Wednesday, February 25, 2015

American Horror Story: Privatized Government Terrorizes at Home and Abroad

American Horror Story plays out every day in the real lives of people at home in America and throughout the world.  Thomas Jefferson said:

“I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.

If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.”

Thomas Jefferson was soooo right.  I’m beginning to think that the thing that makes America exceptional is the exceptional stupidity of the American people and how much they will allow themselves to be abused, raped, imprisoned, starved, poisoned and stripped of their wealth and well-being by predators who finance their elections.

According to The Guardian, Emma Thompson and Greg Wise have had enough of the fascist plutocratic rule by predator banks that coordinate their terrorist activities with world governments from their home base in the United States of America.


Emma Thompson and Greg Wise in tax boycott over HSBC scandal

Actor says he and his wife refuse to pay ‘a penny more’ until tax evaders found among Swiss banking arm’s clients go to prison

Greg Wise, the actor married to Oscar winner Emma Thompson, has said he and his wife will refuse to pay tax until those involved in the HSBC scandal go to prison.

Wise spoke of his disgust with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and the bank after the Guardian and other news organisations published leaked details of 100,000 accounts held by HSBC’s Swiss arm which showed how the bank had helped clients to move cash out of the country.

“I want to stop paying tax, until everyone pays tax,” Wise told the Evening Standard. “I have actively loved paying tax, because I am a profound fucking socialist and I believe we are all in it together. But I am disgusted with HMRC. I am disgusted with HSBC. And I’m not paying a penny more until those evil bastards go to prison.”

Yes, the episode of American Horror Story that Greg Wise refers to is HSBC Bank laundering money for terrorists and drug cartels in the United States.  And who was the prosecutor that left HSBC off the hook with a little over a billion in fines, which amounted to about a month’s illegal profits?  Why it’s none other than Loretta Lynch, Obama’s nominee to be America’s top cop, Attorney General of United States of America.  From The Guardian:


The secret bank files – obtained and examined in detail this week in a series of reports by the Guardian, CBS 60 Minutes and other media outlets – reveal that HSBC’s Swiss arm colluded with some high net-worth individuals to hide their assets from tax authorities across the world.

The new data, leaked by a whistleblower, was obtained by French tax authorities and shared with the US government in 2010, raising questions over why the Department of Justice has yet to take action against HSBC in the US.

US government officials have told the Guardian that investigations by the DoJ’s tax division have been continuing for five years and criminal charges against HSBC or its bankers remain a possibility.

Sounds like the U.S. Government, a wholly owned subsidiary of Goldman Sachs, is running out the clock on the statute of limitations.  HSBC isn’t even an American bank, so how is it that a foreign bank could aid in financing terrorists through their bank located in America?  From Rolling Stone:


The deal was announced quietly, just before the holidays, almost like the government was hoping people were too busy hanging stockings by the fireplace to notice. Flooring politicians, lawyers and investigators all over the world, the U.S. Justice Department granted a total walk to executives of the British-based bank HSBC for the largest drug-and-terrorism money-laundering case ever.

Yes, they issued a fine – $1.9 billion, or about five weeks' profit – but they didn't extract so much as one dollar or one day in jail from any individual, despite a decade of stupefying abuses.

The behemoth Department of Homeland Security created after the 911 attacks is just a Potemkin village, a fake store front.

For at least half a decade, the storied British colonial banking power helped to wash hundreds of millions of dollars for drug mobs, including Mexico's Sinaloa drug cartel, suspected in tens of thousands of murders just in the past 10 years…

The bank also moved money for organizations linked to Al Qaeda and Hezbollah, and for Russian gangsters; helped countries like Iran, the Sudan and North Korea evade sanctions; and, in between helping murderers and terrorists and rogue states, aided countless common tax cheats in hiding their cash.

In a related episode of American Horror Story that I call The Greek Tragedy is currently playing out on the world stage. From Truthout:


Swimming With Sharks: Goldman Sachs, Schools and Capital Appreciation Bonds

Remember when Goldman Sachs—dubbed by Matt Taibbi the Vampire Squid—sold derivatives to Greece so the government could conceal its debt, then bet against that debt, driving it up? It seems that the ubiquitous investment bank has also put the squeeze on California and its school districts.

Not that Goldman was alone in this; but the unscrupulous practices of the bank once called the undisputed king of the municipal bond business epitomize the culture of greed that has ensnared students and future generations in unrepayable debt….

In 2009, the lenders’ lobbying group then proposed and promoted AB1388, a California bill eliminating the debt ceiling requirement on long-term debt for school districts. After it passed, bankers traveled all over the state pushing something called “capital appreciation bonds” (CABs) as a tool to vault over legal debt limits. (Think Greece again.)

Also called payday loans for school districts, CABs have now been issued by more than 400 California districts, some with repayment obligations of up to 20 times the principal advanced (or 2000%)…

The controversial bonds came under increased scrutiny in August 2012, following a report that San Diego County’s Poway Unified would have to pay $982 million for a $105 million CAB it issued. Goldman Sachs made $1.6 million on a single capital appreciation deal with the San Diego Unified School District….

The Federal Reserve could have made virtually-interest-free loans available to local governments, as it did for banks. But the Fed (whose twelve branches are 100% owned by private banks) declined.

In the American Horror Story episode I call “The Pied Piper Lures Students into Slavery” students are saddled with trillions of dollars in predatory student loan debt that cannot be expunged through bankruptcy, disability or even death.  From The San Diego Free Press:


Today’s students are being crushed with John Bunyan’s proverbial burden on their backs – student loan debt. Until relatively recently this debt could have been discharged in bankruptcy.

Then all that changed when Sallie Mae, the Student Loan Marketing Association, was privatized in 2004.  Albert Lord, the new CEO, and his lobbyists went to work to change the laws so that student loans could not be discharged in bankruptcy. Today the cumulative student loan debt is more than $1 trillion.

In Sallie Mae annual reports, CEO Albert Lord has boasted that the company’s extraordinary financial growth could be attributed to fees collected from defaulted loans, as well as loan origination growth.

Lord, who personally invested hundreds of thousands of dollars (on the books) in politicians and PACs involved with education legislation is probably the largest individual beneficiary of student loan privatization.

In 2001, US News reported that Mr. Lord’s compensation for the year 2000 had skyrocketed to over $33 million. From 1999-2004, Sallie Mae’s top two executives, Al Lord and Tom Fitzpatrick, received compensation worth $225 million and $245 million, respectively.

Both men have regularly topped Fortune Magazine’s list of highest paid CEO’s in the Washington D.C. Area….

While Albert Lord and others have profited handsomely from student loan privatization, many of the students themselves have been driven to despair after they graduate and payments on the loans become due….

Suicide is the dark side of the student lending crisis and, despite all the media attention to the issue of student loans, it’s been severely under-reported.

And then there was the episode of American Horror Story I call “Toll Road to Hell.”

Recent guests on C-Span’s Washington Journal were Blake Ellis and Melanie Hicken of CNN Money who collaborated on an article called “The secret world of government debt collection.”


Government agencies across the country are hiring private debt collectors to go after millions of Americans over unpaid taxes, ancient parking tickets and even $1 tolls.

It’s a good deal for cash-strapped states, cities and other local governments. By outsourcing this dirty work and letting private companies charge debtors sky-high fees, government agencies can get these collection services free of charge.

And it's a great deal for debt collectors. In an industry already known for bad behavior, debt collectors that work for government agencies usually don’t have to work within the confines of consumer protection laws – opening the door for higher fees and even more aggressive tactics.

That’s right these debt collectors do not have to work within the confines of consumer protection laws, in other words they are like mafia hit men, predatory sharks with no need to obey the most basic of laws that protect American citizens from predatory lenders and unscrupulous debt collectors. 

And they use government agencies as muscle men that have the ability to garnish wages, withhold tax returns and even imprison people for not paying their exorbitant fees.

Their government bosses can give them the power to threaten debtors with the suspension of their driver’s license, garnishment of their wages, foreclosure and arrest to get them to pay up.

State lawmakers have even passed laws allowing private collectors to charge debtors steep fees. In Florida, for example, fees can be as high as 40% on top of the total bill, which includes not only what they already owe, but interest and government penalties as well.

In Texas, they can reach 30%. And in cases of unpaid toll violations, flat fees can effectively amount to more than 100%.  As a result, small unpaid tolls can easily balloon into hundreds of dollars, once government penalties and collection fees are tacked on….

One of the biggest players in this industry is law firm Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson…. Based in Texas, Linebarger works for 2,300 clients nationwide and collects $1 billion for its clients each year…

Despite decades of scandals over the way the firm gets business -- and even jail time for one of its top executives -- Linebarger still lands lucrative government contracts…

For one out-of-town driver who mistakenly failed to pay $7.50 in tolls on a Texas highway, these fees became a $157.50 bill in a matter of months. The toll road was due the original toll amount, plus $66 in administrative fees. Linebarger added $84 for itself…

Because the law so often lands on Linebarger’s side, consumers often end up in a black hole with little recourse….

And what’s in the hopper for an upcoming episode of American Horror Story?  Military Pensions and Tri Care for Life.  Seems the new “Proctor and Gamble Businessman Ashton Carter” is going to bring the business model of human life has no value to our veterans.  From Financial Buzz:


On Sunday, Ashton Carter, Secretary of Defense, said that he was open to changes in the system of military retirement. But he would not be in favor of changes being imposed or forced upon the former or existing service members.

The Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission employed by the Congress, submitted proposals in the previous month to save the funds of the Defense Department with respect to personnel expenses.

Get rid of those pesky personnel expenses.  They are cutting into the military industrial complex exorbitant profits.

Changes were suggested to encourage troops to shift from the existing pension system that provides significant retirement money to the individuals who have served for 20 or more years. At the same time it gives nothing to those who have served for a lesser period of time.

So what is the panel that congress pays out of our taxpayer receipts suggesting to do to provide those who serve with a secure pension and the promise of medical care for life? 

Another recommendation made by the panel was that Tricare health insurance should be substituted with a variety of private source options.

Caaaching another win for banks and insurance companies and death sentence for Americans especially those sick and injured in service to OUR country.  Meanwhile, remember last year when the Ukrainian government was overthrown by the CIA and $3 billion in gold was shipped to the Federal Reserve Bank in New York?  

Well, that prompted the people of Crimea to throw their lot in with Russia much to the chagrin of the American Horror Story way of life.  From NewYork Times:


Russia Raises Some Salaries and Pensions for Crimeans

MOSCOW — Moving quickly to envelop Crimea in the Russian bureaucracy and economy, the Kremlin said Monday that it had nearly doubled pensions paid to retirees on the peninsula, raising them to the average levels paid in Russia.

President Vladimir V. Putin signed a decree raising pensions and another increasing salaries for public sector workers like teachers and doctors, according to a statement posted on the Kremlin’s website.

Officials also announced a number of new investment plans and tax breaks for Crimea, which Russia seized from Ukraine two weeks ago after a rushed vote in the Crimean Legislature. The Crimeans even realigned the clock, moving theirs ahead two hours, to be identical with Moscow’s time zone.

No wonder the government in American Horror Story loathes Putin so much, if people of the world start to see a choice of American Horror Story or a legitimate government serving its people instead of its American Horror Story bankers, there’s bound to be an upheaval in the world against the tyranny of the billionaire banker oligarchs. 

When American Horror Story took its show on the road to Greece they destroyed the government and the way of life for its people.  First they bankrupted Greece through a combination of loans and hedge fund shakedowns, then they demanded crushing austerity for the people. 

Now the people of Greece have voted in a new government that promised to reverse course and concentrate on the needs of the people first.  The World Bank and the European Union are trying to stomp down on the necks of the Greeks with their heavy American Horror Story jackboots.  From Reuters:


Euro zone backs Greek aid extension, seeks clearer reforms

In American Horror Story “clearer reforms” is code for starve your people or we will destroy you.

(Reuters) - Greece secured a four-month extension of its financial rescue on Tuesday when its euro zone partners approved a reform plan, as Athens backed away from some proposed measures and promised that spending to alleviate social distress would not derail its budget….

Don’t trust them Greece, you saw what they did to Ukraine when their government sought to alleviate social distress.

A Greek finance ministry official said the euro zone's most heavily indebted nation would start discussions immediately with its EU and IMF partners on meeting this year's financing shortfall.

When they say EU and IMF partners, they mean partners like when a mafia man comes and demands protection money or he will break your legs and torch your business.

Options included allowing Athens to issue more short-term T-bills and using ECB profits on Greek bonds, he said.

Gee, the European Central Bank will allow Athens to borrow from their profits they made bankrupting nations across the world.  Gee that sounds a lot like the California school bonds.  So what else must Greece do?

The Greek letter pledged not to reverse ongoing or completed privatizations, and to ensure that the fight against what the government calls the humanitarian crisis caused by bailout-driven austerity "has no negative fiscal effects".

So Greece is offered a death sentence of “humanitarian crises caused by bailout austerity.  In other words, no pensions, food or any kind of security for people and exorbitant billionaire payouts. 

So what is Greece to do in this episode of American Horror Story?  I know, let’s look at what the people of Iceland did.  Back in 2012 Iceland said, screw you to the banks.  From It Makes Sense Blog:


Iceland Dismantles Corrupt Gov’t Then Arrests All Rothschild Bankers

Whoo whoo.  Iceland’s got a set of brass balls.

Since the 1900′s the vast majority of the American population has dreamed about saying “NO” to the Unconstitutional, corrupt, Rothschild/Rockefeller banking criminals, but no one has dared to do so. Why? If just half of our Nation, and the “1%”, who pay the majority of the taxes, just said NO MORE! Our Gov’t would literally change over night.

Hey sounds like Greg Wise and Emma Thompson are on to something.

Not only have they (Iceland) been successful, at overthrowing the corrupt Gov’t, they’ve drafted a Constitution, that will stop this from happening ever again. That’s not the best part… The best part, is that they have arrested ALL Rothschild/Rockefeller banking puppets, responsible for the Country’s economic Chaos and meltdown.

You go girl.

This quiet revolutionary process has its origins in 2008 when the Icelandic government decided to nationalise the three largest banks, Landsbanki, Kaupthing and Glitnir, whose clients were mainly British, and North and South American.

While banks and local and foreign authorities were desperately seeking economic solutions, the Icelandic people took to the streets and their persistent daily demonstrations outside parliament in Reykjavik prompted the resignation of the conservative Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde and his entire government.

Citizens demanded, in addition, to convene early elections, and they succeeded. In April a coalition government was elected, formed by the Social Democratic Alliance and the Left Green Movement, headed by a new Prime Minister, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir.

Huh, imagine that a government of, by and for the people.  What a great idea.

Throughout 2009 the Icelandic economy continued to be in a precarious situation (at the end of the year the GDP had dropped by 7%) but, despite this, the Parliament proposed to repay the debt to Britain and the Netherlands with a payment of 3,500 million Euros, a sum to be paid every month by Icelandic families for 15 years at 5.5% interest.

The move sparked anger again in the Icelanders, who returned to the streets demanding that, at least, that decision was put to a referendum. Another big small victory for the street protests: in March 2010 that vote was held and an overwhelming 93% of the population refused to repay the debt, at least with those conditions.

This forced the creditors to rethink the deal and improve it, offering 3% interest and payment over 37 years. Not even that was enough. The current president, on seeing that Parliament approved the agreement by a narrow margin, decided last month not to approve it and to call on the Icelandic people to vote in a referendum so that they would have the last word….

Returning to the tense situation in 2010, while the Icelanders were refusing to pay a debt incurred by financial sharks without consultation, the coalition government had launched an investigation to determine legal responsibilities for the fatal economic crisis and had already arrested several bankers and top executives closely linked to high risk operations….

Man that’s ballsy.

….. instead of calling experts and politicians, Iceland decided to appeal directly to the people, after all they have sovereign power over the law. More than 500 Icelanders presented themselves as candidates to participate in this exercise in direct democracy and write a new constitution. 25 of them, without party affiliations, including lawyers, students, journalists, farmers and trade union representatives were elected.

Man oh man, sounds like the American Revolution.

Among other developments, this constitution will call for the protection, like no other, of freedom of information and expression in the so-called Icelandic Modern Media Initiative, in a bill that aims to make the country a safe haven for investigative journalism and freedom of information, where sources, journalists and Internet providers that host news reporting are protected.

So that was Iceland in 2012, so how did that work out?  From Der Spiegel:


Out of the Abyss: Looking for Lessons in Iceland's Recovery

What should one expect from a country in which the sentence, "What an asshole!" is a compliment? Icelanders say "asshole," or "rassgat," when they tousle a child's hair or greet friends, and they mean it to be friendly.

While trudging through a lava field within view of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano, the guide says: "Iceland is the asshole of the world." That, too, is a positive statement. It's also a geological metaphor.

In Iceland, which lies on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and thus on the dividing line of the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates, the earth has a tendency to relieve itself through various geysers, volcanoes and hot springs.

Ha, ha I guess they are the asshole of the world.

The island, an unlikely geological accident, has existed for some 18 million years, but has only been inhabited for 1,100 years. A pile of lava pushed out of the Atlantic that could eventually disappear again, it's affectionately called "The Rock" by residents. Icelanders were traditionally fishermen and farmers until they decided to turn their country into a casino for global capital around the turn of the millennium.

What happened in Iceland from 2008 to 2011 is regarded as one of the worst financial crises in history. It seems likely that never before had a country managed to amass such great sums of money per capita, only to lose it again in a short period of time.

But Iceland, with a population of just 320,000, has also staged what appears to be the fastest recovery on record. Since 2011, the gross domestic product has been on the rise once again, most recently at 2 percent. What's more, salaries are rising, the national debt is sinking and the government has paid off part of the billions in loans it received in 2008 from the International Monetary Fund ahead of schedule.

So let’s write the last episode of American Horror Story, and maybe Greg Wise and Emma Thompson can play the lead roles.  Maybe we can call it “American Horror Story the Last Days: Iceland’s Revenge.”

By Patricia Baeten

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