Tag Archives: Federal government of the United States

Pan Am Flight 103

Pan Am flight 103 was an inside job….

Left Hook by Dean Henderson

(Excerpted from Chapter 11: Noriega of Panama: Big Oil & Their Bankers…)

On December 21, 1988 Pan Am Flight 103 blew up over Lockerbie, Scotland.  When President Bush was sworn into office a month later, he blamed the terrorist act on two Libyans- Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah.

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The Kennedy Assassination

Here’s some previously unknown info about the Kennedy assassination in November 1963. It’s even crazier than I thought!

Left Hook by Dean Henderson

2006-alton-mo-22-homestead-winter-scene(Excerpted from Chapter 9: The Texas Oil Mafia: Big Oil & Their Bankers…)

Clint Murchison had meat packing interests in Haiti which were looked after by CIA agent George deMohrenschildt, a wealthy Russian oilman and, according to the FBI, a Nazi spy during WWII.

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Now that tax season is over, it’s time to end it

Now That Tax Season Is Over, It’s Time to End

the Immoral and Illegal Income Tax

by Rev. Paul J. Bern

Revolution-fists

With another federal income tax deadline having passed this past week, it is time for me to bring up the dubious nature of income taxation in America, and why I think it’s long past due for some serious change in the way we are taxed. Part of the reason for this is to correct the extreme imbalance of wealth and to speak out against the hoarding of cash and assets by the top 1% of the US population. Under no circumstances do I think this matter should be resolved by force, and I am aware that there are people – both Christian and secular – who think otherwise. There is certainly no way we are going to be able to correct this imbalance of wealth by going door-to-door in wealthy neighborhoods asking for money, although I can see where that could be a form of protest in and of itself. The rich and powerful are most certainly not going to surrender their filthy lucre voluntarily. What we will have to do is to legislate it while still remaining within the boundaries of the Constitution. The best way to accomplish this is by establishing an all-new tax system that is fair and equitable and which does not impose an excessive burden of payment on the backs of the lower 50% of wage earners in America, the ones who can afford it the least.

The origin of the income tax on individuals is generally cited as the passage of the 16th Amendment, passed by Congress on July 2, 1909, and ratified February 3, 1913; however, its history actually goes back even further. During the Civil War Congress passed the Revenue Act of 1861 which included a tax on personal incomes to help pay war expenses. The tax was repealed ten years later. However, in 1894 Congress enacted a flat rate Federal income tax, which was ruled unconstitutional the following year by the U.S. Supreme Court because it was a direct tax not apportioned according to the population of each state. This was in reference to Article 1 and section 8 of the US Constitution, which gives Congress the right to levy taxes, but which also says, “… but all Duties, Imposes and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States”. The taxes our founding fathers had in mind had to do with imported goods and interstate commerce. It says nothing about an income tax. The 16th amendment, ratified in 1913, made an attempt at removing this objection by allowing the Federal government to tax the income of individuals without regard to the population of each State. The most efficient way America can accomplish this is by a national commerce tax, which is much more in the letter and spirit of the law as it was originally written than the current federal tax code. I realize this is not a new idea. It’s the way it’s applied that’s new.

The first step in this process will be to replace the income tax with a consumption tax and the second step will be to legislate an excess wealth tax, in order to be able to finance the needs of the military and the space program. The federal income tax for individuals, families and businesses will go the way of the Chevy Vega under this proposed new tax system. In its place will be a 9% Consumption Tax on all retail and Internet commerce. Why 9%, you ask? Because the average income tax paid by working Americans comes to about 18% of their gross income, so let’s cut it in half! Governments, nonprofits, groceries, utility bills and fuel should be the 5 main exceptions, that is, these should in my view remain untaxed. Repeal of the income tax will by extension include the abolition of the federal withholding tax that is currently deducted from our paychecks. From now on all this extra money will flow back into the pockets of the American workers and business people where it belongs. Add that to the fifteen dollar per hour minimum wage (‘low pay is not OK’), we find out that the net take-home pay for the overwhelming majority of American workers will be raised by at least one-fourth overnight! This is just one more reason for everybody reading this to stop and put it down and go participate in a public demonstration or protest of your choice, and start protesting for these fundamental human rights today! You can finish reading this when you get back home. That’s how urgent this has become! If you can’t find an ongoing protest anywhere, start one.

The federal income taxes for business and corporations will also be going away under this proposal. It’s common knowledge by now that many of these companies have moved their manufacturing overseas due to lower wages and taxes in the third world. But what if the business income tax were suddenly repealed in this country? What if Obamacare succeeds to the point of taking the burden of employee health insurance off the backs of businesses, something Obamacare has already begun to do whether one is in favor of it or not? When you combine these two factors then you have a great recipe for job creation. That is how we can bring back many of the jobs that were lost to outsourcing. And so I propose that a luxury tax that I will call the Excess Wealth Tax be put up for a popular vote. (How do we get it on the ballot? By making as much noise about it as we can until we get what we want!) The Excess Wealth Tax for individuals and families is that all earned income up to $1 million is tax free. Period, end of story. For individuals and households with a net income in excess of $1 million, they will be taxed at a 50% rate. So, let’s say a single taxpayer, or a family of four, has $101 million in income in any given year. Since the first $1 million is tax free, all that would be owed would be 50% of the remaining $100 million. So your hypothetical tax bill for that year would be $50 million. Uncle Sam keeps half, and we keep half. Besides, anybody who can’t live on an annual income of $51 million is spending way too much money on all the wrong stuff.

For businesses and corporations all earned income and net assets up to $300 million is tax free. There is a 33 and 1/3% tax levied on anything over that amount. So if we have a company or multinational corporation with gross sales of $1.5 billion in any given year, then that company would only pay tax on everything in excess of $300 million. So 33.3% of the remaining $1.2 billion would be $400 billion, and that would be their Excess Wealth Tax for that year. Uncle Sam gets a third, the enterprise keeps the rest. It’s so simple you won’t need an accountant any more (sorry, all you CPA’s). It will also mean that the capital gains, estate, the alternative minimum and self-employment taxes would all be going away for good. But so would itemized deductions. That should make business owners, entrepreneurs, and investors very enthusiastic about supporting this proposal.

Money from these tax payments would be used for public education, to fund higher learning for adults changing careers as well as for high school graduates going on to college (which would end student loans except for private colleges and universities), for military funding, and for funding for an ambitious and pioneering space program. What about the federal income tax? It needs to go the way of the dinosaurs! Taxation of our incomes is tantamount to limitation of our incomes! I could write that we should all organize a tax protest next winter, but unfortunately refusing to pay taxes as a form of protest has been criminalized, so I can’t condone that. Organizing on social media would be one way to reach out to a lot of people. But I thought I would get the conversation started by posting this. I first proposed this four years ago in my book, “The Middle and Working Class Manifesto”, and no one paid any attention. But with the waves of protest about police violence and unrealistically low wages ($7.25 an hour? What??), I ask you this question: How do we peacefully replace our entire tax code? By peaceful mass protests and demonstrations? Trying to coax Congress into passing this into law would be an exercise in futility, we need a better way than that. But if the system is dysfunctional – as the US tax code currently is – it must be replaced from the outside in, not the other way around as is our tradition. Tradition doesn’t work anymore. Time for us to get outside the box.

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What should law-abiding citizens do when those in authority are criminals?

Submission To Authority: Pro And Con

by Rev. Paul J. Bern

Here in the early 21st century, we live in a world where authority has gotten completely out of control. America was lied to back in the early 1960’s so our government could start the Viet Nam war. We were lied to about President Kennedy’s assassination by the Warren Commission, and we were lied to again five years later concerning the Robert Kennedy assassination. We were lied to about Rev. Dr. King’s assassination that same violent year of 1968. President Nixon lied to us about Watergate. We were lied to in 2003 as a pretext for invading Iraq the second time. And we were lied to by president Obama when he won the 2008 election while telling us all that he would bring us “change we can believe in”. We got some serious changes all right, resulting in the largest spy and unmanned drone network the world had ever seen. On the home front, the police have become thoroughly militarized, and they are having lots of fun on the job thanks to all their new toys and gadgets, not to mention fully automatic weapons, and even tanks! They can stop you and search you without cause and without the Constitutionally mandated search warrant. They are breaking our doors down in the middle of the night and murdering unarmed citizens. A 92-year-old woman was shot 19 times and killed by the police several years ago right here in Atlanta where I live and work, and people of color as well as the poor are being killed by the police on the flimsiest of pretexts. Last year when I tried to renew my drivers license, I was turned away due to a speeding ticket I got back in 1995 even though I paid the fine nearly two decades ago. So now I no longer own a car, but I’m saving a lot of money by relying on public transportation and “going green”. Still, the state of Georgia’s refusal to renew my drivers license makes me feel resentful and disenfranchised by the very system that is sworn to protect me and to serve us all.

Speaking as a minister of the Gospel and as an ambassador for Jesus Christ, I have done a little research as to what the Bible says about governmental authority and the abuse of power. It turns out that there is ample argument that can be minted for both sides of this same coin. The first part has to do with submission to authority in the context of being a law-abiding citizen as the apostle Paul saw it when he wrote the Book of Romans approximately 1,950 years ago. At the time that this was written, all of what is now modern-day Israel was under the military occupation of the Roman empire. Similarly, much of the world today is occupied by the American Empire. Paul wrote these words in that context, so I will begin with the book of Romans, chapter 13 and verses 1-5.

Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience.” (Romans 13: 1-5 NIV)

At the time that Paul wrote this, the death penalty was commonplace. Capital punishment existed as a means of intimidation and absolute control, and that punishment was carried out with utter ruthlessness and without mercy. Furthermore, unlike the Jewish religious establishment of that era, Paul was a Roman citizen and as such he was given rights and privileges that were not shared equally with other non-citizens. But how does this compare with life in the early 21st century? Although the death penalty is still administered for capital crimes such as murder, it is carried out with relative infrequency compared to the days of the Roman empire. There were also debtors prisons in Paul’s day. People who ran into financial trouble back in those days were routinely imprisoned until their debts were paid. In contrast, today if one gets into financial difficulty, bankruptcy laws exist that are much more fair and equitable than prison. Compared to the times in which St. Paul lived, we get a complete picture of a much more fair, equitable and even lenient world in the present day. Let me now make some comparisons between Paul’s world and ours using this passage of scripture as a backdrop to the picture that I will now paint for you with my words.

The authorities that exist have been established by God”. Although Paul sincerely believed at the time that he wrote these words that he was absolutely correct, he was speaking more as a Roman citizen and a Hebrew religious scholar than he was as a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ. In modern America, our rule of law is the Constitution of the United States and so I am writing today in this context as an American citizen. We have the right to free speech and freedom of religion today that did not exist in St. Paul’s time. That right which is established under the first amendment to the US Constitution allows me to write these words without fear of punishment. As such I am within the law and I will remain so for as long as the law is fair. It’s when it’s unfair that things can get a bit dicey. But hold that thought as I continue.

The apostle Paul continues with this same theme as he writes further: “Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong.” The same applies today. Take the patriot movement and so-called “preppers” of today. Organizing any armed revolt in modern-day America is an idea that I am against, preaching and teaching as a man of peace who tries his best to emulate Jesus, the Prince of Peace. Besides, the police have well-armed SWAT teams, and there is always the National Guard that exists within any given state, and so I think one would be foolhardy to try and take on authority in this manner. On the other hand, it is perfectly legal, and I would also say that it is even necessary, to engage in peaceful protests against laws and policies that we disagree with, particularly when they are unjust. The US Supreme Court’s decision that money equals free speech is one good example. The counterproductive and sometimes downright stupid War on Drugs is another one. The first amendment gives us this right, something that did not exist during Paul’s time all those centuries ago. In this regard, we can interpret this passage of scripture a little differently than what Paul wrote back then.

Paul then continues making his point, and so will I. “Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you.” It is sad to say that this is not always true in the modern world. Trying as I do to do what is right, I often find myself looked down on by the many godless people who live in the world of today. I put up with the occasional ridicule because I am openly Christian, but I do so knowing that God is watching everything I do and He is listening to everything I say. But to get back to the topic at hand, it is wise to be “free from fear of the one in authority”. The best way to follow this principle is to obey the commandments and the teachings of Jesus Christ. Just by doing this, we can keep ourselves out of much trouble. Besides, the Bible says in the Old Testament to “obey the laws of the land, that it may go well with you in the place you are abiding”. Those words were written at least three thousand years ago, and they are still just as true today as they were back then.

By the same token, there are things happening and situations unfolding within the US government that are completely contrary to God’s laws. Take the ten commandments as an example. The eighth commandment says, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor”, which can be expanded to include this simple command: you shall not lie and gossip about people you dislike. Yet America found itself embroiled in a war in Iraq that was based on a lie. Specifically, that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq when Saddam Hussein was still in power. Of course, those WMD’s turned out to be non-existent, and it took 4,400 US fatalities – and over 100,000 Iraqi civilian deaths, one third of which were children – to find that out. The same applies to Afghanistan. Our troops have been there for 13 years, first to find Osama Bin Laden even though everybody in Southern Asia and the Middle East knew he was in Pakistan. Now that he is deceased, and has been for a couple of years now, are our troops all back home yet? Absolutely not, effectively making Afghanistan a de facto US territory with an open ended US military presence. The US government has been spending $6 billion dollars a week on this occupation, a thoroughly obscene sum of money by any standard. Yet all the while, there is unemployment here in the USA that is officially around 7.5%, but that doesn’t count all the millions of long-term unemployed who have stopped looking for work, as well as those who are working part-time when full-time work is what is needed. If these facts were figured into this equation, the true unemployment rate is hovering at around 21 percent. There is no money to create over a million badly needed jobs in our country, but there is an unlimited supply of cash for multiple illegal military occupations and drone strikes all around the globe. This is a moral outrage, and anybody with even a little bit of a conscience should be out in the streets protesting against the US military-industrial complex. That may not be in the words of the Bible, but it most certainly is in the Spirit thereof.

Paul then writes in verse 5, “Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience.” This is just as true today as it was when it was first written. Being an outlaw will only get us into trouble, and jail is no place for anybody to be except for the worst criminals. For example, it is a bad idea to drive your car at 90 miles an hour because it is against the law, and because it is dangerous. By the same token, the ten commandments must be obeyed, and let’s be sure to include the teachings of Christ while we’re at it. We should not steal, lie or commit adultery, nor should we have any false gods in our lives. We are commanded to “love the Lord your God with all your strength, all your mind, all your soul and all your spirit”, and to “love our neighbor as we love ourselves”. We can and should worship the one true God and Him alone, who sent His only Son to die for our sins and then to rise from the dead on the third day after He was crucified. In the same way that we submit ourselves to God, we should, as far as it is possible, submit to authority here on earth. And we should do so not only “because of possible punishment but also because of conscience”. But here in the 21st century, we can and should oppose and protest against the government similarly because of matters of conscience. It is part of the laws of our land, and we should exercise this right because our rule of law says we can. This is also in keeping with God’s commands, and I hope and pray that it always remains so.

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Is America on the verge of an apocalypse?

Apocalypse Soon?

By Rev. Paul J. Bern

As I pause to take a look around me, I observe that my country is under attack both from without and within. It remains to be seen whether the outcome of these multiple attacks will amount to anything more than a temporary convenience, but I see ominous warning signs all around me. Externally, we have and will continue to come under attack here at home due to America’s aggressive deployments of numerous US troops overseas while simultaneously being burdened with a crushing war debt that can never be repaid. Add to this the fact that the deadly drone strikes all over the Middle East and Africa are killing scores of innocent civilians, and America has enraged far more people than many of us realize by doing so. If America’s Arab allies in the petroleum-producing countries were to suddenly turn on us, the US would find itself in a challenging situation, to say the least. Yet this glaring fact has not ceased to blind the eyes of those in power who see only the oil when they look at the Middle East. It will only be when the US converts from gas and diesel to much clear-burning natural gas for their cars and trucks, something America has in abundance, that America will be able to finally break her addiction to Mideast oil.

Internally, our country is under attack from rampant corruption that overshadows most other countries in size and scope, and it is a systemic corruption that goes all the way to the top. But there is something else going on here, something underneath the surface, that is far greater than either of these other two threats I have mentioned. I am writing about what now-deceased TBN host Grant Jeffery once called a “shadow government”. This shadow government is a cabal of unelected, shadowy private interests that control the multinational corporations, the World Bank, the IMF and the US military-industrial complex, among other things. This “shadow government” is made up of members of the global top 1% income bracket, and their activities are directed against the rest of us in the form of an enforced inequality, as you know all too well by now. I have compiled the following list that proves “we the people” are under just such an attack.

1) The inequality of wealth in the United States and abroad has soared to an unprecedented level. The U.S. already had the highest inequality of wealth in the industrialized world prior to the 2008 financial crisis. Since the crisis, which has hit the middle class and poor much harder than the top 1 percent, the gap between the top 1 percent and the remaining 99 percent of the U.S. population is greater than ever.

2) The three big banks that took taxpayer money and benefited the most from the government bailout have just set a new global economic record by issuing $30 billion in annual bonuses this year, “up 60 percent from last year.”

3) The profits of the economic elite are now underwritten by taxpayers with $23.7 trillion worth of national wealth. As the looting is occurring at the top, the U.S. middle class is just beginning to collapse.

4) Workers between the ages of 55 to 60, who have worked for 20 to 29 years, have lost an average of 25 percent off their 401k. During the same time period, the wealth of the 400 richest Americans went up by $30 billion, bringing their total combined wealth to $1.57 trillion.

5) Home foreclosure filings hit a record high in the third quarter of 2010 and continues into 2014. Over 3.4 million homes entered foreclosure by the end of 2010, and this year will top 4 million.

6) 25 million people are unemployed or underemployed. That’s nearly 1 in 6 Americans.

7) There have been 123 U.S. bank failures thus far this year (as of 2012 – PB).

8) 10 U.S. states are on the verge of bankruptcy, with several ready to declare a financial state of emergency, such as California, Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island and Wisconsin.

9) “U.S. public debt has topped $14 trillion for the first time in history”… This prediction, first written in the spring of 2011 when the final draft of my first book was completed, has since topped $16 trillion.

10) The U.S. poverty rate is the highest in the industrialized world. Predictably, homelessness is rising at an increased rate as well. The U.S. government does not tally the numbers but interested organizations say that more than 3 million people were homeless at some point over the past year. The fastest growing segment of the homeless population is families with children.

11) 50 percent of U.S. children will need to use food stamps to eat at some point in their childhood. In the African-American community, it is a shocking 90%. (As to why the black community isn’t protesting in the streets over this, I have no idea. Dear brothers and sisters, the time has come for all of us to stand up and fight for our kids!) This is a national disgrace, a social injustice and a cause for outrage and protest if ever there was one. We are all in awful shape when we can’t even feed our own children.

12) In 2010, according to the Census Bureau, the number of U.S. citizens without health care grew to a record 50 million. Furthermore, this statistic is on track to exceed 56 million by the end of this year (prior to Obamacare – PB).

13) Lack of health insurance caused 45,000 preventable U.S. citizen deaths in 2010. The American Journal of Medicine recently released a study that stated, “Nearly two out of three bankruptcies stem from medical bills, and even people with health insurance face financial disaster if they experience a serious illness.”

14) A Johns Hopkins Children’s Center study reported that 17,000 US children have died due to lack of health care. You can also add in a recent report that revealed that 2,266 U.S. veterans have died in 2008 due to lack of access to health care.

15) The gun and ammunition manufacturing industry in the United States has over 200 companies producing billions of dollars in annual revenues. This huge manufacturing base cannot fulfill demand quickly enough. The demand for guns and ammunition has hit a record high and the gun industry cannot produce enough bullets to keep up with orders. Americans are arming themselves to the teeth! In the past year, 100 new armed militia groups have been formed across the US as militia members have doubled in numbers. Federal authorities are gravely concerned about the “up-tick in militia activities.” One federal authority recently said, “All it’s lacking is a spark.”

16) Between January 1996 and September 2006, there were 253 confirmed incursions into the United States by Mexican government personnel. There is documentation of shots fired on both sides of the border, unmarked helicopters invading U.S. airspace, drug smuggling and actual confrontations between U.S. Border Patrol agents and armed members of the Mexican military. All it will take is one violent cross-border incident to start a US-Mexican war. What is such a shame about all this is that if the US government would just call off the stupid, idiotic and pointless “war on drugs”, all the cartel-related violence that is now occurring on and below our southern border would disappear almost overnight. As it stands right now, American law enforcement and the CIA have Mexican blood on their hands.

Exacerbating all 16 of these facts – all of whom were sourced directly off the Web – is the fact that America can’t even print its own money. This critical national responsibility has been undertaken – hijacked would be more life it – by none other than the Federal Reserve. As many of you know, the Fed isn’t even a part of the US government. It’s a privately held corporation that operates in the utmost secrecy. Makes you wonder why they think they need to do that, now doesn’t it? As to how badly the Federal Reserve System (which many call the World’s largest counterfeiter) has destroyed the American economy is evidenced in their destruction of the US Dollar which has lost over a quarter of its value in the past 8 years, and what a single Dollar could buy in 1913, when this secret banking cabal began to strangle these people, would cost $21.67 today, and which comes out to a shocking inflation rate of 2067%! And, as hard as it is to believe it is nevertheless true that Americans pay more on overdraft fees to their banker masters than they spend on fresh vegetables! Russian Finance Ministry calculations dating back to 2012 show that should the American people stop paying their money to banks (mortgages, credit cards, auto loans, etc.) and all declare bankruptcy, the entire debt load carried by the US Government would be paid or written off in less than 2 years and the United States would have over $85 trillion available to them over the next 10 years to pay for the complete rebuilding of their Nation and society. What we have instead is America being driven right into the ground by an evil and oftentimes crazy group of people who answer only to the top 1%, to the detriment of the remaining 99%. The worst part is that it is in their best interest to run the country into the ground because they will make a lot of money from the collapse of the USA, and that is exactly what they are trying to do.

As Benjamin Franklin famously said over 200 years ago, “They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security.” In the meantime, it is now official. A majority of Americans are willing to give up liberty in order to be safer from so-called “terrorism”. Never mind that the chief perpetrator of this “terrorism” is the US federal government and the military-industrial-intelligence complex it controls. A stunning new McClatchy-Ipsos poll has found that 51 percent of Americans agree with this statement: “It is necessary to give up some civil liberties in order to make the country safe from terrorism.” Only 36 percent of those polled agreed with this statement: “Some of the government’s proposals will go too far in restricting the publics civil liberties.” Have they really been brainwashed into willingly giving up their essential liberties just so they can feel a little safer? Maybe some have, but I sure haven’t. So almost 4 out of 5 Americans are perfectly fine with letting airport security officials gawk at their naked bodies just so they can feel a bit safer from terrorists? How crazy is that? The truth is that when Americans allow themselves to become so wimpy and so fearful that they are willing to throw many of their most important freedoms out the window, those “terrorists” have already won.

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Seven Facts for the Fourth of July

A July 4th Memo To America

From a Concerned Citizen

One of the primary purposes of this Web ministry is to stand against social injustice and economic inequality in all its forms, as well as the extreme immorality of waging warfare. I firmly believe that any minister who does not do this is simply not doing his or her job while occupying the pulpit. In that case, all they would be doing is collecting a paycheck every Sunday morning for the sake of profit and materialism, forgetting that Jesus preached against this very thing over and over again. (But don’t take my word for it, it’s in all four gospels, go and read it for yourself.) Although Jesus did take His ministry to the religious establishment of his day, which centered around the temple at Jerusalem and the Sanhedrin (or Hebrew ruling elect) of that time, he was rejected and ultimately executed by them just as the Old Testament prophets foretold. Instead, He went to the poor and downtrodden, the outcast and the marginalized who otherwise had no voice at all. He ministered to the sick, the homeless, the addicted and the unemployed and all others who had nothing, with the knowledge that the indwelling of the Spirit of Christ is vastly superior to mere material possessions. I try my best to emulate this mind-set in my ministry and in the people I meet in order that my words and actions may most accurately imitate my Savior and the redeemer of my very soul, Christ Jesus the Lord.

In today’s world there is social injustice everywhere you look. A veritable class war is ongoing here in the USA, throughout the Middle East, in Europe and in Asia that has the wealthy accumulating ridiculous amounts of wealth in a downright obscene orgy of greed, and all at the expense of the middle and working classes who are being economically decimated as a result. This illegal and immoral accumulation of wealth is unparalleled in world history. The signs and indicators of this obscene wealth that has fallen into the hands of an elite minority are everywhere. Mass unemployment is at every turn and stands at stubbornly high levels. If we look at the true levels of unemployment, which by definition must include those who are underemployed (working part time at one or more jobs when full-time employment is both desired and required) or those who have left the job market for good (like men and women in their middle 50’s and older such as what I experienced first-hand), the true level of unemployment exceeds 24% in the US alone, not counting the rest of the developed world. Instead of creating more jobs that are the hallmark of any economic recovery, fewer and fewer people are doing more work for less pay. The rest of US and European workers are increasingly finding themselves out in the cold, often literally. In the meantime, those lucky individuals who still have jobs run the increasing risk of having their jobs out-sourced overseas for pennies on the dollar, or being replaced by workers from the third world who are being imported through H1B work visas by none other than the US federal government to work for wages that are a fraction of their American counterparts. Meaning, our US government has been short-changing its constituency in this manner for decades, but they can’t keep it a secret any longer. As this is happening, the unending war in Afghanistan plus the clandestine wars being wage on every continent, are costing the US government $6 billion dollars each day, money that could be much better spent here at home to create some badly needed new jobs.

Clearly this is unsustainable and will bankrupt the country if it isn’t stopped, if we are not there already. American capitalism and the American empire have run their course, and I maintain that capitalism as we have known it is on the deathbed of history where all empires go when they die. America is in decline while the former “third world” has become the developing world, and where even poor countries continue to develop rapidly. The combined economies of China, Russia, India and Brazil will all overtake the US economy by 2020 at the latest, with China in the lead. (the Chinese economy will be the world’s largest by no later than 2016, a mere 3 years away; what will Wall St. do then?)

This is a series of social injustices that could be ended by creating jobs through large public works programs to give US infrastructure a badly needed overhaul and by an accelerated and invigorated space program, mankind’s final frontier. On the other hand, there must be a program in place to retrain all the workers who have been unable to find jobs, and there is legislative precedent for this. In the mid-1940’s after the end of WW2, Congress passed the GI Bill, as it was called. The end result of this was that hundreds of thousands of ex-soldiers who wanted a college education were given just that with no strings attached. It worked very well by reeducating an entire generation at only nominal cost to those who took advantage of it. Well, if it could be done in the 1940’s, why not here in the 21st century? What’s holding it back you may ask, the cost? Let me illustrate why America can easily afford to do this. If the combined US military and intelligence communities set aside the financial expenditures equal to a single day’s cost of the occupation in Afghanistan and put the money into an interest-bearing account of your choice, there would be sufficient funds for a 4-year college education for every school kid in America, from pre-K to a high school senior inclusive. And that’s just from one day’s expenditures!

But what do we have instead? American workers are being thrown away by multinational corporations as being no longer useful or too expensive to keep around, resulting in a wave of homelessness not seen since the 1930’s. The majority of today’s homeless population is college educated, not stereotypical street bums, not by a long shot, and that is a great social injustice. This has been going on for so long now that the American empire is dying as a result, of that we can be sure. The time to make alternative plans for a possibly rocky future is upon us now. As the Great Recession and its bogus “recovery” grinds on, politicians in most industrial countries have an incentive to make exaggerated claims about the supposed coming economic recovery. Some say the recession is over. Obama is in the group that claims we’re “on the road to recovery,” while other nations can only spot recovery “on the horizon.” Below is my list of my “unlucky seven” facts that point to a more realistic and truthful economic and political outlook.

 

 

1) Central Banks are Clueless. The usual tricks that U.S. and European central banks use to avoid recessions are long-exhausted. Interest rates cannot get any lower. And because cheap money hasn’t been working, the printing presses have been turned up considerably, into what the U.S. federal reserve calls quantitative easing – injecting trillions of dollars into the world economy, escalating an emerging trade war.

 

2) Trade War. Speaking of which, for a global economy to grow, global cooperation is needed. But in a major recession all countries engage in a bitter struggle to dominate foreign markets so that their own corporations can export. These markets are won by devaluing currencies (accomplished in the U.S. by quantitative easing), installing protectionist measures (so that a nation’s corporations have monopoly dominance over the nation’s consumers), or by war (a risky but highly effective form of market domination).

 

3) Military War. Foreign war is a good symptom of economic decay. The domination of markets – every inch of them – becomes an issue of life and death importance. Wars have been unleashed in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan and Yemen. “Containing” economies like China and “opening” economies like Iran and North Korea become more urgent during a major recession, requiring brute force and creating further global instability in all realms of social life.

 

4) U.S. Economy at a Virtual Standstill. The most important consumer market in the world, the U.S. is a nation of nearly bankrupt consumers. Well over thirty million Americans are unemployed or underemployed, while further job losses are certain, due to nearly every state’s budget deficit. The New York Times explains: “Now states are bracing for more painful cuts, more layoffs, more tax increases, more battles with public employee unions, more requests to bail out cities. And in the long term, as cities and states try to keep up on their debts, the very nature of government could change as they have less money left over to pay for the services they have long provided.” (12-05-10)

 

 

5) Bailout Capitalism. First it was the banks and other corporations that needed bailing out, and now whole nations. Western nations bailed out their banks by falling into the massive debt that they are now drowning in. Greece and Ireland have been bailed out, with eyes shifting to Portugal, Spain, and Italy. The entire European Union is being called into question as the Euro takes a beating in the bailout spree. If the EU is dismantled, the shock waves will quickly reach other economies.

 

6) Bailout Repercussions. All western nations — including the U.S. and England — are grappling with their national debts. Rich bond investors are demanding that these countries drastically reduce their deficits, while also demanding that the deficits be reduced on the backs of working families, instead of rich investors. This is tearing the social fabric apart, as working and poor people see their social programs under attack. In Europe mass movements are erupting in France, Spain, Portugal, England, Greece, Ireland, Italy, etc. Social stability is a prerequisite for a recovered economy, but corporate politicians everywhere are asking much more than working people are willing to give.

 

7) The Far Right Emerges. To deal with working people more ruthlessly, the radical right is being unleashed. In normal times these bigots yell furiously but no one listens. But in times of economic crisis they’re given endless airtime on all major media outlets. The message of the far right promotes all the rottenness not yet eradicated by education: racism, xenophobia, religious intolerance, violence, and a backward nationalism that fears all things “foreign.”

These core beliefs effectively divide working people so that a concerted campaign against the corporate elite is harder to wage. Meanwhile, labor unions, progressives, and other working class organizations are instead targeted. The above phenomena do not happen in a normal economic cycle of boom and bust. These symptoms point to a larger disease in the international economic system, a disease that cannot be cured by politicians who swear allegiance to this deteriorating system and to the wealthy elite who benefit from it. To ensure that the economic system is changed so that working people benefit, large-scale collective action is necessary, based on demands that unite the majority of working people: a massive job-creation program at the expense of Wall Street, no cuts to Social Security and Medicare, a moratorium on home foreclosures, passage of a $12.00 per hour minimum wage, and so on. With the unions in the lead promoting these demands, working people can and should put up a real fight.

 

 

The best solution that I can think of, then, that takes care of all this and more, is to come up with an innovative, effective and efficient nonprofit economy. Here are a few examples of what I mean: What’s the underlying cause of the skyrocketing prices of fuel, groceries, college tuition, and medical care including the cost of private health insurance? All of the above industries needed more operating capital to keep going due to rising prices for goods and services that they purchase. But even more basic than that – the least common denominator – is the current corporate business model, where the shareholders needs come first instead of the customers and employees of the firm. More profits must be generated for this cadre of people whose demands for ‘more’ are only exceeded by their self-importance, and this must stop, the sooner the better. But what if this weren’t true? What if the hundreds of billions in profits that each one of these enormous multinational corporations racks up each year were returned to the employees so they, and not the shareholders who don’t do a damn thing anyway, share in the profits? If you multiply 500, the number of Fortune Magazine’s biggest corporations, by all those hundreds of billions in profits they each made, that comes to a sum of money so huge that my calculator won’t display the answer – it doesn’t have enough memory. One thing is for certain; the time for employee-owned businesses has arrived.

 

 

If the US wants to clean up its act, a complete repudiation of capitalism and greed would be a very good place to start. Let’s spend this coming week thinking of all the things we could do for each other and the whole world with the money that, as I write this, is still being hoarded by the few. Let’s invent fair and equitable ways we can peacefully distribute it to the many.

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Seven Facts for the Fourth of July

A July 4th Memo To America

From a Concerned Citizen

One of the primary purposes of this Web ministry is to stand against social injustice and economic inequality in all its forms, as well as the extreme immorality of waging warfare. I firmly believe that any minister who does not do this is simply not doing his or her job while occupying the pulpit. In that case, all they would be doing is collecting a paycheck every Sunday morning for the sake of profit and materialism, forgetting that Jesus preached against this very thing over and over again. (But don’t take my word for it, it’s in all four gospels, go and read it for yourself.) Although Jesus did take His ministry to the religious establishment of his day, which centered around the temple at Jerusalem and the Sanhedrin (or Hebrew ruling elect) of that time, he was rejected and ultimately executed by them just as the Old Testament prophets foretold. Instead, He went to the poor and downtrodden, the outcast and the marginalized who otherwise had no voice at all. He ministered to the sick, the homeless, the addicted and the unemployed and all others who had nothing, with the knowledge that the indwelling of the Spirit of Christ is vastly superior to mere material possessions. I try my best to emulate this mind-set in my ministry and in the people I meet in order that my words and actions may most accurately imitate my Savior and the redeemer of my very soul, Christ Jesus the Lord.

In today’s world there is social injustice everywhere you look. A veritable class war is ongoing here in the USA, throughout the Middle East, in Europe and in Asia that has the wealthy accumulating ridiculous amounts of wealth in a downright obscene orgy of greed, and all at the expense of the middle and working classes who are being economically decimated as a result. This illegal and immoral accumulation of wealth is unparalleled in world history. The signs and indicators of this obscene wealth that has fallen into the hands of an elite minority are everywhere. Mass unemployment is at every turn and stands at stubbornly high levels. If we look at the true levels of unemployment, which by definition must include those who are underemployed (working part time at one or more jobs when full-time employment is both desired and required) or those who have left the job market for good (like men and women in their middle 50’s and older such as what I experienced first-hand), the true level of unemployment exceeds 24% in the US alone, not counting the rest of the developed world. Instead of creating more jobs that are the hallmark of any economic recovery, fewer and fewer people are doing more work for less pay. The rest of US and European workers are increasingly finding themselves out in the cold, often literally. In the meantime, those lucky individuals who still have jobs run the increasing risk of having their jobs out-sourced overseas for pennies on the dollar, or being replaced by workers from the third world who are being imported through H1B work visas by none other than the US federal government to work for wages that are a fraction of their American counterparts. Meaning, our US government has been short-changing its constituency in this manner for decades, but they can’t keep it a secret any longer. As this is happening, the unending war in Afghanistan plus the clandestine wars being wage on every continent, are costing the US government $6 billion dollars each day, money that could be much better spent here at home to create some badly needed new jobs.

Clearly this is unsustainable and will bankrupt the country if it isn’t stopped, if we are not there already. American capitalism and the American empire have run their course, and I maintain that capitalism as we have known it is on the deathbed of history where all empires go when they die. America is in decline while the former “third world” has become the developing world, and where even poor countries continue to develop rapidly. The combined economies of China, Russia, India and Brazil will all overtake the US economy by 2020 at the latest, with China in the lead. (the Chinese economy will be the world’s largest by no later than 2016, a mere 3 years away; what will Wall St. do then?)

This is a series of social injustices that could be ended by creating jobs through large public works programs to give US infrastructure a badly needed overhaul and by an accelerated and invigorated space program, mankind’s final frontier. On the other hand, there must be a program in place to retrain all the workers who have been unable to find jobs, and there is legislative precedent for this. In the mid-1940’s after the end of WW2, Congress passed the GI Bill, as it was called. The end result of this was that hundreds of thousands of ex-soldiers who wanted a college education were given just that with no strings attached. It worked very well by reeducating an entire generation at only nominal cost to those who took advantage of it. Well, if it could be done in the 1940’s, why not here in the 21st century? What’s holding it back you may ask, the cost? Let me illustrate why America can easily afford to do this. If the combined US military and intelligence communities set aside the financial expenditures equal to a single day’s cost of the occupation in Afghanistan and put the money into an interest-bearing account of your choice, there would be sufficient funds for a 4-year college education for every school kid in America, from pre-K to a high school senior inclusive. And that’s just from one day’s expenditures!

But what do we have instead? American workers are being thrown away by multinational corporations as being no longer useful or too expensive to keep around, resulting in a wave of homelessness not seen since the 1930’s. The majority of today’s homeless population is college educated, not stereotypical street bums, not by a long shot, and that is a great social injustice. This has been going on for so long now that the American empire is dying as a result, of that we can be sure. The time to make alternative plans for a possibly rocky future is upon us now. As the Great Recession and its bogus “recovery” grinds on, politicians in most industrial countries have an incentive to make exaggerated claims about the supposed coming economic recovery. Some say the recession is over. Obama is in the group that claims we’re “on the road to recovery,” while other nations can only spot recovery “on the horizon.” Below is my list of my “unlucky seven” facts that point to a more realistic and truthful economic and political outlook.

 

 

1) Central Banks are Clueless. The usual tricks that U.S. and European central banks use to avoid recessions are long-exhausted. Interest rates cannot get any lower. And because cheap money hasn’t been working, the printing presses have been turned up considerably, into what the U.S. federal reserve calls quantitative easing – injecting trillions of dollars into the world economy, escalating an emerging trade war.

 

2) Trade War. Speaking of which, for a global economy to grow, global cooperation is needed. But in a major recession all countries engage in a bitter struggle to dominate foreign markets so that their own corporations can export. These markets are won by devaluing currencies (accomplished in the U.S. by quantitative easing), installing protectionist measures (so that a nation’s corporations have monopoly dominance over the nation’s consumers), or by war (a risky but highly effective form of market domination).

 

3) Military War. Foreign war is a good symptom of economic decay. The domination of markets – every inch of them – becomes an issue of life and death importance. Wars have been unleashed in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan and Yemen. “Containing” economies like China and “opening” economies like Iran and North Korea become more urgent during a major recession, requiring brute force and creating further global instability in all realms of social life.

 

4) U.S. Economy at a Virtual Standstill. The most important consumer market in the world, the U.S. is a nation of nearly bankrupt consumers. Well over thirty million Americans are unemployed or underemployed, while further job losses are certain, due to nearly every state’s budget deficit. The New York Times explains: “Now states are bracing for more painful cuts, more layoffs, more tax increases, more battles with public employee unions, more requests to bail out cities. And in the long term, as cities and states try to keep up on their debts, the very nature of government could change as they have less money left over to pay for the services they have long provided.” (12-05-10)

 

 

5) Bailout Capitalism. First it was the banks and other corporations that needed bailing out, and now whole nations. Western nations bailed out their banks by falling into the massive debt that they are now drowning in. Greece and Ireland have been bailed out, with eyes shifting to Portugal, Spain, and Italy. The entire European Union is being called into question as the Euro takes a beating in the bailout spree. If the EU is dismantled, the shock waves will quickly reach other economies.

 

6) Bailout Repercussions. All western nations — including the U.S. and England — are grappling with their national debts. Rich bond investors are demanding that these countries drastically reduce their deficits, while also demanding that the deficits be reduced on the backs of working families, instead of rich investors. This is tearing the social fabric apart, as working and poor people see their social programs under attack. In Europe mass movements are erupting in France, Spain, Portugal, England, Greece, Ireland, Italy, etc. Social stability is a prerequisite for a recovered economy, but corporate politicians everywhere are asking much more than working people are willing to give.

 

7) The Far Right Emerges. To deal with working people more ruthlessly, the radical right is being unleashed. In normal times these bigots yell furiously but no one listens. But in times of economic crisis they’re given endless airtime on all major media outlets. The message of the far right promotes all the rottenness not yet eradicated by education: racism, xenophobia, religious intolerance, violence, and a backward nationalism that fears all things “foreign.”

These core beliefs effectively divide working people so that a concerted campaign against the corporate elite is harder to wage. Meanwhile, labor unions, progressives, and other working class organizations are instead targeted. The above phenomena do not happen in a normal economic cycle of boom and bust. These symptoms point to a larger disease in the international economic system, a disease that cannot be cured by politicians who swear allegiance to this deteriorating system and to the wealthy elite who benefit from it. To ensure that the economic system is changed so that working people benefit, large-scale collective action is necessary, based on demands that unite the majority of working people: a massive job-creation program at the expense of Wall Street, no cuts to Social Security and Medicare, a moratorium on home foreclosures, passage of a $12.00 per hour minimum wage, and so on. With the unions in the lead promoting these demands, working people can and should put up a real fight.

 

 

The best solution that I can think of, then, that takes care of all this and more, is to come up with an innovative, effective and efficient nonprofit economy. Here are a few examples of what I mean: What’s the underlying cause of the skyrocketing prices of fuel, groceries, college tuition, and medical care including the cost of private health insurance? All of the above industries needed more operating capital to keep going due to rising prices for goods and services that they purchase. But even more basic than that – the least common denominator – is the current corporate business model, where the shareholders needs come first instead of the customers and employees of the firm. More profits must be generated for this cadre of people whose demands for ‘more’ are only exceeded by their self-importance, and this must stop, the sooner the better. But what if this weren’t true? What if the hundreds of billions in profits that each one of these enormous multinational corporations racks up each year were returned to the employees so they, and not the shareholders who don’t do a damn thing anyway, share in the profits? If you multiply 500, the number of Fortune Magazine’s biggest corporations, by all those hundreds of billions in profits they each made, that comes to a sum of money so huge that my calculator won’t display the answer – it doesn’t have enough memory. One thing is for certain; the time for employee-owned businesses has arrived.

 

 

If the US wants to clean up its act, a complete repudiation of capitalism and greed would be a very good place to start. Let’s spend this coming week thinking of all the things we could do for each other and the whole world with the money that, as I write this, is still being hoarded by the few. Let’s invent fair and equitable ways we can peacefully distribute it to the many.

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America the Beautiful Has Become America the Furious

Two Thumbs Down For Our Broken System

by Rev. Paul J. Bern

(excerpt from chapter 6 of, “Occupying America: We Shall Overcome“)

Is it any wonder that people are exploding in frustration? A record-high 81% of Americans are dissatisfied with the way the country is being governed, adding to negativity that has been building over the past 10 years. The seven findings are from Gallup‘s annual Governance survey, updated Sept. 8-11, 2011. The same poll shows record or near-record criticism of Congress, elected officials, government handling of domestic problems, the scope of government power, and government waste of tax dollars.

[1] 82% of Americans disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job.

[2] 69% say they have little or no confidence in the legislative branch of government, an all-time high and up from 63% in 2010.

[3] 57% have little or no confidence in the federal government to solve domestic problems, exceeding the previous high of 53% recorded in 2010 and well exceeding the 43% who have little or no confidence in the government to solve international problems.

[4] 53% have little or no confidence in the men and women who seek or hold elected office.

[5] Americans believe, on average, that the federal government wastes 51 cents of every tax dollar, similar to a year ago, but up significantly from 46 cents a decade ago and from an average 43 cents three decades ago.

[6] 49% of Americans believe the federal government has become so large and powerful that it poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens. In 2003, less than a third (30%) believed this.

[7] At 43%, fewer Americans today than at any time in the past four decades say they have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the federal government to handle domestic problems. That is significantly lower than the 58% average level of confidence Gallup has found on this since 1972, including a 77% reading shortly after the 9/11 attacks. Along with Americans’ record-low confidence in the federal government on domestic policy, Gallup finds record skepticism about government waste. As previously reported, Americans, on average, think the federal government in Washington wastes 51 cents of every tax dollar, the highest estimated proportion of waste Gallup has found on this measure in trends dating to 1979.

Americans’ sense that the federal government poses an immediate threat to individuals’ rights and freedoms is also at a new high, 49%, since Gallup began asking the question using this wording in 2003. This view is much more pronounced among Republicans (61%) and independents (57%) than among Democrats (28%). But there are more fundamental reasons – reasons that hit way too close to home – why many Americans today feel threatened by their government, by the possible loss of jobs or homes, and most of all they fear getting sick or injured, which for many people would mean personal bankruptcy. But the most visceral fear that people have in these very tough times is the loss of their ability to sustain themselves, and especially their kids. I have first-hand experience in this regard, as do millions of others.

Psychological oppression – manifested by widespread apathy and resignation in the face of major corporate and government attacks on working Americans – is at an all time high in the US. Historically, it’s often a strong and sustained youth rebellion that enables a society to throw off severe psychological oppression. The following is a breakdown of the forces I see favoring and countering the formation of an uprising in the US that will be led by its youth:

 

[1] 35% of the US population is under 25.

 

[2] Total unemployment among age 16-25: 24-25%, with many facing permanent unemployment.

[3] Percent of non-white unemployed youth: 46%

 

[4] Unemployment among African Americans under 25: 40.7%

[5] Unemployment among Hispanic Americans under 25: 35%

[6] Highest rate of imprisonment (which disproportionately targets youth and minorities) in the industrialized world.

[7] Widespread availability of illicit drugs to dampen youth resentment and anger, especially in minority communities. Ever since the opium wars in China, addictive drugs have been a favorite weapon of the British and American elite to suppress resistance movements. The late Gary Webb and others who have studied CIA involvement in narcotics trafficking have documented disproportionate targeting of minority neighborhoods with both heroin and crack cocaine. This is no accident.

Clinical psychologist and social commentator Dr Bruce Levine recently published an article on the Web about American societal institutions that tend to crush young people’s natural spirit of resistance. The institutions Levine highlights as inducing compliance, as opposed to rebellion, include student-loan debt, the uniquely American tendency to medicate non-compliant and rebellious children and teens, American schools that educate for compliance rather than democracy, normalization and fear of surveillance, the “three screens” (TV, computers and cellphones), and so-called “fundamentalist” consumerism (the completely ridiculous belief that all human needs can be met by buying something).

No one disputes that teen homelessness is both the strongest and most alarming symptom of the disintegration of US society. Homeless children and teenagers under 18 represent one-third of the US homeless population. 2.8 million American children have at least one episode of homelessness every year, while 1.35 million American children are permanently homeless. Approximately ten percent of homeless teens had access to state and city-run shelters prior to the 2008 economic collapse. However, owing to extreme state and city budgetary difficulties, most have been forced to close. In third world countries, homeless children are called “street kids.” The US government prefers to call them “unaccompanied minors.” Giving it a fancy name doesn’t hide the fact that the rate of homeless American children per capita is worse than in some third world countries. Today’s homeless kids will grow up to be America’s infuriated adults. Infuriated adults invariably strike back at that which enrages them. It happens 200% of the time.

Among countries who keep a count of homeless children under 18, India has the highest rate of street children per capita, with 1 homeless child per 61 residents. Egypt is next with 1 per 110, then Pakistan (1 per 120), Kenya (1 per 133), Russia (1 per 141), and Congo (1 per 148). The per capita rate of child homelessness in the US is 1 per 245 residents. This is worse than the Philippines (1 per 360), Honduras (1 per 370), Jamaica (1 per 419), Uruguay (1 per 1,000), and Morocco (1 per 1066). Germany, in contrast, has 1 homeless child per 4,100 residents.

The understandable rage that many of these kids are harboring is exactly what happens when all hope of any economic opportunity is taken away from any nation’s youth. This is precisely what happened in Britain in the summer of 2011. Speculations circle as to why the 2011 London riots became so big, but the answer was quite obvious as the disorder spread to Leeds, Liverpool, Bristol and Birmingham. Politicians and police officers who one day were making stony-faced statements about criminality are now simply begging the young people of Britain’s inner cities to go home. The violence on the streets was being dismissed as “pure criminality”, as the work of a “violent minority”, as “opportunism”. This is madly insufficient. It is no way to talk about viral civil unrest that has been a long time coming. Angry young people with nothing to do and nothing to lose are turning on their own communities, and they cannot be stopped, and they know it. It will happen in America next. It’s already started with the mobilization of the Occupy and 99% Movements.

Violence is rarely mindless. The politics of a burning building, a smashed-in shop or a young man shot by police may be obscured even to those who lit the rags or fired the gun, but the politics are there. Most of the people who will be writing, speaking and pontificating about US civil unrest have absolutely no idea what it is like to grow up in a community where there are no jobs, no space to live or move, and the police are on the streets stopping-and-searching you as you come home from school and work. The people who do will be waking up this week in the sure and certain knowledge that after decades of being ignored and marginalized and harassed by the police, after years of not seeing any conceivable hope of a better future buried under a pile of student loan debt, they are finally on the news. In one NBC report, a young man in Tottenham was asked if rioting really achieved anything: “Yes,” said the young man. “You wouldn’t be talking to me now if we didn’t riot, would you”?

Riots are about power, and they are about catharsis. They are not about poor parenting, or youth services being cut, or any of the other snap explanations that media pundits have been trotting out. Structural inequalities are not solved by a few pool tables or basketball courts. People riot because it makes them feel powerful, even if only for a night. People riot because they have spent their whole lives being told that they are good for nothing, and they realize that together they can do anything – literally, anything at all. People to whom respect has never been shown riot because they feel they have little reason to show respect themselves, and it spreads like wildfire after a lightning strike.

Here in the US, we have so far had the advent of the Occupy Wall St. and the “We Are The 99%” movements on the American political scene since the fall of 2011. The primary difference between the protest movement in the US and those overseas – such as North Africa, Syria, Yemen and Nigeria as of this writing – is that the American protests have all been peaceful and nonviolent. However, I have observed a growing groundswell and a developing cultural backlash here in America regarding the choices for President that the American voters will have in 2012. As of now, voters have a choice of Barack Obama, someone who once promised me “change you can believe in” only to give me “change that scares the hell out of me”, or Mitt Romney, which scares me even worse because of their insistence on mixing religion and politics (which is, speaking as a minister of the Gospel, unconstitutional and unlawful). This could be seen by American voters as little more than having to pick the most necessary evil or nothing at all, and that could enrage the American people enough for an explosion of civil disobedience that could easily result in massive rioting. Either that, or a sudden surge in the price of fuel to, say, $5.00 – $7.00 per gallon for whatever reason, would likely turn the American people into a raging inferno that would burn the capitalist, profit-driven and intentionally rigged economic system to the ground.

Although up until now the American people have shown admirable restraint during these difficult times in which we live, this time the public anger will not be deflected. Confessions, not false, will be extracted from the guilty parties. Occupy Wall Street has set the snowball rolling. In so doing it has made America aware of a sinister, usurious process by which wealth has systematically been funneled into fewer and fewer hands, and it is a process in which Washington is playing a useful supporting role.

Over the next year, I expect the “what” will give way to the “how” in the broad electorate’s comprehension of the financial situation. The 99 percent must learn to differentiate the bloodsuckers and rent-extractors from those in the 1 percent who make the world a better, more just place to live. Once people realize how Wall Street made its huge pile of cash, understand how financiers get rich, and what it is that they actually do, the time will become ripe for someone to gather the spreading ripples of anger and perplexity into a focused tsunami of retribution, and to make the Wall Street criminals pay, properly, for the grief and woe they have caused. The truth that is written throughout this book is a part of that same tsunami, focusing the rage and frustration of the US middle and working classes, and particularly that of the poor, into an expression of how we feel, what we need (not our wants, just mainly our needs), what our hopes and dreams are, and above all recognition of our value as dynamic and sovereign individuals, all of whom can contribute to the greater good, and to our belief in the sacredness of life.

 

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Lack of Economic Opportunity is Social Injustice

The US Economy is Terminally Ill

excerpt from, “Occupying America: We Shall Overcome

by Rev. Paul J. Bern

Another area of horrifying ineptitude being orchestrated by the US government, or more accurately “Fannie Mae” and “Freddy Mac” who regulate the home mortgage industry, is that of the current and ongoing foreclosure crisis. By now everybody knows all too well about how people are being thrown out of their homes due to some very shady practices perpetrated by real estate companies, mortgage lenders and brokers, and especially the big banks. As I wrote in my previous book, in over half the foreclosure cases being heard in court the lending institutions can’t prove that they are the mortgage holders because they can’t produce any proof of ownership. The financial industry, and Fannie Mae in particular, took back many of these homes from their owners illegally, and the American public has figured it out and they are very pissed off about it, and rightfully so. But it gets even worse than that. The banks and other lenders, led by an arm of the Federal Government, were so greedy in repossessing all those hundreds of thousands of houses that they forgot to take into account the upkeep costs associated with holding on to these properties. As a result, they got a lot more than they bargained for. Such is the case for mortgage giant Fannie Mae, which as of March 31, 2012 had a mind-boggling 153,000 foreclosed homes on its books. One example — mowing the lawn. Fannie Mae owns this home, so it’s paying a lawn crew to come every few weeks or so to keep up the curb appeal. Fannie Mae officials won’t say how many lawns it’s paying to maintain, so I did some back-of-the-envelope calculations myself.

 

Say only half of the homes have lawns, a conservative estimate, that’s still more than 75,000 lawns.

 

153,000/2

X 6 (a six-month grass-clipping season)

X 2 (mowing twice a month)

X $40 (a reasonable guess at how much it costs to mow a lawn)

 

= $36.7 million

 

Again, this is a very rough estimate, but that’s a whole lot of money to spend on lawn care. Fannie Mae’s tab from U.S. taxpayers is up to $86 billion since September 2008 when it was taken into government ownership. In just the first quarter of this year, Fannie racked up $488 million in foreclosure-related expenses, including holding costs (insurance, taxes and maintenance); valuation adjustments for changes in market value; gains/loss when the property is sold; legal fees; eviction costs; weatherization costs to prevent the pipes from bursting; costs to secure the property; and repair costs.

And in the meantime, what happens to all the dispossessed people who have lost their homes? For the lucky ones who still have their jobs, it’s not so bad. They can just go and rent another home, although in that case I think it would be wise to move as close to your job as you can – you’ll save a lot of time and money that way. But what about all the rest of these unfortunate individuals whose entire world has been destroyed by long-term unemployment and the loss of their homes, their savings, and in many cases even their transportation? For example, the homeless population in New York City has risen to never before seen levels, according to a recent report published by the advocacy group Coalition for the Homeless. A staggering 113,552 people slept in the city emergency shelters last year, including over 40,000 children. The total marked an 8 percent increase from the previous year and a 37 percent increase from 2002. The report also highlighted the growing number of families sleeping in shelters at nearly 29,000 families in the system, an increase of over 80 percent from 2002 levels (another record). Also skyrocketing was the number of families who had previously spent some time in the shelters returning for further aid, now approximately half of all those receiving assistance. However, even these numbers in fact drastically underestimate the true scope of the homeless crisis in New York City. According to the NYC Department of Homeless Services, 64 percent of those applying for emergency shelter last year were denied it.

Meanwhile, the rents in New York City are reaching astronomical levels. According to data available from the National Low Income Housing Coalition, the “fair market” rental rate for a two-bedroom apartment in New York is $1,359. Housing advocates typically consider affordable rates to be no more than a third of the family income. Thus, a family in New York City must earn at least over $54,000 to find an affordable home. The median household income for renters in the Bronx is barely $30,000 a year. For Brooklyn, it is nearly $35,000. At the same time as this catastrophe for the working class deepens, the abundance for the top 1 percent – who collectively earn more than the bottom 95 percent combined – almost defies belief. Last month saw another record for the largest sale price of a single condominium: $48 million for a unit in the Plaza Hotel Residences overlooking Central Park. Under these conditions, the transfer of wealth from workers to the fabulously wealthy takes on a criminal character.

 

To summarize the situation that working Americans – and particularly those whose wish to work but are unable to find any – find themselves in, we are living in a world with a fundamentally flawed economic system. Capitalism can best flourish so long as the fuel and energy that it takes to keep it running smoothly can be obtained inexpensively. It also can only thrive when the citizens or participants in the system can earn enough disposable income to buy, swap, trade or barter sufficient resources for a reasonably comfortable existence. When it is at its best, capitalism has been not just a way of survival and not just an economic system but an ideology of profit through the pursuit of personal gain. Unfortunately, there have been several things occur since the dawn of the 21st century that collectively signal the death knell of capitalism, or at least as we have known it.

The first aspect is also the most obvious – consumer spending drives 70% of the US economy. But if American consumers run out of disposable income, which is exactly what is now occurring, the whole US economy grinds to a halt. But Washington already knows this and Congress and the President have found a way to deal with the reality that American consumers are broke. Simply put, if America can’t generate an income from and drive our economy without consumer spending, then we’ll simply have to find a quick and easy substitute. Don’t worry, they already have, and they have accomplished this by converting the USA over to a wartime economy, with profits generated by plunder and military domination overseas since working Americans are tapped out. The end result is plain to see, and that is crushing unemployment that has locked millions of able-bodied and industrious Americans out of the US job market, some of them permanently such as what I experienced when my own IT career ended prematurely a couple of years ago.

The second proof that capitalism is at the end of its life cycle is the end of cheap sources of energy due to the fact that we are past the point of “peak oil”. That is, the developed countries of the world have begun using petroleum resources at a rate that is faster than those resources can be pumped out of the ground. This has ominous implications from the standpoint of North American national security, plus that of Europe (particularly Western Europe and the UK), Israel, western and southern Africa, and the entire Pacific Rim from Japan and South Korea down to Australia. Being one who follows world news very closely, there can be no doubt that opposing sides who also have designs on these petroleum resources would consist of Russia, China, and the Muslim nations in North Africa, the Middle East and Indonesia. If world war three breaks out over this remaining oil, which looks increasingly likely since the developed countries are moving too slowly developing alternative energy sources, much of capitalism’s infrastructure will be destroyed. The only way to stop all of this from happening is to convert to green energy for our power needs while converting our cars and trucks to run on natural gas, which America has in abundance, and which burns much cleaner than gasoline. Most importantly, since natural gas is about one third cheaper than gasoline, American car and truck owners would see their fuel expenses drop noticeably, and it is relatively inexpensive to convert a petrol-powered engine to burn natural gas.

The third and final side to this triangle of capitalism’s demise I can sum up in one word – disillusioned. After generations of buying new cars, new houses, new clothes, new furniture and accessories for your home, and taking on student loan debt to pay for our educations while paying astronomical medical insurance premiums, people are discovering that all this interest and fees they have been paying for all these years has used up all their funds to the point where many of us are having a hard time getting enough to eat. Suddenly the American people are discovering that they have been paying way too much and have been overcharged for years, often for decades, for almost everything they have ever bought in their entire life. We are outraged, we are indignant, and we are absolutely furious!

But there is much deep beneath the surface here, something that surpasses the mere acquisition of stuff and the shallowness of material pursuits, something that is – well – spiritual in nature. Disillusionment, the word I used above to describe the 99%, is running rampant. People feel cut off from having any economic opportunity, and as a result they feel unwanted, abandoned and disenfranchised. But in the process I think that the 99% have collectively become disenchanted with their profit-and-debt driven economic system that they have been stuck living with all their lives, blaming it for their descent into poverty, and consequently the majority of folks have arrived at the same conclusion: People matter more than goods, community cohesiveness matters more than the individual, and cooperative achievement matters more than personal accomplishment. In the process, people are out-growing their need for personal gain and their desire for material goods. Materialism is dying and it is being replaced with its opposite – minimalism, the way of living that says getting by with less is better. And if mankind’s habit of always seeking “more” is broken, a profit-and-debt driven economic system cannot survive. If cooperation can replace competition between people, profits can much more easily be shared by all.

 

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The New American Declaration of Independence

Legally Rejecting The Federal Government

This independence day is a good time to re-post this 2011 essay on the Declaration of Independence, its relevance to the plight of 21st century Americans, and its roots in Christianity. Today’s commentary is taken from my 2011 book “The Middle and Working Class Manifesto”, the book that accurately predicted the start-up of the Occupy Wall St. and 99% Movements throughout the US while making a small but significant contributions to both these movements by helping to define the goals and aspirations of each. It is closely modeled after the original Declaration of Independence written by Thomas Jefferson in the pivotal summer of 1776, with updated language and a volatile description of the criminal activity, class warfare based on enforced inequality, and sinister manipulations being perpetrated by the US government against the American people.

The New American Declaration of Independence

When in the course of human history it becomes necessary for the American People to dissolve the political bands which have connected them to the existing political system, and to assume among the powers of the Earth the unconditional equality to which the laws of God and of nature entitle them, a decent respect to the unconditional rights, stated as civil rights issues, as well as the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes that impel them to separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all mankind is created with an unconditional equality, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness in a clean, nurturing and peaceful environment. In order to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men and women, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, to such an extent that whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it becomes the right of the American people to alter or abolish it and to institute a new American government of Direct Democracy, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form so as to seem to the American people to be most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence dictates that governments long established should not be changed for whimsical or transient reasons. The American people have for a long time suffered through hard economic times even though these hard times have been unbearable, out of a sense of patriotism and civic duty, maintaining a peaceful servant’s heart rather than revolt against the injustice that surrounds them.

But when a long series of civil and human rights violations, illegal and immoral usurping of power and other abuses by those who the American people have entrusted to govern reveals a premeditated plan to reduce the American people to poverty so that a certain elite may rule by political and economic domination in such a way that bypasses or neutralizes the law of our land, the United States Constitution, it is their fundamental human right and their duty as American citizens to throw off such a government, and to provide anew for their future security through the establishment of a new but very small, Internet-based, paperless and interactive Direct Democracy that will be designed to replace the old federal republic. Such has been the patient suffering the citizens of the 50 states and other American territories, and this suffering has become the mother of necessity which forces and compels us to alter our current system of government. The history of current and recent presidential administrations is an example of a history of civil rights abuses, gross economic inequalities and other usurpation of power with the prime objective of having absolute control over the US economy and its people while gradually having increased limitations on our Constitutional rights. To prove this, let certain facts be made known to a formerly free America regarding the Federal Government of the United States.

The List of Charges Against the Federal Government

The US government has refused to pass laws that provide for the common good of American citizens and legally residing foreign nationals. Instead, it has passed laws allowing domestic spying against US citizens without a warrant from a judge in direct violation of the fourth amendment.

The US government has utterly neglected to exercise due diligence to governing and to the welfare of its people, by allowing a national debt to accrue that is well in excess of $14 trillion dollars, by allowing through gross negligence an imbalance of foreign trade that has exceeded another $10 trillion dollars, so that through enormous amounts of deficit spending and economic malfeasance the US government is effectively bankrupt.

The US government has refused to pass laws making the USA energy independent, and instead have used their connections in the global petroleum industry as well as unsavory alliances from overseas, to solidify the stranglehold that the oil industry has throughout the world, compromising the national security of the United States of America.

The US government has called the legislature, or allowed it to be called, at unusual hours and uncomfortable times in order to fatigue Congress into compliance with regard to passing numerous legislative measures, usually without giving our Congressional representatives time to read the legislation they are voting on. The sole purpose of forcing this kind of legislation through Congress is for the aggrandizement of certain deeply embedded special interests from the American political, corporate, financial and business establishments.

The US government has harassed, intimidated, prosecuted and convicted innocent American citizens for their opposing with firmness and conviction the federal assault on the fundamental rights of “we the people” as guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States by arresting and holding in solitary confinement certain individuals who have exposed certain high crimes and misdemeanors to the media, and especially to the Internet.

The US government has been criminally negligent to defend the borders of the United States, on our shores, on the north, or on the south, from the dangers of invasion from without, from the dangers of terrorist infiltration, and also from illegal immigration and imported workers that eliminates many possible job opportunities for working Americans. In the meantime, the US government wages an economic and/or class war against the American middle and working classes, and also against the poor, from within America’s borders instead, in the misguided belief that he who governs best governs absolutely in a flagrant violation of the Constitutional rights of American citizens.

The US government has erected a multitude of new offices in the form of a huge and prohibitively expensive federal bureaucracy without the consent or approval of the American people. It has sent out swarms of armed officers and undercover operatives whose sole purpose of existence is to harass, spy upon, intimidate, shake down and rough up unarmed American citizens while enforcing their existence through the illegal collection of unjust taxes and by the illegal diversion of fines and seizures collected through the judicial system.

The US government has kept standing armies among us, even in times of peace, while outlawing the formation of armed local militias and prosecuting its members, whose right to existence is guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.

The US government has made the US military independent of and superior to formal civilian authority through the creation of a vast military-industrial complex, and has militarized police forces throughout the US for the sole express purpose of compromising or outright elimination of our Constitutional rights.

The US government has conspired with certain fanatical elements within it to subject the American people to a legal jurisdiction foreign to the US constitution by way of a presidential assassination in November 1963, in a way that is unacknowledged by US laws, while engaging in foreign wars that are contrary to the best interests of the American people:

For shielding US troops and certain “contractors” from prosecution for any murders and other war crimes that were committed while engaged in illegal occupations of certain countries against the civilian population of the country being invaded:

For creating an unsustainable US foreign trade deficit well in excess of $10 trillion dollars:

For allowing a US national debt that has exceeded $14 trillion dollars through massive and irresponsible deficit spending:

For imposing federal income taxes on the American people without their consent instead of a far more equitable national sales tax:

For depriving the American people of the benefit to a speedy trial by jury as it is guaranteed by the 5th and 6th amendments to the Constitution of the United States.

For allowing the transport of US citizens overseas without the benefit of due process in order to be tried for certain unproven crimes in foreign countries:

For failing to enforce US boundaries to the point of dereliction of duty on the part of those who are charged with US border security:

For altering fundamentally the form of US government by allowing a former democracy that operated within the auspices of a US federal republic to be changed into a federal government that operates within the auspices of corporate America, the politically well-connected, the US military-industrial complex, and all their armies of lobbyists:

The elected US government has violated its oath of office by waging domestic economic and class warfare against “we the people”.

The US government has allowed the cost of a higher education to become out of reach for the majority of working Americans, effectively neutralizing opportunities for US citizens to improve themselves and to better provide for themselves and their families.

In the same vein, the US government has allowed a pattern of predatory lending to those fortunate individuals who are able to afford higher education, to the point that these same persons find themselves under the enormous weight of student loans that take decades to repay, if they can be repaid at all.

The US government has endangered the health and welfare of the majority of working Americans by allowing the cost of health care to become out of reach for over 50 million of its citizens.

The US government has compromised the wealth and long-term security of working Americans by allowing predatory lending practices that have resulted in a mortgage crisis of unprecedented proportions, resulting in the loss of millions of homes to foreclosure.

The US government has compromised the retirement savings of millions of working and retired Americans by allowing malfeasance, gross negligence, theft, fraud and incompetence to thrive in US financial markets, and by failing to adequately fund Social Security and Medicare, and by failing to monitor those companies that market and underwrite pensions and other similar retirement and related insurance plans.

The US government has failed to protect American jobs by allowing mass illegal immigration, the mass importation of workers from the Third World, and by allowing the mass out-sourcing of good American jobs to the Third World for pennies on the dollar.

The US government has neglected its states, cities and towns, as well as its infrastructure, and it has devastated the lives of its people by allowing the entire country to be ruined with debt.

The US government is, at this time, transporting armies of US troops and paid mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation, cruelty and tyranny already begun under dubious circumstances through the deception of the American people and in such a way that circumvented the US Constitution. The illegal and questionable occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, plus the hundreds of unnecessary US military bases located in numerous foreign countries are actions that are totally contrary to the acts of a nation that purports to be the leader of the free world.

The US government has threatened to re-institute the military draft so as to compel America’s youth to continue fighting these unlawful wars that is bankrupting our great country by spending over $60 billion dollars per month on wars and unneeded foreign military bases that few Americans are in favor of.

The US government threatens to excite civil insurrections among the American people by creating a class system of people who are either wealthy or poor, with few if any other persons in between. This ticking time bomb of inequality threatens to explode across the American political and economic landscape with devastating results if something isn’t done to alleviate this injustice.

The Conclusion of The Matter

In every stage of this repression, mass manipulation and control, the American people havetried repeatedly to address these injustices by voting new Congressional representatives into office to replace the incumbents who were perceived as being part of the problem. The American people’s voting for newer and better leadership has only resulted in poorer quality of leadership, which is exactly the opposite of the intended effect of American voting. An utterly corrupt US government, whose character is so like that of every act that defines a merciless tyrant, is therefore unfit to be the leader of the free world.

From time to time “we the people” have tried to warn the US legislature about their extension of an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them that we address them as united Americans. We appeal to the federal government in its sense of justice and magnanimity as we disavow these civil rights abuses and other unconstitutional abuses of power. The US government has been deaf to the voices of reason and justice, and it has been blind to the red-blooded relationship of all Americans. We must therefore come together as a corporate body of US citizens in the necessity of this New American Declaration of Independence, uniting with the rest of mankind while standing against the tyranny that the US government has become. War has been declared against the US middle and working classes by the rich and politically powerful, and “we the people” will do whatever it takes to take back our country. We, the American people, will stand for this abuse no more.

We, therefore, the people of the United States of America, in general Congress assembled of our own free will due to the total lack of confidence in any currently elected US president or Congress, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World (knowing that He sees all our good intentions) do, in the name of all the good people of these 50 United States and its territories, solemnly publish and declare that the population of the United States is, and of a right ought to be, FREE AND INDEPENDENT PEOPLE OF A NEW UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, that they are all absolved of allegiance to the federal government as it currently exists, and that all political connection between them and the federal government is and ought to be totally dissolved. Furthermore, as independent states free of the jurisdiction and influence of the current federal government, they have the full power to organize armed militias, maintain the peace, establish commerce, mint their own coin currency, administer education and public health and levy local taxes provided that the citizens support it. As for the support of this New American Declaration of Independence, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to one another our lives, our fortunes and possessions, our honor and respect.

Respectfully yours on behalf of the American people,

Rev. Paul J. Bern

Author’s note: I have since released another book about the impending revolution in America that is simply the best and most comprehensive book about the Occupy Wall St. and the 99% Movements published so far. Titled, “Occupying America: We Shall Overcome”, this book chronicles the history of the Occupy and 99% Movements, it contains extensive reporting and commentary on where these movements are headed, and the book ends with a prediction of mass civil unrest in America in 2012 and beyond if something isn’t done soon to relieve mass unemployment and epidemic foreclosures that are ongoing. Get your advance copy today, it’s only $14.95 plus shipping, and it’s a great read. Shalom.

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