August 23, 2011

End the School Property Tax

Thomas G. Brown |

For those of you who have purchased a home and think you own it think again.  Even if you have paid cash or have paid off your mortgage you must realize you do not actually own your home or the land it is built upon.  This is due to a government mandated rent you most pay to your county, township, and school district.  What is this rent I speak of?  Why it’s the property tax that you must pay year after year to fund the ever more expensive and inefficient schools, and governments. Why must we pay a tribute to government in order to stay in our homes?  Before property taxes homes where easily past down from generation to generation and a person may die in the same home that their grandparents where born.  Not so today, sadly when folks hit retirement age they usually “downsize” to lower expenses in  retirement.  On major expenses for these seniors is the yearly property tax.

With the impending explosion of the baby boomers retiring over the next 20 years it would be worth taking a look at this issue as it will be a determining factor.  Many will have to continue working or go back to work just to keep up with this unjust continual tax on your home and land.  You are not forced to pay a yearly tax on anything else you own.  You car is not taxed on a yearly basis just because you own it (you have to pay a registration fee but that is if you wish to drive it still unfair).  So you may ask how will we fund our precious government schools?  Well if I had my way all schools would be private and run on free market principles so that the best teachers and schools made the most money and those who just wanted to show up for a pay check would be shown the door.  But this will most likely take a while for folks to warm up to so in the mean time why not remove the property tax for a better method a sale tax.  Below I explain the process.

The way we pay for schools is completely out dated. In today’s society folks move in and out of areas on an average of 11.7 in their lifetimes according to the US Census. So the old way of funding is unfair as the parents who send their children to the public schools most likely have only lived in the area for 6 years and then move on to another area for work.  This leaves the permanent residents many who are retired or do not have school aged children footing the bill for schools that they do not use.

So what is the solution to funding schools if we get rid of the property tax?  We we already have a state sales tax so why not use this method to pay for public schools?  The infrastructure is already in  place as we now collect a 6% sales taxes on all products sold in the state (exemptions would be for food,WIC, Food stamps, prescription drugs, healthcare services) .  The funds from the sales tax would be placed in a dedicated fund that could not be touched but for the explicit use to fund schools in the state.  All schools would receive the same per student funding which would be recalculated each year.  These funds along with gambling revenue would put all schools, rural, urban, poor, and rich on an equal financial playing field. This idea is not my own but one purposed by Pennsylvania Taxpayers Cyber Coalition (PTCC). The key to this plan is that if enacted it must have a companion bill to amend the PA Constitution to eliminate the school property tax an prohibit future legislatures from re-enacting it.  As an idea this is the most sensible that has been brought up in getting rid of the property tax once and for all.

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August 23, 2011

August 23, 2011

An Open Letter to Mayor Bloomberg

Mises Daily | Robert P. Murphy

Dear Mayor Bloomberg:

I read with interest that you (and fellow billionaire George Soros) are going to contribute millions of your own fortunes to supplement the tax dollars New York City’s government will spend because “blacks and Latinos are not fully sharing in the promise of American freedom.”

Yet rather than spending your own money — and that of the taxpayers — on retraining probation officers, posting job recruitment signs in government housing projects, and the other ideas mentioned in the New York Times article, you should consider much more effective ways to help young black and Latino men. As an added bonus, the following proposals would actually reduce government expenditures:

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Good News in Libya Won’t Last

USAWatchDog.com | Greg Hunter

It looks like the end of power for tyrant Muammar Gaddafi. He’s been in power 40 years, but what will take his place? Remember when stories broke out a few months ago about Libyan rebel al-Qaeda links? It is a fact that was reported in one of many publications such as The Telegraph back in March. The story headline read “Libyan rebel commander admits his fighters have al-Qaeda links.” The story went on to say, “Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi, the Libyan rebel leader, has said jihadists who fought against allied troops in Iraq are on the front lines of the battle against Muammar Gaddafi’s regime. . . . Earlier this month, al-Qaeda issued a call for supporters to back the Libyan rebellion, which it said would lead to the imposition of “the stage of Islam” in the country.” (Click here to read the complete Telegraph story.) Did NATO’s 20,000 bombing missions help al-Qaeda win? It sure looks like it.

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Chavez move could drive gold through the roof – and put confiscation on the cards again

Mineweb.com | Lawrence Williams

Long dismissed by the mainstream as conspiracy theorists and a fringe organisation which appeals only to right wing gold fanatics, the Gold Anti Trust Association (GATA) is at last beginning to feel totally vindicated by events. Over the years since its foundation the organisation has unearthed some telling official evidence of government and central bank meddling in the gold market – perhaps to try and stabilize currencies, given gold is seen by many as a bellwether of the health of the dollar and, by association, of most of the world’s other currencies.

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Venezuela Requests Gold Holdings Held by BOE, Merentes Says

Bloomberg.com | Jose Orozco

Venezuela’s central bank has requested its 99 tons of gold holdings from the Bank of England, according to a bank statement sent by e-mail, citing the institution’s president Nelson Merentes.

“We’ve contacted the Bank of England and the corresponding protocols have been initiated to complete this operation as soon as possible,” Merentes said, according to the statement. “Once that’s done, the shipments will begin by sea.”

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The Business Of War

Personal Liberty Digest | Bob Livingston

The American government’s favorite industry is war.

It is making war on five nations right now: Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen and Libya. The drumbeats for war on Iran are sounding, growing louder and louder. But before Iran will be Syria, as the United States tightens the noose around Iran.

President Barack Obama promised to extricate the U.S. from foreign wars. Instead, he’s starting new ones. The silence of the anti-war left is deafening. Where they loudly opposed President George W. Bush’s wars, they support Obama; if not openly, then through their silence.

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Fed secretly loaned $1.2 trillion in public money to Wall St. firms: report

Raw Story | Stephen C. Webster

An analysis of tens of thousands of documents obtained by Bloomberg through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request shows that the U.S. Federal Reserve made approximately $1.2 trillion in loans from public money to support Wall Street firms in the midst of one of the worst financial crises ever.

Differing from the $16 trillion in loans made through asset swaps and preferred stock agreements, which were first revealed by a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) audit mandated by Congress, these loans came from public money, representing the greatest largess of the financial sector during a crisis that threatened to pull the whole globalized system of finance to its knees.

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Social Security and What You Should Know!

The Daily Bell | Adrian Krieg

There are Ponzi schemes and then there’s Social Security. For the last ten weeks every politician from Obama to Sanders has been harping about the out-of-control social costs of Social Security and Medicare and our immediate need to raise taxes and reduce benefits. These political ideologues are liars because the entire Social Security system is nothing but lies.

According to the Social Security Administration, the average recipient collects $500,000 in retirement benefits but pays in only $278,000. Wrong! What they conveniently don’t mention is that if the average beneficiary pays in $278,000 and the employer matches that with an equal amount, SS collects $556,000 per recipient.

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10 Faux Progressive Companies … With Some Dirty Secrets

Alter Net | Lauren Kelley

hat makes a company “progressive”? A CEO’s lefty politics? A dedication to people over profits? A solid environmental track record?

Many companies have earned credibility among progressives by marketing themselves as “different” (Apple), “green” (Seventh Generation), or “anti-sweatshop” (American Apparel), despite having a poor track record with the environment, sexism, union busting, monopolizing, and more. These companies are boosting revenues by tapping into the growing demand for socially-conscious products and businesses, especially among the wealthy, well-educated sub-set of progressive consumers.

I rounded up information on ten of the best-known companies that should be a disappointment to progressive consumers:

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NATO SLAUGHTER IN TRIPOLI: “Operation Mermaid Dawn” Signals Assault by Rebels’ Al Qaeda Death Squads

Global Research | Thierry Meyssan

Tripoli, Libya, Aug. 22, 2011, 1 AM CET– On Saturday evening, at 8pm, when the hour of Iftar marked the breaking of the Ramadan fast, the NATO command launched its “Operation Mermaid Dawn” against Libya.

The Sirens were the loudspeakers of the mosques, which were used to launch Al Qaeda’s call to revolt against the Qaddafi government. Immediately the sleeper cells of the Benghazi rebels went into action. These were small groups with great mobility, which carried out multiple attacks. The overnight fighting caused 350 deaths and 3,000 wounded.

The situation calmed somewhat on Sunday during the course of the day.

Then, a NATO warship sailed up and anchored just off the shore at Tripoli, delivering heavy weapons and debarking Al Qaeda jihadi forces, which were led by NATO officers.

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The 12 Scariest TSA Stories of All Time

Insurance Quotes |

The TSA is an oft hated and maligned part of airline travel, and although the agency seems to get an excessively bad rap, many stories of TSA incidents indicate that the public’s assessment is correct. Airline passengers going through security should not fear brutal force, sexual harassment, insensitive treatment, and even being separated from their child in the name of safety, yet as you’ll see from the following stories, they do. Although these stories are among the worst, so many more were not included, and continue to develop each day. Read on to find 12 chilling TSA horror stories.

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Karen J. Greenberg, Taking the Justice Out of the Justice System

Tomgram | Karen J. Greenberg

Can you even remember the world before 9/11? You know, the one where you weren’t stripped in the airport or body-wanded at the ballpark? It’s as much a lost world as anything Conan Doyle ever imagined. And it seems there’s no turning back. An administration voted into office by a populace tired of George W. Bush-ism has, remarkably enough, added on to Bush’s wars, redoubled his “secret” drone campaigns, further expanded the special operations forces that have grown into a secret military inside the military, upped the level of secrecy that envelops the National Security Complex (whose further expansion it also has overseen), renewed the Patriot Act, supported further surveillance of Americans, dumped yet more money into the Pentagon, and in sum seems intent on recreating Bushism without Bush.

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August 22, 2011

Fire Arms Freedom Act

Thomas G. Brown |

On Saturday evening I attended a Fire Arms Owners Against Crime meeting was delighted to here that the a bill that was offered last year to protect gun owners, dealers, and manufactures as well as the accessories from Federal Intrusion.  This another step in the protection of the Second Amendmen.

Pennsylvania State Rep. Matt Gabler is the Sponsor HB 0752  also know as “PA Fire Arms Freedom Act”. This bill was originally presented in 2009 up by former PA State Representative and 2009 candidate for PA Governor Sam Rohrer (as HB 1988 2009-10 session).  Under this bill any firearm or firearm accessories manufactured and stamped with “Made in Pennsylvania” would not be subject to the Federal Government’s interpretation (wrong I will point out)   of the Interstate Commerce Clause in Article I section 8 of the U.S. Constitution. Under the bill these firearms would be subject only to state law and exempt from Federal laws and regulations. As of February of this year there are 61 Representatives sponsoring the bill.

This a great stand not just for the 2nd Amendment  but also the 10th Amendment of the United State Congress which states “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people”.  According to the Firearms Freedom Act website seven states have already enacted this law (Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, Tennessee,  and South Dakota). There are about fourteen states that are not looking at introducing bills similar to this and they are the usual suspects and you can take a look at the Firearms Freedom Act website to find them.  But on the plus side about 58% of the states have introduced, enacted, or are intending to introduce laws such as the one being offered in Pennsylvania.  So there is hope that we are winning some key battles for liberty and state soverignty issues. 

August 22, 2011

August 21st, 2011

Gold, Silver SOAR, Gold Cartel In Shambles / PM Shares On The Move … Finally

GoldSeek.com | Bill Murphy, Le Metropole Cafe, Inc

“The wind blows over the surface of the lake. In this way, the effects of the invisible are made visible.” … I Ching

Go GATA!

This morning was breathtaking. As I am still having trouble getting off London/France time yet, I am still rising VERY early. This morning was worth every second of it as I watched gold blow through the 2% Rule with ease, RISING 3% at its highs of its rocket run. Speaking of rockets…

haha Bill
you gotta laugh. Do you think he is referring to those GATA rockets?!

UK Guardian Blog:

The deepening panic on stock markets has sparked new metaphors, with gold – which broke through $1868 an ounce today – being described as a “rocket ship”. Jeremy Cook, chief economist at foreign exchange brokers, World First, said:

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Juan Williams on Mainstream Media Bias, the Entitlement Culture and American Foreign Policy

Daily Bell | Anthony Weil

The Daily Bell is pleased to publish this exclusive interview with Juan Williams (left).

Juan Williams, one of America’s leading journalists, is a political analyst for Fox News, a regular panelist on Fox Broadcasting’s Sunday-morning public-affairs program Fox News Sunday, and a columnist for FoxNews.com and for The Hill. He hosted NPR’s Talk of the Nation and has anchored Fox News Channel’s weekend daytime news coverage. A former senior correspondent and political analyst for National Public Radio, he is the author of the bestselling book Enough, the critically acclaimed biography Thurgood Marshall: American Revolutionary, and the national bestseller Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years, 1954–1965, the companion volume to the critically acclaimed television series. His most recent book, Muzzled: The Assault on Honest Debate, was released by Crown Publishers in late July, 2011, the main topic of which is the muzzling of honest exchange of ideas and search for solutions and compromise in America. During his 21-year career at the Washington Post, Williams served as an editorial writer, op-ed columnist, and White House reporter. His articles have appeared in the New York Times Sunday Magazine, Time, Newsweek, Fortune, The Atlantic Monthly, Ebony, Gentlemen’s Quarterly, and The New Republic.

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Merkel and Sarkozy impotent in the face of debt crisis

GoldMoney.com |

Mrs Merkel and Mr Sarkozy achieved nothing last Tuesday by holding, at short notice, a meeting to sort out the eurozone sovereign debt crisis. They only succeeded in exposing their political impotence. They came up with four proposals – none of which stand a chance of being implemented – having dropped one of Sarkozy’s, the issuance of a “eurobond”, after the Germans refused to lend their name and credit to it. This charade has more to do with French presidential elections next year than anything else, and Sarkozy’s diminishing re-election prospects. Mrs Merkel must regret being dragged into it.

They have no answers for the sovereign debt crisis, which now extends beyond the PIIGS to Belgium and France as well. According to the CIA database, the only eurozone countries with budget surpluses last year were Finland and Malta; the rest have a combined budget deficit of $760bn. Germany, who everyone is relying on, accounted for $120bn of the total deficit and has a government debt-to-GDP ratio of 80%. The most solvent are Estonia, Luxembourg, Slovenia and Slovakia, three of which have not had the chance to rack up much debt having been shackled behind the Iron Curtain for much of the last century.

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The Next De Gaulle

The Daily Sun |

Our editorial yesterday in respect of Charles De Gaulle raised the question of whether someone could be found today who could talk about the monetary crisis with the sense and gravitas the leader of Free France brought to the monetary crisis that came into view in the mid-1960s. De Gaulle himself is now gone, of course, having died in 1970. He had his faults and had become, in many ways, an irritant to America. But his late career call for a return to a system of sound money that would — by virtue of being based on gold — hold all countries to the same standard is now echoing across the decades. And it turns out there is an heir to the economist who emboldened the French president to make his famous declaration.

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Study says it’s official: The media is ignoring Ron Paul

The San Fransisco Chronicle | Joe Garofoli

It’s official: There is now a nonpartisan study confirming the Great Ron Paul Blow-Off. Dude lost the Ames Straw Poll by 152 votes to uh…uh…what’s her name… but SHE got the Sunday morning chat show invites while the punditocracy treated Dr. Paul like he was Thaddeus McCotter.

You’ve heard everybody from Jon Stewart to well, Ron Paul complain about it, but now we have a study from the nonpartisan Pew Research Center to back it up. The bar graph don’t lie:

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Syria: Obama Threatens U.S. Military Intervention

Global Research | Sara Flounders

President Barack Obama on Aug. 18 demanded that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad step down, saying that the Syrian leader’s days are numbered. The governments of Britain, France and Germany joined in this demand. This statement is ablatant imperialist interference in Syria’s internal affairs. Morethan that, it is an open threat to intervene militarily in another country in that region, just as the U.S. and its European allies have done already in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Somalia, with rockets and bombs. It is a threat against the Syrian peopleof something like the last five months of slaughter of the Libyan people.

Two weeks earlier, on Aug. 5, Russia’s envoy to NATODmitry Rogozin told the media that NATO is planning a military campaign against Syria to overthrow the Assadregime. In an interview with Russia’s Izvestia daily newspaper, Rogozin said the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is also probably establishing a long-reaching goal of preparing an attack on Iran. (Reported in Xinhua, Aug. 5)

When U.S. imperialism engages in an attack on any government or movement, as it is now on Syria, it is cowardly to be neutral. It is rank betrayal to stand on the same side as the imperialist octopus, which seeks to dominate the world. This has been an ABC for workers’ movements through 150 years of class-conscious struggles. It is the very basis of Marxism. Whatever one’s assessment of the government under attack, any attempt at imperialist intervention, whether through sanctions or through armed attack, must be opposed.

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Roubini, Marx, and Keynes

LewRockwell.com | Gary North

Nouriel Roubini, known as “Dr. Doom” – having replaced Henry Kaufman in this capacity – now says that Karl Marx was right, according to a recent article.

Roubini teaches at New York University’s Stern School of Business. Kaufman earned a Ph.D. at the Stern School of Business. They are both very stern fellows.

I can hardly blame Kaufman for being stern. He ended his career at Lehman Brothers as the chairman of the Finance and Risk Committee. He is the author of The Road to Financial Reformation: Warnings, Consequences, Reforms (2009), also known as Do As I Say or Wind Up as We Did.

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A Not-Car Column….

EricPetersautos.com | Eric Peters

Last weekend, we bought some land.

This flies against policy (our policy) of never buying anything except that which can be paid for at the time of purchase – and even though I know full-well that we won’t really own the land, just as we don’t really own the land we have (or the house that sits upon it) because owners don’t pay rent in perpetuity to the government, which we, like all “owners” must (in the form of annual property taxes) if we wish to continue to be allowed to remain on the land (and in “our”) house.

Anyhow.

We did this deed as a way to hedge against what I am increasingly convinced is coming – the destruction of the dollar, followed about five minutes after this becomes common knowledge by the final implosion of what’s left of the American economy.

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Gold: Is It Invincible?

321gold.com | Morris Hubbartt

US Dollar QE Repercussion Chart

Dollar Commentary

Loss of confidence in the dollar is accelerating and it effectively sits now on what amounts to a trap door. US debt downgraded by S&P was a big story. The bigger story is the performance of the dollar in comparison to gold! Gold is being elevated back to its ultimate currency status. I think it’s fair to almost say that it is gold that has really downgraded the dollar for months, and this downgrade continues with a fury.

US Dollar Ultimate Oscillator Chart

The USD has had a rough 12 months, losing in excess of 10%. Unfortunately, the policies of the United States Government for the foreseeable future are unchanged. I expect that policy to show itself in the performance of the dollar.

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So where in the world is safe?

Sovereign Man | Simon Black

Yesterday’s letter about social upheaval received a lot of comments, and I want to address the major themes today.

First, ‘Simon the White’ wrote: “You imply that it’s not just the USA, but that all Western countries are screwed. Where will the contagion end? You appear to be arguing ‘expatriate at all costs,’ but if things are bad enough that there is rioting in the USA, where on earth will be safe?”

To summarize yesterday’s letter, I view social upheaval as a foregone conclusion– it’s already happening around the world, and is a direct consequence of deteriorating economic conditions. In the developed world, social upheaval is a gigantic pyre desperately seeking a spark.

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Donald Trump’s candidacy received three times more coverage than Ron Paul’s candidacy

The Raw Story | Eric W. Dolan

Donald Trump received over three times as much news coverage than Republican presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) this year, according to a report by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.

The report found that Trump was featured in 94 campaign stories by 52 major news outlets from from January 1 to August 14, but the same news outlets only featured Paul in 27 campaign stories.

The real estate mogul and reality television star briefly considered running for president in the spring.

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Cloudy with 100% Chance of Corporate State

Coyote Blog |

t does not appear that Rick Perry is the guy to dismantle our growing corporate state.

The LA Times investigates the big-money culture of Texas politics, which has gotten even bigger and money-er since Rick Perry became governor:

Perry has received a total of $37 million over the last decade from just 150 individuals and couples, who are likely to form the backbone of his new effort to win the Republican presidential nomination….Nearly half of those mega-donors received hefty business contracts, tax breaks or appointments under Perry, according to a Los Angeles Times analysis.

Perry, campaigning Monday at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, declined to comment when asked how he separated the interests of his donors from the needs of his state. His aides vigorously dispute that his contributors received any perks. “They get the same thing that all Texans get,” said spokesman Mark Miner.

Nearly half! And this doesn’t even include anything about David Nance and the largesse Perry distributes via his $200 million state-managed venture capital slush fund. Doling out political favors in industrial quantities is obviously something that isn’t frowned upon by Texas political culture, and Perry has taken it to whole new levels.

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August 19, 2011

August 19th, 2011

Tomgram: David Bromwich, George W. Obama?

Tomgram | David Bromwich

Those first acts of that first shining full day in the Oval Office are now so forgotten, but on January 21, 2009, among other things, Barack Obama promised to return America to “the high moral ground,” and then signed a straightforward executive order “requiring that the Guantanamo Bay detention facility be closed within a year.” It was an open-and-shut case, so to speak, part of what CNN called “a clean break from the Bush administration.” On that same day, as part of that same break, the president signed an executive order and two presidential memoranda hailing a “new era of openness,” of sunshine and transparency in government. As the president put it, “Every agency and department should know that this administration stands on the side not of those who seek to withhold information, but those who seek to make it known.”

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Are You Authorized to Defend Yourself?

Mises Daily | Wendy McElroy

What will you do if rioting sweeps US cities as it did British ones last week?

Vigilantism is defined as “Taking the law into one’s own hands and attempting to effect justice according to one’s own understanding of right and wrong.” Typically, it occurs when traditional law enforcement is absent, ineffective, or corrupt. When exercised in defense of person and property, vigilantism is the direct expression of an individual’s right to protect himself or innocent others against aggression. It is also defined as “action taken by a voluntary association of persons who organize themselves for the purpose of protecting a common interest.”

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Dennis Kucinich: Constitutional scholar Obama ignoring the Constitution

Raw Story | Eric W. Dolan

Appearing Wednesday on Fox Business, Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) said the the Congress was “catching up” to President Barack Obama on the issue of the conflict in Libya.

“The Constitution makes it manifestly clear that only Congress has the power to send our young men and women into war,” Kucinich said. “Unfortunately this administration, even though it is headed by a constitutional scholar, now is ignoring the Constitution.”

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You’re Appointing Who? Please Obama, Say It’s Not So!

Institute for Responsible Technology | Jeffrey Smith

The person who may be responsible for more food-related illness and death than anyone in history has just been made the US food safety czar. This is no joke.

arguments related to food safety. No, he was going to do what corporations had done for decades to get past these types of pesky concerns. He was going to lie.

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Think gold may lose some lustre? Eric Sprott sees a silver lining

The Globe and Mail | tim kiladze

Eric Sprott, the perennial gold enthusiast, has his sights set on a new precious metal.

Mr. Sprott’s charitable organization, The Sprott Foundation, is selling two million units of its gold holdings and using the money to buy silver.

The move comes as gold veers close to $1,800 (U.S.) per ounce, and less than a week after Mr. Sprott had declared the metal “the investment of the last decade” in an interview with GoldMoney Foundation. “I think silver is going to be the investment of this decade.”

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Chavez Launches War Against US Dollar

The Daily Bell |

Dominant Social Theme: The government knows best how to manage the money supply; Chavez will lead the way.

Free-Market Analysis: Whoa! Hold the US dollar horses, folks… the global reserve currency game just got a whole lot more interesting. There is, in our humble opinion, a whole lot more to this story than just the repatriation of gold being held at foreign central and commercial banks. It is perhaps the biggest story to unfold in the currency markets in many years.

One thing everyone with an inkling of monetary knowledge is familiar with is that central banks’ monopoly over the issuance of fiat currency is a destructive process of wealth redistribution – ultimately enslaving nations under a perpetual sea of debt. International money power ends up controlling the targeted nations’ media, government (including the courts) and, via mercantilist corporate activities, its natural resources and productive capacity.

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Social Degeneration: Part 3

TownHall.com | Thomas Sowell

The orgies of violent attacks against strangers on the streets — in both England and the United States — are not necessarily just passing episodes. They should be wake-up calls, warning of the continuing degeneration of Western society.

As British doctor and author Theodore Dalrymple said, long before these riots broke out, “the good are afraid of the bad and the bad are afraid of nothing.”

Not only the trends over the years leading up to these riots but also the squeamish responses to them by officials — on both sides of the Atlantic — reveal the moral dry rot that has spread deep into Western societies.

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A Young Man’s Guide to Understanding Retirement Accounts: IRAs

The Art of Manliness | Brett & Kate McKay

Today we continue our two-part series on understanding retirement accounts. Last time we took a look at employer-sponsored retirement accounts like 401(k)’s and 403b’s. Today we’ll be discussing retirement accounts that you can open up on your own without the need for an employer–the Individual Retirement Account or IRA.

Let’s get started.
What Is an IRA?

An IRA is simply an account that you can shelter your retirement in to help you save on taxes. It’s super easy to open an IRA. You just need taxable income and to complete a little paperwork. You can open up an IRA at most banks or investment firms.

After you open an IRA, you can fund it with any type of investment you want–stocks, mutual funds, bonds, or index funds. I have an IRA with Vanguard and use a simple index fund to fund it.

Note: What follows is based on the tax laws governing IRAs in 2011. They’ve changed before and will change again. Check out the IRS’ page on IRAs to stay up to date on IRA rules.

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S&P and the Bilderbergers: All Part of the Plan?

Web of Debt Blog | Ellen Brown

What just happened in the stock market? Last week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose or fell by at least 400 points for four straight days, a stock market first.

The worst drop was on Monday, 8-8-11, when the Dow plunged 624 points. Monday was the first day of trading after US Treasury bonds were downgraded from AAA to AA+ by Standard and Poor’s.

But the roller coaster actually began on Tuesday, 8-2-11, the day after the last-minute deal to raise the U.S. debt ceiling — a deal that was supposed to avoid the downgrade that happened anyway five days later. The Dow changed directions for eight consecutive trading sessions after that, another first.

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But America IS A Police State

Lew Rockwell.com | Steven Greenhut

Six Fullerton cops, responding to a phone call alleging that someone in the downtown area might be breaking into cars, approached a 130-pound homeless man named Kelly Thomas, grabbed his backpack and, according to eyewitnesses, began Tasering him and beating him into a pulp. He died a few days later at a local hospital.

According to eyewitnesses, Thomas, although schizophrenic, did nothing to warrant arrest, let alone a savage beating. He was a local fixture around the bar scene, a gentle figure who bummed cigarettes and slept in the park. Videos made by bystanders showed pure aggression on the part of the cops, while locals expressed horror and Thomas cried out for his dad as he was being beaten.

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Don’t Swallow the Fed’s $16 Trillion Dollar Suicide Pill

RadioFreeMarket.com |By Michael McKay

In case you missed it, on July 21st 2011 the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a 266 page partial audit of the Federal Reserve (FED).

Here is the punch line: The Federal Reserve secretly kept the Phony-Fiat-Money-System afloat by “lending” out $16 Trillion Dollars to various corporations and banks, many of which were foreign, non-U.S. entities like The Bank of Scotland, UBS (Switzerland), Deutche Bank (Germany) and Societe Generale SA (France) between December 1, 2007 through July 21, 2010 (read this as: Created-Out-Of-Thin-Air and had refused to tell us). The details are on page 133 which you can read here.

How big is $16 Trillion Dollars? Well, to get a basic idea please review this excellent presentation. Here are some other ways to try to get your head around this astounding number:

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August 18, 2011

August 18th, 2011

Zoning infringes on property rights and increases cost of education

Thomas G. Brown |

Zoning infringes on property rights and increases cost of education
Well school starts next week at Penn State and many other Universities across the nation. As students come to college towns all across America those who do not reside in campus housing will be staying in apartments and houses around the university. Sadly the cost of housing is a burden that in higher than it ought to be due to zoning which restricts where students can reside. Often they site unruly behavior by students and noise as a reason to keep them out of their neighborhoods. Below I will discuss what restrictions have done to housing prices for incoming students in the town of State College, PA the home of Penn State University.

Regulations and the harmful effects they have on everyday life. Let’s take a look at one intrusive set of regulations known as zoning ordinances that are imposed on property owners in every state in the nation by local and county governments. These regulations contribute to higher cost of housing, a reduction in small locally owned and run businesses and stores in addition to the reduction of income from properties.

I will take the example of what is going on here in State College, PA as an example. State College for those of you who are not familiar is the home of Pennsylvania State University. There are about 44,000 students attending the main campus during the school year so a majority of the population has to live off campus in apartments, townhouses, and single family dwellings that are rented to the students by their owners. This is a great for the economy of the area since there is always a demand for housing by the constant stream of students moving in and out of the area each year. This would seem to be something to embrace by the folks in State College Borough and the surround area as there would be a steady stream of rental income not to mention what they spend at the local businesses. But this would be a wrong assumption as the Borough currently restricts housing used to house students to certain areas and requiring registration of the properties used by students. Below is the requirements that must be met in order to use a property for student housing.

6) Student Home. Student Homes are permitted in all zoning districts that allow residential uses pursuant to district regulations applicable for 1- and 2-family home use. However, in the R-1, R-2, and R-3 zoning districts, student homes are permitted only when all of
the following standards are met:

(a) Occupancy in a 1-family or 2-family dwelling used as a student home shall not exceed three unrelated persons, as prescribed in Section 501.l.3.
(b) No student home shall be located on a lot any portion of which is closer to another lot used for a student home than a distance determined by multiplying 3 times the minimum lot width required for a 1-family dwelling in the district in which the student home is located.
XIX-D-R1.6 (c) No more than 1 dwelling unit in a 2-family dwelling may be used as a student home.
(d) No more than 1 building on a lot may be used as a student home.
(e) A student home shall have a minimum of 1,500 square feet of floor area per dwelling unit, exclusive of floor areas contained in basements, garages or accessory buildings.
(f) A minimum of 2 parking spaces shall be provided per dwelling unit in
driveways or off-street parking areas.
(g) No student home shall be occupied or used as such until a zoning permit and rental housing permit have been issued. Plans showing the lot’s layout, parking area, landscaping and floor area are required.i
According to an article in the Centre Daily Times only 289 units are available for students to live within the borough. Now this works out to a maximum of 867 students due to the limit of three unrelated persons being able to occupy the units used as student housing. “Currently, 289 student homes are registered in the borough, with an additional 36 possible in the one-and two-family homes where they are allowed. With a tripled buffer, only eight additional student homes could be permitted, according to information presented by zoning officer Anne Messner”ii. Anyone with commonsense can see that the three person limit would not be needed if property owners where able to rent to students without getting permission from the nanny state. The students would also benefit for lower cost of housing while attending college as an increase in available housing would drive down rent. This is but one example of what zoning will do in the name of the greater good. All the while they are infringing on the rights of property owners to do as they wish and increase the cost of housing for students who are already dealing with steep prices tied to higher education.

i http://www.statecollegepa.us/common/modules/documentcenter2/documentview.aspx?DID=200
ii http://www.centredaily.com/2011/08/17/2880593/housing-changes-sought.html

When Germany and France Both Agree on Something, You Can Safely Assume It Is a Terrible Idea

Peter Mitchell | International Liberty

I’ve joked on many occasions that bipartisanship occurs in Washington when the evil party and the stupid party come up with an idea that is simultaneously malicious and misguided.

The international version of two-wrongs-don’t-make-a-right occurs whenever the French and the Germans conspire on economic policy. The latest example is a joint proposal for “economic governance” for eurozone nations. Here are some blurbs from the BBC’s report.

The French and German leaders have called for “true economic governance” for the eurozone in response to the euro debt crisis. Speaking at a joint news conference, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy urged much closer economic and fiscal policy in the eurozone. …They also advocated a tax on financial transactions to raise more revenues.

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0% Interest Rates Lock in Inflation

USA Watchdog.com | Greg Hunter

The decision by the Fed, last week, to keep a key interest rate at near zero percent for 2 years is historic because the Fed has never done this before. This action will have profound negative effect on the U.S. dollar and its buying power. It also signals that even the Fed thinks the economy is not going to get better for at least 2 years. This action will affect every American and telegraphs a policy of inflation by the government. In November of 2009, I predicted this very path in a post called “The Fix is In.” Back then, I said, “It appears the “fix” is in as far as the road plan for the U.S. dollar and economy. The government and the Fed appear to have chosen a path of inflation for America and the world. This is not an official announced plan but it might as well be.”

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Vaccination Controversy Follows Perry on Campaign Trail

New American | Jack Kenny

Controversy over an executive order issued by Rick Perry in 2007 is following the Texas Governor on the presidential campaign trail. In New Hampshire on Saturday and in Iowa on Monday, Perry faced questions about his order to have girls entering the sixth grade in Texas vaccinated against the human papillomavirus, a common sexually transmitted disease and the cause of about 70 percent of all cervical cancer, according to the federal Center for Disease Control.

Girls would be exempt from the order only if a parent or guardian signed an affidavit claiming a “conscientious objection.” The order, signed by the Governor on February 2, 2007, became the subject of sharp and widespread criticism and the Legislature promptly passed a law revoking it. According to the ABC News blog, “The Note,” Perry was asked about the controversial order during a backyard reception for the candidate at the home of state Rep. Pamela Tucker in Greenland, New Hampshire.

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Gold miner minting its own gold and silver coins – looking to pay dividends in kind!

Mineweb.com | Lawrence Williams

Junior, U.S-headquartered gold miner, Gold Resource Corporation (GRC) has entered into a position of holding some of its in-house treasury in physical gold and silver rather than cash in a move that will undoubtedly further increase its appeal to the gold-owning fraternity..

In reporting strong second quarter figures which have seen new production, revenue and dividend payout records, the company’s board has announced that it has approved the company minting approximately US$1 million worth of its own one ounce gold and silver coins

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Foodborne Illnesses in America

Global Research | Rady Ananda

A close look at the people behind the raw milk scare, and the actual numbers of foodborne illness, reveals that politics more than science drives the food safety agenda in the U.S.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack just appointed Susan Vaughn Grooters to the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods (NACMCF), which is also served by Dr. Wafa Birbari of junk food giant, Sara Lee Corp.

Lacking a PhD, Grooters will serve her two-year term on NACMCF as a “consumer representative.” She currently works with STOP Foodborne Illness (formerly Safe Tables Our Priority), an organization that condemns raw dairy and urges broad expansion of federal control over food.

Grooters hopes to federalize state reporting of contaminated food, as explained to Center for Science in the Public Interest:

“States’ systematic differences in response to foodborne illness case reporting may also explain variations in rates,” said S.T.O.P’s public health specialist, Susan Vaughn Grooters. “Time differences in surveying cases of foodborne illness and lack of integrated data collection may also affect how well states accurately capture data.” [1]

In a playful charade calling for stricter controls on food, she recently tweeted:

“Really??? Really? I would beg to differ Sec. Vilsack! ..unless of course you’re proposing a change to policies… 😉 http://usat.ly/kceLEY”

With these opinions, it’s almost a joke to say she represents consumers.

Though the Food Safety Modernization Act is characterized as promoting “science-based” food control driven by “risk-based” analysis, [2] instead, under FSMA authority, the FDA has claimed power to seize food without evidence of contamination. [3]

Evidence is the foundation of science and law; removal and destruction of evidence is anti-science and fraudulent. (See Victor Rawls’ well-argued essay on this. [4])

Contrary to “risk-based” control, the FDA continues to seize and destroy food that sickened no one, while knowingly allowing tainted meat on the market and doing nothing about it until someone died, as in Cargill’s 36-million-pound turkey recall.

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The Death Penalty Is a Miscarriage of Justice: It Should Be Abolished

Lew Rockwell.com | John W. Whitehead

“The reality is that capital punishment in America is a lottery. It is a punishment that is shaped by the constraints of poverty, race, geography and local politics.” ~ Bryan Stevenson, death row lawyer

“Imposition of the death penalty is arbitrary and capricious. The decision of who shall live and who shall die for his crime turns less on the nature of the offense and the incorrigibility of the offender and more on inappropriate and indefensible considerations: the political and personal inclinations of prosecutors; the defendant’s wealth, race and intellect; the race and economic status of the victim; the quality of the defendant’s counsel; and the resources allocated to defense lawyers.” ~ Gerald Heaney, a former appellate judge

There is nothing moral or just about the death penalty – certainly not the way it is implemented in America, and anyone who says otherwise is either deluding themselves or trying to get elected by appearing tough on crime. Take Troy Davis, for example, a 43-year-old black man from Georgia who has spent the past 20 years of his life on death row for allegedly shooting and killing a white off-duty police officer – a crime he very well may not have committed.

According to Amnesty International, the case against Davis consisted entirely of witness testimony, which contained inconsistencies even at the time of the trial. Since then, all but two of the state’s non-police witnesses from the trial have recanted or contradicted their testimony. Many of these witnesses have stated in sworn affidavits that they were pressured or coerced by police into testifying or signing statements against Troy Davis. One of the two witnesses who has not recanted his testimony is Sylvester “Red” Coles – the principle alternative suspect, according to the defense, against whom there is new evidence implicating him as the gunman. Nine individuals have signed affidavits implicating Sylvester Coles.

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Obama’s Feared “Lone Wolf Attack” Could Save His Presidency

InfoWars.com | Paul Joseph Watson

arack Obama made headlines yesterday when he spoke about his fear of a “lone wolf attack” in America carried out by an individual with a “hateful ideology”. But far from striking a blow against his administration, such an attack would galvanize Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, as many political strategists have pointed out.

The most likely scenario that we have to guard against right now ends up being more of a lone wolf operation than a large, well coordinated terrorist attack,” Obama told CNN during a campaign stop in Iowa.

“The risk that we’re especially concerned over right now is the lone wolf terrorist, somebody with a single weapon being able to carry out wide-scale massacres of the sort we saw in Norway recently,” said Obama.

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Plan B for Obama family vacation

St. Petersburg Times | Daniel Ruth,

It’s merely idle speculation, but this is one of those moments when Barack Obama misses Rahm Emanuel, who once held the role as the first, uh, chop buster in the White House.

Imagine sitting around the Oval Office discussing presidential travel plans and someone says: “Hey, I’ve got a great idea. Let’s have the president travel to the Midwest for several days talking to people about jobs, their struggles with unemployment and basically how fouled-up everything is and then POTUS can leave for his vacation on a 28-acre compound in tony Martha’s Vineyard.”

“Why Haversham, that’s a simply bully idea. Let’s do it.”

Emanuel, the president’s former chief of staff and the master of the well-turned phrase, likely would have responded: “Are you &%$#*& people ^%$#$@!*&%$# crazy?!?!?” Or words to that effect.

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August 17, 2011

August 17, 2011

Next housing Crisis

The TGB Report | Thomas G. Brown

Next housing Crisis

The Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) program or more commonly known as a reverse mortgage fist made its appearance in 1989 as a pilot program. The program became permanent in 1998. A reverse mortgage is available to home owners 62 and older through the Department of Housing and Urban Development. It is equity release which simply the ability to retain the use of your home (or other object) while obtaining a lump sum or stream of income. The loan comes due when the borrower dies, sells the house, or moves out of the house for more than 12 consecutive months. Once the mortgage comes due the borrower or heirs of the estate will have an option to refinance the home and keep it, sell the home and cash out the equity, or turn the home over to the lender. If the property is turned over to the lender the borrower or the heirs have no more claim to the property or equity in the property. The lender has recourse against the property, but not against the borrower personally nor against the borrowers heirs, referred to as “non-recourse limit.” Once all borrowers on a reverse mortgage passes away the heirs are granted 6 months to sell the home, refinance it, or to make the decision to turn the home over to the lenderi. The problem with these mortgages is that the owner or their heirs can pay off the loan by selling or purchasing the house at the current appraised value even if the price is less than the original loan. The lenders than receive the difference from the FHA.
A 2010 analysis of the reverse mortgage portion of the Mutual Mortgage Fund program projects $503 million dollar loss in 2010ii. The MMF is the fund that pays out the lender if mortgagor defaults. So like any other “insurance” the government offers it is just a Ponzi scheme like social security, unemployment insurances to name just a few.
By 2020 according to the GAO 55 million Americans will be 65 or older. This number along with the dismal outlook of the economy leads me to believe that this market will explode in the near future. This set up if you step back and look at it is doomed for failure even if you know nothing of what I have stated in the above paragraphs. You will be able to continue to live in your home if you pay all expenses related to home upkeep, insurance, and taxes. This is great if you have money coming in or if the loan covers your expenses and you cash out before you run out of funds. But with inflation (despite what the government states) continues to increase and the cost of living continues to rise. You increase the risk that you will default on your mortgage and the home will be forfeited to the loan originator (more likely the people who bought up the loan). You’re not only out of money but homeless now and at a time when you are probably not going to find work competing with younger workers who can’t even find jobs at the moment. Sadly the Federal Housing Authority does not require a income requirements or a credit check to see if the homeowner is even credit worthy. This is the problem with government programs which try to accommodate everyone without the incentive to make a profit that is require by the free market. If these loans where not backed by the government if the defaulted there would be more focus on the ability to the homeowner to comply with the agreement of the mortgage and avoid default. This is just yet another reason that the housing market will be depressed for a while longer.

i http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reverse_mortgage
ii http://www.centredaily.com/2011/08/17/2880593/housing-changes-sought.html

Al Gore’s Climatological “Meltdown”

New American | James Heiser

In recent years, former Vice President Al Gore has been the object of a great deal of humor — and ire — for his extremist views and hypocritical actions when it comes to the environment. But a bizarre rant from the man who was once heartbeats away from becoming President of these United States calls forth a term which Americans want nowhere near the Oval Office: unhinged.

The ideology of manmade global warming has fallen on hard times in recent years due to a series of revelations that have fundamentally undermined the credibility of the “science” and its advocates. Beginning with “Climategate” and “Glaciergate” and continuing through such public spectacles as the implosion of the December 2009 Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, polling data has repeatedly demonstrated that the claims of climate change scientists have fallen on hard times with the public.

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Too Many Emergency Meetings in Europe

Lew Rockwell.com | Gary North

If the sovereign government debt situation in Europe is anywhere near a final economic solution, why do the heads of Germany and France keep meeting? These meetings are getting more frequent.

Why didn’t all the previous meetings solve the economic problem of PIIGS debt?

What public relations statement do they expect will bring financial stability to the PIIGS?

What new program will they suggest, only to be disavowed as impractical by the European Central Bank, and then adopted a week or two after the official denial?

What program will they ever submit to their respective parliaments, to be debated openly in front of voters? None, you say? I see. Just like before.

What opportunity will voters in France and especially Germany be given to express their view of the new program? None, you say? I see. Just like before.

What indication will investors see that there is any new program that is not merely another Band-Aid?

What program, other than more deficit spending by France and Germany to lend more money to the PIIGS, will ever come forth from one of these meetings?

What solution, other than more purchases of the IOUs of PIIGS bonds by the ECB, will ever be presented?

What will they ever suggest, other than more of the same?

What evidence will ever be presented that the latest round of more of the same will not be followed in a few weeks and months and years by even more of the same?

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Tomgram: Chris Hellman, The Pentagon’s Spending Spree

Tomgram | Christopher Hellman

China just launched a refitted Ukrainian aircraft carrier from the 1990s on its first test run — and that’s what the only projected “great power” enemy of the U.S. has to offer for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, the U.S. Navy has 11 aircraft carrier task forces to cruise the seven seas and plans to keep that many through 2045. Like so much else, when it comes to the American military, all comparisons are ludicrous. In any normal sense, the United States stands alone in military terms. Its expenditures make up almost 50% of global military spending; it dominates the global arms market; and it has countless more bases, pilotless drones, military bands, and almost anything else military you’d care to mention than does any other power.

In other words, comparisons can’t be made. The minute you try, you’re off the charts. And yet, in purely practical terms, when you take a shot at measuring what the overwhelming investment of American treasure in the military, the U.S. intelligence community, the Department of Homeland Security, and the rest of our national security establishment has actually bought us, you come up with a series of wars and conflicts headed nowhere and a series of post-9/11 terror attacks generally so inept it hardly mattered whether they were foiled or not.

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Rick Perry Was Al Gore’s Texas Campaign Chairman in 1988

EnviroKnow |

olitical observers have noted that Jon Huntsman is likely to take some flack from conservatives for having served as President Obama’s Ambassador to China until recently. But Huntsman isn’t the only prospective GOP candidate who has worked for a prominent Democratic politician in years past.

Rick Perry, who entered the Texas legislature as a Democrat in 1984, served as Al Gore’s Texas Campaign Chairman in the 1988 presidential campaign. Soon after the campaign, Perry switched parties and was elected Texas Agriculture Commissioner as a Republican in 1990. “Going through that (Gore experience) was part of what started me through the process of changing parties in 1989,” Perry later said. “I came to my senses.”

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Update: 120 tax protesters gather at Warwick City Hall

Providence Journal | BARBARA POLICHETTI

WARWICK, R.I. — A taxpayer rally to protest the city’s substantially increasing local car taxes got off to a slow and damp start at City Hall Monday but grew quickly with protesters opting to avoid the wet sidewalks and instead assemble in the council chambers to await the 7 p.m. start.

By 6 p.m., more than 120 people had gathered and were conducting their own meeting, taking turns at the podium to decry the tax increase.

The council, which was holding its committee meetings, as usual, in a small basement room, was intermittently off-limits to protesters as people with business before the committees took up the available 49 seats.

Fire officials were on hand to keep count of the number of people in the room in the basement. As seats became vacant, uniformed police officers allowed protesters in.

At one point, rally organizer Rob Cote asked the council if they would move upstairs to the council chambers where the larger crowd was waiting. They declined.

About 30 minutes after the 5 p.m. scheduled start of the rally, only about 24 people had braved the rain to gather inside and outside City Hall in Apponaug.

Cote said he wanted to start the rally at 5 p.m. to make a statement to council members as they arrived at City Hall for the subcommittee meetings.

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When will two faced silver start to move again – and which way?

Mineweb.com | Lawrence Williams

Silver – ‘the devil’s metal’ – has a reputation for being extremely volatile – as witness its price movements in the past couple of years where investors could have made fortunes, or lost their shirts by playing its huge price movements right or wrong, but in the past several weeks, while gold has seen some wild fluctuations up to above $1800 and back down again and stock markets have also fluctuated wildly, silver has hardly moved at all staying firmly in the $38-39 range. Indeed silver has been probably the least volatile investment of all over the period.

So what has been behind this apparent stability in the face of turmoil elsewhere in the markets?

Silver has been showing its two faces which have been working against each other in the most recent environment. It is considered both a precious metal with monetary overtones and also an industrial metal – two faces controlling its investment parameters

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The Fix Is In

The Daily Bell | Peter Schiff

Peter Schiff

This week’s wild actions on Wall Street should serve as a stark reminder that few investors have any clue as to what is really going on beneath the surface of America’s troubled economy. But this week did bring startling clarity on at least one front. In its August policy statement the Federal Reserve took the highly unusual step of putting a specific time frame for the continuation of its near zero interest rate policy.

Moving past the previously uncertain pronouncements that they would “keep interest rates low for an extended period,” the Fed now tells us that rates will not budge from rock bottom for at least two years. Although the markets rallied on the news (at least for a few minutes), in reality the policy will inflict untold harm on the U.S. economy. The move was so dangerous and misguided that three members of the Fed’s Open Market Committee actually voted against it. This level of dissent within the Fed hasn’t been seen for years.

Many economists have shortsightedly concluded that ultra-low interest rates are a sure fire way to spur economic growth. The easier and cheaper it is to borrow, they argue, the more likely business and consumers are to spend. And because spending spurs growth, in their calculation, low rates are always good. But, as is typical, they have it backwards.

I believe that ultra-low interest rates are among the biggest impediments currently preventing genuine economic growth in the US economy. By committing to keep them near zero for the next two years, the Fed has actually lengthened the time Americans will now have to wait before a real recovery begins. Low rates are the root cause of the misallocation of resources that define the modern American economy. As a direct result, Americans borrow, consume, and speculate too much, while we save, produce, and invest too little.

It may come as a shock to some but just like everything else in a free market, interest rate levels are best determined by the freely interacting forces of supply and demand. In the case of interest rates, the determinative factors should be the supply of savings available to lend and the demand for money by people and businesses who want to borrow. Many of the beneficial elements of market determined rates are explained in my book How an Economy Grows and Why it Crashes. Allowing the government to determine interest rates as a matter of policy creates a number of distortions.

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16 Statistics Which Prove That The American People Are Absolutely Seething With Anger

The Economic Collapse |

According to a whole host of polls and surveys, the American people are incredibly angry right now. The American people are hopping mad at the government, the American people are hopping mad about the economy and the American people are hopping mad about the direction that this country is headed. Never before in modern U.S. history have the American people been this angry. There is vast disagreement about what the solutions to our problems actually are, but what everyone can agree on is that the American people are absolutely seething with anger right now. The statistics that you are about to read are mind blowing. We used to be such a happy country. Once upon a time we were one of the happiest places on earth. But as the economy has fallen to pieces anger has been steadily growing. If something is not done to turn the economy around eventually this anger is going to erupt in frightening and unpredictable ways.

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Social Degeneration

Townhall.com | Thomas Sowell

Someone at long last has had the courage to tell the plain, honest truth about race.

After mobs of young blacks rampaged through Philadelphia committing violence — as similar mobs have rampaged through Chicago, Denver, Milwaukee and other places — Philadelphia’s black mayor, Michael A. Nutter, ordered a police crackdown and lashed out at the whole lifestyle of those who did such things.

“Pull up your pants and buy a belt ’cause no one wants to see your underwear or the crack of your butt,” he said. “If you walk into somebody’s office with your hair uncombed and a pick in the back, and your shoes untied, and your pants half down, tattoos up and down your arms and on your neck, and you wonder why somebody won’t hire you? They don’t hire you ’cause you look like you’re crazy,” the mayor said. He added: “You have damaged your own race.”

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S&P States the Obvious

Texas Straight Talk | Congressman Ron Paul

Politicians did not get much time to pat themselves on the back for supposedly rescuing the economy with the debt limit deal last week. The ink was barely dry when Standard & Poor’s downgraded the US debt ratings anyway, roiling world financial markets. Anyone who has taken an honest look at the government’s fiscal situation, taken into account how Washington works and the direction it is going would have a very difficult time arguing with S&P’s decision, although a strong case can be made that this was too incremental a downgrade and that it took far too long for S&P to admit the obvious.

Nonetheless, the administration nitpicked over a $2 trillion “mistake”. S&P rejoined with the fact that $2 trillion here or there hardly makes a difference in the time frame under discussion. That, if nothing else, should tell you the magnitude of the problem. $2 trillion has become a drop in the bucket.

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TOO LATE TO JUMP ON THE GOLDWAGON?

Gold Swizerland | Egon von Greyerz

he Stealth Market in Gold

Gold has gone up for 12 straight years in a stealth market. In the last ten years gold has had a compound annual growth of 20.5%. This is an absolutely outstanding return but investors should not look at gold as an investment but as money. Gold reflects governments’ deceitful actions in totally destroying the value of paper money by printing unlimited amounts of it. With gold up 7 times since the bottom in 1999, is it too late to jump on the Goldwagon?

The answer to the above question is a categorical NO. Virtually no major investor group has participated in gold’s spectacular rise. In spite of a seven fold increase in the gold price, only circa 1% of world financial assets are invested in gold. Whenever I talk to major institutional investors, not only do they not own gold, but they don’t understand gold either. I was speaking at a conference for Family Offices recently where there were circa 250 family office managers present representing substantial funds. Not only did no one own gold, but they had no understanding of gold’s role as an investment class or the fact that measured in real money, i.e. in gold, their investments were declining precipitously. It must be unprecedented that an important asset class can go up for such a long period with so few investors participating. In my view this is the most bullish sign ever for gold. The mess the world is in will lead to unprecedented money printing in the US, EU, the UK and many more regions. And gold will continue to reflect the destruction of paper money. In addition, investors will increasingly mistrust paper gold and invest in physical gold only. Due to the very limited availability of physical gold, the increase in demand can only be satisfied at substantially higher prices.

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Is GoldMoney A Gold-Backed Bitcoin?

HowtoVanish.com | Bill Rounds J.D

Bitcoin is new. There has never been anything like it before. It is also risky. A lot of things need to happen for it to be successful in the long term.

But many intelligent people have missed the fact that Bitcoin is new. I am not an economist or investor, but I have not seen any economists or investors analyze Bitcoin correctly because they do not fully understand what Bitcoin is. This is a serious mistake. Failing to analyze based on correct facts can lead to wrong conclusions.
Bitcoin Reduces Privacy Cost

The main benefit of Bitcoin is vastly reduced costs. Bitcoin eliminates many costs, but one of the most important is the cost of providing personal information to participate in the economy; the privacy cost.

Cash and precious metals have the lowest privacy cost of any medium of exchange. But cash and metals are mostly limited to small, in-person transactions. The world needs something more.

Before Bitcoin, every other financial transaction had an extremely high privacy cost, along with lots of other costs. Checks, credit cards, and bank wires require a significant disclosure of personal information to banks and governments.

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August 16, 2011

August 16th, 2011

Buffet pushes for higher taxes

Thomas G. Brown |

Buffet pushes for higher taxes Warren Buffet has stated over and over again in recent years that the “rich” should pay more in taxes and that he and others should be forced to pay their fair share to the government. Mr. Buffet according to an article on Bloomberg stated to Congress “My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress,” He went on to state that he paid 17.4% in Federal Income Taxes last year compared with others in his office whom paid an average of 36% on last year’s income. He went on to state that folks who make a million dollars or more should have their tax rates raised from 35% to something higher. In addition he would create a new tax bracket for those who make 10 million of more. Now if you take a look at this is sounds good at first glance. But wait, what about the folks who he mentioned that work in his office and pay a higher tax rate already. I am guessing they make over a million dollars so he wants to raise their taxes more. I would guess they would think differently about this, especially since Mr. Buffet has waited until he climbed to the top of the ladder economically before deciding that taxes need to be raised on the “rich”.
Buffet neglects to point out that he pays the 17.5% tax is on his dividends from stocks as he does not pay himself a salary which allows him to avoid the income tax. In addition he neglects to point out the 35% his firm pays in corporate income taxes which is a reason for many companies moving their firms’ headquarters offshore to countries that have lower tax rates. This money made by these firms is also held outside the country which cannot be invested in the United States as it would be subject to the taxes that they are trying to avoid right or wrong.
So how can we get money back into the country and get the “super rich” to pay their “fair share” which I find an idiotic statement but that is a topic for another day? Well here I would get rid of the income tax all personal income. The tax laws are so poorly written and full of holes that to try and reform it with patch work is like trying to tar over a leaky roof that has been damaged by a storm. But how would one cover the cost of government? Well we could use a sales tax (after we repeal the income tax) which would be placed universally on all consumer items. This would be a true voluntary tax which could be withheld by the public by boycotting the purchasing products if they disagreed with how their money is being spent (i.e. wars). The second thing I would do would be to abolish the corporate tax, and capital gains tax. This will allow families to build up wealth and bring back the American Dream of our children doing better than us.
All this will not work though if we don’t get back under the Constitution, abolish the Federal Reserve and end our unjust wars and empire building.

What are you teaching your kids?

Sovereign Man | Simon Black

had a little piggy bank when I was kid. It was blue. And ceramic. In fact, I think I broke its nose off at one point and I was really sad about it. Most of all I remember loving the sound that the coins made when I dropped a new one inside.

That unmistakable chink spoke volumes to me. It reinforced my responsible behavior, and it encouraged me to keep saving. This is something I’ve carried with me for my entire life.

Today things are different. Central bankers have proven that conventional savers are mere patsies to be taken advantage of, sheeps to be fleeced.

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Fiat Money and the British Riots

Mises Daily | Andy Duncan

This is going to be tricky to do from a hillside in Cornwall, with a flaky mobile connection and an iPad with a one-letter-at-a-time keyboard. However, it’s pouring down with rain this August morning, so let’s examine the real sickness at the heart of British society, which is the constant-inflation policy of the British government.

This always-disguised policy has since 1931 corrupted the money supply at an average rate of approximately 6 percent per annum, to constantly drain the wealth of the nation and to pour this stolen wealth into the corrupt, selfish hands of rotten, short-sighted politicians.

We have seen this policy massively extend the power-hungry reach of these moronic busybody politicians into our lives, as it funded the welfare-warfare state and eventually generated the terrible events of the last few days in Britain. These were fueled by the yob society generated directly out of the welfare state, and stimulated by the general warfare mentality of all-against-all that has percolated through to everyone from trigger-happy police enforcing busybody concerns about what people freely choose to ingest into their own bodies to hoodies putting through the windows of honest, hardworking businesspeople.

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Why Does Mainstream Media Disrespect Ron Paul?

USA Watchdog.com | Greg Hunter

Watching the Sunday talk shows and looking at the reporting from this weekend’s Republican straw poll, you would not think that Congressman Ron Paul even participated in the event. Paul came in a very close second to Representative Michele Bachmann in a field of Presidential Candidates. Bachmann received 4,823 votes; Paul received 4,671 votes, which represents a margin of just 152 votes. To me, it appears to be a statistical dead heat, especially when you consider the next closest competitor, Governor Tim Pawlenty, received only 2,293 votes. Pawlenty’s distant third place finish effectively blew him out of the race.

On “FOX News Sunday,” host Chris Wallace ignored the virtual tie in the straw poll and said, “There’s a top tier now of Bachmann and Perry and Romney, and we haven’t mentioned, and we should, Rick Santorum who really did surprisingly well for the amount of money and resources he had.” To that I say “WHAT!?” Santorum came in fourth with only 1,657 votes, about 1/3 of what Paul received. Santorum came in behind a guy that dropped out because he didn’t get enough votes to be a viable Republican candidate, and Wallace mentions Santorum and not Paul who was in a virtual tie with the winner?

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Sales of gold up on eBay amid stock market turmoil

CNBC |

SAN FRANCISCO – For gold sellers on eBay, the recent stock market turmoil has been a boon for business.

Gold and silver sales on eBay had already been rising steadily over the past several years — so much so that eBay Inc. created a special area in May to make it easier for buyers to find sellers.

Now, activity on that part of the site, the Bullion Center, is intensifying as consumers unnerved by the economic uncertainty flock to gold in hopes it will be a stable investment.

“When people are coming down to the question, ‘Do they want to have cash in the bank or gold in their hands?’ the answer is they’d rather have gold or silver,” said Jacob Chandler, CEO of Great Southern Coins, the largest seller of precious metals on eBay.

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The Tenth Amendment Run Amok?

Tom Mullens |

n between “gotcha questions” and the Pawlenty-Bachman slurfest, an interesting discussion actually occurred during the Fox News presidential debate staged in Iowa on Thursday night (8/11/2011). It concerned Tim Pawlenty’s quite valid criticism of Mitt Romney’s role in expanding government healthcare in Massachusetts. During Romney’s term as governor, he signed into law a state healthcare plan that served as the basis for what is popularly known today as “Obamacare.”

Romney replied with a defense based upon the Tenth Amendment to the US Constitution, saying that Massachusetts passed a law that was right for Massachusetts, but that President Obama forced a “one size fits all solution” on the entire nation, usurping the powers reserved to the states or the people.

Calling him a “constitutional expert,” panelist Chris Wallace asked Congressman Ron Paul whether the states “have a constitutional right to make someone buy a good or a service just because they are a resident.” Paul replied,

“No, the way I would understand the Constitution, the federal government can’t go in and prohibit the states from doing bad things and I would consider this a very bad thing. But you don’t send in a federal police force because they’re doing it and throw them into court.”

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North American Union, Bilderberg & Gov. Rick Perry

Chron.com |

Gov. Rick Perry may not be the spider, but he certainly has become one of the strands in the web of international conspiracy for those who see a stealth plan to merge the United States with Canada and Mexico.

A key element of that alleged plan is Perry’s Trans-Texas Corridor, specifically the 1,200-foot wide toll road that is proposed from Laredo to the Oklahoma border. A toll road likely to be built by a consortium headed by Spanish Cintra S.A. and Zachry Construction Co. of San Antonio.

Jerome Corsi, in his new book The Late Great U.S.A.: The Coming Merger with Mexico and Canada, makes the case that the first step to creating a North American Union is merging the nations’ transporation systems. The Trans-Texas Corridor is the first step, he says.

Corsi gained national attention in 2004 as the co-author of Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry.

Perry also has been criticized by Austin-based talk show host Alex Jones for the Trans-Texas Corridor and Perry’s trip earlier this summer to the Bilderberg conference.

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Krugman Calls On Government To Manufacture War To Save Economy

InfoWars.com | Paul Joseph Watson

Amidst the melodramatic reaction to economist Paul Krugman’s eyebrow-raising rant about the impact an alien invasion would have on the US economy, many have missed the point, that Krugman was calling on the government to manufacture a staged event or a war to act as a smokescreen for the continued looting of the American people.

Krugman, a New York Times writer who is routinely lambasted by the likes of Max Keiser and Gerald Celente for being a stooge for the establishment and an apologist for the Federal Reserve, appeared on CFR luminary Fareed Zakaria’s CNN show to make a seemingly radical argument.

“If we discovered that space aliens were planning to attack and we needed a massive buildup to counter the space alien threat and really inflation and budget deficits took secondary place to that, this slump would be over in 18 months. And then if we discovered, oops, we made a mistake, there aren’t any aliens, we’d be better,” remarked Krugman.

“There was a Twilight Zone episode like this in which scientists fake an alien threat in order to achieve world peace. Well, this time…we need it in order to get some fiscal stimulus,” he added.

Predictably, subsequent discussion about Krugman’s comments were concentrated around his lurid analogy of an extraterrestrial invasion, while missing the elephant in the living room and the real point of the rant – Krugman’s advocacy for the Obama administration to stage a fake crisis, or indeed a war, in order to ram through its economic agenda.

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‘Cash for kids’ judge gets 28 year jail sentence

Raw Story | Stephen C. Webster

A former Pennsylvania judge who rendered guilty verdicts in exchange for over $1 million in kickbacks from a for-profit youth rehabilitation center will spend up to 28 years in prison, following his sentencing hearing last Thursday.

Over the weekend, CNN sat down with the mother of one of his victims, a young man who was so distraught by his unjust incarceration that he committed suicide.

“It’s justice in the sense that he is going to pay for what we’ve been dealing with for the last eight years,” Sandy Fonzo, the boy’s mother, told the network. “True justice, I don’t think there could ever be. He’ll never live the sentence that I live.”

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August 15, 2011

August 15, 2011

Role of Government

The TGB Report | Thomas G. Brown

The role of government over the past 100 years has been perverted from one which “we the people rule” to “we the people are ruled”. This is the exact opposite of what our founders had envisioned when they broke away from the tyranny of England and created a great Republic in the new world. The key role of government is to protect our natural rights from infringement by man, corporation, states, and nations. This protection also includes protection from our own nation when they over step the boundaries laid out in the U.S. Constitution.

Today we have many problems with our country. Our economy, an increase in crime, and drug use all plague our nation. For over fifty years our political class has written law after law, and allowed more and more regulations to correct these issues. Many of these ideas where well intended but nobody thought of the unintended consequences. Take gun laws in order to prevent violence in a high crime area. Many say that there are too many guns and that if we stop people from getting guns the violence will drop. But if you look at the areas that have strict gun laws they usually have a high amount of crime and violence in that city. This is due to the undeniable fact that the only folks who are going to adhere to the gun laws are law abiding citizens. The folks who are out committing crime are already breaking the law so why would they obey the gun laws? I think it is high time we stop looking to government to solve problems that for the most part they have created.

Congressman Paul stated in a speech over the weekend that fixing our country is easy. All we have to do is return to the rule of the Constitution as the Supreme rule of law. He could not be more correct in his statement. Instead of trying to create all these complex solutions that will do little good and more harm why not just resort to what has worked before and that is the rule of the Constitution. So I ask you to push your elected officials from the President down to your local supervisors/councilmen to live up to their duty to uphold and protect the Constitution.

Restore Confidence and Avoid a Global Economic Depression

Global Research | by Prof. Rodrigue Tremblay

… if financial markets are skittish and don’t have confidence in a country’s fiscal soundness, that is also going to undermine our recovery.” President Barack Obama, June 27, 2011 (in a news conference at the conclusion of the Toronto G-20 summit)

“The U.S. government has to come to terms with the painful fact that the good old days when it could just borrow its way out of messes of its own making are finally gone.” Xinhua, China’s official state-run news agency, August 6, 2011

“Moderate inflation in the short run – say 6 per cent for two years … inflation is an unfair way of effectively writing down all non-indexed debts in the economy. … But it would significantly ameliorate the problems, making other steps less costly and more effective.” Kenneth Rogoff, Harvard economist (December 2008)

“A budget deficit is inflationary if, and only if, it is financed in considerable part by printing money.” Milton Friedman (1912-2006), American economist

“Inflationism … is not an isolated phenomenon. It is only one piece in the total framework of politico-economic and socio-philosophical ideas of our time. Just as the sound money policy of gold standard advocates went hand in hand with liberalism, free trade, capitalism and peace, so is inflationism part and parcel of imperialism, militarism, protectionism, statism and socialism.” Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973), Austrian economist, On the Manipulation of Money and Credit, p. 48

“Inflation and credit expansion, the preferred methods of present day government openhandedness, do not add anything to the amount of resources available. They make some people more prosperous, but only to the extent that they make others poorer.” Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973), Austrian economist, Bureaucracy p. 84

“Inflation is the fiscal complement of statism and arbitrary government. It is a cog in the complex of policies and institutions which gradually lead toward totalitarianism.” Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973), Austrian economist, The Theory of Money and Credit, p. 468

“The inflationism of the currency systems of Europe has proceeded to extraordinary lengths. The various belligerent Governments, unable, or too timid or too short-sighted to secure from loans or taxes the resources they required, have printed notes for the balance.” John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946), British economist, (The Economic Consequences of the Peace, 1919)

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Two New York Times Editorial…

Lawfare | Benjamin Wittes

…and guess what? This post is not about any gross factual errors in either of them concerning the legality of detention. Perhaps that’s because neither editorial really deals with the legality of detention, but never mind. I’ll take factually decent New York Times editorials however I can get them. Both, however, provoke brief responses.

The first of the two editorials deals with the dispute about drone strikes and civilian casualties, about which I commented two days ago. The Times, unsurprisingly, is less than credulous regarding the CIA’s claims that it has killed zero civilians in Pakistan in drones strikes over the past more-than-a-year. “We find that hard to believe,” the editorial notes. As my post the other day noted, I also find it hard to believe. But the Times’s editorial makes an assumption that I do not make, one it doesn’t quite come out and say but that it clearly implies. It suggests that the CIA is lying about its record:

It is true that the precision technology and American efforts have kept noncombatant deaths to a minimum. And in the remote region of North Waziristan, where most strikes occur, it is hard to find the truth. But no civilian casualties?

The strikes have long been controversial in Pakistan, fueling anti-American sentiments. Washington’s refusal to be more transparent about the program is counterproductive. It should provide as much public detail as possible, including civilian casualties. . . .

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14 Reasons Why Rick Perry Would Be A Really, Really Bad President

American Dream |

Supporters of Texas Governor Rick Perry are not going to like this article at all. Right now, Republicans all over the United States are touting Rick Perry as the “Republican messiah” that is going to come charging in to save America from the presidency of Barack Obama. Many believe that if Rick Perry enters the race, he will instantly become the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012. Perry certainly looks the part and he knows how to give a good speech, but when ordinary Americans all over the country take a hard look at his record, they may not like what they see. The truth is that Rick Perry is a big-time globalist, he has raised taxes and fees in Texas numerous times, he has massively increased the size of government spending and government debt in Texas, he has been trying to ram the Trans-Texas Corridor down the throats of the Texas people and he tried to force young women all over Texas to be injected with the Gardasil vaccine. No, Rick Perry is not going to save America. In fact, he would likely be very, very similar to both Bush and Obama in a lot of ways.

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The Big Corporations Excuse

The Daily Bell | Tibor Machan

Anytime I mention to someone from the Left that I consider the scope of government way beyond justice and prudence, I am likely to be told that it is big corporations that make this necessary. And, furthermore, they contend, I couldn’t really favor liberty for all if I don’t see corporations as a threat and in desperate need of being reigned in.

So far as I understand it, corporations are just large groups of people who have hired some experts in management aiming to achieve some goal they couldn’t achieve on their own, like grow the company and make it seriously prosper. So long as they do this peacefully, without using coercion to get ahead, I see nothing wrong happening. Size is no problem. This is evident in how we deal with people – some are tiny, some medium sized, some huge but they can all get along fine if no one resorts to violence. And if some big fellow comes off intimidating, a few smaller ones can surely contain him – or her, for that matter.

What then is the big problem with corporations? As far as my Leftist pals would have it, they can wield economic power. But what’s that? They can buy stuff, expand their commercial reach, and flourish, yes, but not without first pleasing their customers. And that means they can only get ahead if they serve others in helping them do the same.

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Nixon’s not-so-happy gold legacy 40 years on

Mineweb.com | Dorothy Kosich

Ironically, as gold prices are currently experiencing record spikes, today marks the 40th anniversary of what is considered by many to be one of the dramatic events in the history of economic policy– the end of the U.S. gold standard.

On August 15, 1971, then-President Richard Nixon ended the monetary system, which had fixed the price of the American dollar to gold and would keep the price of gold at $35 an ounce. It would sound the death knell for the Bretton Woods Agreements which had made the gold-fixed U.S. dollar the foundation of the global economy.

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10 Signs That Economic Riots And Civil Unrest Inside The United States Are Now More Likely Than Ever

The Economic Collapse |

You should let the video footage of the wild violence that just took place in London burn into your memory because the same things are going to be happening all over the United States as the economy continues to crumble. We have raised an entire generation of young people with an “entitlement mentality”, but now the economy is producing very few good jobs that will actually enable our young people to work for what they feel they are entitled to. If you are under 30 in America today, things look really bleak. The vast majority of the good jobs are held by people that are older, and they aren’t about to give them up if they can help it. It is easy for the rest of us to tell young Americans to “take whatever they can”, but the reality is that there is intense competition for even the most basic jobs. For instance, McDonald’s recently held a “National Hiring Day” during which a million Americans applied for jobs.

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The Fix Is In

Lew Rockwell.com | Peter Schiff

This week’s wild actions on Wall Street should serve as a stark reminder that few investors have any clue as to what is really going on beneath the surface of America’s troubled economy. But this week did bring startling clarity on at least one front. In its August policy statement the Federal Reserve took the highly unusual step of putting a specific time frame for the continuation of its near zero interest rate policy.

Moving past the previously uncertain pronouncements that they would “keep interest rates low for an extended period,” the Fed now tells us that rates will not budge from rock bottom for at least two years. Although the markets rallied on the news (at least for a few minutes) in reality the policy will inflict untold harm on the U.S. economy. The move was so dangerous and misguided that three members of the Fed’s Open Market Committee actually voted against it. This level of dissent within the Fed hasn’t been seen for years.

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August 12, 2011

Ron Paul Highlights from Iowa Debate on 8/11/12