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Government Agency: If 9 Substations Are Destroyed, The Power Grid Could Be Down For 18 Months

North American Power GridWhat would you do if the Internet or the power grid went down for over a year?  Our key infrastructure, including the Internet and the power grid, is far more vulnerable than most people would dare to imagine.  These days, most people simply take for granted that the lights will always be on and that the Internet will always function properly.  But what if all that changed someday in the blink of an eye?  According to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s latest report, all it would take to plunge the entire nation into darkness for more than a year would be to knock out a transformer manufacturer and just 9 of our 55,000 electrical substations on a really hot summer day.  The reality of the matter is that our power grid is in desperate need of updating, and there is very little or no physical security at most of these substations.  If terrorists, or saboteurs, or special operations forces wanted to take down our power grid, it would not be very difficult.  And as you will read about later in this article, the Internet is extremely vulnerable as well.

When I read the following statement from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s latest report, I was absolutely floored…

“Destroy nine interconnection substations and a transformer manufacturer and the entire United States grid would be down for at least 18 months, probably longer.”

Wow.

What would you do without power for 18 months?

FERC studied what it would take to collapse the entire electrical grid from coast to coast.  What they found was quite unsettling

In its modeling, FERC studied what would happen if various combinations of substations were crippled in the three electrical systems that serve the contiguous U.S. The agency concluded the systems could go dark if as few as nine locations were knocked out: four in the East, three in the West and two in Texas, people with knowledge of the analysis said.

The actual number of locations that would have to be knocked out to spawn a massive blackout would vary depending on available generation resources, energy demand, which is highest on hot days, and other factors, experts said. Because it is difficult to build new transmission routes, existing big substations are becoming more crucial to handling electricity.

So what would life look like without any power for a long period of time?  The following list comes from one of my previous articles

-There would be no heat for your home.

-Water would no longer be pumped into most homes.

-Your computer would not work.

-There would be no Internet.

-Your phones would not work.

-There would be no television.

-There would be no radio.

-ATM machines would be shut down.

-There would be no banking.

-Your debit cards and credit cards would not work.

-Without electricity, gas stations would not be functioning.

-Most people would be unable to do their jobs without electricity and employment would collapse.

-Commerce would be brought to a standstill.

-Hospitals would not be able to function.

-You would quickly start running out of medicine.

-All refrigeration would shut down and frozen foods in our homes and supermarkets would start to go bad.

If you want to get an idea of how quickly society would descend into chaos, just watch the documentary “American Blackout” some time.  It will chill you to your bones.

The truth is that we live in an unprecedented time.  We have become extremely dependent on technology, and that technology could be stripped away from us in an instant.

Right now, our power grid is exceedingly vulnerable, and all the experts know this, but very little is being done to actually protect it

“The power grid, built over many decades in a benign environment, now faces a range of threats it was never designed to survive,” said Paul Stockton, a former assistant secretary of defense and president of risk-assessment firm Cloud Peak Analytics. “That’s got to be the focus going forward.”

If a group of agents working for a foreign government or a terrorist organization wanted to bring us to our knees, they could do it.

In fact, there have actually been recent attacks on some of our power stations.  Here is just one example

The Wall Street Journal’s Rebecca Smith reports that a former Federal Energy Regulatory Commission chairman is acknowledging for the first time that a group of snipers shot up a Silicon Valley substation for 19 minutes last year, knocking out 17 transformers before slipping away into the night.

The attack was “the most significant incident of domestic terrorism involving the grid that has ever occurred” in the U.S., Jon Wellinghoff, who was chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission at the time, told Smith.

Have you heard about that attack before now?

Most Americans have not.

But it should have been big news.

At the scene, authorities found “more than 100 fingerprint-free shell casings“, and little piles of rocks “that appeared to have been left by an advance scout to tell the attackers where to get the best shots.”

So what happens someday when the bad guys decide to conduct a coordinated attack against our power grid with heavy weapons?

It could happen.

In addition, as I mentioned at the top of this article, the Internet is extremely vulnerable as well.

For example, did you know that authorities are so freaked out about the security of the Internet that they have given “the keys to the Internet” to a very small group of individuals that meet four times per year?

It’s true.  The following is from a recent story posted by the Guardian

The keyholders have been meeting four times a year, twice on the east coast of the US and twice here on the west, since 2010. Gaining access to their inner sanctum isn’t easy, but last month I was invited along to watch the ceremony and meet some of the keyholders – a select group of security experts from around the world. All have long backgrounds in internet security and work for various international institutions. They were chosen for their geographical spread as well as their experience – no one country is allowed to have too many keyholders. They travel to the ceremony at their own, or their employer’s, expense.

What these men and women control is the system at the heart of the web: the domain name system, or DNS. This is the internet’s version of a telephone directory – a series of registers linking web addresses to a series of numbers, called IP addresses. Without these addresses, you would need to know a long sequence of numbers for every site you wanted to visit. To get to the Guardian, for instance, you’d have to enter “77.91.251.10” instead of theguardian.com.

If the system that controls those IP addresses gets hijacked or damaged, we would definitely need someone to press the “reset button” on the Internet.

Sadly, the hackers always seem to be several steps ahead of the authorities.  In fact, according to one recent report, breaches of U.S. government computer networks go undetected 40 percent of the time

A new report by Sen. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.) details widespread cybersecurity breaches in the federal government, despite billions in spending to secure the nation’s most sensitive information.

The report, released on Tuesday, found that approximately 40 percent of breaches go undetected, and highlighted “serious vulnerabilities in the government’s efforts to protect its own civilian computers and networks.”

“In the past few years, we have seen significant breaches in cybersecurity which could affect critical U.S. infrastructure,” the report said. “Data on the nation’s weakest dams, including those which could kill Americans if they failed, were stolen by a malicious intruder. Nuclear plants’ confidential cybersecurity plans have been left unprotected. Blueprints for the technology undergirding the New York Stock Exchange were exposed to hackers.”

Yikes.

And things are not much better when it comes to cybersecurity in the private sector either.  According to Symantec, there was a 42 percent increase in cyberattacks against businesses in the United States last year.  And according to a recent report in the Telegraph, our major banks are being hit with cyberattacks “every minute of every day”…

Every minute, of every hour, of every day, a major financial institution is under attack.

Threats range from teenagers in their bedrooms engaging in adolescent “hacktivism”, to sophisticated criminal gangs and state-sponsored terrorists attempting everything from extortion to industrial espionage. Though the details of these crimes remain scant, cyber security experts are clear that behind-the-scenes online attacks have already had far reaching consequences for banks and the financial markets.

For much more on all of this, please see my previous article entitled “Big Banks Are Being Hit With Cyberattacks ‘Every Minute Of Every Day’“.

Up until now, attacks on our infrastructure have not caused any significant interruptions in our lifestyles.

But at some point that will change.

Are you prepared for that to happen?

We live at a time when our world is becoming increasingly unstable.  In the years ahead it is quite likely that we will see massive economic problems, major natural disasters, serious terror attacks and war.  Any one of those could cause substantial disruptions in the way that we live.

At this point, even NASA is warning that “civilization could collapse”…

A new study sponsored by Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center has highlighted the prospect that global industrial civilisation could collapse in coming decades due to unsustainable resource exploitation and increasingly unequal wealth distribution.

Noting that warnings of ‘collapse’ are often seen to be fringe or controversial, the study attempts to make sense of compelling historical data showing that “the process of rise-and-collapse is actually a recurrent cycle found throughout history.” Cases of severe civilisational disruption due to “precipitous collapse – often lasting centuries – have been quite common.”

So let us hope for the best.

But let us also prepare for the worst.

Thousands Of Companies Have Been Handing Over Your Personal Data To The NSA

Prism NSA SpyingIt isn’t just Internet and phone companies that are giving your personal information to the U.S. government.  According to an astounding report by Bloomberg, “four people familiar with the process” say that “makers of hardware and software, banks, Internet security providers, satellite telecommunications companies” and a whole host of other sources are handing over your personal data to federal agencies.  The truth is that there is so much more to this NSA snooping scandal than the American people know so far.  When U.S. Representative Loretta Sanchez said that what Edward Snowden had revealed was “just the tip of the iceberg“, she wasn’t kidding.  The U.S. government is trying to collect as much information about everyone on the planet as it possibly can.  And this incredibly powerful intelligence machine is not going to go away just because a few activists get upset about it.  The United States government spends more than 80 billion dollars a year on intelligence programs.  Those that have spent their careers constructing this monolithic intelligence apparatus are doing to defend it to the bitter end, as will the corporate partners in the private sector that rake in enormous profits thanks to big fat government contracts.  But if the American people don’t stand up and demand change now, it is going to be a signal to those doing the snooping that they can push the envelope even more because nobody is going to stop them.

So why are thousands of companies handing over your personal data to the NSA?  Well, according to Bloomberg they are getting things in return…

Thousands of technology, finance and manufacturing companies are working closely with U.S. national security agencies, providing sensitive information and in return receiving benefits that include access to classified intelligence, four people familiar with the process said.

These programs, whose participants are known as trusted partners, extend far beyond what was revealed by Edward Snowden, a computer technician who did work for the National Security Agency. The role of private companies has come under intense scrutiny since his disclosure this month that the NSA is collecting millions of U.S. residents’ telephone records and the computer communications of foreigners from Google Inc (GOOG). and other Internet companies under court order.

Thanks to the recent revelations by Edward Snowden, much of the focus so far has been on the information that the NSA gets from Internet and telecommunications companies, but apparently government agencies collect information about all of us from a vast array of sources…

Makers of hardware and software, banks, Internet security providers, satellite telecommunications companies and many other companies also participate in the government programs. In some cases, the information gathered may be used not just to defend the nation but to help infiltrate computers of its adversaries.

Along with the NSA, the Central Intelligence Agency (0112917D), the Federal Bureau of Investigation and branches of the U.S. military have agreements with such companies to gather data that might seem innocuous but could be highly useful in the hands of U.S. intelligence or cyber warfare units, according to the people, who have either worked for the government or are in companies that have these accords.

We have become a “surveillance society”, and this is exactly the sort of thing that the Fourth Amendment was supposed to protect us against.  The government is only supposed to invade our privacy and investigate us when there is probable cause to do so.

But now the government is trying to collect as much information about all of us as it possibly can even though the vast majority of us will never be charged with any crime.

There seems to be no limit when it comes to how much personal data the government wants to gather on all of us.  As I have written about previously, the chief technology officer at the CIA says that they “fundamentally try to collect everything and hang onto it forever.”

And this does not just apply to American citizens.  The U.S. government is compiling data on everyone on the planet.  And since such a high percentage of Internet traffic flows through U.S. networks and U.S. companies, that gives the U.S. intelligence community a tremendous “home-field advantage”.  The following is from a recent piece authored by Ronald Deibert, a professor of political science at the University of Toronto…

While cyberspace may be global, its infrastructure most definitely is not.

For example, a huge proportion of global Internet traffic flows through networks controlled by the United States, simply because eight of 15 global tier 1 telecommunications companies are American — companies like AT&T, CenturyLink, XO Communications and, significantly, Verizon.

The social media services that many of us take for granted are also mostly provided by giants headquartered in the United States, like Google, Facebook, Yahoo! and Twitter. All of these companies are subject to U.S. law, including the provisions of the U.S. Patriot Act, no matter where their services are offered or their servers located. Having the world’s Internet traffic routed through the U.S. and having those companies under its jurisdiction give U.S. national security agencies an enormous home-field advantage that few other countries enjoy.

But what is really the point of all of this intelligence gathering?

Is it to make us a little bit safer?

If so, we are making a massive mistake.

Benjamin Franklin once wrote the following: “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

Are you willing to give up your Fourth Amendment rights in order to feel a little more safe?

I hope not.

The U.S. Constitution never guaranteed us safety.  But it is supposed to guarantee our privacy.

Fortunately, it appears that at this point public opinion is very much against all of the snooping that the government has been doing.  According to the Guardian, most of the recent surveys that have been done are coming up with very consistent results…

Thursday, the Guardian released a poll conducted on Monday and Tuesday nights by Public Policy Polling looking at America’s reaction to the National Security Agency (NSA) controversy. The public appears to be reacting negatively to the revelations – and it seems to be hurting President Obama.

We found 50% of American voters believe the NSA should not be collecting telephone or internet records, compared to the 44% who think they should. The results hold even when respondents were told that the data the government is collecting is “metadata” (and not necessarily actual content of communications).

These results are consistent with a CBS News poll, Fox News poll, and YouGov survey that showed only 38%, 32%, and 35% of Americans respectively approved of phone record collection in order to reduce the chance of a terrorist attack. A Gallup poll was consistent with these, showing only 37% approved monitoring of Americans’ phone and internet use.

And Americans also seem to be very suspicious about what the government will do with our personal data once they have it.

In fact, according to a new Rasmussen survey, 57 percent of Americans believe that the government will use the information that it collects “to harass political opponents”.

And of course many of the recent scandals that have erupted this year involve the government harassing political opponents.  We have seen this with the IRS scandal, and we have seen this with the spying on reporters scandal.

Just this week it was reported that CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson has had her computers hacked repeatedly.  If you are not familiar with Attkisson, she is the one reporter in the mainstream media that has been relentless when it has come to pursuing the Operation Fast and Furious and Benghazi stories.  Now we are learning that a “sophisticated” intruder hacked into her computer “on multiple occasions” in late 2012

CBS News announced Friday that correspondent Sharyl Attkisson’s computer was hacked by “an unauthorized, external, unknown party on multiple occasions,” confirming Attkisson’s previous revelation of the hacking.

CBS News spokeswoman Sonya McNair said that a cybersecurity firm hired by CBS News “has determined through forensic analysis” that “Attkisson’s computer was accessed by an unauthorized, external, unknown party on multiple occasions in late 2012.”

“Evidence suggests this party performed all access remotely using Attkisson’s accounts. While no malicious code was found, forensic analysis revealed an intruder had executed commands that appeared to involve search and exfiltration of data. This party also used sophisticated methods to remove all possible indications of unauthorized activity, and alter system times to cause further confusion. CBS News is taking steps to identify the responsible party and their method of access.”

Meanwhile, in a desperate attempt to deflect attention away from all of these scandals, Barack Obama is starting a war with Syria.

In this war, we are actually going to be helping al-Qaeda rebels that are beheading Christians to take over Syria.

If you aren’t aware of the deep connection between al-Qaeda and the Syrian rebels, just read the recent USA Today article entitled “Syrian rebels pledge loyalty to al-Qaeda” or any of the dozens of other articles that you can find on the Internet that document this very clearly.

And the sick thing is that a large number of Republicans are actually applauding Barack Obama for teaming up with al-Qaeda.

Has it suddenly become “conservative” to help al-Qaeda?

What in the world is going on?

And you know what?

The truth was that our troops were in position long before Barack Obama made his “stunning announcement” on Thursday.  In fact, it has been confirmed that U.S. troops are already in Jordan along the Syrian border.

And could this conflict with Syria actually set the stage for a much larger conflict?

The Russians have been providing “mortars, light artillery, antiaircraft guns, antitank weapons and ammunition” to the Syrian government and they have loudly denounced the latest moves by the Obama administration.

Yes, the Assad government is horrible, but what Obama is doing in Syria is a terrible, terrible mistake.

If the U.S. takes down the Assad government, forces loyal to al-Qaeda and other radical jihadists are going to take over and we will have made Russia and China very angry.  If the U.S. is unsuccessful in removing the Assad government, it will be considered a crushing defeat for the United States.

Either way, we lose.

So what do you think about all of this?  Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below…

Big Brother - The Government Is Watching You

The Rest Of The World Is Absolutely Disgusted With Our Big Brother Spying Methods

The WorldThe rest of the world has found out that the U.S. government has been listening to their phone calls and watching what they do on the Internet and they do not like it one bit.  Outrage has been pouring in from all over the planet, and one member of the European Parliament is even comparing the NSA to the Stasi.  But instead of stepping back and reevaluating our Big Brother spying methods now that they have been revealed, Barack Obama and other leading members of Congress are defiantly declaring that there is nothing wrong with these methods and that no changes will be made.  The U.S. government is going to continue to invade the privacy of the citizens of the rest of the world as much as it possibly can, and our leaders don’t seem to really care what the international response is.  And make no mistake – the goal of the U.S. intelligence community is to literally know everything about everyone.  The chief technology officer of the CIA, Gus Hunt, made the following shocking admission back in March: “We fundamentally try to collect everything and hang onto it forever.”  He followed that statement up with this gem: “It is really very nearly within our grasp to be able to compute on all human-generated information.”  In other words, they want it all, and they nearly have the capacity to gather it all already.  So where does this end?  Will the U.S. intelligence community ever be happy until they have every piece of data on every single person on the entire planet?  Do we really want a government that collects “everything” and hangs on to it “forever”?

Thanks to Edward Snowden, the rest of the globe is starting to understand the extent to which the U.S. government has been spying on them.  Needless to say, a lot of people are extremely upset about this.

In Germany (a country that knows a thing or two about Big Brother tactics), some prominent politicians are publicly denouncing the surveillance that the U.S. government has been doing on their citizens.  In fact, one German politician has accused the U.S. of employing “American-style Stasi methods”

In a guest editorial for Spiegel Online on Tuesday, Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger said reports that the United States could access and track virtually all forms of Internet communication were “deeply disconcerting” and potentially dangerous.

“The more a society monitors, controls and observes its citizens, the less free it is,” she said.

“The suspicion of excessive surveillance of communication is so alarming that it cannot be ignored. For that reason, openness and clarification by the U.S. administration itself is paramount at this point. All facts must be put on the table.”

Markus Ferber, a member of Merkel’s Bavarian sister party who sits in the European Parliament, went further, accusing Washington of using “American-style Stasi methods”.

In Italy, the government official in charge of data protection, Antonello Soro, said that the surveillance that the NSA is doing “would not be legal in Italy” and would be “contrary to the principles of our legislation and would represent a very serious violation”.

In Russia (another country with a long history of using Big Brother tactics), President Vladimir Putin has expressed significant concern about the NSA spying program and there are even rumors that Russia will be offering asylum to Edward Snowden

Alexey Pushkov, head of the Duma’s international affairs committee and a vocal US critic, said on Twitter: “By promising asylum to Snowden, Moscow has taken upon itself the protection of those persecuted for political reasons. There will be hysterics in the US. They only recognise this right for themselves.”

He continued: “Listening to telephones and tracking the internet, the US special services broke the laws of their country. In this case, Snowden, like Assange, is a human rights activist.”

But even more important than what foreign politicians think about the NSA spying scandal is what average people all over the globe think.  This scandal is causing millions of average people all over the planet to look at the United States with disgust and disdain.  How can we hold ourselves out as the “defenders of freedom” to the rest of the globe when we are openly telling them that we are going to spy on them as much as we possibly can?  How do we expect the rest of the world to look at us as “the good guys” when we are selfishly grabbing and recording all of their emails, phone calls and Internet searches without any concern for their privacy whatsoever?

What makes all of this even worse is that our top intelligence officials are making jokes about this scandal.  For example, just check out the wisecracks that the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, was making at an awards ceremony on Friday

With the current and past directors of national intelligence at the Omni Shoreham to honor former CIA and National Security Agency chief Michael Hayden, the result in speeches and interviews with intel professionals was a gumbo of outrage, worry and humor.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told the black-tie crowd of more than 700 he would “address the elephant in the room” and proceeded, to applause, to denounce “the unauthorized leaks as reprehensible and egregious.” Clapper characterized the program as completely legal, debated and reauthorized by Congress under strict oversight and by court order “to make our nation safe and secure.”

He then cracked a few jokes. “Some of you expressed surprise that I showed up—so many emails to read!” Clapper said. Greeting fellow banqueter John Pistole, the administrator of the Transportation Security Administration who recently reversed a planned policy to permit air travelers to carry certain knives on planes, Clapper said, “John, can I borrow your pocket knife?”

How in the world can he make a joke about reading our emails at a time like this?

This is how arrogant the U.S. intelligence community has become.  They feel like they can do whatever they want and get away with it.

For example, back in March Clapper flat out lied to the U.S. Congress about the surveillance that the NSA is doing.  When he was asked by Senator Ron Wyden if the NSA was collecting any information on the American people, Clapper completely denied it.

The following is from a transcript of that exchange

“Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?” Oregon Republican Sen. Ron Wyden asked Clapper at the March 12 hearing.

“No, sir,” Clapper responded.

“It does not?” Wyden pressed.

Clapper recanted and said: “Not wittingly. There are cases where they could, inadvertently perhaps, collect — but not wittingly.”

Apparently Clapper must have “forgotten” that the government is forcing all of the big telephone companies to turn over all of their call records to the NSA every single month.

And you know what?  The truth is that the government is not just collecting “metadata” about our phone calls.  The content of our calls is being recorded and stored as well.  Just check out this story from the Blaze

Hollywood actor Shia LaBeouf in 2008 during an appearance on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno detailed how he learned phone calls were allegedly being recorded.

Promoting the film “Eagle Eye,” which according to IMDb shows how “technology of everyday life [is used] to track and control,” LaBeouf told Leno that an FBI consultant for the movie said one in five phone calls made are recorded and logged.

“And I laughed at him,” LaBeouf said.

“And then he played back a phone conversation I’d had two years prior to joining the picture,” LaBouf continued.

Both Leno and LaBeouf concluded it was “extremely creepy.”

The American people, along with the people of the entire planet, deserve the truth about this.

Unfortunately, Barack Obama is certainly not going to tell us the truth, and there will probably only be a half-hearted effort by some members of Congress to get to the bottom of things.

That is why it is going to be important to take this to court, and thankfully a couple of lawsuits are already in the works.

According to U.S. News & World Report, one of these lawsuits is being filed by a former Justice Department prosecutor…

Former Justice Department prosecutor Larry Klayman amended an existing lawsuit against Verizon and a slew of Obama administration officials Monday to make it the first class-action lawsuit in response to the publication of a secret court order instructing Verizon to hand over all phone records of millions of American customers on an “ongoing, daily basis.”

Klayman told U.S. News he will file a second class-action lawsuit Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia targeting government officials and each of the nine companies listed in a leaked National Security Agency slideshow as participants in the government’s PRISM program.

And according to USA Today, the ACLU has also filed a lawsuit…

National Security Agency surveillance programs came under more scrutiny Tuesday as the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit and a prominent senator and Internet giant Google called on the Obama administration to disclose more information.

In its lawsuit, the ACLU said an NSA program that harvests phone calls violates the rights of all Americans.

“The program goes far beyond even the permissive limits set by the Patriot Act and represents a gross infringement of the freedom of association and the right to privacy,” said Jameel Jaffer, the ACLU’s deputy legal director.

Hopefully these lawsuits will reveal more details about the spying that has been taking place.

There is also a “bipartisan coalition” of 86 Internet companies and civil liberties organizations that have sent a letter to Congress demanding action on these issues.  You can read the full letter right here.  Some of the organizations involved include the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Reddit, Mozilla, FreedomWorks, and the Center for Digital Democracy.

Will Congress listen to them?

Probably not.

But at least they are trying to do something about this.

The key will be to get the American people outraged enough about all of this that they won’t forget about it in a week or two.  And that is not an easy thing to do.

There have been a couple of public opinion polls taken over the past few days that show some very curious results.  A Rasmussen survey found that 59 percent of Americans are against the government secretly collecting our phone records and only 26 percent are in favor.  But a Washington Post survey found that 56 percent of Americans consider the collecting of our phone records to be “acceptable” and only 41 percent consider the practice to be “unacceptable”.

How could those two surveys get such wildly different results?

A lot of it is in the way that they ask the questions.

In the end, our politicians don’t really care too much about what the general public thinks anyway.  They are just going to continue to do what they have been doing and the rest of the world will continue to become even more disgusted with us.

We are recklessly destroying our global reputation and our leaders do not even seem to care.  But someday America will need some friends, and when that day arrives we may find that we don’t have too many left.

How Has The U.S. Government Been Getting User Data From Major Internet Companies?

Prism****IMPORTANT UPDATE****  Apparently the big Internet companies are not as “innocent” in all of this as they originally led us to believe.  So this additional information changes some of the conclusions that I reached in my original article.  It appears that some of the biggest Internet companies have been cooperating with the government in this data collection effort at least to a certain extent.  The following is from an article in the New York Times that describes how the U.S. government has been getting user data from major Internet companies…

The companies that negotiated with the government include Google, which owns YouTube; Microsoft, which owns Hotmail and Skype; Yahoo; Facebook; AOL; Apple; and Paltalk, according to one of the people briefed on the discussions. The companies were legally required to share the data under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. People briefed on the discussions spoke on the condition of anonymity because they are prohibited by law from discussing the content of FISA requests or even acknowledging their existence.

In at least two cases, at Google and Facebook, one of the plans discussed was to build separate, secure portals, like a digital version of the secure physical rooms that have long existed for classified information, in some instances on company servers. Through these online rooms, the government would request data, companies would deposit it and the government would retrieve it, people briefed on the discussions said.

****END OF UPDATE****

The U.S. government has been hacking in to the servers of Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube and Apple and has been taking their user data without their knowledge or consent.  According to the Washington Post, the information being stolen includes “audio and video chats, photographs, e-mails, documents, and connection logs”.  This program is known as PRISM, and it was first revealed by the Washington Post on Thursday.  Since the story broke, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has admitted that PRISM exists and so has Barack Obama.  The Washington Post initially claimed that all of the Internet companies were willingly handing over their user data to the government.  Now we are learning that is NOT true.  In fact, all of the Internet companies named in the Washington Post story have denied knowing about PRISM or ever giving the federal government permission to directly access their servers.  So this means that the U.S. government has been stealing massive amounts of user data from the largest Internet companies in the world without their permission.  Of course this is highly illegal and it directly violates the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, but you can bet that the Obama administration is going to do everything that it can to get the courts to “make it legal”.  Hopefully the revelation of this program will be enough to get the American people to realize that we are rapidly being transformed into a Big Brother police state that is descending into tyranny.

Barack Obama has described the systematic gathering of cell phone records and the Internet spying that the federal government has been doing as “modest encroachments” that we should all just accept as part of the price of living in a modern world, but if we allow the government to get away with this, where will it end?

Even if we had a total “Big Brother” society where the government watched everything that we did 24 hours a day, bad people would still do bad things.  There would still be terror attacks and great tragedies.  No matter how much the government intrudes into our lives, it can never guarantee us 100% safety.

Those that founded the United States understood this.  They did not want this country to be turned into a police state.  That is why they guaranteed us some very important protections in the Bill of Rights.  If the government wants to do a search, there are some very important procedures that must be followed first.

Unfortunately, the Obama administration appears to believe that the Constitution does not apply to user data on the Internet.  The NSA is apparently hacking into Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube and Apple and taking whatever they want without ever getting permission from those companies.

You can bet that there are some very, very angry executives at those companies right now that are trying to figure out how to respond to these revelations.

All of these companies have vehemently denied that they were involved.  At this point, there is no reason to doubt their very strong denials.

For example, the following is what 

Dear Google users—

You may be aware of press reports alleging that Internet companies have joined a secret U.S. government program called PRISM to give the National Security Agency direct access to our servers. As Google’s CEO and Chief Legal Officer, we wanted you to have the facts.

First, we have not joined any program that would give the U.S. government—or any other government—direct access to our servers. Indeed, the U.S. government does not have direct access or a “back door” to the information stored in our data centers. We had not heard of a program called PRISM until yesterday.

Second, we provide user data to governments only in accordance with the law. Our legal team reviews each and every request, and frequently pushes back when requests are overly broad or don’t follow the correct process. Press reports that suggest that Google is providing open-ended access to our users’ data are false, period. Until this week’s reports, we had never heard of the broad type of order that Verizon received—an order that appears to have required them to hand over millions of users’ call records. We were very surprised to learn that such broad orders exist. Any suggestion that Google is disclosing information about our users’ Internet activity on such a scale is completely false.

Finally, this episode confirms what we have long believed—there needs to be a more transparent approach. Google has worked hard, within the confines of the current laws, to be open about the data requests we receive. We post this information on our Transparency Report whenever possible. We were the first company to do this. And, of course, we understand that the U.S. and other governments need to take action to protect their citizens’ safety—including sometimes by using surveillance. But the level of secrecy around the current legal procedures undermines the freedoms we all cherish.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has issued a similar denial.  He insists that Facebook never even heard of PRISM until Thursday…

I want to respond personally to the outrageous press reports about PRISM:

Facebook is not and has never been part of any program to give the US or any other government direct access to our servers. We have never received a blanket request or court order from any government agency asking for information or metadata in bulk, like the one Verizon reportedly received. And if we did, we would fight it aggressively. We hadn’t even heard of PRISM before yesterday.

When governments ask Facebook for data, we review each request carefully to make sure they always follow the correct processes and all applicable laws, and then only provide the information if is required by law. We will continue fighting aggressively to keep your information safe and secure.

We strongly encourage all governments to be much more transparent about all programs aimed at keeping the public safe. It’s the only way to protect everyone’s civil liberties and create the safe and free society we all want over the long term.

So how has the U.S. government been getting this user data if they do not have the cooperation of these large Internet companies?

They have been stealing it.

Is this the kind of society that we want to have?  Do we really want the government to be free to hack into the servers of Internet companies and take user data any time that it wants?

And guess what?

According to the Wall Street Journal, the NSA has also been gathering massive amounts of credit card data as well…

The National Security Agency’s monitoring of Americans includes customer records from the three major phone networks as well as emails and Web searches, and the agency also has cataloged credit-card transactions, said people familiar with the agency’s activities.

So if you ever bought something embarrassing with a credit card, there is a very good chance that the NSA knows about it.

If you don’t like where all of this is headed, then now is the time to stand up and say something about it.

Sadly, the truth is that most of our politicians see absolutely nothing wrong with our current system.  The following is what Barack Obama said in response to the recent revelations about the NSA

“You can’t have 100 percent security and also then have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience. We’re going to have to make some choices as a society,” he said. “I think that on balance, we have established a policy and a procedure that the American people should feel comfortable with.”

Do you feel comfortable with the fact that the NSA is hacking into major Internet companies and stealing their user data?

I know that I definitely am not.

I think that the journalist that originally broke the story about how the government is systematically gathering our phone records summed up what many of us are feeling right now pretty well

“There is a massive apparatus within the United States government that with complete secrecy has been building this enormous structure that has only one goal, and that is to destroy privacy and anonymity, not just in the United States but around the world,” charged Glenn Greenwald, a reporter for the British newspaper “The Guardian,” speaking on CNN. “That is not hyperbole. That is their objective.”

What do you think?

Is all of this government spying good for America or bad for America?

Please feel free to share your opinion by posting a comment below…

 

7 Things About The Mainstream Media That They Do Not Want You To Know

7 Things About The Mainstream Media That They Do Not Want You To Know - Based On A Photo By Doug WaldronHave you ever wondered who controls the mainstream media?  In America today, we are more “connected” than ever.  The average American watches 153 hours of television a month, and we also spend countless hours watching movies, playing video games, listening to music, reading books and surfing the Internet.  If someone could control the production of all of that media, that would make them immensely powerful.  They would literally be in a position to tell people what to think.  Well, what if I told you that there are just six enormous media conglomerates that combine to produce about 90 percent of all the media that Americans consume.  Would that alarm you?  It should alarm you.  The truth is that our attitudes, opinions and beliefs are greatly shaped by what we allow into our minds.  After all, they don’t call it “programming” for no reason.  Even those of us that realize that we are connected to “the matrix” probably greatly underestimate the tremendous influence that the media has over us.  We live at a time when it is absolutely imperative to think for ourselves, but most Americans are being absolutely overwhelmed with information and seem more than content to let others do their thinking for them.  Sadly, this is greatly contributing to the downfall of our society.

And of course the mainstream media desperately does not want you to look at “the man behind the curtain”.  They just want you to stay plugged into the “programming” that they are feeding you without asking any questions.

Fortunately, a growing minority of Americans are waking up and are starting to reject the mainstream media.  An increasing number of people are beginning to recognize that the mainstream media is the mouthpiece of the establishment and that it is promoting the agenda of the establishment.

So why is the mainstream media so bad?  The following are 7 things about the mainstream media that they do not want you to know…

#1 The Mainstream Media Has Very Deep Ties To The Establishment

Did you know that the president of CBS and the president of ABC both have brothers that are top officials in the Obama administration?

The big news networks have developed an almost incestuous relationship with the federal government in recent years.  But of course the same could be said of the relationship that the media has with the big corporations that own stock in their parent companies and that advertise on their networks.

This is one of the reasons why we very rarely ever see any hard hitting stories on the big networks anymore.  The flow of information through the corporate-dominated media is very tightly controlled, and there are a lot of gatekeepers that make sure that the “wrong stories” don’t get put out to the public.  As a result, many of the “big stories” that have come out in recent years were originally broken by the alternative media.

#2 The Mainstream Media Gets Things Wrong Very Frequently

Even prominent members of the mainstream media admit that this is the case.  For example, during a recent speech at Quinnipiac University CBS anchor Scott Pelley confessed that journalists in the mainstream media “are getting big stories wrong, over and over again”

“Let me take the first arrow: During our coverage of Newtown, I sat on my set and I reported that Nancy Lanza was a teacher at the school. And that her son had attacked her classroom. It’s a hell of a story, but it was dead wrong. Now, I was the managing editor, I made the decision to go ahead with that and I did, and that’s what I said, and I was absolutely wrong. So let me just take the first arrow here.”

#3 The American Public Does Not Consider The Media To Be Very Trustworthy

Trust in the mainstream media has definitely been slipping.  In fact, a Gallup poll taken last year found that distrust of the media had reached an all-time high.  According to that poll, 60 percent of Americans “have little or no trust” that the media is reporting the news accurately.

A separate Rasmussen Reports survey found that only 6 percent of all Americans consider the news media to be “very trustworthy”.

Hopefully this trend will accelerate and a lot more people will stop trusting the media blindly.

#4 The Mainstream Media And The Politicians That They Worship Hate The Fact That They Cannot Control Internet News Sites

In the old days, the mainstream media had a virtual monopoly on the news.  But these days, anyone with an Internet connection can put up a news site, and this is driving the establishment absolutely bonkers.

For example, Barack Obama is known to have a great dislike for the alternative media.  The following is from a recent WND article

NBC News Political Director Chuck Todd says President Obama was making it “clear” at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner over the weekend how he feels about the rise of Internet news sites like Politico, Buzzfeed and … well, WND.

“He hates it.”

Appearing on “Meet the Press” Sunday morning following Saturday night’s media, politics and celebrity soiree, Todd explained the president’s disdain for independent online news sources was showing during his speech.

“It did seem … I thought his pot shots, joke-wise, and then the serious stuff about the Internet, the rise of the Internet media and social media and all that stuff – he hates it, OK? He hates this part of the media,” Todd said. “He really thinks that the, sort of, the buzzification – this isn’t just about Buzzfeed or Politico and all this stuff – he thinks that sort of coverage of political media has hurt political discourse. He hates it. And I think he was just trying to make that clear last night.”

#5 The Mainstream Media Is Extremely Liberal

When it comes to politics, the mainstream media is far more liberal than the general population is.

For example, one survey found that 41 percent of American voters believe that the average reporter is more liberal than they are, while only 18 percent believe that the average reporter is more conservative than they are.

A very disturbing UCLA study on media bias discovered that the vast majority of media outlets are “left of center”…

Of the 20 major media outlets studied, 18 scored left of center, with CBS’ “Evening News,” The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times ranking second, third and fourth most liberal behind the news pages of The Wall Street Journal.

And even MSNBC has confirmed the liberal bias of the media.  According to MSNBC, mainstream journalists are far more likely to donate their own money to Democrats than they are to Republicans…

MSNBC.com identified 143 journalists who made political contributions from 2004 through the start of the 2008 campaign, according to the public records of the Federal Election Commission. Most of the newsroom checkbooks leaned to the left: 125 journalists gave to Democrats and liberal causes. Only 16 gave to Republicans. Two gave to both parties.

#6 Six Mammoth Media Corporations Produce About 90 Percent Of The Media That Americans Consume

As I mentioned at the top of this article, there are six giant media behemoths that control almost all of the media that we consume.  These corporate giants own television networks, cable channels, movie studios, newspapers, magazines, publishing houses, video game makers, music labels and even many of our favorite websites.

The media ownership chart posted below originally comes from a previous article that I authored entitled “Who Owns The Media? The 6 Monolithic Corporations That Control Almost Everything We Watch, Hear And Read“, but it has been updated to reflect some of the latest information.  The power that these companies have is so vast that it is hard to put into words…

Time Warner

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

Walt Disney

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

Viacom

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

News Corporation

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

CBS Corporation

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

Comcast

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

#7 The American People Are Absolutely Addicted To The Mainstream Media

In a previous article about the media, I noted that the average American watches 153 hours of television a month.

When you allow that much information to be downloaded into your brain, it is going to have a dramatic impact on how you think.

Americans are more “connected” than they ever have been before.  This is especially true of our kids.  They are constantly on one sort of electronic device or another.  The following is a brief excerpt from a recent article by Daniel Taylor

According to a 2010 LA Times report, young people spend on average 53 hours a week watching TV, playing video games, and sitting at the computer.

Facebook users spend about 15 hours a month on the social networking site.

People are walking – and driving – blindly while texting, sometimes walking into fountains and even falling off cliffs.

If that Los Angeles Times report is true, that means that our young people are spending more than 200 hours a month connected to the media.

But we are only awake for about 480 hours a month.

When it comes to influencing the American people, nobody has more power than the big media companies do.

And until we can break this sick addiction to the mainstream media and get people to start thinking for themselves, we will never see widespread changes in our society.  As long as people are being “programmed” by the mainstream media, they will continue to express the opinions, attitudes and beliefs that have been downloaded into their minds.

Please share this article with as many people as you can.  It is crucial that we wake as many people up as possible while we still can.

A Massive Electromagnetic Pulse Could Collapse The Economy In A Single Moment

A Massive Electromagnetic Pulse Could Collapse The Economy In A Single MomentWhat would you do if all the lights went out and they never came back on?  That is a question that the new NBC series “Revolution” asks, but most people have no idea that a similar thing could happen in real life at any moment.  A single gigantic electromagnetic pulse over the central United States could potentially fry most of the electronics from coast to coast if it was powerful enough.  This could occur in a couple of different ways.  If a powerful nuclear weapon was exploded at a high enough altitude, it could produce an electromagnetic pulse powerful enough to knock out electronics all over the country.  Alternatively, a massive solar storm could potentially cause a similar phenomenon to happen just about anywhere on the planet without much warning.  Of course not all EMP events are created equal.  An electromagnetic pulse can range from a minor inconvenience to a civilization-killing event.  It just depends on how powerful it is.  But in the worst case scenario, we could be facing a situation where our electrical grids have been fried, there is no heat for our homes, our computers don’t work, the Internet does not work, our cell phones do not work, there are no more banking records, nobody can use credit cards anymore, hospitals are unable to function, nobody can pump gas, and supermarkets cannot operate because there is no power and no refrigeration.  Basically, we would witness the complete and total collapse of the economy.  According to a government commission that looked into these things, approximately two-thirds of the U.S. population would die from starvation, disease and societal chaos within one year of a massive EMP attack.  It would be a disaster unlike anything we have ever seen before in U.S. history.

Most Americans are totally clueless about what an EMP attack could do to this nation, but the threat is very real.  There was even a congressional commission that studied the potential effects of an EMP attack on the United States for eight years

The US Congress in 2000 established the Congressional Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack. In 2004, the committee produced a 70-page executive summary on the EMP threat, and it issued a final report on the matter in 2008. According to the report, “several potential adversaries have or can acquire the capability to attack the United States with a high-altitude nuclear weapon-generated electromagnetic pulse (EMP). A determined adversary can achieve an EMP attack capability without having a high level of sophistication.”

Dr. William Graham was the chairman of that commission, and he says that an EMP attack could knock the United States back into the 1800s in just a single moment

An EMP attack “could not only take down power grids, which are fragile anyway in this country, and telecommunications networks, and financial networks, and traffic controls and many other things, but in addition, there is a very close interrelationship among those national infrastructure capabilities,” Graham says.

“So, for example, we need telecommunications to re-establish the power network, and we need the power network to keep telecommunications going for more than a few hours. And we need the financial network to continue to operate to maintain the economy, we need the transportation system, roads, street lights, control systems, to operate just to get people to the failed power, telecommunication and other systems,” he adds.

Life after an EMP attack “would probably be something that you might imagine life to be like around the late 1800s but with several times the population we had in those days, and without the ability of the country to support and sustain all those people,” Graham says. “They wouldn’t have power. Food supplies would be greatly taken out by the lack of transportation, telecommunication, power for refrigeration and so on.”

Unfortunately, very few of us are equipped to survive in such an environment.  We have become incredibly dependent on technology, and most Americans would have no idea how to do something as simple as growing their own food.  Most people would be in a very serious amount of trouble in a very short period of time.

An article by Mac Slavo detailed some of the things that we could expect in the aftermath of a massive electromagnetic pulse…

The first 24 – 48 hours after such an occurrence will lead to confusion among the general population as traditional news acquisition sources like television, radio and cell phone networks will be non-functional.

Within a matter of days, once people realize the power might not be coming back on and grocery store shelves start emptying, the entire system will begin to delve into chaos.

Within 30 days a mass die off will have begun as food supplies dwindle, looters and gangs turn to violent extremes, medicine can’t be restocked and water pump stations fail.

Are you prepared for such an event?

If not, why not?

And actually, high altitude nuclear explosions and solar storms are not the only things that could produce sizable EMP bursts.

For example, the U.S. military has developed “a directed electromagnetic pulse gun” that can take out all electronics within a limited area.  This kind of weapon can be fired from a plane, a cruise missile or even a drone.  The following is from a recent WND article

A pre-programmed cruise missile not too different from a drone has been proven to be capable of blasting out an EMP-type microwave that was able to destroy personal computers and electrical systems inside a building over which it was flying.

The U.S. Air Force and its contractor Boeing have created the High-powered Microwave Advanced Missile Project, or CHAMP, which was just tested over a Utah desert.

Other nations such as Russia and China are busy developing similar weapons.  The ability to instantly take out the electronics of the enemy would be a very powerful advantage.

Even North Korea has been working on this kind of technology.  According to Newsmax, it is believed that they may have tested a “Super-EMP” weapon back in 2009

North Korea’s last round of tests, conducted in May 2009, appear to have included a “super-EMP” weapon, capable of emitting enough gamma rays to disable the electric power grid across most of the lower 48 states

As this technology becomes more widespread, it will soon be accessible to just about everyone.  You don’t actually need a nuclear weapon to set off a massive electromagnetic pulse.  A non-nuclear pulse generator can do the same thing.  If you set one off next to a power station you could potentially take out the electrical grid for an entire region.

Terrorist groups and lone wolf crazies could even use portable radio frequency weapons to do a tremendous amount of electromagnetic damage over a more limited area.  The following is from a recent article by F. Michael Maloof

Such an individual with a penchant for electronics can pull together components from a Radio Shack or electronic store – even order the components off of selected Internet websites – and fashion a radio frequency, or RF, weapon.

As microprocessors become smaller but more sophisticated, they are even more susceptible to an RF pulse. The high power microwave from an RF weapon produces a short, very high power pulse, said to be billions of watts in a nanosecond, or billionths of a second.

This so-called burst of electromagnetic waves in the gigahertz microwave frequency band can melt electrical circuitry and damage integrated circuits, causing them to fail.

Constructing a radio frequency weapon is not that difficult.  In fact, you can find instructions for how to build them on the Internet.

People need to realize that we live in a world where technology is absolutely exploding and we are dealing with threats that previous generations never even dreamed of.  As the world becomes increasingly unstable, it is inevitable that these kinds of weapons will be used.

It is only a matter of time.

What will life look like after an EMP weapon is used?

That is something to think about.

And we also need to keep watching the sun.  It could produce a massive electromagnetic pulse at literally any moment.  As I have written about previously, scientists tell us that it is only a matter of time before we are hit with a technology-crippling solar super storm.

Most people don’t even realize that the massive solar storm of 1859 fried telegraph machines all over Europe and North America.  If such a storm hit us today, the damage would potentially be in the trillions of dollars.  The following is from a recent New York Times article

A powerful solar (or “geomagnetic”) storm has the potential to simultaneously damage multiple transformers in the electricity grid and perhaps even bring down large sections of it, affecting upwards of a hundred million people in the United States for many months, if not years.

These huge transformers are expensive and difficult to replace, and not many are stockpiled in the United States for an emergency. In the worst case, the impact would be devastating: An outage could cost a few trillion dollars, with full recovery taking years. Not only would parts of the grid be compromised, but telephone networks, undersea cables, satellites and railroads also would be affected.

A 2008 National Academy of Sciences study warned that “because of the interconnectedness of critical infrastructures in modern society,” the “collateral effects of a longer-term outage” would likely include “disruption of the transportation, communication, banking and finance systems, and government services; the breakdown of the distribution of potable water owing to pump failure; and the loss of perishable foods and medications because of lack of refrigeration.”

By the way, 2013 is the peak of the current solar cycle.  So we are moving into a time period when conditions will be very favorable for solar storms.

Let us hope that we are never hit with a massive electromagnetic pulse that is strong enough to take out all of our electronics.

But if it did happen, and all the lights went out for good, what would you do?

Please feel free to share your thoughts by leaving a comment below…

EMP Attack On The United States

28 Good Questions That The Mainstream Media Should Be Asking

Why is there so little trust in the mainstream media these days?  CNN ratings have been hovering close to record lows over the past few months.  A recent Gallup survey found that 60 percent of all Americans “have little or no trust” in the mainstream media.  That was a record high according to Gallup.  So why is this happening?  Sadly, the truth is that the mainstream media quit telling the truth a long time ago.  The mainstream media has an agenda, and more Americans than ever are beginning to recognize this.  Once upon a time, control of the news in the United States was at least somewhat decentralized.  But now there are just six giant media corporations that control almost everything that we see, hear and watch.  The version of “the news” that they give us is designed to serve the interests of those corporate giants and the other corporate giants that spend billions of dollars to advertise their products through those outlets.  Watching the news on television can be an extremely frustrating experience these days.  Yes, there are little bits and pieces of the truth in there, but you have to wade through an awful lot of “infotainment” to get to those bits and pieces.  That is one of the reasons why the “alternative media” has absolutely exploded in recent years.  The American people are hungry for the truth, and they are increasingly turning to alternative sources of news on the Internet in an attempt to find it.

We live at a time when the world is changing more rapidly than ever before.  Just about everything that can be shaken is being shaken, and anyone with half a brain realizes that we are heading for challenges that previous generations never even could have imagined.

There certainly is no shortage of news, but instead of focusing on the terribly important issues that we are facing, the mainstream media feeds us an endless stream of fluff, scandals and celebrities.

Just check out some of the headlines that I found on the front pages of major mainstream news websites today….

“Man Dies After Roach-Eating Contest”

“Ex-NFL Cheerleader Admits To Sex With Minor”

“Facebook Rolls Out Pinterest-Like Tool For Buying Stuff”

“Grumpy Cat Becomes Internet Sensation”

So what should the mainstream media really be talking about today?

The following are 28 good questions that the mainstream media should be asking….

1. Why is the IMF warning that there is an “alarmingly high” risk of a deeper global economic slowdown?

2. Why is Switzerland preparing for “major civil unrest” throughout Europe?

3. If the Spanish financial system completely collapses, what is that going to mean for the rest of Europe and the rest of the globe?

4. Is Turkey about to drag the rest of NATO (including the United States) into a war with Syria?

5. Why aren’t people screaming in outrage about the fact that the U.S. national debt increased by more than a trillion dollars for the fourth straight year in 2012?

6. Should we be concerned that the U.S. government added more to the U.S. national debt on the first day of fiscal year 2013 than it did from 1776 to 1941 combined?

7. If temporary refinery problems can cause some gas stations to shut down and cause gas prices in California to skyrocket to all-time highs, what would a real crisis do?

8. Why are some analysts predicting that a “rapid collapse” is coming for the U.S. dollar?

9. Will the U.S. dollar soon lose its status as the primary reserve currency of the world?

10. Why is Marc Faber warning that the wealthy “may lose up to 50 percent of their total wealth“?

11. By keeping interest rates near zero, is the Federal Reserve crushing the retirement dreams of millions of elderly Americans?

12. Why do Barack Obama, Mitt Romney and most members of Congress continue to stand behind the TSA when nearly 400 TSA employees have been fired for stealing from travelers since 2003?

13. Why are nearly half a million employees of the federal government making over $100,000 a year?

14. How in the world can you have a debate about the economy that lasts for an hour and a half and never even mention Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve or quantitative easing?

15. Why are Romney campaign signs being smeared with excrement?

16. British taxpayers spent 57.8 million dollars on the royal family in 2011.  U.S. taxpayers spent 1.4 billion dollars on the Obamas that same year.  How in the world can this be justified?

17. Why does the U.S. government treat our military veterans like garbage?  Many of them have given everything for their country.  Shouldn’t we treat them with more respect?

18. Why is the mainstream media ignoring a warning that an international gang of cybercriminals plans “to steal money from the online accounts of thousands of consumers at 30 or more major U.S. banks“?

19. The New England Complex Systems Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts is warning that rapidly rising global food prices could soon lead to massive food riots all over the planet.  Is this something that we should be concerned about?

20. Why is the United Nations pushing to have the authority to impose “global taxes” on all of us?

21. How did we get to the point where sex trafficking is now at epidemic levels all over the United States?

22. Why are so many young people being arrested?  Should we be concerned that 41 percent of all Americans have been arrested by the time they reach the age of 23?

23. Why are most Americans either overweight or obese or severely obese?

24. How was one Baltimore woman able to accumulate 30 free cell phones all paid for by the federal government?

25. Why are nearly 30 percent of all young adults in the 25 to 34 year old age bracket living at home with their parents?

26. Why has the birth rate in the United States fallen to an all-time low?

27. With the race for president incredibly tight right now, will the side that loses end up accusing the other side of using voter fraud to steal the election?

28. Is the U.S. Supreme Court about to make it illegal to resell our own stuff at yard sales, in thrift stores and on eBay?

Do you have any questions to add to this list?

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

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