UPDATE: The BLM has ceased rounding up Bundy's cattle - because of safety concerns
If you haven’t been following the unfolding drama at the Bundy Ranch about 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas you need to start now. The escalating confrontation between irate local residents and federal agents of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has the potential to take a very dangerous turn for the worse at any moment, as hundreds of militia members from states across the country are expected to descend upon the area and make a stand with 67-year-old Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy. The kindling for social upheaval has been growing in America for quite some time. Disrespectful and ignorant statements from billionaire oligarchs only make it worse. The question in my mind has always been what will the catalyst be to spark the brushfire? Will it be the Bundy Ranch? We’ll have to wait and see.
Despite popular belief, every culture of every nation draws a line in the sand against government tyranny. The problem is, many draw this line so close to total defeat that it rarely matters.
The profane alliance between big banks, big corporations, and big government has created the Big Brother surveillance society we are living under today. And 95% of the populace is either willfully ignorant or perfectly happy with a boot stomping on their face forever. We have willingly become hopelessly enslaved while believing we are free. A population unable or unwilling to think critically doesn’t comprehend the extreme danger to our civil liberties from the unwarranted intrusion into our private lives by a surveillance police state bent on bribing, coercing and silencing dissent, truth and First Amendment rights.
General Keith Alexander, who has furiously denounced the Snowden revelations, said at a Tuesday cybersecurity panel that unspecified “headway” on what he termed “media leaks” was forthcoming in the next several weeks, possibly to include “media leaks legislation.” Alexander genuinely thinks that intelligence officials know best, and should not be subject to any sort of accountability. You don’t need to be a card-carrying member of the ACLU to see how dangerous this perspective is. To endorse this notion that “journalists have no standing when it comes to national security issues,” is to effectively make illegal one of the most important free speech rights in any democracy. This sort of attitude represents the antithesis of American values.
"The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of..." - 1928
As a society we have fallen asleep at the wheel. We’ve allowed ourselves to be lulled into complacency, distracted by minutia, mesmerized by technology, turned into consumers by corporations, pacified by financial gurus and Ivy League economists, and fearful of our own shadows. Surveillance, censorship and propaganda are the tools of the oppressive state. Free speech and truthful revelations about the Deep State are a danger in the eyes of our oppressors.
Fresh on the heels of the administration's decision to embed "government researchers" in the mainstream media to make sure they are doing their job properly (just as Maduro has decreed in Venezuela and punished CNN for?), we find out that the Department of Homeland Security planned to outsource the creation of a gigantic, comprehensive nationwide license plate database to a private corporation enabling license plate recognition "to catch illegal immigrants." However, after extreme pushback by privacy advocates, WaPo reports the DHS has cancelled the plan amid "a serious management problem within this DHS component that currently does not have a director nominated by the president."
Last week, we highlighted the fact that the latest Press Freedom Index showcased a 13 point plunge in America’s press freedom to an embarrassing #46 position in the global ranking. If the authoritarians in the Obama Administration have their way, this country is set to fall much further in next year’s index. Incredibly, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is set to roll out something called the Critical Information Needs study, which will embed government “researchers” into media organizations around the nation to make sure they are doing their job properly. No this isn’t “conspiracy theory.” It is so real, and represents such a threat to the First Amendment, that a current FCC commissioner, Ajit Pai, recently wrote an Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal, warning Americans of this scheme.
What would we do without Zero Hedge? Does anyone else notice the rapid deterioration of financial news media, especially in the US? OK, we are not naive, there are biases in the media, traders from big ibanks talking up their positions, and trading is all about information arbitrage. But financial news used to be really serious. Traders could turn on a TV to see what the markets were doing.
One truly unenlightened NSA official seemed to hold the press in particular disregard and stated:
“I have some reforms for the First Amendment.”
We're quite certain he has some reforms in mind for the 4th Amendment as well... Once again we ask, if they hold the U.S. Constitution and civil rights in such disdain; what exactly are they protecting us from?
Does the FDA think you're too stupid to have access to your own genetic information? It sure seems so. On November 22, 2013, the FDA sent a warning letter to the well-known consumer genomics company 23andMe, ordering it to "immediately discontinue marketing" its only product. For those of you who are not familiar with 23andMe, the company provides a "DNA Spit Kit" and "Personal Genome Service" (PGS) that supposedly reports on 240+ health conditions and traits and helps clients track their ancestral lineage. 23andMe is information, not a medical device. This is really a first amendment issue, and the FDA should not be in the business of regulating freedom of speech and information.
- Central Banks Drop Tightening Talk as Easy Money Goes On (BBG)
- More Democrats voice Obamacare concerns as website blame goes around (Reuters)
- Contractors Point Fingers Over Health-Law Website (WSJ)
- Jury Decides Against BofA on 'Hustle' Program (WSJ)
- Credit Suisse to overhaul interest rates trading business (FT)
- Home Builders Target Higher End (WSJ)
- The Many Lives of Iron Mountain (NYer)
- Busy tourist season nudges Spanish unemployment lower (Reuters)
- Morgan Stanley Joins BofA in Broker Recruiting Truce (BBG)
- Ending World’s Longest Nonstop Flight Adds Five Hours (BBG)
In this exclusive interview with Birch Gold Group, former Congressman Ron Paul shares his opinions on a number of topics, including investing in physical gold and silver, the future of the U.S. dollar and the role of the Federal Reserve.
“The longer [Quantitative Easing] lasts, the worse the correction will be when eventually people give up on our dollar and give up on our debt.”
U.S. prosecutors and SAC Capital agree in principle on insider-trading penalty exceeding $1billion. http://t.co/hNaBnT26jX
— WSJ Breaking News (@WSJbreakingnews) October 17, 2013
How Many Constitutional Freedoms Have We Lost?
While over 800,000 furloughed government workers took the bulk of today's "shutdown" hit (even if that means record high traffic and ad revenues for the world's porn websites) in the form of compensation (that is merely delayed) one of the parties impacted by the first government shutdown in 17 years was none other than the Ku Klux Klan. Reuters reports that a KKK rally was one of the first casualties of the U.S. government shutdown on Tuesday when National Parks officials told the white supremacist group the event would have to be canceled. The KKK had been granted a permit for what it dubbed a First Amendment demonstration on Saturday at Gettysburg National Military Park, but park officials said it could not take place because all National Parks have been closed. "Because of the federal government shutdown, Gettysburg National Military Park has rescinded all permits for special events, including the October 5 First Amendment demonstration," the park said in a statement.