Sunday, May 31, 2009

Schiff Report - 05-29-09



I had the pleasure of listening to Peter Schiff, live and in person, yesterday in Bridgeport at a Libertarian function.

The bailouts and stimulus coming out of Washington along with the central planning micromanaging is not going to work. It is clearly not working already, it has only prolonged the pain we will ultimately feel.

We have pumped over $60 billion into Chrysler and GM - GM is filing for bankruptcy anyway. Jobs are being lost anyway! Plants are being closed anyway! They should have done this months ago WITHOUT taxpayer money involved. What do we have to show for this? According to some estimates, we have given enough money to GM to provide about $300,000 to every employee! By the time we are finished bailing out and restructuring these companies we will have pumped over $100 Billion into this mess. That's money that our kids and grandkids will have to pay, not tomention the massive inflation we will be seeing.

If you think this recession is NOT going to turn into a full fledged depression, then you are just drinking the Geithner Kool-Aid. We haven't seen the worst of this yet. Schiff is spot on in his analysis. Americans better be listening and preparing themselves.

I consider Schiff to be the modern day Paul Revere, and his message is "The Depression is coming!"

Friday, May 29, 2009

Faber and Schiff On Beck - May 28 - Talking Inflation



Some say it's doom and gloom - I say it's reality.
Massive deficit spending and printing the money out of thin air to pay for it = Massive inflation.

CT - Save Local Community Cable Access!


Legislators in Hartford need to pass HB6604 - AN ACT CONCERNING PUBLIC ACCESS TELEVISION CHANNELS - without amendments.

The bill will:
1. Require all video service providers to carry community television like the other channels on their system.

2. Create a review process of all providers to ensure compliance on consumer and PEG issues.

3. Require both cable and video providers be responsible for maintenance and repair of transmission equipment.

Why is this important?
-The bill creates a level playing field for all providers and preserves community television channels.

-It preserves Congress’ intent to foster localism and diversity and prevents discriminatory actions against community television.

-It recognizes the importance of community stations to local governments and communities who rely on them to deliver local health, educational, civic and emergency information.

-With recent media consolidation, community television is one of the few outlets left for local information. Removing community television channels from view deprives local residents of information that isn’t available anywhere else.

-Community television does not need to be marginalized to ensure healthy competition.

-Stop the “race to the bottom” that has already begun as providers scramble to take bandwidth from community television and use it for their commercial services.


You may hear the following claims from AT&T, a multi-billion dollar telecommunications company and the state’s first competitive video service provider:

“This language will force us to change our technology.”
But in reality: An independent engineering report from Columbia Telecommunications Corporations found that the technology is readily available to allow delivery of PEG channels. Read the report

“We’re different. We need local insertion points.”
But in reality: The independent engineering study referenced above shows that IPTV technology offers greater, not lesser flexibility to localize channel line-ups. The only obstacle to AT&T treating PEG access like other channels on its system is its decision not to do so.

“We’re still testing. We are improving the system like we said we would.”
But in reality: AT&T’s improvements resulted in shaving a few seconds off the speed with which the system works. The process to get in and out of the channels is cumbersome and longer than a typical commercial television break. Video and audio are not always in sync and many functions like DVR recording and closed captioning cannot be passed through the system. See for yourself

"We use different technology and people just need to get used to it. People don’t like change.”
But in reality: We do not oppose AT&T using any specific technology. We believe communities deserve channels that work. If the process is so great, why not dump all the sports channels into Channel 88, all news channels into 77 and all networks into 66?

“What about the jobs in CT? AT&T will leave the state.”
But in reality: The language in this bill existed in Illinois, before they launched U-verse there. AT&T continues to expand their U-verse service in that state. According to a Chicago Tribune Letter to the Editor, AT&T claims they are in compliance with Illinois Law so there should be no issue on AT&T’s compliance in CT. Read the article here

“It’s just public access.”
Oh really? No company should be permitted to redefine what programming is important for the local community.

“Review is unnecessary.”
Oh really? AT&T states they already provide community access television in conformance with what the amendment requires, so what objection could they have to regulatory review? Let them demonstrate the quality and service level of their product to the technical staff at DPUC who can best assess it.
We all need to make sure that AT&T keeps its promises to Community Television

The legislature has already implemented the means for competitive video services to enter the Connecticut marketplace. In doing so, the legislature has given the citizens of Connecticut choices for video service that they have not had previously.

When AT&T lobbied for this new regulatory environment, community access advocates were told AT&T was committed to carrying community television. Only after PA-07-253 passed, did we begin to learn of the inferior method that community television would be handled on U-verse.

AT&T’s standard of delivery is astonishingly low, especially in the age of high definition and high-speed Internet, and compared to commercial channels on AT&T’s own system.

It is highly ironic that just when community television is most relevant as one of the few remaining local media outlets, it faces a watershed moment as to how it will be viewed in the future.

To provide a truly competitive environment in the state for video services, the citizens and consumers must be assured that they can access their local community television channels with an equal quality and service level.

HB 6604 will guarantee that the citizens will receive these essential community television channels with equal quality, clarity and performance no matter which provider they choose.
Legislators in Hartford need to pass HB6604 - AN ACT CONCERNING PUBLIC ACCESS TELEVISION CHANNELS - without amendments!

The Current amendments that are proposed should be withdrawn or defeated:
LCO No. 8473 - Cable companies could opt out of the paying the per subscriber fee - This would eliminate funding and force centers to close!

LCO No. 8428 - Restricts non profit access centers from fundraising and underwriting - That means local cable TV can't raise money!

LCO No. 8430 - Expansion of the audit process - Local Cable TV already files tax returns and annual reports with DPUC and has an annual audit by an independent firm.

These amendments would do much harm and ultimately kill community television!

Many people rely on community access to see important town meetings and it also adds greatly to public discourse. This bill is all about how public access will be delivered in the digital age. Without this bill as it is, cable stations will be virtually invisible to the average viewer. It will be difficult to get to and it will be difficult to view. How is this good for public discourse?


(H/T Jennifer Evans - WHCTV)

Kansas Girl Wins Spelling Bee And Homeschooler Takes 2nd Place



Kavya Shivashankar, 13, of Olathe, Kansas, wins the finals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, in Washington. The 82nd annual bee attracted a record 293 participants.
Kavya Shivashankar wrote out every word on her palm and always ended with a smile. The 13-year-old Kansas girl saved the biggest smile for last, when she rattled off the letters to "Laodicean" to become the nation's spelling champion.

The budding neurosurgeon from Olathe, Kan., outlasted 11 finalists Thursday night to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee, taking home more than $40,000 in cash and prizes and, of course, the huge champion's trophy.

"I can't believe it happened," Kavya said. "It feels kind of unreal."

After spelling the winning word, which means lukewarm or indifferent in religion or politics, Kavya got huge hugs from father Mirle, mother Sandy and little sister Vanya.
...
Kavya won in her fourth appearance at the bee, having finished 10th, eighth and fourth over the last three years. She enjoys playing the violin, bicycling, swimming and learning Indian classical dance, and her role model is Nupur Lala, the 1999 champion featured in the documentary "Spellbound."
...
Second place went to 12-year-old Tim Ruiter of Centreville, Va., the only non-teenager in the finals. He misspelled "Maecenas," which means a cultural benefactor.

"I had absolutely no clue about that word," Tim said. "I was just racking my brain for anything possible that could help me. I'll probably be spelling it in my sleep tonight."

Aishwarya Pastapur, 13, from Springfield, Ill., who loved to pump her arm and exclaim "Yes!" after getting a word correct, finished third after flubbing "menhir", a type of monolith.
The kids all did an amazing job.
Well done!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Coming Actuarial Nightmare

"I would argue that the most serious threat to the United States is not someone hidng in a cave in Afghanistan or Pakistan but our own fiscal irresponsibility" -David Walker - Former Controller General of The United States of America



This video was made before the Obama bailouts and pork spending bills began, so things are even worse now with the Washington spending spree that we have seen and continue to see. We've already heard from Obama that we are out of money. (No worries though, we'll print up some more)

There's also a great website from Joseph DioGuardi, a former member of Congress and a CPA, and its called Truth in Government. He has a great book, "Unaccountable Congress, It Doesn't Add Up" You can even read it for free online.

Joe DioGuardi’s testimony to the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board (FASAB) is also worth watching.


Watch Joe DioGuardi Testimony to FASAB.avi in News  |  View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com

We can't ignore this - Social Security is a huge Ponzi scheme. Medicare is unsustainable. Our children will be dealing with massive taxes to pay for all of this plus more, and including the staggering inflation that is sure to come, unless something is done. The continued spending and bailouts by the Obama administration is making this all much worse.

Meanwhile, the companies that Washington has spent billions to bailout continue to tank and go bankrupt. They may think that they have slowed things and staved it off for a little while - but the worst is yet to come.

There are people talking about this and sounding the alarms - I sure hope someone in Washington will listen, and I sure hope the public at large wakes up to this.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Predictive Guilt And Your Government

Now, I am not a fan of Maddow - but she sure got this one right.
Sad thing is that she most likely voted for Obama's Hope and Change.
But now look what we will be dealing with.
"Minority Report-esque" tactics by our government now defined as indefinite detention on the basis of "preventive incarceration"
It's downright frightening.
I believe Russia's Gulags were built on that concept.




Predictive Guilt - This is nothing new - The Department of Children and Families in CT has been practicing this for years as they have taken children away from parents for what they "might do". Past behavior has been used in the courts already to condemn people for things that they haven't yet done.

I am not surprised that Obama and his administration are further trampling people's rights in this manner using "Predictive Guilt", and he even has the audacity to support and speak this concept in front of our founding documents!

This opens up the gates for government to jail anyone - anyone - who may speak out against this government. Perhaps they will hear something over your wire-tapped phone that they don't like you saying? or see something on your Facebook page that they don't like you posting. Will they be coming after you? Hold you indefinitely for crimes you "might" commit?

You do recall the MIAC report? So now for all of you "right wing extremists" - just in case you are considering something, like protesting abortion, or have certain bumperstickers on your car, buy ammo, or attend a tea party or two, you could very well be a candidate for indefinite detention on the basis of "preventive incarceration". And for you left wingers out there who are against Obama's extension of the war and various broken campaign promises, perhaps you might think twice about criticizing your new leader now as you awaken from the trance you've been in. His administration might not like what you have to say either.

Oh, right, I am just paranoid.

Sorry folks - but this is just plain wrong and very very bad news for America. So why aren't you out protesting in the streets over this sort of thing?

Obama's Hope and Change.
How's that working out for you America?


"This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears he is a protector." - Plato

"The power of the Executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charge known to the law, and particularly to deny him the judgment of his peers, is in the highest degree odious and is the foundation of all totalitarian government whether Nazi or Communist." - Winston Churchill (Maybe this was why Obama removed Churchill's bust from the White House!)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day 2009

COTG hopes that you have a pleasant Memorial Day filled with fun and family.

Please take some time today to remember those who sacrificed so much to preserve our liberty and sovereignty. The best way to honor them is to continue to be vigilant to protect our freedoms and rights from those who would take them from us both from within as well as from outside of our borders.

"No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation." -- General Douglas MacArthur

"We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home." - Edward R. Murrow





A few other quotes to ponder:

"The story of America's quest for freedom is inscribed on her history in the blood of her patriots." ~Randy Vader

"The greatest glory of a free-born people is to transmit that freedom to their children." -William Havard

"These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated." -- Thomas Paine, “The Crisis”, December 23rd, 1776

Friday, May 22, 2009

1927-1933 Chart of Pompous Prognosticators


Oh brother - we are hearing similar things from the folks on MSNBC/CNBC and other cable news outlets regarding this stock market.... you know.... how things are sound - it's a good time to buy stocks - we've reached the bottom - we are seeing green shoots - etc. etc.

You have to look at this chart and the quotes that go along with it.
1- "We will not have any more crashes in our time." - John Maynard Keynes in 1927

2- "I cannot help but raise a dissenting voice to statements that we are living in a fool's paradise, and that prosperity in this country must necessarily diminish and recede in the near future." - E. H. H. Simmons, President, New York Stock Exchange, January 12, 1928

"There will be no interruption of our permanent prosperity." - Myron E. Forbes, President, Pierce Arrow Motor Car Co., January 12, 1928

3- "No Congress of the United States ever assembled, on surveying the state of the Union, has met with a more pleasing prospect than that which appears at the present time. In the domestic field there is tranquility and contentment...and the highest record of years of prosperity. In the foreign field there is peace, the goodwill which comes from mutual understanding." - Calvin Coolidge December 4, 1928

4- "There may be a recession in stock prices, but not anything in the nature of a crash." - Irving Fisher, leading U.S. economist , New York Times, Sept. 5, 1929

5- "Stock prices have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau. I do not feel there will be soon if ever a 50 or 60 point break from present levels, such as (bears) have predicted. I expect to see the stock market a good deal higher within a few months." - Irving Fisher, Ph.D. in economics, Oct. 17, 1929

Read the rest...

It's almost like listening to Steve Liesman or Joe Kernan or Carl Quintanilla on CNBC's Squawk Box or Ben Bernanke's pressers.

It's like deja vu all over again.

Continental Congress 2009



The We The People Foundation is committed to educating Americans about their Fundamental Rights and the history, meaning and power of the Constitution, and the essential Principles of Liberty.

Where our servant governments have abused the limited authorities that the People have delegated, the Foundation confronts and holds these governments accountable to the federal and state written Constitutions.

Find out more at We The People Foundation and Give Me Liberty

Delegates to this Congress are coming forward from every state in the union to participate in this monumental and historic assembly.
Later this year those delegates representing the People of the fifty states will convene as a national assembly to publicly debate our Government's abuses of the Constitution and to consider practical strategies which can bring about compliance with our Freedom documents, not only in our government at all levels, but in our individual lives.

The Continental Congress 2009 will be an undertaking of historical importance as we follow the example of our Founding Fathers, to gather together and discuss the state of our Nation to restore the Light of Liberty.

Find out more and get involved, if you are interested in preserving and protecting this Republic and your liberty.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Freedom Watch - May 20



Watch the whole thing

Dr. Rand Paul Discusses Universal Healthcare



Dr. Rand Paul is running for Senate in Kentucky
.
Dr. Paul has owned his own business, performing eye surgery in Bowling Green, KY, for 18 years. He is also the founder of the Southern Kentucky Lions Eye Clinic, an organization that performs eye exams and surgery for less fortunate patients.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Patrick Henry Caucus And Coalition


This group was started by Utah legislators Carl Wimmer, Ken Sumsion, Steve Sandstrom, Keith Grover and Chris Herrod. The Patrick Henry Caucus has caught on with other legislators nationwide, and other states are now working to form their own Patrick Henry caucus.

These Utah legislators are interested in passing legislation to assert States Rights/Tenth Amendment Rights. They are asserting that Congress and the Feds have stepped over the bounds of the US Constitution regarding their powers. They further claim that the powers that rightfully belong to the sovereign states are being, and have been, usurped in many areas from education to gun control, transportation and land use; issues that should be decided upon by each state in their own legislature and not by the Federal government.

Rep. Wimmer is trying to get gun legislation passed in Utah similar to that of Montana:

“‘We are going to stand up and assert our rights, if you will let us please do so, federal government,’” said Wimmer. “A bill is an actual state law that will put into place the fact that if a firearm is manufactured in Utah, sold in Utah and kept within the boundaries of Utah, that firearm will be exempt from federal regulation under the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the Constitution.”

I thought that I'd share this with you.

The Patrick Henry Caucus is
dedicated to the ideals established by our Founding Fathers as enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and in the Constitution. The Caucus believes the Constitution is an inspired document and should be adhered to strictly as the Founders intended. We consider the Bill of Rights to be the absolute guarantor of the freedoms specified. The Caucus especially emphasizes the tenth amendment. We affirm that the federal government may exercise only those rights and powers that are specifically granted unto it by the Constitution and no others. We reassert the sovereignty and rights of the individual states. As legislators who adhere to these ideals, we unite as The Patrick Henry Caucus, to take like-minded legislative action to this end.

The Patrick Henry Coalition invites citizens to join with legislators to acheive their goals.
Purpose:

We, the Patrick Henry Caucus, unite to sustain the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. We pledge to support and uphold the principles embodied therein. Whereas the federal government has usurped powers beyond those delegated to it by the Constitution, we reclaim the Constitutionally protected rights of the States, and reject the position that States' sovereignty must be subordinate to the federal government.

Goal:

To restore and uphold the sovereignty and rights of the individual States as guaranteed by the tenth amendment of the United States Constitution, which states, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Special-Needs Children Abused In Government Schools


This is shockingly sad and a reason why we have seen so many special needs families inquiring about, and coming to, homeschooling.

The report by CNN news says this:
Congressional auditors have uncovered widespread abuse of techniques use to restrain or discipline special-education students in U.S. schools, with some deaths linked to the practices, a top congressman says.

The findings are among those expected from a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report scheduled to be released Tuesday. The report documented serious problems with the way children with disabilities are being treated in public schools, including cases of children being held face-down on the ground.

The GAO report was prepared for the House Education and Labor Committee, which is considering new laws governing what actions teachers can take to rein in disruptive special-needs students.

"I think what we're going to hear from the GAO is that very often, special-need children are subjected to the policies of seclusion and policies of restraint that have turned out to be lethal in a number of circumstances," said Rep. George Miller, D-California, the committee's chairman.

In other cases, children as young as 6 have been locked away "for hours at a time," Miller said.

"What the GAO is telling us is that that policy is fairly widespread," he said. "The state regulations about how to handle these incidents don't exist in about half the states, and in other states you have kind of a patchwork of regulations."

The GAO, the investigative arm of Congress, found that state laws governing the treatment of the more than 6 million children classified as having "special needs" -- conditions including autism and Down syndrome -- are patchy at best. Teachers and school staff frequently lack training in correct restraint methods, and in some cases, where improper restraints led to injuries, teachers often kept their jobs.

Only five states keep track of incidents where special-needs students are separated or restrained. Parents contacted by CNN commonly said they were not told their child was being disciplined until he or she began to behave badly at home -- a sign of trouble at school.

When confronted with complaints, school systems sometimes sought to minimize or deny the allegations, even after public investigations found the charges to be true. And parents told CNN that when they got into a dispute with the teacher, their child was made to suffer as retribution.

Some of the most disturbing reports concerned the use of seclusion rooms. Experts have long recommended that children should only be isolated when they posed an immediate threat to themselves or others. But CNN found that isolation was often used as a punishment by teachers to compel the students to follow instructions.

State investigators in Utah found a teacher left 7-year-old Garrett Peck in an isolation cubicle for at least two and a half hours after the teacher said he told her to "shut up."

While the boy was in the cubicle, the teacher taunted him by playing his favorite video and telling him what he was missing. His parents, Joshua and Becca Peck, said the child has an attention span of about 10 minutes, and they believe that after the first few minutes, he had no idea why he was in the cubicle.

"It was so sad. We felt it was a form of torture for him but he, being autistic, he had no way to express it," Joshua Peck said. "He couldn't tell."

And Becca Peck said her son had been left in the cubicle with nothing but a magic marker -- which he used to scrawl all over himself. When she came to school to pick him up, "He was covered in marker -- on his eyelids, on his hair, face, clothes, arms, eyelids -- everywhere."

"I started thinking, 'What was he thinking?' Was he thinking, 'Why is my mom letting this person do this to me? Why am I here? I trust no one now.' "

In Garrett's case, like others cited by the GAO, the teacher remains on the job. And what frustrates experts is that efforts to force unruly children to comply don't actually work.

Homeschool leaders in my own state of CT have heard these kinds of stories as well. Parents try to get services for their children, but often times the schools are just ill-equipped, or simply do not have the teaching staff with the skills to handle special needs children, especially when they have so many other children to teach. While there may be students who are doing well and school systems that have good special ed programs, there are still far too many kids that fall through the cracks, or who are either neglected or, even as we read from this report, abused. The abuse issue though, just should not be tolerated by anyone.

Some families of special needs children simply do not want their children warehoused, or mistreated in any way, and so they take it, some would say courageously, upon themselves to homeschool their children. Surprisingly, school systems fight that decision and end up claiming that these parents are neglectful, and before you know it the Department of Children and Families (DCF) is called into the picture.

Why do school systems fight parents with special needs children who wish to homeschool? Some speculate that it is all because of the funding schools receive for these children; in fact we have known school systems that have kept special needs childrens' names on the enrollment in order to collect the funding, even though the children have been dis-enrolled. These schools are never called to task for this fraud either! Other school districts insist that what they are doing for these children is far superior than what a parent could ever provide. Of course we have also heard of instances where the child was removed from the school and has learned to do much more than the school had ever planned for them through Individual Education Plans (IEP's) and PPT's. In the end, parents just want what is in the best interest of their children, and if the schools ignore their concerns, etc., it just makes for a more difficult situation.

Parents of Special Needs children should not be intimidated. There are many special needs children that are currently being homeschooled, and although I have not seen documented numbers, there is a lot of anecdotal information circulating. The fact is that through the years we have been hearing from more and more special needs families looking for alternatives.

Homeschoolers have lots and lots of special needs resources to draw upon.
CT Homeschool Network has provided a good list on their web site.

There are others here at About.com, as does Homeschool Central and there are so many more that can be found with Google.

Here is an interesting graph citing reasons why people homeschool.



(H/T Tracy SM)

Beware The Bear Market Rally



You should read this especially if you still have anything left in your IRA or 401-K Plan. Yes, the market was up yesterday - but wait....

"The Worst Is Yet to Come": If You're Not Petrified, You're Not Paying Attention
The green shoots story took a bit of hit this week between data on April retail sales, weekly jobless claims and foreclosures. But the whole concept of the economy finding its footing was "preposterous" to begin with, says Howard Davidowitz, chairman of Davidowitz & Associates.

"We're in a complete mess and the consumer is smart enough to know it," says Davidowitz, whose firm does consulting for the retail industry. "If the consumer isn't petrified, he or she is a damn fool."

Davidowitz, who is nothing if not opinionated (and colorful), paints a very grim picture: "The worst is yet to come with consumers and banks," he says. "This country is going into a 10-year decline. Living standards will never be the same."

This outlook is based on the following main points:

* With the unemployment rate rising into double digits - and that's not counting the millions of "underemployed" Americans - consumers are hitting the breaks, which is having a huge impact, given consumer spending accounts for about 70% of economic activity.
* Rising unemployment and the $8 trillion negative wealth effect of housing mean more Americans will default on not just mortgages but student loans and auto loans and credit card debt.
* More consumer loan defaults will hit banks, which are also threatened by what Davidowitz calls a "depression" in commercial real estate, noting the recent bankruptcy of General Growth Properties and distressed sales by Developers Diversified and other REITs.

As for all the hullabaloo about the stress tests, he says they were a sham and part of a "con game to get private money to finance these institutions because [Treasury] can't get more money from Congress. It's the ‘greater fool' theory."

"We're now in Barack Obama's world where money goes into the most inefficient parts of the economy and we're bailing everyone out," says Daviowitz, who opposes bailouts for financials and automakers alike. "The bailout money is in the sewer and gone."
As for things getting better, green shoots and all that rot, take a look at places like Selma Alabama - home of the Civil Rights movement. Where is their stimulus money? Selma is the kind of area who should be getting stimulus - if you believe in programs like stimulus at all! This is precisely why the stimulus plan is such an incredible joke. Who got the money? Automobile unions and campaign contributing bankers and Friends of Obama (FOO), like ACORN.

But ... get ready for the next market downturn. The decent we have seen matches almost perfectly with that of the Great Depression. The unemployment rate also matches.

It's not at all pretty, no matter what GE/MSNBC, et al. try to tell you.

Monday, May 18, 2009

John Taylor Gatto - Theory Of Access



This is why homeschooling is so successful; parents give their children access to all kinds of resources. The world truly is their classroom. I think it is fair to say that homeschoolers do more of their "homeschooling" outside of their home than inside of their home! Travel is an important element in one's education as well.

Reading is certainly important, but it has its limitations. One must go out into the world, meet people who are experts in their field and have an opportunity to actually work with them. Kids need to be exposed to real people who face real problems in their work world, and kids need to face challenges themselves in order to develop the ability to think and problem solve.

The Arts are important. Its study is unfortunately dying under the weight of emphasis on standardized testing in our government school systems. Kids need the study of the history and performance of music, literature, theatre, and so on. It is essential in creating well rounded individuals who can think and apply what they learn, as there is math in music and poetry, just as there is science in dance and singing. Cross application of information learned makes study interesting, relevant and meaningful.

Education needs to include hands on experiential learning. Text book learning is fine, but it cannot be the only resource. The fact is that school systems have pretty much eliminated field trips due to budget cuts or the inability to demonstrate how those field trips contribute to increases in standardized test scores is very unfortunate.

Kids need to get out from behind the brick walls and learn things from the real world. Homeschoolers tend to take advantage of their freedom and flexibility regarding their studies to go out and do things that strongly compliment and reinforce their reading work.

Kids need to learn from challenges and failures. That is certainly something that Gatto touches upon here - but what he does not say, and I will say, is this: A system of illusionary meritocracy has been created in our school systems. Kids do whatever they must do in order to get an "A" - but do they truly learn anything? Cramming for a test is not learning that "sticks". It is nothing more than an exercise in short term memory. Kids will also tend to pursue the areas of study that will give them an easy "A" instead of the harder coursework. It must be pointed out that harder does not necessarily mean more content. Having a lot of busy work - may be hard in terms of time to complete a subject, but we ought to be looking at substance over volume with regard to coursework. Many teachers also grade on a curve in order to give the illusion of achievement. So what have the kids really learned?

John Taylor Gatto is spot on with his Theory of Access, and he has a proven record of working with kids to back it up.


(H/T Tracy and Mary)

Ron Paul: House floor 5/14/09




But the Obama administration just keeps on spending and spending ... with the Commander in Chief talking out of both sides of his mouth.. He says this:
President Barack Obama, calling current deficit spending “unsustainable,” warned of skyrocketing interest rates for consumers if the U.S. continues to finance government by borrowing from other countries.

“We can’t keep on just borrowing from China,” Obama said at a town-hall meeting in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, outside Albuquerque. “We have to pay interest on that debt, and that means we are mortgaging our children’s future with more and more debt.”

Holders of U.S. debt will eventually “get tired” of buying it, causing interest rates on everything from auto loans to home mortgages to increase, Obama said. “It will have a dampening effect on our economy.”

Yet Congress and the Federal Reserve continue to borrow and spend spend spend....
Where's "the change" Mr. Obama?
Sounds like Obama lip service to me... a quote that can be pulled out later on to say that he was against such measures. I say actions speak louder than words.

We have the same expensive war ... but different country now.

We have bailouts to the banks, the auto industry (that is going bankrupt anyway ... the government helped out the autoworkers unions and then told the company's bond holders to take a loss) and now the insurance companies (The Hartford, Ameriprise etc.) have their hands out... who's next? Newspapers and airlines??? California? Massachusetts, Michigan and New York?

Government is dictating how companies should be run, as if the federal government knows the best way to run companies. Government Central planning and micro managing does not work.

The treasury is hemorrhaging, and every American is on the hook, and we are staring at the collapse of the US dollar and hyperinflation. We as a country are at the mercy of our debt holders and we are looking to create even more debt to sellto foreign countries. What will happen when they try to dump those investments for higher yielding ones?

Meanwhile, this administration has the audacity to consider universal healthcare when we already have a system run by the government that is so utterly broken and bankrupt already.
"The programs’ trustees reported May 13 that the Social Security trust fund will run out of assets in 2037, four years sooner than forecast, and Medicare’s hospital fund will run dry by 2017, two years earlier than predicted a year ago".
That is because it is the biggest Ponzi scheme in history.

Government run healthcare does not work, unless you like waiting forever to get rationed healthcare. One only has to look at the Veterans Administration hospitals to see what is in our future with government run healthcare. Sure, healthcare needs reform, but not by government.

Bottomline:
This insane borrowing and spending spree has got to stop.
We cannot borrow and spend our way out of this mess.
Too much debt got us into this mess to begin with.
We have been producing and exporting debt, and it's time we produce and export more goods and services instead.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Did You Know?



"We are living in exponential times"

It's sad to see how unprepared we are, as a country.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Saturday Parody - Worst Slide Story



Hope you got a chuckle ... I would have liked to hear more of the songs.

West Side Story - a 50's version of Romeo and Juliet.

Here are the real songs from the parody:
Jet Song
I Feel Pretty
Maria
America
Gee Officer Krupke

Friday, May 15, 2009

Two "Dump Dodd" Events Tomorrow


One:
There's an Anti-Dodd Rally in front of Chris Dodd's office in Hartford on Saturday, May 16th at Noon. There will be speakers for this event. This is the address:

30 Lewis Street
Hartford, CT 06103

Two:
Dodd is clearly worried about how many will protest him at his offices. Senator Dodd is having a public forum in another part of the state at the same time as the Hartford protest. One needs to RSVP to this forum in order to get inside, but Dood protesters will also be outside. The founder of "Dump Chris Dodd" will be there. He has permission from the Police to have a sidewalk protest at the Hospital. Once the forum starts, everyone that has RSVP'd can go inside.

A TOWN HALL MEETING ON HEALTH CARE REFORM HOSTED BY

SENATOR CHRIS DODD AND CONGRESSWOMAN ROSA DELAURO
JOINED BY NANCY-ANN DEPARLE, DIRECTOR, WHITE HOUSE OFFICE OF HEALTH REFORM
SATURDAY, MAY 16, 2009
11:30 A.M. - 1:30 PM

GRIFFIN HOSPITAL CAFETERIA
130 DIVISION STREET
DERBY, CT

To RSVP for the forum contact: CTRX4CHANGE@DODD.SENATE.GOV OR CALL 860.258.6940


"Nothing is better than a chance to ask hard questions of an elitest bureaucrat."

So... If you can't make the Hartford event Saturday at his offices ....but are in the Derby area ...consider going to where he will be, so you can confront him face to face.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

What Lincoln Didn't Say Exactly


I stumbled upon this today - and thought I'd share - especially since the message is so relevant today.
  1. You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
  2. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong
  3. You cannot help the poor man by destroying the rich.
  4. You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
  5. You cannot build character and courage by taking away man's initiative and independence.
  6. You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.
  7. You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
  8. You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income.
  9. You cannot establish security on borrowed money.
  10. You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they will not do for themselves.

This is a list of ten statements beginning with "You cannot .. ." that are popularly attributed to Abraham Lincoln, (1809 - 1865) Sixteenth President of the United States. They sound so wise and so much like things he would have said that they are frequently quoted and attributed to him in print.

But alas! Lincoln did not say these things. They were written in 1916 by the Rev. William J. H. Boetcker, a Presbyterian clergyman and pamphlet writer. In 1942, a group called the Committee for Constitutional Government gave out a great many leaflets entitled "Lincoln on Limitations" that contained on one side a real Lincoln quote and on the other side the 10 Boetcker statements. Boetcker was credited with his statements on the leaflet, but their proximity in print to one real quote by Lincoln, plus the title of the leaflet, led people to think that Lincoln had said the ten listed statements. They were repeated in many printed sources, and are still regarded by many as authentic Lincoln quotes. Carl Sandburg, Lincoln's most famous biographer, dismissed them as spurious.

Sources:
  1. Boller, Paul F., Jr., and John George. They Never Said It: A Book Of Fake Quotes, Misquotes, & Misleading Attributions (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989), pp. 82-84, 145.
  2. Kominsky, Morris. The Hoaxers (Boston: Branden Press, 1970), pp. 18 - 27."



(H/T Phil S. for bringing these quotes to my attention)

Is Osama Bin Laden Dead?

The Pakistani President, Asif Ali Zardari, says he thinks Bin Laden is dead.



That goes along with this David Frost interview of Benazir Bhutto (Asif Ali Zardari's wife) before she was assassinated (well, she hit her head and died during a bomb blast/assassination attempt).


David Frost did not challenge her on her assertion (2:14) that Bin Laden was murdered.

Oh, but of course these leaders must have "mis-spoke".
Surely, there are photos and videos of Osama Bin Laden that will surface at a well timed moment, yet again.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Food As Medicine



The FDA is officially out of control.

They are now scolding a cereal maker over the claim of lowering cholesterol 10% in a month, which in their opinion makes it a drug.
The Food and Drug Administration scolded the makers of Cheerios about the way they promote the cereal's health benefits. The FDA sent a letter of warning to General Mills accusing them of making unauthorized health claims.

Current boxes of Cheerios are touting what the company calls exciting news -- the cereal's ability to help lower cholesterol 10 percent in one month.

"My mother actually eats it every day, seven days a week for breakfast to lower her cholesterol," Staten Island resident Lauren Schwam said.

According to a letter from the FDA General Mills' advertising violates the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. The agency said claims that Cheerios ingredients can lower cholesterol within a certain amount of time, all while providing cancer-fighting and heart-healthy benefits, essentially makes Cheerios "a drug" by their definition. And no drug in this country can be legally marketed without an approved new drug application.

As a certified dietetic nutritionist, Keri Glassman often recommends foods high in soluble fiber for patients looking to lower their cholesterol.

"Because of the oats ... not a drug," Glassman said.

... The FDA gave General Mills 15 days to explain how it will correct the statements on Cheerios boxes.

In a statement issued Tuesday, General Mills said this dispute is over language, not science. The company pointed out that the FDA'a complaint doesn't actually question whether Cheerios can help lower cholesterol levels -- it only talks about how the health benefits are advertised.

Orange juice helps prevent scurvy too... is that a drug?
Bananas are loaded with potassium ... is that a drug?
Cabbage juice heals stomach ulcers... is that a drug?
Yogurt keeps your intestinal flora healthy... is that a drug?

My naturopath has in the past cured me of "acid reflux disease" using food, as she also is helping me to manage other health issues using food as medicine.

Food has health benefits.
Lots of them.
Maybe the FDA hasn't noticed.

This is so stupid that if it were up to the FDA, soon you'll need a prescription to purchase groceries.

Way to go Cheerios!
I wouldn't change a thing on your packaging if studies prove your claims.

The FDA needs to change their definition of a drug.

Doing Stimulus Shots Can Be Hazardous To Our Financial Health


If you think the Obama/Bernanke Stimulus plan has saved the day, you'd better take a second look. Anyone who truly understands monetary policy understand that the billions being poured into the economy will perhaps make things appear better in the short run - but in actuality it is prolonging the pain and will actually make things worse down the line.

Ben Bernanke described potential first signs of economic recovery as "green shoots", but what we may be seeing are like the buds that appear before the final winter's frost. They won't get to blossom.

Peter Schiff writes:
Strike up the band, boys, happy days are here again! Recently released short-term economic data, including unemployment claims, non-farm payrolls, home sales, and business spending, which had been so unambiguously horrific in February and March, are now just garden-variety awful. With the Wicked Witch of Depression now apparently crushed under the house of Obamanomics, the Munchkins of Wall Street have sounded the all clear, pushing the Dow Jones up 25% from its lows. But the premature conclusion of their Lollipop Guild economists, that the crash of 2008/2009 is now a fading memory, is just as delusional as their failure to see it coming in the first place.

Once again, the facts do not support the euphoria. Over the past few months, the government has literally blasted the economy with trillions of new dollars conjured from the ether. The fact that this “stimulus” has blown some air back into our deflating consumer-based bubble economy, and given a boost to an oversold stock market, is hardly evidence that the problems have been solved. It is simply an illusion, and not a very good one at that. By throwing money at the problem, all the government is creating is inflation. Although this can often look like growth, it is no more capable of creating wealth than a hall of mirrors is capable of creating people.

We are currently suffering from an overdose of past stimulus. A larger dose now will only worsen the condition. The Greenspan/Bush stimulus of 2001 prevented a much needed recession and bought us seven years of artificial growth. The multi-trillion dollar tab for that episode of federally-engineered economic bullet-dodging came due in 2008. The 2001 stimulus had kicked off a debt-fueled consumption binge that resulted in economic weakness, not strength. So now, even though the recent stimulus administered a much larger dose, we will likely experience a much smaller bounce. One can only speculate as to how much time this stimulus will buy and what it will cost when the bill arrives.

My guess is that, at most, the Bernanke/Obama stimulus will buy two years before the hangover sets in. However, since this dose is so massive, the comedown will be equally horrific. My fear is that when the drug wears off, we will reach for that monetary syringe one last time. At that point, the dosage may be lethal, and the economy will die of hyperinflation.

As always, the bulls fail to understand that investors can lose wealth even as nominal stock prices rise. As a corollary, the bearish case is not discredited by rising stock prices. While there are some bears that mistakenly cling to the idea that deflation will cause the dollar to rise, those of us in the inflation camp understand that the opposite will occur.

In the meantime, stocks are not rising because the long-term fundamentals of our economy are improving. If anything, the rise in global stock prices is due to investors realizing that cash is even riskier than stocks. The massive inflation that is the source of the stimulus is essentially punishment for those holding cash. To preserve purchasing power, investors must seek alternative stores of value, such as common stock.

It is important to point out that despite an impressive rally, U.S. stocks have substantially underperformed foreign stocks. In the past two months, while the Dow Jones has risen 30%, the Hang Seng and the German DAX have risen by over 50% in U.S. dollars. Commodity prices are also rising, with oil hitting a five-month high. And gold is shining as well, with the HUI index of gold stocks up 30% during the past two months, and 2/3 of those gains occurring in the past month. If this rally really were about improving economic fundamentals, gold stocks would not be among the leaders. Further, during those two months, the U.S. dollar index fell by 7%, with commodity-sensitive currencies such as the Australian and New Zealand dollars surging 20%.

To me, the relative strength of foreign stocks and currencies indicates that perhaps the global economy is not as impaired as many have feared. It has been my view all along that after the initial shock wears off, the world will be better off – once it no longer subsidizes the American economy. The shrinking U.S. current account deficit is evidence of this trend in action. Renewed strength in foreign stocks and weakness in the dollar may indicate that not only is the world decoupling from the U.S., but benefitting as a result.

So let the Munchkins dance for now. But remember, the Witch is not dead; only temporarily stunned by an avalanche of fake money.

Interestingly enough - here is another analysis using historical false recoveries

There are a few other bubbles waiting in the wings.

1) Credit card defaults - People are out of work, and more are being laid off. Credit cards are the last things people worry about paying, and the banks are holding all of this unsecured debt.

2) Commercial Real Estate - With all of the retail stores closing, there aren't any stores filling those vacant spots. Mall owners, Strip-mall owners and other commercial realtors are barely hanging on by the skin of their teeth. Some have already filed for bankruptcy, and other landlords are having trouble paying their insurance policies as well as making their own mortgage payments.

3) We haven't seen the last of mortgage defaults, and as unemployment benefits will start to end for tens of thousands of people, that is still going to cause us problems. 22% of homeowners are still underwater.

4) US Treasuries - When the stock market crashed, many people pulled money out and flocked to "safe treasuries". China also holds a ton of American debt. They stand to lose a substantial amount of money with any sharp increase in yields, because that would send bond prices plummeting. If people sell off their Treasury holdings for other higher yielding investments, then there will be a collapse in the treasury bubble. Rule of thumb: for every 1 percentage point increase in yield on a 10-year note, investors would see a corresponding 7 percentage point drop in value… Even Warren Buffett is concerned.

Green shoots?
-The contractions have already begun as consumers are trying desperately to spend less - pay off some of their debts and try to save some money as well; and of course if they are employed or unemployed that has further implications.
-The US Government's massive debt and continued insane spending will be our demise.
-Banks and investors who have lent out money to people who can't pay it back will have to find a way to absorb the losses.

Ultimately we will have to pay for it all - one way or another.

Monday, May 11, 2009

States Rights - Tenth Amendment


It appears that States are tired of being bullied, coerced, extorted, and otherwise dictated to by the Federal Government. The Federal Government has long used the power of the purse to get states to implement policies like No Child Left Behind and other legislation. Now, States have had it with being told how to use stimulus money, and how to ostensibly run their affairs. They are making resolutions regarding their individual State's Rights under the Tenth Amendment. Here are some State's initiatives here and here.

These excerpts ares from M.J. “Manny” Steele, South Dakota Representative (Dist. 12)
I am proud to announce that South Dakota was the first state to accomplish bicameral passage of its resolution, HCR1013, to affirm our state’s rights.

Joining me today to announce the successful passage this year of their respective states’ rights resolutions are ... the following states:

* Alaska (HJR27) Passed House and Senate

* Georgia (SR632) Passed Senate

* Idaho (HJM004) Passed House and Senate

* Missouri (HCR13) Passed House

* North Dakota (HCR3063) Passed House and Senate

* Oklahoma (HJR1003) Passed House and Senate

* South Carolina (H3509) Passed House; Currently in Senate Committee

* South Dakota (HCR1013) Passed House and Senate

Texas - HCR50 passed committee April 23, 2009. Sponsoring Representative Brandon Creighton expects the House to pass the resolution very shortly.

Arizona’s HCR2024 passed committee on April 14, and per Sponsoring Representative Judy Burges, it is expected to pass the House.

The Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution expressly reserves all powers to the states which are not delegated to the federal government. Over the course of decades, there have been increasing federal mandates and acts designed to effectively step in and legislate the affairs of our various states from Washington D.C.

Federal usurpation into state affairs severely limits the ability of state governments to operate according to their citizens’ wishes. We believe that the best government is one which governs closer to the people.

As of this announcement, legislatures in nine states’ have acted on bi-partisan support and have passed their respective resolutions to affirm states’ rights. These are: Alaska (HJR27), Georgia (SR632), Idaho (HJM4), Indiana (SR42), Missouri (HCR13), North Dakota (HCR3063), Oklahoma (HJR1003), South Carolina (H3509) and South Dakota (HCR1013).

It appears that there are 25 more states which presently have similar resolutions pending.

The current price of erosion of states’ rights exceeds $11 trillion. Without the countless attempts in Washington to duplicate and micromanage our states’ affairs, much of this debt could have been avoided.
So what exactly are State's objecting to? (this list attributed to Dale Caruso)
- Unfunded Mandates
- Excessive taxation without adequate representation
- Frivolous spending of our tax money while our problems can’t be adequately addressed due to a lack of funds
- Faltering economic system
- Placed our monetary system into the hands of a private bank who devalued our currency and manipulated our economy at will
- Pilfering and failure of the worst Ponzi scheme in history (Social Security)
- Erosion of the separation of powers
- Repeated and willful violations of the 1st Amendment
- Repeated and willful violations of the 2nd Amendment
- Repeated and willful violations of the 4th Amendment
- Repeated and willful violations of the 5th Amendment
- Repeated and willful violations of the 9th Amendment
- Repeated and willful violations of the 10th Amendment
- Forcing our system of education to become a tool of social engineering
- Leaving our border less secure than at any time since our independence from Mexico
- Sending our sons and daughters to war without a declaration of war from Congress as is required
- Taking our tax money and failing to provide the services promised
- Unlawfully restricted trade in areas where trade needs to be expanded and shoved free trade down our throats at the cost of jobs and to the detriment of our economy
- Failed to respond to all petitions for a redress or these grievances
- Sought to redefine the Constitution to suit it’s own ends
- Failed to render sufficient aid in disregard to the Preamble’s call to promote the general welfare
- Instituted an impossibly massive bureaucratic system with more laws and officers than allowed by the Constitution and good sense to do nothing more than control us and “eat out our substance”
- Overtly attempted to subvert legitimate protest and dissent
- Taken our money and given it to foreign countries with the effect of inciting hatred against us
- Expanded their imagined jurisdiction over us through creative interpretations of the “interstate commerce” clause in the Constitution

And for all who would say this is some sort of Republican Anti-Obama movement: both Republicans and Democrats have sponsored and co-sponsored State's Rights/Sovereignty resolutions - and they are bubbling up in both Red and Blue states (ex: Texas, Tennessee, Michigan, Washington, and Oregon)

Sounds almost like the list of grievances handed to King George III back in the 1700's.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mothers Day!


For all you moms out there, I hope you have a lovely day doing whatever it is you enjoy doing!

My family is planning to plant my vegetable garden today. I am looking forward to spending a lovely day with the people that I love most. I hope that you all get to do the same.

My own mom passed away in September 2007. I miss her enormously, but I know she is with me in spirit: So wherever you are mom - Happy Mothers Day and I love you!





"A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials, heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine, desert us when troubles thicken around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts." - Washington Irving

"My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her." - George Washington

"That best academy, a mother's knee." - James Russell Lowell

Friday, May 8, 2009

Peter Schiff Says... Beware The Bond Bubble




Air Force One Photos

Air Force One Buzzes Gov. Jodi Rell

Submit your photo shopped pictures to the NY Daily News
Memo to the White House: Not only was flying a Presidential jet for a photo-op ... over downtown Manhattan in bad taste – it was unnecessary.

Anyone in the White House ever hear of Photoshop?

You'd think the administration would've been tech-savvy enough to realize the merits of the computer software program – what with its constant Internet spin doctoring and the President's notorious BlackBerry infatuation.

The cost of flying one of Obama's official planes – a pimped-out Boeing 747 – along with an F-16 jet over the city cost upwards of $300,000 in taxpayer dollars.
Looks like someone got into lots of trouble over that one! (That is, of course if you believe the story that goes along with it)
A top White House aide resigned today for his role in Air Force One's $328,835 photo-op flyover above New York City that sparked panic and flashbacks to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. His resignation was made public at the same time the photo of the flyover was released by the White House.

Louis Caldera said the controversy had made it impossible for him to effectively lead the White House Military Office. "Moreover, it has become a distraction in the important work you are doing as president," Caldera said in his resignation letter to President Barack Obama.
The infamous photo taken by the F-16


As far as a photo-op - it's a so-so picture... just look at that glare in the upper right hand corner. I wonder what the others look like - I also wonder whose names are on Air Force One's manifest.

Stress Test Under Stress



So far we've stuffed $700 Billion into these banks.

The stress test results show that banks need to plug a $74.6 Billion dollar hole. Even with all the billions already poured into these banks, there are still some pretty big problems.
Bank of America Inc, which accounted for almost half of the total capital shortfall with $33.9 billion to be raised, said it planned to sell assets, issue $17 billion in common stock, and take other steps to fill the hole.
---
U.S. stock index futures edged higher after the test results calmed fears that the government would have to play an even bigger role on Wall Street. Many of the banks themselves are loath to take more government aid for fear of the scrutiny it may bring and tough conditions on executive compensation.

Those banks that have taken government money are trying to pay it back because they don't want more government intrusion and control. Some banks have not been allowed to pay the government back.

And this was truly sobering:
The tests found that total credit losses for the 19 banks may reach $600 billion in 2009 and 2010. All told, if the economy performs as badly as the worst case scenario used in the stress test, the 19 banks' losses would mount to $950 billion from mid-2007 through 2010.
---
For many banks, converting government owned preferred shares into common could turn the U.S. into the company's biggest shareholder.

But, we haven't really nationalized the banks (wink).

Meanwhile - back in DC - what is even more amazing is this:



The Federal Reserve Inspector General Elizabeth Coleman was recently unable to tell Rep. Alan Grayson what goes on at the Federal Reserve and who has been receiving the trillions of dollars that they created. She could not account for the dollars lent or spent by the Federal Reserve and where it went, and the trillions of off balance sheet obligations.

This is why we need to support HR1207 - Ron Paul's bill to audit the Federal Reserve. Here is the Bloomberg report. The report has some disturbing details about the Federal Reserve and these spending programs. Campaign For Liberty also has some information regarding the lack of transparency with regard to the Federal Reserve.

We got stress, and then some.



(H/T Campaign For Liberty)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

16 Year Old Victim Of The Patriot Act?


Sixteen-year-old Ashton Lundeby is being held under the USA Patriot Act on a criminal complaint that a bomb threat was made from his Oxford home the night of Feb. 15

Yes, he is a homeschooler.
But again, this is not a homeschool issue.
This is an issue of a citizen of this country - stripped of his due process rights.
But according to the United States government, the tenth-grade home-schooler is being held on a criminal complaint that he made a bomb threat from his home on the night of Feb. 15.

The family was at a church function that night, his mother, Annette Lundeby, said.

"Undoubtedly, they were given false information, or they would not have had 12 agents in my house with a widow and two children and three cats," Lundeby said.

Around 10 p.m. on March 5, Lundeby said, armed FBI agents along with three local law enforcement officers stormed her home looking for her son. They handcuffed him and presented her with a search warrant.

"I was terrified," Lundeby's mother said. "There were guns, and I don't allow guns around my children. I don't believe in guns."

Lundeby told the officers that someone had hacked into her son's IP address and was using it to make crank calls connected through the Internet, making it look like the calls had originated from her home when they did not.
See the video

Seems to me that this is a warning to the homeschooling community - who have already been subtly placed under suspicion by the various levels of government. It is ridiculous that this 16 year old is being held in prison as a "terrorist." He is seemingly being used as a scapegoat to scare other kids and their families.

The mere fact that the government can barge into your home and seize whatever they want without due process is astounding. No longer are we innocent until proven guilty.

Agents seized a computer, a cell phone, gaming console, routers, bank statements and school records. They found NO bomb-making materials, not even a blasting cap, not even a wire.

This 16 year old now sits in a juvenile facility in South Bend, Ind. on charges that he cannot defend, since obviously the Patriot Act basically supersedes the Constitution. The Patriot Act ignores due process rights presumably to allow federal agents to investigate suspected cases of terrorism swiftly. It gives the federal government "latitude to search telephone records, e-mails and other records". There's not even a public record, like one sees in a court of law, to examine. Gag orders have been adopted in this case as well, so the U.S. attorney in Indiana cannot even comment on the case, nor can the FBI.
"They're saying that 'We feel this individual is a terrorist or an enemy combatant against the United States, and we're going to suspend all of those due process rights because this person is an enemy of the United States," said Dan Boyce, a defense attorney and former U.S. attorney not connected to the Lundeby case.
The Patriot Act allows incredible abuse of power by federal law enforcement officers.
"Never in my worst nightmare did I ever think that it would be my own government that I would have to protect my children from," Lundeby said. "This is the United States, and I feel like I live in a third world country now."
I have to say, that I do not feel any safer - and in fact I feel more threatened - that a 16 year old was hauled out of his home in the night - his house ran-sacked by agents of the government, and the boy's due process rights trampled.

This truly is not the America I grew up in. In fact, it is more like the stories I heard from my grandparents who lived in Eastern Europe around the time of pogroms.

There is nothing Patriotic about the Patriot Act - this UnConstitutional law must be repealed, along with all the other UnConstitutional Laws on the books.



UPDATE: As details of this case unfold, time will tell what the truth of the matter is - the Feds are now claiming that this was not a case being made under the Patriot Act - but that the boy is being held under violation of bomb threat statutes. Was Lundeby's crime one of a stupid 16 year old's prank? or was it the result of a hacker stealing his online identity? Did the Feds over-react in their barging into this family's home? Did they use unnecessary force? Did they initially come in under the auspices of the Patriot Act and then rescind that when the public complained? We'll have to see what transpires. The fact is the Patriot Act violates 4th amendment rights, as well as 1st amendment rights - and it is unconstitutional.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Doing As The Romans Did?



Bottomline, here are some reasons Rome fell to the Barbarians:

A lazy, entertained, uninformed public - panem et circenses - Bread and Circuses - The ruling class of ancient Rome used Bread and Circuses as the method that to maintain their power and control of the people. This method kept their sheeple fat and happy, even as rulers literally fleeced the public, by stealing their wealth and sending their children off to war to plunder the rest of the world. Food and amusement is all the majority of American people seem to be interested in. If the government can give them more "free stuff" then they won't care if laws are broken or ignored, or if their liberties are trampled.

A small group of ruling elite - Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama/Clinton - Same old song and CFR crowd. Confiscate wealth, spend more money, grow government, give out entitlements for more Bread and Circuses, reward friends of the ruling class. The ruling elite live very well I might add, giving themselves pay raises in Congress at every opportunity and their friends and family get lucrative government contracts. Funny how they chastise wealthy businessmen for flying in jets and living well, when the Washington DC crowd does the very same thing.

A devaluing currency and economy - Seen the state of the US economy lately? If the dollar isn't devalued now, it will be with the rate that our debt is being monetized by the Fed's printing presses.

An overstretched military - The US military is overstretched. Troops are being asked to sign up for longer tours of duty and 20% are National Guard and Reserve Forces, which were not really meant to serve in the capacity that they do.

A growing domestic spy force/police state - Department of Homeland Security. Need I say more. There are cameras everywhere, phones being tapped, records being collected.

Diminishing civil liberties - Removal of Habeas Corpus, Warrantless wire-tapping, Warrantless Searches, Property confiscation...etc. etc. (Oh right, that's all to "keep us safe")

Two years ago, Bill Bonner wrote an article that was posted on Daily Reckoning, UK that made some interesting comparisons between the US and Rome. It's pretty interesting.

Here's an excerpt:
"Another feature of the Roman system of government that Americans will find familiar is the Twelve Tables, which were a kind of Bill of Rights for Roman citizens. During the Republic, a citizen could not be arrested in his own home, criminal courts had to follow procedures designed to protect the innocent, and the writ of Habeas Corpus was established.

Later, of course, many of these protections of the individual were tossed out...as indeed many have been recently in America today. The latest military spending bill, for example, just passed by Congress, permits the president of the US to become a kind of dictator in the event of a ‘situation’ that he feels calls for martial law.
...

Empire then, in its most naked form, was basically a protection racket - as it is also today. Rome provided security. Its subject states and vassal kingdoms paid tribute. Expanding Rome’s frontiers was usually hugely profitable. Caesar’s eight-year campaign to subdue the Gauls, for example, resulted in hundreds of thousands of fresh slaves shipped to Italy. The slave market near Rome was said to have sold more than 1,000 of them in a single day. Vast quantities of gold, silver, and jewels, also, ended up in Roman hands. Then, once a new territory was securely under Rome’s yoke, the poor yokels had to pull hard to pay their annual tribute – usually in the form of wheat or olives or cattle.

Providing ‘security’ was dangerous and difficult work to the troops in the field, but the folks at home took the new bounty as though it were manna from heaven – just as they do today. We have no precise figures on it, but at least we have no inconvenient facts to interfere with our theory. The influx of free ‘wealth’ into the homeland depressed the value of local production and undermined the local economy."
We have abandoned American factories and businesses in favor of employing others abroad in the name of a global economy. We have made it difficult and unprofitable for many businesses to exist here with all the regulations and restrictions. Our small businesses and farms are disappearing at an alarming rate. We have been actively engaged in Empire building and eventually that will weaken us (if it hasn't substantially already) just as it weakened Rome. We, just like Rome, cannot be the world's policeman forever.

Bonner continues:
Soon, the honest plebes were no longer able to support the government; instead, they expected the government to support them. And the old families that had been the
backbone of the Republic began disappearing too. While the Romans had had a civilising influence on the barbarians they brought into the empire in the beginning,
the very success of Rome later had a barbarising influence on the Romans themselves. The tough old values of independence, discipline and thrift gave way to soft new values – that were measured in easy money and credit, bound up in corrupt connections and special favours, and operated through slave labour.

So it was that gradually the empire weakened...until finally the barbarians could be held back no more. They started by being admitted peacefully. Later, they came when they wanted...sacked Rome and took over what was left of the empire in the West.
The United States has become a nation of entitlement. More and more people have come to rely on government handouts and government programs. The old families that had been the backbone of the Roman Republic began disappearing too, perhaps just in the same manner as many businesses are beginning to fail and fall and disappear, or be swallowed up by foreign interests. Of course what has come into vogue is the practice of government bailout/ownership of these companies and the dictatorship by the government on how these businesses are run. Now we are also seeing the growth of government jobs and the disappearance of private sector jobs, so people will become even more dependent on government as time goes on.

Just as in Rome, American values of independence, discipline and thrift have given way to soft new values – measured in easy money and credit, bound up in corrupt connections and special favors, and operated through slave labor. Americans are no longer the independent lot as they once were and have become more and more dependent on government to help them. There is no value of thrift, as demonstrated by the push for consumption at all costs, and has resulted in the average family owing thousands of dollars in credit card debt. Surely the pool of illegal workers in this country can also be considered slave labor.

It's just a matter of time before this empire weakens, especially as we end up owing more money than we are worth, and finally the barbarians will be held back no more. It can be said that enemies of this American Empire have already been admitted peacefully and come here when they want despite no-fly lists and immigration laws. Immigration laws are not being enforced. Just as Rome was eventually sacked, will we be so as well? The sacking perhaps has begun already as illegal aliens have been allowed to bankrupt our social services system. And tell me again , how much of our debt does Communist China hold? How much oil do we buy from countries who despise America? The fact is we have become beholden to countries who may not like us very much.

Some historians add that Rome fell in part because of the disappearance of the independent farmer. The backbone of the Roman society began to disappear when cities began consuming more than the rural areas could produce. Perhaps the fall of the US will be when pillars of business and industry fall, or when government merely goes bankrupt. When we can no longer produce things, people will, as in Rome, flock to the cities (and government) for free hand outs. A country needs producers in order to survive; not moochers and looters.

The thing is, that government cannot provide for everyone if no one is paying into the system. Eventually the Empire goes broke. And if printing money is the Empire's answer to paying off debt, then sooner or later we see inflation and then government steps in with wage and price controls. Emperor Diocletion attempted to freeze wages and prices. We all know that leads to shortages and lines at the store because producers stop producing if it brings them a loss. People will not produce if it causes them a loss,mostly because it is unsustainable. In the Emporer's time, people stopped bringing their stuff to the marketplace. It led to Diocletion's removal.

Others have written on this same topic, probably because the parallels are so very sobering. If we take the opportunity to learn from history maybe we can prevent the repeat of the same mistakes made by Rome. Unfortunately with the all out pursuit of Bread and Circuses currently in the US (bring on national health care and the Superbowl or the next Hollywood blockbuster), it doesn't seem like anyone really cares, and the ones who do care are mocked and considered a national security threat.

Read and understand history - it may provide a light to the future.