h/t to Woodpile Report
Grand Illusion – Secrets of the Federal Reserve
James Quinn March 16th 2009
Cutting Edge Economic Crisis Analyst
The whole world is in a state of complete confusion. Americans are coming to the realization that their lives have been a grand illusion. You thought your neighbor had it made. They were driving a Mercedes, spent $40,000 on a new kitchen with granite countertops and stainless steel appliances, sent their kids to private school, had a second home at the shore, and took exotic vacations all over the world. Now their house is in foreclosure and you are paying to bail them out. The anger and outrage in the country is at the highest level since the Vietnam War.
The American public is being misled by government officials, politicians, and the Federal Reserve regarding the causes of this crisis and the solutions needed to solve our economic tribulations.
The average American does not know much about the Federal Reserve. The government and the Federal Reserve prefer to operate in the shadows. If the American public understood what their policies have done to their lives, they would be rioting in the streets. Most Americans believe that the Federal Reserve is part of the government. They are wrong. It is a privately held corporation owned by stockholders. The Federal Reserve System is owned by the largest banks in the United States. There are Class A,B, and C shareholders. The owner banks and their shares in the Federal Reserve are a secret. Why is this a secret? It is likely that the biggest banks in the country are the major shareholders. Does this explain why Citicorp, Bank of America and JP Morgan, despite being insolvent, are being propped up by Ben Bernanke and Timothy Geithner?
The history of National Banks in the United States has been controversial since the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence. The Constitution of the United States unequivocally states that only Congress has the authority to coin money, not an independent bank owned by unknown bankers.
The Congress shall have Power to coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures
Article 1, Section 8 – US Constitution
Our most recent horrifying experience with an all powerful central bank has led to the current worldwide financial crisis. In less than one century the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States has destroyed our currency and has allowed bankers to gain unwarranted power over the country. They had the ability and opportunity to bring down the worldwide financial system. When the average American is told that the dollar has lost 95 percent of its purchasing power since the inception of the Federal Reserve in 1913, they look at you with a blank stare and start wondering whether American Idol is on TV tonight. The systematic inflation purposely created by the Federal Reserve silently robs the average American of their standard of living. The government began keeping official track of inflation in 1913, the year the Federal Reserve was created. The consumer price index (CPI) on January 1, 1914 was 10.0. The CPI on January 1, 2009 was 211.1. This means that a man’s suit that cost $10 in 1913 would cost $211 today, a 2,111 percent increase in 96 years. This is a 95 percent loss in purchasing power of the dollar.
In the years following the creation of the Federal Reserve, inflation ran at double digit rates to finance Woodrow Wilson’s foreign intervention into World War I. The other notable period was in the years following President Nixon’s closing of the gold window in 1971. This led to rampant inflation that wasn’t tamed until the early 1980’s by Paul Volcker, the only independent courageous Federal Reserve Chairman in its history. The figures so far in the twenty-first Century seem modest. This is due partly to the methodical downward manipulation of the calculation by government bureaucrats. The period from 2010 to 2020 will show a dramatic jump caused by all of the money printing and reckless spending that is occurring today.
The average American might just conclude that prices always go up, so what’s the big deal about inflation. This is where the Federal Reserve and politicians have pulled the wool over your eyes. The CPI was 30.9 in 1964. Today, it is 211.1. This means that prices have risen 683 percent since 1964. The only problem is that your wages have not risen at the same rate, even using the government manipulated CPI. Using a true CPI figure, average weekly earnings are 64 percent below what they were in 1964. This explains why a family of five could live well with one parent working in 1964, but even with both parents working and using debt in prodigious amounts, the average family does not live as well today.
The dates February 3, 1913 and December 24, 1913 framed a year which placed our country on a downward fiscal spiral. The United States had tinkered with an income tax during the Civil War and the 1890’s, but the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional. Until 1913, the U.S. government was restrained from overspending because it was completely reliant on tariffs and duties to generate revenue.
The Sixteenth Amendment changed the game forever. “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.”
When you give a Congressman a dollar, he’ll take a hundred billion. The initial tax rates of 1 percent to 7 percent were rather modest. That did not last long. The top tax rate reached 92 percent during the 1950s and today rates are still 500 percent to 1,000 percent higher than they were in 1913. The government is addicted to tax revenue. In 2007, they absconded $1.2 trillion in taxes from American individuals. Does anyone think that the bloated government bureaucracy spent these funds more efficiently or for a more beneficial purpose than its citizens could have? Without $1.2 trillion in individual tax revenue, Congressmen would not be able to add 9,200 earmarks to the current $400 billion Federal spending bill every year.
According to the Federal Reserve’s own website, their duties fall into four general areas:
1. Conducting the nation's monetary policy by influencing the monetary and credit conditions in the economy in pursuit of maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates.
2. Supervising and regulating banking institutions to ensure the safety and soundness of the nation's banking and financial system and to protect the credit rights of consumers
3. Maintaining the stability of the financial system and containing systemic risk that may arise in financial markets
4. Providing financial services to depository institutions, the U.S. government, and foreign official institutions, including playing a major role in operating the nation's payments system
The American public was told that the Federal Reserve would eliminate any future bank panics. From 1913 through 1920, inflation increased at more than 10 percent per year as Wilson spent vast sums during World War I and its aftermath. From the early 1920s to 1929, the monetary supply expanded at a rapid pace and the nation experienced tremendous economic growth. By the end of the 1920s, speculation and loose money had propelled asset and equity prices to unsustainable levels. The stock market crashed in 1929, and as the banks struggled with liquidity problems, the Federal Reserve cut the money supply. This was the greatest financial panic and economic collapse in American history so far - and it never could have happened without the Fed's intervention. The Fed caused the bubble with loose monetary policy. The Depression did not become Great until the Smoot Hawley Act in 1930 destroyed world trade and the raising of the top income tax rates from 25 percent to 63 percent in 1932 destroyed the incentive to earn money. Over 9,000 banks failed and a few of the old robber barons' banks managed to swoop in and grab up thousands of competitors for pennies on the dollar.
The Federal Reserve’s primary mandates were maximum employment, stable prices and moderate long-term interest rates. Their other chief function was to supervise and regulate banks to ensure the banking system is safe. Let us assess their success regarding their mandates:
• Unemployment reached 25 percent during the Great Depression; attained levels above 10 percent in 1982; and will breach 10 percent in the next year. Grade: Failure
• Since the Federal Reserve’s inception, the dollar has lost 95 percent of its purchasing power. Grade: Failure
• Interest rates have been anything but moderate since the inception of the Federal Reserve. They have consistently caused booms and busts by setting rates too low or too high. Grade: Failure
• The Federal Reserve was supposed to supervise the activities of banks. Instead, under Alan Greenspan, they stepped aside and let banks take preposterous risks while giving an unspoken assurance that the Fed would clean up any messes that they caused. This total dereliction of duty gross negligence has led the greatest financial collapse in history. Grade: Failure
Anyone who is not mad as hell at this point is not paying attention. Your tax-and-spend political leaders and your banker-controlled Federal Reserve have borrowed and spent your tax dollars, your children’s tax dollars, and their children’s tax dollars desperately attempting to prop up this bankrupt system. The unleashing of a never-ending tsunami of printed dollars by the Federal Reserve makes every dollar worth less. They have systematically created inflation that has slowly but surely reduced your standard of living. Politicians in the pocket of lobbyists, corporate interests, and bankers have used their power to tax in order to spend trillions on worthless projects in their districts to insure re-election. The combination of taxing and printing has led to a National Debt of $11 trillion.
Bankers love debt. The more debt, the more interest they collect. Issuing credit cards and collecting 21 percent interest and billions in late fees seemed like a "can’t miss" proposition. It was, until people couldn’t pay the debt back. Now the unwinding of the greatest debt bubble in history has created a Second Great Depression. Instead of learning from the past, the Federal Reserve has chosen to do exactly what led to the crisis. They have lowered rates to 0 percent and have printed money at prodigious rates. The Fed has doubled their balance sheet in the last 12 months.
They have loaned billions to the bankrupt banks that inhabit our financial system while accepting worthless pieces of paper as collateral. They will not reveal to the public the banks they have loaned money to or the collateral that backs up those loans. The arrogance of Ben Bernanke proves that the Federal Reserve answers to bankers, and not to the American public. The books and records of the Federal Reserve are not open to scrutiny by the General Accounting Office. Ron Paul has introduced the Federal Reserve Transparency Act which would open their books to the public. No organization with as much power as the Federal Reserve should be permitted to operate in the shadows.
The future is cloudy but the direction is clear. Government will spend trillions of dollars. Congress will increase taxes on the rich and secretly raise taxes on the masses by calling them cap and trade fees. The Federal Reserve will pull out all stops to create inflation. When you owe the rest of the world $11 trillion, inflation makes the debt less burdensome. The dollar will decline versus gold. With the enormous amount of currency creation and spending by the government, the economy will eventually pull out of this depression. The acceleration will take the Federal Reserve by surprise. They will be hesitant to raise interest rates. The inflation genie will get out of the bottle and will not go back. The hyperinflation that takes hold will lead to social unrest, rioting, and a drastic reduction in the American standard of living.
There is no solution that will not be painful to everyone in the United States. The only solution that would put America back on a path of sustainable prosperity would be a gold/precious metals backed currency that would force government and its citizens to live within its means. Congress would need to vote for something that would take away its power. With our current political system, this is impossible. Money is power. This leads to only one conclusion. The existing Ponzi scheme will have to collapse before we can adopt a rational financial system for America. It may take decades, or it may happen in 2010. No one knows.
Cutting Edge Economic Crisis Analyst James Quinn is a senior director of strategic planning for a major university. This article reflects the personal views of James Quinn. It does not necessarily represent the views of his employer, and is not sponsored or endorsed by them.
NOTE: This creation of debt has been underway for the past one hundred years.
See my April 2007 post: Hoisting the Black Flag
also see Sept 2008 post: The Federal Reserve Will Destroy America
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
h/t to Woodpile Report
Posted by No Apology at 9:45 PM
Sunday, March 15, 2009
h/t Right Truth
The Christian Science Monitor
The coming evangelical collapse
An anti-Christian chapter in Western history is about to begin. But out of the ruins, a new vitality and integrity will rise.
By Michael Spencer
from the March 10, 2009 edition
Oneida, Ky. - We are on the verge – within 10 years – of a major collapse of evangelical Christianity. This breakdown will follow the deterioration of the mainline Protestant world and it will fundamentally alter the religious and cultural environment in the West.
Within two generations, evangelicalism will be a house deserted of half its occupants. (Between 25 and 35 percent of Americans today are Evangelicals.) In the "Protestant" 20th century, Evangelicals flourished. But they will soon be living in a very secular and religiously antagonistic 21st century.
This collapse will herald the arrival of an anti-Christian chapter of the post-Christian West. Intolerance of Christianity will rise to levels many of us have not believed possible in our lifetimes, and public policy will become hostile toward evangelical Christianity, seeing it as the opponent of the common good.
Millions of Evangelicals will quit. Thousands of ministries will end. Christian media will be reduced, if not eliminated. Many Christian schools will go into rapid decline. I'm convinced the grace and mission of God will reach to the ends of the earth. But the end of evangelicalism as we know it is close.
Why is this going to happen?
1. Evangelicals have identified their movement with the culture war and with political conservatism. This will prove to be a very costly mistake. Evangelicals will increasingly be seen as a threat to cultural progress. Public leaders will consider us bad for America, bad for education, bad for children, and bad for society.
The evangelical investment in moral, social, and political issues has depleted our resources and exposed our weaknesses. Being against gay marriage and being rhetorically pro-life will not make up for the fact that massive majorities of Evangelicals can't articulate the Gospel with any coherence. We fell for the trap of believing in a cause more than a faith.
2. We Evangelicals have failed to pass on to our young people an orthodox form of faith that can take root and survive the secular onslaught. Ironically, the billions of dollars we've spent on youth ministers, Christian music, publishing, and media has produced a culture of young Christians who know next to nothing about their own faith except how they feel about it. Our young people have deep beliefs about the culture war, but do not know why they should obey scripture, the essentials of theology, or the experience of spiritual discipline and community. Coming generations of Christians are going to be monumentally ignorant and unprepared for culture-wide pressures.
3. There are three kinds of evangelical churches today: consumer-driven megachurches, dying churches, and new churches whose future is fragile. Denominations will shrink, even vanish, while fewer and fewer evangelical churches will survive and thrive.
4. Despite some very successful developments in the past 25 years, Christian education has not produced a product that can withstand the rising tide of secularism. Evangelicalism has used its educational system primarily to staff its own needs and talk to itself.
5. The confrontation between cultural secularism and the faith at the core of evangelical efforts to "do good" is rapidly approaching. We will soon see that the good Evangelicals want to do will be viewed as bad by so many, and much of that work will not be done. Look for ministries to take on a less and less distinctively Christian face in order to survive.
6. Even in areas where Evangelicals imagine themselves strong (like the Bible Belt), we will find a great inability to pass on to our children a vital evangelical confidence in the Bible and the importance of the faith.
7. The money will dry up.
What will be left?
•Expect evangelicalism to look more like the pragmatic, therapeutic, church-growth oriented megachurches that have defined success. Emphasis will shift from doctrine to relevance, motivation, and personal success – resulting in churches further compromised and weakened in their ability to pass on the faith.
•Two of the beneficiaries will be the Roman Catholic and Orthodox communions. Evangelicals have been entering these churches in recent decades and that trend will continue, with more efforts aimed at the "conversion" of Evangelicals to the Catholic and Orthodox traditions.
•A small band will work hard to rescue the movement from its demise through theological renewal. This is an attractive, innovative, and tireless community with outstanding media, publishing, and leadership development. Nonetheless, I believe the coming evangelical collapse will not result in a second reformation, though it may result in benefits for many churches and the beginnings of new churches.
•The emerging church will largely vanish from the evangelical landscape, becoming part of the small segment of progressive mainline Protestants that remain true to the liberal vision.
•Aggressively evangelistic fundamentalist churches will begin to disappear.
•Charismatic-Pentecostal Christianity will become the majority report in evangelicalism. Can this community withstand heresy, relativism, and confusion? To do so, it must make a priority of biblical authority, responsible leadership, and a reemergence of orthodoxy.
•Evangelicalism needs a "rescue mission" from the world Christian community. It is time for missionaries to come to America from Asia and Africa. Will they come? Will they be able to bring to our culture a more vital form of Christianity?
•Expect a fragmented response to the culture war. Some Evangelicals will work to create their own countercultures, rather than try to change the culture at large. Some will continue to see conservatism and Christianity through one lens and will engage the culture war much as before – a status quo the media will be all too happy to perpetuate. A significant number, however, may give up political engagement for a discipleship of deeper impact.
Is all of this a bad thing?
Evangelicalism doesn't need a bailout. Much of it needs a funeral. But what about what remains?
Is it a good thing that denominations are going to become largely irrelevant? Only if the networks that replace them are able to marshal resources, training, and vision to the mission field and into the planting and equipping of churches.
Is it a good thing that many marginal believers will depart? Possibly, if churches begin and continue the work of renewing serious church membership. We must change the conversation from the maintenance of traditional churches to developing new and culturally appropriate ones.
The ascendency of Charismatic-Pentecostal-influenced worship around the world can be a major positive for the evangelical movement if reformation can reach those churches and if it is joined with the calling, training, and mentoring of leaders. If American churches come under more of the influence of the movement of the Holy Spirit in Africa and Asia, this will be a good thing.
Will the evangelicalizing of Catholic and Orthodox communions be a good development? One can hope for greater unity and appreciation, but the history of these developments seems to be much more about a renewed vigor to "evangelize" Protestantism in the name of unity.
Will the coming collapse get Evangelicals past the pragmatism and shallowness that has brought about the loss of substance and power? Probably not. The purveyors of the evangelical circus will be in fine form, selling their wares as the promised solution to every church's problems. I expect the landscape of megachurch vacuity to be around for a very long time.
Will it shake lose the prosperity Gospel from its parasitical place on the evangelical body of Christ? Evidence from similar periods is not encouraging. American Christians seldom seem to be able to separate their theology from an overall idea of personal affluence and success.
The loss of their political clout may impel many Evangelicals to reconsider the wisdom of trying to create a "godly society." That doesn't mean they'll focus solely on saving souls, but the increasing concern will be how to keep secularism out of church, not stop it altogether. The integrity of the church as a countercultural movement with a message of "empire subversion" will increasingly replace a message of cultural and political entitlement.
Despite all of these challenges, it is impossible not to be hopeful. As one commenter has already said, "Christianity loves a crumbling empire."
We can rejoice that in the ruins, new forms of Christian vitality and ministry will be born. I expect to see a vital and growing house church movement. This cannot help but be good for an evangelicalism that has made buildings, numbers, and paid staff its drugs for half a century.
We need new evangelicalism that learns from the past and listens more carefully to what God says about being His people in the midst of a powerful, idolatrous culture.
I'm not a prophet. My view of evangelicalism is not authoritative or infallible. I am certainly wrong in some of these predictions. But is there anyone who is observing evangelicalism in these times who does not sense that the future of our movement holds many dangers and much potential?
• Michael Spencer is a writer and communicator living and working in a Christian community in Kentucky. He describes himself as "a postevangelical reformation Christian in search of a Jesus-shaped spirituality." This essay is adapted from a series on his blog, InternetMonk.com .
Posted by No Apology at 11:29 AM
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Liberal activist judges continue to play havoc with families' lives...
This is an outrage. No, having said that, what I reaallly want to do is take this judge and break his back over my knee. (figuratively speaking, of course. You have to say that or the trolls come out at night.)
Judge orders home schoolers into public classrooms
Posted: Mar. 12, 2009
Updated: Today at 12:14 a.m.
Raleigh, N.C. — A judge in Wake County said three Raleigh children need to switch from home school to public school. Judge Ned Mangum is presiding over divorce proceeding of the children's parents, Thomas and Venessa Mills.
Venessa Mills was in the fourth year of home schooling her children who are 10, 11 and 12 years old. They have tested two years above their grade levels, she said.
"We have math, reading; we have grammar, science, music,” Venessa Mills said.
Her lessons also have a religious slant, which the judge said was the root of the problem.
"My teaching is strictly out of the Bible, and it's very clear. It is very evident so I just choose to follow the Bible,” Venessa Mills said.
In an affidavit filed Friday in the divorce case, Thomas Mills stated that he "objected to the children being removed from public school." He said Venessa Mills decided to home school after getting involved with Sound Doctrine church "where all children are home schooled."
Thomas Mills also said he was "concerned about the children's religious-based science curriculum" and that he wants "the children to be exposed to mainstream science, even if they eventually choose to believe creationism over evolution."
In an oral ruling, Mangum said the children should go to public school.
"He was upfront and said that, 'It's not about religion.' But yet when it came down to his ruling and reasons why, 'He said this would be a good opportunity for the children to be tested in the beliefs that I have taught them,'" Venessa Mills said.
All sides agree the children have thrived with home school, and Vanessa Mills thinks that should be reason enough to continue teaching at home.
"I cannot sit back and allow this to happen to other home schoolers. I don't want it happening to my children,” Venessa Mills said.
Mangum said he wouldn't talk with WRAL News Thursday about the details of the case because he hasn't issued a written ruling yet. He said he expected to sign it in a few weeks.
An estimated 71,566 students were taught at home during the 2007-08 school year, according to figures released by the state Division of Non-Public Education. The enrollment amounts to about 4 percent of students ages 7 to 16 in North Carolina – students in that age range are required by state law to attend school. About two-thirds of the schools classified themselves as religious schools.
Home school students and their parents plan to come to Raleigh on March 24 to lobby at the state Legislature. They want to demonstrate they have a strong voice regarding education.
Posted by No Apology at 12:59 AM
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
March 08, 2009
How the Great Depression brought Adolf Hitler to power
By James Lewis
Oh goody! Looks like we're having another Depression -- maybe just a little one, but who knows how long we can stretch it out, if we give it a good try?
So now we can play FDR and The Glorious New Deal.
If that sounds insane to you, well, it's what both Charles Krauthammer and David Broder -- the Burt and Ernie of the Washington Post -- have now concluded about the Obama White House.
The Great Depression certainly empowered FDR to make big changes in America over his four terms. In spite of all the hoo-hah the country didn't get out of the long, long slump until 1940 or so, with the huge mobilization of men and industrial resources for World War II. But FDR did get to play to his heart's content, through the NRA, the WPA, the AAA, the CCC, the TVA, the NLRB, the FDIC and the SEC. By comparison all we've got is a measly TARP. So far.
Trouble is, the Great Depression also brought Adolf Hitler to power. (Darn, I knew there had to be a downside somewhere.)
For those who have forgotten history or never bothered to learn it, here's is the sixty-second version.
1. Adolf Hitler started out as just another Bohemian intellectual, a sort of fire-breathing hippie, hanging around the coffee houses of Vienna after the big defeat of World War I. Just like Lenin, Mussolini and all the other psychopaths who rose to power around the same time. (Look it up, kids). His ilk can still be found in all the big city cafes of Europe, along with Berkeley, California, Madison, Wisconsin, and other college towns. They all profess peace. But in the right conditions, they are all happy to set off sociological or real dynamite. (Viz., Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn; the Rev. J. Wright and all the rest.)
Today the cafe intellectuals are more likely to be Islamic fascists, but what's the big diff? They all follow Hitler's big maxim, "Alles muss anders sein!" ("everything must change") or, in Obamalingo, "Change you can believe in." They all hate whatever is; it doesn't matter where they want to go.
They want a perfect world, every single one of them. Therefore they all hate freedom, electoral democracy, and the blood-sucking capitalists. They all demand justice and equality. And millions of suckers always fall for it. Some things never change; even the words don't change, much less the marching music.
2. When Hitler got out of the Kaiserliche Wehrmacht with burned-out lungs from mustard gas, Germany was broke. The Reich had started the war as the wealthiest, most industrialized, most highly-educated, and perhaps even the most arrogant nation in Europe. (Although that's a tough one to judge, there being so much competition in the arrogance sweepstakes in Europe.) Anyway, if you remember the goose-stepping soldiers with the funny helmets with the little spikes on top, and all the cheering people standing on the sidewalks going Hoch! Hoch!, that's the one.
3. As punishment for the war, the Versailles Treaty required the Germans to pay their victims, to handicap their military and heavy industries, and to be nice to their neighbors. They did pay some money for a while, but then they just lied about all those other things. None of the victorious nations dared to actually find out if the Germans were re-arming or not. Besides, the Germans and Austrians felt threatened by the new and militant Soviet Union, accidentally created when the old Reich helped Lenin to overthrow the Czar of Russia. (Lenin was another cafe intellectual who turned into a ruthless mass-murdering tyrant, except that he hung around Zurich rather than Vienna.)
4. After WWI the Weimar Republic brought parliamentary democracy of a kind to Germany. But it also saw a wave of corruption, degradation of middle class values, attacks on religion, promiscuity, and glorification of "alternative lifestyles" -- which all agreed on their hatred of the bourgeoisie (who happened to be their parents) -- along with lots of artistic expressions of the same Up Yours! attitude that has made government-funded artists so popular in our day.
(A lot of our avant garde is just the derriere garde of Europe's Weimar period. Nothing new there at all.)
5. Having the Soviets practically next door was a big help to the German Communists -- who still called themselves Communists rather than Black Liberation Theologians, as ours do today. But just like Rev. J-Wright, they all hated middleclassness, or as they called it, the bourgeoisie. (That was their parents, remember?) So did Mussolini and Hitler, who also rose to power as radical world-changers in the turmoil of the day. They were also big ecofreaks -- because Mother Nature was good, you see. They practiced a fair amount of nudity and gayety, celebrated sex and violence, got drunk and carried on riots, and whipped up giant hatreds against scapegoats -- the French, other racially inferior peoples, and of course ... . Yes.
They also swore to eliminate the handicapped, the retarded, and any organized religion. Both the Communists and the Nazis really really hated Christianity. Not just Judaism and the Jews. They were equal-opportunity haters, without fear or favor.
6. The whole Ship of Fools seemed to go sailing along until the economy went kaput. But why did it? You can point to hyperinflation, long and deep declines in industry and agriculture, unemployment, and shaky currencies. Europe had decades of troubles before the United States caught the bug. Stock markets dwindled, trade barriers went up, and on October 29, 1929, far away in New York City, Wall Street went into a tailspin. It was followed by the other big stock markets. People lost their jobs and their savings. No capital, no productivity, just despair.
7. Europe decided that democracy wasn't its thing after all, and looked for nice trustworthy generals to take over the hopelessly ineffective parliamentary governments -- like in Germany. But the President of Germany, General Paul von Hindenburg, was elderly and out of his depth, and after a while was forced to ask that nice Herr Hitler to organize a new government. Hitler's National Socialist Workers Party had never gotten a majority, but the time was ripe, and the Nazis never cared much for rules. So they took power.
In the end United States kind of lucked out, compared to Europe -- but don't try to tell that to anybody who managed to live through it. It's not just our habit of democratic governance that brought us out of it without tyranny and the devastation of Europe and Asia. FDR had a certain amount of demagogue blood in him.
Or as he proclaimed in accepting the Democratic Party nomination,
"Throughout the nation men and women ... look to us here for guidance and for more equitable opportunity to share in the distribution of national wealth... I pledge you, I pledge myself to a new deal for the American people... This is more than a political campaign. It is a call to arms." (Italics added.)
A better "opportunity to share in the distribution of national wealth? ... A call to arms?" Has the Obama crowd seen this speech? FDR naturally attacked greed and wealth, coming from a family of old wealth and long-forgotten greed himself. Greed is in the eye of the accuser.
What's the bottom line? Well, certain politicians thrive in times of trouble; and if they don't see enough trouble, they're always happy to add some more. They always practice the same kind of demagogy. They always promise radical change. And they often bring the opposite.
Historians have long pointed to the breakdown of Europe's middle class as the single biggest earthquake, the one that shook all the other pillars of society until it crumbled.
In the 21st century, you can kill the middle class by teaching kids to despise their parents and their traditions; you can tax them into poverty; you can whip up nationalistic fervor against the Frogs or the Boches; you can inflate the currency so that everybody is equally miserable; you can teach the poor, the black, the women, the young, to attack the middle class values that brought prosperity over generations of toil; you can torpedo the currency and destroy retirement plans; you can turn the Organs of Propaganda -- pahdon me, the "news media" -- to assault middle class values; you can unify the very wealthy with the very poor to try to squeeze and whack the middle; you can take historic wrongs like black slavery or Christopher Columbus to turn people against each other; you can easily turn bubbleheaded movie makers and starlets against George W. Bush; you can break the banks and turn the desperate against the malefactors of great wealth; or you can unify white liberals with poor blacks and militant feminists against all the Evil White Guys...
But it's all the same, you see. Nothing ever changes except the color of the flags and the uniforms. And it's always the militant idealists, the obsessional clerks and scribblers, who seize the moment to raise yet another Hero of Change and Hope to the peak of power. Because, you see, Adolf Hitler was not the exception. In the century of Mao Zedong and Pol Pot, of Lenin and Stalin, of Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez, of Robert Mugabe and Saddam Hussein, of Ahmadinejad and Khomeini, of genocidal little tyrants in the Sudan and Rwanda, Hitler was by no means the exception.
He was just brought down faster than the others.
Heigh-ho. Interesting times.
See what a little history can teach you?
**** Betcha you didn't learn this in school****
Posted by No Apology at 11:00 PM
Monday, March 09, 2009
Supreme Court refuses to revive New York City's suit against gun makers over illegal sales
By Associated Press
9:39 AM EDT, March 9, 2009
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has turned away pleas by New York City and gun violence victims to hold the firearms industry responsible for selling guns that could end up in illegal markets.
The justices' decision Monday ends lawsuits first filed in 2000. Federal appeals courts in New York and Washington threw out the complaints after Congress passed a law in 2005 giving the gun industry broad immunity against such lawsuits.
The city's lawsuit asked for no monetary damages. It had sought a court order for gun makers to more closely monitor those dealers who frequently sell guns later used to commit crimes.
But the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that federal law provides the gun industry with broad immunity from lawsuits brought by crime victims and violence-plagued cities. The Supreme Court refused to reconsider that decision.
The lawsuit was first brought in June 2000 while Rudy Giuliani was New York mayor. It was delayed due to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and because of similar litigation in the state courts.
The city refiled the lawsuit in January 2004, saying manufacturers let handguns reach illegal markets at gun shows in which non-licensed people can sell to other private citizens; through private sales in which background checks are not required; by oversupplying markets where gun regulations are lax, and by having poor overall security.
The city said a state nuisance law makes it a crime to knowingly or recklessly create a condition endangering the safety or health of a considerable number of people. But the appeals court said New York's law does not qualify as an exception to federal law. It agreed with U.S. District Judge Jack B. Weinstein that the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, signed by President George W. Bush in 2005, is constitutional.
The cases are City of New York v. Beretta, 08-530, and Lawson v. Beretta, 08-545.
Posted by No Apology at 10:02 AM
Sunday, March 08, 2009
I am re-posting my first post, "Time To Roll" - in toto, as No Apology to show that a person even as naive as I was can get involved in what is happening on our watch here in America. My own awakening also shows what can be accomplished with due diligence, when the facts don't add up. You start where you are, and educate yourself. Then you pick your ass up, gather the necessary tools, and go to war. My first step was to put my television on the curb in front of my house. That was in Oct, 2006.
Now it's 2 1/2 years later, and the situation is even bleaker. My role is watchman, shining the light on the darkness, and trying to have a little fun in the process. I have also made many friends on the front line. - NA
"Time To Roll"
Hello, and welcome to my new blog!
I am a concerned citizen, trying to make sense of the current dangers within our shores, in our political institutions, in our bastions of "higher education". America's current plight, of an unrelenting stream of illegal immigrants, and the rise of Islam's sword, can be characterized by a lack of perception of danger to our way of life, and a disinclination to stand up and resist the multi-cultural Marxists' persistent whittling away at our political will. Over-simplifying perhaps, but it'll do for a start. The Multiculturalists, hammering away at our right of free speech (thanks ACLU, you're now in my sights, too.), dumbing down our educational systems, plus the real dangers of using speech which is not Politically Correct (a hold-over from the Civil Rights Movement) have made us fearful and vulnerable.
In the 50's, when Pogo made his famous declaration about who the enemy is, we all smiled and said, "good one". Well here it is, fifty years later, and things haven't changed all that much. I confess, until a few months ago, I was mostly unaware of the forces of evil at work. I read MSM, like a lot of Americans, shook my head at the Mindless Muslim Rage, and figured someone, eventually would fix it.
As I prepared to retire to the Arizona desert with a couple of donkeys (yes, really) for companions, I made the decision to start a blog about my adventures. In preparation, I began to look online at the climate, demographics, etc., and to try to pick a logical place to drop anchor in Arizona. My first look was at the deserts, animals, flora, and.….the seemingly unending trash and human waste of the illegal immigrants coming across the Mexican border. I thought WTF? So I began to research the situation. What I found on the physical level in the desert and wilderness of the Tohono O'Odham and the Huachuca Highlands and mountains was certainly cause for concern. What I subsequently found residing in the mind-set of the current crop of politicians who should be protecting our borders was even more disturbing. Here's what I wrote at the time:
...for whatever reason, and I don’t believe in coincidences, I picked the southeast corner of Arizona to plan my retirement around (I’m 65 years old). And it wasn’t so suddenly – I have been looking into this for the past 6 months. Anyway, I like the desert, plus the sky islands (mountains) of southeast Arizona, and a small town like Bisbee or Patagonia both have small populations with a goodly number of artists living there. Also, the Tumacacori Highlands, with its vast high roadless prairie appealed to me. As I continued to research the SE corner of Arizona though, I discovered it also has something I hadn’t counted on - it also is appealing to drug cartels and coyotes (human kind), for very different reasons than my own. And who are even now, exploiting a very porous Mexican border, facilitating rampant illegal immigration, and drug running. I began to read various ranchers’ descriptions of life on the border for the past 20 years, tales of stolen property, fences being regularly cut, or simply driven over by the very busy and resourceful coyotes, who are bringing thousands of illegal immigrants and drugs across the border. And generally, making the ranchers’ lives hell. I saw photographs of the huge amount of garbage left in the Sonora Desert, the desperate lives lost every year in the unforgiving desert.
Curious, I began researching the border policies of both the US and Mexican government. What I found was a quagmire of failed immigration policies on the US side, a thoroughly corrupt political network, and failing economic policies on the Mexican side. Can’t fault the Mexicans who need work. It isn’t to be had in Mexico. Certainly not for the wages they can earn here. Of course, they head Norte. They need work, and the Gringos are hiring. On the US side, politicians have been unwilling for several administrations to deal with border control, and illegal immigration. Throw in the so-called “war on drugs” (supply is tight, price is high), and everybody has a reason to head north of the border. On our side the US employers are just, as President Bush put it, hooking up willing workers with undesirable jobs. (* note – show Big Bush Smile here) That is to say, they attract and flood the labor market with workers who have entered the country illegally, and are willing, desperate, to work for less than our American workers, thus depressing the prevailing wage, and keeping it depressed. None of this is news, of course. But the unions are going the way of the horse and buggy. Nobody to stand up for the American workers. We all are American workers. And believe me, there are no jobs Americans are unwilling to do. That’s a lie. But how do they compete with the illegals, who are flooding the labor market? Whatever the going rate for any job, when the Mexicans, in this case, show up, the rate will go down. Employers simply exploit the situation, because THE US GOVERNMENT allows them to. No real penalties to speak of. A wrist slap, a small fine, that is, when they are actually caught and prosecuted. Again, I’m not against the business community. They play the hand they are dealt, too. Now, to slide their way out of a hopeless situation, amnesty in various flavors is the politician’s answer. I’m not against the Mexicans. It’s not their fault. The corrupt Mexican government has languished for generations on the largess of Americans. I think it’s time it stopped. Cork up the friggin’ border and watch what happens. They will be truly f****d. Anarchy will prevail south of the border. Is that good dharma on the part of Americans? Who knows? It’s a rhetorical question, anyway. See, here’s the thing. I’m going out on a limb here, but I believe none of that is about to happen. Bush
apparentlydefinitely has this lofty plan to eliminate the border altogether, north and south. Yep, Canadian border, too. All that business about NAFTA, just the first pass, folks. Does everybody remember the words to Kumbayah?
"…man is not free unless government is limited. There's a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: As government expands, liberty contracts.” - Ronald Regan
Where does that leave America? America? Sorry, my fellow Americans, but that’s a concept going the same way as the unions, and of course, the borders. I don’t believe within 25 years, there will even be a fight. The process went from protecting other’s civil rights, to political correctness, to “fear of offending”. It’s become a kind of cultural sickness. Making people afraid of "offending" is also making them hesitant to stand up and be counted. No flags, no prayers, Christmas is on a watch list. But no, we have Kwanza now, so maybe Christmas will live another season. Look into the origin of Kwanza, if you want a good laugh. What a joke.
It's right up there with the origin of Alex Haley's, Roots.
So, no profiling either. Nope, sorry. Not even in the case of Islamic terrorists who, parenthetically, are alive and well in Tucson. Another reason for me to avoid Arizona. But that’s another installment. That ties the hands of the police, even the border control guards. The sky falls on the State Police, if they are caught profiling. “Racists!”, cries Al Sharpton. Ever notice how he just seems to materialize out of nowhere? At least up here in my neck of the woods, NY, Northern NJ. Then why do they profile? (Ans: to catch the bad guys.) Duh. The police are not stupid. Their job has just been made so much more difficult. Look out, or the ACLU, that snake pit,
will be filing,have already filed class action suits before breakfast.
What are we teaching our children? They are paying attention, you know. It’s amazing what you discover, when you look. Do I know what I’m talking about? Why don’t you do your own research? Let me know what you find.
What’s important to me is being free to live my life simply, make art, help take care of disabled kids, become friends with a donkey or two. Unless my government is willing to protect it’s borders and work out sound fiscal policies, both at home and abroad, all that could be taken away. I don’t intend to stand idly by, and say nothing. I have eyes, ears, and a computer. I intend to use them as long as I can.
So. I also learned of the EC/EU-type political license GW has granted himself, along with Vicente Fox, and the boys North of the border. You know, the um, Superhighway that's been planned, without bothering to check with the
folks unwarshed. It goes under the high-sounding name of the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, or as we like to say, the SPP. Apparently, this thing is pretty far along. Money's been allocated, and plans have already been laid to start building. You didn't know about this? Don't feel too bad, even some politicians weren't aware of it. It's the first step toward eliminating our national identity. Yeah, that's how the EU got started, too. Quietly, behind the scenes, slowly eating away at the concept of national borders in Europe. Getting wind of the SPP is about when I discovered the world of blogging, and things which the MSM don't talk about. Theodore Roetke said: "I learn by going where I have to go." Well, yeah that, too. Mostly, I learn by doing what I have to do. Even Especially when I don't want to do it, whatever "it" happens to be at the time. I would still like to walk away from what I've learned, but find that I cannot.. Early on in my first tentative attempts at blogging, I had decided I would go to Wyoming instead, and said so on my blog. I got a comment from Jake Jackobson, of Freedom Folks who told me flat-out, you can run, but you can't get away from the problems. Now I find that he's right. Because now I know there's a big problem, I can't run. I don't like it, but I can't just walk away. I know now what that H.L. Mencken quote means: "Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats." And I would do that, if I thought it would change anything. Instead, I will find others like myself, hopefully more versed in solutions, and try to make myself useful.
I don't want to get caught up, as many in the blogging world seem to do, in worrying about what the Left is doing. I know what they're doing, and don't need to be reminded every day. I need to stay connected with with warriors like, Dymphna and Baron Bodissey over at Gates of Vienna and Fjordman, who writes commentary like Vivaldi wrote music: he puts one, with almost frightening clarity, in the present moment. It's heartening to learn that so many people are willing to stand up and fight the good fight. I will be building a blogroll in the days to come. Time to work.
Posted by No Apology at 4:00 PM
Wednesday, March 04, 2009
If so, then the image below should probably be very appealing. Yup, it's Peter Pan disguised as Robin Hood.
The Baby Boomers belong, not to Generation X, but rather to what I think of as the "X-Box" generation.
And Generation Y is evolving into a multicultural, multi-tasking, culture-less group of souls oblivious to the dangers within. It is a generation which has had everything pre-packaged for them: What to think, what not to think, and and awash with tasteless, unoriginal entertainment.
The power of Socialism is now fed by a democratic process designed to perpetuate and protect a sleeping populace, and that's a problem.
Listen to this 90-second clip:
The Weekly Standard
Barack Obama's America
A timeless critique from Tocqueville
by Alexis de Tocqueville
03/09/2009, Volume 014, Issue 24
It seems that if despotism came to be established in the democratic nations of our day, it would have other characteristics: it would be more extensive and milder, and it would degrade men without tormenting them.
When I think of the small passions of men of our day, the softness of their mores, the extent of their enlightenment, the purity of their religion, the mildness of their morality, their laborious and steady habits, the restraint that almost all preserve in vice as in virtue, I do not fear that in their chiefs they will find tyrants, but rather schoolmasters.
I want to imagine with what new features despotism could be produced in the world: I see an innumerable crowd of like and equal men who revolve on themselves without repose, procuring the small and vulgar pleasures with which they fill their souls.
Above these an immense tutelary power is elevated, which alone takes charge of assuring their enjoyments and watching over their fate. It is absolute, detailed, regular, far-seeing, and mild. It would resemble paternal power if, like that, it had for its object to prepare men for manhood; but on the contrary, it seeks only to keep them fixed irrevocably in childhood; it likes citizens to enjoy themselves provided that they think only of enjoying themselves. It willingly works for their happiness; but it wants to be the unique agent and sole arbiter of that; it provides for their security, foresees and secures their needs, facilitates their pleasures, conducts their principal affairs, directs their industry, regulates their estates, divides their inheritances; can it not take away from them entirely the trouble of thinking and the pain of living?
So it is that every day it renders the employment of free will less useful and more rare; it confines the action of the will in a smaller space and little by little steals the very use of it from each citizen.
Thus, after taking each individual by turns in its powerful hands and kneading him as it likes, the sovereign extends its arms over society as a whole; it covers its surface with a network of small, complicated, painstaking, uniform rules through which the most original minds and the most vigorous souls cannot clear a way to surpass the crowd; it does not break wills but it softens them, bends them, and directs them; it rarely forces one to act, but it constantly opposes itself to one's acting; it does not destroy, it prevents things from being born; it does not tyrannize, it hinders, compromises, enervates, extinguishes, dazes, and finally reduces each nation to being nothing more than a herd of timid and industrious animals of which government is the shepherd.
I have always believed that this sort of regulated, mild, and peaceful servitude, whose picture I have just painted, could be combined better than one imagines with some of the external forms of freedom, and that it would not be impossible for it to be established in the very shadow of the sovereignty of the people.
--Alexis de Tocqueville
From Democracy in America, volume two, part four, chapter six: "What Kind of Despotism Democratic Nations Have to Fear"
(translated by Harvey C. Mansfield and Delba Winthrop)
Posted by No Apology at 11:01 PM
Is Hollywood’s Hard Left Lost in Victory?
by John Scott Lewinski
Politically speaking, it’s quiet in Hollywood. Too quiet.
It’s not a foreboding kind of stillness like the sunrise on a battlefield before the ranks are formed. It’s not an anticipatory breed of shush as “jocund day stands tiptoe” before a big game or the opening of Christmas gifts.
It’s a boring silence — a befuddled, anti-climactic, sighing void that took hold of this town not long after Barack Obama stormed into the White House. With George W. Bush retired to Texas and the most enlightened leader in the history of bipedal evolution taking his place, all problems are fixed, all debates are over, and the supremacy of everything hippie is assured forever. What fun is that?
With Obama as supreme leader, there’s just nothing remaining for Hollywood’s hard left to complain about now. And, you get the feeling they miss the old days.
For a short while after Obama’s win, the self-righteous activist types had gay marriage to keep them occupied. They possessed a cause to keep them chanting and picketing. But, as such causes go, the Prop 8 hooting and hollering lacked a certain clarity.
First, libertarian-leaning types like this commentator also opposed Prop 8 — hoping to keep the government and courts out of marriage issues. And nothing makes a cause less satisfying for progressives than sharing the position with non-liberals.
Then, the Prop 8 protestors started clashing with minority groups — presenting a brand of crippling irony certain to drain all of the tingly, pretentious thrill out of stomping around with a sign and a chant. Just imagine it: You’re on the hard left and you reside in the international multimedia capital of everything warm, fuzzy and superior. Then you realize the minority groups you’re sworn to protect — but don’t want living anywhere near you (Right, Santa Monica and West Hollywood?) — oppose your cause of the month.
The coalition that keeps California in the hands of Democrats broke down as those two-timing minority groups voted against gay marriage in keeping with their cultural and religious views. Hollywood’s enlightened types must’ve been disgusted: You give those folks jobs as your pool cleaners and groundskeepers, and they don’t have the courtesy to obey and follow the progressive agenda.
So, Prop 8 goes off the boil, and Bush is still gone. All Hollywood’s most dedicated complainers have to show for it is some faded “I Voted!” stickers and a squadron of Prius(es) covered in “End
less This War!” bumper stickers. Perhaps you would argue that they have their savior in the command chair, but that same silence spoke of whispers of a little buyer’s remorse.
Taking the oldest trick out of the tyrant’s manual, Obama ran on “Hope” to seize power. Then once he had it, he changed the message to “Fear” to keep expectations low and the masses in line. Maybe that strategy was necessary, since between the unpaid taxes, failed cabinet appointments, the Blago scandal, raging debate over the “spend-u-lous” package and the continued decline of the markets, World War I had a more inspiring first 100 days.
Obama will decisively close Guantanamo (maybe — in a year or so). He’ll promptly get the troops out of Iraq (right around the time they were scheduled to leave anyway — except for the 50,000 he’ll keep there to train combat units). And, he’ll up the ante with more boots on the ground in Afghanistan. It’s enough to transform the Obama-forged screams of adulation to a collective sense of “hm.”
In the end, it’s becoming clear that Hollywood’s progressive crowd had more fun criticizing authority figures than owning authority. Maybe it just felt sexier to attack the old administration free of responsibility than to lead and face the consequences of failure. After all, what’s the point of being smarter, more sensitive and more sophisticated than those crude Republicans if you actually have to submit to performance standards?
And, just so we remember who's actually in charge, there's this:
Video: Clueless Democrats
Posted by No Apology at 4:38 PM