Then-Senator Lyndon Baines Johnson devised what has proven to be a brilliant strategy in which to silence and neuter America’s churches. His bill, which created the 501c3 tax-exempt corporation status for churches back in 1954, has, over the decades, effectively muted America’s pulpits. The vast majority of churches today are thoroughly and completely intimidated by the threat of losing their tax-exempt status under the 501c3 section of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC). As a result, the vast majority of pastors are unwilling to address virtually any issue from the pulpit that could be deemed as political.
Add to the fear of losing tax-exempt status the egregiously slavish interpretation of Romans 13–that Christians and churches must submit to civil government no matter what–and a very legitimate argument can be made that Mr. Johnson not only silenced and neutered America’s churches, but that he has, in effect, turned them into agents of the state. More and more, the federal government is using pastors and churches to promote its big-government agenda.
Most readers are familiar with how FEMA created a program called “Clergy Response Teams” several years ago. Under this program, tens of thousands of pastors were instructed on how to assist the federal government in the event of a “national emergency.” Pastors were encouraged to teach Bible lessons from Romans 13 in which church members were told that God instructs them to always submit to civil authority unconditionally. They were taught to encourage their congregants to turn in their firearms and to be willing to relocate to government-provided shelters if that is what the government told them to do. The last report I read noted that these Clergy Response Teams have been established in over 1,300 counties in the United States. For those readers who are even casually acquainted with history, is this straight out of the Nazi handbook, or what? Now we learn that churches are being used to help the federal government promote and sell Obamacare.
According to TheBlaze.com, “Community organizers are joining pastors across the country to educate and help parishioners sign up for Obamacare. The coordinated initiative, called ‘Health Care from the Pulpit,’ is being implemented by Enroll America, a non-profit with the goal of maximizing ‘the number of uninsured Americans who enroll in health coverage made available by the Affordable Care Act.’
“The program has already reached a number of churches across the nation. In Jacksonville, Fla, Pastor John Newman is among those who invited community organizers from the group to his church to talk about the cost of Obamacare and the enrollment process.
“During the event, Enroll America invited congregants to fill out cards with basic information about themselves or people they knew who might be in need of health care, WJXT-TV [Jacksonville, Florida] reports.
“‘Our pastor, he keeps us real informed and grounded in what’s going on in the community, and he’s always bringing stuff to help us, so I love him for that,’ said one parishioner named Michelle Fletcher.
“Enroll America knows that pastors are trusted members of the community, which is why churches are a focus for education and information on the health care law.
“Through ‘Health Care from the Pulpit,’ the organization is working with faith leaders to ensure that people hear about availability–and with a captive audience in the pews, the move makes logistical sense.
“‘Pastors are trusted messengers. They’ll be able to get the story across, they’ll be able to relate to that story and they’ll be able to ask people to enroll in health insurance,’ Enroll America organizer Anthony Penna told WJXT.
“From Oct. 25-27, the organization launched its pulpit program as part of the Get Covered America campaign. Enroll America pledged to help churches who wish to enroll congregants or provide people in the community with information and resources.
“A press release from Oct. 22 on the Get Covered America website further explains the purpose of the in-church events.
“‘The “Treat Yourself to Coverage Weekend” will also engage dozens of faith groups for the first nationwide push of “Health Care in the Pulpit,” GetCovered America’s faith engagement program,’ it reads. “Working with a diverse group of faith and lay leaders, Get Covered America will host over 50 events across the country to further engage the faith community in education about enrollment in the marketplace.”
“Other initiatives are bringing churches into the Obamacare fold as well. Dr. Michael Minor, pastor of Oak Hill Missionary Baptist Church in Hernando, Miss., was recently given a federal grant to help enroll individuals in the health care program.
“Through the $317,742 fund, Minor will work with Cover Mississippi, a cohort of advocacy groups organized by the Mississippi Health Advocacy Program. He has already put together a group of 75 to 100 ‘navigators’ (trainers) around the state to provide information and access to Obamacare. While his efforts are unaffiliated with Enroll America, they serve as another example of a church getting involved in the health care roll-out.”
Think about it: before a bill becomes law, pastors are forbidden to address it from the pulpit, because it would be “interfering in politics–a violation of the separation of church and state;” but after a bill becomes law it is now the obligation and duty of pastors to support (and promote) it, because it is now the Biblical thing to do, per Romans 13. Was Johnson a diabolical genius, or what?
By the way, I strongly urge readers to purchase the book on Romans 13 that was co-authored by me and my constitutional attorney son, entitled, “Romans 13: The True Meaning of Submission.” This book shatters the misinterpretation of Romans 13: that Christians are commanded by God to submit to the state no matter what. The Apostle Paul was not introducing a new topic in Romans 13–not at all. The subject is covered throughout the scriptures. This book needs to be read by every pastor and Christian in the country. Order Romans 13: The True Meaning of Submission here:
Or order my 4-message video series on “The True Meaning of Romans 13″(on one DVD)
In the same manner that the Nazi government co-opted the churches of Germany, the federal government in Washington, D.C., is co-opting the churches of America today. During the rise of the Third Reich, Germany’s pastors and churches were taught the same misinterpretation of Romans 13 that pastors and churches in America are now being taught. And in the same way that Hitler used Germany’s pastors and churches to promote his big-government socialist agenda, America’s pastors and churches today are being used to promote the big-government socialist agenda emanating from Washington, D.C. Mr. Bush used the churches to promote the FEMA Clergy Response Teams, and now Mr. Obama is using the churches to promote the federal government’s socialized health care system.
I remind readers that during the Hitler years, the vast majority of German pastors and churches enthusiastically embraced the Nazi agenda even to the point of flying Nazi flags and giving the Nazi salute during the worship services in Germany’s churches. But who among us remembers the names of any of these pathetic pastors? Yet, we do remember (as does history itself) the names of plucky pastors such as Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Martin Niemoller who led the spiritual opposition to Hitler’s encroachment into the church.
Instead of the federal government’s draconian “Clergy Response Teams,” we need to resurrect Bonhoeffer’s band of heroes, which was known as the “Pastors’ Emergency League.” This was a group of German pastors dedicated to resisting the Nazi agenda–especially inside the church. The creed of Bonhoeffer’s Pastors’ Emergency League was:
1. To renew their allegiance to the Scriptures.
2. To resist those who attack the Scriptures.
3. To give material and financial aid to those who suffered through repressive laws or violence.
4. To repudiate the Nazi cause.
Bonhoeffer’s Pastors’ Emergency League soon became a nationwide movement called, the “Confessing Church.” In his masterful book, “Hitler’s Cross,” Erwin Lutzer summarizes the creed of the Confessing Church as being, “No human sovereign should rule over the church; it must be under the Word of God to fulfill its role.” (Page134)
Lutzer also noted that the Confessing Church soon realized that “blind obedience, even in matters that belong to the state, might be a violation of the Christian mandate.” (Ibid)
Lutzer further wrote, “Many of our Christian heroes were lawbreakers. Whether it was John Bunyan, who sat in a Bedford jail for his preaching, Richard Wurmbrand, who was beaten for teaching the Bible in Communist Romania, Christians have always insisted that there is a law higher than that of the state.” (Ibid)
And, again, to quote Lutzer: “[I]f we say that we will always obey the state, the state becomes our God.” (Ibid)
The brave Bonhoeffer rightly said, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” He also said, “We are not to simply bandage the wounds of victims beneath the wheels of injustice, we are to drive a spoke into the
The names of the cowardly and compliant pastors who succumbed to Hitler’s ignominious intimidation are forever lost, while the names of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Martin Niemoller will live forever.
In fact, are not the vast majority of highly revered Hebrew and Christian heroes the ones who RESISTED the power of the state when it became tyrannical? From Abram who resisted the “kings of the nations;” to Gideon; to Samson; to Queen Esther; to the prophet Micaiah; to Daniel; to Shadrach Meshach, and Abednego; to Simon Peter, who told civil leaders, “We ought to obey God rather than men;” to William Tyndale; to John Hus; to John Wycliffe; to John Bunyan; to Savonarola; to Martin Luther; to Dietrich Bonhoeffer; and to Jonas Clark, the names history regards most fondly are the names of men who RESISTED the power of the state when it attempted to interfere with man’s duty and devotion to God.
However, what do we see today? We see pastors and churches once again becoming the pawns of evil men in government. Pastors are not so much messengers of God and watchmen on the wall as much as they are agents of the state. They are not so much shepherds who fight and give their lives for the sheep as much as they are facilitators of the wolves who seek to prey on the sheep. And in modern history, the seed of this compromise and complacency began in 1954 when Lyndon Johnson introduced the devilish 501c3 tax-exempt corporation status for churches.
I am absolutely convinced–now more than ever–that America will never experience any sort of spiritual awakening until pastors and Christians abandon the 501c3 government churches and repudiate the devilish doctrine of unlimited obedience to Caesar. Until we return the Church to its rightful owner, Jesus Christ, the tentacles of oppression and tyranny will continue to strangle our land and our liberties.
Cars on the Obamacare Express jumped the track and began piling up as soon as the Healthcare.gov website went live on Oct. 1, and the expected Obamacare train wreck continues to create its carnage.
Of course, the carnage is just beginning. Obamacare is a socialist death trap of graft and corruption. It was created by lobbyists for the medical industrial complex as a way of growing its consumer base with the guarantee of benefit payments from the Federal Treasury. It’s a redistributive system that steals from the producers in order to feed the corporatocracy.
Nothing about Obamacare is healthcare. It is simply medical tyranny created under the guise of political doublespeak. It sounds great to promise free or low-cost health insurance for everyone until people begin to learn the true cost of “free” government programs.
America’s healthcare system is a profit-driven, disease-oriented death system. It is a system of conflict of interest, tainted research, greed for money, deceived and pretentious doctors and scientists, lying, cheating, invasion by the morally bankrupt marketing automatons of the drug industry, greedy power-hungry politicians, and Federal and State regulators. It is all about money generated on the sick and the dying.
I will quickly give you a valid exception, and that is if one needs trauma care. It is generally and quickly available and most of the time life-saving. But this is a very small part of medical practice in America.
The sick care industry is not only profiting from the sick and dying; it is the greatest cause of sickness and premature death. And it is a U.S. government industry. It is sponsored and financed by the U.S. government. There would not be a single hospital in the United States without Federal funny money and the insurance business.
In fact, it’s very deceptive to call Obamacare socialized healthcare as Obamacare has nothing to do with healthcare. It’s just the opposite. It’s sickness care.
The Nazis had their gas chambers and America has “medical care,” which is the most sophisticated killing machine that demented minds can create.
Americans are mentally dependent on the “medical” brainwash. When our dumbed-down people hear the trigger word “medical care,” they go blind and hyperventilate. They do not know a scam from a sham.
The great debate going on is spurious in its entirety. There is no truth to be found in it. It’s a comedy. As the paper money regime collapses, the money creators are speeding up the printing presses in a desperate ploy to transfer the wealth of the American people before it becomes worthless anyway. It is disguised warfare against the American people.
It reminds one of the last days of the Nazi regime. As the cities were reduced to rubble, German citizens were being shot for “treason.” In the last days of any regime, the process of oppression of citizens is intensified.
In the United States, stepped-up oppression is being done under the cloak of benevolency called healthcare.
In fact, there is now very high risk in going to the hospital. Besides the hundreds of thousands of drug-induced deaths (iatrogenic deaths), there are people who check into hospitals and unexpectedly die of viral pneumonia that antibiotics can’t help. Tuberculosis has returned to America, including drug-resistant strains. Drug-resistant bacteria are rampant. One in 20 hospital patients now picks up an infection he didn’t have when he arrived. Even what appears to be the old common cold is lasting for months.
“There are about 2 million people who acquire infection from the hospital each year and become sick,” said Charlottesville, Va., infectious disease expert Barry Farr, M.D. “Most don’t die, but some do.” About 100,000 die each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Obamacare locks you into this system with no way out. Once the government is in the business of determining approved treatments and payments, alternative treatment regimens are prohibited. And failure to follow the prescribed treatment will result in fines or imprisonment. (This sort of medical tyranny has already manifested itself in the treatment of children’s ailments; see here and here for just two such examples.)
And it seems the Obamacare system permanently captures you as well. Those few who have managed to access the deeply flawed system have learned that deleting an account and the personal information entered is impossible.
And what is that information? Everything the government needs to know to confiscate your wealth from you completely in the event of noncompliance.
Everyone is forced to sign up for a system that is unavailable to them because of the failure of the Healthcare.gov website — which some computer experts believe was either designed to fail or built by a team of incompetent chimpanzees.
About 90 percent of those who tried to enroll say they were not able to get signed up. And of those, about 50,000 people who were able to get through in the system’s first 11 days, only about 1 percent have submitted enough information to be successfully enrolled, according to health industry executives.
Nationwide, there are 11.6 million people ages 18 to 34 who are uninsured, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Obamacare is a Ponzi scheme designed to sit on the backs of the young and healthy. But they aren’t interested in it once they learn their premium costs will run in the hundreds of dollars per month, deductibles are $5,000 or more per year and the copays are outrageously high.
The lack of support from young people is ominous. “The entire Rube Goldberg apparatus depends on young, healthy people signing up to cross-subsidize more expensive patients and prevent health plans from going into a death spiral in which premiums don’t cover claims,” said The Wall Street Journal. “Good luck getting millennials to sign up when plans aren’t merely more expensive but when the exchanges malfunction, or doctors don’t accept exchange coverage because someone checked the wrong box, or any number of myriad administrative problems.”
Yet despite all this and despite the fact that a vast majority of Americans want no part of it (hence, the mandate requiring everyone to sign up under penalty of fines and forfeiture of as-yet undetermined amounts of personal property), every effort to repeal or defund Obamacare has been backed by only a handful of non-statists and opposed by the regime and the statists who are more interested in control, power, pleasing the medical cartel and sapping Americans of their wealth and health than in doing what’s right for Americans and following the Constitution.
Source: Bob Livingston | Personal Liberty Digest
More than two-thousand years ago Hippocrates was the first physician to issue a word of caution about the over-use of medicines. Hippocrates invoked an oath to “first do no harm” before doctors reach for the latest nostrum.
In 1976 Austrian philosopher and Catholic priest Ivan Illich, in his book Medical Nemesis, launched what was then considered “the gravest health hazard we face today: our medical system.”
Illich was unforgiving. The first sentence in his text reads: “The medical establishment has become a major threat to health.” His second sentence: “The disabling impact of professional control over medicine has reached the proportions of an epidemic.” Readers needn’t have read another sentence but to obtain the details.
Illich went on to say: “The public has been alerted to the perplexity and uncertainty of the best among its hygienic caretakers…. the pioneers of yesterday’s so-called breakthroughs warn their patients against the dangers of the miracle cures they have only just invented.”
Illich didn’t suggest the public panic over this revelation but rather that public discussion ensue. Illich thought “the layman and not the physician has the potential perspective and effective power to stop the current iatrogenic (physician-caused) epidemic.”
Illich concluded that the misdirection of modern medicine “can be reversed only through a recovery of the will to self-care among the laity, and through the legal, political and institutional recognition of the right to care, which imposes limited upon the professional monopoly of physicians.”
That self-care revolution never happened. Ivan Illich’s urgent plea for the public to back away from “cut, burn and poison” medicine was not heeded. The practice of medicine has become more complex and more beyond the reach of the laity to understand it. Just run to the doctor for what ails you is the order of the day.
Confessions of a Medical Heretic
Then in 1979 came Dr. Robert S. Mendesohn’s memorable text: Confessions Of A Medical Heretic.”
It took a lot for Dr. Mendelsohn to become a medical heretic. He says he failed to be suspicious of oxygen therapy for prematurely born infants even when 90% of all low birth-weight infants became partially or totally blind (in less advanced hospitals where oxygen therapy was not practiced, the incident of blindness among preemies was ~10%).
He dutifully prescribed Terramycin for respiratory infections which was said to produce no side effects until it was realized this antibiotic did little for this type of infection and left thousands of children with yellow-green teeth and tetracycline deposits in their bones.
Dr. Mendelsohn confessed to his belief in the irradiation of tonsils under the mistaken assumption doses of radiation used were harmless. A decade later thyroid tumors were cropping up among those irradiated patients.
Over time Dr. Mendelsohn became a full-blown medical heretic. He said: “Despite all the super technology and elite bedside manner that’s supposed to make you feel about as well cared for as an astronaut on the way to the moon, the greatest danger to your health is the doctor who practices modern medicine.”
Mendelsohn went on to boldly say “that more than ninety percent of modern medicine could disappear from the face of the earth – doctors, hospitals, drugs and equipment – and the effect on our health would be immediate and beneficial.”
How prophetic Dr. Mendelsohn was. His words are so descriptive of the present predicament.
“If you make the mistake of going to the doctor with a cold or the flu, he’s liable to give you antibiotics, which are not only powerless against colds and flu but which leave you more likely to come down with worse problems.”
“If your child is a little too peppy for his teacher to handle, your doctor may go too far and turn him into a drug dependent.”
“If you’re foolish enough to make that yearly visit for a routine examination… the doctor’s very presence could raise your blood pressure enough so that you won’t go home empty handed. Another life ‘saved’ by antihypertensive drugs. Another sex life down the drain, since more impotence is caused by drug therapy than by psychological problems.”
Dr. Mendelson launched a war against modern medicine and said “you can tell when you’re winning this war when you influence those closest to you.”
That war has been lost. Most people who embrace natural medicine and shun doctors are outcasts in their own families.
Other books followed that cited the ongoing horrors of modern medicine:
1988: Medicine on Trial, by Charles B. Inlander.
1988: Worse Than The Disease, by Diana B. Dutton.
1992: Racketeering in Medicine, by James P. Carter, MD.
1993: Making Medicine, Making Money, by Donald Drake & Marian Uhlman.
1994: Bitter Medicine, by Jane Kassler, MD.
1994: Why I Left Orthodox Medicine, by Derrick Lonsdale, MD.
2007: Overtreated, by Shannon Brownlee.
2008: Overdosed America, John Abramson, MD.
2010: Overdiagnosed, H. Gilbert Welch, MD.
The result: only more caskets were being sold.
Does the Written Word Make an Impact Any Longer?
Does the written word change the course of humanity? Certainly the Bible has. Martin Luther’s 95 Theses did. But none of the texts cited above made even a dent in the “progress” of modern medicine’s assault against humanity.
A few years back someone cited these facts about book reading:
- One-third of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives.
- 58% of the US adult population never reads another book after high school.
- 42% of college graduates never read another book.
- 80% of US families did not buy or read a book last year.
- 70% of US adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years.
The pervasiveness of electronic methods of communication and the dissemination of propaganda and distorted reality of television has changed the course of history itself.
For example: “Television news” said the Gulf of Tonkin happened (no, there was never any North Vietnam boat that shot at a US Navy ship), but off to war America went against a tiny nation the size of the State of Georgia and a population of just 16 million against a country of 200 million with advanced military weapons. Vietnam won.
The news media helped to fabricate the public’s perception of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Investigators who dared to stray into what really went occurred on that November day in 1963 suddenly died.
And so too, American news media, whose boards of directors are often laced with executives of pharmaceutical and health insurance companies and hospital chains, continues to almost copy word-for-word press releases issued by the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control, Food & Drug Administration that serve as a front for the racketeering going on in medicine today.
For example, the 2009 flu epidemic was never an epidemic. It was all fabricated by the Centers for Disease Control to help sell flu vaccines.
Belittle the Competition
A secondary agenda is to use the news media to demean and belittle any competition posed by healthy diets or dietary supplements. Why promote a low-carbohydrate diet when the next prescription diet pill garners millions of advertising dollars for TV networks?
A spate of recent news reports are now scaring Americans away from vitamin and herbal supplements at a time when millions of Americans suffer from conditions that are simply nutrient deficiencies. It is an orchestrated effort against self-care.
CODEX, a regulatory body assembled by the United Nations and the World Health Organization, has just voted to water down vitamin requirements in foods, thus ensuring a certain level of disease to treat.
We Need Diseases to Create Jobs
Government sees the medical industry as a source of jobs as the population ages. Why cure or prevent any chronic age-related diseases when a certain level of disease is needed to maintain jobs? Health care costs are not deemed to be an expense but rather an industry that contributes to the Gross Domestic Product. In reality, it is a $3 trillion drag on the economy that has not produced greater life expectancy (US life expectancy ranks 27th out of 34 countries deemed to be economic peers). Life expectancy in some US counties is no better than some third-world countries.
The masses have little choice because they have no money. An estimated 53% of American workers make no more than $30,000 a year and the growth in part-time jobs is soaring above full-time employment. A $30,000 annual salary may have been adequate in 1980 but due to inflation one would have to make $85,000 to have the same purchasing power today. The people have no money to make choices outside those served up by the health insurance/ physician/ Big Pharma/ hospital chain cabal. Fascist (industry-controlled) medicine prevails.
For now, it’s every man for himself.
Source: Bill Sardi | LewRockwell.com
Protests in Brazil indicate what goes way, way beyond a cheap bus fare.
When, in late 2010, Dilma Rousseff was elected President after eight years of the impossibly popular Lula, a national narrative was already ingrained, stressing that Brazil was not the “country of the future” anymore; the future had arrived, and this was a global power in the making.
This was a country on overdrive – from securing the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics to a more imposing role as part of the BRICS group of emerging powers.
Not unlike China, Brazil was breathlessly exploiting natural resources – from its hinterland to parts of Africa – while betting heavily on large agribusiness mostly supplying, you guess it, China.
But above all Brazil fascinated the world by incarnating this political UFO; a benign, inclusive giant, on top of it benefitting from a lavish accumulation of soft power (music, football, beautiful beaches, beautiful women, endless partying).
The country was finally enjoying the benefits of a quarter of a century of participative democracy – and self-satisfied that for the past ten years Lula’s extensive social inclusion policies had lifted arguably 40 million Brazilians to middle class status. Racial discrimination at least had been tackled, with instances of the Brazilian version of affirmative action.
Yet this breakneck capitalist dream masked serious cracks. Locally there may be euphoria for becoming the sixth or seventh world economy, but still social exclusion was far from gone. Brazil remained one the most (deadly) unequal nations in the world, peppered with retrograde landowning oligarchies and some of the most rapacious, arrogant and ignorant elites on the planet – inevitable by-products of ghastly Portuguese colonialism.
Students take part in a demonstration at Praca da Se, in Sao Paulo, Brazil on June 18, 2013 (AFP Photo / Miguel Schincariol)
And then, once again, corruption raised its Hydra-like head. Here’s a first parallel with Turkey. In Brazil as in Turkey, participative democracy was co-opted, ignored or forcefully diluted among an orgy of “mega-projects” generating dubious profits for a select few. In Turkey it revolves around the ruling party AKP’s collusion with business interests in the “redevelopment” of Istanbul; in Brazil around public funds for the hosting of the World Cup and the Olympics.
The new capitalist dream could not mask that the quality of life in Brazil’s big cities seemed to be on a downward spiral; and that racism – especially in the police – never went away while the demonization of peasant and Native Brazilian leaders was rampant; after all they were obstructing the way of powerful agribusiness interests and the “mega-projects” craze.
What can a poor boy do
There’s no Turkey Spring – as there’s no Brazilian Spring. This isn’t Tunisia and Egypt. Both Turkey and Brazil are democracies – although Prime Minister Erdogan has clearly embarked on a polarizing strategy and an authoritarian drive. What links Turkey and Brazil is that irreversible pent-up resentment against institutional politics (and corruption) may be catalyzed by a relatively minor event.
In Turkey it was the destruction of Gezi park; in Brazil the ten-cent hike in public bus fares was the proverbial straw that broke the (white) elephant’s back. In both cases the institutional response was tear gas and rubber bullets. In Turkey the popular backlash spread to a few cities. In Brazil it went nationwide.
This goes way, way beyond a cheap bus ride – although the public transport scene in Brazil’s big cities would star in Dante’s ninth circle of hell. A manual worker, a student, a maid usually spend up to four hours a day back-and-forth in appalling conditions. And these are private transport rackets controlled by a small group of businessmen embedded with local politicians, who they obviously own.
Students protest in Sao Paulo, Brazil on June 18, 2013 (AFP Photo / Daniel Guimaraes)
Arguably the nationwide, mostly peaceful protests have scored a victory – as nine cities have decided to cancel the bus fare hike. But that’s just the beginning.
The mantra is true; Brazilians pay developed world taxes and in return get sub-Saharan Africa quality of service (no offense to Africa). The notion of “value for money” is non-existent. It gets even worse as the economic miracle is over. That magical “growth” was less than 1% in 2012, and only 0.6% in the first quarter of 2013. The immensely bloated state bureaucracy, the immensely appalling public infrastructure, virtually no investment in education as teachers barely get paid $300 a month, non-stop political corruption scandals, not to mention as many homicides a year as narco-purgatory Mexico – none of this is going away by magic.
Football passion apart – and this is a nation where everyone is either an expert footballer or an experienced coach – the vast majority of the population is very much aware the current Confederations Cup and the 2014 World Cup are monster FIFA rackets. As a columnist for the Brazilian arm of ESPN has coined it, “the Cup is theirs, but we pay the bills.”
Public opinion is very much aware the Feds played hardball to get the “mega-events” to Brazil and then promised rivers of “social” benefits in terms of services and urban development. None of that happened. Thus the collective feeling that “we’ve been robbed” – all over again, as anyone with a digital made in China calculator can compare this multi-billion dollar orgy of public funds for FIFA with pathetically little investment in health, education, transportation and social welfare. A banner in the Sao Paulo protests said it all;“Your son is ill? Take him to the arena.”
A demonstrator holds a Brazilian national flag during a protest turned violent, in downtown Rio de Janeiro on June 17, 2013 (AFP Photo / Christophe Simon)
Remember “Standing Man”
The neo-liberal gospel preached by the Washington consensus only values economic “growth” measured in GDP numbers. This is immensely misleading; it does not take into account everything from rising expectations for more participative democracy to abysmal inequality levels, as well as the despair of those trying to just survive (as in the orgy of expanded credit in Brazil leaving people to pay annual interest rates of over 200% on their credit cards).
So it takes a few uprooted trees in Istanbul and a more expensive shitty bus ride in Sao Paulo to hurl citizens of the “emerging markets” into the streets. No wonder the Brazilian protests left politicians – and “analysts” - perplexed and speechless. After all, once again this was people power – fueled by social media – against the 1%, not that dissimilar from protests in Spain, Portugal and Greece.
Unlike Erdogan in Turkey – who branded Twitter “a menace” and wants to criminalize social networking – to her credit Rousseff seems to have listened to the digital (and street) noise, saying on Tuesday that Brazil “woke up stronger” because of the protests.
The Brazilian protests are horizontal. Non-partisan; beyond party politics. No clear leaders. It’s a sort of Occupy Brazil – with a cross-section of high-school and college students, poor workers who struggle to pay their bus fare, vast swathes of the tax-swamped middle class who cannot afford private health insurance, even homeless people, who after all already live in the streets. Essentially, they want more democracy, less corruption, and to be respected as citizens, getting at least some value for their money in terms of public services.
The die is cast. Once again, it’s people power vs. institutional politics. Remember “Standing Man” in Taksim Square. The time to take a stand is now.
Pepe Escobar is the roving correspondent for Asia Times/Hong Kong, an analyst for RT and TomDispatch, and a frequent contributor to websites and radio shows ranging from the US to East Asia.
Government should not be in the business of mandating personal choices and government should never be allowed to legislate choices which should be reserved for parents with regard to their children’s health and welfare. The parents are sovereign over the welfare of their children, not the state.
In the name of increasing the corporate bottom line, the government watchdog industries of the DEA and FDA, as well as the office of the President, have become the willing lap dogs for Big Pharma and this unholy alliance is serving to endanger our children.
Big Pharma has gone to great lengths to increase sales to the youth of America either through chemically castrating our children’s brains or by producing drugs with very serious side effects which serve to seriously degrade both the brain and the body. Our children are being systematically destroyed by the pharmaceutical industry.
The Ritalin Conspiracy
Let’s make up a brain disorder, which parallels normal restlessness of children and then transform a dangerous drug, methamphetamine, and get as many kids on the drug as possible. It is good work if you can find it and pharmaceutical companies like Merck and Eli Lilly are leading the way in medical fraud and in the name of record corporate profits
The use of Ritalin has become so rampant, that even the DEA has become alarmed by the tremendous increase in the prescribing of these drugs in recent years. Since 1990, prescriptions for methylphenidate have increased by 500%, while prescriptions for amphetamine for the same purpose have increased 400%. The American Pediatric Association claims Ritalin is over prescribed by 600%.
For well over a decade, many scientists have speculated that ADD drugs are dangerous and can cause serious injury and death. Etta Brown, a licensed educational psychologist and author of Learning Disabilities: Understanding the Problem and Managing the Challenges explained in response to her study that drugs like Ritalin actually destroy the neural function in children’s brains. As a result, children who have undergone treatment with Ritalin will actually have a much more difficult time processing information and learning new things. This kind of defeats the purpose of getting children to sit still in school while placed in a zombified state.
Brown further reported that Ritalin is responsible for the development of a permanent tic in the face, neck, and head of many of the children who have taken or are taking it. Ironically, Ritalin is responsible for causing far more serious neurological damage than the problems it is alleged to treat. Meta analyses studies over the years have revealed that while drugs like Ritalin visibly place children into a trance like state, these drugs destroy the vulnerable, delicate and developing nervous systems which can and does permanently cripple their ability to function as normal human beings.
The Gardasil Conspiracy
Last year a bill sponsored by Toni G. Atkins, D-San Diego passed into California state law which places every child in danger in California. Atkins bill begs the question of who has the ultimate authority of the welfare of our children. Is it the state or is it the parents? Well, if you live in California, the nanny state purports to have the final say. The Atkins bill makes it legal for a school district or a doctor to medicate or inoculate a child without parental notification.
In an era when Gardasil has resulted in needless tragedy for over 40,000 children who have been vaccinated by well intentioned doctors who are ignorant of the side effects, we are now witnessing states like California mandating the forced inoculation of young girls with Gardasil.
What the medical establishment is not telling you is that thousands of girls are having adverse reactions to the HPV Vaccines, some have even died -at last count, at least 103 lives have been lost to Gardasil. This is a brilliant strategy being invoked by California. Let’s kill the girls, thus preventing them from having sex, thus, preventing STD’s.
You remember MERCK don’t you? They were the creator of the wonder death drug, Vioxx. This is the same Merck, who only after intense pressure from the medical community and the media decided to pull the dangerous drug, Vioxx, from the market after an estimated 140,000 adverse reactions had already occurred. And the pulling of Vioxx occurred only after a safety trial was stopped because there was an undeniable and increased risk for serious cardiovascular dangers such as heart attacks and strokes from using the drug.
Merck has been no less reckless in their administration of Gardasil as they were with Vioxx. First and foremost, Merck and the Food and Drug Administration’s clinical trials have been called into question for blatant fraud committed during the required FDA testing period. Both the control group and the experimental group, in the clinical trials, were given the aluminum adjuvant contained in the Gardasil. Control group and experimental group comparisons are done to ensure public safety from adverse side effects as much as possible. In this case, it would have be standard practice to provide the control group with a saline solution instead of the aluminum adjuvant in order to determine the risk posed by the adjuvant given to the experimental group. In failing to follow these research norms, Merck and the FDA have endangered the public health.
These research protocols violate every known tenant to proper research; it represents an air of unprofessionalism, not to mention criminal fraud, which clearly demonstrates collusion to commit fraud against the general public on behalf of Merck as sponsored by the FDA. In fact, Judicial Watch was forced to file a lawsuit under the Public Records Act in order to obtain the obfuscated side effect results as the FDA tried to cover up their own complicity in this research fraud by refusing to release the relevant documents.
Gardasil is marketed as a vaccine that prevents cancer, but the drug has not been evaluated for the potential to cause cancer or genotoxicity. Gardasil is a prophylactic, preventative vaccine and is of absolutely no value in the treatment of a pre-existing HPV infection. It is neither a cancer vaccine nor a cure; yet, the public has been led to believe that this is the case. The New England Journal of Medicine found that there remains no conclusive proof that Gardasil altered the course of HPV-16 or HPV-18 infection for which the patient was symptomatic prior to the administration of the first dose. In other words, this is fraud in the first degree.
Gardasil is the most costly vaccine ever to be approved by the FDA. However, its long-term effectiveness is not known and several estimates state that Gardasil’s life as a vaccine could be only two to three years. This opens up the distinct possibility that a Gardasil vaccinated child will require several booster shots which will undoubtedly increase the bottom line for Merck, but the risk for side-effects among the vaccinated could increase exponentially with each successive vaccination.
The VAERS reports show that as many as eighteen people have died after receiving Gardasil. The VAERS reports document identifies 38 reports of Guillain-Barre Syndrome among juvenile females who previously received the Gardasil vaccine. Guillain-Barre Syndrome is a catastrophic illness that attacks the nervous system which can and often does result in paralysis. Ironically, Gardasil is being developed against only four types of HPV. However, there is over 100 strains of HPV, 30 of which are transmitted sexually. Just what could have Governor Brown and Atkins been thinking?
Do you not think that this is the first time that this kind of dangerous medical fraud has been and will be visited upon your children for profit and political career advancement? Think again! The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that boys of the age of 11 to 12 years should be vaccinated with the vaccine against HPV with the Gardasil vaccination. Even my doctors are serving the Big Pharma agenda, as evidenced by the fact that my son’s former pediatrician relentlessly tried to give my then 11 year old son the Gardasil injection. When I presented the good doctor with some of the data contained in this report, he replied “your ideas are not contained within the mainstream of medicine.” Since when is scientific research required to reflect the mainstream of the Big Pharma agenda? The moral of this story is to fire your doctor and find a health care provider who is committed to the welfare of their patients.
The Teen Screen Conspiracy
On the surface, screening the mental health of children for suicidal tendencies is a noble idea worth pursuing. Yet, when the screening is mandated by the President of the United States and is done without the knowledge and consent of the parents of the children being tested, an eyebrow should be raised. When children, under this program can only be medicated with the most expensive psychiatric drugs which contain 2 to 20 times higher suicide rates and arecontraindicated for use by children, all of America should begin to dismantle this unholy marriage of the Police State and the pharmaceutical fraudsters.
There is an ongoing battle for the psychological health and welfare of America’s children and eventually all Americans, under the New Freedoms Commission (NFC), as it is the eventual intent to screen and treat, with mind numbing drug, all Americans for mental illness by using criteria designed to elicit false positives. The relatively new mind control programs have commenced with the intent of compelling the mental health testing of all 52 million school children and the 6.5 million adults who walk through doors of every school in America on any given weekday. Acting under the authority of the NFC, all 50 states are mandated to implement compulsory mental health screening. The screening exams are to be administered in kindergarten, fourth and ninth grade. The screening program requires no parental notification and carries the force of law and this program continues unabated to this day. As is the case with vaccinations, the diagnosis and treatment, under the mind control policies of the Bush and Obama administrations will eventually be universal because of an executive order signed by Bush upon taking office!
Teen Screen, created by Laurie Flynn, arose out of the expressed desire of the NFC to test all American school children for suicidal tendencies. There are several problems with this screening instrument. For example, the screening device has a high rate of false positives. The rigor (e.g., measure of reliability and validity, utilization of genuinely representative population samples used in the norming process) of the screening mechanics have also been called into question. Additionally, Teen Screen allows for the use of unsupervised nonprofessionals to both administer and interpret the screening instrument. In an effort to cover their malpractice behinds, Teen Screen is careful to state that the program is not a substitute for clinical evaluation, but they act as a substitute for clinical evaluation. Remember, freedom is slavery, war is peace, and being drugged on medication which will damage a developing brain is exciting in this version of pharmaceutical 1984.
Despite its self-proclaimed message that Teen Screen has a wonderful diagnostic tool from which to predict suicidal behavior resulting from depression, Teen Screen states that the instrument is not a diagnostic tool. If you had to reread the previous four sentences in order to try to make sense out Teen Screen’s, “doublespeak,” you are not alone. Although the diagnostic tool is not heralded as a clinical tool, the schools which use the Teen Screen tool can still label the child as being emotionally disturbed and this label can follow this child for the rest of their life. Further, school-initiated treatment protocols can be triggered as a result of the findings. Recent research demonstrates that Teen Screen is on the rise and is promoting the most dangerous psychotropic drugs. In fact, according the National Institute of Health, psychotropic drugs should only be given to children only under the most dire set of circumstances.
Teen Screen Penetration
Teen Screen is now in almost every state.
The diagnostic instrument devised by Teen Screen produced a false positive rate of 84% in comparison with other tried and tested diagnostic instruments. Here is an example of a typical Teen Screen diagnostic question:
Teen Screen Diagnostics
When at a party, have you ever felt lonely or misunderstood?
Of course the average person would answer in the affirmative. However, in Teen Screen speak, you would be diagnosed with social phobic disorder and possibly a mild case of depression. And what prize do children win when they volunteer to misdiagnosed 84% of the time? The win access to the world of psychotropic drugs in which even The National Institute of Health even states that the use of psychotropic drugs is contraindicated for young, developing minds and they do permanent damage. And just as devastating, when these children receive their false positive diagnosis, their ability to obtain health insurance down the road is severely impaired.
Teen Screen, just as it is with Gardasil, is a scam designed to get the children hooked on psychotropic drugs through the use of a bogus screening instrument and it was done without parental notification and permission in the same manner being implemented in California.
Everyone Has a Price
Undoubtedly, school districts will be provided incentives as they do in the Teen Screen scam as another Big Pharma giant, Eli Lilly, is attempting to entice every school district in the country to test pre-teens and teens for suicidal depression.
As was the case with Teen Screen, your children will be bribed with movie tickets and coupons for pizza in order to get them to line up for their Gardasil vaccination. And of course, as was the case with Governor Brown and Gardasil, the government lent their support to the TeenScreen effort as well when President George W. Bush issued an executive order which sanctioned this insanity. Bush, Brown and every other Gardasil endorsing politician drink from the same troth and your children need you to protect them from people and organizations such as these.
Unfortunately, Merck has its long financial arm in many state legislatures and soon every child in the country, both boys and girls, is going to be at risk thanks to this unholy partnership between the school districts, Merck and the politicians who are all too eager to curry favor from this pharmaceutical giant.
Everyone of these drugs has debilitating side effects on children’s brains and on their bodies
Your children are not the property of Eli Lilly, Merck, Governor Brown or any of the other political prostitutes. Your children look to you, their parents, to protect them from evil 1% such as the ones discussed here.
Occupy Big Pharma
Perhaps what we need to do in order to best protect our children is to begin an “Occupy Big Pharma” movement. Until that day arrives, and in the meantime, what will you do when the Gardasil fraud debuts in your community? I can unequivocally state that organizations like Teen Screen and the Big Pharma will never get their hands on my 12 year old son. Not now, not ever! Can you say the same for your child?
For the good of your children, distribute this article to your family, friends, neighbors, local school board members as well as your elected representatives. And at the end of the day, pray to almighty God that he will guard our children from the purveyors of Gardasil, Ritalin and the use of psychotropic drugs of Teen Screen.
Source: Dave Hodges - thecommonsenseshow.com
NEWS RELEASE – (Mayflower, AR) – Green Fields Renewal, a partner company for Rebuild America, today issued a statement on the disaster. The statement urged all parties to focus on the core issues. These, the statement said, are to ensure the long term survival of residents and to clean up the spill, minimizing damage which continues to spread.
Melinda Pillsbury-Foster, an officer of Green Fields, said, “While much attention has been given to organizing a class action law suit, the sad fact is that given the history of Exxon for the last two generations, many of the people involved could be dead before a dime is ever paid for resident’s health by Exxon. This kind of irresponsibility can no longer be tolerated.”
The statement continued, “Instead, we propose Exxon offer to relocate ALL impacted families and individuals whose homes may now be dangerous to health to new homes. For Exxon, this cost is minimal for a spill of this magnitude. For the people it might literally be life and death. Exposure to toxic Tar Sands can become a death sentence, which Exxon well knows. People in Mayflower are already struggling with health issues, bewildered, and desperate for answers.
CNN reported, few of the over 10,000 who helped clean up the Exxon Valdez Spill almost 25 years ago are alive today and Exxon has still failed to pay all of the ordered reparations. We cannot permit this to happen again.
We can make this the turning point for America, rejecting the systemic irresponsibility of corporations like Exxon, establishing accountability for oil companies to ensure that people are not dying to improve their profits.”
Pillsbury-Foster closed her comments urging people to go to their website, read it, and take action in conjunction with David Lincoln, who is on the ground in Mayflower to provide coordination. Dave can be reached by phone to 870-321-0251 and by email to email@example.com.
We propose a negotiated settlement using a Qualified Settlement Trust. This works to help you limit the damage done to you and your family so you can move on with your lives, while at the same time creating a precedent which will protect others in the future.
When citizens are affected by large pollution events, such as a pipeline spill, they are often left little recourse to ensure compensatory damages for their losses. A Qualified Settlement Trust is a tool used in negotiating an appropriate and long-term model to assist community members who have been impacted.
The fund is established under §468B of the Internal Revenue Code. This Code section permits Exxon to deposit money or property into a trust and receive a full and complete release of liability. Once the funds are deposited, Exxon is entitled to a current deduction from income tax for the amount paid into the fund.
A QST provides a way for the entire community to stand together and be secured. Individuals can still retain legal counsel; this could bring a fair and just reaction from Exxon or the court systems in the event that Exxon does not fulfill their obligations.
This takes into account the well documented history of Exxon and other oil companies for delay and intimidation of those impacted.
Otherwise, the strategy Exxon and other oil companies follow is ruthless, and intended to avoid creating any precedent for alleviating the problems created or assisting those harmed.
This approach protects you, and everyone in your community. To learn more, talk to Dave, and sign up, go to OUR GOALS
Our proposal for you is to rebuild your homes outside the impacted area, but still within your community, to remove you permanently from the danger zone.
As part of the restitution for what you have already suffered, and for impacting your lives and health, we propose those homes be entirely paid for by Exxon and built to allow you to focus less on the problems you will still face, and more on ensuring your health and the health of your families is not further impacted.
Moving the subdivision should include everyone, both owners who are resident and renters. Owners who were not resident should be paid the full price for the loss of the house because all of the homes in the subdivision have been permeated with toxic fumes and are no longer safe for habitation.
Follow-Up Health Insurance
All who have been impacted, including clean-up personnel, should receive no cost to them coverage for twenty years, again paid for by Exxon along with heath professionals to provide assessments on an ongoing basis.
The land and water remain impacted. We propose Exxon do a thorough clean-up using the technologies now in use in other parts of the world for exactly these problems. This technology leaves the land and water clean and fertile in a far shorter period of time and helps avoid the problems which are already occurring as the waste seeps into other areas downstream.
This proposal would cost Exxon far less than litigation – but would create the precedent for accountability all of us need. You can ensure this happens, benefiting yourselves and all Americans – if you stand firm.
We will provide multiple forms of documentation, proving the point, to you and to the media directly through this site.
Today, you face years of health risks. Many have died of exactly what you face today.
There are many forms of government subsidies. Ambitious politicians ingeniously design schemes to expand their power and repay their donor patrons. Opportunist corporate enterprises beg for favor to fund projects or guaranteed loans. The role of government venture capitalism has produced a much-sordid record for the taxpayer. The sheer concept of picking winners and losers is a pure political play that defies pragmatic prudence. In spite of this, actuality, the rush to squander public money is one of the few growth industries. The pitiful results of the predictable bankruptcy are the common fate of this flawed business model.
The latest outrage has Buyers Circle Around Ailing Fisker Automotive. Yet, some critics of this assessment would have you believe that Fisker Automotive is in a sharp contrast to competitor Tesla Motors.
“But the fact that potential buyers are from China is already raising alarms about Fisker, which raised $1.2 billion in venture capital and spent about $192 million in federal loans to build a factory. “Technology developed with American taxpayer subsidies should not be sold off to China,” Republican senator Charles Grassley told Bloomberg. He compared it to the acquisition of A123 Systems by China-based auto parts company Wanxiang Group.
By contrast, Tesla Motors, which also received a DOE loan to build its factory, is crossing into higher volume production. Yesterday, Tesla announced that it expects to be profitable this quarter and is making its Model S at a rate of 400 a month, which will allow it to hit its annual target and meet demand for the electric sedan. (See, Tesla’s Explosive Revenue Suggests a Bright Future.)
One crucial difference between Tesla and Fisker, which is well known for its bold designs, has been Tesla’s manufacturing expertise. Fisker may well still go public and be a successful EV supplier. But for energy-related startups to go the route of Tesla rather than Fisker, they’ll need innovative technology, access to capital, supportive policies, and great business execution.”
The Obama environmental cult would argue that it is largely appropriate to spend public resources to fund private technological businesses. Some will be successful while others will fail. However, the partnership role with government in this new state/capitalist prototype is necessary to achieve the greater good of a fossil free ecosystem. Expensive cars, not designed for the commuter, are now joint venture public finance missions, in order to curtail gas fumes.
Henry Ford is rolling in his grave and Enzo Ferrari is searching for the electric switch.
The notorious “Green” sector has vivid examples of bribery, theft, incompetence and high-priced inefficient technology. The Foundry publishes a most informative list ofPresident Obama’s Taxpayer-Backed Green Energy Failures. “So far, 34 companies that were offered federal support from taxpayers are faltering — either having gone bankrupt or laying off workers or heading for bankruptcy.” Examine the specific site links for expanded details.
|1. Evergreen Solar ($25 million)*||12. Abound Solar ($400 million)*||23. Thompson River Power ($6.5 million)*|
|2. SpectraWatt ($500,000)*||13. A123 Systems ($279 million)*||24. Stirling Energy Systems ($7 million)*|
|3. Solyndra ($535 million)*||14. Willard and Kelsey Solar Group ($700,981)*||25. Azure Dynamics ($5.4 million)*|
|4. Beacon Power ($43 million)*||15. Johnson Controls ($299 million)||26. GreenVolts ($500,000)|
|5. Nevada Geothermal ($98.5 million)||16. Brightsource ($1.6 billion)||27. Vestas ($50 million)|
|6. SunPower ($1.2 billion)||17. ECOtality ($126.2 million)||28. LG Chem’s subsidiary Compact Power ($151 million)|
|7. First Solar ($1.46 billion)||18. Raser Technologies ($33 million)*||29. Nordic Windpower ($16 million)*|
|8. Babcock and Brown ($178 million)||19. Energy Conversion Devices ($13.3 million)||30. Navistar ($39 million)|
|9. EnerDel’s subsidiary Ener1 ($118.5 million)*||20. Mountain Plaza, Inc. ($2 million)*||31. Satcon ($3 million)*|
|10. Amonix ($5.9 million)||21. Olsen’s Crop Service and Olsen’s Mills Acquisition Company ($10 million)*||32. Konarka Technologies Inc. ($20 million)*|
|11. Fisker Automotive ($529 million)||22. Range Fuels ($80 million)*||33. Mascoma Corp. ($100 million)|
Now expand the creativity of the subsidy culture to the bankruptcy constituency. The report, Union That Bankrupted Hostess to Receive Generous Government Subsidies, will push you over the edge.
“Last year, the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union refused to accept concessions that would have kept Hostess in business. The company had tried to cut costs as it faced high labor expenses, rising ingredient costs, and decreasing sales. The Teamsters union accepted the concessions, but the Bakery union would not, choosing to strike. Unable to continue operating, Hostess filed for bankruptcy.
Now those who helped bring down an American icon will receive generous, taxpayer-funded benefits from the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program. These generous benefits come in addition to existing unemployment insurance, job placement, and job training programs. TAA benefits include:
• Up to two years of job training in an approved training program,
• Up to 52 weeks of Trade Readjustment Allowances for workers in job training,
• Job search and relocation allowances,
• A refundable “health care tax credit” that covers 65 percent of a worker’s health insurance premiums in qualifying health plans, and
• A two-year wage insurance program that partly replaces workers’ earnings if they accept lower-paying jobs.”
The civic grant philosophy is not just for corporatists. Union goons prefer that their rank in file lose their livelihood, so that they can enjoy the welfare stipends of the state-run insolvent society. The prospects of a Mandarin logo on a Fisker vehicle are hardly on the same scale of transferring innovative technology to Cantonese creditors. However, the common practice of squandering national treasure for dubious purposes seems to be the primary product of the political careerists.
Leave it to the progressives over at The American Prospect, for an unintended analogy, in the essay The Twinkie Defense - the unions made us do it. “Hostess Brands is classic case of private equity engineers and executives looting a viable company, loading it up with debt, and then asking the employees to make up the difference.”
Regretfully, but with no remorse; the political class plays the role of private equity engineers, as the government plunders our economy, through crony spending and swelling of the debt, while saddling the taxpayer with the bill.
The mainstream media covered the inauguration of Barack Obama with breathless anticipation on Monday, but should we really be celebrating another four years of Obama? The truth is that the first four years of Obama were an absolute train wreck for the U.S. economy. Over the past four years, the percentage of working age Americans with a job has fallen, median household income has declined by more than $4000, poverty in the U.S. has absolutely exploded and our national debt has ballooned to ridiculous proportions. Of course all of the blame for the nightmarish performance of the economy should not go to Obama alone. Certainly much of what we are experiencing today is the direct result of decades of very foolish decisions by Congress and previous presidential administrations. And of course the Federal Reserve has more influence over the economy than anyone else does. But Barack Obama steadfastly refuses to criticize anything that the Federal Reserve has done and he even nominated Ben Bernanke for another term as Fed Chairman despite his horrific track record of failure, so at a minimum Barack Obama must be considered to be complicit in the Fed’s very foolish policies. Despite what the Obama administration tells us, the U.S. economy has been in decline for a very long time, and that decline has accelerated in many ways over the past four years. Just consider the statistics that I have compiled below. The following are 37 statistics which show how four years of Obama have wrecked the U.S. economy…
1. During Obama’s first term, the number of Americans on food stamps increased by an average of about 11,000 per day.
3. According to one calculation, the number of Americans on food stamps now exceeds the combined populations of “Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.”
4. The number of Americans receiving money directly from the federal government each month has grown from 94 million in the year 2000 tomore than 128 million today.
5. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 146 million Americans are either “poor” or “low income” at this point.
6. The unemployment rate in the United States is exactly where it was (7.8 percent) when Barack Obama first entered the White House in January 2009.
8. During the first four years of Obama, the number of Americans “not in the labor force” soared by an astounding 8,332,000. That far exceeds any previous four year total.
9. During Obama’s first term, the number of Americans collecting federal disability insurance rose by more than 18 percent.
10. The Obama years have been absolutely devastating for small businesses in America. According to economist Tim Kane, the following is how the number of startup jobs per 1000 Americans breaks down by presidential administration…
Bush Sr.: 11.3
Bush Jr.: 10.8
11. Median household income in America has fallen for four consecutive years. Overall, it has declined by over $4000 during that time span.
12. The economy is not producing nearly enough jobs for the hordes of young people now entering the workforce. Approximately 53 percentof all U.S. college graduates under the age of 25 were either unemployed or underemployed in 2011.
13. According to a report from the National Employment Law Project, 58 percent of the jobs that have been created since the end of the recession have been low paying jobs.
14. Back in 2007, about 28 percent of all working families were considered to be among “the working poor”. Today, that number is up to 32 percent even though our politicians tell us that the economy is supposedly recovering.
15. According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, only 24.6 percent of all of the jobs in the United States are “good jobs” at this point.
16. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the middle class is taking home a smaller share of the overall income pie than has ever been recorded before.
17. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the United States is losinghalf a million jobs to China every single year.
18. The United States has fallen in the global economic competitiveness rankings compiled by the World Economic Forum for four years in a row.
19. According to the World Bank, U.S. GDP accounted for 31.8 percentof all global economic activity in 2001. That number declined steadily over the course of the next decade and was only at 21.6 percent in 2011.
20. The United States actually has plenty of oil and we should not have to import oil from the Middle East. We need to drill for more oil, but Obama has been very hesitant to do that. Under Bill Clinton, the number of drilling permits approved rose by 58 percent. Under George W. Bush, the number of drilling permits approved rose by 116 percent. Under Barack Obama, the number of drilling permits approved actuallydecreased by 36 percent.
21. When Barack Obama took office, the average price of a gallon of gasoline was $1.84. Today, the average price of a gallon of gasoline is$3.26.
22. Under Barack Obama, the United States has lost more than 300,000 education jobs.
24. Families that have a head of household under the age of 30 now have a poverty rate of 37 percent.
25. More than three times as many new homes were sold in the United States in 2005 as were sold in 2012.
26. Electricity bills in the United States have risen faster than the overall rate of inflation for five years in a row.
27. Health insurance costs have risen by 29 percent since Barack Obama became president.
28. Today, 77 percent of all Americans live paycheck to paycheck at least part of the time.
29. It is being projected that Obamacare will add 16 million more Americans to the Medicaid rolls.
30. The total amount of money that the federal government gives directly to the American people has grown by 32 percent since Barack Obama became president.
31. The Obama administration has been spending money on some of the most insane things imaginable. For example, in 2011 the Obama administration spent $592,527 on a study that sought to figure out once and for all why chimpanzees throw poop.
32. U.S. taxpayers spend more than 20 times as much on the Obamas as British taxpayers spend on the royal family.
33. The U.S. government has run a budget deficit of well over a trillion dollars every single year under Barack Obama.
35. During Obama’s first term, the federal government accumulated more debt than it did under the first 42 U.S presidents combined.
36. As I wrote about yesterday, when you break it down the amount of new debt accumulated by the U.S. government during Obama’s first term comes to approximately $50,521 for every single household in the United States. Are you ready to contribute your share?
37. If you started paying off just the new debt that the U.S. has accumulated during the Obama administration at the rate of one dollar per second, it would take more than 184,000 years to pay it off.
But despite all of these numbers, the mainstream media and the left just continue to shower Barack Obama with worship and praise. Newsweek recently heralded Obama’s second term as “The Second Coming“, and at Obama’s pre-inauguration church service Reverand Ronald Braxton openly compared Obama to Moses…
At Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church, Braxton reportedly crafted his speech around Obama’s personal political slogan: “Forward!”
Obama, said Braxton, was just like Moses facing the Red Sea: “forward is the only option … The people couldn’t turn around. The only thing that they could do was to go forward.” Obama, said Braxton, would have to overcome all obstacles – like opposition from Republicans, presumably, or the bounds of the Constitution. Braxton continued, “Mr. President, stand on the rock,” citing to Moses standing on Mount Horeb as his people camped outside the land of Israel.
But it wasn’t enough to compare Obama with the founder of Judaism and the prophet of the Bible. Braxton added that Obama’s opponents were like the Biblical enemies of Moses, and that Obama would have to enter the battle because “sometimes enemies insist on doing it the hard way.”
So what do you think the next four years of Obama will bring?
Source: The Economic Collapse
If someone were to ask you for an example of a “totalitarian society”, how would you respond? Most Americans would probably think of horribly repressive regimes such as the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, Communist China, East Germany or North Korea, but the truth is that there is one society that has far more rules and regulations than any of those societies ever dreamed of having. In the United States today, our lives are governed by literally millions of laws, rules and regulations that govern even the smallest details of our lives, and more laws, rules and regulations are constantly being added. On January 1st, thousands of restrictive new laws went into effect all over America, but most Americans have become so accustomed to the matrix of control that has been constructed all around them that it does not even bother them when even more rules and regulations are put into place. In fact, a growing number of Americans have become totally convinced that “freedom” and “liberty” must be tightly restricted for the good of society and that “the free market” is inherently dangerous. On the national, state and local levels, Americans continue to elect elitist control freaks that are very eager to tell all the rest of us how to run virtually every aspect of our lives.
According to Merriam-Webster, the following is one of the ways that the word “totalitarian” is defined: “of or relating to a political regime based on subordination of the individual to the state and strict control of all aspects of the life and productive capacity of the nation especially by coercive measures”. And that is exactly what we are witnessing in America today – nearly all aspects of our lives and of the economy are very tightly controlled by a bunch of control freaks that just keep tightening that control with each passing year. We still like to call ourselves “the land of the free”, but the truth is that we are being transformed into a totalitarian society unlike anything the world has ever seen before. Where will we end up eventually if we keep going down this road?
If you still believe that America is “free”, just consider some of the things that are illegal in America today…
-Starting on January 1st, it is now illegal to make or import 75 watt incandescent light bulbs anywhere in the United States.
-In Oregon, it is illegal to collect rainwater that falls on your own property.
-In New Jersey, it is illegal to have an “unrestrained” cat or dog in your vehicle while you are driving.
-If you milk your cow and sell some of the milk to your neighbor, you could end up having your home raided by federal agents.
-In Miami Beach, Florida you must recycle your trash properly or face huge fines.
-All over the United States, cops are shutting down lemonade stands run by children because they don’t have the proper “permits”.
-Down in Tulsa, Oklahoma one unemployed woman had her survival garden brutally ripped out and carted away by government thugs because it did not conform to regulations.
-Over in Massachusetts, all children in daycare centers are mandated by state law to brush their teeth after lunch. In fact, the state even provides the fluoride toothpaste for the children.
-At one public school down in Texas, a 12-year-old girl named Sarah Bustamantes was arrested for spraying herself with perfume.
-A 13-year-old student at a school in Albuquerque, New Mexico was arrested by police for burping in class.
-All over the United States cities have passed laws that actually make it illegal to feed the homeless.
With each passing year, the number of decisions that we are allowed to make for ourselves gets smaller and smaller.
This includes some really fundamental things such as basic health decisions.
For example, the CDC will soon be recommending that nearly every single American be vaccinated for the flu every single year. The following is from a recent Natural News article…
An advisory panel to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended that every person be vaccinated for the seasonal flu yearly, except in a few cases where the vaccine is known to be unsafe.
“Now no one should say ‘Should I or shouldn’t I?’” said CDC flu specialist Anthony Fiore.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted 11-0 with one abstention to recommend yearly flu vaccination for everyone except for children under the age of six months, whose immune systems have not yet developed enough for vaccination to be safe, and people with egg allergies or other health conditions that are known to make flu vaccines hazardous.
These “recommendations” are often made into mandatory requirements by school districts and employers all over the country. Will employers all over the nation soon require all of their employees to take these vaccines each year based on these CDC “recommendations”? This is already happening in the healthcare field. Hundreds of healthcare professionals all over the nation are being firedfor refusing to take certain vaccines. It doesn’t matter that there is atremendous amount of evidence that many of these vaccines are dangerous. Many health professionals today are being faced with the choice of either submitting to the “recommendations” of the “experts” or losing their jobs.
We see this kind of “creeping totalitarianism” in the business world as well. As I have written about previously, small businesses all over the country are being absolutely suffocated by mountains of laws, rules and regulations.
One of the biggest changes that small businesses will be dealing with in the next couple of years is Obamacare. Many small businesses have been cutting back hours in an attempt to get around the new requirements contained in Obamacare. The following is one example from a news story that was published earlier this week…
Around 100 local Wendy’s workers have learned their hours are being cut. A spokesperson says a new health care law is to blame.
“Thirty-six to 37 hours a week.” That’s how many hours T.J. Growbeck works at the 84th and Giles Wendy’s restaurant. The money he earns helps him pay for the basics, but that’s not the case for all his co-workers. “There are some people doing it trying to get by.”
The company has announced that all non-management positions will have their hours reduced to 28 a week. Gary Burdette, Vice President of Operations for the local franchise, says the cuts are coming because the new Affordable Health Care Act requires employers to offer health insurance to employees working 32-38 hours a week. Under the current law they are not considered full time and that as a small business owner, he can’t afford to stay in operation and pay for everyone’s health insurance.
But the IRS has announced that it is going to make it very hard for employers to avoid these new Obamacare regulations. According to new IRS rules, all firms that “have at least 50 full-time employees or an equivalent combination of full-time and part-time employees” will be required to provide healthcare for their employees and their dependents. The following is from a recent New York Times article…
Under the rules, employers must offer coverage to employees in 2014 and must offer coverage to dependents as well, starting in 2015.
The new rules apply to employers that have at least 50 full-time employees or an equivalent combination of full-time and part-time employees. A full-time employee is a person employed on average at least 30 hours a week. And 100 half-time employees are considered equivalent to 50 full-time employees.
Thus, the government said, an employer will be subject to the new requirement if it has 40 full-time employees working 30 hours a week and 20 half-time employees working 15 hours a week.
So conceivably an employer could have only part-time employees and still be required to provide healthcare coverage under Obamacare.
Of course many small businesses will not be able to afford to do this, so expect to see a significant number of them shut down or to try to survive with skeleton crews in 2014 and 2015.
As the number of laws, rules and regulations that govern our lives continues to multiply, the control freaks that run things will continue to try to use technology to watch us all and make sure that we are obeying their rules.
One way that they are doing this is with automated traffic cameras. Of course much of the time the performance of these cameras is terribly flawed. Just consider the following example which recently appeared in the Baltimore Sun…
The Baltimore City speed camera ticket alleged that the four-door Mazda wagon was going 38 miles per hour in a 25-mph zone — and that owner Daniel Doty owed $40 for the infraction.
But the Mazda wasn’t speeding.
It wasn’t even moving.
The two photos printed on the citation as evidence of speeding show the car was idling at a red light with its brake lights illuminated. A three-second video clip also offered as evidence shows the car motionless, as traffic flows by on a cross street.
But even though technology sometimes fails, the control freaks that run things seem absolutely obsessed with using it to monitor us. After all, there are so many of us and watching all of us is a very big job.
For example, did you know that listening devices are being installed on public buses all over the United States? The following is from a recent Wired article…
Transit authorities in cities across the country are quietly installing microphone-enabled surveillance systems on public buses that would give them the ability to record and store private conversations, according to documents obtained by a news outlet.
The systems are being installed in San Francisco, Baltimore, and other cities with funding from the Department of Homeland Security in some cases, according to the Daily, which obtained copies of contracts, procurement requests, specs and other documents.
According to the article, some of these systems are incredibly advanced and pair the audio that is being recorded with video that is being taken at the same time…
In Eugene, Oregon, the Daily found, transit officials requested microphones that would be capable of “distilling clear conversations from the background noise of other voices, wind, traffic, windshields wipers and engines” and also wanted at least five audio channels spread across each bus that would be “paired with one or more camera images and recorded synchronously with the video for simultaneous playback.”
But that is just one example of how the surveillance of the American people is rapidly growing. For many more examples, please see my previous article entitled “29 Signs That The Elite Are Transforming Society Into A Total Domination Control Grid“.
If America continues down the path that it is on right now, the United States will eventually be transformed into a “Big Brother society” that is far more restrictive than anything George Orwell ever dreamed of.
We need a fundamental cultural revolution in this nation. We need a revival of the principals of liberty and freedom that were so important during the founding days of this country. We need to teach people that even though liberty and freedom may be unpredictable at times, such an environment is greatly preferable to a society where all of our decisions are made for us by a tiny elite.
Please share this article with as many people as you can. Time is running out, and we need to wake up as many as we can while there is still time.
Source: The American Dream
The California Public Employees’ Retirement System lives in the rarified air where financial magic somehow materializes to pay for their irrational exuberant pensions. When the drug high is over, the real world requires a harsh penalty for ebullient irresponsibility. The Chicago Tribune reports:
“San Bernardino, a city of 210,000 about 60 miles east of Los Angeles, filed for bankruptcy protection on August 1. Since then, it has halted its bi-weekly, $1.2 million payment to Calpers, saying it wants to defer any payments to the fund until fiscal year 2013-2014. Calpers says the city is already $6.9 million in arrears since August 1.
The San Bernardino bankruptcy is fast emerging as a precedent-setting case over how creditors, especially Wall Street bondholders and insurers, are treated in a municipal bankruptcy, because never before has a city seeking bankruptcy halted payments to Calpers or threatened its historical primacy as a creditor.
Under Californian state law, the contract between Calpers and debtor cities is viewed as inviolate and has been treated as such by state courts. Unlike Calpers, other creditors have historically been forced to renegotiate or forgive debt to debtor cities.”
The concept of an inviolate obligation tied to public employee retirement payouts is asacred cow that needs purging from law and, more importantly from populace endorsement.
Notwithstanding, expressing such supportive government orthodoxy, that bastion of objective news as reported by the Sacramento Bee, writes on the pro taxation argument of Jerry Brown: California tax vote start of national tax hike sweep.
“Revenue means taxes, and certainly those who have been blessed the most, who have disproportionately extracted, by whatever skill, more and more from the national wealth, they’re going to have to share more of that.”
The Democratic governor’s remarks follow passage last week of Proposition 30, his initiative to raise the state sales tax and income taxes on California’s highest earners.
According to Governor Brown the expanded role for government programs and, by inference, public employee unions, is never ending. Just ask the taxpayers who live in San Bernardino if they are paying enough. Next, ask the municipal bond creditors, who stand to lose significant capital from the forthcoming bankruptcy.
Defining the extent of the self-inflicted injury, California: Anatomy of an exploding government obligation, reveals an alarming example of the cold hard truth why the state is financially broke.
“A promise to pay a retiree’s health care coverage is essentially a kind of defined benefit plan, in which government pledges to cover a certain percentage of the cost of health insurance regardless of how much money it has actually set aside for this benefit. As the State Budget Task Force’s recent report on California explains, right now workers covered in California by this retirement benefit are earning credits that should be financed to the tune of $4.7 billion a year, if California is going to have enough money to pay off this obligation over the years.
But instead of pre-funding the benefit, California has chosen to pay for it on a pay-as-you-go basis, taking the cash for the health insurance premiums of retirees right out of its annual budget. Right now that’s only costing the state $1.7 billion annually because of the limited number of retirees who qualify for the benefit. But over time more and more workers will qualify, and those workers will live on average decades in retirement, swelling the rolls of those whom California must provide health coverage for.”
Where in the present distressed economy are there new corporate employment contacts that include defined benefit plans? The old name is a pension. In the corporate world, IRAs and 401 K are common. The dinosaur companies that accepted union contracts with future defined benefit obligations are out of business, either escaped offshore or are hanging on by their fingernails.
Why should government employees have a privileged position, when the realities of further municipal bankruptcies are growing daily? It seems that Governor Brown forgets his own rhetoric.
“Several unions have agreed to larger employee contributions for their members. Taxpayers are living with cuts and making sacrifices to deal with the reality of California’s budget crisis, state workers are going to have to do the same.” Jerry Brown
Another quote referenced in a Public Employee Unions Guarantee National Bankruptcy article, also confronts the unrealistic mindset that exists in “The Golden State”. Someone needs to explain to public officials that the state has used up their precious metal riches and their union members are not willing to do the hard labor of mining new veins of revenue benefit reductions that will balance their budgets.
“The Assembly Public Safety Committee today is considering one of the most noxious, special-interest pieces of legislation we’ve seen in a while—one that will endanger public safety, tread on the California constitution and reinforce the perception that some government workers are part of a special, coddled group that’s exempt from the normal legal and ethical standards that are applied to other Californians.” The Registry
In this same BATR essay the Steven Greenhut’s critique in the WSJ, Public Employee Unions Are Sinking California, is emphasized. California legislators inhabit the same psychotropic mental escapism, exemplified with the double dippers that create the public employee entitlement culture. Financial reality never hits the retirement paychecks of the civil service sector, while the tormented taxpayer is told they must pay more.
The rush to leave the state has Californians perplexed for solutions as long as the Sacramento progressive ‘pols’ refuse to challenge the public union mafia. Those who remain will bear an even higher tax burden to feather the nests of the most unproductive elements in society, namely government.Governor Brown preaches. “And everyone is going to have to realize that building roads is important, investing in schools is important, paying for the national defense is important, biomedical research is important, the space program is an indicator of the world leader – all that takes money”. Just maybe a bankrupt state and municipalities needs to reduce the size and scope of government itself.
The Southeast Asian country of Laos in the late 1950s and early 60s was a complex and confusing patchwork of civil conflicts, changes of government and switching loyalties. The CIA and the State Department alone could take credit for engineering coups at least once in each of the years 1958, 1959 and 1960. No study of Laos of this period appears to have had notable success in untangling the muddle of who exactly replaced whom, and when, and how, and why. After returning from Laos in 1961, American writer Norman Cousins stated that “if you want to get a sense of the universe unraveling, come to Laos. Complexity such as this has to be respected.” 1
Syria 2012 has produced its own tangled complexity. In the past 18 months it appears that at one time or another virtually every nation in the Middle East and North Africa as well as members of NATO and the European Union has been reported as aiding those seeking to overthrow the regime of Bashar al-Assad, while Russia, China, and several other countries are reported as aiding Assad. The Syrian leader, for his part, has consistently referred to those in combat against him as “terrorists”, citing the repeated use of car bombs and suicide bombers. The West has treated this accusation with scorn, or has simply ignored it. But the evidence that Assad has had good reason for his stance has been accumulating for some time now, particularly of late. Here is a small sample from recent months:
- “It is the sort of image that has become a staple of the Syrian revolution, a video of masked men calling themselves the Free Syrian Army and brandishing AK-47s — with one unsettling difference. In the background hang two flags of Al Qaeda, white Arabic writing on a black field … The video, posted on YouTube, is one more bit of evidence that Al Qaeda and other Islamic extremists are doing their best to hijack the Syrian revolution.” (New York Times, July 24, 2012)
- A leading German newspaper reported that the German intelligence service, BND, had concluded that 95% of the Syrian rebels come from abroad and are likely to be members of al Qaeda. (Die Welt, September 30, 2012)
- “A network of French Islamists behind a grenade attack on a kosher market outside Paris last month also planned to join jihadists fighting in Syria … Two suspects were responsible for recruiting and dispatching people ‘to carry out jihad in some countries – notably Syria’,” a state prosecutor said. (Associated Press, October 11, 2012)
- “Fighters from a shadowy militant group [Jabhat al-Nusra] with suspected links to al-Qaida joined Syrian rebels in seizing a government missile defense base in northern Syria on Friday, according to activists and amateur video. …The videos show dozens of fighters inside the base near a radar tower, along with rows of large missiles, some on the backs of trucks.” (Associated Press, October 12, 2012)
- “In a videotape posted this week on militant forums, the Egyptian-born jihadist Ayman al-Zawahiri … urged support for Syria’s uprisings.” (Associated Press, October 28, 2012)
According to your favorite news source or commentator, President Assad is either a brutal murderer of his own people, amongst whom he has had very little support; or he’s a hero who’s long had the backing of the majority of the Syrian population and who is standing up to Western imperialists and their terrorist comrades-in-arms, whom the US is providing military aid, intelligence, and propaganda services.
Washington and its freedom fighters de jour would like to establish Libya II. And we all know how well Libya I has turned out.
Of backward nations and modern nations
Page one of the October 24 Washington Post contained a prominent photo of a man chained to a concrete wall at a shrine in Afghanistan. The accompanying story told us that the man was mentally ill and that “legend has it that those with mental disorders will be healed after spending 40 days in one of the shrine’s 16 tiny concrete cells”, living “on a subsistence diet of bread, water and black pepper.” Every year hundreds of Afghans bring mentally ill relatives to the shrine for this “cure”.
Immediately to the right of this story, constituting the paper’s lead story of the day, we learn that the United States is planning to continue its policy of assassinating individuals, via drone attacks, for the foreseeable future. This is Washington’s “cure” for the mental illness of not believing that America is the savior of mankind, bringing democracy, freedom and happiness to all. (The article adds that the number of “militants and civilians” killed in the drone campaign over the past 10 years will soon exceed 3,000 by some estimates, surpassing the number of people killed on September 11.)
Undoubtedly there are many people in Afghanistan, high and low, who know that their ancient cure is nonsense, but the chainings have continued for centuries. Just as certain, there are American officials who know the same about their own cure. Here’s a senior American official: “We can’t possibly kill everyone who wants to harm us. … We’re not going to wind up in 10 years in a world of everybody holding hands and saying, ‘We love America’.” Yet , we are told, “Among senior Obama administration officials, there is a broad consensus that such operations are likely to be extended at least another decade. Given the way al-Qaeda continues to metastasize, some officials said no clear end is in sight.”
We can also be confident that there have been people chained to the wall in Afghanistan who were not particularly mentally ill to begin with but became so because of the cure. And just as certain, there have been numerous people in several countries who were not anti-American until a drone devastated their village, family or neighbors.
The Post article also reported that Adm. Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, returned from Pakistan a while ago and recounted a heated confrontation with his counterpart, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. “Mullen told White House and counterterrorism officials that the Pakistani military chief had demanded an answer to a seemingly reasonable question: After hundreds of drone strikes, how could the United States possibly still be working its way through a ‘top 20′ list?”
American officials defended the arrangement even while acknowledging an erosion in the caliber of operatives placed in the drones’ cross hairs. “Is the person currently Number 4 as good as the Number 4 seven years ago? Probably not,” said a former senior U.S. counterterrorism official. “But it doesn’t mean he’s not dangerous.” The Post added this comment: “Internal doubts about the effectiveness of the drone campaign are almost nonexistent.”
The next day we could read in the Post: “There is ample evidence in Pakistan that the more than 300 [drone] strikes launched under Obama have helped turn the vast majority of the population vehemently against the United States.”
Wake up and smell the bullshit. Then go vote.
After the second presidential debate in early October, Luke Rudkowski of the media group We Are Change asked Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chair of the Democratic National Committee, about President Obama’s widely reported “kill list” of Americans and foreigners who can be assassinated without charge or trial.
Luke Rudkowski: ”If President Romney becomes president, he’s going to inherit President Barack Obama’s secret ‘kill list’? This is going to be debated. How do you think Romney will handle this ‘kill list,’ and are you comfortable with him having a ‘kill list’?”
Debbie Wasserman Schultz: ”I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
Luke Rudkowski: ”Obama has a secret ‘kill list’ which he has used to assassinate different people all over the world.”
Debbie Wasserman Schultz: ”I’m happy to answer any serious questions you have.”
Luke Rudkowski: ”Why is that not serious?”
Debbie Wasserman Schultz: “Because I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
Luke Rudkowski: ”Of course you don’t.”
The existence of the U.S. ‘kill list’ has been publicly known for nearly two years and was the subject of a 6,000-word exposé in the New York Times in May.
At the same event, Sierra Adamson of We Are Change asked former White House Press Secretary and current Obama campaign adviser Robert Gibbs about the U.S. killing of Abdulrahman Awlaki, the teenage son of Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen.
Sierra Adamson: ”Do you think that the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki’s 16-year-old son, who was an American citizen, is justifiable?”
Robert Gibbs: ”I’m not going to get into Anwar al-Awlaki’s son. I know that Anwar al-Awlaki renounced his citizenship.”
Sierra Adamson: ”His son was still an American citizen.”
Robert Gibbs: ”Did great harm to people in this country and was a regional al-Qaeda commander hoping to inflict harm and destruction on people that share his religion and others in this country. And…”
Sierra Adamson: ”That’s an American citizen that’s being targeted without due process of law, without trial. And he’s underage. He’s a minor.”
Robert Gibbs: ”I would suggest that you should have a far more responsible father. If they’re truly concerned about the well-being of their children, I don’t think becoming an al-Qaeda jihadist terrorist is the best way to go about doing your business.” 2
To demonstrate that the bullshit is bipartisan, we now present Mr. Mitt Romney, speaking during the presidential foreign policy debate: “Syria is Iran’s only ally in the Arab world. It’s their route to the sea. It’s the route for them to arm Hezbollah in Lebanon, which threatens, of course, our ally, Israel.”
However, a look at a map reveals firstly that Iran does not share a border with Syria; there’s something called Iraq in between; and secondly that Iran already has access to the sea on both its north and south; actually about 1100 miles of coastline. Romney has made this particular blunder repeatedly, and the Washington Post has pointed it out on several occasions. Post columnist Al Kamen recently wrote: “We tried so hard back in February to get Romney to stop saying that.” 3
Of course, neither Obama nor the debate moderator pointed out Romney’s errors.
The sanctity of life
“I’m as pro-life as a person gets,” Congressman Paul Ryan, the Republican candidate for vice-president, told the conservative Weekly Standard in 2010. 4
How nice. Yet the man supports all of America’s wars, each of which takes the lives of large numbers of people, both American and foreign; and he’s opposed to national health insurance, which would save countless more lives. The good congressman is also an avid hunter and supporter of gun-owners’ rights, so he apparently is not too pro-life concerning other creatures of God’s Kingdom. Of course, what Ryan actually means by “life” is an embryo or fetus, perhaps even a zygote. Oh wait, that’s not all of it – corporations are also people whose lives Ryan cherishes.
The fate of those who do not love the empire
On October 7 Hugo Chávez won his fourth term in office as president of Venezuela. The feeling of frustration that must have descended upon the Venezuelan and American power elite is likely reminiscent of Chile, March 1973, when the party of another socialist and American bête noire, Salvador Allende — despite the best intentions and dollars without end of the CIA — won about 44 percent of the vote in congressional elections, compared to some 36 percent in 1970. It was said to be the largest increase an incumbent party had ever received in Chile after being in power more than two years. The opposition parties had publicly expressed their optimism about capturing two-thirds of the congressional seats and thus being able to impeach Allende. Now they faced three more years under him, with the prospect of being unable, despite their most underhanded efforts, to prevent his popularity from increasing even further.
During the spring and summer the Agency’s destabilization process escalated. There was a whole series of demonstrations and strikes, with a particularly long one by the truckers. Time magazine reported: “While most of the country survived on short rations, the truckers seemed unusually well equipped for a lengthy holdout.” A reporter asked a group of truckers who were camping and dining on “a lavish communal meal of steak, vegetables, wine and empanadas” where the money for it came from. “From the CIA,” they answered laughingly. 5
There was as well daily sabotage and violence, including assassination. In June, an abortive attack upon the Presidential Palace was carried out by the military and the ultra-right Patria y Libertad.
In September the military prevailed. “It is clear,” said the later US Senate investigating committee, “the CIA received intelligence reports on the coup planning of the group which carried out the successful September 11 coup throughout the months of July, August, and September 1973.” 6 The United States had also prepared the way for the military action through its economic intervention and support of the anti-Allende media.
Chávez has already been overthrown once in a coup that the United States choreographed, in 2002, but a combination of some loyal military officers and Chávez’s followers in the streets combined for a remarkable reversal of the coup after but two days. The Venezuelan opposition will not again make the mistake of not finishing Chávez off when they have him in their custody.
Both Hugo Chávez and Salvador Allende had sinned by creating “nationalistic” regimes that served the wrong “national interest”. The hatred felt by the power elite for such men is intense. The day after the legally and democratically elected Venezuelan leader was ousted, but before being restored to power, the New York Times(April 13, 2002) was moved to pen the following editorial:
“With yesterday’s resignation [what the coup leaders called it] of President Hugo Chávez, Venezuelan democracy is no longer threatened by a would-be dictator. Mr. Chávez, a ruinous demagogue, stepped down after the military intervened and handed power to a respected business leader.”
It should be noted that the “respected business leader”, Pedro Carmona, quickly dissolved the National Assembly and the Supreme Court, and annulled the Venezuelan constitution.
And keep in mind that in the United States the New York Times is widely regarded as a “liberal” newspaper; most conservatives would say “very liberal”, if not “socialist”.
- William Blum, Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II, chapter 21 ↩
- Democracy Now, October 25, 2012 ↩
- Washington Post, October 24, 2012, column by Al Kamen ↩
- New York Times, August 12, 2012 ↩
- Time, September 24, 1973, p.46 ↩
- Covert Action in Chile, 1963‑1973, a Staff Report of The Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities (US Senate) December 18, 1975, p.39 ↩
Everywhere I look these days, I see hypocrisy and double standards being usedby Americans — locally, nationally and internationally.
Locally, for instance, a neighbor of mine recently intimidated and bullied her landlord into giving her all kinds of favors and perks. However, when this same landlord attempted to do something that would have benefited all of his tenants, she suddenly threatened to take him to court. “More stuff for me, less stuff for you,” seemed to be the argument that she plans to present to the judge.
And another neighbor of mine claims to be a devout Christian yet supports war (any war!) bigtime. Jesus would never do that.
And our city’s current mayor, a developer himself, always seems to favor other developers and to go out of his way to twist, bend and chew up city procedures if this could possibly get yet another unnecessary highrise built downtown by his developer friends. And yet our mayor screams bloody murder when city procedures might actually benefit just some Average Joe like you and me.
On the national level, Willard “Mitt” Romney wants to take from the poor and give to the rich — and he’s really really good at this too. Fine. He’s rich. This policy benefits him. I understand that. But then he talks to the rest of us poor schmucks like he’s gonna be our savior too — when this is actually the farthest thing from his mind? Hypocrisy? Absolutely.
Obama claims to represent America’s grassroots community. But who gets the most benefits from his largess? Wall Street. And War Street. And “health insurance” companies. Of course he’s better at benefiting you and me than Mitt is – but not by all that much. Saint Obama he is not.
And during this current election cycle, Americans all seem to be bitching and moaning about the direction that their country is going in — yet no one will vote for a viable candidate with good ideas such as Dr. Jill Stein of the Green Party (who just got arrested for having the gall to ask for her rightful place at the last presidential debate). Or even Roseanne Barr. Trust me. Roseanne Barr has a lot more good ideas than Romney and Obama combined. But Americans would rather just bitch and whine and “vote for the lesser of two evils”. Hypocrisy.
There are two excellent films out right now, entitled “We’re Not Broke“ and “Story of Broke“ . Both movies clearly demonstrate that we have more than enough money in our treasury to benefit the 99% wonderfully — but are benefiting the greedy 1% instead. That’s just wrong.
And here is a link to a film about Monsanto — how it is systematically killing off as many human beings as possible for fun and profit, both in America and abroad. Perhaps Monsanto has mistaken us humans for weeds?
And on the international scene, we can see the most hypocrisy of all. Global corporate interests with American ties have caused the deaths of over ten million people in the Congo in the last three decades — and then these same enormous conglomerates actually have the NERVE to say they are just representing free enterprise. Since when did Adam Smith ever tell us that capitalists need to take their market advantages from the barrel of a gun? Or from welfare subsidies from the USA, the IMF and the UN?
America’s corporate-owned government bleats constantly that it is representing democracy abroad — despite all the election fraud, jailing of demonstrators, free speech suppression, media control, indefinite detention and phone-tapping going on here — which makes our “democratic” leaders on the international level the biggest hypocrites of all.
For instance, just look what happened recently regarding that low-rent porno flick, “Innocence of Muslims”. It has been vigorously protected as supposedly representing “free speech”. But when the Jenin Freedom Theater in Palestine puts on plays that highlight the brutal and insane injustice of the corporate-owned Israeli occupation and land-grab, the theater’s artistic director is jailed. Jailed. And tortured. How protective of free speech is that?
And then there’s Al Qaeda — bad guys when you need a boogieman in America, but good guys when you need boogiemen in Libya and Syria. And Israel? It’s a heroic Jewish state when War Street needs to propagandize it – but an anti-Semite down-and-dirty commandment-breaker and disrespecter of Torah in real life whenever War Street needs a land-grab in the Middle East .
So. Selfishness and hypocrisy have become the new American morality — both locally and nationally. And internationally too. Everyone in America seems to expect everyone else to play by the rules — except for themselves. ‘What’s mine is mine — and what’s yours in mine too!” should be solemnly engraved on every single American coin and should definitely replace “E Pluribus Unum” on all dollars.
Either that, or Americans might actually consider going back to attempting to do things cooperatively so that everyone benefits — not just for benefiting you at a very high price to me.
Nah. That will never happen. Too late.
“Today, many Americans are asking — indeed I ask myself,” Hillary Clinton said, “how can this happen? How can this happen in a country we helped liberate, in a city we helped save from destruction? This question reflects just how complicated, and at times, how confounding the world can be.” 1
The Secretary of State was referring to the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya September 11 that killed the US ambassador and three other Americans. US intelligence agencies have now stated that the attackers had ties to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.2
Yes, the world can indeed be complicated and confounding. But we have learned a few things. The United States began blasting Libya with missiles with the full knowledge that they were fighting on the same side as the al-Qaeda types. Benghazi was and is the headquarters for Muslim fundamentalists of various stripes in North Africa. However, it’s incorrect to claim that the United States (aka NATO) saved the city from destruction. The story of the “imminent” invasion of Benghazi by Moammar Gaddafi’s forces last year was only propaganda to justify Western intervention. And now the United States is intervening — at present without actual gunfire, as far as is known — against the government of Syria, with the full knowledge that they’re again on the same side as the al-Qaeda types. A rash of suicide bombings against Syrian government targets is sufficient by itself to dispel any doubts about that. And once again, the United States is participating in the overthrow of a secular Mideast government.
At the same time, the Muslim fundamentalists in Syria, as in Libya, can have no illusions that America loves them. A half century of US assaults on Mideast countries, the establishment of American military bases in the holy land of Saudi Arabia, and US support for dictatorships and for Israel’s genocide against the Palestinians have relieved them of such fanciful thoughts. So why is the United States looking to forcefully intervene once again? A tale told many times — world domination, oil, Israel, ideology, etc. Assad of Syria, like Gaddafi of Libya, has shown little promise as a reliable client state so vital to the American Empire.
It’s only the barrier set up by Russia and China on the UN Security Council that keeps NATO (aka the United States) from unleashing thousands of airborne missiles to “liberate” Syria as they did Libya. Russian and Chinese leaders claim that they were misled about Libya by the United States, that all they had agreed to was enforcing a “no-fly zone”, not seven months of almost daily missile attacks against the land and people of Libya. Although it’s very fortunate that the two powers refuse to give the US another green light, it’s difficult to believe that they were actually deceived last spring in regard to Libya. NATO doesn’t do peacekeeping or humanitarian interventions; it does war; bloody, awful war; and regime change. And they would undoubtedly be itching to show off their specialty in Syria — perhaps even without Security Council blessing — except that NATO and the US always prefer to attack people who are exceptionally defenseless, and Syria has ballistic missile capabilities and chemical weapons.
It’s likely that the American elections also serve to keep Obama from expanding the US role in Syria. He may have concluded that there are more votes in the Democratic Party base for peace this time than for waging war against his eighth (sic) country.
The propaganda bias in the Western media has been extreme. Day after day, month after month, we’ve been told of Syrian government attacks, using horrible means, almost invariably with the victims described as unarmed civilians; without any proof, often without any logic, that it was actually the government behind a particular attack, with the story’s source turning out to be an anti-government organization; rarely informing us of similar behavior on the part of the rebel forces. In May, the BBC included pictures of mass graves in Iraq in their coverage of an alleged Syrian government massacre in Houla, Syria. The station later apologized for the pictures saying that they had been submitted to the BBC by a rebel group. 3 On June 7, Germany’s leading daily, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, citing opponents of Assad, reported that the Houla massacre was in fact committed by anti-Assad Sunni militants, and that the bulk of the victims were members of the Alawi and Shia minorities, which have been largely supportive of Assad.
According to a report of Stratfor, the private and conservative American intelligence firm with high-level connections, many of whose emails were obtained by Wikileaks: “most of the [Syrian] opposition’s more serious claims have turned out to be grossly exaggerated or simply untrue.” They claimed “that regime forces besieged Homs and imposed a 72-hour deadline for Syrian defectors to surrender themselves and their weapons or face a potential massacre.” That news made international headlines. Stratfor’s investigation, however, found “no signs of a massacre”, and warned that “opposition forces have an interest in portraying an impending massacre, hoping to mimic the conditions that propelled a foreign military intervention in Libya.” Stratfor then stated that any suggestions of massacres were unlikely because the Syrian “regime has calibrated its crackdowns to avoid just such a scenario … that could lead to an intervention based on humanitarian grounds.”4
Democracy Now — long a standard of progressive radio-TV news — has been almost as bad as CNN and al Jazeera (the latter owned by Qatar, an active military participant in both Libya and Syria). The heavy bias ofDemocracy Now in this area goes back to the very beginning of the Arab Spring. The program made some unfortunate choices in its mideast news correspondents, seemingly only because they spoke Arabic and/or had contacts in the region. Where have you gone Amy Goodman? RT (Russia Today) has stood almost alone amongst English-language television news sources in offering an alternative to the official Western line.
Michel Chossudovsky of Global Research, notes that “Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and now Syria are but a sequence of stops on a global roadmap of permanent war that also swings through Iran. Russia and China are the terminal targets.” When the Syrian government is overthrown — and in all likelihood the Western forces will not relent until that happens — the al Qaeda types will be dominant in the Syrian version of Benghazi. The American ambassador would be well advised to not visit.
Can you believe that I almost feel sorry for the American military?
In Afghanistan, the US military has tried training sessions, embedded cultural advisers, recommended reading lists, and even a video game designed to school American troops in local custom. But 11 years into the war, NATO troops and Afghan soldiers are still beset by a dangerous lack of cultural awareness, officials say, contributing to a string of attacks by Afghan police and soldiers against their military partners. Fifty-one coalition troops have been killed this year by their Afghan counterparts. While some insider attacks have been attributed to Taliban infiltrators, military officials say the majority stem from personal disputes and misunderstandings.
So the Afghan army is trying something new, most likely with American input: a guide to the strange ways of the American soldier. The goal is to convince Afghan troops that when their Western counterparts do something deeply insulting, it’s likely a product of cultural ignorance and not worthy of revenge. The pamphlet they’ve produced includes the following advice:
- “Please do not get offended if you see a NATO member blowing his/her nose in front of you.”
- “When Coalition members get excited, they may show their excitement by patting one another on the back or the behind. They may even do this to you if they are proud of the job you’ve done. Once again, they don’t mean to offend you.”
- “When someone feels comfortable in your presence, they may even put their feet on their own desk while speaking with you. They are by no means trying to offend you. They simply don’t know or have forgotten the Afghan custom.” (Pointing the soles of one’s shoes at someone is considered a grievous insult in Afghanistan.)
- The guide also warns Afghan soldiers that Western troops might wink at them or inquire about their female relatives or expose their private parts while showering — all inappropriate actions by Afghan standards.5
Hmmm. I wonder if the manual advises telling Afghan soldiers that urinating on dead Afghan bodies, cutting off fingers, and burning the Koran are all nothing more than good ol’ Yankee customs, meaning no offense of course.
And does it point out that no Afghan should be insulted by being tortured in an American military prison since the same is done at home to American prisoners.
Most importantly, the Afghan people must be made to understand that bombing them, invading them, and occupying them for 11 years are all for their own good. It’s called “freedom and democracy”.
I almost feel sorry for the American military in Afghanistan. As I’ve written about the US soldiers in Iraq, they’re “can-do” Americans, accustomed to getting their way, habituated to thinking of themselves as the best, expecting the world to share that sentiment, and they’re frustrated as hell, unable to figure out “why they hate us”, why we can’t win them over, why we can’t at least wipe them out. Don’t they want freedom and democracy? … They’re can-do Americans, using good ol’ American know-how and Madison Avenue savvy, sales campaigns, public relations, advertising, selling the US brand, just like they do it back home; employing media experts, psychologists, even anthropologists … and nothing helps. And how can it if the product you’re selling is toxic, inherently, from birth, if you’re ruining your customers’ lives, with no regard for any kind of law or morality, health or environment. They’re can-do Americans, used to playing by the rules — theirs; and they’re frustrated as hell.
In case you’re distressed about the possibility of a Romney-Ryan government, here’s some good news:
There are many people in the United States who are reluctant to be active against US foreign policy, or even seriously criticize it, because a Democrat is in the White House, a man promising lots of hope and change. Some of them, however, might become part of the anti-war movement if a Republican were in the White House, even though pursuing the same foreign policy. And we can be sure the policy would be the same for there’s no difference between the two parties when it comes to foreign policy. There’s simply no difference, period, though each party changes its rhetoric a bit depending on whether it’s in the White House or on the outside looking in.
Similarly, the movement for a national single-payer health insurance program has been set back because of President Obama. His health program is like prescribing an aspirin for cancer, but the few baby steps the program takes toward bringing the United States into the 21st century amongst developed nations is enough to keep many American health-care activists content for the time being, especially with Obama facing a tough election. They are satisfied with so little. With a Republican in the White House, however, there might be a resurgence of a more militant health-care activism.
Moreover, if the Republicans had been in power the past three years and done EXACTLY what Obama has done in the sphere of civil liberties and human rights, many Obamaites would have no problem calling the United States by its right name: a police state. I mean that literally. Not the worst police state in the history of the world. Not even the worst police state in the world today. But, nonetheless, a police state. Just read the news each day, carefully.
Sam Smith, editor of the Progressive Review, has written: “Barack Obama is the most conservative Democratic president we’ve ever had. In an earlier time, there would have been a name for him: Republican.”
Oh but there’s Social Security and Medicare, you say. Can Romney be trusted to not make serious cuts to these vital programs? His choice of running mate, Paul Ryan, is practically a poster child for such cuts.
Well, can Obama be trusted to not make such cuts? Consider this recent comment in the New York Times: “[Obama] particularly believes that Democrats do not receive enough credit for their willingness to accept cuts in Medicare and Social Security.” 6
As somebody once said, the United States doesn’t need a third party. It needs a second party.
The only important cause that might significantly benefit from a Democratic administration is appointments to the Supreme Court, if there is in fact an opening. But does this fully override the benefits of Obama being out of office as outlined above?
Dear Reader: I truthfully do not want to be so cynical. Despite the quips, it’s not really fun. But how else can one react to the Republicans and Democrats given their behavior at their recent conventions? If they can so obviously ignore the wishes of their own delegates, what can the average American citizen expect? Have a look at these remarkable scenes caught on video or read this account of the voice votes at the recent conventions.
How many voters does it take to change a light bulb?
None. Because voters can’t change anything.
So what to do?
As I’ve said before: Inasmuch as I can’t see violent revolution succeeding in the United States (something deep inside tells me that we couldn’t quite match the government’s firepower, not to mention its viciousness), I can offer no solution to stopping the imperial beast other than this: Educate yourself and as many others as you can, raising their political and ideological consciousness, providing them with the factual ammunition and arguments needed to sway others, increasing the number of those in the opposition until it raises the political price for those in power, until it reaches a critical mass, at which point … I can’t predict the form the explosion will take or what might be the trigger … But you have to have faith. And courage.
Some further thoughts on American elections and democracy:
Richard Reeves: “The American political system is essentially a contract between the Republican and Democratic parties, enforced by federal and state two-party laws, all designed to guarantee the survival of both no matter how many people despise or ignore them.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832): ”In politics, as on the sickbed, people toss from one side to the other, thinking they will be more comfortable.”
Alexander Cockburn: “There was a time once when ‘lesser of two evils’ actually meant something momentous, like the choice between starving to death on a lifeboat, or eating the first mate.”
U.N. Human Development Report, 1993: “Elections are a necessary, but certainly not a sufficient, condition for democracy. Political participation is not just a casting of votes. It is a way of life.”
Gore Vidal: ”How to get people to vote against their interests and to really think against their interests is very clever. It’s the cleverest ruling class that I have ever come across in history. It’s been 200 years at it. It’s superb.”
Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius: ”The opinion of 10,000 men is of no value if none of them know anything about the subject.”
Michael Parenti: ”As demonstrated in Russia and numerous other countries, when faced with a choice between democracy without capitalism or capitalism without democracy, Western elites unhesitatingly embrace the latter.”
- USA Today, September 12, 2012
- Washington Post, September 28, 2012
- BBC News, May 29, 2012
- Huffington Post, December 19, 2011
- Washington Post, September 28, 2012
- New York Times, “Obama Is an Avid Reader, and Critic, of the News“, Amy Chozick, August 8, 2012
Are you better off today than you were four years ago? This is a question that comes up nearly every election. This year the Romney campaign has even created a Twitter hashtag for it:#AreYouBetterOff. The Democrats are making lots of speeches claiming that we are better off, and the Republicans are making lots of speeches claiming that we are not. So are most Americans actually better off than they were four years ago? Of course not. One recent poll found that only 20 percent of Americans believe that they are better off financially than they were four years ago. But the same thing was true four years ago as well. Our economy has been in decline and the middle class has been shrinking for a very long time. The Democrats want to put all of the blame on the Republicans for this, and the Republicans want to put all of the blame on the Democrats for this. A recent CNN headline defiantly declared the following: “Decline of middle class not Obama’s fault“, and this is the kind of thing we are going to hear day after day until the election in November. But obviously something has gone fundamentally wrong with our economy. So who should we blame?
Sadly, you hear very little on the mainstream news networks or the talk radio shows about the institution that has the most power over our economy. The Federal Reserve has far more power over our financial system than anyone else does, but the media and both political parties tell us that the Federal Reserve is “above politics” and that their “independence” must never be questioned.
Unfortunately, most Americans have gone along with that.
But the truth is that the debt-based financial system that the Federal Reserve is at the core of is absolutely central to our economic problems. If you do not understand this, please see this article: “10 Things That Every American Should Know About The Federal Reserve“.
The Federal Reserve has done more to mess up our economy than anyone else has.
So shouldn’t they be held accountable?
That is a very good question.
Have you ever wondered why financial markets move so dramatically whenever Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke gives a speech?
The same thing does not happen when Barack Obama gives a speech.
That is because the financial markets know who holds the real power in our financial system.
But during this election season the American people are told to put all of their attention on the “red team” and the “blue team”. We are told that the two major political parties are philosophical opposites and that they want to take the United States is two completely different directions.
The “true believers” on the blue team are completely and totally convinced that Barack Obama will be able to rescue the economy and save America.
The “true believers” on the red team are completely and totally convinced that Mitt Romney will be able to rescue the economy and save America.
Once upon a time I was one of those political activists. I was fully convinced that America could be turned around if we could just get enough Republicans into office.
But then I noticed that nothing really seemed to change no matter who was in power. I became disillusioned as I realized that Republicans were doing things pretty much the exact same way that Democrats were doing them when they got into power.
Yes, there are some minor differences between the two parties on taxes and regulations.
If we elect one guy over the other our economy might decline at a slightly different pace.
But in the end both political parties are taking us to the exact same place.
Down the toilet.
I wish that wasn’t true.
But we need to be honest with ourselves….
-Both parties fully support the Federal Reserve.
-Both parties supported the nomination of Ben Bernanke to a second term as the head of the Federal Reserve.
-Both parties endlessly push the job-killing “free trade” agenda of the global elite.
-Both parties see nothing wrong with running absolutely enormous trade deficits with the rest of the world.
-Both parties supported TARP.
-Both parties supported the “economic stimulus” packages.
-Both parties supported the auto industry bailouts.
-Both parties have run up massive amounts of federal debt when in power.
-Both parties have greatly expanded the size of the federal government when in power.
-Both parties are full of control freaks and both parties have added more layers of ridiculous regulations to our already overburdened society when in power.
-Neither party supports getting rid of the income tax or the IRS.
-Neither party has any intention of doing anything to prevent the coming derivatives crisis that could bring down the entire global financial system.
-Both parties are absolutely showered with cash from the big Wall Street banks.
-Both parties think that the TSA is doing a great job.
-Both parties supported the NDAA and the renewal of the Patriot Act.
-Both parties have greatly expanded the unconstitutional surveillance of American citizens by government agencies.
-Both parties are extremely soft on illegal immigration.
-Both parties have treated military veterans horribly.
-Both parties are absolutely packed with corrupt politicians that are living the high life at your expense.
-Neither party plans to balance the federal budget in 2013 if their candidate wins the election.
-Neither party has a plan that will fix our deeply broken health care system.
-Neither party has any plans to shut down the Federal Reserve. In fact, both parties see absolutely nothing wrong with our current system.
Of course this list could go on indefinitely, but hopefully you get the point.
But I can understand those that are deeply frustrated with Barack Obama and that desperately want to avoid another four years of his policies.
I also believe that Barack Obama has been the worst president in U.S. history and that he and his entire cabinet should immediately resign in disgrace.
However, the Republican party foolishly chose to nominate the Republican candidate that was most like Barack Obama to run against him.
That was an enormous mistake.
No matter what the talk radio shows are telling you, the truth is that this country will continue on pretty much the same path no matter who wins the election.
I know that statement is going to make a lot of people angry. But it is the sad reality of what we are facing.
Even if you focus on just the economy, the truth is that Mitt Romney’s “five point plan” is almost exactly the same thing that Barack Obama has been saying.
Many Americans believe that since Mitt Romney made lots of money on Wall Street conducting leveraged buyouts of vulnerable corporations that he understands how to fix our economy.
Sadly, that is not the truth.
I have listened to many Romney speeches about the economy and I keep waiting for some pearls of wisdom, but I have found that he is just as clueless about the economy as our other recent presidents have been.
Look, I know that there are a lot of people out there that have good hearts that want to have someone that they can believe in.
They want to believe that things can get better.
They want to have hope.
And I don’t blame them for that.
I just think that it is time to pull our heads out of the sand and realize that things are not going to be getting any better.
A political savior on a white horse is not going to come riding in to save the day.
So by this point in the article a whole lot of Democrats and a whole lot of Republicans are very upset with me.
But I am not against you. There is way too much hate in our society today. Even if we disagree with someone else we can still love them.
I just think that it is very important that we understand that there is not going to be a solution to our problems on the national level and that our economy is headed for collapse no matter who gets elected.
The total amount of debt in the United States has risen from less than 2 trillion dollars to nearly 55 trillion dollars over the past 40 years, and there is nothing that Barack Obama or Mitt Romney can do to prevent the “correction” that is coming.
So are Americans better off than they were four years ago?
Of course not.
But things will soon get a whole lot worse no matter how the election turns out.
The following are 40 statistics that will absolutely shock you….
#1 During the time Barack Obama has been in the White House, median household income has fallen by 7.3 percent.
#3 According to the Federal Reserve, the median net worth of American families dropped “from $126,400 in 2007 to $77,300 in 2010“.
#4 According to the Pew Research Center, 61 percent of all Americans were “middle income” back in 1971. Today, only 51 percent of all Americans are “middle income”.
#5 Back in 1970, middle income Americans brought home 62 percent of all income in the United States. In 2010, middle income Americans only brought home 45 percent of all income.
#6 The unemployment rate in the United States has been above 8 percent for 42 straight months.
#7 The percentage of working age Americans with a job has been below 59 percent for 35 months in a row.
#8 In June, the number of Americans added to the food stamp rolls was nearly three times larger than the number of jobs added to the U.S. economy.
#10 Since Barack Obama entered the White House, the number of long-term unemployed Americans has risen from 2.7 million to 5.2 million.
#11 Today, the average duration of unemployment in the United States is about three times as long as it was back in the year 2000.
#12 According to a report that has just been released by the National Employment Law Project, 58 percent of the jobs that have been created since the end of the recession have been low paying jobs.
#13 According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, only 24.6 percent of all of the jobs in the United States are “good jobs”.
#14 In 2010, the number of jobs created at new businesses in the United States was less than half of what it was back in the year 2000.
#15 The average pay for self-employed Americans fell by $3,721 between 2006 and 2010.
#16 According to U.S. Representative Betty Sutton, America has lost an average of 15 manufacturing facilities a day over the last 10 years. During 2010 it got even worse. That year, an average of 23 manufacturing facilities a day shut down in the United States.
#17 At this point, one out of every four American workers has a job that pays $10 an hour or less.
#18 While Barack Obama has been president the velocity of money has plunged to a post-World War II low.
#19 According to one recent survey, 85 percent of middle class Americans say that it is harder to maintain a middle class standard of living today compared with 10 years ago.
#20 Electricity bills in the United States have risen faster than the overall rate of inflation for five years in a row.
#21 There are now 20.2 million Americans that spend more than half of their incomes on housing. That represents a 46 percent increase from 2001.
#22 Over the past decade, health insurance premiums have risen three times faster than wages have in the United States.
#23 Health insurance costs have risen by 23 percent since Barack Obama became president.
#26 Family budgets in America are being stretched to the breaking point. Today, 77 percent of all Americans live paycheck to paycheck at least part of the time.
#27 While Barack Obama has been president, U.S. home values have fallen by another 11 percent.
#28 More than three times as many new homes were sold in the United States in 2005 as will be sold in 2012.
#29 The United States was once ranked #1 in the world in GDP per capita. Today we have slipped to #11.
#30 Since Barack Obama became president, the number of Americans living in poverty has risen by 6.4 million.
#31 The number of Americans on food stamps has grown from about 17 million in the year 2000 to 31.9 millionwhen Barack Obama entered the White House to 46.7 million today.
#32 Approximately one-fourth of all U.S. children are enrolled in the food stamp program at this point.
#33 It is being projected that half of all American children will be on food stamps at least once before they turn 18 years of age.
#34 It is estimated that child homelessness in the United States has risen by 33 percent since 2007.
#35 Back in 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid. Today, approximately one out of every 6Americans is on Medicaid.
#37 It is being projected that the number of Americans on Medicare will grow from 50.7 million in 2012 to 73.2 million in 2025.
#38 The number of Americans receiving federal housing assistance increased by a whopping 42 percent between 2006 and 2010.
#39 At this point, well over 100 million Americans are enrolled in at least one welfare program run by the federal government.
#40 Amazingly, more than half of all Americans are now at least partially financially dependent on the government.
So are you better off than you used to be or worse off?
I’m sure most Americans are mighty proud of the fact that Julian Assange is so frightened of falling into the custody of the United States that he had to seek sanctuary in the embassy of Ecuador, a tiny and poor Third World country, without any way of knowing how it would turn out. He might be forced to be there for years. “That’ll teach him to mess with the most powerful country in the world! All you other terrorists and anti-Americans out there — Take Note! When you fuck around with God’s country you pay a price!”
How true. You do pay a price. Ask the people of Cuba, Vietnam, Chile, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Iran, Haiti, etc., etc., etc. And ask the people of Guantánamo, Diego Garcia, Bagram, and a dozen other torture centers to which God’s country offers free transportation.
You think with the whole world watching, the United States would not be so obvious as to torture Assange if they got hold of him? Ask Bradley Manning. At a bare minimum, prolonged solitary confinement is torture. Before too long the world may ban it. Not that that would keep God’s country and other police states from using it.
You think with the whole world watching, the United States would not be so obvious as to target Assange with a drone? They’ve done it with American citizens. Assange is a mere Aussie.
And Ecuador and its president, Rafael Correa, will pay a price. You think with the whole world watching, the United States would not intervene in Ecuador? In Latin America, it comes very naturally for Washington. During the Cold War it was said that the United States could cause the downfall of a government south of the border … with a frown. The dissolution of the Soviet Union didn’t bring any change in that because it was never the Soviet Union per se that the United States was fighting. It was the threat of a good example of an alternative to the capitalist model.
For example, on January 21, 2000 in Ecuador, where almost two-thirds live in poverty, a very large number of indigenous peasants rose up in desperation and marched to the capital city of Quito, where they were joined by labor unions and some junior military officers (most members of the army being of indigenous stock). This coalition presented a list of economic demands, seized the Congress and Supreme Court buildings, and forced the president to resign. He was replaced by a junta from the ranks of the new coalition. The Clinton administration was alarmed. Besides North American knee-reflex hostility to anything that look or smells like a leftist revolution, Washington had big plans for a large military base in Manta (later closed by Correa). And Colombia — already plagued by leftist movements — was next door.
The US quickly stepped in to educate the Ecuadorean coalition leaders as to the facts of Western Hemispheric imperial life. The American embassy in Quito … Peter Romero, Assistant Secretary of State for Latin America and Western Hemispheric Affairs … Sandy Berger, National Security Adviser to President Clinton … Undersecretary of State Thomas Pickering … all made phone calls to Ecuadorian officials to threaten a cutoff in aid and other support, warning that “Ecuador will find itself isolated”, informing them that the United States would never recognize any new government the coalition might set up, there would be no peace in Ecuador unless the military backed the vice president as the new leader, and the vice president must continue to pursue neoliberal “reforms”, the kind of IMF structural adjustment policies which had played a major role in inciting the uprising in the first place.
Within hours the heads of the Ecuadorian army, navy and air force declared their support for the vice president. The leaders of the uprising fled into hiding. And that was the end of the Ecuadorian revolution of the year 2000.1
Rafael Correa was first elected in 2006 with a 58% majority, and reelected in 2009 with a 55% majority; his current term runs until August 2013. The American mainstream media has been increasingly critical of him. The following letter sent in January to the Washington Post by the Ecuadoran ambassador to the United States is an attempt to clarify one of the issues.
Letter to the Editor:
We were offended by the Jan. 12 editorial “Ecuador’s bully,” which focused on a lawsuit brought by our president, Rafael Correa, after a newspaper claimed that he was guilty of ordering troops to fire on innocent citizens during a failed coup in 2010. The president asked the publishers to release their evidence or a retraction. When they refused, he sued, as any citizen should do when recklessly wronged.
No journalist has gone to prison or paid a significant fine in the five years of the Correa presidency. Media criticism — fair and unfair, sometimes with malice — of the government appears every day. The case involving the newspaper is on appeal. When the judicial process ends, the president has said, he will waive some or all of the penalties provided he gets a retraction. That is a common solution to libel and slander cases in the United States, I believe.
Your writer uses obnoxious phrases such as “banana republic,” but here is the reality of today’s Ecuador: a highly popular, stable and progressive democracy for the first time in decades.
Nathalie Cely, Washington
No shelter from the drones of infinite justice or the bacteria of enduring freedom
Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai said recently that he had had an argument with Gen. John Allen, the top US commander in Afghanistan, about the issue of American drone attacks in Afghanistan, following yet another deadly airstrike that killed a number of civilians. Karzai asked Allen an eminently reasonable question: “Do you do this in the United States?” The Afghan president added: “There is police action every day in the United States in various localities. They don’t call an airplane to bomb the place.”2
Karzai’s question to Allen was rhetorical of course, for can it be imagined that American officials would bomb a house in an American city because they suspected that certain bad guys were present there? Well, the answer to that question is that it can be imagined because they’ve already done it.
In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. On May 13, 1985, a bomb dropped by a police helicopter burned down an entire block, some 60 homes destroyed, 11 dead, including several small children. The police, the mayor’s office, and the FBI were all involved in this effort to evict an organization called MOVE from the house they lived in.
The victims were all black of course. So let’s rephrase our question. Can it be imagined that American officials would bomb a house in Beverly Hills or the upper east side of Manhattan? Stay tuned.
And what else can we imagine about a society that’s been super militarized, that’s at war with much of the world, and is convinced that it’s on the side of the angels and history? Well, the Boston transit system, MBTA, recently announced that in conjunction with Homeland Security they plan to release dead bacteria at three stations during off-hours this summer in order to test sensors that detect biological agents, which terrorists could release into subway systems. The bacterium, bacillus subtilis, is not infectious even in its live form, according to the government.3
However, this too has a precedent. During five days in June, 1966 the Army conducted a test called “A Study of the Vulnerability of Subway Passengers in New York City to Covert Attack with Biological Agents”. Trillions ofbacillus subtilis variant niger were released into the subway system during rush hours, producing aerosol clouds. The report on the test noted that “When the cloud engulfed people, they brushed their clothing, looked up at the grate [at street level] and walked on.”4 The wind of passing trains spread the bacteria along the tracks; in the time it took for two trains to pass, the bacteria were spread from 15th Street to 58th Street.5 It is not known how many people later became ill from being unsuspecting guinea pigs because the United States Army, as far as is known, exhibited no interest in this question.
For the planned Boston test the public has not been informed of the exact days; nor is it known how long the bacteria might linger in the stations or what the possible danger might be to riders whose immune system has been weakened for any reason.
It should be noted that the New York subway experiment was only one of many such experiments. The Army has acknowledged that between 1949 and 1969, 239 populated areas from coast to coast as well as US overseas territories were blanketed with various organisms during tests designed to measure patterns of dissemination in the air, weather effects, dosages, optimum placement of the source, and other factors. Such testing was supposedly suspended after 1969.6
Government officials have consistently denied that the biological agents used could be harmful despite an abundance of expert and objective scientific evidence that exposure to heavy concentrations of even apparently innocuous organisms can cause illness, at a minimum to the most vulnerable segments of the population — the elderly, children, and those suffering from a variety of ailments. “There is no such thing as a microorganism that cannot cause trouble,” George Connell, assistant to the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, testified before the Senate in 1977. “If you get the right concentration at the right place, at the right time, and in the right person, something is going to happen.”7
The United States has used biological weapons abroad as well, repeatedly, not for testing purposes but for hostile purposes.8 So what will the land which has the highest (double) standards say when such weapons are used against it? Or when foreign drones hit American cities? Or when American hi-tech equipment is sabotaged by a cyber attack as the US has now admitted doing to Iran? A year ago the Pentagon declared that “computer sabotage coming from another country can constitute an act of war. … If you shut down our power grid, maybe we will put a missile down one of your smokestacks,” said a US military official.9
“The true hypocrite is the one who ceases to perceive his deception, the one who lies with sincerity.” – André Gide, French Author, 1869-1951
Barack Obama, his mother, and the CIA
In his autobiography, Dreams From My Fathers, Barack Obama writes of taking a job at some point after graduating from Columbia University in 1983. He describes his employer as “a consulting house to multinational corporations” in New York City, and his functions as a “research assistant” and “financial writer”.
Oddly, Obama doesn’t mention the name of his employer. However, a New York Times story of October 30, 2007 identifies the company as Business International Corporation. Equally odd is that the Times did not remind its readers that the newspaper itself had disclosed in 1977 that Business International had provided cover for four CIA employees in various countries between 1955 and 1960.10
The British journal, Lobster — which, despite its incongruous name, is a venerable international publication on intelligence matters — has reported that Business International was active in the 1980s promoting the candidacy of Washington-favored candidates in Australia and Fiji.11 In 1987, the CIA overthrew the Fiji government after but one month in office because of its policy of maintaining the island as a nuclear-free zone, meaning that American nuclear-powered or nuclear-weapons-carrying ships could not make port calls.12 After the Fiji coup, the candidate supported by Business International, who was much more amenable to Washington’s nuclear desires, was reinstated to power — R.S.K. Mara was Prime Minister or President of Fiji from 1970 to 2000, except for the one-month break in 1987.
In his book, not only doesn’t Obama mention his employer’s name; he fails to say exactly when he worked there, or why he left the job. There may well be no significance to these omissions, but inasmuch as Business International has a long association with the world of intelligence, covert actions, and attempts to penetrate the radical left — including Students for a Democratic Society (SDS)13 — it’s reasonable to wonder if the inscrutable Mr. Obama is concealing something about his own association with this world.
Adding to the wonder is the fact that his mother, Ann Dunham, had been associated during the 1970s and 80s — as employee, consultant, grantee, or student — with at least five organizations with intimate CIA connections during the Cold War: The Ford Foundation, Agency for International Development (AID), the Asia Foundation, Development Alternatives, Inc., and the East-West Center of Hawaii.14 Much of this time she worked as an anthropologist in Indonesia and Hawaii, being in good position to gather intelligence about local communities.
As one example of the CIA connections of these organizations, consider the disclosure by John Gilligan, Director of AID during the Carter administration (1977-81). “At one time, many AID field offices were infiltrated from top to bottom with CIA people. The idea was to plant operatives in every kind of activity we had overseas, government, volunteer, religious, every kind.”15 And Development Alternatives, Inc. is the organization for whom Alan Gross was working when arrested in Cuba and charged with being part of the ongoing American operation to destabilize the Cuban government.
How the owners of a society play with their property
The Supreme Court of the United States has just upheld the constitutionality of President Obama’s health care law, the Affordable Care Act. Liberals as well as many progressives are very pleased, regarding this as a victory for the left.
Under the new law, people can benefit in one way or another depending on the following factors:
Their age; whether their income is at or below 133 percent of the federal poverty level; whether their parents have a health plan; whether they use tobacco; what state they live in; whether they have a pre-existing medical condition; whether they qualify to buy health insurance through newly-created market places known as “exchanges”; and numerous other criteria … They can obtain medical insurance in a “competitive insurance market” (emphasis on the “competitive”); they can perhaps qualify for various other kinds of credits and tax relief if they meet certain criteria … The authors of the Act state that it will save thousands of dollars in drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries by closing a coverage gap called the “donut hole” … They tell us that “It keeps insurance companies honest by setting clear rules that rein in the worst insurance industry abuses.”
That’s a sample of how health care looks in the United States of America in the 21st century, with a complexity that will keep a small army of lawyers busy for years to come. Ninety miles away, in the Republic of Cuba, it looks a bit different. If you feel sick you go to a doctor. You’re automatically qualified to receive any medical care that’s available and thought to be suitable. The doctor treats you to the best of his or her ability. The insurance companies play no role. There are no insurance companies. You don’t pay anything. You go home.
The Affordable Care Act will undoubtedly serve as a disincentive to the movement for single-payer national health insurance, setting the movement back for years. The Affordable Care Act was undoubtedly designed for that purpose.
- Washington Post, January 23, 2000, p.1; “The coup in Ecuador: a grim warning”, World Socialist Web Site, February 2, 2000; Z Magazine (Massachusetts), February 2001, pp.36-7 ↩
- Washington Post, June 12, 2012 ↩
- Beacon Hill Patch (Boston), “MBTA to Spread Dead Bacteria on Red Line in Bio-Terror Test”, May 18, 2012 ↩
- Leonard Cole, Clouds of Secrecy: The Army’s Germ Warfare Tests over Populated Areas (1990), pp.65-9↩
- New York Times, September 19, 1975, p.14 ↩
- “Biological Testing Involving Human Subjects by the Department of Defense”, 1977, Hearings before the Subcommittee on Health and Scientific Research of the Committee on Human Resources, US Senate, March 8 and May 23, 1977; see also William Blum, Rogue State, chapter 15 ↩
- Senate Hearings, op. cit., p.270 ↩
- Rogue State, op. cit., chapter 14 ↩
- Wall Street Journal, May 30, 2011 ↩
- New York Times, December 27, 1977, p.40 ↩
- Lobster magazine, Hull, UK, #14, November 1987 ↩
- Rogue State, op. cit., pp.199-200 ↩
- Carl Oglesby, Ravens in the Storm: A Personal History of the 1960s Antiwar Movement (2008), passim↩
- Wikipedia entry for Ann Dunham ↩
- George Cotter, “Spies, strings and missionaries”, The Christian Century (Chicago), March 25, 1981, p.321
For well over the last decade BATR has argued that the Republic is dead. Now that the Supreme Court has rendered their decision on Obamacare, there can be no doubt that the funeral for a nation, born out of a revolution for liberty, is over. The country, buried in the ashes of totalitarian despotism, is now history.
The plurality of citizens naively accepts that the national government has legitimacy. Such a claim is erroneous. What more proof does one need that slavery is the official status for the American public. The implication of affirming the health insurance mandate sets the precedent for and escalates an unlimited federal tyranny.
The twisted interpretation that a forced and binding purchase of medical coverage is justified because the government can tax its citizens is demonic in its inception. Coercion as a mean for compliance is like whipping your indentured servant for the privilege of serving the master.
By opening the flood-gate of unlimited federal taxation authority to compel behavior, guarantees punitive submission for a limitless concoction of social engineering. It is a short leap to require ID chip implants and compulsory designated conduct.
The hijacking of health care by a mandatory federal oppression pushes citizens to renounce their fidelity to a constitutional framework, already abandoned by the political power elite. Constrains and separation of the “Federalism” system of shared authority, is now eliminated. The central government is all-supreme in the gulag version of benevolent dependency.
The Supreme Court is a pitiful tool of the executive autocrat that wheels administrative regulation like a crazed beast. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. is a disgrace. Whether his decision reflects intimidation or legacy hubris, the net effect is that he shoveled dirt on the tombstone of the constitution.
The seemingly limit on the commerce clause is circumvented by validating that taxing obligated conduct is legal. This extreme viewpoint condones any dictate by government fiat that Congress conspires to force people to obey. Such a conclusion abdicates the essence of constitutional protections.
Natural law is not arbitrary and subject to the whims of radical statists. Ignoring fundamental human rights is the definitive abuse against humanity. The federal government is making the nanny state into a chamber of horror.
Immutable principles that protect individuals from compulsory demands that violate free choice always are reprehensible. However, the latest rebuke to the sovereign dignity of citizens – poisons the water for any thirsty seeker of liberty and justice.
The consequences of the added financial costs from the Obamacare administration are frightening. The devil is in the details, never was more appropriate. Driving the economy off a cliff is a designed strategy of the collectivist criminals. The unholy alliance of big pharma, health insurance corporatists and dedicated Marxists want the public to be docile serfs in a land of slaves.
Add this dire result of the horrendous increase in taxes from the “Taxmageddon” catastrophe come the end of this year and you have a meltdown formula for a second depression. The Tea Party advocates are correct, “Taxed Enough Already” gains new meaning with the legalization of Obamacare.
Conversely, how can the legislation be legal when a Supreme Court that is determined to worship at the altar of an absolute tyranny violates the rule of law itself?
Incrementalism is the gradual assimilation of society into a different matrix of acceptability. This judicial tragedy is a rapid surge to the system. The body politic is under assault by a deadly virus of biblical dimensions. The core reasons for the War of American Independence seem trite when compared to the level of perdition experienced under the succession of recent presidents.
The bipartisan despotism of both Bush presidents, Clinton and now Obama only accelerate acquiescence to a virtual dictatorship. In order to understand the nature of the dilemma, appreciate the message in The Meaning of Independence Day.
The justification for a Second American Revolution should be self-evident. However, there are few real Americans left, who comprehend the unique heritage of this nation. A spontaneous uprising to overthrow the political outlaws is unlikely. With that admission, the moral imperative still requires a personal commitment to oppose the corrupt regime that proceeds in enslaving society.
The tipping point is upon us. The chains you wear are shackles you lock each day; you observe, obey or consent to unlawful government. You have the power to refuse compliance. Confront the consequences or suffer the indignation of a life of servitude.
Celebrate this July 4th with a renewed dedication that the future of American lies in the moral authority of civil disobedience.