Wednesday, September 25, 2013

State Guarantee Private Prisons 96% Occupancy

State and local governments have signed contracts that obligate them to keep a certain number of people in jail (with numbers around 96% occupancy) to bolster the profits of privately run prisons, a survey indicates.

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Many governments have signed contracts with corporations that contain “prison-bed occupancy guarantee” clauses, a group called In the Public Interest reported. These lockup clauses obligate the governments to keep between 80% and 100% of prison beds full even if the crime rate is falling. Once again, we see a complete disregard of constitutional rights.
If the governments don’t maintain the specified number of people behind bars, they have to pay penalties to the companies that operate private prisons. The state of Colorado paid $2 million to companies because the rate of crime and the number of convicts in the state fell by a third in the last 10 years.

PEOPLE IN PRISON JUST TO BOLSTER PROFITS

The profit driven prisons put pressure on law enforcement and prosecutors to try to charge and convict individuals of more serious crimes just to fill prison beds. It also encourages authorities to send prisoners to private penitentiaries rather than state facilities even if they are cheaper. This is the reason that the number of prisoners in private verses public prisons has increased by 1,664% over the last 19 years.
Another potential problem is that it encourages authorities to send nonviolent criminals to prison instead of looking into less costly alternatives such as parole, fines, restitution, community service, or probation.
This could also put the public in danger; In the Public Interest found that the Lake Erie Correctional Institution in Ohio, a private prison, was overcrowded and ineffective. The prison actually lacked secure doors, which allowed convicts to leave the facility and prey on the local community.
The study also found that private prisons are more costly than state run prisons. The Tucson Citizen newspaper found that costs at private prisons in Arizona rise by around 13.9% a year. The prison operators sell states on their “services” by claiming they can lower costs when they cannot.
Private prison operators such as Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) try to lock states into long-term contracts that guarantee 90% or even 100% occupancy. These contracts are binding even if the crime rate and the number of prisoners are falling.
Basically, this report proves that the prison system has become little more than a cash cow for a few politically protected corporations. Instead of protecting the public from criminals, prisons now exist to make money for corporations and little else.


Read more: http://www.storyleak.com/states-guarantee-private-prisons-96-occupancy/#ixzz2fuSaTxpr

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The World’s Most Evil Corporation Issues A Dire Warning

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Goldman Sachs is the epitome of the word “evil.” If one wants to know what the evil central bankers are up to, one only needs to pay attention to the actions of Goldman Sachs. The power elite residing inside of this country does not begin and end with the Federal Reserve; that privilege is reserved for the interrelationship between Goldman Sachs, the Federal Reserve, the corrupt World Bank and the IMF.

And now Goldman Sachs is running the European financial system into the ground as another Goldman Sachs boy, “Super” Mario Monti, has taken over Italy to finish off what is left of the Italian financial system. Monti is also the head of the European Trilateral Commission as well as a Bilderberg member.

And yet another Goldman Sachs boy is finishing off the job in Greece. It is the mission of Goldman Sachs to implode the global economy with massive debt arising from the failed derivatives market, in which the debt totals 16 times the total GDP of the planet and that debt has been passed on to the governments of the world. There is no way that any country will ever pay off this debt. The world’s financial system will be collapsed and then reorganized under the Bank for International Settlements. Goldman Sachs is merely the grim reaper in this unholy process.

The Goals of Goldman Sachs

The purpose of this article is to expose the three pronged attack, directed at the American people, by Goldman Sachs, and its partners at the Federal Reserve, the US Treasury Department, the IMF and the World Bank.

These central banker controlled institutions are engaged in a plot which is designed to accomplish the following:
  • The destruction of America’s domestic economy through the introduction of derivative debt which is 16 times greater than the world’s GDP. This goal has been accomplished as evidenced by the fact that America now has more workers on welfare (101 million) as opposed to actual full-time workers (97 million).
  • Setting the chessboard in such a way that WWIII is a foregone conclusion. This is near completion as the US and Israel are poised to go to war with China and Russia, over Syria and Iran, in order to preserve the Petrodollar.
  • Initiating a false flag event which will culminate in martial law and the elimination to all opposition to both the coming WWIII and the imposition of a tyrannical world government as well as a one world economic system.
It is no secret that Goldman Sachs runs Wall Street. After the first bailout, Goldman Sachs cut the head off of Shearson Lehman and several other Wall Street competitors when they used their undue influence to determine winners and losers after the first round of TARP. Even Ray Charles could see that Goldman Sachs is in near complete control of our government as evidenced by the former Goldman Sachs gangsters who have run our economy into the ground (e.g., Clinton’s Secretary of Treasury Goldman Sachs’ Rubin, Bush’s Secretary of Treasury Goldman Sachs’ “too big to fail” Hank Paulson, etc.). Make no mistake about it, the introduction of the massive derivatives debt was a power consolidation move designed to collapse the economy and hand over essential control to Goldman Sachs and its partners.

History Repeats Itself

Today’s events parallel the imperialists of the early 20th century which resulted in World War I. The Wall Street-led depression of the 1930s led to the rise of political extremism and ultimately to World War II. Today, Goldman Sachs and their fellow Wall Street cronies are currently running, or dare I say ruining the global economy. The consequences are going to result in the culmination of World War III from which these same gangster banksters will profit from the buildup, the death and destruction of billions of innocent people as well as profiting from the lucrative clean up which follows every war.

The ultimate prize for the coming war will be the ruination of the planet in order that the power structure of the earth can be reinvented in a manner that not even George Orwell could have imagined. Remember, as the globalists like to say in reference to their favorite Hegelian Dialectic quote, “Out of chaos comes order.” Of course, it won’t be Goldman Sachs’ money that pays for the destruction of humanity in the coming world war. This coming war and its subsequent blood money will be your money and my money. It goes without saying that it won’t be the executives of Goldman Sachs' children who are pressed into military service and will be eventually sacrificed on the battlefields of WWIII. It will be your children and my children who will be sacrificed in the name of furthering the bottom line of the Goldman Sachs Mafia and their masters at the Bank for International Settlements. Meanwhile, the Goldman Sachs children who will be safely tucked away as the world’s final chapter plays out as we know it.

Goldman Sachs Destroying the American Middle Class

This swath of international destruction being promulgated by Goldman Sachs is also being visited upon the daily lives of the American public here at home. Courtesy of the Goldman Sachs gangsters, there are no more safe financial havens for American citizens. Your bank account, your pension fund, your investment accounts and your home mortgages are no longer safe. These collective funds are not in jeopardy because of the risk of falling victim to the failing economy as much as these funds are subject to confiscation by Goldman Sachs and its shell corporations along with the complicit support of the federal government. Most of these public officials are former Goldman Sachs employees. A clear case in point lies in what happened with MF Global.

MF Global, a shell corporation beholden to Goldman Sachs, was led to the slaughter by the former Goldman Sachs executive and former New Jersey Governor and senator, Jon Corzine. Corzine’s criminal actions directly victimized 150,000 Americans by stealing an estimated $900 million dollars of his clients’ money from their supposedly secure private accounts. There is also another $600 million missing dollars from MF Global which is still unaccounted for today. Meanwhile, Corzine avoids sharing a prison cell with Bernie Madoff by purchasing a “get-out-of-jail free card” through the sponsorship of a $35,000 per plate fundraiser for that great Wall Street puppet, Barack Hussein Obama.

And what are the government watch dogs doing to protect our money from this new generation of robber barons? The short answer is that key federal officials are actually partners with Goldman Sachs in this monumental violation of the public trust. Take Gary Gensler, a former Goldman Sachs executive partner, who like so many other Goldman Sachs gangsters, has been placed into a key governmental oversight position in order to protect the Goldman Sachs co-conspirators from prosecution as they continue their reign of terror upon the global economy.

Gary “the gangster” Gensler is the former Undersecretary of the Treasury (1999-2001) and Assistant Secretary of the Treasury (1997-1999) and the current director of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. In his position at the time of the MF Global debacle, Gensler had the authority to go after Corzine for his role in the MF Global theft of customer funds and order restitution. However, Gensler has decided to protect a fellow member of the Goldman Sachs Mafia by not looking into the massive fraud and theft by Corzine and his cronies. Your tax dollars, paying the salary of federal officials, are overseeing the most massive illegal private transfer of wealth in the history of the planet. And this debt is payable to Goldman Sachs and their criminal enterprise partners.

You may not be one of the current 150,000 Goldman Sachs/MF Global victims. However, this Robin Hood-in-reverse-scenario, in which the rich are plundering what’s left of the middle class, will soon be visited upon your bank account, your home mortgages and your pensions. Whether it is the MERS mortgage fraud or the theft being perpetrated upon Federal employee retirement accounts, these criminal banksters are in the process of stealing it all and what are you going to do about it? Our nation of entrenched sheep will do nothing. The American citizens are going to lay down and take their beating in the face of the largest unfolding criminal syndicate in human history.

While you and the rest of America are trying to collectively remove your “deer in the headlight” glaze, you, as an American, have far more serious issues to concern yourself with and you are not going to have to wait long to have your worst fears to be borne out.

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Some, who have heard my expressed sense of outrage, have asked me if I favor a violent overthrow the United States Government. To that question, I answer in the negative. However, show me a way to be involved in the overthrow of the gangsters who have hijacked my country’s government, and I will be the first in line. However, before that day arrives, we have some very formidable obstacles to face with regard to what is looming just around the corner.

Goldman Sachs Is the Financial Kingpin of False Flag Attacks

If one wants to predict the next false flag attack, one merely has to watch the actions and the money movements of Goldman Sachs.

In the days leading up to the attacks on 9/11, Goldman Sachs “shorted” the sale of airline stocks which plummeted in the aftermath of the attacks. Just a coincidence you say?

In the days leading up to the housing bubble, Goldman Sachs shorted housing stocks which ignited the bubble. The Federal government fined Goldman Sachs, but in typical fashion nobody went to jail. Just another coincidence you say?

As I documented in my seven-part series, The Great Gulf Coast Holocaust, Goldman Sachs executed a “put option” for preferred insiders invested in Transocean stock, thus protecting the profits of these preferred insiders on the morning of the explosion. Transocean was the owner of the ill-fated oil rig. Goldman Sachs also sold the lion’s share of its stock less than two weeks before that fateful day on April 20, 2010. Nalco was the subsidiary of Goldman Sachs and BP at the time of the explosion. Who is Nalco? Nalco was the exclusive manufacturer of the deadly oil dispersant, Corexit. Corexit has done more to wreck the ecology of the Gulf as well as the health of the Gulf Coast residents than the oil spill itself. Again, this is all documented in my seven-part series. By the way, I count another three coincidences in this paragraph alone and if you are keeping score, we are looking at a total of five amazing coincidences. But wait, there is more!

The moral of this story is clear: if there is to be a significant false flag event, the financial actions of Goldman Sachs will prove to be the key. And Goldman Sachs’ actions have signaled yet another oncoming false flag. As I reported in April, Goldman Sachs instructed its brokers to sell short on gold stocks. And then after the bulk of the gold market panicked and the price of gold plummeted in a massive sell off, the Goldman Sachs boys did it again. The Goldman Sachs brokers began to purchase gold in massive amounts, for its elite clients, at a greatly depressed price. By the way, Goldman Sachs employed the EXACT same strategy with regard to the Gulf Oil tragedy. When Goldman Sachs sold off BP stock in the days before the explosion, they purchased massive amounts of BP stock at a greatly reduced price in June of 2010. The coincidence meter is now up to seven.

Why Goldman Sachs Cornered the Gold Market

The global elite would only want massive amounts of gold because something bad is about to happen to the dollar. When the dollar collapses, the elite, courtesy of the Goldman Sachs brokers will be sitting in a great position in which they hold the only sustainable medium of exchange following the collapse. But when will the collapse come? What form will it take?

As I reported, less than two weeks ago, the Bank for International Settlements ordered the central banks, including the Federal Reserve, to greatly decrease loans as a protection to the coming bad financial times. So, now we are getting warned and the narrowing down of where this is leading, is getting easier to predict.

It is important to remember that Goldman Sachs and the rest of the international banking community desperately want to wage war in Syria and eventually Iran over the demise of the Petrodollar caused by Iran in which they are selling oil for gold to India, China and Russia. There is also big money to be made by the banks in an upcoming global conflict. More importantly, and just as the world witnessed in the aftermath of WWII, consolidation of power can be achieved following a major war. Additionally, Goldman Sachs and the rest of the international bankers are not about to let China and Russia thumb their noses at the prevailing economic system. Gold will not be allowed to be used as a medium of exchange for nation states, because a nation on the gold standard, is a nation that controls its debt levels and financial security. This is unacceptable to the central bankers who kill national leaders, such as Gadaffi and Saddam Hussein, for daring to break from the plan and achieve financial independence.

What the globalists also need is a game-changing event which will destroy all opposition to the coming war. And the financial intentions of Goldman Sachs clearly speaks to the fact that a false flag attack is imminent which will implicate Syria and Iran and provide the pretext for the US and Israel to attack.

The Nature of the Coming False Flag Attack

The coming false flag attack which will plunge America into martial law, for our own protection of course, will result in WWIII. The false flag event could take two forms. It was reported two weeks ago, that the US was missing a nuclear weapon from a military base in Texas. This prompted Senator Lindsay Graham to state that the harbor in Charleston, SC. would be nuked if the US did not attack Syria. This is the first scenario.

The other scenario, and the far more likely one, has the power grid going down on November 13th. The Grid Ex II drill being conducted by DHS, FEMA, 150 corporations and the 50 governors, will simulate a power grid take down by terrorists on that same date. How many times have we witnessed a drill which turns into a false flag attack? This happened with 9/11, the 7/7 bombings and the Boston Marathon. There is a good chance it is going to happen here.

In this scenario, once the grid is taken down, a banking collapse can be instituted and most will not notice because by the third day of a blackout, total chaos will ensue and nobody will be paying attention to the banks. Martial law will be imposed and Syria and Iran will be blamed.

The CEO of Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein, is on the record stating that an economic collapse is imminent. Need I say more?

Conclusion

Regardless of the form that an upcoming false flag event will follow, Goldman Sachs has tipped their false flag hand. A false flag event is coming and it is a safe bet that it will culminate in martial law. This would certainly explain DHS’ collecting of 2.6 billion rounds of ammunition and 2700 armored personnel carriers. There is also going to be a resulting third world war. The globalists know humanity is waking up. They are running out time and they are desperate. This could all be over in a few months. Do you not feel the collective sense of dreaded anticipation that has overtaken the country? At the unconscious level, we all know what is coming.

The November power grid drill is worth watching and I predict in the upcoming weeks, there will be many articles written about how to survive the coming events. I would advise all to pay attention, but most of all, I would advise people to get their spiritual affairs in order. We come into the world with nothing and all we leave with is the sum total of our spiritual experiences. It is time to attend to that detail in the present time

Canadian Billionaire Predicts End of US Dollar as World's Reserve Currency

Canadian billionaire businessman Ned Goodman predicts the end of the U.S. Dollar as the world's reserve currency. He predicts the transition out of the U.S. Dollar will become, "...quite ugly."
Lecture at Cambridge House's Toronto Resource Investment Conference 2013 on Thursday, September 12, 2013.

"In my view, the dollar is about to become dethroned as the world's de facto currency. I'll tell you how I came to that conclusion so quickly... the new President of China, Xi Jinping, his first visit on the day of his becoming President, was at his request to meet with Mr. Putin. And he immediately made a deal with Mr. Putin to get all the oil that he needs, which he can buy in Renminbi."

"We're headed to a period of stagflation, maybe serious inflation, but stagflation for sure, and the United States will be losing the privilege to print at its will, the world's reserve currency. A period that's going to be very inflationary, and I can tell you that before that happens, it is likely that it is going to get quite ugly." - Ned Goodman


The Looming Mass Destruction from Derivatives

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Increased regulation and low interest rates are driving lending from the regulated commercial banking system into the unregulated shadow banking system. The shadow banks, although free of government regulation, are propped up by a hidden government guarantee in the form of safe harbor status under the 2005 Bankruptcy Reform Act pushed through by Wall Street. The result is to create perverse incentives for the financial system to self-destruct.
Five years after the financial collapse precipitated by the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy on September 15, 2008, the risk of another full-blown financial panic is still looming large, despite the Dodd Frank legislation designed to contain it. As noted in a recent Reuters article, the risk has just moved into the shadows:
[B]anks are pulling back their balance sheets from the fringes of the credit markets, with more and more risk being driven to unregulated lenders that comprise the $60 trillion “shadow-banking” sector.
Increased regulation and low interest rates have made lending to homeowners and small businesses less attractive than before 2008. The easy subprime scams of yesteryear are no more. The void is being filled by the shadow banking system. Shadow banking comes in many forms, but the big money today is in repos and derivatives. The notional (or hypothetical) value of the derivatives market has been estimated to be as high as $1.2 quadrillion, or twenty times the GDP of all the countries of the world combined.
According to HervĂ© Hannoun, Deputy General Manager of the Bank for International Settlements, investment banks as well as commercial banks may conduct much of their business in the shadow banking system (SBS), although most are not generally classed as SBS institutions themselves. At least one financial regulatory expert has said that regulated banking organizations are the largest shadow banks.
The Hidden Government Guarantee that Props Up the Shadow Banking System
According to Dutch economist Enrico Perotti, banks are able to fund their loans much more cheaply than any other industry because they offer “liquidity on demand.” The promise that the depositor can get his money out at any time is made credible by government-backed deposit insurance and access to central bank funding.  But what guarantee underwrites the shadow banks? Why would financial institutions feel confident lending cheaply in the shadow market, when it is not protected by deposit insurance or government bailouts?
Perotti says that liquidity-on-demand is guaranteed in the SBS through another, lesser-known form of government guarantee: “safe harbor” status in bankruptcy. Repos and derivatives, the stock in trade of shadow banks, have “superpriority” over all other claims. Perotti writes:
Security pledging grants access to cheap funding thanks to the steady expansion in the EU and US of “safe harbor status”. Also called bankruptcy privileges, this ensures lenders secured on financial collateral immediate access to their pledged securities. . . .
Safe harbor status grants the privilege of being excluded from mandatory stay, and basically all other restrictions. Safe harbor lenders, which at present include repos and derivative margins, can immediately repossess and resell pledged collateral.
This gives repos and derivatives extraordinary super-priority over all other claims, including tax and wage claims, deposits, real secured credit and insurance claims. Critically, it ensures immediacy (liquidity) for their holders. Unfortunately, it does so by undermining orderly liquidation.
When orderly liquidation is undermined, there is a rush to get the collateral, which can actually propel the debtor into bankruptcy.
The amendment to the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 2005 that created this favored status for repos and derivatives was pushed through by the banking lobby with few questions asked. In a December 2011 article titled “Plan B – How to Loot Nations and Their Banks Legally,” documentary film-maker David Malone wrote:
This amendment which was touted as necessary to reduce systemic risk in financial bankruptcies . . . allowed a whole range of far riskier assets to be used . . . . The size of the repo market hugely increased and riskier assets were gladly accepted as collateral because traders saw that if the person they had lent to went down they could get [their] money back before anyone else and no one could stop them.
Burning Down the Barn to Get the Insurance
Safe harbor status creates the sort of perverse incentives that make derivatives “financial weapons of mass destruction,” as Warren Buffett famously branded them. It is the equivalent of burning down the barn to collect the insurance. Says Malone:
All other creditors – bond holders – risk losing some of their money in a bankruptcy. So they have a reason to want to avoid bankruptcy of a trading partner. Not so the repo and derivatives partners. They would now be best served by looting the company – perfectly legally – as soon as trouble seemed likely. In fact the repo and derivatives traders could push a bank that owed them money over into bankruptcy when it most suited them as creditors. When, for example, they might be in need of a bit of cash themselves to meet a few pressing creditors of their own.
The collapse of . . . Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers and AIG were all directly because repo and derivatives partners of those institutions suddenly stopped trading and ‘looted’ them instead.
The global credit collapse was triggered, it seems, not by wild subprime lending but by the rush to grab collateral by players with congressionally-approved safe harbor status for their repos and derivatives.
Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers were strictly investment banks, but now we have giant depository banks gambling in derivatives as well; and with the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act that separated depository and investment banking, they are allowed to commingle their deposits and investments. The risk to the depositors was made glaringly obvious when MF Global went bankrupt in October 2011. Malone wrote:
When MF Global went down it did so because its repo, derivative and hypothecation partners essentially foreclosed on it. And when they did so they then ‘looted’ the company. And because of the co-mingling of clients money in the hypothecation deals the ‘looters’ also seized clients money as well. . . JPMorgan allegedly has MF Global money while other people’s lawyers can only argue about it.
MF Global was followed by the Cyprus “bail-in” – the confiscation of depositor funds to recapitalize the country’s failed banks. This was followed by the coordinated appearance of bail-in templates worldwide, mandated by the Financial Stability Board, the global banking regulator in Switzerland.
The Auto-Destruct Trip Wire on the Banking System
Bail-in policies are being necessitated by the fact that governments are balking at further bank bailouts. In the US, the Dodd-Frank Act (Section 716) now bans taxpayer bailouts of most speculative derivative activities. That means the next time we have a Lehman-style event, the banking system could simply collapse into a black hole of derivative looting. Malone writes:
. . . The bankruptcy laws allow a mechanism for banks to disembowel each other. The strongest lend to the weaker and loot them when the moment of crisis approaches. The plan allows the biggest banks, those who happen to be burdened with massive holdings of dodgy euro area bonds, to leap out of the bond crisis and instead profit from a bankruptcy which might otherwise have killed them. All that is required is to know the import of the bankruptcy law and do as much repo, hypothecation and derivative trading with the weaker banks as you can.
. . . I think this means that some of the biggest banks, themselves, have already constructed and greatly enlarged a now truly massive trip wired auto-destruct on the banking system.
The weaker banks may be the victims, but it is we the people who will wind up holding the bag. Malone observes:
For the last four years who has been putting money in to the banks? And who has become a massive bond holder in all the banks? We have. First via our national banks and now via the Fed, ECB and various tax payer funded bail out funds. We are the bond holders who would be shafted by the Plan B looting. We would be the people waiting in line for the money the banks would have already made off with. . . .
. . . [T]he banks have created a financial Armageddon looting machine. Their Plan B is a mechanism to loot not just the more vulnerable banks in weaker nations, but those nations themselves. And the looting will not take months, not even days. It could happen in hours if not minutes.
Crisis and Opportunity: Building a Better Mousetrap
There is no way to regulate away this sort of risk. If both the conventional banking system and the shadow banking system are being maintained by government guarantees, then we the people are bearing the risk. We should be directing where the credit goes and collecting the interest. Banking and the creation of money-as-credit need to be made public utilities, owned by the public and having a mandate to serve the public. Public banks do not engage in derivatives.
Today, virtually the entire circulating money supply (M1, M2 and M3) consists of privately-created “bank credit” – money created on the books of banks in the form of loans. If this private credit system implodes, we will be without a money supply. One option would be to return to the system of government-issued money that was devised by the American colonists, revived by Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War, and used by other countries at various times and places around the world. Another option would be a system of publicly-owned state banks on the model of the Bank of North Dakota, leveraging the capital of the state backed by the revenues of the state into public bank credit for the use of the local economy.
Change happens historically in times of crisis, and we may be there again today.

US Census report shows entrenched poverty and declining living standards

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A US Census Bureau report released Tuesday, entitled “Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2012,” makes a mockery of President Barack Obama’s claims to be restoring “security and opportunity for the middle class” in the wake of the 2008 financial breakdown.
The report provides a snapshot of a society in immense crisis. Poverty is at a near-generation high of 15 percent, close to the high point since the 1965 War on Poverty, the 15.2 percent rate reached in 1983. According to Tuesday’s report, 46.5 million Americans, including 9.5 million families, live in poverty.
Some 20.4 million people live on an income less than 50 percent of the official poverty line, 7.1 million of these being children under 18. More than 48 million remain without health insurance.
More than 31 percent of the population experienced some period of impoverishment during the years 2009-2011. Median household income, at $51,017, was slightly lower than in 2011, and down by 8.3 percent from 2007. The number of people 65 and older living in poverty increased from 3.6 million to 3.9 million between 2011 and 2012.
Despite more than four years of so-called “recovery,” American society remains plagued by mass deprivation and entrenched poverty. The “recovery” under Obama is limited to the wealthy and the super-rich, who have recovered all of the losses they suffered in the immediate aftermath of the Wall Street crash of September 2008 and grown richer than they were before the financial crisis. Social inequality has deepened as a result of policies designed to further redistribute wealth from the bottom of society to the top.
On Tuesday, one day before the release of the Census Bureau report, Forbes magazine published its annual list of the 400 richest Americans. The combined wealth of these 400 individuals rose substantially from the previous year—from $1.7 trillion to $2.2 trillion. This staggering figure is equal to 12 percent of the total annual gross domestic product (GDP) of the United States and two-thirds of the tax revenues collected in the US in 2013.
The personal holdings of this modern-day aristocracy are sufficient to cover the total deficits of the federal, state and local governments of the US, with many billions to spare. Their $2.2 trillion is greater than the wealth of the bottom 50 percent of Americans—150 million people. It is larger than the GDP of such countries as Italy, Canada and Mexico.
Prominent billionaires on the Forbes list include Bill Gates ($72 billion), Warren Buffett ($58.5 billion), Michael Bloomberg ($31 billion) and Mark Zuckerberg ($19 billion).
A study updated last week by economist Emmanuel Saez documented the enormous growth of social inequality that has taken place since 2009, the official start of the Obama “recovery.” According to the Saez report, the top 1 percent has received 95 percent of all income gains since 2009, while the vast majority of Americans have seen their incomes fall. For the first time in nearly 100 years, the percentage of income taken by the top 10 percent of Americans has topped 50 percent.
The Census report and Forbes list of multi-billionaires appeared the same week that Obama gave a White House speech touting the record of his administration in restoring the “middle class” in the aftermath of the Wall Street crash. (See: “On fifth anniversary of Wall Street crash, Obama tries the Big Lie technique”). They highlight the absurdity of Obama’s pretense of fighting for the interests of ordinary Americans.
One statistic contained in the Census report points to the systematic lowering of working class living standards that is underway. The number of men with full-time year-round jobs increased by only 1 million in 2012, half that predicted by economists and half that recorded in 2011. This reflects the enormous growth of part-time jobs at the expense of full-time work. The vast majority of new jobs that have been created to replace those lost during the official recession of 2007-2009 have been low-wage and part-time jobs in service industries.
“The continued high rate of poverty is no surprise, given ongoing high unemployment, stagnant wages and government spending cuts,” Sheldon Danziger, the president of the Russell Sage Foundation, told the New York Times. “Poverty is higher today than it was in 2000, and household incomes are lower. The ‘lost decade’ is likely to turn into ‘two lost decades.’”

'Unleashed and unaccountable' - ACLU condemns FBI in new report

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A report published on Tuesday by the American Civil Liberties Union urges the Obama administration to reform the Federal Bureau of Investigation following years of documented instances in which the FBI has abused its authority.
In thousands of words spanning a 60-plus page report titled "Unleashed and Unaccountable: The FBI’s Unchecked Abuse of Authority," the ACLU this week condemns the agency, particularly in the years following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. 
The ACLU argues that since the attacks of 9/11, the federal government has time and time again allowed the FBI to broaden its law enforcement powers, often without sufficient oversight. As a result, they write, the FBI has been transformed into a domestic intelligence and law enforcement agency of unprecedented power and international reach.”
Despite reform enacted in the wake of the infamous years J. Edgar Hoover spent as FBI director, the ACLU says that the agency has “subverted internal and external oversight” in recent time, in turn allowing for gross abuse, often impacting the civil liberties of Americans as a result.
In a plea for change, the ACLU accuses the FBI of “squelching whistleblowers, imposing and enforcing unnecessary secrecy and actively misleading Congress and the American people” since 9/11, and says the agency has “regularly overstepped the law, infringing on Americans’ constitutional rights while overzealously pursuing its domestic security mission.”
Items highlighted by the ACLU in the report include the secretive surveillance powers the agency has inherited through the PATRIOT Act, its power to open investigations of Americans without proof of a crime, racial and religious profiling and the targeting of people exercising their First Amendment-protected rights, such as journalists and political activists.


Published on the anniversary of the signing of the US Constitution, the ACLU urges President Barack Obama and his administration “to conduct a comprehensive examination of the FBI's policies and practices to identify and curtail any activities that are unnecessary, ineffective or misused,” especially before the newly appointed director of the agency, James Comey, can subvert any further the policies enacted by his predecessor, James Mueller, who ran the FBI from before 9/11 up until only this month.
Should the executive and legislative branches not consider reform, the ACLU writes, “FBI officials and certain members of Congress will undoubtedly demand that the new director stay the course, no matter how disastrous it may be for American civil liberties and privacy rights.”
The list of abuses is long and demonstrates that Congress must do a top-to-bottom review of FBI politics and practices to identify and curtail any activities that are unconstitutional or easily misused,” Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU’s National Security Project, said in a statement accompanying the report. “The time for wholesale reform has come.”
One figure cited in the new report portends that the FBI “will soon have the equivalent of 20 pieces of intelligence on every American.”
“An FBI budget request for fiscal year 2008 said the FBI had amassed databases containing 1.5 billion records, and two members of Congress described documents predicting the FBI would have 6 billion records by 2012, which they said would represent “20 separate ‘records’ for each man, woman and child in the United States.”
In turn, the ACLU believes that this huge volume of amassed data can be “shared widely.”
“According to a 2012 Systems of Records Notice covering all FBI data warehouses, the information in these systems can be shared broadly, even with foreign entities and private companies, and for a multitude of law enforcement and non-law enforcement purposes.”