What is going to happen when the greatest economic bubble in the history of the world pops? The mainstream media never talks about that. They are much too busy covering the latest dogfights in Washington and what Justin Bieber has been up to. And most Americans seem to think that if the Dow keeps setting new all-time highs that everything must be okay. Sadly, that is not the case at all. Right now, the U.S. economy is exhibiting all of the classic symptoms of a bubble economy. You can see this when you step back and take a longer-term view of things. Over the past decade, we have added more than 10 trillion dollars to the national debt. But most Americans have shown very little concern as the balance on our national credit card has soared from 6 trillion dollars to nearly 17 trillion dollars. Meanwhile, Wall Street has been transformed into the biggest casino on the planet, and much of the new money that the Federal Reserve has been recklessly printing up has gone into stocks. But the Dow does not keep setting new records because the underlying economic fundamentals are good. Rather, the reckless euphoria that we are seeing in the financial markets right now reminds me very much of 1929. Margin debt is absolutely soaring, and every time that happens a crash rapidly follows. But this time when a crash happens it could very well be unlike anything that we have ever seen before. The top 25 U.S. banks have more than 212 trillion dollars of exposure to derivatives combined, and when that house of cards comes crashing down there is no way that anyone will be able to prop it back up. After all, U.S. GDP for an entire year is only a bit more than 15 trillion dollars.
But most Americans are only focused on the short-term because the mainstream media is only focused on the short-term. Things are good this week and things were good last week, so there is nothing to worry about, right?
Unfortunately, economic reality is not going to change even if all of us try to ignore it. Those that are willing to take an honest look at what is coming down the road are very troubled. For example, Bill Gross of PIMCO says that his firm sees “bubbles everywhere”…
We see bubbles everywhere, and that is not to be dramatic and not to suggest they will pop immediately. I just suggested in the bond market with a bubble in treasuries and bubble in narrow credit spreads and high-yield prices, that perhaps there is a significant distortion there. Having said that, it suggests that as long as the FED and Bank of Japan and other Central Banks keep writing checks and do not withdraw, then the bubble can be supported as in blowing bubbles. They are blowing bubbles. When that stops there will be repercussions.
And unfortunately, it is not just the United States that has a bubble economy. In fact, the gigantic financial bubble over in Japan may burst before our own financial bubble does. The following is from a recent article by Graham Summers…
First and foremost, Japan is the second largest bond market in the world. If Japan’s sovereign bonds continue to fall, pushing rates higher, then there has been a tectonic shift in the global financial system. Remember the impact that Greece had on asset prices? Greece’s bond market is less than 3% of Japan’s in size.
For multiple decades, Japanese bonds have been considered “risk free.” As a result of this, investors have been willing to lend money to Japan at extremely low rates. This has allowed Japan’s economy, the second largest in the world, to putter along marginally.
So if Japanese bonds begin to implode, this means that:
1) The second largest bond market in the world is entering a bear market (along with commensurate liquidations and redemptions by institutional investors around the globe).
2) The second largest economy in the world will collapse (along with the impact on global exports).
Both of these are truly epic problems for the financial system.
And of course the entire global financial system is a giant bundle of debt, risk and leverage at this point. We have never seen anything like this in world history. When you step back and take a good, hard look at the numbers, they truly are staggering. The following statistics are from one of my previous articles entitled “Why Is The World Economy Doomed? The Global Financial Pyramid Scheme By The Numbers“…
-$70,000,000,000,000 - The approximate size of total world GDP.
-$190,000,000,000,000 - The approximate size of the total amount of debt in the entire world. It has nearly doubled in size over the past decade.
-$212,525,587,000,000 - According to the U.S. government, this is the notional value of the derivatives that are being held by the top 25 banks in the United States. But those banks only have total assets of about 8.9 trillion dollars combined. In other words, the exposure of our largest banks to derivatives outweighs their total assets by a ratio of about 24 to 1.
-$600,000,000,000,000 to $1,500,000,000,000,000 - The estimates of the total notional value of all global derivatives generally fall within this range. At the high end of the range, the ratio of derivatives to global GDP is more than 21 to 1.
The financial meltdown that happened back in 2008 should have been a wake up call for the nations of the world. They should have corrected the mistakes that happened so that nothing like that would ever happen again. Unfortunately, nothing was fixed. Instead, our politicians and the central bankers became obsessed with reinflating the system. They piled up even more debt, recklessly printed tons of money and kicked the can down the road for a few years. In the process, they made our long-term problems even worse. The following is a recent quote from John Williams of shadowstats.com…
The economic and systemic solvency crises of the last eight years continue. There never was an actual recovery following the economic downturn that began in 2006 and collapsed into 2008 and 2009. What followed was a protracted period of business stagnation that began to turn down anew in second- and third-quarter 2012. The official recovery seen in GDP has been a statistical illusion generated by the use of understated inflation in calculating key economic series (see Public Comment on Inflation). Nonetheless, given the nature of official reporting, the renewed downturn likely will gain recognition as the second-dip in a double- or multiple-dip recession.
What continues to unfold in the systemic and economic crises is just an ongoing part of the 2008 turmoil. All the extraordinary actions and interventions bought a little time, but they did not resolve the various crises. That the crises continue can be seen in deteriorating economic activity and in the panicked actions by the Federal Reserve, where it proactively is monetizing U.S. Treasury debt at a pace suggestive of a Treasury that is unable to borrow otherwise.
And there are already lots of signs that the next economic downturn is rapidly approaching.
For example, corporate revenues are falling at Wal-Mart, Proctor and Gamble, Starbucks, AT&T, Safeway, American Express and IBM.
Would revenues at Wal-Mart be falling if the economy was getting better?
U.S. jobless claims hit a six week high last week. We aren’t in the danger zone yet, but once they hit 400,000 that will be a major red flag.
And even though we are still in the “good times” relatively speaking, the federal government is already talking about tightening welfare programs. In fact, there are proposals in Congress right now to make significant cuts to the food stamp program.
If food stamps and other welfare programs get cut, that is going to make a lot of people very, very angry. And that anger and frustration will get even worse when the next economic downturn strikes and millions of people start losing their jobs and their homes.
What we are witnessing right now is the calm before the storm. Let us hope that it lasts for as long as possible so that we can have more time to prepare.
Unfortunately, this bubble of false hope will not last forever. At some point it will end, and then the pain will begin. http://bit.ly/ZbVjpp
Have 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…
Home Box Office (HBO)
Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.
Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
CW Network (partial ownership)
New Line Cinema
Time Warner Cable
ABC Television Network
The History Channel
Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Buena Vista Theatrical Productions
Buena Vista Records
Walt Disney Pictures
Pixar Animation Studios
277 Radio Stations
Buena Vista Games
Paramount Home Entertainment
Black Entertainment Television (BET)
Country Music Television (CMT)
Nick at Nite
The Movie Channel
Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Fox Television Stations
The New York Post
Fox Searchlight Pictures
Fox Business Network
Fox Kids Europe
Fox News Channel
Fox Sports Net
Fox Television Network
My Network TV
News Limited News
Phoenix InfoNews Channel
Phoenix Movies Channel
STAR TV India
STAR TV Taiwan
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
The Wall Street Journal
Fox Broadcasting Company
Fox Interactive Media
The National Geographic Channel
National Rugby League
Sky Radio Denmark
Sky Radio Germany
Sky Radio Netherlands
CBS Television Network
CBS Radio Inc. (130 stations)
CBS Consumer Products
CW Network (50% ownership)
Simon & Schuster (Pocket Books, Scribner)
Westwood One Radio Network
NBC Television Network
Syfy (Sci Fi Channel)
NBC Universal Television Distribution
NBC Universal Television Studio
Paxson Communications (partial ownership)
Universal Parks & Resorts
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. http://bit.ly/Z8XASo
The middle class American worker is in danger of becoming an endangered species. The politicians are not telling you the truth, and the mainstream media is certainly not telling you the truth, but the reality is that there is nothing but bad news on the horizon for workers in the United States. In the old days, when the big corporations that dominate our society did well, that also meant good things for American workers since those corporations would need more of us to work for them. But in the emerging one world economic system that our economy is being merged into, those corporations have other choices now. For instance, the big corporations can now choose to limit the number of “expensive” American workers that they employ by shipping millions of jobs to the other side of the world. And from their perspective, it makes perfect sense. They can make much bigger profits by hiring people on the other side of the planet to work for them for less than a dollar an hour. If they can get good production out of those people, then why should they hire Americans for ten to twenty times as much, plus have to give those Americans health insurance and other benefits? Another major factor in the slow, agonizing death of the American worker is technology. We live during a period when technology is advancing at a pace that is almost unimaginable at the same time that it is steadily becoming cheaper and cheaper. That means that it is going to become easier and easier for companies to replace workers with robots and computers. As I have written about previously, it is being projected that our economy will lose millions of jobs to technology in the coming years. Yes, some of us will still be needed to help build the robots and the computers, but not all of us will. And of course the overall general weakness of the economy is not helping matters either. The American people inherited the greatest economic machine in the history of the world, and we have wrecked it. Decades of very foolish decisions have resulted in the period of steady economic decline that we are experiencing now.
America is simply not the economic powerhouse that it once was. Back in 2001, the U.S. economy accounted for 31.8 percent of global GDP. By 2011, the U.S. economy only accounted for 21.6 percent of global GDP. That is a collapse any way that you want to look at it.
Today, American workers are living in an economy that is rapidly declining, and their jobs are steadily being stolen by robots, computers and foreign workers that live in countries where it is legal to pay slave labor wages. Politicians from both political parties refuse to do anything to stop the bleeding because they think that the status quo is working just great.
So don’t expect things to get better any time soon.
The following are 10 amazing charts that demonstrate the slow, agonizing death of the American worker…
#1 Wages And Salaries As A Percentage Of GDP
As you can see, wages as a percentage of GDP are hovering near an all-time record low. That means that American workers are bringing home a smaller share of the economic pie than ever before.
#2 Average Annual Hours Worked Per Employed Person In The United States
We are an economy that is rapidly trading good paying full-time jobs for low paying part-time jobs. The decline in average annual hours worked that we have witnessed represents the equivalent of losing millions of jobs. There has been an explosion of “the working poor” in the United States, and this trend is probably only going to accelerate in the years to come.
#3 Manufacturing Employment
As you can see, there are less Americans working in manufacturing today than there was in 1950 even though the population of the country has more than doubled since then. The United States has lost more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities since 2001, and yet our politicians stand around and do nothing about it.
#4 Employment-Population Ratio
This is one of my favorite charts. It shows that there has been absolutely no employment recovery at all since the end of the last recession. The percentage of working age Americans that have a job has stayed under 59 percent for 44 months in a row. How much worse will things get when the next major economic downturn strikes?
#5 Labor Force Participation Rate
This is how the Obama administration is getting the “unemployment rate” to magically go down. They are pretending that millions upon millions of Americans simply do not want to work anymore. As you will notice, the decline of the labor force participation rate has accelerated greatly since Barack Obama entered the White House.
#6 Duration Of Unemployment
The average amount of time that it takes an unemployed worker to find a new job has declined slightly, but it is still far above normal historical levels. It is a crying shame that it takes the average unemployed worker two-thirds of a year to find a new job, but this is the new economic reality that we are all living in.
#7 Delinquency Rate On Residential Mortgages
Since there are not enough jobs for all of us, and since our wages are not rising as rapidly as the cost of living is, a whole bunch of us are falling behind on our mortgages. As you can see, the mortgage delinquency rate has only dropped slightly and is still way, way above typical levels.
#8 New Homes Sold
American workers also don’t have enough money to go out and buy new homes either. Yes, new home sales have rebounded slightly this year, but we are nowhere near where we used to be.
#9 Consumer Credit
Millions of American families continue to resort to going into debt in a desperate attempt to make ends meet. After a slight interruption during the last recession, consumer credit once again is growing at a frightening pace.
#10 Self-Employment At A Record Low
Since there aren’t enough jobs for everyone, why aren’t more Americans trying to start their own businesses? Well, the reality of the matter is that the government has made it exceedingly difficult to start your own business today. Taxes, rules, regulations and red tape are choking the life out of millions of small businesses in the United States. As a result, the percentage of self-employed Americans is at a record low.
As all of these long-term trends continue, the middle class will continue to shrink, poverty in America will continue to explode and government dependence will continue to rise.
The numbers don’t lie. Today, the number of Americans on Social Security Disability now exceeds the entire population of Greece, and the number of Americans on food stamps now exceeds the entire population of Spain.
We are in the midst of a horrifying economic collapse, and the next major wave of that collapse is rapidly approaching.
Are you ready? http://bit.ly/19AnGNs
Is it right for Barack Obama to use IRS audits to punish his political enemies? As crazy as that sounds, there is a mounting body of evidence that indicates that this is actually happening. And if this can be proven, it is a much, much larger scandal than the IRS giving “extra scrutiny” to the applications of conservative non-profit groups. Let me be clear - if Barack Obama has been using IRS audits to punish his political enemies, that is an impeachable offense. Of all of the other scandals that are out there right now, this is the one that could actually bring down the presidency of Barack Obama. That is how serious this is. As you will read about below, there is a huge amount of circumstantial evidence that political enemies of Barack Obama have been singled out for IRS audits. We need to find out who initiated these audits. Whether you are a Republican, a Democrat or an Independent, this kind of abuse of government power should sicken and horrify you. If it can be proven that Barack Obama has been using IRS audits to attack his enemies, every single U.S. citizen should be calling for him to resign. This is something that is beyond politics - this is a direct threat to the very integrity of our system.
The recent revelation that the IRS has been specifically targeting patriot groups and Tea Party organizations for “extra scrutiny” has opened up the floodgates. In recent days, a large number of highly respected people have come forward claiming that they were the subject of IRS audits that were politically motivated.
For example, Larry Conners, a respected local news anchor at KMOV Channel 4 in St. Louis, Missouri says that he was hit with an IRS audit almost immediately after he conducted an interview with Barack Obama in April 2012…
Shortly after I did my April 2012 interview with President Obama, my wife, friends and some viewers suggested that I might need to watch out for the IRS.
I don’t accept “conspiracy theories”, but I do know that almost immediately after the interview, the IRS started hammering me.
At the time, I dismissed the “co-incidence”, but now, I have concerns … after revelations about the IRS targeting various groups and their members.
Originally, the IRS apologized for red-flagging conservative groups and their members if they had “Tea Party” or “patriot” in their name.
Today, there are allegations that the IRS focused on various groups and/or individuals questioning or criticizing government spending, taxes, debt or how the government is run … any involved in limiting/expanding government, educating on the constitution and bill of rights, or social economic reform/movement.
In that April 2012 interview, I questioned President Obama on several topics: the Buffet Rule, his public remarks about the Supreme Court before the ruling on the Affordable Care Act. I also asked why he wasn’t doing more to help Sen. Claire McCaskill who at that time was expected to lose. The Obama interview caught fire and got wide-spread attention because I questioned his spending.
I said some viewers expressed concern, saying they think he’s “out of touch” because of his personal and family trips in the midst of our economic crisis.
The President’s face clearly showed his anger; afterwards, his staff which had been so polite … suddenly went cold.
That’s to be expected, and I can deal with that just as I did with President George H. Bush’s staff when he didn’t like my questions.
Journalistic integrity is of the utmost importance to me. My job is to ask the hard questions, because I believe viewers have a right to be well-informed. I cannot and will not promote anyone’s agenda - political or otherwise - at the expense of the reporting the truth.
What I don’t like to even consider … is that because of the Obama interview … the IRS put a target on me.
Can I prove it? At this time, no.
But it is a fact that since that April 2012 interview … the IRS has been pressuring me.
Reverend Franklin Graham, the son of Reverend Billy Graham, recently wrote a letter to Barack Obama claiming that the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse were both hit with IRS audits very shortly after they ran full-page ads supporting North Carolina’s Marriage amendment. In fact, both organizations were notified about the audits on the same day. The following is from a recent article posted on redstate.com…
The man known as America’s pastor was among those targeted by the Internal Revenue Service after the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association ran newspaper advertisements promoting traditional marriage and biblical values.
“I am bringing this to your attention because I believe that someone in the Administration was targeting and attempting to intimidate us,” wrote Franklin Graham in a letter to President Obama. “This is morally wrong and unethical – indeed some would call it ‘un-American.’”
Graham is president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association as well as the international charity Samaritan’s Purse. Both organizations received word of audits on the same day – not long after they ran full –page ads supporting North Carolina’s Marriage amendment.
The ads encouraged voters to “cast our ballots for candidates who base their decisions on biblical principles and support the nation of Israel.”
The ad concluded with the words, “Vote for biblical values this November 6, and pray with me (Billy Graham) that America will remain one nation under God.”
Graham said on Sept. 6, 2012 they received notification that the IRS would audit their taxes.
“In light of what the IRS admitted to on Friday, May 10, 2013, and subsequent revelations from other sources, I do not believe that the IRS audit of our two organizations last year is a coincidence – or justifiable,” Graham wrote.
You can find a full copy of Franklin Graham’s letter to Barack Obama right here.
The Blaze is reporting on another example of this phenomenon. A respected Catholic professor that had written things critical of the Obama administration was hit with an IRS audit that she believes was politically motivated…
On Wednesday, Dr. Anne Hendershott, a devout Catholic and a noted sociologist, professor and author, exclusively told The Blaze that she believes she may have been one of the IRS’s targets.
According to Hendershott, the IRS audited her in 2010 and demanded to know who was paying her and “what their politics were.”
It all started with a phone call she received at her home in May of that year — a call during which Hendershott was told she would be audited. A letter that followed on May 19, 2010 solidified the IRS’s request to meet her in person two months later in July.
Unfortunately, these are not just isolated incidents. In fact, attorney Cleta Mitchell recently told Newsmax that she has seen a systematic pattern of politically motivated IRS harassment that only began once Barack Obama entered the White House…
In the case of one such client, she and her family subsequently became targets for audits to their personal and business tax returns, and were even visited by three different government agencies. She also knows of other groups who had surprise visits from the FBI after they applied for IRS status.
Mitchell said she doesn’t believe the president or the White House was uninvolved in the IRS activities, as the administration has claimed.
“I’ve thought for some time that this is politically motivated and that’s the reason it was happening. And, as I said, I’ve been doing this for more than 20 years and I’ve never seen anything like this until 2009, 2010. And the only thing that changed was we had a different administration,” she said.
There are some that have been trying to bring awareness to these politically motivated audits for quite some time. One of these individuals is a former classmate of Obama’s named Wayne Allyn Root…
“I feel like a million bucks. I feel absolutely vindicated. I knew this was going on,” Wayne Allyn Root told WND.
Root, the Libertarian Party vice-presidential candidate in 2008 who has claimed Obama was strangely unknown to him and his fellow Columbia University classmates, recounted his story to WND last October of becoming the target of unusual audits, beginning in January 2011, despite a “spotless” 30-year tax record.
He charged in October that the order to audit him came from Obama himself, and he is even more convinced now.
“I believe this is not rogue agents, who would be risking their pension and careers,” he said.
In October, Root said the order to audit him “must have come from the highest levels of government.”
“Obama is using the power of the IRS and other government agencies to punish his political opposition and intimidate and silence his critics,” Root charged at the time.
In that same article, a number of other examples of this phenomenon were cited…
Last year, billionaire Frank VanderSloot became the target of investigations by both the IRS and the Labor Department after he gave $1 million to a super PAC that supported Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. The GOP’s biggest donor, Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, said a federal criminal investigation into his company’s business practices was politically motivated. Another casino giant, Steve Wynn, also has been investigated.
This week, Root has received many emails from people who identify as conservative and believe the IRS has been harassing them for political reasons.
What happened to businessman Frank VanderSloot is particularly noteworthy. The following is from an article that Rob Bluey authored last year…
On April 20, President Obama’s campaign named VanderSloot to the first presidential “enemies list” since the Nixon era. Eight private citizens were singled out for their donations to Romney. They committed no crimes, sought no attention, and yet they became the subject of Obama’s scorn.
VanderSloot is now facing persecution from the federal government. Kimberly Strassel reveals in The Wall Street Journal that two federal agencies — the Internal Revenue Service and Labor Department — both launched investigations of VanderSloot after his name appeared on Obama’s enemies list.
No matter what you think of Obama’s politics, shouldn’t we all be deeply alarmed that he has an “enemies list”?
With each passing day, the similarities between Barack Obama and Richard Nixon become more glaring.
And Obama has even joked about sending the IRS after people that he does not like. When Obama found out that he was not going to be receiving an honorary doctorate from Arizona State University, he made the following statement…
“President [Michael] Crowe and the Board of Regents will soon learn all about being audited by the IRS.”
The IRS is not supposed to be used as a weapon, and the White House is not allowed to use information gathered by the IRS for political gain either. But apparently last year someone at the IRS was leaking tax information to someone within the Obama campaign. The following is from a recent article by Matt K. Lewis…
A little over a year ago, I reported that, ”It is likely that someone at the Internal Revenue Service illegally leaked confidential donor information showing a contribution from Mitt Romney’s political action committee to the National Organization for Marriage, says the group.”
Now — on the heels of news the IRS’s apology for having targeted conservative groups — NOM is renewing their demand that the Internal Revenue Service reveal the identity of the people responsible.
“There is little question that one or more employees at the IRS stole our confidential tax return and leaked it to our political enemies, in violation of federal law,” said NOM’s president Brian Brow, in a prepared statement. “The only questions are who did it, and whether there was any knowledge or coordination between people in the White House, the Obama reelection campaign and the Human Rights Campaign. We and the American people deserve answers.”
The IRS has been doing all sorts of things that they should not be doing. They are a rogue agency that is completely out of control.
In fact, one new lawsuit alleges that the IRS stole the health records of approximately 10 million Americans…
The Internal Revenue Service is now facing a class action lawsuit over allegations that it improperly accessed and stole the health records of some 10 million Americans, including medical records of all California state judges.
According to a report by Courthousenews.com, an unnamed HIPAA-covered entity in California is suing the IRS, alleging that some 60 million medical records from 10 million patients were stolen by 15 IRS agents. The personal health information seized on March 11, 2011, included psychological counseling, gynecological counseling, sexual/drug treatment and other medical treatment data. “This is an action involving the corruption and abuse of power by several Internal Revenue Service agents,” the complaint reads. “No search warrant authorized the seizure of these records; no subpoena authorized the seizure of these records; none of the 10,000,000 Americans were under any kind of known criminal or civil investigation and their medical records had no relevance whatsoever to the IRS search. IT personnel at the scene, a HIPPA facility warning on the building and the IT portion of the searched premises, and the company executives each warned the IRS agents of these privileged records,” it continued.
And guess what?
The IRS is going to be the primary government agency in charge of implementing Obamacare.
Will we soon see the IRS use health information to attack the political enemies of the man or woman sitting in the White House?
Unfortunately, thanks to new “Big Brother” technology that the IRS has been implementing, pretty soon there will be very little about us that the IRS does not know. The following is from a recent article by Richard Satran of U.S. News & World Report…
Consumers are already familiar with Internet “cookies” that track their movements and send them targeted ads that follow them to different websites. The IRS has brought in private industry experts to employ similar digital tracking—but with the added advantage of access to Social Security numbers, health records, credit card transactions and many other privileged forms of information that marketers don’t see.
“Private industry would be envious if they knew what our models are,” boasted Dean Silverman, the agency’s high-tech top gun who heads a group recruited from the private sector to update the IRS, in a comment reported in trade publications.
So what is the IRS going to do with all of this information?
Well, the following are just a few of the things that they have already said that they plan to do with it…
• Charting and analyzing social media such as Facebook
• Targeting audits by matching tax filings to social media or electronic payments
• Tracking individual Internet addresses and emailing patterns
• Sorting data in 32,000 categories of metadata and 1 million unique “attributes”
• Machine learning across “neural” networks
• Statistical and agent-based modeling
• Relationship analysis based on Social Security numbers and other personal identifiers
So are you alarmed by all of this?
You should be.
As I discussed in my previous article entitled “100 Years Old And Still Killing Us: America Was Much Better Off Before The Income Tax”, Congress should close the doors of the IRS and throw away the key. It is a deeply, deeply corrupt government agency that has gotten wildly out of control.
After what you have just read above, is there anyone out there that would disagree with me? http://bit.ly/19uYE2f
Does Barack Obama have any idea what is going on in the government that he is supposedly running? Scandals are erupting all around him, and he supposedly was not aware that any wrongdoing had taken place in any of those instances. It is almost as if every major government agency has gone rogue and Obama has no idea what the heck they are doing. According to Obama, he often doesn’t learn what those under his authority are up to until he sits down and turns on the news. Should we believe him when he claims ignorance over and over again, or is Obama just trying to protect himself? Whether you are a Republican, a Democrat or an Independent, the revelations that have come out in recent days about the IRS, the seizure of AP phone records and Benghazi should be very alarming to you. Taken together, these scandals paint a picture of a federal government that has become drunk with power, and no matter where you may fall on the political spectrum that is something that nobody should want.
Posted below is a fictional interview that I have created between an anonymous reporter and Barack Obama about the IRS scandal, the seizure of AP phone records, Benghazi and other sensitive topics. Yes, this interview is a bit absurd, but so is the notion that Barack Obama is completely ignorant about so many important things that are going on inside his own government…
REPORTER: “President Obama, the IRS has publicly admitted that they were specifically targeting patriot groups and Tea Party organizations for ‘extra scrutiny’. When did you first learn about this?”
REPORTER: “But how is that possible? We have now learned that the targeting of patriots and Tea Party groups began as early as March 2010. The head of the IRS tax-exempt organizations division was informed about this targeting in June 2011, the chief counsel for the IRS knew about this targeting by August 2011, the deputy commissioner for services and enforcement knew about this targeting by March 2012, and IRS Commissioner Steven T. Miller knew about this targeting by May 2012. Throughout this period of time, the IRS repeatedly lied to Congress when they were specifically asked about the targeting of conservative groups. Are you claiming that nobody from your administration ever had any contact with anyone from the IRS about this?”
REPORTER: That is what the IRS was claiming at first. But now the Washington Post is reporting that “IRS officials at the agency’s Washington headquarters sent queries to conservative groups asking about their donors and other aspects of their operations, while officials in the El Monte and Laguna Niguel offices in California sent similar questionnaires to tea-party-affiliated groups.” That would seem to indicate that this was being coordinated on a nationwide level by someone at the IRS. Would you care to comment on that?
REPORTER: But you were just commenting on it. Don’t you think that the American people deserve the truth about this?
REPORTER: Okay, let’s switch gears. Did you know that the Justice Department was spying on AP reporters just months before the 2012 election? Did you know that two months of cellular, office and home telephone records were secretly obtained without any explanation last April and May?
REPORTER: The Associated Press is now the enemy? Without a free and independent media, what would keep us from descending into tyranny?
REPORTER: But shouldn’t we be alarmed when government agencies target specific groups of people for their political beliefs? Breitbart is reporting that the EPA “has routinely charged conservative and watchdog groups fees that the agency has waived for the mainstream media and ‘green’ groups”. Do you know anything about this?
REPORTER: I understand that these are tougher questions than you normally get from the media. But I think that the American people deserve some answers. For example, would you like to discuss Benghazi?
REPORTER: Very funny Mr. President. What about the Fast and Furious scandal? Would you be willing to talk about that?
REPORTER: Are there any difficult subjects that you would be willing to discuss? I have questions here about the Secret Service prostitution scandal, Solyndra, the new NSA spy center out in Utah, government ammunition stockpiling, the NDAA, drone strikes, Jeremiah Wright, Tony Rezko and Bill Ayers. Would you be willing to answer any of those questions?
When is the economic collapse going to happen? Just open up your eyes and take a look around the globe. The next wave of the economic collapse may not have reached Wall Street yet, but it is already deeply affecting billions of lives all over the planet. Much of Europe has already descended into a deep economic depression, very disturbing economic data is coming out of the second and third largest economies on the globe (China and Japan), and in most of the world economic inequality is growing even though 80 percent of the global population already lives on less than $10 a day. Just because the Dow has been setting brand new all-time records lately does not mean that everything is okay. Remember, a bubble is always the biggest right before it bursts. The next major wave of the economic collapse is already sweeping across Europe and Asia and it is going to devastate the United States as well. I hope that you are ready.
The following are 10 scenes from the economic collapse that is sweeping across the planet…
#1 27 Percent Unemployment/60 Percent Youth Unemployment In Greece
The economic depression in Europe just continues to get worse with each passing month. According to the Daily Mail, the unemployment rate in Greece has nearly tripled since 2009…
Greek youth unemployment rose above 60 per cent for the first time in February, reflecting the pain caused by the country’s crippling recession after years of austerity under its international bailout.
Greece’s jobless rate has almost tripled since the country’s debt crisis emerged in 2009 and was more than twice the euro zone’s average unemployment reading of 12.1 percent in March.
While the overall unemployment rate rose to 27 per cent, according to statistics service data released on Thursday, joblessness among those aged between 15 and 24 jumped to 64.2 percent in February from 59.3 percent in January.
#2 Detroit, Michigan Is Insolvent And Is Rapidly Running Out Of Cash
I love to write about Detroit because it is a perfect example of where the rest of the country is headed. They have just gotten there first. At this point, Detroit is essentially bankrupt, and the new emergency financial manager is saying that Detroit may totally run out of cash next month…
Detroit may run out of cash next month and must cut long-term debt and retiree obligations, according to emergency financial manager Kevyn Orr’s preliminary plan to save Michigan’s largest city from bankruptcy.
Orr’s report says the cost of $9.4 billion in bond, pension and other long-term liabilities is sapping the ability to provide public safety and transportation. He listed cutting debt principal, retiree benefits and jobs among his options.
“No one should underestimate the severity of the financial crisis,” Orr said yesterday in a statement. He called his report “a sobering wake-up call about the dire financial straits the city of Detroit faces.”
#3 Economic Despair In France
France is going down the same path that Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy have gone. The following is an excerpt from a recent article in the Economist…
HELDER PEREIRA is a young man with no work and few prospects: a 21-year-old who failed to graduate from high school and lost his job on a building site four months ago. With his savings about to run out, he has come to his local employment centre in the Paris suburb of Sevran to sign on for benefits and to get help finding something to do. He’ll get the cash. Work is another matter. Youth unemployment in Sevran is over 40%.
#4 7,000 Abandoned Buildings In Dayton, Ohio
All over the upper Midwest, there are formerly great cities that are dealing with thousands of abandoned buildings. Dayton, Ohio is one example…
Like many urban cities in recent years, Dayton still finds itself knee-deep in abandoned, dilapidated properties as the result of the foreclosure crisis and economic downturn five years ago.
Boarded up buildings that appear to be on their last legs litter the city as it attempts to recover.
Kevin Powell, the city’s acting manager of housing inspection, says officials plan to use $5.2 million — half from the state’s Moving Ohio Forward program and a matching grant from the city’s general fund — to raze 475 abandoned properties by the end of September.
That will scratch the surface of an estimated 7,000 abandoned property problem that is growing.
#5 Overwhelmed By Squatters In Spain
In Spain, unemployment is rampant and people have become incredibly desperate. In fact, in some Spanish cities you can now find entire apartment buildings that are being overwhelmed by squatters…
A 285-unit apartment complex in Parla, less than half an hour’s drive from Madrid, should be an ideal target for investors seeking cheap property in Spain. Unfortunately, two thirds of the building generates zero revenue because it’s overrun by squatters.
“This is happening all over the country,” said Jose Maria Fraile, the town’s mayor, who estimates only 100 apartments in the block built for the council have rental contracts, and not all of those tenants are paying either. “People lost their jobs, they can’t pay mortgages or rent so they lost their homes and this has produced a tide of squatters.”
#6 The Collapse Of Chinese Power Consumption
Energy consumption tends to closely mirror economic activity. That is why the recent collapse of Chinese power consumption is so alarming. The following is from Zero Hedge…
According to CLSA’s Chris Wood using NEA data, China’s monthly power consumption (the most accurate proxy for underlying economic strength according to the current premier) growth slowed from 5.5% YoY in Jan-Feb 2013 to 1.9% YoY in March, the slowest growth rate since May 2009 (as discussed in-depth here).
#7 Horrible Economic Data Coming Out Of The Second Largest Economy On The Planet
The economic data that has been coming out of the second largest economy on the globe has been quite alarming recently…
For starters, China’s recent economic data, as massaged as it is to the upside, is downright awful. China’s PMI numbers were the worst in two years. Staffing levels in the Chinese service sector decreased _for the first time since January 2009_ (remember that year).
China’s LEI also shows no sign of recovery. If anything, it indicates China is heading towards an economic slowdown on par with that of 2008. And if you account for the rampant debt fueling China’s economy you could easily argue that China is posting 0% GDP growth today.
#8 One Out Of Every Five U.S. Households On Food Stamps
Back in the 1970s, about one out of every 50 Americans was on food stamps. Today, even though we are supposedly in the midst of an “economic recovery”, food stamp enrollment continues to soar to new highs. The following is from CNS News…
The most recent Supplemental Assistance Nutrition Program (SNAP) statistics of the number of households receiving food stamps shows that 23,087,886 households participated in January 2013 - an increase of 889,154 families from January 2012 when the number of households totaled 22,188,732.
The most recent statistics from the United States Census Bureau— from December 2012— puts the number of households in the United States at 115,310,000. If you divide 115,310,000 by 23,087,866, that equals one out of every five households now receiving food stamps.
#9 Child Hunger In America
Those that work for the big banks on Wall Street may have no problems feeding their children, but overall there is a rapidly growing child hunger crisis in America today. Just check out the following statistics from one of my previous articles…
*For the first time ever, more than a million public school students in the United States are homeless. That number has risen by 57 percent since the 2006-2007 school year.
*In Miami, 45 percent of all children are living in poverty.
*In Cleveland, more than 50 percent of all children are living in poverty.
*According to a recently released report, 60 percent of all children in the city of Detroit are living in poverty.
#10 The Tremendous Suffering Of Hundreds Of Millions Of Desperately Poor People That We Never Hear About
There are billions of people around the globe that are deeply suffering but that do not have a voice. We usually never hear about the desperate poverty that these people are living in, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. The following statistics that Stephen Lendman recently compiled should shock and alarm you…
At least 80% live on less than $10 a day. Over three billion people live on less than $2.50 a day. More than 80% live in countries where income disparity is increasing.
The poorest 40% of world population has 5% of global income. The bottom fifth has $1.5%. The top 20% has 75%.
According to UNICEF, 22,000 impoverished children die daily. They “die quietly in some of the poorest villages on earth, far removed from the scrutiny and the conscience of the world. Being meek and weak in life makes these dying multitudes even more invisible in death.”
An estimated 28% of children in developing countries are underweight, malnourished and/or stunted.
How can so many people be living like that in a world with such wealth?
Sadly, things are going to get much worse. The economic and financial systems of the world are rapidly breaking down, and in a few years these are going to look like “the good old days”.
And a growing number of people are starting to realize the direction that things are headed. For example, according to a survey that has just been released, 48 percent of all Americans believe that the best days of America are now behind us.
So what do you think?
Are our best days behind us, or are they still ahead of us?
Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below… http://bit.ly/19kBA6f
Would you take out a loan that has an annual percentage rate of 391 percent? Yes, I know that sounds absolutely crazy, but millions of Americans do it every single year. The typical payday loan requires borrowers to pay about 15 dollars for every $100 that they borrow for two weeks. That comes out to a yearly rate of about 391 percent. And the payday loan companies know exactly who to target. They have set up thousands of shops in the poorest communities all over the nation over the last several decades. Each year, approximately 12 million Americans take out payday loans and they pay approximately 7.4 billion dollars in interest and fees on those loans. Sadly, once you get hooked on payday loans they are very hard to stop. In fact, one study found that only 13 percent of payday borrowers get two loans or less per year. All other borrowers take out more loans than that. In fact, more than a third of all payday borrowers take out between 11 and 19 loans during the course of a single year. And as was mentioned earlier, the interest rates on these loans are beyond exorbitant. Payday loans are estimated to be about 20 times more expensive than bank loans, with annual interest rates that are sometimes as high as 500 percent. The payday loan companies circle the poor like vultures, because they know that the poor are the only ones desperate enough to agree to such terms. This is why we need to shut them down. The payday loan companies are making billions preying on the misery of the poor and it needs to be stopped.
And it just isn’t small, disreputable banks that are involved in these practices. The truth is that some of the largest banks in America are now making payday loans…
Some, including U.S. Bank, Fifth Third Bank and Wells Fargo, offer payday loans under names such as Ready Advance, Fast Loan and Early Access, according to the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL). They can carry interest rates averaging between 225 and 300 percent, CRL said.
Others major banks not making such loans directly, but instead they are investing millions of dollars in the companies that do make the loans. Bank of New York Mellon Corp., JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America are just some of the major banks that have invested large amounts of money in the payday loan industry.
These financial institutions are making billions of dollars by exploiting the people in our society that are the most vulnerable. As I showed the other day, the bottom 90 percent of America is systematically getting poorer, and many Americans in desperate financial situations have found the easy cash provided by the payday loan companies to be irresistible. The following are some statistics about payday loans from a recent Pew Research study...
-Fifty-eight percent of payday loan borrowers have trouble meeting monthly expenses at least half the time. These borrowers are dealing with persistent cash shortfalls rather than temporary emergencies.
-Only 14 percent of borrowers say they can afford to repay an average payday loan out of their monthly budgets.
-Seventy-eight percent of borrowers rely on information from lenders—who sell these loans as a safe, two-week product—when choosing to borrow money. This reliance reinforces the perception that payday loans are unlike other forms of credit because they will not create ongoing debt. Yet the stated price tag for a two-week, $375 loan bears little resemblance to the actual $520 cost over the five months of debt that the average user experiences.
-While payday loans are often presented as an alternative to overdrafting on a checking account, a majority of borrowers end up paying fees for both.
-Some borrowers ultimately turn to the same options they could have used instead of payday loans to finally pay off the loans. Forty-one percent need an outside cash infusion to eliminate payday loan debt– including getting help from friends or family, selling or pawning personal possessions, taking out another type of loan, or using a tax refund.
-By almost a three-to-one margin, borrowers favor more regulation of payday loans. A majority of borrowers say the loans both take advantage of them and that they provide relief. Despite feeling conflicted about their experiences, borrowers want to change how payday loans work.
But those statistics don’t really convey the real world consequences that these predatory loans have. Many Americans have lost everything that they had after they turned to payday loans. In fact, it is estimated that at least 50,000 Americans a year go bankrupt due to payday loans.
A recent NBC News article profiled Raymond Chaney, a 66-year-old military veteran that had his life totally destroyed by these predators…
For Raymond Chaney, taking out a payday loan was like hiring a taxi to drive across the country. He ended up broke — and stranded.
The 66-year-old veteran from Boise lives off of Social Security benefits, but borrowed from an Internet payday lender last November after his car broke down and didn’t have the $400 for repairs. When the 14-day loan came due, he couldn’t pay, so he renewed it several times.
Within months, the cash flow nightmare spun out of control. Chaney ended up taking out multiple loans from multiple sites, trying to to stave off bank overdraft fees and pay his rent. By February, payday lenders — who had direct access to his checking account as part of the loan terms — took every cent of his Social Security payment, and he was kicked out of his apartment. He had borrowed nearly $3,000 and owed $12,000.
“I’m not dumb, but I did a dumb thing,” said Chaney, who is now homeless, living in a rescue mission in Boise.
Is there anyone out there that still wants to argue that we should not shut these predators down?
Sadly, many Americans in poor communities have very few alternatives to the payday loan companies. In recent years, the large banking chains have been systematically closing down branches in poor neighborhoods while expanding in wealthy neighborhoods at the same time. Since the Federal Reserve is paying banks not to lend money, it doesn’t make a lot of sense for them to make high-risk loans to poor Americans who may not be able to pay them back. And recent regulations passed by Congress have made it not very profitable to offer checking accounts to poor people. In many poor communities all over the country, it has now gotten to the point where it is becoming extremely difficult to find a bank branch anywhere.
So payday loan companies have been more than happy to fill the void.
But don’t look down on those that have taken out payday loans. The truth is that almost all of us have willingly allowed ourselves to become enslaved to the system at one point or another.
For example, in a previous article entitled “Money Is A Form Of Social Control And Most Americans Are Debt Slaves”, I pointed out the utter foolishness of constantly carrying a balance on a credit card. In that article, I included a great explanation from a former Goldman Sachs banker about how incredibly crippling credit card debt can be…
On the debt side of things, how much does your credit card company earn if you carry just an average of a $5,000 credit card balance, paying, say, 22% annual interest rate (compounding monthly) for the next 10 years?
In your mind you owe a balance of only $5,000, which is not a huge amount, especially for someone gainfully employed. After all, $5,000 is just a quick Disney trip, or a moderately priced ski-trip, or that week in Hawaii. You think to yourself, “how bad could it be?”
The answer, including the cost of monthly compounding, is $44,235, or about 9 times what it appears to cost you at face value.
This is why one of the top things that I recommend for getting prepared for the economic crisis that is coming is to get out of debt.
You do not want to be enslaved to financial predators when everything starts falling apart all around you.
So do any of you have any payday loan or credit card horror stories to share? Please feel free to share what you have to say by posting a comment below…
What do speed traps, parking tickets, toll roads, speed cameras and red light cameras all have in common? They are all major revenue sources for state and local governments. All over America today there are state and local governments that are drowning in debt. Many have chosen to use “traffic enforcement” as a way to raise desperately needed revenue. According to the National Motorist Association, issuing speeding tickets raises somewhere between 4.5 billion and 6 billion dollars in the United States each year. And the average price of a speeding ticket just keeps going up. Today, the national average is about $150, but in many jurisdictions it is far higher. For example, more than 16 million traffic tickets are issued in the state of California each year, and the average fine is approximately $250. If you are wealthy that may not be much of a problem, but if you are a family that is barely scraping by every month that can be a major financial setback. Meanwhile, America’s roads are also being systematically transformed into a surveillance grid. The number of cameras watching our roads is absolutely exploding, and automated license plate readers are capturing hundreds of millions of data points on all of us. As you drive down the highway, a police vehicle coming up behind you can instantly read your license plate and pull up a whole host of information about you. This happened to me a few years ago. I had pulled on to a very crowded highway in Virginia and within less than a minute a cop car had scanned me and was pulling me over because one of my stickers had expired. But these automated license plate readers are being used for far more than just traffic enforcement now. For example, officials in Washington D.C. are now using automated license plate readers to track the movements of every single vehicle that enters the city. They know when you enter Washington, and they know when you leave. So where is all of this headed? Do we really want to live in a “Big Brother” society where the government constantly tracks all of our movements?
Back in the old days, the highways of America were great examples to the rest of the world of the tremendous liberties and freedoms that we enjoyed. Americans loved to hop into their vehicles and take a drive. But now government is sucking all of the fun out of driving. The control freak bureaucrats that dominate our political system have figured out that giant piles of money can be raised by turning our roads into revenue raising tools.
At this point things have gotten so bad that even some police officers are admitting what is going on. Just check out what a few of them told Car and Driver…
The president of a state police union isn’t pretending it doesn’t happen. James Tignanelli, president of the Police Officers Association of Michigan union, says, “When elected officials say, ‘We need more money,’ they can’t look to the department of public works to raise revenues, so where do they find it? Police departments.
“A lot of police chiefs will tell you the goal is to have nobody speeding through their community, but heaven forbid if it should actually happen—they’d be out of money,” Tignanelli says.
Police Chief Michael Reaves of Utica, Michigan, says the role of law enforcement has changed over the years. “When I first started in this job 30 years ago, police work was never about revenue enhancement, but if you’re a chief now, you have to look at whether your department produces revenues,” he says. “That’s just the reality nowadays.”
And as the economy has gone downhill, many jurisdictions have massively jacked up traffic fines. According to the Los Angeles Times, various traffic fines in the Los Angeles area are far higher than they once were…
If you’re caught running a red light in Los Angeles, be prepared to shell out $446, up from $271 eight years ago. Make a rolling right turn at a stoplight and the ticket comes to $381 — more than double what it cost in 2008.
And of course the cost to the driver does not end with the ticket. Your car insurance will likely go up as well. In fact, one study found that a driver that just gets one speeding ticket will pay an additional 20 percent for car insurance for the next three to six years.
That can add up to a lot of money.
But politicians just keep wanting to find a way to issue even more tickets. One of the hottest trends all over the country is to automate the issuing of traffic tickets by installing cameras. According to USA Today, this has become a huge growth industry…
Sales of the cameras have nearly quadrupled since companies moved to digital and wireless technology in the mid-2000s. The number of local contracts for cameras was up to 689 last year, from 155 in 2005, according to industry data complied by market leader American Traffic Solutions (ATS).
And these automated traffic cameras can raise an enormous amount of cash. Just check out what has been happening in Washington D.C.…
The speeding and traffic light cameras have become more lucrative as their number in the District has increased. Combined, they issued tickets valued at $24.4 million in 2007. That figure more than doubled by 2010, to $50.9 million, and it reached $84.9 million in the last fiscal year.
But as annoying as those traffic cameras are, automated license plate readers are perhaps even more insidious.
The amount of data that these automated license plate readers are capturing is astounding. The following is from a recent article by the Electronic Frontier Foundation…
Photographing a single license plate one time on a public city street may not seem problematic, but when that data is put into a database, combined with other scans of that same plate on other city streets, and stored forever, it can become very revealing. Information about your location over time can show not only where you live and work, but your political and religious beliefs, your social and sexual habits, your visits to the doctor, and your associations with others. And, according to recent research reported in _Nature_, it’s possible to identify 95% of individuals with as few as four randomly selected geospatial datapoints (location + time), making location data the ultimate biometric identifier.
Our license plates have essentially become “our papers” which the government can read whenever it would like without even asking for our permission.
According to L.A. Weekly, local police agencies in the L.A. area have captured more than 160 million data points on private citizens using these automated license plate readers…
_L.A. Weekly_ has learned that more than two dozen law enforcement agencies in Los Angeles County are using hundreds of these “automatic license plate recognition” devices (LPRs) — units about the size of a paperback book, usually mounted atop police cruisers — to devour data on every car that catches their electronic eye.
The L.A. County Sheriff’s Department and the Los Angeles Police Department are two of the biggest gatherers of automatic license plate recognition information. Local police agencies have logged more than 160 million data points — a massive database of the movements of millions of drivers in Southern California.
Each data point represents a car and its exact whereabouts at a given time. Police have already conducted, on average, some 22 scans for every one of the 7,014,131 vehicles registered in L.A. County.
As the use of these devices becomes more widespread and they become even more sophisticated, eventually the government will know where almost all of us are and what almost all of us are doing at all times.
The following is a brief except from a Washington Post article that detailed how automated license plate readers are now being used to create a “dragnet” that will track the movements of all vehicles from the time that they enter Washington D.C. to the time that they leave…
More than 250 cameras in the District and its suburbs scan license plates in real time, helping police pinpoint stolen cars and fleeing killers. But the program quietly has expanded beyond what anyone had imagined even a few years ago.
With virtually no public debate, police agencies have begun storing the information from the cameras, building databases that document the travels of millions of vehicles.
Nowhere is that more prevalent than in the District, which has more than one plate-reader per square mile, the highest concentration in the nation. Police in the Washington suburbs have dozens of them as well, and local agencies plan to add many more in coming months, creating a comprehensive dragnet that will include all the approaches into the District.
This is just the beginning.
For now, as long as you carefully obey all traffic laws and you don’t work in a major city like Washington D.C., the changes that are happening probably do not affect you too much.
But the key is to see where all of this is going. Our roads are slowly but surely being transformed into a revenue generating control grid. And this is just yet another example of how government feels the need to constantly watch, monitor, track and regulate everything that we do.
Does anyone else feel like the life is slowly being choked out of our society, or am I alone?
The legal claims on physical gold far exceed the amount of physical gold that the banks actually have by a very, very wide margin. And right now the bankers are scared out of their wits because their warehouses are being drained of physical gold at a frightening rate. So what happens when their physical gold is gone but they still have lots and lots of people with legal claims to gold? When that moment arrives, it will represent the end of the paper gold scam. Many believe that the recent takedown of the price of paper gold was a desperate attempt by the bankers to put off that day of reckoning, but it appears to have greatly backfired on them. Instead of cooling off demand for precious metals, it has unleashed a massive “gold rush” all over the globe. Meanwhile, word has been spreading among wealthy families in both North America and Europe that they had better grab their physical gold out of the banks while they still can. This is creating havoc in the financial community, and at least one major international bank has already declared that it will only be settling those accounts in cash from now on. The paper gold scam is starting to unravel, and by the time this is all over it is going to be a complete and total nightmare for global financial markets.
For years it has been widely known that the promises that banks have made regarding their gold far exceed their actual ability to deliver, but we have never reached a moment of such crisis before.
Posted below are quotes from people that know precious metals far better than I do. What these experts are saying is more than a little bit disturbing…
-CME President Terry Duffy: What’s interesting about gold, when we had that big break two weeks ago we saw all the gold stocks trade down significantly, we saw all the gold products trade down significantly, but one thing that did not trade down, was gold coins, tangible real gold. That’s going to show you, people don’t want certificates, they don’t want anything else. They want the real product.
-Billionaire Eric Sprott: So we see all of these paper (trading) volumes going through that bear absolutely no relationship to what’s going on in the physical markets. As you know I have always been a proponent of the fact that supply in the gold market was way less than demand, and by a very large factor. I think demand exceeds supply by at least 60%. The central banks are surreptitiously supplying that gold, and ultimately they will be running on fumes.
When we hear about the LBMA not willing to deliver gold, and JP Morgan’s inventories at the COMEX have gone from 2.4 million (ounces) down to 160,000 ounces, it just makes you realize that all of this paper trading means nothing. It’s the real physical market that you have to rely on.
-JS Kim: FACT #1: COMEX gold vaults were recently drained of 2 million ounces of physical gold in one quarter, the largest withdrawal of physical gold bullion from COMEX vaults in one quarter during this entire 12-year gold and silver bull. There has been speculation about the reasons that spurred these massive withdrawals of gold from COMEX vaults, but the most reasonable speculation is that no one trusts the bankers to hold on to their physical gold anymore, especially in light of Fact #2. Note below, that both registered AND eligible stocks of gold had heavily declined in recent months. Such an event signals a general distrust of the banking system from everyone holding gold in registered COMEX vaults.
FACT #2: One of the largest European banks, ABN Amro, defaulted on their gold contracts and informed their clients that they would only settle their gold bullion contracts in cash and not in physical. So much for the supposed legality of financial contracts as a “binding” contract. So whether Fact #1 caused Fact #2 or vice versa is irrelevant. What IS apparent is that the level of trust in bankers to safekeep physical gold and physical silver is disappearing, as it should be, and as it should have already been for years now. But truth always takes some time to catch up to banker spread lies and that is what is happening now. I have been warning people never to trust bankers in deals involving gold and silver for years now, as in this article I wrote nearly four years ago informing the public that the SLV and GLD are likely a banker invented scam as well.
FACT #3: Silver fraud whistleblower and London trader Andrew Maguire stated that the LBMA was having trouble settling gold contracts in bullion as well and stated that institutions that asked for physical settlement “were told they would be cash settled instead by a bullion bank.” In plain English, this is a default. So Andrew Maguire reported that the LBMA had already gone into default. In light of Fact #1 and Fact #2, the dominoes were starting to tumble and the house of cards that the bankers had built in gold and silver paper derivatives to deceive and hide the true fundamentals of the physical gold and physical markets from the entire world was rapidly starting to crumble. A financial earthquake of magnitude 2.5 was quickly threatening to evolve into one of the biggest financial earthquakes of all time in which the world’s confidence in all global fiat currencies would effectively have a well-deserved funeral.
-Jim Sinclair: I think the reality is the supply situation is extremely volatile at this point, and even discussing it is like rubbing a raw nerve to the people who are in charge. The amount of discussion on the subject of warehouse supply, supply that is represented by the gold leases, indicated to the central planners that the demand for physical was going to continue to effect the exchanges.
Although they did not expect any grandstand delivery, the mere continued draining of physical inventories was threatening the very functioning of the paper exchange. That threatening of the paper exchange and its ability to continue functioning is really taking off the blinders and revealing the truth behind the critical question, ‘Where is the gold?’
The question now is, ‘Where has the gold gone?’ Who has all of this gold? Because of the nature of gold leasing, all of this gold has been purchased and it has gone somewhere. The reality of the empty vaults reveal that the gold has gone missing.
-Ronald Stoeferle: We’re seeing this rush to physical gold not only in the retail market, but also for the institutional players…[it’s] just overwhelming…I [estimate] a 130-to-1 [ratio of paper to physical gold]…and I think in the last week we were really close to [triggering] a default of the paper market.
-Gerhard Schubert, head of Precious Metals at Emirates NBD: I have not seen in my 35 years in precious metals such a determined and strong global physical demand for gold. The UAE physical markets have been cleared out by buyers from all walks of life. The premiums, which have been asked for and which have been paid have been the cornerstone of the gold price recovery. It is very rare that physical markets can have a serious impact on market prices, which are normally driven solely by derivatives and futures contracts…
I did speak during the week with several refineries in the world, of course including the UAE refineries, and the waiting period for 995 kilo bars is easily 2-3 weeks and goes into June in some cases. A large portion of the 995 kilo bars in the UAE goes normally into the Indian market, but a lot of the available 995 kilo bars are destined for Turkey, at this time. We heard that premiums paid in Turkey have reached anything between US $ 20 and US $ 35 per ounce.
-James Turk: Another indication of the demand for large bars is the huge drawdown in the gold stock in COMEX warehouses. It is noteworthy that COMEX reports show the drawdown is largely the result of dealers removing their inventory, their working stock. When that happens, you know the availability of supply is constrained.
What all of this means, Eric, is one thing. If the central planners want to keep the precious metals at these low prices, to meet the demand for physical metal they will need to empty more metal from central bank vaults, or borrow metal from the ETFs as some have suggested is happening. Otherwise, the central planners will have to step back and stop their intervention, thereby letting the price of gold and silver rise so that demand tapers off, bringing demand and supply of physical metal back toward some kind of balance.
We’ve seen this same situation several times over the last twelve years. It is what I have been calling a “managed retreat.” Despite the current weakness, I firmly believe we have again entered a critical period where the central planners will need to retreat once again in order to let the gold and silver prices climb higher.
-The Golden Truth: And then I get a call from a close friend in NYC last Friday. His career has been in private wealth management in the private bank department of the Too Big To Fail banks. He’s been looking for work and chats with old colleagues all the time. He called my Friday and told me he just got off the phone with a very high level private banker from a big Euro-based TBTF bullion bank, but who was at JP Morgan until about six months ago.
This guy told my friend that there is a scramble by many very wealthy European families/entities to get their 400 oz bars out of the big bank vaults. He knows this personally, for a fact. He said the private banker community is small over there and the big wealthy families all talk to each other and act on the same rumors/sentiment. The Bundesbank/Fed and the ABN/Amro situations triggered this move. He knows for a fact JPM tried to calm fears about 3 months ago by sending a letter to it’s very wealthy clients assuring them their bars were safe, in allocated accounts. He said right now those same families are walking into the big banks like JPM and demanding delivery of their bars or threatening to take their $100’s of millions in investment portfolios to competitors. His wording was “these people are putting a gun to the heads of private banks and demanding their gold.”
I know this information is good because I know my friend’s background and when he tells me his source is plugged in, the guy is plugged in. Not only that, my friend’s source said that there’s no doubt that someone like a John Paulson, not necessarily specifically him, but entities like him or it may include him, have held a gun to GLD and demanded delivery of physical in exchange for their shares.
Regarding the Bundesbank/Fed situation, recall that the Bundesbank asked to have some portion of its gold sitting - supposedly - in the NY Fed vault in NYC sent back Germany. The total amount is 1800 tonnes. After behind the scenes negotiations, the Fed agreed to ship 300 tonnes back over seven years. To this day, the time required for that shipment has never been explained. Venezuela demanded the return of its 200 tonnes held in London, NYC and Switzerland and received it all within about four months.
And regarding the ABN/Amro situation. ABN/Amro offered a gold investment account product that offered physical delivery of the gold in the investment account when the investor cashes out. About a week before the gold price smash, ABN sent a letter to its clients informing that the physical delivery of the bullion was no longer available and that all accounts would be settled with cash at redemption.
I believe it was these two events that triggered the big scramble for physical gold by wealthy families/entities who were suspicious of the integrity of their bank vault custodial arrangement anyway.
So what does all of this mean?
It means that we are entering a period when there will be unprecedented volatility for precious metals. There will be tremendous ups and downs as this crisis plays out and the bankers try to keep the paper gold scam from completely unraveling.
Meanwhile, nations such as China continue to stockpile gold as if the end of the world was coming.
According to Zero Hedge, Chinese gold imports set a brand new all-time record high in March…
Quite the contrary: as export data released by the Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department overnight showed, Chinese gold imports in March exploded to an all time record high of 223.5 tons.
And the number for April is expected to be even higher.
Does China know something that the rest of us do not?
We are also seeing a rapid decoupling between spot prices and physical prices. In fact, it is quickly getting to the point where the spot price of gold and the spot price of silver are becoming irrelevant.
For example, demand for silver coins has become so intense that some dealers are charging premiums of up to 30 percent over spot price for silver eagles.
That would have been regarded as insane a few years ago, but people are now willing to pay these kinds of premiums. People are recognizing the importance of actually having physical gold and silver in their possession and they are willing to pay a significant premium in order to get it.
We are moving into uncharted territory. The paper gold scam is rapidly coming to an end. In the long-term, this will greatly benefit those that are holding significant amounts of physical gold and silver.
There are a dozen significant economic indicators that are warning that the U.S. economy is heading into a recession. The Dow may have soared past the 15,000 mark, but the economic fundamentals are telling an entirely different story. If historical patterns hold up, the economy is heading for a very rocky stretch. For example, the price of copper is called “Dr. Copper” by many economists because it so accurately forecasts the future direction of the U.S. economy. And so far this year the price of copper is way down. But that is not the only indicator that is worrying economists. Home renovation spending has fallen dramatically, retail spending is crashing in a way not seen since the last recession, manufacturing activity and consumer confidence are both declining, and troubling economic data continues to come pouring out of Asia and Europe. So why do U.S. stocks continue to skyrocket? Will U.S. financial markets be able to continue to be divorced from reality? Unfortunately, as we have seen so many times in the past, when stocks do catch up with reality they tend to do so very rapidly. So you better put on your seatbelts because a crash is coming at some point.
But most average Americans are not that concerned with the performance of the stock market. They just want to be able to go to work, pay the bills and provide for their families. During the last recession, millions of Americans lost their jobs and millions of Americans lost their homes. If we have another major recession, that will happen again. Sadly, it appears that another major recession is quickly approaching.
The following are 12 recession indicators that are flashing red…
#1 The price of copper has traditionally been one of the very best indicators of the future performance of the U.S. economy. The fact that it is down nearly 20 percent so far this year has many analysts extremely concerned…
Copper’s downward trend foreshadows a stock market collapse, according to Societe Generale’s famously bearish strategist Albert Edwards, who said equity markets will riot “Japan-style.”
“Copper is acting exactly as it did when I wrote about the impotence of liquidity in the face of the (then imminent) 2007 recession. Once again it is giving us an early warning that liquidity will not save risk assets: time to get out of equities,” Edwards wrote in his latest research note, on Thursday.
#2 Home renovation spending has fallen back to depressingly-low 2010 levels.
#3 As Zero Hedge recently pointed out, U.S. retail spending is repeating a pattern that we have not seen since the last recession…
Retail sales of clothing is growing at the slowest pace since 2010; but while major store sales are about to drop negative YoY for the first time in over 3 years, the utter collapse in general merchandise sales is worse that at the peak of the last recession at -5%. It seems tough to see how a nation with an economy built on 70% consumption is not in a recessionary environment. And while this alone is a dismal signal for the discretionary upside of the US economy/consumer; as Gluskin Sheff’s David Rosenberg points out real personal income net of transfer receipts plunged at a stunning 5.8% annual rate in Q1. The other seven times we have seen such a collapse, the economy was either in recession of just coming out of one.
#4 Manufacturing activity all over the country is showing signs of slowing down. In fact, Chicago PMI has dipped below 50 (indicating contraction) for the first time since the last recession.
#5 In April, consumer confidence unexpectedly fell to a nine-month low…
The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary index of consumer sentiment declined to 72.3 in April from 78.6 a month earlier. This month’s reading was lower than all 69 estimates in a Bloomberg survey that called for no change from the March number.
#6 NYSE margin debt peaked right before the recession that began in 2002, it peaked right before the financial crisis of 2008, and it is peaking again.
#7 The S&P 500 usually mirrors the performance of Chinese stocks very closely. That is why it is so alarming that Chinese stocks peaked months ago. Will the S&P 500 soon follow?
#8 The economic data coming out of the Chinese economy lately has been mostly terrible…
For starters, China’s recent economic data, as massaged as it is to the upside, is downright awful. China’s PMI numbers were the worst in two years. Staffing levels in the Chinese service sector decreased _for the first time since January 2009_ (remember that year).
China’s LEI also shows no sign of recovery. If anything, it indicates China is heading towards an economic slowdown on par with that of 2008. And if you account for the rampant debt fueling China’s economy you could easily argue that China is posting 0% GDP growth today.
#9 Things just continue to get even worse over in Europe. Unemployment in both Greece and Spain is now about 27 percent, and the unemployment rate in the eurozone as a whole has just set a brand new all-time record high.
#10 Crude inventories have soared to a record high as demand for energy continues to decline. As I have written about previously, this is a clear sign that economic activity is slowing down.
#11 Casino spending is usually a strong indicator of the overall health of the U.S. economy. That is why it is so noteworthy that casino spending is now back to levels that we have not seen since the last recession.
#12 The impact of the sequester cuts is starting to kick in. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the sequester cuts will cost the U.S. economy about 750,000 jobs this year.
Do you have any other recession indicators that you would add to this list?
I invite you to share your thoughts by posting a comment below…