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Are Governments Running Out of Candy?

Are Governments Running Out of Candy?

By now, many readers will have seen the popular American YouTube video by Mark Dice in which he stands on a city sidewalk and offers passers-by a free gift. They may choose between a 10-ounce silver bar or a large Hershey’s candy bar.

Each taker chooses the candy – most of them with no deliberation. The only taker who seems to hesitate at all soon decides on the candy, as “I don’t have any way to do anything with the silver.” (Behind them is a coin shop. Mister Dice offers to take the silver bar inside if she wishes, but she’s uninterested and takes the candy.)

A 10-ounce silver bar is presently valued at about $140, the Hershey’s bar at about $2.

(Editor’s Note: If you have not seen the video, please see below.)

Mister Dice doesn’t comment in the video as to what lesson might be learned from this, but an obvious one would be that Americans (or at least those who reside in his home town of San Diego, California) are prone to prefer instant gratification over something of substantially greater, but delayed value.

If this is his intent, he’s succeeded well in his light-hearted, but instructive video.

Since the 1950’s, much of the world has perceived Americans as being on “Easy Street,” and in recent decades, the U.S. government has fuelled American complacency through a consciousness of easy money and entitlement.

And so, Americans are often perceived by those outside the U.S. as being somewhat insulated, spoiled, naïve, and short-sighted. But, if this is true, Americans certainly aren’t alone. Much the same exists in Europe, Canada, and quite a few other countries that have, over recent decades, followed the American socio-economic model.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Basic income: New life for an old idea

Basic income: New life for an old idea

A combination of economic uncertainty and political possibility is giving new life to an old policy idea

A basic income policy could replace existing welfare programs by providing citizens with a guaranteed monthly paycheque.

A basic income policy could replace existing welfare programs by providing citizens with a guaranteed monthly paycheque. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)

Ontario’s provincial budget announced a pilot program to try it out. In Quebec, a cabinet minister has been assigned to study the topic.

The mayors of Calgary and Edmonton are both on board. And the Manitoba Liberals are promising their own trial if they win the April 19 provincial election.

Basic income is capturing political imaginations in Canada.

Also known as guaranteed minimum income, universal income, guaranteed annual income, or a negative income tax, basic income is a social policy that would supplant various welfare programs by providing a baseline amount of money to all citizens, regardless of whether they work or meet a means test.

‘I think part of it is the need to set up social programs for a very different kind of labour force than existed in the past.’– Evelyn Forget, professor, University of Manitoba

The idea is far from new, and it has even been tried in Canada before, in the town of Dauphin, Man., during the 1970s. Google Trends, which tracks the volume of inquiries on the Google search engine, shows an increased number of searches for “basic income” and related terms in the past three years — and especially in recent months.

A world without guarantees

Evelyn Forget, a professor with the department of community health services at the University of Manitoba who researched the Dauphin experiment, recently testified before federal pre-budget hearings on the topic of basic income.

She says the idea’s resurgent popularity may have to do with an uncertain global economy.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Odds Are Never In Your Favour

The Odds Are Never In Your Favour

The irony of the phrase “may the odds be ever in your favor” is not lost on the readers of the Hunger Games trilogy of novels or the film adaption. Despite the grimness of the story, over 65 million copies of the books have been sold. The total box office take so far has exceeded $1.4 billion for the four movies. The dystopian series tackles real issues like severe poverty, starvation, torture, oppression, betrayal and the brutality of war. It doesn’t fit into the standard film making success recipe of feel good fluff, politically correct storylines and happy endings. Each film in the series gets progressively darker, with the final episode permeating doom and gloom. The books and the movies capture the deepening crisis mood engulfing the world today. And they realistically portray the world as a place where there are no good guys in positions of power. The ruling class, in all cases, is driven by a voracious appetite for supremacy, wealth, and control.

An Ambiguous, Confusing, Dangerous World

The world is a morally ambiguous place where those in power and those seeking power utilize the influence of media propaganda and PR campaigns built around “heroes” and “icons” to psychologically control the masses, while enriching themselves and their crony capitalist sponsors. Endless war against the latest “bad guys” further enriches the arms dealers and their political lackeys who joyfully use faux patriotism and nationalistic fervor to insist upon more boots on the ground, drones in the air, bombs dropped, and missiles launched.

War is good for business and keeps the masses distracted, while the Wall Street financiers harvest the wealth of the citizens.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Government Wants to “Implant Recipients of Welfare Assistance with Satellite-Tracked Chips”

Government Wants to “Implant Recipients of Welfare Assistance with Satellite-Tracked Chips”

Dissolving Tracking Chip

Implantable RFID tracking chips. You know, to stop terrorism.

And to keep tabs on all the welfare queens, in order to keep tax dollars accountable.

There will be other rationales, too.

But really, governments just want to do all the spying they can within their power – and right now, technology offers more power than ever before to carry out universal surveillance, track and trace every person and every thing and put civil rights in the backseat where they belong.

The latest proposal from a politician in the Finnish government seems like a near-future dystopic film, but may not be far reality.

It’s not much of a stretch to imagine that the U.S., Britain or other governments in Europe would do this too, if they could get away with it.

In fact, an RFID chipped population could only be years away.

Sputnik News reports:

A politician from Finland’s conservative Finns Party suggested implanting welfare recipients with satellite-tracking chips following news that some recipients continued receiving payments after leaving the country to join ISIL.

A member of Finland’s right-wing Finns Party, Pasi Maenranta, has suggested implanting all recipients of government assistance with satellite-tracked chips if they choose to leave the country.

Maenranta made the proposal after Finnish media revealed that some recipients of government assistance continued to receive payments after leaving the country to join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.

“The law should be changed: To receive payments from Kela [the Social Insurance Institution], one has to tell exact data about your location using your personal code, read by a satellite. It is also possible to implant electronic chips to all going abroad, who for example receive medical welfare from Kela,” Maenranta wrote on his Facebook page.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Ex-Im Bank is Welfare for the One Percent

Ex-Im Bank is Welfare for the One Percent

This month Congress will consider whether to renew the charter of the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank). Ex-Im Bank is a New Deal-era federal program that uses taxpayer funds to subsidize the exports of American businesses. Foreign businesses, including state-owned corporations, also benefit from Ex-Im Bank. One country that has benefited from $1.5 billion of Ex-Im Bank loans is Russia. Venezuela, Pakistan, and China have also benefited from Ex-Im Bank loans.

With Ex-Im Bank’s track record of supporting countries that supposedly represent a threat to the US, one might expect neoconservatives, hawkish liberals, and other supporters of foreign intervention to be leading the effort to kill Ex-Im Bank. Yet, in an act of hypocrisy remarkable even by DC standards, many hawkish politicians, journalists, and foreign policy experts oppose ending Ex-Im Bank.

This seeming contradiction may be explained by the fact that Ex-Im Bank’s primary beneficiaries include some of America’s biggest and most politically powerful corporations. Many of Ex-Im Bank’s beneficiaries are also part of the industrial half of the military-industrial complex. These corporations are also major funders of think tanks and publications promoting an interventionist foreign policy.

Ex-Im Bank apologists claim that the bank primarily benefits small business. A look at the facts tells a different story. For example, in fiscal year 2014, 70 percent of the loans guaranteed by Ex-Im Bank’s largest program went to Caterpillar, which is hardly a small business.

Boeing, which is also no one’s idea of a small business, is the leading recipient of Ex-Im Bank aid. In fiscal year 2014 alone, Ex-Im Bank devoted 40 percent of its budget — $8.1 billion — to projects aiding Boeing. No wonder Ex-Im Bank is often called “Boeing’s bank.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

One Last Look At The Real Economy Before It Implodes – Part 3

One Last Look At The Real Economy Before It Implodes – Part 3

In the previous installments of this series, we discussed the hidden and often unspoken crisis brewing within the employment market, as well as in personal debt. The primary consequence being a collapse in overall consumer demand, something which we are at this very moment witnessing in the macro-picture of the fiscal situation around the world. Lack of real production and lack of sustainable employment options result in a lack of savings, an over-dependency on debt and welfare, the destruction of grass-roots entrepreneurship, a conflated and disingenuous representation of gross domestic product, and ultimately an economic system devoid of structural integrity — a hollow shell of a system, vulnerable to even the slightest shocks.

This lack of structural integrity and stability is hidden from the general public quite deliberately by way of central bank money creation that enables government debt spending, which is counted toward GDP despite the fact that it is NOT true production (debt creation is a negation of true production and historically results in a degradation of the overall economy as well as monetary buying power, rather than progress). Government debt spending also disguises the real state of poverty within a system through welfare and entitlements. The U.S. poverty level is at record highs, hitting previous records set 50 years ago during Lyndon Johnson’s administration. The record-breaking rise in poverty has also occurred despite 50 years of the so called “war on poverty,” a shift toward American socialism that was a continuation of the policies launched by Franklin D. Roosevelt’s ‘New Deal’.

 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

‘Two Percent Inflation’ and The Fed’s Current Mandate

‘Two Percent Inflation’ and The Fed’s Current Mandate

Over the last 100 years the Fed has had many mandates and policy changes in its pursuit of becoming the chief central economic planner for the United States. Not only has it pursued this utopian dream of planning the US economy and financing every boondoggle conceivable in the welfare/warfare state, it has become the manipulator of the premier world reserve currency.

As Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke explained to me, the once profoundly successful world currency – gold – was no longer money. This meant that he believed, and the world has accepted, the fiat dollar as the most important currency of the world, and the US has the privilege and responsibility for managing it. He might even believe, along with his Fed colleagues, both past and present, that the fiat dollar will replace gold for millennia to come. I remain unconvinced.

At its inception the Fed got its marching orders: to become the ultimate lender of last resort to banks and business interests. And to do that it needed an “elastic” currency.  The supporters of the new central bank in 1913 were well aware that commodity money did not “stretch” enough to satisfy the politician’s appetite for welfare and war spending. A printing press and computer, along with the removal of the gold standard, would eventually provide the tools for a worldwide fiat currency. We’ve been there since 1971 and the results are not good.

Many modifications of policy mandates occurred between 1913 and 1971, and the Fed continues today in a desperate effort to prevent the total unwinding and collapse of a monetary system built on sand. A storm is brewing and when it hits, it will reveal the fragility of the entire world financial system.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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