The United States of Nannymerica
The U.S. population has turned into a placated blob.
Forget 1984. It’s a brave new world out there. Reduced to passivity and egotism, what’s truly important has become lost in an ocean of irrelevance.
A zombie nanny-state has emerged — media our pacifier, pop culture our brains. Placated by the box office, the lottery, smart phones, reality TV, video games and other trivial pursuits, the American spirit is all but a forgotten ancestor.
Our economy continues to falter, our political system continues to fail us, the banks continue to mock us…
And what have we done about it? Nothing worth noting.
Ivory Coast residents rioted this week over the outcome of a presidential election.
In early November, 50,000 people protested tuition hikes and education cuts in Westminster, England, with several demonstrators storming Conservative Party headquarters, smashing windows and lighting fires.
France was nearly shut down — its airports and a quarter of its gas stations closed — for a week in October as protesters took to the streets over a proposed two-year hike in the retirement age.
This holiday season, here are a few things to consider rioting about…
12 Reasons to Riot
1. Your lack of a right to privacy
According to Time magazine:
Government agents can sneak onto your property in the middle of the night, put a GPS device on the bottom of your car and keep track of everywhere you go. This doesn’t violate your Fourth Amendment rights, because you do not have any reasonable expectation of privacy in your own driveway — and no reasonable expectation that the government isn’t tracking your movements.
That is the bizarre — and scary — rule that now applies in California and eight other Western states. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which covers this vast jurisdiction, recently decided the government can monitor you in this way virtually anytime it wants — with no need for a search warrant.
This goes against the long-held legal precedent that you have a reasonable expectation of privacy in and on your property. And as Time notes: “If government agents can track people with secretly planted GPS devices virtually anytime they want, without having to go to a court for a warrant, we are one step closer to a classic police state — with technology taking on the role of the KGB or the East German Stasi.”
Did you even hear anyone complain about this?
2. Unenforceable and egregious laws
It’s now illegal in eight states to talk on a cell phone while driving. But here in Maryland, it’s not a primary offense, so cops can’t even pull you over for it — cops, by the way, who I see talking on cell phones while driving every single day.
Even politicians responsible for passing the law have been spotted in violation. The very people who make and enforce these laws don’t abide by them. But I bet it’ll get the sheep to buy a lot more Bluetooth devices.
And it gets better…
Though improving fuel economy is too much of a burden (and would actually reduce oil dependence while saving you money), the Department of Transportation has proposed a measure mandating back-up cameras on all new vehicles by 2014. I submit this $2.7 billion measure (we’re supposed to be trimming spending, remember?) isn’t to quell the plague of problems backing up has caused for the past 100 years, but to sell back-up cameras instead.
And what do you know?
Gentex (NASDAQ: GNTX), maker of back-up equipment for autos, is up 30% on the news! God, the auto industry has great lobbyists…
You do know that our elected officials rarely write laws, right?
For years now, paid corporate lobbyists have been infiltrating Congress. And if their pockets are deep enough (read: their industry able to pay enough) they can even write legislation, not to mention contribute to reelection campaigns without financial limits.
In January — the same month the Supreme Court decided to lift the ban on political spending by corporations — the Washington Post discovered Sen. Lisa Murkowski allowed utility industry lobbyists to draft an amendment that would’ve limited the EPA’s ability to enact clean air standards.
During hearings last year, politicians supporting a bill that would limit broadband Internet competition had to defer to Time Warner attorneys to answer questions.
So Time Warner is paying lobbyists, who are paying off your elected representatives for the privilege to write legislation that will secure their monopolization of the broadband market.
No, it’s not illegal… It’s how our government works. Makes you wonder about those bank bailouts, huh?
You should be furious, but you’re probably still happily paying your Time Warner bill.
4. Speed and red light cameras
I’m sure the maker of these devices — generally American Traffic Solutions — has good lobbyists, too.
In most cases, cities turn over the operation of these cameras to private companies. These companies install and operate the cameras for a cut of the fine, sometimes as much as 50%. And in some cases, the companies even get to decide what intersections get them.
You think you’re getting a fair shake if the company makes money in relationship to the amount of tickets it sends out?
And they might not even increase safety. According to a Federal Highway Administration study, “red-light cameras reduced total ‘T-bone’ crashes by 25%. But because drivers at camera-equipped intersections seem to slam on the brakes so they won’t get a ticket, total rear-end crashes increased 15%, and injury rear-end crashes jumped 24%.”
These cameras don’t increase safety; they only take money out of your pocket and put it into the pockets of companies in bed with local governments.
What’s more — at least with speed cameras — is that a 7 mph grace period is awarded. So in a 25 MPH zone, you aren’t ticketed until you break 32 MPH.
Can I also cheat just a little bit on my taxes, like Charlie Rangel did?
5. Big banks
But I guess it pays to pay the government…
Banks were so embedded in Congress that during the height of the recession, they were deemed “too big to fail.” The Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) was quickly passed at the urging of then President Bush, and funded to the tune of $700 billion. Fannie and Freddy got another $135 billion.
Now, executive bonuses are nearly back to exorbitant pre-recession levels, but banks still won’t lend to small businesses or to projects that would create jobs, while simultaneously robo-signing foreclosures…
And the Fed is still giving them cheap money to invest. Bernanke announced another $1 trillion of quantitative easing on 60 Minutes this week. It’ll give the banks essentially free money to invest.
Meanwhile, JP Morgan is currently under investigation for manipulating the price of silver.
6. The most trusted name in news
And as all these events and concepts continue to occur, unfold, and develop, who are we to turn to for our analysis?
Even major news outlets are at the whim of puppet masters: Fox and News Corp. on the right, Viacom and CBS on the left.
Even the news has special interests at heart.
Is it any wonder Jon Stewart was chosen as America’s most trusted newscaster in a recent Time poll? With more than 40% of the vote, Stewart finished no lower than second place in any of the 50 states.
So we know there’s a problem here — or several of them, to be precise — when we’d just rather watch a comedian make satire of it all than actually do anything about it.
Instability is coming, if you wouldn’t already consider it here.
In August, when 30,000 people showed up to claim 13,000 subsidized housing applications, riots broke out leaving almost 100 people injured (I’ll cover entitlements in reasons 7-12 to riot this weekend).
And in times like these, the only sure bet is gold — which just hit $1,400 an ounce, and is breaking new highs with each passing day of instability.
You don’t even have to buy physical gold to profit. We’ve found a tradable investment that returns daily the double performance of gold.
Of course, I’m not urging you to go out an riot — yet.
But you should take good note of what’s happening around you, and how it infringes on your individual liberties, freedoms, and ability to get ahead in what increasingly seems like a rigged game.
As more and more people grow frustrated, gold will become a safe haven and its price will soar.
Call it like you see it,