Is there truly a cabal of wealthy people who secretly control America?

          This is an odd topic, although it is something that has been presenting itself to me more daily. Each day I watch news, read the paper, read on the Web or debate one person or another, it seems that this subject is slapping me in the face. The more I read, the more it seems I am being force fed garbage, something to keep me off the this elusive subject. The Internet is veritable smorgasbord  of conspiracy theories. The news and the papers are obviously controlled by the wealthy elite, so we only get the stories they want us to read. My ideas on the subject are in constant evolution and not 100% clear yet. I just want to present them, just to get them out and hopefully get some input from others. I also want some of these thoughts solid so I can always refer to it.

              I want to start with the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve is not controlled by the government, it is controlled by private bankers. Odd, right, one would assume that it was a government entity. For a period of time our dollar was backed by gold. That switched, I apologize  for being vague but I am not going in depth about this part, and money became backed essentially by the full faith and credit of the United States. It is made up out of thin air, it means nothing and comes from no where. That, you would think makes our dollar worthless, but it doesnt. Now every dollar that we borrow from the Federal Reserve, yes our government borrows money from private bankers, has to be payed back with interest. So every dollar created puts the United States further in debt to wealthy bankers. It creates a system of perpetual debt, leaving the super wealthy in control of our government.

            Let’s move to Citizens United next. This ruling by the Supreme Court allowed dark money to flood into our politics. Dark money is money that comes from unknown sources and cannot be accounted for. It also allowed individuals to contribute more to political campaigns and to be able to hide who it was contributed to. Let’s be very clear, this does not benefit the poor or middle class. I gave $15 to President Obama  in 2012 and $10 in 2008. There is a new bill Republican lawmakers are trying to pass that would triple the amount people could contribute without declaring any of it. Now interesting statistic I keep seeing is that 94% of candidates that raise the most money win. Now Congress had a 9% approval rating yet 94% were reelected. I hope you caught that anomaly as well. 9% approval is very very bad. Interestingly, just for example, the Koch Brothers contributed approximately $325 million, that is accounted for in the last election cycle. That is according to the Washington Post. Now how does that help the poor?

             Now to Voter I.D. laws. Who do voter i.d. laws affect? The poor of course! The rate of fraudulent voting of the sort Republicans are trying to stop is about .00002%. Does that really seem like something that would warrant this much action? Especially because Republicans have seemed reluctant to take any action at all. Why is this an issue? In 2008 when then Senator Barrack Obama was running for President, the poor overwhelmingly voted for him. His speeches motivated the country and helped assuage voter apathy. 93% of the African American vote went to President Obama and minorities  as a whole were generally in his corner. How can the wealthy elite keep their puppet in office if people vote? They cant. They had to do something, their lobbyist marched into our capital to manufacture a new issue. Voter fraud. By requiring I.D., people who live in inner cities and do not drive, nor have the finances to own a car could not vote. Unfortunately for the wealthy we were protected from poll taxes. But it didn’t end there, Republicans ended early voting or shortened it, closed polls early, created long lines by having less polls, machines switched votes from Democrat to Republican and they even used voter intimidation. In 2014, about 30% of the population or less voted. It seems they got their sheep back in the herd.

            Those are the big ones I wanted to cover. But here is more food for thought. The rolling back of part of the Civil Rights Act that helped protect minorities rights to vote in districts that have had past issues. Low wages and the decimation of Labor Unions. Unions were the middle classes great protector. The continual attempts to decimate the EPA. Saying the EPA makes it where business can’t compete because of regulations. The illegal foreclosures by banks, who paid a pittance of a fine and didn’t have to give the homes back. Bank executives getting bonuses while crashing the economy, destroying people’s pensions, 401 KS and decimating our workforce. No prosecution of any of these people who committed illegal acts, while our prisons are over crowded by poor people with Marijuana offenses. The complete control of the mass media, holding each to their own standards and showing a blatant avoidance of the truth. In fact, many tell outright lies more then they tell the truth, Fox News. The worse part of this is the absolute ignorance of so many Americans. The easiest way to make the middle class forget about the rich, is to make them hate the poor. We are so gullible.

          Is it a true conspiracy? Did I paint a clear enough picture? The answer to both, I don’t know. The idea is still coming together for me as I dig through more and more. It is a theory, but truth, not sure yet. This I will say. There is an eternal battle going on in America. At its root is income inequality, which is at its highest since the 1920s. The DOW Jones is setting records dailly, but we are only getting minimum wage jobs. Why? 95% of the wealth made over the last six years has gone to the top 5% of the population. Class warfare is undeniably one of the biggest issues in America. It seems as if the wealthy elite have clung to power for so long, that any perceived attempt to dislodge them from power will be met with fierce resistance. Even at the loss of our great country. Cabal or greedy men? They might be one in the same.

Fox News wins right to lie in appeals court, 11 years ago.

         In 1996 Fox News sent 2 reporters out to do a story. When the reporters returned with their story, Fox News wanted them to report blatant lies which the reporters refused to do. The reporters won a 6 figure sum in court for being unlawfully terminated.  Fox News then filed an appeal. In February 2003 a Florida Court of Appeals overturned the original decision and unanimously agreed with Fox News that there was not an existing rule in the United States that required them to report the news TRUTHFULLY.

Bill O’Reilly paid lawyers to argue that it is Fox News right under the First Amendment to distort or falsify the news. So over the last 11 years the most watched news network has been feeding their viewers egregious lies. Why would a news outlet want to report untruths? Do you think they are trying to push their agenda on their viewers by distorting the news? Sadly those who watch Fox News swear by it. They take what is said on there as gospel. How much is actually true?

How many times over the years have Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Ann Coulter, Glenn Beck or Shepherd Smith shaped opinion with lies? Despite GDP growing rather than contracting Hannity continued to say that President Obama’s policy were hurting the economy. That despite overwhelming evidence that disputes his assertions. Why did Hannity further the biryher movement despite the President showing his birth certificate. Even after multiple fact checkers proved Hannity smear as false. But Fox News is Fair and Balanced. Right?

Bill O’Reilly insists that Attorney General Eric Holder is involved in the dismissal of criminal charges against the New Black Panther Party for voter intimidation. Despite it being a different administration that did so. He also denies telling viewers that President Obama hid news about Benghazi motives because he was running for reelection. Another outright lie. Then he said that no one on Fox News ever said you would go to jail if you didnt buy health insurance. Another blatant lie. This list goes on and on. I wanted to list examples, not have them overrun the point of this story. But it easily could have been overrun by examples.

As far as I know Fox News is the only news outlet that fought for the right to lie to their viewers. MSNBC has held several of their talking heads responsible for their actions recently. Requiring on air apologies, as well as the talking heads stepping down. Republicans run to Fox to spout their lies. They are never called out on them despite calling Democrats liars during interviews. I watch Fox News for a few minutes here and there just to see how and what they thinking. It is very disturbing to know that a news channel can fudge the news to further an agenda.

If we allow news outlets to shape the news to fit their agenda, how can we hold our elected officials accountable? How many Fox News viewers hate the President because of lies Fox News told about him? This is why we are in an era of such hyper-polarization. Instead of reporting news they feed the hate. How does that help America?

House passes a bill that will lead to another financial collapse.

           The House passed a bipartisan written bill that allows banks to avoid new financial rules by operating overseas. Financial Reformers are happy about one thing- most Democrats voted against the bill. This signals a rocky road ahead for similar efforts to scale back new rules on banks. This also makes the bills passage in the Democrat led Senate less likely.

The bill in question, the Swap Jurisdiction Certainty Act was introduced earlier this year. It would exempt foreign arms of U.S. Banks from the new regulations on derivatives that are required by the Dodd/Frank Act. The bill was introduced as an effort to stem governnent over reach.

The House Financial Services Committee passed the bill just a few weeks ago, 11 Democrats voted against it and 0 Republicans out of the 61 member committee. Wall St. reformers and their allies in Congress rallied the troops, changing some minds. 122 out of 195 Democrats voted against it and 2 Republicans voted against it. It passed 301-124, these people will never learn or maybe never care.

Past moves to weaken financial regulations have recieved strong bipartisan support. Obviously that has changed, more Democrats than not will support Financial Reform. The fact Democrats are willing to deny Wall St. of their wishes and oppose the bill may help regulators resolve in doing their jobs. Reformers are hopeful Democrat objection to the bill could impede other attacks on the rules governing U.S. Banks foreign operations.

Wall St. is spending a lot of money lobbying regulators to weaken the Dodd/Frank regulations. Others worry about the financial industry trying to roll back regulations on foreign operations through a giant free trade deal being negotiated. Europe is calling U.S. regulations proposed overseas rules to aggressive. The deregulation of U.S. Banks overseas operations may cause them to concentrate business in less regulated foreign markets. Almost every major financial scandal involving derivatives has included trades conducted through a foreign entity. This sounds like a sound policy if we are trying to hurt the economy.

Before you know it our financial system will be in the crapper. Too Big To Fail Banks will again be at the forefront of the collapse. We will have to bail out these reckless businesses again. These banks should have been broken up and made to stay away from derivatives. But the amount of lobbying money us too much for Congress to pass up, even if it cripples our country. Greedy sods like this have cost the American people one to many times. Elizabeth Warren might be our last hope at protection, hopefully President Obama will support her.

Lochner v. New York

               This one of those post that you get a little more than you expect while writing it. I have heard about it recently and decided to see what it was all about. Being that I am not in law school it never truly crossed my radar. But here is some of what I learned. I hope it clears this up a little or enlightens you as it did me.

               Lochner v. New York is widely viewed as one of the worst Supreme Court decisions in American history. It is taught in law schools along side upholding segregation and permitting Japaneese detention camps. Even Robert Bork, who claimed women werent discriminated against anymore, called it an abomination, that it is the quintessence of judicial usurpation of power.

                Lochner fabricated a so called right to contract in order to strike down a New York law preventing bakery owners from overworking bakers. It had implications for any law trying to protect workers. Lochner established that any law that limits any contract between employer and employee is constitutionally suspect. Lochner essentially placed any law benefitting workers on constitutionally weak footing. It also concludes that the Constitution prohibits states from interfering with most employment contracts because the right to buy and sell labor is a fundamental freedom protected by th 14th Amendment. The “right to contact” it invented does not appear anywhere in the Constitution.

              The court admitted that while in certain circumstances states may legitimately regulate certain contracts through their police powers. The baking industry, unlike the mining industry, was not an unhealthy trade. Therefore it was not legally subject to regulation.

              For the next 32 years federal courts used Lochner to overturn numerous laws attempting to regulate various aspects of business, employment and property interests. During this period, referred to as the Lochner era, public sentiment strongly supported the idea that government should minimally interfere with the new industrial capatalistic market, an idea known as laissez-faire economics. Following the stock market crash of 1929 FDR began to establish a social and economic reform program based on a series of new federal laws. The court using the Lochner decision consistently overturned the laws much to the dismay of the public and President.

              Finally in 1937 the court embraced Holmes dissent in Lochner. In the case of West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parish in letting stand a Washington law setting a minimum wage for women, the court ruled that freedom to contract was not unlimited. For the rest if the 20th century government was given the freedom to regulate workplace and other economic affairs. So technicall the law was overturned in 1937.

              Rand Paul cited this in his 13 hour filubuster as a wonderful law. This law gave employers the right to treat employees however they wanted. That is not a good way for a leader to look at a law that is widely considered one of the worst in American history. As I read this I started to realize similarities between what happened then and what Republicans are trying to do now. That is scary, I realize conservatism is a means of living in the past, but this is ridiculus. I believe the Constitution is a progressive document as well as us breaking from a world power like England was progressive. Progress moves us forward, that is what the American experiment needs.

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