California Is Broke – 19 Reasons Why It May Be Time For Everyone To Leave The State Of California For Good

Back in the 1960s and 1970s, there was a seemingly endless parade of pop songs about how great life was in California, and millions of young Americans dreamed of moving to the land of sandy beaches and golden sunshine.  But now all of that has changed.  Today, millions of Californians are dreaming about leaving the state for good.  The truth is that California is broke.  The economy of the state is in shambles.  The official unemployment rate has been sitting above 12 percent for an extended period of time, and poverty is everywhere.  For many Californians today, there are very few reasons to stay in the state but a whole lot of reasons to leave: falling housing prices, rising crime, budget cuts, rampant illegal immigration, horrific traffic, some of the most brutal tax rates in the nation, increasing gang violence and the ever present threat of wildfires, mudslides and natural disasters.  The truth is that it is easy to understand why there are now more Americans moving out of California each year than there are Americans moving into the state.  California has become a complete and total disaster zone in more ways than one, and an increasing number of Californians are deciding that enough is enough and they are getting out for good.

Sadly, the state of California is facing such a wide array of social, economic, and political problems that it is hard to even document them all.  It is really one huge gigantic mess at this point.

Just consider the following facts about what life is like in the state of California today…. 

#1 Unemployment in the state of California was 12.4% in September – one of the highest rates in the nation.

#2 The number of people unemployed in the state of California is approximately equivalent to the populations of Nevada, New Hampshire and Vermont combined.

#3 Not even state government jobs are safe in California these days.  Last month, government agencies in California slashed a total of 37,300 jobs.

#4 California has the third highest state income tax in the nation: a 9.55% tax bracket at $47,055 and a 10.55% bracket at $1,000,000.

#5 California has the highest state sales tax rate in the nation by far at 8.25%.  Indiana has the next highest at 7%.

#6 Residents of California pay the highest gasoline taxes (over 67 cents per gallon) in the United States.

#7 Even with all of the taxes, the budget deficit for the California state government for the current year is approximately 19 billion dollars.

#8 According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, California’s unfunded pension liability is estimated to be somewhere between $120 billion and $500 billion.

#9 20 percent of the residents of Los Angeles County are now receiving public aid.

#10 Budget cuts are making life very difficult in many California cities.  For example, Oakland, California Police Chief Anthony Batts says that due to severe budget cuts there are a number of crimes that his department will simply not be able to respond to any longer.  The crimes that the Oakland police will no longer be responding to include grand theft, burglary, car wrecks, identity theft and vandalism. 

Things have gotten so bad in Stockton, California that the police union put up a billboard with the following message: “Welcome to the 2nd most dangerous city in California. Stop laying off cops.”

#11 According to one survey, approximately 1 in 4 Californians under the age of 65 had absolutely no health insurance last year.

#12 California’s poverty rate soared to 15.3 percent in 2009, which was the highest in 11 years.

#13 California’s overstretched health care system is also on the verge of collapse.  Dozens of California hospitals and emergency rooms have shut down over the last decade because they could not afford to stay open after being endlessly swamped by illegal immigrants and poor Californians who were simply not able to pay for the services they were receiving.  As a result, the remainder of the health care system in the state of California is now beyond overloaded.  This had led to brutally long waits, diverted ambulances and even unnecessary patient deaths.

#14 California home builders began construction on 1,811 homes during the month of August, which was down 77% from August 2006.

#15 Earlier this year, it was reported that in the area around Sacramento, California there was one closed business for every six that were still open.

#16 The “lawsuit climate” in California is ranked number 46 out of all 50 states. 

#17 Residents of California pay some of the highest electricity prices in the entire nation.

#18 Over 20 percent of California homeowners are now underwater on their mortgages.

#19 Large tent cities have been springing up all over the state of California.  Just check out the following shocking video news report….

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRLupIRhrmg

So why doesn’t the state government of California just fix many of these problems?  Well, the truth is that it simply cannot.  The state government is flat broke.  Earlier this year, Bob Herbert of the New York Times described California’s massive budget problems this way….

California has cut billions of dollars from its education system, including its renowned network of public colleges and universities. Many thousands of teachers have been let go. Budget officials travel the state with a glazed look in their eyes, having tried everything they can think of to balance the state budget. And still the deficits persist.

So is there any hope that all this can be turned around?

Is there any hope that the economy of California will recover?

Or will California continue to experience a rapid decline?

Please feel free to leave a comment with your opinion….

75 Ways That The Government And The Financial Elite Will Be Sucking Even More Of The Life Blood Out Of The American People In 2011

The American people are experiencing financial death by a thousand cuts and most of them don’t even realize it.  The U.S. government, state governments, local governments and the financial elite are draining us financially in dozens upon dozens of different ways, and yet we have become so programmed to accept it that it just seems normal to us.  2011 is rapidly approaching, and a whole slate of federal taxes is scheduled to go up, state taxes are being increased from coast to coast, local governments are finding new and creative ways to stick it to us and the financial elite are becoming more predatory than ever.  Meanwhile, the incomes of many average Americans are actually going down.  According to the Census Bureau’s annual survey of income and poverty in the United States, of the 52 largest metro areas in the nation, only the city of San Antonio did not see a decline in median household income during 2009.  Tens of millions of Americans are flat broke and they are getting pissed off.  According to a new poll conducted by CNBC, 92 percent of Americans believe that the U.S. economy is either “fair” or “poor”.  The American people desperately want someone to fix the economy, but instead our “leaders” are trying to come up with new and creative ways to drain even more money out of us.

In no particular order, the following are 75 ways that the U.S. government, state governments, local governments and the financial elite will be sucking even more of the life blood out of the American people in 2011….

#1 State governments across the U.S. are raising fees and taxes in so many different ways it is staggering.  A reader named Richard recently sent me an email in which he described the shock that he experienced when he recently received his license plate renewal notice in the mail….

I just got a license plate renewal notice from the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles. When I opened the envelope and saw the amount of the renewal, I was shocked. The amount seemed much higher than usual.

I have a computerized record of all my financial transactions over the last many years. I looked up previous DMV license plate renewals and I saw that my vehicle license plate fees were up 187% in only 8 years! In other words, they were almost triple what they were 8 years ago!

#2 The cost of health care also continues to escalate out of control.  Americans already pay more for health care than anyone else in the world, and yet costs continue to explode.  Health insurance companies from coast to coast are already announcing that they must raise health insurance premiums substantially due to the new health care law that Barack Obama and the Democrats have pushed through.  For example, I am in perfect health and I have never had a single claim on my health insurance policy and yet I received notice earlier this year that my monthly health insurance premiums were going to be increasing by about 50 percent.

Unfortunately, I am far from alone.  Crazy rate hikes are being reported from coast to coast.  According to The Wall Street Journal, the following are just some of the health insurance companies that have announced rate hikes that are at least partially attributed to the new health care law….

*Aetna says that the extra benefits that the new health care reform law is forcing it to cover are behind rate increases for new individual plans of 5.4% to 7.4% in California and 5.5% to 6.8% in Nevada.

*Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon claims that the cost of providing additional benefits under the new health care law will account for 3.4% of a 17.1% premium rise for small employers.

*Celtic Insurance claims that half of a whopping 18% health insurance premium increase it is seeking comes from complying with mandates in the new health care law.

But do the financial elite in the health care industry really need more of our money?  According to a report by Health Care for America Now, America’s five biggest for-profit health insurance companies ended 2009 with a combined profit of $12.2 billion.

#3 But it isn’t just our health insurance premiums that are going up because of the new health care law.  One review of the health care legislation identified at least 19 different tax increases.  Not only that, according to an analysis by the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation, the health care reform law will generate $409.2 billion in additional taxes from the American people by the year 2019.

#4 From coast to coast, the big Wall Street banks are buying up thousands upon thousands of tax liens and are making a killing by socking distressed homeowners with predatory interest, outrageous penalties and almost unbelievable legal fees.  The article which I published yesterday, “The Big Wall Street Banks Have Found A New Way To Strangle The American People: Predatory Property Tax Collection” elicited a very strong reaction from many readers.  In particular, Walter Burien, who has done some great work exposing financial fraud at the government level, left a message explaining how this kind of predatory property tax collection is being done by design….

Per the article “Predatory Property Tax Collection” here is the why government did this. The feds put it through last year at the recommendation of a few private associations that represented many local governments and it was the government that pushed forward to require the banks and mortgage companies to do the tax collection tied directly into the mortgage. (Quicker money for the local governments) Read the new mortgage documentation and the banks have been required to collect property taxation up front for the local government.

Government in most venues had to wait four (4) years to move forward with foreclosure for delinquent property taxes. Well now that they have assigned the banks to do the collection, the banks usually move on foreclosure in six months which gets a new head in the door to pay the same levied property taxes quicker.

But the biggest drain on all of our incomes is excessive taxation by the government.  If the U.S. Congress does not act, and there is little reason to believe that they will, the following tax increases will go into effect in 2011….

#5 The lowest bracket for the personal income tax is going to increase from 10 percent to 15 percent.

#6 The next lowest bracket for the personal income tax is going to increase from 25 percent to 28 percent.

#7 The 28 percent tax bracket is going to increase to 31 percent.

#8 The 33 percent tax bracket is going to increase to 36 percent.

#9 The 35 percent tax bracket is going to increase to 39.6 percent.

#10 In 2011, the death tax is scheduled to return.  So instead of paying zero percent, estates of $1 million or more are going to be taxed at a rate of 55 percent.

#11 The capital gains tax is going to increase from 15 percent to 20 percent.

#12 The tax on dividends is going to increase from 15 percent to 39.6 percent.

#13 The “marriage penalty” is also scheduled to be reinstated in 2011.  Members of Congress keep promising to do something about this, but so far nothing has happened. 

#14 Many American businesses are going to get hit with a very significant tax increase in 2011.  Small businesses had been able to “expense”, rather than slowly depreciate, equipment purchases of up to $250,000 a year.  Now that will be slashed down to $25,000.  Larger businesses had been able to expense half of their purchases of equipment.  Now all of it will have to be depreciated. 

#15 They keep talking about it, but so far Congress has not passed a “fix” for the Alternative Minimum Tax.  If a fix is not passed, one out of every six U.S. taxpayers is going to be hit by the Alternative Minimum Tax.  The taxpayers most likely to be affected are married couples, very large families, home owners and taxpayers in states that have high state and local taxes.  The average tax increase that these taxpayers will be facing is going to be approximately $3,900 and most of them have no idea that it is coming.  If nothing changes, 27.2 million American households will pay AMT in 2010.

The following are a whole bunch of other taxes that Americans must pay each and every year and which seem to continually go up….

#16 Accounts Receivable Taxes

#17 Building Permit Taxes

#18 Capital Gains Taxes

#19 CDL license Taxes

#20 Cigarette Taxes

#21 Corporate Income Taxes

#22 Court Fines (indirect taxes)

#23 Dog License Taxes

#24 Federal Income Taxes

#25 Federal Unemployment Taxes (FUTA)

#26 Fishing License Taxes

#27 Food License Taxes

#28 Fuel permit taxes

#29 Gasoline Taxes

#30 Gift Taxes

#31 Hunting License Taxes

#32 Inheritance Taxes

#33 Inventory tax IRS Interest Charges (tax on top of tax)

#34 IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)

#35 Liquor Taxes

#36 Local Income Taxes

#37 Luxury Taxes

#38 Marriage License Taxes

#39 Medicare Taxes

#40 Payroll Taxes

#41 Property Taxes

#42 Real Estate Taxes

#43 Recreational Vehicle Taxes

#44 Road Toll Booth Taxes

#45 Road Usage Taxes (Truckers)

#46 Sales Taxes

#47 Self-Employment Taxes

#48 School Taxes

#49 Septic Permit Taxes

#50 Service Charge Taxes

#51 Social Security Taxes

#52 State Income Taxes

#53 State Unemployment Taxes (SUTA)

#54 Telephone federal excise taxes

#55 Telephone federal universal service fee taxes

#56 Telephone federal, state and local surcharge taxes

#57 Telephone minimum usage surcharge taxes

#58 Telephone recurring and non-recurring charges taxes

#59 Telephone state and local taxes

#60 Telephone usage charge taxes

#61 Toll Bridge Taxes

#62 Toll Tunnel Taxes

#63 Traffic Fines (indirect taxation)

#64 Trailer registration taxes

#65 Utility Taxes

#66 Vehicle License Registration Taxes

#67 Vehicle Sales Taxes

#68 Watercraft registration Taxes

#69 Well Permit Taxes

#70 Workers Compensation Taxes

#71 The Internet is increasingly being viewed as a potential major revenue source.  Many U.S. states are working harder than ever to collect taxes that they feel they are owed from online transactions on the Internet.

#72 Student loan debt is more of a financial drain on Americans than ever before.  Americans now owe more on student loans than they do on credit cards.  As hard as that is to believe, that is actually true.  Americans now owe more than $849 billion on student loans, which is a new all-time record.

#73 More Americans than ever find themselves unable to pay their bills, and an increasing number of frustrated creditors are actually resorting to wage garnishment.  Yes, you read the correctly.  Creditors are starting to ruthlessly go after the weekly paychecks of debtors.

The following is an excerpt from a recent New York Times article that discussed the rise of wage garnishment as a weapon against debtors….

After winning, creditors can secure a court order to seize part of the debtor’s paycheck or the funds in a bank account, a procedure called garnishment. No national statistics are kept, but the pay seizures are rising fast in some areas — up 121 percent in the Phoenix area since 2005, and 55 percent in the Atlanta area since 2004. In Cleveland, garnishments jumped 30 percent between 2008 and 2009 alone.

So if you are getting behind on your debt, you better watch out – your creditors may soon decide to garnish your wages.

#74 Many state and local governments throughout the United States are now viewing their police forces primarily as revenue raising organizations.  For example, earlier this year a federally funded ticketing blitz in the state of Virginia resulted in a total of 6996 traffic tickets being handed out in a single weekend.  Sure the roads are a little safer, but it also brought in a ton of money for the government.

The truth is that the police even realize what is going on.  Just consider the following quote from from Police Chief Michael Reaves of Utica, Michigan….

“When I first started in this job 30 years ago, police work was never about revenue enhancement, but if you’re a chief now, you have to look at whether your department produces revenues.”

#75 If all of this wasn’t bad enough, now there is an increasing amount of talk in international circles about the need for global taxes.  The IMF and the World Health Organization are both proposing new global taxes that would be imposed on all of us.  Not only that, but representatives from 60 different nations recently met at the UN to discuss a tax on global financial transactions that would be used to battle poverty and “climate change”.

If all of these methods of draining us financially were combined into one, the American people would be screaming bloody murder.  But because all of them are so small, and they go up so gradually, most Americans don’t seem to notice.

It is like the story of the frog in the kettle.  If you tried to drop a frog into a pot of boiling water, it would hop out immediately.

But if you put a frog into a kettle of warm water and turn up the heat very gradually, it will just sit there until it boils to death.

Well, we are that frog.  Every single year, they drain us a little more rapidly.  Tens of millions of us are flat broke and yet they keep coming back for more. 

Never before in American history has money been drained out of us in so many different ways.  They are literally bleeding us dry, and eventually there will simply be nothing left to drain.

12 Ominous Signs For World Financial Markets

Can anyone explain the very strange behavior that we are seeing in world financial markets right now?  Corporate insiders are bailing out of the U.S. stock market at a very alarming rate.  Investors are moving mountains of money into gold and other commodities.  In fact, there is such a rush towards gold that shortages are starting to be reported in some areas.  Meanwhile, some very, very unusual option activity has started to show up.  In particular, someone is making some incredibly large bets that the S&P 500 is going to absolutely tank during the month of October.  Central banks around the world have caught a case of “loose money fever” and are apparently hoping that a new flood of paper money will shock the global economy back to life.  Meanwhile, the furor over the foreclosure procedure abuses of the major U.S mortgage companies threatens to bring even more turmoil to the U.S. housing industry.

There are some very ominous signs that something is just not right in world financial markets right now.  Some of the signs listed below may be related.  Others may not be.  That is for you to decide.

Often, just before something really bad happens, you can actually see the rats leaving a sinking ship if you know where to look.  The truth is that if things are going to go south it is the insiders who know before anyone else.

So are some of the signs below actually clues for what we should expect in the months ahead?

Maybe.

Maybe not.

You make your own call.

But it is becoming hard to deny that there are some serious danger signs out there at this point….    

#1 Corporate insiders are getting out of the U.S. stock market at an absolutely blinding pace.  It is being reported that the ratio of corporate insider selling to corporate insider buying last week was 1,411 to 1, and this week the ratio has soared even higher and is at 2,341 to 1.

#2 Many of the world’s wealthiest people are buying absolutely massive quantities of gold right now.

#3 It is being reported that J.P. Morgan is gobbling up the rights to as much physical gold as it possibly can.

#4 The United States Mint has announced that it has run out of 1-ounce, 24-karat American Buffalo gold bullion coins and that it will not be selling any more of them in 2010.

#5 It is becoming increasingly difficult to explain the unusually high option volume that we are witnessing right now.

#6 Some very large investors are making massive bets that the S&P 500 is going to take a serious tumble during the month of October.

#7 On Tuesday, the Bank of Japan shocked world financial markets by cutting interest rates even closer to zero and by setting up a 5 trillion yen quantitative easing fund.

#8 The president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago are both publicly urging the Fed to do much more to stimulate the U.S. economy, including beginning a new round of quantitative easing, even if it means a significant rise in the U.S. inflation rate.

#9 Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz told reporters on Tuesday that the loose monetary policies of the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank are throwing the world into “chaos”.

#10 At the end of September, federal regulators announced a $30 billion bailout of the U.S. wholesale credit union system.

#11 Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and GMAC Mortgage have all suspended foreclosures in many U.S. states due to serious concerns about foreclosure procedures.  Now, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is actually demanding that all mortgage servicing companies in the state of Texas immediately suspend all foreclosures, the selling of foreclosed properties and the eviction of people living in foreclosed properties until they have completed a review of their foreclosure procedures.

#12 Not only that, but Nancy Pelosi and 30 other members of Congress are requesting a federal investigation of the foreclosure practices of U.S. mortgage lenders.  Needless to say, this controversy has the potential to turn the entire U.S. mortgage industry into an absolute quagmire.

So are dark days ahead for world financial markets?

Well, yeah, but it is incredibly hard to predict exactly when things are going to fall apart.

The truth is that there are going to be a whole lot more “crashes” and “collapses” in the years ahead.

The important thing, as discussed yesterday, is to keep your eye on the long-term trends.

The U.S. economy is undeniably in decline.  The only thing keeping the economy going at this point is a rapidly growing sea of red ink.  Debt is literally everywhere.  It is what our entire financial system is based on in 2010. 

In the months and years to come, the major players are going to try very hard to keep all the balls in the air and to continue the massive shell game that is going on, but in the end the whole thing is going to collapse like a house of cards.

Unfortunately, we have been destroying the U.S. economy for decades and there is simply not going to be a happy ending to this story.

Who Owns The Media? The 6 Monolithic Corporations That Control Almost Everything We Watch, Hear And Read

Back in 1983, approximately 50 corporations controlled the vast majority of all news media in the United States.  Today, ownership of the news media has been concentrated in the hands of just six incredibly powerful media corporations.  These corporate behemoths control most of what we watch, hear and read every single day.  They own television networks, cable channels, movie studios, newspapers, magazines, publishing houses, music labels and even many of our favorite websites. Sadly, most Americans don’t even stop to think about who is feeding them the endless hours of news and entertainment that they constantly ingest.  Most Americans don’t really seem to care about who owns the media.  But they should.  The truth is that each of us is deeply influenced by the messages that are constantly being pounded into our heads by the mainstream media.  The average American watches 153 hours of television a month.  In fact, most Americans begin to feel physically uncomfortable if they go too long without watching or listening to something.  Sadly, most Americans have become absolutely addicted to news and entertainment and the ownership of all that news and entertainment that we crave is being concentrated in fewer and fewer hands each year.      

The six corporations that collectively control U.S. media today are Time Warner, Walt Disney, Viacom, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., CBS Corporation and NBC Universal.  Together, the “big six” absolutely dominate news and entertainment in the United States.  But even those areas of the media that the “big six” do not completely control are becoming increasingly concentrated. For example, Clear Channel now owns over 1000 radio stations across the United States.  Companies like Google, Yahoo and Microsoft are increasingly dominating the Internet.

But it is the “big six” that are the biggest concerns.  When you control what Americans watch, hear and read you gain a great deal of control over what they think.  They don’t call it “programming” for nothing. 

Back in 1983 it was bad enough that about 50 corporations dominated U.S. media.  But since that time, power over the media has rapidly become concentrated in the hands of fewer and fewer people….

In 1983, fifty corporations dominated most of every mass medium and the biggest media merger in history was a $340 million deal. … [I]n 1987, the fifty companies had shrunk to twenty-nine. … [I]n 1990, the twenty-nine had shrunk to twenty three. … [I]n 1997, the biggest firms numbered ten and involved the $19 billion Disney-ABC deal, at the time the biggest media merger ever. … [In 2000] AOL Time Warner’s $350 billion merged corporation [was] more than 1,000 times larger [than the biggest deal of 1983].

–Ben H. Bagdikian, The Media Monopoly, Sixth Edition, (Beacon Press, 2000), pp. xx—xxi

Today, six colossal media giants tower over all the rest.  Much of the information in the chart below comes from mediaowners.com.  The chart below reveals only a small fraction of the media outlets that these six behemoths actually own….

Time Warner

Home Box Office (HBO)
Time Inc.
Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.
Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
CW Network (partial ownership)
TMZ
New Line Cinema
Time Warner Cable
Cinemax
Cartoon Network
TBS
TNT
America Online
MapQuest
Moviefone
Castle Rock
Sports Illustrated
Fortune
Marie Claire
People Magazine

Walt Disney

ABC Television Network
Disney Publishing
ESPN Inc.
Disney Channel
SOAPnet
A&E
Lifetime
Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Buena Vista Theatrical Productions
Buena Vista Records
Disney Records
Hollywood Records
Miramax Films
Touchstone Pictures
Walt Disney Pictures
Pixar Animation Studios
Buena Vista Games
Hyperion Books

Viacom

Paramount Pictures
Paramount Home Entertainment
Black Entertainment Television (BET)
Comedy Central
Country Music Television (CMT)
Logo
MTV
MTV Canada
MTV2
Nick Magazine
Nick at Nite
Nick Jr.
Nickelodeon
Noggin
Spike TV
The Movie Channel
TV Land
VH1

News Corporation

Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Fox Television Stations
The New York Post
Fox Searchlight Pictures
Beliefnet
Fox Business Network
Fox Kids Europe
Fox News Channel
Fox Sports Net
Fox Television Network
FX
My Network TV
MySpace
News Limited News
Phoenix InfoNews Channel
Phoenix Movies Channel
Sky PerfecTV
Speed Channel
STAR TV India
STAR TV Taiwan
STAR World
Times Higher Education Supplement Magazine
Times Literary Supplement Magazine
Times of London
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
20th Century Fox International
20th Century Fox Studios
20th Century Fox Television
BSkyB
DIRECTV
The Wall Street Journal
Fox Broadcasting Company
Fox Interactive Media
FOXTEL
HarperCollins Publishers
The National Geographic Channel
National Rugby League
News Interactive
News Outdoor
Radio Veronica
ReganBooks
Sky Italia
Sky Radio Denmark
Sky Radio Germany
Sky Radio Netherlands
STAR
Zondervan

CBS Corporation

CBS News
CBS Sports
CBS Television Network
CNET
Showtime
TV.com
CBS Radio Inc. (130 stations)
CBS Consumer Products
CBS Outdoor
CW Network (50% ownership)
Infinity Broadcasting
Simon & Schuster (Pocket Books, Scribner)
Westwood One Radio Network

NBC Universal

Bravo
CNBC
NBC News
MSNBC
NBC Sports
NBC Television Network
Oxygen
SciFi Magazine
Syfy (Sci Fi Channel)
Telemundo
USA Network
Weather Channel
Focus Features
NBC Universal Television Distribution
NBC Universal Television Studio
Paxson Communications (partial ownership)
Trio
Universal Parks & Resorts
Universal Pictures
Universal Studio Home Video

These gigantic media corporations do not exist to objectively tell the truth to the American people.  Rather, the primary purpose of their existence is to make money.

These gigantic media corporations are not going to do anything to threaten their relationships with their biggest advertisers (such as the largest pharmaceutical companies that literally spend billions on advertising), and one way or another these gigantic media corporations are always going to express the ideological viewpoints of their owners.

Fortunately, an increasing number of Americans are starting to wake up and are realizing that the mainstream media should not be trusted.  According to a new poll just released by Gallup, the number of Americans that have little to no trust in the mainstream media (57%) is at an all-time high.

That is one reason why we have seen the alternative media experience such rapid growth over the past few years.  The mainstream media has been losing credibility at a staggering rate, and Americans are starting to look elsewhere for the truth about what is really going on.

Do you think that anyone in the mainstream news would actually tell you that the Federal Reserve is bad for America or that we are facing a horrific derivatives bubble that could destroy the entire world financial system?  Do you think that anyone in the mainstream media would actually tell you the truth about the deindustrialization of America or the truth about the voracious greed of Goldman Sachs?

Sure there are a few courageous reporters in the mainstream media that manage to slip a few stories past their corporate bosses from time to time, but in general there is a very clear understanding that there are simply certain things that you just do not say in the mainstream news.

But Americans are becoming increasingly hungry for the truth, and they are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the dumbed down pablum that is passing as “hard hitting news” these days.

So what do you think about the state of the mainstream media?  Please feel free to leave a comment with your opinion below….

S. 510: 12 Reasons Why The Food Safety Bill From Hell Could Be Very Dangerous For The U.S. Economy

As you read this, there is a bill before the U.S. Senate that has the potential to change the U.S. food industry more than any other law ever passed by the U.S. Congress. In the name of “food safety”, the U.S. government would be given an iron grip over the production, transportation and sale of all food in the United States. Hordes of small food producers and organic farmers could potentially be put out of business.  If this bill becomes law, the freedom to grow what you want, eat what you want and to share food from your gardens with your neighbors could be greatly curtailed.  It would give the FDA unprecedented discretion to regulate U.S. food production.  A version of this bill was already passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last summer, and now S. 510, also know as the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, is in front of the U.S. Senate and it is expected to pass easily.

Because of how vaguely it is written and because of how much discretion it gives to the FDA, it is potentially a very, very dangerous law.

So who is actually in favor of it?

Well, big food corporations and big agriculture are actually very much in favor of this bill.

Why?

Is it because they are so concerned about food safety?

No.

In fact, virtually every major case of food contamination in recent U.S. history has come from large-scale industrial agriculture or large-scale industrial food production.

The real reason why they are backing S. 510 is because it will devastate their primary competition – small food producers and organic farmers.

In recent years, the demand for organic food has skyrocketed as the American people have learned the truth about how our food is actually made.  Big agriculture and the giant food producers are losing profits as Americans increasingly vote with their wallets.

So now the food giants are using “food safety” as a way to get market share back.  It is an open secret that many of those involved in drafting this bill and in pushing it through Congress have ties to food industry giants.

Thousands of small food producers and organic farmers will have their very existence threatened by this bill.  It imposes a bureaucratic nightmare on all food producers that the big corporations will be able to handle easily but that will cripple much smaller operations.

Already, many farmers can see the writing on the wall.  One small farmer recently described the mood among her fellow small farmers to the Wall Street Journal….

“I know people who have been small farmers for 25 to 30 years who are looking to get out of the business because food safety is becoming so alarmist.”

But the bureaucratic nightmare is just the tip of the iceberg.  To get an idea of just how dangerous S. 510 could potentially be to the already staggering U.S. economy, just check out the following quote from one opponent of this bill….

“If accepted [S 510] would preclude the public’s right to grow, own, trade, transport, share, feed and eat each and every food that nature makes. It will become the most offensive authority against the cultivation, trade and consumption of food and agricultural products of one’s choice. It will be unconstitutional and contrary to natural law or, if you like, the will of God.”

-Dr. Shiv Chopra, Canada Health whistle blower

It would be hard to understate how dangerous this bill potentially could be.  This bill gives the FDA the ability to exercise a ton of discretion.  The FDA could end up exercising that discretion in a very reasonable way, or they could use it to shut down small food producers left and right.

When it comes to S. 510, the question that you need to ask yourself is this….

Do you trust the FDA?

If not, then there are some very real reasons for you to be concerned.

The following are 12 reasons why S. 510 could be absolutely disastrous for small food producers and for the U.S. economy…. 

#1 All food production facilities in the United States will be required to register with the U.S. government.   No food will be allowed to be grown, distributed or sold outside this bureaucratic framework unless the FDA allows it.

#2 Any food that is distributed or sold outside of U.S. government control will be considered illegal smuggling.

#3 The FDA will hire an army of new inspectors to enforce all of the new provisions in the bill.

#4 The FDA will be mandated to conduct much more frequent inspections of food processing facilities.   

#5 The fees and paperwork requirements will be ruinously expensive for small food producers and organic farms.

#6 S. 510 would place all U.S. food and all U.S. farms under the Department of Homeland Security in the event of a major “contamination” or an “emergency”.  What exactly would constitute a “contamination” or an “emergency” is anyone’s guess.

#7 S. 510 mandates that the FDA facilitate harmonization of American food laws with Codex Alimentarius.

#8 S. 510 imposes an annual registration fee on any facility that holds, processes, or manufactures food.  It also includes draconian fines for paperwork infractions of up to $500,000 for a single offense.  Just one penalty like that would drive a small food producer out of business.

#9 S. 510 would give the FDA tremendous discretion to regulate how crops are grown and how food is produced in the United States.  Basically, small farmers and organic farmers will now be forced to farm exactly how the federal government tells them to.  It is feared that the U.S. government would soon declare that many organic farming methods are “unsafe” and would outlaw them.  In addition, there is the very real possibility that at some point the U.S. government could decide that the only “safe” seed for a particular crop is genetically modified seed and would require all farmers to use it.

#10 S. 510 will give the FDA the power to impose a quarantine on a specific geographic area.  Basically the FDA would have the power to stop the movement of all food in an area where a “contamination” has been identified.  This would be very close to being able to declare martial law.

#11 S. 510 will give the FDA the power to conduct warrantless searches of the business records of small food producers and organic farmers, even if there has been no evidence at all that a law has been broken. 

#12 Opponents of S. 510 believe that it would eliminate the right to clean and store seed.  Therefore, control of the U.S. seed supply would be further centralized in the hands of Monsanto and other multinational corporations.

As mentioned above, this bill gives the FDA a ton of discretion.  It is written very broadly and very vaguely.  It opens the door for all kinds of abuses, but that doesn’t mean that the FDA will behave unreasonably.

So should we trust the FDA?

Is there a viable future for small food producers and organic farmers in America?

Or is the handwriting already on the wall? 

“If people let the government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.”

-Thomas Jefferson

The Green Police

Is someone out behind your house digging through your trash?  Don’t worry, it is probably just the government.  When Audi ran their now famous “Green Police” commercial during the Super Bowl last year, most Americans laughed it off and thought that nothing like that could ever happen in America.  Well, it turns out that it is happening in America.  A growing number of U.S. cities are actually putting RFID tracking chips in trash cans and recycling bins and are starting to fine residents who do not recycle “properly”. This kind of thing has been going on over in the U.K. for some time now, but very few people expected those living in “the land of the free” to be subjected to RFID trash tracking so quickly.  But it is here.  In many areas, government RFID tracker chips will now be monitoring what you throw away, how much you throw away and if you are recycling properly.  Rather than spending money on things that will actually get the U.S. economy headed in the right direction, government officials across America seem obsessed with forcing the “green agenda” down the throats of the American people – even if it means chasing factories, jobs and economic activity out of their communities.  

Not that there is anything wrong with recycling.  I personally recycle large amounts of trash each week.  But there is a huge difference between recycling as a free individual and being coerced by law to adhere to the sustainable development policies of the United Nations.  The truth is that “Agenda 21” is being pushed down all of our throats whether we like it or not.  It is all part of the Big Brother police state control grid which is being implemented in the name of “saving the environment” and which is being paid for by “economic stimulus” money in many areas.

That’s right.  Government snooping on your trash apparently meets the definition of “economic stimulus” in 2010.  Perhaps this is what Barack Obama meant when he talked about creating “green jobs”.  Local governments are going to need a lot of “trash snoopers” to make certain that we are all recycling acceptably.

In fact, John McCain almost flipped his lid when he found out that Dayton, Ohio was given a half million dollars in “stimulus funds” to put RFID tracking chips in recycle bins.  Not that McCain is a friend of liberty and freedom either.  The truth is that the vast majority of the politicians in Washington D.C. have been helping to advance the “sustainable development” agenda in one way or another.

But can you imagine spending “economic stimulus” money to spy on the trash of the American people?

No wonder all of the “stimulus packages” didn’t do that much good for the economy.  In fact, the amount of waste in the stimulus packages was absolutely mind blowing.  

But those “green jobs” must be created one way or another, eh?

Even if it means spying on Americans.

So now even though we are in the midst of a horrific economic downturn, lots of communities from coast to coast have plenty of money to track our trash with RFID microchips.

Cities that are now using these chips to spy on our trash include….

*Cleveland, Ohio

*Charlotte, North Carolina

*Alexandria, Virginia

*Boise, Idaho

*Dayton, Ohio

*Flint, Michigan

Now how in the world does Flint, Michigan have money for anything?

Flint, Michigan is one of the poster children for the deindustrialization of the United States.  It is a crime-infested war zone where thousands upon thousands of Americans live in desperate poverty.

And yet somehow they have money to monitor trash with RFID tracking chips?

It is almost as if we have stepped into “Bizarro America” where everything is the opposite of what it should be.

Unless the American people speak up and renounce this militant green agenda it is going to continue to be forced down our throats.

The scenes in Audi’s “Green Police” commercial are not going to be so “funny” when they start becoming real….

So far, the worst city of all for snooping on the trash of citizens is Cleveland, Ohio.  The truth is that Cleveland should be worried about how to put hundreds of thousands of people without jobs in the region back to work, but instead city officials seem obsessed with enforcing the radical green agenda of the United Nations.  The new RFID chips being installed will allow Cleveland officials to monitor exactly how often residents roll their carts out to the curb for collection.

According to news reports, if an RFID tracking chip signals that a recycle bin has not been brought out to the curb within a certain period of time, a “trash supervisor” will actually sort through the trash produced by that home for recyclables.

Yes, this is now going on in America.

So what will the penalties be?

Well, according to Waste Collection Commissioner Ronnie Owens, trash bins that contain over 10 percent recyclable material will be subject to a $100 fine.

How ridiculous is that?

I recycle constantly, but I am sure that if I lived in Cleveland they could get me for being over the “10 percent limit” at least half the time.

Is there anyone who could honestly say that they will be able to stay under the 10 percent limit each and every time?

But that isn’t the only fine in the new system.

If you set out an “excessive” amount of trash you will be fined between $250 and $500.

In addition, residents of Cleveland are also fined for putting out their trash too early and for failing to bring in their garbage cans from the curb in a timely manner.

Meanwhile, the city of Cleveland has hordes of unemployed workers and it is literally falling apart.

How completely and utterly ridiculous can one city possibly be?

But a city that is broke has to raise money some how.

In 2009, the city of Cleveland has issued 2,900 tickets for trash violations,  which was almost five times more tickets than in 2008.

In 2010, the city of Cleveland is on track to issue over 4,000 tickets for trash violations.

One of the bizarre aspects of Cleveland’s trash regulations is that it is always the property owner that receives the ticket.

That means that landlords in Cleveland are now forced to become spies in order to ensure that their tenants follow the law.

It is almost as if we are back in East Germany once again.

Has everyone simply forgotten that we have something called the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution?

According to the Fourth Amendment, the American people are guaranteed the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.

But these RFID tracking chips spy on us and our trash 24 hours a day.

What has happened to America?

As more insane measures like this are implemented across the United States, more factories, more jobs and more economic activity will continue to be chased overseas.

Meanwhile, the “smart growth” agenda is about to get a big boost by the U.S. Congress.  Retiring Senator Christopher Dodd’s last major piece of legislation, the Livable Communities Act, will create a new federal bureaucracy to make sure that “sustainable development” principles are being followed on every inch of land in the United States.

This new bureaucracy, the Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities, would be given approximately $4 billion in federal money to pressure local governments to implement a more “green” agenda.

Not that the federal government has an extra $4 billion to throw around and waste, but that has never stopped them before.

The truth is that the U.S. is absolutely drowning in debt and the economy is coming apart at the seams.  That is what the Congress and the White House should be worried about.

Instead, most of our “representatives” in Washington D.C. seem to have no trouble using “Big Brother tactics” to enforce the green agenda that so many of them are so obsessed with.

Sadly, most Americans actually still believe that we are “free”.

But we are not free.  The government controls and regulates us in tens of thousands of different ways, and each year the controls and the regulations just get tighter and tighter.  It’s just that we have lost our freedoms so slowly that most Americans have not become alarmed.

It is like the old story of the frog in the kettle.  If you put a frog right into boiling water it will hop right out.

However, if you put a frog into water that is cool and then turn up the heat little by little it will sit there until it has boiled to death.

America, you are that frog. 

It is time to hop out of the water.

20 Signs That The Health Care Industry Has Become All About Making As Much Money As Possible

Once upon a time in America, people became doctors and nurses because they wanted to help people, building hospitals was a labor of love, lawyers didn’t chase ambulances, health insurance companies did not openly abuse their customers and greedy pharmaceutical companies did not dominate the entire health care industry.  But today all of that has changed.  Why do most people choose a career in the health care industry today?  It is because they want to make a lot of money and live a comfortable lifestyle.  Why do most health facilities get built today?  They get built because someone is hoping to make a huge profit.  Why do so many lawyers specialize in medical malpractice?  Here’s a hint – it is not because they want to make life better for people.  Why do health insurance companies keep raising premiums even while they are making record profits?  It is because they can and because they are greedy.  Why are pharmaceutical corporations some of the most profitable companies on the face of the earth even though their products are harming tens of millions of people?  It is because our health care system has become wildly corrupt and is now about making as much money as possible.

Not that everyone in the health care industry is motivated by greed.  Some doctors and nurses volunteer a ton of their time to assist the poor and the needy.  Others use their vacation time to go overseas and provide free medical care in third world nations.  Many religious groups and non-profit organizations build hospitals and clinics because they are truly trying to help people.  And there are a few health insurance companies that are trying to play the game honestly.

But unfortunately, those with noble intentions in the health care industry are the exception rather than the rule.  Overall, the health care industry in America is all about the money, and it is about time that we quit pretending otherwise.

The following are 20 signs that the health care industry in the United States has become all about making as much money as possible….  

1 – Even as the rest of the U.S. economy deeply struggles, America’s health insurance companies increased their profits by 56 percent in 2009.

2 – According to a report by Health Care for America Now, America’s five biggest for-profit health insurers ended 2009 with a combined profit of $12.2 billion.

3 – The top executives at the five largest for-profit health insurance companies in the United States received nearly $200 million in total compensation in 2009.

4 – According to an article on the Mother Jones website, health insurance premiums for small employers in the United States increased 180% between 1999 and 2009.

5 – Health insurance premium increases are getting totally out of control.  For example, the 39% increase in health insurance premiums that Anthem Blue Cross imposed on some California customers last year was so obscene that it made national headlines.

6 – Since 2003, health insurance companies have shelled out more than $42 million in state-level campaign contributions.

7 – There were more than two dozen pharmaceutical companies that made over a billion dollars in profits in 2008.

8 – Each year, tens of billions of dollars is spent on pharmaceutical marketing in the United States alone.

9Nearly half of all Americans now use prescription drugs on a regular basis according to a CDC report that was just released. According to the report, approximately one-third of all Americans use two or more pharmaceutical drugs, and more than ten percent of all Americans use five or more prescription drugs on a regular basis.

10 – According to the CDC, approximately three quarters of a million people a year are rushed to emergency rooms in the United States because of adverse reactions to pharmaceutical drugs.

11According to a very surprising new study, 85 percent of new pharmaceutical drugs are “lemons” and pose serious health risks to their users.

12 – The Food and Drug Administration reported 1,742 prescription drug recalls in 2009, which was a gigantic increase from 426 drug recalls in 2008.

13 – Shocking new research has found that expectant mothers taking antidepressants have an astounding 68 percent increase in the overall risk of miscarriage.  Yet the pharmaceutical companies are essentially doing nothing to stop this.

14 – The use of psychiatric medications among 18 to 34 year old members of the U.S. military and their wives increased by 42 percent between 2005 and 2009.

15 – There are some disturbing new medical studies that suggest that many of the most popular anti-depressant drugs are no more effective than a placebo.

16 – Pharmaceutical companies continue to rake in billions of dollars from selling vaccines and are encouraging even pregnant women to take them, even though there is mounting evidence that taking vaccines while pregnant dramatically increases the rate of miscarriage.

17 – One woman in New Hampshire is seeking more than $24 million in damages from the manufacturer of a prescription drug that she took for shoulder pain.  It turns out that as a result of taking the drug, she is now blind and has been left scarred by internal and external burns.

18According to one stunning new study, the medical liability system in the United States added approximately $55.6 billion to the cost of health care in 2008.

19 – Pharmaceutical companies have become so greedy that now they are even attempting to patent our genes.  It is being reported that over three million gene patent applications have been filed with the U.S. government so far.  Tens of thousands of gene patents have already been granted at this point.  It is estimated that companies hold approximately 40,000 patents on sections of the human genome right now.  Those patents cover approximately 20% of our genes. 

20 – According to a recent report, Americans spend about twice as much as residents of other developed countries on health care, but get much lower quality and far less efficiency in return.

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