Open Mic for August 3, 2011

As we continue the resurgence of Open Mic, I have put together a few small articles that I found interesting. I am, for the record, attempting to post more often each week. Although, as it is for many, I find myself often with very little time to research and write the way that I would like. But what I do here at SUFA I do because I have a passion for writing and an equal passion for following the world of politics. What I need is a machine that can take what I think and immediately put ink to paper for me (or fingers to keyboard, as it may be). I find myself wanting to write, but simply running out of hours in the day with which to do so. So instead I find that I see a topic and try to find a minute to throw the link into a draft for open mic and hope that I get time later to address it. As a result, here are a few topics I found interesting in the last week…

USWeapon Topic #1

Cuba Encourages Capitalism While Marking the 58th Anniversary of the Start of Communism

When Cuba marked its 58th anniversary of the start of the Communist Revolution this week, a key message from Vice President Jose Machado was that Cubans need to work harder.

Machado, 81, who spoke for 25 minutes while President Raul Castro who attended the ceremony sat silent, blamed corruption and inertia for Cuba’s economic woes. In past years the holiday was marked by lengthy speeches from Fidel Castro lauding the revolution and attacking the U.S. government.

But this year leaders of the island nation of more than 11 million people are trying to encourage different ways of thinking, including allowing limited private enterprise.

Three hundred thousand Cubans have entered the private sector in the past year — small businessmen and women who work out of their homes or yards — or a 1956 Ford Victoria, like Juan, a Havana taxi driver and new entrepreneur.

And people are buying, even if it means spending more money. For example, a government haircut in Cuba costs about eight cents. A private-sector barber costs five times more, but for some, style is worth the extra pesos.

“Having a license from the government to do this just makes my life easier,” Juan says. “It means I don’t have to hide from the inspectors anymore.”

The piecemeal capitalism is doled out by an increasingly desperate Communist leadership trying to keep the Cuban economy afloat.

Read the Rest of the Article Here:  http://www.foxnews.com/world/2011/07/29/cubas-58th-anniversary-start-communist-revolution/#ixzz1Tbpf5yds

USWeapon Topic #2

Federal Judge Rules Florida Drug Law Unconstitutional

A federal judge has struck down a Florida drug law that convicts suspects of a drug offense even if they are unaware that the controlled substance is illegal.

U.S. District Judge Mary Scriven found the 9-year-old law unconstitutional in a decision Wednesday and called for the resentencing of Mackle Shelton, who had faced 18 years in prison.

Snoop Didn't Know... For Reals...

The ruling could pave the way for drug cases currently in the courts to be thrown out.

“Obviously, we are immediately drafting motions and pursuing this line on behalf of our own clients’ (cases) that are pending, but we can’t do much retroactively since those cases are closed,” said Bob Wesley, public defender for Orange and Osceola counties. “I think it will be a robust line of litigation for all of us who appear in Florida criminal courts.”

Tampa attorney James Felman, who won the landmark case, says the Florida legislature went too far.

“What the legislature attempted to do was essentially presume guilt and then let you come in and prove your innocence if you wish to avoid being imprisoned,” Felman told MyFoxTampaBay.com.

When the law was passed in 2002, Florida became the only state not to require that a suspect have knowledge that a controlled substance is illegal to be convicted.

Read the Rest of the Article Here:  http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/07/30/federal-judge-rules-florida-drug-law-unconstitutional/#ixzz1Tbr0SSyd

Common Man Topic #1

Here is a chart that Common Man sent over and wanted me to post for discussion…

 

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Comments

  1. 8)

    The market speaks regarding the US debt – Gold new records, markets down.

  2. 8)

  3. Common Man says:

    Relative to my chart posted above:

    Kevin Lewis / Director of African-American Media gets an 86% raise to the tune of $36,000 more annually? This speaks volumes as to how the government is raping the American people.

    CM

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      @CM – I’ll ask the obvious question – what in the world is a “Director of African-American Media”?

      To be fair – was his raise associated with a promotion? If it is/was then this table is deceiving.

      • Common Man says:

        Ray;

        Don’t have a clue as to this administrations justification for an 86% raise, or any of the other massive increases documented in the table. I have worked in the IT Staffing Industry for over 30 years and regardless of how awesome an employee preforms NOBODY gets an 86% salary increase. As a matter of fact I have never heard of anyone getting a 86% raise even if a promotion was part of it in any business. The one exception might be a fresh grad landing a job at some premier law office or consulting firm upon graduation and they go from $24K as a law clerk to $45K as an associate, but that is not really a raise due to the circumstances.

        And my thought as to “Director of African-American Media” means that this person coordinates all the African-American media channels to promote the ever increasisng BS created about obama; hope, change, social justice, etc, etc.

        CM

        • Ray Hawkins says:

          @CM – well, I find it insulting that we need a Director of African-American Media – the longer we emphasize differences as such the longer they will exist.

          An 86% bump is somewhat off the charts – but again – I do know what his job history has been since he joined the WH staff – thought I read somewhere that he has been promoted twice since POTUS took office. It isn’t impossible that two big jumps in responsibility are accompanied by corresponding pay increases. I know plenty of people in IT that have secured healthy base comp increases because they jump a couple of levels in a short amount of time – my caveat is that it usually involves changing employers. The data in the table is “presented” in a way to aggravate people.

          • Esom Nation says:

            Hold all the other Ray, I agree wholly about that first part. I don’t rally mean to start up a race arguement (because a white boy can’t win that one), but I too am sick of the separate race horseSHIT. Notice the empahasis on the last word. No other word is appropriate.

          • Common Man says:

            Ray;

            I will say this about all of that. I expect you would be hard pressed to find employers that are awarding employee’s 2 promotions in two years and those promotions jump the employee salary 86%. I have seen prospective employers offer significant increases to prospective candidates, but even in those cases never more than a 30-35% increase; and those are the exceptions.

            The graft does warrant investigation into things like; How long some of those people were in their prospective roles prior to a promotion (if a promotion was involved), but I suspect that for the most part a lot of these people were newly appointed when obama took office. I doubt very much that they were left over from the Bush era. There are a number of senerios that could be a factor, but given the current state of our economy, the last individuals deserving of a raise of any type are government employee’s. If anything everyone should be forced to work for half pay. Yes, I know that is a pipe dream, but it is appropriate.

            If there is any validity to this chart, even if some of them did an outstanding job, the numbers are stupid and an example of how government values the public; they don’t.

            As for the specific role of Director of African-American Media all I can say is I agree with you 100% in that this kind of shit does more to further the tensions between races and ensure continued problems. I am willing to bet that if someone was to propose a White-Redneck Male Media director position at $74K it wouldn’t take very long for the word “Racist” to be screamed from the rafters.

            CM

      • I had the same question Ray. Were the salary increases in this table a result of “pay raises” or promotions. I would imagine that this is the question that needs to be answered before one can comment on the table at all.

        • Murphy's Law says:

          Was the title the same before and after the raise? I’ve known many people to get a promotion along with a raise, but it usually was accompanied by a change in their job title. If the job title is the same, isn’t it just a raise and not a promotion? Just asking an honest question.

          Murf

    • CM

      Regarding your chart, it seems to me that Congress could start with the white house staff when it comes to “Sharing the Pain”.

      You know, making this “FAIR”!!!

      • Common Man says:

        JAC;

        Getting a hungry Grizzley to give up part of his fresh caught salmon would be easier that asking Congress to agree on a cut in pay for anyone in government.

        It really needs to start at the local level. My best friends father decided to run for his local communities Counsilmen’s seat and won last night. He is a retired Ford Manager with very conservative values and didn’t like some of the things the incumbent was promoting. He is certainly not in it for the money as they are paid $35.00 a meeting as an elected official. It will be interesting to watch how much progress he makes. If nothing else he will at least understand how villages are managed and where the taxes go.

        Hope you are well and enjoying the summer. Have caught a number of Bass, some pike, a few walleye and enough trout to feed the family a few times. Hunting season is just around the corner and the new property has proven to be a sound investment. Got a new bow this year and can’t wait to use it.

        CM

  4. V.H., et al.

    Noticed your post the other day regarding the desire to know what the Govt has spent at any given point in time. You all know I have some Fed Govt experience as do others here. I will offer what I know and they can add if needed.

    Fed. agencies all have some type of accounting system that is continuously updated as expenditures are both “obligated” and “made”. My experience was that I could tell pretty much what my account balances were on a week to week basis. But the “OFFICIAL” accounting system was usually good only on a month to month basis. So essentially we should be able to get an accurate picture of actual expenditures each month.

    In addition, many agencies have quarterly reporting requirements to assure their budget projections are in line and to allow adjustments where needed. For example, a dept that is overspending may be balanced by the Agency by taking like money from another dept.

    During the debt limit debate a chart was produced by Treasury showing the actual DAILY projected cash flow and the actual cash flow for those days in the past. So it is apparent that they can be pretty close to showing our Income and Expenses and the Balance on a daily basis.

    In fact, the need for the debt limit increase was due to a daily cash flow problem, NOT the cash flow balance for August as a whole.

    With that all said I will add that in my experience the Fed Accounting System is BULL SHIT. It is designed at the top by those who think themselves smart without ever asking those at the field level just what it is they need from the system. I had to maintain my own method to manage my programs accurately and efficiently. The Agency system was only good for the monthly, quarterly or year end TOTAL numbers. It was pretty much useless for tracking projects or portions of programs. The systems are designed primarily to address questions or directives from Congress. As such they reflect the same stupid shit that comes from Congress.

  5. JAC…….and VH…….AS a Colonel, I have worked with the fiscal year the government is on (Sept – Sept)….and budget requests, accounting, and requirements.

    ONE of the main things that bothers me the most, is that if we come in under budget and have money left over, there is no mechanism in place to carry it over. It must be spent…..or you lose your budget. That is why at the end of a budget cycle, if there are millions left over…..new golf courses are built or a new General’s home or it is frittered away on non essential items so they do not lose their budget for the next year.

    The accounting for it…………………………..S U C K S !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Common Man says:

      Colonel, Sir;

      You are correct. In Michigan we have 3 major seasons: Hunitng, Fishing and Orange Barrell season. The latter starts on or about late April and runs through Oct, early Nov. What is interesting is that even though some of the major highways (75, 69, 94 and 96) get repaired about every 3-4 years there always seems to be more and more to do with them. Turns out the State must spend all taxes allocated towards the road commision or the follow years budget will decrease. So, the result is major sections of those highways mentioned are littered with orange barrells. I guess you have to keep those road commision employees working. Add BTW, despite the fact that one of the states largest exports is salt, we always run out around January.

      Another interesting fact is that people are reporting an increase in the highway/road killed deer numbers this year. Turns out the numbers haven’t really increased, its just that the county road commision’s don’t have the funds allocated to pick the dead ones up, so they lay there and rot. And given the summer heat we have had Michigan is starting to take on a different aroma.

      CM

  6. Us home gardeners will soon be on the watch list from homeland security as this comes in bags weighing 50 pounds.

    http://news.yahoo.com/regulators-keep-closer-tabs-chemical-used-bombings-213611470.html

    • Esom Nation says:

      Ain’t that such a load of crap Bama? On one hand I can see the dangerous potential, but they will abuse their priveledge. You know they will.

  7. Terry Evans says:

    A little Social Security History Lesson

    History Lesson on Your Social Security Card

    Just in case some of you young whippersnappers (& some older ones) didn’t know this.

    It’s easy to check out, if you don’t believe it.
    Be sure and show it to your family and friends. They need a little history lesson on what’s what and it doesn’t matter whether you are Democrat or Republican. Facts are Facts.

    Social Security Cards up until the 1980s expressly stated the number and card were not to be used for identification purposes. Since nearly everyone in the United States now has a number, it became convenient to use it anyway and the message, NOT FOR IDENTIFICATION, was removed.

    An old Social Security card with the “NOT FOR IDENTIFICATION” message.

    Our Social Security

    Franklin Roosevelt, a Democrat, introduced the Social Security (FICA) Program.

    He promised:

    1.) That participation in the Program would be Completely voluntary,
    No longer Voluntary

    2.) That the participants would only have to pay 1% of the first $1,400 of their annual Incomes into the Program,
    Now 7.65% on the first $90,000

    3.) That the money the participants elected to put into the Program would be deductible from their income for tax purposes each year,
    No longer tax deductible

    4.) That the money the participants put into the independent ‘Trust Fund’ rather than into the
    general operating fund, and therefore, would only be used to fund the Social Security Retirement Program, and no other Government program, and,
    Under Johnson the money was moved to The General Fund and Spent

    5.) That the annuity payments to the retirees would never be taxed as income.
    Under Clinton & Gore Up to 85% of your Social Security can be Taxed

    Since many of us have paid into FICA for years and are now receiving a Social Security check every month — and then finding that we are getting taxed on 85% of the money we paid to the Federal government to ‘put away’ — you may be interested in the following:

    ———— ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— —-

    Q: Which Political Party took Social Security from the independent ‘Trust Fund’ and put it into the
    general fund so that Congress could spend it?
    A: It was Lyndon Johnson and the democratically controlled House and Senate.

    ———— ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— —

    Q: Which Political Party eliminated the income tax deduction for Social Security (FICA) withholding?
    A: The Democratic Party.

    ———— ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— ———

    Q: Which Political Party started taxing Social Security annuities?
    A: The Democratic Party, with Al Gore casting the ‘tie-breaking’ deciding vote as President of the
    Senate, while he was Vice President of the US

    ———— ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— –

    Q: Which Political Party decided to start
    giving annuity payments to immigrants?
    A: That’s right!
    AND MY FAVORITE:

    Jimmy Carter and the Democratic Party.
    Immigrants moved into this country, and at age 65, began to receive Social Security payments! The
    Democratic Party gave these payments to them, even though they never paid a dime into it!

    ———— — ———— ——— —– ———— ——— ——-

    Then, after violating the original contract (FICA),
    the Democrats turn around and tell you that the Republicans want to take your Social Security away!

    And the worst part about it is uninformed citizens believe it!

    • Kristian says:

      Wow! Kinda makes ya wonder what other kind of crap politicians are doing that we don’t know about. I say politicians and not a specific party because in truth they are one in the same.

    • Terry Evans says:

      As this was a cut and paste, I believe that the amount discussed in number 2 has increased…I am pretty sure that FICA is taken from us up to around $106K…

      • Who remembers when only SS was deducted from gross earnings? Then it was split off into SS and Medicare. This was somewhere between 88-92. I remember my employer at the time telling me not to sweat it, that the total between the two was still the correct amount, just that the correct way to report the deductions was to show them as split. Somehow I think I have been extra taxed since then.

    • And the left is curiously silent….but wait…..it must be Bush’s fault.

    • Wow, the left is curiously silent…but this is kinda embarrassing…when something like this leaks out…that is so damaging to the credibility…of those who believe this is actually true…and are too lazy to spend 2 minutes to verify it…

      And the worst part about it is uninformed conservatives believe it!

      • USWeapon says:

        So offer up your proof that it isn’t true and then all those crazy conservatives will be edumacated. Which part are you claiming isn’t true, FTR? I have not looked it up, just wondering…

        • USWeapon,
          It’s not only all false, but backwards too. It wasn’t Johnson, Carter, and Clinton, but Nixon and Reagan that did all the “terrible” things.

          A little clue on these – do a search on the first line of the message. Scroll past all the right-wing blogs that think it’s true until you find a valid website.

          Be sure and show this version to your family and friends. They need a little history lesson on what’s what and it doesn’t matter whether you are Democrat or Republican. Facts are Facts.

          http://www.factcheck.org/2009/03/fdrs-voluntary-social-security/

          ———— ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— ———
          A little Social Security History Lesson

          History Lesson on Your Social Security Card

          Just in case some of you young whippersnappers (& some older ones) didn’t know this.

          It’s easy to check out, if you don’t believe it.
          Be sure and show it to your family and friends. They need a little history lesson on what’s what and it doesn’t matter whether you are Democrat or Republican. Facts are Facts.

          Social Security Cards up until the 1980s expressly stated the number and card were not to be used for identification purposes. Since nearly everyone in the United States now has a number, it became convenient to use it anyway and the message, NOT FOR IDENTIFICATION, was removed.

          An old Social Security card with the “NOT FOR IDENTIFICATION” message.

          I guess this is true…1 for 1 so far!

          Our Social Security

          Franklin Roosevelt, a Democrat, introduced the Social Security (FICA) Program.

          He promised:

          1.) That participation in the Program would be Completely voluntary,
          No longer Voluntary

          False – it was never voluntary

          2.) That the participants would only have to pay 1% of the first $1,400 of their annual Incomes into the Program,
          Now 7.65% on the first $90,000

          False – it started at 1% up to $3000, and the original law FDR signed raised it incrementally in 1940, 1943, 1946 and 1949, when it reached 3 percent.

          3.) That the money the participants elected to put into the Program would be deductible from their income for tax purposes each year,
          No longer tax deductible

          False – it was never deductible

          4.) That the money the participants put into the independent ‘Trust Fund’ rather than into the general operating fund, and therefore, would only be used to fund the Social Security Retirement Program, and no other Government program, and, Under Johnson the money was moved to The General Fund and Spent

          False – The government has always been able to use Social Security funds for other purposes when not needed to finance benefits. As DeWitt states: “There has never been any change in the way the Social Security program is financed or the way that Social Security payroll taxes are used by the federal government.” All LBJ did in 1968 was to make Social Security taxes and spending part of a “unified budget.” As DeWitt notes, this was an accounting issue and “has no affect on the actual operations of the [Social Security] Trust Fund itself.”

          5.) That the annuity payments to the retirees would never be taxed as income.
          Under Clinton & Gore Up to 85% of your Social Security can be Taxed

          False – The e-mail also gets it wrong when it claims that Roosevelt promised that “annuity payments to the retirees would never be taxed as income.” It’s true that Social Security benefits weren’t taxed at first, but DeWitt writes that this was the result of a series of administrative rulings by the Treasury Department, not the result of Roosevelt’s law or anything he did or promised. And contrary to a false claim made later in the e-mail, it was not Democrats alone who “started taxing Social Security annuities.” Congress authorized taxation of Social Security benefits in 1983, when Republicans controlled the Senate, and the measure was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan, a Republican. The measure was part of a bipartisan compromise to shore up the finances of the system, which were then on the verge of collapse.

          Make sure to read that closely – it was President Ronald Reagan, not Clinton.

          Since many of us have paid into FICA for years and are now receiving a Social Security check every month — and then finding that we are getting taxed on 85% of the money we paid to the Federal government to ‘put away’ — you may be interested in the following:

          ———— ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— —-

          Q: Which Political Party took Social Security from the independent ‘Trust Fund’ and put it into the
          general fund so that Congress could spend it?
          A: It was Lyndon Johnson and the democratically controlled House and Senate.

          False – there was no change

          ———— ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— —

          Q: Which Political Party eliminated the income tax deduction for Social Security (FICA) withholding?
          A: The Democratic Party.

          False – it was never deductible

          ———— ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— ———

          Q: Which Political Party started taxing Social Security annuities?
          A: The Democratic Party, with Al Gore casting the ‘tie-breaking’ deciding vote as President of the
          Senate, while he was Vice President of the US

          False – it was President Ronald Reagan with a Republican controlled Senate

          ———— ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— –

          Q: Which Political Party decided to start
          giving annuity payments to immigrants?
          A: That’s right!
          AND MY FAVORITE:

          Jimmy Carter and the Democratic Party.
          Immigrants moved into this country, and at age 65, began to receive Social Security payments! The
          Democratic Party gave these payments to them, even though they never paid a dime into it!

          False – No illegal immigrant is allowed to get a penny of Social Security retirement benefits. An immigrant who has become a citizen or legal resident can qualify only to the extent that they have worked and paid into the system for years, on the same basis as everybody else.

          However, Republican President Richard Nixon signed into law the Supplemental Security Income program (SSI) for the blind, disabled or elderly and destitute. Under Nixon’s SSI law, legal immigrants were eligible for SSI benefits from the start. It is a federal welfare program funded out of general tax revenues and is separate from the Social Security old-age pensions and disability insurance programs funded out of dedicated payroll taxes. SSI benefits were available to all – citizens and legal residents alike – regardless of whether they had “paid a dime into it” or not.

          ———— — ———— ——— —– ———— ——— ——-

          Then, after violating the original contract (FICA), the Democrats turn around and tell you that the Republicans want to take your Social Security away!

          And the worst part about it is uninformed citizens believe it!

          This last part is just pure crap.

          • Well Todd, I was going to go into the botched Federal Program on Fast and Furious since I am fighting it on the front lines……but now I have to take you on one at a time and I will start with your stance on “No Illegal Immigrant can get anything. You are totally wrong on this. Illegal immigrants are not only collecting checks from the office of social security, but they are also getting general welfare funds, food stamps, housing assistance, energy tax credits, driver’s license…and just recently…a group was caught getting valid single engine land pilot’s license without proving citizenship, residence, or the ability to speak English. They got caught because they were having an very hard time conversing with towers and the FAA investigated and found that a particular school was operating not only illegally but was not even registered as a legal corporation and was getting Federal Stimulus Funds to operate the school. Of course, our government just shrugged its shoulders, the school was shut down but no jail terms or fines.

            Our veterans group, some will call vigilantes, within the law and the Freedom of Information Act,have, to date, amassed the names of 11, 214 ILLEGAL immigrants who are receiving some or all of the following: Social Security Disability Payments, Welfare Payments, Food stamps, housing assistance from HUD, energy tax credits in the form of cash rebates, free school and free meals that have now expanded from breakfast to lunch and now dinner (the free meals are federally funded)…….so you are wrong here. It is easy to catch the illegal immigrants and their social security checks…..Texas, unfortunately, allows kiosks and payroll cashing stands and business’ and the illegals cash their government checks (paying a hefty price for doing so…as high as 20%) (reminds me of the old time loan sharks). The other way to catch them is in Bingo parlors…..they all cash social security checks. The Casinos on Indian Land also do the same.

            I would also advise you to talk to your accountant and determine the use of the term deductible. You might be surprised. Semantics is very misleading which I am about to prove with the Operation Fast and Furious. Also, I would recommend caution on using DeWitt for too many references.

            But, my leftward friend, how are you this…….very hot morning…..can you believe 91 degrees at 550 AM?

            • d13thecolonel,
              I’m good Colonel. Our humidity has finally dropped, so that makes the low 80’s tolerable. 🙂

              I did not say “No Illegal Immigrant can get anything.”

              I said “No illegal immigrant is allowed to get a penny of Social Security retirement benefits.” At least not legally.

              Most of what you list is general welfare. You can thank Nixon for at least part of that.

              The rest of what you list is just your standard laundry list of things you don’t like and blame on the federal government – which of course means Obama to you.

              Why doesn’t the wonderful all-knowing state of Texas clean that crap up? Or do you like the economic boost it gives you, as well as fodder to piss-n-moan about the GOVERNMENT?

              You don’t like DeWitt? Then feel free to provide a source that backs up your comments. I haven’t seen one of those in quite some time.

              Same goes for your definition of “deductible” and how it applies to this topic. You tend to make a lot of open ended comments like this that allow people to fill-in-the-blanks as they see fit. How about making your case in detail?

              Remember, I was responding to the false statements in Terry’s email, not on the general state of social security, welfare, etc.

              PS – how is Obama’s impeachment going? I never saw your source for that either…

              • HI Todd…yeah…..we got our forecast for the next two weeks…..average of 106. We are going to smash the 1980 record.

                Todd correctly states: “Most of what you list is general welfare. You can thank Nixon for at least part of that.”
                D13 asserts: Yep…and I do. Nixon was a crook.

                Todd says: “No illegal immigrant is allowed to get a penny of Social Security retirement benefits.” At least not legally.”
                D13 asserts: Correcto mundo, my wayward friend. The key is “legally”….There is no enforcement nor checking for false names and addresses. There are a ton of SS checks going to “general delivery”….we have veterans groups in the major cities observing and reporting on SS check delivery days. They, the illegals, are real easy to spot.

                Todd asks: Why doesn’t the wonderful all-knowing state of Texas clean that crap up? Or do you like the economic boost it gives you, as well as fodder to piss-n-moan about the GOVERNMENT?
                D13 responds: We do and we are cleaning it up big time. We have done the following (1) Eliminated sanctuary cities (2) profiling on a state basis and stopping pick up trucks and landscaping trucks (carrying Hispanics) and patrolling major areas and checking legal status….sucj s the groups of “workers” standing around the Home Depots and Lowes. The result is that they (illegals) are leaving in droves. (3) Checking and enforcing hospital emergency rooms and license checking if cars (4) passed local legislation in 7 areas so far and working on more to make the penalty on renting to illegals very stiff. (5) legislation is being passed to make the penalties on employers hiring the same subject to losing franchise privileges, (6) enforcing the single family residence statues (7) Veterans groups watching food stores and the cashing in of food stamps for articles other than what they are supposed to be, recording license numbers and reporting same to authorities as well as reporting the stores to the BBB and the State of Texas (we are called vigilantes for this) (8) enforcing immigration laws on a State basis because the Feds are not doing it and we are not gentle about it. There are many other things but you should get the gist….it is locals taking up the vigilance where the Feds are not. The police love it…..just that many more eyes. You will be amazed at the response from business’ when their names get posted on public sites for hiring illegal workers. All of a sudden, those workers disappear and local talent is hired.

                Todd says: “You don’t like DeWitt?”
                D13 responds: Did not say I did not like him…..I implied to take him with a grain of salt, to coin a phrase. There are things that he is correct on and there are things that he is opinionated on….just like me. I dont lie….but I will voice my opinion and will admit mistakes when I make them. That is where DeWitt and I part company.

                Todd asks: “Same goes for your definition of “deductible” and how it applies to this topic. You tend to make a lot of open ended comments like this that allow people to fill-in-the-blanks as they see fit. How about making your case in detail? ”
                D13 responds: Not making a case and do not intend to…however, I have been filing tax returns for nigh on 40 years now and the term deductible is very subjective to interpretation. There are many ways to deduct things…and SSN payments and Medicare are among those as well as FICA….The tax code is very problematic and very…..ummmm……difficult at best to interpret. That is why I made that comment.

                Todd asks: “PS – how is Obama’s impeachment going? I never saw your source for that either…”
                D13 says: NOw Todd, I never once said that there was an impeachment process…..what I said was….Operation Faast and Furious goes to the top and I have registered publicly my belief in that. It is MY OPINION that this is an impeachable offense. I do not believe for one minute that this operation was run under the radar of HOlder or Obama. HOlder cannot unzip his pants without permission from the President. Obama knows about this operation and, in my opinion, this knowledge is impeachable. I have been very vocal about it in emails to my Senators and Congressmen/women, to the newspapers, and in my reports to my superiors. BUt again….this is my opinion. I work with it. I see it. I talk to the Federal people on it. I have seen the memos that do not exist. I know where it goes and so does a myriad of people. This is a greater coverup than the Nixon tapes.

              • D13 responds: We do and we are cleaning it up big time. We have done the following (1) Eliminated sanctuary cities (2) profiling on a state basis and stopping pick up trucks and landscaping trucks (carrying Hispanics) and patrolling major areas and checking legal status….sucj s the groups of “workers” standing around the Home Depots and Lowes. The result is that they (illegals) are leaving in droves. (3) Checking and enforcing hospital emergency rooms and license checking if cars (4) passed local legislation in 7 areas so far and working on more to make the penalty on renting to illegals very stiff. (5) legislation is being passed to make the penalties on employers hiring the same subject to losing franchise privileges, (6) enforcing the single family residence statues (7) Veterans groups watching food stores and the cashing in of food stamps for articles other than what they are supposed to be, recording license numbers and reporting same to authorities as well as reporting the stores to the BBB and the State of Texas (we are called vigilantes for this) (8) enforcing immigration laws on a State basis because the Feds are not doing it and we are not gentle about it. There are many other things but you should get the gist….it is locals taking up the vigilance where the Feds are not. The police love it…..just that many more eyes. You will be amazed at the response from business’ when their names get posted on public sites for hiring illegal workers. All of a sudden, those workers disappear and local talent is hired.

                Hello Colonel, hope all is well with you?

                No offense intended, but I found your reply to Todd rather interesting. All this action going on could be easily used to argue that Texas is diligently working to set up its own little Orwellian big-brother police state with all of this citizen “see something, say something” activity? It makes me wonder what comes next in laws or actions by the veteran groups (or citizenry in general) after, if/when, the illegals are “run out of Dodge?” To me much of what you responded to Todd with flies in the face of true liberty and freedom, don’t you think?

                I also wonder if the Veterans groups working so diligently to amass the identities of the illegal immigrants (which means for the most part Hispanics) are being as diligent in identifying Whites, Blacks, and Asians who are cheating the welfare and Social Security systems?

              • Hi Plainly…..what choice do we have? Do we just shrug and let it go? I suggest that we do not, IF the laws were enforced to start with, we would not be doing this…..but….to answer your question….we are being as diligent on all…..not just illegals. It really is not the “people” we are after as much as it is the source of why the infractions are there to start with and I will admit, we do not like it much doing this but who will do it if we do not? I, for one, do not want a society of “tell on your brother”…..but I am willing to listen to other suggestions except two. Let the Feds handle it and let it go. Those are the two I will give no credence to….

                Fraud is fraud and we are not intervening in any physical way. We simply report it. It is having an effect, however. It is amazing how much wine and beer is bought with food stamps……absolutely amazing and the stores are not monitoring this.

                But the biggest thing that we have found is also startling….I am very surprised at how many seniors bring in SS checks to the Bingo parlors and spend their money there. It is theirs to spend of course, but it appears that they are trying for the “big hit”…..I have a good friend whose family owns two Bingo parlors here in Fort Worth…he claims that 60% of their business is from seniors and they will cash and bet whole checks in one night. I guess I am surprised at the mindset of it.

              • d13thecolonel,

                White HOuse just caught cutting special deal with credit agencies to downgrade republican plan and support democrat agreement. This should be impeachable

                This is the “impeachment” I’m referring to.

          • Todd

            I have not taken time, and probably won’t, to check each item. Quite frankly all such emails these days, regardless of source, which remains a mystery, are filled with falsehoods.

            But I did find a little something that seems to support the email, to some extent, while running counter to the “absolute” claim of false.

            Following is an excerpt from FDR’s address to Congress on 6/8/34. It addresses the new social insurance program.

            “Next winter we may well undertake the great task of furthering the security of the citizen and his family through social insurance.

            This is not an untried experiment. Lessons of experience are available from States, from industries and from many Nations of the civilized world. The various types of social insurance are interrelated; and I think it is difficult to attempt to solve them piecemeal. Hence, I am looking for a sound means which I can recommend to provide at once security against several of the great disturbing factors in life–especially those which relate to unemployment and old age. I believe there should be a maximum of cooperation between States and the Federal Government. I believe that the funds necessary to provide this insurance should be raised by contribution rather than by an increase in general taxation. Above all, I am convinced that social insurance should be national in scope, although the several States should meet at least a large portion of the cost of management, leaving to the Federal Government the responsibility of investing, maintaining and safeguarding the funds constituting the necessary insurance reserves. I have commenced to make, with the greatest of care, the necessary actuarial and other studies for the formulation of plans for the consideration of the 74th Congress.”

            So regarding voluntary vs. mandatory tax we have “I believe that the funds necessary to provide this insurance should be raised by contribution rather than by an increase in general taxation. ”

            Now FDR being a hardcore Progressive of the time may have used “contribution” as a euphemism for a “different type of tax” but using the words alone it seems he is saying voluntary vs. mandatory.

            Also note that he was proposing a system where the STATES paid the “large portion of the cost of management” while the Federal Govt’s primary role is “the responsibility of investing, maintaining and safeguarding the funds constituting the necessary insurance reserves.”

            I don’t think it unreasonable to think he is proposing a distinct trust fund not to be included in the “unified budget”. Which is not just an accounting change by the way. It creates the mindset that the Trust Funds are PART of the Federal Budget and thus used to balance the books. In short, allowing MORE borrowing because the Trust Fund balance can be used to reduce the BOOK value of the LIABILITIES.

            So on this point the email is what I would call PARTLY false and PARTLY true. But it is deliberately misleading, a gross over simplification.

            • JAC,
              You are really s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g to try to defend this email. Why?

              Do you really think who ever created this email found that 1934 speech and thought “wow it was supposed to be voluntary – and a separate trust fund…”?

              Why not admit it’s wrong and move on?

              The relevant parts of the email:

              Franklin Roosevelt, a Democrat, introduced the Social Security (FICA) Program.

              He promised:

              1.) That participation in the Program would be Completely voluntary.

              4.) That the money the participants put into the independent ‘Trust Fund’
              rather than into the general operating fund…

              Q: Which Political Party took Social Security from the independent ‘Trust Fund’ and put it into the general fund so that Congress could spend it?
              A: It was Lyndon Johnson and the democratically controlled House and Senate.

              Note the phrase He promised. Not a phrase like he hinted at this in one speech.

              Same thing for the trust fund issue. To me he is describing how it will be funded in the speech, not how the government should account for the money.

              But let’s assume your interpretation is correct. This speech is an early proposal for Social Security. Not the final law that was passed. The email clearly implies these are things that have changed in Social Security over the years. And they are all the Democrats fault (or devious plan).

              You can pick at a few minor details JAC, but this email has a clear intent – continue to mislead those on the right, reinforce their belief in the “Big Bad Government” mantra, and distract people from the real issues. Defending it is beneath you JAC!

              If you found something this biased from the Left, you’d be all over it hopping mad.

              You should be similarly hopping mad about this e-mail, because it violates everything you say you stand for…

              This is such blatant propaganda that any tiny truths are irrelevant. This is absolutely and completely false.

              • Todd

                Claiming that I am trying to support or somehow rationalize this email is a stretch far beyond anything you are accusing me of doing.

                Please read my words again.

                As I have said before, and say again here, these types of emails are filled with falsehoods. They usually contain a truth or some nuance of truth, however. That is needed to create the air of credibility in the over all letter. Yes, they are propaganda in some form.

                What is NOT clear is WHO is putting this stuff out there and WHY they are doing it.

                As for FDR making “promises” I would suggest that is partly dependent on the audience. FDR was the consummate Progressive Politician. Just like his protege Mr. Obama. They use words that can be interpreted differently but has a specific meaning to them.

                My parents both told me that FDR made certain “promises” regarding Soc Sec. Yet I doubt we could ever find him actually saying “I promise”.

                I will add that “tiny truths” are not irrelevant. In fact they are needed to sell the bigger lies in the propaganda game.

                If I were actually interested in dealing with the junk, why would I simply dismiss it as false? Just because one person says it is false? Sorry but if I were to try and address this my review would be more in depth.

                I simply provided you with something I found quite easily that showed the claims by your source were not necessarily black and white. It doesn’t mean the piece is not propaganda nor primarily a lie or distortion.

                Again, I am not supporting nor trying to defend this email letter and I don’t see how you could accuse me of such from what I posted.

              • JAC,
                It was your finally comment:

                So on this point the email is what I would call PARTLY false and PARTLY true.

                This email is blatant propaganda. To claim that it is “PARTLY false and PARTLY true” is non-sense. The tiny truth is negated by the obvious bias.

                What is NOT clear is WHO is putting this stuff out there and WHY they are doing it.

                Oh, come on JAC. It’s right-wing propaganda to further their agenda. How come you can see that so clearly when the left does it, but not the right?

                My parents both told me that FDR made certain “promises” regarding Soc Sec. Yet I doubt we could ever find him actually saying “I promise”.

                Then he didn’t “promise” it. Your parents either misunderstood or were mis-informed.

                And this is not about what you parents remember, it’s right-wing propaganda to further their agenda.

  8. Terry Evans says:

    A pretty representative (of me at least) video of how many feel…

  9. Ray Hawkins says:

    “Americans For Prosperity Accused Of Voter Suppression In Wisconsin Recall Elections”

    (this is an org sponsored by the Koch brothers)

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/03/koch-brothers-americans-for-prosperity-wisconsin-recalls_n_913561.html

    Innocent mistake or something more?

  10. It is about time down here….cool front finally coming through…only going to be 104 tomorrow.

  11. Ray Hawkins says:

    For the period 2/17/2009 – 6/30/2011

    Texas is second only to California in ARRA funds and jobs:

    California
    Funds Awarded: 31,700,200,000
    Funds Received: 19,089,380,000
    Jobs Created: 52,465

    Texas
    Awarded: 16,759,900,000
    Received: 11,451,970,000
    Jobs: 45,340

    So – we have Texas trailing the ass end of California.

    D13 – what say you sir – you guys must have lots of public works happening down there? 🙂

    • Interesting stat…….I do have a way of finding out…..give me a couple hours…..I have a feeling most are water related but unknown at this time. We are having water table problems because of droughts but let me see……..interesting. I wonder whose districts they are in also….will do some investigative stuff.

  12. Esom Nation says:

    A slightly different topic. A lighter moment you might say.

    I am not wanting to start a religous war here. Nor a political one either. I’m just saying beforehand.

    On the History Channel. On Ancient Aliens, they say that Jonah (of the Bible) was swallowed by a Whale-like Device. (laugh; I said a lighter moment.) Now I’m not a History major of the Bible, but as far as I can remember, it says that Jonah was swallowed by a Whale, not a like device. And I am not saying whether or not the Bible is account is true (wink), but why is it, that people are more willing to believe that some Ancient Aliens abducted Jonah than will believe that God intentionally had an actual Whale come and choke ‘ol Jonah down. The man swallowing Whale has actually really happened before. Has anyone really seen any aliens? If so, where is YOUR evidence? Can you prove aliens better that someone else can explain God? 😉

    I know that you are looking at you monitor dumbfounded as to why I brout this up, but it is Open Mic day. And this agravates the Doody out of me.

    • Esom

      My old Georgian friend.

      Proof of Aliens you ask? Progressives!

      They seek to control our minds and lives, yet they make absolutely no sense to the rest of us.

      • Esom Nation says:

        🙂 I don’t know why that bothers me to see that commercial on their, but it does. Why is it so hard to believe in one thing like God when there is so much more evidence, but perfectly sane to believe Aliens have been visiting in the past and been MISTAKEN for Gods?

        • Esom

          Perhaps it is because one is a statistical possibility (aliens) given our knowledge of the universe, and the other simply requires faith or belief without any proof.

          I have noticed in my lifetime that even the Catholic Church has stopped describing things in the Bible or other stories as absolute fact. They now claim that many things were examples or embellishments or metaphors. This would be consistent with stories of many human cultures and religions. This does not mean God does not exist but that many things assigned as God’s actions or miracles, can in fact be explained by things we know today that were unknown then. Such as meteors destroying cities, as in turned to salt.

          But you basic argument is true. Those who don’t believe in God certainly seem more willing to believe in something we have no absolute proof of having occurred. It does seem a little ironic.

          • JAC,
            Aren’t God and aliens at opposite ends of the spectrum?

            God requires faith. There’s no real proof of God. People with strong faith attribute things to God, but most (if not all) of those things can be explained by science.

            Aliens are science. They are physical beings (if they exist). They’ve either been here (or over there – I can’t tell you specially were “here” is!). There’s “no absolute proof” – right. But “absolute proof” is a pretty tough standard. There’s lots of evidence (much, I suppose, that can be explained by science!).

            Aliens actually being near earth seems kind of hard to accept (how did they travel all that distance??). But 600 years ago we thought the earth was flat, and 100 years ago it took weeks(?) to across the Atlantic. So maybe in another 100 years we’ll have warp drive and be going to planets and beyond our solar system for vacations…Jetsons here we come!!

            Oh well, it’s getting late and I’ve rambled enough!

    • Esom,
      Whale-like Device? Someone actually said that? That just sounds stupid! If you don’t believe the story fine, but Whale-like Device? GROAN!

      Has a whale actually swallowed a man? I thought all whales were plankton eaters and couldn’t physically swallow a man? But I don’t know?

      Then Ancient Aliens vs God…so what’s the difference? The name. And your belief in where this “Being” came from – Mars or Heaven… Do you know what I mean?

      Example – you’re walking down the road, and suddenly your hear a voice in your head (not voices – that’s a different issue!!). You believe in God, so you think it’s God. But could it also be Aliens that have superior communications abilities and are able to communicate telepathically?

      Has anyone really seen any aliens? If so, where is YOUR evidence?

      Of course I have (I’ll bet no one argues with THAT). But I dropped off all the evidence at Area 51. 😉

      Can you prove aliens better that someone else can explain God?

      Nope – probably not. Both require faith…

      Why is it so hard to believe in one thing like God when there is so much more evidence

      What evidence do you have?

      perfectly sane to believe Aliens have been visiting in the past and been MISTAKEN for Gods?

      I won’t say “perfectly sane”. Some people just believe different things than you do.

      God requires faith. You have it. Others don’t. If you have strong faith and believe in your faith (yeah, that sounds kinda stupid, doesn’t it – but you know what I mean!), be happy and thankful for that. But don’t condone others who do not have as strong a faith in God – because I guessing that violates your faith?

      See, I believe in both. I’m a Christian and have a strong faith in God. But I also believe that in the immense universe that God created, there’s room for more life than just the life on earth. What form – I’m not sure. But I know they’re out there!

  13. 😐

  14. USW Topic 1: Maybe they can bring back a Batista-like puppet and reinstitute total and absolute exploitation of the people. Something tells me we won’t be seeing them remove national health care and/or their literacy programs. That alone (literacy program) should keep capitalism at a safe arms distance …

    https://glazersspace.wikispaces.com/Was+The+Cuban+Revolution+a+success%3F

    http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/cuba_statistics.html

    Not bat stats, you ask me.

  15. Ya’ll goin to love this one.

    Don’t know what to call this except the thinking of a proud progressive. The topic was redistribution of wealth via federal taxes. I had explained that fed taxes given to the states was still redistribution but I provided the volunteer fire dept example in response to the claim that ONLY the govt can provide these services. The response is one I have never seen before on this example. Sounds like Charlie or one of his kin.

    JAC: “”I have spent much of my life living with VOLUNTEER fire depts, funded by DONATIONS from those living in the fire district. Thought you might like an example of how things might work without using Govt to force compliance­­.”

    Proud Progressive: That’s very brave of you but I would prefer all firefighte­rs get good pay, good benefits AND exceptiona­l life insurance so we don’t NEED volunteers­. That’s just an example of people in your area being greedy jerks, you probably live in a very “red” district where for some reason they don’t think fire fighters are as important as other much less crucial programs.”

    Any of you resident lefties care to add to this?????

    • JAC,
      I have spent the last 10 years living with VOLUNTEER fire depts and EMS. Around here it is partially funded by DONATIONS from those living in the fire district, but the local governments also help fund them.

      I agree with the first half of Proud Progressive’s response: I would prefer all firefighte­rs get good pay, good benefits AND exceptiona­l life insurance so we don’t NEED volunteers­.

      But that’s not realistic in rural areas.

      I don’t agree with the rest of his opinion. He’s probably lives in a city and doesn’t understand rural life.

      But VOLUNTEER fire depts and EMS would not work in cities. Too many calls and large fires.

      • Todd

        Re funding: It is true that most “volunteer” fire/ems now get some sort of tax money. When I was a young volunteer it was all donations. But lets look at the funding mechanisms. Idaho, as an example, allows the creation of a rural fire district, which is an entity with taxing power. These districts can be created by votes of the citizens within an area. And those within a district can opt out but get no service. So while this is govt it is as close as one can get to a completely voluntary govt.

        Re your comment: “I agree with the first half of Proud Progressive’s response: I would prefer all firefighte­rs get good pay, good benefits AND exceptiona­l life insurance so we don’t NEED volunteers­. ”

        Seems to me you have the cause/effect reversed here. As you admit in your next statement: “But that’s not realistic in rural areas.”

        This is the same flaw as the original argument. It is not that we NEED volunteers to avoid paying wages, it is that there is not enough demand for the service to support wages and benefits. Once that demand grows large enough, it becomes more efficient for the community to support a full time fire dept. Then the question becomes how to fund that dept.

        This creates the appearance that volunteer depts wouldn’t work in cities. But I am not so sure of that statement in totality. Certain equipment needed for high rise fire fighting may be needed in a centralized dept. But a lot of the other fire suppression and ems could still be done by volunteer depts scattered throughout the communities. Again, I don’t think it is truly a case of “can’t” work, but a case of people taking what they think is the “easier” way. But it is also the result of those who want to impose their belief on others that these services “must” be govt provided. They just can’t see any other way, because they have never been exposed to any other way. And I agree, Mr. Proud appears to be one of those types of people.

        I expect your experience with rural fire/ems is similar to mine. It actually contributes to a greater sense of “community” when your neighbors are the ones who show up when you need help.

  16. A little joke for Black Flag.

    One of my “Economist” friends told me this. I know – I didn’t know Economists had a sense of humor either – but I guess they do!

    Person #1: Knock Knock

    Person #2: Who’s there?

    Person #1: Austrian

    Person #2: Austrian who?

    Person #1: Austrian Economics

    Silence…

    Person #2: I don’t get it?

    Person #1: I know – no one does!! That’s what makes it so funny!!

    HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!

    • Whew – I can barely breath – I just can’t stop laughing!!

      Black Flag, If you don’t understand, I’ll explain it to you… 😉

    • To outsiders, macroeconomic “fiscal and monetary policies” have often appeared as reckless increases in government spending and money-pumping, but note that the macroeconomists themselves have always seen such policies as improving the functioning of capitalism. Their view is that a free market becomes lethargic unless government enlivens spending activity from time to time.

      August 4, 2011
      Macroeconomics and the Entitlement State
      By Mikiel de Bary, American Thinker

      It is high time to judge macroeconomics — the pseudo-economics of “aggregates” — as a disaster. We must challenge both the premises of the macroeconomists and their “policy” alternatives. Let us recognize them for what they are, namely, public relations consultants for the entitlement state.

      From its beginnings, which we can date from 1936 (the publication year of Keynes’s General Theory), macroeconomics emphasized (on rather vaguely argued grounds) the importance of the biggest numbers in business statistics — the so-called aggregates. The macroeconomists, as it were, even named themselves after these politically potent “macro” numbers and laid claim to an expertise precisely in tracking and, well, producing them.

      The supposed tie of macroeconomics to reality has always been its “national income and product accounting” — the vast statistical project that they claim “measures” aggregate production and, even, national economic performance. But the difficulty such accounting could never overcome (and, therefore, ignored) is its inability to do anything more than record aggregates of spending, which could never reveal much more than various unremarkable manifestations of change in money supply and velocity.

      In fact, though we are conditioned to believe otherwise, so-called “real GDP” has never given information as to aggregate physical production of goods and services, for it wholly evades the crucial fact that production increments induce spending only on themselves (and on closely-related production) at the expense of spending on other, competing goods. This means that new production cannot be the cause of an increase in aggregate spending, since it deflects, but does not increase, spending.

      Also mistaken has been the near-universal belief, taught in macroeconomics, that a rising grand spending aggregate implies improved national economic performance. In a large economy, such an increase is far more likely to signal that a central-bank money-pumping boom is in progress, resulting in malinvestment and, in due course, an inescapable bust. But business activity and employment arising from such artificial booms have little more right to be called improvements in national economic performance than did pyramid-building under the pharaohs. (And there has never been an “unemployment problem” to be solved by a central bank, but rather a government-war-on-employers problem to be solved, if ever, by some future generation of politicians.)

      Now, why did the macroeconomists find it expedient to label aggregate spending as the measure of production and aggregate spending as the indicator of “economic performance”? The clue to the answer is that their fundamental policy recommendation is long-term money supply increase, which can reliably alter virtually nothing other than aggregate spending. (Macroeconomics, then, was merely the 20th-century variant of the much older quackery of inflationism.) For the macroeconomists, the fuel for the economy is continual new money injections, their substitute for relying on the price system to guide production and for guaranteeing property rights to assure incentives to production.

      To outsiders, macroeconomic “fiscal and monetary policies” have often appeared as reckless increases in government spending and money-pumping, but note that the macroeconomists themselves have always seen such policies as improving the functioning of capitalism. Their view is that a free market becomes lethargic unless government enlivens spending activity from time to time. And, at least until our Great Recession, statisticians only rarely failed to report the aggregate spending increases that the macroeconomists promised and billed as “economic growth.” They claimed that this “growth” was clearly valuable both on its own merits and for encouraging tax receipts and facilitating the issuance of government debt that funded politically popular programs. Since most government taxes were collected as a percentage of spending and incomes, the higher the spending and incomes, the better it was for government revenues. Also, the more money that was pumped into the system, the easier it was for everyone — and certainly for governments, whose tax base continually rose — to borrow money.

      Some protested, or at least scratched their heads, but, in general, Americans bought the premise of macroeconomists being able to conjure an “age of growth.” It certainly suited generations of politicians (of both parties) and bureaucrats, who swiftly learned that collecting taxes and borrowing money were less noticed by constituents whose profits, wages, and property values rose in the wake of persistently rising spending aggregates. It is safe to say that attaining our current levels of federal government debt (over $14 trillion) or expenditures (trillions, annually) would have been inconceivable in the absence of the money supply increase achieved in accordance with macroeconomic policy. Consider that, in 1936, the year the General Theory appeared, money supply stood at near $30 billion, but by 2009 it had expanded under the government-guided banking system to near $6,000 billion (in checkable deposits, inclusive of money market funds, plus currency). Is it too cynical to suspect that the remarkable overlap of the interests of governments and the banking systems that they continually “bail out” is founded historically in the development of macroeconomics?

      In effect, macroeconomics was a two-step public relations strategy for those seeking to finance the entitlement state. Step 1 was to define the goal as aggregate spending increase (which, of course, you always refer to as “economic growth”). Step 2 was to have the central bank engineer a long-term expansion of the money supply. And (as a footnote to Step 2): Never forget that money supply expansion is the sine qua non in achieving increases in aggregates (i.e., “growth”) and that by it you will achieve your key (non-public) goals as well, namely, enhancing tax receipts and facilitating government borrowing.

      The subtext of the macroeconomic message was that one can hardly build the entitlement state — in America, at least — without deficit spending, Americans being exceptionally sensitive to outright taxation. Moreover, successful execution of the marketing strategy provides an invaluable, bipartisan, political bonus: the ability of successive administrations and Congresses to plead that their policies are all about “helping” the economy to achieve “growth.”

      The essential role of macroeconomics is to provide rationales to politicians, who want to spend more money, and to their central bankers, who earn esteem insofar as they create more money over the long term. This is why macroeconomists advocate central banking, a fiat currency and every legislative effort to free money growth from being in any way restricted by the supply of precious metals. This is why they sanction the 1913 government restructuring of our money and banking system, the 1933 confiscation of gold from American citizens, and the 1971 denial to foreign central banks of dollar-to-gold convertibility. Macroeconomists approve each of these events because they were required for the development of the late 20th century “growth” machine in support of the entitlement state. (To be sure, macroeconomists can, and sometimes do, advise governments to engage in so-called stimulus spending, another avenue of entitlement state expansion. But the bread and butter issue for macroeconomic policy is invariable: long-term monetary expansion as orchestrated by the central bank.)

      The macroeconomists characterize the pre-Fed money and banking system as an intolerable burden on the economy of the late 19th and early 20th century (the period during which America — surprisingly — became a world economic superpower). By the 1960s, they had fashioned the Federal Reserve System into a sophisticated fiat money creator for the late 20th century (the period during which America transformed itself into the sclerotic entitlement state now — surprisingly — in hock to the People’s Republic of China).

      In the U.S. and around much of the world today there exists the probability of cuts in entitlements. This is historically unprecedented and shows the macroeconomic project to be on the verge of collapse. For Europe, Japan, and the United States, the evidence for this is the de facto insolvency of their banking systems (which are burdened with unacknowledged collapses in prices of both real estate and sovereign loans), the desperate, ineffectual central bank “quantitative easing” (read: bank propping-up) programs, and continuing bailouts of governments and their banking systems at taxpayer expense.

      Today’s economic conditions should make clear the difference between “economic progress” and “macroeconomic growth.” Progress was what occurred when an un-subverted price system (last seen in the decades before World War I), along with its prerequisites, economic liberty and hard money, guided spending in a non-macroeconomic world, i.e., a world of relatively stable spending aggregates. “Growth” was merely the offspring of continual pumping of the money supply, which caused ever higher spending aggregates but effectively disenfranchised the price system even as it enabled increases in government spending and indebtedness.

      In all this there is a lesson for would-be opponents of the entitlement state: it is a mistake to join the macroeconomist’s cult of “growth” as indicator of economic progress, as savior of entitlement state programs, or as solution to the problem of government indebtedness. The economic progress we make (if any) is only what remains after deducting the cost of the entitlement state from macroeconomic “growth.”

      When the U.S. took substantial steps toward the entitlement state during the hard times of the 1930s, objections as to its affordability had considerable force, and many then still looked upon the palliative of “easy money” as immoral on its face. Owing to such quaint attitudes and the old-fashioned dicta of some pre-Keynesian economists, the entitlement state program was in jeopardy in its infancy. It faced what promised to be an endless public relations problem. To survive, it needed an effective rationale.

      Cue the macroeconomists, who reassured opinion leaders that the entitlement state was not only affordable but that growth of government and even deficit spending was downright advisable from the economic point of view. In Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union, a ministry of propaganda would have handled this sort of thing. In the U.S., the propaganda war against gold, small and balanced budgets, and a banking system free of government domination was merely outsourced to the macroeconomists, who became the financial advisors to the entitlement state, the economy’s chief enemy.

      • Hooray! National Debt tops 100% of US GDP!
        Rick Moran, American thinker

        I knew you could do it, Barry. It was simply a matter of putting your mind to it and not listening to the naysayers who believed it couldn’t be done.

        I must admit, it is a singular achievement — US national debt reaching 100% of our Gross Domestic Product. And the list of people who helped you in this extraordinary endeavor is long and full of distinguished politicians from both sides of the aisle.

        But really, don’t be modest. A lot of the credit goes directly to you and your, um, er, leadership in this matter.

        AFP:

        US debt shot up $238 billion to reach 100 percent of gross domestic project after the government’s debt ceiling was lifted, Treasury figures showed Wednesday.

        Treasury borrowing jumped Tuesday, the data showed, immediately after President Barack Obama signed into law an increase in the debt ceiling as the country’s spending commitments reached a breaking point and it threatened to default on its debt.

        The new borrowing took total public debt to $14.58 trillion, over end-2010 GDP of $14.53 trillion, and putting it in a league with highly indebted countries like Italy and Belgium.

        Public debt subject to the official debt limit — a slightly tighter definition — was $14.53 trillion as of the end of Tuesday, rising from the previous official cap of $14.29 trillion a day earlier.

        Treasury had used extraordinary measures to hold under the $14.29 trillion cap since reaching it on May 16, while politicians battled over it and over addressing the country’s bloating deficit.

        What do you do for an encore? Well, we can shoot for matching Greece, whose debt totals about 150% of GDP. That’s well within your sights over the next decade.

  17. What are you SUFA-ites so upset with Obama for? The 0.2%’ers are doing just fine. Why they aren’t “trickling down” their new found wealth is another story (because they fear health costs? Please) …

    Look … Even Marked Up, Luxury Goods Fly Off Shelves

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/04/business/sales-of-luxury-goods-are-recovering-strongly.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=High%20end%20stores&st=cse

    • Charlie, the Canoli Cooking Stella Meister…….I am not upset with Obama….he is nothing….I am upset with the newly elected conservatives that voted for the increase. So, my Veterans group and I, have found out who voted yes and who voted no from Texas. Those who voted yes….we will target them for a one term rep and try to replace them and they know it. We are already hearing from them.

    • Charlie

      So you claim they are NOT trickling down their wealth while pointing out that the sale of luxury goods has increased.

      It appears you have now moved from the land of communism to Star Trek World, where goods are simply produced by a computer without investment, labor or production by humans.

      • JAC; thanks for proving my theory about capitalism. You tell me, sir, has unemployment gone down (with all those sales of high end items)?

        Maybe the stores doing the selling shoudl fire their staffs and hire twice as many people at $2.00 below the minimum wage. That’ll help, right?

        Seriously, you guys kill me.

        • And i suspect the only people buying shoes priced at $1500 a pair are those who already own the government you guys keep claiming you want no part of … what a conundrum that must be …

          • Charlie

            Your connections, in other words your argument, is irrational.

            If some one is buying shoes then some one who makes shoes is working and making money.

            Unless of course the shoes are manufactured from thin air by the computer.

            • JAC, thanks again for pointing out just how absurd and WRONG all this “rational” crap is. The FACTS (of life, I might add). is that shoes going for $1500 (and all other high end items) are flying off the shelves and unemployment remains steady …

              Whoever is making the shoes, my friend, they aren’t doing it in the US&A … another victory for the Ayn Randers …

              • another victory for the Ayn Randers …

                I wouldn’t call it a victory. I would call it the inevitable reaction to increased government interference that Rand portrayed in her writing. There is a big difference between rooting for businesses to leave the USA and simply understanding that the more intrusion people such as yourself advocate, the less attractive operating inside the US borders becomes. I don’t celebrate when your policies cause businesses to leave the US. I simply recognize why they left.

              • SK Trynosky Sr says:

                Sorry, US, I’m with Charlie here. It ain’t the regulation, its is the cost of production and the amount of profit. It’s also the desire on the part of the public to have it all. Coming from a working class background in the 1950’s, we:

                Always had a used car and only one at a time
                wore hand me downs
                had one television (if we were lucky)
                had a pair of shoes for Sunday and School
                Had a pair of old shoes for after school (usually slightly tight)
                had one pair of US Keds for the entire summer
                played baseball without uniforms, adults or insurance
                rented an apartment
                could actually afford to attend a major league baseball game
                were taught not to eat lead paint
                vacationed at our relatives in the country
                had returnable (and reusable) deposit bottles
                rarely went to college unless we used the GI bill or a Scholarship
                went into the service after High School
                ate home cooked meals, always
                never heard of “fast food”
                started driving, not at 18 but when we could afford the insurance

                and about a gazillion other things that folks today wouldn’t tolerate.

                I’ve said it before and will say it again. We are our own worst enemies. Go to a union shop state, find a large employer, count the number of either foreign made or foreign profiting cars in the lot and shake your head. Most Americans own stock today through one entity or another. They demand a high return on their investment. If a high return can be generated by moving the manufacturing base overseas, then, so be it. The stockholders get a better return but find themselves without jobs at some point. Huge stock portfolios are owned by not-for-profits, charities, universities, pension plans. They demand a high return and in the process ultimately guarantee their own destruction when un or under employed Americans can no longer donate, pay for a higher education or have a pension plan. If I am wrong on this, I would appreciate somebody pointing out where.

                I am all in favor of the rich getting richer. I don’t even particularly want to tax them but I do not want some non-producing, multi-national, middle man to soak up the profits on that $ 1,500 pair of shoes, manufactured in Sri Lanka for $ 8.50. I’d prefer some poor legal immigrant in Fall River Mass. getting it.

                Perhaps the simplest, easiest way to turn things around is to revive American industry. We already know that we are better innovators but are being priced out of the market by a combination of labor and energy prices. Innovation, increased production and efficiency reduce labor cost. Reduce energy prices, revive the rust belt and see what happens. Pull out all the stops on energy production. If you are concerned with environmental damage, ask yourself if you really believe that industry leaders want to have rivers catch fire again, or see their children glow in the dark while they develop tumors or want the beaches covered with tar. Somehow, I don’t think so. Were there catastrophes in the past? Absolutely but you have to ask yourself that despite the Hollywood spin, were they deliberate?

                My wife is a pre-K teacher. Parents are routinely required to send in snacks and juice. For the past year or so, the juice has been coming in from traditional American manufacturers bearing labels indicating Chinese production. That is a WTF? moment if there ever was one. Based on a perusal of the local Shop Rite shelves, there are not many other choices out there. It gets better, the supposed reason for this loss is the loss of orchards in the US, (I know, doesn’t make sense to me either). The orchards are being lost to housing developers who are building on land that is contaminated with pesticides from crop spraying. The fruits, mind you, are safe because of FDA rules but the land is saturated. Another Love canal awaits or more probably another wonderful opportunity for trial lawyers who produce nothing useful and destroy and consume everything. Meanwhile, back at the ranch in Zhou Ching province, the fruits ARE NOT SAFE because there is no FDA. and trace amounts of arsenic are showing up in imported apple juice in the US.

                In the ideal world everyone would do the right thing because it was the right thing to do. No one would seek unfair advantage or to dominate their neighbor. This is the ideal world, it exists no more than the “perfect world” envisioned by Marx and Lenin. It tends to run headlong into free will and human nature. Throughout its history, man has demonstrated his ability to do really nasty things to his neighbors many times hiding behind noble words. A Randian society is something to strive for knowing full well that it can never be achieved. A man will invent a better mousetrap, the key to his success. Another man will try to steal it from him. The government will regulate it to death and he will get death threats from animal rights activists. Finally a slightly different version will be knocked off. mass produced in China, imported to the US and sold, initially, for less than it cost to produce.

                “We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal,that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to SECURE these rights, Governments ARE INSTITUTED among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” Churchill kind of said that thing about democracy being the worst form of government, except for all others. He was right. To me, the key words in the Declaration beyond Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness are “secure” and “are instituted”. We created it, we can change it, we should not destroy it nor bemoan it.

        • Charlie,

          Unemployment does not increase or decrease due to sales

          In today’s government distorted economy, the primary mover of unemployment is inflation and credit expansion. When credit expansion slows, unemployment goes up – when credit expansion increases, unemployment goes down.

          There has been billions poured into credit expansion, but it has all been absorbed by government – and not the market, thus, unemployment is going up.

          • Yeah, sure. Convince yourself, buddy.

            Something tells me Mr. Krugman might no better than you … http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/01/opinion/the-president-surrenders-on-debt-ceiling.html

            • Charlie,

              *sigh*
              As I said before, the economic understanding of the vast majority of Americans is utterly dismal.

              • Unemployment does not increase or decrease due to sales

                Tell it to JAC, he was using that “rational” argument.

                As for *sigh* … what we seem to understand is the widening gap that is crushing the middle class and poor. You blame it on government interference … and we can’t imagine how much worse it would be without government interference. What we do know (as fact) is that this government sure is doing a number on all of us (middle class & poor) while the wealthiest (whose wealth was never “earned” by their own sweat of the brow) seem more than happy with this government dog and pony show. The only good I see coming from all of it is a) revolution and b) anarchy … at this point either or both work for me …

              • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

                “and we can’t imagine how much worse it would be without government interference.”

                Charlie,

                Your problem is that you cannot imagine how much better it would have been had government never interfered in the first place.

  18. @ Ray….I am glad that you sent that to me…..most of it is interstate highway related, federally funded airport improvements for major airports, and dams for water conservation. However, there are some items that I found to be interesting…doing more investigation on some of this. What is also interesting are the districts. Most were in democratic districts that lost the elections. But thanks….I am really looking into this.

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      @D13 – the skeptic here is wondering how those ARRA funds have created sustainable long term value-producing jobs. Not that we do not need infrastructure improvements – we certainly do – using ARRA to create jobs to do those improvements has a positive economic effect – I just don’t think it is or should be lasting (e.g. “permanently” employing more government workers).

      • You have got me snooping now……Really snooping….I have very good connections at the Capitol. I have found that the stimulus money that was sent here did NOT have strings to it. It has gone to highways, airports, and dam and water projects….however, our newest big dam was built with bonds sold here locally. ( I know…I bought some of them ). BUT…..I have found something very interesting that slipped under the radar here on ARRA funds and some specific districts where they went and the projects for them that “donated” to some areas. Interesting. Thanks for the tip. I missed it. I am going to have fun with this.

  19. Ray Hawkins says:

    “Fertile Ground”: White Nationalists Organize Within Tea Party”

    Addressing a rally in April 2011, white nationalist lawyer William Johnson lamented the media scrutiny he drew with his recent failed campaign for a judgeship in California. “Ron Paul endorsed me for Superior Court judge, and I was on my way,” Johnson said. “No sooner than I’d put my hat in the ring than … it came out that Johnson is a white nationalist, that Johnson wants to create a separate white ethno-state, that Johnson supports the 14 words of [white power domestic terrorist] David Lane, that ‘We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children,’ and the media went wild with all of that, and Ron Paul withdrew his endorsement of me…because he did not believe in a separate white ethno-state and he didn’t know that I did.”

    A white ethno-state? The 14 words?

    Johnson sounded like he was at a neo-Nazi conference, as in 1986 when he addressed the Aryan Nations World Congress. But the banner hanging over the stage was not a Swastika flag. It read: “Tax Day Tea Party.”

    The April 16 rally in San Juan Capistrano, California, corresponded with more than 100 Tea Party rallies scheduled across the country for that Saturday. It was promoted on the website of Tea Party.org, also known as 1776 Tea Party, one of six well-established Tea Party umbrella groups. Its true organizers, however, were from American Third Position, or A3P, a white nationalist political party founded by racist skinheads. A3P did not respond to repeated inquiries for this article. Neither did 1776 Tea Party.

    Since April 2010, A3P members have organized, co-sponsored or freely distributed literature at no fewer than 10 Tea Party rallies in six states, including Augusta, Georgia; Harrison, Arkansas; Baton Rogue, Louisiana and throughout California, where A3P was founded in May 2009 by Freedom 14, a racist skinhead crew seeking to establish a more respectable-seeming political front group.

    Although it would be unfair to characterize the Tea Party movement on the whole as white nationalist, it’s clear that large gatherings of angry, conservative, predominately white Americans are viewed with relish by groups like A3P.

    “The Tea Parties are fertile ground for our activists,” said A3P Pennsylvania Chairman Steve Smith. “Tea Party supporters and the A3P share much common ground with regard to our political agendas.”

    The A3P official position on race in America is clear: “If current demographic trends persist, European-Americans will become a minority in America in only a few decades time. The American Third Position will not allow this to happen.”

    Johnson, the national chairman of A3P, has previously called for deporting all non-whites, regardless of citizenship.This includes anyone with any “ascertainable trace of Negro blood” or more than one-eighth “non-European or non-white blood.” A3P directors include white nationalist radio host James Edwards and California State University, Long Beach, professor of psychology Kevin MacDonald, who according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a leading authority on hate groups, is “the neo-Nazi movement’s favorite academic” because he theorizes that Jews are “genetically driven to destroy Western society.”

    At least two of the Tea Party rallies where A3P has distributed white nationalist literature were organized by local chapters of Tea Party Patriots, the largest Tea Party group in the country.

    Tea Party Patriots co-founder and national chairman Mark Meckler told Media Matters that it’s “numerically impossible” for his group to have representatives monitoring every rally sponsored by Tea Party Patriots.

    “As a national umbrella organization with over 3,500 chapters, we obviously don’t have folks from the national organization at every rally to monitor literature distribution,” said Meckler.

    Meckler said he was unaware of A3P or its presence at Tea Party rallies until contacted by Media Matters. “We would absolutely ban any white nationalist group from our organization if we found them to be trying to get involved,” he said. “We have a 100 percent zero tolerance policy towards this type of group. This type of activity has no place in the legitimate Tea Party movement. They [A3P] are hiding behind a Tea Party banner. Thanks for bringing this to our attention. We’ll be on the lookout.”

    Tea Party leaders have been on warning about racism in their ranks since last July, when the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People adopted a resolution calling on Tea Party leaders to condemn “racist elements” within the Tea Party movement and reject bigotry in their ranks.

    “We take no issue with the Tea Party movement. We believe in freedom of assembly and people raising their voices in a democracy,” NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous said in a written statement at the time. “What we take issue with is the Tea Party’s continued tolerance for bigotry and bigoted statements.”

    “The time has come for them to accept the responsibility that comes with influence and make clear there is no place for racism & anti-Semitism, homophobia and other forms of bigotry in their movement.”

    Right-wing reaction was typical. On Fox News, conservative political commentator Andrea Tantaros called the resolution a “ploy to get blacks angry, to get them out to vote. It’s class warfare, it’s race warfare.”

    Sarah Palin posted to her Facebook page: “I am saddened by the NAACP’s claim that patriotic Americans who stand up for the United States of America’s Constitutional rights are somehow ‘racists.’ The charge that Tea Party Americans judge people by the color of their skin is false, appalling, and is a regressive and diversionary tactic to change the subject at hand.”

    Ten days before the NAACP passed the anti-bigotry resolution, an A3P “super activist” team openly distributed A3P literature at a Tea Party rally in Morristown, New Jersey that drew roughly 600 attendees. “Everyone accepted our literature and we received enthusiastic responses from most takers,” read a bulletin posted to the A3P website. “Needless to say, [the Tea Party rally was] almost exclusively comprised of our people varying only by age, socio-economic status and temperament. … It is crucial that we network at…implicitly white activities such as Tea Parties and Euro festivals to bring the message of hope to our people.”

    Since the NAACP resolution was passed, A3P teams have continued to distribute literature at Tea Party rallies, most recently documented on April 16. On that date, at the same time the A3P-organized Tea Party rally in San Juan Capistrano, California, was preparing to get underway, A3P members in New Jersey handed out white nationalist pamphlets at the Tax Day Tea Party rally, once again in Morristown. [A3P has active chapters in 14 states, but is particularly strong in New Jersey, where in the summer of 2010 it absorbed the League of American Patriots, a white power group known for distributing racist pamphlets and requiring its members to be heterosexuals of “complete European American ancestry,” according to the SPLC.]

    The glossy color pamphlets A3P distributes at Tea Party rallies are subtle to a degree. They do not depict hate group symbols or quote the 14 words, and their language is careful. One pamphlet, “American Jobs For American Workers,” pledges to “Fight Crime and Restore Confidence.”

    “The PC madness that binds the hands of law enforcement will be scrapped, and the police will be allowed to do their job,” it reads. The same pamphlet explains that A3P will “expel illegal aliens” to protect “our people.”

    “It isn’t right and it isn’t fair that, while millions of Americans face unemployment or the prospect of unemployment, millions of foreign peoples are brought into our land against our will,” it reads. “It amplifies the problem, and our people deserve better.” Variations on this rhetorical sleight-of-hand using economic anxiety to promote white nationalist ideology are the main thrust of A3P’s participation in Tea Party branded rallies, whether in distributed literature or polemics from the stage.

    At the April 16 rally in San Juan Capistrano, Johnson was preceded at the podium by prominent Holocaust denier Mark Weber, director of the Institute for Historical Review. “Ladies and gentlemen, we’re here because we’re angry, we’re upset and we’re outraged at what’s happened to our country,” Weber said. “Our country has been transformed demographically and culturally during the past 50 years in a way that most of us never approved, never subscribed to…. As bad as the economic crisis is and has been for the past two years, and as bad as the problems are in Washington and in Sacramento about the budget, those pale in significance to the greater, deeper problems culturally and demographically in our society.”

    Later in his speech, Weber celebrated the Tea Party movement. “We’re here along with people who are meeting with rallies all over California and all over the country,” he said.

    He swiftly returned to attacking demographic change.

    Political leaders “lie and deceive our people,” Weber said. “Most of all they tell us this foolish lie, over and over, that ‘diversity is our strength.’ … It’s an effort to tell us all that we should not only accept but embrace our own dispossession as a people and as a country.”

    The A3P literature booth at the rally was located next to a booth maintained by the Council of Conservative Citizens. CCC opposes all efforts to “to mix the races of mankind” and has referred to African-Americans as a “retrograde species of humanity.”

    Musical entertainment came in the form of right-wing country singer Traven Tucker, best known for his blood-and-soil anthem “Ordinary Man.” Its lyrics are to the point:

    I got a rebel flag and a pickup truck/12-gauge shotgun I keep for luck/And I don’t like what I see.

    I’m a peaceful man, but you cross the line/Tell you now I don’t mind you dyin’/For my freedom to be free

    Take a good look into these eyes/It wouldn’t be prudent or wise/To spend another minute on my land.

    […]

    Well, I got an ideal and a little hope/Get a really tall tree and a short piece of rope/I’d say that’d do just fine/So I better see you get up on your feet/And I better see you run to hit that street/Get off before I change my mind.

    You don’t think I can change the world/Well I don’t think you understand/Don’t you ever underestimate me– I’m no average, I’m extraordinary man.

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      My take is that any group is bound to have some elements who coattail and use the visibility/access to shoehorn their message in. They are all guilty of that and its hard for the original group to easily extricate them and separate from them. Tough but worth the task.

      Thoughts?

      • Ray

        Disgruntled, disaffected, angry groups are always fertile ground for radical organizations. Whether “P” Progressives, Communists, or the neo Nazis. That is why we see the continued fanning of hate and anger.

        This is a very important subject to which BF and I have brought forward before. The efforts of the fringe are only a concern when the “mass” who is angry lacks a firm foundation of philosophical principles without contradiction. The fringe feeds on the fear which can only grow if these contradictions exist.

        The REAL Nazis used the same methods to gain control of Germany. First you infiltrate those groups representing large numbers. Then you begin to drive your agenda into the large group thinking with innocuous statements that seem to make sense, absent serious thought.

        Honestly, I don’t think these neo-Nazi groups will make significant inroads to the Tea Party nor substantially increase their membership from the tea party ranks. But it does pose a serious public relations problem for the Tea Party thanks to the same behavior from those on the left who wish to destroy the TP movement.

        We are certainly living in some very interesting times.

        • Ray Hawkins says:

          I thought the Media Matters article was somewhat irresponsible – which is why I posted the entire thing. It implies far more than it can evidence (because the evidence simply isn’t there).

          • Ray

            I agree. I was just trying to expand to address the fundamentals. Something a responsible “journalist” should have done.

            Media Matters is NOT objective. Of course I am not sure any news source is objective any longer.

      • Ray,
        I agree this is over-blown. But the Tea Party organizations do need to take pro-active steps to stop it. Otherwise they are condoning it.

        But there’s another issue here. When stuff like this happens to the Left (Acorn, Planned Parenthood, emails about social security), the Right goes nuts and won’t let it drop. Shouldn’t the same standard apply to both sides?

        • Todd

          Seems to me there is a difference between a small group showing up at a larger groups rally and circulating propaganda and a larger organization actually funding a smaller organization that acts badly.

          Not sure how you can call them the same.

          Also not sure what you expect the Tea Party to do about these folks beside openly state they do not support them nor condone their activity.

          I think there is a misconception about what the Tea Party is and how it functions. This includes the TP Patriot group. They are not the same type of “organization” as most political groups. It is not a multi level group. It is a collection of people using the name and the services of the “umbrella” organization. At least up to now.

          The Tea Party Express is a different animal, on the other hand. It is the traditional style organization and would have more “control” and thus accountability for those who participate in its rallies, meetings, etc etc.

          To the broader point you make, I agree that folks on both sides tend to over look or at least minimize their reaction to radicals on their side.

          • JAC,
            The Tea Party groups have been accused of racism for a long time. If they want to stop those accusations, they need to stop this type of activity from occurring at their events.

            If it’s a local Tea Party group under the banner of a national Tea Party group, the national group needs to make sure their standards are followed, because they are lending their support to the event. It’s doesn’t matter if the larger organization is actually funding the smaller organization. If they promote the event, they’re connected to it.

  20. Ray Hawkins says:

    “A ‘Wigger’ Homecoming: Officials At Predominantly White High School Defend Theme Mocking Black People”

    http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2011/08/03/286950/a-wigger-homecoming-officials-at-predominantly-white-high-school-defend-theme-mocking-black-people/

    For homecoming in 2009, the student council at Red Wing High School in Red Wing, Minnesota decided to go with a “tropical theme” for the dance. Instead, 60 students at the “predominantly white school” attended homecoming dressed for “Wigger Wednesday,” wearing costumes that “from their perspective” looked “black.” These included “oversized sports Jerseys, low-slung pants, baseball hats cocked to the side, and ‘doo rags’ on their heads.” The term “Wigger” is a pejorative slang term for a white person who mimics mannerisms, language, fashions, and stereotypes associated with black culture. It is “a portmanteau of either wannabee or white and nigger” and, here, is demeaning of African-Americans by mocking what the students interpreted to be their culture.

    By allowing a class to celebrate “Wigger” — or alternatively known there as “Wangsta” — Day, the high school has earned its very own federal class action lawsuit. Former Red Wing High School student Quera Pruitt, an African-American, filed the suit in Minnesota on behalf of an unnamed class of “all students who experienced discrimination as a result of Wigger Day” — a class that may include more than 40 people. The school principal and school district superintendent, however, still “den[y] the allegations that it has created a racially hostile environment.” The Huffington Post’s Steven Hoffer reports:

    Red Wing principal Beth Borgen and school district superintendent Karsten Anderson, both defendants in the suit, say the school is committed to creating a learning an environment free from discrimination.

    According to a 2009 article on KARE-11, students participating in “Wigger Day” that year were immediately sent to change their clothes, but no additional punishment followed.

    [Pruitt’s attorney Joshua] Williams, who is seeking $75,000 in damages for his client, did not know whether “Wigger Day” took place again in 2010.

    A statement from Anderson obtained by HuffPost says the district “denies the allegations that it has created a racially hostile environment and looks forward to meeting these allegations in court.”

    Of course, the fact that this day of racist revelry turns out to be a tradition at the school belies any diverse utopia school officials say they strive for. Williams notes that the school district actually admitted that “Wigger Day” “occurred in at least the ‘last couple of years‘” and yet still failed to prevent it from happening in 2009. Even though Pruitt and her mother “complained directly to school officials,” somehow the officials still want to deny the “racially offensive nature of Wigger Day.”

    Some students at the high school showed their continued, “proud” support for “Wigger Wednesday” by creating a Facebook group that explicitly — quite explicitly — vows to “keep wigger wednesday [sic] goin” until someone — presumably Pruitt or the principal — “quits.”

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      Maybe I suffer from a lack of sleep, too much Red Bull and the way I have been socialized by SUFA…..

      But I have to agree with a Think Progress commenter – a bunch of white kids making fun other white kids who try to embellish what the black kids wear, how they act, mannerisms —>> is not racism. Insensitive or dumb? Maybe. Racism? Discriminatory? Gimmee a f’in break!

      • Ray

        I told you that having kids would push you from the wrong side to the RIGHT side. 🙂

        I agree with your assessment of “wigger day”.

        I also noted that the article didn’t come right out and explain that this event is NOT sponsored by the School but is organized by the students outside the school approval system. And when they show up the school tries to “force” them to change their clothing. Which flies in the face of free expression which was supported by the “minor” groups so they could dress like gangstas at school.

        At its root, this is all caused by RAP music.

    • Gee Minnesota …up North….interesting

  21. Ray Hawkins says:

    Is Al Sharpton a host on MSNBC now? Whiskey Tango………

  22. Ray Hawkins says:

    From the files of “we are all so screwed”:

    “KING: They’ve called it preventative medicine. Preventative medicine. Well if you applied that preventative medicine universally what you end up with is you’ve prevented a generation. Preventing babies from being born is not medicine. That’s not— that’s not constructive to our culture and our civilization. If we let our birth rate get down below replacement rate we’re a dying civilization.”

    http://bobcesca.com/blog-archives/2011/08/the-end-is-nigh.html

    • Ray

      I noticed that neither Cesca or any of the comments seemed able to grasp the key ethical point made by KING. And these folks are the “intellectuals” in our society.

      Yes, WE ARE SO SCREWED.

  23. Good Morning America’s Jon Karl on Thursday placed the blame for a partial shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration on House Republicans, ignoring the role Senate Democrats have played.

    4000 thousand FAA workers have been furloughed, construction projects have been stopped, but Karl complained, “What’s the hold up? Republicans are insisting on cuts to a program that subsidizes flights to small rural airports.”

    He then played a clip of Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer attacking, “It’s the issue of hostage taking. It’s as if someone puts a gun to your head and says ‘give me your money’ and you say, ‘Why won’t you give them their money?'”

    Democrats weren’t mentioned once. The House has passed a short-term FAA funding bill through the September recess. As The Hill reported, “But Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) put a stop to those plans when he insisted on a ‘clean’ bill from the House, which will not return to Washington until Sept. 7.”

    Instead of explaining this, Karl focused on the Republican-controlled House. He narrated, “I caught up with the Republican House Transportation Secretary John Mica on the phone as he was leaving town. How can you leave town without it being resolved?”

    GMA viewers might be perplexed by Mica’s response. He explained, “Well, last time I checked I didn’t have a vote in the U.S. Senate.” This was the only time the word “Senate” was uttered in the whole segment.

    In a House letter that offered more information than a confusing four second clip, Mica informed:

    After 4 1/2 years and 20 previous extensions – 17 of which were passed by a Democrat-controlled Senate and House – Senate and House Democrats are now arguing that they don’t like the process, but it’s doubtful that complaining about the process is comforting to the families of those 4,000 furloughed FAA employees.

    As Redstate.com explained, there is a component of the standoff that relates to funding of little-used airports:

    The House bill cut a subsidy program to three rural airports, where the cost of subsidized flights was hopelessly uneconomical. One of those airports, White Pine County Airport in Ely, Nevada, enjoys a subsidy to the tune of $3,720 per passenger! [Read more about it here] Yet, Reid refused to relinquish his selfish pork, causing a partial shutdown of the FAA and the furloughing of 4,000 employees.

    Other than a one sentence description, Karl ignored this aspect.

    Over on MSNBC’s, Wednesday, Martin Bashir flatly blamed the GOP for leaving workers “in the lurch.”

    A transcript of the August 04, 2011 segment can be found below:
    Story Continues Below Ad ↓

    GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: We’re going to turn now to that standoff in Washington that’s having an impact on every airport in the country. For weeks, the FAA has been partially shut down because Congress couldn’t agree on its budget. So, now, thousands of FAA workers aren’t getting paid and thousands of others could lose their jobs and Congress has left town without solving the problem. ABC’s Jon Karl is at National airport right now. Good morning, Jon.

    ABC GRAPHIC: Congress Fails to Fund FAA: Thousands Unpaid: Airlines Keep Fees

    JON KARL: Good morning, George. This standoff has already cost the FAA $300 million, but the only people who can fix it are now on vacation. Thanks to inaction by Congress, more than 200 airport construction projects have ground to a halt. Leaving 4,000 FAA employees and some 70,000 construction workers out of their jobs.

    UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Everybody wants to play hard ball and hard ball hurt us.

    KARL: 40 Airport safety inspectors are even being asked to work without pay and to pay their own travel expenses. Second day in a row President Obama pleaded with Congress to end the impasse.

    BARACK OBAMA: So, this is a lose/lose/lose situation that can easily be solved if Congress gets back into town and does its job.

    KARL: I caught up with the Republican House Transportation Secretary John Mica on the phone as he was leaving town. How can you leave town without it being resolved?

    REP. JOHN MICA: Well, last time I checked I didn’t have a vote in the U.S. Senate.

    Read more: http://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/scott-whitlock/2011/08/04/abcs-jon-karl-blames-house-gop-faa-shutdown-skips-democratic-obstruc#ixzz1U551YhRE

  24. Charlie,

    As for *sigh* … what we seem to understand is the widening gap that is crushing the middle class and poor.

    That is a err in a view point.

    Consider, if I get richer faster than you, does that make you poor?
    No.

    Focus on the “wealth” gap is a sign of envy, and nothing else.

    IF you argue that the middle class is getting poorer, I will agree with you – but it has nothing to do with any other economic class getting richer or poorer.

    You blame it on government interference

    Absolutely correct.

    … and we can’t imagine how much worse it would be without government interference.

    The Free Market system is why there exists a prosperous middle class and its destruction is directly due to government action.

    Government command economies are incredibly bad in economic outcomes (bad being “creating mass poverty”)

    What we do know (as fact) is that this government sure is doing a number on all of us (middle class & poor) while the wealthiest (whose wealth was never “earned” by their own sweat of the brow) seem more than happy with this government dog and pony show.

    Your concept of earn is flawed.

    The wealthy are NOT happy with government imposition either.
    Their advantage over you is they have more capacity to avoid it then you do. But it costs them dearly too.

    The only good I see coming from all of it is a) revolution and b) anarchy … at this point either or both work for me …

    The question – can we avoid blood running in the street?

    • Focus on the “wealth” gap is a sign of envy, and nothing else.

      You really need to get over this already. It’s absurd.

      As for blood running in the street … my guess is soon as it looks that way, there will be a program to put people back to work (WPA-like) and all those with jobs can shovel dirt again. I doubt it’ll ever be repaired the way it should, but that’ll be because greed can travel at the press of a button and it no longer needs the USA. So it goes …

      • Charlie

        Get over what?

        You keep raising the point as if it is meaningful in some economic or social way – but it is not – it is meaningless UNLESS you are advocating envy.

        So I believe it is YOU who continues to be absurd.

      • Charlie,

        my guess is soon as it looks that way, there will be a program to put people back to work (WPA-like) and all those with jobs can shovel dirt again. I doubt it’ll ever be repaired the way it should, but that’ll be because greed can travel at the press of a button and it no longer needs the USA. So it goes

        The fallacy of “effort” = “value”.

        Work programs – which replace machines with men – is massively counterproductive – that is the key word – productivity

        Wealth is generated by increasing productivity, not be decreasing it. But government is not interested in economics – it is interested in politics, and thus advocates bad, non-economic action.

        The repair – leave people alone to find their own way to serve others. That’s how Americans got rich before, and it the same answer for Wealth of Nations today.

        • That’s how Americans got rich before

          Old money in America “got rich” via exploitation of workforces here and abroad. How they maintained that wealth is by buying the government and inheritence. Do away with and see how “rich”/powerful they stay?

          • Charlie,

            Why do you care so much about other people’s wallets??
            Why do you not take care of your own wallet?

            You are not begging in the street today, because your grandparents benefited from the ability to own private property, trade freely, and pursue their own goals…..and you are benefiting from that also today for yourself.

            Don’t worry about other people – live your own life!

          • The same people that were rich before…..will be rich again.

          • @Charlie

            I would like to see the claim that “Old money in America “got rich” via exploitation of workforces here and abroad,” be backed up with some evidence. As is normally the case, this appears to be little more than emotional rhetoric thrown out there by those on the left side of Washington, and accepted by you and many others. I don’t mean that as a slap at you, just an observation.

            Are there people in the world of “old money” who got rich via exploitation of workforces here and abroad? Absolutely. But much like any other claim against a broad group of people, I am willing to bet that the majority of those folks do not fall into this category. How many families that got rich off of slavery actually still have wealthy families? Are there any numbers you can find? How many people that owned a factory actually treated their workers badly and exploited their customer base? Are there any numbers you can find? We all know the big names and their actions, but does that really mean that they all did so? Or is the reality that the vast majority of business owners acted morally and built their business through work ethic and offering a product or service that people needed? Millions and millions of successful businesses and families exist or have existed in the past. We only have a couple hundred examples of those business owners do bad things.

            I have come to believe that broad statements against the wealthy are little more than propaganda designed to justify broad actions against them.

            • It is a broad statement (mine), but it doesn’t only include slave owners. Exploitation of workers (here and abroad) is pretty much why unions evolved (here) and revolutions occurred in third world countries (why many of our foods were so cheap to us). As regards old money, I suggest watching the Johnson & Johnson kid documentary (The One Percent) for a better understanding of how inheritance keeps the money (power) where it started.

              I don’t have the time today to do the research for every example of worker exploitation (what brought unions about in the first place), but I think it is self evident (why government regulations were necessary, whether it was child labor laws, safety codes, etc.). Those may be outdated today, especially for small businesses, but they didn’t come about because workers were looking for an easy way out. I think you know my argument (the one most here won’t agree with, including those on the left) that requires profits be genuinely earned and not passed upwards like some pyramid (or mob) paradigm. I just don’t agree with it.

              We’re at a crossroads in America now, I think, where the ever widening gap will result in nothing good for the masses (not people who choose to sit on their assess and scam the system, but people who’ve lost their jobs to technological advances, outsourcing and manufacturing that left the country). Sure we can reduce wages here (to profits can increase) and put more people to work (thus making our workforce as third-world as possible), but that seems a bit closer to the exploitation that produced the inequity in the first place.

              I appreciate the civil tone, by the way. Good job.

              • USWeapon says:

                🙂

                And I appreciate the non-rhetoric filled answer. I think this is a discussion I would like to pursue further at some point. Perhaps I should do an article and set it up with where I stand and we can go from there. What I am interested in pursuing is the concept of “fixing” that you espouse versus what I think will happen if we take that route.

  25. The POLITICAL SPIN MACHINE lost temporary control. But the Bosses are now herding the sheep into a bunch and pointing them in the same direction.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/04/debbie-wasserman-schultz-debt_n_918440.html

    My interpretation. The Obama campaign and DNC leadership suddenly realized that allowing the belief that Progressives lost on this deal spread could negatively impact Mr. O’s re-election.

    So as of today………..The Dems won and once again Mr. O is a freaking political genius. Which of course means that Ms. Debbie is in complete agreement with Rush Limbaugh. Today up is down and down is up.

    For the record, I DO believe that the “establishment” was the primary winner with the D’s getting the better outcome. The only thing the Tea Party won was to help force a change in the debate. But as we see, it may not last long if the “establishment” is effective with its propaganda campaign.

  26. Economics 101…..Long but worth reading.

    General Electric had a very good year in 2010. Over $14 billion dollars in global profits with over $5 billion coming from the United States. This story is multi-faceted. Many will demonize them as just another evil, greedy corporation. While the bulk of the country suffers through our current economic malaise, G.E. is surviving nicely, thank you. The company CEO, Jeffery Immelt, is a D.C. beltway insider of the highest order with access to the President as often as he feels the need. Not only does his company benefit from a political landscape tilted his way, he has actively helped in shaping it.

    G.E. not only didn’t pay any corporate income taxes in 2010, they will receive a $3.2 billion dollar tax credit. Of course, they employ an army of tax professionals that work 24/7 to ensure that G.E. maximizes all tax loopholes each year to minimize the tax burden. G.E. has been far more successful than virtually any other U.S. corporation at reducing their tax burden.

    Should you be upset at General Electric? Mad that they make out like a bandit while the average Joe is getting pummeled? Absolutely not! Let’s remember exactly who pays corporate taxes in America. You do. The consumer. Corporate taxes are simply a portion of the cost structure that goes into pricing a product or service. Corporations do not pay these taxes. They are merely the middleman who collects the tax from the consumer and pays it to the government.

    The same goes for wages. Henry Ford was infamous for stating that it was Ford’s customers that paid the companies payroll. They merely served as the middleman. This can be said to be true for any costs that a business incurs. It is factored into the price they charge and those costs are ultimately borne by the end consumer.

    It’s interesting to see the screaming headlines about G.E. making huge dollars and not paying taxes. It fits right in with the Obama public posturing that demonizes excessive corporate profits, yet it is in many respects a direct result of his “green” agenda that has benefited G.E. so well through subsidies. Obama likes to play both sides of the fence. Publicly deride corporations while greasing palms in the shadows.

    What’s the guy on the street supposed to think? He can see the CEO’s with the phenomenal pay and benefit packages they seem to get regardless of the profitability of the company or the status of the economy. When the economy dips, the companies tighten their belts and Americans lose their jobs or take concessions. They make multi-billions in profits and pay no taxes at all? It’s enough to drive a guy mad.

    Let’s remember a few things concerning corporate America first. The United States has the second highest corporate tax rate in the free world at 35%. Only Japan is higher. That was set to be lowered but we’ll have to see how the earthquake/tsunami disaster will affect tax policy going forward. At any rate, this is precisely why G.E. has billions of profit dollars parked overseas in tax havens and shelters they created themselves through their army of lobbyists. They don’t want to bring it home and invest it here domestically because of the huge tax hit awaiting them if they do.

    This is a common theme throughout corporate America. It’s why a high tax rate always results in less overall tax revenue. Corporations will exploit every loophole possible to protect their profits. It’s no different from what an individual does when doing his personal taxes. Corporations have a fiduciary responsibility to MAXIMIZE profits for their shareholders. It is their obligation and duty. Any of this rhetoric we hear concerning a corporation having any type of moral obligation toward creating jobs or reducing profits as some sort of consumer benefit is just garbage. A company is in business for one reason and one reason only. To maximize profits and realize as great a return on their investor’s investment as possible. Period.

    If we as Americans have a problem with this simple fact, we need to amend our Constitution and move towards more of a government controlled economy rather than a free market, capitalist economy. Hey, come to think of it, that’s exactly what our government is doing already! That’s Obamanomics!

    If you watch the media spin machine, you will see lots of demonizing of G.E., including Fox News and many on the right. They don’t understand a market economy any more than the left that hates corporate America, at least publicly.

    They should view a highly profitable corporation as a good thing. That means they’re employing Americans and their investors are making money. They should view a corporation paying no corporate income taxes as a good thing. That means those tax burdens aren’t being passed on to the consumer through higher prices.

    We need to do away with our backwards thinking taxation policies. High tax rates lead to proven less overall revenues. They are a deterrent to attracting global business. They encourage companies to spend resources in devising ways to hide or shelter income from burdensome taxation. In short, nothing good comes from high tax rates. Simplifying the tax code and eliminating the myriad complex of loopholes will eliminate the incentive to hide profits. Doing away with high tax rates will lead to lower prices, higher tax revenues and more jobs for Americans.

    You can be mad at G.E. for exploiting the system and retaining as much of their profits as they can. You would be better served to direct your anger at the taxation policies of our government. They hold all the cards. They have the key to unlock business growth through tax rates and they hold the key to eliminating tax evasion efforts by streamlining the tax collection policies. The forgotten benefactors from the whole taxation scheme are the accountants and lawyers that are necessary to decipher the tax code maze and find a way for their clients to beat the system. That’s a huge lobby. It’s the last thing they want to see is a simple tax system implemented that would obsolete their professions.

    This translates over into Wall Street and the big banks as well. The banksters always, always, always profit off of us in good times and bad. That’s a byproduct of the system in place that allows it. Getting mad at the banks doesn’t solve a thing. Their certainly not going to grow some sort of conscience and change their ways. We must change the system. It starts with the Federal Reserve. They are the ultimate enabler of the plots and schemes hatched by the banks that pilfer our wealth away. The Fed must go away.

    It’s analogous to getting mad at the criminal for stealing our car when we leave it unlocked with the keys in the ignition. We have a flawed system in place that allowed it to happen. Locking up that criminal is fine, but they will just be replaced by another one. Corporate policies only serve to maximize profits through all available opportunities. Lobbying politicians is a completely legal way of tilting the playing field in their direction.

    Who benefits the most when we are outraged at corporations? It’s not us. It’s the players in the scheme that the system was created for. And what do we demand when we see the players benefit? Why, we ask for more involvement from the system creators leading to more of the same. The definition of insanity. Unfortunately, most of us are simply too short-sighted to see the big picture.

  27. Coyote

    The Governor of California is jogging with his dog along a nature trail.
    A coyote jumps out and attacks the Governor’s dog, then bites the
    Governor.
    1. The Governor starts to intervene, but reflects upon the movie “Bambi”
    and then realizes he should stop because the coyote is only doing what is
    natural.
    2. He calls animal control . Animal Control captures the coyote and bills
    the State $200 testing it for diseases and $500 for relocating it.
    3. He calls a veterinarian. The vet collects the dead dog and bills the
    State $200 testing it for diseases.
    4. The Governor goes to hospital and spends $3,500 getting checked for
    diseases from the coyote and on getting his bite wound bandaged.
    5. The running trail gets shut down for 6 months while Fish & Game conducts
    a $100,000 survey to make sure the area is now free of dangerous animals.
    6. The Governor spends $50,000 in state funds implementing a “coyote
    awareness program” for residents of the area.
    7. The State Legislature spends $2 million to study how to better treat
    rabies and how to permanently eradicate the disease throughout the world.
    8. The Governor’s security agent is fired for not stopping the attack. The
    State spends $150,000 to hire and train a new agent with additional special
    training re: the nature of coyotes.
    9. PET A protests the coyote’s relocation and files a $5 million suit against
    the State.

    Texas:

    The Governor of Texas is jogging with his dog along a nature trail.
    A Coyote jumps out and attacks his dog.
    1. The Governor shoots the coyote with his .45 ACP pistol and keeps
    jogging. The Governor has spent $0.50 on a .45 ACP hollow point cartridge.
    2. The Buzzards eat the dead coyote.
    And that, my friends, is why California is broke and Texas is not.

  28. Colonel, I brought my response down here. 🙂

    but I am willing to listen to other suggestions except two. Let the Feds handle it and let it go. Those are the two I will give no credence to….

    There is a great need for true reform in our immigration policies. I have written on this before at Gman’s blog and offer the link here in case you missed it http://gmanfortruth.wordpress.com/2011/03/29/mother-may-i-immigration-reform/

    It isn’t quite a “let it go” but does reform the Feds activities, but is an opening point in further determining positive and specific reform options. I believe and I would speculate that using the ideas I proposed we would see a great decrease in illegal immigration in the US. Can I prove it? Nope, but it seems to me to be a likely outcome. I will also venture to say that the need to have an ineffective border fence will no longer be necessary. That ‘fence” has been one of the political boondoggles of our government. The border, short of permanent deployment of military forces, can not be “secured” in the manner most conservatives seem to demand (and I question how tightly we could even secure the border using military forces without trampling all over the personal and property rights of our citizens?). It interests me in how it’s only been 80ish years since there has been a Border Patrol to monitor the border. Prior to that there was nothing preventing anyone from crossing the borders (in either direction) and the nation didn’t seem to be concerned.

    Throughout the history of the United States immigration policy & law, most of the demands to restrict immigration has been motivated by prejudice, bigotry and racism (which can easily be inferred looking down a timeline of US immigration: http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/historyonline/immigration_chron.cfm).

    Fraud is fraud and we are not intervening in any physical way. We simply report it.

    Okay, but people are actively and purposefully engaging in activities to monitor and identify this particular illegal activity. That’s even more than DHS (at the moment) is asking of people in the “see something, say something” program. It is actively choosing to try and police society by gathering information to relay to authorities. Would it not be more productive to demand you state exercise better policing over the activities instead? This isn’t a case of seeing a drunk driver and calling it in for police action.

    the stores are not monitoring this.

    Why be amazed by this? Many working in those stores may have no idea of the rules and requirements for the use of food stamps or the training to deal with potentially hostile confrontations. Seems the failure is upon the State for lack of monitoring and enforcement – much like how many blame the Feds for over the failure to monitor and enforce immigration laws, no?

    I am very surprised at how many seniors bring in SS checks to the Bingo parlors and spend their money there. It is theirs to spend of course, but it appears that they are trying for the “big hit”

    No different than a person spending their paycheck in any casino, card parlor, etc. People always dream of the big hit, living the easy life when they get lucky and do. Not the smartest way to spend their money, but then…….it is theirs.

  29. Good morning, sir……and how are you on this…..ummmmm…..109 degree day?

    Fair points all……

    Plainly says: No different than a person spending their paycheck in any casino, card parlor, etc. People always dream of the big hit, living the easy life when they get lucky and do. Not the smartest way to spend their money, but then…….it is theirs.

    D13 responds: Yes, it is theirs and I offer no challenge to it….just amazed. Granted it is no different than casino’s or slots, or cards…..not saying that…just amazed that they “appear” to be careless with their money in times when carelessness is not a viable option. Just don’t understand it. But…. ya te hey………………

    • In response to your point that there used to be no problem..you are right…we crossed the border pretty easily but back then, there was no major fiscal issue….now it is a major if not catastrophic drain on the local economy. An entirely different situation.

      • “a major if not catastrophic drain on the local economy” created by turning people who could be productive and put into the system into criminals through our own misguided and poorly considered policies (and in a fair amount because of prejudices and biases against those of other races).

        An entirely different situation that the US created and currently refuses to take strong and effective steps to rectify. One side demands an amnesty that won’t be occurring and the other side pins everything on “securing” the border, which is not going to happen no matter how much fence one actually gets built (at an outrageous cost to the taxpayers that the fault will be laid on those very illegals). Ergo, no change in the continued fighting over it all.

        The best answer is still – IMHO – working to do exactly what needs to be accomplished, bringing the illegals out of the shadows to become positive and producing members of society. This States and the US will never successfully find and deport the 10-20 million “illegals” currently in the country, but will waste a lot of tax monies trying.

        • I need to elaborate in the portion of the comment where no change will occur in immigration policy and law. It won’t under in the current atmosphere of “do what we want first, then we’ll consider what you want” politics.

          Plus, if the federal government won’t take action, why is it that the States – like Texas – are only willing to enforce federal laws on immigration and not change the status of illegals in Texas through some process of gaining eventual state citizenship? Now that would be Texas showing its independence in a positive way!

          • YOu must have missed my post on the policy that is being implemented by Perry. Texas is willing to issue a State of Texas work permit provided:

            (1) the illegal immigrant come forward and sign up for it. If they do this within 12 months, there will be no charges or fines filed or levied and no deportations. Failure to do so within that 12 months, the charges filed will be criminal.

            (2) Texas has also implemented a policy to employers that have hired illegal immigrants to come forward without penalty in this same 12 months. Failure to do so after the 12 months, the employers will lose their State franchise and authority to do business in Texas.

            The problem, however, is that the Obama administration is fighting this. Saying that Texas has no authority to do so.

            The other problem is that the Hispanic organizations are also fighting it.

            • Yep, I missed your posting on that. Good beginnings for clearing up the problem in Texas at least. Is the State working to overcome the negative feelings in the Hispanic communities and the resistance from Hispanic groups to these steps being offered? Working as diligently that is as the State is in pushing to enforce immigration laws? How convinced are the State Democrats (who have the support of Hispanics and Hispanic groups) of the benefits to the illegal immigrant population? If they are on the side of the actions being instituted they could go a long way to turning the Hispanic population into supporters of the initiatives.

              That the feds are fighting against the idea isn’t surprising – they lose authority when successfully resisted, so they have to fight against anything they perceive as an assault on their power – even if it is a positive action by a State. This would occur regardless of the administration in the White House.

        • Plainlyspoken,

          Careful, you’re starting to sound like a “moderate”!! 😉

          That will get you in a lot of trouble here!

          • Todd,

            No worries, I’ve been a moderate most of my political life really. Extremism never gets us anywhere for very long. So, if that gets me in trouble, that’s nothing new for me. 😉 I’ll call em as I see em, can’t do more than that.

            Now, don’t confuse my moderate stances with the idea I don’t believe in some pretty hard changes to government, its size, and its funding. I still believe there is a great deal that can be done away with and allow the States to handle it while the Feds carry out their limited responsibilities (likely somewhat broader than what is Constitutionally declared in plain language). Being that way insures I get in trouble from both sides. 🙂

      • Oh, and was that the only portion of my comment (besides the seniors spending their checks) that was of any interest?

    • I agree..amazing they would do such a thing in the current economy.

    • Kathy…..economics 101.5

      When inflation and/or recession hits……banks will charge a fee to handle large cash deposits because they cannot loan money out to collect interests. It will be the other way around……it will cost you money to deposit your cash and let it sit.

      • Crazy, crazy times we are living in.

        • Kathy,

          Actually, no, it is not crazy.

          They explained it right here – and I agree with that assessment – as I will explain after the quote:

          The letter said Bank of New York finds its deposits “suddenly and substantially increasing” as investors are in a mass “de-risk” mode. The bank said the decision was driven by the fact that it cannot invest much of the new deposits because clients have the ability to move the funds out at any moment.

          Bank cash deposits are treated a bank asset to the FED reserve on a 1-to-1 basis.
          The bank then can lend out 90% of the money.

          But the promise of a cash deposit is “instant” withdrawal – but banks lend “long”; repayment terms measured in months, years, and decades.

          They “borrow” short and lend “long” – and thus, the threat of a sudden withdrawal risks their capital.

          When you withdraw $1, the bank needs to draw down that $1 from its reserves, which mean it also has to call back in loans 90% or 90c.

          The Reserves in a bank are usually liquid enough in most circumstances – but a sudden, large, withdrawal could threaten insolvency as the loans cannot be called back in time.

          Add on top of this that there is still huge risks in non-performing loans in the market.

          So this particular bank is motivating its clients into long term deposits.

          However, this is a huge signal for the observant

          The banks are stuffing their reserves into the FED, just like clients are stuffing their reserves into cash deposits with banks.

          Stable at a few billion – then straight up to $2.7 trillion.

          This is money the banks have, but not lent out. They do not trust the market, so they, too are deep in cash.

          However, the FED will force these banks to lend by charging them – too – a fee to hold cash.

          Then, watch the inflation rate explode.

  30. The truth about the new employment numbers.

    From electric city weblog.

    “Written by Dave Budge on 05 August 2011

    The Employment Report this morning had two marginally good headlines:

    1. The Economy Created 117,000 jobs in July
    2. The Unemployment Rate dropped .1% to 9.1%

    Predictably, Labor Sec. Hilda Solis came on TV telling us that the news is encouraging but we still need to do more. Well, I’m not so sure how the Obama Admin plans to do more but I’m sure that an alternative reading of the numbers should have made it into the headlines.

    The “jobs created” number comes from the Establishment Survey while the Unemployment Rate comes from the Household Survey. If we were to use the Household Survey to look at job creation we would actually find this:

    According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics breakdown, there were 139,296,000 people working in July, compared to 139,334,000 the month before, or a drop of 38,000.

    So, how did the unemployment rate go down?

    It’s a product of something the government calls “discouraged workers,” or those who were unemployed but not out looking for work during the reporting period.

    This is where the numbers showed a really big spike—up from 982,000 to 1.119 million, a difference of 137,000 or a 14 percent increase. These folks are generally not included in the government’s various job measures.

    So the drop in the unemployment rate is fairly illusory—stick all those people back in the workforce and you wipe out the job creation and the drop in unemployment.

    Gee Charlie, it looks like your boy’s media people are playing games with the numbers again……………..when are ya’s goin to learn.

    • Charlie? My boy’s?

      WTF, Jack?

      Just so you’re no longer confused Jack. My preference is socialism first (nationalize every corporation in the country). If not socialism, anarchy (but for very different reasons that BF). Nothing to do with the false god of “liberty” and everything to do with the greater good.

      I’d probably off a few CEO’s, bankers and much of Wall Street, too … at least drop them in Rikers for a few years to let them pay for what they’ve done … with the entire US Government (“my boy included” as well as your “tea party boys”) … all in the joint for, say, 20 years or so. Let them fend for themselves while we take bets, televise it on HBO as a pay per view event and use the revenue for the greater good.

  31. 😀

  32. Devil’s Advocate

    Thought I would respond to the Colonel’s post regarding economics 101. Specifically the issue of whether Income Taxes on Corporate profits are passed on to the consumer, or not.

    I say SOMETIMES. The extent to which they are passed on depends on the pricing mechanisms for the products and the willingness of the market place to pay more. Corporate Income Tax is paid on profits, so they can not be simply added to the product/service price when you have no idea what they are.

    The next factor is the “net profit” goal of the company. You know, the amount you actually get to keep, after tax. If this value is to low after tax then you either raise your prices, cut your costs or some combination. Of course you also play the tax code game to its fullest potential.

    But here again, ALL the taxes are not “passed on” to the consumer, necessarily.

    If you have inelastic pricing available then taxes reduce your cash available for new hires or capital investments. If this is not enough, then the taxes can force you to “borrow” money you would have had but now don’t. So then you go broke because the market won’t allow you enough profit to pay off the loan.

    Didn’t want to get to detailed but I did want to raise a point about this theory of income taxes being passed to the consumer.

    Sales Tax is another matter. I still maintain the consumer pays this tax but may consider the total cost is the purchase decision. However, the sales tax represents an “opportunity cost” to the business. Because the business is forgoing additional gross revenue that could have been captured if the tax did not exist.

    So there you go. Some late Friday gobbly gook to think about.

    • Good morning Devil……errr JAC……..

      I did not want to go into opportunity costs as most do not understand it. As a corporation, we estimate the amount of tax we are going to pay…we then apply an indexed cost analysis on the amount of tax that we need to make up in order to maximize our return on investment as well as costs. Profit, if you will. Most people identify profit with income over expenses….and do not relate to cash flow. We determine profit from cash flow and not paper manipulations. While we index our costs we also allow for profit and build that into the price. It is easier since we supply raw materials and we are service oriented as well.

      Good day, sir. Hope you are well and staying cool.

      • D13

        Good morning Colonel.

        If I understood you correctly you are agreeing with the Devil. You have some pricing power on the sale side so you are able to allocate some or all of your predicted taxes into the price of goods/services sold. But of course this will raise the amount of taxes you pay because your taxable income will increase. A perpetual chase of the rabbit until your prices reach market cap.

        I agree, Cash Flow is KING. My other maxim is Real EQUITY = WEALTH.

        I am certainly staying cool. Not a single day over 90 during July. Yesterday was high of 82.
        A most “different” place than what I am used to, to say the least.

        Best to you and yours this fine Sat morning.
        JAC

  33. Todd,

    S&P issues unprecedented downgrade of US credit rating, saying debt package falls short.

    Well, it looks like the “T-party” lost the fight, and the markets do not like that result!

    Hope all of you bought gold last week, and sold your stock and T-bills …. Monday is going to be a bitch!

    • S&P said it was now “pessimistic about the capacity of Congress and the administration to be able to leverage their agreement this week into a broader fiscal consolidation plan that stabilizes the government’s debt dynamics anytime soon.”

      LoL — no kidding.

      S&P is first out of the gate – they shrugged off the Treasury Dept. strong arm tactics in an attempt to claim the high ground first, and distance themselves from Moody’s … who has been under the command of Treasury for awhiel…

      The Titanic has just realized that the bulkheads do not seal to the top of the deck….. hope you are not watching the band play on the deck…

    • BF….you know good and well the T party did not lose the fight…….they did not fight……they had a chance to do something meaningful and they friggin’ compromised. You know it and I know it. The markets were looking for some back bone and got spineless instead. Obama and the dems are laughing their collective asses off yet again…You will also not see good people on this super committee. You and I both know that as well. I do not see Monday as anything….but stupid selloffs….but that is ok. This economy needs a knot jerked into it.

  34. The US Postal Service warned on Friday that it could default on payments it owes the federal government, just days after the US government itself narrowly averted a default.

    …the first of many…

    • I was just informed yesterday that the local Post Office in my small hometown will be closing in two months…for good.

      • We were threatened with that too. Then suddenly in the last few years my city and two adjoining cities got brand new post offices. Shakin my head….

    • Right now, BF, I view this as scare tactics….the same as I am viewing Fannie Mae as more scare tactics…..We shall see what MOnday holds…..not much I bet. But hell, I have been incorrect before.

  35. Obamas anti drilling and green energy policies are increasing our economic stagnation. Opening up more areas for drilling and decreasing regulations on our industry would do wonders to increase the economic turnaround. A blind fool could see this. You have to be kidding yourself if you leftist batshit crazy lunatics cannot logically deduce this fact for yourself. These elitist “governing” maniacs HAVE to know this and therefore a reasoning man should understand through deductive logic that they want our economy to tank. There is no other conclusion that can be made. This should anger all Americans. Why doesn’t it?

  36. Straight outta Baghdad Bob’s playbook, Geithner on Tuesday on FBN

    There is no chance that the U.S. will lose its top credit rating, Geithner said

    “No risk of that, no risk,”

  37. No matter what our kids and the new generation think about us,

    WE ARE AWESOME !!!

    OUR Lives are LIVING PROOF !!!

    To Those of Us Born 1925 – 1970

    First, we survived being born to mothers who may have smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant. They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn’t get tested for diabetes.

    Then, after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-based paints.

    We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, locks on doors or cabinets, and, when we rode our bikes, we had baseball caps, not helmets, on our heads.

    As infants and children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, no booster seats, no seat belts, no air bags, bald tires and sometimes no brakes.

    Riding in the back of a pick- up truck on a warm day was always a special treat.

    We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle.

    We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle, and no one actually died from this.

    We ate cupcakes, white bread, real butter, and bacon. We drank Kool-Aid made with real white sugar. And we weren’t overweight.

    WHY? Because we were always outside playing…that’s why!

    We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.

    No one was able to reach us all day. –And, we were OKAY.

    We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride them down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes.. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem..

    We did not have Play Stations, Nintendos and X-boxes. There were no video games, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVDs,
    no surround-sound or CDs, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet and no chat rooms.

    WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

    We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth, and there were no lawsuits from those accidents.

    We would get spankings with wooden spoons, switches, ping-pong paddles, or just a bare hand, and no one would call child services to report abuse.

    We ate worms, and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.

    We were given BB guns for our 5th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls, and -although we were told it would happen- we did not put out very many eyes.

    We rode bikes or walked to a friend’s house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them.

    Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn’t had to learn to deal with disappointment…..Imagine that!!

    The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

    These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers, and inventors ever.

    The past 50 to 85 years have seen an explosion of innovation and new ideas…

    We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all….now we are headed towards no freedom, too big to fail, very little personal success, and no responsibility for our actions.

    Sigh,

    • And those of us who lived in the country started doing chores at the age of 6. My brother and I collected 500 eggs every night after school and then fed the beasts that tried to peck us. We helped slaughter and dress chickens, worked in the garden hoeing and picking. Digging potatos in the fall was always a treat because we got ginger ale to wash down the dust. By 13, my brothers and I went full time an Dad’s construction crew. Our friends were detassling corn, bailing hay, combining oats and picking corn so we were doing nothing unusual. Today, Dad would be arrested for child abuse.

      • Not according to the tea party. Gee, if only the rest of the world could enjoy the same theatre. Then we’d all be you, T-Ray! Think of it …

        I’ll pass, thanks very much.

        • “Not according to the tea party”- ?

        • Tea party? What do they have to do with anything I said. I was pointing out that I grew up in rural America. The work ethic was instilled in kids at a young age. Family farms were just that when and where I grew up. We left the farm in the mid ’50s and Dad started a contracting business. We all worked in the business, it was normal for the area I grew up in. We learned early how difficult it is to earn a living by manual labor, so my brothers and I saved our money and went to college. That job was our avenue out of manual labor. Many kids today could use that kind of educative incentive. Along the way, I also learned a trade. I have used that trade to roof the houses I have owned over the years and to remodel them. I have also built a barn/shop/garage (28′ x 48′ w/full loft) here at the my current abode.

          My closing remark was a poke at the goody-two-shoe progressives who view all child labor as forbidden. It is much better to have the children running around in the streets learning how to sell and use drugs and get into other trouble than it is to be learning a trade at their father’s side.

    • d13thecolonel,

      now we are headed towards no freedom, too big to fail, very little personal success, and no responsibility for our actions.

      Remember Colonel, it was those born between 1925 and 1970 that created the current mess.

      • Todd,

        No, actually it was “created” by a man born on January 30, 1882, who was merely following the ideas of a man born on October 27, 1858, who was raised in an era of radical change caused by a man who was born on February 12, 1809.

        • Black Flag,
          So you feel these three individuals were so powerful that you blame them for our current situation?

          Even 65 years after the death of the last one?

          No one that lived during or after their lives could do anything to change things?

          Just blame these 3 – that’s a nice, simple way the package it up.

          Sounds like you’re part of the problem – taking no responsibility for our actions.

          • Todd

            Black Flag,
            So you feel these three individuals were so powerful that you blame them for our current situation?

            Don’t sneak in words – where did I say “blame”

            You said used the word “created” – as did I.

            And yes, they were so powerful as to create the conditions whose consequences are being delivered upon you today.

            Even 65 years after the death of the last one?

            Ideas have no time limit, including bad ones.

            No one that lived during or after their lives could do anything to change things?

            They could have done much, but they did not – primarily because there was no counter-idea of sufficient force at the time. The voices the heralded the warnings were ignored for the same reason those same voices are ignored today.

            Short-term thinking dominates long-term thinking, though the greatest benefits over the long term come from long-term thinking.

            taking no responsibility for our actions.

            Todd, you must first correctly identify the problem before you can act against it.
            You are still struggling at this point.

    • Haha! Was bike riding a couple years ago on Sanibel Island in FL and there is a stretch where they warn of gators. Was scared to death and I didn’t even see any – just knowing they were there was bad enough.

  38. China takes USA to task on our Fiscal condition.

    Looking forward especially to BF and the Colonel’s explanations of what is REALLY going on here. I have my theories but will hold for now.

    “BEIJING — China, the largest foreign holder of U.S. debt, demanded Saturday that America tighten its belt and confront its “addiction to debts” in the wake of Standard & Poor’s decision to downgrade the U.S. credit rating.

    China currently owns $1.2 trillion of U.S. Treasury debt, the largest stake of any central bank. The commentary carried by the state-run Xinhua News Agency was Beijing’s first official response to the S&P decision.

    “The U.S. government has to come to terms with the painful fact that the good old days when it could just borrow its way out of messes of its own making are finally gone,” Xinhua said.

    It said the rating cut would be followed by more “devastating credit rating cuts” and global financial turbulence if the U.S. fails to learn to “live within its means.”

    “China, the largest creditor of the world’s sole superpower, has every right now to demand the United States to address its structural debt problems and ensure the safety of China’s dollar assets,” it said.

    Xinhua said the U.S. must slash its “gigantic military expenditure and bloated social welfare costs” and accept international supervision over U.S. dollar issues.

    Last month, China’s top general, Chen Bingde, also linked America’s financial woes to its military budget and asked whether paring back on defense spending wouldn’t be the best thing for U.S. taxpayers.

    Such comments reflect Beijing’s desire that Washington reduce its military presence in Asia. The U.S., rattled by China’s military buildup, also routinely chides Beijing for its fast-growing defense spending.

    Xinhua also suggested a new global reserve currency might be necessary to replace the dollar, a position China has frequently advocated.

    “Mounting debts and ridiculous political wrestling in Washington have damaged America’s image abroad,” Xinhua said. “To cure its addiction to debts, the United States has to re-establish the common sense principle that one should live within its means.”

    Jitters over the U.S. handling of its debt problems were also being felt elsewhere in Asia, said Kishore Mahbubani, Singapore’s former ambassador to the United Nations.

    The dean of Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew School for Public Policy said the last-minute agreement by the U.S. Congress to lift the debt limit and avoid default has policymakers in Asia questioning the stability of U.S. global leadership.

    “It’s definitely undermined U.S. credibility,” Mahbubani said late Friday. “Everyone is wondering if you have such a dysfunctional political process, how can you provide global leadership. It’s very dangerous for the world.”

    ___

    Associated Press writer Alex Kennedy in Singapore contributed to this report.”

  39. It will be interesting to watch and see what effect this has on their credit rating.

    August 6, 2011
    Tea Party terror threat is global
    Randall Hoven

    The Tea Party terrorists in charge of both France and Italy are pushing Balanced Budget Amendments there. Agustino Fontevecchia of Forbes:

    Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi confirmed his nation would be moving toward a balanced-budget amendment on Friday, after rampant speculation that the European Central Bank would intervene in bond markets and purchase Italian and Spanish debt in exchange for structural reforms.

    Helene Fouquet of Bloomberg:

    French lawmakers endorsed a constitutional balanced-budget measure, mirroring German efforts to limit deficit spending and an effort to maintain its AAA rating. (snip)

    French President Nicolas Sarkozy introduced the balanced- budget law as investors questioned France’s ability to maintain its top credit rating amid the European debt crisis. The proposed “golden rule” will demand all future governments set out three-year plans to balance budgets.

    “This is the tangible proof that France wants to restore public finances,” Budget Minister Valerie Pecresse told I-Tele today

    http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2011/08/tea_party_terror_threat_is_global.html

  40. In case there was any doubt about the effect our worthless media has upon the thinking of the average American.

    I suggest you read this article regarding polling data on the debt limit debate. Look closely and think about what we know to be reality vs. the perception of those polled.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/05/us/politics/05poll.html?src=rechp

    • I ignore polls anymore. Just the right spin is put on the question to get the desired answer. The mood of the country can be felt through comment sections on websites and blogs.

    • I find it hard to believe those polling numbers. Surely that many people can’t be brainwashed by the social propoganda presented in our media.

  41. T-ray

    Interest rates are about to go up which in turn will hinder any economic growth

    This is NOT true – because the definition of “economic growth” is in err.

    Interest rates are the measure of the cost of money, and nothing more.
    Money is merely another economic good, that obeys all the laws of economics like all economic goods.

    The cost of economic goods (money as one) is dependent on supply and demand in a free market

    Manipulating the cost of economic goods by violence perverts the calculations of supply and demand, no matter what economic good is involved (including money)

    Artificially suppressing prices artificially increase the demand for that economic good, until it is exhausted. This is the same for money.

    The only difference is the money, today, are electronic digits that can be created out of thin air – thus, the value of the money will degrade

    Interest rates returning to reality will create sustainable economic growth

    • BF and T-Ray

      One other thought. It seems to me that many commenting within the media and K Street seem to confuse the value (price) of money vs. the value (price) of debt instruments.

      Everyone seems focused on the “lenders” side of the argument (govt) and not the “borrowers” or “buyers” side of the argument.

      There is also a difference between borrowers for business activity (purchasers of money) and commercial lenders (sellers of money) and the Govt buyers of money.

      If the market rate for Fed Govt’s debt is not linked to commercial bank lending, via the Fed Reserve rates, it seems to me we will have lower rates in private paper than govt paper. So the real issue is that due to its inability to handle fiscal policy, the Fed Govt becomes a voracious competitor for available money, thus artificially driving up interest rates across the board. Until the lenders view private investment to be no riskier than govt debt.

      So, lowering the Fed credit rating seems to me will put Govt more on par with the private sector. Helping reduce its “monopoly power” in the debt markets.

      Brain is working a little fast and scattered at the moment so I’m not sure I captured my thoughts perfectly. Looking forward to your thoughts.

    • BF Stated:”Artificially suppressing prices artificially increase the demand for that economic good, until it is exhausted.”

      TC: If that is the case then why is the housing market so screwed up right now? There is an over supply of housing even with the low interest rates. The market is doing poor. Higher interest rates will cause the market to be even worse. Of course home prices will continue to drop so perhaps it is the market correcting itself since I believe the housing prices were way over inflated in the first place. It seems to me higher interest rates will discourage more buyers though…

      • TC:

        If that is the case then why is the housing market so screwed up right now?

        Because the banks and government refuse to allow the marketplace to clear the inventory.

        There is an over supply of housing even with the low interest rates.

        True – which are being held at unrealistically high prices, with people unable to economically buy them.

        The market is doing poor.

        Until the government, banks, and home owners come to grips with reality, it will remain poor.

        Higher interest rates will cause the market to be even worse.

        No.

        High interest rates lower the price of homes (in a free market) as it reduces demand for those homes.

        Those in a strong cash position will benefit.

        Of course home prices will continue to drop so perhaps it is the market correcting itself since I believe the housing prices were way over inflated in the first place.

        Totally correct.
        Expect another 25% to 50% drop.

        It seems to me higher interest rates will discourage more buyers though…

        Totally correct, which will continue to lower the price of homes.

        Remember, if you do not need to borrow, this effect is a benefit for you

  42. D13,

    BF….you know good and well the T party did not lose the fight…….they did not fight……they had a chance to do something meaningful and they friggin’ compromised.

    Alas, you are right, and I was right.

    As I’ve often posted, the nature of the system of politics is to prevent systemic change to itself, and I warned the T-Party would not be immune to this. Thanks for reminding me of my own prediction.

    It is often painful to be right most of the time.

  43. [Mercantilism’s] first object … was to make the state’s purposes decisive in a uniform economic sphere and to make all economic activity subservient to considerations corresponding to the requirements of the state and to the state’s domain regarded as uniform in nature.

    • BF

      The problem I have with your post is that it creates the illusion that mercantilism was similar to communism, in that it was developed by thinkers with specific goals in mind. Seems to me it was more an evolutionary development where in the desires of monarchy and imperialism were mixed with trade. Where in States and large Merchants discovered they could use commerce combined with govt power to enhance their “Kingdoms”, if you will.

      In other words, the goals were of nation states and merchants. The mechanism and system they used was given the name “mercantilism” by scholars who studied it. As opposed to Communism which was an invented system with explicit goals attached by its inventor(s).

      I see this distinction as important because of folks like Charlie who treat Capitalism in the same manner.

      • JAC

        Mercantilism is closer to Fascism, which is rooted in Socialism, and thus, a kin to Communism – all which insist on government control of the economy, their differences being the perceive ownership of property.

        All above lay claim to the production of men and their property, and Communism additionally lays claim to the property of production itself.

        I do not see Communism as ‘invented’ – its roots are communal – that is, based on family relationships. It is in the application of this relationship on a large scale that creates the necessity of massive violence to enforce, since the forces that create family (love, emotion) cannot scale to millions people loving millions of other people. The “invention” part perhaps is the attempt to apply what works in small social group to a nation….

  44. At Charlie…..question for you. If you nationalize everything…then who does the work? If you say the people, then without competition and profit, the government tells you what you make, tells you what to eat (food is also nationalized) tells you what to drink, what to watch, and when to sleep. IS this not what you abhor? Slave labor?

  45. gmanfortruth says:

    SUFA, I haven’t been posting much do to some family matters that has kept me running alot and being out of my location. My younger cousin (more like a sister to me) was in a mentally abusive marriage. Over the course of the last two months, we planned on getting her and her two teenage sons out. All the planning went over like a well oiled machine, as all the bank accounts, utilities, everything was taken care of without her husbands knowledge. On July 22, myself, several family members and many friends arrived at 6 am. With a 24 foot moving van and several pickup trucks and trailers, we had her and the boys along with all there stuff at the new home in 5 hours.

    Her soon to be ex is a mental case who just needs some help, but refused for over 10 years. Enough was enough. I stayed to provide protection for the boys and my cousin for the next week, he knew I was there as it was put in a letter that was left behind. There were no problems and I was able to get her new home organized and set up while she worked. I also had her youngest son at my house for the week with my Dad. Court is this Thursday, and I’m expected to attend, and will stay till Sunday, just in case.

    They are very happy now. The boys are opening up to new things, including joining my fantasy football leagues. I also took a day and taught them to shoot. They are going to a hunters safety course in mid August and I will be taking them on their first deer hunt this fall. I apologize to USW for not writing as much as would like to here. I have missed the debates and hope to settle back into a normal routine again soon.

    Live Free my Friends!

    I helped set 3 free and hope to do more

    G!

    • Been wondering about you G. Good job and good luck to the family.

      • gmanfortruth says:

        I’m good Anita, be back to normal at some point, just have to get everyone in the right stuation. It’s been a very different experience for sure, covert to the end.

        G!

  46. For BF and USW (and all yous other crazies on the right) …:)

    Discuss …

    • Remember what he is saying, which is what I have been saying to you.

      You the ENDS (economics) does NOT justify the MEANS (communism, slavery, Statism)

      State Capitalism (also known as fascism and mercantilism) benefits the mercantile nations – this fact does not justify mercantilism.

    • Charlie

      Skillful use of diversion, obfuscation and strawmen.

      Notice that Chomskey uses short term changes to refute the benefits of a long term economy that is more free than the ones he cites. Also ignoring the starting point.

      Most egregious to me is his implying that Russia is now third world due to Capitalism. It’s Socialism failed completely creating the current economic mess. And its current economic system is NOT free market capitalism. It is just another version of Fascism or modified socialism.

      Chomsky is a very bright man. But remember he is an expert in the use of language to manipulate people. He is NOT an expert in economic theory.

      • JAC,

        I agree.
        He misapplies consequences of a failure of Socialism to be a failure of Capitalism.

        When one places a bandage over a wound, the pain of the wound and the bleeding do not stop immediately. But one cannot claim it is the bandage that caused the wound, the pain and the bleeding! One must look at the knife, first, as the primary tool of such.

  47. And then there’s this, BF …

  48. Chomsky defends the tea party … very interesting:

    • This reminds me of you specifically, Charlie:

      “when you suspend reality and listen to what [he] says, there is an internal logic. Yes, it is irrational in the real world, but if you listen without that test, you hear real grievances, a demand for answers – and [he] deserve answers – and of the real failure of others to provide those answers within a rational system to [him]”

      Exactly my opinion of you – which is why I always seem to oppose you, Charlie.

      The damage that has been done to you – that is, the failure to provide rational answers to your grievances – has insulated you from almost any rational answer!

      I know I am getting through to you slowly – and my equally desired hope is that others are listening to the grievances that you present and mapping them inside reality and really, really, thinking about rational answers to them too.

      • I think our motives (for anarchism) are opposite; yours support free markets, mine opposes them. I’m curious what you think about Chomsky’s theory that capitalism (pure capitalism) wouldn’t last 5 minutes.

    • One thing about Chomsky that I like; he doesn’t tell you what to think – but encourages thinking.

      • BF

        While I also respect the man, I disagree some with you on this. I see a more manipulative methodology. He will often give a premise or conclusion, based on his dogma, then use what appear to be rational arguments to support it but those arguments are often unrelated to the core issues at hand. Notice in this piece that he constructs the correct problem, people are upset and want answers, then dismisses the answers as “crazy” then launches into the Nazi analogy. All the while claiming it isn’t really “close” but continuing to use it.

        He also displays an ignorance about the “catch phrases” used by the “crazy” answers that makes me wonder if it is misunderstanding or deliberate manipulation. For example, he used the “kill your grandmother” or “death panel” example as some type of irrational scare tactic. But this ignores why this catch phrase stuck. Most of us realize that govt health care will result in “rationing” by a govt panel. Most of us understand that insurance companies limit service also, but we have some contractual remedy. With the Govt we have nothing.

        But on the whole, I agree. He presents information in a manner that at least allows or challenges one to find a rational argument against his position.

        And I loved his debates with Buckley. I thought he made Buckley look foolish many times, while the “conservatives” were claiming Buckley somehow won the argument.

        • JAC,

          I cannot disagree with you at all in your analysis of Chomsky – he is incredibly adept at pushing his ‘leftist’ ideals without seemingly pushing his lefty ideals.

          We can learn much from his style of rhetoric – he is a master, which is why he is so popular.

        • He will often give a premise or conclusion, based on his dogma

          JAC, isn’t that exactly what you do (as well)?

          • Charlie

            I suppose the goals are similar but the process is ot exactly the same. What I have tried to do here is show the reasons things are the way they are and why I think another way is better. So yes, I start with my dogma if you will, but I try to show why that view is supported by logic and reason. I think sometimes Chomsky is cleverly steering you by manipulation as I explained above.

            What Chomsky does is to use a mild manner and confusing arguments, mixed with just enough “intuitive” logic to push you down his path. But as I said to BF. Chomsky does give you a chance to challenge his views with reason. Many ideologues would just call you stupid and yell at you.

            I hope that you will discover the same path or a similar path as me, using your own thinking.

            I suppose from your standpoint it seems I am pushing but I am really trying to get you to use more logic and reason to discover an ethic that will enhance our long term ability to become all we can be.

            Chomsky has his view and I have mine. But what neither of us would argue is that we would willingly and equally support either communism or anarchy. That my lefty friend is completely irrational. You are arguing for complete slavery to the state as having the same moral equivalent to you as total freedom. I find such an argument to be bizarre, quite honestly.

  49. Three Cheers to Governor Perry and 30000 other Texans asking for Divine Intervention. I can hear the separation of church and state crowd already..get over it! It didn’t cost you a dime, it didn’t hurt you at all, and it may very well help.

    Happy Sunday everyone.

  50. “We have been pretending – with ever more manic protestations – that this could go on for ever”

    Janet Daley
    If we are to survive the looming catastrophe, we need to face the truth
    The idea that a capitalist economy can support a socialist welfare state is collapsing before our eyes, says Janet Daley.

    By Janet Daley

    9:00PM BST 06 Aug 2011

    CommentsComments

    Which of these is the most important question to ask in the present economic crisis: how can we promote growth? Should we pay off government debt more or less quickly? Is the US in worse trouble than Europe? Answer: none of the above.

    The truly fundamental question that is at the heart of the disaster toward which we are racing is being debated only in America: is it possible for a free market economy to support a democratic socialist society? On this side of the Atlantic, the model of a national welfare system with comprehensive entitlements, which is paid for by the wealth created through capitalist endeavour, has been accepted (even by parties of the centre-Right) as the essence of post-war political enlightenment.

    This was the heaven on earth for which liberal democracy had been striving: a system of wealth redistribution that was merciful but not Marxist, and a guarantee of lifelong economic and social security for everyone that did not involve totalitarian government. This was the ideal the European Union was designed to entrench. It was the dream of Blairism, which adopted it as a replacement for the state socialism of Old Labour. And it is the aspiration of President Obama and his liberal Democrats, who want the United States to become a European-style social democracy.

    But the US has a very different historical experience from European countries, with their accretions of national remorse and class guilt: it has a far stronger and more resilient belief in the moral value of liberty and the dangers of state power. This is a political as much as an economic crisis, but not for the reasons that Mr Obama believes. The ruckus that nearly paralysed the US economy last week, and led to the loss of its AAA rating from Standard & Poor’s, arose from a confrontation over the most basic principles of American life.

    Contrary to what the Obama Democrats claimed, the face-off in Congress did not mean that the nation’s politics were “dysfunctional”. The politics of the US were functioning precisely as the Founding Fathers intended: the legislature was acting as a check on the power of the executive.

    The Tea Party faction within the Republican party was demanding that, before any further steps were taken, there must be a debate about where all this was going. They had seen the future toward which they were being pushed, and it didn’t work. They were convinced that the entitlement culture and benefits programmes which the Democrats were determined to preserve and extend with tax rises could only lead to the diminution of that robust economic freedom that had created the American historical miracle.

    And, again contrary to prevailing wisdom, their view is not naive and parochial: it is corroborated by the European experience. By rights, it should be Europe that is immersed in this debate, but its leaders are so steeped in the sacred texts of social democracy that they cannot admit the force of the contradictions which they are now hopelessly trying to evade.

    No, it is not just the preposterousness of the euro project that is being exposed. (Let’s merge the currencies of lots of countries with wildly differing economic conditions and lock them all into the interest rate of the most successful. What could possibly go wrong?)

    Also collapsing before our eyes is the lodestone of the Christian Socialist doctrine that has underpinned the EU’s political philosophy: the idea that a capitalist economy can support an ever-expanding socialist welfare state.

    As the EU leadership is (almost) admitting now, the next step to ensure the survival of the world as we know it will involve moving toward a command economy, in which individual countries and their electorates will lose significant degrees of freedom and self-determination.

    We have arrived at the endgame of what was an untenable doctrine: to pay for the kind of entitlements that populations have been led to expect by their politicians, the wealth-creating sector has to be taxed to a degree that makes it almost impossible for it to create the wealth that is needed to pay for the entitlements that populations have been led to expect, etc, etc.

    The only way that state benefit programmes could be extended in the ways that are forecast for Europe’s ageing population would be by government seizing all the levers of the economy and producing as much (externally) worthless currency as was needed – in the manner of the old Soviet Union.

    That is the problem. So profound is its challenge to the received wisdom of postwar Western democratic life that it is unutterable in the EU circles in which the crucial decisions are being made – or rather, not being made.

    The solution that is being offered to the political side of the dilemma is benign oligarchy. Ignoring national public opinion and turbulent political minorities has always been at least half the point of the EU bureaucratic putsch. But that does not settle the economic predicament.

    What is to be done about all those assurances that governments have provided for generations about state-subsidised security in old age, universal health provision (in Britain, almost uniquely, completely free), and a guaranteed living standard for the unemployed?

    We have been pretending – with ever more manic protestations – that this could go on for ever. Even when it became clear that European state pensions (and the US social security system) were gigantic Ponzi schemes in which the present beneficiaries were spending the money of the current generation of contributors, and that health provision was creating impossible demands on tax revenue, and that benefit dependency was becoming a substitute for wealth-creating employment, the lesson would not be learnt. We have been living on tick and wishful thinking.

    So what are the most important truths we should be addressing if we are to avert – or survive – the looming catastrophe? Raising retirement ages across Europe (not just in Greece) is imperative, as is raising thresholds for out-of-work benefit entitlements.

    Lowering the tax burden for both wealth-creators and consumers is essential. In Britain, finding private sources of revenue for health care is a matter of urgency.

    A general correction of the imbalance between wealth production and wealth redistribution is now a matter of basic necessity, not ideological preference.

    The hardest obstacle to overcome will be the idea that anyone who challenges the prevailing consensus of the past 50 years is irrational and irresponsible. That is what is being said about the Tea Partiers. In fact, what is irrational and irresponsible is the assumption that we can go on as we are.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/janetdaley/8685945/If-we-are-to-survive-the-looming-catastrophe-we-need-to-face-the-truth.html

    • V.H.

      It is interesting to me to see that what I have been pontificating for a couple of years on this forum slowly becoming more and more mainstream and less and less ‘he is merely an insane man out of touch with reality’.

      • As the woman stated “We have arrived at the endgame of what was an untenable doctrine”-or as I would say-Hard to deny the truth when it slaps you in the face. 🙂 Now don’t take this to mean I totally agree with you 🙂 but insane-I stopped thinking that a long time ago.

      • BF

        I was trying to say the same thing 2 hours ago when my system locked up.

        Seems to me there is an awakening occurring. Now the big question, how long and how broad?

        • A Puritan Descendant says:

          “Seems to me there is an awakening occurring”

          That thought sends a rush up my spine, you may be right.

      • BF – never thought you were insane. It’s the man part I’ve questioned. Often thought you must be some computerized robot or a talking head or something. Then you shared some stories about your daughter, and I realized, OMG – he is human!!!

        It is interesting how this is all coming to pass. In conversations over the last couple weeks, I’ve run into people that are just befuddled by this mess we are in. I just laugh to myself and think how fortunate I am to have you and other SUFA’s that have helped me (and thus my family) prepare for these times.

    • A Puritan Descendant says:

      “We have been pretending – with ever more manic protestations – that this could go on for ever”

      In theory I think it could go on a lot longer if we had near total economic deregulation, until socialism ate that newly created wealth too.
      sad sad sad……….

      • A Puritan Descendant says:

        Speaking of excessive regulations, see this lemonade stand map….

        http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2011/08/graph_for_the_day_for_august_7_2011.html

        • Makes me feel so FREE-Are they that desperate for money or is it just blindly following law to the point of absurdity?

      • That doesn’t seem to be the plan -I admit to being a little confused about how one would implement Co-Production as a tool of socialism- but the unlimited regulations is pretty clear-Maybe someone else can identify the difference between the old and the new-somehow it has escaped me 🙂

        Welcome to New Socialism

        Neal Lawson and John Harris

        Published 02 December 2010

        After its defeat in May, Labour moved to elect a new leader. It was just the beginning of the overhaul that centre-left politics needs if Britain is to build the good society.

        Just seven months ago, Labour suffered a defeat of epic proportions. It was its worst performance since 1918, barring the loss it suffered under Michael Foot in 1983. But where is the debate, the soul-searching, the way out of such a setback? The leadership election, and now the severity of the cuts, mask the scale of the defeat. Labour appears to be sleepwalking away from the car crash that was the 2010 election, but we know that this was more than just another turn of the electoral wheel. In May 2010, Labour lost more than an election: it lost a way of being.

        To understand the full impact of the loss, we must first acknowledge that social democracy has been in retreat for years. The dominant centre-left model of political change was found wanting as long ago as the end of the 1970s. Profound shifts took place in the final two decades of the 20th century. Capital decisively globalised and financialised, fatally weakening the power of governments to regulate it and of trade unions to act as a countervailing force. Inequality intensified, our culture was commodified and class identities faded. The cold war – which allowed social democracy to nestle between command and capitalist economies – thawed out.

        The biggest shift, however, was cultural. The way we now communicate and interact has had profound implications that the old social democrats never even began to grasp. These changes atomised society, but also offered new opportunities to create communities and foster collective action. But one thing is incontestable: the appetite for voice and influence stirred by “new technology” makes the top-down politics of the past century a non-starter.

        In the face of such momentous changes, some on the left have clung to the old model of centralised statism. This has made life easier for the more zealous elements of New Labour, who have at least recognised the epochal developments still taking shape – though the New Labour project in government amounted to an elaborate attempt to paper over the cracks and to pretend that the centre left could adapt itself to these changes, rather than shape them according to a politics of modernised social democracy. The illusion that the “Third Way” had any meaning at all was shattered by the financial crisis, as was the idea that irresponsible capitalism could deliver the stability and resources required for incremental social improvement.

        New Labour stayed in office for 13 years because the world economy was so strong and the Tories were so weak. But even in such benign circumstances, the poor got poorer and the planet burned. New Labour certainly attempted to ameliorate some of the symptoms of gross inequality, but it never properly tackled the effects of untrammelled markets. In fact, doing so was ruled out by the very foundations of its thinking: the assumption that this is and will remain a Conservative country, and that there is no alternative to a capitalism of unrestrained markets in which the sphere of non-economic life is squeezed by more production and consumption. The only plan they had was to stoke a finance-driven, lightly regulated economy, and then surreptitiously take the tax skim to fund social programmes.
        Hope squandered

        Yet it was clear even before the financial crash wrecked it that this model was severely flawed. It never talked up the morality of redistribution, and so was doomed to be the politics of ever-decreasing circles. Damning proof of the project’s failure was contained in the British Social Attitudes survey of January 2010: among other findings, it showed that, in 1994, 51 per cent of the population believed the government should create a more equal society; by 2010, the figure had fallen to only 38 per cent.

        New Labour lost five million votes between 1997 and 2010, four million of them under Tony Blair’s leadership. Along the way, it squandered vast sums of goodwill and hope. By 2005, many in the broad Labour coalition were beginning to question what the party stood for. By the time of this year’s election, the game was up – the party lost as New Labour.

        Not that you’d have known it from listening to the brief flurry of post-election chatter from the Labour right. Alan Milburn, Giles Radice and the pollster and writer Peter Kellner all sounded off (the latter using an article in the New Statesman to argue that the party’s only hope was to move further right), but their interventions fell flat. And small wonder: this school of thought would have us believe that any deviation from the politics minted by the last leader but one will condemn Labour to a generation in the wilderness. But it was exactly the refusal to deviate that led to the party’s crisis in the first place.

        It is as if New Labour and Old Labour have fought each other to a standstill. Both still have valid points to make, but both have failed electorally, and neither has any ideas about where to go next. Old Labour failed to respond to the new world; New Labour embraced that new world far too uncritically.

        Labour recoils from debate because it has ­almost forgotten how to think, or even why it should. As ever, its default position is that socialism remains what Labour governments do. The contradictions duly pile up, and the challenge of unpicking them is so daunting that the party seems to have switched off.

        So where is the light? It comes from two places: from leaders and from people, who tell us that it is both feasible and desirable to renew social democracy – socialism, even – but that renewal must be truly transformative. It cannot be about a change of direction, but must involve a paradigm shift to an entirely new form of left politics.

        This new socialism has been cohering among writers, thinkers and activists for the best part of five years, though it is only just beginning to have the same effect at the very top of the party. Ed Miliband seems instinctively to understand this burgeoning branch, which is rooted in the idea of the good society and a recognition of the reforms of both state and market needed to make it a reality. He has shown a determination to talk about things no recent Labour leader has gone near: the idea of “life beyond the bottom line”, “the things that business cannot provide” and the dangers of “naivety” about markets. Now, he has three options: he can turn round and go back, he can triangulate between Old Labour and New, or he can keep going.

        The leadership should take heart and confidence from underlying trends in Britain. The project of creating the “good society” starts where people are: stressed, stretched, anxious, insecure, tired and alienated. This realisation has bubbled through our politics for a few years; now it is properly taking shape. Today, when Ed Miliband talks about the “squeezed middle”, he is on to something – though the same pressures and constraints apply even more to people towards the bottom.

        This common condition, defined as a loss of control over key aspects of our lives, crystallises the challenge facing the new socialists: whereas New Labour tried to bend people’s aspirations to its resigned and deflated world-view, the new paradigm seeks to grasp their hopes and fears, and deal not with the symptoms of our social and economic recession, but the causes. We think that what is starting to take shape should be called New Socialism. Here are its salient features.
        Beyond the market

        First, although it emphasises greater equality of outcome, New Socialism understands that we now have to focus on the non-material things that foster contentment and fulfilment. We have to place much greater value on time, care and co-operation, and build a culture of belonging founded on something deeper than just production or consumption. We have to redefine “aspiration” to bring it into line with people’s real hopes: not just to earn and own, but to reach their full potential and live in a society that is safe, caring and neighbourly.

        Second, in the new paradigm, capitalism is understood as a dynamic force that is at once creative and destructive. Unless it is shaped and regulated, it undermines society and com­munity and, crucially, its own best self, as the trailblazing entrepreneur is sidelined by the monopoly corporation and the thriving town centre by the out-of-town mall. If we don’t regulate free markets, we end up regulating people, forcing them to behave as the market desires.

        New regulation will have to happen at a transnational level, through the EU at the very least. Economic sovereignty will have to be pooled to ensure that the damaging effects of capitalism are tamed. Every second of every day, the bond market pools its sovereignty to destroy whole economies. To match such power, there should be moves towards controls on speculative capital flows, co-ordinated corporation taxes and the establishment of the principle of a Europe-wide minimum wage.

        Third, New Socialism knows the state is vital, but recognises, too, the crisis of the bureaucratic and market state. It wants a state whose scope
        is determined democratically and that is made accountable, responsive and local through the boldest political reforms of public service this country has ever seen. A more proportional electoral system is only one part of the change required: the state must be reinvented so as to entrench citizens’ involvement through the principles of democracy and co-production. Parents expect meaningful input into their children’s education; patients increasingly want their treatment to be based on dialogue; the people who work in the public services can contribute far more than the implementation of diktats. Health, education, social care and much more need to be liberated from the bureaucratic, outsourced state and reshaped collectively and democratically.

        Fourth, New Socialism is determined to get to grips with the most pressing issue of our age: climate change. This is the toughest challenge of all. It involves the reconciliation of social justice with sustainability, and requires that we question the relentless pursuit of growth – hence, in part, the critical role of a post-material agenda. Social democracy has to cease being solely about sharing out the proceeds of ever-increasing material wealth. Instead, it needs to offer a vision of the redistribution of time, power and well-being.

        Finally, this New Socialism recognises that Labour must end the practice of Labourism. This is the view that “socialism” can be delivered from the centre by one – and only one – all-seeing, all-powerful, monolithic party. Today, we live in an era of pluralism, with competing centres of power. This new politics is manifested most clearly in Westminster in the form of the coalition, but can also be seen in Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast and on councils the length and breadth of the nation. This cultural shift is huge and, for Labour, unavoidable. The party has to redemocratise and, at the same time, engage with a range of different parties’ forces and voices.

        A realigned and revived centre left is held together by the good society: the only vision that holds out convincing answers to issues of equality, esteem, time, sustainability and quality of life. Unless and until socialism feels like a better offer than the treadmill of consumerist capitalism, there is no hope. We cannot build the good society on the rotting corpses of bloated bureaucracies and failed markets.

        The new paradigm shares New Labour’s desire to win, but wants to win for a radical purpose. It offers a self-reinforcing rather than a self-defeating politics, because it deals with the causes of the economic, social and environmental crises we face, not just the symptoms. As such, it seeks to break the mould of British politics. Its origins can be traced to the possibilities that abounded in the early days of New Labour, but it also looks for inspiration from Greens and social liberals, from civil society groups such as London Citizens and the Facebook generation. It even finds echoes in David Cameron’s “big society”, though it sees the many flaws in that model. And it might just have a Labour leader who understands it.
        Leap of faith

        Ed Miliband has to make the leap to this paradigm. But, then again, why would an ambitious 40-year-old struggle to win his party’s leadership, having to beat his brother in the process, only to replay the miserable, soul-destroying period he has just gone through?

        That’s his choice and ours: either we redefine the centre, create a new common sense – and therefore a new political paradigm – or we reconcile ourselves to the way Britain has been defined by the right, and face the steady erosion of all that we hold dear: party, movement, state, civil society, unions, democracy, sustainability, co-operation, care and time.

        The walls are closing in on the old social democracy. In the last round of elections in mainland Europe, the mainstream parties of the centre left fared dismally, managing 30 per cent of the poll in Sweden, 29 per cent in the UK, and only 23 per cent in Germany. Everywhere the old social democracy is dying. Attempts, such as New Labour’s, to revive it rather than transform it have failed.

        There is precedent for the idea of a paradigm shift. Historians and theorists such as Arthur Schlesinger and Albert Hirschman observed that, roughly every 30 years, society shifts – from the public to the private and back again. After a while, the grass looks greener on the other side. The late 1940s to the late 1970s was the era of the public, the late 1970s until now, the age of the private. Today the conditions are right for another turn: to a new common life, and the security and freedom this affords – but only if we make it happen by tackling a market that is too free and a state that is too remote.

        Centre-left politics has always been divided between optimists and pessimists, between people who attend only to the symptoms of inequality, sustainability and political dysfunction, and those who bravely choose to deal with causes. These are the people who make history. In the midst of one of Labour’s most trying periods in decades, this is the offer made by New Socialism: the chance of an audacious reinvention, in an age that needs it more than ever.

        http://www.newstatesman.com/uk-politics/2010/12/labour-social-essay-society

  51. Lack of Energy Policy Kills Two Plant Proposals
    August 4, 2011 10:05 A.M.
    By Jim Geraghty

    Jobs saved, or created, or canceled.

    News out of Wyoming:

    Work on the High Plains Gasification-Advanced Technology Center, a much-anticipated $100 million research facility planned for Cheyenne, will be halted for at least a year and a half, University of Wyoming officials said Friday.

    GE Energy, which has been working jointly with UW on the coal-gasification research center, delayed the project because of uncertainty about the future of U.S. energy policy, according to a UW media release.

    GE has already delayed the project since the fall of 2010 because of a lack of a clear U.S. policy on climate and energy.

    The facility, which would study advanced coal gasification technology for the Powder River Basin — a key economic driver to Wyoming’s economy — was scheduled to be completed by the end of 2012

    Wyoming’s Republican Gov. Matt Mead puts the blame square on Washington: “Capital from the private sector only flows to large and ambitious projects when there is reasonable regulatory, legal and financial certainty. This is a real world example of the local impact of the federal government’s failure to provide a policy path forward for energy use in America. An energy policy must include the responsible use of our coal resources. Without a clear policy, investors and developers do not have certainty and cannot plan for risk, which is critical in making decisions to build modern, efficient plants… “America and Wyoming have the leadership capacity, the technology prowess and the private capital availability to wisely put our energy resources to productive use but we are strangled by uncertainty created by the energy policy vacuum in Washington.”

    This comes after American Electric Power “shelved plans for a commercial-scale carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) project that was a centerpiece of the federal government’s so-called Clean Coal Initiative” in West Virginia.

    The company says Congress’ inability to act on climate policy and a weak economy were left little incentive to go forward with the $668 million project.

    AEP and French partner Alstom are already operating a pilot-scale CSS project at the Mountaineer coal plant in West Virginia. With $334 million in federal funding, they planned to expand the project in four phases to eventually capture the emissions from about 220 MW of the plant’s 1,300 MW capacity and store it deep underground…

    So far, no commercial-scale CCS plants are in operation in the US, and the technology is beginning to look more and more economically unfeasible (like nuclear power).

    The Department of Energy still has $612 million in Recovery Act funding designated for CCS projects in Louisiana, Texas and Illinois. And Southern Company is reportedly building CCS at a 582 MW gasified coal plant in Mississippi that will capture 65% of the emissions.

    The American Electric Power plan got scrapped in mid-July and the Wyoming proposal’s delay was announced at the end of July. What possibly could have made these coal plant companies so nervous about what’s coming out of Washington?

    Oh, that.

    Power plant operators are nervously awaiting a new Environmental Protection Agency regulation, finalized last week, which requires more than 1,000 facilities, including more than 500 coal-fired plants, to meet stricter emissions standards so as not to pollute neighboring states.

    The regulation, called the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, calls for plants to install scrubbers to lower particulate emissions in states that are downwind…

    The rule, one of a slew of EPA regulations directed at smokestack industries in the coming months, will impose huge costs on power plant operators, say industry representatives.

    “There are five or six other regulations coming down the pike that will have a huge impact on industry and on consumers and businesses, especially in parts of the country where we still have industrial manufacturing jobs,” said Jeffrey Holmstead , an expert in environmental strategies at the law firm of Bracewell and Giuliani.

    The stimulus giveth the taxpayer money to create jobs; the regulations taketh away the financial feasibility.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/campaign-spot/273660/lack-energy-policy-kills-two-plant-proposals

    You’ve gotta love that last line.

    • A Puritan Descendant says:

      Higher prices for conventional energy sources makes ‘clean energy’ more economically viable.

      The new strict gas mileage regulations could force changes too. I think I see a pattern here.

      When the EPA outlaws my woodstove for particulate emissions I will jump off a bridge.

  52. Charlie

    theory that capitalism wouldn’t last 5 minutes

    Well, without any substance behind his comment, I have nothing to comment against.

    This is akin to saying “two men can’t deal with each other peaceably for 5 min. without attacking each other”.

    At face value, this is not at all true, though there may be examples that may make it appear to be true at times.

    So, it really is not a useful comment at all without the substance behind it.

    • Charlie, BF

      And I would submit, another example of his cleverness.

      We have established that the term “capitalism” covers a variety of economic systems with private ownership of capital, from free markets to Fascism. Yet Chomsky doesn’t explain what he means by “pure capitalism”.

      And as BF says, he gives no explanation as to why he thinks it, what ever it is, would fail.

      • What he does do, guys, is confirm BF’s (and to some degree, my) “theory” that the state was created to protect private property/capitalism. BF says mercantilism is the culprit. I say any form of capitalism requires control/power and the state is the best enforcer, especially when disguised in the patriotic flag waving that too many insist on engaging; why it is so easy for government (controlled by money) to engage in wars (some) that serve no purpose other than government contracts.

        I will try and find where Chomsky offers examples of why he thinks pure capitalism wouldn’t last. I know what I believe; that it can’t because it requires the exploitation of a working class.

    • BF, here he likens pure capitalism to what exists in the third world.

      http://deadwildroses.wordpress.com/2011/04/28/libertarian-fail-noam-chomsky/

      Not sure if this answers your question. It works for me; the powerful abuse the weak.

  53. D13, What’s with these Mecxican military incursions on our side of the border? They testing the waters?

    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/7686830.html

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