America's Death

Oklahoma’s top court orders removal of 10 Commandments monument

Published time: July 01, 2015 02:51
Oklahoma State Capitol in Oklahoma City. (Image from Wikipedia)

Oklahoma State Capitol in Oklahoma City. (Image from Wikipedia)

Oklahoma’s top court ruled that the 10 Commandments monument situated on capitol grounds violates state laws prohibiting the use of government property for the benefit of a religion.

The decision from the state Supreme Court also puts an end to donations for statues proposed by animal rights group, a Hindu leader, and the New York Satanic Temple, which were meant to be erected on the capitol grounds as well.

The ruling stems from an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit filed on behalf of several Oklahomans challenging the constitutionality of the monument. The lawsuit argued that it violated the state’s constitution, which bans public property from supporting “any sect, church, denomination or system of religion.” The suit also argued that the monument violated provisions of the US Constitution forbidding the establishment of religion by government.

In a 7-2 ruling handed down on Tuesday, the Oklahoma court agreed.

In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs argued that the placement of the monument at the Capitol created “a more divisive and hostile state for many Oklahomans,” and that the “state has no business telling it citizens what to believe.”

Lawmakers had argued that the monument was not serving a religious purpose but was meant to mark a historical event

That prompted other groups, including Satanists, a Hindu leader in Nevada, an animal rights group, and the satirical Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster to submit requests for putting up their own monuments marking what they said were historical events.

The New York-based Satanic Temple was seeking to erect a 7-foot tall statue depicting Satan as Baphomet, a goat-headed figure with horns, wings and a long beard. The Hindu leader wanted to install a statue of Lord Hanuman, a Hindu deity with an ape-like face and a tail that is known for incredible strength.

The current stone monument inscribed with the 10 Commandments, with a weight of 2,400 pounds of pure granite and height of 6 feet (1.8 meters), is a replica of an earlier one which occupied the State Capitol grounds from 2012 until it was smashed to pieces in October 2014 when a man drove a car across the Capitol lawn and crashed into it. The man was arrested and admitted for mental health treatment. The monuments were paid for with private money and supported by conservative lawmakers.

In March, a US judge dismissed a case filed by an atheist group that was seeking to remove the monument from State Capitol grounds, saying the plaintiffs failed to show standing to bring the suit, according to Reuters.


‘Like a thunderbolt’: America reacts to gay marriage ruling


The White House is illuminated in rainbow colors after today's historic Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage in Washington June 26, 2015 (Reuters / Gary Cameron)

The White House is illuminated in rainbow colors after today's historic Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage in Washington June 26, 2015 (Reuters / Gary Cameron)

Friday’s historic Supreme Court ruling granting same-sex couples the right to marry across the United States arrived “like a thunderbolt,” President Barack Obama said, delighting progressive supporters but enraging conservative opponents.

READ MORE: US Supreme Court rules in favor of same-sex marriage nationwide

Following the Court’s 5-4 decision, President Obama said, “This ruling is a victory for America.”

“Progress on this journey often comes in small increments, sometimes two steps forward, one step back, propelled by the persistent effort of dedicated citizens. And then sometimes, there are days like this, when that slow, steady effort is rewarded with justice that arrives like a thunderbolt,” Obama said from the Rose Garden.

He added that the Supreme Court “reaffirmed that all Americans are entitled to equal protection of the law, that all people should be treated equally regardless of who they are or who they love."

Meanwhile, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton tweeted that she is “proud to celebrate a historic victory for marriage equality—& the courage & determination of LGBT Americans who made it possible.”

Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, also a Democratic candidate for president, said the court “fulfilled the words engraved upon its building: ‘Equal justice under law.’” Other Democratic candidates also weighed in:

Outside of the Supreme Court, activists and same-sex couples celebrated the decision once it was handed down. Under the ruling, couples around the US will be able to enter civil marriages regardless of their sexual orientation.

Conservatives, however, reacted angrily, with nearly every Republican candidate for president excoriated the ruling. Perhaps the strongest condemnation came from Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who just declared his candidacy. He said the decision would lead to an “an all-out assault on religious freedom guaranteed in the first amendment” and later suggested eliminating the Supreme Court entirely.

“The Supreme Court is completely out of control, making laws on their own, and has become a public opinion poll instead of a judicial body,” he told an Iowa crowd during a speech.

“If we want to save some money, let’s just get rid of the court.”

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee also blasted the Supreme Court, calling the ruling an “out-of-control act of unconstitutional, judicial tyranny."

“If accepted by Congress and this President, this decision will be a serious blow to religious liberty, which is the heart of the First Amendment,” he added in his statement.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz, a Tea Party favorite and harsh critic of same-sex marriage, said the Supreme Court has delivered “some of the darkest 24 hours in our nation’s history.”

Speaking on Fox pundit Sean Hannity’s radio show, Cruz said the Court’s rulings on Obamacare and gay marriage “were both naked and shameless judicial activism.”

“Today, this radical decision purporting to down the marriage laws of every state. It has no connection to the United States Constitution,” he said. “They are simply making it up. It is lawless, and in doing so, they have undermined the fundamental legitimacy of the United States Supreme Court.”

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum and other GOP candidates also expressed their anger.

Notably, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who many consider a frontrunner for the GOP nomination, also steered clear of directly railing against same-sex marriage, instead saying he believes states should be allowed to make their own decision on the matter.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which has argued intensely in favor of equal rights for gay couples, celebrated the ruling.

“Today's decision has been 50 years in the making and will stand with Brown vs. Board of Education as one of the landmark civil rights moments of our time,” said Anthony D. Romero, ACLU executive director, in a statement.

“Now we take the battle for full legal equality to the states, where 31 states have yet to pass any statewide LGBT non-discrimination laws. The wind is at our backs, and we are now on the cusp of achieving full legal equality for LGBT Americans across the country.”

The decision was also hailed by some corporations.


US House passes standalone fast track bill giving president more authority in TPP talks

Published time: June 18, 2015 16:38
The House of Representatives stands at the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington (Reuters / Joshua Roberts)

The House of Representatives stands at the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington (Reuters / Joshua Roberts)

The US House has passed Trade Promotion Authority bill that boost presidential authority in negotiating trade deals. This version of the legislation is not linked to any other bill.

It was passed around noon today with a vote of 218-208.

The sister legislation to the TPA, the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), would provide assistance to workers who lose jobs as a consequence of the trade deals and foreign competition. It was easily defeated in the House last week. Initially lawmakers were set to vote once again on the TAA this week, but on Thursday they agreed to vote again on standalone TPA. Though the TPA and the TAA were passed the Senate, the TPA will now return to the Senate in its standalone form.

Obama has requested “fast-track” authority to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTiP) deals. Republican lawmakers back both initiatives, but the President’s own party is opposed.

The vote was split along partisan lines, with Republicans overwhelmingly voting in favor at 190-50, and Democrats being strongly against with a 28-158.

The sister legislation to the TPA, the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), would provide assistance to workers who lose jobs as a consequence of the trade deals and foreign competition. It was easily defeated in the House last week. Initially lawmakers were set to vote once again on the TAA this week, but on Thursday they agreed to vote again on standalone TPA. Though the TPA and the TAA were passed the Senate, the TPA will now return to the Senate in its standalone form favored by Republicans.

The TPP, which seems to be close to coming into existences, covers countries which together comprise 40 percent of the global economy. President Obama has promoted the deal as a way of solidifying the economic relating between the United States fast-growing Asian countries.

Republicans in the House of Representatives sought to resurrect Barack Obama’s trade agenda and plans for a Pacific Rim free trade zone, joining with a small band of pro-trade Democrats to vote to grant the president the “fast-track” authority he needs to conclude such pacts – meaning that the president will be empowered to ask Congress for a simple yes-or-no vote on trade agreements without any debate or amendments.

“This is a vote to re-establish America’s credibility,” said Representative Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin), the former Vice Presidential candidate that ran against the Obama who has now has been championing the President’s favored the legislation in the House.

Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-California) had different thoughts on the matter, despite being a top Democrat and traditional ally to the President. She said that she and members of the party were against the TPP, not against the president himself.

“This has been a longstanding dispute within the Democratic party having nothing to do with the president but everything to do with our bosses, our constituents,” she said.

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) is a vocal critic of the deal because of a provision called Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS). The provision would mediate disputes between foreign investors and a government, which Warren believes will inhibit regulation and pose a threat to American sovereignty.

ISDS is designed to address the problem of uneven national economic policies in an interconnected global economy. Foreign investors have to deal with the risk of having their investments seized if and when a new government comes to power and decides to nationalize the businesses of foreign industries. While this isn’t a risk in a stable company with a strong judicial system like the United States, it is a genuine risk in other countries without such stability. ISDS is an arbitration process that uses sanctions to put pressure on governments who have unfairly seized property.

That means that ISDS would allow foreign investors to make complaints against the United States, which is a point that many take issue with. Warren argues that the agreement could “tilt the playing field in the United States further in favor of big multinational corporations.”

Many opponents of the TPP worry that multinational corporations could argue that environmental, financial and minimum wage regulations could qualify for a dispute under ISDS, potentially costing the United States expensive damages.

Also controversial are secretly negotiated provisions called the “Healthcare Annex,” which was only seen by the public when they were published by WikiLeaks.

The secret TPP negotiations showed that an addition to the do has been seeking to regulate state schemes for medicines and medical devices. According to WikiLeaks, it “forces healthcare authorities to give big pharmaceutical companies more information about national decisions on public access to medicine."

Legal privileges such as patents are instituted in to encourage research and development to encourage pharmaceutical company to develop new drugs without worrying about someone immediately copying them. These privileges expire eventually, allowing generic versions of the drugs to come to market.

The TPP has been lobbied by large pharmaceutical company to include these provisions to further delay the introduction of generic drugs.

"The leaked TPP document "shows that the pact could expose Medicare to pharmaceutical company attacks and constrain future policy reforms, including the ability of the US government to curb rising and unsustainable drug prices," consumer rights advocacy group Public Citizen said in a statement.


American empire imploding both at home & abroad

John Wight is a writer and commentator specializing in geopolitics, UK domestic politics, culture and sport.

Published time: June 12, 2015 15:38
Reuters / Eric Thayer

Reuters / Eric Thayer

The crisis and chaos engulfing the Middle East and Ukraine is evidence of US imperial decline, as Washington learns the harsh lesson that no empire lasts forever.

In the wake of the Vietnam War - the end of which was marked by news footage of US personnel and a select few Vietnamese collaborators being evacuated from the roof of the US Embassy in Saigon in 1975 - the United States entered a prolonged period of decline when it came to its ability to embark on major military operations. 

For all the massive destructive power in its arsenal, the Vietnamese had exposed US imperialism as a giant with feet of clay. The name given to this period of hard power retreat was the ‘Vietnam syndrome’ and lasted from 1975 to 1991, when the US and an international coalition embarked on the First Gulf War to force Iraqi troops out of Kuwait.

We are witnessing a similar period of US imperial decline now with regard to Washington’s inability to stage large-scale military operations. It arrived as a consequence of the failed occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, both of which achieved nothing except the eruption of terrorism and extremism across the region, and by extension the world.

The huge resources expended have further crippled Washington’s imperial power, while the fragmentation of social cohesion in the US itself – witnessed by the brutal treatment of the nation’s poor, migrants, and blacks - reveals a society that is close to imploding. The parallels with the sixties and seventies are clear in this regard.

As far back as 2005, the Washington Post had identified this ‘Iraq syndrome.’ In an article exploring the record of then outgoing US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the newspaper asserted: “Whenever Rumsfeld finally packs up his office at the Pentagon, he will leave behind an even more burdensome Iraq syndrome - the renewed, nagging and sometimes paralyzing belief that any large-scale US military intervention abroad is doomed to practical failure and moral iniquity.”

Ten years later, with an Islamic version of the Khmer Rouge in the shape of the so-called Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) running rampant across Syria and Iraq, the present administration is reduced to conducting a desultory and, up to this point, impotent, air campaign against IS, which continues growing and increasing its grip on territory in Syria and Iraq.

The complexities of the Middle East are well known. The presence of the bulk of the world’s energy reserves has ensured the region’s status as the frontline in the struggle for and against US hegemony. At the same time, the multiple ethnic, confessional, and tribal identities that crisscross the region have long ensured it remains a potential powder keg, ready to explode if exacerbated.

Such an explosion took place with the NATO air war against the Gaddafi regime in Libya in 2011. Intended to ensure the Libyan phase of the Arab Spring landed safely upon the shores of Western geopolitical interests, the toppling of Gaddafi instead opened the gates of hell out of which have poured tens of thousands of primeval fanatics whose bloodlust knows no bounds.

Washington and its European allies have been unable to control the spread of this fanaticism, which has grown with the connivance of its regional allies – Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the various Gulf monarchies that together make up the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

Obama’s decision not to proceed with planned airstrikes against the Syrian government in the aftermath of an alleged chemical weapons attack against a rebel-controlled Damascus suburb in 2013 left his credibility in tatters. Perceiving the president as weak, Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been acting in pursuit of their own agendas, which means doing whatever it takes to stem Shia Iranian influence, and/or working to reassert Sunni domination region-wide.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made a virtue out of defying the Obama administration’s attempts to broker a settlement of the intractable Palestinian question, while his ongoing efforts to undermine the administration’s negotiations with Iran over Tehran’s nuclear program are a studied insult to the US leader’s authority. The Saudis and their Turkish counterparts, we also know, have recently agreed a joint strategy coordinating their energies and resources in striving to bring down the Assad regime. Growing nervous over the popularity and sway of IS within the global jihadist movement, both governments have swung behind their own preferred jihadist groups – "The Army of Conquest" – as a counterweight and proxy in the conflict.

Compounding the unraveling of Washington’s ability to project its imperial power is the nonsensical and desperate attempt to effect Russia’s compliance with its writ in Eastern Europe, which involves the imposition of sanctions and attempts to isolate the country politically and culturally.

The dollar has been underpinning US hard power and hegemony since the Second World War, exploiting its role as the world’s international reserve currency. But US currency hegemony is also in the process of being contested with the creation in October 2014 of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) by China as a counterweight to the IMF. Interestingly, among the 20 nations who’ve since joined this new international investment bank is the UK, much to the consternation of its Washington ally.

The AIIB joins the New Development Bank that China also set up last year in partnership with Russia, India, Brazil and South Africa. Also known as the BRICS bank, it took its place alongside the pre-existing Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) development bank as part of a new global financial infrastructure operating independently of Washington. The SCO has also established its own currency reserve to help cushion its members against financial shocks or crises, such as the one that emanated from the US financial system in 2008.

Taken together, we are able to chart the relative decline of US hegemony and unipolarity, unfolding economically, geopolitically, culturally and militarily. The dangers as this process unfolds are evident in the spread of extremism and fanaticism as regional allies increasingly pursue their own agendas, regardless of how damaging to US interests they may be in terms of sowing instability.

As with the Roman Empire centuries before it, Washington is learning that the only thing permanent in this world is impermanence, especially imperial power resting on foundations of hypocrisy and injustice.


Thursday, 23 April 2015

Leaked Obama “Trade” Pact Exposes Assault on Self-government

Written by 

As establishment Republicans join forces with the Obama administration to ram through a series of sweeping pseudo-“free trade” agreements with the European Union, critics are up in arms over various leaked provisions that would all but crush the principles of self-government. Especially alarming to opponents is the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP, which, among other concerns, would purport to limit the ability of voters and their elected representatives to enact laws interfering with the agenda of Big Business and Big Government. Another agreement being pursued in tandem, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TTP, would do the same, allowing unelected and unaccountable transnational bureaucrats to develop “harmonized” regulatory regimes for the bloc purporting to supersede federal and state laws. Critics from across the political spectrum say the plot must be stopped.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Support Our Troops: Get US Out of the United Nations!

Written by 

There are several reasons why the United States should withdraw from the United Nations. One of our top reasons relates to protecting our military forces. Why? Let’s explain.

The complete text of the UN Charter’s Article 25 states: “The Members of the United Nations agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council in accordance with the present Charter.” That clearly stated requirement supersedes adherence to the U.S. Constitution. That any U.S. government official would agree to that is incredible. When the UN’s Security Council decides to act, our nation’s membership requires the United States to “accept and carry out” what the Security Council wants done. It is true that our nation possesses a veto that can be used to block passage of any Security Council resolution. But U.S. leaders don’t exercise this veto power. It was a UN Security Council resolution that got our nation into the 1950 Korean War, not a required congressional declaration. Had there been a declaration of war and if its inherent goal had been to gain victory, the Korean War could have been won. But victory was denied (by the UN) and as a result our nation still has tens of thousands of troops in South Korea — all of whom serve in the overall UN Command.

When the UN Security Council decides to send military forces to carry out its decisions, all member nations are required to participate. As stated in the Charter’s Article 42 and 43, “All Members … undertake to make available to the Security Council” whatever forces are needed. There are 193 UN member nations. Very few respond to Security Council resolutions as called for by Article 42. But the United States always responds with personnel, weapons, and the funds needed to carry out the UN’s missions. The U.S. military has become the enforcement arm of the United Nations.


In 1990, a UN Security Council resolution was sought and obtained by President George H.W. Bush for the first invasion of Iraq. He even boasted, “The Gulf crisis has to do with a New World Order. And that New World Order is only going to be enhanced if this newly activated peace-keeping function of the United Nations proves to be effective.” Another Security Council resolution was sought and obtained by President George W. Bush for the second invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Articles 52-54 of the UN Charter permit nations to form “Regional Arrangements” to conduct military operations. Under these three articles in the Charter, NATO and SEATO were created. The UN subsidiary SEATO (Southeast Asia Treaty Organization) was relied upon to have U.S. forces participate in the Vietnam War. Restrictions placed on their actions prevented victory and assured defeat. SEATO no longer exists. NATO was then cited for authorization to conduct operations in Afghanistan. But no declaration of war as required by the U.S. Constitution was issued; none have been issued since our nation consented to UN membership in 1945.

Finally, Article 2 of the UN Charter states: “nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state.” But the UN meddles in an array of matters, which are certainly within the jurisdiction of individual states (countries). The UN has meddled in our nation’s affairs in such matters as abortion, capital punishment, the right to be armed, border control, mining, judicial decisions, and more. It is perfectly obvious that the UN violates its own Charter. It should be known as a lawless governmental agency seeking power over the entire world. The United Nations cannot be fixed and made tolerable. Its founders intended it to be the seat of unchallengeable world power. Its reach has grown enormously and, every day, the UN moves closer to becoming the ruler of mankind, with the aid of our military! So the opportunity to withdraw, which is what many Americans want, should be seized upon. The abuse of our troops must end and the steady erosion of both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution must cease. It is long past the time to Get US out! Contact Congress today.

John F. McManus is president of The John Birch Society and publisher of The New American. This column appeared originally at the insideJBS blog and is reprinted here with permission.


The Death of America

Top Ten Destructions of Our Freedom

Reason I. "Not Just Two"

The political system in America continues to sour under the false impression that there are just two political systems in America: republican and democratic. Our country has always been based on the idea of a "melting pot," where cultural diversities mix, but, with a two-party system being propagated, it not only kills the voices of all, but ensures that a party will have dominance over the country every few years (as the republicans do now). Of course both of those parties love the position they are in, but it comes at the cost of losing our rights in this democracy. Parties like the Libertarian, Green, Socialist, etc. hold views that some Americans agree with, but why are those parties shunned, especially in national debates? A two-party system is ruining this country and giving an unnatural amount of power to people who run on party affilation rather than political foresight. A commonly used word, but a rather offensive word if you think about it is "bi-partisian," which means that only two views count! States want you to vote in prelimenaries by party and people "choose" which party they should belong to, but you are given only two choices. If I was running a tyrannical government I would love such a system, but America is the land of the free and change should be expected. Thoughts and ideals must be challenged or we will not evolve. Adolf Hitler said, "With us the Leader and the Idea are one, and every party member has to do what the Leader orders." (from Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives) Doesn't that sound like our current political system today? Laws are being passed based on party affiliation rather than American freedom.

Reason II. "Separation of Church and State"

Our forefathers included the ideal of "Separation of Church and State" in the constitution to eliminate the prejudice that some religions contain. As I write this, America is teetering in a dark abyss as the government begins to challenge that church and state should not be separated on issues like abortion, the displaying of the ten commandments, and homosexual marriages. A separation of church and state is important because it lays the basic foundations of freedom, especially the freedom to choose a religion. Both Bill Clinton and George Bush have publicly stated that they are against gay marriage because it is not "right" in "their" understanding of marriage. How sad that political decisions are made on such corrupted emotions; I don't "feel it is right" for one to drink alcohol, but I know it is one's choice to decide to drink or not. I don't take away rights or limit them because I don't agree with it. If America is going to be a true democratic society, then we must accept that there will be ideals and issues we will not agree with because we are not of one culture or religion. That is the beauty of America.

Reason III. "I Want Mine"

Our society has changed in the last 35 years to one that is happy as long as they get their "share." That notion is dangerous because it completely ignores future consequences and hardships. For example, prices for Healthcare have skyrocketed from this idea. Hospitals charge $500 just to walk through a door and think that it doesn't hurt anyone. I've been to doctors who used old x-ray machines that have been paid for, but yet charge the same amount as any doctor would with a new machine. I pay for insurance, pay the fees after procedures, and still get massive bills in the mail saying I owe money. This ideal of "getting mine" is not only a medical problem, it is found everywhere: restaurants, car dealers, the entertainment industry, stores, etc. People want to make a buck in anyway possible, but now it is becoming a scramble to get what you can rather then a collective effort to better our country. Houses worth $100,000 are selling for $300,000 and when the person tries to sell it later they are stuck with a massive hole of debt. Our society has even made laws that we can be charged by a company, like a hospital, and have no recourse to challenge the fee. We are made to pay fees because the companies just want their share despite its unethicalness. A bartering system is more fair because you negotiate your expectations instead of being blindly charged, but the "Super Powers" don't use such a system. Is it because money is used as political control? Mahatma Gandhi summed it up best when he said, "What is a man if he is not a thief who openly charges as much as he can for the goods he sells?" (from Non-Violence in Peace and War)

Reason IV. "Alienation of the World"

Our alienation from the world comes from our stubborness. As an illustration, take a mother who tells her child to date a certain person, but the child will disobey his mother because his mind is already made up and the idea of disobedience makes him more motivated. America did the same thing with the attack of Iraq. Our friends around the world told us to sit back and examine the evidence more closely before a rash decision. What did we do? Criticize them and start selling "freedom fries." If only we would have listened to them: now the US is stuck in a death zone and can't get out of it, Saddam didn't have any weapons of mass destruction, and Iraq had nothing to do with Bin Laden. Our concept that "if it is American, then it is right" is all wrong. Movies, cars, and tv shows prove that point easily. In order for any culture to survive it must synergize and base its country on principles. Our history books detail many powerful cultures that have witnessed demise from isolating themselves from the ideals of others around the world. Iraq proves that power doesn't equal rightness, and in fact, the situation in Iraq has also exposed that the US military muscle is just a myth and can be challanged. Decisions on Iraq were based on "feeling" not principle, coupled with ignoring the proper laws of America for war. We now find ourselves in such a bloody dilema. The answer: apologize and remove the troops.

Reason V. "Trying to Prevent Evolution"

Change is necessary. Our world has experienced many changes in its short life, but, out of egotism and fear of a majorital change, we are trying to prevent this natural evolution of America. Even as we live in the hiatus of an ice age we try to "insure" that things stay the same. We must allow our minds to adapt to change instead of fearing it. We look for the government to make sure change does not take place such as electric companies that experience a cut in profits because the weather has been cooler or warmer. They will raise rates to keep their profits in check, but a farmer has to either come up with an alternative quickly if his profits decrease or sell his farm. We need to let evolution take its place rather than allowing the same old thing continue to thrive on its wobbly wheels. Banks charge ATM fees, but now that most people are converting to using debit cards, they want to charge more for ATM fees since they are down. A lowering in ATM fees should be a sign that maybe they are eveolving away, but instead we punish those that have to still use the ATM because a compnay doesn't want to address profit loss. Competition is based on evolutionary processes, but companies are using Congress to try and avoid the inevitable. Regulations to help companies prosper without the competitive market pressure are morally and ethically wrong. Big Money must evolve naturally, too, and not depend on Congress to lessen their profit loss.

Reason VI. "Our Society’s Addiction to Soda"

Sugar-infested, carbonated sodas have completely changed our society in many ways. With the invention of Coca-Cola in the late 1800’s, America’s food consumption began to morph and become infiltrated by commercialization. I believe that carbonated sodas mark the distinct point where our society began to endure the mass-marketing campaigns that plaque us now, but these ad campaigns foster our addictions to their sugared, carbonated-watered, caffeinated concoctions. Our country tries to be very anti-drug oriented, but yet we allow other drugs that we can’t live without to continue in legal distribution (such as nicotine and alcohol). Carbonated sodas, infused with sugar and caffeine, are the most damaging, I think. It would seem that a business set on feeding the addictions of Americans would be challenged and disassembled, but in America the love of carbonated drinks grows, and we spread our love of the drink around the world to other cultures. It is ridiculous that a gallon of gas costs $1.99 and a 20 ounce soda costs $1.49. Such price inflation for a product that is only made from sugared-water contributes to the steady incline of profits that soda companies experience each year. These companies also have a history of trying to manipulate advertising or thwarting labor unions, all in an effort to distribute their drug to more addicts. In South America one soda company has murdered people in their own plant because they tried to become president of the local labor force. We are shamed when we buy a shirt produced from an Asian sweat shop, but we don’t think twice about downing a product that has a history of addiction, murder, and health problems. Many school districts know the drinks are harmful to their students’ health, but can’t get the soda machines pulled from their schools because the companies dangle money before them in the form of machine-use percentages. Soda, a product that we know causes tooth decay, loss of bone density, type II diabetes, kidney stones, and many other ailments, continues to be marketed to our children, but the company’s answer is not to pull their products from our children’s reach, but to offer diet sodas, which also pose many health risks themselves, with their mysterious sugar substitutes. To help establish a tangible view of our addiction to soda, try withholding your soda intake for ten days. Saying “no” to a product that has been ingrained in your sensibilities since your birth may prove be difficult, but in time, I am sure you will find it is an addiction you can win.

Reason VII. "A Diet of Lies and Anger"

All around us are lies and it has become acceptable to lie or just deny, deny, deny. Commercials, books, and newspapers randomnly float out lies for entertainment or to propagate fear. It has come to a point that truthfulness has become boring and weak, where as Americans seem to find humor and entertainment in the lies spread in print and video media. Commercials are based on anger and lies. A three minute commercial break shows our preverse nature in seeing others harmed, cheated, and jipped. I saw a commercial the other day and it had a stock trade official showing that as a kid, he built a huge luxury tree house to out do his friends' efforts. It was a lie and it didn't even need to be used; its only effect was to humor the viewer. News, of course, has been centered in anager and lies for a very long time. Stations battle over the big story for ratings and risk spreading nontruths or casting guilt to just get viewership. Almost all news programs magnify the rare violence in our society, but rarely glorify the good. It is all for the name of entertainment. "Practice makes permanent." In our society the practice of lying and propagating anger is making a permanent place in the hearts of our countrymen and women. Magnifying the wrongs of our culture teaches the society that it is the proper way to respond, and, therefore, leads to more crimes against humanity.

Reason VIII. "Amused to Death"

America, from its technological adavnces and multi-billion dollar entertainment companies, has learned to sit back and expect to be entertained. School children want their teachers to dance like a clown in the class or have their teachers use some form of media entertainment in the classroom to teach the material. People look through their car windows at devastation on highways like it is a television program, or they view the casulaties of war as a video game. Americans find that any moment without some technological reinforcement is wasted time. People carry portable devices, like cell phones and PDAs, to connect them to the internet wherever they go. A home with a broken televison can be likened to an imprisonment. Our addictions to entertainment are recognized by the industry who charge outrageous amounts for media, equipment, and commercials. They know that our hunger to be entertained is outweighed by our hunger for individuality. Entertainment has also made us into "walking billboards" that spread the enterinment creature to others with the clothes and products that we wear and consume. Entertianment becomes extremely dangerous when it subjects the viewer to innate passiveness. When entertainment becomes a weapon that spreads the apathy of individualsim, then it becomes a threat to our democracy because the voices of our country are being silenced. There is nothing more dangerous than an unparticipating democracy.

Reason IX. "Against the Grain of Nature"

Humans are losing their sense of nature. There are some people who probably go months at a time not even stepping on earth: they get up and walk across carpet, walk down their car ports, drive to work, walk across the parking lot, walk across the carpeted or laminated office floor, and then reverse the process. We find comfort when we let nature back into our lives. A simple walk in the woods or a swim in the lake can bring happiness quicker and more abundant then watching TV or playing video games. However, we are structuring our lives away from nature and that chasm breeds anger. We also lie to ourselves that we can "make" people go against nature with laws, and the people who do not follow the law are "bad Americans". The human is not a monogamous animal, but we try to produce a change through societal law. The body yearns for cold water, but we push down sugary drinks because the icon on tv tells us to. In cities it can be hard to find a patch of grass, and we are not always allowed to play on that grass if we do find it. Apologies are a natural phenomenon, but our country is becoming where if you make a mistake such as in a car wreck or doing your taxes, you will be punished in such a way that can destroy everything you know. Our natural tendacy is to experiment, but it is becoming very difficult to do any kind of experimentation in today's litigating society. If airplanes were have been invented in 2005 they would be so weighed down with regulations that no one would have been able to continue to test run a plane. That shows our society is becoming one of suffocating ideals.

Reason X. "Agrarian Education"

Our schools still run on an out-dated agrarian schedule, although some districts are beginning to experiment with year-round schedules. Our children do not need summers off anymore to plant and harvest farms like they did over a hundred years ago. I am not trying to work the children of America or our teachers to death, which seems to be some people's first response, but rather I am trying to see an end to the idea of receiving an education inbetween "breaks". A child begins to live from summer break to Thanksgiving break to Christmas break to Spring Break and back to summer break again. Our schools should be year-round to mimic the real-world work force. Once a student graduates into adult society, they must contend with the new emotion of now having no summers off. Great schools around the world go year-round, and often six days a week. The benefit of a non-agrarian school year is that education can be maximized and children could finish school in less than twelve years like other countries do. Student angst and lethargy comes from the visions of upsoming breaks combined with the pressure of long, repetitive school years. It is a recipe for disaster as our educational system clearly shows in comparison with other countries. Education must regain its sense of value or the system will continue to flounder as its policymakers continue to pump money and ever changing philosophies into a dying system.


Will Washington Kill Us All? — Paul Craig Roberts

Will Washington Kill Us All?

Paul Craig Roberts

Did you know that Washington keeps 450 nuclear ICBMs on “hair-trigger alert”? Washington thinks that this makes us “safe.” The reasoning, if it can be called reason, is that by being able to launch in a few minutes, no one will try to attack the US with nuclear weapons. US missiles are able to get on their way before the enemy’s missiles can reach the US to destroy ours.

If this makes you feel safe, you need to read Eric Schlosser’s book, Command and Control.

The trouble with hair-triggers is that they make mistaken, accidental, and unauthorized launch more likely. Schlosser provides a history of almost launches that would have brought armageddon to the world.

In Catalyst, a publication of the Union of Concerned Scientists, Elliott Negin tells the story of Soviet Lt. Col. Stanislav Petrov. Just after midnight in 1983 the Soviet Union’s early warning satellite system set off the alarm that 5 US ICBMs were headed for the Soviet Union.

Col. Petrov was supposed to inform the Soviet leader, who would have 8 to 10 minutes to decide whether to launch in retaliation. Who knows what he would have decided. Instead Col. Petrov used his judgment. There was no reason for the US to be attacking the Soviet Union. Moreover, Petrov reasoned that an American attack would involve hundreds of ICBMs, possibly thousands. He checked whether Soviet ground-based radar had detected incoming ICBMs, and it had not. Petrov decided it was a false alarm, and sat on it.

It turned out that the early warning system had mistaken a pattern of sunlight reflection on clouds as missiles. This was a close call, but Negin reports that “a failed computer chip, and an improperly installed circuit card are some of the culprits” that could initiate nuclear war. In other words, the sources of false alarms are numerous.

Fast forward to today. Imagine an American officer monitoring the US early warning system. This officer has been listening to 15 years of war propaganda accompanied by US invasions and bombings of 8 countries. Terrorist warnings and security alerts abound, as do calls from American and Israeli politicians for nuking Iran. The media has convinced him that Russia has invaded Ukraine and is on the verge of invading the Baltics and Poland. American troops and tanks have been rushed to the Russian border. There is talk of arming Ukraine. Putin is dangerous and is threatening nuclear war, running his strategic bombers close to our borders and holding nuclear drills. The American officer has just heard a Fox News general again call for “killing Russians.” The Republicans have convinced him that Obama is selling out America to Iran, with Senator Tom Cotton warning of nuclear war as a consequence. We will all be killed because there is a Muslim in the White House.

Why isn’t anyone standing up for America, the patriotic American officer wonders, just as the alarm goes off: Incoming ICBMs. Are they Russian or Iranian? Was Israel right after all? A hidden Iranian nuclear weapons program? Or has Putin decided that the US is in the way of his reconstruction of the Soviet Empire, which the American media affirms is Putin’s goal? There is no room for judgment in the American officer’s mind. It has been set on hair-trigger by the incessant propaganda that Americans call news. He passes on the warning.

Obama’s Russophobic neocon National Security Advisor is screaming: “You can’t let
Putin get away with this!” “It might be a false alarm,” replies the nervous and agitated president. “You liberal pussy! Don’t you know that Putin is dangerous!? Push the button!”

And there goes the world.

Considering the extreme Russophobia being created among Americans by the Ministry of Propaganda, the demonization of Vladimir Putin–the “new Hitler,” Vlad the Impaler– the propagandistic creation of “the Russian threat,” the crazed neocon desire for US world hegemony, the hatred of Russia and China as rising rivals capable of exercising independent power, the loss of American Uni-power status and unconstrained unilateral action. In the midst of these emotions and minds swayed not by facts but by propaganda, hubris, and ideology, there is a great chance that Washington’s response to a false alarm will bring the end of life on earth.

How much confidence do you have in Washington? How many times has Washington–especially the crazed neocons–been wrong?

Remember the 3-week “cakewalk” Iraq war that would cost $70 billion and be paid out of Iraqi oil revenues? Now the cost is $3,000 billion and rising, and after 12 years the radical Islamic State controls half of the country. To pay for the wars the Republicans want to “privatize,” that is, take away, Social Security and Medicare.

Remember “Mission Accomplished” in Afghanistan? Twelve years later the Taliban again control the country and Washington, after murdering women, children, funerals, weddings, village elders, and kids’ soccer games, has been driven out by a few thousand lightly armed Taliban.

The frustrations of these defeats have mounted in Washington and in the military. The myth is that we lost because we didn’t use our full force. We were intimidated by world opinion or by those damn student protesters, or blocked from victory by some gutless president, a liberal pussy who wouldn’t use all of our power. For the right-wing, rage is a way of life.

The neocons believe fervently that History has chosen America to rule the world, and here we are defeated by Vietnamese guerrillas, by Afghan tribesmen, by Islamist fundamentalists, and now Putin has sent his missiles to finish the job.

Whoever the White House fool is, he will push the button.

The situation is deteriorating, not improving. The Russians, hoping for some sign of intelligence in Europe, contradict Washington’s anti-Russian lies. Washington calls truthful contradiction of its own propaganda to be Russian propaganda. Washington has ordered the Broadcasting Board of Governors, a US government agency, headed by Andrew Lack, a former chairman of NBC news, to counteract an alleged, but non-existent, “Kremlin Troll Army” that is outshouting the Western prostitutes and “perpetuating a pro-Russian dialogue” on the Internet. In case you don’t remember, Lack is the idiot who declared RT to be a “terrorist organization.” In other words, in Lack’s opinion, one that he can enforce, a truth-teller is a terrorist.

Lack epitomizes well Washington’s view of truthful reporting: If it doesn’t serve Washington’s propaganda, it is not true. It is terrorism.

Lack hopes to control RT with intimidation: In effect, he has told RT to shut up and say what we want or we will close you down as a terrorist organization. We might even arrest your American employees as aiders and abettors of terrorism.

To counteract a Revanchist Russia and its Internet Troll Army, the Obama regime is handing $15,400,000 to the insane Lack to use to discredit every truthful statement that emerges from the English language versions of Russian media. This amount, of course, will rise dramatically. Soon it will be in the billions of dollars, while Americans are evicted from their homes and sent to prison for their debts.

In his budget request, Lack, who seems to lack every aspect of humanity, including intelligence, integrity, and morality, justified his request, which will be granted, for the hard-earned money of Americans, whose standard of living is falling, with the wild assertion that Russia “threatens Russia’s neighbors and, by extension, the United States and its Western allies.”

Lack promises to do even more: “The US international media is now set forth to refute Russian propaganda and influence the minds of Russians and Russian-speakers in the former Soviet Union, Europe and around the world.” Lack is going to propagandize against Russia inside Russia.

Of course, the CIA organizations–the National Endowment for Democracy and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty–will be enriched by this anti-Russian propaganda campaign and will support it wholeheartedly.

Therefore, the Union of Concerned Scientists’ call for cooperation with Russia to take ICBMs off hair-trigger status is unlikely to occur. How can nuclear tensions be reduced when Washington is building tensions as fast as it possibly can? Washington’s Ministry of Propaganda has reconstructed Putin as Osama bin Laden, as Saddam Hussein, demonized figures, bogymen who evoke fear from the brainwashed American sheeple. Russia is transformed into al Qaeda lusting for another attack on the World Trade Center and for the Red Army (many Americans think Russia is still communist) to roll across Europe.

Gorbachev was a trick. He deceived the old movie actor. The deceived Americans are sitting ducks, and here come the ICBMs. The crazed views of the American politicians, military, and people are unable to comprehend truth or to recognize reality.

The propagandistic American “media” and the crazed neoconservatives have set humanity on the path to destruction.

The Union of Concerned Scientists, of which I am a member, need to come to their senses. It is impossible to work out a reduction in nuclear threat as long as one side is going all out to demonize the other. The demonization of Russia and its leader by the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, Fox News, and the rest of the American Propaganda Ministry, by almost the entirety of the House and Senate, and by the White House makes reducing the threat of nuclear war impossible.

The American people and the entire world need to understand that the threat to life on earth resides in Washington and that until Washington is fundamentally and totally changed, this threat will remain as the worse threat to life on earth. Global Warming can disappear instantly in Nuclear Winter.

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following.

19 - Public DomainThe systematic destruction of the American way of life is happening all around us, and yet most people have no idea what is happening.  Once upon a time in America, if you were responsible and hard working you could get a good paying job that could support a middle class lifestyle for an entire family even if you only had a high school education.  Things weren’t perfect, but generally almost everyone in the entire country was able to take care of themselves without government assistance.  We worked hard, we played hard, and our seemingly boundless prosperity was the envy of the entire planet.  But over the past several decades things have completely changed.  We consumed far more wealth than we produced, we shipped millions of good paying jobs overseas, we piled up the biggest mountain of debt in the history of the world, and we kept electing politicians that had absolutely no concern for the long-term future of this nation whatsoever.  So now good jobs are in very short supply, we are drowning in an ocean of red ink, the middle class is rapidly shrinking and dependence on the government is at an all-time high.  Even as we stand at the precipice of the next great economic crisis, we continue to make the same mistakes.  In the end, all of us are going to pay a very great price for decades of incredibly foolish decisions.  Of course a tremendous amount of damage has already been done.  The numbers that I am about to share with you are staggering.  The following are 19 signs that American families are being economically destroyed…

#1 The poorest 40 percent of all Americans now spend more than 50 percent of their incomes just on food and housing.

#2 For those Americans that don’t own a home, 50 percent of them spend more than a third of their incomes just on rent.

#3 The price of school lunches has risen to the 3 dollar mark at many public schools across the nation.

#4 McDonald’s “Dollar Menu & More” now includes items that cost as much as 5 dollars.

#5 The price of ground beef has doubled since 2009.

#6 In 1986, child care expenses for families with employed mothers used up 6.3 percent of all income.  Today, that figure is up to 7.2 percent.

#7 Incomes fell for the bottom 80 percent of all income earners in the United States during the 12 months leading up to June 2014.

#8 At this point, more than 50 percent of all American workers bring home less than $30,000 a year in wages.

#9 After adjusting for inflation, median household income has fallen by nearly $5,000 since 2007.

#10 According to the New York Times, the “typical American household” is now worth 36 percent less than it was worth a decade ago.

#11 47 percent of all Americans do not put a single penny out of their paychecks into savings.

#12 One survey found that 62 percent of all Americans are currently living paycheck to paycheck.

#13 According to the U.S. Department of Education, 33 percent of all Americans with student loans are currently behind on their student loan debt repayments.

#14 According to one recent report, 43 million Americans currently have unpaid medical debt on their credit reports.

#15 The rate of homeownership in the U.S. has been declining for seven years in a row, and it is now the lowest that it has been in 20 years.

#16 For each of the past six years, more businesses have closed in the United States than have opened.  Prior to 2008, this had never happened before in all of U.S. history.

#17 According to the Census Bureau, 65 percent of all children in the United States are living in a home that receives some form of aid from the federal government.

#18 If you have no debt at all, and you also have 10 dollars in your wallet, that you are wealthier than 25 percent of all Americans.

#19 On top of everything else, the average American must work from January 1st to April 24th just to pay all federal, state and local taxes.

All of us know people that once were doing quite well but that are now just struggling to get by from month to month.

Perhaps this has happened to you.

If you have ever been in that position, you probably remember what it feels like to have people look down on you.  Unfortunately, in our society the value that we place on individuals has a tremendous amount to do with how much money they have.

So if you don’t have much money, there are a lot of people out there that will treat you like dirt.  The following excerpt comes from a Washington Post article entitled “The poor are treated like criminals everywhere, even at the grocery store“…

Want to see a look of pure hatred? Pull out an EBT card at the grocery store.

Now that my kids are grown and gone, my Social Security check is enough to keep me from qualifying for government food benefits. But I remember well when we did qualify for a monthly EBT deposit, a whopping $22 — and that was before Congress cut SNAP benefits in November 2013. Like 70 percent of people receiving SNAP benefits, I couldn’t feed my family on that amount. But I remember the comments from middle-class people, the assumptions about me and my disability and what the poor should and shouldn’t be spending money on.

Have you ever seen this?

Have you ever experienced this yourself?

These days, most people on food stamps are not in that situation because they want to be.  Rather, they are victims of our long-term economic collapse.

And this is just the beginning.  When the next major economic crisis strikes, the suffering in this country is going to go to unprecedented levels.

As we enter that time, we are going to need a whole lot more love and compassion than we are exhibiting right now.

As a nation, we have made decades of incredibly bad decisions.  As a result, we are experiencing bad consequences which are going to become increasingly more severe.

The numbers that I just shared with you are not good.  But over the next several years they are going to get a whole lot worse.

Everything that can be shaken will be shaken, and life in America is about to change in a major way.


27 Facts That Show How The Middle Class Has Fared Under Barack ObamaDuring his State of the Union speech on Tuesday evening, Barack Obama is going to promise to make life better

for middle class families.  Of course he has also promised to do this during all of his other State of the Union addresses, but apparently he still believes that there are people out there that are buying what he is selling.  Each January, he gets up there and tells us how the economy is “turning around” and to believe that much brighter days are right around the corner.  And yet things just continue to get even worse for the middle class.  The numbers that you are about to see will not be included in Obama’s State of the Union speech.  They don’t fit the “narrative” that Obama is trying to sell to the American people.  But all of these statistics are accurate.  They paint a picture of a middle class that is dying.  Yes, the decline of the U.S. middle class is a phenomenon that has been playing out

for decades.  But without a doubt, our troubles have accelerated during the Obama years.  When it comes to economics, he is completely and utterly clueless, and the policies that he has implemented are eating away at the foundations of our economy like a cancer.  The following are 27 facts that show how the middle class has fared under 6 years of Barack Obama…

#1 American families in the middle 20 percent of the income scale now earn less money than they did on the day when Barack Obama first entered the White House.

#2 American families in the middle 20 percent of the income scale have a lower net worth than they did on the day when Barack Obama first entered the White House.

#3 According to a Washington Post article published just a few days ago, more than 50 percent of the children in U.S. public schools now come from low income homes.  This is the first time that this has happened in at least 50 years.

#4 According to a Census Bureau report that was recently released, 65 percent of all children in the United States are living in a home that receives some form of

aid from the federal government.

#5 In 2008, the total number of business closures exceeded the total number of businesses being created for the first time ever, and that has continued to happen every single year since then.

#6 In 2008, 53 percent of all Americans considered themselves to be “middle class”.  But by 2014, only 44 percent of all Americans still considered themselves to be “middle class”.

#7 In 2008, 25 percent of all Americans in the 18 to 29-year-old age bracket considered themselves to be “lower class”.  But in 2014, an astounding 49 percent of all Americans in that age range considered themselves to be “lower class”.

#8 Traditionally, owning a home has been one of the key indicators that you belong to the middle class.  So what does the fact that the rate of homeownership in

America has been falling for seven years in a row say about the Obama years?

#9 According to a survey that was conducted last year, 52 percent of all Americans cannot even afford the house that they are living in right now.

#10 After accounting for inflation, median household income in the United States is 8 percent lower than it was when the last recession started in 2007.

#11 According to one recent survey, 62 percent of all Americans are currently living paycheck to paycheck.

#12 At this point, one out of every three adults in the United States has an unpaid debt that is “in collections“.

#13 When Barack Obama first set foot in the Oval Office, 60.6 percent of all working age Americans had a job.  Today, that number is sitting at only 59.2 percent…

Employment Population Ratio 2015

#14 While Barack Obama has been in the White House, the average duration of unemployment in the United States has risen from 19.8 weeks to 32.8 weeks.

#15 It is hard to believe, but an astounding 53 percent of all American workers make

less than $30,000 a year.

#16 At the end of Barack Obama’s first year in office, our yearly trade deficit with China was 226 billion dollars.  Last year, it was more than 314 billion dollars.

#17 When Barack Obama was first elected, the U.S. debt to GDP ratio was under 70 percent.  Today, it is over 101 percent.

#18 The U.S. national debt is on pace to approximately double during the eight years of the Obama administration.  In other words, under Barack Obama the U.S. government will accumulate about as much debt as it did under all of the other presidents in U.S. history combined.

#19 According to the New York Times, the “typical American household” is now worth 36 percent less than it was worth a decade ago.

#20 The poverty rate in the United States has been at 15 percent or above for 3 consecutive years.  This is the first time that has happened since 1965.

#21 From 2009 through 2013, the U.S. government spent a whopping 3.7 trillion dollars on welfare programs.

#22 While Barack Obama has been in the White House, the number of Americans on food stamps has gone from 32 million to 46 million.

#23 Ten years ago, the number of women in the U.S. that had full-time jobs outnumbered the number of women in the U.S. on food stamps by more than a 2 to 1 margin.  But now the number of women in the U.S. on food stamps actually exceeds the number of women that have full-time jobs.

#24 One recent survey discovered that about 22 percent of all Americans have had to turn to a church food panty for assistance.

#25 An astounding 45 percent of all African-American children in the United States live in areas of “concentrated poverty”.

#26 40.9 percent of all children in the United States that are living with only one parent are living in poverty.

#27 According to a report that was released late last year by the National Center on Family Homelessness, the number of homeless children in the United States has reached a new all-time record high of 2.5 million.

Unfortunately, this is just the beginning.

The incredibly foolish decisions that have been made by Obama, Congress and the Federal Reserve have brought us right to the precipice of

another major financial crisis and another crippling economic downturn.

So as bad as the numbers that I just shared with you above are, the truth is that they are nothing compared to what is coming.

We are heading into the greatest economic crisis that any of us have ever seen, and it is going to shock the world.

I hope that you are getting ready.

Real Median Household Income 2014The Social Security Administration has just released wage statistics for 2013, and the numbers are startling.  Last year, 50 percent of all American workers made less than $28,031, and 39 percent of all American workers made less than $20,000.  If you worked a full-time job at $10 an hour all year long with two weeks off, you would make $20,000.  So the fact that 39 percent of all workers made less than that amount is rather telling.  This is more evidence of the declining quality of the jobs in this country.  In many homes in America today, both parents are working multiple jobs in a desperate attempt to make ends meet. Our paychecks are stagnant while the cost of living just continues to soar.  And the jobs that are being added to the economy pay a lot less than the jobs lost in the last recession.  In fact, it has been estimated that the jobs that have been created since the last recession pay an average of 23 percent less than the jobs that were lost.  We are witnessing the slow-motion destruction of the middle class, and very few of our leaders seem to care.

The “average” yearly wage in America last year was just $43,041.  But after accounting for inflation, that was actually worse than the year before

American paychecks shrank last year, just-released data show, further eroding the public’s purchasing power, which is so vital to economic growth.

Average pay for 2013 was $43,041 — down $79 from the previous year when measured in 2013 dollars. Worse, average pay fell $508 below the 2007 level, my analysis of the new Social Security Administration data shows.

Flat or declining average pay is a major reason so many Americans feel that the Great Recession never ended for them. A severe job shortage compounds that misery not just for workers but also for businesses trying to profit from selling goods and services.

Average pay declined in 59 of the 60 levels of worker pay the government reports each October.

And please keep in mind that “average pay” is really skewed by the millionaires and billionaires at the top end of the spectrum.

Median pay in 2013 was just $28,031.02.  That means that 50 percent of American workers made less than that number, and 50 percent of American workers made more than that number.

Here are some more numbers from the report that the Social Security Administration just released…

-39 percent of American workers made less than $20,000 last year.

-52 percent of American workers made less than $30,000 last year.

-63 percent of American workers made less than $40,000 last year.

-72 percent of American workers made less than $50,000 last year.

I don’t know about you, but those numbers are deeply troubling to me.

It has been estimated that it takes approximately $50,000 a year to support a middle class lifestyle for a family of four, and so the fact that 72 percent of all workers make less than that amount shows how difficult it is for families that try to get by with just a single breadwinner.

The way that our economy is structured now, both parents usually have to work as hard as they can just to pay the bills.

But there was one group of Americans that did see their incomes actually increase last year.

Those making over 50 million dollars had their pay increase by an average of $12.8 million in 2013.

For everyone else, the news was not good.

And of course this is a trend that has been going on for a long time.

Posted below is a chart that comes from the Federal Reserve.  It shows how real median household income in the United States has declined since the year 2000…

Real Median Household Income 2014

Meanwhile, the cost of living has continued to rise at a steady pace.

Needless to say, this is putting a tremendous squeeze on the middle class.  With each passing day, more Americans are losing their spots in the middle class and this has pushed government dependence to an all-time high.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 49 percent of all Americans now live in a home that receives money from the government each month.  This is completely and totally unsustainable, but our long-term economic problems just keep getting worse.

Our politicians have stood by as millions upon millions of good paying jobs have been shipped out of the country.  Millions of other middle class jobs have been lost to technology.  This has resulted in intense competition for the middle class jobs that remain.

And at this point we are even losing lots of lower paying retail jobs.  For example, it is being reported that Sears plans to close 110 more stores and lay off more than 6,000 workers.  Sears says that the report “isn’t accurate”, but it isn’t denying that stores will be closed either…

In an email to USA Today, Sears spokesman Howard Riefs said the store count and closures “isn’t accurate,” but did not provide store closures or layoff numbers.

“As we stated in our (second quarter earnings report), we disclosed that we would be closing unprofitable stores as leases expire and in some cases will accelerate closings when it is economically prudent. And that we would consider closing additional stores during the remainder of the year,” Riefs said. “Make no mistake, we believe the store will continue to play an integral role in our transformation, however, if a store is not generating a profit, it is straightforward that the store should be considered for closure.”

No matter how many stores Sears does end up closing over the next few months, the truth is that our economy is a complete and total mess at this point.

Our politicians and the mainstream media are trying to put a happy face on everything, but the cold, hard numbers prove that we are not anywhere close to where we were prior to the last recession.

Because it is so difficult to find a good job in America today, I often recommend to people that they should consider starting their own businesses.

But thanks to the bureaucratic control freaks in the Obama administration and in our state governments, small business ownership in America today is at an all-time low.  It is almost as if they don’t want the “little guy” to win.  Every avenue of prosperity for the middle class is under assault, and there does not appear to be much hope that this will change any time soon.

And the truly frightening thing is that this is about as good as things are going to get for the middle class.  We are rapidly approaching the next major wave of our long-term economic decline, but that is a topic for a future article.

Abandoned House - Photo by Flickr User baldeaglebluffThe 30 statistics that you are about to read prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the middle class in America is being systematically destroyed.  Once upon a time, the United States had the largest and most prosperous middle class in the history of the world, but now that is changing at a staggering pace.  Yes, the stock market has soared to unprecedented heights this year and there are a few isolated areas of the country that are doing rather well for the moment.  But overall, the long-term trends that are eviscerating the middle class just continue to accelerate.  Over the past decade or so, the percentage of Americans that are working has gone way down, the quality of our jobs has plummeted dramatically and the wealth of the typical American household has fallen precipitously.  Meanwhile, we have watched median household income decline for five years in a row, we have watched the rate of homeownership in this country decline for eight years in a row and dependence on the government is at an all-time high.  Being a part of the middle class in the United States at this point can be compared to playing a game of musical chairs.  We can all see chairs being removed from the game, and we are all desperate to continue to have a chair every time the music stops playing.  The next time the music stops, will it be your chair that gets removed?

And in this economy, you don’t even have to lose your job to fall out of the middle class.  Our paychecks are remaining very stable while the cost of almost everything that we spend money on consistently (food, gas, health insurance, etc.) is going up rapidly.  Bloomberg calls this “the no-raises recovery”…

Call it the no-raises recovery: Five years of economic expansion have done almost nothing to boost paychecks for typical American workers while the rich have gotten richer.

Meager improvements since 2009 have barely kept up with a similarly tepid pace of inflation, raising the real value of compensation per hour by only 0.5 percent. That marks the weakest growth since World War II, with increases averaging 9.2 percent at a similar point in past expansions, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data compiled by Bloomberg.

There are so many families out there that are struggling right now.  So many husbands and wives find themselves constantly fighting with one another about money, and they don’t even understand that what is happening to them is the result of long-term economic trends that are the result of decades of incredibly foolish decisions.  Without middle class jobs, we cannot have a middle class.  And those are precisely the jobs that have been destroyed during the Clinton, Bush and Obama years.  Without enough good jobs to go around, we have seen the middle class steadily shrink and the ranks of the poor grow rapidly.

The following are 30 stats to show to anyone that does not believe the middle class is being destroyed…

1. In 2007, the average household in the top 5 percent had 16.5 times as much wealth as the average household overall.  But now the average household in the top 5 percent has 24 times as much wealth as the average household overall.

2. According to a study recently discussed in the New York Times, the “typical American household” is now worth 36 percent less than it was worth a decade ago.

3. One out of every seven Americans rely on food banks at this point.

4. One out of every four military families needs help putting enough food on the table.

5. 79 percent of the people that use food banks purchase “inexpensive, unhealthy food just to have enough to feed their families”.

6. One out of every three adults in the United States has an unpaid debt that is “in collections“.

7. Only 48 percent of all Americans can immediately come up with $400 in emergency cash without borrowing it or selling something.

8. The price of food continues to rise much faster than the paychecks of most middle class families.  For example, the average price of ground beef has just hit a brand new all-time record high of $3.884 a pound.

9. According to one recent study, 40 percent of all households in the United States are experiencing financial stress right now.

10. The overall homeownership rate has fallen to the lowest level since 1995.

11. The homeownership rate for Americans under the age of 35 is at an all-time low.

12. According to one recent survey, 52 percent of all Americans cannot even afford the house that they are living in right now.

13. The average age of vehicles on America’s roads has hit an all-time high of 11.4 years.

14. Last year, one out of every four auto loans in the United States was made to someone with subprime credit.

15. Amazingly, one out of every six men in their prime working years (25 to 54) do not have a job at this point.

16. One recent study found that 47 percent of unemployed Americans have “completely given up” looking for a job.

17. 36 percent of Americans do not have a single penny saved for retirement.

18. According to one survey, 76 percent of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.

19. More than half of all working Americans make less than $30,000 a year in wages.

20. Only four of the twenty fastest growing occupations in America require a Bachelor’s degree or better.

21.  In America today, one out of every ten jobs is filled by a temp agency.

22. Due to a lack of decent jobs, half of all college graduates are still relying on their parents financially when they are two years out of school.

23. Median household income in the United States is about 7 percent lower than it was in the year 2000 after adjusting for inflation.

24. Approximately one out of every four part-time workers in America is living below the poverty line.

25. It is hard to believe, but more than one out of every five children in the United States is living in poverty in 2014.

26. According to one study, there are 49 million Americans that are dealing with food insecurity.

27. Ten years ago, the number of women in the U.S. that had jobs outnumbered the number of women in the U.S. on food stamps by more than a 2 to 1 margin.  But now the number of women in the U.S. on food stamps actually exceeds the number of women that have jobs.

28. If the middle class was actually thriving, we wouldn’t have more than a million public school children that are homeless.

29. If you can believe it, Americans received more than 2 trillion dollars in benefits from the federal government last year alone.

30. In terms of median wealth per adult, the United States is now in just 19th place in the world.


March 21st  Rev-1

Subpages (1): American Spy Articles