Posts tagged reform
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
Why Obama Speech Spells No Change to Global Surveillance| Brainwash Update
Published by breakingtheset
Abby Martin calls out Obama’s long awaited speech regarding NSA surveillance, dissecting aspects of the speech that suggest no real change to global surveillance policies.
Rating Obama’s NSA Reform Plan: EFF Scorecard Explained
[...]President Obama announced a series of reforms to address abuses by the National Security Agency. We were heartened to see Obama recognized that the NSA has gone too far in trampling the privacy rights of people worldwide. In his speech, the President ensured that National Security Letters would not come with perpetual gag orders, brought new levels of transparency and fairness to the FISA court, and ended bulk collection of telephone records by the NSA. However, there is still much more to be done.
We’ve put together a scorecard showing how Obama’s announcements stack up against 12 common sense fixes that should be a minimum for reforming NSA surveillance. Each necessary reform was worth 1 point, and we were willing to award partial credit for steps in the right direction. On that scale, President Obama racked up 3.5 points out of a possible 12.
Recently uncovered documents prove that the Obama administration has been working with the Mexican government to increase the number of illegal immigrants on food stamps, and when more illegal immigrants go on food stamps JP Morgan makes more money. As you will read about below, JP Morgan has made at least 560 million dollars processing Electronic Benefits Transfer cards. Each month, JP Morgan makes between $.31 and $2.30 for every single person on food stamps (and that does not even include things like ATM fees, etc). So JP Morgan has a vested interest in seeing poverty grow and the number of people on food stamps increase. Meanwhile, the Obama administration has been aggressively seeking to expand participation in the food stamp program. Under Obama, the number of people on food stamps has grown from 32 million to more than 47 million. And even though poverty in America is absolutely exploding, that apparently is not good enough for the Obama administration. It has now come out that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has provided the Mexican government with literature that actively encourages illegal immigrants to enroll in food stamps. One flyer contains the following statement in Spanish: “You need not divulge information regarding your immigration status in seeking this benefit for your children.” The bold and the underlining are in the original document in case you were wondering. Overall, federal spending on food stamps increased from 18 billion dollars in 2000 to 85 billion dollars in 2012, and at this point one out of every five U.S. households in now enrolled in the food stamp program. When people illegally or fraudulently enroll in the food stamp program, it makes it harder for those that desperately need the help to be able to get it.
It is certainly a good thing to help fellow Americans that are suffering. It is a crying shame that more than a million public school students in America are homeless. That should not be happening in the “wealthiest nation on earth”.
But today we have a system that has turned poverty into big business. According to an article posted on Breitbart.com, JP Morgan has made at least 560 million dollars (and probably much more) processing EBT cards…
A new report by the Government Accountability Institute finds that JP Morgan has made at least $560,492,596 since 2004 processing the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards of 18 of the 24 states it has under contract for the food stamp program.
A Daily Beast article provided some more specifics about the monster profits that JP Morgan is making…
Just how lucrative JP Morgan’s EBT state contracts are is hard to say, because total national data on EBT contracts are not reported. But thanks to a combination of public-records requests and contracts that are available online, here’s what we do know: 18 of the 24 states JP Morgan handles have been contracted to pay the bank up to $560,492,596.02 since 2004. Since 2007, Florida has been contracted to pay JP Morgan $90,351,202.22. Pennsylvania’s seven-year contract totaled $112,541,823.27. New York’s seven-year contract totaled $126,394,917.
These contracts are transactional contracts, meaning they are amendable based on changes in program participation. Each month, the three companies that administer EBT receive a small fee that can range from $.31 to $2.30 (or higher depending upon the number of welfare services on an EBT card and state contractual requirements) for each SNAP recipient.
So the more people that are out of work and that need to turn to the government for food, the bigger profits that JP Morgan makes.
What makes all of this even more insulting is that many of the jobs that JP Morgan could be providing to Americans to help alleviate this poverty are being shipped overseas instead. As I noted in a previous article, many EBT card customer service calls are being routed to call centers in India by JP Morgan.
So why doesn’t anyone do anything about this?
Well, it turns out that JP Morgan has the politicians that oversee the food stamp program in their back pocket. The following is from a recent Money Morning article…
And the bank has taken steps to make sure the SNAP program remains a growing source of revenue. JPMorgan’s political donations to the members of House and Senate agricultural committees, the ones with legislative responsibility for the program, soared from just over $82,000 in 2002 to nearly $333,000 as of 2010.
What a wonderful system we have, eh?
And surely JP Morgan just loves the fact that the Obama administration is actively encouraging illegal immigrants to apply for food stamps.
What you are about to read should absolutely shock you. At a time when the U.S. government is absolutely drowning in debt, the Obama administration is making it abundantly clear to illegal immigrants that their immigration status will not be checked when they apply for food stamps. The following is from a recent Judicial Watch press release…
Judicial Watch today released documents detailing how the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is working with the Mexican government to promote participation by illegal aliens in the U.S. food stamp program.
The promotion of the food stamp program, now known as “SNAP” (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), includes a Spanish-language flyer provided to the Mexican Embassy by the USDA with a statement advising Mexicans in the U.S. that they do not need to declare their immigration status in order to receive financial assistance. Emphasized in bold and underlined, the statement reads, “You need not divulge information regarding your immigration status in seeking this benefit for your children.”
The documents came in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request made to USDA on July 20, 2012. The FOIA request sought: “Any and all records of communication relating to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to Mexican Americans, Mexican nationals, and migrant communities, including but not limited to, communications with the Mexican government.”
The documents obtained by Judicial Watch show that USDA officials are working closely with their counterparts at the Mexican Embassy to widely broaden the SNAP program in the Mexican immigrant community, with no effort to restrict aid to, identify, or apprehend illegal immigrants who may be on the food stamp rolls.
You can see a copy of the flyer right here.
So who pays for all of this?
You do of course.
The Obama administration is doing all that it can to promote illegal immigration, and big banks such as JP Morgan just make bigger profits the more illegal immigration that we see, but it is you and I that end up with the bill. This was put beautifully in a recent article by Mike Adams of NaturalNews.com…
Nearly $75 billion of taxpayer money is spent each year on federal food stamps, and it turns out some of that is alarmingly being handed out to illegal immigrants — people who contribute nothing to the federal tax base in America but who seem to be experts on collecting social welfare benefits of all kinds. If you are working for a living, you are buying food for illegals who are being actively recruited by Obama and the democratic party so that they will vote more democrats into office.
When we reward illegal immigration, what happens?
That’s right – we are just going to get even more illegal immigration.
According to WND, we have already started seeing a huge increase in illegal immigrants coming across the border since Congress began debating the amnesty bill…
Illegal border crossings have doubled, and possibly even tripled, since the latest congressional push began toward comprehensive immigration reform.
In reporting first published by Townhall.com’s Katie Pavlich, border patrol agents in the Tucson/Nogales sector claim illegals are coming here in much higher numbers in just the past few months.
“We’ve seen the number of illegal aliens double, maybe even triple since amnesty talk started happening,” an unnamed border agent said to Townhall. The data from Customs and Border Protection cited in the report shows 504 illegals were detected crossing in that sector between Feb. 5 and March 1. Only 189 were caught on camera, and just 174 of the 504 were apprehended. Of those spotted on camera, 32 were carrying huge packs believed to contain drugs and several were heavily armed.
If that bill is passed, it is being projected that it will bring 33 million more people into this country…
The pending Senate immigration bill would bring a minimum of 33 million people into the country during its first decade of operation, according to an analysis by NumbersUSA, a group that wants to slow the current immigration rate.
By 2024, the inflow would include an estimated 9.2 million illegal immigrants, plus 2.5 million illegals who arrived as children — dubbed ‘Dreamers’ — plus roughly 3.4 million company-sponsored employees with university degrees, said the unreleased analysis.
The majority of the inflow, or roughly 17 million people, would consist of family members of illegals, recent immigrants and of company-sponsored workers, according to the NumbersUSA analysis provided to The Daily Caller.
We have made legal immigration a complete and total nightmare while leaving the back door completely wide open at the same time.
We greatly punish those who are trying to do things legally while at the same time we are greatly rewarding those that are cheating the system.
What kind of sense does that make?
Shouldn’t we insist that everyone come in through the front door?
Those that are coming over our borders illegally know what the score is…
Linda Vickers, who owns a ranch in Brooks County, which is Ground Zero for the immigration debate, pins the blame directly on talk of ‘amnesty’ and a ‘path to citizenship’ for people who entered the U.S. illegally.
She recalls one man being arrested on her ranch not long ago.
“The Border Patrol agent was loading one man up, and he told the officer in Spanish, ‘Obama’s gonna let me go’.”
Border Patrol agents report that immigrants are crossing the border, and in some cases surrendering while asking, “Where do I go for my amnesty?”
We are already becoming a poverty-stricken nation. We simply can’t afford to feed millions upon millions of illegal immigrants as well.
As I write this, the U.S. national debt is $16,758,107,082,298.63.
We now have a debt to GDP ratio of about 105 percent.
In the United States today, the amount of money that is deposited in our banks is about 9.3 trillion dollars. If we took every penny of that and used it to pay off the national debt, we would still owe more than 7 trillion dollars.
We are stealing more than 100 million dollars from future generations of Americans every single hour of every single day to pay our bills, and yet everyone seems to think that this is “normal” somehow.
The truth is that what we are doing is absolutely criminal, and we should all be ashamed.
For much more on our exploding national debt, please see the following article: “55 Facts About The Debt And U.S. Government Finances That Every American Voter Should Know“.
In the end, it should be apparent to everyone that our system is failing. Our government is corrupt, our big banks are consumed with greed and most average Americans are so addicted to entertainment that they have absolutely no idea what is going on.
What would those that bled and died for this country think about what we have become today?
Sen. Rand Paul on Your World with Neil Cavuto to talk more about the fiscal cliff.
The biggest banks in the US have been given advisement by US regulators that they must make plans to stave off a complete financial collapse without relying on the US government. Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and other technocrats have secretly crafted worst-case scenarios in which they can continue to thrive during a full-blown domestic monetary crisis.
The Federal Reserve and the US Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) named Citigroup Inc., Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase & Co. as well as others to devise “recovery plans” in 2010. Banks were directed to have schemes to remain afloat by selling off assets, finding alternative sources of funding, reducing risky measures that make a quick buck. These strategies were to be perfected with “no assumption of extraordinary support from the public sector.”
Resolution plans , required under the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law describe how to liquidate banking assets without causing further damage to a failing financial system. By selling “non-core assets” without upsetting shareholders while protecting the monetary system, taxpayers and creditors is the work of the mega-banks who have contributed solely to the destruction of the global financial markets.
By Joe Ruble
Mica: “most significant reform” in TSA history
SANFORD, Fla. —
The airport here is opting out of Transportation Security Administration screening.
CEO Larry Dale of Sanford International Airport already has top security clearance, so he figures he can make passengers as safe as anyone by hiring a private security firm to do the job.
“They do it better and are more cost-effective,” he said during a press conference with Cong. John Mica (R) at the airport’s Vigilante Room.
It’s the second time the airport applied to opt-out. It’s application was summarily denied the first time, but since passage of a reform law, the federal agency has to take a serious look at every application that comes in from airports nationwide, according to Mica, the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
Mica’s goal is to cut a bureaucratic agency with 65,000 employees, including almost 10,000 field managers earning six figure salaries on average.
“The agency is too focused on personnel management on a massive scale, and not on setting the most effective security standards and analyzing intelligence,” he said.
Dale said he will pick a security firm once his application to TSA is approved and the airport can advertise for bids. He could not say what kind of cost savings would be passed to passengers.
Most travelers who spoke with WDBO on Tuesday agreed that a private firm could likely do a better job. “The problem with government is, they know how to mess it up,” said one man who was picking up his wife on a flight from North Carolina.
“I think privatizing everything is a good idea. I think the government should get out of everything,” said another.
Ron Paul vs. Bernanke at Financial Services Hearing – February 29, 2012
Now more than every we need the Champion of the Constitution!
Please visit Ron Paul’s official campaign site by following the link below and donate today!
Have You Heard About The 16 Trillion Dollar Bailout The Federal Reserve Handed To The Too Big To Fail Banks?
What you are about to read should absolutely astound you. During the last financial crisis, the Federal Reserve secretly conducted the biggest bailout in the history of the world, and the Fed fought in court for several years to keep it a secret. Do you remember the TARP bailout? The American people were absolutely outraged that the federal government spent 700 billion dollars bailing out the “too big to fail” banks. Well, that bailout was pocket change compared to what the Federal Reserve did. As you will see documented below, the Federal Reserve actually handed more than 16 trillion dollars in nearly interest-free money to the “too big to fail” banks between 2007 and 2010. So have you heard about this on the nightly news? Probably not. Lately Bloomberg has been reporting on some of this, but even they are not giving people the whole picture. The American people need to be told about this 16 trillion dollar bailout, because it is a perfect example of why the Federal Reserve needs to be shut down. The Federal Reserve has been actively picking “winners” and “losers” in the financial system, and it turns out that the “friends” of the Fed always get bailed out and always end up among the “winners”. This is not how a free market system is supposed to work.
According to the limited GAO audit of the Federal Reserve that was mandated by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the grand total of all the secret bailouts conducted by the Federal Reserve during the last financial crisis comes to a whopping $16.1 trillion.
That is an astonishing amount of money.
Keep in mind that the GDP of the United States for the entire year of 2010 was only 14.58 trillion dollars.
The total U.S. national debt is only a bit above 15 trillion dollars right now.
So 16 trillion dollars is an almost inconceivable amount of money.
But some other dollar figures have been thrown around lately regarding these secret Federal Reserve bailouts. Let’s take a look at them and see what they mean.
A recent Bloomberg article made the following statement….
The $1.2 trillion peak on Dec. 5, 2008 — the combined outstanding balance under the seven programs tallied by Bloomberg — was almost three times the size of the U.S. federal budget deficit that year and more than the total earnings of all federally insured banks in the U.S. for the decade through 2010, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The $1.2 trillion figure represents the peak outstanding balance on these loans, not the total amount of all the loans. On December 5, 2008 the “too big to fail” banks owed this much money to the Federal Reserve. Many of them could not pay these short-term loans back right away and had to keep rolling them over time after time. Each time a short-term loan got rolled over that represented a new loan.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today Republican Sens. Rand Paul, Mike Lee (Utah), Jim DeMint (S.C.), and David Vitter (La.) issued a Dear Colleague letter to their Republican House brethren, stating their opposition to tomorrow’s House vote on the debt limit extension and urging them to stand in opposition as well.
Upon issuing the letter, Sen. Paul offered the following statement:
“Members of both chambers of Congress who wish to protect American taxpayers must stand together in opposition of the current debt ‘deal.’ Tomorrow the House of Representatives will have that opportunity, and I hope they will find the courage to do so.
“The ‘deal’ at hand would lead to an increase of our national debt over the next 10 years by at least $7 trillion, and the amount of ‘cuts’ introduced in the first year are a measly $7 billion. More so, it doesn’t even balance the budget and all but guarantees a U.S. downgrade. There are so many things wrong with this legislation that will be passed on to the American taxpayer if enacted, the urgency of denying its passage is great.”
July 26, 2011
We write you today in strong opposition to the Debt Limit extension you will be considering in the House tomorrow. For many reasons, we cannot support this bill and urge you to protect the American taxpayers by strongly opposing this bill.
1) The bill will lead to an increase of our national debt of at least $7 trillion in the next 10 years, assuming the maximum cuts in the bill actually materialize. Using less optimistic CBO numbers, new debt could easily approach $10 trillion.