Archive for the Uncategorized Category

Illuminati, Government, Big corporations, its all the same

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on May 29, 2014 by PETERSON MERANT' an untold story

The real aim of the Illuminati is the overthrowing of traditional institution in favor of a new world government. (NWO) THE objective of this powerful organization is to take over of everything on earth. these people are sick twisted human beings who are willing to kidnap, torture, even kill those who appose them. Have you ever heard of the VATIC PROJECT this is what they wrote “…it is indispersible to trouble in all countries the peoples relations with government go as to utterly exhaust humanity with Dissension, hatred, struggle, envy, and even by use of torture, by starvation, by inoculation of diseases, by want, so that the goyim see no other issue than to take refuge in our complete sovereignty in money and in all else.” -protocols of the elders of zion, written 1887

Sometimes having nothing can mean a chance to create something special!!

Posted in Uncategorized on November 23, 2013 by PETERSON MERANT' an untold story

Up to recent years ago life was good until you notice that you have nothing in common with the people surrounding you and it seems like your stuck with no way of moving on or to do what you really feel like you should of been doing your whole life. Sometimes being alone or having nothing is a chance to create Everything you need and to meet people like yourself but the only question is where do you start, it might feel like the answer is a grin of rice deep in the middle of a billion more. So even though it seems like you lost in life and no reason to go on sometimes you gotta make your own reason to go on.

Average America vs the One Percent.

Posted in Uncategorized on November 20, 2013 by PETERSON MERANT' an untold story

If the Occupy movement does nothing else, it has at least introduced a new set of terms into the American vocabulary to talk about the distribution of wealth in America. Until recently, most average people had no idea how wealth was distributed in the country; most people had a vague idea of a wealthy minority, but they rarely grasped the full extent of income disparity between classes. Now, most people are aware of the notion of the 1 percent, although they still may not know exactly what it means or how that unequal distribution of wealth applies to the rest of the country.

Unequal wealth distribution is hardly a new or uniquely American problem. In fact, it’s been prevalent throughout society since humans first built civilizations: A small minority of aristocrats has always wielded the most power throughout history. In modern times, America lags behind nearly every other first-world nation in closing the gap between the classes. In fact, we’re making it worse.

The Distribution of Wealth Between Americans

Before you can talk about the 1 percent, it’s important to put the figures into perspective by understanding exactly what that figure means. The average annual income of the top 1 percent of the population is $717,000, compared to the average income of the rest of the population, which is around $51,000. The real disparity between the classes isn’t in income, however, but in net value: The 1 percent are worth about $8.4 million, or 70 times the worth of the lower classes.

The 1 percent are executives, doctors, lawyers and politicians, among other things. Within this group of people is an even smaller and wealthier subset of people, 1 percent of the top, or .01 percent of the entire nation. Those people have incomes of over $27 million, or roughly 540 times the national average income. Altogether, the top 1 percent control 43 percent of the wealth in the nation; the next 4 percent control an additional 29 percent.

It’s historically common for a powerful minority to control a majority of finances, but Americans haven’t seen a disparity this wide since before the Great Depression — and it keeps growing.

The Fallacy of Hard Work

It’s a common belief in America that all people have the same opportunity for success as the top 1 percent. Most people consider success to be a by-product of hard work, and hard work is something that Americans are extremely familiar with. In fact, Americans have increased productivity by 80 percent since 1979; unfortunately, their income hasn’t risen accordingly, if at all.

The average worker in an American company makes substantially less than supervisors and executives. In fact, corporate executives make 62 times more money than an average worker in bonuses alone, not counting the executive’s actual salary. For every corporate bonus, the company could have paid 62 employees. In fact, incentive pay actually rose 30 percent from years before the recession.

A Difference in Lifestyle: Americans and the 1 Percent

It’s no surprise that people in different classes spend their money differently. A person’s priorities change when he becomes wealthy, and certain expenses don’t vary much from one class to the next. The cost of food, healthcare and other expenses remains constant between classes, while the relative income may vary substantially.

For example, all Americans pay an average of a third of their incomes for housing. The second highest expense of top earners in America is transportation; the rich spend about 17 percent of their income traveling for business and pleasure. On the other hand, the lower classes spend about 17 percent of their income on feeding their families. 

Rich people are also more likely to pay for private education for their children. The majority of the 1 percent have attended college, and it’s only natural that they want the same for their kids. Higher-income families are able to pay for education expenses, whereas poor kids must rely on academics and hope to earn a scholarship or other financial aid. This means that while it’s not impossible for a child from a poor family to attend Harvard, it will be substantially more difficult for him to get accepted than if his family had better connections and more money.

Zero Sum Accounting

A common complaint against the Occupy Wall Street movement is that it relies on “zero sum” thinking. Opponents will argue that the wealth of the upper class should have no effect on the lower classes. After all, they say, there is no finite amount of wealth; the upper classes aren’t stealing money from the lower classes. All people have an opportunity to rise up through the classes and join the 1 percent themselves.

All of this sounds good in theory, but in practice it doesn’t usually work that way. The fact is that while wealth can be generated, money generally flows from one side of a population to the other. While money often works its way to the upper classes, it very rarely flows back the other way.

Between 2007 and 2009, Wall Street profits swelled by 720 percent, even while unemployment rates doubled and home equity dropped by 35 percent. Since 1979, the bottom 90 percent of the nation has consistently lost money while the upper classes have gained. If the average person’s wages had kept pace with the economy since the 70s, most people would be making $92,000 per year.

The fact is that the upper classes really are taking money from the poor in a very real and concrete way. The so-called trickle-down economy has never worked, despite the protestations of conservatives. Most extremely rich people do not spend enough money to stimulate the economy; they save or invest their money rather than spending it. This is a great financial practice for them, but it doesn’t promote wealth among the lower classes.

Whenever someone in the working poor or middle class receives a large sum of money, such as a tax return, he will usually spend all of that money. The lower classes spend money on goods and services provided by people working in jobs that pay a middle-class or lower-class wage. While members of the upper classes may spend their money on creating jobs or increasing pay for corporate employees, they’re just as likely to invest the extra money instead.

Perhaps it’s not the upper class’s duty to tend to the needs of the majority, but when a government claims to be cutting taxes for the wealthy specifically to stimulate economic growth, it’s reasonable to expect growth to be an actual consequence of the tax cuts.

Who Really Pays for America?

The rich do pay a higher tax than any other group of people. The top 1 percent of Americans pay approximately 35 percent of their incomes in taxes. Inside of the 1 percent, however, the people who make the most money actually pay the least taxes.

If income disparity between the top 1 percent and the other 99 percent is high, it’s nothing compared to the disparity within the top earners. At the bottom of the 1 percent are doctors, lawyers and other professionals who earn a living wage of around $300,000.

At the top of the 1 percent, people make around $5.2 million to $7.5 million each year on average, with some people making closer to a billion. This one-in-a-thousandth of the country pay closer to 23 percent in taxes. In fact, the top 400 highest earners in the country pay only 18 percent personal income tax. 

The top 1 percent may pay a higher percentage in taxes, but overall the lower classes are still paying more in tax revenue. People in the 15 percent tax bracket pay roughly 30 percent of the total tax gathered in the country, and their income tax accounts for more revenue for the government than any other bracket.

The Relationship of the Upper Classes and the Government

It’s impossible to ignore the fact that 57 members of Congress, or roughly 11 percent, are members of the financial elite. Overall, 250 members of Congress are millionaires, and their median net worth accounts for roughly $891,000, or nine times that of the average American.

Asking politicians to enact changes that would reduce the wealth of the upper classes is a conflict of interests. It’s little wonder that tax cuts for the wealthy are repeatedly enacted while the reverse is so rarely true. People with high incomes want to keep the money that they have made, and this includes the men and women who control the country.

It’s also important to remember that politicians are supported financially by the wealthy. In order to be elected, politicians of all levels require backing, and that backing generally comes from corporations. It’s impossible to deny the link between politicians and corporations, and the link is consistent regardless of a person’s political leanings. Right or left, big or small, politicians rely on corporations; more importantly, they rely on the extremely wealthy executives of those corporations.

With the majority of tax income coming in from the middle class — despite the progressive tax — and the government’s interests clearly mingling with the upper class, is there any question of why the income disparity continues to grow?

As Americans become more aware of the division of wealth among classes, they have turned their anger and despair into activism. There’s nothing wrong with wealth, but money that pools at one end of the population without benefiting anyone else is a sign of a suffering economy.

who rules america? Wealth, Income, and Power.

Posted in Uncategorized on November 20, 2013 by PETERSON MERANT' an untold story

This document presents details on the wealth and income distributions in the United States, and explains how we use these two distributions as power indicators.

Some of the information may come as a surprise to many people. In fact, I know it will be a surprise and then some, because of a recent study (Norton & Ariely, 2010) showing that most Americans (high income or low income, female or male, young or old, Republican or Democrat) have no idea just how concentrated the wealth distribution actually is. More on that a bit later.

As far as the income distribution, the most striking numbers on income inequality will come last, showing the dramatic change in the ratio of the average CEO’s paycheck to that of the average factory worker over the past 40 years.

First, though, some definitions. Generally speaking, wealth is the value of everything a person or family owns, minus any debts. However, for purposes of studying the wealth distribution, economists define wealth in terms of marketable assets, such as real estate, stocks, and bonds, leaving aside consumer durables like cars and household items because they are not as readily converted into cash and are more valuable to their owners for use purposes than they are for resale (see Wolff, 2004, p. 4, for a full discussion of these issues). Once the value of all marketable assets is determined, then all debts, such as home mortgages and credit card debts, are subtracted, which yields a person’s net worth. In addition, economists use the concept of financial wealth — also referred to in this document as “non-home wealth” — which is defined as net worth minus net equity in owner-occupied housing. As Wolff (2004, p. 5) explains, “Financial wealth is a more ‘liquid’ concept than marketable wealth, since one’s home is difficult to convert into cash in the short term. It thus reflects the resources that may be immediately available for consumption or various forms of investments.”

We also need to distinguish wealth from income. Income is what people earn from work, but also from dividends, interest, and any rents or royalties that are paid to them on properties they own. In theory, those who own a great deal of wealth may or may not have high incomes, depending on the returns they receive from their wealth, but in reality those at the very top of the wealth distribution usually have the most income. (But it’s important to note that for the rich, most of that income does not come from “working”: in 2008, only 19% of the income reported by the 13,480 individuals or families making over $10 million came from wages and salaries. See Norris, 2010, for more details.)

This document focuses on the “Top 1%” as a whole because that’s been the traditional cut-off point for “the top” in academic studies, and because it’s easy for us to keep in mind that we are talking about one in a hundred. But it is also important to realize that the lower half of that top 1% has far less than those in the top half; in fact, both wealth and income are super-concentrated in the top 0.1%, which is just one in a thousand. (To get an idea of the differences, take a look at an insider account by a long-time investment manager who works for the well-to-do and very rich. It nicely explains what the different levels have — and how they got it. Also, David Cay Johnston (2011) has written a column about the differences among the top 1%, based on 2009 IRS information.)

As you read through the facts and figures that follow, please keep in mind that they are usually two or three years out of date because it takes time for one set of experts to collect the basic information and make sure it is accurate, and then still more time for another set of experts to analyze it and write their reports. It’s also the case that the infamous housing bubble of the first eight years of the 21st century inflated some of the wealth numbers.

There’s also some general information available on median income and percentage of people below the poverty line in 2010. As might be expected, most of the new information shows declines; in fact, a report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (2011) concludes that the decade from 2000 to 2010 was a “lost decade” for most Americans.

One final general point before turning to the specifics. People who have looked at this document in the past often asked whether progressive taxation reduces some of the income inequality that exists before taxes are paid. The answer: not by much, if we count all of the taxes that people pay, from sales taxes to property taxes to payroll taxes (in other words, not just income taxes). And the top 1% of income earners actually pay a smaller percentage of their incomes to taxes than the 9% just below them. These findings are discussed in detail near the end of this document.

Exactly how rich are the Top 1%?

People often wonder exactly how much income and/or wealth someone needs to have to be included in the Top 1% or the Top 20%; Table 1 below lists some absolute dollar amounts associated with various income and wealth classes, but the important point to keep in mind is that for the most part, it’s the relative positions of wealth holders and income earners that we are trying to comprehend in this document.

Table 1: Income, net worth, and financial worth in the U.S. by percentile,in 2010 dollars
Wealth orincome class Mean household income Mean householdnet worth Mean household financial (non-home) wealth
Top 1 percent $1,318,200 $16,439,400 $15,171,600
Top 20 percent $226,200 $2,061,600 $1,719,800
60th-80th percentile $72,000 $216,900 $100,700
40th-60th percentile $41,700 $61,000 $12,200
Bottom 40 percent $17,300 -$10,600 -$14,800
From Wolff (2012); only mean figures are available, not medians.  Note that income and wealth are separate measures; so, for example, the top 1% of income-earners is not exactly the same group of people as the top 1% of wealth-holders, although there is considerable overlap.

The Wealth Distribution

In the United States, wealth is highly concentrated in a relatively few hands. As of 2010, the top 1% of households (the upper class) owned 35.4% of all privately held wealth, and the next 19% (the managerial, professional, and small business stratum) had 53.5%, which means that just 20% of the people owned a remarkable 89%, leaving only 11% of the wealth for the bottom 80% (wage and salary workers). In terms of financial wealth (total net worth minus the value of one’s home), the top 1% of households had an even greater share: 42.1%. Table 2 and Figure 1 present further details, drawn from the careful work of economist Edward N. Wolff at New York University (2012).

Table 2: Distribution of net worth and financial wealth in theUnited States, 1983-2010
  Total Net Worth
  Top 1 percent Next 19 percent Bottom 80 percent
1983 33.8% 47.5% 18.7%
1989 37.4% 46.2% 16.5%
1992 37.2% 46.6% 16.2%
1995 38.5% 45.4% 16.1%
1998 38.1% 45.3% 16.6%
2001 33.4% 51.0% 15.6%
2004 34.3% 50.3% 15.3%
2007 34.6% 50.5% 15.0%
2010 35.4% 53.5% 11.1%
  Financial (Non-Home) Wealth
  Top 1 percent Next 19 percent Bottom 80 percent
1983 42.9% 48.4% 8.7%
1989 46.9% 46.5% 6.6%
1992 45.6% 46.7% 7.7%
1995 47.2% 45.9% 7.0%
1998 47.3% 43.6% 9.1%
2001 39.7% 51.5% 8.7%
2004 42.2% 50.3% 7.5%
2007 42.7% 50.3% 7.0%
2010 42.1% 53.5% 4.7%

Total assets are defined as the sum of: (1) the gross value of owner-occupied housing; (2) other real estate owned by the household; (3) cash and demand deposits; (4) time and savings deposits, certificates of deposit, and money market accounts; (5) government bonds, corporate bonds, foreign bonds, and other financial securities; (6) the cash surrender value of life insurance plans; (7) the cash surrender value of pension plans, including IRAs, Keogh, and 401(k) plans; (8) corporate stock and mutual funds; (9) net equity in unincorporated businesses; and (10) equity in trust funds.

Total liabilities are the sum of: (1) mortgage debt; (2) consumer debt, including auto loans; and (3) other debt. From Wolff (2004, 2007, 2010, & 2012).

Figure 1: Net worth and financial wealth distribution in the U.S. in 2010

In terms of types of financial wealth, the top one percent of households have 35% of all privately held stock, 64.4% of financial securities, and 62.4% of business equity. The top ten percent have 81% to 94% of stocks, bonds, trust funds, and business equity, and almost 80% of non-home real estate. Since financial wealth is what counts as far as the control of income-producing assets, we can say that just 10% of the people own the United States of America; see Table 3 and Figure 2 for the details.

Table 3: Wealth distribution by type of asset, 2010
  Investment Assets
  Top 1 percent Next 9 percent Bottom 90 percent
Stocks and mutual funds 35.0% 45.8% 19.2%
Financial securities 64.4% 29.5% 6.1%
Trusts 38.0% 43.0% 19.0%
Business equity 61.4% 30.5% 8.1%
Non-home real estate 35.5% 43.6% 20.9%
TOTAL investment assets 50.4% 37.5% 12.0%
  Housing, Liquid Assets, Pension Assets, and Debt
  Top 1 percent Next 9 percent Bottom 90 percent
Principal residence 9.2% 31.0% 59.8%
Deposits 28.1% 42.5% 29.5%
Life insurance 20.6% 34.1% 45.3%
Pension accounts 15.4% 50.2% 34.5%
TOTAL other assets 13.0% 37.8% 49.2%
Debt 5.9% 21.6% 72.5%
From Wolff (2012).
Figure 2a: Wealth distribution by type of asset, 2010: investment assets
Figure 2b: Wealth distribution by type of asset, 2010: other assets
From Wolff (2012).

Inheritance and estate taxes

Figures on inheritance tell much the same story. According to a study published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, only 1.6% of Americans receive $100,000 or more in inheritance. Another 1.1% receive $50,000 to $100,000. On the other hand, 91.9% receive nothing (Kotlikoff & Gokhale, 2000). Thus, the attempt by ultra-conservatives to eliminate inheritance taxes — which they always call “death taxes” for P.R. reasons — would take a huge bite out of government revenues (an estimated $253 billion between 2012 and 2022) for the benefit of the heirs of the mere 0.6% of Americans whose death would lead to the payment of any estate taxes whatsoever (Citizens for Tax Justice, 2010b).

It is noteworthy that some of the richest people in the country oppose this ultra-conservative initiative, suggesting that this effort is driven by anti-government ideology. In other words, few of the ultra-conservative and libertarian activists behind the effort will benefit from it in any material way. However, a study (Kenny et al., 2006) of the financial support for eliminating inheritance taxes discovered that 18 super-rich families (mostly Republican financial donors, but a few who support Democrats) provide the anti-government activists with most of the money for this effort. (For more infomation, including the names of the major donors,download the article from United For a Fair Economy’s Web site.)

Actually, ultra-conservatives and their wealthy financial backers may not have to bother to eliminate what remains of inheritance taxes at the federal level. The rich already have a new way to avoid inheritance taxes forever — for generations and generations — thanks to bankers. After Congress passed a reform in 1986 making it impossible for a “trust” to skip a generation before paying inheritance taxes, bankers convinced legislatures in many states to eliminate their “rules against perpetuities,” which means that trust funds set up in those states can exist in perpetuity, thereby allowing the trust funds to own new businesses, houses, and much else for descendants of rich people, and even to allow the beneficiaries to avoid payments to creditors when in personal debt or sued for causing accidents and injuries. About $100 billion in trust funds has flowed into those states so far. You can read the details on these “dynasty trusts” (which could be the basis for an even more solidified “American aristocracy”) in a New York Times opinion piece published in July 2010 by Boston College law professor Ray Madoff, who also has a book on this and other new tricks: Immortality and the Law: The Rising Power of the American Dead (Yale University Press, 2010).

Home ownership & wealth

For the vast majority of Americans, their homes are by far the most significant wealth they possess. Figure 3 comes from the Federal Reserve Board’s Survey of Consumer Finances (via Wolff, 2012) and compares the median income, total wealth (net worth, which is marketable assets minus debt), and non-home wealth (which earlier we called financial wealth) of White, Black, and Hispanic households in the U.S.

Figure 3: Income and wealth by race in the U.S.
From Wolff (2012). All figures adjusted to 2010 US dollars.

Besides illustrating the significance of home ownership as a source of wealth, the graph also shows that Black and Latino households are faring significantly worse overall, whether we are talking about income or net worth. In 2010, the average white household had almost 20 times as much total wealth as the average African-American household, and more than 70 times as much wealth as the average Latino household. If we exclude home equity from the calculations and consider only financial wealth, the ratios are more than 100:1. Extrapolating from these figures, we see that 71% of white families’ wealth is in the form of their principal residence; for Blacks and Hispanics, the figures are close to 100%.

And for all Americans, things have gotten worse: comparing the 2006/2007 numbers to the 2009/2010 numbers, we can see that the last few years (“The Great Recession”) have seen a huge loss in wealth — both housing and financial — for most families, making the gap between the rich and the rest of America even greater, and increasing the number of households withno marketable assets from 18.6% to 22.5% (Wolff, 2012).

Do Americans know their country’s wealth distribution?

A remarkable study (Norton & Ariely, 2010) reveals that Americans have no idea that the wealth distribution (defined for them in terms of “net worth”) is as concentrated as it is. When shown three pie charts representing possible wealth distributions, 90% or more of the 5,522 respondents — whatever their gender, age, income level, or party affiliation — thought that the American wealth distribution most resembled one in which the top 20% has about 60% of the wealth. In fact, of course, the top 20% control about 85% of the wealth (refer back to Table 2 and Figure 1 in this document for a more detailed breakdown of the numbers).

Even more striking, they did not come close on the amount of wealth held by the bottom 40% of the population. It’s a number I haven’t even mentioned so far, and it’s shocking: the lowest two quintiles hold just 0.3% of the wealth in the United States. Most people in the survey guessed the figure to be between 8% and 10%, and two dozen academic economists got it wrong too, by guessing about 2% — seven times too high. Those surveyed did have it about right for what the 20% in the middle have; it’s at the top and the bottom that they don’t have any idea of what’s going on.

Americans from all walks of life were also united in their vision of what the “ideal” wealth distribution would be, which may come as an even bigger surprise than their shared misinformation on the actual wealth distribution. They said that the ideal wealth distribution would be one in which the top 20% owned between 30 and 40 percent of the privately held wealth, which is a far cry from the 85 percent that the top 20% actually own. They also said that the bottom 40% — that’s 120 million Americans — should have between 25% and 30%, not the mere 8% to 10% they thought this group had, and far above the 0.3% they actually had. In fact, there’s no country in the world that has a wealth distribution close to what Americans think is ideal when it comes to fairness. So maybe Americans are much more egalitarian than most of them realize about each other, at least in principle and before the rat race begins.

Figure 4, reproduced with permission from Norton & Ariely’s article in Perspectives on Psychological Science, shows the actual wealth distribution, along with the survey respondents’ estimated and ideal distributions, in graphic form.

Figure 4: The actual United States wealth distribution plotted against theestimated and ideal distributions.

NOTE: In the “Actual” line, the bottom two quintiles are not visible because the lowest quintile owns just 0.1% of all wealth, and the second-lowest quintile owns 0.2%.

Source: Norton & Ariely (2010).

David Cay Johnston, a retired tax reporter for the New York Times, published an excellent summary of Norton & Ariely’s findings (Johnston, 2010b; you can download the article from Johnston’s Web site).

Historical context

Numerous studies show that the wealth distribution has been concentrated throughout American history, with the top 1% already owning 40-50% in large port cities like Boston, New York, and Charleston in the 1800s. (But it wasn’t as bad in the 18th and 19th centuries as it is now, as summarized in a 2012 article in The Atlantic.) The wealth distribution was fairly stable over the course of the 20th century, although there were small declines in the aftermath of the New Deal and World II, when most people were working and could save a little money. There were progressive income tax rates, too, which took some money from the rich to help with government services.

Then there was a further decline, or flattening, in the 1970s, but this time in good part due to a fall in stock prices, meaning that the rich lost some of the value in their stocks. By the late 1980s, however, the wealth distribution was almost as concentrated as it had been in 1929, when the top 1% had 44.2% of all wealth. It has continued to edge up since that time, with a slight decline from 1998 to 2001, before the economy crashed in the late 2000s and little people got pushed down again. Table 4 and Figure 5 present the details from 1922 through 2010.

Table 4: Share of wealth held by the Bottom 99% and Top 1% in theUnited States, 1922-2010.
  Bottom 99 percent Top 1 percent
1922 63.3% 36.7%
1929 55.8% 44.2%
1933 66.7% 33.3%
1939 63.6% 36.4%
1945 70.2% 29.8%
1949 72.9% 27.1%
1953 68.8% 31.2%
1962 68.2% 31.8%
1965 65.6% 34.4%
1969 68.9% 31.1%
1972 70.9% 29.1%
1976 80.1% 19.9%
1979 79.5% 20.5%
1981 75.2% 24.8%
1983 69.1% 30.9%
1986 68.1% 31.9%
1989 64.3% 35.7%
1992 62.8% 37.2%
1995 61.5% 38.5%
1998 61.9% 38.1%
2001 66.6% 33.4%
2004 65.7% 34.3%
2007 65.4% 34.6%
2010 64.6% 35.4%
Sources: 1922-1989 data from Wolff (1996). 1992-2010 data from Wolff (2012).
Figure 5: Share of wealth held by the Bottom 99% and Top 1% in theUnited States, 1922-2010.

Here are some dramatic facts that sum up how the wealth distribution became even more concentrated between 1983 and 2004, in good part due to the tax cuts for the wealthy and the defeat of labor unions: Of all the new financial wealth created by the American economy in that 21-year-period, fully 42% of it went to the top 1%. A whopping 94% went to the top 20%, which of course means that the bottom 80% received only 6% of all the new financial wealth generated in the United States during the ’80s, ’90s, and early 2000s (Wolff, 2007).

The rest of the world

Thanks to a 2006 study by the World Institute for Development Economics Research — using statistics for the year 2000 — we now have information on the wealth distribution for the world as a whole, which can be compared to the United States and other well-off countries. The authors of the report admit that the quality of the information available on many countries is very spotty and probably off by several percentage points, but they compensate for this problem with very sophisticated statistical methods and the use of different sets of data. With those caveats in mind, we can still safely say that the top 10% of the world’s adults control about 85% of global household wealth — defined very broadly as all assets (not just financial assets), minus debts. That compares with a figure of 69.8% for the top 10% for the United States. The only industrialized democracy with a higher concentration of wealth in the top 10% than the United States is Switzerland at 71.3%. For the figures for several other Northern European countries and Canada, all of which are based on high-quality data, see Table 5.

Table 5: Percentage of wealth held in 2000 by the Top 10% of the adult populationin various Western countries
  wealth owned
by top 10%
Switzerland 71.3%
United States 69.8%
Denmark 65.0%
France 61.0%
Sweden 58.6%
UK 56.0%
Canada 53.0%
Norway 50.5%
Germany 44.4%
Finland 42.3%

The Relationship Between Wealth and Power

What’s the relationship between wealth and power? To avoid confusion, let’s be sure we understand they are two different issues. Wealth, as I’ve said, refers to the value of everything people own, minus what they owe, but the focus is on “marketable assets” for purposes of economic and power studies. Power, as explained elsewhere on this site, has to do with the ability (or call it capacity) to realize wishes, or reach goals, which amounts to the same thing, even in the face of opposition (Russell, 1938; Wrong, 1995). Some definitions refine this point to say that power involves Person A or Group A affecting Person B or Group B “in a manner contrary to B’s interests,” which then necessitates a discussion of “interests,” and quickly leads into the realm of philosophy (Lukes, 2005, p. 30). Leaving those discussions for the philosophers, at least for now, how do the concepts of wealth and power relate?

First, wealth can be seen as a “resource” that is very useful in exercising power. That’s obvious when we think of donations to political parties, payments to lobbyists, and grants to experts who are employed to think up new policies beneficial to the wealthy. Wealth also can be useful in shaping the general social environment to the benefit of the wealthy, whether through hiring public relations firms or donating money for universities, museums, music halls, and art galleries.

Second, certain kinds of wealth, such as stock ownership, can be used to control corporations, which of course have a major impact on how the society functions. Tables 6a and 6b show what the distribution of stock ownership looks like. Note how the top one percent’s share of stock equity increased (and the bottom 80 percent’s share decreased) between 2001 and 2010.

Table 6a: Concentration of stock ownership in the United States, 2001-2010
  Percent of all stock owned:
Wealth class 2001 2004 2007 2010
Top 1% 33.5% 36.7% 38.3% 35.0%
Next 19% 55.8% 53.9% 52.8% 56.6%
Bottom 80% 10.7% 9.4% 8.9% 8.4%
Table 6b: Amount of stock owned by various wealth classes in the U.S., 2010
  Percent of households owning stocks worth:
Wealth class $0 (no stocks) $1-$9,999 $10,000 or more
Top 1% 5.1% 0.6% 94.3%
95-99% 6.9% 4.0% 89.1%
90-95% 11.8% 4.8% 83.4%
80-90% 21.0% 8.5% 70.5%
60-80% 41.3% 15.6% 44.1%
40-60% 55.4% 19.9% 24.7%
20-40% 76.1% 17.4% 6.5%
Bottom 20% 79.2% 17.3% 4.5%
TOTAL 53.1% 17.5% 31.6%
Both tables’ data derived from Wolff (2007, 2010, & 2012).  Includes direct ownership of stock shares and indirect ownership through mutual funds, trusts, and IRAs, Keogh plans, 401(k) plans, and other retirement accounts. All figures are in 2010 dollars.

Third, just as wealth can lead to power, so too can power lead to wealth. Those who control a government can use their position to feather their own nests, whether that means a favorable land deal for relatives at the local level or a huge federal government contract for a new corporation run by friends who will hire you when you leave government. If we take a larger historical sweep and look cross-nationally, we are well aware that the leaders of conquering armies often grab enormous wealth, and that some religious leaders use their positions to acquire wealth.

There’s a fourth way that wealth and power relate. For research purposes, the wealth distribution can be seen as the main “value distribution” within the general power indicator I call “who benefits.” What follows in the next three paragraphs is a little long-winded, I realize, but it needs to be said because some social scientists — primarily pluralists — argue that who wins and who loses in a variety of policy conflicts is the only valid power indicator (Dahl, 1957, 1958; Polsby, 1980). And philosophical discussions don’t even mention wealth or other power indicators (Lukes, 2005). (If you have heard it all before, or can do without it, feel free to skip ahead to the last paragraph of this section)

Here’s the argument: if we assume that most people would like to have as great a share as possible of the things that are valued in the society, then we can infer that those who have the most goodies are the most powerful. Although some value distributions may be unintended outcomes that do not really reflect power, as pluralists are quick to tell us, the general distribution of valued experiences and objects within a society still can be viewed as the most publicly visible and stable outcome of the operation of power.

In American society, for example, wealth and well-being are highly valued. People seek to own property, to have high incomes, to have interesting and safe jobs, to enjoy the finest in travel and leisure, and to live long and healthy lives. All of these “values” are unequally distributed, and all may be utilized as power indicators. However, the primary focus with this type of power indicator is on the wealth distribution sketched out in the previous section.

The argument for using the wealth distribution as a power indicator is strengthened by studies showing that such distributions vary historically and from country to country, depending upon the relative strength of rival political parties and trade unions, with the United States having the most highly concentrated wealth distribution of any Western democracy except Switzerland. For example, in a study based on 18 Western democracies, strong trade unions and successful social democratic parties correlated with greater equality in the income distribution and a higher level of welfare spending (Stephens, 1979).

And now we have arrived at the point I want to make. If the top 1% of households have 30-35% of the wealth, that’s 30 to 35 times what they would have if wealth were equally distributed, and so we infer that they must be powerful. And then we set out to see if the same set of households scores high on other power indicators (it does). Next we study how that power operates, which is what most articles on this site are about. Furthermore, if the top 20% have 84% of the wealth (and recall that 10% have 85% to 90% of the stocks, bonds, trust funds, and business equity), that means that the United States is a power pyramid. It’s tough for the bottom 80% — maybe even the bottom 90% — to get organized and exercise much power.

Income and Power

The income distribution also can be used as a power indicator. As Table 7 shows, it is not as concentrated as the wealth distribution, but the top 1% of income earners did receive 17.2% of all income in 2009. That’s up from 12.8% for the top 1% in 1982, which is quite a jump, and it parallels what is happening with the wealth distribution. This is further support for the inference that the power of the corporate community and the upper class have been increasing in recent decades.

Table 7: Distribution of income in the United States, 1982-2006
  Income
  Top 1 percent Next 19 percent Bottom 80 percent
1982 12.8% 39.1% 48.1%
1988 16.6% 38.9% 44.5%
1991 15.7% 40.7% 43.7%
1994 14.4% 40.8% 44.9%
1997 16.6% 39.6% 43.8%
2000 20.0% 38.7% 41.4%
2003 17.0% 40.8% 42.2%
2006 21.3% 40.1% 38.6%
2009 17.2% 41.9% 40.9%
From Wolff (2012).

The rising concentration of income can be seen in a special New York Times analysis by David Cay Johnston of an Internal Revenue Service report on income in 2004. Although overall income had grown by 27% since 1979, 33% of the gains went to the top 1%. Meanwhile, the bottom 60% were making less: about 95 cents for each dollar they made in 1979. The next 20% – those between the 60th and 80th rungs of the income ladder — made $1.02 for each dollar they earned in 1979. Furthermore, Johnston concludes that only the top 5% made significant gains ($1.53 for each 1979 dollar). Most amazing of all, the top 0.1% — that’s one-tenth of one percent — had more combined pre-tax income than the poorest 120 million people (Johnston, 2006).

But the increase in what is going to the few at the top did not level off, even with all that. As of 2007, income inequality in the United States was at an all-time high for the past 95 years, with the top 0.01% — that’s one-hundredth of one percent — receiving 6% of all U.S. wages, which is double what it was for that tiny slice in 2000; the top 10% received 49.7%, the highest since 1917 (Saez, 2009). However, in an analysis of 2008 tax returns for the top 0.2% — that is, those whose income tax returns reported $1,000,000 or more in income (mostly from individuals, but nearly a third from couples) — it was found that they received 13% of all income, down slightly from 16.1% in 2007 due to the decline in payoffs from financial assets (Norris, 2010).

And the rate of increase is even higher for the very richest of the rich: the top 400 income earners in the United States. According to another analysis by Johnston (2010a), the average income of the top 400 tripled during the Clinton Administration and doubled during the first seven years of the Bush Administration. So by 2007, the top 400 averaged $344.8 million per person, up 31% from an average of $263.3 million just one year earlier. (For another recent revealing study by Johnston, read “Is Our Tax System Helping Us Create Wealth?“).

How are these huge gains possible for the top 400? It’s due to cuts in the tax rates on capital gains and dividends, which were down to a mere 15% in 2007 thanks to the tax cuts proposed by the Bush Administration and passed by Congress in 2003. Since almost 75% of the income for the top 400 comes from capital gains and dividends, it’s not hard to see why tax cuts on income sources available to only a tiny percent of Americans mattered greatly for the high-earning few. Overall, the effective tax rate on high incomes fell by 7% during the Clinton presidency and 6% in the Bush era, so the top 400 had a tax rate of 20% or less in 2007, far lower than the marginal tax rate of 35% that the highest income earners (over $372,650) supposedly pay. It’s also worth noting that only the first $106,800 of a person’s income is taxed for Social Security purposes (as of 2010), so it would clearly be a boon to the Social Security Fund if everyone — not just those making less than $106,800 — paid the Social Security tax on their full incomes.

Do Taxes Redistribute Income?

It is widely believed that taxes are highly progressive and, furthermore, that the top several percent of income earners pay most of the taxes received by the federal government. Both ideas are wrong because they focus on official, rather than “effective” tax rates and ignore payroll taxes, which are mostly paid by those with incomes below $100,000 per year.

But what matters in terms of a power analysis is what percentage of their income people at different income levels pay to all levels of government (federal, state, and local) in taxes. If the less-well-off majority is somehow able to wield power, we would expect that the high earners would pay a bigger percentage of their income in taxes, because the majority figures the well-to-do would still have plenty left after taxes to make new investments and lead the good life. If the high earners have the most power, we’d expect them to pay about the same as everybody else, or less.

Citizens for Tax Justice, a research group that’s been studying tax issues from its offices in Washington since 1979, provides the information we need. When all taxes (not just income taxes) are taken into account, the lowest 20% of earners (who average about $12,400 per year), paid 16.0% of their income to taxes in 2009; and the next 20% (about $25,000/year), paid 20.5% in taxes. So if we only examine these first two steps, the tax system looks like it is going to be progressive.

And it keeps looking progressive as we move further up the ladder: the middle 20% (about $33,400/year) give 25.3% of their income to various forms of taxation, and the next 20% (about $66,000/year) pay 28.5%. So taxes are progressive for the bottom 80%. But if we break the top 20% down into smaller chunks, we find that progressivity starts to slow down, then it stops, and then it slips backwards for the top 1%.

Specifically, the next 10% (about $100,000/year) pay 30.2% of their income as taxes; the next 5% ($141,000/year) dole out 31.2% of their earnings for taxes; and the next 4% ($245,000/year) pay 31.6% to taxes. You’ll note that the progressivity is slowing down. As for the top 1% — those who take in $1.3 million per year on average — they pay 30.8% of their income to taxes, which is a little less than what the 9% just below them pay, and only a tiny bit more than what the segment between the 80th and 90th percentile pays.

What I’ve just explained with words can be seen more clearly in Figure 6.

Figure 6: Share of income paid as tax, including local and state tax
Source: Citizens for Tax Justice (2010a).

We also can look at this information on income and taxes in another way by asking what percentage of all taxes various income levels pay. (This is not the same as the previous question, which asked what percentage of their incomes went to taxes for people at various income levels.) And the answer to this new question can be found in Figure 7. For example, the top 20% receives 59.1% of all income and pays 64.3% of all the taxes, so they aren’t carrying a huge extra burden. At the other end, the bottom 20%, which receives 3.5% of all income, pays 1.9% of all taxes.

Figure 7: Share of all income earned and all taxes paid, by quintile
Source: Citizens for Tax Justice (2010a).

So the best estimates that can be put together from official government numbers show a little bit of progressivity. But the details on those who earn millions of dollars each year are very hard to come by, because they can stash a large part of their wealth in off-shore tax havens in the Caribbean and little countries in Europe, starting with Switzerland. And there are many loopholes and gimmicks they can use, as summarized with striking examples in Free Lunchand Perfectly Legal, the books by Johnston that were mentioned earlier. For example, Johnston explains the ways in which high earners can hide their money and delay on paying taxes, and then invest for a profit what normally would be paid in taxes.

Income inequality in other countries

The degree of income inequality in the United States can be compared to that in other countries on the basis of the Gini coefficient, a mathematical ratio that allows economists to put all countries on a scale with values that range (hypothetically) from zero (everyone in the country has the same income) to 100 (one person in the country has all the income). On this widely used measure, the United States ends up 95th out of the 134 countries that have been studied — that is, only 39 of the 134 countries have worse income inequality. The U.S. has a Gini index of 45.0; Sweden is the lowest with 23.0, and South Africa is near the top with 65.0.

The table that follows displays the scores for 22 major countries, along with their ranking in the longer list of 134 countries that were studied (most of the other countries are very small and/or very poor). In examining this table, remember that it does not measure the same thing as Table 5 earlier in this document, which was about the wealth distribution. Here we are looking at the income distribution, so the two tables won’t match up as far as rankings. That’s because a country can have a highly concentrated wealth distribution and still have a more equal distribution of income due to high taxes on top income earners and/or high minimum wages — both Switzerland and Sweden follow this pattern. So one thing that’s distinctive about the U.S. compared to other industrialized democracies is that both its wealth and income distributions are highly concentrated.

Table 8: Income equality in selected countries
Country/Overall Rank Gini Coefficient
1.  Sweden 23.0
2.  Norway 25.0
8.  Austria 26.0
10.  Germany 27.0
17.  Denmark 29.0
25.  Australia 30.5
34.  Italy 32.0
35.  Canada 32.1
37.  France 32.7
42.  Switzerland 33.7
43.  United Kingdom 34.0
45.  Egypt 34.4
56.  India 36.8
61.  Japan 38.1
68.  Israel 39.2
81.  China 41.5
82.  Russia 42.3
90.  Iran 44.5
93.  United States 45.0
107.  Mexico 48.2
125.  Brazil 56.7
133.  South Africa 65.0

Note: These figures reflect family/household income, not individual income.

 

Source: Central Intelligence Agency (2010).

The differences in income inequality between countries also can be illustrated by looking at the share of income earned by the now-familiar Top 1% versus the Bottom 99%. One of the most striking contrasts is between Sweden and the United States from 1950 to 2009, as seen in Figure 8; and note that the differences between the two countries narrowed in the 1950s and 1960s, but after that went their separate ways, in rather dramatic fashion.

Figure 8: Top income shares in the U.S. and Sweden, 1950-2009
Source: Alvaredo et al. (2012), World Top Incomes Database.

The impact of “transfer payments”

As we’ve seen, taxes don’t have much impact on the income distribution, especially when we look at the top 1% or top 0.1%. Nor do various kinds of tax breaks and loopholes have much impact on the income distribution overall. That’s because the tax deductions that help those with lower incomes — such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), tax forgiveness for low-income earners on Social Security, and tax deductions for dependent children — are offset by the breaks for high-income earners (for example: dividends and capital gains are only taxed at a rate of 15%; there’s no tax on the interest earned from state and municipal bonds; and 20% of the tax deductions taken for dependent children actually go to people earning over $100,000 a year).

But it is sometimes said that income inequality is reduced significantly by government programs that matter very much in the lives of low-income Americans. These programs provide “transfer payments,” which are a form of income for those in need. They include unemployment compensation, cash payments to the elderly who don’t have enough to live on from Social Security, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (welfare), food stamps, and Medicaid.

Thomas Hungerford (2009), a tax expert who works for the federal government’s Congressional Research Service, carried out a study for Congress that tells us about the real-world impact of transfer payments on reducing income inequality. Hungerford’s study is based on 2004 income data from an ongoing study of a representative sample of families at the University of Michigan, and it includes the effects of both taxes and four types of transfer payments (Social Security, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, food stamps, and Medicaid). The table that follows shows the income inequality index (that is, the Gini coefficient) at three points along the way: (1.) before taxes or transfers; (2) after taxes are taken into account; and (3) after both taxes and transfer payments are included in the equation. (The Citizens for Tax Justice study of income and taxes for 2009, discussed earlier, included transfer payments as income, so that study and Hungerford’s have similar starting points. But they can’t be directly compared, because they use different years.)

Table 9: Redistributive effect of taxes and transfer payments
Income definition Gini index
Before taxes and transfers 0.5116
After taxes, before transfers 0.4774
After taxes and transfers 0.4284
Source: Congressional Research Service, adapted from Hungerford (2009).

As can be seen, Hungerford’s findings first support what we had learned earlier from the Citizens for Tax Justice study: taxes don’t do much to reduce inequality. They secondly reveal that transfer payments have a slightly larger impact on inequality than taxes, but not much. Third, his findings tell us that taxes and transfer payments together reduce the inequality index from .52 to .43, which is very close to the CIA’s estimate of .45 for 2008.

In short, for those who ask if progressive taxes and transfer payments even things out to a significant degree, the answer is that while they have some effect, they don’t do nearly as much as in Canada, major European countries, or Japan.

Income Ratios and Power: Executives vs. Average Workers

Another way that income can be used as a power indicator is by comparing average CEO annual pay to average factory worker pay, something that has been done for many years byBusiness Week and, later, the Associated Press. The ratio of CEO pay to factory worker pay rose from 42:1 in 1960 to as high as 531:1 in 2000, at the height of the stock market bubble, when CEOs were cashing in big stock options. It was at 411:1 in 2005 and 344:1 in 2007, according to research by United for a Fair Economy. By way of comparison, the same ratio is about 25:1 in Europe. The changes in the American ratio from 1960 to 2007 are displayed in Figure 9, which is based on data from several hundred of the largest corporations.

Figure 9: CEOs’ pay as a multiple of the average worker’s pay, 1960-2007
Source: Executive Excess 2008, the 15th Annual CEO Compensation Survey from the Institute for Policy Studies and United for a Fair Economy.

It’s even more revealing to compare the actual rates of increase of the salaries of CEOs and ordinary workers; from 1990 to 2005, CEOs’ pay increased almost 300% (adjusted for inflation), while production workers gained a scant 4.3%. The purchasing power of the federal minimum wage actually declined by 9.3%, when inflation is taken into account. These startling results are illustrated in Figure 10.

Figure 10: CEOs’ average pay, production workers’ average pay, theS&P 500 Index, corporate profits, and the federal minimum wage, 1990-2005 (all figures adjusted for inflation)
Source: Executive Excess 2006, the 13th Annual CEO Compensation Survey from the Institute for Policy Studies and United for a Fair Economy.

Although some of the information I’ve relied upon to create this section on executives’ vs. workers’ pay is a few years old now, the AFL/CIO provides up-to-date information on CEO salaries at their Web site. There, you can learn that the median compensation for CEO’s in allindustries as of early 2010 is $3.9 million; it’s $10.6 million for the companies listed in Standard and Poor’s 500, and $19.8 million for the companies listed in the Dow-Jones Industrial Average. Since the median worker’s pay is about $36,000, then you can quickly calculate that CEOs in general make 100 times as much as the workers, that CEO’s of S&P 500 firms make almost 300 times as much, and that CEOs at the Dow-Jones companies make 550 times as much. (For a more recent update on CEOs’ pay, see “The Drought Is Over (At Least for CEOs)” at NYTimes.com; the article reports that the median compensation for CEOs at 200 major companies was $9.6 million in 2010 — up by about 12% over 2009 and generally equal to or surpassing pre-recession levels. For specific information about some of the top CEOs, seehttp://projects.nytimes.com/executive_compensation.

If you wonder how such a large gap could develop, the proximate, or most immediate, factor involves the way in which CEOs now are able to rig things so that the board of directors, which they help select — and which includes some fellow CEOs on whose boards they sit — gives them the pay they want. The trick is in hiring outside experts, called “compensation consultants,” who give the process a thin veneer of economic respectability.

The process has been explained in detail by a retired CEO of DuPont, Edgar S. Woolard, Jr., who is now chair of the New York Stock Exchange’s executive compensation committee. His experience suggests that he knows whereof he speaks, and he speaks because he’s concerned that corporate leaders are losing respect in the public mind. He says that the business page chatter about CEO salaries being set by the competition for their services in the executive labor market is “bull.” As to the claim that CEOs deserve ever higher salaries because they “create wealth,” he describes that rationale as a “joke,” says the New York Times (Morgenson, 2005).

Here’s how it works, according to Woolard:

The compensation committee [of the board of directors] talks to an outside consultant who has surveys you could drive a truck through and pay anything you want to pay, to be perfectly honest. The outside consultant talks to the human resources vice president, who talks to the CEO. The CEO says what he’d like to receive. It gets to the human resources person who tells the outside consultant. And it pretty well works out that the CEO gets what he’s implied he thinks he deserves, so he will be respected by his peers. (Morgenson, 2005.)

The board of directors buys into what the CEO asks for because the outside consultant is an “expert” on such matters. Furthermore, handing out only modest salary increases might give the wrong impression about how highly the board values the CEO. And if someone on the board should object, there are the three or four CEOs from other companies who will make sure it happens. It is a process with a built-in escalator.

As for why the consultants go along with this scam, they know which side their bread is buttered on. They realize the CEO has a big say-so on whether or not they are hired again. So they suggest a package of salaries, stock options and other goodies that they think will please the CEO, and they, too, get rich in the process. And certainly the top executives just below the CEO don’t mind hearing about the boss’s raise. They know it will mean pay increases for them, too. (For an excellent detailed article on the main consulting firm that helps CEOs and other corporate executives raise their pay, check out the New York Times article entitled “America’s Corporate Pay Pal”, which supports everything Woolard of DuPont claims and adds new information.)

If hiring a consulting firm doesn’t do the trick as far as raising CEO pay, then it may be possible for the CEO to have the board change the way in which the success of the company is determined. For example, Walmart Stores, Inc. used to link the CEO’s salary to sales figures at established stores. But when declining sales no longer led to big pay raises, the board simply changed the magic formula to use total companywide sales instead. By that measure, the CEO could still receive a pay hike (Morgenson, 2011).

There’s a much deeper power story that underlies the self-dealing and mutual back-scratching by CEOs now carried out through interlocking directorates and seemingly independent outside consultants. It probably involves several factors. At the least, on the workers’ side, it reflects their loss of power following the all-out attack on unions in the 1960s and 1970s, which is explained in detail in an excellent book by James Gross (1995), a labor and industrial relations professor at Cornell. That decline in union power made possible and was increased by both outsourcing at home and the movement of production to developing countries, which were facilitated by the break-up of the New Deal coalition and the rise of the New Right (Domhoff, 1990, Chapter 10). It signals the shift of the United States from a high-wage to a low-wage economy, with professionals protected by the fact that foreign-trained doctors and lawyers aren’t allowed to compete with their American counterparts in the direct way that low-wage foreign-born workers are.

(You also can read a quick version of my explanation for the “right turn” that led to changes in the wealth and income distributions in an article on this site, where it is presented in the context of criticizing the explanations put forward by other theorists.)

On the other side of the class divide, the rise in CEO pay may reflect the increasing powerof chief executives as compared to major owners and stockholders in general, not just their increasing power over workers. CEOs may now be the center of gravity in the corporate community and the power elite, displacing the leaders in wealthy owning families (e.g., the second and third generations of the Walton family, the owners of Wal-Mart). True enough, the CEOs are sometimes ousted by their generally go-along boards of directors, but they are able to make hay and throw their weight around during the time they are king of the mountain.

The claims made in the previous paragraph need much further investigation. But they demonstrate the ideas and research directions that are suggested by looking at the wealth and income distributions as indicators of power.

The Federal Reserve Act of 1913 was crafted by Wall Street bankers and a few senators in a secret meeting.

Posted in Uncategorized on November 20, 2013 by PETERSON MERANT' an untold story

On the Georgian resort hideaway of Jekyll Island (which has some excellent golf courses, by the way), there once met a coalition of Wall Street bankers and U.S. senators.  This secret 1910 meeting had a sinister purpose, the conspiracy theorists say.  The bankers wanted to establish a new central bank under the direct control of New York’s financial elite.  Such a plan would give the Wall Street bankers near total control of the financial system and allow them to manipulate it for their personal gain.

G. Edward Griffin lays out this conspiratorial version of history in his book The Creature from Jekyll Island.  His amateurish take on history is highly suspect, however.  Gerry Rough, in a series of well- researched essays on U.S. banking history, reveals many historical inaccuracies, inconsistencies, and even contradictions in Griffin’s book and others of its genre.  Instead of reproducing Rough’s work here, I offer the reader a substantially more accurate view of the events leading up to the creation of the Federal Reserve System in 1913.  To get a proper historical perspective, the story of begins just prior to the Civil War…

The National Banking Acts of 1863 & 1864

Prior to the Civil war there were thousands of banks in operation throughout the Union, all of them chartered, that is, licensed by the state governments.  Banking regulations were virtually nonexistent.  The federal government had no meaningful controls on banking practices, and state regulations were spotty and poorly enforced at best.  Economic historians call the era leading up to the Civil War as the ‘state banking era’ or the ‘free banking era.’

The problems with state banking were numerous, but three were conspicuous.  First, the nation had no unified currency.  State banks issued their own bank notes as currency, a system which at worst invited severe bouts of counterfeiting and at best introduced additional uncertainty in the task of determining the relative value of each bank note.  Second, with no mitigating influence on the issuance of bank notes, the money supply and the price level were highly unstable, introducing and perhaps causing additional volatility in the business cycle.  This was due in part to the fact that bank note issuance was frequently tied to the market value of the bank’s bond portfolio which they were required to have by law.  Third, frequent bank runs resulted in substantial depositor losses and severe crises of confidence in the payments system.5

The National Banking Acts of 1863 and 1864 were attempts to assert some degree of federal control over the banking system without the formation of another central bank.  The Act had three primary purposes:  (1) create a system of national banks, (2) to create a uniform national currency, and (3) to create an active secondary market for Treasury securities to help finance the Civil War (for the Union’s side).5

The first provision of the Acts was to allow for the incorporation of national banks.  These banks were essentially the same as state banks, except national banks received their charter from the federal government and not a state government. This arrangement gave the federal government regulatory jurisdiction over the national banks it created, whereas it asserted no control over state-chartered banks.  National banks had higher capital requirements and higher reserve requirements than their state bank counterparts.  To improve liquidity and safety they were restricted from making real estate loans and could not lend to any single person an amount exceeding ten percent of the bank’s capital.  The National Banking Acts also created under the Treasury Department the office of Comptroller of the Currency.  The duties of the office were to inspect the books of the national banks to insure compliance with the above regulations, to hold Treasury securities deposited there by national banks, and, via the Bureau of Engraving, to design and print all national banknotes.5

The second goal of the National Banking Acts was to create a uniform national currency.  Rather than have several hundred, or several thousand, forms of currency circulating in the states, conducting transactions could be greatly simplified if there were a uniform currency.  To achieve this all national banks were required to accept at par the bank notes of other national banks.  This insured that national bank notes would not suffer from the same discounting problem with which state bank notes were afflicted.  In addition, all national bank notes were printed by the Comptroller of the Currency on behalf of the national banks to guarantee standardization in appearance and quality.  This reduced the possibility of counterfeiting, an understandable wartime concern.5

The third goal of the Acts was to help finance the Civil War.  The volume of notes which a national bank issued was based on the market value of the U.S. Treasury securities the bank held.  A national bank was required to keep on deposit with the Comptroller of the Currency a sizable volume of Treasury securities.  In exchange the bank received bank notes worth 90 percent, and later 100 percent, of the market value of the deposited bonds.  If the bank wished to extend additional loans to generate more profits, then the bank had to increase its holdings of Treasury bonds.  This provision had its roots in the Michigan Act, and it was designed to create a more active secondary market for Treasury bonds and thus lower the cost of borrowing for the federal government.5

It was the hope of Secretary of the Treasury Chase that national banks would replace state banks, and that this would create the uniform currency he desired and ease the financing of the Civil War.  By 1865 there were 1,500 national banks, about 800 of which had converted from state banking charters.  The remainder were new banks.  However, this still meant that state bank notes were dominating the currency because most of them were discounted.  Accordingly, the public hoarded the national bank notes.  To reduced the proliferation of state banking and the notes it generated, Congress imposed a ten percent tax on all outstanding state bank notes.  There was no corresponding tax of national bank notes.  Many state banks decided to convert to national bank charters because the tax made state banking unprofitable.  By 1870 there were 1,638 national banks and only 325 state banks.5

While the tax eventually eliminated the circulation of state bank notes, it did not entirely kill state banking because state banks began to use checking accounts as a substitute for bank notes.  Checking accounts became so popular that by 1890 the Comptroller of the Currency estimated that only ten percent of the nation’s money supply was in the form of currency.  Combined with lower capital and reserve requirements, as well as the ease with which states issued banking charters, state banks again became the dominant banking form by the late 1880’s. Consequently, the improvements to safety that the national banking system offered were mitigated somewhat by the return of state banking.5

There were two major defects remaining in the banking system in the post Civil War era despite the mild success of the National Banking Acts.  The first was the inelastic currency problem.  The amount of currency which a national bank could have circulating was based on the market value of the Treasury securities it had deposited with the Comptroller of the Currency, not the par value of the bonds.  If prices in the Treasury bond market declined substantially, then the national banks had to reduce the amount of currency they had in circulation.  This could be done be refusing new loans or, in a more draconian way, by calling-in loans already outstanding.  In either case, the effect on the money supply is a restrictive one.  Consequently, the size of the money supply was tied more closely to the performance of the bond market rather than needs of the economy.5

Another closely related defect was the liquidity problem. Small rural banks often kept deposits at larger urban banks.  The liquidity needs of the rural banks were driven by the liquidity demands of its primary customer, the farmers.  In the planting season the was a high demand for currency by farmers so they could make their purchases of farming implements, whereas in harvest season there was an increase in cash deposits as farmers sold their crops.  Consequently, the rural banks would take deposits from the urban banks in the spring to meet farmers’ withdrawal demands and deposit the additional liquidity in the autumn.  Larger urban banks could anticipate this seasonal demand and prepare for it most of the time.  However, in 1873, 1884, 1893, and 1907 this reserve pyramid precipitated a financial crisis.5

When national banks experienced a drain on their reserves as rural banks made deposit withdrawals, new reserves had to be acquired in accordance with the federal law.  A national bank could do this by selling bonds and stocks, by borrowing from a clearinghouse, or by calling-in a few loans.  As long as only a few national banks at a time tried to do this, liquidity was easily supplied to the needy banks.  However, an attempt en masse to sell bonds or stocks caused a market crash, which in turn forced national banks to call in loans to comply with Treasury regulations.  Many businesses, farmers, or households who had these loans were unable to pay on demand and were forced into bankruptcy.  The recessionary vortex became apparent.  Frightened by the specter of losing their deposits, in each episode the public stormed any bank rumored, true or not, to be in financial straights.  Anyone unable to withdraw their deposits before the bank’s till ran dry lost their savings or later received only pennies on the dollar.  Private deposit insurance was scant and unreliable.  Federal deposit insurance was non-existent.5

The 1907 Banking Panic

The 1907 crisis, also called the Wall Street Panic, was especially severe.  The Panic caused what was at that time the worst economic depression in the country’s history.  It appears to have begun with a stock market crash brought about by a combination of a modest speculative bubble, the liquidity problem, and reserve pyramiding.  Centered on New York City, the scale of the crisis reached a proportion so great that banks across the country nearly suspended all withdrawals — a kind of self-imposed bank holiday.  Several long-standing New York banks fell. The unemployment rate reached 20 percent at the peak of the crisis.  Millions lost their deposits as thousands of banks collapsed.  The crisis was terminated when J.P. Morgan, a man of sometimes suspicious business tactics and phenomenal wealth, personally made temporary loans to key New York banks and other financial institutions to help them weather the storm.  He also made an appeal to the clergy of New York to employ their Sunday sermons to calm the public’s fears.

Morgan’s emergency injection of liquidity into the banking system undoubtedly prevented an already bad situation from getting still worse.  Although private clearinghouses were able to supply adequate temporary liquidity for their members, only a small portion of banks were members of such organizations.  What would happen if there were no J.P. Morgan around during the next financial crisis?  Just how bad could things really get?  There began to emerge both on Wall Street and in Washington a consensus for a kind of institutionalized J.P. Morgan, that is, a public institution that could provide emergency liquidity to the banking system to prevent such panics from starting.  The final result of the Panic of 1907 would be the Federal Reserve Act of 1913.  

The Federal Reserve Act of 1913

Following the near catastrophic financial disaster of 1907, the movement for banking reform picked up steam among Wall Street bankers, Republicans, and eastern Democrats.  However, much of the country was still distrustful of bankers and of banking in general, especially after 1907.  After two decades of minority status, Democrats regained control of Congress in 1910 and were able to block several Republican attempts at reform, even though they recognized the need for some kind of currency and banking changes.  In 1912 Woodrow Wilson won the Democratic party’s nomination for President, and in his populist-friendly acceptance speech he warned against the “money trusts,” and advised that “a concentration of the control of credit … may at any time become infinitely dangerous to free enterprise.”3

Also in 1910, Senator Nelson Aldrich, Frank Vanderlip of National City (today know as Citibank), Henry Davison of Morgan Bank, and Paul Warburg of the Kuhn, LoebInvestment House met secretly at Jeckyll Island, a resort island off the coast of Georgia, to discuss and formulate banking reform, including plans for a form of central banking.  The meeting was held in secret because the participants knew that any plan they generated would be rejected automatically in the House of Representatives if it were associated with Wall Street.  Because it was secret and because it involved Wall Street, the Jekyll Island affair has always been a favorite source of conspiracy theories.  However, the movement toward significant banking and monetary reform was well-known.3  It is hardly surprising that given the real possibility of substantial reform, the banking industry would want some sort of input into the nature of the reforms.  The Aldrich Plan which the secret meeting produced was even defeated in the House, so even if the Jekyll Island affair was a genuine conspiracy, it clearly failed.

The Aldrich Plan called for a system of fifteen regional central banks, called National Reserve Associations, whose actions would be coordinated by a national board of commercial bankers.  The Reserve Association would make emergency loans to member banks, create money to provide an elastic currency that could be exchanged equally for demand deposits, and would act as a fiscal agent for the federal government.  Although it was defeated, the Aldrich Plan served as an outline for the bill that eventually was adopted. 5

The problem with the Aldrich Plan was that the regional banks would be controlled individually and nationally by bankers, a prospect that did not sit well with the populist Democratic party or with Wilson.  As the debate began to take shape in the spring of 1913, Congressman Arsene Pujo provided good evidence that the nation’s credit markets were under the tight control of a handful of banks – the “money trusts” against which Wilson warned.1  Wilson and the Democrats wanted a reform measure which would decentralize control away from the money trusts.

The legislation that eventually emerged was the Federal Reserve Act, also known at the time as the Currency Bill, or the Owen-Glass Act.  The bill called for a system of eight to twelve mostly autonomous regional Reserve Banks that would be owned by the banks in their region and whose actions would be coordinated by a Federal Reserve Board appointed by the President.  The Board’s members originally included the Secretary of the Treasury, the Comptroller of the Currency, and other officials appointed by the President to represent public interests.  The proposed Federal Reserve System would therefore be privately owned, but publicly controlled.  Wilson signed the bill on December 23, 1913 and the Federal Reserve System was born.6

Conspiracy theorists have long viewed the Federal Reserve Act as a means of giving control of the banking system to the money trusts, when in reality the intent and effect was to wrestle control away from them.  History clearly demonstrates that in the decades prior to the Federal Reserve Act the decisions of a few large New York banks had, at times, enormous repercussions for banks throughout the country and the economy in general.  Following the return to central banking, at least some measure of control was removed from them and placed with the Federal Reserve.

List of conspiracy theories….

Posted in Uncategorized on November 20, 2013 by PETERSON MERANT' an untold story

There are many conspiracy theories of varying degrees of popularity, frequently related to but not limited to clandestine government plans, elaborate murder plots, suppression of secret technology and knowledge, and other supposed schemes behind certain political, cultural, and historical events. Some theories have dealt with censorship and excoriation from the law such as the Holocaust denial. Conspiracy theories usually go against a consensus or cannot be proven using the historical method and are typically not considered similar to verified conspiracies such asGermany’s pretense for invading Poland in World War II. 

New World Order[edit]

Main article: New World Order (conspiracy)

 

This conspiracy theory states that a group of international elites controls and manipulates governments, industry, and media organizations worldwide. The primary tool they use to dominate nations is the system of central banking. They are said to have funded and in some cases caused most of the major wars of the last 200 years, carry out false flag attacks to manipulate populations into supporting them, and to have a grip on the world economy, deliberately causing inflation and depressions at will. Operatives working for the New World Order are said to be placed in high positions in government and industry. The people behind the New World Order are thought to be international bankers, in particular the owners of the private banks in the Federal Reserve System and other central banks, and members of the Council on Foreign RelationsTrilateral Commission and Bilderberg Group.[1] The New World Order is also said to control supranational and global organizations such as the European UnionUnited NationsWorld BankInternational Monetary Fund and the proposed North American Union. The term gained popularity following its use in the early 1990s by President George H. W. Bush when he referred to his “dream of a New World Order” in his speech to the United States Congress on September 11, 1990. Claimed motivations behind the New World Order conspiracy vary but a commonly suggested end goal for the conspiracy is the creation of a one-world government through which the conspirators would exert absolute dominance over the Earth and eliminate all sources of dissent.

The concept of this shadow government predates 1990; it is accused of being the same group of people who, among other things, created the Federal Reserve Act (1913), supported the Bolshevik Revolution (1917), and supported the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany, all for their own agenda.[2] The World Bank and national central banks are said to be the tools of the New World Order; war generates massive profits for central banks because government spending (hence borrowing at interest from the central banks) increases dramatically in times of war and distress.[3] Many conspiracy theorists believe that Denver International Airport is the western U.S. headquarters of the New World Order, and a massive underground base and city is believed to exist underneath the airport. Reasons for this include the airport’s unusually large size (larger than some major cities), distance from the DenverColorado city center, the set of environmentally themed murals by artist Leo Tanguma depicting burning cities, gas-mask wearing soldiers and girls in coffins, and the capstone of the Great Hall which includes Masonic symbols and strange writing.[4] It is claimed that secret fleets of black helicopters are ready to take control when the New World Order is set up.

Federal Reserve System[edit]

The New World Order is said to control the wealth of nations through central banks, via the issuance of currency. The Federal Reserve System is the central bank of the United States, though not a part of the government (with a significant share of private control and interests[5]), created in 1913. There is a theory that the Federal Reserve System is designed to transfer wealth from the poor and middle classes of the United States to the international bankers of the New World Order.[6]

False flag operations[edit]

False flag operations are covert operations conducted by governments, corporations, or other organizations, which are designed to appear as if they are being carried out by other entities. Some allegations of false flag operations are verified or at least credible and some are still subjects of historical dispute. The 1933, arson attack of the German parliament building is such an example where in 2001 four German historians argued that the fire had been a Nazi false-flag operation blamed upon a communist. Other leading academics disagree and Der Spiegel published a 10-page rebuttal of the four historians’ conclusions.[7] “Along with Communist propagandists, serious scholars have been ranged on the side of the proponents of the Nazi conspiracy theory”.[8] More controversially, former GRU officer Aleksey Galkin,[9] former FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko[10] and other defectors from the Russian government and security services have asserted that the 1999 Russian apartment bombings, which precipitated the Second Chechen War, were false flag operations perpetrated by the FSB, the successor organization to the KGB.

Other accusations of false flag operations conspiracy theories include:

Wars[edit]

The motivations for nations starting, entering, or ending wars are often brought into question by conspiracy theorists. Munitions suppliers are often blamed[12] for devising, coordinating and precipitating the events that lead nations into war, either in part or in toto. According to this view, there is always a party within a nation that benefits from war, on whatever pretext: the suppliers of weapons and other military material. President Dwight Eisenhower referred to this source of potential conflict of interest as the military-industrial complex. President Abraham Lincoln is known to have made a similar observation near the close of the American Civil War. In 1865, I. Windslow Ayer alludes to the 1864 ‘Camp Douglas Conspiracy’ to break out prisoners, describing it as a conspiracy of Copperheads and of the Sons of Liberty in his historical work, The Great North-Western Conspiracy in All Its Startling Details.[13] Ayer alleges that, at an August meeting of the Sons of Liberty, Judge Morris said: “Thousands of our best men were prisoners in Camp Douglas, and if once at liberty would ‘send abolitionists to hell in a hand basket.’”[14] This is the oldest recorded use of the phrase according to the Oxford English Dictionary.

Related is the allegation that certain wars which are claimed by politicians to be in the national interest, or for humanitarian purposes, are in fact motivated by the conquest and control of natural resources for commercial interest. In the Spanish-American War, the explosion of the USS Maine prompted the United States annexation of Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and GuamOpponents of the war, such as Mark Twain and Andrew Carnegie, claimed that it was being fought for imperialist motives.

A war planned for economic gain can be seen as a conspiracy in the conventional sense of a secret plot—particularly when the public is presented with false pretexts for war. It has also been suggested that war is a perfect way of distracting citizens, as an electoral tactic, from difficulties facing the current government. This premise is the basis of the films Wag the DogCanadian Bacon, and the George Orwell novel 1984.

Some have claimed[who?] that this was the motivation behind the Falklands War. At that time the National Reorganization Process, the right-wing dictatorship that ruled Argentina between 1976 and 1983, was facing increasing discontent among the population over its Dirty War and this may have contributed to the decision to invade the Falkland Islands.

In many cases, critics have accused the U.S. of engaging in realpolitik in the cynical sense of political action without regard for principle or morals. In recent times, wars in the Middle East such as the Gulf War and the invasion of Iraq have been described as wars for oil, as well as power, money and land.

Assassinations and other deaths[edit]

See also: List of assassinated people

Conspiracy theories sometimes emerge following assassinations of prominent people. The best known of these is the assassination of John F. Kennedy (1963), which has caused a number ofconspiracy theories to develop. Central to this theory is the claim that the injuries received by Kennedy and Governor John Connally could not have been caused by a lone gunman behind the motorcade and to the right. This theory was popularized by the Oliver Stone movie, JFK, which centered on Jim Garrison‘s conduct of the only criminal prosecution (ultimately an unsuccessful one) related directly to Kennedy’s assassination. Three polls conducted in 2003 suggest that there is widespread disbelief (between 68% and 83% of respondents) among the U.S. public about the official story of a lone gunman. An ABC News random telephone poll found that just 32% (plus or minus 3%) of Americans believe that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in the assassination of John F. Kennedy, while 68% do not believe Oswald acted alone.[15] The “Discovery Channel” poll (sampling method not given) reveals that only 21% believe Oswald acted alone, while 79% do not believe Oswald acted alone,[16] (self-selected responses) details that only 17% of respondents believe that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in the assassination of John F. Kennedy, while 83% do not believe Oswald acted alone.[17]

The assassinations of Robert F. KennedyMartin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X are also the subject of conspiracy theories. In many cases, it is asserted that a “Manchurian candidate” may have been used. The question of “Who benefits?” (“Cui bono?”) is also often asked, with conspiracy theorists asserting that insiders often have far more powerful motives than those to whom the assassination is attributed by mainstream society. The assassinations of historical figures, such as Eric V of Denmark and Tsarevich Dmitry Ivanovich of Russia remain subject to conspiracy theories. More recent examples include those of Sheikh Mujibur RahmanCarrero BlancoBenigno Aquino, Jr.Olof Palme[18] and Yitzhak Rabin.[19]

Some deaths that are officially recorded as having resulted from accidents, suicides, or natural causes are also the subject of some conspiracy theories. Examples include Patton in 1945,[20] the car crash that killed Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Fayed in 1997,[21] the death of John F. Kennedy Jr. in a plane crash in 1999,[22] and the death of Senator Paul Wellstone in a plane crash in 2002. Often, unusual circumstances in a suicide or accident are cited as evidence of a conspiracy such as the case of Gary Webb who suffered 2 gunshots to the head. Sometimes, deaths initially considered to be accidents gain such strong conspiracy theories due to new evidence that murder investigations are opened and arrests made, as in the case of journalist Cats Falck.

Other examples of deaths that are not considered to be murders that later receive conspiracy theories include: the suicide of Deputy White House Counsel Vincent Foster; the plane crash that killed United States Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown;[23] the death of Dag Hammarskjöld;[24] the Mayerling Incident; and the deaths of U.S. Presidents Zachary Taylor and Lyndon B. Johnson,Władysław SikorskiJames Forrestal, British political leader Hugh Gaitskell,[25] Australian prime minister Harold HoltJames P. Brady, New Zealand prime minister Norman KirkJimmy Hoffa and British weapons expert David Kelly.[26] In the case of Salvador Allende, the former President of Chile conspiracy theories regarding his suicide were so prominent in the public arena official investigations were opened into the matter. There are also theories about untimely deaths of celebrities, the number one example arguably being the death of Marilyn Monroe, but also those ofSam CookeSalvador SanchezBrian JonesTupac ShakurThe Notorious BIGJimi Hendrix,[27] Kurt CobainJeff BuckleyJanis JoplinJim MorrisonElvis PresleyBob MarleyJohn Lennon,[28] Alexis ArguelloWhitney Houston, and Michael Jackson.

There are also theories that some assassination attempts have been carried out by secret conspiracies, in some cases failures but in other cases entirely staged events. The motive for staging an unsuccessful assassination attempt can be to augment the popularity of the person involved; public opinion polls tend to be boosted by unsuccessful attempts on the life of a prominent politician. There have been numerous unsuccessful attempts to assassinate U.S. Presidents. Some of them, such as the attempted assassinations of Gerald FordRonald Reagan, and George H. W. Bushhave aroused suspicion from conspiracy theorists that the events might have been staged. Former Presidents of Taiwan and Ukraine are cited in similar conspiracy theories as well.

In other cases the perpetrators of murders and assassinations are not found and conspiracy theories even become part of official police investigations, as in the case of the Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme. In cases like this, further public conspiracy theories can exist about why the cases are not closed. In the case of another prominent Swede, Bernt Carlsson, who died in the Lockerbie bombing, theories exist that contend that the larger crime was committed to hide a more targeted assassination, which therefore has also not been solved. In the case of Aldo Moro, an assassinated Italian Prime Minister, a conspiracy to encourage his kidnappers to kill him has been admitted to and is largely accepted as fact, yet theories exist as to the nature of the secrets he was killed to protect. In more extreme cases it has been alleged that some people have been assassinated without acknowledgement of their deaths, assuming that they were replaced by a double or alternatively that their deaths never occurred when it has been claimed that they did.

In India there are several conspiracy theories circulating about the 1945 death of pro-Axis Indian nationalist leader Subhas Chandra Bose. These allege one of two possibilities: either he did not die in an accident, as officially claimed, but was assassinated; or he did not die at that time, but was still alive and hidden somewhere.

US Presidency[edit]

Some conspiracy theories have been directed at American Presidents.

Clinton Body Count[edit]

The Clinton Body Count, as it is popularly known, is a conspiracy theory that Bill Clinton, while he was president and before, was quietly assassinating his associates (often anyone who got in the way of his career, such as Vince Foster). It was started as a retaliation to the Bush Body Count (which ostensibly had various members of the Bush family responsible for events like JFK assassination and the October surprise killing lesser co-conspirators on their way).[29] The Clinton Body Count is a list of about 50–60 associates of Clinton who have died “under mysterious circumstance”.[30] The individuals named originated from a list of 34 suicides, accidental deaths, and unsolved murders[31] prepared in 1993 by the pro-gun lobby group American Justice Federation[32] which was led by Linda Thompson. The list was posted to the group’s Bulletin board system.[30] Snopes.com has debunked this list, noting 1) many of those claimed to be assassinated actually died from very well documented accidents that leave no possibility of assassination 2) a political figure who becomes President of the United States will have a loosely defined circle of “associates”, and many of these associates are in dangerous positions (police officers, pilots, soldiers) or older men in high stress jobs (therefore at greater risk of dying of stress related disease or suicide).[citation needed]

Barack Obama conspiracy theories[edit]

Main articles: Barack Obama citizenship conspiracy theories and Barack Obama religion conspiracy theories

A closely related cluster of conspiracy theories are associated with Barack Obama. The essence of all such theories is an allegation that his claim to the Presidency is illegitimate due to the circumstances of his birth. It is alleged that either his birth certificate was faked or that he holds dual citizenship and this disqualifies him as President. The conspiracy theories have been tenacious despite the early release of Obama’s Hawaiian birth certificate by his election campaign and the April 2011 release of a certified copy of Obama’s original Certificate of Live Birth (so-called “long form birth certificate”). Related rumors involve questioning the President’s Social Security Number, the President’s religion, and suggesting that he is or was at one time a Muslim.

Another false rumor started circulating on the Internet around the time of the 2008 presidential election that Barack and Michelle Obama had inactivated their law licenses to avoid ethics charges, but no such charges were ever made; apparently, it is typical to do so when not intending to practice law because active status requires continuing education and payment of fees.[33][34]

Ethnicity, race and religion[edit]

Antisemitic conspiracy theories[edit]

Antisemitism has, from the Middle Ages, frequently taken on characteristics of conspiracy theory. Antisemitic canards continue to circulate. In medieval Europe it was widely believed that Jewspoisoned wellshad killed Jesus, and consumed the blood of Christians in their rituals (despite the fact that human and animal blood are not kosher).

In the second half of the 19th century conspiracists claimed that Jews and/or Freemasons were plotting to establish control over the world. The most famous text alleging the existence of thisJudeo-Masonic conspiracy theory is The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. A more modern manifestation of such ideas is the myth of a Zionist Occupation Government.

Various conspiracy theories have been advanced regarding Jews and banking,[35] including the myth that world banking is dominated by the Rothschild family,[36] that Jews control Wall Street,[36]and that Jews control the U.S. Federal Reserve System.[37] A related myth is that Jews control Hollywood or the news media.[38][39]

Most Holocaust denial claims imply, or openly state, that the Holocaust is a hoax arising out of a deliberate Jewish conspiracy to advance the interest of Jews at the expense of other peoples,[40]and to justify the creation of the State of Israel. For this reason, Holocaust denial is generally considered to be an antisemitic[41] conspiracy theory.[42]

Armenian conspiracy[edit]

See also: Anti-Armenianism and Denial of the Armenian Genocide

Samuel A. Weems (1936–2003), an American writer and a disbarred lawyer from Arkansas, was allegedly paid by the Turkish lobby in the United States, which is in turn sponsored by the Turkish government.[43] In his book, Armenia: The Secrets of a Christian Terrorist State (2002), he argued in favor of the idea that the Armenian Genocide was a gigantic fraud designed to fleece Christian nations out of billions of dollars. He also claimed that the Armenian Church was a state-owned entity that organizes and funds terrorist (including ASALA) attacks and that Armenians had infiltrated the United States.[44] That book states that Armenian Diaspora communities in the United States and throughout the world are actually colonies/political bases intended to gain money and support for Armenian Republic. The book also states that Armenia is founded on land stolen from Muslims and that Armenians have perpetrated enormous massacres against Turks andAzeris, both recently (in the Nagorno-Karabakh war) and in the past. He has been quoted as saying “The religion of the Armenians is fake” and that his research shows “that there is clearly an Armenian Master Plan that generates Armenian hate around the world.”[45] Prior to his death in 2003, he was preparing to write a second book claiming the international Armenian community collaborated with and supported Nazi Germany.

Davud Imanov, an Azerbaijani filmmaker, expanded on this theory in a series of films called the Echo of Sumgait where he accused Armenians, Russians and Americans of conspiring together against Azerbaijan and claiming that Karabakh movement was a plot organized by the CIA to destroy the Soviet Union.[46]

On February 28, 2012 during his speech at a conference on the results of a state socioeconomic development program, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev stated “our main enemies are Armenians of the world and the hypocritical and corrupt politicians under their control. The politicians who don’t wish to see the truth and are engaged in denigrating Azerbaijan in different parts of the world. Members of some parliaments, certain political figures, etc. who live on the money of the Armenian lobby”.[47][48]

“Babylon” and racist oppression[edit]

Some Rastafarians maintain that a white racist patriarchy (“Babylon”) controls the world in order to oppress the African race.[49] They believe that Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia did not die when it was reported in 1975, and that the racist, white media (“Babylon”) propagated that rumour in order to squash the Rastafari Movement and its message of overthrowing Babylon.[50] Other Rastafarians, however, believe in peace and unity, and interpret Babylon as a metaphor for the established “system” that oppresses (or “downpresses”, in Rasta terminology) groups such as Africans and the world’s poor.

Eurabia[edit]

Main article: Eurabia

British-Egyptian writer Bat Ye’or, author of Eurabia: The Euro–Arab Axis, later followed by Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci, proposed a conspiracy they said was hatched between a cadre of French elites within the European Economic Community and the Arab League in the mid-1970s to form a strategic alliance against the United States and Israel, and to turn Europe into an appendage of the Islamic world.[51]

Arab-fascist axis[edit]

Radio talk show host David Emory claims that Nazi leader Martin Bormann never died and has built a global empire involving, among many others, the Bush familyHassan al BannaGrover NorquistMeyer Lansky, and Michael Chertoff.[citation needed]

Baha’i[edit]

Main article: Political accusations against the Baha’i Faith

Iran‘s Baha’i minority has been the target of persecution since its inception and has been the subject of various conspiracy theories entailing involvement with foreign or hostile powers. Iranian government officials and others have claimed that Bahá’ís have had ties to foreign powers, and were agents of Russian imperialismBritish colonialismAmerican expansionismZionism, as well as being responsible for the policies of the previous Shah of Iran.[52] In Iran, a popular for a Baha’i conspiracy to destroy Islam is a short book entitled Khatirat-e Kenyaz-e Dolgoruki (The Memoirs of Count Dolgoruki/Dolgorukov). Attributed to the mid-19th century, it was, in fact, written in the 1930s or 1940s and is filled with historical errors, notably mistakes about the real Count Dolgorukov, a Russian diplomat. ‘These accusations against the Bahá’í have been disputed, and described as misconceptions,[53] with no basis in historical fact.[54][55]

Apocalyptic prophecies[edit]

Apocalyptic prophecies, particularly Christian apocalyptic and eschatalogical claims about the end times, the Last Judgment, and the end of the world have inspired a range of conspiracy theories. Many of these deal with the Antichrist (Arabic: المسيح الدجّال/ Masih ad-Dajjal). The Antichrist, also known as The Beast 666, is supposed to be a leader who will create a world empire and oppress Christians (and in some conspiracies, Jews as well). Countless historical figures have been called “Antichrist” in their times, from the Roman emperor Nero to Adolf Hitler to Ronald Reagan to Javier Solana to Barack Obama. At times, apocalyptic speculation has mixed with anti-Catholicism, believing that the reigning Pope is the Antichrist or the False Prophet. Another interpretation sees the Antichrist as a world leader involved with the United Nations, who will create a one world government (New World Order) and establish a single monetary system. The latter is identified with the Mark of the Beast, which the Bible states that people in the end times will need in order to conduct trade.[56]

Two nations often involved in apocalyptic conspiracy theories are Israel and Iraq. The former is the location of both the Temple Mount and Armageddon (Megiddo), places seen as important in prophecy. The latter is the ancient location of Babylon, which also figures in the Book of Revelation. During the Gulf War, some suggested that Saddam Hussein had ordered the excavation and re-population of the city of Babylon, thus casting Saddam as an Antichrist figure. Other interpretations have held that “Babylon” in the Book of Revelation refers to another mighty nation, such as the Roman Empire, the Vatican (Rome) and the Catholic Church, or more recently the Soviet Union or the United States of America.[56]

Bible conspiracy theory[edit]

Bible conspiracy theories posit that much of what is known about the Bible, in particular the New Testament, is a deception. These theories variously claim that Jesus really had a wife, Mary Magdalene, and children, that a group such as the Priory of Sion has secret information about the bloodline of Jesus, that Jesus did not die on the cross and that the carbon dating of the Shroud of Turin was part of a conspiracy by the Vatican to suppress this knowledge, that there was a secret movement to censor books that belonged in the Bible, or the Christ myth theory, proposed for example in Zeitgeist, the Movie as a means of social control by the Roman Empire. A fictionalized contrivance of this is portrayed in the novel The Da Vinci Code.

Catholicism as a veiled continuation of Babylonian paganism[edit]

The Two Babylons was an anti-Catholic religious pamphlet produced initially by the Scottish theologian and Presbyterian Alexander Hislop in 1853. It was later published as a book in 1919. Its central theme is the allegation that the Catholic Church is a veiled continuation of the ancient pagan religion of Babylon, the veiled paganism being the product of a millennia old conspiracy.[57][58]It has been recognized by scholars as discredited and has been called a “tribute to historical inaccuracy and know-nothing religious bigotry” with “shoddy scholarship, blatant dishonesty” and a “nonsensical thesis”.[59][60]

Although scholarship has shown the picture presented by Hislop to be absurd and based on an exceedingly poor understanding of historical Babylon and its religion, his book remains popular among some fundamentalist Christians.[57] The book’s thesis has also featured prominently in the conspiracy theories of groups such as The Covenant, The Sword, and the Arm of the Lord[61] and other conspiracy theorists.[62]

Although extensively footnoted, giving the impression of reliability, commentators (in particular Ralph Woodrow) have stated that there are numerous misconceptions, fabrications and grave factual errors in the document, and that this book follows the line of thought of works like: Martin Luther – On the Babylonian Captivity of the Church (1520), Titus Oates – An Exact Discovery of the Mystery of Iniquity as it is now in Practice amongst the Jesuits (1679), Conyers Middleton – Letter from Rome (1729).[63]

Technology and weapons[edit]

See also: List of topics characterized as pseudoscience

Suppression of technologies[edit]

  • Vril Society Conspiracy which suggests that a secret form of energy, called “Vril“, is used and controlled by a secret subterranean society of matriarchal socialist utopian superior beings.
  • A typical suppressed invention story is that of the incredibly efficient automobile carburetor, whose inventor was supposedly killed or hounded into obscurity by petroleum companies desirous to protect their business from an engine that would make their product obsolete.
  • The documentary Who Killed the Electric Car? alleged that electric car technology has been largely suppressed by big oil and gas firms.
  • Inventor Nikola Tesla has been the object of several conspiracy theories, with claims relating to revolutionary energy generation and distribution technologies, with some variants of the theory alleging a connection to “HAARP“, an American military-funded research program.
  • The Phoebus cartel set up in 1924 has been accused of preventing technological advances that would have produced longer-lasting light bulbs.[64] The document Light Bulb Conspiracy[65]claimed that the Phoebus cartel deliberately limited the expected lifetime of a light bulb to 1000 hours. However, 1000 hours was a reasonable optimum life expectancy for most bulbs.[66] A longer lifetime can be obtained only at the expense of efficiency: more electricity is wasted as heat and less light is obtained.[66]
  • There have been numerous free energy technology claims over the years.[citation needed] In alternating current power, the voltage and current can be manipulated to be ‘wattless’ (recording no consumption). While early utility supply meters may have been fooled by phase-changing devices, this ruse was discovered and remedied in the mid-20th century. The devices still appear from time to time, but suppliers or users may risk prosecution by regulation agencies.[67] Merely seeking to use of any tariff evasion mechanism, even if technically ineffectual, is known as a crime of ‘attempted theft’ in most jurisdictions.
Some free energy devices imply it is possible to harness perpetual motion which conflicts with the universally accepted physical laws of conservation of energy which allow energy to change form, but not to be either created or destroyed. Others claim to access novel or occulted power sources such as the actual source hypothesis by Nikola Tesla based on naturally occurringpotential differences caused by photon interaction with Earth’s atmosphere at different altitudes. His Wardenclyffe Tower demonstrated that a structure of sufficient dimensions, or alternatively a machine to electrically vibrate the Earth enough to harness useful power would be extraordinarily uneconomic. Photons are however a genuine power source and are exploited byphotovoltaics.
Similarly, cold fusion while not fundamentally proven impossible, is not accepted as established or even regarded as potentially viable by the scientific community at large.[citation needed]Skeptics usually regard all claims of and research into free energy technology as pseudo-scientific.[68]
The alleged suppression (or weakening) is claimed to be going on for a long time[69] and perpetrated by government agenciesspecial interest groups, fraudulent inventors and/or a non-demanding public.[70][unreliable source?] The special interest groups are usually claimed to be associated with the fossil fuel or nuclear industry,[71][72] whose industry would be threatened.[73][74]
The suppression claims are:

Some examples of individuals that allegedly fell victim to suppression, harassment or death, are: Thomas Henry Moray,[83][unreliable source?][84] Stanley Meyer’s water fuel cell[85][86][87][88] andEugene Mallove.[89][unreliable source?][90]

Development of weapons technology[edit]

  • Philadelphia Experiment, a supposed attempt to turn a U.S. Navy warship invisible, which allegedly caused severe harm to on-board crew members. According to Jacques F. Vallée, the experiment was based on the effort to make the USS Eldridge invisible to torpedoes, through degaussing technology and other methods.[91]
  • Montauk Project, a continuation of the Philadelphia Experiment, to put government-trained psychics (Duncan Cameron) into a program with the intent of mind control, time travel, and even mental manifestation.
  • High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program theory claims that HAARP could be used as directed-energy weapon, weather control, earthquake induction device and/or for mind control.[92]
  • Tsunami bomb. It has been alleged that the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami was intentionally caused by a nuclear weapon detonated in a strategic position under the ocean;[93] research into such technology was conducted by the military as far back as World War II.[94][dead link]Likewise, similar studies were conducted in the early 1970s.[95][dead link] The U.S. Defense Department had even expressed concern about earthquake-inducing technology in warfare well before the 2004 disaster. In 1997 Defense Secretary William S. Cohen stated: “Others are engaging even in an eco-type of terrorism whereby they can alter the climate, set off earthquakes, volcanoes remotely through the use of electromagnetic waves.” However, this was in the context of discussing concerns raised by a futurist writer, and providing examples of false threats that might distract the intelligence community; Cohen also indicated other countries might just claim such capabilities as a “false scare of a threat.” [96]
  • Chemtrail theory. Cloud-like trails behind aircraft, having the general appearance of contrails, but alleged to be chemical spraying.

Weapons testing[edit]

Surveillance, espionage and intelligence agencies[edit]

Throughout history, governments have used intelligence agencies to promote national policies in secretive ways. Consequently, conspiracy theories related to intelligence agencies abound, including theories on incidents of sabotage, propaganda, and assassination.

The 2013 global surveillance disclosures, particularly by Edward Snowden, revealed the extent of government surveillance projects that until then had been viewed by mainstream media as merely conspiracy theories. Today it is known that clandestine mass surveillance/computer surveillance systems track a significant percent of the world’s telephony and internet traffic. Moreover, participation in the clandestine activity is enormous. For example, according to The Guardian report on the Snowden leaks, 850,000 people have access to the Internet communications tracked by the Tempora system operated by the British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).[102] Prism and XKeyscore are related systems that are operated by the United StatesNational Security Agency (NSA) to track enormous volumes of communications.

Media[edit]

DTV transition[edit]

Some theorists claim that forced transition to digital television broadcasting is a practical realization of the “Big Brother” concept. They claim that miniature cameras and microphones are built into set-top boxes and newer TV sets to spy on people. Another claim describes the use of mind control technology that would be hidden in the digital signal and used to subvert the mind and feelings of the people and for subliminal advertising.[103]

Predictive programming[edit]

Main article: Predictive programming

This theory posits that media outlets produce media (generally fictional media such as popular films, television shows, novels, etc.) that include images of events such as terrorist attacks, epidemics, or other natural or man-made disasters with the intent of programming the general population to accept such events as plausible, so that when the government undertakes such operations in the future, the public will be predisposed to believe the operations are actually terrorist actions and not government actions. (See False flag operations above.)

HAARP[edit]

Main article: High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program#Conspiracy theories

HAARP (High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program) is an ionospheric research program funded by the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Navy, the University of Alaska, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Many conspiracy theories surround HAARP. Some theorists believe that it is being used as a weather-controlling device that can trigger catastrophic events, such as floods, hurricanes, etc. Others believe that the government uses HAARP to send mind-controlling radio waves to humans.

Medicine[edit]

The subject of suppressed-invention conspiracy also touches on the medical realm: proponents of more unlikely forms of alternative medicine are known to allege conspiracy by mainstream doctors to suppress their cures. Such conspiracies are often said to include government regulators, to the extent that a legal decision may be relevant. Some medical conspiracy theorists argue that the medical community could actually cure supposedly “incurable” diseases such as cancer (like the noted Luigi di Bella‘s medicines) and AIDS if it really wanted to, but instead prefers to suppress the cures as a way of maintaining the multi-trillion dollar “cancer industry”. The costs for long-term treatment are generally higher than for a one-time cure. Other medical conspiracies charge that pharmaceutical companies are in league with some medical practitioners to “invent” new diseases, such as ADDADHDHSVHPV and even HIV.

Drug legalization[edit]

Some activists and spokespersons for legalization of drugs (especially marijuana) have long espoused a theory that government and private industry conspired during the first half of the 20th century to outlaw hemp, allegedly so that it would no longer provide inexpensive competition to pulp paper and synthetic materials.[104] William Randolph Hearst is often pointed to as one of the businessmen responsible due to his involvement in the printing industry and his eminence in the public eye.[104] An extensive study on the subject has been done by Jack Herer in his book The Emperor Wears No Clothes.

Creation of diseases[edit]

There are claims that AIDS is a human-made disease (i.e., created by scientists in a laboratory). Some of these theories allege that HIV was created by a conspiratorial group or by a secretive agency such as the CIA. It is thought to have been created as a tool of genocide and/or population control. Other theories suggest that the virus was created as an experiment in biological and/or psychological warfare, and then escaped into the population at large by accident. Some who believe that HIV was a government creation see a precedent for it in the Tuskegee syphilis study, in which government-funded researchers deceptively denied treatment to black patients infected with a sexually transmitted disease.

It has been claimed that the CIA deliberately administered HIV to African Americans and homosexuals in the 1970s, via tainted hepatitis vaccinations.[105] Groups such as the New Black Panther Party and Louis Farrakhan‘s Nation of Islam assert that this was part of a plan to destroy the black race. Others claim that it was administered in Africa as a way of crippling the development of the continent.

There have been suggestions that either HIV or a sterilizing agent has been added to polio vaccines being distributed by the World Health Organization in Nigeria. Since these claims have been in existence, there has been a marked increase in the number of polio cases in the country, because Muslim clerics have urged parents not to have their children vaccinated.[106]

Water fluoridation[edit]

Water fluoridation is the controlled addition of fluoride to a public water supply to reduce tooth decay.[107] Although almost all major health and dental organizations support water fluoridation, or have found no association with adverse effects, efforts to introduce water fluoridation meet considerable opposition whenever it is proposed.[108] Since fluoridation’s inception in the 1950s, opponents have drawn on distrust of experts and unease about medicine and science.[109] Conspiracy theories involving fluoridation are common, and include the following claims that:[108]

  • Fluoridation is part of a Communist, Fascist or New World Order or Illuminati plot to take over the world. This notion is mentioned, with comical effect, in Stanley Kubrick‘s Dr. Strangelove,where one insane general repeatedly accuses the Warsaw Pact nations of attempting “to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.”[108]
  • Fluoridation was designed by the military–industrial complex to protect the U.S. atomic weapons program from litigation.[110][111]
  • Fluoridation was pioneered by a German chemical company to make people submissive to those in power.[111]
  • Fluoridation was used in Russian prison camps and produces schizophrenia.[108]
  • Fluoridation is backed by the aluminium or phosphate industries as a means of disposing of some of their industrial waste.[111][112]
  • Fluoridation is a smokescreen to cover failure to provide dental care to the poor.[108]

Fluoridation researchers are accused to be in the pay of corporate or political interests as part of the plot.[108] Specific anti-fluoridation arguments change to match the spirit of the time.[113]

RFID chips[edit]

Privacy concerns have surfaced regarding the use of RFID chips, which many states require to be implanted into pets as a means of tracking, will ultimately be used to track, spy on, or otherwise harass ordinary citizens; these devices’ small size enable them to be discreetly installed into a variety of items someone may carry on their person.[114]

Traditional, natural and alternative medicines[edit]

Many proponents of traditionalnatural and alternative medicines claim that pharmaceutical companies and various governments and government agencies conspire to maintain profits by ensuring that the general public uses only modern medicines. For example, many countries have laws that prevent unproven medicinal claims from being printed on packaging, advertisements, etc., for medicines. Any substance for which medicinal claims are made are deemed “drugs“. (See Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.) Proponents of traditional, natural and alternative medicines often claim that since herbs, etc., are of natural origin, they are not drugs and that such laws fallaciously define them as drugs in order to control and ultimately limit or prevent their distribution thus ensuring profits for the pharmaceutical industry.

A variation on this conspiracy is claimed by Kevin Trudeau, author of Natural Cures “They” Don’t Want You to Know About. He claims that in the USA, “they” (pharmaceutical companies, the FDA and FTC) conspire to withhold natural cures because “they” can make more profit selling long-term treatments, that do not cure, in perpetuity.

Real groups said to be involved in conspiracies[edit]

The past or present existence of these groups is not disputed, and a variety of theories regarding hidden plots and/or agendas actively guarded from the general public have been proposed. There is dispute as to whether any of these theories are true.

Alleged groups associated with conspiracy theories[edit]

These groups are often discussed in conspiracy theories; however, their existence is disputed:

The Plan[edit]

Paranormal activity[edit]

Extraterrestrials[edit]

Main article: UFO conspiracy theory

A sector of conspiracy theory with a particularly detailed mythology is the extraterrestrial phenomenon, which has become the basis for numerous pieces of popular entertainment, the Area 51/Grey Aliens conspiracy, and allegations surrounding the Dulce Base. It is alleged that the United States government conspires with extraterrestrials involved in the abduction and manipulation of citizens. A variant tells that particular technologies, notably the transistor—were given to American industry in exchange for alien dominance. The enforcers of the clandestine association of human leaders and aliens are the Men in Black, who silence those who speak out on UFO sightings. This conspiracy theory has been the basis of numerous books, as well as the popular television show The X-Files and the Men in Black film series. The X-Files based the plots of many of its episodes around urban legends and conspiracy theories, and had a framing plot which postulated a set of interlocking conspiracies controlling all recent human history.

There are claims about secret experiments known as the Montauk Project conducted at Camp HeroMontauk, New York. Allegedly, the project was developing a powerful psychological war weapon. The project is often connected to other alleged government projects such as the Philadelphia Experiment and Project Rainbow, both of which involved the use of unified field theory to cloak vessels. Experiments involving teleportationtime travel, contact with extraterrestrials, and mind control are frequently alleged to have been conducted in the camp. Preston B. Nichols has written five books on the subject, including Montauk Project: Experiments in time.

Evil aliens[edit]

See also: Alien invasion

A somewhat different version of this theory maintains that humanity is actually under the control of shape-shifting alien reptiles, who require periodic ingestion of human blood to maintain their human appearance. David Icke has been a devoted proponent of this theory.[124] According to Icke, the Bush family and the British Royal Family are actually such creatures, and Diana, Princess of Wales was aware of this, presumably relating to her death. Margaret Thatcher is also believed to have been an important figure in the reptilian secret army.[124] David Icke’s theory, which encompasses many other conspiracy theories, is that humanity is actually under the reptilians; with evidence ranging from Sumerian tablets describing the “Anunnaki” (which he translates as “those who from heaven to earth came”), to the serpent in the Biblical Garden of Eden, to child abuse and water fluoridation. Another well-known alien conspiracy is known as Project Blue beam, supposedly a NASA and government psychological operation involving a fake alien invasion, along with light and laser shows in the sky, and false reports of UFO landings, to fake the second coming of Christ, as depicted in the Bible’s Rapture, in order to bring about a global New Age religion with the Antichrist as head.

Miscellaneous[edit]

This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (March 2010)

Nature[edit]

  • Rumours persist that the 1952 Lynmouth Flood in DevonEngland was caused by British government scientists and the British military experimenting with artificial rainmaking or cloud seedingas part of research programme known as Project Cumulus. The floods caused the deaths of 35 people and extensive damage to buildings and the natural landscape. Declassified official documents uncovered by the BBC appeared to lend some credence to the theory and the incident was the subject of a BBC documentary.[125]
  • Several theories are advanced regarding the cause and aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.[126]
  • Conspiracy theories related to the causes of the devastating 2010 Pakistan floods abound, with even mainstream newspapers repeating allegations that India and/or the U.S. are responsible.[127][128]

Advertising[edit]

  • There is a theory that the famous “computer vs. human” chess game between Russian grandmaster Garry Kasparov and IBM’s Deep Blue computer had involved cheating by IBM, to ensure they would achieve a victory that would be widely publicized. This theory is argued by the documentary Game Over: Kasparov and the Machine.
  • A theory claims that The Coca-Cola Company intentionally changed to an inferior formula with New Coke with the intent of driving up demand for their classic product, later reintroducing it for their financial gain. Alternatively, people believe the switch was made to allow Coca-Cola to reintroduce “classic” Coke with a new formulation using less expensive corn syrup.[129] Donald Keough, president of Coca-Cola, replied to this theory: “The truth is, we’re not that dumb, and we’re not that smart.”[130]

Space[edit]

Main article: Moon landing conspiracy theories
  • Theorists claim that the Apollo moon landings were “staged” in a Hollywood movie or other studio either because they never happened or to conceal some aspect of the truth of the circumstances of the actual landing. (This led to the falsified Martian landing plot of Peter Hyams‘s film Capricorn One and is also part of the plot of the 2011 film Transformers: Dark of the Moon.)
  • Another theory claims that the Apollo astronauts found a human skeleton and footprints on the moon. (This was circulated despite the fact that there is no way for anything to decompose on the moon, because its lack of atmosphere would prevent this.) The theory received more widespread attention when the satirical Weekly World News twice published stories about a human skeleton on the moon, first on Nov 28, 1989,[131] and then again on Jul 15, 1997.[132] This same story had been told before in a 1977 novel, Inherit the Stars, by James P. Hogan.
  • Soviet space program conspiracy accusations suppose that some failed human spaceflights in the USSR occurred but were concealed by the government.
  • Project Solar Warden is an alleged DoD (Dept. of Defense) program of manned space fleets operating outside the boundaries of Earth orbit, supposedly under UN authority.[133] At least one organization, FreeGary.org, has been lobbying for the release from prison of the individual who “uncovered” the clandestine project, Gary McKinnon.[134]

Global warming[edit]

  • The Global warming conspiracy theory asserts that the global community of climate scientists has colluded to fabricate a vast body of scientific evidence and literature in order to deceive the world into believing there is a significant anthropogenic component to increases in global temperatures, with the objective of misdirecting research funding, political power, or simply money.

Genetically modified crops[edit]

  • The genetically modified crop conspiracy theory asserts that the global community of agricultural and biological scientists has conspired to fabricate the overwhelming amount of scientific evidence supporting the safety and benefit of genetically modified food crops, while also suppressing evidence suggesting the dangers of these crops. Supporters of this conspiracy theory typically argue for organic superiority and against the use of genetically modified food crop. Supporters of this conspiracy theory often associate the private company Monsanto with this conspiracy theory.[135][136]

History[edit]

  • Some New Chronology theories, such as the Phantom time hypothesis of Heribert Illig and the Fomenko-Nosovsky chronology, claim that the conventional dating of historical events is incorrect, and that the historical timeline has been purposely distorted by powerful interests.
  • Revisionist history regarding the Irish Potato Famine suggests that it was a result of the British naval blockade around Ireland; that when the international community began to send naval ship food shipments, the British rerouted those naval ships to England.[citation needed]

Sports[edit]

  • The “Frozen Envelope Theory” suggests that the NBA rigged its 1985 Draft Lottery so Georgetown University standout Patrick Ewing would land with the New York Knicks, who had the first pick in that year’s draft. Conspiracy theorists argue that the Knicks’ envelope was placed in the freezer so that when NBA commissioner David Stern reached into a bowl containing the envelopes of all the teams participating in the draft lottery, he would be able to identify that particular envelope by its being colder than the others.[137]

Electronic banking conspiracy[edit]

  • The Theory of Electronic Conspiracy is said to be a variant of modern New World Order conspiracy theories. The theory consists of the belief that a secret group has attempted for centuries to reach world domination, even if the result by design would be world destruction. According to this theory, the worldwide dominion has been planned from antiquity and follows the following phases:[138]
  1. The substitution of precious metal-based coin currency by paper currency. This process began in the Renaissance, with the beginning of the use of tickets which allowed for people to have a tangible good (such as silver or gold pieces) by paper—a more virtual, but comfortable, medium which the state was committed to provide the equivalent amount of precious metal if such was required.
  2. The appearance of virtual money, with credit cards: money approaches wholly virtual status. Money is no longer a tangible paper- or metal-based object but rather a series of numbers recorded in magnetic stripes.
  3. The proliferation of Internet and Electronic commerce: credit cards are no longer required in order to purchase or sell goods and services from an Internet-connected computer.
  4. The concentration of the worldwide bank into few hands, by means of continuous international banking fusions.
  5. The worldwide implementation of an electronic identity card.
  6. The great worldwide blackout: A tremendous disaster will take place when, after a great electrical blackout on a planetary scale, the data of all electronic accounts erase simultaneously. After this event, chaos and poverty will immediately ensue throughout the planet; and civilization will revert to its primitive forms of slavery to survive. This is the last aim of the “secret organization” which has spent centuries guiding this process. The worldwide blackout will be preceded by partial blackouts that would only be tests and “signals” to communicate that different phases of the process are being fulfilled. An example of these partial blackouts would be those that have been produced almost simultaneously in different parts around the world; and, at the beginning of the 21st century, shortly after the September 11, 2001, attacks: the blackouts in the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom. This theory is used as the central plot of the 2013 TV series Revolution.

Almost 90 Percent of People Believe the Government Is Broken….

Posted in Uncategorized on November 20, 2013 by PETERSON MERANT' an untold story

We have yet another poll showing virtually unanimous dissatisfaction with our political system. A CNN poll shows an impressive 86 percent who say that the government is broken. What is fascinating is how the two parties are now moving to join the chorus — to control the debate and prevent serious reforms.

 

The problem remains directing this anger in a productive direction toward real political reform. Instead, the two parties are moving to convert the mess that they created into a campaign for more power. Sarah Palin is telling tea party members that they must pick between the two parties, here. People like Joe Biden are objecting to the political failure (here despite their role in creating and maintaining the system. Both parties are trying to show that the solution is to give them more power over the other party.

It is a testament to the duopoly that the two parties can use their own failure to their advantage. The theory is that, if you object to the current status, you (and your party) cannot be part of the problem. Evan Bayh even blames it on “testosterone poisoning” while appearing with other politicians who have helped maintain the system, here. You will notice that none of these Republicans or Democrats are speaking of changing the structure of the political system — only the characters and “environment.”

Can you think of one issue that almost 90 percent of Americans agree on in terms of reform? Yet, it is likely that no real change will occur due to the monopoly of power by the two parties.