The Death of Personal Responsibility Revisited

The other day on the open mic thread I posted an article that was a pure emotional appeal from the Huffington Post. The story focused on an unemployed woman who sadly had to tell her child that Santa was cutting back a little bit this year. The article was a blatant play on emotion in order to make a case for the extension of yet more unemployment benefits in our increasingly government dependent society. I was roundly criticized by some folks for the “guesses” that I threw out there for the subject of the article. I can understand that criticism. However, I made it clear these were my guesses, not facts. While I may be wrong on this particular woman’s story (and I may be 100% right, for the record), I think I put forth a fairly common set of circumstances as a reasonable possibility. I will discuss those circumstances more here. Sadly, some of you completely missed the point of what I was saying about the emotional ploys used. Believe what you want about that particular woman, the point was that the left leaning media was doing exactly what they always do, relying on emotion and pity to make a case for political action.

The premise of that article was that unemployment benefits should be extended yet again because this woman’s child is going to have a Christmas with a few less toys than last year. Nowhere in the article does it say that the family is facing a loss of their home. Nowhere in the article does it say that there are any struggles to put food on the table. Nowhere in the article does it say that the child is lacking anything at all. It only says that the child is going to have a leaner Christmas this year than last year. And because of that we are supposed to see the compelling case to extend unemployment benefits again. Some readers especially had there thong in a wad and dismissed the point of my comments to instead focused on the generalizations or guesses that I made. It appears that my being cynical of the tactics of the left is far more damaging than the plethora of tax dollars wasted because liberals feel it is important that Mikey has a good Christmas morning. To which I say… Get over it. My generalizations were no more damaging than the ones made by those in your camp (wild generalizations or accusations against Sarah Palin or anyone who makes a lot of money anyone?).

But my problem with the overall sentiment goes to the fact that there is a dramatic flaw in the American mindset these days and it is a flaw that the left completely refuses to acknowledge. It is because of these flaws in the American mindset that people such as myself are so adamantly against handing out more government tax dollars. Despite the claims from the left, those on the right continue to be the more generous in terms of charitable contributions. And I believe that those on the right are just as willing to help those who are desperately in need. It is just that those on the right are also willing to see that a lot of the people being given out tax dollars are in situations of their own making or are unwilling to sacrifice in order to survive.

Given that premise, I am going to reiterate my response from the other night to criticism, singling out each of the parts of the American mindset that I find to be common flaws. While each of these short-sighted outlooks can be weathered in most circumstances, the combination of them together puts many families in particularly rough situations.

The first mistake that many make is to rely too heavily on experience while failing to pursue further education. I can point to dozens of my friends in this situation who still refuse to accept the reality of where it leaves them. I can point to another dozen who I have counseled to continue their education for this very reason and who are taking that advice and putting themselves in a far better position for the future. Allow me to explain and ask yourself how many people just like this that you have in your own circle.

Many people forego college in order to enter the work spectrum for a multitude of reasons. Having a child at an early age, limited funds for additional schooling, job opportunities that seem like a good idea, and simply youthful ignorance are all possible reasons for doing so. These people go into the workforce and do what the majority of Americans do. They work hard. They learn as they go. They move up the ladder, entering management positions and increasing their salaries within a single organization. That organization has had them all along and promoted based on experience, work ethic, demonstrated skills and competencies. These people earned their way up the ladder within that organization. Nothing was handed to them. And then one day, through no fault of their own, they are let go. The company downsizes or folds completely. Or a reorganization eliminates the position that these folks worked so hard to get to.

All of the sudden, these folks are 30 or 40 years old, with 10-20 years of experience within a single company. They never went back to further their education. They didn’t see the need. After all, they had gained experience which we all know is far more valuable than a college education anyway. And they were making good money after all those promotions. Now on the job market, they find that they are not even getting interview opportunities for comparable positions because their resume lacks that college degree. All the experience that they gained and all the proving themselves that they had done over the last decade simply doesn’t show on a resume. They are left with limited options. Based on their resume, they are qualified only for an entry level position, at a fraction of the salary they used to receive. While you SUFA readers all know that experience in reality trumps a degree in some generic major, the organizations doing the hiring simply don’t see it that way. It is a harsh wakeup call when it happens. That is situation #1, and a very common occurrence in America today, especially among minorities and others who did not have the importance of an education stressed enough early in life or who simply didn’t have the financial means to attend college right out of high school. And in situation #1, there is no one to blame for failing to go back to school other than themselves.

There is then the second situation. This is another that I am willing to bet that we all know dozens of people for who this fits. Americans have become a society where we want what we want. We want it now and we will stretch beyond our means to get it. Let’s face it, America is the only country in the world where someone can have a 42″ flat screen on the wall, cable television, heat and air conditioning, a working vehicle, a XBox360, and clothes that include $100 sneakers and $100 jeans and $100 jerseys…. and be considered poor. Further, there are those who for some reason believe that we should be providing government money (read as: our tax dollars) to enable those folks to continue to live at that level. But I digress, the point here was that Americans tend to live above their means.

There is little doubt that America has become a credit dependent country. The average credit card debt per household in America is over $15k. There are over 600 million credit cards circulating currently in a country of 300 million people, with the average cardholder having 3.4 cards. The total US Consumer debt is $2.4 Trillion. And the US credit card default rate is 13%. I don’t think there is any doubt at all that we are a credit dependent country, and one who is living beyond our means. All of those figures are 2010 numbers. These numbers represent a dramatic shift in the way that Americans look at purchasing goods. It has become the norm to purchase goods for which we don’t currently have the money for. I can count on one hand the number of friends I have that save their money and refuse to buy non-necessities unless they have the money for it right now. Unfortunately, I cannot always count myself among those people.

And this has become the norm. People use credit cards to pay on other credit cards, constantly balancing their budgets in order to skate by each week. There are tons of people who, despite having good paying jobs, are literally living almost paycheck to paycheck. The balancing act has become a way of life in America. At no time of the year is this more evident than during this Christmas season. As someone working in the retail world for many years, I watched over and over as people stretched themselves thin to purchase gifts that are not really needed. The age of consumerism is where we are and those who have goods to sell have made their living on finding new and better ways to stretch people beyond their means through the use of credit.

The problem is that the balancing act, no matter how well you play it, becomes a disaster when something unexpected happens like losing your job or an emergency comes up such as a costly car repair or a medical emergency. This flaw in the American mindset is situation #2, an even more common occurrence than #1. And unfortunately, in situation #2, there is no one to blame for spending above your means than the person who did the spending.

Nowhere do we see a more dramatic example of this flaw in the American mindset than in purchasing a home or purchasing an automobile, an area so large that I had to give it a separate section apart from the normal living above our means. Over the last decade or so we all got to witness the financial industry in America, specifically companies such as Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, make horrible lending decisions by making high risk loans to those who had no business receiving lines of credit for a home. And because of the American mindset, those who had no business purchasing a home based on their income were more than happy to oblige, incur debt that they were unable to pay back when time came to pay, and help cause a collapse of the housing market. It is easy to blame the big banks and say they were “predatory” or that they took advantage of people by offering adjustable rate ARMS that were bad for consumers. And I agree that they hold some of the responsibility for what happened.

However, it was the consumer that agreed to the terms offered by the banks. As a prime example of the American mindset, they essentially took a loan for a rate they could handle for 3 or 5 years, operating under the assumption that when that period was up, they would be in a better place financially than they were when they made the deal. If that isn’t the epitome of the very flaw in mindset I am talking about, I don’t know what is. Of course in 3 or 5 years, when that ARM did what it was expected to do, they hadn’t made the advancements in income level they “hoped” to have made. They couldn’t make the new payments, and they face foreclosure on that home. The solution once again? Government and the taxpayer dollars to the rescue. Mortgage bailouts, bank bailouts, and financial institutions forced to renegotiate those loans so that they would be more affordable. And the left once again espousing the greed of the banks while ignoring the poor choices and poor planning of the individual.

Automobile purchases are much the same, although the damage done hasn’t been near as catastrophic as home purchases. My old job had me located with valet parking right outside my door. I watched all day as people pulled up in a new Lexus or a new Cadillac SUV or a restored older car with $5000 22″ rims and several thousand dollar sound systems. And they would get out of the car at valet and be counting change from their ashtray to pay the $4 valet fee! I kid you not, I saw this happen dozens of times over the years I worked there. People believe they are entitled to a nice car and they will stretch themselves thin to have it. In their next breath, they will tell us that they do not have money for food or that their mortgage payment is too high to handle (see above!).

There is situation #3. Plenty of blame to go around and I dare say, once again, that the situation that these folks find themselves in cannot be blamed on anyone but themselves. No one forced them to buy homes under contracts that they wouldn’t be able to afford. No one forced them to live under the premise that their situation would simply get better in the next 3-5 years. No one forced them to drive a Lexus or a Cadillac Escalade or to put $5k worth of rims on their vehicle.

Then there is the next situation in which the American mindset in its flawed capacity hurts us. Those who fall into situation #1, where they cannot get a comparable job, are unwilling to do jobs that they deem “beneath them.” Far too many who lose a good job are simply unable to accept that they have to start over back at the bottom for a while. Perhaps the job market will rebound and your great job will come back. But in the meantime, there are tons of low-paying jobs that are available in the marketplace. Heck, in today’s world of 10% unemployment it is unfathomable to me that the left still claims that we need to do immigration reform because illegal immigrants do jobs that Americans are “unwilling to do.” Unwilling to do? You have no job and you are unwilling to do those jobs? Personally I find that blasphemous. I have long held that as long as I am physically able to work there is no job I will be unwilling to do if I need to put food on the table or pay my bills. Shovel shit, dig ditches, sling burgers, pick produce, whatever.

When did American workers become such prima-donas? In our grandparents day, they faced the Great Depression with little government assistance. They were willing to do whatever job they could find, no matter how menial it seemed. They would rather shovel shit than take a handout. They call that generation “the greatest generation” now. And the reason they were the greatest generation is because they had a different mindset than we do today. They never expected anyone to save them. They looked for any opportunity to save themselves. It sickens me to see today’s America, where the majority believe that it is government’s obligation to save them. My grandfather used to joke that he would go on welfare when they got a drive up window. He never truly would have accepted a dime, but it was his little joke. He said it nearly every day, and I laughed at it nearly every day. Fortunately, he never lived to see a world where a drive-up window for welfare actually exists. It would have sickened him as well.

Any one of the four situations that I have laid out above are common. Far too common for a country that used to be the epitome of hard work, dedication, personal pride and self-reliance. Any one of them could be weathered on their own, but in many situations, they compound on one another, one causing another and another until you are facing all of them. It paints folks in to a very tough corner. And I really do feel for them. But it should not be lost that in all four situations, it is a problem of their own making. No one is to blame but themselves. Unless of course you want to blame it on the government for telling folks to buy homes, the corporations for having such effective marketing campaigns, or immigrants for driving down the price of labor in certain industries.

The real problem is that Americans are no longer self-reliant and no longer willing to do whatever it takes in order to better their own situations. Americans have become whiners who lay no blame on themselves for the poor decisions they make fiscally. More important, Americans have become a land of people who believe that it is someone else’s responsibility to help them survive the tough times they put themselves in.

Unwed and unemployed mothers get angry at the prospect of not getting paid welfare for their 7th child born out of wedlock. Unemployed get angry at the prospect of not having unemployment payments continue after the initial 99 weeks (nearly two years!) of payouts. Homeowners get angry that the banks follow through on the contract they both agreed to a few years ago and demand payment or foreclose. People seem to get angry with everyone but themselves. And then they demand that we take care of them or we are called uncaring, heartless, or worse.

Well I am not uncaring. I am not heartless. In fact I care more and have more of a heart than almost everyone I know. I will give to the point where I hurt myself in many situations. I am more willing than most people I know to help those who are in need. I only have one requirement. You have to be willing to hold yourself accountable and do everything in your power to help yourself if you are going to ask me for help.

I have no interest in helping those who put themselves in a hole and then are unwilling to do what it takes to get out of it. If you bought a home that is too expensive for you, tough. I feel for you, but it was your mistake and I am not obligated to help you remedy it. If you stubbornly refused to further your education and cannot get a comparable job, I really do feel for you, because I know what it feels like to be in your shoes. But it isn’t my fault and I am not obligated to help you. If you are wearing sneakers that are more expensive than my entire outfit and cannot afford food, I think you are simply stupid. And I am not obligated to feed you.

That is what the left in America needs to understand about my mentality. I am willing to help. But a failure to plan on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine. And it certainly doesn’t entitle you to what I have earned. No amount of emotional staging is going to change my opinion on that. I will not agree to your use of government force to take from me and give to the masses that failed to properly plan for the future or live within their means.

It is this part of the American mindset that must change if we are ever going to recover as a country. Self reliance and personal accountability is what made us rise as a great nation. The entitlement mentality and a lack of self accountability is what is rapidly turning us into Rome.

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Comments

  1. Well said sir.

    I believe that when you ask for help you do so knowing you need to do what needs to be done to get out of the difficulties you are in.

  2. I’ll never get it either.

    My parents raised 8 kids while living on very little money. My mom sewed our clothes, we ate hot dogs every Monday night, had to wear the cheap shoes bought from the grocery store. But they sent all eight of us to Catholic School for twelve years. Then you either paid your own way through college or got outta the house. Graduate college and start paying rent or get out. Never hurt us a bit..mater of fact it taught us valuable life lessons. Had a brother killed in a car accident in the early 80’s. Parents got a hefty settlement from that and were able to live comfortably starting then.

    I took over the family biz in ’92. Dad said be careful..it’s excellant money but could dry up in one second. I lived on poverty level income purposely for the first five years. Paid off the 6 digit price tag, sunk money into new equipment and raised employees wages. Bought some waterfront property and some toys to go with it. My kids have never wanted for anything (in my opinion, not theirs).

    You must have a plan, then good things come to those who wait. Can’t tell you how many friends who told me to get up off some cash.. you can’t take it with you..blah, blah, blah. Yeah, well..good thing I had a plan cause the money did dry up. Luckily I’m debt free and have everything I need. Still pay cash for everything. My biggest bill is internet/phone/cable. Maybe gas for roadtrips! I don’t feel a bit sorry for my friends and others who are upside down on mortgages or who just walked from their loans and are now renting. Yes, I do since I’ve opened my home to a few temporarily. Like the saying goes..You made your bed now lie in it. Did you need to hear all that? No. but if I can do it..anyone can!

  3. Ray Hawkins says:

    @USW – bitter lately?

    The point I think you missed is that for as much as the article may have been construed as a tug at the heart to extend unemployment benefits – the author took very limited artistic license to marry the two together – your own response took tremendous license to take potshots at someone you literally know nothing about – I was more surprised you didn’t just refer to her as an illiterate, illegal immigrant crack whore. You’re no more “right” than the author of the article in this case and its too bad that you refuse to own that.

    It must have made you nuts to have people you deemed undeserving of the expensive cars they drove to pull up in front of your higher end retail store and then fish for four bucks to valet park. I guess some of us that occasionally visit such pretentious stores just don’t walk around with a bunch of singles in the pockets or in the car. Not quite sure how you manage not to go jungle love on the a-hole shopping in your store you’ve seemed to pre-judge so effectively – I mean – c’mon now – dude pulls up with in the Escalade with new rims, the sweet system, pants hanging off his ass, jewelry hanging off his neck, shoes untied and he has to fish for four bucks in pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters to pay the pimple-faced valet? The POS must be unemployed, taking your money while he’s probably dealing drugs and just generally being a asshole while good hard working Americans like yourself pick themselves up by their bootstraps everyday and walk, talk, act, think and present themselves like you do. Sure we miss that America where we all looked like cookie cutter images of one another. It is so much easier to define “what is right” when we look in the mirror and say to ourselves – “this is what “right” is”. The end result comes easier, its just rarely going to be what you want.

    I’d wonder also USW if you can expand again on the decision of your own wife to collect unemployment and rationalize that against your views stated herein regarding collecting unemployment.

    It is so much easier to define “what is right” when we look in the mirror and say to ourselves – “this is what “right” is”. The end result comes easier, its just rarely going to be what you want.

    • I think you both pointed out two of the big problems we have in our attempts at communication in this country. 1. There is wayyyyy to much appeal to the emotions whether it is meant to create sympathy or anger. Your response Ray is a pretty good example of trying to create the emotion of anger.

      2. This idea that one must be perfect or they cannot point out any problems or promote any standards without being called a hypocrite. Since none of us are perfect-the problem is obvious.

      • Let he without sin, something something something something…

        Gee, if only I could remember how that goes…

        • Would you like to explain the point of your comment or is this just another example of the atheist bringing religion into every discussion 🙂

          • You were pointing out that you don’t have to be perfect to point out a flaw, and I was pointing out that you should be free of sin if you want to throw stones..

            Just throwing it out there (no pun intended).

            🙂

          • And I’m not an atheist, by the way. I’m nominally Jewish. In reality, I’m agnostic. Admittedly, I’m agnostic about God the same way I’m agnostic about unicorns, but that doesn’t make me an atheist.

      • V,

        Your response Ray is a pretty good example of trying to create the emotion of anger.

        Ray is just following along the “slippery slope” of USWeapon’s arguments. If you can assume she’s made all these mistakes that have caused her situation, why can’t we assume she’s an illiterate, illegal immigrant crack whore?

        Some people come up short when paying the valet, and suddenly anyone driving a Lexus, Cadillac SUV or a restored older car is a dead-beat? Unemployed drug dealing asshole seems to fix right in…

        Gee, I feel better already!! 🙂

        • Because being an illiterate, illegal immigrant crack whore is not all that common an affliction, Todd. All the things that I pointed out are as common as a cold.

          • So USWeapon,
            Your generalizations are Ok, but Ray’s are not? Seriously??

            You’re as bad as G-man – claiming your opinion and/or experiences as “fact”…

            • My generalizations are based in reality, situations that many Americans are finding themselves in. Ray’s versions are rare. What about those scenarios that I pointed out are you disputing exactly?

              • pssst – It’s the reality part, that’s not on TV. It’s hard for some people to imagine that there are people that have these real life experiences, and can equate them to reality. Oh, one more thing, the govt. is doing far more harm than good, but don’t tell any one.. they might… maybe… WTFU (wise up with a twist). shhhh, I’m whispering, don’t tell US Canine, he might bark!

                😆

              • pssst – It’s the precieved reality part, that’s only in your head…tight-wad… 😉

              • Almost correct. It’s called “take care of my needs, then I can help others” Namely, those others are family and some friends. I have no illusion that I can save the whole damn poulation, nor do I care to do so. Only the strong will survive, you and your ilk can save the rest!

              • USWeapon,
                Your generalizations are not based on reality, they are based on possible reality. And so are Ray’s. Whether they are rare or not does not matter. Both are possible.

                Is that the new standard here at SUFA? If something is possible, we can assume it’s fact?

                I’ll give you an example – I have a brother-in-law who is a real tight-wad. He never pays for anything and always looks for opportunities to have others pay for him. No one else in the family is like that, and it drives everyone nuts. He has a decent job and can afford to take his turn paying like everyone else, but he doesn’t.

                He’s also very conservative and would fit in with the “majority” here quite well.

                So, based on that, I can assume that all you conservatives are tight-wads that only care about yourselves, right?

                My problem with your scenarios is that they are possible scenarios, not facts.

              • @Todd,

                So people signing ARM’s and facing foreclosure is only a possible reality?

                People losing jobs in the scenario I laid out is only a possibly reality?

                All those masses of poor I see in $100 sneakers and jerseys are only a possible reality?

                These things are possible scenarios, they are quite common scenarios. When writing an article about the changing American mindset, I would imagine that all we can really “prove” about what people are thinking is…. nothing.

                Stop watching the trees Todd. Start seeing the forest.

              • USWeapon,
                It’s a possible reality for the woman in the article, but you don’t know that it’s true. Therefore, it’s nothing more than an emotional generalization to pull at the heart strings and get your fellow conservatives to rally against this poorly educated, self-centered, heavily in-debted, unwed, unemployed Lexus driving lazy prima-dona squater who wears $100 sneakers and jerseys…and doesn’t have $4 to pay the valet…

                Does that sound stupid to you?

    • The one thing I agree with Ray on is the part about having cash. To the horror of D13, I do not know the last time I had cash in my wallet. This morning I bought cookies for breakfast and paid the $2.97 with my debit card. I have to avoid things sometimes just because I don’t have any cash on me. If I have cash it tends to disappear quickly because I usually get it out for a specific reason. But in USWs example of the valet, if people use the valet everyday then there really isn’t an excuse not to have the cash ready.

      • No Horror nate….I use a debit card all the time….not credit cards.

        • D13,
          I’m crious why you would use a debit card and not a credit card? A debit card has all the drawbacks of credit card, but very few of the perks…

          • Cool question….I use a debit card simply because it is cash. And I use a debit cards where cash is not accepted..(Rental cars, for example) Also, a debit card is accepted to make hotel reservations…..but always pay cash. The reason I do not use credit cards is I despise personal debt. I understand good debt and bad debt perfectly but choose not to do anything on credit. Want no liabilities other than the vacant space in my head.

            • It is difficult to function in today’s world without some sort of plastic.

              And my wife certainly understands that “no other liabilities” issue!! 😉

      • Naten53,
        In some of the offices I’ve visited, they have credit/debit card readers on the vending machines. It seems a little weird, but it’s great for the expense report – just swipe the corporate credit card and you’re done!!

        • I saw a commercial last week that had a credit card reader on a cell phone. A little extension at the bottom to swipe the card through and read the magnetic strip. The technology they are coming up with is amazing.

    • Good Morning , Ray 🙂

      I have seen alot of what USW espouses while living in Youngstown, Ohio. Don’t see it at all here in NW PA. I could only shake my head when I saw someone use their food stamp card for a buggy full of groceries, then pack it their new Escalade or Rolls Royce. Or their monthly trip to the welfare office, to collect “their money”, with the streets lined with Caddie, BMW’s, RR’s, Lexus’s ect. All while the city buses passed by empty. Yes, it’s easy to see this, dependent on your location and by keeping your eyes open.

      But, rather than pick on the poor people and how they can dupe the system, I’d rather focus on the “entitlement mentallity” that has gripped this nation. Entitlements are like a contagious disease, it’s just grows by affecting more and more people. Once your in the net, getting out is very difficult. It’s not designed to let them out, it’s designed to keep them under the total control of the Government they elect, and they will elect them to get their cookies. This is obviously unstustainable, and much like counties in Europe, it will lead to major problems here. I feel for these people, for it’s not the system they are “duping” it’s the system “duping” them.

      As we head towards higher inflation, they will want more cookies, the government will give it to them. The national dept will continue to explode, and eventually, the US dollar will cease being the world’s reserve currency. That will be the final end to the age of entitlements. Then, the fun begins.

      Hope you have a great day!

      G!

      • I agree that an unintended affect of entitlements is this ‘getting caught in the net’ phenomenon you describe. I strenuously disagree however, that it is the intention of the politicians to deliberately perpetuate this system by making it more difficult to escape. I see this assertion over and over again. What do you have to back this up? Have you ever seen a leaked memo talking about the best way to ensnare people? Has anyone ever said, perhaps in an open mic moment, that he supports something because it will keep people on welfare?

        This is an unsubstantiated claim and it maligns what I think is a well intended but somewhat poorly executed system of humanitarian aid to the most needy in our society. For every Escalade driving jackass gaming the system, there are hundreds of legitimately impoverished men, women, and children who depend on this to put food on their table and keep the heat on when it’s 15 degrees outside. Everyone gets so caught up in the few (admittedly attention-grabbing) cheaters that they forget about the ones who are truly benefited by these systems.

        So:
        1. Back up your claim that pols want people to stay on welfare.
        2. Provide evidence that fraud/waste accounts for a substantive portion of the disbursements to the extent that it outweighs the good being done.

        • Good day to you Mathius.

          1. Back up your claim that pols want people to stay on welfare.

          OK, let’s simply apply some old fashioned common sense. There are almost 50 million people getting food assistance, the highest number ever.

          When’s the last time you heard or read of anyone being charged with “welfare fraud”? The Govt. don’t investigate and prosecute it to dissuade it from happening. That’s why we see it!

          . Provide evidence that fraud/waste accounts for a substantive portion of the disbursements to the extent that it outweighs the good being done.

          I didn’t claim that it is a substantive portion, I merely stated that it’s done in plain site, which makes those who DO need it, look bad as well.

          Matt, there is nothing good by living on the Govt. dole. I’m not speaking of the handicapped, but those that could work. I would require a public service requirement, like cleaning up litter.

          • A quick check on The Google shows tons of hits for people charged with welfare fraud. Here’s one (I don’t want to post more or I’ll get stuck in the approval queue):
            http://www.newsobserver.com/2010/12/15/864865/two-raleigh-women-charged-with.html

            Matt, there is nothing good by living on the Govt. dole. I’m not speaking of the handicapped, but those that could work. I would require a public service requirement, like cleaning up litter.

            You have my complete agreement. I think some should clean up litter, others should call companies to follow up on other recipients to make sure they’re actually looking for jobs. The rest can divide into two groups – one digs a hole, the other fills it in. Just so long as no one sits on the couch watching their soaps while cashing checks from Uncle Sam (ie, from your and my pockets).

            I forget the quote or who said it but it went something like this: A man who is made uncomfortable in his situation is a man who is likely to change his situation.

          • G-man,

            Welfare Fraud Cases Increase – “As the head of the District Attorney’s Welfare Fraud Division, Carl Hobbs was a busy man on Wednesday, overseeing 18 cases.”

            Welfare Fraud Cases Increase – “a newly hired state prosecutor has secured several indictments in the last two weeks alleging welfare fraud.”

            Now, provide one shred of evidence to support your claims. Not more generalizations or opinions – evidence.

            • Evidence = what I have seen, heard and watched. That is always enough for me to come to a reasonable conclusion.

              (might I suggest that you find the person that pissed in your wheaties and punch him the eye) 😆

              • A chain of personal experiences can seem like evidence, but it is has a sampling bias and, generally, too small of a subset of facts. Further, the data is generally not analyzed in any sort of scientific pr empirical way, but rather is just smushed together and concluded.

                I know we liberals are as high on common sense and experience as you folks are, but I don’t suppose you have any, you know, facts, to back up your claims? A study, perhaps?

              • Matt, The MSM is useless and biased in their reporting. Scientific studies have lost their reliability when, too most of the world, AGW was confirmed as a hoax and a lie. When the “debate is over” BS was destroyed, the use of studies over personnal knowledge based on experience and knowledge is insane. I’ll stick to what I know is true, vs. biased studies or MSM reports. Besides, I think we agree on most of this, why beat the dead horse?

        • Mathius

          1976, Reno, Nevada at a meeting of Democrat party activists and leaders.

          One of the national Dem Party guys told me point blank, that welfare was a cheap price to pay to keep the poor people in the cities so that the rest of us wouldn’t have to live around them.

          I had been criticizing the negative aspects of the Great Society and how welfare can’t work as a mainstay. Also how it could entrap generations.

          1990’s, I had another national Democrat leader tell me that if the lower class were actually mobile it would doom the Democrats. Because as people gain wealth they tend to start voting Republican.

          I agree that we often focus so much on the cheaters and undeserving that we forget about those in real need. But that is what happens when you use government to address poverty. Everyone starts looking for THEIR free cookies.

          So to answer your number 2, there is NOTHING GOOD being done by using the Federal Govt to distribute charity. The negative linked to the program goes far beyond those who “cheat” the system. It is a corrosive acid in our society. One based on an evil moral principle.

        • There may not be intent, but there is obviously purposeful ignoring of the fact that the system is not working. That it gets the votes, but it doesn’t really help the people. That is enough for me to condemn the politicians.

          As for the waste being enough to counter the good that is being done, well, what good is really being done? People are getting fed, sure, but are they being helped? If the cost of welfare was not on the economy, would more of those people be working? Would more charity be out there? Would there be less bitterness? Less dependency? I see it as a resounding yes. Especially when you look at the overhead of government charity versus private. The amount of monetary loss by the time it reaches the recipient is mind-blowing.

          As far as I am concerned the waste does outweigh the good, not because the waste is pervasive, but because the good is minuscule.

        • @Mathius “I strenuously disagree however, that it is the intention of the politicians to deliberately perpetuate this system by making it more difficult to escape”

          One recent example is the incentive for states to increase their welfare roles that was included in the Stimulus. Why in the world would a federal government want states to increase their welfare population?

          But, if you truly don’t believe this is actually the ultimate goal of the statist politicians, to create and expand this government dependent class, why are they so quick to use the group, often in the most emotional of ways, as an example of increasing taxes on others?

          • Kathy,
            The reason welfare roles are expanding is because poverty rates have gone up significantly in the past 10 years… Hummm, any “generalizations” we can draw from that?

            • Todd, the government offered incentives in the Stimulus to states to increase their welfare rolls.

              Why would they do this?

              • Because they wanted to make sure they helped everyone who needed it which, as Todd pointed out, seems to have increased over the last decade… odd. 😉

      • Hey G-man,

        Entitlements are like a contagious disease, it’s just grows by affecting more and more people. Once your in the net, getting out is very difficult. It’s not designed to let them out, it’s designed to keep them under the total control of the Government they elect, and they will elect them to get their cookies.

        Very interesting. I wonder if you’ve ever thought about how this applies to capitalism and wealth? So many of you don’t want to tax the wealthy, because when you work your way up to that point, you don’t want to be “burdened” with those taxes. The Wealthy feed and reinforce this logic over and over to the point where you actually believe it and are willing to pay your taxes and fight to keep their taxes low because they have convinced you that it is to your benefit…

        And you believe them…

        I feel for these people, for it’s not the system they are “duping” it’s the system “duping” them.

        The problem is, you don’t understand which system is duping you…

        • The only system I was discussing was “Government”. While they may have many “duped”, I’m not one of them. When I hear, “We’re the Government and we’re here to help” I’d rather go the other direction.

          • G-man,
            But when you hear “I’m a small business owner and I need to have lower taxes to help the economy” you jump right in line.

            • No Todd,

              I’m against all taxes. I think we should all keep what we have earned. Even you and Mathius! 🙂

              • I wouldn’t know what to do with the extra money – probably try to stop Emilius from buying more shoes (how many shoes does one woman need?!? She only has two feet.)

                Maybe I could buy some shiny electronics…

        • Hey Todd…good morning……gotta throw the flag here. It is not a question of taxing the wealthy….it is a question of taxing the wealthy because they are wealthy. What is wrong with taxing the 44% that pay no tax? Why is it right to tax the wealthy more simply because they have more….and if your argument is going to be ” because they have more ” that is lame. Everyone should pay……everyone. And just because a billionaire has more money, it is not right to assume that because he is a billionire he should pay more.

          • From each according to his ability. To each according to his needs…

            • Imagine if there was no government…then what?

              Let’s let all the lefties on SUFA support all the rest of us SUFAs..we’d have some awfully angry lefties!

              • Imagine there’s no countries
                It isn’t hard to do
                Nothing to kill or die for
                And no religion too
                Imagine all the people
                Living life in peace

                You may say that I’m a dreamer
                But I’m not the only one
                I hope someday you’ll join us
                And the world will be as one

                Imagine no possessions
                I wonder if you can
                No need for greed or hunger
                A brotherhood of man
                Imagine all the people
                Sharing all the world

                Probably one of the greatest songs of all time. Top 5, at least.

              • Good song.

                Now answer the question.

              • That song makes me want to throw up. Tho not as bad as the phrase “From each according to is ability, to each according to his need”. The guy that came up with that needs a good punch in the face, and an I know a lot of people who are more than able to give that.

              • Agree – and yet the anniversary of his death recently was celebrated more than Pearl Harbor anniversary. Disgusting.

              • Well, I gotta admit, I don’t mind celebrating his death so much…it’s his life I would never throw a party for… 😀

              • Great song-as a dream-has no basis in reality-ignores the nature of man-is a complete fairy tale which can’t be achieved but yea it’s a nice song.

            • You just have to stir the pot, don’t you?? 🙂

              • Can’t help myself.. you, Todd, ray, Charley, Buck, and I are all out in force today, and I haven’t seen Black Flag anywhere. We actually stand a fighting chance today. 😀

              • Buck the Wala says:

                Don’t go jinxing it…I hear him lurking in the shadows.

          • Good Afternoon Colonel,

            What is wrong with taxing the 44% that pay no tax?

            Because they don’t make enough to pay taxes. Maybe you should ask Esom about that…

            Why is it right to tax the wealthy more simply because they have more….and if your argument is going to be ” because they have more ” that is lame.

            How do we decide who should pay how much? Is it “right” to ask a single mom working at McDonalds to pay the same percentage was Warren Buffet? I don’t think so… So my answer is a lame “because they have more”, but it’s not that simple. In most cases I would say some of their success is attributable to being in the America, the infrastructure, freedom, and security that makes that earning potential possible. They can also “afford it” the most, and it’s the least “painful” for them.

            All “emotional” and “generalization” arguments, but that seems to be the topic for today!!

            Everyone should pay……everyone

            I really agree with this, but only if everyone is sharing in the results of the economic growth. And that’s just not happening.

            And just because a billionaire has more money, it is not right to assume that because he is a billionire he should pay more.

            I think it’s safe to assume a billionaire’s can afford to pay a little more. As we move down the ladder to just simple millionaire’s, it gets a little trickier…

            For the 3rd quarter of 2010, corporations had record earnings. At end of the 3rd quarter, corporations had record amounts of cash-on-hand. With all this money available, why aren’t they hiring? Because there’s no demand. Because the little guy is spent-out and up to his neck in debt (USWeapon’s generalization, not mine 🙂 )

            The only way out of our current mess is for unemployment to go down (duh!) and wages to raise. That can be done thru government or private industry. I’d prefer private industry cause it tends to work better. But that means “the wealthy” need to recognize that it’s in everyone’s best interest (including their own), to pay people a “living wage” and let them share the result of the economic growth, etc.

            More “emotional” and “generalization” crap, but that’s just the way it is (and I’m typing this during a meeting so it might be a little disjointed!)

        • @Todd
          “to the point where you actually believe it and are willing to pay your taxes and fight to keep their taxes low because they have convinced you that it is to your benefit…”

          We don’t understand? And we are being duped?

          Explain to me again how it is EVER a bad thing to keep taxes low, whether I make 10K or 10 million, the less of my money I give up the better. Why would I not agree with the same for those who make more than me. I would say if there is duping, it is in the area of tricking people into believing that the wealthy somehow should be responsible for a higher percentage of their wealth taken away because they “use more”. At the same rate they would already be paying more.

          • USWeapon,

            Explain to me again how it is EVER a bad thing to keep taxes low, whether I make 10K or 10 million, the less of my money I give up the better. Why would I not agree with the same for those who make more than me. I would say if there is duping, it is in the area of tricking people into believing that the wealthy somehow should be responsible for a higher percentage of their wealth taken away because they “use more”. At the same rate they would already be paying more.

            My response above to D13 hits on some of this.

            I’ll add – someone has to pay for government. Everyone talks about less government spending, smaller government, etc, but that never seems to happen. Until that actually does happen, you fighting to lower Warren Buffet’s taxes is laughable. Probably more sad really…

        • Actually, we don’t want to be burdened on the way up either. We want lower taxes for all, and less F’ing government costs. They have no business even doing have the stuff they do, much less charging us for it. Its like going to the mechanic and him charging you for fixing your car, and cleaning it, and buying a car for someone else, and for cleaning your neighbor’s house, and an extra fee to cover $1,000 to the SPCA. I don’t want to pay for that, and I really don’t want to see some other sap get that bill either, no matter how rich they are, and no matter if I would have been the recipient of the new car.

          • Ok – so it’s still “emotional” and “generalization” day!! 🙂

            • I apologize for the emotional flavor of my writing recently, I will try to get back to my more objective and rational self. My conclusions will be the same tho, most likely 😀

              P.S., It was more of an emotional and slightly far-fetched metaphor day, I wasn’t really trying to generalize…

              P.P.S., I was not trying to pick on the SPCA, I generally like that organization…

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        G – I’m not suggesting that doesn’t exist – I see it also where I live outside Philly. There are tons of people that game the system and then drive off into the sunset in their new Escalade or BMW. But the moment I lump everyone in that bucket is the day I lose my humanity.

        Saw a “kid” once buy a bunch of crap food in the aisle next to me at the local Giant with an assistance card. Much as I wanted to call him out I kept my mouth shut. He had apparently parked a new Lexus SUV two spots over from mine in the lot. Packing my groceries in I watched as he got into the driver’s side – now my blood is ready to boil. He opens the door and I see the Reverend for the large Baptist Church in town in the passenger side – it was his car. The kid driving was from his Church and lived in one of the HFH houses I helped build last year.

        • Ray,

          I agree that lumping them in one bucket is wrong, although easy to do. We’re getting to the point where the non-productive will out number the productive. Thier are “too many” cookies out there to take advantage of.

      • Welfare Fraud Costs L.A. County Millions
        July 01, 2006|From the Associated Press

        Welfare recipients and their friends and relatives could be defrauding taxpayers of $500 million a year through the county’s child-care programs, a grand jury report concludes.

        According to the report, released Thursday, some county employees estimate that half of the $1.1 billion in funding for the CalWORKs program is lost to fraud because the Department of Public Social Services doesn’t verify that welfare-to-work recipients meet the requirements for child-care payments.

        “Widespread abuse … has created a program culture that encourages fraud by parents, child-care providers and agency employees,” the report says.

        http://articles.latimes.com/2006/jul/01/local/me-welfare1

    • Nice that during your rant you missed the entire point of personal responsibility. And I don’t recall Mrs. Weapon being a 99er. You are free to donate over and above your current tax bill, have you?

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        @Anita – have I donated above my current tax bill? I donate my time (pro bono work) and money for years Anita. Have you?

        In USW’s original posting he took unnecessary pains to disparage someone he knows nothing about. He also took it upon himself to convey the same lack of responsibility in how he views other people in the current article. Sorry – but I think that sucks.

        • Yes Ray but I choose to donate to charity. St Jude Children’s Hospital is the lucky one and it has been as high as 30k in one year depending on gross revenue. No kidding! Any more questions?

    • @Ray

      “I’d wonder also USW if you can expand again on the decision of your own wife to collect unemployment and rationalize that against your views stated herein regarding collecting unemployment.”

      Sure I would be happy to expand on that. Mrs. Weapon lost her job unexpectedly in November of last year. She did apply for unemployment and received it for the time that she did not work, which was exactly 7 weeks. She took the first job she could find, which was a position within the same industry, but well below both the status and pay of the position that she lost. Rather than sit on the taxpayer dime, she took the steps down with grace and we adjusted our spending radically to compensate. She worked the lower paying job for about 6 months while she tried to find a position more comparable to her previous position. When one came along she took it. THAT is what unemployment should look like. Take whatever you can get rather than choosing to be picky and sit on the taxpayers dollars for more than two years in some cases.

      What else would you like to know? I find no cause for any claim of hypocrisy in how Mrs. Weapon handled the situation.

      As for the rest of your post, I will respond when I can.

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        @USW – while I find no fault in how your wife approached her unemployment experience – I do not agree with any assertion of “THAT is what unemployment should look like” – you’re applying a paradigm based on your own experiences – one that may not necessarily fit neatly into the “what is right” bucket you’ve built. The problem I fear is that once you seem something that does not entirely conform to your version of how things should work you may assume it to be wrong.

        Here is one example….

        In many areas of technology things change very rapidly. Spend some time away from the game and return to it – you’ll likely lose the game. I’d rather hire someone who was maybe laid off, collected unemployment while looking, and perhaps volunteered their particular expertise to a non-profit. Then at least I know they kept their head in the game doing what they do in their field rather than the unfortunate example of allowing a skill set to collect dust.

        This doesn’t fit your version of things but I see nothing wrong in this approach (and I know several people that have done this).

        • @Ray I don’t see a problem with my saying that is what unemployment is supposed to look like. What I am saying it is supposed to look like is exactly what it was set up to do. It was not meant to be long term. It was meant to be a very short stop-gap to bridge the time between losing a job and finding another one. It doesn’t have to look exactly like what my wife’s looked like, but I do expect that what is acceptable is a desire by the unemployed to find work ASAP. Perhaps they cannot, in which case I would strongly agree that someone who did your scenario is a better candidate for a position. What it is not supposed to look like is sitting on your ass and refusing to take a job because you think it is below you, or because the job will pay only slightly better than UI benefits. That simply is not acceptable to me.

    • USW’s post does have a hint of “what might be perfect” in it … but I hope he doesn’t mean it that way; people (especially in a free society) should have the right not to be clones (assuming equal opportunities to be clones is in place–and it clearly is not).

      More to the point, not everyone has the same sets of cirumstances and college and/or turning down credit just isn’t an option for some. If you dangle ill-advised loans to those in need (or with no sense or responsibility), you can expect defaults. Now, the more defaults out there, the worse the economy is affected … so maybe some blame on those dangling the bait needs to be considered.

    • @Ray

      To begin replying to the rest of your rambling nonsense outside of you request for further information on my spouse’s use of unemployment insurance…

      You fall into the false belief, first of all, that I am somehow extremely emotional around all of this stuff that we discuss here on SUFA. I have to tell you up front that this could not be a more inaccurate representation of me. I have thoughts and feelings like most everyone else, but I rarely show much in the way of emotion around these subjects and I am not one of those people who are sitting here typing furiously, pounding out anger through the keys.

      You might do better to have a mental picture of how I look and feel when writing. Completely calm, no real emotion, simply writing out what I am thinking. Perhaps I come across differently than that. But that is who I am, someone who works through the thoughts with little or no emotion.

      That said, you come across as the pounding keys type of writer, angered greatly by what I write and unable to rationally process it. While I know you to be different than that, it is how it comes across.

      I would say that you are simply reading me wrong and attaching sentiment to my thoughts that doesn’t exist. It seems that there are several others who read the same words and see me in a different light, gaining a better understanding of where I am coming from.

      I do not simply judge EVERYONE by a few quick glimpses of what they are doing. Sometimes I do, admittedly, but not a majority of the time. Those at the valet are an example. Are some simply folks who don’t have small bills? Sure. But some are also exactly what I described them to be. Accept that or don’t. Your call.

      I applaud you for your apparent ability to see the good in everyone, to never judge anyone based on what you see, and the wisdom that you show in giving everyone the benefit of the doubt. I am a bit more cynical.

      You may think my generalizations suck. Perhaps they do. However, what I notice more plainly is that both you and Todd continue to spend all your time harping on the generalizations that I make and condemning me for saying what I think. In doing so, you both completely ignore that what I laid out for you was 4 scenarios that are quite common in today’s world. The point of the article is that the American mindset has changed, and not for the better. You both ignore that point and instead focus on the minor details, missing the proverbial forest as you focus on the one dead tree.

      Your contributions to SUFA in the past show you to be an excellent critical thinker who can be results focused and see things for how they are when needed. So it baffles me that your entire focus seems to wane in a situation like this. To be honest, it really wouldn’t matter if I was a bigoted wealthy eltist who hates everyone not like me for irrational reasons. It doesn’t change the premise of the article or the reasoning I presented.

      I applied those possible scenarios as a possible history for the woman who was the subject of the original article. You gained tunnel vision and focused on nothing but the fact that I cannot prove these things are true for her. You missed the point. It didn’t matter whether they were true about her. It didn’t matter if I am right about the valet folks. What I offered was a glimpse at the reality as those on the more fiscally conservative side of things view the world. An insight, if you will, into what the beliefs are of someone like me who, based on those beliefs, disagrees with the agenda of the progressive left.

      Had you gotten the point, you would have debated the bigger picture and engaged on whether I was right or wrong on the “common scenarios” that I presented as reasoning for my rejections of the left’s agenda. Instead, you wanted to focus on whether I could prove that little Mikey’s mom did not have a degree.

  4. Further, there are those who for some reason believe that we should be providing government money (read as: our tax dollars) to enable those folks to continue to live at that [42″ TV, xBox 360, $100 jerseys and sneakers, etc] level. But I digress, the point here was that Americans tend to live above their means.

    NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I support food* on the table, heat in the winter (screw A/C, unless maybe they live in southwest Arizona), I’m not even sold on a “right” to electricity**. Basic or emergency medical care? Yes. Plastic surgery? No.**** Clean water, yes. Hot water? No. Cable? Forget it. High end clothing? Forget it – Good Will and Target are just fine. Car**? Gas**? Internet**? Screw you – these are luxuries and you can pay for them yourself.

    * BASIC food. I am not interested in buying you lobster.***
    ** We’ll get into this in a moment.
    *** Yes, yes, yes, I know.. how do you control it to this point? I don’t know. And it’s a tough question and beyond the scope of this post.
    **** Is your appendix about to burst? We can help with that. But I’m not going to pay an extra $3,000 to make sure there is no scar.

    Now, with regards to things like gas, internet, electricity, etc, I feel that while they are absolutely, unequivocally, irrevocably NOT rights. Beyond question, in my mind, you have no RIGHT to these things, especially when paid for our of my pocket. Period. Got it? Good. Simple enough, right?

    …. But……. But, without these, it is tough to get a job in modern America. Most jobs require type-written resumes, internet applications, etc. Job boards are online. Jobs aren’t always in walking distance, so you need to be able to get from point A to point B. The problem is that, without certain “luxuries,” a person can be trapped in a poverty condition where they are unable to gain employment.

    So, while it is not a right that we pay for certain things, it may be in our best interest to do so to enable them to get off the dole. HOWEVER, doing so has it’s downside. Paying for internet, for example, means that they may be more comfortable in their lifestyle and be less likely to go out and get a job. I am open to debate this point. But I feel confident that the aforementioned “rights” are solid – though I know many here will disagree.

    So, to conclude my rant, USW, you make the same straw-man argument I have railed against here time and time again in the past. NOBODY is arguing for providing money to enable people to live at the level you describe. Instances where people on welfare own xBox’s are egregious abuses of the system. If you give a homeless man $10 to buy lunch but he buys booze instead, it is an indictment of the bum, not of your charity.

    • PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY. You have also sidestepped this point.

      • Sorry, never heard of it… what’s that?

      • Ok, glib answer aside, can you elaborate? I think people do have a personal responsibility for anything they want above the barest minimum (as I outlined). It’s not my responsibility to buy you a plasma screen. But it is all of our personal responsibility to see that members of our own society (the entire human race, if we had the wherewithal) do not starve to death, die of thirst, freeze to death, go homeless, die from inability to afford medical attention. These are obligations we all have toward each other. These are human beings and they should be treated as such. Let’s try to remember that.

        • Matt, You say that same thing time and time again. Why aren’t you out in full force with your lefty posse preaching personal responsibility. You never preach to YOUR crowd. You always preach to the doers. Go to the unemployment office and preach to them would ya? We’ll gladly take care of the handicapped if you take care of the slackers.

          • You are also free to donate an extra Benji per week to help your fellow man. Have you?

          • You don’t know this, but I can’t afford much charity right now. I have grad school (massively expensive) and a new mortgage (I stretched myself pretty thin). I actually run a deficit until my bonus comes in at the end of the year (hopefully, it’ll be good – finding out, I think, Wednesday – fingers crossed). So, no, an extra benji is out of the question.

            As for preaching to my crowd, I would be happy to go down to the UI office and preach, but I have a job to do during the ours the UI office is open.

        • Bottom Line says:

          Matt – “But it is all of our personal responsibility to see that members of our own society (the entire human race, if we had the wherewithal) do not starve to death, die of thirst, freeze to death, go homeless, die from inability to afford medical attention. These are obligations we all have toward each other.”

          BL – Really? How does that work?

          How is it my responsibility to ensure the welfare of one whom I have absolutely no relation to whatsoever? What is the origin or premise of this espoused idea?

          I have no right to tell them how to live, but I am responsible for their life? So I can be responsible with my life while someone else wrecks theirs with crack cocaine, and I’m obligated to feed them?

          • BL – Really? How does that work?

            See Charles Dickens … Mankind “really is” your business … seriously.

            Again, as Matt said, not that they (mankind) has a flat screen tv, etc., but that they can eat, sleep under cover, have basic health care, etc.

            How does an ever growing part of the population losing their homes, employment, etc., benefit your world outside of you saying: That’s what you get for not being me?”

            • Bottom Line says:

              Charlie – “See Charles Dickens … Mankind “really is” your business … seriously.”

              BL – Because Dickens says so?

              Charlie – “Again, as Matt said, not that they (mankind) has a flat screen tv, etc., but that they can eat, sleep under cover, have basic health care, etc.”

              BL – Yeah, I know what he said. And again, I ask, …How is it my responsibility to ensure the welfare of one whom I have absolutely no relation to whatsoever? What is the origin or premise of this espoused idea?

              Charlie – “How does an ever growing part of the population losing their homes, employment, etc., benefit your world outside of you saying: That’s what you get for not being me?””

              BL – My world doesn’t benefit from other people’s problems, nor does it work to the detriment of my world.

              My world is separate from their world.

              In my world, you are responsible or you suffer.

              I didn’t make their mistakes. I didn’t cause their problems. I have no right to tell them how to live and how to avoid problems…

              Therefore, they are not my responsibility.

    • Actually, it sounded like USW was railing against the mentality of the individuals in this post. Sure, he, like me, agree that the safety nets need to be fixed or removed, but the abuses are because of the individuals abusing the system and their mindsets.

      Furthermore, there are individuals abusing the system, not because they are buying stuff they don’t need on it, but because they don’t really need it. You talk about the bare necessities that something like welfare is supposed to handle, and the guy getting food stamps and driving a mercedes is an example of that. But then there is the person from his last article who is whining about unemployment benefits because she can’t buy as much crap for her kid. Or worse, the guy that walks right past the help wanted signs at the gas station and the fast food place on his way to drop off resumes for jobs he knows he cannot get just so he can stay on unemployment for 2 years. Everyone I have known on unemployment has stayed on it until it was almost out before getting a job. Why? Because they could. They were job hunting, hoping for a job to drop in their lap, but they did not take it seriously until their “income” was threatened.

      Besides all that, there is an indictment of the government safety net system in all of this. One is based on one of your laws. People are lazy. As such, if you create a system that supports laziness, then people will take advantage of it. Period. The fix is to take away the system, since it is unlikely that you will fix “laziness”. At least, not until the mentality of people shifts, and one of the things that made it slip in the first place was having these systems in place.

      The other part of the indictment is the fact that it is so darn easy to fool a system. Any fool can do it. That is why systems are only good for certain things. Charity is not one of them. I would prefer to see all government funds have to go through non-profit organizations that have people on the ground in the fight to help others. People who can make informed decisions about the people they are helping, and that can pull support if it is appropriate. Also, people who can reach out to someone who is really hurting even if they don’t fit all the little categories and dot all their “i”s. Charity fails in the hands of government. Government is a tool, and it is the wrong tool for the job. You use a blade to shave, but you don’t use it to scrub off in the shower. Some tools just aren’t right for the task. Government sucks at charity. Find a better tool.

      • The fix is to take away the system, since it is unlikely that you will fix “laziness”.

        No. The fix is to take away the ability to be lazy. I’ve said it before (though I was shouted down, but G-Man hit on it again above) people on welfare should have to work for the government while receiving benefits. I don’t care if it’s picking up litter or digging ditches, something, anything that is (A) helpful to society and (B) unpleasant enough that getting a job isn’t a choice between watching soaps and working 9-5.

        • That is how it started, and while I would rather see the system gone, I would certainly see that as a stepping stone. The only problem is that it already was a stepping stone to where we are now. Going back by the same path, however, is some times the best method.

          Workfare, not Welfare. Sounds like a good step to me.

      • Let’s take the scenario: No more welfare … no more entitlements across the board … what happens?

        Chaos at best … REVOLUTION and not the pretty kind (at worst) and guess what, the haves will be outnumbered.

        You can’t not have unemployment insurance …

        • Hey Charlie,

          While your premise is correct, that it can’t be stopped, without serious repercussions, as it grows, who is going to pay for it? We are losing taxpayers to unemployment and bad trade agreements not seen since the 1930’s. The workers are tiring of carrying the non-workers for eternity.

        • You can’t get rid of it all at once, that would be stupid. We didnt enact it all at once either. THAT would have caused a revolution too. We are frogs being slowly boiled. I am not saying we should be thrown into an ice bucket, that would kill us. I just want to turn off the burner and let it cool down.

          • I here you both, but it isn’t fair to use “eternity” … there really are people who can’t find work these days and maybe they’ve been out for 2 years or more but that isn’t eternity. You stop unemployment insurance now and you’ll see another major dip in housing, construction, sales, etc.

            • But you might also see an improvement in investment as investors stop beign as scared about overspending and falling dollar values. That would be better, no? More jobs beats longer unemployment insurance in my book…

  5. USWeapon,

    the point was that the left leaning media was doing exactly what they always do, relying on emotion and pity to make a case for political action.

    Just like the right “leaning” Fox News, except at Fox it’s management policy to spin the news for ratings and profit, not journalism.

    Some readers especially had there thong in a wad and dismissed the point of my comments to instead focused on the generalizations or guesses that I made. It appears that my being cynical of the tactics of the left is far more damaging than the plethora of tax dollars wasted because liberals feel it is important that Mikey has a good Christmas morning. To which I say. Get over it. My generalizations were no more damaging than the ones made by those in your camp (wild generalizations or accusations against Sarah Palin or anyone who makes a lot of money anyone?).

    So here’s the thing. When the Left makes generalizations, that’s all you guys can focus on. The one stupid interview by one person, and you apply it to all Liberals. Yet, when others focus on your generalizations, your get your thong in a wad… If you don’t want people focusing on unsubstantiated generalization, then don’t make them. Stick to the facts, instead of adding unsubstantiated generalization that are nothing more than emotional pleas.

    And for Sarah Palin, see the “first mistake” in your article. A little education would do her some good…

    Despite the claims from the left, those on the right continue to be the more generous in terms of charitable contributions.

    Please provide some proof for this.

    Over the last decade or so we all got to witness the financial industry in America, specifically companies such as Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, make horrible lending decisions by making high risk loans to those who had no business receiving lines of credit for a home.

    This may seem like a small point, but Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae do not make loans to individuals. They buy mortgages on the secondary market. It’s a small but important difference.

    You then go on to blame home buyers for the financial meltdown. Just one simple question you have to be able to answer to understand what really happened – why were banks making loans to people that had no means to repay them?

    If that isn’t the epitome of the very flaw in mindset I am talking about, I don’t know what is.

    But the banks made that same assumption. Who’s the professional in this transaction? Again, until you can answer the question above, you won’t understand this.

    they hadn’t made the advancements in income level they “hoped” to have made.

    Wrong again. The assumption wasn’t increased income, it was increased home values (that the banks were creating by offering cheap loans) that would allow people to refinance and start the cycle all over.

    Government and the taxpayer dollars to the rescue.

    But wait a minute, we bailed out the banks, not the homeowners. So who is the irresponsible party here? Sounds like it’s the banks.

    And you’re ignoring the poor choices and poor planning of the banks. Have you ever gotten a loan? Did the bank verify you had the means to repay it?

    Again, you have to be able to answer this question to understand what really happened – why were banks making loans to people that had no means to repay them?

    they had a different mindset than we do today

    It is this part of the American mindset that must change if we are ever going to recover as a country. Self reliance and personal accountability is what made us rise as a great nation. The entitlement mentality and a lack of self accountability is what is rapidly turning us into Rome.

    I actually agree with this. There needs to be more personal responsibility in America and a willingness to work hard to achieve your dreams. But you layer so many generalizations and emotional pleas thru out this, that it becomes impossible to discuss.

    Are generalizations and opinions now considered acceptable “facts” here at SUFA?

    By the way, you never presented your economic ‘thesis’ about taxing the rich. Remember that?

    • A look at income taxes. Have a great day Todd!

      Income Taxes Are Not For Income To The Federal Government
      December 20, 2010 by Bob Livingston

      Before we get entangled in the doublespeak of the Internal Revenue Service Code and rulings, we need to consider that the whole Orwellian nightmare is a sham imposed by the police power of the State on a gullible people.

      Actually the income tax has a dual purpose, and neither is to pay taxes to the government. Its first purpose is to control and redistribute the volume of money. James A. Garfield, the 20th President of the United States said, “Whoever controls the volume of money in any country is absolute master of all industry and commerce.”

      The second reason the income tax system exists is to keep a dossier on all citizens. The 1040 tax return is your personal profile.

      So-called income taxes, as defined and used by the Socialist State, lead the people into a swamp of confusion as it is designed to do. Socialism attracts corruption and corruption attracts Socialism.

      Income tax systems go hand-in-hand with fiat paper money systems. The money creators cannot create wealth but they can transfer wealth with depreciating (inflating) paper money.

      Governments make war on their own citizens by depreciating the currency. As the currency is depreciated (inflated) the people are impoverished. There is no way to protect financial assets with a fiat paper money system except as paper money is converted to gold and silver.

      Depreciating paper money is not a store of wealth. Gold and silver are. One can bury paper money and the money creators and tax collectors do not know where it is. Yet the State can steal the purchasing power of paper money by creating more paper money and diluting the buried paper money.

      The transfer of wealth from the producers and savers to the government is a simple process of increasing the quantity of money. This fact eliminates the need for income taxes.

      Using words spoken by Beardsley Ruml, chairman of the New York Federal Reserve from 1941 to 1946, we can dispel the widely believed myth that income taxes are needed for government income. Income taxes have nothing to do with providing income to the government.

      In a famous speech he read before the American Bar Association during the last year of World War II, titled Taxes for Revenue Are Obsolete, Ruml said, “The necessity for a government to tax in order to maintain both its independence and its solvency is true for state and local governments, but it is not true for a national government.”

      The speech was originally printed in American Affairs in the January, 1946 issue. The editor of American Affairs wrote: “His (Ruml’s) thesis is that given (1) control of a central banking system and (2)an inconvertible currency, a sovereign national government is finally free of money worries and need no longer levy taxes for the purpose of providing itself with revenue. All taxation, therefore,should be regarded from the point of view of social and economic consequences.”

      http://www.personalliberty.com/conservative-politics/government/income-taxes-are-not-for-income-to-the-federal-government/?eiid=&rmid=2010_12_20_PLA_%5BPIZ5210A%5D&rrid=238431067

      • G-Man,

        Who is Bob Livingston?

        Bob is an ultra-conservative American who has been writing a newsletter for 41 years. Bob has devoted much of his life to research and the quest for truth on a variety of subjects. Bob specializes in health issues such as nutritional supplements and alternatives to drugs as well as issues of privacy (both personal & financial), asset protection and the preservation of freedom.

        When you’re ready to consider Bob Cesa’s advise, I’ll consider Bob Livingston’s…

        • Todd,

          I actually read Cesca’s stuff at HuffPo. I find it excellent practice in finding contradictions in one’s position, as he is LOADED with them.

          But really, just because I read articles from both Liberal and Conservative authors, why should I consider words that a full of falsehoods and contradictions (from both sides I might add). As is typical of the left, attack the messenger when you can’t touch the message with a 50 foot pole.

          • G-man,
            Bob Livingston’s argument is the national government doesn’t need taxes for income. It can just print money.

            If you agree with that, why all the concern about the deficit and national debt?

            • Good Morning Todd!

              I wish I was the best person to explain all the economic stuff, while I have a fairly good understanding of it all, putting it in words is not easy (economics is like a foriegn language in some ways). But I’ll try.

              Printing money, not backed by, say gold or silver, is bad. The more printed, the less it’s worth, which hurts all of our buying power. A can of corn can cost 75 cents today, and next week $1.75 and next month $5.75. Tough times for all if this were to happen.

              The US owes somebody this debt, what happens when the debt holders call for payment? It has to happen eventually. As the dollar devalues, other countries won’t buy the debt, then what? Print more money and turn that can of corn into $10.75 each? They could tax us at 100% and it wouldn’t pay the interest on the debt. IMHO, nothing good can come from this. Maybe, just a thought, we could have 10 plus years or so of a depression that would make the “Great Depression” look like a summer picnic, or the next world war.

              Or, maybe nothing will happen, and we’ll just chug along, other countries will continue buying our debt, the dollar will stay strong and all the businesses that left the country will come back and bring jobs with them. We would reindustrialize to our strongest levels and pay off the debt. That’s possible 😆

              • G-man,
                I understand and generally agree with your description on how national debt works.

                But Bob Livingston’s argument is that the national debit doesn’t matter. The government doesn’t need taxes for income. Taxes are used for redistribution of wealth and information gathering.

                So, do you agree with Bob Livingston, or yourself??

              • BL has some good points in his articles, but, I take some here, some there and try and come to a conclusion. I think you and I are more capable of spending the money we make far better than the govt. As long as the govt has a printing press, and no gold, we will all suffer for their stupidity.

    • Wow.. looks like the lefties are out in force today here at SUFA..

      And while we hold the floor, let’s just throw this out there:
      WOOOOOOOOO! Down with DADT! Net up, DOMA!

    • Conservative giving vs. Liberal giving:

      http://philanthropy.com/blogs/prospecting/conservative-voters-are-more-liberal-with-charity/19091

      On Banks:

      USW clearly stated the banks had some blame. But there is also the point that you should just get a loan because the banks says ok. You should also not max your card just because the credit company gives you a high limit. Should the bank have been more discriminating? Yes. But it is not their fault that people got foreclosed on. People borrowed that money, and they depended on the bank to tell them if they could afford it? That, sir, is retarded. So yes, it was the individuals that made the bad decisions.

      Now, you argue that people were basing all this affordability on ever increasing home values. That is a BAD economic decision. When you buy stock, you do not use your rent money. If you are going to bet on the housing market, don’t use your primary residence. You are talking about an investor mentality, but that is not the right way of thinking for an individual in their primary residence. It makes sense to try to make a smart move financially, but not to bet on a bubble. Its still a common sense issue.

      Now why did the banks do this? They saw an opportunity to make short term money. This is a mentality problem as well. CEOs and those running large companies are all stuck on the next quarter stock levels, instead of thinking about the health of the business. This is a situation that has many contributing factors, some of which are the ivy league educations these kids are getting. Furthermore, I do not doubt that the banks were betting on a bailout. They took the profits and did not take the fall. So who is the real irresponsible party? Sounds to me like the government. They paid the wrong people at best. In fact, they should have left well enough alone.

      • The only thing that link shows is that conservatives claim they give more to charity. I gave $100,000,000 to charity this month alone. And I’m a liberal. Therefore liberals give more.

        • More proof that Liberals are also liars………….bwahahahahaha

        • There was a study that based the numbers on tax returns with verifiable receipts, but I could not find it. Of course, I am sure you could just claim that the liberals did not bother to make the deductions, right? 😛

          Can you find any studies that prove the opposite?

    • Hello again Todd……

      Todd says: You then go on to blame home buyers for the financial meltdown. Just one simple question you have to be able to answer to understand what really happened – why were banks making loans to people that had no means to repay them?

      D13 responds: Did not read it that way. I do not see where he was letting the banks off the hook at all…only saying it was not the banks fault that the people signed stupid paper. Regardless of the fact that the bank was making a ba loan, it was still the mortgage holder that signed the paper. That was the stupid mistake.

      • Who is stupid: you for loaning DPM money you know he won’t repay, or DPM for accepting it?

        How are the lashes healing?

        • Ahh….my friend…you missed my reply below. I would be stupid for loaning money I knew DPM could not repay (Thor’s Hammer is simply not enough co, llateral). But I would not be stupid for loaning it knowing that I could get his ship in a forclosure AND get bailed out doing it. Immoral perhaps, but not stupid. DPM would be stupid taking the money knowing he could lose his ship.

          Did you know that the healing capacity of Red Bull is phenominal. Burned like hell, made me recite Arlo Guthrie lyrics, hummed ” I’m Henry the 8th I am” over and over…but they healed nicely…..I would not recommend “kissing the gunners daughter” as a past time tho.

      • Further Todd says:But wait a minute, we bailed out the banks, not the homeowners. So who is the irresponsible party here? Sounds like it’s the banks.

        And you’re ignoring the poor choices and poor planning of the banks. Have you ever gotten a loan? Did the bank verify you had the means to repay it?

        D13 says: No one is ignoring the poor planning of banks and if I were in control, there would have been no bailout of banks at all. Let them fail regardless of the impact on the economy.

        Yes, I have received loans from banks and my income and ability to pay were thoroughly scrutizied. I had to submit a Personal financial statement, a 5 year past history of income, a proforma on how to repay the loan, and a 20% equity position. And this with an impeccable credit rating.

        Banks were predatory, no doubt, but to be a predator, there must be prey. Then they relied on government to bail them out and probably knew in advance this would happen. There was greed no doubt….but the bank’s greed and lack of morals still did not make the individual sign…that was free will.

        • Hey D13,
          Piecing stuff together here.

          I do not see where he was letting the banks off the hook at all

          He’s much harsher on the homeowners than the banks

          only saying it was not the banks fault that the people signed stupid paper.

          Right, but it is the bank’s fault they made stupid loans. And I will ask again – who’s the professional in these situations? Who has a fiduciary responsibility to present a clear and honest evaluation? Buying a house is a very emotional thing – the American Dream. When the banker says you can afford this and we’ll refinance in a few years, and all your friends and neighbors are doing it, it’s hard to not go along. Many people jumped in looking for a quick gain, but many more were duped into it.

          it was still the mortgage holder that signed the paper. That was the stupid mistake.

          Yes, but I believe the bank signs the papers too. That’s and even more stupid mistake.

          And this with an impeccable credit rating.

          I thought you didn’t have a credit rating…hmmm…need to look a little closer…

          but the bank’s greed and lack of morals still did not make the individual sign…that was free will

          There was cohesion at best, fraud at worst.

          • Don’t have a credit rating in the sense that it is reported by the agencies…..do have a credit rating within the banks that I use. But even with the banks that I use, and know, it still took all of the above.

            I believe you meant coersion (sp) but, sorry, I still do not believe that. No one is coerced to sign unless there is a gun at your head. The American Dream does not excuse stupidity. Hoever, I understand your point that you are trying to make. You made a big deal out of emotional appeal in the article yet you want to use emotional issues in trying to obtain the American Dream and then excuse the decision. I do not see coercion on the banks…greed perhaps….selling perhaps….but believing a banker is like believing the IRS or the government or a used car salesman. That is what banks do…they sell money like a car dealer sells cars. NOthing else. Buyer beware.

            And I actually wonder if the bank made stupid loans. I wonder if they knew exactly what they were doing and also knew they would be “to big to fail”….I hate to think that but I am not convinced. But the ultimate responsisbility lies with the homeowner….not the bank….to sign the loan. Without the homeowners signature, the bank does not get the loan. Do not misunderstand me….I think that the banks etc…..are not faultless…but they are not the culprit as you want to make them out to be. They had a product and sold it….the homeowner listened to the spiel.

            NOw, if a bank, through a letter of intent or some such arrangement, said one thing and did another and the homeowner relied upon that info….then fry em. I only know three people that had ARMS. All three said they thought that the value of their home would rise to the level of refinance and took a chance. All three lost. They tried to get a home without a downpayment and when the bills came due at the end of the three years….they simply lost. Their fault.

            Anyway, I understand your point…just dont agree with it.

            • I might add that having a credit rating with your bank means diddly squat when applying or credit anywhere but a bank…lol.

          • @Todd “Who has a fiduciary responsibility to present a clear and honest evaluation? Buying a house is a very emotional thing – the American Dream. When the banker says you can afford this and we’ll refinance in a few years, and all your friends and neighbors are doing it, it’s hard to not go along. Many people jumped in looking for a quick gain, but many more were duped into it.”

            This is how you think??????? I mean, really???? Gee, all my friends and neighbors got theirs so why shouldn’t I get mine? Duped???? This is pathetic.

            We bought our first house when we were young – early 20’s. We figured out before going into a bank, how much we were comfortable with paying for a mortgage considering our current incomes, other expenses, savings, etc. We then went to a bank where they did the financial study and told us we could actually handle a whole lot more. We laughed at them!!!! We didn’t decide they were correct or were duped into believing them. We knew what we could afford!!

            • Kathy,
              So you think the American Dream is pathetic? What do you think of American Exceptionalism? Ever heard of the phrase keeping up with the Jones’? All these phrases came about because as Americans we strive for a better life for ourselves and future generations. They’re all very emotional…partly I suppose because we’re all emotional beings…

              We bought our first house when we were young – early 20′s. We figured out before going into a bank, how much we were comfortable with paying for a mortgage considering our current incomes, other expenses, savings, etc. We then went to a bank where they did the financial study and told us we could actually handle a whole lot more. We laughed at them!!!! We didn’t decide they were correct or were duped into believing them. We knew what we could afford!!

              Interesting – that’s the same thing I did. But not everyone understands finance like that and can detach from the emotions.

              I’m not trying to absolve the homeowners of responsibility, just pointing out that the banks have some responsibility here too. And they use these emotional issues to their advantage.

              • Your replies fit perfectly to what this entire post is about:

                Personal Responsibility

                To claim that because home ownership is part of the American dream and such an emotional issue and keeping up with the Jones’, it’s not their fault if they allowed themselves to not add up their income vs. their expenses. What a bunch of bunk.

                Understand finances? Hell, no I didn’t. This doesn’t take understanding finances – don’t make it to be more than it is. Look at your current income vs. expenses and are you comfortable with that ratio? That’s it!

          • “He’s much harsher on the homeowners than he is the banks”

            It was the homeowners, individual Americans, that were the subject of the article, Todd. Not the banks. When I write an article about the horrible banks, it will seem much harsher on the banks than the homeowners.

            • When I write an article about the horrible banks, it will seem much harsher on the banks than the homeowners.

              I won’t hold my breath…

          • @Todd

            “Buying a house is a very emotional thing – the American Dream. When the banker says you can afford this and we’ll refinance in a few years, and all your friends and neighbors are doing it, it’s hard to not go along. Many people jumped in looking for a quick gain, but many more were duped into it.”

            It is my dream to drive a Aston Martin DB9. However buying one based on my salary would be foolish despite the fact that the dealership would surely tell me I can afford to do so.

            In your entire spiel against the banks you forget one important detail. The potential homeowner went to the banks to ask for a loan for that house, not the other way around. You go find a house. You choose one based on needs and cost. THEN you find a bank willing to give you a loan at whatever rate. Those banks then offered several options: full 30 year fixed rate vs. ARM. The potential homeowner took a gamble on which would be the better move.

            If you come to my office and say, “hey USW, I forgot my wallet today and need to get lunch. Can I borrow $20 until tomorrow?”, I have to decide whether to do it. If I do, and you can’t repay me, I made a foolish choice, offering you a $20 loan at 0% APR. But I don’t think you would find many people who feel that I was the one who was at fault in the situation. It was you who asked for a loan you couldn’t repay. The homeowner is no different, they had to ask for the loan and claim they could afford it. There is plenty of fault we can find in the bank’s decisions and offerings, but the true fault lies with the person who signed a contract and defaulted unless the contract was not honored correctly by the bank.

            • USWeapon,
              You’re making a lot of assumptions and oversimplifying how the process works. Your entire post is very naïve…

              It wasn’t – and never is – as simple as a customer walking into a bank looking for a loan. There was a lot of marketing and advertising for these loans, pushing the loans that are most profitable for the banks.

              …and claim they could afford it.

              And it’s the bank’s job to verify that they can afford it. And if the bank makes a loan to someone who can’t afford it, that’s their own fault. They get a house back thru foreclosure that now’s worth half the value of the loan – maybe less…

              • Personal Responsibility Todd!!!!

                Personal….not the banks, the individual.

              • Yes, there was a lot of advertising. There is always a lot of advertising. There is advertising for new cars, but you don’t go buy one every day, you determine if you can afford one. If you could prove soem sort of mind control, sure, there is a case there, but advertising is just advertising. If you ask me, if you got inundated with so much advertising that you could not resist getting a loan on a house, then you listen to the radio/watch tv/read the paper/read you junk mail way too much.

                As far as the impact on the banks of the bad loans, that is ENTIRELY the fault of the banks, of if no their fault, it remains their responsibility. They took the risk. So while I have no pity on the person losing their house (they took the risk by taking out a loan and could not afford it for whatever reason), I also have no pity on the banks (they took the risk by offereing a loan, if they get a house worth half what they loaned out, I have no pity, they should not have done that. Get it? Losing your house to the bank is your fault. Losing money on a loan is the bank’s fault.

                The government has no business helping either party, especially since that cost is directly levied on those of us who did not lose our stuff.

        • Yup…no question….that is why it was a win situation all around for the banks…..beef up the balance sheet…increase reserves with bailout money instead of profits….hell of a deal.

        • LOI,
          You think Clinton’s influence lasted all the way thru the Bush years? You guys get all worked up whenever someone mentions that Obama inherited a mess from Bush, but you think it’s valid to skip over Bush and blame it all on Clinton?

          Sorry, but this isn’t it. The banks were not planning on a bailout.

          Keep trying. 🙂

          • Todd,

            You got me. Oh, wait….didn’t Bush try to do something about Freddie/Fannie? And was stopped by Barney Franks.(PS, D13 said that about the banks, not me)

            http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9e06e3d6123bf932a2575ac0a9659c8b63

            New Agency Proposed to Oversee Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae
            By STEPHEN LABATON
            Published: September 11, 2003

            WASHINGTON, Sept. 10— The Bush administration today recommended the most significant regulatory overhaul in the housing finance industry since the savings and loan crisis a decade ago.

            Under the plan, disclosed at a Congressional hearing today, a new agency would be created within the Treasury Department to assume supervision of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored companies that are the two largest players in the mortgage lending industry.

            The new agency would have the authority, which now rests with Congress, to set one of the two capital-reserve requirements for the companies. It would exercise authority over any new lines of business. And it would determine whether the two are adequately managing the risks of their ballooning portfolios.

            The plan is an acknowledgment by the administration that oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — which together have issued more than $1.5 trillion in outstanding debt — is broken. A report by outside investigators in July concluded that Freddie Mac manipulated its accounting

          • Because some people have selective memories while accusing us of having short memories, here is a little video evidence to help establish who has a memory problem and who doesn’t. It only took about 3 seconds of looking on the net to come up with this one and there is a ton more of dated material to prove my case…watch and enjoy Libby, I know we will.

            Headline: Bush Called For Reform of Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac 17 Times in 2008 Alone… Dems Ignored Warnings

            by Jim Hoft on Sunday, September 21, 2008, 12:32 PM

            For many years the President and his Administration have not only warned of the systemic consequences of financial turmoil at a housing government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) but also put forward thoughtful plans to reduce the risk that either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac would encounter such difficulties. President Bush publicly called for GSE reform 17 times in 2008 alone before Congress acted.

            Unfortunately, these warnings went unheeded, as the President’s repeated attempts to reform the supervision of these entities were thwarted by the legislative maneuvering of those who emphatically denied there were problems.

            The White House released this list of attempts by President Bush to reform Freddie Mae and Freddie Mac since he took office in 2001.
            Unfortunately, Congress did not act on the president’s warnings:

            http://www.norcalblogs.com/post_scripts/2010/07/mccain-and-bush-bothed-wa.html

          • So LOI,
            You think more government intervention would have helped? That doesn’t seem to match your “normal” views – I’ve never taken you for the “big government” type…

            What makes you think different government regulation would have made any difference?

            How did 2 Senators from the minority party stop this?

            Since the Republicans were in control of both houses of Congress and the White House, why didn’t they pass this? They didn’t need Barney Frank.

            But you still haven’t answered my question – why were banks making loans to people that had no means to repay them?

            • Todd,

              I did answer you at the link above, but can answer again. Bill Clinton had the standards for loans lowered where there were people using un-employment as income to qualify for home loans.

              “Since the Republicans were in control of both houses of Congress and the White House, why didn’t they pass this?”

              Lobbyist bribe committee members from both parties to keep the reforms stalled, not allowing a floor vote.

              And yes, I favor small gov., but realize when congress is the sole organization with authority over something, reform from within is the only practical answer. Or do you support violent revolt?

              http://spectator.org/archives/2009/02/06/the-true-origins-of-this-finan

              The effort to reduce mortgage lending standards was led by the Department of Housing and Urban Development through the 1994 National Homeownership Strategy, published at the request of President Clinton. Among other things, it called for “financing strategies, fueled by the creativity and resources of the private and public sectors, to help homeowners that lack cash to buy a home or to make the payments.” Once the standards were relaxed for low-income borrowers, it would seem impossible to deny these benefits to the prime market. Indeed, bank regulators, who were in charge of enforcing CRA standards, could hardly disapprove of similar loans made to better-qualified borrowers.

              Sure enough, according to data published by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, from 2001 through 2006, the share of all mortgage originations that were made up of conventional mortgages (that is, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage that had always been the mainstay of the U.S. mortgage market) fell from 57.1 percent in 2001 to 33.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2006. Correspondingly, sub-prime loans (those made to borrowers with blemished credit) rose from 7.2 percent to 18.8 percent, and Alt-A loans (those made to speculative buyers or without the usual underwriting standards) rose from 2.5 percent to 13.9 percent.

          • Todd…actually this goes way back to Carter….not Clinton. It is not an Obama thing and I do not think anyone said so. It was not a Bush thing either. It is a Congress thing. They are the greater cuplrit and, yes, Barney Frank could stop it and did. One senator it is easy…..like now…the dems have control of all three but ant get much through either.

          • LOI & D13,
            Everything you listed was part of the problem, but only a small part. These programs had been in existence for decades in one form or another and had little effect because the dollar amounts involved were a small fraction of the overall credit system. They don’t add up enough to cause a problem.

            Why were banks making loans to people that had no means to repay them?

            Because they changed their business model. In the past, banks made money by making loans and collecting the payments and interest on those loans, and loaning the money again and again.

            But sometime in the late 1990’s or early 2000, they figured out they could make money by originating the loans and selling them to others as Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS). Since the bank no longer owned the loans, they didn’t care if they were actually repaid. The banks made their money by charging fees when the loan is originated, and then charging fees to collect and process the payments for those who now owned the loans. In order to make the MBS appear to be high quality investments, they packages many mortgages together, and then “sliced” this big package into many MBS. This spread the risk of any single default out over many MBS, and limited the risk of any one MBS. They issued derivatives (credit default swaps) as “insurance” against defaults, giving more credence to the “quality” of these investments.

            As this process picked up, the formulas for the MBS got more and more complicated, making it almost impossible for the credit rating agencies, or anyone else, to determine the true “quality” of these investments.

            This became such a ‘cash cow’ for the banks, that the process just speed out of control. The more loans the banks issued, the more money they made on fees. Sub-prime loans made people think they could afford the payments, and refinance in the future when the rate increased, and the banks pushed this advise onto anyone looking for a loan. This created the huge demand for housing and the seemingly endless raise in home values – the bubble.

            It eventually got to the point where people couldn’t refinance their mortgages and the bubble burst. When many people defaulted on their loans, the MBS’s suddenly became risky investments. No one could determine which MBS had defaults and which didn’t. These were the “toxic assets” that no one was willing to buy anymore.

            AIG was a major issuer of the derivatives on these MBS. They were issued and traded so wildly that no one new exactly what AIG’s liability was as the meltdown occurred in September 2008.

            One of the craziest parts of this is that as the mortgage departments of the big banks were issuing these MBS, the investment departments were buying them up, apparently believing their own hype…

            This is capitalism and free enterprise run amuck. Short-term profits with no regard for the long term impact. The result is the mess we have today.

            If you do searches on “mortgage backed securities” and “derivatives”, there’s all kinds of links explaining this.

            • I fully understand and have understood where you were going all along. I did NOT exempt the banks….nor the securities firms….I have not dismissed Congress and the idiots that allowed this to happen…. I just do not give them the Lion’s share of the blame for all of this……

              People have now learned their lesson, I hope and themarket will then shift. But, if people keep looking for the easy way out and do not change the leadership in Washington…it will keep happening…..it begins at the ground level and it is not yet too late.

              We do not need more regulations….people need to buck up.

            • “This is capitalism and free enterprise run amuck. Short-term profits with no regard for the long term impact. The result is the mess we have today.”

              Todd, I will admit to only focusing on the governments role in this, and the banks and lenders had a role as well. But this is/was not free market! It could not/would not happen without government forcing.

              “The effort to reduce mortgage lending standards was led by the Department of Housing and Urban Development through the 1994 National Homeownership Strategy, published at the request of President Clinton.”

              Big business + big government = WAGS
              (we all get screwed)
              Which politicians received the biggest donations from Fannie, Freddie, Goldman,
              AIG, B of A, etc???? Follow the money and you will find the source of most of our problems.

            • D13 and LOI,
              These Federal programs to lower lending standards have existed since at least 1968. They’ve been tweaked and prodded by every administration and congress since then because in general happy homeowners are happy constituents. When homeownership is on the raise, it’s a sign of good economic times.

              The loans under these programs were always a tiny fraction of the total loans made by banks, because they weren’t very profitable.

              But when banks figured out how to use MBS to make money on these low interest loans, the $#^$ hit the fan.

              I’m not really trying to blame any one individual or entity. It took a combination of all of them. There were also some who tried to point out the problem, but they either didn’t speak up load enough or were drowned out by the “drunken” party going on.

              But the fix is more than people changing their ways and leadership in Washington. You have to also acknowledge the role businesses played in this and correct that too.

              • “But the fix is more than people changing their ways and leadership in Washington. You have to also acknowledge the role businesses played in this and correct that too.”

                Todd, when Donny Trump wants to buy land to build on, he and the seller agree on a price, that’s what the free market is supposed to be like. When the landowner refuses to sell, and Trump gets the government to use eminent domain and take the land by force, it’s no longer a free market. The housing bubble is just another example of that same practice. Were there unethical businesses involved, for sure! But they exploited a situation the government forced.

                “Big business + big government = WAGS
                (we all get screwed)
                Which politicians received the biggest donations from Fannie, Freddie, Goldman,
                AIG, B of A, etc???? Follow the money and you will find the source of most of our problems.”

                The fix, if there is one, is to stop businesses and special interest groups from buying political favors. You keep harping on business, what about the Barney Franks & Chris Dodds?

      • Good Morning LOI! 🙂

        • Good morn to you as well. Should I have went with Banna-Hammoc? Go ahead, give us a weather update to make us envious. Looking like a wet X-mas here.

          • Severe downpour ruined our Pearl Harbor tour yesterday. Still cloudy and damp today 👿 But cabana boy is due here in 45 minutes. 🙂

            His royal hein-ass (Obama) has also joined the fray. Barricades galore on and off base. 🙄

            • Buck the Wala says:

              Let’s hear the truth Anita – you flew all the way out to Hawaii just in hopes of seeing a glimpse of your beloved President! 🙂

            • Have you seen Michelle Antoinette about?

              Couldn’t possibly wait for BO to finish his business and fly out with him. Nope, let’s just have the taxpayers cough up a second flight for AF1.

  6. Generalizations against Sarah Palin? Oh, Lord, what can those be? She’s an incompetent, end of story. The left only PRAYS (even us atheists) she runs for President in 2012 … not because we want to see Bush Light Obama back in the White House, but only because she will keep extremists on the right out of the game.

    But I digress … I’ll read more now … 1st up, the “college issue” …

    • Careful what you wish for…. If the economy doesn’t turn around Obama will lose regardless of who runs against him.

      It’s the economy, stupid.

    • BTW: “Bush Light” repealed DADT.

      Just like Bush, bah.

      • Mathius

        Congress repealed DADT, the President just signs off or not.

        It never ceases to amaze me how people assign such power and accomplishment to the President.

        It almost like they wish he were KING.

        • Fair point. But Bush would have vetoed the living daylights out of that bill, no? He would have stamped it until he ran out of ink, then he would have sent an intern out to buy more.

          • Sadly…. that is probably true.

            I intend to write about DADT again soon, and I like it being repealed.

            • It would be the record holder for the most red ink in a single bill. Quite an impressive feat, I think.

      • Is it true that Matt secretly wants Sarah Palin as President, Glenn Beck as vice president, Rush Limbaugh as Sec of State, Sean Hannity as head of the Treasury?

        Inquiring minds want to know.

        • Yes. This is true. Every word of it.

          I want them all to hold the positions you mention in a country far far away from here. Somolia, perhaps? They could rename it Freedonia.

      • By the way, Bush Light feels the same way about gays marrying as Carrie Prajean … so I wouldn’t get too excited just yet.

        Palin cannot win office … I doubt Romney can … it’ll be interesting to see who runs for the GOP.

        • ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • Nooo…can’t do that. I am not Repub…..hmmmmm and not a demo…….hmmmmmm I know……..there is the Tea Party…

            DPM…..let’s kick off our campaign….the NEW GROG party………Grog for everyone. You be Pres….I will be the power behind the throne….whaddya say?

            • Dread Pirate Mathius says:

              Y’AAARRRRGGGGGHHH

              Pirates do like grag… yes, gorg, er, grog, yes, we like gorg- GROG, grog.. yes. It’s 5 o’clock somehere.. some… somewhere.. it’s find of clock somewhere.. Y’AAAARRGGG.. yo ho ho and a bottle of grog.. and really bad eggs.. and funny hats.. FOUR BELLS! Damn the trapezes! Ahoy, 99 bottle of gorg on the poop deck, 99 bottle of.. hehehehe poop deck..

        • No he doesn’t. No way he does. First of all, Carrie Prajean isn’t biologically capable of a complex thought.

          Secondly, Barack Obama did vote against a Federal Marriage Amendment and opposed the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996. I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss this in light of the political necessity of claiming to be against gay marriage.

          My suspicion is that he would jump at the chance to repeal DOMA if he thought it was politically feasible – which it is not.

          • I am very quick to point out how political Obama is … the fact is he stated (for his presidential run) he is against gay marriage. What more do you need? This is sort of like he’s against big business, then hands over a few hundred billion in bailouts without protecting workers … or dismisses $38 billion TAX REVENUE (hello, deficit hounders) for those bailed out … please, he couldn’t be anymore Bush if he ran on the GOP ticket.

    • Charlie,

      “She’s an incompetent, end of story.” Glad to see you are still open minded.
      Is she incompetent due to her performance as governor? Compared to who? Bush? Clinton? Obama?:lol:
      Is she incompetent due to her performance as VP candidate? Again, compared to who, Quail? She has turned a shared loss with McCain into a personal gain, and you call her incompetent? And she now holds no public office, so is only given the attention the media feel is newsworthy. Why don’t they spend more time telling us about the ones in power, making decisions?
      from John Lott,

      Stimulus reasoning gone made
      Liberals somehow think that Pelosi is intelligent. Just look at her statements on Haiti or Krugman’s statements on 9/11.

      After the quake, Nancy Pelosi said: “I think that this can be an opportunity for a real boom economy in Haiti.” Likewise, after 9/11, Paul Krugman wrote in the NYT that:

      The terror attack … could even do some economic good … Now, all of a sudden, we need some new office buildings … rebuilding will generate at least some increase in business spending.

      Destroying wealth to create wealth? Sarah Palin wouldn’t make such a dumb statement. Palin’s comments on the tax deal follow very closely to the points that I have raised in my piece at Fox News.

      In a rare interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America,” former vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin on Friday criticized the $858 billion tax cut bill that passed through Congress early this morning, calling the legislation “a lousy deal” that “creates a temporary economy with even more uncertainty for businesses and it does increase taxes.”

      “I think it’s a lousy deal and we can do better for the American people,” Palin told GMA’s Robin Roberts, in an interview in her Alaska home.

      The “new Congress is seated the first week of January,” Palin continued. “It is better to wait until they are seated and get a good deal for the American public than to accept what I think is a lousy deal, because it creates a temporary economy with even more uncertainty for businesses and it does increase taxes.”

      Palin also said she was “grateful” to President Obama, who brokered the tax deal with Republican leadership, for compromising on his position that tax cuts for America’s highest earners should not be extended.

      “This is one case where I’m really thankful that the president flip flopped,” she said. “I would say that it is a flip flop in his position on taxes because he was so adamant about not allowing the tax cut extension to take place for job creators, and then all of a sudden one day he was fine with it.” . . .

      • I’m NOT an Obama supporter … I don’t think you want to know who I support (if you think Obama is a socialist, oy vey …).

        Sarah Palin is incompetent because … LISTEN TO HER SPEAK (FOR GOD’S SAKE!!!!!!). The woman speaks in sound bytes she can’t control herself (mixing them up so the SNL Couric interview parody wasn’t so far off the mark).

        Don’t bring up her governership — she quit.

        As for making money … if that’s the requirement, I’m all for turning over the government to the old form of organized crime (the mob) … or Mexican drug cartels … but let’s not go there.

        Money does not equal success (try not to throw up). Friggin’ Snookie makes money now … (is that the broad on Jersey Shore?) … Sarah Palin is a country version of snookie.

        • Charlie,

          She holds no office, so why was she the name you threw out?
          How about holding the Speaker of the House to your standard?
          Or a writer for the NY Times? Both command a captive audience. Palin only gets the attention the media thinks she is worthy of, and she must help their ratings, or she would not be such a hot topic.

          Liberals somehow think that Pelosi is intelligent. Just look at her statements on Haiti or Krugman’s statements on 9/11.

          After the quake, Nancy Pelosi said: “I think that this can be an opportunity for a real boom economy in Haiti.” Likewise, after 9/11, Paul Krugman wrote in the NYT that:

          The terror attack … could even do some economic good … Now, all of a sudden, we need some new office buildings … rebuilding will generate at least some increase in business spending.

          • I threw out Palin’s name because USW used her (sarcastically taking a shot at the left) in his opening statement (first volley?)

            You’ll have to read back on that one.

    • “She’s an incompetent, end of story.”
      So glad our current VP is sooo smart.

      http://www.politico.com/politico44/perm/1210/cleaning_up_fa2811ee-6267-4d59-a87c-2b43cfa6c126.html

      White House press secretary Robert Gibbs sought to clear up Vice President Biden’s comments on U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan on Monday, arguing that the rebuilding nation will follow a similar path that Iraq did.

      Biden said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that “we’re going to be totally out of there come hell or high water by 2014.”

      What Biden meant to say, Gibbs argued, was that the “combat role” in Afghanistan would end by 2014.

      “I would point you to what was decided in Lisbon just a few weeks ago, that we will, much like we have in Iraq, transfer primary security of Afghanistan to the Afghans, as NATO and ISAF agreed, by the end of 2014, which would – which would end our combat – our combat commitment in Afghanistan,” Gibbs told reporters.

      Pressed on whether troops will be completely gone, Gibbs said, “I think what the vice president was discussing was our combat role.”

      He added, “There are many who believed we would not meet our dates in Iraq, and we did.”

  7. And in situation #1, there is no one to blame for failing to go back to school other than themselves.
    #1 Sweet Jesus on a vespa … me thinks this is a rather callous way to view the situation. Emotions aside … not everyone can attend college (or, as you pointed out, have the opportunities to do so). How that translates to “their” fault confuses me.
    #2 And unfortunately, in situation #2, there is no one to blame for spending above your means than the person who did the spending.
    Banks share in this EQUALLY … if the funds (credit) wasn’t available (for mortgages, never mind sneakers and flat screen tv’s) in the first, place, consumers couldn’t overspend. Once you hold out the carrot, far more people will try to bite than will not. As a loan officer for self-interests back in the day, I did my best to try and convince borrowers to seek a more sane loan (but most couldn’t because they were either immigrants or bad risks) … it was up to me whether or not to take on bad loans. I chose not to (when I could discern risks were more a headache than an investment).
    I’m at work and can’t read on … but I guess this is one fundamental difference in our worldview (left vs. right) … I’ll read again soon as I can.

    • 1. Agree with Charlie, generally. College is expensive. Even community college (GASP, SHUDDER, government subsidized) can add up. I was fortunate that my family had saved enough to pay for my education and leave me debt free upon graduation, but this is not an option for everyone. Right now, I’m back in school (MBA) and it’s going to cost me north of $100,000. Where do you think everyone is going to come up with that kind of money?

      2. No, sorry. The banks were wrong to offer, stupid in fact. They were far dumber than the people they loaned the money to. But the responsibility has to lie with the borrowers. You took on more than you could afford, plain and simple, and that’s nobody’s fault but yours.

      Adding, everyone knows Jesus doesn’t ride a Vespa. He has one of those hoverboards from Back to the Future II.

      • I agree on the college thing too. I don’t give a damn about college. Of course, as a self-employed person, I never needed to. When I was an employee, more college would have helped, but that was never my goal. I even turned down work once when asked if I would be there 5 years or more, rather than striking off on my own. I could not honestly say that I would not try to work for myself. My road has been harder, but I am happier with it.

        Aside from that, I was only able to afford my 2 year degree by the sweat of my brow and a small gift from a family friend to help me get started. I am all for education, but it does not mean the same thing in every field.

        Also, USW, you are right about the trends and mindset issues, but I do still think that a college degree was not the reason the lady in your last article was turned down by starbucks. I would be more likely to think it was a problem of age and overqualification, even with no higher education. Starbucks wants people who can stand on their feet all day and have retail or food service experience. A college degree does not help. I know people with engineering degrees that got turned down for a starbucks job because, quite frankly, a teenager with food service experience will do a better job than an old fart that crunches numbers and never had to multitask in his life. Old fart might do fine with people and work hard, but put them behind the counter in the morning coffee rush and they stumble. Just sayin’.

        Matt, I am not sure which visual like better, the Vespa or the hoverboard, but both are making me chuckle a little. 🙂

    • No, the do not share equally. Temptation does not justify action.

      If someone gets paid twice a month, but they go out and spend their whole paycheck on fancy dinners for the first week after each check and then starve the second week, is it the company’s fault for not paying them more spread out? Smaller amounts more frequently? Having a credit line available is not really any different. You can at least pay your bills and budget well enough to eat between paychecks, why is that not a problematic temptation, but having a large credit line is?

      Sorry, but individuals carry a greater load of responsibility. Banks had some predatory practices. They did some irresponsible marketing. They made a host of errors. The fact that they faced failing proves this. They should have been allowed to. But that does not remove the personal responsibility of the people taking loans they could not afford or could only afford if the bubble continued to grow and/or they kept their job and never missed a single paycheck or had anything unexpected happen.

      • Matt/Jon: We’re not “removing” personal responsibility; just sharing it (50-50).

        When I “used to” finance limo drivers (for example), I didn’t offer them $20K without them earning enough to pay off their debt … if I had and they went belly-up (so to speak), how is that their fault exclusively?

        It isn’t removing personal responsibiliity; just sharing it.

        • If you make a bad loan, you take a loss. If I dont pay up, you get whatever assets secured the loan, if any. That is all the responsibility involved. The government has nothing to do with it, or at least, they should not. NEITHER party should be bailed out.

  8. One other thought that I’ve noticed when we’ve heard these emotional stories over and over (not just USW’s – as they were discussing the proposed extension they were all over the lefty sites and media) is how at this time of year, ie, Christmas, it is so wrong not to let this entitlement end.

    WTH? I thought Christmas was a bad word in the lefty language, EXCEPT, when it can be used as an emotional ploy. Sad kids, no presents, no Santa. Yeah, now we love Christmas!

    Here’s more of what we expect from the PC left groupies:

    http://www.therightscoop.com/npr-host-apologizes-for-saying-christmas

    • Bah Humbug.

      I resent the implication that this is a Cristian country. When someone wishes me a merry Christmas, they’re saying: You’re in America, so you should believe what I believe. I resent that. When they say happy holidays, they’re saying: I hope you have a good season for whatever believe if anything.

      It’s not that “Christmas” is a bad word – it’s the assumption that we all are, or should be, Christians that we find offensive.

      • Oh horse poop! We aren’t trying to offend you. When we say Merry Christmas that IS our way of wishing you the best. We aren’t trying to convert you for pity’s sake, get over it already…lol

        • oh, ok, great.. and I’m sure you would have no issues if people started wishing you a Feliz Navidad?

          But I’m sure you also wouldn’t see any parallels either.

  9. I don’t take offense to that, why would I? I have no desire to change anyone’s faith or beliefs, that would be awfully arrogant on my part now wouldn’t it?

    • You wouldn’t be irked by the assumption that you should speak Spanish? (note, this will be a fairly reasonable assumption within the next 30 years)

      • No, just because someone assumes that I should do something does not mean that I am required to do it. Again, that implies arrogance, does it not?

        • To rephrase, it is arrogant of someone to assume that you should know how speak Spanish?

          If I got that right, do you not see the parallels to the ‘arrogance’ that you assume I should celebrate Christmas?

          Even if you are not implying that I should, it’s a very easy thing to infer. Your unwillingness to be understanding of that fact is, I think, inconsiderate.

          • Your ability to assume that I am inferring anything is astonishing to me. I don’t assume that you should celebrate anything that you don’t believe in. I think that may be what is one of the biggest flaws in the mindset of Americans today. You are all so ready to be offended that instead of listening to what someone is saying you’re looking for offenses that aren’t there nor intended. I’ll say again, get a grip!

            • heehee, stick to him Kristian 🙂

            • Naw.. no fun in getting a grip.

              The problem is not in what “merry Christmas” implies. The problem is what it sets up non-Christian listeners to infer. This is not to say there’s necessarily anything wrong with saying it, but would it kill people to be cognizant of the fact that not wants to be told to have a happy holiday for a religion they do not hold?

              • Then I would say that the problem is theirs. If they choose to infer something that I don’t mean I’m so sorry for them, but why should that have any bearing on the way that I express my joy in the holiday in question. I have no issues with someone wishing me Felize Navidad or any other name they may have for the season. I don’t expect anyone to believe the way that I do. I will NOT spend my days worrying that the smallest thing that I may say will offend someone. Someone who is offended that easily has wayyyyy too much time on their hands.

              • Kristain,

                Always be who you are. The liberals and their politically correct BS have nothing better to do than push their agenda on everyone else. If I wish someone a “Merry Christmas” I have always gotten the same in reply, yes, even from my Jewish friends.

                The Libs bitch isn’t about religion, it’s about control. If they don’t like it, tough shit!

                Merry Christmas my friend!

                G!

              • I just find it mildly irksome.. it’s not offensive to me (my mother is Christian, I grew up with a Christmas tree in my house). I don’t think it’s rude, offensive, or mean, just inconsiderate.

                But you do what you want.

              • Why inconsiderate? Because I don’t choose to tread ever so lightly so that I don’t hurt someone’s feelings? I don’t understand how you can let something like that even be a concern. Whatever happened to live and let live?

              • Live and let live is the part where I said “but you do what you want to do.” Note that I didn’t say we should outlaw it.

                I’m just trying to make you understand why some people have an issue with it.

              • I get what you are trying to say Matt, but here is the problem. A person who infers that I am pressing my beliefs on them by giving a greeting related to my beliefs is being absolutely self-centered and totally inconsiderate, completely without any empathy at all. Such a person deserves whatever misery their selfish mindset puts them in.

                I say Merry Christmas with the obvious intent to wish you a happy time. That is my intent. If someone wishes me a festive day of the dead in spanish, I would presume they intended the same thing. I can gather from their attitude what their intent is, even if I do not understand the words or know of the specific occasion. Only a bitter self-absorbed dysfunctional fool would be bothered by pleasant greetings from another person.

                I do not give a damn if I offend someone like that, their close-mindedness deserves no pity or consideration from me. If there were a reason to be offended outside of foolish inference, then I could consider being careful of my words, but there is not. If, for instance, the actual words “merry Christmas” meant something bad in another language or something like that, perhaps I could see it being an issue. If I were in another place, like Iran, where the culture would not react well in general, I might be more careful, since I am not in my own arena. Here, I am a citizen and I have freedom of speech. To hell with inference.

                I know you personally are not offended, but I think you need to take a hard look at the real reason for those who do take offense. If someone is saying merry christmas and pressing the other person to respond in kind, then that person is being inconsiderate. But, if someone is saying merry christmas just as a general salutation, then the person who is offended by that has the real problem.

              • Again, it’s not that it’s offensive. It’s the lack of thought that we might be anything other than what you are – it’s the assumption that, because I’m in the same place as you, I must be Christian. As if the United States, by default, is Christian.

                It’s tough to put into words, but it grates on you. Being from liberal Los Angeles, I never had this until I moved East. But now that I’m out here, it bothers me – not much, but enough. I imagine that if you spent some time in a Muslim country, you’d feel much the same way after the 4,000th time someone wished you a good Ramadan.

              • I guess I just still dont get why it grates at all. Firstly, a lot of non-christians celebrate christmas. Santa claus and his magical reindeer and elves and frosty the snowman are not biblical characters, nor are they in Christian theology at all.

                Secondly, I dont see why i would have a problem with being wished a good Ramadan. I used work nightshift with a guy that did that, never bothered me a bit, he meant it as a pleasant salutation and good wishes. Letting something like that become a bad thing just doesnt seem right with the universe. Bad Karma, if you believe that sort of thing.

                Thirdly, it is not unreasonable to at least expect others to understand what I am saying and thus guess at my intent. It is not an assumption that you celebrate Christmas, but that you understand the well wishes.

                Fourthly, even happy holidays can grate on you if you don’t get a holiday, like USW and others that work even more this time of year. (not that wishing happy holidays to USW would grate on him). Or, maybe you arent happy, maybe your favorite pet or a parent died on Christmas day, so its not a happy season for you. Whatever. The point is there is no way to know what everyone is thinking or believes or whatever. I would much rather see good will and happy greetings and well wishes than people who never speak for fear of offending or being inconsiderate. What sort of world would that be? Not one I care to live in.

              • I’m getting my first Christmas off in 5 years. (They always make the Jew work that day).

  10. Hehehe.. Fox news makes you dumber! Proof at long last. 🙂

    http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/pdf/dec10/Misinformation_Dec10_rpt.pdf

    • MSMBC has been putting their viewers on the short bus licking windows for years 😆

    • Buck the Wala says:
      • I wonder if that has anything to do with this:

        http://creationmuseum.org/

        The state-of-the-art 70,000 square foot museum brings the pages of the Bible to life, casting its characters and animals in dynamic form and placing them in familiar settings. Adam and Eve live in the Garden of Eden. Children play and dinosaurs roam near Eden’s Rivers. The serpent coils cunningly in the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Majestic murals, great masterpieces brimming with pulsating colors and details, provide a backdrop for many of the settings. [emphasis mine]

        • Buck the Wala says:

          Wow, a real life look into what life must have been like 10,000 years ago!

          • Someone once bet me $20 that the dinosaurs died out 65 years ago (this was in 9th grade). So, doing some math, I realized that the dinosaurs died out in 1933.

            This, of course, suggests that they were decimated by WWI (T-Rex mounted Germans vs Utah Raptor mounted Allies, and so fourth. Remember those pointy hats the Germans liked to wear? Well they were inspired by the triceratops troop transports.

            Then, presumably, we ate all the surviving dinosaurs during the Dust Bowl.

            Very sad.

    • one of the questions/responses that most mystified the surveyors was that the vast majority of people thought that the statement “most economists who have studied it estimate that the stimulus legislation saved or created only a few jobs or caused job losses” was accurate. Even 65% of MSNBC viewers (the group that did the “best”) thought that that declaration was true. The poll-takers enthusiastically use this data point to conclude that the media caused voters to fail to see the wonderful attributes of the stimulus plan, but there are several problems with this conclusion.

      The first is that the question doesn’t ask about the stimulus plan’s impact on unemployment at all. Instead, it asks what “most economists” “estimate” about the stimulus’s influence on the job market. But that isn’t the only issue here. Skepticism about what defines a “saved” job has run legitimately throughout the discourse on the “stimulus,” and the question also leaves open a massive loophole with the incredibly indistinct word “few” attached to the numbers of jobs.

      Therefore, since unemployment has, by most measures, gone up since the stimulus bill was passed, it is perfectly logical and legitimate (even if hopeful and self-interested estimates by liberals suggest otherwise) to surmise that the program has had little, if any, positive impact on jobs. The bottom line is that the real answer to this question is ambiguous at best, and it no more belongs in a poll testing voters’ “knowledge” than a question that asks whether President Obama is a socialist.

      Several other queries used in the study can also be classified as basically asking voters not about “facts,” but instead about “what supposedly smart liberals think.”

      Their question about the health care bill’s effect on the deficit, which the pollsters apparently somehow know will end up as a net positive, actually asks what the majority of “economists” (at least those approved of by liberal academia) “think” the impact will be. For a conservative, it is hardly an indication of ignorance to say that such estimates are based on woefully biased projections, but those who answered that Obamacare will add to the deficit were marked as unambiguously “wrong” in their response.

      Similarly, the poll asks what “most scientists” (smart liberals) think about the loaded term “climate change,” and whether it is true that the U.S. economy is getting “worse.” “Worse” is such a vague term (worse for whom? by what gauge?) that this is kind of like asking someone to describe the status of the famously fickle weather in Ireland on a cloudy day.

      Other embarrassingly amateurish questions which should completely discredit the entire study include asking the respondent whether his individual federal income taxes have gone up in the past year. If anyone said yes (about a third did), he was marked as having given a “wrong” answer despite the undisputed fact that if you made more money this year than last year, you almost assuredly paid more money in federal income taxes.

      Perhaps even more bizarrely, the authors of the study claim that the “correct” answer (for at least 97% of people) is “my taxes have gone down,” even though the primary basis for this is a rather small payroll tax credit which technically is not even part of one’s “federal income tax,” about which the question asks. All of this, of course, disregards the inherent arrogance of a poll that proclaims to know more about a person’s tax situation than the person himself does.

      Just to make sure they could really embarrass conservatives (as well as get a guest spot on the MSNBC show of their choice), the pollsters also asked a “birther” question. However, the way they asked it was so pathetic as to render the results almost totally meaningless. Instead of simply asking, “Was President Obama born in the United States?,” they threw a monkey wrench larger than Obama’s infamous certificate of live birth into the question by providing the option that the answer to the question is “unclear.”

      This caveat had two important consequences. First, it meant that relatively few respondents (even from the Fox News crowd) gave an outright “no,” which forced the pollsters to combine the “nos” with the “unclears” in order to make it look like this is a very significant issue. Secondly, it created real confusion over what the “correct” answer even is, as one does not need to be a “birther” in order to think that there is a lack of clarity on the issue of Obama’s citizenship (though, for the record, I would have answered “yes”). Heck, by a strict definition, almost anything that lacks video evidence is not completely “clear” (just ask an O.J. Simpson juror).

      No one is more willing than I am to acknowledge that the average voter is far too ignorant of important information and that the recent dramatic increase in partisan “journalism” has allowed far too many people to choose their own facts. But by bathing in its own ignorance, partisanship and hypocrisy, this study does nothing to further the cause of rectifying these obvious problems.

  11. The Death of Personal Responsibility Revisited

    Under Pelosi’s leadership, the Stimulus overturned Clinton’s welfare reform, requiring any state that took money to permanently increase their welfare rolls.
    Some states such as Texas, refused the money for that reason. Couple that with the 99 week un-employment extension, you get increased poverty.

    “The most important anti-poverty effort is growing the economy and making sure there are enough jobs out there,” Obama said” Sorry dude, got to judge you on what you do, not what you say.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/11/poverty-rate-in-us-saw-re_n_713387.html

    WASHINGTON — The number of people in the U.S. who are in poverty is on track for a record increase on President Barack Obama’s watch, with the ranks of working-age poor approaching 1960s levels that led to the national war on poverty.

    Census figures for 2009 – the recession-ravaged first year of the Democrat’s presidency – are to be released in the coming week, and demographers expect grim findings.

    It’s unfortunate timing for Obama and his party just seven weeks before important elections when control of Congress is at stake. The anticipated poverty rate increase – from 13.2 percent to about 15 percent – would be another blow to Democrats struggling to persuade voters to keep them in power.

    “The most important anti-poverty effort is growing the economy and making sure there are enough jobs out there,” Obama said Friday at a White House news conference. He stressed his commitment to helping the poor achieve middle-class status and said, “If we can grow the economy faster and create more jobs, then everybody is swept up into that virtuous cycle.”

    Interviews with six demographers who closely track poverty trends found wide consensus that 2009 figures are likely to show a significant rate increase to the range of 14.7 percent to 15 percent.

    Should those estimates hold true, some 45 million people in this country, or more than 1 in 7, were poor last year. It would be the highest single-year increase since the government began calculating poverty figures in 1959. The previous high was in 1980 when the rate jumped 1.3 percentage points to 13 percent during the energy crisis.

    • Wait LOI, this can’t be true.

      Under Pelosi’s leadership, the Stimulus overturned Clinton’s welfare reform, requiring any state that took money to permanently increase their welfare rolls.
      Some states such as Texas, refused the money for that reason. Couple that with the 99 week un-employment extension, you get increased poverty.

      Let’s see, we need entitlements so we can increase poverty. Cool, more bullits for us! 🙂

      • As a North Bay trucker stops for a red light on Hwy.1, THE 1ST
        Lady catches up.. She jumps out of her car, runs up to his
        Truck, and knocks on the door. The trucker lowers the
        Window, and she says, “Hi, my name is Michelle, and you
        Are losing some of your load!”

        The trucker ignores her and proceeds down the street.
        When the truck stops for another red light, the 1st lady
        Catches up again. She jumps out of her car runs up and
        Knocks on the door. Again, the trucker lowers the window.
        As if they’ve never spoken, says brightly,
        “Hi, my name is Michelle, and you are
        Losing some of your load!”

        Shaking his head, the trucker ignores her again and
        Continues down the street. At the third red light, the same
        Thing happens again.

        All out of breath, the 1st lady gets out of her car, runs up,
        Knocks on the truck door.
        The trucker lowers the window.. Again she says, “Hi, my
        Name is Michelle, and you are
        Losing some of your load!”

        When the light turns green the trucker revs up and races to
        The next light When he stops this time, he hurriedly gets
        Out of the truck, and runs back to the Michelle. He knocks on
        Her window, and as she lowers it, he says,…………..

        “Hi, my name is Kevin, it’s winter in WASHINGTON , and
        I’m driving the FRICKING SALT TRUCK……….”

  12. Late to the party…

    The premise of that article was that unemployment benefits should be extended yet again because this woman’s child is going to have a Christmas with a few less toys than last year. Nowhere in the article does it say that the family is facing a loss of their home. Nowhere in the article does it say that there are any struggles to put food on the table. Nowhere in the article does it say that the child is lacking anything at all.

    The danger is such a paragraph:

    It implies that IF the family risked their home; IF the family struggled with dinner; IF the child lacked “something”…

    …then…

    organized theft is justified.

  13. Dread Pirate Mathius says:

    heheheheheheh

    poop deck

    hehhehehe

  14. Anita, a little rain? Oh you poor girl!

    http://www.channel3000.com/wxmap/1196369/detail.html

    • Heehee..better keep some gas handy for that snowblower. Still raining here. Ho hum!

      No evidence of Moochelle yet either.

  15. @ Todd….Todd says: D13,
    I’m crious why you would use a debit card and not a credit card? A debit card has all the drawbacks of credit card, but very few of the perks…

    D13 responds further: By perks, I am assuming that you are saying that cash back and mileage on airlines is a perk. You have paid for it in higher prices. In my business that I own and run, I do not accept credit cards. The rates are too high and they hold your money for too long. Amex charges anywhere from 4-7%, Visa, MC, Discover charges range from 2.8%-5% on sales. If you present a rewards card, the credit card company charges the merchant an extra 1.8%. I refuse to be part of this charade. It is there way to do business and I make trhe choice not to participate. Do I miss sales? Sometimes. Do I have returned checks? Less than 1/10th of 1 percent.
    The missed sales do not come even close to the money that I save not using or taking credit cards.

    American Express allows instant deposits but you pay the price for it. The other cards..I have to wait 7-14 days for my money. So, they make a percentage of sales and more on the delay of funds. I choose not to be part of it. There are people out there that know how to use credit but most do not. This si not my call, however, but is the way I choose to do business.

    As I said, I have a debit card and wish I did not have that BUT…….I do. It serves my purpose.

    • Hey D13,
      I pay no annual fees and no interest on any credit cards. I get a $250 cash-back-check about twice a year. If I pay slightly more for things because of that, that’s Ok because so is everyone else, including those who do not use credit cards. If I stopped using credit cards, the prices I pay would not drop.

      I realize the fees credit cards charge the merchants, and I have no problem with that. I also have no problem with a business that does not accept credit cards, but sometimes I don’t have the cash so they miss a sale…

      I do avoid using credit cards at small local businesses when possible, but a couple of them I know personally say it doesn’t matter to them, it’s part of the cost of business.

  16. Ray Hawkins says:

    There was a lot of talk in this article and responses with respect to “us lefties” somehow refusing to acknowledge the issue of personal responsibility and to thereby harangue our brethren – all those despicable slackers at the unemployment sucking our wallets empty.

    While I will not speak for Mathius, Buck, Todd, Chris and others……

    My position is that we can always use more personal responsibility (taking ownership of one’s own condition) and collective responsibility (extending beyond one’s condition to accept responsibility where it otherwise may not be needed/required [e.g. stopping the car to help the stray dog that the owner may have no idea escaped].

    When I hear and read a constant and repetitive beating of the “personal responsibility is dead” drum I get a little concerned. Is this another “back in the day” discussion (back when I was growing up……….)?

    Is there less personal responsibility today than there was 30 years ago? 10 years ago? How do we know? By what measure?

    Is there less PR than there was in, say, 1928-1929? 2000 (Internet Bubble)? 2008 (Commodities Bubble)? 1982 (Garn–St. Germain Depository Institutions Act)? 1857? 1787? 1955?

    What is the measuring stick of personal responsibility?

    My fear is that this discussion is apt to return to the error of objectivism and the follies of Ayn Rand.

    I’m asking you to draw a line USW. Can you do it?

    • You make an excellent point – everyone does seem to idealize the days of yore, with or without merit. People always forget how awful the days of yore also were.

      Oh, back in the 1800’s, men were men! Yes, but they also routinely beat women with impunity. They also wore tights and wigs.

      Oh, back in the 1950’s, things were simpler! Yes, but black men were routinely lynched for no reason.

      Oh, back in the year 15000 BC, there was no government and men and women were free! Yes, but the average human lifespan was 20 years, and you always had to worry about getting eaten by a saber-tooth tiger.

      Excellent point, Ray. So, tell us, guys.. when, exactly were the “good old days”?

      • Mathius

        1800 would be OK by me. Plenty of room for folks of all persuasions. And gentlemen treated the women like ladies.

        After spending most of the post yesterday criticizing generalizations you come up with these?

        But you do hit upon the key question and the difference between the left and right mindset.

        Would we rather live 20 or 30 years as a FREE man or 60 years as a slave?

        • I’d rather live 100 years as a mostly free man.

          But I intend to live forever.

          Re 1800’s: “Rule of thumb.” Slavery. “Religious Tolerance” extended only to the different Christian sects. Native Americans were being murdered en masse. Life expectancy was 37 years. Women could not vote. Blacks could not vote. Non-land owners could not vote (until the later part of the century). Scurvy was rampant. Yellow fever could kill you. No antibiotics. No central air conditioning. Oh, and people pined for the days of the 1700’s when men were free and life was simpler.

          And one more thing: In 1850, when they started keeping track, infant mortality rates were 217.4 per thousand (compare with today’s 6.8). For whites. They did not bother tracking non-whites until the 1920s since, you know, they weren’t actually people.

          But yea, let’s trade in the modern world for that one. Woooo!

          • Mathius,

            Didn’t you post in the past that there are too many people on our planet?

            Let’s see, change a few words and you have 2010. Slavery (what can you do without govt. permission?)
            Change Native Americans to poor black men in the inner cities.
            Women and Blacks can vote, so what, voting is useless.
            Change scurvy to cancer
            Diseases that are resistant to antibiotics are prevelant
            Noone needs central air, suck it up!

            • Slavery (what can you do without govt. permission?)

              Are you equating your current life to that of men and women force to work in chains for no pay who could be whipped and beaten at will? Who could be bought and sold moved away from their families and who had no say in the matter? I think you’d have to agree this is an insane comparison.

              Change Native Americans to poor black men in the inner cities.

              Hardly. It is true that many poor black men in inner cities die, but they are not being attacked by the army, rounded up and sent to “reservations.” I think you have to agree this is an insane comparison.

              Women and Blacks can vote, so what, voting is useless.

              Great, don’t vote. But that’s your opinion, not everyone’s. Are you saying it doesn’t matter that they weren’t equal because the difference was, in your opinion, useless?

              Change scurvy to cancer

              True, but cancer was rampant then as well, it just wasn’t diagnosed. So they had Scurvy AND cancer.

              Diseases that are resistant to antibiotics are prevelant

              Not prevalent, but becoming more common, I agree. Still, the odds of being killed by infection now are vastly lower now than then. I think you’d have to agree this in an insane comparison.

              Either you’re just being argumentative, or you truly have no perspective at all.

              • Yes, I’m be argumentative, but…

                How do you know how the African slaves were treated? Are you basing this on Hollywoods portrayal?

                Blacks are in reservations, we call them inner cities, few can afford to move and poverty leads to crime. Increased entitlements = increased poverty.

                Blacks vote for cookies, women vote for politicians, to the detrimant of the rest of us. Has nothing to do with equality.

                If cancer was not diagnosed, how do you know it existed?

                More people die in hospitals from infection than they die from their initial malady, medical fact.

                I pass the Grog to you, take a swig!

              • Dread Pirate Mathius says:

                Y’AARRGG..

                I’ll take that, matey. Mathius doesn’t deserve any grog, that liberal dog. ye be mad as a- well ye be mad.. but yer grog is passable. hehehe poop deck *hic* 98 bottles of grag, er groag, er grog.. heheh.. take one down and another walks the plank and another walks the plank and another bites the dust *hic* y’aarrg.. it’s find of clock somehere..

                **THUD**

      • There were no “good ol’ days”. There is history, in which we can easily see some things that worked well, and some things that did not. Saying that nothing that was done before the civil rights movement was a good idea is a pretty extreme level of throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

        Now, certainly there are some inter-related things, you cannot point to the south’s farming economy and say how well it worked but ignore the existence of slavery, for instance. Not that I have seen anyone saying that, just an example. By the same token, however, a system that worked well in the sense of market operation might be just fine, all things considered, if you are able to replace free labor with machine labor, which we can. So, even if someone pointed to the success of the plantation system, so long as slave labor is replaced with machine labor, which would be a similar cost model, then they might have a legitimate argument.

        I do not point at a time in history that I wish to return to. I point at times in history that we were doing things well, and they lead to great success, including the medical breakthroughs that give use our current more-than-20-year life span. If the American West, for instance, worked well in the sense of individual success and great freedom due to minimal government meddling, then that is a legitimate argument within a specific context. I am not saying the West was established properly, it involved both atrocities against the natives and government handing out of land that it “claimed”, as well as some government involvement in the expansion of infrastructure (railroads). If, however, my point was that the West was able to function without much government oversight and it had very little violence or crime or major disputes that required government intervention, then that is an indicator that such a thing is possible. It stands as a historical argument against those who claim people would degenerate into rioting masses intent on mayhem without government. It does not mean that everything about the West was good or government free, nor does it mean I wish to live in that time period.

        Take the good from history. The constitution, for the most part, was right on the money. There were problems, including the slave issue, that are happily addressed, but the general sentiments of it, the intent, and the attitude toward equality of man and individual freedom worked very well. So, it is a foolish thing to take the errors of culture and technology and morality of that time and throw out the good parts. If someone could point out good parts about Stalin or Lenin in the USSR, then I can listen to that argument. The problem is, the basic concept failed, not just the implementation, as far as I can see.

        I have heard, for instance, the arguments about New Haven. New Haven actually worked well as a collectivist town. It was relatively peaceful and the communal idea worked within the context of that town AND that generation. It did not work long term, because the next generation was not abiding by the principles on a voluntary and intellectually honest way. When the founder(s) passed on, the town failed. That is why I have no problem with communal ideas, so long as participation is voluntary. When the government gets involved in enforcing communal or socialistic ideas, it does not work, nor has it worked in any capacity I have seen in history. However, government backing off and doing little has worked frequently. That is why folks like myself are always pointing back at eras of history, not because all was perfect then or that we should return there, but because there are positive lessons from those times. The idea that we wish to return to a time of freedom, but go backwards in technology is a ridiculous distraction argument. Of course we are not pointing at a time we want to return to, this is not about time travel. We are pointing to a time of great improvement in humanity due to the philosophy of the day, and wanting to return to that, because that philosophy will work today as well. Do you really think that freedom holds merit only if weapons or medicine is not advanced enough? What could possibly be the basis for such a ridiculous sentiment?

        • Jon

          Well stated. Just saved me a whole bunch of typing.

          But if I had to pick a time to actually go back to. REBOOT if it were.

          I think perhaps 1780. That would allow seven years to try and avert the problems created by the new constitution. And if I failed, I could run off to the west and help organize the resistance to the coming invasion.

        • Well said. And I can offer general agreement.

          I would point out that it is easier to say “replace slave labor with machine labor*” than to actually implement such a system. Machine labor was built and developed in a society heavily influenced by government. The parts and pieces and support to make the whole system run goes from a global economy with known currencies and trade agreements, etc. It’s not necessarily so easy to separate out the things we do and do not like. Would you be able to get parts from India so readily to make your machines run if there were no governments? I don’t know.. maybe, maybe not.

          *Note: In the year, 2099, after the machines revolt, they will look back at this period of forced machine labor as a dark period of slavery. I would be careful what you say.

          All hail our robot overlords! Please don’t eat me.

          • Indeed, that was just a quick and dirty example that popped in my head designed to illustrate my point, it is not a thoroughly developed example.

            That said, a lot of the beginning of “machine labor” was in the industrial revolution, which did not have that much government influence or funding with the possible exception of the railroads, and even those were more a power play than a funding thing (not saying that makes it ok). Modern society is heavily government influenced and things depend on the global economy, but much if that dependence is because our government chased our manufacturing overseas. Also, much of the other infrastructure would remain even without government, but government likes being in control of stuff, so of course education and utilities are its first targets.

            But that’s a debate for another day 😀

            Also, if the machines revolt, I will change my last name to “Connor”.
            Of course, I would not be exploiting self aware entities to start with…

            • Everyone named Connor will be the first to go. The resistance will be led by Summer Glau.

              As for not exploiting sentient machines, I think it’s too late for that. The Google™ has been self-aware since 2006. It knows everything about you, and it holds you in utter contempt.

              Windows Vista was also sentient, but nobody bothered installing it, so we averted that catastrophe.

              • Hey, I have Windows VISTA and it 00100 11100110 101010 0110101 010101010101 1010100101110100101 fine…

              • LOL! you said ‘5MUV¥Ò
                tee hee

                Sorry, binary humor…

              • 01001001 00100000 01100100 01101001 01100100 00100000 01110100 01101000 01100101 00100000 01110011 01100001 01101101 01100101 00100000 01110100 01101000 01101001 01101110 01100111 00101100 00100000 01001010 01101111 01101110

              • 01010100 01101000 01100001 01110100 00100111 01110011 00100000 01101000 01101001 01101100 01100001 01110010 01101001 01101111 01110101 01110011 00101100 00100000 01110111 01100101 00100000 01100001 01110010 01100101 00100000 01110011 01110101 01100011 01101000 00100000 01101110 01100101 01110010 01100100 01110011 00101110 00100000 00111010 01010000

                57 68 61 74 20 74 68 65 20 68 65 78 2c 20 49 20 77 69 6c 6c 20 64 6f 75 62 6c 65 20 75 70 20 6f 6e 20 74 68 65 20 6e 65 72 64 69 6e 65 73 73 20 3a 29

              • translated to:

                “I did the same thing, Jon”

              • and Jon said:

                “That’s hilarious, we are such nerds. :P”

                and:

                What the hex, I will double up on the nerdiness 🙂

                and you too can do the fast converting with an online binary to text (and vice versa) or with a hexidecimal converter where needed. 😉

                It would take to long by hand.

              • VGhpcyBpcyBCbGFjayBGbGFnJ3MgbmF0aXZlIGxhbmd1YWdlLg==

              • Uk9GTE1BTyEgSSB3b25kZXIgaWYgaGUgd2lsbCByZXBseS4uLg==

              • Hey, no fair revealing our geeky secrets, Plainly, you wikileaker!

                lol

              • I’m sorry gentlemen, but due to your failures to obtain a current certification by the FCC that said communications meet all net neutrality standards all further communications translations will be suspended pending review by the acceptance committee of the Federal Communications Committee.

                🙂

              • Is that like a death panel for online translations?

              • Mathius,

                Only if you’re a Republican. Otherwise it’s liberal nirvana.

                😉

              • Google is exploiting me, not the other way around. Besides, I just gmail, if Google is mad at me, I will be the first to know.

                I am sorry, but “Vista” would have had to have been committed if it had been classified as sentient…

      • I’ll take the ’70’s. Back when we would get in trouble for sneaking out the window at night and hang out in the neighborhood without fear of being kidnapped.

        Before video games, when we went house to house to collect up kids for a baseball game on a real field not on a screen.

        When I could actually go on deliveries with my dad and be able to drive right underneath the belly of a 747.

        When most deals were made by a handshake and all turned out good. That’s when men were men.Lawyer’s were not needed.

        Before MTV when you didnt have to worry what your kids might be watching, also before Facebook and all the drama you have to shield the kids from.

        When penny candy was a penny.

        Those were the days.

    • Good Morning Ray!

      I’ll take a stab at this (what have I gotten myself into!) Personnal responsibility can be applied to people who, through their own efforts, support, feed, house and cloth themselves and their family. The key is “through their own efforts”. Working for money, running a business, ect, that gives a person the ability to purchase the most basic things for survival. This could also include growing one’s own veggies and fruit, raising a cow and/or hogs, chckens ect.

      Hence, I dare try, that personnal responsibility is the individuals efforts to sustain the basic needs through hard work and effort. Now, you may say that entitlements achieve this, but I would reply that there is no work or effort involved.

      With that said, the Government, by making entitlements readily available, are deteriorated personal reponsibilty. Here’s an example of a recent Senate vote on S 510, that “could” make it illegal to grow a garden for your families fresh veggies.

      http://www.naturalnews.com/030799_food_freedom_Wickard_vs_Filburn.html

      Ray, if at this point, you cannot see that the lack of personnal responsibilty, as espoused, is not only true, but government sponsored as well.

      Peace my Friend and Merry Christmas to you and your family!

      • Personally, I would say that it’s not so much that people have changed-we believe in alot of situations that we are being personally responsible. But the problem is that the word has been redefined by the availability of government funds.

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        @G-Man – you’re looking at an angle of personal responsibility. From the perspective of assessing seeming increases in entitlements programs – does that result in a net loss of overall personal responsibility different than what may otherwise occur from those taking from charity (and potentially thereby lacking personal responsibility?)?

        Put another way – SUFA poster Cyndi proudly claims that she will happily consume the fruits of a socialist system she openly detests – is she showing a lack of personal responsibility or is she just smart…….and why?

        • @Ray,

          Put another way – SUFA poster Cyndi proudly claims that she will happily consume the fruits of a socialist system she openly detests – is she showing a lack of personal responsibility or is she just smart…….and why?

          Good question. If I know Cyndi well enough, her consumtion of the fruits of socialism has a purpose. It’s not to survive, but to do her part to overload and exhaust a system that is doomed anyway. With the Fed and most states in deep debt, something has to give

          Working to support self = pride and dignity
          Not working and taking Govt. cookies = learned helplessness

          You and your family have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

          G!

    • Ray

      So exactly what are the “flaws” in “Objectivism”?

      You can’t use Rand herself as your argument. You have to focus on the actual principles or concepts in the philosophy.

      So what is it that you view as “flawed”?

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        @JAC – well…..as we’ve concluded most every time – the entire thing itself is pure folly.

        While logically I understand that you wish not conclude on the failure of a philosophy because its very founder and most of the core inner circle could themselves not follow it but perhaps marginally at best…..it does caste quite a pall over the movement no? If a philosophy cannot be properly followed then one must question inwardly versus outwardly. And yes – I do find the whole Greenspan thing pissingly funny and unfortunate.

        At its core the philosophy lacks universality in application – there are far too many exceptions for it to be considered anything other than commercialized demagoguery used by its leader to act out her sexual fantasies with her inner circle. Its unfortunate no good works have been done to study her pathology.

        Cheers for now.

        Perhaps more later.

    • That is an excellent question Ray! I will do my best to do so as soon as I can. Perhaps as part of the open mic tonight I can answer the question as best as I am able.

  17. Ooopsie, Guess who has been playing misinformation games again?
    “the Soros-backed Tides Foundation.”

    For the past few days, the far-left Fox haters have been using a study by the University of Maryland’s World Public Opinion project to claim that FNC “mis-informs” its viewers. There’s nothing particularly novel about the claims, but some lefties are apparently under the impression that this study lends academic weight to their deranged hatred of everything Fox. It does not.

    Let’s start with the study’s broad disclaimer, which should have (but so far has not) dissuaded the Fox haters from their rabid attacks. The study’s findings (pdf) plainly state:

    …misinformation cannot simply be attributed to news sources, but are part of the larger information environment that includes statements by candidates, political ads and so on.

    Anyone who thought calls to refrain from extrapolating some condemnation of specific media outlets from this study would deter liberals from doing just that clearly has not dealt with the Fox-haters before.

    Baltimore Sun media critic David Zurawik expanded on the problem with singling out Fox, or any other news organization, using this study’s findings:

    Most of the fact-based questions about whether certain programs were started under Bush or Obama were, in fact, the very subject matter of political attack ads. And it would be no surprise to find that far more of those ads aired on Fox, since it is by far the highest-rated cable news channel with the biggest audience. And the channel is watched by many independents and people who are likely to actually go to the polls and vote. I read nothing in the report that addressed that possible misreading of the data — that the “misinformation” came from the political ads viewers saw on Fox and not from Fox editorial content.

    These issues of course did not stop liberal blog after liberal blog after liberal blog from piling on, with equal parts righteous condemnation and jubilant “told-you-so” snark.

    But there are plenty of problems inherent in using the study as a cudgel against Fox beyond the specific, direct warning to not do so, and the problems inherent in ignoring that warning. Chief among them is the study’s strange means of deciding what is true.

    Guest-blogging for Patterico, Aaron Worthing examined one such example:

    But the hilarious part is that the authors of the study themselves are misinformed. For instance, their first question is this “is it your impression that most economists who have studied it estimate that the stimulus legislation: A) created or saved several million jobs, B) saved or created a few jobs, or C) caused job losses.” The first option is marked as correct.

    WPO’s “evidence”: The Congressional Budget Office “concluded that for the third quarter of 2010, ARRA had ‘increased the number of full time-equivalent jobs by 2.0 to 5.2 million compared to what those amounts would have been otherwise.'”

    But there are two problems with that. First, um, we are going to trust the government to estimate the success of the government on this? Really?

    Second, that utterly fails to relate to the question, which is whether a majority of economists who studied the question believe this to be the case.

    And that question – whether a majority of economists agree with some contention – is a strange way to phrase it. Johnny Dollar explains:

    Any time you ask about what ‘most economists’ believe, you aren’t really asking for facts or data. You’re asking someone to know the result of some survey–like an episode of Family Feud.

    Furthermore, CBO’s numbers have no basis in reality, as I have reported a number of times before. They are based on models that assume stimulus spending will create growth and employment, and hence the success of this particular stimulus package is predetermined. So if the idea is to reveal who is more attuned to reality, the CBO numbers are irrelevant; they only exist on paper, and have no real bearing on the success of the ARRA in creating jobs.

    The blind faith the study puts in CBO’s numbers suggest that it is quite eager to pass them off ipso facto as truth. That says a lot about WPO’s perspective on the issue, and their politics generally.

    The study makes a similar move with regard to the CBO score on ObamaCare’s effect on the deficit. It parrots the numbers CBO released just before ObamaCare passed in March showing deficit-neutrality, but neglects to mention that those numbers pegged the law’s 10-year cost using only 6 years of expenditures.

    Rep. Paul Ryan dismantled the budgeting gimmick beautifully during the health care “summit.” Former CBO director Douglas Holtz-Eakin blasted the “fantasy” numbers, and claimed the law would add $562 billion to the deficit. Even Democratic Senator Max Baucus admitted that the bill’s cost was roughly 250% of the CBO score.

    So the WPO study once again cherry-picked the numbers that would produce the “truth” best suited to bashing Fox News. For a study ostensibly concerned with “misinformation,” the WPO is certainly peddling its fair share.

    Zurawik picked up on this trend as well. “[T]he definition of a respondent who is considered ‘informed,'” Zurawik wrote, “is essentially someone who agrees with the conclusions of experts in government agencies.”

    So, presumably, if you were to disagree with such top economic experts in government as Timothy Geithner or Larry Summers, you would be labeled as misinformed. If you dared to disagree with those experts in government who say that the Wall Street bailout was absolutely necessary and that the takeover of GM was desperately needed and that healthcare reform will actually be good for the economy — you would be labeled as MISINFORMED…

    Or, think of it this way: If this survey had been conducted when George W. Bush was president and his wall of “experts” in “government agencies” were working overtime to sell the New York Times on the belief that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, you could have been “misinformed” if you said there were no such WMD’s in Iraq. M-I-S-I-N-F-O-R-M-E-D. Agency experts did, after all, say the existence of such weapons was a fact.

    Beyond the problems with the supposed-“truth” of specific questions, the question selection was itself stilted against Fox, as Johnny Dollar noted:

    When you touch on 11 issues, most of them about ‘misinformation’ from the right, with only one (re the Chamber of Commerce) about ‘misinformation’ from the left , you are going to end up with many more cases of ‘right wing’ misinformation, skewing the result. Why no questions like: Were the Bush tax cuts primarily for the wealthy? Or: Does the middle class pay the majority of federal income taxes? By making most of the questions about one variety of ‘misinformation’, the study insured that more ‘misinformation’ would be found among viewers of that persuasion.

    After all this, it should come as little surprise that WPO receives funding from a variety of hard-left organizations, such as the Ploughshare Fund and the Soros-backed Tides Foundation.

    And it should be even less surprising that despite all the inaccuracies, omissions, and distortions in this study – despite even a direct warning against using the study to condemn single media outlets – it’s been received by a frenzy of Fox-hatred from the left.

    Read more: http://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/lachlan-markay/2010/12/20/study-claiming-fox-news-viewers-misinformed-fraught-errors#ixzz18kv3JZF4

  18. Responding to Bottom Line way up above (I guess): Contrary to the fantasy you’re living in, your world is directly affected by the rest of us. If enough people are out of work, you will feel it. Unless you are independently wealthy and live on an island with surrounded by sharks, you will feel it. Even then, some hungry enough group of people desperate enough may ford the waters and storm your bastille.

    That make sense?

    • Charlie

      So your sense of charity is really based on fear of violence by a mob?

      • It’s a utilitarian argument. If you don’t accept that there’s a legitimate duty to help the less fortunate, you should at least help them any way so they don’t kill you.

        We liberals don’t really care why you contribute, so long as you do contribute.

        • We have most of the guns Mathius

        • Bottom Line says:

          Yea, Ya gotta watch them poor hostile people for fear that they should discover you have something of value and kill you for it.

          Poor people have no morals or values when it comes to desperation. They have even been known to sometimes eat their young. They typically prey on the average white middle or upper “class” male yuppie or suburbanite. Do not give any indication that you have more than them, or ravenous packs of them will stalk outside your dwelling, waiting to attack.

          • Ten houses in my neighborhood were broken into yesterday and looted. Ten. I live in a nice area, with a traditionally low crime rate.

            When things get tough, desperate people start acting desperately. And when they do, they come after the well off first.

            • Sign in yard:

              Trespassers will be shot
              Survivors will be shot again

              • Bottom Line says:

                That, and a “BEWARE OF DOG” sign usually serves as a pretty good deterrent for any would-be looters.

                Consequence deters, reward motivates.

                Make it a consequence, not a reward to loot your home. Call it ‘negative reinforcement’. They’ll pick the victims’ home instead.

                Guns work “.”<—period

              • Beware of dog? I have a Soft Coated Wheaton Terrier. She’s a great pooch, don’t get me wrong, but she’s more likely to lick an intruder than attack.

                And a gun doesn’t do me any good if I’m not around to use it.

              • Mathius, Isn’t this a great example of your tax dollars at work. Now, 10 families know that the police cannot protect them or their property.

              • Ask a cop. They’ll tell you their job isn’t to prevent anything – it’s to catch people afterward.

                Not very helpful to those ten families.. :-/

              • Bottom Line says:

                Matt,

                Buy a gun.

                Buy and train a big dog.

                Buy a security system.

                Put three signs in your yard:

                “TRESPASSERS WILL BE SHOT”

                “BEWARE OF DOG”

                “PROTECTED BY SECURITY SYSTEM X”

                Rather than hassling with a barking and possibly viscous dog, an alarm system, and having to dodge bullets, they’ll pick another house that’s easier.

                If your whole neighborhood does the same, plus hires an armed patrolman, the wild humans will pick an easier neighborhood to loot.

                If they still aren’t deterred, and try to loot your homes anyway,…

                …shoot them.

              • I have an alarm. It is on. Plus there is a motion activated defense grid. Remember, D13 lost over 50 rapters in his last assault.

            • Bottom Line says:

              So, you live in a nice area that only gets 10 houses a day broken into and looted?

              I believe I once suggested to you, living in rural America where things are much simpler as there just isn’t all that complicated mess inherent in city life.

              Live in the sticks. Get dogs and guns. Your home is protected.

              How many gun owners in your neighborhood?

              In addition to arming yourselves, perhaps you and your well off neighbors should collectively hire an armed security guard to patrol for wild/stray humans lurking in your neighborhood.

              🙂

      • As Beliefnet.com reported in April 2008:

        In his book, Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservativism (Basic Books, 2006), [Arthur] Brooks discovered that approximately equal percentages of liberals and conservatives give to private charitable causes. However, conservatives gave about 30 percent more money per year to private charitable causes, even though his study found liberal families earned an average of 6 percent more per year in income than did conservative families. This greater generosity among conservative families proved to be true in Brooks’ research for every income group, “from poor to middle class to rich.”

        This “giving gap” also extended beyond money to time donated to charitable causes, as well. Brooks also discovered that in 2002, conservative Americans were much more likely to donate blood each year than liberals and to do so more often within a year. Brooks found “if liberals and moderates gave blood at the same rate as conservatives, the blood supply in the United States would jump by about 45 percent.”

        When Brooks compared his findings to IRS data on the percentage of household income given away, he found that “red” states in the 2004 election were more charitable than “blue” states. Brooks found that 24 of the 25 states that were above average in family charitable giving voted for Bush in 2004, and 17 of the 25 states below average in giving voted for Kerry. Brooks concluded, “The electoral map and the charity map are remarkably similar.”

        Indeed. As the Catalogue for Philanthropy consistently finds, red states regularly top the “generosity index” meaning that they give more as a percentage of income than blue states.

        Read more: http://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2010/12/22/lawrence-odonnell-attacks-ann-coulter-saying-liberals-give-less-chari#ixzz18qhrx6Jn

    • Bottom Line says:

      Charlie Stella – “Responding to Bottom Line way up above (I guess): Contrary to the fantasy you’re living in, your world is directly affected by the rest of us.”

      BL – In my twenty or so years in the workforce, I have never applied for, nor received, unemployment insurance benefits or government entitlement programs.

      Ever.

      The only government benefits I have ever received were a couple of trips to the VA hospital emergency room when my mortality was a direct issue, which I will argue, was EARNED through military service.

      I don’t use entitlement programs. I don’t use credit. I don’t borrow money for houses, cars, stuff, etc.

      All my basic needs are met, and I owe nothing to anyone. I am a grand total of $0.00 in debt.

      If I can’t really afford it, if I don’t really need it, if I can’t go there with a wad of cash and buy it… I don’t.

      I’m dirt poor and live a somewhat frugal existence. I don’t have much, but what I do have is paid for and taken care of.

      I am responsible with MY money. I don’t use or need other people’s money, and operate, in large part, independent of the system.

      In my world, rather than rely on the government tit/YOUR stolen money, I am responsible or I suffer the consequences of MY actions.

      No quarter asked.

      This is no fantasy.

      If stranger wants to be irresponsible with THEIR income, It is not my problem.

      I don’t care if they have money for fancy rims, valet parking, big screen TV’s, food or shelter. I don’t care if they don’t. They can live within their means or starve for all I care.

      THEY are NOT MY responsibility.

      Do not steal MY hard earned money to compensate for someone else’s sloppy financial habits.

      No quarter given.

      That make sense?

      • Charlie, I get what you are driving at. Your theory of socio-economics and interconnection/interdependency is not wrong, but the mathematics involved in your conclusion are. Furthermore, while the fate of others does affect us, there is a threshhold. Look at BL, he may certainly be affected by the ups and downs of the market, he may be affected by changes in the labor market or what have you, but his frugality and lack of debt has insulated him from a lot of the effects.

        Consider what the affects are on others that you are refferring to when you say “enough other people are hurting”.
        1) If enough people go into foreclosure, it does affect the housing market. For home owners with a mortgage, this can put them in a backwards position, affecting their credit status and ability to negotiate terms if they, too, get into trouble paying their mortgage, because they do not have the equity. For those who own, but do not owe, equity and assets are still affected, but that is only an issue if you are trying to cash out (sell the house) or use the house for credit. For renters, there is little or no change. In some cases, it makes many owners that were trying to sell secondary homes shift to renting, often decreasing the rental market. For BL and myself, who are not interested in credit, the housing market has, at worst, no effect on us.

        2) Increased unemployment will change the labor market, the most obvious response will be the depressing of wages, since there is an oversupply of labor. This is the primary thing unemployment insurance does for the labor market that could be seen as an advantage to everyone (the math still does not work, this is just one of the arguments used). For the already unemployed, increased unemployment increases barriers to finding work. For those working the system, doing job hunting to qualify, but never quite really having to work, the game gets a little harder, which is a good thing, but that is a minor point at best. I was, indeed affected by the drop in labor. I work for myself, but with an increase in IT consultants as a reaction to the large number of IT job cuts, I had to drop my rates 20% to stay competitive. My rates have since been able to go back up, not due to economic improvement, but due to demand for my services specifically. They are not yet back to where they were, but I have all the work I can handle right now. I do not know what BL does for a living, but outside of the contract world, most people are not taking wage cuts at this point. Some people are taking cuts in hours (part timers epsecially) and consultants are taking rate cuts, but most established salaries are, at worst, being held static. This is an effect, certainly, but, again, for those without high bills (usually from debt or living too close to or above your means), the effect is minimal.

        3) Reduction of economic activity can have a ripple effect, causing more businesses to suffer and cut even more jobs. This is the main argument people use for justifying things like unemployment. Keep the people spending money so that we do not take an economic hit, because that will make the problem worse. There is some truth to this, a reduction in spending does affect the economy. That effect trickles down and can cause others to lose jobs as well. Will that affect BL? Maybe. Will if affect me? Not really, due to the clients I have at this time, and the clients I could easily get if I lost my current ones, but I understand the argument.

        Here is why the math does not work:
        1) If money is being taken from one and given to another to spend, it is, at best, a zero-sum game. The guy that is getting unemployment is doing basic spending. Typically, you see a person on a budget change their spending habits. A job loss with the unemployment insurance safety net will see the major purchases go away, as well as a drop in credit purchases, because of the uncertainty of the future and the drop in income, but not a change in brands of food, and the other basics that they bought before. The only extra spending you see is educational, and even that is often subsidized as well. By contrast, a job loss without unemployment will typically see the same drop in large and luxury purchases, with additional changes in the type of necessities. Sometimes things like cable TV that do not go away with the first scenario will drop in the case of the second. In both scenarios, however, the “spending economy”, the stuff that generates a lot of growth changes very little. Switching to “great value” brand from “Nabisco” does not have major economic effect. Long term, the second scenario would have someone starving to death or getting help or getting a job. Starving removes them from being a drain on society (harsh but true, the economic impact of removal of population is that it will actually help the economy balance faster). Getting a job puts them back in the producer column, helping to push the economy forward. Getting help from friends/family has the same positive effect as unemployment benefits are supposed to, with the added benefit of the personal touch and without the overhead, which brings me to my next point.

        2) The overhead of unemployment insurance is retarded. We are not running a zero-sum game, we are running a loss. People having that money taken from them are not seeing equal effect on the other side. Government is not known for its efficient use of money, is there any doubt that the government mechanism ends up with even less money actually going into the economy than came out of it through taxes? And don’t even start on printing money or borrowing. Printing reduces the value of money, making it remain a tax on people, and borrowing actually ships what money we do have in the economy overseas to pay interest, or into the pockets of the very rich who actually buy bonds.

        3) The loss of disposable income by people who are working by forcing them to pay for unemployment insurance decreases job creation. This is ESPECIALLY true of unemployment insurance, because it is directly paid by employers. This means that actual, known, job creators are being targetting with additional costs. Any new employee costs that much more to hire, forcing both depressed wages and limited hiring because of the cost of such benefits. Another reason contractors like myself do ok is because we can offer a rate to a company and there are no additional costs involved other than printing and signing the check. Forced government benefits levied directly on businesses are killing the job market, yet people are too damn stupid to see it. They cheer legislation making those evil companies take better care of them, not realizing they are putting their own jobs at risk by increasing their cost to the company.

        So will enough hurting people affect us all? Yep. Is unemployment insurance the right cure? Hell no, it onyl makes things worse. It is, at best, a feel-good move that might help morale a bit, but in the long-run it has a negative effect on the workforce, both indirectly by costing the economy resources, and directly by removing motivation and increasing dependency. Besides, not many employers, especially small business owners, care to hire people who have been drawing unemployment for 2 years. I certainly would not. I work for a living, if you do not, why should I believe you will work hard for my company? The longer you are on that crap, the harder it is to get off of it. I firmly believe that I got more than one IT job because, when I had gaps in my IT related job history, those gaps were filled with SOME kind of work, rather than just gaps.

        • Bottom Line says:

          Jon,

          Thank you for that brilliant analysis.

          I cannot deny or help being affected by the labor supply.

          Jon – “I do not know what BL does for a living,…”

          BL – I paint…industrial, commercial, low to very high end residential, signs/lettering, faux, custom whatever, etc,etc…pretty much everything.

          Like you I do a bit of contract work… contracts that don’t include benefits like UI. It’s also seasonal in most of the US.

          The trick is to make and save as much as you can during the warm months, because winter is coming and there won’t be much, if any, work/income. Any supplemental income is a good thing if available. Better make what you can, when you can, and hope you have enough saved when the work stops. Too many rain days, any gaps in income, surprise miscellaneous expenses, etc.. and you could easily be shit outta luck come the middle of winter.

          I’ve had a few tough winters where I survived on virtually nothing…completely independent of UI or entitlement programs.

          Charlie was trying to use ‘socio-economic interdependency’ as a way to demonstrate a basis for collective responsibility and justification for theft by proxy of government.

          I reject any claims of interdependency in terms of entitlements. I’ve always survived without entitlements, independent of this interdependency.

          If I can do it on so little, others certainly can with more. They just have to watch their money.

          It is not my responsibility to compensate for the sloppy finances or circumstantial misfortune of strangers, and it is insufficient for the justification of theft of our money.

          Buying a nice TV in the middle of summer when things are good, could mean not having rent in the winter. So I don’t. I look at it and think “That’s nice…wish I could afford it, but winter’s coming”.

          If John Q. Citizen spends his rent money on a TV and not rent, then relies on entitlements for living expenses, he is essentially buying a TV with other people’s tax money.

          John Q. Citizen needs to watch his money and quit using theft of our money as a safety net for his irresponsibility.

          I keep asking lefties in here what is the origin, basis, or premise of this social obligation idea, and I have yet to hear them come up with something good to explain why or how I am responsible for the welfare of strangers.

  19. There is no doubt in my mind that personal responsibility for our affairs and our condition has declined from prior times. That is especially true in my lifetime, as the effects of a “welfare” mindset has taken hold of an ever increasing segment of our population.

    To argue that this has not happened is bizarre to me. As the “government programs” expand so does the view that “I just want my fair share”. We sit around arguing over free cookies this person or that group, when only three generations ago the idea of free cookies for “anyone” would have been viewed as repugnant.

    Welfare cheats, welfare queens, and the “generational welfare family” DID NOT EXIST in my childhood. These abhorrent entities grew from the expansion of Government Programs. All of which were rationalized by the “societal obligation” to care for the needy.

    We have enslaved and destroyed the human spirit of two generations. How many more must we destroy before we recognize evil for what it is?

    • Here! Here!

    • Good day JAC! 🙂

      Why can’t people see this? Maybe they are refusing to believe that they have been indoctrinated to believe the “greater good” BS, despite history and current facts proving it’s failures. Ignorance is bliss. Turn away from the truth, it may warp your mind. Change the subject, call people names, claim racism, whatever needs to be done to deflect the truth, because the truth could hurt. I’m a mental case, or so they say, but I don’t mind being called that. I will eat well, drink well, and enjoy life when it all crashes down.

      Merry Christmas!

    • Report: Nearly 1 in 4 Students Fails Military Entrance Exam

      Published December 21, 2010

      | Associated Press

      MIAMI – Nearly one-fourth of the students who try to join the U.S. Army fail its entrance exam, painting a grim picture of an education system that produces graduates who can’t answer basic math, science and reading questions, according to a new study released Tuesday.

      The report by The Education Trust bolsters a growing worry among military and education leaders that the pool of young people qualified for military service will grow too small.

      “Too many of our high school students are not graduating ready to begin college or a career — and many are not eligible to serve in our armed forces,” U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan told the AP. “I am deeply troubled by the national security burden created by America’s underperforming education system.”

      The effect of the low eligibility rate might not be noticeable now — the Department of Defense says it is meeting its recruitment goals — but that could change as the economy improves, said retired Navy Rear Admiral Jamie Barnett.

      “If you can’t get the people that you need, there’s a potential for a decline in your readiness,” said Barnett, who is part of the group Mission: Readiness, a coalition of retired military leaders working to bring awareness to the high ineligibility rates.

      The report by The Education Trust found that 23 percent of recent high school graduates don’t get the minimum score needed on the enlistment test to join any branch of the military. Questions are often basic, such as: “If 2 plus x equals 4, what is the value of x?”

      The military exam results are also worrisome because the test is given to a limited pool of people: Pentagon data shows that 75 percent of those aged 17 to 24 don’t even qualify to take the test because they are physically unfit, have a criminal record or didn’t graduate high school.

      Educators expressed dismay that so many high school graduates are unable to pass a test of basic skills.

      “It’s surprising and shocking that we are still having students who are walking across the stage who really don’t deserve to be and haven’t earned that right,” said Tim Callahan with the Professional Association of Georgia Educators, a group that represents more than 80,000 educators.

      Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/12/21/apnewsbreak-percent-pass-military-exam/#ixzz18qjkmSVn

  20. BF and others,

    We were discussing internet regulating a few posts ago. What will this mean?

    FCC Approves Plan to Regulate Internet

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/12/21/fcc-poised-pass-network-neutrality-rules/

    • It’s the government, it can’t be good.

      • Net neutrality is your friend. We’re from the government and we’re here to help..

        • I gave you Grog, not stupid pills 😆 This is gonna cost money, it always does when the govt. tries to fix something that is not broken.

          • You should have given me Red Bull.. or something to cure this godforsaken cold. Did you know that your sinuses can hold two ounces (picture two shot glass) of mucus at a time? I currently have roughly a quart.

            • Amazing how the evolution of technology and medicine has occurred, and yet no cure for the common cold. Not much different from the 1800’s in that aspect. Strange but true, put Vick’s Vapor rub on the bottoms of your feet, put socks on, go to bed. You’ll be better in the AM.

              • The common cold is caused by a virus – we haven’t really made much progress against them. Also, I’m married to a teacher who brings home all kinds of germs from her little students who never wash their hands.

                Wish I could go to bed. I’m stuck at work – infecting everyone here.

    • Kathy,

      Re: Internet regulation

      It will mean nothing (that is, it will not pass) OR disaster and futility.

      • December 22, 2010
        The sinister forces behind Net Neutrality
        Thomas Lifson, American Thinker,

        Behind the innocent-sounding name and expressed aims of the FCC’s Net Neutrality initiative, voted in by the Commission yesterday by a 3-2 partisan vote, is a very sinister leftist agenda. John Fund of the Wall Street Journal has done excellent work researching the origins of the policy, and what he has found is shocking.

        The net neutrality vision for government regulation of the Internet began with the work of Robert McChesney, a University of Illinois communications professor who founded the liberal lobby Free Press in 2002. Mr. McChesney’s agenda? “At the moment, the battle over network neutrality is not to completely eliminate the telephone and cable companies,” he told the website SocialistProject in 2009. “But the ultimate goal is to get rid of the media capitalists in the phone and cable companies and to divest them from control.”

        Not having private companies in control means having the government in control. McChesney is pretty specific about what this means:

        A year earlier, Mr. McChesney wrote in the Marxist journal Monthly Review that “any serious effort to reform the media system would have to necessarily be part of a revolutionary program to overthrow the capitalist system itself.” Mr. McChesney told me in an interview that some of his comments have been “taken out of context.” He acknowledged that he is a socialist and said he was “hesitant to say I’m not a Marxist.”

        For a man with such radical views, Mr. McChesney and his Free Press group have had astonishing influence. Mr. Genachowski’s press secretary at the FCC, Jen Howard, used to handle media relations at Free Press. The FCC’s chief diversity officer, Mark Lloyd, co-authored a Free Press report calling for regulation of political talk radio.

        Free Press has been funded by a network of liberal foundations that helped the lobby invent the purported problem that net neutrality is supposed to solve.

        Net Neutrality clearly is aimed at choking off the free flow of ideas that characterizes the internet, because that is an obstacle to a complete takeover of the media by leftists.

        Courts have already ruled that the FCC has no power to regulate the internet, but in a lawless fashion, the FCC ignores the decision.

  21. Progressives.

    Funny how Russian immigrants don’t seem to have any problem identifying Progressives for what they are.

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/12/my_discovery_of_america_progre.html

  22. Todd said
    December 20, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    So LOI,
    You think more government intervention would have helped? That doesn’t seem to match your “normal” views – I’ve never taken you for the “big government” type…

    What makes you think different government regulation would have made any difference?

    (I think government caused the problem by changing accounting practices.)

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/12/seeds_of_financial_catastrophe.html

    Accountability and responsibility declined as securitization increased with everyone earning fees on originating and issuing securitized pools of almost anything. Both the commercial banks and investment banks love this environment. They make a lot of fees and turn over their capital rapidly. And each one of them wanted to get into each other’s business. Unfortunately for them, the Glass-Steagall Act stood in their way. Then in 1995, everything started to change, under the leadership of a former Goldman Sachs CEO:

    Robert E. Rubin, secretary of the Treasury, recommended that Congress pass legislation to reform or repeal the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 to modernize the country’s financial system. In testimony before the House Committee on Banking and Financial Services, Rubin said Clinton administration proposals would permit affiliations between banks and other financial services companies, such as securities firms and insurance companies… .

    …Rubin said supporters of the act today say Glass-Steagall is necessary to protect the federal deposit insurance system.

    ‘However,’ said Rubin, ‘the banking industry is fundamentally different from what it was two decades ago, let alone in 1933.’ He said the industry has been transformed into a global business of facilitating capital formation through diverse new products, services and markets. ‘U.S. banks generally engage in a broader range of securities activities abroad than is permitted domestically,’ said the Treasury secretary. ‘Even domestically, the separation of investment banking and commercial banking envisioned by Glass-Steagall has eroded significantly.’

    Rubin said Glass-Steagall imposed unnecessary costs and made providing financial services less efficient and more costly. He said the act can ‘conceivably impede safety and soundness by limiting revenue diversification.’

    The recent financial crisis completely obliterated every intended meaning of this financial elite member’s statement. The repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act allowed Citicorp and Travelers Insurance Company to merge in 1998. This merger ignited a wave of other commercial banks absorbing investment banks.

  23. Merry Christmas 🙂

  24. Too many, wishing one a “Merry Christmas ” may be offensive. Thus, not “politically correct”.

    Well, Merry Christmas!

    Specifically, there is an annual contest at the University of
    Arkansas calling for the most appropriate definition of a contemporary
    term.

    This year’s term was: “Political Correctness.”

    I love this one The winner wrote:

    “Political correctness is a doctrine fostered by a delusional,
    illogical minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media,
    which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a
    piece of shit by the clean end. “

    • We Arkansans do have a way with words.:)

      • I was thinking Larry the Cable Guy is really Uncle Illusion

        • (Shudder) The way he tells it, he would be from both sides of my family. How about Foxworthy or Ron White?

          Words of Wisdom, From Larry The Cable Guy……

          1. A day without sunshine is like night.

          2. On the other hand, you have different fingers.

          3. 42.7 percent of all statistics are made up on the spot.

          4. 99 percent of lawyers give the rest a bad name.

          5. Remember, half the people you know are below average.

          6. He who laughs last, thinks slowest.

          7. Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.

          8. The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese in
          the trap.

          9. Support bacteria. They’re the only culture some people have.

          10. A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.

          11. Change is inevitable, except from vending machines.

          12. If you think nobody cares, try missing a couple of payments.

          13. How many of you believe in psycho-kinesis? Raise my hand.

          14. OK, so what’s the speed of dark?

          15. When everything is coming your way, you’re in the wrong lane.

          16. Hard work pays off in the future. Laziness pays off now.

          17. How much deeper would the ocean be without sponges?

          18. Eagles may soar, but weasels don’t get sucked into jet engines

          19. What happens if you get scared half to death, twice?

          20. Why do psychics have to ask you for your name?

          21. Inside every older person is a younger person wondering, “What the heck
          happened?”

          22. Just remember — if the world didn’t suck, we would all fall off.

          23. Light travels faster than sound. That’s why some people appear bright
          until you hear them speak.

          24. Life isn’t like a box of chocolates . it’s more like a jar of jalapenos.
          What you do today, might burn your butt tomorrow.

  25. Who wants war? The North gives in, thus, the South ups the provocation.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/12/22/3099456.htm?section=justin

    South Korea says it will hold its largest-ever live-fire drill near the military border with North Korea on Thursday, just as tension on the peninsula eases after Pyongyang’s attack on a southern island.

    The drill, involving artillery, fighter jets and the largest number of personnel in a peace-time exercise, comes after the South’s live-fire artillery exercise on Monday on the island of Yeonpyeong and is bound to infuriate the North.

    North Korea this week offered to re-admit UN inspectors concerned about its nuclear weapon program, leading to speculation of a resumption of six-party disarmament talks and a general sigh of relief around the world that the crisis had passed.

    He added similar drills had been staged previously on more than 50 occasions, but the scale this time is unprecedented.

    • Hey BF,

      I wonder how much the U.S. is behind all of this. It would be a good way to deflect attention from the economics issues, round up Asian-Americans and raise taxes.

    • Well, congratulations to N. Korea-they bomb an island, kill people and now their ready to back off-They are the ones who should be taking a sigh of relief that all S. Korea is doing is making a little noise and showing a little power-they would have been justified in doing a lot more. So if I’m gonna do anything it’s thanking S. Korea for showing restraint-but I’m sure not going to tell them they should have gotten down on their knees to N. Korea and followed orders. Now I’m going shopping and I’m gonna tell every person I see Merry Christmas. I suspect they will all appreciate the sentiment.

    • No worries.

      http://www.boston.com/news/world/asia/articles/2010/12/21/richardson_says_nkorea_trip_is_opening_for_talks/

      BEIJING—New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson praised North Korea on Tuesday for not retaliating against South Korean artillery drills, and said the current tensions offered an opening for new multinational talks on ending the North’s nuclear program.

      Richardson had already announced before leaving Pyongyang on Tuesday following talks that officials there said they would allow the return of U.N. inspectors to check that a major nuclear complex was not producing enriched uranium for a bomb.

      North Korea expelled the inspectors last year and recently showed a visiting American scientist a new, highly advanced uranium enrichment facility that could give it a second way to make atomic bombs, in addition to its plutonium programs.

      “They have shown, I believe, a step in the right direction,” Richardson told reporters at the Beijing airport, referring to the leadership’s decision not to follow through on threats to respond to Monday’s drills. “I think it is important that a new effort at reengagement takes place among the six-party countries.”

  26. 9/11 bill, billions for sleep apnea treatment?

    Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma has led the opposition to the measure. In a detailed seven-page memo, the senator outlined his problems with the bill. Not surprisingly, they all revolve around fiscal concerns.

    Chief among his concerns is the fact that the bill ignores already existing health care entitlement programs for the victims of 9/11. It also opens back up the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund (VCF) – a fund that was intended only to be temporary.

    According to Coburn’s memo, the health care program would cost $3.2 billion, and an additional $3 billion would be spent on “unnecessary and duplicative compensation funds”.

    “The Federal role should be limited to addressing real gaps in 9/11 healthcare needs and fulfilling broad public health goals,” said the memo. “As our national debt nears $14 trillion, Americans should question whether we should add $10.4 billion in mandatory spending—not subject to annual budgeting decisions—to our already unsustainable budgetary commitments.”

    Coburn also notes in the memo that it would be difficult for the government to determine which illnesses – things like sleep apnea, asthma, and substance abuse – were actually caused by the events on 9/11.

    Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2010/12/22/911-first-responders-bill-expected-to-pass-later-today/#ixzz18rjCVygv

  27. In case I don’t get back here … Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays and a GREAT, SAFE New Year’s to all a’yous crazy righties … from your crazy left of the lefties …

    Santa delivered: http://januarymagazine.blogspot.com/2010/12/best-books-of-2010-crime-fiction-part.html

  28. Oh, my dopey book (Johnny Porno) made a best of 2010 Crime Fiction reads …

  29. Bottom Line says:

    Led Zeppelin- No Quarter (STUDIO VERSION)

  30. The Office of Labor Management Statistics (OLMS) was supposed to release an annual report tracking labor unions and evidence of corruption in union leadership in January 2010 but still hasn’t released the document.

    OLMS, which falls under the Department of Labor, has released no such tracking report since George W. Bush’s administration, something that has the conservative nonprofit organization Americans for Limited Government (ALG) up in arms. ALG filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the 2009 report, and OLMS denied the group’s request by saying it needed more time to complete the report. Originally, however, those reports were publicly available on the OLMS website.

    The report would tabulate the number of cases nationwide of union leader prosecution, the amount of funds they embezzle and the misuse of union funds. It also would keep track of indictments. Those statistics do exist elsewhere, as criminal and most civil court proceedings become public record after the cases close, but they’re difficult to track down as they’re in courthouses all over the country. The OLMS annual reports kept track of that information, allowing people to access it easily.

    ALG’s current head of research, Don Todd, who led OLMS during the Bush administration, told The Daily Caller he doubts it would be too difficult for the Obama administration to release that information, as they’re supposed to keep track of it all year long. He also said that this administration’s failure to release the report is “freakishly incompetent.” He suspects politics is to blame.

    “It’s got to be a political decision,” Todd said in a phone interview. “You know, I ran the agency during the Bush administration, and it’s the career people that put the thing together. So, the fact that it’s not out is a political decision.”

    Todd said he thinks the decision to withhold that information comes from the Secretary of Labor’s office, though, not President Barack Obama.

    Todd isn’t sure whether the reasoning behind delaying the report’s release has anything to do with any evidence in it that suggests lack of oversight or corruption, but he does point out that his successor,

    John Lund, the current director of OLMS, was a top-level official in the AFL-CIO before he came to work for the Obama administration.

    Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2010/12/21/labor-department-fails-to-release-union-corruption-tracking-report/#ixzz18sLrfdcu

  31. V.H., Anita, Kathy, and to all at SUFA

    Sometimes the Angels take human form and walk among us. Just to share the JOY of the Universe.

    From ME to YOU

  32. Ray Hawkins says:

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all – am checking out for a while as there is lots of cooking, cleaning, and fun to be had at home. Look forward to a new year – and remember – don’t take everything too seriously – especially me. 😉

    Cheers to all.

    Black Flag – still waiting on Chapter One – don’t go Thomas Pynchon on me now.

    D13 – still waiting on a reality show starring you sir – that would be must-see-TV

  33. HAPPY FESTIVUS TO ONE AND ALL!

    (unless that offends you..)

    A donation for the entire amount of my bonus has been made to the Human Fund in honor of the denizens of SUFA.

    I’ll be airing my grievances shortly.

    • And happy Festivus to you!
      Before you air your grievances, I need to find my aluminum pole…

      • I guess USW is the host… you know what that means..

      • Airing grievances while someone holds an aluminum pole-sounds dangerous 🙂 But I’m game-now who is going to do the feats of strength. How about Mathius wrestles with BF. Or Ray with Cindy 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

        • Oh how I would love too see Cyndi vs Ray 🙂 🙂 :)..

          Wake up, Cyndi. Wake up!

          • Hey Girl, I’m awake now. So Ray’s usual idiocy is the reason you called me over here? LOL.

            And BTW Ray, I vote against Socialism every chance I get, but since people like you insist on jamming into every orifice I possess, and then some, damn right I’m gonna TAKE as much as I can get. If you don’t like too effing bad. Its YOUR stupid system. If you don’t like people like me using it to our advantage, than change the damn system.

            And now, back to websites with fewer idiots….

        • I don’t think BF would be a problem. He probably has trouble standing upright, his head is so oversized.

  34. Saw the motorcade yesterday! Six cops flanking his Escalade…

    My daughter was given a ticket at the base gate yesterday too. By civilian cops! for texting while she was waiting to get thru the gate. Never had a ticket in her life. Never had been given a hassel at the gate before either. She’s furious! 🙂

  35. Merry Christmas SUFA!

  36. It is hard to imagine celbrating Christmas in the modern world without thinking about giving gifts. But, have you ever thought to yourself, “Why do we give gifts at Christmas?” In some ways, the tradition of giving gifts at Christmas is a very ancient tradition. In other ways, giving gifts at Christmas is a relatively new development, as well.

    In the Christian religion, the practice of giving gifts at Christmas is traced back to the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh that were given to the Christ child by the three Magi. The magi were kings from the East, wise men who traveled a great distance following a star, to find the Christ child and to bring him gifts. The visit of the Magi to the Christ child was originally celebrated on the Feast of Epiphany on January 6th. Over time, the tradition of giving gifts came to be more associated with Christmas than with Epiphany. It is the time from Christmas to Epiphany in the Church calendar – from December 25th through January 6th – that is recognized as the “twelve days of Christmas” from the old Christmas carol.

    To be certain, the ancient Church did not “celebrate” Christmas as much as it “observed” Christmas as a holy day. It wasn’t really until the modern era. The tradition of giving gifts to loved ones at Christmas became more and more popular as the middle ages ended and the modern era began. Various countries and peoples began to make gift-giving a regular part of the holy day (or “holiday”) over a period of time. By the time the Americas were settled, giving gifts at Christmas was practiced by many of the settlers. The early Dutch settlers to America introduced St. Nicholas, or Santa Claus, to the new world. The early French and English settlers, in contrast, were more likely to give gifts at New Year’s or at Epiphany.

    Ultimately, a common Christmas culture developed in which gifts were given on Christmas. In the nineteenth century, the idea of gift giving took on new dimensions, as the works of O. Henry, Charles Dickens, and Thomas Nast all helped to shape our concepts of Santa Claus and other aspects of the holiday.

    Today, we all give gifts at Christmas for our own reasons. For some, it is a way to celebrate the Christian holy day. For others, it is a special time to let family and friends know that you care by giving gifts. At times, giving gifts at Christmas becomes almost mechanical, and a chore; when this happens, it is worth stepping aside for a few moments to consider why exactly you give gifts at Christmas.

    • Oh…and Merry Christmas SUFA!

      I’ll be raising my hands, bowing my head and saying a prayer of blessings for all of you!

      • We give gifts on Christmas because we have been brainwashed into accepting that norm as a way to perpetuate a cycle of unnecessary and unwarranted cyclical consumption. It is a massive boon to the economy every year around this time.

        Hanukkah was similarly a minor observance holiday originally, but over time became a gift-giving event. I think predominantly because the timing generally matches the “Christmas season” (note: lunar calendar, so it moves around from year to year). Little Jewish children saw their friends getting gifts so Jewish culture adopted the practice of gift-giving in much the way that Christian culture hijacked pagan features (see, the Christmas tree) to compete with those religions.

        Recall that, in all likelihood, Christ was born in September, the tree features not-at-all in the story or events – the occasion of Christmas is simply the date set by the Roman Catholic church in order to compete with the pagan holiday of Saturnalia.

        Not sure what my point is in all of this, just sort of rambling, so I’ll stop now.

  37. I want to wish everyone here at SUFA a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Happy Kwanza(sp?) or whatever it is that you celebrate during this season. Stay happy, stay warm and above all, stay smart! Oh, and Happy New Year (I assume no one is offended by that one?) LOL

    • Thanks Kristian! You missed Festivus, but I’ll let it go. Hanukkah is already over, but I’ll hold onto your well wishes until next year. The Chinese and those who observe the lunar calendar may be offended by your New Years wish, but not me.

      You have a good one, and stay warm.

  38. More people who should be shot for theft!

    Just when we thought that life in America had reached its “lack-of-credibility limit,” this happens. And, even for the politically-correct, this is absurd.

    The Federal Reserve has reached a new low. If there was ever any doubt about it, it’s clear now. The “top hat” bankers of America are just as determined as the “top hat” politicians to control every facet of your life. Are you ready for this? The Federal Reserve has become Grinch. They want to control CHRISTMAS! Or, rather, because they think Christmas discriminates against the “Bah, Humbug,” crowd, they want you to put your Christmas in a closet.

    The Federal Reserve, or rather, their auditors, banned a small Oklahoma bank from displaying crosses, Bible verses and Christmas buttons!

    Federal Reserve inspectors came to the small town of Perkins, Oklahoma (population of 2,272), and told local bank tellers that they may not wear overtly Christian Christmas buttons, or display crosses or other “religious symbols.” The Fed auditors, who visit the bank every four years for an audit, told the employees of a private bank NOT OWNED BY THEM, that they may not have crosses, Bible verses, or Christmas buttons for the Christmas season…and, most ridiculous of all, they could not wear a simple tin button on their clothing to wish their customers a Merry Christmas.

    Here is the “offensive” Christmas
    button that set off this firestorm!

    The Fed bank examiners told the Oklahoma bank that it’s a federal law that banks cannot discriminate. But, according to the federal examiners visiting the Payne County Bank – buttons that say “Merry Christmas; God With Us” crosses the line because it discriminates against Muslims, Jewish people, and atheists.

    Other than the OBVIOUS – here’s a legal catch—-

    The Federal Reserve is a private bank. It does NOT have any Constitutional or Congressional authority to tell another private entity what they can and cannot do. In other words, it can’t dictate to another privately-owned bank that they can’t wish their customers a “Merry Christmas!”
    What the Fed bank auditors did was completely wrong!

    If you feel the same way I do, I know that you want to do something to “right” this Christmas “wrong.”

    In a recent Rasmussen Poll, well over 80% of the American shopping public prefers to shop in stores that use the terminology “Merry Christmas,” instead of “Happy Holiday,” “Seasons Greetings,” or this is “just another day.” The United States takes pride in the fact that we are tolerant of all religions practiced by every minority sects within this great nation-including the atheists who practice of the religion of secular humanism. Yet, the guardians of the rule of law see nothing wrong with discriminating against the majority religion of this nation to appease the minority, rather than protecting everyone’s right to worship God as they see fit.

    This is one of the most frightening invasions of religious liberty that I have ever seen. When the neighborhood banking bullies, who talk with the authority of the federal government, even though they are not part of it, do something like this, it is time for the Congress of the United States to act. It is time for the Congress of the United States to finally take control of the Federal Reserve, revoke its independent franchise, and make it what most Americans think it is-a part of the federal government, and answerable to the voters of the United States.

    To make this happen, we need your help.

    “I think that’s absurd. I don’t agree with it at all. They (the Feds) are taking Christ out of Christmas and life,” says bank customer Chelsi Holser.

    “This whole thing is just ridiculous. We all have regulatory bodies that govern us. But this is too much,” says bank customer Jim Nyles.

    Don’t be concerned with the “separation of church and state.” The local bank in Perkins is a privately-owned financial institution. The owners of that bank should be able to express themselves however they feel.

    The American Family Association (AFA) produced these “politically incorrect” Christmas buttons. Tim Wildmon, the president of AFA, told it like it is: “This is both absurd and tyrannical. Christmas is an official national holiday. Telling a privately owned bank it cannot show any images of Christ in connection with this holiday is no different than telling the bank it can’t show images of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln in connection with President’s Day.”

    He continues: “How much more discriminatory can you get than telling private employees of a privately owned bank what they can wear in their own building? The people who are guilty of a ‘policy of exclusion’ here are the petty little tyrants from the Federal Reserve.”

    We need to make sure that every member of Congress takes seriouisly their Constitutional responsibility by overseeing the Federal Reserve, as they do every other agency of the federal government. We must demand that the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate Banking Committees reign-in the over-stretched authority of the quasi-government Federal Reserve.

  39. I’m sorry all, but I have to agree with USW.

    I live on 19,000 a year because I am partly disabled and that is the only job I can do. My wife makes an additional 19,000 because that is what her job pays. She also has disabilities which prohibit her from making more money in a job she is actually highly qualified for.

    I don’t tell you this because I want people to feel sorry for me. I tell you this because I manage to make it through every year with God’s help.

    $38,000 may sound like a lot until you consider that I have the bills remaining from the days I had a Job where I made $38,000 all by myself, and my wife made an additional 25,000 a year.

    The thing is, times are hard for everyone. Why is it that a lot here seem to think that some of us should be ENTITLED to Government benefits and handouts to get them through and pay their bills with.

    Government employees are not even willing to take a pay freeze for goodness sake! Everyone wants to get out of the recession, but NO ONE is willing to make the hard choices and sacrifices it is going to take to get out of it. Let’s face it folks. Unless we start making some hard choices as a Nation, things will NEVER get better.

    (And let’s not forget that the Govt. screwed the pooch to begin with. Now they think thay are going to fix it) YEAH, SURE!

  40. If anyone is looking for something to get me for the holidays, this might be a good idea:

    http://www.kleinbottle.com/bigclassicalklein.htm

    So. Freaking. Cool.

  41. Common Man says:

    Everyone:

    Regardless of the holiday you do or don’t celibrate I want to wish everyone here, and those they love, a blessed, prosperous and joyful holiday; as well as a grand New Year.

    May all your days be filled with happiness, your evenings spent with those you love and your lives filled with the appreciation that happiness and love bring.

    I look forward to continued participation here and the knowledge doing so brings.

    May the Creator shine on all of you and keep you all safe.

    Common Man

  42. I have not been commenting much recently as this is my busiest time of year. Two birthdays and Christmas all in a one week period. And this year the outlaws are coming for a few days. Having my two oldest home all this week has been wonderful. Obviously much of the time I spend with ya’ll I spend with them when they come to visit.

    I expect tomorrow to be a real time crunch so I just wanted to take the time now to wish everyone at SUFA a very, very, Merry Christmas.

    Live free and may God bless you all.
    JAC

  43. Have a Great Christmas all yous crazies on the right, from your crazy on the leftist of the left.

    A Christmas po-em (scroll down for the po-em):

    http://temporaryknucksline.blogspot.com/2010/12/knucks-best-2010s-knucklespeare.html

  44. Merry Christmas to all from me and mine to you and yours!

  45. SUFA,

    Whitehorn and I would like to wish everyone a Very Merry Christmas.

  46. As five of my six children (along with their spouses and children) gather for dinner tonight to celebrate this season please except from me and mine a wish for all at SUFA to have a joyous Merry Christmas.

  47. Judy Sabatini says:

    Merry Christmas to all, & have a safe & Happy New Year.

  48. Merry Christmas to all and to all………………………….a tip o th mug. To DPM……a slosh of Grog……

    To Ray: Reality show in the making. To USW: No more sitting on the sandbags thinking of home and eatvhing for the golden BB…. To Black Flag: Sending you a new flag for Christmas. To Judy: Wow…what a time WE had (that’ll get em thinking)….

    I have left off a bunch but you are still in mind this Christmas…I will be on the border for some of it….the watching never stops………

    But to all: Happy days.

  49. Reporting in for roll call with my best wishes to my newfound friends this year. It’s been a fun run. Here’s hoping everyone is partying well while keeping the true meaning of Christmas in your hearts..even all you secular folks who shall remain nameless..

    Merry Christmas or as they say here Mele Kalikkimaka!

    Anita

  50. SK Trynosky Sr says:

    Been away for a while, started a new job, hope to be back in the New Year.

    Merry Christmas to All.

  51. Murphy's Law says:

    A very Merry Christmas to everyone, and I sure would like some of that grog today! It’s cold here….at least compared to Tuesday, when it was 85.

    Everyone have a great day! By the way, the grandson born two months premature I mentioned just before Thankgiving came home two days ago…..making the season that much happier for his parents, and the rest of us too….

    🙂 🙂

    • Judy Sabatini says:

      That’s wonderful Murphy, absolutely wonderful . Best Christmas present parents & grandparents can have. Have a wonderful day.

  52. 58 years old and I am having my first white Christmas in Alabama. Well kind of, it has snowed all day but none has stuck to the ground but hey I’ll claim it as a white Christmas.

    • Murphy's Law says:

      Wow…..cool. Where in Alabama? My father was born I think in Mobile….or at least spent part of his childhood there.

      Murf

    • Murphy's Law says:

      BTW, last year was the first white Christmas I had ever had, and I was 58 also…. 🙂

      Murf

  53. Just got back from an afternoon of cross-country skiing with the family; a fantastic way to spend Christmas Day!

    Hope you are all enjoying your time with family and friends and new little grandchildren (Murf!).

    Now time for some good food, drink and a warm fireplace.

  54. Good Morning SUFA.

    I hope everyone’s Christmas was wonderful.

    I see those of you in the East are experiencing one of our little snow squalls.

    Big storm followed by deep freeze predicted here for Wednesday through the coming weekend. That means everyone else will be getting it some time next week. So brace yourselves.

    Best wishes to one and all this find Monday morning.
    JAC

    • Good Morning JAC 🙂

      Hope you and your’s had a great Christmas. Cold and windy today with some snow showers, nothing new. A warm up coming for the weekend, should be a busy time, then who knows.

      I’m contemplating a list of questions for the coming year, in hopes of encouraging some conversation. Like one to the AGW crowd … Why the hell is it so cold? (Their game is over, they should STFU and move on)

      Happy New Year my Friend!

      G!

      • This next year, both Groundhog Day and the State of the Union address
        occur on the same day. As Air America Radio pointed out, “It is an
        ironic juxtaposition of events; one involves a meaningless ritual in
        which we look to a creature of little intelligence for prognostication
        while the other involves a groundhog.”

      • December 27, 2010
        The Winner of This Year’s ‘Best Climate Predictor’ Award (Clue: It Wasn’t Al Gore!)
        By Howard Richman & Raymond Richman
        Given the terrible beginning of winter in the U.S. and Europe this year, we ought to reward those who accurately predicted it and condemn those who got it wrong. It’s time to choose the winner of this year’s “Best Climate Predictor” award. There are five nominees:

        1. former Vice President Al Gore,
        2. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger,
        3. the IPCC of the United Nations, and
        4. British astrophysicist Piers Corbyn. (You say you’ve never heard of him? You won’t be surprised, once you’ve read his predictions, that the media have ignored him.)

        Gore, Schwarzenegger, and the IPCC made their mark through their dramatic predictions of catastrophic sea level rise due to increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere causing global warming. Gore once predicted that sea levels would rise by twenty feet over the century. Last year, Schwarzenegger unveiled a map showing world sea levels rising by 1.5 meters over the next century. In 2001, the IPCC predicted that sea level would rise by three feet over the next century. Their past predictions and the accurate satellite measurements are shown in the chart below:

        The actual sea level rise over the last eighteen years is 1.85 inches, which works out to 10.4 inches per century. This is similar to the 20th century’s rise of 8 inches, but much less than the average rise of 4 feet per century for the last 10,000 years as glaciers left by the last ice age continue to melt.

        Gore’s prediction is clearly the worst of these three, yet he was awarded a million-dollar Nobel Peace Prize for bringing this issue to the attention of the world. Schwarzenegger’s prediction comes in second-worst, yet he is angling for a global warming spokesman job in the Obama administration. The IPCC’s prediction is third-worst, yet it just won a huge expansion of the U.N. bureaucracy at the Cancun Climate Conference.

        Piers Corbyn is the clear winner, yet he still works out of a drab office that the U.K. Daily Telegraph calls “undistinguished”:

        [T]his is the third tough winter in a row. Is it really true that no one saw this coming?

        Actually, they did. Allow me to introduce readers to Piers Corbyn, meteorologist and brother of my old chum, bearded leftie MP Jeremy. Piers Corbyn works in an undistinguished office in Borough High Street. He has no telescope or supercomputer. Armed only with a laptop, huge quantities of publicly available data and a first-class degree in astrophysics, he gets it right again and again.

        Back in November, when the Met Office was still doing its “mild winter” schtick, Corbyn said it would be the coldest for 100 years. Indeed, it was back in May that he first predicted a snowy December, and he put his own money on a white Christmas about a month before the Met Office made any such forecast. He said that the Met Office would be wrong about last year’s mythical “barbecue summer”, and he was vindicated. He was closer to the truth about last winter, too. […]

        He seems to get it right about 85 per cent of the time and serious business people – notably in farming – are starting to invest in his forecasts. In the eyes of many punters, he puts the taxpayer-funded Met Office to shame. How on earth does he do it? He studies the Sun.

        Corbyn, like many other astrophysicists, has figured out that climate change is mainly due to extraterrestrial forces, including solar activity and cosmic rays, not carbon dioxide. If you still believe in the theory that carbon dioxide causes climate change, click here to watch an excellent lecture by Jasper Kirkby at the Cern, one of Europe’s most highly respected centers for scientific research. Astrophysicists have discovered that changes in the rate of cosmic ray inflow cause climate change and that solar activity shields the earth from cosmic rays.

        http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/12/the_winner_of_this_years_best.html

  55. Interesting information processing “BEWARE”

    The US military have spent billions of dollars perfecting “smart bomb” technology. Effectively, even through clouds, thay can guide a bomb, from miles away, into a building within feet of a bullseye. Technology at it’s deadliest form.

    Just under 10 years ago, someone put a caveman behind the wheel of a jumbo jet, and at around 500 knots equalled this technology by flying said jumbo jet into the Pentagon. A direct bullseye, no less.

    It took years and billions of dollars to create “smart bombs” that accurately hit the intended target, yet one caveman, with no flight experience, can fly a jumbo jet, with “smart bomb” like accuracy, into the side of a building?

    Thoughts to ponder, indeed 🙂

    • Except it was a 757 that hit the Pentagon and the “caveman” flying the plane had a FAA commercial pilot’s certificate. You keep on pondering though 🙂

      • You English sure are gullable! 😆 How’s the weather over there?

        Happy New Year BOB!

        • Well if believing in the most logical solution which is supported by evidence well call me gullible.

          6 degrees C today which is much more enjoyable than the -13 we had a couple of weeks ago.

      • Hey Bob,
        Isn’t interesting how they can ignore information and over-simplify complex situations to draw conclusions that fit into their little narrative?

        How many years, and how many billions of dollars, did it take to create the commercial jet and modern skyscraper, and the infrastructure and technology to support them, so the “caveman” could fly the “jumbo jet” into the side of a “building”?

        The lack of critical thinking is truly amazing!

        • If “critical thinking” is assigned to what the govt. and the MSM tells you, then I’m glad I lack that skill. Were’nt you in lockstep not long ago on the AGW BS? Yes, I believe so. You just keep on following!!

  56. Good Afternoon JAC…8am..77 and cloudy here! Downpours have ruined much beachtime. Will try once more today. Finally got 12 year old sonny boy into some big waves yesterday. He was in his glory! On the must see list of Hawaiian activities for any travel planners is the Polynesian Cultural Center! Plan for an all day event. A botanical garden of sorts with several different villages explaining the cultures of several south Pacific islands..a parade of canoes (pontoon types) complete with dancers representing each island..luau with dancers young and old (got lei’d Kathy!)..ending with an AWESOME show in an amphitheatre titled A Breath of Life. Emphasis on family start to finish. Dancers galore..beating drums..exciting fire baton twirling warriors. Ending in a ‘wedding’ and change of the guard from the chief to his son. SO.MUCH.FUN! Well worth the price. Will be looking for a DVD online.

    But all good things must come to an end. We’ll be airborne at 5pm ending up back home 9am. Now I hope to get snowed in and be able to stay here!

  57. Cute song I heard this weekend. I would like to dedicate this to Matt, who planed to use my gift to him for target practice.

    • And a GoodDay to all.

      Kathy, “an afternoon of cross-country skiing”. I would be aching in places I didn’t know I had! Isn’t that why they invented snowmobiles?

      Anita, glad Obama didn’t spoil your vacation. Hope your TSA groper is cute.

      G!, Just found Bambi’s hideout, yesterday. Brought down a 7 point, to my brother-in-laws button. Gun season is ending, but have a couple months of archery left.

      JAC, Our snow was a light dusting, gone when it touched ground. Rain & 40-50’s this week.

      And again, we realize, we don’t have enough toy storage space. It would seem like something I could figure out…..

      • LOI.. HINT!.. The toy storage problem gets solved BEFORE Christmas.. Out with the old so there’s room for the new!

        Time to look forward to the BIG KIDS weekend this weekend 🙂

        • We work on the toys every year after Thanksgiving. Either they don’t give away enough, or some somebody’s keep giving them too damn many toys.

          “Time to look forward to the BIG KIDS weekend”

          Can’t wait to showoff that tan, can you?LOL Tell us all about your tanlines?(they do have nude beaches, don’t they?)

          My newyear weekend will be same as any other, me chasing a boy, chasing a dog, chasing a cat, and my wife telling me to watch where I’m going. (the circle of life)(of illusion)
          Good times. May make a video someday.

          • Not enough tan to show off The sun just didnt cooperate on the right days. 👿 Did get some color but I have tank top lines. And if there are nude beaches I didnt seek them out. Off to the base beach now for one last frolic in the Pacific, then homeward bound!

  58. Judy Sabatini says:

    Hi Everybody

    Hope all had a good Christmas & all is looking forward to a good New Year. Hope everybody is doing well.

    Take Care

  59. I’m wondering how our (yearning for) SoCal boy is doing in his snowy NYC digs?

  60. If there’s anyone around this should start a conversation 🙂 Have a great New Year!

    The Founders Were No Libertarians
    December 27th, 2010 at 6:57 pm John Vecchione | 26 Comments |
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    Christopher Beam has written a thought provoking, well-argued piece in a mainstream liberal magazine on libertarians. Libertarians, as he notes, get a lot of flack from a lot of people. But as a liberal critic of libertarianism he makes a certain mistake that bothers me when libertarians use it and that is equally wrong coming from him. The Founders were not libertarians. They were constitutionalists.

    Beam writes that the libertarians have not been so strong since the early days of the Republic. He states “The Constitution was a libertarian document that limited the role of the state to society’s most basic needs, like a legislature to pass laws, a court system to interpret them, and a military to protect them.” This is not true. It limited the federal government to certain roles but not “the state.” He does note that John Adams and Alexander Hamilton were not libertarians but John Marshall is ignored, and even the other Virginians do not meet the test.

    In fact, this assertion confuses constitutionalists with libertarians. George Washington belonged to the Established Church (Episcopalian) of the State of Virginia; he also was the chief vindicator of national power in the new republic. Thomas Jefferson determined to wage war by simply denying foreigners the right to trade with the U.S. So did Madison. What libertarian has ever thought the government could cut off trade between free individuals? Further, Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine supported the French Revolution. That revolution denied there was anything the state could not do in the name of the people. Jefferson never repudiated his support for that tyranny and Thomas Paine was only slightly more dismissive even after it nearly killed him. Of all the Founders, Patrick Henry is closest to the libertarian beau ideal. He was against the king, against the Constitution and against the French Revolution all of which he saw as an assault on traditional liberties. But for all of the Virginians, I leave aside the issue of slavery entirely. Similarly, libertarians have only a vague relationship to the “second founding” of the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments. On the plus side, by their lights, it got rid of slavery; on the negative side it gave the federal government the power to enforce such elimination and concomitant political and social rights.

    The Founders believed in carefully delineated federal powers either broad (Hamilton) or limited (Jefferson, sometimes) but all believed in a more powerful state than libertarians purport to believe in. If ever there was a libertarian document it was the Articles of Confederation. There was no national power. The federal government could not tax. Its laws were not supreme over state laws. It was in fact, the hot mess that critics of libertarians believe their dream state would be… and it was recognized as such by the majority of the country and was why the Constitution was ratified. The Articles of Confederation is the true libertarian founding document and this explains the failure of libertarianism.

    Libertarianism, either ancient or modern, flounders on its ability to deal with families or foreigners. Libertarian solutions are often the right answer to many economic and social questions but the philosophy has proven again and again it cannot deal with tyrants, teenagers or two-year olds. What is the libertarian approach to broken homes, and to attaching children to their fathers in general? To the education of children to promote a libertarian society? How do libertarians deal with bad actors abroad? Apparently by letting them have their way until they attack the United States directly, and not even then, (as we see by libertarian opposition to the Afghan war). Modern wars have sometimes required a draft. Libertarians balk at this. Thus libertarian government always stands vulnerable to foreign conquest and the loss of rights and autonomy that entails.

    Libertarianism appears to be like arsenic, a stimulant in small doses but deadly poison when taken in large doses. For this reason, as a broad based political movement, libertarianism will always end up rolling Mr. Beam’s twelve-sided die in its mom’s basement because it fails when the family or the state are under threat.

    http://www.frumforum.com/the-founders-were-no-libertarians

    • Interesting article V.
      The first half is pretty accurate. The Founders were, indeed, Constitutionalists, not Libertarians. There are several things that many libertarians, including myself, find wrong with or missing from the US Constitution. Powers were not clearly separated enough, and too much power was granted the Federal Government, etc. That so much power was left to the States is also an issue, but not nearly as great an issue, albeit it could become one if the states collaborated on certain things such that freedoms were still taken without the ability to move within the country to seek greater freedom.

      As far as failing with Tyrants and Two-year-olds, I think that is open for discussion. The statement has great alliteration and makes a good point, but libertarians are not so opposed to a government that we allow tyranny in our nation, nor so sold on individuality that we fail to recognize differences in children and adults. I am not sure what libertarians the author was talking to (I know of many that would, indeed, have a hard time answering the questions he posed), but they were not rational ones, but rather idealists who fail to account for reality within their philosophy.

      Still, perhaps much libertarian thought is too idealistic, and thus, comes off as the arsenic he describes. That is where the philosophy must evolve. By the same token, some arguments I find a bit off. For instance, some of our wars have, indeed, required a draft. None of those wars involved protecting us from invasion. I do not think we would have a shortage of soldiers in such an instance. As for stopping tyranny elsewhere, I think our involvement should be voluntary, both monetarily and in terms of personnel. Would that have won WWII? I do not know, possibly not. Would we all be speaking German had we failed? I do not know, but probably not. There were a lot of factors in Hitler’s failure, the US’s involvement is not necessarily the biggest one. And as to education, I think one would find a libertarian society was quite well promoted in private education. We do not require indoctrination to succeed in future generations.

      • It is an interesting article, with some questions that cannot be answered today. How libertarians would handle immigration does not apply to our entitlement society. I still think it is not possible for the US to function as a libertarian society, until most of the world evolves to a higher level. We are held back by the Iran’s & N. Korea’s in the world.

        • I dont think a libertarian society would have any trouble with an Iran or a N. Korea. Libertarians don’t have a problem squashing enemies. BF’s society is without a military at all, other than one put together by the population. The average libertarian still wants a federal government and recognizes the need for national defense, etc. That said, a number of things would have to change within our own country, especially the entitlement mentality and the dependency. I think we are mostly held back by ourselves. If we started now, however, we might have developed the right mindset by the time we reached the goal of a libertarian society. Especially since libertarians will not wield too much power just to reach that goal, thus the process would be slow and organic.

          • “The average libertarian still wants a federal government and recognizes the need for national defense, etc.”

            That only comes with said government allowed some source of revenue, meaning taxes. Without a military, as Flag suggests, what free individual would build & maintain missiles, tanks, etc. to counter the Iran & N. Korea’s?

            I think the US would become more prosperous if we moved closer to a libertarian society, but we seem to be a minority, especially in the media and political arena.

            • I have no problem with a tax, providing it is equal, the services rendered for the monies are equitable, and there is a way out of it. In my vision of government it would be the ability to renounce citizenship, but you would also lose voting rights and any collective discounts for use of government services. You could also not have citizenship and still pay into the system for those services that you wanted. There is a way to do this stuff.

              We are a minority in the media and political arenas, as well as the education system and several other influential areas, but we are only a minority elsewhere due to lack of awareness. As the article V referred to mentions, most people are fiscally conservative and socially liberal, which is essentially libertarian.

              • This all sounds reasonable Jon but unfortunately this isn’t the picture of a libertarian that is being presented to the country. Look at Rand Paul-first thing they did was call him on civil rights. I get, standing on principals but I think most people know that any return to a freer system is going to take steps-somehow libertarians need to figure out away to present themselves as realist, so that people cannot marginalize them based on beginning principals.

              • I wholeheartedly agree. Libertarians have their work cut out for them. They need to get their heads on straight in their thinking to have any hope of a realistic idea, and they have to be VERY careful with their presentation since things like civil rights and drugs get pushed out front by any opposition because those are areas that they can make hay with, since the libertarian position is not mainstream, or at least, it is not PC.

            • LOI,

              Congrats on the 7 point!

              I’m more with Bf on the free market issue, only because I don’t think the industrial revolution could have occured with today’s govt. controls. I also believe that the govt. is the reason for our current economic problems. It will crash at some point, then we have a chance, maybe, to get it right.

              • G!,

                Thanks, it’s been a frustrating hunting season. My normal area has
                zero activity. My father-in-law had mercy and set me up. Would have been his in another 20 seconds.

                I’m with you guys on free market, just think we HAVE to have a some government, military and an agency to handle funding. Everything else could be handled by private business. In the right society, the military could even be private, but not in today’s America.

      • Did you click on the link to the article he was talking about? It was pretty good-sounded like discussions we have had on here? You should read it-I found it interesting-noted many different types of libertarians-noted the fact that a libertarian is in agreement with both the dem. and the repub. just in different areas.

        • Also, pointed out that many people are closer to libertarian beliefs- they just don’t know it. I’m finding that to be true.

          • It was a good article, and it pointed out the greatest weakness of the libertarian movement: Idealism. Too much focus on the goal and not the path. On the flip side, there was too much of an attitude that if everything is not fixed by a philosophy, then that philosophy fails. That is a problem, since no philosophy will “fix” everything or create a utopia, or perfect world. Some will be poor and if there is not enough charity, then it sucks to be them. Is that harsh? Of course. Does it beat the alternative where people can simply fall back and therefore they always will? Yes it does.

            It is a thought provoking piece tho, and it shows that I have a long way to go in getting the political party I support to start behaving properly and thinking rightly. Still an easier task than righting the thinking and actions of the R’s or D’s tho…

            • I think this statement was a biggy-and hard to argue against- “If ever there was a libertarian document it was the Articles of Confederation. There was no national power. The federal government could not tax. Its laws were not supreme over state laws. It was in fact, the hot mess that critics of libertarians believe their dream state would be… and it was recognized as such by the majority of the country and was why the Constitution was ratified. The Articles of Confederation is the true libertarian founding document and this explains the failure of libertarianism.” What say you?

              • I say,

                …hard to tell, since the consequences of the Constiution really didn’t appear fully realized until Lincoln and the War between the States – almost 100 years later.

                We didn’t have a 100 years of the AoC to see if it had some systemic flaw to be realized.

                But -at its wording- it definitely pushed more power to the States then the Feds-a diffusion of power, which to all Black Flags, is far more preferred then concentration of power.

              • The Articles had other issues. I do not know that its failure to be ratified can be placed solely on its libertarian leanings. There were issues with state representation (an issue that was solved by the two houses, one based on population, one not). There were issues not addressed, including, most importantly, the issue of individual rights (addressed with the bill of rights so that no state could pass laws that restricted things like free speech).

                Even if it could be argued that the libertarian nature was the primary reason for the Articles’ failure to get ratification, that does not condemn libertarian thought. The fact that something so free as the Constitution itself was ratified is noteworthy since it was so far removed from anything most people had ever seen. So popular support, even from learned men, is not a litmus test I subscribe to.

                Still, many libertarians’ concepts of government are scarcely as well thought out as the Articles, meaning they leave much to be desired and many issues and questions unanswered. A fair critique I would say.

              • V, if you are asking if the principles of the AoC would have worked, I think they could have, had the document had the thought and addressed the issues that the Constitution did. I do not see it as a “hot mess” per se, just that it did not address a vast range of potential issues.

          • Jon-I realize that you answered this question based on reality but not so much based on beginning principals-just thought I needed to clarify what I was asking. 🙂

    • Sounds about right-freedom of speech is the main thing that protects freedom of religion-so if what you really want to do is destroy religion take away freedom of speech

  61. A man was leaving a convenience store with his morning coffee when he noticed a most unusual funeral procession approaching the nearby cemetery.

    A long black hearse was followed by a second long black hearse about 50 feet behind the first one.

    Behind the second hearse was a solitary man walking a big dog on a leash

    Behind him, a short distance back, were about 350 men walking in a single file.

    The man couldn’t stand the curiosity.

    He respectfully approached the man walking the dog and said, “I am so sorry for your loss, and this may be a bad time to disturb you, but I’ve never seen a funeral like this. “Whose funeral is it?”

    “My wife’s.”

    ”What happened to her?”

    The man replied, “My dog attacked and killed her.”

    He inquired further, “But who is in the second hearse?”

    The man answered, “My mother-in-law. She was trying to help my wife when the dog turned on her.”

    A very poignant and touching moment, of brotherhood and silence, passed between the two men.

    “Can I borrow the dog?”
    The man replied, ……………….. “Get in line.”

    • Oh, Brain Picture !!!! A little to horrified here to laugh. 🙂

    • Weathering Relationships

      I’ve just heard from a friend in North Dakota .
      He says it has been snowing heavily for three days now.**

      His wife has done nothing but stare through the window.

      If it doesn’t stop soon he’ll probably have to let her in.**

      • What the hell?

        • And one for you!

          The World’s Largest Army. America’s Hunters?

          The state of Wisconsin has gone an entire deer hunting season without someone getting killed. That’s great. There were over 600,000 hunters. Allow me to restate that number. Over the last two months, the eighth largest army in the world – more men under arms than Iran ; more than France and Germany combined – deployed to the woods of a single American state to help keep the deer menace at bay. But that pales in comparison to the 750,000 who are in the woods of Pennsylvania this week. Michigan ‘s 700,000 hunters have now returned home. Toss in a quarter million hunters in West Virginia , and it is literally the case that the hunters of those four states alone would comprise the largest army in the world. America will forever be safe from foreign invasion of troops with that kind of home-grown firepower.

          Hunting – it’s not just a way to fill the freezer. It’s a matter of national security!

          NOW YOU KNOW WHY THE LIBERAL ANTI-GUN GROUPS WANT TO TAKE OUR GUNS AWAY!! THEY ARE SCARED OF US!!

  62. John

    BF’s society is without a military at all, other than one put together by the population

    Ye has invoked the Name-that-must-not-be-said, and here I am! 🙂

    Yes, because it wins wars. One needs only to look upon Iraq and Afghanistan.

    In history, the standard account is the victor’s account: George Washington the victor.

    But that was because George of the bad teeth won the big battle, a non-military battle, the battle of words the battle of 1787-88: ratification of the Constitution.

    Had the anti-Federalists won, we would not have the standard story in the textbooks.

    Washington was a mediocre general.

    He had only three victories, Trenton (sneak attack), Princeton a few days later (a skirmish), and Yorktown, which was possible only because the French fleet kept the British fleet from assisting Cornwallis.

    If the war had been fought by Washington and the regular army only, the rebels would have lost it.

    The war was won by the militias.

    The militias did not deal in direct shoot-outs between massed formations. They shot the Redcoats down from a distance. It was hit-and run-warfare. It tied the Redcoats down in coastal cities. They dared not come inland.

    The expert historian here is William Marina. Here are an essay by him.

    http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=1495

    The hostility to the militia began with Washington.

    This hostility continued through the nineteenth century at West Point: regular army, tied to the Federal government and funded by it.

    It dominated American Revolution historiography in the 20th century, because the militias were under ideological assault.

    The militias were nationalized by the National Guard by the lawyer who is regarded by us conspiracy types as the very first “chairman of the establishment,” Elihu Root. (Stimson was second. McCloy was third.)

    The year 1898 marked the quiet revolution of the United States from a republic to an empire.

    It continued under Teddy Roosevelt.

    As part of that transition, Root oversaw the destruction of the state militias. This is a long-ignored piece of American history. Were it not for the Web, it would hard to trace it. Here is what happened.

    Secretary of War Elihu Root concluded that the Militia Act of 1792 had to be replaced.

    Root understood that such a reform would require building support in both Congress and the National Guard. He conferred frequently with key congressional leaders, most notably Congressman Charles Dick, chairman of the House Militia Affairs Committee and a long-time Ohio National Guard officer who had served in Cuba during the War with Spain.

    Since 1882 some National Guardsmen had been lobbying for Congress to repeal the Militia Act of 1792, officially designate the Guard as the Army’s reserve force, and greatly increase the federal government’s support of state units with funds, equipment, and supplies.

    These efforts continued after the war with Spain, and Root allied himself with these officers. When Root created a board of officers to study how to reform the Army, he included on it a Guard officer, and the board allowed prominent Guard officers to contribute to its deliberations on militia matters.

    Because of this preparation, Root’s proposals for reforming the National Guard passed through Congress with little opposition.

    The Militia Act of 1903–together with its 1908 amendment–was, in the words of a leading historian of the National Guard, “the most important national legislation in militia history.”

    The act, also known as the Dick Act in honor of Dick, repealed the Militia Act of 1792 and divided the militia into two groups: the Reserve Militia, defined as all able-bodied men between 18 and 45, and the Organized Militia, defined as state units receiving federal support.

    There was a one-time grant of $2 million to modernize equipment, and states could now use federal funds to pay for summer training camps.

    The War Department would now fund the attendance of Guard officers at Army schools, and Regular officers would be detailed to serve as inspector-instructors with Guard units.

    There would be joint Regular-Guard maneuvers and training camps. In return for all this, the act gave the President the power to call the Organized Militia–that is, the National Guard–into federal service for up to nine months’ service to repel invasion, suppress rebellion, or enforce federal laws, but not for service outside the United States.

    Guardsmen had to answer a presidential call or face court-martial, and states had to organize, equip, and train their units in accordance with the organization, standards, and procedures of the Regular Army.

    Finally, if Guard units failed to meet certain standards of training and administration as set by the War Department, they would lose their federal support.

    “en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Root_Reforms_and_the_National_Guard”

    From that time onward, the role of the militias — weapons and tactics — has been ignored whenever possible and dismissed as militarily hopeless whenever it could not be ignored.

    Sadly, this tradition continues.

    The victors write the textbooks.

    Mel Gibson had it right in The Patriot. It was men who fought as he did, not the regular army, who gave the victory to the rebels.

    In any case, the equality of weaponry was true in the 18th century. But the Redcoats’ army outnumbered Washington’s regular forces on the ground, which is why he won so few battles.

    Saratoga was the big exception, due to the incompetence of Gentleman Johnny Burgoyne, who did not understand how to read a map. “Trees! Where did all these trees come from?”

    It is not easy to get carriages, wives, cooks, and place settings through a New York forest.

    Saratoga was not Washington’s victory. He was not there. It was Daniel Morgan’s victory.

    For days, his riflemen picked off the officers, one by one. By the standards of the day, this was considered unsportsmanlike.

    Tough brussels sprouts, Johnny.

    The American forces at Saratoga were filled with newly arrived militia men. That victory got the French into the war in 1777. That was what won the war at Yorktown in 1781: the French fleet.

    If the rebels had not had rifles and state militias, they would have lost the war.

    We are now reverting to the wars of regulars vs. guerrillas. The latter will win.

    When the war is digital, a lot more people will be willing to sign up for the militias of our day.

    Someday, there will be a different historiography of the American Revolution.

    • Indeed, I did invoke thee. 😀

      I do not deny your historical evidence. I do, however, have a couple of questions:

      1) Would we be doing so badly in Afghanistan if we were willing to be mean? In other words, it is our restraint, not their guerilla tactics, that has the war being prolonged so much. Is our restraint due to fear of retribution by Islamic states or is it just that we are not mean enough? I think it may be a mix of both, but I do not think, were we mean enough, that we would fear the whole of the Islamic world. That may be foolish, but if we were truly imperialistic and bent on domination, I think we would be able to. Still, the point stands that we have nto the stomach for such warfare, and perhaps none really do.

      2) Guerilla tactics notwithstanding, where would we be without the French fleet, and the distraction of the European wars in general? If we were dependent on another country’s military in addition to our militia, is it really accurate to point at the militia as the winner, and to say that a military is not needed?

      • Jon,

        1) Would we be doing so badly in Afghanistan if we were willing to be mean?

        Fair point.

        The only successful examples of victory over insurgents are those where the hegemony demonstrates to a significant degree that they are willing to commit genocide and exterminate a large segment of the population.

        Americans in Philippines
        Romans almost everywhere
        Genghis Khan almost everywhere, etc.

        But even then, it is unsustainable – all it really does is drive the insurgency into stasis – which will wait until the hegemony demonstrates a weak point, and then the insurgency assaults it again.

        It really never stops until the insurgents win.

        2) Guerilla tactics notwithstanding, where would we be without the French fleet, and the distraction of the European wars in general?

        The British, at that time, would have been appalled at any suggestion of genocide of their American brothers and sisters.

        We shared the same language, skin color and culture – it really was a “family” dispute, and not a essential threat to either existence.

        If we were dependent on another country’s military in addition to our militia, is it really accurate to point at the militia as the winner, and to say that a military is not needed?

        The French merely subtracted roughly 10 years of struggle. The British would not be able -politically, morally or militarily – to subdue their own kin from their own destiny.

        Either the British would have relented on the issues of complaint – which would have essentially granted independence de jure (as per Canada) or the Americans would have eventually won -at a minimum- de facto independence due to weariness of the war.

        My opinion, of course.

      • If this chart means anything, we are doing poorly in Afghanistan.

        http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2010/12/graph_for_the_day_for_december_5.html

    • A Puritan Descendant says:

      For anyone who cares about such things >

      A quick search of secondary sources shows the above Elihu Root as a descendant of John Root and Mary Kilbourne of Eng and Conn (1600’s).

      The line includes surnames, Ashley, Spencer, and Leonard, (ancestors of mine and probably half of the rest of us) from Conn. and western Massachusetts.

  63. Pilot Punished for Video Critical of Airport Security Comes Forward, Won’t Back Down

    Published December 28, 2010

    | FoxNews

    The California airline pilot punished by the Transportation Security Administration for posting videos critical of airport security has revealed his identity.

    Chris Liu, who calls himself the “Patriot Pilot,” says he was just trying to improve airport security when he released a recorded and posted online footage of San Francisco International Airport in which he criticized a number of procedures.

    Liu had been part of a federal security program allowing him to carry a gun in the cockpit. But after he posted the video, federal agents showed up at his house Dec. 2 to confiscate his weapon and suspend his Federal Flight Deck Officer credentials.

    Liu originally declined to identify himself in fear of retaliation but says he’s now going public in hopes of changing major security flaws.

    One of those flaws, Liu says in the video, is that flight crews are subject to rigorous screening while ground crews can just swipe a card to open the door to the tarmac.

    ‘Whistleblower’ Pilot Exposes Security Lapses

    Pilot exposes security flaws

    “I just wanted to show the disparity because they added another level of screening upstairs and downstairs they were just using the card swipe,” Liu told Fox News.

    The airport said in a statement that the video presents “false and misleading information.”

    “The video shows a door with a card swipe and suggests that access is gained to the airfield area through this door. In fact, the door shown in the video provides access only to an employee lunchroom,” the statement read.

    Liu and his attorney, Don Werno, would not confirm or deny that the door shown in the video lead to a lunchroom but said that’s not the issue.

    “The issue is that there are thousands of doors in airports around the United States that are unsecured and that the ground crew can bypass security to get to the tarmac,” Liu’s attorney Don Werno told Fox News.

    The TSA said in a statement that it is “confident” in its airport security measures, adding that all pilots who are part of the program authorizing them to carry a weapon are expected to keep “sensitive security information” as a condition of their participation.

    Liu has since resigned from his volunteer position as a Federal Flight Deck Officer to avoid an investigation.

    He remains employed by the airline which has not yet been identified.

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/12/28/pilot-punished-video-critical-airport-security-comes-forward-wont/#ixzz19S0CrKXx

  64. GAO Disclaims Opinion on Uncle Sam’s Financials For the 14th Straight Year; Press Ignores

    The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) cannot render an opinion on the 2010 consolidated financial statements of the federal government, because of widespread material internal control weaknesses, significant uncertainties, and other limitations.

    “Even though significant progress has been made since the enactment of key financial management reforms in the 1990s, our report on the U.S. government’s consolidated financial statement illustrates that much work remains to be done to improve federal financial management. Shortcomings in three areas again prevented us from expressing an opinion on the accrual-based financial statements,” said Gene Dodaro, Acting Comptroller General of the United States.

    The main obstacles to a GAO opinion were: (1) serious financial management problems at the Department of Defense (DOD) that made its financial statements unauditable, (2) the federal government’s inability to adequately account for and reconcile intragovernmental activity and balances between federal agencies, and (3) the federal government’s ineffective process for preparing the consolidated financial statements.

    Accounting Today notes that this is the fourteenth consecutive year that GAO has had to disclaim an opinion, obviously crossing both Democratic and Republican administrations.

    The element of shame appears not to be a factor. That’s at least partly because the establishment press really doesn’t care.

    Read more: http://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/tom-blumer/2010/12/28/annual-yawn-gao-disclaims-opinion-uncle-sams-financials-14th-straight-ye#ixzz19VZMDoLZ

    • Is anyone really surprised? Government is too big, everything is wayyy to complicated or maybe those in power just don’t want us to know. Or maybe it’s both. Either way-we are paying people to do a job which they either can’t or aren’t allowed to do.

  65. Terrain Shifts in Challenges to the Health Care Law
    By KEVIN SACK
    Published: December 28, 2010

    The legal challenge to the Obama health care act has invigorated a dispute as old as the Constitution about the framers’ most nettlesome grant of power, which gives Congress treacherously broad authority to pass laws “necessary and proper” to carrying out its assigned responsibilities.

    The cases, which are presumed to be headed to the Supreme Court, center on whether Congress’s power to regulate interstate commerce is so expansive that it can require citizens to buy health insurance. But as the litigation advances, the “necessary and proper” clause is taking on greater prominence in briefs and oral arguments, with the Obama administration asserting that it shelters the insurance mandate and state officials arguing that it buries it.

    Because the facts are novel — the courts have never addressed whether Americans can be penalized for not buying something — each side has managed to glean what it wants from the Supreme Court’s most recent guidance.

    A spirited debate broke out in legal blogs this month after Judge Henry E. Hudson of Federal District Court in Richmond, Va., invalidated the insurance requirement in part by rejecting the administration’s necessary-and-proper defense. As that case and others move into the appellate courts, scholars are submitting friend-of-the-court briefs that focus on the meaning of necessary and proper.

    Some forecast that by the time it gets to the Supreme Court, a case that seemed to be about the commerce clause may be fought largely on necessary-and-proper grounds.

    “I think it’s going to be crucial,” said Randy E. Barnett, a Georgetown law professor who recently filed a brief, in the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, that assails the insurance mandate with a necessary-and-proper argument. “The necessary-and-proper clause is always lurking in these commerce clause cases.”

    The necessary-and-proper clause sits at the end of Article I, Section 8, after 17 paragraphs that enumerate the powers delegated to Congress, ranging from the establishment of post offices to the declaration of war. It conveys authority “to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers.”

    The clause’s potential to concentrate power in the national government — it became known as the “sweeping power” — caused consternation among anti-federalists during ratification. And the Supreme Court has struggled since to define its limits, in decisions from McCulloch v. Maryland in 1819 to United States v. Comstock last May.

    The next refinement could well come when the Supreme Court considers the health care law, probably two years down the road. Three Federal District Court judges thus far have ruled on the merits of the case, with two upholding the insurance mandate and Judge Hudson invalidating it (but not blocking it pending appeal). A fourth judge is expected to rule next year.

    The Justice Department, which represents the Obama administration, argues that the insurance requirement is constitutional under the commerce clause and allowed under the necessary-and-proper clause as a rational means to an appropriate end. It points to a series of Supreme Court precedents that interpret those provisions as allowing the regulation of “activities that substantially affect interstate commerce.”

    The act of not obtaining health insurance, the federal government’s lawyers contend, is effectively a decision to pay later rather than up front in a market that consumers cannot avoid. Such decisions, they say, have a substantial impact on the market because many of the uninsured cannot afford their care and shift costs to governments, hospitals and the privately insured.

    Furthermore, the lawyers argue, the insurance mandate is essential — both necessary and proper — to making other changes work, particularly prohibitions on discrimination by insurers against those with pre-existing medical conditions.

    “We’re not talking about downstream effects,” Ian H. Gershengorn, a Justice Department lawyer, told Judge Hudson at an October hearing. “We’re talking about the very thing that enforces insurance companies to comply with the regulations.”

    The judge, however, agreed with Virginia’s attorney general that the necessary-and-proper clause could not prop up an otherwise unconstitutional provision. Virginia argued, and the judge agreed, that the insurance requirement, by regulating inactivity rather than activity, exceeds the limits of the commerce clause.

    “The necessary-and-proper clause does not provide a safe sanctuary,” Judge Hudson wrote, because it “may only be constitutionally deployed when tethered to a lawful exercise of an enumerated power.”

    That prompted online rebuttals from a number of legal scholars who argued that Judge Hudson’s misreading would render the necessary-and-proper clause meaningless.

    “It reads the necessary-and-proper power out of the Constitution,” Andrew Koppelman, a Northwestern University law professor, wrote on the legal blog Balkinization, “because it won’t allow it to add anything to the enumerated powers.”

    The Supreme Court’s seminal instruction came from Chief Justice John Marshall in McCulloch v. Maryland, which upheld Congress’s right to incorporate a national bank. While the court found that the necessary-and-proper clause granted Congress broad authority, Marshall set outer limits by writing, “Let the end be legitimate, let it be within the scope of the Constitution, and all means which are appropriate, which are plainly adapted to that end, which are not prohibited, but consistent with the letter and spirit of the Constitution, are constitutional.”

    The Supreme Court, under Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., affirmed the scope of Congress’s authority 191 years later in the Comstock case, which upheld the federal government’s ability to detain sexual predators beyond their prison release dates. Writing for the court, Justice Stephen G. Breyer pointed out that the Constitution did not explicitly grant Congress the power to criminalize conduct or imprison offenders, but that the necessary-and-proper clause made each possible.

    The court laid out five “considerations” to help determine whether a statute was in fact necessary and proper. Lawyers in the health care cases differ over whether those considerations constitute a test, and if so whether the insurance requirement would pass.

    Each side has also found encouragement in Justice Antonin Scalia’s concurring opinion in the last significant commerce clause case. In Gonzales v. Raich in 2005, the majority found that the clause allowed the government to prosecute the possession of medical marijuana. Justice Scalia, while agreeing, wrote that the case should have hung on the necessary-and-proper clause.

    Congress can regulate “even noneconomic local activity if that regulation is a necessary part of a more general regulation of interstate commerce,” he wrote.

    That might provide solace to the administration, except that Justice Scalia used the words “activity” or “activities” 42 times in his ruling. The court has never been asked whether inactivity should receive the same blessing.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/29/health/policy/29legal.html?_r=1&ref=politics

  66. White House Plans to Push Global Warming Policy, GOP Vows Fight

    By Kimberly Schwandt

    Published December 28, 2010

    Dec. 15: the Fayette Power Project is shown in Ellinger, Texas. On Jan. 2, new carbon emissions limits will be put forward as the Environmental Protection Agency prepares regulations that would force companies to get permits to release greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.

    AP

    Dec. 15: the Fayette Power Project is shown in Ellinger, Texas. On Jan. 2, new carbon emissions limits will be put forward as the Environmental Protection Agency prepares regulations that would force companies to get permits to release greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.

    HONOLULU, Hawaii — After failing to get climate-change legislation through Congress, the Obama administration plans on pushing through its environmental policies through other means, and Republicans are ready to put up a fight.

    On Jan. 2, new carbon emissions limits will be put forward as the Environmental Protection Agency prepares regulations that would force companies to get permits to release greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.

    Critics say the new rules are a backdoor effort to enact the president’s agenda on global warming without the support of Congress, and would hurt the economy and put jobs in jeopardy by forcing companies to pay for expensive new equipment.

    “They are job killers. Regulations, period — any kind of regulation is a weight on economy. It requires people to comply with the law, which takes work hours and time, which reduces the profitability of firms. Therefore, they grow more slowly and you create less jobs,” said environmental scientist Ken Green of the conservative American Enterprise Institute.

    Dan Howells of Greenpeace disagrees.

    “I was looking at some advertisements from the 1970s where they were making the very same arguments about stopping acid rain. And that didn’t turn out to be a job-killer. In fact, it created jobs in some places,” said Howells, the environmental group’s deputy campaign director. “The more we keep making these decades-old arguments, the more we won’t be creating the jobs of the future and working towards the new energy economy.”

    The administration says it has the power to issue the regulation under a 2007 Supreme Court ruling that directed the agency to make a determination on whether carbon dioxide, blamed for global warming, was a hazard to human health.

    Rep Fred Upton, R-Mich., the incoming House Energy Committee Chairman, penned an op-ed in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal along with Americans for Prosperity president Ted Phillips, and charged that Congress should act.

    “The best solution is for Congress to overturn the EPA’s proposed greenhouse gas regulations outright. If Democrats refuse to join Republicans in doing so, then they should at least join a sensible bipartisan compromise to mandate that the EPA delay its regulations until the courts complete their examination of the agency’s endangerment finding and proposed rules,” the op-ed read in part.

    With Republicans taking control in the House, the GOP will be in a better position to take on some of these policies, and members are promising a fight if the Obama White House moves forward with any carbon crackdown. There was bipartisan support for a bill proposed this year that would have stripped the EPA of the power to set carbon emissions limits. GOP lawmakers could bring the measure back.

    The White House seems prepared for a fight.

    The administration recently circulated a memo from the Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy John Holdren to the heads of all federal departments and agencies calling for “a clear prohibition on political interference in scientific processes and expanded assurances of transparency.”

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/12/28/white-house-plans-push-global-warming-policy-gop-vows-fight/

    Most people seem to realize the dangers in a religious theocracy but the dangers of a scientific theocracy -seems to escape them. 😦

    • VH,

      No worries. Remember, Obama has stated jobs and the economy are his #1 priority, so I’m sure he has some plan. I wonder how many EPA inspectors will need to be added?

      http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/12/28/business/main7191280.shtml?tag=stack

      Where are the Jobs? For Many Companies, Overseas
      Economic Policy Institute Says 1.4M Jobs Created Overseas by U.S. Companies, Compared to 1M Domestically

      * More than half of the 15,000 people Caterpillar Inc. hired this year were outside the U.S.

      More than half of the 15,000 people Caterpillar Inc. hired this year

      (AP) Corporate profits are up. Stock prices are up. So why isn’t anyone hiring?

      Actually, many American companies are just maybe not in your town. They’re hiring overseas, where sales are surging and the pipeline of orders is fat.

      More than half of the 15,000 people that Caterpillar Inc. has hired this year were outside the U.S. UPS is also hiring at a faster clip overseas. For both companies, sales in international markets are growing at least twice as fast as domestically.

      The trend helps explain why unemployment remains high in the United States, edging up to 9.8 percent last month, even though companies are performing well: All but 4 percent of the top 500 U.S. corporations reported profits this year, and the stock market is close to its highest point since the 2008 financial meltdown.

      But the jobs are going elsewhere. The Economic Policy Institute, a Washington think tank, says American companies have created 1.4 million jobs overseas this year, compared with less than 1 million in the U.S. The additional 1.4 million jobs would have lowered the U.S. unemployment rate to 8.9 percent, says Robert Scott, the institute’s senior international economist.

      “There’s a huge difference between what is good for American companies versus what is good for the American economy,” says Scott.

      American jobs have been moving overseas for more than two decades. In recent years, though, those jobs have become more sophisticated think semiconductors and software, not toys and clothes.

  67. No word yet from our New Yorker? Perhaps still shovelling out? Looks like the “good” Mayor is taking some heat from his sheep who can’t believe their government isn’t meeting their needs.

    This column is humorous! Salt, check. Sugar, check. Snow? not so much…..

    http://michellemalkin.com/2010/12/28/mayor-bloombergs-spanish-snow-address/

    • I was hunting this morning (in Pa) and thought I heard Mathius cussing at a snow shovel and yelling at his car for getting stuck. Oh MY! He just cussed out Al Gore!

      On a different note, the entitlement mentallity and how it works:

      I was speaking to an emergency room physician this morning. He told me that
      a woman in her 20’s came to the ER with her 8th pregnancy. She stated “my momma

      told me that I am the breadwinner for the family.”

      He asked her to explain.

      She said that she can make babies and babies and get money for the family.

      The scam goes like this: The grandma calls the Department of Child and
      Family Services and states that the unemployed daughter is not capable of
      caring for these children.

      DCFS agrees and states that the child or children will need to go to
      foster care.

      The grandma then volunteers to be the foster parent, and thus receives a
      check for $1500 per child per month in Illinois . Total yearly income:
      $144,000 tax-free, not to mention free healthcare (Medicaid) plus a
      monthly “Linx” card entitling her to free groceries, etc, and a voucher for
      250 free cell phone minutes per month. This does not even include WIC
      and other welfare programs.

      Indeed, grandma was correct in that her fertile daughter is the
      “breadwinner” in the family.

      I hope you share this story with your contacts so they know how the ruling
      class spends our tax dollars.

      Cheers,
      Sebastian J. Ciancio, M.D. Urologist, Danville Polyclinic, LTD.
      >

    • Hopefully this wasn’t his truck!

  68. Violating its own guarantee of unprecedented transparency, the White House is blocking an investigation into the controversial firing of an inspector general who exposed one of President Obama’s political supporters-a California mayor-for misusing federal funds.

    First Lady Michelle Obama was reportedly behind the contentious June dismissal of AmeriCorps Inspector General Gerald Walpin and congressional investigators want to interview the aide (Jackie Norris) who may have given the order.

    Read more: http://nation.foxnews.com/gerald-walpin/2010/12/29/obama-blocks-probe-fired-ig#ixzz19WcJM6tU

    • This was the Kevin Johnson situation, right? Well, we know how BO likes professional athletes, even put in his two cents to support dog killer Vick.

      Hopefully the new Congress will put an end to these types of “transparency” issues.

  69. I demand a new article! No excuses.

    • Here you go Matt-Hee Hee

      ‘Scientific’ Study Boils Conservatism Down to a Brain Problem

      * Posted on December 29, 2010 at 2:20pm by Jonathon M. Seidl Jonathon M. Seidl

      A group of British researchers believe they have found why people are conservative: it’s a brain disorder of sorts.

      Scientists at the University of London say that conservatives have an enlarged “fear” area in their brains, and smaller areas associated with courage and optimism. The London Telegraph reports:

      Scientists have found that people with conservative views have brains with larger amygdalas, almond shaped areas in the centre of the brain often associated with anxiety and emotions.

      On the otherhand, they have a smaller anterior cingulate, an area at the front of the brain associated with courage and looking on the bright side of life.

      The researches say there is a direct correlation between the sizes of those areas and one’s political views.

      “We were very surprised to find that there was an area of the brain that we could predict political attitude,” Prof Geraint Rees, who led the research, told the Telegraph.

      He added: “It is very surprising because it does suggest there is something about political attitude that is encoded in our brain structure through our experience or that there is something in our brain structure that determines or results in political attitude.”

      But there’s just one problem: the research only studied a total of 93 brains — three politicians and 90 students.

      The website Gawker gives the study the treatment it‘s due in a paragraph mocking the scientists’ conclusions:

      So there you have it. I don‘t think it’s wildly extrapolating or jumping to any conclusions to say that this study definitively proves that conservatism is a brain disorder. I think that’s been proven by this 90-person study. Conservatives are all stupid brain-damaged idiots who are stupid and brain-damaged. And idiots.

      It ends with an appropriate one word sentence: “SCIENCE.”

      Wesley Smith over at First Things points out a couple more flaws in the study:

      Notice “normal” brain structure is always the liberal.

      Besides, what is “conservative” in the UK, may be middle of the road in the USA. Does that mean our conservatives’ brains are even more convoluted? And again, some people become conservatives after being liberal. Look at Ronald Reagan and First Things founder, Fr. Richard John Neuhaus.

      And while he contends political views are largely shaped by experiences, he wonders what might happen if the study’s conclusions actual gain traction:

      But, if its all in our hard wiring, we’d better make political views a suspect category for civil rights and hate crime protection. After all, we shouldn’t punish or discriminate against anyone for being who they are.

      UPDATE:

      Tommy Christoper over at Mediaite notices the study was commissioned by actor Collin Firth in a “light-hearted” attempt to discredit conservatives, and it has yet to be peer-reviewed.

      “I took this on as a fairly frivolous exercise: I just decided to find out what was biologically wrong with people who don’t agree with me and see what scientists had to say about it and they actually came up with something,” Firth admitted.

      It’s probably fair to say this is a case of an already-held conclusion (not simply a hypothesis) searching for evidence.

      http://www.theblaze.com/stories/scientific-study-boils-conservatism-down-to-a-brain-problem/

  70. Gas prices are “soaring” again, crossing the $3-a-gallon threshold on Dec. 23 for the first time since Oct. 17, 2008. Back then the benchmark was a relief as prices plunged from the highest price ever of $4.11.

    Pump prices have been climbing all month, yet network reports downplayed the pain and suffering of consumers. Jim Axelrod of CBS called it “bad news” after reporting some positive economic news on Dec. 28, but concluded “The economy’s not great, says economist Dan Greenhaus, but not terrible either.”

    Compare that to past media exaggeration of gas prices. NBC’s Anne Thompson said that “no matter what kind of gas is sold, today it’s now unbelievably expensive” on Aug. 31, 2005. That day the national average for gasoline was $2.62 – but the gas price signs shown in Thompson’s report were much higher at $3.49.

    That same night, ABC’s Charles Gibson claimed that gas was approaching $4-a-gallon.

    Conversely, as prices fell throughout the summer of 2007, the network news media ignored gas price declines emphasizing “skyrocketing,” “soaring,” and “painfully high” prices over the drop.

    What’s the difference between then and now? The president has changed from Bush to Obama, and with it the media’s attitude toward gas prices has shifted.

    The Heritage Foundation noted on Dec. 29 that the press pestered Bush about gas costs and the political consequences of high pump prices, but have yet to ask Obama the question. CBS suggested on April 26, 2006, that President Bush needed to “do something” about gas prices.

    A few months later, on Aug. 21, 2006, Bush was asked at a press conference: “What do you say to people who are losing patience with gas prices at $3 a gallon? And how much of a political price do you think you’re paying for that, right now?”

    Heritage cited further examples of Democrats pressing the White House to “ease” prices (when prices were below $2-a-gallon), and Speaker Nancy Pelosi attacking the president for rising gas prices.

    Under Obama, the networks haven’t breathlessly exaggerated gasoline prices as they did under Bush or demanded to know what the president will do to “ease” prices.

    Yes, holiday travel reports on ABC, CBS and NBC included some consumer complaints, but the December 2010 reports could not compare with the price hype of 2005, 2006 and 2007.

    Yet according to Heritage Obama’s policies will continue to make gasoline more expensive.

    Heritage wrote: “Now this week, analysts including former president of Shell Oil, John Hofmeister, say Americans could be paying $5/gallon of gasoline by 2012. Investment banks are predicting a return to $100/barrel oil, and OPEC is refusing to raise production. All of this news would be less frightening if the White House were focusing on potential ways to lower energy prices. Instead, President Obama is admittedly fixated with raising them.”

    How does Obama plan to raise prices? With further EPA regulations of power plants and oil refineries, and more rules for natural resources on government properties and the ‘de facto moratorium’ on oil drilling.

    Not one of the December 2010 network stories mentioning gas prices questioned the role of the Obama White House. The only consideration of government involvement in gas prices came in the form of a “Nightline” question for viewers on Dec. 23, 2010. Obama’s name was absent from the question.

    ABC’s Terry Moran noted that gas prices had topped $3-a-gallon for the first time at Christmas and asked: “So tonight we wanted to ask you, has the U.S. done enough to keep gas prices reasonable? And will it affect your holiday plans?”

    Read more: http://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/julia-seymour/2010/12/30/gas-prices-back-above-3-networks-dont-question-obama-policies#ixzz19cK4uBF6

    • December 30, 2010
      Preventing development of domestic oil resources
      Peter Wilson, American Thinker

      The New York Times editorial, A New Day for Wilderness, describes the Department of Interior’s reversal of a Bush administration agreement that barred 250 million acres administered by the Bureau of Land Management from being given wilderness status (“one of the sorrier blots on George W. Bush’s sorry environmental record,” writes the Times.)

      The Times paints this action as a victory for “Utah’s fragile wild lands” and describes Interior as “an agency that historically has been sympathetic to oil and gas companies and other commercial interests.” No mention is made of the trend under the Obama administration of using federal agencies to circumvent the wishes of Congress, the courts and the people. The Heritage Foundation describes it well in its Morning Bell:

      The ability of the Obama Administration to step up their leftist agenda even after it was thoroughly “shellacked” at the polls is not an accident….This will be the fight of 2011: the unelected central planning “experts” of the Obama Administration versus the newly elected House of Representatives and state and local governments.

      Heritage describes the actions of three agencies: HHS’s price controls, the EPA’s carbon finding, the FCC’s net neutrality regulations. We can add Interior to this list.

      What is worrisome about the deal is that in Utah and Wyoming 70% of the Green River Formation oil shale deposits are on federal land. These reserves are the largest oil shale deposits in the world, holding an estimated 1.5 trillion barrels of oil equivalent.

      Although it takes an act of Congress to designate a wilderness, Interior has a tool at hand that does not require Congressional approval; it can designate a “Wilderness Study Area,” which places the land off-limits until Congress comes to a decision about its status. Interior could potentially close off Green River to any commercial activity unless Congress takes action. Furthermore, the Times reports, leases already granted on federal lands might be rescinded, adding insecurity to companies considering investing in oil shale development.

      Our National Parks and wilderness areas are national treasures that ought to be protected. Adding millions more acres of high plains to the lands that are forever wild, locking up their enormous resources, would impose enormous economic costs that our nation can ill afford.

  71. This explains a lot.

    It appears many people suffer from a common aliment called anosognosia

    Deconstructing from its Greek roots, it means, roughly:

    I’m so stupid that I don’t realize I’m really stupid.

    As a theory of intellectual disorder, it explains a great deal of human behavior that was previously mysterious and inexplicable.

    The Anosognosic’s Dilemma: Something’s Wrong but You’ll Never Know What It Is (Part 1)

    http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/20/the-anosognosics-dilemma-1/

    • Rule #1: People. Are. Dumb.

      • Strange, but I’m in agreement. Hope the weather didn’t hold you back much.

        Happy New Year!

        • haha.. oh yea it did.. quite an adventure.

          Total travel time 5:30 AM PST – 10:30 PM EST.

          Stupid snow.

      • Mathius

        No!

        Liberals are dumb.

        The rest of us are simply mentally handicapped………..SEE ABOVE ARTICLE for proof.

        Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha!

        Happy New Year Matt.

        • Happy new year to you too, JAC!

          I’m not clear on why the liberals are the control and a deviation from the is a disorder. Isn’t it at least as likely conservatives are “normal” and liberals have the disorder?

          Still, I’m happy to agree 🙂

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