221 Percent Increase In One Year? Why Are So Many People Renouncing American Citizenship?

American FlagThe number of Americans that renounced their citizenship was 221 percent higher in 2013 than it was in 2012.  That is a staggering figure, and it is symptomatic of a larger trend.  In recent years, a lot of really good people with very deep roots in this country have made the difficult decision to say goodbye to the United States permanently.  A few actually go to the trouble to renounce their citizenship, and that is mostly done for tax purposes.  But most willingly choose to leave America for other reasons.  Some were very serious when they said they would leave the U.S. if Barack Obama got a second term, some (such as Jesse Ventura) are dismayed at how our freedoms and liberties are eroding and are alarmed at the rise of the Big Brother police state, some are absolutely disgusted by the social and moral decay that is eating away at the foundations of our society, and there are yet others that consider “the grass to be greener” on the other side of the planet.  Personally, I have a number of friends that have made the very hard decision to relocate their families thousands of miles away because they see what is coming to America and they believe that there isn’t any hope of turning things around at this point.  I also have a lot of friends that are determined to stay in the United States no matter what.  When it comes to the future of America, almost everyone has a very strong opinion, and these are discussions that we need to start having.

Once upon a time, the United States was seen as “the land of opportunity” all over the globe and it seemed like everyone wanted to come here.

But now that is all changing.  As we have abandoned the principles that this country was founded upon, our economy has gone steadily downhill.

As I wrote about the other day, the middle class in America is slowly dying.  As millions of good paying jobs have been shipped out of the country, the competition for the remaining jobs has become quite intense.  At this point, there is even tremendous competition for minimum wage jobs.

Compared to exactly six years ago, 1,154,000 fewer Americans have jobs.  Meanwhile, our population has gotten significantly larger since then.  There simply are not enough jobs for everyone, and we continue to fall even farther behind.  In January, the economy only added 113,000 jobs and in December the economy only added 75,000 jobs.  Both of those figures are well below what we need just to keep up with population growth.

Looking ahead, things look even more troubling.

The number of “planned job cuts” in January was 12 percent higher than 12 months earlier, and it was actually 47 percent higher than in December.

The competition for jobs has also resulted in an extended period of declining incomes in the United States.

As I mention frequently, median household income in the United States has fallen for five years in a row, and the rate of homeownership in the United States has fallen for eight years in a row.

Those that read my articles regularly probably have those facts memorized by now.

In addition, a study that just came out has shown that the number of “low-wage breadwinners” in the United States is at an all-time high

A staggering number of American households are relying on low-wage jobs as their leading or sole source of income.

Meet the low-wage breadwinner. There were about 21 million of them in the United States in 2011, according to a forthcoming study by University of Massachusetts Boston economists Randy Albelda and Michael Carr.

Unlike other studies which often focus just on low-wage workers, the researchers looked at those who also live in low-income households. This way, they were able to strip out the teenager making $8 an hour flipping burgers but still living comfortably with his parents. Or the mom who works a part-time job in retail to supplement her husband’s otherwise ample salary.

For tens of millions of average American families, there simply is not enough money left at the end of each month.

That is why many of them turn to debt to try to make up the difference.  Consumer credit is increasing at an alarming pace once again, and when the next great economic shock arrives many of those families are going to be in for a tremendous amount of financial pain.

In this type of economic environment, it should not be a surprise that anger, frustration and desperation are rising to very dangerous levels.

It was desperation and a fear of losing everything that he had ever worked for that drove one 80-year-old man to become a methamphetamine courier.

It was intense anger and frustration that drove a 58-year-old military veteran to package up cat feces and send it to employers that had turned him down

Rather than simply grumble to himself or complain to others, a St. Louis man aggrieved by a company’s failure to hire him took another approach.

Jevons Brown packaged up cat feces and sent it through the mail.

Brown, 58, was sentenced Friday to two years of probation after pleading guilty in August to a misdemeanor charge of mailing injurious articles.

The plea says Brown, a veteran, became frustrated with his lack of employment opportunities and lashed out at employees of companies that failed to hire him.

This is just the tip of the iceberg.

In the years ahead, we are going to see much, much worse.

And if you do lose everything, don’t expect anyone to care very much.  There is already a frightening lack of compassion for those that are down on their luck in the United States today.  For example, in Pensacola, Florida it is actually illegal for homeless people to use blankets or cardboard boxes to shield themselves from the cold…

So there I was with my wife and three kids, all of us huddled under blankets with the fireplace roaring, watching the temperature continue to drop from a comfortable 65 degrees down to 45. But outside it was 17 degrees and raining and sleeting, and if you were homeless, you had to consider that if you used a blanket to shield yourself from the elements, that you might be hauled off to jail for a violation of a local ordinance prohibiting using blankets, cardboard, or newspaper to cover yourself.

Once you lose everything, society just wants you to go away.

And this lack of compassion is going to get a whole lot worse during the very hard times that are coming.

So it is easy to understand why many Americans would want to get out of this country while they still can.

However, the truth is that the grass is not necessarily greener on the other side.

For instance, you may be dreaming of moving to a tropical paradise where you can enjoy the sand and the sun every single day.

In the past, many Americans considered Puerto Rico a good place to relocate to.  After all, it is a United States territory and if you only speak English you can still get around pretty well.

But you wouldn’t want to move down to Puerto Rico these days.  Right now it is in the middle of a full-blown economic collapse

Puerto Rico’s slow-motion economic crisis skidded to a new low last week when both Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s downgraded its debt to junk status, brushing aside a series of austerity measures taken by the new governor, including increasing taxes and rebalancing pensions. But that is only the latest in a sharp decline leading to widespread fears about Puerto Rico’s future. In the past eight years, Puerto Rico’s ticker tape of woes has stretched unabated: $70 billion in debt, a 15.4 percent unemployment rate, a soaring cost of living, pervasive crime, crumbling schools and a worrisome exodus of professionals and middle-class Puerto Ricans who have moved to places like Florida and Texas.

In fact, Puerto Rico is a preview of the kind of societal chaos that we could be seeing inside the United States in just a few years

Schools sit shuttered either because of disrepair or because of a dwindling number of students. In this typically convivial capital, communities have erected gates and bars to help thwart carjackers and home invaders. Illegal drugs, including high-level narcotrafficking, are one of the few growth industries.

Well, what about South America?

In recent years, South America has been an extremely popular destination for those wishing to leave the United States.

Unfortunately, many areas of South America are experiencing full-blown economic collapse right now as well.  As I wrote about recently, deteriorating economic conditions have resulted in widespread crime, looting, violence, blackouts, shortages of basic supplies, and runs on the banks in Argentina and Venezuela.  The following is an excerpt from a recent interview with Fernando Aguirre who actually lives down in Argentina

Chris Martenson:  Okay. Bring us up to date. What is happening in Argentina right now with respect to its currency, the peso?

Fernando Aguirre:  Well, actually pretty recently, January 22, the peso lost 15% of its value. It has devalued quite a bit. It ended up losing 20% of its value that week, and it has been pretty crazy since then. Inflation has been rampant in some sectors, going up to 100% in food, grocery stores 20%, 30% in some cases. So it has been pretty complicated. Lots of stores don’t want to be selling stuff until they get updated prices. Suppliers holding on, waiting to see how things go, which is something that we are familiar with because that happened back in 2001 when everything went down as we know it did.

Chris Martenson:  So 100%, 20% inflation; are those yearly numbers?

Fernando Aguirre:  Those are our numbers in a matter of days. In just one day, for example, cement in Balcarce, one of the towns in Southern Argentina, went up 100% overnight, doubling in price. Grocery stores in Córdoba, even in Buenos Aires, people are talking about increase of prices of 20, 30% just these days. I actually have family in Argentina that are telling me that they go to a hardware store and they aren’t even able to buy stuff from there because stores want to hold on and see how prices unfold in the following days.

Well, what about Europe?

Isn’t Europe a lot more stable?

Unfortunately, that is not necessarily true.  In recent years we have seen rioting, civil unrest and Depression-like conditions in Ukraine, Greece, Spain, Italy and Portugal.

And now you can add Bosnia to that list…

More than 150 people were wounded in Bosnia on Friday in the worst civil unrest in the country since the 1992-95 war as anger over the dire state of the economy and political inertia boiled over.

Angry protesters set fire to part of the presidential palace in Sarajevo in protests over unemployment and corruption, as well as government buildings in the capital Sarajevo, Tuzla and Zenica.

Just because you move out of the United States does not necessarily mean that you will avoid what is coming.

We are heading for a global economic collapse, and the pain is going to be felt to the farthest corners of the planet.

But of course there are many that will end up leaving the United States and will ultimately thrive.

So what do you think?

Is now a time for people to consider leaving the United States permanently?

Please feel free to share what you think by posting a comment below…

American Flag

Are We Really Free When Big Brother Is Systematically Turning America Into A Giant Prison?

Prison - Photo by Sean MunsonEvery year on July 4th we celebrate our “independence”, but is America really free?  How could we possibly be free when “Big Brother” is constantly intruding in our lives in hundreds of different ways?  And I am not just talking about NSA snooping.  Sadly, the truth is that the United States is beginning to fully embrace a “police state” culture.  We have learned that the government monitors and keeps a record of all of our cell phone calls, emails, Internet searches, credit card transactions, and every piece of mail that we send.  But most Americans don’t seem to care.  We are “encouraged” to report the “suspicious activity” of our neighbors to the authorities, we are told that having security thugs touch the private areas of our women and children at our airports is necessary “for our security”, and 80,000 SWAT team raids are conducted each year in the United States.  But the American people don’t seem to care.  America was once a great country, but now it is being turned into a giant prison, and only a small minority of the citizens are raising their voices in objection.

When I was a child, I was taught that totalitarian societies such as North Korea, the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany were the bad guys.

So why in the world would we want to become more like them?

Do we actually believe that these ridiculous security measures are keeping us safer?

At this point, we have already given up so much privacy that we barely have any left.

For example, up until recently I actually believed that our mail was private.  But now we have learned that the government is monitoring every piece of mail that the American people send.  And according to the New York Times, the government has flagged the mail of thousands of problem citizens for special attention…

Leslie James Pickering noticed something odd in his mail last September: a handwritten card, apparently delivered by mistake, with instructions for postal workers to pay special attention to the letters and packages sent to his home.

“Show all mail to supv” — supervisor — “for copying prior to going out on the street,” read the card. It included Mr. Pickering’s name, address and the type of mail that needed to be monitored. The word “confidential” was highlighted in green.

But even if you are not on the list of those that get special attention, your mail is still photographed.  In fact, 160 billion photographs of our mail were sent to the government last year…

Mr. Pickering was targeted by a longtime surveillance system called mail covers, a forerunner of a vastly more expansive effort, the Mail Isolation Control and Tracking program, in which Postal Service computers photograph the exterior of every piece of paper mail that is processed in the United States — about 160 billion pieces last year. It is not known how long the government saves the images.

Together, the two programs show that postal mail is subject to the same kind of scrutiny that the National Security Agency has given to telephone calls and e-mail.

The tyrants of the past never dreamed of having some of the technologies that we have today.  Virtually everything that we do is watched, monitored, tracked or recorded in some way.

And as technology continues to advance, there will be very little that the authorities will not be capable of.

Some of the technologies that are coming out these days are absolutely frightening.  For example, over in Europe one company is now running talking ads that seem like they are coming from inside our own heads

Passengers leaning their head against the window will “hear” adverts “coming from inside the user’s head”, urging them to download the Sky Go app.

The proposal involves using bone conduction technology, which is used in hearing aids, headphones and Google’s Glass headset, to pass sound to the inner ear via vibrations through the skull.

A video for the Talking Window campaign released by Sky Deutschland and ad agency BBDO Germany states: “Tired commuters often rest their heads against windows. Suddenly a voice inside their head is talking to them. No one else can hear this message.”

How would you respond if a “voice inside your head” suddenly started talking to you?

In other instances, “Big Brother” can intrude in our lives in more old-fashioned ways.

For example, just check out the rules for July 4th that were posted at the entrance to one park in Lakewood, Ohio.  This photo comes from a recent article by Paul Joseph Watson

July 4th Park Rules

Why would anyone want to go spend the 4th of July at that park?

But this is what America is turning into.  We are turning into a society that is absolutely obsessed with security and control, and this is manifesting in hundreds upon hundreds of different ways.  If you doubt this, just check out the following articles…

-“21 Facts About NSA Snooping That Every American Should Know

-“29 Signs That The Elite Are Transforming Society Into A Total Domination Control Grid

-“America Is Being Systematically Transformed Into A Totalitarian Society

-“America Is Embracing The Secret Police Culture Of The Nazis

-“America’s Roads Have Been Turned Into A Revenue Generating Surveillance Grid

Fortunately, the recent revelations about the NSA have spurred some Americans into action.  For example, a new non-partisan organization known as “Restore The Fourth” is calling on the U.S. government to restore our Fourth Amendment rights.  The following is from a press release that the organization recently issued…

*****

Restore the Fourth is a grassroots, non-partisan, non-violent movement that seeks to organize and assemble nationwide protests on July 4th, 2013. Protesters in over 100 cities across America will gather to demand that the government of the United States of America adhere to its constitutionally dictated limits and respect the Fourth Amendment. http://www.RestoretheFourth.net provides a detailed list of protest locations.

Restore the Fourth maintains that justification of the Fourth Amendment beyond the original text need not be given; the legitimacy of which is self-evident. “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” The Fourth Amendment of the Bill of Rights clearly protects all citizens’ assets, both digital and physical, against searches and seizures without warrant; they aim to assert those rights. They insist that the proper channels of government work to ensure that all policy complies with the supreme laws of the United States of America in their entirety.

Restore the Fourth requests that American citizens’ right to privacy is respected and stands with the Electronic Frontier Foundation and StopWatching.us on their open letter to Congress. As informed members of the American electorate, they endorse and echo the letter’s demands.

1. Enact reform this Congress to Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act, the state secrets privilege, and the FISA Amendments Act to make clear that blanket surveillance of the Internet activity and phone records of any person residing in the U.S. is prohibited by law and that violations can be reviewed in adversarial proceedings before a public court;

2. Create a special committee to investigate, report, and reveal to the public the extent of this domestic spying. This committee should create specific recommendations for legal and regulatory reform to end unconstitutional surveillance;

3. Hold accountable those public officials who are found to be responsible for this unconstitutional surveillance.

The July 4th demonstrations seek to demand an end to the unconstitutional surveillance methods employed by the U.S. government and to ensure that all future government surveillance is constitutional, limited, and clearly defined.

Restore the Fourth aims to ensure that the will of the people is reflected in the government of the United States of America. This movement intends to bring an end to twelve years of Fourth Amendment abuses, and demonstrate the need for a return to the Constitution. All Americans should stand with them in this cause to protect the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

*****

I would encourage you to speak out about these issues however you can.  For some people, that may mean participating in a street protest.  For others, it may mean making a great YouTube video.  Others spread the word on radio shows or by speaking with their friends.  Personally, I have written about these issues extensively on my websites and in my new book.  We all have ways that we can object to the fact that America is being systematically transformed into a giant prison.

So what do you think?

Do you believe that America is really free?

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

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…

 

Mourn For America: Whenever A Tragedy Happens They Take Even More Freedom From Us

Martial Law In Boston - Photo from shtfplan.comWhat in the world is happening to America?  Over the past couple of decades, the federal government has used just about every major national tragedy as an excuse to take even more liberty and freedom away from us.  And without a doubt, the Boston Marathon bombing was a great national tragedy.  I don’t think that any of us will forget the images that we have seen over the past week.  All of those responsible for this attack should be exposed, hunted down, tried and punished.  Unfortunately, what always seems to happen is that it is the American people that seem to get punished the most for these tragedies.  Over the past couple of decades we have been told again and again that if we will just give up a little bit more freedom that the authorities will be able to keep us safe.  But you know what?  It is IMPOSSIBLE for them to keep us safe.  There is no way in the world that the federal government can protect us from all of the bad guys in the world.  We are a country that is absolutely teeming with “soft targets” – malls, churches, schools, concerts, sporting events, etc.  No matter how much money we spend, there is no way that the federal government will ever be able to provide enough security for all of those soft targets.  Even if our society morphed into something that resembled George Orwell’s “1984”, the government would still never be able to guarantee our safety.  Unfortunately, in the aftermath of this attack there will inevitably be calls for “increased security” and “more anti-terror legislation”.  The answer always seems to be to expand the emerging police state.  But it is getting to the point where all of this “security” is becoming absolutely suffocating, and yet it doesn’t seem to be keeping us any safer.  So where does all of this end?  Are we going to completely throw out the entire U.S. Constitution in a desperate attempt to feel a little bit safer?  Or are we going to choose to live our lives without fear no matter what others may try to do to us?

Benjamin Franklin once made the following statement…

“Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

Sadly, the way that the American people have responded to national tragedies over the past couple of decades would have made our founding fathers greatly ashamed.  The American people have been way too willing to give up liberty in exchange for the promise of safety.

We have been told that the terrorists hate us because of our liberties and freedoms.  But we have also been told that in order to be “safe” from those terrorists we have got to give up those liberties and freedoms.

So who is really winning?

We seem to have forgotten some of the most basic lessons in life.

If you cower in fear when a bully comes after you, what is the bully going to do?

The bully is just going to keep coming after you because his actions are being rewarded.

Those that are trying to create fear love it when you become fearful.  It is exactly what they want.

The appropriate response to a great national tragedy is to reject fear and to continue to boldly live our lives as if nobody could ever shake us.

But instead, the atmosphere of fear in America continues to grow.

And yes, there are common sense things that our government should be doing to keep bad guys away from us.

For example, the number one thing that the federal government should be doing is to secure the border.  Every single day, thousands upon thousands of people that we don’t know anything about pour into this country.  And yet the federal government has absolutely refused to secure our borders for decades.

Until the federal government secures our borders, they should not ask any of us to sacrifice a single ounce of liberty or freedom in the name of “national security”.

But even as the Obama administration treats our border security like a joke and continues to import huge numbers of people from radical areas of the Middle East, they continue to tell us that “domestic terror” is the next great threat that we are facing.

Many of our other politicians are buying into this philosophy as well.  Senator Lindsey Graham says that the attack in Boston is a perfect example of “why the homeland is the battlefield“.

So if “the homeland is the battlefield”, then who is the enemy?

Well, a U.S. Army Reserve training presentation recently identified evangelical Christians as “religious extremists“, and since Barack Obama entered the White House there have been numerous government reports that have identified Christians, “constitutionalists”, patriots, anti-abortion activists, conspiracy theorists and gun owners as “potential terrorists”.

So where does all of this end?

Are the American people rapidly becoming the enemy?

Will we be constantly scared to death of one another?

Will the entire nation exist in a never ending environment of fear?

Will we eventually have the TSA and the Department of Homeland Security patrolling every mall, every church, every school, every concert and every sporting event?

Unfortunately, the bad guys will always be able to find a soft target, and there will be more terror attacks in the future no matter how much security we pour on.  Once upon a time this nation was greatly blessed with peace and security, but now that hedge of protection is gone.  The federal government could give the Department of Homeland Security trillions of dollars a year and it would not make much of a difference.  We live in a world that is becoming increasingly unstable, and bad guys are going to do bad things.

Yes, there are some common sense things that we can do to make our nation more secure.  At this point, the federal government is not doing most of those things.

But no matter how hard we try, bad things are going to happen.  When those bad things happen, what we can control is how we respond to them.

That is why what just happened in Boston is so alarming.  The entire city was put into a complete lockdown for nearly two days.  It was a preview of what could happen nationwide if martial law was declared.  It was an over the top display of force that clearly demonstrated to the rest of the world how incredibly frightened we are.

Some of the things we saw in Boston were absolutely disgraceful.  For example, you can see video of an innocent Watertown family being ripped out of their home at gunpoint right here.

Do you know what this tells the rest of the world?

It tells them that terrorism works.

It tells them that one small incident is enough to send the entire nation into a full-blown panic attack.

You can see some more photos of martial law in Boston right here.  Instead of making things better, this is just going to make the atmosphere of fear in this nation even worse.

And you know what?  None of those heavily armed men even found the second suspect.  He was actually found by a neighbor that had gone out to take a smoke.

Like most Americans, I absolutely hate terrorism in all the forms that it takes.

But we are not going to prevent future terrorism by treating the U.S. Constitution like a piece of trash.  We have now shown the world that we are willing to throw out our most important constitutional rights the moment that a “threat” arises, and this is just going to encourage even more terrorism.

You see, those that engage in terrorism want attention and they want to create fear.  When we give them attention and we allow them to create fear we give them exactly what they want.

Is there anyone out there that can defend what we just saw in Boston?  I can’t imagine any American that still loves the Constitution being proud of what just happened.  I think that Karl Denninger put it quite eloquently the other day…

By effectively occupying a part of the Boston metro area they made an utter mockery of the 4th Amendment. There was no “hot pursuit” and thus no argument available to them allowing searches of private property without consent or a warrant. Not only did they search without a warrant there were multiple reports through the day of seizure of firearms, among other things.

Sadly, most Americans seem to be more than willing to disregard the U.S. Constitution these days.  Most of them are incredibly scared and they just want someone in a position of authority to assure them that they will be safe.

So I am sure that in the months ahead we will see “security” get even tighter in this country.  With each subsequent tragedy, it will just get tighter and tighter until we can barely even breathe.

This is not the answer to any of our problems.  In fact, it is just going to make many of the problems that we are facing as a nation far worse.

If The U.S. Economy Goes Into The Toilet Will It Result In A Complete And Total Collapse Of Society?

If the United States experiences a horrifying economic collapse (and it most definitely will), will that cause a complete and total collapse of society?  Will we experience crime, violence, riots and social unrest on a scale that is unprecedented in U.S. history?  Before you dismiss such notions as utter foolishness dreamed up by a few bloggers with too much time on their hands, perhaps you should consider what one of the biggest credit rating organizations in the world is saying.  According to a report on sovereign debt by Moody’s, the world’s five biggest AAA-rated countries (including the United States) are all at risk of soaring debt costs and will have to implement austerity plans that threaten “social cohesion”.  In case you are wondering what happens when “social cohesion” starts to break down due to economic factors, just check out the recent examples in Iceland and Greece.  If even Moody’s is warning that there is a realistic possibility that “social cohesion” in the United States may break down due to economic factors, perhaps we should all start listening.

Or if you will not listen to Moody’s, then perhaps you will listen to the man who has been called the top trends researcher in the entire world.  Gerald Celente is the CEO of Trends Research Institute, and he is convinced that we are heading into what he calls “The Greatest Depression”.  The picture that he paints of the future of America is extremely alarming and extremely sobering.  It would be easy to dismiss his forecasts as just the ramblings of another useless “talking head”, but unfortunately Celente has been dead-on accurate time after time after time in the past.  Considering his exemplary track record, what Celente says is coming next for America is incredibly frightening….

At this point you may be tempted to think that America has been through extremely tough economic times before (The Great Depression for example) and came through them okay.

So what is so different now?

Well, the truth is that the character of the American people is dramatically different.  At the time of the Great Depression, the American people were tough, self-sufficient people who knew how to live off the land.  Today, most Americans are weak, spoiled little children who will throw a temper tantrum whenever anyone tries to take their toys away.  The character of the American people has been decaying for decades, and there is no way that the current crop of Americans has any chance of weathering a horrible economic depression the way Americans back in the 1930s did.

Already we are seeing early signs of what the rest of America could soon be like.  The city of Detroit is a rotting, crime-ridden war zone that has a “real” unemployment rate of somewhere around 40 to 50 percent.  The state of California has become a cesspool of gang violence, rampant unemployment, rising foreclosures, unchecked drug dealing, and depressing economic decline.  Even in New York City we are seeing early signs of what is ahead.  Residents are quite alarmed about the dramatic rise in violent crime that is happening throughout the city.  Many New Yorkers were convinced that the days of “The Rotten Apple” were behind them, but economic problems are going to cause an increase in crime in just about any city.

But it just isn’t crime that is on the rise.  Millions of normal, law-abiding Americans are angry.  This anger is coming out in various ways – including the Tea Party protests that are sweeping the nation.  The majority of the American people are frankly disgusted with the government, and the approval ratings for both major parties continue to hover around record lows.  As things continue to get worse for the U.S. economy, the anger of the American people is going to continue to rise.

All of this is causing many in the U.S. government to view “troublemakers” inside the United States as one of the greatest threats to national security.  In fact, according to FBI Director Robert Mueller, “homegrown terrorists” represent as big a threat as al-Qaeda.

As big a threat as al-Qaeda?

For a top U.S. government official to come right out and make a statement like that is absolutely mind blowing.

Not only that, but now former U.S. President Bill Clinton is comparing Tea Party members to Timothy McVeigh.

Considering the fact that Timothy McVeigh received the death penalty, that is a very frightening parallel for Clinton to draw.

Does Clinton actually believe that Tea Party protesters should receive the same treatment as McVeigh?

Even more alarming is new legislation being pushed in the U.S. Senate.  A new bill introduced by Senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman would allow the U.S. military to round up large numbers of Americans and detain them indefinitely without a trial if they “pose a threat” or if they have “potential intelligence value” or for any other reason the President of the United States “considers appropriate”.

The reality is that as “necessary” as bills like that may seem to many as we edge ever closer to the breakdown of society, the reality is that the United States is quickly becoming just like so many of the other horrific totalitarian regimes that we have seen rise throughout the 20th and 21st centuries.

In fact a time may soon be coming when authorities in the U.S. may soon be able to legally utter this bone chilling phrase: “Your Papers Please!”  Lawmakers in Washington D.C. working to create a new immigration “reform” bill have decided on a way to prevent employers from hiring illegal immigrants: a national biometric identification card that all American workers would be required to obtain.

Can you imagine being forced to carry around a national identification card?

Or worse?

A startup company developing “chipless RFID ink” has already tested its product on cattle and laboratory rats.

Could one day we all be required to sport an “RFID tatoo” to prove our identity to authorities?

Let’s hope not.

But many of us never thought that the day would come when we would see things such as the Patriot Act, “no fly” lists, the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program, DNA databases, Guantanamo Bay or full-body scanners at airports that reveal the graphic details of our naked bodies either.

America is quickly changing.  The next Great Depression is coming, and society is not going to be able to handle it.  How the U.S. government (and governments around the world) handle the coming social problems is going to be very interesting to watch.  Let’s hope that all of this does not degenerate into the absolute societal nightmare that many are projecting that it could be.

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