Thursday, August 2, 2012

Nobody Seems to Care as America's Becomes a Police State

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Back in 1976, I co-founded, with some Los Angeles colleagues, a feisty little alternative weekly called the L.A. Vanguard. About two months after we launched it, I got tipped off about a program by the local phone companies, Pacific Telephone and GTE, in which they had so-called “Security Departments,” composed of banks of operators, whose sole job was to provide unlisted phone numbers to inquiring government agencies, all without a warrant. As I delved into this story I learned more: these special operators (led in each case by retired FBI officials) were also providing credit information on phone customers on request, and the agencies who had instant access to all this data ranged from local police to the public library.

When we broke the story, it exploded on the Los Angeles media scene. There was a banner headline across the whole top of the Los Angeles Times front page screaming “Unlisted Numbers Given Out.” We at the L.A. Vanguard, to promote our little paper and being guerrilla journalists, announced that we were holding a protest and press conference on the sidewalk in front of the main entrance of the Pacific Telephone building in L.A., at which we’d be handing out copies of our newspaper. We were mobbed by reporters and camera crews from every media organization in the city. It was huge. Pacific Tel’s PR people realized they had to respond and invited everyone inside for an impromptu news conference at which they tried to quell the furor, but they only made it worse by having to admit the scale of the program.

Now I understand that Los Angeles, which is home to more celebrities per square foot than any other place in the world, has a thing about privacy, but this story even went national. It was simply shocking at the time to learn that the phone company would provide police and other government agencies -- even the over-due books department of the library! -- information about a customer’s sacred unlisted number without even requiring that they first obtain a warrant from a judge.

My investigative exposé led to hearings by the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC), at which the various government agencies were compelled to explain how they used the information they were obtaining from the phone companies and to justify their need for it, and the phone companies were forced to explain why they were so casually releasing the information, and why they were using ratepayers’ money to pay for a special group of operators to provide it. In the end there were restrictions placed by the PUC on the companies and on the number of agencies able to get access to unlisted numbers.

Today, such a story would be seen as quaint. It probably would not even be published in a major newspaper, and I doubt it would even make the first page of the Hollywood Reporter, trade publication for the film industry. Certainly no regulatory agency like the state PUC would bother to hold hearings on it.

America has been so degraded as a free society that such intrusive violations of our privacy by a police agency or a librarian are now accepted by most people as normal and to be expected. (Actually, in fairness to librarians, they have emerged lately as some of the last remaining defenders of privacy, often refusing to let nosy police find out what books and videos patrons have been checking out unless served with a warrant.)

I was driving home to Philadelphia from the Catskills yesterday, on I-476, the northern leg of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, and saw a sign warning that speeders were being monitored from the air, and I immediately thought about drones. When I saw such signs in the past on a highway, I would immediately look up at the sky to see if it was cloudy or clear. If it was blue sky, I’d look for a spotter plane, which you could sometimes find. Cloudy meant that the police would not be up there, as they wouldn’t be able to see us drivers. Today it could easily be a small drone that I wouldn’t even notice doing the monitoring, and it would be using radar to tag speeders, so you’d be vulnerable day or night, rain or shine.

In fact, I’ve noticed that on the 10-mile southernmost stretch of Rt. 309, a local controlled-access highway that runs from past my house and on down to the outskirts of Philadelphia, the state has installed video cams and radar devices that film and monitor the speed of all traffic going into and out of the city on a round-the-clock basis. We are being monitored at all times. So far the state cops or Department of Transportation have not been issuing speeding tickets with these cameras, but it’s only a matter of time. They already have cameras at major intersections all over Philadelphia and are mailing out automated $100 tickets to people alleged to have run red lights.

How far away are we from the day that local authorities in suburbia will be flying drones around the neighborhood tallying up the number of dandelions in people’s yards, and issuing warnings that they need to apply toxic herbicides to kill them or face a fine? You’re laughing? There are already laws in many communities that can compel people to mow their lawns or to clear out their dandelions or face a stiff fine. What they don’t have yet is a cheap way of monitoring people’s lawn-care proclivities. But it’s coming.

What strikes me as I think back to my big scoop about the California phone companies’ unlisted numbers racket (for which I won a major award from the Los Angeles Press Club!), is how much American citizens, over the intervening 36 years, have come to accept all this spying and invasion of privacy as normal, and perhaps even as desirable.

Of course 9-11 is a big part of this. The trumped up “War” on Terror launched in September 2001 has become a justification for all kinds of spying and other police activity, and not just by federal agencies. Even my little town of Upper Dublin has now has got its own SWAT van stuffed with Pentagon-provided military gear; there’s also a “major incident response unit” van, even bigger, which is also stuffed with military weaponry. Meanwhile, every police car in the village is equipped with an M-16, and we have 40 cops to police a quiet town of 26,000. That’s one cop for each 650 people in a town that hasn’t had a homicide in at least five years, that averages three robberies, 400 property offenses, one arson and 90 “alcohol offenses” a year! I don’t know how much surveillance and monitoring our local police do, but I do know that just driving and walking around town here, I see local cops on patrol more often than I used to when I lived in China, a certified police state.

Last fall, during the height of the Occupy Movement, I spent a little time at the Zuccotti Park encampment in lower Manhattan’s financial district. There were more police there than there were demonstrators on two of my visits. That’s how it looked too in the videos and news reports I saw of some of the OWS street actions. That should be as much of a scandal as was the brutish behavior of those cops, with their clubs, their pepper spray, and their other weapons, all deployed against avowedly non-violent political protesters.

But where is the public outrage at all of this?

I’ll admit that our corporate media have really given up being real sources of news. (Just consider that the lead story on the front page of the Philadelphia Inquirer on Monday was “Romney Strongly Defends Israel,” which surely ranks right up there as the ultimate example of dog-bites-man non-news one can imagine! With that sorry level of news judgement it’s no wonder important stories are going unreported) But how can there have been such public and media outrage back in 1976 simply over a news report that the phone company was providing unlisted number information to police on request, and then today, there is almost no concern even at the prospect of police spy drones hovering over our neighborhoods 24/7 taking photos of our every move, and at reports from agency whistleblowers that the National Security Agency is already monitoring the electronic communications of all Americans?

What has happened to the “Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave”?

The Fed On Gold Price Manipulation

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Lately various media outlets have been swamped with stories and allegations of precious metal manipulation ranging from the arcane, to the bizarre to the outright ridiculous. At issue is not that these claims of price fraud are unfounded - they very well may be completely true - but without a notarized facsimile of an actual trade ticket signed by Brian Sack, or his replacement Simon Potter, or any of the BIS traders confirming they are indeed selling gold on behalf of the Fed, BOE, ECB, SNB or BOJ simply to keep the price of the metal down, what such constant factless accusations (and no, sorry, a chart showing that the price of gold may go up or go down sharply indicates merely that and nothing about the underlying factors for such a move) do is to habituate the broader public to the real issues surrounding precious metal, and other asset class, manipulation. So instead of searching for circumstantial evidence which one can easily find everywhere, we decided to go straight to the source. To do that we go back to a post we wrote back in September of 2009, based on an internal previously confidential Fed document, which conveniently enough explains everything vis-a-vis gold manipulation and leaves nothing to speculation or misinterpretation. Zero Hedge presents the smoking gun that may provide responses to all the various open questions regarding the Fed's Modus Operandi in the gold arena which answer the core question - motive - courtesy of a declassified memorandum, written by none other than the then Fed Chairman, and addressed to the president of the United States.

From Zero Hedge, September 27, 2009.

Exclusive Smoking Gun: The Fed On Gold Manipulation

Zero Hedge has recently presented several declassified documents from the pre-1971 "Nixon Shock" days, that endorse the case for gold as a major historical factor in US monetary and foreign policy, as demonstrated by State Department and CIA disclosure. Gold's special status in policy and administrative decision-making was a direct factor in Nixon's choice to abolish the gold reserve at a time of an exploding budget deficit.

Yet what about the days after 1971, and specifically, how did that critical "behind the scenes" organization, the Federal Reserve, perceive and manipulate gold in the post Bretton-Woods world? Was gold, freed from its shackles to the dollar, once again merely a symbolic representation for money?

Zero Hedge presents the smoking gun that may provide responses to all the various open questions, courtesy of a declassified memorandum, written by none other than the then Fed Chairman, addressed to the president of the United States.

On June 3, 1975, Fed Chairman Arthur Burns, sent a "Memorandum For The President" to Gerald Ford, which among others CC:ed Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and future Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, discussing gold, and specifically its fair value, a topic whose prominence, despite former president Nixon's actions, had only managed to grow in the four short years since the abandonment of the gold standard in 1971. In a nutshell Burns' entire argument revolves around the equivalency of gold and money, and furthermore points out that if the Fed does not control this core relationship, it would "easily frustrate our efforts to control world liquidity" but also "dangerously prejudge the shape of the future monetary system." Furthermore, the memo goes on to highlight the extensive level of gold price manipulation by central banks even after the gold standard has been formally abolished. The problem with accounting for gold at fair market value: the risk of massive liquidity creation, which in those long-gone days of 1975 "could result in the addition of up to $150 billion to the nominal value of countries' reserves." One only wonders what would happen today if gold was allowed to attain its fair price status. And the threat, according to Burns: "liquidity creation of such extraordinary magnitude would seriously endanger, perhaps even frustrate, out efforts and those of other prudent nations to get inflation under reasonable control." Aside from the gratuitous observation that even 34 years ago it was painfully obvious how "massive" liquidity could and would result in runaway inflation and the Fed actually cared about this potential danger, what highlights the hypocrisy of the Fed is that when it comes to drowning the world in excess pieces of paper, only the United States should have the right to do so.

Another notable observation is that despite a muted antagonism between the Fed and the US Treasury persisting for decades, the fuse is and always has been short, and the conflict can promptly hit a crescendo, with the Fed ultimately always getting the upper hand. In the case of the Burns memo, the Fed's position was diametrically opposed to what the Treasury proposed was the proper approach. The result: full on assault by the Federal Reserve over the Treasury's credibility and even then, more than three decades ago, a veiled threat by the Fed involving escalating problems if the recommendation of the Treasury was picked over that of the Fed. "Severe criticism on the part of prominent and influential financiers would inevitably follow if the Treasury's present position prevailed." It is not surprising that the Fed's modus operandi has not changed one bit since 1975: it is our way or virtually assured destruction/embarrassment way.

Additionally, a curious tangent of the Burns memo is the fact that gold was explicitly used as an engine to enact political doctrine: "If the United States took a stand on the gold question that failed to satisfy the French in current international negotiations, would there be adverse economic or political consequences? I doubt it... If we do ever accede to French views on gold, we should at least use our bargaining leverage to achieve some major political advantage." And while gold as a policy mechanism was unable to satisfy its role this time, one wonders on how many subsequent occasions was global democracy trampled over in order to placate the US Federal Reserve:

"I have consulted Henry Kissinger as to whether there is some political quid pro quo we might want to extract from the French in exchange for acceding to some part or all of their desired position on gold. But Henry tells me there is none at this time."

At some point governments of advanced nations will say "enough" to the covert domination of their controlling bodies by the Federal Reserve, which through manipulation of its gold and money interests, effectively has control over not just the French, but every government which has a monetary basis to its respective economy and a relationship to the US "reserve" currency... Which means virtually every country in the world. The backlash, if and when it occurs, will be memorable.

Lastly, the memo presents a useful snapshot into the cloak-and-dagger, and highly nebulous world of Central Bank negotiations and gold price manipulation:

"I have a secret understanding in writing with the Bundesbank that Germany will not buy gold, either from the market or from another government, at a price above the official price."

So to all conspiracy theorists claiming that gold is being manipulated on a daily basis by the Federal Reserve: when it occurs over and over, and is so well documented, it is no longer a theory, it is merely sad. And the fact that the US government goes to great lengths to hide the illicit dealings of the Federal Reserve, which through its monetary tentacles, has prima facie control over not just US policy but also over sovereign governments, is an unprecedented failure in the checks and balances system that the founding fathers had planned when they created the United States of America. Yet saddest is that the United States no longer pursues strategic goals that are in the best interest of the majority of its citizens, but merely manipulates other, less powerful nations into a servile existence that only provides gain to a very limited subset of the American financial oligarchy. It is time for the Fed's unprecedented control over affairs, both global and domestic, to end.

Full memo from Arthur Burns presented, compliments of Geoffrey Batt who collaborated in the creation of this post.

LIBOR: How big banks conspired to cheat the people

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Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney went to London to attend the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games. But that wasn’t his real reason for the visit.

That same July 26 evening, he picked up as much as $1.1 million in campaign contributions from high-level officers of Barclays, a huge British bank.

Because foreign contributions to U.S. campaigns are illegal, the Barclays donors to Romney all listed addresses in the United States, where Barclays Capital has expanded its presence since the recent credit crisis, when it acquired most of Lehman Brothers’ U.S. assets.

To balance the risk, at least one Barclays banker also contributed the maximum allowed to Barack Obama. (AP, July 26)

Of course, most people know that the big banks buy elections and politicians. What makes donations from Barclays stand out is that it is the first bank to also admit it was involved in manipulating the largest market index in the world: the London interbank offered rate, or Libor.

Libor is supposed to be an index of the interest rates that the biggest banks in the world use to lend to each other. In reality, it is nothing of the sort.

The index, determined by the British Banking Association, is composed of a daily survey of selected banks. The question asked is not what interest rates the bank is actually paying, but what it thinks other banks would charge if it were to borrow money from them.

This index has been used as the basis for more than $10 trillion in loans and $350 trillion (yes, trillion) in so-called derivatives. In reality, it is nothing more than an opinion survey done by and for the big banks — and open to the worst sort of lying and manipulation. Among the 18 member banks are Bank of America, Barclays, Citibank, Deutsche Bank, Royal Bank of Canada, HSBC and JPMorgan Chase.

A 2010 study made by two economists at UCLA and the University of Minnesota found that the Libor was not a true measure of actual borrowing costs; in other words, despite Libor’s gigantic position of power, it is at its very foundation a virtual fraud. (Connan Snider and Thomas Youle, “Does the Libor reflect banks’ borrowing costs?” April 2, 2010)

Rates on about $10 trillion in corporate loans, mortgages and student loans worldwide are pegged to Libor, usually with a markup of several percentage points, according to University of Edinburgh professor, Donald MacKenzie. The total amount of financial contracts tied to Libor, particularly interest-rate swaps — a type of financial derivative — exceeds $300 trillion, or $45,000 for every person in the world. (USA Today, Sept. 28, 2008)

Libor’s influence should not be underrated. For example, 14 percent of all student loans in the U.S., which make up 43 percent of private or “alternative” loans, are tied to the Libor. (

Every year, thousands of students leave school facing few job opportunities and a lifetime of crushing debt. This debt is often subject to a rising interest rate set by a manipulative cabal of the biggest banks in the world. Masked as “student aid,” these loans are hawked by such entities as Bank of America and Sallie Mae.

Libor also sets the interest rates for millions of mortgages around the world. Many of those losing their homes to bankruptcy or foreclosure can trace their misery straight back to the interest rates set by Libor, which resulted in their monthly payments doubling or tripling.

But the robbery does not stop with student loans and mortgages. Tens of thousands of local governments all over the world have found themselves victimized by Libor and the machinations of the big banks. The irony is that many of these banks were recently bailed out with taxpayer money.

Hooking a waterpipe to a cesspool

In September 2003, James Barker, the superintendent of the Erie City School District in Pennsylvania, claimed he saw no way out. The 81-year-old Roosevelt Middle School was on the verge of being condemned. The district was running out of money to buy new textbooks. And local big business hawks had ruled out any tax increase.

Then, JPMorgan Chase, the second-largest bank in the U.S. and a member bank of the Libor, made Barker an offer that seemed too good to be true.

David DiCarlo, an Erie-based JPMorgan Chase banker, told Barker and the school board on Sept. 4, 2003, that all they had to do was sign some loan papers. He said it would benefit them, in case interest rates increased in the future. He also said the bank would give the district $750,000.

“You have severe building needs; you have serious academic needs,” Barker, 58, says. “It’s very hard to ignore the fact that the bank says it will give you cash.” So Barker and the board members agreed to the deal. (, Feb. 1, 2008)

What the New York-based JPMorgan Chase official didn’t tell them was that the bank would get more in fees than the school district would get in cash: $1 million more.

Three years later, as interest rate benchmarks, including Libor, went the wrong way for the school district, the Erie board paid $2.9 million to JPMorgan to get out of the deal.

“That was like a sucker punch,” said Barker. “It’s not about the district and the superintendent. It’s about resources being sucked out of the classroom. If it’s happening here, it’s happening in other places.” (, 2008)

It is difficult to have much sympathy for James Barker and his ilk, who are subservient to big business even as they are snookered by them. But the damage done to the Erie community is real. This so-called rust belt city of 100,000, facing increasing poverty and debt, has been told it must lay off public workers and slash money for education and other public services, just so the big banks can reap obscene profits. In the case of JPMorgan and the Erie school district, the profits are about 300 percent.

It should be remembered that those interest rates on which Erie gambled and lost were manipulated.

Widespread fraud

As news of the Libor scandal has spread, more and more evidence of the banks’ gambling with public funds has come to light. According to James Rickards, a hedge fund manager and author in New York City, the Libor fraud “may be the mother of all bank scandals.” (U.S. News & World Report, July 23)

Barclays was fined $453 million — just a pittance compared to the billions in profits gained from its misdeeds. Other big banks are fearful that not only will they be investigated, too, but that exposure of the whole seamy mess may cause a collapse.

Some of those affected are of course the thousands of smaller banks and businesses that use the Libor. But tens of thousands even more affected are states, municipalities and local governments that have succumbed to the wiles of the giant banks.

The city of Baltimore is suing more than a dozen major banks, claiming the institutions conspired to manipulate the Libor. However, as with the case of Erie, the Baltimore officials are not entirely blameless. They are rightly attacking the manipulation of the Libor rate but are not talking about why they invested public funds in financial derivatives tied to the Libor, a practice similar to gambling.

As of this writing, the attorneys general of five states are investigating the Libor manipulation. New York and Connecticut are investigating “with the goal of providing restitution to state agencies, municipalities, school districts and not-for-profit entities nationwide that may have been harmed by any illegal conduct.” (, July 17)

An unasked question is why many of these same states passed legislation allowing municipalities and school districts to use public money for financial derivatives in the first place.

What is staggering is that these practices have become commonplace around the world, including in Europe and parts of Asia. Because both the banks and the municipalities involved are very secretive, the exact number of local governments involved is unknown. But it runs into the tens of thousands.

Despite calls for the “reform” of Libor by both Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke and U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, no one should expect anything to change anytime soon — unless, of course, there is another financial crash. Both Geithner and Bernanke have admitted that they knew what was going on at Libor and did very little about it.

The world capitalist/imperialist system is guilty of innumerable crimes, but for the Libor scandal alone, it richly deserves to be overthrown.

Government Silently Positions for Martial Law as Financial Collapse Arrives in America

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The US government has been scheming on how to provide for continuity of government for many decades now. According to Peter Santilli, an informant who is an ex-marine and worked on portions of the contingency plans known as Rex 84, civil unrest will come after a financial collapse.

The Readiness Exercise 1984, a.k.a. Rex 84, outlines continuity of government wherein the US Constitution is suspended, martial law is declared and the US military command take over state and local governments in order to ensure stabilization of our nation at any cost. Any American who is deemed a “national security threat” would be detained in an interment or FEMA camp.

The author of Rex 84 was Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North, National Security Council (NSC) White House aids and NSC liaison to FEMA.

Rex 84 is the plan; the triggers are a series of executive orders . It is the continuity of government under specific contingency strategies that are laid out in various operations guide manuals. Operation Garden Plot is a subprogram of Rex 84.

Twice before, Rex 84 was implemented – during the LA riots and on 9/11. In these scenarios, only small portions of the entire set of documents were used. Within the series of contingency plans, implementation of them depends on the severity of the situation.

Some of the plans include internment camps where all or portions of the active or inactive military bases would be transformed into work camps where all considered to be dissonant would be held. The NORTHCOM army manuals clearly state that NATO forces will be used in every phase of the operation.

According to Santilli, procedures to move conventional, chemical and nuclear bombs across the nation without detection have been facilitated without notice by the US military.

Back in 1986, during his military service where he was involved with weapons transportation, Santilli describes how an unmarked refrigerated trailer driven by a civilian driver was used to transport chemical or conventional weapons to various strategic bases both above and underground.

Santilli was a specialist in aviation deployed weapons, which made him the perfect candidate to the assignment of weapons transportation.

The refrigerated truck, allocated by the administration department on base, was directed to the commissary, where the unsuspecting driver believed that he was transporting food. The weapon was placed at the head of the trailer, and covered up with either food stores (like cans of soup) or body bags. In the event that the truck is stopped en route, the weapon would be well hidden and go undetected by inspectors on the public highways.

A US Marine Corp bill of lading was the paperwork necessary to move the commercial refrigerated truck through weigh stations on public highways without any question. Santilli remembers that there was not one incident where he had to enact any security measures to ensure the delivery was made.

Santilli, who was assigned to ride in the cab of the truck with the driver, says that his orders were to make sure the truck arrived at its destination. He was informed by his superiors that if there were problems concerning potential civil unrest, he was to radio into his superiors for aid by either air or ground support.

Should the situation warrant serious attention; crowd control methods would be implemented.

One possible scenario was the use of cluster bomb units (CBUs) that will emit upon detonation, a “sleep and kill” chemical weapon that will not disturb infrastructure, but is lethal to all living things within the effected zone. Santilli describes these particular 3 unit CBUs as shaped like water-heaters with a coned top and plunger-like device. Once deployed in the air, a parachute assists these CBUs to the targeted area. And when detonated, a deadly chemical gas will kill every human and animal in the specified cordoned area.

This is just one example, says Santilli, as to the lengths the US armed forces are trained to make sure continuity of government is preserved.

Santilli explained that the use of foreign troops on US soil, as described in Rex 84 and other subsequent manuals, would have a two-fold purpose.
Firstly, to provide extra security in designated areas, cities or highways; and secondly, as scapegoats were violent action used against American citizens should the US military be directed to attack civilians.

The refrigerated truck, carrying the chemical or conventional weapon with Santilli riding shotgun travelled to underground bases like the one at Yuma Proving Ground which is a ammunitions testing range for pilots. Nestled underneath the ground is a secret military base.

Santilli explains that his knowledge of Rex 84 provides that within the document, one of the scenarios that would cause a complete suspension of the US Constitution, Bill of Rights and implement martial law would be a financial collapse. He says once the collapse occurs, the US government and defense agencies estimate they have a 72 hour window to activate all procedures to ensure continuity of government as well as a lockdown of the general population as civilian unrest, riots and outbreaks of violence are anticipated.

A source in the Deutsche Bank claims that in 2008 our financial and monetary system completely collapsed and since that time the banking cartels have been “propping up the system” to make it appear as if everything was fine. In reality our stock market and monetary systems are fake; meaning that there is nothing holding them in place except the illusion that they have stabilized since the Stock Market Crash nearly 5 years ago.

Since this time, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in conjunction with FEMA and other federal agencies have been quickly working to set in place their directives of control under a silent martial law.

The Deutsche Bank informant says that the cause for the bailout of the banks was a large sum of cash needed quickly to repay China who had purchased large quantities of mortgage-backed securities that went belly-up when the global scam was realized. When China realized that they had been duped into buying worthless securitized loans which would never be repaid, they demanded the actual property instead. The Chinese were prepared to send their “people” to American shores to seize property as allocated to them through the securitized loan contracts.

To stave this off, the American taxpayers were coerced by former President Bush and former US Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson. During that incident, the US Senate was told emphatically that they had to approve a $700 million bailout or else martial law would be implemented immediately. That money was funneled through the Federal Reserve Bank and wired to China, as well as other countries that were demanding repayment for the fraudulent securitizations.

To further avert financial catastrophe, as well as more debt or property seizure threats by the Chinese, the Euro was imploded there by plunging most of the European countries into an insurmountable free-fall for which they were never intended to recover.

All the money that those banks claimed they needed to avert collapse was also sent to the Chinese to add to the trillions of dollars lost during the burst of the housing bubble on the global market.

The only saving grace has been the US dollar being the global reserve currency. However, now this prop is showing signs of wear as foreign nations like China, Russia, India and Iran are dealing in gold as currency and purchasing gold on the market at an exponential rate.

In 1970, Henry Kissinger made a deal with the Saudi Arabian government that American debt would be purchased in exchange for cheap oil. Since then Iran has taken control over the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) by their use of gold as currency which has threatened the direct value of the US dollar as the global reserve currency.

This scenario with Iran coupled with the massive leaps forward in US military presence on American streets and the emergence of FEMA camps across the nation pose an obvious turn of events and explains exactly why we are witnessing the silent implementation of martial law.

The war with Iran has to do with gold, its use as currency and its exposure of the central banking cartel’s lack of gold which defines a fiat currency’s worth. And right now, the US dollar is absolutely worthless.

The Deutsche Bank informant says that the financial collapse that happened in 2008 will be realized here in America very soon. Once that happens, there must be full implementation of marital law to control the potential riots and control over citizens that will be desperate to feed their families.

The attacks of recent on the 2nd Amendment play a significant role in attempting “amicably” to remove the possibility of civilian retaliation against the US military’s presence throughout the nation. However, if they cannot remove the guns from our hands in time, they will continue on with the guidelines set out in Rex 84 with directives to kill any dissenters that refuse to obey.

Bush Tax Cuts Have Delivered The Weakest Job Growth Of The Post-War Period

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House Republicans this week plan to vote on a bill that would extend all of the Bush tax cuts, including those on income in excess of $250,000. A new analysis shows that the Republican plan will raise taxes on roughly 24 million people— due to its allowing various credits, including the Child Tax Credit, to expire — while maintaining Bush’s tax cut for two million wealthy Americans.

The Bush tax cuts delivered the weakest job growth of the post-war period, as well as a ballooning federal debt. And according to a new report from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, the price tag of that weak growth was more than $1 million in tax breaks for the average millionaire over the last nine years:

– If one adds up the average tax cuts that households with incomes between $200,000 and $500,000 received in each of the last nine years, the total exceeds $74,000.

– The sum of the average annual tax cuts delivered to households with incomes between $500,000 and $1 million exceeds $189,000 over the last nine years.

The sum of the average annual tax cuts delivered to households with incomes over $1 million in each of the last nine years exceeds $1.1 million. The average tax cut these individuals received was more than $110,000 in each of these years.

As the CBPP put it, “these figures illuminate the priorities reflected in the Bush tax cuts at a time when income inequality has already grown markedly and the nation faces unsustainable budget deficits after the economy recovers.” Not only have Republicans decided that continuing these tax cuts is the better part of wisdom, but House Republicans have written legislation to fast-track more tax cuts for the rich.

Correctional Corporation of America Accreditation Report Misses Stark Reality

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If you read its web site, the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) has ample reasons to pat itself on the back: States are renewing or extending its contracts, several of its facilities got over 98 percent ratings for "safety and security" and it rounded off 2011 with a net income of $40.5 million in earnings.

But below the spin is a different reality for the company and the prisoners that it oversees - food riots and abuse scandals. And alongside all this, the accreditations for its facilities come from a company that the American Civil Liberties Union's staff attorney David Shapiro calls "problematic."

The American Correctional Association (ACA) reaccredited 14 CCA facilities with ratings above 98 percent earlier this year, with seven facilities receiving a "perfect score" of 100 percent.

Below are the realities for several CCA facilities with exceptionally high scores:

North Folk Correctional Facility, Oklahoma - 100 Percent

North Folk was given an accreditation of 100 percent only three months after the rural Oklahoma prison was the center of a riot over food in October 2011. More than 100 inmates were involved. Prior to the disturbance, they had requested to speak to the warden about the quality of the food. CNN reported that at one point the riots had gotten so bad that a morgue had been set up outside the prison, though no fatalities were reported. Only California prisoners are housed at North Folk.

Stewart Detention Center, Georgia - 98.4 Percent

Stewart had the lowest score of all the detention facilities CCA chose to highlight - 98.4 percent. But a recently released report by the ACLU of Georgia shows that the facility did not feed prisoners enough, was overcrowded, had extreme temperatures, unclean clothing and a harsh disciplinary policy. Azadeh Shahshahani, director of the National Security and Immigrant Rights Project at the ACLU of Georgia, called the score "perplexing." Shahshahani said: "I wonder if any effort was made to speak to the detainees honestly and without fear about the treatment they are receiving. We continue to get complaints from the detainees at Stewart."

The American Correctional Association

The CCA notes on its web site that over 93 percent of its 60 facilities have passed an audit done every three years by the ACA.

But critics question the reliability of the audit. A three-year accreditation from the ACA costs $3,000 per day and $1,500 dollars for the each auditor on the team. Ken Kopczynski, with the nonprofit Private Corrections Working Group, writes that this is a sign of pay for play.

He goes on to say that the ACA relies primarily on documents about the facility provided by the correctional agency, a concern echoed by the ACLU of Georgia's Shahshahani.

Kopczynski also notes that "at least two CCA employees serve as ACA auditors - CCA warden Todd Thomas and company vice president Dennis Bradby."

A Long History of Positive Accreditation, Despite Concerns

"This marks the 9th consecutive year the average ACA score for CCA accredited facilities has exceeded 99%," said Don Murray, CCA managing director for quality assurance, in a press release. "In 2011, eleven facilities achieved a perfect 100% rating from ACA, which is an historic high for CCA in a single year."

In addition to what the current state of accredited facilities may be like inside its walls, many with high scores in this round have a history of prisoner neglect and poor conditions.

The Eden Detention Center in Texas was given 98.8 percent. In 2009, it was revealed that prisoners were drinking water contaminated with radium. Arizona's Saguaro Correctional Facility, the recipient of a 100 percent mark, had prisoners pulled out of it after allegations of abuse by guards and a prison riot. Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility in Mississippi got a 100 percent rating, but another CCA-run facility in the state was a prison rate that left one guard dead as recently as May 2012. It was not rated by ACA.

A Democratic Country Should Put Public Education Before Corporate Profits

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The headlines this summer are full of gloom and doom about the upcoming 2012-2013 school year.

Schools are closing. Teachers are being laid off. State and local governments are cutting like crazy and Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin has released a report warning about the looming sequestration of the federal education budget.

It shouldn't be like this. According to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, the economy is growing - and has been since July 2009. The National Bureau of Economic Research declared an end to the recession three years ago. We're now in "recovery."

In fact, the average rate of growth in real gross domestic product (total US economic output adjusted for inflation) over the past three years has been 2.2 percent per year. That's not great, but it's good enough. So, why all the cuts?

To read more articles by Salvatore Babones and other authors in the Public Intellectual Project, click here.

With the economy growing 2.2 percent per year, there's no reason we can't increase school budgets by 2.2 percent per year. If society's total resources were distributed the same now as they was in the recession school year of 2008-2009, education budgets would be 6.6 percent higher now than they were then. And that's in inflation-adjusted dollars.

Instead, school budgets have been slashed in each of the last three school years and they're on track to be slashed again for 2012-2013.

Where has the money gone? In two words: corporate profits.

Last week, the Bureau of Economic analysis released revised estimates for corporate profits in 2009, 2010 and 2011. The news was bad: corporate profits in every year were lower than originally thought, as reported major news outlets like Reuters. Shed a tear for corporate America.

As it turns out, after-tax corporate profits rose by "only" 14.2 percent in 2009, 23.9 percent in 2010 and 8.9 percent in 2011.

There's your education budget right there.

Why are federal, state and local governments cutting budgets when the economy is growing? The state and local governments have a good excuse: they can't easily tax the corporate profits and executive bonuses that are easily shifted outside their jurisdictions.

The federal government has no excuse. The federal government can and should tax corporations and high-income individuals to support public education nationwide.

During the recession the federal government made up state and local budget shortfalls with temporary stimulus money. This funding prevented major cuts to public education during the recession itself, according to a report from the Center on Education Policy. Local education employment fell by only 26,000 jobs in the 2008-2009 recession school year.

Those modest cuts came on the back of a 172,000 increase in local education jobs in 2007-2008.

Now that the economy is expanding, local education employment should be expanding, too. The federal government has the power, reach and resources to tax the growing sectors of the economy in order to provide more resources for local education.

The compound growth in corporate profits has been 54.1 percent since the end of the recession. Executive salaries have grown at a similar pace. Even Forbes magazine admits that "executive compensation will only fuel the outrage over corporate greed."

The economy is growing. The money is there. It's our democratic choice: corporate profits or public schools. It's up to us.

It's up to you. You can support the education funding program of the National Education Association or join the legislative action campaign of the American Federation of Teachers. You don't have to be a professional educator - or even a parent - to help promote America's public schools.

The Neoconservative War Criminals In Our Midst

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The State Department has an office that hunts German war criminals. Bureaucracies being what they are, the office will exist into next century when any surviving German prison guards will be 200 years old. From time to time the State Department claims to have found a lowly German soldier who was assigned as a prison camp guard. The ancient personage, who had lived in the US for the past 50 or 60 years without doing harm to anyone, is then merciless persecuted, usually on the basis of hearsay. I have never understood what the State Department thinks the alleged prison guard was supposed to have done–freed the prisoners, resign his position?–when Prussian aristocrats, high-ranking German Army generals and Field Marshall and national hero Erwin Rommel were murdered for trying to overthrow Hitler.

What the State Department needs is an office that rounds up American war criminals.

They are in abundance and not hard to find. Indeed, recently 56 of them made themselves public by signing a letter to President Obama demanding that he send in the US Army to complete the destruction of Syria and its people that Washington has begun.

At the Nuremberg Trials of the defeated Germans after World War II, the US government established the principle that naked aggression–the American way in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Pakistan, and Yemen–is a war crime. Therefore, there is a very strong precedent for the State Department to round up those neoconservatives who are fomenting more war crimes.

But don’t expect it to happen. Today, war criminals run the State Department and the entire US Government. They are elected to the presidency, the House, and the Senate, and appointed to the federal courts as judges. American soldiers, such as Bradley Manning, who behave as the State Department expects German soldiers to have behaved, are not honored, but are thrown into dungeons and tortured while a court marshall case is concocted against them.

Hypocrisy is Washington’s hallmark, and all but the most delusional are now accustomed to their rulers speaking one way and behaving in the opposite. It is now part of the American character to regard ourselves as members of the “virtuous nation,” “the indispensable people,” while our rulers commit war crimes around the globe.

Whereas we have all been made complicit in war crimes by “our” government, it still behooves us to know who are the active war criminals in our midst who have burdened us with our war criminal reputation.

You can learn the identity of many of those who are driving the world into World War Three, while their policies result in the murder of large numbers of Arabs and Muslims in Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Pakistan, Yemen, Iraq, and Lebanon, by perusing the signatures to the contrived letter to Obama from the neoconsevatives calling on Obama to invade Syria in order to “rescue” the Syrian people from their government.

According the the letter signed by 56 neoconservatives, only the Syrian government is responsible for deaths in Syria. The Washington sponsored and armed “rebels” are merely protecting the Syrian people from the Assad government. According to the letter signers, the only way the Syrian people can be saved is if Washington overthrows the Syrian government and installs a puppet state attentive to the needs of Israel and Washington.

Among the 56 signatures are a few names from the Syrian National Congress, believed to be a CIA front, and a few names from dupes among the goyim. The rest of the signatures are those of Jewish neoconservatives tightly allied with Israel, some of whom are apparently dual-Israeli citizens who participate in the formation of US foreign policy. The names on this list comprise a concentration of evil, the goal of which is not only to bring armageddon to the Syrian people but also to the world.

The letter to Obama is part of the propaganda operation to demonize the Syrian government with lies in order to get rid of a government that supports Hizbollah, the Muslims in southern Lebanon who have twice driven the vaunted, but cowardly, Israeli army out of Lebanon, thus preventing the Israeli government from achieving its aim of stealing the water resources of southern Lebanon.

Not a single sentence in the letter is correct. Listen to this one for example: “The Assad regime poses a grave threat to national security interests of the United States.” What utter total absurdity, and the morons who signed the letter pretend to be “security experts.”

How do we evaluate the fact that 56 people have no shame whatsoever and will lie to the President of the United States, telling him to his face the most absurd and obvious false things in order to advance their personal agenda at the expense of not merely the lives of Syrians but, by leading to wider war, of life on earth?

This same neocon architects of armageddon are also working against Iran, Russia, the former Soviet central Asian countries, Ukraine, Belarus, and China. It seems that they can’t wait to start a nuclear war.

You can find the names of some of humanity’s worst enemies here

Big 5 Oil Companies Going for the Gold

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Second-Quarter Earnings Race Ahead, Boosted by Tax Breaks

Middle-class families may have gotten some relief in the second quarter of 2012 due to slightly lower gasoline prices compared to the first quarter of the year, but billions of dollars in big profits continue to pile up at the Big Oil companies. In the first half of 2012, the five biggest oil companies—BP plc, Chevron Corp., ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil Corp., and Royal Dutch Shell Group—earned a combined $62.2 billion, or $341 million per day. This compares to an average dip in the average price of gas at the pump for American consumers of a mere 3 cents per gallon between the first and second quarters.

Despite slightly lower oil and gasoline prices over the past three months, these companies still made a combined $236,000 per minute this year. This income is more than what 96 percent of American households earn in an entire year.


Profits continued to grow for ExxonMobil and Chevron, while dropping slightly for ConocoPhillips and Shell compared to last year. ExxonMobil saw a 67 percent increase in profits while Chevron enjoyed an 11 percent increase. The New York Times reported that these slightly lower profits compared to the second quarter of 2011 were linked to “international benchmark prices for oil [which] had declined by more than 7 percent in the second quarter, compared to the same period last year when turmoil in North Africa and the Middle East caused a spike in oil prices.

BP, the second-largest oil company in Europe, reported a loss of $1.4 billion for the second quarter of 2012. The Associated Press reported that BP said:

The underlying results were depressed by weaker oil and U.S. gas prices together with reductions in output due to extensive planned maintenance, particularly affecting high-margin production from the Gulf of Mexico.

Without BP, profits for the other big four companies are only 4 percent lower compared to the first quarter of 2012. Despite the 7 percent decline in oil prices, second-quarter 2012 gasoline prices were only 2 percent lower than the second quarter of 2011.

The huge earnings this quarter for four of the companies follow the big five companies’ record profit of $137 billion in 2011—amounting to $375 million per day—thanks again to high oil and gasoline prices. ExxonMobil, Chevron, and ConocoPhillips were the first-, second-, and 13th-most profitable public U.S. companies in 2011, respectively.

What are these companies doing with this treasure? Some of these funds provide their $72 billion in cash reserves. And these five companies used 31 percent of their 2012 profits to buy back their own stock, which enriches shareholders but doesn’t add to oil supplies or investments in alternative fuels or other new technologies. ExxonMobil spent 42 percent of their profits repurchasing their own stock. Even with these huge earnings and large cash reserves, however, these companies produced 6 percent less oil than one year ago. (see table)

What’s more, the big five oil companies continue to spend millions of dollars on lobbying and political donations. They have spent a combined $25.7 million lobbying Congress so far this year, and more than $91 million over the last 18 months. ExxonMobil alone spent $17 million lobbying for the past 18 months, making it the top spender in the oil and gas industry. Collectively, the oil and gas industry, including the big five companies and Koch Industries, has spent nearly $70 million on lobbying this year.

Their efforts are paying off. An analysis by the House Energy and Commerce Committee Democrats determined that the House of Representatives passed many provisions that benefit Big Oil:

The oil and gas industry has been the largest beneficiary of the anti-environment votes in the House. Since the beginning of 2011, the House has voted 109 times for policies that enrich the oil and gas industry, including 45 votes to weaken environmental, public health, and safety requirements applicable to oil companies; [and] 38 votes to block or slow deployment of clean energy alternatives.

This suggests that the millions of dollars Big Oil companies spent on lobbying are worthwhile investments. In 2011 the House of Representatives voted against three separate amendments that would have revoked a collection of oil company tax giveaways. In March the Senate voted 51-47 to end a debate and pass the Repeal Big Oil Subsidies Act, S. 2204, sponsored by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ). Unfortunately, 60 “aye” votes were necessary to break this filibuster, so the bill was blocked.

Big Oil’s successful lobbying cost $69 million to protect tax breaks worth at least $4 billion annually. They received $58 in tax breaks for every dollar spent on congressional pressure and lobbying. That is a rate of return that would make Warren Buffett envious.

In addition to high-pressure arm twisting, the oil and gas industry political action committees, individuals, and other donations provided more than $30.5 million in federal campaign contributions this election cycle as of July 9. Republican candidates received 88 percent of these funds. House of Representatives incumbents have already received more Big Oil campaign cash this year than incumbents in 2008 and 2010, and there are still more than four months until Election Day.

While these companies are spending freely on their own wealth and for political influence, they are paying relatively low tax rates. The big three U.S. publicly owned oil companies—Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and ExxonMobil—paid relatively low federal effective tax rates in 2011. Reuters reports that their tax payments were “a far cry from the 35 percent top corporate tax rate.” It reported that ConocoPhillips paid an effective federal tax rate of 18 percent last year. In addition, ExxonMobil paid 13 percent of its U.S. income in taxes after deductions and benefits in 2011, according to a Reuters calculation of securities filings. Chevron paid about 19 percent.

In addition to these relatively low federal income tax rates, these companies also benefit from tax breaks worth $24 billion over a decade, according to the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation. These special preferences include one designed to keep manufacturing facilities in the United States, and another that was enacted way back in 1916, when it made economic sense to help the fledgling oil industry to grow, but little sense today for the big five companies that routinely earn multibillion-dollar profits.

These tax breaks serve no economic or fiscal function any longer, yet in testimony before the Senate Finance Committee in June, Harold Hamm, chairman and CEO of Continental Resources Inc., said that the United States must retain tax breaks for the oil and gas industry. His position ignores that the big five oil companies had lower oil production and fewer U.S. employees over the last half decade despite growing profits.

The House of Representatives-passed budget, authored by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), would retain these tax breaks. Rep. Ryan claims that his budget would eliminate tax breaks in exchange for lower rates, but his plan didn’t specify a single tax break that it would eliminate. The Ryan budget lowers the top corporate income tax rate by nearly one third. A Center for American Progress Action Fund analysis estimates that the Ryan budget’s cut in the corporate tax rate could lower the big five oil companies’ annual tax bill by $2.3 billion per year, based on an assessment of their 2011 financial statements filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

U.S. taxpayers should no longer foot the bill for antiquated tax breaks for Big Oil. The Energy Information Administration predicts that 2012 gasoline prices will average $3.49 per gallon, just 4 cents less than the record-setting $3.53 per gallon in 2011. If this prediction holds, 2012 will have the <>second-highest gasoline price in inflation-adjusted dollars since 1949. The next closest average annual price was $3.07 per gallon in 2008.

Since there are few fuel alternatives to gasoline for passenger vehicles, Americans are forced to spend more at the pump and less on other goods and services. High gasoline prices lead to a huge transfer of income from middle-class families to huge, wealthy oil companies and their mostly wealthy shareholders. Then there are the $2.4 billion in annual special tax breaks received by the big five oil companies, and essentially paid for by other taxpayers. This makes little sense when these companies’ 2012 profits leave them flush with cash. And the proposed cut in the corporate tax rate by the Ryan budget plan would add an estimated $2.3 billion to this annual inequity.

After falling since April 6, U.S. gasoline prices rose by a dime per gallon in the past two weeks, according to CNN. As oil prices rise, so will the big five oil company profits. Yet they will continue to collect billions of dollars in existing tax breaks, while the House-passed budget would provide an additional $2.3 billion tax cut.

None of this makes sense when these five companies have made $66 billion in profits in the first half of 2012, while the federal budget faces steep automatic cuts due to the sequestration procedures included in the Budget Control Act of 2011. If Congress doesn’t address this soon, thislaw will likely lead to automatic cuts in discretionary spending, including funds for U.S. Marshals, food safety inspections, enforcement of pollution reductions, and multiple other vital government safeguards and services beginning in 2013.

Big Oil needs to lose its tax breaks as part of any compromise. Their second-quarter profits reinforce that need anew.

65 Signs That The Economic Collapse Is Already Happening

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Do you want to know when the "economic collapse" is going to happen? Just open up your eyes and take a look. The "economic collapse" is already happening all around us. So many people talk about the coming economic collapse as if it is some massively hyped event that they will be able to point to on the calendar, and a lot of writers spend a lot of time speculating about exactly when it will happen. But as I have written about before, the economic collapse is not a single event. The economic collapse has been happening, it is happening right now, and it will be getting a lot worse. Yes, there will be moments of great crisis. We saw one of those "waves" back in 2008 and another "wave" is rapidly approaching. But all of the waves are part of a process that is continually unfolding. Over the past 40 years, the United States and Europe have piled up the greatest mountain of debt in the history of the world, and now a tremendous amount of pain is heading our way. Economic conditions in the United States and Europe have already deteriorated badly and they are going to continue to deteriorate. Nothing is going to stop what is coming.

But many people are still in denial about our economic decline. Some people still believe that everything is going to be just fine. Way too often I get comments on my site that go something like this....

"I just don't know what you are talking about. Where I live everything is just fine. The malls are packed, the restaurants are full and everybody I know is going on vacation this summer. Personally, I am doing great. I just bought a 60 inch television and a new boat. Every year all the 'doom and gloom' types such as yourself proclaim that an economic collapse is right around the corner but it never happens. And you know what? It is not going to happen. Those in charge know what they are doing and America has the greatest economy on earth. We have overcome challenges before and we will be able to handle whatever comes this time. Your lack of faith in America and in the American people astounds me. Everything is going to be just fine, so why don't you just *************************************."

You get the idea.

I definitely understand that most Americans are terribly self-involved these days, but when I read comments like this I am once again amazed at just how delusional some people can be.

Why can't people just open their eyes and look at the evidence of economic collapse that is all around us?

Yes, there are wealthy enclaves all over the country where things may seem better than ever, but that is not the reality for most Americans.

All over the country, our infrastructure is in shambles.

All over the country, our once proud cities are being transformed into hellholes.

All over the country, formerly middle class families are living in their cars.

There are dozens and dozens of economic statistics that clearly show that we are in the midst of a long-term economic decline. I have listed 65 of them below, but I could have easily doubled or tripled the size of the list.

I simply do not understand how anyone can believe that things are "great" or that the U.S. economy is going to be "just fine".

We are living through a complete and total economic nightmare, and hopefully we can get more Americans to wake up from their entertainment-induced comas so that they can begin to understand exactly what is happening to this country.

The following are 65 signs that the economic collapse is already happening all around us....

1. Since Barack Obama entered the White House, the number of long-term unemployed Americans has doubled from 2.7 million to 5.4 million.

2. The average duration of unemployment in the United States is nearly three times as long as it was back in the year 2000.

3. The unemployment rate in the U.S. has been above 8 percent for 40 months in a row, and 42 percent of all unemployed Americans have been out of work for at least half a year.

4. Unemployment in the eurozone has hit another brand new record high. It is now sitting at 11.2 percent. It has risen for 14 months in a row.

5. The U.S. economy lost more than 220,000 small businesses during the recent recession.

6. The percentage of Americans that are self-employed fell by more than 20 percent between 1991 and 2010.

7. Overall, the number of "new entrepreneurs and business owners" dropped by a staggering 53 percent between 1977 and 2010.

8. The unemployment rate in Spain is now up to 24.6 percent.

9. Morgan Stanley is projecting that the unemployment rate in Greece will exceed 25 percent in 2013.

10. Since Barack Obama became president, the price of a gallon of gasoline has risen from $1.85 to $3.49.

11. The average American household spent approximately $4,155 on gasoline during 2011, and electricity bills in the U.S. have risen faster than the overall rate of inflation for five years in a row.

12. About three times as many new homes were sold in the United States in 2005 as will be sold in 2012.

13. While Barack Obama has been in the White House, home values in the United States have declined by 12 percent.

14. According to AARP, 600,000 American homeowners that are 50 years of age or older are currently in foreclosure.

15. Right now there are now 20.2 million Americans that spend more than half of their incomes on housing. That represents a 46 percent increase from 2001.

16. According to Gallup, the current level of homeownership in the United States is the lowest that they have ever measured.

17. Federal housing assistance increased by a whopping 42 percent between 2006 and 2010.

18. In some areas of Detroit, Michigan you can buy a three bedroom home for just $500.

19. All around us our cities are crumbling. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, 2.2 trillion dollars is needed just to repair critical infrastructure in the United States.

20. The unemployment rate in New York City is now back up to 10 percent. That equals the peak unemployment rate in New York City during the last recession.

21. Back in 1950, more than 80 percent of all men in the United States had jobs. Today, less than 65 percent of all men in the United States have jobs.

22. The U.S. Postal Service is about to default on a 5.5 billion dollar payment for future retiree health benefits.

23. According to Graham Summers, "when we account for all the backdoor schemes Germany has engaged in to prop up the EU, Germany's REAL Debt to GDP is closer to 300%."

24. According to the Federal Reserve, the median net worth of families in the United States declined "from $126,400 in 2007 to $77,300 in 2010".

25. The U.S. trade deficit with China during 2011 was 28 times larger than it was back in 1990.

26. The United States has lost more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities since 2001.

27. During 2010 alone, an average of 23 manufacturing facilities permanently shut down in the United States every single day.

28. The U.S. government says that the number of Americans "not in the labor force" rose by 17.9 million between 2000 and 2011. During the entire decade of the 1980s, the number of Americans "not in the labor force" rose by only 1.7 million.

29. Eight million Americans have "left the labor force" since the recession supposedly ended. If those Americans were added back into the unemployment figures, the unemployment rate would be somewhere up around 12 percent.

30. Approximately 53 percent of all U.S. college graduates under the age of 25 were either unemployed or underemployed last year.

31. At this point, one out of every four American workers has a job that pays $10 an hour or less. If that sounds like a high figure, that is because it is. Today, the United States actually has a higher percentage of workers doing low wage work than any other major industrialized nation does.

32. Back in 1980, less than 30% of all jobs in the United States were low income jobs. Today, more than 40% of all jobs in the United States are low income jobs.

33. According to one study, between 1969 and 2009 the median wages earned by American men between the ages of 30 and 50 declined by 27 percent after you account for inflation.

34. In 2007, the unemployment rate for the 20 to 29 age bracket was about 6.5 percent. Today, the unemployment rate for that same age group is about 13 percent.

35. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, health care costs accounted for just 9.5% of all personal consumption back in 1980. Today they account for approximately 16.3%.

36. Medicare spending increased by 138 percent between 1999 and 2010.

37. Over the next 75 years, Medicare is facing unfunded liabilities of more than 38 trillion dollars. That comes to $328,404 for each and every household in the United States.

38. Back in 1990, the federal government accounted for 32 percent of all health care spending in America. Today, that figure is up to 45 percent and it is projected to surpass 50 percent very shortly.

39. Back in 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid. Today, one out of every 6 Americans is on Medicaid, and things are about to get a whole lot worse. It is being projected that Obamacare will add 16 million more Americans to the Medicaid rolls.

40. Since 2008, the U.S. economy has lost 1.3 million jobs while at the same time 3.6 million more Americans have been added to Social Security's disability insurance program.

41. Since Barack Obama entered the White House, the number of Americans living in poverty has risen by 6.4 million.

42. The number of Americans on food stamps has risen from 32 million to 46 million since Barack Obama became president.

43. Right now the poverty rate for children living in the United States is 22 percent, and approximately one-fourth of all American children are enrolled in the food stamp program at this point.

44. The number of children living in poverty in the state of California has increased by 30 percent since 2007.

45. Child homelessness in the United States has risen by 33 percent since 2007.

46. According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, 36.4 percent of all children that live in Philadelphia are living in poverty, 40.1 percent of all children that live in Atlanta are living in poverty, 52.6 percent of all children that live in Cleveland are living in poverty and 53.6 percent of all children that live in Detroit are living in poverty.

47. Approximately 57 percent of all children in the United States are living in homes that are either considered to be either "low income" or impoverished.

48. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the percentage of Americans living in "extreme poverty" is now sitting at an all-time high.

49. In the United States today, somewhere around 100 million Americans are considered to be either "poor" or "near poor".

50. It is now being projected that about half of all American adults will spend at least some time living below the poverty line before they turn 65.

51. Total home mortgage debt in the United States is now about 5 times larger than it was just 20 years ago.

52. Total consumer debt in the United States has risen by 1700 percent since 1971.

53. Recently it was announced that total student loan debt in the United States has passed the one trillion dollar mark.

54. According to one recent survey, approximately one-third of all Americans are not paying their bills on time at this point.

55. In 1983, the bottom 95 percent of all income earners in the United States had 62 cents of debt for ever dollar that they earned. Today, the bottom 95 percent of all income earners in the United States have $1.48 of debt for every dollar that they earn.

56. The United States was once ranked #1 in the world in GDP per capita. Today we have slipped to #12.

57. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 49 percent of all Americans live in a home where at least one person receives benefits from the federal government. Back in 1983, that number was below 30 percent.

58. Incredibly, 37 percent of all U.S. households that are led by someone under the age of 35 have a net worth of zero or less than zero.

59. Today there are approximately 25 million American adults that are living with their parents.

60. The U.S. dollar has lost more than 96 percent of its value since 1900. You can thank the Federal Reserve system for that.

61. During the Obama administration, the U.S. government has accumulated more debt than it did from the time that George Washington took office to the time that Bill Clinton took office.

62. Overall, the U.S. national debt has grown by nearly 10 trillion dollars over the past decade.

63. The U.S. national debt is now more than 22 times larger than it was when Jimmy Carter became president.

64. 40 years ago the total amount of debt in America (government, business and consumer) was less than 2 trillion dollars. Today it is nearly 55 trillion dollars.

65. As Financial Armageddon recently point out, so many homeless people are pooping on the escalators at San Francisco's Civic Center Station at night that the escalators are breaking down and repair teams have been called in to clean up the mess. As the economy gets even worse, will scenes like this start playing out in all of our cities?