The case against austerity – video

The coalition government came to power in 2010 promising to deliver a stable economy and reduce Britain’s deficit. Its chosen method was austerity, a mix of higher taxes and deep spending cuts. But rather than unleashing growth, the UK economy stalled – just as many Keynesian economists predicted it would. But with most major parties committed to degrees of austerity, Phoebe Greenwood asks whether anyone has learned the lesson of the past five years Continue reading…

WalMart’s Mysterious Store Closure Devastates California City

Earlier this month, we brought you the short history of worker protests at the Pico Rivera, CA Wal-Mart location. The store has been at the forefront of pickets, walkouts, and sit-ins for some time, with workers staging demonstrations every year since 2012, the latest of which came in November of last year and resulted in the arrest of two dozen workers. The employees — whose grievances generally revolve around wages, working conditions, and retaliation — have been supported by The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union or, UFCW, which last year prevailed in a Canadian Supreme Court case against the retailer stemming from a decade-old incident in Quebec when Wal-Mart closed a location after workers voted for UFCW representation.

Turning America Into A Battlefield: A Blueprint For Locking Down The Nation

Submitted by John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

– President Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1961

A standing army – something that propelled the early colonists into revolution – strips the American people of any vestige of freedom. How can there be any semblance of freedom when there are tanks in the streets, military encampments in cities, Blackhawk helicopters and armed drones patrolling overhead?

It was for this reason that those who established America vested control of the military in a civilian government, with a civilian commander-in-chief. They did not want a military government, ruled by force. Rather, they opted for a republic bound by the rule of law: the U.S. Constitution.

Unfortunately, with the Constitution under constant attack, the military’s power, influence and authority have grown dramatically. Even the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, which makes it a crime for the government to use the military to carry out arrests, searches, seizure of evidence and other activities normally handled by a civilian police force, has been weakened by both Barack Obama and George W. Bush, who ushered in exemptions allowing troops to deploy domestically and arrest civilians in the wake of alleged terrorist acts.

Now we find ourselves struggling to retain some semblance of freedom in the face of police and law enforcement agencies that look and act like the military and have just as little regard for the Fourth Amendment, laws such as the NDAA that allow the military to arrest and indefinitely detain American citizens, and military drills that acclimate the American people to the sight of armored tanks in the streets, military encampments in cities, and combat aircraft patrolling overhead.

Making matters worse, we find out that the military plans to use southwestern states as staging grounds for guerilla warfare drills in which highly-trained military troops equipped with all manner of weapons turn American towns and cities in quasi-battlefields. Why? As they tell us, it’s so that special operations forces can get “realistic military training” in “hostile” territory.

They’ve even got a name for the exercise: Jade Helm 15.

Whether or not Americans have anything to fear from Jade Helm 15, a covert, multi-agency, multi-state, eight-week military training exercise set to take place this summer from July 15 through Sept. 15, remains to be seen.

Insisting that there’s nothing to be alarmed about, the Washington Post took great pains to point out that these military exercises on American soil are nothing new. For instance, there was Operation Bold Alligator, in which in which thousands of Marines and sailors carried out amphibious exercises against “insurgent” forces in Georgia and Florida. Operation Robin Sage had Green Beret soldiers engaging in guerrilla warfare in North Carolina. And Operation Derna Bridge sends Marine special forces into parts of South Carolina and the National Forest.

Yet if Americans are uneasy about this summer’s planned Jade Helm 15 military exercises, they have every right to be.

After all, haven’t we been urged time and time again to just “trust” the government to respect our rights and abide by the rule of law only to find that, in fact, our rights were being plundered and the Constitution disregarded at every turn?

Let’s assume, for the moment, that Jade Helm 15 is not a thinly veiled military plot to take over the country lifted straight out of director John Frankenheimer’s 1964 political thriller Seven Days in May, as some fear, but is merely a “routine” exercise for troops, albeit a blatantly intimidating flexing of the military’s muscles.

The problem arises when you start to add Jade Helm onto the list of other troubling developments that have taken place over the past 30 years or more: the expansion of the military industrial complex and its influence in Washington DC, the rampant surveillance, the corporate-funded elections and revolving door between lobbyists and elected officials, the militarized police, the loss of our freedoms, the injustice of the courts, the privatized prisons, the school lockdowns, the roadside strip searches, the military drills on domestic soil, the fusion centers and the simultaneous fusing of every branch of law enforcement (federal, state and local), the stockpiling of ammunition by various government agencies, the active shooter drills that are indistinguishable from actual crises, the economy flirting with near collapse, etc.

Suddenly, the overall picture seems that much more sinister. Clearly, as I point out in my new book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, there’s a larger agenda at work here.

Seven years ago, the U.S. Army War College issued a report calling on the military to be prepared should they need to put down civil unrest within the country. Summarizing the report, investigative journalist Chris Hedges declared, “The military must be prepared, the document warned, for a ‘violent, strategic dislocation inside the United States,’ which could be provoked by ‘unforeseen economic collapse,’ ‘purposeful domestic resistance,’ ‘pervasive public health emergencies’ or ‘loss of functioning political and legal order.’ The ‘widespread civil violence,’ the document said, ‘would force the defense establishment to reorient priorities in extremis to defend basic domestic order and human security.’”

At what point will all of the government’s carefully drawn plans for dealing with civil unrest, “homegrown” terrorism and targeting pre-crime become a unified blueprint for locking down the nation?

For instance, what’s the rationale behind turning government agencies into military outposts? There has been a notable buildup in recent years of SWAT teams within non-security-related federal agencies such as Department of Agriculture, the Railroad Retirement Board, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Office of Personnel Management, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Education Department. As of 2008, “73 federal law enforcement agencies… [employ] approximately 120,000 armed full-time on-duty officers with arrest authority.” Four-fifths of those officers are under the command of either the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or the Department of Justice.

Goldman Paid Bill Clinton $200K Before Lobbying Hillary On Export-Import Bank

As documented here on several occasions of late, there are new questions surrounding charitable contributions to the Clinton Foundation. Most notably, a Reuters investigation revealed that the Clinton family charities may have suffered what we called a “Geithner moment” when they failed to report tens of millions in contributions from foreign governments on tax documents. The foundation will now refile five years worth of returns and hasn’t ruled out the possibility that it may need to amend returns dating back some 15 years.

2 Choices: Legislation Redestribuing Wealth Or Revolution Distributing Poverty

Submitted by Simon Black via Sovereign Man blog,

One of my favorite historians is a guy named Will Durant.

Durant is unfortunately no longer with us, but he and his wife Ariel made history more interesting than all the soap operas my mother used to watch when I was a kid.

I thought about something he wrote this morning when I glanced at the paper and saw a headline about the riots in Baltimore.

In Durant’s seminal work on Louis the XIV, he wrote that “the men who can manage men manage the men who can manage only things, and the men who can manage money manage all.”

Now if the quote is confusing, just focus on the last eight words.

And Durant was right. There are people out there on one side, and they’re angry. They’re looting, they’re rioting.

On the other side you have the state trying to stop them. Police and national guard units with their urban tactics and weapon systems.

They are the ultimate expression of men managing men managing things.

But is the men who manage money, who are managing all.

In our system, we have an unelected central banking elite managing the money.

Their policies have enriched a tiny percentage of wealthy individuals while utterly vanquishing untold millions.

Those in the middle class find that they’re not able to keep up with the rising cost of living.

Those little emergencies in life that we never plan on now completely wipe people out.

And the dream of retirement has now become almost an immature fantasy rather than a realistic and achievable goal.

People that are even lower on the socio-economic totem pole have it even worse.

There’s a great social despair that falls when people feel resigned to their economic station with no hope of advancement.

Hope is the most powerful of human emotions. More than fear.

It’s the reason why many politicians get elected.

When hope becomes crushed by the system, all you’re left with is fear and anger. That’s what we’re seeing in Baltimore.

Everybody has a breaking point. And more and more people are starting to reach theirs.

This isn’t just about racism.

We’ve been force-fed a toxic monetary system that has destroyed any hope of upward mobility and long-term security.

And it’s as if the collective immune system of the middle-class is simultaneously having a violent reaction to this financial poison.

The objective data out there shows us that wealth inequality and income inequality are the highest they’ve been in modern times. And that’s really saying something.

Now, inequality is entirely natural. There will always be those that are stronger and swifter, whether among humans or in the wild.

Engineering economic despair as a matter of policy, however, is entirely unnatural. It’s immoral. Destructive. And as history shows, it’s dangerous.

Plutarch tells us of Ancient Greece being on a knife’s edge in the 6th century B.C. until Solon came to power.

Facing a peasant revolution, he devalued the currency, forgave debt, taxed the rich, established numerous social welfare programs, and even confiscated private property for redistribution.

Durant himself tells us that anger and inequality become so great that nature has a way of correcting itself, either “by legislation redistributing wealth or by revolution distributing poverty”.

This is happening all across the West, whether the anger in Baltimore or the neo-Nazi politicians being elected in Europe.

The world’s not coming to an end, it’s changing. And sometimes that change can bring some difficult transition.

We can’t stop it from happening. But we can take every sensible step to ensure that we are watching it from the sidelines.