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LIKE CLOCKWORK: Pension plans to be looted nationwide as Congress okays institutional theft of funds

Bags-Of-Money-Dollar-Signs-Bills-CoinsOn April 2, 2013, in an article entitled Economics 101: Production, coercion and theft, I wrote about the coming looting of pension plans, stating:

When societies approach collapse, coercion shifts to outright theft: Stealing money right out of your bank account, for example, like we recently witnessed in Cyprus. Government also routinely target pension funds and even private retirement accounts, attempting to keep itself afloat by any means necessary.

Just like clockwork, that looting of pension plans is now about to commence. “Congress could soon allow the benefits of current retirees to be cut as part of an agreement to address the fiscal distress confronting some of the nation’s 1,400 multi-employer pension plans,” writes Michael Fletcher of the Washington Post. [1] The Post continues:

“This proposal would devastate retirees and their surviving spouses,” said Karen Friedman, executive vice president of the Pension Rights Center, a nonprofit group. “The proposal would also torpedo basic protections of the federal private pension law … that states that once benefits are earned, they can’t be cut back.”

All the pension benefits that have been promised government retirees, in other words, are about to be stolen back from retirees.

This is precisely what I’ve long warned Natural News readers was coming. And this is merely the very beginning of the true destruction of the financial collapse headed our way. When the next market crash arrives, billions of dollars in retirement funds will be destroyed virtually overnight, and pension funds nationwide will be wiped out.

A “declaration of war” against the American worker

The fact that this wholesale theft of pension funds is now under way has not escaped union workers and retirees.

As WashPost also reports:

“This is nothing less than a declaration of war by Congress on American retirees,” said R. Thomas Buffenbarger, international president of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

Indeed, “war” is exactly how most people are going to perceive this… especially when retirement checks are the primary source of income for many retirees who are just barely getting by.

For millions of Americans, when those checks stop coming, it spells instant financial disaster. Many won’t be able to pay their mortgages or rent payments, and we are sadly going to see a massive wave of new American homeless coupled with a glut of vacant homes owned by banks teetering on financial collapse.

As pension funds are increasingly looted and stolen from retirees, more and more of America is going to resemble Detroit: a city that once shined with innovation but now — thanks to outrageous corruption, taxation and the endless expansion of government — has collapsed into third-world status that even lacks running water for many of its residents.

Back in 2013, I warned about all this in an article entitled “Production, Coercion and Theft.”

It’s time to revisit that article, so here it is:

Flashback: Production, Coercion and Theft

I’d like to share a lesson in economics today, and I call it the “Production, Coercion and Theft” lesson.

There are only three ways to accumulate money and wealth in world (other than stumbling across a hidden treasure and actually finding money, that is):

#1) Production: Offer something of value in exchange for money voluntarily traded by recipients

#2) Coercion: Confiscate money (or stores of value) by claiming authority over those who earn it

#3) Theft: Steal money (or stores of value) from those who already have it

Every person in society today acquires money in these three ways (with “gifting” being a fourth way that’s in a separate category because it’s passive, not active). The office worker, the entrepreneur, the laborer, the weekend burglar and even the professional politician all acquire money in one of these three primary ways.

Production means offering something of value to another party who is willing to trade you dollars for it. It can include both goods and services. A 9-5 office worker, for example, offers the value of their time and effort, and in exchange they are compensated at an agreed upon pay rate.

Production can also mean adding value to physical goods. We do this at the Natural News Store by sourcing organic superfoods from around the world and packaging them in pouches and cans for retail in the USA. This is a classic example of value-added production.

Out of the three methods of money accumulation covered here, production is the only one that adds abundance to the economy. The other two methods reduce wealth and ultimately promote poverty.

Coercion means forcing someone to give you money. This is the default method of all government bodies, from your local property tax collector to the federal IRS. Coercion means extracting money from someone in a non-mutually-agreed (i.e. “non-voluntary”) way.

Being mugged is a lot like being taxed

A mugging is money extraction via coercion. Ironically, it is almost identical to taxation: There is a threat of force stated or implied, followed by a request for a certain amount of money: “Give me your wallet” or “Pay $12,453.24.” Your compliance results in the source of the coercion taking your money then moving on to their next victim. Non-compliance results in you either being shot, stabbed, arrested at gunpoint or stripped of other possessions you may own.

Theft is different from coercion in that there is no interaction at all between two parties. Theft is when someone breaks into your house and steals your flat screen TV when you’re not even there. Or it’s when someone breaks into your online bank account and transfers all your money to an offshore crime haven in Nigeria.

Theft is what recently happened in Cyprus, where banksters stole 40% or more of private account balances, later stealing 60% or more of many business accounts. It wasn’t coercion because there was no threat of force, nor any compliance on your part. You simply wake up one morning and find that your bank account, your truck, your wallet or your laptop computers is missing. That’s theft… and that’s how the global banking system fundamentally functions.

Another advanced kind of theft is committed by the Federal Reserve. By printing new money, it steals the value of all the money you currently hold. This is called “currency theft” but a full discussion of it is beyond the scope of this lesson. For now, let’s stick to simple theft and coercion.

The illusion of compliance

Governments typically shy away from engaging in outright theft. Why? Because they hope to create the illusion of voluntary compliance. By coercing you into giving up your money “voluntarily,” they avoid the appearance of outright stealing money or property from you. You “agreed” to pay your taxes, didn’t you?

In certain cases, of course, the government does engage in outright theft. This is called “eminent domain” and it means the government simply claims ownership of something you own (usually some land or a building), then decides how much money to pay you for it. The government claims the right to steal from you for “the common good,” implying that the benefit of some is more important than protecting the private property rights of all.

Theft is also carried out through misrepresentation and fraud. If a used car salesman sells you a 2005 Chevy pickup with “only 25,000 miles” on it, but it turns out they hacked the odometer and the vehicle actually has 300,000 miles on it, that’s misrepresentation and fraud.

This is very common in the food industry where “extra virgin olive oil” often turns out to be cut with GMO canola oil. Or where “tuna fish” actually isn’t from tuna. In the health supplements market, misrepresentation and fraud is also common among heavily-hyped “miracle” supplements that claim impossible results. Acai weight loss pills are a good example.

Misrepresentation and fraud is how virtually the entire system on Wall Street operates, by the way. It’s all a numbers game where investment houses sell stocks short while telling their customers to buy. The ratings are faked, the customers buy the stock, the investment brokers sell it short and wait for the stock to tumble from its artificial high, after which they rake in the profits.

Why governments prefer coercion to theft

By and large, governments far prefer coercion to theft. The IRS, for example, continues to insist that paying federal tax is a “voluntary” act. “Compliance is voluntary,” they admit. But this brand of volunteerism comes with the heavy hand of coercion. A typical warning letter from the IRS threatens the recipient with losing all his property and spending years in jail if they refuse to comply.

So yes, paying the IRS is “voluntary” as long as you don’t mind the consequences: Years in prison and the forfeiting of everything you own. That’s classic coercion.

By the same token, a Chicago mafia goon could walk into a popular night club in 1929 and say, “You’s gonna volunteer to pay us 20% of your profits, okay?” (Say that in your head with a cartoonish mob accent for better effect.) Followed by: “It would be a real shame to see a nice joint like this burn to ashes, y’know?”

This is not unlike the offer made by the IRS. Pay us 50% (or more) of your income, or lose your freedom.

Obamacare is implemented entirely by coercion. The gambit is this: Buy Obamacare health insurance, or we’ll just confiscate money right out of your paycheck. That has very little difference from the mafia’s offer of “pay us 20% or we burn this place down.” In both cases, it’s a threat and a demand for compliance. That’s coercion.

Coercion and theft are signs of a crumbling society

When society is healthy, production is the dominant method of wealth creation. But when society begins to fall into criminality, corruption and government gone bad, coercion and theft become the dominant methods for diverting wealth from those who have earned it into the hands of those who are receiving it.

All agents and employees of the government are, by definition, beneficiaries of coercion. Their salaries are paid entirely by the government’s confiscation of wealth from private sector workers and businesses, all of whom comply solely because they are threatened with imprisonment if they fail to do so.

The ratio between production and coercion is a very good indicator of the level of freedom in any given nation. When tax rates are low, production is high because people have more incentive to start businesses, hire more people and produce more products or services. Wealth is primarily created by productivity

But when tax rates are high — more coercion — production plummets because the rewards for starting a business and hiring workers are diminished. The focus of the economy becomes government growth accompanied by increasing coercion / confiscation of private wealth.

When societies approach collapse, coercion shifts to outright theft: Stealing money right out of your bank account, for example, like we recently witnessed in Cyprus. Government also routinely target pension funds and even private retirement accounts, attempting to keep itself afloat by any means necessary.

Understand these three key truths

In summary, the fall of society can be understood through these key transitions:

Abundant society = Freedom and liberty = Production and wealth creation
…then Production becomes Coercion

Coercion society = High taxes, growth of government = Wealth confiscation
…then Coercion becomes Theft

Theft society = Looting of private bank accounts, government seizure of industry = Wealth destruction
…Theft leads to Collapse

The EU has entered the stage of “coercion becoming theft.” The collapse is near.

Additional sources

Readers always ask me for “sources” when I write original articles, so I’ll answer this question up front: What is my source for this analysis? There is no specific source. These ideas are self-evident. I did not read them in any particular book or website, nor learn them in a course of some kind.

In a general sense, of course, these ideas are derivatives of libertarian / Austrian economics: Mises.org, Murray Rothbard, Lew Rockwell, Henry Hazlitt and others.

Click here to read “Economics in One Lesson” (PDF) and gain an understanding of economics vastly exceeding that of Ben Bernanke.

See the article just published on Mises.org which just happens to coincide with my own article here. It’s entitled, Taxation is Robbery, Part 1.

If you really want to understand how the world works, read these websites:
www.Mises.org
www.LewRockwell.com
www.DailyReckoning.com
www.TrendsResearch.com (Gerald Celente)

Sources for this article include:
[1] http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/econo…

Source: http://www.naturalnews.com/047968_pension_plans_looting_retirement_funds.html#ixzz3Li0CtpZe
A
uthor: Mike Adams

12 Numbers About The Global Financial Ponzi Scheme That Should Be Burned Into Your Brain

meltdown-secret-history-of-global-financial-collapseThe numbers that you are about to see are likely to shock you.  They prove that the global financial Ponzi scheme is far more extensive than most people would ever dare to imagine.  As you will see below, the total amount of debt in the world is now more than three times greater than global GDP.  In other words, you could take every single good and service produced on the entire planet this year, next year and the year after that and it still would not be enough to pay off all the debt.  But even that number pales in comparison to the exposure that big global banks have to derivatives contracts.  It is hard to put into words how reckless they have been.

At the low end of the estimates, the total exposure that global banks have to derivatives contracts is 710 trillion dollars.  That is an amount of money that is almost unimaginable.  And the reality of the matter is that there is really not all that much actual “money” in circulation today.  In fact, as you will read about below, there is only a little bit more than a trillion dollars of U.S. currency that you can actually hold in your hands in existence.  If we all went out and tried to close our bank accounts and investment portfolios all at once, that would create a major league crisis.  The truth is that our financial system is little more than a giant pyramid scheme that is based on debt and paper promises.  It is literally a miracle that it has survived for so long without collapsing already.

When Americans think about the financial crisis that we are facing, the largest number that they usually can think of is the size of the U.S. national debt.  And at over 17 trillion dollars, it truly is massive.  But it is actually the 2nd-smallest number on the list below.  The following are 12 numbers about the global financial Ponzi scheme that should be burned into your brain…

$1,280,000,000,000 – Most people are really surprised when they hear this number.  Right now, there is only 1.28 trillion dollars worth of U.S. currency floating around out there.

$17,555,165,805,212.27 – This is the size of the U.S. national debt.  It has grown by more than 10 trillion dollars over the past ten years.

$32,000,000,000,000 – This is the total amount of money that the global elite have stashed in offshore banks (that we know about).

$48,611,684,000,000 – This is the total exposure that Goldman Sachs has to derivatives contracts.

$59,398,590,000,000 – This is the total amount of debt (government, corporate, consumer, etc.) in the U.S. financial system.  40 years ago, this number was just a little bit above 2 trillion dollars.

$70,088,625,000,000 – This is the total exposure that JPMorgan Chase has to derivatives contracts.

$71,830,000,000,000 – This is the approximate size of the GDP of the entire world.

$75,000,000,000,000 – This is approximately the total exposure that German banking giant Deutsche Bank has to derivatives contracts.

$100,000,000,000,000 – This is the total amount of government debt in the entire world.  This amount has grown by $30 trillion just since mid-2007.

$223,300,000,000,000 – This is the approximate size of the total amount of debt in the entire world.

$236,637,271,000,000 – According to the U.S. government, this is the total exposure that the top 25 banks in the United States have to derivatives contracts.  But those banks only have total assets of about 9.4 trillion dollars combined.  In other words, the exposure of our largest banks to derivatives outweighs their total assets by a ratio of about 25 to 1.

$710,000,000,000,000 to $1,500,000,000,000,000 – The estimates of the total notional value of all global derivatives contracts generally fall within this range.  At the high end of the range, the ratio of derivatives exposure to global GDP is about 21 to 1.

Most people tend to assume that the “authorities” have fixed whatever caused the financial world to almost end back in 2008, but that is not the case at all.

In fact, the total amount of government debt around the globe has grown by about 40 percent since then, and the “too big to fail banks” have collectively gotten 37 percent larger since then.

Our “authorities” didn’t fix anything.  All they did was reinflate the bubble and kick the can down the road for a little while.

I don’t know how anyone can take an honest look at the numbers and not come to the conclusion that this is completely and totally unsustainable.

How much debt can the global financial system take before it utterly collapses?

How recklessly can the big banks behave before the house of cards that they have constructed implodes underneath them?

For the moment, everything seems fine.  Stock markets around the world have been setting record highs and credit is flowing like wine.

But at some point a day of reckoning is coming, and when it arrives it is going to be the most painful financial crisis the world has ever seen.

If you plan on getting ready before it strikes, now is the time to do so.

Source: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/12-numbers-about-the-global-financial-ponzi-scheme-that-should-be-burned-into-your-brain

TSA officers arrested by police for dealing in stolen goods

A U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer holds a Rubik's Cube at Los Angeles International AirportWhether it’s because of poor vetting, extremely low standards, substandard pay or a combination of all these elements and others, the Transportation Security Administration has become little more than a criminal laughing stock. Born from the USA Patriot Act with the creation of the Department of Homeland Security following the 9/11 attacks, the TSA as an agency has been involved in scandal after scandal, as scores of its “officers” have been involved in a host of criminal behavior.

The latest example comes from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, where authorities have arrested at least two TSA officers “in a police sting operation involving stolen parking passes,” NBCDFW reports. There could be dozens of others involved as well, said the report.

From the news affiliate’s initial report:

Sources familiar with the probe said it started several months ago with an undercover investigation by the airport’s Department of Public Safety. Investigators found an American Eagle worker had stolen 100 parking passes for employee parking lots and recruited TSA officers to sell the passes to co-workers for $100 apiece, the sources said.

Issue the obligatory apologies – then move on

According to a person familiar with the investigation, there may be as many as 20 TSA officers suspected of either buying or selling the passes, while another source said as many as 40 could be involved.

It was not immediately clear whether or not the airline employee also had been arrested, NBCDFW reported.

Carrie Harmon, a TSA spokeswoman, did not answer questions about the arrests but instead referred them to airport officials. The agency was good enough to release the obligatory statement, however, saying essentially that the TSA was cooperating with the investigation and that the agency doesn’t tolerate any form of criminal behavior, eight employees were put on indefinite suspension without pay, blah, blah, blah.

Also, officials with American Eagle airlines issued a similar obligatory statement: “American Eagle has a zero-tolerance policy for this type of activity. We have worked closely with the DFW Airport Department of Public Safety to investigate this matter. The individual involved is no longer employed by American Eagle.”

NBCDFW reported that TSA employees, even part-timers, are required to pay $102 a quarter to park in one of two employee parking lots (itself a pretty crappy policy, but I digress). The stolen passes allegedly sold for $100 and allowed the holder to park in the lots for one year.

As I mentioned, though, this is far – far – from the first time the TSA has gotten bloodied by the behavior of its employees and officers. In fact, this happens so often that it might even be part of the application process.

“For an agency that claims to have ‘zero tolerance’ for criminal behavior, TSA agents sure spend a lot of time declaring their guilt,” wrote Christopher Elliot at The Huffington Post in February 2012.

This agency needs to go away

He goes on to rattle off a litany of TSA agent and officer abuses:

— The $5,000 that screener Alexandra Schmid “allegedly” stole (it was all caught on videotape) from a passenger’s jacket as he was going through security at John F. Kennedy International Airport;

— The $40K that Coumar Persad and Davon Webb took from a piece of luggage in 2011;

— The $30,000 that TSA supervisor Michael Arato and screener Al Raimi stole from luggage at the airport in Newark;

— Randy Pepper, who confessed to receiving money and jewelry from the luggage he was inspecting, including sterling silver necklaces, earrings, bracelets and rings, in 2010.

There are many more examples, such as when TSA agents feel up young girls and even babies; when they pat down old men and women in wheelchairs; when they single out the really hot babes for “extra scrutiny,” or when they make full-bosomed women repeatedly pass through the full-body scanners.

The TSA is not just an embarrassment, it has morphed into a criminal enterprise that serves as little more than a government “compliance” agency. That the agency should be disbanded and airport security handed over to private companies is an understatement.

Sources:

http://www.nbcdfw.com

http://www.huffingtonpost.com

http://www.naturalnews.com

 

Source: Natural News Author: J.D. Hayes

Theft is on the rise in a worsening economy

It is not strange to hear about cars, jewelry or money being stolen. These days, desperate thieves are choosing bizarre targets: copper wires, air conditioning units, storm drain covers, grapes, ambulances, pain killers and even bees. This petty thievery of agricultural goods and odd supplies is the new norm in a rapidly worsening economy where unemployment is rampant.

The downturn in the economy and record unemployment numbers have created a heightened sense of desperation, which subsequently is leading to a rapid increase incrimelevels all over the country.

Air conditioning units in churches have literally been cut loose from their hookups in Houston, Philadelphia, othercitiesand small towns all over. More than 100 storm drain covers have been stolen in Sacramento in recent weeks. Jackson, MOpoliceare investigating an onslaught of recent robberies targeting various delivery drivers.

Farm felons are becoming more creative inCalifornia, where robbery of everything fromgrapesand avocados to beehives has been reported in recent times, according to aNew York Timesarticle. In the Central Valley which is the agricultural hub of the state — highunemployment, foreclosures and methamphetamine abuse have madecriminalsmore desperate, resulting in the regular disappearance of diesel fuel, hardware tools and truck batteries, according to local officials.

In fact, the entire state of California is also dealing with a huge rise incoppertheft. According to theNew YorkTimes this is a perpetual problem made worse due to the metal’s skyrocketing prices.

Robbers often cut copper wires running between outdoor wells and their power boxes, or the copper wires attached to AC units. These copper wirescosta few thousand dollars each to replace, and can be sold for a small but pretty penny.

And copper is not the only metal being sought after by thieves. Iron can also be pawned off for a decent amount ofcash— cash that could be used for groceries, gasmoney, or the cost of other basic needs.Texasand Florida are also seeing increases in agricultural crimes.

The increasing incidence of ruraltheft— and theft in general — is more proof of the negative impacts of our country’s troublesome economic state, rampant unemployment and other burdens.

One example would be the Obamacare overhaul, which is meant to provide our country withsecuritybut instead is resulting in skyrocketing insurancecostsand physicians leaving the field, making it harder to afford and find proper medical care.

Pharmacies andambulanceservices are getting hit too

According to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), armed robberies atpharmacieshave risen approximately 81% in the past few years. The main target of these robberies has been Oxycodonepainkillers. A single pill can be worth as much as $60 to $80, so a moderate sized robbery could net a $30,000 to $40,000profit.

While the DEA links the national increase in theabuseof pain killers to the increase in robberies, the increase in painkiller abuse can be linked back to the stresses of the slumpingeconomy, as well as the law changes which have made it harder for criminals to obtain these types of pain killers. Asthe economycontinues to worsen and addicts become more desperate,pharmacyrobberies will surely increase as well.

But wait, there’s more. Burglars are also beginning to prey on paramedics. According to News 8, thieves have been breaking into ambulances outside of emergency room doors in North Texas and other areas. From right under the noses of paramedics, these speedy thieves are stealing expensive defibrillators, bags full of medicine, stethoscopes and petrol. Even sirens and the emergency vehicles themselves are being stolen.

These more commonly occurring crimes are bound to become even more prevalent in the near future, thanks to the accelerated economic destruction of America brought about by the federal government’s erosion of the dollar.

Financial hardships are booming all over our country, and suffering Americans are struggling more and more — some turning to desperate measures — to keep food on the table as the economy heads toward total collapse under the country’s tremendous debt burden, and credit crunch.

More crime, less protection

The downward spiraling economy and resulting crimes are causing more work for law enforcement officials adding to the worrisome situation.

Many cities and towns are scaling down police forces due to budgetary issues. The tightbudgetof many cities is pushing lawmakers to eliminate jobs and slash budgets and cut excess costs. This means many cities dealing with declining revenue are merging police operations or outsourcing them to county sheriff departments to save money.

Many cities – such as some in the San Francisco Bay area — were once able to offer profitable pay packages that included rich salaries and benefits, especially after the 911 attacks. Now, with tax revenue sinking sharply and crime on the rise in these cities, fiscal pressures means public safety budgets that were once off-limits to the budget are being severely cut, leading to more police and firefighters looking for employment elsewhere.

As it becomes more and more expensive for smaller cities to maintain their own police and fire departments, this outsourcing and merging will become increasingly common, regardless of the growing number of robberies.

NaturalNews, Thursday, July 28, 2011 by: Christina Luisa