This is the kind of stuff I used to read about in biographies of people who survived persecution in the Soviet Union and other communist countries. Â I can’t believe it’s happening here, and so many Americans are still asleep!
Remember when you lived in that America where you had freedom of expression? Well, itâ€™s easy to imagine that the old America doesnâ€™t exist any more with the story of the Secret Service agents that harassed a Twitter user because he dared criticize President Obama.
Tom Francois is an outspoken critic of President Obama on Twitter and has some 12 thousand followers that watch his every Tweet. (@Tom_Francois) But apparently his fans arenâ€™t the only ones hanging on his every Tweet.
As Tom found out, the Secret Service has blown in a â€œfollowâ€ to Tomâ€™s feed, too. But instead of laughing as Tom makes funny photoshopped, anti-Obama images and reveling in Obamaâ€™s many scandals, the Secret Service was watching and making plans to come pounding at his door to harass him for his political opinions.
On April 11, 2013, he heard relentless pounding on his door shouts of “Police!” The officers introduced themselves as members of TheÂ Secret ServiceÂ and asked if they could “take a look around.”
Since Tom had nothing to hide (and he didn’t want any return visits) – he complied fully with their request. He even signed a consent to search his premises AND an “Authorization To Review Medical and Mental Health Records!”
They asked Tom if he ever left his state or traveled to Washington, D.C.
One Agent asked Tom if he has any intentions of “whacking” the President.” To which Tom replied- “Of course not. I wish him no harm. I disagree with his policies and actions and I make no bones about it. It’s my First Amendment Right and I intend to exercise it.”
When I spoke to Tom he said, “Yes, I am EXTREMELY critical of Obama in my posts, but I never cross the line and threaten his being. EVER. It’s just the idea of Obama’s Secret Service intruding on my life when they knew I wasn’t really a threat.”
The Secret Service had a thick FBI file- filled with screenshots of hundreds of posts. Said Tom, “I flat out told them ‘I have NEVER threatened Obama’s life! Yes, I despise him as you can plainly see, but I have that right!’ They actually ADMITTED and agreed with me that I hadn’t threatened Obama.”
They had run a background check and discovered that Tom legally owned two guns- and they asked to see them. Tom showed them his firearms. They asked, “Are they loaded?” Tom replied in the affirmative. “What good are guns if they aren’t loaded?”
So why harass Tom? “The Secret Service officers claimed that “they were concerned that since I have a largeÂ TwitterÂ following, and the things I said could be acted upon by some nut case out there! What the hell? They turned my life upside down for THAT?”
Tom didn’t refuse the search because they just would have gone and gotten a warrant. “They would have proceeded to tear my house apart. No thanks. I have nothing to hide. They left empty-handed and my house is still intact.”
When they left Tom’s house, one Secret Service Agent ‘advised’-Â “Keep in mind, if you step over the line, we’ll come back for your guns.”
After the “visit” to Tom, the Secret Service also visited Tom’s 22 year old daughter- terrifying her and making her fear for her father’s safety. She asked them what they were going to do with the information about her Dad.Â They said they were going to “turn it over to Eric Holder- he has the last word on what to do, if anything.”
Notice that the raid on this innocent American came only four days before the Boston marathon bombing. While Islamic extremists were planning to kill people in Boston, the government was all worried about a Twitter user that made funny photoshopped pictures of Obama.
On Thursday the Examiner providedÂ an exclusive reportÂ indicating that theÂ Obama administrationÂ had implemented a covert program beginning in 2009 that was intended to spy on conservative, evangelical Christian churches.
That program involved infiltration — sending in government operatives to join churches for the purpose of data collection. The government snoops would keep their eyes and ears open for criticism of the Obama administration, talk of Tea Party participation, conversations about gun ownership, and a number of other issues.
But aÂ special report issued today by Fox NewsÂ indicates that the program went far beyond infiltration and snooping. The IRS was used to harass Christian churches if they were identified as places where large numbers of anti-Obama citizens congregated for worship.
The Obama administration, according to the report, considered any public criticism of administration policies to be political in nature and should therefore impact whether or not these congregations were allowed to gain or keep their tax exempt status.
What most people don’t realize is that the IRS has been acting as the speech police for decades. Ever since 1954, when then-Senator Lyndon Johnson pushed for a law enabling the IRS to punish non-profits who opposed him politically, the IRS has been in the business of government censor. Whatâ€™s worse is that one of the biggest targets of this censorship has been religious people and houses of worship. In fact, one of the IRSâ€™s first targets in the 1950s was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who was subjected to a searching IRS audit because of his religious advocacy for civil rights for African-Americans.
The IRS of course has the crushing power to deny or revoke the non-profit status of a synagogue, church, or mosque if it says something the IRS decides is too “political.” But it can also put houses of worship and other religious organizations through the wringer of intrusive, costly, and time-consuming audits.
There are two ways the targeting works. One way is for an outside group, often one that is anti-religion, to file a complaint asking the IRS to investigate a church they donâ€™t like. The IRS responds to the complaint by opening an investigation and asking the church often hundreds of questions about its activities, with the threat of revocation of non-profit status. This is what lawyers call â€œselective enforcementâ€ and it is unconstitutional. No one should be singled out in this way, especially because of collusion between the IRS and outside groups with an ax to grind.
The second way the censorship starts is for IRS officials to take their lead from high government officials, including the President, to decide which groups to target for disfavor. This is apparently what happened to the â€œtea partyâ€ groups, but religious groups have also been targeted in this way.
Don’t believe it? Just ask Billy Graham. Last fall, the famed Christian evangelist publicly advocated on behalf of a ballot measure in his home state of North Carolina, taking a position that the President and other high government officials publicly opposed. The tax man was knocking at the door almost immediately. And while the expensive, time-consuming audit eventually ended without any finding of wrongdoing by Graham, a message was sent to every other religious group that might oppose government policy: the IRS can use its audit powers to harass you or shut you down simply for saying what you believe. That kind of intimidation is wrong–and unconstitutional.
The radical, Marxist Environmentalist agenda has always been about destroying capitalism and industry. Â It has nothing to do with “saving the planet.” Â Since the “science” facade of Global Warming is quickly falling apart, their goal is to impose their agenda by force as quickly as possible before the game is up.
So much for the denials. An administration that throughout its 2012 election campaign denied it was waging a War on Coal has now come out and publicly declared its intention to shut down coal-fired power plants â€“ putting hundreds of thousands of Americans out of work and sending electricity prices skyrocketing.
This is not what the American people voted for.
[…] Â Obama made clear in his speech that he intends to impose regulations on existing coal plants that can only be met through carbon capture and storage (technology that doesnâ€™t exist on a commercial scale), switching to natural gas, or shutting down completely.
Coal still producesÂ 37 percentÂ of U.S. electricity. AÂ Heritage Foundation analysisÂ found that implementing Obamaâ€™s proposed regulation on existing coal plants would destroy more than 500,000 jobs, slash the income of a typical family of four more than $1,400 a year, and increase electricity prices at least 20 percent.Â Price spikes could be much higher in states that depend heavily on coal-fired power plants, especially in the Midwest.Â President Obama once famously explained that he intended to make electricity prices â€œnecessarily skyrocket.â€
Under pressure from environmentalists, President Barack Obamaâ€™s new plan to tackleÂ global warmingÂ relies on executive power to corral power plants.
The president calls for theÂ EnvironmentalÂ Protection Agency to â€œexpeditiouslyâ€ set limits on carbon dioxide emissions for new and existing power plants, a move that will be hailed by environmentalists and decried as debilitating by the struggling coal industry.
â€œTo accomplish these goals, President Obama is issuing a Presidential Memorandum directing the Environmental Protection Agency to work expeditiously to complete carbon pollution standards for both new and existing power plants,â€ states the Obama plan.
[…] Â Obamaâ€™s announcement comes at a time when cracks are starting to show in the science surrounding global warming, as global temperatures stopped rising about 15 years ago.
Funny how Marxists don’t recognize your unalienable right to keep the fruits of your labor (especially if you happen to be more successful than they think you should be), but they claim that they have a “right” to demand free goodies at the expense of others.
Speaking outside on a sunny day, Harris-Perry says in an ad that aired Wednesday morning:
Americans will always want some level of inequality, because itâ€™s a representation of meritocracy.Â People whoÂ work hard and sacrifice and saveÂ their money and make major contributions â€”Â we think that they should earn a little more.Â They should have more resources, and thatâ€™s fine.Â But we also, however, have to have a floor under which nobody falls.Â And if youâ€™re below that â€” especially if youâ€™re a child and youâ€™re below that â€” we are not going to accept that.Â YouÂ doÂ have the the right to health care, and to education, and to decent housing and to quality food at all times. Â â€‹[Emphasis added]
When something is a “right” (your life or conscience, for instance), it means you don’t have to do anything to earn it. You get to have it just for existing. It’s a gift from your Creator.
When you describe goods and services like foodÂ and housing as “rights,” you are saying that the people who produce these goods and services are obligated to provide them for you, whether you pay for them or not. There’s a word for this: slavery. Only slaves are forced to produce for others without compensation. TRUE rights come from God, and are unalienable. They cannot be provided by others, who could just as easily take them away.
You have an unalienable right to work and trade for goods and services. You do NOT have a “right” to demand them free of charge from others.
A recent solicitation from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) reveals that the agency is seeking a “massive” online database capable of pulling up individuals’ personal information, connections and associates.
On March 28, ATF posted theÂ noticeÂ on FedBizOpps.gov, entitled “Investigative System.”Â The solicitation was updated on April 5 with a few minor changes.
The document says that the system will be utilized by staff “to provide rapid searches on various entities for example; names, telephone numbers, utility data and reverse phone look-ups, as a means to assist with investigations, and background research on people, assets and businesses.”
The system is described as a “massive online data repository system that contains a wide variety of data sources both historically and current that can be utilized in support of investigations and backgrounds.”
[…] Â Â The system “provides a means to rapidly check records across the country” and is “necessary in assisting investigators, agents and analyst to find people, their assets, relatives, associates and more.”
The ATF says they will use this system to provide information to Intelligence Analysts, Special Agents, Inspectors, Financial Investigators and Law Enforcement.
â€œWe have never invested as much in public education as we should have because weâ€™ve always had a private notion of children, your kid is yours and totally your responsibility. We havenâ€™t had a very collective notion of these are our children. Â So part of it is we have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents or kids belong to their families and recognize that kids belong to whole communities.”
Got that? Â You kid doesn’t belong to you. Â He/she belongs to the “collective” – meaning, the state.
So kids belong to whole communities? Didnâ€™t we fight a war back in the 1800s to prove that people werenâ€™t owned by the state or anyone else, but were, in fact, people? Seriously?
But take that out of it. This is amazingly stupid commentary. All of us who own property (real property, not children) pay property taxes to fund a public education system to educate our children. We have democratically elected school boards to make the decisions on how tocollectively educateÂ our kids to common, state approved standards.
It is failing spectacularly. And I suspect that the tangible efforts to improve it, from neutering teachers unions to giving parents choices in where to sendÂ theirÂ children, are opposed by Melissa Harris-Perry.
I never thought Iâ€™d see the day when self-styled progressives advocated the state owning the people.
[T]he notion of collective responsibility for children was a philosophy that undergirded the Cultural Revolution in Communist China under Chairman Mao. I bring that up because, as you may recall, another Harris-Perry “Lean Forward” spot containsÂ a reference to a “great leap forward,”Â which calls to mind the disastrous agricultural reform plan which starved millions of Chinese to death in the 1950s.
Sarah Palin tweeted a few ingenious responses to this:
Love it! After having spent 22 hours of my life in labor, I heartily agree!
After the justifiable outrage and backlash, Harris-Perry is trying to walk back her statements and blame the views for misunderstanding her. Â Nice try. Â This is typical for the Left. Â They float a trial balloon and then pretend it was all an innocent misunderstanding when they get called for dropping their mask. The mask goes back up, but the ugliness behind it doesn’t go away. They work by desensitizing people over time, so that what sounds outrageous now will actually start to sound reasonable a few years from now. I don’t buy her “backpedaling” for a second.
Sign the petition to adopt the only Constitutional Amendment that will protect children from this kind of power grab – the Parental Rights Amendment!
Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades has struck a deal with the European Union and International Monetary Fund that will seize up toÂ 40%Â of uninsured funds from wealthier depositors with over 100,000 euros and will not siphon funds from those below that amount.
The 10 billion euros ($13 billion) bailout plan calls for the Cyprus Popular Bank to be dissolved and all its viable assets transferred to the countryâ€™s biggest bank, Bank of Cyprus.
Presently, Cypriot banks have imposed a 100 euros ATM withdraw limit, and Cyprus border officials at air and sea ports have been ordered toÂ confiscateÂ the funds of any traveler attempting to leave with over 10,000 euros.
How dare they try to keep the money they worked so hard for and saved AFTER taxes were already paid on it? Â Don’t they know that private property is an illusion under Socialism? Â That the government is free to spend as irresponsibly as it wants, and can steal your money at will to pay the tab? Â That’s what they’ve been voting for all this time, right? Â Or didn’t they realize it?
Understandably, Cypriots are desperately trying to get their money out, but it’s too late:
The president of Cyprus assured his people a bailout deal he struck with the European Union was in their best interests, but banks will remain closed until Thursday – and even then subject to capital controls to prevent a run on deposits.
The ruling class insists that stealing money out of their bank accounts is “in their best interests.” Â Doesn’t that make them feel better? Â They’ll be patriotic and happy to “share the sacrifice” for the greater good, right? Â Of course not!
Despite the closed banks and a lock for payments in the past week,Â more money flowed out of Cyprus than in previous weeks, Frankfurter experts report for payments.Â Prior to the escalation of the crisis in Cyprus accruing on the payment system Target liabilities of Cypriot central bank to the European Central Bank (ECB) had increased daily at approximately 100 to 200 million euros. In recent days was after Parliament the stabilization program initially had to fail,Â the daily has risen to more than double.Â Just in the last week so could cash assets have been withdrawn from Cyprus in the billions, although the Cypriot central bank has actually issued a lock.
How is it possible that cash is leaving the country even with a bank halt? It isn’t, unless of course, the banks aren’t really halted, and some outbound wire transfers, which are permitted, are more equal than other wire transfers which are stuck on the island. Of course, that would imply an “Europe Farm” type of arrangement, which in the bastion of fairness, equality and honesty which is Europe, would be absolutely impossible.
On the other hand, if indeed the drain of the Cypriot banking system has continued despite all the enacted halts during the past week, then it’s game over for Cyprus, which will soon have only the ECB to thank for providing liquidity, an arrangement that may not be the best long-term outcome for a nation whose economy has basically been gutted in the span of one week.
It also means game over for the bailout as envisioned, as the EUR17 billion is history, and much more cash will have to be injected to cover for the stealth outflows.
Savings accounts in Spain, Italy and other European countries will be raided if needed to preserve Europe’s single currency by propping up failing banks, a senior eurozone official has announced.
The new policy will alarm hundreds of thousands of British expatriates who live and have transferred their savings, proceeds from house sales and other assets to eurozone bank accounts in countries such as France, Spain and Italy.
The euro fell on global markets after Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch chairman of the eurozone, told theÂ FTÂ andÂ ReutersÂ that the heavy losses inflicted on depositors in Cyprus would be the template for future banking crises across Europe.
Translation: it now officially sucks to be an unsecured creditor in Europe. In other words:Â an uninsured depositor.
Why this ad hoc dramatic shift in the European approach to bank solvency, which if anything makes the link between bank and sovereign closer than ever, and crushes all that Draghi achieved in the summer of 2012?
Simple: because what Cyprus allowed was theÂ effective usurpation of democracyÂ – the only reason the Cypriot bailout “passed” (at least so far) is because it was structured as a bank restructuring, a financial system “resolution”, not a tax,and thus not in need of a parliamentary, democratic vote.Â Because as Cyprus also showed, votes to deprive depositors of cash, whether insured or uninsured, simply won’t fly.
Hence the shift.
However, there is a problem: it means that depositors are now fair game everywhere, and that the ESM or EFSF, with their unlimited scope but “democratic” impleention pathway, are on the backburner.
And now, the scramble to pull uninsured deposits out of banks everywhere begins. Thanks to the new Eurogroup head.
“You ask for miracles, Theo. I give you Diesel-BOOM”
And now, every European depositor is going to their local financial dictionary to look up the definition of General Unsecured Claims, only to see a picture of… themselves.
To anyone paying attention, reality is now painfully obvious. These bankrupt, insolvent governments have just about run out of fingers to plug the dikes. And history shows that, once this happens, governments fall back on a very limited playbook:
As Cyprus showed us, bankrupt governments are quite happy to plunder peopleâ€™s bank accounts, especially if itâ€™s a wealthy minority.
Aside from bank levies, though, this also includes things like seizing retirement accounts (Argentina), increases in civil asset forfeiture (United States), and gold criminalization.
Just another form of confiscation, taxation plunders the hard work and talent of the citizenry. But thanks to decades of brainwashing, itâ€™s more socially acceptable. Weâ€™ve come to regard taxes as a â€˜necessary evil,â€™ not realizing that the country existed for decades, even centuries, without an income tax.
Yet when bankrupt governments get desperate enough, they begin imposing new taxesâ€¦ primarily WEALTH taxes (Argentina) or windfall profits taxes (United States in the 1970s).
This is indirect confiscationâ€“ the slow, gradual plundering of peopleâ€™s savings. Again, governments have been quite successful at inculcating a belief that inflation is also a necessary evil. Theyâ€™re also adept at fooling people with phony inflation statistics.
Governments can, do, and will restrict the free-flow of capital across borders. Theyâ€™ll prevent you from moving your own money to a safer jurisdiction, forcing you to keep your hard earned savings at home where it can be plundered and devalued.
Weâ€™re seeing this everywhere in the developed worldâ€¦ from withdrawal limits in Europe to cash-sniffing dogs at border checkpoints. And it certainly doesnâ€™t help when everyone from the IMF to Nobel laureateÂ Paul Krugman argue in favor of Capital Controls.
Wage and Price controls
When even the lowest common denominator in society realizes that prices are getting higher, governments step in and â€˜fixâ€™ things by imposing price controls.
Occasionally this also includes wage controlsâ€¦ though wage increases tend to be vastly outpaced by price increases.
Of course, as any basic economics textbook can illustrate, price controls never work and typically lead to shortages and massive misallocations.
Wage and Price controlsâ€“ on STEROIDS
When the first round of price controls donâ€™t work, the next step is to impose severe penalties for not abiding by the terms.
In the days of Diocletianâ€™s Edict on Prices in the 4th century AD, any Roman caught violating the price controls was put to death.
In post-revolutionary France, shopkeepers who violated the â€œLaw of Maximumâ€ were fleeced of their private propertyâ€¦ and a national spy system was put into place to enforce the measures.
Despite being completely broke, governments will dramatically expand their ranks in a last desperate gasp to envelop the problem in sheer size.
In the early 1920s, for example, the number of bureaucratic officials in the Weimar Republic increased 242%, even though the country was flat broke from its Great War reparation payments and hyperinflation episode.
The increase in both regulations and government officials criminalizes and/or controls almost every aspect of our existenceâ€¦ from what we can/cannot put in our bodies to how we are allowed to raise our own children.
War and National Emergency
When all else fails, just invade another country. Pick a fight. Keep people distracted by work them into a frenzy over men in cavesâ€¦ or some completely irrelevant island.
People with bank accounts in Cyprus were shocked Saturday to learn that as part of an agreement reached with international creditors, the government has imposed a tax on all deposits to help bail out the nation and its banks.
While the island nation may be small, itâ€™s an international favorite for offshore bankingâ€“ particularly for wealthy Russians.Â The tax will range from 6.75% to 9.9%, depending on how much is in the account.
â€œThis is a clear-cut robbery,â€ Andreas Moyseos, a former electrician who is now a pensioner in Nicosia,Â told the New York Times. Iliana Andreadakis, a book critic, further added: â€œThis issue doesnâ€™t only affect the peopleâ€™s deposits, but also the prospect of the Cyprus economy. The E.U. has diminished its credibility.â€
And indeed, following the massive run on banks in Cyprus,Â many are concernedÂ that a minor panic could spread to the rest of the Eurozone.Â After all, it has just set a precedent for taxing private bank accounts atÂ exorbitant rates without warning.
The banks are closed until Tuesday, to prevent depositors from accessing their money. Â ATM’s have quickly run out of cash as desperate citizens line up to withdraw their money before it is confiscated:
In a move that could set off new fears of contagion across the eurozone, anxious depositors drained cash from ATMs in Cyprus on Saturday, hours after European officials in Brussels required that part of a new â‚¬10 billion ($12.6 billion) bailout must be paid for directly from the bank accounts of savers.
The move – a first in the three-year-old European financial crisis – raised questions over whether bank runs could be set off elsewhere.
Jeroen Dijsselbloem, president of the group of euro-area ministers, on Saturday declined to rule out taxes on depositors in countries beyond Cyprus, although he said such a measure was not currently being considered. Although banks placed withdrawal limits of â‚¬400 on ATMs, most of them had run out of cash by early evening. People around the country reacted with disbelief and anger.
Someone with â‚¬8,000 of life savings in the bank can ill afford to lose an arbitrary â‚¬540, but thatâ€™s exactly what is going to happen. The Cypriot parliament is probably not going to revolt this weekend, but any politician who votes for this bill is going to have a very, very hard time getting re-elected. This decision is important not only because of the precedent it sets with regard to bank depositors, but also because of the way in which it points up just how powerless all the Mediterranean countries (plus Ireland) have become. More than ever before, itâ€™s Germanyâ€™s Europe. Thatâ€™s bad for Cyprus â€” and itâ€™s not even particularly good for Germany.
It is difficult to describe the weekend bailout package to Cyprus in any other way. The confiscation of 6.75 percent of small depositors’ money and 9.9 percent of big depositors’ funds is without precedence that I can think of in a supposedly civilised and democratic society.Â But maybe the European Union (EU) is no longer a civilised democracy?
IÂ heard rumoursÂ about this when I visited Limassol last week, butÂ dismissed them as completely outlandish. And yet, here we are. The consequences are unpredictable, but we are clearly looking at a significant paradigm shift.
This is a breach of fundamental property rights, dictated to a small country by foreign powers and it must make every bank depositor in Europe shiver.Â Although the representatives at the bailout press conference tried to present this as a one-off, they were not willing to rule out similar measures elsewhere – not that it would have mattered much as the trust is gone anyway. It is now difficult to expect any kind of limitation to what measures the Troika and EU might take when the crisis really starts to bite.
If you can do this once, you can do it again.Â if you can confiscate 10 percent of a bank customer’s money, you can confiscate 25, 50 or even 100 percent. I now believe we will see worse as the panic increases, with politicians desperately trying to keep the EUR alive.
Depositors in other prospective bailout countries must be running scared – is it safe to keep money in an Italian, Spanish or Greek bank any more?Â I dont know, must be the answer. Is it prudent to take the risk? You decide. I fear this will lead to massive capital outflows from weak Eurozone countries, just about the last thing they need right now. Even from the EU as a whole, I suspect, as the banking union is in place in most countries already.
If initially Europe came out as utterly deranged in its Cyprus deposit-confiscation scheme, at least it was consistent. Now, it appears that Europe is desperate to appear not onlyÂ completely incompetentÂ but alsoÂ unable to even make a simple decision and stick with it,Â following news from both the WSJ and the FT that the original confiscation thresholds of 6.75% and 9.9% for deposits below and over â‚¬100,000 is about to be revised.
From the FT: “a revised deal being discussed in Nicosia,Â with the blessing of the European Commission,Â would shift more of the burden on to deposits larger than â‚¬100,000, according to officials involved in the talks. Under a controversial deal struck with international bailout lenders in the early hours on Saturday, a 6.75 per cent levy would be imposed on all deposits under â‚¬100,000 while accounts over that threshold would be hit with a 9.9 per cent levy. The depositor levy was demanded by a German-led group of creditor countries to bring down the bailoutâ€™s price tag from â‚¬17bn…. Officials involved in last nightâ€™s talks said the changes in the levyâ€™s rates were in flux, but they could see the higher rate increase to as much as 12.5 per cent while the smaller deposits could be about 3.5 per cent.”
Elsewhere, according to the WSJ, the deposit “tax” would be under 5% for deposits under â‚¬100K, under 10% for deposits between â‚¬100 and â‚¬500K, and over 13% for deposits greater than half a million.
While this idiotic last minute revision will only infuriate Russian oligarchs even more, it will achieveÂ absolutely nothingÂ to streamline the passage of the bill through Cyprus parliament where it appears to have hung without enough support: the damage has already been done, and it is a virtual guarantee that Cyprus banks will suffer a full blown bank run the second banks reopen, which may be Tuesday, Wednesday, or never, at the current pace.Â That line around the block at your local neighborhood Nicosia ATM: that is not, and will not, be for people seeking to make aÂ deposit, that much we can guarantee, no matter what the final confiscation percentage is.
What is worse, however, is the painful demonstration of the absolutely and completely arbitrary decision-making process out of Europe. Sure: the ECB and the European Commission may decide to fully unwind the deposit confiscation scheme before all is said and done, but the genie is now out of the bottle, and it is very clear that in the European Disunion, a few unelected oligarchs will now determine until such time as the Eurozone finally implodes, just whose wealth and deposits are ripe for the taking. That not even Germany can make a decision and stick with it is just icing on the cake of the European Titanic.
This is the end result of the “Utopia” known as Democratic Socialism: large, powerful bureaucracies, out-of-control spending, runaway debt, forced redistribution, no respect for private property, and eventual collapse.
Europeans thought they could enjoy the unsustainable promises of Marxism without going full-blown communist. Â They chose a deceptive “third way” alternative, but it turns out the new boss is equally as destructive as the old one.
This is the path that Obama insists we follow, even as Europe’s warning signs glaringly flash “turn back now!”
The liberal strategy for indoctrinating children is rather simple: it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission. Â They teach revisionist history and Marxist ideology, make up excuses and promise “we’ll look into it” when the initial outrage arises, and then move right along as the protests die down. Â Even if they’re stopped temporarily, they never give up.
In a unit of high school world history, the online material students areÂ givenÂ is essentially a paean to the greatness of Islam and its founder, Mohammed.
One portion involves open-ended discussion of the merits of the hijab â€” the face and body covering worn by many Muslim women (and under threat of arrest in Saudi Arabia and Iran). Perhaps high school students think the hijab is â€œfreeing because it prevents others from making them into sexual objects.â€ Or perhaps they think the hijab suggests that â€œwomen need to be obscured so as not to arouse male desire.â€ Either way, itâ€™s fine.
The widespread and ordinary mistreatment of women in Islamic countries â€” particularly Arab ones â€” is ignored. Texas high schoolers donâ€™t learn, for example, that Jordan and other Islamic kingdoms have laws thatÂ pardonÂ rapists if an arrangement can be reached for rapists and their victims to get married.
2. Christianity is a cult
Another portion of the materials on Islam lists several specific lessons that Muslims take from the example of Islamâ€™s founder, such as â€œBe respectful of other religions.â€ Strangely, there does not appear to be any such lesson focused on, say, Moses or Jesus Christ.
Instead, the materials in another world history lessonÂ informÂ students that Christianity is a cult that parallels the death and resurrection in the story of Osiris, the Egyptian god of the dead. The same material takes pains to point out that early Christians were accused of incest, cannibalism and other atrocities.
3. Communism is awesome
An illustration in a CSCOPE high school world history handoutÂ showsÂ a figure with a trekking pole climbing steps made out of money. A chart immediately to the right concerns â€œbig ideasâ€ in 18th- and 19th-century economic thinking. At the bottom of the chart is free-market capitalism, where â€œall people strive to fulfill their own needs and wants,â€ and where government control and planning are low.
In the middle is socialism, where â€œthe big thingsâ€ in society (e.g., â€œtelephones, roads, airportsâ€) are â€œowned by the people.â€ â€œCan you think of other big stuff that should be covered?â€ the chart asks. (Note the loaded verb, â€œshould.â€)
At the top of the chart is communism, which the CSCOPE creators innocuously describe as â€œthe idea of living together in a â€˜communeâ€™ where all people work together for everyone.â€ The chart manages to insult the Marxist vision of communism as well, by suggesting that government control and planning is highest under the system.
There is no mention of theÂ nearly 100 million peopleÂ who died in the 20th century under various self-described communist regimes around the world.
4. Hey kids! Letâ€™s make communist flags
â€œImagine a new socialist nation is creating a flag and you have been put in charge of creating a flag,â€Â readÂ the instructions from an activity that directs sixth graders to design a socialist or communist flag. â€œUse symbolism to represent aspects of socialism/communism on your flag.â€
In the same lesson, students are also instructed that socialist utopian Robert Owen wanted to â€œgive every child born into the world an equal chance to live and grow and to lead a happy life.â€
No mention is made of the two socialist utopias Owen attempted to create, or how they ended up disastrously failed and disease-ridden.
5. The Boston Tea Party was a terrorist attack
A CSCOPE high school world history lesson planÂ Texas-schools-teach-boston-tea-party-as-act-of-terrorism/”>depicts the Boston Tea Party, the famous protest against taxation without representation, as an act of terrorism.
â€œA local militia, believed to be a terrorist organization, attacked the property of private citizens today at our nationâ€™s busiest port,â€ the part of the curriculum pertaining to the Boston Tea Party reads. â€œAlthough no one was injured in the attack, a large quantity of merchandise, considered to be valuable to its owners and loathsome to the perpetrators, was destroyed. The terrorists, dressed in disguise and apparently intoxicated, were able to escape into the night with the help of local citizens who harbor these fugitives and conceal their identities from the authorities.â€
The seeds have already been in a child’s mind, whether or not a parent objects with the material and tries to explain the truth to their child later. Â The child cannot unsee or unhear what he has been taught. Â He’s now trying to decide who to believe: mom and dad, or the teacher. Â Unfortunately, most students eventually begin to agree with the material being taught. Â Why? Â Because they are told that the older, “unenlightened” generation (i.e., parent) is probably too “close-minded” or doesn’t have all the facts of “new discoveries,” but they’re the young ones who know better. Â Nothing like stroking an ignorant kid’s ego to get him to swallow the bait.
Historian David Barton Breaks Down CSCOPE on the Glenn Beck show:
To glean greater insight, Glenn Beck invited special guests David Barton and Pat Gray, along with teachers Mary Bowen, Stan Hartzler and Texas State Sen. Dan Patrick to discuss what is truly going on within their stateâ€™s education system.
Barton explained that CSCOPE is referred to as â€œinstructional materialâ€ and not â€œcurriculum,â€ therefore is not subject to regulation by the State Board of Education. The historian alsoÂ brought in artifacts of Texas public school curriculum to showcase just how different it is today and to mark, year-by-year, the increasing application of political correctness in lesson plans.
Using a chart, Barton documented and mapped out core CSCOPE material, which eliminatesÂ national values, Americanism or rather, American exceptionalism, the study of federalism and majority rule (the core of our constitution) along with patriotic symbols like the Liberty Bell. Christopher Columbus, Rosh Hashanah and Christmas are all relegated to the dustbin along with American militaryÂ history. Equality and a belief in justice is replaced by â€œfairnessâ€ and instruction on American propaganda and imperialism.
Disturbingly, Beck and Barton noted that the worst is yet to come. Showcasing a lesson plan for grades 1-3, Barton revealed CSCOPEâ€™s list of â€œheroes,â€ which comprises a dozen secular progressives and only three conservatives or political moderates.
Â According to a previousÂ reportÂ from TheBlaze, teachers complained that they were expected to deliver the curriculum verbatim and only on days allotted by the CSCOPE lesson plan. Even if students were unable to absorb the lesson, teachers were allegedly directed to progress to the next lesson regardless. TheBlaze also reported that teachers were â€œasked to sign a contract that would prevent them from revealing what was in the CSCOPE lessons or face civil and criminal penalties.â€
It’s all working according to plan in Obama’s mind….the Cloward-Piven plan. Â Sooner or later we will become Greece, our bills will catch up with us, Â an economic crisis will be triggered, and Obama’s Communist pals will be able to exploit it to try and usher in a Socialist revolution. Â Â That’s why they’re intentionally driving us into bankruptcy.
President Obama met Wednesday with House Republicans in an apparent bid to find consensus on fiscal policy, even as he seemed to antagonize the other side by claiming there’s no “immediate crisis in terms of debt.”
His statement would be sharply at odds with a core Republican principle that the debt must be addressed soon — and which underpinned the cost-cutting GOP budget released Tuesday. The president also acknowledged, in an interview aired earlier in the day, that differences with the GOP might be “too wide” to bridge.
For ten years itâ€™s going to be a sustainable place â€” in eleven years itâ€™ll be Greece.
Imagine youâ€™re in an airplane plagued with mechanical problems, the last working engine has flamed out, and the pilot comes on the intercom and says â€œdonâ€™t worry, weâ€™ve got about 20,000 feet before this really becomes a problem so weâ€™re in a sustainable place right now.â€ Something like that just happened.
In 2008, when the national debt was just over $9 trillion, that was anâ€œirresponsibleâ€ and â€œunpatrioticâ€Â amount of red ink with which to be saddling future generations. Now almost $17 trillion and rising is totally sustainable?
Argentina, like most of Latin America, is a hotbed of Marxist “Liberation Theology” (Obama is an adherent of the racist version, Black Liberation Theology). Â But does Francis I subscribe to it? Â Unfortunately, the reports are contradictory and somewhat cryptic.
Here’s Lynch quoting from that 2011 speech delivered by, now, Pope Francis I:
Said Cardinal Bergoglio in said speech that “The economic and social crisis and the consequent increase in poverty has its causes in ways policies inspiredneoliberalismÂ considering profits and market laws as parameters, to the detriment of the dignity of individuals and peoples. In this context, we reiterate the conviction that the loss of the sense of justice and lack of respect for others have worsened and led us to a situation of inequity. ” Later stressed the importance of “Â social justiceÂ “, the”Â equal opportunityÂ “damage” transfers of capital abroad, “which should be required”Â distribution of wealthÂ “, said the damage of economic inequalities and the need to “prevent the use of financial resources is shaped by speculation,” especially in the context of the “social debt”-which in his opinion is of eminently “moral” – is to reform “economic structures” in expressed the sense before.
Again, I may have lost something in the translation, but it appears the new Pope fails to understand markets and holds the concepts of social justice, equal opportunity andÂ distributionÂ of wealth, as important. Concepts which, of course, generally lead to advocacy of much government intervention and much central planning. It as though the new Pope has somehow given up on the good in people, and perhaps even in God, and has decided to replace both with a central role for the coercive state.
The change that swept Eastern Europe in the 1980s and fueled the collapse of the Soviet Union may find itself repeated by a new pope with similar disdain for the authoritarian governments of his region.
When Cardinal Karol Wojtyla stepped out on the balcony of St. Peter’s in 1978 as Pope John Paul II, Soviet communism still stood astride Eastern Europe and his native Poland.
He would be the moral force helping to lead half a continent out of the human bondage of totalitarianism.
Argentina’s 76-year-old Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis I, is no stranger to â€” or compromiser with â€” the oppression of authoritarian government.
During his tenure as Archbishop of Buenos Aires and head of Argentina’s Conference of Bishops, the new pope had a strained relationship with the governments of President Cristina Kirchner and her late husband, former President Nestor Kirchner, who once called Bergoglio “a real spokesman for the opposition.”
The cardinal who eschewed limousines to ride his bicycle or take the bus, is known as a man of the poor and of the people.
He gained admiration for living in a modest apartment instead of the palace in Buenos Aires that was adjacent to the Casa Rosada where the president resides (and where Juan and Evita Peron often harangued the Argentine people).
The new pope has fought a long battle in Argentina against leftist government, Peronist anticlericalism, the spread of evangelical Protestantism and the secular temptations of modern society.
Like Pope John Paul II, he is likely to resist calls to “modernize” the church, to make it more “popular” and “appealing.”
Like Pope John Paul II, Pope Francis is a strong opponent of what is called “liberation theology,” a bizarre mix of Marxism and Catholicism often embraced by left-leaning politicians and clerics in Argentina and elsewhere in the hemisphere.
Rosendo Fraga, a well-known Argentine political analyst, told the Miami Herald’s Andres Oppenheimer that Pope Francis “is definitely bad news for the Argentine government. His homilies, as recently as two weeks ago, were very critical of economic and social conditions, and of corruption in Argentina.”
“Francis may become a critic of governments such as those in Venezuela, Ecuador or Bolivia, in the same way that John Paul II became a critic of communism in Eastern Europe,” says Daniel Alvarez, a professor of religious studies at Florida International University.
[T]oÂ be sure, South American governments are, with certain exceptions, nothing like the monolithic, totalitarian USSR.
Moreover, Pope Francis I is not as young as Pope John Paul II. Nor does he have a Ronald Reagan and a Margaret Thatcher to work with.
Even so, he does provide a rallying point for a region beset by authoritarianism that badly needs one.
Every year, the federal government spends well over a trillion dollars more than it takes in. As a result, it has racked up seventeen trillion dollars in debt, most of it in the last decade. In seven years at current rates, the U.S. will need almost a fifth of the GDP from the rest of the world just to finance our national debt.
JustÂ twoÂ of our federal entitlements, Medicare and Social Security, have â€œunfunded future liabilitiesâ€ of $46.2 trillion. Total liabilities are $86.8 trillion or more. Entitlements and other mandatory spending will burden more and more of the federal budget in the coming years. At todayâ€™s burn rate, before long no realistic amount of tax revenue will be able to service the debt and fund the governmentâ€™s basic functions.
We need not worry about the federal government defaulting, since, unlike U.S. states or private citizens, it can print the money it needs to pay the bills. It can and will do so if we donâ€™t make a course correction fast. Massive monetary expansion will ultimately devalue every dollar in circulation and trigger the sort of hyperinflation that flattens entire societies in short order. Thatâ€™s bad enough, but when government borrows and spends for our supposed benefit,Â somebody elseÂ will have to foot some or all of the bill. If our faith applies to every aspect of life, then it must have something to say about this moral outrage.
[…] Â In the twentieth century, more than a hundred million people were murdered by their own governments. And that was just in communist countries. History and scripture agree: because of sin, governments with too much power become propagators of evil and destruction.
This speaks directly to government debt, since deficit spending is a symptom of government doing more than it can or should. The federal government now borrows and spends with such reckless abandon that it is careening toward a global economic catastrophe. If Christians canâ€™t muster the courage to speak out against what Rep. Paul Ryan has called â€œthe most predictable debt crisis in history,â€ we wonâ€™t deserve to be taken seriously after the collapse.
Sadly, many Christians don’t know how to disciple our nation to turn the tide because they’ve never studied God’s design for economics or the Biblical role of government. Â Â They can’t teach what they don’t know. Â The Â key to real reformation, says R.C. Sproul, Jr., is for Christians to understand and work to implement Biblical economic principles:
Christian author and teacherÂ R.C. Sproul, Jr.Â told CBN News Anchor Lee Webb that he believes it’s time to return to the basics when it comes to economics.
“When we’re left arguing about whether or not we should have a marginal tax rate of 45 percent or 48 percent, and the conservative is stuck arguing for the 45 percent we’ve had an insufficient reformation in our thinking,” Sproul said.
Sproul believes that reformation will happen only when we return to scripture to see what God has to say about economics. That’s why he produced a video series called “Economics for Everybody.” It’s a compelling, even entertaining approach to a topic many find boring.
[…] Â Â Sproul provides historical evidence that nations most influenced by biblical Christianity are nations that, by and large, have prospered. They are nations marked by decentralized governments and free markets.
But nations that reject God are marked by centralized power, tyranny, and no free markets. Unfortunately, he said he has observed some of those troubling trends in America now.
“The United States is not a free market. It’s an interventionist economy that’s been moving closer to socialism for over a century now,” he said. “I am not optimistic about our nation’s future economically.”
“We live in a country in which the state forbids me to hire a man unless I promise to pay him X number of dollars,” Sproul explained. “We now live in a country where I can’t hire 50 men unless I promise to buy them all health insurance, including access to abortion.”
“This is not economic liberty. This is not free markets,” he said. “We’re missing the fact that we’re the frog and the water is boiling.”
“It’s my conviction that education is always and everywhere religious,” he said.
“And it’s not a surprise that when 80 percent of evangelical parents have their children in the government’s schools that they’re going to embrace the religion of the government which is the worship of the state,” he said.
Sproul cautioned Christians to avoid despair. One way to do that is by returning to the beginning, to the Creation Mandate and begin to see that our work is part of worship.
Nothing shows a person’s true colors better than who they choose to adulate as heroes. Â Â For the past week, the Left in America has been tripping over themselves to pay tribute to the recently deceased brutal Communist dictator.
The truth is that Chavez was a brutal despot who strutted the world stage basking in the international celebrity status he gained as a result of his anti-American rhetoric and relentless attacks on Britain.
He was a master of propaganda who deftly wooed the â€˜useful idiotsâ€™ of the Left â€” to use the phrase Stalin applied to Britainâ€™s Labour politicians and trade unionists â€” while clamping down on free speech in his own country, rigging the political system in his favour and presiding over a nation drowning in bloodshed and mired in poverty.
[…] Â He may not have been a genocidal maniac in the style of Kim Jong-Il or Stalin, but Chavez was one of a grotesque line of authoritarian strongmen who have been the curse of Latin America over the decades.
And yet, because of his defiant stance on the U.S. and his attacks on British â€˜imperialismâ€™, he was lionised in this country by the Left and its media mouthpieces, The Guardian and the BBC. (Perhaps thatâ€™s not so unexpected â€” we have to remember that a BBC reporter wept during the funeral of arch Palestinian terrorist Yasser Arafat.)
The fantasy of benevolent dictatorship remains irresistible to [leftists]. Â The idea of some towering moral and intellectual colossus seizing absolute power to â€œfixâ€ a broken nation, on behalf of The People, is breathtaking. Â Just imagine the delicious tears that would be shed by the enemies of the righteous Left onÂ thatÂ day!
The regard for power flows uphill. Â Those who believe themselves superior, enlightened beings naturally view their leaders as even more luminous creatures â€“ smarter, wiser, and better-educated than their adoring leftist supporters. Â And the leader of those leaders? Â Why, that person would be some sort of â€œLightworker,â€ a â€œrare kind of attuned being who has the ability to lead us not merely to new foreign places or health care plans or whatnot, but who can actually help usher in a new way of being on the planet, of relating and connecting and engaging with this bizarre earthly experiment,â€ asÂ somebody once saidÂ about another comically inept but fulsomely praised leftist demigod.
Socialism is always judged by the promises it makes to its victims, never by the results. Â People like Hugo Chavez know how to exploit that sentiment to the hilt. Â Mouth a bit of leftist cant, and you can stroll away with satchels full of looted cash, to the applause of the very same people who rail endlessly against the alleged â€œgreedâ€ of honest businessmen. Â Flatter the moral vanity of such people, and theyâ€™ll grant all sorts of dispensations they would never extend to their capitalist fellow citizens.
Who could have imagined in the Reagan and Clinton years that you would one day hear an Attorney General seriously claiming that the President has the legal right to assassinate American citizens on U.S. soil without due process, using military aircraft?
Just a few years ago, nobody could imagine that we could ever be in danger of losing such fundamental liberties. Â The speed at which they are being assaulted is breath-taking.
Attorney General Eric Holder can imagine a scenario in which it would be constitutional to carry out a drone strike against an American on American soil, he wrote in a letter to Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.
â€œIt is possible, I suppose, to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate under the Constitution and applicable laws of the United States for the President to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States,â€ Holder replied in a letter yesterday to Paulâ€™s question about whether Obama â€œhas the power to authorize lethal force, such as a drone strike, against a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil, and without trial.â€
Paul condemned the idea. â€œThe U.S. Attorney Generalâ€™s refusal to rule out the possibility of drone strikes on American citizens and on American soil is more than frightening â€“ it is an affront the Constitutional due process rights of all Americans,â€ he said in a statement.
Where are all the outraged liberals who were so worried about the Patriot Act and declared that Bush was a “war criminal?” Â Why aren’t they marching in the streets in protest against an administration that claims the power to kill Americans at will?
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has customized its Predator drones, originally built for overseas military operations, to carry out at-home surveillance tasks that have civil libertarians worried: identifying civilians carrying guns and tracking their cell phones, government documents show.
The documents provide more details about the surveillance capabilities of the department’s unmannedÂ Predator B drones, which are primarily used to patrol the United States’ northern and southern borders but have been pressed into service on behalf of a growing number of law enforcement agencies including the FBI, the Secret Service, the Texas Rangers, and local police.
Homeland Security’s specifications for its drones, built by San Diego-basedÂ General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, say they “shall be capable of identifying a standing human being at night as likely armed or not,” meaning carrying a shotgun or rifle. They also specify “signals interception” technology that can capture communications in the frequency ranges used by mobile phones, and “direction finding” technology that can identify the locations of mobile devices or two-way radios.
The sequestration question du jour is why the Department of Homeland Security, busy releasing hundreds, if not thousands, of deportable and detained illegal aliens due to budget constraints, is buying several thousand Mine Resistant Armored Protection (MRAP) vehicles?
And just who are they intended to be used against?
[…] Â Â The Department of Homeland Security (through the U.S. Army Forces Command) recently retrofitted 2,717 of these MRAP vehicles for service on the streets of the U.S. They were formerly used for counterinsurgency in Iraq.
These vehicles are specifically designed to resist mines and ambush attacks. They use bulletproof windows and are designed to withstand small-arms fire, including smaller-caliber rifles such as a .223 Remington. Does DHS expect a counterinsurgency here?
It is the extreme left (Occupy, Bill Ayers, ELF) that has been involved in bombings, riots, and other violent actions. Never ONCE has there been an arrest, destruction of property, or other violent action at a Tea Party. And yet WE are supposedly who they’re worried about?