Saturday, August 24, 2013

The 1% are ripping the shit out of us

The world economic circuit:

Larry Summers and the 'End Game' memo

"The Memo confirmed every conspiracy freak’s fantasy: that in the late 1990s, the top US Treasury officials secretly conspired with a small cabal of banker big-shots to rip apart financial regulation across the planet. When you see 26.3 percent unemployment in Spain, desperation and hunger in Greece, riots in Indonesia and Detroit in bankruptcy, go back to this End Game memo, the genesis of the blood and tears.

The Treasury official playing the bankers’ secret End Game was Larry Summers. Today, Summers is Barack Obama’s leading choice for Chairman of the US Federal Reserve, the world’s central bank. If the confidential memo is authentic, then Summers shouldn’t be serving on the Fed, he should be serving hard time in some dungeon reserved for the criminally insane of the finance world."

The Trans-Pacific Partnership:

Alan Grayson: TPP Secret Treaty “This Hands Sovereignty of Our Country Over to Corp Interests"

"An international treaty being negotiated in secret which would not only crack down on Internet privacy much more than SOPA or ACTA, but would actually destroy the sovereignty of the U.S. and all other signatories."

Globalization is a prime driver of Plutonomy, according to the third leaked Citigroup Plutonomy memo (linked at the end). Obama is working to fast-track the TPP via TPA. 

Energy and physical resources:

Water privatization by the richest rich is happening now ("hydraulic empire") incl. the Bush family

"A Citigroup economist gushed, 'Water as an asset class will, in my view, become eventually the single most important physical-commodity based asset class, dwarfing oil, copper, agricultural commodities and precious metals.'"

Goldman bankers get rich betting on food prices as millions starve

Goldman Sachs Took $5 Billion From Consumers By Moving Metal Around

The Koch bros. could save $2 billion a year via the Keystone XL pipeline -Greg Palast

Roll call for representatives with financial investment in the tarsands and TransCanada's KeystoneXL
The Leveraged Buyout of America 

"Giant bank holding companies now own airports, toll roads, and ports; control power plants; and store and hoard vast quantities of commodities of all sorts. They are systematically buying up or gaining control of the essential lifelines of the economy. How have they pulled this off, and where have they gotten the money?"

Here's What Happens When Wall Street Builds A Rental Empire 


Plutonmists installing themselves in world-wide government and banking positions:

Voila! Greek Gov't Appoints Ex-Goldman Exec As New Debt Chief

Arrest the Criminals at Goldman Sachs and in the Greek Government (video: Greg Palast)

Also Italy's Prime Minister; the former attorney general of Ireland during the bailout; the head of the European Central Bank; and more:

Obama's defense of Summers not tied to Fed decision -White House

Citi Offered Jack Lew A Big Bonus To Secure A 'High-Level' Government Position

Senate Confirms (Billionaire) Penny Pritzker to Be Commerce Secretary, 97 to 1


"Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power." - Benito Mussolini

Housing theft:

The third leaked Plutonomy memo (linked at the end of this post) states the the main asset of the bottom 80% of American earners is their home.

It’s Not a Housing Boom. It’s a Land Grab

"Just in the last 12 months, Wall Street’s Blackstone Group has raised $8 billlion to buy up homes on Main Street. Following suit, according to The New Republic, JP Morgan Chase—the nation’s largest bank—has organized a fund to purchase 5,000 single-family homes in states with some of the most depressed real estate prices. As I wrote last year, a former Morgan Stanley housing strategist left that bank, organized a billion dollars, and is purchasing up to 10,000 homes with these new resources."

Your mortgage documents are fake!

"Georgetown Law professor Adam Levitin spelled this out in testimony before Congress in 2010: 'If mortgages were not properly transferred in the securitization process, then mortgage-backed securities would in fact not be backed by any mortgages whatsoever.'

Szymoniak stated in her lawsuit that, 'Defendants used fraudulent mortgage assignments to conceal that over 1400 MBS trusts, each with mortgages valued at over $1 billion, are missing critical documents,' meaning that at least $1.4 trillion in mortgage-backed securities are, in fact, non-mortgage-backed securities. Because of the strict laws governing of these kinds of securitizations, there’s no way to make the assignments after the fact. Activists have a name for this: 'securitization FAIL.'”

The 1 Percent Is Buying Up All Of The Low End Real Estate


Social Security theft:

Plutocrats' New Pitch: Let Us Rob You Now So You Can Plan Ahead for Poverty

College loan debt and rising tution rate scams:

Matt Taibbi: Ripping Off Young America: The College-Loan Scandal

8 Reasons Young Americans Don't Fight Back: How the US Crushed Youth Resistance …

1. Student-Loan Debt. Large debt—and the fear it creates—is a pacifying force. There was no tuition at the City University of New York when I attended one of its colleges in the 1970s, a time when tuition at many U.S. public universities was so affordable that it was easy to get a B.A. and even a graduate degree without accruing any student-loan debt. While those days are gone in the United States, public universities continue to be free in the Arab world and are either free or with very low fees in many countries throughout the world. The millions of young Iranians who risked getting shot to protest their disputed 2009 presidential election, the millions of young Egyptians who risked their lives earlier this year to eliminate Mubarak, and the millions of young Americans who demonstrated against the Vietnam War all had in common the absence of pacifying huge student-loan debt.


Cities such as Philly, Chicago, and others are having their schools closed and privatizers moving in due to the disaster capitalism techniques of debt and de-funding.

The for-profit private prison industry, created by the for-profit "war on drugs":

Chris Hedges: The Business of Mass Incarceration

"Poor people, especially those of color, are worth nothing to corporations and private contractors if they are on the street. In jails and prisons, however, they each can generate corporate revenues of $30,000 to $40,000 a year."

Government guarantees 90% occupancy rate in private prisons.

"Ohio's deal requires the state to maintain a 90% occupancy rate, but Janes said that provision remains in effect for 18 months — not 20 years — before it can be renegotiated. As part of the deal, Ohio pays the company a monthly fee, totaling $3.8 million per year."

Prison Labor Booms As Unemployment Remains High; Companies Reap Benefits

The for-profit surveillance state, created by the for-profit "war on terror":

All your money and privacy are belong to BushCo

The Bush disaster family recently enjoyed a $2 billion dollar payment from their 2/3s share of Booz Allen through their Carlyle Group.

5 Companies That Make Money By Keeping Americans Terrified of Terror Attacks

Meet the Contractors Turning America's Police Into a Paramilitary Force

The surveillance state has an annual budget of $1 trillion, going mostly to unknown contractors.

Spying is local too......look no further than the Los Angeles Police Department

"Another technology employed by the LAPD is a suitcase-sized device called StingRay. It mimics a cell phone tower, tricking every cell phone in a neighborhood into connecting to it. Once connected, police can grab information from everyone’s phone in the area, not just the suspects.

StingRay was purchased with Dept. of Homeland Security Funds. It was meant for counterterrorism, but according to documents obtained by LA Weekly, in 2012, the LAPD used StingRay 21 times within four-months in burglary, drug and murder investigations."

Lawmakers Who Upheld NSA Phone Spying Received Double the Defense Industry Cash

Mainstream media in the United States are owned by six corporations.

These 6 Corporations Control 90% Of The Media In America

I haven't even touched upon the use of defunding to close schools in Chicago and Philadelphia to pave the way for privatized charter schools, a long-term plan on their part. (Chicago mayor Rahm Emmanuel used to work for Goldman Sachs.) This was being done in Australia and elsewhere around a decade ago!

The military-industrial complex? Perhaps larger than all of the above combined. I haven't looked into the weapons manufacturers and service providers, although we already know about Dick Cheney's Halliburton, given no-bid contracts in the Iraq invasion:

Halliburton bills taxpayers $45 per case of soda, $100 per bag of laundry

WASHINGTON, June 14, 2004 ( -- Five former Halliburton employees and one former executive of a Halliburton subcontractor describe egregious examples of abuse involving Halliburton's Iraq contracts. In a letter written by Congressman Henry Waxman (D-CA), these whistleblowers describe instances where Halliburton employees would abandon or torch new trucks -- worth $80,000 -- if they acquired a flat tire or other minor mechanical problems. Halliburton would subsequently purchase new trucks with U.S. taxpayer dollars.

The former employees also described repeated instances of theft involving both Halliburton and Army personnel. One employee complained to Halliburton's KBR chief, Randy Harl, about the contracting abuse, but two weeks later he was fired.

Another former employee said Halliburton purchased soda for $45 per case and laundry bags for $100 each.

Employees billed the government for work even when they sat around and did nothing all day. These employees spent weeks in Iraq with virtually nothing to do, but were instructed by Halliburton to bill the government for 12 hours per day for seven days of work.

Want to protest any of this? This is what happens, thanks directly to the 1% who run the whole thing:

OWS NYTimes Lie

Occupy Denver AP Photo Leah Millis 
Occupy Denver AP Photo Leah Millis

In their own frank words to each other, the three leaked Citigroup Plutonomy memos:

Download three “secret” Citigroup “Plutonomy” reports

“Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances”
“Revisiting Plutonomy: The Rich Getting Richer”
"The Plutonomy Symposium: Rising Tides Lifting Yachts" 

(Citigroup send lawyers to remove postings of the leaked memos; try here for the third)

Where is Plutonomy occurring? Page 8 of the third memo:

“Figure 1 shows...the top 1% of the population of income has grown substantially in countries such as the US, UK, and Canada. The countries, which apparently tolerate income inequality, are what we call Plutonomy countries: economies powered by a relatively small number of rich people.”

What sort of people would put their own interests so ahead of the rest of us?

"The source of the term is a quotation in an October 17, 2004, The New York Times Magazine article by writer Ron Suskind, quoting an unnamed aide to George W. Bush (later attributed to Karl Rove):

The aide said that guys like me were 'in what we call the reality-based community,' which he defined as people who 'believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.' ... 'That's not the way the world really works anymore,' he continued. 'We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.'"

Basically, they're marching in and doing whatever they want whenever they want, and rigging the game where it does not already serve them.

Where does Obama stands on all of this? Shame on you if by now any of this surprises you:

Corporate Profits Have Grown By 171 Percent Under Obama -- Highest Rate Since 1900

"Average annual corporate profit growth under Obama is the highest since 1900, whereas profit growth declined during both Bush presidencies. As a share of the economy, corporate profits have never been higher.
Unfortunately, this profit deluge has not been shared by workers, whose wages as a percentage of the economy have fallen to all-time lows. Workers also got dinged by the recent increase in the payroll tax, which was large enough to wipe out a minimum wage increase in some states."

8 Huge Corporate Handouts in the Fiscal Cliff Bill

"Throughout the months of November and December, a steady stream of corporate CEOs flowed in and out of the White House to discuss the impending fiscal cliff. Many of them, such as Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs, would then publicly come out and talk about how modest increases of tax rates on the wealthy were reasonable in order to deal with the deficit problem. What wasn’t mentioned is what these leaders wanted, which is what’s known as “tax extenders”, or roughly $205B of tax breaks for corporations. With such a banal name, and boring and difficult to read line items in the bill, few political operatives have bothered to pay attention to this part of the bill. But it is critical to understanding what is going on.

5) Subsidies for Goldman Sachs Headquarters – Sec. 328 extends 'tax exempt financing for York Liberty Zone,' which was a program to provide post-9/11 recovery funds. Rather than going to small businesses affected, however, this was, according to Bloomberg, 'little more than a subsidy for fancy Manhattan apartments and office towers for Goldman Sachs and Bank of America Corp.' Michael Bloomberg himself actually thought the program was excessive, so that’s saying something. According to David Cay Johnston’s The Fine Print, Goldman got $1.6 billion in tax free financing for its new massive headquarters through Liberty Bonds."

The Untouchables: How the Obama administration protected Wall Street from prosecutions

Yes, Virginia, the Rich Continue to Get Richer: the Top 1% Got 121% of Income Gains Since 2009

U.S. banks in 2012 post highest profits since '06

This Year’s Subsidy to Wall Street = the Amount of This Year’s Sequester Cuts

Don’t Blink, or You’ll Miss Another Bailout

America faces more than a dozen deadlines, all caused by billionaires and wealth transfer

Bank Bailout 2: Obama Lets Mortgage Abusers Off the Hook

US banks earn record $42.2B in 2nd quarter (2013) 

“Fiscal Cliff” Deal Makes Permanent 82 Percent of Bush Tax Cuts

For further reading, analysis from the third leaked Citigroup Plutonomy memo: Their fears and weaknesses:

Page 17, “The Risks to Plutonomy”.

-Financial collapse
-Ending technological revolution
-Political pressure to end the increase in income and wealth inequality
-Destroy globalisation
-Destroy right-wing, anti-immigration political parties which support the rise in profit share/fall in wage share
Page 18
-Call for relaxing immigration controls/deportation
-”The political process is the greatest threat to Plutonomy.”
-Page 21 lists equity strategies. “Equities are the main asset of the rich.” -Page 12 of the memo. So, attack equities.
Of course, it says that the rich actually drive the economy, and the economy mainly serves the rich. So live outside the economy and destroy the economy.

"The risks to Plutonomy: Finally, political pressure to end the increase in income and wealth inequality."

"Perhaps the most immediate challenge to Plutonomy comes from the political process. Ultimately, the rise in income and wealth inequality to some extent is an economic disenfrachisement of the masses to the benefit of the few. However in democracies this is rarely tolerated forever."

“We see the biggest threat to Plutonomy as coming from a rise in political demands to reduce income inequality, spread the wealth more evenly, and challenge forces such as globalization which have benefited profit and wealth growth.”

Page 18:

"So is Plutonomy under threat politically? We are keeping an eye on this one. At the moment it is too early to make this call. ...does not resonate as a population determined to destroy wealth inequality."

"While there are challenges to this, not least through populations/the political process demanding a more 'equitable' share of the wealth, in the short term we think the trend of the rich getting richer is likely to persist." 

From one of the other memos:

“At some point it is likely that labor will fight back against the rising profit share of the rich and there will be a political backlash against the rising wealth of the rich. This could be felt through higher taxation on the rich (or indirectly though higher corporate taxes/regulation) or through trying to protect indigenous (home-grown) laborers, in a push-back on globalization -- either anti-mmigration, or protectionism. We don’t see this happening yet, though there are signs of rising political tensions.”

America faces more than a dozen deadlines, all caused by billionaires and wealth transfer

"I’ve had an article in draft for some time — 'The 16 Deadlines Facing America' — that details each deadline, describes the dangers, and states why each faces an end-point rather than just a periodic fluctuation... I’ve identified 16 of these game-over situations facing America today, situations from which there is the possibility of no recovery — not the certainty, but the possibility. As I was working on that article though, looking especially what it would take to reverse each trend, I realized it’s really only one story writ 16 times on 16 separate canvasses.

That story? The song of the predator class, the rich and the rest — “All your money are belong to us.”
Here they are, numbered in no particular order, but grouped:

1. Accelerating transfer of wealth to the .001% (“the billionaires”)
2. Accelerating transfer of manufacturing out of the country
3. Marginalization or destruction of effective labor unions
4. Destruction of the middle class (i.e., the consumer class)
5. Capture of government by billionaires of both parties
6. Capture of the Republican Party by anti-Constitutional billionaires via Tea Party-financed candidates
7. Constitutional changes, including changes in practice to rule of law and an ever-widening circle of elites with immunity from prosecution
8. Creation via trade agreements of a transnational state that enshrines corporate sovereignty
9. Permanent war and a permanently expanding military
10. Permanently expanding national security state, including militarization of police, widespread spying and punishment for political crimes
11. The ticking time bomb of increasing numbers of returning untreated war-damaged battle-trained veterans
12. Oil dependence without recognition of oil as a soon-to-be-depleted energy source
13. Deterioration of the environment, largely due to oil and carbon dependence, among other causes
14. Destruction of the integrity of our food supply
15. Destruction of public education
16. Climate catastrophe and the collapse of human populations and level of civilization

My bottom line, and the surprise discovery, is that every single one is driven by one common cause — internationalist billionaires."

(Citigroup) When Lobbyists Literally Write The Bill

"The Shock Doctrine" by Naomi Klein

"Confessions of an Economic Hitman" by John Perkins