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The Game Is Rigged: Why Americans Keep Losing to the Police State
By John W. Whitehead
Posted December 12, 2014

Government of WolvesThe people dealing the cards—the politicians, the corporations, the judges, the prosecutors, the police, the bureaucrats, the military, the media, etc.—have only one prevailing concern, and that is to maintain their power and control over the country and us.

It really doesn't matter what you call them—the 1%, the elite, the controllers, the masterminds, the shadow government, the police state, the surveillance state, the military industrial complex—so long as you understand that while they are dealing the cards, the deck will always be stacked in their favor.

Incredibly, no matter how many times we see this played out, Americans continue to naively buy into the idea that it's our politics that divide us as a nation. As if there were really a difference between the Democrats and Republicans. As if the policies of George W. Bush were any different from those of Barack Obama. As if we weren't a nation of sheep being fattened for the kill by a ravenous government of wolves. More...

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Defeat Is Victory
by Dmitry Orlov
Posted December 11, 2014

On the wall of George Orwell's Ministry of Truth from his novel 1984 there were three slogans:

war is peaceWAR IS PEACE

FREEDOM IS SLAVERY

IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

It occurred to me that these apply just a little bit too well to the way the Washington, DC establishment operates.

War certainly is peace: just look at how peaceful Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya, Syria and the Ukraine have become thanks to their peacemaking efforts. The only departures from absolute peacefulness which might be taking place there have to do with the fact that there are some people still alive there. This should resolve itself on its own, especially in the Ukraine, where the people now face the prospect of surviving a cold winter without heat or electricity. More...

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With Negotiators in DC, Opponents Vow to 'Mobilize Like Never Before' to Kill Corporate-Friendly Trade Deals
by Nadia Prupis
Posted December 9, 2014

secret deals are bad to peopleHundreds of activists chanted and waved signs outside of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative in Washington, D.C. on Monday to protest the government's secretive negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) taking place inside, which they say place corporate interests ahead of environmental, labor, and human rights concerns.

The protest comes less than a week after President Barack Obama's comments in support of the controversial talks. Critics have repeatedly slammed the influence of representatives from the banking, tobacco, and pharmaceutical industries of a dozen countries on the deal.

Opponents of the TPP say the controversial deal would send countless American manufacturing jobs overseas to developing countries; allow for drastic increases of U.S. natural gas exports, which would further incentivize fracking; undermine food safety standards; loosen financial regulations; and require Internet to police and restrict user activity. More...

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Copyright Law as a Tool for State Censorship of the Internet
by Electronic Frontier Foundation
Posted December 6, 2014

copyright law used for censorshipWhen state officials seek to censor online speech, they're going to use the quickest and easiest method available. For many, copyright takedown notices do the trick. After years of lobbying and increasing pressure from content industries on policymakers and tech companies, sending copyright notices to take media offline is easier than ever.

The DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) has become a global tool for censorship, precisely because it was designed to facilitate the removal of online media. The law carries provisions on intermediary liability, among many other strict copyright enforcement rules, which induce websites, Internet service providers, and other such "intermediaries" to remove content that is alleged to be a copyright infringement. More...

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Forget Orwell and Rand, We've Gone to Full On Plato
by Thad Beversdorf
Posted November 24, 2014

PlatoThe facts are we will never know the facts. We will know but a shadow of truth as ascribed to us by the philosopher kings as described by Plato's Cave Parable. This is how a handful of men and women control billions of people, the same way 20 cowboys control 30K head of cattle. We are provided food, shelter, safety and fear and in return we are provided a certain reality from which we must live. So long as we remain within our respective realities we will be granted comfort. However, if we attempt to break through a level of truth or worse bring others with us, the heavy hand of the philosopher king will find us by way of the guardian class. In our world we become a threat to national security and once we adorn that scarlet letter all rights that were once guaranteed by the Constitution disappear.

So for those inclined to not only reflect on the prophetic worlds of Orwell and Rand but to understand the arguments for such a world by the philosopher kings themselves, refresh yourself with a read of Plato's Republic. For wars are won not by force of might but by force of knowledge. Plato was correct in understanding that freedom is found in knowledge. If we accept a shadow of truth we will enjoy a shadow of freedom. But if we fight for absolute truth we will win absolute freedom. More...

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Are "We The People" Useful Idiots In The Digital Age?
by John Whitehead
Posted November 20, 2014

does patriotism = support for military?"Who needs direct repression," asked philosopher Slavoj Zizek, "when one can convince the chicken to walk freely into the slaughterhouse?"

In an Orwellian age where war equals peace, surveillance equals safety, and tolerance equals intolerance of uncomfortable truths and politically incorrect ideas, "we the people" have gotten very good at walking freely into the slaughterhouse, all the while convincing ourselves that the prison walls enclosing us within the American police state are there for our protection. Call it doublespeak, call it hypocrisy, call it delusion, call it whatever you like, but the fact remains that while we claim to value freedom, privacy, individuality, equality, diversity, accountability, and government transparency, our actions and those of our government overseers contradict these much-vaunted principles at every turn.

For instance, we disdain the jaded mindset of the Washington elite, and yet we continue to re-elect politicians who lie, cheat and steal. We disapprove of the endless wars that drain our resources and spread thin our military, and yet we repeatedly buy into the idea that patriotism equals supporting the military. More...

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War-Making And Class-Conflict
by Joseph Salerno
Posted November 16, 2014

Eisenhower warned usAll governments past and present, regardless of their formal organization, involve the rule of the many by the few. In other words, all governments are fundamentally oligarchic. The reasons are twofold.

First, governments are nonproductive organizations and can only subsist by extracting goods and services from the productive class in their territorial domain. Thus the ruling class must remain a minority of the population if they are to continually extract resources from their subjects or citizens. Genuine "majority rule" on a permanent basis is impossible because it would result in an economic collapse as the tribute or taxes expropriated by the more numerous rulers deprived the minority engaged in peaceful productive activities of the resources needed to sustain and reproduce itself. Majority rule would therefore eventually bring about a violent conflict between factions of the previous ruling class, which would terminate with one group establishing oligarchic rule and economically exploiting its former confederates.

The second factor that renders oligarchic rule practically inevitable is related to the law of comparative advantage. The tendency toward division of labor and specialization based on the unequal endowment of skills pervades all sectors of human endeavor. Just as a small segment of the population is adept at playing professional football or dispensing financial advice, so a tiny fraction of the population tends to excel at wielding coercive power. As one writer summed up this Iron Law of Oligarchy: "[In] all human groups at all times there are the few who rule and the many who are ruled." More...

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Bread, Circuses & Bombs – Decline Of The American Empire – Part Two
by James Quinn
Posted November 12, 2014

NFL gladiators and celebrity worshipThe concept of voluntary servitude has been a constant theme across the ages as most people want to be led, told what to do, and will not question or contest those in authority. Liberty and freedom require effort, sacrifice, honor and a people with a strong moral character. The Roman people succumbed to tyranny by abandoning their liberty to despots for a full belly and grand spectacles. The American people have succumbed to modern day banker, billionaire and politician oligarchs for a belly full of toxic corporate processed food, cable HDTV with 600 stations, iGadgets, a never ending supply of cheap Chinese produced crap at big box retail stores, Facebook, Twitter, 24 hour drive thru Dunkin Donuts joints, and an endless array of professional sporting events, all paid for with an infinite supply of cheap consumer debt from the Wall Street fraud machine. We live in a warfare/welfare surveillance state built on a foundation of debt, consumerism, and delusion, with no tears. We've learned to love our servitude.

French philosopher Etienne de La Boetie captured the degradation of the once noble Roman people five centuries ago, and his words ring true today as the American people have foolishly relinquished their liberty to a corporate aristocracy that has bankrupted the nation, debased the currency, pillaged the middle class and set in motion an irreversible decline of the empire. More...

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America's Secret War in 134 Countries
by Nick Turse
Posted November 5, 2014

secret wars in 134 countriesThey operate in the green glow of night vision in Southwest Asia and stalk through the jungles of South America. They snatch men from their homes in the Maghreb and shoot it out with heavily armed militants in the Horn of Africa. They feel the salty spray while skimming over the tops of waves from the turquoise Caribbean to the deep blue Pacific. They conduct missions in the oppressive heat of Middle Eastern deserts and the deep freeze of Scandinavia. All over the planet, the Obama administration is waging a secret war whose full extent has never been fully revealed -- until now.

Since September 11, 2001, U.S. Special Operations forces have grown in every conceivable way, from their numbers to their budget. Most telling, however, has been the exponential rise in special ops deployments globally. This presence -- now, in nearly 70% of the world's nations -- provides new evidence of the size and scope of a secret war being waged from Latin America to the backlands of Afghanistan, from training missions with African allies to information operations launched in cyberspace. More...

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A Kept Culture
by Cognitive Dissonance
Posted November 4, 2014

John F Kennedy funeralI suspect using the term 'loss' is inaccurate or incomplete, at least in the literal sense of the word. While a Lion captured in the wild and then confined to a cage at the zoo 'knows' what it has lost, a lion born into captivity never really is aware of a 'loss'. But both lions may still suffer from the same neurosis which springs from the sense, the knowing, that something not quite definable (and more importantly unchangeable) is wrong.

It is my supposition that "We the People" also suffer from the same loss, the same trauma, as the captive born lion does, an inner ache and a growing awareness that something is very wrong with the world and our life within it. Because the reality we live within is the only reality we know, most of what is wrong is not readily apparent to the majority of us since this is just the way things are and everyone else lives more or less the same life as we do. A failure of our imagination is partially to blame for the sense we all have of being trapped with nowhere to go and no way to change. More...

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The True History of Blowback in One Sentence
By William Rivers Pitt
Posted October 24, 2014

blowback from previous actionsSince you're probably wondering why the Canadian Parliament was shot up and your friendly neighborhood police officer is driving a tank and your savings account is a sad joke and your road is littered with potholes and you can't find a job and three of your friends who joined the Army to pay for college died in Iraq and Afghanistan and two others have brain trauma from IED explosions and won't ever be the same and your tap water is flammable and the ocean is coming for your home, well...

...let me introduce you to the concept of "blowback," which author Chalmers Johnson explained as "another way of saying that a nation reaps what it sows," which basically means that when you punch someone in the face, odds are very good that you're going to get punched back, and maybe they land that counterpunch, or maybe they don't, but that fist is going to come whistling at your face, count on it, and if it misses, there is always another fist, curled and hard and ready to fly. More...

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Degradation of Our Educational System is Canary in the Mineshaft
By Robert De Filippis
Posted October 22, 2014

Wall St bailed , students sold outFrederick Douglass wrote, "It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men." But no one's ever accused Americans of thinking about how our actions today may affect something or someone down the road. This explains our past, present and make a bull's eye prediction of our future.

Our graduates carry a debt load of $1.2 trillion dollars while the cost of a college degree in the United States has increased "12 fold" over the past 30 years, far outpacing the price inflation of consumer goods, medical expenses and food.

Interestingly, full time professors have lost ground because universities are employing more adjuncts and fewer tenured track professionals. "A professor with tenure can earn a salary of $80,000 per year, while an adjunct professor receives between $2,000 and $5,000 per course," averaging around $22,000 per year. More...

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Wealth Inequality Is Not A Problem, It's A Symptom
by Raúl Ilargi Meijer
Posted October 18, 2014

rich vs poorAfter WWII, though before that already as well, the western world woke up to the need for international co-operation. Dozens of organizations were established to structure that co-operation. But then, in yet another fountain of unintended consequences, something man is better at than just about anything else, we let those organizations loose upon the world without ever asking what happened to what they were intended for, or whether the original grounds for founding them still existed, and whether they should perhaps be abolished or put on a tight leash.

These are questions that should be asked about any large-scale organization. Be they multinational corporations, global banks, Google or indeed the United States of America. We can't just assume these powers, which gather more power as time goes by, share and serve the purposes of the people. What if they gradually come to serve only their own purpose, and it contradicts that of the people? Should we not get that leash out? More...

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Snowden Documentary Confirms Existence of New National Security Whistleblower
by Jon Queally
Posted October 14, 2014

whistleblowers increase'Citizenfour,' the documentary film about global surveillance by filmmaker Laura Poitras, receives standing ovation at film fest and contains scene in which fellow journalist Glenn Greenwald tells Edward Snowden of new source. Though suspicions that a new source within the U.S. government's national security apparatus has been leaking classified and sensitive documents to some of the same journalists that have been reporting on the documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, not until the premiere of Laura Poitras' new documentary film on the subject this weekend have those suspicions been confirmed by any of the journalists with direct knowledge of the facts.

However, in a dramatic revelation for those who have now seen 'Citizenfour'—which debuted at the New York Film Festival on Friday night where it received a standing ovation—a scene captured by Poitras shows award-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald quietly confirming to Snowden the existence of a secord source within the intelligence community who has been sharing highly-secretive information. More...

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How America's Richest 14 Made More Money Than the Entire Food Stamp Budget
by Paul Buchheit
Posted October 8, 2014

never rich enoughFor the second year in a row, America's richest 14 individuals made more from their annual investments than the $80 billion provided for people in need of food. Nearly half of the food-deprived are children. Perversely, the food stamp program was CUT because of a lack of federal funding.

In a testament to the inability — or unwillingness — of Congress to do anything about the incessant upward re-distribution of America's wealth, the richest 14 Americans increased their wealth from $507 billion to $589 billion in ONE YEAR from their investment earnings. As stated by Forbes, "All together the 400 wealthiest Americans are worth a staggering $2.29 trillion, up $270 billion from a year ago."

The America's Richest 14 Made Enough Money to Hire Two Million Pre-School Teachers or Emergency Medical Technicians. More...

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America: The Grim Truth
by Lance Freeman
Posted October 3, 2014

grim truthAmericans, I have some bad news for you: You have the worst quality of life in the developed world – by a wide margin.

If you had any idea of how people really lived in Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and many parts of Asia, you'd be rioting in the streets calling for a better life. In fact, the average Australian or Singaporean taxi driver has a much better standard of living than the typical American white-collar worker.

I know this because I am an American, and I escaped from the prison you call home. I have lived all around the world, in wealthy countries and poor ones, and there is only one country I would never consider living in again: The United States of America. The mere thought of it fills me with dread. More...

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What the Global Status Quo Optimizes
by Charles Hugh Smith
Posted September 28, 2014

protecting elite privilegeThe incestuous embrace of privilege and power by entrenched, socially isolated Elites characterizes failed states and brittle, doomed regimes throughout history. Every system is optimized to serve a specific purpose. As noted in my recent essay What Metric Are We Optimizing For?, what the system optimizes is rarely explicitly stated.

Sometimes this results from not understanding the metric that the system is designed to optimize; but in other cases, explicitly describing what the system optimizes would trigger social instability. The Status Quo around the world--from France to China to the U.S.--is optimized to protect its Elites and the sprawling Upper-Caste of academics, managers, think-tank toadies, technocrats, apparatchiks, functionaries, factotums, lackeys and apologists who serve the Elites, and are well-paid for enforcing the Status Quo on the disenfranchized castes below. More...

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Bread, Circuses and Bombs - Decline of The American Empire
By James Quinn
Posted September 26, 2014

decline of american empireA century of central banking and heavy taxation of the people by bought off politician puppets has coincided with a century of war, depressions, currency debasement, overconsumption, obscene levels of consumer debt, trillions of excessive debt financed government spending, hundreds of trillions in unfunded entitlement liabilities, and a persistent decline in standard of living for the masses due to Federal Reserve manufactured inflation. We have failed to heed the lessons of history. We have repeated the blunders committed by the Romans.

The American Empire will not be murdered by an external force because it is too busy committing suicide. The moneyed interests, corporate oligarchs and their hand-picked politician front men see themselves as conquering heroes. Their colossal hubris and arrogance is only matched by the ignorance, gullibility, quivering fear of bogeymen, and susceptibility to propaganda of the general populace. The Wall Street bankers and feckless politicians are not gods, they are only men. Death is the great equalizer for emperors and peasants alike. The only thing that remains is your legacy and whether you positively impacted the world. It can be unequivocally stated that those in power today are leaving a legacy of despair, destruction, and debt. More...

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The Koch Brothers' 3-Step Plan to Conquer the Next Generation
by Carl Gibson
Posted September 19, 2014

greed across generationsRight-wing oligarchs dominating our political process, like the Koch Brothers, are wealthy beyond measure. Combined, Charles and David Koch are worth over $100 billion, and make $6 million per hour. That translates to over $1600 per second, which is enough to feed someone on food stamps for an entire year. Compare that figure to the $13 million that former Kroger CEO David Dillon earned in his last year with the company, which he called "ludicrous." Their only problem is their age -- David Koch is 74, Charles Koch is 78. For their class to maintain power over American politics and government, they have to make investments in future generations to ensure their ideology will live on beyond them.

It's been well-documented by now how the Koch Brothers are sponsoring economic programs at colleges and universities around the country. By itself, this could be interpreted as philanthropy. There's nothing inherently wrong with a billionaire donating some of his wealth to education. But the greater strategy in the Kochs' chess game isn't just to make themselves wealthier, but a far more sinister one. More...

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Lifting The Fog Of Pretense
by James H. Kunstler
Posted Sept 16, 2014

There are times when events are in charge, not personalities. The unseen forces that hold the affairs of nations and economies in equilibrium dissolve, particles fly out of the many centers, and things heat up toward criticality.

The lies, frauds, and cons run between the axis of Wall Street and Washington had two fatal consequences with still-lagging effects. 1) They destroyed the capacity for markets to establish the real price of anything - rendering markets useless. 2). They disabled capital formation to the degree that we might not have the money to rebuild an economy to replace the "financialized" matrix of rackets that currently pretends to function. A lot of observers like myself have been waiting for the moment when the fog of pretense lifts and exposes all the broken machinery within. We may be so close now that you can smell it. More...

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Profiting from America's Misery
by Paul Bucheit
Posted September 8, 2014

for profit prisonsThe profit motive fogs the thinking of free-market advocates. The Economist gushes, "Take a bow, capitalism...the biggest poverty-reduction measure of all is liberalizing markets to let poor people get richer." Forbes proclaims its belief in "the unmatched power of capitalism to improve human life."

Self-indulgent capitalists have turned much of America against its own best interests by promoting a winner-take-all philosophy that reaps great rewards for a few people at the expense of everyone else. To the neoliberal, vital human needs like health and education are products to be bought and sold.

Here are some other examples of greed and the pain it causes. More...

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The Perverse Roots of the Mentality of More
By Derryl Hermanutz
Posted September 5, 2014

sickness of moreA combination of deification of enormous personal wealth (plutocratic Mammon-worship), and Puritan worship of endless toil to keep idle hands out of the devil's playground, has prevented reasonable public discourse on the topic of structural industrial era unemployment and systematic supplements to the earned income system.

These prejudices run very deep in the US. Many Americans are morally outraged at the very idea of people getting something for nothing, even if there is plenty of extra stuff to go around, nobody with money to buy it, and there is literally nothing "productive" for tens of millions of Americans to do. Even though machines have freed most people from lives of physical labor, people's minds have not been freed from the belief that humanity was born to work, not play. More...

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Dispatches from Occupied Territory – Fear is the Mind Killer
by Cognitive Dissonance
Posted September3, 2014

head in sandYou speak about the horrific realization that everything around us appears to be a bald faced lie with a macabre facade painted on the surface for the benefit of our denial. In particular you mention those private, public and governmental institutions you formerly trusted, even if only up to a certain point. Often what we describe as 'trust' is in reality a debilitating dependency hidden by deep denial. None the less it still feels terrible when it has been violated, particularly when we enabled the violation.

So when we begin our awakening, in many respects we are doing just the opposite. To discover those we have blindly trusted have repeatedly violated us in a most personal and intimate way is so far beyond disturbing that at times it escapes accurate description. Suddenly we see very clearly how for decades there were dozens of warning signs we deliberately ignored or flat out denied. This ugly realization alone is the primary reason so many abandon their journey before they have even begun and rush headlong back into the warm embrace of blackout living and willful denial. More...

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4 Calamities Destroying America's Economy Being Ignored by Elites
by Frithjof Bergmann
Posted August 30, 2014

clueless elitesThe world's current economic and political structures are proving incapable of fixing the global crisis of poverty, unemployment, and dislocation from a viable way of life for the majority of the world's population. Why? Let us begin with one present-day example: Larry Summers, former Secretary of the Treasury and also former chair of the Board of Economic Advisors, recently was the principal guest of the national radio broadcast "On Point." The topic of the hour-long dialogue was growing "inequality."

Summers posited that we are in an oddly slow recovery. He gave some reasons for the slowness but maintained that the measures instigated by the government (the Federal Reserve pumping funds into the economy, and the like) were fundamentally correct, and that with patience and persistence the recovery would solve the problems we have.

This basically is the position of Obama and importantly, by no means only his. Every government in every country subscribes essentially to this same apostolic faith. That faith is pathetic and even grotesquely mistaken. It ignores the four "Tsunami" causes for the globally increasing inequality: More...

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Chris Hedges: "Our Liberty Has Been Sacrificed On The Altar Of National Security"
by Mike Krieger
Posted August 29, 2014

pulling the stringsThe two greatest visions of a future dystopia were George Orwell's "1984" and Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World." The debate, between those who watched our descent towards corporate totalitarianism, was who was right. Would we be, as Orwell wrote, dominated by a repressive surveillance and security state that used crude and violent forms of control? Or would we be, as Huxley envisioned, entranced by entertainment and spectacle, captivated by technology and seduced by profligate consumption to embrace our own oppression? It turns out Orwell and Huxley were both right. Huxley saw the first stage of our enslavement. Orwell saw the second.

We have been gradually disempowered by a corporate state that, as Huxley foresaw, seduced and manipulated us through sensual gratification, cheap mass-produced goods, boundless credit, political theater and amusement. While we were entertained, the regulations that once kept predatory corporate power in check were dismantled, the laws that once protected us were rewritten and we were impoverished. Now that credit is drying up, good jobs for the working class are gone forever and mass-produced goods are unaffordable, we find ourselves transported from "Brave New World" to "1984." The state, crippled by massive deficits, endless war and corporate malfeasance, is sliding toward bankruptcy. It is time for Big Brother to take over from Huxley's feelies, the orgy-porgy and the centrifugal bumble-puppy. We are moving from a society where we are skillfully manipulated by lies and illusions to one where we are overtly controlled. More...

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On Behalf of Monsanto: GMO Food Crops for Ukraine's Bread Basket
By Joyce Nelson
Posted August 26, 2014

GMO = GREEDFinally, a little-known aspect of the crisis in Ukraine is receiving some international attention. On July 28, the California-based Oakland Institute released a report revealing that the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), under terms of their $17 billion loan to Ukraine, would open that country to genetically-modified (GM) crops and genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) in agriculture. The report is entitled "Walking on the West Side: the World Bank and the IMF in the Ukraine Conflict." [1]

In late 2013, the then president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, rejected a European Union association agreement tied to the $17 billion IMF loan, whose terms are only now being revealed. Instead, Yanukovych chose a Russian aid package worth $15 billion plus a discount on Russian natural gas. His decision was a major factor in the ensuing deadly protests that led to his ouster from office in February 2014 and the ongoing crisis.

Ukrainian law bars farmers from growing GM crops. Long considered "the bread basket of Europe," Ukraine's rich black soil is ideal for growing grains, and in 2012 Ukrainian farmers harvested more than 20 million tonnes of corn. More...

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Supremacy: A Social Order of Division, Control and Enslavement
by Kali Ma
Posted August 22, 2014

power- you are hereTo varying degrees, most socio-economic systems in the world today are hierarchical. [1] In a system of hierarchy, individuals occupy social ranks based on their levels of income and wealth, which significantly affect their access to vital resources such as food, shelter, healthcare, and education. In all hierarchies there is a ruling class on top that holds significant social, political, and economic power and whose interests are in direct opposition to those of the masses.

A hierarchical structure is, in essence, about power - the ability to control and shape outcomes that further the interests of the ruling class. Since money is the way to greater freedom, most people intend to move up the hierarchy and buy their way into a new reality. After all, those at the top have the freedom to act in ways most people cannot: they make the rules and break them with impunity; they have access to resources, people and capital that allows them to easily perpetuate their wealth; and their occupations often include those of "socialite," "philanthropist," and some even get paid to party. More...

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Control the Language and You Control the Mind
by Cognitive Dissonace
Posted August 19, 2014

control the mindThis brings us to the subject of propaganda, or the deliberate conflation and distortion of information and knowledge to control and direct thought while confirming prior conditioning. Unlike the purveyors of 'information', who most often are themselves unaware of their own corruption and, absent critical introspection and self examination, will impart this existing corruption upon any information they produce or acquire, thereby spreading the corrupting virus far and wide, the propagandist consciously, deliberately and with malicious intent preys upon the inattentive and indoctrinated to manipulate and feed upon their fears, prejudices and predilections.

While the ultimate goal of propaganda may be to control and direct the herd, the actual technique used is to divide and conquer the population while promoting illusionary goals and aspirations to keep the wage slave crew rowing while they bicker amongst themselves. The carrot and stick approach is particularly effective when we are conditioned to use it upon ourselves and others like us. The only condition more profitable to the corporate masters and the powerful elite than a kept slave is a slave who keeps him or herself under the auspices of freedom, liberty and justice for all. More...

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Order Out Of Chaos: The Doctrine That Runs The World
by Brandon Smith
Posted August 17, 2014

Order out of chaosIf you don't understand the concept of "order out of chaos," then you'll never understand a thing.

Engineered chaos serves several purposes. It provides distraction and cover for the elites to implement other plans that they would rather not have noticed.

The U.S. has now entered into military operations against ISIS insurgents moving rapidly through Iraq's northern regions toward Baghdad. However, if ISIS is the enemy, why did the U.S. and our ally, Saudi Arabia, support and train ISIS agents in Syria as well as Iraq? Is it just irony that our government helped birth ISIS and now the White House is at war with the group? Or is it possible that maybe, just maybe, a greater plan is afoot?

If a crisis of opportunity does not present itself in the time frame you need, why not ENGINEER a crisis to fit your goals? This is a tactic that has been used by elites for generations, and it is called the Hegelian dialectic. More...

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The Worldwide Destruction of the Family Farm. Wall Street's Unprecedented Land Grab
By Colin Todhunter
Posted August 7, 2014

Wall St threatens food supplyA recent review carried out by the organization GRAIN revealed that small farms produce most of the world's food and are more productively efficient than large farms [1].

Facilitated by an appropriate policy framework, small farmers could easily feed the global population. However, small farmers are currently squeezed onto less than a quarter of the world's farmland. The world is fast losing farms and farmers through the concentration of land into the hands of the rich and powerful. The report concluded that if nothing is done to reverse this trend, the world will lose its capacity to feed itself. More...

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How All of Us Are Paying a Heavy Price for Corporate Greed
by Thom Hartman
Posted July 28, 2014

corporate greedThere's a new epidemic spreading across America.It's an epidemic of corporations turning to a business model that helps them get the maximum amount of indirect support from the federal government - by having We the People - the taxpayers - subsidize their workforces.

Basically – they get rich – while the rest of us pay.On October 1st – United Airlines – the third largest airline in North America – is reported to be planing to outsource 630 of its gate agent jobs at 12 airports to private companies.

According to United - the decision to outsource these jobs is a strictly financial one. And boy - will the airline benefit from it. By outsourcing these jobs to the lowest bidder - United will be, by proxy, hiring workers at a wage point that is so low - that these replacement workers are eligible for assistance from programs like food stamps and Medicaid - programs that you and I - American taxpayers - pay for. More...

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The Stealing of America by the Cops, the Courts, the Corporations and Congress
By John Whitehead
Posted July 23, 2014

stealing of AmericaCall it what you will--taxes, penalties, fees or fines--but the only word that truly describes the constant bilking of the American taxpayer by the government and its corporate partners is theft.

We're operating in a topsy-turvy Sherwood Forest where instead of Robin Hood and his merry band of thieves stealing from the rich to feed the poor, you've got the government and its merry band of corporate thieves stealing from the poor to fatten the wallets of the rich. In this way, the poor get poorer and the rich get richer. All the while, the American Dream of peace, prosperity, and liberty has turned into a nightmare of endless wars, debilitating debt, and outright tyranny. More...

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The Rise of the Non-Working Rich
by Robert Reich
Posted July 17, 2014

non working richThe "self-made" man or woman, which was the symbol of American meritocracy, has disappeared. Since when was our meritocracy replaced by a permanent aristocracy and democracy undermined by wealth? In a new Pew poll, more than three quarters of self-described conservatives believe "poor people have it easy because they can get government benefits without doing anything."

In reality, most of America's poor work hard, often in two or more jobs. The real non-workers are the wealthy who inherit their fortunes. And their ranks are growing. In fact, we're on the cusp of the largest inter-generational wealth transfer in history. More...

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Servants of Power: Higher Education in an Era of Corporate Control
By Peter Seybold
Posted July 10, 2014

Justice Powell wanted business control of law and politicsOver the last 40 years, we have witnessed a dramatic change in the structure of power in the United States. Since the mid-1970s, a one-sided class war has taken place and the ruling class has been winning. It has altered the relationship between capitalism and democracy, and in turn has subjugated a variety of institutions to the logic of capitalism.

The most insidious effect which hegemony has had on American society is that it has shifted the range of debate to the right and redefined the acceptable policy options available to the major political parties.

Academia has really been slow to assess the changing dynamics of capitalism and the erosion of democracy in the United States. Those who have written about this tidal wave of change have been marginalized by being labeled conspiracy theorists or radicals with an axe to grind - or professors who have not been able to climb the ladder to academic stardom. More...

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Was the Department of Defense Behind Facebook's Controversial Manipulation Study?
by Michael Krieger
Posted July 5, 2014

facebook spyingSo it seems that Facebook and the U.S. military are likely working together to study civil unrest and work on ways to manipulate the masses into apathy or misguided feelings of contentment in the face of continued banker and oligarch theft. This is extremely disturbing, but this whole affair is highly troubling in spite of this.

What we basically need to do as a society is completely update our laws. For starters, if a private corporation is going to lets say totally violate your most basic civil liberties as defined under the Bill of Rights, a simple terms of service agreement should not be sufficient. For more invasive violations of such rights, perhaps a one page simple-to-read document explaining clearly which of your basic civil liberties you are giving away should be mandatory. More...

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The Pitchforks Are Coming… For Us Plutocrats
By Nick Hannauer
Posted July 1, 2014

PlutocracyLet's speak frankly to each other. I'm not the smartest guy you've ever met, or the hardest-working. I was a mediocre student. I'm not technical at all—I can't write a word of code. What sets me apart, I think, is a tolerance for risk and an intuition about what will happen in the future. Seeing where things are headed is the essence of entrepreneurship. And what do I see in our future now?

I see pitchforks.

But the problem isn't that we have inequality. Some inequality is intrinsic to any high-functioning capitalist economy. The problem is that inequality is at historically high levels and getting worse every day. Our country is rapidly becoming less a capitalist society and more a feudal society. Unless our policies change dramatically, the middle class will disappear, and we will be back to late 18th-century France. Before the revolution. And so I have a message for my fellow filthy rich, for all of us who live in our gated bubble worlds: Wake up, people. It won't last. More...

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Sarajevo Is The Fulcrum Of Modern History: The Great War And Its Terrible Aftermath
by David Stockman
Posted June 30, 2014

David StockmanUnfortunately, modern historiography wants to keep the Great War sequestered in a four-year span of archival curiosities about battles, mustard gas and monuments to the fallen. But the opposite historiography is more nearly the truth. The assassins at Sarajevo triggered the very warp and woof of the hundred years which followed.

The Great War was self-evidently an epochal calamity, especially for the 20 million combatants and civilians who perished for no reason that is discernible in any fair reading of history, or even unfair one. Yet the far greater calamity is that  Europe’s senseless fratricide of 1914-1918 gave birth to all the great evils of the 20th century— the Great Depression, totalitarian genocides, Keynesian economics,  permanent  warfare states, rampaging central banks and the exceptionalist-rooted follies of America’s global imperialism. More...

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The open source revolution is coming and it will conquer the 1% - ex CIA spy
by Nafez Ahmed
Posted June 27, 2014

conquering the richSteele is hugely respected by senior military intelligence experts across the world. As a researcher at the US Army War College's Strategic Studies Institute, he has authored several monographs advocating the need for open source methods to transform the craft of intelligence. He has lectured to the US State Department and Department of Homeland Security as well as National Security Councils in various countries, and his new book has received accolades from senior intelligence officials across multiple countries including France and Turkey.

Yet he remains an outspoken critic of US intelligence practices and what he sees as their integral role in aggravating rather than ameliorating the world's greatest threats and challenges. More...

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The Surveillance/Police State - Assisting the Dismantling of Inalienable Rights
by Cognitive Dissonance
Posted June 25, 2014

surveillance stateRegardless of your ultimate view of the surveillance police state, the 'evil' forces behind it and the direction the country and world is headed, the fact remains it would not exist without support from the average Jane and Joe, even if that support expresses in the form of enthusiastic cheerleading, begrudging acceptance, passive obedience, anxious trepidation, angry denunciations or fierce resistance. This is true in all cases unless you 'believe' that people, places and things 'make' you do things, therefore you and those around you are powerless victims and essentially slaves to the machine.

As comforting as it may be to view ourselves as victims of the powers that be (but most certainly not slaves since we are free range chickens) if this were true then why the preoccupation by those in charge with acquiring our consent, whether directly expressed or passively/reluctantly given? Even as the surveillance state ratchets up several notches each year, not to mention draconian laws that foretell of a dramatic escalation in the Fascist police state tactics, the general meme still put forth is to cajole, convince or confiscate our free will through our willing, often passive, consent. More...

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$1 Million A Month - What Ex-NSA Chief Alexander Charges Wall Street For "Advice"
by Mike Krieger
Posted June 23, 2014

spy chief AlexanderSo what's a Peeping Tom, anti-democratic, Constitution-trampling intelligence crony to do after leaving decades of "public service?" Move into the private sector and collect a fat paycheck from Wall Street, naturally. Following in the footsteps of some of the other top tier public sector cronies looking to cash out after doing their best to destroy the Republic, such as Banana Ben Bernanke collecting $250,000 per speech and Turbo Tax Timmy Geithner hopping over to private equity giant Warburg Pincus, Mr. Alexander is in good crooked company.

So what is Mr. Alexander charging for his expertise? He's looking for $1 million per month. Yes, you read that right. That's the rate that his firm, IronNet Cybersecurity Inc., pitched to Wall Street's largest lobbying group the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA), which ultimately negotiated it down to a mere $600,000 a month. In case you need a refresher on how much of a slimy character this guy is, I suggest you read the following posts: More...

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Debt, Civic Decay, Global Disorder - Fourth Turning Accelerating
by James Quinn
Posted June 19, 2014

turn off the TVThe current state of our economic, financial, political and judicial systems, along with the fraying social fabric of society reflects EXTREME dysfunction and in no way exhibits anything resembling a normal state of affairs. The government apparatchiks, corporate media talking heads, Wall Street captured economists, and lackeys for billionaire oligarchs are highly paid liars using every Bernaysian trick to manipulate the beliefs, desires, and prejudices of the willfully ignorant masses.

They capitalize on the cognitive dissonance and normalcy bias being practiced by the majority of people in the country. Like a dog chasing its tail, they have the public up in arms about meaningless social issues and ignoring the looting of the country by sociopathic bankers. More...

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5,000 Years of History Shows that Mass Spying Is Always Aimed at Crushing Dissent
by Washington's Blog
Posted June 8, 2014

surveillance stateUnfortunately, spying hasn't been limited to defense against external enemies. As documented below, tyrants have long spied on their own people in order to maintain power and control … and crush dissent.

Laidler notes:

The rise of city states and empires … meant that each needed to know not only the disposition and morale of their enemy, but also the loyalty and general sentiment of their own population. Benevolent rulers don't need to spy on their own people like tyrants do. More...

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10 Disgustingly Rich Companies That Will Do Anything To Avoid Paying Taxes
by Bill Moyers
Posted June 1, 2014

phizer pays no taxesThis week, Bill speaks to Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz, who argues that we must reform the tax code and stop subsidizing tax dodgers. A recent report by Americans for Tax Fairness suggests that corporate taxes are near a 60-year low — and that's partially because corporations have become adept at not paying their share.

Here's a list of 10 tax-dodging corporations excerpted from the Americans for Tax Fairness report. More...

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Florida Couple Fined $746 For Crime Of Feeding Homeless People
By Scott Keyes
Posted May 31, 2014

feeding homelessAfter feeding the hungry in a Daytona Beach park every weekend for more than a year, it's just as easy to imagine Chico and Debbie Jimenez given a ticker-tape parade as what they actually got: a slew of citations and a permanent ban from the park.

According to the group's Facebook page, Chico and Debbie, along with four volunteers, were each given multiple 2nd degree misdemeanor citations. The fines totaled $373 per person, $2,238 for the group. The police also permanently banned the group from Manatee Island Park. "We both have made a lot of good friends in the park and are devastated that we are banned the Manatee Park forever," Debbie wrote. "I am heartbroken." More...

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The Social Cost of GMOs
By Paul Craig Roberts (Asst. Sec. of the US Treasury in the Reagan Administration)
Posted May 25, 2014

Monsanto will stop humanityEcological economists such as Herman Daly write that the more full the world becomes, the higher are the social or external costs of production. Social or external costs are costs of production that are not captured in the price of the products. For example, dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico that result from chemicals used in agriculture are not included as costs in agricultural production. The price of food does not include the damage to the Gulf.

Food production is a source of large social costs. Indeed, it seems that the more food producers are able to lower the measured cost of food production, the higher the social costs imposed on society. More...

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'Tide is Turning' as Oregon Voters Overwhelmingly Approve Ban of GE Crops
by Lauren McCauley
Posted May 24, 2014

GMO ban gaining strengthIn a victory for sustainable food advocates everywhere, two counties in Oregon on Tuesday voted to ban the cultivation of genetically engineered (GE) crops.

Despite an onslaught of spending by agribusiness giants such as DuPont and Monsanto, voters in Jackson County and Josephine County overwhelming took a stand for measures protecting "seed sovereignty and local control" of food systems. The Jackson Measure 15-119 passed 66-34 percent, while the Josephine County Measure 17-58 passed 58-42 percent.

"It's a great day for the people of Oregon who care about sustainability and healthy ecosystems!" GMO Free Oregon wrote on their Facebook page after receiving the final tally. More...

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Congress Guts Anti-NSA Spying Bill Beyond Recognition; Original Cosponsor Justin Amash Votes No
by Michael Krieger
Posted May 23, 2014

One nation, under surveillanceBeing the fighter that he is, Amash regrouped and came back with an anti-NSA spying bill with some teeth to it: The USA Freedom Act. This bill concerned the establishment to such a degree that Senator Feinstein launched her own competing bill, which believe it or not, intended to codify the NSA's unconstitutional practices into law.

In the end, what the status quo did was water down the once robust USA Freedom Act into oblivion. Don't take my word for it, Justin Amash wrote the following on his Facebook page:

Today, I will vote no on ‪#‎HR3361‬, the ‪#‎USAFREEDOMAct‬. I am an original cosponsor of the Freedom Act, and I was involved in its drafting. At its best, the Freedom Act would have reined in the government's unconstitutional domestic spying programs, ended the indiscriminate collection of Americans' private records, and made the secret FISA court function more like a real court—with real arguments and real adversaries. More...

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They Can't Outlaw The Revolution
by Chris Hedges
Posted May 21, 2014

not too big to jailCecily McMillan, the Occupy activist who on Monday morning will appear before a criminal court in New York City to be sentenced to up to seven years on a charge of assaulting a police officer, sat in a plastic chair wearing a baggy, oversized gray jumpsuit, cheap brown plastic sandals and horn-rim glasses. Other women, also dressed in prison-issued gray jumpsuits, sat nearby in the narrow, concrete-walled visitation room clutching their children, tears streaming down their faces. The children, bewildered, had their arms wrapped tightly around their mothers' necks. It looked like the disaster scene it was.

"It's all out in the open here," said the 25-year-old student, who was to have graduated May 22 with a master's degree from The New School of Social Research in New York City. "The cruelty of power can't hide like it does on the outside. You get America, everything America has become, especially for poor people of color in prison. More...

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Why Propaganda About Generational Warfare Is Dangerous and Wrong
by Steven Rosenfeld
Posted May 19, 2014

Social securityYou might think that understanding what makes each generation unique, and how those factors end up shaping historical challenges would be of endless interest and concern to parents, educators and politicans. Instead, what we're seeing today is a rising wave of ill-informed and ugly generational warfare mongering. Led by people such as billionaire investor Pete Peterson, who has long wanted to privatize Social Security, they are trying to incite anger and jealousy in younger Americans by erroneously suggesting that older Americans are stealing their futures.

Newcomers to this bandwagon include MSNBC's Abby Huntsman, whose commentaries seek to foment Millennial anger; Pew Research Center special projects chief Paul Taylor, who told NPR while hawking his book on the coming Boomer-Millennial clash, "We've got to rebalance the social safety net so it's fair to all generations;" and even Salon.com, which writes headlines like, "Waiting for a millennial revolution: Could baby boomers' worst nightmare finally come true." The list goes on. More...

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How the Middle Class Lifestyle Became Unaffordable
by Charles Hugh Smith
Posted May 11, 2014

middle class collapseWhy have the costs of a middle class lifestyle soared while income has stagnated?Though it is tempting to finger one ideologically convenient cause or another, there are four structural causes to this long-term trend.

The key take-away here is that the first two causes are structural and cannot be changed by passing a law or funding another state bureaucracy. Though many believe they can tax global corporate capital to eliminate wealth inequality, capital is mobile and will move to where it can expand. The dominance of money in politics also means that the political machinery is for sale to the highest bidder, which just so happens to be global capital.

Since financialization rewards both capital and the central state that depends on tax revenue, reversing financialization politically is a non-starter. More...

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Who Is Behind the Pain Killer Epidemic? Big Pharma, Of Course
by Martha Rosenberg
Posted May 9, 2014

big pharma behind addiction epidemicThere is good news and bad news when it comes to the nation's decade-long opioid/heroin addiction epidemic. The good news is the government has cracked down on pill mills, strengthened warnings on pill labels and approved an injectable form of naloxone which reverses heroin overdoses and will reduce deaths in the hands of caregivers and police.

The bad news is on the same day the FDA announced plans to tighten restrictions on hydrocodone combination products like Vicodin, it approved the long-acting drug Zohydro made from hydrocodone bitartrate which has five to 10 times the abuse potential of the infamous OxyContin. The FDA did so over the objections of many medical and public health groups and its own advisory committee. More...

The people who are responsible for addicting our youth for their own personal gain will have some very serious explaining to do on judgement day.

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Technology and the Future of Jobs
by BATR
Posted May 3, 2014

future of jobsTechnological development coupled with favorable political treatment is regularly the formula for massive accumulation of fortune. However, the horrendous social distortions that inexorably follows such distortions in income, much less the fact that the disappearance in living wage employment of the masses cannot be ignored without fundamental political upheaval.

Once innovated technology of a Henry Ford raised the living standards and was a benefit for society. Today's objective is to remove or eliminate the middle class as the gap in meaningful employment widens. Added leisure time has no significance if spent on playing games on an IPAD, while living off welfare government programs. More...

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Five Stunning Facts About America's Prison System You Haven't Heard
By Sean Kerrigan
Posted May 1, 2014

broken prison system and societyAmerica's massive prison system is creating a long list of unintended consequences, some of which will effect all of us in the coming years. To help explain just how bad things have gotten, we've compiled this list of the most stunning facts and statistics on the America's prison system today.

Prisoners can be denied communication with their fellow inmates, or forbidden from voluntary associations including union membership. Obviously, they are denied their freedom to leave the prison, but they are also forced to work unpaid or for extremely low wages. Prisoners are effectively being bought and sold to private corporations who are using them as cheap labor for private gains. There is also a market for younger and healthier prisoners because their healthcare cost make them less expensive to hold. Private prison contracts allow the transfer of prisoners to state run institutions. If this is not slavery, then what is? More...

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Suspicious Deaths of Bankers Are Now Classified as "Trade Secrets" by Federal Regulator
By Pam Martens and Russ Martens
Posted April 29, 2014

JP Morgan headquartersIt doesn't get any more Orwellian than this: Wall Street mega banks crash the U.S. financial system in 2008. Hundreds of thousands of financial industry workers lose their jobs. Then, beginning late last year, a rash of suspicious deaths start to occur among current and former bank employees. Next we learn that four of the Wall Street mega banks likely hold over $680 billion face amount of life insurance on their workers, payable to the banks, not the families. We ask their Federal regulator for the details of this life insurance under a Freedom of Information Act request and we're told the information constitutes "trade secrets."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the life expectancy of a 25 year old male with a Bachelor's degree or higher as of 2006 was 81 years of age. But in the past five months, five highly educated JPMorgan male employees in their 30s and one former employee aged 28, have died under suspicious circumstances, including three of whom allegedly leaped off buildings – a statistical rarity even during the height of the financial crisis in 2008. More...

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An Open Letter to Sam Zell: Why Your Statements are Delusional and Dangerous
by Michael Krieger
Posted April 14, 2014

delusionalIndividuals, social classes, even cultures and nation-states develop storylines and so-called "myths" about themselves and how they fit into the bigger picture of current events and human history. We all see ourselves and whatever group(s) with which we identify within a particular social, political and economic context. This is obvious, yet it is much more difficult to look at your owns myths and question them. It is far easier to look at other groups' myths and heap criticism on them. That is basically all you do.

Your misdiagnosis of the root cause of the current dissent in America is a result of your obliviousness to the actual concerns of the 99%. A group about which you speak with such certainty, yet certainly know almost nothing about. More...

The mutual admiration society of cronies at the top of organizations have convinced themselves that their skimming of value adding labor from their workers is no longer worth 30 times the average worker’s salary, as it was in the past, but now 300 times the average worker’s salary. Would Zell say that this happened because the cronies are now working 10 times harder than they were in the past or that they are simply in a position of power where they can demand 10 times more parasitic tribute.

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Global Rankings Study Depicts an America in Warp Speed Decline
by CJ Werleman
Posted April 11, 2014

US decliningWhile the U.S. enjoys the second highest per capita GDP of $45,336, it ranks in an underperforming 16th place overall. It gets worse. The U.S. ranks 70th in health, 69th in ecosystem sustainability, 39th in basic education, 34th in access to water and sanitation and 31st in personal safety.

More surprising is the fact that despite being the home country of global tech heavyweights Microsoft, Cisco, IBM, Oracle, and so on, the U.S. ranks a disappointing 23rd in access to the Internet. "It's astonishing that for a country that has Silicon Valley, lack of access to information is a red flag," notes Michael Green, executive director of the Social Progress Imperative, which oversees the index.

If this index is an affront to your jingoistic sensibilities, the U.S. remains in first place for the number of incarcerated citizens per capita, adult onset diabetes and for believing in angels. More...

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In The US, Democracy Is Now A Sham
by Club Orlov Blog
Posted April 10, 2014

democracy a shamThe founding principle for this new form of government which emerged in the 18th century, was that the Common Man was the ultimate source of power. Citizen legislators would enact the laws and shape the nation's destiny. But instead, our republic is now strong-armed by professional politicians. The two dominant concerns of these careerists are to STAY in power and to do the bidding of those who ENABLE them to stay in power. Anyone who doubts this statement might try explaining why campaign finance reform and term limits are perennially "off the table." Actually, that is an understatement - they aren't even in the building.

It is bad enough that the President, Congress and the Courts serve the interests of a minority that is so tiny that it is almost microscopic. What is even worse, is WHO that elite constituency is. It is exclusively THE BIGS: Big banks, Big corporations, Big agriculture, Big energy, Big pharmaceuticals, Big health care, Big high tech and the BIGGEST of them all - the military-industrial complex. More...

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Neoliberalism and the Machinery of Disposability
By Henry A Giroux
Posted April 9, 2014

disposable peopleUnder the regime of neoliberalism, especially in the United States, war has become an extension of politics as almost all aspects of society have been transformed into a combat zone. Americans now live in a society in which almost everyone is spied on, considered a potential terrorist, and subject to a mode of state and corporate lawlessness in which the arrogance of power knows no limits. The state of exception has become normalized.

What has emerged in this new historical conjuncture is an intensification of the practice of disposability in which more and more individuals and groups are now considered excess, consigned to zones of abandonment, surveillance and incarceration. Moreover, this politics of disappearance has been strengthened by a fundamental intensification of increasing depoliticization, conducted largely through new modes of spying and the smothering, if not all-embracing, market-driven power of commodification and consumption. More...

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Recipie For Revolt: America is Wealthier But Americans Are Poorer
by David Cay Johnson
Posted April 8, 2014

wealth gapWhen wages do not grow but the cost of living rises, people have a reduced capacity to save and invest. Those among the less well off who had saved only to join the ranks of the long-term unemployed have had to sell some or all of their investments to those who are better off.

How government policies worsen the nation's income and wealth disparities comes into sharp focus in a new government report on capital gains. The short story: Investing is gaining and work declining as sources of income. More...

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'Just Salute and Follow Orders': When Secrecy and Surveillance Trump the Rule of Law
by John W. Whitehead
Posted April 3, 2014

just salute and follow ordersThere's President Obama's gaffe on the Tonight Show: "We don't have a domestic spying program," which is downright laughable in light of this past year's revelations about domestic spying by the National Security Agency. But if that still doesn't push you over the edge into near hysterics, here's one guaranteed to get the biggest laugh of all, at least from those clear-sighted enough to grasp the irony of a politician talking about "trust".

What's not at all amusing, of course, is the fact that our nation is riddled with all manner of problems, and it's because we have government officials in the executive branch, Congress, and the courts incapable of abiding by the Constitution. These people have proven time and again that they cannot be trusted to do what they say, and they certainly can't be trusted to abide by their oaths of office to uphold and defend the Constitution. More...

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More Americans Killed By Police Than By Terrorists: With Crime Down, Why Is Police Aggression Up?
By Dave Lindorff
Posted March 24, 2014

police militarizationYou might not know it from watching TV news, but FBI statistics show that crime in the U.S.—including violent crime—has been trending steadily downward for years, falling 19% between 1987 and 2011. The job of being a police officer has become safer too, as the number of police killed by gunfire plunged to 33 last year, down 50% from 2012, to its lowest level since, wait for it, 1887, a time when the population was 75% lower than it is today. So why are we seeing an ever increasing militarization of policing across the country?

Given the good news on crime, what are we to make of a report by the Justice Policy Institute, a not-for-profit justice reform group, showing that state and local spending on police has soared from $40 billion in 1982 to more than $100 billion in 2012. Adding in federal spending on law enforcement, including the FBI, Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Drug Enforcement Agency and much of the Homeland Security Department budget, as well as federal grants to state and local law enforcement more than doubles that total. A lot of that money is simply pay and benefits. The federal Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that the ranks of state and local law enforcement personnel alone swelled from 603,000 to 794,000 between 1992 and 2010. That's about two-thirds as many men and women as the entire active-duty US military. More...

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Take These Steps Today To Survive An International Crisis
by Brandon Smith
Posted March 22, 2014

prepare for a crisisIt is now impossible to ignore the potential threat to our economy. No longer can people claim that "perhaps" there will be a crisis someday, that perhaps "five or 10 years" down the road we will have to face the music. No, the threat is here now, and it is very real. The loss of the dollar's world reserve status will destroy the only thread holding up its value, namely, investor faith. There are only two possible outcomes from that point onward:

A) The U.S. will be forced to default because no nation will purchase our Treasury bonds and support our debt spending, causing the dollar's value to implode.

B) The Fed will choose to restart and expand quantitative easing measures, confiscate pension funds, raid bank accounts or issue new taxes in order to keep the system afloat; this will also end in the eventual collapse of dollar value and hyperinflation. More...

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The Poisons of Extreme Wealth and Inequality
By Richard Waddell
Posted March 21, 2014

extreme wealthWealth, poverty, and inequality are all - in excess - poisonous to our nation. They poison our economy, political system, education system, justice system and our culture.

As demonstrated over and over, those with excess wealth are keen to protect that wealth and to add more. One of their favored investments is real estate, but available and suitable properties are limited. Excess wealth chasing limited supplies drives up prices so the average young family must scrimp and save for years before they can buy their own home. For many, the American dream will fizzle out. More...

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How the NSA Plans to Infect 'Millions' of Computers with Malware
By Ryan Gallagher and Glenn Greenwald
Posted March 17, 2014

big brother is watchingTop-secret documents reveal that the National Security Agency is dramatically expanding its ability to covertly hack into computers on a mass scale by using automated systems that reduce the level of human oversight in the process.

The classified files – provided previously by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden – contain new details about groundbreaking surveillance technology the agency has developed to infect potentially millions of computers worldwide with malware "implants." The clandestine initiative enables the NSA to break into targeted computers and to siphon out data from foreign Internet and phone networks. More...

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The World's Coming Trillionaires
Christina Sarich
Posted March 8, 2014

greed, gluttony, slavery for the restThis society – our society, according to a recent Credit Suisse annual Global Wealth Report will create 11 trillionaires in the next decade. The report also states that global wealth has more than doubled in the past ten years – so where did all the money go?

Our monetary system is run for bankers, by bankers. Our health-care system is run by pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies for their own gain. Billionaires at the top of biotech and agricultural corporations, given 'personhood', dictate our food supply, and our energy supply is held hostage by equal maniacal greed. The 'military' – well that system isn't in place to protect you and I, the average citizen, it is in place to protect the banks, the pharmaceutical companies and the corporations. The politicians – they aren't in their positions to be 'the voice of the people' – they are there to act with herd-like mentality, propping up the centralist agenda, and to go home to bed thinking they are safe from the trajectory of their ill-imagined actions. This society allows for a huge displacement of wealth, and the stealing of resources from every conceivable area to form a massive load of debt – one so huge it enslaves us for decades, if not centuries to come to the elite class. More...

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Meet the Company That Can Track Everywhere You've Been and Tell Police About It
By Tana Ganeva
Posted March 7, 2014

corporate run around of consitutionLast month, the Department of Homeland Security called for bids on a national license plate tracking system. The database would contain information from license-plate-reader cameras that scan and log passing cars and assist Immigration and Customs Enforcement in hunting down "criminal aliens and absconders," according to the contract proposal. As the Washington Post pointed out, DHS failed to address the privacy issues that might arise from recording the movements of anyone who's ever been in a car.

After the bid unleashed a torrent of criticism and bad publicity, DHS canceled the contract proposal and claimed that ICE leadership didn't even know about this effort to up their game. Everyone relaxed; DHS was not trying to build a database of everybody's vehicular movements after all. As it turns out, DHS didn't need a national license-plate database, because such a database already exists. It's run by a private company called Vigilant Solutions and ICE and other law enforcement agencies have been dipping into it for years, according to documents obtained by ACLU Massachusetts. More...

So the government can now claim that they are not violating the constitution because they outsourced the spying to corporations. Great way to work around the constitution.

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The Conspiracy Theory Is True: Agents Infiltrate Websites Intending To "Manipulate, Deceive, And Destroy Reputations"
by Zero Hedge
Posted February 27, 2014

government deceptionIn the annals of internet conspiracy theories, none is more pervasive than the one speculating paid government plants infiltrate websites, social network sites, and comment sections with an intent to sow discord, troll, and generally manipulate, deceive and destroy reputations. Guess what: it was all true.

And this time we have a pretty slideshow of formerly confidential data prepared by the UK NSA equivalent, the GCHQ, to confirm it, and Edward Snowden to thank for disclosing it. The messenger in this case is Glenn Greenwald, who has released the data in an article in his new website, firstlook.org, which he summarizes as follows: "by publishing these stories one by one, our NBC reporting highlighted some of the key, discrete revelations: the monitoring of YouTube and Blogger, the targeting of Anonymous with the very same DDoS attacks they accuse "hacktivists" of using, the use of "honey traps" (luring people into compromising situations using sex) and destructive viruses. But, here, I want to focus and elaborate on the overarching point revealed by all of these documents: namely, that these agencies are attempting to control, infiltrate, manipulate, and warp online discourse, and in doing so, are compromising the integrity of the internet itself." Call it Stasi for "Generation Internet." More...

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LAPD Goes to Israel, Falls in Love With Drones and Mass Surveillance
By Rania Khalek
Posted February 26, 2014

drones over the U.S.The Jewish Journal has an incredible write-up of the Los Angeles Police Department's (LAPD) recent visit to Israel. For nine days early this month, eight of the LAPD's highest ranking officers toured Israel on a trip organized by LAPD Deputy Chief and commander of the Counter-Terrorism and Special Operations Bureau, Michael Downing, and headed by LAPD Information Technology Bureau commander Horace Frank.

Though LAPD officers have visited Israel in the past, this appears to have been the most high-level trip to date. But this was not your typical propaganda tour. Instead of stopping at the Western Wall or Yad Vesham as many foreign dignitaries do, officers visited Israel's private security firms and drone manufacturers, most of them formed by veterans of the Israeli military's top-secret 8200 Unit, which, like the US National Security Agency, engages in mass spying and cyber warfare. More...

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Inequality worse now than on 'Downton Abbey
by Brett Arends
Posted February 25, 2014

even worse than aristocracyU.S. fans of the hit British TV series, whose latest season ended last night, may think they are looking through a window at a lost world of privilege and poverty, aristocrats and servants, "upstairs" and "down."
But they should think again. A research paper to be presented this week at the National Bureau of Economic Research, a leading think tank, will confirm that the U.S. today has become as unequal as the England of the Earl of Grantham, Lady Mary, Daisy the kitchen maid and Carson the butler a hundred years ago.

In the U.S. today, the top 0.01% enjoy wealth well beyond what Lady Edith and her ilk possessed in the 1920s. The richest take home a higher share of national income in America today than did the aristocrats and superrich of 1920s England. The poor today take home a smaller share than the butlers, chauffeurs and other working folk did back then. More...

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Privatized Government Services Lead to Millions for Corporate CEOs
by Nick Schwellenbach
Posted February 22, 2014

for profit prison complexState and local governments around the country have sold off functions that once were provided largely, if not entirely, by government workers. But it is becoming increasingly clear that that these privatization deals not only reduce democratic control over services the public pays for, but, despite attacks on the public sector, outsourcing is often more expensive to boot.

Yesterday, the latest round of evidence was published by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), a nonprofit organization. Its report, EXPOSED: America's Highest Paid Government Workers, documents the not-so-pretty reality of outsourcing our public services to for-profit companies. It focuses on the salaries of corporate CEOs.

"Given these astronomical salaries, and evidence of higher prices, poor service, and at times outright malfeasance, taxpayers have every right to be concerned about how their outsourced dollars are spent," said Lisa Graves, executive director of CMD, in a written statement. More...

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The Spoils of War: Afghanistan's Multibillion Dollar Heroin Trade
By Prof Michel Chossudovsky
Posted February 20, 2014

US troops poppy fieldsWashington's Hidden Agenda: Restore the Drug Trade. Since the US led invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001, the Golden Crescent opium trade has soared. According to the US media, this lucrative contraband is protected by Osama, the Taliban, not to mention, of course, the regional warlords, in defiance of the "international community".

The proceeds of the drug trade are deposited in the banking system. Drug money is laundered in the numerous offshore banking havens in Switzerland, Luxembourg, the British Channel Islands, the Cayman Islands and some 50 other locations around the globe. It is here that the criminal syndicates involved in the drug trade and the representatives of the world's largest commercial banks interact. Dirty money is deposited in these offshore havens, which are controlled by the major Western commercial banks. The latter have a vested interest in maintaining and sustaining the drug trade. (For further details, see Michel Chossudovsky, The Crimes of Business and the Business of Crimes, Covert Action Quarterly, Fall 1996)

Once the money has been laundered, it can be recycled into bona fide investments not only in real estate, hotels, etc, but also in other areas such as the services economy and manufacturing. Dirty and covert money is also funneled into various financial instruments including the trade in derivatives, primary commodities, stocks, and government bonds. More...

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The Devil's 2014 Missive To His Minions
by Charles Hugh-Smith
Posted February 18, 2014

letter The Devil pens a motivational letter to his minions in America. Through means I am unable to disclose, I have obtained a copy of the Devil's New Year's missive to his minions in America. Though it appears He delivered his letter on January 1, it has taken me until after Lunar New Year to obtain a copy. The Devil's gleeful anticipation of America's ruination by 2015 should give us pause.

Though my minions have long sown festering seeds of hate and disharmony in that now-benighted land, only recently have my favored weapons of destruction--leverage, debt, half-truths and endless, preening justifications for self-aggrandizement, greed, sloth, lust, pride, envy, anger and gluttony--have been unleashed to worm their way into the stricken heart of that Republic. My most treasured hopes of destitution and conflict in the U.S.A. are nearing fruition. More...

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Feeding the World - or feeding the Corporations?
by Graciela Romero
Posted February 15, 2014

small farmers feed AfricaTickets to today's Feeding the World conference in London cost £695 - a sure way to exclude the small and family farmers that produce 70% of the world's food. Graciela Romero denounces the global corporate takeover of land, food and farming.

This gathering is not for those not with legitimacy, but for those with the political and economic power to shape the global food system. Today sees The Economist boost multi-million pound business as the notorious Monsanto's chief executive sits alongside UN representatives at the magazine's Feeding the World 2014 conference in London.

Solutions only from the uber-wealthy. Yet, despite so many people facing a chronic lack of food, the conference once again devotes much of its space to claimed solutions from the super-rich on how to address the crisis. More...

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It Doesn't Have To Be This Way
by Charles Hugh-Smith
Posted Jan 6, 2014

mindless TV"Induce people all to want the same thing, hate the same things, feel the same threat, then their behavior is already captive--you have acquired your consumers or your cannon-fodder." The potential for transformation can be expressed in one simple phrase: it doesn't have to be this way.

The structures that benefit from dominating the current system maintain their dominance by convincing us that "the way it is" is inevitable and impervious to systemic change. That is the primary mythology that generates and maintains their dominance.

The second level of dominance is created by persuading us that not only is the current "way the world works" inevitable, it is the best way possible because it enables self-expression and convenience via consumption.

The essence of dominance is not force (which is only deployed when there is no other way to maintain dominance) but the molding and internalization of a specific set of beliefs about how the world works. These beliefs include a set of values and myths that guide our behavior and how we experience the world around us.

All the structures that dominate our society and economy (the central state, crony-capitalist cartels, the Federal Reserve, the financialization/banking sector, those benefiting from Empire) need do is persuade us that their dominance is not only inevitable and natural but ideal. More...

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The 20 Richest Americans: Takers, Not Makers
by Paul Bucheit
Posted Jan 28, 2014

living off the labor of othersThe top individuals on the 2013 Forbes 400 list are generally believed to be makers of great companies or concepts. They are the role models of Paul Ryan, who laments, "We're going to a majority of takers versus makers in America." They are defended by Cato Institute CEO John A. Allison IV, who once protested: "Instead of an attack on the 1 percent, let's call it an attack on the very productive."

But many of the richest Americans are takers. The top twenty, with a total net worth of almost two-thirds of a trillion dollars, have all taken from the public or from employees, or through taxes or untaxed inheritances. The richest Americans keep making money. And they're taking the rest of us for all they can get. More...

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Report:State of Power, Exposing the Davos Class
By Nick Buxton
Posted Jan 27, 2014

DAVOS partyThe Transnational Institute is proud to launch its third annual 'State of Power' report as the World Economic Forum meets in Davos. This anthology exposes and analyses the principal power-brokers, members of the "Davos class", who have caused financial, economic, social and ecological crises worldwide. Unless we know which elites control our wealth and resources, understand how they influence political and social processes, and can identify the systems, structures and policies by which they maintain their power, TNI believes our hopes for advancing social and environmental justice are slim. Justice demands a recalibration of power and that requires us to better understand it.

This collection of essays and accompanying infographics draws attention to key dimensions of power and its exercise in our globalised world. These contributions first highlight how power is hidden and concealed. The peasants who lose land or whose river is polluted by mining may not know the name of the owner or corporation threatening their livelihood. They certainly will not know which transnationals are buying the minerals, the politicians who signed the trade deals to facilitate its extraction, or the elusive corporate lobbying groups that successfully pushed through those deals. More...

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Davos' Elite Message Deserves 'Fierce Resistance' Not Applause
by Jon Queally
Posted Jan 26, 2014

Davos security to protect the plutocratsCorporations represented at global gathering are cause of crises they claim to want to solve.As the World Economic Forum kicks off its global summit in Davos, Switzerland on Wednesday, critics of the annual gathering are eager to show that the well-polished public image of the event should not be allowed to eclipse the nefarious and destructive role played by the many corporate elites that sponsor it.

Even amid seemingly thoughtful discussions about climate change, economic inequality, water scarcity and other key global issues, what's important to remember, says Alex Jensen, an expert on globalization and development at the International Society for Ecology and Culture (ISEC), is that a critical look at any of these crises shows "the complicity of the very corporations that the WEF represents."

Beyond its glossy "veneer," Jensen says, the Davos summit acts as a stage "for multinational corporations, among them human rights abusers, political racketeers, property thieves and international environmental criminals." More...

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The Global Plutocracy
by Andre Damon
Posted Jan 24, 2014

Davos, playground for the elitesOn the eve of the annual spectacle of parasitic wealth and power that is the World Economic Forum in the Alpine resort town of Davos, Switzerland, the Oxfam charity has issued a report warning of the unprecedented growth of social inequality throughout the world.

There is no parallel in human history to the immense concentration of wealth that exists today, nor to the extremes of parasitism and decadence that constitute the "new normal." Contemporary capitalism—what the ruling class and its political and media flunkies call the "free enterprise system"—has created a world in which every policy decision is dictated by the need to protect and increase the wealth of an infinitesimal portion of the world's population.

This global plutocracy—by definition, a society governed by the wealthy—generates a huge and ever-increasing portion of the ruling elite's wealth not from the production of useful products and expansion of society's productive capacities, but from the manipulation of money, speculation and outright swindling—essentially criminal activities that are destructive of the productive forces. More..

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Popular Manifesto: Solutions For Restoring The United States
by Jim Willie CB
Posted Jan 16, 2014

corporate states of americaMany identifiable solutions can be cited if the people are determined to work toward a solution for the United States of America, for its return to health and strength, for its restoration as a cradle of capitalism and a beacon of freedom. Obviously it is too late, but from an idealist point of view, many solutions do exist and could have been pursued following the 2000 market bust and tech telecom chapter. They also could have been pursued following the 2008 market bust and Lehman chapter. They could have been pursued following the Black Money 1987 event, which was the original quintessential signal of dire conditions. The 1987 event in the Jackass view was a seminal signal in response to a decade of moving US industry offshore to the Pacific Rim. The event was a financial tremor in response. Each breakdown has resulted in deeper commitment in the wrong direction, deeper devotion to the financial sector, deeper involvement in criminal behavior. Each breakdown resulted in an even greater dependence upon asset bubbles for wealth creation, instead of work. Each bust leads to deep corruption, not a pursuit of solutions.

The climax error was the Most Favored Nation status granted to China, which led to the departure of a significant core of US industry, along with its legitimate core income. National treason, both political and corporate, became touted as expedient, with veiled cries of patriotism heard. The dependence grew acutely in the last 2000 decade, where the great asset bubble was the housing market and mortgage finance twin bubble. The current greatest asset bubble is the USTreasury Bonds complex, the final chapter before financial ruin and systemic breakdown. More...

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"No, You Cannot Opt Out": 10 NSA Myths Debunked
by Peter Van Buren
Posted Jan 14, 2014

NSA spyingThe debate Edward Snowden envisioned when he revealed the extent of National Security Agency (NSA) spying on Americans has taken a bad turn. Instead of a careful examination of what the NSA does, the legality of its actions, what risks it takes for what gains, and how effective the agency has been in its stated mission of protecting Americans, we increasingly have government officials or retired versions of the same demanding -- quite literally --

Snowden's head and engaging in the usual fear-mongering over 9/11. They have been aided by a chorus of pundits, columnists, and present as well as former officials offering bumper-sticker slogans like "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear," all the while claiming our freedom is in direct conflict with our security.

It's time to face these arguments directly. So here are ten myths about NSA surveillance that need debunking. Let's sort them out. More...

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Five Economic Reforms Millennials Should Be Fighting For
By Jesse A. Myerson
Posted Jan 9, 2014

capitalism failureIt's a new year, but one thing hasn't changed: The economy still blows. Five years after Wall Street crashed, America's banker-gamblers have only gotten richer, while huge swaths of the country are still drowning in personal debt, tens of millions of Americans remain unemployed – and the new jobs being created are largely low-wage, sub-contracted, part-time grunt work.

Millennials have been especially hard-hit by the downturn, which is probably why so many people in this generation (like myself) regard capitalism with a level of suspicion that would have been unthinkable a decade ago. But that egalitarian impulse isn't often accompanied by concrete proposals about how to get out of this catastrophe. Here are a few things we might want to start fighting for, pronto, if we want to grow old in a just, fair society, rather than the economic hellhole our parents have handed us. More...

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Burning Down The House
by James H. Kunstler
Posted Jan 8, 2013

signs of the futureMany of us in the Long Emergency crowd and like-minded brother-and-sisterhoods remain perplexed by the amazing stasis in our national life, despite the gathering tsunami of forces arrayed to rock our economy, our culture, and our politics. Nothing has yielded to these forces already in motion, so far. Nothing changes, nothing gives, yet. It's like being buried alive in Jell-O. It's embarrassing to appear so out-of-tune with the consensus, but we persevere like good soldiers in a just war.

Paper and digital markets levitate, central banks pull out all the stops of their magical reality-tweaking machine to manipulate everything, accounting fraud pervades public and private enterprise, everything is mis-priced, all official statistics are lies of one kind or another, the regulating authorities sit on their hands, lost in raptures of online pornography (or dreams of future employment at Goldman Sachs), the news media sprinkles wishful-thinking propaganda about a mythical "recovery" and the "shale gas miracle" on a credulous public desperate to believe, the routine swindles of medicine get more cruel and blatant each month, a tiny cohort of financial vampire squids suck in all the nominal wealth of society, and everybody else is left whirling down the drain of posterity in a vortex of diminishing returns and scuttled expectations. More...

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Your USB cable, the spy: Inside the NSA's catalog of surveillance magic
by Sean Gallagher
Posted Jan 6, 2014

BIOS chip surveillanceThe National Security Agency's sophisticated hacking operations go way beyond using software vulnerabilities to gain access to targeted systems. The agency has a catalog of tools available that would make James Bond's Q jealous, providing NSA analysts access to just about every potential source of data about a target.

In some cases, the NSA has modified the firmware of computers and network hardware—including systems shipped by Cisco, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Huawei, and Juniper Networks—to give its operators both eyes and ears inside the offices the agency has targeted. In others, the NSA has crafted custom BIOS exploits that can survive even the reinstallation of operating systems. And in still others, the NSA has built and deployed its own USB cables at target locations—complete with spy hardware and radio transceiver packed inside. More...

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A New Way Of Defining Wealth
by Charles Hugh-Smith
Posted Jan 5, 2014

friends - real wealthThe conventional definition of wealth is solely financial: ownership of universally valued money and assets. The assumption is that money can buy anything the owner desires: power, access, land, shelter, energy, transport and if not love, then a facsimile of caring.

The flaw in this reductionist definition is obvious: not everything of value can be purchased at any price--for example, health, once lost, cannot be purchased for $1 million, $10 million or even $100 million. A facsimile of friendship can be purchased (i.e. companions willing to trade fake friendliness for money), but true friendship cannot be bought at any price: its very nature renders friendship a non-commodity.

This explains the abundance of wealthy people who are miserable, lonely and phony to the core. Only commoditized goods and services can be bought with money or assets. More...

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The NSA is Building the Foundation for a Global Police State
By Eric Sommer
Posted Jan 4, 2014

money matrix/corporate police stateNSA spying is just the beginning, a far greater threat lies ahead.he US National Security Agency (NSA) is building the foundation for a global police state. This is not an exaggeration.

The lynch pin of the NSA system is the continuous gathering of all types of digital data on political leaders, economic institutions, and hundreds of millions of people around the world. Despite the recent revelations, the political leaders of the US government have never stated that such activities will stop.

However, the current massive cyber surveillance of the worlds' people and institutions is only the beginning of the threat from the NSA and its allied US government agencies. Unrestricted information technology (IT) power in the hands of the US government is a future threat which dwarfs anything the NSA has done to date. More...

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2014 Will Bring More Social Collapse
By Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, former former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury under Reagan
Posted Jan 1, 2014

privacy goneIn terms of surveillance technology, we are far beyond Orwell's imagination. In terms of the unaccountability of government, we exceptional and indispensable people now live a 1984 existence. In his alternative to the Queen's Christmas speech, Edward Snowden made the point that a person born in the 21st century will never experience privacy. For new generations the word privacy will refer to something mythical, like a unicorn.

Many Americans might never notice or care. I remember when telephone calls were considered to be private. In the 1940s and 1950s the telephone company could not always provide private lines. There were "party lines" in which two or more customers shared the same telephone line. It was considered extremely rude and inappropriate to listen in on someone's calls and to monopolize the line with long duration conversations. More...

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NSA intercepts computer deliveries to plant spyware
by Jeremy Kirk
Posted Dec 31, 2013

NSA - Eye Of SauronA special hacking unit of the U.S. National Security Agency intercepts deliveries of new computer equipment en route to plant spyware, according to a report on Sunday from Der Spiegel, a German publication.

The method, called "interdiction," is one of the most successful operations conducted by the NSA's Office of Tailored Access Operations (TAO), which specializes in infiltrating computers, wrote the publication, citing a top-secret document. The workshops, called "load stations," install malware or hardware components that give the NSA access to the computer, it wrote.

Der Spiegel wrote that a 50-page "product catalog" it viewed from the NSA described a division called "ANT," which specializes in engineering access to products from companies such as firewall maker Juniper Networks, networking giants Cisco Systems and Huawei Technologies, and Dell. More...

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Hope and Defiance - A Lot of Hope is Dangerous
Part 2 of 2 Part Article
by James Quinn
Posted Dec 12, 2013

Orwellian state In the 1st installment of this article – May the Odds Ever Be in Your Favor – The Reaping, I addressed how wealth inequality created by men rigging the system and utilizing media propaganda ultimately leads to rebellion. In Part 2, I will show how hope and defiance can ignite the flame of liberty in the minds of men. Edward Snowden has ignited that flame.  

The last 13 years has confirmed the country is run by one party, as the Republican figurehead rolled out new trillion dollar entitlement programs, fought undeclared wars, created an Orwellian organization to spy on Americans, and drove deficits to staggering levels. Now the current Democrat figurehead has rolled out a disastrous new trillion dollar entitlement program, continues to fight undeclared wars, drones innocent people in foreign countries, secretly collects data on every American, and has driven deficits to epic heights. More...

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May the Odds Ever Be in Your Favor – The Reaping
Part 1 of 2 Part Article
By James Quinn
Posted Dec 11, 2013

wasteland TVWe are five years into the Crisis that will not resolve itself until sometime in the 2020's. No one can predict the specific events that will fundamentally change history over the next decade, but the catalysts of debt, civic decay and global disorder were evident sixteen years ago when Strauss and Howe wrote their prophetic generational history. The volcanic eruption occurred in 2008 when the worldwide financial system blew and the molten lava continues to spew forth and flow along the Federal Reserve created channels, protecting the corrupt establishment while incinerating senior citizens, the working middle class and Millennials.

Deep within the volcano the pressure is building again as the mood of the country darkens. It will blow again and the economic, social, political and military distress will catalyze into a catastrophic emergency that will tear the fabric of the country asunder. The existing social order will be swept away and replaced by a new paradigm which could be better or far worse. More...

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Pension Theft: Class War Goes to the Next Stage
by Dean Baker
Posted Dec 10, 2013

elites stealing pensionsIn the past two days we've seen a federal judge rule that Detroit can go bankrupt, putting its workers' pensions in jeopardy, and we have seen Illinois' Legislature vote for substantial cuts in its retirees' pensions. Undoubtedly these two actions are just the tip of the iceberg. We have opened up a new sport for America's elite: pension theft.

The specifics of the situations are very different, but the outcome is the same. Public employees who spent decades working for the government are not going to get the pensions that were part of their pay package. In both cases we have governments claiming poverty, and therefore the workers are just out of luck. In the case of Detroit, the typical pension is a bit more than $18,000 a year. In Illinois it's around $33,000 a year. It's important to note that most Illinois workers do not get Social Security, so this is their whole retirement income. More...

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Chomsky: It Is All Working Quite Well for the Rich, Powerful
By CJ Polychroniou and Anastasia Giamali
Posted Dec 9, 2013

ChomskyThe basic explanation is the usual one: It is all working quite well for the rich and powerful. In the US, for example, tens of millions are unemployed, unknown millions have dropped out of the workforce in despair, and incomes as well as conditions of life have largely stagnated or declined. But the big banks, which were responsible for the latest crisis, are bigger and richer than ever, corporate profits are breaking records, wealth beyond the dreams of avarice is accumulating among those who count, labor is severely weakened by union busting and "growing worker insecurity," to borrow the term Alan Greenspan used in explaining the grand success of the economy he managed, when he was still "St. Alan," perhaps the greatest economist since Adam Smith, before the collapse of the structure he had administered, along with its intellectual foundations.

So what is there to complain about? The "market-centric rule" imposes harsh discipline on the many, but the few who count protect themselves from it effectively. More...

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The Tribal Mentality Indoctrinating Individuals into the Tribe's Beliefs Politics
By Dr. Jeff Lewis
Posted Dec 5, 2013

tribal indoctrinationDue to his nature, the ruler of the tribe (almost certainly a sociopath), couldn't possibly have one of his tribe members, whom he saw merely as human cattle, just pick up and leave. What if more people decided to leave as well? Or even worse, what if the young man came back with news about some wonderful new place where the trees were filled with fruits, or rivers filled with fishes, or plains filled with animals? After all, sociopaths always rule by means of scarcity and fear (they are incapable of love after all.) So faced with the situation, the ruler convinced the rest of the tribe that this was all there was to the world, and that thinking that there might be something more was a ludicrous fantasy, and whoever thinks differently was a threat to the tribe!

And people believed the ruler. He talked a big game about unity and hope, and how he cared about their well-being, and folks ate it all up! It was an easy sell in fact, because for most people, whoever think differently must be the enemy. More...

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6 Signs Our Culture Is Sick With Greed
By RJ Eskow
Posted Dec 4, 2013

greedMore than ever, we seem infatuated with the fruits of unproductive greed.The love of money for money's sake is the social disease of our time. We see it all around us: in the celebration of ill-gotten stock gains, public admiration for the heads of criminal banks, the words of Kanye West, in the commercialization of charity and even spirituality.

This week a self-styled financial advisor on the investment website Seeking Alpha celebrated the investment opportunities created by the wave of criminality and fraud which has overtaken JP Morgan Chase. The bank's epidemic of internal fraud has led to tens of billions in fines during the tenure of CEO Jamie Dimon. More...

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Decline of the American Empire? Global Configurations of Power, The Swindle Economy and the Criminal State
By Prof. James Petras
Posted Dec 3, 2013

empire in declineBubbles and busts come and go – but let us talk of 'beneficiaries': Those who cause crashes, reap the greatest rewards while their victims have no say. The swindle economy and the criminal state prosper by promoting the perversion of culture and literacy. 'Investigatory journalism', or peephole reportage, is all the rage. The world of power spins out of control: As they decline, the leading powers declare "it's our rule or everyone's ruin!"

The dominant view of most critical analysts is that over the past decade US empire-building has suffered a series of military defeats, experienced economic decline, and now faces severe competition and the prospect of further military losses. The evidence cited is impressive: The US was forced to withdraw troops from Iraq , after an extremely costly decade-long military occupation, leaving in place a regime more closely allied to Iran , the US ' regional adversary. The Iraq war depleted the economy, deprived American corporations of oil wealth, greatly enlarged Washington 's budget and trade deficits and reduced the living standards of US citizens. The Afghanistan war had a similar outcome, with high external costs, military retreat, fragile clients, domestic disaffection and no short or medium term transfers of wealth (imperial pillage) to the US Treasury or private corporations. More...

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End the 1 Percent's Free Ride: Taxing Land Would Solve America's Biggest Problems
By Jesse Myerson
Posted Nov 25, 2013

real tax overhaulWant a real overhaul of the tax code? Here's an elegant way to reduce inequality and mitigate poverty — in one tax.

At present, neither party advocates the tax code so elegant it can reduce inequality, mitigate poverty, stimulate productivity, prevent asset price bubbles, stem community-shredding gentrification and drain the distended Wall Street cabal of its ill-gotten gains – in just one tax.

Land value. If we want a real overhaul/simplification of the tax code, the way to do it is to tax land value. It might be the only tax we need. No sales tax. No income tax. No payroll tax to fill a Social Security trust fund. No corporate income tax that, as we can plainly see, offshores profits. No need to tax labor and industry at all. Just tax the stuff that humans had nothing to do with creating, and therefore have no basis to claim ownership over at all. You'll find that almost all of it is "owned" by the fabled 1 percent. More...

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The Dark Heart Of Centralized Power
by Charles Hugh-Smith
Posted Nov 24, 2013

power corruptsIt's little wonder so many sociopaths end up in positions of power: power attracts the ruthless unencumbered by empathy. No wonder the phrase pathology of power resonates.

There is an ontological darkness in centralized power, and it flows from the disconnect between authority, responsibility and consequence. A leader with vast centralized powers--a president, an emperor, a dictator--has the authority to send young citizens into combat in distant lands, but he does not carry an equal responsibility to ensure their lives are not lost in the vain glories of Empire. The consequences of his decisions do not fall on him; he is far from the combat and the loosed dogs of war. His concern is the domestic political squabbles of the Elites who support his centralized power.

All centralized power carries the same pathology: those with the authority are never exposed to the consequences of their authority, nor do they have any responsibility for the consequences. The president who launches an unwinnable war that chews up the nation's youth and treasure leaves office to fund-raise for his self-glorification, i.e. a presidential library. The CEO whose strategies fail to revive the corporation and indeed send it to the brink of insolvency leaves with a "golden parachute" worth tens of millions of dollars. More...

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The Internet Is Now Weaponized, And You Are The Target
by Zero Hedge
Posted Nov 17, 2013

Internet is weaponized against youBy now, thanks to Edward Snowden, it is common knowledge and not just conspiracy theory, that every bit of information sent out into the wired or wireless ether is scanned, probed, intercepted and ultimately recorded by the NSA and subsequently all such information is and can be used against any US citizen without a court of law (because the president's pet secret NISA "court" is anything but). Sadly, in a country in which courtesy of peak social networking, exhibitionism has become an art form, the vast majority of Americans not only could not care less about Snowden's sacrificial revelations, but in fact are delighted the at least someone, somewhere cares about that photo of last night's dinner. However, it turns out that far from being a passive listener and recorder, the NSA is quite an active participant in using the internet. The weaponized internet.

Because as Wired reports, "The internet backbone — the infrastructure of networks upon which internet traffic travels — went from being a passive infrastructure for communication to an active weapon for attacks." And the primary benefactor: the NSA - General Keith Alexander massive secret army - which has now been unleashed against enemies foreign, but mostly domestic. More...

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9 Out Of 10 Americans Are Completely Wrong About This Mind-Blowing Fact
Posted Nov 16, 2013


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The Shamelessness of Bankers
By Richard (RJ) Eskow
Posted Nov 13, 2013

unbridled greed and impunityIt's not easy to maintain a civil tone while describing the magnitude of the misbehavior among executives at Wall Street's largest institutions. To criticize bankers is to describe large-scale wrongdoing, mass-produced outrage which leads to widespread misery. It can't be done without routinely deploying words like "perjury," "forgery," "fraud," "deceit," "corruption," and "rapaciousness."

Unfortunately, the forms of speech which adequately convey big-banker behavior also make it easy for insiders in politics, government, and the media to dismiss that same speech as excessive.

That's one reason why some recent remarks by William Dudley, President of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, are so important. He's no outsider, and he's no extremist. And yet, after exploring potential solutions to the "too big to fail" problem in a speech to Global Economic Policy Forum last week, Dudley went on to discuss what he called "the apparent lack of respect for law, regulation and the public trust." More...

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The Illusion of Freedom - Democracy, Religion, Science and Propaganda
by Nadeem Walayat
Posted Nov 11, 2013

illusion of freedomAs the past 10,000 years seen the domestication of many animals such as cattle, sheep and chickens, so have human's effectively been domesticated by the various ruling elite's at the time into highly docile and compliant population's in the service of the ruling elite's of each society which enables a small ruling elite to relatively easily manage an every increasing mass of slaves to their advantage.

The most effective system's of slavery are those where most of the people cannot perceived that they are in actual fact slaves. As an example whilst most in the west may be able to recognise that for instance most of the people living in North Korea are in fact living a slave existence. However many North Korean slaves have been successfully conditioned through propaganda to view themselves as being in a superior state of existence as compared to those that live in the west which they consider to be under U.S. Imperial control that seeks total dominion over the peoples of the planet, and for evidence they look at their own history of conflicts with the U.S. reinforced by a string of subsequent U.S. wars and military strikes. More...

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The Hegelian Dialectic and its use in Controlling Modern Society
by General Maddox
Posted Nov 10, 2013

controlling the massesTo put it simply, the basis of Hegelianism dictates that the human mind can't understand anything unless it can be split into two polar opposites. Good / Evil, Right / Wrong, Left / Right.

For example when people are talking about 2 political parties, Labor or Liberal, what they're actually referring to, without realising it, is the thesis and the antithesis based off the Hegelian Dialectic. The only real debate that occurs is just the minor differences between those two parties. Nothing is said or done about the issues that neither left or right is discussing. This in particular will become more apparent as the election draws near.

Another form of the Hegelian Dialectic is Problem – Reaction – Solution. Most of us unwittingly fall victim to it all too often and sadly if we don't stop, we will continue to lose our free will and liberties. It has been widely used by our governments and corporations around the world. You could say that in terms of controlling the masses, and society in general, it's deployment has been an effective tool in keeping humanity in check. More...

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America's Culture of Ignorance Politics
By James Quinn
Posted Nov 2, 2013

ignorance of the massesThe kabuki theater that passes for governance in Washington D.C. reveals the profound level of ignorance shrouding this Empire of Debt in its prolonged death throes. Ignorance of facts; ignorance of math; ignorance of history; ignorance of reality; and ignorance of how ignorant we've become as a nation, have set us up for an epic fall. It's almost as if we relish wallowing in our ignorance like a fat lazy sow in a mud hole. The lords of the manor are able to retain their power, control and huge ill-gotten riches because the government educated serfs are too ignorant to recognize the self-evident contradictions in the propaganda they are inundated with by state controlled media on a daily basis.

The levels of ignorance are multi-dimensional and diverse, crossing all educational, income, and professional ranks. The stench of ignorance has settled like Chinese toxic smog over our country, as various constituents have chosen comforting ignorance over disconcerting knowledge. The highly educated members, who constitute the ruling class in this country, purposefully ignore facts and truth because the retention and enhancement of their wealth and power are dependent upon them not understanding what they clearly have the knowledge to understand. The underclass wallow in their ignorance as their life choices, absence of concern for marriage or parenting, lack of interest in educating themselves, and hiding behind the cross of victimhood and blaming others for their own failings. More...

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Global Wealth and Inequality: Towards a World of Super Rich "Trillionaires" Amidst Mounting Poverty
By Paul B. Farrell
Posted October 17, 2013

extreme wealthAmerica's new 'economic guillotine' is dead ahead. Wealth report on inequality calls to mind French Revolution

Credit Suisse's new Global Wealth Report reminds us of the 1790s when inequality ignited the French Revolution and 40,000 met the guillotine. Today, Credit Suisse data reveal that just 1% own 46% of the world, while two-thirds of the world's people have less than $10,000 wealth. Credit Suisse predicts a world with 11 trillionaires in a couple generations, as the rich get richer and the gap widens.

Can this trend continue? Or will it trigger an "economic guillotine?" Nobel economist Joseph Stiglitz, author of "The Price of Inequality," is not as optimistic as Credit Suisse: "America likes to think of itself as a land of opportunity." But today the "numbers show that the American dream is a myth … the gap's widening … the clear trend is one of concentration of income and wealth at the top, the hollowing out of the middle, and increasing poverty at the bottom." More...

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There Is a Vast Oligarch Conspiracy Afoot to Destroy the Retirement Plans of Millions of Workers
by David Sirota
Posted October 12, 2013

stealing pensionsPretending public pensions are the primary cause of state budget problems allows greedheads and ideologues to distract attention from their beloved corporate welfare.

As state legislatures prepare for their upcoming sessions, you will no doubt hear a lot about public pensions. More specifically, you will hear allegations that states are going bankrupt because of their pension obligations to public employees. These claims will inevitably be used to argue that states must renege on their pension promises to retirees.

his is what I've called the Plot Against Pensions in a report I recently completed for the Institute for America's Future. Engineered by billionaire former Enron trader John Arnold, championed by seemingly nonpartisan groups like the Pew Charitable Trusts and operating in states throughout America, this plot is not designed to strengthen pensions or to save taxpayer money, as its proponents claim. It is designed to slash public employees' guaranteed retirement income in order to both protect states' corporate welfare and, in some cases, enrich Wall Street. More...

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Martial Law and the Economy: Is Homeland Security Preparing for the Next Wall Street Collapse?
by Ellen Brown
Posted October 11, 2013

boston- preparing for martial lawReports are that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is engaged in a massive, covert military buildup. An article in the Associated Press in February confirmed an open purchase order by DHS for 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition. According to an op-ed in Forbes, that's enough to sustain an Iraq-sized war for over twenty years. DHS has also acquired heavily armored tanks, which have been seen roaming the streets. Evidently somebody in government is expecting some serious civil unrest. The question is, why?

When depositors cannot access their bank accounts to get money for food for the kids, they could well start breaking store windows and helping themselves. Worse, they might plot to overthrow the financier-controlled government. Witness Greece, where increasing disillusionment with the ability of the government to rescue the citizens from the worst depression since 1929 has precipitated riots and threats of violent overthrow. More...

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30 Mindblowing Statistics About Americans Under The Age Of 30
by Michael Snyder
Posted October 9, 2013

underemployedWhy are young people in America so frustrated these days? You are about to find out. Most young adults started out having faith in the system. They worked hard, they got good grades, they stayed out of trouble and many of them went on to college. But when their educations where over, they discovered that the good jobs that they had been promised were not waiting for them at the end of the rainbow. Even in the midst of this so-called "economic recovery", the full-time employment rate for Americans under the age of 30 continues to fall. And incomes for that age group continue to fall as well. At the same time, young adults are dealing with record levels of student loan debt. As a result, more young Americans than ever are putting off getting married and having families, and more of them than ever are moving back in with their parents.

It can be absolutely soul crushing when you discover that the "bright future" that the system had been promising you for so many years turns out to be a lie. A lot of young people ultimately give up on the system and many of them end up just kind of drifting aimlessly through life. More...

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The "Hyper-meritocracy" – an Oxymoron Led by Criminal Morons
by William K. Black
Posted October 6, 2013

rewarding wealth destructionThis column was prompted by William Galston's review of Tyler Cowen's new book Average is Over. Galston's column worries about the huge, permanent underclass that Cowen envisions will grow in the United States. I write to challenge Cowen's assumption that winners will prevail through a process of "hyper-meritocracy." Cowen's embrace of Social Darwinism assumes that the winners have a selective advantage that arises from "merit" – which Cowen conflates with the ability to create wealth. This is passing strange as we are still suffering from an orgy of wealth destruction led by the "winners." The people who grew wealthiest were often the people most responsible for the largest destruction of wealth in history. In this first column I show that it is the most anti-meritocratic system. We do not live in a "winner-take-all" Nation. We increasingly live in a "cheater-take-all" system.

The mortgage fraud crisis occurred because the fraudulent CEOs whose banks created the twin epidemics of mortgage origination fraud deliberately generated a series of Gresham's dynamics that produced an unethical race to the bottom in the professions that aided and abetted the loan origination fraud. The earliest warnings of this were made by honest appraisers in 2000. New York Attorney General (now, governor) Cuomo investigation of Washington Mutual (WaMu) found that it had blacklisted honest appraisers. Cuomo described WaMu as typical of nonprime lenders. More.

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Understanding the Cancer Stage of Capitalism
By Giorgio Baruchello
Posted September 21, 2013

cancer stage of capitalismWhile US President Barack Obama bangs loud drums of war, the Pope (the first of the Catholic Church to choose the name of Francis) accuses "the great ones of the earth [to] want to solve" the world's crises "with a war… Because, for them, money is more important than people! And war is just that: it is an act of faith in money, in idols" ("Pope Francis: War is the suicide of humanity", Vatican Radio, 2 June 2013).

The Church of Rome itself rejects "the magic of the market" and it sees that the "invisible hand" has got fingers that pull triggers.

But what has exactly gone so wrong in the economic system, which had the world believing after the fall of the Berlin Wall that a new era of peace with vast dividends for public wealth was now upon us, and that the panacea of a "global free market" would solve all problems by "ever more prosperity" and "the end of the nation state"? More...

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Government Standards Agency "Strongly" Suggests Dropping its Own Encryption Standard
by Jeff Larson and Justin Elliott
Posted September 16, 2013

NSA undermining InternetFollowing revelations about the NSA's covert influence on computer security standards, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, or NIST, announced earlier this week it is revisiting some of its encryption standards.But in a little-noticed footnote, NIST went a step further, saying it is "strongly" recommending against even using one of the standards.

Cryptographers have long suspected the standard in question was faulty. Seven years ago, a pair of researchers in the Netherlands authored a paper that said the random number generator was insecure and that attacks against it could "be run on an ordinary PC." A year after that, in 2007, two Microsoft engineers flagged the standard as potentially containing a backdoor. More...

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At World's End - The Five Stages of Collapse
by James Quinn
Posted September 13, 2013

Five stages of collapseAnyone who denies we are in the midst of an ongoing Crisis that will lead to a collapse of the system as we know it is either a card carrying member of the corrupt establishment, dependent upon the oligarchs for their living, or just one of the willfully ignorant ostriches who choose to put their heads in the sand and hum the Star Spangled Banner as they choose obliviousness to awareness. Thinking is hard. Feeling and believing a storyline is easy.

A moral society must be inhabited by an informed, educated, aware populace and governed by honorable leaders who oversee based upon the nation's founding principles of liberty, freedom and limited government of, by and for the people. A moral society requires trust, honor, property rights, simple just laws, and the freedom to succeed or fail on your own merits. There is one major problem in creating a true moral society where liberty, freedom, trust, honor and free markets are cherished – human beings. We are a deeply flawed species who are prone to falling prey to the depravities of lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride. Men have always been captivated by the false idols of dominion, power and wealth. The foibles of human nature haven't changed over the course of history. This is why we have 80 to 100 year cycles driven by the same human strengths and shortcomings revealed throughout recorded history. More...

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Why Worry About Total Surveillance When You're Just An Ordinary Joe?
By Joe Giambrone
Posted August 31, 2013

NSA spying"I'm an upstanding citizen and I'm not doing anything wrong. I just don't want the government invading my privacy." --unnamed

I got into a heated argument, a disagreeable shouting match over that idea today -- mostly being shouted at for nitpicking someone on my own side. I find the above rationale to be a surface response without any thought behind it or any acknowledgement of how actual surveillance-societies of the past devolved into Orwellian abominations. Worse still, the current drive for a "Total Information Awareness" society, where birth to death communications will be stored forever by the government, looms over us. NSA / Booz Allen Hamilton whistleblower Edward Snowden has said: "they are intent on making every conversation and every form of behavior in the world known to them." More...

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From Spying on "Terrorists Abroad" to Suppressing Domestic Dissent: When We Become the Hunted
by Mark Karlin
Posted August 23, 2013

Government surveillanceWe have created an entire new class of society that gathers and has access to classified information - an elite class that promises to grow as private companies seek increased revenue and as the government operates in unparalleled secrecy.

The majority of national intelligence, an astonishing 70 percent, is carried out by contractors. That translates into tens of thousands of analysts from more than 1,900 private firms who have performed intelligence functions over the past few years. Large contractors conduct most of the work, including Booz Allen Hamilton (which according to The New York Times, derived $1.3 billion in revenue from intelligence contracts), Northrop Grumman, L-3 Communications and Science Applications International Corporation (with 39,600 employees, a reported $11.17 billion in revenue as of 2013, and a recent $6.6 billion contract from the Defense Intelligence Agency).

In 2012, an estimated 1.1 million private contractors had security clearance. The number of federal employees with security clearance is 2.6 million. More...

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Monsanto's GMO Feed Creates Horrific Physical Ailments in Animals
by Katherine Paul
Posted August 18, 2013

GMO feed"A culture that views pigs as inanimate piles of protoplasmic structure to be manipulated however cleverly the human mind can conceive will view its citizens the same way -- and other cultures." –Joe Salatin, Restoring Health, Wealth and Respect to Food and Farming

New research is showing some troubling information about animals on the receiving end of industrial agriculture's big GMO experiment. We associate food with at most, pleasure, at the very least, survival. It's not too different for animals. Lambs turned out on new grass move "quickly over certain grasses to get to others – to nosh on clover and mustard grass, avoiding horse nettle and fescue along the way," writes Dan Barber in A Chef Speaks Out. Wild pigs, capable of seeking out the nutrients they need, "enjoy eating nuts, roots, fruits, mushrooms, bugs, rabbits, and, occasionally, dead animals." More...

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Midway
by Chris Jordan
Posted August 10, 2013

The MIDWAY film project is a powerful visual journey into the heart of an astonishingly symbolic environmental tragedy. On one of the remotest islands on our planet, tens of thousands of baby albatrosses lie dead on the ground, their bodies filled with plastic from the Pacific Garbage Patch. Returning to the island over several years, our team is witnessing the cycles of life and death of these birds as a multi-layered metaphor for our times. With photographer Chris Jordan as our guide, we walk through the fire of horror and grief, facing the immensity of this tragedy—and our own complicity—head on. And in this process, we find an unexpected route to a transformational experience of beauty, acceptance, and understanding.

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Shocking 'Extermination' Fantasies By the People Running America's Empire on Full Display at Aspen Summit
by Max Blumenthal
Posted August 4, 2013

Big brother is watchingWhile participants in the Security Forum expressed total confidence in American empire, they could not contain their panic, outrage, and fear at the mere mention of Snowden. "Make no mistake about it: These are great people who we're slamming and tarnishing and it's wrong. They're the heroes, not this other and these leakers!" NSA chief General Keith Alexander proclaimed, earning raucous applause from the crowd.

Corporations like AT&T, Google and Microsoft that had been compelled to hand over customer data to the NSA "know that we're saving lives," the general claimed. With a straight face, he continued, "And that's good for business because there's more people out there who can buy their products."

Following the gales of cheering that resounded from the room, Mattis, the gruff 40-year Marine veteran who once volunteered his opinion that "it's fun to shoot some people," outlined the challenge ahead. The "war on terror" that began on 9/11 has no discernable end, he said, likening it to the "the constant skirmishing between [the US cavalry] and the Indians" during the genocidal Indian Wars of the 19th century. More...

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Count Yourself Among The Poor!
by Ben Tanosborn
Posted August 3, 2013

sinking middleclassGo ahead, be a fool, tell yourself that you are still part of that once proud American "middle-class," then dare look in the mirror and see yourself as nothing but a zombie. Or, rather, the new identifiable species in the US: the Amerizombie, a reanimated economic corpse, undead but politically clueless to the new global realities.

Still managing to put food on the table, living on borrowed money and tiredly keeping both your mind and your mouth shut as you face America's sad sack economic reality? Well, if so… you are doing it at your peril; living your economic agony in denial, begging for that last pain-killing shot of economic morphine before you expire.Unfortunately, we, the poor in America – including those soon-to-be poor – will depart this world leaving behind those we have procreated; a generation, perhaps two, of future slaves we have incestuously sold to the ruling class. More...

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How Giant Tech Firms Help the Government to Spy on Americans
by Tom Burghardt
Posted August 1, 2013

stop the spyingAs the secret state continues trawling the electronic communications of hundreds of millions of Americans, lusting after what securocrats euphemistically call "actionable intelligence," a notional tipping point that transforms a "good" citizen into a "criminal" suspect, the role played by telecommunications and technology firms cannot be emphasized enough.

Ever since former NSA contractor Edward Snowden began leaking secrets to media outlets about government surveillance programs, one fact stands out: The zero probability these privacy-killing projects would be practical without close (and very profitable) "arrangements" made with phone companies, internet service providers and other technology giants.

Indeed, a top secret NSA Inspector General's report published by The Guardian, revealed that the agency "maintains relationships with over 100 US companies," adding that the US has the "home field advantage as the primary hub for worldwide telecommunications." More...

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Where the Hell Is The Outrage?
by Richard (RJ) Eskow
Posted July 13, 2013

Wake upFrom the first breath of life to the last, our lives are being stolen out from under us. From infant care and early education to Social Security and Medicare, the dominant economic ideology is demanding more lifelong sacrifices from the vulnerable to appease the gods of wealth.

Middle-class wages are stagnant. Unemployment is stalled at record levels. College education is leading to debt servitude and job insecurity. Millions of unemployed Americans have essentially been abandoned by their government. Poverty is soaring. Bankers break the law with impunity, are bailed out, and go on breaking the law, richer than they were before.

And yet, bizarrely, the only Americans who seem to be seething with anger are the beneficiaries of this economic injustice — the wealthiest and most privileged among us. But those who are suffering seem strangely passive. More...

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Genetically-modified Rice Trials in U.S. Contaminate World's Rice Supply
by Ethan A. Huff
Posted July 7, 2013

why di they need chem suits if safe?New evidence has emerged suggesting that the entire global supply of rice may have already been contaminated by unapproved, genetically-modified (GM) rice varieties manufactured by the American multinational corporation Bayer CropScience. A recent entry in the GM Contamination Register explains that between the years of 2006 and 2007, three different varieties of illegal GM rice, none of which have ever been approved for cultivation or consumption anywhere in the world, were identified in more than 30 countries worldwide.

A U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) investigation into the matter was unable to verify whether or not contamination was the result of cross-pollination, also known as gene flow, or mechanical mixing. But in either case, vagrant GM rice planted in open fields for "testing" purposes definitely escaped, and now American rice farmers are suffering the consequences as the European Union (EU), Japan, South Korea, the Philippines and others have placed strict limitations on GM rice imports. Both Russia and Bulgaria, on the other hand, have completely banned all rice imports from the U.S. More...

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There's a New Fascism on the Rise, and the NSA Leaks Show Us What It Looks Like
by John Pilger
Posted June 30, 2013

rising fascismIn 1971, whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg leaked US government files known as The Pentagon Papers, revealing that the invasion of Vietnam was based on systematic lying. Four years later, Frank Church conducted sensational hearings in the US Senate: one of the last flickers of American democracy. These laid bare the full extent of the invisible government: the domestic spying and subversion and warmongering by intelligence and "security" agencies and the backing they received from big business and the media, both conservative and liberal.

Speaking about the National Security Agency (NSA), Senator Church said: "I know that the capacity that there is to make tyranny in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law … so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return." More...

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Big Lie: America Doesn't Have #1 Richest Middle-Class in the World...We're Ranked 27th!
by Les Leopold
Posted June 26, 2013

#27 in the worldAmerica is the richest country on Earth. We have the most millionaires, the most billionaires and our wealthiest citizens have garnered more of the planet's riches than any other group in the world. We even have hedge fund managers who make in one hour as much as the average family makes in 21 years!

This opulence is supposed to trickle down to the rest of us, improving the lives of everyday Americans. At least that's what free-market cheerleaders repeatedly promise us.

Unfortunately, it's a lie, one of the biggest ever perpetrated on the American people.

Our middle class is falling further and further behind in comparison to the rest of the world. We keep hearing that America is number one. Well, when it comes to middle-class wealth, we're number 27. More...

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The $385 Billion Military-Industrial Boondoggle You've Never Heard Of
by David Vine
Posted June 20, 2013

halliburton profit from warOutside the United States, the Pentagon controls a collection of military bases unprecedented in history. With US troops gone from Iraq and the withdrawal from Afghanistan underway, it's easy to forget that we probably still have about 1,000 military bases in other peoples' lands. This giant collection of bases receives remarkably little media attention, costs a fortune, and even when cost cutting is the subject du jour, it still seems to get a free ride. With so much money pouring into the Pentagon's base world, the question is: Who's benefiting?

Once upon a time, however, the military, not contractors, built the barracks, cleaned the clothes, and peeled the potatoes at these bases. This started to change during the Vietnam War, when Brown & Root, better known to critics as "Burn & Loot" (later KBR), began building major military installations in South Vietnam as part of a contractor consortium.

The use of contractors accelerated following the Cold War's end, part of a larger trend toward the privatization of formerly public services. By the first Gulf War, one in 100 deployed personnel was a contractor. Later in the 1990s, during US military operations in Somalia, Rwanda, Haiti, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Italy, and especially the Balkans, Brown & Root received more than $2 billion in base-support and logistics contracts for base construction and maintenance, food services, waste removal, water production, transportation services, and much more. More...

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Transcend Conditioned Consciousness None But Ourselves Can Free Our Minds
by David DeGraw
Posted June 11, 2013

money addictsAfter analyzing the most recent data, here's the headline: US millionaire households now have $50 trillion in wealth. They have $39 trillion in legally accounted for wealth, and an estimate of $11 trillion hidden in offshore accounts.

Let that sink in for a moment… 50 TRILLION DOLLAR$.Most people cannot even comprehend how much $1 trillion is, let alone $50 trillion. One trillion is equal to 1000 billion, or $1,000,000,000,000.00.

Only one-tenth of one percent of the population makes one million dollars a year, and, again, most of that wealth is in the top one-hundredth of one percent.

To show how consolidated the wealth is, even in the upper most portion of the top one percentile, the richest 400 people have as much wealth as 185 million Americans combined; that's only 400 people with as much wealth as 60% of the entire US population. Imagine what could be done with that amount of wealth. Imagine the implications, the possibilities. Imagine how we could evolve society, to the benefit of everyone, with modern technology and just a fraction of that staggering amount of wealth. More...

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10 Signs That You're Fully Awake
by Shreyti Garg
Posted June 1, 2013

Here are ten signs you may be fully awake:

Are you truly awake1. You know there's no meaningful difference between major political parties(Democrats and Republicans): It's so easy to get caught up the left-right debate and believe there's a difference between the two major political parties. However, debate is one thing, while actions are another. By their deeds you shall know them, and it is indisputable that there is no significant difference between political parties when it comes to action on the most important issues.

2. You understand that the Federal Reserve, or international central banking more broadly, is the engine of our economic problems: Debt slavery is the totalitarian force that threatens all of humanity, not some temporary political puppet or some greedy Wall Street trader. When a small group of people have the ability to create wealth out of nothing and charge interest on it, they have the ability to enslave the planet to their ownership despite what type of government a country claims to have. More...

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The Real Numbers: Half of America in Poverty -- and It's Creeping toward 75%
by Paul Buchheit
Posted May 29, 2013

poverty in the USAAccording to IRS data, the average household in the bottom 75% earns about $31,000 per year. To be eligible for food assistance, a family can earn up to 130% of the federal poverty line, or about $30,000 for a family of four. Again, Census income figures are about 25% higher because of SNAP reporting requirements, bringing average household income for the bottom 75% to about $39,000.

Incredibly, Congress is trying to cut food assistance. Republican Congressman Stephen Fincher of Tennessee referred to food stamps as "stealing." He added a Biblical quote: "The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat." A recent jobs hearing in Washington was attended by one Congressman.

Putting it in Perspective, inequality is at its ugliest for the hungriest people. While food support was being targeted for cuts, just 20 rich Americans made as much from their 2012 investments as the entire 2012 SNAP (food assistance) budget, which serves 47 million people. And as Congress continues to cut life-sustaining programs, its members should note that their 400 friends on the Forbes list made more from their stock market gains last year than the total amount of the food, housing, and education budgets combined. More...

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How Can Wal-Mart REALLY Help Improve Our Schools?
by Peter Dreier
Posted May 28, 2013

really interested in schools?As a business chain, Arkansas-based Wal-Mart has spent a fortune -- in philanthropy and campaign contributions -- trying to break into the Los Angeles retail market with its low-wage retail stores. But the Walton family is also trying to use that fortune to bring Wal-Mart-style education to Los Angeles.

Since 2000, the Walton family -- none of whom live in Los Angeles -- has poured more than $84 million into campaigns, candidates, political action committees and institutions which support privatization. They have donated to charter schools and organizations that support them, such as Green Dot Schools, ICEF schools, and the Los Angeles Parent Union, as well as candidates or political action committees which support diverting tax dollars away from public schools to charter schools. LA already has more charter schools than any other district in the country. More...

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The End of the Beginning of the End
by William Rivers Pitt
Posted May 27, 2013

peaceful protests to end?A report released early this year by the organization Oxfam International revealed that the combined income of the richest 100 people in the world is enough to end global poverty four times over, and that the gap between rich and poor has exploded by some 60% in the last 20 years. Rather than hinder this division, the recent global economic crisis has exacerbated it. Money does not disappear, you see, but tends to be translated up the income ladder in times of financial distress.

Occupy was only the beginning, but may very well have been the last manifestation of peaceful resistance against the ever-widening chasm of inequality and desolation. The noose is tightening around the necks of average people, and more become radicalized with each passing day.

The wealthy would do well to take note of this, and voluntarily move to square the savage imbalance that drives billions around the world into furious despair. It does not have to be this way, and if it continues in this way, eventually the dam is going to break. When that happens, woe be unto those who believe their wealth keeps them safe and cozy. On that day, the rock will not hide them, and the dead tree will give no shelter. More...

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Get Apocalyptic: Why Radical is the New Normal
by Robert Jensen
Posted May 26, 2013

Tim DeCristopherFeeling anxious about life in a broken economy on a strained planet? Turn despair into action.

n December 2008, Tim DeChristopher attended a protest at a federal auction of drilling rights to Utah wilderness lands. He found a better way to disrupt the auction when he picked up a paddle and began bidding on the leases as "Bidder 70." He won $1.8 million worth of parcels and inflated the price of many others. When it was discovered that he had no money to back his bids, the auction had to be shut down.

Tim DeChristopher was sentenced to two years in prison for his actions, but his boldness stopped the sale of 22,000 acres of scenic wilderness and highlighted government misconduct. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar scrapped a rescheduled auction because the Bureau of Land Management had skimped on its environmental analysis and inadequately consulted with the National Park Service. In January 2013, a federal court denied an energy industry appeal to reinstate the leases. More...

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March Against Monsanto and GMOs - Philadelphia
Video by End The Illusion
Posted May 26, 2013

Millions of people marched against the Monsanto corporations and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) in hundreds of cities across the world. The corporate controlled main stream media has again failed the people with its meager (if any) coverage of these marches. At the Philadelphia March, there was no main stream media anywhere in sight. It is up to us to show what really happened.

The irony is that the main stream media laments its losing of market share, but how much of the blame for that rests on them?

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The New Crime of Eating While Homeless
by Jim Hightower
Posted May 24, 2013

homelessWhenever one of our cities gets a star turn as host of some super-sparkly event, such as a national political gathering or the Super Bowl, its first move is to tidy up -- by having the police sweep homeless people into jail, out of town, or under some rug. But Houston's tidy-uppers aren't waiting for a world-class event to rationalize going after homeless down-and-outers. They've preemptively outlawed the "crime" of dumpster diving in the Texan city.

In March, James Kelly, a 44-year-old Navy veteran, was passing through Houston on his way to connect with family in California. Homeless, destitute, and hungry, he chose to check out the dining delicacies in a trash bin near City Hall. Spotted by police, Kelly was promptly charged with "disturbing the contents of a garbage can in the [central] business district." Seriously. More...

The people who passed this law and those who enforce it will have some serious explaining to do when they meet their maker.
"Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me" .--- Matthew 25:40

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Military Quietly Grants Itself the Power to Police the Streets Without Local or State Consent
by Jed Morey
Posted May 19, 2013

military on our streetsThe lines between the military and law enforcement have blurred even further.The manhunt for the Boston Marathon bombing suspects offered the nation a window into the stunning military-style capabilities of our local law enforcement agencies. For the past 30 years, police departments throughout the United States have benefitted from the government's largesse in the form of military weaponry and training, incentives offered in the ongoing "war on drugs." For the average citizen watching events such as the intense pursuit of the Tsarnaev brothers on television, it would be difficult to discern between fully outfitted police SWAT teams and the military.

The lines blurred even further Monday as a new dynamic was introduced to the militarization of domestic law enforcement. By making a few subtle changes to a regulation in the U.S. Code titled "Defense Support of Civilian Law Enforcement Agencies" the military has quietly granted itself the ability to police the streets without obtaining prior local or state consent, upending a precedent that has been in place for more than two centuries. More...

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Round the Clock Surveillance: Is This the Price of Living in a "Free, Safe" Society?
by John Whitehead
Posted May 15, 2013

Surveillance stateImmediately following the devastating 9/11 attacks, many Americans willingly ceded their rights and liberties to government officials who promised them that the feeling of absolute safety could be restored.

Now, in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing, we are once again being assured that if we only give up a few more liberties and what little remains of our privacy, we will be a free, safe society. The reality of life in America tells a different tale, however. For example, in a May 2013 interview with CNN, former FBI counterterrorism agent Tim Clemente disclosed that the federal government is keeping track of all digital communications that occur within the United States, whether or not those communicating are American citizens, and whether or not they have a warrant to do so. More...

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'Police State' Registry System Being Set Up to Track Your Vaccination Status
by Jeffry Aufderheide
Posted May 14, 2013

big brotherYour government is watching and tracking your decisions – even saying "No" to vaccines.

The Centers for Disease Control has been quietly rolling out a nationwide program called the Immunization Information Systems (IIS), registering your vaccine information into a database. [1] This effort has been run in parallel with state vaccine registry implementations. Once this system is completely operational, the sky is the limit. Big Brother has the capability to track more than just vaccines. You can anticipate finding just about any pharmaceutical drug mandated by the government in this same system.

The question then becomes, who influences the government agencies mandating vaccines? More...

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Bringing Young and Old to the Climate Fight
By Bill McKibben
Posted May 13, 2013

tar sandsIt always seems to me that different groups can bring different things to the climate fight — not completely different, but subtly so, in ways that reflect the diversity of our society.

There are things that can be hard for young people — if you're 22 right now, in our economy, an arrest record may not be the best thing for your resume. Past a certain age, however, what the hell are they going to do to you? So when we announced plans for mass civil disobedience to protest the Keystone pipeline in 2011, we asked older people in particular to step up. We didn't ask the 1,253 arrestees (the most in any protest for 30 years) how old they were — that would be rude. But we did ask 'who was president when you were born?' And we were delighted when it turned out the biggest cohorts came from the Truman and FDR administrations. Elders were beginning to act like elders, and taking real pride in it. More...

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Fearlessness Grows From the Grass Roots: US Protest Movement against the Banksters
by Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers
Posted May 11, 2013

fearlessness growsAs more people see that the government represents Wall Street and concentrated wealth, instead of them; that the government continues to give the banksters who crashed the economy a break while cutting access to basic necessities, that the government continues to put big energy profits ahead of protecting the planet – more people are becoming fearless.

Last week, front-line environmental groups including climate justice activists, opponents of tar sands, mountaintop removal and many others who oppose the extraction economy that poisons our land, water and air while risking climate change, announced "Fearless Summer." They announced a week of actions from June 24 to 29 to begin "an epic summer of actions." The rising tide of courage in the environmental justice movement is one we also see growing in many communities on many issues. More...

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The United States Is Fighting How Many Wars?
by Kevin Gosztola
Posted May 11, 2013

intervention in over 60 nations since 1945With neoconservatives and neoliberals amplifying calls for US military intervention in Syria, it is worthwhile to take a moment and consider all the places in the world, where the US currently has forces engaged in daily operations.

Secrecy, the reality that a substantial portion of US military or espionage operations with troops are likely happening covertly, may mean it is impossible to truly get a complete picture of where America is projecting power and targeting and killing people. But, Linda J. Bilmes and Michael D. Intriligator, ask in a recent paper, "How many wars is the US fighting today?" More...

We came, we saw, we destroyed, we forgot
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How Class Works
by Richard D. Wolff
Posted May 10, 2013

As a loan, it has two sides: The borrowwer and the lender. In our kind of capitalist economy, it is the rule that a banker has the social responsibility of properly assessing risk. If billions upon billions of dollars were lent to people who couldn't pay it back, then the culpability is at least as much from the side of the bankers who made those loans as it is on the borrowers who took them out.

Borrowing vast amounts of money to buy homes took off in the 1970s and 80s and 90s. It had not happened before. So if you're going to blame the victim, you'll have to explain why the victim undertook these blameworthy activities jus then and not, for example, in the previous 150 years. And now the most important poin which I made earlier: Starting in the 1970s the American working class stopped getting real wage increases. More...

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Resource Shock: How Resource Scarcity and Climate Change Could Produce a Global Explosion
by Michael T. Klare
Posted May 7, 2013

resource scarcityBrace yourself. You may not be able to tell yet, but according to global experts and the U.S. intelligence community, the earth is already shifting under you. Whether you know it or not, you're on a new planet, a resource-shock world of a sort humanity has never before experienced.

Two nightmare scenarios -- a global scarcity of vital resources and the onset of extreme climate change -- are already beginning to converge and in the coming decades are likely to produce a tidal wave of unrest, rebellion, competition, and conflict. Just what this tsunami of disaster will look like may, as yet, be hard to discern, but experts warn of "water wars" over contested river systems, global food riots sparked by soaring prices for life's basics, mass migrations of climate refugees (with resulting anti-migrant violence), and the breakdown of social order or the collapse of states. At first, such mayhem is likely to arise largely in Africa, Central Asia, and other areas of the underdeveloped South, but in time all regions of the planet will be affected. More...

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Lockdown, USA: Lessons From the Boston Marathon Manhunt
by Henry A Giroux
Posted May 6, 2013

martial law for one criminal?When I hear that authorities have locked down a school, a workplace, a transit system, a cell phone network, or a city, the subtext seems unmistakable: We are now in control. Listen carefully and do as you are told. What I hear is the warden saying that communication will flow in one direction only, and that silence and obedience are the only options.

Other critics suggested the lockdown represented a massive overreaction that was symptomatic of a larger social crisis. Steven Rosenfeld argued that "beyond lingering questions of whether the government went too far by shutting down an entire city and whether that might encourage future terrorism, a deeper and darker question remains: why is America's obsession with evil so selective?" More...

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Economic and Social Abnormality Reigns, American's Loving Their Servitude
by James Quinn
Posted April 25, 2013

willingly giving up freedomThe most disgraceful example of abnormality that has infected our culture has been the cowardice and docile acquiescence of the citizenry in allowing an ever expanding police state to shred the U.S. Constitution, strip us of our freedoms, and restrict our liberties. Our keepers have not let any crisis go to waste in the last seventeen years. They have also taken advantage of the willful ignorance, childish immaturity, extreme gullibility, historical cluelessness, financial illiteracy and techno-narcissism of the populace to reverse practical legislation and prey upon irrational fears to strip the people of their constitutionally guaranteed liberties and freedoms.

Every crisis, whether government created or just convenient to their agenda, has been utilized by the oligarchs to expand the police state and benefit the crony capitalists that profit from its expansion. The character of the American people has been found wanting as they obediently cower and beg for protection from unseen evil doers. The propagandist corporate media reinforces their fears and instructs them to submissively tremble and implore the government to do more. More...

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America's New Math: 1 Wall Street Hour = 21 Years of Hard Work For the Rest of Us
by Les Leopold
Posted April 20, 2013

making money with no productive workIt's perverse: the top 10 hedge funds managers make as much as 196,000 registered nurses. Here's how we change that. America's new math: 1 Wall Street hour = 21 years of hard work for the rest of us.

Together the top 10 hedge fund managers waltzed off with $10.1 billion in 2012, which is more than enough to hire 250,000 entry level teachers or 196,000 new registered nurses.

It's not just that these financial gurus are filthy rich. It's that they are the richest of the rich and we don't even know what they do. Overall, hedge fund managers make 50 to 100 times more than our top athletes, movie stars, CEOs, lawyers, writers, doctors and celebrities. Yet, their activities are treated like state secrets. More...

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The Corporate Betrayal of America -- Ripping off the Public, Running off with the Profits to Avoid Taxes
by Paul Buchheit
Posted April 10, 2013

multinationals tax dodgersThe huge multinationals have made it clear; they don't feel obliged to give anything back to the people who made it all possible. Multinational corporations have built their businesses on the backs of American taxpayers. They've depended on government research, national defense, the legal and educational systems, and our infrastructure.

Yet they've turned around and mocked us with declining tax payments. They've cut workers. They've refused to invest their massive profits in job-producing research and development. And they've insulted existing employees with low wages and dwindling retirement support. As a final disdainful act, many of them have tried to convince us that they LOSE money in the U.S. while only making profits overseas.

Here are the facts. More...

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"American Dream": Food loaded into Dumpsters while Hundreds of Hungry Americans Restrained by Police
by Sarah Carlson
Posted April 7, 2013

American NightmareResidents filled the parking lot with bags and baskets hoping to get some of the baby food, canned goods, noodles and other non-perishables. But a local church never came to pick up the food, as the storeowner prior to the eviction said they had arranged. By the time the people showed up for the food, what was left inside the premises—as with any eviction—came into the ownership of the property holder, SunTrust Bank.

The bank ordered the food to be loaded into dumpsters and hauled to a landfill instead of distributed. The people that gathered had to be restrained by police as they saw perfectly good food destroyed. Local Sheriff Richard Roundtree told the news "a potential for a riot was extremely high."

"People got children out here that are hungry, thirsty," local resident Robertstine Lambert told Fox54 in Augusta. "Why throw it away when you could be issuing it out?" More...

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Ten Ways That Each of Us Can Take Back Control From Wall Street
by Pam Martens
Posted March 23, 2013

Wall St greedThe richest 1 percent received over one-third of the total gain in marketable wealth over the period from 1983 to 2007. The next 4 percent also received about a third of the total gain and the next 15 percent about a fifth, so that the top quintile collectively accounted for 89 percent of the total growth in wealth, while the bottom 80 percent accounted for 11 percent.

Debt was the most evenly distributed component of household wealth, with the bottom 90 percent of households responsible for 73 percent of total indebtedness. Wealth concentration in too few hands while the general populace is saddled with too much debt to buy the goods and services produced by the corporations, is a replay of the conditions leading to the crash of 1929 and the ensuing Great Depression.

Below I offer ten ideas to take individual charge of taming the Wall Street beast. And, just to be clear to those perched on the edge of their seats preparing to scream "Socialist!," I'm not suggesting "redistributing" wealth; I'm suggesting putting the wealth back into the hands from which it was taken in a rigged wealth transfer scheme. More...

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Only Wall Street Wins in Detroit Crisis Reaping $474 Million Fee
by Darrell Preston & Chris Christoff
Posted March 23, 2013

Wall St profits from thisThe only winners in the financial crisis that brought Detroit (9845MF) to the brink of state takeover are Wall Street bankers who reaped more than $474 million from a city too poor to keep street lights working.

The city started borrowing to plug budget holes in 2005 under former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who was convicted this week on corruption charges. That year, it issued $1.4 billion in securities to fund pension payments. Last year, it added $129.5 million in debt, 9.3 percent of its general-fund budget, in part to repay loans taken to service other bonds.

"We have no lights, no buses, poor streets and now we're paying millions of dollars a year on our debt," said David Sole, a retired municipal worker and advocate for Moratorium Now Coalition, a Detroit group that fights foreclosures and evictions. "The banks said they need to be paid first. But there is no money." More...

Detroit leaders need to start a public bank where they can finance the projects and zero or near zero interest rates. There is no reason for the city to be paying Wall St over $474 million any longer.

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16 Giant Corpoporations Stopped Paying Taxes While Also Cutting Jobs!
by Paul Buchheit
Posted March 20, 2013

Tax havensOur nation's kids and seniors and low-income mothers may be dealing with food and housing cuts, but on the corporate playing floor new low-tax records are being set again this year. Just as this is a golden age for sports, this is also, as noted by the New York Times, "a golden age for corporate profits."

Corporations have simply stopped paying their taxes, perhaps using the 2008 recession as an excuse to plead hardship, but then never restoring their tax obligations when business got better. The facts are indisputable. For over 20 years, from 1987 to 2008, corporations paid an average of 22.5% in federal taxes. Since the recession, this has dropped to 10% -- even though their profits have doubled in less than ten years.

Pay Up Now just completed a compilation of corporate tax payments over the past five years, using SEC data as reported by the companies themselves. The firms chosen are top-earners who have filed 10-K reports through 2012. Their US Tax figures represent the five-year total of "current" payments. More...

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Researchers Find German-Made Spyware Across Globe
by Raphael Satter
Posted March 16, 2013

virus program worldwideThe discovery of a group of servers linked to an elusive espionage campaign is providing new details about a high-tech piece of spy software that some fear may be targeting dissidents living under oppressive regimes.

A Canadian research center said Wednesday that it had identified 25 different countries that host servers linked to FinFisher, a Trojan horse program which can dodge anti-virus protections to steal data, log keystrokes, eavesdrop on Skype calls, and turn microphones and webcams into live surveillance devices. More...

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A Better Plan Than 'Endless Growth': Enough Is Enough
by Rob Dietz and Dan O'Neill
Posted March 5, 2013

Unlimited growthThe World Economic Forum held its annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland last month. The official theme was "Resilient Dynamism," a catchphrase that makes about as much sense as the futureless economic policies trotted out at the meeting. At least the attendees had something to ponder at cocktail hour. The mission of the forum, on paper at least, is "improving the state of the world." And there is clear room for improvement: trillions of dollars of public debt, billions of people living in poverty, escalating unemployment, and a distinct possibility of runaway climate change.

The popular solution to these problems is sustained economic growth. In fact, the first item of the Davos meeting's global agenda was "how to get the global economy back on to a path of stable growth and higher employment" The thinking is that if we could just get people to produce and consume more stuff, then we could also pay off the debt, create jobs, eradicate poverty, and maybe even have some money left over to clean up the environment.

It's tempting to believe this economic fairy tale. But if growth is the cure to all of our ills, why are we in such a bind after sixty years of it? More...

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No Sanctuary in the Ivory Tower
by Chris Lehman
Posted February 3, 2013

Victim of academia cowardiceWhy didn't MIT defend Aaron Swartz? University administrators, eager to kowtow to their federal paymasters, become surrogate enforcers rather than principled defenders of academic freedom.

When Aaron Swartz took his own life with the approach of trumped up legal proceedings of evidence poised to threaten his freedom, he became a national symbol of two notorious failings of our legal system: federal prosecutors who, with an eye on their conviction scorecard, overcharge cases and bully defendants into submission; and the enforcement of proprietary computer terms-of-service agreements as if they were the republic's first line of defense against mass sedition.

But the Swartz case brought home a third failing: the abject capitulation of MIT to the dictates of the U.S. attorney’s office.More...

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Scorecard: How Many Rights Have Americans REALLY Lost?
by Washington's Blog
Posted February 24, 2013

Bill of Rights erosionWhile a lot of people talk about the loss of our Constitutional liberties, people usually speak in a vague, generalized manner … or focus on only one issue and ignore the rest.

This post explains the liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights – the first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution – and provides a scorecard on the extent of the loss of each right.

A federal judge found that the law allowing indefinite detention of Americans without due process has a"chilling effect" on free speech. And see this and this.

The threat of being labeled a terrorist for exercising our First Amendment rights certainly violates the First Amendment. The government is using laws to crush dissent, and it's gotten so bad that even U.S. Supreme Court justices are saying that we are descending into tyranny. More...

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Why The Banking Elite Want Riots in America
by Paul Joseph Watson
Posted February 23, 2013

bankers want riotsEvery indication clearly suggests that authorities in the United States are preparing for widespread civil unrest. This trend has not emerged by accident – it is part of a tried and tested method used by the banking elite to seize control of nations, strip them of their assets, and absorb them into the new world order.

There is a crucial economic imperative as to why the elite is seeking to engineer and exploit social unrest.

As respected investigative reporter Greg Palast exposed in 2001, the global banking elite, namely the World Bank and the IMF, have honed a technique that has allowed them to asset-strip numerous other countries in the past – that technique has come to be known at the "IMF riot." In April 2001, Palast obtained leaked World Bank documents that outlined a four step process on how to loot nations of their wealth and infrastructure, placing control of resources into the hands of the banking elite. More...

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Watch Out -- The Drones Are Coming Home To Roost
by Jim Hightower
Posted February 20, 2013

drone wityh cameraThe goal of drone pushers is to have a startling 30,000 of these pilotless contrivances zipping through the air by 2020. Holy moly! Our nation's entire commercial fleet of passenger and cargo planes numbers only about 7,000. And lest you think that 30,000 drones is an industry fantasy, a map compiled from military records discloses that as of last June the Pentagon alone already had 64 drone bases throughout our country, with another 22 bases planned. The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 prohibits the military from operating on American soil, but there it is. What are they doing? We don't know. But it's time to ask.

The good news is that the industry and its cohorts have been recently stunned by a remarkable left-right counterpunch. They are not only being confronted by such progressive opponents of their liberty-busting gambit as the ACLU, CodePink and Democratic Rep. Ed Markey of Massachusetts in the U.S. House and Ron Wyden of Oregon in the Senate, but also a determined bunch of Republican privacy defenders in Congress and the media, including Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, "Morning Joe" Scarborough on MSNBC, Bloomberg columnist Ramesh Ponnuru and even far-right Fox commentator Charles Krauthammer, who says: "I don't want restrictions (on drones) — I want a ban." More...

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How to Spot -- and Defeat -- Disruption on the Internet
by Washington's Blog
Posted February 19, 2013

Internet trollsWe've seen a number of tactics come and go over the years. Here are the ones we see a lot of currently.

Start a partisan divide-and-conquer fight or otherwise push emotional buttons to sow discord and ensure that cooperation is thwarted. Get people fighting against each other instead of the corrupt powers-that-be. Use baseless caricatures to rile everyone up. For example, start a religious war whenever possible using stereotypes like "all Jews are selfish", "all Christians are crazy" or "all Muslims are terrorists". Accuse the author of being a gay, pro-abortion limp-wristed wimp or being a fundamentalist pro-war hick when the discussion has nothing to do with abortion, sexuality, religion, war or region. Appeal to people's basest prejudices and biases. And -- as Sweeney explains -- push the author into a defensive posture.

When the powers-that-be cut corners and take criminally reckless gambles with our lives and our livelihoods, protect them by pretending that the inevitable result - nuclear accidents, financial crises, terrorist attacks or other disasters -- were "unforeseeable" and that "no could have known".

Protect the rich and powerful by labeling any allegations of criminal activity as being a "conspiracy theory". For example, when Goldman gets caught rigging markets, label the accusations as mere conspiracies. More...

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"I want my fair share--and that's ALL OF IT": The Kochs & the XL Pipeline
by Greg Palast
Posted February 16, 2013

Koch indictmentAccording to the transcript of the secretly recorded tape, Charles Koch was chuckling like a six-year old. Koch was having a hell of a laugh over pilfering a few hundred dollars' worth of oil from a couple of dirt-poor Indians on the Osage Reservation.

Why did Koch, worth about $3 billion at the time (now $20 billion) need to boost a few bucks from some Indian in a trailer home? Koch answered:

"I want my fair share -- and that's all of it."

Now "all of it" includes a pipeline, the Keystone XL, which would run the world's filthiest oil, crude made from tar sands, down from Canada to his family's refinery on the Gulf Coast of Texas. More...

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The Institutionalization of Tyranny
by Paul Craig Roberts (Asst Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan's first term)
Posted January 22, 2013

erosion of constitutionRepublicans and conservative Americans are still fighting Big Government in its welfare state form. Apparently, they have never heard of the militarized police state form of Big Government, or, if they have, they are comfortable with it and have no objection.

Republicans, including those in the House and Senate, are content for big government to initiate wars without a declaration of war or even Congress' assent, and to murder with drones citizens of countries with which Washington is not at war. Republicans do not mind that federal "security" agencies spy on American citizens without warrants and record every email, Internet site visited, Facebook posting, cell phone call, and credit card purchase. Republicans in Congress even voted to fund the massive structure in Utah in which this information is stored. But heaven forbid that big government should do anything for a poor person.

Obama Democrats are no more disturbed than conservative Republicans that a dutiful American soldier is being prosecuted because he has a moral conscience. In Manning's trial, the government's definition of victory has nothing whatsoever to do with justice prevailing. For Washington, victory means stamping out moral conscience and protecting a corrupt government from public exposure of its war crimes. More...

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A loss to the World: The Death of Aaron Swartz
by Kevin Zeese
Posted January 16, 2013

Arron Swartz, loss to the worldSo that his death is not in vain, let it lead to an awakening about how off-track the United States has become on prosecutorial power and loss of privacy; and let's all work so the issues he stood for, Internet freedom and free sharing of information, gain strength as his legacy.

Who knows what more Aaron Swartz would have contributed to the world. He did so much in such a short time. Swartz was cofounder of the social media sharing site Reddit, a co-author of RSS, a co-creator of Creative Commons, and founder of Demand Progress — which successfully rallied millions to fight SOPA and PIPA. Swartz was mercilessly prosecuted, threatened with over 30 years in prison, for actions which — were he guilty — had no real victims, were not done with intent to benefit financially, and whose main target requested the case be dropped.

The prosecutors who hounded him to his death should resign in shame or be fired as they are not fit to have the tremendous power they have been given. But,while Carmen Ortiz, the U.S. Attorney showed her personal flaws, this case also highlighted the flaws of a criminal justice system that has given too much power to prosecutors and results in obscenely long and harsh sentencing. More...

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The Digital Disruption: Technology and Economics for the 99%
by Peter Brown
Posted January 12, 2013

robotic assemblyRobotic automation is a subject we rarely hear mentioned in all the talk about the economy, jobs, climate change, and other elements of our growing global crisis. Why? Because the 1% dare not address an issue that shakes our system to its foundations.

The bipartisan perspective of our current leadership is that our problems are just another, mysteriously huge, business cycle; that "any day now" things will turn around and "we" must tighten our belts until then; and that with enough reforms we can restore economic balance and avert global climate disaster. The truth is that the continued existence of capitalism is incompatible with the positive potential of robotic automation. More...

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Obedience To Authority, Should We Trust The Government?
by James Quinn
Posted January 5, 2013

believe what you are toldThe white collared psychopathic criminals on Wall Street reaped billions in profits, paid themselves millions in bonuses, and cost taxpayers trillions when it all blew up in 2008. The ruling elite have added $6 trillion to our national debt and their central banker has added another $2 trillion to our ultimate tab, while providing free money to their Wall Street bank owners. They realize their efforts to restart the exponential growth engine have failed. They gutted our productive manufacturing based economic system by shipping the blue collar jobs overseas to Chinese slave labor facilities, replaced workers with machines, stimulated consumption with unlimited distribution of high interest debt, and allowed conglomerates to drive small business owners out of business with their cheap foreign sourced goods, all in the name of capitalism. The plan worked so well that real wages haven't risen in 40 years, inflation has destroyed the purchasing power of the middle class, 47.7 million people are dependent on food stamps to survive, and the masses can't even afford the cheap slave labor produced trinkets anymore. There is too little cash, too few jobs, too much debt, too many takers, too few makers, too many bankers, too much delusion, and too few resources to sustain the unsustainable. We have entered the end stages of a ravenous locust swarm. The fields have been stripped barren.

When the men in smoke filled rooms realized their soft totalitarianism was losing its grip on the oblivious, submissive, egoistical, distracted masses, they began phase two of their effort to retain their wealth, power and control. They began to institute Orwellian measures to strike fear into the populace. Their illusion of control is dissipating and they are resorting to force in order to maintain hegemony. It began with the immediate passage of the Orwellian Patriot Act one month after 9/11. More...

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Genetic Engineering and the GMO Industry: Corporate Hijacking of Food and Agriculture
By Colin Todhunter
Posted January 2, 2012

GMO unproven safetyWhen rich companies with politically-connected lobbyists and seats on government-appointed bodies bend policies for their own ends, we are in serious trouble. It is then that our democratic institutions become hijacked and our choices, freedoms and rights are destroyed. Corporate interests have too often used their dubious 'science', lobbyists, political connections and presence within the heart of governments, in conjunction with their public relations machines, to subvert democratic machinery for their own benefit. Once their power has been established, anyone who questions them or who stands in their way can expect a very bumpy ride.

What the GMO sector fails to grasp is that the onus is on them to prove that their products are safe. And they have patently failed to do this. No independent testing was done before Bush senior allowed GMOs onto the US market.

There is little mention of the 250,000 poor farmers who took their own lives in the Indian cotton belt because they became indebted due to this "frontier technology" not delivering the results that the GMO industry has said it would. It is easy to thus conclude that if there is a 'disgusting enemy' it is the profiteering corporate-controlled terminator seed technology of the GMO industry that has resulted in mass suicides and the destruction of traditional farmer-controlled agricultural practices developed over thousands of years. More...

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Profiting from Your Thirst as Global Elite Rush to Control Water Worldwide
by Jo-Shing Yang
Posted December 24, 2012

who owns water?A disturbing trend in the water sector is accelerating worldwide. The new "water barons" --- the Wall Street banks and elitist multibillionaires --- are buying up water all over the world at unprecedented pace. Familiar mega-banks and investing powerhouses such as Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, UBS, Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, Macquarie Bank, Barclays Bank, the Blackstone Group, Allianz, and HSBC Bank, among others, are consolidating their control over water.

The second disturbing trend is that while the new water barons are buying up water all over the world, governments are moving fast to limit citizens' ability to become water self-sufficient (as evidenced by the well-publicized Gary Harrington's case in Oregon, in which the state criminalized the collection of rainwater in three ponds located on his private land, by convicting him on nine counts and sentencing him for 30 days in jail). Let's put this criminalization in perspective:

Billionaire T. Boone Pickens owned more water rights than any other individuals in America, with rights over enough of the Ogallala Aquifer to drain approximately 200,000 acre-feet (or 65 billion gallons of water) a year. But ordinary citizen Gary Harrington cannot collect rainwater runoff on 170 acres of his private land. More...

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The Cashless Society is Almost Here – And With Some Very Sinister Implications
by Patrick Henningsen
Posted December 11, 2012

cashless societyIn 2008, the public had an opportunity to collapse the predatory banking system that has been trading insolvent and gambling on thin air. But the very same ruling establishment who engineered the crisis to begin with, masterfully presented their own solution as the remedy by establishing the precedent of the state bailing out any gambling losses incurred by the banking community.

In the end society relented, and with help of pro-banking political leadership on both sides of the Atlantic, they adopted the pre-packaged belief that a cluster of bloated and corrupt financial institutions were simply too big to fail. Aside from being a massive redistribution of wealth upwards into the hands of the speculative elite classes, this was merely a test by the establishment to see how far they could go in robbing the public, pushing up inflation, hoovering up real assets, robbing pension funds and enslaving taxpayers to generations of debt the bankers created – all in one swoop. More...

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The US Is Now a Police State
by Doug Casey (Casey Research)
Posted December 1, 2012

prison industryLouis: We often get letters from angry readers who accuse you of hating America, disloyalty, and perhaps even treason. These people don't know or understand what I do about you – that you love the idea that was America. It's the United State it has become for which you have nothing but contempt. Perhaps we should try to explain this to them?

Doug: I doubt it would work; it's a tough row to hoe, trying to explain things to people who are so set in their thinking that they truly and literally don't want to hear anything that might threaten their notions. A person who feels threatened by ideas and who responds with emotion is acting irrationally. How can we have a discussion with someone whose emotion trumps their reason? How do we even begin to untangle the thinking of people who will gather this week to give thanks for the bounty produced by freedom and hard work – the famous puritan work ethic – by eating a turkey bought with food stamps? More...

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Stand Still for the Apocolypse
by Chris Hedges
Posted November 29, 2012

climate change floodingHumans must immediately implement a series of radical measures to halt carbon emissions or prepare for the collapse of entire ecosystems and the displacement, suffering and death of hundreds of millions of the globe's inhabitants, according to a report commissioned by the World Bank. The continued failure to respond aggressively to climate change, the report warns, will mean that the planet will inevitably warm by at least 4 degrees Celsius (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century, ushering in an apocalypse.

This will cause a precipitous drop in crop yields, along with the loss of many fish species, resulting in widespread hunger and starvation. Hundreds of millions of people will be forced to abandon their homes in coastal areas and on islands that will be submerged as the sea rises. There will be an explosion in diseases such as malaria, cholera and dengue fever. Devastating heat waves and droughts, as well as floods, especially in the tropics, will render parts of the Earth uninhabitable. The rain forest covering the Amazon basin will disappear. Coral reefs will vanish. Numerous animal and plant species, many of which are vital to sustaining human populations, will become extinct. Monstrous storms will eradicate biodiversity, along with whole cities and communities. More...

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DHS to Double US Drone Fleet
by Trevor Timm, Electronic Frontier Foundation
Posted November 24, 2012

Predators over U.S. to doubleDespite renewed criticism from both parties in Congress that domestic drones pose a privacy danger to US citizens - and a report from its own Inspector General recommending to stop buying them - the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has indicated it wants to more than double its fleet of Predator drones used to fly surveillance missions inside the United States.

Yesterday, California Watch reported that DHS signed a contract that could be worth as much as $443 million with General Atomics for the purchase up to fourteen additional Predator drones to fly near the border of Mexico and Canada. Congress would still need to appropriate the funds, but if they did, DHS' drone fleet woud increase to twenty-four. More...

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Wall Street Uses the Third Way to Lead Its Assault on Social Security
by William K Black
Posted November 17, 2012

wall street stealing social securityThird Way, lobbyists for and from Wall Street who are leading the effort to enrich Wall Street by privatizing Social Security, was created by Wall Street to fool some of the people all of the time. I have written previously to expose their fictional claims to be a moderate or liberal Democratic group.

Eric Laursen documented Wall Street's effort to become even wealthier by privatizing Social Security in articles and his recent book ("The People's Pension: The Struggle to Defend Social Security Since Reagan".

I showed that Third Way makes itself useful by providing a faux "liberal" or "moderate" "Democratic" quote machine that can be used to discredit Democrats and Democratic policies such as the safety net. I gave examples of how Third Way gave aid and comfort to the effort to defeat Elizabeth Warren and the effort to unravel the safety net. Third Way continues to prove that you can fool some of the people all of the time. More...

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Yes, the FBI and CIA can read your email. Here's how
by Zack Whittaker
Posted November 16, 2012

government spying on you"Petraeus-gate," some U.S. pundits are calling it. How significant is it that even the head of the CIA can have his emails read by an albeit friendly domestic intelligence agency, which can lead to his resignation and global, and very public humiliation?

The U.S. government -- and likely your own government, for that matter -- is either watching your online activity every minute of the day through automated methods and non-human eavesdropping techniques, or has the ability to dip in as and when it deems necessary -- sometimes with a warrant, sometimes without.

This has not only landed the former CIA chief in hot water but has ignited the debate over how, when, and why governments and law enforcement agencies are able to access ordinary citizens' email accounts, even if they are the head of the most powerful intelligence agency in the world. More...

This whole General Petraeus story smells like 4 day old fish. Are we to believe that the head of the CIA thought his GMail account was secure from FBI surveillance? Or is the corporate media not giving us the whole story. Neither scenario is reassuring.

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LIVE: From KXL Pipeline-Lies, Cover-up,Corruption Equal.... Environmental DISASTER!
by Brett Redmayne-Titley
Posted November 6, 2012

tar sands protestHow did one foreign Corporation form its own militia, become in control of the local courts, fraudulently abuse the land rights of hundreds of Texas and Oklahoma landholders, arrest, fabricate charges for, and incarcerated peaceful protesters, jeopardize the health of millions of Americans, and threaten the world with a global environmental catastrophe, all in the name of corporate profit?

  • Why did TransCanada manage to get the Environmental Impact Study (EIS) taken from the jurisdiction of the Environmental Protection Agency ( EPA) and switched to the State Department?
  • Why will TransCanada not release the names of the toxic chemical delusions used to prepare the tar sands for high-pressure shipment through this pipe line?
  • Why is the Cook County court system apparently under the control of TransCanada?
  • Why is the state of Texas manufacturing new laws to help TransCanada charge protesters with excessive crimes that demand extraordinary bail amounts?
  • Why is TransCanada burying the pipeline seventeen feet deep? More...

Do you really want mercenaries hired by foreign corporations arresting U.S. citizens?

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10 Filthy-Rich, Tax-Dodging Hypocrites Pushing Disastrous Austerity on America
by Sarah Anderson and Scott Klinger
Posted November 4, 2012

tax dodgersThe Fix the Debt coalition is using the so-called "fiscal cliff" to push the same old corporate agenda of more tax breaks while shifting the burden on to the rest of us.Brace yourself for one of the most aggressive corporate lobbying campaigns of all time. And one of the most hypocritical.

"Fix the Debt " is a coalition of more than 80 CEOs who claim they know best how to deal with our nation's fiscal challenges. The group boasts a $60 million budget just for the initial phase of a massive media and lobbying campaign. The irony is that CEOs in the coalition's leadership have been major contributors to the national debt they now claim to know how to fix. These are guys who've mastered every tax-dodging trick in the book. And now that they've boosted their corporate profits by draining the public treasury, how do they propose we put our fiscal house back in order? By squeezing programs for the poor and elderly, including Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

Fix the Debt claims their agenda is not just about spending cuts. But when it comes to their tax proposals, they use the slippery term "pro-growth reform" to push for cuts in deductions that are likely to include credits for working families and — you guessed it — more corporate tax breaks. Chief among these is a proposal to switch to a territorial system under which corporate foreign earnings would be permanently exempted (instead of being taxed when they are returned to America). More...

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American Empire: A Disaster on Autopilot
by Tom Engelhardt
Posted October 15, 2012

American EmpireA great power without a significant enemy? You might have to go back to the Roman Empire at its height or some Chinese dynasty in full flower to find anything like it. And yet Osama bin Laden is dead. Al-Qaeda is reportedly a shadow of its former self. The great regional threats of the moment, North Korea and Iran, are regimes held together by baling wire and the suffering of their populaces. The only incipient great power rival on the planet, China, has just launched its first aircraft carrier, a refurbished Ukrainian throwaway from the 1990s on whose deck the country has no planes capable of landing.

The more dominant the U.S. military becomes in its ability to destroy and the more its forces are spread across the globe, the more the defeats and semi-defeats pile up, the more the missteps and mistakes grow, the more the strains show, the more the suicides rise, the more the nation's treasure disappears down a black hole -- and in response to all of this, the more moves the Pentagon makes.

Think of it as the American imperial paradox: everywhere there are now "threats" against our well-being which seem to demand action and yet nowhere are there commensurate enemies to go with them. More...

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The Great American Empire - Decline, Decay, Denial, Delusion & Despair
by James Quinn
Posted October 10, 2012

empire in declineThe majority of Americans seem OK with just waddling through life, accepting the lies and misinformation blasted from the boob tube and their various iGadgets by their owners, gorging themselves to death on Twinkies and Cheetos, paying 15% interest on their $10,000 rolling credit card balance, and growing ever more dependent on the welfare/warfare state to provide and protect them from accepting personal responsibility for their lives. A minority of critical thinking people have chosen to question everything they see and hear being spewed at us by the propagandist mainstream media, the corporate fascist government, and the powerful banking cabal that has an iron grip upon our throats as they choke the life out of the global economy in their never ending desire for more riches and more power.

The financialization of America was a conscious decision by the oligarchs. They controlled the issuance of credit. They controlled the currency and level of inflation inflicted upon the masses. They controlled the corporations selling consumer goods on credit. They controlled the Congress, courts, and government agencies with their deep pocket lobbying and buying of influence. Lastly, they controlled the media messages and molded the opinions and tastes of the masses through their Bernaysian propaganda techniques perfected over the decades. More...

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Wall Street's War Against the Cities
by Michael Hudson
Posted October 9, 2012

thank you bankersThe pace of Wall Street's war against the 99% is quickening in preparation for the kill. Having demonized public employees for being scheduled to receive pensions on their lifetime employment service, bondholders are insisting on getting the money instead. It is the same austerity philosophy that has been forced on Greece and Spain – and the same that is prompting President Obama and Mitt Romney to urge scaling back Social Security and Medicare.

Social Security can easily be paid. After the 2007 crash the Fed printed $13 trillion on its computers to give to bankers. It can do the same for Social Security – and for federal grants-in-aid to America's states and cities. It can pay state and local pension obligations in the same way it has paid Wall Street's 1%. The problem is that the Fed is only willing do what central banks were founded to do – finance government deficits – to give to the banks. The aim is to save bondholders and the banks' high-flying counterparties, not the 99%. More...

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Arctic Ice Melt, Psychopathic Capitalism and the Corporate Media
by David Cromwell and David Edwards
Posted October 8, 2012

corporate malfeasanceLast month, climate scientists announced that Arctic sea ice had shrunk to its smallest surface area since satellite observations began in 1979. An ice-free summer in the Arctic, once projected to be more than a century away, now looks possible just a few decades from now. Some scientists say it may happen within the next few years.

The loss is hugely significant because Arctic sea ice reflects most solar energy into space, helping to keep the Earth at a moderate temperature. But when the ice melts it reveals dark waters below, which absorb more than 90 percent of the solar energy that hits them, leading to faster warming both locally and globally. More...

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DHS 'fusion centers' portrayed as pools of ineptitude, civil liberties intrusions
by Robert O'Harrow Jr.
Posted October 4, 2012

DHS ineptitudeAn initiative aimed at improving intelligence sharing has done little to make the country more secure, despite as much as $1.4 billion in federal spending, according to a two-year examination by Senate investigators.

The nationwide network of offices known as "fusion centers" was launched after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to address concerns that local, state and federal authorities were not sharing information effectively about potential terrorist threats. But after nine years — and regular praise from officials at the Department of Homeland Security — the 77 fusion centers have become pools of ineptitude, waste and civil liberties intrusions, according to a scathing 141-page report by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs permanent subcommittee on investigations. More...

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Occupy My Foreclosure
by Andrea Egizi
Posted October 3, 2012

foreclosureFor millions of Americans, owning a home is the grandest symbol of having accomplished the illusion of the "American Dream". Being a homeowner signifies success, financial stability and responsibility. I too had the indoctrinated belief to become a homeowner and felt great pride signing all the papers on closing day. Unfortunately, that bliss was short-lived.

I was relieved to hear that President Obama had signed a new bill called the "Making Homes Affordable Program" to help homeowners like me. The bill was geared specifically to help struggling underwater homeowners stay put in their homes by facilitating a loan reduction between the lending bank and the homeowner. Given that my hours at work were reduced due to the economic downturn, and I had lost an entire half of our family income due to impending divorce, I considered this program as a godsend. More...

RealtyTrac released its U.S. Foreclosure Market Report™ for August 2012, which shows foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — were reported on 193,508 U.S. properties in the month of August alone. Every one of these represents a family or individual.

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WikiLeaks: US Ambassador Planned "Retaliation" Against France Over Ban on Monsanto Corn
by Mike Ludwig
Posted October 1, 2012

gentically modifiedThe former United States ambassador to France suggested "moving to retaliation" against France and the European Union (EU) in late 2007 to fight a French ban on Monsanto's genetically modified (GM) corn and changes in European policy toward biotech crops, according to a cable released by WikiLeaks on Sunday.

Former Ambassador Craig Stapleton was concerned about France's decision to suspend cultivation of Monsanto's MON-810 corn and warned that a new French environmental review standard could spread anti-biotech policy across the EU. More...

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Seven Examples of a "Police State," and How They Are Appearing in the US
by Will Potter
Posted September 30, 2012

police state"Has the United States become a police state?" That's the stark question I was asked at the beginning of a recent radio interview.

Framing the current political climate in these terms is quite blunt, and can be jarring to some people because it automatically conjures images of, for example, Nazi Germany. That's clearly different than what is occurring right now in the United States. So how do we conceptualize the current state of government repression, and how do we put it in a historical context?

Is this a police state? If not, what is it? The image that most people hold of a "police state" is a representation of extreme power dynamics, and repressive tactics to maintain them, at specific points of history. The current political climate in the United States is unique in many ways, and distinct from those eras. However, it shares core attributes that we generally associate with a "police state". More...

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Revolt of the Rich: Have Our Financial Elites Already Seceded from America?
by Richard Clark
Posted September 27, 2012

gated community"What I mean by this secession is a withdrawal into enclaves, an internal immigration, whereby the rich disconnect themselves from the civic life of the nation and from any concern about its wellbeing except as a place to extract loot.

Our plutocracy now lives like the British in colonial India: in the place and ruling it, but not of it. If one can afford private security, public safety is of no concern; if one owns a Gulfstream jet, crumbling bridges cause less apprehension -- and viable public transportation doesn't even show up on the radar screen. With private doctors on call and a chartered plane to get to the Mayo Clinic, why worry about Medicare?

In both world wars, even a Harvard man or a New York socialite might know the weight of an army pack. Now the military is for suckers from the laboring classes whose subprime mortgages you just sliced into CDOs and sold to gullible investors in order to buy your second Bentley or rustle up the cash to get Rod Stewart to perform at your birthday party. The sentiment among the super-rich towards the rest of America is often one of contempt rather than noblesse. More...

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Craving for More and More Wealth. Refusing Capitalism
by Colin Todhunter
Posted September 24, 2012

shopping addictionCapitalism is based on addiction. It encourages people to crave for more and more wealth and more and more products. Ridiculously wealthy people want even more riches, resulting in war, exploitation and the immiseration of working folk. In turn, ordinary people have been encouraged to take out ever greater debts in order to purchase an endless stream of goods of dubious worth. This addictive behaviour is ultimately ruinous for the individual, humankind and the environment, which becomes stripped bare in the process.

Too many people now see through the lies of economic neo-liberal hegemony and capitalism, however, and realise that the encouragement of cynicism and apathy and of trivializing or ridiculing dissent and dissenters is part and parcel of the propaganda. More...

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Five Looming Curses of Privatization
by Paul Bucheit
Posted Septmeber 18, 2012

privatization of waterWith the breakdown of the private financial industry, and with the decision by corporations to stop meeting their tax responsibilities, and with the dramatic surge in tax haven abuse, less tax revenue is available to state and local governments. Deprived of funding, governments are forced to consider privatization schemes to balance their budgets. But any such scheme comes with adversity and pain.

The futility of diverting public funds into the hands of profitseekers has been well-documented. Here are a few of the gathering curses of privatization. More...

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Civil Disobedience Actions Blockade Entrance to Site of TPP Negotiations in VA
by Its Our Economy
Posted Sept 12, 2012

Flush the TPPA rapidly growing movement is organizing to oppose the unprecedented lack of transparency surrounding the Obama Administration's handling of the TPP discussions. While 600 corporate lobbyists have been allowed access to and input on the draft texts from the beginning of negotiations three years ago, the public and even members of US Congress have not been allowed to see what is being proposed on their behalf.

"People need to know that the Trans Pacific Partnership is being negotiated in secret to hide the content.The TPP will redefine the terms of trade in ways that give corporations power over nations, makes them unaccountable and threatens the health of people and the future of the planet," said Baltimore native Dr. Margaret Flowers, co-director of ItsOurEconomy.us, as she dangled by a climbing harness 20 feet above the pavement and dozens of agitated police officers and sheriff's deputies. Flowers is a medical doctor and said she was moved to take action in particular because she is concerned about the likelihood that the TPP would increase drug prices by expanding corporate patent rights. More...

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Re-Defining the First Amendment....with COPS!
by Brett Redmayne-Titley
Posted August 6, 2012

protecting our rights?Examples of the new definition of America's remaining First Amendment were featured at the 2012 Democratic National Convention,as soon as the first protester marchers stepped-off, Sunday, Sept 2, from Marshall Park. A huge crowd of approximately 8,000 would normally have been a strong indication of America's growing discontent and demand for change. Sadly, the huge crowd was divided into about 500 journalists, 3000, or so, apathetic gawkers from the Charlotte area,1000 passionate, very vocal, protesters, and........ 3,500 cops.

Appearing not be involved were thousands of area residents, whose single effort was to stare at the passing protesters, while taking pictures. Despite the protesters doing their best to represent, and enlighten, these apathetic sheep, none joined the protest and all were content to utilize this passing democracy vicariously, remaining disaffected, and as apathetic as before. Only the occasional unenlightened redneck took the energy to participate, by defaming the protestors to the thrill of other members of the crowd. Most just stood staring, as if lobotomized by their steady, decades long, diet of corn syrup, junk food, and main stream media propaganda. More...

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Bill Gross: "Normal" Economic Growth Impossible Now
By Terry Weiss
Posted Sept 5, 2012

systemic collapse aheadMartenson and a team of scientists, economists, and geopolitical analysts recently conducted a thorough investigation into the sustainability of exponential growth. They're findings revealed a startling pattern.

This pattern, Martenson says, shows that not only is market growth unsustainable - but a crash is imminent."It's a catastrophic pattern in the markets," Martenson said, "one we believe could soon hasten an economic collapse - a chain of events that could lead to massive inflation, the swift fall of the dollar, and a total halt to the way we currently live our lives." The mysterious pattern was so alarming, according to Martenson, the team presented their research to the United Nations, 16 world governments, and to Fortune 500 companies.

They've concluded this catastrophic pattern is not limited to the stock market..."We found the same catastrophic pattern in our energy, food, water and economic systems," Martenson said. "And these systems could all implode at the same time. Food, water, energy, money. Everything."

The pattern Martenson identified affects the entire global economic system. It's eerily similar, he explains, to the kind of pattern you see in a pyramid scheme, one that escalates exponentially before it collapses - with little notice. More...

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How Your Movements Are Being Tracked, Probably Without Your Knowledge
by Tana Ganeva
Posted Sept 2, 2012

surveillance everywhereIn May, Utah lawmakers were surprised to learn that the US Drug Enforcement Agency had worked out a plan with local sheriffs to pack the state's main interstate highway, I-15, with Automated License Plate Readers (ALPRs) that could track any vehicle passing through. At a hearing of the Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Interim Committee, the ACLU of Utah and committee members aired their concerns, asking such questions as: Why store the travel histories of law-abiding Utah residents in a federal database in Virginia? What about residents who don't want anyone to know they drive to Nevada to gamble? Wouldn't drug traffickers catch on and just start taking a different highway? (That's the case, according to local reports.)

According to the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, ALPRs have become so pervasive in America that they constitute a "covert national surveillance grid." The civil liberties group has mapped the spread of ALPRs, and contends on its Web site that, "Silently, but constantly, the government is now watching, recording your everyday travels and storing years of your activities in massive data warehouses that can be quickly 'mined' to find out when and where you have been, whom you've visited, meetings you've attended, and activities you've taken part in." More...

Documents that were secured by EPIC, the privacy non-profit, recently revealed that actually there is an arrangement whereby the customs license plate reader data is now being given or shared with private corporations like the insurance industry.  So, wondering whether every law enforcement entity has access to this is sort of a moot point when actually they have no problem providing this information to private corporations.

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The RNC Arrives in Tampa and With It, Martial Law
by S. Paul Forrest
Posted August 27, 2012

freedom of speechIn preparation for this event, the City of Tampa has spent nearly $100 Million dollars of tax payer money. The expenses include everything from surveillance cameras to mounted police patrolling the streets and barricades to keep anyone out who would dare not support the politics of nothingness. Our downtown has been transformed from a normally peaceful one into a war zone patrolled and monitored by the Secret Service and several other law enforcement agencies. Streets are being closed, bus lines rerouted and during the event, the Cross Town expressway, closed. As news and military helicopters fly above, the police and the court system below prepare for what they predict will be an event surrounded by violent protests. They are now more than ready to protect the interests of a political system that has all but abandoned We the People.

Along with this tour de force of police presence, the right-wing aligned media has taken the opportunity to further the agenda of their poli-pets by demonizing those who are preparing to protest against the GOP, be they rational protestors or not, serving to send a message to their listeners that any who cares enough about America to stand up for her, is the enemy. More...

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Mega-Million CEOs: Our Tax Dollars at Work
by Sam Pizzigati
Posted August 21, 2012

our tax dollarsSome 25 other major U.S. corporations, the Institute for Policy Studies reports in the latest annual Executive Excess, last year paid their CEOs more than they paid Uncle Sam.Among these big-time tax avoiders: Ford Motor, International Paper, AT&T, Halliburton. All together, these 26 all-star tax manipulators reported $28.2 billion in corporate profits last year and received nearly $4.3 billion in tax refunds.

The CEOs at these 26 corporate giants averaged $20.4 million in 2011 compensation."In effect, we're rewarding corporate executives for gaming the tax system," note the four of us who wrote this latest Executive Excess. "Our tax code is helping the CEOs of our nation's most prosperous corporations pick Uncle Sam's pocket." More...

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WIKILEAKS: Surveillance Cameras Around The Country Are Being Used In A Huge Spy Network
by David Seaman
Posted August 13, 2012

surveillance stateThe U.S. cable networks won't be covering this one tonight (not accurately, anyway), but Trapwire is making the rounds on social media today—it reportedly became a Trending hashtag on Twitter earlier in the day.Trapwire is the name of a program revealed in the latest Wikileaks bonanza—it is the mother of all leaks, by the way. Trapwire would make something like disclosure of UFO contact or imminent failure of a major U.S. bank fairly boring news by comparison.

And someone out there seems to be quite disappointed that word is getting out so swiftly; the Wikileaks web site is reportedly sustaining 10GB worth of DDoS attacks each second, which is massive. More...

Another website with more on this story.
And another website with more information.

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America's Descent Into Darkness
by Morris Berman
Posted August 6, 2012

land of the free?Strange things are happening in the United States these days, and every day seems to bring additional scary news. The similarity to the erosion of civil liberties in Germany during the 1930s is a bit too close for comfort. Many will regard this statement as hyperbole, and, to some extent, it is. But let's take a close look at what is going on before we dismiss the comparison out of hand.

By way of comparison, one thing that makes me particularly nervous is what has been called the "conspiracy of silence." Almost nobody spoke up in Germany as this process was unfolding, and the American public has been similarly silent about the events documented below. Indeed, I would venture to say that 98% of the American public (maybe more) is unaware of events such as these, or of the passage of repressive legislation, and that they wouldn't care even if they did know about it. ("Hey, I ain't no Ay-rab!") The classic quote that has come down to us is from Martin Niemoeller, a German pastor and theologian who wound up in the Sachsenhausen and Dachau concentration camps. More....

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The Impending Collapse of American Medicine
by Robert S. Dotson, M.D.
Posted August 6, 2012

american medicineThirty years have passed since a much younger physician opened his ophthalmology practice in East Tennessee. A lifetime of hopes and expectations, intermingled with the usual collection of fears and uncertainties, has sped past at blinding speed. Children came, grew up, and moved on to their own lives. Parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles, many friends and colleagues have returned to dust in advance of their fading photos.

Any thinking American knows that there is something terribly wrong with the health care system in this country. Throughout my career, the political ruling elite has been enacting piecemeal a version of "universal" healthcare coverage to satisfy the demands of an increasingly vocal, but also increasingly disenfranchised citizenry. Our overlords, of course, have been more motivated by enhancing corporate bottom lines and enriching themselves, than in genuinely helping the peasantry. More...

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Goldman Sachs's New York Prison Deal Saves All the Risk for the Taxpayer
by Jason Farago
Posted August 5, 2012

private profitsReplacing public responsibility with private profit is a one-way bargain, and the state will shoulder the burden when it goes bad. Instead of ending up at Riker's Island, Goldman Sachs executives look to profit off it.

Mike Bloomberg, still the mayor of New York after all these years, has announced a new four-year program to keep prisoners from reoffending after their sentences, funded by $9.6m from Goldman Sachs. When we said we wanted to see the bankers in the clink, this is not what we meant.

It may sound like a nice philanthropic gesture, but that $9.6m sum isn't a donation; it's a loan. As City Hall explained, Goldman is being incentivized to produce results – if recidivism drops by 10%, Goldman gets the money back, and if it drops further then the GS boys will turn a small profit. (One idea for Lloyd Blankfein: if you really want to end up in the black, just hire the ex-offenders to work at Goldman, where I can't imagine they'd have much trouble fitting in.) More...

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The CEO Plan to Steal Your Social Security and Medicare
by Dean Baker
Posted August 3, 2012

stealing social securityMany of the same folks who brought the economy to ruin just a few years ago are now going to come up with a plan that is supposed to set the budget and the economy on a forward path. At the center of their proposal are big cuts in Social Security and Medicare.

The corporate CEO crew is also considering a plan to raise the normal retirement age for Social Security to 69. And, they want to reduce the benefit formula for high income workers which, incredibly, they define as people who earn more than $40,000 a year. Their main trick for Medicare is to raise the age of eligibility from 65 to 67. Apparently our CEO gang has not discovered that the health insurance market for older people is a disaster. They also continue to promote the misconception that the problem is Medicare and Medicaid.

These programs are actually much more efficient than private insurers. The real problem is our private sector health care system, which already costs more than twice as much per person as the average in other wealthy countries, with few obvious benefits in outcomes. More...

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Privatization: The Big Joke That Isn't Funny
by Paul Buchheit
Posted August 1, 2012

privatizationThe privatization of public goods and services turns basic human needs into products to buy and sell. That's more than a joke, it's an insult, it's a perversion. It generally benefits only a privileged group of businesspeople and their companies while increasing inequality and undermining the common good.

Various studies have identified the 'benefits' of privatization as profitability and productivity, efficiency, wider share ownership and good investment returns. These are business benefits. More balanced studies consider the effects on average people, who have paid into a long-established societal support system for their schools and emergency services, water and transportation systems, and eventually health care and retirement benefits. More...

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Working to Keep Homeowners In Their Homes
Interview with David Petrovich
Posted July 31, 2012


ForeclosuresLoan securitization and the sub-subcontracting of servicing rights from one "foreclosure shop" to another have made things much, much more difficult for the borrower. A major obstacle for both the borrower and for the country's recovery from this nightmare is this: The loan servicer's interests and the borrower's interests are in conflict. Simplistically, loan servicers are paid more when a loan is delinquent, in default or in foreclosure. It is in the loan servicer's best, financial self-interest to keep loans in perpetual default. They hit the jackpot when they foreclose.

Contrary to what we hear or read, loan servicers drag out the "modification" process as long as possible, then foreclose because they get paid more to do that than modify loans and keep people in their homes. More...
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Betrayal of the American Dream
by Donald Bartlett and James Steele
Posted July 29, 2012

BetrayalThis is the story of how a small number of people in power have deliberately put in place policies that have enriched themselves while cutting the ground out from underneath America's greatest asset — its middle class.

Their actions, going back more than three decades, have relegated untold numbers of American men and women to the economic scrap heap — to lives of reduced earnings, chronic job insecurity and a retirement with fewer and fewer benefits. Millions have lost their jobs. Others have lost their homes. Nearly all face an uncertain future.

Astonishingly, this has been carried out in what is considered the world's greatest democracy, where the will of the people is supposed to prevail. It no longer does. America is now ruled by the few — the wealthy and the powerful who have become this country's ruling class. More...

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The Careerists
by Chris Hedges
Posted July 28, 2012

human drones doing as toldThe greatest crimes of human history are made possible by the most colorless human beings. They are the careerists. The bureaucrats. The cynics. They do the little chores that make vast, complicated systems of exploitation and death a reality. They collect and read the personal data gathered on tens of millions of us by the security and surveillance state. They keep the accounts of ExxonMobil, BP and Goldman Sachs. They build or pilot aerial drones. They work in corporate advertising and public relations. They issue the forms. They process the papers. They deny food stamps to some and unemployment benefits or medical coverage to others. They enforce the laws and the regulations. And they do not ask questions.

Good. Evil. These words do not mean anything to them. They are beyond morality. They are there to make corporate systems function. If insurance companies abandon tens of millions of sick to suffer and die, so be it. If banks and sheriff departments toss families out of their homes, so be it. If financial firms rob citizens of their savings, so be it. If the government shuts down schools and libraries, so be it. If the military murders children in Pakistan or Afghanistan, so be it. If commodity speculators drive up the cost of rice and corn and wheat so that they are unaffordable for hundreds of millions of poor across the planet, so be it. If Congress and the courts strip citizens of basic civil liberties, so be it. If the fossil fuel industry turns the earth into a broiler of greenhouse gases that doom us, so be it. They serve the system. The god of profit and exploitation. More...

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CIA Outsources Assasination Squad to Blackwater
by Conor Friedersdorf
Posted July 23, 2012

privatized assassinationsIt was one of the biggest secrets of the post-9/11 era: soon after the attacks, President Bush gave the CIA permission to create a top secret assassination unit to find and kill Al Qaeda operatives. The program was kept from Congress for seven years. And when Leon Panetta told legislators about it in 2009, he revealed that the CIA had hired the private security firm Blackwater to help run it. "The move was historic," says Evan Wright, the two-time National Magazine Award-winning journalist who wrote Generation Kill. "It seems to have marked the first time the U.S. government outsourced a covert assassination service to private enterprise."

A former Air Force lieutenant colonel, speaking on the record and using the present tense, said in 2011 that "private contractors are whacking people like crazy over in Afghanistan for the CIA."

Needless to say, this ought to spark an investigation, but more than that, it should cause Americans to step back and reflect on how vulnerable we've made ourselves to bad actors in the post-9/11 era. We're giving C.I.A. agents and even private security contractors the sort of power no individual should wield. And apparently our screening apparatus turns out to be lacking. More...

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America's Drones Are Homeward Bound
by Ann Wright
Posted July 22, 2012

drones in the USAAmericans have been protesting and getting arrested at U.S. drone bases and research institutions for years, and some members of Congress are starting to respond to the pressure. But it's not that drones are being used to extrajudicially execute people, including Americans, in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia that has U.S. lawmakers concerned. Rather it's the possible and probable violation of Americans' privacy in the United States by unlawful drone surveillance that has caught the attention of legislators.

Rep. Jeff Landry, R-La., says "there is distrust amongst the people who have come and discussed this issue with me about our government. It's raising alarm with the American public." Based on those discussions, Landry has placed a provision in a defense spending bill that would prohibit information gathered by drones without a warrant from being used as evidence in court. More...

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Here is Why Our Elites are Not Fixing the Economy
by Dave Johnson
Posted July 16, 2012

works for meWhen we had democracy, We, the People made the rules and we ran our country and our economy for our benefit. Now that we are a plutocracy things are different. The reason our elites are not doing anything to fix the economy is because from their viewpoint, things are just fine.

Our political leaders dance with the ones that bring them. Increasingly they are dancing with the billionaires and their giant corporations. Our politicians are doing and saying increasingly incomprehensible things. The separation from regular people is unbelievable. But in politics you "dance with the one that brung ya," and these things become comprehensible and believable when you look at who is bringing them to the dance. More...

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Pensions Under Attack in America
by Mark Vorpahl
Posted July 15, 2012

underfunded pensionOn Friday, July 6, President Obama signed into law a bill that would renew transportation programs and extend low interest rates on student loans for one year. While this minimal gesture resulted in, no doubt, sighs of relief from those burdened by student debt, tucked away within the bill's pages was a little-noticed proposal to further erode the funding of workers' pensions. The bill was a brilliant sleight of hand where what it appeared to be giving with one hand distracted the public from what it was taking away with the other.

Aside from the more publicly known parts of this bill, it also reduced the amount that corporations pay into an already grossly underfunded pension system. The way it achieved this is with a complex equation factoring in interest rates, changes in how businesses calculate what they must contribute to retirement premiums, and how these contributions are tax deductible. The end result of this opaque process of number crunching is that, according to the Society of Actuaries, employer pension contributions will be reduced overall from a mandatory $80 billion to $45 billion this year alone. Next year this amount will be slashed by $73 billion. More...

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Profit Driven Prison Industrial Complex: The Economics of Incarceration in the USA
by Nile Bowie
Posted July 11, 2012

For profit prisonsFor anyone paying attention, there is no shortage of issues that fundamentally challenge the underpinning moral infrastructure of American society and the values it claims to uphold. Under the conceptual illusion of liberty, few things are more sobering than the amount of Americans who will spend the rest of their lives in an isolated correctional facility – ostensibly, being corrected. The United States of America has long held the highest incarceration rate in the world, far surpassing any other nation. Presently, the prison population in America consists of more than six million people, a number exceeding the amount of prisoners held in the gulags of the former Soviet Union at any point in its history.

The political action committees assembled by private prison enterprises have also wielded incredible influence with respect to administering harsher immigration legislation. The number of illegal immigrants being incarcerated inside the United States is rising exponentially under Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), an agency responsible for annually overseeing the imprisonment of 400,000 foreign nationals at the cost of over $1.9 billion on custody-related operations. The agency has come under heavy criticism for seeking to contract a 1,250-bed immigration detention facility in Essex County, New Jersey to a private company that shares intimate ties to New Jersey's Governor, Chris Christie. More...

The problem with a for profit prison system is that there is a perverse incentive to have as many prisoners as possible to boost profits. In a public prison system, the incentives are to sucessfully rehabilitate and to have as few prisoners as possible.

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A Wall Street Gambling Tax: The Remedy to Inequality
by Dean Baker
Posted July 6, 2012

Wall St gambling taxAs the presidential election builds up steam, the Washington elites in both parties are actively scheming to find ways to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits for retired workers. The media have widely reported on efforts to slip through a version of the deficit reduction plan developed by Morgan Stanley director Erskine Bowles and former senator Alan Simpson. Since the vast majority of voters across the political spectrum reject cuts to these programs, the Washington insiders hope to spring this one on us after the election, when the public will have no say.

That is the sort of anti-democratic behavior we expect from elites who naturally want to protect their own interests. Of course the rest of us are more concerned about the well-being of the country as a whole rather than the preserving the wealth of the richest 1 percent. More...

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New World Order Blueprint Leaked
by Rudy Avizius
Posted June 21, 2012

New World OrderOn June 12, a leaked copy of the investment chapter for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was made public. This copy was analyzed by Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch and has been verified as authentic. This agreement has been negotiated IN SECRET for 2-1/2 years and no information has ever been released until this leak. So why have the details of this negotiation been so secret? This agreement has been framed as a "free trade" agreement and yet out of 26 chapters only two have anything to do with trade. The other 24 chapters grant new corporate privileges and rights, while limiting governments and protective regulations.

If implemented, this agreement will hard code corporate dominance over sovereign governments into international law that will supercede any federal, state, or local laws of any member country. This document alone should set alarm bells ringing, but if one steps back and looks at the larger picture, the future ramifications look even more ominous. After completing this reading, see what your conclusions are. More...

Another article on the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement.

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America's Student Loan Racket
by Stephen Lendman
Posted June 10, 2012

crushing student debtSome face burdens up to $100,000 or higher. If unpaid after 30 years, it's a $500,000 obligation. If default or declare bankruptcy, it's unforgiven. Bondage is permanent.

Lenders thrive from defaults. Wages can be garnished. So can portions of Social Security and other retirement benefits. A conspiratorial alliance of lenders, guarantors, servicers, and collection companies derive income from debt service and inflated collection fees. Principle, accrued interest, late payment and collection agency penalties create enormous burdens to repay.

Once entrapped, escape is impossible. Unless repaid, future lives and careers are impaired. Today's economic crisis exacerbates conditions. Job opportunities are scarce. Ones for higher education grads are even fewer. More...

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The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: Quiet Drama in Philadelphia
by Ellen Brown
Posted May 26, 2012

not televisedLast week, the city of Philadelphia's school system announced that it expects to close 40 public schools next year, and 64 schools by 2017. The school district expects to lose 40% of its current enrollment, and thousands of experienced, qualified teachers. But corporate media in other cities made no mention of these massive school closings -- nor of those in Chicago, Atlanta, or New York City.

It's all about balancing the budgets of cities that have lost revenues from the economic downturn. Supposedly, there is simply no money for the luxury of providing an education for the people.

Meanwhile, in Other Unreported News . . ., an alternative vision was put before a conference in Philadelphia in late April that drew delegates from all over the United States. The theme of the first Public Banking in America conference, held at the Quaker Friends Center on April 28-29th, was that to fix the economy, we first need to take back the "money power"—the power to create currency and credit. More...

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America's Downward Social and Economic Spiral
by James Quinn
Posted May 24, 2012

economic declineThe only new buildings along this stretch of highway further emphasize what is seemingly important to our society. There are numerous architecturally grand bank branches dominating this highway. There is a beautiful new building housing the Social Security Administration for this area. This is where the obese, depressed and unemployable flock to sign up for the SSDI gravy train. And lastly there are a few medical facilities that are top notch. It seems that banks, government and medicine are doing just fine. But what do they produce?

Our entire society is in a downward social and economic spiral. We are just at different levels of decay (Dante's circles of hell). At the current pace it won't be long before I'm writing about the 50 States of Squalor. It is virtually impossible to reverse a decline that has been underway for the last three decades. We sold our souls to Wall Street and chose a debt financed illusion of wealth over productive savings and investment which would have led to real wealth. Our choices are reflected in the continued deterioration and decay along West Chester Pike and the squalor that is West Philly. Grey and decay will carry the day. More...

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Colonized by Corporations
by Chris Hedges
Posted May 16, 2012

corporate ruleWe are controlled by tiny corporate entities that have no loyalty to the nation and indeed in the language of traditional patriotism are traitors. They strip us of our resources, keep us politically passive and enrich themselves at our expense. The colonized are denied job security. Incomes are reduced to subsistence level. The poor are plunged into desperation. Mass movements, such as labor unions, are dismantled. The school system is degraded so only the elites have access to a superior education. Laws are written to legalize corporate plunder and abuse, as well as criminalize dissent. And the ensuing fear and instability—keenly felt this past weekend by the more than 200,000 Americans who lost their unemployment benefits—ensure political passivity by diverting all personal energy toward survival. It is an old, old game.

A change of power does not require the election of a Mitt Romney or a Barack Obama or a Democratic majority in Congress, or an attempt to reform the system or electing progressive candidates, but rather a destruction of corporate domination of the political process—Gamer's "patron-client" networks. It requires the establishment of new mechanisms of governance to distribute wealth and protect resources, to curtail corporate power, to cope with the destruction of the ecosystem and to foster the common good. But we must first recognize ourselves as colonial subjects. We must accept that we have no effective voice in the way we are governed. More...

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How to Destroy Education While Making a Trillion Dollars
by Robert Freeman
Posted May 5, 2012

destroying public educationThe U.S is ratcheting up a societal-level war on public education. At issue is whether we are going to make it better — build it into something estimable, a social asset that undergirds a noble and prosperous society — or whether we're going to tear it down so that private investors can get their hands on the almost $1 trillion we spend on it every year. The tear-it-down option is the civilian equivalent of Ben Tre, but on a vastly larger scale and with incomparably greater stakes: we must destroy public education in order to save it. It's still early in the game, but right now the momentum is with the wreckers because that's where the money is. Whether they succeed or not will be up to you.

Here's a three-step recipe for how to destroy education. It maps perfectly to how to make a prodigious profit by privatizing it. It is the essential game plan of the big money boys. More...

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U.S. Gov't Making Preperations for Expected Major Social Unrest Next Year
by Ron Holland
Posted April 30, 2012

Riot police in MinnesotaThe Department of Homeland Security just ordered 450 million rounds of special "hollow point" .40 caliber ammunition from defense contractor ATK. The high performance HST bullets are designed for law enforcement and ATK says they offer "optimum penetration for terminal performance." While we can only guess in what situations this type of domestic firepower might be used by Homeland Security, American citizens should also remember this type of ammunition has been outlawed in international warfare by the Hague Convention Declaration III since 1899. In addition, the Department has an open bid to stockpile rifle ammo, up to 175 million rounds of .223 caliber ammo, the same used by NATO forces.

The new National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) takes away basic rights of American citizens who are considered "terrorists" or "enemy combatants." such individuals can now be held indefinitely without trial and without legal representation. After signing the bill, President Obama said he would "never" impose this Act on Americans but don't bet on it! More...

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Video: Corrupt Canadian Banking System
Posted April 29, 2012

This YouTube video went viral of a 12 year girl who blew a crowd away with facts about how banks created money out of thin air and then charge you and the country interest on this free money. The system she describes applies to the United States and Europe as well.

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The Inequity of Private-Equity Hustlers
by Jim Hightower
Posted April 26, 2012

layoffs for private gainWhat are these phantasmagoric money machines that they call "private-equity firms?" They're much in the news these days. They operate by borrowing big piles of cash at high interest rates from rich speculators to buy out XYZ Corp. Then, to meet the interest payments owed to the speculators (and to siphon off a financial killing for themselves), the fixers do two things: One, they plunder XYZ's assets, selling the profitable chunks of the corporation; and two, they severely downsize the XYZ workforce, firing as many workers as possible and demanding deep wage cuts and benefit givebacks from the employees they keep.

It's a raw redistribution-of-wealth scheme, shifting XYZ's wage payments from its many workers to a handful of wealthy high rollers. The process downsizes America's middle class, while creating no real economic value. Nothing equitable about it. More...

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Five Reasons Why The Very Rich Have NOT Earned Their Money
by Paul Buchheit
Posted April 24, 2012

Rich have not earned their moneyThe wealthiest Americans believe they've earned their money through hard work and innovation, and that they're the most productive members of society. For the most part they're wrong. As the facts below will show, they're not nearly as productive as middle-class workers. Yet they've taken almost all the new income over the past 30 years.

Workers have TRIPLED their productivity over 30 years while the richest 1% have TRIPLED their share of income. Worker pay remained flat as the top 10% took almost all the productivity gains since 1980. Private tuition is skyrocketing, with student loans reaching the $1 trillion mark. Bonuses continue for executives at Ford and Bank of America and Sirius and other companies who have underperformed and/or laid off workers.

No, the captains of industry have not earned their money because of their top-notch management skills. Five reasons why they have not earned their money: More...

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The Prison Labor Complex
by Steve Fraser and Joshua Freeman
Posted April 21, 2012

prison slavery for corporate profitSweatshop labor is back with a vengeance. It can be found across broad stretches of the American economy and around the world. Penitentiaries have become a niche market for such work. The privatization of prisons in recent years has meant the creation of a small army of workers too coerced and right-less to complain.

Prisoners, whose ranks increasingly consist of those for whom the legitimate economy has found no use, now make up a virtual brigade within the reserve army of the unemployed whose ranks have ballooned along with the U.S. incarceration rate. The Corrections Corporation of America and G4S (formerly Wackenhut), two prison privatizers, sell inmate labor at subminimum wages to Fortune 500 corporations like Chevron, Bank of America, AT&T, and IBM.

These companies can, in most states, lease factories in prisons or prisoners to work on the outside. All told, nearly a million prisoners are now making office furniture, working in call centers, fabricating body armor, taking hotel reservations, working in slaughterhouses, or manufacturing textiles, shoes, and clothing, while getting paid somewhere between 93 cents and $4.73 per day. Rarely can you find workers so pliable, easy to control, stripped of political rights, and subject to martial discipline at the first sign of recalcitrance. More...

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Wall Street's Massive Freak Out When Asked to Pay Their Fair Share
by Bill Moyers and Michael Winship
Posted April 20, 2012

Extreme wealthBenjamin Franklin, who used his many talents to become a wealthy man, famously said that the only things certain in life are death and taxes. But if you're a corporate CEO in America today, even they can be put on the back burner – death held at bay by the best medical care money can buy and the latest in surgical and life extension techniques, taxes conveniently shunted aside courtesy of loopholes, overseas investment and governments that conveniently look the other way.

To add insult to injury, average taxpayers even help subsidize the private jet travel of the rich. On the Times' DealBook blog, mergers and acquisitions expert Steven Davidoff writes, "If an outside security consultant determines that executives need a private jet and other services for their safety, the Internal Revenue Service cuts corporate chieftains a break. In such cases, the chief executive will pay a reduced tax bill or sometimes no tax at all." More...

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The United States is Run by Sociopaths, Economics and Evil
by Doug Casey
Posted April 19, 2012

MadoffWe're headed towards economic and financial bankruptcy. But that's mostly because society has been largely intellectually and morally bankrupt for some time. I don't believe a society can rise to real prosperity without a sound intellectual and moral foundation – that's why the US was so uniquely prosperous for so long, because it had such a foundation. And it's also why societies like Saudi Arabia will collapse as soon as the exogenous things that support them are pulled away. It's why the USSR collapsed. It's the reason why countries everywhere across time reach a peak (if they ever do), then stagnate and decline.

This isn't a matter of academic contemplation, for the same reason that it doesn't matter much if you're in a first-class cabin when the ship it's in is taking on water. More...

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How the US Uses Sexual Humiliation as a Political Tool to Control the Masses
by Naomi Wolf
Posted April 17, 2012

TSA searchIn a five-four ruling this week, the supreme court decided that anyone can be strip-searched upon arrest for any offense, however minor, at any time. This horror show ruling joins two recent horror show laws: the NDAA, which lets anyone be arrested forever at any time, and HR 347, the "trespass bill", which gives you a 10-year sentence for protesting anywhere near someone with secret service protection. These criminalizations of being human follow, of course, the mini-uprising of the Occupy movement.

In surreal reasoning, justice Anthony Kennedy explained that this ruling is necessary because the 9/11 bomber could have been stopped for speeding. How would strip searching him have prevented the attack? Did justice Kennedy imagine that plans to blow up the twin towers had been concealed in a body cavity? In still more bizarre non-logic, his and the other justices' decision rests on concerns about weapons and contraband in prison systems. But people under arrest – that is, who are not yet convicted – haven't been introduced into a prison population. More...

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Cracks in the Pillars of Power
by Kevin Zeese
Posted April 14, 2012

cracks in the systemIn recent weeks several big finance insiders have publicly exposed fault lines in the U.S. financial system. Their inside views are telling us that the corruption we see is real and, more importantly, those in the system know it.

Financiers that break from the corruption of gluttonous greed can become the conscience of a sector that seems to have no conscience. Let's hope their courage is contagious and others follow their lead. We need a revolt from inside big finance that will help radically transform finance from greed to generosity, from gluttony to moderation and from selfishness to community benevolence.

A thorough examination of the corruption of big finance came in a recent shareholder letter from Robert Wilmers, the Chairman and CEO of M&T Bank. He laments that " it is difficult, for one who has spent more than a generation in the field, to recall a time when banking as a profession has been publicly held in such persistently low esteem" noting that polls show "only a quarter of the American public expressed confidence in the integrity of bankers ." More...

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Wells Fargo's prison cash cow
by Glenn Greenwald
Posted April 13, 2012

prisons for profitWells Fargo is one of the top five largest banks in America, a fact that on its own is damning enough, basic human decency not exactly being conducive to success in the financial industry. Despite, or rather because of, its role as one of the leading sub-prime mortgage lenders prior to the 2008 crash in the housing market, the bank was handed $37 billion from the U.S. government, a transfer of wealth from the foreclosed upon have-nots to the haves doing the foreclosing – people like chairman and CEO John Stumpf, whose compensation actually rose after his company's de facto bankruptcy to a cool $18 million last year.

As Wells Fargo has grown over the years, using its bailout funds to gobble up rival Wachovia and expand to the East Coast, so has the U.S. prison population. By 2008, one in 100 American adults were either in jail or in prison – and one in nine black men between the ages of 20 and 34, many simply for non-violent offenses, justice not so much blind as bigoted. Overall, more than 2.3 million people are currently behind bars, up 50 percent in the last 15 years, the land of the free now accounting for a full quarter of the world's prisoners. These developments are not unrelated. More...

Again, the incentives of a for profit private prison system are all wrong. Their inventive is to maximize the number of inmates for maximium profit. A state based system has the incentive to minimize the number of inmates to reduce costs. With the huge growth in private prison systems, is it any wonder that the US inmate population is exploding?

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Thirteen Ways Government Tracks Us
by Bill Quigley
Posted April 12, 2012

government surveillancePrivacy is eroding fast as technology offers government increasing ways to track and spy on citizens. The Washington Post reported there are 3,984 federal, state and local organizations working on domestic counterterrorism. Most collect information on people in the US. Here are thirteen examples of how some of the biggest government agencies and programs track people.

The technology for tracking and identifying people is exploding as is the government appetite for it. Soon, police everywhere will be equipped with handheld devices to collect fingerprint, face, iris and even DNA information on the spot and have it instantly sent to national databases for comparison and storage.

Bloomberg News reports the newest surveillance products "can also secretly activate laptop webcams or microphones on mobile devices," change the contents of written emails mid-transmission, and use voice recognition to scan phone networks. More...

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The Who, How, and Why Behind Silver Price Manipulation
by Peter Krauth
Posted April 7, 2012

silver price manipulatorWhat exactly are the dominant players doing to manipulate the price?

The current exact mechanism they use to suddenly rig the price lower is High Frequency Trading (HFT). This is the placing of sell orders in great quantities by computer programs that suddenly appear as legitimate orders, but are really mostly "spoofs," or orders entered and canceled immediately (in the fractions of a second). When the sell orders first appear, they spook others into selling as they give the appearance of great selling about to hit the market. Instead, it is all a bluff, intended only to scare others into selling, as the vast majority of these original sell orders are never executed, nor were they ever intended to be executed. They were designed for one purpose only - to scare others into selling.

Through HFT, the commercials are able to push prices suddenly lower on very little actual volume. But once prices are put lower, the outside selling (from those who are frightened by the drop in prices) hits the market. It is that outside selling from technical traders that the commercials then buy. In a nutshell that's the HFT scam in silver. It is important to grasp the fact that the actual selling (and commercial buying) takes place AFTER the price drops. Most people think great selling is what causes the price to decline, but that's not true. The great selling only comes in after the price has been put lower, which is the purpose behind HFT in silver. More...

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The "Cashless Society" and Total Monetary Surveillance
by Lew Rockwell
Posted April 6, 2012

surveillanceMost people think of a cashless society as something that is way off in the distant future. Unfortunately, that is simply not the case. The truth is that a cashless society is much closer than most people would ever dare to imagine. To a large degree, the transition to a cashless society is being done voluntarily. Today, only 7 percent of all transactions in the United States are done with cash, and most of those transactions involve very small amounts of money. Just think about it for a moment. Where do you still use cash these days? If you buy a burger or if you purchase something at a flea market you will still use cash, but for any mid-size or large transaction the vast majority of people out there will use another form of payment. Our financial system is dramatically changing, and cash is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. We live in a digital world, and national governments and big banks are both encouraging the move away from paper currency and coins. But what would a cashless society mean for our future? Are there any dangers to such a system?

Those are very important questions, but most of the time both sides of the issue are not presented in a balanced way in the mainstream media. Instead, most mainstream news articles tend to trash cash and talk about how wonderful digital currency is. More...

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Have You Posted Your Pictures on the Internet?
Invasive Surveillance Technology Awaits

by Kelley Bergman
Posted March 24, 2012

ce?We've all done it at one point or another, posting our pictures of ourselves, family and friends on websites and social network portals such as Facebook. Whether it be submitting your picture to output a cartoon or aged version of yourself, or uploading your personal snapshots to Facebook, marketing campaigns are aggressively being pushed by digital media corporations to obtain your facial biometrics. However, most people are completely unaware of the deceptive nature of these campaigns and their intentions.

Opponents to facial recognition technology are well aware that its acceptance and integration within society are growing in combination with wider use of video surveillance, which is likely to grow increasingly invasive over time. Once installed, this kind of a surveillance system rarely remains confined to its original purpose. New ways of applying the technology are leading to abuse as authorities or operators find them to be an irresistible expansion of their power. Ultimately, the privacy of citizens will suffer another blow. The threat is that widespread surveillance will change the character, feel, and quality of our lives. More...

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The Ascendence of Sociopaths in US Governance, How to Surive What's to Come
by Casey Research
Posted March 22, 2012

USA becoming a police state?Living as an international man used to be just an interesting possibility. But few Americans opted for it, since the US used to reward those who settled in and put down roots. In fact, it rewarded them better than any other country in the world, so there was nothing pressing about becoming an international man.
Things change, however, and being rooted like a plant, at least if you have a choice, is a suboptimal strategy for surviving and prospering. Throughout history, almost every place has at some point become dangerous for those who were stuck there. It may be America's turn.

For those who can take up the life of an international man, it's no longer just an interesting lifestyle decision. It has become, at a minimum, an asset saver, and it could be a life saver. That said, I understand the hesitation you may feel about taking action; pulling up one's roots (or at least grafting some of them to a new location) can be almost as traumatic to a man as to a vegetable. More...

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How To Bring Down the System, Any System, Non-violently
by Gary North
Posted March 21, 2012

Follow the rulesFour words: "Follow the rules exactly."

That's it? That's it.

Any system? Any system.

There are 3 reasons for this. These reasons are universal.

First, every institution assumes voluntary compliance in at least 95% of all cases. This may be a low-ball estimate. Most people comply, either out of fear or lack of concern or strong belief in the system and its goals. More...

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Occupy Miami Raided, SWAT Team Draws Weapons on Children
by Allison Kilkenny
Posted March 17, 2012

Militarized policeThis week, I've been exploring all the different types of ways police and the District Attorney's office in New York have been monitoring, bullying, and harassing Occupiers. Of course, this civil liberties accosting is by no means isolated to the New York City area as we saw on Tuesday when dozens of police equipped with shotguns and assault rifles stormed a Miami, Florida apartment and drew their weapons on peaceful protesters and children with the local Occupy Wall Street campaign.

If a SWAT team drew down on unarmed occupiers, that would still be a horrifying, newsworthy story, but what makes the Miami event additionally alarming is that these were not squatters, but rather legal residents. More...

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Why Greg Smith Is 'Dead Right' About Goldman Sachs
by Michael Hirsh
Posted March 16, 2012

Goldman SachsThe resignation letter heard round the world proves what we already know: Washington would like to think it can change the culture of Wall Street -- and it can't. Goldman and all the other investment banks are plagued by conflicts of interest. The problem is that over time all of them, but especially Goldman, have shifted from the business of advising clients or raising capital for clients to trading on their own account. I have the impression (from books about the Pecora hearings) that in the 1930s Glass Steagall was motivated as much by outrage at conflicts of interest (e.g. Citibank famously stuffing the accounts of its deposit holders with foreign bonds that then went bankrupt) as the desire to make the banking system more stable."

But we didn't get a new Glass-Steagall. Instead, courtesy of Tim Geithner and Co., we got the milquetoasty Volcker Rule (which the Treasury only backed, after a year of ignoring Paul Volcker, when Barack Obama insisted on it, as I have previously written), dubious rules about unwinding Wall Street's still-giant firms in a crisis, and a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that is under constant assault on Capitol Hill. So it beggars common sense to think that we're really getting a new Wall Street. More...

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Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs
by Greg Smith
Posted March 15, 2012

Goldman SachsToday is my last day at Goldman Sachs. After almost 12 years at the firm — first as a summer intern while at Stanford, then in New York for 10 years, and now in London — I believe I have worked here long enough to understand the trajectory of its culture, its people and its identity. And I can honestly say that the environment now is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it.

It might sound surprising to a skeptical public, but culture was always a vital part of Goldman Sachs's success. It revolved around teamwork, integrity, a spirit of humility, and always doing right by our clients. The culture was the secret sauce that made this place great and allowed us to earn our clients' trust for 143 years. It wasn't just about making money; this alone will not sustain a firm for so long. It had something to do with pride and belief in the organization. I am sad to say that I look around today and see virtually no trace of the culture that made me love working for this firm for many years. I no longer have the pride, or the belief. More...

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Don't Tell Us It's Not a Class War
by Gerald Caplan
Posted March 4, 2012

class warfare The entire world seems to be one huge advertisement for The Shock Doctrine. Naomi Klein showed in her revelatory book how the corporate-political-military-media complex exploits crises to further impose their harsh right-wing agenda – even when they themselves created the crisis. In a sane world, the economic meltdown and deep recession of the past four years would have led at minimum to stringent regulation of financiers and speculators plus programs to assist their victims. But in this world, you have to be nuts to believe in a sane world.

In reality, everything that's happened in the past several years has gone to further empower and enrich the 1 per cent (or maybe the 5 per cent) at the expense of the rest of us. Look anywhere you want. What else does the universal demand for austerity programs mean? What else does the sudden concerted attack on public sector workers mean? What else does the intransigent line taken by multinational corporations against their unions mean? What else does the demand for "right-to-work" laws mean? What else does the widespread attack on seniors' pensions mean? More...

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Our Depraved Future of Debt Slavery
by Ashvin Pandurangi
Posted February 26, 2012

Debt slaveryOur global society is facing conditions of systemic dependency, greed and malice very similar to those which existed in the American South of the late 19th century, which created a system of slavery for blacks just as ruthless as that which existed before the Civil War. The modern industrial and financial elites cannot tolerate any policies of systemic debt forgiveness, since almost all of their wealth is invested in instruments tied to those debts (including the underlying currencies).

At the same time, they cannot continue extracting surplus value when large segments of the developed world's population remain saturated with debt, which acts to suppress aggregate demand for goods, services and capital investment. In order to continue making profits, then, they must have extensive access to very cheap labor and fixed capital inputs. They must transform the consuming classes of the first world into indentured servants and slaves through already established channels of financial and political oppression, and also pick up productive assets for "pennies on the dollar". More...

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Drones Come to the US
by Bill Van Auken
Posted February 22, 2012

Drones over USA little-noted amendment to a $63 billion Federal Aviation Authority appropriations bill has ominous implications for democratic rights in the United States. President Barack Obama signed the bill, the "FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012", into law on February 14. It clears the way for a vast expansion of the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as drones, over US territory.

The legislation, passed earlier this month, underscores the link between the explosive growth of US militarism abroad and the steady advance of police state repression at home. By 2020 an estimated 30,000 drones could be operating in US skies—including military, police and corporate-owned UAVs. They are already in use by the Department of Homeland Security in monitoring US borders.

Moreover, there is no reason to believe that drones inside the United States will not be armed, putting to use within the United States the experience the US government has obtained from its killing spree in Pakistan and the assassination of Awlaki. In this regard, it is worth recalling the arguments used to justify the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act signed into law by Obama last December. More...

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How to Radicalize a Moderate
By Julia Alford-Fowler
Posted February 21, 2012

Occupy PhillyIn the mind of most American citizens, local government officials exist (at least the majority of the time) to serve and answer to the people who elected them. It is within this system of accountability that we rely upon to make sure our best interests are being served. While I had a healthy amount of skepticism, this was my held view until the fall of 2011. I believed that the Mayor of Philadelphia, Michael Nutter, and his staff were in office to protect their citizens, myself included, and that the problems of this country were for the most part the result of unchecked corporate greed on Wall Street, amid a variety of other issues.

What follows is an account of how my thinking was transformed from this moderate view of a trust in those in power into one in which my faith in our government and specifically, those who govern, was destroyed. More...

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Central Banks Financial Terrorism
by Bob Chapman
Posted February 17, 2012

Central bankAmericans, in order to continue their idyllic lifestyles have traded in their freedom and liberty for promises of security from terrorists. We give up our country to a group of totally insane elitists just as the Germans did so long ago. There is nothing sensible anymore. The middle class has lost its logic. They do not want to see through anything as long as they have theirs and nothing disrupts their lives. By living in this cocoon it allows Americans to live in their own world and overlook what their government is doing in their name. Do not forget living as prisoners makes us safer. You might ask why people would want to take our freedoms away from us? We can certainly understand a terrorists' motivation, but the elitist's goals are far more complicated. They want our hearts and our minds. They want to enslave us, because they consider us useless rabble to do as we are told. They want the complete submission of all societies. More...

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Economist: NATO/G8 Summits Could Be A Disaster
by CBS News
Posted February 1, 201
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protests in ChicagoA University of Chicago economist says Antarctica or Guam would be better places than Chicago for the upcoming G8 and NATO summits, now scheduled for mid-May in the Windy City. Economist Allen Sanderson often questions large scale government subsidies for sports venues like Soldier Field for the Bears and U.S. Cellular Field for the White Sox. In the case of the NATO and G8 summits, Sanderson says there's a lot of downside for the city's reputation and little upside in the way of economic development.

"It's just a potential disaster," Sanderson said. "Again, I hope it's not. I hope things go really well and the city gets a real positive spin from it, but if you were betting in Las Vegas, you'd bet that's not going to be the outcome." More...

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How the Swedes and Norwegians Broke the Power of the "1 Percent"
by George Lakey
Posted January 29, 2012

Throwing out the 1%It's worthwhile to consider other countries where masses of people succeeded in nonviolently bringing about a high degree of democracy and economic justice. Sweden and Norway, for example, both experienced a major power shift in the 1930s after prolonged nonviolent struggle. They "fired" the top 1 percent of people who set the direction for society and created the basis for something different.

Both countries had a history of horrendous poverty. When the 1 percent was in charge, hundreds of thousands of people emigrated to avoid starvation. Under the leadership of the working class, however, both countries built robust and successful economies that nearly eliminated poverty, expanded free university education, abolished slums, provided excellent health care available to all as a matter of right and created a system of full employment. Unlike the Norwegians, the Swedes didn't find oil, but that didn't stop them from building what the latest CIA World Factbook calls "an enviable standard of living."

There was a time when Scandinavian workers didn't expect that the electoral arena could deliver the change they believed in. They realized that, with the 1 percent in charge, electoral "democracy" was stacked against them, so nonviolent direct action was needed to exert the power for change. More...

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The Middle Class Disappears, Rise of the Praetorian Class
by Casey Research
Posted January 18, 2012

rise of praetorian classThe Praetorian Class includes members of the Armed Services, federal, state and local law enforcement personnel as well as numerous militarized officials including agents from the DEA, Immigrations, Customs Enforcement, Air Marshalls, US Marshalls, and more. It also includes, although to a lesser extent, various stage actors in the expanding security theater such as TSA personnel. The main mission of the Praetorian Class is to keep the order of the day. This requires displaying an intimidating presence in their interactions with the Economic Class.

Another clear change is the physical appearance of members of the Praetorian Class. The uniforms transition from relatively inconspicuous attire to "battle uniforms" such are those now standard issue to both the military and law enforcement personnel. These optics reinforce the position of the Praetorian Class as maintainers of public order, convey a message of physical dominance and establish chronic low-level fear among the masses. Sometimes referred to as the militarization of the police force, this characterization traditionally refers to the increasing firepower in even municipal police departments. Frequently lost in this observation, however, is the psychological impact that such a heavily armed police presence has on the "civilian" population – specifically that it further separates the Praetorian Class from the Economic Class. More...

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The question: Is This Land Made for You and Me - or for the Super-Rich?

this is not your landAn answer: The ownership of this land is as tightly owned and controlled as is the land in countries dominated by oligarchies. Half of the territory of the United States is held by government (although the rights to extract natural resources from the public domain are awarded almost without compensation to the rest of us). Of the other half of the land area, roughly 95% is held by just 3-5% of the population (even when ownership of corporate shares of stock is considered).

The monopolization of the land and natural resources of this nation is one of the most serious and least discussed issues covered by the media or anyone else.

Ed Dodson

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2012 – The Year Of Living Dangerously
by James Quinn
Posted January 12, 2012

corporate fascismCivic decay revealed itself dramatically in 2011 as millions of young people across the country occupied parks and town squares in a fruitless effort to correctly point out how the ruthless oligarchs inhabiting Wall Street bank executive suites, Mega-corporation boardrooms, the Marriner S. Eccles Federal Reserve Board Building, and the hallways of Congress had pillaged the wealth of the middle class through inflation, taxation, fraud and outright thievery. The majority of over-medicated, lethargic, uninterested, ignorant Americans yawned at this selfless display of courage and civil disobedience as they chose to occupy lines for hours to get the latest iPad or $3 waffle-maker at Wal-Mart. Delusional, non-thinking dolts across the land watched on their 60 inch HDTVs as young protestors got clubbed, beaten, tear gassed, tasered, maced, and brutalized by paid mercenaries for the ruling oligarchy. They treated the horrific scenes of brutality as if it was just one of their 30 favorite reality TV shows.

Despite controlling the media, the money and the levers of power in Washington D.C., those in power cannot spin the reality of a middle class being systematically wiped out by the policies put in place by the corporate fascist oligarchs running this country. As Wall Street profits and bonuses flow like honey, the lines at food banks look like the lines at Best Buy on Black Friday and homeless shelters overflow with former members of the middle class. The ministry of propaganda (BLS, BEA) reports improving economic conditions while the number of Americans in the food stamp program has jumped from 38 million when the recession officially ended in late 2009 to 46.3 million today. Having 15% of the population surviving on food stamps is surely a sign of economic recovery. More...

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Report: Big Bank Bonuses in 2011
by Public Accountability Initiative
Posted January 11, 2012

banker bonusSeven big banks – Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, US Bank, and Wells Fargo – are set to dole out year-end bonuses in the coming weeks. The banks do not release data on compensation until early next year, but it is possible to estimate the size of this year's compensation pool based on data from the first three quarters of 2011 (note that compensation pools include salaries, benefits, and bonuses).

Press reports have suggested that Wall Street bankers will face a pay cut this year, but based on figures from the third quarter, compensation pools at the big banks are on track to be slightly larger than last year's record breaking number: a combined $156 billion in total compensation. More...

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The Outlook for the New Year, Tyranny in the Forecast
by Paul Craig Roberts,
Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan's first term
Posted January 4, 2012

tyranny in forecastThe Bush/Obama regimes have put the foundation in place for imprisoning critics of the government without due process of law. The First Amendment is being all but restricted to rah-rah Americans who chant USA! USA! USA! Washington has set itself up as world prosecutor, forever berating other countries for human rights violations, while Washington alone bombs half a dozen countries into the stone age and threatens several more with the same treatment, all the while violating US statutory law and the Geneva Conventions by torturing detainees.

Washington rounds up assorted foreign politicians, whose countries were afflicted with civil wars, and sends them off to be tried as war criminals, while its own war crimes continue to mount. However, if a person exposes Washington's war crimes, that person is held without charges in conditions that approximate torture.

The past year gave us other ominous tyrannical developments. President Obama announced that he had a list of Americans whom he intended to assassinate without due process of law, and Homeland Security, itself an Orwellian name, announced that it had shifted its attention from terrorists to "domestic extremists." The latter are undefined and consist of whomever Homeland Security so designates. More...

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Are You Being Tracked? 8 Ways Your Privacy Is Being Eroded Online and Off
By David Rosen
Posted January 1, 2012

Drones on US mainlandIn May, President Obama extended the Patriot Act for four more years, renewing the federal government's powers to search records and conduct roving wiretaps in pursuit of terrorists. "It's an important tool for us to continue dealing with an ongoing terrorist threat," Obama said.

Three aspects of the widening net of state security monitoring of Americans involve the use of drones, GPS tracking, "smart" drivers licenses and the increasing use of face recognition capabilities.

In December 2011, North Dakota law enforcement officials raided a remote farm seeking six missing cows. Using a military-like assault plan, local police got help from the state highway patrol, a regional SWAT team, a bomb squad, ambulances and deputy sheriffs from three other counties. They also employed a Predator B drone. The military-like campaign resulted in the arrests of Susan and Rodney Brossart and seven of their children. This is the first known arrest of U.S. citizens with help from a Predator drone. More...

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America's Best Kept Secret: Rising Suburban Poverty
by Michelle Hirsch
Posted December 31, 2011

suburban povertyBoth urban and suburban America were badly hammered by the financial meltdown and recession – leading to stubbornly high unemployment, widespread foreclosures and "underwater" homes, high food and gas prices and sharp cutbacks in government and private social services. But the overall impact has been worse in suburban areas, because many low-skilled jobs disappeared along with the plants and businesses that once provided employment. Other companies shifted their business strategy towards developing a high-skill, high-tech labor force.

The 10-year surge in suburban poverty is putting enormous budgetary pressure on county and local governments and non-profits, which are struggling to meet a rising demand for social services, counseling and financial assistance. The number of students qualifying for subsidized lunches in Conyers, an Atlanta suburb, grew by 63 percent this year, compared with a 46 percent increase in 2006. Many suburban areas of Columbus, Ohio, have also seen their subsidized lunch enrollment more than double over the past five years, the Columbus Post Dispatch reported earlier this year. More...

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Local police stockpile high-tech, combat-ready gear
by Andrew Becker
Posted December 23, 2011

military or police?If terrorists ever target Fargo, N.D., the local police will be ready.

In recent years, they have bought bomb-detection robots, digital communications equipment and Kevlar helmets, like those used by soldiers in foreign wars. For local siege situations requiring real firepower, police there can use a new $256,643 armored truck, complete with a rotating turret. Until that day, however, the menacing truck is mostly used for training runs and appearances at the annual Fargo picnic, where it's been displayed near a children's bounce house.

Fargo, like thousands of other communities in every state, has been on a gear-buying spree with the aid of more than $34 billion in federal government grants since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon. No one can say exactly what has been purchased in total across the country or how it's being used, because the federal government doesn't keep close track. State and local governments don't maintain uniform records. More...

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Bankers Rule the World: "The Network of Global Corporate Control"
by Stephen Lendman
Posted December 18, 2011

money rulesTransnational giants are the dominant institution of our time - especially financial ones with money power control of everything.
They decide who governs and how, who serves on courts, what laws are enacted, and whether or not wars are waged. Corporate dominance, especially financial power, and democratic values are incompatible.They operate ruthlessly as private tyrannies. They're predators. We're prey, and every day we're eaten alive. They do it because they can, and in America by mandate.

Publicly owned US corporations, including financial ones, must serve shareholders by maximizing equity value through higher profits. They do it by exploiting nations, people and resources ruthlessly. Social responsibility doesn't matter. Neither does being worker-friendly, a good citizen, or friend of the earth. Bottom line priorities alone matter. Failure to pursue fiduciary responsibilities means possible dismissal or shareholder lawsuits.

Yet nothing in America's Constitution or statute laws endow corporations with their rights. They usurped them by co-opting Washington, the nation's courts, state capitals, and city halls. As a result, over half the world's largest economies are corporations. Financial ones controlling the power of money are most dominant. More...

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Legislating Tyranny in America, Orwell and Beyond
by Stephen Lendman
Posted December 16, 2011

Land of the free?Obama won't prosecute CIA torturers, Wall Street crooks, other corporate criminals, lawless war profiteers, or other venal high-level civilian or government officials. Instead, expect him to sign into law (or at least tacitly approve) indefinite military detentions of US citizens allegedly associated with terrorist groups, with or without corroborating evidence.

Post-9/11, US freedoms and other democratic values dramatically eroded. Enactment of police state provisions in the FY 2012 National Defense Authorization Act comes closer to ending them entirely. On December 5, the ACLU headlined, "Indefinite Detention, Endless Worldwide War and the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)," saying: Enactment of this measure will authorize "the military to pick up and imprison people, including US citizens, without charging them or putting them on trial." More...

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Occupy Evictions: Did the Money Masters Win?
by Rudy Avizius
Posted December 15, 2011

police protecting the bankersHas anyone asked themselves this question: where would our country's economy be right now, if they had enforced banking regulations as vigorously as they enforce park rules?

It is ironic that so many in this country have fallen for the corporate media propaganda that seeks to divide the masses and have us fight each other. They wish to accomplish this so that we do not focus on those who pillaged the economy and Treasury and left the devastation of millions without jobs, millions of families foreclosed upon and left in the streets to fend for themselves, the 50 million without health insurance, and the record nearly 46 million now on food stamps.

This is a standard divide and conquer tactic so that we are focused on each other, rather than on the perpetrators. The corporate media drivel tells us that these victims are lazy, and need to work harder to find jobs. The same corporate media where the rich pay other rich people to tell the middle class to blame poor people.

Does anyone else find it odd how so many millions became so lazy and shiftless after the financial overlords trashed our economy in 2008? More...

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E-Voting System "Remotely Accessed" on "Multiple Occasions" by Unknown Computer
by Brad Friedman
Posted December 15, 2011

Voting machine fraudAccording to the Initial Report from a landmark independent forensic audit of the Venango County, PA, touch-screen voting system --- the same system used in dozens of counties across the state and country --- someone used a computer that was not a part of county's election network to remotely access the central election tabulator computer, illegally, "on multiple occasions." Despite the disturbing report, as obtained by The BRAD BLOG and posted in full below, we may never get to learn who did it or why, if Venango's County Commissioners, a local judge, and the nation's largest e-voting company have their way. And that's not all we won't get to find out about.

When pressed to explain why he believed the the County Commissioners and their legal representatives had been working so hard for months to keep the audit from happening, Adams told us bluntly: "They know there's something wrong." More...

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Occupy is Not Just About Occupying
by Kevin Zeese
Posted December 11, 2011

Not just about occupationWith encampments being closed across the country it is important to remember the end goal is not to occupy public space, it is to end corporate rule. We seek to replace the rule of money with the rule of people. Occupying is a tactic but the grand strategy of the Occupy Movement is to weaken the pillars that hold the corporate-government in place by educating, organizing and mobilizing people into an independent political force.

The elites are foolish to think they will stop this movement by closing occupations. The Occupy Movement will evolve in new and unpredictable ways that will make the elites wish for the days of mere public encampments. The 1% should know they will be held accountable. The people have found their voice and will not be silenced. The era of the rule of money is nearing its end. More...

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How to Survive and Prosper in the Coming Financial Meltdown
by Sam Chee Kong
Posted December 8, 2011

Financial collapseHow are you going to buy food, gas, water, get some cash from the ATM when everything is empty. There is no way you can get out from your house when curfew is declared and how about the mobs, rioters and looters that are roaming the streets. How about some firearms to protect your family? Have you stock up enough dry foods and water for the next 1-2 months? Have you got cash in hand because you can't buy your necessity with gold bars and coins.

So the next question is, how are you going to prepare for the coming crisis? What you need to do? We provide the following guidelines for you to follow so that even though the crisis may strike tomorrow, next week, next month or next year you will be prepared. More...

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The Zero Point of Systemic Collapse
by Chris Hedges
Posted December 3, 201
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the elites knowWe stand on the cusp of one of the bleakest periods in human history when the bright lights of a civilization blink out and we will descend for decades, if not centuries, into barbarity. The elites have successfully convinced us that we no longer have the capacity to understand the revealed truths presented before us or to fight back against the chaos caused by economic and environmental catastrophe. As long as the mass of bewildered and frightened people, fed images that permit them to perpetually hallucinate, exist in this state of barbarism, they may periodically strike out with a blind fury against increased state repression, widespread poverty and food shortages. But they will lack the ability and self-confidence to challenge in big and small ways the structures of control. The fantasy of widespread popular revolts and mass movements breaking the hegemony of the corporate state is just that – a fantasy.

Too many resistance movements continue to buy into the facade of electoral politics, parliaments, constitutions, bills of rights, lobbying and the appearance of a rational economy. The levers of power have become so contaminated that the needs and voices of citizens have become irrelevant. The election of Barack Obama was yet another triumph of propaganda over substance and a skillful manipulation and betrayal of the public by the mass media. We mistook style and ethnicity – an advertising tactic pioneered by the United Colors of Benetton and Calvin Klein – for progressive politics and genuine change. We confused how we were made to feel with knowledge. More...

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American's Comfortably Numb on the Highway to Economic Collapse
by James Quinn
Posted November 29, 2011


collapse of empireAs I observe the zombie like reactions of Americans to our catastrophic economic highway to collapse, the continued plundering and pillaging of the national treasury by criminal Wall Street bankers, non-enforcement of existing laws against those who committed the largest crime in history, and reaction to young people across the country getting beaten, bludgeoned, shot with tear gas and pepper sprayed by police, I can't help but wonder whether there is anyone home. Why are most Americans so passively accepting of these calamitous conditions? How did we become so comfortably numb? I've concluded Americans have chosen willful ignorance over thoughtful critical thinking due to their own intellectual laziness and overpowering mind manipulation by the elite through their propaganda emitting media machines. Some people are awaking from their trance, but the vast majority is still slumbering or fuming at erroneous perpetrators.

The oligarchy of moneyed interests have done a spectacular job convincing the working middle class they should be angry at 20 year old OWS protestors, illegal immigrants and the inner city welfare class, rather than the true culprits – the Federal Reserve, Wall Street banks and mega-corporations. This is a testament to the power of propaganda and the intellectual slothfulness of the average American. U.S. based mega-corporations fired 864,000 higher wage American workers between 2000 and 2010, while hiring almost 3 million workers in low wage foreign countries, using their billions in cash to buy back their own stocks, and paying corporate executives shamefully excessive compensation. The corporate mainstream media treats corporate CEO's like rock stars as if they deserve to be compensated at a level 185 times the average worker. More...

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This Changes Everything: How the 99% Woke Up
by Sarah van Gelder
Posted November 29, 2011

Too big to failSomething happened in September 2011 so unexpected that no politician or pundit saw it coming.

Inspired by the Arab Spring and uprisings in Europe, sparked by a challenge from Adbusters magazine to show up at Wall Street on September 17 and "bring a tent," and encouraged by veteran New York activists, a few thousand people gathered in the financial district of New York City. At the end of the day, some of them set up camp in Zuccotti Park and started what became a national—and now international—movement.

The Occupy movement, as it has come to be called, named the source of the crises of our time: Wall Street banks, big corporations, and others among the 1% are claiming the world's wealth for themselves at the expense of the 99% and having their way with our governments. This is a truth that political insiders and the media had avoided, even while the assets of the top 1% reached levels not seen since the 1920s. But now that this genie is out of the bottle, it can't easily be put back in. More...

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The Shocking Truth About the Crackdown on Occupy
by Naomi Wolf
Posted November 25, 2011

Militarized policeSince Occupy is heavily surveilled and infiltrated, it is likely that the DHS and police informers are aware, before Occupy itself is, what its emerging agenda is going to look like. If legislating away lobbyists' privileges to earn boundless fees once they are close to the legislative process, reforming the banks so they can't suck money out of fake derivatives products, and, most critically, opening the books on a system that allowed members of Congress to profit personally – and immensely – from their own legislation, are two beats away from the grasp of an electorally organized Occupy movement well, you will call out the troops on stopping that advance.

So, when you connect the dots, properly understood, what happened this week is the first battle in a civil war; a civil war in which, for now, only one side is choosing violence. It is a battle in which members of Congress, with the collusion of the American president, sent violent, organized suppression against the people they are supposed to represent. Occupy has touched the third rail: personal congressional profits streams. Even though they are, as yet, unaware of what the implications of their movement are, those threatened by the stirrings of their dreams of reform are not.

Sadly, Americans this week have come one step closer to being true brothers and sisters of the protesters in Tahrir Square. Like them, our own national leaders, who likely see their own personal wealth under threat from transparency and reform, are now making war upon us. More...

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More on Police Departments' Collusion in Defense of 1%: Who's the Organization Coordinating Those Crackdown Calls?
By Geov Parrish
Posted November 20, 2011

Imperial guard for the bankersInteresting report this evening in the San Francisco Bay Guardian suggesting that big city mayors have not been the only ones making conference calls in an effort to coordinate crackdowns on Occupy Movement encampments:

...a little-known but influential private membership based organization has placed itself at the center of advising and coordinating the crackdown on the encampments. The Police Executive Research Forum, an international non-governmental organization with ties to law enforcement and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, has been coordinating conference calls with major metropolitan mayors and police chiefs to advise them on policing matters and discuss response to the Occupy movement. The group has distributed a recently published guide on policing political events....

Law enforcement officials and policy-makers in America know full well that serious protests — and more — are inevitable given the economic tumult and suffering the U.S. has seen over the last three years (and will continue to see for the foreseeable future). A country cannot radically reduce quality-of-life expectations, devote itself to the interests of its super-rich, and all but eliminate its middle class without triggering sustained citizen fury. More...

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Occupy Seattle - Message From Minister Who Was Pepper Sprayed
by Reverend Rich Lang
Posted November 19, 2011

SinnersThe police were once conceived to be a citizen force created to serve and protect the public. Today however, the police have been militarized and view the populace as enemy combatants, as threats to their well being. They are trained to enter the protesting arena as unfeeling protectors of property and people. What has changed in our time is that the police are entering the arena of protest as agents of provocation. They push and shove at will, they ride their bicycles up the backs of protesters, they engage in verbal abuse. Their commanders allow this breach of discipline. Their comrades silently condone the bullying. The police become the agitators encouraging violence. It is as if they are spoiling for a fight --- a fight mind you against the citizenry, against the youth, the unemployed, and those who are trying to return America back to its promise, and dare I say it, return America to its covenant with God, "we hold these truths to be self evident..."

The police, on the other hand, were afraid. Their quick use of chemical warfare reveals how cowardly they are. The unwillingness of their commanders to maintain discipline reveals how incompetent they are becoming --- the only tool in their bag is brutality and like a drunken raging father beating wife and kids, the police have increasingly disgraced themselves. Step by step they are being shaped into the front face of fascism, the emerging police state that protects the property interests of the Marie Antionette's who have seized control of our government, commerce, media, military and increasingly the Church itself. More...

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With People in the Streets, 1 Percent Congress Continues to Push Austerity
by Dave Johnson
Posted November 7, 2011

Government for the wealthyThis situation of crony government protecting the connected rich while people are in the streets demanding change is more and more reminiscent of Egypt under Mubarak. In the real world tens of thousands are in the streets around the country demanding taxes on the rich and an end to corporate rule, as a new report lists profitable companies that pay no taxes at all. Today's jobs report is not enough to even keep up. But in the Congress Senate Republicans filibuster another jobs bill and the "super committee" is looking at how much to take out of the economy and out of the things We the People do for each other -- in order to keep taxes low for the rich and their giant corporations.

Poll after poll shows the public overwhelmingly supports increasing taxes on the wealthy, bringing corporations under control, and reigning in trade agreements that suck our jobs, factories, companies and industries out of the country. People do not want Medicare, Social Security and other essential government programs cut, they want the rich and corporations and Wall Street to start paying their share. More...

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U.S. Millennial Generation Battles Against Wall Street Modeled on Egypt and Tunisia Protests
by James Quinn
Posted November 3, 2011

Corrupt wealthOn September 17, a mere six weeks ago, a few hundred young people showed up in Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan to protest our corrupt, broken and Wall Street manipulated economic and political system. That first night, approximately 100 protestors occupied the park and were outnumbered by the NYPD in full riot gear. The idea to Occupy Wall Street began circulating on the internet in late August. The Millenial Generation used their social networks and put their tech savvy talents to work. Before long, thousands of protestors showed up in cities across the U.S. The model for this movement was the successful demonstrations in Egypt and Tunisia, earlier in the year.

It seems the young people in this country have realized they have no future when the system is run for the benefit of an oligarchy consisting of Wall Street banks, mega-corporations, media conglomerates, and puppet politicians in Washington D.C. These people will stop at nothing to retain their wealth and power. Not only do they want to retain it, they are actively trying to increase it. They have achieved their goal beyond all expectations, and are still able to convince a large portion of the population through their propaganda machine they deserve every penny. More...

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Communicating via People Pedal Power
by Susan Galleymore
Posted November 2, 2011

Do we really need nuclear or coal plants?One single bicycle - and many pedaling people - powers Occupy San Francisco's media center: three laptops, a handful of cell phones and wi-fi hotspots.

It is fitting that, on the day when as many as 5,000 protested outside Wells Fargo Bank, something as simple, sustainable and ubiquitous as a bicycle video-streamed and communicated the goings-on to the rest of the country and the world.

This people pedal power demystifies electricity and sends a hopeful message: if one bicycle, a few batteries and many human beings enable worldwide communication, how dependent are we, the people, on centralized coal and nuclear power plants? More...

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Wall Street Firms Spy on Protesters in Tax-Funded Center
by Pam Martens
Posted October 28, 2011

Wall St spying on citizensIn a secretive government facility Wall Street firms get to sit alongside the New York Police Department and spy on law-abiding citizens.

According to newly unearthed documents, the planning for this high tech facility on lower Broadway dates back six years. In correspondence from 2005 that rests quietly in the Securities and Exchange Commission's archives, NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly promised Edward Forst, a Goldman Sachs' Executive Vice President at the time, that the NYPD "is committed to the development and implementation of a comprehensive security plan for Lower Manhattan. One component of the plan will be a centralized coordination center that will provide space for full-time, on site representation from Goldman Sachs and other stakeholders." More...

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Under pressure to make arrests, police and troopers push back
by Brendon J. Lyons
Posted October 25, 2011

Occupy AlbanyALBANY, NY -- In a tense battle of wills, state troopers and Albany police held off making arrests of dozens of protesters near the Capitol over the weekend even as Albany's mayor, under pressure from Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration, had urged his police chief to enforce a city curfew.

"We were ready to make arrests if needed, but these people complied with our orders," a State Police official said. However, he added that State Police supported the defiant posture of Albany police leaders to hold off making arrests for the low-level offense of trespassing, in part because of concern it could incite a riot or draw thousands of protesters in a backlash that could endanger police and the public.

"We don't have those resources, and these people were not causing trouble," the official said. "The bottom line is the police know policing, not the governor and not the mayor." More...

Are the guards of the money powers starting to rebel as well?

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A Tale of 3 Cities
by Rudy Avizius
Posted October 24, 2011

who are they protecting?A story of my visits to 3 Occupy cities: Washington DC, New York, and Philadelphia. This article will compare and contrast how each city handled the protests.

The end of the article will summarize the advantages and disadvantages of each approach taken and how these approaches affected police costs, level of order maintained, court overloads, numbers of arrests, and public relations with the police. More.

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How Can We Rouse Police and Other Protectors of the Corporatocracy -- "Guards" of the Status Quo -- to Join the OWS Rebellion?
By Bruce E. Levine
Posted October 22, 2011

"In a highly developed society, the Establishment cannot survive without the obedience and loyalty of millions of people who are given small rewards to keep the system going: the soldiers and police, teachers and ministers, administrators and social workers, technicians and production workers, doctors, lawyers. . . . They become the guards of the system, buffers between the upper and lower classes. If they stop obeying, the system falls."

—Howard Zinn, from "The Coming Revolt of the Guards," A People's History of the United States,

Guards of the powerfulFor those of us who have demonstrated and marched in the Occupy movement, it is obvious that the police and the corporate press serve as guards—buffers between the vast majority of the American people and the ruling "corporatocracy" (the partnership of giant corporations, the wealthy elite, and their collaborating politicians). In addition to the police and the corporate press, there are millions of other guards employed by the corporatocracy to keep people obedient and maintain the status quo.

Even a partial revolt of the guards could increase the number of protesters on the streets from the thousands to the millions. When did Zinn predict the revolt would occur, and how can this revolt be accelerated? More...

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The Natural Course of the US Empire
By Bill Bonner
Posted October 21, 2011

American EmpireThe Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement goes on in America. And 70,000 Greeks "clash with police," say the news headlines. People are upset. They know something is wrong. But they don't know what. The real explanation is too complicated. They won't sit still for it. So, they look for scapegoats — the rich, the banks, the Chinese.

We've made a number of big predictions here in The Daily Reckoning. Some of what we've foreseen has actually come to pass — the crash of the tech bubble, the collapse of the housing market…the Great Correction. Some of what we've forecast has not yet happened. Some never will.

But here is our most audacious forecast yet: the US is headed for ruin and revolution. The revolution will almost certainly be put down, violently. But the ruin cannot be stopped. More...

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My Night With Occupy Wall St
by Rudy Avizius
Posted October 17, 2011

Trapped behind barriersAt approximately 1:00 AM, a light rain started falling and I decided to sit on my chair, using the tarp for shelter. I watched as the crowd quickly adapted and almost instantly everyone seemed to wearing ponchos or utilizing umbrellas. Then I received the first real surprise of the visit. The skies opened up and almost instantly started pouring heavily. Immediately a great cheer went out among the crowd that reverberated between the large buildings that surround the park. This sent a chill down my spine. These people were so used to being wet that they actually welcomed the rain............

...........At approximately 6:00AM the park was so full that you could hardly fit another person into it. Why did the police not open up the barriers that were trapping so many people into such a small area? They could easily have closed the 2 minor small streets on either side of the park to accommodate the swelling numbers. This would have kept traffic flowing smoothly on Broadway and Church Streets while having a minimal amount of officers to control traffic flow. Instead the authorities have directed the NYPD to use large numbers of manpower to enforce the ever tightening barricades. This is another example of the arrogant and poor decision making on the part of the authorities, another sad and ineffective attempt to dispirit this movement. More...

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German officials admit using spyware on citizens, as Big Brother scandal grows
By Bob Sullivan
Posted October 13, 2011

Government SpyingA government surveillance software scandal that erupted in Germany this weekend has spread beyond that nation's borders, raising questions about how far government officials around the globe might go to monitor citizens through spyware.

On Saturday, as reported on MSNBC.com, the German-based Chaos Computer Club announced it had examined a Trojan horse program allegedly spread by government officials to secretly spy on citizens' Internet travels, e-mail, chat and more. The software, originally intended only to help officials intercept Internet phone calls through legal wiretaps, went far beyond those permissible purposes, the hacker group alleged. The group called the government's use of the software outrageous and demanded it be destroyed immediately. More...

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Occupy Movement Has No Message?
by Rudy Avizius
Posted October 12, 2011



There are those who say that the Occupy Movement has no message. The main stream media has subjected this movement to an aggressive "perception management" assault in an effort to discredit it. Yet the movement keeps growing and spreading. This video shows some of the reasons this movement is growing. This is not a liberal cause, this is not a conservative cause, this is a common cause.

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The US Empire: A Tragic Comedy in Three Acts
by Bill Bonner
Posted September 12, 2011

American EmpireWe hear that Ron Paul was booed in the Republican presidential debates. Why? He suggested that we get out of the empire business, bring the troops home and become a civilized nation again. What a party pooper…a wet blanket…a killjoy! An empire is so much more entertaining. We already have three wars going on…at last count…and quasi-wars in several other places.

Having an empire is like having a football team that plays for mortal stakes. It's fun to watch…at least when your team is winning. And now, Team USA is kicking butts all over the planet. That's why at football games, for example, (or so we've heard) images of the football team are sometimes mixed with images of US combat troops. The flag flies. The lumpen salute. They don't want to think about it; they just want the homeland team to win! More...

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Wall Street Protests Get Specific: Could "Bank Transfer Day" Pit Americans Against Their Big Banks?
by Martha C. White
Posted October 11, 2011

Bank transfer dayThe growing anger directed at U.S. banks (especially the big ones that took federal bailout funds) over recent fee increases coalesced this weekend into a Facebook-driven campaign urging Americans to close their accounts at large banks and move their money to credit unions by Nov. 5.

Though not initiated by the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York and other cities around the country, the effort has been embraced by the protesters, and their "We are the 99%" mantra is all over the "Bank Transfer Day" Facebook page — making this the first specific action by a political movement that has been criticized as unfocused and incoherent. More...

Maybe now the bankers will get very nervous.

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Why the Elites Are in Trouble
Posted October 10, 2011
by Chris Hedges

We need transformationThese protesters have not come to work within the system. They are not pleading with Congress for electoral reform. They know electoral politics is a farce and have found another way to be heard and exercise power. They have no faith, nor should they, in the political system or the two major political parties. They know the press will not amplify their voices, and so they created a press of their own. They know the economy serves the oligarchs, so they formed their own communal system. This movement is an effort to take our country back.

This is a goal the power elite cannot comprehend. They cannot envision a day when they will not be in charge of our lives. The elites believe, and seek to make us believe, that globalization and unfettered capitalism are natural law, some kind of permanent and eternal dynamic that can never be altered. What the elites fail to realize is that rebellion will not stop until the corporate state is extinguished. It will not stop until there is an end to the corporate abuse of the poor, the working class, the elderly, the sick, children, those being slaughtered in our imperial wars and tortured in our black sites. It will not stop until foreclosures and bank repossessions stop. It will not stop until students no longer have to go into debt to be educated, and families no longer have to plunge into bankruptcy to pay medical bills. It will not stop until the corporate destruction of the ecosystem stops, and our relationships with each other and the planet are radically reconfigured. And that is why the elites, and the rotted and degenerate system of corporate power they sustain, are in trouble. That is why they keep asking what the demands are. They don't understand what is happening. They are deaf, dumb and blind. More...

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The Big Banks Lose Control of the Optics
by Joseph A. Palermo
Posted September 10, 2011

ChaseIf JPMorgan Chase and the rest of the money cartel cared one whit about people perceiving them as being slightly more tolerable corporate citizens, they would have long ago voluntarily offered a lifeline to underwater mortgage holders and to local governments. Yet their campaign donations, lobbying activities, and predatory practices in abusing their "customers" (like Bank of America's recent fee hike or Jamie Dimon's big donation to the New York Police Department) show that these behemoths have no intention of reforming themselves. Instead, they intend to continue to give the country the shaft thinking themselves immune to the public's wrath by virtue of the immense piles of money they control -- which is precisely the problem, isn't it? More...

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The Best Among Us
by Chris Hedges
Posted October 1, 2011

Occupy Wall arrestThere are no excuses left. Either you join the revolt taking place on Wall Street and in the financial districts of other cities across the country or you stand on the wrong side of history. Either you obstruct, in the only form left to us, which is civil disobedience, the plundering by the criminal class on Wall Street and accelerated destruction of the ecosystem that sustains the human species, or become the passive enabler of a monstrous evil. Either you taste, feel and smell the intoxication of freedom and revolt or sink into the miasma of despair and apathy. Either you are a rebel or a slave.

Choose. But choose fast. The state and corporate forces are determined to crush this. They are not going to wait for you. They are terrified this will spread. They have their long phalanxes of police on motorcycles, their rows of white paddy wagons, their foot soldiers hunting for you on the streets with pepper spray and orange plastic nets. They have their metal barricades set up on every single street leading into the New York financial district, where the mandarins in Brooks Brothers suits use your money, money they stole from you, to gamble and speculate and gorge themselves while one in four children outside those barricades depend on food stamps to eat. More...

https://occupywallst.org/

There will be an occupation of Washington DC starting Oct 6. Other occupations are soon coming to Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Portland, and now in foreign countries as well.

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Attica's 40th Anniversary: Still on the Wrong Road
by Michael E. Deutsch
September 25, 2011

Attica prisonSeptember 9 marks 40 years since the uprising at Attica State Prison, in upstate New York, and the deadly and sadistic retaking of the prison - and mass torture of hundreds of prisoners all the rest of the day and night and beyond - by state police and prison guards on the morning of September 13. When the shooting stopped and the gas lifted, 29 unarmed prisoners and ten hostages were dead, slaughtered by the assault force.

Over a hundred more prisoners were shot, some maimed for life and many others seriously injured. In addition, almost the entire 1,200-plus prisoners who occupied D yard and had hoped that their demands for humane treatment would be addressed by the authorities, were systematically stripped and beaten, made to run gauntlets of club swinging police as they were herded back into cells, while dozens of supposed leaders and other special targets were taken aside for more personal vengeance. The United States Court of Appeals, hardly a pro-prisoner or even liberal institution, called the rehousing of the prisoners, "an orgy of brutality." More...

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#OccupyWallStreet Is More Than a Hashtag - It's Revolution in Formation
by Nathan Schneider
Posted September 23, 2011

Occupy Wall Street MovementA lot of what you've probably seen or read about the #occupywallstreet action is wrong, especially if you're getting it on the Internet. The action started as an idea posted online and word about it then spread and is still spreading, online. But what makes it really matter now is precisely that it is happening offline, in a physical, public space, live and in person. That's where the occupiers are assembling the rudiments of a movement.

At the center of occupied Liberty Plaza, a dozen or so huddle around computers in the media area, managing a makeshift Internet hotspot, a humming generator and the (theoretically) 24-hour livestream. They can edit and post videos of arrests in no time flat, then bombard Twitter until they're viral. More...

https://occupywallst.org/

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A Huge Housing Bargain — but Not for You
by Roger Arnold
Posted September 14, 2011

vulture capitalistsThe largest transfer of wealth from the public to private sector is about to begin. The federal government will be bulk-selling the massive portfolio of foreclosed homes now owned by HUD, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to private investors — vulture funds.

These homes, which are now the property of the U.S. government, the U.S. taxpayer, U.S. citizens collectively, are going to be sold to private investor conglomerates at extraordinarily large discounts to real value.

You and I will not be allowed to participate. These investors will come from the private-equity and hedge-fund community, Goldman Sachs and its derivatives, as well as foreign sovereign wealth funds that can bring a billion dollars or more to each transaction. More...

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Capital gains tax rates benefiting wealthy feed growing gap between rich and poor
by Steven Mufson and Jia Lynn Yang
Posted September 13, 2011

tax them lerss than workers?For the very richest Americans, low tax rates on capital gains are better than any Christmas gift. As a result of a pair of rate cuts, first under President Bill Clinton and then under Bush, most of the richest Americans pay lower overall tax rates than middle-class Americans do. And this is one reason the gap between the wealthy and the rest of the country is widening dramatically.

The rates on capital gains — which include profits from the sale of stocks, bonds and real estate — should be a key point in negotiations over how to shrink the budget deficit, some lawmakers say.

Most Americans depend on wages and salaries for their income, which is subject to a graduated tax so the big earners pay higher percentages. The capital gains tax turns that idea on its head, capping the rate at 15 percent for long-term investments. As a result, anyone making more than $34,500 a year in wages and salary is taxed at a higher rate than a billionaire is taxed on untold millions in capital gains. More...

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Tax the super-rich or riots will rage in 2012
by Paul B. Farrell
Posted September 11, 2011

Social tensions are buildingListen to that hissing: The fuse is rapidly burning, warning us. Wake up before the rage explodes in your face. This firestorm is endangering America's future. From forces outside, yes. But far more deadly, from deep within our collective psyche. We have lost our moral compass. We are self-destructing.

Crackpot warning? No. This warning comes from the elite International Monetary Fund. A recent IMF report looked at "the causes of the two major U.S. economic crises over the past 100 years, the Great Depression of 1929 and the Great Recession of 2007," writes Rana Foroohar, an economics editor at Time magazine. More...

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The Cost of 9/11 — in Dollars
by Lindsay Blakely
Posted September 10, 2011

9-11 costsThe terrorists who crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001 spent an estimated $400,000 to $500,000 to kill nearly 3,000 people. The total costs of the attack for U.S. companies and taxpayers are much more difficult to ascertain. The cost of losing so many human lives is incalculable. And the economic toll is difficult to tally, given the ongoing and indirect expense of war.

Here are a few of the 9/11 line items:

  • $7 billion: Amount paid out through the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund to the survivors of the 2,880 people killed and 2,680 injured in the attacks.
  • $408 billion: Cost to operate the Department of Homeland Security since it was created in 2002.
  • $80.1 billion: Civilian and military intelligence gathering costs in 2010 – more than double what was spent in 2001.
  • $43 billion: Minimum cost of 10 years worth of U.S. airport security. Passengers cover roughly 40 percent each year through the passenger security tax of $2.50 per flight. More...

For another article on this issue: NY Times 9-11 tally.

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Labor's Demise As A Countervailing Power
by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts
Posted September 6, 2011

Labor losing its powerIt is Labor Day weekend, 2011, but labor has nothing to celebrate. The jobs that once gave American workers a stake in capitalism have left and gone away. Corporations in pursuit of near-term profits have moved labor's jobs to China, India, Indonesia, Taiwan, South Korea and Eastern Europe.

Labor arbitrage, that is, the substitution of foreign labor that is paid less than its productivity for American labor, has enriched Wall Street, shareholders and corporate CEOs, but it has devastated American employment, household incomes, tax base, and the outlook for the US economy.

In 1994 the Clinton "progressive" administration defined long-term discouraged workers out of existence. Consequently, no official unemployment rate includes long-term (more than six months) discouraged workers as unemployed. John Williams estimates this number and adds it to the U6 measure to produce a current rate of US unemployment of 22.7%, an unemployment rate 2.5 times higher than the official rate. More...

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Can the Middle Class Be Saved?
by Don Peck
Posted September 6, 2011

Middle class brokenIn October 2005, three Citigroup analysts released a report describing the pattern of growth in the U.S. economy. To really understand the future of the economy and the stock market, they wrote, you first needed to recognize that there was "no such animal as the U.S. consumer," and that concepts such as "average" consumer debt and "average" consumer spending were highly misleading.

In fact, they said, America was composed of two distinct groups: the rich and the rest. And for the purposes of investment decisions, the second group didn't matter; tracking its spending habits or worrying over its savings rate was a waste of time. All the action in the American economy was at the top: the richest 1 percent of households earned as much each year as the bottom 60 percent put together; they possessed as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent; and with each passing year, a greater share of the nation's treasure was flowing through their hands and into their pockets. More...

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As America's Economy Collapses, "New Normal" Police State Takes Shape
by Tom Burghardt
Posted August 27, 2011

POlice StateForget your rights. As corporate overlords position themselves to seize what little remains of a tattered social net (adieu Medicare and Medicaid! Social Security? Au revoir!), the Obama administration is moving at break-neck speed to expand police state programs first stood-up by the Bush government.

With British politicians demanding a clampdown on social media in the wake of London riots, and with the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) agency having done so last week in San Francisco, switching off underground cell phone service to help squelch a protest against police violence, authoritarian control tactics, aping those deployed in Egypt and Tunisia (that worked out well!) are becoming the norm in so-called "Western democracies." More...

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British Riots: Elites "Shocked" The Poor Are Rising Up Against Brutal Austerity Measures
by Laurie Penny
Posted August 16, 2011

British riotsMost of the people who will be writing, speaking and pontificating about the disorder this weekend have absolutely no idea what it is like to grow up in a community where there are no jobs, no space to live or move, and the police are on the streets stopping-and-searching you as you come home from school. The people who do will be waking up this week in the sure and certain knowledge that after decades of being ignored and marginalised and harassed by the police, after months of seeing any conceivable hope of a better future confiscated, they are finally on the news. In one NBC report, a young man in Tottenham was asked if rioting really achieved anything:

"Yes," said the young man. "You wouldn't be talking to me now if we didn't riot, would you?"

"Two months ago we marched to Scotland Yard, more than 2,000 of us, all blacks, and it was peaceful and calm and you know what? Not a word in the press. Last night a bit of rioting and looting and look around you."

Eavesdropping from among the onlookers, I looked around. A dozen TV crews and newspaper reporters interviewing the young men everywhere. More...

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Stop Coddling the Super-Rich
by Warren E. Buffett
Posted August 15, 2011

Tax the rich!OUR leaders have asked for "shared sacrifice." But when they did the asking, they spared me. I checked with my mega-rich friends to learn what pain they were expecting. They, too, were left untouched.

While the poor and middle class fight for us in Afghanistan, and while most Americans struggle to make ends meet, we mega-rich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks. Some of us are investment managers who earn billions from our daily labors but are allowed to classify our income as "carried interest," thereby getting a bargain 15 percent tax rate. Others own stock index futures for 10 minutes and have 60 percent of their gain taxed at 15 percent, as if they'd been long-term investors. More...

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Food stamp use rises to record 45.8 million
by Blake Ellis
Posted August 8, 2011

Hunger in AmericaNEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Nearly 15% of the U.S. population relied on food stamps in May, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

The number of Americans using the government's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) -- more commonly referred to as food stamps -- shot to an all-time high of 45.8 million in May, the USDA reported. That's up 12% from a year ago, and 34% higher than two years ago. More...

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The Food Crisis War Endgame
by Andrew McKillop
Posted August 5, 2011

Food crisisGlobal agribusiness is very comparable to, and dependent on global banking. Through massive corporate consolidation in agriculture, food and farming, coordinated and convergent global food regulations, and chaff dollars euro and yen thrown on the gaming play tables of unrestrained food commodity speculation, agribusiness creates food shortage, and has a vested interest in food price explosions. To be sure, we wont expect the agribusiness players to say that ! Commodity-oriented agribusiness is a corporate profit tool, but farmers net few or no gains from this. Farmers are low-tech debt-serfs in the low income countries, and are high-tech debt-serfs in the high income countries.

We therefore need to understand the strategy and tactics in order to fight back against them: this war is produced by the exact same elites who have destroyed our economic and monetary systems, but the damage done to natural ecosystems and living species is not going to be changed overnight through a stroke of the pen. More...

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The Legislation That Could Kill Internet Privacy for Good
by Conor Friedersdorf
Posted August 4, 2011

remember J. Edgar Hoover?An overzealous bill that claims to be about stopping child pornography turns every Web user into a person to monitor. Every right-thinking person abhors child pornography. To combat it, legislators have brought through committee a poorly conceived, over-broad Congressional bill, The Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act of 2011. It is arguably the biggest threat to civil liberties now under consideration in the United States. The potential victims: everyone who uses the Internet.

Under language approved 19 to 10 by a House committee, the firm that sells you Internet access would be required to track all of your Internet activity and save it for 18 months, along with your name, the address where you live, your bank account numbers, your credit card numbers, and IP addresses you've been assigned. More...

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The War on You
by Michael Collins
Posted August 3, 2011

Hired puppets of the elitesLet the word go forth from Washington! The corporate rulers occupying our nation's capital have declared war on just about every citizen.

Have no doubt: those in the upper ranges of the top 1% of wealth in this country (aka The Money Party) want to kick you to the curb. They want to reduce your social security and make you go broke paying for medical care.

They want to lower your wages and trash your retirement.They ignore the clear facts that we've had negative job growth since 2000 and the situation is just getting worse.

They want to ship jobs, factories, and entire businesses overseas and give companies that do that a big fat tax credit for doing so. They've been given so much for nothing for so long. Now, they're ready to take it all. It's their time! More...

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Debt Ceiling Crisis Objective is to Scrap Social Security and Medicare
by Bob Chapman
Posted August 2, 2011

Rich cut social securityA game of chicken is being run in Washington by two groups of politicians run and owned by the same group of people behind the scenes. They all want enabling debt extension with a small touch of austerity. They want a deal that has the legs to keep the economy going until after the next election. The most important thing they want is a reduction in Social Security and Medicare, so those funds can be used to reduce debt and fund the military industrial complex. They also want starvation and the inability to buy drugs by the elderly to hasten their demise. That means less Social Security and Medicare spending.

The debt limit will be raised, but we fervently hope without Social Security and Medicare cuts. You have to understand your adversaries. These people in Congress are almost all paid whores and the people who control them with money are insane. If you can grasp that you can understand what really this is all about. Watch carefully which members won't allow military cuts and which want to cut SS and Medicare and then you will have identified the enemy. More...

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The Debt Ceiling, Imposing a Radical Pro-Rich Agenda
by Michael Hudson
Posted July 24, 2011

Wall Street casinoSheila Bair said none of this money, not a penny, [$16 trillion in Fed loans to the big banks] had to be given away at all. She said the job of the FDIC was to do what it did with Washington Mutual and IndyMac. They could have closed down Citibank, they could have closed down AIG and the others. Depositors insured by the FDIC wouldn't have lost a penny. She said, "That's what the FDIC does."

She was overruled by Geithner and by the Treasury Department, and especially by Bernanke, who essentially said, "We have to save the rich first. We have to save the gamblers." There was plenty of money in all of the banks to cover all of the retail vanilla deposits for businesses and families. What there was not money for was for all the cross-gambles that they had made on derivatives—that is, which way interest rates would go, which way currencies would go. And so, this was really a casino. These were bets. And people like the AIG couldn't pay. And the question is, how are you going to get the winners in this casino to get money from the losers, who are broke? So these $16 trillion worth of loans were all for junk securities. They weren't for the solid securities that did back out the deposits. These were all for junk gambles, having nothing to do with the real economy at all. More...

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21st-Century Slaves: How Corporations Exploit Prison Labor
by Rania Khalek
Posted July 23, 2011

Slave laborIt's no secret that America imprisons more of its citizens than any other nation in history. With just 5 percent of the world's population, the US currently holds 25 percent of the world's prisoners. In 2008, over 2.3 million Americans were in prison or jail, with one of every 48 working-age men behind bars.

As it turns out, private companies have a cheap, easy labor market, and it isn't in China, Indonesia, Haiti, or Mexico. It's right here in the land of the free, where large corporations increasingly employ prisoners as a source of cheap and sometimes free labor.

In the eyes of the corporation, inmate labor is a brilliant strategy in the eternal quest to maximize profit. By dipping into the prison labor pool, companies have their pick of workers who are not only cheap but easily controlled. Companies are free to avoid providing benefits like health insurance or sick days, while simultaneously paying little to no wages. They don't need to worry about unions or demands for vacation time or raises. Inmate workers are full-time and never late or absent because of family problems. More...

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Austerity and Deficit Hawks Say, "Let Them Eat Cake,"
The People Will Say, "Off With Their Heads"

by David DeGraw
Posted July 23, 2011

Power elite telling us about Social SecurityDo you know why the deficit hawks want to cut and privatize your Social Security?

It's because these people flat out stole the money [5] you spent your entire working life putting aside into the system. Excuse me for not being "civilized" enough, apologies, they didn't "steal" it, they just "borrowed" it and are refusing to pay it back.

It astounds me how people constantly debate the fiscal condition of Social Security but they never seem to notice or mention that the Social Security Trust Fund has been looted. Guess what? Between Wall Street, wars and tax breaks for multi-millionaires and billionaires, the $2.5 trillion surplus [5] that was supposed to be used for your retirement has already been used. Forgive me for being blunt, but one-tenth of one percent of the population is giving you the finger and telling you to "suck it in and cope." More...

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What Happened to the $2.6 Trillion Social Security Trust Fund?
by Merrill Matthews
Posted July 17, 2011

Social Security trust fundTreasury Secretary Timothy Geithner echoed the president on CBS's Face the Nation Sunday implying that if a budget deal isn't reached by August 2, seniors might not get their Social Security checks. Well, either Obama and Geithner are lying to us now, or they and all defenders of the Social Security status quo have been lying to us for decades. It must be one or the other.

Here's why: Social Security has a trust fund, and that trust fund is supposed to have $2.6 trillion in it, according to the Social Security trustees. If there are real assets in the trust fund, then Social Security can mail the checks, regardless of what Congress does about the debt limit. More...

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Is the Debt Crisis Just Another Trumped Up Scam to Steal Social Security?
by Julia Dalton
Posted July 14, 2011

Cut Social Security?We're all heard the hysteria, "If America doesn't raise the debt ceiling she'll default on her loans for the first time in our nations history." Everyone in Washington is in a panic. All the Chicken Little's are running around proclaiming, "The sky is falling! The sky is falling!" The corporate media picks up the mantra and echoes it throughout the land. "The sky is falling! The sky is falling." Now everyone's in a panic, running around screaming, "The sky is falling! The sky is falling!"

What to do? What to do? "I know. I've got it," proclaims President Obama, "We'll cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. I'm so brilliant." Really? Why didn't I think of that? More...

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Tax Rates of the Super-Rich: Not as High as Those Making Much Less
by Carla Fried
Posted July 8, 2011

Lower tax rates for the richNot even the 400 wealthiest American households were immune from the 2008 financial crisis. New data released by the Internal Revenue Service says the mega rich saw their income drop 21.5 percent to a mere $108.2 billion in 2008. But hey, that still works out to a cool $270 million average for each of the top 400, or about 5,400 times the average household income.

Before your jealousy meter kicks in, you might want to skip straight to righteous indignation. According to the IRS, the average effective tax rate for the top 400 was 18.1 percent in 2008. While that tax rate is indeed 33 percent higher than the national average of 13.6 percent, it is also lower than the 19.6 percent average effective tax rate paid by folks with 2008 adjusted gross income between $200,000-$500,000, and the 24.1 percent average rate for filers with AGIs of $500,000-$1,000,000. More...

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Executive Pay Up 23 Percent Over Last Year
By Pradnya Joshi
Posted July 5, 2011

Fat CatIt turns out that the good times are even better than we thought for American chief executives. The final figures show that the median pay for top executives at 200 big companies last year was $10.8 million. That works out to a 23 percent gain from 2009. The earlier study had put the median pay at a none-too-shabby $9.6 million, up 12 percent.

Most ordinary Americans aren't getting raises anywhere close to those of these chief executives. Many aren't getting raises at all — or even regular paychecks. Unemployment is still stuck at more than 9 percent. Resurgent executive pay has some corporate watchdogs worried that companies have already forgotten the lessons of the bust. Boards have promised to tie executive pay to company success, but by some measures pay is rising faster than performance.More...

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One Small Town in America Quietly Enjoys the Health Care Most Americans Only Dream of
by Kay Tillow
Posted July 1, 2011

Countries with universal health careWhen Congress passes a national single-payer bill, we can all be enrolled in the twinkling of an eye -- just like Libby, Montana.

Back when he presided over the Senate's health care reform debate, Max Baucus, chairman of the all-powerful Senate Finance Committee, had said everything was on the table — except for single-payer universal health care. When doctors, nurses, and others rose in his hearing to insist that single payer be included in the debate, the Montana Democrat had them arrested. As more stood up, Baucus could be heard on his open microphone saying, "We need more police."

Yet when Baucus needed a solution to a catastrophic health disaster in Libby, Montana and surrounding Lincoln County, he turned to the nation's single-payer healthcare system, Medicare, to solve the problem. More...

Every advanced western nation has some form of universal health care. Even Iraq and Afghansitan have universal health care paid for by the United States war funding. Doesn't anyone see something wrong here? How many people died in order for Baucus to protect insurance company profits?

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Get Ready to be Financially Conscripted into Financial Repression
by Arnold Bock
Posted June 30, 2011

DEbt slaveryA four percent interest rate below the real rate of inflation, compounded over ten years, reduces in half the 'real' value of payments to the government's debt holders and entitlement recipients. Imagine what it does to the purchasing power of social security payments. Everyone gets the number of dollars promised, but they just don't buy as much. Magical, isn't it, especially if citizens think they are getting richer because their pay checks rise and their houses start to increase in price, thanks to inflation.

In the absence of large foreign buyers of US government debt, we the citizens will be conscripted to fill the gap, all for the greater good of the nation's future. A captive audience of citizen-savers and investors are expected to be a compliant army of civic minded patriots herded into the role of federal bond buyers in order to save the nation for future generations of Americans. Of course we will be assisted by the FED with a rejuvenated and renamed QE3 program...designed to drive dollar devaluation and inflation. More...

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State of New Jersey throws pensioners under the bus
by Rudy Avizius
Posted June 18, 2011

pensioners left with nothingThe state of NJ is getting ready to throw its pensioners under the bus. The recent "agreement" reached between Governor Christie and the "leaders" of the Senate and Assembly have decided to forgo cost of living increases for those retirees receiving NJ pensions. While on the surface this may seem a reasonable and "acceptable" compromise, closer scrutiny reveals that this is an insidious plan that will leave pensioners who had worked their entire lives and paid their agreed to amounts into the system faithfully, (unlike the state of NJ) with a rapidly decreasing standard of living and potentially totally broke.

Let's analyze what will happen. We all know that that inflation is increasing and will continue to accelerate as the Federal Resereve continues to print more dollars to protect the interests of Wall Street and the "too big to fail" banks. The official government figures for inflation stand at around 2.5% to 3%, but everyone who has to support a family knows that these highly manipulated figures do not represent the real rate of inflation. Shadowstats.com, a highly regarded website that calculates the real rates has determined that the current inflation rate is at 12%, not the much lower government figure.

Now consider this: if the true rate of inflation is 12%, IN 4 SHORT YEARS PENSIONERS WILL LOSE HALF OF THEIR BUYING POWER! Consider how much buying power will be lost over 8 years, or 12 years. These pensioners will have close to NOTHING! More...

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Congress gets richer in bad economy
by Jake Sherman & John Bresnahan
Posted June 17, 2011

Tax cuts for them?The U.S. economy continues to sputter along, unemployment remains at a stubbornly high 9.1 percent, the federal deficit is $1.4 trillion and talk of a "double-dip" recession abounds.

Yet members of Congress remain far wealthier than the average American, and their net worth keeps shooting up, regardless of the real world economy. And Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), one of the most controversial members of the House, has moved to the top of the list, with a minimum net worth in excess of $220 million, according to new financial disclosures released Wednesday. More...

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Will The Banksters And The Corporatocracy Eventually Own It All?
by Michael
Posted June 17, 2011

Economic collapseToday, average Americans have less power relative to the monolithic corporate and governmental institutions that dominate our society than at any other point in U.S. history. Sadly, this is not what our founding fathers ever envisioned. Our founding fathers established a government "of the people, by the people, for the people", but what we have today is very far from that ideal. In America today, wealth and power are very highly concentrated, and if you have neither wealth nor power than most of our politicians really do not have any interest in you. Over the past several decades, those with huge amounts of money and power have been busy rigging the game so that the rest of the money and power slowly but surely funnels into their hands. If current trends continue, the banksters and the corpocracy will eventually own it all. Below you will find 29 statistics about extreme income inequality in America. Sadly, most of these statistics will be out of date in a year or two because wealth and power will be much more concentrated by that time. More...

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The Rich Are Destroying the Economy
by Shamus Cooke
Posted June 13, 2011

Wealthy killing economyEver since the Great Recession shook the foundations of the U.S. economy, President Obama has been promising recovery. Evidence of this recovery, we were told, was manifested in the massive post-bailout profits corporations made. Soon enough, the President assured us, these corporations would tire of hoarding mountains of cash and start a hiring bonanza, followed by raising wages and benefits. It was either wishful thinking or conscious deception. The recent stock market meltdown has squashed any hope of a corporate-led recovery.

The Democrats fought the recession by the same methods the Republicans used to create it: allowing the super rich to recklessly dominate the economy while giving them massive handouts. This strategy, commonly referred to as Reaganomics or Trickle Down Economics, is now religion to both Democrats and Republicans; never mind the staged in-fighting for the gullible or complicit media. More...

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Third World America 2011, We've Arrived
by Janet Tavakoli
Posted June 11, 2011

3rd worldThe destruction of the middle class has accelerated. Housing values have plummeted, and investors earn negative real rates of inflation adjusted returns on "safe" investments like money market funds. Food, fuel, and medical costs have skyrocketed. Essential civil services are underfunded while taxes escalate. The middle class is sinking fast as saved wealth is destroyed and its standard of living erodes.

The U.S. escalated its debt to fund the ongoing bailout of the banking system. TARP was a small part of it. The Fed now owns over a trillion in suspect assets it bought from banks, and it daily provides them with almost zero cost money so high spreads help them earn their way out of the financial hole in their balance sheets. No one went to jail, and bankers reward themselves with billions in bonuses.

Banks broke their TARP agreement to lend to small and medium sized businesses. They lent to large businesses that outsource a lot of labor. The iPads stolen by Chicago gangs are mostly made in Asia. Banks and their enablers in Washington starved the U.S. of the biggest source of sustainable job growth: capital investment in the United States. More...

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The Earth Is Full
by Thomas L. Friedman
Posted June 9, 201
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Too many peopleYou really do have to wonder whether a few years from now we'll look back at the first decade of the 21st century — when food prices spiked, energy prices soared, world population surged, tornados plowed through cities, floods and droughts set records, populations were displaced and governments were threatened by the confluence of it all — and ask ourselves: What were we thinking? How did we not panic when the evidence was so obvious that we'd crossed some growth/climate/natural resource/population redlines all at once?

"The only answer can be denial," argues Paul Gilding, the veteran Australian environmentalist-entrepreneur, who described this moment in a new book called "The Great Disruption: Why the Climate Crisis Will Bring On the End of Shopping and the Birth of a New World." "When you are surrounded by something so big that requires you to change everything about the way you think and see the world, then denial is the natural response. But the longer we wait, the bigger the response required." More...

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The $2.5 Trillion Tragedy
by Zaid Jilani
Posted June 9, 2011

Bush tax CutsToday marks the 10th anniversary of former President George W. Bush signing into law his 2001 tax cuts (he passed a second round in 2003). While doing so, Bush promised prosperity and growth, but the nation got neither.

The cost of these budget-busting 2001 and 2003 tax cuts was, as estimated by Citizens for Tax Justice, roughly $2.5 trillion through 2010. But America didn't have to go down this route of cutting taxes and hoping for growth to miraculously appear. There were other policy options available to policymakers. More...

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Our Fantasy Nation?
by Nicholas D. Kristof
Posted June 7, 2011

Gated communitiesThe wealthiest 1 percent of Americans already have a greater net worth than the bottom 90 percent, based on Federal Reserve data. Yet two-thirds of the proposed Republican budget cuts would harm low- and moderate-income families, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

In fairness to Pakistan and Congo, wealthy people in such countries manage to live surprisingly comfortably. Instead of financing education with taxes, these feudal elites send their children to elite private schools. Instead of financing a reliable police force, they hire bodyguards. Instead of supporting a modern health care system for their nation, they fly to hospitals in London.

You can tell the extreme cases by the hum of diesel generators at night. Instead of paying taxes for a reliable electrical grid, each wealthy family installs its own powerful generator to run the lights and air-conditioning. It's noisy and stinks, but at least you don't have to pay for the poor. More...

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Hospital Accounting: It's Complicated
by Lynn M. Petrovich
Posted June 7, 2011

sticker shockHere's an interesting tidbit: If you can afford health insurance, the hospital will accept $2,739 as payment in full; if you can't afford health insurance, you'll owe more, like $16,808.

That's not complicated, that's sick.

So in an effort to thwart my frustration with regard to how much the hospital's services cost to the hospital and why they would negotiate with our for-profit health insurance conglomerates to accept a sum that is sixteen percent of what they billed, I decided to dive into their financial statements because, like most hospitals in America, it's a non-profit 501(c)(3) institution. IRS Form 990s are public information. More...

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US army of fakes tracks Facebook users
by James Nixon
Posted June 6, 2011

Army spyingAnonymous, the WikiLeaks-loving online hacktivist collective, claims the US military is developing a piece of software that can infiltrate Facebook and other social networks using an army of fake profiles, cross-referencing information to "track and identify" individuals.

Evidence of the software - code-named 'Metal Gear' by the group - was uncovered in leaked emails belonging to US security contractor HBGary, after the company was attacked by Anonymous for providing assistance to the FBI in unmasking its members. More...

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Europe Replacing Economic Democracy with Financial Oligarchy
by Michael Hudson
Posted June 6, 2011

Finance is a form of warfare. Like military conquest, its aim is to gain control of land, public infrastructure, and to impose tribute. This involves dictating laws to its subjects, and concentrating social as well as economic planning in centralized hands. This is what now is being done by financial means, without the cost to the aggressor of fielding an army. But the economies under attacked may be devastated as deeply by financial stringency as by military attack when it comes to demographic shrinkage, shortened life spans, emigration and capital flight.

This attack is being mounted not by nation states as such, but by a cosmopolitan financial class. Finance always has been cosmopolitan more than nationalistic – and always has sought to impose its priorities and lawmaking power over those of parliamentary democracies. More...

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Welcome to the Soviet States of America 2011
by Mike Whitney
Posted June 3, 2011

protection racketSeriously, things are really looking bad. Apart from killing people, we really don't do anything anymore. We have a humongous, over-bloated military that lumbers from one war to the next spreading misery wherever it goes, and meanwhile, back at home, things continue to go to the dogs. How long can that go on?

You can't get a job anymore, because all the jobs have been shipped off to Guandong Province or someplace South of the border. The best you can hope for is some part-time gig jerking double-tall-mochas or steering folks towards the red-dot special on Aisle 9. So, how can you sustain a middle class on a measly $9.50 per hour? It can't be done.

And just look at Washington. What a joke. The White House is just a protection racket for big business. And Congress, well, what can you say about congress? We'd be better off if they just packed their bags and went home for all the good they do. Then at least we could turn the House of Representatives into a homeless shelter or something that had some practical value for people. At any rate, we wouldn't have to listen to the bloviating of numbskulls like Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid anymore. That's got to be worth something. More...

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The Corporate States of America
by Rudy Avizius
Posted May 31, 2011

Corporate corruptionAmericans have long had a sneaking suspicion that there was a "hidden hand" directing our government in Washington and the states, and they were right. The "hidden hand" was actually the corporations, unions, and other special interests that contribute literally $billions to our politicians in order to influence legislation that will favor them. This has happened even with the limits that have been placed on these groups that prevented them from directly contributing to campaigns.

Thursday January 21 2010, will go down in history as a dark day. This is the day that a divided Supreme Court, in a case of unbelievable overreach removed all limits on corporate political campaign spending. If you thought our politicians were corrupt and beholden to corporations before, things are about to get a LOT WORSE now that all limits have been removed. Justices Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Thomas and Kennedy swept aside decades of legislative restrictions on the money from corporations in political campaigns and ruled that companies can use corporate funds to support or oppose candidates. These 5 justices have just opened the floodgates and the strangle hold the banks have over the nation's wealth will now be amplified by this Supreme Court ruling that has totally removed all limits on campaign financing by corporations. This black day will go ultimately go down in history where the Supreme Court officially validated the takeover of the government by the corporations. The amounts of money spent on the 2010 midterm elections was a record, and the amounts that will be spent on the 2012 presidential elections are projected to total $BILLIONS! More...

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United States on the Road to Ruin, Your Trigger Points
by Gary North
Posted May 31, 2011

better to have left earlier?When would a wise Jew have begun making plans to leave Germany? 1933? 1934? 1938? 1939?

In retrospect, most people would say 1933, the year Hitler was appointed (not elected) Chancellor by President von Hindenburg. On 30 January, Hitler became Chancellor. He asked Hindenburg to dissolve the government and schedule new elections for March 5, which Hindenburg did.

Should a Jew have begun packing his bags? Maybe not. Maybe after the next election, the Nazis would have been defeated. More...

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Why You Should Move Your Money
by moveyourmoneyproject.org
Posted May 30, 2011

Don't fund the fat catsInvest in Main Street, not Wall Street. When you keep your money in a local financial institution, that money in turn is reinvested in local businesses, which is important for building a stable economy and encouraging local growth. Put your money in the big Wall Street banks however, and they will use your deposits to make risky investments, gambling at the expense of the economy as a whole.

End too big to fail. The big banks on Wall Street gambled with our money, then demanded a bailout of $700 billion. The size of these Wall Street "Banksters" threatens our economic system, yet their size has only increased since we bailed them out. According to FDIC data, the largest 5 banks held 13% of US deposits in 1994, today they hold 38%. If the government won't step in and break them up, then we must move our money ourselves and end "Too Big To Fail" once and for all. More...

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10 Steps to Defeat the Corporatocracy
by Bruce E. Levine
Posted May 23, 2011

Corporate States of AmericaMany Americans know that the United States is not a democracy but a "corporatocracy," in which we are ruled by a partnership of giant corporations, the extremely wealthy elite and corporate-collaborator government officials. However, the truth of such tyranny is not enough to set most of us free to take action. Too many of us have become pacified by corporatocracy-created institutions and culture.

Some activists insist that this political passivity problem is caused by Americans' ignorance due to corporate media propaganda, and others claim that political passivity is caused by the inability to organize due to a lack of money. However, polls show that on the important issues of our day - from senseless wars, to Wall Street bailouts, to corporate tax-dodging, to health insurance rip-offs - the majority of Americans are not ignorant to the reality that they are being screwed. And American history is replete with organizational examples - from the Underground Railroad, to the Great Populist Revolt, to the Flint sit-down strike, to large wildcat strikes a generation ago - of successful rebels who had little money but lots of guts and solidarity.

The elite spend their lives stockpiling money and have the financial clout to bribe, divide and conquer the rest of us. The only way to overcome the power of money is with the power of courage and solidarity. More...

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Tax Rates of the Super-Rich: Not as High as Those Making Much Less
By Carla Fried
Posted May 13, 2011

Rich pay low tax ratesNot even the 400 wealthiest American households were immune from the 2008 financial crisis. New data released by the Internal Revenue Service says the mega rich saw their income drop 21.5 percent to a mere $108.2 billion in 2008. But hey, that still works out to a cool $270 million average for each of the top 400, or about 5,400 times the average household income.

As Warren Buffett has repeatedly railed, there is something rather askew when his tax rate is lower than the rate his employees pay. And now that deficit reduction has become a part of the national conversation, poll after poll shows that a majority of Americans support raising tax rates on folks with incomes above $250,000, let alone $270 million. Yet just the other day House Speaker John Boehner insisted that tax hikes are "off the table" during the current debt ceiling/deficit chats. Seriously? For everyone? This sort of data dump from the IRS sure makes it hard to defend the current system for the uber-wealthy. More...

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How the McEconomy Bombed the American Worker
The Hollowing Out of the Middle Class
by Andy Kroll
Posted May 9, 2011

Hollowing out of the middle classThink of it as a parable for these grim economic times. On April 19th, McDonald's launched its first-ever national hiring day, signing up 62,000 new workers at stores throughout the country. For some context, that's more jobs created by one company in a single day than the net job creation of the entire U.S. economy in 2009. And if that boggles the mind, consider how many workers applied to local McDonald's franchises that day and left empty-handed: 938,000 of them. With a 6.2% acceptance rate in its spring hiring blitz, McDonald's was more selective than the Princeton, Stanford, or Yale University admission offices.

It shouldn't be surprising that a million souls flocked to McDonald's hoping for a steady paycheck, when nearly 14 million Americans are out of work and nearly a million more are too discouraged even to look for a job. At this point, it apparently made no difference to them that the fast-food industry pays some of the lowest wages around: on average, $8.89 an hour, or barely half the $15.95 hourly average across all American industries. More...

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The Xtremes: Subversive Recipes for Catastrophic Times
by Ronnie Cummins
Posted May 6, 2011

People powerAfter seven generations of industrial Business as Usual—burning up fossil fuels, waging war on nature and public health, and discharging greenhouse gas pollution into the atmosphere like there's no tomorrow—we've peaked. Distracted by know-nothing climate change deniers and betrayed by cowardly politicians, we're suddenly face-to-face with the Xtremes: Peak Oil, relentless heat, cold, droughts, blizzards, floods, pestilence, crop failures, and evermore deadly "natural" catastrophes, including hurricanes, tornados, forest fires, typhoons, and earthquakes. Held hostage by out-of-control energy corporations, make-believe terrorist threats, and indentured politicians, we lurch from disaster to disaster.

Last year the BP oil spill, this year the Fukushima meltdown. Checking our gauges for oil, food, water, topsoil, clean air, climate stability, ethical business practices, and democracy, we're running on empty. Economic depression, nuclear meltdown, extreme weather, catastrophic oil spills, crop failures, contamination of aquifers through natural gas fracking and oil sands extraction, dirty coal and mountaintop removal, genetically engineered "Frankenfoods" and agrofuels, endless wars for oil and strategic resources, and deteriorating public health--welcome to the New World Order of 2011. Bend down for the New Global Lords, our planetary Board of Directors: 1200 billionaires, 10 million millionaires, and 1000 giant multinational corporations. More...

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Citizens Successfully Close Bank
By EndTheIllusion
Posted April 18, 2011 (Tax Day)

About 50 determined citizens successfully shut down a Bank Of America branch in Philadelphia on April 18, 2011, TAX DAY for most American citizens.

Bank of America is one of many very large corporations that make $billions in profits, and then use tax loopholes and off shore tax havens to avoid paying taxes on their profits. In fact according to the Government Accountability Office, 2 out 3 corporations pay no taxes. Then the politicians who are bought by these same corporations and the uber wealthy get themselves even more tax loopholes and tax cuts. All this while our government debates throwing veterans into homelessness, cutting heating aid for the elderly, and benefits for mothers with children.

So this group of determined citizens decided to do something about this moral crisis on our society.

 

YouTube page for this video.

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Only Little People Pay Taxes
by Dave Gilson
Posted April 18, 2011 (Tax Day)

Leona HelmsleyWhy a janitor ends up with a higher tax rate than a millionaire, and seven more charts that show how the richest Americans beat the IRS.

"We don't pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes," billionaire hotelier Leona Helmsley famously (and allegedly) sniffed. She wasn't entirely correct: The superrich do still pay taxes. The wealthiest 1 percent of taxpayers pay 32 percent of all income tax collected by the federal government.

But the superrich don't pay as much as they used to—and thanks to a combination of tax cuts and preferential tax policies, their tax obligations can be less demanding than the so-called little people's. In fact, the very wealthiest Americans' tax burden has been steadily dropping for years, even as they've enjoyed astounding income growth not seen by the vast majority of Americans. More...

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The Real Housewives of Wall Street
By Matt Taibbi
Posted April 13, 2011

the Fed & Wall StWhy is the Federal Reserve forking over $220 million in bailout money to the wives of two Morgan Stanley bigwigs?

It's hard to imagine a pair of people you would less want to hand a giant welfare check to — yet that's exactly what the Fed did. Just two months before the Macks bought their fancy carriage house in Manhattan, Christy and her pal Susan launched their investment initiative called Waterfall TALF. Neither seems to have any experience whatsoever in finance, beyond Susan's penchant for dabbling in thoroughbred racehorses. But with an upfront investment of $15 million, they quickly received $220 million in cash from the Fed, most of which they used to purchase student loans and commercial mortgages. The loans were set up so that Christy and Susan would keep 100 percent of any gains on the deals, while the Fed and the Treasury (read: the taxpayer) would eat 90 percent of the losses. Given out as part of a bailout program ostensibly designed to help ordinary people by kick-starting consumer lending, the deals were a classic heads-I-win, tails-you-lose investment.

This is the deal of a lifetime. Think about it: You borrow millions, buy a bunch of crap securities and stash them on the Fed's books. If the securities lose money, you leave them on the Fed's lap and the public eats the loss. But if they make money, you take them back, cash them in and repay the funds you borrowed from the Fed. "Remember that crazy guy in the commercials who ran around covered in dollar bills shouting, 'The government is giving out free money!' " says Black. "As crazy as he was, this is making it real." More...

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U.S. Downward Debt Spiral Into the Abyss
by Jesse
Posted April 11, 2011

The attacks are threefold:

- resisting financial and political reform which caused the crisis in the first place. Three years after the crisis and no major player has even been indicted, the bonus system is flourishing political corruptionagain, and politicians are taking many millions in funds from the bankers and wealthy elite to promote their agendas.

- blaming the victims, and compelling them to take the greatest pain of the bailouts, and continuing bailouts and subsidies to the financial class through spending reallocations. The bailouts and spending on the military industrial complex are crowding out the public functions of government. There are even people trying to justify the theft of the Social Security Trust. Look, the funds are gone, we've taken them and given them to the banks! So no use crying over spilt milk, suck it up, and let's move on and take your cuts.

- shifting the impulse to reform from financial reform to 'tax reform' that further supports the monied interests. Cut taxes for the wealthiest as your primary agenda using a variety of deceptive means like promoting a consumption tax, of a flat income tax with offshore havens and loopholes, so the burden falls most heavily on those who spend the greatest percentage of their labor on subsistence, basic needs. More...

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This Is What Resistance Looks Like
by Chris Hedges
Posted April 5, 2011

This is what resistance looks likeThe phrase consent of the governed has been turned into a cruel joke. There is no way to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs. Civil disobedience is the only tool we have left.

We will not halt the laying off of teachers and other public employees, the slashing of unemployment benefits, the closing of public libraries, the reduction of student loans, the foreclosures, the gutting of public education and early childhood programs or the dismantling of basic social services such as heating assistance for the elderly until we start to carry out sustained acts of civil disobedience against the financial institutions responsible for our debacle. The banks and Wall Street, which have erected the corporate state to serve their interests at our expense, caused the financial crisis. The bankers and their lobbyists crafted tax havens that account for up to $1 trillion in tax revenue lost every decade. More...

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Class Warfare Scoreboard : Guess Who's Winning?
by Mike Whitney
Posted April 2, 2011

Class warfareFunny how that works, eh? Funny how American-style capitalism is like a big conveyor-belt trundling all the wealth to those on the top floor. And, it's getting worse too. The gross inequality now exceeds the period before the '29 Crash and rivals the robber barons era. Hey, we're back in the Gilded Age.

And what are all these fatcats doing with their mountains of money...planning for the future, building a stronger economy, reinvesting in America?

Hell, no. They're swapping paper assets with each other to goose the market so they can leave their bratty kids another billion or two before they meet their maker. Don't believe me? This is from Bloomberg:

"U.S. executives are starting to spend the record $940 billion in cash they built up after the credit crisis, just in time for annual shareholder meetings. Takeovers topped $256 billion this quarter... Standard & Poor's 500 Index companies authorized 38 percent more buybacks in 2011 than a year earlier and dividends may increase to a record $31.07 a share in 2013...More...

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The Collapse of Globalization
by Chris Hedges
Posted March 31, 2011

Corporate effigyIt does not matter, as writers such as John Ralston Saul have pointed out, that every one of globalism's promises has turned out to be a lie. It does not matter that economic inequality has gotten worse and that most of the world's wealth has became concentrated in a few hands. It does not matter that the middle class—the beating heart of any democracy—is disappearing and that the rights and wages of the working class have fallen into precipitous decline as labor regulations, protection of our manufacturing base and labor unions have been demolished. It does not matter that corporations have used the destruction of trade barriers as a mechanism for massive tax evasion, a technique that allows conglomerates such as General Electric to avoid paying any taxes. It does not matter that corporations are exploiting and killing the ecosystem on which the human species depends for life. The steady barrage of illusions disseminated by corporate systems of propaganda, in which words are often replaced with music and images, are impervious to truth.

The aim of the corporate state is not to feed, clothe or house the masses, but to shift all economic, social and political power and wealth into the hands of the tiny corporate elite. It is to create a world where the heads of corporations make $900,000 an hour and four-job families struggle to survive. The corporate elite achieves its aims of greater and greater profit by weakening and dismantling government agencies and taking over or destroying public institutions. Charter schools, mercenary armies, a for-profit health insurance industry and outsourcing every facet of government work, from clerical tasks to intelligence, feed the corporate beast at our expense. More...

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HOURLY RATES - A Modest Essay about Extraordinary Paychecks
by Bartlett Naylor
Posted March 30, 2011

Astounding greed!No matter how well compensated our Hollywood and sports stars are, the real money comes from the business of money. The AFL-CIO's PayWatch noted that recently major bankers, apparently embarrassed by their dependence on record taxpayer subsidies, have tightened their belts. Thomas Montag, president of global banking at Bank of America, received only $29 million, or $14,500 an hour.

But the hedge funds have no such restraint. The magazine Institutional Investor declared David Tepper the best paid hedge fund manager in 2009 at $4 billion.9 To put this in perspective, that is $2 million an hour. That is one million dollars every half hour. A Pittsburgh native, he donated $55 million to Carnegie Mellon University, which gratefully changed the name of a graduate program to the David Tepper School of Business.10 That was half a week's paycheck.

The hedge fund managers largely profit in a zero sum game. They don't produce or provide services in the ordinary sense. They place bets against other gamblers, and for every dollar they win, someone else loses. Many of the securities in which they traffic are synthetic, meaning they are mere bets on the performance of other things such as real stocks, bonds, commodities or mortgage payments. If a bond fails, then the credit default insurance, or credit default swap, becomes valuable. . More...

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U.S. Super-Rich the Greatest Living Parasites Flourish as Inequalities Deepen
by James Petras
Posted March 30, 2011

parasitic ruling classThe US has the most billionaires in the world (413), better than one third of the total, the greatest proportion among the "big countries in the world. A closer look also reveals that among the top 200 billionaires (those with $5.2 billion and more) there are 57 from the US (29%). Over one third made their fortune through speculative activity, predators on the productive economy and exploiters of the property and stock market. This is the highest percentage of any major country in Europe or Asia (with the exception of England).

The enormous concentration of wealth in the hands of this tiny parasitical ruling class is one reason why the US has the worst inequalities of any advanced economy and among the worst in the entire world. Speculators do not employ workers, they secure tax loopholes and bailouts and then press for cuts in the social budget, since they do not require a healthy, educated workforce (except for a tiny elite). In 1976 the top 1% held 20% of the wealth; in 2007 they commanded 35% of total wealth. Eighty percent of Americans own only 15% of the wealth. . More...

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The Gathering Political and Economic Storm
by James Quinn
Posted March 14, 2011

Gathering stormThe implosion of the financial system was created by the actions of the Wall Street financers that have been looting the country for decades. They created mortgage products (no doc, liar loans, Alt-A, negative amortization) designed to encourage people to commit fraud. They purposely promoted this massive fraud because they had perfected the art of derivatives. The issuers of these fraudulent mortgages bore none of the risk from their guaranteed default. They packaged them into MBOs and MBSs, bought AAA ratings from Moodys, and shilled them to pension managers, insurance companies, municipalities, states, and little old ladies. Then they bet against their own products with credit default swaps. Their greed and avarice was so extreme, they leveraged their own balance sheets 40 to 1 and then bought their own toxic waste.

The working age population has risen by 5 million, while the number of employed Americans has declined by 6.5 million. The true unemployment rate has risen from 12% to 22%. In September 2008 there were 30.8 million Americans on food stamps. Today there are 44 million Americans on food stamps (14% of the U.S. population), a 43% increase in 2 1/2 years. The annual cost has risen by $37 billion, a 100% increase in 2 1/2 years.

No Wall Street executive has been prosecuted for the fraudulent actions committed by their banks. Wall Street banks handed out $43.3 billion in bonuses in 2009/2010 for a job well done. More...

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Stealing from Social Security to Pay for Wars and Bailouts
by Paul Craig Roberts
Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan's first term
Posted March 11, 2011

They stole your pensionWhat I am about to tell you might come as a shock, but it is the absolute truth, which you can verify for yourself by going online to the government's annual OASDI and HI reports. According to the official 2010 Social Security reports, between 1984 and 2009 the American people contributed $2 trillion, that is $2,000 billion, more to Social Security and Medicare in payroll taxes than was paid out in benefits.

What happened to the surplus $2,000 billion, or $2,000,000,000,000.

The government spent it.

Over the past quarter century, $2 trillion in Social Security and Medicare revenues have been used to finance wars and pork-barrel projects of the US government. More...

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America is NOT broke
by Michael Moore
Posted March 10, 2011

Pleant of moneyAmerica is not broke!

Contrary to what those in power would like you to believe so that you'll give up your pension, cut your wages, and settle for the life your great-grandparents had, America is not broke. Not by a long shot. The country is awash in wealth and cash. It's just that it's not in your hands. It has been transferred, in the greatest heist in history, from the workers and consumers to the banks and the portfolios of the uber-rich.

Today just 400 Americans have more wealth than half of all Americans combined.

Let me say that again. 400 obscenely rich people, most of whom benefited in some way from the multi-trillion dollar taxpayer "bailout" of 2008, now have more loot, stock and property than the assets of 155 million Americans combined. If you can't bring yourself to call that a financial coup d'état, then you are simply not being honest about what you know in your heart to be true. More...

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Amnesty for the Banksters, Debtor's Prison for the Serfs
by William N. Grigg
Posted February 22, 2011

Past relic or a vision of the future?Long before he orchestrated a scheme to rig auctions of tax liens in Baltimore, attorney and real estate mogul Harvey M. Nusbaum had a long and lucrative career in officially sanctioned crime as an IRS agent.

In 2002, Nusbaum grew weary of robbing people on behalf of the state. Rather than repenting in sackcloth and ashes, as any decent person would, he hired out as a privateer -- a freelance buyer and collector of tax debts.

This form of retail fascism -- a public-private partnership in plunder -- was immensely profitable for Nusbaum. Had he exercised even the slightest restraint on his corrupt appetite, Nusbaum most likely wouldn't be headed for prison. More...

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Genetic Engineering: Scientists warn of link between dangerous new pathogen and Monsanto's Roundup
by Rady Ananda
Posted February 21, 2011

Genetically modified foodA plant pathologist experienced in protecting against biological warfare recently warned the USDA of a new, self-replicating, micro-fungal virus-sized organism which may be causing spontaneous abortions in livestock, sudden death syndrome in Monsanto's Roundup Ready soy, and wilt in Monsanto's RR corn.

Dr. Don M. Huber, who coordinates the Emergent Diseases and Pathogens committee of the American Phytopathological Society, as part of the USDA National Plant Disease Recovery System, warned Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack that this pathogen threatens the US food and feed supply and can lead to the collapse of the US corn and soy export markets. Likewise, deregulation of GE alfalfa "could be a calamity,"

In a 2009 study, researchers linked organ damage with consumption of Monsanto's GM maize, based on Monsanto's trial data. As we reported last year, Gilles-Eric Séralini, et al., concluded that the raw data from all three GMO studies reveal that novel pesticide residues will be present in food and feed and may pose grave health risks to those consuming them. Such negative findings probably explain why Monsanto and other biotech firms so vociferously block independent research. More...

With genetic manipulation of our food crops, we are playing Russian Roulette with our food supply.

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Social Security is not an "entitlement" program
by Marti Oakley
Posted February 20, 2011

You have paid for Social SecurityThere is far more at stake here than what the District terms an "unfunded liability". When you hear those in the District speak about this liability, you need to understand what they are really saying. This is an intra-governmental debt, meaning; a debt accrued within the government. It is a liability to the federal government because it is owed to "you" and they have no way of paying it back without taxing you more heavily. You are the "full faith and credit" of the United States corporation. That means government runs up the bills and we pay it.

Another option proffered is cutting the amount of benefits. This one is really sneaky! You are supposed to think that by cutting benefits this will somehow offset any future shortfalls in Social Security. Here's what it really does: It increases the amount of SS surpluses accrued because it lowers the amount being paid out of the fund and increases the funds available to the ongoing theft of your investment. While millions are out of work and not investing in Social Security, this scam will reduce payouts while maintaining virtually the same level of surplus the Federal government is going to steal. More...

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Student loans leave crushing debt burden
by Scott Cohn
Posted February 16, 2011

STudent loan burdenThe cost of a college education is rising faster than the cost of medical care and as much as three times as fast as consumer prices in general. But that's just the beginning of the price of admission.

This is the story of a debt crisis few are talking about. Unlike most other forms of debt, student loans carry almost no consumer protections and little ability to refinance. By law, they can't be wiped out in bankruptcy. Those laws were passed in response to the last student loan crisis in the 1980s. But Collinge believes it created a system he calls predatory.

"These powers would make a mobster envious," he said. More...

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Ruling on Behalf of Wall Street's "Super Rich": The Financial End Time has Arrived
by Prof. Michael Hudson
Posted February 5, 2011

corporate raiderThe argument is made that "The rich create jobs." After all, somebody has to build the yachts. What is missing is the more general principle: Wealth and income inequality destroy job creation. This is because beyond the wealthy soon reach a limit on how much they can consume. They spend their money buying financial securities – mainly bonds, which end up indebting the economy. And the debt overhead is what is pushing today's economy into deepening depression.

Since the 1980s, corporate raiders have borrowed high-interest "junk bond" credit to take over companies and make money by stripping assets, cutting back long-term investment, research and development, and paying out depreciation credit to their financiers. Financially parasitized companies use corporate income to buy back their stock to support its price – and hence, the value of stock options that financial managers give themselves – and borrow yet more money for stock buybacks or simply to pay out as dividends. When the process has run its course, they threaten their work force with bankruptcy that will wipe out its pension benefits if employees do not agree to "downsize" their claims and replace defined-benefit plans with defined-contribution plans (in which all that employees know is how much they pay in each month, not what they will get in the end). By the time this point has been reached, the financial managers have paid themselves outsized salaries and bonuses, and cashed in their stock options – all subsidized by the government's favorable tax treatment of debt leveraging. More...

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American Eulogy
by James Quinn
Posted January 31, 2011

Game overWhenever an act doesn't make sense and seems irrational, you need to ask yourself, "who benefits?" Who has benefitted from the hysteria? The answer is in plain sight. The moneyed interests benefitted. The military industrial complex benefitted. The Federal Government bureaucracy benefitted. Wall Street bankers benefitted. Mega-corporations and their CEOs benefitted. The top 1% ruling elite gained more wealth and more power. They created the mass hysteria with the assistance of their corporate owned mainstream media and completed their pillaging of the middle class with the cooperation of regulators, rating agencies and their ultimate weapon, the privately owned Federal Reserve bank, that has enriched its owners while impoverishing those whose only aspiration was to do an honest day's work, raise their families, and live in relative comfort, safety, and happiness.

Most Americans still believe the fairy tale of the American Dream, that no matter how humble your beginnings, everyone has a fair chance to become rich in America. The truth is that the wealthy ruling class owns the country. The top 1% control 43% of the financial wealth of the nation. The top 10% control 83% of the financial wealth of the nation. There is a misperception that the ultra-rich earn their wealth. The facts show otherwise. In 2008, only 19% of the income reported by the 13,480 individuals or families making over $10 million came from wages and salaries. More...

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Goldman CEO gets salary boost, $12.6 million shares
By Elinor Comlay and Dan Wilchins
Posted January 30, 2011

Blankfein wins lottery jackpot every yearGoldman Sachs Group tripled Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein's base salary and awarded him $12.6 million (7.9 million pounds) of stock, even after the bank's net income plunged last year.

Blankfein is receiving base pay of $2 million effective Jan 1, up from $600,000, the company said in a filing.

The shares awarded to Blankfein amount to a 42 percent increase from the all-stock bonus he received for 2009, and are the latest sign that U.S. banks are moving away from some of the austerities imposed by the financial crisis. Many critics complained that banks privatise their profits and socialize their losses. Big bonuses paid for 2009 would have intensified public outrage. More...

Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein stands to collect $100 million bonus

Lloyd Blankfein's Goldman Sachs played a significant role in the global economic meltdown. Then they were bailed out with taxpayer funds. Now the executives award themselves bonuses and salaries that are the equipvalent of winning the lottery jackpot EVERY YEAR! All this while millions are unemployed, millions are losing their homes, people around the world are now rioting over food costs, and millions saw their life savings shrink by 50%. Way to go Lloyd, you're such a humanitarian who in your own words is "doing God's work"!

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Welcome To 1984: Your Papers, Please
by John Pugsley
Posted January 20, 2011

POlice StateDriving from California to East Texas, my daughter and grandson were 90 miles into the Lone Star state when traffic was stopped at a road block just outside the little town of Sierra Blanca.

Drug-sniffing dogs worked down the line of cars. Under treatment for a medical condition for which her California doctor prescribed medical marijuana, my daughter had a small amount in her luggage in the trunk. The dogs immediately sniffed it. She showed the police her medical authorization, but California law didn't apply in Texas. She and my grandson were arrested, taken to jail and put into a holding tank with a dozen or more men and women who had been arrested for the same crime.

A few days later, singer Willie Nelson was arrested at that same checkpoint. My daughter was fined $550. Perhaps Willie got off just signing a few autographs. More...

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Ruling on Behalf of Wall Street's "Super Rich"
by Professor Michael Hudson
Posted December 14, 2010

Corporate raiderThe argument is made that "The rich create jobs." After all, somebody has to build the yachts. What is missing is the more general principle: Wealth and income inequality destroy job creation. This is because beyond the wealthy soon reach a limit on how much they can consume. They spend their money buying financial securities – mainly bonds, which end up indebting the economy. And the debt overhead is what is pushing today's economy into deepening depression.

Since the 1980s, corporate raiders have borrowed high-interest "junk bond" credit to take over companies and make money by stripping assets, cutting back long-term investment, research and development, and paying out depreciation credit to their financiers. Financially parasitized companies use corporate income to buy back their stock to support its price – and hence, the value of stock options that financial managers give themselves – and borrow yet more money for stock buybacks or simply to pay out as dividends. When the process has run its course, they threaten their work force with bankruptcy that will wipe out its pension benefits if employees do not agree to "downsize" their claims and replace defined-benefit plans with defined-contribution plans (in which all that employees know is how much they pay in each month, not what they will get in the end). By the time this point has been reached, the financial managers have paid themselves outsized salaries and bonuses, and cashed in their stock options – all subsidized by the government's favorable tax treatment of debt leveraging. More...

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American's Live in Mental Ghettos, People Who Lie to Themselves
by Joel S Hirschhorn
Posted December 4, 2010

StupidSo many intelligent Americans believe, say and do stupid things. When a large fraction of the population is like this, a nation rots from the inside and succumbs to external forces.

This delusion is not genetically produced, but is a result of external influences, notably political, government, media and corporate propaganda intentionally designed to produce delusional beliefs and thinking. Who does this? All sorts of commercial and political interests. The result is a series of biases and blocks, such as cognitive dissonance, to objective facts and information that creates denial about very important conditions affecting the planet, the nation and individuals. People afflicted with this deadly combination appear stupid to those outside their mental ghetto that they gladly inhabit, along with similarly afflicted people. More...

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The Larry Summers Hall of Shame
by Maxwell Strachan
Posted Nomber 30, 2010

Larry SummersHis [Larry Summers] tenure in the Obama White House was just like the rest of his career: Full of controversy.

This week's announcement that Larry Summers will be stepping down as director of President Obama's National Economic Council may have been most notable for the passionate reaction it prompted from his critics. "Good riddance," wrote the Progressive's Matthew Rothschild, adding that "Summers has a resume of disaster."

The outpouring shouldn't have been surprising. If nothing else, Summers, in his stints at Harvard, the World Bank and in two presidential administrations, has emerged as an accomplished lightning rod for controversy. As he prepares to decamp Washington for Harvard Yard -- he's going to be a professor -- we remember the 10 most shameful moments that Larry has brought us. More...

This man is definitely among the top 10 people most responsible for bringing the world economy to its knees, and now he gets to go back to Harvard to teach others how to be total failures.

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There Will Be Blood
by Paul Krugman
Posted November 25, 2010

Paul KrugmanFormer Senator Alan Simpson is a Very Serious Person. He must be — after all, President Obama appointed him as co-chairman of a special commission on deficit reduction.

So here's what the very serious Mr. Simpson said on Friday: "I can't wait for the blood bath in April. ... When debt limit time comes, they're going to look around and say, 'What in the hell do we do now? We've got guys who will not approve the debt limit extension unless we give 'em a piece of meat, real meat,' " meaning spending cuts. "And boy, the blood bath will be extraordinary," he continued.

Think of Mr. Simpson's blood lust as one more piece of evidence that our nation is in much worse shape, much closer to a political breakdown, than most people realize. More...

 
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As things fell apart, nobody paid much attention
by James Quinn
Posted November 20, 2010

suburbanSprawlEvery accomplishment, invention, and discovery of the 20th Century was due to cheap accessible fossil fuels. The American industrial age was powered by cheap plentiful oil. One hundred and ten years after the discovery of oil in Titusville, PA an American walked on the moon. We harnessed the immense power of oil and rode it hard. An empire was born and grew to the greatest in history through the utilization of oil and oil byproducts. It is no coincidence that U.S. GDP has been dependent upon the growth in fossil fuel consumption over the last 150 years.

The self centered delusional myopic American citizenry see no parallel between the American Empire built on a foundation of oil and the Dutch Empire built upon wind and water or the British Empire established on the discovery of vast quantities of coal. The Dutch Empire of the 1600s had 6,000 ships and 1,000 windmills generating power. The British Empire used coal to power steam engines, pumps, locomotives and ships and forged a great empire in the 1700s and 1800s. Today, the Netherlands has a GDP lower than Mexico. The U.K. has a GDP on par with Italy. You can be sure you are no longer an empire when your GDP is on par with Mexico and Italy. The United States has grown its GDP to $14.7 trillion by exploiting fossil fuels. The American Empire is clearly waning as its dependence on foreign oil slowly bankrupts the country. We consume 140 billion gallons of gasoline every year keeping our suburban sprawl mall based lifestyle viable. More...

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Senators Welcome Lobbyists, Shun Citizens
Study finds lobbyists far more likely to get a meeting

By P.J. Orvetti

Posted November 13, 2010

Lobbyist Owned"What would happen if an average citizen, a complete unknown, were to contact the office of every U.S. senator and ask for a meeting to discuss a certain Senate bill of interest? And then what would happen if that same unknown were to register as a federal lobbyist, contact each Senate office again, and request a meeting to discuss the same bill?"

That's the intriguing question that business consultant Josh Brodbeck of Colorado set out to answer. What did he find? Exactly what you'd expect.

Last April, Brodbeck contacted each of the 100 senators' offices, seeking a meeting to discuss then-pending health care legislation as an everyday American. A month later, he contacted each office again -- this time as a registered federal lobbyist. All other variables remained unchanged. More...

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Economists: The Unholy Priests of the Banksters
by Gabriel Donohoe
Posted November 4, 2010

EconomistsEconomists are schooled in bank-funded university economics departments where they are thoroughly indoctrinated in monetary theories. The Money Power ensures that economists are methodically trained in economic language and thought and are programmed to spout the official, approved version. Manipulation is the name of the game and contentious issues are ignored or distorted. Proper evaluation of the history and function of banking is never allowed because that would throw up some very unsettling truths. Zarlenga compares political economists to medieval doctors "who theorized on how the body worked, but never dared to dissect the body and find out what was actually happening."

Just as mules are the sterile offspring of asses and horses, economists are the barren progeny of banksters and corporatists. They are impotent when it comes to generating new thinking or new ideas outside of the current monetary system. Economists seem to be utterly incapable of meaningful monetary innovation and just cannot conceive of any systemic alternatives beyond that drilled into them in their bankster schools. Although they regard themselves as a different species from the banksters they really are one and the same. When one's father is a donkey it is impossible to hide one's pedigree; both have big ears and make the same braying sounds. Economists may argue and bluster and often appear critical of the banksters but for all their 'hee-hawing' they never manage to utter a single predatory growl. More...

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We Need to Break Up the Mega Corporations
by Dave Lefcourt
Posted October 6, 2010

TARP pigsJust what are the big mega corporations good for, besides themselves?

Whether it's the Wall Street behemoths that got bailed out with taxpayer funds aka raiding the treasury in the TARP rescue of 2008 or now with Microsoft, IBM, Dupont, Hertz, Pepsico or the other mega corporations able to borrow from the FED at rates near zero who then sell their own bonds to pay off their other debts, use the borrowed cash for new mergers and acquisitions or just hoard the cash, one thing seems perfectly clear, they are not expanding by buying new plant and equipment and hiring new people.

The latter is supposedly the reason the FED has kept interest rates so low, so the "big" boys would start hiring again. More...

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How to Thwart the Assassins of the American Dream
by Janet Tavakoli
Posted August 15, 2010

America 3rd WorldArianna Huffington's new book, Third World America: How Our Politicians are Abandoning the Middle Class and Betraying the American Dream, paints a grim picture of the State of the Union:

"Every day, Americans, faced with layoffs and tough economic times, are forced to use their credit cards to pay for essentials such as food, housing, and medical care -- the costs of which continue to escalate. But, as their debt rises, they find it harder to keep up with their payments. When they don't, banks, trying to offset losses in other areas, turn around, hike interest rates, and impose all manner of fees and penalties..." Third World America, (P. 77)

Our mediocre grammar school and high school educational system continues its downward slide. The Great Recession is squeezing school budgets. We are failing our children, our most important resource of all. More...

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How BP Gulf disaster may have triggered a 'world-killing' event
by Terrence Aym
Posted July 14, 2010

Deepwater Horizon burningOminous reports are leaking past the BP Gulf salvage operation news blackout that the disaster unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico may be about to reach biblical proportions.

Northwestern University's Gregory Ryskin, a bio-chemical engineer, has a theory: The oceans periodically produce massive eruptions of explosive methane gas. He has documented the scientific evidence that such an event was directly responsible for the mass extinctions that occurred 55 million years ago. [4]

Many geologists concur: "The consequences of a methane-driven oceanic eruption for marine and terrestrial life are likely to be catastrophic. Figuratively speaking, the erupting region "boils over," ejecting a large amount of methane and other gases (e.g., CO2, H2S) into the atmosphere, and flooding large areas of land. Whereas pure methane is lighter than air, methane loaded with water droplets is much heavier, and thus spreads over the land, mixing with air in the process (and losing water as rain). The air-methane mixture is explosive at methane concentrations between 5% and 15%; as such mixtures form in different locations near the ground and are ignited by lightning, explosions and conflagrations destroy most of the terrestrial life, and also produce great amounts of smoke and of carbon dioxide..." [5] More...

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BP Gulf Oil Gusher: Methane, Climate & Dead Zones
by DK Matai
Posted July 11, 2010

Gulf StreamAs much as one million times the normal level of methane is showing up near the Gulf of Mexico oil gusher, enough potentially to create dead zones in the water. "These are higher levels than we have ever seen at any other location in the ocean itself," according to sources cited by Reuters. The "flow team" of the US Geological Survey estimates that 2,900 cubic feet of natural gas, which primarily contains methane, is being released into the Gulf waters with every barrel of oil.

Like-for-like, methane is 23 times more potent than Carbon Dioxide or CO2 at trapping solar radiation, as recognised within the Kyoto Protocol in 1997. Methane is far more reflective and calculated over a period of 20 years, as opposed to 100 years, its radiative force is 72 times that of CO2 emissions. This makes vast releases of methane very powerful "positive feedback" loops that accelerate global warming.

Scientists have been discussing a number of scenarios of methane escaping from the ocean floor for some time. The sudden release of large amounts of natural gas -- primarily methane -- could be a cause of past, present and future climate chaos. It is believed that the release of trapped methane is a main factor in the global warming of 6°C that happened during the end-Permian extinction. "Methane Driven Oceanic Eruption" also predicts this will greatly affect available oxygen content of the atmosphere. As temperature rises, the permafrost is likely to melt. The methane released from beneath the permafrost could increase temperatures further, melting the permafrost faster, releasing even more methane, and so on. It is feared that such a scenario would accelerate Global Warming to the point where nothing humankind could do would reverse the problem. More...

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The Economic Elite Vs. The People of the United States of America - Part I
by David DeGraw
Posted July 3, 2010

Economic ElitesAccording to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national median wage was only $32,390 per year in 2008, and median household income fell by 3.6% while the unemployment rate was 5.8%. With the unemployment rate now at 10%, median income has been falling at a 5% rate and is expected to continue its decline. Not surprisingly, Americans’ job satisfaction level is now at an all time low.

There are also a growing number of employed people who, despite having a job, are still living in poverty. There are at least 15 million workers who now fall into this rapidly growing category. $32,390 a year is not going to get you far in today’s economy, and half of the country is making less than that. This is why many Americans are now forced to work two jobs to provide for their family to hopefully make ends meet.

The mainstream news media will numb us to this horrifying reality by endlessly talking about the latest numbers, but they never piece them together to show you the whole devastating picture, and they rarely show you all the immense individual suffering behind them. This is how they “normalize the unthinkable” and make us become passive in the face of such a high casualty count. More...

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Two Decades of Greed - The Unraveling
by James Quinn
Posted June 16, 2010

Wall Street greedThe appearance of progress on some issues overshadowed the underlying deterioration of societal institutions and practices. Social Security was “saved” by Alan Greenspan and his commission. Essentially he manipulated the CPI calculation downward, screwing future generations of seniors out of their rightful payouts. Politically difficult decisions regarding Medicare and Medicaid were deferred to sometime in the distant future. With oil prices averaging $20 per barrel through the 1980s and 1990s, a coherent long-term energy strategy seemed unnecessary to the next election cycle politicians who control this country. The deregulation of the Savings & Loan Industry gave them many of the capabilities of banks, without the same regulations as banks. Imprudent real estate lending, fraud and insider transactions by S&L executives, protected by high powered Washington politicians, led to the first financial crisis. The failure of 747 thrifts and losses of $160 billion to the taxpayer can be attributed to lax oversight and fraud.

The United States has experienced a three decade long “expenditure cascade”. An expenditure cascade occurs when the rapid income growth of top earners fuels additional spending by the lower earners. The cascade begins among top earners, which encourages the middle class to spend more which, in turn, encourages the lower class to spend more. Ultimately, these expenditure cascades reduce the amount that each family saves, as there is less money available to save due to extra spending. Expenditure cascades are triggered by consumption. The consumption of the wealthy triggers increased spending in the class directly below them and the chain continues down to the bottom. This is a dangerous reaction for those at the bottom who have little disposable income originally and even less after they attempt to keep up with others spending habits. The personal savings rate was 12% in the early 1980s and declined to negative 1% by 2005. The expenditure cascade couldn’t have occurred without easy access to debt. The question that must be asked is, who benefits from debt and who pays? More...

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Open Letter to President Obama Re: BP Gulf Oil Spill Solution
by T Anthony Michael
Posted June 13, 2010


Dear President Obama,

gulf oil spillWe write this letter concerning the worst man-made, and ongoing, environmental catastrophe of the modern era, and perhaps the worst calamity the entire hemisphere has ever seen.

We are truly perplexed why the US Federal Government has not taken complete command and control of the disaster area known as the Gulf of Mexico. It is, after all, full of oil and dispersants and corpses of every sort and kind. A foreign multi-national corporation (BP) was allowed to conduct the most risky and highly experimental deep-sea drilling for oil and gas without proper permits, federal oversight and regulatory regimes that would have prevented this avoidable event.

We all know the facts surrounding this event. (i.) BP was given the green light to conduct extremely dangerous drilling techniques in order to supply the fuel necessary to run the US military. (ii.) That the Military-Industrial Complex empowered BP, as it has other US Oil & Gas Companies, to drill and drain every reservoir of oil and gas discovered in the Gulf of Mexico. (iii.) That the Departments of Interior, Energy, Homeland Security and EPA collaborated at the very highest levels of government to see to it that federal laws, state statutes and departmental rules and regulations were conveniently suspended or broken in order to facilitate this oil and gas exploration and extraction. Basically, we are stating that treason was committed against these United States of America by the very entities that are tasked to protect it. More...

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Gulf Oil Spill "Could Go on Years and Years"
by F. William Engdahl
Posted June 12, 2010

Gulf StreamThe Obama Administration and senior BP officials are frantically working not to stop the world’s worst oil disaster, but to hide the true extent of the actual ecological catastrophe. Senior researchers tell us that the BP drilling hit one of the oil migration channels and that the leakage could continue for years unless decisive steps are undertaken, something that seems far from the present strategy.

In a recent discussion, Vladimir Kutcherov, Professor at the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden and the Russian State University of Oil and Gas, predicted that the present oil spill flooding the Gulf Coast shores of the United States “could go on for years and years … many years.” [1]

According to Kutcherov, a leading specialist in the theory of abiogenic deep origin of petroleum, “What BP drilled into was what we call a ‘migration channel,’ a deep fault on which hydrocarbons generated in the depth of our planet migrate to the crust and are accumulated in rocks, something like Ghawar in Saudi Arabia.”[2] Ghawar, the world’s most prolific oilfield has been producing millions of barrels daily for almost 70 years with no end in sight. According to the abiotic science, Ghawar like all elephant and giant oil and gas deposits all over the world, is located on a migration channel similar to that in the oil-rich Gulf of Mexico. More...

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Debt Can Never Be Repaid (By Bankster Design)
By Jason Hamlin
Posted June 9, 2010

The FedYou really have to hand it to the banksters. As was painstakingly detailed in the book Creature from Jekyll Island, the banking elite devised a brilliant plan in November of 1910 on Jekyll Island in which to take over control of the United States, steal the wealth from the taxpayers and the resources from the country.

It was at this meeting that the Federal Reserve was conceived by the banking cartel, as they devised a plan to protect its member banks from competition and convince Congress and the American public that this cartel was an agency of the United States government.

The creation of the Federal Reserve will undoubtedly go down as one of the biggest tragedies in American history. After all, the government handed over the right to print the nation’s currency AND charge interest to a private, for-profit corporation with foreign stockholders. The Federal Reserve was given the right to simply print massive sums of money out of thin air and then charge the American taxpayer interest on that money. More...

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The Wall Street Economic Death Squad
By David DeGraw
Posted May 30, 2010

Economic Death SquadRecent Headlines:
$140 billion! Record Payday for Wall Street
Goldman Sachs 2009 Bonuses Could Buy Insurance for 1.7 Million Families
50 Million Americans Live in Poverty

Paraphrasing a very insightful quote: ‘The amount of poverty and suffering required for the emergence of a Goldman Sachs, and the amount of depravity that the accumulation of a fortune of such a magnitude entails is left out of the mainstream media, and it is not always possible to make the people in general see this.

Think about the fact that your paycheck should be significantly higher, as it would be if CEOs weren’t taking an astonishing record of $500 for every one dollar you make. Due to unregulated greed the US now has the highest inequality of wealth in the industrialized world, no other country is even close.Every time you skip a trip to the doctor, to the dentist, to the food store, even to a social event that could bring you a little stress relief, you should think about these thieves on Wall Street. Every time you skip something that you need, think about the billionaires on Wall Street… because they have YOUR MONEY!

The facts are that $30,000 per person is unaccounted for - that’s $30,000 for every man, woman and child in the US - which means if you have a family of five, your family has lost $150,000 to Goldman Sachs. While you stress out and struggle, they have your money, and it’s sitting in their banks, sitting in their vaults, flipping in their markets, collecting interest… and dust. More...

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The Declining Value of Work
by Michael Snyder
Posted May 20, 2010

declining value of workToday one man can do the work that a hundred men used to do. Not only that, but today American workers literally have to compete against workers from all over the globe. Global corporations often find themselves having to choose whether to build a factory in the United States or in the third world. But in the third world workers often earn less than 10% of what American workers earn, corporations are often not required to provide any benefits to workers, and there are usually hardly any oppressive government regulations. How can American workers compete against that?

All of this free trade has been very hard on American workers as factory after factory has closed, but it has allowed the big corporations to get exceedingly wealthy. The top executives at the big global corporations are certainly enjoying all of this free trade. Their salaries have soared. In 1950, the ratio of the average executive's paycheck to the average worker's paycheck was about 30 to 1. Since the year 2000, that ratio has ranged between 300 to 500 to one.

The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.That is what globalism is all about.The elite make out like bandits as they exploit third world labor pools, while the American middle class finds itself slowly being crushed out of existence. More...

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The Vicious Circle of Debt and Economic Depression, It's Class War
By Ismael Hossein-zadeh
Posted May 17, 1010

SocialNever before has so much debt been imposed on so many people by so few financial operatives—operatives who work from Wall Street, the largest casino in history, and a handful of its junior counterparts around the world, especially Europe.

After transferring trillions of dollars of bad debt or toxic assets from the books of financial speculators to those of governments, global financial moguls, their representatives in the State apparatus and corporate media are now blaming social spending (in effect, the people) as responsible for debt and deficit!

Spending on national infrastructure, both physical (such as roads and schools) and social infrastructure (such as health and education) is key to the long-term socioeconomic developments. Cutting public spending to pay for the sins of Wall Street gamblers is bound to undermine the long-term health of a society in terms of productivity enhancement and sustained growth. A most outrageous aspect of the debt burden that is placed on the taxpayers’ shoulders since 2008 is that most of the underlying debt claims are fictitious and illegitimate: they are largely due to manipulated asset price bubbles, dubious or illegal financial speculations, and scandalous conversion of financial gamblers’ losses into public liability. More...

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The Financial Oligarchy Reigns: Democracy’s Death Spiral From Greece to the United States
by David DeGraw
Posted May 16, 2010

SocialAs the Economic Elite continue their plunder, the people in Greece riot and the big banks score yet another big blow against the people of the United States. Democracy throughout the world is under attack. Many people can make the argument that our democracy here in America is only an illusion, but even the illusion of democracy is crashing down. Tragedies are currently playing out across the world on an epic scale. Unprecedented economic and environmental catastrophes have become the norm. Billions of people, the overwhelming majority of humanity, have been sentenced to a slow death due to a concentration of wealth and resources within humanity’s economic top 0.5%. Ultimately, short-sighted greed has proven to be humanity’s most severe disease.

On the evening of May 6th, 2010, one of the most vital battles of this war came to the Senate floor, the amendment to break up the “too big to fail” banking interests. The amendment was voted down and the American people were dealt a severe blow, as our democracy was publicly exposed as a mere charade.

To break it down statistically, when six inter-connected banks, all organized in the Federal Reserve system, control over 60% of GDP and have the power to issue currency, competition is impossible. The game is over. They wield so much power that society and government are effectively captured and dominated by this Oligarchy. More...

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The Economic Collapse Part 1
by Rudy Avizius
Posted May 7, 2010

With the exponential growth of debt and derivatives, a sovereign debt default could trigger economic shockwaves that would make the previous 2008-09 economic collapse look like the pre-shocks of a much larger earthquake. This video presents one possible scenario on how a dollar collapse would affect one family.

To view the video on YouTube.


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The Economic Collapse Part 2
by Rudy Avizius
Posted May 7, 2010

With the exponential growth of debt and derivatives, a sovereign debt default could trigger economic shockwaves that would make the previous 2008-09 economic collapse look like the pre-shocks of a much larger earthquake. This video presents one possible scenario on how a dollar collapse would affect one family.

To view the video on YouTube.

 
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Western Civilization and the Economic Crisis, The Impoverishment of the Middle Class
by Andrew G Marshall
Posted March 31, 2010

SocialIn the past few decades, the middle class has been forced to survive on debt. In order to maintain the image of middle class, and to maintain the functions of the middle class (i.e., to consume), the middle class needed access to credit and had to descend into a class of debt. Now, as the world is undergoing a rapid social, political, and economic transformation, the middle class has been marked for death. As a debt crisis takes the nations of the world into debt servitude, the middle classes of the western world will lose their access to credit, and will be forced into repaying their debts. As nations fall under a debt crisis, the middle class will collapse with it. A class built and sustained on debt is not sustainable. We are entering into a period of rapid class transformation on a global scale.

The mirage of the middle class is steadily vanishing as our eyes adjust to the reality of our environment. The Empire we turned a blind eye to abroad, is about to hit home; what we do abroad, comes home to roost. The middle class is about to realize the true cost of empire. More...

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The American Dream is Over, It Was A Wonderful Life
by James Quinn
Posted March 19, 2010

Here we sit in 2010. We are blessed with 4,300 Wal-Marts, 2,200 Home Depots, 1,500 Lowes, 1,000 Best Buys, 15,000 McDonalds, 11,000 Starbucks and 2 million other retail stores. Americans need to ask themselves whether cheap economy packs of tube socks were worth allowing small town America to disintegrate and blow away. Small businesses that were the heart of America in 1946 have been methodically driven out of business by predatory mega-retailers. The free market capitalists claim this has been good for America. Is it free market capitalism when these companies use their billions to buy politicians, zoning boards, and local officials? The next time you drive through a small town and see boarded up stores, for lease signs, and decaying infrastructure think about the true cost of big business capitalism. Succumbing to corporatism and debt financed materialism has resulted in a society marred by divorce, broken families, decaying cities, drugs, murder and police chases - the Potterville of It’s a Wonderful Life. Was it worth it? More...

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World’s Billionaires Grew 50 Percent Richer in 2009
by Andre Damon
Posted March 13, 2010

2009 will be remembered by millions of ordinary people as the year they lost their job, their house, or the prospect of an education. For the rich, however, it was a bonanza. The world’s billionaires saw their wealth grow by 50 percent last year, and their ranks swell to 1,011, from 793, according to the latest Forbes list of billionaires.

Aside from direct government handouts to the banks and super-rich, the major driver of the recovery of corporate profits—and thus the stock market—was productivity growth and corporate downsizing.In 2009, the unemployment rate rose from 7.7 to 10 percent, three million jobs were lost, and wages fell dramatically. Millions of families lost their homes and became dislocated. But productivity, the amount of output that is produced from each hour of work, rose by 7 percent. The money freed up through the destruction of social programs, higher employee output, and corporate restructuring has found its way into the pockets of the people on Forbes’ list. More...

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2010 Food Crisis for Dummies
by Eric deCarbonnel
Posted March 2, 2010

If you read any economic, financial, or political analysis for 2010 that doesn’t mention the food shortage looming next year, throw it in the trash, as it is worthless. There is overwhelming, undeniable evidence that the world will run out of food next year. When this happens, the resulting triple digit food inflation will lead panicking central banks around the world to dump their foreign reserves to appreciate their currencies and lower the cost of food imports, causing the collapse of the dollar, the treasury market, derivative markets, and the global financial system. The US will experience economic disintegration.

Over the last two years, the world has faced a series of unprecedented financial crises: the collapse of the housing market, the freezing of the credit markets, the failure of Wall Street brokerage firms (Bear Stearns/Lehman Brothers), the failure of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, the failure of AIG, Iceland’s economic collapse, the bankruptcy of the major auto manufacturers (General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler), etc… In the face of all these challenges, the demise of the dollar, derivative markets, and the modern international system of credit has been repeatedly forecasted and feared. However, all these doomsday scenarios have so far been proved false, and, despite tremendous chaos and losses, the global financial system has held together. More...

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"Economic Terrorism": The Consequences are Poverty and Mass Unemployment
by David DeGraw
Posted February 18, 2010

Like our Founding Fathers before us, we must put aside our differences and unite to fight a common enemy. It has now become evident to a critical mass that the Republican and Democratic parties, along with all three branches of our government, have been bought off by a well-organized Economic Elite who are tactically destroying our way of life. The harsh truth is that 99% of the US population no longer has political representation. The US economy, government and tax system is now blatantly rigged against us.

Current statistical societal indicators clearly demonstrate that a strategic attack has been launched and an analysis of current governmental policies prove that conditions for a large majority of Americans will continue to deteriorate. The Economic Elite have engineered a financial coup and have brought war to our doorstep. . . and make no mistake, they have launched a war to eliminate the US middle class. More...

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America's Impending Master Class Dictatorship
By Stewart Dougherty
Posted January 24, 2010

One stark and sobering way to frame the crisis is this: if the United States government were to nationalize (in other words, steal) every penny of private wealth accumulated by America’s citizens since the nation’s founding 235 years ago, the government would remain totally bankrupt.

When 90% of the American people vehemently rejected the $700,000,000,000.00 ($700 billion) TARP bailout plan, the Master Class put it on a fast track and approved it anyway.

When the people said no to multi-trillion dollar crony bailouts for the bankers and insurers whose corruption had caused global financial mayhem, the government pledged to those elite insiders more than $13,000,000,000,000.00 ($13 trillion) of the people’s money anyway.

When the people expressed astonishment and anger that Wall Street planned to pay itself record 2009 bonuses, in the midst of America’s worst-ever fiscal and financial crisis caused by them, Wall Street stuffed its pockets with taxpayer-supported bonus money anyway. More....

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U.S. Heading for Hyperinflationary Collapse, Ruling Elite Preparing for Civil War
by James Quinn
Posted January 18, 2009

We are left a hollowed out economy with a middle class that hasn’t seen their real wages increase in 30 years. Our manufacturing base has been gutted. The only thing this country has produced in the last ten years is killing machines. Is society more likely to advance by producing a computer or a humvee? Is our civilization better off with a plant producing tanks or hybrid cars? Defense spending means the government is pulling away resources from free market uses and instead using them to buy weapons and to pay for soldiers and Blackwater mercenaries. In realistic economic models, defense spending is a direct drain on the economy, reducing efficiency, slowing expansion and costing jobs.

We are now at a critical crossroads for our Republic. Normally intelligent Americans must open their eyes to the collusion between politicians, military industrial complex, Federal Reserve and corporate media that have used fear and misinformation to gain power over brainwashed American citizens. The ruling elite fear and despise the American public. The Department of Homeland Security has been given free rein to spy on American citizens, classifies Ron Paul supporters as potential domestic terrorists, considers returning Iraq veterans as a potential threat, and seems to be directing their laser focus toward suppressing domestic civil dissent. U.S. combat troops of Northern Command have been stationed on domestic soil. More...

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If Government Won't Break Up the Giant Banks, Let's Do It Ourselves
by Washington's Blog
Posted January 14, 2010

As everyone knows, the economy cannot permanently recover and truly stabilize until the giant banks are broken up. The top independent experts agree that the "too big to fails" are a drain on the economy and put the entire system at risk. The giant banks aren't lending much to the people who need it. Fortune pointed outin February that smaller banks are stepping in to fill the lending void left by the giant banks' current hesitancy to make loans. Indeed, the article points out that the only reason that smaller banks haven't been able to expand and thrive is that the too-big-to-fails have decreased competition.

If the government isn't doing anything to fix this dangerous situation, we'll have to do it ourselves. More...

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An Introspective Look at the Future of America
by Craig Harris
Posted January 3, 2009

SocialThe "people's representatives" as they like to be called, no longer represent the people at all but instead solely represent and pledge allegiance to the special interests and corporate lobbyists who have bought and paid for their votes, along with the media oligarchs who control who sits in the seats. Regardless of whether they call themselves Democrats or Republicans, they are a group of self important, self serving, morally bankrupt, corrupt, clueless buffoons and criminals running unchecked by a complicit corporate media.

I believe we have already had a systemic collapse, and the only thing the FED can do now is alter the look and feel of the collapse and to manage the allocation of the remaining wealth. In the end, whether by deflationary collapse or inflationary decay, the result of the collapse will feel the same to the US general population regardless of the interim path taken. More...

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Move Your Money: A New Year's Resolution
by Arianna Huffington and Rob Johnson
Posted January 2, 2010
Social

The big banks on Wall Street, propped up by taxpayer money and government guarantees, have had a record year, making record profits while returning to the highly leveraged activities that brought our economy to the brink of disaster. In a slap in the face to taxpayers, they have also cut back on the money they are lending, even though the need to get credit flowing again was one of the main points used in selling the public the bank bailout. But since April, the Big Four banks -- JP Morgan/Chase, Citibank, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo -- all of which took billions in taxpayer money, have cut lending to businesses by $100 billion.

The idea is simple: If enough people who have money in one of the big four banks move it into smaller, more local, more traditional community banks, then collectively we, the people, will have taken a big step toward re-rigging the financial system so it becomes again the productive, stable engine for growth it's meant to be. It's neither Left nor Right -- it's populism at its best. More...

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An Open Letter to the Federal Reserve
by Matt Koppenheffer and Morgan Housel
Posted November 22, 2009

We are writing today to formally solicit your help in obtaining approvals to start a new bank holding company, Money Unlimited. We of course understand that the approval process for a new bank is typically done through the FDIC, but as the Federal Reserve plays a crucial role in our business plan, we hope that you can expedite the process.

It's quite simple, really. We're going to borrow money from the Federal Reserve at 0%, then lend it back out to the U.S. Treasury at 3%. The Treasury can then use that money for fantastic programs like Cash for Clunkers. If we leverage our $1 billion asset base 20-to-1, we'll pull in $600 million in year one without breaking a sweat.

Because we want to do what's right for the economy, we plan to keep operating expenses to a bare minimum and limit our bonuses to $20 million each for the first five years. By plowing the remaining money back into the bank -- and, of course, leveraging it at 20-times -- we'll be able to grow like a weed. Assuming you folks at the Federal Reserve continue to do your part by lending money at 0%, we expect to clear $120 billion in assets in five years flat. More...
(for those who may be a little slow, this is sarcasm and humor)

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Goldman Sachs CEO says he’s ‘doing God’s work’
Posted November 18, 2009

Goldman Sachs CEO says he’s ‘doing God’s work,’ and rejects the idea that Goldman profits from gov’t support.

Blankfein dismisses any suggestion that Goldman needed to be bailed out, and, by extension, rejects any notion that the firm is now profiting from public support. Sure, he took $10 billion from Washington’s Troubled Asset Relief Program (Tarp). But the bank has since repaid the cash, with healthy interest — 23%. Goldman also benefited from the federal bail-out of the huge US insurance firm AIG. Goldman had bought $20 billion worth of insurance from AIG and received billions of dollars — perhaps as much as $13 billion — when Washington pumped $90 billion into the stricken giant. But Blankfein insists Goldman was “hedged” against any AIG losses, in the best possible way — with cash. More...

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Financial System Designed Almost Exclusively to Benefit the Rich
by Bob Chapman
Posted November 15, 2009

The American journey that began on 8/15/71 is going to end over the next several years. The problems that have manifested themselves over the past few years signal the final stages of a destructive process that has stifled production and innovation and encouraged fraud in Wall Street and banking. The injection of money and credit into the financial system via the Fed and the Treasury has almost exclusively benefited the wealthy financial sector and has spread only crumbs to American citizens.

The residential housing sector is dying, as now is the bubble in commercial real estate. It is now only a matter of time that the stock markets new bubble is broken. Insolvency in insurance, banking and on wall Street has been temporarily papered over. These are the culprits who created our problems along with their mentor the Federal Reserve. These are the same people who created fraudulent CDOs and MBSs, which caused the credit collapse. For that they have been rewarded. More...

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Tobin Tax, Making Wall Street Pay Its Fair Share
by Ellen Brown
Posted November 11, 2009

In the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression, Goldman Sachs is having a banner year. According to an October 16 article by Colin Barr on CNNMoney.com:“While Goldman churned out $3 billion in profits in the third quarter, the economy shed 768,000 jobs, and home foreclosures set a new record. More than a million Americans have filed for bankruptcy this year, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute. A September survey of state finances by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities think tank found that state governments faced a collective $168 billion budget shortfall for fiscal 2010. Goldman, by contrast, is sitting on $167 billion in cash . . . .”

Barr writes that Goldman’s “eye-popping profit” resulted “as revenue from trading rose fourfold from a year ago.” Really. Revenue from trading? Didn’t we bail out Goldman and the other Wall Street banks so they could make loans, take deposits, and keep our money safe? That is what banks used to do, but today the big Wall Street money comes from short-term speculation in currency transactions, commodities, stocks, and derivatives for the banks’ own accounts. And here’s the beauty of it: the Wall Street speculators have managed to trade in practically the only products left on the planet that are not subject to a sales tax. While parents in California are now paying 9% sales tax on their children’s school bags and shoes, Goldman is paying zero tax to sustain its gambling habit. More....

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5 evil things credit card companies can (still) do
By Julianne Pepitone
Posted October 23, 2009

President Obama discussed credit-card reform in Rio Rancho, N.M., in May.Credit card companies are socking it to consumers left and right. They're hiking interest rates to as much as 36% and doubling minimum monthly payments, frustrating customers who are already cash-strapped and credit-crunched. At the same time, credit card companies have been hard at work coming up with new ways to boost profits while sidestepping the reforms.

No current laws cap credit card interest rates, according to Pamela Banks of Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports, so technically the sky's the limit. But the CARD act will help curb abusive practices. As of February, issuers won't be able to arbitrarily raise rates on existing balances. But cardholders will still be subject to interest hikes for late payments and various other infractions. Fees aren't just rising -- they're multiplying. Cardholders are getting slapped with fees they've never seen before. The hitch: New laws can address only existing fees and business practices; they can't predict what credit card companies will do in the future. Consumer outrage is boiling over. More...

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5 evil things credit card companies can (still) do
By Julianne Pepitone
Posted October 23, 2009

President Obama discussed credit-card reform in Rio Rancho, N.M., in May.Credit card companies are socking it to consumers left and right. They're hiking interest rates to as much as 36% and doubling minimum monthly payments, frustrating customers who are already cash-strapped and credit-crunched. At the same time, credit card companies have been hard at work coming up with new ways to boost profits while sidestepping the reforms.

No current laws cap credit card interest rates, according to Pamela Banks of Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports, so technically the sky's the limit. But the CARD act will help curb abusive practices. As of February, issuers won't be able to arbitrarily raise rates on existing balances. But cardholders will still be subject to interest hikes for late payments and various other infractions. Fees aren't just rising -- they're multiplying. Cardholders are getting slapped with fees they've never seen before. The hitch: New laws can address only existing fees and business practices; they can't predict what credit card companies will do in the future. Consumer outrage is boiling over. More...

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Peter Schiff, You Are Wrong on Health Care in the U.S
by Joseph Rouse
Posted October 12, 2009

Medical insurance premiums in the US now the equal of the average monthly mortgage payment. Never in the history of the US have medical insurance costs risen to such levels as they are today. In fact, the US spends twice as much on health care for it’s citizens when related to health care costs in other countries around the world. The lack of anti trust regulation permits the US government to turn a blind eye on the price fixing monopolization of the health care industry that is crippling the financial condition of it’s citizenry.

The absence of free market capitalism within the US Health Care System has created a monopoly that can not be dismantled overnight. Accordingly, the need for a direct competitor equal to the monopolistic size of the US health insurance companies must exist for any meaningful reform to take place. More...

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Wendell Potter on Profits Before Patients
Posted October 12, 2009

Potter attended a "health care expedition," a makeshift health clinic set up at a fairgrounds, and he tells Bill Moyers, "It was absolutely stunning. When I walked through the fairground gates, I saw hundreds of people lined up, in the rain. It was raining that day. Lined up, waiting to get care, in animal stalls. Animal stalls."

Potter sees an industry corrupted by Wall Street expectations and greed. According to Potter, insurers have every incentive to deny coverage — every dollar they don't pay out to a claim is a dollar they can add to their profits, and Wall Street investors demand they pay out less every year. Under these conditions, Potter says, "You don't think about individual people. You think about the numbers, and whether or not you're going to meet Wall Street's expectations." More...

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The Third Rail of Academia
By Gary North
Posted September 16, 2009

Social Security system has long been described as the third rail of American politics. "Touch it, and you die." You get electrocuted. If you should somehow survive, the next subway train will cut you in pieces.

There is such a rail in academia: the Federal Reserve System.The Federal Reserve, through its extensive network of consultants, visiting scholars, alumni and staff economists, so thoroughly dominates the field of economics that real criticism of the central bank has become a career liability for members of the profession, an investigation by the Huffington Post has found. This dominance helps explain how, even after the Fed failed to foresee the greatest economic collapse since the Great Depression, the central bank has largely escaped criticism from academic economists. In the Fed's thrall, the economists missed it, too. In addition, the FED has editors of the academic journals on its payroll or grants list. "It's very important, if you are tenure track and don't have tenure, to show that you are valued by the Federal Reserve," says Jane D'Arista, a Fed critic and an economist with the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. More...

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Wall Street’s New Gilded Age
By Niall Ferguson
Posted September 11, 2009

A year after the crash, a few financial giants are back to making millions, while average Americans face foreclosure and unemployment. What's wrong with this picture?

Last year's crisis made this problem worse in two ways. First, it wiped out three of the Big 15: goodbye Bear, Merrill, and Lehman. Second, because the failure of Lehman was so economically disastrous, it established what had previously only been suspected—that the survivors were TBTF, effectively guaranteed by the full faith and credit of the United States. Yes, folks, now it's official: heads, they win; tails, we the taxpayers lose. And in return, we get … a $30 charge if we inadvertently run up a $1 overdraft with our debit card. Meanwhile, JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs executives get million-dollar bonuses. What's not to dislike?. More....

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California's Real Death Panels: Insurers Deny 21% of Claims
by Thomson Reuters
Posted September 5, 2009

More than one of every five requests for medical claims for insured patients, even when recommended by a patient's physician, are rejected by California's largest private insurers, amounting to very real death panels in practice daily in the nation's biggest state,according to data released today by the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee.

PacifiCare denied 40 percent of all California claims in the first six months of 2009. Cigna, which gained notoriety two years ago for denying a liver transplant to 17-year-old Nataline Sarkisyan of Northridge, Calif. and then reversing itself, tragically too late to save her life, was still rejecting one-third of all claims for the first half of 2009. More....

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How to Lower the U.S. Deficit Without Killing Social Security
by Shamus Cooke
Posted September 4, 2009

Workers are not so naive to think that the Bush/Obama bailouts — the fiscal crime of the century — will earn them “profits.” Just the opposite is the case. The profits that some giant banks are reporting are direct results of the bailout, itself a gigantic “forced borrowing” from working Americans, who will be paying the debt with their cherished social programs unless they mount an organized protest.

Make no mistake, the corporate elite want the U.S. deficit taken care of and they don’t want to pay higher taxes to do it. They rightfully fear that foreign investors — most notably China and Japan — will quit feeding the American debt machine unless the deficit is drastically reduced. Instead of making workers pay off the deficit, the corporate elite should be forced to. A plan of action to accomplish this might look something like this:
More....

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Why No One Won a Pulitzer for Financial Reporting
Posted August 16, 2009
by Mike Stathis

Amidst the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression (if not ever) and the biggest Ponzi scheme ever, (the real estate-banking Ponzi scheme) not one of the 65 Pulitzer Prizes was awarded for coverage of the events surrounding the “financial crisis.” Ironically, the media has yet to identify this crisis as the biggest Ponzi scheme ever, confirming their incompetence.

Today, America’s mainstream media machine is primarily owned by a small group of men. And they don’t just own television networks or newspapers. They own television networks AND newspapers AND radio stations. This is why you get the same bull regardless where you turn. This carefully guarded control has created a very dangerous form of censorship that few realize because America’s media industry puts out the same messages and rarely allows an open platform for the exchange of opposing viewpoints by credible experts. I know this from first-hand experience. More....

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Bioweapons, Dangerous Vaccines, and Threats of a Global Pandemic
by Stephen Lendman
Posted July 6, 2009


On February 27, 2009, various news agencies including Helen Branswell in the Canadian Press, reported: Baxter International that "released contaminated flu virus material from a plant in Austria confirmed (today) that the experimental product contained live H5N1 avian flu viruses." The WHO said the incident occurred at the company's research facility in Orth-Donau, Austria, but claimed "that public health and occupational risk is minimal" thus far. What's not known, however, "are the circumstances" behind the incident that, according to some, raise suspicions while others call it a willful criminal act.
Security experts expressed alarm that something this serious could happen, calling the co-mingling (or reassortment) of human H3N2 with H5N1 avian viruses a dangerous practice that should never occur because of the potentially devastating effects to human health. "If someone exposed to a mixture of the two had been simultaneously infected with both strains, he or she could have served as an incubator for a hybrid virus able to transmit easily to and among people," who, in turn, could transmit it to enough others to potentially cause a pandemic. More...

One issue that was not covered in this article is the fact that this incredible story was totally ignored by the US corporate media. I was able to find information on this only on Bloomberg's site and even that disappeared after about a week. The story was carried by some European and Canadian news outlets but never received wide circulation.

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February 25, 2009
Massive unemployment could lead to riots
by Zbigniew Brzezinski

Making an appearance on the Morning Joe television show, the National Security Advisor to President Carter, Zbigniew Brzezinski believes it is time for the rich who have made billions during the Clinton and Bush administrations help out the poor and struggling masses. Said Brzezinski:

Where is the monied class today? Why aren’t they doing something: the people who made billions, millions. Why don’t they get together, and why don’t they organize a National Solidarity Fund in which they call on all of those who made these extraordinary amounts of money to kick some back in to [a] National Solidarity Fund?
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January 9, 2009
Why we are here?
End the illusion, we cannot continue with “business as usual”
by Rudy Avizius

As one takes stock of what is happening to our nation, using simple common sense it becomes evident that things are not working. It does not take an “expert” with a PhD in economics or political science to figure out that things have gone horribly wrong on many fronts: economic, social, justice, community, environment, to name just a few.
It seems that our political leaders and government regulators have had their heads buried in the sand, ignoring the warning signs of the impending huge economic and financial storm that was brewing, all while taking contributions and being influenced by the very people who were driving our economy and nation over a cliff. Simultaneously while this was happening, the best our corporate controlled media could do was to lamely ask “are we in a recession yet”?

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