Wednesday Musings

With all the revelations coming out about the Federal Govt and all their deeds as of late, maybe it’s time to ask some questions of ourselves.  Can we ever trust the Federal Govt?  I say NO, All the while they are searching old ladies at airports because they can’t profile (which is BS), they want to profile Conservative groups and veterans as dangerous  and a threat to the nation.  So, while they are spying on the Veterans, they forgot to follow-up on the two Muslims’s who bombed the Boston Marathon.  My take, stop the spying of any kind on American citizens, quit funding terrorist groups and don’t give them weapons anywhere,  including Syria.  Should the political parties be  ignored?  Yes, they are corrupt and have a monopoly on elections, which is one reason I think elections are useless, they are fixed.  So, the big question is….What to do?  As usual, the open mic forum remains  :)

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Comments

  1. gmanfortruth says:

    Another fine day in NW Pa :) So far it’s been a decent summer season, even if it don’t officially start till Friday.

  2. gmanfortruth says:
  3. gmanfortruth says:

    http://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/bye-bye-5th-amendment-supreme-court-decides-anything-you-dont-say-can-and-will-be-used-against-you_06192013

    Little by little, our rights are being destroyed. Before you know it, there won’t be any rights left to enjoy. I wonder if it will get that far without a war?

  4. Here you go G-is this America in a few years?

    Protesters out again in Brazil’s biggest city
    Email this Story

    Jun 19, 2:26 AM (ET)

    By BRADLEY BROOKS

    SAO PAULO (AP) – Tens of thousands of Brazilians again flooded the streets of the country’s biggest city to raise a collective cry against a longstanding lament – people are weighed down by high taxes and high prices but get low-quality public services and a system of government infected with corruption.

    That was the repeated message Tuesday night in Sao Paulo, where upward of 50,000 people massed in front of the city’s main cathedral. While mostly peaceful, the demonstration followed the rhythm of protests that drew 240,000 people across Brazil the previous night, with small bands of radicals splitting off to fight with police and break into stores.

    Mass protests have been mushrooming across Brazil since demonstrations called last week by a group angry over the high cost of a woeful public transport system and a recent 10-cent hike in bus and subway fares in Sao Paulo, Rio and elsewhere.

    The local governments in at least four cities have now agreed to reverse those hikes, and city and federal politicians have shown signs that the Sao Paulo fare could also be rolled back. It’s not clear that will calm the country, though, because the protests have released a seething litany of discontent from Brazilians over life’s struggles.

    Yet, beyond complaints about the cost for bus and subway rides, protesters haven’t produced a laundry list of concrete demands. Demonstrators mainly are expressing deep anger and discontentment – not just with the ruling government, but with the entire governing system. A common chant at the rallies has been “No parties!”

    “What I hope comes from these protests is that the governing class comes to understand that we’re the ones in charge, not them, and the politicians must learn to respect us,” said Yasmine Gomes, a 22-year-old squeezed into the plaza in central Sao Paulo where Tuesday night’s protest began.

    President Dilma Rousseff, a former leftist guerrilla who was imprisoned and tortured during Brazil’s 1964-85 dictatorship, hailed the protests for raising questions and strengthening Brazil’s democracy. “Brazil today woke up stronger,” she said in a statement.

    Yet Rousseff offered no actions that her government might take to address complaints, even though her administration is a prime target of demonstrators’ frustrations.

    The protests have brought troubling questions about security in the country, which is playing host this week to soccer’s Confederations Cup and will welcome Pope Francis in July for a visit to Rio de Janeiro and rural Sao Paulo.

    Brazil’s media has scrambled to cover the sprawling protests – coverage that in some cases raised the ire of protesters, in particular that of the powerful Globo TV network. Whenever what appears to be a Globo helicopter swoops over a demonstration, protesters hiss, raise their fists and chant slogans against the network for what they say was its failure to widely show images of a violent police crackdown on protesters last week in Sao Paulo.

    Brazilian demonstrations in recent years generally had tended to attract small numbers of politicized participants, but the latest mobilizations have united huge crowds around a central complaint: The government provides woeful public services even as the economy is modernizing and growing.

    The Brazilian Tax Planning Institute think tank found that the country’s tax burden in 2011 stood at 36 percent of gross domestic product, ranking it 12th among the 30 countries with the world’s highest tax burdens.

    Yet public services such as schools are in sorry shape. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development found in a 2009 educational survey that literacy and math skills of Brazilian 15-year-olds ranked 53rd out of 65 countries, behind nations such as Bulgaria, Mexico, Turkey, Trinidad and Tobago, and Romania.

    Many protesting in Brazil’s streets hail from the country’s growing middle class, which government figures show has ballooned by some 40 million over the past decade amid a commodities-driven economic boom.

    They say they’ve lost patience with endemic problems such as government corruption and inefficiency. They’re also slamming Brazil’s government for spending billions of dollars to host next year’s World Cup soccer tournament and the 2016 Olympics while leaving other needs unmet.

    A November report from the government raised to $13.3 billion the projected cost of stadiums, airport renovations and other projects for the World Cup. City, state and other local governments are spending more than $12 billion on projects for the Olympics in Rio. Nearly $500 million was spent to renovate Maracana stadium in Rio for the World Cup even though the venue already went through a significant face-lift before the 2007 Pan American Games.

    Attorney Agatha Rossi de Paula, who attended the latest protest in Sao Paulo along with her mother, called Brazil’s fiscal priorities “an embarrassment.”

    “We just want what we paid in taxes back, through health care, education and transportation,” said the 34-year-old attorney. “We want the police to protect us, to help the people on the streets who have ended up with no job and no money.”

    Although a single group set the protests in motion with its demonstrations last week calling for lowered transit fares, the mass gatherings are showing no evidence of any central leadership, with people using social media to call for marches and rallies. Groups of Brazilians also staged small protests Tuesday in other countries, including Mexico, Portugal, Spain and Denmark.

    A cyber-attack knocked the government’s official World Cup site offline Tuesday, and the Twitter feed for Brazil’s Anonymous hackers group posted links to a host of other government websites whose content had been replaced by a screen calling on citizens to come out to the streets.

    Tuesday night’s march in Sao Paulo started out peacefully but turned nasty outside City Hall when a small group lashed out at police and tried to invade the building.

    Different groups of protesters faced off, one chanting “peace, peace” while trying to form a human cordon to protect the building, the other trying to clamber up metal poles to get inside. At one point, one person tried to seize a metal barrier from another who was trying to use it to smash the building’s windows and doors.

    The air was thick with police pepper spray and smoke after demonstrators set a TV satellite truck and a police lookout booth on fire.

    http://apnews.myway.com/article/20130619/DA70KUBO1.html

  5. I wonder which president he was referencing here … hmmmmm

  6. Living in Fear: Welcome to Fascist America
    June 19th, 2013 – 12:09 am
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    Back in the ’80s when, on a couple of occasions, I visited the Soviet Union, I always wondered what was it really like to live in that godforsaken place. But it didn’t much matter. For all the creepy spying that was going on, I realized I’d be out of there in a week or two.

    Now I know what it was like. It’s come home.

    I live in fear.

    I don’t want to admit it, but it’s true. Every phone call I make, every email I send, every text I message, every article I write including this one, I imagine being bugged or recorded.

    1984 is here and it’s not pretty.

    It infects everything we do.

    For example, I want to criticize the IRS with every breath I take, but in the back of my head I worry — what if they come after me? What if I’m audited and have to spend the next few years and untold dollars on accountants and attorneys? Is this fair to my family? Is this how I want to spend my life?

    Just today I was going to follow up on some information about the wretched prevarications surrounding Benghazi and hesitated. Should I email the source? Telephone? Send a letter? Snail mail would take too long.

    What about buying one of those throwaway phones at Radio Shack? But then I would be compromising the recipients of my calls. I would be implicating them.

    A few weeks ago CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson phoned me to ask about my Benghazi contacts. I assumed the call was being recorded. Now I read that her computer is bugged. It turns on and off by itself in the middle of the night.

    Mine doesn’t. At least I don’t think it does. I tend to be asleep at three a.m.

    Still, I live in fear. And I don’t think I’m the only one. I think a lot of people do now, in various degrees. They want to think they don’t, but they do.

    It’s not a terrified fear. I don’t cower under my desk. It’s a nagging fear, a trepidation. Something that never goes away.

    Someone is watching me, monitoring whatever I do. If I make a mistake, I will pay for it. My future will be bleak.

    Basically, I am being silenced. And so are you. Purposefully or not, they are trying to shut us down and shut us up.

    They say they’re not, but they are.

    They don’t believe they are, but they are.

    They have protective mechanisms in place, but who knows if they function?

    We have to rely on the beneficence of our overseers, but how can we believe in that?

    How can we believe in anything? Everything is too big. We are just cogs in the wheel. Winston Smith had it better than us. The technology was not as efficient in his day (1984).

    So I live in fear.

    And here’s the big problem: it’s hard to see how it’s going to get better.

    http://pjmedia.com/rogerlsimon/2013/06/19/living-in-fear-welcome-to-fascist-america/?singlepage=true

    When I first read this I thought -well that’s an exaggeration-but it isn’t-I do find myself being careful about what I write on here-I make sure that my comments can’t be interpreted as a threat. Now I think about anything I may have said that could be misinterpreted if heard by someone who doesn’t know me. The government simply doesn’t have the right to record and keep all our communications-I don’t care what reason they use to justify doing so.

    • “I don’t want to admit it, but it’s true. Every phone call I make, every email I send, every text I message, every article I write including this one, I imagine being bugged or recorded.”

      Honestly, this guy/gal is nuts … and I’m against spygate too … but this is just insane. If life is that difficult, he/she should definitely consider visiting the “other side” … perhaps an ethical suicide parlor …. or just get some good meds and remain drugged … life is too short to sweat out the insanity we can bring to it …

      • Saying life is to short to worry about it-isn’t the same as saying it isn’t true or that the person who realizes the possible consequences is a nut.

        • Okay, so I exaggerated … paranoid a little? Anybody that paranoid is NEVER going to enjoy life. Just look below … G has this leading to Tyranny … do you know how many government edicts, if we’re paranoid enough, can lead to “Tyranny”? All and any … so maybe it’s time to tone down the fear factor and undo the mess capitalism has made of this country …

          I’m just sayin’ …

          • Charlie, Regardless of what form of economy a country has, greed and corruption will always be there. It is human nature at it’s worst. To continue blaming a non-living entity (Capitalism) for the actions of living, breathin, thinking humans is moronic at best. Your a far more intelligent person for that (not a bad comic either). Want to blame something for all our woe’s? Try blaming the cause of it all, govt. :)

            • “To continue blaming a non-living entity (Capitalism) for the actions of living, breathin, thinking humans is moronic at best.”

              G, if I didn’t know any better, I’d think you were calling me a moron :)

              The government is there to protect capitalism …. but let’s get off that one for now — it’s too much for you to conceive.

              Here’s one for you and JAC … I immediately thought of you both (especially in regards to your feelings about the Trayvon Martin case) … the book I’m reading (which none of you would read with guns to your heads (maybe Stephen and the Colonel would read it) called: Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, etc. … pulitzer winner for general non-fiction … the racists in Florida (who were doing the lynchings and railroading blacks on trumped up charges that included rape (death penalty for raping a white woman at the time in FL) … they used the same words as you and JAC do … calling those accusing them of racism the “true racists” … I thought, Wow … isn’t that a familiar retort?

              I’m just sayin’ …

              • The government is there to protect capitalism …. but let’s get off that one for now — it’s too much for you to conceive.

                Capitalism is the left wing ghost that is haunting their own failures. It can’t be touched, therefore can’t be protected. What you are really saying is that Govt. is protecting corruption and theft. That isn’t Capitalism, that’s M. Bloomberg and G. Soros in a nutshell, and they have you brainwashed my friend :)

          • True capitalism is the only protection the common people have against true tyranny.

      • gmanfortruth says:

        The Feds should not be spying on the people period. It’s a waste of money and can only lead to tyranny. No one should have to feel that way .

        • Bottom Line says:

          Nineteen eighty four is already here. It is just more subtle than people’s imaginative exaggerated and irrational fear.

          People are waiting to be chipped by the NWO, when they are already chipped by their phones and credit cards and all the ‘stuff’ they ‘need’.

          You will work hard for all the things used to control you. How many systems are in place that attach your name to a number? How much did it cost you?

          How much do you pay to work? How much do you pay to buy or own or borrow anything? How much stuff do you really need?

          Go live a taxable life and vote to make sure it continues.

          Obey.

    • Bottom Line says:

      ” A few weeks ago CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson phoned me to ask about my Benghazi contacts. I assumed the call was being recorded. Now I read that her computer is bugged. It turns on and off by itself in the middle of the night. ”

      Mine, quite regularly, operates ‘autonomously’ in the middle of the night.

      Someone is fucking up.

    • Extreme Stupidity comes to mind. Are these people that desperate or what-this argument is soooooooo out there and so easily proven ridiculous that it is hard to believe they would resort to using it. Besides this bill isn’t about stopping abortions, it only affects abortions after 5 months.

    • Probably gonna be yelled at for saying it-but that’s the difference between being a civilized society or an uncivilized society-We all know man can be uncivilized which is why our societies need to have laws that insist on it . Kinda sounds like some of the arguments I hear that support prostitution, all drugs being legal, teaching indiscriminate sex in our schools, abortion, and assisted suicide.

  7. Come on, you Stand up For America types … read … READ: Learn something about how institutional racism is alive and well … how capitalism requires slave labor (and will find create slave labor) … learn something about 1946-51 America … it’s a compelling read … I promise you that much.

  8. I can’t figure out WHY anyone would think this board is okay.

    David Rivkin and Elizabeth Foley: An ObamaCare Board Answerable to No One
    The ‘death panel’ is a new beast, with god-like powers. Congress should repeal it or test its constitutionality.

    By DAVID B. RIVKIN JR. And ELIZABETH P. FOLEY

    Signs of ObamaCare’s failings mount daily, including soaring insurance costs, looming provider shortages and inadequate insurance exchanges. Yet the law’s most disturbing feature may be the Independent Payment Advisory Board. The IPAB, sometimes called a “death panel,” threatens both the Medicare program and the Constitution’s separation of powers. At a time when many Americans have been unsettled by abuses at the Internal Revenue Service and Justice Department, the introduction of a powerful and largely unaccountable board into health care merits special scrutiny.

    For a vivid illustration of the extent to which life-and-death medical decisions have already been usurped by government bureaucrats, consider the recent refusal by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to waive the rules barring access by 10-year old Sarah Murnaghan to the adult lung-transplant list. A judge ultimately intervened and Sarah received a lifesaving transplant June 12. But the grip of the bureaucracy will clamp much harder once the Independent Payment Advisory Board gets going in the next two years.

    The board, which will control more than a half-trillion dollars of federal spending annually, is directed to “develop detailed and specific proposals related to the Medicare program,” including proposals cutting Medicare spending below a statutorily prescribed level. In addition, the board is encouraged to make rules “related to” Medicare.

    The ObamaCare law also stipulates that there “shall be no administrative or judicial review” of the board’s decisions. Its members will be nearly untouchable, too. They will be presidentially nominated and Senate-confirmed, but after that they can only be fired for “neglect of duty or malfeasance in office.”

    Once the board acts, its decisions can be overruled only by Congress, and only through unprecedented and constitutionally dubious legislative procedures—featuring restricted debate, short deadlines for actions by congressional committees and other steps of the process, and supermajoritarian voting requirements. The law allows Congress to kill the otherwise inextirpable board only by a three-fifths supermajority, and only by a vote that takes place in 2017 between Jan. 1 and Aug. 15. If the board fails to implement cuts, all of its powers are to be exercised by HHS Secretary Sebelius or her successor.

    The IPAB’s godlike powers are not accidental. Its goal, conspicuously proclaimed by the Obama administration, is to control Medicare spending in ways that are insulated from the political process.

    This wholesale transfer of power is at odds with the Constitution’s separation-of-powers architecture that protects individual liberty by preventing an undue aggregation of government power in a single entity. Instead, power is diffused both vertically—with the federal government exercising limited and enumerated powers and the states exercising all remaining authority—and horizontally, with the powers of the federal government divided among the executive, legislative and judicial branches.

    This diffusion of power advances another key liberty-enhancing constitutional requirement: accountability. Accountability enables the people to know what government entity is affecting them, so that they can hold officials responsible at the polls. Congress can also hold the executive responsible through oversight and measures like impeachment.

    As Chief Justice John Marshall observed in Wayman v. Southard (1825), Congress may delegate tasks to other bodies, but there is a fundamental constitutional difference between letting them “fill up the details” of a statute versus deciding “important subjects,” which “must be entirely regulated by the legislature itself.” Distinguishing between the two, the court said, requires an inquiry into the extent of the power given to the administrative body.

    The power given by Congress to the Independent Payment Advisory Board is breathtaking. Congress has willingly abandoned its power to make tough spending decisions (how and where to cut) to an unaccountable board that neither the legislative branch nor the president can control. The law has also entrenched the board’s decisions to an unprecedented degree.

    In Mistretta v. United States (1989), the Supreme Court emphasized that, in seeking assistance to fill in details not spelled out in the law, Congress must lay down an “intelligible principle” that “confine[s] the discretion of the authorities to whom Congress has delegated power.” The “intelligible principle” test ensures accountability by demanding that Congress take responsibility for fundamental policy decisions.

    The IPAB is guided by no such intelligible principle. ObamaCare mandates that the board impose deep Medicare cuts, while simultaneously forbidding it to ration care. Reducing payments to doctors, hospitals and other health-care providers may cause them to limit or stop accepting Medicare patients, or even to close shop.

    These actions will limit seniors’ access to care, causing them to wait longer or forego care—the essence of rationing. ObamaCare’s commands to the board are thus inherently contradictory and, consequently, unintelligible.

    Moreover, authorizing the advisory board to make rules “relating to” Medicare gives the board virtually limitless power of the kind hitherto exercised by Congress. For instance, the board could decide to make cuts beyond the statutory target. It could mandate that providers expand benefits without additional payment. It could require that insurers or gynecologists make abortion services available to all their patients as a condition of doing business with Medicare, or that drug companies set aside a certain percentage of Medicare-related revenues to fund “prescription drug affordability.” There is no limit.

    If the Independent Payment Advisory Board exercises these vast powers, political accountability will vanish. When constituents angrily protest, Congress, having ceded its core legislative power to another body, will likely just throw up its hands and blame the board.

    Since ObamaCare eliminates both judicial review for any of the board’s decisions and public-participation requirements for rule making, this unprecedented insulation of the board guts due process. Even the president’s limited ability to check the board’s power—since he can remove members only for neglect or malfeasance—represents a more circumscribed standard than usual for presidential appointees.

    The bottom line is that the Independent Payment Advisory Board isn’t a typical executive agency. It’s a new beast that exercises both executive and legislative power but can’t be controlled by either branch. Seniors and providers hit hardest by the board’s decisions will have nowhere to turn for relief—not Congress, not the president, not the courts.

    Attempts to rein in government spending are laudable, but basic decisions about how and where to cut spending properly belong to Congress. In the 225 years of constitutional history, there has been no government entity that violated the separation-of-powers principle like the Independent Payment Advisory Board does.

    While the board is profoundly unconstitutional, it is designed to operate in a way that makes it difficult to find private parties with standing to challenge it for at least its first several years in operation. An immediate legal challenge by Congress might be possible, but also faces standing difficulties. Unless and until courts rule on IPAB’s constitutionality, Congress should act quickly to repeal this particular portion of ObamaCare or defund its operations.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324634304578539823614996636.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop

  9. A very interesting read, Charlie. I have read it twice. Set in the late 40’s and early 50’s. The past. It matters not what was true back then…it matters what is true today.

    You want to champion racism? Then you better be on the side of strict border security and immigration reform. Institutionalized racism is dead……..government sponsored racism, on the other hand, is alive and well. The biggest racist today is Washington D C. Look at the interns and the media. If the border is not secured and the immigration is not strict…..you will see government sponsored racism and forced low wages in exchange for voters.

    Why the black population is not incensed is beyond me. This administration is for open borders and broader welfare…….it is creating a dis-empowered racial class all over again……and the elimination of the middle class. Take a strong look at Mexico….the PRI is in control and their stated policy is to eliminate the growing middle class in Mexico…and they are doing this with ruthless abandon.

    The fiddle is in the corner and the USA is burning.

    • Well said Colonel :) The past that Charlie keeps stoking up is long behind us. Should we learn from it, sure! Let’s not make the same mistakes again. The Govt is doing just fine without our help.

    • Colonel, I respect you no end (truth/fact) … but you need to get outside of Texas and/or reread that book … institutional racism is dead?

      http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2013/06/11/did-racism-land-killer-on-texas-death-row/

      Go Spurs!

      • Racism landed Zimmerman in jail and on trial, that’s for sure. Dispicable.

      • Now…now…Charlie…..the very article shows that even Texas combats racism with the then gov of Texas saying that this man needed a new sentencing review. Institution revisited. A quack psychologist called BY THE DEFENSE….sinks their own guy. Did you look carefully at this quacks last name?

        The new civil war that is brewing has nothing to do with Anglos ……. It has everything to do with Hispanics vs Blacks.

        Now, I will admit that without a very strict immigration policy that is enforceable…..you will have a great big issue of racial discrimination popping up and rightly so…. The non checked INVASIVE of the Hispanic….the open advertisement (costing 7 million tax dollars) in Mexico telling Hispanics how to get here, how to get on welfare, free schooling, meals, and jobs is killing the advancements made by the Black population and killing the climb of middle class Blacks……….this is the real discrimination….and it is caused by the Progressive party.

        Union wages, advancements, jobs….all of the things promised by the Progreassive party….are being decimated.

        By the way….I return the compliment…you are respected by this Colonel.

    • Why those against this amnesty bill don’t position themselves as champions of :

      1. The working class

      2. Blacks in America

      3. Legal immigrants

      4. Union workers

      totally eludes me. It is more than obvious that the bill will pay lip service to protecting the border as past bills have but it will do very real damage to the already beaten down wage scales of Americans. Blacks are yet again being told to “get to the back of the bus”. People who legitimately waited on line will see their job possibilities cut to the bone since they will be competing with these low wage earners. Union workers will be pushed further into the minority as uneducated and unsophisticated workers will be taken advantage of. The fact that the Democratic Party is the big pusher on these bills tells one and all exactly WHO is in the back pocket of the fat cats.

      It is high tome to get the hell off the defensive and go on the offensive. Our logic and our reasons are better.

  10. This is odd!

    AP NewsAlert
    AP 6/20/2013 6:45:16 PM
    (AP) AP NewsAlert

    SANFORD, Fla.
    All-women jury chosen for George Zimmerman’s trial in fatal Trayvon Martin shooting.

    • Not odd at all, most women are smarter than Charlie, what would you expect to chair a jury :lol: Only joking of course :) I’m surprised it’s only 6 and not 12. This trial is the equivelant of a lynching, nothing more. TV fodder at it’s best, CNN need a big trial now that Jodi Arias is convicted. I hope GZ sues Florida when it’s all done (not to mention, the family, Jesse Jackson and everyone else who played a role in this farce).

      • The interesting thing is this: The prosecution was forced to take two of the jurors it had already rejected … kind of reads like the Thurgood Marshall story … open season on black kids all over again … the south rising again? Could be … I’m sure that’ll put a smile on your face, G …

        • Charlie, such a comedian. I am not from the South. It has never been open season on black kids……except in Chicago, where that really seems to exist unlike your left wing talking points :) You and I discussed the “initiating violence” issue and we agreed until this event was mentioned, then somehow you went back to falling for the media lies and race pimp whinings. If my believing in self defense and personal responsibility makes me a racist in you eyes, then you don’t even know what a racist is. :roll:

        • Now…now Charlie………….once again………the prosecution did not want Blacks on the jury and, according to the prosecution….they could not find any that were not already biased…..the defense did not get any gun totin men on the jury……the reason the two jurors were forced back on the jury was due to some stupid procedural issue that neither the prosecution nor the defense wanted to happen…..

          I watched an interview of the prosecuting attorney that said that the absence of blacks on the jury gives a better chance of no appeal….they feel confident that the five white and one Hispanic women will convict. We shall see.

  11. This is an interesting subject. Who is to blame for the failing public school system in Chicago? The Union leader says “rich white guys”. Maybe, but I see other more prevalant reasons. http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/06/19/Chicago-Teachers-Union-rich-white

    I would wager that if all Americans had a good education, we would all be better off today!

  12. Bottom Line says:

  13. Niall Ferguson: The Regulated States of America
    Tocqueville saw a nation of individuals who were defiant of authority. Today? Welcome to Planet Government.

    By NIALL FERGUSON

    In “Democracy in America,” published in 1833, Alexis de Tocqueville marveled at the way Americans preferred voluntary association to government regulation. “The inhabitant of the United States,” he wrote, “has only a defiant and restive regard for social authority and he appeals to it . . . only when he cannot do without it.”

    Unlike Frenchmen, he continued, who instinctively looked to the state to provide economic and social order, Americans relied on their own efforts. “In the United States, they associate for the goals of public security, of commerce and industry, of morality and religion. There is nothing the human will despairs of attaining by the free action of the collective power of individuals.”

    What especially amazed Tocqueville was the sheer range of nongovernmental organizations Americans formed: “Not only do they have commercial and industrial associations . . . but they also have a thousand other kinds: religious, moral, grave, futile, very general and very particular, immense and very small; Americans use associations to give fetes, to found seminaries, to build inns, to raise churches, to distribute books, to send missionaries to the antipodes; in this manner they create hospitals, prisons, schools.”

    Tocqueville would not recognize America today. Indeed, so completely has associational life collapsed, and so enormously has the state grown, that he would be forced to conclude that, at some point between 1833 and 2013, France must have conquered the United States.

    The decline of American associational life was memorably documented in Robert Puttnam’s seminal 1995 essay “Bowling Alone,” which documented the exodus of Americans from bowling leagues, Rotary clubs and the like. Since then, the downward trend in “social capital” has only continued. According to the 2006 World Values Survey, active membership even of religious associations has declined from just over half the population to little more than a third (37%). The proportion of Americans who are active members of cultural associations is down to 14% from 24%; for professional associations the figure is now just 12%, compared with more than a fifth in 1995. And, no, Facebook FB +1.17% is not a substitute.

    Instead of joining together to get things done, Americans have increasingly become dependent on Washington. On foreign policy, it may still be true that Americans are from Mars and Europeans from Venus. But when it comes to domestic policy, we all now come from the same place: Planet Government.

    As the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Clyde Wayne Crews shows in his invaluable annual survey of the federal regulatory state, we have become the regulation nation almost imperceptibly. Excluding blank pages, the 2012 Federal Register—the official directory of regulation—today runs to 78,961 pages. Back in 1986 it was 44,812 pages. In 1936 it was just 2,620.

    True, our economy today is much larger than it was in 1936—around 12 times larger, allowing for inflation. But the Federal Register has grown by a factor of 30 in the same period.

    The last time regulation was cut was under Ronald Reagan, when the number of pages in the Federal Register fell by 31%. Surprise: Real GDP grew by 30% in that same period. But Leviathan’s diet lasted just eight years. Since 1993, 81,883 new rules have been issued. In the past 10 years, the “final rules” issued by our 63 federal departments, agencies and commissions have outnumbered laws passed by Congress 223 to 1.

    Right now there are 4,062 new regulations at various stages of implementation, of which 224 are deemed “economically significant,” i.e., their economic impact will exceed $100 million.

    The cost of all this, Mr. Crews estimates, is $1.8 trillion annually—that’s on top of the federal government’s $3.5 trillion in outlays, so it is equivalent to an invisible 65% surcharge on your federal taxes, or nearly 12% of GDP. Especially invidious is the fact that the costs of regulation for small businesses (those with fewer than 20 employees) are 36% higher per employee than they are for bigger firms.

    Next year’s big treat will be the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, something every small business in the country must be looking forward to with eager anticipation. Then, as Sen. Rob Portman (R., Ohio) warned readers on this page 10 months ago, there’s also the Labor Department’s new fiduciary rule, which will increase the cost of retirement planning for middle-class workers; the EPA’s new Ozone Rule, which will impose up to $90 billion in yearly costs on American manufacturers; and the Department of Transportation’s Rear-View Camera Rule. That’s so you never have to turn your head around when backing up.

    President Obama occasionally pays lip service to the idea of tax reform. But nothing actually gets done and the Internal Revenue Service code (plus associated regulations) just keeps growing—it passed the nine-million-word mark back in 2005, according to the Tax Foundation, meaning nearly 19% more verbiage than 10 years before. While some taxes may have been cut in the intervening years, the tax code just kept growing.

    I wonder if all this could have anything to do with the fact that we still have nearly 12 million people out of work, plus eight million working part-time jobs, five long years after the financial crisis began.

    Genius that he was, Tocqueville saw this transformation of America coming. Toward the end of “Democracy in America” he warned against the government becoming “an immense tutelary power . . . absolute, detailed, regular . . . cover[ing] [society’s] surface with a network of small, complicated, painstaking, uniform rules through which the most original minds and the most vigorous souls cannot clear a way.”

    Tocqueville also foresaw exactly how this regulatory state would suffocate the spirit of free enterprise: “It rarely forces one to act, but it constantly opposes itself to one’s acting; it does not destroy, it prevents things from being born; it does not tyrannize, it hinders, compromises, enervates, extinguishes, dazes, and finally reduces [the] nation to being nothing more than a herd of timid and industrious animals of which the government is the shepherd.”

    If that makes you bleat with frustration, there’s still hope.

    Mr. Ferguson’s new book “The Great Degeneration: How Institutions Decay and Economies Die” has just been published by Penguin Press.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324021104578551291160259734.html?mod=WSJ_article_MoreIn_Opinion

    • When the collapse hits, Capitalism will die for a while, Charlie will be happy, but quite hungry. It will come back slowly, hopfully after those that put us in this position are either dead or in prison. Then, we need to make Progressivism illegal and subject to the death penalty (this will include socialism, communism and fascism). Corruption of any kind in business or Governmant can be handled the same way. After a few get hanged in the public square, things will get better fast. :)

  14. Everybody’s being mighty quiet lately, I for one, am so sick of all the crap that’s being reported on, I’m tired of talking about it. So how about a change of subject.

    How about unbelievable rudeness and ingratitude-plus it’s funny in a “I can’t believe this” type of way. :)

    The Knock-Down, Drag-Out Text Feud Over a Wedding Present You Have to Read to Believe

    Jun. 20, 2013 6:45pm Dave Urbanski

    We’re guessing you’ve attended your share of weddings and perhaps have walked down the aisle yourself.

    Which is to say, you probably have an idea of what makes a good wedding gift…and how the etiquette surrounding the giving and receiving is supposed to go.

    So here’s what one couple chose as a present for recent newlyweds:

    A wicker box with a hinged lid filled with “tri-color pasta, salsas, Balsamic vinegar and Olive, Gourmet croutons, Panko Breading, Pesto, some baking ingredients, Biscuits from Godiva and a few ‘Fun’ items like Marshmallow Fluff, Sour Patch Kids and Butterscotch sauce.”

    On the accompanying card was this message: “Life is delicious….Enjoy”
    The Knock Down, Drag Out Text Feud Over a Wedding Present You Have to Read to Believe

    (Credit: YouTube)

    The recipients of the basket were, according to a hilarious piece in the Spectator of Hamilton, Ontario, not particularly thrilled.

    Here’s a text message from “Bride 1″ to the basket-giver:

    Heyyy I just wanna say thanks for the gift but unfortunately I can’t eat any of it lol I’m gluten intolerant. Do u maybe have a receipt

    To which the basket-giver replied:

    Ahh s–t! Really!?

    We had a great time. Thank you again for allowing us to be a part of the celebration.

    The basket-giver goes on to tell the Spectator that he was “a little thrown off by this. A few weeks before the two of them came to eat at the Italian restaurant I currently work at (paying with the Gift Card I had my owner donate to their doe and doe…..but I digress), and both ate pasta, and not our gluten free stuff either.”

    Anyway, the basket-giver soon got the following text:

    Hey…it’s (Bride 1′s) wife Laura. I want to thank you for coming to the wedding Friday. I’m not sure if it’s the first wedding you have been to, but for your next wedding… People give envelopes. I lost out on $200 covering you and your dates plate… And got fluffy whip and sour patch kids in return. Just a heads up for the future :)

    Thoroughly fuming, the basket-giver sent a lengthy diatribe to the new married couple via Facebook:

    Hi , I want to tell you how incredibly insulted I am in both of the messages you have sent me over the last two days. (Bride 1), I am sorry that you have intolerance to Gluten, I am sure that makes life difficult at times. However, to ask for a receipt is unfathomable. In fact it was incredibly disrespectful. It was the rudest gesture I have encountered, or even heard of. That is until you, Laura, messaged me today.

    Laura, the message you sent to me today was by far the most inconsiderate, immature, greedy, and asinine thing I have ever had the displeasure of seeing.

    This is not even close to being the first wedding I have attended, and actually I have done a lot of research on wedding etiquette, a step in the process the two of you clearly skipped over (clearly displayed by Laura chewing gum, like a cow does hay, while walking down the aisle). Here is some help for you..just a heads up for the future.

    The Bride’s Etiquette Guide: Etiquette Made Easy, Second Edition. Here is the link. […]

    In retrospect, this is the exact style of behavior I should have expected from the two of you, when you used the gift card donated to your doe and doe for a personal date night, then had the gall to ask your server for the “friends and family discount”.

    I’m sure that one, or the two of you will mature, and grow into adults who will take a different, more respectful, LOVE based approach when you invite guests to your next wedding.

    The texts continued apace, first a response from Laura, Bride 2:

    Again… Out of 210 people at a wedding… The only I gift I got from all was yours… And fluffy whip and sour patch kids. Your Facebook message had nothing to do with the gift. Weddings are to make money for your future.. Not to pay for peoples meals. Do more research. People haven’t gave gifts since like 50 years ago! You ate steak, chicken, booze, and a beautiful venue. To be exact the plates were $97 a person… But thanks again for the $30 gift basket my wife can’t even eat. If anything you should be embarrassed for being so cheap and embarrassing yourself walking in with a gift basket probably re gifted cheap ass. Again.. Out of 210 people, you were the talk and laugh of the whole wedding!!!! Worst gift ever story Is being passed along to everyone!! How about you tell people what you gave as a 2 person gift to a wedding and see what normal functioning people say about it!! Do a survey with people u know… And tell me what 100% of them tell you!! Wake up dude

    Basket-guy parried back:

    it’s obvious you have the etiquette of a twig, I couldn’t care less of what you think about the gift you received, “normal” people would welcome anything given, you wanna have a party, you pay for it, DON’T expect me to, I don’t care what you or anybody thinks, you should just be happy your sham of a marriage is legal dude!

    (Note: Here the basket-giver acknowledges that he shouldn’t have thrown in a pot shot about the couple’s same-sex wedding, but he was “mad, and lost my train of thought for a brief moment.”)

    Bride 2 continued her walk down the warpath:

    Lol. Your an idiot. Go research more on life

    You should have been cut from the list.. I knew we were gunna get a bag of peanuts.. I was right

    Basket guy:

    Never argue with an idiot. They will bring you down to their level and beat you with experience. – George Carlon. [sic]

    You just proved this to be true.

    Bride 2:

    Thanks for the fluffy whip :). Have a good day

    So what do you think?

    Was the basket gift acceptable or in poor taste?

    Was the reaction of the newlyweds justified or out of line?

    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/06/20/the-knock-down-drag-out-text-feud-over-a-wedding-present-you-have-to-read-to-believe/

    My personal favorite among the comments I read :

    “Miss Manners is going to choke on her tea when she hears about this.”

    I must of missed it, when did giving money become the expected gift?

    • Hope they stay with each other forever..ain’t nobody else got time for dat! ;)

      • No kidding. They seem like a perfect match.

        • There was a time when you had thoughts that perhaps some people were either just cheap or really had no clue. I had a few of the latter at my wedding 39 years ago. But being a big boy married to a big girl, I merely sent off the requisite thank you note being gracious and embracing the concept that it really was the thought that counted. Sure, we would have liked the money, but I would never have risked a friendship over a few dollars. I honestly think the whole societal de-evolution these days comes down to people being so enraptured with their own personal “specialness” that they just have no class. Sixty, seventy and even eighty years ago, poor people like my parents did all they could to nurture, develop and act classy. No more unfortunately. In Russia, even under the bad old days of Communism, one of the worst things you could say about a person was that they were, “ne-culturney”. This mans in English that they lacked culture. Culture not having to do with a Symphony or Rembrandt but rather in the sense of having “class”. It is time to rediscover shame.

    • 275 :( …even though I guessed at a couple of them. 9/12 ain’t bad! I really shoulda got the Panama Canal right.

      Roadtrip to Northern Lower Michigan in the am. Bout time!!! Maybe I’ll be able to escape some of this heat.

      • Beat you by 100 points-wow-Just kidding-I missed two, you missed three-100 points difference is a lot for one question.

      • I missed 3 and got a 321???? The timing thing must have something to do with it.

  15. Hee Hee Hee!

    • I don’t get it-what’s going on here-is this a few people filing false returns and stealing millions. or is there an underground illegal immigrant’s network that set’s up bogus addresses so people can go by and pick up their returns, without the government knowing where they live -all I can say is, the same as you-WTH?

    • I just did some math-that’s an average of approx. 1900.00 per return. But one address averaged 191.00. And another averaged approx. 4000.00 per return. So just how are people who are illegal and supposedly doing low wage jobs we Americans don’t won’t getting $4000.00 refund? I remember reading a report that said some people are claiming unreasonably large families -I don’t remember the numbers but they were ridiculous-like 20 kids or some such.

      • gmanfortruth says:

        Big govt at its finest. What is all of this distracting us from? Keep your eyes wide open!

      • I was horrified that they would send tax refunds to the same address but this shows that they actually gave 1000’s of tax refunds to the same bank account.

        • Alright, I am angry-this could not have happened by mistake-at least the same address-you figure they might not of noticed and the names on the checks would be different. But depositing them into the same bank account-this doesn’t happen by mistake-over 7 million dollars into one of these accounts in 2011. I want to know what name was on these accounts-I want too see the withdrawals and where they went-and there is no reason they can’t get that information-if this isn’t an example of tax fraud I don’t know what is. So are they actually doing anything about this crap, are they investigating, is anyone gonna go to jail-is this gonna just keep happening. And why the hell should I ever pay my taxes again???????????????????????????????????????????????

          • Looks to me like they need to move some of the programs from NSA to IRS. Political power is more important than tax payer’s money.

  16. I think one of our problems is we are suffering from fatigue.

    • Fast & Furious – unresolved
    • Benghazi – unresolved
    • IRS/Tea Party – developing but clearly goes directly to the WH
    • NSA – totally out of control, unresolved
    • War in Syria – developing, do we really want to do this again?
    • Immigration – out of control
    • Immigration Legislation – developing but going in the wrong direction
    • Debt – no action
    • Deficit – sequester helping but little else being done
    • IRS/refunds to illegal immigrants – no action
    • AG lies to Congress – no action
    • FBI – failed to follow up on the Boston brothers, no consequences, domestic spying and sting ops more important. Couldn’t follow a Reese’s Pieces dotted line.
    • Iran – still marching towards nukes
    • North Korea – got nukes, still rattling the cage
    • Egypt – a mess, gone MB
    • Libya – another mess, going MB
    • Afghanistan – winding down but still a mess and costing lives
    • Iraq – the only thing on the list that has been completed and that was done to GWB’s timeline
    • Gitmo – still there
    • Obamacare/ACA – being implemented but costs are escalating fast – looming disaster
    • Taxes – ever increasing, corporate taxes still the highest in the world driving business offshore
    • Jobs – unemployment still outpaces new jobs 2:1
    • Economy – Most reports are up very slightly but only because QE3 is causing the market to rise. In reality it sucks, our business this FY looks like 2008. Large corporations are not spending on capital equipment. Is another dip coming?
    • Boomers – retiring, increasing the pressure on SS which is running in the red not to mention that as the population ages Medicare demands will significantly increase. Also there will be a big draw down in securities as they cash in their 401K’s and IRA’s.
    • Inflation – seemingly stagnant but remains a fear
    • Congress – divided and only concerned about themselves- to Hades with the country
    • President – incompetent, not responsible for anything, out of the know (or hiding his knowledge), still apologizing overseas, not addressing the issues, etc.
    • Housing – still a mess but slightly improved. Will degrade when interest rates rise.

    I could go on but I would just get more depressed.

  17. If any business is investing right now…….I would be surprised. The recent sell off was for cash that did not get reinvested. Something to think about.

    • Thanks for your business insight. I do know we (USA) have not addressed any of the structural problems that would entice companies to stay here or relocate here. The bright spot in the US is the improving energy picture but that will be limited eventually by our shortage of infrastructure. If we do not have the port facilities to ship LNG or the refineries to refine the oil, our energy advantage will be limited. China and India are pushing hard for the multinationals to set up R&D there. I talked with our PA rep recently and he informed me that many of the European pharmaceutical companies that had R&D sites in NJ and neighboring states have closed them down or drastically reduced them in size. These are R&D labs and some production that have been here for decades.

      All the news organizations are reporting improving economics. That is not what we are seeing. Is another dip coming? Are we repeating the mistakes of FDR? He had a second recession/depression in 1938.

      • We are repeating history. My grandfather and father learned well…..prepared for this eventuality…They saw the depression and its consequences…..Iam doing the same for my children. As children, we have been able to build upon what they started…..without using government (that is to say, we took and are taking advantage of IRS statutes, just as anybody can do) investing not in the stock and bond market, but other infrastructure non government investing, using tax free municipal’s, investing in cities and towns infrastructure, developing our own personal assets…….we have nothing to do with Wall Street and have not for years, except for 15 percent of assets that we liquidated a couple of years ago…our munis have matured and we are to investing in large cities any longer because they are going broke. We do not do 401’s nor IRA ‘s….we are not in FDIC banks. We have invested in local and State issues because we feel Texas is safe at this time. We do not have off shore accounts…though most of our friends do. I do not trust the nationalization issues out there and there are no reputable courts to protect offshore investing.

        Business is pulling in…..and rightly so. Obamacare has ruined the employee market and immigration will do the same. We are watching and sitting on our assets. Riding this out.

  18. Bottom Line says:

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