Gotta Keep Dancing – Honda Executive Laments “Stupid” Auto Loans Driving U.S. Sales Higher

Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 10.58.01 AMWhen the music stops, in terms of liquidity, things will be complicated. But as long as the music is playing, you’ve got to get up and dance. We’re still dancing.

– Chuck Prince, Citigroup CEO, July 2007

We’ve seen this movie before, we know how it ends, and it’s not pretty. But I say that it has longer to run, and we have already paid the price of admission. So we might as well stay to the end. You just keep your eyes on the exit door.

– Tom Webb, Chief Economist at Manheim Consulting, January 2015

The junk being peddled around as auto loans has been well documented here and elsewhere, and links to several articles highlighting this troubling trend will be attached at the end. That said, what is so stunning about what we heard from an executive at one of the world’s biggest car manufacturers, is the willingness to call out the stupidity of what is currently going on. In the process, he shows how completely brain-dead and collectively insane everyone around him is.

Bloomberg reports that:

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Press Rebellion in the UK – British Media Launches Protest Against Spying, as GCHQ Places Investigative Journalism in Same Category as Terrorism

Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 12.43.20 PMEmails from the BBC, Reuters, the Guardian, the New York Times, Le Monde, the Sun, NBC and the Washington Post were saved by GCHQ and shared on the agency’s intranet as part of a test exercise by the signals intelligence agency.

The journalists’ communications were among 70,000 emails harvested in the space of less than 10 minutes on one day in November 2008 by one of GCHQ’s numerous taps on the fibre-optic cables that make up the backbone of the internet.

New evidence from other UK intelligence documents revealed by Snowden also shows that a GCHQ information security assessment listed “investigative journalists” as a threat in a hierarchy alongside terrorists or hackers.

– From the Guardian article: GCHQ Captured Emails of Journalists from Top International Media

Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ, is the United Kingdom’s equivalent to the NSA. As you might expect, it is no less immoral or shady than its domestic counterpart. While most of the surveillance related posts here at Liberty Blitzkrieg have focused on the NSA, GCHQ has been front and center from time to time. For example, see the following from 2014:

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Remembering Martin Luther King Jr. as Well as the Oppressed Dissidents of 2015

Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 10.02.30 AMMartin Luther King Jr. was considered a terrorist by the power structure in his own time, and were he alive today, he would undoubtably be considered a terrorist by the very same politicians who will today shower his legacy with superficial praise.

It is always easy to celebrate a dissident hero from decades past, long after particular struggles have been tirelessly fought and won. With the person safely no longer alive or a threat to vested interests, it becomes easy to claim solidarity with such noble principles.

What’s much harder to do is to celebrate and support contemporary dissidents and whistleblowers. People with so much heart, courage and conviction behind their beliefs they often end up dead, such as Aaron Swartz; in jail, such as Barrett Brown, Private Manning and John Kiriakou; or on the run, such as Edward Snowden. On this MLK Day I want to do what I’m confident Dr. King would have wanted. I want to ask everyone reading this to support and stand with today’s dissidents and freedom fighters, because while history is important, the battles we face today are no less significant or monumental.

I also want to acknowledge Dr. King’s tremendous legacy by reposting a piece I wrote in June 2013 below. Enjoy.

Martin Luther King: “Everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was Legal”

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Welcome to the Oligarch Recovery – Majority of Public School Students are in Poverty for First Time in 50 Years

Screen Shot 2015-01-17 at 11.59.09 AM“When they first come in my door in the morning, the first thing I do is an inventory of immediate needs: Did you eat? Are you clean? A big part of my job is making them feel safe,” said Sonya Romero-Smith, a veteran teacher at Lew Wallace Elementary School in Albuquerque. Fourteen of her 18 kindergartners are eligible for free lunches.

She helps them clean up with bathroom wipes and toothbrushes, and she stocks a drawer with clean socks, underwear, pants and shoes.

From the Washington Post article: Majority of U.S. Public School Students are in Poverty

It’s a recovery so lopsided only Timothy Geithner or an oligarch could love it. Since 2008, U.S. economic policy has concentrated on funneling as much money as possible to billionaires, keeping the poor alive and submissive through government programs, and squeezing the middle class to death while at the same time holding out the carrot of hope that things will return to how they were before (they won’t).

The latest evidence of this monumental cultural theft was highlighted yesterday in the Washington Post. Here are a few excerpts:

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Manufactured Terrorism – U.S. Officials Claim Credit for Stopping Another Terror Attack Created by the FBI

Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 12.12.36 PMNearly every major post-9/11 terrorism-related prosecution has involved a sting operation, at the center of which is a government informant. In these cases, the informants — who work for money or are seeking leniency on criminal charges of their own — have crossed the line from merely observing potential criminal behavior to encouraging and assisting people to participate in plots that are largely scripted by the FBI itself. Under the FBI’s guiding hand, the informants provide the weapons, suggest the targets and even initiate the inflammatory political rhetoric that later elevates the charges to the level of terrorism.

– From Glenn Greenwald’s latest piece: Latest FBI Claim of Disrupted Terror Plot Deserves Much Scrutiny and Skepticism

The “war on terror” is the best thing to happen to power hungry politicians since a fire of questionable origin destroyed the Reichstag building in Berlin on February 27, 1933. Not only does the “war on terror” represent big business for shady crony capitalists, it gives politicians, i.e., professional authoritarians, an excuse to destroy civil liberties and implement a total surveillance system to ensure the plebs don’t get out of line. This is not just an unfortunate trend that has developed organically due to a dangerous world, these are the goals of the oligarch class and they will do whatever it takes to achieve them.

This is where the “war on terror” and constant fear-mongering comes into play. There’s only one small problem. In the absence of real terror attacks in the U.S., it’s difficult to keep the stupid serfs shivering in a corner in the fetal position. Enter fake terrorist attacks; funded, created and planned by the FBI.

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The Dissident Dad – What the F*** Happened to Our Food?

Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 10.15.31 AMI’m no nutritionist. In fact, as I write this I am probably about 50 pounds overweight, which I guess depending on how you look at it could indeed make me a food expert. But for the most part, I’ve learned as an adult that I have horrible eating habits. I was raised like many other millennials. McDonald’s was a greatly anticipated treat at least once a week, and at home my mother made us tacos, meatloaf, cheese burgers, spaghetti, fried chicken and pork chops. Lots of potatoes, corn and 2% milk in the mornings with my Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

Basically, my mom raised us on a diet of death. She didn’t know, of course, that the food industry was controlled by a few large corporations, or that the FDA was completely controlled by the same interests. I remember doing a micro-documentary a few years ago connecting all the power players in D.C. who were in charge of SNAP (food stamps), to Pepsi-Frito Lay, Coke, Nestle and 7-Eleven. My mom, who raised me in the 80s and early 90s, didn’t have the Internet, endless amount of food documentaries, or even the organic boom that has given us healthier options in our grocery stores.

As a parent today, I do have those tools. I have seen those documentaries, and as a father, having this information has transformed teaching my children about food into another responsibility.

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Maryland Parents Being Investigated for Neglect After Letting Their Kids Walk Home from Playground Alone

Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 12.52.12 PMIt’s one thing for an 80 year old to nostalgically lament that things aren’t as they used to be. The problem is, I’m only 36 years old and this country already barely resembles the place I grew up in.

I’ve mentioned in the past how I used to ride the New York City public bus to and from school by myself starting when I was around 9 or 10 years old. Many of my peers started taking the then dreaded subway by themselves around the same time. Bear in mind, this was NYC in the 1980’s, a far different place than the Disneyland for Wall Street it has become since. I can’t recall a single child abduction happening to anyone at my school, but what I can remember was a teacher being fired for molesting young boys. Makes you wonder about where the real danger lurks, doesn’t it?

This transformation into a nanny-state, snitching culture has severe negative long-term repercussions for U.S. society, as well as the economy, if the trend isn’t reversed. I have written about this dangerous change many times in the past, and links to prior articles will be attached at the end of this post.

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The Great Wall of Saudi – Feudal Desert Kingdom to Build 600-Mile Wall to Protect from ISIS

Screen Shot 2014-09-15 at 10.36.07 AMOh the irony. You just have to laugh when you see this closed, autocratic regime scramble to build a neo-feudal wall in order to protect itself from radical terrorists of its own creation. In fact, it reminds me a lot of U.S. foreign policy. In case you aren’t up to speed on the Saudi relationship to ISIS, I suggest you read the following post: America’s Disastrous Foreign Policy – My Thoughts on Iraq. Here are a couple of excerpts from that piece:

So after the grotesquerie of the Taliban and Osama bin Laden and 15 of the 19 suicide killers of 9/11, meet Saudi Arabia’s latest monstrous contribution to world history: the Islamist Sunni caliphate of Iraq and the Levant, conquerors of Mosul and Tikrit – and Raqqa in Syria – and possibly Baghdad, and the ultimate humiliators of Bush and Obama.

From Aleppo in northern Syria almost to the Iraqi-Iranian border, the jihadists of Isis and sundry other groupuscules paid by the Saudi Wahhabis – and by Kuwaiti oligarchs – now rule thousands of square miles.

Under Obama, Saudi Arabia will continue to be treated as a friendly “moderate” in the Arab world, even though its royal family is founded upon the Wahhabist convictions of the Sunni Islamists in Syria and Iraq – and even though millions of its dollars are arming those same fighters. Thus does Saudi power both feed the monster in the deserts of Syria and Iraq and cosy up to the Western powers that protect it.

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Peak Stupidity – Oxford University Press Bans Use of Words “Pig” and “Sausage” to Avoid Offending Muslims and Jews

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 2.47.53 PMThere appears to be a direct correlation between terror attacks and stupidity in the Western world. The more attacks, the more idiotic the response. Just when you thought the bar couldn’t move any lower, it has. From the International Business Times:

One of the biggest education publishers in the world has warned its authors not to mention pigs or sausages in their books to avoid causing offense.

Oxford University Press (OUP) said all books must take into consideration other cultures if they hope to sell copies in countries across the world.

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French Authorities Demonstrate Defense of Free Speech by Arresting 54 People for Free Speech

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 10.26.03 AMWhile I’m sure many of the millions of French citizens who marched in solidarity with the victims of the recent senseless violence and in the name of free speech came with genuine intentions, the corps of professional authoritarians, I mean politicians, who tagged along in order to pose for a staged photo op, clearly had less than noble intentions. Indeed, they likely spent the entire time scheming as to how the tragedy might be used to strip more rights away from their citizens.

The absurdity of well known tyrants standing arm in arm to support freedom of expression was laughable from the start. Many commentators have covered this shameless act of hypocrisy, including myself in the post: NOUS SOMME HYPOCRITES – Authoritarian, Anti-Free Speech Politicians Pose for Staged Photo Op in Paris.

It didn’t take long for the apparent hypocrisy to manifest itself in real life. First, we heard about David Cameron’s absurd call to ban encryption, which is essentially a call to outlaw private communications. Now we see French leadership turn into a complete and total caricature of itself by arresting 54 people for speech (including a controversial comedian for Facebook comments), negating the values the rally on Sunday was ostensibly so passionately defending. The AP reports that:

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