Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Real Hunger Games

Waiting lists for food aid have been growing for years—now almost 15 percent of the nation's elderly don't have enough to eat.
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Wall Street Predators Wage Secret War on American Retirements

Financiers are lying their way to another giant theft of public money

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Lips are smacking on Wall Street. Today’s tasty treat? The pensions of hard-working people across America. Financial hustlers have been working overtime to convince the population that we are in the midst of an “unfunded liability crisis” in which states and cities can no longer afford to pay pensions to public workers. Here’s the truth: Wall Street predators have had their hands in the pension cookie jar for decades, and now they’re poised to gobble up the retirements of teachers and firefighters in yet another orgy of greed.
Unknown to much of the public, Wall Street has been soaking state and municipal coffers with derivatives schemes and various frauds for years. As Alexander Arapoglou and Jerri-Lynn Scofield have explained, not only have Wall Street banks screwed public finances with fancy credit default swaps and other "innovative" financial products that blow up in the faces of cities and states, they have also been engaged in widespread frauds that squeeze pension yields. This happened in the LIBOR rate-rigging scandal, in which big banks were found to be manipulating interest rates, which has resulted in lower returns on pension fund investments and has caused shortfalls in pension plans. The lack of actions from authorities means this kind of hustling will surely continue.
Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi has just published an article outlining how this gigantic heist is going down. While Wall Street has been on its scam-a-licious rampage, no-good politicians have been taking taxpayer money meant for pensions and spending it on whatever they wanted, depleting funds. (This is actually securities fraud, but the nearly toothless SEC has barely lifted a finger to address it.) Even so, pensions were still in fairly decent shape when the crash of 2008 came and wrecked budgets across America. The Wall Street-driven financial crisis crushed state and local revenues, and the financiers decided this was the perfect moment to dive in for yet another helping of public money by seizing control of public pensions.
In Taibbi’s colorful words: “This is the third act in an improbable triple-fucking of ordinary people that Wall Street is seeking to pull off as a shocker epilogue to the crisis era.”
Wall Street has plenty of politicians in its pockets to grease the wheels. Taibbi hones in on the notorious example of Rhode Island treasurer Gina Raimondo, a former venture capitalist who made the war against pensions her raison d’etre and handed over a billion in pension funds to hedge funds that could charge the strapped state boatloads of hidden fees to manage them. Firms like Goldman Sachs and Bain Capital, along with predators like billionaire John Arnolds, formerly of Enron, are overwhelmed with joy and have filled Raimondo’s coffers for a 2014 gubernatorial run. They know a good thing when they see it.
Wall Street’s PR message? The country’s financial woes were the fault of hard-working elementary school teachers and cops. It’s an audacious, shockingly cynical lie, but with enough money thrown behind it, the lie has spread like a cancer through the media and the political world. Rapacious bankers have successfully pitted private sector workers who have been losing their pensions against public sector folks who were still hanging on to theirs—a tried and true divide-and-conquer tactic that means big money for criminal banksters.
The villains who have helped spread this lie include the folks at Pew Charitable Trusts, an organization known for its centrism and number-crunching. Starting in 2007, Pew started rolling out studies suggesting that pensions were unsustainable, and found an eager accomplice in the form of noxious billionaire John Arnold, a right-winger and former Enron commodities trader who, as Taibbi reports, was “helping himself to an $8 million bonus while the company's pension fund was vaporizing.”
Arnold created a foundation named after himself to focus on “reforming” pensions, and got some big-name Republicans and Tea Partiers, like Dick Armey and Orrin Hatch, to get the game going. “Arnold and Pew struck up a relationship,” writes Taibbi, “and both have since been proselytizing pension reform all over America, including California, Florida, Kansas, Arizona, Kentucky and Montana.” Over and over, they cited an “unfunded liability crisis” conveniently overlooking the glaring fact that the financial crisis and various Wall Street investment schemes are the reason states and cities are having a hard time paying workers what they were owed. They pretend the problem is that worker pensions are too expensive—a big fat whopper that blames the victims of Wall Street’s own shenanigans.
Meanwhile, hedge funds continue to take over state pension funds with guarantees that their fees and hustling will be kept hidden from the public, all the while delivering underperforming returns on shitty investments. (Now it becomes clear why Wall Street had a massive freak-out at the idea that Eliot Spitzer, who understands their tricks, was nearly put in charge of managing New York City’s pensions in his recent run for comptroller.)
As Taibbi correctly concludes, the "unfunded liability" is largely a fiction. There are legitimate issues with pensions, “but the idea that these benefit packages are causing the fiscal crises in our states is almost entirely a fabrication crafted by the very people who actually caused the problem.”
And let’s just add a final twist to this tortuous story: Even if you’re not a public sector worker, Wall Street is determined to get its hands on your retirement, too, and it has got politicians in Washington, including President Obama, talking about cuts to Social Security in the name of a phony debt ceiling crisis. It's the wet dream of Wall Street to weaken Social Security and take hold of American retirement money so that scam artists can charge outrageous fees and continue their rampage of thievery against people who work hard serving their communities and simply want to retire with some modicum of dignity.
Clearly, Obama should keep Social Security off the table in any budget negotiations. His proposal to change the annual cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) from the present Consumer Price Index (CPI) to a Chained Consumer Price Index is effectively a cut, and it would represent a betrayal of the American people that should not be tolerated. Americans are facing an oncoming retirement crisis the likes of which has not been seen in living memory, and the idea of further exacerbating it by cutting Social Security payments is both irresponsible and nonsensical. Social Security has very little to do with the federal deficit, as economists not beholden to Wall Street and Washington have explained repeatedly, and poll after poll shows that the American people overwhelmingly reject the idea of cutting it.
While we're on the subject of Washington, let's take a moment to ask what Congress is doing about Wall Street's raid on the security that millions of workers pay into. Here is a list of the people on the Senate banking committe, and here is a list of those on the House financial services committee. Every single one of them should be held accountable for this horrific betrayal of people whose only crime is to work for a living.

World Bank Whistleblower Reveals How The Global Elite Rule The World

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Karen Hudes is a graduate of Yale Law School and she worked in the legal department of the World Bank for more than 20 years.  In fact, when she was fired for blowing the whistle on corruption inside the World Bank, she held the position of Senior Counsel.  She was in a unique position to see exactly how the global elite rule the world, and the information that she is now revealing to the public is absolutely stunning.  According to Hudes, the elite use a very tight core of financial institutions and mega-corporations to dominate the planet.  The goal is control.  They want all of us enslaved to debt, they want all of our governments enslaved to debt, and they want all of our politicians addicted to the huge financial contributions that they funnel into their campaigns.  Since the elite also own all of the big media companies, the mainstream media never lets us in on the secret that there is something fundamentally wrong with the way that our system works.
Remember, this is not some "conspiracy theorist" that is saying these things.  This is a Yale-educated attorney that worked inside the World Bank for more than two decades.  The following summary of her credentials comes directly from her website...
Karen Hudes studied law at Yale Law School and economics at the University of Amsterdam. She worked in the US Export Import Bank of the US from 1980-1985 and in the Legal Department of the World Bank from 1986-2007. She established the Non Governmental Organization Committee of the International Law Section of the American Bar Association and the Committee on Multilateralism and the Accountability of International Organizations of the American Branch of the International Law Association.
Today, Hudes is trying very hard to expose the corrupt financial system that the global elite are using to control the wealth of the world.  During an interview with the New American, she discussed how we are willingly allowing this group of elitists to totally dominate the resources of the planet...
A former insider at the World Bank, ex-Senior Counsel Karen Hudes, says the global financial system is dominated by a small group of corrupt, power-hungry figures centered around the privately owned U.S. Federal Reserve. The network has seized control of the media to cover up its crimes, too, she explained. In an interview with The New American, Hudes said that when she tried to blow the whistle on multiple problems at the World Bank, she was fired for her efforts. Now, along with a network of fellow whistleblowers, Hudes is determined to expose and end the corruption. And she is confident of success.
Citing an explosive 2011 Swiss study published in the PLOS ONE journal on the “network of global corporate control,” Hudes pointed out that a small group of entities — mostly financial institutions and especially central banks — exert a massive amount of influence over the international economy from behind the scenes. “What is really going on is that the world’s resources are being dominated by this group,” she explained, adding that the “corrupt power grabbers” have managed to dominate the media as well. “They’re being allowed to do it.”
Previously, I have written about the Swiss study that Hudes mentioned.  It was conducted by a team of researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland.  They studied the relationships between 37 million companies and investors worldwide, and what they discovered is that there is a "super-entity" of just 147 very tightly knit mega-corporations that controls 40 percent of the entire global economy...
When the team further untangled the web of ownership, it found much of it tracked back to a "super-entity" of 147 even more tightly knit companies - all of their ownership was held by other members of the super-entity - that controlled 40 per cent of the total wealth in the network. "In effect, less than 1 per cent of the companies were able to control 40 per cent of the entire network," says Glattfelder. Most were financial institutions. The top 20 included Barclays Bank, JPMorgan Chase & Co, and The Goldman Sachs Group.
But the global elite don't just control these mega-corporations.  According to Hudes, they also dominate the unelected, unaccountable organizations that control the finances of virtually every nation on the face of the planet.  The World Bank, the IMF and central banks such as the Federal Reserveliterally control the creation and the flow of money worldwide.
At the apex of this system is the Bank for International Settlements.  It is the central bank of central banks, and posted below is a video where you can watch Hudes tell Greg Hunter of the following...
"We don’t have to wait for anybody to fire the Fed or Bank for International Settlements . . . some states have already started to recognize silver and gold, the precious metals, as currency"
Most people have never even heard of the Bank for International Settlements, but it is an extremely important organization.  In a previous article, I described how this "central bank of the world" is literally immune to the laws of all national governments...
An immensely powerful international organization that most people have never even heard of secretly controls the money supply of the entire globe.  It is called the Bank for International Settlements, and it is the central bank of central banks.  It is located in Basel, Switzerland, but it also has branches in Hong Kong and Mexico City.  It is essentially an unelected, unaccountable central bank of the world that has complete immunity from taxation and from national laws.  Even Wikipedia admits that "it is not accountable to any single national government."  The Bank for International Settlements was used to launder money for the Nazis during World War II, but these days the main purpose of the BIS is to guide and direct the centrally-planned global financial system.  Today, 58 global central banks belong to the BIS, and it has far more power over how the U.S. economy (or any other economy for that matter) will perform over the course of the next year than any politician does.  Every two months, the central bankers of the world gather in Basel for another "Global Economy Meeting".  During those meetings, decisions are made which affect every man, woman and child on the planet, and yet none of us have any say in what goes on.  The Bank for International Settlements is an organization that was founded by the global elite and it operates for the benefit of the global elite, and it is intended to be one of the key cornerstones of the emerging one world economic system.
This system did not come into being by accident.  In fact, the global elite have been developing this system for a very long time.  In a previous article entitled "Who Runs The World? Solid Proof That A Core Group Of Wealthy Elitists Is Pulling The Strings", I included a quote from Georgetown University history professor Carroll Quigley from a book that he authored all the way back in 1966 in which he discussed the big plans that the elite had for the Bank for International Settlements...
[T]he powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences. The apex of the system was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basle, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world’s central banks which were themselves private corporations.
And that is exactly what we have today.
We have a system of "neo-feudalism" in which all of us and our national governments are enslaved to debt.  This system is governed by the central banks and by the Bank for International Settlements, and it systematically transfers the wealth of the world out of our hands and into the hands of the global elite.
But most people have no idea that any of this is happening because the global elite also control what we see, hear and think about.  Today, there are just six giant media corporations that control more than 90 percent of the news and entertainment that you watch on your television in the United States.
This is the insidious system that Karen Hudes is seeking to expose.  For much more, you can listen to Joyce Riley of the Power Hour interview her for an entire hour right here.