Ron Paul at the 2007 National Right to Life Convention, held at Crown Center Hyatt Regency in Kansas City, MO; June 15, 2007, (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Two-Headed Coin
The Two-Party System Doesn’t Exist. There’s Only One Political Party – Ron Paul
The two political parties are both owned by the same ruling class. This is why they do not differ for those concerns which matter most to the public. – Image courtesy of netrightdaily.com.
Take the analogy of only two phone companies or two oil companies serving America. In almost no time they would secretly form a trust (this is illegal) and their prices and fees would sky rocket as if only a single company existed. Their quality control would probably regress all the while having a callous disregard for simple customer support for most services. This is not unlike the two-party system of the American government which is a conduit for corporatism.
When people say that both parties are exactly the same they mean within the context of those public policies which matter most.
Please consider the following 15 points where I attempt to prove, and I do think I succeed, that there is no difference between the two candidates running for president who are represented by the two parties for those concerns which are of a most pressing nature:
One candidate signed the NDAA 2012 which “legalizes” martial law and indefinite detention of innocent American citizens simply for peacefully protesting. The other candidate supports this.
One candidate signed a four-year extension of the Patriot Act which can imprison American citizens indefinitely with no trial. The other candidate supports this.
One candidate supports the assassination of American citizens suspected of participating in subversive activities. The other candidate likely supports this.
One candidate has broken his promise and kept Gitmo concentration camp open which also practices torture. The other candidate supports this.
The TSA has grown to include train stations under one candidate. The other candidate likely supports this.
One candidate maintains his support of Israel’s foreign policies for the United States. The other candidate supports this.
One candidate maintains his support of the war of aggression in Afghanistan. The other candidate supports this.
One candidate ignores the Federal Reserve. The other candidate also ignores this.
One candidate has done nothing to prevent another Wall Street meltdown. The other candidate ignores this.
One candidate supports open borders and legalizing illegal aliens. The other candidate likely supports this.
One candidate supports limiting our liberties and increasing surveillance of innocent American citizens. The other candidate supports this.
One candidate agrees that any citizens who rise up to the abuses by government are enemies of the state or terrorists. The other candidate agrees with this.
The building of FEMA concentration camps are in full force under one candidate. The other candidate likely supports this.
One candidate has secretly met with the Bilderberg Group. It is also highly likely that the other candidate has or will secretly meet with the Bilderbergs.
Both parties are owned by the same ruling class (especially Wall Street) through campaign financing, political favors, and lobbying.
Yes those fascist provisions of the NDAA 2012 were nullified by the Supreme Court but what does it say about our legislators who were elected to represent our best interests? When we look at the bigger picture we find that all our petty concerns such as gay rights, stem-cell research funding, health care, the deficit, even taxation, etc. are just a smoke screen to hide those things that are guaranteed to weigh heavily on us as free citizens.
There is no real difference between the two candidates. Both represent the interests of the ruling class who must keep us under strict obedience to the state so that they may maintain their control.
The Republican and Democrat parties have a duopoly on American power as Ron Paul (R-Tx) reveals in this short film, Ron Paul on Glenn Beck Show: Both Parties Owned by Same Elite. It might as well be a monopoly because these two parties now do a lot of horse trading to support each others bills. The election of a new president changes nothing if we vote in a candidate from one of the two political parties because both are financed and in collusion with the bank cartel of American, European finance corporations, the military industrial complex, and the ruling class. This was most noticeable after the assassination of our last true great president – John F. Kennedy. Instead of returning the troops home from Vietnam like President Kennedy had intended on doing, President Johnson greatly expanded American involvement.
This benefits the corporations whose business is war. This also benefits the banks who own huge shares in these companies and fund this war through government deficit spending and borrowing. Those who stand to make money on war have a controlling interest in the American government through lobbying, campaign financing, future lucrative job offers to politicians, gerrymandering, and a central bank (Federal Reserve).
This happens because we believe the patriotic and mass media propaganda and misinformation we are overwhelmed with every single day of our lives. We do not question information from authority figures and we prefer to lazily watch entertaining television programs or play video games. The result of this is that we continually support the two parties who betray our trust and allow lobbyists to hijack our representation. They may appear to be opposed however they work closely together to secure whatever wealth and liberty we have remaining even if this means drafting our adult children into a false war to fight for our freedom or a foreign state’s liberty.
A federal or state government populated with several more political parties and independent representatives would have far more difficulty serving its own agenda because of all the opposition between them. Most would be on their best behavior so that they could also obtain a controlling representation in government. Once any party obtained this power they might also fall from grace.
Most politicians probably begin their political career with good intentions however somewhere along the way they are seduced by money and power. This is unavoidable regardless of party and initial good intentions. All governments in history have evolved or will evolve into fascism because of this is very predictable trait. It is important to note that a dictatorship and a monarchy are a form of fascism because the government is controlled by a single family acting as one and it is in their best interest to control the population through that government much like corporations control a government to serve their own interests.
For democracy to exist we must have a continuous cycle of replenishing new representatives. This is why some elected offices have term limits. Perhaps there should also be term limits for political parties. Instead we allow a stalemate of the Republican and Democratic parties to represent us at all levels of government. One may also notice that among some politicians there is a revolving door between the two parties or between serving the state and serving corporations. They throw their hat in whatever party they believe will give them the best chance at winning an election. One striking example between serving the state and running a corporations is Dick Cheney. He served in congress, the White House, and the Pentagon before moving on as Chief Executive Officer of Halliburton and returning as Vice President. Cheney’s Law is PBS Frontline episode is on how during the Bush administration Dick Cheney succeeded as a very secretive hands on player to enhance presidential powers to detain, render, interrogate, and wiretap.
Why perpetuate the same old habits if any policy changes are always negative? There will always be groups of unethical and dangerous individuals who are highly motivated to secure this power. No one said democracy was free, easy, and static. As soon as we shed our ideological labels and indoctrinated propaganda we find that in full frontal view of the naked truth we are all united in the same mission of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.
If what we really want is a free nation, we must do everything in our power to urge all Americans to vote for Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson. He is the only viable option who intends on representing the best interests of the American public. Or at the very least do not support any of the two-party candidates — vote third party or independent.
“Just pay a settlement, admit no guilt, and It’s back to business as usual.”
These are words of comfort, often unspoken, but a well known bastion global “Wall Streeters” rely upon. They know, no matter what happens, they get a slap on the wrist, likely an easily absorbed fine, and its right back to the wheeling and dealing. Even if they robbed hedge funds, investment houses, committed extortion, or used segregated customer accounts, it’sjust a sign offby one or more of the twenty plus high powered government agencies.
Financial Fraud – Obama to the Rescue
In late 2009, Barack Obama signed yet another Executive Order, #13519 that created the ‘Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force’, to be led by the Department of Justice, and appointed Eric Holder as its Chairman. ‘Operation Broken Trust’ was soon unleashed.
The Columbia School of Journalism is our nation’s finest. They grant the Pulitzer Prize, and their journal, The Columbia Journalism Review, is the profession’s gold standard. CJR reporters are high priests of a decaying temple, tending a flame in a land going dark.
In 2006 a CJR editor (a seasoned journalist formerly with Time magazine in Asia, The Wall Street Journal Europe, and The Far Eastern Economic Review) called me to discuss suspicions he was forming about the US financial media. I gave him leads but warned, “Chasing this will take you down a rabbit hole with no bottom.” For months he pursued his story against pressure and threats he once described as, “something out of a Hollywood B movie, but unlike the movies, the evil corporations fighting the journalist are not thugs burying toxic waste, they are Wall Street and the financial media itself.”
His exposé reveals a circle of corruption enclosing venerable Wall Street banks, shady offshore financiers, and suspiciously compliant reporters at The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, CNBC, and The New York Times. If you ever wonder how reporters react when a journalist investigates them (answer: like white-collar crooks they dodge interviews, lie, and hide behind lawyers), or if financial corruption interests you, then this is for you. It makes Grisham read like a book of bedtime stories, and exposes a scandal that may make Enron look like an afternoon tea.
By Patrick M. Byrne, Deep Capture Reporter
The Story of Deep Capture
By Mark Mitchell, with reporting by the Deep Capture Team Introduction – by Mark Mitchell
I began working on a version of this story in January 2006, while serving as an editor for the Columbia Journalism Review, a publication tasked with upholding the standards of the American media. In November 2006, a hedge fund that was at the center of the scandal I was investigating offered the Columbia Journalism Review a great deal of money. Shortly before CJR accepted the money, I left my job, so I do not know if my editors, whom I believe to be honest people, would have allowed me to persevere. But I have no doubt that the hedge fund’s “beneficence” was aimed at preventing the publication of stories like this one.
And it might well have succeeded if Patrick Byrne had not approached me with an idea. Why not combine forces and spearhead a whole new approach to investigative journalism? Most media content is produced by rumpled journalists (i.e., people like me), working alone under tight constraints. Deep Capture could be something different – a power team circumventing the traditional media and pushing limits to uncover the truth.
My argument has been widely misreported since I began making it in 2005. Therefore I am stating it here as nine straightforward claims that will be difficult to misunderstand or misconstrue. I have grouped them into those describing the setting, the crime, and the cover-up.
Over the last twenty years Wall Street has come to be dominated by a group of players who first pushed the laws to their limits, then openly flouted them until they became blurred beyond the possibility of enforcement.
Over the last fifteen years the standards of professional journalism have been eroded by a group of reporters who have tried to appear as players, but have become pawns. A significant fraction of the financial journalists on the hedge fund beat have become shills of a handful of hedge funds.
The “toxic culture of greed” on Wall Street was highlighted again last week, when Greg Smith went public with his resignation from Goldman Sachs in a scathing oped published in the New York Times. In other recent eyebrow-raisers, LIBOR rates—the benchmark interest rates involved in interest rate swaps—were shown to be manipulatedby the banks that would have to pay up; and the objectivity of the ISDA (International Swaps and Derivatives Association) was called into question, when a 50% haircut for creditors was not declared a “default” requiring counterparties to pay on credit default swaps on Greek sovereign debt.
Interest rate swaps are less often in the news than credit default swaps, but they are far more importantin terms of revenue, composing fully 82% of the derivatives trade. In February, JP Morgan Chase revealed that it had cleared $1.4 billion in revenue on trading interest rate swaps in 2011, making them one of the bank’s biggest sources of profit. According tothe Bank for International Settlements:
[I]nterest rate swaps are the largest component of the global OTC derivative market. The notional amount outstanding as of June 2009 in OTC interest rate swaps was $342 trillion, up from $310 trillion in Dec 2007. The gross market value was $13.9 trillion in June 2009, up from $6.2 trillion in Dec 2007.
For more than a decade, banks and insurance companies convinced local governments, hospitals, universities and other non-profits that interest rate swaps would lower interest rates on bonds sold for public projects such as roads, bridges and schools. The swaps were entered into to insure against a rise in interest rates; but instead, interest rates fell to historically low levels. This was not a flood, earthquake, or other insurable risk due to environmental unknowns or “acts of God.” It was a deliberate, manipulated move by the Fed, acting to save the banks from their own folly in precipitating the credit crisis of 2008. The banks got in trouble, and the Federal Reserve and federal government rushed in to bail them out, rewarding them for their misdeeds at the expense of the taxpayers.
~WikiLeaks released a U.S. diplomatic cable last year quoting a Saudi Arabia’s rep. to OPEC’s board of governors, telling a Florida congressman, that speculation “represented approximately $40 of the overall oil price when it was at its height.” ~jude
Since around October last year, the price of crude oil on world futures markets has exploded. Different people have different explanations. The most common one is the belief in financial markets that a war between either Israel and Iran or the USA and Iran or all three is imminent. Another camp argues that the price is rising unavoidably because the world has passed what they call “Peak Oil”—the point on an imaginary Gaussian Bell Curve (see graph above) at which half of all world known oil reserves have been depleted and the remaining oil will decline in quantity at an accelerating pace with rising price.
Both the war danger and peak oil explanations are off base. As in the astronomic price run-up in the Summer of 2008 when oil in futures markets briefly hit $147 a barrel, oil today is rising because of the speculative pressure on oil futures markets from hedge funds and major banks such as Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase and most notably, Goldman Sachs, the bank always present when there are big bucks to be won for little effort betting on a sure thing. They’re getting a generous assist from the US Government agency entrusted with regulating financial derivatives, the Commodity Futures Trading Corporation (CFTC).
Since the beginning of October 2011, some six months ago, the price of Brent Crude Oil Futures on the ICE Futures exchange has risen from just below $100 a barrel to over $126 per barrel, a rise of more than 25%. Back in 2009 oil was $30.
united states currency eye- IMG_7364_web (Photo credit: kevindean)
December 30, 2011 By Al Holtje
The outrage and contempt I have for the American political system is beyond comprehension. As Abraham Lincoln so eloquently phrased at Gettysburg it’s sad to say; “government for the people and by the people” has been betrayed. Today, the engine that energizes government is fired by corruption and power in the never ending battle for control of the nation’s checkbook. What is most disturbing to me is that the great majority of American’s sit back and buy into the right vs. left arguments ignoring the essential issue which is the plight of the ship of state. In truth, it’s rarely about “us” any more; it’s about them and their reach for power. Now as 2012 approaches, it won’t be long before the worn and torn American dollar becomes the catalyst that sinks the shaky boat that carries the world’s money supply. The system is overloaded and hopelessly corrupted under the weight of debt and computerized derivative contracts, a situation that is now out of control.
At the center of the next economic earthquake will be the unregulated and very profitable derivative contracts denominated in dollars. The first tremor occurred in 1998 when there were $50 trillion in contracts outstanding. Russia defaulted on its debt and that incident caused a magnitude 4economic earthquake. The Federal Reserve had to reduce interest rates four times to contain the damage. That was followed by the housing bubble in 2007 (magnitude 7). No one went to jail and now, as we move forward to 2012, derivative contracts are valued at $1.4 quadrillion equal to $206,000 for every man, woman and child on the planet. A sum so huge that it is equal to 100 times all the money on deposit in the nation’s banks. Not one penny of that amount went to creating jobs, assisted in the economic recovery or otherwise helped the millions of American’s in need. It’s just simple basic math and greed that is being ignored by the President, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve and both parties in Congress.
The article argues that Barack Obama killed everything that was joyful about the banking industry through his suffocating Dodd-Frank reform bill, which forced banks to strip themselves of “the pistons that powered their profits: leverage and proprietary trading.”
Having to say goodbye to excess borrowing and casino gambling, the argument goes, has cut into banking profits, leading to extreme decisions like Morgan Stanley’s recent dictum capping cash bonuses at $125,000. In response to that, Sherman quotes an unnamed banker:
“After tax, that’s like, what, $75,000?” an investment banker at a rival firm said as he contemplated Morgan Stanley’s decision. He ran the numbers, modeling the implications. “I’m not married and I take the subway and I watch what I spend very carefully. But my girlfriend likes to eat good food. It all adds up really quick. A taxi here, another taxi there. I just bought an apartment, so now I have a big old mortgage bill.”
Quelle horreur! And who’s to blame? According to Sherman’s interview subjects, it has nothing to do with the economy having been blown up several times over by these very bonus-deprived bankers, or with the fact that all conceivable public bailout money has essentially already been sucked up and converted into bonuses by that same crowd.
~there are some implications here I’m not to thrilled about however our chances of reparation seem slim to none at this time…But… I’m never quite sure of France’s intentions, however it looks like Germany favors it also and I do admire Merkel….would this end up only taxing the middle class yet again??? The TPB is very good of robbing us ( ~jude…
With U.S. media obsessing on the fight here at home among conservatives vying to become president, most of them
Image via Wikipedia
missed some big news about France, which already has a conservative president. This week, French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced that he would take the lead — even go it alone within Europe, if need be — in introducing and pushing a Financial Transaction Tax in his country.
That’s right — theconservative president of France wants to tax the financial traders and speculators.
Referring to the tax as a “moral issue” and blaming deregulation and speculation for the global economic meltdown, Sarkozy has said that traders must “repay for the damage they have caused.”
What does it tell us about U.S. politics that the conservative president of France – on this issue and others — is way to the left of President Obama? The U.S. president has not publicly promoted a Wall Street transaction tax (even though U.S. financial institutions, not the French, were largely responsible for the global crisis).
Sometimes called a “Robin Hood tax,” a Financial Transaction Tax is endorsed worldwide by everyone from conservative European leaders to the Pope and Archbishop of Canterbury to Bill Gates and Ralph Nader. The tax is tiny per transaction and would barely be felt by middle-class investors or their pensions or 401(k)’s, but it could raise big bucks from high-volume investors and impose a brake on the kind of speculation that tanked the world’s economy.
French President Sarkozy keeps explaining to the people of France and Europe that a small transaction tax raises billions for countries facing deficits.
Wouldn’t it be something if President Obama went to the American people with such a deficit proposal, instead of putting Medicare on the chopping block?
President Sarkozy invokes the “moral issue“ of financial institutions repairing the damage they caused. What a shock it would be to see President Obama aiming the “moral issue” at Wall Street profiteers and demanding repair of damage, instead of rewarding them with top White House jobs.
After failing to get resistant allies among European countries to join him, Sarkozy is going forward on his own – declaring yesterday: “If France waits for others to tax finance, then finance will never be taxed.”
Can you imagine Obama standing up to a resistant Congress on a Wall Street transaction tax? He can’t even stand up to his own advisers on the issue, according to Ron Suskind’s insider book on the Obama White House, “Confidence Men.” Suskind reports that Obama briefly embraced the tax and declared at one meeting: “We are going to do this!” But after Obama’s top economic adviser (and Wall Streeter) Larry Summers criticized the tax, the idea was buried at the White House.
That was back in 2009. But the idea is still alive on Capitol Hill. A couple months ago, Sen. Tom Harkin and Rep. Peter DeFazio introduced a Financial Transaction Tax bill in Congress that would easily raise $350 billion over 10 years. Rep. John Conyers introduced a similar bill last year — it would tax Wall Street to fund federal jobs programs.
A Wall Street transaction tax is backed by National Nurses United and other unions. It’s popular with the U.S. public, and would be even more popular if Obama were to campaign for it in 2012.
And don’t get me wrong about President Sarkozy of France. He’s no great humanitarian. But he is facing an uphill reelection battle this year and the conservative president understands how popular a financial tax is with voters.
Facing reelection this year, maybe it’s time President Obama came to that same understanding.
Taibbi: Obama And Geithner Are Acting Like Lehman Executives Before The Crash
Strongly recommend this piece at theHuffington Post by Jeff Connaughton, a former aide to Senator Ted Kaufman. Jeff is one of the smartest guys on the Hill and is particularly strong on issues surrounding Wall Street and the regulatory system. In this piece, he takes apart the oft-stated mantra that what Wall Street firms did during and after the crisis was maybe unethical, but not illegal.
He takes particular aim at Barack Obama, who recently tossed that line out on 60 Minutes in what I thought was one of the real low moments of his presidency. Here’s Jeff’s take:
Speaking in Kansas on December 6, [Obama] said, “Too often, we’ve seen Wall Street firms violating major anti-fraud laws because the penalties are too weak and there’s no price for being a repeat offender.” Just five days later on 60 Minutes, he said, “Some of the least ethical behavior on Wall Street wasn’t illegal.” Which is it? Have there been no prosecutions because Wall Street acted legally (albeit unethically)? Or did Wall Street repeatedly violate major anti-fraud laws (and should thus find itself in the dock)?
The President is confusing “legal” with “difficult to prosecute successfully.”
The notion that what Wall Street firms did was merely unethical and not illegal is not just mistaken but preposterous: most everyone who works in the financial services industry understands that fraud right now is not just pervasive but epidemic, with many of the biggest banks committing entire departments to the routine commission of fraud and perjury – every single one of the major banks, for instance, devotes significant manpower to robosigning affidavits for foreclosures and credit card judgments, acts which are openly and inarguably criminal.
Banks and hedge funds routinely withhold derogatory information about the instruments they sell, they routinely trade on insider information or ahead of their own clients’ orders, and corrupt accounting is so rampant now that industry analysts have begun to figure in estimated levels of fraud in their examinations of the public disclosures of major financial companies.
Beyond that, as Jeff points out, Obama is simply not telling the truth about the supposedly insufficient penalties available to regulators. Employing the famous“mistakes were made” use of the passive tense, Obama copped out in his December 6 speech by saying that “penalties are too weak.” As Jeff points out, what Obama should have said is that “the penalties my own regulators chose to dish out were too weak”:
Moreover, the President is misleading us when he says that Wall Street firms violate anti-fraud law because the penalties are too weak. Repeat financial fraudsters don’t pay relatively paltry — and therefore painless — penalties because of statutory caps on such penalties. Rather, regulatory officials, appointed by Obama, negotiated these comparatively trifling fines. This week, the F.D.I.C. settled a suit against Washington Mutual officials for just $64 million, an amount that will be covered mostly by insurance policies WaMu took out on behalf of executives, who themselves will pay just $400,000. And recently a federal judge rejected the S.E.C.’s latest settlement with Citigroup, an action even the Wall Street Journal called “a rebuke of the cozy relationship between regulators and the regulated that too often leaves justice as an orphan.”
What makes Obama’s statements so dangerous is that they suggest an ongoing strategy of covering up the Wall Street crimewave. There is ample evidence out there that the Obama administration has eased up on prosecutions of Wall Street as part of a conscious strategy to prevent a collapse of confidence in our financial system, with the expected 50-state foreclosure settlement being the landmark effort in the cover-up, intended mainly to bury a generation of fraud. Here’s how Jeff puts it:
In Ron Suskind’s book, Confidence Men, he quotes Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner as saying, “The confidence in the system is so fragile still… a disclosure of a fraud… could result in a run, just like Lehman.” The Obama Administration is pushinghard for a 50-state settlement with the major banks for their fraudulent foreclosure practices, even though several state attorneys general have rejected this approach because, in their view, it would shield too much wrongdoing. Regrettably, Obama’s top officials and lawyers seem more eager to restore the financial sector to health than establish criminal accountability among the executives who were in charge.
In other words, Geithner and Obama are behaving like Lehman executives before the crash of Lehman, not disclosing the full extent of the internal problem in order to keep investors from fleeing and creditors from calling in their chits. It’s worth noting that this kind of behavior – knowingly hiding the derogatory truth from the outside world in order to prevent a run on the bank – is, itself, fraud!
This is exactly the mindset that led Lehman to the abuses of the ”Repo 105″ accounting trick, in which loans were disguised as revenues in order to prevent the outside world from knowing the dire state of the bank’s balance sheet.
Now Obama and Geithner are engaged in the same sort of activity, only they’re trying to prevent a run not on an individual bank, but the entire American financial services sector. Geithner seems really to believe that if fraud were aggressively policed, and the world made aware of the incredible extent of the illegality in our markets, that international confidence in the American financial sector would plummet and our economy would suffer – and suffer, incidentally, on Barack Obama’s watch.
Better, apparently, the Band-Aid the problem now, and let the real mess happen later on, on someone else’s watch, or at least in a second term, when there’s no need to worry about re-election.
Of course, this is exactly the wrong way to go about things. If Geithner and Obama really wanted to convince the world that America’s markets weren’t broken, they would effectively police fraud, and by extension prove to everybody that at the very least, our regulatory system is not broken.
But by taking a dive on fraud, and orchestrating mass cover-ups like the coming foreclosure settlement fiasco, what they’re doing instead is signaling to the world that not only are our financial markets corrupt, but our government is broken as well.
The problem with companies like Lehman and Enron is that their executives always think they can paper over illegalities by committing more crimes, when in fact all they’re usually doing is snowballing the problem so completely out of control that there’s no longer any chance of fixing things, thereby killing the only chance for survival they ever had.
This is exactly what Obama and Geithner are doing now. By continually lying about the extent of the country’s corruption problems, they’re adding fraud to fraud and raising such a great bonfire of lies that they probably won’t ever be able to fix the underlying mess.
If they looked at the world like public servants, and not like corporate executives, they’d understand that the only way out is to come clean. That they don’t look at things that way should tell people quite a lot.