The Beginning Of The End
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27 Edward Snowden Quotes About U.S. Government Spying That Should Send A Chill Up Your Spine

Edward SnowdenWould you be willing to give up what Edward Snowden has given up?  He has given up his high paying job, his home, his girlfriend, his family, his future and his freedom just to expose the monolithic spy machinery that the U.S. government has been secretly building to the world.  He says that he does not want to live in a world where there isn’t any privacy.  He says that he does not want to live in a world where everything that he says and does is recorded.  Thanks to Snowden, we now know that the U.S. government has been spying on us to a degree that most people would have never even dared to imagine.  Up until now, the general public has known very little about the U.S. government spy grid that knows almost everything about us.  But making this information public is going to cost Edward Snowden everything.  Essentially, his previous life is now totally over.  And if the U.S. government gets their hands on him, he will be very fortunate if he only has to spend the next several decades rotting in some horrible prison somewhere.  There is a reason why government whistleblowers are so rare.  And most Americans are so apathetic that they wouldn’t even give up watching their favorite television show for a single evening to do something good for society.  Most Americans never even try to make a difference because they do not believe that it will benefit them personally.  Meanwhile, our society continues to fall apart all around us.  Hopefully the great sacrifice that Edward Snowden has made will not be in vain.  Hopefully people will carefully consider what he has tried to share with the world.  The following are 27 quotes from Edward Snowden about U.S. government spying that should send a chill up your spine…

#1 “The majority of people in developed countries spend at least some time interacting with the Internet, and Governments are abusing that necessity in secret to extend their powers beyond what is necessary and appropriate.”

#2 “…I believe that at this point in history, the greatest danger to our freedom and way of life comes from the reasonable fear of omniscient State powers kept in check by nothing more than policy documents.”

#3 “The government has granted itself power it is not entitled to. There is no public oversight. The result is people like myself have the latitude to go further than they are allowed to.”

#4 “…I can’t in good conscience allow the US government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they’re secretly building.”

#5 “The NSA has built an infrastructure that allows it to intercept almost everything.”

#6 “With this capability, the vast majority of human communications are automatically ingested without targeting. If I wanted to see your e-mails or your wife’s phone, all I have to do is use intercepts. I can get your e-mails, passwords, phone records, credit cards.”

#7 “Any analyst at any time can target anyone. Any selector, anywhere… I, sitting at my desk, certainly had the authorities to wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge, to even the President…”

#8 “To do that, the NSA specifically targets the communications of everyone. It ingests them by default. It collects them in its system and it filters them and it analyzes them and it measures them and it stores them for periods of time simply because that’s the easiest, most efficient and most valuable way to achieve these ends. So while they may be intending to target someone associated with a foreign government, or someone that they suspect of terrorism, they are collecting YOUR communications to do so.”

#9 “I believe that when [senator Ron] Wyden and [senator Mark] Udall asked about the scale of this, they [the NSA] said it did not have the tools to provide an answer. We do have the tools and I have maps showing where people have been scrutinized most. We collect more digital communications from America than we do from the Russians.”

#10 “…they are intent on making every conversation and every form of behavior in the world known to them.”

#11 “Even if you’re not doing anything wrong, you’re being watched and recorded. …it’s getting to the point where you don’t have to have done anything wrong, you simply have to eventually fall under suspicion from somebody, even by a wrong call, and then they can use this system to go back in time and scrutinize every decision you’ve ever made, every friend you’ve ever discussed something with, and attack you on that basis, to sort of derive suspicion from an innocent life.”

#12 “Allowing the U.S. government to intimidate its people with threats of retaliation for revealing wrongdoing is contrary to the public interest.”

#13 “Everyone everywhere now understands how bad things have gotten — and they’re talking about it. They have the power to decide for themselves whether they are willing to sacrifice their privacy to the surveillance state.”

#14 “I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded. That is not something I am willing to support or live under.”

#15 “I don’t want to live in a world where there’s no privacy, and therefore no room for intellectual exploration and creativity.”

#16 “I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong.”

#17 “I had been looking for leaders, but I realized that leadership is about being the first to act.”

#18 “There are more important things than money. If I were motivated by money, I could have sold these documents to any number of countries and gotten very rich.”

#19 “The great fear that I have regarding the outcome for America of these disclosures is that nothing will change. [People] won’t be willing to take the risks necessary to stand up and fight to change things… And in the months ahead, the years ahead, it’s only going to get worse. [The NSA will] say that… because of the crisis, the dangers that we face in the world, some new and unpredicted threat, we need more authority, we need more power, and there will be nothing the people can do at that point to oppose it. And it will be turnkey tyranny.”

#20 “I will be satisfied if the federation of secret law, unequal pardon and irresistible executive powers that rule the world that I love are revealed even for an instant.”

#21 “You can’t come up against the world’s most powerful intelligence agencies and not accept the risk.”

#22 “I know the media likes to personalize political debates, and I know the government will demonize me.”

#23 “We have got a CIA station just up the road – the consulate here in Hong Kong – and I am sure they are going to be busy for the next week. And that is a concern I will live with for the rest of my life, however long that happens to be.”

#24 “I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions, and that the return of this information to the public marks my end.”

#25 “There’s no saving me.”

#26 “The only thing I fear is the harmful effects on my family, who I won’t be able to help any more. That’s what keeps me up at night.”

#27 “I do not expect to see home again.”

Would you make the same choice that Edward Snowden made?  Most Americans would not.  One CNN reporter says that he really admires Snowden because he has tried to get insiders to come forward with details about government spying for years, but none of them were ever willing to…

As a digital technology writer, I have had more than one former student and colleague tell me about digital switchers they have serviced through which calls and data are diverted to government servers or the big data algorithms they’ve written to be used on our e-mails by intelligence agencies. I always begged them to write about it or to let me do so while protecting their identities. They refused to come forward and believed my efforts to shield them would be futile. “I don’t want to lose my security clearance. Or my freedom,” one told me.

And if the U.S. government has anything to say about it, Snowden is most definitely going to pay for what he has done.  In fact, according to the Daily Beast, a directorate known as “the Q Group” is already hunting Snowden down…

The people who began chasing Snowden work for the Associate Directorate for Security and Counterintelligence, according to former U.S. intelligence officers who spoke on condition of anonymity. The directorate, sometimes known as “the Q Group,” is continuing to track Snowden now that he’s outed himself as The Guardian’s source, according to the intelligence officers.

If Snowden is not already under the protection of some foreign government (such as China), it will just be a matter of time before U.S. government agents get him.

And how will they treat him once they find him?  Well, one reporter overheard a group of U.S. intelligence officials talking about how Edward Snowden should be “disappeared”.  The following is from a Daily Mail article that was posted on Monday…

A group of intelligence officials were overheard yesterday discussing how the National Security Agency worker who leaked sensitive documents to a reporter last week should be ‘disappeared.’

Foreign policy analyst and editor at large of The Atlantic, Steve Clemons, tweeted about the ‘disturbing’ conversation after listening in to four men who were sitting near him as he waited for a flight at Washington’s Dulles airport.

‘In Dulles UAL lounge listening to 4 US intel officials saying loudly leaker & reporter on #NSA stuff should be disappeared recorded a bit,’ he tweeted at 8:42 a.m. on Saturday.

According to Clemons, the men had been attending an event hosted by the Intelligence and National Security Alliance.

As an American, I am deeply disturbed that the U.S. government is embarrassing itself in front of the rest of the world like this.

The fact that we are collecting trillions of pieces of information on people all over the planet is a massive embarrassment and the fact that our politicians are defending this practice now that it has been exposed is a massive embarrassment.

If the U.S. government continues to act like a Big Brother police state, then the rest of the world will eventually conclude that is exactly what we are.  At that point we become the “bad guy” and we lose all credibility with the rest of the planet.

22 Stats That Prove That There Is Something Seriously Wrong With Young Men In America

Young MenWhen are we finally going to admit that we have a very serious problem with this generation of young men in America?  We have failed them so dramatically that it is hard to put it into words.  We have raised an entire generation of young males that don’t know how to be men, and many of them feel completely lost.  Sometimes they feel so lost that they “snap” in very destructive ways.  Adam Lanza and James Holmes are two names that come to mind.  Why is it that mass murderers are almost always young men?  Why don’t young women behave the same way?  Sadly, Adam Lanza and James Holmes are just the tip of the iceberg of a much larger problem in our society.  Our young women vastly outperform our young men in almost every important statistical category.  Young men are much more likely to perform poorly in school, they are much more likely to have disciplinary problems and they are much more likely to commit suicide.  In the old days, our young men would gather in the streets or in the parks to play with one another after school, but today most of them are content to spend countless hours feeding their addictions to video games, movies and other forms of entertainment.  When our young men grow up, many of them are extremely averse to taking on responsibility.  They want to have lots of sex, but they aren’t interested in marriage.  They enjoy the comforts of living at home, but they don’t want to go out and pursue career goals so that they can provide those things for themselves.  Our young men are supposed to be “the leaders of tomorrow”, but instead many of them are a major burden on society.  When are we finally going to admit that something has gone horribly wrong?

There is even a name for this generation of young men that does not want to grow up.  It is called the “Peter Pan generation”.  They want to enjoy the benefits of being grown up without ever taking on the responsibilities.  A member of this “Peter Pan generation” recent wrote an article for the Daily Mail in which he discussed what he and his friends are going through…

I haven’t yet had to grow up so, well, I haven’t.

Reckless, irresponsible and immature? Yes. But at least I can take comfort in the fact I am not alone.

Last week, I read that there is even a name for people such as me. We are the ‘Peter Pan generation’; a sizeable group of 25 to 40-year-olds who exist in a state of extended adolescence, avoiding the trappings of responsibility — marriage, mortgage, children — for as long as possible.

‘Our society is full of lost boys and girls hanging out at the edge of adulthood,’ says Professor Frank Furedi, a sociologist who has been studying this phenomenon, at the University of Kent.

‘Another word sometimes used to describe these people is “adultescent” — generally defined as someone who refuses to settle down and make commitments, and who would rather go on partying into middle age.’

Young men in America didn’t always behave this way.  Several decades ago, men in America moved away from home, got married and had children much earlier than they do now.  But the young men of today seem to want to put off the “markers of adulthood” for as long as possible.  The following is from an outstanding article by Sandy Hingston

Sociologists cite five “markers” or “milestones” that have traditionally defined our notion of adulthood: finishing school, moving away from the parental home, becoming financially independent, getting married, and having a child. In 1960, 65 percent of men had ticked off all five by age 30; by 2000, only a third had. The experts have plenty of explanations for what’s come to be called “extended adolescence” or “emerging adulthood”—or what New York Times columnist David Brooks calls the “Odyssey Years.” They blame helicopter parents, the burden of student loan debt, much higher poverty rates among young people (nearly half of all Americans ages 25 to 34 live below the national level), and a dearth of vo-tech training and manufacturing jobs. Almost 60 percent of parents are now giving money to their grown kids—an average of $38,340 per child in the years between ages 18 and 34. Whatever happened to the son looking after his mom?

So why is all of this happening?

Well, there are a whole host of reasons.  But certainly parents and our education system have to bear much of the blame.  In the old days, young men were taught what it means to “be a man”, and morality was taught to young men both by their parents and in the schools.  But today, most young men have very little understanding of what “manhood” is, and our society has taught them that morality doesn’t really matter.  Instead, television and movies constantly portray young men as sex-obsessed slackers that just want to party all the time, so that is what many of our young men have become.

How much better off would our society be if we had trained this generation of young men to love, honor, protect and take care of others?

How much better off would our society be if we had nurtured the manhood of our young men instead of teaching them to be ashamed of it?

How much better off would our society be if we had disciplined our young men and taught them morality when they were getting off track instead of just letting them do whatever they wanted?

The following are 22 stats that prove that there is something seriously wrong with young men in America today…

#1 Males account for approximately 70 percent of all Ds and Fs in U.S. public schools.

#2 About two-thirds of all students in “special education programs” are boys.

#3 The average American girl spends 5 hours a week playing video games.  The average American boy spends 13 hours a week playing video games.

#4 The average young American will spend 10,000 hours playing video games before the age of 21.

#5 One study discovered that 88 percent of all Americans between the ages of 8 and 18 play video games, and that video game addiction is approximately four times as common among boys as it is among girls.

#6 At this point, 15-year-olds that attend U.S. public schools do not even rank in the top half of all industrialized nations when it comes to math or science literacy.

#7 In 2011, SAT scores for young men were the worst that they had been in 40 years.

#8 According to a survey conducted by the National Geographic Society, only 37 percent of all Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 can find the nation of Iraq on a map.

#9 According to the New York Times, approximately 57 percent of all young people enrolled at U.S. colleges are women.

#10 It is being projected that women will earn 60 percent of all Bachelor’s degrees from U.S. universities by the year 2016.

#11 Even if they do graduate from college, most of our young men still can’t find a decent job.  An astounding 53 percent of all Americans with a bachelor’s degree under the age of 25 were either unemployed or underemployed during 2011.

#12 Pornography addiction is a major problem among our young men.  An astounding 30 percent of all Internet traffic now goes to pornography websites, and one survey found that 25 percent of all employees that have Internet access in the United States even visit sex websites while they are at work.

#13 In the United States today, 47 percent of all high school students have had sex.

#14 The United States has the highest teen pregnancy rate on the entire planet.  If our young men behaved differently this would not be happening.

#15 In the United States today, one out of every four teen girls has at least one sexually transmitted disease.  If our young men were not sex-obsessed idiots running around constantly looking to “score” these diseases would not be spreading like this.

#16 Right now, approximately 53 percent of all Americans in the 18 to 24 year old age bracket are living at home with their parents.

#17 According to one survey, 29 percent of all Americans in the 25 to 34 year old age bracket are still living with their parents.

#18 Young men are nearly twice as likely to live with their parents as young women the same age are.

#19 Overall, approximately 25 million American adults are living with their parents in the United States right now according to Time Magazine.

#20 Today, an all-time low 44.2% of Americans between the ages of 25 and 34 are married.

#21 Back in 1950, 78 percent of all households in the United States contained a married couple.  Today, that number has declined to 48 percent.

#22 Young men are about four times more likely to commit suicide as young women are.

So what do you think about this generation of young men in America?  Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below…

22 Stats That Prove That There Is Something Seriously Wrong With Young Men In America

Scenes Of Despair

Sometimes it can be easy to forget that behind all of the horrible economic numbers that we hear about are millions of real people that have had their lives absolutely devastated by this economy.  Elderly couples are being brutally evicted from their homes, young families are living in their cars, terminally ill people are dying because they cannot afford medication that they need and millions of parents can’t sleep at night as they wrestle with anxiety over not being able to provide for their children.  Often those that lose their jobs or their homes discover that people start looking at them very differently and that there is very little compassion out there these days.  As you will read about below, one major U.S. bank is even kicking an elderly woman with stage 4 breast cancer out of her home because she cannot make her full mortgage payment each month.  When the next major global financial catastrophe happens, we are going to see a whole lot more economic despair.  Will society respond to that crisis by becoming warmer and more compassionate, or will the world around us become even more cold and even more cruel?  As bad as things are right now, it truly is frightening to think about what the world is going to look like after the next major economic downturn.

Many of the stories that you are about to read are truly heartbreaking.  Unfortunately, they represent thousands upon thousands of other stories that never make it into the news….

Foreclosing On An Elderly Woman With Stage 4 Breast Cancer

Wells Fargo is threatening to evict an elderly woman with stage 4 breast cancer named Cindi Davis from her family home in North Carolina….

“They want us to make a house payment of almost $900 a month,” Cindi told the station of their lender, Wells Fargo bank. “We can afford maybe half that. I pay $1,100 a month in prescription medications.”

The couple says they have tried to work with Wells Fargo, even sending notes from Cindi’s doctors explaining her condition, but haven’t been able to come to a workable solution.

“They’re just going to put us out and it’s like, we are willing to pay what we can pay, but it’s not enough,” Cindi said.

Her cancer is in her lungs, lymph nodes and on her liver and she’s gone through a double mastectomy and multiple chemotherapy treatments, but Cindi has handled her disease like a fighter.

Cindi and her husband say that if they are evicted they may have to move in to their pickup truck.

Can you imagine living your last days in a truck as you try desperately to battle stage 4 breast cancer?

Crushing Poverty In Greece

As I have written about before, Greece is essentially experiencing a full-blown economic depression at this point.

There is a severe shortage of medicine in Greece right now, and many doctors are essentially volunteers at this point because so few people can actually afford to pay their bills.  The following description of the chaos in the Greek healthcare system comes from a recent Natural News article….

The economic situation in Greece is only continuing to worsen, as reports indicate that hospitals and care centers throughout the nation are running completely out of medicines, and many healthcare workers are now voluntarily providing care services without pay.

Strapped with spiraling debt, the Greek healthcare, which is government-run, has had to receive gobs of international financial aid just to keep operating with some semblance of normalcy. There has also been plenty of IOUs issued, and desperate patients quietly forking over cash “gifts” to doctors to receive treatments. All in all, the healthcare situation is in utter chaos, save for those that have sacrificed their own time, often free of charge, just to help those in need.

But it is not just the healthcare system that is deeply troubled.

Economic conditions have gotten so bad in Greece that some parents are actually abandoning their children in the streets according to the Daily Mail….

Children are being abandoned on Greece’s streets by their poverty-stricken families who cannot afford to look after them any more.

Youngsters are being dumped by their parents who are struggling to make ends meet in what is fast becoming the most tragic human consequence of the Euro crisis.

Could you ever do that to your children?

Sadly, it looks like things are going to get even worse in Greece.  It is being projected that the unemployment rate in Greece will reach 30 percent by the end of the year.

Economic Shutdown In Portugal

Greece is not the only European nation that is going through an economic nightmare right now.  The truth is that much of southern Europe is virtually shutting down right now.

Simon Black has described what he witnessed during a recent visit to Porto – the second largest city in Portugal….

Excluding the city’s still-bustling tourist areas, it’s very quiet around the city.

Street-level retail shops and restaurants are either devoid of customers or have been vacated. On many blocks I’ve seen more “for lease” signs than operating businesses.

Officially, the unemployment rate is 15.2% in Portugal, and the economy will contract 3% this year… yet the clear lack of economic activity suggests the real figures are much greater.

Without doubt, reality has set in. Locals have capitulated ‘hope’ that the good times will magically re-appear and have adjusted their habits accordingly.

American Families Living In Their Cars

In some areas of the United States you would never even know that an economic crisis is happening, but in other areas things are clearly falling apart very rapidly.  There is a very serious shortage of decent jobs in most parts of the country, and we are seeing clear signs of societal breakdown in many of our major cities.

During the last recession, millions of Americans lost their jobs.  Because a lot of them did not have much money saved up, many of those unemployed Americans also quickly lost their homes.

In the end, some of them ended up living in their vehicles.

And living in a car can be absolute hell.  The following is from an ABC News report….

Three children — one suffering second-degree burns — were taken into protective custody Monday after they were discovered living with their parents in a “filthy” car in a Walmart parking lot.

Police were called to the parking lot Monday morning in Mount Dora, Fla., where they found the family of five living in a 1987 Cadillac Coupe de Ville full of clothes and garbage. Police told the Orlando Sentinel that days-old chicken bones were strewn about the car, along with a spoiled carton of milk and a bottle of tequila.

Other families try to make the best of it that they can.  The following is one touching example from a recent 60 Minutes report….

This is the home of the Metzger family. Arielle, 15. Her brother Austin, 13. Their mother died when they were very young. Their dad, Tom, is a carpenter.  And, he’s been looking for work ever since Florida’s construction industry collapsed. When foreclosure took their house, he bought the truck on Craigslist with his last thousand dollars. Tom’s a little camera shy – thought we ought to talk to the kids – and it didn’t take long to see why.

Pelley: How long have you been living in this truck?

Arielle Metzger: About five months.

Pelley: What’s that like?

Arielle Metzger: It’s an adventure.

Austin Metzger: That’s how we see it.

Pelley: When kids at school ask you where you live, what do you tell ‘em?

Austin Metzger: When they see the truck they ask me if I live in it, and when I hesitate they kinda realize. And they say they won’t tell anybody.

Arielle Metzger: Yeah it’s not really that much an embarrassment. I mean, it’s only life. You do what you need to do, right?

Could you imagine being 13 years old or 15 years old and living in a truck?

Unfortunately, during the next major economic downturn a whole lot more families are going to end up living like this.

Desperately Hoping For Rain

Yesterday I wrote about how corn crops are dying all over the United States right now.

For most Americans, this will just mean higher prices at the grocery store.

But for corn farmers, a lack of rain can be absolutely devastating.  The following are some recent comments from farmers about this crippling drought on agweb.com….

I am a small farmer, but my crops in Wayne County, Ill., are the worst I have had sine 1952-53. Corn will be lucky to make 10 bu. and beans are going downhill. It’s been over 100 degrees for 11 straight days. Bad crop.

—-

Dryland corn is done! Some people in denial need to walk in field. Later corn tasseled and pollinating with no silks! No rain in seven days or low humidity 90 degrees and warmer by weekend. Yield range for corn on our farms…0 to 0 bpa. Soybeans…if it rains which is a big if may have some hope, not holding my breath!!

—–

This is my 50th year of grain farming, so I think that I can say that I’ve seen it all. This is worse than 1988-Much worse for corn. Beans could still be fair if it starts to rain soon. Sat.-Sun. rains totaled only 1/4 inch.

—–

This is worse than 1983 and 1988. Corn yield will be 30 to 40% of last year’s yield. The jury is still out on the beans. $10 corn is likely, because there will be so little of it relative to demand. Very sad…

You can see some incredible pictures of the drought in the middle part of the country right here.

When the economy falls to pieces, the politicians and the big banks get all the air time, but it is average hard working people that feel the most pain.

As the economy gets a lot worse (and it will) there is going to be a huge need for more love and compassion.  The government is not going to be able “to save” everyone, and even now way too many people are falling through the cracks in the “safety net”.

Instead of looking down on the homeless and the unemployed, don’t be afraid to give them a helping hand up.

You never know, you might be the one in need of some assistance someday.

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