Tuesday Night Open Mic for November 10, 2009

Open Mic 1Tuesday night comes to us again. Alas this is the last night that I will be writing this week (at least I think so, I may have the ability to write tomorrow night, but the articles for Thursday and Friday are already written). I have to let everyone know exactly how dedicated I am to writing this blog. All of my friends are playing the new Modern Warfare 2 game, and I left them high and dry to come and write tonight! I know it doesn’t mean much to many of you, but it was the biggest game release ever. Lines out the doors at retailers and all. The reality… gaming is fun, and a nice way to blow off steam, but political discourse is my passion. I love writing this blog. After a 30 minute walk with Doggie Weapon in the pouring rain, I am ready to begin the open mic articles. As you can all see I have written a second article this evening for Veterans Day. I wanted to take a moment and thank those who served. I have done so in the other article.

I also wanted to let everyone know that I have added a new twist on the articles that some of you may have noticed. At the bottom of every article there is now the ability to rate the article. It is a 5 star system. I would appreciate folks taking the time to rate articles when you are finished reading them. You just have to click one of the stars to say what you think. I don’t see who gave ratings, just what ratings were given. I would appreciate everyone’s honest feedback on the articles. It helps me to know what I do well, what I can work on, what people like to discuss, and what they don’t. I believe that you can now go back and add ratings at the bottom of every article I have written. So if any of you go back to read older articles, take a quick sec to let me know what you think. I truly appreciate it!

 

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Comments

  1. USWeapon Topic #1

    Jesus, no, but yes to Allah

    Senate Democrats are proving once again that no judicial nominee is too extreme for them to stomach. A move seems to be afoot to open debate on the Senate floor this week on the nomination of David Hamilton of Indiana to the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. This judge is a radical’s radical.

    Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, sent a letter on Friday to his fellow senators outlining his objections to Mr. Hamilton, who is a federal district judge. The senator first objected to Judge Hamilton’s stated belief that judges should effectively amend the Constitution – “writing footnotes to the Constitution,” the judge called it – through evolving case law. Second, Judge Hamilton has publicly and specifically embraced the president’s “empathy standard,” which even Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has now openly rejected.

    Third, Judge Hamilton in many cases has shown an extreme hostility against innocuous expressions of religion in the public square. Mr. Sessions noted, though, that Judge Hamilton’s odd ruling in Hinrichs v. Bosma “prohibited prayers in the Indiana House of Representatives that expressly mentioned Jesus Christ … yet he allowed prayers which mentioned Allah.”

    Read the rest of the article at the Washington Times: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/nov/03/jesus-no-but-yes-to-allah/

    I know this is an editorial, but the things that are being written about this nominee are somewhat over the top radical. I checked a couple of other sources and read quite a bit about this guy tonight.

    At what point do we step up and stop the madness that is the radical appointments to the bench? We see so many political nominations to federal judgeship positions that are intended to further a radical agenda rather than reward those who are most distinguished in their service in accordance with the law. Obama is not the first to do this. All the Presidents have done so, appointing judges that they think will further their social agenda.

    But a judge that comes right out and says that he believes that a federal judge should amend the Constitution? I thought the federal judges were there to uphold the law, interpret the Constitution (although we all know how big a fan I am not of this practice in reality), and maintain the integrity of the judicial system. Now we are at the point where a judge can say he believes it is his right to amend the Constitution, and he doesn’t get thrown off the bench, he gets nominated for a promotion!

    And rally, will there come a point where the left will be willing to admit that the nominees for positions in the Obama administration seem to have a lot of radical viewpoints. We are only 10 months in and the list of radicals in the current administration is really quite staggering. Still think this guy believes in the principles that founded this country?

    • Topics 1 & 2 its very clear the liberals in Congress are using their power to promote their agenda. They are intent on dismantling the constitution.

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      USW – I understand that since you often write very late at night or early in the morning – the preponderance of information you review/read/assess, especially for postings as such, is going to be unfortunately one-sided and clearly narrow-minded. It seems there is a familiar cycle now given who is in power ——> conservative ‘journalists’, Fox News, Washington Times, WND, anyone-with-a-bone-to-pick print or present their latest views (or hatemongering) —–> the right wing, right leaning, conservative, right-extremist blogosphere picks it up and presents this as “the whole truth and nothing but the truth” – and the faithful pick it up and dogpile on it w/o even attempting to throw the bullshit flag.

      So here is your bullshit flag: http://mediamatters.org/research/200911030023

      Oh, and just to cover me arse, the left does all that bad stuff too.

      Thanks,

      Ray

      • Thanks for the information Ray. I did say up front that this was an editorial rather than a news story. I understand your frustration since it seems the information I glean goes against what you believe. What I have found is that the stories often lead to good conversation here on the blog.

        Please note that I did not bother to attack the judge personally. I attacked the position of amending the constitution and the practice of appointing judges to further a social agenda which is a tactic that has been used by every President in recent history. The intent was to foster a discussion on the idea of whether this is a sound practice or whether we should instead demand that our leaders appoint judges based on something as ludicrous merit or strict adherence to the law. In today’s environment, it seems the way to get ahead is to be an activist judge. I find that repulsive in a country that relies on legal application of the law rather than an interpretation that furthers a social agenda.

        I apologize for linking Obama to radical appointments at the end. I assume that is what got your ire up. He would make it a lot easier on himself if they asked a few questions in the vetting process. Maybe they could add some like:

        1. Are you a communist, or have you embraced the communist or socialist principles in government?
        2. Have you ever been a 9/11 truther or a birther or an outspoken militant against the US government?
        3. What radical shit is Fox going to find a video of you saying in the future?
        4. Will that radical shit be able to be contained using our own networks, such as MSNBC, CBS, ABC, and CNN?

        If you cannot see that the President has had a pretty high number of radical appointments thus far, I fear for your sanity my friend.

        • Ray Hawkins says:

          USW – just asking that we “get it right”. If you were proclaiming him radical based solely on the Washington Times (wonder why they just fired a bunch of folks) then you fell pretty short. For S&G’s Media Matters also refuted much of the same as reported by Investor’s Business Daily.

          I found your questions humorous – especially with regards to Fox (who by the way is also demonstrating they are more than willing and culpable to integrity issues when mis-appropriating video, writings and other media).

          “If you cannot see that the President has had a pretty high number of radical appointments thus far, I fear for your sanity my friend.”

          – Congrats on a below the belt shot – you’re assuming incorrectly and without merit that I stand behind any/all Obama appointees – I do not. What you have failed to prove (which means you are again – using EMOTION) is what is the locus of radicalism to which you refer? What criteria? What are you defining as radical? Is anything you do not agree with considered radical? I think yesterday you showed that to potentially be the case – you used the same old empty-headed tactic of accusing anyone in favor of gun control as being extreme leftist. Funny how the dialogue when straight back down to how we define rights and whether Madison was right or wrong – I suppose that still places me as a radical though since even in tracing my logic back it doesn’t rhyme with core principles as YOU define them.

          So again – what in the hell does “pretty high number of radicals” mean?

          • Did not mean it as a below the belt shot. I apologize if it felt that way. I meant it more as a joke than anything. I will answer the rest as soon as I can.

            USW

      • Ray;

        Since you brought up the Media Matters articles I figured I should post the following here.

        BUCK, I hope you weigh in as well on this.

        Per MM:

        “Hamilton struck down “sectarian” prayer in Indiana legislature — not just the words “Jesus Christ.” Using Supreme Court precedent (Marsh v. Chambers), Hamilton ruled in Anthony Hinrichs, et al. v. Brian Bosma that prayer in the Indiana House of Representatives “should refrain from using Christ’s name or title or any other denominational appeal” and that such prayer “must be nonsectarian and must not be used to proselytize or advance any one faith or belief or to disparage any other faith or belief.” Hamilton wrote that the “sectarian content of the substantial majority of official prayers in the Indiana House therefore takes the prayers outside the safe harbor the Supreme Court recognized for inclusive, non-sectarian legislative prayers in Marsh v. Chambers, 463 U.S. 783 (1983).”

        Now, I don’t know what exactly was is Marsh v. Chambers but will be looking soon. I do know this though. The Constitution draws a distinct line of authority between the branches of govt and the courts have not violated that so far. The Court may determine whether a law is Constitutional but it may not TELL the Legislative Branch how to behave or conduct itself.

        This judge has used a legal case to create the situation wherein the Court is “outlawing” certain behavior by the “legislative” branch. It seems to me the Legislature could simply tell him to go to hell.

        OK, any insights here that I may be missing?

        • Buck The Wala says:

          I’m not that familiar with Judge Hamilton so I’ve been withholding comments. I just took a look at the ABA site; they rated Judge Hamilton Well-Qualified. This has nothing to do with his political leanings, just that his peers have rated him knowledgeable about the law, a fair-minded jurist, etc.

          On this case dealing with sectarian prayer in the legislature, my initial thinking is that if this doesn’t ring of government endorsement of a particular religion, I don’t know what does. As Judge Hamilton ruled, the legislature is free to start each session with a prayer, just that that prayer cannot be sectarian in nature.

          Just because the legislature is a separate branch of government does not mean they can do whatever they want (much like the Executive Branch is still bound to the law).

        • Buck The Wala says:

          Also, Marsh v. Chambers dealt with the Nebraska legislature which paid a clergyman with public funds to start each session with a prayer. That was held constitutional.

          The distinction, based on my loose understanding of the facts of that case to this case, is that in the Nebraska case, the prayer was of a non-sectarian nature.

        • Ray Hawkins says:

          JAC –

          “This judge has used a legal case to create the situation wherein the Court is “outlawing” certain behavior by the “legislative” branch. It seems to me the Legislature could simply tell him to go to hell.”

          Do me a favor and re-read what you wrote – the answer should be obvious I would think.

          • Ray:

            It is not self evident because you are mixing up the act of legislating vs the actual conduct according to its own rules and procedures.

            If the assumption of this judge were correct then why has the Supreme Court not ruled the Congress can not invoke a prayer unless it is absolutely non denominational.

            Why couldn’t the Admin branch search the offices of a Congressman being investigated for fraud and bribery?

            Because there is a distinct separation in the power of one to interfere in the conduct of the other.

            “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion……..”

            Note the word “law” there? A procedure of the legistlative branch is not subject to this restriction as it is not a law. It does not apply to anyone other than those who are part of the elected body.

            This judge may turn out to be correct given precedent by prior “radical” judges and Supreme Courts.

            And to avoid the same rhetorical questions as you have tossed at USW, I defind a “radical judge” as one who believes in the “living document” theory wherein they believe it their role to change the meaning of the constitution through the disguise of “simply applying the constitution to new issues”.

            The constitution did not ban STATES from establishing STATE sponsored religions. Such in fact existed in some states until overturned by the “people” by amending their State Constitution.

            As I said the other day. If folks want the contract changed then they need to sit at the table and negotiate the changes and then get 75% of the states to ratify the changes. Judges who feel it is their responsibility, or within their power to make these changes without approval of the legislative branch, are “radical”. And “many” is more than three sitting at the District level, let alone the Circuit Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court itself. One=one; two=couple; three=few; >3=many.

            “Radical” in traditional political terms means someone who wants significant change and they want it NOW. They are unwilling to let things work themselves out. They take action to affect the change they want.

            Remember my claim that I AM A RADICAL RIGHT WING LIBERAL. Same meaning of radical applies.

            • Buck the Wala says:

              JAC,

              I just have to step in and take exception to your definition of a radical judge as any judge that ascribes to the living document theory of the Constitution.

              This is not a radical viewpoint and is one held by many people, myself included. That does not make me a radical nor does it make me extreme left wing.

              And to think we were doing so well today 🙂

              Have a great night JAC!

              • Buck:

                But you have admitted to being Left Wing so that is a given.

                I would say such judges are in fact radical by the very definition of what radical is.

                They are unwilling to wait for the legislative process, as dictated by the people, to play out.

                The “living document” theory never existed until FDR’s court and those who inhereted their value system. Up until then “living” meant “amendment”, not “interpret and apply to modern problems”.

                I doubt you are truly a radical as you seem to pretty much support the status quo, which is very much STATIST and thus LEFTIST in its nature. You have openly stated your position regarding the need to move even further left, towards socialism, but whether your an actual RADICAL depends on how long you are willing to wait for that change.

                So I conclude you are either

                A) A Left Wing Conservative, or
                B) A Radical Left Wing Conservative.

                My definition of radical is not my defintition by the way. I think it applys quite well the judges I have described.

                If not Radical, then what label would you place upon them?

                We are doing well. Would you rather be on some other site where I simply dismiss your views as ##22$$$%%###???

                JAC

              • Buck the Wala says:

                Of course we’re doing well — otherwise why would I keep coming back for more abuse!?

                But I need to correct you on that one — from the very beginning judges interpreted the Constitution and applied it to new and evolving situations. Marbury v. Madison (the first case to establish judicial review) was seen by many at the time to be a claim of judicial fiat, unsupported by the text of the Constitution and outside the original meaning. Some of the Founding Fathers themselves disagreed with this ruling.

              • Buck:

                I am very familiar with the arguments for and against Marbury. I actually think Jefferson’s rants were not supported by the document he reluctantly supported. But that is just my opinion.

                The difference is “applying the document to new situations” vs using this excuse to actually “change the document to address new situations”. It is the latter that is RADICAL and that is what got going in a very big way with FDR’s court and has gotten worse ever since.

                The modern concept of “living document” is that its “interpretation should be modified” to meet new societal issues. That is BS and as a lawyer I would expect you to oppose such a view.

                What good is a contract if I later decide to redefine the terms to fit my “new issues”. If that becomes accepted then there is no need for a contract, or Constitution.

                And that pretty much brings us to where we are today.

                So I stand on my view that judges who support such a legal philosophy are in fact “radical” because they are in effect legislating from the bench.

                If you want “social contract theory” to apply then you must stand by it when the contract doesn’t meet your views just as much as when it does. For it is the concept of the contract itself that must be protected.

                Is this not the same view of the legal profession regarding the application of the law and the responsibility for a vigorous defense of the accused? It is the concept of the law that must be protected.

              • Buck the Wala says:

                I’m gonna head off for the night, but a quick reply:

                The idea behind the living document theory is that the original intent of the Founding Fathers was to establish a document that could be looked at and applied to new situations. They realized that they could not guess what the world would look like in the future.

                Have there been ‘activist’ decisions where judges have attempted to change the Constitution? Yes, on both sides of the aisle. This is not a phenomenon only found on the left.

                But a judge that carefully looks at the text of the Constitution and applies that text to a novel issue that could not have presented itself in the 1700s is not activist. To me that is what the Founding Fathers intended.

              • Buck the Wala says:

                JAC – quick op-ed I came across on the issue of ‘activist’ judges:

                http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/19/opinion/19tue3.html

                Let me know your thoughts tomorrow if you have time!

                G’nite.

  2. USWeapon Topic #2

    Judge Rules S.C. Not Allowed to Issue License Plates With Cross

    A federal judge ruled Tuesday that South Carolina can’t issue license plates showing the image of a cross in front of a stained glass window along with the phrase “I Believe.”

    U.S. District Judge Cameron Currie’s ruling said the license plate was unconstitutional because it violates the First Amendment ban on establishment of religion by government.

    Within hours, a private Christian group said the ruling doesn’t stand in the way of its “plan B” to get a similar plate issued using a state law that permits private groups to issue tags they design.

    The fight over the plates started shortly after Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer helped push the legislation through in 2008. Groups including Americans United for Separation of Church and State and American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee challenged the state’s ability to put a religious message on a state license tag.

    Read the rest of the article at Fox News: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,573785,00.html?test=latestnews

    In yet another attack on the Christian religion, the federal courts strike down a citizen’s ability to have a license plate the declares their belief in the religion of their choice. I have no doubt that the judge in Topic #1 would have allowed the plates if they had a symbol for Islam on them. I also have no doubt that if this ruling were striking down a license plate with a muslim symbol, the ACLU would have filed a lawsuit within minutes of the ruling.

    As many of you know, I have about had it with the relentless assault on the Christian religion in America. The overwhelming support offered to any other religion is overshadowed by the continued sacking of anything Christian. A cross in the middle of the desert? Cover it Up! A Nittany Lion White Out shirt with a design that resembles a cross? Protest and file a lawsuit. Santa Claus at a Christmas parade? Not if there is a muslim that could be offended by it. Wishing someone a Merry Christmas during the holiday season? Hells no dawg.

    And might I add that I am completely tired of this bullshit ruling that continues to come from the courts about violating the establishment of religion amendment. Allowing a cross on a license plate for someone who REQUESTS it is no more establishing a religion for the state than allowing the requested South Carolina Gamecock license plate (which is there and available) establishes that no other school is allowed in South Carolina (which would sure piss off the Clemson folks). There is a GIGANTIC difference between allowing the free expression of one’s religion and establishing it as the official religion of the state.

    • Good Morning to all!

      I’m posting for todays comments. As subjects #1 and #2 have shown, our Article 1 rights are under attack by whackballs. I have found that normally quiet people are speaking out in many ways. Bumper stickers are going to get real popular in the near future. One I seen this past weekend was rather funny, it said “Did You Vote For Obama” on the top line, with “Thanks A$$hole” on the bottom line. Have a great day!

      G!

    • There would only be a first amendment violation if the state REQUIRED people to have this licence plate. My Indiana plate says, “In God we trust,” but I guess that will be banned soon too, eh?

      • Buck The Wala says:

        As I remember it there’s only 1 Supreme Court case on the issue (Maynard) and that dealt with the State (NH in that case) requiring its citizens to have the state motto (“Live Free or Die”) on their plates. The Supreme Court held that this was compelled speech and not constitutional.

        This represents the flip side of the issue and, to me, a no-brainer. The State is not compelling anyone to ‘speak’; it is the individual who chooses to purchase this plate and place it on their car. This does not violate separation of church and state or freedom of religion either, as it is not the State speaking nor endorsing any one religion.

        The only way this can be construed to violate the 1st Amendment is if the State approved this design but refused requests to also provide a licence plate with a Jewish Star or the Muslim Crescent Moon.

      • JB, Our Indiana plates do not specify what “God” we trust. I believe that makes a difference.

        So Long as people are not “Required” to have such a thing on a license plate, then I Don’t see a problem. I certainly have the “In God we trust” plate on my car, But I can still get a simple “Indiana” Logo with Numbers if I want to.

    • I thought the first Amendment only affected the Federal government…….”Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”…..where does a Federal Judge get to inflict this on States? I have often wondered how the Feds got to stick their nose into the states business? Have I missed something that gives them the right to do this???

      • Buck The Wala says:

        The 1st Amendment has been incorporated as to apply to the States. Basically, if the Federal government cannot infringe your freedom of speech, why should the State government?

        • Beause it say “congress”! and what is not expressly awarded the feds is a state right. So if we are talking the making of a license plate….the state should be able to put anything the people are interested in buying on them. After all…..the people are purchasing them, the state is not giving them away or forcing anyone to take them.

          • Buck The Wala says:

            Right, but then the 14th Amendment came along with its ‘due process’ language which was deemed to apply many of the Bill of Rights to the States under a theory of incorporation.

            The end result though, in this case, is that it doesn’t matter whether or not the 1st Amendment applies to the State governments – there is no government compelled speech here, nor is there any government endorsement of religion.

            • Buck:

              I have never heard of such a “legal theory”. Can you enlighten me some on this?

              There is no way under Constitutional law theory that such an application or fundamental change could be made without specific statement to that affect.

              • Buck The Wala says:

                Incorporation as a legal theory began in the late 1800s after the enactment of the 14th Amendment – the gist of the argument is that the 14th Amendment provides:

                “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

                In the 1940s and ’50s the argument picked up steam with a number of Supreme Court cases and holdings. Certain Amendments were found to apply to the States as well as the federal government. At this point the only Amendments NOT incorporated are the 2d (big case on that coming up in the Supreme Court this term), the 3d, grand jury indictments under the 5th, and the 7th. All other Bill of Rights have been found to be incorporated as they are so fundamental to the concept of due process under the law.

                Hope this summary helps.

              • Buck:

                Thanks. I will take this to my resident constitutional scholar friend for assessment and get back to everyone.

                I was unaware that this was the theory applied by the FDR courts that kicked down the door.

                In essence the theory undermines the entire “social contract” created by the Constitution, without a single vote by the people.

                I thought the “commerce clause” logic was the primary culprit.

                Again thanks.
                JAC

              • Buck The Wala says:

                No problem!

      • Isn’t the court infringing on the last part, “free exercise thereof”?

      • Amazed:

        You are correct in your conclusion, in my view. Not a lawyer but don’t know what difference that makes when you get a different opinion from each one you talk to.

        I have yet to understand how the Federal courts ever made this a federal issue when it involves only the STATE.

        The only remote linkage is the fact that the States take federal funding therefore the Fed govt is in effect sanctioning State action, thus defacto federal action. This is how many Envrionmental groups attack state programs where there is no actual federal authority.

        It all comes back to taking those free cookies.

    • I had a long discussion about this with a couple of friends today and didn’t get any answers, perhaps someone here can answer the question. In SC you can get a vanity plate that is sponsored by Secular Humanism, which is a fancy way of saying “I do not believe that God exists.” I am confused at the argument that you may not have a license plate that says simply, “I Believe” which is a non fancy way of stating they do believe God exists. Anyone?

      • Buck the Wala says:

        From reading a bit more about this particular case, it seems that the distinction the case turned on rests on the fact that the “I Believe” plate was issued BY the state, whereas the vanity plate you describe is issued by Secular Humanism.

        It is a very minute distinction and one that I believe should not result in a different outcome. Basically one of two things will happen:

        1) The case will be overturned, or
        2) A non-government entity will issue the same plate (to avoid having the government issuance issue)

        • yes, I don’t know that anyone who wants the plate cares who manufactures it… but good for the goose and all… Thanks for the info, I hadn’t heard that.

      • Rani:

        My dearest Revolutionary.

        So nice to see your name posted once again.

        How did your run turn out???

        Sure hope this day finds you and yours well and happy.
        JAC

    • USW:

      Of course this could all be avoided if the STATE gave up its self claimed monopoly on the creation and issuance of license plates, and registration, and drivers licenses, and…………..

      The state could turn the process over to the private sector and then just require citizens, aka drivers to register their plate numbers with a state recorder.

      When one starts to think outside the Govt box there are more possibilities.

      Happy trails
      JAC

      • JAC,
        So nice to see you too! I have been running around like crazy! Busy and the campaign is going well, the more “dump the bunch” bumper stickers I see, the happier I am! I just wanted to say, I love the private sector making the plates, what a grand idea! reuce, reuse, recycle…. the government!

  3. USWeapon Topic #3

    Blackwater Said To Approve Iraqi Payoffs After Shootings

    Former top executives at Blackwater Worldwide say the U.S. security contractor sent about $1 million to its Iraq office with the intention of paying off officials in the country who were angry about the fatal shootings of 17 civilians by Blackwater employees, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

    Four former executives described the plan under the condition of anonymity, the newspaper said.

    Iraqis had long complained about ground operations by the North Carolina-based company, now known as Xe Corp. Then the shooting by Blackwater guards in Baghdad’s Nisoor Square in September 2007 left 17 civilians dead, further strained relations between Baghdad and Washington and led U.S. prosecutors to bring charges against the Blackwater contractors involved.

    Read the rest of the article from The Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/11/10/blackwater-said-to-approv_n_352980.html

    OK, allow me to first give a disclaimer. When I left the military, I was recruited to work for Blackwater. They are a private security firm. A better understanding can be gained by describing them as what they are: A private army. There are a lot of ex Special Operations guys that have gone to work for Blackwater, including a lot of people who are my friends. I know the integrity of the average person who goes to work for them. I can not speak to the integrity of the organization itself. I declined to accept a position with the organization. I never worked for them.

    In Iraq, they were primarily working as bodyguards for high profile political figures who were targets. It is dangerous to be a politician in Iraq. It is equally dangerous to guard a politician in Iraq. Having a group of Special Operations veterans as your bodyguards is about as good as you can get.

    So the Blackwater operatives apparently killed some civilians. I wasn’t there, I don’t know the story. This appears to be the truth. I accept it as such. Now we learn that the company sent money to pay off politicians who were angry. I know that this seems as an outrageous act. However, I know that paying off politicians in other countries is often acceptable and common practice. Hell, we all know that paying off politicians in THIS country is common practice.

    I guess the question for me is how everyone else feels about this? I am especially interested in hearing from the veterans, especially D13, as I am sure that he also has some friends that went to work for that particular firm. I am in no way excusing the actions of 17 innocent civilians being killed. That is another issue altogether. I am merely discussing the payoff claims.

    And I will point out to all of those who consistently say that we can forego the US military and move to a private military force to serve the same purpose. Blackwater is what you end up with. It doesn’t seem that folks like BF would be OK with this type of private force either. Just wondering what your thoughts are there as well.

    • Hmmm always puzzled me about the huge fuss that was made over Acorn with the pimp thing. You have the state department giving millions of dollars to Blackwater who hire people who kill civilians, I thought you guys would be in the streets protesting about the waste of tax money but there is nothing but a whimper.

      http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=-5933856488473868467&ei=T7P6SqKNM4vM-Abak8X1Cg&hl=en#

      This is a British company called Aegis at the back of a convoy, they have a sign on the back saying keep back 500ft or you will be shot. Anyone else got binocular eyesight that the Iraqis must have to read the sign?

    • USW…isn’t this a common practice? Even the US and other countries pay when they kill civilians….The Iraqis expect payment for a life is what I understood. Please correct me if I am wrong here.
      I am of the mind set that human life has a hugh value…but they Iraqis think differently. In a way is it not the same as going to court in the US and accepting a judgement for the accidental death of a loved one? Or am I missing something here….like maybe the families did not get the money or the money was a brib to keep Blackwater in country?

    • Hi USW….in response to your request.

      I retired this April 1, 2009 and was recruited by Xe April 5 to be a trainer. I declined the offer although it was very lucrative. I know several people that work for Black Water (Xe). I know of their integrity and I know their level of training. I do not know the specifics of the shooting that occurred but apparently, Black Water took responsibility for that and has not only paid the victims family, but has, according to uninformed sources, a plan to pay officials in Iraq. This would not surprise me. Corporations pay officials on all countries, including ours to “look” the other way. Clandestine payments seem to be a way of life. My integrity tells me that paying Iraqi officials to “turn the head” or “shut up” is wrong and I would never do it and do not condone it.

      There is an implication that these killings were done for sport and I would deny that. But apparently, something was not right, hence the payments to the families. I am a Special Operations Operative…or was… and I have never even considered killing for sport. Most, if not all, of the men that I know that work over there are specific body guards. It is hazardous duty and I am sure that the tensions and pressures are enormous. But, I would not question the integrity of the men that work there.

      The post by Bob deserves no further comment than bullshit. I looked at that video and it is appalling and does not reflect the norm and I resent any implication of that. In every war, there are mercs that are less than cordial. This one is no different. EVERY war from the war of independence to now, has soldiers of fortune and these soldiers of fortune are not special ops personnel. I would bet on it.

      At last counting, there are 32 private security firms over there and only three are financed by the State Department. I personally know of one private security firm that tried to recruit me and it is totally funded by private sources with in Iraq. They hire the most unqualified Mercs available. War brings profiteering. It sucks but it is reality.

      And, this is for Bob, if the US were to pull out tomorrow, there would still be 29 private security firms in Iraq. Do not paint with a broad brush as I felt like you did.

      So, USW….should Ex (Black Water) pay off the Iraqi officials? No sir. They should not.

      But, we pay off our elected officials all the time here..so what an example we set.

      Did I answer your questions?

      • You absolutely did answer my questions D13. I find, as I expected, that we are in complete agreement on this subject. I had assumed that you would also have friends there and it makes complete sense to me that they recruited you as well. It is a smaller community that many would believe (perhaps this is because every drunk looking to impress a girl in a bar claims to be a Green Beret or SEAL, lol).

        Hope today is finding you well, brother. And thanks for your service.

        USW

        • Yes, to the drunks. It is amazing how many claim to be what they are not. They are easy to expose, however. I never go anywhere without my “coin”. I did once…it cost me a beer….several to be exact.

          I think the general public and even a few outspoken on here, would be very surprised at just the basic qualifications is takes to be in the “forces”…no matter which one.

          I must go, my brother, I do have a special function at a flag ceremony this evening.

        • Also, please forgive me for not responding to the 2nd amendment post yesterday. I read all the posts and it amazes me how misconstrued they were to your initial post. I felt that anything that I had to say about it would have been a moot point. Besides, I think everyone on here knows where I would stand on it anyway.

    • An Iraqi investigation into the events stated that as the convoy drew close to Nisour Square, a distant Kia sedan with a woman and her grown son in it was driving slowly on the wrong side of the road, and ignored a police officer’s whistle to clear a path for the convoy.[10] The report said the security team fired warning shots and then lethal fire at the Kia. After this, the report said that stun grenades were fired off by contractors to clear the scene. The report continues by saying Iraqi police and Army soldiers, mistaking the stun grenades for frag grenades, opened fire at the Blackwater team, to which the Blackwater team again responded.[11][12] A Reuters report showed some of the vehicles which were left at the scene. According to Iraqi investigators, a Blackwater helicopter present during the attack fired several times from the air. Blackwater has denied these charges.[13][14]

      Iraqi Brigadier-General Abdul-Karim Khalaf has stated the US firm “opened fire randomly at citizens.” Among those killed was one Iraqi policeman; however, no State Department officials were wounded or killed.[15]

      Blackwater has stated that a car bomb detonated close to the meeting point[16] and that their security team then evacuated the State Department officials. Blackwater says the convoy passed through Nisour Square, between the Sunni controlled al-Mansour and al-Yarmukh neighborhoods, and was attacked. According to Blackwater VP Marty Strong, it was hit with “a large explosive device” and “repeated small arms fire” which disabled a vehicle.[16] Several sources have stated that the explosion was caused by a mortar round, though this is not reflected in the Department of State incident report.[17][18] Blackwater has denied Iraqi allegations that one of their helicopters fired from the air during the incident.[13][14]

      A State Department report states that eight to ten attackers opened fire “from multiple nearby locations, with some aggressors dressed in civilian apparel and others in Iraqi police uniforms.”[19] The report says that as the convoy tried to leave, its route was blocked by insurgents armed with machine guns at 12:08 pm. According to the report, “The team returned fire to several identified targets” before leaving the area and a second convoy en route to help was “blocked/surrounded by several Iraqi police and Iraqi national guard vehicles and armed personnel.”[18] A US Army convoy, possibly the same one delayed by Iraqi forces, arrived approximately a half hour later, backed by air cover, to escort the convoy back to the Green Zone.[16]

      On September 27, the New York Times reported that during the incident at Nisour Square, one member of the Blackwater security team continued to fire on civilians, despite urgent cease-fire calls from colleagues. The incident was resolved after another Blackwater contractor pointed his own weapon at the man still firing and ordered him to stop.[20]

      US Military reports confirm the Iraqi government’s claim that Blackwater was guilty of using excessive force and opening fire without provocation.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackwater_Baghdad_shootings

      My thoughts, they were in a war zone. A “Kia sedan with a woman and her grown son in it was driving slowly on the wrong side of the road, and ignored a police officer’s whistle to clear a path for the convoy.” They thought they were under attack and fired warning shots. Police and bystanders react and fire at them. FUBAR

      Iraqi and State Dept. both say they were fired on by Iraqi’s. Terrorists are know to use civilians as human shields. I do not know the rules of engagement they operate under. If a terrorist is behind a innocent, do they shoot back, likely killing the civilian?

      I do not condone their actions, nor do I condemn them. Anyone who thought about it knew we would be facing situations like this where there is no good answer. They have been killing each other for thousands of years, us being there just gives them a new target.

      And also, the Secrete Service carries compact machine guns. If someone started shooting from a crowd, would they return fire despite the danger to the civilians?

      • The insurgents also had at that time a habit of using stolen police uniforms as cover.

        The conflicting reports paint a picture as you present. Horesdookie happens in such situation.

        The woman and kid thing is bothersome as written. But I wonder who knew it was a woman and teenage son when the car was coming at them from a distance of …….what??? Or was this after the fact knowledge?

        One thing for sure. It seems we can never get a straight answer from any govt investigation that is also trustworthy. Thus it creates room for speculation and second guessing when another report is issued. That is the saddest thing of all for a free republic.

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      Irrespective of practice in the foreign land it is still unethical and likely illegal.

      • Ray:

        While I don’t like the practice and would oppose it, I believe it is quite accepted as general practice in their culture.

        Every thing I have read about the region indicates some “payment” for accidental deaths are made to show the family and local officials you are making “restitution” for your crime.

        Once restitution is made life goes on.

        No restitution then you get revenge or avenging.

        Hope you are well today.
        JAC

        • Ray Hawkins says:

          JAC – am waiting in Denver airport people watching. Based on a lot I have studied – bribes/payment as such is very common in MANY places.

          • Ray:

            I really don’t think it is a bribe as it was described to me and in how it is often used.

            I think “restitution” is much more appropriate.

            Now that said, the payments to the elected officials sound more like bribes, or more accurately blackmail. But I think the payments to the damaged families or to a village elder where general damage is done is viewed as “just restitution” and is accepted in lieu of “dispensing justice” or “avenging the one injured”.

            Remember BF’s post regarding our view of justice is really “revenge” where he believes “restitution” the more civilized approach. I guess that is similar to what my understanding of the practice is. I recall that even Alexander provided gifts and payments to some of the families of the royalty or officers of the army he vanquished.

            I may be beyond my expertise here but I have come across this concept in several places. Before that I simply viewed it a bribe to keep the family quiet. Maybe we will get someone from that region on here some day to share their views of the practice.

            Have a good trip home.
            JAC

            • JAC and Ray,

              In my days of travel around our wonderful globe, one thing I learned is that everuone and everything has a price. It’s very easy to compensate for your wrongs overseas. I actually found it easy to pay off foriegn cops to be far away when I needed to fix a problem. While here in the states we consider it an unethical crime, in other countries it’s how many survive and live good lives.

              It’s quite common outside our borders, and accepted as the norm as well.

              G!

  4. USWeapon Topic #4

    White House communications chief to quit

    The White House on Tuesday shuffled its communications team, with Anita Dunn stepping down as expected and her deputy taking over day-to-day management of President Barack Obama’s vaunted messaging machine.

    Dan Pfeiffer will become White House communications director and Dunn will became a consultant to Obama’s White House, officials said. They expect the full transition to take place before the end of the year.

    “Anita working part-time is what most people do full-time,” White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett told The Associated Press. “She’ll still be a strong presence within the senior team.”

    Read the rest of the article at MSNBC: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/33841442/ns/politics-white_house/

    I am not going to write a lot about this one. I will offer my thoughts on her and my opinion of why she is “stepping down.” I say good riddance. As the instigator of the “Fox News is not a news organization, it is a wing of the Republican party” rhetoric, we don’t want people like her in the White House. Unless the White House is going to call out all news organizations equally, there should be nothing from them, especially the war that she started.

    I believe that she was asked to resign. There was no way she could be fired without it being a publicly humiliating incident for the administration. And I think she was asked to resign for two reasons. I think the war with Fox News backfired on the Obama administration, in a very big way. She is partly taking the fall in the hopes that America will forget the Obama administration attempted this move in the first place. Second, I think she was a visible figure at this point, and one that the President couldn’t have in light of the sweeping GOP victories last Tuesday. I think last Tuesday has Democrats a little worried about the future. They are realizing they didn’t have quite the mandate they tricked themselves into believing they had. They have to start making moves that eliminate the ability of the GOP to capitalize. So she had to go.

    But I am interested in hearing what the rest of you think. Why is she resigning her post at the White House? Do you think it was a forced resignation or did she simply not want the job all the sudden?

    • Common Man says:

      USW;

      It is pretty obvious that Glenn Beck had a lot to do with stupid female dog being asked to step aside. The comments she made relative to Mao signed her termination papers.

      It is good that morons like this are exposed and kicked in the ass. She is a mistake.

      BTW: If you have watched any of her speaches she has a disgusting habit of flicking her tonge and flipping it about when speaking; reminded me of the joker in the latest Batman movie.

      CM

      • I agree-people were getting pretty open in their praise for Mao and the Cuban dictator-I figured it was their way of indoctrinating people – hearing these names with good connotations attached with the intent of getting rid of the automatic negative response that most people feel when hearing their names-it backfired though because of Glen Beck.

    • USW:

      In this Admin I doubt she was actually fired. It is a guess, but I think it was more like the group got together and discussed varioius options for reducing her exposure but keeping her in the loop. And I am guessing she was included in the discussion.

      I could be wrong but I don’t think these guys ourright fire their friends and colleagues. They just move them around to keep us confused. Look where that other fellow wound up.

      • I agree with JAC. She will end up in some other position making as much or more money but out of the spot light. Her husband is now working in the administration. She will have as much influence and input as she had in the past. Nothing has changed. We have Marxists in the white house and I believe Obama is one of them.

      • I agree, JAC. These folks just get moved around. Nothing has changed.

    • She’ll still be around. Her husband Bob Bauer, was/is also joining the Administration so maybe they felt both shouldn’t be so visable.

    • They are moving her to shut her up. Nothing more. Nothing will change.

  5. G-Man Topic #1

    G-Man offered this last night and asked me to move it to this thread tonight when I post it. I have also added it as comment #1 on the Veterans Day Article.

    USW,

    I’m not much of a morning person, so I would ask that you move this to the OPEN MIC forum. I’m posting early because of a phone call, so everyone disregard till tomorrow!

    Today, November 11, 2009, is Veterans Day! Special to me, because without the Vets, we couldn’t discuss much, if at all. Too often, our freedoms are taken for granted, and in many eyes, being stepped on today. I was lucky, I’m alive! I was lucky, because I worked with every branch of the military in my short 12 year tenure! Why? Because I worked the very best that our country has produced. The Marines, the Army, the Navy, the Coast Guard, and my crew, the Air Force. I worked with all of you, and never met anything less than a professional. The best that any man or women can be, in any branch of service, I worked with! I’m lucky! I’m so lucky, I cry when I bury one of those that served. I’m so lucky, that I worry about those that are in harms way each day, to continue the American way of life. No, it’s not perfect, but it’s what we have today.

    I’m lucky, because a good friend called tonight, we served in Desert Storm together, talked a lot when he was havin some rough times afterwards, today he and his family are doing fine, I’m lucky!

    I have great friends who have been through hell, like me. I’m lucky! I don’t even know what they look like, but they are with me, to share this day! I’m damn lucky!

    I listened as TAPS was played in Texas, as we said goodbye to 13 of our own, I cried. Damn I’m lucky.

    A month ago I watched a vet get buried in a field in Pennsylvania, the American Legion provided the Honor Guard, and played TAPS, I cried. Damn I’m lucky.

    I can only write what you have read, because I’m lucky. Today, I’m only here because of those that this day celebrates, the American Veterans, past, present and future.

    I am USAF. I am American and I WILL always be free. I WILL always fight for those that choose to stand beside me!

    On this Veterans Day, 2009, I offer the USAF’s best on video, and say to my fellow Vets, May God Bless You!

    PEACE!

    G!

    • G-man, you are right on target. I personally have never served in the military, but do appreciate the sacrifices they have made in the past and do every day. Both of my parents were in the Marines in WWII, my father a Marine Raider who participated in 3 separate beach assaults. My mom was stateside for the war, but is no less proud of her Marine background, and today, Veterans Day, is her 87th birthday…happy birthday Mom!

      If not for the sacrifices of these men and women we could not enjoy the freedoms we have today. This is the main reason I cannot understand why some seem to think this country should move away from the very reasons for which it was founded…personal liberty and freedom.

      Personal liberty and freedom…let that sink in for a moment, and then those who believe differently please explain to me why this country is becoming increasingly socialist and why they support it…because their support could not be possible without the sacrifices of the armed services.

      High taxes, Cap and Trade, Government healthcare, hell even social security, medicare and medicaide are all against what the country was founded for…Personal Liberty, and Freedom…

      Thank you all who have served to make this country the greatest ever conceived. Happy Veterans Day!

    • Very touching G-Man and sentiments shared by many for those that take the oath to protect us. My admiration is limitless for those that also go to the dark places of the world but do so wearing the uniforms that often marks them as a target.

    • Thank you to all who have served and continue to serve. You are appreciated very much. Happy Veterans Day!

  6. Southern Discomfort says:

    DeMint Introduces “Term Limits for All” Constitutional Amendment
    Amendment would limit every House member to 3 terms, every Senator to 2 terms

    Read the article: http://demint.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressReleases.Detail&PressRelease_id=df3453ee-c1f0-e8d5-3fb3-77379823cf1c

    • Congressmen are like diapers. They should be changed frequently, and for the same reason. -Mark Twain

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      I think its facewashing – I don’t think it’ll ever pass – and I will certainly applaud DeMint if, even w/o such an amendment, he refuses to run for reelection after his 2nd term (assuming he gets re-elected).

      • I agree that it won’t pass. I don’t think it will even make it out of committee to a full vote. And DeMint won’t step down after two terms if he has the ability to be reelected.

  7. HEALTH ALERT: I want you all to be aware of this new virus development…..it is absolutely imperative that you do whatever is necessary to prevent yourself from becoming afflicted with either of these two new strains!!!

    The Governemnent will likely take action soon!

    The next pandemic!

    I went to a dinner party last night, where I and other guests enjoyed copious amounts of alcohol.

    I awoke this morning with flu-like symptoms; headache, nausea, chills, sore eyes.

    As a result, I have unfortunately tested positive for what a cadre of experts are now calling Wine Flu.

    This debilitating condition is serious – and it appears this is NOT an isolated case.

    Reports are flooding in from across the country of others now being diagnosed with Wine Flu.

    To anyone exhibiting the aforementioned symptoms, experts recommend a cup of tea and a bit of a lie down.

    However, should your condition worsen, you should immediately rent a DVD and call in sick.

    Then take the only drug proven to combat this usual type of flu – a McDonald’s Happy Meal.

    If that doesn’t work, further application of the original liquid, in familiar quantities, has been shown to do the trick.

    Wine Flu does not NEED to be life threatening!

    If treated early, it can be eradicated within a 24-48 hour period.

    NOTE

    If you find you are complaining a lot, it may be that the virus has mutated into Whine Flu.

    This is particularly common in men and can spread to their partners whose symptoms may include a serious case of eye-rolling.

  8. v. Holland says:

    I guess we all have some type of moral guidelines, suppose some are better than none-
    This seemed very appropriate for veterans day. My personal thanks to all the veterans out there and to those currently serving.

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,573885,00.html?test=latestnews

    • V.H.

      Good morning. Had just read that myself before getting on here this AM.

      Something wasn’t it.

      A Great Big Thank You to every vet and existing service man and woman.

      • Good Morning to you,

        It really was something, I found myself shocked but pleased and somehow it made me feel hopeful.

  9. Good Morning Everyone

    A little someting I would consider from Bizzaro World:

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/11/11/senate-dems-aim-curb-feds-powers/

    I would be interested on hearing the take on this from our financial industry members here at SUFA.

    I have my thoughts but would like to here from those actually in the related businesses first.

    • The FED was brought into existence by the American banking cartel for the sole purpose of protecting itself (the banking cartel) from the losses risked by government action – at forward that cost of protection on the US taxpayer. They succeeded in creating this FED by promising government access to unlimited funding by fiat.

      The government now has figured it out and finally realizes that the FED’s first job is to protect the cartel, not the government. The government now wants to take over the FED and change its role into protecting the government’s access to funds – and forward that cost of that protection onto every soul in the United States.

      Because the People are ignorant of economics and money, they will see this move as a good thing.

      Very few will realize that this is the first move to an economic nuclear war – hyperinflation.

    • From the Bobo Files

      “Deregulation”
      Double Speak For Raising the Risk

      Deregulation is characterized in the business-friendly media as a way of lifting the burdensome restrictions on the free flow of capital. This is nonsense. Deregulation is, in fact, the removal of the laws which traditionally protect the public from the hucksters and scam-artists who create lofty-sounding investments which are nothing more than Ponzi-schemes.

      Deregulation has gravely undermined the long-term prospects for western capitalism to succeed. By removing the safeguards to investment, the business and banking communities have created what many call “casino capitalism,” an anarchic structure with few protections that is hurling the markets toward a system-wide meltdown.

    • MORE ON THE BIZZARO WORLD EFFORTS TO DRESS UP THE FED

      The Chairman is getting coaching on Politics from the PRO’s.

      Read carefully. Notice how the PRO gets the rookie to step back and let the PRO handle the problem. What do you think the PRO is going to get or wants?

      http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/33859924/ns/business-the_new_york_times/

      Many, many months ago I tried to make the point that what we see is carefully orchestrated and managed.
      The “handling” of politics has become a true profession and is done with even greater skill.

  10. JAC,

    I’m not a financial industry member, but am very interested in Dodd’s move on the fed. And don’t we have a pay Czar?

    NEW YORK (TheStreet) — The bank bonus debate is being stoked today by a Bloomberg report estimating that $30 billion in payouts will be made by Goldman Sachs (GS Quote), Morgan Stanley (MS Quote) and JPMorgan Chase (JPM Quote) this year.

    The reward money will be split among 119,000 employees at the banks, for an average of $250,400 each, which Bloomberg conveniently points out is five times the median household income in the U.S. last year. That’s enough to give more than half a million unemployed Americans a decent salary.

    Even more irksome to the general populace, whose tax dollars financed the massive banking bailout that kept bankers in business, is that average bonuses are expected to increase as much as 40% this year,

    http://www.thestreet.com/story/10623882/1/goldman-morgan-jpmorgan-plan-30-billion-bonusestodays-outrage.html

    • L.O.I.

      I too am interested in what Dodd is really up to. I wonder if the Fed and financial club will turn on him over this and spill the beans on how he and others were part of the deal from day one. Thieves should know better than to try and double cross their thief partners.

      Do not worry about the salaries or bonuses of Wall Street. It matters not in the big picture and affects you in no meaningful way.

      It is designed to distract you and refocus your anger on “capitalism” as the evil beast.

      Give wall street their money. I’ld bet if you took all the wages spent on Congress, that includes all staff, aids and support you would bet a bigger number.

      Stay focused on the REAL problem

  11. Has anyone been following this Montana gun law? This is the first I’ve heard of it…

    http://www.panamalaw.org/montana_governor_signs_new_gun_law.html Montana Governor Signs New Gun Law
    Executive Summary – The USA state of Montana has signed into power a revolutionary gun law. I mean REVOLUTIONARY. The State of Montana has defied the federal government and their gun laws. This will prompt a showdown between the federal government and the State of Montana . The federal government fears citizens owning guns. They try to curtail what types of guns they can own. The gun control laws all have one common goal – confiscation of privately owned firearms.

    Montana has gone beyond drawing a line in the sand. They have challenged the Federal Government. The fed now either takes them on and risks them saying the federal agents have no right to violate their state gun laws and arrest the federal agents that try to enforce the federal firearms acts. This will be a world-class event to watch. Montana could go to voting for secession from the union, which is really throwing the gauntlet in Obamas face. If the federal government does nothing they lose face. Gotta love it.

    Important Points – If guns and ammunition are manufactured inside the State of Montana for sale and use inside that state then the federal firearms laws have no applicability since the federal government only has the power to control commerce across state lines. Montana has the law on their side. Since when did the USA start following their own laws especially the constitution of the USA , the very document that empowers the USA .

    Silencers made in Montana and sol in Montana would be fully legal and not registered. As a note silencers were first used before the 007 movies as a device to enable one to hunt without disturbing neighbors and scaring game. They were also useful as devices to control noise when practicing so as to not disturb the neighbors.

    Silencers work best with a bolt-action rifle. There is a long barrel and the chamber is closed tight so as to direct all the gases though the silencer at the tip of the barrel. Semi-auto pistols and revolvers do not really muffle the sound very well except on the silver screen. The revolvers bleed gas out with the sound all over the place. The semi-auto pistols bleed the gases out when the slide recoils back.

    Silencers are maybe nice for snipers picking off enemy soldiers even though they reduce velocity but not very practical for hit men shooting pistols in crowded places. Silencers were useful tools for gun enthusiasts and hunters.

    There would be no firearm registration, serial numbers, criminal records check, waiting periods or paperwork required. So in a short period of time there would be millions and millions of unregistered untraceable guns in Montana . Way to go Montana .

    Discussion – Let us see what Obama does. If he hits Montana hard they will probably vote to secede from the USA . The governor of Texas has already been refusing Federal money because he does not want to agree to the conditions that go with it and he has been saying secession is a right they have as sort of a threat. Things are no longer the same with the USA . Do not be deceived by Obama acting as if all is the same, it is not.

    Text of the New Law
    HOUSE BILL NO. 246

    INTRODUCED BY J. BONIEK, BENNETT, BUTCHER, CURTISS, RANDALL, WARBURTON

    AN ACT EXEMPTING FROM FEDERAL REGULATION UNDER THE COMMERCE CLAUSE OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES A FIREARM, A FIREARM ACCESSORY, OR AMMUNITION MANUFACTURED AND RETAINED IN MONTANA ; AND PROVIDING AN APPLICABILITY DATE.

    BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MONTANA :

    Section 1. Short title. [Sections 1 through 6] may be cited as the “Montana Firearms Freedom Act”.

    Section 2. Legislative declarations of authority. The legislature declares that the authority for [sections 1 through 6] is the following:

    (1) The 10th amendment to the United States constitution guarantees to the states and their people all powers not granted to the federal government elsewhere in the constitution and reserves to the state and people of Montana certain powers as they were understood at the time that Montana was admitted to statehood in 1889. The guaranty of those powers is a matter of contract between the state and people of Montana and the United States as of the time that the compact with the United States was agreed upon and adopted by Montana and the United States in 1889.

    (2) The ninth amendment to the United States constitution guarantees to the people rights not granted in the constitution and reserves to the people of Montana certain rights, as they were understood at the time that Montana was admitted to statehood in 1889. The guaranty of those rights is a matter of contract between the state and people of Montana and the United States as of the time that the compact with the United States was agreed upon and adopted by Montana and the United States in 1889.

    (3) The regulation of intrastate commerce is vested in the states under the 9th and 10th amendments to the United States constitution, particularly if not expressly preempted by federal law. Congress has not expressly preempted state regulation of intrastate commerce pertaining to the manufacture on an intrastate basis of firearms, firearms accessories, and ammunition.

    (4) The second amendment to the United States constitution reserves to the people the right to keep and bear arms as that right was understood at the time that Montana was admitted to statehood in 1889, and the guaranty of the right is a matter of contract between the state and people of Montana and the United States as of the time that the compact with the United States was agreed upon and adopted by Montana and the United States in 1889.

    (5) Article II, section 12, of the Montana constitution clearly secures to Montana citizens, and prohibits government interference with, the right of individual Montana citizens to keep and bear arms. This constitutional protection is unchanged from the 1889 Montana constitution, which was approved by congress and the people of Montana , and the right exists, as it was understood at the time that the compact with the United States was agreed upon and adopted by Montana and the United States in 1889.

    Section 3. Definitions. As used in [sections 1 through 6], the following definitions apply:

    (1) “Borders of Montana ” means the boundaries of Montana described in Article I, section 1, of the 1889 Montana constitution.

    (2) “Firearms accessories” means items that are used in conjunction with or mounted upon a firearm but are not essential to the basic function of a firearm, including but not limited to telescopic or laser sights, magazines, flash or sound suppressors, folding or aftermarket stocks and grips, speedloaders, ammunition carriers, and lights for target illumination.

    (3) “Generic and insignificant parts” includes but is not limited to springs, screws, nuts, and pins.

    (4) “Manufactured” means that a firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition has been created from basic materials for functional usefulness, including but not limited to forging, casting, machining, or other processes for working materials.

    Section 4. Prohibitions. A personal firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition that is manufactured commercially or privately in Montana and that remains within the borders of Montana is not subject to federal law or federal regulation, including registration, under the authority of congress to regulate interstate commerce. It is declared by the legislature that those items have not traveled in interstate commerce. This section applies to a firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition that is manufactured in Montana from basic materials and that can be manufactured without the inclusion of any significant parts imported from another state. Generic and insignificant parts that have other manufacturing or consumer product applications are not firearms, firearms accessories, or ammunition, and their importation into Montana and incorporation into a firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition manufactured in Montana does not subject the firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition to federal regulation. It is declared by the legislature that basic materials, such as unmachined steel and unshaped wood, are not firearms, firearms accessories, or ammunition and are not subject to congressional authority to regulate firearms, firearms accessories, and ammunition under interstate commerce as if they were actually firearms, firearms accessories, or ammunition. The authority of congress to regulate interstate commerce in basic materials does not include authority to regulate firearms, firearms accessories, and ammunition made in Montana from those materials. Firearms accessories that are imported into Montana from another state and that are subject to federal regulation as being in interstate commerce do not subject a firearm to federal regulation under interstate commerce because they are attached to or used in conjunction with a f irearm in Montana .

    Section 5. Exceptions. [Section 4] does not apply to:

    (1) A firearm that cannot be carried and used by one person;

    (2) A firearm that has a bore diameter greater than 1 1/2 inches and that uses smokeless powder, not black powder, as a propellant;

    (3) ammunition with a projectile that explodes using an explosion of chemical energy after the projectile leaves the firearm; or

    (4) a firearm that discharges two or more projectiles with one activation of the trigger or other firing device.

    Section 6. Marketing of firearms. A firearm manufactured or sold in Montana under [sections 1 through 6] must have the words “Made in Montana ” clearly stamped on a central metallic part, such as the receiver or frame.

    Section 7. Codification instruction. [Sections 1 through 6] are intended to be codified as an integral part of Title 30, and the provisions of Title 30 apply to [sections 1 through 6].

    Section 8. Applicability. [This act] applies to firearms, firearms accessories, and ammunition that are manufactured, as defined in [section 3], and retained in Montana after October 1, 2009.

    • Buck The Wala says:

      Very very interesting. Even a quick read of the bill shows just how cautious the drafters are (especially in Section 4) to carve out existing commerce clause case law. I would be very curious to hear other people’s opinions on this.

      Regardless of my own views on the 2d Amendment, this could well escape federal scrutiny.

      • Yes, I think it will be interesting to see how this plays out. I think JAC is from Montana. I’d like to hear from him on this.

      • Buck and Cyndi:

        Yes, the drafters were totally aware of the commerce clause implications and other related court cases.

        One of the primary cases was the California Marijuana laws where a federal court ruled the fed had authority because the state could not assure that the drug would not be transported and sold across state lines. Despite the fact this goes beyond the original intent of “commerce” that is the law on the books.

        So the MT law was drafted to require markings thus the argument of “how do we know where it came from” becomes moot.

        One of the problems with actual implementation is the lack of all resources in adequate quantities to manufacture the weapons and ammunition. The state has painted itself so green it doesn’t have the industry needed to make product from the raw materials.

        The next interesting test is soon coming. The very folks that drafted the law have now filed a lawsuit against the law. Their intent is to force it into the courts as quickly as possible. They didn’t want to have to wait for some anti gun crowd or some federal action against them to force the issue. I think that was a brilliant move, if the judge allows the case.

        I don’t recall the points of the lawsuit right now but will check for you guys.

        I can tell you this. BF made a comment the other day that there aren’t enought bullets for the 60 million to protect itself from the other 300 million. My dear Pirate friend has not spent enough time in the rural areas of Montana and Idaho.

        The best to you both this morning.
        JAC

        • Buck The Wala says:

          I’d be interested in hearing the facts of that case. My gut is no court will hear a case brought by the drafters of the bill as there is no adverse party.

          Rest assured though that once a bill such as this passes, an action will be brought regardless. It’d be a very interesting case and would really test the intricacies of the commerce clause.

        • JAC,

          It was 6 million, not 60 million, who are truly rural.

          And I do not think there you have enough bullets.

          Montana, being out in the boonies as far as America is concerned, is probably safe.

          States with small populations (hence, lower threat of masses of hungry, starving city slickers armed to the teeth invading your ‘spread’

          Of course, no surprise, these are the “farmer” states too.

          Hint: move to Montana (or Dakota’s)

          44 Montana 967,440
          46 South Dakota 804,194
          48 Alaska 686,293
          48 North Dakota 641,481
          50 Wyoming 532,668

          • BF:

            900,000 Montanan’s with 500 rounds each = 450,000,000 rounds of small arms ammo.

            Montana small arms = 0.70 caliber and less if you can hold it by yourself.

            And that doesn’t count all the black powder and bows and arrows.

            And we also have one WWI vintage tank that works and has ammo as well.

          • BF:

            On a more serious and applicable note.

            One must also consider geography and demographics of the states you listed.

            Idaho as well as eastern Washington and Oregon can be added to the mix due to geography and proximety of rural and farming lands to the metropolitan areas there. Also the presence of adequate water supplies. The city folks will not have to run far to find folks who will help them find food and water. The surrounding areas may be able to actually feed the city populations.

            Oh my lord, I just had one of those brain storms. Much of the land I love actually has defensible space. And a lot of it. The large influx of very wealthy folks the last ten years who build these “gated” communities made no sense to us old timers to these parts. I was limiting my thinking to their self made prisons. Think bigger and it becomes defensible.

            As long as Alberta has our back we’ll be OK.

            • Arkansas is the ONLY state that has the combination of industry and natural resources to be totally independent. We have some good neighbors as well. I think we will make out OK.

            • Indeed.

              Reconsidering the geography, I have to agree – city slickers won’t make it that far.

              So, the number of blogsters who say “get out of the city when the crap hits” have to do so early – which is unlikely.

              • Search the Web on Snap.com says:

                Black Flag:

                What state of the USA or what country are you living in? I think you can answer that question. I don’t think it will be a breach of your security to tell us the state or country.

              • I don’t know how the name, “Search the Web on snap.com” came up as my name. This is Birdman.

      • This is meant to be a test case for the limits of the Tenth Amendment.
        Those rights left to the states and the people that the federal government has illegally assumed.

    • I am surprised this didn’t happen in Texas first.

    • Cyndi and Buck and who ever else is interested.

      The following link is an article summarizing the lawsuit in Montana. The proponents filed the lawsuit in response to ATF guidance to an inquiring potential arms manufacturer, at least that is what it indicates.

      The whole thing has been carefully constructed and orchestrated. Note they have cautioned everyone to stay on hold until the lawsuit is completed, to avoid prison time in case they lose.

      http://www.therightsideoflife.com/?p=7399

      Make sure you read all the way throught as it references the Pot case I mentioned and include an enlightening comment by Justice Thomas. Which I concur with by the way.

      Buck, you got a legal background my friend? I know Matt is in finance and thought you also.

      • Buck The Wala says:

        Thanks for the link: I’ll check it out and get back to you with some thoughts.

        And yep, I’m an attorney. Amazing how much recollection I’m having on some of these issues – I thought I left them behind in the classroom!

      • Buck The Wala says:

        I took a quick look at that article, pretty informative on the bases of the case. The main argument that the federal government can make is based on the ‘cumulative affects’ inquiry for regulating intrastate commercial activity through the commerce clause — if that intrastate activity, taken in the cumulative as a class of activity would have a substantial impact on the regulation of interstate commerce.

        As you pointed out JAC, the most recent case on this line was Gonazales, but it stems from a much earlier case, Wickard (dealing with a farmer’s production and family consumption of grain). One of the interesting facts of Gonzales, if I remember correctly, was the argument that, taken in the aggregate, this intrastate activity would have a substantial impact on the interstate illegal drug market and the federal’s regulatory scheme. A decent argument here could (and my instinct is that this will be the main argument by the feds) be that there is a national regulatory scheme behind the gun industry (national licensing, registries, etc.) that this admittedly purely intrastate activity taken in the aggregate, would disrupt to an extent. The distinction though is that marijuana is an ILLEGAL substance; guns are not.

        Based on the current makeup of the Supreme Court — which I would bet this case will wind up before — this argument would probably be a losing one. While I myself support gun regulation, there just isn’t the same justification here as there was in Gonzalez.

        • Buck:

          Wasn’t Wikard the infamous case where either the Wilson or FDR administration tried to jail or fine the farmer for gowing food to feed his family?

          He was growing wheat in defiance of govt edicts to cut production.

          Anyway, it will be an interesting case. The required “made in Montana” adds a twist.

          We do have some pretty darn good Constitutional lawyers and scholars in this state. Will be interesting to see if they provide support and adice in favor of the state’s position.

          I see it as a win-win in that the legal standards set by the supreme court, or by distric courts, needs to be challenged in ways so the “people” fully understand what has happened to the Constitution.

          The evolution of environmental laws is a classic. The Admin branch will not challenge various rulings so the issue is never raised to the Supreme Court and thus to the Congressional level. The Admin gets to hide behind “well the courts tell us” or ” we can’t because of appeals and litigation” yet they won’t take those cases to the next level to have them heard. Congress then gets to pretend nothing is wrong because after all, “the case hasn’t been tested at the Supreme Court level”.

          Montana got tired of this and decided to take action into its own hands. I am hoping they find ways to do it with other facets of the constitution as well.

          Thanks for the assessment. I’ll do some more checking on this end and get back to you.
          JAC

          • Buck The Wala says:

            Yeah I’m pretty sure Wickard was the case decided against the backdrop of FDR’s court-packing scheme.

  12. I just got this from a newsletter I subscribe to. The publisher has a good track record on this so far as I can tell. I read things in his newletters well before I read of them else where…USW, email me if you want more info on this.

    Fr: Lee Bellinger, Publisher
    Independent Living
    Re: Obama Administration Moves to Track Internet Critics
    The Obama Administration is taking careful note of its critics. The real question is why.
    Evidence continues to mount, for example, that official Washington is determined to identify and target free speech on the Internet – especially when it is unfavorable to statist policies. Details of new developments follow:
    In October, the Federal Trade Commission announced new rules to “protect” consumers on the Internet. Beginning in December, people who write on the Internet (Facebook, Twitter, and all form of blogs) are subject to new federal “financial relationship” reviews.
    Under this scheme, the FTC and other agencies will track the comments of private citizens on the Internet with the goal of forcing disclosure of any financial arrangements they may have with sellers. (Newspapers which do book reviews and restaurant ratings, for example, of potential financial benefit to third parties, are exempt from these new regulations.)
    A Washington Times analysis of the FTC policy warned “Even Google tracks only a small portion of new posts, comments, video podcasts and other online chatter added to the Internet every day. Now a bunch of Washington bureaucrats think they are going to be police in a neighborhood that is so big no one can measure it.”
    In short, if bloggers or other users of the Internet comment on things that might benefit a third party financially (a gigantic grey area), the FTC claims the right to “check out individuals’ finances, examine what they’ve received in the mail, and review what they’ve posted on the Internet for evidence of ‘corporate taint,'” the Washington Times noted, adding “The more commercial, popular, long-standing, and successful a blogger or tweeter is, the more likely he will fall under the new rules.”
    The National Legal and Policy Center is warning that the White House has solicited detailed bids and plans from 20 private-sector technology companies to scour the Internet for comments by private citizens. The new technology will “crawl” across the Internet and “capture” content which is related to the President for analysis.
    As a recent NewsMax story by Kenneth F. Timmerman notes, Americans who “sound off” about White House policies they don’t like, especially on social networking sites, are going to be identified, cataloged, and tracked by White House aides. Or as Ken Boehm of the National Legal and Policy Center says, “This is Moveon.org at the White House.”
    Fellow readers, the Administration is packed to the gills with left-wing operatives who are not afraid of using the levers of government to trash critics. Even the normally nonpartisan White House counsel’s office has hired as a “research director” a radical-left 29-year-old activist with no legal credentials, Shuana Daly. As the Washington Times noted, “Her sole experience has been as an opposition researcher for Democratic political campaigns… she helped dig up dirt on rivals.”

  13. JAC,

    What do you make of the second paragraph? Is that an accurate assessment? Is there talk of seccession? I think its just a bluff. Montana would be hard pressed to prosper on its own if surrounded by hostiles, if you know what I mean. That said, if you’re representative of Montana residents, I’d say those hostiles will have a run for their money!

    😉

    • Switzerland was hard pressed when it was surrounded by Fascists.

      Montana would figure it out. There is always a supply line via Canada.

      • Which, of course, is the secret. Many of the Canadian oil and gas pipelines transverse Montana. I’d actually be worried for the rest of the US if they mess with Montana. A few twists of a few valves and Californian and DC lights go dark.

        • Please JAC, find those valves and twist a few times. We would be better off with a darkened California and a darkened Washington!

          (Sorry Kim, Dee and any other CA-ites)

          • Kathy and Cyndi:

            Our dear Mr. Flag forgot one other thing we have here.

            A large portion of the ICBM nuclear weapons aresenal of the U.S.

            Next time I’m out and about I’ll look for a valve or two to twist just for you.

            Judy could get the job done easier though. I think Nevada is providing the lions share of Calif. electric supply.

            • Judy Sabatini says:

              I don’t know about that, but am I missing something here? Guess I better go back up and do some reading.

    • Cyndi:

      There is no talk of seccession by serious folks. But our resident Pirate has once again hit the nail on the head.

      At the moment the left side of the Democratic party runs the state. The state completely depends on federal funds to sustain itself at the moment.

      Which makes it a very strange place to live. Heavy modern liberal bent as well as conservative, heavily libertarian in even its liberal/conservative views and actions. Old hippies packing guns to meetings where they want the environment protected but they want the jobs from any forest stimulus work created. See what I mean???

      If Montana tried to flex to much it would find its stimulus funding reduced to something more like what Wyoming and Idaho initially got…ZILCH, NADA, ZERO. Let alone some of the other funding sources. The state would collapse financially, but that would create risk to the flow of energy and food.

      Montana needs cookies and the country needs Montana to continue shipping coal and gas and cows and wheat. And the electricity generated from the new wind farms, which is all going to Calif or Las Vegas.

      So little chance of serious problems, as long as the feds don’t get to carried away. That is what is so strange about the new gun law. Montana actually has the right to bear arms in the state constitution and any federal threat to said right was given as a cause for seccession in the Compact signed at statehood. So in this sense it is a serious flexing of muscle.

      On the other, the state can’t survive without federal susidy and everyone knows it.

      The next three years will be interesting as those calling themselves “true conservatives” are trying to take back the Republican party. There is also a Libertarian and Constitution parties here. They are closely aligned with the “true conservatives”. If these factions get control then Montana could become a serious leader in any seccession movement. Or at least a leader in remodeling the Republican party.

      And don’t think for a minute the Left doesn’t know this, both D’s and R’s. The Democratic party and POTUS are pumping millions into the state to keep it in the Dem category. The R’s are bankrupt in the state. The national elephant club is scrambling to see if they can get the single R congressman to run against and beat one of the two D Senators in 2012.

      Sorry Cyndi, I got off on a little tangent there.

      Bottom line is there is no real threat at this time from Montana. Just a lot of chest thumping in my opinion. But if the more libertarian/conservative types get control then all bets are off.

      JAC

      • Thanks JAC.

        I’m glad for the rant. Information and perspective are good. I’m interested to see how this plays out.

  14. Gold new high – over $1117

  15. I have been trying to compile the following information for an article here. But someone else figured it out and I found it on another site, so thought I would share.

    “By one measure, the government already plays an outsize role in our so-called free-market economy–and it has little to do with the recession. Economist Gary Shilling has calculated that 58 percent of the population is dependent on the government for “major parts of their income,” including teachers, soldiers, bureaucrats, and other government employees; welfare and Social Security recipients; government pensioners; public housing beneficiaries; and people who work for government contractors. By 2018, Shilling estimates, an astounding 67 percent of Americans could be dependent on the government for their livelihood. The implications aren’t comforting.”

    I do believe that this conclusion DOES NOT account for a conversion to “Govt Provided Health Care” or the regulatory increases with Cap n’ Trade. Remember the Brit who has been warning us about govt health care? One of his key points was that the govt health care system in Britain comprised the six largest employer in the world. His statement was that they could never get rid of the system because to many people earn their living from the system.

    I live in a town where over 55% are dependent on federal and/or state income. Guess what our local politics looks like?

    Those who take the cookies give unlimited power to those who provide the cookies.

  16. Many here ask “How do we prepare?”

    The real question behind that one is “What are we preparing for?”

    This is a post from another (expensive) economic forum –

    What “Collapse” Means, and Why Almost Nobody Will Prepare for It.

    First, someone posted this:

    Imaginable consequences on gold after a crash

    The following 4 assumptions apply:

    1. Today’s fiat money is history and the worldwide financial markets and economies are collapsed.

    2. A majority of the population lost their savings, their pensions and the social security.

    3. Unemployment is rising dramatically. Despair and rioting becomes common in many countries/cities.

    4. The government of almost all western countries is put under tremendous pressure.

    Imagine that under these circumstances there are a handful of investors which made “the deal of their life” with this crisis. Some people not only saved their money they rather increased their money “on behalf of others” — at least this might become the official version.

    Gold investors then immediately appear on the radar screen of the government. Not only because of others people enviousness and distrust. For the government, standing with the “back against the wall”, gold investors become the only source of money remaining. I’m sure the government will do anything to participate.

    What could be the reaction of the government?

    When you think about the answers please take into account that at that time, the gold reserves are possibly gone (partially or complete) due to excessive lending to the bullion banks.

    What will a government do with those who have no lobby and own a bit of gold? How will the government build and back up a new currency when the gold reserves usually used for that purpose are gone?

    For sure there is the possibility of just another gold confiscation? But as everybody (or at least most of the people) should be well prepared so this will not bring too much effort.

    Marc Faber (Mr.Doom) lately told the German magazine “Wirtschaftswoche” in an interview, he believes that gold confiscation is a possible scenario. Under certain circumstances he expects that even Swiss banks might seize the gold locked in Swiss bank safes. He believes this will be done under the pressure put onto Switzerland by other countries.

    But this all still is not my point so far.

    I want to talk about a scenario BESIDE the confiscation of gold.

    Is there something else imaginable from today’s perspective?

    Something which might be smarter and more efficient than just “simple” confiscation?

    Something which hits through the “backdoor”? Something which reaches gold even when its buried underneath the foundation of someone’s house? For example something which makes gold, owned by private investors worthless? E.g. due to trade restrictions.

    What is the value of gold when it cannot be sold because possession AND trade is just not allowed? I’m sure the government then will make a “generous” offer for private gold. But this then has to happen worldwide. Is such a scenario feasible?

    What is your opinion?

    I’m asking all this because I deeply mistrust that everything just will remain as it is.

    Just imagine the gold price is skyrocketing and the rest of the economy is collapsing. I rather would expect that some financial rules are just changed or put “out of function” in order to let pay those who had fortune and precognition.

    I’m quite sure that almost nothing will remain as it is and as it was. Especially not for those owning a piece of precious metal. And when you look back into history it has been approved again and again that especially in times of break ups things just didn’t go as smooth and easy as you got used to under normal circumstances.

    And when you start to think about such a scenario please keep in mind that at that time I’m talking about the governments of most (if not all!!) industrial countries are really in deep deep trouble.

    In such “state of emergency” conditions even uncommon measures might become popular.

    What do you think about it?

    Then this response from one of the more brilliant economists on the site (who is, of course, a teacher of Austrian economics)


    First, it will be far worse than this if a team of 20 suicide smallpox carriers brings the disease to the West’s major cities. That’s how totally vulnerable we are. There is no defense. So, yours is a soft-core scenario. Add 20 million American deaths, complete terror, and ten million disfigured survivors. The bubonic plague took out one-third of Europe. This could happen again in a pandemic.

    Begin here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Dark_Winter

    Second, you do not describe the pre-crash scenario. Hyperinflation and its victims will look very different from price controls. So will a post-inflation deflationary depression. The defense for breakdown is the same: a fenced rural retreat with a water well, your extended family nearby, and arms. Almost no one will do this. Almost no one can do it. We are an urban society. We cannot all get out. Few will try.

    In such a scenario, gangs will be the main threat.

    Third, why will there be rioting? This rarely happens in an economic crisis. I think it is highly unlikely. It will be every man for himself. Rioting takes organizers. It also takes a willingness to take risks for an impersonal large group. Neither will be present

    Gangs will be the problem in some parts of a city. They will be resisted, neighborhood by neighborhood, except in the inner city, which will be devastated.

    Fourth, unemployment and despair drive people to stand in long lines, dutifully. The government will set up the equivalent of soup kitchens. Here is where control will come from. People will want to be told what to do. Most of them will do it.

    Anyone who reveals that he owns gold coins will be at extreme risk. You perceive this.

    It’s not just the government that will show up for all of it. The problem will be the moral character of the people operating in the black markets. Make contacts now. Develop contacts now. But who will be in a position to help? Not white collar workers.

    This is why, as I have repeatedly said, gold is useless in the breakdown. It is for the post-breakdown stage.

    If the public utilities go down, there will be millions of deaths. This is why I think they will not be allowed to go down. Rationing, yes. Shut-off, no. If a shut-off happens, it means total anarchy. Be on your fenced farm. Be armed. Have enough family adult members to monitor the place day and night. Have some large dogs. This kind of operation will cost a lot of money: mobile homes, tools, fuel oil, wood supplies, and the cost of moving there in advance, which only one of the families will do. Which one?

    I think the odds are against this scenario, but it could happen.

    If it does, don’t spend your gold. Hunker down. Trade within a circle of “trusties.”

    • Guns and ammo will also be a good trade item. Ammo is pretty pricey right now, but guns have not gone up significantly. I think shotguns are the best utility firearm, useful for home defense or hunting small to large game. I wonder if a 12 or 20ga. will be worth its weight in gold?

    • Wait a minute here. The second guy stold all my ideas! I had them copyrighted, hope he has lots of money LOL.

      G!

    • For a good illustration of what happens, see:

      “Panic in Year Zero” with Ray Milland.

      In a way it is the ultimate survival movie circa 1962. Terrible title though.

  17. Wow I finally bought a big screen TV and now big brother is trying to regulate them.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/20091111/sc_livescience/californiadecisioncouldlimithdtvchoicesnationwide

  18. From the Bobo Files

    The Real American Unemployment Rate

    The unemployment rate in the U.S. is misleading. It only shows people looking for work, not people who have given up looking or are off unemployment benefits. Include these people in the unemployment rate!

    The real unemployment rate is 23%

    The federal government claims the unemployment rate hovers around 5.5% But the government’s “unemployment rate” statistic is a propaganda device. It does not count as “unemployed” people who are “not in the labor force.”

    According to economist Richard DuBoff, participation in the labor force by working-age males has been drifting downward for more than 40 years. Therefore, the government’s official “unemployment rate” is an increasingly misleading statistic.

    *According to the government’s own statistics, the civilian non-institutional population of United States males, age 16 and over, was 107.7 million people. Of those 107.7 million males, 14.7 million were estimated to be age 65 or over. Therefore, the number of men between 16 and 64, which traditionally constitutes this nation’s workforce, was 93 million.

    Of those 93 million men, the government admits that 4.4 million of them are unemployed. And when I say unemployed, I mean utterly and completely inactive. The government considers someone “employed” if they work as little as one hour a week. People who do not even work one hour a week are still considered “employed” if they are “temporarily absent” from work.

    But in addition to the 4.4 million men who are officially “unemployed” the government admits that 28.7 million men over 16 are “not in the labor force.” Subtracting from this 28.7 million the estimated 11.9 million men 65 and over belonging to that group, results in 16.8 million men between the ages of 16 and 64 who are “not in the labor force.”

    Adding the 4.4 million officially unemployed to the 16.8 million who are factually unemployed yields a total of 21.2 million unemployed men between the ages of 16 and 64.

    These 21.2 million unemployed men of working age represent almost 23% of the 93 million working age men in the United States.

    http://euroyanktheblog.blogspot.com/2009/11/real-american-unemployment-rate-coverup.html

  19. Mike M. Houston Texas says:

    Sorry I missed yesterday. However I would like to throw a question out to ray, buck, and mathius.

    Lets forgo all the talk of natural vs social rights and consitution and legally this and legally that.

    Are you saying that you want me to pay for healthcare for everyone else? You want to take my money so we can cover joe bob down the street?

    While I agree with most of BF’s discussion on this that the goverenment doesnt need to do things as a free market would provide. But for sake of discussion which I had with the most left leaning person in my family. You say I pay for taxes for roads. Which I get to use. We pay for police which I get to call. I dont remember where “I” get to use your medical insurance. This starts with its best for our society and does not end and in the end you want me to pay for it because you are willing to pay for it.

    Since it is tax based that means I pay more. Please dont tell me thats not how its structured the goverenment takes taxes from all pools when they feel like it and pays for this and that. Do I get better coverage?

    Lets then take this tax concept further. What if during your regular day you went to the grocery store and got milk and you asked how much is it and they said “how much do you make?”. Well you make X and for you the milk is $27.50. Oh that guy, he only makes Y so he pays $1.50. How much is that standard new car from your local car dealer. Well how much do you make? I make X, ok its $35K. That guy only pays $10K for the same exact car.

    Where we start going sideways on this is “why do I have to work harder and pay more just because he cant afford one_____(fill in the blank)?”

    The differnce in thinking is that I am not taking money from you to do anything. That is not my view. It is earn it and you can have it. Your views are we must take it from everyone. You are entitled to your views and if you believe it so much why dont you move to a country that believes as you do? No one is asking you to stay. No one is preventing you from leaving. If you feel that it is best why do you not try to go live in a place that matches your societal beliefs. Or do you want to stay here and force everyone to do it your way.

    • Mike M. Houston Texas says:

      Please dont take the last few questions as an assault. They are questions posed to understand.

      • No assault taken.. We often feel the same way. Everyone wants to stay and have the people who would move the country in the opposite direction leave. It is not be.

        I have frequently said that people who reject the authority of the government should go live in Somolia. But, as yet, nobody has move to my knowledge. We all just have to try to reach a consensus.

        Further, I honestly believe that we on the left are far better off with you on the right around to keep us in check. Likewise, though you may not always acknowledge it, you need us as well. To much of either ideology is not a good thing for America.

        • So as a corollary to Somalia=”no government”, if anyone wants to understand how government really works, they should move to North Korea??

          • Thus further evidence that a mix is needed. GA!! I don’t have time for this.. damn you, pirate!

            • I’ve posted much on Somalia – on how its standard of living increased when the government fell – with the cheapest water in Africa, the most abundant food supplies, and the cheapest telephone rates in the World.

              …and after they were invaded and attacked by the US, allies and Ethiopia, its water polluted by all those ‘righteous’ government-controlled ships from France, Spain etc., and a government forced on them, they tanked again.

              North Korea is the model of the pinnacle of government – full control over all aspects of life.

    • Good question(s), Mike. Let me say, first, that I don’t have a lot of time today so I can’t promise much followup beyond this. But of course, there will always be another day..

      I think we start to get into trouble when we think about medical insurance as being a shared liability. Realistically, we should think of it in terms of single payer (yes, I know this is not what we’re getting, but I’ll come to that, I promise). Given single payer, we are all taxed according to our abilities and given according to our needs (now where have we heard a slogan like that before??). I know we all hate and fear communism/socialism, but there are some things which we all recognize as human rights: food, water, shelter, basic sanitation, basic clothing, etc. Nothing too radical there. To this list, I and my ilk would like to add medicine.

      Now, I don’t feel that medicine is too much to ask. It’s not enough that a person simply have a pulse, they should be provided the means to hold on to that pulse for as long as medical science is able to keep it going. Further, they should not have to live a life wracked by pain or illness if it is within the scope of our knowledge to prevent or cure.* If we accept that society should provide shelter where necessary, it is an easy move to see why society should provide medical care as well.

      Why, then, are we getting this farkakte** insurance reform and public option stuff? The answer is that single payer was dead on arrival. The Democrats have no capacity for working as a team and ramming through legislation the way the Republicans do, it is like herding cats. So, theoretically, this is not going to be funded by tax dollars. Theoretically, this is going to be paid for entirely by premiums of subscribers of the public option. Please feel free to take a moment to throw the BS flag – go ahead, I’ll wait.. Done? OK let’s move along. So now we’re at the point where our tax dollars are subsidizing the public option. This makes the public option cheaper than it should be. This drives other people to it, which means more subsidizing. Sooner or later, it devours the entire market – and it’s paid for by premiums and tax dollars. The premiums are in accordance with your health risk, the taxes are in accordance with your ability to pay. So now we’ve got a hybrid – but what you’re really looking at (because everyone now has this insurance) is single payer. Ta Da! Cool, huh? (I can already hear many of you slamming your heads against your keyboards – stop it, you won’t be able to write angry letters to your senators if you break your keys).

      OK, so the meat of your question, why should something that costs you one price cost someone else a different amount just because you’re able to pay more? You are, in essence, paying more since you pay more taxes, the fact that you have comparable premiums is irrelevant. So why? It’s a tough question. The gist is that, in the vast majority of cases, the reason you make more is not that you work harder (though, you might), but rather that your knowledge, intelligence, positioning, education, and job skills set you up to merit a higher wage. They aren’t lazy – they’re unable to garner higher wages.***

      But that didn’t really answer your question – why should you have to pay more just because you are able to? It’s because in a civilized society, we have a duty to take care of one another. Just as you pay more for police protection that they get to use as well (because safety is also a right), you will pay more to provide medicine (because health – insofar as possible – is also a right). In a society, we are obligated to provide, to the best of our collective abilities, protection for those who are unable to protect themselves. “The measure of a society is found in how they treat their weakest and most helpless citizens. As Americans, we are blessed with circumstances that protect our human rights […]” – Jimmy Carter.

      Think about it this way. Say you have a light case of asthma. Because you are well off and conscientious, you carry with you an inhaler. As you are walking down the street, a man – clearly down on his luck, has an asthma attack right in front of you. He falls to the ground choking, gasping for breath. Do you have a moral responsibility to give him a hit off of your inhaler? It costs you little, but it does cost you. You will have one fewer dose and will need to replace sooner (also, it’s kind of gross to share with someone you don’t know, but let’s ignore that). However you can afford it – and it doesn’t break your back to do so. Many here would say it’s not my fault and, while I might choose to help him, I certainly have no obligation to do so. And therein lies the fundamental crux of the issue. I think you do. I think that failure to save a man when it’s within your power and it doesn’t cost you too severely**** is tantamount to killing him yourself. That’s where it comes from. Depending on where you stand on this issue, we may or may not be speaking two completely different and incompatible languages, but I would hope you see what I am saying even if you do not agree.

      I see, frequently the analogy to subsidize poor people’s cars. I think this is a specious argument. We are not talking about luxuries here. We are talking about life, and a standard of living where you are not sick and in pain. If, in a comparable example, that man had dropped and broken his sunglasses and you happen to have an extra pair, it is certainly not your obligation to give him one of yours. Because the harm which will happen when he has no glasses is that he will need to squint for a while – while uncomfortable, it is certainly not a human right.

      I hope this clarifies things, and I welcome your thoughts. Apologies in advance for any lack of clarity.

      The One,
      The Only,
      Mathius

      *Yes, there should reasonable limits on what this means and we can debate those, but for now, take it as intended.
      **Say what you will, Yiddish is the greatest language ever created.
      ***Some are, to be sure, lazy, but they are the exceptions. Almost everyone I know works and works hard and aspires to earn more, but some of them just can’t seem to acquire high paying positions. I know at least one guy with an a law degree and an MBA who can’t get a job at all – he is living with his parents while applying.
      ****How do you define this? I don’t really know, but we can debate it as well

      • And, still, Mathius has not explained why monopoly is “a good thing” when it comes to government health care (because a single payer is a monopolistic-system) while other monopolies are a ‘bad thing’ when they are said to exist in a free market system?

      • First off, you say “there are some things which we all recognize as human rights: food, water, shelter, basic sanitation, basic clothing, etc.”

        I don’t recognize those as rights…you reap what you sow. In my opinion, those things are earned. Nobody has given me those things, I earned them…and so should everyone else. I don’t mind giving a hand up to someone in need, but the things you expouse creates the nanny state that we are quickly becoming.

        Second, you say “we are all taxed according to our abilities and given according to our needs”…straight from the Karl Marx playbook…enough said.

        Individual liberty and freedom…that is what this country was founded on…with stress to INDIVIDUAL…along with that goes personal responsibility…PERSONAL…it is not up to me or others to provide for everyone else. The only thing I would expouse is that everyone have equal opportunity to provide for themselves. The US is the closest thing to having that. Is it perfect, no, but is as close as it comes.

      • Mike M. Houston Texas says:

        Thanks for the reply it does help to see your reasoning and I am of the opinion that more input creates a better solution. I dont chastise for your beliefs simply because they are different and thank you for that. The one word “obligation” strikes me as wrong. I am under no obligation to anyone other than my family, which was my choice.

        Your example of the man on the street again would be my choice. I probably would help him. A goverenment forcefully taking from me is not a choice. I donate to charities who then take care of folks with less than I have which again is my choice.

        Shelter can be a tent, food can be enough to sustain, people can walk into a hospital today to get treated and cannot be refused. We do not know how that man came to be on the street either. You say that not all are lazy. I agree. However, what were the choices that this person made so that he is on the street? I am sure at some point better choices would not see him on the street. So again I see this as due to someone elses choices I must give more. We can both probably fill this space with rags to riches and riches to rags stories but the one constant is the choices in each story led to the end. When pointing to single situations they can always be argued however “choices” are constant.

        Buck, I am not amenable to a single payer system as it is fraught with many holes.

        I guess where we agree to disagree is “duty to society” and “obligated”.

        Some may call me cold but if I need help I go find it. I dont need someone to give it to me. Therefore I am stronger for it.

        If I give a man a fish he is fed for one day. You know the rest. The weak and injured do not survive in nature therefore making the whole stronger. Is nature wrong?

        Under my way of thinking people do not have to suffer but have to seek a means to provide what is necessary for themselves. Under your way of thinking we should take from those that have it and use it to take care of those that dont.

        The flaw I see IMHO is that your way takes away my choice. My way does not remove choice from you. Now you may have to make tough choices but then again the choice remains yours.

    • Buck The Wala says:

      Mike, you write: “You say I pay for taxes for roads. Which I get to use. We pay for police which I get to call.”

      So would you be more amenable to a single payer system?

  20. Judy Sabatini says:

    Hey All

    Just popped in to say Hi and I hope all you Vets here are having a good day, and everybody else is also.

    Love you all

    Judy

    • Californians
      So as not to be outdone by all the redneck, hillbilly, and Texan jokes, somebody had to come up with this, you know you’re from California if:

      1. Your coworker has 8 body piercings and none are visible.
      2. You make over $300,000 and still can’t afford a house.
      3. You take a bus and are shocked at two people carrying on a conversation in English.
      4. Your child’s 3rd-grade teacher has purple hair, a nose ring, and is named Flower.
      5. You can’t remember . . is pot illegal?
      6. You’ve been to a baby shower that has two mothers and a sperm donor.
      7. You have a very strong opinion about where your coffee beans are grown, and you can taste the difference between Sumatran and Ethiopian.

      8. You can’t remember . . . is pot illegal?
      9. A really great parking space can totally move you to tears.
      10. Gas costs $1.00 per gallon more than anywhere else in the U.S.
      11. Unlike back home, the guy at 8:30 am at Starbucks wearing a baseball cap and sunglasses who looks like George Clooney really IS George Clooney.

      12. Your car insurance costs as much as your house payment.
      13. You can’t remember . . .is pot illegal?
      14. It’s barely sprinkling rain and there’s a report on every news station: “STORM WATCH.”
      15. You pass an elementary school playground and the children are all busy with their cells or pagers.
      16. It’s barely sprinkling rain outside, so you leave for work an hour early to avoid all the weather-related accidents.

      17. HEY!!!! Is pot illegal????
      18. Both you AND your dog have therapists, psychics, personal trainers and cosmetic surgeons.
      19. The Terminator is your governor.
      20. If you drive illegally, they take your driver’s license. If you’re here illegally, they want to give you one.

      • Buck The Wala says:

        Seems more of a “You know you’re from LA if…” list to me. I’m sure Mathius can relate!

      • CLASSIC.. thanks

        Some of those definitely ring true.. God knows they all immediately forget how to drive as soon as a few droplets come down.. every.single.time.

        Oh, and Hawaii is about a $/gal more than cali for gas.. so #10’s close, but no cigar

        🙂

    • An American golfer playing in Ireland hooked his drive into
      > the woods. Looking for his ball, he found a little Leprechaun flat on
      > his back, a big bump on his head and the golfer’s ball beside him.
      > Horrified, the golfer got his water bottle from the cart and
      > poured it over the little guy, reviving him.
      >
      >”Arrgh! What happened?” the Leprechaun asked.
      >”I’m afraid I hit you with my golf ball,” the golfer says.
      >”Oh, I see. Well, ye got me fair and square. Ye get three
      >wishes, so whaddya want?”
      >
      >”Thank God, you’re all right!” the golfer answers in relief.
      >”I don’t want anything, I’m just glad you’re OK, and I apologize.”
      >
      >And the golfer walks off.
      >”What a nice guy,” the Leprechaun says to himself.
      >
      >I have to do something for him. I’ll give him the three
      >things I would want… a great golf game, all the money he ever needs, and
      >a
      >fantastic sex life.”
      >
      >A year goes by (as it does in stories like this) and the American golfer is
      >back. On the same hole, he again hits a bad drive into the woods and the
      >Leprechaun is there waiting for him.
      >
      >”Twas me that made ye hit the ball here,” the little guy says.
      >”I just want to ask ye, how’s yer golf game?”
      >
      >”My game is fantastic!” the golfer answers. I’m an internationally famous
      >golfer now.” He adds, “By the way, it’s good to see you’re all right.”
      >
      > “Oh, I’m fine now, thank ye. I did that fer yer golf game,
      > you know. And tell me, how’s yer money situation?”
      >
      >”Why, it’s just wonderful!” the golfer states. “When I need cash, I just
      >reach in my pocket and pull out $100.00 bills I didn’t even know were
      >there!
      >
      >
      >”I did that fer ye also.”
      >And tell me, how’s yer sex life?”
      >The golfer blushes, turns his head away in embarrassment, and says shyly,
      >It’s OK.”
      >
      >”C’mon, c’mon now,” urged the Leprechaun , “I’m wanting to know if I did
      >a good job. How many times a week?”
      >
      >Blushing even more, the golfer looks around then whispers, “Once, sometimes
      >twice a week.”
      >
      >”What??” responds the Leprechaun in shock. “That’s all? Only once or twice
      >a week?”
      >
      > “Well,” says the golfer, “I figure that’s not bad for a Catholic priest
      >in a small parish.”

    • Subject: Marriage Counseling

      A husband and wife came for counseling after 15 years of marriage. When
      asked what the problem was, the wife went into a passionate, painful
      tirade listing every problem they had ever had in the 15 years they had
      been married.
      she went on and on and on: neglect, lack of intimacy, emptiness,
      loneliness, feeling unloved and unlovable, an entire laundry list of
      un-met needs she had endured over the course of their marriage.
      Finally, after allowing this to go on for a sufficient length of time,
      the therapist got up, walked around the desk and, after asking the wife to
      stand, embraced and kissed her passionately.
      The woman shut up and quietly sat down as though in a daze. The therapist
      turned to the husband and said, “This is what your wife needs at least
      three times a week. Can you do this?”
      The husband thought for a moment and replied,.. “Well, I can drop her off
      here on Mondays and Wednesdays, but on Fridays, I fish.”

  21. So, to match Mathius interesting concepts that food, shelter, clothes, bus tickets, New Yankee baseball tickets, a Ferrari, house on the bay, and cowboy hats are all ‘basic rights’ and are nothing radical…..

    …. Gold surged to a record $1,119.10 an ounce in New York on speculation a decline in the dollar will spark demand for the precious metal as an alternative asset….
    (from Bloomberg)

    • Yankee tickets are not a right. You do not have a right to see the Yankees. You only have a right to see your respective home team. Try to be serious. Further, a Ferrari is not a right. An Infiniti is an acceptable minimum standard of living (provided it is a late model). I will thank you not to misconstrue my concepts.

      • I make a point, Mathius.

        If you can point to your list (nicely appended with the catch “,etc.” – meaning your list remains incomplete) as examples, I can only see a common denominator – “needs and wants”.

        I need a Ferrari. I need a house on the bay. I need a new cowboy hat.

        You’ve decided that it doesn’t matter and completely irrelevant to how much it obligates another person to pay for your ‘needs’ – I am simply agreeing with you.

        I don’t care what it costs YOU, but please send me the Ferrari by Friday, ok?

        As long as you are unable to discern what a “right” is, your list is merely subjective to what you feel it should be – and my list is equally so.

        The only thing that seperates you fulfilling your list, or mine is….

        …who has the guns.

        • BF:

          And since we’ve previously established that WE have the guns I think we should make a quick trip east to pick up that car for you.

          Maybe we can catch a Packers or Vikings game on the way home.

    • Bad things may happen sooner, rather than later. All plans are in place and ready to react. One last desire, fill the deer tags the week after Thanksgiving, can and place on shelves. The only other thing I’m working on is a natural gas kit for the generator. Once accomplished, we are 100% ready for the bad things. Life is good!

      Happy Vets Day BF!

      CHEERS!

      G!

      • G
        Are you a raccoon hunter?

        • Bama, When I lived in VA, I did several coon hunts. That was my first experience at hunting at night, and with dogs. It was fun, and I was younger!

          Now, I primarily hunt whitetail, and mix in some grouse hunting when things are slow. I’ll be out Saturday for the last day of bow season.

          G!

          • It’s been years since I have but I am going to go after them this season. They tore my garden up this past summer, payback time.

            • RLMAO! Hell Bama, we had several rows of sweet corn, not for canning, but for the pleasure, and had a 500lb bear go though the fence and end our pleasure!

              Raccoon is not bad eatin in a pinch, I have some recipes, let me know if you need them.

              G!

              • I had 3 long rows of corn that I got 1 bushel from, coons ate the rest. Country boys from Alabama consider coons very good eating.

              • Sorry, I’ll explian my slowness below. Bama, I’ve had many good deer hunts on the GA/AL border area. Nothin wrong with coon in my book!

                G!

  22. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091111/ap_on_bi_ge/lt_brazil_blackouts

    Energy analysts say Brazil has failed to invest enough in transmission lines as demand for power skyrockets amid an extended boom for Latin America’s largest economy

    …the future for America…

  23. Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island and Wisconsin join California as those most at risk of fiscal calamity, according to the report by the Pew Center on the States

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091111/ap_on_re_us/us_state_budgets

    • Judy Sabatini says:

      HI BF

      I can agree with that too. Unemployment here has gone up to 13.3% according to reports, not just here in Reno, but all of Nevada. Housing market still low, although some are able to sell, but way below what their values are, so what’s the point in selling. I heard that there are state job cuts here as well.

      ” They ” say things are starting to look up economic wise, but I don’t see it. People are still trying to find work, but not having the luck. There is suppose to be some constructions jobs coming up for a new project, but once that project is done, so are the jobs. Sorry, I can’t remember what the project is though, wish I could.

      Tuition at the university has gone up 10%, and they are thinking of raising that again another 5 to 10%, can’t imagine how people can afford to pay even after working 2, 3 jobs just to make it. And Harry Reid has the gall to say that he has helped create jobs here in Nevada, ah! hello, Sen. Reid, where are those jobs at?

    • I’m dismayed to see Wisconsin listed; did not realize we were in such lousy shape. Although, given some of the things our State Rep’s are doing, I shouldn’t be so surprised. Take a look at this new state mandate:

      Erpenbach’s insurance surprise

      Advocates of government-run health insurance would never be able to sell the idea to the average voter without a sense of crisis and urgency; one indicating that the system is in serious trouble and in need of rescue.

      One method they’ve used to create such a crisis is to pile on one mandate after another, reducing flexibility for insurance providers and consumers and driving up costs.

      Recent days have brought attention to yet another crisis-driving- mandate buried deep in the state budget bill. Courtesy of State Senator Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton), state law now requires that adults up to age 27 must be allowed to retain health insurance coverage under their parents’ policies.

      The mandate specifies that insurers must allow dependents who are unmarried, under 27 and ineligible for group health coverage, to continue being carried on their parents’ policies—AND—they can stick with Mom and Dad’s policy if their employer offers them insurance with premiums higher than what the folks are charged.

      This is yet another case of a nanny-state idea circling back to bite not just private-sector benefit programs and consumers, but anyone who’s unlucky enough to be a taxpayer. The mandate to retain coverage under parental policies means the adult children of government employees will add to the benefit costs that are already one of the largest expenditures for state and local governments.

      For example, the Milwaukee Public School system estimates it will have to spend an additional $1 million every year to make good on Senator Erpenbach’s present for the kids. Now, state and local governments across Wisconsin will have added costs to pass along to taxpayers.

      We can’t presume to know what was going on in Sen. Erpenbach’s mind, but if the experience of the past year has taught us anything, it’s that people selling solutions to a crisis aren’t necessarily disappointed when their “crisis” boils over.

  24. If you want government to intervene domestically, you’re a liberal. If you want government to intervene overseas, you’re a conservative. If you want government to intervene everywhere, you’re a moderate. If you don’t want government to intervene anywhere, you’re an extremist. –Joseph Sobran

  25. War-torn Iraq has about 26 million residents, a peaceful California perhaps now 35 million. The former is a violent and impoverished landscape, the latter said to be paradise on Earth. But how you envision either place to some degree depends on the eye of the beholder and is predicated on what the daily media appear to make of each.

    As a fifth-generation Californian, I deeply love this state, but still imagine what the reaction would be if the world awoke each morning to be told that once again there were six more murders, 27 rapes, 38 arsons, 180 robberies, and 360 instances of assault in California – yesterday, today, tomorrow, and every day. I wonder if the headlines would scream about “Nearly 200 poor Californians butchered again this month!”

    How about a monthly media dose of “600 women raped in February alone!”

    Or try, “Over 600 violent robberies and assaults in March, with no end in sight!” Those do not even make up all of the state’s yearly 200,000 violent acts that law enforcement knows about.

    Iraq’s judicial system seems a mess. On the eve of the war, Saddam let out 100,000 inmates from his vast prison archipelago. He himself still sits in the dock months after his trial began. But imagine an Iraq with a penal system like California ‘s with 170,000 criminals – an inmate population larger than those of Germany , France , the Netherlands , and Singapore combined.

    Just to house such a shadow population costs our state nearly $7 billion a year – or about the same price of keeping 40,000 Army personnel per year in Iraq . What would be the image of our Golden State if we were reminded each morning, “Another $20 million spent today on housing our criminals”?

    Some of California ‘s most recent prison scandals would be easy to sensationalize: “Guards watch as inmates are raped!” Or “Correction officer accused of having sex with under-aged detainee!” And apropos of Saddam’s sluggish trial, remember that our home state multiple murderer, Tookie Williams, was finally executed in December 2005 – 26 years after he was originally sentenced.

    Much is made of the inability to patrol Iraq ‘s borders with Iran , Jordan , Kuwait , Saudi Arabia , Syria , and Turkey . But California has only a single border with a foreign nation, not six. Yet over 3 million foreigners who sneaked in illegally now live in our state. Worse, there are about 15,000 convicted alien felons incarcerated in our penal system, costing about $500 million a year. Imagine the potential tabloid headlines: “Illegal aliens in state comprise population larger than San Francisco !” or “Drugs, criminals, and smugglers given free pass into California !”

    Every year, over 4,000 Californians die in car crashes – nearly twice the number of Americans lost so far in three years of combat operations in Iraq . In some sense, then, our badly maintained roads, and often poorly trained and sometimes intoxicated drivers, are even more lethal than Improvised Explosive Devices. Perhaps tomorrow’s headline might scream out at us: “300 Californians to perish this month on state highways!

    Hundreds more will be maimed and crippled!”

    In 2001, California had 32 days of power outages, despite paying nearly the highest rates for electricity in the United States . Before complaining about the smoke in Baghdad rising from private generators, think back to the run on generators in California when they were contemplated as a future part of every household’s line of defense.

    We’re told that Iraq ‘s finances are a mess. Yet until recently, so were California ‘s. Two years ago, Governor Schwarzenegger inherited a $38 billion annual budget shortfall. That could have made for strong morning newscast teasers: “Another $100 million borrowed today – $3 billion more in red ink to pile up by month’s end!”

    So is California comparable to Iraq ? Hardly. Yet it could easily be sketched by a reporter intent on doing so as a bankrupt, crime-ridden den with murderous highways, tens of thousands of inmates, with wide-open borders.

    I myself recently returned home to California , without incident, from a visit to Iraq ‘s notorious Sunni Triangle. While I was gone, a drug-addicted criminal with a long list of convictions broke into our kitchen at 4 a.m., was surprised by my wife and daughter, and fled with our credit cards, cash, keys, and cell phones.

    Sometimes I wonder who really was safer that week.

    Victor Davis Hanson

    ©2006 Victor Davis Hanson

    Victor Davis Hanson is a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University , a Professor Emeritus at California University , Fresno , and a nationally syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services.

  26. Judy Sabatini says:

    I know this is being sarcastic and all, but if this major disaster is suppose to wipe out the earth in 2012, why is everybody so worried? Can’t help but wonder here, ya know.

  27. Common Man

    Sorry for the delay to answer your direct question (I think it was you, anyway) regarding IRA and its safety from government manipulation or seizure.

    I posed the question via email to a couple of pretty smart guys I know, the reply:

    Get out any financial instrument measured in US$. This is a wise, long-term strategy. If you are in an IRA, this very unwise, long-term.

    IRA is being a questionable because the possibility US government might dismantle it in order to get money to finance government expenditures.

    Keep in mind, IRA is a political invention not an economic invention. By being born from politics, it can be killed by politics.

    Question:
    So when you invest, you do it outside of IRA accounts?

    Reply:
    I don’t invest in IRA. I am retired. But this is what I would recommend.

  28. Judy Sabatini says:

    THIS SHOULD PUT A LAUGH OR SMILE IN YOUR DAY…….

    O x y m o r o n s

    1. Is it good if a vacuum really sucks?

    2. Why is the third hand on the watch called the second hand?

    3. If a word is misspelled in the dictionary, how would we ever know?

    4. If Webster wrote the first dictionary, where did he find the words?

    5. Why do we say something is out of whack? What is a whack?

    6. Why does “slow down” and “slow up” mean the same thing?

    7. Why does “fat chance” and “slim chance” mean the same thing?

    8. Why do “tug” boats push their barges?

    9. Why do we sing “Take me out to the ball game”
    when we are already there?

    10. Why are they called ” stands” when they are made for sitting?

    11. Why is it called “after dark” when it really is “after light”?

    12.. Doesn’t “expecting the unexpected” make the unexpected expected?

    13.. Why are a “wise man” and a “wise guy” opposites?

    14. Why do “overlook” and “oversee” mean opposite things?

    15. Why is “phonics” not spelled the way it sounds?

    16. If work is so terrific, why do they have to pay you to do it?

    17… If all the world is a stage, where is the audience sitting?

    18. If love is blind, why is lingerie so popular?

    19. If you are cross-eyed and have dyslexia, can you read all right?

    20. Why is bra singular and panties plural?

    21.. Why do you press harder on the buttons of a remote control
    when you know the batteries are dead?

    22. Why do we put suits in garment bags and garments in a suitcase?

    23. How come abbreviated is such a long word?

    24. Why do we wash bath towels? Aren’t we clean when we use them?

    25.. Why doesn’t glue stick to the inside of the bottle?

    26. Why do they call it a TV set when you only have one?

    27.Christmas – What other time of the year do you sit in front of a dead tree and eat candy out of your socks?
    28. Why do we drive on a parkway and park on a driveway ?
    I dunno, why do we?

  29. BIRDMAN:

    Are you still hanging around this evening?

    I want to offer some thoughts on your IRA question.

    Let me know, I’ll check back every 5 minutes or so.

    Answer these two questions.

    1. How old are you?

    2. How much money would you lose if you had to pay the 10% penalty?

    • BIRDMAN:

      One more thing you need to figure.

      What is the added income tax if you take the full IRA.

      You need to find the “marginal rate” on the amount or each portion of the amount. If may push you up one or two brackets.

      3. What would the income tax be this year?

      4. What would the income tax be next year (remember the Bush cuts on the upper brackets expire for 2010)?

      • JAC: Sorry I missed you last night. I’m 50 years old. I would be looking at around $16,000 for a 10% penalty but I would have them take out 20% for taxes. My tax liability this year may be higher than next year since I received a severance and I already took out a small 401(k) that I had. I was hoping to wait until 2010 to take out the IRA, assuming I may still be unemployed. I forgot about the Bush tax cuts expiring.

        • Birdman

          Then the suggest to move the IRA into property may be a good idea – seems you have at least a really large down payment.

          • Blac Flag:

            I could pay off my mortgage (with money from another account) but it would pretty much wipe out my savings. The problem is that I’m still unemployed and I don’t know if I want to pay off my mortgage, and then have to relocate and sale my house for whatever I can get for it. Northern MI is not the place to be with high unemployment.

            Where is a good place to live and buy property? I could buy a house in my area cheaper than I could pay off my mortgage. A house that I looked at 4 years ago that was listed at $250,000 is now at $119,000 and it is out in the boonies (in Boon, MI) which is a small rural area and smaller than Cadillac.

            My overall problem is future employment and I know that I will end up relocating to some other state sooner or later. I would love to stay in MI because I have a daughter at MSU and a son at U of M but the employment picture is too bleak.

            • Get this guy’s books
              http://www.johnschaub.com/

              I suggest rental real estate – following his plan to the letter. You can move your IRA into such a program.

              People owned homes – now they can’t. They still need a place to live.

              Finding a good rental property, for the right family, not too rich, not too poor, right sized home in the right location can provide you an income stream that is lock-step with inflation. If you follow his plan, you can organize your affairs in such a way the only “job” you would need is picking up rent checks.

              Anyone who was smart and diligent, and is sitting on a pile of cash should seriously consider Schaub’s plan.

              I am.

              I am moving my mother-in-law into such a plan. She is on a fixed income and will be wiped out by inflation.

              Now, she has a near-guarantee of regular income matched to inflation that can provide for her for however long she lives – independent of government funding problems and its fiat currency messing.

              Worse case (that is – opposite situation to which I am planning for) the government magically solves all the problems and the economy does not implode – then, she owns a house.

              • Thanks Black Flag, I’ll get the book. Cadillac, MI may not be the best place for rental property. There are a lot of poor people in the area.

              • He has 3 books: Building Wealth Buying Foreclosures, Building Real Estate Wealth in a Changing Market, Building Wealth One House at a Time.

                Which book do you recommend?

              • Building wealth one house at a time.

                “Foreclosure buying” is a specialist trade – if you like being a landlord after trying it a bit, then this is the next logical step.

                “Changing market” – again, if you like being in land, and are on a roll, this would be the next step.

  30. Judy Sabatini says:

    My son just sent this to me, the one who is former Marine, and I thought I would post it.

    Marine Corps birthday.

    What Is A United States Marine?

    I am 234 years of romping, stomping, hell, death, and destruction. I am the finest fighting machine the world has ever seen. I was born in a bomb crater. My mother was an M-16 and my Father is the Devil. Each moment that I live is an additional threat upon your life.

    I am a rough looking, roving, warrior from the sea. I am cocky, self centered, and overbearing. I do not know the meaning of fear for I am fear itself. I am a green amphibious monster made of blood and guts that arose from the ashes of my enemies, festering on anti-Americans throughout the globe. When ever it may arise and when my time comes, I will die a glorious and grotesque death on the battlefield, giving my life for the Corps, Mom, and Apple Pie.

    I stole the Eagle from the Air Force, the Anchor from the Navy, and the rope from the Army.

    Then on the 7th day, while God rested, I overran His perimeter and stole the Globe and I have been running the show ever since.

    I live like a Soldier, talk like a Sailor, and slap the shit out of both of them. Warrior by day, lover by night, professional by choice, and Marine by the grace of God.

  31. Lou Dobbs just resigned on air.

    • Interesting. Was it preplanned or is it due to the recent death threats and other incidents that he and his wife have been through?

  32. Not sure I want to open this can of worms again, but….oh why not.

    Yesterday many of you were once again involved in the abortion issue.

    Interesting question regarding the Ft. Hood killings and the relevance of this question.

    http://michellemalkin.com/2009/11/11/the-14th-murder-victim-of-the-fort-hood-jihadi-massacre/

    • Judy Sabatini says:

      Hi Kathy

      Well, I understand that Obama seems to be pro abortion, even partial birth abortion. I had a question yesterday to Buck, anybody for that matter, and here is my question.

      If a woman can get an abortion and it isn’t considered murder, then why if a pregnant woman is murdered and so is her unborn baby, then why is that person charged with a double murder?

      To me, that doesn’t make any sense. Murder is murder is it not. The baby is still being killed during an abortion, then why is she not considered a murderer?

  33. Hi Ya’ll!

    Today has been very different, different from past Veterans days. Ya’ll know where I stand, and thanks for the kind words. At work today, I’ve NEVER had more people come in just to share those kind words, some people I haven’t seen in months, from various parts of the establishment, came to say thanks to me and my fellow vets. I’ve had more visitors and phone calls since I have been home than in any year I can remember.

    I write this because I see and hear a really big change in the hearts of many. I can’t explain it, but somehow I feel that these people know something is very wrong, and are looking to us, the vets and active duty to be their support/saviors? Not sure, but it has been quite unusual.

    Any thoughts on why this is happening?

    G!

    • I always look for signs of hope and this seems like one, G!

      • Hi Kathy!

        Let me add to this day events. My Dad was in the hospital overnight in Clarion PA. Today, along with his roommate, a fellow vet, had dinner delivered to them the the local Applebies restaurant, in the hospital. The Clarion Newspaper came and took pictures. There is no available link yet, but I’ll post that later.

        These actions are really surprising, and welcome. There is a change happening, just don’t know what it really means.

        G!

    • It happening because more and more people cannot ignore what’s going on. They know we’re in big trouble. Its a good start but many more need to wake up and get involved. Even then, it might be too late to stop the inevitable. At best, it might slow down a little.

      • Hi Cyndi!

        Maybe your right. Eyes are opening, and those eyes can’t trust the govt. Maybe , just maybe, there starting to lean on their son, daughters, and grandkids (our military) to protect them! Hope so, then I can do some good, but I may have seen this coming. Still thinking!

        G!

        • Judy Sabatini says:

          HI All

          Maybe they’re finally waking up.

          • Judy Sabatini says:

            Maybe after what happened at Ft. Hood, things will start to change. I HOPE ANYWAY.

            • That’s how I felt after 9/11. Well, now look at where we are. If anyone had told me we’d be here back then, I’d have told them they were crazy. I really thought that Americans would finally stand together. All 9/11 has done is tear us apart. Thanks Liberals and PC thinkers.

              Sorry about being a wet blanket. I can’t help it. I’m just so disgusted by it all.

    • G-Man:

      As others stated, people are waking up and don’t like what they see. I think we are on the verge of a civil war if Congress doesn’t stop their spending and ignoring what the people want. What side will the military be on? Will they side with the government or will they side with the people?

  34. USWep,

    I see you, too, are being inundated with Blog-spam.

    Do these guys never give up?

    • It doesn’t appear that they do. I had over 70 of them yesterday. It really picked up steam last week and has been growing daily each day. Today seems a little lighter, but it certainly isn’t stopping.

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