Friday, October 19, 2012

FBI Celebrates Foiling Its Own Terror Plot, Again

The New American
October 18, 2012

FBI Celebrates Foiling Its Own Terror Plot, Again
Federal agents convinced a na├»ve, violence-inclined 21-year-old Bangladeshi that he was a member of “al-Qaeda,” giving the dupe fake bombs to blow up the Federal Reserve Bank of New York before swarming in and arresting him on October 17. As has become typical, government officials scrambled to put out press releases patting themselves on the back for their work protecting the “Homeland.”

In reality, however, there was no al-Qaeda, there was no threat, there were no bombs, and the only alleged “plot” the FBI “foiled” was the one it helped hatch with its dupe, Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis. Like the vast majority of recent domestic “terror” schemes against the United States, the latest supposed “operation” was essentially run by authorities from start to finish.

“It is important to emphasize that the public was never at risk in this case, because two of the defendant’s ‘accomplices’ were actually an FBI source and an FBI undercover agent,” Acting Assistant FBI Director Mary Galligan admitted in a press releasecelebrating the arrest. “The FBI continues to place the highest priority on preventing acts of terrorism.”

The criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court also confirmed that authorities gave their dupe bogus explosives to carry out the bogus attack. "The material that purported to be the explosive material was actually inert and posed no threat to the safety of the public," the document confirmed, fueling more criticism of the government’s terror-war tactics that include cultivating terrorists and supplying all their terror needs.

The apparently dim-witted young man from Bangladesh was in the United States on a student visa when he allegedly tried to find others to join him in carrying out an attack. According to the criminal complaint, he miraculously managed to find an FBI source to help on his mission. The confidential informant promptly introduced him to government agents who promised to assist. 

“I don’t want something that’s like, small,” Nafis allegedly told an undercover agent who was posing as an al-Qaeda member and wearing a recording device. “I just want something big. Something very big. Very, very, very, very big, that will shake the whole country.” He was apparently hoping to “destroy America” with an attack that would bring Muslims closer to running “the whole world.”

Benghazi attack was botched kidnapping to trade blind Sheik

Mark Matheny
October 19, 2012

Was the Benghazi Consulate Attack set up by Obama in order to bolster his approval ratings just before the election? Was there a secret deal between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Obama administration to allow the Muslim Brotherhood to kidnap Ambassador Stevens, and then arrange for a trade of the "Blind Sheik" in order to get back the ambassador and make Obama look as a savior?

How did the plan get botched?

Inquiring minds want to know!!!!


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Inflation by any other name – Rising rents have pushed up the CPI to highest monthly change in three years. Shifting the Fed bailouts onto the working class and poor.

October 18, 2012

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) attempts to measure the change in price for a basket of American goods and services.  I say attempts because measures like the “owner’s equivalent of rent” are simply an estimation as to what a home owner’s place would rent for.  In the early 2000s with home prices surging, it missed a glaring trend that a place that would rent for say $1,000 was now costing the home owner $2,000.  This was missed and the data understated this important fact.  Since housing is the biggest line item for Americans and the CPI is heavily relied upon, many just assumed overall inflation was “healthy” during this time.  Today we are facing a situation very similar to stagflation where unemployment remains elevated while the standard of living decreases.  Those that claim inflation is nonexistent or healthy point to the CPI but ignore the headwinds that are starting to emerge.  The last two months have seen the biggest increase in the CPI since the middle of 2009.
The CPI is now being impacted by rising rents
There is an odd situation occurring in the US right now.  The Federal Reserve essentially owns the mortgage market and has caused interest rates to drop to record lows.  This was all in part to conduct a shadow bailout of the too big to fail banking industry but the repercussions are being seen in other areas where the quality of life for most Americans is being squeezed.  Just take a look at rents:
Rental rates have gone up strongly since 2008 at a fragile time when household incomes have fallen.  So you ask, how is this feasible?  First the housing market is now controlled by the Fed and banks while inventory is incredibly low.  Many homes are being purchased by Wall Street investors and are put back on the market as rentals for higher prices.  The lack of supply and demands of a growing population has simply pushed prices up.  Ironically the same financial system that turned a stable American item like housing into a casino are now back at it profiting hand over fist thanks to the Fed and generous rewriting of accounting rules.
It is important to always remember the most important fact and that is household income is stagnant.  We are also seeing continued inflation in food and energy:
food and energy
Yet income remains the same.  This is the slow eroding process of losing the standard of living in America.  Millions are living this every single day.  1 out of 7 Americans are on food stamps.  This is why it is valuable to understand how income is broken down in this country:
The distribution is typically shocking to most people but this is the raw data.  Some are simply spellbound by the media thinking that every other household is making six-figures.  According to the facts, one out of five households is in this category (not bad but certainly not what is portrayed on the media).
The CPI continues to make an attempt to measure the changes in price.  It is interesting that lower rates have actually placed the largest burden on those least able to support it.  You have rising rents for many Americans and the cost of rising food and fuel is hitting those on fixed incomes like Social Security but also the millions on food stamps.  Then you have the rising cost of higher education and many feel trapped.
I think most people understand at a visceral level what is occurring but simply looking at the CPI gives you a picture of economic tranquility even through the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression.  The Fed and banks are now deep in the housing market again and rents are going up.

Federal Reserve Bomb Plot - Another False Flag Operation?

Mark Matheny

October 18, 2012


Mark Matheny gives his take on the recent "terrorist" attack against the Federal Reserve Bank of Manhattan, New York.

FBI Entraps Witless Patsy in Federal Reserve Bombing Plot

Kurt Nimmo
October 17, 2012
Federal authorities in New York have arrested a Bangladeshi man with “overseas connections to al-Qaida” who planned to blow up the Federal Reserve.
Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis was provided with “inert explosives” by federal agents and closely monitored by the FBI as he tried to act out his plot, according to the Associated Press.
Federal prosecutors said Nafis had proposed several spots for his attack, including the New York Stock Exchange. In a letter claiming responsibility for the Federal Reserve plot, he said he wanted to “destroy America.”
Nafis also provided the feds with a videotaped statement in which he said, “We will not stop until we attain victory or martyrdom.”
Federal authorities said the public was not in danger at any point during its “sting” operation.
The FBI has arranged a large number of terrorism “stings” since the attacks of September 11, 2001, in order to make the case that it is tracking down and prosecuting terrorists.
A report by Mother Jones and the Investigative Reporting Program at the University of California-Berkley released in 2011 revealed that it is now common practice for the FBI to create terror plots from scratch and entrap witless and even mentally ill patsies.
“The report reveals that the FBI regularly infiltrates communities where they suspect terrorist-minded individuals to be engaging with others. Regardless of their intentions, agents are sent in to converse within the community, find suspects that could potentially carry out ‘lone wolf’ attacks and then, more or less, encourage them to do so. By providing weaponry, funds and a plan, FBI-directed agents will encourage otherwise-unwilling participants to plot out terrorist attacks, only to bust them before any events fully materialize,” RT reported last August.
The contrived plot will undoubtedly allow the Federal Reserve to make the argument it is now a terrorist target. In recent years, the privately owned banking cartel has come under increasing criticism for its manipulation of the money supply and its penchant for secrecy.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Election Fraud and Puppet Candidates

Mark Matheny

October 15, 2012

Mark Matheny discusses the coming elections with special guest Ron Stone

There Is A Staggering Amount Of Feces In Our Food

Michael Snyder
American Dream
Oct 16, 2012
Most Americans are eating significant amounts of feces on a regular basis without even realizing it.  You might not mind this, but most people out there would not willingly eat feces if they could avoid it.  Not only is it disgusting, but feces is also a breeding ground for all kinds of dangerous diseases.  Unfortunately, as a result of the never ending quest to cut prices even lower more of our food is being imported from overseas than ever before.  Many of those countries do not have the same health standards that we do in the United States.  In fact, many farmers in those countries actually feed feces to their fish and to their animals since it is so inexpensive.  If you are eating seafood that was imported from Asia, there is a very good chance that it was raised on pig feces.  Not only that, the truth is that a lot of the poultry that comes from Southeast Asia is also raised on pig feces.  The FDA has rejected thousands of food shipments from Asia in recent years due to fecal contamination, but the FDA inspects less than 3 percent of all imported food.  So what are we to conclude about the other 97 percent of all food imports that the FDA did not inspect?
A recent Bloomberg article entitled “Asian Seafood Raised on Pig Feces Approved for U.S. Consumers” explained that much of the seafood that is imported to the United States from Asia is actually raised on pig feces.
A lot of people were grossed out by that article, but there have been no calls for a congressional investigation.  There have been no calls to cut off food imports from Asia.  Most people will forget about all of this in a few weeks and will continue to consume large amounts of imported crap.
The Bloomberg article also talked about the fact that less than 3 percent of all imported food is inspected by the FDA…
About 27 percent of the seafood Americans eat comes from China — and the shipments that the FDA checks are frequently contaminated, the FDA has found. The agency inspects only about 2.7 percent of imported food. Of that, FDA inspectors have rejected 1,380 loads of seafood from Vietnam since 2007 for filth and salmonella, including 81 from Ngoc Sinh, agency records show. The FDA has rejected 820 Chinese seafood shipments since 2007, including 187 that contained tilapia.
If the FDA has found such widespread contamination in seafood coming from Asia in recent years, shouldn’t something be done about it?
If nothing is done, Asian seafood companies will continue to send us boatloads of seafood contaminated with feces knowing that there is more than a 97 percent chance that a particular shipment will not be inspected.
According to Michael Doyle, a microbiologist from the University of Georgia, using feces to feed fish and shrimp is quite common in Asia.  Many fish and shrimp that we eat spend their entire lives swimming around in a disgusting pool of animal feces…
It said most of the cases of contamination involving imported food in the U.S. are related to exposure to fecal matter. The group cited how, in Thailand, chicken coops with as many as 20,000 birds are often suspended in rows above ponds used for farming shrimp and fish. The sea life feeds on the chicken waste that falls in the water.
In an interview, Doyle said food producers in China regularly use untreated human and animal waste for feeding farmed fish meant for eating and for fertilizing land to grow produce.
“(Feces) is the primary nutrient for growing the tilapia (in China),” he said.
Sounds yummy, eh?
According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, pig manure is also often fed to poultry and sheep in Southeast Asia as well…
Pig manure is important in the pig-vegetable-fish-duck chain that is common in Southeast Asia. The integrated system has long profitably used by Chinese farmers (ref. 306).
Swine manure contains over 20% crude protein. Because of this high content of crude protein, dried fresh swine manure has been used in experimental work as poultry feed with no adverse effects on either meat or eggs. The same product has been used to advantage in pig finishing rations at the 15% level. It has also been included in sheep rations at the level of 40% (in pellets) with good results.
They say that you are what you eat.
Do you really want to eat something that has been constantly feeding on pig poop?

New Hampshire Public Radio Edits Debate Tape to Favor the Democrat

American Thinker
October 15, 2012

New Hampshire Public Radio (NHPR) conducted a gubernatorial debate on 19 September 2012.  One of the questions had to do with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), an effort to limit greenhouse gases by auctioning CO2 allowances (sounds like cap and trade to me).  Republican Ovide Lamontagne favors repeal of RGGI, while Democrat Maggie Hassan favors keeping it.  Watch and listen to their answers at about 32 minutes into the debate.  They are in a lightning round, with a ten-second limit to answers.
Ms. Hassan's answer, from the previously linked video, follows:
I was proud to be a sponsor of that tax, eh, the energy efficiency program because it has saved businesses millions and millions of dollars and created over 400 jobs.
Subsequently, NHPR has rebroadcast the debate, and Ms. Hassan's answer has been changed to:
I was proud to be a sponsor of the energy efficiency program because it has saved businesses millions and millions of dollars and created over 400 jobs.
The missing phrase is "that tax, eh[.]"
Those three words, seven letters, go right to the heart of the RGGI issue.  Opponents look on RGGI as a tax; proponents look at it as manna from green heaven.  Ms. Hassan's millions of dollars and 400 jobs have not materialized.  Maggie is a tax, borrow, and spend lefty liberal of the worst kind.  Her answer referring to RGGI as a tax is a true gaffe -- that is, inadvertently telling the truth. 
RGGI is not living up to the promises of the eco-zealots -- big surprise there.  New Hampshire paid the seventh-highest electric rate in the country in 2008, fifth in 2009, and fourth in 2010.  And there's no place to go but up, as another rate hike is coming. 
Oh, well.  One gets inured to ever-rising prices, particularly in the Age of Obama.
What I cannot accept is a supposedly public service entity that draws on my hard-earned tax dollars to engage in partisan politics.  Let Big Bird and Jim Lehrer and NHPR and PBS compete in the open market for their funds.  More power to them. 
Mike Johnson is a concerned citizen, a small-government conservative, and a live-free-or-die resident of New Hampshire.  E-mail

Monday, October 15, 2012

The 2012 US Presidential “Non-election”: Which Brand of “Fascism” this Time?

Larry Chin
Global Research
Oct 15, 2012
Every four years, the deck chairs of the political Titanic that is the American empire get rearranged in the choreographed spectacle of another presidential “election”. The 2012 charade is particularly disgusting; the lies more blatant and shrill, as the world continues to burn.
It is critical to focus on the cold, ugly reality facing the world with either prospective White House occupant.
On one side, the Obama administration, and the traditional brand of neoliberal imperialism and international consensus, and false domestic populism. On the other side with Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, militant right-wing extremism, an apocalyptic war agenda and the politics of sadism at home.
The interests of the elite (Council on Foreign Relations, Bilderberger, etc.) is dutifully served with either Obama or Romney in the White House. The question for the elite is purely over style and execution.
Obama has been a servile facilitator and protector of the political establishment; an insidious capitulator and “consensus man”. For Wall Street’s billionaires, the Pentagon’s warmongers, and Washington’s most shamelessly corrupt, there has been no greater gift than Obama and his presidency. But with Romney and Ryan, the agenda simply speeds up and destroys faster, more violently, with true theocratic maniacal fervor.
The final choice will not be made by voters (who will be disenfranchised again, via electronic vote fraud and other manipulations), but by the criminal elements who seize final control of the apparatus over the final month of the “contest”.
The “children” are being allowed to fight it out amongst themselves. The side with ultimate command of the corporate media propaganda, the most effective back door deals, and the most effective dirty tricks and election night shenanigans, will prevail, the pre-determined result promptly encrypted into the software of controlled Diebold voting machines.

21 Signs That The Global Economic Crisis Is About To Go To A Whole New Level

Michael Snyder
Economic Collapse

Oct 15, 2012

The global debt crisis has reached a dangerous new phase.  Unfortunately, most Americans are not taking notice of it yet because most of the action is taking place overseas, and because U.S. financial markets are riding high.  But just because the global economic crisis is unfolding at the pace of a “slow-motion train wreck” right now does not mean that it isn’t incredibly dangerous. 
As I have written about previously, the economic collapse is not going to be a single event.  Yes, there will be days when the Dow drops by more than 500 points.  Yes, there will be days when the reporters on CNBC appear to be hyperventilating.  But mostly there will be days of quiet despair as the global economic system slides even further toward oblivion.  And right now things are clearly getting worse.  Things in Greece are much worse than they were six months ago.  Things in Spain are much worse than they were six months ago.  The same thing could be said for Italy, France, Japan, Argentina and a whole bunch of other nations.  The entire global economy is slowing down, and we are entering a time period that is going to be incredibly painful for everyone.  At the moment, the U.S. is still experiencing a “sugar high” from unprecedented fiscal and monetary stimulus, but when that “sugar high” wears off the hangover will be excruciating.  Reckless borrowing, spending and money printing has bought us a brief period of “economic stability”, but our foolish financial decisions will also make our eventual collapse far worse than it might have been.  So don’t think for a second that the U.S. will somehow escape the coming global economic crisis.  The truth is that before this is all over we will be seen as one of the primary causes of the crisis.
The following are 21 signs that the global economic crisis is about to go to a whole new level….
#1 Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer says that the global economy is “awfully close” to recession.
#2 It was announced last week that the unemployment rate in Greece has reached an all-time high of 25.1 percent.  Unemployment among those 24 years old or younger is now more than 54 percent.  Back in April 2010, the unemployment rate in Greece was only sitting at 11.8 percent.
#3 The IMF is warning that Greek debt may have to be “restructured” yet again.
#4 Swedish Finance Minister Anders Borg says that it is “probable” that Greece will leave the euro, and that it might happen within the next six months.
#5 An angry crowd of approximately 40,000 angry Greeks recently descended on Athens to protest a visit by German Chancellor Angela Merkel…
From high-school students to pensioners, tens of thousands of Greek demonstrators swarmed into Athens yesterday to show the visiting German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, their indignation at their country’s continued austerity measures.
Flouting the government’s ban on protests, an estimated 40,000 people – many carrying posters depicting Ms Merkel as a Nazi – descended on Syntagma Square near the parliament building. Masked youths pelted riot police with rocks as the officers responded with tear gas.
The authorities had deployed 7,000 police, water cannon and a helicopter. Snipers were placed on rooftops to ensure the German leader’s safety.
#6 The debt crisis is Argentina is becoming increasingly troublesome.
#7 The government debt to GDP ratio in Italy is expected to hit 126 percent this year.  In Greece, it is expected to hit198 percent.  In Japan, it is expected to hit a whopping 237 percent.
#8 Standard & Poor’s has slashed the credit rating on Spanish government debt to BBB-, which is just one level above junk status.
#9 Back in the year 2000, the ratio of total debt to GDP in Spain was 192 percent.  By 2011, it had reached 363 percent.
#10 Record amounts of money are being pulled out of Spanish banks, and many large Spanish banks are rapidly heading toward insolvency.
#11 Manufacturing activity in Spain has contracted for 17 months in a row.
#12 It is being projected that home prices in Spain will fall by another 15 percent by the end of 2013.

CNN Host to Choose Pre-submitted Questions from Undecided Voters in Presidential Town Hall Style Debate

Mark Matheny
October 15, 2012

This year the annual "Town Hall - Style" Presidential debate will be held at Hofstra University on New York's Long Island, where undecided voters will get their chance to ask questions which will be done live.

This year, however, it won't exactly be as spontaneous as viewers might believe. Why? Because the questions will be pre-submitted before the event, and moderator Candy Crowley of CNN, and a Council on Foreign Relations Member, will decide on which people to call upon. How convenient.

According to the Associated Press:
Town halls have lost some of their spontaneity. The 80 or so undecided voters chosen for Tuesday's event must submit their questions in advance and moderator Candy Crowley of CNN will decide which people to call on. She can pose her own follow-up questions.
 In 1992, the article states that 
  questions weren't screened beforehand. Simpson walked through the audience Oprah-style and a producer signaled which person to talk to next, seeking a good demographic mix. She had no idea what each person might ask.
It seems obvious that even this so-called open Town Hall event for undecided voters has already been decided by the controllers......

UN peace envoy draws up plan for 3,000 strong peacekeeping force in Syria

The Telegraph
October 15, 2012
UN peace envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi  Photo: AFP

Lakhdar Brahimi, the veteran Algerian diplomat who took over as joint United Nations and Arab League peace envoy last month, has spent recent weeks quietly sounding out which countries would be willing to contribute soldiers.
Given the volatility of the conflict and the growing presence of Islamists on the rebel side, it is thought British and American forces would be unlikely to take part because of their past involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Instead, Mr Brahimi is thought to be looking at more nations that currently contribute to Unifil, the 15,000 strong mission set up to police Israel's borders with Lebanon. They alone are thought to have the infrastructure and on-the-ground knowledge that any peacekeeping operation would require.
Countries contributing to Unifil include Ireland, Germany, France, Spain and Italy, one of which would be expected to play a leading role in the Syria peacekeeping force.
Yet the presence of any European on the ground in Syria - even from nations considered more "neutral" in the Arab world - would still represent a significant new Western military involvement in the Middle East. Experts fear they could be a magnet for attacks for both Islamists and regime loyalists.

President Obama's Abuse of Executive Power

The New American
October 14, 2012

President Obama's Abuse of Executive Power
In an opinion article published October 10 in the Washington Post, political commentator George Will describes one of President Barack Obama’s latest “abuses of executive power.” Writes Will:
On Jan. 4, [President Obama] used recess appointments to fill three seats on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), even though the Senate said it was not in recess. Obama’s cheeky Humpty Dumpty rejoinder was: I decide what “recess” means. 
Now a court must decide whether the Constitution means what it says.
In 2011, the Noel Canning company, which bottles soft drinks in Yakima, Wash., was negotiating a labor contract with Teamsters Local 760. The union says it and the company reached a verbal agreement. The company disagrees. An administrative law judge sided with the union. On Feb. 8, after Obama’s disputed appointments, the NLRB upheld that decision and asked a federal court to enforce it. Noel Canning is asking the court to declare that the NLRB’s intervention in the dispute was unlawful because the board lacked a quorum until Obama made the recess appointments, which were invalid because the Senate was not in recess.
In defense of his controversial and legally questionable appointments, President Obama insists that they were made in complete compliance with the Constitution’s grant of such power to the president in Article II.

Is the president’s interpretation of Article II correct? To answer that question, one must first look to the text being cited as a justification for the appointments.

Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution states:
The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.
The plain language of that clause authorizes recess appointments. If the Senate is in recess, then the president is within the sphere of his constitutionally enumerated powers to fill a vacancy that will be valid until the end of the next congressional session.
An additional analysis of the black letter of Article II makes it clear that the Senate must already be in recess in order for an appointment made in its absence to be valid. 
There is no provision in the Constitution even hinting at the right of the president to use trickery to create artificial breaks in congressional sessions in order to forcibly impose his will in defiance of express senatorial opposition to it.
Not surprisingly, the Obama Department of Justice (DOJ) defended the president’s appointments. In a memo dated January 6, 2012, DOJ officials cited various scholarly and bureaucratic interpretations of the so-called Recess Appointment Clause of Article II in order to buttress their opinion:
This Office has consistently advised that “a recess during a session of the Senate, at least if it is sufficient length, can be a ‘Recess’ within the meaning of the Recess Appointments Clause” during which the President may exercise his power to fill vacant offices. 
Although the Senate will have held pro forma sessions regularly from January 3 through January 23, in our judgment, those sessions do not interrupt the intrasession recess in a manner that would preclude the President from determining that the Senate remains unavailable throughout to “‘receive communications from the President or participate as a body in making appointments.’
Thus, the President has the authority under the Recess Appointments Clause to make appointments during this period.
In summary, the Department of Justice memo argues that the business conducted by the Senate between January 3 and 23 was conducted pro forma and thus does not qualify as an interruption of the recess begun by the vote to adjourn taken on December 17, 2011.


The Blaze
October 15, 2012

News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch went on a bit of a Twitter tear Saturday morning, predicting a “nightmare for Israel if Obama wins” re-election and accusing the White House of “still lying about Benghazi.”
The media mogul — whose company owns Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post and others — said Vice President Joe Biden “threw [the] CIA under the bus” and “now [White House] throws State [Department]!” He also came down on Mitt Romney, saying the Republican presidential nominee needs to ignore personal attacks at the next debate and focus on his jobs plan:
Rupert Murdoch Predicts Nightmare for Israel if Obama Wins, Accuses White House of Still Lying About Benghazi
Image source: Twitter
Rupert Murdoch Predicts Nightmare for Israel if Obama Wins, Accuses White House of Still Lying About Benghazi
Image source: Twitter
Rupert Murdoch Predicts Nightmare for Israel if Obama Wins, Accuses White House of Still Lying About Benghazi
Image source: Twitter
Murdoch has been fairly free with his Twitter advice for Romney in the past: Last month he said he needed to “stop fearing [the] far right” and take more of a big tent approach to win the election. During the summer, he wondered, “when is Romney going to look like a challenger?” He subsequently defended himself from an apparent barrage of negative tweets from Romney supporters, saying, “of course I want him to win, save us from socialism, etc.”
As Mediaite noted, when a Murdoch-type figure in the media espouses such clear-cut political beliefs so publicly, “the question arises as to whether these opinions will eventually trickle down through their outlets.”

Obama’s War Record

Global reasearch
October 14, 2012

When Sen. Barack Obama ran for the presidency in 2008 many wishful-thinking Democratic voters viewed him as a peace candidate because he opposed the Iraq war (but voted yes on the war budgets while in the Senate). Some others assumed his foreign/military policy would be along the lines of Presidents George H. W. Bush (whom Obama admires) or Bill Clinton. Some who identified as progressives actually thought his foreign/military policy might tilt to the left.
Instead, center rightist that he is, Obama’s foreign/military policy amounted to a virtual continuation of George W. Bush’s Global War on Terrorism under a different name. He extended Bush’s wars to Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and elsewhere while greatly expanding the war in Afghanistan, hiking the military budget, encouraging the growth of militarism in U.S. society by repeatedly heaping excessive praise on the armed forces, and tightening the military encirclement of China.
Summing up some of his military accomplishments a few months ago, Obama declared: “We’ve succeeded in defending our nation, taking the fight to our enemies, reducing the number of Americans in harm’s way, and we’ve restored America’s global leadership. That makes us safer and it makes us stronger. And that’s an achievement that every American — especially those Americans who are proud to wear the uniform of the United States Armed Forces — should take great pride in.”
Obama actually has little to show for his war policy after nearly four years. Most importantly, Afghanistan — the war he supported with enthusiasm — is predictably blowing up in his face. A symbol of the Bush-Obama 11-year Afghan folly is the recent 2,000th death of an American soldier, not at the hands of the Taliban but a U.S.-trained Afghan police officer, our supposed ally. The truth is that public opinion in Afghanistan has always overwhelmingly opposed the invasion, and rightly so.

The math on US income – if you call something the middle make sure you are using math. The surprising details on median household income and per capita wages.

October 15, 2012

People have a hard time wrapping their minds around household and personal income.    It is an easy enough concept to understand but some throw around terminology that confuses the facts.  For example $250,000 is not middle class income if we define it from a strictly mathematical model.  The median household income in the US is $50,500.  In other words, half make more than $50,000 and half make less.  If you as an individual made more than $250,000 that would put you in the top one percent of all earners in the US.  For households making more than $250,000 per year this would put you in the top two percent of US households.  Let us look at the income data carefully.
US household incomes
First it is important to actually break down the data from the Census:
us household income
Source:  Census, ACS 2011
The latest Census data has the median household income in the US at $50,500.  But as the chart above highlights one out of four US households are living with less than $25,000 per year in household income.  This makes sense when we measure this up against Social Security data that has the median per capita worker income at $26,000 for 2010.  You also begin to realize why two income households are almost a necessity to get by in American today.
In fact, if you are in a household that makes more than $100,000 per year you are in the top 20 percent of all US households.  As we mentioned earlier, making more than $250,000 is nowhere close to “middle class” if we actually follow the rules of math.  Sure, some might feel they are middle class at these levels but they are missing the bigger picture in that many Americans are barely scraping by (they are in the top two percent here).  We have over 46,500,000 Americans on food stamps both a raw record and a record as measured by the percent of our population on this program.
If you want to take a glimpse at the very high end of earners, we can look at those making more than $50,000,000 per year:
millionaire americans 2010
The number of those making $50,000,000 or more has certainly fallen since the peak in 2007.  It’ll be interesting once we have 2011 data since this will capture the big stock rally we have had since early 2009.  In 2010 only 81 Americans made it to this level.
I find household income data the most relevant because it gives a true sense as to where the typical US household really is in the current economy.  The $50,000 median income level tells us a lot but it doesn’t really explain the extremes.  Why in this recovery have we seen food stamp usage remain at a peak?
food stamp usages
We also have over 53,000,000 Americans receiving Social Security, a number that will only expand with demographic trends.  The economy as always is a big complicated machine but one thing has emerged in the last few decades:
-Those at the bottom have increased as a percentage
-The middle has been hollowed out
-A few more have trickled into the higher income category
The chart looks like this:
What does this chart tell us?  We have a large number of Americans falling in the low income category.  The middle class has been squeezed.  Those earning higher incomes have also increased reflecting an economy favoring very specialized high income training (i.e., doctors, engineers, scientist, etc).  Looking at the data we have to ask whether there are any policies that can help in broadening the middle class.  It is unlikely given that the majority of new jobs are lower wage jobs and the expansion in more technical jobs do carry higher wage levels but these jobs as a ratio of total jobs is limited.  It also helps to explain the high structural rate of unemployment.
In sum, when you hear middle class remember this:
The middle point for household income is at $50,000 (Source:  Census ACS)
If your household makes more than $100,000 you are in the top 20 percent of households
The average per capita wage in the US is $26,000 (Source:  Social Security wage data) 
If you are calling something the middle make sure you understand some math terminology.  I’m sure the media would love to keep people in the dark so they can keep spending money as if they were part of the top tier of income earners.

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