ObamaCare provides millions of dollars in grants to hire community activists and others as “navigators” to assist individuals enroll in health insurance provided by state or federal exchanges and, according to recent reports, register people to vote. In a new rule proposed Wednesday, HHS lays out numerous guidelines for these “navigators”, including paying them up to $48/hour for their work. The rule, guidelines and voter registration effort are a potential vehicle to resurrect ACORN or an ACORN-like entity.
[…] Requirements for “navigators” is that they have no existing insurance licenses or certifications, conflicting with several recently enacted state laws. They also must be attuned to racial, ethnic and cultural sensitivities, understand “underserved communities” and provide translation services for virtually every language. AARP, NAACP and SEIU are prominent members of Enroll America’s advisory board.
One health expert with close ties to HHS told Breitbart News, “The navigator program, as evidenced by the leadership of Enroll America and yesterday’s rule from CMS, will be a jobs program for unemployable Obama For America campaign volunteers and ACORN remnants.”
[…] October 1st is the first day individuals can enroll for a program through the exchanges. The government, as a result, will have to hire and train tens of thousands of workers on the complex subject of health insurance over the next few months. Think of it as an enormous census program with less training for a more complex subject.
Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades has struck a deal with the European Union and International Monetary Fund that will seize up to 40% 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 country’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 to confiscate 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? Don’t they know that private property is an illusion under Socialism? That the government is free to spend as irresponsibly as it wants, and can steal your money at will to pay the tab? That’s what they’ve been voting for all this time, right? 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.” Doesn’t that make them feel better? They’ll be patriotic and happy to “share the sacrifice” for the greater good, right? Of course not!
Despite the closed banks and a lock for payments in the past week, more money flowed out of Cyprus than in previous weeks, Frankfurter experts report for payments. 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, the daily has risen to more than double. 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 the FT and Reuters 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: 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 the effective usurpation of democracy – 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. 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 people’s bank accounts, especially if it’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, it’s more socially acceptable. We’ve come to regard taxes as a ‘necessary evil,’ 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 taxes… primarily WEALTH taxes (Argentina) or windfall profits taxes (United States in the 1970s).
This is indirect confiscation– the slow, gradual plundering of people’s savings. Again, governments have been quite successful at inculcating a belief that inflation is also a necessary evil. They’re also adept at fooling people with phony inflation statistics.
Governments can, do, and will restrict the free-flow of capital across borders. They’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.
We’re seeing this everywhere in the developed world… from withdrawal limits in Europe to cash-sniffing dogs at border checkpoints. And it certainly doesn’t help when everyone from the IMF to Nobel laureate 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 ‘fix’ things by imposing price controls.
Occasionally this also includes wage controls… 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 controls– on STEROIDS
When the first round of price controls don’t work, the next step is to impose severe penalties for not abiding by the terms.
In the days of Diocletian’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 “Law of Maximum” were fleeced of their private property… 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 existence… 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 caves… or some completely irrelevant island.
An 11th-hour deal with the EU, which has saved the Cypriot economy from the brink, will see investors with more than €100,000 in the nation’s largest banks forfeit a large chunk of their deposits.
The punishing deal – which has been approved by the eurozone finance ministers – will allow the country to receive the €10bn (£8.5bn) bailout it needed before the European Central Bank pulled funding and sent the island on the path to bankruptcy and a possible exit from the single currency.
Under the new agreement, all bank deposits under €100,000 will be secured and guaranteed by the state. The country’s second-biggest bank, The Popular Bank of Cyprus – known as Laiki – will be wound down whilst holders of deposits of more than €100,000 face big losses.
The Cyprus central bank decided to keep the banks closed until next Tuesday. The panic is building. This will build it even more.
The British media say the government is looking for Plan B. There is no Plan B.
There will be no tax on bank accounts, says the parliament.
Will there still be a bailout? The European Central Bank has said it will remove the life support tube on Monday. The head of the EuroGroup, which is a no-name committee of the eurozone’s finance ministers, said this: “I’m not sure that this package is completely gone and failed, because I don’t see many alternatives.” In short, “the Parliament had better reconsider.” Or else.
Or else what? Default? Cyprus’ departure from the eurozone? Do the Eurocrats want that? Do they want to risk a poster child for the PIIGS to imitate?
Meanwhile, panic builds. When the banks open their doors next week, they will face a true bank run. People now know: they cannot get their money. They never thought this could happen.
The central bank is playing kick the can. It is buying time. Maybe there will be a Plan B. Problem: if there is a Plan B, maybe the parliament will reject it. Then what?
A nation shuts down economically if its banks shut down. The banks can shut down in two ways: because of bank runs or by decree from the central bank. Today, the banking system has been shut down by decree.
The central bank cannot kick the can much longer. The economy will collapse without banks.
The British media are covering the story.
“We don’t have days or weeks, we have only hours to save our country,” Averof Neophytou, deputy leader of the ruling Democratic Rally party, told reporters as crisis talks in Nicosia dragged on into the evening.
The country’s two main banks – Laiki and the Bank of Cyprus – face potential failure if a bailout is not secured. One official told the Associated Press that Europe and the IMF were pressing for the two banks to be wound down. The Cypriot government was said to be considering the possibility of imposing capital controls amid fears that money would flood out of the country once its banks were reopened.
But if depositors cannot send their digital money out of the country, they can still demand currency. The effect is the same: bankrupt banks.
The central bank cannot print euros. It can bail out the system only if Cyprus pulls out of the eurozone. If it does, this will send a message to the PIIGS: “Get out. We did. Save yourselves. We did.”
The people of Cyprus care more about their life savings than propping up financial institutions that lost billions on poor investments in socialist governments’ debts. The idea that somehow they, and not the banks that made those decisions, should bear the brunt of those losses was always disconnected from reality.
Yet that is precisely the presumption the establishment has made — that rather than banks raising substantially more capital to address systemic risk, you and I should pay for bank bailouts — in response to the ongoing financial crisis that began in 2007, and has actually become the basis for such proposals considered all over the world, including the U.S.
In 2009, the G20 asked the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to come up with ways the financial sector might supposedly contribute to its own bailouts.
Interestingly, what the IMF came up with as a suggestion had already been implemented a few months earlier by the U.S. Congress in passing the Dodd-Frank so-called financial reform legislation.
Under Dodd-Frank, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is allowed to charge assessments to about 60 bank-holding and insurance companies with $50 billion or more in assets to fund what is called an “orderly liquidation fund.” Really, it’s just a bailout fund allowing the government to take over systemically risky institutions, recapitalize them, and allow them to reenter the market under new management.
[…] At least in Cyprus the people’s representatives there actually had an opportunity to vote against such a levy. Whereas here, those fees are and will continue to be imposed by the banks with the blessing of government agencies — all without any vote in Congress.
It may happen sooner than anyone realizes. U.S. financial institutions are said to have as much $641 billion of exposure to financial institutions in Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain (PIIGS) according to the Congressional Research Service.
Should the Eurozone really break apart, and U.S. banks are caught in the crossfire, with the American people suddenly paying exorbitant fees for the “privilege” of conducting business electronically, they can decide for themselves whether this was a good idea.
That is, for Congress to outsource and give unlimited grant of its taxing authority to faceless bureaucrats acting in concert with an international banking cartel with the goal of bailing itself out of its own foolishness.
In 1913, the 16th Amendment gave the federal government the power to tax American’s earnings for the very first time. Originally a 1% tax to pay for the war, it has ballooned into a confiscatory predator which continually siphons away your hard-earned money to feed the appetite of a government spending addiction that is never satisfied.
Since the immoral premise that government has a right to confiscate your earnings has gone unchallenged for the last 100 years, they now claim the right to steal your assets as well – property that you’ve acquired and invested in with after-tax dollars, through your own hard work an initiative. Nowhere is this more apparent than the recently instituted 3.8% Obamacare tax on home sales.
Think what is happening in Cyprus can’t happen here? It already is.
Cypriot lawmakers on Tuesday rejected a critical draft bill that would have seized part of people’s bank deposits in order to qualify for a vital international bailout, with not a single vote in favor.
The rejection leaves Cyprus’s bailout in question. Without external funds, the country’s banks face collapse and the government could go bankrupt. Nicosia will now have to come up with an alternative plan to raise the money: the government could try to offer a compromise bill that would be more palatable to lawmakers.
The bill, which had been amended Tuesday morning to shield small deposit holders from the deposit tax, was rejected with 36 votes against and 19 abstentions. One deputy was absent.
Too late. The threat has already been made. They have officially declared that they believe that the hard-earned money in private citizens’ bank accounts are fair game for the taking, and property rights are easily dispensed with when governments overspend. I wouldn’t trust them as far as I could throw them, and neither will most Cypriots!
The smart people will get their money out before they have another chance to try a scheme like this.
In Nigel Farage’s first TV appearance since the Cypriot wealth tax was announced, the Englishman pulls no punches. In all his years and all his experience of the desperation of the European Union’s leadership “never did [he] think they would resort to stealing money from people’s savings accounts.” The simple fact is that they know they cannot let any country leave, no matter how small, for “once one country goes, the whole deck of cards will come tumbling down.” There is now “clear irreconcilable differences” between the North and the South of Europe and now that they have done this in one country, “they are quite capable of doing it in Italy, Spain and anywhere.” The message that sends to people is “get your money out while you can.” As far as his British constituents, he strongly recommends George Osborne (UK Chancellor) urge ex-pats to remove all their money and do monthly transfers from home. “Do Not Invest In The Euro-Zone,” he concludes,“you have to be mad to do so – as it is now run by people who do not respect democracy, the rule of law, or the basic principles upon which Western civilization is based.”
“They are propping up a Eurozone that, in the end, will collapse in disastrous failure and they are prepared to do anything to do so.”
As a reminder, the United States government has been eying and researching how Americans use their 401k plans for quite some time now. Recently we saw the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau suggest the government help “manage” retirement plans.
[…] In February, the Washington Times went so far as to ask “is your 401k about to be nationalized?”
The $19.4 trillion sitting in personal retirement accounts like the 401K may be too tempting an apple for a government that is quite broke, both monetarily and morally. The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director Richard Cordray recently mentioned these accounts in a recent interview, stating “That’s one of the things we’ve been exploring and are interested in, in terms of whether and what authority we have.”
This agency, created by the 2010 Dodd-Frank-Act, is very concerned about how safe your retirement savings are. They are apparently concerned that retiring baby boomers may become victims of financial scams.
If the government takes control of retirement accounts, it will not be called “nationalization.” There will most likely be an indecipherable document that provides an opt-out option (initially), but why would you want to do that? The US government only wants to ensure the safety of your retirement funds; they did after all create a new bureaucracy for that specific purpose. And what could be a safer investment than US bonds?
Karl Denninger…cites some reasons for being concerned that this express train intends to flatten the US in the coming years. He lays out whywe may need recourse to something like this.
In two years federal medical spending along with Social Security and interest will, on current paths, reach the total of all tax receipts. At the outside the market will realize that Congress will never address the underlying issue with medical care because they have steadfastly refused to do so…. There is about $20 trillion in US Retirement “assets.” A “small” 10% “one time” tax levy on those assets would fund the US Deficit a couple of years from now, and I will go out on a limb now and predict that exactly that will be done. Of course the “one time” aspect will be a lie too…
He goes on to explain how the test case for this has already been successful. And how the American People have already allowed the legal precedents to allow this to happen to be codified in case histories all the way up to the USSC.
the precedent has already been set, and you, the common American, sat for it.
You allowed the GM bailout to take place where the seniority of bondholders was ignored and they were screwed while the UAW was made whole. You allowed Obamacare to be passed with the Congress denoting it was a “fine” rather than a Tax, because Congress knew that a direct, unapportioned tax was unconstitutional — and then you sat again when Judge Roberts of the USSC rewrote Obamacare to be that very same unconstitutional direct Tax.
Mark my words, Obamacare has very little to do with Health Insurance. This is why nobody in government feels any particular concern over the fact that it screws health insurance up so badly. If you are in government and you want the power to run things by fiat, this law just gave you the keys to a Barchetta with a full tank of petrol.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
Not to worry Komerade Amerikan. There are apps for this as well. Kelo v. New London is a landmark case that helps put the subjects in their proper place. As long as your bank account can be construed as conferring a public benefit through public use, this lovely piece of jurisprudence would justify its seizure down to the last penny.
Bottom line: The state can steal your property, your wealth and your sustinence at any time they get pissed off enough or desperate enough to do so. You have no recourse to the law against this. The law is pathetically bastardized. Remember how that Arch-Conservative Supreme Court was poised to heroically strike down The AACA? Forget it Jake, we are all Cypriots now.
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, it’s an international favorite for offshore banking– particularly for wealthy Russians. The tax will range from 6.75% to 9.9%, depending on how much is in the account.
“This is a clear-cut robbery,” Andreas Moyseos, a former electrician who is now a pensioner in Nicosia, told the New York Times. Iliana Andreadakis, a book critic, further added: “This issue doesn’t only affect the people’s deposits, but also the prospect of the Cyprus economy. The E.U. has diminished its credibility.”
And indeed, following the massive run on banks in Cyprus, many are concerned that a minor panic could spread to the rest of the Eurozone. After all, it has just set a precedent for taxing private bank accounts at exorbitant rates without warning.
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 €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 €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 €8,000 of life savings in the bank can ill afford to lose an arbitrary €540, but that’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, it’s Germany’s Europe. That’s bad for Cyprus — and it’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. But maybe the European Union (EU) is no longer a civilised democracy?
I heard rumours about this when I visited Limassol last week, but 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. 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. 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? 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 only completely incompetent but also unable to even make a simple decision and stick with it, 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 €100,000 is about to be revised.
From the FT: “a revised deal being discussed in Nicosia, with the blessing of the European Commission, would shift more of the burden on to deposits larger than €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 €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 bailout’s price tag from €17bn…. Officials involved in last night’s talks said the changes in the levy’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 €100K, under 10% for deposits between €100 and €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 achieve absolutely nothing 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. That line around the block at your local neighborhood Nicosia ATM: that is not, and will not, be for people seeking to make a 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. 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 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 unmanned 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-based 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?
[…] 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?
Labor leaders said they plan to mobilize their members in the coming weeks to press Republicans to support the extension of tax cuts for middle income families. Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union, said labor needs to remain “as engaged as we were in the election throughout the rest of this year to make sure we get the Republican House to say yes to tax cuts for the middle class.”
Following the announcement of Obama’s reelection, Communist Party USA (CPUSA) chairman Sam Webb wrote an article in the CPUSA’s official newspaper, People’s World, expressing his contentment with the election results.
“After a long and bitterly contested battle, the forces of inclusive democracy came out on top yesterday,” Webb said. “The better angels of the American people spread their wings, as they went to the polls.”
Webb went on to reaffirm that the election results were in the CPUSA’s favor:
The Communist Party said a year ago that the 2012 elections would be the main front of the class and democratic struggle, and subsequent events have confirmed that fact. Indeed, we argued … that defeating right wing extremism was the key to moving the whole chain of democratic struggle forward in the coming period.
The key motivating factor behind the CPUSA’s support of reelecting Obama and empowering the Democratic Party under his leadership was to prevent a “victory by right-wing extremism,” according to Webb. “Had Romney won the Presidency and the Republicans the Congress, it would have accelerated to warp drive a capitalist class counterrevolution — a reversal of seventy years of social progress.”
Between President Obama and Governor Romney, the Communist Party clearly had a preference and it won on election day.
Lara Logan, a correspondent for CBS’ “60 Minutes,” delivered a provocative speech to about 1,100 influentials from government, politics, media, and the legal and corporate arenas. Such downtown gatherings are a regular on Chicago’s networking circuit. (I am a member of the BGA’s Civic Leadership Committee, and the Chicago Sun-Times was a sponsor).
Her ominous and frightening message was gleaned from years of covering our wars in the Middle East. She arrived in Chicago on the heels of her Sept. 30 report, “The Longest War.” It examined the Afghanistan conflict and exposed the perils that still confront America, 11 years after 9/11.
Eleven years later, “they” still hate us, now more than ever, Logan told the crowd. The Taliban and al-Qaida have not been vanquished, she added. They’re coming back.
“I chose this subject because, one, I can’t stand, that there is a major lie being propagated . . .” Logan declared in her native South African accent.
The lie is that America’s military might has tamed the Taliban.
“There is this narrative coming out of Washington for the last two years,” Logan said. It is driven in part by “Taliban apologists,” who claim “they are just the poor moderate, gentler, kinder Taliban,” she added sarcastically. “It’s such nonsense!”
[…] She made a passionate case that our government is downplaying the strength of our enemies in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as a rationale of getting us out of the longest war. We have been lulled into believing that the perils are in the past: “You’re not listening to what the people who are fighting you say about this fight. In your arrogance, you think you write the script.”
Our enemies are writing the story, she suggests, and there’s no happy ending for us.
This goes directly against Obama’s narrative that victory has been won and the Afghans will be ready to take over in 2014. Every working reporter in the area knows it’s a complete lie but it’s a lie that’s integral to Obama’s campaign.
More dangerously, and we don’t have access to a transcript of Logan’s remarks, she appears to be suggesting that Obama is being influenced by Taliban apologists.
For the moment, Afghanistan has not become a campaign issue. Romney doesn’t really want to touch it and polls show most Americans want to pull out. Nobody is calling Obama on the 1,500 dead in his failed surge. No one wants to talk about what really happened, because that’s too close to admitting defeat.
Lara Logan is trying to open up a conversation that the country needs to have, but that no one in the political establishment wants to have.
I guess all that bowing and apologizing and pandering to the Muslim world and helping the Islamic radicals overthrow Gaddafi and Mubarak didn’t appease them after all. Weakness invites aggression. This is Jimmy Carter and Tehran all over again.
Far from being a surprise, the sacking of two of our embassies and the slaughter of our ambassador in Libya can be rightly described as the logical outcome of the feckless fascination this administration has had with any group of armed thugs who lay claim to being freedom fighters. In short, what happened was a feature of American foreign policy under Obama, not a bug.
What Obama has tried to do is create an aura of action and progress by glomming onto breaking events and trying to gain credit from them. There is no rhyme or reason in our foreign policy that cannot be adequately contained in the next State Department press release or by inserting Obama, in Kim Il-Sung fashion, into the lives of previous presidents.
In that year, President Jimmy Carter abandoned a key regional ally, Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi of Iran, who was no one’s idea of a nice guy. But we didn’t need Pahlavi to be a nice guy; we needed him to stand up against the Soviet Union. The CIA had squelched an earlier democratization movement in the late 1950s to maintain the monarchy and its influence in Iran, and apparently some in the US government thought Ruhollah Khomeini would bring that democratization to fruition in 1979. The Shah had to flee after his American allies withdrew their support, and Khomeini imposed a theocracy with a 12th-century mindset on what had formerly been one of the most liberalized Muslim nations in the region. When Pahlavi came to the US for medical treatment a few months later, a demonstration of “students” overran the American embassy in Tehran and took dozens of diplomatic personnel hostage, holding them for 444 days.
Eighteen months ago, we abandoned a key ally in Egypt, President Hosni Mubarak, who likewise was no one’s idea of a nice guy. But he had kept the Pax Americana in the Middle East for three decades, even when his predecessor Anwar Sadat got assassinated by Islamist radicals for doing so. Once again, we had an American government encourage the “democracy” movement run by radical Islamists in chasing our ally out of power. Once again, we seem surprised when the radical Islamists put radical Islamists in power. And once again we have “students” assaulting our embassy in the capital, this time Cairo, without so much as an apology from the radical Islamist government now running the nation.
[…] This outcome from the so-called “Arab Spring” was obvious almost from the start, and certainly from the moment we tossed Mubarak to the wolves. We’d lived through it before. The Obama administration failed to learn from the past, and so we get to repeat it.
The Obama administration knew that Al Qaeda, the Muslims Brotherhood and other Islamic radicals were behind the “Arab Spring” revolutions,, and the US decided to help them take over Egypt and Libya anyway. What on earth did they expect?
Documents obtained by Judicial Watch confirm that somebody in the White House told officials with the General Services Administration (GSA) to “stand down” and not arrest Occupy Portland protestors who may have broken the law last year.
Former GSA Public Buildings Service Commissioner Robert Peck told a senior Department of Homeland Security official that the federal housekeeping agency had been instructed by the Obama White House to go easy on the Occupy protestors.
In a Nov. 6, 2011, DHS/National Protection and Programs Directorate Chief of Staff Caitlin Durkovich asked GSA’s Peck if it was true that his agency had asked Federal Protective Service officials not to take action against the Occupy Portland protestors.
“Yes, that is our position,” Peck responded. “It’s been vetted with our Administrator and Michael Robertson, our chief of staff, and we have communicated with the WH [White House], which has afforded us the discretion to fashion our approach to Occupy issues…The arrests last week were carried out despite our request that the protesters [sic] be allowed to remain and to camp overnight…”
Both of Obama’s parents were Marxists, as were his mentors. In college, Obama was well-known by his associates as a Leninist. Any former Marxist can tell you when he changed his mind, and what led to that decision. When exactly did Obama reject Communism? HE NEVER HAS. The candid statements he makes when going off-teleprompter confirm that it’s still his core philosophy.
As an ex-Marxist I am somewhat hypersensitive to the conversion stories of other ex-Marxists. In my case, I remember where I was the exact moment I realized I no longer believed in the ideals of Communism: I was walking through the basement of McGraw Hall at Cornell University in September 1983. I had just finished an argument with my radical thesis advisor, an argument which left me thinking he was ideologically blinded and alarmingly out-of-touch with reality.
For previous generations, such moments of clarity often occurred in the wake of a violent, oppressive event. As Whittaker Chambers describes it in Witness, that moment arrived with an unheeded cry in the Moscow night. As David Horowitz describes it in Radical Son, that moment arrived with the recognition that the Black Panthers had murdered an accountant he had placed with them. For Barack Obama, however, that moment never arrives.
[…] President Obama has never expressed remorse for the Marxist revolutionary views he defended during his sophomore year at Occidental College. He has never shared the conversion story that highlights the exact moment when he realized he disagreed with his sophomore year Marxist roommate, Hasan Chandoo.
[…] “We never hear the story where he confronts Bill Ayers or Alice Palmer or Rev. Wright and tells them ‘Look. You guys are wrong.'”
Just three months ago, another mad gunman burst into a church but only managed to kill one victim before being shot himself by an armed citizen. That story never made the national news, because massive casualties had been averted, thanks to a law-abiding gun owner exercising his 2nd Amendment right.
Despite this, the gun grabbers are on a mission to disarm every law abiding citizen they can.
The nation is in shock and wondering how we go about keeping acts like this from ever happening again. Of course the politicians are licking their chops and the anti-gun lobby is chomping at the bit to take advantage of the moment to pass some meaningless piece of feel good firearms legislation.
Let me say here and now. I have owned guns since my preteen years, every male in our family had guns, our neighbors had guns, our acquaintances had guns, but not one of us ever fired one in an offensive fashion unless it was by virtue of serving in the military, or in a sheriff’s posse in bygone years.
There are enough firearms laws on the books now to paper the south wall of the Grand Canyon, and I – and folks like me – abide by them. We’re the ones who apply for carry permits, buy our guns from reputable dealers and not from some thug on the street corner. We’re the ones who buy the hunting licenses, observe all the safety rules and never point a gun, empty or loaded at anything we don’t want to shoot.
The people President Obama referred to as clinging to our “guns or religion” are not the ones who hold up liquor stores, we’re not the home invaders, or the bank robbers, we’re not the ones who rape defenseless women at gunpoint, we don’t do drive by shootings or terrorize convenience stores.
The only reason any of us would shoot another human being would be to protect ourselves and our families. And yet knowing this, there are those who would make it a crime for people like us to own a gun.
Well, to those of you of that persuasion, let me pose a question. If the people who kill and maim with guns they have illegally obtained won’t obey the volumes of gun laws on the books now, what makes you think they would obey a new one that required that everybody give up their guns.
Do you honestly think it would make America a safer place or would it make every house in America a potential target for home invasion, the criminals knowing that the most lethal weapon they’d have to face would be a water pistol?
Would it make car jacking easier for the criminals if they knew that the driver is not going to pull out a .40 cal and put their lights out?
Would convenience store employees be safer?
Would the nurse who works the late shift and has to approach her car in a dim parking garage feel more at ease?
Would the people who would not be alive now had they not had a weapon when some thug accosted them say they think it’s a good idea?
British citizens have already learned the hard way the heavy cost that comes from being stripped of their unalienable right to arm and defend themselves, and they’re warning Americans not to follow their example:
The federal government appears to be making a concerted effort to to gain intelligence on the pro-life movement, according to some of the movement’s most prominent leaders.
Jill Stanek has revealed that on July 13, FBI agents Conrad Rodriguez and William Sivley paid a visit to her son-in-law, Andy Moore, reportedly pressuring him to expose the inner workings of the right-to-life movement and making veiled threats to separate him from his wife and family through imprisonment or deportation.
The feds questioned Moore after the Southwest Women’s Surgery Center, a Dallas abortion clinic, complained that Moore used a bullhorn on one occasion during a peaceful protest. Upon learning this violated a local noise ordinance, Moore stopped using the bullhorn.
The abortion mill also claimed Moore was “too aggressive” and had trespassed on its property – something Moore denies and which he says the clinic made no attempt to prove.
Stanek wrote that the agents – who said their department also investigates hate crimes such as those committed by white supremacists – asked “inappropriate questions clearly aimed at intimidating Andy, while also launching into a fishing expedition about me.” Agents reportedly asked her son-in-law whether Stanek had inspired his activism, whether she trained him, and if he got his ideas from her.
They also asked, “What affiliations do you have including church groups?”
Stanek said the agents were most interested in getting him to name other pro-lifers who he believes are overly “abrasive or aggressive.”
Moore, who hails from New Zealand and is not a U.S. citizen, could be deported if successfully prosecuted. FBI agents reportedly told him, “You wouldn’t want to be apart from your wife and newborn.”
Stanek questioned why the FBI was involved in the first place, since, “the charges rose to the level of nada to begin with, certainly not above local law enforcement’s pay grade.”
Others in the pro-life movement have received similar visits and probing questions.
Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue, told LifesiteNews.com that during the Clinton-era Violence Against Abortion Providers Conspiracy (VAAPCON) program, federal agents harassed pro-lifers in an attempt to uncover a conspiracy to kill abortionists. “Our mail was rifled through. Our phone lines were tapped. We were followed. I have an FBI file,” Newman told LifeSiteNews. “At the end of the day, they could not find any instance of conspiracy to commit violence against abortion providers. If anything we saw the exact opposite: there’s a conspiracy to commit violence against pro-lifers. That’s never talked about.”
Under Obama, he said the pressure is beginning again.
“I think it’s a lot more subversive with the advent of…warrantless wiretapping of our phones, and our cell phones can be cloned so easily,” he said.
Newman said a source has given him reason to believe the Obama administration is engaging in surveillance of pro-life leaders and organizations.