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Forum Post: Financial Totalitarianism: The Economic, Political, Social and Cultural Rule of Speculative Capital

Posted 10 months ago on June 12, 2013, 4:08 p.m. EST by LeoYo (4812)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Financial Totalitarianism: The Economic, Political, Social and Cultural Rule of Speculative Capital

Wednesday, 12 June 2013 09:57 By Max Haiven, Truthout | News Analysis

http://truth-out.org/news/item/16911-financial-totalitarianism-the-economic-political-social-and-cultural-rule-of-speculative-capital

At the end of May, it was revealed that a new bill for the regulation of the banking and financial sector was, for all intents and purposes, drafted by Citigroup. This is only the latest in a long list of what can only be called legalized corruption at the highest levels of American power, which has ultimately led to no meaningful policy or legal change in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. Avid readers of intrepid Rolling Stone journalist Matt Taibbi and others cannot help but be sickened and struck by the impunity and hubris of America's financial elites, even as astute students of history will point out the previous moments when the power and influence of financiers has overshadowed economics and politics.


The Trade Deal Scam

Wednesday, 12 June 2013 09:19 By Dean Baker, Truthout | News Analysis

http://truth-out.org/news/item/16918-the-trade-deal-scam

As part of its overall economic strategy the Obama administration is rushing full speed ahead with two major trade deals. On the one hand it has the Trans-Pacific Partnership which includes Japan and Australia and several other countries in East Asia and Latin America. On the other side there is an effort to craft a U.S.-EU trade agreement.

There are two key facts people should know about these proposed trade deals. First, they are mostly not about trade. Second they are not intended to boost the economy in a way that will help most of us. In fact, it is reasonable to say that these deals will likely be bad news for most people in the United States. Most of the people living in our partner countries are likely to be losers too.


Banks Profiting From Overdraft Coverage Plans, Federal Agency Says

Wednesday, 12 June 2013 09:44 By Lindsay Wise, McClatchy Newspapers | Report

http://truth-out.org/news/item/16922-banks-profiting-from-overdraft-coverage-plans-federal-agency-says

Washington, DC — Overdraft protection often is a better deal for banks than for consumers, a new study by a federal watchdog agency reveals.

The report, to be released Tuesday by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, found that consumers who sign up for banks’ optional overdraft coverage on debit card transactions and ATM withdrawals pay higher fees and are more likely to end up with involuntary account closures than those who decline.

Banks profit from consumers’ misfortune.

Fees for overdraft and non-sufficient funds accounted for more than 60 percent of banks’ total revenue from consumers’ checking accounts in 2011, according to the report.


Banks Seen as Aid in Fraud Against Older Consumers

By JESSICA SILVER-GREENBERG | New York Times

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/banks-seen-aid-fraud-against-221344638.html?page=all

The pitch arrived, as so many do, with a friendly cold call.

Bruno Koch, 83, told the telemarketer on the line that, yes, of course he would like to update his health insurance card. Then Mr. Koch, of Newport News, Va., slipped up: he divulged his bank account information.

What happened next is all too familiar. Money was withdrawn from Mr. Koch’s account for something that he now says he never authorized. The new health insurance card never arrived.

What is less familiar — and what federal authorities say occurs with alarming frequency — is that a reputable bank played a crucial role in parting Mr. Koch from his money. The bank was the 140-year-old Zions Bank of Salt Lake City. Despite spotting suspicious activity, Zions served as a gateway between dubious Internet merchants and their marks — and made money for itself in the process, according to newly unsealed court documents reviewed by The New York Times.


Israel has More Poverty than Any Developed Country

Wednesday, 12 June 2013 13:49 By Shir Hever, The Real News Network | Video Report

http://truth-out.org/news/item/16928-israel-has-more-poverty-than-any-developed-country

Shir Hever, TRNN Producer: The image which the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs promotes of Israel is an image of a prosperous economy, a powerhouse of innovation.

As part of the efforts to present Israel as a success story, Israel applied for membership in the OECD, the Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation, and received it.

The organization publishes statistics about the member states and promotes certain kinds of reforms, usually associated with neoliberal values. OECD statistics have undermined the goal of Israel's reason to join the OECD. These statistics show that Israel suffers from extreme level of inequality, its education system is among the worst in the OECD, and its poverty is the highest compared to all OECD countries.

It should be noted that the OECD decided not to include statistics about the occupied Palestinian territory and the occupied Syrian Golan, because the member states of the OECD don't recognize these areas as part of Israel. But because the OECD relies on Israeli published statistics, the actual data published by the OECD reflects a segregated picture. While colonists from the occupied territories are included in the reports, the 4 million Palestinians who are also part of the Israeli economy are ignored by the OECD.

Israel's overall tax income as a proportion of its GDP is higher than that of Chile, Mexico, and Turkey, for example, and is even higher than the weighted average of all OECD countries, but Israel's poverty rate is the highest compared to all of these countries.

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[-] 2 points by Ache4Change (3018) 10 months ago

'With the rise of neoliberal "free"-market oriented economic policies based on the far-right assault on "big government," public services and public forms of security and insurance have been slashed, leaving individuals to fend for themselves in an increasingly globalized and austere market. The result has been stagnation and decline in average real wages (wages adjusted for inflation), the diminishing net-worth of most Americans, and the rise of increasingly precarious employment (temporary, part-time, contract-based, low-pay, service-oriented etc. -- especially for women). It has also resulted in the sense that we can rely on no one but ourselves, and that we are each responsible to manage risks in our own life through prudent "investments" and individualistic profit-seeking.' - from your excellent first link. Thanks and to follow, please also see - http://www.nationofchange.org/what-we-need-now-national-economic-strategy-better-jobs-1371044128 and http://www.nationofchange.org/delaware-15th-state-seek-overrule-citizens-united-1371047446 . Never Give Up On The 99%! Occupy Democracy! Solidarity.

[-] 1 points by Theeighthpieceuv8 (-32) from Seven Sisters, Wales 10 months ago

I classify myself as slightly to the right of center, because after years of philosophical and historical study, I arrived at the belief that this is where America's form of freedom lives. You may classify yourself as slightly to the left of center depending on your personal definition of this term: "radicalism." But we are essentially the same animal. I fail to see how the now very aggressive assertiveness of those promoting the neo-liberal free market is in any way related to the desire of some to reduce Federal taxes or the continued profit of the Fed in the production of money. You are saying that since the money is merely a creation, that we can continue to both expand on social services, raise taxes to justify, and - since you are obviously "left wing" - continue to support Obama in the effort to enrich elites, as outlined above. But the desire to be free of oppressive taxes is one shared by all employed Americans regardless of political affiliation. So there is this paradox contained within your philosophy that most Americans are unable to grasp; more specifically, we see it as political subterfuge.

Are not all of the above the result of political subterfuge?

[-] 3 points by Ache4Change (3018) 10 months ago

Please don't confuse me with an Obama supporter or consider Obama to be anything other than 'right-wing'! Perhaps not as 'raving-right' as Republicans but nevertheless - he's 'right-wing' by any estimation. It appears you are from Wales in the UK & so I'd assume that you would have been able to grasp that stone cold fact.

I was quoting from the poster's link and am unsure how you've concluded that I'm 'obviously' an Obama supporter or the supposed 'paradox' of my 'philosophy', however consider that there are more freedoms to be concerned about than 'freedom from taxation'!Taxes are part of the social-contract and if you want to ethically dodge them - build your own roads, bridges, schools and hospitals.

The 'subterfuge' lies with the SCOTUS enabled Corporations, Banks & the 1%, who avoid, evade and cheat on taxes AND take huge bail out subsidies willy-nilly all day and everyday but honest working people are stiffed at every turn. Public penury and squalor and private profit and opulence is really an unsustainable state of affairs ultimately. Also see - http://www.nationofchange.org/let-us-commence-toward-common-good-1371132380 .

[-] 1 points by Theeighthpieceuv8 (-32) from Seven Sisters, Wales 10 months ago

Actually I do grasp that but I don't believe too many of his supporters do. And as you know this is not merely SCOTUS enabled, this is aggressive assertiveness in the pursuit of riches, headed by the present political apparatus which enables, known to us as the "Obamacats." Because they are unlike any Democrat we've ever seen before; this is a whole new breed of cat. And they are so 60s, jazz-groovy. And any suggestion that it is otherwise is political subterfuge.

[-] 2 points by Ache4Change (3018) 10 months ago

Obama supporters are antithetical to OWS and are very much a part of the problem we all face and you're right that the problem is deeper than The SCOTUS but their pro-Corporation, 'Citizens United' decision was an act of treason as far as I'm concerned.Let's face the facts, we're under the thumb of Bankers, Oligarchs and Plutocrats and democracy is a sham with a four yearly circus. Further to my link above, please also consider - http://www.nationofchange.org/washington-dc-starting-see-obvious-1371132039 . Never Give Up On The 99%! Occupy Wall Street! Long Live Democracy - we all need it!

[-] 1 points by Theeighthpieceuv8 (-32) from Seven Sisters, Wales 10 months ago

Wow. I think I'm gonna twinkle that one.

[-] 3 points by frovikleka (2563) from Island Heights, NJ 10 months ago

I'll raise you one and twinkle you both for that

~Odin~

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (4812) 10 months ago

2.The freedom from direct taxation being necessary for the right of a free people to be sovereign in the ownership of their labor and of their property, the imposition of direct taxation shall be restricted at all levels of government to the voluntary patrons of social welfare services, allowing for only indirect taxation of the general population.

http://occupywallst.org/forum/free-democracy-amendment/

Would all employed Americans regardless of political affiliation desire anything like that? I don't think so. At least not to the point of advocating it. There are a few in the Untax movement and a few in support of a national sales tax to replace the income tax but most employed Americans are content to just accept things without challenge be they on the right or the left.

[-] -1 points by Theeighthpieceuv8 (-32) from Seven Sisters, Wales 10 months ago

Direct or indirect, I don't think too many Americans are in favor of a an oppressive tax burden. Even now, our retirees are leaving the metro area because they cannot bear the tax burden. And the Obama administration has recently introduced a whole new category of tax, which previously did not exist, in the relabeling of its "penalty" as a "tax." But I don't think you address my question: opposition to both the enrichment of elites and the expansion of social services through borrowed money to the profit of the Fed as secured through the increased tax obligation of the people is something I view as more conservative, as more right than left. How are the two related? How is neo-liberalism related to the desire of either a greater or lesser tax burden? It would appear they are separate animals. But even so, the Obama administration marches on with the full approbation of those on the left; why decry the desire of a lesser tax burden as "rightest"? Why decry the Right as oppressors when it is so obvious to all that this is merely political subterfuge? When you take of the labor of others, is this not oppression? How does one rise to the top as an oppressor, with the full approbation of the oppressed; is this not an act of considerable political subterfuge?

[-] 3 points by LeoYo (4812) 10 months ago

Neo-liberalism seeks to escape the tax burden bore by others while profiting from their underpaid labor in addition to their taxes when a bailout is sought.

If corporations couldn't escape taxes and their workers were paid fairly for their production, there would be no oppressive tax burden for most.

If social services were only paid through the taxes of those who supported such services, there would be no oppressive tax burden for those who don't and no threat of unwanted slashes to social services by those who do.

If neo-liberalism didn't result in deregulation that resulted in a financial crisis that bankrupt thousands who were unable to get the kind of bailouts their taxes paid for to keep the financial elites responsible in business, the tax burden wouldn't be oppressive. To top it off,

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/08/us-lowest-taxes-most-industralized-countries_n_3039470.html

the U.S. has one of the least oppressive tax burdens in the developed world.

The bottom line is that if people cared enough to want to unite to effect a positive change for their shared interests, they could. Instead, they continue to vote without any assurances for politicians they already know to be bought out by the corporations while ignoring any pursuit of cooperative alternatives that could greatly improve their standards of living.