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90% of Americans are poorer today than in 1987

© AFP Photo / Jewel Samad
The American Dream is slipping further away from the vast majority of Americans than it has in a quarter century. Now 90 percent of US households are poorer than they were in 1987, according to both a new study and the head of the Federal Reserve.

"The new, harsh reality is that the bottom 90 percent of households are poorer today than they were in 1987," Matt O'Brien wrote in the Washington Post Wonkblog, citing data from a new National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) paper on U.S. wealth inequality, which he says is based on tax data. "It's been a lost 25 years for the bottom 90 percent, but a lost 15 for the next 9 percent, too. That's right: altogether, the bottom 99 percent are worth less today than they were in 1998."

Federal Reserve Board Chairwoman Janet Yellen delved deeper into the statistics at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston Economic Conference on Inequality of Economic Opportunity last Friday.

Black Cat

Hunting witches: The 'War on Terror'

prisoners witch hunt
© www.rjgeib.com
Witch hunts and special prosecutions, deflections of the elite and powerful.
America's decade-long hysteria since 9/11 has taken on some characteristics of the European witch hunts of 500 years ago, with incineration of targets after a sham "due process," albeit now with Hellfire missiles from the air not stake-burnings on the ground.

The Great Hunt of today takes various forms with the whole world as hunting grounds: there are fishing expeditions to identify domestic enemies, hunts to apprehend undocumented people and suspected terrorists, and hunts for declared enemies in other countries.

Today we consider it ridiculous that people once believed human beings possessed supernatural powers and should therefore be burned alive, hung, or broken on a wheel to destroy the devil within. But, demonic possession was once a deeply held belief that spread throughout Europe from Italy to Scandinavia.

Witch Burning

During what is referred to as the Early Modern Period, scholars now estimate that 40,000 to 60,000 people were put to death for witchcraft - most of them between 1550-1650. Historians call this the time of the Great Hunt, or the Burning Times.

In that era, fantastic ideas were put forth to justify belief in the irrational. When the suspected witches of old had airtight alibis, ways were invented to get around them. An accused witch's spouse might testify that she had been sleeping soundly beside him all night in bed, but she could still be found guilty of going abroad in the dark to perform diabolic deeds.

This was explained by the idea that a person's spirit could leave her body and take the form of an animal, or a doppleganger (her double or evil twin) and thus she could be in two places at once. The image of witches on broomsticks traversing the night sky was borne of the idea that spirits were leaving their bodies and going off to participate in devil worship, or Black Sabbaths.

This horrific period of time gave us the "witch hunt" as a metaphor to describe a frenzied search for perceived enemies, with little regard for their actual guilt or innocence. (Witch panics spread to the American colonies, where an estimated 35 to 37 people were put to death.)

However, today's politically motivated hunts are no longer predicated on the fear that people actually possess supernatural powers - or are they? The modern mentality no longer holds such irrational beliefs as demonic possession - or does it?

Comment: Spell-binding: Depending on the "effect" needed to manipulate and influence public opinion, the PTB bank on a particular connotation to convey its message, a nose ring for mesmerizing constituents by whatever label fits the agenda. Guerrillas and Militants: depictions of unruly savages with bandannas and AK47s who engage in gang-style war-mongering leading to unpredictable bursts of violence. (If these are stooges, controllably convincing, all the better! ISIS and al Qaeda, for example.) Terrorists or Insurgents: a tried-and-true formula for mass fear-mongering and fomenting hatred for these "pinnacles of evil." (These don't even have to be real! They can be anyone, anytime, anywhere...or the PTB itself as in 9/11.) The PTB casts its spell on a gullible public and they respond according to script.

Due process of law doesn't apply to "bone fide evil-doers" so there is no accountability when it comes to the ultimate witch hunt. As in the days of old, truth doesn't apply. It is about the smoke and mirrors of deflection. The demonization of an entire population, such as the Muslims, provides "a threat to national security." With each illusory level of fake provocation, the government and military, unshackled, gain more and more control. Create a "war" so advanced weapons systems may be engaged for "defense." Prop up the evil bogey-man and obscure the real objectives: empirical land-grabs and control of someone else's resources. If you kill innocent civilians you just have to say they were terrorists or aiding terrorists, and voila, problem solved. Revise your definitions and no proof is necessary. It works like magic.

This piece was written in 2011. Since then nothing much has changed except the patterns and nefarious actions of "authority" have become increasingly transparent to those who choose to see.


Ottawa shooter Zehaf-Bibeau: Asked to be sent to jail, no obvious sign of mental illness in 2011


Michael Zehaf-Bibeau's yearbook photo.
The man who shot and killed Cpl. Nathan Cirillo at the National War Memorial and was gunned down himself on Parliament Hill Wednesday morning told a B.C. judge almost three years ago that he was homeless and wanted to go to jail to help break his drug addiction.​

Montreal-born Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, 32, lived in B.C. in recent years, walking the streets of Vancouver, Burnaby, and Surrey, and may have been staying at a Salvation Army shelter in downtown Vancouver as recently as two weeks ago.

Zehaf-Bibeau was also charged with robbery and uttering threats for an incident in Vancouver on Dec. 16, 2011, which court records indicate may have been an attempt to get help. CBC News obtained the psychiatric assessment and audio recordings of Zehaf-Bibeau's court appearances in Vancouver on Dec. 2011 and Feb. 2012.
'He believes his must spend time in jail as a sacrifice to pay for his mistakes in the past and he hopes to be a better man when he is eventually released.'- Dec. 2011 psychiatric assessment
The psychiatrist, who met with Zehaf-Bibeau at the Surrey Pre-Trial Centre, found that he was fit to stand trial, and explained some of Zehaf-Bibeau's motivation for wanting to be imprisoned.

Comment: On the one hand we have a psychiatric assessment showing no obvious signs of mental disorder; on the other we have his lawyer's suggestion of an undiagnosed mood disorder and signs of impulsiveness, instrumental violence, and odd behavioral changes. Zehaf-Bibeau's encounters with the law, and his association with Islam, would have put him on the radar of intelligence services. It looks like this was the case. As Niall Bradley recently wrote: "he was first identified by "U.S. security agencies", who were able to inform their Canadian colleagues that Zehaf-Bibeau too had "recently converted to Islam."" And we know how the FBI, CIA (and presumably CSIS) 'handle' potential homegrown terrorists...


Mayor who promised to "restore dignity and never embarrass the community" arrested on child porn charges

© State's Attorney General's Office
Wilson Longanecker, Jr.
The former mayor of Sorrento, Louisiana faces 40 counts of possession of child pornography after he was unable to dispose of the material while police were raiding his home, The Advocate reports.

Wilson Longanecker, Jr. entered office promising to "restore dignity," saying that he would never do anything that would "embarrass this community."

Less than a year after being elected, however, he stopped going to his office, citing a medical procedure - but he also stopped responding to emails, phone calls, and text messages. After five months, Randy Anny - the man Longanecker, Jr. beat in the election by a single vote - had to step in and act as mayor pro tem in order to manage the city's finances.

Dereliction of duty became the least of Longanecker, Jr.'s problem on Thursday, however, when investigators with a multiagency child pornography task force raided his home and discovered 40 videos depicting children between the ages of 3 and 14 engaged in sexual activities.

Longanecker, Jr. attempted to destroy the material while the investigators were collecting it, the Louisiana Attorney General's Office said, so he will also be charged with at least one count of obstruction of justice.

He faces between five and 20 years in prison, as well as a fine of $50,000, for each count if convicted.

"Crimes like this illustrate how important it is to actively, aggressively pursue those who exploit our children," Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell said in a statement.


Russell Brand admits to being 'open-minded' about U.S. government being behind 9/11 attacks

© Newsnight
In an interview on BBC2, comedian/activist Russell Brand stated that he is "open-minded" to the idea that the U.S. government was behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

During the interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis, Brand called the relationship between the families of former US president George Bush and the al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden "interesting," reports The Independent.

Brand who is currently promoting his latest book, Revolution, was asked by Davis about references Brand made in the book to the 9/11 attacks that resulted in over 3,000 deaths.

Brand refused to rule out the possibility that the American government was behind the attacks, while accusing the BBC of pushing an "anti-Islamic narrative" during its coverage of the attack on the Canadian parliament by a gunman.

Eye 2

Conman stole thousands from neighbor with dementia then faked a coma for two years to avoid trial


Let's pretend: Alan Knight in a 'coma' pictured with his wife Helen
He claimed to be a quadriplegic so ill he would frequently slip into a coma.

But when a judge saw video pictures of Alan Knight shopping in Tesco and driving across the Severn Bridge, he was unmasked as a callous fraudster.

Knight stole £41,000 from an elderly neighbour then spent two years pretending to be too sick to stand trial.

At Swansea Crown Court today, where the 47-year-old admitted 19 counts of forgery, fraud and theft, he appeared in a wheelchair and neck brace, only to be told by an unimpressed Judge Paul Thomas: "You should see the videos".

Knight, of Sketty, Swansea, who was living on benefits, claimed to be caring for next-door neighbour Ivor Richards who was suffering from dementia.

But DC Paul Harry, lead officer in the case, speaking after Knight's guilty pleas, said he systematically "drained" Mr Richards' accounts using cheques and withdrawals and taking money from Mr Richards' shares, spending the cash on "a nice caravan" and holidays in places like Dorset and Cardigan.

Knight even admitted writing out a false will with him as the beneficiary, claiming it had been written by Mr Richards, who is now aged 85 and being cared for in a nursing home.


Star of David

Gilad Atzmon: On cognitive partitioning

Acclaimed Israeli saxophonist Gilad Atzmon, author of The Wandering Who? -A Study of Jewish Identity Politics, offers a theory of cognitive ability distribution to explain Zionism, Jewishness, anti-semitism, and identity politics generally. September 29, 2014 video by Joe Friendly


'IDF don't see Palestinian people as people, children as children'

© Reuters / Yannis Behrakis
Israeli troops serving in the occupied West Bank see Palestinians not as humans, and when they are ordered to arrest someone, it does not matter whether it is a child or an elderly person, former IDF soldier Nadav Bigelman, told RT's In the Now show.

On Sunday the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) arrested an 11-year-old mentally ill Palestinian boy living in the outskirts of Hebron, a Palestinian town in the West Bank, a video revealed by Israeli rights group B'Tselem revealed. The teenager was arrested for throwing rocks at military vehicles.

Black Cat

SWAT team cop kills suicidal man after "talks failed"


A Roy, Utah man, Jose Calzada, 35, placed a call to a suicide prevention hotline at 4:00 a.m. Tuesday morning and threatened to kill himself, seven hour later he was shot and killed by police, according to law enforcement.
Authorities in Roy, Utah are investigating a 35-year-old man's shooting death at the hands of a police SWAT team hours after he phoned a suicide prevention hotline seeking help.

KTVX-TV reported that Jose Calzada called the hotline around 4 a.m. on Tuesday threatening to kill himself inside the home he shared with his girlfriend and her children.

Shortly afterwards, dispatchers in Weber County sent the officers to the residence. The other residents in the home left after the call was placed.

A police spokesperson, Detective Matthew Gwynn, told KTVX that a SWAT negotiator spoke with Calzada for about seven hours before the talks "failed." He was shot and killed around 11:15 a.m.

Comment: The lesson here is: whatever you do, don't call the police.

Police are more dangerous to citizens than criminals

Arrow Down

Profits rule over safety: US opposes nuclear safety proposal

nuclear plant
© AFP Photo / Toru Hanai
The United States is reportedly trying to fend off an attempt out of Switzerland to change a multi-national nuclear safety agreement in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan.

Reuters and Bloomberg News both reported this week that Swiss officials are seeking addendums to the 77-nation Convention on Nuclear Safety, or CNS, so that countries around the globe are compelled to upgrade energy facilities in hopes of preventing fallout like the one spawned by the Fukushima meltdown more than three years ago.

But while Reuters says the Swiss-led initiative is tentatively being backed by other European countries, the newswire alleges that energy officials in the US, Russia and Canada are all opposed to the measure, which would likely increase industry costs.

Comment: It's unsurprising that the US opposes this proposal as corporate profits always take the lead over the health and safety of the populace. As Chris Hedges wrote:
The goals of corporate capitalism are increasingly indistinguishable from the goals of the state. The political and economic systems are subservient to corporate profit. Debate between conventional liberals and conservatives has been replaced by empty political theater and spectacle. Corporations, no matter which politicians are in office, loot the Treasury, escape taxation, push down wages, break unions, dismantle civil society, gut regulation and legal oversight, control information, prosecute endless war and dismantle public institutions and programs that include schools, welfare and Social Security. And elected officials, enriched through our form of legalized corporate bribery, have no intention of halting the process.