The Subprime Economy is Back – It Never Really Left

August 4, 2014 by  
Filed under Commentary

Pigs at the Trough profiting from lies and misery, and using YOUR money to do so…. 

 
By JP Sottile on Aug 3, 2014
Who What Why

 

Remember the sub-prime economy?

It’s back, but it’s different this time. Well, sorta different. And you may be affected by it in all kinds of ways.

The new sub-prime economy is a direct result of the catastrophic financial ruin caused by the old sub-prime mortgage crisis. Wall Street’s biggest money has figured out how to profit off of people deep in debt and unable to climb out because of the still-limping economy.

So, after pushing people to the margins with exotic financial instruments, Wall Street is now profiting off the increasingly marginal existence of many Americans. With more and more people renting their homes, the median household now 20% poorer today than it was in 1984, and almost half of all Americans now living paycheck to paycheck, the sub-prime economy has shifted away from big-ticket mortgages to profiting off the banalities of everyday life.

The numbers don’t lie: 35% of Americans—roughly 77 million people—have an outstanding debt currently being pursued by a collection agency, according to a new study by the Urban Institute. Although the individual amounts of delinquent debt range from as little as $25 to over $125,000, the national average is a staggering $5,178.

That’s a lot of bad debt in the system, and there are rich pickings in all of it.

If Sisyphus had bills …

 

If Sisyphus had bills …

Maybe that’s why the study was funded by Encore Capital Group—the country’s largest publicly-traded buyer of defaulted debt—and co-authored by its very own think-tank, the Consumer Credit Research Institute. The latter, founded in 2011, describes its work as a “ground-breaking effort to develop new knowledge about low- and moderate-income consumers” using techniques borrowed from economics, statistics and psychology.

The first go-round on the subprime roulette wheel was fueled primarily by the post-9/11 “go-go” housing boom. The middlemen of Manhattan systematically used predatory lending to ensnare hundreds of thousands of hopeful American Dreamers into an adjustable-rate, no-money-down, balloon-payment nightmare. So they made money handing out subprime mortgages like Halloween candy, bundled that risky, unsustainable debt into exotic financial instruments, and profited again by betting they’d fail.

But that was then, and things are supposed to be different now, right?

Now the financial system is supposed to be chastened. It is, according to its staunchest critics, wholly and restrictively regulated by Dodd-Frank. In fact, Dodd-Frank is so restrictive, they say, that it has impeded the “recovery” and needs to be loosened. That’s despite the fact that many key rules still haven’t been written and despite the omnipresence of corporate banking interests atevery step of the rulemaking process.

Things are different now. This new sub-prime bubble is not being inflated by predatory lenders targeting would-be homeowners. Even though the real estate market is improving in places like San Francisco, New York and Washington, D.C., homeownership is at a 19-year low, with more people opting to rent because of tighter finances.

Hedge Funds, Hedge Hogs

Well-positioned hedge funds gobbled up tens of thousands of homes left vacant by the bursting mortgage bubble. Sometimes entire neighborhoods were purchased by those firms, who—unlike Lehman Brothers—were not broken by the crash. Like JP Morgan hoarding the devalued financial assets of its failed competitors, hedge funds saw the sudden surge in low-cost real estate as a buying opportunity.

The Blackstone Group—one of the world’s largest hedge funds—went on a two-year buying spree that transformed it into “America’s largest landlord” with over 40,000 houses in its profitable inventory.

And that’s where bad debt is accumulating—in the day-to-day struggle to make ends meet.

To wit, the Urban Institute’s study focused on collections of non-mortgage bills. These include credit card bills, medical bills, and utility bills that are “more than 180 days past due and have been placed in collections.”

A good example of the financial jeopardy many face is in Detroit. That’s where the median household income is less than half the national average—and where tens of thousands couldn’t afford to pay their water bills.

Detroit Goes Dry

 

Detroit Goes Dry

The bankrupted city decided to do something about chronic delinquencies—they began shutting off people’s water. As the pace of the shut-offs sped up, the city paid $6 million to a private contractor to make sure the taps ran dry. So far, some 100,000 have been without water at times.

This is exactly the sort of compromised position many find themselves in with this new economy. And it’s where predatory lending is taking its toll, targeting the desperate with high-risk, high-interest and, therefore, high-reward loans that epitomize Wall Street’s unending “search for yield.”

Bad Credit? We Can Help You Make It Worse

And what a yield lending to subprime customers earns. The “Payday Loan” industry still gets away with interest rates as high as 700 percent, a story WhoWhatWhy reported in March. That kind of loan puts many people into a modern form of sharecropping, accruing debt faster than they can pay it off.

The $3 billion-a-year industry is finally being scrutinized by federal regulators at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Even so, the underlying business model is being profitably recycled.

Take, for example, the entry of banks and private equity firms into the used car business.

They identify distressed and marginal candidates for risky, high-interest loans on cars that all too often end up being lemons, according to the New York Times. After searching for potential customers with low credit scores, banks like Capital One and Wells Fargo work with dealers who send them “certificates” redeemable for a “no credit, no problem” loan. That traps the less financially savvy customers into long-term loans that eventually triple or quadruple the cost of the car—or worse.

New victim targeted: rank and file of the U.S. Military

 

New victim targeted: rank and file of the U.S. Military

A little-known company called USA Discounters has opened another front of the high-interest assault, targeting the rank and file of the U.S. military.

READ THE REST at Who What Why

The Emperor’s New Clothes: The Naked Truth About the American Police State

July 9, 2014 by  
Filed under Commentary

It’s vogue, trendy, and appropriate to look to dystopian literature as a harbinger of what we’re experiencing at the hands of the government

 

By John W. Whitehead / The Rutherford Institute
July 08, 2014

“The most dangerous man, to any government, is the man who is able to think things out for himself…Almost inevitably, he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane, and intolerable.”—H.L. Mencken, American journalist

It’s vogue, trendy and appropriate to look to dystopian literature as a harbinger of what we’re experiencing at the hands of the government. Certainly, George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm have much to say about government tyranny, corruption, and control, as does Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and Philip K. Dick’s Minority Report. Yet there are also older, simpler, more timeless stories—folk tales and fairy tales—that speak just as powerfully to the follies and foibles in our nature as citizens and rulers alike that give rise to tyrants and dictatorships.

One such tale, Hans Christian Andersen’s fable of the Emperor’s New Clothes, is a perfect paradigm of life today in the fiefdom that is the American police state, only instead of an imperial president spending money wantonly on lavish vacations, entertainment, and questionable government programs aimed at amassing greater power, Andersen presents us with a vain and thoughtless emperor, concerned only with satisfying his own needs at the expense of his people, even when it means taxing them unmercifully, bankrupting his kingdom, and harshly punishing his people for daring to challenge his edicts.

For those unfamiliar with the tale, the Emperor, a vain peacock of a man, is conned into buying a prohibitively expensive suit of clothes that is supposedly visible only to those who are smart, competent and well-suited to their positions. Surrounded by yes men, professional flatterers and career politicians who fawn, simper and genuflect, the Emperor—arrogant, pompous and oblivious to his nudity—prances through the town in his new suit of clothes until a child dares to voice what everyone else has been thinking but too afraid to say lest they be thought stupid or incompetent: “He isn’t wearing anything at all!”

Much like the people of the Emperor’s kingdom, we, too, have been conned into believing that if we say what we fear, if we dare to suggest that something is indeed “rotten in the state of Denmark,” we will be branded idiots and fools by the bureaucrats, corporate heads, governmental elites and media hotshots who have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo—or who at least are determined to maintain the façade that is the status quo. Yet the truth is staring us in the face just as surely as the fact that the Emperor was wearing no clothes.

Truth #1: The U.S. is on the brink of bankruptcy, as many economists have been warning for some time now, with more than $16 trillion in debts owned by foreign nationals and corporations. As one financial news site reports: “Internationally, the world is fed up with The Fed and the U.S. government’s unabashed debt growth. China, Russia, Iran, India and a host of other countries are establishing trade relationships that are bypassing the U.S. dollar altogether, a move that will soon see the world’s reserve currency lose purchasing power and status. In anticipation of this imminent collapse gold is being hoarded by private and public entities from Berlin to Beijing in an effort to preserve wealth before the Tsunami hits.”

Truth #2: We no longer have a government that is “of the people, for the people and by the people.” What we have now is a feudal monarchy, run by wealthy overlords and financed with the blood, sweat and labor of the underclasses who are kept in check by the increasingly militarized police. This sorry state of affairs is reinforced by a study which found that average citizens have “little or no independent influence” on the policy-making process. A similar study published by the Political Research Quarterly revealed that members of the U.S. Senate represent their wealthiest constituents while ignoring those on the bottom rung of the economic ladder.

Truth #3: Far from being a benevolent entity concerned with the well-being of its citizens, whether in matters of health, safety or security, the government is concerned with three things only: power, control and money. As an often quoted adage says, “Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” Unfortunately, the master-servant relationship that once had the government answering to “we the people” has been reversed. Government agents now act as if they are the masters and we are the servants. Nowhere is this more evident than in the transformation of police officers from benevolent keepers of the peace to inflexible extensions of the military hyped up on the power of their badge.

Truth #4: Our primary use to the government is as consumers, worker bees and bits of data to be collected, catalogued, controlled, mined for information, and sold to the highest bidder. Working in cahoots with corporations, the government has given itself carte blanche access to our phone calls, emails, bank transactions, physical movements, even our travels on foot or in our cars. Cybersecurity expert Richard Clarke envisions a future where data about every aspect of our lives will be collected and analyzed. Thus, no matter what the U.S. Supreme Court might have said to the contrary, the government no longer needs a warrant to spy on your cell phone activity or anything else for that matter. As the Washington Post recently revealed, 9 out of 10 people caught up in the NSA’s surveillance net had done nothing wrong to justify such intrusions on their privacy. Clearly, the government now operates relatively autonomously, answering only to itself and unbridled by the courts, Congress, the will of the people or the Constitution.

Truth #5: Whatever problems we are grappling with in regards to illegal immigrants flooding over the borders has little to do with the fact that the borders are porous and everything to do with the government’s own questionable agenda. How is it that a government capable of locking down roads, open seas, and air routes is unable to prevent tens of thousands of women and children from crossing into the U.S. illegally? Conveniently, the Obama administration is asking Congress for $3.8 billion in emergency funding to send more immigration judges to the southern border, build additional detention facilities and add border patrol agents. The funds would be managed by the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, State and Health and Human Services, the very same agencies responsible for bringing about a rapid shift into a police state.

Truth #6: The U.S. government is preparing for massive domestic unrest, arising most likely from an economic meltdown. The government has repeatedly made clear its intentions, through its U.S. Army War College report alerting the military to prepare for a “violent, strategic dislocation inside the United States,” through its ongoing military drills in cities across the country, through its profiling of potential homegrown “dissidents” or extremists, and through the proliferation of detention centers being built across the country.

Truth #7: As Gerald Ford warned, “A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.” Too often, Americans have fallen prey to the temptation to let the government take care of whatever ails them, whether it be financial concerns, health needs, childcare. As a result, we now find ourselves caught in a Catch-22 situation wherein the government’s so-called solutions to our problems have led to even graver problems. In this way, zero tolerance policies intended to outlaw drugs and weapons in schools result in young children being arrested and kicked out of school for childish behavior such as drawing pictures of soldiers and crying too much; truancy laws intended to keep students in school have resulted in parents being arrested and fined excessively; and zoning laws intended to protect homeowners have been used to prosecute residents who attempt to live off the grid.

Truth #8: The U.S. is following the Nazi blueprint to a “t,” whether through its storm trooper-like police in the form of heavily armed government agents, to its erection of an electronic concentration camp that not only threatens to engulf America but the rest of the world as well via NSA surveillance programs such as Five Eyes. Most damning of all is the Department of Homeland Security’s self-appointed role as a national police force, a.k.a. standing army, the fundamental and final building block for every totalitarian regime that has ever wreaked havoc on humanity. Indeed, just about every nefarious deed, tactic or thuggish policy advanced by the government today can be traced back to the DHS, its police state mindset, and the billions of dollars it distributes to police agencies in the form of grants.

Truth #9: Not only does the U.S. government perpetrate organized, systematic violence on its own citizens, especially those who challenge its authority nonviolently, in the form of SWAT team raids, militarized police, and roaming VIPR checkpoints, but it gets away with these clear violations of the Fourth Amendment because the courts grant them immunity from wrongdoing. Expanding its reach, the U.S. also exports its violence wholesale to other countries through armaments sales and the use of its military as a global police force. Yet no matter how well trained, well equipped and well financed, America cannot police the world. As history shows, military empires, once over extended, inevitably collapse into chaos.

Truth #10: As I make clear in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, the United States of America has become the new battlefield. In fact, the only real war being fought by the U.S. government today is the war on the American people, and it is being waged with deadly weapons, militarized police, surveillance technology, laws that criminalize otherwise lawful behavior, private prisons that operate on quota systems, and government officials who are no longer accountable to the rule of law.

So there you have it: facts rather than fiction, so naked that a child could call it for what it is, and yet so politically inconvenient, incorrect and uncomfortable that few dare to speak of them.

Even so, despite the fact that no one wants to be labeled dimwitted, or conspiratorial, or a right wing nut job, most Americans, if they were truly paying attention to what’s been going on in this country over the past few decades and willing to be truthful, at least to themselves, would have to admit that the outlook is decidedly grim. Indeed, unless something changes drastically for the good in the near future, it looks like this fairytale will not have a happy ending.

MORE – The Rutherford Institute

Ron Paul: Nation’s Hospitals ‘Under Siege’ in Immigration Crisis

July 3, 2014 by  
Filed under Commentary

The ongoing crush of children illegally entering the United States has sparked a major health crisis at hospitals along the nation’s border, Ron Paul, a former Texas congressman and Republican presidential candidate, tells Newsmax TV.

“Our hospitals have already been under siege by immigrants,” Paul, an obstetrician, said Wednesday on  “The Steve Malzberg Show.”

And with these thousands, tens of thousands, who knows how many [children] . . . you’re going to see some very serious health problems . . . We’ve already overburdened many hospitals.

“In the 19th century, when we had a massive influx of immigrants, we were still cautious about diseases . . . Today, under these conditions, it just is essentially impossible to do this.”

Paul added that it appears the Obama administration is more concerned with other borders around the world than with U.S. borders.

“We spend way too much money worrying about the borders between Syria and Iraq and Afghanistan,” he said. “And we don’t seem to have any concern or policies that would be more sensible here at home.”

“We already have many problems in Texas and Arizona where individuals come over,” he said.

Paul said the nation is too quick to heap benefits on those who cross the borders.

“One of my arguments for trying to stem the tide would be remove the incentives and not to get free everything, free medical care and free education,” he said.

Paul, founder of Campaign for Liberty, said he is not surprised at a new Quinnipiac University poll that found Obama to be the lowest-ranked president since World War II.

“That takes some doing, to be the worst already. So, you’d think with all his problems he’d become a little more mellow and a little more cautious,” Paul said.

“But he becomes more aggressive. So, he’s more defensive, and I’m surprised of that because he’s doing excessively what most presidents do, they overstep their bounds.

“But I’ve never seen any of them be so arrogant about it, so in-your-face about it . . . He says, I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a telephone and if Congress won’t act, if the Congress doesn’t act, I am obligated to do it and I’m going to do it. He doesn’t back off at all.”

Paul called the Internal Revenue Service scandal — in which the agency allegedly targeted conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status — “one of the worst.”

“When you have a taxing authority, doing what if a business had done they would have been probably imprisoned by now, by destroying information and computers and all of these things that have gone on, it is such an outrage,” he said.

“One of the designs by the Constitution, the Fourth Amendment, was to protect our privacy. Well, look at what’s happening: [the] NSA and the IRS.”

More HERE

NAPOLITANO: From an inherited tyrant to an elected one

July 3, 2014 by  
Filed under Commentary

Celebrating Independence Day the way President Obama would

By Andrew P. Napolitano

Via Washington Times

After a brief holiday last week, I returned to some heavy reading, courtesy of the federal government. Some of the materials that I read were gratifying, and one of them was terrifying.

In one week, the Supreme Court told the police that if they want to examine the contents of our cellphones, whether at traffic stops or serious crime scenes, they need to get a warrant. The court told small-business owners that they needn’t pay for government-mandated insurance policies that provide for abortions for their employees, because the government is without authority to command them to do so. It told the president that he cannot wait until Saturday morning, when the Senate is not in session, to appoint high-level officials whose jobs require Senate confirmation, and then claim that they do not require Senate confirmation because the Senate was in recess. It also told selfless parents who stay home to care for their disabled children that the government may not force them to join health care labor unions and pay union dues against their will.


PHOTOS: Obama’s biggest White House ‘fails’


Buried in these opinions was a legal memorandum sent to the president on July 16, 2010, nearly four years ago, and released last week, after two years of litigation aimed at obtaining it.

The Obama administration had successfully resisted the efforts of The New York Times and others to induce a judge to order the release of the memo by claiming that it contained state secrets. The judge who reviewed the memo concluded that it was merely a legal opinion, and yet she referred to herself as being in “Alice in Wonderland”: The laws are public, and the judicial opinions interpreting them are public, so how could a legal opinion be secret? Notwithstanding her dilemma, she accepted the government’s absurd claims, and The New York Times appealed.

Then the government shot itself in the foot when it surreptitiously released a portion of its secret memo to NBC News. This infuriated the panel of federal appellate judges hearing The Times’ appeal, and they ordered the entire memo released. Either it is secret or it is not, the court thundered — and the government, which is bound by the transparency commanded by the First Amendment, cannot pick and choose which parts of its work to reveal to its favorite reporters and which to conceal from the rest of us.

Last week, the administration released the memo. It consists of 40 highly blacked-out pages, the conclusion of which is that the president can order the CIA to kill Americans who are present in foreign countries and who, in the opinion of high-level government officials, pose a threat to Americans and may be difficult to arrest.

The memorandum acknowledges that it is unprecedented in its scope and novel in its conclusion, and requires predicting what courts will do if they review it. Lawyers often predict for their clients what courts will do, and thus from their predictions, extrapolate advice for their clients. However, history has recorded no memo before this one that has advised a president in writing that he is free to kill an American who is not engaging in violence.

The logic of the memorandum states that Americans overseas who join organizations that promote acts of terrorism are the equivalent of enemy soldiers in uniform in wartime. It follows, the memo argues, that because Congress has authorized the president to kill foreign terrorists when they are in foreign lands, he can kill Americans there, as well.


SEE ALSO: Hands down, Obama is the worst president since WWII: poll


Conveniently, the memorandum never mentions the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution, which famously commands that if the government wants the life, liberty or property of any person, it can only do so via due process. Due process requires a jury trial with its attendant constitutional protections. The only recognized exceptions to this requirement are the individual and collective right to immediate self-defense. Since natural rights trump all positive law, a cop can kill a bank robber who is shooting at him, and soldiers can kill enemy soldiers who are about to shoot at them. At the root of the recognized exceptions to the requirement of due process is the active violence of the perpetrator, such that due process is impossible and such that the threat to life is clear, present and immediate.

The persons killed pursuant to this secret memo were all Americans. One, Anwar al-Awlaki, the stated target of the memo, was not engaged in combat or armed or on a battlefield when he was killed. He did not wear the uniform of an enemy army, and he was not engaged in active violence at the time of his killing. He was in a car in the desert in Yemen driving to meet his 16-year-old American son. He had been under continuous surveillance by 12 American and four Yemeni intelligence agents for the 48 hours preceding his killing by a CIA drone. The drone that killed him was soon followed by drones that killed his son and two other Americans.

This week marks the anniversary of America’s birth as a free nation, when we fought a war against a tyrant and seceded from his kingdom. We thought we had banished tyranny from our shores. We thought we had ratified a Constitution that would compel the government to respect our natural rights. We thought we had established a society based upon the rule of law.

We were wrong. We have gone from an inherited tyrant to an elected one. I have never heard President Obama say this, but it seems logical that if he thinks he can lawfully kill Americans abroad, he also thinks he can kill us here.

Happy Fourth of July.

Andrew P. Napolitano, a former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, is an analyst for the Fox News Channel. He has written seven books on the U.S. Constitution.

Is the US Senate an Insane Asylum?‏

July 1, 2014 by  
Filed under Commentary

Sen McCain Wants You to Wage War on the Thugs He Embraced.

ACTION ITEM

 

I just sent a letter telling Congress to Stop Policing the World.

 

Please do the same. You may borrow from or copy this letter…

 

I will NEVER, EVER forget that…

 

In 2003, Congress endorsed President Bush’s war on Iraq under a cloud of lies.

 

 - I relied on www.TruthAboutWar.org, which was able to find and publish the evidence of deception before the United States attacked.

 - And former Congressman John Hostettler published a book saying that this evidence was actually made available to Congress, but they chose to ignore it.

 

But that was NOT the end of your foreign policy blunders…

 

Three years ago, President Obama illegally bombed Libya and strengthened Sunni extremists, without even asking for your approval. Instead of impeaching him, you did NOTHING.

 

Then, just last year…

 

John McCain toured Syrian rebel territory, taking photo-ops with rebels who are fighting with ISIS. Six months later, he hotly protested the notion that the rebels were jihadists.

 

Lindsey Graham claimed Iran would nuke Charleston unless we abandoned diplomacy in favor of war. Now he’s saying we need to work with Iran to rein in John McCain’s old pals in ISIS.

 

Excuse me, but McCain and Graham are insane. They belong in an asylum. Maybe the Senate is an asylum…

 

It sure seems that way to this taxpayer, because, instead of treating McCain and Graham like the deranged fools they are, you treat them with respect, and even follow their mad advice. As a result…

 

The U.S. is now blundering into another war in Iraq against the very same people Bush, Obama, McCain, and Graham enabled!

 

I DO NOT CONSENT!

 

Why must I pay taxes to support EITHER side in foreign conflicts when I know that BOTH are evil and corrupt? It’s even worse knowing that our current allies always become our future enemies.

 

I DEMAND that you stop any bombing campaign or re-invasion of Iraq. REPEAL the Iraq War Authorization of 2002.

 

Consider this your political warning: I was in the minority in 2003. I won’t be this time. Don’t be on the wrong side of history. STOP THE MADNESS!

–END OF LETTER–

 

Send your letter using DownsizeDC.org’s Educate the Powerful System.

UN to Set Up a U.S.based Disarmament Specialist

June 30, 2014 by  
Filed under Commentary

 

UN to Set Up a U.S.-based Disarmament Specialist

 

The New American

It’s no secret that President Obama and the would-be global governors at the United Nations are anxious to disarm the American people. Now they’re looking to hire some help in getting it done.

From the UN’s Programme of Action and Arms Trade Treaty, to his own executive orders, Obama is pursuing every available avenue toward de facto repeal of the Second Amendment and the God-given right to keep and bear arms that it protects.

Over the next few weeks, though, the UN is looking to add personnel to its gun grabbing gestapo. In a job advertisement open until July 26, the UN is looking for a “Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Officer.”

 

What will this bureaucrat’s bailiwick be? Here’s a summary of the job description as posted by the UN:

Act as a Focal Point for DDR [Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration] components for 2-3 missions, responsible for planning, support to implementation and evaluation;

Advise, develop and review (as appropriate) initial DDR functional strategy and concept of operations for further development into a full programme by the DDR component and the National DDR Commission;

Provide Headquarters support in planning the civilian and military logistics support for DDR;

Continually review DDR programme strategy and implementation through relevant documents, reports and code cables;

Conduct field missions to assess implementation of established DDR programmes;

Identify potential problems and issues to be addressed and suggest remedies to DDR units in the field; and

Liaise with others (UN, regional organizations [sic] and Member States) providing DDR training.

As if the list of tasks assigned to the disarmament specialist isn’t enough to fire up patriots who own firearms and refuse to have them seized by the UN or the Obama administration, the UN wants to base this office in New York City!

It is more than a little incompatible that a country that places such a high value on gun ownership that it enshrined it in its Bill of Rights participates in an organization that has such disdain and disregard for those rights that it is opening a disarmament office in that country.

Lest anyone think that there’s nothing to fear from this agent of disarmament, consider the definitions of disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration provided by the UN on an information page linked to the job opening announcement:

Disarmament is the collection, documentation, control and disposal of small arms, ammunition, explosives and light and heavy weapons from combatants and often from the civilian population.

Demobilization is the formal and controlled discharge of active combatants from armed forces and groups, including a phase of “reinsertion” which provides short-term assistance to ex-combatants.

Reintegration is the process by which ex-combatants acquire civilian status and gain sustainable employment and income. It is a political, social and economic process with an open time-frame, primarily taking place in communities at the local level.

The objective of the DDR process is to contribute to security and stability in post-conflict environments so that recovery and development can begin. DDR helps create an enabling environment for political and peace processes by dealing with security problem that arises when ex-combatants are trying to adjust to normal life, during the vital transition period from conflict to peace and development.

Notably, the UN will require the DDR specialist to help disarm ex-combatants. Is this mission not an eery echo of recent efforts in the United States to keep veterans from owning firearms? Perhaps, unbeknownst to the American people, President Obama has already been using his infamous “pen” and “phone” to carry out the disarmament of veterans in furtherance of some higher-level UN strategy.

Could it be also that the rapid militarization of local law enforcement in the United States could be another tactic in the piecemeal, surreptitious deployment of “troops” capable of carrying out a forcible forfeiture of firearms?

As reported by the National Rifle Association’s Ginny Simone, there are those on the inside who have raised the warning voice.

Simone reports that in 2012, Ambassador Faith Whittlesey, a U.S. delegate to the UN Small Arms Conference, revealed that the UN’s ultimate goal is to disarm all Americans in the name of global peace and an end to armed violence.

“In New York, right here on our own shores, we’ve got a Trojan horse. They won’t accept U.S. firearms policy,” Whittlesey said. “They want to take the decision away from the U.S. electorate and undermine our Constitution.”

Regardless of the reason, Americans must adamantly refuse to allow the UN to establish an office of disarmament on our own shores. We must demonstrate our ancestors’ zeal for liberty, particularly regarding the fundamental right to oppose tyranny by force of arms.

If we do not, we may soon be subject to the full expression of the authority of the U.S.-based DDR specialist and be left defenseless in the fight against absolutism.

 

Joe A. Wolverton, II, J.D. is a correspondent for The New American and travels nationwide speaking on nullification, the Second Amendment, the surveillance state, and other constitutional issues.  Follow him on Twitter @TNAJoeWolverton and he can be reached at jwolverton@thenewamerican.com.

Obama Announces Plan to Fight Al Qaeda, by Arming Al Qaeda

June 28, 2014 by  
Filed under Commentary

the CIA et al invented “Al Qaeda” ……….. What else is new?

Tim Osman (Ossman) has recently become better known as Osama Bin Ladin. “Tim Osman” was the name assigned to him by the CIA for his tour of the U.S. and U.S. military bases, in search of political support and armaments. [...] There is some evidence that Tim Osman … visited the White House. There is certainty that Tim Osman toured some U.S. military bases, even receiving special demonstrations of the latest equipment. Why hasn’t this been reported in the major media? [ click for Full article]

Via Front Page

The Obama administration asked Congress on Thursday to authorize $500 million in direct U.S. military training and equipment for Syrian opposition fighters

Obama didn’t ask Congress for authorization to invade Libya. He told Congress that he wouldn’t ask for permission to bomb Iraq.

The only reason Obama asks for something is to score political points or to cover his ass. In this case it’s the latter because even Obama knows this is a terrible idea.

That’s why he has been delaying for so long.

Within the OCO request, the Syria money is part of a $5 billion fund announced by Obama last month to help build a new counterterrorism infrastructure with partner countries “from South Asia to the Sahel.”

So Obama is going engage in counterterrorism… by arming and training terrorists. That’s like running guns to Mexican drug cartels to stop Mexican drug cartels from having guns…

… another brilliant Obama plan.

The request does not specify the type of military equipment that would be included. Under the existing covert program, the administration has sent limited quantities of small arms and ammunition and has allowed others to send U.S.-made antitank weapons.

So we’re going to be giving them unspecified weapons that could be used against American targets.

A US chopper in Afghanistan was already shot down by the Taliban using a Qatari shipment of Stinger missiles meant for Libya. That was another of Obama’s great plans.

Obama turned a blind eye to Qatar smuggling weapons to Jihadists in Syria.

The $500 million training and equipping mission would be aimed at helping “vetted elements” of the Syrian armed opposition to “defend the Syrian people, stabilize areas under opposition control, facilitate the provision of essential services, counter terrorist threats, and promote conditions for a negotiated settlement.”

What exactly are these “vetted elements”?

1. Last spring the New York Times wrote, “Nowhere in rebel-controlled Syria is there a secular fighting force to speak of.”

 

2. The only opposition we supposedly backed was the Free Syrian Army.

Unfortunately…

A. The Free Syrian Army consisted of a coalition of mostly Islamist militias under Islamist commanders, some of whom carried out joint operations with Al Qaeda/Al Nusra Front, which has pledged alliance to ISIS/Al Qaeda in Iraq.

B. An Islamist coalition easily took on the FSA and stole all the stuff we gave them while their fighters ran away.

C. 4 out of 5 FSA front commanders demanded to work with Al Qaeda.

D. Its leader initially defended Al Qaeda/Al Nusra and claimed they weren’t terrorists.

 

3. There is no such thing as a “vetted opposition” because the weapons we give will go down to individual groups that can align with whoever they chose and trade weapons with anyone they choose.

The FSA fighter we train today may be an Al Qaeda fighter tomorrow or he may have been Al Qaeda last week.

 

4. ISIS got so big and dangerous because of the weapons and recruits pouring into the Syrian opposition. Trying to arm and train “moderate elements” just keeps the conflict going which makes Al Qaeda grow faster and bigger than ever.

You can’t beat Al Qaeda by helping Al Qaeda.

Another Secret Trade Agreement (Regional Govt!) – TISA

June 25, 2014 by  
Filed under Commentary

By James Hall – June 25, 2014

 

BATR

The significance of the TPP -Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and the TTIP – Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement has your head spinning already, now add another globalist gift to the Corporatocracy model of total trade domination, the TISA – Trade In Services Agreement. According to the trade group, Coalition of Service Industries, “the TISA is currently being negotiated in Geneva, Switzerland with 50 participants that represent 70 percent of the world’s trade in services . . . The TISA has the opportunity to address major and fundamental barriers to trade in services affecting the United States and the globe. Some barriers to services trade include limited movement of data across borders, unfair competition from state-owned enterprises, lack of transparency and need for due process of law, and forced local ownership and discrimination in obtaining business licenses and permits.”

What a noble goal, Transparency. When did you hear about this updated GATS and WTO agreement? Well, if you are watching the pressitute media, you probably are in the dark. However, the Office of United State Trade Representative just loves formulating international rules, requirements and regulations, since the benefits are so dramatic. “If business services were to achieve the same export potential as manufactured goods globally, U.S. exports could increase by as much as $800 billion.”Just one question, that never seems to get an answer. Why do all these “so called” beneficial trade agreements doom the United States to a permanent balance of trade deficit?

Trading Economics reports, US Trade Deficit Widens to 2-Year High, “US trade gap increased to USD 47.2 billion in April of 2014 from a revised USD 44.2 billion in March, as imports recorded the highest value on record. Purchases of automobiles, capital goods, food and consumer goods all hit record highs in April.”

“The United States recorded a trade deficit of 47236 USD Million in April of 2014. Balance of Trade in the United States averaged -12476.56 USD Million from 1950 until 2014, reaching an all time high of 1946 USD Million in June of 1975 and a record low of -67235 USD Million in August of 2006. Balance of Trade in the United States is reported by the U.S. Census Bureau.”

Even the globalist flagship social control financial institution, the World Bank grudgingly admits that America is the world leader in red ink.

The video, A Plan Only Banksters Will Love: WikiLeaks Reveals Trade Deal Pushing Global Financial Deregulation, sets the stage for understanding the danger from this agreement. So what is the expectation from the Secret Trade in Services Agreement (TISA)? Thanks to WikiLeaks, reading the TISA details are available online. If left up to those financial technocrats, ordinary consumers need not know why they are barely able to survive.

“The US and the EU are the main proponents of the agreement, and the authors of most joint changes, which also covers cross-border data flow. In a significant anti-transparency manoeuvre by the parties, the draft has been classified to keep it secret not just during the negotiations but for five years after the TISA enters into force.

RT acknowledges the Secret trade agreement covering 68 percent of world services published by WikiLeaks. Yet the interpretation and effects of sections within the agreement vary greatly from the Chamber of Commerce advocacy.Note two examples.

From The Age article, Secret deal: bank free-for-all.
  • “Dr. Patricia Ranald, a research associate at the University of Sydney and convener of the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network, told the paper that the documents suggest the US wants to “tie the hands” of other governments, including allied ones, by way of sheer deregulation.”

    “Amendments from the US are seeking to end publicly provided services like public pension funds, which are referred to as ‘monopolies’ and to limit public regulation of all financial services,” she said. ”They want to freeze financial regulation at existing levels, which would mean that governments could not respond to new developments like another global financial crisis.”

Compare this viewpoint with the PRNewswire, Secret Trade Deal Puts Public Services at Risk Around the World, as published by CNBC.
  • “This massive trade deal will put public health care, child care, postal, broadcasting, water, power, transport and other services at risk. The TISA will lock in the privatisations of services-even in cases where private service delivery has failed-meaning governments can never return water, energy, health, education or other services to public hands. The TISA will also restrict a government’s right to regulate stronger standards in the public’s interest. For example, it will affect environmental regulations, licensing of health facilities and laboratories, waste disposal centres, power plants, school and university accreditation and broadcast licenses. The proposed deal will also restrict a government’s ability to regulate key sectors including financial, energy, telecommunications and cross-border data flows.”

Both accounts raise concerns that various sovereign governments would be restricted from legislating indigenous protections for their own populations. Ostentatiously, a free market advocate might be tempted to favor limiting the role and scope of your own government. However, the fundamental objective of any of these trade agreements is to place the bulk of commerce under international treaty preeminence.

tisa.jpg

The invisible hand of Adam Smith must bow a genuflected knee to the globalist elites, who foster the free trade fraud that only benefits their mastery and control of the planet.
Look at the TISA concept as a giant “Commerce Clause” for the New World Order. Under treaty arrangements, each individual nation subordinates their autonomy to become part of the intercontinental club, using that colorful pejorative “community of nations“, while acting as a band of monopolists. Allowing one’s own country to become servants to the decrees of EU bureaucrats in Brussels, or jurists in The Hague, and especially banksters at the Bank of International Settlements, cannot and will never achieve widespread prosperity. Here lies the lesson. Achieving the uplifting of humanity, both economically and socially, has never been the goal, much less the plan of the internationalists. Corporatists are transnational racketeers bent on eliminating real competition, while pulling the strings of governmental puppets. The elites want the extinction of the nation state, and trade agreements hasten global assimilation into a commercial system where only obedient vassals participate. Apparently, the establishment wants the TISA hidden for a very good reason.

James Hall – June 25, 2014

ALSO:

Also the TTIP was pushed at this year’s Bilberberg meeting ……….

“Try telling that to the lobbyists who have been working so hard to push the Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership (TTIP) deal that is being negotiated. Bilderberg is packed to the gills with senior members of powerful lobby groups. Will members of British American Business’s international advisory board, such as Douglas Flint and Peter Sutherland, express BAB’s fervent support of TTIP when discussing “Is the economic recovery sustainable?” Or will they leave their lobbying hats at the door?

MP Michael Meacher describes Bilderberg as “the cabal of the rich and powerful” who are working “to consolidate and extend the grip of the markets”. And they’re doing so “beyond the reach of the media or the public”. That said, every year, the press probes a little further behind the security fencing. Every year the questions for the politicians who attend, but remain silent, get harder.

Central Planning by Central Bankers

June 23, 2014 by  
Filed under Commentary

Gary North – June 20, 2014

One of the problems that anyone who is critical of the Federal Reserve System faces is the fact that he is regarded as someone without any expertise in the area of money and banking.

In a 2009 article, the Huffington Post went into considerable detail about the number of people with PhD degrees in economics employed by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. This is the government’s branch of the Federal Reserve. It is not one of the 12 regional Federal Reserve banks, all of which are privately owned. The Board of Governors at the time the article was written had 220 full-time economists on its staff. The author did attempt to find out how many economists are on the payroll of the 12 regional banks, but he could not. These are major institutions. Each of them publishes its own monthly magazine.

In terms of the number of people with PhD degrees in economics who specialize in money and banking nationally, there may be as many as 1500, but it could be as few as 1000. Anyway, that was the case in 2009. So, we’re talking about a situation in which perhaps as many as a third of all the specialists in the field are employed by some branch of the Federal Reserve. But this is only the tip of the iceberg. The Federal Reserve has part-time contracts that it doles out to economists in the field. It sets aside almost half a billion every year to pay economists. That is an enormous amount of money to flow in the direction of a single profession.

The article concluded that the Federal Reserve has basically bought control of the field. Almost nobody challenges the Federal Reserve in any serious way.

Here’s a situation in which the agency that controls monetary policy for the United States has an unlimited amount of money to buy support, compliance, or least silence within that segment of professionally trained economists that specializes in money and banking. The Federal Reserve gets to keep all the money that it wants for operations. It has to turn back over to the Treasury Department any money that is not used for operations, but it does not answer to Congress or the Treasury with respect to how it spends its money. This means that the Federal Reserve has essentially unlimited funds available to buy off those critics who might challenge Federal Reserve policy.

The Federal Reserve System is a cartel. It operates for the benefit a relatively small number of banks, probably fewer than two dozen, which constitute at least 80% of all bank deposits in the United States. Really, the Federal Reserve is dealing with about a dozen of these enormous banks. It does not answer to close to 7,000 small banks. They have no clout. They have so few deposits, compared to the giants, that whether they survive or not is basically irrelevant to the Federal Reserve System.

The organization is truly untouchable today. It has never been audited by an agency not employed by it. It is not going to be audited. Nobody knows how much gold is in it. Nobody knows what liabilities or claims against this gold there are. In other words, the central agency that controls the central economic institution in modern society, meaning commercial banking, is beyond control of the vast majority of those banks, and it is beyond the control of Congress. No President ever challenges the Federal Reserve System.

Under these circumstances, what possible effect does criticism from outside the Federal Reserve have? We know how much effect it has. None. If Congress, which is supposedly in charge, does not have the votes to get an audit by the Federal Reserve by the Government Accountability Office, then the Federal Reserve is truly independent of the government. It may go along with a particular presidential administration, but it does not have to.

I do not think there is any other institution in the United States that has this degree of autonomy from government. It proclaims itself as independent of government. It is lauded in the textbooks because it is independent of the government. I am aware of no other institution in the United States whose main claim to fame is that the federal government has no control over it. In textbooks written by leftist authors who want to see control, or least severe regulation, over every aspect of the capitalist economy, they all give a free ride to the Federal Reserve System. In this one case, they pull back from their ideological position, and they claim that the great advantage of the Federal Reserve is its independence from politics. This is completely contradictory to the party line of the American Left, yet there are almost no deviants from this party line.

It is an arcane system. Almost nobody understands how it works. Nobody is supposed understand how it works. Those inside the system who publish their unreadable articles in the regional Federal Reserve magazines never get to the heart of the system. You don’t even get a clear explanation of what constitutes excess reserves. You don’t get an explanation of how it is that, since late 2008, the excess reserves had climbed almost 3 trillion dollars, when those reserves were virtually nonexistent prior to 2008. There is no open discussion of this. It is the central fact of monetary policy today, yet it is not openly discussed. This kind of silence is not random. It is imposed.

If the central institution of an economy is the monetary system, and this institution is controlled by a government-created cartel, and this cartel is independent of the government, then what possible opportunity does the general public have to reclaim freedom for monetary affairs? The answer is obvious: none.

When you consider the fact that the Federal Reserve System is the central bank among the central banks of the world, at least for the present, you begin to understand how a tiny handful of people, who are in charge of an institution that is beyond political control, and whose ownership is concealed with respect to the 12 regional banks, is in control of the economy. This is central planning. We should call it what it is. I know of no socialist government in the West that has ever had the same degree of power over the entire economy that the Federal Reserve System has in the United States. I’m not speaking here of the Soviet Union or Communist China. The Federal Reserve was never in a position of being able to have people arrested in the middle of the night, carried away, and executed. But if you’re talking about central planning over the central institution of the economy, this is true central planning. It is licensed by the federal government, but it is not controlled by the federal government.

In other words, Western economies are centrally planned economies. They are not called this, but this is what they are. They are simply not centrally planned by the government. They are centrally planned by a cartel that represents about a dozen banks. The economics textbooks do not discuss this aspect of the economy.

There are a few critics of the system on the Right and the Left, and there is the old populist movement that has been critical of central banking from the beginning. I would put this movement on the Left politically, but I think it is on the Right socially. It is represented these days by Ellen Brown. That anybody with this little economic knowledge as Ellen Brown possesses could become the major spokesman for the populist movement is indicative of just how bad the situation is in the general population. She has no influence. I have replied to her here.

Going up against the Federal Reserve today is about as politically suicidal as anyone could imagine. The FED is truly untouchable.

The people in the FED think they know what they’re doing. But here is an organization that, from 1914 to 2008, accumulated $800 billion of Treasury debt. It did this through two world wars. It did this in the Great Depression. And then, in a period of five years, added $3.2 trillion to its portfolio. This is not the response of a group of professionals who understand what they are doing. This is not the response of a group of technicians who have a systematic plan to direct the economy. This is the Keystone Cops. Yet these people really are in charge of monetary policy, which means they really are in charge of the amplitude of the business cycle. They cannot suppress it permanently, but they can make it much, much worse. They can hold off disaster, but they cannot avoid disaster. We saw that in 2008 in 2009. There is going to be another similar event, except it will be of greater magnitude.

Then the question will be this: who will represent the critics of the Federal Reserve? There will be millions of critics at that point. The Federal Reserve can run, but it cannot hide. It will be left holding the bag. It will be blamed for the cycle. It will not escape criticism next time. The problem is, it is not clear which critics of the Federal Reserve will gain the ear of the public, and it is not clear whether Congress will actually listen to the voters. Central banking is at the heart of the modern economy, and it is a central planning agency that is attempting to control the lives of several billion people worldwide. This can be done for a while, but it cannot be done indefinitely.

We do not know what is to replace central banks, but we do know this: failure on the magnitude of what is coming cannot be hidden. Next time, or perhaps a time after, the public will understand that the Federal Reserve is the cause of the problem, and that it must be abolished. Milton Friedman finally came to that conclusion, after having defended the legitimacy of central banking throughout almost all of his career. He finally gave up. Http://bit.ly/FriedmanFed.

People get upset about the Federal Reserve. It doesn’t do any good to get upset. You can’t change the system under the present circumstances. But, at some point, central planning will do what central planning always does, namely, crash the economy. At that time, there will be numerous opportunities for critics of the Federal Reserve to take on the bureaucrats, despite all those PhD’s in economics that are on the staff. They will be left holding the bag. They will be left with the blame for the crisis, which they truly will have created. We will see at that time what the public really wants.

My fear is that the public will accept the fact that Congress can intervene to take over the Federal Reserve. That would be a true catastrophe. We will see whether people really believe in the free market. It is the job of those of us who are critics of central planning, and also critics of monetary inflation, to make the best possible case we can.

The Austrian school will have the best shot at it, because the Austrian School has been most consistent and the opposition to central banking. This goes back to Ludwig von Mises’s book, The Theory of Money and Credit, which was published in 1912, in which he attacked the whole idea of central banking. But during the interim, there is going to be much pain. There will be a lot of people unemployed who will not understand why they are unemployed. There will be losses in the equity markets that are staggering, which will dwarf what took place in 2008-2009. The Federal Reserve seems untouchable today, and it is untouchable today. But that kind of power always leads to market failure. It is our job to make certain that, the next time it happens, the Federal Reserve System does not get a free ride.

Arrest John McCain and Lindsey Graham for providing material support to terrorists

June 19, 2014 by  
Filed under Commentary

According to John McCain and Lindsey Graham, when Syrian Jihadists fight the Assad regime, they need our support; however, if they cross the border into Iraq, they are terrorists that may actually launch another 9/11-style attack on the U.S.
mccain-rebels
by Mario Andrade
DeadlineLive.info
6/19/2014

Yesterday, the FBI arrested two more dupes in Texas for trying to join Islamist rebel groups in Syria and Somalia ,and telling an informer about it. They were stopped at the airport and were charged with ‘providing material support to terrorists,’ which was probably a crime they hadn’t actually committed yet – as it is the case with most of these FBI entrapment scenarios.

By the same standards, one could say that Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham have engaged in similar criminal activity. As members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, they have repeatedly called for arming the so-called ‘Syrian rebels,’ who are now in Iraq, taking over the northwestern cities and ready to take over Baghdad.

In fact, Senator McCain has actually gone a step further than the two dupes that were arrested at the airport by the FBI yesterday -as they were ready to take their flight to join with Jihadists. McCain has actually taken the flight to the Middle East and joined the Islamist rebels in Syria. In a Jane Fonda-like moment, he shook hands and hugged with the extremists, posing for the camera and taking a few photos with the so-called ‘rebels.’

These Syrian ‘rebels’ were the same insurgents that were crossing the border into Iraq and killing U.S. troops during Operation Iraqi Freedom. And they are now the same extremists crossing the border into Iraq today, calling themselves the ISIS fighters. This group of fighters is allegedly a former faction of Al-Qaeda; some say they still are part of Al-Qaeda. ISIS stands for the ‘Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.’ One can only wonder how this group of generally non-English speaking and illiterate fighters came up with such catchy English acronym… ‘ISIS.’

There needs to be a serious investigation about how much funding and training these Syrian ‘rebels’ (now called ISIS insurgents) have been receiving from the U.S. Government, with Senators McCain and Graham cheerleading these efforts. It is especially important to get to the truth since the proverbial chickens have come home to roost, and these ‘insurgents’ are allegedly getting ready to overthrow Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s government, according to McCain himself.

Yes, McCain is the biggest and most outspoken critic of how Barry Obama let the insurgents back into Iraq. Never mind he shook hands with the terrorists and posed in front of the cameras with them.

Also, there needs to be a serious investigation into Benghazi (deeper than just Hillary Clinton’s role) to find out if the Obama administration was shipping weapons, personnel, or money from Libya to the so-called Syrian rebels. And to determine if those operations had anything to do with the murder of Ambassador Stevens and his security detail. Was this another blowback scenario? Was it an inside job?

Heads need to roll. Impeachment proceedings against Barack Obama, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Hillary Clinton, and her successor John Kerry need to be put in place. Criminal charges need to be filed. And prison sentences need to be served by the guilty parties involved in this outrageous act of treason.

In another Bizarro World moment, Senator Lindsey Graham -acting like the ISIS invasion of Iraq is a total surprise to him- is calling on the Obama administration to take action against these ‘insurgents’ or ‘they will carry out another 9/11.’ Wow! Talk about extreme opposites! Just last year, Graham was the biggest supporter of these insurgents (previously called Syrian rebels).

Someone needs to arrest these two clowns. The more they speak publicly about this problem, the more they incriminate themselves. Hey senator, should we still send money and weapons to the Syrian rebels?

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