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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Peasants Need Pitchforks

The Peasants Need Pitchforks
By Robert Scheer
Truthdig

A “working class hero,” John Lennon told us in his song of that
title, “is something to be/ Keep you doped with religion and sex
and TV/ And you think you’re so clever and classless and free/
But you’re still fucking peasants as far as I can see.”

The delusion of a classless America in which opportunity is equally
distributed is the most effective deception perpetrated by the
moneyed elite that controls all the key levers of power in what
passes for our democracy.

It is a myth blown away by Nobel Prize winner Joseph E. Stiglitz in
the current issue of Vanity Fair.

In an article titled “Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%” Stiglitz states that the top thin layer of the superwealthy controls 40 percent of all wealth in what is now the most sharply class-divided of all developed nations:

“Americans have been watching protests against repressive regimes that concentrate massive wealth in the hands of an elite few. Yet, in our own democracy, 1 percent of the people take nearly a quarter of the nation’s income—an inequality even the wealthy will come to regret.”

That is the harsh reality obscured by the media’s focus on celebrity gossip, sports rivalries and lotteries, situations in which the average person can pretend that he or she is plugged into the winning side.

The illusion of personal power substitutes consumer sovereignty—
which smartphone to purchase—for real power over the decisions
that affect our lives.

Even though most Americans accept that the political game is
rigged, we have long assumed that the choices we make in the
economic sphere as to career and home are matters that respond
to our wisdom and will.

But the banking tsunami that wiped out so many jobs and so much homeownership has demonstrated that most Americans have no real control over any of that, and while they suffer, the corporate rich reward themselves in direct proportion to the amount of suffering they have caused.

Instead of taxing the superrich on the bonuses dispensed by top
corporations such as Exxon, Bank of America, General Electric,
Chevron and Boeing, all of which managed to avoid paying any
federal corporate taxes last year, the politicians of both parties
in Congress are about to accede to the Republican demand that
programs that help ordinary folks be cut to pay for the programs
that bailed out the banks.

It is a reality further obscured by the academic elite, led by economists who receive enormous payoffs from Wall Street in speaking and consulting fees, and their less privileged university colleagues who are so often dependent upon wealthy sponsors for their research funding.

Then there are the media, which are indistinguishable parts of the corporate-owned culture and which with rare exception pretend that we are all in the same lifeboat while they fawn in their coverage of those who bilk us and also dispense fat fees to top pundits.

Complementing all that is the dark distraction of the faux populists, led by tea party demagogues, who blame unions and immigrants for the crimes of Wall Street hustlers.

My book on the banking meltdown, “The Great American Stickup,” begins with the following words.

“They did it. Yes, there is a ‘they’: the captains of finance, their lobbyists, and allies among leading politicians of both parties, who together destroyed an American regulatory system that had been functioning splendidly. …”

They got to rewrite the laws to enable their massive greed over everything from the tax codes to the sale of toxic derivatives over the past quarter century, smashing the American middle class and with it the nation’s experiment in democracy.

The lobbyists are deliberately bipartisan in their bribery, and
the authors of our demise are equally marked as Democrats
and Republicans.

Ronald Reagan first effectively sang the siren song of ending government’s role in corporate crime prevention, but it was Democrat Bill Clinton who accomplished much of that goal.

It is the enduring conceit of the top Democratic leaders that they
are valiantly holding back the forces of evil when they actually
have continuously been complicit.

The veterans of the Clinton years, so prominent in the Obama
administration, still deny their role in the disaster of the last 25
years. Yet the sad tale of income inequality that Stiglitz laments is
as much a result of their policies as those of their Republican rivals.

In one of the best studies of this growing gap in income, economists Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty found that during Clinton’s tenure in the White House the income of the top 1 percent increased by 10.1 percent per year, while that of the other 99 percent of Americans increased by only 2.4 percent a year.

Thanks to President Clinton’s deregulation and the save-the-rich policies of George W. Bush, the situation deteriorated further from 2002 to 2006, a period in which the top 1 percent increased its income 11 percent annually while the rest of Americans had a truly paltry gain of 1 percent per year.

And that was before the meltdown that wiped out the jobs and
home values of so many tens of millions of American families.

“The top 1 percent have the best houses, the best educations,
the best doctors, and the best lifestyles,” Stiglitz concludes,
“but there is one thing that money doesn’t seem to have bought:
an understanding that their fate is bound up with how the other
99 percent live."

"Throughout history, this is something that the top 1 percent eventually do learn. Too late.”


Robert Scheer, editor in chief of Truthdig, has built a reputation for strong social and political writing over his 30 years as a journalist.

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_peasants_need_pitch
forks_20110405/

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Memorial Day: How America Screws Its Soldiers

Everyone claims to “Support Our Troops.” But as Andrew J. Bacevich explains, telling the military it can do whatever it wants works for everyone—except for the soldiers themselves.

Memorial Day: How America Screws Its Soldiers
By Andrew J. Bacevich
The Daily Beast
Sunday, May 29, 2011

Riders on Boston subways and trolleys are accustomed to seeing
placards that advertise research being conducted at the city’s
many teaching hospitals.

One that recently caught my eye, announcing an experimental
“behavioral treatment,” posed this question to potential subjects:

“Are you in the U.S. military or a veteran disturbed by terrible things you have experienced?”

Just below the question, someone had scrawled this riposte in blue ink: “Thank God for these Men and Women. USA all the way.”

Here on a 30 x 36 inch piece of cardboard was the distilled essence
of the present-day relationship between the American people and
their military.

In the eyes of citizens, the American soldier has a dual identity: as hero but also as victim.

As victims—Wounded Warriors —soldiers deserve the best care money can buy; hence, the emphasis being paid to issues like PTSD.

As heroes, those who serve and sacrifice embody the virtues that underwrite American greatness.

They therefore merit unstinting admiration.

Whatever practical meaning the slogan “support the troops” may possess, it lays here: in praise expressed for those choosing to wear the uniform, and in assistance made available to those who suffer as a consequence of that choice.

From the perspective of the American people, the principal attribute of this relationship is that it entails no real obligations or responsibilities.

Face it: It costs us nothing yet enables us to feel good about ourselves.

In an unmerited act of self-forgiveness, we thereby expunge the sin of the Vietnam era when opposition to an unpopular war found at least some Americans venting their unhappiness on the soldiers sent to fight it.

The homeward-bound G.I. spat upon by spoiled and impudent student activists may be an urban legend, but the fiction persists and has long since trumped reality.

Today such egregious misbehavior has become unimaginable. Even
if the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are not especially popular or
successful, no one blames the troops.

Instead we cheer them, pray for them, and let them go to the front of the line when passing through airport security. And we take considerable satisfaction in doing so.

From the perspective of those who engineer America’s wars, the
principal attribute of this relationship is that it obviates any need
for accountability.

For nearly a decade now, popular willingness to “support the troops” has provided unlimited drawing rights on the United States Treasury.

Since 9/11, in waging its various campaigns, overt and covert, the United States military has expended hundreds of billions of (mostly borrowed) dollars.

By the time the last invoice gets paid, the total will be in the trillions. Is the money being well spent?

Are we getting good value? Is it possible that some of the largesse
showered on U.S. forces trying to pacify Kandahar could be better
put to use in helping to rebuild Cleveland?

Given the existing terms of the civil-military relationship, even to pose such questions is unseemly.

For politicians sending soldiers into battle, generals presiding over long, drawn-out, inconclusive campaigns, and contractors reaping large profits as a consequence, this war-comes-first mentality is exceedingly agreeable.

One wonders how many of those serving in the ranks are taken in
by this fraud.

The relationship between American people and their military—we
love you; do whatever you want—seems to work for everyone.

Everyone, that is, except soldiers themselves. They face the prospect of war without foreseeable end.

Americans once believed war to be a great evil. Whenever possible, war was to be avoided. When circumstances made war unavoidable, Americans wanted peace swiftly restored.

Present-day Americans, few of them directly affected by events in Iraq or Afghanistan, find war tolerable. They accept it. Since 9/11, war has become normalcy. Peace has become an entirely theoretical construct.

A report of G.I.s getting shot at, maimed, or killed is no longer something the average American gets exercised about.

Rest assured that no such reports will interfere with plans for the long weekend that Memorial Day makes possible.

Members of the civil-military-corporate elite find war more than tolerable. Within its ranks, as Chris Hedges has noted, war imparts meaning and excitement to life.

It serves as a medium through which ambitions are fulfilled and power is accrued and exercised. In Washington, the benefits offered by war’s continuation easily outweigh any benefits to be gained by ending war.

So why bother to try?

As the 10th anniversary of what Americans once called their Global War on Terror approaches, a plausible, realistic blueprint for bringing that enterprise to a conclusion does not exist.

Those who might once have felt some responsibility for articulating such a plan—the president, his chief lieutenants, senior military leaders—no longer feel any obligation to do so.

As a practical matter, they devote themselves to war’s perpetuation, closing one front while opening another.

More strikingly still, we the people allow our leaders to evade this basic responsibility to articulate a plan for peace.

By implication, we endorse the unspoken assumption that peace has become implausible.

Here at last we come to the dirty little secret that underlines all the chatter about “supporting the troops.”

The people in charge don’t really believe that the burdens borne by our soldiers will ever end and they are not really looking for ways to do so.

As for the rest of us, well, we’re OK with that.


Andrew J. Bacevich is professor of history and international relations at Boston University.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2011-05-28/memorial-day-how-america-screws-its-soldiers/?om_rid=NsjXhp&om_mid=_BN4kEAB8bb2Tqd

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Door is About to Shut for Americans

The Door is About to Shut for Americans
By Jeff Berwick
The Dollar Vigilante
Thursday, May 26, 2011

Anyone aware of the US Government's real financial situation
knows that time is running out.

The Government has $15.5 trillion in admitted debts but those debts, when calculated under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), or 'honest accounting', is over $70 trillion.

$70 trillion divided by 300 million+ Americans works out to $233,000 per person in US Federal Government debt and obligations. Or nearly $1 million per family of four.

That does not included personal debt, state debt or municipal debt.

This debt plus an economy that has been completely hollowed out
by the Federal Reserve system ensures that there is no way the US
Government can ever pay off this debt.

And, everyone knows it.

The indications that the US Government is moving very quickly to enact any legal measure or fine against Americans and to make it nearly impossible for any American to escape payment to pay for their sins are everywhere.

We recently commented on how It Is now Easier to Enter the US
Than It Is To Leave.

Customs agents and cash sniffing dogs stand on guard at most international US airports checking to make sure no one has more than $10,000 in cash without declaring it.

The standard response to this is: "They are only making it difficult for criminals to move about and to transfer money".

Well, the problem is, the US Government is moving very quickly to make it so almost everyone is seen as a criminal in the eyes of the US legal system.

Now We Are All Criminals

It is already said that there are so many laws, rules and regulations
in the US that each person in the US breaks at least one law per day,
if not much more - without even knowing it.

But the US Government is becoming more obvious in how it will
go about making everyone a criminal and fining them ridiculous
amounts of money in doing so.

This week, an American family who said they were just trying to teach their son about responsibility and entrepreneurship was fined $90,000 by the USDA because the teenager sold $4,600 worth of bunnies in one calendar year without a license.

Not only were they demanded to pay $90,000, but if they did not pay within a short period of time the fine could increase to as high as $4 million.

This one case only goes to show how easy it is, within the system,
to take any small transgression and to blackmail someone for, for
all intents and purposes, every penny they have - or more.

Students to be Forced into the Military to Repay Debts

We also recently commented on how the US college system draws people into large debts (Debtucation) and how student debt is now larger than credit card debt in the US.

It is the US Government itself that has made college education so expensive by offering student loans to anyone who can fog a mirror but again they have shown their intentions by making student loan debt the only debt which can not be forgiven.

A 2005 decree from the Bush Administration stated that student loan debt could not be dissolved through bankruptcy proceedings. The only other scenario where this “no-escape” clause exists is debt from criminal acts and debt from fraud.

In other words, student loan debt is seen, by the US Government,
as being similar to proceeds from crime!

What will this mean with more young Americans in student loan debt than any other time? It's anyones guess but it would not be out of the realm of possibility to force students who can not pay off their debt into the military to repay their debt.

And with the US military with 800 military bases worldwide with
US military personnel in 156 countries and US Military bases in 63
countries and currently occupying or attacking Iraq, Afghanistan,
Libya and with other drone operations in places like Yemen and
Pakistan, the US is all but ensuring that it is screwing around in
enough places to eventually draw in one of the big boys. Russia,
China or Iran.

And, hey, we Gotta Support the Troops, right?

US Government Eyeing Pensions and Retirement Funds

On the other end of the spectrum, seniors and those in retirement, the US Government recently made it very obvious that funds held in retirement accounts are going to be the first to be taken when times get tough.

In the recent scuffle over raising the debt ceiling, the US Government was short of some funds after reaching the United States' $14.3 trillion debt ceiling last Monday.

Where was the very first place the US Government went to find new sources of funds? Last week they dipped into state pension funds in order to make payments.

It is no great leap to think that as things worsen in the US Government's financial situation, which is all but guaranteed, that the first thing that will be nationalized will be all tax sheltered retirement accounts.

After all, we all have to do our part to pay for the debts of the Government, right?

Anyone living off of US pensions should be very worried. And anyone with significant funds in retirement accounts should be running, not walking, to get any funds they can outside of the direct control of the US Government.

We recommend looking at "Unleash Your IRA", a great program for diversifying your IRA internationally.

Get a 2nd Passport

There are two ways to look at the upcoming battle between the US Government and US citizens. You can stay and fight or you can run and hide.

If you plan to stay and fight we wish you good luck and will try to support your efforts in any way we can.

If you would rather run and hide then one of the first things you
should be looking to do at this time is to at least get a second
passport. This is still legal for Americans and there are many
options. We discuss many of them, regularly in our newsletter.

As well, if you have the financial capability, we highly recommend buying some foreign real estate - preferably somewhere you like to live. Our favorite place, at the moment, is La Estancia de Cafayate in Argentina (email them for more information at tdv@lec.com.ar).

2011 Last Year to Get Out

Most things are still legal in the US. It is still legal to have foreign bank accounts - although you are required by law to report them to the Government.

It is still legal to get a second passport. It is still legal to move assets in your IRA outside of the country. It is still legal to move money outside of the country and buy foreign real estate.

The window of opportunity is closing.

If you live in the US and still have all your assets inside of the US,
you likely have months, not years, to internationally diversify your
assets and to get your affairs in order. Anything much after 2011
is taking a big risk of losing it all.

The Government Can

After all, we, as individuals have to live within our means and it is considered a crime if we forcibly take money from others to pay for our debts.

The Government, on the other hand? The Government Can.


The Dollar Vigilante is a free-market financial newsletter focused
on covering all aspects of the ongoing financial collapse.

The newsletter has news, information and analysis on investments for safety and for profit during the collapse including investments in gold, silver, energy and agriculture commodities and publicly traded stocks.

As well, the newsletter covers other aspects including expatriation, both financially and physically and news and info on health, safety and other ways to survive the coming collapse of the US Dollar safely and comfortably.

http://www.dollarvigilante.com/blog/2011/5/26/the-door-is-about-
to-shut-for-americans.html

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Too Big To Jail

The New York Attorney General investigates crimes related
to the financial crisis, but not one banker has been jailed.

By Danny Schechter
Source: Al Jazeera
May 25, 2011 14:39

This week, the financial crisis finally went prime time in the form
of a big budget HBO docu-drama called "Too Big To Fail".

It was a well-acted docu-drama focused on the BIG Men, along with some women in the banks and government who tried to put Humpty Dumpty back together again in order to prevent a total economic collapse when panic dried up credit and financial institutions.

Based on the work of a New York Times reporter, it offered a skilfully-made but conventional narrative that, like most TV shows, showcased events but missed their deeper context and background.

We heard all the explanations, save one.

There was greed, ambition, ego and lust for money. There were
personal rivalries and ideological battles, parochial agendas and
narrow self-interest. There was panic on the Street and in the halls
of mighty institutions.

In many ways, the programme recycled and made an official
narrative compelling viewing. In the end, everyone was to blame,
so no one was to blame.

But, what was missing was any notion of intentionality and premeditation, almost no mention of systemic fraud and crime, that one word that sums up what really happened for those millions of Americans who have lost jobs and homes.

We never saw victims or felt their pain and bewilderment. We were never shown how a shadow banking system emerged or how the finance industry worked with their counterparts in finance and insurance to transfer wealth from the poor and middle class to the super-rich.

Crime and Thrift

When I was but a precocious lad, my elementary school encouraged students to take out a savings account at the nearby Dime Bank in the Bronx. We were each given a bankbook and taught to put in $.50 a week to show us how to build wealth by being thrifty.

It was with a sense of pride that I watched my balance grow. It may have been peanuts in the scheme of things, but to me, at the time, it was the way to plan for the future.

At the same time, in those years I watched TV shows glamorize the bank robbing antics of a man named Willie Sutton who also staged jail breaks wearing masks and costumes.

When he was asked why he robbed banks, he responded famously,
"That's where the money is." And it still is, except in our era, it is
the banks that are robbing us.

That's because what's now called the "financial services sector" has
gone from about 30 per cent of our economy to over 60 per cent.
Through a process called financialisation, they have transformed
how all business is done.

Making money from money soon began to surpass making money from making things. What we were never warned about was the danger of getting too deeply in debt, or how the economy was shifting from production to consumption.

Regulators

Private equity, credit swaps, derivative deals and collateralised debt obligations soon drove the economy. Markets became captives of high performance trading by powerful computers.

When Wall Street became the de facto capital of the country, the
bankers accrued more power than the politicians who they bought
up with impunity. Their lobbying power deregulated the economy
and decriminalised their activities.

They killed many of the reforms enacted during the New Deal designed to protect the public. They built a shadow (and shadowy) banking system beyond the reach of the law.

And now, here we are, in 2011, five years after the meltdown of 2007, four years after the crash of 2008 and the passage of the TARP bailout that pumped money into their treasuries at taxpayer expense.

Since then, there has been a steady parade of scandals and the
disclosures that have come out since. Every week, more banks
close and or consolidate and run into problems with regulators.

Take "my" old bank in the Bronx. It has been through as many
changes as I have been. A website on bank histories runs it
down for the Dime Savings Bank of New York:

04/12/1859 NYS Chartered Dime Savings Bank of Brooklyn
09/10/1930 Acquire By Merger Navy Savings Bank
06/30/1970 Name Change To Dime Savings Bank of New York, The
09/30/1979 Acquire By Merger Mechanics Exchange Savings Bank
07/01/1980 Acquire By Merger First Federal S & L Assoc. of Port Washington
08/01/1981 Acquire By Merger Union Savings Bank of New York
06/23/1983 Convert Federal Dime Savings Bank of NY, FSB
01/07/2002 Purchased By Washington Mutual Inc.
01/07/2002 Name Change To Washington Mutual Bank

And then, of course, some years later, Washington Mutual itself
went bust and was bought up for a song by JP Morgan Chase. Here
are some of the latest headlines about the bank now known as WAMU:

Reuters:‎ WaMu agrees on post-bankruptcy control - report
Bloomberg: WaMu, Shareholders, Biggest Creditors Said to Settle
Business Journal: WaMu shareholders are offered $25M-plus to drop claims

Lending A Hand

On the day I wrote this commentary, the New York Times reported:

The nation's biggest banks and mortgage lenders have steadily
amassed real estate empires, acquiring a glut of foreclosed homes
that threatens to deepen the housing slump and create a further
drag on the economic recovery.

All told, they own more than 872,000 homes as a result of the groundswell in foreclosures, almost twice as many as when the financial crisis began in 2007, according to RealtyTrac.

And to whom does the Times turn for expertise on the subject, but
a key former operative at Washington Mutual who was with the bank
in the go-go era of shovelling out subprime mortgages? Now, he
gives advice on risk management:

"These shops are under siege; it's just a tsunami of stuff coming in," said Taj Bindra, who oversaw Washington Mutual's servicing unit from 2004 to 2006 and now advises financial institutions on risk management.

"Lenders have a strong incentive to clear out inventory in a
controlled and timely manner, but if you had problems on the
front end of the foreclosure process, it should be no surprise
you are having problems on the back end."

What were people's homes are now "inventory" to be stockpiled even though it has a negative cumulative effect on economic recovery of the housing market.

The banks that are increasingly despised and blamed for their role
in engineering the financial disaster, are now trying to play nice to
change their negative image.

Explains the Times, "Conscious of their image, many lenders have
recently started telling real estate agents to be more lenient to
renters who happen to live in a foreclosed home and give them
extra time to move out before changing the locks."

"Wells Fargo has sent me back knocking on doors two or three
times, offering to give renters money if they cooperate with
us," said Claude A. Worrell, a long-time real estate agent from
Minneapolis who specialises in selling bank-owned property. "It's
a lot different than it used to be."

Nothing Has Changed

So, they are still foreclosing, but with a smile. Is it a 'lot different than it used to be'?

Just last month, Huffington Post reported:

Top executives at Washington Mutual actively boosted sales of high-risk, toxic mortgages in the two years prior to the bank's collapse in 2008, according to emails published in a wide-ranging Senate report that contradicts previous public testimony about the meltdown.

The voluminous, 639-page report on the financial crisis from the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations singles out Washington Mutual for its decision to champion its subprime lending business, even as executives privately acknowledged that a housing bubble was about to burst.

The truth is that most of the bigger banks have emerged from the financial crisis stronger than ever, with executives cashing in with higher salaries and bigger bonuses.

That old saying about criminals who "laughed all the way to the bank" has to be revised, because in this case they never left the bank.

More shocking has been the largely passive response by our government and prosecutors.

At last, the Attorney General of New York is said to be investigating, but none of the big bankers have yet gone to jail or suffered for the scams and frauds they committed.

Most of the state officials who vowed to go after the banks in the absence of aggressive federal actions have backed down.

So what can "we the people" do?

We can do nothing and watch more of what's left of our wealth vanish, or we can join others in demanding a "jailout", not a bailout.

A well-known international banker was just arrested for a high
profile alleged sex crime but not one of possibly thousands have
been prosecuted for well documented financial crimes.

Where are the political leaders and activist groups willing to "fight the power" and demand accountability and transparency on Wall Street?

Why are so many of us banking on a financial recovery to bring
back jobs and a modicum of justice created by the very people
and institutions responsible for the crisis?

And why didn't I learn about these dangers when I first discovered
the wonderful world of banking? Isn't that what schools are for?


News Dissector Danny Schechter directed the film Plunder The Crime of Our Time and wrote a companion book on the financial crisis as a crime story. Comments to dissector@mediachannel.org

http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/05/2011524132
715880848.html

Monday, May 23, 2011

US Debt Tera

Pile of debt would stretch beyond stratosphere
By Emily Stephenson
Washington | Mon May 23, 2011

(Reuters) - President Ronald Reagan once famously said that a stack of $1,000 bills equivalent to the U.S. government's debt would be about 67 miles high.

That was 1981. Since then, the national debt has climbed to $14.3 trillion. In $1,000 bills, it would now be more than 900 miles tall.

In $1 bills, the pile would reach to the moon and back twice.

The United States hit its legal borrowing limit on Monday, and the Treasury Department has said the U.S. Congress must raise the debt ceiling by August 2 to avoid a default.

The White House is trying to hammer out a deal with lawmakers to cut federal spending in exchange for a debt-limit increase.

Most people have trouble conceptualizing $14.3 trillion.

Stan Collender, a budget expert at Qorvis Communications, said the biggest sum most Americans have ever handled -- in real or play money -- is the $15,140 in the original, standard Monopoly board game.

The United States borrows about 185 times that amount each minute.

Here are some other metrics for understanding the size of the national debt and United States borrowing:

* U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has said the United States borrows about $125 billion per month.

With that amount, the United States could buy each of its more
than 300 million residents an Apple Inc iPad.

* In a 31-day month, that means the United States borrows about
$4 billion per day.

A stack of dimes equivalent to that amount would wrap all the way around the Earth with change to spare.

* In one hour, the United States borrows about $168 million, more than it paid to buy Alaska in 1867, converted to today's dollars.

In two hours, the United States borrows more than it paid France
for present-day Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa and the rest of the land
obtained by the 1803 Louisiana Purchase.

* The U.S. government borrows more than $40,000 per second.
That's more than the cost of a year's tuition, room and board at
many universities.

"That usually gets their attention," Doug Holtz-Eakin, who was chief White House economist under President George W. Bush, said in an email. "I have two kids, so every 10 seconds, the feds borrow more than I paid lifetime."

* The Congressional Budget Office projects the total budget deficit
in fiscal 2011 at about $1.4 trillion.

"The net worth of Bill Gates, roughly around $56 billion, could only
cover the deficit for 15 days," said Jason Peuquet, a policy analyst
with the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

"The net worth of Warren Buffet, roughly around $50 billion, could only cover the deficit for 13 days."

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/19/us-usa-debt-size-id
USTRE74I5TL20110519

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Who will protect us from the Government

Who will protect us from the Government
By Robert Bonnette - Columnist
Daily Comet
May 21, 2011

The sky is falling, the sky is falling.

All of a sudden Social Security and Medicare are both broke, and it
is our fault.

The American taxpayer has taken most of the Social Security money to finance wars, failed welfare programs, expensive highways and bridges, useless military aircraft and equipment, pork projects and for politicians’ pet failed projects.

We are also at fault for the $48 billion in fraud of Medicare that occurred in 2010.

Yes, it is our fault that some doctors, hospitals and other medical providers have stolen millions and millions from the program.

It is also our fault that millions (20 million to 30 million) illegal immigrants are receiving free medical care, and this has caused many hospitals along our Southern border to go belly up.

It is also our fault that even though the feds take our money for Medicare from our Social Security checks (and many of us pay more than the $96.40 per month), the system is going broke.

If you can believe there are approximately 52 million of us on Social Security, and even if the feds only collect half of the above per month, where is the money?

Our corrupt Congress past and present and our presidents have for the past 50 years been doing the stealing from Social Security.

The Republicans and Democrats are so full of you-know-what, and they try to pass the buck to you and me.

They are the reasons our country is in the shape it is in.

They cannot solve the problem because now we are so deep in debt
to other countries, we will have to raise the debt ceiling just to be
able to borrow more money.

Now that my party controls the House, they made big noises about cutting the deficit. Baloney! Their pitiful cuts don’t amount to a hill of beans.

We must cut all pork projects in every state.

We must do away with foreign aid, especially to countries that
always vote against us in the U.N.

We must stop all illegal immigration.

Throw political correctness out and go back to our basic true values and the U.S. Constitution.

Make English our official language so you don’t have to press “1”
to hear it on the telephone.

The phone companies charge us for this, and all the extra printing
on other products make the goods higher in cost.

Remember, neither the president nor Congress pays into Social Security and will never be on Medicare.

They get the best of everything with no cost to them as we pay
for the salaries, pensions and medical.

They are also exempt from hundreds of laws they make for you
and me to follow.

This is our fault as we keep electing the same ones over and over.

We are the slaves of the government.

We work for them when it should be the other way around.

All of us, every man and woman in the U.S. who cares about our country and Constitution, need to stand up and fight like our forefathers did and reclaim our country.

We can be the Phoenix rising, but we have to start by saying to
the politicians, “We are not going to take this anymore.”

And then vote them out and find those who are like us, those that put God and country first.

God bless America.

http://www.dailycomet.com/article/20110520/OPINION01/11052
9997?Title=Who-will-protect-us-from-the-government

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Obama Deception

The Obama Deception:
Why Cornel West Went Ballistic
By Chris Hedges

May 16, 2011 "Truthdig' -- The moral philosopher Cornel West, if Barack Obama’s ascent to power was a morality play, would be the voice of conscience.

Rahm Emanuel, a cynical product of the Chicago political machine, would be Satan.

Emanuel in the first scene of the play would dangle power, privilege, fame and money before Obama.

West would warn Obama that the quality of a life is defined by its moral commitment, that his legacy will be determined by his willingness to defy the cruel assault by the corporate state and the financial elite against the poor and working men and women, and that justice must never be sacrificed on the altar of power.

Perhaps there was never much of a struggle in Obama’s heart. Perhaps West only provided a moral veneer. Perhaps the dark heart of Emanuel was always the dark heart of Obama. Only Obama knows.

But we know how the play ends. West is banished like honest Kent in “King Lear.”

Emanuel and immoral mediocrities from Lawrence Summers to
Timothy Geithner to Robert Gates—think of Goneril and Regan in
the Shakespearean tragedy—take power. We lose.

And Obama becomes an obedient servant of the corporate elite in exchange for the hollow trappings of authority.

No one grasps this tragic descent better than West, who did 65 campaign events for Obama, believed in the potential for change and was encouraged by the populist rhetoric of the Obama campaign.

He now nurses, like many others who placed their faith in Obama, the anguish of the deceived, manipulated and betrayed.

He bitterly describes Obama as "a black mascot of Wall Street
oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats. And now he
has become head of the American killing machine and is proud of it."

"When you look at a society you look at it through the lens of the
least of these, the weak and the vulnerable; you are committed to
loving them first, not exclusively, but first, and therefore giving
them priority," says West, the Class of 1943 University Professor
of African American Studies and Religion at Princeton University.

"And even at this moment, when the empire is in deep decline, the culture is in deep decay, the political system is broken, where nearly everyone is up for sale, you say all I have is the subversive memory of those who came before, personal integrity, trying to live a decent life, and a willingness to live and die for the love of folk who are catching hell."

"This means civil disobedience, going to jail, supporting progressive forums of social unrest if they in fact awaken the conscience, whatever conscience is left, of the nation. And that’s where I find myself now."

"I have to take some responsibility,” he admits of his support for Obama as we sit in his book-lined office. "I could have been reading into it more than was there."

"I was thinking maybe he has at least some progressive populist instincts that could become more manifest after the cautious policies of being a senator and working with [Sen. Joe] Lieberman as his mentor,” he says.

“But it became very clear when I looked at the neoliberal economic team."

"The first announcement of Summers and Geithner I went ballistic. I said, ‘Oh, my God, I have really been misled at a very deep level.’ And the same is true for Dennis Ross and the other neo-imperial elites."

I said, "I have been thoroughly misled, all this populist language is just a facade."

"I was under the impression that he might bring in the voices of brother Joseph Stiglitz and brother Paul Krugman. I figured, OK, given the structure of constraints of the capitalist democratic procedure that’s probably the best he could do."

"But at least he would have some voices concerned about working people, dealing with issues of jobs and downsizing and banks, some semblance of democratic accountability for Wall Street oligarchs and corporate plutocrats who are just running amuck. I was completely wrong.”

West says the betrayal occurred on two levels.

“There is the personal level,” he says. “I used to call my dear brother [Obama] every two weeks. I said a prayer on the phone for him, especially before a debate. And I never got a call back."

"And when I ran into him in the state Capitol in South Carolina when
I was down there campaigning for him he was very kind. The first
thing he told me was, ‘Brother West, I feel so bad. I haven’t called
you back. You been calling me so much. You been giving me so much
love, so much support and what have you.’ And I said, "I know you’re
busy."

"But then a month and half later I would run into other people on the campaign and he’s calling them all the time. I said, wow, this is kind of strange. He doesn’t have time, even two seconds, to say thank you or I’m glad you’re pulling for me and praying for me, but he’s calling these other people. I said, this is very interesting."

"And then as it turns out with the inauguration I couldn’t get a ticket with my mother and my brother. I said this is very strange. We drive into the hotel and the guy who picks up my bags from the hotel has a ticket to the inauguration."

"My mom says, ‘That’s something that this dear brother can get a ticket and you can’t get one, honey, all the work you did for him from Iowa.’ Beginning in Iowa to Ohio. We had to watch the thing in the hotel.”

“What it said to me on a personal level,” he goes on, “was that brother Barack Obama had no sense of gratitude, no sense of loyalty, no sense of even courtesy, [no] sense of decency, just to say thank you. Is this the kind of manipulative, Machiavellian orientation we ought to get used to? That was on a personal level.”

But there was also the betrayal on the political and ideological level.

“It became very clear to me as the announcements were being made,” he says, “that this was going to be a newcomer, in many ways like Bill Clinton, who wanted to reassure the Establishment by bringing in persons they felt comfortable with and that we were really going to get someone who was using intermittent progressive populist language in order to justify a centrist, neoliberalist policy that we see in the opportunism of Bill Clinton."

"It was very much going to be a kind of black face of the DLC [Democratic Leadership Council].”

Obama and West’s last personal contact took place a year ago at a gathering of the Urban League when, he says, "Obama cussed me out." Obama, after his address, which promoted his administration’s championing of charter schools, approached West, who was seated in the front row.

"He makes a bee line to me right after the talk, in front of everybody,” West says. “He just lets me have it." He says," 'You ought to be ashamed of yourself, saying I’m not a progressive. Is that the best you can do? Who do you think you are?'

"I smiled. I shook his hand. And a sister hollered in the back, ‘You can’t talk to professor West. That’s Dr. Cornel West. Who do you think you are?’ "You can go to jail talking to the president like that. You got to watch yourself. I wanted to slap him on the side of his head.”

“It was so disrespectful,” he went on, “that’s what I didn’t like. I’d already been called, along with all [other] leftists, a “F’ing retard” by Rahm Emanuel because we had critiques of the president.”

Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to the president, has, West said, phoned him to complain about his critiques of Obama. Jarrett was especially perturbed, West says, when he said in an interview last year that he saw a lot of Malcolm X and Ella Baker in Michelle Obama. Jarrett told him his comments were not complimentary to the first lady.

"I said in the world that I live in, in that which authorizes my reality, Ella Baker is a towering figure,” he says, munching Fritos and sipping apple juice at his desk.

"If I say there is a lot of Ella Baker in Michelle Obama that’s a
compliment. She can take it any way she wants. I can tell her
I’m sorry it offended you, but I’m going to speak the truth."

"She is a Harvard Law graduate, a Princeton graduate, and she deals with child obesity and military families. Why doesn’t she visit a prison? Why not spend some time in the hood? That is where she is, but she can’t do it."

“I think my dear brother Barack Obama has a certain fear of free black men,” West says.

“It’s understandable. As a young brother who grows up in a white context, brilliant African father, he’s always had to fear being a white man with black skin."

"All he has known culturally is white. He is just as human as I am, but that is his cultural formation. When he meets an independent black brother it is frightening. And that’s true for a white brother."

"When you get a white brother who meets a free, independent black man they got to be mature to really embrace fully what the brother is saying to them. It’s a tension, given the history. It can be overcome."

"Obama, coming out of Kansas influence, white, loving grandparents,
coming out of Hawaii and Indonesia, when he meets these
independent black folk who have a history of slavery, Jim Crow,
Jane Crow and so on, he is very apprehensive. He has a certain
rootlessness, a deracination. It is understandable.”

“He feels most comfortable with upper middle-class white and Jewish men who consider themselves very smart, very savvy and very effective in getting what they want,” he says.

“He’s got two homes. He has got his family and whatever challenges go on there, and this other home. Larry Summers blows his mind because he’s so smart. He’s got Establishment connections. He’s embracing me. It is this smartness, this truncated brilliance, that titillates and stimulates brother Barack and makes him feel at home."

"That is very sad for me."

“This was maybe America’s last chance to fight back against the greed of the Wall Street oligarchs and corporate plutocrats, to generate some serious discussion about public interest and common good that sustains any democratic experiment,” West laments.

“We are squeezing out all of the democratic juices we have. The
escalation of the class war against the poor and the working class
is intense."

"More and more working people are beaten down. They are world-weary. They are into self-medication. They are turning on each other. They are scapegoating the most vulnerable rather than confronting the most powerful."

"It is a profoundly human response to panic and catastrophe. I
thought Barack Obama could have provided some way out. But
he lacks backbone."

“Can you imagine if Barack Obama had taken office and deliberately educated and taught the American people about the nature of the financial catastrophe and what greed was really taking place?” West asks.

“If he had told us what kind of mechanisms of accountability needed to be in place, if he had focused on homeowners rather than investment banks for bailouts and engaged in massive job creation he could have nipped in the bud the right-wing populism of the tea party folk."

"The tea party folk are right when they say the government is
corrupt. It is corrupt. Big business and banks have taken over
government and corrupted it in deep ways. We have got to
attempt to tell the truth, and that truth is painful,” he says.

“It is a truth that is against the thick lies of the mainstream."

"In telling that truth we become so maladjusted to the prevailing injustice that the Democratic Party, more and more, is not just milquetoast and spineless, as it was before, but thoroughly complicitous with some of the worst things in the American empire."

"I don’t think in good conscience I could tell anybody to vote for Obama."

"If it turns out in the end that we have a crypto-fascist movement and the only thing standing between us and fascism is Barack Obama, then we have to put our foot on the brake."

"But we’ve got to think seriously of third-party candidates, third formations, third parties. Our last hope is to generate a democratic awakening among our fellow citizens."

"This means raising our voices, very loud and strong, bearing witness, individually and collectively."

"Tavis [Smiley] and I have talked about ways of civil disobedience,
beginning with ways for both of us to get arrested, to galvanize
attention to the plight of those in prisons, in the hoods, in poor
white communities. We must never give up."

"We must never allow hope to be eliminated or suffocated.”


Chris Hedges, whose column is published Mondays on Truthdig, spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans.

He has reported from more than 50 countries and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, for which he was a foreign correspondent for 15 years.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article28104.htm

© 2011 TruthDig.com

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Speaking to Each Other as Slaves

Speaking to Each Other as Slaves
By Gerry Spence
Saturday, May 14, 2011

Yes, all of us, the living, are indentured in some form of slavery.

A few slaves are better off than most.

In the slavery of the old South the house slaves lived closest to the master and shared some of his comforts not known to the wretched slaves who labored in the fields.

The field foreman, who were also slaves, wielded whips they laid on the backs of fellow slaves.

But slavery, not poverty, is the universal life-taking force that is suffered by the rich and the poor, by the boss and the CEO who, as slaves, lay their economic and emotional whips on the backs of the worker slaves.

The master, the corporate power structure, has an insidious, built-in guarantee against reform, one that preserves the master’s perpetual power.

The rich slave exploits the poor slave.

The rich slave often accumulates hundreds, even thousands of times more wealth than the poor slave — usually from the sweat and toil of the poor slave.

To justify his excesses, the rich slave proclaims he has worked
harder and is self-made, while the poor slave is said to be
irresponsible, lazy or stupid and entitled to what he earns which
is often a mere pittance.

By reason of his self interest, the rich slave refuses to recognize
and renounce his own slavery and to join the poor slave in a mutual
quest for freedom.

Instead, the rich slave will fight for the master, the said corporate power structure, against his poorer brothers and sisters.

But a few rich slaves are beginning to realize that riches do not provide freedom. Riches create only a different genre of slavery.

I say the master is dead because the corporation does not breathe, nor love, nor feel.

Our life’s breaths can be counted, and to contribute our limited breaths for the greed of a dead master is monstrous at best.

And slavery itself is a form of death.

Yet slaves can be taught to embrace nearly any degradation, any dehumanizing condition – to love it, fight for it and to die for it,
even with gratitude.

The means by which the dead master achieves its infinite power
over us is called propaganda.

Our masters own the airways we listen to, the television channels
we watch and the newspapers we read.

Our masters are masters at propaganda and mercilessly bombard
us with false messages of our freedom during all of our lives.

As a consequence we good and obedient slaves, rich or poor, believe down to our toenails that we are free.

We have embraced this fable since we were first able to understand the simplest ideas.

We, as children, have been taught that we are a nation of free people that provides liberty and justice and equal opportunity for all.

By the time we have become adults we innocently laud this false
freedom, and in its name we become free only to impose all nature
of pain and misery on the poorer slaves who themselves have come
to believe they are inferior by reason of their inability to acquire
their fair share of the promised life.

And we support evil wars against other slaves in other lands in the
name of their freedom but which wars, in the end, are fought by
our children who bleed and die to enrich our master.

Our dead master continues to exist long after we and our children
are gone.

The insanity of it is that the corporate master, although dead, enjoys an eternal life and continues to educate generation after generation of slaves who believe they are free.

And the master continues to profit as long as we believe we are free so long as we fail to realize that rich or poor we are slaves together.

So how then do we speak to each other as slaves?

Ought we not speak to each other out of deep respect, out of a love for our brothers and sisters?

Are we not best able to understand the pain of slavery of the poorest of our brethren having experienced degrees of its overarching pain ourselves?

Ought not our servitude cause us to care for one another in ways we have not considered before?


Gerry Spence is a very prominent American Attorney who has spent his lifetime representing and protecting victims of the legal system from what he calls The New Slave Master: big corporations and big government. He has tried and won many nationally known cases, and he has never lost a criminal case and he has not lost a civil case from 1969 to 2008.

http://gerryspence.wordpress.com/2011/03/23/speaking-to-each-
other-as-slaves/

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Microsoft Will Screw Up Skype

Now that Microsoft has snapped up the wonderful Internet phone
company, the software giant’s bureaucratic mess is bound to screw
it up. Dan Lyons on its history of botched acquisitions. Plus, Skype
investor Marc Andreessen on his big pay day.

By Dan Lyons
The Daily Beast
May 10, 2011

Skype just might be the most wonderful application on the Internet.

Now it will be owned by Microsoft, which is buying the Internet telephone company from a set of private investors for $8.5 billion.

It’s a stunning price, since those same investors bought the
company only 18 months ago at a valuation of $2.75 billion.

But for me and 170 million other customers who love Skype, the
scary aspect is this: Microsoft will screw it up.

Look at what they did with Danger Inc., an early mobile device
maker that created the Sidekick, a really cool early smartphone.

Microsoft bought it, smothered it, drove away the talent, and basically killed Danger in its crib.

Ironically, one of the people who left was Danger co-founder Andy Rubin, who went on to create Android, which he sold to Google—which didn’t screw it up. Now it’s taking over the mobile phone business while Microsoft, which once had a lead in that field, is struggling to stay alive.

Or look at Yahoo. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer led a botched campaign to buy the popular Web portal, flailed miserably, and then came back and cut a deal in which Yahoo would use Microsoft’s own search engine, Bing. That has pretty much been a bust, too.

The key to Skype’s success has been its tremendous core team of engineers. Skype was founded in 2003 in Estonia with the basic idea to let people make free voice and video calls over the Internet.

If you’ve ever used Skype, you know how good it is. It also
generates about $1 billion in annual revenue by charging users
for services like making calls from Skype to landline phones.

Microsoft says it intends to keep Skype operating at arms-length, as an independent division. Supposedly that will keep those brilliant engineers from bailing out.

The problem is that even if they’re left alone, the Skype engineers will now have to engage with lots of different teams at Microsoft.

The software giant apparently wants to integrate Skype across all sorts of products, like the Office suite, the Windows Phone 7 mobile operating system, and the Xbox videogame console.

The idea will be to add voice and video calling to all of Microsoft’s software, both in the enterprise and consumer space.

The goal is also to give Microsoft a chance to compete against
Google and Apple, which both have launched Skype-like products
recently. Google added voice calling to Gmail; it works great and
lets you make cheap overseas calls. Apple has Facetime, a video
conferencing system that’s built into the iPhone.

Neither of these products has put a dent in Skype. The company is still adding 500,000 registered users a day. Users have downloaded 50 million copies of Skype for the iPhone, even after Facetime became available.

So Microsoft will have a great and powerful weapon both for the enterprise and for consumers. That sounds great. But that integration is where the problems are going to kick in.

Internally, Microsoft has become a huge, bloated, bureaucratic, dysfunctional nightmare.

When I think of those brilliant engineers at Skype trying to deal with their counterparts at Microsoft—drones who are consumed with internal rivalries, slowed down by bickering and hierarchy, obsessed with trying to figure out whose butt you need to kiss to get a better performance review and bigger bonus—well, it makes me want to cry.

Marc Andreessen, one of the investors who sold Skype to Microsoft, says the engineers at Skype are “committed to the mission.”

Let’s hope so—for Microsoft’s sake, and for the sake of all the rest of us, who depend on Skype and love it.


Dan Lyons is technology editor at Newsweek and the creator of Fake Steve Jobs, the persona behind the notorious tech blog, The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs. Before joining Newsweek, Lyons spent 10 years at Forbes.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2011-05-10/
microsoft-buys-skype-why-it-will-screw-it-up/?om_rid=NsjXhp&
om_mid=_BNyZJeB8bAy1-B#

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Selective Enforcement

My Dear Fellow Americans:

Below for your independent, objective, and thoughtful review, is a copy of a U.S. Department of Justice, press release in regards to a Lobbyist, who was recently sentenced to 27 months in prison for his role in illegal campaign contributions.

On March 15, 2010, I personally sent an e-mail to the FBI’s Washington Field Office, in regards to my former boss and business partner, Mr. Jon DeVaan and his wife Mrs. Stephanie DeVaan's, roles in illegal campaign contributions, and to this day, Mr. and Mrs. DeVaan, have somehow managed to avoid the same prosecutorial fate, as several others who have now committed these exact same federal crimes.

"Selective Enforcement" is the ability that executors of the law such as the FBI, or Justice Department, have to select who they want to enforce laws against.

Historically, selective enforcement is recognized as a sign of tyranny, and an abuse of power, because it violates, "Rule of Law" allowing men to apply justice only when they choose.

Aside from this being inherently unjust, it almost inevitably must
lead to favoritism and extortion, with those empowered to choose
being able to help their friends, take bribes, and threaten those
they desire favors from.

Mr. and Mrs. DeVaan, are Democrats, who made multiple illegal campaign contributions to President Obama's, 2008 presidential campaign, which I truly believe fully explains the, "Selective Enforcement" that is now very clearly taking place here and as a Independent, and as a Christian, all I can now say is:

"You shall not pervert justice. You shall not show partiality, and you shall not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and subverts the cause of the righteous." ~ Deuteronomy 16:19

Sincerely,

Tony E. Whitcomb
Founder/CEO Expotera


Washington • Press Releases • 2011 • Lobbyist Sentenced to 27 Months in Prison for Role in Illegal Campaign Contribution...

Lobbyist Sentenced to 27 Months in Prison for Role in Illegal Campaign Contribution Scheme

U.S. Department of Justice

January 07, 2011

Office of Public Affairs (202) 514-2007/(202) 514-1888

WASHINGTON—Paul Magliocchetti, the founder and president of PMA Group Inc., a lobbying firm, was sentenced today to 27 months in prison for making hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal campaign contributions and making false statements to a federal agency, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride of the Eastern District of Virginia, and James W. McJunkin, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.

U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III also sentenced Magliocchetti to two years of supervised release and ordered him to pay a $75,000 fine. Magliocchetti pled guilty in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va., on Sept. 24, 2010, to one count each of making false statements, making illegal conduit contributions and making illegal corporate contributions.

“Paul Magliocchetti spent half of a decade gaming the system. He concocted a massive scheme to secretly funnel money to political campaigns—all so that he could gain wealth and prestige,” said Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division.

“As today’s sentence makes clear, he must now pay a price. We will continue to bring to justice those who hide the source of campaign funds and thus damage the integrity of our election process.”

“Mr. Magliocchetti carried out one of the largest federal campaign finance frauds in history,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride.

“He learned that no one—despite wealth and influence—is above the
law. Today’s sentence should put anyone on notice that if you seek
to buy the influence of elected public officials through skirting the
campaign finance laws you’ll not merely be exposed publicly but
you’ll go to prison for a long time.”

“Enhancing one’s professional reputation by using colleagues, friends and even family to make illegal campaign contributions is dishonest; and Mr. Magliocchetti knew that his actions were against the law,” said James W. McJunkin, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.

“I am proud of the team of agents from the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and FBI who worked on behalf of all Americans to investigate this blatant abuse of prestige and money. The public needs to trust that elections will not be influenced in this manner.”

He was charged in an indictment unsealed on Aug. 5, 2010.

According to the indictment, Magliocchetti orchestrated a scheme to make illegal conduit and corporate federal campaign contributions in an effort to enrich himself and PMA by increasing the firm’s influence, power and prestige among the firm’s current and potential clients as well as among the elected public officials to whom PMA and its lobbyists sought access.

The federal campaigns that received these funds were unaware of Magliocchetti’s scheme.

Magliocchetti admitted that, from 2003 through 2008, he used members of his family, friends and PMA lobbyists to make unlawful campaign contributions.

Aware of the strict limits on individual federal campaign contributions-and the outright ban on corporate contributions—Magliocchetti admitted that he instructed the conduits to write checks out of their personal checking accounts to specific candidates for federal office and that, for the purpose of making these contributions, Magliocchetti advanced funds to or reimbursed these individuals using personal and corporate monies.

Magliocchetti, also admitted that, through this scheme, he caused various federal campaign committees to unknowingly create and file false reports with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) regarding the contributions they had received.

These reports, which the FEC made available to the public, falsely stated that the conduits had made contributions, when in fact the contributions were made by Magliocchetti or PMA.

In connection with this investigation, Mark Magliocchetti pled guilty on Aug. 5, 2010, before U.S. Magistrate Judge T. Rawles Jones Jr., in U.S. District Court in Alexandria to making illegal corporate campaign contributions.

According to court documents, Mark Magliocchetti admitted to receiving payments from an individual and a company with the understanding that those monies were to be used for federal campaign contributions.

According to court documents, the amount of contributions made by
Mark Magliocchetti and his wife, and funded by the individual and
the company, exceeded $120,000 but was less than $200,000. Mark
Magliocchetti was sentenced to 14 days in prison plus five and a half
months of home confinement.

This case was prosecuted by Deputy Chief Justin V. Shur and Trial
Attorneys M. Kendall Day and Kevin O. Driscoll of the Criminal
Division’s Public Integrity Section, and by Assistant U.S. Attorney
Mark D. Lytle of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District
of Virginia.

The case was investigated by the FBI and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service.

http://www.fbi.gov/washingtondc/press-releases/2011/wfo010711c.
htm

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

365 Days Together

365 Days Together...
And Not Many Blogs, or Bloggers, Even Reach This Day,
While Many Other Businesses, and Blogs, Seem To Fail,
Expotera, and Expotera Blogspot, Are Most Definitely Here To Stay!

Many Have Now Tried To Silence Us,
And Many More Have Now Tried To Put Us Down,
Many Have Now Very Clearly Broken Several Laws Here,
Yet The FBI, and The Justice Department, Are Still Absolutely No Where To Be Found?

365 Days Together...
And Numerous Very True Stories Have Now Been Reported And Told,
I Want To Thank All Of You, For Your Love, Support, And Prayers,
Because With Out This, Expotera And Expotera Blogspot, Might Have Already Been Sold?

Many Others Have Now Sold Their Souls Directly To The Devil,
For A Little Temporary Fame And Fortune, Here On This Earth,
Many Of These Individuals Are Now Laughing At And Mocking Us,
But Only God Knows Expotera, And Our, Immeasurable Value And Incredible Net Worth!

365 Days Together...
And This Battle With Jon DeVaan and Several Others, Still Wages On,
God Has A History Of Using Believers, To Accomplish The Impossible,
And Please Remember, It Is Always Darkest, Just Before The Dawn.

We Have Now Been Together Through Many, Many Struggles,
And We Have Now Been Together Through Many Ups And Downs,
But We Realize, The Tallest And Mightiest Oaks In The Forest,
Were Once Only Little Nuts, Who Simply Held Their Ground.

365 Days Together...
And May God Please Bless Us And Allow Us To Live To See 365 More,
Expotera, and All Of Our Brightest, and Best Days, Still Lie Ahead Us,
And The Devil, Now Waits For All Of Our Enemies, At Hell's Front And Back Doors.

They Did Their Best To Try To Steal Our Company Away From Us,
And When This Didn't Work, They Did Their Best To Shut Us Down,
A Very Happy Anniversary, To All Of You and To Expotera Blogspot,
And To The Devil, And To Mr. DeVaan, Judgement Day, Shall Soon Be Coming Around!

The Last Boy In Line