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During the first Great Depression, people who lost their jobs were usually permitted to engage in small-scale enterprise in order to survive. In this Great Depression, the state comes around and kicks enterprising people in the teeth.

A few years ago, Kris Swanberg, having been laid-off from her job as a Chicago Public School teacher, remembered she received an ice cream maker as a wedding gift. The Chicago mom fished it out of her kitchen cabinet and eventually started a new career.

Today Swanberg’s Nice Cream — on offer at local Whole Foods and farmers markets — is considered a star of Chicago’s rich and beloved artisanal ice cream scene, one that could be shut down entirely by state rules, she recently learned.

She says that a couple of weeks ago a representative from the Illinois Department of Public Health came to Logan Square Kitchen and informed her she’d have to shut down if she did not get something called  “a dairy license.”

. . .

Swanberg says that the IDPH officer who visited told her that her ice cream probably wouldn’t pass the bacteria tests if she continued to use fresh strawberries. Instead the officer suggested she use “strawberry syrup,” Swanberg said.

Read the rest at Chicago Tribune.

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A breath of fresh air on CNBC: Congress is bought, political parties are irrelevant, the nation is being brought down by a cancer.

More and more, both houses of the U.S. Congress are demonstrating that they are merely ceremonial bodies that rubber-stamp legislation that advances the corporate, defense, and financial interests that own them.

An amendment offered on May 24 by Sen. Ron Wyden would have challenged the Administration’s reliance on what he called “secret law” and required the Attorney General to explain the legal basis for its intelligence collection activities under the USA PATRIOT Act.  But that and other proposed amendments to the PATRIOT Act have been blocked in the Senate.

“The public will be surprised… when they learn about some of the interpretations of the PATRIOT Act,” Sen. Wyden said, based on his access to classified correspondence between the Justice Department and the Senate Intelligence Committee.

“U.S. Government officials should not secretly reinterpret public laws and statutes in a manner that is inconsistent with the public’s understanding of these laws or describe the execution of these laws in a way that misinforms or misleads the public.”

Read the rest at Secrecy News.

Edmond, Okla., February 2011

Here’s something to ponder as much of the U.S. digs out from under one of the biggest snow storms in decades. Here’s an amusing article from 11 years ago. If you follow the link titled “Don’t Believe the Hype over Climate Headlines,” you can see The Independent furiously backpedaling over this preposterous article.

Britain’s winter ends tomorrow with further indications of a striking environmental change: snow is starting to disappear from our lives.

Sledges, snowmen, snowballs and the excitement of waking to find that the stuff has settled outside are all a rapidly diminishing part of Britain’s culture, as warmer winters – which scientists are attributing to global climate change – produce not only fewer white Christmases, but fewer white Januaries and Februaries.

The first two months of 2000 were virtually free of significant snowfall in much of lowland Britain, and December brought only moderate snowfall in the South-east. It is the continuation of a trend that has been increasingly visible in the past 15 years: in the south of England, for instance, from 1970 to 1995 snow and sleet fell for an average of 3.7 days, while from 1988 to 1995 the average was 0.7 days. London’s last substantial snowfall was in February 1991.

Global warming, the heating of the atmosphere by increased amounts of industrial gases, is now accepted as a reality by the international community. Average temperatures in Britain were nearly 0.6°C higher in the Nineties than in 1960-90, and it is estimated that they will increase by 0.2C every decade over the coming century. Eight of the 10 hottest years on record occurred in the Nineties.

Read the rest at The Independent.

Make of this what you will. Notice that the prior peak came just following the 2008 banker bailout and the election of President Obama.

. . . And while we recreate the key points from the report, the one item that should be highlighted is that, as we have suspected for a while, the social undertow of fear, skepticism and anger is coming to a boil, as Google queries of the “Buy A Gun” search querry have just hit an all time high. How much of this is due to the recent events from Tucson, AZ is unclear. What is clear is that the trend is most certainly not your friend (unless you are of course the CEO of Smith and Wesson).

Read the rest at Zero Hedge.

What is this if not a clear case of government employees giving kids drugs in order to make them more docile and compliant? Kids are being trained to live in a world in which the state drugs people to keep them in line. There’s nothing new about teachers prescribing drugs; what’s interesting here is the sheer number of kids in the U.K. being doped up by representatives of the state.

Teachers have been blamed for the record number of children prescribed ‘chemical cosh’ drugs such as Ritalin.

There are now some 650,000 eight to 13-year-olds on the drug or its equivalents.

This marks an astonishing rise, up from 92,700 in 1997 and just 9,000 in 1990, according to NHS figures.

Yesterday it emerged the vast majority of the children were given the potent drug on the instruction of their teacher.

Critics say staff are too quick to dish out drugs if their pupils get restless – in an effort to keep ­control of the classroom. And experts warned of the damage inflicted on ‘developing minds.’

Read the rest at The Mail Online.

Catherine Austin Fitts was Assistant Secretary of Housing and Federal Housing Commissioner at the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development during the administration of George H.W. Bush. She is now the president of Solari, Inc., and managing member of Solari Investment Advisory Services, LLC. Here she explains how a financial coup d’etat was undertaken two years ago in order to bring the developed world under corporate ownership.