And We’re the Mind-Numbed Robots?

From  of The Blaze:

Occupy Oakland demonstrators plan to hold a major “unwelcoming” of Israeli President Shimon Peres Tuesday during his visit to a San Francisco synagogue.

“Israeli President Shimon Peres will come to Temple Emanu-El in San Francisco to give a talk titled ‘Israel and the Jewish People: A Vision of Tomorrow,’” Occupy Oakland announced in a post on its website Sunday. “In light of this theme, we want to show Peres what our vision of tomorrow would look like by warmly greeting him with a mass protest against apartheid outside of the temple.”

Peres, Occupy Oakland charges, has “signed into law racist and colonialist legislation” and “a series of laws and amendments disenfranchising and ethnically cleansing Palestinians from their land” The group also blasts him for including former President George W. Bush, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Ruport Murdoch and Henry Kissinger in his annual Israeli Presidential Conference, calling them “guilty of collaboration with the apartheid regime”:

Shimon Peres serves the wealthy colonial elite and the settler state of Israel. Peres tours the world speaking on behalf of Jewish people, co-opting the history of the Holocaust. At the same time, he has on his conscience a massive arms trade and racist laws which advance the ethnic cleansing and genocide of Palestinian peoples. His very presence at a synagogue in San Francisco normalizes settler colonialism here and in Israel, connecting two settler states in the name of Judaism and an imperial and colonial “vision of tomorrow.”

To contest the normalization and cultural violence of this event, a number of Bay Area activists, including the proposers, are organizing a protest outside of the synagogue on March 6, 2012 at 6:30 PM. This proposal does not seek to create a formal Occupy Oakland working group, but does not oppose this, and will participate if one is formed. We ask Occupy Oakland to take a stand against apartheid and settler colonialism by endorsing, participating in, and helping plan this action. We hope Occupy Oakland will help think up and enact creative ways for us to show Peres that he is not welcome to promote apartheid and colonialism in the already colonized Bay Area.

The group’s announcement ended with a note of caution, saying: “organizers of this demonstration are committed to anti-oppression principles and will not be represented by any oppressive language or behavior at the demonstration, which includes anti-Jewish racism.”

Anti-Israeli Administration

Obama came out and proclaimed to Israel, “I have Israel’s back”. The following film is evidence that couldn’t be further from the truth. Also, although it’s just a small point, isn’t it interesting he said, “I have” and not “We” or “America has your back”.

Look Out Below!

David Stockman was the brash former whiz kid Budget Director of the Reagan Administration & one of the architects of the Reagan Revolution. 

He’s older & grayer now. He has become a scared investor who doesn’t own a single stock for fear of another financial crisis.

The following is a question and answer session he did with the Associated Press  [emphases added]:

Q: Why are you so down on the U.S. economy?

A: It’s become super-saturated with debt.

Typically, the private and public sectors would borrow $1.50 or $1.60 each year for every $1 of GDP growth. That was the golden constant. It had been at that ratio for 100 years save for some minor squiggles during the bottom of the Depression. By the time we got to the mid-’90s, we were borrowing $3 for every $1 of GDP growth. And by the time we got to the peak in 2006 or 2007, we were actually taking on $6 of new debt to grind out $1 of new GDP.

People were taking $25,000, $50,000 out of their home for the fourth refinancing. That’s what was keeping the economy going, creating jobs in restaurants, creating jobs in retail, creating jobs as gardeners, creating jobs as Pilates instructors that were not supportable with organic earnings and income.

It wasn’t sustainable. It wasn’t real consumption or real income. It was bubble economics.

So even the 1.6 percent (annual GDP growth in the past decade) is overstating what’s really going on in our economy.

Q: How fast can the U.S. economy grow?

A: People would say the standard is 3, 3.5 percent. I don’t even know if we could grow at 1 or 2 percent. When you have to stop borrowing at these tremendous rates, the rate of GDP expansion stops as well.

Q: But the unemployment rate is falling and companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 are making more money than ever.

A: That’s very short-term. Look at the data that really counts. The 131.7 million (jobs in November) was first achieved in February 2000. That number has gone nowhere for 12 years.

Another measure is the rate of investment in new plant and equipment. There is no sustained net investment in our economy. The rate of growth since 2000 (in what the Commerce Department calls non-residential fixed investment) has been 0.8 percent — hardly measurable.

(Non-residential fixed investment is the money put into office buildings, factories, software and other equipment.)

We’re stalled, stuck.

Q: What will 10-year Treasurys yield in a year or five years?

A: I have no guess, but I do know where it is now (a yield of about 2 percent) is totally artificial. It’s the result of massive purchases by not only the Fed but all of the other central banks of the world.

Q: What’s wrong with that?

A: It doesn’t come out of savings. It’s made up money. It’s printing press money. When the Fed buys $5 billion worth of bonds this morning, which it’s doing periodically, it simply deposits $5 billion in the bank accounts of the eight dealers they buy the bonds from.

Q: And what are the consequences of that?

A: The consequences are horrendous. If you could make the world rich by having all the central banks print unlimited money, then we have been making a mistake for the last several thousand years of human history.

Q: How does it end?

A: At some point confidence is lost, and people don’t want to own the (Treasury) paper. I mean why in the world, when the inflation rate has been 2.5 percent for the last 15 years, would you want to own a five-year note today at 80 basis points (0.8 percent)?

If the central banks ever stop buying, or actually begin to reduce their totally bloated, abnormal, freakishly large balance sheets, all of these speculators are going to sell their bonds in a heartbeat.

That’s what happened in Greece.

Here’s the heart of the matter. The Fed is a patsy. It is a pathetic dependent of the big Wall Street banks, traders and hedge funds. Everything (it does) is designed to keep this rickety structure from unwinding. If you had a (former Fed Chairman) Paul Volcker running the Fed today 7/8— utterly fearless and independent and willing to scare the hell out of the market any day of the week — you wouldn’t have half, you wouldn’t have 95 percent, of the speculative positions today.

Q: You sound as if we’re facing a financial crisis like the one that followed the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008.

A: Oh, far worse than Lehman. When the real margin call in the great beyond arrives, the carnage will be unimaginable.

Q: How do investors protect themselves? What about the stock market?

A: I wouldn’t touch the stock market with a 100-foot pole. It’s a dangerous place. It’s not safe for men, women or children.

Q: Do you own any shares?

A: No.

Q: But the stock market is trading cheap by some measures. It’s valued at 12.5 times expected earnings this year. The typical multiple is 15 times

A: The typical multiple is based on a historic period when the economy could grow at a standard rate. The idea that you can capitalize this market at a rate that was safe to capitalize it in 1990 or 1970 or 1955 is a large mistake. It’s a Wall Street sales pitch.

Q: Are you in short-term Treasurys?

A: I’m just in short-term, yeah. Call it cash. I have some gold. I’m not going to take any risk.

Q: Municipal bonds?

A: No.

Q: No munis, no stocks. Wow. You’re not making any money.

A: Capital preservation is what your first, second and third priority ought to be in a system that is so jerry-built, so fragile, so exposed to major breakdown that it’s not worth what you think you might be able to earn over six months or two years or three years if they can keep the baling wire and bubble gum holding the system together, OK? It’s not worth it.

Q: Give me your prescription to fix the economy.

A: We have to eat our broccoli for a good period of time. And that means our taxes are going to go up on everybody, not just the rich. It means that we have to stop subsidizing debt by getting a sane set of people back in charge of the Fed, getting interest rates back to some kind of level that reflects the risk of holding debt over time. I think the federal funds rate ought to be 3 percent or 4 percent. (It is zero to 0.25 percent.) I mean, that’s normal in an economy with inflation at 2 percent or 3 percent.

Q: Social Security?

A: It has to be means-tested. And Medicare needs to be means-tested. If you’re a more affluent retiree, you should have your benefits cut back, pay a higher premium for Medicare.

Q: Taxes?

A: Let the Bush tax cuts expire. Let the capital gains go back to the same rate as ordinary income. (Capital gains are taxed at 15 percent, while ordinary income is taxed at marginal rates up to 35 percent.)

Q: Why?

A: Why not? I mean, is return on capital any more virtuous than some guy who’s driving a bus all day and working hard and trying to support his family? You know, with capital gains, they give you this mythology. You’re going to encourage a bunch of more jobs to appear. No, most of capital gains goes to speculators in real estate and other assets who basically lever up companies, lever up buildings, use the current income to pay the interest and after a holding period then sell the residual, the equity, and get it taxed at 15 percent. What’s so brilliant about that?

You worked for Blackstone, a financial services firm that focuses on leveraged buyouts and whose gains are taxed at 15 percent, then started your own buyout fund. Now you‘re saying there’s too much debt. You were part of that debt explosion, weren’t you?

A: Well, yeah, and maybe you can learn something from what happens over time. I was against the debt explosion in the Reagan era. I tried to fight the deficit, but I couldn’t. When I was in the private sector, I was in the leveraged buyout business. I finally learned a heck of a lot about the dangers of debt.

I’m a libertarian. If someone wants to do leveraged buyouts, more power to them. If they want to have a brothel, let them run a brothel. But it doesn’t mean that public policy ought to be biased dramatically to encourage one kind of business arrangement over another. And right now public policy and taxes and free money from the Fed are encouraging way too much debt, way too much speculation and not enough productive real investment and growth.

Q: Why are you writing a book?

A: I got so outraged by the bailouts of Wall Street in September 2008. I believed that Bush and (former Treasury Secretary Hank) Paulson were totally trashing the Reagan legacy, whatever was left, which did at least begin to resuscitate the idea of free markets and a free economy. And these characters came in and panicked and basically gave capitalism a smelly name and they made it impossible to have fiscal discipline going forward. If you’re going to bail out Wall Street, what aren’t you going to bail out? So that started my re-engagement, let’s say, in the policy debate.

Q: Are you hopeful?

A: No.

Constitution 101 (2)

Lesson 2: The Declaration of Independence

Study Guide

 

Lesson Overview:

The soul of the American founding is located in the universal political principles expressed in the Declaration of Independence. The meaning of equality and liberty in the Declaration is decisively different than the definition given to those principles by modern liberalism.

Liberty is the right to be free from the coercive interference of other people. It is derived from nature itself, and is a natural right—something possessed simply because one is a human being.

Equality means that no one is by nature the ruler of any other person. Each human being is equal in his right to life, liberty, and property, which the Declaration calls “the pursuit of happiness.”

Equality, liberty, and natural rights require a certain form of government: republicanism, based on the consent of the governed. Legitimate government, based on the consent of the governed, must accomplish three things: the establishment of civil laws that protect man’s natural rights; the punishment of those who infringe on others’ natural rights; and the protection of natural rights through a strong national defense.

The people themselves also play a vital role in protecting their rights. They must be educated in “religion, morality, and knowledge.”

Modern liberalism uses the same language of “liberty” and “equality” as the Declaration of Independence. Yet modern liberals mean something other than what the Founders meant by those words. For the Progressives, “equality” means equal access to resources and wealth, while “liberty” means the ability to utilize a right, rather than the right in itself. Both of these ideas necessitate government programs that help mankind liberate itself from its “natural limitations.”

The Declaration of Independence and modern Progressivism are fundamentally opposed to each other. The modern misunderstanding of “equality” and “liberty” threaten not just the Declaration of Independence, but the whole of the American constitutional and moral order.

 

My Opinion, Sandra Fluke and Contraception

By now, everyone is familiar with this poor poor woman spending $40,000 per year at Georgetown Law & can’t afford her $1000.00 per year contraception bill. It’s not fair she should have to pay for her own birth control out-of-pocket despite the fact that she knew ahead of time that her  health insurance through Georgetown, a Catholic University, would not cover contraception.

This thing regarding the testimony of the Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke is a dodge. It has been a set up from word go.

 Don’t get me wrong. I give credit for the redirect to the Obama handlers, the democrats and the zombies in the mainstream media. (I guess that’s a bit redundant. The media are the Obama handlers).

 It has been established long ago that the media gets their marching orders directly from the White House and it’s surrogates.

We should have seen this coming from the time George Snuffleupagus, asked Mitt Romney if States should be able to outlaw contraception. The question came seemingly from out of nowhere.

But, of course, it didn’t come from out of nowhere, nor was the question fashioned by the moderator or anyone else in the news (stenography) business.

It came directly from someone in the Obama administration, or from one of the many organizations that walk in lock step.

Yes, I know. I, like you, am shocked to learn that a respected journalist (you may chuckle if you’d like) such as Stephanopoulos would agree to posit a question merely to advance the administration’s agenda.

So, what’s the agenda, the dodge, the redirect? It’s twofold. First is to get the media, the candidates and the public to concentrate on something other than the economy. Second is the female vote. Obama has been losing support of women for quite sometime. The abortion issue is not playing the way it used to. Something had to be done to bring women back to the dems and Obama. Just like magic, a new issue appears.

Evidently, they’ve decided that contraception is their battle cry. On behalf of helpless damsels everywhere, they will bring the fight directly to the evil Republicans, those who would deny women the right to  contraception. Huh?

Well, that’s the way it’s been framed, has it not?

Now, anyone who has a thought in their head, would realize, as Mitt Romney stated, no one is going to take away a woman’s contraception, nor is it even a healthcare issue. That matters not to the left. Their only concern is the advancement of the agenda at any cost.

I was going to say that the left are masters at forcing an issue to the fore. At redirecting the conversation away from what is truly important in this country today. I stopped myself due to the realization that they don’t have to be masters. They have every major TV (save Fox), print and Internet outlet to do their bidding. I’ll give them kudos for coming up with idea, but advancing it is easy.

And, as always happens, we conservative dolts play right along.  Let us not discuss domestic energy policy, more bankrupt solar companies, European meltdown or the Middle East blowing up. Surely our heroes getting killed in Afghanistan are not worthy of discussion.

I am only writing of this to show how wearily trivial it is and to demonstrate how easy, with a complicit media, a topic can be advanced. 

Even Rush Limbaugh was sucked into this. For days he belabored the topic of Fluke and her testimony before Pelosi’s committee. What a waste of valuable airtime. It was great for the left. They had every excuse to hammer on the subject, even getting candidates to denounce Limbaugh. Our people naturally oblige them and appear content to play along.

If you are a regular reader of mine, you know I’m no fan of Newt Gingrich. However, one of the things I do appreciate about Gingrich is his eagerness to take the fight to the lefties. He will call them out when he sees their attempt at advancing propaganda .

Like Newt, we need all conservatives to stand up & say, enough. This topic is a Trojan horse, & we will not discuss it anymore. We know what you’re trying to do and we will no longer play along.

Arrested for a Drawing

A Canadian father was arrested and strip-searched Wednesday after his 4-year-old daughter drew a picture of a gun in her kindergarten class.

Ontario dad Jesse Sansone told the Toronto Sun his little girl’s drawing was supposed to be him, getting monsters and bad guys. Her teacher apparently thought differently, and the school contacted child protective services. When Sansone arrived to pick his daughter up, three police officers were waiting to take him into custody.

“I’m picking up my kids and then, next thing you know, I’m locked up,” he told the Waterloo Region Record. “I was in shock. This is completely insane.”

Police questioned Sansone’s daughter and his other children, who gave a “detailed description” of a firearm supposedly located in the house and easily accessible to them, Inspector Kevin Thaler of the Waterloo Regional Police said, according to the Calgary Herald.

“The kids were scared,” said Thaler. “It is a 4-year-old that we’re taking the information from, but the fact is that this disclosure was very descriptive and very alarming to the officers investigating this.”

He said the arrest was made “because it was the end of the school day” and officers felt they needed to “secure and locate the firearm.”

When Sansone got to the school, he was told only that he was being arrested for possession of a firearm and given no additional details. At the police station, he was forced to remove his clothes for a full strip search. While he sat in a jail cell, police even brought his pregnant wife to the station for more questioning.

This selfless dedication to public safety really paid off:

Sansone said police searched his house and found a plastic toy gun that shoots foam darts.

The cops didn’t find any bad guys or monsters either, at least until they went home and looked in the mirror.

Attributions: The Blaze, The Daily Caller

Constitution 101 (1)

The following is Lesson One in a Ten Part program presented by Hillsdale College on understanding The United States Constitution. Now, more than ever, it is crucial that we understand our founding documents, particularly the Declaration of Independence & the Constitution.

Lesson 1: The American Mind

You may feel free to simply watch or follow along with the attached Study Guide

Lesson Overview:

America’s Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson said, was the product of “the American mind.” Our Constitution was made with the same purpose as the Declaration—to establish a regime where the people are sovereign, and the government protects the rights granted to them by their Creator.

The word “constitution” means “to ordain and establish something.” It also means “to set a firm thing strongly in place.” It is linked to two other words: statute and statue. All three words—constitution, statute, and statue—connote a similar idea of establishing something lasting and beautiful.

The Constitution, then, is a work of art. It gives America its form. To fully know the “cause,” or purpose, of America, one must know the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson, its author, mentioned four thinkers for their contribution to molding “the American mind”: Aristotle, Cicero, Algernon Sidney, and John Locke.

Studying these philosophers is a wondrous task in itself, and it greatly helps our understanding of America, just as it informed the statecraft of the Founders. Knowing the meaning of the Declaration and Constitution is vital to the choice before us today as to whether we will live under a Constitution different than the one bequeathed to us.

Say the Word and We’ll be Free

I’ve heard from many sources, even conservatives, who say the price of gas is no longer in our control. Maybe it never was. Blaming the president is good politics, but that’s all it is.

It is said, there is nothing Obama can say or do to effect the price of gas at the pump. This is a global problem. There are many more competing factions for a finite amount of oil. China, India, etc. They need oil like they have never needed it in the past. We have to compete with them. That drives up the price. Makes sense, I guess.

Then there are all the problems occuring in the Middle East. That whole region could collapse at any moment. That too, is driving up the price. Again, sounds logical.

It is also said by many that we can’t simply drill our way to lower gas prices.

So, I guess we’re just stuck. Or are we?

Before looking for a solution, let’s first take a peek behind the government’s regualtory curtain.

Time for some history.

In 1972 Congress passed the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act , which provided for the establishment of National Marine Sanctuaries. Oil and gas drilling are prohibited in these areas.

In 1982, the U.S. Congress directed that no federal funds be used to lease federal tracts off the coasts of Washington, Oregon, or central and northern California. Over the years, buried in appropriations bills,  Congress was able to add other areas until the prohibited area included all the east and west coasts, and the eastern Gulf of Mexico. Congress repeated the effective ban on offshore drilling in these areas every year until September 2008, when an appropriations bill passed the House and Senate without the ban. We’ll cover 2008 in a bit. It’s an interesting year.

In 1990, President George H. W. Bush issued an executive moratorium restricting federal offshore leasing to Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and parts of Alaska. The moratorium banned federal leasing through the year 2000 off the East Coast, West Coast, the eastern Gulf of Mexico (offshore Florida Gulf Coast), and the Northern Aleutian Basin of Alaska. In 1998, President Bill Clinton extended the moratorium through 2012.

In 2002, Congress imposed a moratorium on drilling on or directionally beneath the Great Lakes. The ban was made permanent by the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

Part of the central and most of the eastern Gulf of Mexico was declared off-limits to oil and gas leasing until 2022 by the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006.

The bottom line is, thanks to our government, drilling for our own energy is prohibited virtually everywhere. Now there’s an energy policy we can all be proud of.

Ok, so we’ve established that America’s domestic energy policy is suicidal. What was so exeptional about 2008?

In the summer of 2008, President George W. Bush announced that he would veto any appropriations bill that maintained the Congressional moratorium. Without the votes to override his veto, Congress subsequently let the drilling moratorium expire.

 In July 2008, President George W. Bush also rescinded those restrictive executive orders that had prevented oil & gas drilling.

So what. Politicians say many things and nothing changes. Everyone knows they never mean it. Spoken or written, these are just words. What effect could these policy changes have had?

Well, you be the judge.

Just prior to ‘W’s’ July, 2008 proclamation and action, a gallon of regular gasoline, on average, was a staggering $4.11. By August it was $3.69. A drop of over $0.40 in a month.

Not impressed? How about this. By the end of December, 2008, a gallon of regular plummeted to $1.61. and a barrel of oil went from a high of $147.00 to $30.28.

Am I saying that this precipitous drop was due solely to Bush’s actions. No, but I guarantee it played a big part. Why? Because the rest of the world knew someone in this country finally meant it. They knew Bush was serious about domestic drilling.

It’s human nature. When the worlds oil producing nations concluded we were actually serious, I mean really serious about exploiting our own resources, the price of a barrel of oil would naturally plunge. They simply couldn’t afford for us to produce most of our own energy. Foreign oil would drop just to price out domestic production.

The evil speculators, you know, the ones that always get blamed for jacking up the price of oil. Those same speculators would drive the price down so fast it would make your head spin.

Now, I am not an oil or energy expert. I am neither a foreign policy expert, nor an energy speculator. I don’t have to be.

 This is not about oil or gas or market speculation. As I said, this is about human nature, which is quite predictable.  It happens everywhere & in every industry. With competition comes lower prices. It’s really that simple.

So, why didn’t the prices stay low, you ask? Well, we had an election and Barack Obama won. He reinstated all the moratoriums and here we are again, at the mercy of foreign suppliers and subject to Middle East upheaval.

Attribution: Government/Senate Archives

Joke of the Day

A Burley Biker is riding his Harley by the zoo in Washington, DC when he sees a little girl leaning into the lion’s cage.


Suddenly, the lion grabs her by the cuff of her jacket and tries to pull her inside to slaughter her, under the eyes of her screaming parents.  


The biker jumps off his Harley, runs to the cage and hits the lion square on the nose with a powerful punch.


Whimpering from the pain the lion jumps back letting go of the girl, and the biker brings her
to her terrified parents, who thank him endlessly.


A reporter has watched the whole event. The reporter addressing the Harley rider says, “Sir, this was the most gallant and brave thing I’ve seen a man do in my whole life.”

 
The Harley rider replies, “It was nothing really, the lion was behind bars. I just saw this little kid in danger and acted accordingly.”


The reporter says, “Well, I’ll make sure this won’t go unnoticed. I’m a journalist, and tomorrow’s paper will have this story on the front page…So, what do you do for a living and what is your political affiliation?”


The biker replies, “I’m a U.S. Marine and a Conservative.”


The journalist leaves.


The following morning the biker buys the paper to see news of his actions, and there on the front page is:

U.S. MARINE ASSAULTS
AFRICAN IMMIGRANT
AND STEALS
HIS LUNCH