Open Mic for August 10, 2011

Another Open Mic day arrives. This time I am a little bit better prepared as I actually have time to add some thoughts to the contributions that I am presenting. I have been trying to take more time lately and dedicate it to writing here at SUFA. I know that it may not seem to be so to everyone, but I am trying to make the articles appear on a more regular schedule, similar to what used to happen at SUFA. I still haven’t gotten to the point where I have time to write more than twice per week, so unless we have regular contributions from others, we aren’t going to get to the point of having new articles every day for a while. For today’s topics I have offered up an opinion piece written by James Zogby over at the Huffington Post, touching on Iran’s image within the Middle East, and a debate over what is “free speech” and what isn’t during a political campaign…

USWeapon Topic #1

Iran’s Freefall

Iran’s favorable ratings are in a “freefall” across the Arab World, with Iran’s behavior in Iraq, Bahrain and the Arab Gulf region being viewed negatively by most Arabs. These are a few of the key findings of an Arab American Institute poll conducted by Zogby International during the first three weeks of June, 2011.

The poll surveyed over 4,000 Arabs from Morocco, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, and has a margin of error of 3.5 percent (in Morocco, Egypt and Saudi Arabia) and 4.5 percent (in Lebanon, Jordan, and the U.A.E.).

Back in 2006, Iran was viewed favorably in every one of these Arab countries — and in five of the six Iran received a greater than 80 percent positive rating. Since then, the decline has been steady and sharp. For example, in 2006, Iran was rated favorably by 85 percent of Saudis and 82 percent of Moroccans. By 2008, that had dropped to 72 percent in Saudi Arabia and 65 percent in Morocco. By 2009, only 35 percent of Saudis and 57 percent of Moroccans had a favorable view of Iran. And in our 2011 poll, positive views of Iran have plummeted further to a scant 6 percent in Saudi Arabia and 14 percent in Morocco.

The poll further demonstrates widespread Arab concern with Iran’s behavior in the region, with strong majorities in every country but Lebanon saying that Iran threatens the peace and stability of the Arab world. Special concern is expressed for Iran’s role in Iraq and Bahrain, and with Iran’s nuclear aspirations.

In most Arab countries (again, all but Lebanon) the overwhelming preference is for the Middle East to be a nuclear free zone. But when asked “if they had to choose one country, other than Israel, to be a nuclear power in the Middle East,” the preferred choice, by a wide margin, is Egypt. Turkey is a distant second, followed by Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. Iran is dead last, receiving little or no support from the publics in almost every Arab country.

Read the Rest of the Article Here:

I found this article really interesting. We are all well aware that Iran has a less than stellar image here in the US, but for a long time, Iran enjoyed a more positive image within much of the Middle East. It allowed them to get their fingers into nearly every country in some way, including in some big ways in certain areas such as Palestine and Lebanon. It helped to make Iran a much larger threat than some would like to admit. There was a time when I personally believed that Iran had the potential of actually finding a way to bring the Middle East together as a unified front against the west.

However, it appears that their influence is flagging. It shouldn’t be surprising. After all, they are doing in the Middle East exactly what they have taken such a harsh stance against the US for doing in the Middle East: meddling in the affairs of other countries where they have no business. I always understood the general distaste Middle Eastern countries had for our constant presence in their corner of the world. The US certainly doesn’t like it when some other country tries to tell us what we should do, let alone if someone had actually attempted to subvert our government or place foreign troops against us to attempt to force us to do it. Yet I always wondered why so many Arab countries seemed to not mind other countries doing so nearly as much as they minded the Western countries.

That is apparently changing. What is most interesting to me about this particular poll result is that there isn’t any way to spin it as a result of western media brainwashing. A poll showing that 90% of Americans have an unfavorable view of Iran means nothing. Americans are led by the nose by the media, and that media goes to great lengths to portray Iran in a negative light. But the Western media doesn’t have nearly the traction in the Middle East. In fact, most there place the exact right amount of trust in the western media: None (Funny how those “uneducated desert dwellers” see right through our media’s bull while the “educated westerners” continue to eat it up without question).

I personally have never trusted the Iranian government. I don’t hold their people accountable for it. In fact I have written many times in the past of my support for Iranians while I detest their government. Their government is a serious threat to everyone, despite a certain pirate’s claims that their history shows zero aggression. I am glad to see that the rest of the Middle East, those who have the clearest view of Iran and who would be impacted the most, is finally beginning to understand what a negative influence Iran has become on the rest of the Middle East.

Those numbers are quite staggering overall, aren’t they? From 86% in Saudi Arabia to 6% in just five years…

USWeapon Topic #2

Judge Allows Ex-Rep to Sue Pro-Life Group Over Campaign Season Criticism

In a case that could test the bounds of free speech, a former Democratic congressman has been allowed to proceed with his lawsuit against a prominent pro-life group that he claims contributed to his election defeat by spreading falsehoods about his record on abortion issues.

A federal judge in Ohio ruled Monday that former Rep. Steve Driehaus’ defamation suit against the Susan B. Anthony List can go forward. The former Ohio congressman claims the group “disseminated lies” about him, effectively costing him his job — as well as inflicting “reputational” and “economic” harm.

The complaint stems from statements and advertisements claiming Driehaus, who considers himself a pro-life lawmaker, voted for taxpayer-funded abortion when he backed the federal health care overhaul.

But the case raises apparent free-speech concerns, considering politicians frequently endure fierce and sustained criticism from multiple groups in the heat of a campaign and, from time to time, lose because of that criticism. Even the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio filed a brief on a related, but separate, case last fall arguing that “the people have an absolute right to criticize their public officials.”

Emily Buchanan, director of the Susan B. Anthony List, said the case could have a chilling effect on speech.

“The claim of defamation is outrageous. Driehaus is a public official, and we should be able to criticize him,” she told “And all of this debate should be taking place in the public square. A court or a judge should not be determining” a dispute over abortion policy.

However, the ex-congressman claims he’s going after the pro-life group because, according to him, they crossed the line and lied.

“The First Amendment is not and never has been an invitation to concoct falsehoods aimed at depriving a person of his livelihood,” his original complaint said.

His attorney, Paul De Marco, told that liars can’t “hide behind the First Amendment.”

While libel and defamation law protects most speech when it comes to public officials, it does not necessarily protect false speech.

Read the Rest of the Article Here:

This is a case that I will be really interested in seeing how things turn out. I wonder if our resident legal eagle, Buck, can help me out here. Is there any precedent out there regarding free speech being challenged around dishonesty in a political campaign? I am sure there has been some, but is there any that is relevant to this particular case?

There is little that doubt that the defendants in this particular case denied the Congressman his ability to continue to mooch off the public… errr, I mean, to earn a living as a civil servant. But isn’t that precisely what every political opponent is expressly attempting to do? If losing an election counts as “being denied one’s livelihood,” there could be a lawsuit for that at the end of nearly every single election. So denying one’s livelihood by defeating them in an election is a complete bullshit claim as far as I am concerned.

I am somewhat concerned that this federal judge allowed said lawsuit to continue. If there isn’t already a precedent, I would imagine that this could set a pretty rigid one. I detest the nastiness of political campaigns as much as anyone. In fact, I patently refuse to vote for a candidate that goes too far in attempting to paint a false picture of their opponent, no matter the party. But to say that one can sue based on what is stated on the campaign trail may be going a little far. It isn’t as if they didn’t qualify what they stated, as they said in the ad that he supported abortion by voting for the health care bill. It is a nuance, but one could argue that it is a true statement. I have certainly heard far worse lies spread during a campaign (such as Elizabeth Dole claiming her opponent, Kay Hagan, a Sunday school teacher, is “Godless”. Dole lost, as she should have).

Don’t get me wrong. I am all for forcing people to be honest. But there are going to be a lot of people in a whole heap of trouble if we start enforcing a crazy rule like politicians have to actually be honest in what they say. Hell, 90% of Congress and certainly this liar of a President, would be served civil lawsuit paperwork immediately. What is the proper cap on damages in a lawsuit where the plaintiff’s lies costs millions of Americans their ability to earn a living?

In fact, if we can sue politicians for the damaging effects of their lies, I am going to need Buck’s services for quite a while. Buck, we have 535 lawsuits to file immediately and we can start on Cabinet level folks after that. Geithner is going to personally fund my new island in the far east.

And for your enjoyment, the stuff regarding Kay Hagan that ran during her campaign against Dole in 2008 here in NC:


  1. USW… apologies for not finishing part three of my Iran series because of this very fact. I have been watching very closely what is happening there and I am being proven right. I did miss on one point and that is the speed that the other ARAB countries are beginning to distance themselves…..the down side……watch for AJAD to do something really stupid. I was right about his private little army….I was right about the power struggle between AJAD and the Clerics….I was right about the clerics being assassinated one by one…..and I was right about the continued funding of the terrorists groups on a scale larger than the US and Soviet Union in the 60’s and 70’s…I am being proven right about his attempt at control of major strategic areas through surrogates and I am right that he is ruthless and will prove to be so…I was WRONG in that I did not think that some of the other Arab countries would be so negative this quick…

    My prediction…he (AJAD) has to become a nuclear weapon power within the next year to whip everyone in line…I predict a bigger power struggle for control between him and the clerics ( I am not sure who will win this one) and I predict that he will not step down even if he loses an election AND even if the clerics tell him to… is going to be interesting.

  2. Interesting issue in Santa Clara California Housing Authorities…….a democratic stronghold….they took 16 million dollars of tax money to pad their own pension plans instead of directing the funds to the 16,000 requests for housing aid……..when contacted…..The Santa Clara Housing Authority said….yep..we did that. Our workers deserve greater consideration than the requests for housing aid….we will apply for more money to help them.


    Source: Interview on MSNBC 8/10/2011…..

  3. TC shared this last night in the other thread and I didn’t want people to miss it so I brought it over. Did this really happen?????

    • Very interesting….emotional….but very interesting. I have never watched this person before.

    • Nice to see someone speak the truth as he sees it-must wonder if he will keep his job-but what exactly was his idea to fix things-a new bank and more loans?????

    • USW

      In my view Ratigan fits well on that network. He seems incapable of deep and serious thought. That is he fails to address core principles and resorts to the typical “reactionary” and “pragmatic” persona. Kind of like Lou Dobbs and his “war on the middle class”.

      Yes the system is corrupt Dylan. That is the nature of a system that is given the authority to do all the things YOU want it to do Dylan. YOU are as much part of the problem as the “bought” congress you cry about.

      Of course I love the idea that the bought and paid for President is supposed to call out the bought and paid for Congress.

      By the way, Ratigan was ripping on the tea party no long ago for their hard core stance on cutting spending. So perhaps he had a “come to Jesus” awakening over the weekend.

      • Agreed JAC… He often seems to function on emotion rather than rational thought. But I was surprised that he was willing to, even emotionally driven, say that both parties are equally crooked.

    • This is great. It proves capitalism doesn’t work!

      Listen to what they’re saying people of Stand Up For Anarchy! Pick your choice once the corporate government is brought down; go free enterprise or communal … but give up on this “American” disaster that permits the few to rule the many.

      Go Greater Good. Go Bills!

      Go to work, Charlie … oy vey.

  4. Ray Hawkins says:

    On the topic of “libel” – I guess I am confused as to what USW’s position really is…..I’d be a huge fan of more/complete honesty in the political discourse – especially as it relates to the campaign cycles. Lies told by politicians I don’t think are candidates for redress as I think you are suggesting here (maybe you’re not?). Too often, during an election cycle, the gray area that campaigning plays in grossly and materially misleads people (this is my opinion). Not a fan of clogging the courts because the slap-on-the-wrist penalty I don’t think will stop much – penalty must be more severe.


    • Buck the Wala says:

      Ray, USW,

      Its an interesting case to say the least — how the first amendment and political elections intertwine — and one of first impression as far as I know. I’ve never heard of a case exactly like this going forward before.

      Just rambling (secretary hasn’t put up the coffee yet….I really need to stop getting in to the office before her!), but it seems to me that the NYT case would partially govern — libel/slander as it relates to a public figure. Typically speaking there is a higher bar to win such a case – actual knowledge. The Congressman would need to prove actual knowledge or malice, as well as damage. Actual knowledge/Malice may not be that difficult in this case. But damage? Going to be very difficult — how do you prove that it was these lies (as opposed to those lies, or the strength of the other candidate, etc. etc. etc) that resulted in loss of reelection. I don’t think you can. However, you may be able to prove some other damages which would be compensable. There are also competing interests in 1) ensuring as much information gets out to the public as possible to allow the public to make a decision versus 2) the need for factual information as opposed to lies to ensure the public can make a reasonably informed decision. Not sure how, of even if, this would come into play in this case, or how you could effectively govern all the information thrown out there during an election cycle.

      • Good morning, counselor. Same question I asked Sir Hawkins. I think you answered it in part (“NYT case would partially govern — libel/slander as it relates to a public figure.”)

        Do I understand you correctly that the threshold is higher when it relates to public figures than it would be to the general public?

        NEVER…..get in before your secretary. I thought you understood this……

        • Buck the Wala says:

          See my answer below.

          Unforutnately I usually do get in before her. Its a problem, I know.

      • “secretary hasn’t put up the coffee yet”


        Gag me. Get off your ass and go make your own damn coffee.

    • Good Morning, Sir Hawkins………and how is the minion this day?

      Libel….very interesting. While I am not a fan of clogging the courts either……you seem to suggest (maybe I misunderstood) that there are different standards for politicians vs the public. If there is to be “truth in advertising” and libelous tort for the general public…..why would you adopt the theory that…..” well, they are politicians and we expect this…so it is ok”.? Why not hold a politician to the same standards?

      • Buck the Wala says:

        The reason for the different standard is because politicians (and other ‘public figures’ – i.e., celebrities) hold themselves out for public scrutiny. As such, mere falsehood shouldn’t be enough to allow a public figure to prevail against any speaker who spreads a rumor. But once actual knowledge or malice is found, BINGO!

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        Will agree with Buck, but merely add that while a lie is a lie – a group or politician telling a humdinger about another is redressed differently than a politician being dishonest about his/her position, record, etc. It not more/less heinous – just gets handled differently.

        And btw – it is now minions with an “s” – I don’t sleep much anymore, but that is ok – love the kids. My little man is handling it all awesome – he is very rough and tumble which I think is great. The girl is just a pipsqueak still. So awesome to watch them grow and learn and humble me.

    • @Ray… Sorry I didn’t think my position was all that clouded. I am against the lawsuit and I, in general, do not support the idea of being able to sue based on the things said during a campaign. I thought my solicitation of Buck in jest made my position clear. I will try to be more clear in the future.

      I think that allowing this lawsuit to continue is dangerous and could set the stage for all kinds of madness in civil courts.

  5. @ whomever is monitoring this site from the government ( I feel relatively comfortable stating that bogging site are routinely monitored) and to the MSM…….

    Dateline: (dit dit dit) Del Rio, Texas…….March 23, 2011 to August 8, 2011) Total guns confiscated and or captured from the living and not so living crossing the border. Handguns – 46 (27 of them US made), Shotguns 6 (all US made and reported stolen from various break-ins), Assault weapons 114 ( none are US made ), 6 RPG’s (Rocket propelled grenades) none are US made, 14 night vision goggles (none US made), 84 combat knives ( 3 US Kabars, 2 US Randalls…the rest non US made), 32 Hand grenades (none US made), 14 homemade zip guns .22 caliber.

    Report that please……

    • Oh sorry…perhaps I should expound on who made them. Handguns in order of number.. Russia, Italy. Assault Weapons in order.. China, Russia, Sweden, Germany, Israel. RPG’s made in Russia..NIght Vision Goggles made in Russia…Combat knives….Russia, China, Italy, India, Sweden, and Switzerland….Hand grenades…all Chinese made…zip guns…..who knows.

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      It’ll never be reported – it doesn’t involve a 20-something semi-attractive female quasi-celebrity doing a porn-tape, or getting arrested, or OD’ing, or…….

  6. @ USW…..can you believe I am going to do a MFF for fun? At my age? 🙂

    • Ray Hawkins says:


      Ray Googles MFF…..

      Midwest Fur Fest?

      D13…….I never knew?!?!?!


      • Oh sorry….MFF otherwise known as HALO……MFF=Military Free Fall….same as HALO= High altitude low opening. I already know that I will pay the price,,,,,but ego, you know,,,,,gets in the way sometimes….and my 20 year old mind still writes checks my 63 year old body cant cash.

        • 60 is the new 20. Can’t let Bush Sr. beat you. Go D13

        • Buck the Wala says:

          Hmmm…sounds like a blast. How do I get in on the action!? Been dying to go skydiving again.

          • Buck

            Been dying to go skydiving again

            With that “sport”, that is a poor choice of words!

          • Very simple, Buck. You have to breathe pure oxygen for awhile to take the Nitrogen out of your bloodstream, strap on an altimeter, face mask, polypropalene (sp) underwear to avoid frostbite, and learn to say HUAH!!!as you exit the aircraft at 30,000 ft. Exhale slowly on your way down so you do not pass out, turn off oxygen at 16K…that is all there is to it…..oh wait….dont forget the rip at 3500 ft……the sudden stop at the end is a little traumatic if you forget….

            Of course you can tempt fate as your rip is tied to a pressure activated device that self deploys at 2000ft if you pass out on the way down….they have been known to fail though….

            If it is your first HALO……upon reaching ground safely, open ruck, change underwear as the ones you are wearing will be soiled. 🙂

    • And who talked you into that, Colonel? I haven’t gone in a while. I haven’t even sport parachuted in while. Going up that high at your age should be a pretty good stress on the old bones, my friend. But I have no doubt you can handle it. Once the Green Beret is in your blood, you are never the same. Mrs. Weapon is hankering to give tandem a try though. She is tired of me telling her how awesome it is to fly….

      Funny thing. My father is also a vet and did all the fun stuff too. Then I joined, decided I wanted a tab and wanted to jump out of perfectly good airplanes. My sister finally decided she didn’t like being the only one in the family that hadn’t jumped out of a plane, so she decided to do a tandem jump, but was horrified at the prospect. She finally agreed and my father and I promptly presented her with her very own set of jump wings. She was so happy that she cried…. but has never once decided to do it again. Once was enough for her to feel like she had joined the club in the family, and that was all she wanted.

  7. 😐

  8. What I found the most interesting about this article “was the forced to marry” part-I actually can see this happening. Once you give anything to people-they expect it to continue.

    July 29, 2011
    The Gray Lady’s Sexual Agenda Revealed
    By Tara Servatius

    Giddy after the recent legalization of gay marriage in New York, the editors at the New York Times are laying out the left’s post-gay marriage agenda in the paper’s pages for all to see.

    What they clearly want is a country that is sexually unrecognizable from the one we live in today, one where marital infidelity is accepted as a lifestyle choice and actually celebrated, and traditional marriage is legally marginalized and removed from the public square.

    Times op-ed columnist Ross Douthat essentially laid out the cultural side of the left’s and the Times’ post-gay marriage agenda in a July column.

    Gay marriage supporters called liberationists “hope that gay marriage will help knock marriage off its cultural pedestal altogether,” Douthat explained.

    To liberationists, if traditional marriage becomes the “gold standard” for relationships both gay and straight, the gay marriage movement will have “failed in its deeper mission,” which he describes as introducing a “greater freedom than can be found in the one-size-fits-all rules of marriage.”

    The apparent hope is that legalized gay marriages will be more openly sexually promiscuous than straight marriage, providing an example that would then influence heterosexual couples to adopt the same open-marriage lifestyle.

    In a June article called “Married, With Infidelities,” the Times used gay activist and columnist Dan Savage’s open marriage as the new model for straight marriages that should take root culturally from the legalization of gay marriage.

    In the article the Times praised Savage for arguing against the American obsession with strict fidelity. “In its place he proposes a sensibility that we might call American Gay Male, after that community’s tolerance for pornography, fetishes and a variety of partnered arrangements, from strict monogamy to wide openness,” the Times article reads.

    “A more flexible attitude within marriage may be just what the straight community needs,” the article continues. “Treating monogamy, rather than honesty or joy or humor, as the main indicator of a successful marriage gives people unrealistic expectations of themselves and their partners.”

    While straight marriage has its share of infidelity, studies show that gay male marriages are often very different from traditional straight marriages. Gay partnerships are far more culturally accepting of infidelity before the fact, and in many it is even expected. According to the book Sex in America: A Definitive Survey, 100 percent of male gay couples in the study experienced infidelity in their relationships in the first five years and those who stayed together past the 10-year mark did so only by accepting the painful reality of infidelity in their relationships. Some 85 percent of the couples reported that their greatest relationship problems centered on issues related to outside relationships.

    That’s the cultural side of the left’s new battle to take down marriage. In court, the new, post-gay marriage goal of the left will apparently be to attempt to remove marriage, and any special legal significance that comes with it, from the public square in much the same way they’ve sought to strip out God.

    Before the new gay marriage law even hit the books in New York, Columbia University Law Professor Katherine M. Franke, a gay marriage supporter, was championing the next step.

    “While many in our community have worked hard to secure the right of same-sex couples to marry, others of us have been working equally hard to develop alternatives to marriage,” Franke explained in the Times:

    Winning the right to marry is one thing; being forced to marry is quite another. How’s that? If the rollout of marriage equality in other states, like Massachusetts, is any guide, lesbian and gay people who have obtained health and other benefits for their domestic partners will be required by both public and private employers to marry their partners in order to keep those rights. In other words, “winning” the right to marry may mean “losing” the rights we have now as domestic partners, as we’ll be folded into the all-or-nothing world of marriage … This moment provides an opportunity to reconsider whether we ought to force people to marry — whether they be gay or straight — to have their committed relationships recognized and valued.

    You can see where they’re going with this.

    As gay marriage becomes more firmly established, the next set of lawsuits will be discrimination claims by domestic partners against any institution that legally recognizes marriage in a bid to put domestic partnership on an equal legal footing with marriage. Franke and others like her want the rest of the country to operate like New York City, where same-sex and opposite-sex couples can by law register as domestic partners and are entitled to the same benefits as married couples.

    The acceptance of infidelity theme has been subtly pushed at the Times for over a year now. The paper caused major controversy in December when it fawningly profiled the marriage of a homewrecking couple, who met at the school their children both attended while married to other spouses, in the “Vows” section of its bridal guide.

    But married couples aren’t the only targets for the Times’ sexual revolution. The paper just printed a piece suggesting that parents follow the Dutch model and allow their teenaged kids to bring their partners home for sex so they don’t have to sneak around. So far, the Times hasn’t been clear on whether mom and dad should go out to meet their own extramarital partners for sex, or whether they should bring them home, too, for one big family sleepover.

  9. WI held on! All the drum banging, capitol urinating, and hate signs were apparently for naught as the GOP held on. Two recalls next week for Dem Senators and there is a good chance of taking one of those away, if not both.

    Lots of outside $$$$ poured in. Policitians are truly bought and paid for, just like that MSNBC guy ranted. (I cannot believe I am agreeing with an MSNBC host??? What in the world is going on).

  10. I see this as a worse precedent than the other court case.

  11. Re: Politicians who lie.

    The voter gets to vote them out of office – that is the measure you take against such politicians.

    And why do I not vote?

    The guys who you vote in to replace the old guys maintain the new laws and rarely -if ever- repeal them, so the little voter temper tantrum has no force.

    Example: Ireland

    Irish government iin 2010 to terms for IMF loans — loans that the nation’s leaders had denied were necessary a week earlier. The voters had said “no” to the deal, but were ignored. They voted out the majority party a few months later, but by then it was too late.

    The new government was elected in protest to this decision, but did the new government reverse this decision?


    Voting is pointless. It changes nothing but the color of the T-shirts on legalized criminals.

    • Charlie? V needs to speak with you……

      • Anita, my love. I’m back to work on a temporary contract and can only comment during off hours. I’m up at 3:30 a.m. to write my stuff and do school work, but don’t have much time for SUFA and the left wing blogs I torture. I don’t agree with Chomsky on everything, just capitalism. I’m not familiar with his middle east position, except the US involvement there (and I agree with most of that). Besides, V secretly loves me too … don’t let her get you jealous, though …:)

  12. Greenspan went on TV regarding the downgrade, saying it was “wrong” since the US will never default on its payments, since it can print money.

    He is correct in that the money can be printed, he is wrong in believing that massive inflation is not also a default – it is a default on the currency.

    Gold, after some automatic profit taking, is continuing its rise.

    There are reasons for this.

    It would be worth taking a few moments and thinking about them.

    • Does this cover it?

      August 9, 2011
      Big Government’s Big Spending Has Boosted Inflation and Killed 3.5 Million Jobs
      Chuck Roger

      Rising prices are no surprise to anyone who has been following the actions of Ben Bernanke’s Fed. Two rounds of “quantitative easing” injected more than $2.3 trillion into bank reserves, and thus to some extent into the economy. The more money chasing products and services, the more those products and services cost.

      Bernanke’s thinking was that by pumping trillions into the financial system, he could spur lending, investing, and spending via lower interest rates, and thus goose the economy. But the strategy not only hasn’t improved the economy, it has also had two major bad side-effects. Increased inflation is one side-effect, discussed below. But first, let’s cover a truly nasty side-effect which is being under-reported.

      The Fed’s foolishness has weakened job markets. A former president of the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank, William Ford, and an American Institute for Economic Research fellow, Polina Vlasenko, point out that Bernanke’s tactics have depressed the interest income of people who rely on savings accounts, CDs, money market funds, Treasury and municipal bonds, and variable annuities. As a result, individuals’ income losses are huge. Ford and Vlasenko calculate that quantitative easing most likely caused a $371 billion reduction in personal annual spending, a 2.53 percent reduction in total economic output (gross domestic product, or “GDP”), and a loss of 3.5 million jobs.

      With the jobs that would have been created had the Fed not used quantitative easing–positions that would had to have been staffed for companies to meet increased demand driven by increased spending–unemployment might have fallen to around 6.8 percent instead of staying above 9 percent. Ford and Vlasenko estimate that GDP would have increased more than two times faster than the rate that we’ve seen and “the economy would be well on its way to a vigorous recovery, rather than struggling as it is.”

      But struggling, and getting worse, the economy definitely is.

      Which brings us to the second bad side-effect of Bernanke’s quantitative easing. America’s GDP now lags below the historical trend. We should be experiencing a deflationary economy. Yet, as Calafia Beach Pundit economist Scott Grannis reports, for the first half of 2011, America experienced inflation at a 3.8 percent rate and accelerating. The Fed Chief’s strategy was supposed to stimulate economic activity and stave off deflation. But now the Fed had better be wary of inflation. Grannis analyzes:

      Once again these developments underscore supply-siders’ belief that growth can only come from hard work and risk-taking. Monetary policy can’t create growth out of thin air, and neither can fiscal “stimulus” spending. The swimming pool analogy is very apt: fiscal spending “stimulus” is akin to taking water out of the deep end of a pool and pouring it into the shallow end–it achieves nothing and is simply a waste of effort. Real growth only occurs when people work more and/or someone figures out how to make the same amount of work produce more output.

      Grannis’s reasoning provides an easy-to-understand explanation of the wrong-headedness of stimulus economics. Federal spending and interest rate manipulation only weaken the economy by moving money from productive sectors to dead ends. Grannis observes:

      Too much debt-financed spending only wastes the economy’s scarce resources, while simultaneously boosting expected tax burdens. This in turn reduces the after-tax rewards to hard work and risk-taking, which explains why corporations have been so slow to invest their growing stockpiles of cash. Too much easy money only boosts speculative activity (which shows up as higher commodity and gold prices) while undermining the dollar and reducing investment.

      Yet no one who has been paying attention believes that the discrediting of government “stimulus” by real events would stop reality-blind Keynesian ideologues from calling for more spending. Were it not for the mega-mega-debt battle–and now the downgrading of U.S. Treasury debt as well as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac–President Hopey-Changey would now be in full-on preaching mode, demanding additional borrowing to fund additional hundreds of billions in “stimulus” for a cruddy, and getting cruddier, economy that the once-magic man owns lock, stock, and barrel.

  13. Indeed.

    Keeping interest rates low – so that government interest costs are low – destroys savings and investments, which are the only real path to long term prosperity and growth.

    The Titanic is sinking, and the government believes counter-flooding and the decks level will make the disaster disappear.

  14. Fredddie and Fannie are asking for a few billion more to tide them over. This from John Lott’s blogspot.

    Obama’s complicity in two financial crises?
    Stanley Kurtz has this interesting piece linking Obama to ACORN to the financial crisis. The article is available here.

    As America teeters on the brink of a second financial crisis, I think back to 2008, and the irony of a suprime mortgage fiasco propelling to the presidency a man who’d spent a career abetting the folks who’d caused the crisis to begin with. Despite releasing an Internet ad on ACORN, Obama, and the subprime meltdown, the McCain campaign was unwilling or unable to pursue the issue. The Clinton administration’s gutting of credit standards in the name of fair housing, in close cooperation with ACORN and Fannie Mae, laid the foundations of the mortgage crisis of 2008. Yet in the second presidential debate, McCain did nothing to combat Obama’s claims that the crisis was strictly a product of under-regulation. In the third debate, Obama flat-out lied about his longstanding ties to ACORN. The media, of course, let him get away with it.

    While many conservatives know the real story well, the country as a whole has still barely heard it. The important new book by Gretchen Morgenson and Joshua Rosner has begun to break the fuller truth about the 2008 financial meltdown into public awareness, yet even there the focus is on Fannie Mae, while the ACORN connection is given short shrift. Fannie Mae would never have gone south if ACORN hadn’t pulled it into the subprime business in the first place. ACORN’s national banking campaign was coordinated by Obama’s close political allies at the group’s Chicago office, which Obama was heavily funding through two foundations at the time. . . .

    I think of Bell Federal’s naive and noble–but doomed–resistance to ACORN, and Fannie Mae’s equally bitter battle to hold ACORN at bay–well before the horror story recounted by Morgenson and Rosner played out. It took a lot of heavy lifting by ACORN and its supporters to break down years of prudent business practice, embodied in the credit standards all sane bankers once rightly insisted on. Only after those standards were compromised did we reap the whirlwind. . . .

    Obama was intimately familiar with the battle to undermine America’s credit standards, and in full philosophical sympathy with it. It took a one-two punch of Alinskyite intimidation and federal regulatory pressure to create the preconditions for the subprime crisis of 2008, and Obama was on board for all of it. . . .

    Now we are flirting with a second crisis, brought on by overspending, debt, and excessive regulation. Dodd-Frank, a banking bill named for Barney Frank, another abettor of the Fannie Mae fiasco, depresses business. . . . .

    Kurtz has this information here linking Obama to ACORN.

    Gretchen Morgenson and Joshua Rosner’s new book extensively discusses Jim Johnson’s role in creating the mortgage crisis, but they also mention Obama’s close ties with Johnson (e.g., see page 11, 54, 187). Many of Obama’s important appointees had big roles in creating the financial crisis (e.g., Timothy Geithner, Tom Donilon).

  15. Couldn’t agree MORE!

    August 9, 2011
    London Bridges Falling Down – Why?
    J. Robert Smith

    Another night of fiery riots in London. Scores of homes and businesses looted and destroyed. Innocents beaten, robbed, and humiliated. Most of the rioters and looters are young, teenagers. Of course, one wonders why London and other British cities are seeing outbreaks of mob action and lawlessness.
    The conventional wisdom has it that cuts in government services and poverty are driving these hooligans into Britain’s streets. Certainly, the left has a vested interest in promoting that viewpoint. But British writer, Philip Womack, offers a far less conventional — indeed, intriguing – perspective on the looters and rioters.

    The Luther-Ross brothers [characters from a Womack novel] would have no trouble recruiting the rioters to their band of Liberators. They have no consciences to be removed in the first place. What we need to do is systemic, and it needs to be done from the roots up, and it needs to be done now. It has nothing to do with cuts, or even poverty. It is to do with generational psychological flaws: and the only way to solve this is to get in there and talk, and show that every action, mindless or not, has its equal and opposite reaction. We need to show unity, and show these children that their actions are not a form of freedom. Freedom comes from self-regulation, not self-abandonment. Their actions will only lead them into slavery: psychological, and real.

    How much dialoguing with people — kids or otherwise — conducting themselves as savages is of any real value is dubious. Jail time might be a better cure. But Womack’s other insights point strongly to the tragic results of anything goes, value- and moral-free progressive culture.

    And, one might add, it points to the British welfare state as a culprit and expression of the emptiness of progressive society. Young people who are all too accustomed to government handouts have been denied the opportunites and incentives to develop initiative to build independence and self-worth through their own efforts. The state is a layer atop a degraded culture that has made British streets mean and brutish.

  16. This group was talked about in an earlier post. Can we wait ’til 2012 to get them out?

  17. Wow-it is very interesting to see a writer in Europe-where socialism is further along than here-point out the exact consequences that those of us on the right worry about.

    • V.H.

      You often post about “morals”, and I counter-post that morals cannot be validated by law.


      Here is a case where your complaint in principle is correct.

      A generation has been raised on envy.
      They have been taught by the Socialists and Progressives that they do not need to earn to “get”. (Yes, this is a condemnation of Buck, Mathius and Charlie).

      Their world is coming to an end.

      They have been taught that they do not need to earn, yet, they are learning that was a lie, and they are angry.

      Burn, baby, burn is their new motto.

      America is not immune to this.

      Prepare now.

      • Note, they are actually destroying their own homes and neighborhoods.

        Also note, the legitimized violence provider’s are stepping back – the police were told to “not engage but observe” the mayhem.

        Also note, the shop owners were prohibited in taking arms or defense against the arsonists and looters even if it was to save their property. They were told “you can defend IN your store, but NOT outside” – damn pointless when they are throwing fire-bombs….

        These are important notes: – they WILL come to play here, too. (see LA Riots – R. King)

        Learn the lesson.
        Prepare now.

        • Coming-no-I would say it is already here-It is already starting-not sure we are as far gone as Europe yet. But we are on the same road.

          • V.H.

            It is good that you see this.

            Now prepare for this.

            Shop owners were unprepared day one. They tried to act on day two but the “law” said “no”.

            On day three they ignored the law – and as an informal army stood guard in front of their shops… none burned.

            This is the lesson that I hope is learned “Day One’.

      • When I post about immorality-I am not always thinking about enforcing, sometimes I am 🙂 but most of the time I am thinking more about not encouraging immorality -and at the very least the LAW shouldn’t encourage and cause immorality.

  18. It is with sadness I note that gold burst through $1800 and continues to rise unabated (other than “technical profit taking”).

    Sadness??? Yep, because this means that more and more people do not believe there is a solution with in the designs of government.

    …which means I am right…

    …which, often, in today’s world, is not a good thing…

    • PS: I expect I will be “banned” from a few more blogs this week….

      • Who in their right mind would ban you BF? I’m not being sarcastic when I say that, I am being serious. I don’t post often but I pay attention to what you say. Lots here may not like what you say, I don’t always, but I am finding that more often than not, you are right on the money.

        • Kristian

          It is a common tactic of those whose worldview is under collapse.

          “Knowledge is pain, ignorance is bliss”

          Kent gets banned lots too – and he is incredibly gentle in his message of freedom, unlike me! But the truth hurts those who have lived based on the lies of others. And it does hurt – their brain hurts, their hearts hurt.

          It is incredibly difficult to self-realize that you have spent decades of your life in toil for a myth and illusion – that nothing you did was for “real” – and now actually, real, harsh consequences are coming, and they are wholly unprepared for them – mentally, physically, morally.

          They are angry.

          This is a small problem – banning from blogs.
          This will manifest over a the population, and it won’t be merely censorship on a blog – it will be the burning of cities.

          • I’d really rather not be ignorant. I’d rather be prepared. I have been thinking that maybe it would be a good idea to sell the gold that I do have. The only reason I have held on to what I have is because they are the wedding rings that my deceased husband gave to me. I will always have his memory but with things happening the way that they are I think that I need to prepare myself. Your thoughts on this?

            • Kristan,

              We sell something so we can buy or do something else.

              What is it that you want to do?

              If it is merely to hold cash, I’d rather hold gold.
              If it is to pay down a credit card, I’d sell the gold.

  19. PS:
    Tomorrow will not be a good day in the markets.

    If the President speaks on national TV during this week about the economy, it will get worse.

    • Tomorrow won’t be good-didn’t we lose 500 pts today.

      • V.H.

        Yes, and what is worse, that is the “net” after an early morning rally of over 400 pts. … which means the afternoon fell over 900 pts….

        I posted a very long while ago to get out of the market.
        If any SUFA members did not heed that warning, it is your fault.

        Your pension plans will be attacked.

        Do not depend on them.

        If you can, rescue them, do so.
        (ie: that means make them “in your hand, right now, today” … even if it costs you money… because tomorrow, money will be meaningless)

    • PSSS:
      Remember, “Black October” has been the traditional month of economic collapse. We are merely seeing the “opening scene” today.

      Does this mean October will be bad?

      No. I have no gift of prophecy.

      But I do have the gift of “eventuality”.

      I would not be exposed in any way, shape or manner by October at the latest – unless you think otherwise.

  20. ” some of his energy priorities, including building and lighting efficiency. ” What is wrong with these people?

    Reid: Dems hope to make energy one of their ‘signature issues’ after recess
    By Andrew Restuccia – 08/10/11 01:48 PM ET

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Wednesday that Democrats hope to make energy one of their “signature issues” when Congress returns from its summer recess next month.

    “One of the things at the top of the list is energy jobs, and we’re going to see if we can get some cooperation from Republicans so we can make that one of our signature issues over the next couple of months,” Reid told reporters Wednesday on a conference call.

    He said energy will be a major part of the jobs agenda outlined by top Senate Democrats shortly before they left for August recess. But the majority leader offered few details about what energy legislation might look like.

    Asked if the legislation might be based on bills considered by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Reid demurred. He touted what he called bipartisan cooperation on the panel, but did not say whether he would bring energy legislation considered by the committee to the floor.

    “That’s one of the few committees in the Senate where there’s been outstanding cooperation with the chairman and ranking member,” Reid said, referring to Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) and ranking member Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

    Reid instead spoke in broad terms about some of his energy priorities, including building and lighting efficiency. Congress needs to act quickly to address those issues, he said.

    “I’m disappointed that we haven’t done better,” Reid said.

    But he acknowledged that many of the Democrats’ energy priorities face strong Republican opposition.

    “We need to do more from the Washington level — and certainly we are going to try to do that — but it’s very difficult with the backwards-leaning House of Representatives that we have,” Reid said, criticizing the GOP for pushing legislation aimed at blocking or limiting energy and environmental regulations.

    He also blasted House Republicans for working to repeal a 2007 law mandating more stringent light bulb efficiency standards.

    In the Wednesday conference call, Reid touted an Aug. 30 energy summit in Las Vegas. The fourth annual National Clean Energy Summit, organized by Reid and the Center for American Progress, will feature speeches by Vice President Joe Biden, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and California Gov. Jerry Brown (D), among others.

    • V.H.

      I’ve been around a brain injury person for more than a month.
      It is beyond bizarre.

      But I know he will get better.

      Politicians have been brain injured or brain damaged permanently.

      I know they will never get better – but most certainly get worse.

      • I keep hearing democrat talking heads saying the debt doesn’t matter-you would have to buy into that claim -not to be enraged hearing this twit talk about lighting efficiency when people don’t have any jobs-and everything they are doing ensures they won’t have one for a long time.

  21. So, people often ask:
    “What do I do right now?”

    Ok – listen up!

    0) Ultimate, most important …
    You must have at least 2 months physical cash in hand equal your immediate expenses or more…
    If you spend $4,000 a month, you better have in your mattress a MINIMUM of $8,000 … preferably in $20 bills.

    The banks can close their doors and turn off the ATM’s and Credit cards.
    How are you going to pay for food?

    It will be amazing the deals someone will get with a real buck vs. plastic.

    1) Eliminate un-collateralized debt.
    – credit cards
    – lines of credit

    These have no collateral, which means a default in payment risks all your assets – and further, the interest rate is usually variable – which means in 24 hrs., you could be paying 2x, 5x, 10x ….

    (2) DO NOT WORRY about the collateralized debt, that is, maintain your payment schedule – NO MORE ….. but No less!!

    (3) Buy today that you wish your money would buy tomorrow.

    In an economic collapse, cash is King … even in a inflation period. Do NOT depend on the ability to access ELECTRONIC DIGITS.

    When gold metal is no longer money, paper because money.
    When digital money is no longer money, paper money will return to be “real” money.

    When “paper” money is no longer money, only then is gold metal “money”.

    You need the ability to transition between all these stages .. do NOT ignore the value of paper money in hand!

    • I’m on it and will inform my family also. This is not good news. All of your posts this evening are alarming. Thanks for the heads up BF.

      • Anita,

        Be alarmed, but that does not mean hysterical.

        The markets are not happy.
        Any disturbance in the “force” may be a transitional event.

        Nothing happens gently!

        It is always like a small trip, and you fall off a cliff.

        Do not be the shoe on the foot that trips.

        • I hear you, thanks 😉

        • “And what do you see as we go through that exact point in time, the last couple of weeks, today specifically when the Dow is down over 500?”

          “What you see is that the rating agencies kept jumping to reaffirm the French and the French banks, but the French bank stocks are plummeting,” he continued. “S&P downgraded the U.S. and all you’ve seen is interest rates move to historic levels.”

          And this, albeit ugly for a lot of investors, shows “the emperor without clothes,” or the real value of some assets.

          “[Y]ou really get to see the emperor without clothes during anxiety. What value represents to an investor who is filled with anxiety is the only reality that matters, Sean,” he continued. “What the world is seeing now in the global marketplace are market forces finally acting on the reality of the situation he explained and the solutions aren’t working.”

          And all the policy measures to date were just “Band-Aids” delaying the inevitable.

          “So, what we’re doing now is what I’ve been trying to say for years — that Band-Aids don’t do anything,” Santelli said. “Sooner or later if you don’t address the problems — that markets will force you to address the problems. That’s happening now and as scary as that sounds listeners, it’s really the most healthy thing that I’ve seen in the last three years because what it’s going to do is establish a real bottom.”

          As to the current leadership, Santelli reminded listeners what President Barack Obama said as a candidate about the deficit.

          “Listen, I never like to speak to politics, but I like to use politicians’ words,” Santelli said. “I have a pretty good memory. Our president said he would cut the deficit in half in his first term. OK, that’s it. I rest my case.”

          And that is part of what’s wrong in Washington, a lack of politicians living up to their words, Santelli said. He bucked the conservative trend, even admitting he disagreed with himself, but explained that higher taxes could be the answer. However, he said the government isn’t in a trustworthy-enough position to raise more revenue.

          “I couldn’t even talk about [tax increases] until we got people who are trustworthy,” he said.

          Read more:

          • Something certainly has to give-something to force these people to do what is needed. Raising taxes might be prudent at some point to help us pay down our debt-I really don’t believe raising taxes a few percentage points would cripple business- unless they don’t really cut spending and regulations and health care demands-which is what they normally do. So allowing them to raise taxes is totally unacceptable-we would just be waiting for the next demand that we must raise the debt ceiling again and we must raise taxes again. That is if we make it to the next time.

      • I agree. Part of me wants “this” to hurry up and happen so we can start the recovery (whatever that may be) and then I read your posts and think, OMG! I think we’re ready and will be “fine”, but still it’s scary.

    • BF, I admire your persistence and your clarity of thought. Came across the following today .. If you had purchased $1,000 of shares in Delta Airlines one year ago you would have $49.00 today! If you purchased $1,000 of shares in AIG you would have $33.00 If you purchased $1,000 of shares in Lehman Brothers you would have $0.00 today. But, if you purchased $1,000 worth of beer, drank all the beer, turned in the aluminum cans for recycling, you would have $214.00.

      Therefore the best current investment plan is to drink heavily & recycle. It is called the 401-Keg Plan…
      all the best ….

  22. Immorality article in a different way. Call me naive – I was not aware of this practice. WARNING TO JUDY! Please don’t even read.

    • Wow-hard to know what to say to this-I guess in this example- it’s the fact that they did everything they could to produce a baby-and then when they succeeded -they want to destroy the life they PURPOSELY caused to come into this world because the outcome didn’t perfectly fit their desires. And it’s pretty well known that using any type of fertility treatments can produce more than one baby.

      But if nothing else-the women’s words prove beyond any doubt that people will do what THEY know is wrong, when everything in them is telling them I shouldn’t do this- by using some really lame excuses to justify their actions.

    • What will they think of next? My sister had IVF then the baby died during delivery! that ssssssucked!

  23. Uhhh Ohhh Toto…were not in Kansas any more…

    White House links to deliberate forgery from, thinking it was real…

    Court tells Hawaii officials to explain Obama’s birth records
    ‘Show cause’ hearing will determine why subpoena rejected…Evidently Taitz argued to a federal judge and got her hands on a subpoena and Hawaii still wouldn’t comply with the order for her to examine it with two professionals.

    Taitz said in her arguement the state’s “privacy” regulations should be ignored, as Obama already has released what the White House purported to be a copy of the document to the public.

    @ Buck is that a valid arguement?

    • Buck the Wala says:

      Ain’t going anywhere TC, ain’t going anywhere. The whole issue is absolute nonsense. Taitz is risking yet another sanction, if not disbarrment (if she hasn’t already been disbarred) by continuously bringing this issue forward.

      Given this is a slightly different issue – not arguing Obama’s ineligibility for the Presidency, but arguing against Hawaii’s decision not to comply with a subpoena. But as far as I’m aware, privacy would still trump in this instance. Also, I thought you were all for states rights!? 🙂

      • Buck

        I believe the question was whether the State can continue to argue “privacy” policy after the document in question was made public by the President.

        Seems to me the State loses some of its leverage in this, regardless of how stupid the purpose of the legal action.

        • Buck the Wala says:

          True. And I’m not sure how far the ‘privacy’ doctrine extends, but believe it would still cover this type of situation.

  24. This sounds very promising!!

    ‘Remarkable’ New Therapy Wipes Out Leukemia in Study

    NEW YORK (The Blaze/AP) — Scientists are reporting the first clear success with a new approach for treating leukemia – turning the patients’ own blood cells into assassins that hunt and destroy their cancer cells.

    They’ve only done it in three patients so far, but the results were striking: Two appear cancer-free up to a year after treatment, and the third patient is improved but still has some cancer. Scientists are already preparing to try the same gene therapy technique for other kinds of cancer.

    “It worked great. We were surprised it worked as well as it did,” said Dr. Carl June, a gene therapy expert at the University of Pennsylvania. “We’re just a year out now. We need to find out how long these remissions last.”

    He led the study, published Wednesday by two journals, New England Journal of Medicine and Science Translational Medicine.

    It involved three men with very advanced cases of chronic lymphocytic leukemia, or CLL. The only hope for a cure now is bone marrow or stem cell transplants, which don’t always work and carry a high risk of death.

    Scientists have been working for years to find ways to boost the immune system’s ability to fight cancer. Earlier attempts at genetically modifying bloodstream soldiers called T-cells have had limited success; the modified cells didn’t reproduce well and quickly disappeared.

    June and his colleagues made changes to the technique, using a novel carrier to deliver the new genes into the T-cells and a signaling mechanism telling the cells to kill and multiply.
    Click here to find out more!

    That resulted in armies of “serial killer” cells that targeted cancer cells, destroyed them, and went on to kill new cancer as it emerged. It was known that T-cells attack viruses that way, but this is the first time it’s been done against cancer, June said.

    CBS News provides this report:

    For the experiment, blood was taken from each patient and T-cells removed. After they were altered in a lab, millions of the cells were returned to the patient in three infusions.

    The researchers described the experience of one 64-year-old patient in detail. There was no change for two weeks, but then he became ill with chills, nausea and fever. He and the other two patients were hit with a condition that occurs when a large number of cancer cells die at the same time – a sign that the gene therapy is working.

    “It was like the worst flu of their life,” June said. “But after that, it’s over. They’re well.”

    The main complication seems to be that this technique also destroys some other infection-fighting blood cells; so far the patients have been getting monthly treatments for that.

    Penn researchers want to test the gene therapy technique in leukemia-related cancers, as well as pancreatic and ovarian cancer, he said. Other institutions are looking at prostate and brain cancer.

    Dr. Walter J. Urba of the Providence Cancer Center in Portland, Ore., called the findings “pretty remarkable” but added a note of caution because of the size of the study.

    “It’s still just three patients. Three’s better than one, but it’s not 100,” said Urba, one of the authors of an editorial on the research that appears in the New England Journal.

    What happens long-term is key, he said: “What’s it like a year from now, two years from now, for these patients.”

    But Dr. Kanti Rai, a blood cancer expert at New York’s Long Island Jewish Medical Center, could hardly contain his enthusiasm, saying he usually is more reserved in his comments on such reports.

    “It’s an amazing, amazing kind of achievement,” said Rai, who had no role in the research.

    None of the three patients wanted to be identified, but one wrote about his illness, and his statement was provided by the university. The man, himself a scientist, called himself “very luck,” although he wrote that he didn’t feel that way when he was first diagnosed 15 years ago at age 50.

    He was successfully treated over the years with chemotherapy until standard drugs no longer worked.

    Now, almost a year since he entered the study, “I’m healthy and still in remission. I know this may not be a permanent condition, but I decided to declare victory and assume that I had won.”

  25. I simply must share my happiness 🙂 I have been on a diet for 3 months today and I have lost 19.5 pounds. I wanted to say 20 but who cares, close enough. Woo Hoooo! 🙂 🙂

  26. Just saw this quote in my web travels:

    “They say Republicans are for the rich, Democrats are for the poor.
    If they need more voters,
    then they have to make more of who they are for.”

  27. JAC-Don’t want to change the topic of discussion in the other link-so I’m gonna ask down here-What are the Constitutional guidelines for being President? I read much that disagrees-the Constitution seems vague on this issue. And I read that Rubio and someone else, can’t think of his name right now-can’t be President because their parents weren’t citizens at the time of their birth-this saddens me. 😦

    • Age and Citizenship requirements – US Constitution, Article II, Section 1

      No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty-five years, and been fourteen years a resident within the United States.

      Term limit amendment – US Constitution, Amendment XXII, Section 1 – ratified February 27, 1951

      No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once.

      • But what does Natural Born Mean?

      • The Natural Born Citizen requirement is where the discussion/question on Obama elgibility lies.

        From Wiki:

        Natural-born-citizen clause of the U.S. Constitution
        Part of the constitutional provision as it appeared in 1787Status as a natural-born citizen of the United States is one of the eligibility requirements established in the United States Constitution for election to the office of President or Vice President. This requirement was an attempt to allay concerns that foreign aristocrats might immigrate to the new nation and use their wealth and influence to impose a monarchy.

        The Constitution does not define the phrase natural-born citizen, and various opinions have been offered over time regarding its precise meaning. There is general agreement that the term encompasses, as a minimum, anyone born on U.S. soil to U.S. citizen parents. Most scholars and politicians currently agree that the term includes those born on U.S. soil, as well as those born to U.S. citizens parents regardless of place of birth.

        The natural-born-citizen clause has been mentioned in passing in several decisions of the United States Supreme Court and lower courts, but the Supreme Court has never directly addressed the question of a specific presidential or vice-presidential candidate’s eligibility as a natural-born citizen. Although numerous claims have been put forth that the current president, Barack Obama, is not a natural-born citizen, the relevant courts have so far dismissed all lawsuits brought over this question.

        Two schools of thought on Obama – born on US soil and/or born to US citizen parents

        The birth certificate issue – was he or was he not born in Hawaii?

        US citizen parents – this would seem to be an obvious no

        It is unfortunate that, so far, no court is willing to enforce even these basic requirements.

        • If nothing else the Obama question has put a spotlight on a problem-We need more than a general consensus. How is Congress or whoever is responsible for doing so, supposed to determine eligibility when the guidelines aren’t clearly defined.

          Obviously, they where making a point by saying “or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution.” This was necessary because no one would have been eligible 🙂 but it still is distinguishing between people who were born here and immigrants who had moved here. But it doesn’t seem to me to apply specifically to the citizenship of the parents. But it obviously does to all those who generally agree. 🙂

        • Kathy

          I think Wiki has it wrong, as you will see in my post below.

          “Most scholars and politicians currently agree that the term includes those born on U.S. soil, as well as those born to U.S. citizens parents regardless of place of birth.”

          Whoever posted this is confusing the “scholars and politicians” interpretation of later Supreme Court rulings over the 14th amendment with an interpretation of “natural born”. What is happening here is that they are using the “new” view of citizenship to “redefine” the term “natural born”. But the 14th DID NOT address “natural born” nor did the later Supreme Court case.

          The reason everyone now accepts this view is because we have all been taught and now accept that this is the interpretation.

          • but isn’t the significant wording here in both, “US Citizen parents”? The parents can be citizenized in any of the legal ways, but the offspring can only become President if both parents are US citizens.

            BHO was a Kenyan citizen, (under British Rule at the time of The One’s birth???), which means in no way was he (the dad) a US citizen. To me, this is the undisputable question of The One’s eligibility.

            • Buck the Wala says:

              I didn’t realize Hawaii was part of Kenya in the 1960s!

              • Buck

                Come on man, keep up. The argument is that his FATHER was NOT a US Citizen therefore he could NOT be a NATURAL BORN citizen.

                Due to his FATHER being a Keynan Citizen then BHO would be a Kenyan Citizen, by British rules of Right of Citizenship.

              • Buck the Wala says:

                No, I’m following along. It just amazes me the lengths people go to argue BHO is not an American citizen.

              • Huh????

            • Buck

              Come on, this is one of the more interesting provisions of the Constitution with respect to the mixing of old English Common law, Statutory Law and the US Const and subsequent laws.

              The argument has some good legal backing, or at least uncertainties. Remember, these questions were also raised over McCain in his first runs for office.

              They are not arguing that he is not a citizen. Only that he is not “natural born”. 🙂

              • Yea, come on Buck 🙂 don’t think about Obama specifically-just look at all those aspects and help us determine what guidelines one must meet -to be the President of this country. Thanks Kathy and Jac for the answers-gotta go for awhile.

    • V.H.

      I have seen those same arguments of late. I find it very interesting because those who constructed an argument against Mr. Obama’s eligibility are now forced to apply the same standard to those they “want” to run. At least they have enough integrity to apply the same standard. So let me explain what is happening, in my opinion.

      First, the actual wording in the document: “No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.”

      The entire controversy is centered around the use of “natural born Citizen”, as opposed to just Citizen. The latter of course includes “naturalized” Citizens. If one uses the ” originalist” method of determining what this means then you have to go back and find out what the term “natural born Citizen” or “natural born” meant at that time. Both in general sense and in legal sense. There is much evidence that English law and tradition defined “natural born” as a person born of Citizens or of parents where the “father” was a Citizen of the nation in question, in this case England. There were some other exceptions I do not recall but you get the idea. However, in the 1898 Supreme Court ruling in Untied States v. Wong Kim Ark, the interpretation changed to mean someone “born a Citizen” of the United States.

      This in itself creates another interesting situation if we stick to the originalist view. We all know that John McCain was found to be eligible due to some court review in a previous case that found anyone born within territory under the USA jurisdiction to be a “born Citizen”. But if you use the actual wording and punctuation in the Amendment XIV you can get a very different answer.

      Here it is: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

      In my opinion, the addition of “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof,” is not an expansion to include areas outside the USA that are under USA jurisdiction. It is a reference to those who might be “born” within the boundaries of the USA but who are NOT subject to the jurisdiction of the USA. Such as “Indians” and babies born to foreign nationals. Yes……….. the implications of the latter are what you think they are. Obviously this would be a grossly Politically Incorrect view to take among certain voter blocks.

      So lets address the purpose of the “natural born” requirement. Irrespective of the “interpretation”. The Founders were clearly concerned that the President NOT have any possible allegiance to another Country nor have connections close enough to be influenced by another Country. Such as a father being a Citizen of another country. This was the underlying purpose for the English law interpretations as well. Obviously, by today’s standards this is quite “sexist”. The presumption is that the Father is the controlling factor alone in determining the child’s allegiance.

      Now if that was so darn important why did they include “or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of Adoption of this Constitution”?? Quite simple. George Washington and many of the founders would NOT be eligible under the “Natural Born” requirement. But it was viewed that since they had fought against England and for our independence, their LOYALTY should not be questioned.

      I find the entire debate quite interesting in that it has not been in the forefront in many, many years. Yes, the reaction of some to Mr. Obama’s election caused it to surface again. There is an increasing number of “just citizens” who are revisiting the Constitution and its “original” meaning as pare of the political awakening. So what we see on the internet and cable shows are these very old concepts being brought forward for debate, once again.

      Interestingly, the Heritage Foundation published a good summary of the various Constitutional issues titled “The Heritage Guide to the Constitution.” It contains full discussions on the changes in meaning of the “commerce clause” for example. There is not a single discussion about any controversy over the meaning of “natural born Citizen” that I could find in the book. However, there is discussion explaining the 14th Amendment that focuses on “citizenship”, and which supports the “originalist” view, in my opinion.

      The Citizenship provision of the 14th changed the primary point of Citizenship from the States to the Federal. Prior to that a Citizen of any state was a citizen of the USA. The 14th was passed to make the Federal definition primary, to prevent states from declaring those of “African decent” as not citizens. But lets look at an argument made by the proponent of the Amendment. Senator Jacob Howard, of Ohio.

      From Heritage: “As Senator Howard remarked, the requirement of “jurisdiction,” understood in the sense of “allegiance,” “will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers accredited to the Government of the United States.”” He also explained that it did not include “Indians” because they had allegiance, “at least in part” to their native tribes which was separate to the United States. Indians were eventually granted full citizenship status.

      Now the interesting part. Howard, in his explanation also claimed that the authority for those born within the USA, and subject to its jurisdiction, to become citizens was “by virtue of natural law and national law”. The view is that “natural law” would have included the view as expressed in the Dec. of Independence and other writings, that Citizenship is NOT a birth right but a voluntary compact between a person and the country to which they have allegiance. This could be viewed as both consistent with and contradictory to the English law interpretation of “natural born”. Remember, part of that definition included birth right as a requirement.

      So the Framers recognized the difference and included “natural born” as a requirement so that the common law citizen, what we would call “naturalized” was not eligible. Which leads back to the question of what “natural born” means. But………………..

      This brings us back to the 1898 Supreme Court case. Prior to this case the “common law” view of citizenship applies. Thus the focus is on “allegiance” to the country but the question of “natural born” is still not explicitly clear. This court case essentially creates a “birth right” based citizenship in that the child of US citizens is automatically a US Citizen, as are those who are born in the USA.

      Except that the legal issue of whether Congress has the authority to declare children born of foreign nationals and aliens as Citizens has still not been “settled”.

      So in my view, if Mr. Rubio’s parents were naturalized Citizens at the time of his birth then the modern courts would support his eligibility. If they were not Citizens at the time, then somebody could challenge his eligibility in court. The outcome would have HUGE ramifications.

      Sorry for the long winded answer. There is even more but I wanted to provide at least some background. Ask more questions if I have confused the matter even more.


  28. I would urge everyone to be cautious about using the Stock Market as a gauge of our economy. The market has been greatly over valued, in my technical opinion, for most of the last 30 years. Thus it must suffer down turns, which of course means it will “over” correct.

    At the same time, the market can reflect a general mood about the economy among the traders. This is why it is sometimes called a “leading indicator”.

    Remember, the current market run up was fueled largely by essentially free money pumped into the system. Money stops, stocks have to contract back to “true value”.

    What was more significant, to me, was the broad market declines last week, not the drop in stocks this week. During that period there was a decline in stocks, bonds and virtually ALL commodities. This combination of declines would indicate a broad consensus that the global economy is slowing down. Reduced growth = reduced demand for products = declines in commodity futures, stocks and bonds.

    • Sorry-this question isn’t limited to JAC-his post just made me think about it 🙂 I really need to stop doing that.

    • Tell it to the folks who just lost cash in college ed funds…like I did in 08/09.. a year’s worth of tuition. 👿

      • Anita

        I did not say that owning stocks can not have an economic affect on YOU.

        I said be careful when using it as THE gauge of the economy as a whole.

        By the way, the real losers in the market are those who buy and hold. I’ll bet you learned that lesson though, didn’t you.

        Also remember that for every seller there is a buyer. While the new reports 3 trillion in losses due to market declines, there were thousands of people making billions of dollars during the fall.

    • JAC scores 100% on this test!

      Reduced growth = reduced demand for products = declines in commodity futures, stocks and bonds.

      This is what makes a lot of lettered economists idiots. They see the FED and Gov. print money and spend like drunk sailors – which is wildly inflationary – and then point to the fall in prices in commodities and then claim:

      “See government spending and printing money does not cause inflation!”

      But thinking men, who are natural economists such as JAC and D13, are smarter than that.

      They understand the law of supply and demand which is stronger than the inflationary inputs of government and watch demand fall like a rock – which causes commodities and goods prices fall like a rock.

      How did they figure this out?

      Because they also looked at the price of gold – which WENT UP.

      Then they glued it all together into a coherent world-view.

      (1)People are scared
      (2)Scared people start building “escape” routes.
      (3)They stop spending, pay of debts, increase cash reserves.
      (4)This causes a drop in demand of real goods.
      (5)Prices fall.
      (6)They start buying safety.
      (7)People leave the stock market.
      (8)They buy gold
      (9) They buy the appearance of cash safety – T-bills.
      (10)T-bills interest rates fall (meaning, there are more bids for T-bills then T-bills, thus the price of money drops)

      Marc Faber said “Yep, the Dow Jones will skyrocket to new records in the near future”
      His interviewer stammered back “So you are saying the People should stay in the market???”
      He laughed “Absolutely NOT! So what if the price of IBM is $10,000,000 a share! The value of money will be zero!”
      “Buy commodities – food – there are real shortages coming”

  29. A little less “feral” children but pretty much the same conclusions but with a few more salient points.

    Riots without responsibility
    We’ve failed to teach our kids that an entitlement culture is wrong. Now we are paying the price

    o Shaun Bailey
    o, Wednesday 10 August 2011 19.45 BST
    o Article history

    The looting and rioting over the last few days have been committed by a very small proportion of this nation’s young people. They have shown us – the “grownups” – what can happen when a minority decide to take things that do not belong them, using violence as an intimidation tactic. But let’s get this straight at the outset: these events have not been motivated by a single, unifying cause. Let’s not crudely simplify this week’s violence – for if we do so, we will fail to learn the lessons that really need to be learned.

    I believe there are four main aspects to the riots: young people being opportunistic; young people wanting to show those in authority who is boss; a general anger and angst among young people; and politicians jumping on the bandwagon to forward their own beliefs.

    Word up, kids – smashing up your neighbour’s business or setting fire to someone’s home is pure criminality. As is throwing bricks at the police. It is not OK. Yet opportunism – the thrill of being part of the crowd – is, I believe, why and how most young people have got involved.

    How do I know this? The riots have sprung up in seemingly random places and certain brands have been targeted. Young people have been looting the shops they like: JD Sports and mobile phone shops have been hit, yet Waterstone’s has been left alone. These young people like trainers and iPhones; they are less interested in books. This is criminality in a raw form, not politics. And rioters with a political message would, in any case, have been jeered by the baying crowds in their newest Adidas attire.

    It is a perennial pastime of young people, almost a rite of passage, to balk at authority figures. Any teachers or parents reading this will agree. The police represent the ultimate authority figures – and, for some young people, the ultimate enemy too. Fighting them, especially when they are not able to retaliate, is always a chance for a big jolly. Young rioters, for a while, must have thought they were winning the war.

    Some politicians have been reiterating the point that young people are angry about the changes currently taking place in our society, that the riots have resulted from feelings of uncertainty about their future. But people were trying to say that when I was a teenager, too. To argue that the riots are a direct result of cuts to the police or public spending is simply untrue. This is much bigger than politics – let’s not diminish what is really going on.

    Politicians trying to score points from these events should feel ashamed of themselves. They are simply using the riots to confirm previously held beliefs about young people. Comparing these events to the riots of the 1980s is similarly tenuous. Financially the country may be worse off than 25 years ago, but socially we are in a far stronger position.

    For me, the deepest issue at play here is one of responsibility. Who is responsible for law and order in our nation? Who is responsible for the behaviour of our young people? Can we blame the state when parents have been allowed to abdicate responsibility for the behaviour of their children?

    The biggest problem our country has faced over the last two decades is that everyone thinks the government should do everything. Personal responsibility and community responsibility have been replaced by state responsibility. If the riots have shown us anything, it is that this approach does not work.

    Politicians have been part of this process, and some on the left may have even encouraged our young people to riot. The liberal intelligentsia encouraged posh kids to protest and riot over student fees – and now poorer kids have joined in and we are all appalled. How can you complain when you supported such activism only a few months ago?

    In a way, we are all responsible for the riots, whether directly or indirectly. We watched the previous government talk up rights for young people but with no mention of responsibilities. We have allowed our welfare system to prop up immoral lifestyles. We have not taught all our young people that an entitlement culture is morally wrong. And we have paid the price for this liberalism. Now we need to collectively grow up and take responsibility for responsibility.

  30. Mathius™ says:

    A Marketwatch columnist finally “get’s it” … well, most of it.

    Took him 6 years of him hitting his head against a brick wall……

    He wrote it in the aftermath of a 635 point drop in the Dow on Monday and a 430-point increase on Tuesday. It was posted just prior to a 335-point opening drop, which resulted in a 535-point drop by the end of the day. So, the scenario was volatility.

    But he is not writing about volatility.

    “A Depression doesn’t run hot and fierce like some crazed meth burner. A Depression is methodical, purposeful, patient. It will build a shelter out of tree branches and newspaper, light a small, well-contained campfire and wait you out, brother. While you feed on the empty calories of denial and popcorn, it will quietly gather shards of broken dreams and fashion them into a terrible weapon of blunt force reality.”

    That is a depression – a methodical dissolving of people’s faith.

    There are many ways to view this seismic shift: anger (as expressed by Main Street), sadness (as savings are destroyed), fear (as reality bites), and confusion (as folks try to understand how this could ever happen).

    And there’s anticipation, as we cast an eye forward and look for the phoenix that will eventually arise from the scorched earth.

    The unfortunate capital market destruction is an inevitable comeuppance, the cumulative result of risk gone awry. It’s been percolating under the seemingly calm surface for years, magnified by financial engineering and consumed by an immediate gratification society.

    The reason is the Federal Reserve System and Central Banking.
    He does not see this. Only the Austrians and the Greenbackers see it.
    Austrians want government out of the money business.
    Greenbackers want government to run it.
    Both sides hate the FED.

    The problem that comes from engaging in high-risk behavior for which the consequences are absent, even if only temporarily, is that such high-risk behavior begins to appear normal and the entire scale of risk gets adjusted and pushed out.”

    Therein lies the fatal flaw of our current conundrum.

    The vast masses of people cannot recognize the institutionalization of high-risk behavior.
    It now is “normal”.

    It is Corporations – a perverse entity created to avoid negative consequences – which, by its existence, increases high-risk behavior.

    But try arguing that they should be eliminated wholesale! Counter-arguments about the economic impact – “speed of transactions”, “economic slow-down”, and ironically “increase in risk!”….. bubble up.

    Government action – is the application of violence – most of which distorts the application of negative consequences away from the actor and onto innocent people. For example, taxation – taking money from those that earn to give those that do not must increase the numbers of those that earn and decrease the numbers that do earn – long term consequences of which will not be seen for decades, and then come roaring in as a “surprise!” – look at all the people on welfare, doing nothing of economic value…..

    But trying exposing this to the masses – they will call the prophet a lunatic! – so deep is the institutionalization of all of this that perverse, bizarre, immoral evil is seen to be the norm and those opposing evil are the nutcases!

    Sooner or later, the reality will flush the system. We have been seeing this since mid-2008. It has barely begun to flush. The handle got pushed down. We hear the noise. The system is nowhere near flushed.

    But he sees what is coming.

    The socioeconomic consequences will be pervasive as Mother Nature unleashes her pent-up wrath and explores the other side of the business cycle that politicians and policy makers have tried so hard to avoid. It’s certainly scary, as new beginnings typically are; therein lies the opportunity.

    He remains an optimist. He pointed out that great companies were formed during the Great Depression. Quite true; but other great companies were forever bankrupted.

    He maintains a stiff upper lip. “We’ve got a few lean years ahead but that’s nothing to fear.”

    It will be more than a few years. This flush is too large.
    It will be a long, drawn-out affair.

    “To get through this, we need to go through this and, as painful as the process is, it takes us one step closer to an eventual recovery.”

    Correct. And this is the heart of the matter.

    This is very good advice:

    Surround yourself with people you trust.
    Practice risk management over reward chasing.
    Preserve capital, reduce debt and become financially aware of your surroundings.
    It won’t be an easy road but it won’t be impossible either.

    “This too, shall pass.”

    He looks for the stock market’s bottom.

    As unconventional as that view was at the time, the events of the last few years have validated his perspective; ironically, as that very same point of recognition manifests, we’ll edge closer to a secular market bottom.

    So do I. But I am looking at China’s and India’s. He is focused on the USA. He is blind to what should be clear — unless India and Pakistan go to war.

    He is not an Austrian. He does not know cause from effect. He blames the labor market. That market is a symptom, not a cause.

    He sees the near-term future much as I do.

    The most important takeaway from the evolving dynamic in social mood is this: identifying a personal balance isn’t just about living within one’s means; it’s about redefining what those means are and adjusting your boundaries.

    If our past was focused on wealth, accumulation and consumption, the next few years will witness a migration toward something altogether more austere, if not more sensible.

    My personal view is that the stock market could retest the March 2009 lows in 2013. That doesn’t make it right, and the goal isn’t just to position yourself to profit if you’re correct, but to persevere if you’re not.

    Debt reduction and the rejection of — and guilt projection toward — materialism will continue what began in 2008. It won’t just be about doing more with less, but doing less… period, and finding happiness through avenues other than money.

    Long-term, there will be economic growth. Digits will get cheaper.

    The threat, as always, is violence: biological weapons, mainly.

    The other threat is the transition away from an oil-based economy. We must ask: “To what?” No in one in power knows. We must also ask: “At what price?” It will be a high price. No one in power is asking either of these questions publicly.

    When we read a mainstream media article like the one I have cited, we know the establishment is running out of time. There are doubters inside the system. This is always a prelude to a great political transformation. The loss of authority leads to a loss of power.

  32. Err,
    this should say
    aking money from those that earn to give those that do not must increase the numbers of those that DO NOT earn and decrease the numbers that do earn

    • Haha! I actually read it the first time the way you corrected it…..maybe I’m catching on!

      Or not, how can this very scenario continue?

      • Kathy,

        “Things that cannot go on tend to stop” (a Yogi Berra-ism) – and he is right.

        As government checks bounce, the people will awaken, demanding answers.

        The key: be the one with a coherent answer.

        This requires a number of things to be in place:
        (1) You must be in a position of authority to speak on the matter.
        I do not mean you need a PhD in Economics.

        I mean you must be recognized as a person who takes responsibility.
        Power moves from those who abandon responsibility to those who claim it and with that power comes Authority.

        This means becoming active locally. It means becoming active in your local community. It means establishing a reputation as a person who is responsible – for themselves – and capable to take the responsibility of the community.

        There are many ways to achieve this – D13 and JAC can offer very good insights here.

        (2) You must have “something” to replace what is being discarded.
        You CANNOT beat something with nothing

        If someone else has something, your nothing will lose, no matter how bizarre that something of others is….

        This is how Communism became reality – there was nothing to counter it, and when people figured out its horror, it was too late – it was entrenched.

        You have to be able to explain what happened in the past – coherently – and explain why your plan will work – coherently. You must be ready to refute socialists and communists articulately.

        (3) You need to build an organization around of friends and supports from which you can rally and obtain moral and physical support.
        “Surround yourself with smart people you can call friends”

        This is called the Paul Revere strategy.
        There were two riders that night – but we remember only one. Why? Paul Revere had over the years built his own network of associates – he made a lot of friends. The other guy did not do this. He did not rally anyone. When the day came, Paul called on his friends to spread the word – and it went “viral”, and the rest is history.

        (4) This all does not need to be you.
        Not everyone is able to be this person. If you are not, your duty then is to find such a person, guide them and support them.

  33. Rick Perry gets in the race.

    This is going to be fun to watch.

    “AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Gov. Rick Perry is running for president. That’s the word from Perry spokesman Mark Miner. Miner is telling The Associated Press that Perry will announce his intentions to run for the GOP nomination on Saturday as he visits early primary states of South Carolina and New Hampshire.”

    • JAC, help me!!!! I’m falling for Newt again. It’s like a bad boy lover or some sicko thing that I keep coming back to……

      You talked me out of him before; remind me again of why he’s bad!

    • I have no problem with how Perry has handled the Texas economy and various other issues being Governor…but face it the guy is part of the “Establishment”. He has never lost an election. Ever. That worries me because I would like to see Ron Paul in the Presidential office. I am sick of people listening to the mainstream media and saying Paul is unelectable. That is utter BS. The Fox polls from the debate had him at 63% favorable in the debate tonight. The majority of the others were shown disfavorable in regards to how they did in the debate. That says something right there!

  34. Wow-120,000 jobs-bad times are coming. But I wonder how the unions objections can be taken seriously-we have bailed out government enterprises over and over again -at some point one has to admit the truth.

    Postal Service proposes cutting 120,000 jobs, pulling out of health-care plan
    By Joe Davidson, Updated: Thursday, August 11, 7:24 PM

    SEATTLE — The financially strapped U.S. Postal Service is proposing to cut its workforce by 20 percent and to withdraw from the federal health and retirement plans because it believes it could provide benefits at a lower cost.

    The layoffs would be achieved in part by breaking labor agreements, a proposal that drew swift fire from postal unions. The plan would require congressional approval but, if successful, could be precedent-setting, with possible ripple effects throughout government. It would also deliver a major blow to the nation’s labor movement.

    In a notice informing employees of its proposals — with the headline “Financial crisis calls for significant actions” — the Postal Service said, “We will be insolvent next month due to significant declines in mail volume and retiree health benefit pre-funding costs imposed by Congress.”

    During the past four years, the service lost $20 billion, including $8.5 billion in fiscal 2010. Over that period, mail volume dropped by 20 percent.

    The USPS plan is described in two draft documents obtained by The Washington Post. A “Workforce Optimization” paper acknowledges its “extraordinary request” to break its labor contracts.

    “However, exceptional circumstances require exceptional remedies,” the document says.

    “The Postal Service is facing dire economic challenges that threaten its very existence. . . . If the Postal Service was a private sector business, it would have filed for bankruptcy and utilized the reorganization process to restructure its labor agreements to reflect the new financial reality,” the document continues.

    In a white paper on health and retirement benefits, the USPS said it was imperative to rein in health benefit and pension costs, which are a third of its labor expenses.

    For health insurance plans, the paper said, the Postal Service wanted to withdraw its 480,000 pensioners and 600,000 active employees from the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program “and place them in a new, Postal Service administered” program.

    Almost identical language is used for the Civil Service Retirement System and the Federal Employees Retirement System.

    The USPS said the programs do not meet “the private sector comparability standard,” a statement that could be translated as meaning that government plans are too generous and too costly.

    “FEHB may exceed what the private sector does in certain areas,” said Anthony J. Vegliante, USPS chief human resources officer and executive vice president. “It may not meet what the private sector does in other areas. So cost may be above the private sector, while value may be below the private sector.”

    Bills that would rein in employee benefits or have workers pay more for the benefits have been introduced in Congress and met with vigorous opposition from federal employee organizations. Intentionally or not, the Postal Service’s proposal provides support for such legislative initiatives.

    The proposals are the USPS’s latest money-saving effort in a series of moves, some as recent as a few weeks ago and others stretching over a decade.

    The Postal Service has reduced its workforce by 212,000 positions in the past 10 years and recently announced it is considering the closing of 3,700 post offices. It also has asked Congress to allow it to deliver mail five days a week instead of six and to change a requirement that it pre-fund retiree health benefits.

    The USPS said it needs to reduce its workforce by 120,000 career positions by 2015, from a total of about 563,400, on top of the 100,000 it expects by attrition. Some of the 120,000 could come through buyouts and other programs, but a significant number would probably result from layoffs if Congress allows the agency to circumvent union contracts.

    “Unfortunately, the collective bargaining agreements between the Postal Service and our unionized employees contain layoff restrictions that make it impossible to reduce the size of our workforce by the amount required by 2015,” according to the optimization document. “Therefore, a legislative change is needed to eliminate the layoff protections in our collective bargaining agreements.”

    The layoff protection, however, does not apply to employees with fewer than six years of service, which presumably would include thousands of workers.

    Postal union leaders quickly and sharply rejected the plans.

    “The APWU will vehemently oppose any attempt to destroy the collective bargaining rights of postal employees or tamper with our recently negotiated contract — whether by postal management or members of Congress,” American Postal Workers Union President Cliff Guffey said.

    “Our advisers are not encouraging us at all to even consider it,” said National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association President Don Cantriel.

    “We are absolutely opposed” to the layoff proposal, he said. “We are opposed to pulling out of the Federal Employees Health Benefits plan.”

    National Association of Letter Carriers President Fredric V. Rolando said: “The issues of lay-off protection and health benefits are specifically covered by our contract. . . . The Congress of the United States does not engage in contract negotiations with unions, and we do not believe they are about to do so.”

    How Congress will respond to the proposals, however, remains to be seen. Many Republicans, including those who have sponsored legislation that labor considers anti-union, may support the plan. Some Democrats, for which organized labor is an ally, could back union opposition. But the Postal Service’s critical financial situation could make some Democrats have second thoughts.

    Two members of Congress who have introduced separate postal reform bills were noncommittal on the USPS plan.

    A spokeswoman for Sen. Thomas R. Carper (D-Del.) said, “He is particularly interested in learning whether these proposals would be fair to employees and effective in reducing the Postal Service’s costs.”

    Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said: “These new ideas from the Postal Service are worth exploring. Options for reform and cost savings that will protect taxpayers from paying for a bailout, now or in the future, need to be on the table.”

  35. Ron Paul kicking Ass in the debate right now!

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