Senin, 27 Januari 2014

...America: On the Brink..>>>...... And the evidence keeps mounting that the country is undergoing a long period of volatility and change. This is not hyperbole. I've already outlined for you the theory of generational turnings, and how we are currently in a Crisis that will eventually morph into a High. The signs of peak crisis are everywhere... Several Colorado counties are voting in November to secede from their state. Jeffrey Hare, a leader of the 51st State Initiative, says his group is simply attempting to restore liberty. (source)Drone Loads One Colorado town is selling 'drone hunting licenses.' Five counties in Maryland are also looking to break off. Scott Strzelczyk leads the Western Maryland initiative and says his group wants to leave the state to escape "the dominant ruling class." (source) Two Northern California counties have voted to secede in the past two months. (source) Ohio, Kentucky, Idaho, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Arizona, Michigan, and Washington have all proposed or passed bills making it illegal or very difficult for the Federal Government to regulate firearms in their states. (source) Several sheriffs' departments across the country have flat-out said they won't enforce any efforts to infringe on the Second Amendment. Mississippi has passed the "Anti-Bloomberg Bill," which bans local governments from imposing Bloomberg-esque portion limits. (source).>>> According to the Washington Post, leaders of the nation's largest technology firms have come forward to speak to President Obama regarding just how damaging the NSA's spying programs are for their reputations and for the American economy at large. Customers overseas are growing increasingly reluctant to purchase and use American-branded technology after leaked documents indicated the NSA secretly tapped data hubs around the world. Companies in attendance at Tuesday's meeting in the White House pressed for more transparency and limits on surveillance in order to restore U.S. credibility and reputation. Doing so will be necessary to keep business running as usual in order to keep the broader economy stable, while failing to do so could have dire financial consequences...>>>...But in America, one can at least expect to have the liberty to change one's circumstances if one is willing to work hard, develop a trade, a skill, a talent, or a product that is beneficial to society, and maybe take a few risks along the way... Right? In America, “all men are created equal” — no matter who their parents are, where they grow up, or what socioeconomic class fate throws them into... Right? I mean, what is America if it's not the land where “liberty and justice for all” is a cornerstone... the fiber that ties our humanity together in unity, yet demands individual responsibility, and provides hope for those in desperate places or unfairly wronged? Right? ..>>>..Death of the Middle Class Poverty in America is a vicious cycle. If you're born into it, chances are you'll breed into it. According to Dr. Ruby Payne, “Political and economic structures keep people in poverty, even if they are hard-working, and that poor people are easily exploited... All of these factors conspire to strip people in generational poverty of the stabilizing personal, economic and cultural resources they need to make it into the middle class.” And those very same structures are simultaneously causing the collapse of the middle class. As it withers away, the cycle of poverty will no longer be exclusive to the uneducated amongst us.....>>> From Riches to Rags With an increasing number of people becoming poor and desperate because “the system” has knocked them down in one form or another (i.e. a medical disaster, high student loans coupled with a jobs deficiency, or a major market blunder due to manipulation schemes, distorted valuations, or insider trading), the more we're seeing people resort to crime as a means to an end... If you've been paying attention to the mayhem in Detroit, flash mob violence in D.C., and brutal assaults right here in the Outsider Club's hometown of Baltimore, you know how badly economic downturns are for society at large. Meanwhile, the top 1% of income earners pocketed 93% of ALL INCOME gains in the first full year of “the recovery,” consequently lowering economic growth and job creation for years to come, according to the latest economic research....>>

NSA's Unconstitutional Ruling

The Beginning of Something Much Bigger...

By Brittany Stepniak   

In what libertarians are touting as a victory on the war against the NSA, a Federal Judge rules that the NSA's metadata program is "likely unconstitutional."
But before you take to the streets to celebrate, you should take a look at what CBS's 60 Minutes "reported" regarding the NSA spying controversy at large.

Flawed at Best

Prior to the federal judge's ruling in Washington on Monday, millions of Americans tuned in to gain additional insight on one of the most controversial issues facing our nation and the globe.
On Sunday evening, 60 Minutes did an extraordinary job promoting what the spy agency would like the public to believe to be true about its vast surveillance power.
You can watch the full video here.
Defending the alleged NSA "misconception," senior correspondent John Miller shamefully told a story so obviously biased and full of propaganda, it's hard to believe he calls himself a "journalist."
Now, I'm not saying Miller isn't entitled to his own opinion regarding the threat (or lack thereof, according to him) the NSA poses on Americans' privacy and liberty. However, if he wants to share his personal thoughts on the issue, he can write a blog post like the rest of us.
Miller is in a respected position of high media power, and as such he has a civic duty to present all sides of all stories so the public is best prepared to make educated opinions and decisions based on that information.
Granted, I'm willing to bet Miller felt rather conflicted doing the right thing and telling the real story in this situation, knowing his own reputation would be at stake – being a former intelligence official himself. That's right. Miller — the same interviewer who hosted the 60 Minutes segment — has a work history with and an allegiance to the organization under public scrutiny.
If that's not enough bias to deem the whole exchange null of quality content, I don't know what is...

Citizens' Rights

The Constitution was designed so that citizens like us would be living under a social system that encourages and rewards those who bring light to the truth.
And that is why I wholeheartedly agree with Edward Snowden's piece, "A Manifesto for the Truth," in which he states: "Citizens have to fight against the suppression of information about affairs of essential importance for the public... Those who speak the truth are not committing a crime."
Miller, on the other hand, seems to be walking a fine line bordering criminal activity by publicly manipulating the truth — via a popular and well esteemed news source, no less — surrounding one of the hottest topics in today's current events.
At the same time, our nation shuns Snowden for his WikiLeaks stunt and instead promotes Miller's crony journalism, airing it for all to see!
But our gripes with the NSA spying program spreads far beyond the realm of civil liberties alone. At the end of the day, it comes down to business.

NSA: Damaging Business and Broader Economy

According to the Washington Post, leaders of the nation's largest technology firms have come forward to speak to President Obama regarding just how damaging the NSA's spying programs are for their reputations and for the American economy at large.
Customers overseas are growing increasingly reluctant to purchase and use American-branded technology after leaked documents indicated the NSA secretly tapped data hubs around the world.
Companies in attendance at Tuesday's meeting in the White House pressed for more transparency and limits on surveillance in order to restore U.S. credibility and reputation. Doing so will be necessary to keep business running as usual in order to keep the broader economy stable, while failing to do so could have dire financial consequences.

You'll Never Be On The Inside!

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Now or Never

This, my friends, is just another sign that our modern institutions are no longer working in a way that is beneficial for we the people.
I agree with the 2013 National Book Award winning author George Packer, who asserts that our nation is indeed undergoing a sort of "unwinding." 
In his New York Times Bestseller The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America, Packer examines the complex state of affairs our nation is currently in: crisis mode.
Moreover, he shows how the U.S. exudes all the telltale signs of a great superpower in danger of coming apart at the seams... with old institutions crumbling as a new America emerges.
Whether we're discussing the NSA, the Federal Reserve, or Wall Street, the message remains the same: Our institutions are failing us, our Constitution, and our economy.
Over the next decade, we're going to see major shifts in the way the system works. Those who know what to expect before this unwinding process is complete will be ten steps ahead of everyone else.
It's time you start thinking, planning, and investing for the rebirth of America.
Farewell for now,
Brittany Stepniak Signature
Brittany Stepniak
Brittany Stepniak is the Project Manager and Editor for the Outsider Club. Her “big picture” insights have helped guide thousands of investors towards achieving and maintaining personal and financial liberties while pursuing their individual dreams in lieu of all the modern-day chaos. For more on Brittany, take a look at her editor's page.
*Follow Outsider Club on Facebook and Twitter.

Related Articles


America: On the Brink
America's on the brink. It's been palpable for a few years now.

Big Tech Firms Fight the NSA
Major tech companies are starting to encrypt their networks, and while this may temporarily protect against NSA hacking, it won't protect against warrants or court orders...

Is Google As Bad As the NSA?
The NSA isn't the only one invading your privacy. Private companies like Google (GOOG) collecting mountains of data on us. And they won't say exactly why, or reveal to what extent they're colluding with the government. 


America: From Riches to Rags

An American Fairytale: "The Pursuit to Tread Above Poverty"

By Brittany Stepniak   

Life isn't fair.
http://www.outsiderclub.com/america-from-riches-to-rags/293
 
And I'm ok with that.
But in America, one can at least expect to have the liberty to change one's circumstances if one is willing to work hard, develop a trade, a skill, a talent, or a product that is beneficial to society, and maybe take a few risks along the way...
Right?
In America, “all men are created equal”no matter who their parents are, where they grow up, or what socioeconomic class fate throws them into...
Right?
I mean, what is America if it's not the land where “liberty and justice for all” is a cornerstone... the fiber that ties our humanity together in unity, yet demands individual responsibility, and provides hope for those in desperate places or unfairly wronged?
Right?

Theory of Justice

Political philosopher John Rawls asserts the first principle of justice demands “each person is to have an equal right to the most extensive basic liberty compatible with a similar liberty for others.”
Sadly, in modern-day America, we're witnessing anything but.
Instead, this nation's liberties are under attack, and "the pursuit of happiness" could more appropriately be phrased as the "pursuit to tread above poverty."

Death of the Middle Class

Poverty in America is a vicious cycle. If you're born into it, chances are you'll breed into it.
According to Dr. Ruby Payne, “Political and economic structures keep people in poverty, even if they are hard-working, and that poor people are easily exploited... All of these factors conspire to strip people in generational poverty of the stabilizing personal, economic and cultural resources they need to make it into the middle class.”
And those very same structures are simultaneously causing the collapse of the middle class. As it withers away, the cycle of poverty will no longer be exclusive to the uneducated amongst us...
These are just a few startling facts about the decay of the middle class:
  • 40% of workers in the U.S. make less than a full-time minimum wage worker made in 1968.
  • 4 out of 5 American adults struggle with joblessness, near poverty, or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives.
  • As a whole, the middle class now takes home a smaller share of the nation's income pie than ever before.
  • The home ownership rate has plummeted to the lowest level in 18 years.
  • 76% of us are living paycheck to paycheck.
  • 40% of Americans earn less than $20K per year.
The ever-widening gap between the rich and the poor has evolved into something our nation has never dealt with before.
It's far from a natural capitalistic progression. It's wildly out of control, and the ramifications aren't pretty...

From Riches to Rags

With an increasing number of people becoming poor and desperate because “the system” has knocked them down in one form or another (i.e. a medical disaster, high student loans coupled with a jobs deficiency, or a major market blunder due to manipulation schemes, distorted valuations, or insider trading), the more we're seeing people resort to crime as a means to an end...
If you've been paying attention to the mayhem in Detroit, flash mob violence in D.C., and brutal assaults right here in the Outsider Club's hometown of Baltimore, you know how badly economic downturns are for society at large.
Meanwhile, the top 1% of income earners pocketed 93% of ALL INCOME gains in the first full year of “the recovery,” consequently lowering economic growth and job creation for years to come, according to the latest economic research.
What do the 1% care about job creation? They don't have to face John Doe from Staten Island, who can't find both an adequate and affordable home for his family after foreclosing on his last house and being reduced to part-time work, thanks to the Affordable Care Act.
Is this system fair?
Michael Norton, an associate professor at Harvard, shared his opinion CNN columnist John D. Sutter:
Imagine you're moving to a new country, but when you do, you will randomly be assigned to any income level that currently exists in that society.
Would you move? If so, it's fair.
Aforementioned author and philosopher John Rawls believes society surely cannot be fair if its citizens would not agree to be randomly reassigned to another income class.
Would Ben Bernanke, Jamie Dimon, Lloyd Blankfein, or a single member of Congress be willing to agree to this idea, knowing they could end up swapping lives with someone living in Section 8 housing in inner-city Baltimore?
Although I can't speak on their behalf, I think we all know the answer to that question.
And to be honest, I don't know if I would be comfortable taking a risk like that, being tossed into any economic situation at random...
Not that I come from an affluent family. On the contrary, my mother worked for Social Services and my father was a foreman at a construction company; and even my mother's second job wasn't enough to prevent our household from filing for bankruptcy when I was a teenager due to a series of unfortunate medical disasters on top of regular life “unfairness.”
While I was fortunate enough to be raised with a core set of values emphasizing hard work and a desire for achievement, it's difficult for families to overcome the “desperate years” that 76% of us will experience at some point in our lifetimes.
I have had a firsthand look at the ramifications of our broken system. Hard work doesn't seem to get you much these days.
The system has incentivized welfare over work.
I've see my fair share of jobless, single women with two to five children, dressed head to toe in designer clothes with a fresh manicure, talking on the newest version of the iPhone in front of me at a checkout counter... paying for groceries with food stamps.
I've also seen my fair share of middle-class families shopping at thrift stores and furiously seeking jobs through a temp agency because no one is hiring a full-time 45-year-old employee in this economy. I've seen families like these — including my own — fall apart, despite their best efforts, unhindered work ethic, and commitment to do "the right thing."
As it turns out, the very institutions established under the guise of protecting our financial well-being are the same institutions being sued for “willfully misleading” investors, home buyers, and consumers at large.
And the politicians aren't working too diligently at getting us back on the right track, either.
Although our government just sued Bank of America for screwing over sophisticated investors with $850M of bad mortgage-backed securities, JPMorgan got off Scot-free with their conspiracy to drive down silver prices.
Our country clearly has its work cut out for it.
If you want to follow your own path to financial freedom, you're going to have to think outside the box... we're here to help with that.
Farewell for now,
Brittany Stepniak Signature
Brittany Stepniak
follow basic@AngelPubGirl on Twitter
Brittany Stepniak is the Project Manager and Editor for the Outsider Club. Her “big picture” insights have helped guide thousands of investors towards achieving and maintaining personal and financial liberties while pursuing their individual dreams in lieu of all the modern-day chaos. For more on Brittany, take a look at her editor's page.
*Follow Outsider Club on Facebook and Twitter.
Life isn't fair. And I'm okay with that.

But, in America, one can at least expect to have the liberty to change one's circumstances if one is willing to work hard, develop a trade, skill, talent, or product that is beneficial to society, and maybe take a few risks along the way.

Right?

In America “all men are created equal” no matter who their parents are, where they are born, or what socioeconomic class fate throws them into.

Right?

I mean, what is America if it's not the land where “liberty and justice for all” is a cornerstone, the fiber that ties our humanity together in unity, yet demands individual responsibility, and provides hope for those in desperate places or unfairly wronged?

Right?

Theory of Justice

Political philosopher John Rawls asserts that the first principle of justice demands “each person is to have an equal right to the most extensive basic liberty compatible with a similar liberty for others.”

But in modern day America, we're witnessing anything but...



Death of the Middle Class

Poverty in America is a vicious cycle: if you're born into it, chances are you'll breed into it. According to Dr. Ruby Payne, “political and economic structures keep people in poverty, even if they are hard-working, and that poor people are easily exploited...  All of these factors conspire to strip people in generational poverty of the stabilizing personal, economic and cultural resources they need to make it into the middle class.”

And those very same structures are simultaneously causing the collapse of the middle class. As that class withers away, the cycle of poverty will no longer be exclusive to the uneducated amongst us.

These are just a few startling facts about the decay of the middle class:

40% of workers in the U.S. make less than a full-time minimum wage worker made in 1968.
4 out of 5 American adults struggle with joblessness, near poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives.
As a whole, the middle class now takes home a smaller share of the nation's income pie than EVER BEFORE.
The home ownership rate has plummeted to the lowest it's been in 18 years
76% of us are living paycheck
40% of us make less than $20K per year
Truth be told, the widening gap between the rich and the poor has evolved into something our nation has never dealt with before – it's far from a natural Capitalistic progression.
It's wildly out of control and its ramifications aren't pretty...
From Riches to Rags
The more people there are becoming poor and desperate because “the system” has knocked them down in one form or another (i.e. a medical disaster, absurdly high student loans coupled with a jobs deficiency, or a major market blunder due to manipulation schemes, distorted valuations, or insider trading), the more people are resorting to crime as a means to an end.
If you've been paying attention to the mayhem in Detroit, flash mob violence in D.C, and violent assaults right here in the Outsider Club's hometown of Baltimore, you know how badly economic downturns are for society at large.
Meanwhile, the top 1% of income earners pocketed 93% of ALL INCOME gains in the first full year of “the recovery,” consequently lowering economic growth and job creation for years to come, according to the latest economic research...
What do they care if John Doe from Staten Island can't feed his daughters and himself because he's been out of work for too long?
Is this system fair?
Michael Norton, an associate professor at Harvard explained the answer to CNN columnist John D. Sutter like this:
Imagine you're moving to a new country, but when you do, you will randomly be assigned to any income level that currently exists in that society.
Would you move? If so, it's fair.
The aforementioned author and philosopher John Rawls believes that society surely cannot be fair if its citizens would not agree to be randomly reassigned to another income class.
Would Ben Bernanke, Jamie Dimon, Lloyd Blankfein or a single one of our Congressmen be willing to agree to this idea, knowing they could end up swapping with someone residing in a Section 8 house in the inner city of Baltimore?
Although I can't speak on their behalf, I think we all know the answer to that question...
To be honest, I don't know if I would be comfortable taking a risk like that; being tossed into any economic situation at random.
Not that I come from an affluent family or anything. On the contrary, my mother worked for Social Services and my father was a foreman at a construction company.
...But even my mother's second job wasn't enough to prevent our household from filing for bankruptcy when I was a teenager due to a series of unfortunate medical disasters on top of regular life “unfairness.”
And although I was fortunate enough to be raised with a core set of values emphasizing hard work and a desire for achievement, it's difficult for families to overcome the “desperate years” which 76% of us will experience in our lives.
I have had a firsthand look at the ramifications of our broken system. Hard work hardly seems to get you much these days.
The system has incentivized Welfare over hard work. I've see my fair share of jobless women with two-to-five children, dressed head-to-toe in designer clothes, fresh manicures, talking on the newest version of the iPhone in front of me at a checkout counter... yet paying for groceries with food stamps.
I've also seen my fair share of middle class families shopping at thrift stores and furiously seeking jobs through a temp agency because no one is hiring a full-time 45-year-old employee right now. I've seen families like these – including my own – fall apart in light of their best efforts, unhindered work ethic, and commitment to “doing the right thing.”
As it turns out, the very institutions established under the guise of protecting our financial well-being are the same institutions being sued for “willfully misleading” investors, home buyers, and consumers at large.
And the politicians aren't working too diligently at getting us back on the right track either. Although our government just sued Bank of America for screwing over sophisticated investors with $850m of bad mortgage-backed securities, JP Morgan got off scott free with their conspiracy to drive down silver prices.
Things are still a mess out there and America has a lot of work to do.
If you want to follow your own path to financial freedom, you're going to have to think outside the box – and we want to help you get there with this.

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The Real Fundamental Transformation of America
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The Rise of the American Serf
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America: On the Brink

Secession Movements Mount

By Nick Hodge   

America's on the brink. 
http://www.outsiderclub.com/america-on-the-brink/510
 
It's been palpable for a few years now.
And the evidence keeps mounting that the country is undergoing a long period of volatility and change.
This is not hyperbole. I've already outlined for you the theory of generational turnings, and how we are currently in a Crisis that will eventually morph into a High.
The signs of peak crisis are everywhere...
Several Colorado counties are voting in November to secede from their state. Jeffrey Hare, a leader of the 51st State Initiative, says his group is simply attempting to restore liberty. (source)Drone Loads
One Colorado town is selling 'drone hunting licenses.'
Five counties in Maryland are also looking to break off. Scott Strzelczyk leads the Western Maryland initiative and says his group wants to leave the state to escape "the dominant ruling class." (source)
Two Northern California counties have voted to secede in the past two months. (source)
Ohio, Kentucky, Idaho, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Arizona, Michigan, and Washington have all proposed or passed bills making it illegal or very difficult for the Federal Government to regulate firearms in their states. (source)
Several sheriffs' departments across the country have flat-out said they won't enforce any efforts to infringe on the Second Amendment.
Mississippi has passed the "Anti-Bloomberg Bill," which bans local governments from imposing Bloomberg-esque portion limits. (source)

You'll Never Be On The Inside!

So join Outsider Club today for FREE. You'll learn how to take control of your finances, manage your own investments, and beat "the system" on your own terms. Become a member today, and get our latest free report: “Prophets of Doom: How to Make Pessimism Pay.
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  The entire Federal Government has been shut down because of ideology.
If that doesn't scream "Crisis," I don't know what does.
The hive has awoken...
Keep the generational definition of Crisis in mind as it continues to play out:
This is an era in which institutional life is destroyed and rebuilt in response to a perceived threat to the nation's survival. Civic authority revives, cultural expression redirects towards community purpose, and people begin to locate themselves as members of a larger group.
Fourth Turnings have all been new "founding moments" in America's history, moments that redefined the national identity.
With a 10% Congressional approval rating... rising secession movements... whistleblower soldiers... a cannabis revolution... an about-turn from the Vatican... and many more...
The signs of real change are everywhere.

Call it like you see it,
Nick Hodge Signature
Nick Hodge
follow basic@nickchodge on Twitter
Nick is the Founder and President of the Outsider Club, and the Investment Director of the thousands-strong stock advisory, Early Advantage. Co-author of two best-selling investment books, including Energy Investing for Dummies, his insights have been shared on news programs and in magazines and newspapers around the world. For more on Nick, take a look at his editor's page.
*Follow Outsider Club on Facebook and Twitter.

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The Real Fundamental Transformation of America
Don't let terrorism scare you into tyranny. The celebrated America our forefathers proudly established is under attack.

Charts: What's Wrong With America
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America: From Riches to Rags
Alarming signs of America's decaying theory of justice and dying middle class. Political philosopher John Rawls asserts the first principle of justice demands each person is to have an equal right to the most extensive basic liberty compatible with a similar liberty for others.

A Desolate Picture of America
This stuff is the epitome of anti-liberty and anti-individualism. Quite frankly, it's anti-American.

Snowden: Congressional Spy Accusations Are "Absurd"

By Brittany Stepniak   

If you’ve been battling cabin fever like me due to relentless winter weather the past couple of days, perhaps you've also inadvertently spent a little extra time in front of your computer or television.
Perhaps you too have stumbled upon all the media buzz surrounding the latest on the Edward Snowden front – an interesting, albeit absurd, story. Congress is really stepping up to the plate here...
Why yes, our beloved patriots in Congress are dealing with this pressing matter in the most socially responsible way possible for such a controversial predicament...
Just kidding — that’d require upholding the Constitution and possibly even compromising or something. Instead, they’re doing what Washington has been doing since the '70s... making shit up to protect its own reputation.
Remember when the Nixon administration accused whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg of being a Russian spy?
Well now, someone else is taking a page out of that playbook...

Give 'the Man' a Break!

Ever since Snowden’s WikiLeaks stunt went viral, the NSA can’t seem to catch a break. Even a federal judge questioned the constitutionality of the NSA’s metadata program last month.
Consequently, citizens of all political affiliations have become wary of what's going on behind Washington’s closed doors. I mean, it’s only fair now that they’re oh-so-keenly aware of what's going on behind our closed doors these days...
Creeped out a little?
"Fear not," says one 'expert'. Senior correspondent for 60 Minutes John Miller assured America that our concept of the NSA’s privacy breaches is just a big misunderstanding. According to Miller, the NSA is providing an invaluable service, and it’s definitely not invading your privacy. Not a chance it’s abusing its power.
I mean, I guess he’s right. How silly of us to assume otherwise! I’m sure all those NSA guys were just going the extra mile of “ensuring our safety” while listening to all those soldiers’ most intimate phone calls with their significant others...
Besides, what’s the big deal with that?
It’s not like the NSA is spying on our allies and damaging important international relationships or anything — oh wait...
...it is.
(Cue the Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, debacle.)
Our Humblest Apologies...

Nah, Let’s Just Play the Blame Game

The NSA’s got tabs and flags for just about everything under the sun that could potentially be perceived as a threat. Perceived terrorist threats are one thing (and don't get me wrong, I'm thankful we have an agency to look out for this kind of thing)... but they’ve targeted everyone ranging from some obviously innocent U.S. soldiers to investigative journalists to ex-wives and old girlfriends.
And if this is how our government is going to run its affairs, people have a right to know about it, to be upset about it, and to do something to change it before we royally screw ourselves over without even realizing what’s really going on...
Our civil liberties are under attack, our global reputation is on the line... and Congress knows it. But instead of owning up to its faults, apologizing, and making amends, it is merely projecting the issue elsewhere.
Ah yes, it’s Psychology 101 for Kindergarten conflict: blame someone else.
When guilty and interrogated about doing something bad, just divert everyone’s attention and make up something worse that someone else did!
*Tip: Make sure his/her bad thing outshines your bad thing, and no one will be mad at you anymore!
Congressional members are doing just that: finger-pointing and shedding the fault and blame from themselves onto a concerned citizen-turned excommunicated whistle-blower.

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Let Freedom Ring, But Not Too Loudly... Better Yet, Just Keep it to Yourself

They’re calling Snowden a Russian spy.
It’s almost like he tattled, and they’re seeking their revenge...
NBC’s “Meet The Press” hosted Republican congressman Mike Rogers from Michigan to discuss these accusations.
As chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, you better believe Rogers is none too happy about Snowden’s rebellious little stunt. Moreover, he called Snowden a “thief” (Psychology 102 for Kindergarten conflict: name calling).
Rogers speculates that there’s no way it was a “coincidence” or a “gee-whiz luck event that he ended up in Moscow under the handling of the F.S.B.”
That’s a very interesting conclusion considering Snowden was in Hong Kong first and spent forty days in the transit zone of Sheremetyevo International Airport. I think Snowden says it all by asserting, “Spies get treated better than that.”
And he's right. Governments cherish their spies, remember? It's the truth-speakers and liberty-seekers they shun!
Even the F.B.I. isn’t buying Rogers' little storyline. Just this weekend, The New York Times reported that a senior F.B.I. official confirmed the bureau’s conclusion that Snowden acted alone. No actual evidence has been revealed to suggest Snowden was in cahoots with another government or foreign intelligence agency.
Mr. Rogers has certainly added a dramatic flair to an already attention-grabbing story, but be sure to take his allegations with a grain of salt.
To me, it sounds like Congressman Rogers is just adding fuel to the fire in an attempt to divert attention from the heart of the matter: determining whether or not the NSA’s actions are constitutional.
At the end of the day, Snowden doesn’t seem too concerned about these rumors. He said he “knew what he was getting into” from the start of the whistle-blowing process, and “at least the American public has a seat at the table now.”
Besides, he’s in it for the people, not the government.
He has made a steadfast commitment to stand up for the people no matter what. And because of this, he’s confident the people will also side with him once this spy story loses its unfounded luster.
“It won’t stick... Because it’s clearly false, and the American people are smarter than politicians think..." —Edward Snowden
Farewell for now,
Brittany Stepniak Signature
Brittany Stepniak
Brittany Stepniak is the Project Manager and Editor for the Outsider Club. Her “big picture” insights have helped guide thousands of investors towards achieving and maintaining personal and financial liberties while pursuing their individual dreams in lieu of all the modern-day chaos. For more on Brittany, take a look at her editor's page.
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JP Morgan Bribery Scandal

Hiring Practices Under Fire

By Daniella Nicole   

The hiring practices of global financial services provider JP Morgan Chase (NYSE: JPM) have come under fire in China, and now many in the U.S. banking industry are scrambling.
Although it is not against U.S. law to hire foreign employees who have family members with political ties, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) deem it bribery to do so for the express purpose of winning favor with those family members. JP Morgan and others may now be in serious trouble.

jp morganAnd the Hits Just Keep on Comin’

The New York Times reports that the SEC’s corrupt practices unit and the Department of Justice (DOJ) have stepped up their efforts in recent years. Both have been actively been filing cases and leveling charges against some 40-60 companies since 2010.
This investigation does not bode well for the company, which, according to the New York Times, “. . . is already the focus of investigations in the United States by at least eight federal agencies, a state regulator and two foreign nations. Many of the cases, including a civil and criminal investigation in California, involve JPMorgan’s financial-crisis-era mortgage business.”
In addition to the bribery probe, JP Morgan Chase is also being investigated for its energy trades by the DOJ. The hits just keep on comin’.

Connecting the Dots

What would make JP Morgan Chase the focus of a hiring practices investigation? Coincidences such as hiring the son of a financial conglomerate and then securing a number of highly sought and prized assignments from that same conglomerate, an incident pointed out by the New York Times.
The argument can be made that highly placed officials in China are more likely to have well-educated children, thus making hiring them a rather natural occurrence. However, the ties between hiring such children and then getting some type of contract or other business benefit from the parent or employer of the parent is too coincidental to ignore, especially when it happens more than once.
With the announcement of the investigation comes no specific accusation or charge – just information that an investigation is underway. The investigation may not result in any charges at all, as there may be no wrongdoing or not enough evidence of it to file charges.

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Consequences?

If, however, JP Morgan Chase is found guilty, what would be the consequences for the company? According to the DOJ's FCPA guide, there may be both criminal and civil penalties for violations. Criminal penalties include fines in the millions, but for a company such as JP Morgan Chase, this is just a drop in the bucket.
Furthermore, the company has a history of being fined and investigated for various reasons, so this does not seem to be a deterrent. The Daily Beast reports that as of May 2013, the company had already paid out billions of dollars in penalties and lawsuit awards over the past several years. It also notes that many of these have to do with the company’s involvement in the economic and housing problems faced by Americans over the past several years.

Worst Case Scenario

So what happens if the company is shut down for this or any other reason or just goes belly-up due to fines, lawsuits, and lost business? Since it seems to be the habit of the government to bail out banks and industries, if JP Morgan gets into trouble, it could also get a bailout.
Think its far-fetched that the government would fine the company then bail it out? AIG was charged with fraud in 2003, resulting in a $10 million fine, and then bailed out in 2008 with an $85 billion loan. Since the precedent is that some entities are “too big to fail”, it is not beyond the scope of reason that JP Morgan could be viewed in the same light.
The company going belly-up would result in an immediate hit to the country and the consumer, but the U.S. would not be the only country hit. A shut-down would have a negative impact, at least at first, on the global economy. But be assured that the company will avoid a shut-down, even if it means some fancy footwork and restructuring in order to stay alive.
The worst case scenario is just that, and it's also the least likely thing to happen. The most likely scenario is that even if fined, the company will go on with business as usual, and if there is any trouble, the U.S. government will bail it out on the taxpayer dime.

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