Categories » ‘Government corruption’
January 17th, 2012 by olddog
By Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja
Arnold Toynbee (A Study of History) clarified the European paradoxes of history that when political, moral and intellectual values come close to stagnation, “warriors become dreamers” to overrun the world. European colonization of the racially inferior herds was a planned scheme of things, not an accidental history – an obsessive political belief that Europeans were superior in their intellect, ethnicity, race, color and human configuration than the other people of the globe.
Britain embarked on invading and conquering the fertile heartlands of Asia and Africa to occupy their natural resources and use human beings as slave trade – a business ran efficiently across the seas unto the making of new America. Italian, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese and other followed the suit. Strangely enough, none seemed to have challenged the other Europeans in their domain of business enterprise, military control and imperialist quest for political supremacy. Many Europeans interpret it – a history making events for the emerging liberal democracy, industrialization and cheap labor sweat of Asian and African origins. Lord Macaulay, a British Viceroy of India spelled out the futuristic education policy in clear terms: “Indian in color but British in taste, thinking and behavior” – the new neo-colonial generations of future Indians seen from the British eyes and mindset. After centuries of warfare and killings of million and millions of fellow human beings, they claim to be civilized nation – the nuisance baggage you will hear often referred to at global academic conferences and at the redundant UNO Security apparatus. Were all the European imperial forces acts as terrorism or peacemaking across the globe? Racially conscientious Europeans forced by the nature and compulsion of the self-image went on to global conquests by radiating aggressive and violent acts as a deliberate policy – a political engine to encroach the Asian and African continents for centuries.
H.G. Wells (Outline of History, Bk 5) said it right: “So began the first of the most wasteful and disastrous series of wars that has ever darkened the history of mankind.”
Terrorism originates from the Western colonial powers but none would dare to concede it for the FEAR of unknown intellectual, moral and political consequences in contemporary history. When the European businessmen explored new world markets for diminishing resources and their armed forces invaded and occupied the vast Islamic world, there were no television, internet, video cameras and stone throwing public and voices of reason to call them foreign mercenaries, aggressors and terrorists. The colonization scheme of things was not outcome of the Western democratic values to spread freedom, liberty and justice but ferocity of violence and killings of millions and millions of human lives for the Empires to be built on colored bloodbaths. The European crusaders crossed the channels and unknown time zones to subjugate the much divided Muslim people as part of their superior nationalism perception and values that Muslims were inferior to the European race and could be used as subjects without human identity and as raw material to build the new Empires. Many centuries past, if there was a UNO, it would not have dared to call the European intruders as terrorists because it would have been their own organization as Muslims lived in slavery and denial of basic human rights and identity. In an information age, knowledge–driven global culture of reason, ignorance is no longer a requisite to learn from the living history.
India under the Mughal Empire prior to British imperialist designs and subjugation had enjoyed an enriched culture, educational institutions, monetary currencies, social and economic development, and a viable system of governance suitable to the interest of the people. With British onslaught, business deceits and occupation of India, these public institutions were dismantled and their foundations destroyed and replaced by force with British system of educational indoctrination, thinking modes and behaviors, laws and justice, morals, organizations and imported culture. The Indians were compelled to assume new identities and to learn English and assimilate into European style culturally manifested landscape of India. Was this imperialism a choice in democracy and civilization?
Throughout human history the destitute and poor people of Asia and Africa never had the thinking or capacity to threaten the European by any means. Until European incursions into their lands, they had peaceful societal outlook, educational institutions, industrial development, human freedom, public institutions and viable system of governance. Take India for instance, it had a history of almost thousand years of rule by Mughal Empire and major advancements in economic and intellectual progressive domains. British went there as businessmen and through intrigues, tactful deceptions and backdoor conspiracies worked hard to divide and disintegrate the unity of the local people. They divided them by force of treachery and ruled over them. In 1857 at the last war in Delhi, it is said almost two millions Indian mostly Muslims were killed by the British armies to link India as a jewel to the British crown. The last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar was exiled to Burma and his son’s head chopped off and presented to him on a breakfast plate. British historians call it a mutiny, the succeeding generations of Muslims narrate it as an episode of freedom movement crushed by the British colonial invaders. Perhaps, the British Queen should take initiatives to address these inhuman atrocities against the Asian and African people and forced colonization, more so when she is set to celebrate her golden jubilee soon. Would the British Crown apologize from the Muslims for its killing and aggressive war and occupation of India under the Mughal Empire?
Now, the Europeans identify themselves as civilized people but the effective date for this claim remains a mystery. The previous Empires knew their geography and limits, but the newly articulated American Empire in its infancy, is challenging to the limits of the Laws of God and appears obsessed with “fear” of being replaced by the new emerging economically productive nations of Asia such as China, Japan and India and combination of others. In a reactionary and irrational impulse, President George W. Bush invoked the “War on Terrorism” against Muslims as a dictum of power, not reason and wisdom, to camouflage the prospective future with acts of barbarity and to dispel the notion of accountability in global affairs. Historically, people and nations pursuing this path of behavior have ended up in self-delusion and self-destruction.
The 9/11 attacks in the US were carried out by individuals and not inspired or supported by the religion of Islam or Muslims. Some hourly paid intellectuals turned guardian of the approved truth, allege that Islam breeds terrorism. The Western mass media complements the self crafted notion to poison the public thinking and perceptions and source of judgments against the Arabs and Muslims as “terrorists” making the treacherous claim as if Islam was at the threshold of the paradigm. The US Neo-Conservatives gang helped to rob mankind of its human heritage. The perception of ‘radical Islam’ was invented and enhanced by the ‘fear’ of terrorism as if Arabs and Muslims were born in the eye of the storm and terrorism was an exclusive domain of the Islamic religious tenets.
Gwynne Dyer, the London based prominent writer (The International Terrorist Conspiracy”) points out that “Terrorism is a political technique, not an ideology and any group willing to use violence in pursuit of its political goals may resort to it.” He explains that “there are left-wing terrorists and right-wing terrorists; national terrorist and international terrorist; Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist and atheist terrorists. In theory, you could have a “war against terrorism”, but it would involve trying to kill everybody who uses this technique anywhere in the world. The United States is not trying to do that, so it is not fighting a “war against terror.” In reality, what the United States leadership is doing is fighting its own articulated war against the people and nations who had no animosity, nor did any perceive capability to threaten the US as a global power.
British author and producer Adam Curtis (The Power of Nightmares: The Rise of the Politics of Fear: BBC documentary challenging the American version of the “War on Terrorism”), spells out the myth with clarity: “international terrorism is a fantasy that has been exaggerated and distorted by politicians. It is a dark illusion that has spread unquestioned through governments around the world, the security services and the international media.” Remember, after the 9/11 attacks, the US official statements made no mention of involvement of the government or people of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Iran in the accused list of the 9/11 perpetrators. In 1997, many leading architects of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), did include the name of Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria, PLO as selected targets to impose the American liberal democracy and throw out the authoritarian regimes. It was a strategic stunt to inject the fear into people’s mind. Paul Craig Roberts, in his recent article (“The High Price of American Gullibility”, ICH), makes a logical assertion: Bush’s rhetoric “you are with us or against us” is perfectly planned to influence the common masses. Emotional appeals to fear and to patriotism have led close to half of the population to accept unaccountable government in the name of “the war on terrorism.” What a contradiction it is that so many American have been convinced that safety lies in their sacrifice of their civil liberties and unaccountable government.” Obviously, human intelligence, emotions and perceptions, superficially turned antagonistic with compelling impulse of media propaganda strategies to view Arabs and Muslims as the qualified candidates for extreme militancy.
Truth is one and indivisible. When it comes to terrorism and the Arabs or Muslims, the North American and European mass media portrayals enforce two distinct order of truth – one for the general public and one reserved for the Muslims. In all human affairs, facts are considered to reach the conclusion. End cannot be assumed to play with the facts, nor based on dogmas to explain the facts of human life. Under the guise of the Anti-Terrorist legislation, America, Britain and Canada have misused the logic of power to arrest, defame and punish people of Arabian and Islamic origin who had no linkage to the terrorism myth. The strategy dictates that selected groups should be detained and tortured indefinitely, to drain out their moral, intellectual and creative energies, making them incapable to survive as socially or professionally credible citizens of the country. Consequently, the public will view them as crazy and undesirable people to be counted as numbers and digits in economic terms, but not dignified human beings.
Divergent scenarios flourish to manifest lies and deception about the real aims of the “War on Terror.” When the Western leaders play with words, it is known and often acknowledged, but when the Muslim leaders offer ignorant excuses, they are masked under willful lies and deceptions without any accountability. Many Western scholars wonder, why leaders of the Arab countries and the masses appear disinterested in the post 9/11 affairs when it had direct impacts on the entire Arab and Muslim world. Foremost reasons being that the Arabs and the Muslim countries in general, do not have educated and responsible leaders to represent the masses and their interests. The West and its scheme of political subjugation institutionalized the neo-colonial authoritarianism. Arabs and Muslim societies are devoid of public institutions for thinking, change and policy development. In the made–run politics of wars, Arabs-Muslims have no weight on the scale except being digits and numbers.
The Muslim world is politically weak, intellectually and morally divided and leaderless. The Arab League is just a written name on paper in dry ink and nothing else. The recent events and authoritarian warmongering across the Arabian Peninsula clearly demonstrates that Arab dictators are disconnected rulers with the mainstream of their societies and people’s movement for change and freedom from the tyranny of neo-colonialism. Most of them are puppets installed by the former Western imperial masters to ensure the oil pumping and safe delivery of the oil supply lines to Western markets. When the Muslim Ummah (nation), looks for intellectual security, it fails to get any logical support – all authoritarian leaders operate under the dictates of Western masters, namely the American and British leaders. Islam is One and so should be the believing folks, but there is no unity of thought and actions across the Muslim world, a typically neo-colonial landscape governed by ignorant and intellectually bankrupt rulers, subservient to the West. For ages, the Arabs and Muslims masses continue to pray to Almighty God for change, reformation and democratically elected governments without public demonstrations.
Europeans invaded the rich and morally and spiritually advanced people of the Arab-Islamic world several times in unsuccessful attempts to take control and establish political and religious hegemony over them. The true history of the European Crusades has never ended to any decisive conclusion. In 2001, President Bush made it known that it was a “crusade” against the Islamic world after the 9/11 tragedies in the US. It is undetermined what other titles and names would the imperialist European assign to their continuous crusades against the Muslims in Asia, Middle East, North Africa and other vital strategic locations. Many pretend that it was a “democracy at work.” Rational observers would call it democracy at home and barbarity abroad. The distinction is self-explanatory.
Would the American and British political leaders learn any lessons for their failure in the on-going wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? While the rest of the so called Islamic world was complacent and coward, an International War Tribunal in Malaysia concluded the public proceedings and unanimously charged Tony Blair and George W. Bush as guilty of crimes against the humanity in Iraq. Would the masses in Europe and America pursue the guilty verdicts and asked the officials concerned to arrest these sadistic criminals? John Laughland (“The Mask of Altruism Disguising a Colonial War: The Guardian: Aug 2, 2004), offers a real world perspective: “Just an old fashioned colonial war – the reality of killing and escalation of violence, disguised with the hypocritical mask of altruism. If Iraq has not taught us that, then we are incapable of ever learning anything.” Every beginning has its end. It is just that most transgressors do not know about it when they cross over the limits of the Laws of God. The Roman, Austro-Hungarian and British Empires collapsed after they violated the limits. Nazis claimed to run the world for thousands of years, but ended up in just 12 years after killing millions of human beings throughout the Western hemisphere. Fascism met resistance at its early stages. The beginning envisions the end. The USSR was defeated, the day it raided the destitute people of Afghanistan and disturbed the dead in graveyards with continuous bombing. The American and British surrendered the day the international community learned about the Guantanamo Bay prisoners and photos of the Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq. An estimated three million civilians have been killed by the American-British war in Iraq since March 2003.
After waging a decade old bogus wars of terrorism in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan, America and some of its hired European allied policy makers and military strategists seem to have exhausted their rational THINKING and failed miserably to understand or differentiate between the myth of power and realities on the ground that they cannot win any wars against Islam and Muslims. Of all the forbidden truth that the Western news media does not exhibit and the political leaders failed to grasp is that the US and its former colonial allies do not have the will nor weapons to fight against God and Islam. If time and history could reawaken their conscience and give them a space for self-reflection, would they ever learn this compelling reality from the undeniable recorded history of the Nature of things?
President Obama dashed away all the optimism for A New America – different than the perpetuated insanity of the Bush era, more akin to peace and co-existence with the rest of the global community in particular, the Arab-Muslim world. It was a political myth that Obama used to get elected, not to govern and work out a new way of thinking for the future of the US policy behavior and relationships. All the impartial observations clearly point out that Obama has been a blind follower of the Bush administration political inconsistency between thoughts and behavior. Who is going to write the closing chapter of the history of the “War on Terrorism?” Is the history going to wait for the cessation of the aggressive hostilities in Iraq and Afghanistan and Pakistan? Would the American-led war achieve its agenda priorities or meet the same destiny as it happened to the Romans, German Nazis and the USSR Empires? Obviously, history will judge the nations and leaders by their actions, not by their claims.
In his farewell address to the American people (01/17/1961), President D. Eisenhower made the following foresight known to the masses:
…. Together we must learn how to compose difference, not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose. Because this need is so sharp and apparent, I confess that I lay down my official responsibilities in this field with a definite sense of disappointment. As one who has witnessed the horror and lingering sadness of war – as one who knows that another war could utterly destroy this civilization which has been so slowly and painfully built over thousands of years…… We pray that peoples of all faiths, all races, all nations, may have their great human needs satisfied, that those who denied the opportunity shall come to enjoy it to the full…….. That the scourges of poverty, disease and ignorance will be made to disappear from the earth, and that in the goodness of time, all peoples will come to live together in a peace guaranteed by the binding force of mutual respect and love.”
Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja specializes in global security, peace and conflict resolution with keen interests in Islamic-Western comparative cultures and civilizations and author of several publications including the latest one: Arabia at Crossroads: Arab People Strive for Freedom, Peace and New Leadership. VDM Publishers Germany-UK, September 2011. Comments are welcome at: firstname.lastname@example.org
January 16th, 2012 by olddog
The EU, from the very beginning, has been a project to destroy democracy in Europe, and replace it with a bankster-controlled central regime. What is happening now is what was always intended. The collapse-bailout scenario was designed specifically to bring all EU nations/provinces into debt bondage (aka sovereign debt) to the banksters. Germany has been the most difficult target, but it too will fall, as it is dragged into assuming liability for EU sovereign debt generally. Once that happens, then – whenever the 'markets decide' – the next bubble will burst, including $600 trillion in worthless derivative instruments. Down will go Germany, EU and all.
The Irish State, via the major party apparatus, has surrendered its loyalty and allegiance totally to the EU project. Those folks see themselves as players in the Big Game of Europe, and their duty as 'bringing us culchies along' with the program. Agreeing to bail out the banks was equivalent to signing a treaty, announcing the formal surrender of sovereignty to the financial elites. Our local IMF overseer is not here as part of a temporary repayment program, he's here permanently as our new Imperial Governor, not from London this time, not even from Brussels, but a personal agent of the bankster dynasty.
In Italy, and in Spain, we also see Imperial Governors, appointed not elected, installed as heads of state, and in the case of Italy the fellow comes to us from Goldman Sachs. The pattern is clear, and Ireland seems to be leading the way in the sovereignty-surrendering process. That's why we keep getting pats on the back from the EU. If we don't do something to change things, the future of Ireland is certain. I suppose 'return to plantation days' would be a reasonable characterization. Every asset, including our water, will be owned by foreign investors and corporations.
This process of surrender cannot be stopped by fighting single-issue battles. Our energies are dissipated, defending one barricade after another, none of which are strong enough to stop the onslaught. If we want to have any hope of succeeding, we must focus on the one single issue that is of equal importance to every Irish person: we are losing our nation; we are being re-colonized. There is no future for us unless we can regain our sovereignty and install a government that actually represents the people. The loyalty of the major parties is with the EU, and whoever they put forward represents the party, not the people. The only way we can get a government that represents us, is if we select our representatives by some other process.
Imagine, for example, a People's Convention, where we decide what we want from the next government, and select a slate of folks from the Convention to be our TDs, who are committed to that program, with a focus on the role of their local constituency. In a country with as much social cohesiveness as Ireland, such a Convention is a real possibility. And it would need to be preceded by local and regional conversations, including all voices, so we could develop a bottom-up consensus vision regarding our future.
From an entirely economic perspective, if we think in terms of the self-interest of the Irish people, and given what the EU has become, the best thing that could happen would be for Ireland to withdraw from the EU and the Euro, repudiate the debts as being 'odious', issue its own currency on a debt-free basis, and rebuild a resilient national economy. Argentina, Russia, and others have demonstrated that repudiating debts and starting over, declaring bankruptcy, is the best option under the kind circumstances we are facing.
Rather than defending retreating lines of barricades, I think it would make sense for activists to focus on a positive vision for Ireland's future, based on understanding the economic alternative futures that are possible: one imposed externally, and the other self-determined. Imagine if a national conversation could begin, over our diverse civil society networks, a creative conversation about how we could get things moving on this island, if we were economically liberated to apply our innate creativity and productivity, and to make wise use of our abundant resources.
I think people are ready for a positive conversation. Everywhere there is desperation, cynicism, frustration, resignation, disgust, anger, in various mixtures, and nowhere much positive on offer to think about. Occupy The Future, one might say, makes sense as a movement for Ireland. Sovereignty, I believe, is just below the surface in everyone's consciousness. It's just barely 'outside the box' of realistic thinking. When the idea pops up, it's dismissed with a chuckle. But I think a presentation could be put together, that could introduce economic sovereignty as a viable alternative, and to which people would respond, as the idea is liberated from the unthinkable.
Here’s something you can take to the bank. By loaning more money than GDP could ever repay, Italy, Spain, and now Ireland have been taken over by the Rothschild’s dynasty (IMF), the governments of the world’s personal banker. Can you imagine all three of these countries being governed by banker appointed governors, with the people having no say so? May I suggest you reconsider the current situation in America, and think about how hard it would be to regain our sovereignty once it is lost. Do you see the progression that is occurring right under your nose? First, you loan governments more money than they could ever repay, then go in and buy up the government owned and private services needed to sustain life (dirt cheap). Then drive the economy into a hole that devastates the population, and create a police state to keep the people frightened, next comes a new power structure with the people left out of it, and no ability to get back in control…..ever! I know this is getting some of you scared, but the obvious, and only choice, we have is to take down the banking cartel and seize their assets. You may think I’m a crazy old man, but you will rue the day you did not climb on this idea with me. Freedom is not free, and it damn sure is worth dying for! Keep an eye on Italy, Spain, and Ireland, and watch their agony increase as the tyranny grows.
The banking Cartel will wring every shekel out of them like someone running cookies through an old fashioned ringer washing machine.
January 16th, 2012 by olddog
Urban survival guide
by DAVID MORRIS on JANUARY 12, 2012
Welcome to this week’s Urban Survival Newsletter, brought to you by Jeff Anderson’s Social Chaos Survival Guide. If you order it before Saturday, you’ll also receive a copy of his soon-to-be-released “250 Collapse Secrets.” Social Chaos Survival Guide is a great book that you’ll be very glad to have on your shelf. Learn more now by going to the: Social Chaos Survival Guide.
Most firearms enthusiasts would agree that suppressed firearms are some of the most fun and most desirable firearms toys you can play with.
In addition to the cool factor that comes with seeing James Bond, Jason Bourne, special operations units, and other action heroes use them throughout the years, they have a tremendous amount of practical value for firearms enthusiasts in general and preparedness minded people in particular.
Just to dispel any preconceived ideas that you might have, the vast majority of the benefits of suppressed weapons can be enjoyed without having to endure a “Mad Max” scenario.
Before we get into the benefits of suppressed weapons, let me give you some quick background…
(For additional easy to digest information, I encourage you to go through the short course that Advanced Armament offers at AACCanU (AAC Can University). It takes 5-10 minutes to go through and when you finish, they’ll send you a diploma granting you a “Bachelor of Silence” degree.
To begin with, “silencers” don’t silence a weapon…they only suppress the sound level of the firearm, which is why there has been a shift from calling them “silencers” to calling them “suppressors.” When a firearm discharges, particularly a semi-automatic firearm, there are several sources of noise:
1. The bolt/slide assembly going backwards, the spent round being extracted, and the next round being loaded.
2. The muzzle blast.
3. Bullets traveling faster than roughly 1150 feet per second will break the sound barrier and cause a sonic boom.
4. The sound of the mechanical percussion that ignites the round.
5. The sound of the round hitting a target.
For the most part, suppressors suppress the sound of muzzle blasts and don’t affect the other 4 factors, but simply suppressing the muzzle blast can often mean the difference between needing to wear hearing protection to shoot and not needing to wear hearing protection.
Suppressors use the same noise suppression concept as automobile mufflers…in fact they were developed at the same time and “silencer” and “muffler” are used interchangeably with both technologies in many parts of the world. Both allow the expansion of gasses inside of a container rather than in the open air.
And, just like there are several non-tactical benefits to using an automobile muffler, there are several non-tactical benefits to using a suppressor in addition to the tactical ones.
To begin with, it’s just polite. In England, New Zealand, and several other “civilized” countries around the world that allow firearms of one type or another, people use silencers so that they can talk while shooting, hear after shooting, shoot while their friends and family sit and chat nearby, shoot near their pets without damaging their hearing, shoot without bothering the neighbors, and shoot at night without waking the neighbors and/or causing unnecessary calls to law enforcement.
With the benefit that suppressors have when shooting around animals, it would be ironic, but understandable if PETA became a big proponent of the loosening of laws and expanded use of suppressors.
Expanding on that list, there are an increasing number of “suppressor only” firearms competitions where the non-competitors of all ages can comfortably have normal conversations without hearing protection just a few yards behind the line.
Many low-light training courses have had to be canceled in recent years because of neighbors complaining about the noise when they’re trying to relax for the evening or sleep. Suppressors are an obvious solution to this issue.
Also, nighttime is the best time to shoot one of America’s most costly animals…wild hogs. I said “shoot” instead of “hunt” because hogs are estimated to cause $200-$800 in damage apiece per year and sows can deliver as many as 10 babies per year. As a result, hog control becomes a mix between hunting and eradication. What this means is that in addition to bothering the neighbors less when hunting with a suppressed weapon, it also can allow the shooter the opportunity to take more hogs per engagement—this is because they will be able to see better and get back on target quicker and because the decrease in noise MIGHT allow them multiple shots before the herd scatters. And if you’re wondering if you can hunt hogs with a silencer…the answer depends on where you are. 18 states allow either varmint eradication and/or hunting with a silencer. In some states, you can use silencers, night vision, and/or thermal vision. In Texas, you can even shoot hogs while hanging out of a helicopter.
Great learning tool
Next, when you consider the fact that suppressors decrease sound levels, improve accuracy, reduce felt recoil, and reduce muzzle flip, it quickly becomes evident that they are almost the perfect tool to use when introducing a new shooter to the sport…particularly young shooters and females who may be apprehensive of firearms in the first place.
They’ll be able to hear your range commands easier since they don’t have to wear ear protection, they won’t feel like they’re being yelled at since you’ll be able to use your normal voice, they won’t be as afraid of the blast & recoil as they might be, and the reduction of muzzle flip leads to a significant reduction in anticipatory flinch. (This is when you “push” the barrel down in anticipation of the round going off to try to counteract recoil. It is one of the most, if not the most common problem that shooters of all skill levels have.)
In a non-tactical survival situation, hunting with a suppressor also has the benefit of shortening the radius considerably within which other people could DF (direction find) you based on the report of your shot. Put another way, if people could hear your unsuppressed shot a mile away and get a bead on where you’re shooting from, that distance might drop down to as little as a quarter mile with a suppressed weapon. While that’s 1/4th the distance, the true impact comes into focus when you realize that dropping the distance that people can hear you from 1 mile to a quarter mile decreases the area where people can stand and hear your shot by 16 times. (A circle with a 1 mile radius covers 3.14 square miles. A circle with a .25 mile radius covers .2 square miles) As a note, the distance from which a firearm discharge can be heard depends on many, many factors and the 1 mile and ¼ mile distances that I gave are simply for illustrative purposes.
Even though tactical benefits won’t be nearly as useful to most people, there are some notable ones that I want to share with you.
1. If you’re on a tactical team where everyone is using suppressed weapons, it will be very easy to differentiate friend from foe.
2. If you’re not an audio blocker, your hearing will probably be shot pretty quickly after you fire your first shot and you won’t be able to communicate as effectively with your team. Suppressors mean that at least, even though your opponents’ weapons may blow your hearing, yours and your teammates won’t. (As a note on the “audio blocker” comment…some people’s ears mysteriously compensate for explosions and firearms noises in high stress situations. This phenomenon is covered in David Grossman’s book, “On Combat.”)
3. With most normal powder loads, suppressors contain most of the muzzle flash and allow shooters to maintain their night vision longer than with unsuppressed weapons.
4. When using an SBR, (Short Barreled Rifle) suppressors can significantly increase muzzle velocity and terminal ballistics.
5. Suppressed light and noise and the alteration of the frequency of the muzzle blast makes direction finding much more difficult than with non-suppressed weapons.
6. Some SWAT teams keep suppressed .22s on hand for shooting out lights during high risk raids. Since everything that goes up must come down and since they’re responsible for every round that leaves their weapons, this is not incredibly common.
Who can own a silencer?
If you’re a legal U.S. Resident, 21 or older, a non-felon, and live in AL, AR, AK, AZ, CO, CT, FL, GA, ID, IN, KS, KY, LA, MD, ME, MI, MS, MO, MT, ND, NE, NV, NH, NM, NC, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WI, WV, or WY, you can own a silencer…you just have to buy it from a firearms dealer who has a “Class III” license and pay a $200 tax for each suppressor. Right now, the wait is approximately 6 months for the ATF to approve your application.
If you don’t live in one of these states, you can STILL buy sub-caliber inserts. I wrote about them about a year and a half ago…I put an excerpt in the P.S. at the end of this article.
As a note, firearms dealers are required to have a Class III license to sell silencers. Silencers are technically called “Title II” items. Another way of saying it is that a dealer has to have a Class III license to sell Title II items. More on Title II items in a few paragraphs.
In other countries where suppressors are legal, they are generally less expensive and easier to obtain.
Unfortunately, in addition to making it unnecessarily cumbersome for law abiding citizens to legally obtain a silencer, it’s also VERY easy to mess up once you own one.
Technically, if you buy a silencer in your name, you are the only person who can use it, have access to it, or control of it without committing a felony. That means that if you own a safe and keep your suppressors in your safe, nobody, including your spouse, can have the combination.
If you’re at the range, you can’t legally let anyone else fire your suppressed weapon or handle your suppressor.
This can be interpreted to apply to both civilians and law enforcement and is an especially big tripping point for law enforcement who personally own short barreled rifles or suppressors and who think that the law doesn’t apply to them and their families.
Fortunately, there’s a solution and it’s a trust that is called the “NFA Gun Trust.” A properly done NFA Gun Trust will allow you to bypass some of the more onerous aspects of the process to buy a suppressor, as well as give you a tool to legally enjoy them with friends and relatives. If you’re going to have any suppressors or other NFA Title II items (which includes fully automatic weapons, short barreled rifles, suppressors, all other weapons, and destructive devices), you REALLY want to have a properly done NFA Gun Trust.
I said “properly done” twice because there are several attorneys and gun stores who are giving/selling people defective NFA Gun Trusts. In some cases, it has meant that when people who had several Title II items in a defective trust went to buy another Title II item, it lead to the ATF confiscating ALL of their Title II items.
Now, please understand that I don’t agree with the need for an NFA Gun Trust. I would like to see the items simply covered under the Second Ammendment, for the tax stamp requirement to go away, and for the need for the trust to go away. Unfortunately, that’s not reality and reality has convinced me of the need to do everything according to the laws on the books and have an NFA Gun Trust to protect myself, my family, and our firearms.
What I did was go to the granddaddy of NFA Gun Trusts, David Goldman. Title II owners across the country owe Mr. Goldman a huge debt of gratitude for deciding to focus on NFA Gun Trusts and figure out all of the tweaks and changes that needed to be made to make the process of buying, storing, enjoying, and transferring Title II items as legal and painless as possible for law abiding people who just want to stay out of trouble.
David has done THOUSANDS of these trusts. If you want to get one, you simply contact his office atGunTrustLawyer.com, and give them your information. (His site is a treasure chest of good solid information on Title II weapons) They’ll do the majority of the trust in their offices and then forward your trust to an attorney in your state who will do the final customizations to make the trust legal in your state. When I went through the process with him, it was painless and informative and I strongly encourage you to contact him if you have any interest in getting Title II items. He’s offered to discount his fees for my readers, so if you want to save some money, tell him I referred you.
David includes a guide with his trusts that lay out how to buy items, set up banking correctly so you don’t make the trust defective, how to fill out the forms correctly, and what you MUST include and shouldn’t include with your application. I can tell you from personal experience that this is incredibly valuable, as is the ability to call them (sometimes multiple times) while you’re at the counter filling out the forms to buy your Title II items to make sure you’re doing everything correctly. The guide also includes instructions how to legally buy private party, travel with Title II items, move from state to state, and more.
Also, if you currently have a NFA Gun Trust, you may want to have Mr. Goldman review it to make sure that it’s not a defective trust that could expose you to considerable unnecessary liability. Unfortunately, there are a LOT of defective trusts floating around that used estate planning trusts, did a couple of find-and-replaces, and thought it would work as an NFA Gun Trust.
As a note, we all know how much the current administration wants to limit the rights of gun owners. It’s a fair guess that the sale of Title II items would be an easy early target. That’s why I’m buying suppressors whenever I can. They’re kind of pricy, so it’s not something I get every week or even every month, but it’s something that I’m making forward progress on.
That’s it for this week. Let me know if you’ve got any experience with suppressors and whether or not you intend on buying any in the future. If you had a choice, would you rather have a fully automatic weapon, a suppressed weapon, or a short barreled rifle? Share your thoughts by commenting below:
One final note…Thanks for all of the great feedback on Jeff Anderson’s Social Chaos Survival Guide. If you haven’t checked it out yet, I encourage you to do so before his special bonus expires.
Until next week, God bless & stay safe,
P.S. Here’s an excerpt on what I wrote on the sub-caliber round:
$15 “Silencer” For Your .308 With NO Tax Stamp!
I got my latest “Sportsman’s Guide” catalog this week and they’ve got a very neat little “tool” that will let you shoot .32 ACP ammo through bolt action .308s (and a few other .30 caliber rifles).
They’re called “sub caliber sleeves” or “rifle chamber inserts.” I’ve got a handfull of these little treasures and they have a few important uses for preppers.
To begin with, when you shoot a .32 ACP through a .308 barrel, the report is MUCH quieter than with a .308…almost like using a silencer. Next, if you’re training someone to shoot a high powered rifle, it’s less expensive to shoot .32 ACP than .308 and there’s almost no recoil. The last major benefit I’ll cover is meat damage. It should be obvious, but if you shoot small game with a .32 ACP, there will be a lot less meat destroyed than if you make the same shot with a .308.
January 16th, 2012 by olddog
The Middle Eastern and North African wars – planned 20 years ago – don’t necessarily have much to do with fighting terrorism. See this, this and this.
They are, in reality, about oil.
And protecting Israel (and read the section entitled “Securing the Realm” here).
But as AFP reports today, there is another major motivation for the expanding wars:
The latest round of American sanctions are aimed at shutting down Iran’s central bank, a senior US official said Thursday, spelling out that intention directly for the first time.
“We do need to close down the Central Bank of Iran (CBI),” the official told reporters on condition of anonymity, while adding that the United States is moving quickly to implement the sanctions, signed into law last month.
Foreign central banks that deal with the Iranian central bank on oil transactions could also face similar restrictions under the new law, which has sparked fears of damage to US ties with nations like Russia and China.
“If a correspondent bank of a US bank wants to do business with us and they’re doing business with CBI or other designated Iranian banks… then they’re going to get in trouble with us,” the US official said.
Why is the U.S. targeting Iran’s central bank?
Well, multi-billionaire Hugo Salinas Price told King World News:
What happened to Mr. Gaddafi, many speculate the real reason he was ousted was that he was planning an all-African currency for conducting trade. The same thing happened to him that happened to Saddam because the US doesn’t want any solid competing currency out there vs the dollar. You know Gaddafi was talking about a gold dinar.
As I noted in August:
Ellen Brown argues in the Asia Times that there were even deeper reasons for the war than gold, oil or middle eastern regime change.
Brown argues that Libya – like Iraq under Hussein – challenged the supremacy of the dollar and the Western banks:
Later, the same general said they planned to take out seven countries in five years: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran.
What do these seven countries have in common? In the context of banking, one that sticks out is that none of them is listed among the 56 member banks of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). That evidently puts them outside the long regulatory arm of the central bankers’ central bank in Switzerland.
The most renegade of the lot could be Libya and Iraq, the two that have actually been attacked. Kenneth Schortgen Jr, writing on Examiner.com, noted that “[s]ix months before the US moved into Iraq to take down Saddam Hussein, the oil nation had made the move to accept euros instead of dollars for oil, and this became a threat to the global dominance of the dollar as the reserve currency, and its dominion as the petrodollar.”
According to a Russian article titled “Bombing of Libya – Punishment for Ghaddafi for His Attempt to Refuse US Dollar”, Gaddafi made a similarly bold move: he initiated a movement to refuse the dollar and the euro, and called on Arab and African nations to use a new currency instead, the gold dinar. Gaddafi suggested establishing a united African continent, with its 200 million people using this single currency.
And that brings us back to the puzzle of the Libyan central bank. In an article posted on the Market Oracle, Eric Encina observed:
One seldom mentioned fact by western politicians and media pundits: the Central Bank of Libya is 100% State Owned … Currently, the Libyan government creates its own money, the Libyan Dinar, through the facilities of its own central bank. Few can argue that Libya is a sovereign nation with its own great resources, able to sustain its own economic destiny. One major problem for globalist banking cartels is that in order to do business with Libya, they must go through the Libyan Central Bank and its national currency, a place where they have absolutely zero dominion or power-broking ability. Hence, taking down the Central Bank of Libya (CBL) may not appear in the speeches of Obama, Cameron and Sarkozy but this is certainly at the top of the globalist agenda for absorbing Libya into its hive of compliant nations.
Alex Newman wrote in November:
According to more than a few observers, Gadhafi’s plan to quit selling Libyan oil in U.S. dollars demanding payment instead in gold-backed “dinars” (a single African currency made from gold) was the real cause [of the Libyan war and killing of Gadhafi]. The regime, sitting on massive amounts of gold, estimated at close to 150 tons, was also pushing other African and Middle Eastern governments to follow suit.
And it literally had the potential to bring down the dollar and the world monetary system by extension, according to analysts. French President Nicolas Sarkozy reportedly went so far as to call Libya a “threat” to the financial security of the world. The “Insiders” were apparently panicking over Gadhafi’s plan.
“Any move such as that would certainly not be welcomed by the power elite today, who are responsible for controlling the world’s central banks,” noted financial analyst Anthony Wile, editor of the free market-oriented Daily Bell, in an interview with RT. “So yes, that would certainly be something that would cause his immediate dismissal and the need for other reasons to be brought forward [for] removing him from power.”
According to Wile, Gadhafi’s plan would have strengthened the whole continent of Africa in the eyes of economists backing sound money not to mention investors. But it would have been especially devastating for the U.S. economy, the American dollar, and particularly the elite in charge of the system.
“The central banking Ponzi scheme requires an ever-increasing base of demand and the immediate silencing of those who would threaten its existence,” Wile noted in a piece entitled “ Gaddafi Planned Gold Dinar, Now Under Attack” earlier this year. “Perhaps that is what the hurry [was] in removing Gaddafi in particular and those who might have been sympathetic to his monetary idea.”
Investor newsletters and commentaries have been buzzing for months with speculation about the link between Gadhafi’s gold dinar and the NATO-backed overthrow of the Libyan regime. Conservative analysts pounced on the potential relationship, too.
“In 2009 in his capacity as head of the African Union Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi had proposed that the economically crippled continent adopt the ‘Gold Dinar,’” noted Ilana Mercer in an August opinion piece for WorldNetDaily. “I do not know if Col. Gadhafi continued to agitate for ditching the dollar and adopting the Gold Dinar or if the Agitator from Chicago got wind of Gadhafi’s (uncharacteristic) sanity about things monetary.”
But if Arab and African nations had begun adopting a gold-backed currency, it would have had major repercussions for debt-laden Western governments that would be far more significant than the purported “democratic” uprisings sweeping the region this year. And it would have spelled big trouble for the elite who benefit from “ freshly counterfeited funny-money,” Mercer pointed out.
“Had Gadhafi sparked a gold-driven monetary revolution, he would have done well for his own people, and for the world at large,” she concluded. “A Gadhafi-driven gold revolution would have, however, imperiled the positions of central bankers and their political and media power-brokers.”
Adding credence to the theory about why Gadhafi had to be overthrown, as The New American reported in March, was the rebels’ odd decision to create a central bank to replace Gadhafi’s state-owned monetary authority. The decision was broadcast to the world in the early weeks of the conflict.
In a statement describing a March 19 meeting, the rebel council announced, among other things, the creation of a new oil company. And more importantly: “Designation of the Central Bank of Benghazi as a monetary authority competent in monetary policies in Libya and appointment of a Governor to the Central Bank of Libya, with a temporary headquarters in Benghazi.”
The creation of a new central bank, even more so than the new national oil regime, left analysts scratching their heads. “I have never before heard of a central bank being created in just a matter of weeks out of a popular uprising,” noted Robert Wenzel in an analysis for the Economic Policy Journal. “This suggests we have a bit more than a rag tag bunch of rebels running around and that there are some pretty sophisticated influences,” he added. Wenzel also noted that the uprising looked like a “major oil and money play, with the true disaffected rebels being used as puppets and cover” while the transfer of control over money and oil supplies takes place.
Other analysts, even in the mainstream press, were equally shocked. “Is this the first time a revolutionary group has created a central bank while it is still in the midst of fighting the entrenched political power?” wondered CNBC senior editor John Carney. “It certainly seems to indicate how extraordinarily powerful central bankers have become in our era.”
Similar scenarios involving the global monetary system based on the U.S. dollar as a global reserve currency, backed by the fact that oil is traded in American money have also been associated with other targets of the U.S. government. Some analysts even say a pattern is developing.
Iran, for example, is one of the few nations left in the world with a state-owned central bank. And Iraqi despot Saddam Hussein, once armed by the U.S. government to make war on Iran, was threatening to start selling oil in currencies other than the dollar just prior to the Bush administration’s “regime change” mission. While most of the establishment press in America has been silent on the issue of Gadhafi’s gold dinar scheme, in Russia, China, and the global alternative media, the theory has exploded in popularity.
A reader comments:
No one is paying attention to the petro-dollars and the current desperation of European and US banks. Even Iran prices oil in $$$s per the treaty after WWII, but no one wants $$$s any more because it has been such a poor investment vehicle. Gold has been much better. Iraq did not want $$$s, was invaded. Libya did not want $$$s, was invaded (I believe they wanted gold). Iran does not want $$$. The dollars are deposited in US and European banks. The dollars standing as the finacial reserve currency of the world was / is being threatened, and thus the Federal Reserve Banks ability to print unlimited dollars!
January 14th, 2012 by olddog
The Economic Collapse
Thursday, January 12, 2012
Beware of bubbles of false hope. Right now there is a lot of talk about how the U.S. economy is improving, but it is all a lie. The mainstream media can be very seductive. When you sit down to watch television your brain tends to go into a very relaxed mode.
In such a state, it becomes easy to slip thoughts and ideas past your defenses. Sometimes when I am watching television I realize what the media is trying to do and yet I can still feel it happening to me. In this day and age, it is absolutely critical that we all think for ourselves. When you look at the long-term trends and the long-term numbers, a much different picture of the U.S economy emerges than the one that is painted for us on television. Over the long-term, the number of good jobs in America has been steadily going down. Over the long-term, the number of Americans living in poverty and living on food stamps has been steadily going up. Over the past couple of decades, tens of thousands of businesses, millions of jobs and trillions of dollars of our national wealth have gone out of the country. Our debt is nearly 15 times larger than it was 30 years ago, and U.S. consumer debt has soared by 1700% over the past 40 years. Year after year the rate of inflation goes up faster than our incomes do, and this is absolutely devastating the middle class. Anyone who believes that we can keep doing the same things that we have been doing and yet America will still have a bright economic future is delusional. Until the long-term trends which are taking the U.S. economy straight into the toilet are reversed, any talk of a bright economic future is absolute nonsense.
In America today, we have such a short-term focus. We are all so caught up with what is happening right now. Our attention spans seem to get shorter every single year. At this point it would not be hard to argue that kittens have longer attention spans than most of us do. (If you have ever owned a kitten you know how short their attention spans can be.) Things have gotten so bad that most of our high school students cannot even answer the most basic questions about our history. If people are not talking about it on Facebook or Twitter it is almost as if it does not even matter.
But any serious student of history knows that is is absolutely crucial to examine long-term trends. And when you look at the long-term trends, it rapidly becomes apparent that the U.S. economy is in the midst of a nightmarish long-term decline.
The following are 24 statistics to show to anyone who believes that America has a bright economic future….
#1 Inflation is a silent tax that steals wealth from all of us. We continue to shell out increasing amounts of money for the basic things that we need, and yet our incomes are not keeping pace. Just check out the following example. Gasoline prices have been trending higher for several years in a row as one blogger recently noted….
January 2009 $1.65
January 2010 $2.57
January 2011 $3.04
January 2012 $3.29
#2 If you can believe it, the average American household spent approximately$4,155 on gasoline during 2011.
#3 Electricity bills in the United States have risen faster than the overall rate of inflation for five years in a row.
#4 Health care costs continue to rise at a very alarming pace. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, health care costs accounted for just 9.5% of all personal consumption back in 1980. Today they account for approximately16.3%.
#5 Getting a college education has also become insanely expensive in America. After adjusting for inflation, U.S. college students are borrowing about twice as much money as they did a decade ago.
#6 To get the same purchasing power that you got out of $20.00 back in 1970 you would have to have more than $116 today.
#7 To get the same purchasing power that you got out of $20.00 back in 1913 you would have to have more than $457 today.
#8 There are fewer payroll jobs in the United States today than there were back in 2000 even though we have added more than 30 million extra people to the population since then.
#9 The U.S. economy is bleeding millions of good jobs. Greedy CEOs are systematically shipping them overseas and our politicians are standing around and doing nothing about it. This has gone on year after year after year. The following is from a recent article by Paul Craig Roberts….
In the first decade of the 21st century, Americans lost 5,500,000 manufacturing jobs. US employment in the manufacture of computer and electronic products fell by 40%; in the production of machinery by 30%, in motor vehicles and and parts by 44%, and in the manufacture of clothing by 66%.
#10 Our economic infrastructure is being torn apart right in front of our eyes. In 2010, an average of 23 manufacturing facilities a day shut down in the United States. Overall, more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities in the United States have shut down since 2001.
We have made it legal for big corporations to send millions of jobs to countries where it is legal to pay slave labor wages, where the tax burden is much lighter and where there are barely any regulations. The following is a brief excerpt from a recent article posted on Economy in Crisis….
Back in the ‘80s, I called my friend Walter in California and asked: “On your next expansion we need a plant in South Carolina.” Walter replied: “We don’t produce anything in the United States. It’s all in China. China furnishes you the plant on a year-to-year basis. If your investment works out, you don’t have to pay any corporate tax; just reinvest it for another plant and more profit. If it doesn’t work out, you can walk away with no legacy costs. I send a quality controller to watch production. I check on it every day. I don’t have any labor, health, safety, or environmental concerns, and have time to play a round of golf.” The bleeding of jobs off-shore started in the ‘80s — now hemorrhages under Bush and Obama. Waiting for the economy to bounce back; calling this “the worst recession” is a bum rap. The reason the economy hasn’t bounced back since 2008 is because the economy is being off-shored.
#11 As a result of our insane economic policies, our trade balances are absolutely exploding. For example, the U.S. trade deficit with China in 2010was 27 times larger than it was back in 1990.
#12 As you read this, there are millions of Americans out there wondering why they can’t find any jobs. According to Reuters, 23.7 million American workers are either unemployed or underemployed right now.
#13 The number of good jobs has been steadily shrinking in America. Since the year 2000, the United States has lost 10% of its middle class jobs. In the year 2000 there were about 72 million middle class jobs in the United States but today there are only about 65 million middle class jobs.
#14 Over the last three decades, the percentage of low income jobs has consistently risen. 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.
#15 The number of middle class neighborhoods also continues to decline. 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”.
#16 A decade ago, the United States was ranked number one in average wealth per adult. By 2010, the United States had fallen to seventh.
#17 Our incomes continue to go down. Since December 2007, median household income in the United States has declined by a total of 6.8% once you account for inflation.
#18 Unfortunately, middle class Americans have been seeing their incomes decline for a very long time. 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.
#19 Since 1971, consumer debt in the United States has increased by a whopping 1700%. Unfortunately, U.S. consumers have still not learned how to stay out of debt. According to a recent article posted on Financial Armageddon, the rate of personal savings in the United States is rapidly falling right now at the same time that the total amount of consumer credit is absolutely skyrocketing.
#20 The number of children living in poverty in America keeps rising year after year. The percentage of children living in poverty in the United States increased from 16.9 percent in 2006 to nearly 22 percent in 2010.
#21 The number of Americans on food stamps continues to set new all-time records. Just check out the following progression….
October 2008: 30.8 million Americans on food stamps
October 2009: 37.6 million Americans on food stamps
October 2010: 43.2 million Americans on food stamps
October 2011: 46.2 million Americans on food stamps
#22 The U.S. debt problem has gotten completely and totally out of control. Recently, the debt of the federal government surpassed 100% of GDP for the first time ever.
#23 During the Obama administration, the U.S. government has accumulated more debt than it did from the time that George Washington took office to the time that Bill Clinton took office.
#24 Barack Obama’s proposed 2012 budget projects that the national debt will rise to 26 trillion dollars a decade from now. And his budget numbers are ridiculously optimistic.
Are you starting to get the picture?
All of the long-term economic numbers are progressively getting worse.
As the economy continues to crumble, large numbers of Americans are becoming really desperate. For example, a recent Mother Jones article detailed how large numbers of formerly middle class Americans are now actually growing marijuana in an effort to make ends meet.
As things continue to get worse, people will become even more desperate. There are millions of people out there that find themselves unable to pay the mortgage and put food on the table for their families. When people hit rock bottom, they often find themselves doing things that they never dreamed that they would do.
Meanwhile, the big Wall Street banks just keep getting larger and more powerful. We have allowed the “too big to fail” banks to become much bigger than they have ever been before. The total assets of the six largest U.S. banks increased by 39 percent between September 30, 2006 and September 30, 2011.
Wealth is becoming increasingly concentrated at the very top even as the overall economic pie in America continues to get smaller.
As our economic problems become worse, more Americans than ever are trying to find ways to “escape”.
For example, according to one new government report one out of every six adults in America is a binge drinker.
Other Americans “tune out” by watching endless hours of television, by playing endless hours of video games or by indulging in endless hours of other forms of entertainment.
There are even some Americans that are giving up completely. For example, one elderly man actually robbed a bank just so that he could get arrested and be taken to prison where he would get free health care.
But as I have written about previously, now is not the time to give up. Instead, now is the time to prepare for the great challenges that are ahead.
Almost every generation in history has been faced with great challenges and great hardships at some point.
Yes, there will be some incredibly hard times ahead, but that also means that there will be a need for some great heroes.
Just because the U.S. economy is falling apart does not mean that life is over.
We are living during one of the most exciting times in all of human history. Instead of cowering in fear, let us embrace these times and focus on becoming the people that we were created to be.
15 Economic Statistics That Just Keep Getting Worse
Child Poverty In America Is Absolutely EXPLODING –
Shocking Statistics That Will Break Your Heart
Deceptive Economic Statistics: While the economists lied the US economy died
Shocking Charts And Statistics That Prove That America Is No Longer A Wealthy Nation
24 Signs Of Economic Decline In America
16 Statistics Which Prove That The American People Are Absolutely Seething With Anger
One Piece Of Moderately Good Economic News And 14 Pieces Of Bad Economic News
15 Statistics Which Prove That The U.S. Economy Is In Much Worse Shape Than Most Americans Think
Getting Worse: 40 Undeniable Pieces Of Evidence That Show That America Is In Decline
20 Questions To Ask Anyone Foolish Enough To Believe The Economic Crisis Is Over
28 Statistics About Gutting Of U.S. Economy That Will Blow Your Mind
Is Crime Making A Comeback? 12 Crime Statistics That Make You Wonder What Is Happening To America
January 14th, 2012 by olddog
Madison Ruppert, Contributing Writer
As if the United States did not have a bloated enough prison population – which I think nearly every single American realizes is a painful truth – our school systems are being transformed into yet another way to funnel people into the private prison system.
School systems around the country, but especially Texas, have begun criminalizing what would otherwise be normal childish behavior.
One example given by the British Guardian in a recent fantastic article covering this issue, an overweight and unpopular girl was charged with a criminal misdemeanor after spraying perfume because children in the classroom were teasing her and saying she smelled bad.
That’s right; a 12-year-old girl was arrested for “disrupting class” simply for attempting to appease cruel students.
Unfortunately, this example of the young Sarah Bustamantes is far from isolated. Kids can be arrested for anything ranging from possession of cigarettes, so-called inappropriate clothing, and even something as inconsequential as being late to class.
While the Guardian’s article is surprisingly comprehensive, they do seem to be under the impression that this trend is just a natural consequence of misinformed decisions.
I, on the other hand, find that this trend is part of the large-scale growth of the private prison industry which seeks to create an endless supply of customers who they can charge the state for while leveraging said prisoners for slave labor.
Criminalizing the youth is being done at an earlier and earlier age in order to create these consumers as early as possible and lock them in to an inescapable system.
One criminal charge can mean the difference between getting a student loan, a job, or a spot in a competitive academic program.
With the job market as dismal as it is nowadays, a young person with a criminal record is likely going to be passed over for the many other applicants who do not have such a record.
This leads to a vicious cycle: get charged with a crime, can’t get a job, have to
resort to crime to survive, get charged with another crime, still can’t get a job, have to resort to crime, etc. ad infinitum.
This cycle can lock someone into the world of crime for their entire life and when this starts at an early age, it is even more likely to be the case.
The Justice Policy Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit organization which aims to change the public discussion around justice reform while forwarding “policies that promote well-being and justice for all people and communities,” put out a landmark report in June 2011 which dissects the private prison complex.
The report, entitled “ Gaming the System: How the Political Strategies of Private Prison Companies Promote Ineffective Incarceration Strategies” breaks down exactly how these companies go about making sure the system is as inefficient as possible in order to guarantee a steady customer base.
In the introduction they write, “While private prison companies may try to present themselves as just meeting existing ‘demand’ for prison beds and responding to current ‘market’ conditions, in fact they have worked hard over the past decade to create markets for their product.”
“As revenues of private prison companies have grown over the past decade, the companies have had more resources with which to build political power, and they have used this power to promote policies that lead to higher rates of incarceration,” they add.
The policies we see in Texas perfectly play in to this by creating a demand from an early age and effectively relegating what should really be behavior to be disciplined by teachers and parents to criminal behavior to be disciplined by the so-called justice system.
The most glaring issue here is that police are actually arresting and charging children for the most ludicrous of crimes (if you can even call them that); all while the law enforcement officers themselves are allowed to get away with murder.
The problem is not just these policies are creating lifetime criminals and clogging up our already bloated prison system, it is that these police officers far too often cross the line in disastrous ways.
One glaring example that springs to mind is the disturbing case of 14-year-old Derek Lopez, who was murdered by a police officer after doing nothing more than punching a fellow student a single time.
“It wasn’t a fight. It was nothing,” the student who was attacked by Lopez later said in a sworn deposition, yet it still got Lopez executed.
Another example is 15-year-old Marshawn Pitts, a special needs student who was brutalized by a police officer for not having his shirt tucked in:
Or 16-year-old Pleajhai Mervin of Palmdale, California, who had her wrist broken and was arrested after spilling some cake during lunch and leaving the crumbs.
Or in 2007 in Chicago when one sixth grader described the following horrific treatment: “The security person grabbed me by me head [sic] and swung me into the door and started hitting me in the stomach. When I fell on the ground, my arm got caught between the door and he kept slamming the door on my arm to stop other students from getting out.”
These are just microcosmic examples of a macrocosmic and wholly destructive trend that is sweeping the United States.
The situation in Texas is a great example of how this is being done at a policy level in order to create lifelong customers for the private prison industry, but many other states have the same thing going on – albeit not as blatantly.
In a 2010 report released by the Community Rights Campaign and the Los Angeles Chapter of Dignity in Schools entitled “ Police in LAUSD Schools: The Need for Accountability and Alternatives” it is revealed that reports of police misconduct gathered from over 1,500 student surveys across 18 Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) schools include: “excessive force and restraint, verbal abuse, sexual harassment, intimidation, frequent and indiscriminate use of mace and pepper spray on large numbers of students, racial profiling, handcuffs used on students’ whose 'crime' was being late, frequent searches, and more.”
Clearly this problem is greater than just one school district or just one state. This is a national problem which does nothing but create more crime by forcing people into becoming lifelong criminals who provide slave labor to private corporations while said corporations rake in absurd profits from taxpayers.
On an even larger level, this trend is representative of a disastrous epidemic: profiting from suffering. This takes shape in the form of war profiteering, prison profiteering, ineffective and/or harmful pharmaceutical/health industry profiteering and more.
I find this instance to be one of the most troubling because it is shaping the way our young people look at life in the United States.
If you grow up in a prison-like environment, even being arrested for throwing paper airplanes, it is only natural to think that you might grow up viewing the world in a similar manner.
It also classifies our children as criminals and suspects in their most formative years, once again preparing their minds for a life of criminalization, dehumanization and degradation.
Thankfully, this is something that can be approached from the local level – where one person can make more of an impact than anywhere else.
By bringing these issues up and forcing the discussion of the undue criminalization of our children into public debate, some changes very well might be made.
However, if the propaganda and fear is pushed with the apparent effectiveness that it is right now we very well might see the American police state come to every school with disastrous consequences we are only just beginning to see.
This article first appeared at EndtheLie.com
Madison Ruppert is the Editor and Owner-Operator of the alternative news and analysis database End The Lie and has no affiliation with any NGO, political party, economic school, or other organization/cause. He is available for podcast and radio interviews. If you have questions, comments, or corrections feel free to contact him at admin@EndtheLie.com
January 14th, 2012 by olddog
by: Ben Feller
Friday, January 13, 2012
The president's first action under a push for more executive power would be to combine the trade and commerce departments, according to the Associated Press. Photo Credit:AP
President Barack Obama on Friday took aim at his government's own messy bureaucracy, prodding Congress to give him greater power to merge agencies and promising he would start by collapsing six major economic departments into one. Pressing Republicans on one of their own political issues, Obama said it was time for an "effective, lean government."
Obama wants the type of reorganizational authority last held by a president when Ronald Reagan was in office. Obama's version would be a so-called consolidation authority allowing him to propose only mergers that promise to save money and shrink government. The deal would help Obama considerably by entitling him to an up-or-down vote from Congress in 90 days.
Still, final say would remain with lawmakers, both on whether to grant Obama this fast-track authority and then in deciding whether to approve any of his specific ideas.
"We can do this better," Obama declared in an event with business owners at the White House, even presenting slides to help make his case.
"So much of the argument out there all the time is up at 40,000 feet, these abstract arguments about who's conservative or who's liberal," Obama said. "Most Americans – and certainly most small business owners – you guys are just trying to figure out how do we make things work, how do we apply common sense. And that's what this is about."
In an election year and a political atmosphere of tighter spending, Obama's move is about more than improving a giant bureaucracy. He is attempting to directly counter Republican arguments that he has presided over the kind of government regulation, spending and debt that can undermine the economy – a dominant theme of the emerging presidential campaign.
Republicans have often aligned themselves with smaller government. So politically, Obama is trying to put the onus on Republicans in the House and Senate to show why they would be against the pursuit of leaner government.
From Capitol Hill, a spokesman for Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the top Republican in the Senate, pledged Obama's plan would get a careful review.
But the spokesman, Don Stewart, also said: "After presiding over one of the largest expansions of government in history, and a year after raising the issue in his last State of the Union, it's interesting to see the president finally acknowledge that Washington is out of control."
Obama has an imperative to deliver. He made the promise to come up with a smart reorganization of the government in his last State of the Union speech last January.
At the time, Obama grabbed attention by pointing out the absurdity of government inefficiency. In what he called his favorite example, Obama said: "The Interior Department is in charge of salmon while they're in fresh water, but the Commerce Department handles them when they're in saltwater. And I hear it gets even more complicated once they're smoked."
The White House said the problem is serious for consumers who turn to their government for help and often do not know where to begin.
Not in decades has the government undergone a sustained reorganization of itself. Presidents have tried from time to time, but each part of the bureaucracy has its own defenders inside and outside the government, which can make merger ideas politically impossible. That's particularly true because "efficiency" is often another way of saying people will lose their jobs.
Obama hopes to enhance his chances by getting Congress to give him the assurance of a clean, relatively speedy vote on any of his proposals.
There is no clear sign that Obama would get that cooperation. He spent much of 2011 in utter gridlock with Republicans in Congress.
In the meantime, Obama announced Friday that Karen Mills, the administrator of the Small Business Administration, would be elevated to Cabinet-level rank. But her job would essentially disappear if Obama has his way.
If he gets the new fast-track power to propose legislation, Obama's first project would be to combine six major operations of the government that focus on business and trade.
They are: the Commerce Department's core business and trade functions; the Small Business Administration; the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative; the Export-Import Bank; the Overseas Private Investment Corporation; and the Trade and Development Agency. The goal would be one agency designed to help businesses thrive.
The White House says 1,000 to 2,000 jobs would be cut, but the administration would do so through attrition; that is, as people routinely leave their jobs over time.
The administration said the merger would save $3 billion over 10 years by getting rid of duplicative overhead costs, human resources divisions and programs.
The name and potential secretary of the new agency have not been determined.
The point, the White House says, is not just making the government smaller but better by saving people time and eliminating bureaucratic nightmares. The idea for the consolidated business agency grew out of discussions with hundreds of business leaders and agency heads over the last several months.
Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said streamlining government was always a potentially good idea but expressed wariness about whether Obama's plan would really help business.
"American small businesses are more concerned about this administration's policies than from which building in Washington they originate," Buck said. "We hope the president isn't simply proposing new packaging for the same burdensome approach."
According to the White House, presidents held such a reorganizational authority for about 50 years until it ran out during Reagan's presidency in 1984.
Obama has a series of other ideas about consolidating departments across the government, to be rolled out later. Read the original article at AP
January 14th, 2012 by olddog
I hope that reading this article will open the eyes of those who think America is going to be able to cut the OIL ties to the Mid East. All that is being done is trading the Mid East for COMMIE CHINA – right on our own soil. Devon Energy is BIG in Texas and in other states. Those Chop-Sticks and fortune cookies are about to eat us live.
"In Canada, one Chinese national oil company has moved beyond a step-by-step strategy over recent years to take over an oil sands project, while another has struck a US$2.5 billion deal to acquire 33 percent of five new U.S. shale plays by Devon Energy."
"Instead of being taught independence, energy, and enterprise, our youth today is taught to look for security." B. Carroll Reece
SEARCH our ARCHIVES of over 14,000 articles
Vol. 17, No. 3 Week of January 15, 2012
Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry
Tiger turns into dragon; Chinese round up North American assets
China has made an early start on the Year of the Dragon, which officially gets under way Jan. 23.
In full fire-breathing mode, the economic giant has sent its state-owned oil enterprises on raiding missions to North America, devouring whole operations in the process.
In Canada, one Chinese national oil company has moved beyond a step-by-step strategy over recent years to take over an oil sands project, while another has struck a US$2.5 billion deal to acquire 33 percent of five new U.S. shale plays by Devon Energy.
The message from Beijing seems to be loud and clear.
“The dragon returns and there is the potential for more interest,” said Wenran Jiang, a University of Alberta political science professor and senior fellow at the Asia-Pacific Foundation of Canada. “This is not done yet.”
China’s confidence in Canadian assets is fueled by its own desire for energy security, bolstered by the Canadian government’s decision to abandon the Kyoto Protocol and the diminished resistance in the U.S. to Chinese investment in natural resource assets.
These moves come on the heels of two others initiated by the Chinese in the past month.
China National Offshore Oil Corp., or CNOOC, led the pack by negotiating a deal with Canadian independent Nexen to earn working interests in six deepwater exploration wells in the Gulf of Mexico, although no financial terms were disclosed, and acquiring OPTI Canada, a 35 percent partner in Nexen’s Long Lake oil sands project, for C$2.2 billion.
Just before Christmas Sinopec, China’s petrochemical and refining giant, finalized a C$2.2 billion buyout of Daylight Energy in the first outright Chinese takeover of a conventional western Canadian oil and gas producer.
The oil sands deal will see Cretaceous Oilsands Holdings, a wholly owned subsidiary of PetroChina, pay Athabasca Oil Sands Corp., or AOSC, C$680 million for the 40 percent of the MacKay River in-situ project it doesn’t already own.
It could exercise a similar option for AOSC’s remaining 40 percent of the Dover project late this year. That would cost an estimated C$1.32 billion.
The two ventures, which PetroChina joined in 2009 for C$1.9 billion, are designed to produce 150,000 barrels per day from the MacKay lease, which is due on stream in 2014 at 35,000 bpd, and 250,000 bpd from Dover.
Almost simultaneously Sinopec reached an agreement with Devon which also has thermal oil sands operations in Alberta to access leading shale prospects in Michigan, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Colorado and Wyoming.
The deal has been valued at $5,000 per acre, compared with $15,000 per acre for the 25 percent interest Chesapeake Energy sold to France’s Total on Jan. 3 for $2 billion in upfront cash and future drilling costs in Ohio’s Utica acreage,
It follows a similar deal two years ago, when Chesapeake and Total announced a $2.25 billion joint venture for the Barnett Shale in Texas.
Analyst: deal ‘impressive’
Jefferies analyst Biju Perincheril rated the Devon-Sinopec deal as “impressive,” given the lack of market interest and drilling results in the various shales, indicating “sufficient interest in emerging plays that are less ‘hot’ than the Utica.”
Cretaceous President Zhiming Li said that although his company has the ability to develop MacKay on its own it is also open to taking on a partner.
He said that after two years of working on the project, it is certain the lease contains high-quality bitumen.
The MacKay development, which carries an estimated capital cost of C$6.5 billion or C$43,000 per flowing barrel, was approved before Christmas by Alberta regulators, setting in motion a put/call option for AOSC’s 40 percent stake.
AOSC President Sveinung Svarte said the final arrangement is “a perfect divorce because PetroChina has ambitious growth plans for Canada. MacKay and Dover contained estimated best-case contingent resources of 5 billion barrels.
PetroChina now holds 11 oil sands leases in northern Alberta as part of its drive to round up worldwide opportunities.
Li said the oil sands are a major target of his company’s goal to develop prospects that are “much bigger” than the initial 35,000 bpd planned for MacKay.
Competition Bureau must endorse
The AOSC transaction does not require clearance from the Canadian government’s foreign investment agency, having already received that approval when PetroChina committed to spending more than C$250 million to develop MacKay and Dover over three years, while increasing employment in Canada and ensuring Canadians held a majority of senior management positions if it became operator.
However, it does require endorsement from the federal Competition Bureau, which will examine the risk of PetroChina cornering the oil sands market.
And there is no question that the latest round of deal-making builds dramatically on a step-by-step process that saw Chinese firms take minority stakes in start-up firms six years ago, that secure part-ownership of larger ventures and now move assume control of whole operations.
Goldy Hyder, general manager of Hill & Knowlton, a lobbyist for Canadian and Chinese clients on big energy deals, said the question is whether the Canadian government will want to be part of the Chinese strategy to transfer its technological know-how to Beijing and afford China protection against disruptions in supply from conflict or politics.
The expansion of Canada’s horizon is also expected to stir interest in Washington, which has viewed the oil sands as a captive source of supply that can be turned on and off at will in the absence of any other exports for Canadian crude.
January 14th, 2012 by olddog
Obama’s Ineligibility, Elective Despotism and the Vote of Slaves
WITH A DEAD CONSTITUTION IT DOEST MATTER WHO WINS THE PRESIDENCY IN 2012
by Lawrence Sellin, ©2012
Is this document dead?
(Jan. 12, 2012) If re-elected, Barack Obama will kill the United States quickly. Any one of the leading Republican candidates will simply do it more slowly.
The erosion of the Constitution and our Constitutional rights has been happening quietly for a long time. With the election of Obama in 2008, corrupt politicians, their operatives and the mainstream media just decided not to bother hiding that fact anymore.
Corrupt American politicians, the operational arm of the multinational, wealthy and networked elite, preserve the illusion of democracy for the now disenfranchised voters, while journalists, falsely proclaiming themselves as tireless defenders of liberty, then distort the news in an attempt to manipulate public opinion.
The arrogance of Washington, D.C. has not abated, but has only gotten more brazen since 1993, when Lewis H. Lapham (“A Wish for Kings”) wrote:
“The politicians dress up the deals in the language of law or policy, but they’re in the business of brokering the tax revenue, and what keeps them in office is not their talent for oratory but their skill at redistributing the national income in a way that rewards their clients, patrons, friends and campaign contributors.”
Our politicians see every election as a license to steal from ordinary, hard-working Americans, permission to flout the law and avoid all accountability for destroying the country for the benefit of a few.
We no longer have representatives of the people, but elected despots who consider elections as mere formalities and citizens as their slaves.
By all measures, both the Republican and Democratic Parties are asking voters again to endorse the corrupt status quo.
In 2008, both parties permitted the election of Obama, a Constitutionally illegal President, who has forged his birth documents and his Selective Service registration. He has committed identity theft by using a Social Security Number not issued to him, AND HIS Father is not a natural born citizen.
Questions about Obama ineligibility and his crimes have been intentionally suppressed by the political establishment and the media because the truth about Obama would so outrage the American people that the entire corrupt political system and its servants in the mainstream media would collapse.
Perhaps it is time to let it do so, by declaring Obama unconstitutional and boycotting Republican candidates, until such time when they openly address the greatest fraud ever perpetrated on the American people and the greatest Constitutional crisis since the Civil War.
It is those corrupt politicians and a compliant media who have eroded our Constitution, stripped us of our Constitutional rights and destroyed the Founders model of a government of the people, by the people and for the people.
When will Congress launch an investigation into the criminal and usurper in the Oval Office? When will senior members of the military or the federal law enforcement agencies stand by their oaths to support and defend the Constitution?
The answer is “never.” There has been a colossal failure of leadership. We have a government littered with careerists, sycophants, cowards, liars and the greedy.
Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin stated:
“We are the heirs of those who froze with Washington at Valley Forge and who held the line at Gettysburg, who freed the slaves to close a shameful chapter, and who carved a nation out of the wilderness. We are the sons and daughters of those who stormed the beaches of Normandy and raised the flag at Iwo Jima and made America the strongest, the most prosperous, the greatest nation on earth forever in mankind’s history – the greatest, most exceptional nation.”
We owe it to those American heroes and to our posterity to fight the evil now permeating our government and society. We must not fail. Our country’s survival is in the balance.
Obama is not a natural born citizen, that is, a US citizen at birth, born of two US citizen parents at the time of his birth. He has never been eligible for the office of President.
The 2012 election will be a turning point in American history because our Constitution is in the balance. Let the politicians again ignore the Constitution and it is the end of our republic.
Patriots must speak out, oppose the corrupt political establishment and remove Obama from the state ballots.
There will be no second chance to take our country back.
Lawrence Sellin, Ph.D. is a retired colonel with 29 years of service in the US Army Reserve and a veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq. He receives email at email@example.com
January 12th, 2012 by olddog
By Dr. Adrian Krieg
Being over 70 years old and having lived through WWII in Europe and lived in Mexico, I have an excellent understanding of what dictatorships are and how they function. The fact that America is rapidly heading into a despotic state is obvious to anyone of my age. Furthermore, every branch of our government is involved. The Supreme Court recently ruled that the charge of 'assistance to terrorism' does not necessitate an overt act; all that is required is providing assistance and/or encouragement to the act. That in effect means anything, for instance, calling the executive a fool, writing a pro-Palestinian article, objecting to Israeli Middle East policies, holocaust denial – anything the bureaucracy disapproves of becomes a violation of this law.
Under the newly enacted – sponsored by McCain (R-AZ) with approval of 93 (STUPID) Senators – National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the president was granted the right to arrest and detain any American citizens any place in the world without a charge, indefinitely, without right to council, without a warrant, and to torture any such American, merely on his say-so or by indictment of a secret court whose members are anonymous. This totally obliterates the habeas corpus provisions of the Constitution. Furthermore, this law eradicates the Posse Comitatus Act [18 U.S.C. 1385] of June 18, 1887 that prevented the government from employing American military against American civilians.
The president already took upon himself the right to assassinate any American citizen any place in the world without charge, trial, judge, jury and evidence of a crime, simply on his say-so, and has already used that authority to murder.
The enacted in 2001 and re-approved in 2011 USA Patriot Act is the most sinister of all, in that it violates the first, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth amendments of the Bill of Rights. In expansion, it grants the government the right to rifle your mail, tap your telephone and inquire into what you are reading. In a stunning overturn of well-accepted fourth amendment rights a federal court has granted government the right to track your movement with GPS technology, including via cell phones and GPS equipment.
Meanwhile, your local police force is buying everything from spy drones to night vision equipment and are being militarized hand over fist. These weapons and systems that local police are purchasing are not for law enforcement; they are decidedly for issues like crowd control, nighttime secret incursions, combined actions with the National Guard and regular Army, which is now possible due to NDAA. Worse is the fact that numerous airports and facilities around America have had their security services subcontracted to Israeli security firms. While the government contracts training to SPLC for federal agencies and smaller local state agencies follow their lead, SPLC is the most bias-twisted, anti-Christian organization in the land. The federal government has established links with the JDL, Mossad assets, the American Jewish Congress, the ADL and other Israeli operatives; while we cannot prove this we know it to be the case. The story put forth by the Mossad that everyone in government now accepts as gospel is that Israeli and American security issues are one and the same. This, upon examination of issues, is utterly ridiculous.
Lest we forget, police are supposed to serve and protect while military kill and destroy. The two functions are wholly incompatible in a republic. I saw this firsthand in Germany from 1938 onward and in Italy, and in Bulgaria and then in the entire Soviet bloc empire.
In view of the Pollard, Franklin, Rosenberg and scores of Israeli spying operations against us and considering theUSS Liberty affair, we would be wise to rely on our own security apparatus and not become entangled with the agencies of a nation which has for decades been most actively spying against us.
We are already underwater with Israeli telephone monitoring and billing operations that have been off-shored by domestic suppliers to Magal Security Systems, an Israeli contractor. Let's be cognizant of the fact that, according to information released last December, there is now operative monitoring of all electronic communications as well as GPS systems. We do not think it rational to allow such information to be subcontracted offshore.
What we are pointing out here is that all the required means for the operation of a top-down police state are either already in place or are being put in place as you read. Even the agencies to administer all this from the federal level, Homeland Security – with over 220,000 employees – is a functioning agency run by one of Obama's dubious associates.
Beginning with 9/11 – a false-flag operation if ever there was one – the nation has lost one liberty after another, and now we have even lost our most basic right to face our accuser, habeas corpus, that has been part of English speaking law since the 12th century. The president, meanwhile, has taken to himself the right to use our own military against its citizens by voiding Posse Comitatus – enacted in 1887 after the war of northern aggression to alleviate the excesses of the Yankees as they had looted, raped and burned their way from Richmond to Atlanta – and the elimination of almost the entire Bill of Rights through the enactment of the USA Patriot Act, which had essentially been written and ready for enactment for over 15 years before 9/11.
What would it take to instill in a mentally challenged population the willingness to have stripped away what little of our freedoms still exist? A little pre-arranged action to be blamed on Iran would make the neocons very happy, the president could be re-elected, the population induced to war against yet another Middle East nation, then the expansion of more freedom crushing laws, the enactment of national hate laws with the government providing the definition of hate, and there you have it – Soviet America Empire of the 21st century.
There is one remaining way to stop this usurpation by our government and it is easy to do. Just support the CSPOA at http://www.cspoa.org/ and get our county Sheriff’s re-educated. Not even the President of the United State’s can rebuke him.
Your County Sheriff is elected by the people and we can demand they participate.
January 12th, 2012 by olddog
By Publius Huldah.
In a previous paper, I explained the shift from the philosophy of our
Framers, which was based on Logic, Fixed Principles & Judeo/Christian
Morality, to the pragmatist/existentialist mindset of today. With our
mindset of today, we are “freed” from the notion that some things are
True, other things are False; some things are Right, other things are
Wrong; and that there exist fixed Standards and Principles such as the
U.S. Constitution and the moral laws to which we must conform.
Today, we have nothing to guide us but our own feelings: “I like it”, “I
don’t like it”, “I agree”, “I don’t agree”, I “believe” or “I don’t
believe”. That is the essence of the existentialist mindset: we make
“choices” on the basis of no standard except for what we “like”. Or don’t
like. When people disagree, those with The Power decide on the basis of
what they like.
Our politicians ignore Our Constitution. They do whatever they want. Every
day, the President violates the Constitution he swore to protect; and
Congress does nothing about it. How could Congress do anything about it?
Since they too abandoned the Constitution, they have no Objective Standard
by which to judge the President. All they can say is, “I don’t agree”.
And WE THE PEOPLE don’t hold our politicians accountable for their
violations of Our Constitution. We keep re-electing them! Why? Because
we too have abandoned the Standard by which to judge their acts: Have you
read Our Declaration of Independence and Our Constitution? Do you
understand the concepts of “enumerated powers”, “federalism” and “rule of
Our Existentialist U.S. Senator, Marco Rubio
All our politicians fall short of the mark. None of them seem to
understand that they are obligated to obey Our Constitution; and that they
have no right to elevate into law their own personal views. They all
illustrate the intellectual and moral collapse of our time even the
charismatic Tea Party star, Sen. Marco Rubio (R, Fl). Consider his speech
of August 2, 2011 before the Senate. 1 You can read it here, and watch it
A few paragraphs into his speech, Rubio says:
I would remind many like myself that were elected in the last election
cycle, tightly embracing the principles of our Constitution… [boldface
Oh! A tea party candidate who will “tightly embrac[e] the principles of
our Constitution”! We in the Tea Party are all for that, aren’t we?
But then, Rubio goes on to speak of the dispute “between two very
different visions of America’s future”.
One group, Rubio tells us, “believe that the job of government is [to]
deliver us economic justice, which basically means: an economy where
everyone does well or as well as possibly can be done.”
The other group believes “it’s not the government’s job to guarantee an
outcome but to guarantee the opportunity to fulfill your dreams and
He’s doing OK so far. But then, he goes on to say, respecting the two
views: “By the way, one [is] not more or less patriotic than the other.”
And, “One is not more moral than the other.” 2
No Moral Distinctions?
WHAT? He sees no moral distinction between, on the one hand, a government
which takes by force property from one group of people and gives it to
other people to whom it does not belong; and, on the other hand, the free
country with a federal government of limited and enumerated powers created
by Our Constitution? No moral distinction between legalized plunder and a
federal government which respects the private property of The People? 3
When one abandons the moral Principle, “Thou shalt not steal”; then there
is no impediment to stealing assuming you have the power to do it. So,
stealing is just fine when the federal government does it because they
have the power to do it.
Making a Choice By What Criteria?
Rubio goes on to say:
…America is divided on this point … we must decide …what kind of
government do we want to have and what role do we want it to have in
Folks! WE THE PEOPLE have already decided this issue: Our decision is
enshrined in Our Constitution the Constitution whose Principles Rubio
promised to “tightly embrace”. Our Constitution does not permit the
federal government to rob Peter to pay Paul.
Besides, on what basis would we decide? Rubio has already told us that
there are no moral distinctions between a government which robs Peter to
pay Paul, and a government which respects the private property of Peter.
Rubio has already told us that those who advocate legalized plunder are
“patriots” to the same extent as those who oppose such plunder.
So! If there are no moral distinctions between the two “very different
visions”, and we all go along with Rubio’s abandonment of his promise to
“tightly embrace” the Principles of the Constitution, then on what basis
do we decide? We have no basis for making a decision other than our own
“likes” and “dislikes”.
And THAT is the existentialist mindset. A mind “freed” from all standards
other than, “I want” or “I don’t want”. “I like” or “I don’t like”.
So! Now that Rubio has come to the point where the only standard is what
we “like” and “don’t like”, he tells us what he likes:
I believe and we believe in a safety net program, programs that exist
to help those who cannot help themselves and to help those who have
tried but failed to stand up and try again, but not safety net
programs that function as a way of life…
WHERE does the Constitution permit the federal government to redistribute
peoples’ private property? WHO can lay his finger on that Provision of
the Constitution which authorizes the safety net programs Rubio “believes
Rubio told us near the beginning of his speech that he was elected on the
basis that he would “tightly embrace” the principles of the Constitution.
The Moral Law requires him to live up to his promise! The People in
Florida must push him to do just that.
And who decides whether we continue these “safety net programs” Rubio
“believes in”? People in Congress like Rubio and Rep. Pete Stark (D. Ca.)
voting for what they “believe in” the Constitution be damned? 5
And as to THE PEOPLE who don’t want to be robbed to pay for other peoples’
handouts, and who object to being enslaved so that Rubio can continue
safety nets he “believes in”: Rubio has stripped them of any moral or
legal basis for objecting.
How to Fix This
I do not accuse Rubio of being a bad person. But he has absorbed the
prevailing dogma of our time existentialism and may not even be aware
of it. The first task of man is this: Ask yourself, “What do I believe,
and why do I believe it?” You may find that you believe it for no other
reason than that you have always believed it. 6
And as a People, we have lost the ability to think and to analyze.
Rubio’s speech [like the speeches of all politicians] reflects this
inability to think and to analyze, as well as an existentialist mindset.
If he had argued from Principle if he had applied the Constitution he
promised to embrace he would have said that Our Constitution prohibits
Congress from spending money on anything other than its enumerated powers.
If he understood “federalism”, he would have understood that the power to
create “safety nets” is reserved to The States or to THE PEOPLE. If he
understood “the rule of law”, he would have understood that the obligation
of people in Congress is to obey the Constitution.
And WE THE PEOPLE must return to our Founding Principles. We must start
choosing our candidates on the basis of their conformity to our Founding
Principles not good looks and charm. We in the Tea Party are every bit
as silly as the foolish Democrats & Independents who voted for Obama for
the reason that he too was good-looking and charismatic. PH
1 I focus on Marco Rubio because he like all other politicians
illustrates the philosophical problems of which I write; but Rubio is also
a Tea Party “star”.
2 Rush Limbaugh understands the significance of Rubio’s moral blindness. I
first heard of Rubio’s speech on Rush’s show.
3 Frederic Bastiat’s essay, “The Law”, explains the evil of legalized
plunder and the moral superiority of limited civil government. It is one
of the masterworks of Western civilization, and the best thing to ever
come out of France. It is clear, and easy to understand. Someone! Give
Rubio a copy!
4 Our beloved James Madison, Father of the U.S. Constitution, couldn’t
find the provisions either. He said:
The government of the United States is a definite government, confined
to specified objects. It is not like state governments, whose powers
are more general. Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the
government. James Madison, speech in the House of Representatives,
January 10, 1794 [boldface added].
The Economics Department at George Mason University provides this quote
(among many wonderful others) on its page, Constitutional Limitations on
5 Watch this magnificent woman point out to Congressman Pete Stark that
obamacare makes SLAVES in violation of the 13th Amendment of those who
are forced to provide medical care to others. And watch Stark ignore her
moral and constitutional argument against slavery and tell his
constituents that “the federal government can do most anything”.
6A bit of personal history illustrates this point: I was raised a secular
humanist by parents who were secular humanists. When not much older than
Rubio, I asked a Christian pastor, “How can you believe all that stuff?”
He answered, “I have preconceptions; you have preconceptions. Examine
yours.” I did. And discovered that I was a secular humanist simply
because I had always been a secular humanist. I had never examined it.
When I examined it, I found there was no evidence to support my world
view. So! I abandoned it and learned a new world view based on Fixed
Principles those laws which are woven into the Fabric of Reality.
Let us pray that Sen. Rubio will do the same, and consign his
existentialist worldview to the trashcan (where it belongs). The Laws of
Morality and the Laws of Logic are among those Laws woven into the Fabric
of Reality. And he promised to “tightly embrac[e] the principles of our
January 10, 2012
Comment by Joyce Romano | January 11, 2012 | Reply
Very clear, yet so hard for people to grasp! We constantly hear the
candidate proclaim allegiance to the Constitution. You would think it
is the last thing they read at night and the first thing they pick up
in the morning. They make pledges to those whose vote they want, to be
different than all who have gone before them. They will be the true
follower of the Constitution. They will be a light on The Hill. They
win the confidence of the Right and get sent to D.C. where they take
the pledge to defend the Constitution. Then, it seems as if they never
consider the Constitution for the rest of their political term.
But, it is not as it seems. It is not that they pledge and sware to do
one thing and then ignore that very promise, at least in some cases.
It is that they do not know the Constitution any better than the
average person on the street. For some reason, we think that we know
the Constitution just because we are Americans. We had a class in 8th
grade about such things and we have not read it again since then. We
have the mindset that this document has been grafted into our brains
just because we talk about our “Constitutional Rights” whenever
someone attempts to shut us up or take away our guns.
Folks, we are personally reasponsible for knowing the Constitution! We
cannot afford to just claim to have an understanding, we need to KNOW
it! How can we properly eliminate the candidate from being elected,
who does not know the Consititution, if we do not know enough about it
to question him or her and be able to tell whether or not they
Cleaning up this mess starts with each one of us. Get busy learning
because time is of essence.
January 12th, 2012 by olddog
By JS Kim
“Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.”– Henry David Thoreau
Have you ever noticed how vehemently people react when you question something they believe in instead of ever being able to have an intelligent discussion with him or her? In the below video, Chris Hedges, a Pulitzer Prize winning American journalist, author, and war correspondent, nails the reason that explains why it is so difficult to change a person’s mind when they are committed to believing something even when they are confronted with a mountain of evidence that points to the contrary. Chris states that universities have stripped away humanities and other courses that develop critical thinking skills and instead, due to the historical influences of men like Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller, focus on teaching young men and women “what to think” instead of “how to think.”
Like the proverb that states we have two ears and only one mouth so we should listen twice as much as we talk, when we are confronted with actually having our views challenged, many among us fail to listen, fail to analyze, fail to think, and we instead immediately open our mouths in defense without ever seriously considering the contrary information, often in factual form, that has been presented to us. All of us, including yours truly, have been guilty of responding insensitively and unintelligently in this manner, and I believe that there is a reason for this type of response. The powers that be have used education against us by employing teaching methods within institutional academia that condition us to automatically dismiss any notion that might conflict with our internal belief systems that THEY have programmed into us. If you believe that this notion is far-fetched, consider that from 1900 to 1920, at a time when the direction of American education was very much still being molded, Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller incredibly spent more money than the entire US government in funding and building the education system to meet their specifications and wishes.
Have you ever thought about why repetition, an integral construct in the effectiveness of brainwashing, is also an integral construct in most institutions of academia in every country of the world? Could education institutions possibly be serving as re-education camps? Should not true learning involve students questioning professors, students questioning students, and professors questioning students not just to repeat and regurgitate pre-packaged responses as is so often the case, but also to critically analyze and to defend one’s positions and arguments? The Powers That Be (TPTB) that attend the Bilderberg conference must secretly smile and laugh behind closed doors at the “unthinking” nature that they have been able to instill within us. Refuse to accept something as fact just because an authority figure, whether a professor, the Vatican, or politician, told you to believe it, and automatically many amongst the sheep will accuse one of pandering to conspiracy theories, even when one can present many facts that support one’s opposition view much more strongly than the widely accepted view.
Because universities are so focused on teaching us “what to think” instead of “how to think”, this dumbing down process has produced many media figures and talk show hosts that respond to any questioning of their beliefs with censorship, an attempt to talk over opposition views, or with infantile ad hominem attacks, no matter how cogent and eloquently expressed the opposition view may be. When I lived in Japan, I learned of a Japanese proverb that states, “The nail that sticks out gets hammered down”, as if uniqueness and individuality were undesirable traits. Perhaps this may be the case as the status quo views us, their subjects, but certainly humanity should strive to achieve creativity and foster critical thought in order to establish a more moral society and to root out corruption.
Furthermore, the deliberate destruction of curricula in institutional academia that fosters critical thinking skills has given way to “hero” worship and learned helplessness instead of self-determination and self-reliance. Again, the status quo delights in the hero culture we have built today. Hero worship leaves one longing for salvation to come on the back of some mythical status without any commitment or accountability from the masses. The status quo delights in the hero culture we have built today. Hero worship leaves one longing for salvation to come on the back of some mythical hero without any commitment or accountability from the masses. The status quo delight in the hero culture that they have built in the minds of the masses as they know that longing for salvation to come from someone else will leave people in a state of learned helplessness-induced inertia and thus create an effective barrier from the manifestation of a “peasant” revolt.
Have you ever noticed how often someone will defend every fault of their country’s President, a huge pop star, or a star athlete as passionately as they would defend their own family if you should dare criticize their “hero” figure? From a logical standpoint, such defenses are the definition of irrational, as no one can truly know anything substantial or substantive about the character or true nature of a public figure with whom they have not spent a single hour. But yet people very frequently subscribe to the absolutely absurd belief that they know the character of their “hero” intimately and will defend this person’s honor (or dishonor as it may be in many cases) to the end of time. In closing, in addition to Chris Hedge’s video, I will leave you with a video I posted nearly a year-and-a-half ago in which I discuss ex-KGB Yuri Bezmenov’s discourse on ideological subversion and how such tactics can produce sheeple that will invariably obey and believe what they are told. Hopefully this will help us identify the ideological subversive tactics that are being deployed against us today all over the world and help all of us to transform into more open-minded people willing to consider alternate viewpoints other than the ones that “the powers that be” commanded us to embrace.
About the author: JS Kim is the Founder and Chief Investment Strategist forSmartKnowledgeU, a fiercely independent investment research and consulting firm with a mission of helping to stomp out Wall Street fraud and to reinstitute sound monetary principles and sound money worldwide. We sincerely appreciate all of you that continue to “like” our Facebook fan page and “follow us” on Twitter. Through these mediums, we will keep all of you aware of some major campaigns we will be launching in early 2012 to raise global awareness of monetary truth and our proposed solutions to institute sound money.
Republishing Rights: The above may be reprinted on other sites as long as all text and links remain intact, INCLUDING the “about the author” text. Sites that republish our articles and do not abide by these rules will be asked to remove the article for copyright infringement violation.
More on this topic (What's this?)
Update Digest for Week of 2011-12-24 (The Essentials of Trading, 12/24/11)
This is what's considered a spectator sport in Iran (Video) (The Political and Financial Mark…, 1/9/12)
12-27-11 Strategic Stocks To Watch LIBERTY COAL ENERGY CORPORATION (OTCBB: LBTG) (Strategic Stocks and Penny Stocks, 12/27/11)
A Report from the Frontlines: The Long Road to #OccupyWallStreet and the Origins of the 99% Movement (Wall Street Sector Selector,
January 11th, 2012 by olddog
Washington and especially Barack Obama’s Administration don’t give a hoot about whether Russia is democratic or not. Their concern is the obstacle to Washington’s plans for Full Spectrum Dominance of the planet that a Putin Presidency will represent.
I think of this as yet-another regime-change project, in the 'Arab Spring' psy-ops series. In the case of Russia, where actual regime-change is unlikely, the purpose is clearly to characterize Russia, in 'the mind of the international community', as a place where the people want a regime change. The victims of the psy-op are not the Russians, support for Putin is increasing, the victims are us in the West, whose understanding of world affairs is kept in a muddle by the psy-ops industry, aka the media.
Why Washington Wants ‘Finito’ with Putin
By F. William Engdahl,* author of A Century of War: Anglo-American
Oil Politics and the New World Order
Washington clearly wants ‘finito’ with Russia’s Putin as in basta! or as they said in Egypt last spring, Kefaya–enough!. Hillary Clinton and friends have apparently decided Russia’s prospective next president, Vladimir Putin, is a major obstacle to their plans. Few however understand why. Russia today, in tandem with China and to a significant degree Iran, form the spine, however shaky, of the only effective global axis of resistance to a world dominated by one sole superpower.
On December 8 several days after election results for Russia’s parliamentary elections were announced, showing a sharp drop in popularity for Prime Minister Putin’s United Russia party, Putin accused the United States and specifically Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of fuelling the Russian opposition protesters and their election protests. Putin stated, “The (US) Secretary of State was quick to evaluate the elections, saying that they are unfair and unjust even before she received materials from the Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (the OSCE international election monitors-w.e.) observers.”
Putin went on to claim that Clinton’s premature comments were the necessary signal to the waiting opposition groups that the US Government would back their protests. Clinton’s comments, the seasoned Russian intelligence pro stated, became a “signal for our activists who began active work with the US Department of State.” 
Major western media chose either to downplay the Putin statement or to focus almost entirely on the claims of an emerging Russian opposition movement. A little research shows that, if anything, Putin was downplaying the degree of brazen US Government interference into the political processes of his country. In this case the country is not Tunisia or Yemen or even Egypt. It is the world’s second nuclear superpower, even if it might still be an economic lesser power. Hillary is playing with thermonuclear fire.
Democracy or something else?
No mistake, Putin is not a world champion practitioner of what most consider democracy. His announcement some months back that he and current President Medvedev had agreed to switch jobs after Russia’s March 4 Presidential vote struck even many Russians as crass power politics and backroom deal-making. That being said, what Washington is doing to interfere with that regime change is more than brazen and interventionist. The same Obama Administration which just signed into law measures effectively ripping to shreds the Bill of Rights of the US Constitution for American citizens is posing as world supreme judge of others’ adherence to what they define as democracy.
Let’s examine closely Putin’s charge of US interference in the election process. If we look, we find openly stated in their August 2011 Annual Report that a Washington-based NGO with the innocuous name, National Endowment for Democracy (NED), is all over the place inside Russia.
The NED is financing an International Press Center in Moscow where some 80 international NGOs can hold press briefings on whatever they choose. They fund numerous “youth advocacy” and leadership workshops to “help youth engage in political activism.” In fact, officially they spent more than $2,783,000 in 2010 on dozens of such programs across Russia. Spending for 2011 won’t be published until later in 2012. 
The NED is also financing key parts of the Russian “independent” polling and election monitoring, a crucial part of being able to claim election fraud. They finance in part the Regional Civic Organization in Defense of Democratic Rights and Liberties “GOLOS.” According to the NED Annual Report the funds went “to carry out a detailed analysis of the autumn 2010 and spring 2011 election cycles in Russia, which will include press monitoring, monitoring of political agitation, activity of electoral commissions, and other aspects of the application of electoral legislation in the long-term run-up to the elections.”
In September, 2011, a few weeks before the December elections the NED financed a Washington invitation-only conference featuring the Russian “independent” polling organization, the Levada Center. According to NED’s own website Levada, another recipient of NED money,  had done a series of opinion polls, a standard method used in the West to analyze the feelings of citizens. The polls profiled “the mood of the electorate in the run up to the Duma and presidential elections, perceptions of candidates and parties, and voter confidence in the system of ‘managed democracy’ that has been established over the last decade.”
One of the featured speakers at that Washington conference was Vladimir Kara-Murza, member of the federal council of Solidarnost (“Solidarity”), Russia’s democratic opposition movement. He is also “advisor to Duma opposition leader Boris Nemtsov” according to NED. Another speaker came from the right-wing neo-conservative Hudson Institute. 
Nemtsov, one of the most prominent of the Putin opposition today is also co-chairman of Solidarnost, a name curiously enough imitated from the Cold War days when the CIA financed the Polish Solidarnosc workers’ opposition of Lech Walesa. More on Nemtsov later.
And on December 15, 2011, again in Washington, just as the series of US-supported protests were being launched against Putin, led by Solidarnost and other organizations, the NED held another conference titled, Youth Activism in Russia: Can a New Generation Make a Difference? The featured speaker was Tamirlan Kurbanov, who according to the NED, “most recently served as a program officer at the Moscow office of the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, where he was involved in developing and expanding the capacities of political and civic organizations; promoting citizen participation in public life, youth engagement in particular.”  The National Democratic Institute is an arm of the NED.
The shady history of NED
Helping youth engage in political activism is precisely what the same NED did in Egypt over the past several years in the lead up to the toppling of Mubarak. The same NED was instrumental by informed accounts in the US-backed “Color Revolutions” in 2003-2004 in Ukraine and Georgia that brought US-backed pro-NATO surrogates to power. The same NED has been active in promoting “human rights” in Myanmar, in Tibet, and China’s oil-rich Xinjiang province. 
As careful analysts of the 2004 Ukraine “Orange revolution” and the numerous other US-financed color revolutions discovered, control of polling and ability to dominate international media perceptions, especially major TV such as CNN or BBC is an essential component of the Washington destabilization agenda. The Levada Center would likely be in a crucial position in this regard to issue polls showing discontent with the regime.
By their description, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is a “private, nonprofit foundation dedicated to the growth and strengthening of democratic institutions around the world. Each year, with funding from the US Congress, NED supports more than 1,000 projects of non-governmental groups abroad who are working for democratic goals in more than 90 countries.”
It couldn’t sound more noble or high-minded. However, they prefer to leave out their own true history. In the early 1980’s CIA director Bill Casey convinced President Ronald Reagan to create a plausibly private NGO, the NED, to advance Washington’s global agenda via other means than direct CIA action. It was a part of the process of “privatizing” US intelligence to make their work more “effective.” Allen Weinstein, who helped draft the legislation establishing NED, said in a Washington Post interview in 1991, “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.” Interesting. The majority of funds for NED come from US taxpayers through Congress. It is in every way, shape and form a US Government intelligence community asset.
The NED was created during the Reagan Administration to function as a de facto CIA, privatized so as to allow it more freedom of action. NED board members are typically drawn from the Pentagon and US intelligence community. It has included retired NATO General Wesley Clark, the man who led the US bombing of Serbia in 1999. Key figures linked to clandestine CIA actions who served on NED’s board have included Otto Reich, John Negroponte, Henry Cisneros and Elliot Abrams. The Chairman of the NED Board of Directors in 2008 was Vin Weber, founder of the ultraconservative organization, Empower America, and campaign fundraiser for George W. Bush. Current NED chairman is John Bohn, former CEO of the controversial Moody’s rating agency which played a nefarious role in the still-unraveling US mortgage securities collapse. As well today’s NED board includes neo-conservative Bush-era ambassador to Iraq and to Afghanistan, Afghan-American Zalmay Khalilzad.
Putin’s well-rehearsed opposition
It’s also instructive to look at the leading opposition figures who seem to have stepped forward in Russia in recent days. The current opposition “poster boy” favorite of Russian youth and especially western media is Russian blogger Alexei Navalny whose blog is titled LiveJournal. Navalny has featured prominently as a quasi-martyr of the protest movement after spending 15 days in Putin’s jail for partaking in a banned protest. At a large protest rally on Christmas Day December 25 in Moscow, Navalny, perhaps intoxicated by seeing too many romantic Sergei Eisenstein films of the 1917 Russian Revolution, told the crowd, “I see enough people here to take the Kremlin and the White House (Russia’s Presidential home-w.e.) right now…”
Western establishment media is infatuated with Navalny. England’s BBC described Navalny as "arguably the only major opposition figure to emerge in Russia in the past five years," and US Time magazine called him "Russia's Erin Brockovich," a curious reference to the Hollywood film starring Julie Roberts as a trade union organizer. However, more relevant is the fact that Navalny went to the elite American East Coast Yale University, also home to the Bush family, where he was a “Yale World Fellow.” 
The charismatic Navalny however is also or has been on the payroll of Washington’s regime-destabilizing National Endowment for Democracy (NED). According to a posting on Navalny’s own blog, LiveJournal, he was financed in 2007-2008 by the NED. His Washington NED contact person was Frank Conatser. A facsimile of an email exchange between Navalny and Conatser fronm November 17, 2007 is partially reproduced here.
From: Frank Conatser [mailto:frankc@NED.ORG]
Sent: Saturday, November 17, 2007 12:12 AM
To: Navalny Alexey; Aleksey Navalny
Cc: John Squier; Marc Schleifer
Subject: NED Agreements No. 2006-576 & No. 2007-688
Grants Administrator for Eurasia
National Endowment for Democracy
1025 F St, NW, Suite 800
Washington, DC 20004
(excerpt from email exchange between Alexey Navalty and NED)
Along with Navalny, key actors in the anti-Putin protest movement are centered around Solidarnost which was created in December 2008 by Boris Nemtsov, Vladimir Ryzhkov and others. Nemtsov is hardly one to protest corruption. According to Business Week Russia of September 23, 2007, Nemtsov introduced Russian banker Boris Brevnov to Gretchen Wilson, a US citizen and an employee of the International Finance Corporation, a financing arm of the World Bank. Wilson and Brevnov married. With the help of Nemtsov Wilson managed to privatize Balakhna Pulp and Paper mill at the giveaway price of just $7 million. The enterprise was sucked dry and then sold to the Wall Street-Swiss investment bank, CS First Boston bank. The annual turnover of the mill was reportedly $250 million. 
CS First Boston bank also paid for Nemtsov's trips to the very expensive Davos World Economic Forum. When Nemtsov became a member of the cabinet, his protégé Brevnov was appointed the chairman of the Unified Energy System of Russia JSC. Two years later in 2009 Boris Nemtsov, today’s “Mr anti-corruption,” used his influence reportedly to get Brevnov off the hook for charges of embezzling billions from assets of Unified Energy System. 
Nemtsov also took money from jailed Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky in 1999 when the latter was using his billions to try to buy the Russian parliament or Duma. In 2004 Nemtsov met with exiled billionaire oligarch Boris Berezovsky in a secret gathering with other exiled Russian tycoons. When Nemtsov was detailed by Russian authorities for allegations of foreign funding of his new political party, “For Russia without Lawlessness and Corruption,” US Senators John McCain and Joe Liberman and Mike Hammer of the Obama National Security Council came to support of Nemtsov. 
Nemtsov’s close crony, Vladimir Ryzhkov of Solidarnost is also closely tied to the Swiss Davos circles, even founding a Siberian Davos. According to Russian press accounts from April 2005, Ryzhkov formed a Committee 2008 in 2003 to “draw” funds of the imprisoned Khodorkovsky along with soliciting funds from fugitive oligarchs such as Boris Berezovsky and western foundations such as the Soros Foundation. The stated aim of the effort was to rally “democratic” forces against Putin. On May 23, 2011 Ryzhkov, Nemtzov and several others filed to register a new Party of Peoples’ Freedom to ostensibly field a presidential candidate against Putin in 2012.
Another prominent face in the recent anti-Putin rallies is former world chess champion turned right-wing politician, Garry Kasparov, another founder of Solidarnost. Kasparov was identified several years ago as being a board member of a Washington neo-conservative military think-tank. In April 2007, Kasparov admitted he was a board member of the National Security Advisory Council of Center for Security Policy, a "non-profit, non-partisan national security organization that specializes in identifying policies, actions, and resource needs that are vital to American security." Inside Russia Kasparov is more infamous for his earlier financial ties to Leonid Nevzlin, former Yukos vice-president and partner of Michael Khodorokvsky. Nevzlin fled to Israel on being charged in Russia on charges of murder and hiring contract killers to eliminate “objectionable people” while Yukos vice-president. 
In 2009 Kasparov and Boris Nemtsov met with no less than Barack Obama to discuss Russia’s opposition to Putin at the US President’s personal invitation at Washington’s Ritz Carlton Hotel. Nemtsov had called for Obama to meet with opposition forces in Russia: “If the White House agrees to Putin’s suggestion to speak only with pro-Putin organizations… this will mean that Putin has won, but not only that: Putin will become be assured that Obama is weak,” he said. During the same 2009 US trip Nemtsov was invited to speak at the New York Council on Foreign Relations, perhaps the most influential US foreign policy think-tank. Significantly, not only has the US State Department and US-backed political NGOs such as NED poured millions into building an anti-Putin coalition inside Russia. The President personally has intervened into the process.
Ryzhkov, Nemtzov, Navalty and Putin’s former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin were all involved in organizing the December 25th Moscow Christmas anti-Putin rally which drew an estimated 120,000.
The salient question is why Putin at this point? We need not look far for the answer. Washington and especially Barack Obama’s Administration don’t give a hoot about whether Russia is democratic or not. Their concern is the obstacle to Washington’s plans for Full Spectrum Dominance of the planet that a Putin Presidency will represent. According to the Russian Constitution, the President of the Russian Federation head of state, supreme commander-in-chief and holder of the highest office in the Russian Federation. He will take direct control of defense and foreign policy.
We must ask what policy? Clearly strong countermeasures against the blatant NATO encirclement of Russia with Washington’s dangerous ballistic missile installations around Russia will be high on Putin’s agenda. Hillary Clinton’s “reset” will be in the dustbin if it is not already. We can also expect a more aggressive use of Russia’s energy card with pipeline diplomacy to deepen economic ties between European NATO members such as Germany, France and Italy, ultimately weakening the EU support for aggressive NATO measures against Russia. We can expect a deepening of Russia’s turn towards Eurasia, especially with China, Iran and perhaps India to firm up the shaky spine of resistance to Washington’s New World Order plans.
It will take more than a few demonstrations in sub-freezing weather in Moscow and St. Petersburg by a gaggle of corrupt or shady opposition figures such as Nemtsov or Kasparov to derail Russia. What is clear is that Washington is pushing on all fronts—Iran and Syria, where Russia has a vital naval port, on China, now on Russia, and on the Eurozone countries led by Germany. It has the smell of an end-game attempt by a declining superpower.
The United States today is a de facto bankrupt nuclear superpower. The reserve currency role of the dollar is being challenged as never since Bretton Woods in 1944. That role along with maintaining the United States as the world’s unchallenged military power have been the basis of the American Century hegemony since 1945.
Weakening the role of the dollar in international trade and ultimately as reserve currency, China is now settling trade with Japan in bilateral currencies, side-stepping the dollar. Russia is implementing similar steps with her major trade partners. The primary reason Washington launched a full-scale currency war against the Euro in late 2009 was to preempt a growing threat that China and others would turn away from the dollar to the Euro as reserve currency. That is no small matter. In effect Washington finances its foreign wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya and elsewhere through the fact that China and other trade surplus nations invest their surplus trade dollars in US government Treasury debt. Were that to shift significantly, US interest rates would rise substantially and the financial pressures on Washington would become immense.
Faced with growing erosion of her unchallenged global status as sole superpower, Washington appears now to be turning increasingly to raw military force to hold that. For that to succeed Russia must be neutralized along with China and Iran. This will be the prime agenda of whoever is next US President.
*F. William Engdahl is author, lecturer and political risk consultant. He may be reached via his website at www.engdahl.oilgeopolitics.net
 Alexei Druzhinin, Putin says US encouraging Russian opposition, RIA Novosti, Moscow, December 8, 2011
 Jonathan Turley, The NDAA's historic assault on American liberty,
guardian.co.uk, 2 January 2012, accessed in http://www.guardian
 National Endowment for Democracy, Russia, from NED Annual Report 2010, Washington, DC, published in August 2011, accessed in http://www.ned.org/
 NED, Elections in Russia: Polling and Perspectives, September 14, 2011, accessed in http://ned.org/events/elections-in-russia-polling-and-perspectives.
 NED, Youth Activism in Russia: Can a New Generation Make a Difference?, December 15, 2011, accessed in http://ned.org/events/youth-activism-in-russia-
 F. William Engdahl, Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order, 2010, edition.engdahl press. The book describes in detail the origins of the NED and various US-sponsored “human rights” NGOs and how they have been used to topple regimes not friendly to a larger USA geopolitical agenda.
 National Endowment for Democracy, About Us, accessed in www.ned.org.
 David Ignatius, Openness is the Secret to Democracy, Washington Post National Weekly Edition, 30 September-6 October,1991, 24-25.
 F. William Engdahl, Op. Cit., p.50.
 Yulia Ponomareva, Navalny and Kudrin boost giant opposition rally, RIA Novosti, Moscow, December 25, 2011.
 Yale University, Yale World Fellows: Alexey Navalny, 2010, accessed in http://www.yale.edu/worldfellows/fellows/navalny.html.
 Alexey Navalny, emails between Navalny and Conatser, accessed in Russian (English summary provided to the author by www.warandpeace.ru) on http://alansalbiev.livejournal.com/28124.html.
 Business Week Russia, Boris Nemtsov: Co-chairman of Solidarnost political movement, Business Week Russia, September 23, 2007, accessed inhttp://www.
 Russian Mafia.ru, Vladimir Ryzhkov: Co-chairman of the Party of People's Freedom, accessed in http://www.rumafia.com/person.php?id=1713.
 Russian Mafia.ru, Garry Kasparov: The leader of United Civil Front, accessed in http://www.rumafia.com/person.php?id=1518.
 The OtherRussia, Obama Will Meet With Russian Opposition, July 3, 2009, accessed in http://www.theotherrussia.org/2009/07/03/obama-will-meet-
 Yulia Ponomareva, op. Cit.
Von: Richard Moore [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Gesendet: Montag, 9. Januar 2012 22:56
An: William Engdahl
Here is a new piece on the recent Russian opposition protests. Feel free to
January 10th, 2012 by olddog
By Mike Barrett
Monsanto is not simply a company who sells genetically modified products to those seeking them.
This massive corporation is actually very much involved with the passing and proposals of regulations concerning the very GM ingredients they are responsible for.
You may think those helping to pass the GMO bills truly believe that genetically engineering the food supply is beneficial to public health, but the scary truth is that many of said individuals couldn’t care less about humankind or the future of the planet. As far as many government regulators are concerned, Monsanto can spread its wings far and wide – so as long as those in power are living large.
Exposing Monsanto’s Financial Interest in Government
During the 3rd quarter of 2011, biotech giant Monsanto spent a whopping $2 million lobbying the federal government. The lobbying focused on issues like regulations for genetically modified crops and patent reforms, a previous report says. The recent lobbying was aimed at the US congress as well as the USDA to weaken regulatory requirements for the production of GM sugarbeets and alfalfa. This kind of lobbying from Monsanto has been going on for years, with over $8 million spent annually over the last few years.
It is this kind of government lobbying that ignites so much backing from government agencies like the USDA. In 2011 the USDA was going to let Monsanto conduct its own environmental studies as part of a two-year USDA experiment. But there is no good that can possibly come of an experiment where the company behind nearly every genetically modified crop in our daily diets is allowed to decide whether its products are causing any environmental harm. Allowing a company with such incredible negative influence to police itself will only result in individual and environmental harm.
More recently, the United States Department of Agriculture has decided to deregulate two of Monsanto’s genetically modified seed varieties, giving the company a further grasp on the already dominated food supply of the nation.
Amazingly, it gets even worse.
What may be most shocking is the latest leaked information regarding Monsanto and its future expansion. The United States is threatening nations who oppose Monsanto’s genetically modified (GM) crops with military-style trade wars, according to information obtained and released by the organization WikiLeaks.
The WikiLeaks cable reveals that in late 2007, the United States ambassador to France and business partner to George W. Bush, Craig Stapleton, requested that the European Union along with particular nations that did not support GMO crops be penalized. Perhaps the most shocking piece of information exposed by the cables is the fact that these U.S. diplomats are actually working directly for biotech corporations like Monsanto.
Amazingly, this is not the only case of corruption revealed. In similar newly released cables, United States diplomats are found to have pushed GMO crops as a strategic government and commercial imperative. Furthermore, advisers to the pope were specifically targeted by the United States. This may very well have to do with the fact that many Catholic bishops and figureheads have openly denounced GMO crops.
Given the evidence revealing Monsanto’s ability to ‘legally’ persuade government officials, it seems the company is obviously pulling every move they can possible make in order to push their health-endangering agenda.
1. USDA Steps Back and Gives Monsanto More Power Over GMO Seeds
2. GMO Giant Monsanto Will Soon Be Allowed To Police Itself
3. Monsanto GMO Seeds Use to Further Expand Within US
4. Monsanto GMO Sugarbeets to be Destroyed | Court Concludes USDA Illegally Approved Biotech Crop
5. Monsanto’s GMO Crops Ravage US, USDA Ignores Dangers
6. How Your Taxes are Being Used by the Government to Produce Junk Food
January 10th, 2012 by olddog
By Fred Lucas
January 9, 2012
Subscribe to Fred Lucas's posts
(CNSNews.com) – Twenty-seven members of Congress, including House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), have signed an amicus brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down the entire Obamacare law if it finds that the individual mandate provision is unconstitutional.
The Family Research Council filed the amicus curiae in the case challenging the constitutionality of the individual mandate of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.
The individual mandate is one provision in a larger law that also requires certain employers to provide government-approved insurance or face a penalty, establishes exchanges for government-approved insurance plans and requires insurers to cover pre-existing conditions.
Key to the high court’s decision will be whether striking down this provision would nullify the entire law. The legislation did not contain a severability clause. Severability would allow some parts of the law to be struck down while maintaining others.
Opponents argue that that the provisiom requiring individuals to buy health insurance is not constitutional, while the Obama administration contends that the Commerce Clause of the Constitution allows it.
Several lawsuits have been brought against the law, with some lower federal courts striking down the law and others affirming it.
Other members of Congress to join the brief are House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution Chairman Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), Republican Study Committee Chairman Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), a candidate for governor of Indiana and senior House Judiciary members Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-Texas) and Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa).
Ken Klukowski, legal counsel for the Family Research Council, and Nelson Lund, a professor at George Mason University School of Law, co-authored the brief. The FRC’s earlier brief was cited in Florida U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson’s decision to strike down the entire Obamacare law as unconstitutional.
“After almost two years of impassioned debate, Obamacare will finally have its day before the Supreme Court,” Klukowski said in a statement. “The 'individual mandate' in Obamacare that requires all Americans to have health insurance is unconstitutional. And for the reasons we explain in this brief, 135 years of Supreme Court precedent show that this is one of those rare instances where striking down the individual-mandate provision requires the Court to strike down this entire 2,700-page law.
“We have high hopes that the Supreme Court will recognize that the individual mandate is unconstitutional, and will act to safeguard the freedoms of all Americans by holding the individual mandate 'nonseverable,' and strike down every part of Obamacare,” Klukowski continued.
January 9th, 2012 by olddog
This list will undoubtedly have some points that cross over to the “other” list published here two days ago, but BOTH serve it’s purpose in showing that this President has not been sitting on his butt doing nothing.
• Ordered the White House and all federal agencies to respect the Freedom of Information Act and overturned Bush-era limits on accessibility of federal documents (2009)
• Instructed all federal agencies to promote openness and transparency as much as possible (2009)
• Placed limits on lobbyists’ access to the White House (2009)
• Placed limits on White House aides working for lobbyists after their tenure in the administration (2009)
• Signed a measure strengthening registration and reporting requirements for lobbyists (2009)
• Ordered that lobbyists must be removed from and are no longer permitted to serve on federal and White House advisory panels and boards (2009) * Note: After saying he would not hire lobbyists, a few have been hired in the Administration
• Companies and individuals who are delinquent on their taxes or owe back taxes are no longer allowed to bid for federal contracts (2009)
• Initiated the “e-Rulemaking Initiative” (in cooperation with Cornell University) to allow for online public “notice and comment” of federal laws and initiatives (2010)
• Issued the “Open Gov Directive” ordering all Cabinet departments to promote transparency and citizen participation in their policies (2010)
• Signed extensions on banning lobbyists from serving on agency boards (2010)
• Developed the “Don Not Pay List” with data on contractors and recipients of federal funds who are deemed to be ineligible because of fraud and abuse (2010)
• The White House website now provides information on all economic stimulus projects and spending, along with an unprecedented amount of information on our government (2009)
• Ended the Bush-era practice of circumventing established FDA rules for political reasons (2009)
• Ended the Bush-era practice of having White House staff rewrite the findings of scientific and environmental regulations and reports when they disagreed with the results (2009)
• Limited the salaries of senior White House aides (salaries cut to $100,000) (2009)
• Has urged Congress to adopt “Pay-Go” (whereby each dollar of spending is offset by a dollar in cuts or revenues, which was used in the `90s but abandoned in the `00s) (2010)
• Has been holding open meetings with Republican leaders, although they complain of a lack of access and information (2010)
• Signed the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act (2010) * Note: To curb wasteful spending
• Tasked federal agencies to develop plans for disposing of unneeded real estate and then to eliminate unnecessary or non-economical lands, properties, etc. (2010)
• Phasing out the expensive F-22 war plane (which wasn’t even used in Iraq/Afghanistan) and other outdated weapons systems (2009)
• Announced his intention to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay (2009) * Note: The closure has been delayed due to massive opposition but it remains on the agenda.
• Stated his interest in housing terrorists at a new federal “super max” facility in the US (2009) * Note: this has been delayed in the face of massive opposition but it remains on the agenda
• Cut the expensive Reagan era missile defense program, saving $1.4 billion in 2010 (2009)
• Cancelled plans to station anti-ballistic missile systems in Poland and the Czech Republic (2009)
• Replacing long-range, expensive missile systems with more efficient smaller systems (2009)
• Increased US Navy patrols off the Somali coast in response to pirating (2009)
• Established a new cyber security office and appointed a cyber security czar (2009)
• Ordered the first nation-wide comprehensive cyber threat assessment (2009)
• Instituted a new Nuclear Posture Review, revising US nuclear deterrence policy to encourage more nations to join the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (2010) * Note: Components of the policy include: a pledge to stop nuclear testing; a pledge to not build a new generation of nucs; identifying nuclear terrorism, rather than a launch from another nuclear state, as the major threat; a pledge to not use nucs on a non-nuclear state in a conventional conflict; etc.
• Executive orders to block payment, transfers, exports, etc… of individuals and organizations support the regimes of North Korea, Iran, Somali pirates, and other foreign threats (2010)
• Presidential Memoranda to extend certain provisions of The Trading with Enemies Act which was to expire in September 2010 (2010) * Note: This includes freezing assets and banning trade that benefits the Cuban regime; however further efforts at normalizing travel to Cuba are supported
• Signed bill for southwest border security and increased funds and agents on the Mexican border (2010)
• Signed the Comprehensive Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act to deal with foreign regimes like Iran and North Korea (2010)
IRAQ & AFGHANISTAN
• Began the phased withdrawal of US troops from Iraq (2009); continuing the withdrawal (2010)
• Changed the US military command in the Afghan conflict (2009)
• Tasked the Pentagon to reorganize US policy in Afghanistan; the new policy includes 30,000 additional troops deployed, priority training of Afghan forces, developing agriculture and infrastructure, limiting aerial bombing, etc. (2009)
• Ordered the Pentagon to send additional helicopters to assist US Marine units and Special Forces in Afghanistan (2009)
• Increased unmanned drone strikes on Taliban and al-Qaeda targets in Afghanistan (2009)
• Ended the Bush-era “stop-loss” policy that kept soldiers in Iraq/Afghanistan longer than their enlistment date (2009)
MILITARY & VETERANS
• Ordered the Pentagon to cover expenses of families of fallen soldiers if they wish to be on site when the body arrives back in the US (2009)
• Ended the Bush-era “blackout” imposed on media coverage of the return of fallen US soldiers (2009) * Note: The media is now permitted to cover the story pending adherence to respectful rules and with the approval of the fallen soldier’s family
• Ended the Bush-era “black out” policy on media coverage of war casualties (2009) * Note: Full information is now released for the first time in the War on Terror
• Ordered better body armor to be procured for US troops (2009)
• Funding new Mine Resistant Ambush Vehicles (2009) * Note: The old Hummers were very vulnerable to roadside explosives and an alarming percentage of our soldiers lost in Iraq were on account of IEDs
• Working to increase pay and benefits for military personnel (2009)
• Improving housing for military personnel (2009)
• Initiating a new policy to promote federal hiring of military spouses (2009)
• Ordered that conditions at Walter Reed Military Hospital and other neglected military hospitals be improved (2009)
• Beginning the process of reforming and restructuring the military to a post-Cold War, modern fighting force (2009) * Note: Bush announced in 2001 his intention to do this but backed off the reforms after 9/11, which include: new procurement policies; increasing the size of Special Ops units; deploying new technologies; creating new cyber security units; etc.
• Ended the Bush-era practice of awarding “no-bid” defense contracts (2009)
• Improving benefits for veterans as well as VA staffing, information systems, etc. (2009)
• Authorized construction of additional health centers to care for veterans (2009)
• Suspended the Bush-era decision to purchase a fleet of Marine One helicopters from suppliers in favor of American made helicopters (2009)
• Ordered a review of the existing “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on gays in the military (2010)
• New GI Bill for returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan (2009)
• Signed bill providing assistance for caregivers of veterans wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan (2010) * Note: The omnibus bill does the following: Training, funding, and counseling for caregivers; promoting pilot childcare programs for women vets under treatment at the VA; independent oversight to prevent abuse; readjustment counseling for National Guard and reservist units; etc.
• Eliminated co-payments for veterans who are catastrophically disabled (2010)
• Fulfilled campaign promise to have combat troops (90,000) out of Iraq by August 31, 2010 (2010)
• Established a new interagency task force to assist veterans owning small businesses (2010) * Note: The efforts include promoting federal contract opportunities, improve access to loans and capital, mentor assistance programs, etc.
• Signed The Families of Fallen Heroes Act, which covers the moving costs of immediate family members of those lost in service (military, intelligence, and security personnel) (2010)
• Closed the Bush-era “secret detention” facilities in Eastern Europe (2009)
• Ended the Bush-era policy allowing “enhanced interrogation” (torture); the US is again in compliance with Geneva Convention standards (2009) * Note: Obama has permitted some controversial interrogation techniques to continue
• Restarted international nuclear non-proliferation talks and reestablished international nuclear inspection protocols (2009) * Note: Bush withdrew from non-proliferation talks and dismantled the inspection infrastructure
• Reengaged in the treaties/agreements to protect the Antarctic (2009) * Note: These were suspended under Bush
• Reengaged in the agreements/talks on global warming and greenhouse gas emissions (2009) * Note: These were suspended under Bush
• Visited more countries and met with more world leaders than any president in his first six months in office (2009)
• Banned the export of cluster bombs (2009)
• Overturned Bush-era plans to increase the US nuclear arsenal (2009)
• Authorized the Navy SEALS operation that freed by force the US shipping captain held by Somali pirates (2009)
• Restored the US commitment to the UN population fund for family planning; overturned the ban on providing funds internationally for family planning (2009) * Note: The family planning efforts were suspended under Bush
• Instituted a new policy on Cuba, allowing Cuban families to return “home” to visit families (2009)
• Extended an offer of engagement (free from sanctions and penalties) to Iran through December 31, 2009 (Iran did not accept the offer) (2009)
• Sent envoys to the Middle East and other parts of the world, reengaging in multilateral and bilateral talks and diplomacy (2009)
• Authorized discussions with North Korea and the private mission by former president, Bill Clinton, to secure the release of two Americans held in prisons (2009)
• Authorized discussions with Myanmar and the mission by Senator Jim Web to secure the release of an American held captive (2009)
• Renewed loan guarantees for Israel (2009)
• Signed the USIFTA trade agreement with/for Israel (2009)
• Authorized a $550m advance for Israel (six months prior to the scheduled date) in order to accommodate Israeli’s economic and financial needs (2009)
• Continued agreements with Israel for cultural exchanges, immigration, etc. (2009)
• Spoke on Arab television, spoke at an Egyptian university, and met with Arab leaders in an effort to change the tone of US-Arab relations (2009)
• Ordered the US to finally pay its dues to the United Nations (2009)
• Attended the Summit of America’s meeting in Trinidad and Tobago (2010)
• Dispatched several envoys and initiated talks with numerous nations (2010)
• Signed a nuclear limitation treaty with Russia (2010) * Note: The agreement calls for both countries to reduce their nucs by one-third (1,500) and launch systems by half (800)
• Hosted nuclear non-proliferation summit for several nations (2010)
• Executive Order to establish support offices in the State Department to assist the governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan (2010)
• Presidential Memoranda to continue drug interdiction support with Columbia (2010)
• Increased infrastructure spending (roads, bridges, power plants…) (2009) * Note: Bush was the first president since Herbert Hoover to not make infrastructure a priority
• Authorized the US auto industry rescue plan and two GMAC rescue packages (2009)
• Authorized the housing rescue plan and new FHA residential housing guarantees (2009)
• Authorized a $789 billion economic stimulus plan (2009) * Note: 1/3 in tax cuts for working-class families; 1/3 to states for infrastructure projects; 1/3 to states to prevent the layoff of police officers, teachers, etc. at risk of losing their jobs because of state budget shortfalls
• Instituted a new rule allowing the public to meet with federal housing insurers to refinance (in as quickly as one day) a mortgage if they are having trouble paying (2009)
• Authorized a continuation of the US financial and banking rescue plans initiated at the end of the Bush administration and authorized TARP funds to buy “toxic assets” from failing financial institutions (2009)
• Authorized the “Cash for Clunkers” program that stimulated auto sales and removed old, inefficient, polluting cars from the road (2009)
• Convened a “jobs summit” to bring experts together to develop ideas for creating jobs (2009)
• Ordered the FDIC to beef up deposit insurance (2009)
• Ended the Bush-era policy of protecting credit card companies (2009) * Note: In place of the old policy, new consumer protections were instituted and the industry’s predatory practices were banned
• Authorized the federal government to make more loans available to small businesses and ordered lower rates for federal loans to small businesses (2009)
• Placed a 35% tariff on Chinese tires and a few other products such as pipes after China was found to be illegally “dumping” exports below cost (2009) * Note: Clinton, Bush I, and Reagan all refused to “get tough” on China’s predatory trade practices; Bush II refused four times during his presidency
• In November 2009, Obama extended unemployment benefits for one million workers
and expanded coverage for some existing homeowners who are buying again (2009)
• Called on Congress to deliver a “Jobs bill” (2010)
• Credit card companies are prohibited from raising rates without advance notification or arbitrarily if customers are paying bills on time (2010)
• Signed a bill to extend unemployment benefits set to expire (2010)
• Signed historic Wall Street reform bill (2010) * Note: Designed to reregulate and end abusive practices and promote consumer protections
• Signed the HIRE Act to stimulate the economic recovery (2010) * Note: The bill includes: tax cuts for small businesses who hire someone unemployed for at least two months; small businesses can write off their investments in equipment this year; etc.
• National Export Initiative established to enhance federal support (technical assistance, training, trade missions, etc.) and coordination efforts to help US businesses export products and services (2010)
• Initiatives to promote a “Wireless Broadband Revolution” (2010) * Note: Among other things, broadband is finally being considered as necessary infrastructure, with efforts to expand use, access, and spectrum…
• Expanded agricultural credit to farmers during current economic crisis (2010)
• Signed bill – US Manufacturing Enhancement Act (2010)
• Signed bill – Single Family Housing Mortgage Insurance (2010)
• Negotiated a deal with Swiss banks to permit the US government to gain access to records of tax evaders and criminals (2009)
• Ended the Bush-era policy of offering tax benefits to corporations who outsource American jobs (2009) * Note: The new policy promotes in-sourcing investments to brings jobs back to the US
• Signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act which provides small tax cuts for 95% of “working families” (2009) * Note: The tax cuts were not as big as was suggested during the 2008 campaign
• Convened an advisory board that is looking into simplifying the tax code (2009)
• Ordered the closing of offshore tax safe havens (for individual and business tax evaders) (2009)
• Reduced taxes for some small businesses to stimulate the economic recovery (2009)
• Extended the Home Buyers Credit for first-time home buyers (2009)
• Proposed doubling the child tax credit (2010)
• Called for the repeal of the capital gains tax for small businesses (2010)
• Proposed rolling back the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans (2010) * Note: This would be for families earning over $250,000/year and would return their tax rates to the 1990’s level
• Ordered all federal agencies to undertake a study and make recommendations for ways to cut federal spending (2009)
• Ordered a review of all federal operations to identify wasteful spending and practices (2009)
• Established a National Performance Officer charged with saving the federal government money and making federal operations more efficient (2009)
• Overturned the Bush-era practice of not listing certain federal programs in the federal budget (2009) (2010) * Note: Bush did this (so did Reagan) in an effort to hide programs and make the budget look smaller; such “off budget” items are now included in the annual budget
• Full appropriations for war are now included in the budget (2009) (2010) * Note: Bush did not list many of the appropriations for Iraq, Afghanistan, and War on Terror
• Funds for emergency appropriations are now included in the budget (2009) (2010)
• Proposed a three-year freeze on federal discretionary spending beginning in 2011 (2010)
• Is in the process of cutting 120 federal programs identified as either wasteful or unnecessary (2010)
• Established a bipartisan commission on fiscal responsibility, staffed by House and Senate members and private citizens, tasked with submitting proposals to balance the budget (2010) * Note: In the face of Republican opposition, the powers of the commission were watered down
• Established a bipartisan commission on the future of Social Security, tasked with submitting proposals to preserve and strengthen Social Security (2010) * Note: In the face of Republican opposition, the powers of the commission were watered down
• Cut $20 billion from federal budget and has pledged to cut at least this much every year (2010)
• Ultimately decided to cancel planned new presidential helicopter fleet and stick with marine One (2010)
• Freezing all discretionary spending for next three years, except on national security (2010)
• Presidential Memoranda to freeze discretionary awards, bonuses, etc. for federal political appointees (2010)
• Beginning to use “Pay-As-You-Go” (Pay-Go) to offset budget expenditures with budget cuts or revenue enhancements (2010)
• Removed Bush era restrictions on embryonic stem-cell research (2009)
• Federal support for stem-cell and new biomedical research (2009)
• Expanded the SCHIP program to cover health care for 4 million more children (2009)
• Established an independent commission to make recommendations on slowing the costs of Medicare (2009)
• Reversed some of the Bush-era restrictions that prevented Medicare from negotiating with pharmaceutical firms for cheaper drugs, allowing government to again competitively bid (2009) * Note: Obama had promised to lift all restrictions but, while he did negotiate with drug companies for them to lower their costs the deal only lifted some restrictions
• Expanding government vaccination programs (2009)
• Issued new disease prevention guidelines and priorities for the CDC (2009)
• Authorized the FDA to finally begin regulating tobacco (2009)
• Tasked federal labs to prioritize research on and deployment of H1N1 vaccines (2009)
• Asked multiple congressional committees to bring forward a healthcare reform bill; held dozens of public hearings and town halls on the issue (2009) (2010)
• Established a new council on National Prevention, Health Promotion, and Public Health to be chaired by Surgeon General and charged with promoting healthy lifestyles and integrative healthcare (2010)
• When accusations to the contrary arose, an Executive Order was signed to reaffirm that federal funds are not to be used for abortion services (2010)
• Historic healthcare reform bill signed – $940 billion over 10 years (2010) * Note: 32 million additional Americans will receive healthcare coverage and costs will be lowered for most Americans, but many of the goals are phased in over four years
Components of the bill
– Prevents insurance companies from denying coverage to individuals/family members with pre-existing health conditions; a temporary plan is being developed to cover high-risk individuals with pre-existing conditions until the full reforms go into effect in 2014
– Prevents insurance companies from placing lifetime limits on benefits
– Bans “rescission” so insurance companies can’t cancel coverage if individuals keep their policies current or if they become ill
– An individual’s out-of-pocket healthcare expenses are capped
– Closes the “donut hole” (Part D) for Medicare prescription drug coverage (under Bush, Medicare helped pay for drugs up to $2,600 and above $4,550, but individuals had to pay 100% of the costs in between these amounts); now Medicare helps cover costs irrespective of the amount – seniors will now pay only 25% of drug costs up to $4,550 and only 5% of drug costs above that amount
– In 2010, an emergency provision will offer seniors a $250 rebate on the costs incurred within the “donut hole”
– Individuals living at or below the poverty line were eligible for healthcare under Medicaid, but by 2014 individuals/families living slightly above (making up to $14,404/$29,327) the poverty line will also be eligible for benefits
– Individuals/families making less than $43,320/$88,200 per year will qualify for government subsidies to help purchase health insurance
– All individuals must have health insurance or face a government fine; all large (over 50 employees) employers must offer health insurance to employees or pay a fine
– Small businesses can get a tax credit if they offer health care
– There are hardship exemptions if individuals can’t afford health insurance
– Families can keep their children in college on their plans through age 26
– Promotes health insurance “exchanges” so consumers can buy “wholesale”
– Creates consumer assistance offices to help consumers file complaints or appeal decisions from insurance companies; beginning in 2011, insurance companies can no longer make excessive rate hikes without justification and approval, and those doing so may be barred from participating in new health insurance exchanges
– Large employers (over 50 workers) that don’t offer health benefits will be charged a $2,000/worker fee; if the employer offers coverage but employees instead purchase federally subsidized insurance the fee is $3,000/worker receiving federal subsidies or $750/worker (whichever is lower)
– Annual fees on pharmaceutical companies ($27 billion), health insurance companies ($60 billion), and medical device-makers ($20 billion)
– Annual penalties on individuals who do not have health insurance (up to a maximum of $695/person)
– Increase in the Medicare payroll tax from 1.45% to 2.35% for individuals making $200,000+ and families making $250,000+
– 3.8% tax on unearned income for millionaires
– Insurance companies will be subject to a tax on each high-end insurance plan (so-called “Cadillac” plans) they offer
– Illegal immigrants are not eligible for insurance or subsidies
– By Executive Order, such federal funding can’t be used for abortion
– The federal government will assist states by covering all of the increased expenses of expanding Medicaid coverage (90% of costs after 2020)
ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
• Removed a ruling that now allows individual states to enact automotive fuel efficiency standards above federal standards (2009)
• Offered attractive tax write-offs for those who buy hybrid automobiles (2009)
• Overturned Bush-era rule that weakened the Endangered Species Act (2009)
• Announced plans to purchase fuel efficient American-made fleet for the federal government (2009)
• Ended the Bush-era policy of not regulating and labeling carbon dioxide emissions (2009)
• Signed a measure requiring energy producing plants to begin producing 15% of their energy from renewable sources (2009)
• Announced that the federal government would reengage in the long-delayed effort to clean up “Superfund” toxic waste sites (2009)
• Announced the long-term development of a national energy grid with renewable sources and cleaner, efficient energy production (2009) * Note: Much of Obama’s energy reform was killed by Senate Republicans
• Proposed a new refuge for wild mustangs (2009)
• Cancelled several Bush-era mountain-top removal and mining permits (2009)
• Reengaged in international treaties and agreements to protect the Antarctic (2009)
* Note: Bush had withdrawn from such efforts
• Asked Congress for an energy reform and “cap and trade” bill (2009) * Note: The Congress failed to pass such a bill
• Developing plan to lease US coastal waters for wind and water-current energy production (2009)
• Overturned Bush-era policies that allowed uranium mining near national parks such as the Grand Canyon (2009)
• Expanded the Petrified Forest National Park (2009)
• Signed the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act that protects millions of acres of scenic, historic, and recreational lands and trails (2009)
• Requiring that government buildings and facilities be retrofitted to save energy costs (2009) * Note: These green retrofits are moving very slowly
• Authorized studies in several western states to determine how to support large-scale solar installations (2009)
• Attended the Copenhagen talks and, after the talks were stalled, negotiated an international (voluntary) agreement on reducing carbon emissions and raising funds to assist developing nations in offsetting carbon emissions (2009)
• Banned importation of pythons in response to a growing population of pythons damaging the Florida Everglades (2009)
• Committing the federal government to increasing research and use of renewable, clean energy sources such as wind, biomass, etc. (2009)
• Executive orders establishing a federal initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in all federal operations (2009) (2010)
• Called for exploring the possibility of additional off-shore oil drilling in the Gulf, Atlantic, and off Alaska (but not in ANWR) (2010)
• Agreed to consider increases in nuclear energy production and requested a study on the feasibility of nuclear power plant construction (2010) * Note: Nearly all energy initiatives were defeated by Republican opposition in Congress
• Increased investment in clean energy projects (2010)
• Executive Order to develop a new strategy for and commitment to ocean and lake resources, and for scientific research on water quality (2010)
• Instituted enforcements for equal pay for women (Lilly Ledbetter Bill) (2009)
• Appointed Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina, to the Supreme Court (2009)
• Held the first Seder in White House (2009)
• Appointed a diverse Cabinet and diverse White House staff (2009)
• Spoke at the annual dinner of the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights organization (2009)
• Signed the first major piece of federal gay rights legislation that includes acts of violence against gays under the list of federal hate crimes (2009)
• Reversed the Bush-era practice of politicizing Justice Department investigations and prosecutions against political opponents (2009)
• Pushing for some of the 9/11 perpetrators to be tried in federal court (2009)* Note: The process has moved at a snail’s pace and, in the face of opposition, Obama has remained quiet
• Signed an extension of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Bill to provide federal research and support for treating the disease (2009)
• Allowed the State Department of offer same-sex benefits for employees (2009)
• Proposed that the Pentagon repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy; placed a “freeze” on current efforts to remove alleged homosexuals from the military (2009)
• After eight years of neglect, the Justice Department and EEOC are again enforcing employment discrimination laws (2009)
• Convened the White House Tribal Nations Conference, inviting representatives from 564 federally-recognized Indian tribes (2009)
• Provided increased school projects for Indian lands and increased funds for the Indian Health Service (2009)
• Signed an Executive Order mandating that his Cabinet develop plans to work with and consult Indian tribes on issues impacting Indian lands (2009)
• Commissioned a study to develop alternatives to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (2010)
• Called for federal agencies to look into recognizing gay partnerships in terms of benefits (2010)
• Signed an Executive Order for the President’s Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (2010)
• Increased funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (2010)
• Signed Executive Order to promote the federal government as a “model employer” when it comes to hiring the disabled (2010) * Note: This includes new efforts to increase the recruitment, hiring, and training for the disabled
• Programs to assist Spanish speakers with the US Census (2010)
• Elena Kagen appointed to Supreme Court (2010)
• Tasked all federal agencies to develop new strategies to address HIV/AIDS (2010)
• After organizing studies on the topic in 2009, tasked the Pentagon to eliminate “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (2010)
• Signed Fair Sentencing Act (2010) * Note: The Administration continues to deescalate marijuana interdiction and raids; increased dramatically the amount of cocaine one must possess to be sentenced to jail; eliminated mandatory sentencing for first-time drug abusers and simple possession
• Authorized construction funds for high-speed, broadband Internet access in K-12 public schools (2009)
• Increased funding for school construction (2009)
• Increased funding available for student loans (2009)
• Expanded the national youth service program (2009)
• Streamlined the federal student loan process to save $87 billion over the next 10 years (2009)
• Changed the rule to allow students struggling to make college loan payments to refinance their loans (2009)
• Beginning discussions with Congress for education reform (2009) * Note: Much of Obama’s education reform has been sidelined by opposition in Congress
• Initiated a “Race to the Top” competitive federal grant program for states who develop innovative policies (2009)
• Instituted a “judgment review” allowing families with student loans to petition to have their current financial status determine the loan rather than the previous year’s finances (2009)
• Launched “Educate to Innovate,” a public/private partnership making $236 million available for science, mathematics, and technology education programs (2009)
• Proposed capping the maximum amount students must pay on student loans (as percentage of their income) (2010)
• Proposed reducing student loan obligations for individuals going to work in community and public service jobs (2010)
• The federal government will offer direct student loans, cutting out the cost of private banks (“middle man”) who increase the costs in order to make a profit (2010)
• Increased investment in technologies for schools/education (2010)
• Ordered a review of hurricane and natural disaster preparedness (2009)
• FEMA once again reports directly to the president (2009) * Note: Bush removed FEMA (prior to the Hurricane Katrina disaster) from this status
• Demonstrated an immediate and efficient response to the floods in North Dakota and other natural disasters (2009)
• Ordered that funds be released and red tape be streamlined for the ongoing Hurricane Katrina recovery effort in the Gulf Coast (2009)
• Timely and massive relief effort in response to the January 2010 earthquake and ensuing humanitarian crisis (2010)
Components of the response:
– The FBI’s National Center for Disaster Fraud was tasked to look into possible fraud with organizations soliciting funds for relief
– Announced the Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund
– Established an emergency Haiti Task Force in the State Department
– Established a website with information, resources, and a posting of a “person finder” online to help families and friends to locate loved ones
– Joint aid and relief planning with the U.K.
– Sponsored a resolution in the UN Security Council for additional security and police forces in Haiti
– Dispatched the US Navy floating hospital (USNS Comfort) and, within 5 days, 9 naval and relief ships, 5 Coast Guard cutters, 8 Coast Guard aircraft, and 12,000 US military personnel
– Initial dispatch of several ships and cargo planes full of humanitarian aid and supplies, 6 search/rescue teams (500 personnel), and 265 Department of Health & Human Services personnel for emergency medical and aid support
– Established a mobile US air traffic control center at the destroyed airport in Port-au-Prince
• After the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a freeze was placed on new deep water projects (2010)
• Executive Order to establish new security measures to minimize accidental release of bio and chemical agents; new strategies for public health and bioterrorism response (2010)
• Established a national commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon spill to examine facts and report a plan of action; new efforts to prevent offshore spills (2010)
• After a slow start in responding to the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the White House is promoting a long-term plan to reconstruct the damaged Gulf and negotiated with BP the establishment of a multi-billion dollar trust fund for victims of the spill (2010)
• Extended national flood insurance program for those in need during current economic crisis (2010)
• New federal funding for science and research labs (2009)
• Signed national service legislation; expanded national youth service program (2009)
• Increasing opportunities in AmeriCorps program (2009)
• Instituted a new focus on mortgage fraud (2009)
• Ordered the DEA to stop raids on medical marijuana usage (2009)
• Ordered a review of existing “mandatory minimum” prison sentencing (2009)
• Signed an order to limit airport tarmac delays and the time passengers had to sit in the plane/on the tarmac during delays (2009)
• Restored the EPA to “Cabinet level” status (2009) * Note: Bush removed the EPA from this status
• Beginning discussions with Congress for comprehensive immigration reform (2010)
* Note: Much of Obama’s immigration reform had been stalled by opposition in Congress
• Commissioned expert panels and reports from NASA; announced a new direction for human space flight that involves funding a new heavy lift-launcher and jettisoning the Ares 1 program; boosting NASA’s budget by $1 billion in 2011 (2010)
• Ordered a ban on text-messaging for all commercial truck and bus drivers (2010)
• Signed bill – FAA Air Transportaiton Modernizatin and Safety Improvement Act (2010)
P.S. IN CASE YOU WERE WONDERING…
• The Obamas paid for the renovations of the private living quarters in the White House with their own money rather than using the funds provided to all new first families (2009)
• The Obamas reused many Christmas ornaments from previous White House trees rather than buy new ones (2009)
• The Obamas used LED energy-saving lights on White House Christmas tree (2009)
• Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize; donated the award money for the prize to several charities (2009)
• Planted a garden for the White House’s vegetables and flowers (2009)
• Installed a swing set/playground for the Obama daughters and children of White House employees (2009)
• Held over 150 public town halls, press conferences, interviews, etc. in first year in office (2009) * Note: Official numbers are not available on such things, but this seems to be a new record high
• Less than 30 days of vacation in first year in office (2009) * Note: Official numbers are not readily available on such things, but this seems to be a new record low
…And A FAMILY MAN !
Can someone please tell me where in the hell, is all that money coming from?
THIS SCUMBAG IS INTENTIONALLY DESTROYING AMERICA WITH DEBT!
January 9th, 2012 by olddog
A Tribute to Joe who just turned 80
Date: Mon, 9 Jan 2012 14:29:20 -0600
A tribute to a Celtic Warrior written by another of the dying breed of Celtic Warriors, Sgt. Major Mike Gaddy (Ret) & Constitutionalist Extraordinaire.
These are indeed times that try men’s souls and if not for the Bravehearts we would all be in literal chains long agobut a few cannot stem the tsunami of collectivist tyranny sweeping the world.
Treasure the Liberty Warriors & Defenders of Western Civilization while we have them for it is quite possible they will not come again. Pity the young who may never know true liberty.
(This missive is being sent without the consent or knowledge of the tribute subject)
WHAT IS A CONSERVATIVE?
For most of my adult life, I have heard people refer to themselves as “conservative.” I’ve had a real hard time reconciling in my mind what that actually means. Some folks I’ve known who considered themselves
conservatives were nothing but political whores; hiding behind some professed idealism in order to feather their own nest using whatever political connections they could establish to exploit their fellow man. Others who preach right wing fanaticism are nothing less than born again Fascists; all they are lacking is the funny little moustache. War is the answer; forget the question. Then there were the liberals who saw a swing of political power to the right during the Reagan years and used it to bring tenets of the welfare/warfare state to the political right, masquerading as compassionate conservatism.
Standing in front of the Trading Post in Palominas Arizona several years ago, I met a true conservative; a man who practices real conservatism every day of his life. Joe is an American from the top of his head to the bottom of his feet. He cares deeply about America, freedom and liberty.
Joe sees being a conservative as a way of life, not a political persuasion. He stands firm in defense of freedom and sees that to preserve freedom government must always be minimized. He understands the natural laws mentioned by Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence and that those laws existed long before the very idea of government. He also understands these rights do not depend on government for their moral authority. He understands that a true conservative takes responsibility for his own life and that means some folks will succeed while others fail and the great majority just muddle by. He knows that cosmic justice or social justice does not exist on the human plane and that any effort by government to implement either is simply government attempting to become a deity, taking from those who produce to give to those who believe they are entitled to that which belongs to others.
He knows that men are essentially selfish creatures and given half a chance will threaten the freedom of others. He understands the only valid function of government is to protect the rights of all, not take from some to idealistically level the playing field. To do otherwise is to violate the reason for the very existence of government.
He understands a true conservative sees no legitimate reason to take the freedom of anyone who operates within the concept of the rule of law, especially under some delusional belief that security can be guaranteed by doing so .He understands that man does not control the laws of the universe and that security is nothing but an illusion and cannot be purchased with money or freedom.
Joe understands the base instincts of those who actively seek dominion and control over the lives and property of others. He knows they very seldom, if ever, have the morals and integrity to avoid the temptation to enrich themselves at the expense of others. They are just not wired that way. He knows when you place a weasel in a hen house; the weasel will do what weasels do: it will eat chickens. Joe also knows the lesser of two weasels will only eat fewer chickens until it perfects its skills or learns from bigger weasels how to eat all the chickens it can. Joe knows the person who would best serve the interests of others is the person who would be most reluctant to involve themselves in the process because they only desire to be left alone to succeed or fail on their own.
Joe wears the scars of criticism from the socialist left as a badge of honor. His efforts towards individual freedom and a government that operates within its intended purpose draws the slings, arrows, lies and slurs of Marxist Socialists everywhere in our society. The lesson Joe provides for all who are engaged in the battle for liberty is: if you are not the victim of verbal assaults, character assassinations and outright lies, you aren’t fighting hard enough.
Was Joe born to fight these battles? There is considerable evidence which indicates he was. A true “Son of the South,” Joe inherited the unbridled love of liberty of Jefferson; the personal character of Lee; the boldness of Jackson and the tenacity of Forrest.
Possibly Joe’s greatest attribute is: he is so focused on his goals for this country, he does not see in himself the characteristics mentioned above. Joe loves this country and his native South with a passion most will never understand. He sees them both as deserving of loyalty and dedication, not instruments to use for his own enrichment and glory.
General George S. Patton is said to have commented that with a company of Citadel grads he could win a battle and with a division of VMI grads he could win a war. If we had a hundred men like Joe, we could turn this country around.
“Bad men cannot make good citizens. It is when a people forget God that tyrants forge their chains. A vitiated state of morals, a corrupted public conscience, is incompatible with freedom. No free government, or the blessings of liberty, can be preserved to any people but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue; and by a frequent recurrence to fundamental principles.”~Patrick Henry
Galatians 4:16 Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?
January 9th, 2012 by olddog
The court confirms and asserts that "the duly elected sheriff of a
county is the highest law enforcement official within a county and has
law enforcement powers EXCEEDING that of any other state OR federal
County sheriffs in Wyoming have scored a big one for the 10th Amendment and states rights.
The sheriffs slapped a federal intrusion upside the head and are insisting that all federal law enforcement officers and personnel from federal regulatory agencies must clear all their activity in a Wyoming County with the Sheriff's Office. Deja vu for those who remember big Richard Mack in Arizona.
Bighorn County Sheriff Dave Mattis spoke at a press conference following a recent U.S. District Court decision (Case No. 2:96-cv-099-J (2006)) and announced that all federal officials are forbidden to enter his county without his prior approval ……
"If a sheriff doesn't want the Feds in his county he has the constitutional right and power to keep them out, or ask them to leave, or retain them in custody."
The court decision was the result of a suit against both the BATF and the IRS by Mattis and other members of the Wyoming Sheriff's Association. The suit in the Wyoming federal court district sought restoration of the protections enshrined in the United States Constitution and the Wyoming Constitution.
January 8th, 2012 by olddog
Written by Stephen Lendman
Date: January 5, 2012
Money Power Runs America – by Stephen Lendman
Wall Street does it by controlling money, credit and debt, as well as manipulating markets for private enrichment. House and Senate millionaires do it their way for greater wealth, privilege, power and status.
New Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) figures show it. More on them below. New York Times writer Eric Lichtblau commented in his article headlined, "Economic Downturn Took a Detour at Capitol Hill," saying:
In 1991, Representative Ed Pastor (D. AR) entered Congress with around $100,000 in savings and as much debt owed to banks. Now he's a millionaire, one of 250 in Congress.
"And the wealth gap between lawmakers and their constituents appears to be growing quickly" as austerity cuts harm most Americans needing help during harder than ever hard times.
Since 2008, they've lost jobs, homes, personal savings, and futures. At the same time, congressional members are richer than ever. Perhaps never "has the divide (been) so wide, or the public contrast so stark, between lawmakers and those they represent."
No wonder Gallop's year end poll showed Congress getting its lowest ever 11% approval rating. At the same time, growing numbers of Americans reject both parties for independent or unaffiliated status.
On November 14, the Atlantic Wire headlined, "How Members of Congress Get Rich Through 'Honest Graft,'" saying:
"A 60 Minutes report examined the ways members of Congress trade on inside, privileged information" to get rich. "Congresspeople are exempt from insider trading rules" so profit in ways others can't legally.
They do it through stock trades and privileged business deals. Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert earmarked funding for a federal highway project on land he owned. He later sold it for $2 million.
Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi profited from eight IPOs, including some "that had business before her House." So have other congressional members, past and present.
Former Senator Bob Dole bought shares in Automatic Data Processing four days before GHW Bush signed legislation with new military data processing rules benefitting the company handsomely.
Former Speaker and Republican presidential aspirant Newt Gingrich bought Boeing stock just before he helped kill amendments to cut International Space Station funding. It helped Boeing secure a lucrative contract.
Numerous others in Congress profit the same way. Some hit the jackpot. In 2004, the Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis published a report showing Senate portfolios outperformed the market by about 12% annually. It didn't happen by chance.
A 2011 study showed House member investments exceed market performance by 6%. Do it annually and it adds up. For example, $100 invested at 6% for 40 years grows tenfold. At 12%, it's 80-fold.
Washington runs on inside information. Congressional members use it to get rich. While their median net worth gained 15% from 2004 to 2010, America's 10% richest found theirs unchanged, and for Americans overall, it dropped based on inflation-adjusted dollars.
Of course, America's top 1% outdid them all. Why else would nationwide protests target them for social justice.
Notably, congressional wealth grew two and a half times (from $280,000 to $725,000) from 1984 to 2009 in inflation-adjusted dollars, while for average Americans it declined slightly. Moreover, for the past half century, income inequality mostly benefits congressional conservatives. Progressivism pays poorly.
In 1984, one in five House members had zero or negative net worth, excluding home equity and other non-income producing property. By 2009, it dropped to one in 12.
As a result, the gap between congressional members and their constituents perhaps never has been so wide. Moreover, it increases annually at a time Main Street's suffering harder than ever hard times, and few in Washington care.
Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) Report
It began saying:
"These days, being a millionaire (puts you in) the (top) one percent. But in Congress, it only makes you average."
Among 535 House and Senate members, 250 (or 47%) are millionaires, based on 2010 financial disclosure forms. Only America's top 1% enjoys that status. According to CRP's executive director Sheila Krumholz:
"The vast majority of members of Congress are quite comfortable financially, while many of their own constituents suffer from economic hardship."
It's largely from decades of destructive bipartisan policies. Since the 1980s, economic inequality grew enormously. Business and super-rich elites profited handsomely at the expense of working class people.
Wealth disparity is unprecedented at a time nearly 23% of Americans are unemployed. Half of US households are impoverished or bordering on it. Millions lost homes, and growing hunger and homelessness threaten millions more.
In contrast, congressional members never had it so good. "It's no surprise that so many people grumble about lawmakers being out-of-touch," said Krumholz. "Few Americans enjoy the same financial cushion maintained by most members of Congress – or the same access to market-altering information that could yield personal financial gains."
Moreover, congressional pay, benefits and perks alone are generous. In 2011, rank and file House and Senate members earned $174,000. According to US Census data, median 2010 household income is $48,753.
In February 2011, the Congressional Research Service reported the following legislative, executive and judicial salaries:
Vice President: $230,700
House Speaker: $223,500
Senate President Pro Tempore: $193,400
House and Senate Majority and Minority leaders: $193,400
Senators and Representatives: $174,000
Supreme Court Chief Justice: $223,500
Associate Justices: $213,900
Federal Court of Appeals Judges: $184,500
Federal District Court Judges: $174,000
Moreover, generous benefits and allowances are provided, including lucrative pensions based on years of service, peak salary levels, an accrual rate, and whether members are covered under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and/or the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS).
For example, a House or Senate member retiring in December 2010 with 32 years of service averaged $92,251 in annual pensions supplemented by cost of living increases. Most members have shorter tenures and get less. By law, pensions can't exceed 80% of final year of service pay.
In 2006, retired members covered by CSRS got average pensions of $60,972. Those retiring under FERS, or in combination with CSRS, averaged $35,952.
Historically, it was much different. From 1789 to 1815, congressional members got $6 per day while Congress was in session. From 1815 to 1817, they earned $1,500 annually. From 1818 – 1855, they got $8 a day.
Thereafter, they got $3,000 annual salaries. In 1907, it was raised to $7,500. In 2006, they earned $165,000. Leaders got more. Today, congressional members profit handsomely from pay, benefits, perks, and investment returns based on inside information.
For example, 2010 US household median net worth is $120,000. For congressional members, it's $912,000. In 2009, 7.8 million households had net worths of $1 million or more, around 2.5% of all households. In contrast, 47% of congressional members are millionaires.
The top 10 include:
Rep. Darrell Issa (R. CA): an estimated $451.1 million net worth
Rep. Jane Harman (D. CA): $435.4 million
Rep. Vern Buchanan (R. FL): $366.2 million
Senator John Kerry (D. MA): $249.9 million
Rep. Jared Polis (D. CO): $285.1 million
Senator Mark Warner (D. VA): $283.1 million
Senator Herb Kohl (D. WI): $231.2 million
Rep. Michael McCaul (R. TX): $201.5 million
Senator Jay Rockefeller (D. W VA): $136.2 million
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D. CA): $108.1 million
Combined net worth: $2.8 billion
All support lower corporate, capital gains, and top bracket personal tax rates. They also back austerity cuts for ordinary Americans, including lower Medicare and Medicaid benefits.
Median US senator net worth is $2.63 million – 16% higher than 2008. In 2010, 37 Senate Democrats and 30 Republican counterparts had average net worths exceeding $1 million. So did 110 House Republicans and 73 Democrats.
In 2010, median Republican House member net worth stood at $834,250. For Democrats it was $635,000 for an average $756,765 – 17% higher than 2008.
By law, all House and Senate members must report their own holdings and that of spouses and dependents annually. However, precise investment values can't be determined so estimates are made. They exclude non-income generating personal property (including homes, cars, artwork, etc.) and pension benefit values.
Moreover, the top spousal bracket is "more than $1 million," so true net worth amounts for many lawmakers "are likely undervalued." For example, some believe John Kerry's wife Teresa Heinz's net worth exceeds $1 billion. As the Heinz heiress, it's likely more.
A Final Comment
At a time class war in America rages, growing human need goes unaddressed, Washington is corporate occupied territory, and endless imperial wars ravage the world one country at a time with more planned, congressional members never had it so good.
No wonder fed up Americans want long denied social justice, and Occupy Wall Street calls "world revolution" the "only solution."
Change never comes top down, only bottom up. Society's privileged with power never yield it. Pressure's building to force them. Human need's too great and worsening. When pain levels cross a threshold of no return, all bets are off. Or as Gerald Celente says:
"When people lose everything and have nothing else to lose, they lose it."
That moment of truth draws closer, and not just in America.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.
I hold no grudge towards people who out of great risk, or down right talent, make big bucks, but for a Congress critter to be able to use his job to get a pass on the laws everyone else is expected to adhere too is pushing it. I see no sense in sending people to DC so they can profit beyond what they could in previous employment, and especially when they have no consideration for their constituents. There is no other occupation where a person could claim to be a servant, and do it with their head held high. It is a very high honor to be elected as a servant of the people, because the people depend on them for their very life. So, I should think that being elected as a servant of the people should be worth much more than money earned at the people expense. That may very well be considered old fashion these days, or worse, but that’s how I see it. What do you think?
January 7th, 2012 by olddog
01 07 12 The IMF and U S African Command AFRICOM
Join Hands in the Plunder of the African Continent
By Nile Bowie
Lagos Dissents Under IMF Hegemony
Nigeria: The Next Front for AFRICOM
On a recent trip to West Africa, the newly appointed managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde ordered the governments of Nigeria, Guinea, Cameroon, Ghana and Chad to relinquish vital fuel subsidies. Much to the dismay of the population of these nations, the prices of fuel and transport have near tripled over night without notice, causing widespread violence on the streets of the Nigerian capital of Abuja and its economic center, Lagos. Much like the IMF induced riots in Indonesia during the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, public discontent in Nigeria is channeled towards an incompetent and self-serving domestic elite, compliant to the interests of fraudulent foreign institutions.
Although Nigeria holds the most proven oil reserves in Africa behind Libya, it’s people are now expected to pay a fee closer to what the average American pays for the cost of fuel, an exorbitant sum in contrast to its regional neighbors. Alternatively, other oil producing nations such as Venezuela, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia offer their populations fuel for as little as $0.12 USD per gallon. While Lagos has one of Africa’s highest concentration of billionaires, the vast majority of the population struggle daily on less than $2.00 USD. Amid a staggering 47% youth unemployment rate and thousands of annual deaths related to preventable diseases, the IMF has pulled the rug out from under a nation where safe drinking water is a luxury to around 80% of it’s populace.
Although Nigeria produces 2.4 million barrels of crude oil a day intended for export use, the country struggles with generating sufficient electrical power and maintaining its infrastructure. Ironically enough, less than 6% of bank depositors own 88% of all bank deposits in Nigeria. Goldman Sachs employees line its domestic government, in addition to the former Vice President of the World Bank, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who is widely considered by many to be the de facto Prime Minister. Even after decades of producing lucrative oil exports, Nigeria has failed to maintain it’s own refineries, forcing it to illogically purchase oil imports from other nations. Society at large has not benefited from Nigeria’s natural riches, so it comes as no surprise that a severe level of distrust is held towards the government, who claims the fuel subsidy needs to be lifted in order to divert funds towards improving the quality of life within the country. Can the reader equate this situation to the one existing in America?
Like so many other nations, Nigerian people have suffered from a systematically reduced living standard after being subjected to the IMF’s Structural Adjustment Policies (SAP). Before a loan can be taken from the World Bank or IMF, a country must first follow strict economic policies, which include currency devaluation, lifting of trade tariffs, the removal of subsidies and detrimental budget cuts to critical public sector health and education services.
SAPs encourage borrower countries to focus on the production and export of domestic commodities and resources to increase foreign exchange, which can often be subject to dramatic fluctuations in value. Without the protection of price controls and an authentic currency rate, extreme inflation and poverty subsist to the point of civil unrest, as seen in a wide array of countries around the world (usually in former colonial protectorates). The people of Nigeria have been one of the world’s most vocal against IMF-induced austerity measures, student protests have been met with heavy handed repression since 1986 and several times since then, resulting in hundreds of civilian deaths. As a testament to the success of the loan, the average laborer in Nigeria earned 35% more in the 1970’s than he does in 2012.
Working through the direct representation of Western Financial Institutions and the IMF in Nigeria’s Government, a new IMF conditionality calls for the creation of a Sovereign Wealth Fund. Olusegun Aganga, the former Nigerian Minister of Finance commented on how the SWF was hastily pushed through and enacted prior to the countries national elections. If huge savings are amassed from oil exports and austerity measures, one cannot realistically expect that these funds will be invested towards infrastructure development based on the current track record of the Nigerian Government. Further more, it is increasingly more likely that any proceeds from a SWF would be beneficial to Western institutions and markets, which initially demanded its creation. Nigerian philanthropist Bukar Usman prophetically writes “I have genuine fears that the SWF would serve us no better than other foreign-recommended "remedies" which we had implemented to our own detriment in the past or are being pushed to implement today.”
The abrupt simultaneous removal of fuel subsidies in several West African nations is a clear indication of who is really in charge of things in post-colonial Africa. The timing of its cushion-less implementation could not be any worse, Nigeria’s president Goodluck Jonathan recently declared a state of emergency after forty people were killed in a church bombing on Christmas day, an act allegedly committed by the Islamist separatist group, Boko Haram. The group advocates dividing the predominately Muslim northern states from the Christian southern states, a similar predicament to the recent division of Sudan.
As the United States African Command (AFRICOM) begins to gain a foothold into the continent with its troops officially present in Eritrea and Uganda in an effort to maintain security and remove other theocratic religious groups such as the Lord’s Resistance Army, the sectarian violence in Nigeria provides a convenient pretext for military intervention in the continuing resource war. For further insight into this theory, it is interesting to note that United States Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania conducted a series of African war game scenarios in preparation for the Pentagon’s expansion of AFRICOM under the Obama Administration.
In the presence of US State Department Officials, employees from The Rand Corporation and Israeli military personnel, a military exercise was undertaken which tested how AFRICOM would respond to a disintegrating Nigeria on the verge of collapse amidst civil war. The scenario envisioned rebel factions vying for control of the Niger Delta oil fields (the source of one of America’s top oil imports), which would potentially be secured by some 20,000 U.S. troops if a US-friendly coup failed to take place At a press conference at the House Armed Services Committee on March 13, 2008, AFRICOM Commander, General William Ward then went on to brazenly state the priority issue of America’s growing dependence on African oil would be furthered by AFRICOM operating under the principle theatre-goal of “combating terrorism”.
At an AFRICOM Conference held at Fort McNair on February 18, 2008, Vice Admiral Robert T. Moeller openly declared the guiding principle of AFRICOM was to protect “the free flow of natural resources from Africa to the global market”, before citing China’s increasing presence in the region as challenging to American interests. After the unwarranted snatch-and-grab regime change conducted in Libya, nurturing economic destabilization, civil unrest and sectarian conflict in Nigeria is an ultimately tangible effort to secure Africa’s second largest oil reserves. During the pillage of Libya, its SFW accounts worth over 1.2 billion USD were frozen and essentially absorbed by Franco-Anglo-American powers; it would realistic to assume that much the same would occur if Nigeria failed to comply with Western interests. While agents of foreign capital have already infiltrated its government, there is little doubt that Nigeria will become a new front in the War on Terror.
Nile Bowie is a freelance writer and photojournalist; he's regularly contributed to Tony Cartalucci's Land Destroyer Report and Alex Jones' Infowars. SPECIAL NOTE: I was having trouble with the posting editor and had to delete many great links. For a great education go to the Global Research link at the top of this article.