FEELINGS OR FACTS?

9 comments

Posted on 17th September 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

, ,

Bob Toll and the rest of the mega-homebuilder CEO’s are really optimistic about the future. Too bad it doesn’t jive with declining new orders, plunging mortgage applications, rising mortgage rates, declining real wages, surging student loan debt, fraudulently pumped up home prices, skyrocketing Obamacare created insurance premiums, and shitty job growth.

Can you believe anything reported by anybody anymore?

Scottish Independence, and the Growing Divide Between the Privileged Classes and the People

46 comments

Posted on 17th September 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

,

Guest Post by Jesse

What interested me the most in this article is not so much the information it provides on the campaign by the British establishment against the Scottish vote for independence, or the eager participants from the American members of the Anglo-American power clique as well.

Rather it is for the light that this article sheds on the behavior of the enablers of the Anglo-American establishment in the corporate media and the academy, and how rarified their experience of the daily lives of the people has become. It seems almost to be due to an imbalance of character and a fashionable failure of the national perspective. Understandable for the generation that proclaims, ‘greed is good.’

As David Brin has remarked, ‘It is said that power corrupts, but actually it’s more true that power attracts the corruptible. The sane are usually attracted by other things than power.’

I hope that whatever the result the vote turns out well for the people of Scotland. They will certainly have problems to encounter, and hardships as a people to overcome. As will we all.

There is a distance growing between the elite classes in America and England and the great majority of the people. It is palpable in the economic policies in the aftermath of the financial crisis.

I am always surprised by how little those pampered princes and princesses within the Beltway or Westminster seem to understand about their own people.  What a caricature the communication and occasional interactions between them has become. Such distance breeds both mistrust and fear. It is becoming a cultural divide. And not just for the leadership itself, but for their vast assemblage of courtiers and sycophants who act as viceroys and interpreters for them.

It does not bode well for the future.

 

How the media shafted the people of Scotland

Journalists in their gilded circles are woefully out of touch with popular sentiment and shamefully slur any desire for change

By George Monbiot
Tuesday 16 September 2014 15.03 EDT

Perhaps the most arresting fact about the Scottish referendum is this: that there is no newspaper – local, regional or national, English or Scottish – that supports independence except the Sunday Herald. The Scots who will vote yes have been almost without representation in the media.
There is nothing unusual about this. Change in any direction, except further over the brink of market fundamentalism and planetary destruction, requires the defiance of almost the entire battery of salaried opinion. What distinguishes the independence campaign is that it has continued to prosper despite this assault.

In the coverage of the referendum we see most of the pathologies of the corporate media. Here, for instance, you will find the unfounded generalisations with which less enlightened souls are characterised. In the Spectator, Simon Heffer maintains that: “addicted to welfare … Scots embraced the something for nothing society”, objecting to the poll tax “because many of them felt that paying taxes ought to be the responsibility of someone else”.

Here is the condescension with which the dominant classes have always treated those they regard as inferior: their serfs, the poor, the Irish, Africans, anyone with whom they disagree. “What spoilt, selfish, childlike fools those Scots are … They simply don’t have a clue how lucky they are,” sneered Melanie Reid in the Times. Here is the chronic inability to distinguish between a cause and a person: the referendum is widely portrayed as a vote about Alex Salmond, who is then monstered beyond recognition (a Telegraph editorial compared him to Robert Mugabe).

The problem with the media is exemplified by Dominic Lawson’s column for the Daily Mail last week. He began with Scotland, comparing the “threat” of independence with that presented by Hitler (the article was helpfully illustrated with a picture of the Führer – unaccompanied, in this case, by the Mail’s former proprietor)…

Read the entire article in The Guardian here.

 

BUILDING A NEW BARN

13 comments

Posted on 17th September 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

I sure have missed Hardscrabble Farmer’s wisdom, perspective and truth over the last few weeks. But it was worth the wait. Enjoy.

Last night I dreamed of buildings. In the dream they were on our farm- a church, a small theater, a haunted house we had once looked at before we bought our place. I went from one to the other examining the flaws and estimating for repairs; rotten framing, new coat of paint, leaky pipes that ran inside the walls. I was overwhelmed by the amount of work ahead of me and in each building were groups of people I didn’t know, a cluster of young girls waiting to dance at a recital, college boys gathered in knots by a fire escape, old men and women in recliners on the porch watching the evening sky.

Everyone nodded at me as I made my way from job to job and at one point an old friend I haven’t seen in years asked me to help him move a fawn across a large field to the safety of the forest before someone accidentally hit it with their car. I remember clearly the mood of the dream- it was neither ethereal nor fantastic, but mundane and simple. I was required to fix what was broken, to make the repairs and work while others went about their lives doing what was expected of them. I recall my work clothes and tools, the turkey leg someone offered me to eat, the fact that nighttime was approaching and there was still so much work left undone.

When I came downstairs this morning it was not quite light but you could see the water vapor ascending from the surface of the pond like a pillar of smoke, obscuring the lower pasture in a lavender haze. I made my coffee and thought about my dream while it was fresh in my mind.

A couple of years ago while we were visiting our family for Christmas the barn burned down. The shock of that loss has long since passed, but the memories of what people did for us remains the clearest and most profound artifact of that event. It took me six hours of driving at speeds that should have landed me in jail to reach the smoldering ruin of what had once housed innumerable possessions and lives. The firemen were wrapping things up, a few of them were hosing off the last of the smoking hay bales that continued to burn, and where that beautiful barn had once stood was nothing more than a blackened pile of ash and twisted metal.

When I got out of the car I was surrounded by neighbors who all seemed to want to hug me and hold me as if that would help fix what was lost. It was already getting dark and as I stood there trying to come to grips with what had happened I noticed a steady stream of pickup trucks ascending the hill, filled with hay bales for our animals. I knew some of the people, casually, but most were strangers to me. This outpouring of concern and unfettered kindness continued for days. In the morning there would be casserole dishes and boxes of baked goods left on the porch, notes tacked to the front door wishing us well, checks in the mail from people we’d met only once or twice. That night as the last of the firemen headed off to their trucks my oldest son stood at the head of the driveway and shook each hand, one by one and thanked them for saving our house.

The past month has been busy for all of us. We have spread composted manure and planted grass seed in the new pasture, brought in enough timber to split fifty more cords of firewood and make boards for the new equipment shed. We’ve slaughtered of the last of the goats and chickens for the year and filled the freezers. We’ve pickled and canned and hayed and dried more than enough to carry our family and livestock through another New England Winter. We’ve set new fence posts and split oak rails to line them.

Through all of this we’ve managed to celebrate birthdays, go to concerts at the harbor, repaint bedrooms, build shelves together, make models, fire rockets, train the new puppy to the livestock, enjoy visits from friends and neighbors, keep to our Friday date night ritual and enjoy every minute together.Through all of this the things we do not concern ourselves with are what celebrities do, what happened to that plane, that football team, that politician, that foreign country, investments, the economy, McDonald’s annual sales, amnesty for 8, 11, 20 or 50 million foreign invaders or a host of other unpleasant and doomy thoughts. These things will continue apace with or without our input or opinion. Our concerns are local because that is how we live and that is our reality.

I am not unaware of where we are heading and I wish it were different, but one of the few things in life that cannot be altered is the time we are born into. This is the phase of a nation in decline and we are along for the ride whether we like it or not. The only thing we can control is what we decide to do with our time and who we decide to spend it with. Most people aren’t aware of where their food comes from never mind where we are going and they will likely remain that way for the rest of their lives.

Others sense that something is wrong but won’t make the changes required to prepare themselves for the inevitable. Fewer still have done the hard work of examining the details, of studying the data and relating it to the lessons of history in a way that puts things into perspective, but even these people remain tied to the modern world in a death grip, holding on to the things they think will allow them to escape the coming storm without having to change a thing.

Our decision to walk away from our old life was also a decision to walk towards a new one. Our plans are not based entertainment and escape, but on labor and reality. We no longer depend on other people far away to satisfy our dietary needs, but produce what we eat from our own soil, with our own hands. Rather than be identified as consumers, we think of ourselves as producers. We value the time we spend with our children and each other above all else and it it is far more satisfying than any other distraction or purchase could ever be. The time we give to various friends and neighbors to help with things they cannot do alone could never come close to what they have done for us with their casseroles and hay bales, never mind the risks they took when they fought the fire in our barn and saved our home.

The barn contained a lot more than hay and equipment. I had built a small studio where I could paint when I had the time and it contained all the drawings and paintings I had done over the course of the last thirty five or forty years. I had also stored my Mother’s possessions that I hadn’t the heart to go through after her death, stacked neatly in boxes waiting for a time when I could. There were mason jars filled with heirloom seeds passed to me from at least five generations in my family past and all of it is gone now, ashes to ashes. Such is life.

The Sun is up now and sky is clear and down in the pasture near the pond the cattle are grazing, heads down to the sweet grass. There are sounds of my children moving in the house, getting ready for another day and they are happy sounds in my ears. I have more work to do today than I can possibly accomplish, but I look forward to that particular kind of human failing. The old barn is long gone, but we built a new one with timber we harvested ourselves, with the labor of our friends and family and I think it is a fine one. I also think that I understand my dream last night, what prompted it and where it came from and if anyone could ever truly say that dreams come true, I believe that I can.

QUOTES OF THE DAY

0 comments

Posted on 17th September 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
― Theodore Roosevelt

“The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first and love of soft living and the get-rich-quick theory of life.”
― Theodore Roosevelt

“Every immigrant who comes here should be required within five years to learn English or leave the country.”
― Theodore Roosevelt

“A vote is like a rifle: its usefulness depends upon the character of the user.”
― Theodore Roosevelt

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”
― Theodore Roosevelt

“It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.”
― Theodore Roosevelt

“The only man who never makes mistakes is the man who never does anything.”
― Theodore Roosevelt

“To educate a person in the mind but not in morals is to educate a menace to society.”
― Theodore Roosevelt

“To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.”
― Theodore Roosevelt

“No man needs sympathy because he has to work, because he has a burden to carry. Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”
― Theodore Roosevelt

“A man who has never gone to school may steal a freight car; but if he has a university education, he may steal the whole railroad.”
― Theodore Roosevelt

AMERICAN EULOGY

13 comments

Posted on 16th September 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

, ,

Dmitry Orlov quoted this article this morning. I wrote it in January 2011. That seems like a long time ago. I think it holds up well.

 

The Founding Fathers described the kind of country they were shaping on July 4, 1776 with the most well known sentence in the English language:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - Declaration of Independence

In 1776, America was an idea born of noble intentions. An idea that every citizen had the opportunity to succeed, prosper and achieve based upon their hard work and abilities. The government did not provide advantages or a safety net for its citizens. People were free to succeed or fail based upon their own merits. America had a frontier spirit because it was still a frontier. Individual effort, intellect and willingness to sweat allowed you to move up the socio-economic ladder. The government provided a National Defense, and very little else. In 1794, the country had a population of 4.4 million and a GDP of $310 million. Government spending totaled $7.1 million, or 2.3% of GDP, and was split between Defense and interest on the Revolutionary War debt. Today, Federal Government spending totals $3.7 trillion, or 25% of GDP.

James Truslow Adams in his 1931 Epic of America described the America that once existed in reality, but only exists as a phantom today:

“The American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for every man, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. It is a difficult dream for the European upper classes to interpret adequately, also too many of us ourselves have grown weary and mistrustful of it. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.”

“The American Dream that has lured tens of millions of all nations to our shores in the past century has not been a dream of material plenty, though that has doubtlessly counted heavily. It has been a dream of being able to grow to fullest development as a man and woman, unhampered by the barriers which had slowly been erected in the older civilizations, unrepressed by social orders which had developed for the benefit of classes rather than for the simple human being of any and every class.” - James Truslow Adams - Epic of America

His assessment of the American Dream was made in 1931. He saw signs that the American Dream had begun to die. He was right. The American Dream began to develop a terminal illness in 1913 with the creation of the Federal Reserve and the passage of the 16th Amendment to the Constitution, creating a permanent income tax.

Song of the Century

Sing us a song of the century
It sings like American Eulogy
The dawn of my love and conspiracy
Forgotten hope and the class of 13
Tell me a story into that goodnight
Sing us a song for me

American Eulogy - Green Day

 

 

At the outset of the last century America was still a vital, free, growing country on the rise. The song of the century began as a joyous ballad and ended as a funeral dirge. The creation of a Central Bank, which could create inflation on demand, and allowing politicians the ability to buy votes through pork spending, paid for with ever increasing taxation, have sucked the life out of the American Dream. According to the Federal Reserve’s own website, their mandates were clear. Below are those mandates and an assessment of their success.

Conducting the nation’s monetary policy by influencing the monetary and credit conditions in the economy in pursuit of maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates.

  •  Due to loose monetary policy in the 1920′s, the Federal Reserve created a stock bubble, a stock market crash of 89%, a decade long Great Depression, and unemployment of 25% in the 1930′s.
  • Due to loose monetary policies in the 1970′s, the Federal Reserve created raging inflation that reached 14% in the early 1980′s and needed to raise interest rates to 18% in order to break the back of inflation, resulting in unemployment surging to 9.7% in 1982.
  • Due to loose monetary policies in the early 2000′s, the Federal Reserve created the largest housing bubble in history, with the subsequent collapse bringing the financial system to within hours of collapse, and driving unemployment to 9.9% in 2009.
  • Due to the loosest monetary policy in history, today, inflation has begun to rage across the globe, leading to riots, protests and bloody revolutions, with more on the way.
  • The Federal Reserve has achieved their stable prices mandate by inflating away 96% of the purchasing power of the US dollar in less than 100 years. The price of gold continues to soar, as faith in the US dollar diminishes by the minute. I guess stability is in the eye of the beholder.

Supervising and regulating banking institutions to ensure the safety and soundness of the nation’s banking and financial system and to protect the credit rights of consumers.

Historical US Bank Failures thru 2010

  •  The Federal Reserve’s supervisory and regulatory expertise can be observed in the graph above. This graph doesn’t do the Fed justice, as it begins in 1934. Sixteen years after its origination, the Fed managed to let 10,000 out of 25,000 banks in the country fail between 1929 and 1932.
  • Their glorious history also includes residing over the failure of 2,800 banks during the 1980′s S&L crisis.
  • While protecting their mega-bank Wall Street masters, the Fed has allowed over 300 small banks to go under so far. There are 900 banks on the troubled list that will eventually meet their maker.

Maintaining the stability of the financial system and containing systemic risk that may arise in financial markets.

  • Generally, maintaining the stability of the financial system and containing systematic risk doesn’t include allowing the worldwide financial system to come within hours of collapse as described by Rep. Paul Kanjorski:

“On Thursday [the 18th], at about 11 o’clock in the morning, the Federal Reserve noticed a tremendous drawdown of money market accounts in the United States to a tune of $550 billion being drawn out in a matter of an hour or two. The Treasury opened up its window to help. They pumped $105 billion into the system and quickly realized that they could not stem the tide. We were having an electronic run on the banks.

They decided to close the operation, close down the money accounts, and announce a guarantee of $250,000 per account so there wouldn’t be further panic and there. And that’s what actually happened. If they had not done that their estimation was that by two o’clock that afternoon, $5.5 trillion would have been drawn out of the money market system of the United States, would have collapsed the entire economy of the United States, and within 24 hours the world economy would have collapsed.

Now we talked at that time about what would have happened if that happened. It would have been the end of our economic system and our political system as we know it.”

Providing financial services to depository institutions, the U.S. government, and foreign official institutions, including playing a major role in operating the nation’s payments system.

  • It seems this is the only mandate the Federal Reserve has taken seriously is providing services to its owners, the banks. Did the bankers and politicians that met on Jekyll Island to mastermind this Central Bank envision that those services would include: buying $1.5 trillion of toxic mortgages from the banks; allowing the mega-banks to borrow from the Fed at 0% and reinvest those funds at 2.5% risk free; pumping $600 billion directly into the stock market through their QE2 scam; allowing banks to falsely overstate the value of their mortgage and commercial loans; and never ever enforcing basic risk management regulations.
  • While providing Wall Street banks with billions of unearned risk free profits, 0% interest rates further impoverish the savers and senior citizens of the country. The Federal Reserve has fulfilled their unstated mandate of enriching bankers at the expense of middle class Americans.

To strengthen U.S. standing in the world economy.

  • The Federal Reserve’s affect on the world economy is best revealed in a pictorial tribute to their policies:

                                    TUNISIA

                                     ALGERIA

                                         EGYPT


The Federal Reserve has not been alone in killing the American Dream. Politicians since 1913 have done their part in suffocating the dream. The tax code consisted of 400 pages in 1913 and tax rates ranged from 1% to 7%. In less than a century politicians of both parties have carved out 70,000 pages of payoffs, entitlements, and bribes for their contributors and constituents. Tax rates now range from 10% to 35%. Those 70,000 pages of rules, regulations and tax breaks do not benefit the average middle class American. They benefit those who had the money and power to buy off a Congressman.

The Federal Reserve and the US Tax Code bastardized the American Dream, created barriers to economic advancement, and supported the accumulation of wealth and power by a select few. The ruling elite have used their power and control over the media to convince the majority of Americans that the American Dream is about accumulating material possessions with debt. The American Dream no longer meant attaining the fullest measure of your capabilities, but living in the biggest McMansion, driving the nicest BMW, watching the biggest TV and wearing the latest fashions, all acquired with debt. America is dying.

Mass Hysteria

Red alert is the color of panic
Elevated to the point of static
Beating into the hearts of the fanatics
And the neighborhood’s a loaded gun
Idle thought lead to full-throttle screaming
And the welfare is asphyxiating
Mass confusion is all the new age and it’s creating a feeding ground for the bottom feeders of hysteria

Hysteria, mass hysteria!
Mass hysteria!
Mass hysteria!
Mass hysteria!

American Eulogy - Green Day

 

Green Day captures the essence of America since the turn of the century. The country has been in the throes of mass hysteria since 9/11. The once independent, self sufficient individualists that populated this country have become dependent, government reliant, quivering shadows of the frontiersmen that created this country. In the name of safety and security, the American people have allowed their government to accumulate complete control over every aspect of our lives. Only a country in the grip of mass hysteria would allow their leaders to run the National Debt from $5.8 trillion to $14.1 trillion in less than 10 years. Only a country in the clutches of mass hysteria could believe they could get rich by trading internet stocks and houses to a greater fool. Only a country seized by mass hysteria would allow its leaders to promote democracy at the point of a cruise missile as we continue to fight $3 trillion wars in the Middle East, while nearly tripling the amount spent on Defense to more than $1 trillion per year.

 Defense Budget Breakdown for 2011

Defense-related expenditure 2011 Budget request & Mandatory spending Calculation
DOD spending $721.3 billion Base budget + “Overseas Contingency Operations”
FBI counter-terrorism $2.7 billion At least one-third FBI budget.
International Affairs $10.1–$54.2 billion At minimum, foreign arms sales. At most, entire State budget
Energy Department, defense-related $20.9 billion
Veterans Affairs $66.2 billion
Homeland Security $54.7 billion
NASA, satellites $3.4–$8.5 billion Between 20% and 50% of NASA’s total budget
Veterans pensions $58.4 billion
Other defense-related mandatory spending $7.5 billion
Interest on debt incurred in past wars $114.8–$454.2 billion Between 23% and 91% of total interest
Total Spending $1.060–$1.449 trillion

 

If you had told someone on September 10, 2001 that ten years later America would be running $1.5 trillion annual deficits, fighting two wars of choice in countries that despise our presence, and had not only not addressed the $100 billion of unfunded welfare liabilities but added billions more with Medicare D and Obamacare, they would have thought you were a crazy doomster predicting the end of the world. They would have put you away in a padded cell if you had further predicted that politicians would cut taxes three separate times, that the Wall Street banks that leveraged themselves 40 to 1 and destroyed the financial system were handed $2 trillion of taxpayer funds so they could pay themselves multi-million dollar bonuses, and that the Federal Reserve would triple its balance sheet to $2.45 trillion by running its printing presses at hyper-speed and handing the money to those same Wall Street Mega-Banks.

What caused the mass hysteria that has destroyed the soul of America? Was it just the madness of crowds? Or was it something more sinister?

True sounds of maniacal laughter
And the deaf-mute is misleading the choir
The punch-line is a natural disaster
And it’s sung by the unemployed
Fight fire with a riot
The class war is hanging on a wire because the martyr is a compulsive liar
When he said “it’s just a bunch of niggers throwing gas into the ….”

American Eulogy - Green Day

Whenever an act doesn’t make sense and seems irrational, you need to ask yourself, “who benefits?” Who has benefited from the hysteria? The answer is in plain sight. The moneyed interests benefited. The military industrial complex benefited. The Federal Government bureaucracy benefited. Wall Street bankers benefited. Mega-corporations and their CEOs benefited. The top 1% ruling elite gained more wealth and more power.

They created the mass hysteria with the assistance of their corporate owned mainstream media and completed their pillaging of the middle class with the cooperation of regulators, rating agencies and their ultimate weapon, the privately owned Federal Reserve bank, that has enriched its owners while impoverishing those whose only aspiration was to do an honest day’s work, raise their families, and live in relative comfort, safety, and happiness.

I Don’t Wanna Live In The Modern World

I don’t wanna live in the modern world!
I don’t wanna live in the modern world!
I don’t wanna live in the modern world!
I don’t wanna live in the modern world!

I am a nation without bureaucratic lies
Deny the allegation as it’s written (fucking lies!)

I want to take a ride to the great divide
Beyond the “up to date” and the neo-gentrified
The high definition for the low resident
Where the value of your mind is not held in contempt
I can hear the sound of a beating heart
That bleeds beyond a system that’s falling apart
With money to burn on a minimum wage
I don’t give a shit about the modern age

American Eulogy - Green Day

The modern world in no way resembles the world  James Truslow Adams wrote so passionately about in 1931. Green Day’s version of bureaucratic lies, high definition TVs for the poor, contempt for those who use their minds, and a debt flooded system that is falling apart is an accurate assessment of America today. The modern world is ruled by the few with wealth and power, sustained by government. The misinformation and propaganda dished out by the mainstream media creates a smokescreen that obscures who wields the true power in this country. The corporate mainstream media has done such a good job spreading the Big Lie that a vast number of Americans actually admire and worship the ultra-rich.

Most Americans still believe the fairy tale of the American Dream, that no matter how humble your beginnings, everyone has a fair chance to become rich in America. The truth is that the wealthy ruling class owns the country. The top 1% control 43% of the financial wealth of the nation. The top 10% control 83% of the financial wealth of the nation. There is a  misperception that the ultra-rich earn their wealth. The facts show otherwise. In 2008, only 19% of the income reported by the 13,480 individuals or families making over $10 million came from wages and salaries.

Remember the financial crisis of 2008-2009 that wiped out 7 million jobs, cut the value of many homes in half, and required a taxpayer bailout of Wall Street? According to research done by economist Edward Wolff, “there has been an “astounding” 36.1% drop in the wealth (marketable assets) of the median household since the peak of the housing bubble in 2007. By contrast, the wealth of the top 1% of households dropped by far less: just 11.1%. So as of April 2010, it looks like the wealth distribution is even more unequal than it was in 2007.”

Source: William Domhoff

The bottom 90% own less than 19% of stocks and mutual funds in the country. Reality is that the 10% richest Americans own the country. The top 1% control 50% of the investment assets and only 5% of the total debt in the country. The bottom 90% control 12% of the investment assets and are burdened with 73% of the total debt. You can clearly see that the Wall Street bailout and the current Federal Reserve QE2 plan to boost stock prices have only benefited the top 10% richest Americans.

What is good for Wall Street is  not good for Main Street. The American middle class has been lured into debt by the purveyors of debt, the ultra-rich elite who control the financial industry. The further into debt the bottom 90% descend, the greater the enrichment of the ruling class. This is why Wall Street shysters, political hacks and the corporate mainstream media have urged Americans to whip out those credit cards and “Save America” by spending money they don’t have, again. It is reminiscent of President Bush’s heartfelt plea to the American public to defeat terrorism by buying a GM car with 0% down.

The propaganda that is constantly pounded into the brains of Americans about “death taxes” and the rich paying more than their fair share of taxes is part of the Big Lie perpetrated by the powerful ruling class. The “huge” issue of estate tax impacts only the few thousand richest Americans.  According to a study published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, only 1.6% of Americans receive $100,000 or more in inheritance. Another 1.1% receive $50,000 to $100,000. On the other hand, 91.9% receive nothing (Kotlikoff & Gokhale, 2000). The richest families in the country provide the funding for the mainstream media propaganda needed to eliminate estate taxes.

The lies about the ultra-rich paying more than their fair share of taxes are refuted in the graph above. The top 1% actually pays a lower percentage of their income than the next 9%. The tax code isn’t 70,000 pages for nothing. The ultra-rich have used their wealth to great advantage by having loopholes and tax dodges inserted into the tax code by their bought off congressmen. The average American can’t afford high powered tax specialists and lawyers to help them stash their wealth in off-shore tax havens in the Caribbean and Switzerland. The consistent theme in America today is that the middle class gets screwed and the ultra-rich ruling class accumulates more wealth and power.

The Death of America

“Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” – John Adams

Two hundred and thirty five years ago, our Founding Fathers declared that we all had the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These rights have been restricted and bastardized over two centuries. Liberties have been severely restricted as your government tracks you through your social security number, is able to monitor your phone and internet communications, and regulates your education, healthcare, business, and a thousand other daily activities.

The right to happiness was based upon James Treslow Adams’ view that we were free to attain “the fullest stature of which they are innately capable”. The happiness of becoming a success through your individual exertion, intelligence and efforts has been subverted by the happiness of material goods acquired through the use of debt, peddled by the ruling class.

The American Dream where every person had the opportunity to live a richer and fuller life began to die in 1913. Every generation born in this country had an excellent chance to live a better life than their parents. Relentless progress was the American way. I have three teenage sons. Based on the actions of this country’s ruling oligarchy, I doubt that my sons will live a richer and fuller life than myself.

The debts are too extreme, the military overreach too excessive, the looting by the financial class too great, the political corruption too extensive, and the opportunities too few. The dream of a social order where everyone could rise to the highest level of their capabilities regardless of their birth has been systematically squashed. With 66% of households making less than $65,000 and college costs out of reach for 80% of Americans without incurring crushing levels of debt, the chances for most Americans to climb the social ladder through educational advancement are nil. Even if they do graduate from college, the CEOs in corporate America, who “earn” 300 times the average worker, have outsourced their jobs to China and India.

The ruling class provides their children with private schooling and necessary preparation to keep their place in the social order. Wealth begets wealth. The elite send their kids to the elite Ivy League schools and use their connections with their fellow ruling elite to get them jobs on Wall Street, the prestigious connected corporations or government jobs in Washington DC.

The wealth of the few has erected barriers to advancement of the many. America has progressively become a stratified class oriented society that has begun to spiral downward as the ruling class has gone too far. The revolutions flaring across the globe are occurring because the ruling class went too far and took too much. The ruling class in America should take note. They have shattered the American Dream and the retribution from those who have been swindled will be unexpected and violent.

1 OUT OF 6 OBAMACARE ENROLLEES ARE FRAUDS

12 comments

Posted on 16th September 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

, , , ,

You have 360,000 frauds who faked their income levels. You have another 966,000 illegals who have fraudulently signed up. It seems the PR number of 8 million enrollees is really 6.7 million. And these are just the frauds the administration is admitting to. You know it is far worse. There are probably 5 million legitimate enrollees and most of them already had insurance coverage before Obamacare. This abortion of a program was sold to the American people as the salvation for the 30 million uninsured Americans. Obama has managed to drive healthcare premiums up by 50% to 100% since 2009 and has only covered 10% of the uninsured population. I can’t understand why the Democrats don’t want to run on their prize piece of legislation and Obama has delayed the really bad shit until 2015 after the elections. What a clusterfuck.

Via The Hill

Administration threatens to cut off ObamaCare subsidies to 360,000

 By Sarah Ferris – 09/15/14 04:30 PM EDT

The Obama administration announced Monday it will cut off tax subsidies to about 360,000 people if they do not offer proof of their income in the next two weeks.

Officials will send final notices this week to individuals who signed up for ObamaCare with income levels that didn’t match government records. The announcement marks the administration’s first move to tackle the politically charged issue of income verification, which has remained a key GOP argument against the healthcare reform law.

Those who don’t confirm their income levels could lose their tax credit and face higher premiums and higher deductibles.

Nearly 90 percent of the 8 million people who signed up for ObamaCare have received government subsidies. The average consumer pays $82 per month for a $346 plan, receiving an average subsidy of $264.

The administration had already warned that it would end coverage for the 966,000 individuals whose immigration status could not be confirmed by the government.

About 115,000 people will lose coverage this month if they do not submit their paperwork, Andy Slavitt, principal deputy administrator at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told reporters Monday.

A total of 1.2 million people have had income inconsistencies since the launch of ObamaCare last year. About 800,000 people have since submitted verification.

The federal government is still missing paperwork for nearly a half-million people who signed up for insurance over the last year. Slavitt stressed that individuals may be able to regain their coverage during a special enrollment period if they can prove their citizenship status or income level.

The administration will continue calling and sending letters to individuals who have not submitted the paperwork. Many have already been contacted up to a dozen times, Slavitt said.He stressed that people with income verification issues will not lose their coverage.

“If people still pay their premiums and can demonstrate their eligibility, they’ll continue to be enrolled,” Slavitt said Monday.

Many of the verification problems stem from the HealthCare.gov website, which experienced technical glitches throughout its rollout. Slavitt was brought this year in to resolve some of the problems.

Some immigration advocates have blamed the website as a barrier for people trying to provide documentation of their citizenship.

“I’m hopeful and confident that people will continue to respond to a greater degree,” Slavitt said, predicting a last-minute surge before the deadline. “We recognize that we still have work to do here.”

At a hearing last week by the House Ways and Means subcommittee on health, Republicans accused the Obama administration of using “the honor system” when asking consumers to self-disclose their income.

“That’s why the White House has lost, in my view, the trust of the American people,” subcommittee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) told Slavitt at the hearing.

OBAMA PISSES AWAY $104 BILLION OF YOUR TAX DOLLARS IN AFGHANISTAN

7 comments

Posted on 16th September 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

, , , , , , ,

With Eyes on ISIS, America’s $104B in Afghanistan Is Failing

By Brianna Ehley,
The Fiscal Times
September 15, 2014

While the eyes of the world are on Iraq and President Obama’s plans to defeat ISIS, the chief auditor in charge of overseeing the U.S. reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan has a warning to policy makers: Don’t forget about the other war-torn country that has already cost hundreds of billions of dollars and has serious problems with corruption and sustainability.

So far, the United States has poured more than $104 billion into Afghanistan reconstruction efforts – that’s more than all the money spent on reconstructing Europe after World War II. Much of that money, as auditors have noted, has been lost to waste, fraud and abuse. In 2010, SIGAR accountants told The Fiscal Times they could only account for less than 10 percent of that money.

That’s a shocking sum, especially since Congress has already authorized another $16 billion to spend in Afghanistan in the next few years. Still, despite spending an “unprecedented” amount of money to rebuild this country, it has no strategy to weed out corruption – leaving hundreds of billions of tax dollars vulnerable, John Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) told an audience at Georgetown University on Friday.

“This is astonishing, given that Afghanistan is one of the most corrupt countries in the world and a country that the United States is spending billions of dollars in,” the auditor said. He added that “things could get worse with the drawdown” that is scheduled for the end of 2015.

It’s not just corruption that threatens to derail all of the gains the U.S. has made in the country. Afghanistan, as Sopko noted, has a major problem with sustainability.

Right now, the United States and other international donors fund more than 60 percent of Afghanistan’s national budget of around $7.6 billion. Last year, for example, the Afghan government raised $2 billion in revenues; the rest came from foreign aid, mostly from the United States.

Sopko says in the next few years, the Afghan National Security Forces are going to require a force of 374,000 – at a cost of roughly $5 billion a year. “At these levels, if the Afghan government were to dedicate all of its domestic revenue toward sustaining the Afghan army and police, it still could only pay for about a third of the cost. Moreover, all other costs from paying civil servants to maintaining all roads, schools, hospitals and other non-military infrastructure would also have to come from international donors,” Sopko said. “The bottom line is, it appears we’ve created a government that the Afghans simply cannot afford.”

Sopko is known for being extremely critical of the government agencies involved in reconstruction efforts. He told the audience that the U.S. government has failed to address Afghanistan’s corruption and sustainability issues – which threaten to “jeopardize every gain” the U.S. has made. Meanwhile, he said the government’s counter-narcotics effort has also been a failure and if unaddressed could completely derail any progress the U.S. has made.

“The U.S. has already spent nearly $7.6 billion to combat the opium industry. Yet, by every conceivable metric, we’ve failed,” Sopko said.

Sopko and his team frequently churn out scathing reports highlighting the failures of the Defense and the State Departments in Afghanistan – and many of them receive a wide swath of media attention. This has unsurprisingly sparked some tension between the auditors and officials from the departments being audited who routinely have problems with the IG’s findings. They say that responding to IG reports “chews up countless hours, and that the inspector general’s work ultimately undermines the effort to build stronger civilian institutions here by creating the impression that the United States is simply pouring money down the well,” The New York Times reported.

Sopko says, “SIGAR welcomes publicity because publicity gives our reports and work impact in this town and in Kabul and around the world.” He added, “I admit, some ambassadors and generals and nameless, faceless bureaucrats and contractors are unhappy with the fact we get press coverage, even though our two-person press shop pales in comparison to the squadrons of PR people at Embassy Kabul, ISAF, or the Pentagon. But that is the cost of transparency and open government.”
- See more at: http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Articles/2014/09/15/Eyes-ISIS-America-s-104B-Afghanistan-Failing#sthash.riTYbKt6.dpuf

YOU’VE COME A LONG WAY BABY

3 comments

Posted on 16th September 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

, ,

Fourth Turnings are driven by the mood of the country and the interaction between generations. Do you think this will end well?