Net Neutrality Is Obamacare All Over Again

Rush Limbaugh: I’ve never felt more surrounded by ignorance than I am. I don’t mean here. I’m talking about opinion leaders and CEOs, tech leaders, industry leaders. I have never seen such ignorance in my life. I don’t know how to deal with it. This net neutrality features almost as much ignorance as there was going into Obamacare, and to me there’s no excuse for the ignorance anymore.

We’ve got seven years, six and a half years now — let’s count the year of the campaign, make it seven years. Seven years, there is no excuse for not knowing who the man is leading the country. There’s no excuse for not getting it. There is no excuse for not being able to open your eyes and see what’s right in front of your face. And yet with every issue, with every issue that comes up, it’s like nobody’s learned anything. Or even worse, if they have learned it, they don’t care.

The government is taking more and more freedom and liberty away from individuals and organizations and groups than ever before. And they’re not even having to fight for it. In some cases they’re buying it, cronyism, socialism, capitalism. In some cases they’re buying it with welfare checks, but they’re buying it….

Without any convincing evidence of market failure, the Internet is a shining example of entrepreneurism on the march. It’s a shining example of competition, technological advancement, my God, the things the Internet has made possible, no wonder the government wants control of it. No wonder the left wants control of it. People like it more than they like the government. People like the Internet more than they like Obama. Can’t have that.

“Here is the nub of the matter,” according to Randolph J. May. “By choosing to regulate Internet providers as old-fashioned public utilities in order to enforce ‘neutrality’ mandates, the commission will discourage private-sector investment and innovation for many years to come, if only as a result of the litigation that will be spawned and the uncertainty that will be created. And the new government mandates inevitably will lead to even more than the usual special interest pleading at the FCC, as Internet companies try to advantage themselves and disadvantage their competitors by seeking favored regulatory treatment.”

You know, it’s so simple. We’ve been down this road I don’t know how many times just most recently with Obamacare, and Obamacare is the model, by the way, for net neutrality. The Regime is using the exact same model.

“From all indications, the FCC contemplates that the new rules will be sufficiently burdensome and costly — and sufficiently ambiguous — that affected parties will be invited to seek exemptions from the new mandates through ‘waiver’ requests or other administrative mechanisms.”

So they’re gonna knowingly implement a bunch of arduous, complicated, punishing regulations, and then they’re gonna invite injured parties to come up and ask for exemptions or waivers. Knowingly this is going to happen. To the uninitiated who may be shouting, “Why, why?” Because this is how you get control. This is how, if you’re Obama and the government, you simply take control of the Internet and make it yours. And then you implement all of these burdensome regulations.

But, for most favored supporters you can get an exemption, but your competitors may not. How badly do you want to support the Regime? How badly and how loyally will you support the Democrat Party? “Oh, forever. Whatever you need.” Fine. You’ve got your waiver. But your competitor doesn’t. We’ll help you put your competitor out of business in exchange for your loyalty to the Democrat Party. And that’s how it’s gonna go.

That’s how it’s gone with Obamacare, and that’s exactly how this is imagined. We haven’t even gotten to the nature of the burdensome regulations, the punitive nature of them and how they’re gonna bottleneck the Internet, and how they’re gonna stifle innovation. And when he writes here, “The commission will discourage private-sector investment and innovation,” why would you invest in a company that’s gonna be more and more regulated by the government? Why would you invest in such a company when you can’t have any idea what’s gonna happen? The company’s fortunes are gonna be directly tied to the government’s opinion of it….

By Rush Limbaugh – The Rush Limabaugh Show –

Florida city spies on churches, demands licenses

A Florida city’s code-enforcement division, which was subject in 2013 to a scathing audit for falsifying inspections, employing unqualified inspectors and failing to clean up nuisance properties, has now decided to go after churches.

The City of Lake Worth, in Palm Beach County, has taken the position all churches are required to obtain a “business license” to conduct worship services. It is using city employees to covertly attend services and acquire evidence, including video, “for future court presentation.”

City-code enforcement officer, Gerard A. Coscia – wearing a hoodie – was sent to the Common Ground Church on Feb. 9 to clandestinely film the worship service, reported the Examiner.

The following Sunday, Coscia returned to the church, which meets in the Coffee Grounds Coffee Bar, handed his business card to pastor Mike Olive and told him, “This Sunday is your last Sunday.”

Olive said he had never received a notice from the city for any violation of any local law, and only learned a non-compliance affidavit had been issued when a church employee checked the city website.

“I inspected the property and found the following violations: Business-rental property found without a current City of Lake Worth business license, specifically to operate as a church, or a house of worship,” Coscia wrote in his case narrative….

But Common Grounds Coffee Bar does have a business license, Olive told the Lake Worth Tribune. He should know – he owns the business. And the site is not a church – it’s a coffee shop that leases space to a church every Sunday morning in the same manner other city restaurants and businesses rent their back rooms to neighborhood groups for their meetings. The Common Grounds site has….

By Jay Baggett – WND –

Supreme Court takes up religion in the workplace

The Supreme Court will hear arguments Wednesday in a case that could help define the limits of religious freedom in the workplace.

The case, known as Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) v. Abercrombie, centers on Samantha Elauf, a practicing Muslim who applied for a position as a model at the Abercrombie Kids store in Tulsa, Okla., in 2008. She was denied employment because she was wearing a black headscarf, known as hijab, during her interview.

Abercrombie has a “look policy” that prohibits employees from wearing black clothing and “caps;” it rates prospective employees based on their dress. Though the policy fails to define what constitutes a “cap,” it says an employee is subject to “disciplinary action up to and including termination for failing to comply with” the cap policy.

In the case, the EEOC argues that Abercrombie violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act by failing to accommodate Elauf’s religious beliefs. Abercrombie claims Elauf never informed hiring managers of the conflict and that allowing her to wear a headscarf would have imposed an undue hardship on the Ohio-based company.

The company’s position was upheld by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, after a federal district court sided with the EEOC.

The high court must decide whether employers have to ask prospective workers if they need a religious accommodation, or if it is it up to the job seekers to make the need known.

Business interests are paying close attention to the case.

By Lydia Wheeler – The Hill –

Speaking Freely About Politics Can Cost You Your Job

HERE’S a quiz for the coming campaign season. Which one of these actions could get you disciplined or fired?

A) Hanging political cartoons on your office door.

B) Sending emails to your colleagues soliciting support for a controversial cause.

C) Writing a blog at home stating your opinions about a local campaign and posting it on Facebook.

D) All of the above.

The answer is D. Now, that’s not an absolute. It depends on whether you are a private or public employee. It also depends on where you live.

But if you’re a nonunion private employee, your boss has great latitude to control your political actions. As Lee Tien, a lawyer with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, put it, “You don’t have the right to speak freely in the workplace.” Or even outside it.

It’s an issue that bubbles up around every major election, said Paula Brantner, executive director of Workplace Fairness, an informational site for employees. But the combination of intense political polarization, the Internet’s power to spread and magnify seemingly innocuous or private statements and technology’s growing ability to blur the line between workplace and home, make it a conundrum for employers and employees.

So it’s crucial that workers and their bosses understand their rights and responsibilities.

Here are the two most important points:

For private employees, who account for about 85 percent of the work force, the First Amendment’s guarantee offers no protection from being fired for something you’ve said, either in the workplace or outside of it, as on social media. That’s because the amendment addresses actions by the government to impede free speech, not by the private sector.

And while federal laws bar employers from firing workers because of such variables as their race, religion and gender, there is no such protection for political affiliation or activity.

A handful of states and localities address this issue, among them New York, California, Colorado, North Dakota and the District of Columbia. The broadest-based laws, such as those in California and New York, make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of an employees’ political activity or beliefs in or out of work, Ms. Brantner said, unless such activity interferes with the functioning of the business….

By Alina Tugend – The New York Times –

Virtual reality a new frontier for religions

Virtual reality technology is going to radically change what it means to attend church in the next fifty years — and maybe much sooner.

While the technology is still in its infancy, however, virtual churches are limited experiments rather than significant outreach efforts – but this will change.

“Numerous persons and groups have developed churches in the virtual world, mainly Second Life,” Rev. Christopher Benek told Hypergrid Business. “I would venture to say that most have been less concerned with true evangelical success and more focused on what their technological exploratory experience may yield in the future.”

Rev. Benek serves at the largest church in the Presbytery of Tropical Florida, the First Prebyterian Church of Ft. Lauderdale, as the Associate Pastor of Family Ministries and Mission. He is also enrolled at Durham University in England where he is working on a Ph.D. in theology focusing on the intersection of technological futurism and eschatology.

For most traditional churches, virtual reality isn’t even on the horizon, he said.

“But for those of us who tend to be more inclined to the developments of human technology, we are keeping abreast of the important advancements that are occurring in the virtual world,” he said. “Personally, I think that as technology like Oculus Rift becomes more developed, immersive, and available to the general public, we may soon be able to easily develop virtual worship and Christian education experiences. This would be a great asset to the church universal, as it will enable the infirm, homebound, and potentially even the poor to participate from afar regardless of their personal mobility or lack of affordable transportation.”

There are a number of other ways in which churches can benefit by removing physical obstacles to worship, he added.

“Congregants and pastors will be able to visit and pray with greater numbers of people more often,” he said.”Small groups will be able to meet more frequently, even at great distances. The way that we currently do care and discipleship will radically change as will our expectations as to what it means to participate in those aspects of the church.”

….“I think the Church, as well as other religious organizations, would benefit from proceeding further in this direction of virtualizing and even open-sourcing their rituals,” Lincoln Cannon, President of the Mormon Transhumanist Association, told Hypergrid Business. “Imagine authenticating to an neurally immersive online temple in which you participate in the mythological re-enactment, adapting the imagery to your personal spiritual needs, perhaps in concert with or according to the guidance of spiritual friends or authorities. I don’t have a particular platform to recommend, but I do feel a great deal of inspiration from this vision of customizing and revitalizing ritual to such extent that re-enactment transcends itself and actually becomes reification: the expression of salvation mythology itself becomes transfiguration to godhood, and the expression of creation mythology itself instantiates new worlds.”

….The story of LifeChurch.tv in Second Life is told in the book Virtually Sacred – Myth and Meaning in World of Warcraft and Second Life, published in 2014 by Oxford University Press, by Robert Geraci, Professor in the Department of Religion at Manhattan College. Geraci argues that virtual worlds can play the role of sacred spaces, places of power where believers can engage in compelling forms of ritual behavior and form online religious communities.

The book reports that many groups in mainstream religions, including Christianity and Islam, established a virtual presence in Second Life, often bypassing institutional channels and creating grassroots communities instead. These virtual communities are often independent of traditional religious hierarchies, and much more open to inter-faith dialogue and alternative lifestyles….

The chapter “Sacred Second Lives” of Virtually Sacred is dedicated to new, emerging religious movements in Second Life. Perhaps more than established religions, new “native” metaverse religions will be able to take full advantage of the endless possibilities of virtual reality and offer a spiritual home to multitudes of people worldwide, especially those who search spiritual meaning independently, outside the legacy framework of mainstream religions….

Of course everything – even religion – runs on money, and how to finance virtual churches will need to be addressed. Many religious communities are self-sustaining through donations, and that financing model will still be viable. Virtual worlds have built-in payment methods, from the Linden dollar to the Bitcoin-like crypto-currency planned for High Fidelity, so that collecting donations in virtual reality will be even easier than in physical churches.

Besides recovery of survival expenses, it’s well known that religion can be a profitable business as well. Other forms of financing include membership fees, merchandising, pay-only events and virtual adventures, donations from wealthy patrons, and discreet sponsorship – or even blatant in-service advertising if the virtual parishioners are willing to put up with that.

By Giulio Prisco – Hypergrid Business –

The Workplace of 2040 : Mind Control, Holograms

MYOB has released its ‘Future of Business: Australia 2040’ report, which examines the possible impact of emerging technologies on business and work over the next 25 years.

While all manner of business interactions will continue to be “formalised, automated and digitised”, the biggest effect will be on what we currently call ‘the workplace’, according to MYOB chief technology officer Simon Raik-Allen.

Driven by the rising cost of energy and transport, the focus of 2040 will be the ‘suburban village’. “You will live, work, eat and learn primarily within walking distance of your house,” he writes.

Communities will pool their resources, people will trade with neighbours and list skills on local noticeboards, drones will deliver packages between communities or “even a coffee and a bagel to your current location”….

Mr Raik-Allen predicts that holographic projection technology will bring about the biggest change to the workplace since email. The seminars that became webinars in the ‘90s and noughties will soon become ‘holonars’.

“You will sit in virtual auditoriums, next to three-dimensional light-based images of your colleagues from around the globe watching a hologram on the stage of someone giving a talk. And you will do this just as easily as you gather in the office today.”

Launching a new business and hiring 500 people could be done in minutes, he argues. “Your company could be just you and a couple of project managers: the thinkers, controlling every aspect of the company through new digital interfaces.”

….Here’s where it gets really crazy. If you thought smartphones and wearables were the height of personal technology, wait until you have chips implanted under your skin and downloadable apps for your brain.

Nanobots will swim through your blood, diagnosing illness and clearing blood clots. Brain augmentations will heighten our senses or allow us to control technology with our minds.

For example, implants in the retina could farm off the raw data to miniature processors implanted in our bodies, analysing the images to identify things that can’t be seen with the naked eye, and then feed that back ‘into the stream’, effectively giving us augmented vision.

“Imagine how that would add to virtual reality,” Mr Raik-Allen says. “100 million nodes [in the retina] is not that many. In 25 years, the processing power of a single phone will probably be condensed to the size of a single red blood cell.”

Already there are examples of rudimentary ‘bio-hacking’, both of the brain and body. One experiment allowed a man to wiggle a rat’s tail with his mind; another demonstrated brain-to-brain communication, allowing two subjects to control each other’s movements.

“These things are already being done invasively, with epilepsy patients for example….

What about mind control in the other direction? Will employers be able to bend recalcitrant employees to their will?

“If you want to be sinister about it, that will certainly be possible,” he says.

“We could work out which brain pattern is associated with looking at Facebook, for example, and which is looking at a spreadsheet. The boss could have a dashboard to see who’s working and who’s not.”

By Frank Chung – News.com –

Why We Got What We Got

“In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happened, you can bet it was planned that way.” — Franklin Delano Roosevelt (Democrat) 32nd President of the USA: 1933 to 1945

“The government, which was designed for the people, has got into the hands of the bosses and their employers, the special interests. An invisible empire has been set up above the forms of democracy.” — Woodrow Wilson, (Progressive Movement Leader) 28th President of the USA: 1913 to 1921

“I am concerned for the security of our great Nation; not so much because of any threat from without, but because of the insidious forces working from within.” — Douglas MacArthur World War II American Five Star General

“I never would have agreed to the formulation of the Central Intelligence Agency back in forty-seven [1947], if I had known it would become the American Gestapo.” — Harry S. Truman, 33rd U.S. President: 1945 to 1953

“The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them.” — Patrick Henry, a Colonial era Patriot

“The individual is handicapped by coming face to face with a conspiracy so monstrous he cannot believe it exists.” — J. Edgar Hoover, Director of the FBI 1924 to 1972

“The real rulers of Washington are invisible and exercise power from behind the scenes.” — Felix Frankfurter, Supreme Court Justice 1939 to 1962

“Sarah, there’s a government inside the government and I don’t control it.” — Bill Clinton (Democrat) 42nd President of the USA: 1993 to 2001

“The age of nations must end. The governments of nations have decided to order their separate sovereignties into one government to which they will surrender their arms.” — U.N. World Constitution

“We shall have world government, whether or not we like it. The only question is whether World Government will be achieved by conquest or consent.” — James Paul Warburg, German-born American banker and financial adviser to President FDR

“A colossal event is upon us, the birth of a New World Order.” — Brent Scowcroft, George H.W. Bush’s National Security Adviser

“In this new world economy, national boundaries are increasingly becoming obsolete.” — Ronald Reagan (Republican) 40th President of the USA: 1981 to 1989

“The main purpose of the Council on Foreign Relations is promoting the disarmament of U.S. sovereignty and national independence and submergence into an all-powerful, one world government.” — Admiral Chester Ward, Judge Advocate General of the U.S. Navy, also a 20-year CFR member, who became its sharpest critic

Who controls money controls the world.

“NAFTA is a major stepping stone to the New World Order.” — Henry Kissinger, a Republican politico

“The modern banking system manufactures money out of nothing. The process is perhaps the most astounding piece of sleight-of-hand that was ever invented.” — Sir Josiah Stamp 1920, Director of the Bank of England

“The one aim of these financiers is world control by the creation of inextinguishable debts.” — Henry Ford, Industrialist and founder of the Ford Motor Company

“The only winner today is big business.” — Stonewall Jackson, supposedly said the day of concession to the North during the Civil War….

It would seem that President Barack Obama is being saddled with venomous blame for the current state of affairs in the Unites States of America. And, that the Democratic Party is being blamed for everything that’s gone wrong. If you remember, Mr. Obama said it was all Bush’s fault! Well, this writer is here to propose that what’s been going on has been in the works for much longer than we know, as the apparent quotations from men in history have spoken to and which, apparently, has been ignored. Shame on us! I guess that’s what we get when we follow pop stars and TV sitcoms as more important than dirty politics, political shenanigans and spoon-fed, controlled media propaganda.

First, let me confess that I’m a registered Independent voter, who believes in being an equal-opportunity-critic to address whatever I think doesn’t pass constitutional muster.

It is my opinion that the current Democratic Obama administration is just the follow through on what’s been put into place shortly after the Kennedy assassination and, even more dramatically, since that fateful day known as 9-11 (2001).

Furthermore, it is my contention that things ramped up several critical notches when President Reagan took a bullet and lived. During that ‘national emergency’, Vice-President George H.W. Bush took over for several hours, during which I think the screws not only were set in place, but tightened to torque capacities for the incoming Agenda 21 that was being worked on under the radar….

Catherine J. Frompovich – Activist Post –

250 Bible Verses About Money

Here are 250 Bible verses for financial advice. Topics include acquisition of wealth, budgeting, business, contentment, debt, ethics, giving, greed, investing, lending, and more.

Proverbs 6:6-8
Go to the ant, sluggard; consider her ways and be wise; who having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provides her food in the summer and gathers her food in the harvest.

Proverbs 21:5
The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenty; but the thoughts of everyone who is hasty only to poverty.

Proverbs 22:3
A prudent one foresees the evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished.

Proverbs 24:3-4
Through wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; and by knowledge the rooms shall be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.

From Christian Personal Finance –

27 Facts Show How Middle Class Has Fared Under Obama

During his State of the Union speech on Tuesday evening, Barack Obama is going to promise to make life better for middle class families. Of course he has also promised to do this during all of his other State of the Union addresses, but apparently he still believes that there are people out there that are buying what he is selling. Each January, he gets up there and tells us how the economy is “turning around” and to believe that much brighter days are right around the corner. And yet things just continue to get even worse for the middle class. The numbers that you are about to see will not be included in Obama’s State of the Union speech. They don’t fit the “narrative” that Obama is trying to sell to the American people. But all of these statistics are accurate. They paint a picture of a middle class that is dying. Yes, the decline of the U.S. middle class is a phenomenon that has been playing out for decades. But without a doubt, our troubles have accelerated during the Obama years. When it comes to economics, he is completely and utterly clueless, and the policies that he has implemented are eating away at the foundations of our economy like a cancer. The following are 27 facts that show how the middle class has fared under 6 years of Barack Obama…

#1 American families in the middle 20 percent of the income scale now earn less money than they did on the day when Barack Obama first entered the White House.

#2 American families in the middle 20 percent of the income scale have a lower net worth than they did on the day when Barack Obama first entered the White House.

#3 According to a Washington Post article published just a few days ago, more than 50 percent of the children in U.S. public schools now come from low income homes. This is the first time that this has happened in at least 50 years.

#4 According to a Census Bureau report that was recently released, 65 percent of all children in the United States are living in a home that receives some form of aid from the federal government.

#5 In 2008, the total number of business closures exceeded the total number of businesses being created for the first time ever, and that has continued to happen every single year since then.

By Michael Snyder – The Economic Collapse –

Oil prices sink further, dollar hit by wage data

Oil prices tumbled again Monday, while most Asian stock markets also retreated after a sell-off in New York at the end of last week in response to data showing weak US wage growth.

The news on wages, which overshadowed another forecast-beating rise in job creation, pushed the dollar down against the euro because it complicates the Federal Reserve’s plans to raise interest rates.

Sydney fell 0.78 percent, or 42.9 points, to close at 5,422.7 and Seoul closed 0.19 percent lower, or 3.75 points, at 1,920.95.

Shanghai — which has surged more than 50 percent over the past year — slipped 1.71 percent, or 56.09 points, to 3,229.32….

Crude prices have lost more than half their value since the middle of last year, with weakness in key markets China and the eurozone adding to the supply and demand crisis.

Wall Street provided a negative lead for stock markets after figures showed US wages grew 1.7 percent year-on-year in December, barely keeping up with inflation and indicating consumer spending power remained low….

Traders latched on to the data, ignoring the fact that unemployment fell to 5.6 percent, the lowest level in six and a half years, while 252,000 new posts were created in December to cap the best year for job creation since 1999.

“Despite the robust US jobs data, markets chose to focus on the weak wages growth and the likelihood that it will keep the Fed Reserve ‘patient’ about any rate hike,” United Overseas Bank said.

Economists took the report as allowing the Fed to delay raising interest rates. This dented speculation of an increase in April and made the dollar less attractive to investors.

“This tug of war between deflation and expectations of the first rate hike in many years by the US Fed is likely to result in intense volatility,” Nader Naeimi at AMP Capital Investors in Sydney, told Bloomberg TV….

From Yahoo News –

Should You Believe What They Tell You, Or What You See?

Sometimes I wish I could just passively accept what my government monarchs and their mainstream media mouthpieces feed me on a daily basis. Why do I have to question everything I’m told?….

Sadly, I’m cursed with a mind that questions everything and trusts no one in authority or associated with the status quo. It’s the reason I don’t read newspapers or watch mainstream media television entertainment propaganda, disguised as news. It’s the reason I will never vote in a national election again. The lesser of two evils is still evil. I’m skeptical of every piece of data fed to the sheep by the government apparatchiks working for the state. The faux journalists being paid millions by one of the six corporations controlling the media and dependent upon the government, Wall Street bankers, and mega-corporations for their advertising revenues regurgitate whatever they are told by those pulling the purse strings. The mainstream media are nothing but propaganda peddlers for the Deep State and truth telling is prohibited in their world of deception, debt, and denial. Their job is to sustain, enhance, and further enrich the status quo by engineering consent through what they report and what they do not report. The true ruling powers who operate in the shadows behind the scenes are men of power, wealth, status and education who truly believe they are better equipped to consciously manage and manipulate the public mind to achieve their ends. They are disciples of the Edward Bernays School of deception, manipulation and propaganda.

The men pulling the strings behind the scenes are drunk with power and their hubris allows them to believe their own infallibility and blinds them to the dire consequences for our country when their debt Ponzi scheme fails. But, as we grow ever closer to the day of reckoning, they will use every means at their disposal to paint a positive picture, regardless of the facts and reality for the average person. The examples of twisting, distorting and outright lying about the economic reality of our times are endless. These are some of the major false storylines peddled by our benevolent corporate fascist leaders:

The BLS reported 321,000 jobs added in November and the unemployment rate at 5.8%. Jobs are plentiful, based upon these statistics.

A skeptical critical thinking individual might ask a few questions or point out a few inconvenient facts the government purveyors of propaganda might not want us to ponder:
•The non-manipulated, non-seasonally adjusted number of jobs in November FELL by 270,000. The BLS added 600,000 jobs as an adjustment to achieve the headline grabbing result.
•If the jobs market is so good, why is the labor participation rate at a 30 year low of 62.8%?
•Since 2007 the number of working age Americans has risen by 17 million, while the number of employed has risen by less than 1 million, but the unemployment rate is about the same.
•Why would almost 14 million working age Americans leave the labor force since 2007 if the economy is booming and jobs plentiful, with 1.2 million leaving in the last 12 months?
•Why would payroll tax receipts be flat with last year if millions of new jobs have been created?
•If the country has really added 8 million jobs since 2010, how could real median household income FALL by 2.3%?

According to the government reported figures, the economy hasn’t been this strong since 2007. GDP has supposedly grown at greater than 4% over the last two quarters.

Anyone who is sentient knows consumer spending accounts for 68% of GDP. Capital investments that lead to long term prosperity continue to decline as a percentage of GDP from 20% in 2000 to 16% today. We’ve chosen consumption and financialization over savings and investment. This fact leads to some observations:
•If GDP has actually grown by 20% since 2008 how does this correlate with a 6.9% decline in real median household income?
•GDP has been goosed by a $69 billion increase in government spending, with the majority going to the military industrial complex. ISIS has been a godsend for our GDP and arms dealer profits.
•GDP was increased retroactively by $500 billion last year based on a new way the government accounts for intangibles.
•The surge in consumer expenditures over the last two quarters has been in the purchase of services. The higher costs for Obamacare are a boon for GDP. Are they a boon for your bank account?
•The trade deficit has fallen as exports of petroleum products have temporarily provided a boost to GDP. The collapse in oil prices will reverse that trend rapidly.

According to the quasi-governmental mouthpieces at the Conference Board, consumer confidence is near a 5 year high, reflecting what should be robust spending.

So we are told by the representatives of corporatism that we are confident about the economy and the future. How does that measure up to the facts on the ground:
•Black Friday weekend sales collapsed by 11% versus the previous year. As the pundits tried to blame it on on-line sales (10% of total retail sales), Cyber Monday also proved to be a dud.
•If the average person is confident about the future and happy with their economic circumstances, why did they just vote to throw out the bums in November?
•If consumers are confident, why have real retail sales, excluding subprime debt goosed auto sales, been flat for the last three months and up only 1% in the last year?
•If consumers are so confident, why are credit card balances still $138 billion BELOW where they were in 2008? If all these new jobs are being created why is credit card debt lower than it was in mid-2010? Maybe consumers are so desperate they are using credit cards to pay utility and tax bills and not using them for frivolous Chinese crap at big box retailers.
•The increased spending at grocery stores and restaurants is driven by food inflation, not foot traffic. Discretionary spending at furniture, electronics, and sporting goods stores is flat.
•Department store sales continue to fall. Sears and JC Penney teeter on the verge of bankruptcy. Delia’s is liquidating and Radio Shack isn’t far behind. The major chains have completely stopped building new stores. The great bricks and mortar unwind relentlessly plods forward. In addition, online growth is stalling as states implement sales taxes.

From The Burning Platform –