‘No Coloreds Allowed’ signs could be on their way to Indiana

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Indianapolis, Indiana (TFC) – The state legislature passed a “Religious Freedom” bill, and Governor Mike Pence signed the bill into law. He is now backtracking and stating that he expects a clarification bill to be introduced this week. At least he is acknowledging that he signed an ill-conceived law. The massive boycott organized by LGBT activists probably had more to do with his change of heart than any sense of morality.

The law “Prohibits a governmental entity from substantially burdening a person’s exercise of religion, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability.” In English, the bill basically allows businesses to discriminate against people if they have a strong religious objection to dealing with them.

So, we can easily expect the socially aware businesses fleeing Indiana to pass religious extremists of all sorts heading into the state on the highway. Members of the Christian Identity Movement have strong objections to dealing with blacks, Jews, gays, and just about everybody else. So, once they set up in Indiana, they can easily begin discriminatory practices under the protection of Indiana’s new law.

The Sharia Law that the right fears so much, will now be protected under Indiana’s ill-written law. This is the problem with governments attempting to cater to special interests by specifically targeting or protecting a group. The law will eventually be applied equally to all groups.

The argument has been made that activists across the state should stand down and cease to campaign against the law because it lowers governmental interference in the free market. And if the “no gays” and “no colored” signs emerge, it makes it easier for the businesses to be targeted by those that would organize a boycott.

Regardless of your opinion on this issue, it is probably best to immediately boycott any organization or company that has contributed to the campaigns of any politician that has supported the law.

via ‘No Coloreds Allowed’ signs could be on their way to Indiana | The Fifth Column.

Wall Street’s Manchurian Executives

© Josh Sager – February 2015

In movies, shadowy and sinister cabals of criminals infiltrate the government and turn it to serving their own ends. One such movie was The Manchurian Candidate (1962), where communists brainwashed an American politician to be a sleeper agent, doing their bidding while embedded in our government. Unfortunately, this movie trope has become a terrifying reality, as major banks have been exposed in their use of multi-million dollar incentives to get executives into the government as their very own “Manchurian executives.”

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Current legal proceedings between AFL-CIO shareholders and the Morgan Stanley, Citigroup and AIG investment banks have shown a spotlight on this practice. While exact compensation numbers are still kept secret (the focus of the case is the banks’ attempt to keep these sums confidential, even from the shareholders of their institutions), we do know that these banks offer millions of dollars to top-level executives in “deferred benefits” contingent upon them immediately entering government service after they leave the bank.

If the AFL-CIO is successful in their claim, the exact payment structures for executives seeking to cash in on this lucrative form of corruption will be exposed and I will write a follow-up article and break it down. Unfortunately, these specifics are still confidential and most of what we know is gathered from individuals leaking information about specific compensation packages (all of which have been in the seven-digits).

Banks are not charities, and the idea that any bank would offer millions of dollars in their own money to ensure that the best people enter government service is ridiculous. As for-profit institutions, the banks clearly expect to gain a return on their “investment” of these millions into the pockets of government officials. The potential scope and scale of these returns are extremely large, thus the investment of tens of millions into these Manchurian executives is likely an amazingly good investment,

Here are just three examples of potential areas where Manchurian executive could corrupt government:

  • Executives who end up working for the Department of Justice could easily abort prosecutions of banks and bankers for fraud, money laundering, or other illegal schemes (ex. when they blew up the world economy in 2008 and were never prosecuted).
  • Executives who go to the SEC could reduce the enforcement of certain rules that prevent banks from making even more money than they already do.
  • Executives who end up in the Treasury (ex. Antonio Weiss is a current counselor to the Treasury Secretary, while receiving between $17 million and $21 million from Lazard Asset Management to supplement his government salary) or FED could manipulate monetary policy to make banks truly unbelievable amounts of money.

In each of these cases, the millions of dollars “invested” in inserting bankers into government could potentially make the banks billions of dollars in returns or avoided losses from fines and legal fees.

The revolving door between the public and private sector has long been a problem in the United States, thus this type of corruption isn’t anything unprecedented. That said, it is an extreme manifestation of this problem and a very worrying precedent.

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Traditionally, public officials are offered lucrative “consulting” or lobbying jobs after their public service is over, while industry “experts” regularly land jobs as public sector employees under the justification that they know their field and could be useful in an oversight capacity. This cycle cuts in both directions against the public good, as public officials will cater to the interests of the industry to secure employment later in their career, and industry insiders are unlikely to be harsh on their previous friends and colleagues who still work in the industry.

This use of preemptive incentives by these banks is an extremely overt and blatant example of the revolving door. Gone are the rationalizations and excuses—the banks are basically just coming out and saying, “Yes, we are going to bribe your officials and insert sleeper agents into your government and there is nothing that you can do to stop us.”

When Alex Jones and his ilk rant on about the Illuminati, Satanists and New World Order getting together in smoky back rooms to control the world, they are simply looking for a covert conspiracy where one doesn’t exist, while ignoring the one right in front of their faces (besides, us Illuminati prefer smoke-free rooms so that we can retain our ability to produce an evil laugh into a ripe old age). The real conspiracy is right out in the open and it involves well-known corporations and banks buying their way into our government. They use this power to protect themselves legally when they are caught stealing billions of our dollars, gain massive tax advantages, destroy competition, and secure massively profitable loans/contracts.

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Unless the American people wake up to this blatant bribery and start demanding accountability, our nation will only continue to sink deeper into corruption and cronyism. The banks will write the rules and siphon public money into their own pockets, while leaving us to pick up the terrible messes created by their excess.

 

The Unfalsifiable Conservative Outrage Machine

© Josh Sager – January 2015

Over the past seven years, the conservative movement has latched onto a series of “scandals” involving the Obama Administration. These scandals have almost universally been blown out of proportion, if not completely fabricated in order to serve a partisan political narrative.

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Just to name a few such examples: When Obama first entered office, the GOP championed the “birther” controversy (completely false), then latched onto the “Fast and Furious” gun-running scandal (a forced error started by the Bush Administration), followed by the IRS “taxgate” scandal (now proven completely baseless), and then the Benghazi attack.

Ironically, the innumerable manufactured scandals of the right wing have very effectively covered up several real scandals by the Obama Administration—these include the decisions not to prosecute any of the bankers who wrecked the world economy or torturers who wrecked our nation’s world standing, and to assassinate Americans via drone without giving them a trial.

The sheer volume and scope of these manufactured scandals are unprecedented in modern American politics and represent a complete severance between portion of the right wing and reality itself. Additionally, they indicate a failure of the media in its duty to fact-check our politicians and act as a tool of accountability.

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Given the totality of these scandals, I have two basic conclusions about the right wing outrage machine:

  1. The right wing will call almost anything that Obama does a “scandal,” regardless of the objective facts or even their prior positions—even if he does something that they once supported (ex. passing the ACA) or has been common in American history (ex. executive orders), they will call his actions outrageous and evil.
  2. It is impossible to completely debunk a scandal once it has been created, as a certain portion of the country will refuse to accept even basic facts—at best, scandals can be beaten back into the realm of the right wing media or eclipsed by an even more recent “scandal.”

These two characteristic of the right wing outrage machine have turned it into an unfalsifiable series of “choose your scandal” choices by the Obama Administration. Regardless of what the Obama administration does, the right wing will spin it into a scandal that echoes in the right wing media for several weeks until the next scandal occupies their attention.

For example: If the Obama administration decides to take executive action on a serious problem facing the country (ex. immigration), then the Republican outrage machine will call him an “imperial president” who is destroying the Constitution and attacking the fundamentals of American democracy. Alternately, if Obama refuses to take action on that very same issue and, instead, waits for the Republican Congress to weigh in, then the Republican outrage machine will call him “weak,” accuse him of “leading from behind,” and say that he has no ideas.

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Apparently, Drudge thinks that Obama is an effeminate weakling who isn’t tough enough to be president….

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….unless he is going “street” on somebody (a deafeningly loud racial dogwhistle if I ever heard one) and displaying vicious authoritarian toughness.

Because the American people, in aggregate, are horrifyingly ignorant about reality (Case in Point: 42% of the American people are young earth creationists, while 26% don’t know what nation we gained our independence from after the Revolutionary War), and the media has fallen down on the job, the Republicans have gotten away with this tactic. Their lies clutter up the business of government, waste millions in specious investigations, and foment anger in the extreme right wing base that has sometimes exploded into violence (ex. militia/sovereign citizen movement terrorist attacks).

Until the media decides to do its job or the American people simply hits its scandal overload point and stops taking the right wing seriously, I am extremely pessimistic about our nation’s political environment. The endless stream of Obama “scandals” will likely transition into an endless stream of Hillary “scandals” and rational people will continue to spend tedious hours debunking nonsensical accusations by partisan lunatics. Finally, real scandals will be ignored in the tsunami of false scandals, and the American people will continue to suffer the consequences of our collective ignorance/inaction.