Tuesday, June 30, 2009

RFID Micro-chipping Of Everyone Is On The Horizon

Credit cards now have (Radio Frequency ID) RFID chips in them.
Supermarkets are already tracking your purchases with shopper cards and now scanners. This was talked about back in 2002.
Chipping people by implanting chips subdermally is already here.

This is going to be part of your Universal Healthcare too.
Why do you think they want to digitize all of our records?
They say it's to make healthcare cheaper... so do you believe that?
Currently they are chipping some soldiers and first responders, prisoners, the elderly, school children's backpacks and clothing, and the willing. When they get enough people buying into chipping they will make it so you won't have a choice. Some companies already chip their employees.

If you don't have State and Federal representatives busy drafting laws to protect you from being forced to get chipped then you better start talking to them about it.

This IS coming!
In fact, it is already here.
I don't know about you, but I am not a piece of inventory or some livestock.
Wake up America!!!!

Related article.
RFID Market Forecasts 2009-2019

Monday, June 29, 2009

How Is Federal Stimulus Money Being Spent In CT?

Yankee Institute cites a report by PoleEcon Research that claims that less than half of the $3.5 billion of program funding in so-called "stimulus" money allocated to Connecticut will be spent on things that might actually stimulate the economy. Overall, CT will get $5.1 Billion in stimulus money ($3.5 Billion in program funding, $1.5 billion in individual tax breaks, and $111 million "net" corporate tax breaks). Here is a CT Stimulus Update.

The report states that most of the $3.5 billion in government stimulus money is actually just being spent to replace existing state money, which will perpetuate spending instead of forcing state government to curb wasteful spending practices, or encourage better prioritization of projects. In fact, over the next three years, nearly two-thirds of it merely replaces existing state funds, the bulk of which is comprised of $1.3 billion in extra federal funding for Medicaid services for the poor and $745 million for local education.

Healthcare and public education are two industries in Connecticut that are relatively strong and not in need of much help or stimulus, especially in this recession - yet they are poised to receive the lion's share of stimulus funding. So where are any new stimulative projects? Prior to any stimulus funds being received, these two sectors, along with government employment, have actually already added jobs and have been least affected by the recession. So where's the stimulus for everyone else? There really isn't any if you ask businesses across the state.

Even with all of the talk of funding "shovel ready projects" - that in itself is future spending and not being currently stimulated with government funds. The Congressional Budget Office analysis of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) estimates that only 21 percent of spending will take place this fiscal year (when we supposedly needed it now the most!). That's hardly anything with regard to stimulating the economy in CT!

The report also says that we are also receiving less funding than other states (shall we thank our CT State Congressional representatives for working "so hard" for us?) Yankee's summary says:
Connecticut gets less than others: Federal tax policy is fundamentally redistributive, transferring money from wealthier states and individuals to poorer ones. This is true of stimulus spending as well. At $769 per capita, Connecticut receives less than its neighboring states and has the second lowest rate in New England.
What is really troubling about federal stimulus spending in this manner is that because most of it is just replacing state spending - what will happen when that stimulus money is no longer flowing to CT? What happens when the stimulus windfall is gone? We'll have to make up for it, or ax/curtail the programs that it is propping up. As they say: Free money warps priorities.
Spending postpones the day of reckoning: State government officials have struggled mightily to deal with the existing budget deficit while balancing the next one. Now imagine how difficult it will be to balance future budgets when the stimulus windfall is gone.

... The state is buying 106 new hybrid buses for $71 million and funding 4,500 summer jobs for young people for $11 million more. There's $3 million for lead abatement in Waterbury, $800,000 for a new roof on a building at Camp Rell in Niantic, and $585,000 to fight internet crime. It is doubtful whether a majority of stimulus-funded projects would earn funding if they had to compete for existing scarce resources.
Nevermind too, all of the strings attached to this stimulus money.

Spending for stupid programs like Obamas summer jobs program, is not even a worthy short term band-aid solution to really help recent college graduates across the country - because it doesn't help everyone.

A lot of our money is being spent.
I don't think it is being spent wisely - nor do I think it will help us all in the long run. I also agree that this kind of federal spending is UnConstitutional.
(hear more about that on FreedomWatch)

By all accounts this federal stimulus has so far been a dismal failure.
Perhaps it is a good thing that CT is not getting as much as other states after all.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Maybe Democrats Should Pay For Slavery Reparations

The Senate voted to apologize... and it now heads to the House
The bill, which does not require Obama's signature, states that the US Congress "acknowledges the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity of slavery and Jim Crow laws" that enshrined racial segregation at the state and local level in the United States well into the 1960s.

The Congress "apologizes to African-Americans on behalf of the people of the United States, for the wrongs committed against them and their ancestors who suffered under slavery and Jim Crow laws."

Roger Hedgecock wrote this interesting and condemning commentary, "Drenched in blood of slavery"

With all of this talk about apologies and slavery reparations, and in light of the US Senate vote that unanimously adopted a resolution apologizing for slavery, Hedgecock claims that the Democrats in this country should be the ones to pay reparations, as they were the proponents of slavery back in the day.

He starts off with this quote from Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, ( a lead sponsor of the resolution):
"You wonder why we didn't do it 100 years ago. It is important to have a collective response to a collective injustice."
Hedgecock says this in response to Harkin's quote:
Only after decades of public education ignoring and distorting U.S. history can such a huge lie be said with a straight face.

Senator [Harkin], you didn't do it 100 years ago because 100 years ago you Democrats were enforcing Jim Crow segregation laws, poll taxes to keep blacks from voting, and riding around in sheets and pointy hats just in case blacks didn't get the message.

You say "It's important to have a collective response" because you want to bury the origins, purposes, and historical practices of your own party.

The worst part is, Republicans in the Senate let you get away with it.

Principled Republicans knowing their history would have authored a resolution reciting the facts that the Republican Party was formed, among other reasons, to oppose slavery and that the Republican Party and its first President Abraham Lincoln responded to Southern, Democrat-led secession with a successful war that preserved the union and freed the slaves.

After Lincoln's assassination (by a Democrat), the Republican-led Congress (over the objections of the Democratic Party minority) amended the Constitution to confirm the liberation of the slaves (13th Amendment: slavery abolished), and the 14th Amendment (freed slaves are citizens equal to all citizens) and the 15th Amendment (right to vote guaranteed to freed slaves).

Southern Democrats spent the next 100 years trying to keep freed slaves down with segregation laws, poll taxes to deny the right to vote, and lynching to enforce the social order. The KKK was formed by a Democrat; no Republican has ever been a member of the KKK. This is the heritage of the Democratic Party.

In fact, the Democratic Party was formed in the first place to defend and expand slavery.

In 1840, the very first national nominating convention of the Democratic Party adopted a platform which read in part:

Resolved, That Congress has no power ... to interfere with or control the domestic institutions of the several states ... that all efforts by abolitionists ... made to induce Congress to interfere with questions of slavery ... are calculated ... to diminish the happiness of the people, and endanger the stability and permanency of the union.

Got that, Sen. Harkin? Your party was born defending slavery as necessary for the happiness of the people and threatening secession and war if slavery were challenged.

The same party platform language was used in 1844, 1848, 1852 and 1856. In 1860, the Democrat commitment to slavery took a harsher tone.

The Fugitive Slave Law was passed by Congress in 1850. This monstrous law provided that, since slaves were the personal property of their masters, runaway slaves must be returned to their owners. The law required all law enforcement officers to assist in the recapture of runaway slaves or risk a fine of $1,000 (about $100,000 in today's dollars)!

The Republican Party was formed in the 1850s in part as a political reaction to this unjust law.

In their national convention of 1860, Democrats harshly responded to certain Northern (Republican) states that were passing state laws to evade the Fugitive Slave Law by adopting a plank in the Democratic Party Platform which read:

Resolved, That the enactments of the State Legislatures to defeat the faithful execution of the Fugitive Slave Law, are hostile in character, subversive of the Constitution, and revolutionary in their effect.

Senator, your Democratic Party has much to be apologetic about on the slavery issue.


And, senator, don't tell me this is all ancient history in a lame attempt to evade the true origins of your party.

As recently as 1964, when the Senate debated the Civil Rights Act, Southern Democrats (including Al Gore's father) voted no. While Northern Democrats voted yes, their votes were not enough. The deciding votes to pass this landmark bill were provided by Sen. Everett Dirksen, R-Ill., and the Republicans.

Republicans should be proud of their heritage of liberation of the slaves and civil rights voting record.

It's Harkin and the Democrats who should apologize and pay reparations.

While no party is perfect (especially the Democrats and Republicans!), and while I may not agree with every single thing said by Hedgecock here, these are powerful words backed by some very interesting historical facts. Democrats just can't seem to get past their own guilt and want to make us all part of that guilt. Heck, my family had no part in the institution of slavery - they were all in Eastern Europe being persecuted and murdered by Democrat Socialists! - so why should I be part of any apology or reparations? I have nothing to apologize for with regard to slavery in this country. It was a shameful part of American history for sure, but we abolished it and moved on to continue to strive for equality. We have come a long way. Yet, it seems important for Democrats to keep the fires of guilt fanned. Why? Guilt is a powerful tool for them.

Guilt allows them the excuse politically to get more taxpayer money. They will always need more money to right all the so-called wrongs, which really is political speak for buying votes through giving out "free stuff" in the form of programs. Never mind promoting self reliance or teaching a man to fish, etc. The end goal is to grow government and make everyone dependent on that government.

To this day, Democrats continue to be determined to keep people, especially people of color, dependent on government. State Welfare and cradle to grave legislation are the hallmark of Progressive/Liberal ideology. People need to understand that Dependency is a form of slavery as well. Democrats are determined to make slaves out of the middle and upper middle class too. Hard working Americans fork over a good chunk of their earnings, pilfered by the government, to pay for those social programs which create more government dependency for others. We all end up as slaves. The question is when will we decide to stop being indentured servants to the State?

So while Harkin et al. want to apologize for slavery - the reality is that they are perpetuating it with the government programs that they continue to build and expand.

(Funny how they aren't so guilty or so apologetic when it comes to Native Americans, or Alaskan Inuits, etc... but then again those citizens are not such a huge voting block are they?)

Consider this:

Perpetuating racism: apology by proxy
Richard E. Ralston

Congressman Tony Hall of Ohio has proposed that the government of the United States should apologize to black Americans for pre-Civil War slavery. This is an idea easy to ridicule: if you are of mixed racial background, do you have to apologize to yourself? how do you apologize for the dead or to the dead? why stop with the 18th or 19th century? why not have the Normans apologize to the English for the events of 1066? and so on.
Unfortunately the premises — and their consequences — underlying this proposal are not humorous but evil.
1. The proposal seeks to replace individual rights with collectivism. It assumes that a person’s value and identity derive only from race, and, that what counts is what some members of your race do — or did two hundred years ago — not what you do as an individual. “The content of your character” evidently does not establish your worth anymore — but your race does.

2. The proposal seeks to replace individual responsibility with collective guilt. It assumes a specialized variety of the Christian concept of original sin: you are born guilty of specific racist actions that occurred before you were born; you must assume the burden of all the acts committed by all of your ancestors and atone for them forever. Because you are guilty you have no right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” and you now will be punished. If Congressman Hall is consistent, he should also propose the revival of the old law of throwing children into debtors prison until they pay the bills of their parents.

3. The apology would encourage a culture of “victims” with a permanent claim on government. It discourages individual initiative to build autonomous lives, in favor of passive whining about the unfairness of it all. It ignores the achievements of millions of Americans who have rejected the status of “victims” and built better lives for themselves.

4. The proposal divides society into pressure groups with demands that can’t be satisfied. What you get in life, apology proponents want you to believe, should not be based on individual achievement, creativity, or hard work, but on how much pull your group has in redistributing what others produce. Self-appointed leaders of such pressure groups tend to spring up like weeds when the handouts begin.

5. The proposal distorts American history in order to destroy American values. Although the American Revolution was the greatest leap of progress in human history, the Founding Fathers did inherit a civilization with contradictions. They did not invent slavery, but they did wrestle with it. Their achievement was the creation of a system in which slavery could not — and did not — long survive. Posturing and moral exhibitionism come cheap from those who have plenty of courage to look down their noses at slavery from a safe distance of more than a century — much cheaper than the blood of the 600,000 Americans who died in the struggle to end it. If you ask the opponents of the system created by the Founding Fathers what they have in mind to replace it, you might learn that slavery is not as dead as you thought.

6. The proposal detracts from the real task of destroying racism. Racism will be with us as long as collectivism is with us. We will not cure racism short of finding a way to eliminate the collectivist view of human identity. However, we can more easily eliminate governmental racism. This can only be accomplished if government respects the rights and potential dignity of each individual and stops acting as the ward healer collecting the spoils for special interest groups.

Proposals that inflict such massive destruction — as this one would — cannot be completely innocent. (One might even say that such proposals require an apology.) If only our current politicians would apologize for what they are doing to us today — every day! When moral outrage rolls so easily off the tongues of those who spend most of their time aggressively seeking and then desperately retaining political power, the public has grounds for suspicion. The effrontery of such moral midgets attempting to apologize for the likes of George Washington or Thomas Jefferson is obscene. The American public should consign the proposed apology for slavery to the oblivion it deserves, and demand a government that has more regard for the rights of the living than for the dead.


"A stiff apology is a second insult.... The injured party does not want to be compensated because he has been wronged; he wants to be healed because he has been hurt." ~G.K. Chesterton

"It is a good rule in life never to apologize. The right sort of people do not want apologies, and the wrong sort take a mean advantage of them." ~P.G. Wodehouse, The Man Upstairs

Watching the Dow

The chart above tracks the Dow alongside the Market during the Great Depression.
Keep an eye on this comparison... it's tracking right along...
Remember, we still have a tidal wave of foreclosures on the horizon, many credit card defaults, and the commercial real estate market is in a real world of hurt. Millions are still unemployed and more layoffs are coming. (In CT - Read here and here)

We'll see what happens this week.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Saturday Satire - Eat It

Michael Jackson liked Weird Al's parodies... he even allowed him to use the production sets.
Here is the original.


Friday, June 26, 2009

Obamacare - Why It Is A Bad Idea

"We all agree the health care system is in need of reform. That's not the issue. The debate is really what kind of reform is needed. There are those rooting for nationalizing health care - Obama Care. What's that you ask? Obama's idea of reform is a government takeover of the health care system. One of the most popular forms of government takeover is the "Massachusetts Model." Those of us opposing "reform" that involves yet more government interference, wish to see a system that incorporates more consumer choice and more competition. Take a minute to watch this new video outlining just one of the many reasons the Massachusetts model has failed."

More consumer choice brings the cost down - not government subsidization.
Consider this comment:
"Obama-care would put private insurance out of business because its cheaper, not because its better. Obama-care would be cheaper because its subsidized with taxpayer money and unlike a private company would not be required to make a profit. Cheaper does not mean better."
Face it - we have seen what happens in other countries already with government healthcare options: Single-payer = poor doctors, poor service, and long waits .

My own doctor already said that if Obamacare gets passed there will be tons of doctors who will retire... and the really sad part is that not many new doctors are coming into the field. We already have an incredible nursing and physician shortage.

Rationed care has killed people.
When the government decides/standardizes the procedures you can have, and places limits on your care, that spells major trouble. Consider why it is that many people cross our borders to purchase healthcare here - it's because they cannot get adequate care through their government system.

Furthermore, if an employer is given the choice between giving their employees private health insurance or shuffling them off to some public option that will be subsidized and offered cheaper (because they don't have to pay doctors and hospital full freight or can just dole out money from the public purse) guess what they will choose? Guess what employees will choose? This will no doubt put some private health providers out of business and lessen the field of competition even more. Mind you, the public option is going to be crappy care. If you believe otherwise then you are really fooling yourself. Been to a VA hospital lately? (Even White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs couldn't name a place where public options works well). We've seen this in Britain already. I know people in Britain who pay exorbitant tax for National Health Care and they still buy private care on top of it because the public option sucks so bad.

Additionally - we haven't done such a wonderful job with Medicare or Medicaid - both systems are poised for bankruptcy and do not pay doctors and hospitals nearly enough to even cover their expenses. If we cannot, as a country, manage Medicare and Medicaid properly then what makes anyone think that full blown Universal healthcare is going to fly?

Yes, we need healthcare reform - but Obamacare isn't the answer we seek.
Not by a long shot.
As they say, "If you think healthcare is expensive now - wait till it's free".

Related article here.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Cap And Trade Vote Looms

What is Cap and Trade?

The purported goal of "Cap and Trade" legislation is to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions.

First is the Cap part - Each company that emits greenhouse gas would be subject to a cap on the amount of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) that it can emit. They would have to obtain an “emissions permit” for every ton of CO2 that it releases into the atmosphere, and those permits would be based on some sort of enforceable limit, which of course will over time become increasingly stricter until an ultimate reduction goal is met.

Second is the Trade part - Companies will be able to sell/trade permits to those other companies who can't reduce their emissions as easily. More efficient companies, who emit less than their permitted allowance, can sell their extra permits and allowances to companies that are not able to make reductions as easily. So overall, the emissions goals may be met and companies can trade-off among themselves as to who will be pulling the weight on the burden of reduction.

In the end the federal government gets revenue from the permits - and companies can trade permits, and emissions are theoretically reduced. Yes - I said theoretically....

Sounds good right?

Nah ...

It's really just more taxation. It's also being disguised as some sort of noble "market-based approach".

Justin Williams writes
Cap and trade would allow the industries that produce pollution to have a government-granted cartel over their respective industries. Just like other infamous cartels, including OPEC on oil and the AMA on doctors, this is bad news for the American people since it all drastically increases the cost of energy. This means that new companies that want to enter the market will have to buy credits that have already been auctioned off.

Each of these cartels creates high barriers to entry for new competitors. For example, "if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it's just that it will bankrupt them because they're going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that's being emitted," as Obama stated on the campaign trail.

Even though it will be hard for a new company to set up shop in the energy industry, after this, the profits from this exclusive cartel will be given to Congress and not to the companies to reinvest into possible innovative efficiencies. This will only add more money to the congressional budget that will undoubtedly be handed out to special interests, undoubtedly in the form of ever-burgeoning "entitlements."

For the average American, that means higher prices on energy, higher unemployment due to increased costs upon these companies, and even reduced economic output for the whole country causing a decrease in the average American's income.

One Tax Foundation study found that cap and trade would eliminate at least 965,000 jobs, cause a $37.8 billion decrease in household earnings, and a decrease of $136.8 billion decrease in economic output. Proving that this policy is wrong for America and anti-market in nature. As Economist Robert Murphy said, "The number of permits is an arbitrary scarcity imposed by government fiat."

Making it obvious, cap and trade is not a real market based solution—but, rather, a market-biased problem.

... when Los Angeles tried their own local version of cap and trade they wound up issuing more permits than there was pollution. This effectively did nothing and the city had to wait for five years before the pollution would reach the cap level. When it finally hit the cap, the prices exploded.

Because of the complexity of any and all industries in America's economy, it is impossible for the Obama administration to attempt to centrally plan the nation's energy sector. As Austrian Economist F.A. Hayek once said, it is impossible for one individual "to secure the best use of resources known to any of the members of society, for ends whose relative importance only these individuals know."

While these bumbling bureaucrats play around with one of the most important sectors of the economy, the prices will continue to rise upon individual consumers. As anytime the government imposes a higher cost upon a business, the costs trickle down into higher prices. The American people will be forced to spend more of their hard-earned income on energy and less on other items even more basic to the "Hierarchy of Needs."

Not to mention that the poor on average already spend more of a percentage of their income on energy, causing the effect of these new costs on them to be the highest.

Central planning was wrong for the Soviet Union. In fact, it is wrong for America. Unfortunately, some—at the very highest levels of political power—seem unable to learn the lessons of history. Hence, we will all be forced to repeat its mistake.
The Heritage Foundation says that this legislation will:
1. Reduce aggregate gross domestic product (GDP) by $9.6 trillion
2. Destroy an average of 1-3 million jobs, every year
3. Raise electricity rates 90 percent after adjusting for inflation
4. Raise inflation-adjusted gasoline prices by 74 percent
5. Raise residential natural gas prices by 55 percent
6. Raise an average family's annual energy bill by $1,500 annually
7. Increase the federal debt by 26 percent, which is $29,150 per person

It's going to cost us big time.
This national energy tax would possibly be the largest tax increase in American history, it would cause gas and electricity prices to skyrocket, and add to our already spiraling federal deficit. We simply cannot afford this.

Call your congressman today and tell them to vote NO on this tax increase.
The vote is supposed to take place on Friday June 26.

Top Ten List Of Creditors

This is an interesting Top Ten Creditors holding US debt:
(In Billions)

1. China 767.90
2. Japan 686.70
3. Caribbean Banking Centers 213.60
4. Oil Exporters 192.00
5. Russia 138.40
6. United Kingdom 128.20
7. Brazil 126.60
8. Luxembourg 106.10
9. Hong Kong 78.90
10. Taiwan 74.80

also here.

I suppose we could actually add one more to the list....
The Federal Reserve - $4.8 Trillion (interesting slide show)

Sort of gives a whole new perspective on the I.O.U. (I owe you... as well as Investor-owned utility)

Be the government...
Make up your very own IOU note here.

(H/T Daily Paul)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Obama Broadcasting Company

ABC News is now coming from WITHIN the White House. ABCNEWS anchor Charlie Gibson will deliver WORLD NEWS from the Blue Room of the White House. Some say that that smacks of government controlled media, and that ABC is essentially turning its programming over to President Obama and White House officials for them to use to push government run health care. Many would argue that the White House has long controlled the media, and that this is nothing new; just more blatant. Of course ABC denies any claims of being one-sided. (They also have a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn).

Tonight, ABC will be showcasing what is termed by some as an Obama Healthcare infomercial; a pitch to the American people to hard sell a costly healthcare reform plan which will cost the taxpayer over a trillion dollars. This primetime special entitled 'Prescription for America' will be originating from the East Room. There will be no voice from the opposition, no rebuttals, no point of view from critics. Just what the President says.

It's also no secret that the Director of Communications at the White House Office of Health Reform is Linda Douglass. She worked as a reporter for ABC News from 1998-2006.

This from Peter Roff:
"... it’s politics in the media at its worst. By turning the network over to Obama to pitch the American people on his healthcare reform plan, ABC has joined the lobbying arm of the White House and the Democratic Party. The presentation that will be made to the American people will not be, to borrow a phrase, “fair and balanced.”

By the same token, NBC, MS-NBC, CNBC and all it's sister affiliates have also been in the pocket of the Obama administration. Their programming has been dubbed the "Nonstop Barack Channel". MS-NBC (partially owned by Microsoft) and CNBC (partially owned by the DOW), has reportedly had overwhelmingly more positive stories about the Obama administration. I have seen financial news anchors on CNBC routinely mock critics of Obama's monetary policies and work hard to make the economy look better than it is. No surprise why that is. The truth and solid journalism be damned, they have an agenda.

What people should understand is that NBC and it's affiliates MS-NBC and CNBC are owned by General Electric, (here's a list of their assets) and of course GE is looking for some major government contracts dealing with energy and healthcare. The Obama administration's energy plans are also being pushed by GE as GE has already launched a media campaign "Ecomagination". Is there a doubt that Microsoft and GE Healthcare will have some hand in digitizing everyone's medical records too? So it stands to reason that they are all in bed together and of course GE wouldn't want NBC to say anything negative about the Obama administration, or their plans. Microsoft also has a huge stake in doing the US census. They have provided much of the software for the handheld computers that the census takers have been using. So just as the Bush administration was castigated for working hand in hand with Halliburton, where is the outrage by Liberals for the same behavior by the Obama administration and these two corporate giants? Same church different pew if you ask me.

But the problem is not so much the Obama administration working with business on specific agenda items, but that the media is so intertwined with this. Where is the "tell all sides of the story" journalism? How can the American people truly understand the issues and plans being laid out without the benefit of a reasoned and transparent debate? It really is not just about Obama saying, "I won" - therefore he is running the show. We need to know the pros and cons of his plans. Afterall, we are all paying for those plans.

State controlled media is not healthy for our country. State and corporate controlled media is even worse.

"I have the greatest admiration for your propaganda. Propaganda in the West is carried out by experts who have had the best training in the world -- in the field of advertizing -- and have mastered the techniques with exceptional proficiency ... Yours are subtle and persuasive; ours are crude and obvious ... I think that the fundamental difference between our worlds, with respect to propaganda, is quite simple. You tend to believe yours ... and we tend to disbelieve ours. "
a Soviet correspondent based five years in the U.S.

"The media serve the interests of state and corporate power, which are closely interlinked, framing their reporting and analysis in a manner supportive of established privilege and limiting debate and discussion accordingly."
Noam Chomsky, American linguist and US media and foreign policy critic

"I think democracy fails under a variety of conditions and one of the conditions occurs when people don't have the ability to get the kind of information they need to make up their mind. Ideologically, I don't care much for FOX News. But the truth is that, as long as there are countervailing points of view available on the spectrum, it doesn't matter." - Howard Dean

For further reading:
Media Reform Information Center
Media Control

Additionally, if you are concerned about this ABC programming and want to voice your protest - there will be a protest at ABC studios in New Haven this evening - The ABC News decision is not just activism for socialized health care; it is government-controlled media. A protest will be held at the WTNH studios CHANNEL 8 (ABC AFFILIATE) , 8 Elm Street (corner of Elm and State St ), New Haven , from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Assembly starts at 7:45 p.m More here, and folks from the CT Patriot Alliance are gathering at 5:30.

Government Waste

Declaring that "Government Waste Has Got To Go!", the Hampton Roads Tea Party rolled out its porta-potty protest. Tea Party Patriots loaded "named" johns onto their pickups and trailers and toured Virginia Beach and Chesapeake.

A "John naming" contest was used to raise funds to pay for porta potties at this tea party event... How resourceful (and fun). See the roster of names for these thrones at http://dontflushus.com/

The Amazing Disappearing 401-K

Sad but true.
And with inflation (yes there IS inflation) we'll have to work even longer.
This is part of the fallout when government follows unwise monetary policies.
And when everyone's money runs out who will there be left to tax?

Now the biggest challenge is to find a relatively safe place to park your cash...or better yet, turn in your cash for commodities.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Parental Rights Amendment - Why We Should Reject It Along With The UN Treaty - CRC

34 Senators.
34 Senators is all this would take to end this thing once and for all!

I had a post about the Parental Rights Amendment before - but Dana over at Principled Discovery wrote a terrific post about it and the UN Treaty on the Rights of the Child that I'd like to share:
Last week, Michael Farris [of HSLDA] tweeted that Senator Jim DeMint had introduced the parental rights amendment into the Senate, followed by a Friday tweet announcing that the parental rights amendment had garnered 100 supporters in the House.
Ratifying the treaty [UN Treaty on the Rights of the Child] requires 2/3 of the Senate to vote for it. Sixty seven senators. An amendment, on the other hand, will require 2/3 of the House, 2/3 of the Senate and 3/4 of the states to sign on to an amendment which hasn’t seen considerable success even at the state level. At the federal level, it will stall for all the same reasons it stalled in state legislatures. In the meantime, we will lose valuable time which we could be using to research the treaty, determine its strengths and weaknesses and formulate a reasoned response.

34 Senators.

34 Senators is all it would take to stop the UN Treaty on the Rights of the Child from being ratified as the Supreme law of the land.... it would stop it dead in its tracks (if in fact it ever does come up for a vote this fall or spring as "predicted' by HSLDA's Mr. Farris)

Heaven knows there are enough horrendous consequences happening in foreign countries who have already ratified this monstrosity of a treaty, that we can point out those problems to our Senators.

Why are we not actively pursuing educating these 34 Senators as to why the UN CRC is a horrible piece of legislation to begin with? This is what needs to be done - and now!

Why instead are we arguing and muddling around with a "Constitutional fix" that will clear the road for the courts to say that the federal government has the right to regulate the rights of parents?

Why are HSLDA and Eagle Forum and other powerful lobbying groups chasing after hundreds of Congressmen when all they need to do is convince 34 Senators to just say NO? ?? Why?
Why are they not specifically telling Senators to vote NO on the CRC?
Where is that in their articles and literature?
Why do they appear to be steeped in fear mongering to garner support for this Parental Rights Amendment when all they need to do is convince 34 Senators that CRC would be a very bad treaty for our country to ratify?

Our country has rejected treaties before, in fact this is from the government's website regarding treaties:
The Senate has rejected relatively few of the hundreds of treaties it has considered in its history. Many others, however, have died in committee or been withdrawn by the president rather than face defeat. .... The Senate may also amend a treaty or adopt various changes, which may lead the other nation, or nations, to further negotiate the treaty.
We ought to be concentrating on getting the Senate to reject this treaty all together, as they have to others in the past. (more on Treaties here)

Here is the reason why the Parental Rights Amendment approach is bad news for parents across this country:

Making the “rights of parents” fundamental rights in the U.S. Constitution raises those rights to the federal level. The federal government then is better able to assume a power to regulate those rights. The Supreme Court already has “interpreted” the right of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children as something that can be regulated by government. Up until now, however, the courts have said that it is up to the States to regulate that right. We know that it has always been easier to fight bad legislation on a state level rather then at a federal level. Power to regulate should be kept as local as possible for just this reason. Parents have much better access to state representatives over US Congressmen.

How would you like to see a Federal Department of Child Protective Services established to insure that parents are not neglecting their children? The Parental Rights Amendment would give the federal government that authority to determine whether parents are neglecting their children! An agency will be set up, along with it's bureaucracy just like at the state level. The PRA will give the federal courts the authority and the standards by which these federal neglect cases will be adjudicated.

Please.... Let’s not give the federal government any more ammunition to wrest power from the people. Both the PRA and the CRC are horrible pieces of legislation. Both should be avoided entirely!

HSLDA and their cohorts are not doing us any favors at all in promoting PRA. They are doing what they have done all along on the state level - giving more power and concessions to the government, where it doesn't belong in the first place, in trade for some imagined "security" - Well, we know how that has ended up for many of us in our own states regarding homeschooling (some have even documented it) ... more regulation. You give an inch and the government takes more and more over the years. We also know how hard it is to undo bad legislation.

All we need to do is get 34 Senators to just say NO to CRC now! I am positive that we can give them a very sound reason as to why this treaty should be rejected all together. So why isn't HSLDA putting all of their re$ource$ and effort$ into doing just that? I wonder what's in it for HSLDA to pursue federal legislation, which is what they appear to have been doing all along on other measures, specifically regarding homeschooling .... can you think of a rea$on? What benefits or interest might they have in the establishment of a Federal Department of Child Protective Services?

It would appear that through the years HSLDA has been trying to shape a federal definition of homeschooling and parenting, a definition that clearly is going to affect us all. Many of us opposed to the federalization of homeschooling (and now of parenting) have long maintained that a continued federal definition or legislation is not helping homeschooling (and now parenting) in this country, even if one person or one hundred thousand people are being helped. It simply does not belong in the federal arena, no matter how well-intentioned. By the way, I hear that high profile Federal Law$uit$ can be quite lucrative. Interesting to note too that some have argued that "HSLDA-inspired" state legislation regarding home education have not helped parents to reclaim their constitutional right to educate their children at home without state interference. Therefore, HSLDA's critics now ask, why would anyone think that an HSLDA-inspired Parental Rights Amendment would garner us any better result on the federal level? Quite frankly, as a parent, I am very concerned about that. A slippery slope is probably even more slippery in Washington DC than it is in my own state house!

In any case, the PRA legislation is just as bad as CRC - if not worse - for us all. It cedes our parental rights to the federal government and opens it up to future federal regulation. Let's not hitch our star to that dangerous and ill conceived wagon. I am not interested in seeing the establishment of a Federal Department of Child Protective Services.

34 Senators.
Write to them today.
34 Senators.
Tell them why they should reject the UN Treaty on the Rights of the Child.
Let's be done with this in the simple manner that our Constitution already provides for.

There are only a hundred Senators.
We only need 34.

There are millions of us.

The time to act is now.

Be your own lobbyist - Write to them today
Start with Senator Jim DeMint.

Find out more at Stop the Treaty

Monday, June 22, 2009

Revolution Via Cellphone

Bob Barr wrote an interesting piece entitled Revolution by cell phone in Iran

I agree with that article.
We are seeing something very profound happening here!

The Iranian government thugs can throw all of the news people and cameras out of the country, but the people will not be silenced. Use of Social media such as Facebook and Twitter and YouTube will still allow the world to watch Iranian government sponsored brutality at its worst. The people have become the media. They are documenting the event.

We don't need Christiane Amanpour, Sky News or BBC to spoon feed the world scripted or teleprompted cable news propaganda; we have the raw truth coming out of the turmoil in Iranian streets via the people themselves on social media networks. From the tragic assassination of the protester Neda and others, to the various scenes of beatings and arrests, the world will see what it takes for a people to fight for their own freedom.

The story of the current Iranian freedom revolution is being told directly from the streets of Tehran and in other Iranian cities by its own citizens. And if the truth be told, it doesn't really matter a whit what our president, or any other world leader, says or doesn't say about the Iranian regime or the mass demonstrations taking place. The people are committed to fighting and dying for their cause. It is their voice and their actions that matter most. Based on what I am seeing coming through on the Internet - they will prevail with or without stern words from Obama, solely by virtue of their own commitment to their cause.

I believe that if people anywhere else in the world wish to support their revolution, they should do so not with specific actions but with a profound recognition of what is happening there. We need to help them tell their story, and do it in a way that doesn't use it to meet our own purposes. It is their revolution! What we must ultimately know and recognize it that what we are seeing is the truth beaming from the cell phones of brave and defiant revolutionaries.

Such is the strength of the new media. Unfiltered. Unedited. Not predigested for our consumption.

The pictures represent what it takes for a people to reject tyranny and to fight for change and reform - which by the way may or may not be what we believe freedom and reform should be. It appears that Mousavi may not be the person Americans would wish to embrace as a leader, but he may have indeed been the catalyst for an Iranian revolution, a revolution sparked by the young people in Iran, which seeks more freedom for its people.

If change is what people want and they cannot get it through the ballot box and are wholly ignored by those who pretend to lead them - then the images we are seeing are truly the result.

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable."
- John F. Kennedy

"And what country can preserve its liberties, if it's rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance?...The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants." - Thomas Jefferson

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Fathers Day!

For all of you fathers out there ..
Have a wonderful day.. you deserve it!

Take some time off and relax!
(The lawn can wait till tomorrow!)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Friday, June 19, 2009

Don't Be Fooled By Housing Start Uptick

The Commercial real estate market is in a heap of trouble and I think this is going to be the next big shoe to drop. How many "For Lease" signs are you seeing in strip malls, and just about all over in general? How many more chain stores are filing Chapter 11 or simply going out of business?

In an eye opening report, David Fessler says this:
On April 17, I wrote about the massive train wreck coming in commercial real estate.

As it turns out, my estimates of the coming devastation - which seemed outlandish to some at the time - have actually turned out to be too conservative.

The problem is far worse than anything that’s been reported so far, particularly when it comes to our icon of consumerism: The shopping mall.

With retail losses continuing to accelerate and vacancy rates skyrocketing, malls are going to be one of the biggest losers from the consumer spending slowdown…

Here’s why our shopping malls, and by extension the commercial real estate market, aren’t going to be moving anywhere but down over the next few months ...

Much has been made of the recent uptick in housing starts in May, but don’t be fooled - this is simply seasonal. In the northern half of the country, foundations can’t be dug during the winter months, so there is always a “spring surge” in housing starts.
And let's talk about rising unemployment because that is going to compound what is already happening in commercial real estate. Higher unemployment is going to further affect the down trend in spending:
The Obama administration predicted that without the recovery plan, unemployment would peak around 9% in 2010. With the plan in place, the estimate was 8%, and that we’d hit it this year…

* The official Bureau of Labor Statistics number is at 9.4%. But even though unemployment rates are easing slightly, the overall number of unemployed is still rising.

* And it gets even worse when you throw in the 2.2 million additional people that are so discouraged they’ve quit looking for work. Today’s number then jumps to 10.8%.
These individuals haven’t even shown up on the rolls yet.

* With few companies announcing even minimal hiring plans, it’s highly likely that the ranks of the unemployed will continue to swell to 11% to 12% sometime in 2010.
In some areas of the country the unemployment rates are much higher.
Fessler goes on to say the obvious logical conclusion:
Less employed workers means less discretionary spending, less homes being built, bought and sold, less trips (or none) to the local mall, less warehouses needed, less manufacturing, less transportation… all resulting in a big pullback in GDP.

Consumers are spending less, not more. When they do spend, it’s on staples: food, gas and clothing.

The normally big-spending teenage segment is currently experiencing a 22.7% unemployment rate. So instead of going to their former favorite hangouts - the shopping malls - they’re hanging out at each other's houses.
We are hearing all sorts of dire predictions from folks like Gerald Celente and Peter Schiff and Nouriel Roubini, etc.... and of course their critics, the folks who want to candy coat the economy for everyone and do the cheerleading for Obama's stimulus and regulation remedies, are saying that Fears of a Commercial Real Estate fallout are just overblown and fear mongering... but you honestly have to look at the reality. Stop listening to the bought and paid for cable news. Listen to what Fessler reports:
there’s always a lag between when the economy heads south and when commercial real estate does. Let’s face it: Some stores can coast for a few months - or even a year - while they wait for a pickup in business. But that pickup isn’t coming anytime soon.

The reality is that many mall-based stores haven’t renewed their leases - their lack of income is forcing their hand. Many others are underwater financially, and only months away from closing.

When national chain Ritz Camera filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, 300 stores in malls all across the country immediately closed. The result isn’t hard to picture.

* A report from the New York-based research firm Reis, Inc. indicates that retail tenants vacated a 10-year high 8.7 million square feet of retail space in the first quarter of 2009 alone.
* This compares to 8.6 million square feet… for all of 2008.
* Kyle McLaughlin, an analyst at Reis, says that vacancy rates at strip malls, neighborhood centers and regional malls are increasing at rates not seen in 30 years. “We’ve never really seen deterioration of this order in occupied space since 1980. We don’t see much in expectations for improvement throughout the rest of this year and next year.”

- unemployment is still rising, and that means fewer consumers spending less money.

Don’t look to the emerging markets to bail us out, either. The Chinese, Brazilians, Russians and Indians can’t just run down to our local malls to shop.

The problem is made worse by vacant storefronts, which hurt the few remaining stores. When the stores on either side of a remaining store closes, less traffic comes by and, well, you get the picture.

All this puts shopping mall owners and landlords in a big financial squeeze play: They’re forced to drop rents at a time when less money is coming in due to rising vacancies.
These strip mall owners sitting there with their unleased space have huge problems. Not only are they being forced to drop rents, but they have got maturing loans to deal with.
Fessler continues:
Between now and 2011, as much as $814 billion in commercial real estate loans will mature - and need to be refinanced. The problem is that the credit markets are still too tight for most commercial projects.

Most banks have tightened their lending standards, reduced the amount they are willing to lend and significantly reduced the value of the collateral (malls). This leaves many owners with little choice but to turn to the Fed.

Back in May - and with much fanfare - the Federal government announced it would soon be expanding its Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF). It now plans to include existing securities backed by loans for apartment buildings, office complexes, shopping centers and other commercial property.

But these programs aren’t an industry panacea. If you read the fine print, they provide backing only if the securities are rated AAA by major rating agencies. This excludes just about all the needy real estate - and the REITs that own it - from participating in the program.
Commentors on Fessler's article say this:
All the shopping malls that were built and bought from 2003-2007 were done under the assumption that the consumer had tons of cash to spend via the great housing inflation and the great bank loan scam. These two things will not repeat. There is no easy credit to spend at the malls anymore and it is not coming back. The CRE establishment is hoping that everything turns around in a year. Consumers flush with cash return to the malls to buy junk. That is not going to happen for a long time. All CRE has is hope, there are no green shoots just hot winds blowing across a dust bowl of overbuilt malls. Hoping for rain does not make it happen.
The shoe is falling. The Dana Point, California St. Regis Monarch Beach Hotel has defaulted on a $70 million loan, while lenders have repossessed the “W” Hotel in San Diego. Thus, the spotlight is again refocused on the next phase of the financial crisis, where an army of shoes are falling. A torrent of tenant bankruptcies is creating “see through” buildings in cities throughout the country, which are becoming as abundant as Priuses at an Obama rally. Some players see a further three year bleed that could take property prices down another 40% from here. Large, publically traded REITS have used the three month stock market rally to raise $11.5 billion in new equity that will enable to reduce debt and leverage, as well as buy up of weak competitors and distressed property. Look at Simon Properties Group (SPG), up 128% from the March lows. The saving grace here is that the recent bubble was nowhere as inflated as the S&L crisis in the early nineties. But cap rates may have to climb to the double digit levels we saw then before this period of punishment ends. Cash rich hedge funds are circling.

There are no green shoots just hot winds blowing across a dust bowl of overbuilt malls. Hoping for rain does not make it happen.

Green Shoots?
We haven't seen the bottom of this market folks - not by a long shot. With rising unemployment this is going to get a lot uglier. Just remember all of the encouraging stuff that was said on the way down to the bottom after the 29 crash...

Save your money ... you are going to need it.

That's not fear mongering - that's facing the truth and being prepared to deal with it.

Of course the Obama administration will want to step in and control this segment of real estate - probably by regulating what landlords can charge for retail space.... and of course appointing a "Mall Czar" (My teenage daughter might fit the bill for this position based on her familiarity with them)

Related Story in Yahoo News: Retailers Head For Exits In Detroit
and in CNN Money: Jobless Rates Rise In Nearly All States

Thursday, June 18, 2009

More Federal Reserve Power Grab

Government, with the help of organizations like ACORN, forced banks to lend money to people who could not afford a home, and did so at sub prime rates.
Government rewarded irrationality.
NINJA loans (No Income No Job) were made by banks.
Banks tried to make those bad assets profitable by packaging them up with other investments and selling them to investors.
The loans defaulted, and the financial dominoes began to fall.
Repercussions throughout the financial institutions were harsh.
Investment firms began to fail and government came to the rescue with taxpayer funded bailout.
Now they say it was the fault of the "free market" and not enough regulation.

Now the US government says the free market and greed is to blame, and has embarked upon legislation to cram more regulation onto the financial industry. The government now tells business who to hire, how much to pay them, and meddles in bankruptcies and decides what aspects of established contracts can be kept or not. It doesn't matter to the US government that they have no Constitutional power or authority to do what they are doing; the Constitution be damned. With the Federal Reserve, they have now effectively nationalized the banks and other financial institutions, nationalized the automobile industry and are looking to nationalize healthcare. The US government has set up "Czars" to unilaterally decide everything from car manufacture to bailout management, with no oversight from Congress or anyone else.

And now, legislation is pending by the Obama administration to give more power to the Federal Reserve.

This From Bloomberg News:

also from FreedomWatch:

Obama, Dionaea Muscipula, And Miyagi

What does Dionaea muscipula have in common with Barack Obama?

They both catch flies.

Good thing Obama didn't eat it like Dracula's Renfield!
(Then again, off camera maybe Gibbs ate it..LOL)

The question begs to be asked... Where is PETA on this?
(oh here they are .. H/T Michelle)

Now Obama just has to catch a fly Miyagi style - with chopsticks.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Inflation At The Grocery Store

If you've been to the grocery store you will also already begin to notice some inflation. You may be paying the same for a box of cereal but chances are you are getting less cereal. The packaging is deceiving. It's a downsizing gimmick. People have been noticing this happening even as early as last year (Consumerist reported on it in several instances - and they call it the "Grocery Shrink Ray")

Same size packages with less content or smaller packages in general represents monetary inflation. The company, food or otherwise, may be charging you the same because they know you know what you normally pay for an item and that you'll think twice if the price goes higher... so they use a gimmick of playing with the amount that they sell you. I just bought a package of cupcake cup liners for 99 cents. It only had 36 cupcake cup liners in it! The last one I bought had twice as many for the same price! Check it out when you go to the store next time. Compare it to something you've had in the house for awhile. I think you'll be surprised.

Usually, they will say they have improved packaging and of course while they were improving the container, they were making it contain less. They might even claim the product is more concentrated. So while you may be paying the same you are getting less dryer sheets, or less dish detergent. That's inflation. Your grocery dollar is buying less stuff.

So have you also been noticing that your grocery bill is a tad higher these past few months?

Watching The Dow

There are some who think we haven't seen the bottom of this market yet. The chart above tracks the Dow alongside the Market during the Great Depression. Remember, we still have a tidal wave of foreclosures on the horizon, many credit card defaults, and the commercial real estate market is in a real world of hurt. Millions are still unemployed.

So, how's that Bush/Obama Stimulus helping you?
(Yeah, I didn't think so.... but your heirs will be paying for it big time)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Protect Your Privacy When Searching The Net - Use IXQuick

Sure we are all used to Google and Yahoo...but we also know Google is recording your every keystroke.

If you want privacy when scanning the Internet use IXQuick

Ixquick does NOT record your IP address!
Every time you use a regular search engine, your search data are recorded.
Your search terms, the time of your visit, the links you choose, your IP address and your User ID cookies all get stored in a database.

The identity profiles that can be constructed from this cloud of information represent modern day gold for marketers.
But government officials, hackers and even criminals also have an interest in getting their hands on your personal search data.
And sooner or later they will...

Learn more here.

Try it:

Monday, June 15, 2009

Illegal Aliens Bankrupting Our Hospitals - Also A Word About Socialized Healthcare

This is just incredible.
This testimony underscores the immorality of our government forcing us into socialized medicine.

Regardless of whether hospitals or our government gives illegal aliens "free" healthcare, we are all still paying for it. Universal or government managed healthcare will not make those costs go away. We simply cannot afford this incredible expense and drain on our healthcare system. Universal healthcare/Socialized medicine will not solve this problem, and it is not government's responsibility to provide healthcare for everyone either.

The fact is that our elected representatives in Congress and in the current (and past) administration apparently do not believe that being here illegally is a crime. IT IS!

Ask your legislator.... Why isn't our government treating illegal immigration as a crime?

Hospitals are going bankrupt and this will leave little choice of healthcare for legal citizens of this country. Universal healthcare/Socialized medicine will not fix this problem...border control will.

If we aren't sending people home who are here illegally, then we ought to be billing their country of origin for their healthcare, their education, their housing and even their incarceration.

And overall - with regard to Reforming healthcare:

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Saturday Satire - Obama Changes His Plans for America

From The Onion.
Warning: Some indelicate language used.

"Todd Grant" looks a lot like White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs....

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Peter Schiff On Jon Stewart

Peter Schiff completely understands what is happening. Apparently, so does Jon Stewart.... and perhaps many more of the Liberals in his audience who actually bought the lie of Obama's "Hope and Change" are starting to wake up (based on the applause).

Obama and Bernanke are doing what Bush and Greenspan did, but worse. The message is not the Keynesian way of spend and consume, but the Austrian way of produce and accumulate wealth.

Please Peter, Please run against Dodd.....
and if the Republicans in CT had any brains they would do everything to put Peter Schiff on the Republican ticket instead of the recycled party hack Rob Simmons.

Obama Tells Business To Drop Dead

Kevin Hassett had this piece on Bloomberg.
In it he says:
"I’ve finally figured out the Obama economic strategy. President Barack Obama and his team have been having so much fun wielding dictatorial power while rescuing “failed” firms, that they have developed a scheme to gain the same power over every business. The plan is to enact policies that are so anticompetitive that every firm needs a bailout.

Once that happens, their new pay czar Kenneth Feinberg can set the wage for everybody and Rahm Emanuel can stack the boards of all of our companies with his political cronies."
Heaven knows, we are seeing that already happening. Obama's plan is to increase corporate taxes to staggering amounts and to also enact a new multinational tax policy. Do you hear the business death bell tolling?
"Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer came to Washington to announce what Microsoft would do if Obama’s multinational tax policy is enacted.

“It makes U.S. jobs more expensive,” Ballmer said, “We’re better off taking lots of people and moving them out of the U.S.” If Microsoft, perhaps our most competitive company, has to abandon the U.S. in order to continue to thrive, who exactly is going to stay?

At issue is Obama’s policy to end the deferral of multinational taxation.

The U.S. now has about the highest combined corporate tax rate, second only to Japan among industrialized countries. That rate is so high that U.S. firms have an enormous disadvantage versus competitors. The average corporate tax rate for the major developed countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in 2008 was about 27 percent, more than 10 percentage points lower than the U.S. rate."
The way it works now according to the U.S. tax code is that U.S. firms can set up a subsidiary in a country that has lower taxes. When that subsidiary earns profits, they are taxed at the rate of that country, and don’t face U.S. tax until the money is mailed home.

Democrats think this practice is unpatriotic and bleeds jobs from the U.S. They obviously don't understand that businesses are established to make a profit and to grow and to create innovation. Most of those same Democrats probably have never ever run a business themselves, but they sure would like to confiscate the wealth of a business and give it to everyone else. (Ever read Ayn Rand, "Atlas Shrugged"? - it's a clear cut case of looters versus producers)
"The economic reality is that American companies use this approach to acquire market share overseas. The alternative is losing the business to foreign competitors.
The truth is that when firms expand their operations abroad, taking advantage of the lower foreign tax rates, it helps their workers in the U.S. Higher sales abroad (surprise, surprise) are good for domestic workers."
Hassett contends that if the Obama tax change is enacted, and domestic corporate taxes aren’t reduced to offset the big tax hike, the result will be a flight from the U.S. that rivals in scale the greatest avian arctic migrations....the firms that stay in the U.S. will be at such a huge tax disadvantage that they will absolutely need a “rescue.” (and therefore be at the further mercy of government [mis]management and micro-management)

It is bad enough that we have Chrysler and GM co-mingled with government such that corporate bond holders are being told to pound sand during buyouts and bailouts. We better hope that the courts do their job to protect the rights of creditors and do not resort to the acceptance of allowing companies to tear up contracts "in the interest of employees or jobs". Who in their right mind would ever want to loan American businesses money if this precedent is set? If you loan money to a corporation you want to have some sort of standing and security and collateral promised to you if the loan is defaulted. No other business deal should be allowed to wash away your standing and stake in a company after you have loaned money to the business, especially without your consent in the deal. yet, this is what is going on now!

Obama's plans sort of puts a new spin to the phrase "Capital Punishment"

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Student Loan Defaults At Their Highest

Student loan defaults are at their highest rate since 1998, and likely will go higher. And though federal student loans offer some payment modification options, private loans are far more onerous, because even filing for bankruptcy rarely wipes out the debt.... The cost of going to college or graduate school is rising. On average, the public college experience cost a student $6,585 this school year, up 6.4% from last year. Private tuition costs $25,143 on average, up 5.9%. - USA Today
I actually think the cost is much higher. Tuition might be $25,143 on average - but add in the cost of room and board and books and you are staring at some pretty big numbers after 4 years of college.

This is really sad. Our kids are saddled with such enormous debt after college. But on the other side of the coin - they should have fully understood what they were getting into, and should have had in mind that they would need a job after school to support the payment of that debt. Sadly, many kids have not done this and find themselves in a very ugly financial predicament.

Even so, others who have amassed substantial debt and have a good job after college still struggle to climb out of the financial hole that they dug. They become what is now known as "Poverty Professionals". They make a good living - but basically work to pay off their loans and only have a small bit left to live on. They can't afford a house or to start their own families, and many might even still have to live at home with mom and dad for quite awhile.

Kids have to choose a marketable major. Underwater Basketweaving and Contemporary Women's Literature are fine things to study, but they shouldn't expect to pay back $70,000 in loans with those majors. The jobs market is very tough, many good jobs are also being shipped overseas. Lots of kids end up not using their degree at all.

Of course Obama and legislators like Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. want to reform the student loan system, but even if Congress adopts changes, it won't help the graduates who already have found themselves underwater. Sen. Durbin says he plans to re-introduce some legislation that stayed in the Judiciary Committee last year. The bill would turn back the 2005 change in bankruptcy law and allow private student loans to be discharged. So exactly how will allowing massive bankruptcies help the financial institutions in this country, or the kids who will be starting life out with a bankruptcy? Merely forgiving student loans will be a large hit to institutions that lent the money in the first place.

Another question which looms large is why is college so expensive to begin with? Perhaps if so much government loans weren't dispensed so freely - which actually enables higher college price tags - the cost of college would come down. Colleges would drop tuition if no one could "afford" to pay the fees. Some people believe that the government wants college to remain unaffordable so that kids will go join the army. Indeed many kids go into the army just to get the tuition benefits.

Many kids are simply opting for cheaper college choices such as community college - or they are skipping college all together. There's some financial wisdom in those choices too.

The bottomline is that if you are planning for college, you'd better consider how it will be paid for, and not just rely on accumulating debt. If you are going to rely on debt to finance your way then you better have a well paying field of study and plan to have credentials that you can use to pay back that debt later on.

Student debt is yet another bubble that is in the wings and will affect our financial institutions at some point, especially if these kids cannot find suitable employment. As far as the stupid Obama summer jobs program, it is not even a worthy short term band-aid solution to really help recent college graduates across the country - because it doesn't help everyone.