Here’s an excerpt from an article by G. William Domhoff on Global Research. This may not exactly be news to some of us, but it certainly re-affirms a lot:

…the bottom line is this: A highly complex and largely discrete set of laws and exemptions from laws has been put in place by those in the uppermost reaches of the U.S. financial system. It allows them to protect and increase their wealth and significantly affect the U.S. political and legislative processes. They have real power and real wealth. Ordinary citizens in the bottom 99.9% are largely not aware of these systems, do not understand how they work, are unlikely to participate in them, and have little likelihood of entering the top 0.5%, much less the top 0.1%. Moreover, those at the very top have no incentive whatsoever for revealing or changing the rules. I am not optimistic.

(Full Article Here)

Kelly Carr and Brian Grow recently reported in Yahoo Finance: The secretive business havens of Cyprus and the Cayman Islands face a potent rival: Cheyenne, Wyoming. At a single address in this…

Oh how the times have been a changin’ since Robert Goodloe Harper coined that gem in 1798. In the 21st century, apparently, patriotism means stealing hundreds of billions from the U.S. Treasury to bailout incompetent bankers, as “minute man” [1] Paul Ryan begged the House to do on September 29, 2008.

Okay, so as a nation we’re totally cool with recasting tribute to greasy financial fat cats as “investment” — even if it doesn’t exactly pay a huge return. [2]

But since “far left socialist” Barack Obama proposed cutting Social Security benefits during recent talks to increase the nation’s debt ceiling (to much Republican enthusiasm), making sure Granny gets her catfood money has also been redefined as “wanton profligacy”. Ah, sure, the ol’ gal only had another ten years left in her TOPS anyways, right?

America, you are a pack of perverts. [3]

Synopsis via The Raw Story:

Pulitzer-winning author and former New York Times reporter Chris Hedges has a revolutionary worldview. In the video below, his recent “Endgame Strategy” piece for AdBusters is read aloud by George Atherton. His conclusions are chilling, but not entirely hopeless. “We will have to take care of ourselves,” he wrote. “We will have to rapidly create small, monastic communities where we can sustain and feed ourselves. It will be up to us to keep alive the intellectual, moral and cultural values the corporate state has attempted to snuff out. It is either that or become drones and serfs in a global corporate dystopia. It is not much of a choice. But at least we still have one.

Other Guys CreditsIf I had to pick one issue that I think many more people should really, really be curious about, I’d say the backstory behind so-called recent “financial crisis”, (which has been documented in such films as Inside Job, Capitalism: A Love Story and Plunder: The Crime of Our Time to name a few), is at the top of my list. Therefore, I was surprised when I saw at the end of the Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg comedy, The Other Guys, to find this “message” embedded in a mainstream entertainment film. As Gary Susman wrote on Moviefone’s Blog:

The movie may be a silly farce about New York cops who stumble upon a Bernie Madoff-like Ponzi scheme that threatens to defraud billions from city workers. But buried in the comedy is a serious point about what really constitutes grand theft these days, a point illustrated over the closing credits by a PowerPoint-like presentation full of jazzy infographics and serious statistics outlining just how much Wall Street and corporate leaders have enriched themselves at the expense of American workers and taxpayers…

It’s a fascinating sequence, both from a design perspective and from the unlikely prospect of seeing a major corporation (in this case, Sony) release a mass-entertainment movie that also wants to educate moviegoers about the legalized wealth-grab that’s benefiting major corporations…

DeforestationBBC News recently reported:

Brazil’s biggest bank — the state-run Banco do Brasil — is being sued for allegedly funding deforestation in the Amazon.

Public prosecutors say the bank lent money to companies that illegally cleared the rainforest and used labour practices bordering on slavery. The smaller state-owned Banco da Amazonia is also being sued.

Brazil says it has drastically reduced the rate of deforestation in the Amazon in recent years.

Prosecutors in the state of Para said they had uncovered 55 loans worth nearly $5m (£3m) that the Banco do Brasil approved to farms that had broken environmental and employment laws. They also said they had uncovered 37 loans worth $11m given to farms with similar violations by the Banco da Amazonia.

The loans violated Brazil’s constitution, environmental laws, banking regulations and international agreements signed by Brazil, the independent prosecutors at the Public Ministry said.

Congratulations to all the new college grads out there, but have you thought about how much your expensive new college degree is worth? For 2009-10 graduates who were able to land a job…

A Hated Financial Center Is Bouncing Back. How Did They Do It? Two years ago as financial reform was put on the U.S. Congressional agenda, a skeptical Senator, Dick Durbin of Illinois,…

MortgageITBBC News reports:

The US Justice Department has sued Deutsche Bank for more than $1bn (£600m) for defrauding the government.

The complaint says Deutsche’s MortgageIT subsidiary lied in order to get Federal Housing Administration (FHA) insurance for its loans.

FHA rules say lenders must make sure the borrower will be able to repay the loan, but the Justice Department claims Deutsche did not do so.

A Deutsche spokesperson described the claims as “unreasonable and unfair”. “We intend to defend against the action vigorously,” she added.

The lawsuit is one of the first targeting mortgage lenders under the federal False Claims Act.

The recent discussions of birth certificates and citizenship have rekindled my interest in living and working abroad, and, consequently, my frustration at just very how hard this is for the average person…

Exxon apologizes for sticking it to us at the gas pumps last quarter.  The disgusting part?  Exxon feels that their company “doesn’t even make that much money selling gasoline.”  AP reports: Exxon…

Matt Taibbi asks “Why is the Federal Reserve forking over $220 million in bailout money to the wives of two Morgan Stanley bigwigs?”, as ever in Rolling Stone: America has two national…

As Jane Mayer’s New Yorker Magazine piece argues, the Koch brothers prefer to stay in the shadows because they do not want the products they manufacture to become widely associated with their…