Posts tagged Corruption
Lawrence Lessig: The unstoppable walk to political reform
Published by TED
Seven years ago, Internet activist Aaron Swartz convinced Lawrence Lessig to take up the fight for political reform. A year after Swartz’s tragic death, Lessig continues his campaign to free US politics from the stranglehold of corruption. In this fiery, deeply personal talk, he calls for all citizens to engage, and a offers a heartfelt reminder to never give up hope.
Image credit: TED video capture
A First Look at a New Report on Crony Capitalism – Trillions in Corporate Welfare
One of the primary topics on this website since it was launched has been the extremely destructive and explosive rise of crony capitalism throughout the USA. It is crony capitalism, as opposed to free markets, that has led to the gross inequality in American society we have today. Cronyism for the super wealthy starts at the very top with the Federal Reserve System, which consists of topdown economic central planners who manipulate the money supply and hence interest rates for the benefit of the financial oligarch class. It then trickles down through lobbyist money into the halls of Washington D.C., and ultimately filters down to local governments and then the average person on the street gaming welfare or disability.
As such, we now live in a culture of corruption and theft that is pervasive throughout society. One thing that bothers me to no end is when fake Republicans focus their criticism on struggling people who need welfare or food stamps to survive. They have this absurd notion that the whole welfare system doesn’t start with the multinational corporations and Central Banks at the top. In reality, it is at the top where the cancer starts, and that’s where we should focus in order to achieve real change.
That’s where a new report from Open the Books on corporate welfare comes in. In a preview of the publication, the organization notes:
If Republicans are going to get truly serious about cutting government spending, they are going to have to snip the umbilical cord from the Treasury to corporate America. You can’t reform welfare programs for the poor until you’ve gotten Daddy Warbucks off the dole. Voters will insist on that — as well they should.
So why hasn’t it happened? Why hasn’t the GOP pledged to end corporate welfare as we know it?
Part of the explanation is that too many have gotten confused about the difference between free-market capitalism and crony capitalism.
And part of the problem is corporate welfare that is so well hidden from public view in the budget that no one has really measured how big this mountain of giveaway cash to the Fortune 500 really is. Finding out is like trying to break into the CIA.
Until now. Open the Books, an Illinois-based watchdog group, has been scrupulously monitoring all federal grants, loans, direct payments and insurance subsidies flowing to individuals and companies.
It’s an attempt to force federal agencies to release information on where the $4 trillion budget is really spent — and Open the Books will release a new report on corporate welfare payments to the Fortune 100 companies from 2000 to 2012.
Over that period, the 100 received $1.2 trillion in payments from the federal government.
That number does not include the hundreds of billions of dollars in housing, bank and auto company bailouts in 2008 and 2009, because those payments and where they went are kept mostly invisible in the federal agency books.
As suspected, the biggest welfare queens in the U.S. are the super wealthy themselves, but they’d rather you focus on some single mother on welfare simply trying to survive.
I have been trying to track down the full report with no luck as of yet. If I am able to, I will update this post.
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Former Obama Supporter Posts Viral Video
Published by Carey Wedler
55 Things About America You May Not Know
Is America the greatest nation on the planet? Before you answer that question, you might want to check out the statistics that I have shared in this article first. The reality is that the United States is in a deep state of decline, and it is getting harder to deny that fact with each passing day. Mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually and financially we are a train wreck. Many that are “patriotic” attempt to put a happy face on our growing problems, but the truly patriotic thing to do is to admit just how bad things have gotten so that we can start finding solutions. If you truly love this country, then you should know that this nation needs a huge wake up call. We have abandoned the values and the principles that early Americans held so dear, and as a result our society is a giant mess. The following are 55 things about America that you may not know…
#1 We are supposed to have a government “of the people, by the people, for the people”, but only 25 percent of all Americans know how long U.S. Senators are elected for (6 years), and only 20 percent of all Americans know how many U.S. senators there are.
#2 Americans spend more on health care per capita than anyone else in the world by far, and yet we only rank 35th in life expectancy.
#4 Of all the major industrialized nations, America is the most obese. Mexico is #2.
#6 According to a new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 31 percent of all food in the United States gets wasted. In case you were wondering, that amounts to approximately 133 billion pounds of food a year.
#8 In America, we even put 81-year-old women in prison for feeding the birds.
#9 According to a Newsweek survey taken a few years ago, 29 percent of all Americans could not even name the vice president.
#10 Americans spend more time sitting in traffic than anyone else in the world.
#11 60 percent of Americans report feeling “angry or irritable”. Two years ago that number was at 50 percent.
#12 36 percent of Americans admit that they have yelled at a customer service agent during the past year.
#13 Only 30 percent of all Americans can tell you in what year the 9/11 attacks happened.
#14 There are more “deaths by reptile” in America than anywhere else in the world.
#15 Right now, 29 percent of all Americans under the age of 35 are living with their parents.
#17 According to a study conducted by the Mayo Clinic, nearly 70 percent of all Americans are on at least one prescription drug. An astounding 20 percent of all Americans are on at least five prescription drugs.
#18 Americans spend more than 280 billion dollars on prescription drugs each year.
#19 According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, doctors in the United States write more than 250 million prescriptions for antidepressants each year.
#20 Children in the United States are three times more likely to be prescribed antidepressants than children in Europe are.
#21 In the United States today, prescription painkillers kill more Americans than heroin and cocaine combined.
#22 America has the highest rate of illegal drug use on the entire planet.
#23 According to the federal government, the number of heroin addicts in the United States has more than doubled since 2002.
#24 It is hard to believe, but 56 percent of all Americans now have “subprime credit”.
#25 America exports more weapons to other countries than anyone else in the world.
#26 The United States has the most complicated tax system on the entire planet.
#27 Corruption is rampant throughout our society. In fact, America leads the world in money given to fake charities.
#29 In 2008, 53 percent of all Americans considered themselves to be “middle class”. In 2014, only 44 percent of all Americans consider themselves to be “middle class”.
#30 70 percent of Americans do not “feel engaged or inspired at their jobs”.
#31 40 percent of all workers in the United States actually make less than what a full-time minimum wage worker made back in 1968 after you account for inflation.
#32 Back in the 1970s, about one out of every 50 Americans was on food stamps. Today, about one out of every 6 Americans is on food stamps.
#33 The marriage rate in the United States has fallen to an all-time low. Right now it is sitting at a yearly rate of 6.8 marriages per 1000 people.
#34 In the United States today, more than half of all couples “move in together” before they get married.
#35 America has the highest divorce rate in the world by a good margin.
#36 America has the highest percentage of one person households on the entire planet.
#37 100 years ago, 4.52 were living in the average U.S. household, but now the average U.S. household only consists of 2.59 people.
#39 For women under the age of 30 in the United States, more than half of all babies are being born out of wedlock.
#40 At this point, approximately one out of every three children in the United States lives in a home without a father.
#42 America has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the world by a very wide margin.
#43 Approximately one out of every four teen girls in the United States has at least one sexually transmitted disease.
#44 America has the highest STD infection rate in the entire industrialized world.
#45 According to the latest figures released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, there are 20 million new sexually-transmitted infections in the United States every single year, and Americans in the 15 to 24-year-old age range account for approximately 50 percent of those new sexually-transmitted infections.
#47 America produces more pornography than any other nation in the world.
#48 America has the most lawyers per capita in the entire world.
#49 If you choose to be a “Constitutionalist” in America today, you may get labeled as a potential terrorist by the U.S. government.
#50 America has the largest national debt in the history of the world. Back in 1980, the U.S. national debt was less than one trillion dollars. Today, it is over 17 trillion dollars.
#51 According to the Congressional Budget Office, interest payments on the national debt will nearly quadruple over the next ten years.
#52 Americans spend more money on elections than anyone else does in the world by a very wide margin.
#53 65 percent of Americans are dissatisfied “with the U.S. system of government and its effectiveness”. That is the highest level of dissatisfaction that Gallup has ever recorded.
#54 Only 8 percent of Americans believe that Congress is doing a “good” or “excellent” job.
#55 70 percent of Americans do not have confidence that the federal government will “make progress on the important problems and issues facing the country in 2014.”
This article first appeared here at the The American Dream. Michael Snyder is a writer, speaker and activist who writes and edits his own blogs The American Dream and Economic Collapse Blog. Follow him on Twitter here.
Image credit: http://endoftheamericandream.com
Lew Rockwell On Endemic Corruption of US Government
Former New Orleans, La. Mayor Ray Nagin was convicted of 20 counts of corruption, while found not guilty on one count. Nagin was the mayor of the Crescent City from 2002 to 2010, shepherding the city through the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and the rebuilding that began immediately after. But during the rebuilding phase, Nagin required kickbacks from people looking to help the battered city. RT’s Perianne Boring discusses the case and corruption in America with libertarian author Lew Rockwell.
The latest book by Lew Rockwell available here:
Get Konnected With The Kronies
We interrupt your regularly scheduled programing to bring you more of the same, but in a manner that you will enjoy better than the real thing. Get Konnected at http://www.thekronies.com.
Published by The Kronies
The Kronies are in action…Mandating, Tarrify-ing, Inflating, and Boondoggling their way to profits powered by their special konnection to the G-Force. Watch Big-G and his team stomp out competition!
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The Economics of the Police State | Thomas E. Woods, Jr.
Published by misesmedia
Published on Jan 22, 2014
Recorded at the Mises Circle Southwest Regional in Houston, 18 January 2014. Includes an introduction by Jeff Deist.
In the modern United States, federal laws are now so numerous and written so broadly and vaguely, that it is nearly impossible to make it through the day without breaking at least one of them. And through it all, an enormous government apparatus of prisons, prosecutors, police, and bureaucrats remains well-funded, powerful, and nearly impossible to oppose in court.
19 Numbers Which Prove That Americans Are Angrier And More Frustrated Than Ever
Have you noticed that people are becoming angrier? You can see it everywhere – in our homes, in our schools, in our workplaces, in our television shows, in our movies, and certainly in Washington. In fact, many have said that there is an “epidemic” of anger in America today. And it is undeniably true. As you will see below, a whole host of surveys and opinion polls show that America has become a seething cauldron of anger and frustration unlike anything that we have ever seen before. As a nation, we are more divided than we have been in decades, and economic conditions continue to deteriorate. People are working harder than ever and Americans get less vacation days than anyone else in the world, but median household income keeps going down every year. Americans are dissatisfied with their relationships, their jobs, their communities and their political leaders. There is this growing sense that our country is steamrolling toward disaster, and yet there is very little agreement on what the solutions to our problems are. Instead, blaming others for our problems has become a new American pastime. The very fabric of our society is coming apart at the seams and the thin veneer of civilization that we all take for granted is beginning to disappear. What is America going to look like if we continue to go even farther down this road?
The following statistics come from various surveys and opinion polls that have been conducted recently. Without a doubt, these numbers show that Americans are angrier and more frustrated than ever…
#1 65 percent of Americans are dissatisfied “with the U.S. system of government and its effectiveness”. That is the highest level of dissatisfaction that Gallup has ever recorded.
#2 66 percent of Americans are dissatisfied “with the size and power of federal government”.
#3 70 percent of Americans do not have confidence that the government will “make progress on the important problems and issues facing the country in 2014.”
#4 Only 8 percent of Americans believe that Congress is doing a “good” or “excellent” job.
#5 Only 4 percent of Americans believe that it would “change Congress for the worse” if every member was voted out during the next election.
#6 60 percent of Americans report feeling “angry or irritable”. Two years ago that number was at 50 percent.
#7 53 percent of Americans believe that the Obama administration is “not competent in running the government”.
#8 An all-time low 31 percent of Americans identify themselves as Democrats.
#9 An all-time low 25 percent of Americans identify themselves as Republicans.
#10 An all-time high 42 percent of Americans identify themselves as Independents.
#11 Barack Obama’s daily job approval numbers have dipped down into the high thirties several times lately.
#12 Only 38 percent of Americans approve of the way that Obama is handling the economy.
#13 60 percent of Americans believe that the “economic system in this country unfairly favors the wealthy”.
#14 70 percent of Americans do not “feel engaged or inspired at their jobs”.
#15 Two-thirds of U.S. teens “admit to having anger attacks involving the destruction of property, threats of violence, or engaging in violence”.
#16 36 percent of Americans admit that they have yelled at customer service agents during the past year.
#17 73 percent of Americans believe that Obama’s efforts to “reform” the NSA “won’t make much difference in protecting people’s privacy”.
#18 77 percent of Americans believe that the state of the economy is either “not so good” or “poor”.
#19 65 percent of Americans are either “somewhat dissatisfied” or “very dissatisfied” with the direction of the country.
Are you starting to get the picture?
We have never seen anything like this in the United States during the post-World War II era. People are fundamentally unhappy, and that has tremendous implications for the future of our society.
So what is causing all of this anger and frustration?
Well, of course the economic struggles that tens of millions of Americans are experiencing on a daily basis play a huge role. The following is an excerpt from a recent local Fox News report…
Some are describing this as “America’s anger epidemic.” And there are a few reasons: uncertainty in the job market and the economy, working long hours — on average about one month more now than they did in the 1970s and with less vacation.
So if it seems like Americans are angrier these days it’s because we are.
And it is easy to understand why people are becoming increasingly frustrated with the incompetence and rampant corruption in Washington D.C.…
Grim findings have been coming thick and fast. Most Americans no longer see President Barack Obama as honest. Half think that he “knowingly lied” to pass his Obamacare health law. Fewer than one in five trust the government in Washington to do what is right all or most of the time. Confidence in Congress has fallen to record lows: in America, as in Italy and Greece, just one in ten voters expresses trust or confidence in the national parliament. Frankly straining credulity, a mammoth, 107-country poll by Transparency International, a corruption monitor, this summer found Americans more likely than Italians to say that they feel that the police, business and the media are all “corrupt or extremely corrupt”.
Americans are also turning on one another. Since 1972 the Chicago-based General Social Survey (GSS) has been asking whether most people can be trusted, or whether “you can’t be too careful” in daily life. Four decades ago Americans were evenly split. Now almost two-thirds say others cannot be trusted, a record high.
In addition, there are certainly other reasons why people are so angry these days as well…
The “Knockout Game” grows more popular. Athletes throw tantrums that would embarrass most 3-year-olds. Race relations simmer at a constant near-boil, while our leaders engage in enough posturing and name-calling to look more like a modern version of “West Side Story” than the servant-citizens who should inspire peace and mutual respect.
So what do you believe?
Why do you think that Americans are so angry and so frustrated these days?
Is there anything we can do about it?
And how bad will the anger and frustration in this country get when the economy completely collapses?
This article first appeared here at the The American Dream. Michael Snyder is a writer, speaker and activist who writes and edits his own blogs The American Dream and Economic Collapse Blog. Follow him on Twitter here.
Image credit: http://endoftheamericandream.com
Fake Employment Numbers – And 5 More Massive Economic Lies The Government Is Telling You
According to a whistleblower that has recently come forward, Census employees have been faking and manipulating U.S. employment numbers for years. In fact, it is being alleged that this manipulation was a significant reason for why the official unemployment rate dipped sharply just before the last presidential election. What you are about to read is incredibly disturbing. The numbers that the American people depend upon to make important decisions are being faked. But should we be surprised by this? After all, Barack Obama has been caught telling dozens of major lies over the past five years. At this point it is incredible that there are any Americans that still trust anything that comes out of his mouth. And of course it is not just Obama that has been lying to us. Corruption and deception are rampant throughout the entire federal government, and this has been the case for years. Now that some light is being shed on this, hopefully the American people will respond with overwhelming outrage and disgust.
The whistleblower that I mentioned above has been speaking to John Crudele of the New York Post. In his new article entitled “Census ‘faked’ 2012 election jobs report“, he says that the huge decline in the unemployment rate in September 2012 was “manipulated”…
In the home stretch of the 2012 presidential campaign, from August to September, the unemployment rate fell sharply — raising eyebrows from Wall Street to Washington.
The decline — from 8.1 percent in August to 7.8 percent in September — might not have been all it seemed. The numbers, according to a reliable source, were manipulated.
Two years earlier, the Census had actually caught an employee “fabricating data”, but according to this whistleblower the corruption at the Census Bureau goes much deeper than that…
And a knowledgeable source says the deception went beyond that one employee — that it escalated at the time President Obama was seeking reelection in 2012 and continues today.
“He’s not the only one,” said the source, who asked to remain anonymous for now but is willing to talk with the Labor Department and Congress if asked.
The Census employee caught faking the results is Julius Buckmon, according to confidential Census documents obtained by The Post. Buckmon told me in an interview this past weekend that he was told to make up information by higher-ups at Census.
Well, is it really such a big deal that some of the unemployment numbers were faked?
After all, hasn’t the unemployment rate been consistently going down anyway?
Unfortunately, as you will see below, that is simply not the case. The following are five massive economic lies that the government has been telling you…
“The Unemployment Rate Has Been Steadily Going Down”
According to the official government numbers, the U.S. unemployment rate has fallen all the way down to 7.3 percent.
That sounds really good, and it would seem to imply that a higher percentage of the American people are now working.
Sadly, that is not the truth at all.
Posted below is one of my favorite charts. The employment-population ratio measures the percentage of the working age population that actually has a job. As you can see, this number fell dramatically during the last recession and since the end of 2009 it has remained remarkably flat. In fact, it has stayed between 58 and 59 percent for 50 months in a row…
At the moment, the employment-population ratio is just one-tenth of one percent above the lowest level that it has been throughout this entire crisis.
So are we in an “employment recovery”?
Absolutely not, and anyone that tries to tell you that is lying to you.
So how is the government getting the unemployment rate to go down?
Well, they are accomplishing this by pretending that millions upon millions of unemployed Americans have disappeared from the labor force.
According to the government, the percentage of Americans that want to work is now supposedly at a 35 year low…
If the labor force participation rate was still exactly where it was at when Barack Obama was first elected in 2008, the official unemployment rate would be about 11 percent right now. People would be running around going crazy and wondering when the “economic depression” would finally end.
But when people hear “7.3 percent”, that doesn’t sound so bad. It makes people feel better.
Of course if you are currently unemployed and looking for a job that doesn’t exactly help you. At this point there is intense competition even for minimum wage jobs in America. For example, according to Business Insider you actually have a better statistical chance of getting into Harvard than you do of being hired at a new Wal-Mart that is opening up in the Washington D.C. area…
The store is currently combing through more than 23,000 applications for 600 available positions, reports NBC Washington.
That means that Wal-Mart will be able to hire one person for every 38 applications it receives — i.e., just 2.6% of applicants will walk out with a job.
That’s more difficult than getting into Harvard. The Ivy League university accepts 6.1% of applicants.
“Inflation Is Low”
This is another lie that government officials love to tell. In particular, the boys and girls over at the Federal Reserve love to try to convince all of us that inflation is super low because it gives them an excuse to recklessly print lots more money.
But anyone that goes to the grocery store or pays bills on a regular basis knows that there is plenty of inflation in the economy. And if we were being given honest numbers, they would show that.
According to John Williams of shadowstats.com, if the U.S. inflation rate was still calculated the exact same way that it was back when Jimmy Carter was president, the official rate of inflation would be somewhere between 8 and 10 percent today.
But the Federal Reserve certainly doesn’t want everyone running around talking about “Jimmy Carter” and “stagflation” because then people would really start pressuring them to end their wild money printing schemes.
And without a doubt, what the Fed is doing is absolutely insane. The chart posted below shows that the M1 money supply has nearly doubled since the beginning of 2008…
“Quantitative Easing Is Economic Stimulus”
How many times have you heard the mainstream media tell you something along these lines…
“The Federal Reserve decided today that the economic stimulus must continue.”
There is just one thing wrong with that statement.
As I showed in a previous article, it is a total hoax.
In fact, a former Federal Reserve official that helped manage the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing program during 2009 and 2010 is publicly apologizing to the rest of the country for being involved in “the greatest backdoor Wall Street bailout of all time”…
I can only say: I’m sorry, America. As a former Federal Reserve official, I was responsible for executing the centerpiece program of the Fed’s first plunge into the bond-buying experiment known as quantitative easing. The central bank continues to spin QE as a tool for helping Main Street. But I’ve come to recognize the program for what it really is: the greatest backdoor Wall Street bailout of all time.
Yes, quantitative easing has most certainly helped Wall Street (at least temporarily).
Meanwhile, median household income in the U.S. has fallen for five years in a row.
Meanwhile, the federal government is now spending nearly a trillion dollars a year on welfare.
Meanwhile, 1.2 million students that attend public schools in America are now homeless. In fact, that number has risen by 72 percent since the start of the last recession.
“Obamacare Is Going To Be Good For Middle Class Americans”
There were three giant promises that were used to sell Obamacare to the American people…
#1 We would all be able to keep our current health insurance plans.
#2 Millions more Americans were going to be covered by health insurance.
#3 Most Americans would be paying lower health insurance premiums.
Well, it turns out that all of them were lies.
And so far only about 100,000 Americans have actually signed up for Obamacare, so that means that the number of Americans with health insurance has dropped by about 3.9 million since the beginning of October.
Good job Obama.
Meanwhile, Americans all over the country are being hit with a massive case of sticker shock as they start to realize what Obamacare is going to do to their wallets.
According to one study, health insurance premiums for men are going to go up by an average of 99 percent under Obamacare and health insurance premiums for women are going to go up by an average of 62 percent under Obamacare.
And if you are a young man, you are going to get hit particularly hard. At this point, it is being projected that health insurance premiums for healthy 30-year-old men will rise by an average of 260 percent.
“The U.S. National Debt Is Under Control”
The mainstream media would have us believe that the budget deficit is now under control and the U.S. national debt is not a significant problem any longer.
But that is not the truth.
The truth is that we are on pace to accumulate more new debt under the 8 years of the Obama administration than we did under all of the other presidents in all of U.S. history combined.
Every single hour of every single day, our politicians are stealing about $100,000,000 from future generations of Americans. It is a crime so vast that it is hard to put into words, and it is literally destroying the economic future of this country.
Over the last 13 and a half months, the U.S. national debt has increased by more than 1.12 trillion dollars.
If you were alive when Jesus Christ was born and you had spent a million dollars every single day since then, you still would not have spent that much money by now.
And most Americans don’t realize this, but the U.S. government must borrow far more than a trillion dollars each year. Trillions more in existing debt must be “rolled over” just to keep the game going.
For example, the U.S. government rolled over more than 7.5 trillion dollars of existing debt in fiscal 2013.
So what is going to happen someday when the rest of the world pulls out and stops lending us trillions of dollars at ridiculously low interest rates that are way below the real rate of inflation?
Our financial system is far more vulnerable than we are being told. We are in the terminal phase of the greatest debt bubble in the history of the planet, and when this bubble bursts it is going to be an absolutely spectacular disaster.
Please don’t believe the mainstream media or the politicians when they promise you that everything is going to be okay.
This article first appeared here at the Economic Collapse Blog. Michael Snyder is a writer, speaker and activist who writes and edits his own blogs The American Dream and Economic Collapse Blog. Follow him on Twitter here.
Image credit: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com
The crony capitalist bonanza which is Obamacare
Obamacare is making many people and companies rich(er.) Just got to be in with the right folks, and say the right things, and dollars float down from on high.
What was once seen as simply a boneheaded, invasive, half baked law, is now we know much more than that. It is a vehicle for cronies to make bank, and they are as Peter Schweizer reports.
(From Fox News)
As CNBC recently put it: “Thanks to ObamaCare, the health-care industry is going to get a big makeover during the coming years and venture capitalists have wasted no time looking for ways to cash in.” Put simply, ObamaCare’s complexity and catastrophic rollout create rivers of cash for Obama’s cronies.
So who are some of the winners in the ObamaCare crony capitalist giveaway?
For those on the left who thought that ObamaCare would mean large health insurance companies might get their comeuppance, they might want to look at UnitedHealth. Wall Street analysts expect the giant to see its stock price rise 40 percent over the next two years, thanks to expanding profit margins. The company has also won big contracts to help implement the rollout. Quality Software Services, Inc., a major contractor for Healthcare.gov, is a subsidiary of UnitedHealth. One of President Obama’s most reliable fundraisers in both 2008 and 2012 was Anthony Welters, executive vice president of UnitedHealth. He raised more than $500,000 for the 2012 election, according to opensecrets.org.
Image credit: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org