We’re All Minorities Now

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: March 21, 2017

The one percent now effectively owns Washington: the making of our laws, the writing of Executive Orders, the running of Federal agencies with the power to put crooks among the one percent in prison – or not, and they are now the overseers of gutting Federal programs that benefit the 99 percent.

One thought comes to mind about this state of affairs. The abolitionist and writer, Frederick Douglass, once said:

“Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.”

The majority of Americans, whether they are yet aware or not, now walks in the shoes of Frederick Douglass. We’re all minorities now. The billionaires and their lackeys rule.

How did a society that fought a brutal and bloody revolution to throw off the yoke of one percent rule end up where we find ourselves today?

After a decade of thinking and researching and writing about little else, we believe the major causes are as follows: a highly consolidated corporate media that failed to tackle these issues with regularity and force; a timid Internal Revenue Service that was afraid to take on the billionaire class for setting up faux citizen front groups that drowned out the voice and views of real citizens; and, of course, an abjectly corrupt system of billionaire financing of political campaigns.

Below is a small sampling of articles from our archives which should have warned us that we were rapidly devolving as a democracy and that a full scale plutocracy was in our future.

The Right Wing Group Behind Donald Trump’s Rise Aims to Keep Fear Alive

The Koch Brothers as Newspapermen 

Koch Footprints Lead to Secret Slush Fund to Keep Fear Alive 

The Koch Empire and Americans for Prosperity 

Resurrecting Ayn Rand: Hedge Fund Money Teams Up With Koch & BB&T

Who’s Behind PropOrNot’s Blacklist of News Websites 

Washington Post Reporter Spreads Blacklist of Independent Journalist Sites 

United Technologies: Boss Gets $192 Million, 110-Foot Yacht as 2100 Jobs Move to Mexico at $3 an Hour 

Corporate Media Blacks Out Coverage of Bill to Overturn Corporate Personhood 

Supreme Seduction: Bringing Low the High Court 

60 Minutes Takes a Pass on Wall Street’s Secret Spy Center

Fed Chair Yellen Repeats “Alternative Facts” from New York Times on Financial Crash

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: March 20, 2017

Last Wednesday Janet Yellen, the Chair of the Federal Reserve (the central bank of the United States) regurgitated the notoriously fake information that has been spewing from columnists at the New York Times since 2012 on the causes of the epic Wall Street financial crash of 2007 to 2010.

Yellen was taking questions during her press conference on the Fed’s announcement of a rate hike. John Heltman, a reporter for American Banker, posed the following question to Yellen:

Heltman: “The administration recently reiterated its support for reinstatement of Glass-Steagall. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin has called for a 21st Century Glass-Steagall. Keeping in mind that there’s no specifics on this proposal, is the fundamental idea of separating commercial banking from investment banking a fruitful line of inquiry. Is this the right path to be pursuing?”

Yellen answered as follows:

Yellen: “So, I’ve not seen any concrete proposals along this line. I don’t really know what a 21st Century Glass-Steagall would look like. I think my reading on the financial crisis is that wasn’t the major source of the financial crisis, in fact many of the problems emanated from firms that were investment banking units. To me, an important reform in the aftermath of the crisis was to make sure that investment banking activities that were a core part of the shadow banking system where leverage had built, that those were appropriately capitalized, had appropriate liquidity and their management was strengthened and that’s what we have tried to do. But obviously we would look at any proposals that are put forward. I’m not aware of anything concrete to react to.”

Notice what Yellen doesn’t say. She doesn’t say that an official research report that has investigated the cause of the Wall Street crash finds no evidence that it was related to the repeal of Glass-Steagall. She doesn’t say that the books written by the regulatory insiders of that period found that repealing Glass-Steagall had nothing to do with the crash. All that she says is this: “my reading on the financial crisis is that wasn’t the major source of the financial crisis, in fact many of the problems emanated from firms that were investment banking units.”

Yellen’s “reading” has clearly been coming from New York Times columnists who have demonstrated an inexplicable fealty to pumping out notoriously fake facts about the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act while the publisher, managing editor and public editor of the New York Times have refused to correct those fake facts.

The Glass-Steagall Act was the depression era legislation that protected this nation’s financial system for 66 years until its repeal in 1999. It took just 9 years after its repeal for the system to crash in a replay of the 1929 to 1932 epic financial crash – the other period when there was no Glass-Steagall Act. The legislation barred investment banks and brokerage firms that engaged in underwriting and the peddling of stocks to merge with commercial banks holding Federally-insured deposits that are backstopped by the U.S. taxpayer. The common sense objective was to prevent the greed and speculative forces that regularly blow up investment banks on Wall Street from taking down a bank holding the insured life savings of moms and pops across America – thus putting the U.S. taxpayer on the hook for the losses.

The big propaganda  push at the New York Times started on May 21, 2012 when the Times published an article by Andrew Ross Sorkin that had so many critical errors that it should have become an historic embarrassment to the New York Times. Instead, the New York Times simply refused to correct the multitude of errors, despite many written requests from Wall Street On Parade.

The point of Sorkin’s article was to create the narrative that the repeal of Glass-Steagall could not have prevented the financial crash in 2007-2010 because the major investment banks that failed spectacularly did not own commercial banks holding insured deposits. The problem for Sorkin was that the major investment banks he named in his article did, indeed, own insured commercial banks holding billions of dollars in insured deposits and thus could not be allowed to fail.

By October of the same year, the President of the United States, Barack Obama, was regurgitating to the nation’s air waves the alternative facts put forth by Andrew Ross Sorkin and the New York Times. (Read our in-depth report.)

Sorkin had become quite chummy with the CEOs on Wall Street. When he published his book, “Too Big to Fail,” in 2009, a book party was held in Manhattan. Clearly pleased with the narrative Sorkin had created in his book on the crash, the following Wall Street luminaries attended: Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase; Ken Griffin, CEO of Citadel; Bill Ackman of Pershing Square; David Rubenstein of the Carlyle Group; and pretty much the top suite of Morgan Stanley, including John Mack, Chairman and CEO, and Colm Kelleher, the CFO.

By 2014, Paul Krugman was perpetuating Sorkin’s big lie in his own column at the New York Times, followed by writer William Cohan in 2015.

The Federal Reserve is the top regulator of the most dangerous bank holding companies in the United States — bank holding companies that have yet to be meaningfully reformed. If Fed Chair Yellen’s “reading” on the financial crash derives from reading the New York Times’ fake facts, we’re all in big trouble.

What Went Wrong in Wall Street Reform: Obama Versus FDR

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: March 15, 2017

Franklin D. Roosevelt, President During the Great Depression

Franklin D. Roosevelt, President During the Great Depression

Following the Wall Street crash of 1929, thousands of banks failed in the United States. More than 3,000 banks went under in 1931 followed by more than 1400 the following year. There was no Federal insurance on bank deposits in those days so both depositors and shareholders were wiped out or received pennies on the dollar when the banks went bust. This deepened the panic and deepened the Great Depression.

Many of the bank failures stemmed from the banks using depositors’ money to speculate in the stock market, sometimes to manipulate the price of their own stock.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was sworn in as President of the United States on March 4, 1933. Two days later he declared a national banking holiday, meaning that he closed all the banks and sent in the examiners to determine which ones were sound and which ones were insolvent. The banking holiday lasted to March 13. Just three months later, on June 16, 1933, FDR and Congress enacted the Glass-Steagall Act also known as the Banking Act of 1933.

The Glass-Steagall Act created Federal deposit insurance at commercial banks while simultaneously restricting their ability to act as Wall Street casinos and speculate in stocks or risky debt securities. The legislation required that commercial banks had to be separate from investment banks and brokerage firms.

That legislation protected America’s banking system from the hubris of Wall Street traders for the next 66 years until its repeal on November 12, 1999 during the Clinton administration.

It took just 9 years after the lifting of the Glass-Steagall Act for Wall Street to once again crash in epic fashion. But this time, instead of having thousands of insolvent small and medium size banks going belly up around the country, we had behemoth banks like Citigroup, Wachovia, Washington Mutual, Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch either going belly up or being propped up through secret funding from the Federal Reserve.

Because banks had been allowed to grow into behemoth financial institutions, owning insurance companies, investment banks, brokerage firms, commodity trading operations, and on the hook for trillions of dollars in derivatives, while simultaneously holding Federally insured deposits backstopped by the U.S. taxpayer, Congress was forced to bail out Wall Street by bailing out its biggest banks to avoid a run on all of the banks.

But precisely because Congress had this bailout gun put to its head by Wall Street, because Congress could see firsthand the economic devastation that the lack of separation of banking and Wall Street speculation had inflicted on the nation, the only rational response should have been for Congress and President Obama to take quick, decisive action to make sure this could never happen again and pass legislation restoring the Glass-Steagall Act.

It took FDR just three months in office to pass meaningful and effective banking reform legislation that would serve the nation’s interests for the next seven decades. What President Obama did, on the other hand, speaks volumes as to why he is so focused and adamant about controlling the narrative of his presidency.

President Obama Signs the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, July 21, 2010

President Obama Signs the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, July 21, 2010

President Obama was sworn in on January 20, 2009 in the very midst of the Wall Street crash. In the prior six months Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had been taken over by the Federal government and placed in conservatorship (where they remain today); Lehman Brothers, which owned two FDIC-insured banks, had failed and was in bankruptcy; the investment bank and brokerage firm, Merrill Lynch, which owned three FDIC insured banks, was teetering and merged with Bank of America; Citigroup, parent of the massive Citibank insured depository, had lost more than 80 percent of its stock market value and received the largest taxpayer bailout in U.S. history; AIG, the giant global insurance company, had taken the other side of bad derivative bets from Wall Street banks and failed. AIG received more than $180 billion in taxpayer bailout guarantees from the Federal government and half of that money went out the back door to the Wall Street firms to cover their derivative bets. Even AIG had been allowed to own an insured depository bank.

And on and on went the saga of hubris and greed and reckless gambles with depositors’ money that could be traced directly to the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act.

At the time of Obama’s inauguration in January 2009, the Democrats were in control of all three branches of government. Obama had two years to pass meaningful Wall Street reform. Instead, he signed into law the toothless Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation in 2010. Today, little has changed in the structure that caused the 2008 collapse, the greatest financial crash since the Great Depression. In important ways, the structure has grown exponentially worse.

Two of the biggest investment banks on Wall Street, JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup, own two of the largest insured commercial banks in the country. Bank of America, one of the largest insured commercial banks in the country, owns Merrill Lynch, one of the largest investment banks and brokerage firms in the country. JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Bank of America hold trillions of dollars of risky derivatives on the books of their FDIC-insured banks – making it inevitable that they will be able to put a gun to the head of the U.S. taxpayer if they need a future bailout.

After three criminal felony counts against JPMorgan Chase and one criminal felony count against Citigroup and billions of dollars in settlements for both banks related to charges of mortgage and securities fraud, the same men have kept their seats as Chairman and CEO at these banks. Obama’s Justice Department did not demand that these men resign in order to settle the charges, despite the fact that both banks are horrific recidivists.

The system that allowed these banks to directly pay rating agencies like Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s to assign triple-AAA ratings to toxic securities is still in place. Wall Street banks continue to pay to get ratings assigned.

Dodd-Frank’s promise to “push out” derivatives from the FDIC-insured commercial banks fell by the wayside when Citigroup used its muscle to gut the measure by having an amendment tacked on to the must-pass spending bill in December 2014.

To put it as bluntly and charitably as we can, Obama was no FDR when it came to Wall Street reform. The nation’s financial system remains dangerously at risk as a result.

Related Article:

President Obama Repeats the Falsehoods of the New York Times and Andrew Ross Sorkin on Restoring the Glass-Steagall Act

Preet Bharara: New York Times Promotes a False Narrative

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: March 14, 2017

Preet Bharara

Preet Bharara

The narrative of Preet Bharara as a crusading crime fighter has gotten a big boost from the Editorial Board of the New York Times in a glowing editorial in today’s print edition. Bharara was, until this past weekend, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Wall Street’s stomping ground. Bharara Tweeted on Saturday that he had been “fired” by the Trump administration.

The Times’ editorial headline in its digital edition has to be bringing howls this morning from Wall Street veterans and corporate crime watchers. The Times is asking its readers to believe that Bharara was a “Prosecutor Who Knew How to Drain a Swamp.” That’s fake news at its finest. Despite Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs, and Michael Corbat, CEO of Citigroup, presiding over an unprecedented series of frauds upon the investing public at their banks, these men remain firmly entrenched as overpaid titans in the impenetrable toxic muck of the Wall Street Swamp.

We’ll get back shortly to Bharara’s tenure in the financial crime capitol of the world, but first some necessary background on the New York Times itself.

The Times has a new advertising slogan. It goes like this:Truth. It’s hard to find. But easier with 1000+ journalists looking. Subscribe to The Times.” Unfortunately, when it comes to New York’s biggest and richest hometown industry known as Wall Street, those 1,000 journalists regularly have dull pencils and fogged lenses. (See related articles below.) Even worse, the Editorial Board at the Times has repeatedly served as a propagandist for the serial Wall Street ruses to fleece the public.

It was the Editorial Board of the Times that played the role of Head Majorette when Sandy Weill needed support for his self-serving plan to repeal the Glass-Steagall Act, allowing Wall Street investments banks to merge with commercial banks holding federally-insured deposits in order to make wild gambles for the house while putting taxpayers on the hook for the losses. John Reed, Weill’s partner in the plan, explained to Bill Moyers’in 2012 the real motivation behind the scheme: “Sandy Weill. I mean, his whole life was to accumulate money. And he said, ‘John, we could be so rich.’ Being rich never crossed my mind as an objective value. I almost was embarrassed that somebody would say out loud. It might be happening but you wouldn’t want to say it.”

The New York Times Editorial Board bought into Weill’s outlandish narrative, writing on April 8, 1998:

“Congress dithers, so John Reed of Citicorp and Sanford Weill of Travelers Group grandly propose to modernize financial markets on their own. They have announced a $70 billion merger — the biggest in history — that would create the largest financial services company in the world, worth more than $140 billion… In one stroke, Mr. Reed and Mr. Weill will have temporarily demolished the increasingly unnecessary walls built during the Depression to separate commercial banks from investment banks and insurance companies.”

What were “unnecessary walls” to those great minds at the New York Times were actually all that stood between the small investor and an institutionalized wealth stripping scheme; between rock solid banks with adequate capital to collapsing banks all across Wall Street and a secret $16 trillion lifeline of loans from the Federal Reserve to prop up their insolvent carcasses; between a thriving U.S. economy and the greatest economic collapse since the Great Depression.

In 2012, after the U.S. national debt had skyrocketed from adding fiscal stimulus to counter the financial crash, after the U.S. housing market had been laid to waste, after millions of working families had lost their jobs and their homes and their belief in an honest America, the New York Times Editorial Board finally got around to a red-faced apology. It wrote:

 “While we are on this subject, add The New York Times editorial page to the list of the converted. We forcefully advocated the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act. ‘Few economic historians now find the logic behind Glass-Steagall persuasive,’  one editorial said in 1988. Another, in 1990, said that the notion that ‘banks and stocks were a dangerous mixture’ ‘makes little sense now.’

“That year, we also said that the Glass-Steagall Act was one of two laws that ‘stifle commercial banks.’ The other was the McFadden-Douglas Act, which prevented banks from opening branches across the nation.

“Having seen the results of this sweeping deregulation, we now think we were wrong to have supported it.”

As for the preposterous assertion that Bharara knew how to drain a swamp, the facts on the ground are as follows:

Bharara took his office as U.S. Attorney in May 2009, in the midst of the Wall Street crash when the trail was still fresh to the crime scene on Wall Street. According to an investigation of the U.S. Justice Department, for whom Bharara works, by the PBS program, Frontline, that was aptly titled “The Untouchables,” the prevailing attitude was one of hands off. Martin Smith, producer of the segment, reported the following: “We spoke to a couple of sources from within the Criminal Division, and they reported that when it came to Wall Street, there were no investigations going on. There were no subpoenas, no document reviews, no wiretaps.”

How could a prosecutor drain the Wall Street swamp when the key tools to root out criminal behavior have been banished when it comes to big shots on Wall Street.

Bharara was recommended for his U.S. Attorney post by Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, for whom he had worked as Chief Counsel on the Senate Judiciary Committee. According to attorneys Helen Davis Chaitman and Lance Gotthoffer in their riveting book on the ties between Wall Street powerhouse JPMorgan Chase and Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff (JPMadoff: The Unholy Alliance Between America’s Biggest Bank and America’s Biggest Crook) “Senator Schumer was a frequent visitor to Madoff in his office in New York’s Lipstick Building.” The source of this information was Madoff employees. The fact was further confirmed in a 2014 interview with Madoff by Politico’s MJ Lee, indicating that Schumer paid personal visits to Madoff  to collect campaign contributions. 

Chaitman and Gotthoffer ferret out other ties to Bharara and Schumer in their book, including the following:

Bharara agreed to a deferred prosecution agreement against JPMorgan Chase for their involvement in the Madoff fraud. He also allowed the family of Madoff client Jeffry Picower to keep billions of dollars that very likely grew out of the fraud.

The lawyer who represented the Picower family and estate with the U.S. Attorney’s office, William Zabel of Schulte Roth & Zabel, had also served on the Board of the Jeffry M. & Barbara Picower Foundation which was a major beneficiary of Madoff’s crimes, according to the Trustee of the Madoff victims’ fund, Irving Picard. While William Zabel was representing the Picower estate, his son, Richard Zabel, was the Chief of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s office in the Southern District of New York, working under Preet Bharara. (According to reports, Richard Zabel recused himself from the Picower matter.)

Employees of Schulte Roth & Zabel have consistently been in the top ranks of donors to Senator Schumer.

There is little question that Jeffry Picower and his family were the largest beneficiaries of the Madoff fraud. They conceded as much by returning the full amount of principal that had been withdrawn from their accounts: $7.2 billion. Chaitman and Gotthoffer analyze that figure as follows in their book:

“Picower realized a net gain of $7.2 billion from his complicity with Madoff over a 25-year period. Although the Madoff Trustee has not revealed the information as to the precise dates on which Picower withdrew funds from Madoff, if we assume that the funds were drawn out evenly over 25 years, and we assume that Picower had simply invested his stolen money in U.S. Treasury Notes over a 25-year period, he would have tripled his money – giving him a profit from Madoff’s crimes of approximately $21 billion. Again, that’s assuming he did nothing with his money but invest in U.S. Treasury Notes.”

The New York Times is right about one thing. Truth really is hard to find – especially in New York. But it becomes even harder when the Times serves up heroes that don’t exist.

Related Articles:

The New York Times Has a Fatal Wall Street Bias

New York Times Writer Suggests Donald Trump is an Anti-Semite for His Reference to Banking Conspiracy

New York Times Pushes False Narrative on the Wall Street Crash of 2008

America Has Lost Its Guiding Light, Its Citizens’ Bill of Rights

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: March 13, 2017

U.S. Capitol With Storm CloudsTwo events conspired this past week to force us to reassess if America can ever find its way home; (home being a nation that honors its citizens’ Bill of Rights — the amendments to the U.S. constitution that preserve the individual’s freedoms and protect the individual from abuse of power.)

We have been contemplating how the best and the brightest could serve in Washington in dedicated service to the citizens of their country by watching Aaron Sorkin’s West Wing, the television series that ran on NBC from the fall of 1999 to the spring of 2006. (It perhaps speaks to where we are as a nation that its citizens must turn to fictional writing to imagine sanity in government.) There is a memorable scene in one West Wing episode where Jed Bartlet, the fictional President of the United States played by Martin Sheen, is sitting in the Situation Room listening to recommendations from his military advisers on how to respond to American citizens coming into harm’s way at the hands of a foreign power. Bartlet tells the room the following:

Bartlet: “Did you know that two thousand years ago a Roman citizen could walk across the face of the known world free of the fear of molestation? He could walk across the Earth unharmed, cloaked only in the protection of the words civis Romanus — I am a Roman citizen. So great was the retribution of Rome, universally understood as certain, should any harm befall even one of its citizens…”

The next epiphany of where we once were as a nation came this past weekend while leafing through an antique book which had scraps of newspaper and book clippings from the late 1800s tucked within its pages. One document scrap read as follows: “The first step taken by President McKinley upon assuming the duties of his office was for the protection and release of American citizens in Cuba held in Spanish prisons.” McKinley took office on March 4, 1897.

Today, the greatest threat to the rights and freedoms of American citizens derives not from a foreign power but from a corporate/billionaire controlled government in Washington. Because most members of Congress and the President must rely on corporate money and billionaires to finance their political campaigns, citizens’ rights have given way to the advancement of corporate rights to abuse the citizenry.

Nothing better illustrates this than what has happened to the Bill of Rights’ Seventh Amendment which guarantees the right of the individual citizen to access the nation’s courts. It reads:

“In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.”

Today, U.S. citizens increasingly find that corporations and their lackeys in Congress have locked shut the doors to the courthouse, except for billionaires and corporations. Wall Street, in fact, has instituted a private justice system that bars both its customers and its employees from accessing the nation’s courts. (See related article below.)

The willingness of Americans to continue to do business with these Wall Street firms that have repeatedly gutted their rights enables this tyranny to grow and flourish.

The Declaration of Independence on which America was founded specifically cited the tyranny of King George III and his infringement of access to the courts. The founding fathers wrote in that historic document that King George III “has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries” and, furthermore, he was “depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury.”

Wall Street is also at the center of a sprawling surveillance state in which the Federal government has joined hands with the New York Police Department, outrageously using the taxpayers own dollars, to spy on the comings and goings of innocent people in the streets of Manhattan. As we first reported in 2012:

“On September 25, 2011, just eight days after the Occupy Wall Street protests began in Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan, the much acclaimed CBS News program, 60 Minutes, aired a fawning look at the thousands of surveillance cameras affixed to buildings and lampposts throughout New York City. The cameras feed live images of people going about their everyday lives to a $150 million computer center equipped with artificial intelligence to integrate and analyze the daily habits of what are, for the most part, law-abiding Americans…the center is jointly staffed and operated by the NYPD along with the largest Wall Street firms – the same firms under investigation in 50 states for mortgage and foreclosure fraud and widely credited with causing the Nation’s economic collapse. The Wall Street firms that were involuntarily bailed out by the 99% are now policing the 99%…

“Unfortunately, electronic surveillance of individuals at the snap of a finger is exactly what New York State law prohibits. New York Code, Section 700.15, requires a warrant for video surveillance and the warrant is only issuable ‘Upon probable cause to believe that a particularly described person is committing, has committed, or is about to commit a particular designated offense.’ Blanket surveillance of hundreds of thousands of law-abiding citizens with cameras that pan, tilt and rotate to track individuals to the doorsteps of their psychiatrist, debt counselor, Alcoholics Anonymous, or prosecutor’s office – shared with corporations that employ hundreds of thousands of these same individuals, is breathtaking in its blatant disregard for privacy rights.”

In 2013 U.S. Federal Court Judge Richard Leon humiliated the Obama administration with a ruling on its Orwellian spy tactics against citizens about whom it did not have the slightest suspicion of wrongdoing. The case was Klayman v. Obama and grew out of the disclosures made by National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower, Edward Snowden.

Judge Leon came down on the side of Larry Klayman and Charles Strange, two of the plaintiffs that filed a lawsuit against the government for its indiscriminate collection of tens of millions of phone records of law abiding citizens, which it had secretly given itself the right to probe and analyze for a period of five years. Judge Leon found the program to be in violation of the Bill of Rights’ Fourth Amendment, writing that he could not “imagine a more ‘indiscriminate’ and ‘arbitrary invasion’ than this systemic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on every single citizen for purposes of querying and analyzing it without prior judicial approval.”

The Fourth Amendment requires “probable cause” prior to a search as opposed to a vast dragnet more akin to a surveillance state. It reads:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Today, tens of millions of Americans have been seduced through propaganda to believe that their enemy is the other political party. But these egregious abuses to the Bill of Rights and the vast erosion of citizen protections are occurring regardless of which political party is in power in Washington.

Just how long will it take for Americans to wake up to the undeniable reality that there is only one political party now in America and that’s the Moneyed-Interest Party of the One Percent.

Related Articles:

Wall Street’s Kangaroo Courts Perpetuate a Business Model of Fraud

One Nation, Under Surveillance: U.S. Government Now Monitoring Your Phone Calls

The Disappearing Line Between Surveillance and Social Control

Washington Post Reporter Spreads Blacklist of Independent Journalist Sites