Saturday, August 17, 2013

The New Poor

America’s middle class sinking under the poverty line
By Victor Thorn
Amid White House claims that the economy is rebounding, Americans are actually being placated by a vast illusion. During the Great Depression, soup lines stretched around city blocks.
In 2013, these same soup lines exist, except in a different form. Facilitated by yearly trillion dollar deficits, one-sixth of all citizens now collect food stamps. This rapidly expanding welfare state also includes skyrocketing disability claims and other government programs that have provided the necessary optics for what many are calling an invisible depression.
But calculated PR campaigns can only conceal these calamities for so long, especially a disturbing slide toward poverty for middle class workers, many of them white. In a monumental July 28 article, the AP’s Hope Yen revealed that 79% of U.S. adults will, at least once in their lifetime, face prolonged stretches of unemployment, reliance on government aid, or income levels below the poverty line.
While corporate media propagandists fixated for months on George Zimmerman’s alleged profiling of Trayvon Martin, the real story facing our country lies in classism, not racism. Harvard Prof. William Julius Wilson emphasized, “It’s time that America comes to understand that many of the nation’s biggest disparities . . . are increasingly due to economic class position.”
Yen took it a step further. “Hardship is particularly growing among whites.” Although poverty rates for blacks and Hispanics triple that of whites, by sheer numbers those living in a monetary danger zone—characterized as an income level of $23,012 for a family of four—are now 41.5% white.
Despite white families still possessing, on average, six-times the overall wealth of blacks and Hispanics, on July 31 Fox Business Network analyst Charles Payne offered this perspective. “While the nation has been sidetracked with a variety of news headlines promoting racial animosity and a recent speech by Pres. Obama suggesting treatment of black people is moving backwards, there is a major crisis in white America that’s going unnoticed or ignored.”
The reasons are plenty. After the housing bubble burst, many homeowners abruptly realized that they owed more on their residences than they were worth, a condition known as being underwater. Also, even though working class whites still comprise the largest demographic employment bloc, fears regarding Obamacare are compelling companies to primarily only hire part-time or temporary help. In fact, of all jobs created this year, 77% were part-time.
Other factors must be considered. For instance, if Obama’s amnesty bill passes, upwards of 20 million more foreigners will be competing for lower-end jobs. In Appalachia, an ongoing war against coal has decimated many mountain communities, whereas Midwest factory towns still suffer from the effects of outsourcing.
Moreover, insidious programs such as Agenda 21 are gutting rural white America, especially in the heartland, in an attempt to urbanize our population. With recent college graduates struggling to find entry-level jobs, a rise in white single-mother households, increased payroll taxes, and a largely unreported rise in poverty among whites near retirement age, it appears as if the new normal for once thriving white Americans seems to be one of economic dystopia.
The Obama administration’s attempt to “level the playing field” seems to be working according to plan.

Too ‘Rich’ for Welfare

• Single white woman recounts her struggle to pay the monthly bills
Despite the rosy scenarios put forth by Washington elites, an increasing number of single white females are facing the harsh reality that just because you have a job doesn’t mean you’re not considered poor.
For this week’s edition, this writer to spoke to a single white female in her late 40s who lives in rural Pennsylvania. Out of concern that her candid statements about the perils of today’s working poor could impact the various jobs she works or embarrass her in the local community, AMERICAN FREE PRESS decided not to reveal her identity. Instead, she asked to be referred to as “Nikki.”
AFP asked Nikki to describe her schedule.
“I work 36 hours a week as a secretary, and then afterward I put in two or three hours each evening at a local retail store for minimum wage,” she said. “So, I get up at six in the morning and usually don’t get home until seven or eight at night. It’s a good thing both my kids are grown and on their own, because if they were little, I’d never see them.”
Nikki’s jobs don’t end there. “On the weekends, I do some gardening for a couple of elderly people to earn a few extra bucks,” she added.
Even with a seven-day workweek, Nikki’s financial situation isn’t pleasant. “Between rent, a car payment, car insurance, gas money and paying my utilities, I usually only have $10-15 left over by week’s end,” she said.
At the risk of getting too personal, this writer inquired about Nikki’s circumstances. “I got divorced a few years ago,” she began, “and I’m still gun shy about starting a new relationship. For better or worse, I’m on my own. It’s all up to me.”
When prompted to expand upon some of her hardships, Nikki reluctantly stated, “This is embarrassing, but a few weeks ago I needed some new outfits for work. Being low on cash, I had to buy used clothes at a second-hand shop.”
She continued: “Last June my friend asked if she could borrow $200 to pay for an overdue doctor’s visit. I didn’t have that kind of money lying around. Do you know how hard it was turning down a gal I’d known since high school? I felt sick for days.”
As to whether she tried getting government assistance, Nikki provided another interesting element to her story. “At the beginning of this year I swallowed my pride and made an appointment at the welfare office,” she said. “After poring over my records, they said I made $53 a month too much to qualify for food stamps and their subsidized fuel program. So, even though I’m always broke, I’m too rich for welfare.”
Pausing a moment, Nikki joked: “They say money can’t buy happiness, but it sure would help put a down payment on it.”
Posed with what would happen if a catastrophic expense suddenly arose, Nikki replied, “If the engine in my car blew up, I’d be ruined. I can’t even afford to make a down payment on another one. Plus, since I don’t have health insurance, I’d never recover from a major hospital bill. I’d be bankrupt.”
Despite her financial woes, Nikki wanted to clarify something. “I don’t want your readers to think I’m complaining. Even though things are rough, I work hard, still have my faith, and except for a few credit card bills, I’m mostly out of debt. Better yet, although everyone in my family is struggling, we all pull together and help each other whenever we can.”
Providing a final thought, Nikki wondered: “The only thing I can’t figure out is, shouldn’t working three jobs and being exhausted all the time get me at least a little piece of the American Dream? For some reason, I can’t seem to catch that brass ring.”

Money and the Corporate Media Are Gagging Democracy

"This the truth of [election] 2012: money beat money," John Nichols and Robert McChesney conclude in their new book "Dollarocracy: How the Money and the Media Election Complex Is Destroying America."
Can a system in which democracy has been placed by a betting parlor of financial backers be returned to an informed citizenry of voters?  It's a particularly daunting challenge considering that the mainstream corporate media, which the vast majority of Americans rely on for their political and public policy "information," benefits quite profitably from "dollarocracy."
Lisa Graves, executive director of the Center for Media and Democracy writes of the book, "The billionaires are buying our media and our elections. They're spinning our democracy into a dollarocracy. John Nichols and Bob McChesney expose the culprits who steered America into the quagmire of big money and provide us with the tools to free ourselves and our republic from the corporate kleptocrats." 
Please help sustain progressive media.  Obtain "Dollarocracy: How the Media and Media Election Complex Is Destroying America" with a minimum contribution to Truthout. Click here now.
Excerpt from Introduction: "Privilege Resurgent"
At many stages in the advance of humanity, this conflict between the men who possess more than they have earned and the men who have earned more than they possess is the central condition of progress. In our day it appears as the struggle of freemen to gain and hold the right of self-government as against the special interests, who twist the methods of free government into machinery for defeating the popular will. At every stage, and under all circumstances, the essence of the struggle is to equalize opportunity, destroy privilege, and give to the life and citizenship of every individual the highest possible value both to himself and to the commonwealth. That is nothing new.
It is, of course, nothing new.
America has from its founding struggled along a narrow arc of history toward an end never quite reached: that of sincere and meaningful democracy. We have made massive progress, evolving from a nation of privileged elites that espoused lofty ideals about all men being created equal and then enslaved men, women, and children into a nation where the descendants of those slaves have taken their places as governors, senators, and Supreme Court justices. Yet as the great champion of American advancement, the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., reminded us in a time of historic change, “Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable.”
What was gained in the Progressive Era when Teddy Roosevelt championed radical reform and across the years of unsteady but genuine democratic progress that followed was written into the Constitution and the statutes of the land. Witness amendments eliminating poll taxes and extending the franchise to women and eighteen- to twenty-year-olds, the Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts, and, finally, the National Voter Registration Act of 1993.
But this progress never quite assured that the great mass of people would gain and hold the right of self-government as against the special interests. The U.S. Constitution contains no guarantee of a right to vote, and this lack of definition is constantly exploited by political hucksters who would make America a democracy for the few, and a plutocracy in essence. The malefactors of great wealth continue to twist the methods of free government into the machinery for defeating the popular will. And scarcely one hundred years after Roosevelt identified his central condition of progress, they have reversed it, with court rulings and practices that are contributing to the destruction of the American electoral system as a tool for realizing the democratic dreams that have animated American progress across two centuries. U.S. elections have never been perfect—far from it—but the United States is now rapidly approaching a point where the electoral process itself ceases to function as a means for citizens to effectively control leaders and guide government policies. It pains us, as political writers and citizens who have spent a combined eighty years working on and/or covering electoral campaigns, to write these words. But there can no longer be any question that free and fair elections—what we were raised to believe was an American democratic birthright—are effectively being taken away from the people.
In this book we examine the forces—billionaires, corporations, the politicians who do their bidding, and the media conglomerates that facilitate the abuse—that have sapped elections of their meaning and of their democratic potential. “The Money Power,” as Roosevelt and his contemporaries termed the collaboration that imposed the will of wealth on our politics, achieves its ends by flooding the electoral system with an unprecedented tidal wave of unaccountable money. The money makes a mockery of political equality in the voting booth, and the determination of media companies to cash in on that mockery—when they should instead be exposing and opposing it—completes a vicious circle.
This is not an entirely new phenomenon, as we note in the historical chapters of this book. But it is an accelerating phenomenon. The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United allowing unlimited corporate campaign spending confirmed the court-ordered diminution of democratic processes that over four decades has renewed the political privileges of the elites. “The day before Citizens United decided,” Lawrence Lessig wrote, “our democracy was already broken. Citizens United have shot the body, but the body was already cold.”
Economic elites are now exercising those privileges with an abandon not seen since the era of the robber barons that Roosevelt decried. To enhance the influence of their money, billionaires, corporations, and their political pawns began in the run-up to the 2012 election to aggressively advance policies designed to limit the voting rights of those Americans who are most disinclined to sanction these elites’ continued dominance of the political process. They are grasping for total power, and if they did not succeed in choking off the avenues of dissent in 2012, they will surely return—with increased determination and more insidious tactics—in 2014 and 2016 and beyond.
“There’s been almost a shameless quality to it,” says former U.S. senator Russ Feingold of the pressure on politicians to raise and spend exponentially more money since the Citizens United . “It has grossly altered our system of government. We don’t have the kind of elections that most of us grew up seeing.”
The moneyed interests are confident, even in the face of temporary setbacks, that they will be able to continue their initiative because they are well served by the rapid decline of the news media as a checking and balancing force on our politics. Our dominant media institutions do an absolutely dreadful job of drawing citizens into public life, especially elections. The owners of media corporations have made their pact with the new order. For the most part, they do not challenge it, as the crusading editors and publishers of another age did.
Rather, advertising departments position media outlets to reap windfall profits through the broadcasting of invariably inane and crudely negative political campaign advertising, which is the lingua franca of American electioneering in the twenty-first century. The corporate media are the immediate financial beneficiaries of our increasingly absurd election system—and the primary barriers to its reform. To talk about the crisis of money in politics without addressing the mess that the media have made of things is the equivalent of talking about the deliberate fire without discussing the arsonist.
We term the combine that has emerged the “money-and-media election complex.” It has become so vast and so powerful that it can best be understood as an entity unto itself. This complex is built on a set of commercial and institutional relationships involving wealthy donors, giant corporations, lobbyists, consultants, politicians, spinmeisters, corporate media, coin-operated “think tanks,” inside-the-beltway pundits, and now super-PACs. These relationships are eviscerating democratic elections and benefit by that evisceration.
The complex has tremendous gravitational power, which increases the degree of difficulty for those wishing to participate in elections outside its paradigm. The complex embraces and encourages a politics defined by wealthy funders, corporate media, and the preservation of a new status quo; it is the modernday reflection of the arrangements that served the robber barons of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Please help sustain progressive media.  Obtain "Dollarocracy: How the Media and Media Election Complex Is Destroying America" with a minimum contribution to Truthout. Click here now.
Copyright 2013 by John Nichols and Robert W. McChesney. Not to be reproduced without the permission of the authors.
Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission of the author.

Ripping Off Young America: The College-Loan Scandal

The federal government has made it easier than ever to borrow money for higher education - saddling a generation with crushing debts and inflating a bubble that could bring down the economy

August 15, 2013 10:45 AM ET
student loans
Illustration by Victor Juhasz
On May 31st, president Barack Obama strolled into the bright sunlight of the Rose Garden, covered from head to toe in the slime and ooze of the Benghazi and IRS scandals. In a Karl Rove-ian masterstroke, he simply pretended they weren't there and changed the subject.
More Taibbi: The Last Mystery of the Financial Crisis
The topic? Student loans. Unless Congress took action soon, he warned, the relatively low 3.4 percent interest rates on key federal student loans would double. Obama knew the Republicans would make a scene over extending the subsidized loan program, and that he could corner them into looking like obstructionist meanies out to snatch the lollipop of higher education from America's youth. "We cannot price the middle class or folks who are willing to work hard to get into the middle class," he said sternly, "out of a college education."
Flash-forward through a few months of brinkmanship and name-calling, and not only is nobody talking about the IRS anymore, but the Republicans and Democrats are snuggled in bed together on the student-loan thing, having hatched a quick-fix plan on July 31st to peg interest rates to Treasury rates, ensuring the rate for undergrads would only rise to 3.86 percent for the coming year.
Though this was just the thinnest of temporary solutions – Congressional Budget Office projections predicted interest rates on undergraduate loans under the new plan would still rise as high as 7.25 percent within five years, while graduate loans could reach an even more ridiculous 8.8 percent – the jobholders on Capitol Hill couldn't stop congratulating themselves for their "rare" "feat" of bipartisan cooperation. "This proves Washington can work," clucked House Republican Luke Messer of Indiana, in a typically autoerotic assessment of the work done by Beltway pols like himself who were now freed up for their August vacations.
Not only had the president succeeded in moving the goal posts on his spring scandals, he'd teamed up with the Republicans to perpetuate a long-standing deception about the education issue: that the student-loan controversy is now entirely about interest rates and/or access to school loans.
Obama had already set himself up as a great champion of student rights by taking on banks and greedy lenders like Sallie Mae. Three years earlier, he'd scored what at the time looked like a major victory over the Republicans with a transformative plan to revamp the student-loan industry. The 2010 bill mostly eliminated private banks and lenders from the federal student-loan business. Henceforth, the government would lend college money directly to students, with no middlemen taking a cut. The president insisted the plan would eliminate waste and promised to pass the savings along to students in the form of more college and university loans, including $36 billion in new Pell grants over 10 years for low-income students. Republican senator and former Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander bashed the move as "another Washington takeover."
The thing is, none of it – not last month's deal, not Obama's 2010 reforms – mattered that much. No doubt, seeing rates double permanently would genuinely have sucked for many students, so it was nice to avoid that. And yes, it was theoretically beneficial when Obama took banks and middlemen out of the federal student-loan game. But the dirty secret of American higher education is that student-loan interest rates are almost irrelevant. It's not the cost of the loan that's the problem, it's the principal – the appallingly high tuition costs that have been soaring at two to three times the rate of inflation, an irrational upward trajectory eerily reminiscent of skyrocketing housing prices in the years before 2008.
More Taibbi: The Biggest Price-Fixing Scandal Ever
How is this happening? It's complicated. But throw off the mystery and what you'll uncover is a shameful and oppressive outrage that for years now has been systematically perpetrated against a generation of young adults. For this story, I interviewed people who developed crippling mental and physical conditions, who considered suicide, who had to give up hope of having children, who were forced to leave the country, or who even entered a life of crime because of their student debts.
They all take responsibility for their own mistakes. They know they didn't arrive at gorgeous campuses for four golden years of boozing, balling and bong hits by way of anybody's cattle car. But they're angry, too, and they should be. Because the underlying cause of all that later-life distress and heartache – the reason they carry such crushing, life-alteringly huge college debt – is that our university-tuition system really is exploitative and unfair, designed primarily to benefit two major actors.
First in line are the colleges and universities, and the contractors who build their extravagant athletic complexes, hotel-like dormitories and God knows what other campus embellishments. For these little regional economic empires, the federal student-loan system is essentially a massive and ongoing government subsidy, once funded mostly by emotionally vulnerable parents, but now increasingly paid for in the form of federally backed loans to a political constituency – low- and middle-income students – that has virtually no lobby in Washington.
Next up is the government itself. While it's not commonly discussed on the Hill, the government actually stands to make an enormous profit on the president's new federal student-loan system, an estimated $184 billion over 10 years, a boondoggle paid for by hyperinflated tuition costs and fueled by a government-sponsored predatory-lending program that makes even the most ruthless private credit-card company seem like a "Save the Panda" charity. Why is this happening? The answer lies in a sociopathic marriage of private-sector greed and government force that will make you shake your head in wonder at the way modern America sucks blood out of its young.
In the early 2000s, a thirtysomething scientist named Alan Collinge seemed to be going places. He had graduated from USC in 1999 with a degree in aerospace engineering and landed a research job at Caltech. Then he made a mistake: He asked for a raise, didn't get it, lost his job and soon found himself underemployed and with no way to repay the roughly $38,000 in loans he'd taken out to get his degree.
Collinge's creditor, Sallie Mae, which originally had been a quasi-public institution but, in the late Nineties, had begun transforming into a wholly private lender, didn't answer his requests for a forbearance or a restructuring. So in 2001, he went into default. Soon enough, his original $38,000 loan had ballooned to more than $100,000 in debt, thanks to fees, penalties and accrued interest. He had a job as a military contractor, but he lost it when his employer ran a credit check on him. His whole life was now about his student debt.
More Taibbi: The Scam Wall Street Learned From the Mafia
Collinge became so upset that, while sitting on a buddy's couch in Tacoma, Washington, one night in 2005 and nursing a bottle of Jack Daniel's, he swore that he'd see Sallie Mae on 60 Minutes if it was the last thing he did. In what has to be a first in the history of drunken bullshitting, it actually happened. "Lo and behold, I ended up being featured on 60 Minutes within about a year," he says. In 2006, he got to tell his debt story to Lesley Stahl for a piece on Sallie Mae's draconian lending tactics that, curiously enough, Sallie Mae itself refused to be interviewed for.
From that point forward, Collinge – who founded the website – became what he calls "a complaint box for the industry." He heard thousands of horror stories from people like himself, and over the course of many years began to wonder more and more about one particular recurring theme, what he calls "the really significant thing – the sticker price." Why was college so expensive?

When Shoppers Skip Wal-Mart, You Know They're Rolling Back On Spending

This is a selfmade image from the english wiki...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
If discount every-day necessities can’t tempt shoppers into stores, it’s a clear signal that consumers feel stifled by a tough economy at home and overseas.
That’s the picture provided this morning by Wal-Mart’s latest quarterly report. The world’s largest retailer cut its annual profit and revenue outlook and reported second-quarter figures that missed expectations.
Wal-Mart, operating 10,800 stores across 27 countries, is seen as an economic bellwether because it’s a go-to spot for so many households, where they shop for groceries, home supplies and gasoline. Nonexistent wage gains and a sluggish recovery are hampering spending in America and Europe, while slowing growth in developing companies keep the emerging middle classes there from spending much, too. Listen to Wal-Mart CFO Charles Holley: “”The retail environment remains challenging in the U.S. and our international markets, as customers are cautious in their spending.”
Wal-Mart isn’t alone in contending with uncertain shoppers. Macy's M -2.83% yesterday reported downbeat results and blamed it on a weak shopping period. A month earlier, Target TGT -0.72% lowered its full-year profit forecast and turned in disappointing sales. One top Wal-Mart competitor, Costco, managed to impress, though: its quarterly profit just beat analyst estimates.
Looking ahead, Wal-Mart now expects sales to increase 2% to 3% this year. Tellingly, Wal-Mart had earlier forecast sales growth between 5% to 6%. In addition, Wal-Mart reduced its profit outlook by a dime, to $5.10 to $5.30 a share. Analysts believed Wal-Mart sales would rise 5.4% with $5.30 a share in profit.
“The key issue here then, we have to assume that back-to-school is not off to a good start,” says Janney Montgomery Scott analyst David Strasser, who rates Wal-Mart as Buy. Empty stores during August would be a troubling situation for retailers, who rely on the back-to-school period. It’s one of only two times in the entire year when they can count on turning a profit. The signal from Wal-Mart’s numbers does seem to contradict a reading from the government on retail spending, but as Strasser notes, it’s just one of several data points that tell a different story about the health of the consumer.
In the second quarter, the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer earned $4.07 billion, $1.24 a share,  from $4.02 billion, $1.18 a share, a year earlier. Excluding a one-time item, Wal-Mart made $1.25 a share, matching Wall Street’s expectations.
Revenue was lighter than anticipated, though. Sales grew 2.3% to $116.2 billion, while analysts expected $118.09 billion.
At Wal-Mart stores open at least a year, sales fell 0.3%. Analysts predicted those sales would increase 0.7%. This revenue figure is an important marker for retailers because it strips away volatile results from newly opened or closed locations.
Wal-Mart shares fell 2.4% to $74.60 in early morning trading.
Reach Abram Brown at

The NSA, White Hat, Black Hat, and Barnaby Jack

Julie Beal
Activist Post

The NSA must be drooling with anticipation…. the NSTIC is in full swing, working hard to bring global ID to the world. All that lovely data, all linked together, just oozing with juicy details. Put it together with all the sensor readings and you find out so much!

Yes, the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC) has already begun pilots of the federated identity ecosystem, where corporations manage people’s online identities for them, i.e. they ‘look after’ your data, act as a go-between, so you can prove you are who you say you are, online. The US Strategy is intended to work globally, using international standards to exchange information, and most countries have managed to implement a smart ID program in some form or other, such as biometric passports.

The military use of online Identity Management (IdM) is being extended to all of us because we are all going to be forced into the matrix – the intention is to make all government and healthcare services online only, and to use these services, you have to use an Identity Provider (IdP) to validate your right of access. Many of these IdPs have been supplying the NSA (National Security Agency) with records used to identify us, to facilitate “pre-emptive surveillance” or predictive policing – using the data to look for patterns and ‘predict’ crime before it even has a chance to happen.

The Edward Snowden case has made access rights a hot topic and the response of the NSA has been to insist they are ‘only’ collecting metadata. However, metadata is so powerful, it can be used by IdPs to help validate identity! Metadata is also sold to help marketers and politicians ‘understand’ us.

The presence of General Keith Alexander at last month’s Black Hat Conference was an appeal to hackers to be on ‘the right side’, an appeal made all the more poignant for the loss of Barnaby Jack, the hacker, who, it is said, wore a white hat, unlike, say, Anonymous. He was a good hacker who should have been there – he was trying to help people, and the controversy over his death last month may be pure media hype, as this article will explain. The FDA had announced in June they could address the insecurity of medical devices by using IdM - allowing only authorised users to access the device, but this fails to fully address the problems highlighted by Jack, and other researchers.

The powers that be are bringing on the FINAL CRUNCH, the false dichotomy – now, they say, is the time to choose:

Are you a good guy, or a bad guy?

Are you with us, or against us?

Please identify.

Protecting a person’s privacy is also as critical to one’s safety, dignity and identity as is protecting a person’s property. With no privacy, one is de-humanized like an animal in a zoo and much more susceptible to the control of others. -- Scott Cleland (2013)
Hats and Hackers

Earlier this year, General Keith Alexander toured the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE). Alexander is head of both U.S. Cyber Command and the National Security Agency (NSA) and has featured heavily in the press recently trying to defend the actions of the NSA in response to the ‘leaks’ by Edward Snowdon. U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski helped set up the NCCoE, and was instrumental in establishing the NSTIC. She joined Alexander for the tour, exactly two years to the day of Obama’s announcement of the NSTIC. Mikulski made it clear at the time that identity management was about helping business, especially in protecting intellectual property, and the NCCoE is a a public-private partnership hosted by the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Eleven companies have joined the partnership, including RSA, Intel, and Microsoft.

We’re standing up for the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence to protect America’s ideas and innovations from cyber terrorists, spies and thieves,” Senator Mikulski said. “This center will unite the knowledge of the government with the know-how of the private sector to improve our nation’s cybersecurity and create jobs.”

NIST is responsible for implementing the NSTIC, and the tour of the NCCoE facilities included a demonstration of the NSTIC project that is now being piloted by Daon, Inc., supplying biometric identity management via smartphones. They also got to talk to company representatives, and to learn more about other NIST cybersecurity programs.

Cyber threats cut across networks, borders and sectors, and leaders in government and industry must work together to help protect the nation’s critical infrastructure and information,” said General Alexander.
No one organization can do the job alone. NSA supports NIST’s efforts to partner with industry to tackle cyber challenges. NIST has been a great partner to work with and we know they will be great partners on the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence.

General Alexander has also been extending government outreach on cybersecurity issues from private partnerships to a new focus on the hacker community. He turned up to the Defcon conference in jeans and t-shirt last year, and appealed to the audience of around 15,000 ‘security specialists’ to help the NSA ‘defend’ the nation. The Washington Post reported, “The NSA needs cybersecurity experts to harden networks, defend them with updates, do “penetration testing” to find security holes and watch for signs of cyberattacks.” Whilst prosecutions of hackers and whistleblowers have soared, there has also been a recruiting drive for hackers that are left to join the NSA/government. In 2011, DOD, DHS, NASA, and NSA attended Defcon, all of them looking to hire tech-savvy young-bloods, as part of a long term strategy to increase the skill and knowledge levels of the feds in, “an environment where the hacker mind-set fits with “a critical mass of people that are just like them.”” The NSA puts its hackers into either‘red teams’ (the aggressor) or ‘blue teams’ (the defender).

They were welcomed to the event by Jeff Moss, who founded both Defcon and Black Hat and, said the Washington Post(2011), “is now a member of the Department of Homeland Security’s Advisory Council, which advises the government on cybersecurity.” Following the Snowdon ‘leaks’ this year, however, Moss suggested the NSA stay away from Defcon, but welcomed General Alexander to give a speech at Black Hat.

This time, Alexander went for a ‘dressed down’ military outfit – and a fatherly ‘I’m on your side’ speech. Once again, the hackers, any of whom could be of the black hat variety, gave the General several warm rounds of applause. A spot of heckling at the end was quickly dealt with. Apart from trying to defend the NSA, Alexander seemed to be warning the potential young recruits about the difference between good guys and bad guys, when he said:

Where do we go from here? – that’s where you come in. We need to hear from you, because the tools and the things we use are very much the same as the tools that many of you use, in securing networks. The difference, in part, is the oversight and the compliance that we have in these programs. That part is missing in much of the discussion. I believe it’s important for you to hear that.
This is part of the same old story he keeps on telling: that the NSA is just trying to protect everyone from, “those who walk among you who are trying to kill you”. This idea, that there is ‘evil amongst us’, is the key to instilling fear in the global community, and has always been so. It also implies the NSA wears a White Hat, when in fact much of its mission is blacker than black – the scope and aim of NSA surveillance amounts to an offensive attack on the people of the world.

For the hackers, the message seems to be, ‘choose now – cross over to our side, and we’ll pay you and call you heroes’.

Those that choose not to – they’ve been warned about their lack of ‘oversight’.

Who watches the watchers?

The prime example of this is Edward Snowden, who had been certified as an ‘ethical hacker’ - an EC-Council Network Security Administrator (E|NSA) - and the E|NSA course is CNSS4011 certified by the National Security Agency.

Fancy that, eh? Snowdon was trusted by Booz Allen Hamilton (his employer), and by the NSA itself. These closely linked organisations already use Identity Management, so just how much “god-like access” do these systems administrators actually get?

Most of the information gleaned by the NSA comes from predictive analytics employed to find patterns and meaning in the mass of data that comes through. Computers do most of the spying. But there will always be those with access, whether they are granted the privilege by the NSA, or they’ve hacked into the system. We are never going to be safe in the matrix.

The level of security at the NSA, including identity and access control, biometrics, and psychometric testing, either makes it highly unlikely Snowdon would have been able to leak the information without their knowledge, or he had their full blessing. After all,
These individuals hold the keys to the kingdom and are often in a position to undermine the integrity of systems and data, damage systems and, at the extreme, destroy systems and the data on which they operate.
So why has there been such a focus on the so-called ‘revelations’ by Snowden/Greenwald? It’s plastered all over the place – why? There have already been numerous reports of the shady tactics employed by the NSA over the years, such as by James Bamford, so it is only the focus of the mainstream media that has kept the story alive. Why all the hype now? Could it be this case is a standard- setter? It has achieved several things, from the NSA’s point of view: it has allowed them, and the media puppets, to twist the meaning of ‘whistleblower’ to ‘traitor’; it has triggered the meme of cybersecurity; and it has engaged the hacker community to “have the conversation” with the NSA. More importantly, it creates the idea in people’s minds that they have an online identity to protect. But it’s the NSA and their cronies that we need to be protected from!

The NSA wants to recruit ethical hackers to be trusted system administrators, but it doesn’t want them to be like Edward Snowdon. Like Manning and Assange, he now stands as an example of what happens to those who choose to honour the rights of the people instead of obeying the shameful directive of the i-Spy War Monster.

Edward Snowden’s profile will now be studied by counter-intelligence officials looking for clues about how to hire skilled hackers without endangering government secrets.
The NSA recently announced it intends to implement the ‘two person rule’, i.e. systems administrators with privileged account access must verify each other’s movements. This seems unfeasible, given that the NSA are so desperate to recruit more staff, and the rule has already proved to be “too cumbersome" to implement. The Agency has also, “been busy in the open source world and contributed security-related code to Google's Android operating system. This is like a vampire donating to a blood bank.” It is even said the NSA is targeting people who use Tor networks, PGP and other encryption services.

The President of the EC-Council, Sanjay Bavisi, believes that ‘bad guys’ are like a disease or virus that needs to be weeded out of the system. At the Colloquium for Information Systems Security Education (led by Dr. William Maconachy, a former Director of the NSA) in June, Bavisi spoke to ‘thought-leaders’ from both the DHS and the NSA, and warned them they were facing a veritable cyber plague. His solution is to get more ethical hackers on board, to inject secure code into the system, just like a “cyber vaccine”.

Bavisi received the NSA 2013 Colloquium Industry Leadership Award for his work with the EC-Council, which works withScience Applications International Corporation (SAIC) to host the Global Cyberlympics, supported by the United Nations’International Telecommunications Union (ITU)

the Global CyberLympics …. is a series of ethical hacking games comprised of both offensive and defensive security challenges. Teams will vie for the regional championships, followed by a world finals round to determine the world’s best ethical hacking team. EC-Council is sponsoring over $400,000 worth of prizes at the CyberLympics. 
…. the mission of the CyberLympics is to unify global cyber defense while raising awareness toward increased education and ethics in information security. SAIC says that the timing of the games could not be more critical, as global cyber threats are escalating, leaving organizations vulnerable to disastrous security breaches. According to the U.S. Cyber Consequences Unit, hacking results in an annual loss of $6 to $20 billion in intellectual property and investment opportunities. 
….. The CyberLympics will include cyber defense, offense, and a forensics challenge. The initial qualification rounds of these games will be conducted via the Internet, testing the skills of hundreds of contestants from Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North and South America.
Other competitions are open to those who want to be an ethical hacker; the Air Force Association sponsors the ‘CyberPatriot’ contest, “which … has grown from eight high school squads in 2009 to more than 1,200 this year”, and the NSA has also announced it will sponsor the ‘Toaster Wars’. These contests help train the potential recruits, and to condition them to behave according to the guidelines of ethical hacking.
While the students are taught advanced computer skills, they also receive training in computer ethics …….. students interviewed at the contest say they know the fine line between white hat and black hat. [One of the students] said hacking and defending are two sides of the same coin and that the only way to make a proper defense is to understand your weaknesses. 
"We are trained in offensive security, or ethical hacking, but we do know how to monitor a network like a school and watch all the traffic going through," Houck said."And if it’s encrypted, we do know how to break that." (my italics)
The contest is a gaming environment, and cheaters are disqualified and no doubt blacklisted as unethical.Understanding the hacker’s mind is one of the key aims of the recruitment of ethical hackers, or security specialists, all of whom are psychometrically tested/monitored. They are, after all, Masters of Identity Control.

Good Guy Barnaby Jack

Barnaby Jack was known to wear a White Hat. He worked for a computer security company called IOActive, and had also worked with federal agencies, and Intel. He was famous for showing how insecure ATMs are: at the 2010 Black Hat conference, he made them spew out money, remotely. In more recent years, Jack had spoken to the media about how he could hack implantable medical devices which use wireless radio communication – devices such as pacemakers, andimplantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs), as well asimplanted insulin pumps, could be hacked from a distance to commit mass murder.

Most of these devices are connected to the Internet, and a number of articles have described how they are also highly vulnerable to malware, or viruses, as is much of the computerized equipment in hospitals.
the devices are easily tricked by a special command to give up their serial numbers and other info needed to authenticate into them and control those transmitters; and, worse, they often have backdoors that allow the wireless signals to be hijacked even without the credentials……….. around 4.6 million pacemakers and ICDs were sold between 2006 and 2011 in the US alone. 
An old virus from years ago, one that a modern operating system would flick away like an ant at a picnic, can cause real problems in some medical networks.
Barnaby Jack, at the age of just 35, was found dead in an apartment in San Francisco one week before he was due to demonstrate the ability to attack pacemakers, at the Black Hat Conference which was attended by General Alexander. This followed an interview about the devices with Reuters, and the subsequent media freeze, on information regarding his sudden death, has caused much speculation about a possible assassination. The media reports take the view that this was ‘new information’ which no-one wanted to be released; however, this is not the case at all, as the media has been reporting this information for several years. A security researcher called Kevin Fu has done extensive work on this topic and is on the Advisory Board for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Information Security and Privacy Advisory Board (ISPAB). In 2008, he published a report,
…. describing laboratory experiments showing a Medtronic Inc. defibrillator could be turned off remotely by hackers. At a 2011 conference, a McAfee Inc. researcher showed he could remotely cause an insulin pump to deliver fatal doses. 
In one recent experiment, Dr. Fu showed that commercially available devices called software radios, held close to a patient's chest—he used dummies—could induce defibrillators to deliver unneeded shocks. 
"No one has figured out a way to defend against this type of interference," he said. But he said most companies are aware of such problems and he and fellow researchers "don't want to give anyone meat to make crazy claims," as his hacks so far amount to lab experiments.”

While Fu has confined his experiments to the lab, kept a low media profile, and is working closely with the US government, Barnaby Jack had worked without any ‘oversight’, in a Black Hat kinda way, and, well …. maybe he just talked too much. Although device manufacturers such as Medtronic believe “the risk to an individual customer is low and the benefits of the therapy outweigh these risks", they aren’t keen to publicise the insecurities of their devices because of the burden of liability, and the claims that could be brought against them.

Security consultants who have worked for Medtronicand people familiar with the company's internal efforts say Medtronic has been developing cybersecurity features for its devices for more than a decade but has kept a low profile on the issue to avoid additional scrutiny or alarming patients. Security efforts have ramped up in recent years, they said.
The trouble is, hospitals do not want to report malfunctions, and the FDA rules deter hospitals from ‘patching’ the millions of devices already implanted in people around the world:
under current US law, software used to run medical devices in hospitals must remain static once approved. It’s not that manufacturers cannot install anti-virus software or provide updates to fix security flaws, it’s that they will not do so, in order to remain in compliance with the Food & drug Administration. 
"I find this mind-boggling,” Kevin Fu…. told Technology Review. “Conventional malware is rampant in hospitals because of medical devices using unpatched operating systems. There's little recourse for hospitals when a manufacturer refuses to allow OS updates or security patches.
Kevin Fu attended a meeting of the ISPAB, together with Medtronic, Google, Microsoft, the NSA, and other federal agencies, in October last year. The minutes of the meeting note that Vijay D’Souza, from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), “indicated that GAO had talked with some manufacturers about the patching issue and manufacturers indicated they did not want to patch devices to jeopardize their certification. Mr. D’Souza indicated that the general feedback was that the possible benefit of issuing a patch is far outweighed by the risk – the issue is one of liability.”

Fu had discussed this issue in an interview (which also featured Barnaby Jack) with Vanity Fair last year, where it was reported,
Medical manufacturers…. frequently will not allow hospitals to modify their software - even just to add anti-virus protection—because they fear that the changes would have to be reviewed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a complex and expensive process. The fear is wholly justified; according to the F.D.A., most medical-device software problems are linked to updates, patches, and revisions.
Advertising about security can also be a matter of liability if the system is compromised.
One way to address the problem is to encrypt the information sent to the devices, but this is difficult due to their limited battery-life and Fu, et al, concluded several years ago,
The lesson learned is that encryption is not enough to protect the privacy of medical telemetry, and that reasonable assurance for security and privacy will require an energy budget. Future design of medical devices will have to make difficult tradeoffs between battery life versus security and privacy.
Without overcoming these hurdles, the plan is to use identity management to try to limit access to the devices; in June (2013), the FDA issued a Safety Communication, ‘Cybersecurity for Medical Devices and Hospital Networks’, which advises hospitals to:

Take steps to limit unauthorized device access to trusted users only, particularly for those devices that are life-sustaining or could be directly connected to hospital networks. Appropriate security controls may include: user authentication, for example, user ID and password, smartcard or biometric; strengthening password protection by avoiding hard-coded passwords and limiting public access to passwords used for technical device access; physical locks; card readers; and guards.”

The key points of the guidance are limiting access to “trusted users only” and attempting to “ensure trusted content” by using only id-verified software and firmware. As for encryption to protect the transfer of data to and from the device – the guidance simply states this should be used “when appropriate”. The probability of risk to patients from a security breach will be assessed to determine whether or not intervention is necessary.

But just how bad is this risk? There have been no recorded incidents of devices being attacked, though the storyline aired in an episode of ‘Homeland’ – the hitman targeted the Vice President by first getting the serial number for his pacemaker.After seeing the episode, Jack joked on IOActive’s blog, “My first thought after watching this episode was ‘TV is so ridiculous! You don’t need a serial number!”

The Vanity Fair article notes, “You don’t even have to know anything about medical devices’ software to attack them remotely, Fu says. You simply have to call them repeatedly, waking them up so many times that they exhaust their batteries.”

What Jack and Fu were trying to warn us of went way further than the insecurity of pacemakers and insulin pumps. The whole world is intended to be linked to the Internet. Every part of the Internet of Things and People is being linked together, communicating, SMART. And everything we do is recorded. Identifiable. Searchable.

This is not smart.

None of it is safe from the NSA.

NSA: “We’re just collecting metadata”

General Keith Alexander has tried to assure people who fear for their privacy, by telling them his agency is only collecting metadata; and they’re not listening to everyone’s phone calls because it’s just not possible. Of course he’s right about this, but, as he himself says, he’s not telling the whole story. It would not be possible for human beings to sit and listen to everyone’s phone calls, though it is possible to transcribe into text the speech of millions of peoples’ private calls, and search it for keywords.

In an interview at the Aspen Institute, Alexander described the breadth of the more targeted surveillance the NSA does when he talked about the number of ‘hops’ that are done (he says they can only do three). The first hop is 40 people (friends and associates), the second hop expands this to include all the people known by the original group, and works out to be (40 x 40) 1,600 people. The third hop would therefore be (40 x 40 x 40) 64,000 people under surveillance from just one original suspect. It’s hard to know how the FISA court could rubber-stamp each and every one.

And for Alexander to dismiss the collection of metadata as if this is no intrusion of privacy is outrageous – “connecting the dots” of petabytes of metadata reveals hugely private details of our lives by showing patterns, and allowing inferences to be made. This is the stuff of modern marketing, and predictive policing.

Defined as being ‘data about data’, metadata comes from the many ubiquitous sensors (such as RFID) all around us, and all the things we do electronically.


All of this is fully explained in an article at

It's "data about data" -- or, more properly in this context, it's data about content. When you look at a Web page, a photo, or an e-mail message, what you see is the human-readable content. Hiding underneath that picture of a kitten, the ITworld Web page, or a note from your mom, is all kinds of data about what you see. 
With a digital photograph, there can be dozens of data fields. There are multiple formats for this data. …. A photograph's metadata can record the camera that was used to take it, and the date and time it was taken -- along with the location, if the camera has a GPS. If you edit your photograph, the metadata can also be used to record what software and operating system you used. And with the right software…. you can read any image's metadata.
So metadata is what allows the NSA to keep tabs on us all, especially when it comes to phone records, where the metadata includes the identity of the SIM and the device it is installed in, who called/texted who, where, and how long for. We also generate metadata every time we surf the net, send an email, or post on a forum, and all of it is trawled by Internet service providers, for marketers and researchers. If you use a mobile, or the Internet, there are profiles of you gleaned from all this data. There’s so much of it, and it’s so useful, it’s worth a lot of money.

Metadata is gold-dust because it is a window to your soul.

Companies like Facebook, Google and Microsoft pick up all of our digital breadcrumbs, and sell them. Known in the trade as ‘traffic analysis’, the data is retrievable for law enforcement, and auditing, at any time in the future. It is also used, in real-time, to try and predict crime. Computer programs analyse metadata looking for patterns, in an attempt to detect ‘pre-crime’. It is used to decide where to concentrate police powers, but the fetish of ‘detecting terrorism’ is a fearsome fetish indeed. After all, they presume any one of us could be a terrorist. Not so long ago, (sometimes violent) political activists were called ‘freedom fighters’ by the media. Now, even a person who questions the authority of the globalists can be deemed a potential terrorist. Perhaps you’ll be placed on ‘the list’ just for reading this article…. or perhaps, we are, already, all suspects. Trouble is, all of this big data the NSA are getting, “may mean more information, but it also means more false information.... If big data leads to more false correlations, then mass surveillance may lead to more false accusations of terrorism
One of the NSA’s research projects aim (sic) is to forecast, on the basis of telephone data and Twitter and Facebook posts, when uprisings, social protests and other events will occur. The agency is also researching new methods of analysis for surveillance videos with the hope of recognizing conspicuous behavior before terrorist attacks are committed. 
….. Apparently the data is extracted, transferred and loaded into servers at the Utah Data Center in Bluffdale. According to Der Spiegel, there [is] enough capacity to store a Yottabyte of data…. Large enough to store all the electronic communications of all of humanity for the next 100 years……. Ira Hunt, CTO for the Central Intelligence Agency, said in a speech at the GigaOM Structure: Data conference that “The value of any piece of information is only known when you can connect it with something else that arrives at a future point in time.
This is why data is stored, and what Alexander meant when he said the NSA are “connecting the dots”. Patterns and meaning can be found in metadata from a whole range of sources.
Because smart meters register every tiny up and down in energy use, they are, in effect, monitoring every activity in the home. By studying three homes’ smart-meter records, researchers at the University of Massachusetts were able to deduce not only how many people were in each dwelling at any given time but also when they were using their computers, coffee machines, and toasters. Incredibly, Kohno’s group at the University of Washington was able to use tiny fluctuations in power usage to figure out exactly what movies people were watching on their TVs. (The play of imagery on the monitor creates a unique fingerprint of electromagnetic interference that can be matched to a database of such fingerprints.)
This has all gone way too far already. Mobile phones can be hacked so audio and video can be activated remotely. So can laptops (girl was watched in the bath!), and all else that’ssmart in some way. All of this is receiving a lot of attention in the media, and my bet is that we are about to be sold Identity Management, courtesy of the NSTIC, as a way to ‘protect ourselves’. Even if this does offer us one extra layer of security from some thieves, it still means granting control of our lives to a large corporation, and making surveillance far easier for the NSA, CIA, FBI, etc.

Obviously, the people behind NSTIC, or Identity Assurance in the UK, won’t sell it you this way, when it’s ready - they’ll want you to have forgotten about Edward Snowdon’s ‘revelations’ by then. After all, some of the very same telcos that hand over our details to the NSA will be playing the part of Internet gatekeepers in the global identity ecosystem.

You’ll be told it’s all for you. They say they just want to protect you from the big bad cyberbullies, and make your life easier by not having to remember lots of passwords. You’ll be told it’s voluntary, that you don’t have to sign up with an Identity Provider, but in fact, not joining will eventually prevent you from participating in society: in the near future, most health services, and all contact with the government, will be online only, but you have to use a third party to do so, i.e. register with an Identity Provider (IdP).

Not long after that, it will only be possible to pay for anything electronically, which of course you will need an IdP for. Yoursmart meter will also be part of the identity ecosystem. To gain entrance to public buildings, perhaps even your own house or car, you’ll have to use your smart card/phone to prove who you are. All devices and all people in the Internet of Things will have their own unique identity.

All brought to you by the Identity Providers – the creators of identity profiles for each and every one of us, stored digitally and wondrously accessible for law enforcement. Telcos such as AT&T and Microsoft have previously 'complained' that they have had to devote whole teams to the business of handing over information on citizens to the likes of the NSA. With Identity Management, all of the information is aggregated, and the problem of managing all that data is instead turned into a tidy profit for the telcos for delivering a ‘service’ to the people.

The details released by Edward Snowden have caused an uproar, even in the mainstream arena, showing how highly we all value our privacy. Nonetheless, the public anxiety created by the leaks could be manipulated to plead the case for Identity and Access Management – the very aim of the NSTIC.

Identity management is fundamental to the globalists’ plan to gain "maximum control of the entire electromagnetic spectrum".

Tell people this.

This article first appeared at Get Mind Smart

Obamacare:Leaves No Stone Left Unturned Destroying Freedom,Personal Dignity and the Economy

There is a good number of people out there that believe Obamacare will by like the Canadian Healthcare system or like the European style socialized medicine. Even though some of these state run healthcare systems might be not much better than Obamacare. Obamacare goes much further where the whole Affordable Healthcare Act destroys the Bill of Rights. The law is about full spectrum dominance and control over the people with Medical tyranny.
Here is how Obamacare will seek to dominate people’s lives that have nothing to do with healthcare.
- Our Medical records will no longer be private. Personal privacy and confidential medical records are things of the past. Our information will be shared with corporations and among other government agencies.
- Doctors will be told to ask about firearms ownership with patients and turn them into the police for gun confiscation.
- People can be refused medical care by the US Government if they refuse to get vaccines or turn in the guns
- People can be refused care if they are not in good graces with the government being punished for being a dissident. In Soviet Russia this is called ‘internal exile’ being called an ‘unperson’.
- Our home will no longer be our castle. There will be mandatory home inspections of families of veterans, if child does not perform in school or if the one of the people is a smoker.  This provision in Obamacare gives the government any reason to inspect everyone’s home without a search warrant or probable cause.
- Under Obamacare, Former US Army General Boykin now retired said under Obamacare, there is a provision to appoint and commission officers for a constabulary force outside the Military. Could this be Obama’s private army that answers to him without congressional oversight?
- Not to mention under Obamacare, they will take money out of our bank accounts without our consent to subsidize this monster called Obamacare. Could this mechanism be used to attack political enemies and opposition by taking away their money so they can not defend themselves and causing hardships? Could the US government steal money out of people’s personal bank accounts to bailout the insurance companies that wrote Obamacare like they did in Cyprus bailing out the banks?
- Obamacare threatens charitable hospitals with heavy fines for treating the uninsured. Not to mention the cost complying regulations. These charitable hospitals can become extinct like the dinosaurs in America. It can be criminal now to be the Good Samaritan under Obamacare treating the uninsured.
- The IRS will be enforcing Obamacare where we can go to jail for not following the individual mandate and refuse to pay the fines. You think the IRS is hated now for attacking Obama’s political opponents. When they are at your door up close and personal. The hatred for the IRS to intensify one hundred fold in a very short time.
If Obamacare is so good. Than why is the IRS agents asking for an exemption from the personal mandate? Why are city governments balking at this bad law. Why is congress asking for a waiver from the Affordable Healthcare act? Why are Washington’s political and corporate cronies getting waivers where these companies do not have to comply. It is because they all know this law is bad and will bankrupt the economy. It will destroy our republic if we comply with it.
The Constitution was written for the common man to understand.  My son who is 9 years old read the Constitution can see Obamacare is unconstitutional more ways than one. He has not went to college or law school. Just because congress passed the bill, the President signed the bill into law and the high court upheld Obamacare as the law of the land does not give the US government the moral authority to force us to comply with a law that will destroy lives going against every natural instincts we have.
The Government will try to make us think we are bad for resisting Obamacare. We are in the right acting on our natural instincts for self preservation out of necessity not to comply if we know this law will destroy our life.
If the government can not prove the elections are fair. There is proof of widespread voter fraud. Than we are not morally obligated to support, fund or comply with their bad laws that enrich the powerful while destroying ourselves.
Here’s a warning to the Obamacare Tyrants from the Bible spoken in Isaiah 10:1-2
“Woe to Those who decree unjust statutes and to those who continually record unjust decisions to deprive the needy of justice, and to rob the poor of my people of their rights”
Obamacare Must be Resisted at all cost!

California Economist Says Real US Debt $70 Trillion, 6x What Is Declared

Hamilton believes the government is miscalculating what it owes by leaving out certain unfunded liabilities that include government loan guarantees, deposit insurance, and actions taken by the Federal Reserve as well as the cost of other government trust funds. Factoring in those figures brings the total amount the government owes to a staggering $70 trillion, he says.
Hamilton believes important areas of federal off-balance-sheet commitments include loans for post-high school education, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Federal Reserve System.
Economist: Real US Debt $70 Trillion, NotThe $16.9 Trillion The Government Claims

The majority of home purchases are now being done by cash buyers: Destroying the myth that cash buyers are a small portion of the market. 60 percent of homes sold in 2013 came from the all cash crowd.

There was an odd sort of myth floating around the market that the cash buyer crowd was somehow a tiny portion of the market, like a drop of water in the vast ocean of home buying.  This delusional dream played into the fantasy that this housing market was naturally rising because of overall household demand when in reality, it is being driven by investors leveraging the artificial low rates created by the Fed.  The flood of money from Wall Street has been large.  Even anecdotally, it was apparent that cash buyers were driving the market given that housing is a margin driven market.  That is, at any given time only a small portion of all homes are on the market for sale.  However, an analysis by non-other than Goldman Sachs shows that 60 percent of all 2013 home sales are being driven by cash buyers.  That is, the middle class is largely being pushed out of this game and has become the minority in this real estate market.  Let us look into the data more carefully.

Cash buyers only a small portion of the market?
I think the myth of cash buyers being a small part of the market fed into the meme that the housing market was “organically” going up on the underlying power of the economy.  In reality, the market has been bubbling up because hot money is voraciously fighting over itself to eat up whatever inventory is available.  The data now being released confirms how massive the investor portion of the market is:
GS housing cash
“(WSJ) More than half of all homes sold last year and so far in 2013 have been financed without a mortgage, according to an analysis by economists at Goldman Sachs Group.
The analysis estimates that around 20% of all homes sold before the housing crash were “all-cash” sales (or around 30% of sales by dollar volume). But over the past seven years, the all-cash share of sales has more than doubled, increasing by more than 30 percentage points, according to economists Hui Shan, Marty Young and Charlie Himmelberg.”
Think about this more carefully.  Even with the median home price of $214,200 families still need to finance the purchase.  The above chart clearly shows that investor money is really driving the bulk of the housing market.  The low rates promoted by the Fed were cast under the umbrella of helping out regular families but in reality, they have turned into the next hot money play for banks, hedge funds, and Wall Street.  The fact that 60 percent of all purchases in 2013 are being driven by the cash crowd is crazy (a 200 percent increase from the 20 percent pre-crash levels).  The WSJ article goes on to say:
“There’s no exact way to know who is responsible for all of these cash purchases, though they are likely to include some combination of investors, foreign buyers, and wealthy homeowners that don’t want to go through the hassle of getting a mortgage before closing on a sale. Mortgage lending standards have sharply tightened up since the housing bubble, with banks scrutinizing borrowers’ tax returns and bank statements to verify their incomes and the source of their down payment.”
We’ve talked about this for years but the current percentage is stunning.  It is safe to say that your mom and pop American buyer is not eating up all these properties for all cash.  Just take a look at the cash buying in Las Vegas:
This incredible trend also helps to explain the massive drop in mortgage applications but the rise in actual home sales:
mortgage apps and sales
Source:  ZH
Some have argued that the “all cash” crowd isn’t really all cash which may be true in some transaction but the above chart clearly shows that mortgage financing has fallen dramatically since 2012 (below pre-crash levels).  This of course has occurred at a time of record low interest rates.  So the idea that low rates would spur your regular Joe and Jane to buy homes doesn’t seem to be occurring.  Unless Joe and Jane have hundreds of thousands of dollars sitting around (which of course, is not the case).  Of course this also helps to explain the dramatic falling of the home ownership rate as well:
Yet this unrelenting amount of investor buying has crowded out people in various markets.  Even in California where property prices are rising dramatically and some areas are having homes sell at record levels, the cash buying crowd is at record levels (roughly 30 percent of purchases in one of the most expensive states in the country).
So much for the myth that the all cash crowd was a small portion of the market.

Businessman pleads not guilty to evading $31 million taxes

High-rolling businessman Ramon DeSage pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges of evading more than $31 million in taxes.
DeSage, 63, who is well-known on the Strip, is facing four new tax evasion counts with previous wire fraud charges in what federal prosecutors say was a scheme to defraud investors of roughly $190 million.
He was charged two weeks ago in a superseding indictment, alleging he owes the taxes on more than $87 million in income he failed to report from 2006 to 2009.
DeSage, who supplies luxury gifts to the casino industry, is accused of under-reporting his income by $19.2 million in 2006, $27.7 million in 2007, $30.6 million in 2008 and $9.7 million in 2009.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Peggy Leen set a Sept. 10 trial date, but DeSage’s defense lawyer, Richard Wright, said the trial is likely to be continued.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Damm told Leen he did not oppose allowing DeSage to remain on electronically monitored home detention while he awaits trial.
DeSage and Wright declined to comment on the case outside the courtroom.
The indictment alleges DeSage used $175 million he obtained in the extensive fraud scheme “for gambling purposes.”
DeSage is accused of using his main Las Vegas company, Cadeau Express, and other companies to defraud his investors between 2005 and 2012.
He pocketed the money to repay earlier investors, maintain his wealthy lifestyle and cover millions of dollars in gambling losses at casinos along the Strip, some of which he supplies with high-end customer goods, according to the indictment.
On the Cadeau Express website, DeSage calls himself an international humanitarian and philanthropist.
DeSage states that he was born into a “prestigious family” in Lebanon, was educated in France and once worked as an attache for UNESCO.
Cadeau Express is described on the website as a “unique company that caters to hotels and casinos who roll out the red carpet for selective guests and high-end gamblers.”
Prosecutors contend DeSage owns a 40,000-square foot palace in Lebanon and more than $10 million in real estate holdings there.
Internal Revenue Service agents arrested DeSage on a criminal complaint in July 2012 after they feared he was about to flee to Lebanon.
He has denied trying to flee the country.

Mike Maloney – RT Prime Interest – End Of Global Dollar Standard

At 2:35, RT’s Prime Interest interviews Mike Maloney about Episode 2 of his new video series Hidden Secrets of Money.  Mike also discusses the FED, gold and silver, and the coming end of the global dollar standard monetary system.

Greenspan Admits The Federal Reserve Is Above The Law & Answers To No One

Greenspan says the Fed is above the law.
He says it at 7:40
Google: America Freedom To Fascism

Stock Market Crash Just Ahead?

Robert Wenzel
Economic Policy Journal
According to Austrian Business Cycle Theory, when a central bank slows its money printing that has fueled a manipulated stock market boom, the stock market is very vulnerable to a crash.Murray Rothbard in his book America’s Great Depression explained how it occurred before the October 1929 crash:
It is generally acknowledged that the great boom of the 1920s began around July, 1921, after a year or more of sharp recession, and ended about July, 1929. Production and business activity began to decline in July, 1929, although the famous stock market crash came in October of that year. [...] the total money supply of the country, beginning with $45.3 billion on June 30,1921 and reckoning the total, along with its major constituents roughly semiannually thereafter. Over the entire period of the boom, we find that the money supply increased by $28.0 billion, a 61.8 percent increase over the eight-year period. This is an average annual increase of 7.7 percent, a very sizable degree of inflation. Total bank deposits increased by 51.1 percent, savings and  loan shares by 224.3 percent, and net life insurance policy reserves by 113.8 percent. The major increases took place in 1922–1923, late 1924, late 1925, and late 1927. The abrupt leveling off occurred precisely when we would expect—in the first half of 1929, when bank deposits declined and the total money supply remained almost constant.
The money supplied slowed before the October 1987 crash:

It slowed before the 2008 September Financial Crisis:

And it is slowing again now:

Austrian economics also teaches us that it is a very complex world and that there are many, many inputs on an economy at any one time, so just because something occurred a certain way in the past it doesn’t mean it will develop exactly that way in the future, BUT central bank money manipulation does play a big role and it is crashing once again.