If Only Temporary… The Death of the Death Tax

I was going to touch on the article I will have below on the open mic thread the other night. But I decided against it because I wanted the idea of the estate tax to be given its fair due in debate here at SUFA. For those that are unaware, if you are wealthy, and want to pass that wealth to your heirs, then you may want to ensure that you find a way to die during the year 2010 (Perhaps you could sign up for government health care!). Because for 2010, and 2010 only, the Estate tax has been suspended. As of January 1, 2010, a “temporary repeal” of the estate tax occurs. For all of 2010, there will be a 0% estate tax assessed. However, come January 1, 2011, the estate tax goes back into effect and the top rates of up to 55% will once again be assessed. Were we exceptionally wealthy, 2010 would be the year that Mrs. Weapon and I try every daredevil thing we have ever dreamed of attempting. After all, we don’t think the federal government has a right to what we have earned.

So the article that I read and was going to post the other night for Open Mic came from the Huffington Post. Chris Kelly wrote a fairly tasteless piece bemoaning the fact that Casey Johnson, heir to the Johnson and Johnson fortune, passed away in 2010 instead of 2009 or 2011. First, I say tasteless because Kelly wrote the article only a couple of days after her death. Very tasteless when you have friends and family of Johnson still shocked and saddened at her sudden passing. Just another example of a media dick doing what media dicks do. Kicking people when they are down. Hurting grieving family members in order to attempt to make a political point. The article was tasteless at any point, but doing so so shortly after her death was even lower than the already low bar I expect from the far left media.

I will simply allow you to read Kelly’s disgusting piece:

A Horrible Thing to Think About Casey Johnson

This may shock you, if you think you live in a free country that respects private property and honors honest work, but if Casey Johnson had died last week, her fiancée, the future Mrs. Tequila — Johnson, would have had to pay onerous confiscatory taxes on her hard-earned inheritance. Well, not the first $3.5 million. But after that.

Why even bother being born rich, or marrying money if the government’s just going to take it?

Luckily, America’s inheritance tax disappeared at midnight, New Years Eve. Some congressmen tried to extend it, but they couldn’t get the votes. Let me rephrase that. Your Congress couldn’t muster the nuts to not repeal a tax on the super-wealthy that had existed in its present form since 1934. Let me rephrase that again. Two and a half million Americans will die this year. Fewer than six thousand will leave estates worth more than $3.5 million. Had any of these multimillionaires died between The Great Depression and last Thursday, their heirs would have been taxed. Now they won’t.

A Democratic Congress in a time of war just cut a tax on the richest of the rich to zero.

The Estate Tax was created to pay for wars and emergencies. America’s first estate tax was levied to build a navy in 1797. It was temporary. It came back in 1862 to pay for the Civil War, went away again and came back to pay for the war with Spain. FDR brought the tax back again, during the Depression. America is in a recession now, and two wars that have lasted longer than the Civil War and the Spanish-American War combined. And the Estate Tax just went down to zero.

Read the Rest of the Article at The Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chris-kelly/a-horrible-thing-to-think_b_411373.html

Now, I understand that Casey Johnson and Tela Tequila are easy targets for the far left media. No one outside of the family will mourn Johnson. She had drug troubles, was obviously troubled, and her life was anything but normal. She is a poster child for the troubled little rich girl. And Tequila is, and I say this as nicely as I can…. weird. The bi-sexual reality star (with zero talent outside of choosing outrageously revealing outfits) was apparently “engaged” to Johnson. Because of their living outside of the societal norms, it appears that they are open targets for the type of hate-filled writing that Kelly has done here. Whining about the federal government’s loss of money instead of having a little respect for a young woman that had lost her way and who’s life ended when most of us are just beginning to understand what living really is. Kelly called it a “horrible thing to think,” but apparently not horrible enough for him to not write it out and publish it to millions of readers in order to score political points with his far left pals.

Let me say up front that I strongly oppose the estate tax. And I do so for a plethora of reasons, the most important of which is that it goes against every thread of morality that I have. If I haven’t made it clear in the past, I believe in individual liberty and personal freedom. I despise the concept of “the greater good” because such a thing simply does not exist. And I do not believe in the idea that somehow the federal government is entitled to take what is mine, for no reason at all, and simply redistribute it to those who did not earn it.

What exactly has the federal government done that makes the estate tax a moral entity? Did the deceased gain some service that is being paid for? I think not. After all, the deceased was extremely wealthy, which means they were already paying an outrageous sum of income tax based on the faulty progressive income tax structure. All those income tax collections, which were disproportionately stolen from the wealthy, certainly paid more than their fair share for national defense, and all the other hoo ha the government claims to provide. They already paid capital gains taxes on money earned on investments because we can’t have someone make a dime that Uncle Sam doesn’t profit from. So at the time of their death, they have already paid for everything that the federal government provided for them (and for 9 others since the top 5% pay 90% of income taxes).

It seems to me that the argument that I hear most often from those in favor of the estate tax is that it is simply unfair that the children of the wealthy, who did not earn the money themselves, get a silver spoon. The claim is why should that child, the genetic lottery winner, be allowed to benefit from the efforts of their parents? I have to be honest and say this is the most ridiculous argument that I have heard for the estate tax. Let’s assume that I am the wealthy one and I ma leaving Weapon Jr. a billion dollars. I earned that billion. It was my hard work. It was my risk taking. It was my hours and hours away from my family building my wildly successful business. That money is mine. During my life I am free to dispose of it how I please, because it is mine. I can give it to the church or spend twenty straight years gambling and keeping a harem of Brazilian hookers.

Yet somehow, proponents of the estate tax believe that as I speed towards death (no doubt hastened by the Brazilian hookers), that I somehow LOSE the right to determine what is done with my money. That I somehow no longer have the right to determine what happens to the money that I earned. That for some reason, the government should get half of my money upon my death, despite the fact that they took zero risk, worked not a single long night, did absolutely nothing to earn that money. At least Weapon Jr. sacrificed time with me to earn it. The federal government did NOTHING to earn it. They just stake a claim as though it was theirs all along, and I was just borrowing it.

And that is the argument that I hear. That my own child has no moral right to benefit from my hard work, but the federal government DOES have the moral right to benefit from my hard work. How exactly does that make sense to any clear thinking individual? I simply cannot, unless of course they suffer from that fatal flaw we discuss here…….. Contradiction. To think that one person who didn’t earn the money has no moral right to it but that another who didn’t earn the money has moral right to it is a very large contradiction. I say that No one has a RIGHT to the fruits of my labor except me. And NO ONE should have the right to determine where a single cent of my money goes after my death than me. Period.

Because that is what it means to be free. That is what individual liberty is about. To make decisions about what is mine free of the tyranny of some political cause. I don’t want my money going into the public coffers and funding things that I am diametrically opposed to. I don’t want to contribute a half a billion dollars to funding wars, passing out welfare, or paying the paychecks of the 535 fracking idiots that populate Congress. I would rather Weapon Jr. use it to start a new business venture, build a church, or have a harem of Brazilian hookers of his own. It’s my money, I should be the one who decides where it goes. There is no moral argument that can be made against me having the ability to decide where the fruits of my labor go. None.

And I will not accept the argument either that the permanent elimination of the estate tax will somehow cost the federal government trillions of dollars. I hear that argument a lot as well. Estimates that it would take 1.2 Trillion from federal coffers over the next ten years. Well boo hoo. I don’t care. The federal government should adjust their spending to match their income. Lose a source of income, and you cut your expenditures. So I HOPE that it gets repealed permanently and it takes that much money from the federal government. That is a personal dream. Because perhaps the only way that this government will ever get back in line with personal liberty is for these types of things to be done.

Because I believe that there are only two ways that the federal government is going to pare down and actually allow for individual liberty and personal freedom. Option 1 is for the federal government to go bankrupt. Upon realizing that they have no money, they will be forced to repeal thousands of crooked laws that provide things they should not be providing in the first place. Option 2 is that as government continues to increase its scope and size, it continues to have to increase what it takes from its citizens in order to provide its crap. As a result of continually increasing tax burdens, Americans reach their breaking point and violently revolt. I abhor option 2, but if it happens I am hoping it begins at the front gate of Pelosi’s mansion.

The bottom line is that the estate tax was created by a progressive President who was pushing America to dependency. In order to do so, he needed more money coming in, and this was another way to do it. The estate tax was immoral from its inception. And its constant increases and additions have further bastardized American principles. It should be repealed permanently and those who oppose repeal so fervently are then free to “donate” 50% of their estate to the federal government should they believe that it actually serves the “public good”. But I have a feeling that those politicians who so fervently believe in the righteousness of the estate tax would not leave a single dime to the federal government. They wouldn’t be pushing to keep the tax so hard if they didn’t already have a loophole that will allow them to skirt the tax. You can bet on that.

As for me personally, I can assure you that I will endeavor to ensure that no matter how much money I ever make, I will spend that much before I die. If I play my cards right, the last $5,000 in my bank account will pay for the casket and burial plot. And they can put on the headstone:

Eff you Uncle Sam. It was mine and I spent it. Rather than give it to you I contributed it to the Brazilian economy. Go fire Pelosi to make up for the shortfall.

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Comments

  1. Posting for comments. Look forward to hearing how those on the left can justify their position of “greater good”. I need a good laugh today.

    G!

    • USW:

      What do you know about Brazilian hookers? Please enlighten me on this. Should the men folk on this site get together and take a trip to Brazil?

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        There did seem to be an unusual number of references to the ladies of Brazil.

        • He knows something and isn’t telling us. I suspect Mrs. Weapon is now on his case big time. I think USW stepped in it!

          • In truth I know nothing of hookers of any nationality. I was writing at 4:00 am. The idea struck me as funny and I stuck with it, perhaps a bit longer than the humor stuck with it, lol. And I could never get away with jokes like that unless Mrs. Weapon was so aware that the idea would never actually cross my mind into the arena of reality.

            But I do figure that the Brazilian hookers would be stunning to look at!

            • So that’s your story and you’re sticking to it?

              I think this may be the first time I got a response/reaction from you!

              It was fun to bust your chops!

              You need to find some time to sleep.

              • Birdman

                Don’t you know Brazilian hookers are a Carolina thang.

                Governors have been known to up and leave their job at a moments notice to visit one.

              • JAC:

                Touché!

                I can’t top that fine reasoning, logic and intuitiveness on your part.

                USW is from Carolina and they have a thing for Brazilian hookers.

                By the way, get well soon. I don’t know if your surgery was out patient or in patient but either way I’m sure you will recouperate quickly. Knowing you, you probably refused all pain killers and put a leather strap in your mouth while the surgery was performed. You cowboys are a tough breed.

                Another by the way, John Stossel had a show this week on Atlas Shrugged. It will repeat so you may be able to catch it this weekend on Fox Business News. Also, the History Channel had a 2 hour show on the collapse of society during armageddon week. It shows what a family of 3 will go through in their survival quest. I know that I am not prepared but I learned a lot.

    • I like the last paragraph.

  2. Mother-In-Law says:

    I have never understood why I should have to pay when all my life I have saved so the gove doesn’t have to pay for me in my retirement but if I happen to die they get the rest of what I have earned over the years. No problem, I will be spending more I am not leaving them a penny. Just enough so my family can bury me. It is so wrong but they do what they want to do I often wonder who they are representing because they sure dont listen to the people.

  3. First things first….TO BAMA DAD…you won. I wish we could have brought our “A” game but fair is fair….you won. Now I have to wear a lousy Bama T shirt….sigh.

    Texas….well, we have to be satisfied that McCoy, even though knocked out of the game, currently has the title of the winningest quarterback in NCAA history…at least for now.

    But…it is Bama’s day. enjoy.

    • We want pics of you wearing that t-shirt! Remember, at least Texas has basketball!

      Congrats to BamaDad and all Crimson Tide fans reading here.

    • I am late getting into the discussion as I got to bed in the wee hours of the morning. Took the day off from work either to morn or celebrate, you can guess which one I did. Looking forward to seeing you all decked out in my colors, hopefully USW can pass on my email address to you. We definitely did not play our A game in the first and third quarter, but we did have two backs with over 100 yards rushing each. Mark Ingram is a man when it comes to yards after contact and Trent Richardson ain’t too bad either. Things are a little different on rush defense when you play a Southeast Conference power rush offence. With some time your new QB is going to do very well, can’t say the same about ours, he either does well or he sucks and last night he sucked big time. If I were you I’d be upset with your OC for calling an option play for your star QB when his arm is his main weapon, it could and did get him hurt. I know we screamed at our OC for some of the dumb calls he made, but in the end we ruled. Ah the thrill of victory.

      • Yessir….the price you pay for a one dimensional offense. We had no running game all year…but McCoy was good at reading defenses.

        Nothing to say about Ingram except awesome…great running back…but until the fumble with 2 minutes left, I bet you were worried..at least for a little while.

        What a coup that would have been in the headlines when a freshman back up quarterback wins…but it belongs to Bama. They deserve it. Good job. AND you got a ton of returning players.

        • We were worried big time; we were so hoarse from screaming in the 3rd quarter, none of our group could hardly speak in the 4th. As a side note about which conference rules, SEC teams have won national championships 4 years in a row.

  4. Now, on to the inheritance tax..or more appropriately…the death tax.

    USW…it is plain and simple. No one….can justify the death tax. It simply cannot be done.

    1. Those who say there should be a death tax are reacting out of jealousy.
    2. Those who adopt the philosophy that children of wealthy parents should not inherit are reacting out of jealousy.
    3. Those that believe that huge amounts of family wealth is the result of greed are reacting out of jealousy.
    4. Those that have not….are reacting out of jealousy.
    5. Those that support the tax for the greater good have their wires crossed…the greed is not in the amount of wealth that a family amasses….the greed actually is the taking of it for those who will not get off their ass….and reacting out of jealousy.
    6. DID I MENTION THAT ALL OF THIS ON THE DEATH TAX IS REACTING OUT OF JEALOUSY?

    And, to those that favor this tax and do not feel that a family has a right to pass on an already thrice taxed income to their heirs….do you not think that we are smart enough to avoid those taxes? There are all kinds of instruments available from generation skip to trusts to tax free trusts to foundations and tax free foundations…it just takes smart lawyers and tax specialists.

    Why is it that no one understands that the more you tax, the more we shelter. The more we shelter, the more dollars taken from investment opportunities that can reduce unemployment and increase productivity. Talk about shooting oneself in the foot.

    Anyway….let us hope that the 2010 changes the direction of Congress and this tax goes away permanently.

  5. Buck The Wala says:

    I will try to post more on this topic throughout the day, but one thing before getting my coffee and fully waking up:

    By allowing the estate tax (which only taxes that amount in excess of $3.5 Million) to lapse, the government has actually made it worse on the middle class. In 2010, assuming no retroactive legislation, individuals will only be allowed a $1.3 Million step-up in basis; anything more will be treated as carry over basis such that, when the inherited property is sold, tax will have to be paid on the gain using the original owner’s basis. Prior to the lapse, all assets in an estate received a step-up in basis. To make matters worse, this is only for 2010 and then, in 2011, the estate tax comes back at a much lower $1 Million exemption level and much higher 55% tax rate.

    I agree that Kelley’s piece is absolutely disgusting in that it makes political use out of a tremendously personal loss. But (and I haven’t read the full article yet, just the passage posted above) the piece also fails to acknowledge the overwhelming probability of retroactive legislation reinstating the estate tax for 2010.

    • You are correct in your analysis….we, as a family, are not touching anything in 2010. We have everything already set.

  6. A Puritan Descendant says:

    USW, this subject touches a button with me. I can hardly read your article. Not only is the tax just plain wrong, and I don’t need a Bible or anyone else to tell me that, the estate tax is just another great way to cut the legs off wealth creation in America. Some family businesses take generations to reach fulfillment. Then this tax can force the family to sell out or even break up the business. Ending years or decades of a family vision. All brought about by our un-American politicians.

    I think some people go along with this tax because they think people who are of wealth just had it fall out of the sky onto them. They do not stop to think that it can take generations of hard work and dreams to acquire. A dream that would never be, if one thought all his hard work and visions would be taken from his children and given to the envious.

    The envious who wrongly believe Capitalism takes from the down trodden to give to the rich. Capitalism is all about creating wealth. Hard work, saving, investing, and creating more wealth. Plant a fruit tree. Water and nurture it, wait years and it then it produces real wealth. Real wealth doesn’t drop out of the sky and especially not from government.

    Rant Rant Rant …….. Later.

    ‘A Newer Kinder Gentler Bigot!’

    • There ya go again, Puritan. Quit holding back. 🙂

    • Buck The Wala says:

      I believe I read somewhere that there are only a handful of small business affected each year by the estate tax — I seem to remember 350 or so in 2009 when the exemption amount was $3.5M. Out of those 350 there was a small number (less than 10%) of those estates that did not have enough liquidity to cover the tax.

      But by repealing the estate tax and imposing carry-over basis rules in its place, the number of small businesses that will be affected will surly go up.

      So in actuality, while there is a lot of talk about the estate tax imposing this huge burden on small businesses and stifling innovation, that is all just talk. Very very few small businesses are even affected, and even fewer are actually forced into liquidity. The argument that “I’m not going to start a business and do well because there may be tax when I die” is just ridiculous — the benefits of having your own business, building up that business, and passing it on to your children far outweigh the potential for tax at your death.

      • Buck,

        Does the number really have any bearing? If only 35 US businesses were caused to be taken from the family that worked to build it up, simply because a member died, is it not still immoral? By the same reasoning, is it OK for the EPA to shoot and kill 35 citizens this year? And injure only 315?

        This is the government violating the rights of a few, and using the small number to justify their behavior. When has government actions like this not grown? Income tax started at one percent? Maybe when this death tax is applied to 38 or 55 percent of Americans, it will be “wrong”.

        • Buck The Wala says:

          LOI,

          I definitely see the moral arguments against the estate tax. Everything you have posted on this issue is correct and I’ll be the first to say it. That being said, I am still withholding my own judgment; but I will be taken a closer look at the numbers you posted on the estate tax impact on GDP and other issues.

          The CBO also has an interesting report out on the affect of the estate tax on small businesses, by the way — http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/65xx/doc6512/07-06-EstateTax.pdf

          One other point: “What have government actions like this not grown?” Answer: With the estate tax. Since enactment the estate tax has only been reduced in its impact — the exemption amount has increased and the tax rate has decreased.

          • Buck,

            Thanks for the link.

            In 2000, 138 lost their estate, plus 164 who were
            “qualified family owned business deductible”, 302 total. And the largest group affected seems to be family farms. Maybe John Mellencamp will do some concerts to fight the estate tax.

    • v. Holland says:

      Have personally seen this happen-the company my father worked for his whole career -the husband died-his wife was forced to sell in order to pay the taxes. Now she got money in the sell but she lost her income -if memory serves she had to sell it quickly because the government wanted THEIR money-so she probably didn’t get what the business was truly worth either. In this case we’re not even talking about children inheriting we’re talking about a spouse who has been treated as a single entity when it comes to the bills but somehow when one of them dies-everything they have made is suddenly, conveniently considered as two estates.

      • Buck The Wala says:

        Seems like there’s more to that story you may be missing. You can transfer anything to your spouse tax-free, including business interests.

        • v. Holland says:

          I know very little about tax law but don’t you have to do that before you die-so if you have no idea which spouse will die first-how does that ability help you.

          • Buck The Wala says:

            Its all in proper planning. For instance:

            Husband can transfer part of the business to wife (or kids) during life. They can both have a provision in their wills dealing with the business. If business is held with others, enter into buy/sell agreements to provide for the wife upon death. Etc…

            • v. Holland says:

              Proper planning-necessary, no doubt-makes our system so much fairer when how much taxes you pay are determined by your knowledge in tax law instead of just a fair system.

            • exactly…but it takes pre-planning and a constant vigil on tax laws as they change with the wind and often very quietly.

  7. http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/12/democrats_war_on_home_business.html

    lowering the tax rate and raising the exemption has been estimated to be a revenue-producer (which is the consequence whenever a tax rate moves beyond the “revenue maximization” point on the Laffer Curve). How much tax revenue would the federal government gain from lowering the top tax rate to 35% and raising the exemption on estate taxes to $5 million? According to a recent study by the Institute for the Research on the Economics of Taxation, making these reductions in tax rates and increases in exemption would bring in about $23 billion more in tax revenue.

    What are the arguments against making a clearly beneficial change in tax rates? In a recent Business Week article, Bill Creighton of United for a Fair Democracy observes that the federal estate tax “has helped reduce the concentration of wealth that weakens our democracy.” In short, the only arguments against ending this tax are to help advance socialism, even at the cost of destroying wealth.

    • http://iret.org/pub/BLTN-93.PDF

      The Estate Tax has a negative economic impact. If returned to 2001 level,

      $183 billion reduction in GDP
      $122 billion reduction in labor income

      Repealing the Estate Tax would add

      $119 billion in GDP
      $ 79 billion in labor income

      The Democratic Party is the advocate of the Estate Tax. Looking only at the economic aspect, it makes no sense. Why would they want a tax that cost $122 billion in labor? Is unemployment something they desire? It would seem so, else why support this?

      The US suffers from a trade imbalance, with negative results for our economy. China, Russia and India have not Estate Tax. This policy cost us a $183 billion reduction in GDP, while our trade partners reap the positive benefits of allowing wealth to be built and grown, rather than seized by the state.

  8. Ray Hawkins says:

    Not sure how my other left leaning brethren feel on this – but I am vehemently opposed to the estate tax. This also strikes me as one of those instances where we tax the same dollar umpteen times after it is earned to where it is reduced to nothing.

    • Buck The Wala says:

      I definitely see the moral arguments against an estate tax. I also see some of the arguments for the tax. I may be entirely too close to the issue to come up with an opinion though, as I do earn a living off of it.

      The thing a lot of people miss, at least in my experience, is that even without an estate tax per se, there will still be tax issues at death. As I mentioned above, no estate tax as of right now for 2010, but instead there are carry over basis rules imposed which can actually pose much more of an imposition on a family business. Not to mention the logistical nightmare of trying to sort through assets and determine basis years, if not decades, down the line.

      • v. Holland says:

        You have a valid point when my father passed away -the bulk of his estate was in stocks-some he had held for years.

  9. Not in favor of the death tax and agree with Ray (wow!) that it seems like this is, at the very least double-dipping and taxing the same $$ that’s already been taxed.

    Also, FYI, USW, you will need more than $5000 for a casket and burial plot.

    • Kathy….you are in business…. you financed it and pay interest and employees.

      Your business earns income. That income is normally business taxed (unless you have smart accountants and plenty of depreciation). You then pay yourself a draw or a salary. That money is taxed again for SSN, medicaid, medicare, etc. You then take some of that after tax money and invest it. You are taxed on the gain. Or, you put your money into some sort of real estate or value property that appreciates in value. It is taxed (usually as gain) if you decide to sell it (less your basis). you are quite right, The same dollar is taxed over and over again.

      • Buck The Wala says:

        Yes and no.

        Loosely speaking, the dollar is taxed at the corporate level and then again at the individual level. But there’s more to it – set up your business as a different type of entity and you will only be taxed at the individual level.

        Also, lets say you earn $100K in income; that money is taxed. Then you use the $100K to buy property which grows in value to $200K. You sell the property. Only the $100K in growth is taxed upon the sale. So that first $100K you already paid taxes on is not taxed again.

        I’m not justifying the system here, just putting it into perspective.

        • Correct,,,, I was trying to keep it simple without going into LLC’s, sub s..etc. There are a lot of things to do. Now, if we can get them to do away with capital gains taxes….talk about a spurt to the economy.

          • Buck The Wala says:

            And that(abolishing the cap gains tax) is where we differ D13! We had a good run though!

            • LOL….yessir….we did…..It is a pipe dream, I understand….but how I wish it were so. I should not be penalized for being successful or a good investor….but…Ya ta hey…

              If I built a business up, paid taxes on its income and paid personal taxes off the income derived from that business…I should not be penalized for making a profit on the the sale. But..I hate taxes anyway…

              • Buck The Wala says:

                If cap gains were abolished though, it could also very likely be much worse; the gain on any sale could be taxed at ordinary income rates instead.

                Maybe you should be happy for the cap gains tax??

            • And, the whole time you “own” the property, it is taxed on a yearly basis…the government really owns it, you or whoever is “using” it makes the yearly payments…

              • Buck The Wala says:

                Terry, you talking about real property taxes? If so, that’s a purely local issue.

              • True, it is not the Federal Government, but government none the less…not having owned real property in any other state than the legendarily crooked state of Louisiana, I simply assumed most had to pay property taxes…

        • Sub-chapter “S” corp.!

  10. Seems fitting.

    OLD VERSION
    The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.
    The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away..
    Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed.
    The grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.

    MORAL OF THE STORY: Be responsible for yourself!

    MODERN VERSION

    The ant works hard in the withering heat and the rain all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.

    The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

    Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while he is cold and starving.

    CBS, NBC , PBS, CNN, and ABC show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food.

    America is stunned by the sharp contrast.
    How can this be, that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?

    Kermit the Frog appears on Oprah with the grasshopper and everybody cries when they sing, ‘It’s Not Easy Being Green.’

    ACORN stages a demonstration in front of the ant’s house where the news stations film the group singing, We shall overcome. Then Rev. Jeremiah Wright has the group kneel down to pray to God for the grasshopper’s sake.

    President Obama condemns the ant and blames President Bush, President Reagan, Christopher Columbus, and the Pope for the grasshopper’s plight.

    Nancy Pelosi & Harry Reid exclaim in an interview with Larry King that the ant has gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper, and both call for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his fair share.

    Finally, the EEOC drafts the Economic Equity & Anti-Grasshopper Act retroactive to the beginning of the summer.

    The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the Government Green Czar and given to the grasshopper.

    The story ends as we see the grasshopper and his free-loading friends finishing up the last bits of the ants food while the government house he is in, which, as you recall, just happens to be the ant’s old house, crumbles around them because the grasshopper doesn’t maintain it.

    The ant has disappeared in the snow, never to be seen again.
    The grasshopper is found dead in a drug related incident, and the house, now abandoned, is taken over by a gang of spiders who terrorize the ramshackle, once prosperous and once peaceful, neighborhood.

    The entire Nation collapses bringing the rest of the free world with it.

    MORAL OF THE STORY: Be careful how you vote in 2010.

  11. To the “main” argument for the estate tax (that rich kids don’t deserve the silver spoon since they didn’t earn it), if we polled the population with kids, I wonder what would be the primary motivation for working hard (for those that do)? Is it such a stretch to say, “so my kids will be better off than I was?” Why then are the children not allowed to have the benefit their parents wanted for them?

    Another thought. When someone dies, do their bills go to their kids? If so, why not their benefits as well?

    • Buck The Wala says:

      Hey JB,

      1) I don’t think the ‘main’ argument for the estate tax is sticking it to rich kids. But I will give you that that is an argument that has been raised.
      2) An individual’s debt does not pass to his kids. If the estate is not large enough to pay the bills, too bad for the bill collector.

      • There’s a big qualifier on that statement about passing on debts – for example, if a well-meaning kid decides to help pay their parents’ medical bills directly, sending in a check to the insurance company, then they will be assumed to be taking responsibility for all medical debts the parents have incurred at death and have to pay the bills.

        Lesson learned – send your parental stimulus checks directly to said parents. Better yet, send cash.

        • Buck the Wala says:

          Don’t know much about creditor law, but if a kid paid one medical bill directly, without more, I don’t see how that could be an assumption of responsibility. The hospital/doctor/whoever will most definitely try to recover the money from the kid, but not sure if they would have a legal leg to stand on. I believe that would just be deemed a gift.

          Interesting point though; will have to check into this.

          • Buck-

            I’m sure it depends on state law, the number of payments made, the time elapsed between the payment and the death of the parents, and any number of other factors. Just wanted to point out that there are potential situations where children can be forced to assume the debts of the parents.

  12. or paying the paychecks of the 535 fracking idiots that populate Congress

    Speaking of fraking, I’m very uncertain about Caprica (starts 1/29). Seems a bit more like The OC with cylons than BSG, but I’ll give it a chance.. who is with me?

    Now, on to the estate tax. I see this as simply another progressive tax. It is no different than, say, income taxes where the wealthy pay a higher percentage. The fact that it is imposed during the transfer of assets from one party to another makes it similar in nature to a sales or transfer tax. Thus what this creates is a progressive transfer tax.

    Being a statist liberal, I tend to favor progressive taxes on the following grounds: if $X must be raised*, then it has to come from somewhere. If we tax those who have very little, it harms them disproportionately. Conversely, taking from the wealthiest does them little harm. So while you say it’s unfair for the rich to pay more in dollar terms, I think it’s unfair that they pay less in terms of harm**. That is, you think of the money amount, but I think about the value of the money to person being taxes. Does this make sense? It’s all about the marginal value of the dollars that we’re taking as tax.

    *let’s just accept that for now rather than arguing that the government should be smaller etc. We’re discussing estate taxes and I can only argue one thing at a time.

    **tax is, in my opinion, a necessary evil. Every dollar of tax I pay is a dollar I no longer have. However, if I have to pay $100, it will annoy me but I’ll be fine. If a poor person has to pay $100, then they may have to go without heat this month. So, because my annoyance is much less than their loss of heat, it makes this harm uneven even if the dollar amounts are equal. So we tip the scales a little bit. I pay 175 which irks me and means that I don’t go out to a fancy dinner, and the poor guy pays 25 which means that he doesn’t go out to appleby’s, and now it’s a lot more balanced – we’re both harmed equally.

    • Buck The Wala says:

      Very well put Mathius – good explanation of one argument for the tax!

      It is easy to characterize the tax as immoral as a tax imposed only against the rich. But the income tax also has gradations in tax rates. One thing you forget though is that unlike me and you, most people on this board will similarly attack the income tax as immoral for much the same reason.

      • I didn’t forget that. I just glossed over it.

        • Buck The Wala says:

          Didn’t think you did – I’d have glossed over it too!

        • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

          As you both well know, all taxation is immoral, because it is theft.

          As I have said before, if the government provided a list of goods and services from which we could all select, and the associated costs of each good and service were listed so we knew exactly what we were paying for and how much we were paying for it, it would be much closer to a moral system.

          You both, of course, will probably attempt to come up with 1000 reasons why the government cannot possibly do such a thing, but the truth is, the government could very easily do such a thing if the government were willing to limit itself to goods and services that the government should actually be involved in (there are precious few of these), and concurrently, the government would have to get OUT of everything that it has no business being IN.

          The main problem I see with my proposal would be making sure that those who did not wish to pay the associated cost for a particular government good or service did not receive any benefit from that good or service, but I am sure that that little problem could be worked out.

          • Buck The Wala says:

            “As you both well know, all taxation is immoral, because it is theft”

            I know no such thing.

            • I, too, know no such thing.

            • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

              You know of no such thing because in your view, your taxes are going to fund things that you supposedly agree with.

              If that were actually the case, you would be correct.

              However, it is well know that the government spends far more every year than it takes in in taxes. The majority of government spending is funded by selling of government debt, mainly to the Chinese or back to the Federal Reserve. In the case of selling debt back to the Federal Reserve, it is simply a ponzi scheme.

              Since the government is able to fund itself by selling debt, and since the government DOES fund itself by selling debt, taxation, in fact, is NOT used to fund any goods or services that you may be in favor of (or any that you are not in favor of either for that matter). Taxation is simply what I stated earlier: Theft.

          • Given this scenario, I would not pay for national defense. I would expect that everyone else will pay for it and that I will still receive the benefit.

            However, everyone else thinks the same way.

            So we have no national defense.

            The shifty Canadians, who have been waiting for just such an opportunity, invade from the North.

            Mounties riding on raptors rape and pillage with impunity.

            • Buck The Wala says:

              And here I thought Canadia was too cold for raptors.

            • D13 on the lead Raptor and I am not even Canadian….just miss the adrenaline rush…..I will stick with just the pillaging of course. I have all I can handle with significant other…do not need more than that. 🙂

              So, I will take over and put Matt in charge of …..hmmmm…my morality Czar.

            • Given this scenario, I would not pay for national defense. I would expect that everyone else will pay for it and that I will still receive the benefit.

              However, everyone else thinks the same way.

              So we have no national defense.

              But that is not how people think.

              That may be how you think because you have nothing worth defending.

              However, there are many people who do believe they have something worth defending, thus would pay.

              Your argument would invalidate entrepreneurship – “who would build a gizmo if there is no one to buy it in the first place? Thus, no gizmos would ever be made.”

              But by observation entrepreneurship exists, gizmos exist and people buy them.

              Your argument fails inductively.

              Americans already pay more for private security ($52 billion) then the budget of all government-tax feeders called LEO (Law Enforcement Officers) in the entire USA ($51 billion).

              Again, inductively, your argument is nothing but hot air.

            • I think we can take them. LOL

          • From FOX, edited to a large degree.

            Final Health Care Bill May Require Proof of Insurance on Tax Returns

            By Molly Henneberg

            – FOXNews.com

            As if U.S. tax forms aren’t complicated enough, Congress is expected to include in the final health care reform bill a requirement that nearly all Americans have health insurance and prove it on their tax returns or face a fine.

            In addition, the health care reform bill likely would require the IRS to dole out taxpayer dollars — subsidies — to low-income Americans to help them pay for health insurance,

            (How will they insure these subsidies are used for health care? In my business, a raise usually means the worker goes out and buys a new TV or truck, and still complains about their debt situation. Any bets this will not have a significant effect on low income health at all?)

    • A Puritan Descendant says:

      While watching a movie the other evening an actor made a statement. It went something like this >

      In matters of opinion, debate is pointless, as it does not account for taste.

    • v. Holland says:

      One may debate whether or not the estate tax is advisable when applied to children or other family members based on the capital gain issue that Buck mentioned above-but when one is talking about a transfer of property between a husband and wife-it is simply a matter of double taxation and stealing. Period.

      • Buck, I need you to back me up on this one, but I don’t think there’s an estate tax on joint holdings when one of the joint holders dies.

        If I my helicopter spins out over the Sea of Japan and there are no survivors, I doubt that Emilius will get taxed on our joint bank account or our house – nothing is being transferred.

        • Buck The Wala says:

          Correct.

          However, under the repealed estate tax laws, even transfers to your wife could only receive a step-up in basis up to $3M. Very disturbing, especially considering that when there was an estate tax you can transfer Billions to your spouse tax free.

        • Buck The Wala says:

          Wait, not correct. Only correct so far as jointly held between husband and wife. Sorry.

          • v. Holland says:

            Yes and if everything is jointly held then you have one estate and it is capped at the 2M or 3M whatever the current law is, but if everything isn’t jointly held then you can split your estates in two and you can both set up trusts to not pay taxes on double the amount. The tax system is crazy, immoral, depends too much on timing and planning to ever be considered fair. If one is married to a jerk or a couples timing is off-one partner can be totally robbed because of the estate tax.

            • Buck The Wala says:

              Yes, but even if you have everything split equally (1/2 owned by husband and 1/2 owned by wife), if you don’t have a will leaving your 1/2 to someone other than your wife, at your death 100% will be owned by your wife regardless. Same outcome.

              • v. Holland says:

                Not what I was told by our attorney, who specialized in estate planning and is supposed to be working at one of the best firms-at least in our part of the country-He said if one died without a will the spouse would receive a percentage of the others estate and the rest would be split between their children.

              • Buck The Wala says:

                True – intestacy rules would govern, which depend entirely on state law.

                My scenario assumes no children and all passes to spouse. Sorry for not being clearer.

              • check state law first

              • v. Holland says:

                Hi,

                Glad to hear from you. Hope those pain pills are working.

              • Hey, nice typing with one hand and on meds! How are you doing? (feel free to keep it simple).

      • Buck The Wala says:

        Maybe I’m missing what you’re getting at, could you explain? Based on my understanding, there is no tax on transfers between spouses.

        • v. Holland says:

          I am using Mathius term that the estate tax is simply a transfer tax-sorry I wasn’t clear enough. Point-I’m married whats mine is his-whats his is mine-period-I do not care how it’s held-I do not care what legal terms are used-if he owes taxes-I am legally responsible to pay them-when one of us dies-what is left is his or mine-we paid the taxes together, we earned the money together-how we decided to split the work load is our business.

          • Buck The Wala says:

            Understood — you are right: what is yours is his, what is his is yours.

            Or as Mrs. Wala puts it, what’s mine is hers and what’s hers is hers. I did something wrong here. 🙂

            • Emilius uses the same logic.. odd..

              • Buck The Wala says:

                Ok, we both did something wrong.

              • Actually I’m not surprised that both of your spouses have figured this out.

                Mathius admits above, he just gets a little annoyed if he has to give up what is rightfully his, so what’s a little annoyance?

                I would think Buck’s (new) wife would just say, “why, honey, it’s called a shoe tax, therefore you must give up your $$ for my greater good purchase of new shoes”. And Buck replies, “taxation is not theft, so I must pay”.

              • We both pay the shoe tax and it is for the greater good. We pay the tax so that the wives can get the shoes and we get peace and quiet in exchange.

                Seems like a good deal.

                It’s really more like a relationship maintenance fee.

              • Buck The Wala says:

                Exactly right.

            • v. Holland says:

              And just for the info-I did catch that play on words 🙂

    • v. Holland says:

      Please take note I said advisable not moral.

    • The poor guy needs to get a j-o-b and EARN his own way. I’m lucky to get by to begin with. I don’t need dead weight

      • Anita,

        I have said before, and I will say again: I find it morally obligatory to help those who cannot help themselves. Those who choose not to help themselves can go frak themselves. That said, if I cannot tell the two apart, I would rather err on the side of helping too many than not enough.

        So if the guy doesn’t have a job because he can’t find work or because he’s sick or because he’s injured etc, I think we should help him out. If he’s just lazy, screw him. But how do you write the tax code that way?

        • I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt..this time. But since it’s morally obligatory to you, I live in Mich- got any spare change I can get from ya?

        • The problem with Matt’s philosophy is trapped in this word:

          “obligatory”

          Because he determines what is ‘deserving’ and what is not – based on a wholly subjective set of criteria – he ends up using mere emotion to determine his self-declared right to attack innocent people.

          One can see how incredibly dangerous people like Matt are to the fabric of social order.

  13. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    Two arguments against the estate tax.

    1. It is immoral to steal something you did not earn from someone who did earn it.

    2. The government is already completely incapable of operating with a sound fiscal policy of restrained spending and balanced budgets. The existence of the estate tax does NOTHING to alleviate this problem. Since the collection of the estate tax does not solve the problem, it is completely unnecessary.

  14. All tax is evil – there is no such thing as a ‘fair’ tax.

    Most taxes however are avoidable with simple planning.

    Organizing assets into well formed Trusts and Foundations makes them immune to taxation – and are excellent vehicles to transfer benefits to survivors. The nice thing is that this only needs to be done once, and the strength of the tactic carries forward for all future generations.

    • Buck The Wala says:

      One caveat: It cannot all be done once — such tactics require continued vigilence and continued planning. Eventually trusts will distribute. If using a corporate entity, shares/interests must be distributed to heirs.

      Solution: once that occurs, set up a new trust to continue for another few generations.

      • One can setup a perpetual trust. It need not distribute as it never dissolves.

        • Buck The Wala says:

          That depends on the state – many states have a rule against perpetuities that operates to prevent one individual from setting up a trust to run ad infinitum.

      • Funds from a trust maybe taxable in the hands of real persons (or fake persons too) (is that what you meant?)

        However, funds from a Foundation are called “Gifts” and are not necessarily taxable in the hands of real people.

        • Buck The Wala says:

          Not quite sure what you’re getting at here. Income earned by a trust is taxable. Distributions from a trust corpus are typically not.

          My only point is that estate planning cannot be done once and never looked at again. It must be revisited with each successive generation, and upon changes in tax law.

          • Ah, I understand. My fault.

            The Trusts/Foundations I speak of are not domiciled in the USA (or where the beneficiaries happen to reside).

            And I agree with your statement regarding revisiting such structures based on changes law.

            • Buck The Wala says:

              Ah, gotcha. I know very little about international trusts/foundations. Its an area I’d like to learn much more about.

              Only problem is that its so different from country to country!

              • The USA is a tax-free country for trusts made by non-USA residents or citizens.

              • Buck The Wala says:

                I’d hafta take a second look into that — I was under the impression that if a non-resident created a US trust, that trust would be subjected to income tax earned by trust assets in the US. Could be mistaken though.

  15. posting for comments….

  16. Judy Sabatini says:

    Hello Everyone

    Ben Franklin said, there are two things certain in life, Death and Taxes. Little did he know when he said that, that you would be taxed for dying. You’re taxed when you’re born, taxed all through your life, then taxed when you die. In other words, you’re taxed to death. Just another way for them to get their grubby little hands on your estate and what ever else you have, just so you can pay a tax on it after you die.

    Big deal, they’re not going to tax you this year, why not abolish it all together? Doesn’t the government get enough of your money when you’re alive? I’m surprised they don’t tax little kids when they have a lemonade stand, or do they.

    Hope you’re all doing well today.

    Judy

    • If they make enough and report it (as they legally should), yes they would have to pay taxes…but then a government entity would step in and jail the parents for child labor…

      • Judy Sabatini says:

        Who would have thought that having a lemonade stand could cause such problems. Nobody I don’t think ever had any problems back in the day when I was young and had one. I can’t imagine declaring maybe $20 as income, and if you did, I’m sure the IRS would take at least half of it.

  17. Off Topic but relevant. Stacking the Deck…..

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/01/obama_and_the_white_house_chic.html

    Obama and the White House Chicago Boys
    By Ed Lasky
    Barack Obama has a problem. His polls numbers are dropping and his policies are fueling an angry backlash across America. The Democratic party is held in disrepute, and congressional Democrats are dropping like flies. This imperils Obama’s radical agenda and his own 2012 prospects. What to do? Game the system and rig the future elections. That is how things are done in the streets of Chicago.

    Signs are emerging that the Chicago Boys — the triumvirate of Obama, Emanuel, and Axlerod — are up to their old tricks, as I touched upon in a previous American Thinker column. My recent interest was piqued by two news items that floated across my screen in the last week.

    One was the release of the White House visitor logs that showed visits by Anna Burger, Secretary-Treasurer of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and named by Fortune Magazine as “the most powerful woman in the labor movement. ” We know Andy Stern, head of the SEIU, routinely visits the White House and has boasted of the tens of millions of dollars and man-hours the union spent in electing Barack Obama to the presidency. We can expect a repeat performance come 2012.

    But Anna Burger is far more than an SEIU honcho; she also is the vice-chairman of a shadowy group called the ” Democracy Alliance,” composed of billionaire funders and savvy political operatives who set out a few years ago to change politics as we know it in America. Among their projects was something called the Secretary of States Project that set about electing secretaries of state in key battleground states.

    These are the very officials who are charged with maintaining the integrity of the voting process. Recall the controversies in Ohio and Minnesota — including ACORN problems — regarding the accuracy of the votes in those states last year? The secretaries of state who gave a stamp of approval to these elections (where Democrats won) were Democrats supported by the Democracy Alliance. Various state chapters of the Democracy Alliance have formed to use a range of controversial methods to ensure Democratic victories. (See “The Colorado Model” by Fred Barnes for a display of the type of tactics that can be used to manipulate elections. These include creating faux controversies, spreading them through supposedly non-partisan groups created by Democrat activists, and relying on an echo chamber effect until the mainstream media picks up the “story” and broadcasts it far and wide. Other groups are formed to harass journalists and editorial writers who don’t push the liberal line.)

    Was Burger in the White House to plot future strategies with, say, Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod? These are putatively the Chief of Staff and Senior Adviser, respectively, to President Obama. But before that, Emanuel was the maestro of political fundraising and spending, and Axelrod was a veteran political strategist who has run numerous political campaigns over the years (including Obama’s). The Democracy Alliance has helped form front groups to get Democrats elected. Axelrod is a master at this type of tactic.

    The Alliance’s handiwork played a role in the victory of Al Franken over Norm Coleman, which helped secure a sixty-seat majority in the Senate. There was a group — Alliance for a Better Minnesota — that posed as a group of concerned citizens. The Alliance was funded by outsiders, namely the wealthy, hyper-partisan Democrats behind the Democracy Alliance. This was a so-called astrotruf group: it falsely appeared to be a true grassroots effort.

    Tellingly, the Obama team has killed off disclosure rules mandating that unions reveal how they spend the billions of their members’ union dues. These, in turn, are often poured into “front groups” and other “funds” each year. Anyone care to wager whether these funds will flow to help Democrats? Thanks to Obama, we will never know. So much for transparency. But we do have change.

    The second item that sparked my interest was Obama’s move to ditch the superdelegates’ role in nominating Democratic candidates for the presidency.

    These superdelegates include Democratic members of Congress, national party figures, and established leaders of the Democratic Party. They vote at the nominating convention. The system was established in the wake of the 1972 Democratic Party nominating process, when anti-war radicals seized control of the party and ended up nominating George McGovern. The superdelegates were supposed to ensure that radicals did not take over the party’s nominating process. Well, apparently that sort of restraint does not appeal to Obama, who now has taken steps to shape the nominating process to play to his preferred territory: the caucuses, where his brand of populism holds sway. The Wall Street Journal noted the trick:
    One reason for the superdelegates in the first place is the disproportionate role of activists in states like Iowa, which rely on caucuses rather than primaries. Mrs. Clinton held in her own in the primary states but Mr. Obama crushed her in the caucus states where his supporters found it easy to dominate proceedings where older and frequently busier people weren’t able to invest the time to counter them. Take the case of Texas, which has both a caucus and a primary: Mrs. Clinton won the state’s primary in which 2.8 million people voted, but Mr. Obama so controlled the caucuses where far fewer people (some 800,000) participated that he ended up with more delegates overall. The new rules, if approved, would likely mean even more of the same.

    Since Obama’s policies are sacrificing the careers of Democratic congressmen to fulfill his agenda, these politicians may withhold their support at a future nominating convention. What is the solution? Remove them from the equation by stripping their vote. Out they go, joining the ever-increasing number of bodies under the bus.

    Of course, the boys who earned their stripes in the rough-and-tumble world of Chicago politics (where the phrase “vote early and vote often” should be the city’s motto) will not stop there in their drive to win.

    Why should they? Customs, rules, ethics, and traditions were thrown under the bus to get ObamaCare bills passed by the House and the Senate. Why stop there when there are so many ways to skin Americans? Skullduggery comes naturally.

    There are other cards to play (and Obama is an avid poker player).

    How else will the Chicago Boys game the system and gin up victories?

    There was the plan to bring the census operations into the White House. That would have been a neat trick — put Obama acolytes in charge of the process that determines each state’s electoral votes (a strategy akin to Obama’s role in gerrymandering districts to favor his own campaign as a state senator).

    While that seems to be off the plate for now, there is still the prospect that sampling may be used to collect census figures. That is a statistical method that has been denounced by, among others, John Fund of the Wall Street Journal as a formula that could be abused to exaggerate the number of residents of certain states and municipalities. This would affect the number of House seats awarded to each state. Those figures also play a role in the amount of federal funding flowing to those areas. Those are also the very figures used to determine electoral votes.

    Will census figures compiled by community groups chosen by this administration be reliable? Remember that this team earned their stripes in Chicago and has ties to ACORN, which is embroiled in voter registration and other scandals across our nation.

    There will be a strong desire to boost numbers in blue states, especially since red states seem poised to pick up seats and electoral votes, as people vote with their feet and move to red states. This won’t do for the Obama team — not at all.

    So what to do? Fool ’em with some other numbers, this time the ones with dollar signs in front of them. But the Chicago Boys may have tipped their hands by revealing one of their cards:

    The government, reports The Hill newspaper, will target $80 million of those dollars to racial and ethnic minorities and non-English speakers — groups that vote disproportionately Democratic. Nor will Democrats permit efforts to limit the count to those here legally. An effort by Sen. David Vitter (R., La.) to exclude illegal aliens from the count went nowhere.

    Illegal aliens don’t (usually) vote of course. But when they are counted in the Census they do affect representation in Congress. So some of the money you pay in taxes will go toward increasing the legislative clout of one party.

    And those illegal aliens will also boost electoral votes of those blue states. We can also expect a campaign to allow felons to regain their right to vote. Anything to boost those numbers and rack up some wins.

    But wait, there’s more.

    The push to “Rahm” through universal voter registration is a ploy ripe for voter fraud, as noted so well by my American Thinker colleague James Simpson in his recent column. This is a proposal to impose a federal mandate regarding voter registration. State laws will be overridden by federal law drafted and passed by Democrats. As John Fund notes:

    The feds will tell the states: ‘take everyone on every list of welfare that you have, take everyone on every list of unemployed you have, take everyone on every list of property owners, take everyone on every list of driver’s license holders and register them to vote regardless of whether they want to be …’

    What is the problem? Many of these lists include vast numbers of illegal immigrants, there will be felons, there will be duplicates, and there will be a lot of people who never cared enough about the country or democracy to take the simple steps to register under state laws. What will be the end result? A huge pool of likely Democratic voters will be created out of thin air — and then Obama’s army of volunteers and Democratic Party activists and paid contractors (think ACORN) will shepherd them to the voting booths. Between the pickup at home and the pulling of the lever, a lot of steps can be taken to ensure they vote the left way.

    Are there any more ways for Obama and the boys to stack the deck?

    The Federal Election Committee monitors how campaigns raise and spend money. Obama has appointed John Sullivan, SEIU’s in-house lawyer, to serve on its six-member panel. Obama’s campaign was marked by fundraising and spending scandals. (Among them were foreign donations being received and hundreds of thousands of dollars going to the SEIU, and to Obama-linked ACORN for “get out the vote efforts.” Hmm…”get out the vote”…is that anything like “street money”?) Community groups are being used, by the way, to collect census numbers. Given the record of “community groups” and vote fraud, is that a bright idea? The answer depends on which side of the aisle you sit.

    The Department of Justice under Eric Holder, a close ally of Barack Obama , has shown a very lax attitude towards prosecuting Obama supporters for voter intimidation (à la the New Black Panthers Party travesty). Conversely, the DOJ is aggressively challenging state voter verification laws meant to ensure the integrity of the voting process. The steps that Obama’s DOJ is taking will allow non-citizens to vote and will also boost the number of votes, legitimate or not, for Democrats in 2010 and Obama in 2012. Does anyone think Holder’s Justice Department will prosecute criminals that help Democrats, given the example of the New Black Panther case?

    The administration has also telegraphed a plan to push for illegal immigrants to become citizens. How many of the estimated twelve-million-plus new citizens will vote for the man, and party, that bestowed upon them U.S. citizenship? Quite a few, I imagine. It’s true that there will not be a quick payoff for this effort, since citizenship will take some time. However, there will be some Democratic voters created, and the effort will curry favor with groups that favor such immigration reform.

    Many blue states are indeed blue (emotionally) these days because their economies are a wreck. Think California, New York, and Michigan. All are states that may no longer be so rich when it comes to money, but they are rich with electoral votes. These states might pose a problem for Obama in 2012 (vote the bum out). How to salve their anger?

    How about billions and billions in stimulus money that is disproportionately being showered upon Democratic districts, and that often does not correlate as well with unemployment numbers as it does with partisan makeup? This is stimulus money, all right — designed to turbocharge Democratic turnout and reward Democratic interest groups (teachers, government workers) for their fealty to Obama. This is a far bigger pot of money than what’s collected when we voluntarily choose to fund elections on our tax forms.

    There are other steps that Obama and the Chicago Boys are taking to help Obama. Obama may have won the Nobel Peace Prize, but he knows how to fight when it comes to his own career. Let’s remember that this is the candidate who un-presidentially boasted that he brings a gun to a knife-fight — one more sign that he does not play fair! Of course, if he had only a knife, he would likely use it to stick someone in the back, as is his wont. He did this with drug companies when he suckered them into a deal to back health care reform and then reneged on his pledge to oppose drug re-importation efforts after their support was in the bag. Israel is one small voodoo doll to him, given his proclivity to stick it to that nation. All the pledges and people thrown under the bus…

    Will the Chicago Boys sic the recently expanded Internal Revenue Service on Obama’s ever-expanding scroll of enemies? He joked that he would do so when Arizona State University had the temerity to question his bona fides when it came to awarding him an honorary degree. A joke, yes — and like the jibes at Special Olympics contestants and Joe Biden, not a particularly witty one.

    What happens when a media outlet does not kowtow to Obama? They get the treatment meted out to FOX News. What happens when a pollster reports Obama’s plummeting popularity? The Chicago Boys rev up the vast Oval Office conspiracy, as they did when their liberal shock troops attacked Scott Rasmussen. What happens when talk radio ticks off the Obama team? Threaten to resurrect the Fairness Doctrine. Then apply a dose of Media Matters criticism. Lather it up with some insults, and then rinse and repeat.

    If that doesn’t do the job, release the dogs of war (bloggers, Air America, Chris Matthews, Rachel Maddow) to spread some misinformation and insults (“teabagging”).

    And of course, there is always, always the race card. Obama’s ace in the hole.

    There are other perfectly fine steps Obama is taking to prepare for 2010 and 2012. For example, the Obama drones are being prepped to swarm our neighborhoods again. That is legitimate, at least, if annoying.

    But are the tricks outlined above legitimate? Weren’t we promised the most transparent administration in history, one that would transcend partisanship? That was so 2008. Sweet talk has been replaced by trash talk, and promises have been and will be betrayed.

    What we got was a team that will stoop very low indeed to win elections, honesty and transparency be damned. Obama may be a good basketball player, but he and his team excel in the blood sport of politics, and they will use every trick and tactic, no matter how disgraceful, to win. That may be the Chicago Way, but it is not the American Way.

    • Wow! I see a very disturbing year unfolding before us. How the hell did we ever let such lowlifes in the White House?

      • This is one of the reasons why I think elections won’t matter, assuming Dear Reader feels the need to put on the show. I wouldn’t be surprised if some exuse is found to postpone or cancel elections altogether, tho’ I admit it is unlikely. Dear Reader and his wrecking crew can complete their bloodless coup easily enough. A bloody coup would immediately prove that conservatives we right all along.

    • Cyndi,
      Great find, thanks for sharing.

    • Looks like I’m not the only one to come to a certain conclusion…

      http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/01/understanding_the_democrats_sc.html

      Understanding the Democrats’ Scheme
      By John F. Gaski
      Poor Bill O’Reilly and Brit Hume. There they were on the O’Reilly show a few weeks ago, puzzling over why Barack Obama and the Democrats are doing so many things that are damaging to our country. Bill and Brit agreed that they couldn’t possibly be harming the nation intentionally, because negative voter reaction would redound to them politically and electorally. Can’t the Democrats see this? Did they suddenly get stupid politically? This is so unlike them. How to explain this anomaly?

      Poor Bill and Brit, and many others, indeed. It is time to think the unthinkable and speak the ineffable. Apart from the troubling question of intent, or whether Obama-Pelosi-Reid just have a novel view of the public interest, the national Democrats are unnaturally and mysteriously sanguine despite growing backlash by the American people. Why? One reason: The Dems don’t believe they will ever have to face a real election again. Is their plan not becoming obvious? It is very straightforward:

      (1) Grant amnesty to the illegal aliens (the correct term for lawbreaking invaders, regardless of their natural and rational motives) which will create up to 30 million reliably Democrat voters — especially after being registered at least once each by ACORN. That is cushion enough to carry any national election. Why else could Dems be so fixated on this agenda item?

      (2) Speaking of which, between ACORN and the SEIU, the Democrats will be stealing all the elections they really need anyway, starting next November. (The New Jersey and Virginia governorships aren’t quite as big a prize as control of the U.S. Congress, are they? And one wonders what the real margin of Republican victory in New Jersey was, absent ACORN’s intervention.)

      Many laymen still don’t understand how the ACORN scam works. To them, ACORN’s excuse that they are merely committing voter registration fraud, not vote fraud, seems plausible. Here’s the deal: Register 100,000 phony voters such as Mickey Mouse and the Seven Dwarves, thus expanding the nominal voter rolls, and the Democrat vote counters then have the latitude to create 100,000 extra votes out of thin air on election night. This is what “community organizer” really means, and Barack Obama is forever stained by his ACORN background. Not that it matters to him.

      America should brace for the biggest vote fraud and election theft caper of all time on election night 2010 — and in the months following. We now know as well that the Dems are guaranteed to win any statewide recount where there is a Democrat Secretary of State. And who, we must ask, is there to enforce the election laws now?

      What of Florida 2000? It is easy to correct the prevailing misconception. One can usually tell what offenses against the commonweal the liberal Democrats are committing by what accusations they make against others (into which they project their own tendencies). In November 2000, Democrats did everything they could to try to steal a national election for the second time in forty years, right before a nation’s very eyes, with local partisan functionaries inventing Gore votes out of those dimpled chads. Still, the Democrats have claimed since Y2000 that George W. Bush stole that year’s election, even though every Florida recount, including those sponsored by the media, demonstrated that Bush 43 really won under the law. Republicans have been so ineffective in publicizing these true results in answer to the Democrat mantra that the propaganda has largely taken hold in the public consciousness.

      (3) As if they need it, the Dems will be secretly encouraging (maybe even hiring) third-party candidates wherever they need them, because they know that is the way to split the opposition vote. It almost always happens that way to the Democrats’ benefit. If people such as Lou Dobbs and Glenn Beck don’t realize this soon, instead of talking up the third-party route, they will only help to ensure a permanent Democrat stranglehold on Congress and the presidency — although any one of this litany of methods would probably be sufficient for that. So the Dems are actually conservative in the sense of wanting some built-in redundancy!

      (4) What do we suppose the extra trillion dollars of “stimulus” money to be spent from 2010 to 2012 is really for? Just a coincidence, or a ready-made election slush fund? How much has already been committed to ACORN and SEIU?

      (5) Then there is the “universal voter registration” plan that the Wall Street Journal’s John Fund has spotlighted, granting automatic voting privilege to anyone who has ever registered for practically anything, anywhere, anytime. The Democrats and their henchmen could work with that, couldn’t they? Or why are they so eager to enact it? Their entire history has been to oppose laws that prevent vote fraud, after all. (What could be their motive for that particular laxity?)

      These five strategies should be enough to ensure permanent Democrat control of our federal government — a virtual dictatorship. For them, it is a royal flush. But another part of the scheme may be the most pernicious of all. The worst is yet to come.

      (6) When you become dependent on the decision of a Democrat bureaucrat for crucial medical treatment — after the health care takeover — how much power does that give the Democrats over you? Elderly voters tend to vote more conservative than younger voters, so letting the elderly dies because care is “too expensive” can reshape the political profile of the electorate. But can we reasonably foresee that party registration or political contributions might enter the bureaucrat’s calculus? Might it occur to the intense partisans of the Obama administration to grant lifesaving treatment to those they regard as “their people,” but not to others? What a neat way to eliminate the opposition! Party registration is already public information. And if they can overturn the secret ballot for union elections via “card check,” how long before they try to impose the same more generally, so they will always know how you have voted? Do not trust the judiciary to save us, either, after President Obama packs the courts with more ultra-leftists.

      Chilling, isn’t it? But not extreme: Obama himself has notoriously displayed his disregard for human life by the stated willingness to sacrifice “grandma” to a pain pill and his coarse support for unrestricted abortion — even opposition to the Infant Born Alive Act, which he has tried to subvert.

      When the Democrats achieve literal death-grip power over the lives of all our citizens, that’s when they also achieve their long-cherished dream of absolute power in a virtual one-party state. Now is it becoming transparent (so to speak) what the real scheme behind their mania for “health-care reform” is? Now does it all make sense? This is not your father’s Democrat party.

      This issue is not about health care, ultimately. It is about raw political power and the long-promised radical takeover of the United States. For anyone who hasn’t thought of all this before, I guarantee that Obama and his party’s other leaders have.

      Dictatorship in a one-party state indeed seems to loom for us. As one prominent commentator has pointed out, the normal order of the human condition is tyranny, subjugation, and dictatorship, with only a couple of respite periods throughout history, including our time in the West over the past two centuries or so. It just took that long for the totalitarian types to gain near-total power in our country, which they are now consolidating over the coming year. What are the betting odds that they will ever let it go voluntarily?

      No wonder the national Democrats aren’t concerned about having to face the electorate again. Pity the naïve, hapless Republicans who actually imagine they have a fair chance later this year and in ’12!

      The long-time president of my university, Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, used to say, “At our school, we ask all the questions, even the tough ones.” How’d I do, Father?

      The most troubling aspect of my analysis is that it represents the logical extension of irrefutable, objective facts. At least five of the six premises are no more and no less than observable Democrat behavior, and the other is a mild extrapolation at most. This is not good.

      It’s over, America. We are now living under a proto-dictatorship in the United States. In less than a year, the full reification of it will be apparent to all. Have a nice day. R.I.P., U.S.A

  18. Flag,

    I was watching the new Star Trek movie recently. I was watching the part where Spock is a kid and answering questions in school. We don’t hear the question, but his response got me thinking (always a dangerous thing): “when it is morally praiseworthy, but not morally obligatory.”

    I have been mulling this concept over for a little while, but I would be interested in your thoughts..

    En garde..

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      Mathius,

      In all reality, there is no such thing as a moral obligation on a universal level. You may have one set of morals which OBLIGATES YOU to behave in a certain way in a certain situation. Someone else may or may not share the set of morals which you have, so you cannot morally obligate SOMEONE ELSE to behave in the way that you feel obligated to in a particular situation. If you feel that it is ok to force your morals on someone else, then when people you don’t agree with are in power, you have given THEM the power to force THEIR MORALS ON YOU.

      This is the trap you build for yourself.

      Now, there are some moral foundations which many, if not most people share, and in these cases, most people are at least likely to behave a certain way in a certain situation. However, that still does not give you (or anyone else) the right to force your morals on another person.

      For example, you feel morally obligated to help those who are in need. You can choose to do so by donating to charity, setting up your own charitable organization, simply helping individuals who you know to be in need, or through any of a host of other avenues for helping those in need. Many (probably the vast majority) of other people feel the same way, and they can all do the same thing!

      However, once you advocate LEGISLATING that all people MUST donate money to the GOVERNMENT so that the government can help “those in need” you have badly screwed up in several significant ways.

      1. You forced your morals upon others.

      2. You abdicated your personal responsibility for helping others by delegating it to the government.

      3. You lost your ability to personally make judgements as to who is truly in need and you lost your ability to personally determine how to best help them. For example, is Anita best served by food? Help to pay her energy bills? A snow shovel? Is Anita truly in need, and if so, are there others more in need than she is that would be higher on your priority list to help? You can no longer make such judgements for youself- you gave up that right and ability.

      • Damn. I didn’t even know I was saying all that. You’re right PeterB

        • Anita, get your address to me through USW, and I’ll ship you a shovel. But only if you promise me that you are truly in need. I will take you at your word. 🙂

          • At least you are a man of your word and trust me, if I ever find myself truly needing a shovel, your’s is the first door I’m knocking on.

    • There is no such thing as morally “obligation” if you also want “freedom”.

      Moral obligation requires the use of violence on non-violent people to force their action.

      Since morals are, by definition, subjective – you create a subjective use of violence on non-violent people.

      I need only adjust my subjective views as is my ‘right’, and you become my “rightful” slave….

    • Hmm… you both went in a different direction than I had expected.

      The way I interpreted this had nothing to do with legislation or law, but rather a personal sense of acting morally. That is, to be moral, I have to do this. To be morally praiseworthy I should do this.

      So abstention from murder is morally obligatory – to be moral, you cannot kill.

      Giving to charity is morally praiseworthy – it is morally good to give to charity, but it is not immoral to refrain.

      This line of thought took me in some interesting directions, but again, I will open to floor to you two first with regards to these thoughts. I am not talking about external force or coercion here, just specifically about morality in a purely intellectual sense.

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        Mathius,

        What does it actually mean to be “morally praiseworthy”?

        I know that most of the “Western religions” teach that if you help those in need then that is a good deed, but if you help those in need with the specific intent of drawing attention to yourself and saying, “See, I help those in need! Look at what a great guy I am!” Then that basically makes it an act of pride instead of an act of charity, and negates any good you may have done.

        So, by that line of reasoning, to seek praise for behaving in a way which is moral negates the moral nature of the action, thus making the term “morally praiseworthy” a null term 🙂

        • Interesting argument. I have seen this before, and I consider it bulldookey, if I may borrow the phrase.

          Jewish culture teaches that there are (I think) 12 levels of charity (called sadaka). At the bottom is to give a small amount only for recognition. At the top is to give a large sum anonymously. In the middle are the various combinations.

          Now, if you give a large sum anonymously, it is praiseworthy. Only, nobody knows to praise it. Basically, this theory says that a good deed becomes better as the scale tips away from doing something good for yourself to doing something good for others. (you can never get entirely away from this, because you have to want to give, which means that you feel good about giving, so you are actually doing something for yourself, but let’s not over-analyze).

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        I have another question for you to ponder Mathius:

        If it is NOT morally obligatory, but merely “morally praiseworthy” to give to charity, then by what right does anyone LEGISLATE THAT WE MUST PAY MONEY TO THE GOVERNMENT IN ORDER TO HELP THE NEEDY?

        You have downgraded helping the needy to an act worthy of praise rather than an act of obligation, and yet you seem to be just fine with obligating other people to do so whether they wish to or not. That seems a bit contradictory….

        • that’s where I’m having interesting thoughts.. trying to reconcile the two…

          • OK, got it all squared away.

            Charity falls into both categories.

            Helping those in need with things that are necessary for life is obligatory.

            Helping those in need live better lives is praiseworthy.

            So, heating, food, shelter, water is obligatory.

            Education, job training, A/C, electricity, etc is praiseworthy.

            How’s that? Let’s see if we can agree on this and then we’ll see where the logic takes us.

            • v. Holland says:

              Question-how far does this obligation go-are we obligated to send money to other countries? Are they obligated to send us money? Is there a limit to this obligation?

              • great questions. And the answer is this: yes, no, maybe so.

                I have no idea.. I’m just playing with this idea now.. it’s not fully developed yet. I’m using you guys as my sounding board.

              • Matt,

                The sound you hear is precisely 440 Hz.

            • those in need with things that are necessary for life is obligatory

              No, it cannot be.

              By that demand you require me to aid someone else – where such aid may destroy me.

              • False, at the point where you are low on money, you yourself become needy. Then you can help yourself under the header of helping the needy.

                But yes, we run into problems here too. Why should a successful man live in poverty? So we must delve deeper to get to the logical base (and we will later). But if everyone behaves morally, then the burden is shared and this does not happen.

                Thus laws that require all to share in the burden. – but that, too, is not the subject at hand.

              • low on money you yourself become needy

                Not False.

                Who defines how low or how needy?

                Me or You?

            • Matt,

              Are you obliged to provide basics (food, shelter, clothing and now health care)for an able bodied person who chooses not to provide for him or her self? What about drug addicts and alcholics? What if these individuals attend rehab without making the sincere effort required to overcome their addicition because its ‘too hard’?

      • So abstention from murder is morally obligatory – to be moral, you cannot kill.

        Interesting, but bizarre, thinking.

        You create not acting as a measure of moral measure of an action. I do not see how a non-action can be an action.

        Killing does not make immoral. I need to kill something to eat it for me to live.

        If I kill another person in defense of myself is not immoral – the person attacking me is immoral, my defense is not.

        Moral judgments can only be applied to real action.

        Giving to charity is morally praiseworthy – it is morally good to give to charity, but it is not immoral to refrain.

        Therefore, only “moral praiseworthy” exists… an action judged ‘good’.

        “No-action” cannot carry a judgment.

        • You conflate killing with murder. There is a reason that the 6th Commandment says murder rather than kill.* For killing to be murder, it cannot be an act of self-defense. (This falls under the logic that all squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares).

          Further, a non-action is an action. Choosing to murder is an action. Choosing not to murder is an action. But you can rephrase it if you like. “So abstention from murder is morally obligatory – committing murder is immoral.” But this is a distinction without a difference.

          Further still, you reach an unsubstantiated conclusion: “Therefore, only “moral praiseworthy” exists… an action judged ‘good’.” But we can think of plenty of position actions which are morally obligated.** You are morally obligated to be honest. You are morally obligated to discharge your debts. You are morally obligated to care for your family. Et cetera. Or do you disagree?

          Again, we are discussing pure ethics here, not whether anyone has the right to force you to be ethical. So we are concerned here with whether there are required actions/inactions in order to be considered moral, and I think you have to agree that there are.

          *Catholics say kill, but let’s ignore them.

          • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

            Mathius,

            I think you pointed out your own complete addiction to contradiction when you said, “further, a non-action is an action”

            You ought to realize that that makes ABSOLUTELY no sense. A non-action is just that, an ABSENCE of action.

            You may have had a thought process which caused you to DECIDE NOT TO ACT, and you could (theoretically) claim that that thought-process represented an “action”, but technically that is not even the case. Thinking is usually defined INDEPENDENTLY of acting (e.g. “think BEFORE you ACT”).

            Now, let’s take up a few of your purported examples:

            “You are morally obligated to be honest.” Hmm… apparently 100% of humanity fails on that one, since we ALL lie. Please show me a person that is truthful 100% of the time (the result would be something like a Jim Carrey movie, no?)

            “You are morally obligated to discharge your debts.” Ok, with that one you just gave 100% conclusive proof that government is totally immoral….

            “You are morally obligated to care for your family.” Yes, I believe that I am morally obligated to care for MY family. However, I am NOT morally obligated to care for ANYONE ELSE’S family. However, there MAY BE some people that do not even feel that they are morally obligated to care for their own families… otherwise how do you explain all of the single mom’s out there and all of the babies who have absolutely no idea who daddy is?

            • A non-action absolutely is an action, but you just need to think of it in different terms.

              Instead of negative terms, just flip it around.

              Not walking is a negative action. But standing still is an action. If the two are equal, then both must be actions or both must not be actions. Since standing still is an action*, both must be.

              Murdering is an action. But choosing not to murder means doing something other than murdering – whatever that ‘something’ is, is an action.

              *”standing” is a verb. It is not a linking verb, so it must be an action verb. (hurray for school house rock!).

              • Now you’re getting it, Matt!

                So go back and review your first statements –

                “Not murdering is moral.”

                By your own statement, what you are really saying is:

                (Substitute some other action – that is not murder) – and it must be moral!!

                Oh oh…. tar pit!

              • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

                Mathius,

                I can choose, as opposed to murdering someone, to do NOTHING AT ALL.

                It is true that I may be in a standing, sitting, reclined or recumbant position WHILE I DO NOTHING AT ALL, but that is irrelevant to the person I was considering murdering. As far as he is concerned, I HAVE TAKEN NO ACTION.

              • Who cares about where he’s concerned? You have chosen an action in lieu of murder. This action was not itself immoral. Thus you have acted morally. No?

          • **
            Those are not the Ten commandments.

            Exodus 20:1-17
            “And God spoke all these words:…”

            … please note it did NOT say command.

            After Moses busted the tablets, God says this:

            Exodus 34:10-26
            “1. I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the LORD, will do for you. Obey what I command you today

            Now, here are the commandments:

            2. I will drive out before you the Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.
            3. Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land where you are going, or they will be a snare among you.
            4. Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and cut down their Asherah poles [That is, symbols of the goddess Asherah].
            5. Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.
            6. Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land; for when they prostitute themselves to their gods and sacrifice to them, they will invite you and you will eat their sacrifices.
            7. And when you choose some of their daughters as wives for your sons and those daughters prostitute themselves to their gods, they will lead your sons to do the same.
            8. Do not make cast idols.
            9. Celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread. For seven days eat bread made without yeast, as I commanded you. Do this at the appointed time in the month of Abib, for in that month you came out of Egypt.
            10. The first offspring of every womb belongs to me, including all the firstborn males of your livestock, whether from herd or flock.
            11. Redeem the firstborn donkey with a lamb, but if you do not redeem it, break its neck.
            12. Redeem all your firstborn sons. No one is to appear before me empty-handed.
            13. Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the plowing season and harvest you must rest.
            14. Celebrate the Feast of Weeks with the firstfruits of the wheat harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering at the turn of the year [That is, in the fall].
            15. Three times a year all your men are to appear before the Sovereign LORD, the God of Israel.
            16. I will drive out nations before you and enlarge your territory, and no one will covet your land when you go up three times each year to appear before the LORD your God.
            17. Do not offer the blood of a sacrifice to me along with anything containing yeast, and do not let any of the sacrifice from the Passover Feast remain until morning.
            18. Bring the best of the firstfruits of your soil to the house of the LORD your God.
            19. Do not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk.

            So the 6th talks about treaties…:) I’m not sure how that references this discussion on murder….

            • I must have missed that day at St. Aloysius School. Or I was reading 10 Commandments for Dummies

              • You were, in fact, the 10 commandments and you know them are amalgomated from the text by clerics. Still, my point stands that there is a difference between “kill” and “murder”. I just put that in about the commandments for bonus points – I didn’t think it would spawn a recitation of the bible.

              • Ah, Matt, but it must!

                It is these errors that create the confusions that fight you.

                For hundreds of years, people have read the Bible. Yet, everyone of them is wrong when they reference the “commandments”.

                Millions have read the words – and millions completely miss this.

                It it very telling.

                It is in these simple errors that great errors grow.

                People have accepted by rote for so-called authority what are pure lies.

                People, like you, continue to accept these lies even after they have been pointed out to them – right in front of them where they can read the words for themselves.

                And STILL they will defer to the false authorities, disbelieving their very reading and their very eyes!!

              • So Anita, you can take this lesson in enlightenment.

                If something like the understanding of what are the “Commandments” has carried throughout history and society for hundreds of years – and is completely wrong – what else in your life have accepted by rote from those who have claimed authority that you have accepted to be true without any test of that truth?

              • Pi is, in fact, exactly equal to 3.14.

              • Pi is a whole number….. where

                Pi=1(base(pi))

              • e^(2*pi*i) = 1

              • um…can I phone a friend? I can’t argue BF. I’m in over my head here

              • Anita, you are walking on water – not drowning.

                I point this out to only wake you up from your waking sleep.

                Throughout your life, you have accepted truth as dictated to you by false authority.

                You have been trained to accept these false authorities and their claims as a fundamental truth of your life.

                Do not accept these untested truths any more.

                Test them for yourself and for your life.

                Do not surrender them.

              • I might be sleeping, but I’m not in a coma. 12 yearsCatholic school gave me some valuable morals to live by.I don’t think it matters as much what you were taught as long as you gain from the experience.

                I know you can argue that if I was taught evil than I will react evil-ly. I hope you understand my perspective

              • Anita,

                How are you sure what you were taught was the truth, if you do not test such truth for yourself?

              • What i did learn:

                I am the Lord thy God…
                works for me
                Thou shalt not kill
                works for me
                All the others
                work for me

              • I think coveting is a good thing.. the economy pretty much shuts down without it, no?

          • You are morally obligated to be honest. You are morally obligated to discharge your debts. You are morally obligated to care for your family. Et cetera. Or do you disagree?

            I am not obligated to be honest. I can lie if I chose.

            I am not obligated to pay my debts. I can default if I chose.

            I am not obligated to care for anyone, including myself. I can degenerate myself if I chose.

            • So you consider it moral to lie?

              It is moral to default on your debts?

              It is moral to abandon your family, even if it means that they will come to harm? (careful with this one.. if you answer incorrectly, I’m going to have some fun with you)

          • The challenge with many peoples definition of morals is the subjective nature of their definition.

            You believe it is immoral to lie. But is it immoral to lie to a slaver so you can escape?

            • That would probably fall under extenuating circumstances. We’ll have to flush out the whole moral code (and it’s loop holes, if any), but first I need to get you to accept that there are things you must do (in general) in order to be moral.

              Lying is (generally) immoral.

              • Ah, good sir, comes the subjectives in full charge…

                …(generally,
                extenuating, certain circumstances,
                all depends,
                here maybe – there not – over there yes!)

                Who chooses what circumstances meet your subjective values, and when they do not?

                You?
                Me?
                Him over there?
                Left-handed blonds?

              • The point, Matt, is not whether one thing is moral or not moral.

                The point is that there exists no justification to use violence to enforce a moral.

                You may believe it is moral to help the injured. So do I.

                But that belief muast alwaysremain insufficient to justify using violence to force my help

              • Beside the point. We are not discussing the use of force to impose morality. I’m just trying to figure out what morality is.

                We will need deeper principles than “lying is immoral”, but we just need to start here: “to be moral, we must do x, we must not do y”. We do not yet need to define what x and y are, just that they exist.

              • All morals are subjective.

                The morals that survive the test of the ages are those that have proven to increase social order.

                Morals that do not improve or effect social order change depending on the generation and the weather.

                Those that maintain or improve social order remain.

                Thus, lying destroys social order. Falsehoods are dangerous to men – claiming your footing is safe when it is actually dangerous may kill you.

                Thus, falsehood creates large threats to life – threats to life destroys social order, thus lying (creating falsehoods) is actively repelled inside society.

                Same as killing innocent life;

                Same as theft;

                etc.

                Thus, when an action is justified though determined to be immoral, such justification directly threatens social order – threatens the collapse of the whole of society.

                Thus, justifying theft by calling it taxes because government justifies it directly attacks social order and threatens the destruction of society

                Justifying the killing of innocent people by calling it war because government does it directly attacks the entirety of all social order and threatens the entire collapse of society.

                This is the danger of government justification. Because government acts and is justified by Statists does not change the direct threat and damage such immoral acts inflict upon society.

            • You’re changing the subject again. I am asking a simple enough premise.

              In order to be moral, there are things you cannot do. But are there things you must do?

              I am not (yet) asking what these are, just if they might exist.

              • There is exactly ONE thing that a man cannot do….

                A man cannot impose upon another man

              • Fine, let’s accept that for now. Is there anything a man must do?

                You’ve spelled out your only prohibition, are there any requirements?

              • There are no requirements – for that contradicts Item (1) – A man cannot impose upon another man.

              • We’re talking about a man imposing upon himself. In order to be moral, he must do x. But no one is forcing him to do x because that would be immoral (by your argument).

              • For a man to be moral, he must define what moral means to him.

                That meaning has no weight upon your definition of your morals.

              • Too soft, sir. To be moral he must do what he defines as moral? I define it as moral to rob banks. Thus robbing banks is moral?

                You claim absolutes. Where are those absolutes?

              • WRONG ANSWER

              • MATT

                YES!!

                THERE ARE THINGS YOU MUST DO.

                HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHAT THEY ARE???

                P.S.: MOTRON & OXYCODON COCKTAIL IS PLEANTY 4 NOW

                LOL

              • BINGO! Thanks JAC!

                That’s the million dollar question. I just need to beat Flag up until he agrees with you and then with our combined IQ’s, I’m sure we’ll be able to flesh out just what that is.

              • There is nothing a man MUST do.

              • Well now.. I’ll give you a free chance to re-evaluate that statement.

                (hint, is there anything a woman must do to be moral? – beware the tripwires)

              • A man CANNOT (morally) impose upon another.

                Beyond that, he can do or do not whatever he wants or wishes.

              • OK.. so let’s see if I’ve got this right.

                A woman may not have an abortion because it imposes upon the embryo.

                However, there is nothing the woman must do. Including eat.

                Therefore, she can choose not to eat for a week and if the embryo dies, well that’s just too bad. Because, through her inaction it died, that’s still moral.

                Or did I miss something?

              • BF

                WRONG AGAIN

                THERE ARE SEVERAL

                WHATS FIRST?

              • Matt,

                Interesting situation – but that has nothing to do with morals.

                However, in the extreme example I will quote the Batman.

                I will not kill you, but I do not need to save you.

              • Fascinating..

                Why does it have nothing to do with morals? The question is if she is morally obligated to do anything. You say no. So she chooses not to eat and this, therefore, is perfectly moral. The fact that the fetus dies as a result is irrelevant to you? She has, thus, aborted her pregnancy morally by this logic, or am I missing something.

                You have no problem with the fact that the end result is the same, but the methodology is different? In your view, a woman may morally abort her fetus if she does so through willful inaction (ie refraining from eating or drinking)? I just want to make sure I’ve got this right.

                Me thinks you should steer your pirate ship into a cove somewhere and patch her up before she takes on any more water.

              • MATT:

                RE: YOUR CHASE WITH BF

                SLOW DOWN….

                BUILD YOUR BASE FIRST.

                WHAT MUST MAN/WOMAN DO?

              • I think my chase is going rather well.. his pirate ship seems to have a rather large hole below the water line…

              • Hi JAC!

                I’m glad to see you survived your procedure and are not feeling much pain. Looks like that party for one is cookin’ along! 😉

              • CYNDI

                YES……..SO GOOOOOOOD

              • PARTY ON!!! WHOO-HOO!!!!

                If it weren’t overcast, I’d go sit on the beach and soak up additional quantities of solar radiation that I’d then transform into a usable form of warm fuzzies that could be transmitted to your location.

                Overcast skies may be a blessing, however. My boyfriend has given me his Kooties, and this sore throat might get transmitted along with warm fuzzies…..

              • CYNDI:

                P.S. THX FOR WARM THOUGHTS

                BUT COULD YOU SPEED THEM UP.

                ITS FREEZING HERE….5 TO 10 HIGH.

                LOL

    • matt

      morals are obligatory

      make sure you pick wisely.

      star trec puts forth some bankrupt philosopy, diguised as use of logic.

      not sober enough to explain right now.

      one hand trying to find four keyboards.

      later gator
      jac

      • I am very jealous of your mid-day inebriation.

        However, insulting Spock’s logic is borderline blasphemy. I would hate to have to kill you in a duel.

        What’re you having? Might I suggest a side of Red Bull and vodka?

        • Shoulder surgery….the last thing he needs on top of whatever drugs he’s on is Red Bull and Vodka.

          • Oh, must have missed hearing about that. Feel better, JAC-O!

            I’ll hold onto the Red Bull until you’re feeling better.

            In the mean time, have a Dr. Pepper.

          • Kathy:

            Thanks for watching my back earlier today.

            Was still very whooosy and vulnerable.

            Big Hug to you as well
            JAC

            • JAC, Welcome back from OZ! I always enjoyed my short visits, because the real fun starts shortly after. May I wish you a quick recovery, and as painfree a possible.

              Today I raise a beer and salute the one and only JAC!

              Live free brother!

              G!

        • MATT

          Impossible to kill me in a dual for I am the smoke and air around you.

          Human = Physical and Spiritual and Emotional

          Logic = means of identifying that which is rational

          Rational = that which sustains Human

      • Judy Sabatini says:

        Hey JAC

        Hope you’re doing alright after your shoulder surgery. God speed to you and take care.

        Judy

  19. Judy Sabatini says:
  20. Ellen,

    I recall you were in favor of body scanners.

    Here is what the TSA wants you to believe they will see.

    • Here is what they really see;

      Admitted: Airport Body Scanners Provide Crisp Image Of Your Genitals

      As the caption says:
      “If you know this woman, please tell her she is naked on the internet”

      • Judy Sabatini says:

        Both images show way more then they need too. It’s still an evasion of privacy, and I don’t think they need to see every nook and cranny of your body.

        I still question how are they going to check pregnant women? Anybody?

        • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

          Evasion of privacy? I like that! I may have to use that phrase in the future 🙂

          • Judy Sabatini says:

            Hi Peter

            Al I know is, that this scanning bit reminds of the movie, Total Recall when they did that, and who would have thought, it would come true.

    • Buck The Wala says:
      • Judy Sabatini says:

        Still an evasion of privacy. Not to get gross here or anything, but it will also show that a women is on her menstrual cycle if she wears pads. Then what are they going to do, a pelvic exam? Or, how about a rectal exam, you can still shove things up your butt too, or can that be seen? Or how about people who wear pace makers.

        Sorry, but I am totally against these full body scanners. I think somehow someone will find a way to beat them one way or other. Then what?

        • ” I think somehow someone will find a way to beat them one way or other”.

          I agree. The TSA should adopt what El Al is doing, or at least consider aspects. When was the last time one of El al’s planes were blown from the sky by a passenger?

          • Cyndi,

            Then air travel within the USA would collapse if we adopted Israeli techniques of port control.

            Israel has 72 cities. The USA has 10,800.

            What works there will not work in the USA

            • That is true, but I’d think that there are some effective things that could be applied to our system. That said, our system is doomed either way. If the EPA doesn’t deal the death blow, one 9/11, or several successful smaller attacks will probably do the job.

  21. Judy Sabatini says:

    “No man’s life, liberty or fortune is safe
    while our legislature is in session.”
    — Benjamin Franklin

    • I thought that was Mark Twain..

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        I think that Ben and Mark were cut from the same cloth. I believe that I have seen that particular quote (or at least 2 very similar quotes) attributed to both of them 🙂

        Check out http://www.brainyquote.com

        You can look up quotes by individual/author.

        Not claiming it is completely 100% accurate in its quotation attributions, but it seems to be good.

      • Judy Sabatini says:

        Hey Matt

        I just went to Google and typed in Ben Franklin quotes, and read through some of them, saw that one, and seemed to fit.

        How’s things in Mathiusville?

        • Cold.

          I am not pleased.

          I need to shovel my driveway, then I’m going to mail the shovel to Anita in Michigan. Apparently, she’s in need.

          How go things in JudyLand?

          • Judy Sabatini says:

            Things are just fine here. Everybody gone. Hubby in Hawaii, comes back tomorrow, oldest son on his way to Utah for WLC training, youngest on his way back from New York.

            Been cold here but warming up to a whopping 47 for today. Haven’t had any snow now for a couple, 3 weeks or so. I’m sick of cold too.

            • You husband is a better man than me. If I were in Hawaii, Emilius would have to make do without me until the spring. Ain’t no way I’m leaving 80 degree tropics with great surf for a winter with highs in the 40’s.

              • Judy Sabatini says:

                Well, circumstances here were unable to let me go. But, he did say, that when he got back, I could go anywhere I wanted for a week.

                I’ll think about that one, and maybe when spring hits, I’ll have picked a place.

          • Matt

            I am a fair simple female. Need a hand on your driveway?

  22. Judy Sabatini says:

    A little girl went to her bedroom and pulled a glass jelly jar from its hiding place in the closet.

    She poured the change out on the floor and counted it carefully. Three times, even. The total had to be exactly perfect. No chance here for mistakes.

    Carefully placing the coins back in the jar and twisting on the cap, she
    Slipped out the back door and made her way 6 blocks to Rexall’s Drug Store with the big red Indian Chief sign above the door.

    She waited patiently for the pharmacist to give her some attention, but he was too busy at this moment.
    Tess twisted her feet to make a scuffing noise. Nothing.. She cleared her throat with the most disgusting sound she could muster. No good Finally she took a quarter from her jar and banged it on the glass counter. That did it!

    ‘And what do you want?’ the pharmacist asked in an annoyed tone of voice.. I’m talking to my brother from Chicago whom I haven’t se en in ages,’ he said without waiting for a reply to his question.

    ‘Well, I want to talk to you about my brother,’ Tess answered back in the same annoyed tone.. ‘He’s really, really sick …. And I want to buy a miracle.’

    ‘I beg your pardon?’ said the pharmacist.

    ‘His name is Andrew and he has something bad growing inside his head and my Daddy says only a miracle can save him now. So how much does a miracle cost?’

    ‘We don’t sell miracles here, little girl. I’m sorry but I can’t help you,’ the pharmacist said, softening a little.

    ‘Listen, I have the money to pay for it. If it isn’t enough, I will get the rest. Just tell me how much it costs..’

    The pharmacist’s brother was a well dressed man He stooped down and asked the little girl, ‘What kind of a miracle does your brother need?’

    ‘I don’t know,’ Tess replied with her eyes welling up. I just know he’s really sick and Mommy says he needs an operation… But my Daddy can’t pay for it, so I want to use my money.’

    ‘How much do you have?’ asked the man from Chicago

    ‘One dollar and eleven cents,’ Tess answered barely audibly

    ‘And it’s all the money I have, but I can get some more if I need to.’

    ‘Well, what a coincidence,’ smiled the man. ‘A dollar and eleven cents—the exact price of a miracle for little brothers. ‘

    He took her money in one hand and with the other hand he grasped her mitten and said ‘Take me to where you live. I want to see your brother and meet your parents. Let’s see if I have the miracle you need.’

    That well dressed man was Dr Carlton Armstrong, a surgeon, specializing in neuro-surgery. The operation was completed free of charge and it wasn’t long until Andrew was home again and doing well.

    Mom and Dad were happily talking about the chain of events that had led them to this place…

    ‘That surgery,’ her Mom whispered. ‘was a real miracle. I wonder how
    Much it would have cost?’

    Tess smiled. She knew exactly how much a miracle cost..one dollar and eleven cents….plus the faith of a little child.

    In our lives, we never know how many miracles we will need.

    A miracle is not the suspension of natural law, but the operation of a higher law.

    I know you’ll keep the ball moving!

    Here it goes. Throw it back to someone who means something to you!

    A ball is a circle, no beginning, no end. It keeps us together like our Circle of Friends. But the treasure inside for you to see is the treasure of friendship you’ve granted to me.

    Today I pass the friendship ball to you.

    Pass it on to someone who is a friend to you.

    MY OATH TO YOU…

    When you are sad…….I will dry your tears.

    When you are scared….I will comfort your fears..

    When you are worried……I will give you hope.

    When you are confused…….I will help you cope.

    And when you are lost …. And can’t see the light, I shall be your beacon …. Shining ever so bright.

    This is my oath …… I pledge till the end.

    Why you may ask? …. Because you’re my friend.

    Signed: GOD

    INSTANTLY WHEN YOU RECEIVE THIS LETTER, YOU ARE REQUESTED TO SEND IT TO AT LEAST 10 PEOPLE, INCLUDING THE PERSON WHO SENT IT TO YOU.

  23. Judy Sabatini says:

    Even though they found explosives in his underwear, or exploding powder, he pleads not guilty. PLEASE!

    Christmas Day Terror Suspect Pleads Not Guilty

    Friday, January 08, 2010

    DETROIT — A not guilty plea has been entered on behalf of a Nigerian man charged with attempting to blow up a Detroit-bound U.S. airliner on Christmas Day.

    Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was arraigned Friday on six charges. The most severe carries up to life in prison — the attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction.

    Friday’s hearing was brief. Abdulmutallab walked into the courtroom wearing a white T-shirt, pants and tennis shoes.

    He answered “yes” in English when asked if he understood the charges against him.

    After that, his lawyer said Abdulmutallab would stand mute to the charges. The U.S. magistrate judge said a not guilty plea would be entered on his behalf.

    • Judy,

      Do not confuse “guilty or not guilty” with a process of law.

      For example, where a penalty for a crime could result in capital punishment, all pleas are automatically registered as “Not Guilty”.

      All such a plea in these cases is a formality to cause a trial to occur, that is all.

      Read that “not guilty” plea this way: “I want a trial”.

  24. Judy Sabatini says:

    Death and taxes: Estate taxes

    Tax BasicsWhat happens when the inevitables of taxes and death intersect? As you might suspect, the first order of business is to determine if the final estate owes any taxes.

    What is an estate?
    Your estate is simply everything you own — your home, other real estate, bank accounts, investments, retirement benefits from your employer, IRAs, your insurance policies, collectibles and personal belongings.

    Estate taxes
    The estate tax is technically a tax on the transfer of property to others, generally to children of a decedent. It was envisioned to prevent families from passing on huge fortunes and developing a type of royalty in America.
    – advertisement –
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    Depending on how much you own when you die, your estate may have to pay estate taxes before your assets can be fully distributed. Estate taxes are different from, and in addition to, probate expenses and final income taxes owed on income you receive in the year you die. They also are separate from inheritance taxes that are collected by some states.

    Federal taxes
    Federal estate taxes were first collected in 1916. Now they are being phased out under 2001 tax legislation, with the estate tax set to expire completely in 2010. In the meantime, the taxes can still add up against large estates. But they can be reduced or eliminated — if you plan ahead.

    Your estate will have to pay taxes if its net value when you die is more than the “exempt” amount set by Congress. The table below shows the current exemption schedule and the tax rate applied to property over that amount. If lawmakers do not permanently repeal estate taxes after 2010, the exemption amount returns to $1 million in 2011.
    Year of Death Federal
    Estate Tax Exemption Highest Rate on “Excess” Property
    2002 and 2003

    $1 million

    50% in 2002;
    49% in 2003
    2004 and 2005

    $1.5 million

    48% in 2004;
    47% in 2005
    2006, 2007 and 2008

    $2 million

    46% in 2006;
    45% in 2007 and 2008
    2009

    $3.5 million

    45%
    2010

    Tax Repealed

    Tax Repealed
    2011

    $1 million

    55%

    State taxes
    Many states impose their own estate taxes, usually as a “sponge tax” that piggybacks on the federal estate tax. The federal estate tax allows each estate a tax credit for any state inheritance or estate taxes paid, up to a maximum dollar amount. Check Bankrate’s state tax directory for your state’s law.

    Determining the net value of your estate
    Add your assets, then subtract your debts. Include your home, business interests, bank accounts, investments, personal property, IRAs, retirement plans and death benefits from your life insurance.

    Decedents
    A personal representative must file certain tax returns for a decedent — a person that died — and the decedent’s estate.

    The personal representative may be required to file the final income tax return of the decedent and any returns not filed for preceding years; the U.S. income tax return for estates and trusts; and the United States estate tax return.

    The final return should have the word “Deceased,” the decedent’s name and the date of death written across the top.

    Generally, the person who is filing a return for a decedent and claiming a refund must file Form 1310 along with a copy of the death certificate.

    If you’re a surviving spouse filing a joint return or a court appointed or certified personal representative, you don’t need to file Form 1310. Court appointed or certified personal representatives must attach a copy of the certificate showing the appointment to the return.

    If a personal representative has been appointed, that person must sign the return. If it’s a joint return, the surviving spouse must sign it as well.

    If you’re a surviving spouse filing a joint return and no personal representative has been appointed, you should sign the return and write in the signature area, “Filing as surviving spouse.”

  25. Hey, long time no see yous crazies on the right. Hope everyone is doing well. I’ve been busy so excuse the tardiness, etc. I’ll jump right in on this one because it’s a favorite of mine.

    USW wrote: “Yet somehow, proponents of the estate tax believe that as I speed towards death …”

    Speeding or slowing toward it wouldn’t make a difference in Charlie World because it would only go into effect after death. At which point, the greater good gets the goods. Let me say that even if I were to opt for a libertarian stance that featured NO GOV’T at all (Black Flag’s paradigm), I would still want the kids of anyone to earn their way; not be gifted it. At some point, even if only for a military, you’re going to need money from some form of tax. This is one way to get it.

    I’ve already addressed the “hard work” issue several times (here and elsewhere). I don’t buy the “sweat of my brow” argument mostly because those with the most gelt don’t do very much sweating. And if money is passed from one generation to the next, even less “sweat” is released from the effort. There is a way for the very wealthy to never get off their duff’s and continue to earn from interest on money they were gifted 100-200 years ago. Sorry, that isn’t work or sweating. In Charlie World (here he goes again), work means work.

    I’ll try and bounce in and out for follow-up persecution. Hope yous all had a good start to the New Year.

    Peter, admit it, my Bills crushed your 3rd string team Colts like little toy clown car last week.

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      Charlie,

      Yes, the Bills anihilated the 3rd string Colts!

      As far as the estate tax goes, your argument does not hold.

      Taxation is not required in order for the government to fund itself. The government funds itself PRIMARILY through the selling of debt, either to other countries or back to the Federal Reserve. Since the government is able to fund itself in this way, there is absolutely no demonstrable need for taxation when it comes to funding the government.

      If the government were required to spend absolutely no more than what it took in in taxes, then your argument would have more of a chance of making sense.

      • Okay, so then spread the wealth. Why not? Aren’t we supposed to promote hard work? What’s hard about inheriting a fortune?

        • whats hard work about recieving govt cookies?

          ILLOGICAL

        • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

          Meh, promoting hard work is… well… hard work!

          I would rather promote freedom. (Which is also hard work by the way!)

          If a man inherits a fortune and chooses to do nothing with it, it does not provide any benefit to society, but it also IS NOT A DETRIMENT TO SOCIETY in any discernable way. If the man is still spending his money where and when he sees fit, he is still making a contribution to the economy, although a smaller contribution than he could be making.

          If he chooses to do something with that money which enables him to employ 20,000 people at $50,000 per year, then he is providing 20,000 people with a fairly reasonable wage so that they can earn their living, and if the product he produces is profitable, he ends up with MORE MONEY than he started with!

          If he is forced to “donate” a big chunk of that money to the government, there is no way to determine any discernable impact of that money on society – it simply cannot be done! However, most importantly, you have now removed his freedom to determine for himself what to do with his own money.

          By your own argument, if someone wins $100,000,000 in the lottery, it would be better if that person were forced to split that money up into $25,000 chunks and give it to 4000 people. In RARE cases, this might actually be a better outcome for economy/society; however, that will not generally be the case.

          The main question is, what difference does it make to ME how much money YOU have, and whether you busted your ass for it or got it all from daddy when he died? It makes no difference to me whatsoever.

          • My question remains what right do the children of the loot have to it? How does they’re getting a gift enhance freedom?

            • what right do you have too it is the more important question, isn’t it?

            • Charlie

              The owner of the loot has the right to it.

              That included deciding who gets it.

              So what right do you or anyone have to claim any of it?

              Your argument is that they don’t “earn” it. Yet those who get it by govt theft don’t “earn” it either. So the argument fails.

              You need a better argument if you wish to use reason. Otherwise it is simply a whim of brute force.

              • The answer: All have a right to it. Everybody.

                A small percent of inheritance and the rest to the greater good.

                That way everybody is happy.

              • Charlie,

                How much of your book royalties have you given to the greater good? I think you should be living like Mother Teresa used to live and do, and turn over the rest. You don’t need that money and neither do your family members. Just think how happy everyone will be when you practice what you preach and devote you life and modest wealth to the greater good. You know, just like expect everyone else to do. Lead by example, Charlie.

                I can’t believe your line of thinking. When you meet my standard of sacrifice, then I might take your greater good arguement seriously. Unhtil then, no way….

              • I’d do it in a heartbeat if it was part of the system. It isn’t. The system is too flawed as is.

              • The ol’ “I’d do it if everyone else does it, therefore I’ll never do it – but I will demand you still do regardless!”

              • That’s a cop out Charlie. I’m still not buying.

                And as for your comment about your greater good not leading to the end of society I disagree. If I could sit back on my butt and let other people do the heavy lifting I would. What’s the point of busting your ass just so some asshole can take it all away form you? You see Charlie, I had that happen to me in ten years of marriage. At least he was nice enough to lie and say he loved me. The corrupt pols won’t even do that much.

              • Charlie,

                But I’m not happy.

                I earned that money – it is my right to dispose of it my way.

                You taking it may make YOU happy, but it certainly does not make me happy.

                Such a design of society as you propose will eventually collapse.

                If my earnings are wasted upon the greater good, no one will work much hard then above subsistence.

                You are accepting wholesale and pervasive poverty for all people with your pogrom.

                I am unsure if you are aware that this is the consequence or if this is, indeed, your goal.

              • Not the goal at all; but I disagree with your assumption that it will lead to the end of society. I don’t buy the argument.

              • Men will stop attempting to create more wealth then what the consume when such excess is taken from them.

                Simple math –

                Need X, earn X, Keep X.

                Need X
                Earn X+Y
                Lose Y
                Keep X

                If the end is the same, why work to earn Y?

                Worse, this formula:

                Need X
                Earn B, which is less than X
                Get X-B as subsidy from someone else (out of their “Y”)
                Keep X

                This creates a spiral to disaster. No matter the B, one still gets X. Hence, B=0 still Keeps X. No effort,

                The two together destroys society.

                Fewer and fewer earn “Y” as they cannot keep it and it is no benefit to do so.

                More and more earn less than “X” as the balance provided to them anyway.

                Soon, the lines cross and there is not enough production to provide X to anyone.

                Soon desperation takes root – no one wants to produce as it is taken to supply a growing number of non-producers – and thus, only violence is possible to obtain resources.

                Society collapses under massive violence.

    • Hey CS!

      Hope you are well and warm today, it’s cold and snowy here.

      Just one question, who constitutes the “greater good”? Who gets to choose who they are? Wh has the right to choose who needs more than someone else? Just curious!

      Peace and Live Free!

      G!

    • A Puritan Descendant says:

      Yeah! Lets get those silver spoon fed kids! So what if a few hundred family farms/businesses are destroyed in the process.

      Actually Charlie, I think you make the best argument for the Estate tax I have heard today.

      ‘But’ anyone who is fed with a silver spoon and manages to pass on the silver spoon deserves to keep it. Look how many lotto winners lose it all in just a few years. Besides, someone earned it and if he/she wants it to be passed down through the family, then that is his/her right, no matter how long they have been dead.

      I could make a better argument but my brain is always fried by this time of day.

      • How do we keep people hungry with incentive if we keep handing them gelt for doing nothing? This is kind of the reverse of your arguments against welfare. I see inheritence as welfare. Let the brats work for it. Let them have motivation other than your death. Let them work for what they want.

        Your brain and my computer fried. I’m trying to type on a laptop tonight. My head is about to explode. Keep hitting the wrong keys.

        I used Bill O’reilly’s argument on my blog today … I think he’s a buffoon but he made a very valid point about terrorists being given their day in court. I know, another topic. It’s rare I agree with O’Reilly so I thought I’d share.

        No inheritence beyond a structure percent (not to exceed, say, $200,000) … let the little shits earn it on their own. $200,000 is a pretty fair advantage to start with, you ask me. I got a borken watch.

        • So, in your world, we would lose over 1 million jobs, and that’s OK, because the “brat” is over 40 years old?

          Just wondering how much the progressives are willing to go to destroy this nation.

          G!

        • Hi Charlie,

          To a small extent, I agree with you. I’m in a position help my 22 year old university student daughter, with several hundred dollars monthly. But I don’t. I’ve told her the reason why, and she’s a little miffed but is smart enough to know I’m right. My reasoning: How will she learn to take care of herself if she always has someone taking care of her? That said, when I die, she will be getting the house, the jewelry and anything else that’s left. I don’t have a problem with that because I won’t be needing it. I’d rather my daughter have things to remember our connection and relationship, than give it to a bunch of corrupt politicians in the government. I know my daughter will appreciate it much more than some welfare parasite, or some Marxist minion.

        • You’re missing the point Charlie. My children have no right to my inheritance. However I have the right to give my property to whomever I choose, whenever I choose, including upon death.

          If I instead picked a random person on the street to give it to, would you still have a problem? How about if I spread it out among hundreds of thousands of random people? Or if I simply want to retire and give everything I own away (to my children or others), living with my surviving children until I die?

          Do you have a problem with people who win the real lottery (most of whom piss the money away anyway, similar to those who win your “genetic lottery”)?

        • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

          Charlie,

          Inheritance is NOT welfare. Let’s say I amass a fortune of $10,000,000, and I pass that fortune on to my kids. Yes, THEY did nothing to earn the money, so why is it NOT welfare?

          Welfare is the government TAKING OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY and giving it to “the needy”.

          In gifting my own children with my fortune, I did not take anyone else’s money; therefore it does not fit the definition of welfare.

          You must define your terms much more clearly. Confusing inheritance/gifts with the forcible taking of money from other people is a dangerous misinterpretation.

          In the one case, I am taking what I have earned, and giving it to who I wish to give it to, which is an act of a free man.

          In the other case, the government is taking what I have earned, and giving it to someone not of my choosing. This is an act of slavery.

  26. Judy Sabatini says:

    Birds of a feather flock together . . .and then shit on your car.

    A penny saved is a government oversight..

    The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right time, but also to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.

    The older you get, the tougher it is to lose weight, because by then your body and your fat have gotten to be really good friends.

    The easiest way to find something lost around the house is to buy a replacement .

    He who hesitates is probably right.

    Did you ever notice: The Roman Numerals for forty (40) are XL.’

    If you think there is good in everybody, you haven’t met everybody.

    If you can smile when things go wrong, you have someone in mind to blame.

    The sole purpose of a child’s middle name is so he can tell when he’s really in trouble..

    There’s always a lot to be thankful for if you take time to look for it. For example I am sitting here thinking how nice it is that wrinkles don’t hurt.

    Did you ever notice: When you put the 2 words ‘The’ and ‘IRS’ together it spells ‘Theirs…’

    Aging: Eventually you will reach a point when you stop lying about your age and start bragging about it.

    The older we get, the fewer things seem worth waiting in line for.

    Some people try to turn back their odometers. Not me, I want people to know ‘why’ I look this way. I’ve traveled a long way and some of the roads weren’t paved.

    When you are dissatisfied and would like to go back to your youth, think of Algebra.

    You know you are getting old when everything either dries up or leaks.

    One of the many things no one tells you about aging is that it is such a nice change from being young. Ah, being young is beautiful, but being old is comfortable.

    Long ago when men cursed and beat the ground with sticks, it was called witchcraft. Today, it’s called golf.

    Lord, Keep your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth . . .. . . .. . . AMEN!

  27. From FOX

    MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, one of the leading academic defenders of health care reform, is taking heat for failing to disclose consistently that he was under contract with the Department of Health and Human Services while he was touting the Democrats’ health proposals in the media.

    Gruber, according to federal government documents, is under a

    $297,600 contract until next month to provide “technical assistance”

    in evaluating health care reform proposals. He was under a $95,000 HHS contract before that.

  28. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    Mathius,

    Your confusion in using the term obligation leads to the following contradiction quite naturally:

    Take the current form of “welfare” in the US:

    In order to receive maximum benefits you must be female, single, unemployed, and with multiple children (in many cases from multiple fathers).

    So, in order to receive maximum benefits, the presence of the father in the family relationship is at best optional, and at worst, totally discouraged. By your definition of moral obligations, the father is ACTIVELY PREVENTED from carrying out his moral obligation to care for his own family.

    In order to receive maximum benefits, the mother must be unemployed, or at best employed but making a wage which is insufficient to support herself and her children. Thus, she is actively prevented from carrying out her moral obligation to care for her own family, and actively prevented from carrying out her moral obligation to discharge her debts.

    If the father and the mother wish to actually have a relationship and the father wishes to actively take care of his children, they must lie about this relationship (and not get married) in order for them to continue to receive the maximum benefit. Thus, they are actively prevented from carrying out their moral obligation to be honest.

    Now, because we have a government program which REQUIRES that participants behave in ways which you yourself have defined as immoral in order to receive the maximum benefit, the government is now able to use your own argument as to what is MORALLY OBLIGATORY against YOU and now require that you care for this unemployed woman and her children, because she has been ACTIVELY PREVENTED from doing so herself, so now you have allowed HER MORAL OBLIGATIONS to be passed on to YOU instead, as well as allowing them to be passed off onto anyone else who pays taxes.

    Morally speaking the whole thing makes no sense!

    • All very convoluted, I agree. You should not mistake my support for the idea of welfare with support for the current implementation of welfare. If, indeed, it is structured as you say (and I have no reason to think otherwise), it was set up stupidly. But that is not the debate. The question I keep asking and which keeps getting danced around is the one I asked above:

      While there are certain things you cannot morally do (murder, for example), are there any things that you have to do to remain moral?

      For example: I must provide for / protect my family. Failing to do so, would be immoral.

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        Mathius,

        Your questions are actually good ones. However, confusing what is actually moral is what leads to danger playground (complete with tether-mace and old refrigerator for your play-time enjoyment!).

        For example – you cannot murder, murder is immoral.

        Why is that?

        Natural Law states that you have a right to life. This means that no one has a right to ACTIVELY take that right from you.

        Now, you MIGHT take this to mean that everyone should pay for everyone else’s healthcare (since healthcare is necessary for life). However, life existed well before healthcare. Good healthcare can certainly EXTEND LIFE, and make it more bearable while you are alive. However, Natural Law says NOTHING about you being ENTITLED to a certain QUALITY OF LIFE. It merely says that you have the right to exist.

        Natural Law also says that you have a right to liberty. This means that you have a right to live your life freely and independently, free from the imposition of others. This right also negates the argument that you have any sort of obligation to pay for healthcare for anyone else. If you CHOOSE to do so, that is perfectly fine. However, if someone attempts to coerce or force you to do so, then that is violating your right to liberty.

        As we have tried to describe here before, one person’s rights CANNOT SUPERSEDE the rights of another person.

        So, the only MORAL choice, if you wish for healthcare to be provided to those that cannot afford it, is to make the choice for yourself to provide help to those who need it, and to actively speak out and encourage others to do so as well (saying what you think and trying to convince others of the validity of your position is not only fine, it is encouraged!). The problem comes in when you substitute coercion and force for speaking your mind and encouragement.

        If you tell me that you think it is a good idea to help pay for healthcare for those who need it, and you encourage me to donate to an organization which will do so, I am free to agree (or disagree) with you, and I am free to make such a donation (or not).

        Disagreeing with you and not making a donation might make me a selfish bastard in your opinion. However, the minute you accept that it is ok to use coercion or force to get me to pay for healthcare for other people, you have suddenly become the selfish bastard instead.

        This is where most people have the most difficulty. They see no way in which society would possibly function without forcing the people who have money to give it to the people who do not have money.

        You yourself feel that it is moral to help those in need, and you also feel like this should be a pretty darn common moral foundation (it sounds like).

        Well, if it is indeed true that helping the needy is a common moral foundation, then the use of coercion and force to ensure that it will happen is unnecessary!

        • But I’m not asking about government (or anyone) making you do anything. I’m asking if there is anything you must do to be considered moral. If you do not do this thing, you are immoral. Not if anyone can/should force you to do it.

          Try it like this: I think that anyone who fails to _____ is immoral. I have no right to make them do it, but their choice not to do so causes me to believe that they are not moral.

          A. Fill in the blank.
          B. I reject the question as stated because ______.

          • B. …because it is an attempt to prove a subjective as if it was objective.

            No more than you can prove that red is a better color than blue, you cannot prove that one’s morals is superior to another.

            You can offer your morals and I can offer my morals but I cannot use my morals to prove or disprove your morals.

  29. http://freedomfliesblackflag.wordpress.com/2010/01/08/anarchy-lack-o…es-people-rich/

    Soroland may not be a breakaway zone, but for seven years the inhabitants of this zone have got used to living without government taxes, customs charges and even water and electricity bills.

    “Things are a lot cheaper than in the south – we see that people from the south often come here to stock up, above all the military who come for all their electronics – mobile phones, DVDs, televisions, everything,” he says.

  30. Holy cow!

    Buy alert!!

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Gulf-Stream-Cavalier-FEMA-Trailer-Camper-CLOSEOUT_W0QQitemZ290387434611QQcategoryZ50063QQcmdZViewItem#ht_5484wt_1163

    Incredible Priced Trailers Suitable as Emergency Living Quarters during Upheaval

    FEMA built these trailers. They were never used. An outfit in Alabama bought them. It is selling them cheap: $3,400

  31. Judy Sabatini says:

    Okay Flag, here’s one for you, and you tell me if this was too much or too little. Will be interested in hearing your thoughts.

    A 32 year old Reno man who car-jacked and assaulted two separate rivers withing a 24 hour period in August was sentenced Thursday to 50 years in prison.

    Jonathon Kingrey Swaim will be eligible for parole after serving 11 years under the sentence imposed by Senior Judge Bob Rose.

    Swaim pleaded guilty on Nov. 17th to two counts of robbery with a deadly weapon and two counts of battery with a deadly weapon. Deputy District Attorney Kay Lyon said. Charges against another man allegedly involved in both incidents are pending, Lyon said.

    Why does one have to go to prison, while charges on the other are pending? Shouldn’t both be convicted if they were both involved? Doesn’t seem fair if one goes and the other doesn’t, even if the charges against the second person in involved are pending.

    • I do not the circumstances – perhaps he happened to be there, but didn’t do anything, or maybe didn’t have a weapon….

      • Judy Sabatini says:

        Okay, see your point. But allegedly doesn’t necessarily mean innocent either, right. Yes, I know, doesn’t mean guilty either.

    • Buck The Wala says:

      Without knowing any facts in this case, it seems that the one went to prison because he PLEADED GUILTY. Please proceed to jail, do not pass Go.

      If the other individual did not plead guilty there must be a trial on the merits to determine his culpability.

      • Judy Sabatini says:

        I don’t think he/she, or who ever didn’t plead to anything, just said in the article, that charges are pending. I’ll have to keep up on it and see if anything else appears in our local paper about it.

  32. We have TSA perverts with body scanners…

    …now we have a Orlando cop fondled lactating woman’s breast against her will outside nightclub…

    http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/breakingnews/os-wanted-orlando-officer-firestone-20100107,0,63047.story?page=1

    Unlike other perverts, he is out on bail of (hold on to your hat) $5,500.

    • Judy Sabatini says:

      He should be suspended indefinitely without pay. It doesn’t matter what Cortez was doing in the nightclub, that had nothing to do with they way she was fondled out in the parking lot.

      But, that’s my opinion.

  33. Hi Ya’ll! 🙂

    Buck, spent my whole day plowing snow at work, didn’t get a chance to look for the point paper on HR 3200. Will get in Monday and will add it to the open mike subjects. My sincere apologies, sir

    Live Free or Die!

    G!

    • Buck The Wala says:

      Don’t be, I had high hopes of sitting back and relaxing today. Of course, only an hour or so into work, all changed and I’ve been busy ever since. Just finished up the last of it and about to head home.

      Thanks for looking that up for me! Probably won’t be around online this weekend, but have a great one.

      Talk to ya next week.

      –Buck

  34. Something to think about the next time you shop!

    My grandson likes Hershey’s candy . I noticed, though, that it is marked
    made in Mexico now. I do not buy it any more.
    My favorite toothpaste Colgate is made in Mexico … now
    I have switched to Crest. You have to read the labels on everything ..
    This past weekend I was at Kroger. I needed 60 W light bulbs and Bounce dryer sheets . I was
    in the light bulb aisle, and right next to the GE brand I normally buy was an off-brand
    labeled, “Everyday Value . ” I picked up both types of bulbs and compared the stats
    they were the same except for the price ..

    The GE bulbs were more money than the Everyday Value brand but the
    thing that surprised me the most was the fact that GE was made in MEXICO
    and the Everyday Value brand was made in – get ready for this – the USA in
    a company in Cleveland , Ohio.

    So throw out the myth that you cannot find products you use every day that
    are made right here ..

    So on to another aisle – Bounce Dryer Sheets . .. . yep, you guessed it,
    Bounce cost more money and is made in Canada . The Everyday Value
    brand was less money and MADE IN THE USA ! I did laundry yesterday
    and the dryer sheets performed just like the Bounce Free I have been using
    for years and at almost half the price!

    My challenge to you is to start reading the labels when you shop for
    everyday things and see what you can find that is made in the USA – the
    job you save may be your own or your neighbors!

    G!

  35. Judy Sabatini says:

    Dammit G, I was just about to put that up myself, and I noticed you already did.

    So, how goes it with you today? Hope all is well.

    Judy

    • 8 inches of snow last night, temps in the teens and windy. But thats outside, inside it’s a comfy 75 and the woodburne is working it’s heart out, and keeping my furnace off, which is saving much money. I plowed most of the day at work, the guys who do it were there all night, and I spell them when needed so they can get some rest. First time this year that’s happened, last year it was Jan 9th, I went in and plowed for ten hours. I don’t mind, my guys can only work so long, and nobody else seems to want to it, so I do it, and enjoy it.

      More snow tonight, maybe, the weather people are often wrong, which I find facinating, because some people still think they can predict the climate a hundred years from now, but still can’t predict the weather 12 hours from now! 🙂

      G!

      • Judy Sabatini says:

        We’re getting rain right now, and wouldn’t you know, just had my car washed a couple days ago, but isn’t that standard procedure. Well, better the rain than snow.

        We don’t have a nice warm wood burner like you, we have a nice high costing heater we use. We’ve been looking for a wood burning stove, but they’re so expensive, even used ones aren’t cheap. Can’t use the fireplace because it needs cleaning smoke backs up into the house, those chimney sweeps aren’t cheap either. So, we’re paying through the nose.

        Have to pick up Matthew tonight at the airport around 9:30, only had 3 days in New York. He got an Email from his Col., saying that there’s drill this weekend, and if anybody misses that, they will be charged with going AWOL, and he can’t afford to lose his benefits for school, so he’s on his way. Last time I talked with him he was in Dallas. He said the Col. is a real bitch, yes a female Col.. He said she doesn’t get along with anybody. SO, his well deserved vacation got cut short. Oh well, there is always another time.

        BYW, glad you’re doing good G.

      • Hi G-Man,

        Where do you live that you constantly have new snow? Buffalo? Cleveland? Do you get lake effect snow?

        And 75 degrees inside your house? OOOHHHH boy I’d be turning that thermostat down right away. That would be way too hot for me.

        • Kathy,

          I’m in Youngstown, and we are hit and miss with the lake effect. Two nights ago, they said less than an inch, I got 4 inches. Last night, they said 2 to 4, we got 8, go figure! It’s strange here, because two miles away could get a dusting, and I need to shovel 10 inches, or vise-versa. Mother nature at her best.

          G!

  36. Judy Sabatini says:

    Health Care Countdown: Differences Over Abortion Funding Pose Hurdle

    FOXNews.com

    The House and Senate, entering what may be the final weeks of health care talks, are still struggling to come up with a compromise that will settle disagreements over how best to ensure public dollars do not go toward funding abortion coverage.

    Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., greets participants at an abortion-rights rally Dec. 2 in Washington. (AP Photo)

    This is the last part of a five-part series on health care reform.

    Middle ground is hard to come by on the issue of abortion, and the health care debate is no exception.

    The House and Senate, entering what may be the final weeks of health care talks, are still struggling to come up with a compromise that will settle disagreements over how best to ensure public dollars do not go toward funding abortion coverage.

    The bills in both chambers are distinctly different when it comes to abortion funding. The House sets up a veritable brick wall between taxpayer funds and abortion providers. The Senate, critics say, provides too many openings for public money to fund abortion.

    “There’s either funding for abortions or there isn’t,” said Charmaine Yoest, president of Americans United for Life. “There really isn’t a middle ground on the issue.”
    related links

    A big problem in resolving the dispute is that the Senate is already on record opposing the kind of strict provisions that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi needed in her bill in order for it to pass.

    Pelosi, an abortion rights supporter, was only able to pass a health care bill after allowing a vote on tough abortion language sponsored by Michigan Democratic Rep. Bart Stupak.

    The move won her 40 Democratic votes she easily could have lost if the restrictions had not been included. Even with them, the House bill only passed by five votes, leaving little room for compromise.

    Yet anti-abortion forces in the House are not happy with the Senate bill, which has looser restrictions. The package would require that insurance companies segregate any federal subsidies so that only private funds from customers are used for abortion coverage. It would also have companies charge a specific fee dedicated for abortion coverage, which has angered some groups.

    In addition, at least one plan in the state-by-state insurance exchanges would have to offer abortion coverage, unless a state individually opts out — which isn’t easy.

    “Each state, if they want out of the abortion mandates that are in the Senate plan, would have to pass their own laws to get out of funding abortion,” Yoest said.

    Abortion-rights supporters in the Senate, which helped defeat a Stupak-style provision before the full chamber voted on health care in December, are determined not to let the House language leak into their bill.

    But will House members who voted for the Stupak amendment accept anything less?

    Rep. Jason Altmire, D-Pa., suggested moderates would be insistent.

    “The exclusion has to remain in place — no taxpayers dollars can be used to fund abortions,” he said.

    The question is whether the House and Senate can find some middle ground that won’t lose votes from one group or the other.

    House Democrats who voted for the Stupak amendment concede the Senate won’t accept that specific language.

    “We know what can and cannot be done in the Senate, so the question is can we come up with other language that will be acceptable to uphold the status quo?” said Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas.

    Analysts say some of the Democrats who supported the Stupak provision would consider other language, depending on the rest of the bill.

    “Not all of them are going to be Stupak or bust,” said Jim Kessler, vice president for policy with Third Way. “A lot of the folks … they wanted to see to make sure that there wasn’t an expansion of abortion coverage, and they’d certainly be willing to take a compromise.”

    But Kessler said there may be 10 to 15 House Democrats that absolutely will not support health care reform if it contains the Senate language. That would be too many defectors, since health care reform cannot pass the House a second time if Pelosi loses three or more votes.

  37. Matt,

    Why does it have nothing to do with morals?

    Because morals are subjective. There exists cultures that have no problem with killing unborn babies for any reason – and believe it is moral to do so.

    There are cultures that hold an opposite view.

    The attempt to find a set of universal morals is futile save one item.

    The question is if she is morally obligated to do anything. You say no.

    Correct.

    So she chooses not to eat and this, therefore, is perfectly moral.

    Moral….for who? For her, maybe. For you, maybe. For Judy, maybe not., etc.

    The fact that the fetus dies as a result is irrelevant to you?

    For me, it is relevant – however, what she does to HER body is not my concern.

    She has, thus, aborted her pregnancy morally by this logic, or am I missing something.

    She may have but she may have not, either. Her motives of starving does not matter – nor does this tactic guarantee abortion (in fact, it is not likely at all – the human body actually will allow the mother to die before the fetus in most circumstances).

    Again, “morally”??? Based on who’s measure? Yours? Hers? Mine? Judy? USWep??

    You have no problem with the fact that the end result is the same, but the methodology is different?

    Yes. There is an infinite difference between me plunging a knife into your chest and me not stopping someone else’s knife plunging into your chest.

    Methodology counts.

    In your view, a woman may morally abort her fetus if she does so through willful inaction (ie refraining from eating or drinking)? I just want to make sure I’ve got this right.

    You don’t have it right. You will always fail trying to create an objective measure for a subjective condition.

    Until you can prove why blue is a better color than green, you cannot prove morals.

    Me thinks you should steer your pirate ship into a cove somewhere and patch her up before she takes on any more water.

    Oh – THAT ship. You need to clean your spy glass. That one is called a SUBMARINE. And that is a torpedo that is bubbling toward you…..

    • BF/Matt

      BF said: “Because morals are subjective. There exists cultures that have no problem with killing unborn babies for any reason – and believe it is moral to do so.”

      And that is why morals are NOT subjective.

      If you want to discover morals You must use objective reasoning.

      Morals are objective or they are NOT moral.

      Me alive vs. me dead = objective

      • JAC,

        You are arguing that a moral can be objectively discovered.

        You alive vs dead is very objective – but morally subjective.

        You maybe an evil villain and your death is cheering. You maybe a saint and your death saddening.

        Your death has not changed – what is changing are others view of you. It is their subjective view that changes ‘your death’ and changes its moral-ness.

    • Judy Sabatini says:

      Okay, time for me to jump in here, since I saw my name mentioned.

      Matt, it is morally wrong for a woman to abort her baby. If she decides to do that without regard for that baby, then she has no morals. She isn’t considering the life that’s growing inside her, she’s only thinking what she wants to do and how to end it.

      Yes, I know, there might be times when it’s necessary, but even then I question that. We’ve been down this road many times, and for some reason, you don’t seem to grasp it.

      Let me ask you this Matt, I also asked Buck the same thing here a while back. Say your wife got pregnant, you’re a happy camper about it, but then, she decides she doesn’t want that baby anymore and goes and gets an abortion without you knowing about it. How would you feel? Happy? Sad? Angry? What. I hoope you never find yourself in that position, but stop and think about it.

      If they pass this health care bill with funding for abortions, then like I said before, there will be a lot more abortions going on, believe me. Anybody who can kill an unborn baby without blinking an eye, should have her crotch sewed up, then she wouldn’t have to worry about getting pregnant.

      Yes, I feel very strongly about abortions, and most here know how and where I stand on it. I just don’t understand how you still question it. Maybe you can shed some light on it for me and tell me that you don’t believe a fetus is a live living human being.

      • Judy,

        We know your position on this subject. Noone with any brains would attempt to try and change that.

        Now, this issue, may, or may not, stop the BS Obamacare from passing. Fight abortion, by fighting Obamacare, it’s a huge issue.

        G!

      • Hi Judy.. must have missed this yesterday..

        Some thoughts..

        I wasn’t really arguing the morality of abortions above. I was actually just trying to prove to Flag that there are moral obligations as well as moral prohibitions. Protecting your family might be an example. Since he said there were no obligations, I only offered deliberately starving yourself as an example – to prove that inaction can be immoral.

        Now, I don’t believe that a lot more people will have abortions if they’re affordable. I think the limiting factor is ethical concerns. It is a hard choice and a lot of people choose not to get them, not because of lack money, but because they are unsure if they can live with the choice, or if it’s murder, etc.

        Further, I have known a few people who have had abortions. Not one of them were able to have it done “without blinking an eye.” It is a deeply personal and extremely difficult choice. They made their choices for their own reasons, but I think it does disservice to the debate to act as if they wantonly chose to do this. They all spoke of the heartbreak but felt that they were, in the end, doing the right thing.

        So you can say it’s wrong, and perhaps you are right, but you cannot say it’s easy for them. It unfairly maligns good people who did what they thought best in an awful situation.

  38. If Obama had a secret screen name for the net, what do you think it would be? Here’s what I think it could be: geeohdee

    This is a test! 🙂

    G!

    P.S. What does it mean?

  39. Matt

    Too soft, sir. To be moral he must do what he defines as moral? I define it as moral to rob banks. Thus robbing banks is moral?

    You claim absolutes. Where are those absolutes?

    I claim absolutes where objective measures apply. You have never seem me apply absolutes to subjectives.

    You example of robbing a bank is not a moral question – it is an act of violence which triggers objective answers. Whether you believe you have a right to rob banks does not count – you are imposing upon another person – and thus, have stepped into a whole different arena.

    You piercing your body with metal rings – moral or immoral? (Shrug) You define that for yourself. For me, I cannot imagine doing such a thing to myself. You may decide differently.

    • Judy Sabatini says:

      Hey, where did Matt go? I was waiting for him to answer my questions I had for him with the abortion issue. Think maybe I was too hard on him?

  40. Judy Sabatini says:

    In honor of Elvis’s 75th birthday today.

  41. Judy Sabatini says:

  42. Judy Sabatini says:

    Well people, I’m calling it a night, and I hope you all will have a good weekend if I don’t see you here.

    Love you all and take care.

    Judy

    • Judy, have you ever used Indeed.com to help you in your job search? This site searchs all other sites like Monster and CareerBuilder and others and lists the jobs. It’s a one stop search center. You can set it up to get jobs posted in your city or state and receive an e-mail daily. You can set up a salary range to weed out jobs and some other functions. Give it a try. I think you will like it. Like you, I’m still looking and I use Indeed.com.

      You may also want to try Careers in Food and see what is posted. It’s a special site for food companies.

      Another is USA Jobs that list all government jobs. There are a ton of government jobs out there. Some are for ex government employees who were downsized but there are new jobs as a result of our government expansion. The jobs are all over the U.S. but most are around DC. You can register and set up job search criteria and receive e-mail alerts.

      Birdman

    • Judy Sabatini:

      Did you get a chance to check out Indeed.com? It’s a great one source site for a job search.

  43. Sorta kinda related…

    You gotta love us…. Our attorney General filing unconstitutional violations against the Health care. No other AG’s joining us.

    I love Texas…we are an independent lot.

    • I sure hope it’s successful.

      Top o’ the Morning, Sir

      G!

    • D13:

      I will support Texas in any way that I can. I really mean that.

      I’ve already informed my wife that we will move to the first state that seceeds from the U.S. She supports the decision. That means that I am willing to lose everything to stand up for freedom.

      The next few years will be very interesting.

      Stay free,
      Birdman

    • D13
      I noticed you are in favor of dumping the capital gains tax. Couldn’t help but think that this is 2010. There are no capital gains at the moment. At least where I come from.

    • There are already 13 AG’s that have acted on this; perhaps TX AG was not in that group and going it alone? I’m still working on the WI AG to get involved.

  44. The Power of a Badge…..

    A DEA officer stops at a ranch in Texas, and talks with an old rancher. He tells the rancher, “I need to inspect your ranch for illegally grown drugs.” The rancher says, “Okay, but do not go in that field over there,” as he points out the location.

    The DEA officer verbally explodes saying, “Mister, I have the authority of the Federal Government with me.” Reaching into his rear pants pocket, he removes his badge and proudly displays it to the rancher. “See this badge? This badge means I am allowed to go wherever I wish …. on any land. No questions asked or answers given. Have I made myself clear?
    Do you understand? ”

    The rancher nods politely, apologizes, and goes about his chores.

    A short time later, the old rancher hears loud screams and sees the DEA officer running for his life chased by the rancher’s big Santa Gertrudis bull ……

    With every step the bull is gaining ground on the officer, and it seems likely that he’ll get gored before he reaches safety. The officer is clearly terrified. The rancher throws down his tools, runs to the fence and yells at the top of his lungs …..

    “Your badge. Show him your BADGE

    (Now, does that sound like anyone we know?)

    • Nice….

    • Morning LOI!

      YOU MAY BE A TALIBAN IF…”

      1. You refine heroin for a living, but you have a moral objection to liquor.

      2. You own a $3,000 machine gun and $5,000 rocket launcher, but you can’t afford shoes.

      3. You have more wives than teeth.

      4. You wipe your butt with your bare hand, but consider bacon “unclean.”

      5. You think vests come in two styles: bullet-proof and suicide.

      6. You can’t think of anyone you haven’t declared Jihad against.

      7. You consider television dangerous, but routinely carry explosives in your clothing.

      8. You were amazed to discover that cell phones have uses other than setting off roadside bombs.

      9. You have nothing against women and think every man should own at least four.

      10. You’ve always had a crush on your neighbor’s goat.

      11. Your cousin is president of the United States

      Couldn’t resist 🙂

      G!

  45. Good Morning Everyone.

    Feel almost alert this AM. Could be a good sign, or could be delusion. Don’t know yet.

    But wanted to comment on the Death Tax, or at least the thinking displayed yesterday. I fear everyone was getting a little lazy. Arguments tended to mix different concepts at a time. Very confusing when in drug induced state but easier to see also.

    First of all, you can’t build a moral argument against “estate taxes” in isolation. That argument applies to all taxes that are not voluntary. BF says all taxes are not voluntary that is why they call them a tax. I am OK with the verbage if that brings clarity but everyone knows that voluntary and involuntary is the key, not what we NAME the thing.

    We have an involuntary system. So lets look at estate taxes in that context. The argument that it is “double taxation” while true is not an argument against the tax. All money I have and transfer to someone else, by purchase or trade, is taxed again. The “unfair” part is that I don’t get to expense the expense on my taxes, thus double taxation occurs on the same dollars.

    What makes it unfair is that I can change my tax status by using various “government provided” categories, such as Inc., or LLC. The argument that govt provided status is available and therefore the loss of small business wealth due to inheretance is minimal is an illogical and somewhat immoral argument. It is a relatavistic criteria applied by accepting and based solely on the govt fiat categories. It is unjust.

    Now lets accept the current tax philosophy, that is an “income tax”, and its two forms of income, oridnary and capital gains. Given that all income taxed on one owner is again taxed when that income is transferred to another, in trade or other exchange, then income transferred to a child is taxable as ordinary income. Gifts are taxable to others and thus they are taxable to children. A gift is a gift, or at least it should be.

    The problem created by the law is not really over the income, or cash, portion. It is the capital goods, like the business, buildings, land, and equipment. Here is where the existing law is flawed, if one accepts the premise that such a law should even exist. The exchange of these types of materials does not create income, in the commonly accepted sense. You can not immediately and “easily” purchase or trade for other things using these goods. You can trade for goods of similar value but otherwise you must sell them for cash and then use the cash. It is not until you sell the materials that an “actual” income occurs (capital gain).

    But the tax law treats it as income, taxing the receipient and thus forcing its liquidation. In doing so the govt simply creates a greater chance of even more people needing some other govt provided cookies in the future. The family who inherets a rental appartment building is more likely to go through life without needing govt assistance, at their “burden” on society will diminish even in retirement. But the govt forces the sale of the building and then takes up to half the value in tax. Leaving the family not enough to do anything with. Oh, and it usually causes them to pay higher taxes on their other income as now their bracket has changed so drastically.

    Even more idiotic is that the govt forfiets what would be the higher value, tax on all future earnings of the inhereted apt., for the tax on the capital gain. Assume a 500,000 building bringing in 50,000 per year income. The maximum tax of 50% is 250,000 now. The present value of the annual tax, assuming a 35% bracket and a 5% discount rate, is about 350,000. The more logical thing to do is tax the income not the capital gain.

    This of course shows once again the stupidity of govt or the fact that TAXES are not about income.

    Now, lest Charlie Stella or others be concerned about purpetual transfer of wealth in property, I say so what. Eventually that wealth is converted into some form of income. That is when you tax it. If the extra house is lived in then there is a free house, that means what would have been deductible house expenses no longer exist. That means a higher tax on the higher income of the reciepient of the house.

    There are issues regarding whether wealth should be given without earning. But those issues need to be decided by the person doing the giving, not a third party. At that is what society and the govt are, a third party.

    Matt: Coveting does not make the economy run. Coveting implies I want and therefore I deserve. It is an irrational immotion and thus leads to immoral action.

    Anyhow, I hope this helps some with the estate tax issue. No stepped up basis on property is required if we don’t tax property until it is converted to income. Just tax the income.

    Of course the only moral action is NO TAX. But that really is a separate discussion.

    Best to you all
    And remember its good to be alive, so LIVE and LIVE FREE.

    JAC

    • Hey JAC…my friend….hope you are doing well. Better living through chemistry right now?

      • D13

        Afternoon Colonel. Sorry to see your longhorns flame out.

        Never did hear, what happened to McCoy in the game? Is he OK?

        Chemicals are now reduced greatly. The Oxycodon has been put away. Just high powered Ibuprofen and some caffiene to fight off the drowsy feeling.

        Although still feeling a little……..muddled.

        Best to you and yours
        JAC

  46. Cyndi P:

    Thanks, the warm thoughts have finally arrived. Jumped all the way to 23 this AM.

    Way to go girl, you got powers.

    LOL/JAC

    • HAHAHA! I WISH! I’m probably going loose the mango and macadama nut trees in the backyard of my Florida house. Damn……

  47. Peter B:

    My friend, I do believe that yesterday I saw you defend something using Natural Law as the foundation for what is moral.

    If that is so, then I believe you have the argument reversed. Natural law is the result of mankinds search for that which is moral. Thus we can argue that those things reflected in natural law are moral, but not JUST because it is natural law itself. Only because natural law represents that which we kept as moral.

    And to the extent that some “natural laws” may still represent “subjective” morals they may or may not be kept in the long run. Those laws that have not been tested may or may not be moral.

    How do we know if something is moral? That is the question. But the answer is not “because it is natural law”.

    Make sense?

    Best wishes to you and your family this chilly Saturday.
    JAC

  48. Judy Sabatini says:

    FNC

    Although 2010 has started out with Americans reeling from a terror scare, the passengers on Flight 253 showed a great deal of courage when they took action and stopped a terrorist. The incident prompted me to think about the five most courageous — and cowardly acts of 2009:

    FIVE MOST COURAGEOUS ACTS IN 2009

    1. Lloyd Gardner’s Donation of £10,000 Reward for Locating Rape Suspect

    A 22-year-old British waiter named Lloyd Garner identified two women from a news report who later helped police locate a man who allegedly raped an Exeter woman. Gardner refused the £10,000 and instead donated the money to the alleged victim instead. “It was a difficult decision to make because it is a lot of money and it would have been very helpful, but I didn’t feel like I deserved it at all,” Gardner told the BBC back in October. “With the state that the girl was in after the incident, I really felt that it would go towards making her life a lot better over the next couple of years.”

    2. Actress Angie Harmon for Challenging Leftist Scare Tactics

    In March, Actress Angie Harmon was one of the first to denounce the scare tactics used by the far-left to label anyone a racist simply because they disagreed with President Obama. “If I have anything to say against Obama it’s not because I’m a racist, it’s because I don’t like what he’s doing as president and anybody should be able to feel that way, but what I find now is that if you say anything against him you’re called a racist,” she told a Los Angeles reporter.

    3. Will Phillips, a 10-year Old Boy Who Refused to Say the Pledge of Allegiance

    In November, Will Phillips, a 10-year-old boy in Arkansas declined to say the pledge of allegiance with his class because he believed that freedom should guarantee the right for gays to marry. Regardless of one’s view on the Pledge or gay marriage, this was an act of courage and integrity rarely seen from even most adults.

    4. Former U.S. Congressman Gary Condit for Not Deflecting Suspicion

    Even after enduring eight years of false accusations and undue suspicion for the murder of missing U.S. Bureau of Prisons intern Chandra Levy, former Congressman Gary Condit did not point any fingers after Washington, D.C. police finally arrested a new suspect, Ingmar Guandique. It would have been easy to jump on the media bandwagon before a trial, especially after what he’s been through.

    5. U.S. Prosecutors who Issued Arrest Warrant for Roman Polanski in Zurich, Switzerland

    In September, Swiss authorities detained award winning director Roman Polanski in Switzerland after California prosecutors issued an arrest warrant for allegedly raping a 13-year old girl in 1977.

    FIVE MOST COWARDLY ACTS IN 2009

    1. Shooting at U.S. Memorial Holocaust Museum by Holocaust Denier

    Holocaust-denier James Von Brunn shot an innocent security officer Stephen Tyrone Jones with a .22 caliber rifle. Von Brunn was apprehended by other officers and is now awaiting trial the nation’s capitol. It has since been revealed Von Brunn’s government benefits ran out, which some suspect was the real reason for this pathetic act.

    2. President Obama’s Delay in Supporting the People of Iran

    President Bush and the Congress passed the “Iran Freedom Support Act” which made it official policy for the U.S. to support democracy and freedom for the people of Iran. Obama’s delay in showing any support for the Revolution of 2009 sent a message to that America is faltering as leader of the free world. It was too little, too late.

    3. Arlen Specter’s Defection to the Democratic Party for Re-election Purposes

    When Senator James Jeffords left the Republican Party in 2001, he became an independent to maintain a system of checks and balances and prevent the dominance of one party over another, which was an honorable act. When Republican Senator Arlen Specter from Pennsylvania defected to the Democratic Party this year, he said he did so because he couldn’t get reelected as a Republican, and as a result, handed unilateral power to one party that arguably had too much power already.

    4. Media’s Shameful Treatment of Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin

    Instead of attacking Governor Palin on the merits of her beliefs, the media has launched inappropriate, cruel personal attacks and done this repeatedly. “Late Show” host David Letterman and New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd are the appointed recipients of this award.

    5. Republican Party’s Abandonment of President George W. Bush

    Although a running theme during President Bush’s second term, Republicans failed to vindicate themselves in 2009 by defending their former commander-in-chief in the midst of frequent, misdirected attacks from the Obama administration.Exempt from this blatant act of cowardice and disloyalty is Vice President Dick Cheney, one of the few Republicans who has not been shy about defending the administration’s actions or the Bush doctrine.

  49. Judy Sabatini says:

    Unemployment: The Dirty Little Secret Everyone’s Ignoring

    By John Lott

    – FOXNews.com

    The problem of people getting discouraged and giving up looking for work is ballooning.

    The unemployment rate might be stuck at 10 percent, but the more detailed numbers in the Department of Labor’s Household survey data paint a more dire picture. The number of people with a job fell by 589,000 in December. Even worse, the number of people not in the labor force grew by an astounding 843,000 during just the last month. The Household survey data is what is used to measure the unemployment rate.

    To get an idea of the size of this increase in the number of people not in the labor force, since February, when the stimulus package was passed, I repeat, the number of people not in the labor force has grown by 3.2 million. But the number for December represents 26 percent of the entire increase over that period of time. The problem of people getting discouraged and giving up looking for work is ballooning. Of course, they have had good reasons to be discouraged. Similarly since February, the total number of people employed has fallen by 4 million.

    In September, Larry Summers, President Obama’s top economic adviser, claimed: “We have walked a substantial distance back from the economic abyss and are on the path toward economic recovery. Most importantly, we have seen a substantial change in the trend of job loss.” Christina Romer, the chair of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, made a similar statement today. While conceding that the December numbers were a “slight setback,” she argued: “In a broad sense the trend toward moderating job loss is continuing, consistent with the gradual labor market stabilization we have been seeing over the last several months.”

    The growth in the U.S. unemployment rate has continued to outpace the rest of the world. Since February, the average unemployment rate for the European Union has grown by 1.2 percentage points. By contrast, the US unemployment rate has grown by 1.9 percentage points — a 58 percent greater increase. Nor does the rate look particularly strong compared to what economists were predicting at the beginning of the year. Back in mid-January, business economists and forecasters surveyed by The Wall Street Journal expected the December unemployment rate to be at 8.6 percent.

    Unemployment should start to improve, but the numbers indicate that the improvement in unemployment that economists and forecasters were predicting has occurred much more slowly than was expected at the beginning of 2009. By moving huge amounts of money from one industry to another, the stimulus as well as all the regulatory changes have caused a lot of churning in the labor market — movement of people from one job to another than has caused temporary unemployment. Unfortunately, the huge number of people who have withdrawn from the labor force represent a big hangover that will make reducing unemployment a slow process.

    • Wiki definition of depression:

      “In economics, a depression is a sustained, long-term downturn in economic activity in one or more economies. It is a more severe downturn than a recession, which is seen as part of a normal business cycle.

      “Considered a rare and extreme form of recession, a depression is characterized by its length, and by abnormal increases in unemployment, falls in the availability of credit, shrinking output and investment, numerous bankruptcies, reduced amounts of trade and commerce, as well as highly volatile relative currency value fluctuations, mostly devaluations. Price deflation, financial crisis and bank failures are also common elements of a depression.

      “There is no widely agreed definition for a depression, though some have been proposed. In the United States the National Bureau of Economic Research determines contractions and expansions in the business cycle, but does not declare depressions.[1] Generally, periods labeled depressions are marked by a substantial and sustained shortfall of the ability to purchase goods relative to the amount that could be produced using current resources and technology (potential output).[2] Another proposed definition of depression includes two general rules: 1) a decline in real GDP exceeding 10%, or 2) a recession lasting 2 or more years.”

      While there has been some growth in the GDP, I would say we are coming close to the 2 year definition of a depression. But then I don’t want to depress anybody.

      • Judy Sabatini says:

        Hi T-Ray

        That’s depressing. Just kidding. I’m not depressed as I am bored. Been looking for work, but, so far, nothing yet. A couple possibilities I’m going to check out next week. Job market sucks right now here, in fact, they’re laying off city workers. People like police officers, fire fighters, and some other city workers as well to try and save money.

        Hope you’re doing doing well.

        Judy

  50. Judy Sabatini says:

    Be afraid Reid, be very afraid, they’re coming to take you away HA! HA!, they’re coming to take you away. He hasn’t done one good thing for Nevada, in the 20 years I’ve been here.

    After hitting a new low in a state poll, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid dismissed speculation that he would pull a Dodd — and follow in the footsteps of Democratic colleague Christopher Dodd, who announced his retirement this week in the face of a losing re-election bid.

    “I am absolutely running for re-election,” the Nevada Democrat told the Las Vegas Review-Journal, which commissioned a new poll that found more than half of Nevadans are unhappy with his performance.

    “These are difficult times for Nevada and as the majority leader of the Senate, I have been able to take action to address those challenges,” he said Friday in a statement. “But I know there is more work to do to turn our state’s economy around and create jobs and I am committed to seeing it through.”

    Reid’s troubles continued on Saturday, when he was forced to apologize for private remarks reported in a new book in which he described Barack Obama during the presidential campaign as a black candidate who would benefit from his “light-skinned” appearance and speaking patterns “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.”

    “I sincerely apologize for offending any and all Americans, especially African Americans for my improper comments,” he said in the statement. “I was a proud and enthusiastic supporter of Barack Obama during the campaign and have worked as hard as I can to advance President Obama’s legislative agenda.”

    Running for re-election is no guarantee that Reid won’t join Dodd in watching the action from the sidelines next year: If the poll data holds, Reid’s days in the Senate are numbered.

    In the poll, 52 percent of respondents had an unfavorable opinion of Reid, 33 percent had a favorable view and 15 percent were neutral. That’s a new low and the worst rating of the paper’s 2010 election surveys.

    What’s more, Reid is trailing all three potential GOP opponents. Sue Lowden, former Nevada Republican Party chairwoman, leads Reid 50 to 40 percent. Danny Tarkanian, a businessman and former UNLV basketball star, has 49 percent of the vote to Reid’s 31 percent.

    And most shockingly of all, Sharron Angle, a former Reno assemblywoman and virtual unknown, is beating Reid 45 percent to 40 percent. The poll shows 42 percent of respondents don’t know her.

    If Reid loses, it would be the second time in recent years that a Democratic majority leader failed to get re-elected. In 2004, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle lost his re-election bid in South Dakota. Prior to that, the feat of unseating a majority leader hadn’t happened since 1952, when Arizona Republican Barry Goldwater beat Senate Majority Leader Ernest McFarland, D-Ariz.

    The numbers come on the heels of the retirement announcements of two long-serving Senate Democrats, Dodd in Connecticut and Byron Dorgan in North Dakota.

    The Democrats now have a 60-vote “supermajority” in the Senate, and if the party loses any of that edge, it could make it much tougher to pass Obama’s ambitious agenda.

    The GOP is particularly hopeful about winning the North Dakota Senate seat, with popular Republican Governor John Hoeven likely to announce his intent to run in the next two weeks.

    Political observers note that the election is 10 months away, and a lot can happen between now and then.

  51. OK Football Officianados

    I just saw that USC’s Pete Carrol is headed to the Seahawks.

    Anyone want to venture how stinky the recruiting violation problems will get at USC in near future?

    • Yep JAC…. I figure that the only reason he would be willing to leave USC to go back to the pros is because he knows that a firestorm is coming. It started with Reggie Bush, but it certainly isn’t going to end there. I believe USC to be one of the most crooked football programs in the country. Here’s hoping that it comes out and we can see that they were cheating the whole time to make it happen.

      I give it 6 months before the first report hits.

      USW

  52. It is wrong to systematically take from Americans their right to prosperity. And is this not the first stage nudge to eliminate those who are in the way of these tyrannists? Wish Americans as a strong voice could have seen, identified, and passed by their cunning lies from the start. The sooner this mistake is rectified, the better for America. I do believe in ethics, however. If any man or woman, materially rich or poor is not of honorable stature, then misuses will follow. Fed Gov or Entrepreneurship…imo, wisdom, economy, fairness, intolerance of corruption and greed, prove best for perpetuity. Ours is a nation of independence from tyranny. This plan of the Left does not work for America.

  53. For Judy:

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada described in private then-Sen. Barack Obama as “light skinned” and “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.” Obama is the nation’s first African-American president.

    See, Harry Reid is capabile of speaking the truth after all! LOL!!

    PS. The article also claims that good old Harry as a 33% apporval rating in Nevada.

    • Judy Sabatini says:

      His numbers are dropping pretty fast. Why do you think there are so many people now trying to get him out? We are not happy campers with him, and if his son Rory runs for gov like he says he is, then we’re in a world of hurt here. I’m still waiting to see and hear about all these jobs he said he’s created here. What a joke.

      • 33% sounded a bit high to me. The article gives me the impression that Reuters will gladly throw Reid under the bus if it makes Dear Reader look better. Its getting harder to make him look ‘good’.

        The wheels on the bus go thump, thump, thump; thump, thump, thump; thump, thump, thump!

        🙂

  54. OFF Topic:

    Venezuela, the Socialist Paradise…I wonder how long it will be for the US is indistinguishable from Venezuela?

    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN096521320100109

    UPDATE 1-Devaluation ups stakes in Venezuela election year

    * Chavez popularity could suffer after devaluation

    * Venezuelans rush to shops anticipating price hikes

    * Inflation will jump this year

    By Frank Jack Daniel and Eyanir Chinea

    CARACAS, Jan 9 (Reuters) – Venezuelans rushed to the shops on Saturday, fearful of price rises after a currency devaluation that will let President Hugo Chavez boost government spending ahead of an election but feeds opposition charges of economic mismanagement.

    In a bid to jump-start the recession-hit economy of South America’s top oil exporter, Chavez on Friday announced a dual system for the fixed rate bolivar.

    It devalues the currency to 4.3 and 2.6 against the dollar, from a rate of 2.15 per dollar in place since 2005, giving the better rate for basic goods in an attempt to limit the impact of the measure on consumer prices.

    The opposition seized on fears that prices for imported goods will double as shoppers formed lines of more than a hundred people outside some stores in the capital Caracas.

    “It was a Black Friday, tinted red,” said sales executive Diana Sevillana in reference to the crimson color of Chavez’s socialist party. She stood in a line of 30 people outside an electrical goods store in a middle class neighborhood.

    The socialist Chavez believes the state should have a weighty role in managing the economy. During his 11 years in office he has nationalized most heavy industry, and business and finance are tightly regulated.

    The devaluation is politically risky but means every dollar of oil revenue puts more bolivars in government coffers. That allows Chavez to lavish cash on social projects and fund salary increases ahead of parliamentary elections in September.

    Opponents were quick to criticize the socialist, who a year ago promised the global financial crisis would not touch “a hair” of Venezuela’s economy. He announced the devaluation on Friday night during an important baseball game.

    “By establishing the exchange rate at 4.3 bolivars per dollar, the quality of life for Venezuelans is automatically devalued since we now have half the money we had before,” said Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma, a Chavez opponent.

    BLACKOUTS, WATER SHORTAGES

    Opposition parties, emboldened by public dissatisfaction at frequent blackouts and water shortages and a 2.9 percent economic contraction in 2009, hope to strip Chavez of his legislative majority in September.

    The devaluation is embarrassing for Chavez, who resisted calls from economists and many government allies to make the move last year when oil prices were at their lowest and elections a long way off.

    “Venezuela’s decision to devalue the Bolivar culminates an event that the market has been anticipating for a long time,” said Walter Molano, an analyst at BCP Securities. “It helps alleviate the country’s fiscal woes and puts it on a sounder macroeconomic footing.”

    The measure is a relief for state oil company PDVSA, which has struggled to pay service providers and meet requirements to fund social projects since crude prices dropped sharply last year. It also makes Venezuelan businesses more competitive.

    Holders of Venezuela’s foreign debt are also pleased, since the devaluation improves government finances and lessens the need to issue more bonds.

    However, Chavez risks taking a blow to his popularity ratings, which are about 50 percent, as prices for many products inevitably will rise in the country of 28 million people, which relies on imports for much of its consumption.

    Finance Minister Ali Rodriguez said the devaluation will add 3 percent to 5 percent to inflation, already the highest in the Americas at 25 percent last year.

    “The popularity of the government is obviously going to be sharply and negatively affected,” said economist Pedro Palma. “The inflationary impact of the measure diminishes the real income of people. People can consume less.”

    The new two-tiered exchange system offers the 2.6/dollar rate for goods deemed essential including food, medicine and industrial machinery. Other products, including cars and telephones, will be imported at the higher 4.3 rate.

    Last month, BMO Capital Markets cut ratings on Colgate-Palmolive Co (CL.N), Avon Products Inc (AVP.N) and Kimberly-Clark Corp (KMB.N) to “market perform” saying a possible devaluation in Venezuela could hurt the U.S. consumer goods makers’ profits.

    Economist Pavel Gomez of the IESA economic school said the new system will increase opportunities for graft in a country that already is corruption-ridden.

    “Multiple exchange schemes are incentives for corruption, more so if they are applied in the Venezuela way,” he said. “Those who have good contacts can buy at 2.6 and sell at 4.3.”

    Chavez, whose popularity usually rises in correlation with public spending, also said on Friday that the Central Bank had transferred $7 billion of foreign reserves to a development fund used to finance investment projects

    • UPDATE:

      Chavez other crisis….

      http://www.sott.net/articles/show/200658-Venezuela-at-risk-of-power-system-collapse

      …and to add to their woes – they have only 4 months of electricity unless they severely cut back consumption or it rains.

      Unsaid in the report is that it is estimated that nearly 40% of the electricity is ’stolen’ by the shanty town around Caracas – where the people climb up the poles and string un-metered lines back down into their homes. I’ve driven into Caracas at night – and it is beautiful as the lights run up the mountain side (where the shanty’s are built) like sea of bright stars…

      When it rains…err, doesn’t rain, it pours…. or something like that

  55. This is a long and scary article on the future. The article has hyperlinks to other articles and graphs. I’m not sure if it will copy correctly. Here is the link to the entire article in case this does not copy: http://www.strike-the-root.com/node/25784

    Black Flag, I would like your opinion.

    Exclusive to STR

    “‘A lot more people were living on the edge than we ever even anticipated,’ Haynes said. ‘So many people were just barely making it. It’s absolutely shocking.'”
    ~ Hospitality House spokesman Barry Frost, quoted in Economy Creates Newly Homeless by Kimberly Edds, OC Register, December 11, 2009

    “There is no normality and no recovery. You cannot spend your way into recovery. It just doesn’t work. Look at the 1930s. It didn’t work then and it won’t work now. Government guarantees challenge reality and reality always wins. As a result of Fed policy we have corporatist fascism at its worst. Day by day we attract less foreign capital and that is because any semblance of free markets are gone. All the Fed has done is rescue its owners and other connected elitists and such a plan is doomed to failure.”
    ~ Bob Chapman, The Greatest Outpouring of Money and Credit from Central Banks and Governments in History, December 19, 2009

    – 1 –
    The Illusion of Normalcy Fades to Black

    I wrote the first of these “Year Ahead” columns two years ago because I expected the coming collapse (described earlier in Destruction by Paradigm, March 2007) to begin in earnest during 2008. I saw epic debt levels, massive monetary inflation (not just in the U.S. but on a global scale for the first time in history), resource depletion (especially for oil, metals, and fresh water), government encroachment into almost every area of life, growing levels of corruption in and out of government, pollution of both freshwater sources and the oceans, and a host of other problems coalescing into an unprecedented storm – a dark tipping point poised to bring poverty, tyranny, hunger, and homelessness to millions of formerly middle class families. Just saying that out loud sounds extreme – things couldn’t get that bad, could they? – but in fact that much has already happened and the storm has just begun.

    Both the mainstream media (including their favored “experts” and commentators) and the general public saw things differently two years ago – and still do. Businessweek ran a story on December 29, 2009 titled U.S. Economy: Confidence Rises as Consumers See Brighter Future, which suggests (to me) that the combination of reinflation by the Fed (i.e., massive monetary creation) and its immediate effects – partial reinflation of stock prices and a slowing (in some places, a slight reversal) of the ongoing real estate crash – plus the constant assertion in the media that the worst is over – have worked their magic. Americans don’t see the job picture improving much anytime soon (and they’re right), but they have more confidence than they did a few months ago.

    The Frankenstein Economy

    That will change in the coming year, as the Frankenstein economy – long-dead but artificially reanimated using bizarre, harmful, and unsustainable means – goes into cardiac arrest. Propaganda, denial, and fiat money creation can only do so much, and as the old world crumbles, it will become ever-harder to sustain the illusion of normalcy.

    Consider what we’ve already been through: Roughly $60 trillion in wealth evaporated in 2008 as stocks crashed, real estate prices tumbled, and huge banks and other financial institutions failed (including Lehman Brothers – the largest bankruptcy in history up to that time [edit 1/8/2010: actually, it’s STILL the largest] – and the insolvent Bear Stearns, sold to J.P. Morgan for $2/share, down from $172/share in early 2007). A sobering 2.6 million American jobs disappeared in 2008, even using the heavily-massaged official numbers. Shadowstats.com shows a current unemployment rate of 22% versus the official rate of about 10% – see chart below, which also makes clear that unemployment continues to worsen, and very dramatically.

    http://www.shadowstats.com/imgs/sgs-emp.gif?nov09

    In my second Year Ahead column, I quoted Kurt Kasun on the disaster of 2008, who pointed out (in Not Your Grandfather’s Depression) that “This is beyond rescue. It is virtually impossible to overstate the dire consequences resulting from the severity of the declines recently experienced in almost all asset classes – from both a technical and fundamental viewpoint.”

    Kasun did not believe the worst was over, and neither did I. The collapse continued and indeed, 2009 has been even worse in many ways. GM and Chrysler went bankrupt, job losses continued to mount (again, see chart above), the national debt grew higher than ever and is rocketing higher-still, the real estate meltdown continued, and – per Ringo’s Law – everything the government has done to “help” with this ongoing disaster has made things worse, to the point where avoiding a serious, long-lasting depression is now, I believe, impossible, even if we were to start doing everything right – and how likely is that?

    The Worst Decade in History for Stocks

    Despite the boom years of mid-decade (the “housing bubble years,” more accurately), the disasters of ’08 and ’09 have made the last ten years the worst decade for the U.S. stock market in its 200 year history, per the Wall Street Journal. Not even the Great Depression was as bad for stocks as the 2000s have been. This is despite the market being up dramatically for the year so far, at least in nominal terms, although still well below its former highs.

    Nominal Value Versus Real Value

    I said the stock market is up “in nominal terms” because as the dollar drops in value, the Dow and other investments must “run faster just to stay in place” – if the dollar loses 50% of its value in a period of time, then your investments and income have to double just to maintain their buying power, and that assumes no tax consequences from the nominal doubling in dollar value. Since there usually are tax consequences, you’d actually need your investments and income to more than double to maintain buying power. The Zimbabwe stock exchange is a good example; as the Zimbabwe currency was being inflated into worthlessness and national unemployment was hitting 80%, the Zimbabwe stock market was doing great – when priced in the local currency. John Paul Koning describes the phenomenon in an article for Mises.org which includes this chart:

    Zimbabwe: Best Performing Stock Market in 2007?

    Hoo-boy! Stock market nirvana! What a boom! The chart makes it appear that Zimbabwe investors were richer than Croesus, richer than Bill Gates, richer than Saudi princes. The reality was quite different.

    As recently as 1980, the Zimbabwe dollar was worth more than the U.S. dollar, but by January 2009, Zimbabwe had degraded its money to the point where it was forced to issue a $100 Trillion bill – see image below – that was worth “about $30” per the BBC. Many people in Zimbabwe were trillionaires, but most were still poverty-stricken and hungry.

    Image from a post by Ron Hera at Mises.org

    Is the U.S. dollar headed into hyperinflationary Zimbabweland? You be the judge: Below is another chart from Mises.org, in this case from Monetary Base by Briggs Armstrong. The resemblance to the chart above is – well, probably just a coincidence. America is NOT Zimbabwe, after all. America is special, and such things can’t happen here.

    Monetary base for the U.S

    Inflation by the Fed may keep the Dow and other stock exchanges moving higher, which nearly everyone will interpret as meaning “things are getting better.” Yet the Zimbabwe experience (and others like it throughout history) shows that nominal investment values can rise to the stratosphere even as an economy is dying and people are starving.

    Because today EVERY major currency on Earth is a fiat currency, similar problems afflict every nation. Mostly for this reason, the dollar will periodically gain in strength versus other benchmark fiat currencies and at times even against gold and commodity goods. Such moves are the normal zigs and zags of market activity; things seldom go up or down in a straight line. The long-term trend is clear: all fiat currencies are being inflated (as fiat currencies always have been in history) and are thus losing value over time. While it is theoretically possible for the U.S. to stop creating new dollars via the Fed, the result would be a complete inability of the U.S. to pay its bills, including – soon – even just the interest on the federal debt (see later in this essay). Foreigners are no longer very interested in buying more U.S. debt to fund our deficits and our wars, so even “borrowing” means creating money by the Fed to buy Treasuries with (called monetizing the debt, and not something the Fed or the government admits to, but evidence is strong that this is happening).

    – 2 –
    The 2010 Economy

    As for the near-term economic outlook, we can demolish the happy-face mainstream “green shoots” nonsense right now with a single chart (no, not the “22% unemployment” chart above, or the eye-popping chart of our exploding monetary base, although either should have done the job all by itself). Versions of the chart below have been featured in many articles recently; this one is from The Second Wave of Mortgage Defaults by the folks at the Daily Reckoning:

    Clearly, the real estate disaster is far from over (and we haven’t even mentioned commercial real estate – another looming horror story – or the disappearance of home equity credit lines or the real estate implosion in Dubai, with effects that go far beyond the Middle East). We are merely in the eye of the storm; the next wave of defaults is already locked into place. BusinessWeek has called option ARMs (the massive tan-colored lump underlying the spike on the right side of the graph) “Nightmare Mortgages” and says “The option adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) might be the riskiest and most complicated home loan product ever created.” As the chart above suggests, such mortgages have become very popular; for example, the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Bay Area alone has almost $31 billion of option ARMs waiting to reset. Nearly 20% of all home loans in the SF Bay area during 2004 – 2008 were option ARMS, and more than 27% of those loans are already “60-plus days delinquent or in foreclosure.” In some nearby counties, the numbers are significantly worse.

    Bottom line: bad as the sub-prime disaster was (it crashed major banks and investment firms, helped crash Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – which were in essence taken over by the federal government – and kicked off a worldwide financial crash of historic proportions), the option ARM disaster will be worse – especially since the banks, the overall financial system, most businesses large and small, governments at local, state, and federal levels, and typical American families are in far worse shape than they were two years ago before the storm began. For instance, government revenue is down while demand for many government services – especially safety-net services, from food programs to unemployment benefits – is up. The result is predictable:

    “Nationally, 35 states and Puerto Rico expect to have $56 billion less next year than they will need to pay for all of their programs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In Nevada, Arizona and New Jersey, the difference amounts to more than one-quarter of their budgets, the conference said. Funds from the $787 billion federal stimulus bill passed in February run out at the end of next year.”
    Schwarzenegger Seeks Obama’s Help for Deficit Relief, Bloomberg.com, 12/24/09

    That last sentence suggests the pain will continue into 2011 and beyond, and with the government using more of what caused our economic problems (over-spending, over-printing of money, over-regulation of the economy, etc.) to supposedly fix the problems, that seems a good bet.

    Tax Receipt Shortfalls Highlight the Truth

    California and other states are hoping for bailouts from the federal government, but the feds have their own money problems. These tax-receipt shortfalls – at all levels of government – are another proof that the economy is still in crisis. Commentator Jim Willie points out that “Receipts have fallen from $2,600 billion to almost $2,000 billion in the last two plus years. They have fallen and cannot get up. In fact they contradict any lunatic notion of a jobs picture improvement. The November Jobs Report was a pure fiction.” [Bold added] He reproduces a fairly stunning chart from Casey Research showing the precipitous drop in federal receipts, the equally precipitous rise in outlays, and the resulting gone-vertical deficit spending rise:

    For another way to see the ongoing train wreck of job loss in America, here’s a sobering, animated map of the county-by-county rise in the unemployment rate 2007 – 2009. In about 29 seconds of running time, this short animation clears up any confusion about how things are really going in the U.S. economy. In plain language, the economy is falling off a cliff.

    Does the Data Support a Recovery in 2010?

    Will things improve as the option ARM hurricane gets underway? Will American consumers (who used to be “citizens”) start spending again despite not having jobs? Will homeowners find replacements for the home equity loans that let them maintain spending levels during the real estate bubble? Will the unemployed be buying iPods (or food, for that matter) when the states run out of money for unemployment benefits? Will increased competition for oil, food, and other resources from growing economies and growing populations in Asia somehow fail to push prices up in the West? Will the stunning debt levels in this country, from the federal government down to state, county, and local governments, from General Motors down to one-person shops, and from Donald Trump down to the Little People like you and me – will all that crushing, suffocating debt somehow NOT impede our economic recovery? Are better times just around the corner, as we hear so often in the lamebrain media?

    Don’t count on it. Bert Dohmen sums it up this way in Forbes (Trillions Of Troubles Ahead, December 18, 2009), and note that he is only discussing one of the issues raised above:

    “The world has not seen such debt levels in modern history. This debt is not serviceable. Imagine that total debt is 557% of GDP [as Dohmen documents that it is], without considering entitlements. [Bold added, because – well, read those last three words again . . .] The interest on the debt will consume all the tax revenues of the country in the not-too-distant future. [Again, bold added] Then there will be no way out but to create more debt in order to finance the old debt.
    “It assures a period of economic devastation. In a last, desperate attempt, politicians at the federal and local levels will raise taxes to astronomical heights to raise revenues. And that only assures destruction of the economy. Forget the fable of economic recovery. Unless there is a change [ha!] in Washington by next year’s election, there will be no way to turn back.”

    That sounds grim, but it’s not grim enough. There is already “no way to turn back.” That time is over. Economist John Williams of Shadowstats.com says flatly that we have passed the point of no return; for the scariest 30 minute interview (mp3 audio) you’ve probably ever heard, click here for Williams explaining why there is no way to fix the current situation: the system is going to crash, “no more than five years down the road” and probably sooner. Williams sees Zimbabwe-style hyperinflation coming, where the U.S. dollar becomes worth less than a sheet of toilet paper. The word “panic” is used more than once. (One of Williams’ practical tips: hoard those little airline bottles of scotch or vodka for change and for small purchases after barter has replaced the current financial system).

    Most Americans will not believe that hyperinflation is possible in the United States until it is already underway, but Williams (among other experts and informed commentators who I respect) insists that hyperinflation is now inevitable. Hyperinflation has happened many times in history and the Fed is hyperinflating the U.S. money supply as you read this. Also note that the corrupt authorities, news sources, and commentators most Americans rely on have been consistently wrong about nearly everything related to the economy for years – they didn’t foresee the dot-com bubble and crash, the housing bubble and crash, the swooning stock market of the last ten years, the roughly four-fold rise in gold prices during the same period, or the massive stock market crash and financial industry implosion of 2008, for just a few examples. In light of all that, I strongly suggest readers give serious consideration to Williams’ predictions. If America went through a crash similar to the fall of the Soviet Union, or suffered hyperinflationary economic destruction on par with Zimbabwe’s or the Weimar Republic’s – what would you do? What would you want to have already done before the SHTF?

    – 3 –
    Shortages and Rising Prices for Food, Water, Oil, and Imported Goods

    Food: About 37.2 million Americans are now receiving food stamps (although the food stamp program was recently renamed the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP). In a nation of 308,200,917 souls (as of 12/21/2009, per the Census Bureau), that’s about 12% of the entire population unable to feed itself without help. The number of people on food assistance is up 18% for the year and up 35% since 2007.

    This would clearly be a bad time for a major food shortage (which would raise prices, among other things), and the official word is: We don’t have to worry about one. Then again, for those who haven’t been paying attention, the official word is often wrong.

    In 2010 Food Crisis for Dummies, Eric deCarbonnel makes the case that the official USDA forecasts for the coming year are wrong – far more optimistic than on-the-ground information warrants. Also, current production is lower than the USDA is reporting. That’s even worse that it sounds because it means that “instead of adjusting production estimates down to reflect decreased production, [the USDA] adjusted estimates upwards to match increasing demand from china [sic]. In this way, the USDA has brought supply and demand back into balance (on paper) and temporarily delayed a rise in food prices by ensuring a catastrophe in 2010.” [Bold added]

    Why would misreporting by the USDA ensure a catastrophe in 2010? By corrupting the information function of the market. Higher prices (which we should be seeing, and would be seeing if it was widely known that a shortfall was coming) would encourage lower consumption, which in turn would leave more foodstocks in reserve for the lean time to come. Instead, the USDA’s overblown production figures create artificially low prices today which lead to over-consumption, leaving less food in reserve for the coming year – which would be very lean even if the world wasn’t over-consuming food today. Because we are consuming more than we would be if we had accurate information, tomorrow’s shortfall will be much worse than it would otherwise be.

    2009 itself was not a good year for foodstocks, and deCarbonnel is not the only person concerned about the problem. In Why Britain Faces a Bleak Future of Food Shortages, the Guardian quotes Britain’s chief scientist, John Beddington, as calling the problems of water scarcity and food shortages “a perfect storm” that will cause severe problems around the world. The growing world population is also a major issue: “We are going to have to produce as much food in the next 50 years as was produced over the past 5,000 years,” says Professor Mike Bevan.

    Science and a relatively free market averted mass famine in the ‘70s and ‘80s with the Green Revolution; the question is whether that feat can be repeated, especially with less-free markets, bio-fuel mandates crowding out food crops, restrictions on greenhouse gases and other government-imposed handicaps, and shortages of water, oil, arable land, and fertilizer. Increasing numbers of people think the answer will be “no.”

    Are deCarbonnel and others right about a food crisis just around the corner in 2010? (Or if not 2010, then another year in the near future?) We’ll know soon enough. In the meantime, deCarbonnel’s article in particular is worth reading; it includes a great deal of data I haven’t seen elsewhere (and about more than just food) and does a good job of calling the official story into question for several reasons. If the shortfall is even half as bad as deCarbonnel expects, the number of Americans – and others around the world – who cannot afford to feed themselves could grow substantially.

    Water

    The freshwater shortage is already a crisis in many places, and this ongoing problem will get substantially worse in coming years. I haven’t seen anything to suggest a sudden worsening of the freshwater problem, but as population grows and freshwater sources are drained by over-use and polluted to dangerous levels, the steadily growing shortfall will become acute in more regions and eventually, at least in terms of side effects, even in areas that still have plentiful water supplies. Unlike oil, water cannot be replaced by other resources: Human beings and their crops and farm animals must have water to survive; water is also needed for manufacturing, for tar sand and other energy-source harvesting, and for many other uses. The knock-on effects of a global water shortage will impact the economy of every nation in addition to the more obvious and direct problems.

    Two articles (of the hundreds available with a quick web search) that provide an overview of the issue:

    Global Fresh Water Crisis, Peak Water by James Quinn
    Water Scarcity ‘Now Bigger Threat Than Financial Crisis’ by Geoffrey Lean

    Oil

    Oil prices dropped from $147 per barrel into the low $30s in response to the financial crash of 2008 (at which point oil was still about three times more expensive than it had been in 1998 when oil averaged $11.91; for further historical perspective, oil was $1.37 in 1946). As I write this, 321energy.com is showing oil at $79.29 per barrel.

    Four major forces will continue pushing the oil price higher in the coming years:

    1. Monetary inflation by the Federal Reserve

    2. Population growth – This is much more severe than most people think, and is a factor in higher prices for every commodity resource

    3. Economic and industrial growth in the East – which will increase both absolute and relative consumption levels in China and other fast-growing economies, putting even more pressure on the dollar price for oil (and food, and everything else)

    4. Peak oil

    Evidence for the reality of peak oil continues to mount: new sources of oil will almost certainly not be sufficient to replace lost production in a timely fashion, and will be far more expensive than conventional sources in any case. See energyfiles.com for charts and data on every oil producing nation, and note the downslopes for oil production in chart after chart; forecasts and “estimated reserves” may say otherwise, but actual data says the world has already peaked for oil production. Theoildrum.com is another good resource on the topic.

    2010 may or may not see higher oil prices – another financial crash may bring enough demand destruction to forestall higher prices or even lower them again – but higher prices over the long term seem inevitable.

    A recent scandal suggests that, as many have long believed, “the authorities” have known about, accepted, and been concerned about peak oil for years while lying to the public about it:

    “The world is much closer to running out of oil than official estimates admit, according to a whistleblower at the International Energy Agency who claims it has been deliberately underplaying a looming shortage for fear of triggering panic buying.
    “. . . Now the ‘peak oil’ theory is gaining support at the heart of the global energy establishment. . . .
    “‘Many inside the organisation believe that maintaining oil supplies at even 90m to 95m barrels a day would be impossible but there are fears that panic could spread on the financial markets if the figures were brought down further.'”
    Key oil figures were distorted by US pressure, says whistleblower by Terry Macalister, The Guardian,November 6, 2009

    The story includes the chart below based on the now-suspect IEA data; note that even here, production for “currently producing fields” is falling off a cliff, while most of the oil that supposedly will replace lost production (plus fill increased future demand) is from “fields yet to be developed” and “fields yet to be found.” Good luck with that, as they say.

    Imported Goods

    Each of the factors above also puts upward pressure on the prices of imported goods in America, but the biggest and most immediate problem for Wal-Mart shoppers (other than having lost their jobs and perhaps their unemployment benefits) will be that as the dollar drops in value, foreigners will want a LOT more of those worthless dollars for the goods they send us. (Wouldn’t you?) Various factors – including both normal market efficiencies and the wholesale replacement of Western manufacturing by Chinese manufacturing – have kept price inflation somewhat in check for decades despite the Fed’s monetary inflation, but those anti-inflation forces are about used up: the market isn’t as “free” as it was even ten years ago (see Eric Janszen quote below) and there isn’t much manufacturing left in America to outsource. That, plus various other factors, including especially the fed’s recent shift into hyperdrive for monetary creation, ensure higher prices – soon.

    “The U.S. economy is a madhouse of tax, regulatory, and monetary policies geared to special interests. To the Military Industrial Complex add the Banking Industrial Complex, Health Care Industrial Complex, Education Industrial Complex, Real Estate Industrial Complex, and on and on.”
    iTulip’s Eric Janszen, in “Asylum Markets of the post FIRE Economy – Part I: Locked Up”

    – 4 –
    Three Predictions for 2010 and Beyond

    Today I’ll go out on a limb and predict three things:

    First, that 2010 will follow in the new tradition of each year being worse than the one before, at least by most measures and for most Americans. Higher prices, even measured by the government’s official CPI figures, will be one of the problems; ongoing job losses will be another. The torrent of foreclosures will continue and worsen before eventually (probably not in 2010) leveling off. Government services and safety nets will suffer just as they are needed most; the Baby Boomers are retiring just in time to learn the hard way that their Social Security and other “safety net” taxes were stolen by politicians and spent on war and other nonsense. With or without “health care reform,” quality medical care will be harder to come by. The dollar may strengthen against other currencies or not (remember that other currencies are also fiat and are being inflated), but dollar debasement will continue. Confidence level: 95%.

    Second, that America (and a great many other places, especially in the West) will not see a return to the high levels of prosperity we once took for granted – ever (confidence level: 80%). By “ever” I mean “in the lifetime of anyone reading these words,” even if some of my readers live to be really, really old – wrinkly, stooped-over, shuffling-down-the-hall old. Actually, it might be “ever” as in “never to be seen again, even in a million years,” but that’s too far out for reasonably accurate prediction, so I’ll just say it’s a possibility (for reasons that should be clear from topics discussed in this column – dramatic global population growth, peak oil, and other “peak” resource problems – for water, metals, and more, and for reasons mostly related to runaway mal-tech and environmental issues) and leave it at that.

    Third, that within the next few years – five or six at the outside, but possibly in 2010 itself – America will suffer a fall of such magnitude that this country will become almost unrecognizable. At some point the destruction of both our economy and our liberty will become so profound that a dramatic event, probably sudden rather than gradual, will occur and will mark the end of one phase in this nation’s history and the beginning of another. Hyperinflation will be a major element in the tipping point (or possibly a sudden official devaluation, or replacement of the dollar with the Amero or some other new currency). Like the fall of the Soviet Union, this event will be clear and unmistakable, although its exact character will differ from the Soviet experience; for one thing, the Soviets were far better prepared for societal collapse than Americans are, in part because Soviet society had been in a state of near-collapse from Day One after the revolution of 1917 – collapse was not a new issue for Soviet citizens; they’d had 70 years to adapt. Americans have instead adapted to levels of prosperity never before seen in history, and the effects of a collapse on Americans, in general, will be horrific. Government response to the situation will make things worse, and will almost certainly be incredibly repressive. Confidence level for this third prediction: 65%.

    I believe the data presented above (and much other available data) support such unsettling predictions all too well. Hard times are coming – and that’s if things go as well as possible from here. Much worse is coming – much worse than another Great Depression – unless major, positive change begins soon, and so far I do not see that happening.

    I hope I’m wrong, but I fear that I am not.

    Conclusion

    2010 and the years beyond look to be harsh times for love and freedom, as well as for the more tangible elements discussed in this column. That is especially troubling because, as I have written before (for instance in The Two Great Evils and the Hammer of Infinite Power), today may be the last chance for us to prevent a disaster that cannot be undone, such as a long-term or even permanent destruction of modern civilization, a hypertech-enabled tyranny, or even an extinction event for the human race. Rapidly-advancing twenty-first century technology, combined with environmental and other challenges, make such dangers all-too-real, as many scientists and others have pointed out.

    It may not be too late, but it is certainly late in the game. If we are to salvage not only America as a reasonably free society but finally realize the idea of America – the idea of a civil and compassionate society where people are truly free from tyranny and from systematic injustice – then we must use the chaos that is coming to our advantage. We must find ways to replace the pro-tyranny “government is compassion” and “coercive government is necessary” memes with the truth: that love and freedom require each other, and that civil society requires especially that the young (pregnant mothers, newborns, infants, and children) be treated with compassion and respect.

    Love and freedom are the cure – the only cure – for what ails us. We either begin to understand that and to apply it, or we, and our children and grandchildren, will suffer the consequences.

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    Glen Allport
    Glen Allport co-authored The User’s Guide to OS/2 from Compute! Books and is the author of The Paradise Paradigm: On Creating a World of Compassion, Freedom, and Prosperity. He maintains paradise-paradigm.net. This is one in a series of columns on the human condition.

    Columns published on STR: 79
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    • Wow Birdman,

      That is some scary shit. Its a very good find. I plan to send it on to those I care for. Sadly though, I presume most will delete it without ever reading, muchless contemplate was has been written. I wish they would listen, but they refuse.

    • Bird,

      Thought provoking, will be interested in Flags take as well.
      I heard on FOX that the Treasury Dept. is set to sell another record amount of bonds next week, $159 billion I think. Could not find a link.

      Some of the article makes sense to me, parts set off my bulldookey detector.

      Water, yes regions and areas have shortages. Recent weather may lessen that problem, but the mega cities like L.A. face a no-win situation, reduce their population and demand, or destroy the entire states farming industry.

      Peak oil, developed may be accurate. Reserves are greater than ever in history. We know where the oil is, but are not going after it due to MSM/liberal climate scare.

      I have to say, buying the airplane scotch for barter is a great ideal, plan to follow up on that one.

      • Hi LOI,

        Haven’t the enviro-Mentals taken care of destroying the state’s farm industry in order to protect the Delta Smelt?

    • Very interesting, almost as if Flag wrote it in some ways. 🙂 The author makes it sound like the perfect storm is heading our way. Flag has warned of the same for some time now. I think the economic issue would be what I would worry about the most. Water, no problem, oil, could be a short term problem, but have ways of doing without. Food is not a problem, so I’m back to preparing for the economic issue.

      When I was serving in the Middle East, my Uncle sent me homemade brandy in a seven-up 2 liter bottle. It was tomatoe brandy, and was tasty and effective ( 50 to 70 proof). Guess I’ll be making some home brew to put on the shelf. Think I’ll learn how to make beer as well. Both could be good bartering tools. Still trying to decide what to grow in the garden this year, must think on that some.

      Good find Birdman!

      Peace and Live Free!

      G!

    • So I won’t measure it for its economic theories.

      Roughly $60 trillion in wealth evaporated in 2008.
      Uh, no. Because I write on a piece of paper “$60 trillion” and you burnt does not make ‘wealth’ disappear. If you I sold it to you, I’ve got $60 trillion and you have a piece of paper. If you burn that, my $60 trillion hasn’t disappeared either, what disappeared was your fantasy of that piece of paper was worth $60 trillion….anyway….

      Fundamentally, what he has observed is generally accurate. The reason the ‘dooms-day’ didn’t happen in 2008/2009 was because the FED poured money into the economy. The reason we haven’t seen the inflation explosion is the banks turned around and stuffed it right back into the FED as ‘excess reserves’.

      We will see inflation as the US government is dropping billions of dollars out of ‘helicopters’ on to the street – food and oil prices are steadily creeping up – both are bellwether signs of upcoming inflation.

      It is possible that the FED and Government can stave off disaster by pouring on money fiat money out of the digital printing press for another couple of years. Maybe. I think they will make it. They want to get out of this Presidential term and then punt.

      They may not make it if there is another push somewhere – maybe a war or Greece going into government default. Maybe inflation will start to grab hold too fast like it is in Venezuela and China – the FED will have to tighten up the monetary base and cause a massive depression. It is all in a huge uncertainty. No one knows what, when or where it may happen first.

      All we know it will.

      I am always interested about people who want to ‘save the system’ as it were. It is the system that is poison. I think they want to save the nation and the People – but they don’t have to worry about that. People will prevail. It maybe end up to being a Northern, Southern, East, West United States or something else. We all may end up being called Mexicans or Canadians or MexAmeriCana… but it doesn’t matter. The People will prevail. But if nothing changes in the system, this lesson hard learned will be for naught.

      And his answer is absolutely correct.

      Love and Freedom.

      • Thank you Black Flag.

        I’m with LOI on oil. I think we have oil reserves and off shore oil. I don’t think we have peaked on oil. Oil production may be dropping off because we are not trying to locate more due to environmental concerns.

        Other than California, I have not heard of many water issues. I think the south went through a drought but it’s now over.

        • Good Morning Birdman!

          I’ve been watching some documentaries done by Alex Jones. Some pretty scary stuff. In his first “movie”, of the now three that I’ve seen, it brings up the food and oil issues. It also talks about population control. I’m openminded enough to throw the BS flag on some things said, but it’s a good watch. If you haven’t seen it yet, take the time.

          Peace and Live Free my Friend!

          G!

          http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/endgame-blueprint-for-global-enslavement/

          • In conjunction with the link above, this video deals directly with AGW and it’sscience and affiliation with Global Governance.

            http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/global-warming-or-global-governance/

            Todd should enjoy this, his may just come true.

            G!

          • Gov. Ventura’s take on Global Governance and Enslavement.

            6 parts

            Remember, “enslavement” is already happening. You are a slave right now. Someone has declared they own your effort (tax); they own your body (drug control); they own your mind (censorship).

            The question of whether there is a plan to centralize it even more – well, what is the question??? All government MUST continue to grow and centralize power and violence – tribe, city, State, Nation, Globe – a steady progression to ever increasing centralization.

            So when you what a Ventura or Alex Jones – yes, they maybe using very loaded words like “slaves” etc. – but they are merely speaking raw truth in an attempt to wake up freedom in the hearts of men.

            Almost everything they provide can be referenced and confirmed.

            They may ‘connect a lot of dots’ under a lot of hypothetical theory but if one can set aside the automatic “disbelief of the incredible” and actually test their conjunctures – ….. one may go “hmmmm…”

            • Thanks for the buzzkill BF. I’ve heard of The Bilderbergs before but never actually heard details. The only way to fight this is to just say no..to the vaccine, to the whatever you may think would be aan issue. It all comes down to us. We do have power

              • Hi Anita!

                (It all comes down to us.)

                The problem here is that “us” a very few. Most people did not learn from 9/11, and continue to say “it can’t happen here”.

                Only after it “does” happen, do they say “OH Poop”, but by then it’s too late.

                G!

              • How’s it going G-man,

                You are right. Us is less than them. Personally I have made it my New Years Resolution to get involved if only in my own little world. My friends know me to be a news/politics geek and will go to great lengths to avoid the subject. I have nailed down two friends this past week. One of them is a crabby ass guy who I know has somewhat of a clue of what’s going on. So we got into it and ended up nose to nose yelling. Funny thing is- we were agree-ing. I will continue spreading the word as best I can. Saw your posts below and I’m right with you.

              • Anita, You might be best served by preparing youself and family for what may come in the future. You can’t teach people who don’t won’t to learn

                G!

              • I’m sorta on that too. Posted a while back that I also have a remote location. Also have some emergency supplies handy. Need to work on that better

  56. A little humor,

    My good Jewish friend (a woman) told me this one:

    What’s the difference between Jewish women and Catholic women?

    Catholic women have fake jewelry and real orgasms.

    • One for JAC, glad you are doing well.

      This is a true story which happened to me. For a while, I worked as a cashier at a local drugstore. Well, one afternoon, while I was working at the drug counter, a woman came in and dropped off 3 prescriptions to be filled. Later, she came back, and wanted to pick up the prescriptions (they were for her husband). Two of the prescriptions were ready, with the third stapled to the bag. The pharmacist had already told me about this one.

      “Here you go, we were only able to fill two of the prescriptions,” I said.

      “Why can’t you fill the other one?” she said.

      “I’m sorry, we don’t carry that one,” I said.

      “Well, can you order it?”

      “No.”

      “Well where can I get it filled?”

      “I’m afraid you will have to go to the hospital to get it filled.”

      “Why? What’s it for?”

      “A chest X-ray.”

      And some people wonder why patients never know what the h**l is going on! BTW, the handwriting on the prescription (by the doctor) was one of the clearest I have ever seen.

    • I know this is gonna cost me….

      Chemical Analysis

      Element:
      Woman

      Symbol:
      WO

      Discoverer:
      Adam

      Quantitative Analysis:
      Accepted at 36 – 28 – 36, though isotopes ranging from 25 -10 – 20 to 60 – 55 – 60 have been identified.

      Occurrence:
      Found wherever man is, but seldom in the highly reactive, energetic singlet state. Surplus quantities in all urban areas.

      Physical Properties:
      Undergoes spontaneous dehydrolysis (weeps) at absolutely nothing, and freezes at a moments notice. Totally unpredictable. Melts when properly treated, very bitter if not well used. Found in various states, ranging from virgin metal to common ore. Non-magnetic but attracted by coins and sport cars. In its natural shape the specimen varies considerably, but it is often changed artificially so well that the change is indiscernable except to the experienced eye.

      Chemical Properties:
      Has a great affinity for AU, AG, and C, especially in the crystalline form. May give violent reaction if left alone. Will absorb great amounts of food matter. Highly desired reaction is initiated with various reagents such as C(2)-H(5)-OH and sexy aftershave lotions. An essential catalyst is often required (must say you love her at least five times daily). Reaction accelerates out of control when in the dark and all reaction conditions are suitable. Extremely difficult to react if in the highly stable pure form. Yields to pressure applied to correct points. The reaction is highly exothermic.

      Storage:
      Best results are obtained between the ages of 18 and 25 years.

      Uses:
      Highly ornamental. Used as a tonic for low spirits. Used on lonely nights as a heating agent (if properly prepared).

      Tests:
      Pure specimens turn rosy tint if discovered in raw, natural state. Turns green if placed besides a better specimen.

      Caution:
      Most powerful reducing agent known to man (income and ego). Highly explosive in inexperienced hands. Specimen must be used with great care if experiments are to succeed. It is illegal to possess more then one permanent specimen, though a certain amount of exchange is permitted.

      [Ed: There is a similar one for men which can be found at http://student-www.eng.hawaii.edu/kenny/jokes/mild/haha3%5D

      • Whatever you give a woman, she’s going to multiply.

        If you give her sperm, she’ll give you a baby.

        If you give her a house, she’ll give you a home.

        If you give her groceries, she’ll give you a meal.

        If you give her a smile, she’ll give you her heart.

        She multiplies and enlarges what is given to her. So–if you give her any crap, you can expect a ton of chit.

      • Your my kinda of guy, LOI. I see you like living on the edge…. 😉

        • May just be in a condition comparable to JAC,
          no surgery, played with the kids most of the day. Popped four ibuprofens, and am fighting to stay awake until normal sleepytime.

    • One fine morning the milkman arrives at the house of family Jones. Mrs. Jones opens the door, and asks him to come inside. She invites him in the kitchen, where a huge and very good breakfast is prepared for him. He sits down and very much enjoys all the excellent food. When he is finished she asks him to come upstairs, and the milkman certainly has a good time!

      When they dress and go down, she gives him a 5 dollar bill. Now the milkman is really surprised, and asks where the 5 dollars are for. She replies: “Well, yesterday I told my husband that is was your birthday today, and he said: “So what, f*#& the milkman, give him 5 bucks.” But the breakfast was entirely my idea!”

    • Joe is telling his pal Rick his troubles:

      “You know that new girl at work, the one I’ve been wanting to ask out?” he asks.

      “Yeah, what about her?” Rick replies.

      “Well, every time I see her, I get an instant erection, and have to turn away to hide it.”

      “That’s rough. Why don’t you try taping your dick to your leg … then it won’t show?” Rick suggests.

      Joe agrees this is a great idea; Rick even loans him a roll of duct tape.

      A few days later, they meet again:

      “Well, I called her and asked her out, and she said yes,” Joe reports.

      “That’s great!”

      “So I get to her house, walk up to her door, and she answers it wearing a short, sheer dress.”

      “Great! How’d it go?”

      Joe slumps down in his chair. “I kicked her in the face.”

    • A guy wearing an Army football jersey walks into a bar, carrying a cat. The cat is also dressed in a little Army jersey.

      The guy says to the bartender, “Can my cat and I watch the Army- Navy game here? My cable is out, and my cat and I always watch the game together.”

      The bartender replies, “Normally, cats wouldn’t be allowed in my bar, but it’s not very busy right now, so you and the cat can have a seat at the end of the bar. But, if there’s any trouble with you or the cat, I’ll have to ask you to leave.”

      The guy agrees, and he and his cat start watching the game. Pretty soon Army manages to kick a field goal and the excited cat jumps up on the bar, meows loudly, runs over to the bartender and gives him a high-five.

      The bartender says, “Wow, that’s pretty cool! What does he do for a touchdown?”

      The guys answers, “I don’t know, I’ve only had him for 3 years.”

    • A young boy comes home from school one day, and on going to his room, he hears thumping and squeaking from his parents’ room. He naively opens the door to see what is going on, and beholds his dad “giving it” to his mom rather vigorously. While his mom doesn’t notice, his dad looks up to see him there, and gives him a big grin and a wink.

      The next evening, dad comes home from work. He hears banging and squealing from his son’s room. He opens the door to see what’s happening, and the son is banging his own grandmother!

      The son looks up to see his father standing there, and says, “Not so funny when it’s your mom, is it?”

      • Judy Sabatini says:

        Your nasty today, aren’t you. SHAME, SHAME, SHAME, LOL!

        • Nasty, I’m holding back to keep from offending.
          As for shame, I may be a pervert,
          but at least I’m good at something.

          • Judy Sabatini says:

            Only kidding you LOI, only kidding. Believe it or not, it doesn’t offend me. I’ve heard worse. Wait, I think it was from you. LOL!

            • This one’s from memory.

              A guy decides to go bear hunting, ducks and deer had lost their thrill. So he gets his permit, trusty rifle and ammo, and heads to the woods.

              After a few hours he spots a huge bear over on the next ridge, all excited, he lines up and takes the shot. POW! The bear falls dead! The hunter runs up to the bear, thinking about his trophy.

              Suddenly, the bear rears up, knocks the gun from his hands, and prepares to kill him with a single blow, but pauses. The bear speaks, “listen, I just ate, so I don’t want to kill you right now. Instead I’ll let you choose, death, or I will rape you and let you go.

              The man wants to live, and accepts the deal, dropping his pants and bends over…

              The next day he is furious,
              the pain and shame he endured is more than he can live with. He goes to his gun store and buys their best rifle, and most powerful ammo, and returns to the woods.

              There on the same ridge is that hated bear! Quickly he lines up and takes his shot. BAM! The bear falls down. He runs over, slowing as he gets close, and his rifle is spinning away as the bear rises. You again! Well you know the deal, death or please me. The bear looms over him, raising his claws, preparing to strike, he bends over and drops his pants….

              A week later, still limping he goes to the largest gun store in the state, and buys the most powerful bear rifle made, the best scope, the best ammo. This time he cannot miss, he cannot fail, he pictures the bear bleeding at his feet.

              The next day in the woods he spies his bear, he slowly, carefully lines up his shot. KA-BOOM, the bear falls. The hunter waits, watching the unmoving bear. He quietly
              creeps up to the bear, keeping his distance. No movement, no breathing, he has won. He sighs in relief, wipes his sweaty brow, and his rifle spins away into the bushes.

              The bear says to him, I think we both know, this isn’t about shooting me…

              Nite all

  57. Judy Sabatini says:

    Man Breaks Into Jail, Begs Officials to Take Him Back Into Custody

    Saturday, January 09, 2010

    VIERA, Fla. — A Brevard County judge has found a Cocoa man guilty of violating his probation by trying to break into the county jail.

    Authorities say 25-year-old Sylvester Jiles, who was convicted Thursday, tried to climb a 12-foot fence at the Brevard County Detention Center in August. He was caught and hospitalized with severe cuts from the barbed wire. He had been released a week earlier after accepting a plea deal on a manslaughter charge.

    Jiles had begged jail officials to take him back into custody because he feared retaliation from family members of his victim. The officials said they couldn’t take him in and told him to file a police report.

    Jiles faces up to 15 years in prison for trespassing on jail property and resisting an officer at his Jan. 25 sentencing.

  58. Judy Sabatini says:

    Seems to me, that more jobs were lost since he took office. Just where and how are all these jobs going to come from?

    Obama Shifts Focus From Fighting Terror to Tackling Unemployment

    The Wall Street Journal

    Obama’s message on jobs that was supposed to dominate the opening days of 2010 has instead been swamped by the issue that consumed Obama’s predecessor: terrorism.

    President Obama speaks about the economy, Friday, Jan. 8, 2010, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (AP)

    President Obama’s bid to shift his focus to employment and the economy took on more political urgency Friday with news the U.S. shed an additional 85,000 jobs last month.

    But a message blitz that was supposed to dominate the opening days of 2010 has instead been swamped by the issue that consumed Obama’s predecessor: terrorism.

    Obama went to the microphones for the seventh time in 12 days Friday, and for the first time in that stretch he didn’t talk about the administration’s response to the botched Christmas Day airline bomb plot. Instead, he talked about jobs.

    The Labor Department’s report on December job losses “was a reminder that the road to recovery is never straight, and that we have to continue to work every single day to get our economy moving again,” Obama said. “For most Americans and for me, that means jobs.”

    Obama said 17,000 jobs would come from $2.3 billion in tax credits in last year’s stimulus legislation to promote manufacturing of renewable-energy technology.

    Of Obama’s expected pivot to jobs, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio) said: “When man plans, God laughs.” The president has had to deal with “the health-care bill, he now has this terrorism issue,” Sen. Brown said.

    Republicans jumped on the new jobs numbers to challenge the president’s prescriptions for economic recovery. The National Republican Congressional Committee blitzed media outlets in districts of vulnerable House Democrats with this line: “Where are the jobs?”

    “It’s time for President Obama to heed the recent words of Democrat Senator Ben Nelson and finally do what he should have been doing over the past year — put his full and undivided attention on fixing our economy,” said Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele.

    White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said the president was not getting enough credit for the stabilization of the financial system and the righting of the U.S. auto industry. He said the president’s private daily economic briefing Friday was devoted to the labor market.

    “The Dec 25. bomber had to be dealt with, and the president had to take responsibility,” Emanuel said. “If he didn’t address it like a laser, if he talked about jobs then, people would have said he wasn’t dealing with the problem at hand. You have to deal with all of it.”

    White House economists conceded Friday that the hole Obama is trying to fill is deep. Seven million jobs have been lost since the Great Recession began in 2007. December saw losses of an additional 53,000 construction jobs and 27,000 manufacturing jobs. The number of workers unemployed for 27 weeks or more reached a record 6.1 million, or four out of every 10 unemployed workers.

    Some 661,000 Americans dropped out of the labor market last month, in many cases because they did not believe there were any jobs and they stopped looking.

    “For every job the recovery act helped create, there’s another American at work,” White House economist Jared Bernstein said. “You’ve got to fill this hole up the best way you can, one job at a time.”

    For Democrats in a midterm-election year, the latest jobs report is more bad news. Democratic lawmakers have been clamoring for the White House to embark on a more sustained, job-creation campaign. So far, the administration has announced only one event, a trip Jan. 22 to Lorain County, Ohio, the second stop of a “jobs tour” that so far has consisted only of a trip to Allentown, Pa., on Dec. 4.

    The House narrowly passed a $174 billion job-creation bill last month amid dueling concerns over the labor market and swelling federal budget deficit.

    • “Obama went to the microphones” – actually, he went to the Manchurian Teleprompter

      “President Obama speaks about the economy” – umm, not exactly, he read rather than spoke, correct?

  59. Judy Sabatini says:

    Schwarzenegger Calls Health Care Bill a ‘Rip-Off’

    AP

    Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is urging California lawmakers to vote against it.

    WASHINGTON — California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger says concessions made to Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson to win his vote on the health care overhaul bill were a “rip-off” for his state and is urging California lawmakers to vote against it.

    In an interview airing Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press, Schwarzenegger says giving extra Medicaid benefits to Nebraska to secure Nelson’s vote, critical to Senate passage of the measure, was “like buying a vote.” In Sacramento, he says, “it is illegal to do that, to buy votes.”

    Schwarzenegger was one of the few Republicans to express support for health care reform, but last week protested the deal that gave Nebraska more Medicaid money but not other states.

    Nelson said he is asking the Democratic leadership to extend to all states the extra Medicaid money Nebraska would receive under the bill. The House and Senate are now negotiating the final version.

  60. Judy Sabatini says:

    Nite Everyone, hope your Sunday will be a good one.

    Always and Forever

    Judy

  61. Judy Sabatini says:

    I have to say, that I agree with what Michael Steele said. If it was anybody else who said that, they would be called racist. It is definitely time for Reid to step down, resign, and go back to Searchlight Nevada. Retire Harry, and just go live a nice quiet life with your family.

    Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele on Sunday called on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for describing Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign as “light-skinned” with “no Negro dialect” unless he wants to have one.

    Steele also accused Democrats of hypocrisy on the matter.

    “There is this standard where Democrats feel that they can say these things and they can apologize when it comes from the mouths of their own. But if it comes from anyone else, it is racism,” Steele told “Fox News Sunday.”

    “If (Senate Minority Leader) Mitch McConnell had said those very words that this chairman and this president would be calling for his head, and they would be labeling every Republican in the country as a racist for saying exactly what this chairman has just said,” Steele continued.

    Reid went into damage control over the weekend, mobilizing a raft of supportive statements both in Washington, D.C., and Nevada.

    Reid spoke by phone to numerous senators and took part in the regular weekend call with Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island to go over the Sunday show talking points on his gaffe and other topics.

    Reed and Reid were on the call with staff members for Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Joe Lieberman. The message: Reid did it, it was wrong, he apologized immediately, the president has accepted the apologize, time to move on.

    “Harry Reid made a misstatement. He owned up to it. He apologized. I think he is mortified by the statement he’s made,” Reed said on “Fox News Sunday.” “And I don’t think he should step down. I think he’s a valuable member of the Senate and someone who’s going to continue to lead.”

    Reid also called prominent African Americans, including National Action Network head Al Sharpton, Democratic strategist Donna Brazile, NAACP Chairman Julian Bond, House Majority Whip James Clyburn, Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Rep. Barbara Lee and Leadership Conference on Civil Rights chief Wade Henderson.

    Reid was not going to speak publicly about the matter on Sunday. As of now, aides say he has no plans to cancel his appearance at a scheduled event on energy on Capitol Hill on Monday.

    Reid is taking ownership of his comments, having made the remarks directly to one of the authors of “Game Change,” the tell-all book on the 2008 presidential campaign being released Tuesday. Reid spoke straight to author Mark Halperin in context of what he believed was a positive statement about why he backed Obama as early as he did.

    Reid and his staff did not expect this direct quote to appear in the book and he began apologizing shortly after the excerpts were reported on the Web site of The Atlantic magazine. According to several sources familiar with the senator’s actions, Reid called Obama from his home in Searchlight, Nev. Obama took the call in the Oval Office.

    “I deeply regret using such a poor choice of words. I sincerely apologize for offending any and all Americans, especially African-Americans for my improper comments,” Reid said in a statement.

    “I was a proud and enthusiastic supporter of Barack Obama during the campaign and have worked as hard as I can to advance President Obama’s legislative agenda.”

    In a written statement Saturday, Obama said he accepted Reid’s apology “without question because I’ve known him for years, I’ve seen the passionate leadership he’s shown on issues of social justice and I know what’s in his heart.”

    “As far as I am concerned, the book is closed,” he added.

    A senior Democratic source with close contacts on Capitol Hill said Reid is not depending only on Obama for forgiveness.

    “He’s in the midst of an aggressive mea culpa tour that has thus far produced supportive statements from key African American leaders in the Congress and civil rights community. He’s got a strong record on social justice and related issues and is doing the right thing by immediately taking responsibility for the comment. He knows it was a boneheaded thing to say and is showing appropriate remorse,” the source said.

    Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine also defended Reid. “I don’t think this is an issue that is going affect his leadership at all. In fact, he’s doing some very heavy lifting — wonderful lifting right now to get this health care bill over the goal line,” Kaine told “Fox News Sunday.”

    The Democratic source added that Reid will likely not lose his position, as Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott did after his 2002 tribute to the now-deceased Sen. Strom Thurmond on his 100th birthday.

    “The only way he gets deposed is if the Democrats decide they have a political interest in seeing him go. Based on the reaction thus far, he’ll endure a few bad days but will be fine in the long run and can focus his efforts on his campaign.”

    But Steele responded that if Lott is the standard, then Reid’s comments fall into the same category for resignation.

    “It’s more than just an apology here. It’s a reflection of an attitude. Now, remember, this is the same leader who, just a few weeks ago, you know, was talking about health care in the context of slavery. Clearly, he is out of touch not only with where America and his district are but where — how African-Americans generally feel about these issues,” he said.

    Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., agreed that if Lott should have resigned, then Reid should too.

    “Harry Reid has said a lot of insensitive things for which he’s had to apologize,” he said. “My tendency is that when these people apologize, if you know what’s in their heart, they shouldn’t. But I’d like to see the same standard applied to both.”

    Reid’s aides cite vast differences between him and Lott. They say Reid has backed civil rights legislation, has voted for pro-civil rights court nominees, has promoted diversity in hiring in the Nevada casino industry and has always had an open and productive relationship with the civil rights community in his home state and nationally.

    With Reid’s poll numbers tanking in his home state, the majority leader is persisting. With no challenges to his majority leader position, he also will not drop out of his re-election race.

    But rank and file Democrats have been put in a difficult position. They don’t want to sound like nothing happened, but are uncomfortable criticizing Reid in public.

  62. Hey Black Flag,

    Do you think the latest economic news from Iceland will have a large ripple effect?

    http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2010/01/iceland_to_walk_away_from_5_bi.html

    Iceland to walk away from $5 billion foreign debt
    Clarice Feldman

    Steve Gilbert reports that Iceland is about to renege on billions owed to Britain and the Netherlands leaving those countries no recourse but to cut off further loans to that country.

    Six out of 10 Icelandic voters plan to reject a bill on repayment of more than $5 billion owed to Britain and the Netherlands in a referendum on the so-called Icesave deal, according to a poll published by an Icelandic daily on Saturday.

    Iceland’s parliament authorized on Friday the government to hold a referendum no later than March 6 on terms under which Reykjavik will repay the money lost in high-interest Icesave bank accounts during a financial meltdown in 2008.

    And he reminds this how the brilliant Robert F Kennedy, Jr. touted this country as an exemplar to the world (when he wasn’t working hand in hand with Venezuela’s Chavez:

    Mind you, this is the same Iceland that our moral betters, such as Robert Kennedy Jr., were touting as a ‘green’ economic powerhouse. We were supposed to model our economy on Iceland’s. Funny how we don’t hear anything about that now.

    I guess when you live high on the hog on a tax free trust in Tahiti you develop a different concept of what constitutes an “economic powerhouse”.

    Clarice Feldman

    • Yes, not in the amount but the implication.

      A country reneges – so how safe is sovereign debt?

      • I guess things won’t be much affected then. I’m guessing it’ll take a few more countries to default before the situation cannot be ignored any longer, correct?

        • Au contraire, Cyndi.

          It threatens ALL sovereign debt. If what is consider the ‘most secure’ debt is not that secure, all debts…I mean all debts …. become at risk.

          People stop lending.

          • I agree that ALL sovereign debt is at risk, but then I’m not into suicidal lending. I’m still amazed that the Ponzi scheme hasn’t completely collapsed yet. I expected the Dubai default to bring it down. That incident hardly seemed to make a ripple. I figure that if Dubai didn’t wake them up, then they are beyond hope and will continue right off the cliff.

            What is your prediction for this? What can we expect to see and when?

            • Dubai was refinanced by one of the emirs – they were saved at the last minute.

              Iceland’s default will hurt more than a few banks in England; depending on how the Brits handle this (a choice between bad and horrible) it may leak over to the US – here, the FED is already primed for another bailout.

              What it may hurt is the T-bill sales next week. It will be interesting to see how much is sold outside of the FED’s purchase.

              • BF, I find it odd that the elitists are needing bailed out. Considering the economies of the world seem to be controlled by them, what went wrong?

                G!

  63. Judy Sabatini says:
  64. Judy Sabatini says:

    Here, the prices vary from, $2.89 to $3.15 a gallon, depending on what station you go to.

    U.S. average gas prices rise 14 cts to $2.74/gal-survey
    Sun Jan 10, 2010 7:47pm GMT

    By Martinne Geller

    NEW YORK, Jan 10 (Reuters) – The average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States rose 14 cents in the last three weeks to their highest level in more than a year, reversing a decline that began in November, an industry analyst said on Sunday.

    The national average for self-serve, regular unleaded gasoline was nearly $2.74 a gallon on Jan. 8, up from nearly $2.60 on Dec. 18, according to the nationwide Lundberg survey of some 5,000 gas stations.

    The latest gasoline price increase tracked a corresponding 22 cent-per-gallon rise in crude oil, said survey editor Trilby Lundberg. She added that the newest national average was nearly 96 cents per gallon higher than a year ago, and the highest since late October 2008.

    She said the increase in crude prices was due more to investors’ fear of inflation and a flight to safe havens, rather than an increase in demand.

    “It’s proof that we can have crude oil and gasoline price increases without demand increasing,” Lundberg said. “It’s almost like a penalty (for consumers), with the bad economy, with unemployment still going up and crude prices rising … when the economy has not improved.”

    Cheyenne, Wyoming, had the lowest average price at $2.36 per gallon, according to the survey, while Anchorage, Alaska, had the highest prices, with an average of $3.28 per gallon. San Francisco was the most expensive of major metropolitan markets, with an average price at the pump of $3.06 per gallon. (Reporting by Martinne Geller, editing by Maureen Bavdek)

    • “It’s almost like a penalty (for consumers), with the bad economy, with unemployment still going up and crude prices rising … when the economy has not improved.”

      What? I thought Dear Reader had fixed all that and anyone who didn’t think so was just a brainwashed, hate filled, right-wing, RACIST! I’m mean, that’s what we’ve been hearing right? Except when they can’t pretend anymore that its ‘fixed’ and then tell us its all Bush’s fault.

      I’m really beginning to dislike the Media…..

      • Judy Sabatini says:

        Come on now Cyndi, don’t you know everything is still Bush’s fault, and it will continue to be his fault as long as the great one says different. It’s not just the media, Oblablah says the same thing. I get tired of hearing how he inherited everything. But, you know what, It’s all on him now no matter what.

      • HI CP and Judy!

        It is no longer about what BO inherited, it’s now what WE the People inherited, because we were not paying attention to what was happening. Bush and Obama are nothing but puppets. The internet, in all it’s ability to put out information, is the main culprit behind all this hurry up and pass this bill BS. The smart folks are learning everyday, the not so smart, will be the first slaves that are shackled. By the time they figure out what has happened to them, it’s too late.

        Not trying to be a bummer here, but, we can wake a few more up if we try! 🙂

        G!

        • Judy Sabatini says:

          Hi G

          The internet, in all it’s ability to put out information, is the main culprit behind all this hurry up and pass this bill BS.
          ______________________________________________

          How is the internet the main culprit here?

          How goes it with you today?

          • I’m good, just trying to stay warm, cold day today.

            Without the internet, everyone would get all their information from the MSM. They are as currupt as the government and the Elitists (who own the MSM). The internet gets out far more info, that they don’t want us to hear, than the MSM ever will be allowed too! The Internet, is the elitists worst enemy, because they can’t control it!

            G!

            • Judy Sabatini says:

              Trying to stay warm here too. I’m tired of being cold all day every day.

              I think for some people though, the internet is the only way they get their news. That’s probably why they want to take control of the internet as well, like with everything else they’re taking control over.

              Matthew’s here, going to run for a while, maybe get back on later.

  65. Cardinals 51 – Packers 45. WOW What a great NFL playoff game. I feel bad for the Packers fans, what a great 21 point comeback to tie the game and force overtime. The Packers will be tough next year.

    Peace and live free forever!

    G!

    • Good game; ending sucked! The ref didn’t see that facemask on Rodgers? Guess I can put my cheesehead away for another year (kidding – we do not really sit in our homes with those on).

      • Kathy

        Pack fans have nothing to feel bad about, they played a great game, the Cards were just alittle better tonight. OH, I know Pack fans who DO wear their cheeseheads on gameday! 😆

        Rogers helped me win a Fantasy Football Title, so I like him!

        G!

  66. http://wp.me/pEPiy-I

    My short blog on how Chavez is showing the future of USA.

  67. Judy Sabatini says:

    Good night people and pleasant dreams to all. Hope to see you here again tomorrow.

    Love everybody.

    Judy

  68. v. Holland says:

    Anyone think the republican has a chance-Can’t help but note they simply couldn’t resist taking a shot at Rasmussen, and isn’t it funny how she changed her mind about the health care bill.

    Kennedy endorsement comes at key time for Martha Coakley

    Vicki Kennedy and other family members offered their endorsement to Martha Coakley in the race for Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat. Earlier this week, a poll of likely voters found that the race is closer than expected.

    Congressman Joseph Kennedy (r.) speaks at an event to formally endorse Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley (2nd r.) in the race for late Sen. Edward Kennedy’s Senate seat in Medford, Massachusetts, Thursday. Joseph Kennedy III and Victoria Reggie Kennedy look on.

    Adam Hunger/Reuters
    Enlarge

    By Tracey D. Samuelson Correspondent / January 7, 2010
    Boston

    There was a brass band and a feeling of old-time politics as members of the Kennedy clan gathered Thursday to endorse Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley in the special election to fill Edward Kennedy’s Senate seat.
    Skip to next paragraph
    Related Stories

    * Candidates for Kennedy’s Senate seat try to carry his mantle
    * Massachusetts’ top lawyer poised to replace Ted Kennedy

    The crowd mingled to “America the Beautiful” and “Let Freedom Ring” before the late senator’s family – including his wife, Vicki – took the stage with Ms. Coakley.

    She might need the help of that key endorsement. A Jan. 4 Rasmussen poll of likely voters found Coakley leading her Republican challenger, state Sen. Scott Brown, by a smaller margin than expected – nine percentage points.

    In the poll, 50 percent favored Coakley and 41 percent chose Senator Brown. The general election is Jan. 19.

    Coakley was strongly favored coming out of the Dec. 8 primary due to the heavily Democratic nature of Massachusetts: Blue voters outnumber their red counterparts 3 to 1 in the state.

    But the Rasmussen poll – the only recent poll available – should be interpreted carefully, says Jeffrey Berry, a political scientist at Tufts University in Medford, Mass.

    Rasmussen’s methodology, he says, includes very tight screening of respondents and can result in a Republican bias.

    But that doesn’t mean the poll should be disregarded completely.

    “What it says is that Coakley has to get her vote out,” Professor Berry says. “That’s the bottom line for this poll.”

    While Massachusetts is a heavily Democratic state, the number of independent voters is greater than the sum of Democrats and Republicans. This is where Brown has found much of his unexpected support.

    “He’s offered himself up as a protest candidate: ‘If you don’t like the way things are going in Washington, vote for me,’ ” says Dan Payne, a Massachusetts-based Democratic media consultant. “The winds are blowing against the Democrats right now.”

    This means that the timing of Thursday’s endorsement, less than two weeks before the general election, is probably not a coincidence.

    Senator Kennedy’s replacement is likely to be in office before Congress votes on the final version of the healthcare reform bill. That person could therefore be called upon to cast the all-important 60th vote. Brown has pledged to vote against the reform bill.

    “The Kennedys are helping Coakley because they care about what Ted Kennedy called the cause of his life,” Mr. Payne says. “They don’t want to see the candidate from Massachusetts defeat healthcare reform.”

    Indeed, much of Thursday’s endorsement was devoted to discussion of healthcare.

    “My husband fought for healthcare reform for more than 40 years,” Vicki Kennedy said, after receiving a standing ovation from the crowd as she walked onstage. “Martha Coakley shares those critical beliefs.”

    Coakley, who had initially said she would vote against healthcare reform if it contained restrictions on federal funding for abortion services, pledged her support.

    “Priority No. 1 [will be] to pass and implement healthcare reform,” she promised.

    http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/2010/0107/Kennedy-endorsement-comes-at-key-time-for-Martha-Coakley

    • I sent a donation to Brown’s campaign. It’s also come out that if by chance he would win, the S of S would not certify the election until after expected healthcare vote. Scum, truly no other word for them and those.

      • v. Holland says:

        Yes, I’ve heard the same thing-don’t know what all the rules are concerning this type of thing-have heard that the person holding the seat now-couldn’t vote once the election is decided-but what does decided mean and how easy is it to hold up an election result with re-counts, etc.

  69. v. Holland says:

    November 05, 2008
    The List: Which presidential polls were most accurate?

    The Pew Research Center and Rasmussen Reports were the most accurate in predicting the results of the 2008 election, according to a new analysis by Fordham University political scientist Costas Panagopoulos.

    The Fordham analysis ranks 23 survey research organizations on their final, national pre-election polls, as reported on pollster.com.

    On average, the polls slightly overestimated Obama’s strength. The final polls showed the Democratic ahead by an average of 7.52 percentage points — 1.37 percentage points above his current 6.15-point popular vote lead. Seventeen of the 23 surveys overstated Obama’s final victory level, while four underestimated it. Only two — Rasmussen and Pew — were spot on.

    Vox Populi.jpg

    Here is the list —

    1T. Rasmussen (11/1-3)**
    1T. Pew (10/29-11/1)**
    3. YouGov/Polimetrix (10/18-11/1)
    4. Harris Interactive (10/20-27)
    5. GWU (Lake/Tarrance) (11/2-3)*

    6T. Diageo/Hotline (10/31-11/2)*
    6T. ARG (10/25-27)*
    8T. CNN (10/30-11/1)
    8T. Ipsos/McClatchy (10/30-11/1)
    10. DailyKos.com (D)/Research 2000 (11/1-3)

    11. AP/Yahoo/KN (10/17-27)
    12. Democracy Corps (D) (10/30-11/2)
    13. FOX (11/1-2)
    14. Economist/YouGov (10/25-27)
    15. IBD/TIPP (11/1-3)

    16. NBC/WSJ (11/1-2)
    17. ABC/Post (10/30-11/2)
    18. Marist College (11/3)
    19. CBS (10/31-11/2)
    20. Gallup (10/31-11/2)

    21. Reuters/ C-SPAN/ Zogby (10/31-11/3)
    22. CBS/Times (10/25-29)
    23. Newsweek (10/22-23)

  70. Interesting,

    • v. Holland says:

      Very interesting, as a Christian, I find myself sometimes conflicted when it comes to determining what is “Give to Ceasar what is Ceasars” and what is not. Although I don’t really understand how any christian can support abortion, from my religion it is destroying God’s children, in a purely secular perspective it is slaughtering the unborn-I simply don’t see where a christian cannot see this as wrong under both.

      • V, I am right there with you on this one. My personal religious belief says abortion destroys a human life. The argument of when does life begin or a woman has a right to do with her body as she so desires will not change my beliefs. Once conception takes place a woman’s decisions affect two lives, hers and a child.

      • V. Holland,

        Remember the Nazarene’s story here.

        The coin had Ceaser’s picture. It was his coin. If he wants it back, give it to him.

        But you don’t have to use his coin. Use your own. Then he has no right to ask for it back.

    • v. Holland says:

      P.S. I am not saying you are not a christian if you don’t agree with me-just that I can’t understand your reasoning.

  71. Judy Sabatini says:

    Morning

    There is no way Obama is going to destroy the catholic church, no matter what he tries. I my self am catholic, was raised a catholic, went to catechism, made my first communion, went to high school of religion, made my confirmation, went to church every Sunday, still do sometimes, and no matter what he does, he will not convince them, that abortion is a good thing.

    He is out to destroy America, and anything that gets in his way, and he will not stop, and I guess that the catholic church is just more step in his path. Nobody will ever convince me that abortion is a good thing, it is an evil and immoral thing to do. I will not go into the what if’s, you all know where I stand.

    • What if he has some help?

      http://www.legionmovie.com/

      • Judy Sabatini says:

        I don’t believe there are any bad angels, and I don’t think they would help in destroying America either. Obama can do that without any help. After all, look at what he’s done so far.

      • v. Holland says:

        Hi, Charlie
        I have to admit I normally don’t respond to your posts very much because I find your ideas so opposite of what I believe is right that I find myself either speechless or sputtering: Are you crazy! Have you lost your mind! 🙂

        These comments didn’t seem to promote a discussion and I would never want to insult you so I just shut up but I would like to ask you to explain to me how it is for the greater good to stop growth. To put family business’s out of business by taxing them to death-why do you want to stop people from forming small business’s because inheriting money is the way a lot of people get the money to do so. Why is it a bad thing for families to work and save to help make a better life for their future generations. Where do you think all these business’s come from-they are built because people have some extra money-take the profit out of that and lets see how long your greater good theory works then. In order for something to be for the greater good, it actually has to help people in the long term not just the short.

        • v. Holland says:

          Ignore the above posted in the wrong place-although that is probably obvious without my telling you.

  72. Judy Sabatini says:

    LOS ANGELES — Moving swiftly, U.S. product safety authorities say they are launching an investigation into the presence of the toxic metal cadmium in children’s jewelry imported from China after disclosure of lab tests showing that some pieces consisted primarily of the dangerous substance.

    The promise to “take action as quickly as possible to protect the safety of children” followed by hours the release Sunday of an Associated Press investigative report that documented how some Chinese manufacturers have been substituting cadmium for lead in cheap charm bracelets and pendants being sold throughout the United States.

    Meantime, the head of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the agency that regulates children’s jewelry and toys, was set to deliver a speech Tuesday to Asian manufacturers emphasizing that American regulators are still scrutinizing jewelry contents now that they’ve barred the use of lead.

    In a taped keynote speech to a toy safety meeting in Hong Kong, organized by Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, a forum of governments in the region, CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum was to laud manufacturers for effectively abandoning the use of lead in children’s products. She also was to warn that “the bar will be raised in the new year” when it comes to safety, agency spokesman Scott Wolfson said.

    The most contaminated piece analyzed in lab testing performed for the AP contained a startling 91 percent cadmium by weight. The cadmium content of other contaminated trinkets, all purchased at national and regional chains or franchises, tested at 89 percent, 86 percent and 84 percent by weight. The testing also showed that some items easily shed the heavy metal, raising additional concerns about the levels of exposure to children.

    Wolfson said the agency would study the test results, attempt to buy the contaminated products and “take appropriate action.”

    The jewelry testing was conducted by chemistry professor Jeff Weidenhamer of Ashland University in Ohio, who over the past few years has provided the CPSC with results showing high lead content in products that were later recalled. Wolfson acknowledged the agency had worked closely with Weidenhamer.

    Cadmium is a known carcinogen. Like lead, it can hinder brain development in the very young, according to recent research.

    Children don’t have to swallow an item to be exposed — they can get persistent, low-level doses by regularly sucking or biting jewelry with a high cadmium content.

    To gauge cadmium’s prevalence in children’s jewelry, the AP organized lab testing of 103 items bought in New York, Ohio, Texas and California. All but one were purchased in November or December. The results: 12 percent of the pieces of jewelry contained at least 10 percent cadmium.

    Some of the most troubling test results were for bracelet charms sold at Walmart, at the jewelry chain Claire’s and at a dollar store. High amounts of cadmium also were detected in “The Princess and The Frog” movie-themed pendants.

    “There’s nothing positive that you can say about this metal. It’s a poison,” said Bruce A. Fowler, a cadmium specialist and toxicologist with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. On the CDC’s priority list of 275 most hazardous substances in the environment, cadmium ranks No. 7.

    Jewelry industry veterans in China say cadmium has been used in domestic products there for years. Zinc, the metal most cited as a replacement for lead in imported jewelry being sold in the United States, is a much safer and nontoxic alternative. But the jewelry tests conducted for AP, along with test findings showing a growing presence of cadmium in other children’s products, demonstrate that the safety threat from cadmium is being exported.

    A patchwork of federal consumer protection regulations does nothing to keep these nuggets of cadmium from U.S. store shelves. If the products were painted toys, they would face a recall. If they were industrial garbage, they could qualify as hazardous waste. But since there are no cadmium restrictions on jewelry, such items are sold legally.

    The CPSC has never recalled an item for cadmium — even though it has received scattered complaints based on private test results for at least the past two years.

    There is no definitive explanation for why children’s jewelry manufacturers, virtually all from China in the items tested, are turning to cadmium. But a reasonable double whammy looms: With lead heavily regulated under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, factories scrambled for substitutes, just as cadmium prices plummeted.

    That law set a new, stringent standard for lead in children’s products: Only the very smallest amount is permissible — no more than 0.03 percent of the total content. The statute has led manufacturers to drastically reduce lead in toys and jewelry.

    The law also contained the first explicit regulation of cadmium, though the standards are significantly less strict than lead and apply only to painted toys, not jewelry.

    To determine how much cadmium a child could be exposed to, items are bathed in a solution that mimics stomach acid to see how much of the toxin would leach out after being swallowed.

    Weidenhamer’s lab work for AP assessed how much cadmium was in each item. Overall, 12 of the 103 items each contained at least 10 percent cadmium. Two others contained lower amounts, while the other 89 were clean.

    Ten of the items with the highest cadmium content were then run through the stomach acid test to see how much would escape. Although that test is used only in regulation of toys, AP used it to see what hazard an item could pose because unlike the regulations, a child’s body doesn’t distinguish between cadmium leached from jewelry and cadmium leached from a toy.

    “Clearly it seems like for a metal as toxic as cadmium, somebody ought to be watching out to make sure there aren’t high levels in items that could end up in the hands of kids,” said Weidenhamer.

    His test results include:

    — Three flip flop bracelet charms sold at Walmart contained between 84 and 86 percent cadmium. The charms fared the worst of any item on the stomach acid test; one shed more cadmium in 24 hours than what World Health Organization guidelines deem a safe exposure over 60 weeks for a 33-pound child.

    The bracelet was purchased in August 2008. The company that imported them, Florida-based Sulyn Industries, stopped selling the item to Wal-Mart Corp. in November 2008, the firm’s president said. Wal-Mart would not comment on whether the charms are still on store shelves, or how many have been sold.

    Sulyn’s president, Harry Dickens, said the charms were subjected to testing standards imposed by both Wal-Mart and federal regulation — but were not tested for cadmium.

    In separate written statements, Dickens and Wal-Mart said they consider safety a very high priority. “We consistently seek to sell only those products that meet safety and regulatory standards,” Wal-Mart said. “Currently there is no required cadmium standard for children’s jewelry.”

    As was the case with every importer or retailer that responded to AP’s request for comment on the tests, neither Sulyn nor Wal-Mart would address whether the results concerned them or if the products should be recalled.

    — Four charms from two “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” bracelets sold at a Dollar N More store in Rochester, N.Y., were measured at between 82 and 91 percent cadmium. The charms also fared poorly on the stomach acid test. Two other charms from the same bracelets were subjected to a leaching test which recreates how much cadmium would be released in a landfill and ultimately contaminate groundwater. Based on those results, if the charms were waste from manufacturing, they would have had to be specially handled and disposed of under U.S. environmental law. The company that imported the Rudolph charms, Buy-Rite Designs, Inc. of Freehold, N.J., has gone out of business.

    — Two charms on a “Best Friends” bracelet bought at Claire’s, a jewelry chain with nearly 3,000 stores in North America and Europe, consisted of 89 and 91 percent cadmium. The charms also leached alarming amounts in the simulated stomach test. Informed of the results, Claire’s issued a statement pointing out that children’s jewelry is not required to pass a cadmium leaching test.

    “Claire’s has its products tested by independent accredited third-party laboratories approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission in compliance with the commission’s standards, and has passing test results for the bracelet using these standards,” the statement said. Those standards scrutinize lead content, not cadmium.

    — Pendants from four “The Princess and The Frog” necklaces bought at Walmart ranged between 25 and 35 percent cadmium, though none failed the stomach acid test nor the landfill leaching test. The Walt Disney Co., which produced the popular animated movie, said in a statement that test results provided by the manufacturer, Rhode Island-based FAF Inc., showed the item complied with all applicable safety standards.

    An official at FAF’s headquarters did not respond to multiple requests for comment when informed of Weidenhamer’s results; a woman at the company’s office in southern China who would not give her name said FAF products “might naturally contain some very small amounts of cadmium. We measure it in parts per million because the content is so small, for instance one part per million.” However, the tests conducted for AP showed the pendants contained between 246,000 and 346,000 parts per million of cadmium.

    “It comes down to the following: Cadmium causes cancer. How much cadmium do you want your child eating?” said Michael R. Harbut, a doctor who has treated adult victims of cadmium poisoning and is director of the environmental cancer program at the Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit. “In my view, the answer should be none.”

    Xu Hongli, a cadmium specialist with the Beijing office of Asian Metal Ltd., a market research and consultancy firm, said test results showing high cadmium levels in some Chinese-made metal jewelry did not surprise her. Using cadmium alloys has been “a relatively common practice” among manufacturers in the eastern cities of Yiwu and Qingdao and the southern province of Sichuan, Xu said.

    “Some of their products contain 90 percent cadmium or higher,” she acknowledged. “Usually, though, they are more careful with export products.”

    She said she thought that manufacturers were becoming aware of cadmium’s dangers, and are using it less, “But it will still take a while for them to completely shift away from using it.”

    The CPSC has received dozens of incident reports of cadmium in products over the past few years, said Gib Mullan, the agency’s director of compliance and field operations. Though the CPSC has authority to go after a product deemed a public danger under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act — the law used in lead-related recalls several years ago — there have been no enforcement actions.

    “We are a small agency so we can’t do everything we think would be a good idea. We have to try to pick our spots,” Mullan said. At most, the agency can investigate 10 percent of the tens of thousands of reports filed by the public each year, he said.

    With the help of an outside firm, the CPSC has started a scientific literature review of cadmium and other heavy metals, including how the substances fare in leaching tests, according to spokesman Wolfson. “If there has a been a shift in manufacturing to the use of cadmium, CPSC will take appropriate action.”

    Meanwhile, the CPSC’s Mullan cites “a trend upward” in cadmium reports the agency has received — and private-sector testing AP reviewed shows cadmium is showing up more frequently.

    Two outfits that analyze more than a thousand children’s products each year checked their data at AP’s request. Both said their findings of cadmium above 300 parts per million in an item — the current federal limit for lead — increased from about 0.5 percent of tests in 2007 to about 2.2 percent of tests in 2009. Those tests were conducted using a technology called XRF, a handheld gun that bounces X-rays off an item to estimate how much lead, cadmium or other elements it contains. While the results are not as exact as lab testing, the CPSC regularly uses XRF in its product screening.

    Much of the increase found by the Michigan-based HealthyStuff.org came in toys with polyvinyl chloride plastic, according to Jeff Gearhart, the group’s research director. Both lead and cadmium can be used to fortify PVC against the sun’s rays. Data collected by a Washington-based company called Essco Safety Check led its president, Seth Goldberg, to suspect that substitution of cadmium for lead partly explains the increase he’s seen.

    Rick Locker, general counsel for the Toy Industry Association of America, and Sheila A. Millar, a lawyer representing the Fashion Jewelry Trade Association, said their industries make products that are safe and insisted cadmium is not widely used.

    Millar said jewelry makers often opt for zinc these days. “While FJTA can only speak to the experience of its members,” Millar wrote in an e-mail, “widespread substitution of cadmium is not something they see.”

  73. Hey Ya’ll

    Does anyone know who lobbied for the building of the FEMA camps, and who introduced the legislation? I was just wondering about that. Thanks!

    • v. Holland says:

      I think this will answer part of your question

      http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=h111-645

      • Thanks V. But now I’m confused. The date of the Bill is January 22, 2009. I’ve always heard that President Bush was the one who authorized the camps?? I’m familiar with Hastings and his views. Very scary indeed that he’d go along with it, but it seems I’d heard of these camps a couple of years ago. Unless it was more lies just to make Bush look bad???

        • v. Holland says:

          Can’t help you-I did notice that the bill had been introduced before under a different name-was confused because bill hr 645 in another place was about troops leaving Iraq-so I’m not sure if this was part of that bill or what. couldn’t find anything that said the bill was passed just that it went in for review but they have built the camps-so just color be “Totally Confused” 🙂

  74. Posting my not-so-humble opinion here . . .

    If you want to avoid the death tax – or inheritance tax if you will – then put everything you own into a “Living Trust” . . .

    By law, all wills go into probate court for distribution litigation. The recipient usually gets what is left after lawyers and government get paid – which usually amounts to a pittance.

    Living trusts avoid that pitfall. They are well worth the money it costs to set one up.

  75. Here’s the deal:

    The only argument you guys make that has credibility for me has nothing to do with the background elements of welfare, rational vs. logical, etc. It has everything to do with how easily corrupted people are (and people make up the government). The fact most of you (not BF and Peter, I don’t think) would still support a version of that corruption (The Republican Party and/or Libertarian Party) suggests to me that you accept some form of government. My argument (and those like me) will always come back to advantages vs. disadvantaged and how uneven the playing field has been for so long that to change it (balance it) with the promise of opportunity alone (where I see capitalism not working) just doesn’t cut the mustard (no matter how many underprivileged examples you supply of those who climbed the ladder, etc—far more haven’t).

    I hear what you’re all saying about who should have the right to say where YOUR money goes, but what I don’t understand is why it (the money) would make a different to you once you’re gone. To answer DKII: no, I don’t want some random stranger on the street to benefit from your money. I want it to go to a pot for the benefit of all (whether it be for national defense, national health insurance, etc.).

    To answer BF and Peter … so long as I don’t buy the no government at all costs paradigm, the rest of your argument doesn’t hold water (for me). I do believe that men who can’t be trusted in a free society can group together to form a social contract.

    Inheritence (for people like myself) prolongs the unbalanced structure. I’m not saying all of an inheritance should be forfeited, but a significant amount based on how much is in an estate. And, yes, I believe that should be determined by people other than the guy willing it to his kid(s) … and YES, I believe that is in the greater goods interest.

    Okay, I’m ducking under my desk before the missiles start flying …

    • v. Holland says:

      Hi, Charlie
      I have to admit I normally don’t respond to your posts very much because I find your ideas so opposite of what I believe is right that I find myself either speechless or sputtering: Are you crazy! Have you lost your mind! 🙂

      These comments didn’t seem to promote a discussion and I would never want to insult you so I just shut up but I would like to ask you to explain to me how it is for the greater good to stop growth. To put family business’s out of business by taxing them to death-why do you want to stop people from forming small business’s because inheriting money is the way a lot of people get the money to do so. Why is it a bad thing for families to work and save to help make a better life for their future generations. Where do you think all these business’s come from-they are built because people have some extra money-take the profit out of that and lets see how long your greater good theory works then. In order for something to be for the greater good, it actually has to help people in the long term not just the short.

      • V: Fair enough :0 … It is not a bad thing so long as you accept the capitalist system AND you’re on the right side of the equation (you’re the one getting the inheritance). I don’t have a problem with leaving money to family members (I don’t want to sound like the Grinch here). The problem (as I see it) is the current structure of society is terribly unfair to those behind the eight ball (not because they are lazy—but from pure circumstance). I don’t believe capitalism works anymore and that in fact the gaps between rich and poor (no matter how much better the poor are today vs. 1000 years ago) are increasing.

        I don’t for a second think it can happen overnight (the same way we aren’t going to disband government overnight). I’m on the outer edges of the mainstream, I accept that. So is BF and those proponents of no government. We have opposite ideas about how the system (if there is to be one) should work. I see inheritance as a prolonging of inequality.

        • v. Holland says:

          ‘I don’t believe capitalism works anymore and that in fact the gaps between rich and poor (no matter how much better the poor are today vs. 1000 years ago) are increasing.’

          If your right Charlie and it’s worse now than it was, can you contemplate the idea that perhaps that proves that welfare doesn’t work-that perhaps welfare is the leading cause of welfare-that human beings strive to be better, stronger and more ambitious when things aren’t just given to them or taken away from them.

          It’s also not just whether I believe capitalism works, it’s is socialism better-I haven’t seen any evidence to say it is-actually the evidence seems to say the opposite-it just IMO sounds all wonderful but it just isn’t in the long term.

    • Who’s going to watch that money pot for you Charlie? Nancy Pelosi? Barney Frank? They didn’t watch your money to well when you were alive. My kids can watch it fine on their own.

      • Barny Frank, Nancy Pelosi, George Bush, Barrack Obama … I don’t know how you guys complain about BO — he couldn’t be more like GW if he tried.

        Nope, I’d go with a new government top to bottom. This government (both sides of the aisle) is completely corrupt. It isn’t an easy problem to solve, I’ll agree with that. But to leave it as is means the gap widens further. At some point, it snaps (probably not in my life time–I hope not) but it will sooner or later.

        • I will agree with all that

        • v. Holland says:

          But Charlie, getting a new government won’t insure they aren’t corrupt-the bigger they are the more power they will have-the more power-the more freedom to be corrupt.

          • That is a very real problem V. I’m not sure there is a guaranteed solution but the way it is now is horrendous. I think both extremes are completely frustrated (right and left) but what is governing right now is the middle and the middle is content with the status quo–from my perspective, Wall Street is running everything. That shakedown they pulled off last year has yet to be addressed and we’re all paying for it. I wouldn’t mind if I got something for it, but I lost one of my 2 jobs instead.

            • v. Holland says:

              Okay, let us be clear. 1. you agree that the government is corrupt 2. you agree a larger government might not take care of the problem but you still insist that a bigger more powerful government would be better. That nationalizing business’s would be for the greater good-Why, why would it be better, would it not simply create a stronger elite class, which would not make anything better for anyone, but the elite-would it not take away any chance you have to better your self or to at least save some money to leave to your family so maybe the next generation could better themselves-how is making us all slaves to the government and to an even stronger elite class going to do anything but leave us all at the mercy of the government. They will own everything, they will decide what you get paid, they will decide what you pay in taxes. I suppose if you just want to have an even field for the non political people, us, your way will work-but I suspect the government at that point really won’t care much about us peons except as little worker bees to keep them living in the lifestyle they are accustomed too and we will have no way to stop them. Open your eyes Charlie-things aren’t perfect, things will never be perfect-but Less government is the only way to put any power in the hands of the people -Not More and it is people who care about people-not government-all government does is put in rules and take out common sense to hell with the consequences-just follow the rule.

    • Hey Charlie!

      Hope today finds you well and warm, it’s quite cold here.

      I couldn’t help but imagine the consequences of what you propose happen to the wealth of the dead. I looked at our nation today, with all the unemployment, and imagined that your “greater good” method was in place as you wish.

      Then I imagined the entire Walton Family dying in a plane crash. Under you method, the entire Walton Fortune would go in a pot for “the greater good”. Now with everything sold off, the pot has billions of dollars in it. What would you want that money to go to?

      Peace and Live Free!

      G!

      • Hey, G … don’t kill off the Waltons!

        Let’s whack some old money first.

        I guess we nationalize everything and pay off the debt with whatever gelt we can seize from those who’ve been earning it without having to “sweat”.

        Pay it off and start over … only this time, the starting point is more equal. I’ll bet those who are motivated will continue to do great things because it is in their nature to do so. We can reward them, just not at the expense of some measure of equality.

        More important stuff: Did you love the Wes Cravens knocking off the new england cheaterfaces? I sure did.

        Go Yets … Go Ravens …

        • “I guess we nationalize everything and pay off the debt with whatever gelt we can seize from those who’ve been earning it without having to “sweat”.”

          I get the feeling that you do not respect those that earn a living with their mind rather than their body. Anyone can put their body to work, but a skilled mind is a rarity and a scarce resource demands high payment.

          • Not at all, DK. It is part of my beef with inheritance. Most of the 1% of the wealthiest in this country do not “earn” what they have. Living off investments handed down generation to generation … where is the “earning” there?

            I’m all for minds making money and getting compensated for it … even more so than someone keeping the street cleaned, but not so disproportionately that his or her “income” requires there be 20,000 poor people (poor from circumstances beyond their control). I’m all for tossing welfare frauds out of the country.

            • Charlie said:
              “but not so disproportionately that his or her “income” requires there be 20,000 poor people”

              Please explain how me (I wish) having millions or billions of wealth requires others to be poor.

            • I hereby declare, by the moral authority vested in me by a majority, that writing books is not “earning” an income.

              Furthermore, those who spend time in gyms lifting weights are a drag upon our otherwise productive society.

              Both shall be taxed upon the income they earn and the income they should have earned if not screwing around in the gym.

              Tax for writing income is an extra 25% on gross receipts, and another 25% on forgone income that could have otherwise been earned had the author chosen to be a productive person instead of a writer.

              Forgone income tax on weight lifting is an extra 25% of the lost income (as determined by the IRS).

              Man, this morality by majority stuff is fun. I might get used to it.

            • So you want to screw over 99% of the population to get even with 1%???

        • Good for the Ravens! That packers-Cardinals game was fun to watch as well.

          I used the word consequences for a specific reason, and thought you would catch it. OK, in my scenario, Wal-mart and Sam’s Club are gone, sold off as assets for give to the greater good. It’s alful nice to know that there are now 1.5 million people now unemployed, with no benefits, and no money to get any available benefits. Some will lose their homes, because, they can’t get good paying jobs anymore, because businesses keep getting sold off, and jobs are scarce and getting scarcer as more older business owners die off! Now if that is for the “greater good”, I’ll repeat what I said months ago, there is no such thing, and as you can see, it would be a disaster to continue to believe that there is.

          Consequences my freind, are far bigger than the benefit of “greater good”, IMHO!

          G!

          • Forgot one thing, it may also kill the Chinese economy as well 🙂

          • Why would so many people be out of work if Walmart were nationalized (although last week in NY they were caught destroying clothing items they couldn’t sell rather than donating them to homeless shelters); next time I go to Walmart is never.

            • They are the assets that determine their net worth, it must be sold to fill the coffers to go to the greater good 😆

              I don’t shop at Wal-Mart either, they treat their employees like crap!

              As far as nationalizing, Government couldn’t a whorehouse outside of Vegas and turn a profit. They are not even capable of running government efficiently, and you want to let them run businesses? I want what ever your smokin, cuz it’s got to be some really good stuff! 🙂 And since it would be for the greater good, cough it up! 😆

              G!

            • (1)Without private ownership, only ‘caretakers’ would apply.

              (2)Without the ability to build for one own’s prosperity in the future or future generations, all concerns become ‘time preferenced to the near term. Can’t carry over success beyond the ‘caretakers’ time of office, it becomes loot and pillage today.

              (3)With a severe drop in a long term investments for future growth, the company stagnants and fails.

              (4)People lose their jobs.

              • The term “Caretakers” is not meant to be “Janitors”

                It is an economic term for those that take care of assets that they do not own.

            • Charlie

              Farmers who can’t sell their grain dump it.

              Dairymen who can’t sell milk dumpt it.

              Farmers who can’t sell their produce dumpt it.

              So are you going to stop eating to?

              • v. Holland says:

                Correct me if I’m wrong JAC but isn’t it normally government rules that make them throw it away?

              • V.H.

                Can’t correct you as you are already correct.

                Your response to Charlie above has my heart racing.

                Man drowned on the Missouri River in Montana today when he broke through the ice trying to rescue his labrador retriever. The dog made it to shore safely.

                Thought I would share that just in case that puppy takes another stroll across the pool.

                Stay dry my dear, we need you.

                Big hugs and best wishes
                JAC

              • v. Holland says:

                Thank you JAC-have banished the dogs from the pool area until the water unfreezes.

              • v. Holland says:

                Oh, forgive me-Lord be with that poor family.

              • v. Holland says:

                Earlier today my son brought his dog over to visit-so I let both dogs or puppies, there only a little over a year old- out in the back yard-we have a pool and when I happened to look out the window I saw one of these sweet, STUPID puppies walking across the pool on the frozen ice, but luckily it didn’t bust before I could get out there. 🙂 I almost had a heart attack though.

              • v. Holland says:

                I really seem to be having a problem with posting today. I’m gonna blame it on Charlie. 🙂

              • Thats funny, you wouldn’t have that problem where I’m at, the lakes have 8-12 inches of ice, already. Usually not that thick till Early Feb. It’s been Cooold. Love dogs, have two and they are playing in the snow in the back yard, cute as could be. Still snowing, shoveled once today, the forcast of less than an inch is long gone, two and counting and coming down.

                I hate winter anymore, Al Gore iz an idiot and it’s Coold!

                G!

              • v. Holland says:

                I was hoping for some snow but all we got was what I would call a dusting. Was disappointing but winter isn’t over yet.

              • go to bottom

    • Charlie,

      I’m sure you remember the category 5 storm that hit New Orleans. People stayed, electing to wait out the storm, as they had done in the past. Then screaming on TV that Bush didn’t care if they lived or died, etc.

      My kids are ten and eight, and we are teaching them to be self-sufficient.
      It would be easier for me to feed the dog every day than make them do it, but that isn’t the point. They need to learn.

      Some people never learn. And our government seems intent to expand the dependent class, which will keep them in power. Think about it, there is no reform in the health care bill, cost will go up for the vast majority that have insurance. Those without insurance are going to get a rebate from the IRS to use for “medical expenses”. What happens if they use that money for beer and smokes instead?

      The only answer is self interest. That is what drives people to found a small business and work the long hours to better themselves. And the current government is fine with destroying that. The “greater good” is supposed to be about raising up those below. What Obama, Pelosi and Reed are doing is lowering the top, except those elected to be on top.

      Emergency Weather Bulletin

      This text is from a county emergency manager out in the western part of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan after a severe snow storm …

      The Mining Journal,Marquette, MI

      WEATHER BULLETIN

      Up here in the Northern part of Michigan we just recovered from a Historic event — may I even say a “Weather Event” of “Biblical Proportions” — with a historic blizzard of up to 44″ inches of snow and winds to 90 MPH that broke trees in half, knocked down utility poles, stranded hundreds of motorists in lethal snow banks, closed ALL roads, isolated scores of communities and cut power to 10’s of thousands.

      FYI:

      Obama did not come.

      FEMA did nothing.

      No one howled for the government.

      No one blamed the government.

      No one even uttered an expletive on TV.

      Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton did not visit.

      Our Mayor’s did not blame Obama or anyone else.

      Our Governor did not blame Obama or anyone else either.

      CNN, ABC, CBS, FOX, or NBC did not visit – or even report on this category 5snow storm.

      Nobody demanded $2,000 debit cards.

      No one asked for a FEMA Trailer House.

      No one looted.

      Nobody – I mean Nobody demanded the government do something.

      Nobody expected the government to do anything either.

      No Larry King, No Bill O’Rielly, No Oprah, No Chris Mathews and No Geraldo Rivera.

      No Shaun Penn, No Barbara Striesand,
      No Brad Pitts, No Hollywood types to be found.

      Nope, we just melted the snow for water.

      Sent out caravans of SUV’s to pluck people out of snow engulfed cars.

      The truck drivers pulled people out of snow banks and didn’t ask for a penny.

      Local restaurants made food, and the police and fire departments delivered it to the snow bound families..

      Families took in the stranded people – total strangers.

      We fired up wood stoves, broke out coal oil lanterns or Coleman lanterns.

      We put on an extra layers of clothes because up here it is “Work or Die”.

      We did not wait for some affirmative action government to get us out of a mess created by being immobilized by a welfare program that trades votes for ‘sittin at home’ checks.

      Even though a Category 5 blizzard of this scale is not usual, we know it can happen and how to deal with it ourselves.

      I hope this gets passed on.

      Maybe …..
      SOME people will get the message ……
      The world does Not owe you a living.

      • v. Holland says:

        The American spirit alive and well-brings me much hope, and pride in my fellow citizens.

      • The moral to this story is … next time we should hope for a snowstorm in the south?

        I’ll guarantee you there were dramatic differences in the two scenarios aside from the fact there were a hell of a lot more people stuck in NO (some incapabile of helping themselves–a dozen or so bed ridden who drowned in their nursing home).

        Look, NO was a disaster on many levels and I don’t place all the blame on FEMA and there were many people who chose to screw themselves. That doesn’t disqualify a government agency set up to handle emergencies failing miserably.

        • The moral to the story is our government is doing all it can to expand a dependent class. It used to be that churches and charity organization took care of the homeless and poor.
          It was always a hand up, not a handout. Now we have fourth generation welfare families, that have known no other life.

          What has happened to the education system since the federal government took over?

          What is their housing program like?

          A friend was just telling me about a woman getting groceries this weekend, pushing and pulling two, loaded carts she paid for with food stamps. She drove off on a Cadillac Escalade.

          Look at reality, they want these people to depend on them.
          They do not want welfare reformed. They do not want people to rely on themselves.

          http://www.heritage.org/Research/Welfare/Test031501b.cfm

        • Charlie::

          “That doesn’t disqualify a government agency set up to handle emergencies failing miserably.”

          You lack of principled discussion of inheretance and govt theft aside, I wanted to address this one little point which adds further to your erroneous claims.

          You see Charlie, FEMA wasn’t established to “handle emegencies”. That was the real crime committed by folks who simply wanted to blister Bush over New Orleans. And of course those who wanted to use the excuse to finally turn FEMA into just such an agency.

          FEMA was established and charted to train STATE organizations and assist STATE’s with logistical strucutures needed to “handle emergencies”. They could use their federal contract authority to pre stage materials, which was done with Katrina by the way. In event of major disasters they could provide logistical communications “support” but were “dependent on state” authorities.

    • A Puritan Descendant says:

      CS says >
      “I hear what you’re all saying about who should have the right to say where YOUR money goes, but what I don’t understand is why it (the money) would make a different to you once you’re gone.”

      You are joking, right Charlie? 🙂

      You really can’t understand why I would want to leave my money to my kids?

      Charlie, I have a brother he worked all his life. He is a janitor. He barely gets by. Even he knows a capitilist system can do more for him than a communist system. He knows if he had applied himself he would not be where he is today. He accepts that and works hard everyday and never takes handouts/handups from the government because he knows they come with strings/chains attached.

      Amazing!

    • Nice post Charlie – I let everyone sling arrows and swords at you for awhile, and then maybe wade in – I don’t like to pile on when your busy dealing with others.

      But good post nonetheless – it clears up a lot.

      • I’m out for the night, he’s all yours.

      • v. Holland says:

        I know you just love that he pointed out the contradictions you are always accusing us of, 🙂 but I still believe some government is unavoidable – but listening to Charlie pushes me closer to the belief that we might have to try it without government, in order to stop our descent into total loss of freedom.

    • I don’t understand the bug up your butt about inheritance. Was there some rich aunt Hazel that left all to your sibs and you’ve felt left out ever since? Get over it!

      My money = I decide how it will be spent while I’m living and who will get it when I die. PERIOD. It’s why I oppose taxes both while living and at death – I am not deciding how that part of my $$ is being spent.

  76. Judy Sabatini says:

    t’s Economic Freedom That Will Save the Earth

    By Terry Miller Anthony Kim

    – FOXNews.com

    The best way to create sustainable environmental policies around the world is to increase economic growth and the standard of living.

    A shadow hung over the Copenhagen Conference last year. The credibility of sophisticated climate science has been tainted by allegations that key scientists and institutions manipulated data and access to publications to support the case for global warming. Still, many around the world would support sensible, cost-effective strategies to minimize the risk of man-made global climate change.

    The inconvenient truth, however, is that the mammoth government regulatory schemes discussed at Copenhagen are both prohibitively expensive and unlikely to work — the worst possible combination in any cost/benefit analysis.

    There is a better way.

    For 15 years, The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal have been measuring economic freedom in countries worldwide. Our historical evidence and volumes of supportive social science research demonstrate that economic freedom is good not only for individual economic advancement, but for the progressive values and public goods that people seek for society as a whole.

    It’s simply better to live in a free society. Higher levels of economic freedom lead to higher living standards and healthier human development. Greater economic freedom provides more choices and improves the quality of life by opening opportunities and promoting innovation.

    The benefits of economic freedom also extend to environmental protection. Proponents of cap-and-trade schemes or other massive government regulatory interventions assert that only a strong government can protect the environment. In fact, the market forces unleashed in an economically free society are far more likely to drive economic results in the positive directions demanded by those concerned about the environment.

    The most remarkable improvements in clean energy use and energy efficiency over the past decades haven’t been as a result of government regulation. The most progress was driven by advances in economic freedom and freer trade. These unleash greater economic opportunity and increase prosperity, generating a virtuous cycle of investment, innovation, and dynamic economic growth.

    The fundamental flaw of those who favor new government regulations is their belief that there is a trade-off between economic growth and environmental protection. They seem to think that to get more of one, you have to have less of the other. The truth is just the opposite: to get more environmental protection you need more growth, not less. And the surest path to economic growth is through greater economic freedom.

    A recent study from the World Bank reports that freer trade is “a key factor in helping developing countries reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change.”

    Other evidence abounds. The Environmental Performance Index (EPI), published by the World Economic Forum, the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN), and the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy, provides “a composite index of current national environmental protection efforts.” Levels of economic freedom and the EPI are positively correlated at a statistically significant level. The freer the economy, the higher — and more sustainable — the level of environmental protection.

    Policy efforts aimed at imposing stricter environmental standards through a global regulatory body run great risk of being not only fruitless, but counterproductive as well. They undercut the economic growth necessary for greater efforts to protect the environment. Such regulations only serve as feel-good actions, without generating real “change” that could mitigate climate change and its possible negative impacts. Countries in general — but developing countries in particular — are able to protect their environment only if their economies prosper and the standard of living of their citizens improves.

    The surest way to promote sustainable environmental policies around the world is to increase economic growth and the standard of living. Increased government regulation would stifle that growth. The compelling force of economic freedom, by contrast, has been proven over and over, in countries around the world, to empower people, create positive forces of opportunity and innovation, and nourish overall well-being, including through a cleaner environment.

  77. Judy Sabatini says:
  78. Judy Sabatini says:

    Subject: Fwd: A Dying Priest

    _____

    A Dying Priest

    You have to read this one to the very end. This is a good one——-

    In Washington, D.C. an old priest lay dying in the hospital. For years he

    had faithfully served the people of the nation’s capital. He motioned for

    his nurse to come near.

    “Yes, Father?” said the nurse.

    “I would really like to see President Obama and Speaker Pelosi before I

    die”, whispered the priest.

    “I’ll see what I can do,

    Father”, replied the nurse.

    The nurse sent the request to the President and Congress and waited for a

    response.

    Soon the word arrived; President Obama and Nancy Pelosi would be delighted

    to visit the priest.

    As they went to the hospital, Obama commented to Pelosi, “I don’t know why

    the old priest wants to see us, but it will certainly help our images and

    might even get me re-elected.” “After all, I’M IN IT TO WIN.”

    Pelosi agreed that it was a good thing.

    When they arrived at the priest’s room, the priest took Obama’s hand in

    his right hand and Pelosi’s hand in his left hand.

    There was silence and a look of serenity on the old priest’s face.

    Finally President Obama spoke. “Father, of all the people you could have

    chosen, why did you choose us to be with you as you near the end?”

    The old priest slowly replied, “I have always tried to pattern my life

    after our Lord and Savior

    Jesus Christ.”

    “Amen”, said Obama. “Amen”, said Pelosi.

    The old priest continued, “Jesus died between two lying thieves; I would

    like to do the same.”

    “In God we trust”

    Subject: Fwd: A Dying Priest

    _____

    A Dying Priest

    You have to read this one to the very end. This is a good one——-

    In Washington, D.C. an old priest lay dying in the hospital. For years he

    had faithfully served the people of the nation’s capital. He motioned for

    his nurse to come near.

    “Yes, Father?” said the nurse.

    “I would really like to see President Obama and Speaker Pelosi before I

    die”, whispered the priest.

    “I’ll see what I can do,

    Father”, replied the nurse.

    The nurse sent the request to the President and Congress and waited for a

    response.

    Soon the word arrived; President Obama and Nancy Pelosi would be delighted

    to visit the priest.

    As they went to the hospital, Obama commented to Pelosi, “I don’t know why

    the old priest wants to see us, but it will certainly help our images and

    might even get me re-elected.” “After all, I’M IN IT TO WIN.”

    Pelosi agreed that it was a good thing.

    When they arrived at the priest’s room, the priest took Obama’s hand in

    his right hand and Pelosi’s hand in his left hand.

    There was silence and a look of serenity on the old priest’s face.

    Finally President Obama spoke. “Father, of all the people you could have

    chosen, why did you choose us to be with you as you near the end?”

    The old priest slowly replied, “I have always tried to pattern my life

    after our Lord and Savior

    Jesus Christ.”

    “Amen”, said Obama. “Amen”, said Pelosi.

    The old priest continued, “Jesus died between two lying thieves; I would

    like to do the same.”

    “In God we trust”

  79. Judy Sabatini says:

    Sorry for double posting it.

    • v. Holland says:

      Mrs. Palin has been doing a lot more interviews lately-I suspect she is trying to improve her image, so your right, this is not shocking. This may very well be a good move-as long as she doesn’t get her own show.

    • I just finished “Going Rogue” and as I was already a Palin supporter, it is probably not surprising that I support her even more after reading some of the background of the campaign and the crap leading up to the resignation.

      I would encourage everyone to give it a read.

      Don’t know what her future plans are, but man, just her postings on FaceBook get the WH all up in arms, so I’m looking forward to seeing how this new assignment works out. I hope FOX gives her full freedom to speak her mind.

      • Kathy,
        I read it too, back in November. It was funny how during the campaign no one could answer the simple question of who “headquarters” was. I think “headquarters” was already right under her nose, the campaign manager. Can’t remember his name, gave the book to my mom to read. She explained growing up Alaska style so well. I will visit that state before I die.

  80. Judy Sabatini says:

    China becomes biggest exporter, edging out Germany
    Email this Story

    Jan 10, 1:59 PM (ET)

    By JOE McDONALD

    BEIJING (AP) – Already the biggest auto market and steel maker, China edged past Germany in 2009 to become the top exporter, yet another sign of its rapid rise and the spread of economic power from West to East.

    Total 2009 exports were more than $1.2 trillion, China’s customs agency said Sunday. That was ahead of the 816 billion euros ($1.17 trillion) forecast for Germany by its foreign trade organization, BGA.

    China’s new status is mostly symbolic but highlights its growing presence as an industrial power, major buyer of oil, iron ore and other commodities and, increasingly, as an investor and key voice in managing the global economy.

    Its ability to unseat longtime export leader Germany reflects the ability of agile, low-cost Chinese manufacturers to keep selling abroad even as other exporters have been hammered by a slump in global demand.

    China overtook Germany in 2007 as the third-largest economy and is expected to unseat Japan as No. 2 behind the United States as early as this year. Its trade boom has helped Beijing pile up the world’s biggest foreign currency reserves at more than $2 trillion.

    The global crisis speeded China’s rise up the ranks as a 4 trillion yuan ($586 billion) government stimulus kept its economy and consumption growing while the U.S. and other markets struggled with recession. Chinese economic growth rose to 8.9 percent in the third quarter of 2009 and the government is forecasting a full-year expansion of 8.3 percent.

    On Friday, data released by an industry group showed China topped the slumping United States in auto sales in 2009 – a status industry analysts a few years ago did not expect it to achieve until as late as 2020.

    Economists and Germany’s national chamber of commerce said earlier the country was likely to lose its longtime crown as top exporter.

    China’s exports per person are still much lower than those of Germany, which has a much smaller population of 80 million people. China sells low-tech goods such as shoes, toys and furniture, while Germany exports machinery and other higher-value products. German commentators note their country supplies the factory equipment used by top Chinese manufacturers.

    “If China grows, this pushes the world’s economy – and that’s good for export-oriented Germany as well,” an economist for the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Volker Treier, said last month.

    Of course, with 1.3 billion people, China is still one of the world’s poorest countries. It ranked 130th among economies in per capita income in 2008, according to the World Bank.

    China’s trade ended 2009 with exports rebounding in December, jumping 17.7 percent after 13 months of declines, the customs agency said.

    The upturn was an “important turning point” for exporters, a customs agency economist, Huang Guohua, said on state television, CCTV.

    “We can say that China’s export enterprises have completely emerged from their all-time low in exports,” Huang said.

    Plunging demand in 2008 forced thousands of factories to close and threw millions of laborers out of work.

    China’s trade surplus shrank by 34.2 percent in 2009 to $196.07 billion, the customs agency said. That reflected China’s stronger demand for imported raw materials and consumer goods.

    Iron ore imports rose 41.6 percent to 630 million tons, while oil imports rose 13.9 percent to 1.4 billion barrels, the agency said. Economists say the buying binge has been driven in part by a Chinese effort to build up stockpiles while global prices are low.

    The United States and other governments complain that part of China’s export success is based on currency controls and improper subsidies that give its exporters an unfair advantage against foreign rivals.

    Washington has imposed anti-dumping duties on imports of Chinese-made steel pipes and some other goods, while the European Union has imposed curbs on Chinese shoes.

    The U.S. and other governments also complain that Beijing keeps its currency, the yuan, undervalued. Beijing broke the yuan’s link to the dollar in 2005 and it rose gradually until late 2008, but has been frozen since then against the U.S. currency in what economists say is an effort by Beijing to keep its exporters competitive.

    The dollar’s weakness against the euro and some other currencies pulls down the yuan in markets that use them and makes Chinese goods even more attractive there, adding to China’s trade surplus.

  81. Ta have to appreciate how our aging politicians are so quick to forget, wait, they’re HIPPOcrats! I guess it’s ok then, to just forget about it and it will go away. I have a long memory! Forget it 🙂

    News broke this weekend that a forthcoming book on the 2008 election will report Harry Reid making some incendiary remarks about Barack Obama. Specifically, Harry Reid said Obama has “no Negro dialect, unless he wants to have one.”

    Let’s take the Wayback Machine to 2002, shall we? We’ll take a look at the Democrats’ responses to Trent Lott’s statements (and subsequent apology) about Strom Thurmond, which were widely condemned as “racist.” Lott had said “we wouldn’t be in the mess we were in today” had Thurmond won the Presidency way back when Thurmond ran as a Dixiecrat.

    ‘His apology does not take away the sting of his divisive words…‘ – Barbara Boxer
    ‘I can tell you if a Democratic leader said such a thing, they would not be allowed to keep their position,’ – Mary Landrieu
    ‘What he said was insensitive as hell; it’s very offensive,’ … ‘Race is serious stuff. It’s not something you kid about.’ – Joe Biden
    ‘…the GOP must decide whether Lott ‘represents the views of the majority of Republicans in the Senate and in our country.‘ – Hillary Clinton
    ‘We need political leaders who are healers, not dividers,’ … ‘I hope that Senator Lott’s apology will translate into action and that he will advance policies that bring us together as a nation rather than pull us apart.‘ – Dick Durbin
    ‘When connected to past comments and votes, this statement casts a dark shadow over Sen. Lott’s ability to be a credible party leader‘ – Diane Feinstein
    ‘Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a Democrat, described Lott’s comments as ‘outrageous’ and ‘completely inexcusable.’ ‘Those kinds of comments have no place in our society and should be repudiated by every American,’ Stabenow said in a statement. ‘At this point, the Republican caucus in the U.S. Senate needs to think long and hard about the kind of values they want their leadership to represent.‘ – Debbie Stabenow
    (and there are many other classics from Senate and House Democrites at “Blogs for Victory“)

    Climate cultist Algore and (surprise, surprise ) Jesse Jackson demanded that Lott resign:

    But some Democrats were angry. Civil rights activist Jesse Jackson called for Lott to resign, and former Vice President Al Gore told CNN that the comment was “racist.”

    Funny, Jesse has been strangely silent the last couple of days.

    Then we have the pièce de résistance from The O himself:

    Illinois Senator Barack Obama (D-13th), who hosted WVON’s Cliff Kelley Show, challenged the Republican Party to repudiate Lott’s remarks and to call for his resignation as senate leader.

    “It seems to be that we can forgive a 100-year-old senator for some of the indiscretion of his youth, but, what is more difficult to forgive is the current president of the U.S. Senate (Lott) suggesting we had been better off if we had followed a segregationist path in this country after all of the battles and fights for civil rights and all the work that we still have to do,” said Obama.

    He said: “The Republican Party itself has to drive out Trent Lott. If they have to stand for something, they have to stand up and say this is not the person we want representing our party.”

    If Democrat hypocrisy was jobs, the Obama economic mess would be over tomorrow.

    President Obama, I’m waiting patiently for your demands that Harry Reid resign. Something tells me that I have a long wait ahead of me.

    AHH! You gotta love morons!

    G!

    • Another nice excerpt:

      –In lobbying the late Sen. Edward Kennedy to endorse his wife, former President Clinton angered the liberal icon by belittling Obama. Telling a friend about the conversation, Kennedy recalled Clinton had said “a few years ago, this guy would have been getting us coffee,” the authors paraphrase. A spokesman for the former president declined to comment on the claim.

      Is this why the minorities keep voting for these Slags. The Democrats may be the anti-dream party, and they can’t see it.

      G!

      • Adding from the past:

        Former Agriculture Secretary Earl Butz

        1976: Butz, President Gerald Ford’s agriculture secretary, made an incredible comment in what he apparently thought was private company on a plane.

        According to a 1976 account in Time magazine, Butz was chatting with singers Pat Boone and Sonny Bono, along with former White House counsel John Dean, when the conversation turned to the question of why Republicans can’t attract more black voters.

        “The only thing the coloreds are looking for in life are tight p—- , loose shoes and a warm place to s—,” Butz reportedly said.

        Unfortunately for Butz, Dean was a writer for Rolling Stone, and he used the quote. Dean did not use Butz’s name, but his identity later emerged.

        The Outcome: Got nailed. After calls for his head, Butz resigned his post.

        Source: AP

        Some things really don’t change 🙂

  82. January 9th, 2010 3:57 PM
    Answering Helen Thomas on Why

    By Ray McGovern

    Thank God for Helen Thomas, the only person to show any courage at the White House press briefing after President Barack Obama gave a flaccid account of the intelligence screw-up that almost downed an airliner on Christmas Day.

    After Obama briefly addressed L’Affaire Abdulmutallab and wrote “must do better” on the report cards of the national security schoolboys responsible for the near catastrophe, the President turned the stage over to counter-terrorism guru John Brennan and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

    It took 89-year old veteran correspondent Helen Thomas to break through the vapid remarks about rechanneling “intelligence streams,” fixing “no-fly” lists, deploying “behavior detection officers,” and buying more body-imaging scanners.

    Thomas recognized the John & Janet filibuster for what it was, as her catatonic press colleagues took their customary dictation and asked their predictable questions. Instead, Thomas posed an adult query that spotlighted the futility of government plans to counter terrorism with more high-tech gizmos and more intrusions on the liberties and privacy of the traveling public.

    She asked why Abdulmutallab did what he did.

    Thomas: “And what is the motivation? We never hear what you find out on why.”

    Brennan: “Al Qaeda is an organization that is dedicated to murder and wanton slaughter of innocents… They attract individuals like Mr. Abdulmutallab and use them for these types of attacks. He was motivated by a sense of religious sort of drive. Unfortunately, al Qaeda has perverted Islam, and has corrupted the concept of Islam, so that he’s (sic) able to attract these individuals. But al Qaeda has the agenda of destruction and death.”

    Thomas: “And you’re saying it’s because of religion?”

    Brennan: “I’m saying it’s because of an al Qaeda organization that used the banner of religion in a very perverse and corrupt way.”

    Thomas: “Why?”

    Brennan: “I think this is a — long issue, but al Qaeda is just determined to carry out attacks here against the homeland.”

    Thomas: “But you haven’t explained why.”

    Neither did President Obama, nor anyone else in the U.S. political/media hierarchy. All the American public gets is the boilerplate about how al-Qaeda evildoers are perverting a religion and exploiting impressionable young men.

    There is almost no discussion about why so many people in the Muslim world object to U.S. policies so strongly that they are inclined to resist violently and even resort to suicide attacks.

    Obama’s Non-Answer

    I had been hoping Obama would say something intelligent about what drove Abdulmutallab to do what he did, but the President uttered a few vacuous comments before sending in the clowns. This is what he said before he walked away from the podium:

    “It is clear that al Qaeda increasingly seeks to recruit individuals without known terrorist affiliations … to do their bidding. … And that’s why we must communicate clearly to Muslims around the world that al Qaeda offers nothing except a bankrupt vision of misery and death … while the United States stands with those who seek justice and progress. … That’s the vision that is far more powerful than the hatred of these violent extremists.”

    But why it is so hard for Muslims to “get” that message? Why can’t they end their preoccupation with dodging U.S. missiles in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Gaza long enough to reflect on how we are only trying to save them from terrorists while simultaneously demonstrating our commitment to “justice and progress”?

    Does a smart fellow like Obama expect us to believe that all we need to do is “communicate clearly to Muslims” that it is al Qaeda, not the U.S. and its allies, that brings “misery and death”? Does any informed person not know that the unprovoked U.S.-led invasion of Iraq killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and displaced 4.5 million from their homes? How is that for “misery and death”?

    Rather than a failure to communicate, U.S. officials are trying to rewrite recent history, which seems to be much easier to accomplish with the Washington press corps and large segments of the American population than with the Muslim world.

    But why isn’t there a frank discussion by America’s leaders and media about the real motivation of Muslim anger toward the United States? Why was Helen Thomas the only journalist to raise the touchy but central question of motive?

    Peeking Behind the Screen

    We witnessed a similar phenomenon when the 9/11 Commission Report tiptoed into a cautious discussion of possible motives behind the 9/11 attacks. To their credit, the drafters of that report apparently went as far as their masters would allow, in gingerly introducing a major elephant into the room:

    “America’s policy choices have consequences. Right or wrong, it is simply a fact that American policy regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and American actions in Iraq are dominant staples of popular commentary across the Arab and Muslim world.” (p. 376)

    When asked later about the flabby way that last sentence ended, former Congressman Lee Hamilton, Vice-Chair of the 9/11 Commission, explained that there had been a Donnybrook over whether that paragraph could be included at all.

    The drafters also squeezed in the reason given by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed as to why he “masterminded” the attacks on 9/11:

    “By his own account, KSM’s animus toward the United States stemmed … from his violent disagreement with U.S. foreign policy favoring Israel.”

    Would you believe that former Vice President Dick Cheney has also pointed to U.S. support for Israel as one of the “true sources of resentment”? This unique piece of honesty crept into his speech to the American Enterprise Institute on May 21, 2009.

    Sure, he also trotted out the bromide that the terrorists hate “all the things that make us a force for good in the world.” But the Israel factor slipped into the speech, perhaps an inadvertent acknowledgement of the Israeli albatross adorning the neck of U.S. policy in the Middle East.

    Very few pundits and academicians are willing to allude to this reality, presumably out of fear for their future career prospects.

    Former senior CIA officer Paul Pillar, now a professor at Georgetown University, is one of the few willing to refer, in his typically understated way, to “all the other things … including policies and practices that affect the likelihood that people … will be radicalized, and will try to act out the anger against us.” One has to fill in the blanks regarding what those “other things” are.

    But no worries. Secretary Napolitano has a fix for this unmentionable conundrum. It’s called “counter-radicalization,” which she describes thusly:

    “How do we identify someone before they become radicalized to the point where they’re ready to blow themselves up with others on a plane? And how do we communicate better American values and so forth … around the globe?”

    Better communication. That’s the ticket.

    Hypocrisy and Double Talk

    But Napolitano doesn’t acknowledge the underlying problem, which is that many Muslims have watched Washington’s behavior closely for many years and view U.S. declarations about peace, justice, democracy and human rights as infuriating examples of hypocrisy and double talk.

    So, Washington’s sanitized discussion about motives for terrorism seems more intended for the U.S. domestic audience than the Muslim world.

    After all, people in the Middle East already know how Palestinians have been mistreated for decades; how Washington has propped up Arab dictatorships; how Muslims have been locked away at Guantanamo without charges; how the U.S. military has killed civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere; how U.S. mercenaries have escaped punishment for slaughtering innocents.

    The purpose of U.S. “public diplomacy” appears more designed to shield Americans from this unpleasant reality, offering instead feel-good palliatives about the beneficence of U.S. actions. Most American journalists and politicians go along with the charade out of fear that otherwise they would be accused of lacking patriotism or sympathizing with “the enemy.”

    Commentators who are neither naïve nor afraid are simply shut out of the Fawning Corporate Media (FCM). Salon.com’s Glen Greenwald, for example, has complained loudly about “how our blind, endless enabling of Israeli actions fuels terrorism directed at the U.S.,” and how it is taboo to point this out.

    Greenwald recently called attention to a little-noticed Associated Press report on the possible motives of the 23-year-old Nigerian Abdulmutallab. The report quoted his Yemeni friends to the effect that the he was “not overtly extremist.” But they noted that he was open about his sympathies toward the Palestinians and his anger over Israel’s actions in Gaza. (emphasis added)

    Former CIA specialist on al Qaeda, Michael Scheuer, has been still more outspoken on what he sees as Israel’s tying down the American Gulliver in the Middle East. Speaking Monday on C-SPAN, he complained bitterly that any debate on the issue of American support for Israel and its effects is normally squelched.

    Scheuer added that the Israel Lobby had just succeeded in getting him removed from his job at the Jamestown Foundation think tank for saying that Obama was “doing what I call the Tel Aviv Two Step.”

    More to the point, Scheuer asserted:

    “For anyone to say that our support for Israel doesn’t hurt us in the Muslim world … is to just defy reality.”

    Beyond loss of work, those who speak out can expect ugly accusations. The Israeli media network Arutz Sheva, which is considered the voice of the settler movement, weighed in strongly, citing Scheuer’s C-SPAN remarks and branding them “blatantly anti-Semitic.”

    Media Squelching

    As for media squelching, I continue to be amazed at how otherwise informed folks express total surprise when I refer them to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s statement about his motivation for attacking the United States, as cited on page 147 of the 9/11 Commission Report:

    “By his own account, KSM’s animus toward the United States stemmed not from his experience there as a student, but rather from his violent disagreement with U.S. foreign policy favoring Israel.”

    And one can understand how even those following such things closely can get confused. Five years after the 9/11 Commission Report, on Aug. 30, 2009, readers of the neoconservative Washington Post were given a diametrically different view, based on what the Post called “an intelligence summary:”

    “KSM’s limited and negative experience in the United States — which included a brief jail stay because of unpaid bills — almost certainly helped propel him on his path to becoming a terrorist … He stated that his contact with Americans, while minimal, confirmed his view that the United States was a debauched and racist country.”

    Apparently, the Post found this revisionist version politically more convenient, in that it obscured Mohammed’s other explanation implicating “U.S. foreign policy favoring Israel.” It’s much more comforting to view KSM as a disgruntled visitor who nursed his personal grievances into justification for mass murder.

    An unusually candid view of the dangers accruing from the U.S. identification with Israel’s policies appeared five years ago in an unclassified study published by the Pentagon-appointed U.S. Defense Science Board on Sept. 23, 2004. Contradicting President George W. Bush, the board stated:

    “Muslims do not ‘hate our freedom,’ but rather, they hate our policies. The overwhelming majority voice their objections to what they see as one-sided support in favor of Israel and against Palestinian rights, and the longstanding, even increasing support for what Muslims collectively see as tyrannies, most notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan, and the Gulf States.

    “Thus, when American public diplomacy talks about bringing democracy to Islamic societies, this is seen as no more than self-serving hypocrisy.”

    Abdulmutallab’s Attack

    Getting back to Abdulmutallab and his motive in trying to blow up the airliner, how was this individual without prior terrorist affiliations suddenly transformed into an international terrorist ready to die while killing innocents?

    If, as John Brennan seems to suggest, al Qaeda terrorists are hard-wired for terrorism at birth for the “wanton slaughter of innocents,” how are they able to jump-start a privileged 23-year old Nigerian, inculcate in him with the acquired characteristics of a terrorist, and persuade him to do the bidding of al Qaeda/Persian Gulf?

    As indicated above, the young Nigerian seems to have had particular trouble with Israel’s wanton slaughter of more than a thousand civilians in Gaza a year ago, a brutal campaign that was defended in Washington as justifiable self-defense.

    Moreover, it appears that Abdulmuttallab is not the only anti-American “terrorist” so motivated. When the Saudi and Yemeni branches of al Qaeda announced that they were uniting into “al Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula,” their combined rhetoric railed against the Israeli attack on Gaza.

    And on Dec. 30, Humam Khalil Abu Mulal al-Balawi, a 32-year-old Palestinian-born Jordanian physician, killed seven American CIA operatives and one Jordanian intelligence officer near Khost, Afghanistan, when he detonated a suicide bomb.

    Though most U.S. media stories treated al-Balawi as a fanatical double-agent driven by irrational hatreds, other motivations could be gleaned by carefully reading articles about his personal history.

    Al-Balawi’s mother told Agence France-Presse that her son had never been an “extremist.” Al-Balawi’s widow, Defne Bayrak, made a similar statement to Newsweek. In a New York Times article, al-Balawi’s brother was quoted as describing him as a “very good brother” and a “brilliant doctor.”

    So what led al-Balawi to take his own life in order to kill U.S. and Jordanian intelligence operatives?

    Al-Balawi’s widow said her husband “started to change” after the American-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. His brother said al-Balawi “changed” during last year’s three-week-long Israeli offensive in Gaza, which killed about 1,300 Palestinians.

    When al-Balawi volunteered with a medical organization to treat injured Palestinians in Gaza, he was arrested by Jordanian authorities, his brother said.

    It was after that arrest that the Jordanian intelligence service apparently coerced or “recruited” al-Balawi to become a spy who would penetrate al Qaeda’s hierarchy and provide actionable intelligence to the CIA.

    “If you catch a cat and put it in a corner, she will jump on you,” the brother said in explaining why al-Balawi would turn to a suicide attack.

    “My husband was anti-American; so am I,” his widow said, adding that her two little girls would grow up fatherless but that she had no regrets.

    Answering Helen

    Are we starting to get the picture of what the United States is up against in the Muslim world?

    Does Helen Thomas deserve an adult answer to her question about motive? Has President Obama been able to assimilate all this?

    Or is the U.S. political/media establishment incapable of confronting this reality and/or taking meaningful action to alleviate the underlying causes of the violence?

    Is the reported reaction of a CIA official to al-Balawi’s attack the appropriate one: “Last week’s attack will be avenged. Some very bad people will eventually have a very bad day.”

    Revenge has not always turned out very well in the past.

    Does anyone remember the brutal killing of four Blackwater contractors on March 31, 2004, when they took a wrong turn and ended up in the Iraqi city of Fallujah — and how U.S. forces virtually leveled that large city in retribution after George W. Bush won his second term the following November?

    If you read only the Fawning Corporate Media, you would blissfully think that the killing of the four Blackwater operatives was the work of fanatical animals who got – along with their neighbors – what they deserved. You wouldn’t know that the killings represented the second turn in that specific cycle of violence.

    On March 22, 2004, Israeli forces assassinated the then-spiritual leader of Hamas in Gaza, Sheikh Yassin — a withering old man, blind and confined to a wheelchair.

    That murder, plus sloppy navigation by the Blackwater men, set the stage for the next set of brutalities. The Blackwater operatives were killed by a group that described itself as the “Sheikh Yassin Revenge Brigade.”

    Pamphlets and posters were all over the scene of the attack; one of the trucks that pulled around body parts of the mercenaries had a poster of Yassin in its window, as did store fronts all over Fallujah.

    We can wish Janet Napolitano luck with her “counter-radicalization” project and President Obama with his effort to “communicate clearly to Muslims,” but there will be no diminution in the endless cycles of violence unless legitimate grievances are addressed on all sides.

    It might also help if the American people were finally let in on the root causes for what otherwise get dismissed as irrational actions by Muslims.

    http://michaelmoore.com/words/mike-friends-blog/answering-helen-thomas-why

  83. Bob Howard, American Hero, Dies

    A man considered to be the country’s most decorated soldier has died.
    Oak Crest Funeral Home in Waco, Texas, says retired Col. Robert Lewis Howard died Wednesday. He was 70. The funeral home obituary said that at the time of his death he was the most decorated American soldier.
    Howard served in the Army from 1956 to 1992. He was nominated three times for the Medal of Honor, the nation’s most prestigious award for combat veterans. He was awarded it once, for his bravery in Vietnam during a mission to rescue a missing soldier in enemy territory.
    He was wounded 14 times in Vietnam and was awarded eight Purple Hearts.
    Howard will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

  84. Just a question. I’ve been reading today about FEMA internment/concentration camps. This includes boxcars with shackles and of all things, guillotines. I’ve always resisted conspiracy theories, but not so much lately, and thought it would be a good discussion on open mic or a guest writer. What say all of my friends on future of this topic?

    G!

  85. Hey VH!

    The weather idiots are rarely right. They call for 4 inches, we get a dusting, they call for a dusting we get 6 inches. There last great call last week was Thursday night, an inch or less. OK, 6 inches later, and schools were closed. Our main roads have now been covered for 6 days, and , having just gone to the store, are not going to change. It’s in the teens, salt don’t work well.

    Still better than last year so far, had 59 inches in 9 days, but it’s been much colder. Maybe I can strike up a relationship with CP and move to the S. Pacific 😆 Just joking.

    Stay warm and Live Free!

    G!

    • v. Holland says:

      I suppose if I had to choose between no snow this year or having your amount of snow-I would choose just to drive until I found some, stay a couple days then go back home.

      • Me too, Dang it! 🙂

        • Judy Sabatini says:

          Hey

          Well, our pleasant and constantly cloudy skies are about to change in the next couple of days. Calling for rain and snow here, with winds kicking up tomorrow, reaching up to over 100MPH on the ridge tops.

          Lets all go invade Cyndi P. You think she’d mind? Or have her send some of that nice warm tropic air over here.

          • Hi Judy!

            Shoveled at 5pm, will need snow boots to get to truck in the morning already. If Cyndi will have us, I’ll swim 😆

            G!

            • Judy Sabatini says:

              Hey G

              I’ll go any way but fly, I can’t swim. Not sure how much we’ll get, if any down here on the valley floor. Sure hope you guys get a break from all that snow you’ve been getting.

              • Yeah, sure . Ya’ll come down. The weather is warm even though its been pretty cloudly the last week or so. My tan is starting to fade….

                😉

  86. Judy Sabatini says:

    U.S. agrees to timetable for UN Gun Ban
    The United Nations and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are moving forward with their plan to confiscate your guns.

    The United States joined 152 other countries in support of the Arms Trade Treaty Resolution, which establishes the dates for the 2012 UN conference intended to attack American sovereignty by stripping Americans of the right to keep and bear arms.

    Working groups of anti-gun countries will begin scripting language for the conference this year, creating a blueprint for other countries when they meet at the full conference.

    The stakes couldn’t be higher.

    Former United Nation’s ambassador John Bolton has cautioned gun owners about the Arms Trade Treaty and says the UN “is trying to act as though this is really just a treaty about international arms trade between nation states, but there’s no doubt that the real agenda here is domestic firearms control.”

    Establishing the dates for the Arms Trade Treaty Conference is just the first step toward their plans for total gun confiscation.

    The worldwide gun control mob will ensure the passage of an egregious, anti-gun treaty…

    . . .and that’s where Secretary of State Hillary Clinton steps in.

    Once the UN Gun Ban is passed by the General Assembly of the United Nations it must be ratified by each nation, including the United States.

    As an arch enemy of gun owners, Clinton has pledged to push the U.S. Senate to ratify the treaty. She will push for passage of this outrageous treaty designed to register, ban and CONFISCATE firearms owned by private citizens like YOU.

    That’s why it’s vital you sign the special petition I’ve made up for your signature that DEMANDS your U.S. Senators vote AGAINST ratification of the UN’s “Small Arms Treaty.”

    So far, the gun-grabbers have successfully kept the exact wording of their new scheme under wraps.

    But looking at previous versions of the UN “Small Arms Treaty,” you and I can get a good idea of what’s likely in the works.

    Don’t let any of the “experts” lull you to sleep by saying “Oh, we have it handled” or “Until you know exactly what’s in the treaty you can’t fight against it.”

    Judging by Ambassador Bolton’s comments — who certainly knows what to expect from the American-freedom-hating international crowd that infests the U.N. — we are certain the treaty’s going to address the private ownership of firearms.

    If passed by the UN and ratified by the U.S. Senate (which is where we must ultimately make our stand), the UN “Small Arms Treaty” would almost certainly FORCE national governments to:

    *** Enact tougher licensing requirements, making law-abiding citizens cut through even more bureaucratic red tape just to own a firearm legally;

    *** CONFISCATE and DESTROY ALL “unauthorized” civilian firearms (all firearms owned by the government are excluded, of course);

    *** BAN the trade, sale and private ownership of ALL semi-automatic weapons;

    *** Create an INTERNATIONAL gun registry, setting the stage for full-scale gun CONFISCATION. So please click here to sign the petition to your U.S. Senators before it’s too late!

    You see, this is NOT a fight we can afford to lose.

    Here’s what you can do to help the National Association for Gun Rights fight Hillary Clinton and her United Nations cronies:

    * Click here and sign our petition to DEMAND that your United States Senators vote AGAINST the United Nations Small Arms Treaty.

    * Forward this e-mail to your friends and relatives who share your concern for American sovereignty and protecting our right to keep and bear arms.

    * Please consider making a generous contribution to the National Association for Gun Rights to help us fight Hillary Clinton and the United Nations “Small Arms Treaty.”

    Without your help and support, the National Association for Gun Rights cannot defeat this measure.

    Thank you in advance for your support.

    For Liberty,
    Dudley’s Signature
    Dudley Brown

    P.S. The Obama Administration just announced they would be working hand-in-glove with the UN to pass a new GLOBAL “Small Arms Treaty.”

    That’s why it’s vital you and I fight back IMMEDIATELY.

    Please click here to sign the special petition I’ve made up for your signature that DEMANDS your U.S. Senators vote AGAINST ratification of the UN’s “Small Arms Treaty.”

  87. These people need to get a life. Seriously….

    (CNN) — James Cameron’s completely immersive spectacle “Avatar” may have been a little too real for some fans who say they have experienced depression and suicidal thoughts after seeing the film because they long to enjoy the beauty of the alien world Pandora.

    On the fan forum site “Avatar Forums,” a topic thread entitled “Ways to cope with the depression of the dream of Pandora being intangible,” has received more than 1,000 posts from people experiencing depression and fans trying to help them cope. The topic became so popular last month that forum administrator Philippe Baghdassarian had to create a second thread so people could continue to post their confused feelings about the movie.

    “I wasn’t depressed myself. In fact the movie made me happy ,” Baghdassarian said. “But I can understand why it made people depressed. The movie was so beautiful and it showed something we don’t have here on Earth. I think people saw we could be living in a completely different world and that caused them to be depressed.”

    A post by a user called Elequin expresses an almost obsessive relationship with the film.

    “That’s all I have been doing as of late, searching the Internet for more info about ‘Avatar.’ I guess that helps. It’s so hard I can’t force myself to think that it’s just a movie, and to get over it, that living like the Na’vi will never happen. I think I need a rebound movie,” Elequin posted.

    A user named Mike wrote on the fan Web site “Naviblue” that he contemplated suicide after seeing the movie.

    “Ever since I went to see ‘Avatar’ I have been depressed. Watching the wonderful world of Pandora and all the Na’vi made me want to be one of them. I can’t stop thinking about all the things that happened in the film and all of the tears and shivers I got from it,” Mike posted. “I even contemplate suicide thinking that if I do it I will be rebirthed in a world similar to Pandora and the everything is the same as in ‘Avatar.’ ”

    Other fans have expressed feelings of disgust with the human race and disengagement with reality.

    Cameron’s movie, which has pulled in more than $1.4 billion in worldwide box office sales and could be on track to be the highest grossing film of all time, is set in the future when the Earth’s resources have been pillaged by the human race. A greedy corporation is trying to mine the rare mineral unobtainium from the planet Pandora, which is inhabited by a peace-loving race of 7-foot tall, blue-skinned natives called the Na’vi.

    In their race to mine for Pandora’s resources, the humans clash with the Na’vi, leading to casualties on both sides. The world of Pandora is reminiscent of a prehistoric fantasyland, filled with dinosaur-like creatures mixed with the kinds of fauna you may find in the deep reaches of the ocean. Compared with life on Earth, Pandora is a beautiful, glowing utopia.

    Ivar Hill posts to the “Avatar” forum page under the name Eltu. He wrote about his post-“Avatar” depression after he first saw the film earlier this month.

    “When I woke up this morning after watching Avatar for the first time yesterday, the world seemed … gray. It was like my whole life, everything I’ve done and worked for, lost its meaning,” Hill wrote on the forum. “It just seems so … meaningless. I still don’t really see any reason to keep … doing things at all. I live in a dying world.”

    Reached via e-mail in Sweden where he is studying game design, Hill, 17, explained that his feelings of despair made him desperately want to escape reality.

    “One can say my depression was twofold: I was depressed because I really wanted to live in Pandora, which seemed like such a perfect place, but I was also depressed and disgusted with the sight of our world, what we have done to Earth. I so much wanted to escape reality,” Hill said.

    Cameron’s special effects masterpiece is very lifelike, and the 3-D performance capture and CGI effects essentially allow the viewer to enter the alien world of Pandora for the movie’s 2½-hour running time, which only lends to the separation anxiety some individuals experience when they depart the movie theater.

    “Virtual life is not real life and it never will be, but this is the pinnacle of what we can build in a virtual presentation so far,” said Dr. Stephan Quentzel, psychiatrist and Medical Director for the Louis Armstrong Center for Music and Medicine at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York. “It has taken the best of our technology to create this virtual world and real life will never be as utopian as it seems onscreen. It makes real life seem more imperfect.”

    Fans of the movie may find actor Stephen Lang, who plays the villainous Col. Miles Quaritch in the film, an enemy of the Na’vi people and their sacred ground, an unlikely sympathizer. But Lang says he can understand the connection people are feeling with the movie.

    “Pandora is a pristine world and there is the synergy between all of the creatures of the planet and I think that strikes a deep chord within people that has a wishfulness and a wistfulness to it,” Lang said. “James Cameron had the technical resources to go along with this incredibly fertile imagination of his and his dream is built out of the same things that other peoples’ dreams are made of.”

    The bright side is that for Hill and others like him — who became dissatisfied with their own lives and with our imperfect world after enjoying the fictional creation of James Cameron — becoming a part of a community of like-minded people on an online forum has helped them emerge from the darkness.

    “After discussing on the forums for a while now, my depression is beginning to fade away. Having taken a part in many discussions concerning all this has really, really helped me,” Hill said. “Before, I had lost the reason to keep on living — but now it feels like these feelings are gradually being replaced with others.”

    Quentzel said creating relationships with others is one of the keys to human happiness, and that even if those connections are occurring online they are better than nothing.

    “Obviously there is community building in these forums,” Quentzel said. “It may be technologically different from other community building, but it serves the same purpose.”

    Within the fan community, suggestions for battling feelings of depression after seeing the movie include things like playing “Avatar” video games or downloading the movie soundtrack, in addition to encouraging members to relate to other people outside the virtual realm and to seek out positive and constructive activities.

  88. v. Holland says:

    Yes, they need to get a life farrrrrrr away from each other-they really don’t need this whinny, ungrateful attitude reinforced.

  89. Finally, a video that proves Global Warming.

    Called:
    two days before the day after tomorrow

    http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=1265135

  90. Judy Sabatini says:

    My well loved friends, time for me to say good night and here’s hoping you will have a pleasant rest of the night, and a great tomorrow.

    Good night everybody.

    Judy

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