Monday, March 6, 2017

Mika Tearfully Tells Viewers of Trump: 'If People out There Feel Nervous, We Do Too' ^ | Mar 6, 2017 | Staff 

‘This is not funny, this is really bad’

President Trump's wiretap tweets struck an emotional chord with MSNBC's Mika Brzezinksi. The morning anchor fought back tears Monday morning as she told viewers that "we are all really nervous" about what the Trump Administration is going to do.
"This is not funny," Brzezinski told her audience. "This is really bad. Just for the record, we are all really nervous. So if people out there feel nervous, we do too. We don’t think this is funny."
The host also issued a direct appeal to Trump's staff, asking them how they can look at themselves in the mirror.
"We are at a low point in American history and I don't know how anybody can defend this president, even if it's their job. Like you've got to have a job after this. You've got to look in the mirror after this. Sarah Huckabee or whoever is speaking out next. You have to look in the mirror and think about this country after this is over. You need to think of the end game here, because there isn't one at the rate we are going."
Moments later, Brzezinkski returned with another warning. "They are pushing a very dangerous agenda," she said of the Trump Administration. "An extremely dangerous one."

Obama Administration Looks To Be In Very Serious Legal Trouble

Strata-sphere ^ | March 5, 2017 | AJ Strata 

Published by AJStrata at 2:48 pm under 2016 Elections, All General Discussions, Obama and FISA

There is a lot of breaking news this weekend as the nation learns that a sitting President (Obama) looks to have used the nation’s national security apparatus – which is empowered to protect this nation from foreign enemies and threats – for crass political gain (read “personal gain”). If this is even partially true, this would be Watergate on steroids and irreparably tarnish the Obama administration for all history.
These high stakes may also explain the irrational fear and hate by the democrat leadership we have seen in their scorched-Earth actions since the election. Events may be unraveling on them big time, events that started last summer in a very different world.
Let’s begin by setting down a hard and fast rule to blunt the coming weasel words from team Obama. The President runs his administration. The President’s cabinet has some individual authority, but they confirm with the Commander-in-Chief anything that could erupt back on them either legally or politically. No cabinet member – especially the Attorney General – would run near or across legal or ethical lines without concurrence (i.e., cover from) the top person.
To say Obama did not “order” the “wire tap” against the Trump campaign is as ridiculous as it sounds. Note: Trump used figurative parentheses when he tweeted “wire tap”, so read that as meaning “surveillance” legally.
It is not like the Captain of a ship actually “weigh’s the anchor” themselves! Captains order it be done. Or more accurately, it is one step of a process that has been established by the command chain so that when the Captain orders the ship to prepare to “get under way” this action is taken. However executed, the Captain is legally responsible for the people under him, and any mistakes they make. This would include any issues or damage done “weighing” the anchors.
So when someone tries to split hairs about who ordered the surveillance on Team Trump, remember this:
First, as Obama officials well know, under the FISA process, it is technically the FISA court that “orders” surveillance. And by statute, it is the Justice Department, not the White House, that represents the government in proceedings before the FISA court.
The fact is no one would be dumb enough to run afoul of the laws protecting the American People from our intelligence apparatus without top cover – because these represent very, very serious crimes. So let’s stop pretending AG Lynch did this on her own. If this happened, it was all coordinated.
We also need to start with specifying which laws were broken, and then get to the all critical timeline – because that is where we will discover how thin the ice is under Team Obama.
The best overview of the laws broken is here, and the following excerpts summarize the issues our nation faces. To understand the issues one must understand the very narrow and special role the FISA Court and our Intelligence Apparatus plays in our nation. Because of its special powers, it is very restricted on what it can do.
Rather shockingly, no law currently forbids misusing the power of the presidency to spy on one’s adversaries. What the law does forbid is lying to any judicial officer to obtain any means of surveillance. What the law does forbid, under criminal penalty, is the misuse of FISA. Both derive from the protections of the Fourth Amendment itself. Under section 1809, FISA makes it a crime for anyone to either “engage in” electronic surveillance under “color of law” under FISA without following the law’s restrictions, or “disclose” or “use” information gathered from it in contravention of the statute’s sharp constrictions.
Emphasis mine. As we deal with this explosive situation, remember the core issue. It is not run-of-the-mill political skulduggery (is there any other kind?). It is the criminal misuse of a critical national defensive capability. Liken it to using a military weapon against your political opponent, because that is the nearest and best analogy. If Obama ordered the military to intervene with Team Trump during the election, that would not be much different from using the intelligence powers to intervene. This is not on the same level as using the IRS to target political opponents – not by a long shot.
Why is this the case? Because the FISA court operates outside the US Constitution, and therefore any misuse is much more serious:
FISA, 50 USC 1801, et seq., is a very limited method of obtaining surveillance authority. The reason for its strict limits is that FISA evades the regular federal court process, by not allowing regularly, Constitutionally appointed federal judges and their magistrates to authorize surveillance the Fourth Amendment would otherwise forbid. Instead, the Chief Justice handpicks the FISA court members, who have shown an exceptional deference to the executive branch. This is because FISA court members trust the government is only bringing them surveillance about pending terror attacks or “grave hostile” war-like attacks, as the FISA statute limits itself to. Thus, a FISA application can only be used in very limited circumstances.
Again, emphasis mine. The capability to use our intelligence resources against any entity is restricted to critical national security. These resources are NOT to be applied for other legal matters, such as questionable business interests, hacking computers, etc. This is important because the evidence seems to show Team Obama tried to abuse these resources – and were rebuffed!
FISA can only be used for “foreign intelligence information.” … The only “foreign intelligence information” allowed as a basis for surveillance is information necessary to protect the United States against actual or potential “grave” “hostile” attack, war-like sabotage or international terror. Second, it can only be used to eavesdrop on conversations where the parties to the conversation are a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power. An agent of a foreign power cannot be a United States person unless they are knowingly involved in criminal espionage. No warrant is allowed on that person unless a FISA court finds probable cause the United States person is knowingly engaged in criminal espionage. Even then, if it involves a United States person, special steps must be taken to “minimize the acquisition and retention, and prohibit the dissemination, of non publicly available information concerning un-consenting United States persons.”
This is the crux of Obama’s legal trouble. In order to legally capture information about members of the Trump Campaign (one of which was a sitting Senator), then retain it and distribute it, the reason would have to border on high crimes and treason – not “discussions” or “hacking” or “business transactions”. Even coordinating national policies and treaties with foreign leaders would not rise to the level of urgency required to invoke these intelligence resources.
To summarize, it is Team Obama’s collection, retention and distribution of information protected by the US Constitution that constitute the high crimes here, specifically when it pertains to members of Trump’s campaign, emphasized here:
This includes procedures that require they never identify the person, or the conversation, being surveilled, to the public where that information is not evidence of a particular crime.
Since the Fake News media has been reporting these very same details to the public, and citing current and former Obama administration sources, it is not debatable on whether laws were broken. They were.
Bottom line: this should never have happened:
At the outset, the NSA should have never been involved in a domestic US election. Investigating the election, or any hacking of the DNC or the phishing of Podesta’s emails, would not be a FISA matter. It does not fit the definition of war sabotage or a “grave” “hostile” war-like attack on the United States, as constrictively covered by FISA. It is your run-of-the-mill hacking case covered by existing United States laws that require use of the regular departments of the FBI, Department of Justice, and Constitutionally Senate-appointed federal district court judges, and their appointed magistrates, not secretive, deferential FISA courts.
So how did this happen? How did our extensive intelligence apparatus come to be misused against members of the Trump campaign?
Well, the simplest answer seems to be Team Obama misled the courts:
This raises the second problem: Obama’s team submission of an affidavit to to the FISA court. An application for a warrant of any kind requires an affidavit, and that affidavit may not omit material factors. A fact is “material” if it could have the possible impact of impacting the judicial officer deciding whether to authorize the warrant. Such affidavits are the most carefully drawn up, reviewed, and approved affidavits of law enforcement in our system precisely because they must be fully-disclosing, forthcoming, and include any information a judge must know to decide whether to allow our government to spy on its own. My assumption would be that intelligence officials were trying to investigate hacking of DNC which is not even a FISA covered crime, so therefore serious questions arise about what Obama administration attorneys said to the FISA court to even consider the application. If the claim was “financial ties” to Russia, then Obama knew he had no basis to use FISA at all.
Since Trump was the obvious target, the alleged failure to disclose his name in the second application could be a serious and severe violation of the obligation to disclose all material facts.
President Trump now owns the records of the United States of America. One thing he and his Attorney General (former Senator Sessions) can get their hands on are these affidavits to the FISA Court. If they are as damning as some believe they must be, then Team Obama is going to be in serious trouble.
Remember, back when this all started no one believed Trump would win and be given the keys to all the evidence lockers. Which is why one has to ask why did Team Obama double down in January and push the laws even further?
Team Obama has a responsibility to the FISA Court to not disclose any information on US Citizens accidentally caught up in a surveillance activity, but this is what they began doing in January 2017. This may be the second smoking gun – diligently reported by the Fake News media.
That raises the third problem: it seems the FISA-compelled protocols for precluding the dissemination of the information were violated, and that Obama’s team issued orders to achieve precisely what the law forbids, if published reports are true about the administration sharing the surveilled information far-and-wide to promote unlawful leaks to the press.This, too, would be its own crime, as it brings back the ghost of Hillary’s emails — by definition, FISA information is strictly confidential or it’s information that never should have been gathered. FISA strictly segregates its surveilled information into two categories: highly confidential information of the most serious of crimes involving foreign acts of war; or, if not that, then information that should never have been gathered, should be immediately deleted, and never sourced nor disseminated. It cannot be both.
Recognizing this information did not fit FISA meant having to delete it and destroy it. According to published reports, Obama’s team did the opposite: order it preserved, ordered the NSA to search it, keep it, and share it; and then Obama’s Attorney General issued an order to allow broader sharing of information and, according to the New York Times, Obama aides acted to label the Trump information at a lower level of classification for massive-level sharing of the information. The problem for Obama is simple — if it could fit a lower level of classification, then it had to be deleted and destroyed, not disseminated and distributed, under crystal clear FISA law.
There is much more in the article, so please take the time to read the whole thing.
This is about as open-and-shut as you can get in my humble opinion. All this has been faithfully reported (i.e., corroborated) by the Fake News media – citing sources. Along with the internal trail of documents the government is required to keep, it would seem Team Obama has a real problem on their hands.
So let’s visit the timeline of events (best one can be found here), and recall that when all this started Hillary was a shoe-in as the next POTUS. Therefore she would be able to keep a lid on all the critical internal government documents Team Trump now has unfettered access to.
June 2016: FISA request. The Obama administration files a request with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) to monitor communications involving Donald Trump and several advisers. The request, uncharacteristically, is denied.
Note that the article above identifies a prior attempt to gain surveillance through the normal criminal courts process, before this event. This is one month prior to the RNC and DNC conventions. At this time Trump as POTUS seems to be pure fantasy.
This prior attempt is confirmed (supposedly independently) by Andrew McCarthy:
To summarize, reporting indicates that, prior to June 2016, the Obama Justice Department and FBI considered a criminal investigation of Trump associates, and perhaps Trump himself, based on concerns about connections to Russian financial institutions. Preliminary poking around indicated that there was nothing criminal involved. Rather than shut the case down, though, the Obama Justice Department converted it into a national-security investigation under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
In June, the Obama Justice Department submitted an application that apparently “named” Trump in addition to some of his associates. … In any event, the FISA court reportedly turned down the Obama Justice Department’s request.
Both the normal courts and the FISA court reject the administrations requests. These requests should be made public ASAP.
Very few people expected Hillary to lose the election at this stage. Bernie was clearly on his way to being vanquished from the Democrat ticket. The effort in June 2016 is clumsy and quickly abandoned. Hillary has her email problems, but she also looks invincible.
I would note one other event on this timeline, when former President Bill Clinton tried to secretly meet with Obama’s AG, Loretta Lynch:
Attorney General Loretta Lynch said she regrets her controversial meeting over the summer with former President Bill Clinton, saying she should have recognized ahead of time how it would be perceived by the public.
Mrs. Lynch had met with Mr. Clinton privately after the two wound up on the same airport tarmac in Phoenix on June 27, just days before FBI Director James Comey would announce that he would not press charges against Hillary Clinton over her private email server.
AG Lynch is the only person authorized to make FISA court requests. Coincidence?
Anyway, nothing happens for months, until …
3. October: Podesta emails. In October, Wikileaks releases the emails of Clinton campaign chair John Podesta, rolling out batches every day until the election, creating new mini-scandals. The Clinton campaign blames Trump and the Russians.
4. October: FISA request. The Obama administration submits a new, narrow request to the FISA court, now focused on a computer server in Trump Tower suspected of links to Russian banks. No evidence is found — but the wiretaps continue, ostensibly for national security reasons, Andrew McCarthy at National Review later notes. The Obama administration is now monitoring an opposing presidential campaign using the high-tech surveillance powers of the federal intelligence services.
By October 2016 things are looking really serious for Hillary, but not desperate yet. The Democrats are trying to find a way to neutralize the Podesta emails, which expose serious collusion with the Fake New media. They also remind everyone of Hillary’s own email issues.
But more importantly, the Clinton Foundation was being exposed as a pay-for-power enrichment scheme (rivaling anything thrown at Team Trump in the last few weeks). Did all these events panic the White House and the Democrat power structure? Did they attempt a Hail Mary and try and resurrect their plan to use our nation’s Intelligence Apparatus against Trump?
Not an unreasonable assumption to be honest. And somehow Team Obama actually get the authority for surveillance (maybe by withholding key information about Trump?). Anyway, no one is challenging the fact surveillance began.
But after losing the election to the GOP, team Obama does something stupendously stupid: they issue a memo that attempts to overturn very clear laws about dissemination so they can try and “leak” damning innuendo about Trump through their surrogates in the Fake New media:
6. January: Obama expands NSA sharing. As Michael Walsh later notes, and as the New York Times reports, the outgoing Obama administration “expanded the power of the National Security Agency to share globally intercepted personal communications with the government’s 16 other intelligence agencies before applying privacy protections.” The new powers, and reduced protections, could make it easier for intelligence on private citizens to be circulated improperly or leaked.
The new rules, which were issued in an unclassified document, entitled Procedures for the Availability or Dissemination of Raw Signals Intelligence Information by the National Security Agency (NSA), significantly relaxed longstanding limits on what the NSA may do with the information gathered by its most powerful surveillance operations.

Jan 3rd 2017 – Loretta Lynch signs off on rule changes for phone taps. Jan 12th 2017 – WaPo reports On Phone Calls Anonymous Intel Sources
Obama’s administration had become so addicted to circumventing laws by executive orders, procedures, rules, etc they apparently went to that well one time too many.
There is no legal cover behind an illegal rule. This is not going to protect these people from legal jeopardy (may reduce their sentences somewhat). And the more players involved (Lynch, her successor Yates, etc) the more this runs into the RICO statutes.
Team Trump looks to have a great case here. Plus they have access to the government “smoking gun” documents spread throughout. I do not understand why Obama’s administration would dig their legal hole deeper in disseminating the classified information the law required them to delete and not leak. But they did.
So what does that indicate about team Obama? Either colossal stupidity, uncontrolled panic, or a combination of both. Maybe by they time they realized Trump would find the FISA court records their only avenues was to try and turn public opinion using their robots in the Fake News media.
All Trump has to do is let out the smoking gun documents one at a time. Let the left deny and parse words, then drop his counterveiling bombshells.
Rinse and repeat.
If this is as bad as some say, Trump will milk this all the way – as he should.

Flashback: New York Times front page from 1/20 Confirms Wiretap

 by TigerClaws

The Left Is Approaching a Tipping Point

CNSNews ^ | March 6, 2017 | Charlie Daniels 

I have had a feeling developing the last few weeks, a feeling that the left is approaching a tipping point. We may be reaching a time when the nation tires of the daily protests, the acid rhetoric and outhouse vocabulary, the scowling faces, the outrageous hyperbole, the unsubstantiated accusations, and the totally classless and out of touch remarks directed at the weeping widow of a war hero are starting to become empty and somewhat disgusting to Americans who want to see our nation begin the long journey back to stability and booming prosperity.
I probably wouldn't have watched the Academy Awards anyway, even if I hadn't known it would be such a partisan political affair. I hadn't seen any of the pictures and am not familiar with most of the nominated actors, but after seeing excerpts of Meryl Streep's rant on the Golden Globe Awards I wasn't about to expose myself to “Hollywood's Hillary Loss Hysteria.”
Some of the Democrats in Congress seem willing to throw the baby out with the bath water rather than work with the president who had the audacity to spoil the coronation of their rock star.
The stage was set, the Democrats were so sure Hillary was going to win and continue the Obama march toward single payer health care, more power for the teachers unions, the packing of the Supreme Court and all the other socialist bits and pieces of the Obama agenda. They had the fireworks in place and the champagne on ice.
The packing of the court would have ensured that the Democrats had a safety valve for whatever legislation they couldn't get through Congress, and when the blue wall started falling and they had to begin facing the cold hard fact that despite the support of the beautiful people, the fawning advocacy of the media, the polls, the pundits and even Oprah Winfrey, the ordinary people they had turned their backs on in the take for granted, Democrat strongholds were rebelling and voting for an outsider, a rash, outspoken critic of everything they stood for, whose vision of America pointed some 180 degrees away from theirs, a man with the nerve to bash the media and use his twitter account to reach the American people directly.
They've never gotten over it, and some of them probably never will. But unless I'm reading the situation terribly wrong, I believe some of the cooler heads in the party are starting to decipher the handwriting on the wall.
We all heard the president's speech the other night, and I must say that I was surprised at the degree with which he seemed to be reaching across the aisle, even conciliatory to a degree I had never heard. Trump was still rock solid on most of his campaign promises but seemingly open to finding common ground to attack America’s myriad problems.
Chuck Schumer, of course, heard it differently, and in a diatribe resembling a grandfather confused by the complexities of some new technology he refuses to try to understand, stuck to his hard line that there is no good, no sanity and no future in anything President Trump proposes.
America never heard Schumer and the rest of his cohorts questioning Obama's health care plan, a little piece of socialism that was obviously designed to fail and bring about a single payer plan and putting a government that can't find it's posterior with both hands in charge of one sixth of the American economy, not to mention red tape laden bureaucrats dispensing medical care.
Yes, Mr. Schumer picks his battles along party lines.
And I'm beginning to see a slight awakening of the American public who liked what they heard Donald Trump say to Congress.
They want the infrastructure shored up; they want the military strong; they want to see American companies bring their offshore money back here and invest it in job producing businesses; they want tax relief; they want the criminals here illegally rounded up and deported; and they truly want to see America great again.
And Nancy Pelosi and her prissy little white dress brigade of thumbs-downers fly in the face of all that.
Bill Maher and Michael Moore and a few others stepped way over the line when they accused Carryn Owens of allowing herself to be used for political purposes or otherwise disrespected in a most poignant moment that touched the collective heart of America, further alienating and disgusting ordinary people and helping those straddling the fence decide which side they wanted to get off on.
Yea, there's something happening here, something that, if President Trump is able to bring to fruition, the jobs, the stability, the strong military, the robust economy and inner city social changes he spoke about, is going to make Schumer's remarks seem inane and as out of touch as last year's newspaper.
It’s time for unity, time for both sides to put the knives away, stop playing “gotcha,” put America first for a change, and find sensible common ground.
Think about it this way, if Trump is as inept and as off the wall as his critics say, he will fall on his rump. If he is right, and the things he wants to do work, then America wins big.
Pray for our troops, our police and the peace of Jerusalem.
God Bless America
What do you think?
Charlie Daniels
Charlie Daniels is a legendary American singer, song writer, guitarist, and fiddler famous for his contributions to country and southern rock music. Daniels has been active as a singer since the early 1950s. He was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry on January 24, 2008.

The rise of the unproductive economy (look who's talking)

UMass Daily Collegian ^ | 3/6/17 | Heffler 

The Great Recession of 2008 and 2009 started with a bottoming out of the stock market, which eventually led to the loss of millions of jobs, and trillions of dollars of wealth throughout the country. This devastating crash was the risky gambling brought by a severely under-regulated financial system, and the entire country suffered as a consequence.
Although it lost about 50 percent of its value during the recession, the S&P 500 rose 166 percent during Obama’s presidency. Since Donald Trump’s election on November 8, the Dow Jones has had a record rise of almost 3,000 points, topping the 21,000 mark for the first time in history. The U.S. stock market gained $1.4 trillion alone between the election and inauguration day.
These figures represent a trend in the U.S. economy for decades: incomes for the average American remains stagnant, while the financial industry continues to , even as it crashes the entire economy every now and then.
In a perfectly functioning economy, this growth of the financial sector should be correlated with growth in a wide array of industries, and thus a rise in wages for the average worker. In fact, every robust economy requires a prosperous financial industry. This is because the intended purpose of the industry is to collect savings and funnel them toward productive investments.
However, today’s financial sector has a much different objective: quick gains from gambling and inflating asset prices within the financial industry itself, in areas such as real estate and equities. Today, only 15 percent of the money flowing from banks is used for business investment. This money makes its way into the real economy where most of the country operates, while the other 85 percent circulates through a closed financial loop that only benefits a small percentage of the country.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

FISA Request on Trump Came After Secret Meeting

World News Politics ^ | 3/5/2017 | J.B. 

The dots are slowly being connected regarding the Obama surveillance scandal, and it’s not looking good for Barack. The evidence is mounting there was a massive conspiracy to hurt President Trump.

On June 27th of 2016, Bill Clinton met secretly with Obama Attorney General Loretta Lynch at the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. This scandal, with so many unanswered questions, has not been resolved.

Lynch did recuse herself from the Clinton email scandal. However new evidence suggests that meeting wasn’t about whether Hillary would go to prison, but one with a more insidious intent.

Right after this meeting, Loretta Lynch made her first FISA request to tap Trump’s phones. Let that sink in for a minute. Bill Clinton has a secret meeting with the one person in the world who can, all by herself, derail Trump’s campaign.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

The Most (And Least) Worthwhile College Degrees

Zero Hedge ^ | 03/06/2017 

For many young people, the decision of whether to extend their education careers and attend university is a tough one to make. With soaring costs, Statista's Martin Armstrong notesnot all that choose to do a bachelor's degree graduate with the feeling that it was all worthwhile.
Emolument surveyed 1,800 graduates to reveal that the most regretted major is psychology. Only 33 percent of bachelors of this particular science said their degree was worth it. On the other end of the scale, 87 percent of chemistry and natural sciences alumni said they felt their studies were worth it.
Infographic: The Most (and Least) Worthwhile Degrees | Statista
You will find more statistics at Statista
We are reminded of The Mises Institute's Josh Grossman comments, that easy access to student loans has created demand for useless degrees.
Last week, former Secretary of Education and US Senator Lamar Alexander wrote in the Wall Street Journal that a college degree is both affordable and an excellent investment. He repeated the usual talking point about how a college degree increases lifetime earnings by a million dollars, “on average.” That part about averages is perhaps the most important part, since all college degrees are certainly not created equal. In fact, once we start to look at the details, we find that a degree may not be the great deal many higher-education boosters seem to think it is.
In my home state of Minnesota, for example, the cost of obtaining a four-year degree at the University of Minnesota for a resident of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Manitoba, or Wisconsin is $100,720 (including room and board and miscellaneous fees). For private schools in Minnesota such as St. Olaf, however, the situation is even worse. A four-year degree at this institution will cost $210,920.
This cost compares to an average starting salary for 2014 college graduates of $48,707. However, like GDP numbers this number is misleading because it is an average of all individuals who obtained a four-year degree in any academic field. Regarding the average student loan debt of an individual who graduated in 2013, about 70 percent of these graduates left college with an average student loan debt of $28,400. This entails the average student starting to pay back these loans six months after graduation or upon leaving school without a degree. The reality of this situation is that assuming a student loan interest rate of 6.8 percent and a ten-year repayment period, the average student will be paying $326.83 every month for 120 months or a cumulative total re-payment of $39,219.28. Depending upon a student’s job, this amount can be a substantial monthly financial burden for the average graduate.

All Degrees Are Not of Equal Value

Unfortunately, there is no price incentive for students to choose degrees that are most likely to enable them to pay back loans quickly or easily. In other words, these federal student loans are subsidizing a lack of discrimination in students’ major choice. A person majoring in communications can access the same loans as a student majoring in engineering. Both of these students would also pay the same interest rate, which would not occur in a free market.
In an unhampered market, majors that have a higher probability of default should be required to pay a higher interest rate on money borrowed than majors with a lower probability of default. In summary, it is not just the federal government’s subsidization of student loans that is increasing the cost of college, but the fact that demand for low-paying and high-default majors is increasing, because loans for these majors are supplied at the same price as a major providing high salaries to its possessor with a low probability of default.
And which programs are the most likely to pay off for the student? The top five highest paying bachelor’s degrees include: petroleum engineering, actuarial mathematics, nuclear engineering, chemical engineering and electronics and communications engineering, while the top five lowest paying bachelor’s degrees are: animal science, social work, child development and psychology, theological and ministerial studies, and human development, family studies, and related services. Petroleum engineering has an average starting salary of $93,500 while animal science has an average starting salary of $32,700. This breaks down for a monthly salary for the petroleum engineer of $7,761.67 versus a person working in animal science with a monthly salary of $2,725. Based on the average monthly payment mentioned above, this would equate to a burden of 4.2 percent of monthly income (petroleum engineer) versus a burden of 12 percent of monthly income (animal science). This debt burden is exacerbated by the fact that it is now nearly impossible to have student loan debts wiped away even if one declares bankruptcy.

Ignoring Careers That Don’t Require a Degree

Meanwhile, there are few government loan programs geared toward funding an education in the trades. And yet, for many prospective college students, the trades might be a much more lucrative option. Using the example of plumbing, the average plumber earns $53,820 per year with the employer paying the apprentice a wage and training.
Acknowledging the fact that this average salary is for master plumbers, it still equates to a $20,000 salary difference between it and someone with a four-year degree in animal science while having no student loans as a bonus. Outside of earning a four-year degree in science, technology, engineering, math or, accounting with an average starting salary of $53,300, nursing with an average starting salary of $53,624, or as a family practice doctor on the lower end of physician pay of $161,000, society might be better served if parents and educators would stop using the canard that a four-year degree is always worth the cost outside of a few majors mentioned above. Encouraging students to consider the trades and parents to give their children the money they would spend on a four-year college degree to put a down payment on a house might be a better use of finite economic resources. The alternative of forcing the proverbial square peg into a round hole will condemn another generation to student debt slavery forcing them to put off buying a home or getting married.

Loans Drive Overall Demand

The root of the problem is intervention by the federal government in providing student loans. Since 1965 when President Johnson signed the Higher Education Act tuition, room, and board has increased from $1,105 per year to $18,943 in 2014–2015. This is an increase of 1,714 percent in 50 years. In addition, the Higher Education Act of 1965 created loans which are made by private institutions yet guaranteed by the federal government and capped at 6.8 percent. In case of default on the loans, the federal government — that is, the taxpayers — pick up the tab in order for these lenders to recover 95 cents on every dollar lent. Loaning these funds at below market interest rates and with the federal government backing up these risky loans has led to massive malinvestment as the percentage of high-school graduates enrolled in some form of higher education has increased from 10 percent before World War II to 70 percent by the 1990s. Getting a four-year degree in nearly any academic field seemed to be the way in which to enter or remain in the middle class.
But just as with the housing bubble, keeping interest below market levels while increasing the money supply in terms of loans — while having the taxpayer on the hook for a majority of these same loans — leads to an avalanche of defaults and is a recipe for disaster.

Way Too Many People Make the Same Dangerous Mistake With Fancy Cameras

San Francisco Chronicle ^ | Monday, February 27, 2017 | Rafi Letzter 

Any professional photographer can instantly tell what the person in this picture is doing wrong. Can you?

Hint: look at the camera strap.

The quickest way to tell an amateur with a fancy DSLR from a pro before they even begin shooting is to watch where they hang their strap.
When I was just a baby photographer in college, I hung my strap from my neck and an older, wiser student named Ray Whitehouse nearly jumped out of his skin setting me straight. Pros hang their straps from their shoulders for some very good reasons.

Amateurs put it over their necks, like the woman in the photo. Now every time I see shooters with their gear dragging on their necks like medieval torture devices — which is pretty much anytime I see anyone with an expensive camera — I wince.

The first and most important reason for this is back pain. Cameras are heavy — especially when they have top-tier lenses attached. And they're a lot to haul around even if you're carrying them properly. If you carry them wrong, however, they can do real damage.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Can we please be really truly done with Hillary?

NY Post ^ | March 5, 2017 | Karol Markowicz 

Though it's been three months since Donald Trump won the presidential election, it's not unusual to see handmade "I'm still with her" signs displayed in windows of multimillion-dollar brownstones in Park Slope, "H" arrow buttons (the Clinton campaign logo) on lapels around major cities and Hillary Clinton's campaign avatar used in social-media profile pictures.
Please, just let it go.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Wage Gap?

Woman's Wage Gap?


 by sodpoodle


No one believes seniors . . . everyone thinks they are senile.

An elderly couple was celebrating their sixtieth anniversary.

The couple had married as childhood sweethearts and had moved back to their old neighborhood after they retired. Holding hands, they walked back to their old school. It was not locked, so they entered, and found the old desk they'd shared, where Jerry had carved I love you, Sally. On their way back home, a bag of money fell out of an armored car, practically landing at their feet. Sally quickly picked it up and, not sure what to do with it, they took it home. There, she counted the money - fifty thousand dollars!

Jerry said, We've got to give it back. Sally said, Finders keepers. She put the money back in the bag and hid it in their attic.

The next day, two police officers were canvassing the neighborhood looking for the money, and knocked on their door. Pardon me, did either of you find a bag that fell out of an armored car yesterday? Sally said, No. Jerry said, She's lying. She hid it up in the attic. Sally said, Don't believe him, he's getting senile The agents turned to Jerry and began to question him.

One said: Tell us the story from the beginning.

Jerry said, Well, when Sally and I were walking home from school yesterday .... The first police officer turned to his partner and said, We're outta here!

New York Mayor Hides 500,000 Illegals, Vows to Ignore Immigration Laws

Breitbart ^ | March 5, 2017 | Mona Salama 

The NYPD won’t cooperate with federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents seeking to repatriate illegal immigrants, Mayor Bill de Blasio told RTVi, or Russian Television International.

“The NYPD will not participate as immigration enforcement agents because we have, for decades, built a close working relationship with immigrant communities,” de Blasio said. “Our police force is not going to be out there knocking on people’s door and it is not going to share information about people’s documentation status with the federal authorities.”
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Sanctuary Policies Shield Convicted Criminals From Feds!

The Epoch Times ^ | March 3, 2017 | Charlotte Cuthbertson 

The number of illegal immigrants handed over to authorities nationwide is less than 3 percent of what it was six years ago, thanks to a suite of sanctuary policies at the local level combined with a hands-off approach at the federal level in recent years.

The New York and Los Angeles metro areas are the most popular destinations for illegal immigrants in the country. New York City has an estimated 500,000 illegal immigrants, according to the mayor’s office.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has vowed to oppose President Donald Trump’s executive order that promises to ramp up interior security and penalize jurisdictions that “willfully violate federal law in an attempt to shield aliens from removal.”

De Blasio said New York City already cooperates with federal agencies when necessary. The city says it shares information with the feds if an illegal immigrant commits any of 170 crimes listed, including assault, rape, arson, terrorism, and firearms and drug offenses.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...





The Target!


Be Silent!


Who's Right?


Problem Solved!




Let Me Be Clear!




That's OK


Double Down




The Gang's All Here!