Monday, March 4, 2013

$253.5B—Obama Borrowed Nearly 6x as Much in February as Sequester Cuts All Year

Cybercast News Service ^ | March 4, 2013 | Terence P. Jeffrey

During the month of February—as President Barack Obama was warning Americans they would see dramatic effects in their lives if “sequestration” of some planned federal spending kicked in—the federal government’s debt climbed by $253.5 billion.

That one-month increase in the debt was nearly six times as much as the $44 billion in spending cuts the Congressional Budget Office estimates will take place in all of fiscal 2013 as a result of sequestration. …
(Excerpt) Read more at cnsnews.com ...

Barackalypse Now: The story of one man’s destruction of the American Dream

Flopping Aces ^ | 03-04-13 | Vince


By now you have figured out that Armageddon did not occur on Friday and the dire warnings from the White House that the nation would essentially collapse were, shall we say, somewhat overstated.
That doesn’t mean however that the nation and American prosperity is in any less danger. Barackalypse Now is indeed upon us, and it has nothing to do with the Sequester. It has everything to do with the deranged economic policies of the Obama administration.
Virtually every American would like to be a little better off tomorrow than he or she is today. It makes no difference whether they are rich or poor, or whether they are happy with their current circumstances. Most of us would simply like to be a little better off next year and the years after than we are today. Most of us don't mind working to make that a reality, but the question is, how we can accomplish it.
One way many people have chosen to pursue the American Dream has been to start their own businesses. The goal of entrepreneurs is often a mix of trying to become wealthy and doing something about which they are passionate. Every single company you know the name of or have interacted with started out at some point as just an idea that someone sought to do something with. Two such companies are Subway, the largest sub sandwich restaurant chain in the world and Home Depot, America’s largest home improvement chain. Both have thousands of locations, do billions of dollars a year in revenue and employ hundreds of thousands of people. Both companies started out with one unit each and grew into the 800 lb gorillas they are today. Interestingly, the founders of both companies say that if they started their companies today they could never have succeeded. And it has nothing to do with the recession, indeed Home Depot was founded in 1978 in the midst of the worst economic recession since the Great Depression.
Both founders cite government regulations for the reason that they could not succeed. Fred Deluca, the founder of Subway says:

It's continuously gotten worse because there's more and more regulations and it's tougher for people to get into business, especially a small business. I tell you, if I started Subway today, Subway would not exist, because I had an easy time of it in the '60s when I started and I just see a continuous increase in regulation.
Bernie Marcus, co-founder of Home Depot says this when asked why more businesses don’t complain about the regulatory burdens: (excerpt) Read more at floppingaces.net...

Illegals Bringing Drug Resistant TB to US!

WND ^ | March 1, 2013 | Jack Minor

Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, told WND that it’s not suitcases, clothes or the like – it’s the highly infectious cases of drug-resistant and lethal tuberculosis that are walking across the Mexican border.
Last week it was reported that a persistent strain of tuberculosis had developed in some Los Angeles neighborhoods. Officials said as many as 4,500 people may have been exposed to the disease.
(Excerpt) Read more at wnd.com ...

12 Things That Just Happened That Show The Next Wave Of The Economic Collapse Is Almost Here!

TEC ^ | 3-4-2013 | Michael Snyder



Are we running out of time? For the last several years, we have been living in a false bubble of hope that has been fueled by massive amounts of debt and bailout money. This illusion of economic stability has convinced most people that the great economic crisis of 2008 was just an "aberration" and that now things are back to normal. Unfortunately, that is not the case at all. The truth is that the financial crash of 2008 was just the first wave of our economic troubles. We have not even come close to recovering from that wave, and the next wave of the economic collapse is rapidly approaching.
Our economy is like a giant sand castle that has been built on a foundation of debt and toilet paper currency. As each wave of the crisis hits us, the solutions that our leaders will present to us will involve even more debt and even more money printing. And each time, those "solutions" will only make our problems even worse. Right now, events are unfolding in Europe and in the United States that are pushing us toward the next major crisis moment. I sincerely hope that we have some more time before the next crisis overwhelms us, but as you will see, time is rapidly running out.
The following are 12 things that just happened that show the next wave of the economic collapse is almost here...
#1 According to TrimTab's CEO Charles Biderman, corporate insider purchases of stock have hit an all-time low, and the ratio of corporate insider selling to corporate insider buying has now reached an astounding 50 to 1....
While retail is being told to buy-buy-buy, Biderman exclaims that "insiders at U.S. companies have bought the least amount of shares in any one month," and that the ratio of insider selling to buying is now 50-to-1 - a monthly record.
#2 On Friday we learned that personal income in the United States experienced its largest one month decline in 20 years...
Personal income decreased by $505.5 billion in January, or 3.6%, compared to December (on a seasonally adjusted and annualized basis). That's the most dramatic decline since January 1993, according to the Commerce Department.
#3 In a stunning move, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder says that he will appoint an emergency financial manager to take care of Detroit's financial affairs...
Snyder, 54, took a step he avoided a year ago, empowering an emergency financial manager who can sweep aside union contracts, sell municipal assets, restructure services and reorder finances. He announced the move yesterday at a public meeting in Detroit.
If this does not work, Detroit will almost certainly have to declare bankruptcy. If that happens, it will be the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.
#4 On Friday it was announced that the unemployment rate in Italy had risen to 11.7 percent. That was a huge jump from 11.3 percent the previous month, and Italy now has the highest unemployment rate that it has experienced in 21 years.
#5 The youth unemployment rate in Italy has risen to a new all-time record high of 38.7 percent.
#6 On Friday it was announced that the unemployment rate in the eurozone as a whole had just hit a brand new record high of 11.9 percent.
#7 On Friday it was announced that the unemployment rate in Greece has now reached 27 percent, and it is being projected that it will reach 30 percent by the end of the year.
#8 The youth unemployment rate in Greece is now an almost unbelievable 59.4 percent.
#9 On Saturday, hundreds of thousands of protesters filled the streets of Lisbon and other Portuguese cities to protest the austerity measures that are being imposed upon them. It was reportedly the largest protest in the history of Portugal.
#10 According to Goldman Sachs, bank deposits declined all over Europe during the month of January.
#11 Over the weekend, the deputy governor of China's central bank declared that China is prepared for a "currency war"...
A top Chinese banker said Beijing is "fully prepared" for a currency war as he urged the world to abide by a consensus reached by the G20 to avert confrontation, state media reported on Saturday.
Yi Gang, deputy governor of China's central bank, issued the call after G20 finance ministers last month moved to calm fears of a looming war on the currency markets at a meeting in Moscow.
Those fears have largely been fuelled by the recent steep decline in the Japanese yen, which critics have accused Tokyo of manipulating to give its manufacturers a competitive edge in key export markets over Asian rivals.
#12 Italy is an economic basket case at this point, and the political gridlock in Italy is certainly not helping matters. Former comedian Beppe Grillo's party could potentially tip the balance of power one way or the other in Italy, and over the weekend he made some comments that are really shaking things up over in Europe. For one thing, he is suggesting that Italy should hold a referendum on the euro...
"I am a strong advocate of Europe. I am in favor of an online referendum on the euro," Beppe Grillo told Bild am Sonntag.
Such a vote would not be legally binding in Italy, where referendums can only be used to repeal laws or parts of laws, but would carry political weight. Grillo has said in the past that membership of the euro should be up to the Italian people.
In addition, Grillo is also suggesting that Italy's debt has gotten so large that renegotiation is the only option...
In an interview with a German magazine published on Saturday, Mr Grillo said that “if conditions do not change” Italy “will want” to leave the euro and return to its former national currency.
The 64-year-old comic-turned-political activist also said Italy needs to renegotiate its €2 trillion debt.
At 127 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), it is the highest in the euro zone after Greece.
“Right now we are being crushed, not by the euro, but by our debt. When the interest payments reach €100 billion a year, we’re dead. There’s no alternative,” he told Focus, a weekly news magazine.
He said Italy was in such dire economic straits that “in six months, we will no longer be able to pay pensions and the wages of public employees.”
And of course government debt has taken center stage in the United States as well.
The sequester cuts have now gone into effect, and they will definitely have an effect on the U.S. economy. Of course that effect will not be nearly as dramatic as many Democrats are suggesting, but without a doubt those cuts will cause the U.S. economy to slow down a bit.
And of course the U.S. economy has already been showing plenty of signs of slowing down lately. If you doubt this, please see my previous article entitled "Consumer Spending Drought: 16 Signs That The Middle Class Is Running Out Of Money".
So what comes next?
Well, everyone should keep watching Europe very closely, and it will also be important to keep an eye on Wall Street. There are a whole bunch of indications that the stock market is at or near a peak. For example, just check out what one prominent stock market analyst recently had to say...
"Every reliable technical tool is warning of major peaking action," said Walter Zimmerman, the senior technical analyst at United-ICAP. "This includes sentiment, momentum, classical chart patterns, and Elliott wave analysis.
"Most of the rally in the stock market since 2009 can be chalked up to the Federal Reserve’s attempt to create a ‘wealth effect’ through higher stock market prices. This only exacerbates the downside risk. Why? The stock market no is longer a lead indicator for the economy. It is instead reflecting Fed manipulation. Pushing the stock market higher while the real economy languishes has resulted in another bubble.
"The next leg down will not be a partial correction of the advance since the 2009 lows. It will be another major financial crisis. The worst is yet to come."
Sadly, most people will continue to deny that anything is wrong until it is far too late.
Many areas of Europe are already experiencing economic depression, and it is only a matter of time before the U.S. follows suit.
Time is running out, and I hope that you are getting ready.
So what do you think?
How much time do you believe that we have left before the next wave of the economic collapse strikes?

How the Student Loan Crisis Drags Down Home Prices!

CNBC ^ | 03/04/2013 | Paul O'Donnell

Pity the college graduate, burdened with shocking levels of student-loan debt and looking for a job in the worst employment market in two decades.

But save a little pity for the rest of us.

The staggering amount of outstanding student debt — nearly $1 trillion owed – is beginning to impede the U.S. economy as a whole, a new report from the New York Federal Reserve suggests, chiefly by robbing the housing market of its richest crop of new buyers: young college graduates.
The statistics in the report are dismaying in themselves. With the number of borrowers approaching 40 million nationally, including more than 40 percent of 25-year-olds, the average balance on their loans has risen to $25,000. About 6.7 million of all student borrowers, or 17 percent, are delinquent on their payments three months or more.
"Delinquent student loan borrowers have a very difficult time accessing credit and the share of those borrowers is greater today than in the past," said Donghoon Lee, a senior economist for the New York Fed and one of the authors of the report.
For the average homeowner, the worst news is that these overleveraged and defaulting young borrowers are no longer qualify for other kinds of loans — particularly home loans. In 2005, nearly nine percent of 25- to 30-year-olds with student debt were granted a mortgage. By late last year, that percentage, as an annual rate, was down to just above four percent.
The most precipitous drop was among those who owe $100,000 or more. New mortgages among these more deeply indebted borrowers have declined 10 percentage points, from above 16 percent in 2005 to a little more than 6 percent today.
(Excerpt) Read more at cnbc.com ...

Activist groups hold Queer Muslim Gathering in Detroit

The Washington Times ^ | 03/04/13 | Jessica Chasmar

A two-day gathering aimed at educating and liberating Muslims in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community opened in Detroit on Friday.
Muslims for Progressive Values and the Agency for LGBT African Americans, or KICK, teamed up to create the Queer Muslim Gathering, which included a meet-and-greet on Friday and an all-day conference Saturday.
The gathering featured Imam Daayiee Abdullah of Washington, a gay Muslim leader who grew up in Detroit and converted from Southern Baptist Convention, the Detroit Free Press reports.
“We feel it is important for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered) Muslims to be included as equals into the straight Muslim society,” Mr. Abdullah said.
He said the goal of the conference was to empower gay Muslims, “to educate them on their Islamic rights, to debunk homophobic theories that is passed on as ‘truth.’”
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtontimes.com ...

If you want to know why the U.S. Government is going broke look no further!

Sisters make $540,000 babysitting their own kids from welfare!
breakingworldnewstoday.com ^ | January 16, 2013 | Ryan Lee Hall

A four-month investigation of the $340 million taxpayer-funded "Wisconsin Shares" program of childcare welfare found that the program is riddled with abuses and loopholes.

In one case, the investigation carried out by the news media found that four sisters with 17 children between them racked in $540,000 in taxpayer dollars since 2006, just by staying home and babysitting each other’s children. The most impressive of this all is that it is perfectly legal.

"It's a loophole," said Laurice Lincoln, administrative coordinator for child care in Milwaukee County Department of Health and Human Services. "We are not worried about that? Yes, it can be a problem. But if allowed, it is permitted. There is really not much we can do." There's more.

The Wisconsin Shares program also allows parents to work in child care centers where their children attend. In one case, the newspaper found an employer and a team of parents accused of defrauding taxpayers more than $360,000.
Part of the problem is that the care of children in Wisconsin Shares subsidy program has wide parameters of what the state considers "work". For example, the research found that mothers who "claimed to work for a man ironing shirts, drying fruit and selling works of art made during art class," all received checks funded by taxpayers.
The program is so lax that it even pays for parents to sleep. As a report said, "counties have no way of verifying if parents are truly sleeping while their children are in kindergarten."
An estimated 34,000 families in Wisconsin today take advantage of the $340 million program funded by the taxpayers of Wisconsin.

You Lie! Illegal Immigrants by the Thousands to be Released by Obama Administration!

Mental Recession ^ | 03/04/13

A follow up to this story, in which it was reported that “waves” of illegal immigrants were being released from jail buoyed by the excuse of budget cuts via the sequestration.

After that news came to light, an official from the Department of Homeland Security ‘resigned’, and the White House started claiming that it wasn’t waves of criminals being released, but rather “a few hundred”.

(Excerpt) Read more at menrec.com ...

'We are above the law of the land'....ISLAM

WorldNetDaily ^ | Mar 3, 2013 | John Griffing

"Muslim's stunning claim at Texas rally for Islam"

A leader for the Texas branch of the Council on American Islamic Relations has told a crowd at a rally for Islam that members of the faith really shouldn’t be bound by American law.
“If we are practicing Muslims, we are above the law of the land,” said Mustafa Carroll, the executive director of the Dallas-Fort Worth CAIR branch, a keynote speaker as the recent rally.
The event was a rally in Austin, a part of the nationwide effort to hold “Muslim Capitol Day” events.
CAIR itself has been under investigation for its documented ties to terrorist organizations in the past. Some details revealed by Daniel Pipes are that:
•CAIR funded the Holy Land Foundation, which was used to funnel money to Hamas. President Bush shut down Holy Land Foundation, which CAIR called “unjust” and “disturbing.”
•CAIR denied Osama Bin Laden was behind 9/11, even though Bin Laden said so on camera.
•CAIR demanded removal .............
(Excerpt) Read more at wnd.com ...

What If There Is a God and It's Not Barack Obama?


Opiate of the People


User avatar


Experts ponder bizarre paradox...
WHAT IF THERE IS A GOD AND IT'S NOT BARACK OBAMA?

Credentialed specialists in political cosmology and government-approved astrophysics are grappling with a mind-bending possibility: what if there is some force other than government power that is responsible for the world in which we live?

This unexpected schism is caused by recent experiments at the Large Handout Deficit Collider, in which generated sequester particles did not cause the universe to implode as predicted.

Particles.jpgThe original plan called for shooting highly charged irresistable Keynsian public stimulus forces at immovable wealthy private capital objects, in the hope of creating enough monetary fusion products to keep the economy's momentum from decelerating for another summer.

Theoreticians believed if the deficit could not reach sanity escape velocity, huge numbers of sequester particles would be released, which would generate financial black holes and quickly envelop all observable too-big-to-fail banks, eventually compressing the entire world economy into a space smaller than Joe Biden's brain.

However, instead of causing fiscal black holes or any other observable damage, the created sequester particles quickly vanished without a trace - just like a California state budget surplus crapon, a hypothetical particle which has never been observed in nature.

Such an outcome seems even more counter-intuitive than Einstein's famous Theory of Hiring Relatives, for it suggests the existence of a force much stronger than government spending ions inside the economic nucleus - and that this unidentified force is, in fact, what's holding all fiscal matter in the universe together.
~
These unforeseen results have left experts grasping for alternative explanations.



"They didn't use powerful enough Keynesian stimulus forces!,"says Nobel Prize winner in Economic Physics, Paul Krugman. "Everybody knows Keynesian stimulus forces are not irresistible in small doses. You have to generate a large enough charge to poison one of Schrodinger's Fat Cats at a range of 500 AU (agricultural subsidy units - editors). To do this you need massive amounts of green energy from federally-subsidized solar and wind projects."

"Science tells us that the Treasury issues debt and the Federal Reserve buys it back," Krugman said. "The angular momentum generated by this rotation is what keeps the earth spinning on its axis. Galileo proved this centuries ago with his federally-funded telescopes. The idea that there is some force other than the government making things work is heresy!"

Gov_Spending_Accelerator.jpgAs it were, until government spending accelerators can produce more deficit isotopes to fuel its pork-barrel reactors, further experiments must be put on hold, leaving experts like Krugman no option but to try and shout down anyone who disagrees with them.

Furthermore, if the discovery cannot be disproved or forced underground by violent street protests, its long-term ramifications are frightening. According to some scholars, it would imply that there could be universes where unicorns don't exist and maybe even where socialism doesn't work, as hard as that is to believe.

And yet many in the scientific community deem the conclusion false, proof be damned.

"Money makes the world go round," says head of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Jacob Lew. "And the dollar is a fiat currency, which means the Federal Reserve creates money out of nothing. And Barack Obama appoints the Fed Chairman. Ergo, President Obama is the ultimate power in this world. The logic is impeccable; there can be no argument. The science is settled."

Obama_Poswer_Behind_Things.jpg"It took womankind centuries to free herself from superstitions and irrational beliefs that have no basis in fact," noted the influential feminist author, Naomi Wolf. "For me to believe this conclusion would mean to reject every modern idea I ever learned in grad school. You might as well ask me to believe in the Laffer Curve or that my health insurance will cost me more under ObamaCare."

More importantly, famous people frequently seen on TV also remain skeptical. Climate scientist Al Gore makes the most convincing case: "How can we trust any scientist without the peer reviews and celebrity endorsements? All I see is a bunch of heterosexual white men playing tricks with numbers and data. Anyone can prove anything by doing that."

"In real science we always draw our curve first, then plot our data. That way, you always know what you're going to get. Otherwise, only Gaia knows what kind of non-scientific junk you may come up with," Gore said.

White House spokesman, Jay Carney, summed it up this way: "We know Climate Change is real, so whenever the 'numbers' don't bear it out, that only means the numbers are wrong. This case is similar in all respects. Trust me, we know exactly what we're doing."

The 2mm Kolibri: The world’s smallest centerfire pistol in the world? (“Kolibri” means butterfly in German)


Guns.Com ^ | Mar. 4, 2013 | Chris Eger
Today many think that tiny guns like the NAA line of Mini-Revolvers and the arms of the American Derringer company are as small as a handgun can get in terms of practical self defense. If you count yourself in this camp, then perhaps you have never heard of Austrian firearms designer Franz Pfannl. Born in 1867 in the small village of Stein, Austria, Pfannl accomplished something that will probably never be repeated. A watchmaker by trade, his trade showed in his work as this tinkerer created what many believe to be both the smallest semi-auto pistol and also the world’s smallest centerfire round: the 2.7 Grabner Selbstlade Pistole, firing the 2.7 x 9mm Kolibri cartridge.
Why so small?
In the 1900s, tiny guns were all the rage. For decades, gun makers across Europe had sold dozens of models of concealable, personal protection guns including the Velo Dog pistols and concealable palm pistols, such as the French made Protector.
(Excerpt) Read more at guns.com ...

The Toy Gun To End All Toy Guns - Meet the Little Kolibri:


Its the Chihuahua Of Guns.


****************************************************************

Karl 'FAIL' Rove Says What Republicans Need is More Racial-Identity Politics!


Reaganite Republican ^ | 04 March 2013 | Reaganite Republican
Time to tell Rove -and more importantly his good-money-after-bad donors- that this Prog Lite schtick will not only fail to attain incremental black/hispanic/+? votes, but will have conservatives going third-party in droves...

Out there pimping his so-called 'Conservative Victory Project', Rove claimed in a speech to the California Republican Party's spring convention in Sacramento this past weekend that '(Republicans) need to ... have people asking for the vote who are comfortable and look like and sound like the people that we're asking for the vote from.'

Yet back in reality, the Obammunists have driven this country to the edge of the abyss economically, socially, and militarily... and it's time for Republicans to prepare the antidote Americans of all colors and creeds will soon be clamoring-for, non attempt to mimic Obama's divisive failures.

Actual conservatism i.e. balanced budgets, respect for the Constitution, and Peace-through-Strength defense policies will be not just back in fashion but required to counter the nation's far-left swing and fix myriad woes left behind by the Obammunists -on a practical as well as political level- if there's even anything left of this country by then.



How is matching-up candidates to districts by skin color going to save this country from the seeds of catastrophe Obama's spread around like Johnny Appleseed, pray tell? Wouldn't it be better to attack deeply-damaging liberal policies- and soon be proven right?

If you believe in conservative principles -as I do- because they work, then you're almost surely with us who see Obama's polar opposite bringing economic, social, and military-strategic ruin.

Yet some people on our side don't seem to get it yet: when a dollar crash (or worse) comes about, all the racial groups Rove says will respond to shallow GOP racial pandering are instead going to be looking for principled leadership, security, opportunity, and a renewed US economic foundation... just like Reagan delivered in spades.

The Gipper always said we are ALL Americans, and abhorred racial identity bs- seems 'The Architect' missed all that. Three of the hottest rising stars in the GOP today are Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, and Ted Cruz, 2/3 Hispanic for those counting... did you not notice that Karl, or do they gotta be RINOs too?



In the wake of Karl Rove's humiliating face-plant in the 2012 election cycle, most thinking people can see that he really doesn't know what he's talking about- thus the hope of salvation for the GOP. Some even feel a new, Reaganite renaissance in shedding ourselves of his baleful influence. And how-sweet-it-is to contemplate Rove's coming demise: the guy's had a death-grip on this party for the last four cycles, where Republicans' only real gains came in 2010, delivered courtesy of the same TEA Party Rove now seeks to neutralize.

But he's not going without a fight... this has been a pretty juicy gig for Karl Rove, and apparently his major supporters haven't snapped out of it quite yet. As Newt Gingrich said re. Rove and other failed Establishment GOP consultants, they've 'made an amazing amount of money asserting an expertise they clearly do not have'-


And whatever happened to the colorblind ideals of Ronald Reagan- freedom and opportunity for all? Allowing Barack Obama to permanently divide this country into little socio-racial compartments is all Karl Rove will accomplish with this sort of crap, and precisely what Teddy Roosevelt warned us would be the death the American experiment.

What we DO need to do is unite all Republicans behind constitutional democracy, rule of law, and balanced budgets -not racial pandering. We're supposed to the party that looks past race and doesn't categorize people/think that way, remember?


****************************************************************
ONE of my all-time heroes is Diogenes the Cynic,
who spent most of his life chilling in his barrel
outside the city-state of Corinth . He was the original
Cynic because he believed that men and women lived
a life dictated by rules and taboos and therefore no one
was really truthful or honest. Actually Diogenes is my hero
because he was witty, rude, and had little respect for authority.

Are You Worried About The Future? Read This…

FollowingtheTruth.com ^ | Feb 19th, 2013 | Gary Zimak

One of the biggest fears that people have is the fear of the unknown. “What if’s” are a frequent source of anxiety in the world today. How will I survive if this, that or the other thing happens to me? In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus explicitly warned against being anxious about “tomorrow” (Mt 6:34) and pointed out the uselessness of doing so. In spite of that, however, we still waste a lot of time worrying about the future.
When I give my “Pray, Hope and Don’t Worry” talk at parishes, I always close with the following words from St. Francis de Sales. As someone who is prone to anxiety, I’ve always found tremendous comfort in this message. If you’re worried about the future, please take these words to heart. If you know someone who happens to be anxious, please share it with them. No matter what happens to us in life, God is always right by our side and will give us the grace to persevere!

“Have no fear for what tomorrow may bring, the same loving God who cares for you today will take care of you tomorrow and every day. He will either shield you from suffering or give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace, then, and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.”
(St. Francis de Sales)


Following the Truth: Are You Worried About The Future? Read This…
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Following the Truth: One Way To Be Sure You’re Following God’s Will… [Catholic & Open]
Following the Truth: Don’t Take The Our Father So Personally! [Catholic and Open]
Following theTruth: 5 Facts That Must Be Ignored Before Accusing Catholics Of “Mary Worship”![Cath & Open]
Following the Truth: Empty Churches – Where Should We Draw The Line?
Following the Truth: Listening To Mary’s Voice – Part 7 (Her Final Words) [Catholic Caucus]Following the Truth: Recognizing Jesus In The Eucharist [Catholic Caucus]
Following the Truth: Follow Me… [into Holy Week]
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Following the Truth: Don’t Just Feel Sorry For Jesus… [Catholic and Open]
Following the Truth: The Easiest Way To End Up In Hell… [Catholic and Open]
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California is becoming a feudal society

Washington Examiner ^ | 03/03/2013 | Conn Carroll

For most of its history, California has occupied a special place in the mind of most Americans. From the height of the Gold Rush through the 1980s, California's warm weather and booming economy drew enterprising, educated and talented immigrants from across the country. California was the melting pot of America's melting pot, leading all states in the number of residents who were born in other U.S. states.
As I wrote in The Washington Examiner's "California in Crisis" series last week, that California is dead and gone. According to a 2012 University of Southern California study on state demographics, you have to go back to the early 1990s to find a time when more Americans were moving to California than leaving it for other states. Thanks to high housing prices and a weak job market, California is now a net exporter of U.S. citizens to other states.
As a result of this shift, native Californians became a majority of the state's population only in the last decade. Their numbers will continue to rise. And since foreign immigration is also expected to level off, the report predicts growth will occur "almost all among native Californians, many but not all of whom are the children of immigrants."
Unfortunately for California, this local-born population is not increasing fast enough to replace the disappearing immigration. The number of Californians under age 18 will virtually halt over the next 20 years, while population growth among those 65 and older will quadruple. The current ratio of one senior for every five working-age residents will become a 3-to-10 ratio by 2020, and 4-to-10 by 2030.
If California's new native-born population was particularly wealthy or well-educated, this demographic imbalance might not be such a big problem. But it is not. And this will severely strain California's generous welfare state.
Even before the Great Recession, California already suffered from some of the highest levels of income inequality in the nation. And according to recent Public Policy Institute of California study, the recent downturn only exacerbated the problem. "Compared to the rest of the country, California experienced larger declines in income at the bottom of the distribution and smaller declines at the top -- leading to the largest gap between upper and lower incomes in at least 30 years," PPIC reported.
Worse, a 2012 California Budget Project study found that what little job recovery has occurred in the state has been confined to the low-skill sector. The employment rate for prime-working-age Californians with a bachelor's degree or higher has been flat since the recovery began, whereas those with just a high school diploma and those without one have both seen job gains. To the extent that the California labor market is recovering, it is a McJobs recovery.
Of course, the Googles, Facebooks and Apples of California are all still swimming in profits and growth. If you do happen to have a job already among the highest fifth of California income earners, your weekly wages are up 1 percent since 2006. But every other income group has experienced sharp earnings losses.
California is rapidly becoming a near-feudal society. On one side is an older, educated, landed, wealthy elite that lives on California's beautiful coasts. Then there is a much larger, younger, less-educated, indebted mass living inland, many of them working farm jobs at subsistence wages.
The good news is that both of these groups seem content supporting a Democratic Party whose policies (which I outlined in the series last week) reinforce these trends. And if any of the current Californians don't like what the new California has become, they are free to leave.
The bad news is that millions of middle-class families already have, and the trend is likely to continue.
-- Conn Carroll is a senior editorial writer for The Washington Examiner.

The Inside Story of How the White House Let Diplomacy Fail in Afghanistan

Forign Policy ^ | March 3, 2013 | VALI NASR

"My time in the Obama administration turned out to be a deeply disillusioning experience."
It was close to midnight on Jan. 20, 2009, and I was about to go to sleep when my iPhone beeped. There was a new text message. It was from Richard Holbrooke. It said, "Are you up, can you talk?" When I called, he told me that Barack Obama had asked him to serve as envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan. He would work out of the State Department, and he wanted me to join his team. "No one knows this yet. Don't tell anyone. Well, maybe your wife." (The Washington Post reported his appointment the next day.)
I first met Holbrooke, the legendary diplomat best known for making peace in the Balkans and breaking plenty of china along the way, at a 2006 conference in Aspen, Colorado. We sat together at one of the dinners and talked about Iran and Pakistan. Holbrooke ignored the keynote speech, the entertainment that followed, and the food that flowed in between to bombard me with questions. We had many more conversations over the next three years, and after I joined him on Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign in 2007, we spoke frequently by phone.
Now, making his sales pitch, Holbrooke told me that government is the sum of its people. "If you want to change things, you have to get involved. If you want your voice to be heard, then get inside." He knew I preferred to work on the Middle East and in particular Iran. But he had different ideas. "This [Afghanistan and Pakistan] matters more. This is what the president is focused on. This is where you want to be."
(Excerpt) Read more at foreignpolicy.com ...

Obama DHS Purchases 2,700 Light-Armored Tanks to Go With Their 1.6 Billion Bullet Stockpile!

Gateway Pundit ^ | March 3, 2013 | Jim Hoft

This is getting a little creepy.

According to one estimate, since last year the Department of Homeland Security has stockpiled more than 1.6 billion bullets, mainly .40 caliber and 9mm.
DHS also purchased 2,700 Mine Resistant Armor Protected Vehicles (MRAP).
Modern Survival Blog reported:
The Department of Homeland Security (through the U.S. Army Forces Command) recently retrofitted 2,717 of these ‘Mine Resistant Protected’ vehicles for service on the streets of the United States.
Although I’ve seen and read several online blurbs about this vehicle of late, I decided to dig slightly deeper and discover more about the vehicle itself.
The new DHS sanctioned ‘Street Sweeper’ (my own slang due to the gun ports) is built by Navistar Defense (NavistarDefense.com), a division within the Navistar organization...
(Excerpt) Read more at thegatewaypundit.com ...

Let’s Help Academia Destroy Itself

Townhall.com ^ | March 4, 2013 | Kurt Schlichter

Conservatives should welcome the decline of academia as we know it. I, for one, will celebrate its death by engaging in the same activity that characterized my four years at what some call its pinnacle– drinking a lot of Coors Light.

There is still nostalgia among conservatives, especially older ones who have forgotten what college is really like, for the idea of higher education as a rigorous venue for intellectual growth, an environment of exciting and vibrant ideas shared by wise, caring educators dedicated to the pursuit of truth.

Today, it is nothing of the sort.

For the vast majority of traditional, liberal arts students, college is a four-year blur of cheap alcohol and tawdry hooks-ups, with their few sober moments characterized by interaction with pony-tailed TAs spouting off about “patriarchal paradigms” and trying to pick up on cute sophomores. Worse, this bacchanalia will saddle the participants with a couple hundred thousand in student debt that they get to carry off into real life, where they will discover that the only thing their degrees in Comparative Norwegian Feminist Literature qualify them for is exciting careers in the world of artisanal coffee retailing.

Call it the College-Progressive Complex. The first part consists of the schools themselves, with their herds of administrators, professors and impoverished grad students chasing the brass tenure ring. Think of it as a liberal tick, sucking blood and growing fatter off the efforts of Americans who actually produce something while contributing nothing to society except the clearly secondary contributions of those few in the fields of science and mathematics.

The other component of the Complex is the progressive element. Colleges and universities serve as a reservoir of leftism in society that serves several functions for those trying to turn America into a less blonde, less macho Sweden. First, it provides a taxpayer-subsidized lifestyle for millions of liberal voters to enjoy without actually having to produce anything. No wonder university types vote 95% for Democrats – they are voting themselves a salary and a sinecure. It’s welfare for people with graduate degrees and “Coexist” bumper stickers.

The Complex also provides an infrastructure for developing progressive ideas and a stage for agitation. It provides leftist access to the vulnerable minds of the future leaders of the nation, making the Complex a tool for the indoctrination of progressive obsessions that people in the real world would reject out of hand. Try talking about the importance of transcending traditional gender roles to an iron worker – he’ll probably think you’re hitting on him.

Sure, there are some relevant areas of study within the Complex, generally ones involving numbers. Rule of thumb: If it doesn’t require that you know calculus, it’s a phony major. The hard sciences are just afterthoughts today – Chemistry is boring and hard, but Oppressions Studies is so cutting edge! Yet, it is unclear why research and the training of scientists and mathematicians and such could not be done more efficiently in the real world. Bill Gates is famous for not being a Harvard alumnus – many of the high tech visionaries dropped out of school and found their own way out in the – gasp! – free market.

So, how does the Complex work? It’s actually kind of brilliant. It convinces otherwise intelligent people that their children must have a sub-par, dubiously useful product and then charges them through the nose for it. The government helps by providing loans at subsidized rates, but which can never be discharged. Make no mistake – the government is in on the scam. Every time the Complex hikes its fees, the government increases loans, which sparks more price hikes, in a vicious circle that leads to 50 year olds carrying $100,000 in non-dischargeable debt.

Except now the higher education bubble (to quote Instapundit Glenn Reynolds) is bursting. People are starting to see that maybe getting that piece of paper isn’t worth carrying around an anchor of debt for the next three decades. It makes no sense to go into hock when there is no job waiting at the other end of the tunnel. No, that’s not a light down there at the other end – it’s an oncoming train.

Look at how law school applications are in free fall. I hire lawyers and train them myself. They usually have about $200,000 in debt. To service that debt, I’d have to pay them about $133,333 per year. Do you think I pay a kid with zero experience $133,333 a year? There are far too many graduates and too few jobs, so I can hire a new lawyer for $50,000 – which is less than I made when I started 20 years ago. And that’s one near the top of his class at a prestigious school. Supply and demand is awesome for me; for young people, who largely voted for Obama, not so much. They get the hope but those of us who are established in liberal-approved fields like the law get to keep the change.

So, we have a higher education system that 1) empowers our opponents, 2) costs too much to both individuals and taxpayers, and 3) provides a crappy product 4) for which there is little market. What can’t go on won’t go on, and we conservatives need to help the Complex to die, preferably without dignity.

Let’s start by rejecting the insane notion that everyone should go to college. Fortunately, the old idea that your kid is a failure (meaning you, as a parent, are a failure) if he didn’t go to college is fading away. There are plenty of successful folks out there who avoided the schooling scam. In fact, getting some real life experience actually doing something useful is now the guarantee of a good career that college used to be.

Electricians, technicians, plumbers – people like that can't not get a job for good money. Let the smug gal with the sociology degree sneer at the auto mechanic pulling in $75,000 a year as she hands him his grande Javan Sunrise. Maybe her tribal tatts and self-esteem will keep her warm when she and her roommates can’t pay the gas company.

While common sense and caveat emptor will put two rounds in its chest, technology will put the coup de grace in the Complex’s head. A decade from now, why will someone bother sitting in a huge lecture hall listening to some second-string professor drone on and on when he can download a lecture by a Nobel Prize winner for free? “Bueller, Bueller, Bueller” is going to be replaced by logging in when and where it’s convenient.

The centuries-old lecture hall model will crumble. Distance learning is coming, and while the big name schools like Harvard will always have suckers lined up to park their kids for a four year vacation, the mid- and low-prestige schools are going to dry up and blow away. One piece of the puzzle, credentialing (which is all higher education is about anyway), needs to be worked through, but once folks like me who hire people realize that there is little meaningful difference between on-line degrees and in-person ones, the levee will break.

And we conservatives should rejoice at the resulting tsunami that will wash away one of the left’s most powerful bases of operations. Sure, the savings will be welcome and seeing liberalism lose its bully pulpit for zombifying future generations is gratifying. But the real joy will come from watching millions of the College-Progressive Complex’s inhabitants forced to actually produce something besides fascist speech codes and dissertations like A Three-Hour Cruise to Male Oppression: Gender Identity Issues on Gilligan’s Island.

Now fetch my latte, professor.

In Case You Missed It Dept.




Democrat Congressman Henry Waxman said the government should tightly regulate household appliances to fight global warming. Save the planet: set your toaster to "light".


The University of Missouri says it will no longer hold exams on Wiccan and Pagan holidays. But you WILL still get in trouble if you call it "Christmas Break".


Taxpayer dollars were used to fund a study that painted the Tea Party movement as the spawn of the tobacco lobby. Nah. If you're looking for smoke, it's right next to Obama's mirrors.


Joe Biden gave his advice for defending your home from intruders: "buy a shotgun". OK, so what's he recommend to defend your shotgun from the government?


Los Angeles has now synchronized all 4400 of its traffic signals, which is expected to reduce travel times by 12 percent. This will be offset by the extra traffic from all the productive people fleeing the state.


Michelle Obama gave out the award for Best Picture at the Oscars. Real "down-home common folks" optics there. Like Marie Antoinette giving the award for Best Cake.


A liberal state Representative in Colorado suggested that, instead of carrying a gun, women should use "the buddy system". Great idea. If your buddy is a guy with a gun.


More wisdom from Joe Biden: "If you can't get the deer in the second or third shot, you shouldn't be out hunting deer." So... what's that say about Democrats & budgets?


A 2000-page State Department terror memo makes no mention of "Muslim" or "Islam". Yes, because our biggest worry is that the Amish may attack us with well-crafted wooden furniture.


President Obama told a meeting of the National Governors Association "we can't keep careening from manufactured crisis to manufactured crisis." Oh. So THAT'S why he's doing so much to destroy manufacturing.


A Republican Congressman said that President Obama is trying to make support for gun control look stronger than it really is by flooding Twitter with messages from people who don't exist. To his credit, at least he's making sure the fake people have fake jobs.


-- Fred Thompson


Tiger Woods played golf with President Obama last week and afterwards praised his golf game at a press conference. That's the consensus. Every PGA pro who's played with President Obama says he's a pretty good golfer for a guy who plays only seven days a week.


President Obama warned Friday the Pentagon will be gutted and cops will be laid off and air traffic controllers will be fired if the sequester cuts occur. He's sweating. The last time a Democratic president cut spending it required an atomic bomb and de-mobilization.


President Obama warned of the looming automatic sequester cuts on Tuesday. He said they will slice the military, sink first responders and drive working families into poverty. You could tell by the verbs he used that he's still back on the golf course with Tiger.


Michelle Obama was a surprise presenter at the Oscars Sunday and handed the Best Picture Oscar to Argo. It's a true story of a successful rescue mission of State Department people trapped in a besieged embassy in the Muslim world. Those who cannot do, present.


Michelle Obama appeared on a huge jumbo screen above the stage to award the Best Picture Sunday. It was eerie. Watching a political figure's image towering over a public event made it look like Los Angeles had surrendered to North Korea during the commercial break.


President Obama warned the nation's governors meeting in Washington D.C. Monday that the sequester cuts would cripple all government functions. He is not kidding. The cuts are so drastic they force President Obama to play nine holes a day instead of eighteen.


The White House said Monday that President Obama's salary would not be affected by the looming sequestration cuts. Congress quickly added that their pay is also unaffected. Their salaries are all protected under the Americans with No Abilities Act.


The White House warned of fewer public hospital procedures if sequester cuts kick in Friday cutting the budget. Don't buy it. They warned it could reduce the number of breast exams and prostate exams but don't worry, they'll still be free at the nearest airport.


Secretary of State John Kerry told German students in Berlin on Tuesday that the U.S. gives its citizens the right to be stupid. He knows a thing or two about being stupid. You don't have to be smart to marry a rich widow, you just have to be able to dance a mean cha-cha.


Illinois Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. faces sentencing and imprisonment this week after he pleaded guilty in federal court in Chicago to campaign finance fraud. Oh well, that's politics for you. One week you're on the cover of Time, the next week you're doing it.


-- Argus Hamilton


A huge snowstorm has now hit 18 states. In fact, it is so cold that former Chicago Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. had his hands in his own pockets.


A storm dumped 17 inches of snow on Amarillo, Texas, yesterday. It was really confusing for people sneaking over the border. They thought they'd gone all the way to Canada.


In a White House briefing, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano warned that sequestration would affect border security. Her remarks raised eyebrows in Washington and got big laughs in Mexico.


-- Leno

WHY?

That's All Folks!

3 Amigos

Taken for a ride!

A crappy job!

Leadership

The boy who cried...

Addiction!

Blame the...

Donkey Lilttle

GUILTY as charged!

Sequestered

Over-Hyping

Which Cuts?

I am not a crook!

CUTS

Alerts!

Politically Impaired

The New Swedish Model

The Foundation for Economic Education ^ | March 1, 2013 | Sandy Ikeda


Among policy nerds back in the day, “Swedish model” meant the brand of social democracy practiced in Sweden in the second half of the twentieth century. (Somebody would usually crack wise about Anita Ekberg whenever the phrase was uttered.) But for a very long time, whenever the problems of socialism were discussed, it was common to hear people say as a kind of shut-up argument: “Ah, but socialism works in Sweden; what about the Swedish model?”
Swedish social democracy created an extensive welfare state—including comprehensive health care, generous unemployment benefits, and marginal tax rates commonly in excess of 70 percent. But that followed years of relatively free-market policies in the early twentieth century, which generated impressive economic growth. Government intervention in Sweden didn’t really get going until the 1960s.

The Economist on “Northern Lights”

Interventionists in the United States could learn something from what’s going on now in Sweden (although I fear they won’t). According to a recent spread in The Economist magazine:
Sweden has reduced public spending as a proportion of GDP from 67 percent in 1993 to 49% today. It could soon have a smaller state than Britain. It has also cut the top marginal tax rate by 27 percentage points since 1983, to 57%, and scrapped a mare’s nest of taxes on property, gifts, wealth and inheritance. This year it is cutting the corporate-tax rate from 26.3% to 22%.
Compare these rates with the U.S. tax rates, under the 2013 tax law, of 39.6 percent on incomes above $400,000 (filing single) and 35 percent on corporations.
But in some sense the current dramatic policy changes in Sweden are just a continuation, after an interruption of several years, of a dis-interventionist trend that began in the 1990s. The “new” Swedish model is not really that new. Indeed, Sweden has climbed to 30th out of 144 countries in economic freedom according to FreetheWorld.com, compared to the United States, which has fallen to 18th, just ahead of Germany (31st) and far outpacing France (47th) and China (107th).

So What About the United States?

The federal deficit numbers in the United States, however, look worse compared to Sweden’s. Again, according to The Economist,
Sweden has also donned the golden straitjacket of fiscal orthodoxy with its pledge to produce a fiscal surplus over the economic cycle. Its public debt fell from 70% of GDP in 1993 to 37% in 2010, and its budget moved from an 11% deficit to a surplus of 0.3% over the same period.
The current federal deficit—the annual excess of government spending over tax revenue—is around $1.1 trillion.
The accumulated debt of the United States federal government now exceeds $15 trillion, which is roughly equal to the current gross domestic product (GDP), the dollar value of all goods and services produced in the U.S. economy in 2012. That means that the federal debt as a percentage of GDP is now slightly more than 100% percent (compared to 37 percent in Sweden).
The United States does compare favorably to Sweden in federal spending as a percentage of GDP. For the United States, that’s about 39 percent, versus over 50 percent for Sweden. Including state and local spending boosts this figure somewhat over 40% percent of GDP for the United States, but that’s still significantly below Sweden's figure. Sweden, though, with one-thirtieth the population of the United States, has a per capita GDP of $57,091 to the United States’s $48,112.

If Sweden Can Do It, Can the United States?

Some fear that a debt-to-GDP ratio above 100 percent places the United States past the fiscal “point of no return”—that is, past the point where in modern times governments have been able to significantly reduce the percentage of debt to GDP. How did things get so bad?
Milton Friedman brilliantly characterized the main alternative politico-economic systems as follows:
1) spending my own money on myself (capitalist model)
2) spending my money on someone else (Christmas model)
3) spending someone else’s money on myself (rent-seeking model)
4) spending someone else’s money on someone else (socialism)
He went on to say that the problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.
But if Sweden, a country in which the welfare state has been so entrenched over so many decades, can make such dramatic, even radical, changes in its interventionist habits, why couldn’t the United States? A comparably dramatic reform here—perhaps “revolution” comes closer to describing what would be needed—is certainly possible, despite staggering institutional barriers, tenacious entrenched interests, and sheer economic ignorance.
The biggest obstacle, as I see it, is not having the strength of will to sustain the relentless intellectual and political battle needed to overcome all those other obstacles. And in all honesty, I find it hard to be very optimistic about that.

The Greek Model

Well into my sixth decade of life, one of the things I think I’ve learned is that radical change and the will to see it through are indeed possible—beyond any so-called point of no return—but only when it’s clearly a matter of life and death. There has to be a sense of urgency, even desperation, to the extent that you become willing to do whatever it takes to survive. But of course desperation is tricky; desperate people can easily make matters worse. It’s perhaps during crises, moments of widespread desperation, that a well-developed philosophy of freedom can have its finest moment by guiding desperate people toward real solutions.
So does the United States have to follow, say, hapless Greece—with its bloated welfare state, strangling regulation and taxation, and monetary profligacy—before our crony-capitalist system develops cracks wide enough for enough of us to see that embracing liberty and rejecting statism is our last, our best, and our only hope?
I’m afraid our economy will have to look much more like the Greeks’ before we’ll muster the will to follow the example of the Swedes.