Has there ever been a major holiday more focused on materialism than the modern American Christmas? This year, Americans are planning to spend an average of 830 dollars on Christmas gifts, which represents a jump of 110 dollars over the average of 720 dollars last year. But have our incomes gone up accordingly? Of course not. In fact, real median household income in the United States has been experiencing a steady long-term decline. So in order to fund all of our Christmas spending, we have got to go into even more debt. We love to pull out our credit cards and spend money that we do not have on lots of cheap, useless stuff made on the other side of the world by workers making slave labor wages. We do the same thing year after year, and most of us have grown accustomed to the endless cycle of growing debt. In fact, one Pew survey found that approximately 70 percent of all Americans believe that “debt is a necessity in their lives”. But then we have to work our fingers to the bone to try to make the payments on all of that debt, not realizing that debt systematically impoverishes us. It may be hard to believe, but if you have a single dollar in your pocket and no debt, you have a greater net worth than 25 percent of all Americans. I know that sounds crazy, but it is true.
Overall, when you add up all forms of debt (consumer, business, local government, state government and federal government), Americans are more than 60 trillion dollars in debt.
Let that sink in for a bit.
40 years ago, that number was sitting at about 3 trillion dollars.
We have been on the greatest debt binge in the history of the world. Even though we were “the wealthiest, most prosperous nation on the entire planet”, we always had to have more. We just kept on borrowing and borrowing and borrowing from the future until we completely destroyed it.
And we still haven’t learned anything. Instead, this Christmas season we will be partying like it’s 2007…
Americans are planning on celebrating Christmas like it’s 2007.
A November survey by Gallup found that US adults are planning on spending about $830 on average on Christmas gifts this year.
That’s a huge jump from last year’s $720 average.
Notably, American consumers haven’t suggested a number that high since November 2007, when they were planning on spending $866 on average.
Sadly, our incomes simply do not justify this kind of extravagance. As Zero Hedge has pointed out, household incomes “actually peaked at least 15 years ago in 81% of U.S. counties.”
So why can’t we adjust our lifestyles to match?
Why must we always have more?
Here are more details on our declining incomes from the Visual Capitalist…
- Income peaked one year ago for many of the counties that are a part of the shale boom. This includes much of North and South Dakota, as well as parts of Texas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma. Income in Washington, D.C. and neighboring Arlington County also peaked then.
- In 1999, a total of 1,623 counties had their households reach peak income. The majority of these counties are in the Midwest and Southeast.
- The most southern part of California and parts of New England both peaked around 25 years ago.
- Many states along the Rocky Mountains such as Wyoming and Montana had counties that peaked roughly 35 years ago.
- Household income peaked in upstate New York, the northern tip of California, and southern Nevada at the same time that humans were first landing on the moon in 1969.
But you won’t hear this reported on the mainstream news, will you?
They want us to think that happy days are here again.
The following chart comes from the Federal Reserve, and it shows that real median household income in the United States has been trending down since 1999…
Americans should be having smaller Christmases instead of bigger ones, but that doesn’t fit the image of who we still think that we are.
Recently, I published an article entitled “Goodbye Middle Class: 51 Percent Of All American Workers Make Less Than 30,000 Dollars A Year” that was shared more than 44,000 times on Facebook. In that article, I included brand new figures that were just released by the Social Security Administration. As you can see, the quality of our jobs is not great…
-38 percent of all American workers made less than $20,000 last year.
-51 percent of all American workers made less than $30,000 last year.
-62 percent of all American workers made less than $40,000 last year.
-71 percent of all American workers made less than $50,000 last year.
Without a doubt, most American families should not be spending hundreds of dollars a year on Christmas gifts.
At these income levels, most American families are just barely surviving.
But once again this year, millions upon millions of Americans will flock to the malls and big box stores in a desperate attempt to make themselves happy.
Sadly, those efforts will be in vain. In fact, in a previous article I highlighted the fact that Christmas is the unhappiest season of the year. The suicide rate spikes to the highest level of the year during “the holidays”, and 45 percent of all Americans report that they dread the Christmas season. The following is an excerpt from a Psychology Today article…
We are told that Christmas, for Christians, should be the happiest time of year, an opportunity to be joyful and grateful with family, friends and colleagues. Yet, according to the National Institute of Health, Christmas is the time of year that people experience the highest incidence of depression. Hospitals and police forces report the highest incidences of suicide and attempted suicide. Psychiatrists, psychologists and other mental health professionals report a significant increase in patients complaining about depression. One North American survey reported that 45% of respondents dreaded the festive season.
In recent years, an increasing number of Americans have given up the tradition of Christmas gifts entirely, and many of them that I know seem quite happy to have done so.
Of course most people are still quite satisfied with the status quo, and there are many that will get very angry with you if you dare to suggest that the way that Americans celebrate Christmas has gotten way out of hand.
But shouldn’t it alarm us that for most Americans the biggest holiday of the year is all about the “stuff” they are going to buy, the “stuff” they are going to give and the “stuff” they are going to get?
As a society, we are obsessed with things, but those things are never going to make us happy.
Perhaps we should all take some time to reflect on the traditions that we choose to participate in and what they really mean to us during this “holiday season”…
What would you do if the power grid went down and never came back up? One of these days, and it could be a lot sooner than most people think, we will all wake up in a country without electricity. And considering how utterly dependent we have become on technology, that is a very frightening scenario to consider. How would Americans react if nothing worked? Just imagine a world where everything electronic is dead. I am talking about lights, cell phones, computers, televisions, ATMs, heating and cooling systems, credit card readers, gas pumps, cash registers, refrigerators, hospital equipment etc. When the power goes out for a few hours, that can be a major inconvenience, but what if it went out all over the nation and it didn’t come back on for months or even years? This is one of the greatest potential threats that the United States is facing, and yet very few people are even talking about it.
An electromagnetic pulse attack could potentially send our nation back to the 1800s in a single moment, but very few of us are equipped to handle life without technology. Tech guru John McAfee recently wrote an article in which he expressed his belief that 90 percent of the population would be dead within 2 years of such an attack…
Experts agree that an all out cyber attack, beginning with an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) attack on our electronic infrastructure, would wipe out 90% of the human population of this country within two years of the attack. That means the death of 270 million people within 24 months after the attack.
You may think that is an unreasonably high estimate, but it turns out that it is the exact same number that the EMP Commission used in their report to Congress back in 2008…
What would a successful EMP attack look like? The EMP Commission, in 2008, estimated that within 12 months of a nationwide blackout, up to 90% of the U.S. population could possibly perish from starvation, disease and societal breakdown.
In 2009 the congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States, whose co-chairmen were former Secretaries of Defense William Perry and James Schlesinger, concurred with the findings of the EMP Commission and urged immediate action to protect the electric grid. Studies by the National Academy of Sciences, the Department of Energy, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the National Intelligence Council reached similar conclusions.
So what has Barack Obama done to protect us from such an attack?
But there are others in the government that are very, very concerned about this threat. For example, NORAD recently moved back into Cheyenne Mountain, and the potential for an EMP attack was given as the primary reason for the move…
The Pentagon is moving the headquarters for the North American Aerospace Defense Command (Norad) back into Cheyenne Mountain near Colorado Springs, Colo., a decade after having largely vacated the site.
Why the return? Because the enormous bunker in the hollowed-out mountain, built to survive a Cold War-era nuclear conflict, can also resist an electromagnetic-pulse attack, or EMP. America’s military planners recognize the growing threat from an EMP attack by bad actors around the world, in particular North Korea and Iran.
An EMP strike, most likely from the detonation of a nuclear weapon in space, would destroy unprotected military and civilian electronics nationwide, blacking out the electric grid and other critical infrastructure for months or years. The staggering human cost of such a catastrophic attack is not difficult to imagine.
For years, most experts have assumed that an EMP attack would be conducted by exploding at least one nuclear weapon high up in our atmosphere. And that could definitely happen someday. But now governments all over the world are working on other ways to deliver an EMP strike, and many of them do not involve nuclear weapons at all.
The U.S. government is among those that have been doing this kind of research. The U.S. Air Force now reportedly has the capability to conduct an EMP assault against individual buildings or power stations. The following comes from the Daily Mail…
For years, scientists have been attempting to create such a weapon as part of Champ, or the Counter-electronics High-powered microwave Advanced Missile Project.
Now, the US Air Force claims it has advanced the technology, and says it can deploy it using the stealthy Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range (JASSM).
There are fears a well targeted attack could knock out multiple power stations.
‘This technology marks a new era in modern-day warfare,’ said Keith Coleman, CHAMP program manager for Boeing Phantom Works.
And we also know that Russia, China, Iran and North Korea have also been developing EMP weapons. This next excerpt comes from DefenseNews…
The possibility of man-made EMP events has grown in tandem with the technological sophistication of America’s adversaries. It is widely known that both Russia and China already have this capability, and both countries have carried out serious work relating to the generation of EMP in recent years as part of their respective military modernization programs.
Now, rogue states Iran and North Korea may not be that far behind. Iran, for example, is known to have simulated a nuclear EMP attack several years ago using short-range missiles launched from a freighter. North Korea, meanwhile, has acquired the blueprints to build an EMP warhead, and in July of 2013, a North Korean freighter made it all the way to the Gulf of Mexico with two nuclear capable missiles in its hold.
Why are these other nations developing these technologies?
To use them against us someday of course.
Many are particularly concerned about what Iran has been doing. In a piece for an Israeli news source, author Dr. Peter Vincent Pry explained that Iranian military documents actually discuss conducting such an attack against the United States…
Iranian military documents describe such a scenario–including a recently translated Iranian military textbook that endorses nuclear EMP attack against the United States.
Thus, Iran with a small number of nuclear missiles can by EMP attack threaten the existence of modernity and be the death knell for Western principles of international law, humanism and freedom. For the first time in history, a failed state like Iran could destroy the most successful societies on Earth and convert an evolving benign world order into world chaos.
And it wouldn’t take much to completely disrupt electricity generation in America. In a previous article, I discussed a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission report which made the following jaw dropping statement…
“Destroy nine interconnection substations and a transformer manufacturer and the entire United States grid would be down for at least 18 months, probably longer.”
Are you starting to get the picture?
We are far more vulnerable than most people realize.
And even if we are never attacked by an EMP weapon, scientists tell us that it is inevitable that a massive solar storm will produce a similar result someday anyway. Back in 1859, a massive solar storm that came to be known as “the Carrington Event” fried telegraph machines all over Europe and North America.
NASA says that there is a 12 percent chance that a similar solar storm will hit us within the next ten years, and if that happens the consequences will be absolutely catastrophic…
NASA is warning that there’s a 12 percent chance an extreme solar storm will hit Earth in the next decade, sending out massive shock waves that would knock out grids across the world.
The economic impact of this doomsday scenario could exceed $2 trillion — or 20 times the cost of Hurricane Katrina, according to the National Academy of Sciences.
I don’t know why more people aren’t concerned about this. There are things that the federal government could do to harden our electrical grid, but they aren’t doing them.
This is a foreseeable danger, but our “leaders” are not taking it seriously.
And even if nobody ever purposely attacks us, scientists insist that it is only a matter of time before the sun unleashes an electromagnetic pulse that fries our electronics. In fact, we have had some very close calls in recent years. The following is an excerpt from a book that I co-authored with Barbara Fix entitled “Get Prepared Now“…
Most people have absolutely no idea that the Earth barely missed being fried by a massive EMP burst from the sun in 2012 and in 2013. And earlier in 2014 there was another huge solar storm which would have caused tremendous damage if it had been directed at our planet. If any of those storms would have directly hit us, the result would have been catastrophic. Electrical transformers would have burst into flames, power grids would have gone down and much of our technology would have been fried. In essence, life as we know it would have ceased to exist – at least for a time. These kinds of solar storms have hit the Earth many times before, and experts tell us that it is inevitable that it will happen again.
It amazes me that such a small percentage of the population is taking this threat seriously.
An electromagnetic pulse could bring down our entire society in a single moment at any time, and all of the experts assure us that it will happen someday.
But our politicians are just sitting on their hands and most Americans mock the idea that we need to be concerned about this.
So what do you think? Please feel free to add to the discussion by posting a comment below…
When the coming economic crisis strikes, more than half the country is going to be financially wiped out within weeks. At this point, more than 60 percent of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, and a whopping 24 percent of the country has more credit card debt than emergency savings. One of the primary principles that any of these “financial experts” that you see on television will teach you is to have a cushion to fall back on. At the very least, you never know when unexpected expenses like major car repairs or medical bills will come along. And in the event of a major economic collapse, if you do not have any financial cushion at all you will be a sitting duck. Yes, I know that there are millions upon millions of families out there that are just trying to scrape by from month to month at this point. I hear from people that are deeply struggling in this economy all the time. So I don’t blame them for not being able to save lots of money. But if you are in a position to build up an emergency fund, you need to do so. We have been experiencing an extended period of relative economic stability, but it will not last. In fact, the time for getting prepared for the next great economic downturn is rapidly running out, and most Americans are not ready for it at all. The following are 14 signs that most Americans are flat broke and totally unprepared for the coming economic crisis…
#1 According to a survey that was just released, 24 percent of all Americans have more credit card debt than emergency savings.
#2 That same survey discovered that an additional 13 percent of all Americans do not have any credit card debt, but they do not have a single penny of emergency savings either.
#3 At this point, approximately 62 percent of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.
#4 Adults under the age of 35 in the United States currently have a savings rate of negative 2 percent.
#5 More than half of all students in U.S. public schools come from families that are poor enough to qualify for school lunch subsidies.
#6 A study that was conducted last year found that more than one out of every three adults in the United States has an unpaid debt that is “in collections“.
#7 One survey discovered that 52 percent of all Americans really cannot even financially afford the homes that they are living in right now.
#8 According to research conducted by Atif Mian of Princeton University and Amir Sufi of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, 40 percent of Americans could not come up with $2000 right now without borrowing it.
#9 That same study found that 60 percent of Americans could not say yes to the following question…
“Do you have 3 months emergency funds to cover expenses in case of sickness, job loss, economic downturn?”
#10 A different study discovered that less than one out of every four Americans has enough money stored away to cover six months of expenses.
#11 Today, the average American household is carrying a grand total of 203,163 dollars of debt.
#12 It is estimated that less than 10 percent of the entire U.S. population owns any gold or silver for investment purposes.
#13 48 percent of all Americans do not have any emergency supplies in their homes whatsoever.
#14 53 percent of all Americans do not even have a minimum three day supply of nonperishable food and water in their homes.
Perhaps none of this concerns you.
Perhaps you think that this bubble economy can persist indefinitely.
Well, if you won’t listen to the more than 1200 articles that set out the case for the coming economic collapse on my website, perhaps you will listen to former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan. The following is what he recently told one interviewer…
We asked him where he thought the gold price will be in five years and he said “measurably higher.”
In private conversation I asked him about the outstanding debts… and that the debt load in the U.S. had gotten so great that there has to be some monetary depreciation. Specially he said that the era of quantitative easing and zero-interest rate policies by the Fed… we really cannot exit this without some significant market event… By that I interpret it being either a stock market crash or a prolonged recession, which would then engender another round of monetary reflation by the Fed.
He thinks something big is going to happen that we can’t get out of this era of money printing without some repercussions – and pretty severe ones – that gold will benefit from.
And as I have stressed so frequently, the signs that the next crisis is almost here are all around us.
For example, the Baltic Dry Index has just plunged to a fresh record low, and things have already gotten so bad that some global shippers are now filing for bankruptcy…
The unintended consequences of a money-printed, credit-fueled, mal-investment-boom in commodities (prices – as opposed to physical demand per se) and the downstream signals that sent to any and all industries are starting to bite. The Baltic Dry Index has plunged once again to new record lows and the collapse of the non-financialized ‘clean’ indicator of the imbalances between global trade demand and freight transport supply has the real-world effects are starting to be felt, as Reuters reports the third dry-bulk shipper this month has filed for bankruptcy… in what shippers call “the worst market conditions since the ’80s.”
Perhaps you do see things coming.
Perhaps you do want to get prepared.
If you are new to all of this, and you don’t quite know how to get started preparing, please see my previous article entitled “89 Tips That Will Help You Prepare For The Coming Economic Depression“. It will give you some basic tips that you can start implementing right away.
And of course one of the most important things is something that I talked about at the top of this article.
If at all possible, you have got to have an emergency fund. When the coming economic storm strikes, your family is going to need something to fall back on.
If you are trusting in the government to save you when things fall apart, you will be severely disappointed.
From the dawn of history, elites have always attempted to enslave humanity. Yes, there have certainly been times when those in power have slaughtered vast numbers of people, but normally those in power find it much more beneficial to profit from the labor of those that they are able to subjugate. If you are forced to build a pyramid, or pay a third of your crops in tribute, or hand over nearly half of your paycheck in taxes, that enriches those in power at your expense. You become a “human resource” that is being exploited to serve the interests of others. Today, some forms of slavery have been outlawed, but one of the most insidious forms is more pervasive than ever. It is called debt, and virtually every major decision of our lives involves more of it. For example, at the very beginning of our adult lives we are pushed to go to college, and Americans have piled up more than 1.2 trillion dollars of student loan debt at this point. When we buy homes, most Americans get mortgages that they can barely afford, and when we buy vehicles most Americans now stretch their loans out over five or six years. When we get married, that often means even more debt. And of course no society on Earth has ever piled up more credit card debt than we have. Almost all of us are in bondage to debt at this point, and as we slowly pay off that debt over the years we will greatly enrich the elitists that tricked us into going into so much debt in the first place. At the apex of this debt enslavement system is the Federal Reserve. As you will see below, it is an institution that is designed to produce as much debt as possible.
There are many people out there that believe that the Federal Reserve is an “agency” of the federal government. But that is not true at all. The Federal Reserve is an unelected, unaccountable central banking cartel, and it has argued in federal court that it is “not an agency” of the federal government and therefore not subject to the Freedom of Information Act. The 12 regional Federal Reserve banks are organized “much like private corporations“, and they actually issue shares of stock to the “member banks” that own them. 100 percent of the shareholders of the Federal Reserve are private banks. The U.S. government owns zero shares.
Many people also assume that the federal government “issues money”, but that is not true at all either. Under our current system, what the federal government actually does is borrow money that the Federal Reserve creates out of thin air. The big banks, the ultra-wealthy and other countries purchase the debt that is created, and we end up as debt servants to them. For a detailed explanation of how this works, please see my previous article entitled “Where Does Money Come From? The Giant Federal Reserve Scam That Most Americans Do Not Understand“. When it is all said and done, the elite end up holding the debt instruments and we end up being collectively responsible for the endlessly growing mountain of debt. Our politicians always promise to get the debt under control, but there is never enough money to both fund the government and pay the interest on the constantly expanding debt. So it always becomes necessary to borrow even more money. When it was created back in 1913, the Federal Reserve system was designed to create a perpetual government debt spiral from which it would never be possible to escape, and that is precisely what has happened.
Just look at the chart that I have posted below. Forty years ago, the U.S. national debt was less than half a trillion dollars. Today, it has exploded up to nearly 18 trillion dollars…
But the national debt is only part of the story. The big banks which control the Federal Reserve also seek to individually dominate our lives with debt. We have become a “buy now, pay later” society and the results have been absolutely catastrophic. 40 years ago, the total amount of debt in our system was just a shade over 2 trillion dollars. Today it is over 57 trillion dollars…
The big banks do not loan you money because they want to help you achieve “the American Dream”. The elitists loan you money because it will make them wealthier. For example, if you only make the minimum payment on a credit card each month, you will end up paying back several times as much money as you originally borrowed. It is a very insidious form of debt enslavement that most Americans simply do not understand.
Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve is also systematically destroying the wealth that you already have. If you try to buck the system and actually save money, the purchasing power of that money is continually being eroded by the Federal Reserve’s inflationary policies. The following chart comes directly from the Federal Reserve and it shows how the value of the U.S. dollar has plummeted over the past 40 years…
Overall, the U.S. dollar has lost approximately 98 percent of its value since the Fed was first established in 1913.
Most people seem to assume that if we could just send the “right politicians” to Washington D.C. that we could get our economy back on the right track.
What those people do not understand is that our system is fundamentally broken. We are trapped in a perpetual debt spiral that is destined to end in a horrifying collapse. Just “tweaking” a few things here or there and adjusting tax rates a bit is not going to fix anything. The vast majority of the “economic solutions” that our politicians talk about are basically equivalent to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
And of course the elite don’t want the rest of us to truly understand what is going on. Just think about it. Even though the Federal Reserve is one of the most important institutions in our society, and even though it is at the very heart of our economic system, our kids are taught next to nothing about the Fed in school. The vast majority of them have absolutely no idea where money comes from.
Isn’t that pathetic?
But the elite know that if we did understand what they were doing to us that most of us would start to get very upset. Henry Ford, the founder of Ford Motor Company, once said the following…
“It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and money system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.”
Please share this article with as many people as you can. The truth sets people free, so let us do what we can to wake our fellow Americans up to this insidious debt enslavement system which dominates our society.
Every year on July 4th we celebrate our “independence”, but is America really free? How could we possibly be free when “Big Brother” is constantly intruding in our lives in hundreds of different ways? And I am not just talking about NSA snooping. Sadly, the truth is that the United States is beginning to fully embrace a “police state” culture. We have learned that the government monitors and keeps a record of all of our cell phone calls, emails, Internet searches, credit card transactions, and every piece of mail that we send. But most Americans don’t seem to care. We are “encouraged” to report the “suspicious activity” of our neighbors to the authorities, we are told that having security thugs touch the private areas of our women and children at our airports is necessary “for our security”, and 80,000 SWAT team raids are conducted each year in the United States. But the American people don’t seem to care. America was once a great country, but now it is being turned into a giant prison, and only a small minority of the citizens are raising their voices in objection.
When I was a child, I was taught that totalitarian societies such as North Korea, the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany were the bad guys.
So why in the world would we want to become more like them?
Do we actually believe that these ridiculous security measures are keeping us safer?
At this point, we have already given up so much privacy that we barely have any left.
For example, up until recently I actually believed that our mail was private. But now we have learned that the government is monitoring every piece of mail that the American people send. And according to the New York Times, the government has flagged the mail of thousands of problem citizens for special attention…
Leslie James Pickering noticed something odd in his mail last September: a handwritten card, apparently delivered by mistake, with instructions for postal workers to pay special attention to the letters and packages sent to his home.
“Show all mail to supv” — supervisor — “for copying prior to going out on the street,” read the card. It included Mr. Pickering’s name, address and the type of mail that needed to be monitored. The word “confidential” was highlighted in green.
But even if you are not on the list of those that get special attention, your mail is still photographed. In fact, 160 billion photographs of our mail were sent to the government last year…
Mr. Pickering was targeted by a longtime surveillance system called mail covers, a forerunner of a vastly more expansive effort, the Mail Isolation Control and Tracking program, in which Postal Service computers photograph the exterior of every piece of paper mail that is processed in the United States — about 160 billion pieces last year. It is not known how long the government saves the images.
Together, the two programs show that postal mail is subject to the same kind of scrutiny that the National Security Agency has given to telephone calls and e-mail.
The tyrants of the past never dreamed of having some of the technologies that we have today. Virtually everything that we do is watched, monitored, tracked or recorded in some way.
And as technology continues to advance, there will be very little that the authorities will not be capable of.
Some of the technologies that are coming out these days are absolutely frightening. For example, over in Europe one company is now running talking ads that seem like they are coming from inside our own heads…
Passengers leaning their head against the window will “hear” adverts “coming from inside the user’s head”, urging them to download the Sky Go app.
The proposal involves using bone conduction technology, which is used in hearing aids, headphones and Google’s Glass headset, to pass sound to the inner ear via vibrations through the skull.
A video for the Talking Window campaign released by Sky Deutschland and ad agency BBDO Germany states: “Tired commuters often rest their heads against windows. Suddenly a voice inside their head is talking to them. No one else can hear this message.”
How would you respond if a “voice inside your head” suddenly started talking to you?
In other instances, “Big Brother” can intrude in our lives in more old-fashioned ways.
For example, just check out the rules for July 4th that were posted at the entrance to one park in Lakewood, Ohio. This photo comes from a recent article by Paul Joseph Watson…
Why would anyone want to go spend the 4th of July at that park?
But this is what America is turning into. We are turning into a society that is absolutely obsessed with security and control, and this is manifesting in hundreds upon hundreds of different ways. If you doubt this, just check out the following articles…
-“21 Facts About NSA Snooping That Every American Should Know”
-“29 Signs That The Elite Are Transforming Society Into A Total Domination Control Grid”
-“America Is Being Systematically Transformed Into A Totalitarian Society”
-“America Is Embracing The Secret Police Culture Of The Nazis”
-“America’s Roads Have Been Turned Into A Revenue Generating Surveillance Grid”
Fortunately, the recent revelations about the NSA have spurred some Americans into action. For example, a new non-partisan organization known as “Restore The Fourth” is calling on the U.S. government to restore our Fourth Amendment rights. The following is from a press release that the organization recently issued…
Restore the Fourth is a grassroots, non-partisan, non-violent movement that seeks to organize and assemble nationwide protests on July 4th, 2013. Protesters in over 100 cities across America will gather to demand that the government of the United States of America adhere to its constitutionally dictated limits and respect the Fourth Amendment. http://www.RestoretheFourth.net provides a detailed list of protest locations.
Restore the Fourth maintains that justification of the Fourth Amendment beyond the original text need not be given; the legitimacy of which is self-evident. “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” The Fourth Amendment of the Bill of Rights clearly protects all citizens’ assets, both digital and physical, against searches and seizures without warrant; they aim to assert those rights. They insist that the proper channels of government work to ensure that all policy complies with the supreme laws of the United States of America in their entirety.
Restore the Fourth requests that American citizens’ right to privacy is respected and stands with the Electronic Frontier Foundation and StopWatching.us on their open letter to Congress. As informed members of the American electorate, they endorse and echo the letter’s demands.
1. Enact reform this Congress to Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act, the state secrets privilege, and the FISA Amendments Act to make clear that blanket surveillance of the Internet activity and phone records of any person residing in the U.S. is prohibited by law and that violations can be reviewed in adversarial proceedings before a public court;
2. Create a special committee to investigate, report, and reveal to the public the extent of this domestic spying. This committee should create specific recommendations for legal and regulatory reform to end unconstitutional surveillance;
3. Hold accountable those public officials who are found to be responsible for this unconstitutional surveillance.
The July 4th demonstrations seek to demand an end to the unconstitutional surveillance methods employed by the U.S. government and to ensure that all future government surveillance is constitutional, limited, and clearly defined.
Restore the Fourth aims to ensure that the will of the people is reflected in the government of the United States of America. This movement intends to bring an end to twelve years of Fourth Amendment abuses, and demonstrate the need for a return to the Constitution. All Americans should stand with them in this cause to protect the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution.
I would encourage you to speak out about these issues however you can. For some people, that may mean participating in a street protest. For others, it may mean making a great YouTube video. Others spread the word on radio shows or by speaking with their friends. Personally, I have written about these issues extensively on my websites and in my new book. We all have ways that we can object to the fact that America is being systematically transformed into a giant prison.
So what do you think?
Do you believe that America is really free?
Please feel free to share your opinion by posting a comment below…
Were you under the impression that your credit card transactions are private? If so, I am sorry to burst your bubble. As you will see below, there are actually multiple government agencies that are gathering and storing records of your credit card transactions. And in turn, those government agencies share that information with other government agencies that want it. So if you are making a purchase that you don’t want anyone to know about, don’t use a credit card. This is one of the reasons why the government hates cash so much. It is just so hard to track. In this day and age, the federal government seems to be absolutely obsessed with gathering as much information about all of us as it possibly can. But there is one big problem. What they are doing directly violates the U.S. Constitution. For those that are not familiar with it, the following is what the Fourth Amendment actually says: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” Unfortunately, the Fourth Amendment is essentially dead at this point. The federal government is investigating all of us and gathering information on all of us all day, every day without end.
Many Americans have never even heard of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, but Judicial Watch has discovered that they are spending millions of dollars to collect and analyze our financial transactions…
Judicial Watch announced today that it has obtained records from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) revealing that the agency has spent millions of dollars for the warrantless collection and analysis of Americans’ financial transactions. The documents also reveal that CFPB contractors may be required to share the information with “additional government entities.”
Judicial Watch was able to obtain some absolutely shocking documents thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request that it filed in April. The following is a summary of some of the things those documents show…
- Overlapping contracts with multiple credit reporting agencies and accounting firms to gather, store, and share credit card data as shown in the task list of a contract with Argus Information & Advisory Services LLC worth $2.9 million
- A provision stipulating that “The contractor recognizes that, in performing this requirement, the Contractor may obtain access to non-public, confidential information, Personally Identifiable Information (PII), or proprietary information.”
- A stipulation that “The Contractor may be required to share credit card data collected from the Banks with additional government entities as directed by the Contracting Officer’s Representative (COR).”
How do you feel about the fact that the government has contracts with “multiple credit reporting agencies and accounting firms to gather, store, and share credit card data”?
How do you feel about the fact that your credit card data and other “non-public, confidential information” may be shared with “additional government entities”?
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton put it very well when he said that this “warrantless collection of the private financial information of millions of Americans is mind-blowing. Is there anything that this administration thinks it can’t do?”
But of course the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is not the only one keeping records of your credit card transactions.
We have also recently learned that the NSA is doing it too. The following is from a recent Time Magazine article…
Networks are most likely giving the government “metadata.” That is, the credit card issuers could provide the NSA details such as an account or card number, where and when a purchase was made, and for how much. Even though the exact items purchased aren’t revealed, Brian Krebs, who blogs at KrebsOnSecurity.com, says “merchant category codes” in such data give clues about what was bought.
If the NSA is collecting data at the processor level, “at that point the transaction gets cleared and posts to an account, so, yes, you can track it down to a person,” Aufsesser says.
The NSA conceivably could — and probably would — be able get the names of individual account holders from banks issuing credit cards. ”I don’t see how you would anonymize it,” says Al Pascual, senior analyst for security, risk and fraud for Javelin Strategy & Research.
We are rapidly becoming a “Big Brother society” where the government tracks virtually every move that we make.
And don’t think that you can escape this by not using credit cards or by staying off of the Internet. The truth is that we are being tracked in hundreds of different ways.
For example, have you heard of automated license plate readers?
They are being installed on police vehicles all over the nation, and the amount of information that they are gathering on all of us is frightening.
A computer security consultant named Michael Katz-Lacabe asked the city of San Leandro, California for a record of every time that these license plate readers had scanned his vehicle, and what he discovered absolutely stunned him…
The paperback-size device, installed on the outside of police cars, can log thousands of license plates in an eight-hour patrol shift. Katz-Lacabe said it had photographed his two cars on 112 occasions, including one image from 2009 that shows him and his daughters stepping out of his Toyota Prius in their driveway.
That photograph, Katz-Lacabe said, made him “frightened and concerned about the magnitude of police surveillance and data collection.” The single patrol car in San Leandro equipped with a plate reader had logged his car once a week on average, photographing his license plate and documenting the time and location.
At a rapid pace, and mostly hidden from the public, police agencies throughout California have been collecting millions of records on drivers and feeding them to intelligence fusion centers operated by local, state and federal law enforcement.
Most Americans do not even know that these devices exist, but they have been “collecting millions of records” and feeding them into law enforcement databases all over the nation.
In San Diego alone, more than 36 million license plate scans have been fed into a regional database just since 2010…
In San Diego, 13 federal and local law enforcement agencies have compiled more than 36 million license-plate scans in a regional database since 2010 with the help of federal homeland security grants. The San Diego Association of Governments maintains the database. Like the Northern California database, the San Diego system retains the data for between one and two years.
“License-plate data is clearly identifiable to specific individuals,” said Lee Tien, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “This is like having your barcode tracked.”
Is this the kind of society that we want to become?
Do we really want the police to be taking millions of photographs of us?
Do we really want all of our financial transactions to be fed directly into federal databases?
Do we really want the government to track every phone call we make and every email we send?
As I wrote about recently, it has been documented that literally thousands of companies have been handing over customer data to the NSA.
Is this the kind of legacy that we want to leave for our children and our grandchildren?
Fortunately, it appears that at least some Americans are waking up to all of this.
According to a brand new Rasmussen survey, 56 percent of likely voters in the United States now believe that the federal government is a threat to individual rights…
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 56% of Likely U.S. Voters now consider the federal government a threat to individual rights rather than a protector of those rights. That’s up 10 points from 46% in December.
While 54% of liberal voters consider the feds to be a protector of individual rights, 78% of conservatives and 49% of moderates see the government as a threat.
Overall, only 30% believe the feds today are a protector of individual rights. Fourteen percent (14%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
If the American people do not stand up and demand change, the people that are constantly violating our privacy are going to continue to do so.
Sadly, the vast majority of the politicians in both major political parties seem to think that there is nothing wrong with the status quo. So I wouldn’t expect any major changes in the short-term. But hopefully government surveillance will start to become such a major issue with the American people that the politicians will be forced to start addressing it.
What is going to happen when the greatest economic bubble in the history of the world pops? The mainstream media never talks about that. They are much too busy covering the latest dogfights in Washington and what Justin Bieber has been up to. And most Americans seem to think that if the Dow keeps setting new all-time highs that everything must be okay. Sadly, that is not the case at all. Right now, the U.S. economy is exhibiting all of the classic symptoms of a bubble economy. You can see this when you step back and take a longer-term view of things. Over the past decade, we have added more than 10 trillion dollars to the national debt. But most Americans have shown very little concern as the balance on our national credit card has soared from 6 trillion dollars to nearly 17 trillion dollars. Meanwhile, Wall Street has been transformed into the biggest casino on the planet, and much of the new money that the Federal Reserve has been recklessly printing up has gone into stocks. But the Dow does not keep setting new records because the underlying economic fundamentals are good. Rather, the reckless euphoria that we are seeing in the financial markets right now reminds me very much of 1929. Margin debt is absolutely soaring, and every time that happens a crash rapidly follows. But this time when a crash happens it could very well be unlike anything that we have ever seen before. The top 25 U.S. banks have more than 212 trillion dollars of exposure to derivatives combined, and when that house of cards comes crashing down there is no way that anyone will be able to prop it back up. After all, U.S. GDP for an entire year is only a bit more than 15 trillion dollars.
But most Americans are only focused on the short-term because the mainstream media is only focused on the short-term. Things are good this week and things were good last week, so there is nothing to worry about, right?
Unfortunately, economic reality is not going to change even if all of us try to ignore it. Those that are willing to take an honest look at what is coming down the road are very troubled. For example, Bill Gross of PIMCO says that his firm sees “bubbles everywhere”…
We see bubbles everywhere, and that is not to be dramatic and not to suggest they will pop immediately. I just suggested in the bond market with a bubble in treasuries and bubble in narrow credit spreads and high-yield prices, that perhaps there is a significant distortion there. Having said that, it suggests that as long as the FED and Bank of Japan and other Central Banks keep writing checks and do not withdraw, then the bubble can be supported as in blowing bubbles. They are blowing bubbles. When that stops there will be repercussions.
And unfortunately, it is not just the United States that has a bubble economy. In fact, the gigantic financial bubble over in Japan may burst before our own financial bubble does. The following is from a recent article by Graham Summers…
First and foremost, Japan is the second largest bond market in the world. If Japan’s sovereign bonds continue to fall, pushing rates higher, then there has been a tectonic shift in the global financial system. Remember the impact that Greece had on asset prices? Greece’s bond market is less than 3% of Japan’s in size.
For multiple decades, Japanese bonds have been considered “risk free.” As a result of this, investors have been willing to lend money to Japan at extremely low rates. This has allowed Japan’s economy, the second largest in the world, to putter along marginally.
So if Japanese bonds begin to implode, this means that:
1) The second largest bond market in the world is entering a bear market (along with commensurate liquidations and redemptions by institutional investors around the globe).
2) The second largest economy in the world will collapse (along with the impact on global exports).
Both of these are truly epic problems for the financial system.
And of course the entire global financial system is a giant bundle of debt, risk and leverage at this point. We have never seen anything like this in world history. When you step back and take a good, hard look at the numbers, they truly are staggering. The following statistics are from one of my previous articles entitled “Why Is The World Economy Doomed? The Global Financial Pyramid Scheme By The Numbers“…
–$70,000,000,000,000 – The approximate size of total world GDP.
–$190,000,000,000,000 – The approximate size of the total amount of debt in the entire world. It has nearly doubled in size over the past decade.
–$212,525,587,000,000 – According to the U.S. government, this is the notional value of the derivatives that are being held by the top 25 banks in the United States. But those banks only have total assets of about 8.9 trillion dollars combined. In other words, the exposure of our largest banks to derivatives outweighs their total assets by a ratio of about 24 to 1.
–$600,000,000,000,000 to $1,500,000,000,000,000 – The estimates of the total notional value of all global derivatives generally fall within this range. At the high end of the range, the ratio of derivatives to global GDP is more than 21 to 1.
The financial meltdown that happened back in 2008 should have been a wake up call for the nations of the world. They should have corrected the mistakes that happened so that nothing like that would ever happen again. Unfortunately, nothing was fixed. Instead, our politicians and the central bankers became obsessed with reinflating the system. They piled up even more debt, recklessly printed tons of money and kicked the can down the road for a few years. In the process, they made our long-term problems even worse. The following is a recent quote from John Williams of shadowstats.com…
The economic and systemic solvency crises of the last eight years continue. There never was an actual recovery following the economic downturn that began in 2006 and collapsed into 2008 and 2009. What followed was a protracted period of business stagnation that began to turn down anew in second- and third-quarter 2012. The official recovery seen in GDP has been a statistical illusion generated by the use of understated inflation in calculating key economic series (see Public Comment on Inflation). Nonetheless, given the nature of official reporting, the renewed downturn likely will gain recognition as the second-dip in a double- or multiple-dip recession.
What continues to unfold in the systemic and economic crises is just an ongoing part of the 2008 turmoil. All the extraordinary actions and interventions bought a little time, but they did not resolve the various crises. That the crises continue can be seen in deteriorating economic activity and in the panicked actions by the Federal Reserve, where it proactively is monetizing U.S. Treasury debt at a pace suggestive of a Treasury that is unable to borrow otherwise.
And there are already lots of signs that the next economic downturn is rapidly approaching.
For example, corporate revenues are falling at Wal-Mart, Proctor and Gamble, Starbucks, AT&T, Safeway, American Express and IBM.
Would revenues at Wal-Mart be falling if the economy was getting better?
U.S. jobless claims hit a six week high last week. We aren’t in the danger zone yet, but once they hit 400,000 that will be a major red flag.
And even though we are still in the “good times” relatively speaking, the federal government is already talking about tightening welfare programs. In fact, there are proposals in Congress right now to make significant cuts to the food stamp program.
If food stamps and other welfare programs get cut, that is going to make a lot of people very, very angry. And that anger and frustration will get even worse when the next economic downturn strikes and millions of people start losing their jobs and their homes.
What we are witnessing right now is the calm before the storm. Let us hope that it lasts for as long as possible so that we can have more time to prepare.
Unfortunately, this bubble of false hope will not last forever. At some point it will end, and then the pain will begin.