‘Social problem’? Sexual assaults shut down Sweden’s largest music festival for good

Once Sweden’s largest four-day musical event, the Bravalla Music Festival was not held this year, after dozens of women and girls reported that they had been sexually assaulted at last year’s event.

Kajsa Apelqvist, who heads public relations for FKP Scorpio, the festival’s organizer, said there was no plans to bring the event back in 2019. “It’s a very disappointing decision to take, but the overall picture we have is that we cannot develop the festival in the way we want to be relevant to our visitors in the future,” Apelqvist told Sweden’s Norrköpings Tidningar.

When asked about the sex attacks reported at the 2017 event, Apelqvist said: “We have always claimed that it is not a festival problem but a social problem. How we ensure our visitors’ safety is something we are constantly developing, and that’s something we’ll never finish.”

Last year, Swedish police received four rape and 23 sexual assault reports during the festival. In 2016, there were five reports of rapes and at least 12 of sexual molestation. 

A festival “about music became almost completely about crime and violence,” Folkert Koopmans, chief executive of FKP Scorpio, told the press after announcing last year that the 2018 event would be canceled.

Similar festivals in Stockholm and other cities in Sweden have experienced a surge in sexual assaults over the past few years. The wave of assaults in 2014-2016 became particularly controversial after media reports said police were aware of groups of immigrant youths allegedly harassing women at the festivals but “self-censored” the information on festival attacks in their report.

A local newspaper was also accused of withholding a tip-off on police investigating attacks by migrants, allegedly for the fear it would benefit anti-migrant parties. Both police and the paper have vehemently denied any coverup.

The sex attacks controversy caused such an uproar in Sweden that comedian Emma Knyckare announced in November 2017 that she would organize a man-free music festival to replace the Bravalla Festival.

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Source Article from https://www.rt.com/news/430559-sweden-festival-sex-attacks/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Trump Wants US Social Safety Net Programs Gutted

Trump Wants US Social Safety Net Programs Gutted



by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)



Trump’s extremist agenda is hostile to what equitable societies cherish.



He favors unbridled militarism, endless wars of aggression, tax cuts for the rich, corporate favoritism, eco-indifference risking ecocide, and police state harshness at the expense of world peace, government serving everyone equitably, and social justice.



In less than 18 months in office, he matched Star Trek, going where no US regime went before, exceeding the ruthlessness and recklessness of his predecessors.



His soon-to-be released government restructuring scheme recommends sharp cuts in social safety-net programs, combining them under Health and Human Services (HHS), renaming the department, along with other major changes.



He aims to go way beyond where earlier regimes and Congress went before, what most lawmakers are unlikely to agree to.



It involves slashing tens of billions of dollars from healthcare, food stamps, housing aid, and other safety-net programs, America’s most vulnerable hit hardest. 



Reportedly he wants Labor and Education departments combined, weakening them more than already.



Announcing the plan is imminent, likely before end of June, details being finalized. 



Lawmakers will have final say on what’s enacted into law – likely after members of the 116th Congress are sworn in next year.



Thirdworldizing America has come along way since the Clinton co-presidency, neoliberal harshness agreed to by both parties. 



Trump exceeds the worst of where his predecessors went, wanting to go much further, serving privileged interests more exclusively than already.



In March 2017, Trump’s executive order called for drafting a comprehensive plan for reorganizing the executive branch – aiming to slash tens of billions of dollars in social spending from vital safety-net programs on the phony pretext of making government more efficient.



No federal agency is more out-of-control than the Department of Defense and Pentagon, little or nothing done to correct massive military-related waste, fraud and abuse.



Around $21 trillion is unaccounted for, according to Catherine Austin Fitts, former government official, editor of the Solari Report.



“What’s going on,” she asked? “Where is the money?” What’s unaccounted for exceeds US GDP. It’s more than the national debt.



It’s a colossal ripoff of every American, hugely exacerbated if enough of Trump’s restructuring scheme becomes the law of the land – a dystopian plan responsible societies wouldn’t tolerate, harming the nation’s most vulnerable.



A joint statement by Dem Representatives Barbara Lee and Diana DeGette said the following:



“Under the guise of reorganizing healthcare programs, the Trump administration wants to make it easier to slash the basics that families rely on, impose broad work requirements, and further infringe on women’s personal decisions,” adding:



Families who rely on these programs do so out of necessity – to feed their families, stay healthy, and keep a roof over their heads.”



“Republicans have shown that they have no respect for either women’s economic interests or their healthcare. In Congress, we will fight this dangerous proposal and protect the programs that women and their families need to thrive.”



Both House members failed to explain anti-social justice programs under Obama, exceeding Bush/Cheney and Clinton co-presidency harshness – undemocratic Dems overwhelming supporting his extremism.



Trump proposes taking things further than earlier, a giant step toward finishing the transformation of America if he gets his way.



America will resemble Guatemala harshness more than already, indifferent to human rights, needs and welfare.



VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.



My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”



http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html


Source Article from https://www.freedomsphoenix.com/Article/242304-2018-06-22-trump-wants-us-social-safety-net-programs-gutted.htm?EdNo=001&From=RSS

Social Media Giants Choking Independent News Site Traffic to a Trickle

This report originally appeared at our friend Mint Press News.

For much of the year, independent media has felt the sting of increased social media censorship, as the “revolving door” between U.S. intelligence agencies and social-media companies has manifested in a crackdown on news that challenges official government narratives. With many notable independent news websites having shut down since then as a result, those that remain afloat are being censored like never before, with social media traffic from Facebook and Twitter completely cut off in some cases. Among such websites, social media censorship by the most popular social networks is now widely regarded to be the worst it has ever been – a chilling reality for any who seek fact-based perspectives on major world events that differ from those to be found on well-known corporate-media outlets that consistently toe the government line.

Last August, MintPress reported that a new Google algorithm targeting “fake news” had quashed traffic to many independent news and advocacy sites, with sites such as the American Civil Liberties Union, Democracy Now, and WikiLeaks, seeing their returns from Google searches experience massive drops. The World Socialist Website, one of the affected pages, reported a 67 percent decrease in Google returns while MintPress experienced an even larger decrease of 76 percent in Google search returns. The new algorithm targeted online publications on both sides of the political spectrum critical of U.S. imperialism, foreign wars, and other long-standing government policies.

Now, less than a year later, the situation has become even more dire. Several independent media pages have reported that their social media traffic has sharply declined since March and – in some cases – stopped almost entirely since June began. For instance, independent media website Antimedia – a page with over 2 million likes and follows – saw its traffic drop from around 150,000 page views per day earlier this month to around 12,000 as of this week. As a reference, this time last year Antimedia’s traffic stood at nearly 300,000 a day.

Other pages, particularly those that promote natural-health news along with political news, have seen their pages deleted without warning by Facebook as recently as earlier this week. One such page, Collectively Conscious, saw its Facebook page with over 900,000 likes and follows deleted without warning after Facebook said the page “violated its terms of use agreement” but did not state which terms had been violated. Other similar pages, such as Nikola Tesla and Earth We Are One, were likewise suddenly deleted without explanation.

Other pages, such as the Free Thought Project, have been flagged as “fake news” by Facebook “fact checking” partner organizations, like the Associated Press and Snopes. In one recent case, a story published by the Free Thought Project was flagged as “false” by the Associated Press. That story, which detailed the documented case of Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) being forcibly removed from a DHS migrant detention center that had once been a Walmart, was marked false because the Associated Press asserted that the article made the claim that Walmart was housing immigrants for DHS. However, the article does not make the claim, instead accurately noting that the facility used to be a Walmart.

In a troubling turn of events, pages that shared that very story are now being punished by Facebook for helping disseminate “false news.” The Mind Unleashed, which has 8.8 million likes and follows, was warned that it would have its reach reduced for this “offense,” and that the reduction in the page’s reach would only increase with the number of offenses after it shared the Free Thought Project story on the detention center.

At MintPress News, the story is similar. While the MintPress Facebook and Twitter pages remain up and no notices warning of their imminent deletion have yet been received, traffic from social media has reached an all-time low, as the site’s average traffic of around 70,000 unique visitors last January has now dropped to around 4,000 – a decrease of around 94 percent. On Tuesday, social media traffic to MintPress stopped entirely, as it did for several other independent media sites like Antimedia.

 

Broad-brush censorship: an overreaction on steroids

Given what has been experienced by several independent media sites in recent months, it seems that several known initiatives aimed at censoring content on social media have now taken full effect after being announced earlier this year.

Those initiatives — particularly those being implemented by Facebook, Twitter and Google — first came to light during a Senate hearing held earlier this year in January. During their testimony, representatives from Facebook detailed that it would employ a team of 20,000 new employees by the end of the year who would “assess potentially violating content” and “fake news” uploaded by the platform’s users. Monika Bickert, head of Global Policy Management at Facebook, told lawmakers at the time that “former intelligence and law-enforcement officials and prosecutors who worked in the area of counterterrorism” are among the members of that new “team” at Facebook.

In the months since, Facebook’s censorship of independent content has continued to spin out of control, with the site prioritizing “trustworthy” sites even though Facebook has not stated how a site’s “trustworthiness” is determined. The site’s censorship efforts, however, reached a crescendo when it was announced last month that the social media giant would team up with the war-loving, Washington-based think tank, The Atlantic Council, in order to “combat election-related propaganda and misinformation from proliferating” on the social media site.

The Atlantic Council is funded by the country’s top weapons manufacturers – Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, and Boeing – as well as by NATO and the United Arab Emirates, currently responsible for an offensive on a port in Yemen, slammed by the UN and human rights groups, that threatens to lead to the death of some 18.5 million civilians in the war-torn country. The Atlantic Council’s conflicts of interest with companies, organizations, and countries that benefit from war have raised concern among anti-war news sites that the think tank’s partnership with Facebook will negatively affect their own presence on social media.

While many thought that social media censorship on the most commonly used platforms could not get much worse after Facebook’s partnership with the Atlantic Council, the upcoming vote by the European Union on the controversial measure known as Article 13 could soon change that. The proposed law, if approved, would require platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and others to scan user-uploaded content before it is shown online and take down material that “could be stolen” or infringe on existing copyrights.

Several prominent figures, including World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee, warned the EU Parliament that the measure would be “an unprecedented step towards the transformation of the Internet from an open platform for sharing and innovation, into a tool for the automated surveillance and control of its users.”

The current censorship of social media is undeniably the worst it has ever been. However, it is unlikely that this troubling trend will get better anytime soon. Instead, it likely to get much worse. If you value fact-based news content that challenges the powerful and scrutinizes official narratives, now is the time to sign up for mailing lists, Steemit and other alternatives that will allow you to continue to receive the content you enjoy amid the increasingly bleak future of news shared via social media.

Source Article from http://govtslaves.info/2018/06/social-media-giants-choking-independent-news-site-traffic-to-a-trickle/

Inequality, social dysfunction and misery

By Graham Peebles

Year on year the world’s economic divisions and sub-divisions deepen and the associated social ills increase: the rich, comfortable, and the very extremely rich keep getting richer, and the rest, well, while some may be raised up out of crippling poverty into relative poverty, the majority of people continue to live under a blanket of economic insecurity and largely remain where they are. 

Straddling the global ladder of economic and social division sit the multi-billionaires (there are now 2,208 billionaires), 42 of whom (down from 61 in 2016), according to a recent report by Oxfam, own the same amount of wealth as the poorest half of humanity combined. Together with their lesser cohorts, this coterie of billionaire sucked up “82 per cent of the wealth generated [in the world] last year… while the 3.7 billion people who make up the poorest half of the world saw no increase in their wealth”.

Defining challenge of our time

Income and wealth inequality is not simply a monetary issue; it is a complex social crisis that supports and strengthens notions of superiority and inferiority, and was described by President Barak Obama in 2013 as “the defining challenge of our time”. 

Today’s obscene levels of inequality are the result of the neoliberal economic system. This extreme form of capitalism took hold first in America and Britain in the early 1980s when Reagan and Thatcher ruled, workers’ rights were trampled on, “society” became a dirty word and community responsibility was abandoned to selfishness and greed. With the aid of the World Bank and the IMF, neoliberalism swiftly spread throughout the world, polluting life in every city, town and village with its divisive, cruel ideology. Commercialisation and competition are key principles and have infiltrated every area of contemporary life; everything and everyone is seen as a commodity, and the size of ones bank account determines the level of health care, education and housing available, as well as one’s access to culture and freedom to travel. 

Social injustice is inherent in the system, as is inequality, which is itself a major form of injustice. Inequality strengthens deep-seated social imbalances based on class and social standing, and in a world where everything is classified, commercialised and priced, i.e. attributed a value, external wealth and position have become the common criteria for determining the internal worth of a human being. Comparison and imitation follow, individuality is perverted and fear fostered – fear of inadequacy, fear of failure, fear of not being loved, because not “deserving” love, not being able to “afford” love. Resentment, anger and self-loathing are fed, leading to a range of mental health issues, including anxiety, depression and drug and alcohol addiction.

Happiness and inequality

The impact of financial inequality on the health and wellbeing of society has been extensively studied by Richard Wilkinson, British co-author of Spirit Level, Professor Emeritus of Social Epidemiology at the University of Nottingham. In order to establish national levels of inequality Wilkinson and his team used a benchmark based on how much richer the top 20 per cent is than the bottom 20 per cent. Japan and Scandinavia (Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark) came out most equal, and now, Slovenia and the Czech Republic have moved towards this group. Israel, New Zealand, Australia, Britain, Portugal and the USA were found to have the greatest levels of inequality, and by some margin. Recent data suggests that Russia, South Africa and Turkey should now be added to the most unequal pile. Germany, Spain and Switzerland sit somewhere in the middle.

Data relating to a range of social issues was examined: The most unequal countries were found to have lower life expectancy than more equal societies, higher infant mortality, many more homicides, larger prison populations (by 10-15 times), applied longer prison sentences, higher teenage pregnancies, lower mathematic/literacy levels, more obesity, less social mobility and, according to The World Value Survey, a great deal less trust. In more equal countries, like Sweden and Norway, around 65 per cent of people trust others, whereas in unequal societies like America a mere 15 per cent admitted to trusting their fellow citizens.

In all areas, countries with high levels of inequality did worse, in many cases much worse, than more equal nations. In Japan around 8 per cent of the population suffers from some form of mental health issue, compared to 30 per cent in America. Children are considerably healthier in more equal countries, according to UNICEF’s Index of Child Well-Being, and feel a good deal happier. Wilkinson concludes by saying: “What we’re looking at is general social dysfunction related to inequality. It’s not just one or two things that go wrong, it’s most things.”

Look to Scandinavia

If one of the primary purposes of any socio-economic system is to create environments in which human beings can grow and live happily together, then the nations suffering under the shadow of inequality need to learn from Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland, which are not just the least unequal, they are also the happiest countries in the world. Throughout Scandinavia public services – education (which is probably the best in the world), health care and housing – are valued, and taxes levied in order to fund them properly. There are greater levels of social justice, allowing for trust to develop and trust relationships flower. The extremes of staggering wealth and stifling poverty don’t exist as they do in the more unequal parts of the world; social mobility is greater and the dream of betterment more realistic. As Richard Wilkinson says, “if Americans want to live the ‘American dream’ they should go and live in Denmark”.

The first duty of government is to protect the people. This involves not only dealing with terrorism and the like, but requires the development of socio-economic policies that contribute to the creation of a healthy, harmonious environment. By supporting extreme inequality (which has been shown to fuel a range of social issues), governments in the more unequal countries are totally failing in this fundamental duty. Politicians, who in many cases rely on big business and wealthy benefactors for their funding, are either blind to, or negligent of, the inherent faults of the current system, and the unhealthy, negative way of life it supports.

The case for fundamental change in the economic order, and a shift away from the destructive values it promotes, is becoming irrefutable. However, change occurs only gradually and resistance is great. In the meantime, governments (particularly in the most unequal states) need to acknowledge the connection between the dysfunction and disease within society and their socio-economic methodology, which is literally making people ill, as well and poisoning the natural world. They need to invest properly in public services, address wage differences, ban bonuses, introduce progressive tax reform and, unlike America and France which are taking retrograde steps by designing tax codes which will fuel inequality, look to the Scandinavian countries and learn from their example.

For too long socio-economic systems have been designed and maintained to cater to the desires and interests of a privileged few, while the majority live inhibited lives under the shadow of financial uncertainty. For harmonious societies to evolve this longstanding injustice needs to be addressed and a degree of balance found. This requires that those whose table is full to overflowing share some of their bounty, so that all may have enough, not excess, enough. 

As a wise man has said, “The rich must give up what they want, so that the poor can have what they need.” What the rich and comfortable must give up is greed (another car, another house, more designer clothes, etc.); what the rest need is freedom from economic insecurity and the fear of destitution, freedom from exploitation and dependency, secure, comfortable and well-designed accommodation, and access to good education, health care and culture. Such essential needs are the rights of all; when made manifest they go a long way towards establishing social justice, and where there is social justice, functional, compassionate communities do evolve, conflict is reduced and collective harmony is cultivated.

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Source Article from http://www.redressonline.com/2018/06/inequality-social-dysfunction-and-misery/

As Social Security and Medicare Go Bankrupt, US Gives $10.5 Million a DAY to Israel

As the United States government admits that Social Security and Medicare services are going bankrupt and will both be completely depleted within the next 16 years, American taxpayers are giving around $10.5 million to a close ally that is routinely accused of human rights violations.

The latest report from the Social Security Administration revealed that Social Security funds will be depleted by 2034, and Medicare funds will be depleted by 2026—three years earlier than what was last reported. Last year, Social Security and Medicare funds accounted for 42 percent of federal program expenditures, and as the report noted:

“Both Social Security and Medicare face long-term financing shortfalls under currently scheduled benefits and financing. Lawmakers have a broad continuum of policy options that would close or reduce the long-term financing shortfall of both programs. The Trustees recommend that lawmakers take action sooner rather than later to address these shortfalls so that a broader range of solutions can be considered and more time will be available to phase in changes while giving the public adequate time to prepare. Earlier action will also help elected officials minimize adverse impacts on vulnerable populations, including lower-income workers and people already dependent on program benefits.”

While the increased reduction in Social Security and Medicare funds can be blamed on the federal government, it is not the only area where government spending should warrant serious concern. In December 2010, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that federal debt held by the public was more than $9 trillion or 62 percent of GDP.

The federal debt held by the public is now $16 trillion or 78 percent of GDP, and the latest projections from the CBO show that it is estimated to increase to $29 trillion or 96 percent of GDP by 2028, which would mark “the largest since 1946 and well more than twice the average over the past five decades.”

As the Foundation for Economic Education reported, while the government continues to spend money it does not have as if there are no consequences, it has gotten to the point where it seems unlikely that the debt will ever be paid back:

“A fair amount of this trouble can be laid at the feet of the federal government and its seemingly insatiable habit of spending money it doesn’t have. It’s gotten to the point that there isn’t really anywhere else in the world that has the amount of money the US government needs to borrow. It seemed so easy to just take that money from the Social Security and Medicare trusts at the time, but with federal spending now higher than it’s ever been (regardless of whether you adjust for inflation or simply count it as a percentage of GDP), it seems very unlikely that that money will—or even can—ever be paid back.”

While the U.S. government’s failure to take care of its citizens may be viewed as a good thing because it lets them turn to solutions in the private sector to solve their problems, the government is still robbing citizens through taxes, and making it look as if it will benefit them in the long run through programs such as Social Security and Medicare.

In reality, the federal government is using the money it extorts from citizens to fund endless wars in the Middle East—with the price tag for the longest war in U.S. history costing double the estimate of what it would cost to end homelessness in the U.S. annually in 2018. Millions of taxpayer dollars are also being spent on questionable foreign aid programs, such as the United States’ increasing pledges of military aid to Israel.

Former President Obama set the record by pledging $3.8 billion to Israel every year for the next 10 years in 2016, with the largest military aid deal in U.S. history. President Trump increased the amount by pledging an additional $75 million in 2018, while Americans suffering from the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey begged for aid.

The United States’ commitment to Israel has stayed the same, even as Israel was caught opening fire on peaceful protesters near their border fence in Gaza, killing dozens and injuring thousands. While other countries accused Israel of war crimes and called for an investigation, the U.S. blatantly ignored the atrocities.

If countries such as Syria, Russia, or Iran, were targeting civilians in the same way that Israel is, the United States would be calling for a full-scale invasion. Instead, the U.S. continues to condone the country’s treatment of Palestinian civilians by sending Israel $10.5 million a day—even when Americans are in desperate need—all while the president in office gained support by promising to put “America First.”

DASH cryptocurrency and The Free Thought Project have formed a partnership that will continue to spread the ideas of peace and freedom while simultaneously teaching people how to operate outside of the establishment systems of control like using cryptocurrency instead of dollars. Winning this battle is as simple as choosing to abstain from the violent corrupt old system and participating in the new and peaceful system that hands the power back to the people. DASH is this system.

DASH digital cash takes the control the banking elite has over money and gives it back to the people. It is the ultimate weapon in the battle against the money changers and information controllers.

If you’d like to start your own DASH wallet and be a part of this change and battle for peace and freedom, you can start right here. DASH is already accepted by vendors all across the world so you can begin using it immediately.

Source Article from https://thefreethoughtproject.com/social-security-medicare-go-bankrupt-us-gives-israel/

In China, ‘Social Credit’ System Forces Citizens Into Submission To The State

The terrifying initiative, which has been rolled out through pilot scheme, bans low-rated people from buying plane tickets and sending their kids to private s

China’s  ‘social credit’ system blacklists “lazy” citizens who get into debt or spend their time playing video games in a creepy initiative that could have come straight out of Black Mirror.

Analysing users’ social media habits and online shopping purchases, the nightmarish system also grants real financial credit to citizens whose lifestyles are deemed to be more wholesome.

While the social credit scheme will become mandatory in China in 2020, it is currently being tested in pilot schemes which have been rolled out through private financial companies.

The most high profile of these is Sesame Credit which has been developed by Ant Financial and uses computer algorithms to score people from 350 to 950, reports The Guardian.

Likened to an episode of dystopian horror series Black Mirror, Sesame Credit rates people on factors including “interpersonal relationships” and consumer habits including buying video games.

It appears the authoritarian one-party state believes that someone who plays a PlayStation or an Xbox is an “idle person”, reports the BBC.

Those with a low-rating are “blacklisted” meaning they are unable to book a plane flight, prevented from renting or buying property and are unable to secure a loan or stay in a luxury hotel, reports MarketPlace.org.

One of the largest schemes currently operating is in Shanghai where jaywalking, traffic violations and skipping train fares can get you blacklisted.

But that’s not all. Citizens who do not visit their elderly parents or do not sort out their garbage into the appropriate recycling bins can also be penalised and effectively frozen out by the state.

Businessman Xie Wen spoke with MarketPlace.org after he was blacklisted following a financial dispute in which he never paid a debt to a client who sued his company.

He was then added to the Chinese Supreme Court’s list of “discredited” people.

Wen said: “It hurt my business. My clients didn’t trust me. I didn’t get much work.”

Read full story here…

Source Article from http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/DaveHodges-TheCommonSenseShow/~3/EoVbEqvaE68/

Social Security and Medicare Going Broke Even Faster than Projected

Are you depending on Social Security and Medicare for your retirement?


You might want to rethink that plan. These government retirement programs are going broke even faster than expected.


For the first time since 1982, Social Security will have to dip into its $3 trillion trust fund in order to cover benefits this year.


In other words, the program’s expenses will exceed its revenue. Analysts knew this was going to happen, but it happened three years earlier than they projected just last year.


Social Security has dipped into the trust fund before, but analysts project this is the beginning of a long-term trend with no sign of reversal.


According to the annual report recently released by Social Security and Medicare trustees, the trust fund will completely run out of money in 2034. According to the Wall Street Journal, “Social Security will no longer be able to pay its full scheduled benefits unless Congress takes action to shore up the program’s finances. Without any changes, recipients then would receive only about three-quarters of their scheduled benefits from incoming tax revenues.”


And if you’re counting on Medicare to take care of your healthcare needs, that doesn’t look like a very good plan either. The trustees project its hospital insurance fund will run out of money in 2026 – three years earlier than last year’s report.


Both Medicare and Social Security suffer from the same fundamental economic problem. As the WSJ put it, “The nation’s aging population is boosting the costs of Social Security and Medicare, while revenue gains lag due to slower growth in the economy and the labor force.”


In other words, the program spends more money than it takes in.


Of course, this is what eventually happens with every Ponzi scheme. And make no mistake, both of these programs are quintessential Ponzi schemes. They depend on current contributors to pay the obligations to those who got into the scheme earlier. This works fine until the number of new people coming into the scheme starts to taper off. If you read between the lines of the WSJ description of Social Security, it’s obvious that it’s a failing Ponzi scheme.


The Social Security program works by using payroll taxes paid by workers and employers to pay for retirees’ benefits. What is left over is invested in the trust fund. Interest earned is reinvested in the fund. Over time, the trust fund has grown to nearly $3 trillion. But long-running demographic trends threaten its finances. Last year, there were 2.8 workers for every Social Security recipient, down from 3.3 in 2007.”


If you go back to 1995, there were 4.9 workers for every retiree.


The mainstream will tell you not to worry. The government will fix everything. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said the Trump administration’s tax cuts and reductions in regulation will boost economic growth and generate new income for these programs.


That’s great – if you really believe the government that created this mess will actually fix it. We’ve already explained why the tax cuts won’t generate the promised economic growth.


And yet, millions of Americans are depending on Social Security to fund their retirement. According to data recently released by Northwestern Mutual, one-third of Americans have less than $5,000 in retirement savings. 


Source Article from https://www.freedomsphoenix.com/News/241566-2018-06-08-social-security-and-medicare-going-broke-even-faster-than-projected.htm?EdNo=001&From=RSS

Watergate? Trump and Pence’s double act fuels conspiracies on social media

During the meeting to discuss hurricane season at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) headquarters on Wednesday, Trump removed a bottle of water from the table and put it on the floor. Pence quickly copied Trump and moved his own water bottle to the floor as well.

The strange moment was captured on video, and soon went viral. Social media users were both mystified and amused by the double act, and no explanation has been given for the curious incident.

Many found the behavior “disturbing” and “bizarre.” Some thought it was a cute display of Pence’s admiration for the president, and many joked the pair could have been playing a game of ‘Simon Says.’

Some believed the moves were a secret signal, while others were puzzled by the fact that Trump also grabbed a napkin from the table and appeared to place it in his lap.

There may be a simple explanation for the bottle shift, such as the two realizing a photograph was about to be taken, or perhaps they were irritated by condensation from the water bottles leaving rings of water on the table, but we’ll likely never know.

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Source Article from https://www.rt.com/usa/429028-trump-pence-water-mystery-fema/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Department of Homeland Security Compiles List of All Bloggers, Journalists, & Social Media Influencers

Many were hoping that once Barack Obama was out of office we would see less of this Big Brother surveillance nonsense, but instead it seems to be getting even worse.

In fact, the Department of Homeland Security has just announced that it intends to compile a comprehensive list of hundreds of thousands of “journalists, editors, correspondents, social media influencers, bloggers etc.”, and collect any “information that could be relevant” about them.

So if you have a website, an important blog or you are just very active on social media, the Department of Homeland Security is going to put you on a list and will start collecting information about you.  The DHS has already announced that it will hire a contractor to aid in monitoring media coverage, and they will definitely need plenty of help because it is going to be a very big job

As part of its “media monitoring,” the DHS seeks to track more than 290,000 global news sources as well as social media in over 100 languages, including Arabic, Chinese and Russian, for instant translation into English. The successful contracting company will have “24/7 access to a password protected, media influencer database, including journalists, editors, correspondents, social media influencers, bloggers etc.” in order to “identify any and all media coverage related to the Department of Homeland Security or a particular event.”

“Any and all media coverage,” as you might imagine, is quite broad and includes “online, print, broadcast, cable, radio, trade and industry publications, local sources, national/international outlets, traditional news sources, and social media.”

If this sounds extremely creepy to you, that is because it is extremely creepy.

I run several prominent websites including The Most Important News and The Economic  Collapse Blog, and so without a doubt I will be on this list.  And if I was just a name on a list in some database somewhere, that would be bad enough, but instead it sounds like the DHS will be collecting any “information that could be relevant” about all of us…

As Gizmodo noted, the DHS’ vagueness is also a concern. It leaves itself an opening for collecting “any other information that could be relevant” about these influencers, and there’s no hint as to what that could be.

Is it strictly functional information like work histories, or sensitive data that could be abused? Either way, the database could be troublesome for bloggers and social media stars who aren’t usually under such close government scrutiny.

This is one of the reasons why I wanted to get to Washington.  This kind of Orwellian monitoring of our freedoms is unnecessary, it is a colossal waste of taxpayer dollars, and it violates our most basic freedoms.

So why does the Department of Homeland Security need to do this?

The explanation that they are giving the public is extremely week.  The following comes from Forbes

DHS says the “NPPD/OUS [National Protection and Programs Directorate/Office of the Under Secretary] has a critical need to incorporate these functions into their programs in order to better reach Federal, state, local, tribal and private partners.” Who knows what that means, but the document also states the NPPD’s mission is “to protect and enhance the resilience of the nation’s physical and cyberinfrastructure.”

But we are not supposed to ask questions about government programs such as this.

In fact, just a few days ago a Department of Homeland Security representative stated that those that are questioning this program are “tinfoil hat wearing, black helicopter conspiracy theorists

If you find yourself skeptical of this proposal of mass state monitoring of the press, consider yourself a bonafide member of the “tinfoil hat wearing, black helicopter conspiracy theorists,” DHS representative Tyler Houlton said Friday. It’s all very routine, he argued, casting the project as an innocent means of “monitoring current events.” Just shut up and let us do this, crackpots.

That kind of response should make all of us very angry.

If the government is going to monitor us and put our information in a database, we should have the right to ask questions.

Freedom of speech is one of our most foundational rights, and many are concerned that “monitoring and tracking” are initial steps that could lead to a significant crackdown on Internet activity.  Just check out what is about to happen over in Europe.  The Internet has made it possible for ordinary people to communicate with one another on a massive scale, and any efforts by national governments to interfere with that must be greatly resisted.

Unfortunately, it appears that this new Department of Homeland Security program is moving ahead rapidly.  In fact, it is being reported that seven different companies have “already expressed interest” in participating…

Seven companies, mainly minority- or women-owned small businesses, have already expressed interest in becoming a vendor for the contract, according to the FedBizOpps web site.

All it takes for evil to flourish is for good men to be nothing.  Please spread word about this creepy new surveillance program to everyone that you know, because what they are doing is not right.

source:

by Michael Snyder

endoftheamericandream.com

Source Article from https://worldtruth.tv/department-of-homeland-security-compiles-list-of-all-bloggers-journalists-social-media-influencers/

Kim Dotcom Asks Snowden, Assange To Help Create Secure Social Media Platform

Kim Dotcom has invited Julian Assange, Edward Snowden and members of Europe’s largest association of hackers to create a secure social media platform to replace “deep state conspirators” Twitter and Facebook.

On Monday the internet entrepreneur put the concept to the WikiLeaks founder and famous whistleblower on Twitter, writing: “After years of betrayal it’s time for something better”.

Kim says the secure social media platform would “replace the deep state conspirators Facebook and Twitter”. The joint venture would also include input from members of the Chaos Computer Club (CCC), a group that claims to be “the most influential hacker collective in Europe”.

It’s been a bad year for the protection and privacy of user data for both Facebook and Twitter. Just last month Kim threatened to sue Twitter in a class-action lawsuit after they admitted to accidentally storing users’ unmasked passwords upon discovering an “internal glitch”.

So far neither perspective partner has publically responded to the request. Kim says he plans to launch the “decentralized social media platform outside of the control of US Empire or any Govt” after he launches K.im, a content monetization system.

Facebook is still attempting to recover their damaged reputation following a massive data privacy scandal. In March it was revealed that consultancy company Cambridge Analytica harvested the data of millions of Facebook users for political purposes.

Furthermore, a NYT report released on Sunday claimed Facebook gave at least 60 different firms including Apple, Samsung and Microsoft access to their users’ data without their explicit permission.

Dotcom founded, and was the majority shareholder in, Megaupload, a company that provided online file storage and viewing services. In January 2012, the US Department of Justice closed down the firm’s operations and arrested its owners on charges of operating an organization dedicated to copyright infringement. Dotcom, who holds New Zealand residency, has fought the charges and extradition to the US since.

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Source Article from https://worldtruth.tv/kim-dotcom-asks-snowden-assange-to-help-create-secure-social-media-platform/