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One Nation Under Surveillance
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12 Days of Christmas Apologies
by Paul Buchheit
Posted December 24, 2014

who are they protecting?By the time the Koch brothers wake up on Christmas morning, the wealth the two men will have accumulated throughout the night could get a room for the night for every one of the 633,000 homeless Americans.

To Americans without a place to live, we apologize for a society that allows almost all of its new wealth to be redistributed to people who are already rich.

To the "Broken Windows" victims, tThe rationale is that punishment for trivial offenses will discourage more serious crimes. In New York City in 2012, the most common offense was drinking alcohol in public, and 85 percent of the citations were given to Blacks and Latinos.

Bank executives don't break windows. Their crimes are a billion times worse. Yet not a single banker was prosecuted for contributing to the mortgage collapse. More...

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Awakened Warriors Arise
by Zen Gardner
Posted December 22, 2014

wolves in sheeps clotingLife is a struggle. How much more then is the spiritual life, the fight to remain conscious in an illusory world where deviant forces vie for control more than caring, battering your very body and soul day in and day out on top of your struggle to survive . Oh, we're going peacefully downstream in the conscious dimensions. There we learn to let go and follow the flow of the Universe and synchronicity. But in this physical, lower density world, we're fighting directly upstream.

In addition, we're living in a time of increasingly turbulent waters. Our kayaks hit all kinds of eddies and crosscurrents, never mind the rocks and rapids we have to navigate–all while idiots, enemies and doubters, prodded on by the propaganda whores, are screaming obscenities from the shore and trying to hit us with anything they can get their hands on! But alas, grasshoppers—we have powers they know not of! More...

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Graphic Representation of Surveillance State
Video by End The Illusion
Posted December 13, 2014

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

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

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

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

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Defeat Is Victory
by Dmitry Orlov
Posted December 11, 2014

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

war is peaceWAR IS PEACE

FREEDOM IS SLAVERY

IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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A Kept Culture
by Cognitive Dissonance
Posted November 4, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I see pitchforks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Laidler notes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Global Plutocracy
by Andre Damon
Posted Jan 24, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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January 9, 2009
Why we are here?
End the illusion, we cannot continue with “business as usual”
by Rudy Avizius

As one takes stock of what is happening to our nation, using simple common sense it becomes evident that things are not working. It does not take an “expert” with a PhD in economics or political science to figure out that things have gone horribly wrong on many fronts: economic, social, justice, community, environment, to name just a few.
It seems that our political leaders and government regulators have had their heads buried in the sand, ignoring the warning signs of the impending huge economic and financial storm that was brewing, all while taking contributions and being influenced by the very people who were driving our economy and nation over a cliff. Simultaneously while this was happening, the best our corporate controlled media could do was to lamely ask “are we in a recession yet”?

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