefits during an analysis of millions of federal payment records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

To gauge the post-war costs of each conflict, AP looked at four compensation programs that identify recipients by war: disabled veterans; survivors of those who died on active duty or from a service-related disability; low-income wartime vets over age 65 or disabled; and low-income survivors of wartime veterans or their disabled children.

Read more: here

But it contributes to the GDP!
-Moose

The Plague of Wall Street Banking

Via: ICH

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers

March 20, 2013 “Information Clearing House” – The economic news this week highlights what happens when governments are unable to confront the root cause of the financial collapse – the risky speculation and securities fraud of the big banks. What happens? They blame the people, cut their benefits, tax their savings and demand they work harder for less money.

In the United States there have been no criminal prosecutions for securities fraud in the big banks. Just as the Justice Department has made it clear that the big banks are too big to jail because doing so jeopardizes the stability of the banking system; financial fraud investigator Bill Black points out that the SEC cannot institute fines that are too big for the same reason. “The art is to make the number sound large to fool the rubes, but to insure that the fine poses only a modest inconvenience to our ‘most reputable’ fraudulent banks.” So, the SEC trumpets “more than 150 firms and individuals, with sanctions totaling $2.7 billion.” Black points out that this number sounds big, but it isn’t compared to the losses caused by the fraud epidemic in the US which are well in excess of $15 trillion. A trillion is a thousand billion. Are we, ‘the rubes’ or do we know that our government is in cahoots with big finance?

In fact, the big banks have been engaged in all sorts of nefarious activity for a long time, as Washington’s Blog points out with this jaw-dropping list of crimes, and are rife with fraud. And, this week the biggest of the too big to prosecute, JP Morgan, had its financial fraud and disrespect for government on display when the Senate Banking Committee issued a massive 300 page indictment, errr report, documenting the $6.2 billion “London Whale” scandal. The report traces the scandal right to the top, CEO Jamie Dimon, and shows how the bank lied to bank examiners and investors. Experts state the obvious from this evident fraud; investigations and fines, and possibly a large monetary settlement are possible but a prosecution by DOJ remains unlikely. Obvious because everyone knows the game in Washington is one of no criminal prosecutions.

Although, another too big to jail bank, Goldman Sachs did have a loss in court this week, when the US Supreme Court refused to overturn a Court of Appeals decision requiring the bank to defend a civil suit by investors claiming securities fraud. There are lots of hurdles ahead, but this provides a glimmer of hope.

This week our too big to prosecute philosophy of the (lack of) Justice Department was shown to apply to foreign banks as well. The second largest bank in Germany got a pass when it offered a job to an IRS agent who cut its tax burden. Again, the rubes were told that Commerzbank paid $210 million in tax liability, sounds good, but it was only 62% of what it owed. The day after the agreement the IRS officer was offered a job at Commerzbank. The agent pled guilty to charges this week, but the bank and the officers involved were not prosecuted.

Europe is showing us what happens when government fails to confront the big banks – the people pay and the economy collapses into depression. Is this our future?

Read more: here

What’s Supposed to Happen, and What Might Happen: 3 Baseline Scenarios

Via: Of Two Minds


Monday, March 18, 2013

We all know what’s supposed to happen in the global economy: we get more of everything: more stuff manufactured, more coal dug up and burned, more “aggregate demand” i.e. insatiable desire for more of everything, more innovation, more wealth, more money printed, more debt taken on to buy more stuff and more education, more tourists occupying more beaches sipping more drinks, more strip malls built, more airports expanded, more jobs created, more taxes collected– more “growth” of everything, in every way and every day.

Beneath this expansive more-of-everything splendor, the power structure is supposed to remain unchanged: a small political-financial Elite holds all the reins of power, a manufacturing-consent propaganda machine (a.k.a. mainstream media) persuades the masses all is well, wealth continues to accumulate in the top 1/10th of 1%, money is printed/created and distributed to the State-financial partnership’s fiefdoms and cartels, moderate inflation eats away at the value of wages but makes debt cheaper to service, and the Upper Caste of technocrats continue their well-paid enabling of the Aristocracy’s dominance.

The dream of tens of millions of young people is to join the Upper Caste of lackeys, factotums, toadies and apparatchiks serving the Aristocracy’s cartels and fiefdoms.

In sum, the pie of wealth is supposed to expand so fast that the 10% left for the bottom 90% will be enough to satisfy their high expectations of endlessly rising prosperity.

Read more: here

The Debt Bomb Just Got Bigger

Via: RT

Published time: March 18, 2013 15:49

The amount of debt worldwide is more than all of the bank accounts in the world, and the current financial situation in Cyprus is the inevitable next phase: Confiscation.

All pretense is now gone that central or global bankers can ‘securitize’ growth by packaging and repackaging debt; by hypothicating and rehypothicating debt; by regulating and rergulating debt. Since the bond market rally began in the early 1980s (yes, it’s that old) each crisis has been met by central and global bankers – the IMF, EU and ECB, to name a few – and their Wall St. and City of London brethren with an increase in debt, and an extension of the debt’s maturity.

The result has been – as of 2007 – the biggest mountain of on-balance sheet and off-balance sheet debt in history: A staggering $220 trillion in debt in America’s $14-trillion economy alone (when you include all public, private and contingent liabilities of unfunded entitlement programs). Deals in the global debt derivatives market now stand in excess of $1 quadrillion, riding above a global GDP of approximately $60 trillion.

But starting in 2007, and then becoming spectacularly apparent in 2008 with the Lehman collapse, the ability of the world’s taxpayers to pay either the interest or principal on this debt has hit a brick wall. And for several years now, governments around the world have tried the same old tricks of ‘extend and pretend.’ Repackage and extend the maturity, and pray that tax receipts start picking up enough to pay some of the debt off. It didn’t work. The debt bomb just got bigger.

Now in Cyprus we see the inevitable next phase: Confiscation.

Read more: here

Thank goodness our leaders are looking out for us…
-Moose

After The Banksters Steal Money From Bank Accounts In Cyprus They Will Start Doing It EVERYWHERE

Via: The Economic Collapse Blog

By Michael, on March 17th, 2013

Cyprus is a beta test. The banksters are trying to commit bank robbery in broad daylight, and they are eager to see if the rest of the world will let them get away with it. Cyprus was probably chosen because it is very small (therefore nobody will care too much about it) and because there is a lot of foreign (i.e. Russian) money parked there. The IMF and the EU could have easily bailed out Cyprus without any trouble whatsoever, but they purposely decided not to do that. Instead, they decided that this would be a great time to test the idea of a “wealth tax”. The government of Cyprus was given two options by the IMF and the EU – either they could confiscate money from private bank accounts or they could leave the eurozone.

Apparently this was presented as a “take it or leave it” proposition, and many are using the world “blackmail” to describe what has happened. Sadly, this decision is going to set a very ominous precedent for the future and it is going to have ripple effects far beyond Cyprus.

After the banksters steal money from bank accounts in Cyprus they will start doing it everywhere. If this “bank robbery” goes well, it will only be a matter of time before depositors in nations such as Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal are asked to take “haircuts” as well. And what will happen one day when the U.S. financial system collapses? Will U.S. bank accounts also be hit with a “one time” wealth tax? That is very frightening to think about.

Cyprus is a very small nation, so it is not the amount of money involved that is such a big deal. Rather, the reason why this is all so troubling is that this “wealth tax” is shattering confidence in the European banking system. Never before have the banksters come directly after bank accounts.

If everything goes according to plan, every bank account in Cyprus will be hit with a “one time fee” this week. Accounts with less than 100,000 euros will be hit with a 6.75% tax, and accounts with more than 100,000 euros will be hit with a 9.9% tax.

How would you feel if something like this happened where you live?

Read more: here

Thank goodness this could never happen here…
-Moose

BofA: ‘Buy America… The American Dream Is Back’

Via: Business Insider
 

In case you forgot….

 Matthew Boesler Mar. 17, 2013

Last week, JPMorgan said we’re not that far from a “picture perfect world.”

Morgan Stanley said the U.S. economy was approaching an “inflection point” in mid-2013 from which growth would really start taking off.

Now, BofA Merrill Lynch is out with a new report, titled “Buy America: The American dream is back.”

BAML strategists Ralph Preusser and Athanasios Vamvakidis write (emphasis added):

Markets have fallen in love with the US. This is a significant change from spending the last five years wondering which economy was the worst, the US, Europe, the UK, or Japan.

After repeated positive US data surprises in recent weeks, and particularly the very strong non-farm payroll number last Friday, buy America has become the main market theme, with the USD appreciating and US equities reaching new highs.

The US housing market is also beginning to show signs of a sustainable recovery (see Housing Watch).

The strong US performance despite the substantial fiscal tightening in the months ahead as the sequester kicks in makes the US even more attractive. Just imagine how faster the recovery would have been if the US had a better fiscal policy.

Read more: here

What drugs are these people on?...Repeat the lie…over and over…
-Moose

Manufacturing Terrorists

Via: Reason

How FBI sting operations make jihadists out of hapless malcontents

Michael German from the April 2013 issue

Imagine a country in which the government pays convicted con artists and criminals to scour minority religious communities for disgruntled, financially desperate, or mentally ill patsies who can be talked into joining fake terrorist plots, even if only for money. Imagine that the country’s government then busts its patsies with great fanfare to justify ever-increasing authority and ever-increasing funding. According to journalist Trevor Aaronson’s The Terror Factory, this isn’t the premise for a Kafka novel; it’s reality in the post-9/11 United States.

The Terror Factory is a well-researched and fast-paced exposé of the dubious tactics the FBI has used in targeting Muslim Americans with sting operations since 2001. The book updates and expands upon Aaronson’s award-winning 2011 Mother Jones cover story “The Informants.” Most readers likely have heard about several alleged conspiracies to attack skyscrapers, synagogues, or subway stations, involving either individuals whom the FBI calls “lone wolves” or small cells that a credulous press has tagged with such sinister appellations as the Newburgh 4 or the Liberty City 7. But they may be astonished to learn that many of these frightening plots were almost entirely concocted and engineered by the FBI itself, using corrupt agents provocateurs who often posed a far more serious criminal threat than the dimwitted saps the investigations ultimately netted.

Drawing on court records and interviews with the defendants, their lawyers, their families, and the FBI officials and prosecutors who oversaw the investigations, Aaronson portrays an agency that has adopted an “any means necessary” approach to its terrorism prevention efforts, regardless of whether real terrorists are being caught. To the FBI, this imperative justifies recruiting informants with extensive criminal records, including convictions for fraud, violent crimes, and even child molestation, that in an earlier era would have disqualified them except in the most extraordinary circumstances.

In addition to offering lenience, if not forgiveness, for heinous crimes, the FBI pays these informants tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars, creating a perverse incentive for them to ensnare dupes into terrorist plots. Aaronson quotes an FBI official defending this practice: “To catch the devil you have to go to hell.”

Read more: here

We need to prosecute the crooks that are here, here, and here.
-Moose

Shock in Cyprus as Savers Face Bailout Levy

Via: BBC

16 March 2013

People in Cyprus have reacted with shock to news of a one-off levy of up to 10% on savings as part of a 10bn-euro (£8.7bn; $13bn) bailout agreed in Brussels.

Savers could be seen queuing at cash machines amid resentment at the charge.

The deal reached with euro partners and the IMF marks a radical departure from previous international aid packages.

President Nicos Anastasiades defended it as a “painful” step, taken to avoid a disorderly bankruptcy.

The Cypriot leader, who was elected last month on a promise to tackle the country’s debt crisis, will address the nation on Sunday.

Lenders are said to be gambling that the risk of a bigger banking crisis elsewhere in the eurozone has receded.

While Cyprus may be one of the eurozone’s tiniest economies – its third-smallest – there could be serious repercussions for other financially over-stretched economies, such as those of Spain and Italy, Robert Peston writes.

The point of the levy is as a caution to lenders to banks that they should take care where they place their funds, and avoid banks that overstretch themselves – as Cypriot banks did, he adds.

Cyprus is the fifth country after Greece, the Republic of Ireland, Portugal and Spain to turn to the eurozone for financial help during the region’s debt crisis.

Read more: here

Thank goodness nothing like this could happen in America!
-Moose

Once Upon a Time, Corporations Paid Taxes

Via: Too Much

The current European revolt against CEO greed, if successful, might leave Corporate Europe looking just like Corporate America — in the 1950s.

March 10, 2013
By Sam Pizzigati

In America today, the New York Times reports, we’re living in “a golden age” — for corporate profits. These earnings have been leaping at a 20 percent annual clip. In fact, to find a year when corporations were grabbing as great a share of America’s income as they’re grabbing now, you have to go back to 1950.

But corporate execs in 1950 had cause to mute their celebrating. Unlike execs today, they paid heavy taxes on both their corporate and individual earnings.

In 1950, by statute, major corporations faced a 42 percent tax rate on their profits, a rate that would jump the next year to just over 50 percent. The share of profits corporations actually paid in taxes, after exploiting loopholes, averaged about 40 percent throughout the 1950s.

The tax hit on top executive individual incomes would be even heftier. In 1950, General Motors chief Charley Wilson took home more pay than any other U.S. chief executive. Wilson reported $586,100 in income that year, about $5.6 million in today’s dollars. He paid $430,350 of that income — 73 percent — in taxes.

Top corporate executives today operate in a totally different universe. The corporations they run, for starters, face a much smaller tax bill. The top corporate tax rate has dropped to 35 percent, and loopholes have proliferated.

In 2011, major U.S. corporations actually paid on average only 12.1 percent of their earnings in taxes. That same year, adds the Institute for Policy Studies, 25 major U.S. corporations paid their CEOs more than they paid in corporate income taxes. Corporate execs as individuals enjoy an even better deal these days than the corporations they run, both before and after taxes.

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Sounds like a fairy tale..
-Moose

Which ‘Patriotic’ US Companies ‘Invested’ The Most Cash Overseas Last Year?

Via: Zero Hedge

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/12/2013

A Wall Street Journal analysis of 60 big U.S. companies found that, together, they parked a total of $166 billion offshore last year. That shielded more than 40% of their annual profits from U.S. taxes, though it left the money off-limits for paying dividends, buying back shares or making investments in the U.S. The 60 companies were chosen for the analysis because each of them had held at least $5 billion offshore in 2011. Within the group of 60 companies, WSJ found 10 that parked more earnings offshore last year than they generated for their bottom lines.

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