Every time I see a news story that I find troubling... I bookmark it.
I either write about it eventually, or it becomes a permanent piece of my evidence folder — evidence of the injustices going on all around us.
Taken individually, these stories are each a part of the bigger overall picture. And sadly, that pictures is growing increasingly bleak.
One report I found, exposes America as an oligarchy, with its foreign and domestic agendas dominated by the interests of a wealthy elite.
Another shows the full extent of the government's surveillance program. It demonstrates the far-reaching capabilities of U.S. intelligence agencies (the FBI, NSA, CIA, etc.) and their unchecked power.
Still another shows just how militarized America's police have become. Dressed in full-body armor, they patrol cities and suburbs in mine resistant armor-plated vehicles (MRAPs). They use drones to catch speeding cars, property violations and even, cow theft, if you can believe it.
Then, most disturbing of all, we see the death.
Mass shootings. Terrorist attacks. Unarmed civilians shot dead by police officers. Retaliatory attacks against cops.
Everywhere you look, Americans are dying in the streets.
And the ones that are surviving? Well, their quality of life is quickly deteriorating. Salaries and wages are going down. Prices are going up. The middle class is shrinking.
Soon, there will be only a small wealthy group of asset owners – those that own business, land, and stocks – and one great big group of working poor.
That's the direction this country is headed.
That's why every election of the past 20 years has been about “disenfranchised groups” – from former factory workers to minorities. It's why politicians are constantly promising change, even as things continually stay the same. And it's why “radical” and “fringe” politicians like Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have suddenly found so much success.
Ladies and gentlemen, our country is on the brink.
I'm talking about another civil war, another revolution.
I don't know which sides will emerge. They could be divided by class, race, or both. It could simply come down to The People vs. The Power. But it's coming.
All you have to do is step back and put the pieces together like a giant puzzle.
That's what I did.
Take a look...
September 30, 2015: America is the richest, and most unequal, country
The world is awash in personal wealth: $153.2 trillion in total, according to Allianz’s new Global Wealth Report 2015. That’s enough to pay three times the world’s sovereign debt, the debts of each nation. The report, which measured 2014 wealth, found 2014 was the third consecutive year in which global wealth grew more than 7%...
But that wealth is unevenly distributed, and nowhere is that more evident than in the U.S., which also has the largest wealth inequality gap of 55 countries studied, according to the report.
The report found that America’s wealth inequality is even more gaping its income inequality. In fact, the report dubbed the U.S. the “Unequal States of America” due to the size of the gap.
It's no secret that America is unequal. But the scale of that inequality and the political implications are breathtaking.
You see, I have no problem with people making money, or generating huge sums of wealth. To the contrary I want to help them do just that.
The issue here, though, is how that mone is being spent. The problem is that the rich and powerful buy lobbyists, politicians, and even whole elections.
The end result?
April 17, 2014: Study: US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy
From the BBC:
The US is dominated by a rich and powerful elite.
So concludes a recent study by Princeton University Prof Martin Gilens and Northwestern University Prof Benjamin I Page.
This is not news, you say.
Perhaps, but the two professors have conducted exhaustive research to try to present data-driven support for this conclusion. Here's how they explain it:
"Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organised groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on US government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence."
In English: the wealthy few move policy, while the average American has little power.
As usual, the academic report proves years after the fact what many citizens have already come to know: their vote doesn't matter.
This is the sentiment that runs down the spine of movements like Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party. Neither group wants to admit they have much in common, but they're both rebelling for the same reason: The death of democracy.
Even Washington-based reporters are throwing in the towel...
August 22, 2012: NPR Correspondent Andrea Seabrook Quits after 14 years
After 14 years at National Public Radio, Andrea Seabrook left in July and, to hear her talk about her experience covering Capitol Hill, it's clear that she had one takeaway: It's damn frustrating.
"I realized that there is a part of covering Congress, if you're doing daily coverage, that is actually sort of colluding with the politicians themselves because so much of what I was doing was actually recording and playing what they say or repeating what they say," Seabrook told Politico. "And I feel like the real story of Congress right now is very much removed from any of that, from the sort of theater of the policy debate in Congress, and it has become such a complete theater that none of it is real. [...] I feel like I am, as a reporter in the Capitol, lied to every day, all day. There is so little genuine discussion going on with the reporters. [...] To me, as a reporter, everything is spin."
Hear that? You're being lied to. We all are. The government does not have your best interest at heart. It cares only for the interest of those with money and power - politicians and billionaires. The commoners are being suppressed.
February 21, 2012: Domestic Drone Debate Emerges
From the ACLU:
"As technology advances, so does the government's surveillance powers. If we want to protect our privacy rights, the exercise of this power has to be subject to limits," writes ACLU deputy legal director Jameel Jaffer in the New York Times "Room for Debate" discussion about the use of drones domestically, and whether they pose a threat to privacy.
As a recent report we issued makes clear, the ACLU believes it is crucial that we adopt clear rules for the use of drones to conduct domestic surveillance. Jaffer writes:
The available technology is already incredibly powerful. A surveillance drone can already be used to track a person as she travels from, say, her house to her doctor's office to her place of worship to her school. Within a few years, it may be perfectly feasible, economically and technologically, for a local police department to use unmanned drones to collect the identities of those who attend political rallies...
Why would the government need to see who's at what political rally?
It's not like they're going to harass them via the IRS, making their life a living hell...
It's not like the government would take it any further than aerial surveillance. They certainly won't violate the Constitution to gather info on citizens...
December 4, 2012: "Everyone in U.S. Under Virtual Surveillance" – NSA Whistleblower
From Russia Today:
The FBI records the emails of nearly all US citizens, including members of congress, according to NSA whistleblower William Binney. In an interview with RT, he warned that the government can use this information against anyone.
Binney, one of the best mathematicians and code breakers in the history of the National Security Agency, resigned in 2001. He claimed he no longer wanted to be associated with alleged violations of the Constitution, such as how the FBI engages in widespread and pervasive surveillance through powerful devices called 'Naris.'
That, of course, was a full half-year before the revelations of Edward Snowden, in which we learned the government was unconstitutionally collecting cell phone, email, and Internet traffic data...
These events have set the stage for a new Civil War-type showdown in the United States.
That's not empty rhetoric.
We now also know they're warrantlessly tracking your every location. (source)
They're tracking your license plate and everywhere you go. (source)
A leaked Justice Department memo has even concluded the U.S. government can kill American citizens — "even if there is no intelligence indicating they are engaged in an active plot to attack the U.S." (source)
That's so far outside the scope of our Constitution, I wonder how we can even call ourselves the "United States" anymore...
Yet that's the consensus of many of America's mainstream politicians.
March 26, 2013: Bloomberg Wants to Infringe On Your Freedom.
From Investor's Business Daily:
Liberty In Decline: New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that he thinks "there are certain times we should infringe on your freedom." If he really believes that, then he truly is a little tyrant.
Bloomberg's attitude is dangerous — and ubiquitous. Elected officials all across this land of the free feel the same as he does, though they rarely express it as vocally as he has.
But it's there, from proposals to carve up the Second Amendment to confiscatory tax rates and the accompanying redistribution of wealth, and from ObamaCare's individual mandate to Bloomberg's court-reversed ban on large soft drinks.
If the state can infringe on freedom at "certain times," then it can do it at any time. Once that wall has been breached, it's only a matter of how far government goes. And as we've seen, and as Thomas Jefferson foresaw, the trend has been for government to grow and liberty to yield. That wall has been breached and it only gets bigger as the invaders drive deeper into occupied territory.
Time and again, politicians — combined with local, state, and federal governments — have chosen to ignore your liberties and freedoms and rule with an iron fist...
The Pentagon says it's given about $40 billion to police departments to buy military-grade equipment since 9/11. And they're putting that equipment to use.
Whether it's something petty, like Bloomberg's decision to rule what size drink you can buy (since struck down), to something more blatantly unconstitutional, like his program of racially profiling and searching without cause New York City's youth (since struck down).
Don't like their tyrannical practices?
You might end up with a smashed orbital bone like 44-year-old Christina West of Tallahassee, Florida.
Two male police officers slammed her face into their police cruiser and then pushed her to the ground. They were caught lying about the incident because of the camera on the car's dash. (source)
At least she wasn't killed...
Fatal Shootings by Police Are Up in the First Six Months of 2016, Post Analysis Finds
From the Washington Post:
As the use of deadly force by police once again roils the nation, the number of fatal shootings by officers increased from 465 in the first six months of last year to 491 for the same period this year, according to an ongoing two-year study by The Washington Post. This year has also seen more officers shot and killed in the line of duty and more officers prosecuted for questionable shootings.
Two years after a white police officer fatally shot a black teenager in Ferguson, Mo., the pace of fatal shootings has risen slightly, while the grim encounters are increasingly being captured on video and stoking outrage...
A Post database that tracks fatal shootings by police shows a 6% increase in the number of such deaths during the first six months of 2016, compared with the same period last year. Fatal encounters are strikingly similar to last year’s shootings: Blacks continued to be shot at 2.5 times the rate of whites. About half of those killed were white, and about half were minorities. One-quarter were mentally ill.
The poor and the disenfranchised, these are the people that feel the full force of the state on a daily basis. Is it any wonder why there's so much resentment?
Right here in Baltimore, where I live and work, Freddie Gray was killed by the police who apprehended him. He committed no crime and his death was ruled a homicide by the medical examiner. Was anyone held responsible? No. No one even lost a job - not even demoted.
Except, of course, the taxpayer. That's because the city of Baltimore paid out $6.4 million to settle civil claims to Freddie Gray's family. And then there was the $20 million cost of the riots that sprouted from this injustice and devastated the city.
Not only are innocent citizens are being killed by the police state, they're paying for the privilege.
And all the while, the upper-class goes unchecked, safely ensconced above the law.
April 14, 2011: The Two-Tiered Justice System (by Glenn Greenwald, two years before he aided Edward Snowden)
Of all the topics on which I've focused, I've likely written most about America's two-tiered justice system — the way in which political and financial elites now enjoy virtually full-scale legal immunity for even the most egregious lawbreaking, while ordinary Americans, especially the poor and racial and ethnic minorities, are subjected to exactly the opposite treatment: the world's largest prison state and most merciless justice system. The New York Times this morning has a long article so perfectly illustrating what I mean by "two-tiered justice system" — and the way in which it obliterates the core covenant of the American Founding: equality before the law — that it's impossible for me not to highlight it.
The article's headline tells most of the story: "In Financial Crisis, No Prosecutions of Top Figures." It asks: "why, in the aftermath of a financial mess that generated hundreds of billions in losses, have no high-profile participants in the disaster been prosecuted?" And it recounts that not only have no high-level culprits been indicted (or even subjected to meaningful criminal investigations), but few have suffered any financial repercussions in the form of civil enforcements or other lawsuits. The evidence of rampant criminality that led to the 2008 financial crisis is overwhelming, but perhaps the clearest and most compelling such evidence comes from long-time Wall-Street-servant Alan Greenspan; even he was forced to acknowledge that much of the precipitating conduct was "certainly illegal and clearly criminal" and that "a lot of that stuff was just plain fraud."
Despite that clarity and abundance of the evidence proving pervasive criminality, it's entirely unsurprising that there have been no real criminal investigations or prosecutions. That's because the overarching "principle" of our justice system is that criminal prosecutions are only for ordinary rabble, not for those who are most politically and financially empowered. We have thus created precisely the two-tiered justice system against which the Founders most stridently warned and which contemporary legal scholars all agree is the hallmark of a lawless political culture.
This stuff is the epitome of anti-liberty and anti-individualism. Quite frankly, it's anti-American.
When is enough enough?
And when will things start to change?
I'd say now... and they're starting to.
America: On the Brink
America's on the brink. 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're currently in a Crisis that will eventually morph into a High.
The signs of peak crisis are everywhere...
Several Colorado counties voted 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)
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)
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 Congressional approval ratings below 10%... rising secession movements... whistleblower soldiers... a cannabis revolution... an about-turn from the Vatican... and many more....
The signs of real change are everywhere.
Over the past decade or so, we've endured terrorist attacks... two financial market collapses... the bankruptcy and ruin of countless banks, financial firms, and insurance companies... not to mention the financial pain that's been inflicted on people like you and me...
All of this has been about "those in power" maintaining the status quo — and keeping your freedom and prosperity in their tight little grip.
It's no secret that America has been in a long winter season...
And frankly, it's taken one heck of a toll. Just look at some of the facts and figures I've put together:
- In 2001, the gross domestic product (GDP) of the United States accounted for 31.8% of all global economic activity. Today, it's only 22%.
- In 1988, the Economist determined the United States was the No. 1 place to be born. Today, the U.S. is tied for 16th!
- The U.S. government borrows more than half of every dollar it spends.
- Over 46 million Americans are on food stamps — and one out of four are children.
- Nearly HALF of all Americans live in a home that receives direct benefits from the federal government.
- The value of the U.S. dollar has declined 96% since the Federal Reserve was created.
- One in four U.S. workers makes less than $10.00 per hour.
- The suicide rate in the U.S. has more than doubled since 2000 — and there are twice as many suicides as homicides.
- More than 33% of American are obese.
- The use of antidepressants has increased 400% in the last two decades alone!
I could go on and on with more data, but you get the point...
Something is definitely wrong here.
But even though it all looks pretty bleak, I've got some good news: America's long winter is about to end — taking with it the endless days of crisis and discontent.
I'm talking about an end to everything that has plagued our nation for more than a decade...
It will end the reign of crooked Wall Street Bankers, fat-cat CEOs, and their cronies at the ratings agencies who flooded the market with worthless subprime loans.
It will end Washington's spending spree and run-up in the national debt to the highest level in U.S. history, now over $17 trillion.
It will end the National Security Agency's domestic spying programs that have been recording all your email, Internet activity, and telephone calls for years.
It will end the IRS targeting of political groups and individual citizens that disagree with them.
It will end FBI intimidation of news agencies through the confiscation of phone records and labeling of journalists as "criminals," when they are, in fact, doing their jobs by exposing government corruption.
In light of all that we've been through, it's easy to see there is something very wrong with America.
But the good news is that one season ALWAYS turns to the next.
And this "American Winter" is ushering in an "American Spring" that will send our country soaring to new heights — heights not seen for more than 80 years.
It will change the trajectory of the nation and present myriad investment opportunities to alert investors.
So make sure to stay on top of each Outsider Club issue to stay informed on these events and opportunities as they play out.
Call it like you see it,
Founder, Outsider Club