Friday, October 4, 2013

Government Shutdown Proves Roads Not Possible Without Government

Jeff Berwick
Activist Post

It is often irritating for those of us who don't believe we need violent institutions (ie. government) to keep hearing the same refrain from non-believers over and over again, "But, what about my roads?"

We always reply, exasperated, that pavement is not impossible to have without theft and the fact that roads existed without government even in the US (as Walter Block wrote in "The Privatization of Roads And Highways"). And, TDV's own Gary Gibson has covered the topic many times including, "If One More Person Asks Me About the Roads...".

But, within minutes of the US government shutdown we've been proven wrong... sort of. Roads in national parks throughout the US were immediately shuttered on Monday.

As you can clearly see, within minutes of being held from extortion (tax) funding these roads immediately became impassable. At least when an escalator stops working it just becomes stairs and is still usable but these roads simply cease to be usable in the advent of a government shutdown.

Unfortunately, it's not even just roads that cannot possibly function without government. It is also national parks.

They also just cease to exist the moment government is not funded and, for your safety, they are immediately walled off. No child could possibly play on that grass without the government being involved!

To add insult to injury countless people have gone into national parks against the demands of their owners and there are reports of some national parks where the government has hired private freelance security guards (where the money came from is anyone's guess) to kick them out!

Apparently national parks and monuments don't just cease to exist in a government shutdown, however. A number of senior citizens managed to get by the "closed" sign in Washington to get to a World War II memorial to grieve and remember for all the people and friends of theirs who died because of the US government and the Rothschild-backed World War II.

The parks police, who were strangely still on duty and other government security goons were all on their cellphones trying to figure out how to deal with these 90 year olds in wheelchairs.

The second funniest thing (the first coming later) we saw today was that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) oppressive arm of the US government posted a message on it's website ( below.

Here is the funny part... in order to even receive this message it means their servers are still running. So, what likely happened is that some time after midnight the USDA paid one of its employees to put up this message!

Not that the USDA has any relevant or good purpose. The USDA has never produced one husk of corn. It only serves to make sure that small farms are regulated out of existence for the large food manufacturing monopoly that pays off the government for said service.

But even all that is not the funniest thing we've seen today, 24 hours after the federal government has said it "shutdown".

This message via Twitter from the "First Lady of the US", Michelle Obama takes the cake.

Yes, apparently if the US government can't decide on a budget she will have to limit her tweets. After all, without your stolen money (taxes) she has no budget to possibly type a message or two of propaganda!

So, after the first twenty-four hours of a US government "shutdown" what has happened? Perfectly fine roads have been blocked from access, nice fields have been closed off so you can't use them, the USDA has written a message on their active web servers that their website is offline and Michelle Obama has warned her tweets might be limited!

Yet, mainstream media in the US is talking like this is an apocalypse. "It's anarchy!" said Harry Reid (Senator - Communist Party). If this is anarchy what is everyone so scared about?

The truth is that the US government is truly bankrupt and the only thing keeping it going is Federal Reserve money printing which will eventually lead to the total collapse of the US dollar and The End Of The Monetary System As We Know It (TEOTMSAWKI).

This shutdown is all theater and the coming debate over the raising of the US debt ceiling will also be political theater. But the endgame is already baked in the cake and there will be a total collapse of the US federal government. To prepare, sign up for our free daily blogs at or if you want to begin to take action, subscribe to The Dollar Vigilante newsletter to receive our weekly truth dispatches. Turn off the CartooN Network (CNN) and take action today. If you are prepared this collapse which will happen in the next few years will not take you and your assets down with it. If not, we wish you luck.

And, Happy Shutdown day to everyone! Let's keep 'er shut.

Anarcho-Capitalist. Libertarian. Freedom fighter against mankind’s two biggest enemies, the State and the Central Banks. Jeff Berwick is the founder of The Dollar Vigilante, CEO of TDV Media & Services and host of the popular video podcast, Anarchast. Jeff is a prominent speaker at many of the world’s freedom, investment and gold conferences as well as regularly in the media including CNBC, CNN and Fox Business.

‘Let’s stop this government-by-extortion’ – Green Party’s Stein on US shutdown

The American public, not President Obama, is the force that can have the most impact on how Washington pulls out of its current acrimony, former Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein told RT on Wednesday.
“I think it’s really the American people who need to kick in
here… we need to kick in to say, ‘Let’s stop this
Stein, the most successful female
presidential candidate in US history, said.
Of a government shutdown that is already having impacts on vital
federal programs, Stein said it is “the extension of a process
that’s been taking place for the last decade, or two, or three if
you trace it back, whereby money and power have been concentrated
in the hands of an economic and political elite.”

Stein believes a unified response is needed now more than ever in
the face of the “unhinged one percent” that dominates
American politics.
“That’s where an independent party like the Green Party comes
in, in that we offer a place to rally, to unify the principled
opposition, because it’s only together that we can change
she said about seeking solutions to concerns that
her party has with the way America is governed.
RT: The country’s in deadlock now after the Democrats
and the Republicans have clashed over this. So where does your
party fit into all of this?

Jill Stein: Where the Green Party fits in is where the
American people fit in, who have also been locked out of a voice
and a way forward by this real betrayal of the public trust and
the public interest. What Congress is doing really serves no one,
certainly not ordinary people who are really taking it on the
chin. And the pain and the impacts of the shutdown are really
compounding the policies of the past 10 or 15 years, which in
turn have been intensified by austerity with the skyrocketing
Wall Street bailouts – we’re still bailing out Wall Street to the
tune of $85 billion a month; our incredible military budget and
the expanding front of our endless wars, which are everywhere;
the attack on our civil liberties. One out of every two Americans
is now in poverty or [is] low-income according to the Census
Bureau. Thirty-nine million students are in debt. And I have to
mention just one more figure here, which is what the Department
of Labor predicts, and that is that nine out of 10 jobs being
created in the American economy over the next 10 years [will be] low-wage and insecure jobs, half of them not even requiring a
high school degree or paying high-school wages. So what we’ve
seen most recently with the move of the Tea Party, supported by
the Republicans, is really the complete unhinging of our
democracy and the extension of a process that’s been taking place
for the last decade, or two, or three if you trace it back,
whereby money and power have been concentrated in the hands of an
economic and political elite. And a unified response, to answer
your question, a unified response is really, critically
important. That’s where an independent party like the Green Party
comes in, in that we offer a place to rally, to unify the
principled opposition, because it’s only together that we can
change course. But we just did that in stopping the expanding war
in Syria. So amazing things have happened. The power of democracy
and justice is sweeping across the planet. We do have the power
to change course. It will take substantial work in organizing and
I urge the people to get involved with your state Green Party or
national Green Party.
RT: It will take a lot of work and also a lot of time,
and time is of the essence. If you had the chance to take Obama
aside, what would you say to him in terms of resolving this
current crisis?

JS: I think it’s more in the hands of the American people
than Obama, to tell you the truth. We should not give in to
extortion and blackmail on the part of a wing of the Republican
Party that really represents the unhinged one percent. And I
think it’s really the American people who need to kick in here in
the same way we stopped the war, we need to kick in to say,
‘Let’s stop this government-by-extortion.’ We need to
continue with the funding of the budget, we need to raise the
debt ceiling, and let’s get down to restoring jobs, to creating
our democracy, to solving the climate crisis, to downsizing our
military. I think we need consistent public pressure, starting
with, let’s fund the continuing resolution on the budget. I think
we need to bombard Congress with phone calls.
RT: On raising the debt ceiling, this is an issue that
will come around in the next couple of weeks or so. Will we see
an agreement on that? And if there isn’t an agreement on that,
what are the repercussions? Not just for the US, but for the
world? What would you be saying to impact all that?

JS: It’s very frightening already. Just from the shutdown,
we’re seeing real impacts on Medicare and Medicaid, veterans’
services, and people who need those services now cannot get them.
New enrollees have been forestalled. You have a complete shutdown
of food aid through the Women, Infants and Children, the WIC
program, which is closing down within a week; the budget of the
entire District of Columbia; loans for homes, for students; the
Nuclear Regulatory Commission. So we’re seeing big impacts on
people who are vulnerable, not only in health care, but
particularly Head Start and similar programs are really being
held up. Aid to school districts. So we’re being impacted right
now and it’s going to get much worse if the debt ceiling is not
Copyright: RT

Shutdown in 3rd day with bigger trouble looming

Government shutdown in 3rd day and bigger worry looms ahead for Obama, Hill leaders

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama laid the blame for the government's partial shutdown at the feet of House Speaker John Boehner on Thursday, escalating a confrontation that is running the risk of a potentially damaging clash over the nation's borrowing authority.
The Treasury Department warned that a deadlock over raising the nation's debt limit could touch off a new recession even worse than the last one that Americans are still recovering from. Worry about prospects for resolving the debt question within the next two weeks deepened as the shutdown standoff dragged on.
The shutdown showdown grew more personal Thursday.
Speaking at a construction company in Washington's Maryland suburbs, Obama cast the House speaker as a captive of a small band of conservative Republicans who want to extract concessions in exchange for passing a short term spending bill that would restart the partially shuttered government.
"The only thing preventing people from going back to work and basic research starting back up and farmers and small business owners getting their loans, the only thing that is preventing all that from happening right now, today, in the next five minutes is that Speaker John Boehner won't even let the bill get a yes or no vote because he doesn't want to anger the extremists in his party," Obama said.
Boehner answered by batting blame back toward Obama and his "my-way-or-the-highway approach." Boehner said that if the president would negotiate to fix flaws in "Obamacare," the shutdown could end.
"The president's insistence on steamrolling ahead with this flawed program is irresponsible," said Boehner, R-Ohio.
Majority Leader Eric Cantor said the House would continue on its course of passing separate bills to remedy "situations that are in critical stages" because of the partial government shutdown that began Tuesday.
The House was expected to vote to for more money for National Guard and Reserves and for veterans programs during the day, and officials said legislation to help Head Start and possibly the WIC (Women, Infants and Children program) could soon be drafted, as well.
Senate Democrats made clear they will not agree to reopen the government on a piecemeal basis. "You can't fall for that legislative blackmail or it will get worse and worse and worse," said Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York.
Senate Democrats and Obama said the House must send them a measure that would restart all of government with no strings attached.
"Take a vote," Obama urged Boehner in his speech. "Stop this farce and end this shutdown right now."
It might not be so simple, however. Moderate Republicans have said they think they could provide enough votes to join with minority Democrats and push a bill through the House reopening the government with no restrictions on the health care law.
But under pressure from House GOP leaders, they failed to join Democratic efforts on Wednesday aimed at forcing the chamber to consider such legislation.
In the Senate, GOP Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said the problem was "Democrats' refusal to apply simple fairness when it comes to Obamacare."
Democratic and Republican leaders in the Senate blocked each other's proposals for addressing the stalemate Thursday. Democrats rejected GOP proposals to reopen the national parks, speed up processing of veterans' claims and restart some medical research that's been put on hold. Republicans stymied a Democratic plan to bring the entire government back to work.
"Obviously tea party Republicans don't really want a way out of this government shutdown. They like it the way it is," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.
Republicans who initially sought to defund the health care law in exchange for funding the rest of government have scaled back their demand, but say they need some sort of offer from Obama.
A meeting between Obama and congressional leaders at the White House Wednesday evening offered no glimmer of progress.
"All we're asking for here is a discussion and fairness for the American people under Obamacare," Boehner, R-Ohio, said after the meeting.
The White House said Obama would be happy to talk about health care — but only after Congress moves to reopen the government.
If the shutdown dispute persists it could become entangled with the even more consequential battle over the debt limit. The Obama administration has said Congress must renew the government's authority to borrow money by Oct. 17 or risk a first-ever federal default, which many economists say would dangerously jangle the world economy.
Treasury's report Thursday said defaulting on the nation's debts could cause the nation's credit markets to freeze, the value of the dollar to plummet and U.S. interest rates to skyrocket.
For now, Republicans planned to continue pursuing their latest strategy toward the shutdown: muscling bills through the House that would restart some popular programs.
Votes were on tap for restoring funds for veterans and paying members of the National Guard and Reserves. On Wednesday, the chamber voted to finance the national parks and biomedical research and let the District of Columbia's municipal government spend federally controlled dollars.
As the politicians battled, mail continued to be delivered, air traffic controllers remained at work and payments were being made to recipients of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and unemployment benefits.
Taxes were still due, but lines at IRS call centers went unanswered.
Halted were most routine food inspections by the Food and Drug Administration. Some loan approvals for many low- and middle-income borrowers were thrust into low gear by the Housing and Urban Development Department. National parks were closed.
Workers were furloughed based on how essential their jobs were to the nation: Only 3 percent of NASA employees were kept on, while 86 percent at the Homeland Security Department were working.
Underscoring the rising intensity of the partisan battle, the Senate chaplain opened Thursday's session with an unusually pointed prayer.
"Deliver us from the hypocrisy of attempting to sound reasonable while being unreasonable," said Dr. Barry Black. "Remove the burdens of those who are the collateral damage of this government shutdown."
Associated Press writers Connie Cass, Jim Kuhnhenn and Andrew Taylor contributed to this report.


Documents Reveal Govt Lied About PRISM, Aided Financial Collapse

Supercars In The US, Japan, And China: How QE And Corruption Boosted Sales

(owned by BMW), whose Phantom retails for over $400,000 a pop. September was huge, with sales almost tripling from last year to, well, 56 units, bringing year-to-date sales to 285 units, up 29% (Motor Intelligence). For Ferrari, however, September was crummy, down 20%, and year-to-date sales were crummy too, increasing only 7% to 1,539 units, when the overall auto industry was up 8.1%. But Lamborghini sales rose 19.1% in September to a whopping 56 units. Year to date, they jumped 27.6% to 490 units.
“The U.S. is really getting back on track and getting more important for us,” explainedLamborghini CEO Winkelmann in an interview in Tokyo – he does get around quite a bit.
The other new promised land is Japan (again) – where Abenomics kicked in early this year, and where the Bank of Japan is printing trillions of yen on a monthly basis. These wealth distribution policies drove up asset prices and the national debt, and sales of luxury goodslike art, jewelry, high-end watches, and precious metals jumped 18.3% in August and 14.2% in July, after having been on a tear all year – while regular folks are struggling with stagnant wages and year-over-year goods inflation of 1.8%.
Ferrari sales jumped 28% in Japan through August. And Lamborghini sales rose 14% – constrained only by supply. Eager buyers, the beneficiaries of Abenomics, have to deal with waiting periods of up to one year for a $400,000 Lamborghini Aventador. “We are very happy with Japan,” raved Winkelmann. “It’s coming back big time.”
In this manner, supercars have become a litmus test of what works and what doesn’t. What works: Printing money and handing it to the largest banks and securities dealers to let them distribute it as they see fit, the case in the US and Japan. Pushing interest rates below the rate of inflation to where it bleeds savers, pensions funds, systems like Social Security, etc. is also beneficial. But cracking down on lavish gift-giving to get in on a deal or to get something done, or cracking down on corruption in general, is a really, really bad idea; sales of ultra-luxury products just go to hell.
“This sort of political brinkmanship is the dominant reason the rating is no longer ‘AAA,’” S&P ratings agency wrote about the US in a research note. More ominously, it warned that if Congress failed to pass a debt-ceiling hike before the out-of-money date in mid-October, it would cut the U.S. to “selective default.” And then there would be the post-default era. Read…. S&P Threatens To Cut US Debt To JUNK.

All Wars Are Bankers' Wars

Government shutdown? Duh, we could run government with debt-free money

The 1% leaders of US government, finance/banking, and media are asset-hole lying sacks of spin because none inform the 99% of obvious solutions: including government directly paying for all public goods and services with debt-free money created by government (and here).
Several models (and here) of cost-free government are known, beginning with Benjamin Franklin’s pamphlet on colonial Pennsylvania operating its government without taxes to Thomas Edison explaining debt-free money with Henry Ford in a 1921 summer media tour.
In fact, government could (and should) be the employer of last resort for infrastructure (hard – like roads, and soft – like health care, education). Such a structure would provide full-employment, the best infrastructure we can imagine, and falling prices because infrastructure creates more economic output than the infrastructure investment cost (documentation here, here, here).
Want these solutions realized?
Then you’ll need to think, speak, and act for arrests of the 1% OBVIOUS War Criminals and banksters, or YOU WILL NEVER HAVE ANYTHING BUT MORE WAR, FEAR/HATE-MONGERING AND LIES.
History shows you this.
Learn it or repeat it.
With all respect: duh.

Millennials Devastated As American Dream Becomes Nightmare For Most

"It seems to me that if you went to college and took on student debt, there used to be greater assurance that you could pay it off with a good job," sums up one 'millennial', adding - sadly - "but now, for people living in this economy and in our age group, it's a rough deal." As WSJ reports, only about a third of adults in their early 20s works full-time - the lowest rate in 40 years - as the combination of structural changes and this recession "is devastating for millennial." Despite think-tanks demanding more of employers in terms of workplace rules and minimum wages, the reality is workers are expected to do more for less and be grateful - "this is a huge problem when think of where demand is going."

The young are earnings less and less relative to the average earnings in the US...

as the younger generation's participation in the labor force fell more than 3 times as fast in the "lost decade" as in the previous two decades...

Summing it all up - where the priority is:

Via WSJ,

The on-ramp to adulthood is delayed and harder to reach for young people today, a reality that is changing the country's society and economy, according to a new report.

More demanding job requirements, coupled with the pressures of the recession, have delayed the transition to adulthood for young people in the past decade and earned them the title of "the new lost generation," according to the report from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, published Monday.


"It seems to me that if you went to college and took on student debt, there used to be greater assurance that you could pay it off with a good job," said the Colorado native, who majored in English before dropping out. "But now, for people living in this economy and in our age group, it's a rough deal."


Through analyzing about three decades of census data—from 1980 to 2012—the study found that on average, young workers are now 30 years old when they first earn a median-wage income of about $42,000, a marker of financial independence, up from 26 years old in 1980.

About a third of adults in their early 20s work full time, a proportion that rises to about half of adults in their late 20s. The labor-force participation rate for young people last year declined to its lowest point in about 40 years, according to the report.


In recent decades, the U.S. has seen a gradual outward shift in people's professional lives: Americans today tend to start work later and continue working longer than in past generations. A decade ago, a boy in his late teens was twice as likely as a man his grandfather's age to hold a job; today, the teen is actually less likely to be working.


"The combination of structural change plus this particular recession has been devastating for millennials," ... "It has really knocked them back, and some of these losses are permanent."


"The millennial generation was the generation to confront this structural change first," said Mr. Carnevale. "It has sorted them out in ways that have made them more unequal than any generation before. For those who didn't get the traction [for a job], it's not clear that they will get the traction."
And the full report is below:

Workforce 092913

Feds Paid $98,670 For an Outhouse

( - The Federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) recently paid $98,670 for the purchase and installation of an outhouse at the Swede Park Trail Head in Alaska.

The purchase includes a single-vault Romtec 1011 "Aspen Single" prefabricated waterless toilet and its installation at the parking area for the trail head.

KJ Mushovic of the BLM tells, “Almost half of it (contract expense) is for the cost of the toilet.”

Microsoft Investors Push for Chairman Bill Gates to Step Down

Three of the top 20 investors in Microsoft Corp. are lobbying the board to press for Bill Gates to step down as chairman of the software company he co-founded 38 years ago, according to people familiar with matter.
While Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer has been under pressure for years to improve the company's performance and share price, this appears to be the first time that major shareholders are taking aim at Gates, who remains one of the most respected and influential figures in technology.
A representative for Microsoft declined to comment on Tuesday.
There is no indication that Microsoft's board would heed the wishes of the three investors, who collectively hold more than 5 percent of the company's stock, according to the sources. They requested the identity of the investors be kept anonymous because the discussions were private.
Gates owns about 4.5 percent of the $277 billion company and is its largest individual shareholder.
The three investors are concerned that Gates' role as chairman effectively blocks the adoption of new strategies and would limit the power of a new chief executive to make substantial changes. In particular, they point to Gates' role on the special committee searching for Ballmer's successor.
They are also worried that Gates — who spends most of his time on his philanthropic foundation — wields power out of proportion to his declining shareholding.
Gates, who owned 49 percent of Microsoft before it went public in 1986, sells about 80 million Microsoft shares a year under a pre-set plan, which if continued would leave him with no financial stake in the company by 2018.
He lowered his profile at Microsoft after he handed the CEO role to Ballmer in 2000, giving up his day-to-day work there in 2008 to focus on the $38 billion Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
In August, Ballmer said he would retire within 12 months, amid pressure from activist fund manager ValueAct Capital Management.
Microsoft is now looking for a new CEO, though its board has said Ballmer's strategy will go forward. He has focused on making devices, such as the Surface tablet and Xbox gaming console, and turning key software into services provided over the Internet. Some investors say that a new chief should not be bound by that strategy.
News that some investors were pushing for Gates' ouster as chairman provoked mixed reactions from other shareholders.
"This is long overdue," said Todd Lowenstein, a portfolio manager at HighMark Capital Management, which owns Microsoft shares. "Replacing the old guard with some fresh eyes can provide the oxygen needed to properly evaluate their corporate strategy."
Kim Caughey Forrest, senior analyst at Fort Pitt Capital Group, suggested now was not the time for Microsoft to ditch Gates, and that he could even play a larger role.
"I've thought that the company has been missing a technology visionary," she said. "Bill (Gates) would fit the bill."
Microsoft is still one of the world's most valuable technology companies, making a net profit of $22 billion last fiscal year. But its core Windows computing operating system, and to a lesser extent the Office software suite, are under pressure from the decline in personal computers as smartphones and tablets grow more popular.
Shares of Microsoft have been essentially static for a decade, and the company has lost ground to Apple Inc and Google Inc in the move toward mobile computing.
One of the sources said Gates was one of the technology industry's greatest pioneers, but the investors felt he was more effective as chief executive than as chairman.
© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

The Taxman Cometh - Dr Ben Carson: IRS Visited After I Criticized Obama

WW2 Veterans Threatened With Arrest Over Memorial Visit

Many elderly veterans, some in wheelchairs, broke through the barriers set up around the memorial, as police, park service employees, and tourists looked on.
“The Germans and the Japanese couldn’t contain us. They weren’t going to let barriers contain them today. They wanted to see their memorial,” says Armstrong.
He says they are considering going ahead with the trip even if the government is still on shutdown, but when he called the parks service, he was told they would face arrest.
Armstrong says, “I said, are you kidding me? You’re going to arrest a 90/91-year-old veteran from seeing his memorial? If it wasn’t for them it wouldn’t be there. She said, ‘That’s correct sir.’”
Full story here.

Obama ratchets up attack on GOP as shutdown enters third day

President Barack Obama hammered congressional Republicans on Thursday as a federal government shutdown stretched into its third day, saying that the consequences extended well beyond a few well-publicized examples.
Obama ratcheted up his rhetoric against the House GOP, saying during a speech in Maryland that House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, is the only thing standing between an end to the shutdown.
Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

President Barack Obama talks about the federal government shutdown at an event in Rockville, Md., Thursday.
"Right now, hundreds of thousands of Americans -- hard-working Americans -- suddenly aren't receiving their paychecks," Obama said at a construction company in a Maryland in suburban Washington.
As Obama spoke, the government remained shuttered for its third straight business day with no resolution to the shutdown in sight.
A slew of Capitol Hill press conferences were on the schedule for Thursday, almost all of them intended by Republicans to place political fallout for the shutdown with Democrats, and vice-versa.
But Obama was hardly immune from the posturing, too. He employed some of his sharpest rhetoric to date against House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Republicans in Congress -- seizing upon one GOP lawmaker's admission on Wednesday that Republicans want to feel as though they're "respected" by the administration.
"If you're being disrespected, it's because of that attitude you've got -- that you deserve to get something for doing your job," he said.
Boehner said in a statement: "It's time for the president and Senate Democrats to come to the negotiating table and drop their my-way-or-the-highway approach that gave us this shutdown."
In short, little had changed heading into Thursday in the showdown for funding the government, spending for which lapsed at the end of Sept. 30.
As negotiations continued to stalemate, the House GOP continued to take up a number of mini-spending bills purposefully crafted to reinstate spending for some of the most visible closures forced by the shutdown. The legislation – like one bill to reinstate funding for the National Institutes of Health – were more intended as vehicles for Republican messaging than anything else. Republicans, for instance, suggested that Democrats were unsympathetic to cancer patients for opposing that bill because the shutdown meant that children with cancer could not enter into new trial therapy programs.
Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

The Daily Rundown's Chuck Todd recaps the meeting between President Barack Obama and Republican leaders over the shutdown. Todd explains how the meeting focused on what House Speaker John Boehner will do.
The other mini-funding bills, on which the House will continue working on Thursday, would fund the DC city government, operations of national parks, maintaining pay for military reservists and tackling the backlog of claims at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The White House has said that Obama would veto each of these, and Senate Democrats were expected to kill the items before they ever reached the president’s desk. Democrats argued – as they have for days on end – that the best way to restore funding for these programs would be to reinstate funding for all of government by passing the six-week “clean” extension of government spending favored by the Senate.
Obama underlined his hard-lined stance during his speech in Maryland, saying there would be "no negotiations" over funding the government, or raising the nation's debt limit in a few weeks.
"The American people pawns in some sort of political game," he said.
But despite the GOP bluster throughout the shutdown, Republican resolve showed signs of cracking throughout the day on Wednesday. Democrats gleefully kept track of the steadily-mounting number of House Republicans who have said they would vote for a “clean” stopgap spending measure.
If 18 Republicans were to join every Democrat in the House in supporting such a measure, it would mean a majority of the House would effectively support a clean stopgap spending measure.
Democrats have kept the tally to portray Boehner as the impediment to a vote to reinstate government operations.
"There are enough Republicans and Democrats in the House of Representatives today that if the speaker of the House, John Boehner, simply let the bill get on the floor for an up-or-down vote ... the shutdown would end today," Obama said.
As the shutdown persisted, new polling suggested that three-quarters of Americans wished that Republicans, along with Obama and his Democratic allies, would come together and compromise on the fiscal impasse.
But at this stage of the shutdown, more Americans blame Republicans in Congress for the shutdown than Obama and Democrats in Congress. Forty-four percent of Americans blame the GOP for the shutdown, found a new CBS News poll conducted after the shutdown came to pass. Thirty-five percent of American blamed Obama and congressional Democrats, while 17 percent blamed both parties for the shuttering of the government.
Win Mcnamee / Getty Images
The impact of the first government shutdown in 17 years was felt across America as offices were shuttered and workers were sent home after lawmakers failed to come to a deal.

Obamacare Fines to be Seized From Bank Accounts?

Man who attempted to sign up claims he was threatened with drivers license being revoked, federal tax lien on home
Paul Joseph Watson
October 2, 2013
A man who attempted to sign up for Obamacare online was told that a fine of over $4,000 dollars a year for refusing to take out mandatory health insurance could be taken directly from his bank account, and that his drivers license would be suspended and a federal tax lien placed against his home, according to an entry on the Facebook page.
Image: Obama signs the Affordable Care Act.
If true, the implementation of Obamacare is going to be a whole lot more draconian than Americans have been led to believe.
Will Sheehan claims that when he tried to sign up for Obamacare and then register to opt out, he received an ominous warning. Sheehan’s full Facebook post reads;
“I actually made it through this morning at 8:00 A.M. I have a preexisting condition (Type 1 Diabetes) and my income base was 45K-55K annually I chose tier 2 “Silver Plan” and my monthly premiums came out to $597.00 with $13,988 yearly deductible!!! There is NO POSSIBLE way that I can afford this so I “opt-out” and chose to continue along with no insurance.
I received an email tonight at 5:00 P.M. informing me that my fine would be $4,037 and could be attached to my yearly income tax return. Then you make it to the “REPERCUSSIONS PORTION” for “non-payment” of yearly fine. First, your drivers license will be suspended until paid, and if you go 24 consecutive months with “Non-Payment” and you happen to be a home owner, you will have a federal tax lien placed on your home. You can agree to give your bank information so that they can easy “Automatically withdraw” your “penalties” weekly, bi-weekly or monthly! This by no means is “Free” or even “Affordable.”
Sheehan went on to point out that the site makes you input all your personal information before giving you an indication of the costs, meaning a database of the “uninsured” is being built. He added that he could not afford to pay the premium so would have to break the law and pay the fine, leaving him with no health care coverage.
The federal government has consistently denied that any fines pertaining to Obamacare non-compliance could be seized from bank accounts, despite reports last year that the IRS had hired 16,500 new agents to harass citizens who attempt to evade the new law.
“There’s no criminal sanctions for not paying this, and there’s no ability to levy a bank account or do seizures,” then-IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman said in April 2010.
In addition, Americans who refuse to pay for mandatory health insurance “shall not be subject to any criminal prosecution,” according to the law itself.
Section 1501(g)(2) of the Affordable Care Act also states that the IRS cannot “file notice of lien with respect to any property of a taxpayer by reason of any failure to pay the penalty imposed by this section.”
Either Sheehan’s claim that he received this notice is a lie, or the feds have been dishonest with the American people all along, and the revolt against Obamacare is about to take “don’t tread on me” to a whole new level.
Read a copy of the full exchange on Facebook below.
Paul Joseph Watson is the editor and writer for and Prison He is the author of Order Out Of Chaos. Watson is also a host for Infowars Nightly News.
This article was posted: Wednesday, October 2, 2013 at 11:47 am

Obama’s Justification for Closing the Small Business Administration Doesn’t Add Up, According to the American Small Business League

ASBL President Lloyd Chapman issued the following:
Ronald Reagan tried to permanently close the Small Business Administration (SBA) during his administration. His plan to permanently close the SBA was to combine it with the Department of Commerce.
In November of 2008, I predicted President Obama would try and close the SBA by combining it with the Department of Commerce.
President Obama proved me right in January of 2012 when he announced his plan to close the SBA as Reagan tried, by combining it with the Department of Commerce. President Obama’s sole excuse for essentially closing the SBA is to save a paltry, miniscule $300 million a year.
Lets put that into perspective. The current SBA budget is .001 percent of the Pentagon budget. The SBA’s annual budget is approximately $700 million while the Pentagon budget is $700 billion.
The Pentagon’s own auditors found 25 percent of the Pentagon’s expenditures could not be accounted for.
That means, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Pentagon loses $87 million an hour. The Pentagon loses more money every day, before lunch than President Obama claims will be saved by essentially closing the SBA by combining it with the Department of Commerce.
That means the Pentagon loses enough money every day to run the SBA for a full year.
President Obama’s claim that $300 million a year can be saved by closing the SBA is ludicrous and absurd, so what’s the real reason?
Every year of the Obama Administration, the SBA Inspector General, Peg Gustafson, who was appointed by President Obama, has named the diversion of federal small business contracts to corporate giants as the number one problem at the SBA.
Information from the SBA indicates that last year, 235 Fortune 500 firms received federal small business contracts. A series of federal investigations and investigative reports have all found rampant fraud at the SBA and every year billions of dollars in federal small business contracts have been diverted to Fortune 500 firms.
The Government Accountability Office investigated a SBA managed program and released Report 10-108. It stated, “By failing to hold firms accountable, the SBA and contracting agencies have sent a message to the contracting community that there is no punishment or consequences for committing fraud.”
I don’t think President Obama wants to close the SBA to save a miniscule, infinitesimal $300 million a year. I think he wants to close the SBA to obscure the rampant fraud and abuse that has been uncovered at the SBA during Karen Mills’ tenure as administrator.
It certainly doesn’t make sense to close the SBA to save $300 million a year when the Pentagon loses more than that every day before lunch, now does it?
For the latest video from the ASBL, click here.

Forget the Welfare State?

The welfare state has been under pressure since the mid-1980s and the onset of neoliberal economic policies across Europe. Capital has used the current crisis to intensify this pressure further. In Southern Europe, this is often directly enforced through the Troika (European Union, European Central Bank, and International Monetary Fund) in exchange for bailout packages, but in other countries such as the UK too, drastic cuts are justified by reference to increasing national debt and the global financial crisis. Trade unions and civil society organizations have struggled hard to defend the welfare state, but it has been a defensive struggle all the way and many aspects have already been lost. Trade union rights have been curbed in many countries, key industries such as telecommunications and postal services privatized and core services such as health and education increasingly marketized. Full employment policies have been a thing of the past for quite some time. In this blog post, I will reflect on the nature and contents of the welfare state and the possibilities of defending its achievements.
The welfare state is generally considered a major success of labour movements in industrialized countries. And indeed, as Asbj�rn Wahl outlines in his book The Rise and Fall of the Welfare State [also see LeftStreamed No. 154], it was the strength of labour movements, built up in industrial struggles at the beginning of the 20th century, which forced concessions from capital against the background of regime competition during the Cold War. In exchange for continuing control over the means of production, capital accepted an expanded welfare state, policies of full employment and a strong role of trade unions in economic and social policy-making.
Class Compromise
Importantly, however, this is only part of the story. As Wahl also makes clear, the welfare state included desirable qualities for capital too. Employers rely to a considerable extent on a healthy, well-educated and highly trained workforce in order to remain competitive. An efficient infrastructure and the provision of public services are also important to capital. In short, the welfare state has never been more than a compromise. In exchange for public services and employment, labour movements had to give up their ambition to reform or revolutionize the system beyond capitalism toward a socialist society based on the common, socialized ownership of the means of production.
If the welfare state is attacked now, then this implies that capital has renounced its side of the compromise. In times of high unemployment, there is a big enough reserve army of workers ready to snap up whatever job comes their way. Many labour intensive jobs are transferred to low wage countries, while capital increasingly focuses on the training of a small, highly educated workforce in industrialized countries. In any case, if there are not enough skilled workers, employers bring in migrant workers, who in turn are missing for development in their countries of origin. The general education of wider society is no longer a top priority.
The fact that capital was able to renounce its part of the compromise ultimately reflects the change in the power balance in society since the early 1970s. Against the background of transnational production and deregulated national financial markets, the balance of power has decisively tipped in favour of capital and at the expense of labour. In this situation, defensive struggles to protect the welfare state are doomed to fail. Worst excesses may be avoided, the dismantling of services may be delayed, but ultimately the welfare state will be gone.
What does this imply for the strategy of labour? In my view, the defence of something, which cannot be defended, is the wrong way forward. Is this not the time to return to the initial vision of transforming society beyond capitalism? A society in which universal access to health care, education, public transport, etc. is part of the very foundation rather than depending on the goodwill of employers? Is this not the time to mobilize the workforce afresh around a programme, which challenges capital much more fundamentally and puts forward the vision of a socialist alternative? •
Andreas Bieler is Professor of Political Economy at the University of Nottingham/UK. He maintains a blog at where this article first appeared.
Copyright: Global Research

Colombians Successfully Revolt Against Seed Control and Agricultural Tyranny

Early in September, 2013, the Colombian government was forced to partially concede to the demands of a nationwide general strike instigated by farmers of the largely agrarian nation.
Will Colombia’s farmers defeat the economic hitmen of the agricultural industry?
Early in September, 2013, the Colombian government was forced to partially concede to the demands of a nationwide general strike instigated by farmers of the largely agrarian nation. The three week long protests and blockades that shut down much of the nation were supported by thousands of miners, truckers, students, bus drivers, and Colombian citizens, blocking roads and clashing with police.
Close to 650 arrests were made, 485 injuries were reported, 12 people killed, and over 600 cases of human rights violations reported. Coverage of the nationwide protests feature rural peoples and urban demonstrators in the typical contest against body-armor clad, state riot police armed with gas, rubber bullets, flash-bang grenades and batons, beating people and dispersing women and children in clouds of smoke.
The popular uprising was the result of poor economic conditions coinciding with rising anger over agricultural law 9.70, passed in 2010, which officially made it illegal to share, trade, or sell native seedsamongst farmers, effectively criminalizing generations long traditions of local and small scale agriculture. A documentary film by Victoria Salano featuring footage of the destruction of stocks of native seeds by the government helped to inform the public and to catalyze the movement to suspend law 9.70.
“There have to be controls which govern our food sovereignty,” states Vélez. “We should control which seeds are introduced to the country and can harm local ones. We shouldn’t be persecuting the seeds which are native to our soil.” – German Alonso Vélez
The current system, in place for many years now, already forces farmers to annually purchase seed that is certified by the country’s agricultural institution, rather than allowing them to plant native seed, presenting a severe financial burden to small-scale cultivators. Law 9.70, however, expanded this tyranny by criminalizing the sharing and trading of native seeds, offering prison terms for this customary practice. This seems to have been the last straw for struggling farmers who are appalled to see their heritage criminalized and eradicated by their government working on behalf of international corporate interests.
The seed control policies are forcing farmers to plant genetically modified and patented seed, while ensuring dependence on foreign seed imports and imported pesticides, fertilizers and other chemicals. For a nation that has largely survived until now by using native seed, the lack of diversity in imported varieties means that hundreds of years of local agricultural development is being eradicated in exchange for an unaffordable farming system based on genetically modified products seen by many as having severe and wholly yet unknown health risks.
The reaction by such a large segment of the public is reflective of the concern over a looming food crisis, as well as growing public awareness of the practices of the monopolies governing Colombia’s food system. More people now understand the root cause of the issue, international free-trade agreements and pressure from agro-chemical giants, such as Monsanto, which put international corporations in dominion over small farmers by forcing them to buy imported products and services that have never before been needed. It is a usurpation of control over the most important segment of the economy, food.
“It’s no longer viable for a dairy farm to make ends meet with three cows. Unless there are profound structural changes to current development models, we will be totally dependent on monopolies for food.” – German Alonso Vélez
Implementation of seed control was described by Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos as ‘having Colombia tuned up to international reality.’ This statement is, of course, completely true. The trending international reality is exactly this, trojan horse conquest of national food sovereignty by means of international corporate/government treaties and agreements sponsored by international governing bodies and the bottomless coiffeurs of the companies that benefit directly from such trade agreements.
The shift to this international model of farming simply does not make economic or common sense for the people of most nations. Author and self-proclaimed ‘economic hitman’ John Perkins wrote about this type of imperial foreign occupation by corporate influence in his critical book, ‘Confessions of an Economic Hitman.’ It is the newest means of international conquest.
“If government controls the use of seeds, it controls what is planted, and what we end up eating.” – Richard Emblem
The international drive toward the monopolization of seed, the global reduction of seed diversity, and the abolishment of small scale farming is being seen all over the world. Earlier this year the European Union presented the ‘Plant Reproductive Material Law’ which originally aimed to limit the types of seeds an individual can plant in their own backyard gardens to those approved by a bureaucratic agency. In the United States, Roundup Ready alfalfa is ‘accidentally’ contaminating non-gmo acreage at such a pace that non-gmo alfalfa may soon become a thing of the past. Farmers are being driven out of business by the legal teams of large corporations, and local municipalities and homeowner’s associations are fining homeowners for their gardens, and in some shocking cases, local farms are being raided by SWAT teams for code violations and unsubstantiated rumors.
The war against sovereign food is happening right now, and the developments in Colombia serve as another example of the unnecessary and unfair stresses that the international corporate model of agricultural can put on a nation, it’s farmers and it’s economy. In opposition to this, worldwide there are campaigns to educate farmers about the realities of gmo-agriculture and also to inform the public of the other side of the issue which points to unknown and suspected health risks of consuming gmo foods, their dependence on toxic pesticides and herbicides, the high costs of buying seed each year, the loss of diversity.
“By privatizing our seeds we began eroding our agricultural autonomy.” – German Alonso Vélez
Most people simply don’t yet understand how important it is to retain food sovereignty, but this recent case from Colombia gives us insight how quickly this issue can reach critical mass. Some important conclusions that we can draw from thes recent events in Colombia are:
  • Food is the most important and unifying social cause, and the primary issue to set offcivil unrest.
  • National labor strikes are more effective than protest at forcing a dialogue on popular issues.
  • Monsanto and the bio-tech giants are not invincible, and global momentum is gaining in opposition to this new model of international genetically modified and chemically dependent agriculture.
  • The ‘free-trade’ model of achieving international conformity in agriculture is a new form of colonialism and empire building. It criminalizes traditional and everyday activities in order to render whole nations dependent on international imports.
  • Grass roots media and documentary films are an exceptional means of educating people and exposing the corruption and insanity of this model of agriculture.
The Colombian government’s concession to suspend law 9.70 and release all of those detained in the protests is an important sign that people do still have a voice. This story is far from over and time alone will tell how this plays out, as it is unlikely that the corporations and nations which have standing agreements with Colombia will permit the Colombians to easily renege on any treaties.
“If Colombia is not careful in protecting its traditional farming methods, it could become 100 percent dependent on foreign grown foods, especially GMOs.” – German Alonso Vélez
Dylan Charles is a student and teacher of Shaolin Kung Fu, Tai Chi and Qi Gong, a practitioner of Yoga and Taoist esoteric arts, and an activist and idealist passionately engaged in the struggle for a more sustainable and just world for future generations. He is the editor of, the proprietor, a grateful father and a man who seeks to enlighten and assist others with the power of inspiring information and action. He may be contacted at [email protected].
This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact.
Copyright: Global Research

Banks abandon mortgage preapprovals

What the decline of preapprovals means for homebuyers

The mortgage preapproval, for years a crucial step in the home-buying process, is losing its luster with lenders, new data shows.
A mortgage preapproval is a written commitment lenders give to buyers that states the maximum size home loan they can get as well as the likely interest rate. Buyers rely on preapprovals to make sure they’re shopping for a home that’s in their price range. But new federal data suggests lenders are scaling back on preapprovals. Among the top 25 mortgage lenders, just 29,912 preapprovals resulted in mortgages that borrowers received to purchase a home last year, according to data released last month by the Federal Financial Institutions Examinations Council. That’s down from 101,626 in 2007, before the housing downturn. Preapprovals accounted for 4% of purchase mortgages that were originated by these lenders last year, down from 9% in 2007.
In addition, preapprovals—which have traditionally been considered one of the first steps to getting a home loan—did not precede any of the mortgages doled out to home buyers by 14 of the largest 25 lenders last year. “The popularity of preapprovals is quite low,” says Mike Lyon, vice president of mortgage operations at Quicken Loans. (The mortgage lender had 598 preapprovals result in mortgages last year, down 43% from 2007, according to this government data.)

Andy Dean Photography /
The demise of the preapproval comes at a delicate time for home buyers. As competition heats up, bidding wars are becoming the norm; for prospective buyers to stand out to sellers, they often need to show proof that they have lined up financing and are ready to proceed with the transaction, says Jim Gaines, research economist at Texas A&M University’s Real Estate Center. Preapprovals provide that evidence to sellers, and buyers who lack them will have a hard time getting a home that has many offers on it. Preapprovals may also provide some leverage to buyers who are competing against all-cash buyers, who accounted for 32% of existing-home sales in August, up from 27% a year prior, according to the latest data from the National Association of Realtors. Because they don’t need a mortgage, all-cash buyers often make lower offers on homes; a home buyer with a higher offer and a preapproval could beat them out, says Gaines.
To be sure, this government data may not encompass all preapprovals. The numbers are released under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, which requires lenders to submit their mortgage and preapproval numbers to the federal government. Some lenders say they don’t submit data for their preapprovals because they don’t meet the federal definition. The official criteria include a written commitment to give a home loan for a certain period of time, with the caveat that approval can change only for a few reasons including a change in the home buyer’s financial standing or some other conditions that could derail a sale, like a report of termites in the home.
Housing experts, however, say the decline in preapprovals is largely due to dwindling competition among mortgage lenders for new clients. Prior to the recession, lenders used preapprovals as way to attract would-be borrowers. Buyers who had this commitment from a lender were more likely to turn to this company when they were ready to get the actual mortgage, says Keith Gumbinger, vice president at mortgage-info site In that way, preapprovals became a revenue source for lenders. Since the recession, many lenders have shut down, and that has decreased competition for buyers, he says.
Separately, lower-than-expected appraisals of homes have resulted in fewer preapprovals, says Gumbinger. Preapprovals are usually given before buyers identify the home they want to buy. When the home’s appraisal is determined to be lower than the purchase price the buyer and seller agreed to, the lender often requires the buyer to come up with the extra cash to make up the difference; buyers who are unable or unwilling to do so walk away, and the preapproval ends up derailed.
Several banks, including Chase and Bank of America, say rather than preapproving home buyers, they’re mostly doing pre-qualifications. With pre-qualifications, lenders inform borrowers of the size of the loan they can qualify for based on their stated income and assets as well as an initial credit check. Historically, pre-qualifications were the first step buyers would take before shopping, which was then followed by a preapproval when they became serious about a specific home they wanted to purchase.
To give buyers a better idea of where they stand, Chase says it provides a more detailed prequalification program through which buyers get a “conditional approval” that usually lasts 90 days, which they can share with the seller. The bank says this type of approval differs from the federal definition of a preapproval because it is not a written commitment; instead, its commitment is often delivered after verifying borrowers’ income, employment and the home’s appraisal. Similarly, a Bank of America spokesman says the bank wouldn't approve a buyer until the home is appraised and the borrower’s financial condition is fully vetted.
A prequalification doesn’t provide the same leverage to buyers though as an official preapproval. Pre-qualifications are typically based on average mortgage rates rather than the rate that’s close to what the borrower would actually get. Also, most lenders can rescind a prequalification, whereas a preapproval is a commitment that usually lasts two to three months.


Bill Clinton Says Americans Will Get Used to Communism

Former president Bill Clinton is running interference for President Obama and laying the groundwork for Hillary’s 2016 presidential bid. Here’s what he said about the future of the response of Americans to ObamaCare:
“I just think that when all these dire predictions don’t come out, if they don’t — I believe that pretty soon, within the next several years, this will be like Medicare and Medicaid. And it’ll be a normal part of our life. And people will be glad it’s there.”
I’m sure every political tyrant said something similar. I can hear Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, and Vladimir Lenin telling their people. “In time you’ll learn to love Communism.”
ObamaCare is like the early stages of communism. Communist ideology is all about equality. “From each according to his ability, to each according to their needs” is a slogan popularized by Karl Marx in 1875. Sounds so . . . fair. It reminds me of a scene in the film Dr. Zhivago where Omar Sharif’s character returns to his home and finds it overrun with people. Equality was achieved. Everybody had the same medical care, living space, food, and nutrition needs. They were all "equally" malnurished.
Gen. Yevgraf Zhivago, Dr. Yrui Zhivago’s half brother and Communist Party member, after seeing Yuri pulling wood from a fence, made this remark:
“I told myself it was beneath my dignity to arrest a man for pilfering firewood. But nothing ordered by the party is beneath the dignity of any man. And the party was right: one man desperate for a bit of fuel is pathetic; five million people desperate for fuel will destroy a city.”

300 million people brought under the control of the government for healthcare will bring our nation to its collective needs.
Communist revolutions bring changes dramatically, sometimes overnight. Creeping communism takes time. There are stages to it. The Social Security program was borrowed from the German Socialists. It was a major plank in Adolf Hitler’s platform to get the people comfortable with the belief that the government could make them secure. Hitler followed and implemented Bismarck’s program “that included compulsory insurance for workers against old age, sickness, accident and incapacity, and though organized by the State it was financed by employers and employees.”
As William Shirer writes in his book The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (1960), it had “a profound influence on the working class in that it gradually made them value security over political freedom and caused them to see in the State, however conservative, a benefactor and protector.”
We eased into government healthcare with Medicare and Medicaid. The first people into the programs reaped the early benefits.
In the early years of Social Security, more than 30 people were paying in for every recipient. The pay-in costs were a total of $60 per year (employee and employer "contributions": two percent of $3000 per year. Now it’s more than 6 percent on around $110,000 per year with three people paying in for every one recipient. Something’s got to give.
We have no idea what ObamaCare is going to cost or its long-term consequences. Think Walter White and Breaking Bad. The taxes to pay for ObamaCare are mostly hidden, but they've got to be paid be somebody. But Bill Clinton is telling us that we’ll all get used to it. Of course, as an elitist with special privileges, he won't have to.

The Recession That Never Ended: 2008 -2013 (and Counting)

by Charles Hugh-Smith
The reality is that the recession never ended for 95% of U.S. households, and by many metrics the recession has deepened.
If you want to claim the 2008 recession ended, you have to find a metric that reflects “growth.” For instance, gross domestic product (GDP), which has expanded since 2009.

But as Lance RobertsGordon T. Long and I discuss in Is the US in a Recession? (43 min. video, 52 slides), this metric of “growth” is suspect on a number of counts. For example, does this chart of full-time employees relative to the population look expansionary?

Or how about this chart of median household income, which adjusted for inflation is down 7.2%?

Or how about real personal income less government personal transfers on a 5-year basis (the red line)? Notice that the red line only popped briefly above 0% into “growth” in late 2012 as those who could declared income in 2012 before the 1013 tax increases kicked in.

None of these charts is remotely expansionary. We can further question broad-based measures of expansion such as GDP statistically: in economies with high income/wealth inequality such as the U.S., the top 5%’s expansion of income and wealth creates an illusion that the entire workforce is doing better when the opposite is true.
If you doubt this, please examine this chart of income disparity. Note that the vast majority of income increases have accrued to the top 5%:

In other words, huge leaps in the income and wealth of the top 5% mask the decline of income and wealth of the bottom 95%. Average all wealth and income and it appears that the economy is expanding to the benefit of all, when it fact only the top 5% have escaped the recession; the recession never ended for the bottom 95%.

An even better way to create an illusory expansion is to simply not measure trends that would reveal a deepening recession. For example, what percentage of student loans are purposefully taken out as a substitute for income, i.e. used to pay basic living expenses rather than education? Anecdotally, there is plentiful evidence that a great many people are signing up for one class at the local community college in order to get a student loan to live on.
Is it any wonder that student loan default rates are soaring? The people taking out student loans just to get by have no means to make payments once the loan money is consumed.
Is an economy of people obtaining student loans they have no way to service as the only available means to keep themselves off the street a healthy economy?
Correspondent B.C. recently sent some statistics on housing and the Millennial Generation’s jobs/work/earnings prospects. (For example, household_formation)
Age 20-34:
Headship rate: 36% (percentage who are heads of households)
Full-time employment: 44%
Unemployment: 8-13%
Persons per household: 2.72
Participation rate: 76% (the number of people who are counted as participating in the economy)
How many people 34 and under qualify for a non-subsidized home mortgage? That is, how many qualify under traditional rules (income = 3 X mortgage payments, 20% down payment in cash, etc.) How many people in this age group can possibly qualify for a conventional mortgage when only 44% have full-time jobs?
Is an economy in which people in their 30s cannot find full-time work or afford to buy a house a non-recessionary economy?

The reality is that the recession never ended for 95% of U.S. households, and by many metrics the recession has deepened. The trick is to not measure those metrics; what isn’t measured doesn’t exist, especially recession.
Are you in the New York City region? Meet other OfTwoMinds Like-Minded people(via Meetup) interested in building social capital and exploring the alternative ideas presented here. Check it out! (Thank you, Neil T. for establishing this Meetup.)