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Saturday, April 7, 2012

It's a STASI World by Jeff Berwick

The first attempts, PIPA (Protect IP Act) and SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) were cast aside by the hundreds of millions of internet aware youth. But the attacks continue on. In Arizona just as we went to press, they rushed to push another internet censorship law under the guise of an anti-bullying campaign under the name Arizona House Bill 2549. The law would mean that anything communicated or published online that was deemed to be "offensive" by the state, including editorials, illustrations, and even satire could be criminally punished.

The bill is sweepingly broad, and would make it a crime to communicate via electronic means speech that is intended to 'annoy,' 'offend,' 'harass' or 'terrify,' as well as certain sexual speech. Because the bill is not limited to one-to-one communications, H.B. 2549 would apply to the Internet as a whole, thus criminalizing all manner of writing, cartoons, and other protected material the state finds offensive or annoying.

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You’d never expect this place would be so great

Bottom line…  Hanoi has a lot to offer if you have the ability to live the PT lifestyle, either because your job is location-independent, or because you have the financial means to support yourself from passive income.

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Anti-Authoritarianism Starts Within by Eric Peters

Robert Heinlein, the great science fiction writer – and political philosopher – divided humanity into two basic categories: Authoritarians and anti-authoritarians. Which are you? You are not a Republican or a Democrat. Or a “liberal” or a “conservative.” You are either someone who wants to control other people, to compel them to behave and live as you believe they ought to – or you are someone who believes everyone else has the same right to live their life as you’d like to be free to live yours. That is, to be left in peace to make your own choices, according to your own judgment or simple personal preference – no matter how non-conforming or oddball others may consider those preferences – so long as you’re not causing someone else a demonstrable injury. Live – and let live.

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45 Signs That America Will Soon Be a Nation With a Very Tiny Elite and the Rest of Us Will Be Poor

45 Signs That America Will Soon Be a Nation With a Very Tiny Elite and the Rest of Us Will Be Poor

End of the American Dream


The middle class is being systematically wiped out of existence in the United States today. America is a nation with a very tiny elite that is rapidly becoming increasingly wealthy while everyone else is becoming poorer. So why is this happening? Well, it is actually very simple. Our institutions are designed to concentrate wealth in the hands of a very limited number of people. Throughout human history, almost all societies that have had a big centralized government have also had a very high concentration of wealth in the hands of the elite. Throughout human history, almost all societies that have allowed big business or big corporations to dominate the economy have also had a very high concentration of wealth in the hands of the elite. Well, the United States has allowed both big government and big corporations to grow wildly out of control. Those were huge mistakes. Our founding fathers attempted to establish a nation where the federal government would be greatly limited and where corporations would be greatly restricted. Unfortunately, we have turned our backs on those principles and now we are paying the price.

When you have great concentrations of wealth and power, the economic rewards of a society tend to go to just a few.

In the United States today, big businesses and wealthy individuals fund the campaigns of our politicians, and in turn our politicians pass laws which rig the game in their favor. It is a symbiotic relationship which is very bad for America.

Sadly, most conservatives tend to cheer on the big corporations, but this is not how our founding fathers envisioned our capitalist system working. Our founding fathers envisioned large numbers of similar companies competing against one another for customers. They did not envision a very small number of giant corporations buying up all of their competitors or smashing them into oblivion with their giant piles of money.

True conservatives should want to see more competition instead of less competition. Competition helped make America great, and we need to get back to that.

Instead of an economic landscape dominated by monolithic predator corporations, we need an economic environment where millions of small businesses can thrive and compete directly with one another.

Our founding fathers never intended for us to have the kind of system that we have today. As I have discussed in previous articles, our founding fathers greatly restricted the size and scope of corporations in early America. The following is how author Stephen D. Foster Jr. described the attitude toward corporations in the early years of the United States....

The East India Company was the largest corporation of its day and its dominance of trade angered the colonists so much, that they dumped the tea products it had on a ship into Boston Harbor which today is universally known as the Boston Tea Party. At the time, in Britain, large corporations funded elections generously and its stock was owned by nearly everyone in parliament. The founding fathers did not think much of these corporations that had great wealth and great influence in government. And that is precisely why they put restrictions upon them after the government was organized under the Constitution.

After the nation’s founding, corporations were granted charters by the state as they are today. Unlike today, however, corporations were only permitted to exist 20 or 30 years and could only deal in one commodity, could not hold stock in other companies, and their property holdings were limited to what they needed to accomplish their business goals. And perhaps the most important facet of all this is that most states in the early days of the nation had laws on the books that made any political contribution by corporations a criminal offense.

A giant central government that spends more than 20 percent of our GDP is a collectivist institution.

Enormous predator corporations that are constantly sucking up even more money and power are collectivist institutions.

Our founding fathers did not intend for our society to be dominated by collectivist institutions.

Very large institutions tend to reward the people that own and run them at the expense of everyone else.

And you know what?

A lot of these giant corporations have figured out that they don't even need American workers anymore.

Instead, many of them are shipping our jobs to the other side of the world where it it legal to pay slave labor wages. That means bigger profits for them but less jobs for the rest of us.

In America today, the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer, and big government and big corporations are the mechanisms by which this is happening.

Posted below are 45 signs that America will soon be a nation with a very tiny elite and the rest of us will be poor....

#1 Increasingly, gains in income are becoming very highly concentrated at the top of the food chain in America. The following is how income gains in the United States were distributed during 2010....

-37 percent of all income gains went to the top 0.01 percent of all income earners

-56 percent of all income gains went to the rest of the top 1 percent

-7 percent of all income gains went to the bottom 99 percent

#2 Back in the 70s, the top 1 percent earned about 8 percent of all income. Today, they earn about 21 percent of all income.

#3 The wealthiest 1 percent of all Americans own more wealth than the bottom 95 percent combined.

#4 According to Forbes, the 400 wealthiest Americans have more wealth than the bottom 150 million Americans combined.

#5 The poorest 50 percent of all Americans collectively own just 2.5% of all the wealth in the United States.

#6 Median household income in the United States is down 7.8 percent since December 2007 after adjusting for inflation.

#7 The top 0.01% of all Americans make an average of $27,342,212. The bottom 90% make an average of $31,244.

#8 According to the Economic Policy Institute, between 1979 and 2007 income growth for the top 1 percent of all U.S. income earners was an astounding 390 percent. For the bottom 90 percent, income growth was only 5 percent over that same time period.

#9 According to one study, between 1969 and 2009 the median wages earned by American men between the ages of 30 and 50 dropped by 27 percent after you account for inflation.

#10 In 2010, 2.6 million more Americans descended into poverty. That was the largest increase that we have seen since the U.S. government began keeping statistics on this back in 1959.

#11 According to the New York Times, approximately 100 million Americans are either living in poverty or in "the fretful zone just above it".

#12 According to Heidi Shierholz, an economist with the Economic Policy Institute, about 53 percent of all income went to the middle class back in the 1970s, but today only about 46 percent of all income does.

#13 When you look at the ratio of employee compensation to GDP, it is now the lowest that is has been in about 50 years.

#14 In 1970, 65 percent of all Americans lived in "middle class neighborhoods". By 2007, only 44 percent of all Americans lived in "middle class neighborhoods".

#15 Back in the year 2000, 11.3% of all Americans were living in poverty. Today, 15.1% of all Americans are living in poverty.

#16 The poverty rate for children living in the United States increased to 22% in 2010.

#17 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 6.7% of all Americans are living in "extreme poverty", and that is the highest level that has ever been recorded before.

#18 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the percentage of "very poor" rose in 300 out of the 360 largest metropolitan areas during 2010.

#19 Back in 1950, more than 80 percent of all men in the United States had jobs. Today, less than 65 percent of all men in the United States have jobs.

#20 The average duration of unemployment in the United States is nearly three times as long as it was back in the year 2000.

#21 In the United States today, there are 240 million working age people. Only about 140 million of them are actually working.

#22 Back in 2001, the ratio of wages to GDP was sitting at approximately 49 percent. Today, it has fallen all the way down to about 44 percent.

#23 Half of all American workers now earn $505 or less per week.

#24 Back in 1980, less than 30% of all jobs in the United States were low income jobs. Today, more than 40% of all jobs in the United States are low income jobs.

#25 In 2010, 19.7% of all U.S. working adults had jobs that would not have been enough to push a family of four over the poverty line even if they had worked full-time hours for the entire year.

#26 Electricity bills in the United States have risen faster than the overall rate of inflation for five years in a row.

#27 The average American household spent a staggering $4,155 on gasoline during 2011.

#28 If inflation was measured the exact same way that it was measured back in 1980, the rate of inflation in the United States would be well over 10 percent.

#29 According to a recent report produced by Pew Charitable Trusts, approximately one out of every three Americans that grew up in a middle class household has slipped down the income ladder.

#30 Total student loan debt in America has now passed the 1 trillion dollar mark, and about 270 billion dollars of those loans are at least 30 days delinquent. These debts are absolutely crushing young middle class families.

#31 Today, approximately 25 million American adults are living with their parents.

#32 According to the Census Bureau, 49 percent of all Americans live in a home that gets direct monetary benefits from the federal government. Back in 1983, less than a third of all Americans lived in a home that received direct monetary benefits from the federal government.

#33 Between 1991 and 2007 the number of Americans between the ages of 65 and 74 that filed for bankruptcy rose by a staggering 178 percent.

#34 One out of every six elderly Americans now lives below the federal poverty line.

#35 The number of children living in poverty in the state of California has increased by 30 percent since 2007.

#36 According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, 36.4% of all children that live in Philadelphia are living in poverty, 40.1% of all children that live in Atlanta are living in poverty, 52.6% of all children that live in Cleveland are living in poverty and 53.6% of all children that live in Detroit are living in poverty.

#37 In November 2008, 30.8 million Americans were on food stamps. Today, more than 46 million Americans are on food stamps.

#38 Right now, one out of every four American children is on food stamps.

#39 It is being projected that approximately 50 percent of all U.S. children will be on food stamps at some point in their lives before they reach the age of 18.

#40 In 2010, 42 percent of all single mothers in the United States were on food stamps.

#41 Back in 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid. Today, one out of every 6 Americans is on Medicaid, and things are about to get a whole lot worse. It is being projected that Obamacare will add 16 million more Americans to the Medicaid rolls.

#42 Medicare spending increased by 138 percent between 1999 and 2010.

#43 One out of every six Americans is now enrolled in at least one government anti-poverty program.

#44 Federal housing assistance increased by a whopping 42 percent between 2006 and 2010.

#45 The amount of money that the federal government gives directly to Americans has increased by 32 percent since Barack Obama entered the White House.

As the middle class is systematically destroyed, families are looking for ways to survive any way that they can.

Why do you think that dollar stores are absolutely thriving these days?

It is because that is the only place many families can afford to shop.

So what is the solution?

Well, many liberals claim that the solution is to tax the wealthy and redistribute their money to the poor.

But that is definitely not the answer.

That would give the wealthy more of an incentive to take their wealth and their businesses out of the United States, and it would give the poor more of an incentive to sit around and not work.

When I was younger, if I could have gotten the government to pay my bills I probably never would have worked at all. I was quite lazy and I probably would have been more than happy to sit at home and collect government checks.

It is only human nature not to work hard when you have someone else willing to take care of you. For example, Vice-President Joe Biden recently revealed that he stayed in the U.S. Senate for so long because he didn't want "a real job". There is a part of all of us that would like to avoid hard work.

So redistributing wealth is not going to be good for society as a whole. It penalizes being productive and it rewards being lazy.

And our tax system is already way too oppressive for those that honestly pay their taxes.

Did you know that the average American must work 107 days just to make enough money to pay their taxes?

That is before a single penny is earned for anything else.

That is absolutely obscene!

This year, the average American will spend approximately 29 percent of what they make on federal, state and local taxes.

No, the truth is that our current tax system is horrific and it needs to be thrown out.

But that is a topic for another article.

Getting back to the dying middle class, the real answer is to break up big government and to break up the big corporations and promote competition in our economy once again.

We need wealth and power to be spread out into millions and millions of hands.

We need a system that tremendously encourages small businesses instead of absolutely crushing them.

We need dozens of competitors in most industries instead of just a handful.

We need to empower average Americans to be their own bosses instead of being dependent on big government and big corporations.

We need a system that gives "the little guy" a fighting chance.

It could be done if the American people were willing to reign in big government and the big corporations.

If you believe in the U.S. Constitution, you should believe in limiting the power of the federal government and limiting the power of the big corporations.

Those are principles that our founding fathers believed in, and those are principles that we need to return to.

Reprinted with permission from End of the American Dream.

April 7, 2012

Copyright © 2012 End of the American Dream

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33 Unusual Tips to Being a Better Writer Altucher Confidential

The last line needs to go BOOM! . Your article is meaningless unless the last line KILLS. Read the book of short stories “Jesus’ Son” by Denis Johnson. It’s the only way to learn how to do a last line. The last line should take you all the way back to the first line and then “BOOM!”

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How To Be Less Stupid by James Altucher

I’m really stupid. I can tell you in advance. I think at heart, if I work at it, I can be smart. But at the moment I’m largely an idiot. I feel I have the right knowledge but I let a lot of stuff get in the way. You know: “stuff”. Worries, guilt, paranoia, grudges, resentment. Like, for instance: I resent the people who resent me. I think they resent me for no reason. So now I resent them. What a circle-jerk!

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Thursday, April 5, 2012

The One-Percent Revolution: National We-Won’t-Pay Day by Bill Sardi

An estimated 7.6 billion hours a year are spent filling out tax forms for the IRS; and that figure does not even include millions of additional hours that taxpayers must spend when they are required to respond to an IRS notice or an audit (7.6 billion hours consume the equivalent of 3.8 million full-time workers).

No income. Easy form. Shouldn't this be criminal?

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The One-Percent Revolution: National We-Won’t-Pay Day by Bill Sardi

Noted political and economic commentator Gary North has said Americans won’t pass on their debt to the next generation. And he appears to be right. Americans are simply repudiating their personal debts.

Almost a trillion dollars of federally-back student loans are simply not being paid down. An estimated 4 million home owners are not making their monthly mortgage payments and are still living in their homes. Given the choice between making a mortgage payment or a car payment, Americans are choosing to avoid repossession of their car they need to get to their job preferentially over going into foreclosure on their home.

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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

How Fasting Improves Brain Function | Mark's Daily Apple


Depression has long been associated with lower BDNF levels as a prognostic of the disease, but it’s only recently that researchers are entertaining the possibility that low BDNF and depression could be causally related. And indeed – antidepressants actually increase BDNF signaling and synthesis in the hippocampus (the part of the brain where depression “happens”). Could fasting help with depression via upregulation of BDNF and promotion of neurogenesis? Perhaps. I’d say it’s worth a shot, especially since skipping a few meals doesn’t require a prescription.

see if you can treat depression with fasting

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Pinterest vs. Google+: Which New Social Network Is Worth Marketers' Time?

Which brings us to one of the best parts of Pinterest – that it’s an image-driven site! And people love images, far more than they love words. In fact, images and videos are the most shared content on Facebook. If you’re a product-driven business, sharing beautiful images of your products on Pinterest is a simple way to leverage the tremendous power of visuals on a booming social network that is dedicated solely to sharing beautiful and interesting images. - current challenge to affiliate marketing that might be solved

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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

10 Things You May Notice About America When Travelling Abroad

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” ~ Mark Twain

It is often reported that around 80% of American citizens do not have a passport. Therefore, the great majority of Americans have never traveled outside of the country. Consequently, these citizens have a limited scope of understanding when it comes to life outside of and, perhaps even, inside America.

Many Americans believe the United States to be the greatest country on earth, the center of the Universe. A place that all other nations seek to emulate. Indeed, it is the only global super power with many endearing qualities. However, as one travels to other nations and experiences foreign cultures, many preconceived notions about America seem to dissipate, while others may be enhanced.

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Top 10 Pro-Piracy Arguments

Top 10 Largest Islands Shared Between Nations

Top 10 Largest Islands Shared Between Nations

Top Ten Lists


Islands are sometimes divided between countries and nations. Some live peacefully, others have fought bloodily to get what is theirs. Here is just 1 list of largest islands divided between 2 or more nation-states.

1. New Guinea
Sharing Countries: Indonesia/Papua New Guinea
Area: 785, 753 Km2

Description: This is the second largest island and is located in the southwest Pacific Ocean. Anthropologically New Guinea is a part of Melanesia. Politically, the western half of this island is divided into 2 provinces: Papua and West Papua (both Indonesian territories). The eastern half is its own country, Papua New Guinea.

2. Borneo
Sharing Countries: Indonesia/Malaysia/Brunei
Area: 748, 168 km2

Description: This is the third largest island in the world and is near Java Island, Indonesia. 3 countries currently have a claim to the island. Here one can find the oldest rainforests in the world, the Daintree Rainforest.

Malaysia: 26%
Brunei: 1%
Indonesia: 73%

3. Cuba
Sharing Countries: Cuba, USA
Area: 110, 861 km2

Description: The Island consists of one main island and several smaller islands. During the Spanish-American War, Spain relinquished its territories to the latter. Then territories included

Puerto Rico, Cuba Philippines and Guam in the Treaty of Paris in 1898. When taking office, Theodore Roosevelt abandoned the treaty and gave Cuba its independence in 1902. The loophole allowed US to retain rights to intervene in Cuban Affairs and allowed US to lease Guantanamo Bay from Cuba (Platt Agreement).

4. Ireland
Sharing Countries: Ireland/UK
Area: 110, 861 km2

Description: This is the third largest island in Europe and 20th largest in the world. The Island is split into 2 by the Irish Sea: Great Britain and the independent Irish state.

5. Hispaniola
Sharing Countries: Dominican Republic/Haiti
Area: 81, 638 km2

Description: This is a major island in the Caribbean. It recently made news in January of 2010 with a deadly earthquake in Haiti. The Dominican Republic side was unaffected. Both countries are different as Dominicans speak Spanish and Haitians speak French and Creole.

Read the rest of the article

April 3, 2012

Copyright © 2012 Top Ten Lists - How many have you visited?

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Bacon's Rebellion by Murray N. Rothbard

The very search by observers and historians for purity and unmixed motives in a revolution betrays an unrealistic naïveté. Revolutions are mighty upheavals made by a mass of people, people who are willing to rupture the settled habits of a lifetime, including especially the habit of obedience to an existing government. They are made by people willing to turn from the narrow pursuits of their daily lives to battle vigorously and even violently together in a more general cause.

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Monday, April 2, 2012

Noninterventionism: Cornerstone of a Free Society by Anthony Gregory

A free society is impossible under an empire. Even the most just war you can imagine is a disaster for liberty and prosperity, as Ludwig von Mises pointed out. An unjust war amounts to murder, mayhem, and mass destruction. And a perpetual state of war guarantees that liberty will never be achieved.

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