Saturday, April 21, 2012

Food Stamp Rolls to Grow Through 2014, CBO Says

Wall Street Journal
April 19, 2012



The Congressional Budget Office said Thursday that 45 million people in 2011 received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, a 70% increase from 2007. It  said the number of people receiving the benefits, commonly known as food stamps, would continue growing until 2014.
Click for larger CBO infographic.
Spending for the program, not including administrative costs, rose to $72 billion in 2011, up from $30 billion four years earlier. The CBO projected that one in seven U.S. residents received food stamps last year.
In a report, the CBO said roughly two-thirds of jump in spending was tied to an increase in the number of people participating in the program, which provides access to food for the poor, elderly, and disabled. It said another 20% “of the growth in spending can be attributed to temporarily higher benefit amounts enacted in the” 2009 stimulus law.
CBO said the number of people receiving benefits is expected to fall after 2014 because the economy will be improving.
“Nevertheless, the number of people receiving SNAP benefits will remain high by historical standards,” the agency said.
It estimated that 34 million people, or 1 in 10 U.S. residents, would receive SNAP benefits in 2022 “and SNAP expenditures, at about $73 billion, will be among the highest of all non-health-related federal support programs for low-income households.”

Why Is It Necessary For The Federal Government To Turn The United States Into A Prison Camp?


Economic Collapse Blog
Saturday, April 21, 2012
There has been no society in the history of the world that has ever been 100% safe.  No matter how much money the federal government spends on “homeland security”, the truth is that bad things will still happen.  Our world is a very dangerous place and it is becoming increasingly unstable.

The federal government could turn the entire country into one giant prison camp, but that would still not keep us safe.  It is inevitable that bad stuff will happen in life.  But we have a choice.  We can choose to live in fear or we can choose to live as free men and women.  Our forefathers intended to establish a nation where liberty and freedom would be maximized.  But today we are told that we have to give up our liberties and our freedoms and our privacy for increased security.  But is such a trade really worth it?  Just think of the various totalitarian societies that we have seen down throughout history.  Have any of them ever really thrived?  Have their people been happy?  Unfortunately, the U.S. federal government has decided that the entire country needs to be put on lock down.  Nearly everything that we do today is watched and tracked, and personal privacy is rapidly becoming a thing of the past.  Many of the things that George Orwell wrote about in 1984 are becoming a reality, and that is a very frightening thing.  The United States is supposed to be the land of the free and the home of the brave.  Sadly, we are rapidly becoming the exact opposite of that.
I don’t know about you, but I never signed up to live in North Korea.  When I was growing up I was taught that repressive regimes such as North Korea are “the bad guys” and that America is where “the good guys” live.
So why do we want to be just like North Korea?
When they put in the naked body scanners at U.S. airports and started having TSA agents conduct “enhanced pat-downs” of travelers, I decided that I was not going to fly anymore unless absolutely necessary.
Then I heard about how “random bag checks” were being conducted at Metro train stations in the Washington D.C. area, and I was glad that I was no longer taking the train into D.C. anymore.
But now the TSA is showing up everywhere.  Down in Houston, undercover TSA agents and police officers will now “ride buses, perform random bag checks, and conduct K-9 sweeps, as well as place uniformed and plainclothes officers at Transit Centers and rail platforms to detect, prevent and address latent criminal activity or behavior.”
So now I have another thing to add to my list of things that I can’t do anymore.
No more riding buses for me.
But the truth is that you can’t escape this expanding security grid no matter how hard you try.
In fact, TSA “VIPR teams” conduct approximately 8,000 “unannounced security screenings”every year at bus terminals, train stations, ports and highway rest stops throughout the United States.
Look, every society needs some level of security.  There are always bad guys out there that want to harm innocent people.
But in the United States we must demand that those in charge of our security do their jobs in a way that does not compromise our dignity, our liberties or our freedoms.
Does having TSA thugs touch the private parts of old women and young children before they get on their flights keep us any safer?
Of course not.
But it does move our country in a very dangerous direction.
The reality is that this “Big Brother control grid” that is being constructed all around us is expanding in a thousand different ways.
For example, a new bill before the U.S. Congress would require black box data recorders to be installed in all new vehicles starting in 2015.  These black box data recorders will be able to constantly transmit data about everything that your car is  doing to the government and to the insurance companies.  The following is from a recent article by Eric Peters….
And naturally, they – the government, insurance companies – will be able to track your every move, noting (and recording) where you’ve been and when. This will create a surveillance net beyond anything that ever existed previously. Some will not sweat this: After all, if you’ve got nothing to hide, why worry? Except for the fact that, courtesy of almost everything we do being either “illegal” or at least “suspicious” we all have a great deal to hide. The naivety of the Don’t Worry, it’s No Big Deal crowd is breathtaking. Did the average Soviet citizen also “not have anything to hide,” and hence why worry?
But the last possibility is probably the creepiest possibility: EDRs tied into your car’s GPS will give them – the government and its corporate **** ******* (edited for language) – literal physical control over (hack) “your” vehicle. This is not conspiracy theorizing. It is technological fact. Current GM vehicles equipped with the same technology about to be mandated for every vehicle can be disabled remotely. Just turned off. All the OnStar operator has to do is send the appropriate command over the GPS to your car’s computer, which controls the engine. It is one of the features touted by OnStar – of course, as a “safety” feature.
In the future, it will be used to limit your driving – for the sake of “energy conservation” or perhaps, “the environment.” It will be the perfect, er, vehicle, for implementing U.N. Agenda 21 – the plan to herd all of us formerly free-range tax cattle into urban feedlots. So much easier to control us this way. No more bailing out to the country or living off the grid – unless you get there (and to your work) by walking.
Even when you are sitting at home you are still being watched and monitored in countless ways.
For example, every single call you make on your cell phone is intercepted and monitored by the government.
Your Internet activity is tracked and monitored by a whole host of government agencies as well.  If you doubt this, just read this article.

Friday, April 20, 2012

House GOP Backs Homeland Security Powers for Nat’l Parks in Border Zone


Julie Cart
L.A. Times
April 20, 2012
LOS ANGELES — House Republicans are backing legislation in Congress to give the Department of Homeland Security control of more than 50 national parks and forests within 100 miles of the U.S. borders, including in Washington state.
The legislation involves a sweep of land along the frontier with Canada and Mexico, but exempts state land, private property and federal holdings used for mining, livestock grazing and timber harvesting. The new authority would carve through 54 national parks. Among the parks that would be affected are North Cascades National Park and Olympic National Park in Washington; Glacier National Park in Montana; Saguaro National Park in Arizona; and Acadia National Park in Maine. National forests along the border, and areas protected as wilderness, also could be affected.
The National Security and Federal Lands Protection Act, sponsored by conservative Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, would give Border Patrol and Customs agents and other federal officials the right to suspend any federal law, including environmental laws, on land managed by the departments of Interior and Agriculture. It would give Homeland Security the right to conduct any activity or construct any facility required to secure the border.
[...]
Park advocates say the legislation overreaches, calling it unnecessary because Homeland Security already has the power to suspend laws that inhibit its operations. They say the bill will override 36 federal laws that protect cultural and historic sites, wildlife and valued landscapes.

New federal agency Office of Financial Research stirs ‘Orwellian’ fears


Fox News
April 20, 2012
It is the most powerful federal agency you’ve never heard of — and lawmakers from both parties on Thursday vowed to keep abreast of its astonishing growth and rein it in, if necessary.
The Office of Financial Research, or OFR, was created by the Dodd-Frank financial services overhaul that President Obama signed into law in July 2010. Technically housed under the Treasury Department, the agency has until now received its funding not from the Congress, but directly from the Federal Reserve.
Starting in July, the OFR Fiscal Year 2013 budget, estimated at $158 million, will be funded entirely through assessments — also known as taxes — on bank-holding firms with consolidated assets worth at least $50 billion.
But as became clear at Thursday’s hearing by the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, a close reading of the law the president signed provides no limit on the growth of OFR’s budget, nor on the taxes the agency can impose on big banks to fund it.

NATO’s Slow Genocide in Libya: Syria is Next


Tony Cartalucci 
Infowars.com
April 19, 2012
While Qatari government propaganda outlet Al Jazeera is busy whitewashing the NATO-led terrorist take-over of Libya with “documentaries” like “Gaddafi: The Endgame – State of Denial,” depicting the evisceration of one of Africa’s most developed nation-states as a pro-democracy revolution yielding a promising tomorrow – Libya in reality has been plunged into perpetual violence, destabilization, and division. And as militants battle each other while carving the once unified Libya into a myriad of fiefdoms, genocidal death squads continue a campaign of extermination nationwide.
http://en.cumhuriyet.com/medya.php?mn=79800
Image: The people of Tawargha are Libyans and have been Libyan for generations, settling there from sub-Saharan Africa. They have been brutally persecuted by the NATO-armed terrorists now running Libya. In Syria, expect these to be Alawite, Christian, and secular faces.
….
One group of Libyans hit hardest are the people of Tawargha – who were either exterminated or exiled from their city of 10,000-30,000 during the NATO-led destruction of Libya last year. Since then, their refugee camps have been raided, and survivors who have not yet fled Libya are being systematically imprisoned, tortured, and murdered.
Now, the very network of corporate-funded and directed NGOs charged with “human rights advocacy,” who assisted the Libyan rebels in willfully lying to the world over violations of “human rights” in the lead up to NATO’s military intervention, are finally reporting the widespread atrocities being carried out by the rebels themselves. In fact, organizations like Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International, both funded by convicted criminal and Wall Street speculator, George Soros, began reporting such atrocities back in 2011, but only long after NATO bombs were already falling on Libya and the process of “regime change” was already irreversible. And, at critical junctures, such as the sieges of Bani Walid and Sirte, where NATO itself was committing systematic war crimes by air in tandem with terrorist forces on the ground – organizations like HRW and Amnesty International were altogether mute.
Image: The desolate Libyan city of Sirte after NATO’s months-long siege – the tragic aftermath of a UN-sanctioned “humanitarian war.” Not a word regarding NATO’s blockade and bombardment of these cities has been mentioned by either HRW or Amnesty International in any terms resembling the rhetoric they used to justify NATO’s intervention in March of 2011.
….

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Two Beasts of Revelation and the Coming New World Order

SIC SEMPER TYRANNIS!!!
Mark Matheny
REPOST
April 19, 2012



Originally aired Live on December 28, 2010

Mark Matheny discusses the Two Beasts of Revelation, in relation to the emergance of a coming Dictatorial World Government, know and promulgated by the globalists as a New World Order.

India says it has successfully test launched missile able to reach major Chinese cities

Yahoo News
April 19, 2012



NEW DELHI - India announced Thursday that it had successfully test launched a new nuclear-capable missile that would give it, for the first time, the capability of striking the major Chinese cities of Beijing and Shanghai.
The government has hailed the Agni-V missile, with a range of 5,000 kilometres (3,100 miles), as a major boost to its efforts to counter China's regional dominance and become an Asian power in its own right.
The head of India's Defence Research and Development Organization, Vijay Saraswat, said the missile was launched at 8:07 a.m. from Wheeler Island off India's east coast.
It rose to an altitude of more than 600 kilometres (370 miles), its three stages worked properly and its payload was deployed as planned, he told Times Now news channel.
"India has emerged from this launch as a major missile power," he said.
The window for the launch opened Wednesday night, but the test had to be postponed because of weather conditions.
Avinash Chandra, mission director for the test, said that when the launch took place Thursday morning the missile performed as planned.
"We have achieved exactly what we wanted to achieve in this mission," he told Times Now.

Red Alert: Draconian CISPA Bill Picking Up Sponsors Ahead of Vote Next Week


Kurt Nimmo
Infowars.com
April 19, 2012
CISPA, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, is picking up sponsors and it looks like the legislation will make it to the House floor for a vote next week. CISPA emerged from the House Intelligence Committee with an overwhelming vote of 17-1.
The bill, authored by Rep. Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican, is supported by Google, the technology company in bed with the CIA and responsible for building the Great Firewall of China. Google is not alone in supporting CISPA. Corporate sponsors include Facebook, Microsoft, Intel, IBM, Verizon, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and others, according to the House’s Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, long a champion of rights online, has signed on to two coalition letters urging legislators to drop their support for HR 3523. The coalition behind the privacy letter includes dozens of groups, including the ACLU, the American Library Association, the American Policy Center, the Center for Democracy and Technology, the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, and many others, according to the EFF website.
The letter warns:
CISPA creates an exception to all privacy laws to permit companies to share our information with each other and with the government in the name of cybersecurity…. CISPA’s ‘information sharing’ regime allows the transfer of vast amounts of data, including sensitive information like internet use history or the content of emails, to any agency in the government including military and intelligence agencies like the National Security Agency or the Department of Defense Cyber Command. Once in government hands, this information can be used for any non-regulatory purpose so long as one significant purpose is for cybersecurity or to protect national security.
CISPA was pushed through following public outrage over SOPA and PIPA, two sneaky attempts to undermine internet freedom earlier this year under the guise of protecting the copyrights of Hollywood and its transnational “entertainment” corporations.
CISPA is far worse than its forerunners. It would amend the the National Security Act of 1947 – legislation that created the national security state and the CIA – and centralize “information sharing” between government agencies, intelligence agencies, and the Pentagon.
Time Techland admits that, according to the Center for Democracy & Technology, CISPA threatens privacy because it “has a very broad, almost unlimited definition of the information that can be shared with government agencies and it supersedes all other privacy laws,” “is likely to lead to expansion of the government’s role in the monitoring of private communications” and “is likely to shift control of government cybersecurity efforts from civilian agencies to the military.”
In short, it is a dream bill designed specifically for the national security surveillance state. CISPA will put a legal facade on behavior the CIA and NSA have engaged in for decades. It is the culmination of years of cyber psyops and attendant propaganda designed convince the public that they must surrender their privacy.
The transfer of “cybersecurity efforts from civilian agencies to the military” is especially alarming considering the Pentagon’s aggressive response to supposed cyber attacks. In early 2011, the Pentagon said that cyber attacks constitute acts of war and will be responded to with military action.
It is imperative that you contact your representatives immediately and tell them that you strongly oppose this dangerous legislation and demand they vote against it. If CISPA is allowed to pass next week, it will be a victory for the global elite and their ongoing effort to turn the internet into the largest and most comprehensive surveillance and control mechanism in human history.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Obama’s Friday Afternoon Document Dump for this Week: US Begins Overt Aid to Syrian Death Squads After 13 Months of Covert Support


Egyptian presidential front-runner promises tougher line on Israel

Amr Moussa (left) jokes with Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh during a visit to Gaza in 2010 (photo credit: Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash 90)

The Times of Israel
April 18, 2012



Egyptian presidential front-runner Amr Moussa pledged to adopt a tougher stance on Israel than his predecessor Hosni Mubarak if elected president next month.
In an 80-page political program released by his office on Wednesday, Moussa dedicates the final chapter to “national security and foreign policy.” Under the article titled “returning to historic, honorable principles in dealing with the Palestinian question as a priority of Egyptian national security,” Moussa writes that Egypt has experienced “years of laxity” in its dealings with Israel.
He adds that “all forms of political, economic and legal support must be given to Palestinians in their struggle for rights.” The Arab Initiative for comprehensive peace with Israel ratified in 2007 will serve as his primary guideline, writes Moussa, with the goal of “solving the conflict rather than managing it.”
Moussa concludes that he will tie development of Egyptian-Israeli relations to “Israel’s level of willingness to end the conflict, step by step and commitment by commitment.”
According to recent polls, Moussa stands the best chance of winning the Egyptian presidential elections scheduled for the end of May.

Yonas Fikre, US Muslim, Claims He Was Tortured At FBI's Behest In United Arab Emirates

Yonas Fikre, center, a Portland, Oregon Muslim American talks to media with his U.S. attorney Thomas Nelson, left, and Swedish lawyer Hans Bredberg, right, in Stockholm, Sweden, April 18, 2012. After a 2010 trip to visit family in Khartoum, Sudan, Fikre claims to have been detained and tortured. Put on a FBI no-fly list, Fikre is now unable to return home to the U.S. (AP Photo / Claudio Bresciani)
Huffington Post
April 18, 2012



PORTLAND, Ore. — His interrogators usually came in the morning. Peeking under a blindfold in a cold concrete cell, Yonas Fikre says he caught only glimpses of their shoes.
They beat the soles of his feet with hoses and sticks, asking him about his Portland, Ore., mosque and its imam. Each day, the men questioning him in a United Arab Emirates prison told the 33-year-old Fikre he would be released "tomorrow," according to an account he gave on Wednesday at a press conference in Sweden, where he has been since September.
"It was very hard, because you don't know why you are in there and the only person you speak to is either yourself, or the wall, or when you go to the restroom or when you go to the torture place," said Fikre, who was held for 106 days. "I have never been that isolated from human beings in my entire life."
An advocacy group alleges that over the past two years the FBI has been using aggressive tactics against Muslim-Americans travelling abroad to try to pressure them to become informants when they got home. Gadeir Abbas, staff attorney for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, says there have been several instances of FBI agents calling travelers into embassies or consulates for questioning.

Executive Order: Feds To Take Control of Domestic Natural Gas Production

SIC SEMPER TYRANNIS!!!
Mark Matheny
April 18, 2012




America: Being Conditioned to Pay More – and Get Less.


Patrick Henningsen
Infowars.com
April 18, 2012
It’s official: Americans have now been safely conditioned to accept $4 per gallon of gasoline.
It worked. While fuel prices skyrocket and stabilize at new highs, a powerful and highly organized cartel of corporations are now reclining in their boardroom chairs and patting each other on the backs for finally conquering the will of the formerly ferrell American consumer.
For an economy begging for recovery, these new price highs cannot mean good news. Why are gas prices so important? Gas prices directly influence inflation. They affect almost every other domestic service and essential commodity we use on a day to day basis – deliveries, labor, materials, food, postage and list goes on.
There’s only one problem with this fuel price picture: it is going against the universal laws of free market economics. The law of supply and demand dictates that demand should drop if there is a glut in market supply, and we should then expect a drop in price. Unfortunately for American consumers, just the opposite has happened.
Hidden within a recent Washington Post article about ‘cutting our fuel consumption’ is proof by their own admission:
The response to $4 gasoline is reinforcing a trend toward lower fuel consumption. This will be the third year in the past five with historically high oil prices. Even before the latest price spike, gasoline consumption had dropped 6 percent from 2007 through 2011, the EIA said.
The Federal Highway Administration adds that the number of vehicle miles driven over a 12-month period ending January was lower than in any year since 2004.
In the case of gas, there are three major factors which have actually lowered demand in the last year.
The first is that due to an increase in fuel efficient and hybrid cars, contributing to a drop in overall gas consumption in the US to its lowest levels in a decade.

Secret Service prostitution scandal Shakes Washington DC

Associated Press
April 18, 2012



WASHINGTON (AP) -- A prostitution scandal involving the Secret Service has grown in scope, with the disclosure that U.S. agents and military personnel had been with at least 20 women in hotel rooms before President Barack Obama arrived in Colombia for a summit with Latin American leaders.

Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan, facing questions on Capitol Hill about whether the escapades could have jeopardized the president's security, said he had referred the matter to an independent government investigator.

Sullivan said the 11 Secret Service agents and 10 military personnel under investigation were telling different stories about who the women were. Sullivan has dispatched more investigators to Colombia to interview the women, said Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.

"Some are admitting (the women) were prostitutes, others are saying they're not, they're just women they met at the hotel bar," King said in a telephone interview. Sullivan said none of the women, who had to surrender their IDs at the hotel, were minors. "But prostitutes or not, to be bringing a foreign national back into a secure zone is a problem."
Read the entire article

NINTH CIRCUIT LARGELY UPHOLDS ARIZONA VOTER ID LAW

Breitbart
April 18, 2012



While the Obama Justice Department continues to pretend that voter ID is racially discriminatory and a violation of voting rights, courts keep on ruling against them. Today, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals – an incredibly liberal appeals court – ruled that Arizona’s voter ID law was largely constitutional. Opponents of the law had argued that the fee to obtain an ID amounted to an impermissible “poll tax”; the Court thought otherwise.

The Court did rule, however, that Arizona cannot turn down federal voter registration forms, which simply ask applicants to check a box indicating that they are US citizens. That’s not because such provisions would be unconstitutional – it’s because those provisions violate the federal National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (the so-called Motor Voter Act). Due to the supremacy clause of the Constitution, in areas where the federal government legislates, states cannot. It is supposedly unconstitutional for Arizona to come up with another form that requires proof of citizenship.
Some liberal groups celebrated the decision as a quasi-victory. “We are elated that a strong majority of the en banc panel found Arizona’s citizenship requirement violated the NVRA,” crowd Jon Greenbaum, chief council for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “This will enable our clients to be able to register to vote and conduct voter registration drives more easily.”
The case will likely move on to the Supreme Court. But the takeaway message for federal Republicans is that the NVRA must be modified to allow for states to ask for voter ID.

The Too Big To Fail Banks Are Now Much Bigger And Much More Powerful Than Ever


The Economic Collapse
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
The Democrats, the Republicans and especially Barack Obama promised that something would be done about the too big to fail banks so that they would never again be a threat to destroy our financial system.

Well, those promises have not been kept and the too big to fail banks are now muchbigger and much more powerful than ever.  The assets of the five biggest U.S. banks were equivalent to about 43 percent of U.S. GDP before the financial crisis.  Today, the assets of the five biggest U.S. banks are equivalent to about 56 percent of U.S. GDP.  So if those banks were “too big to fail” before, then what are they now?  They continue to gobble up smaller banks at a brisk pace, and they continue to pile up debt and risky investments as if a day of reckoning will never come.  But of course a day of reckoning is coming, and when it arrives they will be expecting more bailouts just like they got the last time.
The size of these monolithic financial institutions is truly difficult to comprehend.  They completely dominate our financial system and everywhere you look they are constantly absorbing more wealth and more power.  The following comes from a recent Bloomberg article….
Five banks — JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), Bank of America Corp. (BAC), Citigroup Inc., Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC), and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. — held $8.5 trillion in assets at the end of 2011, equal to 56 percent of the U.S. economy, according to central bankers at the Federal Reserve.
Five years earlier, before the financial crisis, the largest banks’ assets amounted to 43 percent of U.S. output. The Big Five today are about twice as large as they were a decade ago relative to the economy
Despite all of the talk from the politicians, they just keep getting bigger and bigger and bigger.
So why isn’t anything ever done?
Well, one reason is because these gigantic financial entities funnel huge quantities of cash into political campaigns.
For example, Barack Obama gives nice speeches about the dangers of the too big to fail banks, but he is also more than happy to take their campaign contributions.  Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup were all rankedamong his top 10 donors during the 2008 campaign.
So do you really expect that Barack Obama is going to bite the hands that feed him?
Of course he is not going to do that.
The truth is that the Obama administration and the Federal Reserve have done everything they can to make life very comfortable for the big Wall Street banks.
During the last financial crisis, the too big to fail banks were absolutely showered with bailouts.
Meanwhile, hundreds of small and mid-size banks were allowed to die.
When representatives from those small and mid-size banks contacted the federal government for help, often they were told to try to find a larger bank that would be willing to buy them.
Sadly, the last financial crisis simply accelerated the consolidation of the banking industry in the United States that has been going on for several decades.
Today, there are less than half as many banks in the United States as there were back in 1984.
So where did all of those banks go?
They were either purchased by bigger banks or they were allowed to go out of existence.
This banking consolidation trend has allowed the big Wall Street banks to absolutely explode in size.
Back in 1970, the 5 biggest U.S. banks held 17 percent of all U.S. banking industry assets.
Today, the 5 biggest U.S. banks hold 52 percent of all U.S. banking industry assets.
So where will this end?
That is a good question.
The funny thing is that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and other Fed officials keep giving speeches where they warn of the dangers of having banks that are “too big to fail”.  For example, during a recent presentation to students at George Washington University, Bernanke made the following statement about the U.S. banking system….
“But clearly, it is something fundamentally wrong with a system in which some companies are ‘too big to fail.’”
So does that mean that Bernanke is against the too big to fail banks?
Of course not.
The truth is that he showered those banks with trillions of dollars in bailout money during the last financial crisis.
The amount of money in secret loans that some of the big Wall Street banks received from the Federal Reserve was absolutely staggering.  The following figures come directly from a GAO report….
Citigroup - $2.513 trillion
Morgan Stanley - $2.041 trillion
Bank of America - $1.344 trillion
Goldman Sachs - $814 billion
JP Morgan Chase - $391 billion
Bernanke has shown that he is willing to move heaven and earth to protect those big banks.
So what did those banks do with all that money?
They certainly didn’t lend it to us.  Lending to individuals and small businesses by those big banks actually went down immediately after those bailouts.
Instead, one thing that those banks did was they started putting massive amounts of money into commodities.
One of those commodities was food.
Over the past few years, big Wall Street banks have made huge amounts of money speculating on the price of food.  This has caused food prices all over the globe to soar and it has caused tremendous hardship for hundreds of millions of families around the planet.  The following is from a recent article in The Independent….
Speculation by large investment banks is driving up food prices for the world’s poorest people, tipping millions into hunger and poverty. Investment in food commodities by banks and hedge funds has risen from $65bn to $126bn (£41bn to £79bn) in the past five years, helping to push prices to 30-year highs and causing sharp price fluctuations that have little to do with the actual supply of food, says the United Nations’ leading expert on food.
Hedge funds, pension funds and investment banks such as Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Barclays Capital now dominate the food commodities markets, dwarfing the amount traded by actual food producers and buyers.
Goldman Sachs alone has earned hundreds of millions of dollars in profits from food speculation.
Can you imagine what kind of mindset it takes to do this?
Can you imagine taking food out of the mouths of hungry families on the other side of the world so that you and your fellow employees can pad your bonus checks?
It really is disgusting.
But that is the way the game is played.
It is set up so that the big guy will win and the little guy will lose.
The other day I wrote about how this is particularly true when it comes to our system of taxation.
Well, since that article I have discovered some new numbers that were just released by Citizens for Tax Justice.  Some of the things that they have uncovered are absolutely amazing….
Between 2008 and 2011, Verizon made a total profit of $19.8 billion and yet paid an effective tax rate of -3.8%.
Between 2008 and 2011, General Electric made a total profit of $19.6 billion and yet paid an effective tax rate of -18.9%.
Between 2008 and 2011, Boeing made a total profit of $14.8 billion and yet paid an effective tax rate of -5.5%.
Between 2008 and 2011, Pacific Gas & Electric made a total profit of $6 billion and yet paid an effective tax rate of -8.4%.
So why should middle class families continue to be suffocated by outrageous tax rates when hugely profitable corporations such as General Electric are able to get away with paying nothing?
Our current tax system is an utter abomination and should be completely thrown out.
But as is the case with so many other things, our current system is going to persist because the “big guys” really enjoy the status quo and they are the ones that fund political campaigns.
It would be bad enough if the “big guys” were beating us on a level playing field.
But the truth is that the game has been dramatically tilted in their favor and they know that the politicians are going to take care of them whenever they need it.
So what is going to happen the next time the too big to fail banks get into trouble?
They will almost certainly get bailed out again.
Unfortunately, the big Wall Street banks continue to treat the financial system as if it was a gigantic casino.  The derivatives bubble just continues to grow larger and larger, and it could burst and absolutely devastate the entire global financial system at any time.
According to the New York Times, the too big to fail banks have complete domination over derivatives trading.  Every month a secret meeting that includes representatives from JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America and Citigroup is held in New York to coordinate their control over the derivatives marketplace.  The following is how the New York Times describes those meetings….
On the third Wednesday of every month, the nine members of an elite Wall Street society gather in Midtown Manhattan.
The men share a common goal: to protect the interests of big banks in the vast market for derivatives, one of the most profitable — and controversial — fields in finance. They also share a common secret: The details of their meetings, even their identities, have been strictly confidential.
When the derivatives market fully implodes, there will not be enough money in the world to bail everyone out.  According to the Comptroller of the Currency, the too big to fail banks have exposure to derivatives that is absolutely outrageous.  Just check out the following numbers….
JPMorgan Chase – $70.1 TrillionCitibank – $52.1 Trillion
Bank of America – $50.1 Trillion
Goldman Sachs – $44.2 Trillion
So what happens when that house of cards comes crashing down?
Well, those big banks will come crying to the federal government again.
They will want more bailouts.
They will claim that if we don’t give them the money that they need that the entire financial system will collapse.
And yes, if several of the too big to fail banks were to collapse all at once the consequences would be almost unimaginable.
But of course all of this could have been avoided if we would have made much wiser decisions upstream.
Our financial system is more vulnerable than it ever has been before, and the too big to fail banks just continue to grow.
The lessons from the financial crisis of 2008 have gone unheeded, and we are steamrolling toward an even greater crash.
What a mess.

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