Monday, January 7, 2013

Nicely Said......

"So now that there is a new tragedy the president wants to have a “national conversation on guns”. Here’s the thing. Until this national conversation is willing to entertain allowing teachers to carry concealed weapons, then it isn’t a conversation at all, it is a lecture.
Now when I say teachers carrying concealed weapons on Facebook I immediately get a bunch of emotional freak out responses. You can’t mandate teachers be armed! Guns in every classroom! Emotional response! Blood in the streets!
No. Hear me out. The single best way to respond to a mass shooter is with an immediate, violent response. The vast majority of the time, as soon as a mass shooter meets serious resistance, it bursts their fantasy world bubble. Then they kill themselves or surrender. This has happened over and over again."
- Larry Correia

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Doug Casey on 2013

People, Doug Casey Has more GODDAMNED Financial Wisdom In His Little Finger than all of Washington, DC put together.  Heed These Words!

L: So Doug, the world didn't end in 2012, so it's onward into another new year. It's time to tune in to your guru-vision and tell us what trends you see shaping up and what actions they imply taking.
Doug: Yes, it looks like the Mayans missed this one; perhaps they'll get another kick at the cat a few millennia from now when it's once more time to turn the page on their calendar. Better luck next time, Mayan astrologers! But although nothing seems to be happening on that front, it's appropriate that I'm speaking to you from Punta del Este in Uruguay, which is one of the most happening places in the world at this time of year – North American and European winter, South American summer. I went to a New Year's Eve party last night with some rather interesting temporary denizens of the place, and of course this was the subject of much conversation. None of them happened to be American, incidentally, and all but one – who is very involved in local politics – is extremely bearish on 2013.
L: Do you mean bearish on the global economy? Bearish on geopolitics? Or bearish on civilization itself?
Doug: All of the above. A "Mad Max" type outcome is definitely a possibility, as much as I hate to anticipate something really serious – as opposed to just a financial/economic meltdown. But the West has a huge amount of accumulated capital that it can still dissipate – a task the politicians are working on diligently. I expect the US will get a VAT, and/or an asset tax. Perhaps they'll take a page from Cristina Kirchner's book and nationalize everyone's pension – for the good of the government, as well as the safety of the pensioners, of course. In the near term, we're looking at increased tensions of every kind around the globe, and greater market volatility.
By the way, we enjoyed a professional-grade fireworks display put on by our host in his back yard. It struck me that I was witnessing exactly the kind of freedom that makes me like living down here so much, and makes me dislike returning to the US. In the US, you'd have to be a city to put on that kind of fireworks show, or go through God-know-what sort of licensing to get the explosives involved. The smell of gunpowder at midnight is most invigorating, especially mixed with the smoke of Cuban cigars.
I'm not saying Uruguay is totally free, especially not economically – the president is actually a communist. But he's a surprisingly mellow communist, and not at all corrupt. Most unusual, actually. He lives on a small farm and drives an old car. Of course the things he's doing – raising welfare benefits, eliminating financial privacy, initiating an income tax, and letting petty thieves run wild, among many other things – are making the place much less desirable to hang out.
L: So, aside from economically stupid laws, they let people do pretty much as they will with their personal lives?
Doug: That's the good news. It's a quiet, unambitious, backward, bureaucratic little country. But they still pretty much leave you alone. And strange things can happen. At the party I mentioned, a friend who mostly lives in Argentina told me about what was in Sunday's El Pais, the national paper. It turns out that a top local politician – most of whom are socialists or ex-communists – just discovered Frederic Bastiat's book, The Law. He was so taken with the free-market ideas in it, he had the entirety of the book published as an insert in the paper, at his own expense. I don't know how many people will actually read it, and I doubt it will have much effect, but as a possible straw in the wind, it's pretty interesting. Shocking, actually.
L: A hundred years ago you might have seen a copy of The Communist Manifesto, so perhaps the pendulum will swing back in our direction in the next hundred years. A good reminder that it's important to internationalize both one's assets and one's lifestyle. It's hard to predict what will happen in any given country, although the trend is going from bad to worse just about everywhere.
Doug: Yes; as the Greater Depression deepens, governments all around the world are going to get increasingly desperate, take increasingly stupid measures, and the people on the bottom rungs of the ladder – the very ones the governments will claim to be helping – are going to get pushed off in greater and greater numbers. That's going to make for more social unrest, vandalism, and violence all around the world. It's wise to find a crib away from likely epicenters of turmoil. You still have to look at the world objectively, and prepare to be, or move to wherever there's the least trouble on the ground, among the places you actually enjoy being in. This is especially so for Europeans and their cousins in the US, where things are deteriorating fast.
L: So, what are your own reasons for bearishness?
Doug: I'm exceptionally bearish because we've been in the eye of this hurricane for going on three years. It seems to me that the bigger the eye of the storm, the bigger the storm must be. We are definitely heading for the trailing side of the hurricane soon. And it will be vastly bigger, and last much longer, and be much different than the leading edge.
I can't emphasize enough that all these trillions of currency units that governments all around the world are printing up by the truckload…
L: Or helicopter load.
Doug: [Chuckles] Yes, well, bank-wire load, as it were, these days. They no longer need to bother with the printing press; they can just create more out of nothing with the stroke of a key. All that cash in the US, the EU, Japan, and elsewhere is going to come out of the banks where it's sitting at some point, and the inflation that's been masked so far will kick into a much higher gear.
Take Uruguay, for instance, which is actually a very expensive country – to go out to dinner here in Punta del Este costs considerably more than in the US. When I first came here, things were very cheap. I've seen the same thing in New Zealand, Hong Kong, Spain, and other markets in which I've made a lot of money in real estate, based on the same trend. This is happening all over the world. The US has been so successful at exporting its inflation – abusing the reserve currency status of the US dollar – that it's become a relatively cheap place to live, at least among the more developed nations.
The local symptom of this global sickness is that here in Punta, very expensive condominium buildings are popping up all along the coast, spreading faster than dandelions in springtime. Nobody lives in most of them, though some are occupied for a month or two in the summer, and yet, year-round you have to pay maintenance and security costs of at least $2,000, and sometimes $3,000 or $4,000 per month. The only reason people would pay that kind of money to maintain empty condos, as far as I can see, is to hide money.
L: Why do they need to hide it?
Doug: Each will have his own reasons. Sadly, Uruguay is no longer the Switzerland of South America it once was. There was once no income tax here and financial privacy – which no longer exists anywhere. A government run by ex-communists destroyed all that. That was shooting themselves in the foot, of course. But real property rights are still pretty strong here, so people are building all these condos as a place to stash money in the form of bricks and mortar. Unfortunately, I don't think it will work out for them, because as the global Greater Depression deepens, people are going to have to start liquidating them, and the local market is going to crash. The monthly maintenance costs plus a need to retrieve the invested capital is going to result in a wave of selling. A lot of people are going to get burned. Not just here – almost everywhere. As my friend Richard Russell has said, in a depression everybody loses. The winner is the one who loses the least.
L: Maybe you can let us know when that happens – sounds like it will be a great contrarian buying opportunity at that time.
Doug: Sure. Most people will be too nervous to act, but I keep an eye on several real-estate markets for just that sort of contrarian opportunity. Meanwhile, I may just head for the exits now myself, not wanting to be unable to liquidate the real estate I've got in Uruguay later.
At any rate, I view this developing situation as an example of what's brewing in many markets all around the world.
L: Can you give us more specifics?
Doug: I think the most important thing to bear in mind is that we are approaching the absolute peak of the bond bubble, which has gotten vastly bigger than I ever imagined it could. Interest rates in the developed economies around the world are two percent, one percent, or even negative. This is fueling a bond bubble of truly catastrophic proportions. When it bursts, it will be an order of magnitude worse than the tech stock-market crash of 2001 or the real-estate bubble that burst in 2008.
When this one goes, it won't just wipe out the people who thought they were being prudent savers. Because it's a financial market, it will also hit stocks and real estate again, at least in Europe and the US. Here in Uruguay and places like Argentina, real estate is largely a pure cash market. But in the so-called more developed economies, real estate still floats on a sea of debt.
It amazes me that people in the US are elated because the real-estate market is supposed to be up 4.3%, as of the latest figures. Well, of course it is; you can borrow money for effectively zero, given where interest rates and inflation are.
L: Is that a sign of the bulging piles of money banks have been sitting starting to leak out into the economy?
Doug: Looks that way. And when interest rates start rising steeply, as they'll have to do once inflation sets in, rising to double digits as they were in the 1980s, it will crush real estate further and deeper than we've seen so far. It will do so all around the world, but the US will be hardest hit, I think.
There's no question in my mind: the bond bubble is by far the largest distortion we're facing in the economy today. Bonds are incredibly dangerous, insanely risky speculations today. They're reward-free risk. Bond owners are facing huge default risk, huge interest rate risk, and huge inflation risk. But nobody seems to see it or talk about it.
L: I understand. But honestly, Doug, you've been saying that for a while. What makes you think this will be the year the bond balloon finds the pin it's been searching for?
Doug: You're right – that particular bubble should have found its pin two or three years ago. I admit I thought it'd pop last year. It's like watching a clown over-inflate a balloon; the longer he inflates it, the more you wince, because you know it's going to blow up in his face. And the longer it takes, the closer the inevitable comes to being imminent – and the bigger the explosion becomes.
It would have been so much better if the idiots who run the US government had allowed the market to fully liquidate past mistakes and distortions back in 2008. If they'd let all the big banks, brokers, hedge funds, and corporate welfare junkies fail, it would have been very unpleasant, but the country could have survived it, and come out stronger and with a healthier balance sheet as a result. The real wealth – buildings, farms, technologies, the skills of workers – would still be there. And the financial elite would have been wiped out – which would have been a good thing. But instead, they've ensured that the rich have gotten even richer, guaranteed by the government. They tried to drown a fire with a flood of gasoline, and it's going to burn the country down.
You know the old saw about not predicting both an event and its timing, but I don't see how this thing can go beyond 2013.
L: Well, you were right about the politicians in Washington preferring to compromise than to allow the fiscal cliff to hit the fan, so maybe you're right about this one too.
So, we should beware of the bond bubble bursting. Beware of real estate getting crushed when interest rates go up. What about stocks? Wouldn't a lot of money fleeing falling bonds go into the stock market?
Doug: Yes, a lot would, but a lot of companies would be failing as well, so I'm ambivalent about equities in general. Earnings could collapse. Companies with many millions – or even billions – in cash on their balance sheets could still get hit fast and furious by high inflation. P/E ratios are not low these days; Wall Street is not a bargain. So I'm generally neutral to bearish and therefore out of the stock market. That's the best policy when you can make an equally compelling case for something going up or down.
L: That's exactly how I see copper and the other base metals these days. But gold is another matter.
Doug: Of course. And even though gold has hit new highs in nominal dollar prices, gold has still not matched its previous peak in inflation-adjusted dollars. Really, in practical terms, nobody knows or cares about gold yet. The average guy doesn't even know it exists – and the average guy on Wall Street thinks it's only good for paperweights, of which the world already has a surplus.
L: Gold is cheap at $1,670?
Doug: No. But it's got to go higher. The fact is that precious metals are the only financial assets that are not simultaneously somebody else's liability. The huge counterparty liability in today's markets has yet to make itself evident, but it will – it's in the hundreds of trillions. That's what the derivatives that Buffett has been talking about for a decade are all about.
That makes the best single speculation I can think of today gold and silver mining stocks. For the last two years, gold stocks have been getting cheaper, even though gold has continued rising, year-on-year. That makes these stocks a better deal than they've been for many years.
And it's such a tiny little market, the upside when the larger world catches on will be breathtaking. My sense, based on watching these markets for 40 years, is that we're coming up on an explosion of resource stock prices of historic proportions. The kind of stocks you and Jeff cover are absolutely the place to be.
[Ed. Note: Doug is talking about the BIG GOLD and Casey International Speculator portfolios.]
L: The data support you on that. If you adjust for inflation by looking at the price of gold stocks in terms of gold, they are selling for less than they have for years – almost as low as during the crash of 2008, or even back in 2001, before this bull cycle for metals got going.
Doug: They are now extremely high-potential and relatively low-risk speculations – despite mining being a crappy, 19th-century choo-choo-train industry.
L: [Laughs] I used that phrase of yours in the International Speculator coming out Thursday and make the same point.
Doug: You provide a shopping list?
L: Of course. Jeff's got one in BG too.
Doug: Good. This may be the last chance for people late to this bull market to get in at prices similar to what they could have paid before it got going. And as a matter of fact, gold was cheaper in real terms back in 2001 than it was at $35 per ounce back in 1971. People seem to have forgotten that these are the most volatile stocks on the planet. There have been a half-dozen markets I've personally seen over the years where junior miners and explorers went up 1,000% as a group.
Perversely, people are afraid to buy these stocks now –
L: The very reason they should; you have to be a contrarian to buy low and sell high.
Doug: – at precisely the time when they should. I promise you, when the Mania Phase of this gold market kicks in, everyone will be piling in, and it will drive share prices not just through the roof, but to the moon. Then they'll collapse 95% later, of course, the way they always do. But now is the time to buy them. However, since there are several thousand of them, it's critical to be highly selective.
L: Well, if speculating when others dare not were easy, everyone would do it, and there would be no speculative opportunity, so of course I agree.
But back to 2013 – if you don't think the global economy will collapse this year, can you say when?
Doug: As I said last time, 2013 is going to be ugly, but it will just be a warmup for 2014. Back at the New Year's party I went to here in Punta del Este, I asked my best friend down here the same question. He's very rich and very shrewd. He's of the opinion that the world will see catastrophic events of historic proportions – not just one, but several – over the next ten years.
I think he's right, and that brings us back to another point we started with: I cannot stress strongly enough that anyone who hopes to survive financially, and perhaps even physically, needs to internationalize.
L: There's the Mr. Cheerful we all know and love.
Doug: Hey, I'm looking at the bright side...

Russian News Outlet Pravda Prints Surprising Opinion Column Warning USA: ‘Never Give Up Your Guns’

Americans never give up your guns. 48982.jpeg
These days, there are few few things to admire about the socialist, bankrupt and culturally degenerating USA, but at least so far, one thing remains: the right to bare arms and use deadly force to defend one's self and possessions.
This will probably come as a total shock to most of my Western readers, but at one point, Russia was one of the most heavily armed societies on earth. This was, of course, when we were free under the Tsar. Weapons, from swords and spears to pistols, rifles and shotguns were everywhere, common items. People carried them concealed, they carried them holstered. Fighting knives were a prominent part of many traditional attires and those little tubes criss crossing on the costumes of Cossacks and various Caucasian peoples? Well those are bullet holders for rifles.
Various armies, such as the Poles, during the Смута (Times of Troubles), or Napoleon, or the Germans even as the Tsarist state collapsed under the weight of WW1 and Wall Street monies, found that holding Russian lands was much much harder than taking them and taking was no easy walk in the park but a blood bath all its own. In holding, one faced an extremely well armed and aggressive population Hell bent on exterminating or driving out the aggressor.
This well armed population was what allowed the various White factions to rise up, no matter how disorganized politically and militarily they were in 1918 and wage a savage civil war against the Reds. It should be noted that many of these armies were armed peasants, villagers, farmers and merchants, protecting their own. If it had not been for Washington's clandestine support of and for the Reds, history would have gone quite differently.
Moscow fell, for example, not from a lack of weapons to defend it, but from the lieing guile of the Reds. Ten thousand Reds took Moscow and were opposed only by some few hundreds of officer cadets and their instructors. Even then the battle was fierce and losses high. However, in the city alone, at that time, lived over 30,000 military officers (both active and retired), all with their own issued weapons and ammunition, plus tens of thousands of other citizens who were armed. The Soviets promised to leave them all alone if they did not intervene. They did not and for that were asked afterwards to come register themselves and their weapons: where they were promptly shot.
Of course being savages, murderers and liars does not mean being stupid and the Reds learned from their Civil War experience. One of the first things they did was to disarm the population. From that point, mass repression, mass arrests, mass deportations, mass murder, mass starvation were all a safe game for the powers that were. The worst they had to fear was a pitchfork in the guts or a knife in the back or the occasional hunting rifle. Not much for soldiers.
To this day, with the Soviet Union now dead 21 years, with a whole generation born and raised to adulthood without the SU, we are still denied our basic and traditional rights to self defense. Why? We are told that everyone would just start shooting each other and crime would be everywhere....but criminals are still armed and still murdering and to often, especially in the far regions, those criminals wear the uniforms of the police. The fact that everyone would start shooting is also laughable when statistics are examined.
While President Putin pushes through reforms, the local authorities, especially in our vast hinterland, do not feel they need to act like they work for the people. They do as they please, a tyrannical class who knows they have absolutely nothing to fear from a relatively unarmed population. This in turn breeds not respect but absolute contempt and often enough, criminal abuse.
For those of us fighting for our traditional rights, the US 2nd Amendment is a rare light in an ever darkening room. Governments will use the excuse of trying to protect the people from maniacs and crime, but are in reality, it is the bureaucrats protecting their power and position. In all cases where guns are banned, gun crime continues and often increases. As for maniacs, be it nuts with cars (NYC, Chapel Hill NC), swords (Japan), knives (China) or home made bombs (everywhere), insane people strike. They throw acid (Pakistan, UK), they throw fire bombs (France), they attack. What is worse, is, that the best way to stop a maniac is not psychology or jail or "talking to them", it is a bullet in the head, that is why they are a maniac, because they are incapable of living in reality or stopping themselves.
The excuse that people will start shooting each other is also plain and silly. So it is our politicians saying that our society is full of incapable adolescents who can never be trusted? Then, please explain how we can trust them or the police, who themselves grew up and came from the same culture?
No it is about power and a total power over the people. There is a lot of desire to bad mouth the Tsar, particularly by the Communists, who claim he was a tyrant, and yet under him we were armed and under the progressives disarmed. Do not be fooled by a belief that progressives, leftists hate guns. Oh, no, they do not. What they hate is guns in the hands of those who are not marching in lock step of their ideology. They hate guns in the hands of those who think for themselves and do not obey without question. They hate guns in those whom they have slated for a barrel to the back of the ear.
So, do not fall for the false promises and do not extinguish the light that is left to allow humanity a measure of self respect.

What Just Happened?

"The United States averted economic calamity on Tuesday," reports Reuters with a straight face. We begin the new year dying to edit this news headline. Here's our version:

"The United States postponed certain economic calamity on Tuesday."
Alas, we haven't understood the term "fiscal cliff" since we first looked up the term anyway. Only in Washington are measures intended to restore fiscal sanity considered a threat. Best we could tell at the time: Fiscal cliff is "a term Democrats apparently wield to scare voters into thinking they'd be better off with higher taxes."

To no one's surprise, the White House and Congress did just that. The House signed a version of the Senate's bill late last night. The president added his John Hancock. And... your taxes will go up.

  In the meantime, as the can clamors down the scree, let's calculate the damage. Apologies in advance if you're still suffering a pernicious New Year's hangover:
  •  The "Bush tax cuts" are now permanent -- or as permanent as anything is in Washington -- except for...
  •  Couples who make more than $450,000 will revert to Clinton-era rates (single $400,000). In addition, their tax rate on dividends and long-term capital gains jumps from 15% to 20%
  •  Itemized deductions and the personal exemption start phasing out on couples' incomes above $300,000 (single $250,000)
  •  Remarkably, the dreaded alternative minimum tax (AMT) has been patched "permanently"
  •  The estate tax exemption falls from $5.2 million to $5 million; the rate jumps from 35% to 40%.
  The employee portion of the payroll tax reverts to the pre-2011 rate of 6.2%. That means taxes will rise for 77.1% of U.S. households, according to the Tax Policy Center.

At least the Social Security "trust fund" will get a few more worthless IOUs, so it's all good, right?

  What about spending cuts, you ask? Heh.

$30 billion in spending was added: Extended unemployment benefits -- the straight-up welfare program that kicks in after the 26 weeks of insurance runs out -- will carry on for another year.

  At least we're guaranteed a few more political "showdowns" before the first blossoms of spring. Otherwise, what would we do with our time?

The $110 billion in automatic spending cuts that were supposed to kick in yesterday -- the "sequester" that was part of the summer 2011 debt ceiling deal -- have been put off till the end of February.

A "continuing resolution" -- quick-fix legislation to cover for the fact lawmakers can't draw up a real budget -- expires on March 27.

If you have an excellent memory -- or a government contract -- you will recall the last of those items nearly triggered a "partial government shutdown" in the spring of 2011.

We should be so lucky.

  While all this was going on, the government unceremoniously bumped up against the debt ceiling again on Monday.

Or so Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says: Treasury's own website is updated only through last Friday. It pegged the national debt at $16.336 trillion -- $58 billion below the ceiling of $16.394 trillion.

The Treasury is now resorting to borrowing from government pension plans, as they did 18 months ago, to make ends "meet."

Ha. Ha. Ha.

Get Some of Your Money Back With a Forced Reading List

So they tax us, and if we want some fraction of the our own money back, we must agree to include a growing body of pro-government, pro-statist propaganda.
And a few quotes below. Do try to get past the fact that the story is from Fox News, once in a while they get one right.
Why all the cool kids are reading Executive Order 13423 – Fox News: Literacy experts point out that The Common Core denigrates the value of teaching literature in the classroom. Instead, English teachers are being told that 50 percent of their course material must be derived from “informational texts.” (Actually, the informational text requirement starts at a “mere” 25 percent of reading material for kindergarteners. It rises to 70 percent for high school seniors.)
What, exactly, meets the definition of informational texts? Among those recommended on the national standards list we find The Federal Reserve Bank’s “FedViews,” “The Evolution of the Grocery Bag,” and “Health Care Costs in McAllen, Texas.” And, roll over “For Whom the Bell Tolls” it’s time to make way for that GSA classic: “Executive Order 13423: Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management.”
Education is a weapon,
whose effect depends on who
holds it in his hands and
at whom it is aimed.
– Josef Stalin
The education of all children,
from the moment that they can get along without a mother’s care,
shall be in state institutions at state expense.
– Karl Marx
Give me four years to teach the children and
the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.
– Vladimir Ilyich Lenin
When school children start paying union dues,
that’s when I’ll start representing the interests of school children.
– Albert Shanker
(1928-1997) former president of the American Federation of Teachers
Children who know how to think for themselves spoil the harmony of the
collective society which is coming where everyone is interdependent.
– John Dewey
(1859-1952) American philosopher, psychologist, professor, and progressive educational reformer.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

FaceBook Has A Problem With Gandhi

The reports are absolutely true. Facebook suspended the Natural News account earlier today after we posted an historical quote from Mohandas Gandhi. The quote reads:

"Among the many misdeeds of British rule in India, history will look upon the Act depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest." - Mohandas Gandhi, an Autobiography, page 446.

This historical quote was apparently too much for Facebook's censors to bear. They suspended our account and gave us a "final warning" that one more violation of their so-called "community guidelines" would result in our account being permanently deactivated.

They then demanded we send them a color copy of a "government issued identification" in order to reactivate our account. Our account was removed from suspension just minutes before InfoWars posted its article on this Facebook censorship, and the Facebook page is now functioning at:

This is a separate account from our primary Facebook account, which has nearly 250,000 followers at:

Logic is an enemy and history is a menace

That Facebook would choose to disable our account after we posted a Gandhi quote is incredibly shocking. The historical rise of oppressed Indian people against tyrannical British rule is apparently no longer allowed to be discussed on Facebook. The very IDEA of a free people overcoming tyrannical government rule now "violates community guidelines." The removal of this content is akin to online book burning and the destruction of history.

This post was not in any way malicious, nor encouraging violence, nor even describing guns or the Second Amendment. It merely reflected the words of one of our world's most celebrated rebel leaders who helped an entire nation throw off the shackles of oppression and British occupation. That Facebook would find this to "violate community guidelines" is nothing short of absolutely bewildering.

Here is the full image as originally posted on Facebook. Keep in mind that THIS is now considered unacceptable speech across the "Facebook community," where any number of people can openly call for the murder of the NRA president and have absolutely no action taken against them: is also now reporting that Facebook is running an across-the-board PURGE of pro-gun accounts. A huge number of accounts are all being systematically disabled or suspended, with all content being wiped clean.

We have entered the era of the Ministry of Truth from George Orwell's 1984 novel. And while Facebook assaults the First Amendment in America, Senator Feinstein is busy assaulting the Second.

Facebook declares war on human history

What's especially alarming about all this is that Gandhi himself was of course a champion of resistance against tyranny. To banish quotes from Gandhi is much like banning quotes of freedom from Martin Luther King (who also openly supported concealed firearms, by the way, and who personally owned an entire "arsenal" of firearms).

What's next? Will Facebook ban quotes by Thomas Jefferson and George Washington? Any and all patriots, founding fathers and liberty lovers throughout history might soon be stricken from the Facebook servers, and any who dare to post historical quotes supporting liberty, the Bill of Rights, or the Second Amendment risk having their accounts terminated and all content deleted.

Collectivist propaganda has now reached a point where you can't even discuss liberty or anything out of history that supported the right to keep and bear arms. You are required to stay focused solely on celebrity gossip, sports stars, fashion distractions and tabloid garbage. Anyone who wishes to discuss actual American history must now go underground and speak softly in dimly-lit rooms, behind secret walls and drawn curtains.

The era of total oppression and collectivist mind control has fully arrived in America. This is not hyperbole... IT IS HERE NOW.

Memorize this quote, because it too shall soon be purged from the internet:

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." - Thomas Jefferson.

Dare to post that on Facebook and you risk your account being disabled or deleted.

Nicely Said......

"Sometimes paranoia is just having all the facts."  - William S. Burroughs

In 2002, CBO predicted 2012 US debt would be 7.4% of GDP. In reality, it was almost 74% of GDP

Making economic and budget predictions is hard, especially when wars, recessions, and financial crises pop up unexpectedly. Here’s the Congressional Budget Office’s ten-year budget forecast from 2002 (note that this was after the Bush tax cuts were passed):

And here’s what actually happened:

Instead of publicly-held debt as a share of GDP being a microscopic 7.4% this year, it was closer to 74% – or 72.8% to be specific (as of the August update from the CBO.)
In 2007 — the Great Recession is officially dated as starting in December of that year — the debt-GDP ratio was 37%. So a doubling of debt due to the Great Slump — the recession and its slow-growth aftermath.

San Bernardino may have to pay pensions before police protection

The people of San Bernardino are being held up—and the criminal is telling them “your money or your life”—for real.
CalPERS—this is NOT a joke—is claiming THEY are the police and the city has to pay it, not the men and women patrolling the streets.  If CalPERS wins you know there will not be a gun store in 50 miles that has any weapons or ammunition left on the shelves.
“If the bill must be paid, that could place pensions in a priority or equal position to providing essential police and fire protection.
Jury ruled on Dec. 21 that CalPERS cannot go around the bankruptcy court and collect past due pension payments from San Bernardino. CalPERS asserted that it had police powers that were superior to the bankruptcy courts powers.  It claimed its police powers were like garnishing wages for unpaid taxes or unpaid child support.  Police powers are the right of governments to enforce laws and regulations to protect public safety, health and welfare.

San Bernardino may have to pay pensions before police protection
By Wayne Lusvardi, Calwatchdog,   12/26/12
Do pension payments have the first claim to a bankrupt city’s revenues, even over providing essential police and fire protection?  This is the half-trillion-dollar question currently before a Federal bankruptcy court concerning the insolvency of the city of San Bernardino.
The California Public Employee Retirement System petitioned the court that:
1. The City of San Bernardino is not eligible to file for bankruptcy;
2. CalPERS has sovereign police powers exceeding that of the bankruptcy court, which allow it to seize city funds even over paying the salaries for police and fire protection or making municipal bond payments; and
3. Bankruptcy only applies to unpaid claims before a bankruptcy action was filed, not the city’s failure to make pension payments to CalPERS after the bankruptcy filing.
The early news report of a preliminary decision by federal Judge Meredith Jury was that CalPERS may have to get in line with other creditors in the bankruptcy.  Municipal bankruptcy case law has always made the first obligation of a city to provide essential police and fire protection and all other obligations came after that.
But this may be about to change. The judge may have rejected CalPERS’s assertion that it had the right to seize revenues from San Bernardino for $8 million in unpaid pension bills.  But the judge indicated that the bill must be paid up before the bankruptcy court case is over.

Pensions Over Police?

If the bill must be paid, that could place pensions in a priority or equal position to providing essential police and fire protection.
CalPERS asserts that San Bernardino has a $14.7 million cash surplus that could be used to pay its pension bills.  The city counters that it has already borrowed from “special funds” (affordable housing, water, utility funds) and has a $19 million budget deficit.
Jury ruled on Dec. 21 that CalPERS cannot go around the bankruptcy court and collect past due pension payments from San Bernardino. CalPERS asserted that it had police powers that were superior to the bankruptcy courts powers.  It claimed its police powers were like garnishing wages for unpaid taxes or unpaid child support.  Police powers are the right of governments to enforce laws and regulations to protect public safety, health and welfare.
However, in this case the protection of the public’s safety would have been jeopardized. That is because CalPERS could have left San Bernardino without enough funds for adequate police and fire protection. The judge ruled that the bankruptcy court had superior jurisdiction over any implied police powers of CalPERS.  But the judge did not rule yet on CalPERS’ claim that San Bernardino should not have been permitted to file bankruptcy in the first place.  Nor did the judge rule that unpaid pension bills had less priority than paying for essential public services or making bond payments.

What’s At Stake?

There is plenty at stake on the outcome of this case.
Nothing will be able to stop a wave of pension write-downs and write-offs by other cash strapped cities in California if the court rules that pension payments are less of a priority than paying for essential services or bond debts.  About 10 percent of California’s 482 incorporated cities have declared fiscal distress, according to Moody’s bond rating firm. What ultimately would be on the horizon for CalPERS pensioners and future retirees is a day of reckoning for California’s unsustainable public pension levels in at least 50 cities, assuming that economic recovery continues; more than that if a new recession hits..
On the other hand, if CalPERS wins its claim for first priority for pension payments, the bond market may react negatively with much higher interest rates for borrowing or refusal to issue any more bonds to financially distressed cities. Bonds allow cities to stretch their tax dollars further. Bonds are like a home mortgage that allows a family to afford to own a home without having to save to purchase it in cash.  But perhaps the end game for both CalPERs and insolvent cities would be determined by municipal bond issuers who would simply require that it be written in bond documents that bond payments take priority over pension claims.  The municipal bond industry already believes it has priority over pension-system payments.

Fiscal emergency

The way this case is headed appears to be that the city will be ordered to pay up its past due pension obligations.  This would leave the city without adequate protective services and force a fiscal emergency.  The city’s only recourse, other than pension reform, might be to place an emergency measure on the ballot for voter approval of, say, a 100 percent increase in property taxes.
San Bernardino has a CalPERS annual payment of about $28.8 million and collects about $29.5 million in property taxes and $16.3 million in sales taxes.  But even if voters were extorted to vote for a large increase in property taxes to maintain protective services, it would likely be met by a substantial devaluation in home values (bringing in less revenue on the devalued properties) that would offset the tax increase higher bond interest rates.
The judge in the San Bernardino bankruptcy case has urged the city to devise an “end game” plan.  That may mean bringing pension reform before the voters. Or it could mean gambling on the CalPERS-backed plan to condemn “underwater mortgages” to generate more property taxes from a revival of the San Bernardino County housing market. But once again, condemning mortgages would only mean shifting upside down mortgage debts onto all property owners in the county, resulting in a countywide decline in home values.
CalPERS may win in bankruptcy court through extorting a property tax increase to pay for police protection, or through upside down mortgage eminent domain.  But the real estate and bond markets are waiting to have their say in the matter. And there will be no appeals court.

Regardless of the Cliff: These New Taxes Hit At Midnight

Obamacare contains twenty new or higher taxes. Five of the taxes hit for the first time on January 1.  In total, Americans face a net $1 trillion tax hike for the years 2013-2022, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
The five major Obamacare taxes taking effect on January 1 are as follows:
The Obamacare Medical Device Tax:  Medical device manufacturers employ 409,000 people in 12,000 plants across the country. Obamacare imposes a new 2.3 percent excise tax on gross sales – even if the company does not earn a profit in a given year.  In addition to killing small business jobs and impacting research and development budgets, this will increase the cost of your health care – making everything from pacemakers to artificial hips more expensive.
The Obamacare Flex Account Tax: The 30-35 million Americans who use a pre-tax Flexible Spending Account (FSA) at work to pay for their family’s basic medical needs will face a new government cap of $2500. This will squeeze $13 billion of tax money from Americans over the next ten years. (Currently, the accounts are unlimited under federal law, though employers are allowed to set a cap.)
There is one group of FSA owners for whom this new cap will be particularly cruel and onerous: parents of special needs children.  There are several million families with special needs children in the United States, and many of them use FSAs to pay for special needs education. Tuition rates at one leading school that teaches special needs children in Washington, D.C. (National Child Research Center) can easily exceed $14,000 per year. Under tax rules, FSA dollars can be used to pay for this type of special needs education. This Obamacare tax provision will limit the options available to these families.
The Obamacare Surtax on Investment Income: This is a new, 3.8 percentage point surtax on investment income earned in households making at least $250,000 ($200,000 single).  This would result in the following top tax rates on investment income:
Capital GainsDividendsOther*
2013+ (current law)23.8%43.4%43.4%
The table above also incorporates the scheduled hike in the capital gains rate from 15 to 20 percent, and the scheduled hike in dividends rate from 15 to 39.6 percent.
The Obamacare “Haircut” for Medical Itemized Deductions: Currently, those Americans facing high medical expenses are allowed a deduction to the extent that those expenses exceed 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI).  This tax increase imposes a threshold of 10 percent of AGI. By limiting this deduction, Obamacare widens the net of taxable income for the sickest Americans.  This tax provision will most harm near retirees and those with modest incomes but high medical bills.
The Obamacare Medicare Payroll Tax Hike:  The Medicare payroll tax is currently 2.9 percent on all wages and self-employment profits.  Under this tax hike, wages and profits exceeding $200,000 ($250,000 in the case of married couples) will face a 3.8 percent rate instead. This is a direct marginal income tax hike on small business owners, who are liable for self-employment tax in most cases. The table below compares current law vs. the Obamacare Medicare Payroll Tax Hike:
First $200,000
($250,000 Married)
All Remaining Wages
Current Law1.45%/1.45%
2.9% self-employed
2.9% self-employed
Obamacare Tax Hike1.45%/1.45%
2.9% self-employed
3.8% self-employed

Example 2,691,907 of Why These People Should Not Be Trusted

School District Owes $1 Billion On $100 Million Loan

More than 200 school districts across California are taking a second look at the high price of the debt they've taken on using risky financial arrangements. Collectively, the districts have borrowed billions in loans that defer payments for years — leaving many districts owing far more than they borrowed.
In 2010, officials at the West Contra Costa School District, just east of San Francisco, were in a bind. The district needed $2.5 million to help secure a federally subsidized $25 million loan to build a badly needed elementary school.
Charles Ramsey, president of the school board, says he needed that $2.5 million upfront, but the district didn't have it.
"We'd be foolish not to take advantage of getting $25 million" when the district had to spend just $2.5 million to get it, Ramsey says. "The only way we could do it was with a [capital appreciation bond]."
Those bonds, known as CABs, are unlike typical bonds, where a school district is required to make immediate and regular payments. Instead, CABs allow districts to defer payments well into the future — by which time lots of interest has accrued.
In the West Contra Costa Schools' case, that $2.5 million bond will cost the district a whopping $34 million to repay.
'The School District Equivalent Of A Payday Loan'
Ramsey says it was a good deal, because his district is getting a brand-new $25 million school. "You'd take that any day," he says. "Why would you leave $25 million on the table? You would never leave $25 million on the table."
But that doesn't make the arrangement a good deal, says California State Treasurer Bill Lockyer. "It's the school district equivalent of a payday loan or a balloon payment that you might obligate yourself for," Lockyer says. "So you don't pay for, maybe, 20 years — and suddenly you have a spike in interest rates that's extraordinary."
Lockyer is poring through a database collected by the Los Angeles Times of school districts that have recently used capital appreciation bonds. In total, districts have borrowed about $3 billion to finance new school construction, maintenance and educational materials. But the actual payback on those loans will exceed $16 billion.
Some of the bonds can be refinanced, but most cannot, Lockyer says.
Perhaps the best example of the CAB issue is suburban San Diego's Poway Unified School District, which borrowed a little more than $100 million. But "debt service will be almost $1 billion," Lockyer says. "So, over nine times amount of the borrowing. There are worse ones, but that's pretty bad."
A Statewide Problem
The superintendent of the Poway School District, John Collins, wasn't available for comment. But he recently defended his district's use of capital appreciation bonds in an interview with San Diego's KPBS Investigative Newsource.
"Poway has done nothing different than every other district in the state of California," Collins told the program.
And he's right. In some cases, districts are on the hook to pay back anywhere between 10 and even 20 times the amount they borrowed.
But Lockyer says it distresses him to hear school officials defend these bonds.
"It's so irresponsible, that if I were on a school board — which I was, 40 years ago — I would get rid of that superintendent," Lockyer says.
Back in the '90s, the state of Michigan banned capital appreciation bonds altogether. But Lockyer says California needn't go that far. He supports a series of reforms such as capping the payback of debt to four times the amount borrowed. Otherwise, says Lockyer, these bonds will be paid well into the future, by the children of today's students.

Blaming The Company That Gave You The Best Deal

I saw a woman on Stossel tonight who works for McDonald's. She said she was paid $8 an hour, but felt she deserved $15. I thought: Wait a minute, McDonald's isn't the only company not paying you $15 an hour: neither you nor I are aware of anyone willing to pay you that much. So why is your problem with McDonald's?
This is what a friend on Facebook, John T. Kennedy, wrote. It makes a good point. The woman felt or thought that she deserved $15 an hour. But Kennedy's point is: Why single out McDonald's? Indeed, there's a presumption that McDonald's is paying her more than anyone else would. Why? Because if someone else would pay more, she would likely be working for someone else. Or, it's possible that someone else would pay more, but she likes McDonald's because the job is better, on a non-wage dimension, than that other higher-paying job. In short, she's in the best place she can find. McDonald's is giving her a better deal than anyone else is offering. So her beef, so to speak, is with the very company that's giving her the best deal!
In blaming McDonald's rather than other firms, she is kind of like the minister who, on Sunday morning, expresses his anger at his congregation for poor attendance.

Unions are Not About Workers’ “Rights”

In Obamacare, it was mandated that health insurance companies spend 85% of premiums on care (vs. marketing, profits, and overhead) or else they owe their customers a refund.  So if the same standard was applied to unions, how much of their dues would they have to refund?
For example, according to the most recent federal filings, the Michigan Education Association — the state’s largest labor union — received $122 million and spent $134 million in 2012. They averaged about $800 from each of their 152,000 members.
According to union documents, “representational activities” (money spent on bargaining contracts for members) made up only 11 percent of total spending for the union. Meanwhile, spending on “general overhead” (union administration and employee benefits) comprised of 61 percent of the total spending.
The union appears to have spent nearly the entirety, or $119 million of their $122 million in dues, just supporting their leadership  (and various politicians) in grand style.  They actually had to borrow $12 million to do their job of representing their members.
By Obama’s standard of good management (core activity costs = 85% of total customer dues paid) then the union should have taken only $17.4 million from their members, and owe them a $104.6 million refund.
Speaking of unions, I was forced to fork over about $65 in tax dollars over the next 15 years to build two turf stadiums (one with lights) at our two local government high schools – among the richest school districts in the nation. They are only spending about $8 million to build them. Hilariously, in their “mailing” telling me all about the vote (I may have been the only person to vote against it) they said that we should vote yes because much of the money is coming from New York State (so, poorer people around the state funneling money to us to make lavish athletic facilities for rich kids), and also because the amount I am chipping in “amounts to a cup of coffee each year.” That is fu-king appalling. If it is “just” a cup of coffee per year, then pay for the damn things yourselves. More on this in future posts.

European Union Outlaws Criticism Of Same

THE European Court of Justice ruled yesterday that the European Union can lawfully suppress political criticism of its institutions and of leading figures, sweeping aside English Common Law and 50 years of European precedents on civil liberties.
The EU's top court found that the European Commission was entitled to sack Bernard Connolly, a British economist dismissed in 1995 for writing a critique of European monetary integration entitled The Rotten Heart of Europe.
The ruling stated that the commission could restrict dissent in order to "protect the rights of others" and punish individuals who "damaged the institution's image and reputation". The case has wider implications for free speech that could extend to EU citizens who do not work for the Brussels bureaucracy.
The court called the Connolly book "aggressive, derogatory and insulting", taking particular umbrage at the author's suggestion that Economic and Monetary Union was a threat to democracy, freedom and "ultimately peace".
However, it dropped an argument put forward three months ago by the advocate-general, Damaso Ruiz-Jarabo Colomer, which implied that Mr Connolly's criticism of the EU was akin to extreme blasphemy, and therefore not protected speech.
Mr Connolly, who has been told to pay the European Commission's legal costs, said the proceedings did not amount to a fair hearing. He said: "We're back to the Star Chamber and Acts of Attainder: the rights of defendants are not respected or guaranteed in any way; the offence of seditious libel has been resurrected."
Mr Colomer wrote in his opinion last November that a landmark British case on free speech had "no foundation or relevance" in European law, suggesting that the European Court was unwilling to give much consideration to British legal tradition.
Mr Connolly now intends to take his case to Europe's other court, the non-EU European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Happy New Year!

OK, a whole month with no posts and we're still hurting.  Not only from a time/life/work balance type of hurt - but a hurt of ideals and a loss of faith in our fellow men.  We here at Sound Of Cannons Towers East are still shocked at the turns our once great country has taken and since we're all pretty good at prognosticating the future (even Ralph) we're even further depressed.  We'll try and recover with the new 366 day year ahead....pray for us as we pray for the country.