If Our Mayors Are THIS Corrupt, What Is The Rest Of The Population Like Behind Closed Doors?

CorruptionIt isn’t just the politicians in Washington D.C. that are deeply corrupt.  In this article you will read about two prominent mayors that have engaged in absolutely horrific behavior, and you will read about a sex scandal out in California that involved 24 different police officers sleeping with the same prostitute.  The reason why I write about these things is not to gross you out.  Instead, the goal is to get America to take a long look in the mirror.  Ultimately, we aren’t going to turn this country around by electing the right president, because the truth is that the biggest problem with this nation is in our own hearts.  Until we get our hearts right, nothing is going to really change.

When I was growing up, mayors were people that you looked up to and respected.  But these days many of them appear to be sex-fueled maniacs.  Just consider the case of Fairfax, Virginia mayor R. Scott Silverthorne.  If you are not familiar with Fairfax, it is an upscale D.C. suburb that is only about 20 miles away from the White House.  Silverthorne was serving his third-term as mayor, and most people thought he was a good guy until it was discovered that he was trading meth for group sex with men

The mayor of Fairfax, Virginia, is resigning following his arrest for allegedly attempting to trade methamphetamine for a group sex session with men he met online.

City officials said in a news release Monday that R. Scott Silverthorne’s resignation will take effect at noon Thursday.

Silverthorne was arrested last Thursday on a felony drug distribution charge.

Following his arrest, Silverthorne was also fired from his job as a substitute teacher in Fairfax County Public Schools.

In case you don’t already know, the Washington D.C. area is one of the hotbeds for gay culture in the entire country.  In fact, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority runs extremely graphic gay hookup ads while at the same time absolutely refusing ads that promote the Christian faith.

Meanwhile, the mayor of Stockton, California has been arrested for playing strip poker with boys and girls at a disadvantaged children’s camp

A California mayor has been accused of playing strip poker with six members of a disadvantaged children’s camp after plying them with alcohol.

Anthony Silva, 41, the mayor of Stockton, was arrested on Thursday morning after police say they found an audio recording of the poker game on his phone.

Investigators say Silva invited at least three girls and two or three boys into his bedroom at the camp in August last year before convincing them to strip off.

I think that the question I posed in the headline is quite legitimate – if this is how our mayors are behaving, what is the rest of the population doing behind closed doors?

Elsewhere in California, an 18-year-old prostitute is at the center of an almost unbelievable police sex scandal

The 18-year-old girl goes by the name “Celeste Guap,” and admits she’s slept with two dozen officers from various police departments.

Guap told KPIX she had sex with 14 officers from Oakland Police Department, 5 from the Richmond Police Department, 3 Alameda County Sheriff’s deputies and one Livermore cop.

She says in exchange some officers gave her protection and tipped her off about undercover operations while she was working as a prostitute.

Reportedly, she first began to have sex with police officers when she was 16 years old, and they would pass her around like a trading card.

And these are the men that we are relying on to enforce the laws and to protect our families?

This is not a matter of just two or three police officers engaging in illicit behavior.  We are talking about two dozen men that were brazenly betraying their communities and making a mockery of everything their police departments are supposed to stand for.

This is the kind of nation that we have become, and signs of our moral decay are everywhere.

For instance, we just learned that in 2015 more than 40 percent of all babies born in America were born to unmarried mothers for the eighth year in a row

Of the 3,977,745 babies born in the United States of America in 2015, 1,600,208 of them—or 40.2 percent–were born to unmarried mothers, according to data released this month by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

That makes 2015 the eighth straight year that 40 percent or more of the babies born in the United States were born to unmarried mothers, according to CDC data.

But prior to 2008 this had never happened before in our entire history.  And if you go all the way back to 1940, only 3.8 percent of all babies were born to unmarried women

In 1940, 3.8 percent of the babies born in the United States were born to unmarried women. The percentage first went as high as 10 percent in 1969, when it was 10.0 percent. In 1983, it surpassed 20 percent for the first time, hitting 20.3 percent. In 1992, it exceeded 30 percent for the first time, hitting 30.1 percent.

At the same time, crime and violence continue to rise in this nation.  Last month was the deadliest July in 10 years for the city of Chicago, and police officer shooting deaths for the country as a whole were up an astounding 78 percent during the first half of this year.

It is getting to the point where it is starting to become difficult to blame people that are afraid to leave their own homes.  Our streets are becoming increasingly dangerous, and there are some very, very sick people out there.  If you doubt this, just consider what just happened to a young and promising Google employee

A Google employee from New York City who disappeared on an afternoon jog while visiting her mother in Massachusetts has been found murdered in the woods.

Worcester District Attorney Joseph Early Jr. said Monday that 27-year-old Vanessa Marcotte was reported missing after failing to return from a run between 1pm and 4pm in Princeton.

Her body was discovered at around 8.20pm Sunday by a state police K9 unit near Brooks Station Road, about a half-mile from her mother’s home.

A source told Fox25 in Boston that investigators were examining the possibility that Marcotte was sexually assaulted and set on fire, with burns to her hands, head and feet.

How twisted and evil do you have to be to do something like this?

It is election season, and a lot of people out there truly believe that America will be turned around if we elect Donald Trump.  Others are completely convinced that Hillary Clinton is the solution to what ails us.

But in the end, no election can fix what is wrong in our hearts, and that is the biggest problem facing this country.

America Has Become A Lawless Nation – Hillary Clinton Magically Cleared By The FBI

Hillary Clinton - Photo by Nathania JohnsonIt is hard to be proud to be an American today after watching FBI director James Comey magically clear Hillary Clinton of all wrongdoing.  Sadly, Comey is likely to go down in history as the man that struck the final death blow to the rule of law in America.  During his address to the media, Comey admitted that Clinton sent or received 110 emails in 52 email chains that contained classified material at the time they were sent.  But of course there were probably many more.  Comey told the press that it was “likely that there are other work-related emails that they did not produce … that are now gone because they deleted all emails they did not return to State, and the lawyers cleaned their devices.”  So basically Clinton turned over to the FBI whatever she felt like turning over, and then she destroyed the rest of the evidence.  As a former lawyer, this infuriates me, but it doesn’t surprise me.

In fact, it doesn’t surprise me at all that Hillary Clinton was allowed to skate.  I expected this all along.  If you search the thousands of articles that I have posted on The Economic Collapse Blog and End Of The American Dream, you will find many articles where I say that Hillary Clinton should be in prison, but not a single one where I ever said that I thought she would be going to prison.

This is how politics in America works today.  People like Bill and Hillary Clinton could openly sacrifice children to Satan on the White House lawn and still probably not get into trouble.  Despite scandal after scandal going all the way back to Arkansas in the 1980s, nothing ever sticks to them, and nothing probably ever will.

In this case, FBI director James Comey essentially had to rewrite federal law in order to clear Clinton.  This is something that Andrew McCarthy explained very well in his article entitled “FBI Rewrites Federal Law to Let Hillary Off the Hook”

There is no way of getting around this: According to Director James Comey (disclosure: a former colleague and longtime friend of mine), Hillary Clinton checked every box required for a felony violation of Section 793(f) of the federal penal code (Title 18): With lawful access to highly classified information she acted with gross negligence in removing and causing it to be removed it from its proper place of custody, and she transmitted it and caused it to be transmitted to others not authorized to have it, in patent violation of her trust. Director Comey even conceded that former Secretary Clinton was “extremely careless” and strongly suggested that her recklessness very likely led to communications (her own and those she corresponded with) being intercepted by foreign intelligence services.

—–

In essence, in order to give Mrs. Clinton a pass, the FBI rewrote the statute, inserting an intent element that Congress did not require. The added intent element, moreover, makes no sense: The point of having a statute that criminalizes gross negligence is to underscore that government officials have a special obligation to safeguard national defense secrets; when they fail to carry out that obligation due to gross negligence, they are guilty of serious wrongdoing. The lack of intent to harm our country is irrelevant. People never intend the bad things that happen due to gross negligence.

The amazing thing is that the FBI handled a highly similar case very, very differently less than a year ago.  Just check out what happened to Naval reservist Bryan Nishimura

U.S. Magistrate Judge Kendall J. Newman immediately sentenced Nishimura to two years of probation, a $7,500 fine, and forfeiture of personal media containing classified materials. Nishimura was further ordered to surrender any currently held security clearance and to never again seek such a clearance.

According to court documents, Nishimura was a Naval reservist deployed in Afghanistan in 2007 and 2008. In his role as a Regional Engineer for the U.S. military in Afghanistan, Nishimura had access to classified briefings and digital records that could only be retained and viewed on authorized government computers. Nishimura, however, caused the materials to be downloaded and stored on his personal, unclassified electronic devices and storage media. He carried such classified materials on his unauthorized media when he traveled off-base in Afghanistan and, ultimately, carried those materials back to the United States at the end of his deployment. In the United States, Nishimura continued to maintain the information on unclassified systems in unauthorized locations, and copied the materials onto at least one additional unauthorized and unclassified system.

Nishimura’s actions came to light in early 2012, when he admitted to Naval personnel that he had handled classified materials inappropriately. Nishimura later admitted that, following his statement to Naval personnel, he destroyed a large quantity of classified materials he had maintained in his home. Despite that, when the Federal Bureau of Investigation searched Nishimura’s home in May 2012, agents recovered numerous classified materials in digital and hard copy forms. The investigation did not reveal evidence that Nishimura intended to distribute classified information to unauthorized personnel.

So what is the difference between Nishimura and Clinton?

Neither of them ever intended to do anything wrong.

So why were they treated so differently?

Needless to say, social media is exploding with outrage over this decision to let Clinton go free.  Many Americans are openly asking why they should continue to play by the rules if politicians like Hillary Clinton are not required to do so.

Unfortunately, this is what America has become.  Our politicians are a reflection of who we are as a society, and as I have stated before Hillary Clinton is going to be the overwhelming favorite if there is an election in November.  At this moment, she has solid leads in all of the “swing states”, and she only really needs to win one of them

Perhaps you enjoy talk of battleground states. Well, there’s a scenario for you, too. First, pick the six “closest” swing states (VA, NH, IA, OH, FL, NC). Got it? Now understand that New Hampshire excepted, Clinton only has to win one of them in order to reach the requisite 270 electoral votes to win. (Optional third step for Republicans only: start shotgunning Pabst Blue Ribbon and don’t stop until November.)

Lest any Trump supporters seek solace in poll numbers, recent polls have Trump sliding further behind in all the relevant swing states. According to a Ballotpedia battleground poll released last week, Trump trails by 14% in Florida, 4% in Iowa, 10% in North Carolina, 9% in Ohio, and 7% in Virginia.

Hillary Clinton is a horrible, evil, miserable human being, and right now she is the odds-on favorite to become the next president of the United States.

But ultimately it is the American people that are to blame for blindly supporting corrupt politicians such as Clinton, and if they willingly pick her to be our next president then we will certainly deserve whatever consequences follow.

22 Nauseating Quotes From Hypocritical Establishment Politicians About The NSA Spying Scandal

Establishment PoliticiansEstablishment politicians from both major political parties are rushing to defend the NSA and condemn whistleblower Edward Snowden.  They are attempting to portray Edward Snowden as a “traitor” and the spooks over at the NSA that are snooping on all of us as “heroes”.  In fact, many of the exact same politicians that once railed against government spying during the Bush years are now staunchly defending it now that Obama is in the White House.  But it isn’t just Democrats that are acting shamefully.  Large numbers of Republican politicians that love to give speeches about “freedom” and “liberty” are attempting to eviscerate the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  The government is not supposed to invade our privacy and investigate us unless there is probable cause to do so.  Apparently many of our politicians misunderstood when they read the novel 1984 by George Orwell.  It wasn’t supposed to be an instruction manual.  We should be thanking Edward Snowden for exposing the deep corruption that is eating away at our own government like cancer.  Now the American people need to pick up the ball and start demanding answers, because without a doubt we are going to see establishment politicians from both major political parties try to shut this scandal down.  Establishment Democrats and establishment Republicans both love the Big Brother surveillance grid that the U.S. government has constructed, and they are both making it abundantly clear that they will defend the NSA to the very end.  The following are 22 nauseating quotes from hypocritical establishment politicians that show exactly how they feel about the NSA spying scandal…

#1 Barack Obama: “I think it’s important to understand that you can’t have 100 percent security and then have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience. We’re going to have to make some choices as a society.”

#2 Barack Obama in 2007: “This Administration also puts forward a false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security we demand… That means no more illegal wire-tapping of American citizens. No more national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime. No more tracking citizens who do nothing more than protest a misguided war. No more ignoring the law when it is inconvenient. That is not who we are. And it is not what is necessary to defeat the terrorists… We will again set an example for the world that the law is not subject to the whims of stubborn rulers, and that justice is not arbitrary.”

#3 Speaker Of The House John Boehner on what he thinks about NSA leaker Edward Snowden: “He’s a traitor.”

#4 U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham: “I hope we follow Mr. Snowden to the ends of the Earth to bring him to justice.”

#5 U.S. Senator Al Franken: “I can assure you, this is not about spying on the American people.”

#6 Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid: “For senators to complain that they didn’t know this was happening, we had many, many meetings that have been both classified and unclassified that members have been invited to”

#7 U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell: “Given the scope of these programs, it’s understandable that many would be concerned about issues related to privacy. But what’s difficult to understand is the motivation of somebody who intentionally would seek to warn the nation’s enemies of lawful programs created to protect the American people. And I hope that he is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

#8 U.S. Representative Peter King on why he believes that reporters should be prosecuted for revealing NSA secrets: “There is an obligation both moral, but also legal, I believe, against a reporter disclosing something which would so severely compromise national security.”

#9 Director of National Intelligence James Clapper making a joke during an awards ceremony last Friday night: “Some of you expressed surprise that I showed up—so many emails to read!”

#10 Director Of National Intelligence James Clapper about why he lied about NSA spying in front of Congress: “I responded in what I thought was the most truthful, or least untruthful manner”

#11 National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden: “The president has full faith in director Clapper and his leadership of the intelligence community”

#12 White House press secretary Jay Carney: “…Clapper has been straight and direct in the answers that he’s given, and has actively engaged in an effort to provide more information about the programs that have been revealed through the leak of classified information”

#13 Dianne Feinstein, the chairwoman of the Senate intelligence committee: “There is no more direct or honest person than Jim Clapper.”

#14 Gus Hunt, the chief technology officer at the CIA: “We fundamentally try to collect everything and hang onto it forever.”

#15 Barack Obama: “Nobody is listening to your telephone calls.”

#16 Keith Alexander, director of the National Security Agency: “We do not see a tradeoff between security and liberty.”

#17 An exchange between NSA director Keith Alexander and U.S. Representative Hank Johnson in March 2012…

JOHNSON: Does the NSA routinely intercept American citizens’ emails?

ALEXANDER: No.

JOHNSON: Does the NSA intercept Americans’ cell phone conversations?

ALEXANDER: No.

JOHNSON: Google searches?

ALEXANDER: No.

JOHNSON: Text messages?

ALEXANDER: No.

JOHNSON: Amazon.com orders?

ALEXANDER: No.

JOHNSON: Bank records?

ALEXANDER: No.

#18 Deputy White House press secretary Dana Perino: “The intelligence activities undertaken by the United States government are lawful, necessary and required to protect Americans from terrorist attacks”

#19 U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss: “This is nothing new.  It has proved meritorious because we have gathered significant information on bad guys and only on bad guys over the years.”

#20 Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton on NSA leaker Edward Snowden: “Let me ask, who died and made him king? Who gave him the authority to endanger 300 million Americans? That’s not the way it works, and if he thinks he can get away with that, he’s got another think coming.”

#21 Senior spokesman for the NSA Don Weber: “Given the nature of the work we do, it would be irresponsible to comment on actual or alleged operational issues; therefore, we have no information to provide”

#22 The White House website: “My administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration.”

Right now, the NSA is building a data collection center out in Utah that is so massive that it is hard to describe with words.  It is going to cost 40 million dollars a year just to provide the energy needed to run it.  According to a 2012 Wired article entitled “The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say)“, this data center will contain “the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Google searches” in addition to “parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases” and anything else that the NSA decides to collect…

Under construction by contractors with top-secret clearances, the blandly named Utah Data Center is being built for the National Security Agency. A project of immense secrecy, it is the final piece in a complex puzzle assembled over the past decade. Its purpose: to intercept, decipher, analyze, and store vast swaths of the world’s communications as they zap down from satellites and zip through the underground and undersea cables of international, foreign, and domestic networks. The heavily fortified $2 billion center should be up and running in September 2013. Flowing through its servers and routers and stored in near-bottomless databases will be all forms of communication, including the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Google searches, as well as all sorts of personal data trails—parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases, and other digital “pocket litter.” It is, in some measure, the realization of the “total information awareness” program created during the first term of the Bush administration—an effort that was killed by Congress in 2003 after it caused an outcry over its potential for invading Americans’ privacy.

The goal is to know as much about everyone on the planet as possible.

And the NSA does not keep this information to itself.  As an article in USA Today recently reported, the NSA shares the data that it collects with other government agencies “as a matter of practice”…

As a matter of practice, the NSA regularly shares its information — known as “product” in intelligence circles — with other intelligence groups.

So when the NSA collects information about you, there is a very good chance that the FBI, the CIA, the Department of Homeland Security and the IRS will have access to it as well.

But the U.S. government is not the only one collecting data on American citizens.

Guess who else has been collecting massive amounts of data on the American people?

Barack Obama.

According to those that have seen it, the “Obama database” is unlike anything that any politician has ever put together before.  According to  CNSNews.com, U.S. Representative Maxine Waters says that this database “will have information about everything on every individual”…

“The president has put in place an organization that contains a kind of database that no one has ever seen before in life,” she added. “That’s going to be very, very powerful.”

Martin asked if Waters if she was referring to “Organizing for America.”

“That’s right, that’s right,” Waters said. “And that database will have information about everything on every individual in ways that it’s never been done before.”

Waters said the database would also serve future Democratic candidates seeking the presidency.

Perhaps this helps to explain why so many big donors got slapped with IRS audits immediately after they wrote big checks to the Romney campaign.

We are being told to “trust” Barack Obama and the massive government surveillance grid that is being constructed all around us, but there has been example after example of government power being grossly abused in recent years.

A lot of Americans say that they do not care if the government is watching them because they do not have anything to hide, but is there anyone out there that would really not mind the government watching them and listening to them 24 hours a day?

For example, it has been documented that NSA workers eavesdropped on conversations between U.S. soldiers serving in Iraq and their loved ones back home.  Some of these conversations involved very intimate talk between husbands and wives.  The following is from a 2008 ABC News story

Faulk says he and others in his section of the NSA facility at Fort Gordon routinely shared salacious or tantalizing phone calls that had been intercepted, alerting office mates to certain time codes of “cuts” that were available on each operator’s computer.

 

“Hey, check this out,” Faulk says he would be told, “there’s good phone sex or there’s some pillow talk, pull up this call, it’s really funny, go check it out. It would be some colonel making pillow talk and we would say, ‘Wow, this was crazy’,” Faulk told ABC News.

 

Faulk said he joined in to listen, and talk about it during breaks in Back Hall’s “smoke pit,” but ended up feeling badly about his actions.

Is this really what we want the future of America to look like?

Do we really want the government to watch us and listen to us during our most intimate moments?

Feel free to express what you think about this NSA spying scandal by posting a comment below…

Private Prisons: The More Americans They Put Behind Bars The More Money They Make

Private Prisons: The More Americans They Put Behind Bars The More Money They Make - Photo by Tony HisgettHow would you describe an industry that wants to put more Americans in prison and keep them there longer so that it can make more money?  In America today, approximately 130,000 people are locked up in private prisons that are being run by for-profit companies, and that number is growing very rapidly.  Overall, the U.S. has approximately 25 percent of the entire global prison population even though it only has 5 percent of the total global population.  The United States has the highest incarceration rate on the entire globe by far, and no nation in the history of the world has ever locked up more of its own citizens than we have.  Are we really such a cesspool of filth and decay that we need to lock up so many of our own people?  Or are there some other factors at work?  Could part of the problem be that we have allowed companies to lock up men and women in cages for profit?  The two largest private prison companies combined to bring in close to $3,000,000,000 in revenue in 2010, and the largest private prison companies have spent tens of millions of dollars on lobbying and campaign contributions over the past decade.  Putting Americans behind bars has become very big business, and those companies have been given a perverse incentive to push for even more Americans to be locked up.  It is a system that is absolutely teeming with corruption, and it is going to get a lot worse unless someone does something about it.

One of the keys to success in the private prison business it to get politicians to vote your way.  That is why the big private prison companies spend so much money on lobbying and campaign contributions.  The following is an excerpt from a report put out by the Justice Policy Institute entitled “Gaming the System: How the Political Strategies of Private Prison Companies Promote Ineffective Incarceration Policies“…

For-profit private prison companies primarily use three strategies to influence policy: lobbying, direct campaign contributions, and building relationships, networks, and associations.

Over the years, these political strategies have allowed private prison companies to promote policies that lead to higher rates of incarceration and thus greater profit margins for their company. In particular, private prison companies have had either influence over or helped to draft model legislation such as “three-strikes” and “truth-in-sentencing” laws, both of which have driven up incarceration rates and ultimately created more opportunities for private prison companies to bid on contracts to increase revenues.

If you can believe it, three of the largest private prison companies have spent approximately $45,000,000 combined on lobbying and campaign contributions over the past decade.

Would they be spending so much money if those companies did not believe that it was getting results?

Just look at what has happened to the U.S. prison population over the past several decades.  Prior to 1980, there were virtually no private prisons in the United States.  But since that time, we have seen the overall prison population and the private prison population absolutely explode.

For example, between 1990 and 2009 the number of Americans in private prisons grew by about 1600 percent.

Overall, the U.S. prison population more than quadrupled between 1980 and 2007.

So something has definitely changed.

Not that it is wrong to put people in prison when they commit crimes.  Of course not.  And right now violent crime is rapidly rising in many of our largest cities.  When people commit violent crimes they need to be removed from the streets.

But when you put those criminals into the hands of private companies that are just in it to make a buck, the potential for abuse is enormous.

For example, when auditors visited one private prison in Texas, they “got so much fecal matter on their shoes they had to wipe their feet on the grass outside.

The prisoners were literally living in their own manure.

How would you feel if a member of your own family was locked up in such a facility?

And the truth is that there seem to be endless stories of abuse in private prisons.  One private prison company reportedly charges inmates $5.00 a minute to make phone calls but only pays them $1.00 a day to work…

Last year the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the nation’s largest private prison company, received $74 million of taxpayers’ money to run immigration detention centers. Their largest facility in Lumpkin, Georgia, receives $200 a night for each of the 2,000 detainees it holds, and rakes in yearly profits between $35 million and $50 million.

Prisoners held in this remote facility depend on the prison’s phones to communicate with their lawyers and loved ones. Exploiting inmates’ need, CCA charges detainees here $5 per minute to make phone calls. Yet the prison only pays inmates who work at the facility $1 a day. At that rate, it would take five days to pay for just one minute.

Speaking of work, private prisons have found that exploiting their inmates as a source of slave labor can be extraordinarily profitable.  Today, private prisons are stealing jobs from ordinary American workers in a whole host of industries.  The following is from an article by Vicky Pelaez

According to the Left Business Observer, the federal prison industry produces 100% of all military helmets, ammunition belts, bullet-proof vests, ID tags, shirts, pants, tents, bags, and canteens. Along with war supplies, prison workers supply 98% of the entire market for equipment assembly services; 93% of paints and paintbrushes; 92% of stove assembly; 46% of body armor; 36% of home appliances; 30% of headphones/microphones/speakers; and 21% of office furniture. Airplane parts, medical supplies, and much more: prisoners are even raising seeing-eye dogs for blind people.

And many of the largest corporations in America have rushed in to take advantage of this pool of very cheap slave labor.  Just check out some of the big names that have been exploiting prison labor…

At least 37 states have legalized the contracting of prison labor by private corporations that mount their operations inside state prisons. The list of such companies contains the cream of U.S. corporate society: IBM, Boeing, Motorola, Microsoft, AT&T, Wireless, Texas Instrument, Dell, Compaq, Honeywell, Hewlett-Packard, Nortel, Lucent Technologies, 3Com, Intel, Northern Telecom, TWA, Nordstrom’s, Revlon, Macy’s, Pierre Cardin, Target Stores, and many more. All of these businesses are excited about the economic boom generation by prison labor. Just between 1980 and 1994, profits went up from $392 million to $1.31 billion. Inmates in state penitentiaries generally receive the minimum wage for their work, but not all; in Colorado, they get about $2 per hour, well under the minimum. And in privately-run prisons, they receive as little as 17 cents per hour for a maximum of six hours a day, the equivalent of $20 per month. The highest-paying private prison is CCA in Tennessee, where prisoners receive 50 cents per hour for what they call “highly skilled positions.” At those rates, it is no surprise that inmates find the pay in federal prisons to be very generous. There, they can earn $1.25 an hour and work eight hours a day, and sometimes overtime. They can send home $200-$300 per month.

But of course some of the biggest profits for private prisons come from detaining young people.  Today, private prison companies operate more than 50 percent of all “youth correctional facilities” in the United States.

And sometimes judges have even been bribed by these companies to sentence kids to very harsh sentences and to send them to their facilities.  The following is from a report about two judges in Pennsylvania that were recently convicted for taking money to send kids to private prisons…

Michael Conahan, a former jurist in Luzerne County, was sentenced on Friday to 210 months in custody by Senior U.S. District Court Judge Edwin M. Kosik II. Conahan was also ordered to pay $874,000 in restitution. […] As Main Justice reported in August, Ciavarella, former president judge of the Court of Common Pleas and former judge of the Juvenile Court for Luzerne County, was sentenced to 28 years in prison and ordered to make restitution of $965,930. […]

Conahan’s role in the “cash for kids” scheme was to order the closing of a county-run detention center, clearing the way for Ciavarella, once known as a strict “law and order” judge, to send young offenders to private facilities. This arrangement worked out well for Ciavarella and Conahan, as well as the builder of the facilities and a developer, who pleaded guilty to lesser charges.

The arrangement didn’t work out so well for the young offenders, some of them sent away for offenses that were little more than pranks and would have merited probation, or perhaps just scoldings, if the judges had tried to live up to their oaths.

Are you starting to see why private prisons are such a problem?

Hundreds of kids had their lives permanently altered by those corrupt judges.

When you allow people to make money by locking other people up in cages, you are just asking for trouble.

The more Americans they put behind bars, the more money these private prisons make.  It is a system that needs to be brought to an end.

So what do you think?

Do you believe that private prisons are a good idea or a bad idea?

Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below…

They Will Lock You Up Too If They Get The Chance - Photo by Barnellbe

Water Shortage!

Ever since the beginning of this nation, Americans have always been able to take for granted that there would always be plenty of fresh water.  But unfortunately that is rapidly changing.  Due to pollution, corruption, inefficiency and the never ending greed of the global elite, the United States (and the entire world) is heading for a very serious water shortage.  Already, there are some areas of the United States where water is the number one local political issue.  In fact, water is becoming so scarce in certain areas that some states are actually battling in court over it.  Unfortunately, there is every indication that the worldwide water crisis is about to get a lot worse. 

According to a new report released by the Natural Resources Defense Council, more than one-third of all counties in the lower 48 states will likely be facing very serious water shortages by 2050.  That is just 40 years away.  As water becomes more scarce and as big global corporations lock up available supplies, the price of water is almost certainly going to skyrocket.  This will put even more economic pressure on average Americans.

And Americans certainly do use a lot of water.  According to CBS News, the average American uses 150 gallons of water per day, while residents of the U.K. only use 40 gallons per day and residents of China use just 22 gallons per day.

In fact, a five minute shower by an American uses more water than a typical person living in poverty in a developing country uses in an entire day.

For hundreds of years, North America has been blessed with an overabundance of fresh water, but those supplies are quickly running dry.

In fact, there are some scientists who are now wondering if we might actually see a return of the “Dust Bowl” days.  The Ogallala Aquifer, a massive underground lake that stretches from southern South Dakota to northern Texas, is being drained at a staggering pace, and that means that the Great Plains could soon turn into the Great American Desert. 

If the breadbasket of America were to dry up, what would that mean for the future of this nation?

But it is not just the Great Plains that is on the verge of a major water crisis.

The following is an excerpt from an article that I authored recently for another website….

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*The number of states facing a water crisis is now far greater than the number of states without one.  In fact, a total of 36 states face severe water shortages in the next three years.

*A federal judge recently ruled that Georgia has few legal rights to Lake Lanier – the main water supply for Atlanta.  With 2 million more residents expected to move into Atlanta over the next couple of decades, officials there are scrambling to try to figure out how in the world everyone is going to be able to have enough water.

*In Texas, farmers and ranchers were absolutely devastated in 2009 as the ongoing drought cost the agricultural sector billions of dollars.

*Every single day Arizona and parts of New Mexico use 300 million gallons more water than they get in renewable supply.

*Lake Mead is the primary supply of water for the city of Las Vegas.  But since 1998, Lake Mead’s capacity has plunged by more than 50 percent– down 5.6 trillion gallons.  Nobody is quite sure how Las Vegas is going to continue to have enough water.

*The water crisis became so serious in California this past year that Barack Obama actually requested that California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger call state lawmakers into a special session just to deal with the situation.

*Other states are so concerned about the national water crisis that they are determined to hold on to the supplies that they have.  In fact, 8 states surrounding the Great Lakes have signed a pact banning the export of water to outsiders – even to other U.S. states.

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The truth is that fresh water is very rapidly becoming one of the most valuable commodities in the world.  All over the globe, big global corporations are gobbling up water rights as fast as they can.

Why?

Well, the truth is that the world is on the verge of a water shortage of unprecedented magnitude….

*Worldwide demand for fresh water tripled during the last century, and is now doubling every 21 years.

*According to USAID, one-third of all humans will face severe or chronic water shortages by the year 2025.

*Of the 60 million people added to the world’s cities every year, the vast majority of them live in impoverished slums and shanty-towns with no sanitation facilities whatsoever.

*It is estimated that 75 percent of India’s surface water is now contaminated by human and agricultural waste.   

*Not only that, but according to a UN study on sanitation, far more people in India have access to a mobile phone than to a toilet.

*In northern China, the water table is dropping one meter per year due to overpumping.

*But there are few places where the water shortage is as severe as it is in the Middle East.  Saudi Arabia had been producing enough wheat to be self-sufficient for most of the past 30 years, but in 2008 authorities there realized that the non-replenishable aquifer they had been pumping for irrigation purposes was nearly depleted.  So in response Saudi Arabia made the decision to reduce their wheat harvest by one-eighth every year thereafter.  Wheat production in Saudi Arabia is scheduled to cease entirely in 2016

The truth is that it would be very difficult to understate just how bad the world water crisis is becoming.

The following is a list of mind blowing facts about the world’s water crisis that respected water expert Maude Barlow shares during her presentations….

-Every eight seconds a child dies from drinking dirty water.

-A new desert the size of Rhode Island is created in China because of drought every single year.

-In the developing world, 90% of waste water is discharged completely untreated into local rivers.

-By the year 2050, 1.7 billion people will live in “dire water poverty” and will be forced to relocate.

-Half of the world’s hospital beds are occupied by people who have contracted waterborne diseases.

-The World Health Organization says contaminated water is the cause of 80% of all sickness and disease worldwide.

-In China, 80% of the major rivers are so polluted they don’t support aquatic life at all.

-The women of South Africa collectively walk the equivalent distance to the moon and back 16 times a day for water.

Without fresh water we cannot live, and global supplies are rapidly being depleted.

Meanwhile, the global elite are running around and are gobbling up the rights to as much of the water around the world as they can.

When you put all the facts above together, it all adds up to one very troubling picture.

Right now it is more imperative than ever to make certain that you and your family have a reliable source of clean water for the times that are coming.  Clean, fresh water is something that none of us can take for granted any longer. 

So what do you think of the coming global water shortage?  Feel free to leave a comment with your opinion….

What Do You Believe Is America’s Biggest Economic Problem?

Today there are literally dozens of major threats to the U.S. economy.  Each one of these threats alone could cause a major economic implosion.  The Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the derivatives bubble, the housing crisis, the exploding U.S. national debt and the burgeoning European debt crisis all threaten to push the struggling U.S. economy over the edge.  But which one is America’s biggest economic problem?  Below, 16 of America’s greatest economic threats are listed in no particular order.  The goal of this article is to hear what all of you readers believe is the worst crisis the U.S. economy is facing.  If you would like to vote, please choose one of the 16 economic problems listed below (or nominate one of your own) and leave a comment explaining your choice….

#1) The Gulf Of Mexico Oil Spill – The Gulf of Mexico oil spill is already the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history.  Is it also about to become the worst economic disaster in U.S. history?   

#2) The Derivatives Bubble – The total value of all derivatives worldwide is estimated to be well over a quadrillion dollars.  In fact, the danger from derivatives is so great that Warren Buffet has called them “financial weapons of mass destruction”.  Will the derivatives bubble end up being the major cause of the next depression?

#3) The Housing Crash – Last month, sales of new homes in the United States dropped to the lowest level ever recorded.  Also, the number of U.S. home foreclosures set a record for the second consecutive month in May.  Very few Americans are buying houses right now.  The subprime mortgage crisis brought the U.S. financial system to the brink of ruin in 2007 and 2008.  Is it about to happen again?

#4) The Federal Reserve – Instead of printing and issuing their own currency, the U.S. government actually has to go into more debt before any new currency is created.  But the problem is that the money to pay the interest on that debt is not created at that time, so in order to pay that interest the U.S. government will need to create even more currency in the future.  That means going into even more debt.  Thus the U.S. government is caught in an endless debt spiral that has now become impossible to escape.  By basing our economy on mountains of debt and paper money that is backed by nothing, have we essentially guaranteed that our economic system will totally fail someday?     

#5) The European Sovereign Debt Crisis – Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal and a number of other European nations are in real danger of actually defaulting on their debts.  If a wave of national defaults starts sweeping the globe, will it end up wiping out the U.S. economy as well?

#6) The Growing Welfare State – For the first time in U.S. history, more than 40 million Americans are on food stamps, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture projects that number will go up to 43 million Americans in 2011.  More than 1 in 5 American children now live below the poverty line.  Nearly 51 million Americans received $672 billion in Social Security benefits in 2009.  How many people can the U.S. government possibly support financially before it finally collapses under the weight?

#7) Illegal Immigration– There are an estimated 30 million illegal immigrants now living in the United States.  Not only is this a very serious economic burden, but it is a huge national security issue as well.  Federal agents and local law enforcement officials along the border are now openly telling the media that they are outgunned, outmanned and are increasingly being shot at by the Mexican drug cartels that are openly conducting military operations inside the United States.  There is now significant Latin American gang activity in almost every large and mid-size city in the United States.  Meanwhile, Barack Obama continues to leave the border wide open.  

#8) Corruption On Wall Street– The corrupton in the financial system that has been revealed in 2010 has been absolutely mind blowing.  Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Lehman Brothers and Wachovia are all being investigated by the government at this point.  The rampant manipulation of the gold and silver markets was completely blown open by an industry insider, and the U.S. government has finally been convinced to take a look at it.  It seems like the more the layers are peeled back, the more corruption we find in the financial community.  So how long can the U.S. financial system survive when corruption is seemingly everywhere? 

#9) War In The Middle East – The U.S. government has spent hundreds of billions of dollars fighting the war in Iraq.  The U.S. government has spent over 247 billion dollars on the war in Afghanistan, and yet June 2010 has now become the deadliest month of the Afghan war for coalition troops.  Now there is a very real possibility that war could erupt with Iran.  How long can the U.S. government continue to afford to pour hundreds of billions of dollars into wars in the Middle East?  Not only that, but if a war with Iran cuts off the flow of oil from the Persian Gulf, what would that do to our economic system that is so highly dependent on oil?

#10) Barack Obama’s Health Care “Reform” – Barack Obama’s pet project is actually the biggest tax increase in U.S. history, it is going to cause the premature retirement of thousands upon thousands of American doctors, and it is going to drive health insurance premiums through the roof.  Health insurance companies are going to do very well (they actually helped write the bill), but the rest of us are going to be absolutely crushed by this brutal legislation.  So what will happen when the U.S. healthcare system implodes?

#11) Barack Obama’s “Cap And Trade” Carbon Tax Scheme– Rather than focusing all of his attention on fixing the massive oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, Barack Obama has been busy playing golf and figuring out how he can use this crisis as an opportunity to get his “cap and trade” carbon tax scheme pushed through the U.S. Congress.  But will Barack Obama’s obsession with “global warming” end up totally wrecking the U.S. economy?

#12) Globalism – Most American workers had no idea that free trade would mean that they would suddenly be competing for jobs against workers in the Philippines and Malaysia.  Today, corporations often find themselves having to choose whether to build a factory in the United States or in the third world.  But in the third world workers often earn less than 10% of what American workers earn, corporations are often not required to provide any benefits to workers, and there are usually hardly any oppressive government regulations.  How can American workers compete against that?

#13) The Moral Decline Of America – An economy stops working efficiently when people stop feeling safe and when they stop trusting one another.  As greed, selfishness, lust, pride, theft and violence continue to explode, how much longer will the U.S. economy be able to function normally?

#14) Genetic Modification – Scientists around the globe have now produced “monster salmon” which grow three times as fast as normal salmon, corn that has been genetically modified to have a pesticide grow inside the corn kernel, cats that glow in the dark and goats that produce spider silk.  Is it possible that all of this genetic modification could unleash an environmental hell that could destroy not only the economy but also our entire society?

#15) Unemployment – Tens of millions of Americans are out of work and nearly a million people have lost their unemployment benefits because the U.S. Senate has once again failed to pass a bill that would extend those benefits.  In some areas of the United States unemployment has been pushing up towards depression-era levels.  For example, a while back the mayor of Detroit said that the real unemployment rate in his city is somewhere around 50 percent.  So is the biggest problem that the U.S. economy is facing the fact that so many millions of willing American workers simply cannot find work?

#16) The U.S. National Debt – As of June 1st,  the U.S. National Debt was $13,050,826,460,886.  According to a U.S. Treasury Department report to Congress, the U.S. national debt will top $13.6 trillion this year and climb to an estimated $19.6 trillion by 2015.  The total of all government, corporate and consumer debt in the United States is now about 360 percent of GDP.  The United States has piled up the biggest mountain of debt in the history of the world.  So how long will it be before this mountain of debt collapses?

So of the 16 economic problems listed above, which one do you believe is the biggest threat to the U.S. economy?

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

Wow! The SEC Formally Charges Goldman Sachs With Fraud

Wow!  Just when you think the U.S. government is entirely incompetent and toothless when it comes to controlling the corruption on Wall Street something like this happens.  For those who have not heard yet, on Friday the Securities and Exchange Commission filed a civil suit accusing Goldman Sachs of securities fraud.  We’ll get into the details below, but first it is important to note how stunning all of this is.  Goldman Sachs has had an extremely chummy relationship with the U.S. government over the past couple of decades.  A whole host of former Goldman Sachs executives have been appointed to key government positions by both Republicans and Democrats in recent years.  In addition, Goldman Sachs was Barack Obama’s number one campaign donor, and its employees gave $981,000 to his campaign.  But in spite of all that, the SEC has decided to go after Goldman Sachs.

Someone out there has a lot of guts.  Although to be honest it is far too soon to pass final judgment on this while thing.  Let’s see how it plays out.  It could end up being a “white wash” after all.  But at least this is a hopeful sign that justice will be done.

You can see a copy of the official charges filed by the SEC right here.

These charges are a huge blow to the reputation of what is widely regarded as the most powerful firm on Wall Street.  Goldman Sachs earned a record $4.79 billion last quarter, and for years it has seemed as if they could do no wrong.

But all of that has suddenly changed.

After the announcement of these charges by the SEC, Goldman’s shares fell more than 13 percent.

The heart of the charges involves the failure by Goldman Sachs to disclose conflicts in the 2007 sale of a collateralized debt obligation.  According to the SEC, investors in the collateralized debt obligation ended up losing approximately 1 billion dollars.

So what did Goldman Sachs do that was so wrong?

Well, it turns out that Goldman Sachs allowed hedge fund Paulson & Co. (run by John Paulson – not related to Henry Paulson) to help select the securities that were to be included in the CDO.

The SEC says Paulson & Co. paid Goldman around 15 million dollars in 2007 to put together a collateralized debt obligation that included mortgage-related securities that Paulson & Co. believed were very likely to decline in value.  Then Paulson & Co. placed huge bets against the CDO.

When Goldman Sachs presented the collateralized debt obligation to potential investors, they did not tell them that Paulson & Co. was shorting the CDO.

In essence, what happened is that Paulson & Co. helped select mortgage-related securities for the CDO that they thought would definitely fail and then they bet big money that they would fail.  Then Goldman went out and marketed the CDO as a worthy investment to investors and did not tell them that Paulson & Co. were betting big money that the CDO would fail.

When the value of the CDO plunged dramatically just a few months after it was issued, Paulson & Co. walked off with about a billion dollars.

According to the SEC, within 6 months of the issuance of the CDO, 83% of the residential mortgage-backed securities in the portfolio had been downgraded.

Within nine months of the issuance of the CDO, 99% of the residential mortgage-backed securities in the portfolio had been downgraded.

Two major European banks were left holding the bag. ABN Amro, a major Dutch bank, and IKB, a German commercial bank, combined to lose nearly a billion dollars.

The SEC says that it is trying to recoup profits reaped on the deal.

Also being charged by the SEC is a 31 year old Goldman Sachs vice president, Fabrice Tourre.  The SEC alleges that he was principally responsible for putting together the deal and marketing the securities.

You see, this is what happens when you let a young kid play around with hundreds of millions of dollars.

In an almost unbelievable email to a friend, Tourre described himself as “the fabulous Fab standing in the middle of all these complex, highly leveraged, exotic trades he created without necessarily understanding all of the implications of those monstrosities!!!”

That is the level of maturity that we can apparently expect from Wall Street executives these days.

No wonder our financial system is falling apart.

In a statement, Goldman Sachs responded to the SEC charges by saying the following: “the SEC’s charges are completely unfounded in law and fact and we will vigorously contest them and defend the firm and its reputation.”

But of course Goldman Sachs never admits that they are wrong.

“Our short positions were not a ‘bet against our clients,”‘ Goldman Sachs said in a recent letter to shareholders that discussed Goldman’s behavior during the recent housing crash. “Rather, they served to offset our long positions. Our goal was, and is, to be in a position to make markets for our clients while managing our risk within prescribed limits.”

But other financial analysts are applauding this action by the SEC….

In a note to his clients on Friday, Chris Whalen, a bank analyst at Institutional Risk Analytics noted the following….

“This litigation exposes the cynical, savage culture of Wall Street that allows a dealer to commit fraud on one customer to benefit another.”

A brief video news report about these charges against Goldman Sachs is posted below….

So will there be additional charges against Goldman Sachs?

Let’s hope so.

The truth is that the misbehavior documented above is just the tip of the iceberg.

Goldman Sachs helped create the housing collapse by selling mortgage-related securities that were absolute garbage to trusting clients at vastly overinflated prices.  Then Goldman Sachs placed huge bets against those same mortgage-related securities and also placed huge bets against the U.S. housing market.  When the U.S. economy collapsed in 2008 and 2009 they ended up making huge profits.

“The simultaneous selling of securities to customers and shorting them because they believed they were going to default is the most cynical use of credit information that I have ever seen,”Sylvain Raynes, an expert in structured finance at R & R Consulting in New York, told The New York Times. “When you buy protection against an event that you have a hand in causing, you are buying fire insurance on someone else’s house and then committing arson.”

Even with today’s action by the SEC, it still seems extremely unlikely that Goldman Sachs will ever be held fully accountable for all that they have done.  They are just too big and too powerful and they have too many big and powerful friends.

But at least today is a beginning.

For years Goldman has been considered almost untouchable.  They have been considered an almost “all-powerful” financial monster that pretty much does whatever it wants.

An article in Rolling Stone described it this way….

The first thing you need to know about Goldman Sachs is that it’s everywhere. The world’s most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.

But perhaps today will start to change that.

Let’s hope so.

For much more on Goldman Sachs and all of the mischief that they have been involved in, please read our recent article entitled “How Goldman Sachs Made Tens Of Billions Of Dollars From The Economic Collapse Of America In Four Easy Steps”.

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