What happens when an institution becomes more important than the cause for which the institution was formed? How long should people who believe in the cause remain loyal to such an institution? And at what point does loyalty to such an institution comprise an abandonment of the cause itself?
I’m afraid the majority of Americans have been institutionalized in a manner not unlike the way prisoners are institutionalized after a long period of confinement. After a point, a prisoner is so conditioned to accepting the circumstances of his confinement that, should he be released from confinement, he truly would be unable to cope. Such seems to be the mentality of a majority of us today.
Christians have been institutionalized. The reason and purpose of the church or Christian organization is no longer relevant. Generations have grown up reciting the same liturgies, regurgitating the same prayers, and rehearsing the same programs until the reason for it all doesn’t even matter. But take the institution away from them, and they would not be able to cope.
The Pharisees despised the Lord Jesus because He challenged the religious institutions that had come to govern people’s lives. I am convinced if Jesus came to America today, He would be just as despised by the vast majority of our religious leaders as He was by the Pharisees.
The Church that Jesus built in the Book of Acts owned no buildings, was indebted to no lenders, took no tax benefits from the civil government, had no denominational hierarchy, and identified itself with no ecclesiastical brand. And the Church was just as persecuted by the religious establishment as Christ was.
One of the reasons one may know that the modern church is so unlike Christ and the apostles is by the persecution that it never experiences. Just as the Pharisees were bosom buddies with the Roman Empire’s governing elite, so are our religious leaders today. Caesar was very generous in sharing the fruit of his tyrannically-extracted bounty with his allies in the Jewish Sanhedrin. And they were happy to return the favor by insisting that the Hebrew people submit to Caesar’s harsh rule over their lives.
The Pharisees also enjoyed a cozy relationship with the moneychangers. The moneychangers were descended from a long line of corrupt banking interests that dated all the way back to the Edomites. We are not talking about your friendly local banker here. These were highly organized, well-positioned money-manipulators. Jesus was so incensed with their manipulation and theft within in the Temple that he used physical violence to remove them from the property. He is recorded as doing this twice in the Gospel narratives. Note that after the second time in which it is recorded that He drove out the moneychangers (with a whip, no less), the Pharisees soon had Jesus crucified. There is no question that one of the reasons Pilate ordered Jesus to be scourged with a whip was in direct retaliation for the manner in which Jesus whipped the moneychangers. Remember, the moneychangers were from a very well-ensconced, elitist national (and even international) organization.
And lest you think all of this is irrelevant to today, the moneychangers are still very much with us. The Rothschilds, Rockefellers, and other members of the international banking elite, are the direct descendants of the moneychangers of Jesus’ day. And if you ever have an opportunity to ask one of them about it, they will proudly admit it.
Yes, the Pharisees institutionalized religion. This accomplished two things: 1) it helped enslave the people, 2) it helped make them rich. The institutionalized church is accomplishing much the same things today.
The establishment church is doing as much to enslave people as any other institution in the world. Our political institutions and educational institutions have nothing on the church for making good little subjects and serfs to the all-powerful state. And if you don’t think that a host of church leaders are not reaping the spoils from assisting our taskmasters, you’re not paying attention.
Many, if not most, of these big-name TV evangelists have as many houses and yachts and Swiss bank accounts as any big-name Hollywood actor or politician. In some cases, more. Most of these big-church pastors are bathing in luxury. Many of them take the kinds of vacations that only CEOs of the biggest corporations or presidents could afford. Do you really think that the IRS rules and regulations governing these non-profit corporations, called churches, really bother these church leaders? Get real!
No wonder all of these “successful” preachers are constantly teaching their congregations to always submit to the government. No wonder they have no interest in abandoning their 501c3 tax-exempt status. They are in the exact same position as were the Pharisees of old. And they are just as effective in helping to enslave people today as were the Pharisees.
The institution of the church–along with its programs, formalities, buildings, rituals, etc.,–has become more important than the purpose for which the church was created. Instead of preaching the liberating message of the Cross, which frees men from the fetters of sin–and that includes sinful political and financial fetters–the church is preaching a message of subjugation and enslavement. It is teaching people to submit to all kinds of oppression, including religious oppression.
Some of the most oppressed and subjugated people in the world are religious people. There are churches and Christian colleges that are every bit as tyrannical as anything coming out of East-bloc or Muslim countries. About the only thing missing is physical torture and execution. Spiritually, however, the oppression is the same.
How could real men who love the liberty they have in Christ allow themselves–and especially their wives–to be told how to dress, how to wear their hair, what kind of music to listen to, what kind of vacations to take, what restaurants they may or may not eat at, what forms of entertainment they may or may not participate in, etc., etc., ad infinitum?
I tell you the truth: many Christians in America are already slaves. To talk to them about freedom is a complete waste of time. The chains of tyranny are already clamped around their hearts. Why should it matter to them if chains are clamped around their necks? When they talk about “defending the faith,” they are talking about defending the institution. They are slaves to the institution. And the same is true for many unchurched Americans.
What is more important: liberty, or the government that is supposed to secure liberty? To a sizeable number of Americans today, it is more important to preserve the institution than the freedoms that the institution was created to protect.
Our Declaration of Independence states, “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends [the God-given rights of life, liberty, etc.], it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
Did you see that: “any form of government”? ANY FORM. The form of government is only as good as its ability to secure liberty.
I hear a lot of politicians and media personalities talking about “American exceptionalism.” This is a potentially dangerous mindset. If one means that America is exceptional in our history and the manner in which our Constitution and Bill of Rights were established to protect liberty, well and good. But if it means that America has carte-blanche to do anything it wants–no matter how unconstitutional or tyrannical–because it is “exceptional,” it is a bunch of hooey.
What difference does it make if we have a 50-State Union or not? There is a bill in the California legislature that would divide that State into six states. Five counties in Western Maryland are trying to secede from Baltimore. Ten northern counties in Colorado are trying to secede from Denver. If a State refuses to secure the liberties of the people of that State, they have every right under God to separate. The State is not nearly as important as the liberties of the people within the State.
The spirit of secession is actually growing like wildfire all over the world. In recent history, Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Macedonia, and Kosovo all separated from Yugoslavia. Transnistria broke free from Moldova. Abkhazia and South Ossetia fought free from Georgia. The Slovaks seceded from Czechoslovakia. And now Crimea is separating from Ukraine.
To be sure, not every country that secedes from another country is motivated purely by the love of liberty. But for those of us in America, the issue that has propelled the desire to separate from one country or one State has always been liberty. It was the love of liberty that created the United States and that created the free and independent states of Maine, Vermont, Kentucky, and West Virginia–all of which seceded from existing U.S. states.
Furthermore, what difference does it make if Washington, D.C., is our federal capital, or, if say, Helena, Montana, would become the federal capital of a mountain state confederation of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Northern Colorado, eastern Washington and Oregon, the Dakotas, Alberta and British Columbia, Canada, and Alaska? Or if Austin was the federal capital of an independent Republic of Texas? Preserving some sort of political union (especially if it is a forced and coerced union) is not nearly as important as preserving liberty.
Again, it is not the political institution that is important. What is important is the liberty that the political institution is supposed to secure.
Many great minds in this country are already philosophizing over the possibility that secession is an idea whose time has come–again. A few years ago, Walter Williams wrote, “Like a marriage that has gone bad, I believe there are enough irreconcilable differences between those who want to control and those want to be left alone that divorce is the only peaceable alternative. Just as in a marriage, where vows are broken, our human rights protections guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution have been grossly violated by a government instituted to protect them. Americans who are responsible for and support constitutional abrogation have no intention of mending their ways.
“Americans who wish to live free have two options: We can resist, fight and risk bloodshed to force America’s tyrants to respect our liberties and human rights, or we can seek a peaceful resolution of our irreconcilable differences by separating. That can be done by peopling several states, say Texas and Louisiana, control their legislatures and then issue a unilateral declaration of independence just as the Founders did in 1776. You say, ‘Williams, nobody has to go that far, just get involved in the political process and vote for the right person.’ That’s nonsense. Liberty shouldn’t require a vote. It’s a God-given or natural right.
“Some independence or secessionists movements, such as our 1776 war with England and our 1861 War Between the States, have been violent, but they need not be. In 1905, Norway seceded from Sweden, Panama seceded from Columbia (1903), and West Virginia from Virginia (1863). Nonetheless, violent secession can lead to great friendships. England is probably our greatest ally and we have fought three major wars together. There is no reason why Texiana (Texas and Louisiana) couldn’t peaceably secede, be an ally, and have strong economic ties with United States.
“The bottom line question for all of us is should we part company or continue trying to forcibly impose our wills on one another?”
See William’s column here:
In the eyes of God, marriage is the most sacred of all unions. It is far more sacred than any political union. If our Creator has authorized the separation of a husband and wife under certain circumstances in which one party violated the sacred terms of the holy contract (and He has), who among us has the audacity to say that political unions may not be abandoned when government commits political adultery by forsaking its oath to the people?
Again, are we more interested in preserving an institution or the liberty that the institution is supposed to secure?
As an institution, the Church at large is apostate. Yet, millions of Christians continue to prop up an institution that has abandoned the purpose for which it was created. They are more interested in preserving the forms and liturgies and tapestries and buildings of the institution. And, all the while, they are being spiritually enslaved by the very institution they are helping to prop up.
And as an institution, the U.S. federal government is apostate. Yet, millions of citizens continue to make excuses for it, justify it, and condone it. They are more interested in preserving the agencies and entities and power of the institution. Yet, all the while, they are being enslaved by the very institution they are helping to prop up.
What happens when an institution becomes more important than the cause for which the institution was formed? When the institution is civil government and the cause is liberty, tyranny is what happens.
At this time, our U.S. Congress rates a nine percent approval rating. It means nine percent of the American public registers “brain-dead.”
Those 535 members over the past 40 years deformed our nation from the largest creditor country in the world to the largest debtor nation in the world. We enjoyed less than $1 trillion in national debt to our current $18 trillion debt. That same Congress forced our young men and women into four hopeless, futile and asinine wars that killed tens of thousands of them and sent millions home with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, drugs and alcoholism. Not to mention dismembered limbs.
That Congress danced to the Military Industrial Complex’s tune of contrived wars benefiting the bankers and corporations that outfitted and fed those young soldiers. Those executives made millions while our kids came home in coffins or missing arms and legs and their minds.
That same Congress turned our nation from a rich manufacturing country into a multi-trillion dollar deficit nation where we import everything we once manufactured, to today where we buy everything from China to make their citizens rich. So rich, in fact, that we owe them $1.4 trillion in trade deficits. Ironically, China now owns many U.S. corporations and buys land for its own beachhead here in America, not to mention Vancouver, BC, Canada where it displaced most of the Canadians in the past 30 years. Chinese now dominates the language in once-English speaking Vancouver, BC.
That bunch of hot shot Congressional Critters took our vibrant economy and turned it into 15 million unemployed and 48 million food stamp users. Those same reps allowed 20 million illegal alien migrants to come into our country and work for crooked employers like Chipotle’s, Marriot Hotels, Holiday Inns, McDonald’s, Hormel, Tyson Chicken, Swift, painting, landscape and construction firms at minimum wages. They and the presidents that headed this country refused to enforce our laws. That’s why you MUST press “1” for Spanish and “2” for English.
Today, we face enormous consequences from their actions. Yet, U.S. voters return 96 percent of incumbents—such as Boxer, Feinstein, Hatch, McCain, Kyle, Schumer, Lindsey Graham, Levin, Udall, Bennet, Rangel, Jackson, DeGette and hundreds of other failed Congressional Critters.
So are they stupid or are they corrupt?
One reader named Brad said, “They are not necessarily stupid. It’s just that most of these psychopaths are bought. The wealthy buy their services and they get remuneration by jobs when they leave “service”, by getting to indulge in insider trading (again – was cut out, but quietly reinstated) etc.
“Just allowing insider trading makes EVERY decision with any economic consequence suspect, as they will have a vested personal income interest in helping corporations increase profits by any means. Thus the repeal of clean air and water regulations. They allow oil fracking to use 2 million gallons of water per well, pour over 530 toxic chemicals into the aquifer to poison and ruin it, and remain exempt from EPA oversight.
“Some may not be bought. Some not all the time. The sad fact is that enough ARE compromised that essentially the damages get done consistently.
“Most in office are so stupid (such as California’s Congresswoman Maxine Waters, who is also corrupt in the league with former Congressman Tom Delay of Texas) that they accept stupid, flawed societal paradigms like “what’s good for business is good for America” and we can see how well that’s working out.
“The parasitic wealthy class is stealing record profits in some of the worst working economy in history – why? Because they have the true entitlement society in which they get tax breaks, tax exemptions, no bid contracts, inflated government costs, subsidizations and most likely a ton of things we never hear about. Simply by allowing industry execs into the alphabet organizations like FDA, USDA, etc., allows them to regulate competition to a ridiculously low level, and to leverage their income, influence, and profits at everyone else’s expense.”
The greatest flaw facing all U.S. citizens remains “career politicians” that create a “good-old boy” network of cronyism and corruption.
If we citizens fail to press for a maximum of 12-year term limits, we face a downward spiral into poverty and failed government not seen since the 1930s. The majority of Congress remains corrupt. That’s why things in the USA don’t get better, but continue on the downward path.
Remember: power corrupts; long-term power corrupts absolutely.
Get a load of this chart from DataQuick’s National Home Sales Snapshot. It’ll tell you everything need to know about housing.
As you can see, prices are flatlining or drifting lower while sales are sinking like a stone. That’s the whole ball of wax, isn’t it?
Sure, sales will increase in the spring (as they always do), but judging by the sharp dropoff in last year’s hottest markets, this could be the crappiest spring selling season since the crash.
Because prices are too high, rates are too high, “organic” demand is too weak, credit is too tight, and the pool of potential buyers has shrunk to the size of a walnut, that’s why.
The banks have reduced the percentage of distressed homes (foreclosures and short sales) on the market to roughly 11 percent from 59 percent in 2009. Fewer distressed homes mean higher prices, but higher prices mean fewer sales. It’s a trade-off. The banks get their money, but the market goes to hell. That’s how it works. According to most estimates, there are roughly 4.5 million homes in some stage of foreclosure. That means that –at the present pace–we should get through this Housing Depression a few weeks before Judgment Day. But don’t hold me to that.
Did you catch this gem on Bloomberg last week? It’s about the big private equity guys exiting the market. Take a look:
“Blackstone Group LP is slowing its purchases of houses to rent amid soaring prices after a buying binge made it the biggest U.S. single-family home landlord. Blackstone’s acquisition pace has declined 70 percent from its peak last year, when the private equity firm was spending more than $100 million a week on properties, said Jonathan Gray, global head of real estate for the New York-based firm…
“The institutional wave has passed,” Gray, who oversees almost $80 billion in property investments, said in a telephone interview. ‘It’s at a much lower level than it was 12 or 24 months ago.’
Private-equity firms, hedge funds, real estate investment trusts and other institutional investors have spent more than $20 billion to buy as many as 200,000 rental homes in the last two years. They snapped up properties after prices fell as much as 35 percent from the 2006 peak…
American Homes 4 Rent and Colony American Homes, the second- and third-largest single-family landlords, also have been scaling back as bargains dry up…
“We’re going to have to probably slow down a little bit on our acquisition pace until we have a better view or actual certainty of the capital being available,” (Chief Executive Officer David ) Singelyn said.
Colony Financial Inc. (CLNY), a REIT that invests in Colony American Homes, slowed its funding for acquisitions last year to focus on improving operations, CEO Richard Saltzman said in a November conference call…
American Residential Properties Inc. (ARPI), a landlord with 6,000 homes, slowed acquisitions by almost half in its latest quarter ending Dec. 31. It invested $104 million in 633 homes compared with $204 million on 1,251 homes in the previous quarter, the Scottsdale, Arizona-based company said in a statement.” (Blackstone’s Home Buying Binge Ends as Prices Surge, Bloomberg)
Okay, so the speculators are getting out of housing. How’s that going to effect the market?
No one really knows yet, but it can’t be good, after all, all-cash deals amounted to nearly 50 percent of all homes sales in many of the hotter markets last year. That’s why prices went up even though the economy was still in the shitter, because the fatcats were loading up on cheap real estate. Now it looks like they’re headed for the hills. That’s NOT going to be good for sales.
Did you know that existing home sales have dropped for six months straight, dipping below trend to the same level they were at in 1998?
But how can that be, you ask, when everyone’s blabbing about the recovery? How can that be when the Fed has purchased more than $1.4 trillion in mortgage-backed securities (MBS) and rates are a measly 4.5%? How can that be prices have been climbing higher for more than a year?
Sales are dropping because millions of people are underwater on their mortgages and can’t afford to move. Millions more are stuck in their homes and aren’t paying anything at all. Millions more have student debt up to their eyeballs and will probably never own a home. And millions more still can’t find a job. That’s why home sales are plunging, because the economy stinks. It’s that simple. Sure, the market got a nice little bump from Bernanke’s $4 trillion liquidity-surge. Big whoop. Besides, that was 2012-2013. Today things are different. Today the Fed is winding down QE and there’s even talk of rate-hike. How do you think that’s going to impact sales?
Now get a load of this from Redfin:
“Home sales continued to be sluggish in February, and decreasing affordability is holding back would-be buyers, according to Redfin…. Slow sales have been largely attributed to low inventory for months, but many markets have now seen inventory rise while sales continue to fall. Several markets along the West Coast have seen sharp increases in inventory, yet home sales in the West fell 13.4 percent year over year, hitting their lowest point in five years in the first two months of 2014, while prices rose 19.1 percent year over year…
West Coast Sales Hit Lowest Point in Five Years
– In Redfin’s West Coast markets, sales fell 13.4% from February 2013, and hit a five-year low in the first two months of 2014. Sales fell most dramatically in Las Vegas (-22.7%), Sacramento (-21.8%) and Ventura (-20.8%). Across 19 markets, sales fell 10.3%, with markets east of the Rockies taking a less dramatic hit and a few even seeing modest increases.” (Redfin)
Did you catch that part about “inventory rising while sales continue to fall”?
For months, the media has been using the “low inventory” excuse for the rotten sales figures. Now they’ve moved onto “bad weather” to pull the wool over people’s eyes. Talk about a lame excuse. It’s been in the 70 and 80s in California for most of the winter and sales are down by a whopping 13 percent. Are potential buyers staying at home because they’re afraid of getting skin cancer? Is that it? (That’ll probably be the next excuse.)
So why ARE home sales tanking?
It’s because you can’t buy a house if you’re working graveyard at Freddie’s Burger Bar for $8.50 an hour. It’s because you can’t put together a 20% down-payment if you’re camped out on Mom’s sofa in the attic along with Uncle Murray’s trombone and your Dad’s photo collection of soup cans. It’s because you can’t qualify for a mortgage when 100 percent of your weekly paycheck goes to paying the VISA, filling the gas-tank, and buying a few groceries at Danny’s Discount Foodmart. It can’t be done.
That’s what’s really going on. That’s why the share of firsttime homebuyers is currently at its lowest level ever. That’s why purchase applications are at an 18-year low. That’s why the homeownership rate has slipped to levels not seen since 1995. And that’s why mortgage originations were down almost 60 percent year-over-year. It’s because the economy sucks. Everyone knows it.
Now take a look at one last chart. It’s by Logan Mohtashami at dshort.com. from an article titled,Mortgage Purchase Applications Running Out Of Time.
As you can see, there’s a pretty close connection between incomes (the green line) and the mortgage purchase applications index. (The people who can afford to buy homes.)
Of course not, because most people assume there’s a relationship between ‘what a person earns’ and his ‘ability to buy a home’. After all, we haven’t always lived in this bizarro credit-addled world where anyone who can sit upright in a chair and sign his name on the dotted line can buy a $450,000 rambler in Orchard Hills. That’s a fairly new development.
And that brings us to the point of this article, which is to show that all the monetary hocus pocus has achieved nothing. The Fed’s Koolaid infusions have been a dead-loss. The market is still flat on its back. Kaput. Which shows, that if you want to fix housing, you have to fix the economy. And if you want to fix the economy; you have to put people back to work and pay them a fair wage. It’s that simple.
So why can’t anyone in Washington figure it out?
(Note: As this article was going to press, the latest “existing home sales” data was released.) According to USA Today:
“Existing home sales slowed again in February, falling to the lowest pace in 19 months.”
So February was even slower than the coldest month of the year, January?
You have to hand it to the game-makers in the two major parties: they have done an outstanding job of putting the problems of the world into a convenient left-right paradigm. To the average conservative out there, Republican equals conservative, which equals good–while Democrat equals liberal, which equals bad. And to the average liberal out there, Democrat equals liberal, which equals good–while Republican equals conservative, which equals bad. So, all the party game-makers have to do is paint the other guys as liberal or conservative and all of the sheeple within the two parties will blindly and robotically go to the voting booth and pull the party lever, believing that they have just had a hand in defeating the “bad” guys.
But it’s not just the game-makers of the two major parties that participate in this charade; the majority of talking heads on the radio and television talk shows, as well as most newscasters from the network news shows, also participate. The entire political world is seen through the jaded lenses of left and right. Granted, liberal game-makers control the vast majority of the print and television media (with the exception of FOX News), but conservative game-makers dominate the radio talk show circuit.
So, why is it that no matter which political party wins the election (congressional or presidential), nothing changes? Nothing changes with out-of-control deficit spending. Nothing changes with foreign policy. Nothing changes with the Federal Reserve. Nothing changes with federal entitlements. Nothing changes with continuing federal encroachment on personal liberties and State sovereignty. Nothing changes. Liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, left or right: nothing changes. Nothing!
It is an absolute fact that, for all intents and purposes, there has been virtually no discernable difference in presidential administrations since Ronald Reagan left office. George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, G.W. Bush, and now Barack Obama have been nothing more than one very long and continuous administration. Yet, supposedly both the left and the right have had almost equal terms in office. But, as the game-makers in “The Hunger Games” movies use illusion and manipulation to control people, so, too, the game-makers in Washington, D.C., and New York City use illusion and manipulation to control us. The left-right, conservative-liberal paradigm is an illusion, folks.
Hardly anyone in Washington, D.C., of either major party truly believes in limited government. Their only disagreements surround how increasing federal expenditures will be spent and who will decide how it’s spent. Hardly anyone in Washington, D.C., of either major party truly gives two-cents for what the Constitution says about anything. Most of them never even mention the Constitution–except when they are on the campaign trail. Hardly anyone in Washington, D.C., of either major party truly gives a tinker’s dam about the erosion of the Bill of Rights. The only time they even talk about reclaiming freedom is when the other party is in power. To most of them, tyranny is fine–as long as the tyrant is a member of their political party.
The reality of the situation is that a very real caste-system has developed in this country. Once most of them (Republican or Democrat) are ensconced in Washington, D.C., they see themselves as having become part of the ruling class. From then on, everything that happens–and I mean EVERYTHING–is designed to augment the pleasure, prosperity, and power of the ruling class. In a word, this is ELITISM. The problem is not liberalism or conservatism; the problem is elitism.
Have you noticed how much time and money is spent on campaigning? Even after a politician wins office, he or she continues to campaign. Constituents are bombarded constantly with mailers, phone calls, emails, television and radio addresses, etc. What motivates most politicians? Defending freedom? Reducing government overreach? Preserving the Constitution? Maintaining the Bill of Rights? No, no, no! A thousand times, no! The only thing that motivates the vast majority of our elected office holders is staying elected. Why? So that they might enjoy the perks of power for the rest of their lives. Honest patriots such as Ron Paul, Steve Stockman, the late Helen Chenoweth, the late Jesse Helms, and the late Larry McDonald are as rare as hen’s teeth in Washington, D.C.
Do you really think that the majority of congressmen and senators in Washington, D.C., are worrying about the medical tsunami that Obamacare is producing? Are you kidding? They, and their families, have the finest medical insurance (and care) in the world. Do you really think that the majority of congressmen and senators in Washington, D.C., are worried about whatever gun control legislation might be enacted? Were you born yesterday? They enjoy the benefits of the tightest security–including armed security–money can buy. Do you think that the majority of congressmen and senators in Washington, D.C., are concerned about your loss of liberty? Come on! They make a living exempting themselves from the restrictive laws to which the rest of us are expected to submit.
Again, the problem is elitism. Elitism dominates the politics of both major parties inside the Beltway. It also dominates the newscasters and talking heads–from both the left and the right–that you are watching on television.
Bob Costas rails against our right to keep and bear arms, while every day of his life, he is protected by a host of armed security personnel. The same is true for the likes of Michael Bloomberg and Joe Scarborough. These multi-millionaires (and billionaires, in some cases) sit in their ivory towers completely insulated from the problems that the rest of society must endure every day.
Most of the time, elitists are absolutely superb at masking their feelings of superiority, but, occasionally, one of them will slip up and put their elitism on display for all to see. Such an event happened last week on the floor of the U.S. Senate. And the only report I saw about it came from overseas: The London Guardian newspaper. Remember, the newscasters and talking heads in this country are mostly elitists, too, and they will not be quick to shame a fellow elitist–regardless of his or her political persuasion. Their brotherhood among the elite is vastly more important than whatever political disagreements they may have.
Not only was the story covered by an overseas newspaper, the man who went public with the story was none other than the man that most of the elitists declare to be a traitor: Edward Snowden.
According to The Guardian, “The whistleblower Edward Snowden accused the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee of double standards on Tuesday, pointing out that her outrage at evidence her staff were spied on by the CIA was not matched by concern about widespread surveillance of ordinary citizens.
“Snowden, the former contractor whose disclosures to journalists revealed widespread surveillance by the National Security Agency, was responding to an explosive statement by Senator Dianne Feinstein about the CIA’s attempts to undermine a congressional investigation into interrogation and detention.
“In a surprisingly combative statement on the Senate floor on Tuesday, Feinstein, who has been widely criticised by privacy experts for failing to hold the NSA to account, accused the CIA of conducting potentially unconstitutional and criminal searches on computers used by her staff.”
See the report here:
There you have it, ladies and gentlemen: the public display of an angry elitist. Senator Feinstein doesn’t give a plug nickel whether the NSA (or any other government agency) is spying on the American people, but when they start spying on her–or her staff–it has suddenly become a constitutional crisis. So, why does it take a foreign newspaper and a man who fled the country for fear of his life to notice Feinstein’s hypocrisy? Again, it’s because the majority of the American media is controlled by Feinstein’s fellow elitists.
But, the story gets even more comical. According to the New York Daily News:
“California Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Sunday that her fight against the unregulated use of drones is now personal after one of the surveillance devices got a bit too close to her for comfort.
“The Democratic Chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee told CBS’ “60 Minutes” that a drone peeked into her window when a group of protestors from Code Pink recently gathered outside her house to rally against government surveillance.”
The News report continued saying,
“‘I’m in my home and there’s a demonstration out front, and I go to peek out the window and there’s a drone facing me,’ she said of the incident. ‘When is a drone picture a benefit to society? When does it become stalking? When does it invade privacy? How close to a home can a drone go?’
“According to Politico, Code Pink members have claimed that the device that flew by Feinstein’s house was just a toy helicopter.
“Feinstein, who has defended the general use of drones to gather government intelligence, nevertheless stressed the importance of regulating their operation.”
See the report at:
Now, the elitist Dianne Feinstein–the one who sees nothing wrong with the government spying on you and me–is so paranoid about the government spying on her that she mistakes a toy helicopter for a drone and goes on national television to complain about it? Someone, please help me get off of the floor!
The fact is it is not adherence to the Constitution, or commitment to liberty, or compassion for the common man that drives and motivates these elites in Washington, D.C., and New York City. It is kickbacks, and favors, and contacts, and greed, and lust, and payoffs, and wining and dining, and yacht trips, and trips to foreign countries, ad infinitum, that motivates them.
As long as the American people continue to be duped by the game-makers by falling into this left-right, conservative-liberal, Republican-Democrat paradigm, nothing is going to change in this country. Nothing! If you want to restore the republic, forget what you hear from the political and media elite. Their only job is to continue the illusion; and their only desire is to continue to bask in the benefits of being part of the ruling class.
Reportedly, the CIA and its friends have taken a strong interest in Mick Jagger (seen above with Obama).
The CIA plan is to control the minds of the musicians and then use the musicians to control the minds of the populace.
The CIA uses drugs and Satanism when it mind-controls the stars.
In his book, The Ultimate Evil, Maury Terry wrote that between 1966 and 1967, the (CIA-linked) Satanic cult called the Process Church, “sought to recruit the Rolling Stones.”
‘Kenneth Anger’ (right)
Jagger has been influenced by Kenneth Anger, a follower of Aleister Crowley.
Crowley worked for the UK spy service MI5.
Author Tony Sanchez wrote that Mick Jagger “listened spellbound as Anger turned them on to Crowley’s powers and ideas.”
(Tony Sanchez, Up and Down WIth the Rolling Stones, p.155)
Invocation of My Demon Brother
While in the UK, Anger worked on a film ‘dedicated to Aleister Crowley’, called Lucifer Rising, which was renamed “Invocation of My Demon Brother.”
Mick Jagger had a starring role in the film and he composed the music.
The CIA-connected Satanist Anton LaVey played the part of His Satanic Majesty.
Chris Jagger (left) with father and Mick.
Chris Jagger, brother of Mick ‘was originally to take the role of Lucifer’.
Then it was decided that Lucifer would be played played by Bobby Beausoleil, a member of the Manson Family, and Anger’s homosexual lover.
Beausoleil (above) committed the first of the Manson family’s series of murders.
Process Church follower Marianne Faithfull went to Egypt to take part in the film’s depiction of a Black Mass.
Anita Pallenberg and Mick Jagger.
In London, ‘Anger recruited Anita Pallenberg to Satanism’.
She became the lover of three members of the Rolling Stones.
Anger said of Anita, said, “I believe that Anita is, for want of a better word, a witch…The occult unit within the Stones was Keith and Anita…and Brian. You see, Brian was a witch too.”
Tony Sanchez wrote of Pallenberg in his book, Up and Down with the Rolling Stones, “She was obsessed with black magic.”
Keith Richard’s house was located near the East Coast headquarters of the Process Church.
According to an article in the English newspaper Midnite, a Connecticut police officer, Michael Passaro, who had responed to the “suicide” reported “strange singing” from the woods a quarter mile from the Richard’s mansion.
According to the newspaper, “There have been several bizarre satanic rituals in the area over the past five years.”
In 1967, the Rolling Stones released Their Satanic Majesties Request.
Mick Jagger was considered for the leading roll in the film of Anthony Burgess’s novel, A Clockwork Orange.
Burgess reportedly worked for the security services and took an interest in mind control.
Anthony Burgess wrote Honey for the Bears, which reportedly is about CIA-funded mind control experiments, of the sort carried out by Dr Ewen Cameron from 1957-63.
(Anthony Burgess by Roger Lewis, 2002. Chapter 5).
At one point Jagger owned the rights to the Burgess novel Clockwork orange.
It has been alleged that the death of Meredith Hunter, which took place during a Stones concert, just outside San Francisco, was a human sacrifice.
It has been alleged that the audience were whipped into a frenzy, in open praise of the Devil.
Mick Jagger played the part of Lucifer in one of the bands songs.
By the end of the concert, four people were dead and dozens left beaten and injured.
The death of Meredith Hunter
Tony Sanchez, in Up and Down with the Rolling Stones, describes the ‘satanic ritual’.
“Several of the kids were stripping off their clothes and crawling to the stage as if it were a high altar, there to offer themselves as victims for the boots and pool cues of the Hells Angels.”
LSD expert David Snyderman with Keith Richards in 1967.
Mick Jagger’s first link to LSD seems to have been David Snyderman, ‘a CIA operative’.
According to Alex Constantine: “A CIA operative arrived in the lives of the Stones.
“He claimed to be a James Bond figure and he turned up with a valise full of every drug you can imagine.
“At this point the Stones still hadn’t done LSD.
“They woke up one morning at the home of Keith Richards and here was this character slipping LSD into their tongues as they were waking up.”
Why did the Rolling Stones’s pal David Sniderman/Schneidermann have “a whole collection of different passports in different names and with different nationalities on them.”
(Michael Cooper quoted in Tony Sanchez’s book - Up and Down with the Rolling Stones.)
The CIA-linked Ken Kesey.
The CIA and British intelligence carried out experimentation with LSD, in the early sixties, in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco.
The project was “run under the code-name MK-Ultra.”
One of the people involved in the distribution of free LSD tablets to an unsuspecting public was the CIA-linked Ken Kesey.
Sir Mick Jagger and Sir Jimmy Savile are both linked to the spooks and to boys.
LSD can lead to a person becoming mentally ill and dangerous.
MK-Ultra mind-control operations involve the use of drugs and Satanism.
Charles Manson is believed to have been a victim of the CIA’s MK ULTRA brainwashing.
Manson supplied sex and drugs “to Hollywood actors, actresses, promoters, partners and rock stars.”
ATF agents raided a gun parts store over the weekend to obtain a customer list.
The raid began after Dimitri Karras, the owner of Ares Armor, in National City, Calif., refused to turn the customer list over to the federal government as demanded. A retired Marine, Karras said agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) wanted to investigate a list of 5,000 customers who unknowingly had purchased an allegedly illegal part at the store.
The customers reportedly purchased a specific 80 percent lower receiver — used to build an AR-15 rifle – that the Department of Justice and the ATF contend is illegal because it does not have a serial number.
Ares Armor was among a handful of stores which recently received a letter from ATF agents demanding that they not only turn the non-compliant gun part over to the federal government, but provide the names of all customers who bought the item as well.
Karras’ attorney asked for and received a temporary restraining order against the ATF from a federal judge, Janis L. Sammartino, who was nominated by President George W. Bush. A preliminary hearing is scheduled to review the situation on March 20.
Karras previously had said federal officials had told him to turn over the files “or we are coming in and taking pretty much anything.”
“Which is a huge privacy concern and something we are not willing to do,” he had said. “They were going to search all of our facilities and confiscate our computer and pretty much shut our business down. The government invades our privacy on a daily basis and everyone thinks it’s okay. This is one of those situations where hopefully the government institutions come in and say, ‘This is protected and you’re not taking it from them.’”
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During the Saturday ATF raid on Ares Armor, the agent converged upon the store in full tactical gear and confiscated the remaining AR-lower receivers. Just prior to the raid, both plain clothes and undercover ATF agents reportedly questioned customers outside of the California gun store.
The customers who purchased the part likely will be contacted by federal officials soon.
“If you have purchased an 80% lower receiver from a storefront location or over the Internet from any vendor, I think it is safe to assume that the federal government either has your customer data, or is in the process of trying to obtain your customer data,” wrote BearingArms.com editor Bob Owens. “If you want a truly anonymous 80% lower, pay cash via a private sale, the same as you would with a serialized firearm.
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“We have to wonder if this raid wasn’t as much an attempt to send a message to 80% lower customers as it was a raid for user data. Perhaps they’re attempting to scare people away from buying from these companies, so that they go out of business.”
Source: (Tara Dodrill | Off The Grid News)
Tuck away the many horror stories of the wrong limbs being amputated, things being left in surgery patients, terrible infections picked up in hospitals and totally wrong diagnoses. More relevant is a bureaucratic hospitalization horror that far too few Americans covered by Medicare are aware of.
Odds are that you do not know a key question to ask if you ever find yourself in a hospital for an overnight stay that could last from one or two days, or perhaps much more. What you and anyone accompanying you want to know is whether you are being classified as “under observation.” This means that legally you are not an inpatient. If the former, then you are likely to find yourself owing the hospital a large amount of money, because your Medicare or other health insurance will not provide the benefits associated with inpatient status. Many, many Americans nationwide that were classified as under observation have faced unexpected bills of many tens of thousands of dollars.
So pay very close attention to what you are about to read.
If you in a hospital, possibly in an emergency room, then you or family or friends should ask some tough questions of hospital staff if you are kept in the hospital after being handled in the emergency room. Ask if you will be kept in as an inpatient. If told that you will be in the observation category, then you might seriously consider whether you should stay in that hospital, or perhaps seek another one if you are not in immediate need of medical attention beyond what was received in the emergency department.
Indeed, ordinary Americans should recognize what Medicare does, namely that the decision made by the hospital to classify a patient as under observation for billing purposes is a “complex medical judgment.” What that means is that different interpretations and decisions can be made, either by someone else in the hospital or professionals in a different hospital. The critical decision to use the observation classification, with so much potential negative impact for patients, is “open to widely variable interpretation” as physician Steven J. Myerson has noted.
Because you may be in a very stressful state resulting from facing some medical condition, it is imperative that family and friends also need to become educated. Realistically, you may not be in a clear enough mental state when you enter a hospital to ask questions and demand good answers about how the hospital is classifying your stay.
Understand this: Nothing is crazier than entering a hospital for one or more nights and being designated as under observation, which amounts to being an outpatient, rather than an inpatient. Despite coverage by Medicare you will not have expected benefits.
Beyond hours in the emergency department, you can spend days in a hospital bed, receive regular nursing care, be given drugs and all kinds of tests. You might even spend time in a critical care or intensive care unit. But you can still be officially designated an outpatient in observation status. Even though you might stay in the hospital for more than just one or two nights, unless officially designated an inpatient you face major financial liability.
Under Medicare this means you are not covered by Part A which provides the best hospital coverage, but rather covered under Part B with far inferior coverage. This practice is as bad as anything you have ever heard about awful health insurance coverage. Furthermore, Medicare does not cover post-discharge care for Part B observation stays. For example, a patient in observation status for a broken bone will have to pay the full cost of rehabilitation or a nursing home. But for an inpatient Medicare pays for skilled nursing care following at least three consecutive inpatient days. Also, observation patients pay out-of-pocket for the medication they receive in the hospital and Subtitle D drug coverage may not cover these costs.
Hard to believe but your personal physician may not know that their patient has been classified by the hospital as outpatient or under observation. Though it would be very smart for you to raise this issue and make it clear that you do not want to stay in a hospital unless you are being admitted as an inpatient. But starting in an emergency room makes it difficult to push this issue, but not impossible.
Even the key public document from Medicare makes clear that “You’re an outpatient if you’re getting emergency department services, observation services, outpatient surgery, lab tests, or X-rays, and the doctor hasn’t written an order to admit you to the hospital as an inpatient.” Regardless of what a doctor has said, however, hospitals have the power to classify you as under observation. The government advises “If you’re in the hospital more than a few hours, always ask your doctor or the hospital staff if you’re an inpatient or an outpatient.” Note the word “always.” That is terrific, critically important advice.
You or your accompanying relative or friend must be prepared to challenge a decision of observation status and even raise the possibility of immediately leaving the hospital. Remember, this is after any actions given in an emergency department. Being prepared to challenge an observation status decision requires that you fully understand the considerable downside of this hospital classification.
Actually, Medicare maintains a one way communication street. Medicare doesn’t require hospitals to tell patients they are “under observation,” though many will do so. It only requires hospitals to tell patients they have been downgraded from inpatient to observation.
To be clear, if you are not classified as an inpatient, then you officially have not been admitted to the hospital though you have entered it. Toby Edelman of the Center for Medicare Advocacy has noted that “People have no way of knowing they have not been admitted to the hospital. They go upstairs to a bed, they get a band on their wrist, nurses and doctors come to see them, they get treatment and tests, they fill out a meal chart – and they assume that they have been admitted to the hospital.”
How much of a problem is observation status? In recent years, hospitals have increasingly classified Medicare beneficiaries as observation patients instead of admitting them, according to a Brown University nationwide analysis of Medicare claims. From 2007 through 2009, the ratio of Medicare observation patients to those admitted as inpatients rose by 34 percent. Worse, more than 10 percent of patients in observation were kept there for more than 48 hours, and more than 44,800 were kept in observation for 72 hours or longer in 2009 — an increase of 88 percent since 2007.
A recent New York Times article noted that under Medicare: “the number of seniors entering the hospital for observation increased 69 percent over five years, to 1.6 million in 2011.” And from 2004 to 2011, the number of observation services administered per Medicare beneficiary rose by almost 34 percent, according to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, while admissions per beneficiary declined 7.8 percent. In other words, this observation issue is not a trivial or minor issue affecting just a few people.
Data showing far greater use of the observation status option than widely reported were in a 2013 report to Medicare by the Health and Human Services Inspector General for 2012 hospitalizations. Some 2.1 million hospitalizations were designated observation status with 11 percent three nights or more and 80 percent originating in emergency departments, but another 1.4 million were long term outpatient stays that could and perhaps should have been coded as observation status. There were also 1.1 million short term inpatient stays (less than two nights) that also could have been coded as observation status. With increased enforcement by Medicare and penalties for hospitals, therefore, there is the possibility of 4.6 million or more annual observation status stays. Medicare patients should be aware of large differences among hospitals.
AARP did its own study and found that from 2001 to 2009 both the frequency and duration of observation status increased. Although only about 3.5 percent of Medicare beneficiaries were in this class in 2009, Medicare claims for observation patients grew by more than 100 percent, with the greatest increase occurring in cases not leading to an inpatient admission. The duration of observation visits also increased dramatically. Observation service visits lasting 48 hours or longer were the least common, but had the greatest increase, almost 250 percent for observation only and more than 100 percent for observation with inpatient admission.
According to a survey by the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers (NAPGCM) in 2013 more than 80 percent of US geriatric care managers reported that “inappropriate hospital Observation Status determinations were a significant problem in their communities and 75 percent noted that the problem was growing worse.
A University of Wisconsin study found that 10.4 percent of hospitalizations in 2010 and 2011 were in the observation status category and 16.5 percent of them exceeded 48 hours and concluded “observation care in clinical practice is very different than what CMS [the Medicare agency] initially envisioned and creates insurance loopholes that adversely affect patients, health care providers, and hospitals.” In an Invited Commentary on the Wisconsin study, physician Robert M. Wachter of the Department of Medicine at the University ofCalifornia, San Francisco, summed up the observation issue as having “morphed into madness.”
Note that Medicare guidelines recommend that observation stays be no longer than 24 hours and only “in rare and exceptional cases” extend past 48 hours. Obviously, this is nearly meaningless in the real world.
Why are hospitals placing more patients in observation status?
Like so much in American society, the answer is money.
Hospitals are at risk from Medicare audits that declare patients wrongly defined as inpatients. Payment is then rejected, potentially large amounts of money. The government has increased audits to such a degree that since 2009 four recovery firms have reviewed bills from hospitals and physicians nationwide and recuperated $1.9 billion in overpayments. Billion!
Two physicians writing in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine said: “When observation is used as a billing status in inpatient areas without changes in care delivery, it’s largely a cost-shifting exercise – relieving the hospital of the risk of adverse action by the RAC [Recovery Audit Contractor] but increasing the patient’s financial burden.”
To cut its spending, Medicare has accused hospitals of over-charging by “admitting” patients instead of putting them on “observation” status. For example, in July 2013, BethIsrael New England Deaconess Hospital in Boston paid Medicare $5.3 million to settle claims over this issue.
A new wrinkle under Obamacare is that hospitals can be penalized for readmitting patients in less than 30 days. But observation patients cannot be counted as readmissions if they happen to return because they were not officially admitted in the first place. To avoid this risk of financial loss, more patients can be classified as under observation.
A new Medicare rule taking effect April 1, 2014 requires doctors to admit people they anticipate staying for longer than two midnights, but to list those expected to stay for less time as observation patients. Many medical professionals doubt that this will improve things. Physician Ann Sheehy of the University of Wisconsin closely examined how this rule will work and concluded: “We found that four of five diagnosis codes were the same across length of stay, indicating that the cut point is arbitrary and really does not distinguish different patient groups, even though insurance benefits will be different based on length of stay.” Time, not medical condition or hospital actions, is being used. She also noted that the government will not count nights spent at different hospitals, and that 9 percent of their observation were transfers.
Dr. Sheehy made this great point: “Observation is an outpatient designation, which implies all services delivered could be done in an outpatient setting. This is totally not the case, which is why observation status is so frustrating.”
Because there is essentially no upside to being put into observation status, it is critically important for you or your advocate to be very assertive when entering the hospital. What actions can you take after you are in the hospital and you are likely in a better mental state to address this problem? Nothing that is likely to work for you.
The imperative is to check your status each day you are in the hospital and remember that it can be changed (from inpatient to observation, or vice versa) at any time by various hospital doctors or officials. Sadly, in many cases a patient may not be informed that they have been in observation status until the discharge process. That is why it is very important to ask the hospital, either through a doctor or nursing staff, what your status is and, if observation, to formally reconsider your case. Ask if there is a hospital committee that could review your status. Definitely ask your own doctor whether they are willing to press your case for inpatient status based on medical factors. In theory, you could appeal observation status with Medicare after you leave the hospital, but that is difficult and few have succeeded.
The Center for Medicare Advocacy makes available a Self Help Packet for Medicare “Observation Status.” This is definitely worth keeping handy and it would be great if hospitals distributed it. This group has an active legal case challenging the government’s policy of allowing hospitalized Medicare beneficiaries to be placed in “observation status,” rather than formally admitting them, and depriving them of their Part A coverage in violation of the Medicare statute and other laws. This group makes this important observation: “Neither the Medicare statute nor the Medicare regulations define observation services. The only definition appears in various CMS manuals.”
What is really needed is action by Congress to eliminate observation status for any overnight stay, but this is unlikely unless many millions of Medicare beneficiaries demand it. The ugly truth is that this observation status was a bureaucratic tactic to reduce Medicare spending. It puts hospitals in the difficult position of putting their patients in a very bad financial situation. In a real sense hospitals are being blackmailed into serving as agents to implement this awful observation policy. A vigorous national campaign by AARP demanding congressional action is needed.
No, I don’t mean some place in the Ukraine. For some of you who went to public school, Connecticut is in the north-eastern corner of the US, but barely.
I understand your confusion since Connecticut is closer to New York City than to the US. Let’s see how Connecticut politicians constructed a situation where honest gun owners could get shot by police. We can also prescribe a peaceful solution.
How did they get themselves into this mess? There was a huge outcry of public anguish and frustration after a crazy man murdered children at a public school in Connecticut. The media used that emotional reaction to sell its anti-gun bigotry. The media falsely claimed that mass murder by honest gun owners was increasing. Yes, it is bigotry. Bigotry is blaming the innocent, and a hundred million honest gun owners are innocent. They don’t shoot school children, but that didn’t stop the media from blaming them. The media blamed people like me. Maybe they blamed you.
-Politicians used a public tragedy for political gain. In an equally crazy reaction, politicians said they would do something, do anything, even if it made us less safe. They outlawed common firearms. Connecticut politicians ignored the rights of the voters in doing so. They also ignored the facts about mass violence. The reason is simple.
Connecticut politicians put their political careers ahead of public safety.
- Connecticut gun owners protested as the anti-gun bill went through the legislature, but they were ignored by the Democrat majority. After the Democrat politicians outlawed common firearms, the citizens returned the favor. Connecticut gun owners largely ignored the new laws.
- Politicians exposed their ill will. Some gun owners registered their guns as dictated. Others ignored the new regulations. Those who registered their firearms late were rejected and ordered to sell their firearms out of state or surrender them to police. That proves gun registration was never the point of the anti-gun legislation.
- Gun owners asked the state police if they would go door to door and seize firearms. The police said they would follow orders. Police spokesmen also questioned the patriotism of Connecticut gun owners. Wise policemen do not deliberately alienate and frighten honest citizens. Some Connecticut police are not that smart.
- Connecticut newspapers called for door-to-door searches and gun confiscation. That further frightened Connecticut gun owners. The idea of midnight no-knock raids frightens me too. It should frighten you.
- -The gun law was challenged in court, but lower courts refused to enjoin the legislation until the appeal is completed. This means the legislature and police can trample the rights of Connecticut gun owners for years to come.
In total, legislators, judges and the media showed stunning bigotry and lack of respect for political minorities. Their bias is as blatant as watching a southern judge during the Jim Crow era.
Where we are today? Connecticut has an unenforceable law on its books. So many gun owners refused to follow the law that Connecticut does not have the physical or fiscal means to enforce their law. The ranks of law enforcement, the number of courts, and the number of prisons would have to grow ten fold. The costs of court trials and prison incarcerations are enough to bankrupt the state. There are other costs as well.
How could the situation get worse? Police have murdered innocent civilians during no-knock raids. It is a sad fact, but it has happened. Examples are here 1 and here 2 and a video here 3. Though the media will try and cover for them, police and politicians will have blood on their hands if they injure civilian gun owners during firearm confiscation. Police violence will further heighten the fear felt by honest gun owners in Connecticut. Connecticut gun owners could try to defend themselves if people violently break into their homes. This could lead to further bloodshed for all concerned. Police and politicians would then be seen as murderous oppressors rather than defenders of a fair and impartial justice system.
Respect for Connecticut law enforcement and politicians would plummet even further. Law enforcement officers would lose community support. Crime and violence would increase.
That is bad.
The police could conduct door to door sweeps with armed and armored personnel carriers rolling down the street as they did after the Boston Marathon bombing.
Yes, Connecticut could become a police state over this politicized issue.
That is worse.
Is forced disarmament necessary? Going door to door in no-knock midnight raids is foolishly dangerous. It is also profoundly unnecessary. Honest gun owners present no danger to the public. They never did. If Connecticut gun owners are a threat at all, they threaten the public image of bigoted politicians who now look politically foolish and publicly inept.
How can this situation de-escalate peacefully? There are lawsuits in place against the Connecticut gun law. Let the judicial process work to protect the rights of minorities. Enjoin the law as the case slowly grinds its way through the courts.
The political solution is to lobby the legislators in person, and some online media have posted lists of legislators who supported gun confiscation. Some politicians view that publicity with alarm. They are wrong. You should not be a politician if you don’t want to see the faces of the people affected by your laws. An isolated and insulated ruling class is a sure way to violence.
Let the courts settle this.
About Rob Morse:
By day, Rob Morse works in Southern California as a mild mannered engineer for a defense contractor. By night he writes about gun rights at Ammoland, at Gun Rights Magazine, www.gunrightsmagazine.com/contributors/rob-morse/ and writes the SlowFacts blog. www.slowfacts.wordpress.com . He also loves the M1911 and shoots combat handgun on the weekends.
Once upon a time, there was an industrial combine in Nazi Germany called IG Farben. It was the largest chemical/pharmaceutical octopus in the world. It owned companies, and it had favorable business agreements with companies from England to Central America to Japan.
As I mentioned in a recent article, the author of The Devil’s Chemists, Josiah DuBois, traveled to Guatemala in the early days of World War 2, and returned with the comment that, as far as he could tell, Guatemala was “a wholly owned subsidiary of Farben.”
The pharmaceutical empire was and is one of the major forces behind the European Union (EU). It is no accident that these drug corporations wield such power. They aren’t only involved in controlling the medical cartel; they are political planners.
This is how and why Big Pharma fits so closely with what is loosely referred to as the New World Order. The aim of enrolling every human in a cradle-to-grave system of disease diagnosis and toxic drug treatment has a larger purpose: to debilitate, to weaken populations.
This is a political goal. It facilitates control.
IG Farben’s component companies, at the outbreak of World War 2, were Bayer, BASF, and Hoechst. They were chemical and drug companies. Farben put Hitler over the top in Germany, and the war was designed to lead to a united Europe that would be dominated by the Farben nexus.
The loss of the war didn’t derail that plan. It was shifted into an economic blueprint, which became, eventually, the European Union.
The European Commission’s first president was Walter Hallstein, the Nazi lawyer who, during the war, had been in charge of post-war legal planning for the new Europe.
As the Rath Foundation reports: In 1939, on the brink of the war, Hallstein had stated, “The creation of the New Law [of the Nazis] is ONLY the task of the law-makers!”
In 1957, with his reputation sanitized, Hallstein spoke the words in this manner: “The European Commission has full and unlimited power for all decisions related to the architecture of this European community.”
Post-war, IG Farben was broken up into separate companies, but those companies were following a common agenda. If, for example, you want to know why the endless debate over labeling GMO food rivals the real issue—banning GMO crops altogether—you can look to these Farben allies: Bayer, BASF, and Sanofi, among others.
They are among the leaders in GMO research and production. BASF cooperates withMonsanto on research projects. Sanofi is a leader in GM vaccine research.
The original IG Farben had a dream. Its executives and scientists believed they could eventually produce, synthetically, any compound in a laboratory. They could dominate world industry in this fashion.
The dream never died. Today, they see gene-manipulation as the route to that goal.
I refer you to the explosive book, The Nazi Roots of the Brussels EU, by Paul Anthony Taylor, Aleksandra Niedzwiecki, Dr. Matthias Rath, and August Kowalczyk. You can read it at relay-of-life.com. It is a dagger in the heart of the EU.
At the Rath Foundation, you can also read Joseph Borkin’s classic, “The Crime and Punishment of IG Farben.”
In 1992, I was deeply engaged in researching the specific devastating effects of medical drugs. Eventually, I concluded that, at the highest levels of power, these drugs weren’t destructive by accident. They were intended to cause harm. This was covert chemical warfare against the population of the planet. The Rockefeller-Standard Oil-Farbenconnection was a primary piece of the puzzle.
It was, of course, Rockefeller (and Carnegie) power that forced the birth of pharmaceutical medicine in America, with the publication of the 1910 Flexner Report. The Report was used to excoriate and marginalize Chiropractic, Homeopathy, Naturopathy, and other forms of traditional natural practice, in favor of what would become the modern juggernaut of drug-based treatment.
In an article about the FDA, “Medical Murder in the Matrix,” I point out the fact that this federal agency has permitted at least 100,000 deaths of Americans, per year, from the direct effects of drugs it, the FDA, has certified as safe.
The FDA knows these death figures. “Unintended” and “accidental” can no longer be applied to this ongoing holocaust.
The same can be held true for the pharmaceutical industry itself.
People are exceedingly reluctant to come to this obvious conclusion. They prefer to hem and haw and invent excuses or deny the facts.
To understand the dimensions and history of the ongoing chemical warfare against the population, in the form of medical drugs (and of course pesticides), one must factor in the original octopus, IG Farben.
World War 2 never ended. It simply shifted its strategies.
And just as one can trace extensive collaboration between major American corporations and the Nazi war machine, during the military phase of the war, today you see American corporations wreaking destructive havoc on the American people, as Dow, DuPont, Monsanto and others “work their magic for a better life.”
In any fascist system, the bulk of the people working inside the system, including scientists, refuse to believe the evidence of what is happening before their own eyes. They insist they are doing good. They believe they are on the right side. They see greater top-down control as necessary and correct. They adduce reasonable explanations for inflicted harm and death.
This is how and why conspiracies can exist. Only a few people, at the very top, need to know the true motives.
Everyone else tells themselves fairy tales. This deep-seated obsession is an integral part of mind control, and ultimately it is self-inflicted.
The self-created victim calculates: “I would rather stay in my dream than wake up to a nightmare.”
Yes, but acknowledging the nightmare is a step on the road to liberation.
In centuries past, empires conquered foreign lands and made colonies out of them. When that era ended, a less overt style of military and economic conquest was initiated. But there is something most people don’t realize.
When richer nations now go into poorer nations, the so-called incidental goal of bringing “life-saving” medical care with them is a front and a pose.
One of the chief goals of the conquerors is, in fact, pharmaceutical. Changing the habits of populations, so they come to rely on these drugs is high on the to-do list. It rings up profit, of course, for the pharmaceutical empire, and it also poisons the poor into even greater desolation than they are already experiencing. They become even easier to control.
On top of that, the actual untreated causes of the routine desolation—starvation, generation-to-generation malnutrition, contaminated water supplies, lack of general sanitation, overcrowding, and previously stolen agricultural land—are shoved on the back burner of the global media.
Suddenly, we learn that various germ-caused diseases are the real scourges of these countries, and help is coming (slowly), in the form of drugs that kill the germs, along with the medical heroes who will deliver these drugs.
This is a cover story. It’s a preposterous lie. In the conditions of desolation mentioned above, it doesn’t matter what germs are present, and trying to attack them is futile and absurd.
The general desolation weakens and destroys immune systems. At that point, what would normally be completely harmless germs, any germs, can sweep through an area and cause death and severe illness, because the routine processes of the immune system, which would immediately neutralize the germs, are disabled.
The “medical intervention” is meant to defer, for yet another day, the remedying of the actual problems that keep causing disease—and the medical drugs create new and lethal toxicity, leading to more deaths.
This is the standard op of the modern pharmaceutical empire. To know it is proceeding apace, all you have to do is see foreign doctors getting off planes in Third World countries, or read about some drug giant that is undertaking a humanitarian program of supplying medicines and vaccines to “people in desperate need of them.”
The author of two explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED and EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, Jon Rappoport was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free emails at www.nomorefakenews.com
As you may know, I bicycled for a year in South America, top to bottom. I enjoyed the Amazon jungle, the wildlife and especially the insect life. I took pictures of tens of thousands of butterflies dancing on an endless canopy of flowers. Many of my columns deal with saving the natural world such as an international 25-cent deposit-return law for all plastic, glass and metal containers. We must keep plastics from destroying our fellow creatures—especially in our oceans.
Today, I appeal to you to use the links provided to send the chemical giant Monsanto a letter to demand they stop marketing “Round-up” ; “Weed-b-gone” and other poisons that threaten the extinction of the Monarch butterfly.
Monarch butterflies vanish faster with each passing year — and all signs point to Monsanto as the main culprit.
Major press outlets worldwide reported last month that Monarchs face “grave danger”, with their population reaching the lowest numbers ever recorded. Now, an independent study linked the monarch’s decline with Monsanto’s “Round-up” herbicide.
One of the most beautiful phenomena in the natural world — the annual mass migration of 60 million monarchs from Canada to Mexico – stands on the verge of being a relic of history. We need to fight this now, before it’s too late for the butterflies.
Join me and tell Monsanto to pull its butterfly-killing herbicide before it’s too late.
“This corporate giant knows what it’s doing,” said a spokesperson for Sum of Us. “But Monsanto says we should balance the butterfly’s survival with what it calls “productive agriculture”(read: Monsanto’s bottom line equals money not nature.).
Tell Monsanto to pull its butterfly-killing herbicide before it’s too late.
The annual mass migration of 60 million Monarchs from Canada to Mexico represents one of the most beautiful phenomena in the natural world. I know because on one of my many cycle trips along the coast of California, I saw millions of Monarchs hanging from trees during their rest stops.
But Monarchs stand on the verge of being a relic of history, and a key link in our food chain.
“The monarch butterfly is in a serious, decades-long decline,” said the spokesperson. “The World Wildlife Fund reported that this winter, the monarchs are only occupying an area of 1.7 acres in Mexico, down from 45 acres in 1996. An evolutionary strategy based on eating a common weed seemed smart — until Monsanto came along. Just one state along the monarchs’ migration route, Iowa, is reported to have lost 98 percent of its milkweed.”
Monsanto products like Roundup dominate the agricultural market worldwide. This corporate giant sells matching genetically-engineered plants resistant to its pesticides – and encourages factory farms to douse fields with gallons of Monsanto’s herbicides.
“But sprayed over vast areas, these poisons effect the entire ecosystem,” a spokesperson said. “Monsanto’s Roundup wipes out the monarchs’ primary food source – a plant called milkweed. Scientists have linked the monarch’s rapid population decline to the spread of Monsanto’s pesticides. Losing these butterflies means wiping out insects, birds and small mammals that rely on the monarch and its place in the food chain.”
Take a few minutes to visit the website and send in your letter to Monsanto. Tell Monsanto to save the monarchs by pulling its ecosystem-threatening herbicide.
Every second wasted nails another spike into the butterfly’s coffin leading to extinction. Let’s harness that awareness to save the monarchs from Monsanto!
Perhaps Arizona governor Jan Brewer was sincere when saying that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (SB 1062) she vetoed yesterday could “create more problems than it purports to solve.” After all, observers such as Napp Nazworth at The Christian Post contend that SB 1062 might actually — contrary to all the hysteria — have made it harder for most business owners to refuse service to homosexuals. This analysis may have merit and can be read here, but it’s irrelevant to a larger point:
The GOP’s handling of this matter was a good illustration of conservatism’s fatal flaw.
Whatever the legal realities, about something we can be sure: many conservatives believed in SB 1062. And as with the three GOP lawmakers who voted for the bill but turned against it after the heat was turned up, many of those conservatives caved under great pressure from greedy businesses, limp-wristed neo-con artists (John McCain) and that great leftist public-relations team (the media).
I’ve long lamented that conservatives are conservative; that is to say, they play defense and just try to protect the status quo, which was, though conservatives generally appear oblivious to the fact, created by yesterday’s liberals.
So they never actually try to rescind those efforts at thought control called hate-crime laws, but just hope to limit the scope of new proposals for them. They never really endeavor to eliminate government programs and bureaucracies; they just aim to slow down their metastasizing. They hardly ever try to reduce spending and shrink government, but just seek to limit the rate at which both balloon. And with the Arizona effort, they weren’t really willing to do what was necessary to reclaim freedom of association. They just proposed a half measure and then folded like cheap cameras.
As for the Three Mouseketeers who ran for cover — senators Bob Worsley, Adam Driggs and Steve Pierce — they wrote in a letter to Brewer that while they wanted “to create a shield for all citizens’ religious liberties, the bill has been mischaracterized by its opponents as a sword for religious intolerance.”
Wow, is that all it takes?
We might as well just bow down and lick the left’s jackboots right now.
How did these three chronologically adult politicians think the left would characterize their effort? Who are these guys, Beaver and Wally Cleaver and Dennis (the Menace) Mitchell? Of course the left is going to call you names! That’s what they do. And now you’ve just confirmed for them, once again, that this is all they have to do to bring you to your knees. Welcome to How to Lose a Culture War 101.
How should conservatives handle such name calling?
Hurl names right back.
Call the leftists what they are: tyrants, socialists and haters of liberty. Explain that they want to destroy freedom of association. Seek to control the language of the debate and to frame the narrative — and use their own Alinsky tactics against them. And we do have one great advantage: we’re right and righteous.
As for strategy, realize that framing this as a matter of freedom of religion makes it seem a special-interest cause, as not everyone considers himself “religious.” What we really need is a Freedom of Association Restoration Act.
For this freedom is increasingly trampled. A photographer in New Mexico being sued and two Oregon bakers forced to close their business — both for refusing to be party to lesbian so-called “weddings” — are just two examples of the phenomenon.
But think about the supposition justifying this kind of government coercion: no one would deny me the right to include in or exclude from my home whomever I please. Why should I lose this right simply because I decide to erect extra tables and sell food?
It’s still my private property, paid for with my own money and created by the sweat of my own brow. It’s tyranny to give me a choice between relinquishing my rights — and starving.
Likewise, no one would force you to bake cakes for or take pictures of people with whom you didn’t want to consort. Why should this change just because you decide to bake cakes or take pictures for money? The principle is simple: your home, your oven, your camera — your choice.
The hypocrisy here is thick, too. We wouldn’t force a Muslim butcher to deal in pork or a Jewish baker to place Nazi symbols on a cake; in fact, there’s a story about a supermarket that refused to place the name of a neo-Nazi’s son — Adolf Hitler Campbell — on a birthday cake. And even more recently we heard about a bar in California denying service to legislators seeking to protect marriage. Of course, the left will claim there’s no comparison, as pork eaters, Nazis and pro-marriage individuals aren’t protected groups. So let’s get this straight:
They trumpet discrimination as an argument for disallowing discrimination.
And what invidious discrimination theirs is. They somehow think that supporting the granting of just some groups “protected status” — and thus leaving other groups, apparently, “unprotected” — gives them moral high ground in trying to discriminate against yet other groups by forcing them, but not others (e.g., those opposing and denying service to traditionalist legislators), to violate their deeply held convictions. Only a twisted mind could consider this justice. Of course, though, with liberals telling us via a high-school textbook (Magruder’s American Government & Civics) that justice “is difficult to define for justice is a concept, an idea, an invention of the human mind [and that] [l]ike other concepts such as truth, liberty, and fairness justice means what people want it to mean,” this is no surprise.
Some will balk at my argument, saying that my position on freedom of association would allow businesses to discriminate even on the basis of race or sex. The answer to this is illustrated with a simple analogy: does freedom of speech mean anything if only extended to popular speech? It then isn’t freedom of speech at all, but merely the establishment of different prohibitions than may exist in Iran, North Korea or Cuba. Likewise, the true test of whether we really believe in freedom of association is if we’ll extend it to even those who would exercise it in a way we abhor.
As for businesses that must operate in today’s tyrannical, rights-squelching environment, I have a solution. If, for instance, people forced me through law to provide bakery services for them, the trauma just might affect my ability to identify and measure ingredients and follow a recipe. And I would then show them that you can have your cake, but you can’t eat it, too.
“Speculators may do no harm as bubbles on a steady stream of enterprise. But the position is serious when enterprise becomes the bubble on a whirlpool of speculation. When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done.” – John Maynard Keynes, The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money
It’s too bad Keynes isn’t around today to see how the toxic combo of financial engineering, central bank liquidity and fraud have transformed the world’s biggest economy into a hobbled, crisis-prone invalid that’s unable to grow without giant doses of zero-rate heroin and mega-leverage crack-cocaine. This is exactly what the British economist warned about more than half a century ago in his magnum opus, “The General Theory…”, that you can’t build a vital, prosperous economy on the ripoff, Ponzi scams of Wall Street charlatans, mountebanks and swindlers. It can’t be done. And, yet– here we are again– in the middle of another historic asset-price bubble conceived and engineered by the bubbleheaded crackpots at the Federal Reserve. Go figure?
Just take a look at housing, which is at the end of an astonishing 18-month run that was entirely precipitated by what?
Consumer confidence, bigger incomes, credit expansion, growing revenues, pent-up demand?
No, no, no, no and no. Economic fundamentals played no part in the so called housing rebound. In fact–as everyone knows–the economy stinks as bad today as it did 4 years ago when the government number-crunchers announced the end of the recession. The reason prices have been rising is because of the Fed’s loosy-goosey monetary policy (fake rates and QE), inventory suppression, bogus gov mortgage modification programs, and unprecedented speculation. (mainly Private Equity and investors groups) Those are the four legs of the stool propping up housing. Only now it looks like a couple of those legs are in the process of being sawed off which is going to put downward pressure on sales and prices. Take a look at this from DS News:
“A majority of experts surveyed by Zillow and Pulsenomics expect large-scale investors will pull out of the housing market in the next few years…
Out of 110 economists, real estate experts, and investment strategists surveyed in Zillow’s latest Home Value Index, 57 percent said they think institutional investors will work to sell the majority of homes in their portfolios “in the next three to five years.” These investors are largely credited with propping up housing during its recession, helping to keep sales volumes from plummeting too far.
While their withdrawal will most certainly affect today’s still-fragile market—79 percent of those surveyed said the impact would be “significant or somewhat significant” should investor activity curtail this year.”
Experts Predict Level Playing Field as Investors Withdraw, DS News
This is what we were afraid of from the very beginning, that the big PE firms would pack-it-in and move on once they’d made a killing, which they have, since prices soared 12 percent in one year. Now they want to get out while they getting is good, which means that–in some of the hotter markets where investors represented upwards of 50 percent of all purchases–there will have to be a new source of demand. Unfortunately, the demand for housing has never been weaker.
Sales are down, purchase applications are down, and the country’s homeownership rate has slipped to levels not seen since 1995, 18 years ago. The Fed’s $1 trillion purchase of mortgage backed securities (MBS) and zero rates have done nothing to stimulate “organic” consumer demand. Zilch. No “trickle down” at all. All the policy has done is generate a temporary surge of speculation that’s distorted prices and created conditions for another big bust. Get a load of this article from Housing Perspectives:
“Although household growth is the major driver of housing demand, getting an accurate picture of recent trends in this measure is difficult…In its recent release, the HVS reported annual household growth of just 448,800 in 2013. This represents a 48 percent drop in household growth relative to that from 2012 and marked the lowest annual household growth measure since 2008, in the depths of the Great Recession (Figure 1).
Source: US Census Bureau, Housing Vacancy Survey
Repeat: “…a 48 percent drop in household growth relative to that from 2012 and marked the lowest annual household growth measure since 2008, in the depths of the Great Recession.”
Do you really think there are enough firsttime homebuyers in out there in Mortgageland to fill that gap?
In your dreams! Keep in mind, that a lot of firsttime homebuyers are collage grads who want to start a family and put down roots. Regrettably, nearly half of those potential buyers have been scrubbed from the list due to their burgeoning student loans which now exceed $1 trillion. These kids will probably never own a home, let-alone have a positive impact on sales in 2014. Ain’t gonna happen.
Maybe this is why the banks are suddenly speeding up their foreclosure filings, because they want to offload more of their distressed inventory before prices fall. Is that it? Check out this article on Housingwire:
“Monthly foreclosure filings — including default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — reversed course and increased 8% to 124,419 in January from December, according to the latest report from RealtyTrac.
This marks the 40th consecutive month where foreclosure activity declined on an annual basis, with filings down 18% from January…
As a whole, 57,259 U.S. properties started the foreclosure process for the first time in January, rising 10% from December…
…this month’s foreclosure starts increased from a year ago in 22 states, including Maryland (up 126%), Connecticut (up 82%), New Jersey (up 79%), California (up 57%), and Pennsylvania (up 39%).
Scheduled foreclosure auctions jumped 13% in January compared to the previous month.”RealtyTrac: Monthly foreclosure filings reverse course, rise 8%, Housingwire
Like most articles on housing, you have to sift through the bullshit to figure out what’s really going on, but it’s worth the effort. The banks have been dragging their feet for 40 months now, slowing down the foreclosure process (and adding to the shadow supply of distressed homes.) in order to push up prices hoping to ignite another boom. Now–after 3 and a half years of blatant collusion–they’ve done a 180 and started speeding up foreclosures. Why?
It’s because they agree with the above-mentioned “110 economists, real estate experts, and investment strategists” who think that “institutional investors” are going to call-it-quits and move on to greener pastures. That’s going to push down prices, which means they’re going to lose money. So they want to get ahead of the curve and dump more houses on the market before the stampede. That way, they lose less money.
Keep in mind, the banks are up-to-their-eyeballs in distressed inventory. Even conservative estimates of shadow backlog puts the figure of 90-day delinquent or worse, above 3 million homes. But if you review the gloomier prognostications, the sum could easily exceed 6 million homes, enough to suck the entire bleeding banking system into a black hole of insolvency. There was an interesting article on the topic in Bloomberg last week. It seems that, “bond king” Jeffrey Gundlach has been warning mortgage-backed security purchasers that they should to pay more attention to underlying collateral in MBSs (vacant homes, that is) which have been “rotting away” for “six years” or more. Here’s a clip from the article:
“The housing market is softer than people think,” Mr. Gundlach said, pointing to a slowdown in mortgage refinancing, shares of homebuilders that have dropped 13% since reaching a high in May, and the time it’s taking to liquidate defaulted loans…
About 32% of seriously delinquent borrowers, those at least 90 days late, haven’t made a payment in more than four years, up 7% from the beginning of 2012, according to Fitch analyst Sean Nelson.
“These timelines could still increase for another year or so,” Mr. Nelson said, leading to even higher losses because of added legal and tax costs, and a greater potential for properties to deteriorate.”
Gundlach Counting Rotting Homes Makes Subprime Bear, Bloomberg
Let me get this straight: The number of “seriously delinquent borrowers” has actually gone up in the last year? Not only that, but many of these people “haven’t made a payment in more than four years”?
That’s a mighty fine recovery you got there, Mr. Bernanke. Sheesh.
Keep in mind, the backlog of unwanted homes could be a lot bigger than most people think. Way bigger. I was reading an article by Keith Jurow the other day, (“The Coming Mortgage Delinquency Disaster”, Keith Jurow, dshort.com) that paints a pretty grim picture of what is really going on behind the faux inventory numbers. Jurow–who has done extensive research on pre-foreclosure notice filings in New York state– says: “The number of monthly foreclosure filings in Suffolk County on Long Island …(were) more than 180,000 (while) fewer than 1,000 foreclosure filings had been served each month in (the last 4 years). By this calculation, Jurow figures that there should have been 1,192,000 foreclosures in New York state while the actual percentage of homes that have been repossessed remains in the single digits. (Read the whole article here.)
Chew on that for a minute. So, that’s a total of 180,000 homeowners who would have faced foreclosure under normal conditions, while less than 48,000 have actually been foreclosed. That’s 132,000 fewer foreclosures than there should have been IN JUST ONE COUNTY IN ONE STATE ALONE.”
The reason the prodigious shadow stockpile continues to balloon is quite simple, as Jurow points out in his piece: “Servicers do not foreclose on seriously delinquent borrowers throughout the entire NYC metro area. Completed foreclosures have actually declined rather dramatically throughout the nation in the past two years. The difference is that in the NYC metro, the servicers have not been foreclosing since the spring of 2009.”
So, there you have it; the banks haven’t been foreclosing because it hasn’t been in their interest to foreclose. Foreclosure sales push down prices which batters balance sheets and scares shareholders. Who wants that? So the game goes on. Only now, the dynamic is changing. Skittish investors are eyeing the exits, QE is winding down, and housing prices have peaked. The recovery has reached its zenith, which is why the bankers want get off on the top floor before the elevator begins its bumpy descent.
People who are thinking about buying a house in the near future, should watch developments in the market closely and proceed with extreme caution. No one wants to get burned in another bank swindle.
A few years ago, Reuters News reported that a nationwide poll conducted of the Russian people found that former dictator Josef Stalin was voted the third most popular historical figure. Over one-third of the Russian population participated in the poll.
See the report here:
Can you imagine? Stalin just might be the greatest mass-murderer in human history. Estimates of the body count during Stalin’s reign of terror range anywhere from 20-60 million, and that doesn’t include the millions of people who were starved, imprisoned, and tortured but who didn’t die. Only China’s Mao Tse-tung rivals Stalin’s butchery. Then, again, many Chinese people still love Mao Tse-tung, too.
How is it that people can laud and honor tyrants and butchers? How can people so easily submit to slavery and despotism?
No tyrant rises to power calling himself a tyrant. Tyranny is never sold as tyranny. Every tyrannical regime of history considered itself to be patriotic and compassionate; and the people who supported and submitted to such regimes considered themselves to be patriotic and compassionate, as well. The police state is never called that by those who promote it; they call it “law and order,” “keeping the peace,” “protecting the homeland,” etc.
Ask the average American today about the possibility that our country could become a police state and the common response is, “That could never happen here.” But, ladies and gentlemen, it is already happening here. And, furthermore, it seems that the vast majority of the American people are all in favor it. Republicans love it; Democrats love it; Christians love it; politicians love it; police officers love it; pastors love it; school teachers love it; businessmen love it; everyone loves a police state.
Threaten to remove Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty, and Christians and conservatives come out of the woodwork in righteous indignation. Threaten to put a Nativity scene on some courthouse lawn, and Democrats and liberals come out of the woodwork in righteous indignation. But propose laws that strip the American people of their God-ordained liberties protected by the Bill of Rights, and conservatives and liberals alike, Christians and unbelievers alike, think it’s just about the greatest thing since sliced bread.
You don’t believe that? Try this news story on for size:
According to a World Net Daily report, “The 2014 NDAA was fast-tracked through the U.S. Senate, with no time for discussion or amendments, while most Americans were distracted by the scandal surrounding A&E’s troubles with ‘Duck Dynasty’ star Phil Robertson.
“Eighty-five of 100 senators voted in favor of the new version of the NDAA, which had already been quietly passed by the House of Representatives.”
The report continued saying, “Section 1021 allows the detention of anyone, including American citizens, by the military, if the president considers that person to have helped with terror.”
The report further said, “Congress specifically expressed its desire for the detention provision to apply to American citizens even on American soil by rejecting multiple amendments that would have exempted them.”
So, where are the notable leaders of the Religious Right? Where are the liberal groups? Where is the national media? Where are the talking heads from the right and the left? With precious few exceptions, they are absolutely silent on the subject. Why? Because they like it.
Liberals never met a big-government program or proposal they didn’t like. If it increases the size and scope of government, liberals love it. Conservatives love anything that smacks of “law and order.” (A word of caution: you never want to be the defendant in a courtroom where the jury is stacked with conservatives. If you do, you’re dead meat, friend.) And Christians get goose bumps up their spine about anything they think resembles Romans 13. Give government more power over our lives and listen to the Hallelujahs ringing out from the all of these 501c3 churches. And ditto for most of the talking heads on radio and television and the vast majority of the pundits and spokesmen from the national news media. Like I said, everyone loves a police state.
Well, not everyone, thank God!
The same WND report mentioned above states, “Some of the nation’s most respected legal teams are asking the Supreme Court to take up a challenge to the indefinite-detention provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act, charging the law has created the framework for a police state.
“The controversial provision authorizes the military, under presidential authority, to arrest, kidnap, detain without trial and hold indefinitely American citizens thought to ‘represent an enduring security threat to the United States.’
“Journalist Chris Hedges is among the plaintiffs charging the law could be used to target journalists who report on terror-related issues.
A friend-of-the-court brief submitted in the case states: ‘The central question now before this court is whether the federal judiciary will stand idly by while Congress and the president establish the legal framework for the establishment of a police state and the subjugation of the American citizenry through the threat of indefinite military arrest and detention, without the right to counsel, the right to confront one’s accusers, or the right to trial.’
“The brief was submitted to the Supreme Court by attorneys with the U.S. Justice Foundation of Ramona, Calif., Friedman Harfenist Kraut & Perlstein of Lake Success, N.Y., and William J. Olson, P.C. of Vienna, Va.”
See the report here:
Believe it or not, there was a time in this country when people from both sides of the political aisle believed in freedom. I know it’s hard to imagine, but there was a time in this country when pastors from virtually every denomination believed in freedom. Not only did they believe in it; they fought for it. It seems like a long time ago.
Have you taken a close look at your State and local police agencies lately? More and more, our police officers and sheriff’s deputies resemble soldiers more than they do peace officers. I challenge you to Google “police abuse.” What you will discover will shock you. And, for all intents and purposes, the folks who live in many Northeastern states—along with California and Illinois–are already living in a State that is more controlled than many foreign countries, including some of the countries that we would call oppressive. And even our freer states are feeling the heavy hand of Big Brother more and more each day.
In fact, if you want to really get a taste of a police state, just move into some neighborhoods with their Gestapo-like Home Owner Associations (HOA). I’m telling you, some of these HOA rival anything Adolf Hitler could dream up.
Folks, take a good, hard look at reality: America is already in the beginning throes of a police state. Orwell’s “1984” and Huxley’s “Brave New World” are here. And far, far too many people seem fine with it.
I tell you the truth: I am to the point where I don’t know what to call myself. “Conservative” means nothing today. Nothing! One can be a “conservative” and believe in Big Government, undeclared wars of intervention, debt-driven economics, socialized medicine, increased taxes, and, of course, a police state. Likewise, “Christian” means nothing today. Nothing! One can be a “Christian” and believe in Big Government, undeclared wars of intervention, debt-driven economics, socialized medicine, increased taxes, and, of course, a police state. Oh, many “conservatives” and “Christians” might SAY they don’t believe in these things, but their actions (or lack of them) speak louder than their words.
A big THANK YOU is in order for Bill Olson, Herb Titus, Chris Hedges, et al. And THANK YOU to all of you folks out there who see what’s going on and are actively engaged in “the holy cause of liberty.” (Patrick Henry) I am your brother and compatriot, no matter what you call yourself. At this point, we aren’t conservatives or liberals, Christians or unbelievers; we are freedomists or statists.
Tyrants such as Joe Stalin and Mao Tse-tung might be popular with some people, and a burgeoning police state might be popular with some people, but there is a whole host of us in these United States who aren’t going to the gulags and gas chambers peacefully. And unlike the peasants of Europe and Asia, we aren’t surrendering our means of self-defense, either.
No, not everyone loves a police state.
There comes a time when a coming convergence becomes apparent. But when it spells a very probable major cataclysm people are not too eager to see it.
But see it we must. And sound the alarm we must…as well as prepare.
Funny how that’s another thing “they” minimize and belittle. “Conspiracy freak” leads into “gloom and doomer”, “fear and hate monger” etc., all being cleverly wrapped into the “terrorist” catch-all these fascist, police state days.
They are the authors and manufacturers of terror, always accusing the very ones they’re murdering and manipulating. Sadly, the snooze button has been hit seemingly permanently for some. Nothing rattles them anymore – until the food runs out.
The wake up will hit, one way or another. It’s already happened for very many. The key is to be awake, aware and ready.
Our Surreal News
With multiple extremely serious realities striking home from a possible banking shutdown to Fukushima to martial law and beyond there are more and more people who are catching on. But the hour is late.
That’s not to mention concurrent massive geo-engineering and weather manipulation.
Shrimping was finally banned off the Gulf of Mexico due to horrific deformities and lesions in specimens being found; the arrival of radioactive Japan tsunami debris and massive radiated levels in the Pacific showing high readings in fish and algae and other samples and now even beach conditions on the US west coast; growing concerns about “fracking” causing earthquakes and severe water pollution around the world; GMO toxins and vaccines now known to not only maim humanity but drastically reduce fertility – are all major ongoing concerns that are adding up and causing people to boil over.
And that doesn’t touch on the economic and corporate manipulations, the police state crackdowns, and the massive war machine that’s gobbling up the world with hardly a peep of resistance or protest.
Something’s seriously amiss. And that’s just a sampling.
All of these man made anomalies are outrageous. And of course under or non-reported. And the Fukushima mutation weirdness has hardly begun with the millions of tons of nuclear contaminated water being continually, and dutifully I might add, dumped off of Japan.
The mutations and die-offs have started, but just barely. And as our forests and crops fail from aluminum and barium poisoning from our chemtrail poisoned skies you can be sure it will get very distressing as the days and weeks progress, as evidenced by California’s severe drought that will have devastating repercussions.
The World’s Been Thoroughly Conned…and Set Up
You’d think everyone would start to realize something serious is actually going down. But most can’t begin to fathom the degree to which we’re being attacked. It’s way too horrific to grasp, never mind fully realize and integrate into their lives.
If just one spent fuel rod pool at Fukushima collapses, there will be so much plutonium-based radiation released it would be called a potential Extinction Level Event (ELE). Just that. And if that doesn’t “bake your noodle”, do you know how many hundreds of these types of old dangerous fuel rod pool stocked reactors there are around the world?
Over 800! And all those, built in the 60′s and 70′s, are now due for “expiration”! Never mind the plethora of nuclear bomb manufacturing facilities in the US and around the world. We’re talking insane, people. And most of us had nothing to do with any of this. At least not consciously.
This planet is one large deliberately bomb-ridden Murrah Building or explosive-laden Twin Tower. Earth has been and is being engineered for demolition, whether a man-made or natural disaster triggers it, the charges have been thoroughly and deliberately set in place.
Waiting around and living “business as usual” are no longer options.
The Virtue of Knowledge
This doesn’t have to spell the end of everything, as awful as that sounds. People who love you tell you the Truth.
I’m fully convinced that our number one job here is to wake up, first and foremost, individually, and then wake up everyone around us. It’s imperative people see the vast extent of the perfidy of this parasitic force destroying our planet. And that’s not an easy task…UNTIL someone wakes up! Once the light gets in all will follow to the True in Heart.
The coming cataclysms, in whatever form they take, will work in Truth’s favor. Universe doesn’t fail in anything within any of its realms. How it plays out here is only perceived from our small, limited viewpoint. We will learn, come what may.
But the viewpoint from the heart?!….that’s where the answers reside. All we have to do is listen. And learn. And do.
False Flag Earth and the Plan of the War gods
Anyone reading this knows false flags have been perpetrated by rulers since time immemorial. It’s virtually primordial evil to secretly do some evil deed yourself or have someone do it for you and blame someone else, all for a desired effect.
This huge scam is admittedly off the charts wrong and engineered by the dark side, however you perceive it. The loving and kind-hearted would never consider such acts, which is why many can’t conceive them, yet the controllers use these tactics with abandon.
Earth will survive their puny efforts in some form, if need be. Humanity may not, at least here, until the earth recovers or we take off for new horizons. I don’t know. But to deliberately bring on such catastrophic conditions is not an easy one for the lay unaware earth man to wrap his head around. Very strange indeed, but that’s how they’ve gotten away with it.
They say mega catastrophes, natural and perhaps otherwise, have wiped out previous civilizations and thousands of animal species on earth. They’ve even found evidence of a nuclear conflagration in ancient India, and it’s theorized Atlantis and Lemuria had it out in some sort of nuclear war and that’s how they came to an end.
It seems these warlike “gods” through the ages have a propensity for this type of wanton death-dealing and destruction. They really should find their own already decimated rock somewhere out there and fight it out between themselves and leave us the hell alone.
Wouldn’t you say?
Non Cooperation and Resistance is Essential
Our job is to first wake up to the horrific reality that we’re being deliberately killed off, and then wake up as many others as possible. I don’t know about any cavalry coming to save us but I do know it’s a time of energetic change that will help more and more see what’s going on and hopefully wake up out of slumber.
And when we activate, Universe activates. And I don’t doubt there aren’t “agents of good” who help us from other realms. When we put feet to our new found knowledge things on every level activate. But the responsibility is ours. It will always remain ours. That’s the cycle we’re on. If you don’t get it and respond you’re doomed to repeat it till you do..in one form or another. To me that makes total sense. But then again, I’m just wondering…
The Universe is intrinsically right and just. If we didn’t have free will life would be a drag. And with free will comes a lot of messiness. And responsibility. It’s ours to handle responsibly. Our hearts tell us so.
So let’s enjoy this anyway! But let’s get Love and Truth back in charge here, shall we?
Perspective – They Can’t Win Over Truth and Love
You really wonder how these anti-natural freaks can take themselves seriously. Just look at the magnificence of our Universe. It’s beyond description. Clearly forces play out that we’re only slightly aware of. But one thing we can be sure of…puny man or any other power-crazed entity is nothing to be feared. We’re inter connected with Something so much greater and profound we can rest assured all will come out for the better no matter what happens in the short term.
The current awakening is changing the entire dynamic on our planet by the hour. The matrix is coming down, which is why they’re so frantically trying to slap up structural supports for it everywhere with more laws and draconian regulations. There’s a vibrational change that is exposing the Truth and accelerating drastic life changes all around us. This will no doubt change the course of all of their plans as everyone’s perceptions will be changing as well.
If we’re on to their scam, we should identify it, non-comply and rise up in defiance of it and overcome it. Whatever form we take. Even if the whole place blows, you think that’s the end?
Fear of death is possibly the biggest con going. How many parallel dimensional worlds are right now spinning, slipping and sliding around us? Even our so called big brained physicists say at least 11. You think that’s all? (And btw, notice no one’s calling themconspiracy freaks! Ha!)
The biggest lesson we can all learn: Heart trumps brain trumps programming.
Stick to your convictions, come what may.
And go with the flow – synchronicity leads and confirms and encourages.
A final thought from Lao Tzu…
“A good traveler has no fixed plan, and is not intent on arriving.”
Source: Zen Gardner | ZenGardner.com
After Connecticut enacted one of the most draconian gun-control regimes in America, official estimates suggest that the overwhelming majority of the citizens targeted by the latest assault on gun rights failed to comply. Indeed, analysts say it appears that most people largely ignored the new statute, which purports to ban numerous non-registered “assault” weapons and standard-capacity magazines. Now, despite resistance by the governor, state lawmakers are reportedly “scrambling” to come up with a possible amnesty plan allowing gun owners to register past the deadline.
According to news reports, some 50,000 newly mislabeled “assault weapons” and 40,000 so-called “high-capacity” magazines (10 or more rounds) targeted under the scheme were registered with state officials by the January 1 deadline. However, estimates and an official report by the Connecticut Office of Legislative Research issued before the new law suggest there are many, many more that went unregistered. Massive non-compliance with gun-registration schemes has been the norm in the United States and abroad, experts pointed out — and analysts say that is likely what happened in Connecticut.
Noting that the real number of “large-capacity” magazines in the state was unknown, the 2011 Connecticut Office of Legislative Research report said that it “could be in the tens of millions.” Estimates on the number of guns subject to the legislation, meanwhile, indicate that there may be as many as 500,000. Based on those figures, analysts suggested that perhaps less than 10 percent — possibly even less than five percent — of the items subject to the draconian new gun-control regime were registered with authorities by the deadline.
“Governor Dannel Malloy and the government of the state of Connecticut are having their own ‘Oh, poop’ moment, now that they’ve tallied the number of citizens who have registered their ‘assault weapons’ and ‘high-capacity magazines’ required by the state’s unconstitutional gun laws, compared that to the estimated number of applicable weapons and magazines in the state, and realize they’ve been ignored,” observed Bob Owens, editor of the pro-Second Amendment website BearingArms.com.
“Historically speaking, 90-percent or more of those required to comply with gun registration laws in the U.S. refuse to do so, and there is no reason to suspect that this registration attempt in Connecticut is any different,” Owens continued in comments about the radical new registration scheme. “I’ve seen estimates of 1,000,000 firearm magazines that should have been registered under the law, but the state reports registering only 40,000 … just 4 percent.”
Other analysts came up with similar non-compliance estimates, suggesting that the new anti-gun scheme — widely lambasted as unconstitutional and currently being fought in court — has been largely ignored by the public. “In past cases of firearms bans, noncompliance with registration is not uncommon,” pointed out Chris Eger in an analysis for Guns.com, another popular pro-Second Amendment website. “In California in 1990, out of an estimated 300,000 guns classified as ‘assault weapons’ just 7,000 were registered.”
Even in other nations without strong gun rights traditions and constitutional guarantees for the unalienable right to keep and bear arms, citizens have balked at registration. After all, historically, tyrants have almost always tried to force subjects to register their weapons prior to confiscation and eventual totalitarianism. When the Canadian government tried to register guns, Eger said, there was massive civil disobedience, with estimates indicating that the compliance rate was less than a third. Even in Austria and Germany, the number of guns registered was drastically below what authorities had estimated.
As The New American reported a year ago, in the state of New York, a radical assault on gun rights dubbed the “SAFE Act” was met with open calls for defiance. Setting the stage for what some analysts said might be the largest act of civil disobedience in New York history, countless gun-rights activists and owners vowed never to register their weapons. Even some lawmakers took to the floor of the legislature and said they would not comply with the draconian law. Sheriffs and other law enforcement officials also vowed to fight it as unconstitutional.
In Connecticut — ironically, also known as the “Constitution State” — lawmakers are now reportedly seeking to offer “amnesty” in an apparent bid to raise compliance levels. “It had come to my attention and the attention of others that many people who were attempting in good faith to comply with the law … were not able to because of what I would argue were circumstances not under their control,” Senate Minority Leader John McKinney (R-Fairfield) was quoted as claiming by the Hartford Courant.
In the state House, Rep. Rob Sampson is also working to extend the registration period, and other lawmakers have been involved in the discussions. News reports, citing officials, said that “many citizens” had tried to register their purportedly banned property by mail on December 31. However, because post offices closed, the documents were postmarked January 2 and were returned by state officials due to being past the statutory deadline. Pro-amnesty lawmakers are hoping an extension would encourage more citizens to obey.
The Democrat governor’s office, however, opposes the so-called “amnesty” effort, sending a letter to legislators saying that gun owners who failed to comply by the deadline were just “too late” to do anything about it. “Individuals whose late registrations were not processed,” the message to lawmakers says, “can render their magazine or firearm inoperable, sell it to a licensed gun dealer, remove it from the state, or turn it over to law enforcement.”
The penalty for being found with an “unregistered” standard-capacity magazine or semi-automatic firearm misclassified as an “assault” weapon under the new scheme is a fine — the first time. Further violations of the unconstitutional statute can result in up to five years in prison. While the long lines to register guns by the deadline drew numerous comparisons to historical instances of tyranny — as well as sympathy from gun owners across America — it remains unclear how many citizens failed to comply, and for what reasons.
Suggesting that some gun owners may have simply not known about the purported registration requirements, the Connecticut Citizens Defense League is calling on authorities to extend the deadline for compliance. “There are still too many gun owners that either do not know about this new law, or do not realize that it applies to them,” said CCDL President Scott Wilson. “I would ask the governor and state legislators what there would be to gain by punishing persons that are otherwise law abiding that do not legitimately know about this law?”
In addition to extending the deadline, the organization, which represents more than 10,000 members and has challenged the statute in federal court, is also urging officials to adopt an open-ended “amnesty” scheme to avoid criminalizing potentially massive numbers of everyday citizens. “CCDL also suggests that the state should consider an ongoing amnesty program in the future, for those that discover they own banned firearms or magazines that are not registered,” Wilson said. “This would likely alleviate some of the concerns people may have about the intent of the state.”
Gun rights proponents, meanwhile, ridiculed state officials for expecting citizens to comply with the oppressive gun-control regime — and for efforts in the legislature to save it. “They’re calling for an amnesty period because their internal estimates likely show that their attempt to browbeat the citizenry into registering their arms for future confiscation has been an abject failure, and they are desperate to do anything they can do to encourage compliance now that their threats have failed,” wrote Bob Owens at BearingArms.com.
Other pro-Second Amendment commentators made similar remarks. “So, tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people waited until the last absolute second to send in this paperwork? I’m thinking not,” said Dan Cannon at GunsSaveLives.net. “I think this ‘amnesty’ deal is a chance for anti-gun politicians to try and save face after a massive civil disobedience movement was discovered.”
At the federal level, the Obama administration has continued to issue unconstitutional decrees on gun control after failing spectacularly last year in its push for Congress to approve more infringements on the human right to keep and bear arms. Ironically, however, as The New American reported this month, the nationwide assault on gun rights by Obama, the establishment media, and certain extremist Democrats has backfired, big time. In addition to sparking record firearm sales across America, dozens of state laws easing restrictions were enacted — almost double the number of laws purporting to impose new infringements. Efforts to fight the radical new scheme in Connecticut are ongoing.
Alex Newman is a correspondent for The New American, covering economics, politics, and more. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: The New American
Can the sharing economy movement address the root causes of the world’s converging crises? Unless the sharing of resources is promoted in relation to human rights and concerns for equity, democracy, social justice and sustainability, then such claims are without substantiation – although there are many hopeful signs that the conversation is slowly moving in the right direction.
In recent years, the concept and practice of sharing resources is fast becoming a mainstream phenomenon across North America, Western Europe and other world regions. The internet is awash with articles and websites that celebrate the vast potential of sharing human and physical assets, in everything from cars and bicycles to housing, workplaces, food, household items, and even time or expertise. According to most general definitions that are widely available online, the sharing economy leverages information technology to empower individuals or organisations to distribute, share and re-use excess capacity in goods and services. The business icons of the new sharing economy include the likes of Airbnb, Zipcar, Lyft, Taskrabbit and Poshmark, although hundreds of other for-profit as well as non-profit organisations are associated with this burgeoning movement that is predicated, in one way or another, on the age-old principle of sharing.
As the sharing economy receives increasing attention from the media, a debate is beginning to emerge around its overall importance and future direction. There is no doubt that the emergent paradigm of sharing resources is set to expand and further flourish in coming years, especially in the face of continuing economic recession, government austerity and environmental concerns. As a result of the concerted advocacy work and mobilisation of sharing groups in the US, fifteen city mayors have now signed the Shareable Cities Resolution in which they officially recognise the importance of economic sharing for both the public and private sectors. Seoul in South Korea has also adopted a city-funded project called Sharing City in which it plans to expand its ‘sharing infrastructure’, promote existing sharing enterprises and incubate sharing economy start-ups as a partial solution to problems in housing, transportation, job creation and community cohesion. Furthermore, Medellin in Colombia is embracing transport-sharing schemes and reimagining the use of its shared public spaces, while Ecuador is the first country in the world to commit itself to becoming a ‘shared knowledge’-based society, under an official strategy named ‘buen saber’.
Many proponents of the sharing economy therefore have great hopes for a future based on sharing as the new modus operandi. Almost everyone recognises that drastic change is needed in the wake of a collapsed economy and an overstretched planet, and the old idea of the American dream – in which a culture that promotes excessive consumerism and commercialisation leads us to see the ‘good life’ as the ‘goods life’, as described by the psychologist Tim Kasser - is no longer tenable in a world of rising affluence among possibly 9.6 billion people by 2050. Hence more and more people are rejecting the materialistic attitudes that defined recent decades, and are gradually shifting towards a different way of living that is based on connectedness and sharing rather than ownership and conspicuous consumption. ‘Sharing more and owning less’ is the ethic that underlies a discernible change in attitudes among affluent society that is being led by today’s young, tech-savvy generation known as Generation Y or the Millennials.
However, many entrepreneurial sharing pioneers also profess a big picture vision of what sharing can achieve in relation to the world’s most pressing issues, such as population growth, environmental degradation and food security. As Ryan Gourley of A2Share posits, for example, a network of cities that embrace the sharing economy could mount up into a Sharing Regions Network, then Sharing Nations, and finally a Sharing World: “A globally networked sharing economy would be a whole new paradigm, a game-changer for humanity and the planet”. Neal Gorenflo, the co-founder and publisher of Shareable, also argues that peer-to-peer collaboration can form the basis of a new social contract, with an extensive sharing movement acting as the catalyst for systemic changesthat can address the root causes of both poverty and climate change. Or to quote the words of Benita Matofska, founder of The People Who Share, we are going to have to “share to survive” if we want to face up to a sustainable future. In such a light, it behoves us all to investigate the potential of sharing to effect a social and economic transformation that is sufficient to meet the grave challenges of the 21st century.
Two sides of a debate on sharing
There is no doubt that sharing resources can contribute to the greater good in a number of ways, from economic as well as environmental and social perspectives. A number of studies show the environmental benefits that are common to many sharing schemes, such as the resource efficiency and potential energy savings that could result from car sharing and bike sharing in cities. Almost all forms of localised sharing are economical, and can lead to significant cost savings or earnings for individuals and enterprises. In terms of subjective well-being and social impacts, common experience demonstrates how sharing can also help us to feel connected to neighbours or co-workers, and even build community and make us feel happier.
Few could disagree on these beneficial aspects of sharing resources within communities or across municipalities, but some controversy surrounds the broader vision of how the sharing economy movement can contribute to a fair and sustainable world. For many advocates of the burgeoning trend towards economic sharing in modern cities, it is about much more than couch-surfing, car sharing or tool libraries, and holds the potential to disrupt the individualist and materialistic assumptions of neoliberal capitalism. For example, Juliet Schor in her book Plenitude perceives that a new economics based on sharing could be an antidote to the hyper-individualised, hyper-consumer culture of today, and could help rebuild the social ties that have been lost through market culture. Annie Leonard of the Story of Stuff project, in her latest short video on how to move society in an environmentally sustainable and just direction, also considers sharing as a key ‘game changing’ solution that could help to transform the basic goals of the economy.
Many other proponents see the sharing economy as a path towards achieving widespread prosperity within the earth’s natural limits, and an essential first step on the road to more localised economies and egalitarian societies. But far from everyone perceives that participating in the sharing economy, at least in its existing form and praxis, is a ‘political act’ that can realistically challenge consumption-driven economics and the culture of individualism – a question that is raised (although not yet comprehensively answered) in a valuable think piece from Friends of the Earth, as discussed further below. Various commentators argue that the proliferation of new business ventures under the umbrella of sharing are nothing more than “supply and demand continuing its perpetual adjustment to new technologies and fresh opportunities”, and that the concept of the sharing economy is being co-opted by purely commercial interests – a debate that was given impetus when the car sharing pioneers, Zipcar, were bought up by the established rental firm Avis.
Recently, Slate magazine’s business and economics correspondent controversially reiterated the observation that making money from new modes of consumption is not really ‘sharing’ per se, asserting that the sharing economy is therefore a “dumb term” that “deserves to die”. Other journalists have criticised the superficial treatment that the sharing economy typically receives from financial pundits and tech reporters, especially the claims that small business start-ups based on monetised forms of sharing are a solution to the jobs crisis – regardless of drastic cutbacks in welfare and public services, unprecedented rates of income inequality, and the dangerous rise of the precariat. The author Evgeny Morozov, writing an op-ed in the Financial Times, has gone as far as saying that the sharing economy is having a pernicious effect on equality and basic working conditions, in that it is fully compliant with market logic, is far from valuing human relationships over profit, and is even amplifying the worst excesses of the dominant economic model. In the context of the erosion of full-time employment, the assault on trade unions and the disappearance of healthcare and insurance benefits, he argues that the sharing economy is accelerating the transformation of workers into “always-on self-employed entrepreneurs who must think like brands”, leading him to dub it “neoliberalism on steroids”.
Problems of definition
Although it is impossible to reconcile these polarised views, part of the problem in assessing the true potential of economic sharing is one of vagueness in definition and wide differences in understanding. The conventional interpretation of the sharing economy is at present focused on its financial and commercial aspects, with continuous news reports proclaiming its rapidly growing market size and potential as a “co-commerce revolution”. Rachel Botsman, a leading entrepreneurial thinker on the potential of collaboration and sharing through digital technologies to change our lives, has attempted to clarify what the sharing economy actually is in order to prevent further confusion over the different terms in general use. In her latest typology, she notes how the term ‘sharing economy’ is often muddled with other new ideas and is in fact a subset of ‘collaborative consumption’ within the entire ‘collaborative economy’ movement, and has a rather restricted meaning in terms of “sharing underutilized assets from spaces to skills to stuff for monetary or non-monetary benefits” [see slide 9 of the presentation]. This interpretation of changing consumer behaviours and lifestyles revolves around the “maximum utilization of assets through efficient models of redistribution and shared access”, which isn’t necessarily predicated on an ethic of ‘sharing’ by any strict definition.
Other interpretations of the sharing economy are far broader and less constrained by capitalistic assumptions, as demonstrated in the Friends of the Earth briefing paper on Sharing Cities written by Professor Julian Agyeman et al. In their estimation, what’s missing from most of these current definitions and categorisations of economic sharing is a consideration of “the communal, collective production that characterises the collective commons”. A broadened ‘sharing spectrum’ that they propose therefore not only focuses on goods and services within the mainstream economy (which is almost always considered in relation to affluent, middle-class lifestyles), but also includes the non-material or intangible aspects of sharing such as well-being and capability [see page 6 of the brief]. From this wider perspective, they assert that the cutting edge of the sharing economy is often not commercial and includes informal behaviours like the unpaid care, support and nurturing that we provide for one another, as well as the shared use of infrastructure and shared public services.
This sheds a new light on governments as the “ultimate level of sharing”, and suggests that the history of the welfare state in Europe and other forms of social protection is, in fact, also integral to the evolution of shared resources in cities and within different countries. Yet an understanding of sharing from this more holistic viewpoint doesn’t have to be limited to the state provision of healthcare, education, and other public services. As Agyeman et al elucidate, cooperatives of all kinds (from worker to housing to retailer and consumer co-ops) also offer alternative models for shared service provision and a different perspective on economic sharing, one in which equity and collective ownership is prioritised. Access to natural common resources such as air and water can also be understood in terms of sharing, which may then prioritise the common good of all people over commercial or private interests and market mechanisms. This would include controversial issues of land ownership and land use, raising questions over how best to share land and urban space more equitably – such as through community land trusts, or through new policies and incentives such as land value taxation.
The politics of sharing
Furthermore, Agyeman et al argue that an understanding of sharing in relation to the collective commons gives rise to explicitly political questions concerning the shared public realm and participatory democracy. This is central to the many countercultural movements of recent years (such as the Occupy movement and Middle East protests since 2011, and the Taksim Gezi Park protests in 2013) that have reclaimed public space to symbolically challenge unjust power dynamics and the increasing trend toward privatisation that is central to neoliberal hegemony. Sharing is also directly related to the functioning of a healthy democracy, the authors reason, in that a vibrant sharing economy (when interpreted in this light) can counter the political apathy that characterises modern consumer society. By reinforcing values of community and collaboration over the individualism and consumerism that defines our present-day cultures and identities, they argue that participation in sharing could ultimately be reflected in the political domain. They also argue that a shared public realm is essential for the expression of participatory democracy and the development of a good society, not least as this provides a necessary venue for popular debate and public reasoning that can influence political decisions. Indeed the “emerging shareability paradigm”, as they describe it, is said to reflect the basic tenets of the Right to the City (RTTC) – an international urban movement that fights for democracy, justice and sustainability in cities and mobilises against the privatisation of common goods and public spaces.
The intention in briefly outlining some of these differing interpretations of sharing is to demonstrate how considerations of politics, justice, ethics and sustainability are slowly being allied with the sharing economy concept. A paramount example is the Friends of the Earth briefing paper outlined above, which was written as part of FOEI’s Big Ideas to Change the World series on cities that promoted sharing as “a political force to be reckoned with” and a “call to action for environmentalists”. Yet many further examples could also be mentioned, such as the New Economics Foundation’s ‘Manifesto for the New Materialism’ which promotes the old-fashioned ethic of sharing as part of a new way of living to replace the collapsed model of debt-fuelled overconsumption. There are also signs that many influential proponents of the sharing economy – as generally understood today in terms of new economic models driven by peer-to-peer technology that enable access to rather than ownership of resources – are beginning to query the commercial direction that the movement is taking, and are instead promoting more politicised forms of social change that are not merely based on micro-enterprise or the monetisation/branding of high-tech innovations.
Janelle Orsi, a California-based ‘sharing lawyer’ and author of The Sharing Solution, is particularly inspirational in this regard; for her, the sharing economy encompasses such a broad range of activities that it is hard to define, although she suggests that all its activities are tied together in how they harness the existing resources of a community and grow its wealth. This is in contradistinction to the mainstream economy that mostly generates wealth for people outside of people’s communities, and inherently generates extreme inequalities and ecological destruction – which Orsi contends that the sharing economy can help reverse. The problem she recognises is that the so-called sharing economy we usually hear about in the media is built upon a business-as-usual foundation, which is privately owned and often funded by venture capital (as is the case with Airbnb, Lyft, Zipcar, Taskrabbit et cetera). As a result, the same business structures that created the economic problems of today are buying up new sharing economy companies and turning them into ever larger, more centralised enterprises that are not concerned about people’s well-being, community cohesion, local economic diversity, sustainable job creation and so on (not to mention the risk of re-creating stock valuation bubbles that overshadowed the earlier generation of dot.com enterprises). The only way to ensure that new sharing economy companies fulfil their potential to create economic empowerment for users and their communities, Orsi argues, is through cooperative conversion – and she makes a compelling case for the democratic, non-exploitative, redistributive and truly ‘sharing’ potential of worker and consumer cooperatives in all their guises.
Sharing as a path to systemic change
There are important reasons to query which direction this emerging movement for sharing will take in the years ahead. As prominent supporters of the sharing economy recognise, like Janelle Orsi and Juliet Schor, it offers both opportunities and reasons for optimism as well as pitfalls and some serious concerns. On the one hand, it reflects a growing shift in our values and social identities as ‘citizens vs consumers’, and is helping us to rethink notions of ownership and prosperity in a world of finite resources, scandalous waste and massive wealth disparities. Perhaps its many proponents are right, and the sharing economy represents the first step towards transitioning away from the over-consumptive, materially-intense and hoarding lifestyles of North American, Western European and other rich societies. Perhaps sharing really is fast becoming a counter-cultural movement that can help us to value relationships more than things, and offer us the possibility of re-imagining politics and constructing a more participative democracy, which could ultimately pose a challenge to the global capitalist/consumerist model of development that is built on private interests and debt at the cost of shared interests and true wealth.
On the other hand, critics are right to point out that the sharing economy in its present form is hardly a threat to existing power structures or a movement that represents the kind of radical changes we need to make the world a better place. Far from reorienting the economy towards greater equity and a better quality of life, as proposed by writers such as Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, Tim Jackson, Herman Daly and John Cobb, it is arguable that most forms of sharing via peer-to-peer networks are at risk of being subverted by conventional business practices. There is a perverse irony in trying to imagine the logical conclusion of these trends: new models of collaborative consumption and co-production that are co-opted by private interests and venture capitalists, and increasingly geared towards affluent middle-class types or so-called bourgeois bohemians (the ‘bobos’), to the exclusion of those on low incomes and therefore to the detriment of a more equal society. Or new sharing technology platforms that enable governments and corporations to collaborate in pursuing more intrusive controls over and greater surveillance of citizens. Or new social relationships based on sharing in the context of increasingly privatised and enclosed public spaces, such as gated communities within which private facilities and resources are shared.
This is by no means an inevitable outcome, but what is clear from this brief analysis is that the commercialisation and depoliticisation of economic sharing poses risks and contradictions that call into question its potential to transform society for the benefit of everyone. Unless the sharing of resources is promoted in relation to human rights and concerns for equity, democracy, social justice and sound environmental stewardship, then the various claims that sharing is a new paradigm that can address the world’s interrelated crises is indeed empty rhetoric or utopian thinking without any substantiation. Sharing our skills through Hackerspaces, our unused stuff through GoodShuffle or a community potluck through mealshare is, in and of itself, a generally positive phenomenon that deserves to be enjoyed and fully participated in, but let’s not pretend that car shares, clothes swaps, co-housing, shared vacation homes and so on are going to seriously address economic and climate chaos, unjust power dynamics or inequitable wealth distribution.
Sharing from the local to the global
If we look at sharing through the lens of just sustainability, however, as civil society organisations and others are now beginning to do, then the true possibilities of sharing resources within and among the world’s nations are vast and all-encompassing: to enhance equity, rebuild community, improve well-being, democratise national and global governance, defend and promote the global commons, even to point the way towards a more cooperative international framework to replace the present stage of competitive neoliberal globalisation. We are not there yet, of course, and the popular understanding of economic sharing today is clearly focused on the more personal forms of giving and exchange among individuals or through online business ventures, which is mainly for the benefit of high-income groups in the world’s most economically advanced nations. But the fact that this conversation is now being broadened to include the role of governments in sharing public infrastructure, political power and economic resources within countries is a hopeful indication that the emerging sharing movement is slowly moving in the right direction.
Already, questions are being raised as to what sharing resources means for the poorest people in the developing world, and how a revival of economic sharing in the richest countries can be spread globally as a solution to converging crises. It may not be long until the idea of economic sharing on a planetary scale - driven by an awareness of impending ecological catastrophe, life-threatening extremes of inequality, and escalating conflict over natural resources – is the subject of every dinner party and kitchen table conversation.
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