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91

      

By Mac Slavo



Debt has become an issue of concern for those who care about their financial future. But with the government setting the terrible example of drastically spending more than they bring in, many in America are following suit and it is leading to a crisis and a red flag for the economy.


Just on the heels of the United States government’s debt surpassing $21 trillion comes the news that there are now a record number of Americans who are behind on their record high car payments. According to CNBC, more than 7 million Americans are at least 90 days behind on their auto loans, according to the New York Fed. This is a major concern, considering the average car payment in the U.S. is now $523.


“More and more people are buying too much car for what they can afford,” said Ed Mierzwinski, senior director of U.S. PIRG’s federal consumer program. Overall, auto debt accounts for about 9 percent of total U.S. consumer debt, up from 6 percent in late 2011, separate data from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City show.


         



      

The amount of Americans currently in default of their car loans is higher than in 2010 when many were still reeling from the 2008 Great Recession, a statistic that is once again, showing that the U.S. economy may not be nearly as strong as the media’s talking heads present. The “number of distressed borrowers suggests that not all Americans have benefited from the strong labor market and warrants continued monitoring and analysis of this sector,” Fed economists say.


Auto debt has soared and with that comes people who cannot pay the bill they signed up for. The dramatic uptick in delinquencies came along with a dramatic $584 billion jump in total auto loan debt. That’s the highest increase in car debt since the New York Fed began keeping track 19 years ago.



Overall, household debt rose by $32 billion, or 0.2 percent, to $13.54 trillion in the fourth quarter. That’s $869 billion higher than the crisis peak of $12.68 trillion and is 21.4 percent above the post-crisis low point in the second quarter of 2013.


Student loan debt edged higher to $1.46 trillion while credit card balances rose to $870 billion, right around their crisis peak. –CNBC



These delinquencies also come as Americans grapple with record levels of consumer debt and student loan debt. In a report issued Wednesday, U.S. PIRG warns that the continuing rise in auto debt is putting many consumers in a financially vulnerable position, which could worsen during an economic downturn. Coupled with consumer and student loan debt, Americans are staring a crisis in the face.


Overall debt carried by Americans also set off red flags as that number ticked up. Americans now owe a record $13.5 trillion and global debt is also a concern. 


Click here to subscribe: Join over one million monthly readers and receive breaking news, strategies, ideas and commentary. You can read more from Mac Slavo at his site SHTFplan.com



   
92

      

By Daniel Taylor


Trump issues executive order on AI.


Trump’s statement says that AI “…must also be developed in a way that does not compromise our American values, civil liberties, or freedoms.”


As President Trump takes the United States on its first steps into the artificial intelligence arms race, it is depending on advice and assistance from the very entities that threaten freedom worldwide.


Trump’s executive order, signed on Monday, will advance research into AI,


The initiative focuses Federal Government resources toward developing AI technology and ensuring that the next great AI inventions are made in the United States.


         



      

Former Google exec Eric Schmidt was recently appointed as chairman of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence.


Google, IBM and Apple have all indicated that they are willing to submit – and have already – to Chinese government regulations in order to operate in the communist country.


The Pentagon is seeking to work with Big Tech to advance AI research.


As reported by Wired,


“The plan depends on the Pentagon working closely with the tech industry to source the algorithms and cloud computing power needed to run AI projects. Federal contracting records indicate that Google, Oracle, IBM, and SAP have signaled interest in working on future Defense Department AI projects.”


Google’s censored search engine “Dragonfly” has stirred controversy across the world.


AI is the “ring of power” that is being greedily sought after by nations. Multiple experts have warned that it holds unpredictable and catastrophic danger.


As the AI arms race quickens, President Trump has not yet addressed the major issue of Big Tech censorship. With the advance of AI technology, the ability to censor free speech will accelerate exponentially.


This article was sourced from Old-Thinker News.


   
93

      

By B.N. Frank


Tens of millions of “Smart” Meters have already been installed in the U.S. and around the world.  They have been associated with so many issues that a documentary was produced and released in 2013, Take Back Your PowerIt was updated in 2017 and is free to watch online.


Issues associated with them include fires, explosions, malfunctioning appliances, measurement errors, and inflated bills.  None of that is obviously good for dementia patients or anyone else really.  They also emit harmful wireless WiFi radiation.  Research has determined that exposure to wireless radiation can disrupt the blood-brain barrier which may cause it to leak.  This can also kill brain cells.  Regardless, utility “Smart” Meters are going to be installed in homes of dementia patients in the UK so they can be monitored and tracked.  As if these dementia patients didn’t already have enough problems…


         



      

From DailyMail:



Dementia patients to be tracked by smart meters so that doctors can monitor any sudden changes that indicate illness, falls or mental decline



Devices will track patients’ daily routines such as when they boil the kettle
Meters then send alerts to family members or carers who can check on patients
Critics warn about a huge range of privacy concerns over data sharing

The NHS is to use energy smart meters to monitor dementia patients in their homes.


[…]


They will flag up any sudden change in behaviour which could indicate an illness, a fall or a decline in their mental state. The meters will be able to send alerts to family members or carers, who can pop round to check if the patient is all right.


[…]


Privacy campaigners warn that the meters will hand suppliers a ‘honeypot’ of data which could be sold on to marketing firms or fall into the hands of hackers.


Researchers at Liverpool John Moores University and the Mersey Care NHS Trust plan to carry out the initial dementia trial on 50 patients, beginning in October.


This will test the ability of the meters to monitor patients’ health and the general progression of their disease. If successful, the trial will be extended to involve 1,000 patients across four NHS trusts.


The smart meters involved in the dementia study can monitor patients’ energy use every ten seconds. They will be connected to a central computer system which will learn patients’ daily routines, such as when they normally use certain electrical appliances.








For more information about utility “Smart” Meters, visit the following websites:



Americans for Responsible Technology
Center For Electrosmog Prevention
Center For Safer Wireless
Coalition to Stop Smart Meters
Electricsense
EMF Safety Network
Generation Zapped
In Power Movement
Scientists for Wired Tech
Smart Meter Education Network
Smart Grid Awareness
SmartMeterHarm
StopSmartMeters.org
Take Back Your Power
Wireless Information Network

   
94

      

By Elias Marat


Tulsi Gabbard, Hawaii’s democratic congresswoman and one of many entrants in the crowded 2020 presidential race, is already turning heads thanks to her anti-interventionist foreign policy approach and progressive stance on a variety of issues, making her an outlier among establishment Democrats.


If her pre-campaign messaging and campaign launch speech are any indicator, the potential presidential contender has no intention of backing down – especially when it comes to her strong advocacy of medical marijuana and harsh criticisms of the criminal justice system and pharmaceutical industry.


Declaring her formal entrance into the Democratic Party presidential primaries, Gabbard issued a rousing call to end the for-profit prison industry, which has seen private corrections corporations rake in profits while shirking prisoners’ and immigrant detainees’ food, health care, and other essential services while exploiting incarcerated people as essentially slave labor.


“We must stand up against private prisons, who are profiting off the backs of those caught up in a broken criminal justice system,” Gabbard said.


Continuing, she added that “a system that puts people in prison for smoking marijuana while allowing corporations like Purdue Pharma, who are responsible for the opioid-related deaths of thousands of people, to walk away scot-free with their coffers full.”




Purdue Pharma, the company responsible for making the OxyContin narcotic pill, was recently exposed in court filings by the Massachusetts attorney general to have deliberately conspired to mislead doctors and patients about the dangerous and addictive nature of the opioid in hopes of maximizing company profits.


Gabbard added:


This so-called criminal justice system, which favors the rich and powerful and punishes the poor, cannot stand.


Gabbard, an Iraq war veteran and member of Congress since 2013 who previously served as a state legislator in Hawaii and city councilmember in Honolulu, has long been a supporter of progressive cannabis laws and opponent of federal prohibition laws.




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Last year, pro-legalization political advocacy committee National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML PAC) hailed Gabbard as a leader in the fight for criminal justice reform and the decriminalization of marijuana on a federal level.


In their endorsement of the congresswoman from Hawaii, the group laid out her extensive work demanding sensible cannabis policies:


She is the lead Democratic sponsor of the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act, which would take marijuana off the federal controlled substances list. She introduced the Marijuana Data Collection Act, which lays the groundwork for real reform by producing an objective, evidence-based report on current state marijuana laws. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has called for closing the gaps between federal and state law to resolve current contradictions and provide legally abiding marijuana businesses with clear access to financial services. She also co-sponsored the Marijuana Justice Act to reform unjust federal marijuana laws and empower minority communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the failed War on Drugs, the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act to allow equal banking access and financial services for marijuana-related businesses, and the RESPECT Resolution to encourage equity in the marijuana industry.


Gabbard has also drawn a sharp nexus between the demands of Big Pharma lobbyists and continued prohibition laws. Last year, she shredded then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions for rescinding the Obama-era Department of Justice memo, or Cole Memorandum, that instructed federal prosecutors to not enforce federal prohibition laws in states that legalized marijuana, characterizing the move as one which would “exacerbate an inhumane, ineffective system that tears families apart.”


“Sessions’ actions to protect the bottom lines of the for-profit private prison industry, and Big Pharma whose opioids and drugs flourish in part due to the marijuana prohibition, while trampling on states’ rights and turning everyday Americans into criminals is an injustice,” she wrote on Twitter.





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And in a 2017 statement calling for an end to federal prohibition, Gabbard demanded that the government “work for people like veterans and healthcare advocates instead of pharmaceutical lobbyists who will continue to push dangerous and addictive painkillers even amidst an opioid epidemic.”


Gabbard isn’t the only contender to call out the pharmaceutical industry’s role in stalling marijuana legalization and criminal justice reform.


Recent entrant and New York Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillebrand has also blasted Big Pharma, noting:


To them, it’s competition for chronic pain, and that’s outrageous because we don’t have the crisis in people who take marijuana for chronic pain having overdose issues … It’s not the same thing. It’s not as highly addictive as opioids are.



This article was sourced from The Mind Unleashed.


   
            


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95

      

By Aaron Kesel


After a short delay, European Union lawmakers are continuing their journey to censor the Internet and have agreed on changes to the text of Articles 11,12 and 13, The Independent reported. Meanwhile, Anonymous and Pirates are planning on-the-ground and online actions against the proposed Copyright Directives.


Germany and France agreed on a horrendous “compromise” version of Article 13 following heated debated, which claims to protect small businesses. However, in the fine print of the law, it almost protects no website as Julia Reda points out.


To qualify for protection, the website in question has to meet the following criteria:



Less than 3 years old
Have less than €10 million ($11 million USD) in revenue
Have less than 5 million unique visits per month

The new pieces of legislation will be put before MEPs, who will decide on the controversial copyright rules at a later to-be-announced date.


         



      

Activists and corporations alike claim the new rules – particularly Article 11 and Article 13 –  will forever change central parts of the Internet.


Google and its subsidiary YouTube, as well as Wikipedia and many others, have argued that the new rules could prevent Web users from being able to search and share content as freely as current laws allow.


Julia Reda, a German MEP of Pirate Parties International and prominent opponent to the reforms, expressed outrage:


Dirty deal between France and Germany prevails, for now: Council ready to continue negotiations on the worst version of Article 13 yet, next stop negotiations with Parliament. Call your MEPs now!




As Activist Post previously reported, Article 13 is designed to make website owners responsible for the content that users post on their websites, effectively forcing website owners to move behind an upload filter to protect themselves against huge claims by copyright owners and agencies that work on their behalfs like the MPAA and RIAA. Article 11 is an even worse concept. That has been dubbed the “link tax” article; if passed, linking to any copyrighted material is taxed upon.


Imagine wanting to link to a news article because you want to have a free discussion about it? Under the law, you the user may now need to pay to link the article of copyrighted material — absolute insanity!


This is something that “will destroy our internet, And we cannot accept it. So we are fighting back. Activists, hacktivists and pirates are now uniting under the banner of StopACTA2,” Anonymous Bites Back writes.


Anonymous Bites Back further expresses that the radio show hosted by Anons is in “full support of the (street) protests against these Orwellian moves to censor the internet. We have had several episodes about this subject already, and we plan to join the protesters on the street and broadcast live to our network.”


So what has changed since then? Not much. However, it may be good news that Italy is now on our side and has denounced the Articles, telling the rest of the EU to drop Articles 11 And 13 from the Copyright Directive to protect Internet users.



“The priority for Italy is the elimination of the link tax and direct or indirect filters on the content uploaded by the users of the platforms, together with an extension of the exceptions to copyright allowing the development of the data economy. Under these conditions, Italy is ready to adhere to a proposal that should come from the Romanian Presidency,” Luigi Di Maio, Minister of Economic Development said.


“We are calling for change at the European level – concludes the Minister – of the famous articles 11 and article 13 of the directive. The network must be kept free and neutral because it is a fundamental infrastructure for the free expression of citizens as well as for the Italian system and for the European Union itself “.



This means that unofficially the countries that opposed the directive as it was were: Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Slovakia, Sweden, and Malta. Slovenia chose to abstain, Poland In, reported. That leaves 20 countries, or 19 if Brexit goes through, to decide the fate of the Internet and freedom of information.


Pirate Party MEP Julia Reda notes that users will be responsible and liable for any copyright infringements they make on Internet platforms.


“The negotiators have reached agreement on the core of Article 13, which will change the internet as we know it: They want to make internet platforms directly liable for any copyright infringements their users commit,” Reda notes.


Reda further expresses that the final negotiations will drag on until later this week.




The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) warns that the proposed policies will increase censorship and surveillance throughout Europe creating a Stasi state. The digital rights organization specifically calls on people from Germany, Sweden, Poland, and Luxembourg, to speak out.


“Your national government depends on your goodwill to win the votes to continue its mandate. This is a rare moment in European lawmaking when local connections from citizens matter more than well-funded, international corporations,” EFF writes.


Supporters of the fight against ACTA 2 include wolnemedia, SoMee.Social, Bitchute, Presearch, blogmedia24, Anonymous Bites Back, wykop, polskapartiapiratow, Pirate Parties International,  kontestacja, Hackread.com, inspro, Stowarzyszenie Libertarianskie, Anonymous Info Army Poland, and Anon Ops Poland according to the StopActa2.org website.


Numerous other organizations and individuals are coming out and speaking about the negotiations of Articles 11, 12a and 13 and what’s fundamentally wrong with them.




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Already, 54 NGOs including the EFF and 40 academics have issued separate open letters to the EU Council stating these “texts risk creating severe impediments” or the Internet and its users.


The NGOs declared that the implementation of Article 11 is both unnecessary, as well as a risk to a majority of media and hinders the ability of users to share information. Similarly, they note that Article 13’s requirement for “error-prone, intrusive and legally questionable” upload filters represent a threat to fundamental rights, leading to the blocking of legitimate content.


Academics have expressed much of the same concerns when rumors began that the EU was discussing the potential copywrong policies in 2016.


However, scholars note they are doubtful of “CJEU case law and its reference to the European Charter of Fundamental Rights and whether Article 13 of the proposed copyright Directive is actually proportionate, even if Article 17(2) of the European Charter provides that intellectual property shall be protected, as Article 17(2) does not have the same beneficiary basis as Articles 7 and 11. Articles 7 and 11 of the European Charter are fundamental pillars of any democratic society. Copyright infringements should not be put too quickly in the same category as serious crimes such as child pornography.”


In December, a more than 4 million strong petition of Internet users and businesses was sent to the European Parliament calling for an end to the ACTA 2 proposals in the various Articles for “reforming digital copyright law.”


EFF notes that the petition was created because the law will inevitably lead to the creation of algorithmic copyright filters that only US Big Tech companies can afford (making the field less competitive and thus harder for working artists to negotiate better deals in) and because these filters will censor enormous quantities of legitimate material, thanks to inevitable algorithmic errors and abuse.


Creative Sectors are also calling for a suspension of negotiations on Article 13 with 14 organizations calling for its halt, according to Creative Refresh another group supporting a “free and open Internet.”




Behind the scenes, several movements are working on an Internet blackout similar to 2012 when activists fought against the original ACTA proposing laws for the Internet. To put things into further perspective for readers, what’s occurring in the EU is ACTA on steroids; the consequences if this passes will forever change the Internet. Websites will be required to purchase expensive and problematic upload filters, and user-generated content will almost seemingly cease to exist because it will also be impossible to link to source material, including educational content. Oh and if you like memes — those, too, can be copyrighted and licensed.


Wikipedia and WikiTribune founder Jimmy Wales tweeted he would support an Internet blackout to bring attention to the current growing crisis.



96

      

By B.N. Frank


It’s worth noting that cell phone manufacturers have been warning shareholders that they may eventually be held liable for harm caused by their products.  Insurance companies don’t seem to be interested in doing business anymore with “Big Wireless” either.


This new list from Fossbytes isn’t the first and it probably won’t be the last compilation of the most and the least radiation emitting smartphones.  Of course, exposure to all sources of wireless WiFi radiation (not just cell phones) cause a wide variety of health issues including increased cancer risk.  It can also disrupt the blood-brain barrier which can cause it to leak as well as kill brain cells.


         



      


Exposure can cause bacteria to become antibiotic resistant as well.  It can even make your skin age faster.


Distance is your friend when it comes to ALL sources of cell phone and wireless WiFi radiation.  Thanks to Fossbytes for the great article and lists:



Smartphone addiction is real and is slowly turning into an unhealthy obsession that is messing the minds of people. While we consider lengthy exposure to screens as a major issue, we often fail to neglect other harmful effects that smartphones can have on our health. The radiofrequency waves emitted by phones can even cause cancerous tumors, according to cancer.org.


Every smartphone comes with a Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) value that quantifies the amount of radiofrequency waves emitted from a smartphone. Higher the SAR value, more are the chances of users getting exposed to the harmful radiation. You can usually find SAR value of your device at its official website or in the user manual.


But if you are looking forward to purchasing a smartphone in 2019 that emits the least amount of radiation, here is a list you can refer to. The list has been compiled by German Federal Office for Radiation Protection (Bundesamt fur Strahlenschutz) and published by Statista.com.




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Samsung Note 8 owners are least prone to radiations and out of the 16 enlisted smartphones, eight are from Samsung.


Now, don’t you want to know the smartphones which emit the highest amount of radiation? Here, is the list you need to see.


Xiaomi Mi A1 is the smartphone emitting maximum levels of radiations. As evident from the list above, popular Chinese smartphone maker companies like Xiaomi and OnePlus come with the most harmful effects.


Sadly, I own a OnePlus 5T which is second in this list and if you don’t see any more posts from me, you can blame it on OnePlus for it.






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Of course, radiation exposure isn’t the only way we might be harmed by smartphones.  They can also catch fire.  How not cool is that?


For more information, visit the following websites:



Wireless Information Network
Americans for Responsible Technology
Center For Safer Wireless
Clear Light Ventures
ElectromagneticHealth
EMF Safety Network
Environmental Health Trust
Generation Zapped
National Association for Children and Safe Technology
Parents for Safe Technology
Physicians for Safe Technology
SaferEMR
SafeTechForSchools
StopSmartMeters.org
Take Back Your Power
We Are The Evidence
Wireless Right to Know

 


   
            


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97

      

By Tyler Durden


Just south of Tampa, Fla., students at the Manatee School for the Arts (MSA) roam the hallways past an armed combat veteran who is constantly looking out for threats. By the end of February, another one will be manning a guard shack at at the school’s entrance.


39-year-old Harold Verdecia, a former infantryman in the US Army who completed tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, patrols the hallways of Manatee strapped with a 9mm Glock 19X and a Kel-Tec “Bullpup” rifle, according to the Herald Tribune.



Verdecia isn’t there to get to know the kids, break up fights or do the typical community-policing that school resource officers typically do, said MSA Principal Bill Jones.


Verdecia has one job: Stop an active shooter. –Herald Tribune



         



      

“When seconds count, (Palmetto police) are only a few minutes away,” says Principal Jones – who has gamed out the nightmare school shooter scenario in exacting detail. He’s also justified Verdecia’s use of a semi-automatic rifle instead of just a handgun.


“We’re not looking for a fair fight,” Jones said in an interview cited by the New York Times. “We’re looking at an overwhelming advantage.”


With a shooter just 100 feet away, there aren’t many officers who could take the suspect down with a handgun, according to Jones. With a rifle, however, Verdecia could make that shot with hollow-point bullets designed to flower on impact and shred the shooter’s internal organs instead of exiting his body and hitting someone else.



In order to become a guardian, Verdercia completed the 144-hour training course that the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office ran for the school district, plus additional training to be qualified to carry the rifle. District general counsel Mitch Teitelbaum said while school district guardians are trained using 9-millimeter Glocks, charter schools have the freedom to arm their guardians with other weapons.


Despite his status as perhaps the most lethal guardian in Manatee County, Verdecia is soft spoken and quietly dedicated to his task. He estimated he walks 9 miles a day, patrolling the vast campus.


Jones said Verdecia earns more than $50,000 a year, plus benefits, to protect the more than 2,000 students at MSA. He is hoping to hire another guardian soon, and Jones was reviewing applications in his office on Thursday. –Herald Tribune



To protect himself from incoming fire, Verdecia wears body armor.





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To hire Verdecia and his new co-worker, MSA took advantage of a law passed by Florida lawmakers in the wake of last February’s shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School requiring all schools to have armed security. Most districts achieved this through a combination of school resource officers and guardians – and most just carry handguns, according to the Herald Tribune. Principal Jones justifies the decision to arm Verdecia with a rifle. “It’s just a much more effective weapon than the handgun is.”


Security expert Michael Dorn, executive director of Safe Havens International, says he is not aware of any other school guards who carry long guns, though it is commonplace in some foreign countries.


“It’s not something that we typically advise our clients to do for a variety of reasons,” said Dorn, noting that someone might knock the officer out and take the weapon, and it’s not as easy to subdue and handcuff someone while carrying a rifle.



Not everyone agrees with MSA’s approach to school safety, according to the Herald Tribune.


“You don’t walk around with an assault rifle strapped to your chest in a school. That is not the normal policy of police agencies,” said retired police chief Walt Zalisko, who now owns a Daytona Beach-based global investigative group and police management consulting business.



Zalisko said it is best practice to keep rifles locked up within a police car or in a secure location, and he said guardians or school resource officers are more effective when they are able to regularly engage with students, rather than viewing their job as solely stopping a mass shooter.




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“His job is to protect the kids, and he can do that with a handgun, but it is also to form positive relationships,” Zalisko said. “Develop information on who may have drugs or weapons. There is a lot involved.” –Herald Tribune


Principal Jones, meanwhile, said he has worked closely with Palmetto Police Chief Scott Tyler to develop MSA’s guardian program – efforts which Tyler has given his blessing.


Assault rifles, whether you are for them or against them, are prolific in our society,” Tyler said. “Lord knows how many assault-type rifles are out there. So why would we not want the school guardian to have parity with that potential threat?


Jones says that most people have responded positively to Verdecia’s presence on campus aside from occasional complaints, and that Verdecia’s status as a former combat veteran has had a lot to do with it.


“I wouldn’t hire anybody who hadn’t been shot at and fired back,” said Jones. “I need someone who has been in that situation.”



By Tyler Durden / Republished with permission / Zero Hedge



This article was sourced from The Mind Unleashed.


   


            


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98

      

By MassPrivateI


The die has been cast, whether it is digital drivers licenses, digital license plates, license plate readers or facial recognition cameras. Everyone from private corporations to law enforcement follows the same script; offer Americans customer loyalty rewards programs in exchange for the loss of their privacy.


Surveillance politics and law enforcement regularly tout license plate readers as a necessary extension of public safety at the expense of our privacy. But now things have gotten out of control as a recent Quartz headline warned “In just two years, 9,000 of these cameras (ALPR) were installed to spy on your car.”


A Massachusetts company called Novume which recently acquired Open ALPR Technology Inc. boasts that their free software is being used by private corporations and governments in more than 9,000 private license plate readers worldwide.


         



      


Novume’s press release said,


OpenALPR Technology, Inc., a company that develops software for automatic license plate and vehicle recognition systems, announced that paid contracts for its artificial intelligence-based LPR solutions now cover over 9,200 cameras as the company achieved further penetration of the global vehicle recognition system market which is expected to reach $4.25B by 2023. This represents more than a 2,960% increase, from approximately 300 licensed cameras at the end of 2016, the year in which OpenALPR initiated sales.




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Quartz’s article warned that “anyone who downloads it (Open ALPR) can turn a single web-connected camera into an automatic license plate reader that can monitor traffic across a four-lane highway with 99% accuracy.”


Quartz’s article also revealed what I have been warning people about for years, malls, towing companies, garbage trucks and more are secretly creating a private database of our daily travels.


It is time for the public to stand up to law enforcement and politicians and tell them we no longer believe their lies. Especially after Novume revealed how license plate reader companies plan to create a “global vehicle recognition market.”


License plate readers use customer loyalty rewards to gain acceptance


In the beginning of my story, I mentioned that customer loyalty rewards were being offered to Americans in exchange for the loss of their privacy. Novume’s Press Release page boasts about how they offer customer loyalty rewards to Smart City projects, educational facilities, parking management etc.


We’re excited to achieve the milestone of over 9,000 cameras, and to work through our pipeline to surpass 10,000 cameras and beyond in 2019, said Erik Strafford, OpenALPR’s Director of Business Development. Demand for LPR solutions continues to increase within industries like law enforcement, private security, smart city applications, parking management and customer loyalty programs, as well as security for corporate and educational facilities.




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What will it take for people to fight back against Big Brother/corporate spying? 10,000 or 20,000 private license plate readers?  Where will Americans finally draw the line?


Corporate/law enforcement loyalty rewards programs have become the norm.


It is time for Americans to see what is really behind the curtain [of public safety]. Americans need to see how customer loyalty rewards programs are part of a massive interconnected surveillance network.


Below is a list of 13 disturbing corporate/law enforcement customer loyalty rewards programs currently in use today.



Reviver Auto’s digital license plate “customer loyalty rewards program.”

IDEMIA’s digital drivers license “customer loyalty rewards program.”

Hertz Global Holdings, Inc. “customer loyalty rewards program.”

Lincoln Motor Company uses a “customer loyalty rewards program” to convince drivers to accept CLEAR biometric scanners in their cars.
The Texas DOT has created an HOV “customer loyalty rewards program.”

E-ZPass’s national “driver loyalty rewards discount program.”

DHS/law enforcement’s Platinum spy on your neighbor cam-share “customer loyalty rewards program.”

Professional sports leagues across the country use “customer loyalty rewards programs” to convince the public to accept CLEAR biometric scanners.
Retailers and facial recognition companies plan to identify shoppers by offering them a “customer loyalty rewards program.”

Blackboard Transact’s plan to track college and high school students purchases by offering them a “customer loyalty rewards program.”

Numerous public transit “customer loyalty rewards programs.” (A Google search returned close to five million hits.)
Airline “customer loyalty rewards programs.” (A Google search returned close to 10 million hits.)
Novume’s license plate reader “customer loyalty rewards program.”


Sadly, this list will continue to grow until Americans realize that they are part of a master plan to track everyone and by then it might be too late.


You can read more at the MassPrivateI blog, where this article first appeared.


   
            


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99

      

By Dave Kranzler


I get a kick out of these billionaires and centimillionaires, like Kyle Bass yesterday, who appear on financial television to look the viewer in the eye and tell them that economy is booming.  Kyle Bass doesn’t expect a mild recession until mid-2020. Hmmm – explain that rationale to the 78%+ households who are living paycheck to paycheck, bloated with a record level of debt and barely enough savings to cover a small emergency.


After dining on a lunch fit for Elizabethan royalty with Trump, Jerome Powell decided it was a good idea to make an attempt at reflating the stock bubble. After going vertical starting December 26th, the Dow had been moving sideways since January 18th, possibly getting ready to tip over. The FOMC took care of that with its policy directive on January 30th, two hours before the stock market closed. Notwithstanding the Fed’s efforts to reflate the stock bubble – or at least an attempt to prevent the stock market from succumbing to the gravity of deteriorating fundamentals – at some point the stock market is going to head south abruptly again. That might be the move that precipitates the renewal of money printing.


         



      

Contrary to the official propaganda, the economy must be in far worse shape than can be gleaned from the publicly available data if the Fed is willing to stop nudging rates higher a quarter of a point at a time and hint at the possibility of more money printing “if needed.” Remember, the Fed has access to much more detailed and accurate data than is made available to the public, including Wall Street. The Fed sees something in the numbers that sent them retreating abruptly and quickly from any attempt to tighten monetary policy.


For me, this graphic conveys the economic reality as well as any economic report:



The chart above shows the Wall Street analyst consensus earnings growth rate for each quarter in 2019. Over the last three months, the analyst consensus EPS forecast has been reduced 8% to almost no earnings growth expected in Q1 2019. Keep in mind that analyst forecasts are based on management “guidance.” The nearest next quarter always has the sharpest pencil applied to projections because corporate CFO’s have most of the numbers that go into “guidance.” As you can see, earnings growth rate projections have deteriorated precipitously for all four quarters. The little “U” turn in Q4 is the obligatory “hockey stick” of optimism forecast.


Perhaps one of the best “grassroots” fundamental indicators is the mood of small businesses, considered the backbone of the U.S. economy. After hitting a peak reading of 120 in 2018, the Small Business Confidence Index fell of a cliff in January to 95. The index is compiled by Vistage Worldwide, which compiles a monthly survey of 765 small businesses. Just 14% expect the economy to improve this year and 36% expect it to get worse. For the first time since the 2016 election, small businesses were more pessimistic about their own financial prospects than they were a year earlier, including plans for hiring and investment.


The Vistage measure of small business “confidence” was reinforced by the National Federation of Independent Businesses confidence index which plunged to its lowest level since Trump elected. It seems the “hope” that was infused into the American psyche and which drove the stock market to nose-bleed valuation levels starting in November 2016 has leaked out of the bubble. The Fed will not be able to replace that hot air with money printing.


I would argue that small businesses are a reflection of the sentiment and financial condition of the average household, as these businesses are typically locally based service and retail businesses. The sharp drop in confidence in small businesses correlates with the sharp drop in the Conference Board’s consumer confidence numbers.




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The negative economic data flowing from the private sector thus reflects a much different reality than is represented by the sharp rally in the stock market since Christmas and the general level of the stock market. At some point, the stock market will “catch down” to reality. This move will likely occur just as abruptly and quickly as the rally of the last 6 weeks.


You can read more from Dave Kranzler at his site Investment Research Dynamics.


Image credit: Pixabay


 


   
            


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100

      

By Stefan Gleason


Socialist Venezuela’s economic collapse and hyperinflationary spiral serves as a warning for American investors. It’s what can happen when a government spends perpetually beyond its means and refuses to face reality.


Despite a U.S. economy that appears relatively strong and stable on the surface, its foundation is beginning to crack under the pressure of a $22 trillion (and growing) debt load.


Both Republicans and Democrats are to blame for that. But rising pro-socialist sentiment within the Democrat Party could turn our current debt danger into a clear and present disaster.


We are potentially just one election away from heading down a road to economic ruin – one that could bring about a Third World-style hyperinflation in the United States.


         



      

In his State of the Union Address last week, President Donald Trump specifically warned Americans of the dangers of socialism. He noted that it is gaining traction within some quarters of American politics.


He concluded, “Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country.”


Tellingly, many Democrats refused to applaud in approval.


Bernie Sanders, who nearly won the Democrat presidential nomination in 2016 as an avowed socialist, scowled. His Senate colleague, Massachusetts ultra-liberal Ed Markey, sat stone faced with arms folded. Meanwhile, rising far-left star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tuned out Trump and plotted her next publicity stunt.


Cortez, Sanders, Markey, and 2020 presidential hopefuls including Cory Booker are pushing what they call a “Green New Deal.”


This radical proposal would be the biggest expansion of government size and power in history.


It would impose draconian, economically crippling restrictions on industry and transportation while authorizing trillions of dollars in new spending on everything from windmill farms, to universal college, to universal healthcare, to reparations for historically aggrieved groups, to “economic security” handouts to people who are “unable or unwilling to work.”


“The Green New Deal Would Spend the U.S. Into Oblivion,” blared a Bloomberg headline.


The article warned of “unrealistic and ruinously expensive economic proposals” contained in the Green New Deal. It would “take every big spending idea that has emerged on the political left in recent years and combine them into one large package deal, with little notion of how to pay for them all.”


The Green New Deal would plunge the United States into full-fledged socialism. If a champion of it like Cory Booker somehow wins the White House in 2020 and Republicans lose the Senate, there may be no stopping America’s march toward economic oblivion.


This political “black swan” scenario is just one among other potential triggers of hyperinflation. A world war or a systemic failure of the Fed-backed fractional reserve banking system are other potential triggering events.




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A currency crisis of some magnitude (which may or may not reach the level of hyperinflation) appears to be inevitable even under favorable assumptions about our political and economic future.


The Congressional Budget Office (CBO), in its recent report “The Budget and Economic Outlook: 2019 to 2029,” projects an unprecedented surge in the size of the national debt relative to the economy.



Publicly Held U.S. Government Debt (Percentage of GDP)


Publicaly Held U.S. Gov't Debt


Source: Congressional Budget Office



This is just the CBO’s baseline forecast. Under more pessimistic assumptions (higher spending levels, lower tax revenues, and/or higher interest rates), the debt to GDP ratio could rise even more steeply.


And if a black swan event were to hit on the scale of a world war, the debt could hyperinflate – requiring a hyperinflation of the currency to service it.


As the CBO acknowledges in its report, “High and rising federal debt would reduce national saving and income, boost the government’s interest payments, limit lawmakers’ ability to respond to unforeseen events, and increase the likelihood of a fiscal crisis.”




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All previous surges in debt, triggered by wars or economic crises, were unexpected and temporary in nature. The debt surge we now are in the midst of is chronic in nature – the result of decades of fiscally irresponsible policies.


It could have been avoided – and would have if politicians had been subject to the constraints of a sound money standard (gold and silver) all these years.


As Larry Parks of the Foundation of the Advancement of Monetary Education said in a recent Money Metals podcast interview, “With paper money there is no limit to how much money you can spend.


And if you have unlimited spending you get unlimited government. And if you have unlimited government the people in charge have unlimited power. They like that. Gold stands in the way.”


Gold is an essential asset for investors to own as protection against a currency debasement and possible hyperinflation. Silver, though, may be more the practical precious metal to have on hand if a wrecked economy degenerates into black market and barter transactions.


In hyperinflationary Venezuela, locals treat the official currency, the bolivar, like toilet paper. As it depreciates by the hour, they eagerly swap bolivars out for more stable foreign currencies or alternative underground currencies including gold, silver, and cryptocurrencies.


Surviving hyperinflation requires flexibility and adaptability. It will impoverish those who rely on conventional sources of income and savings.


You won’t necessarily get rich by owning precious metals, even as their prices shoot up in nominal terms. But you will preserve your purchasing power over time, regardless of how many trillions or quadrillions the government adds to the national debt.


Stefan Gleason is President of Money Metals Exchange, a precious metals dealer recently named “Best in the USA” by an independent global ratings group. A graduate of the University of Florida, Gleason is a seasoned business leader, investor, political strategist, and grassroots activist. Gleason has frequently appeared on national television networks such as CNN, FoxNews, and CNBC and in hundreds of publications such as the Wall Street Journal, TheStreet.com, and Seeking Alpha.


   
            


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