Category: Fiscal irresponsibility


Washington Examiner

EXography: State government dependence on federal funding growing at alarming rate

By David Freddoso | APRIL 15, 2014 AT 5:18 AM

Source: Annual Survey of State Government Finances, U.S. Census Bureau

Only 11 states depended on the federal government for more than one-third of their total revenues in 2001. By 2012, 24 states found themselves in this situation.

State-by-state data from the U.S. Census Bureau, compiled by the State Budget Solutions nonprofit, illustrates the trend of increasing state dependence on federal financial assistance.

Forty-one of the 50 states have become more dependent on the federal government since 2001 — with federal dollars accounting for an increasing share of their total revenues.

This trend of increased state dependency on Washington reduces state and local control, while threatening the states’ long-run autonomy.

The reason is that with federal patronage comes federal leverage. The original Obamacare plan, for example, was to force states to expand Medicaid by threatening them with loss of all federal matching Medicaid funds if they refused.

Although that particular scheme was struck down by the Supreme Court, state governments hate to turn down revenue, and federal dollars have strings attached that force states either to operate as Washington prefers or lose the money.

This problem is exacerbated by the federal government’s control of the currency and ability to borrow virtually unlimited amounts of money.

 

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The New American

George Will Promotes Plan to Grant President Legislative Powers

Written by 

In an April 9 opinion piece published in the Washington Post, commentator George Will praises the Goldwater Institute’s Compact for America and its component calling for an Article V constitutional convention.

Will points out a few of the proposal’s “benefits,” insisting that the balanced budget amendment (BBA) that it aims to enact “delivers immediate benefits to constituents.” Unfortunately, Will’s analysis of the Compact for America ignores several of its distinctly unconstitutional provisions.

First, before state legislatures vote for an Article V con-con proposal such as the Compact for America that could cause real and radical damage to our Constitution, they should first consider whether a balanced budget amendment is necessary and whether it would actually repair the damage already done by a Congress committed to ignoring the constitutional limits on its power.

The fact is that determined citizens and state legislators could rescue the United States from its financial peril without resorting to opening up the Constitution to tinkering by 38 or more state-appointed delegates, many of whom would be bought and paid for by special interests and corporations.

Imagine for a moment the brand of “conservative” delegates that might be chosen by state partisans to represent them at an Article V convention. It isn’t unlikely that Arizona might choose John McCain, Jan Brewer, or Sandra Day O’Connor. New York might send Michael Bloomberg. South Carolina could appoint Lindsey Graham. Similar selections could be predicted in every state.

Next, there is no historical proof that a balanced budget amendment would drive Congress back to within its constitutional corral. Even the most conservative estimates indicate that about 80 percent of expenditures approved by Congress violate the U.S. Constitution. That fact wouldn’t change by adding an amendment to the Constitution.

Whether these bills spend our national treasure on unconstitutional and undeclared foreign wars, billions sent overseas in the form of foreign aid, expanding the so-called entitlement programs, or redistributing wealth via corporate and individual welfare schemes, none of these outlays is authorized by the Constitution.

And don’t forget, a committed, concerned, and constitutionally aware citizenry can balance our budget more quickly than any balanced budget amendment and without the danger of letting the wolves of special interests and their political puppets into the constitutional hen house.

Third, rather than forcing Congress to adhere to spending money in only those areas specifically permitted by the Constitution in Article I, the Compact for America’s Balanced Budget Amendment specifically allows Congress to spend money on anything, no matter how unconstitutional, so long as the amount does not exceed the limits set in Section 2 of their BBA. If approved, the CFA’s BBA would do nothing to break Congress of its unconstitutional spending habits, habits that have nearly ruined the economic might of this Republic.

In fact, under the CFA’s budget-balancing scheme, Congress could continue spending on projects and programs not authorized by the Constitution.

Section 3 of the CFA’s BBA explicitly authorizes an increase in the federal debt limit to 105 percent of the actual debt level on the effective date of this amendment. That hardly sounds like a balanced budget and is not something true conservatives should support as a remedy to a runaway federal government.

 

Read More Here

 

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Man in despair over billsOr Adding A National Sales Tax To The Income Tax?   

The stated purpose of Compact for America, Inc. is to get a balanced budget amendment (BBA) ratified.  Here is their proposed BBA.  State Legislators recently introduced it in Arizona. 1

The gap between what this BBA pretends to do – and what it actually does – is enormous. It has nothing to do with “balancing the budget” – it is about slipping in a new national sales tax or value-added tax in addition to the existing federal income tax.

We have become so shallow that we look no further than a name – if it sounds good, we are all for it.  We hear, “balanced budget amendment”, and think, “I have to balance my budget; they should have to balance theirs.”  So we don’t read the amendment, we just assume they will have to balance theirs the same way we balance ours – by cutting spending.

But that is not what the BBA does.  In effect, it redefines “balancing the budget” to mean spending no more than your income plus the additional debt you incur to finance your spending.  To illustrate:  If your income is $100,000 a year; but you spend $175,000 a year, you “balance” your budget by borrowing the additional $75,000.  See?

Under the BBA, Congress may continue to spend whatever it likes and incur as much new debt as it pleases – as long as 26 States agree.  And since the States have become major consumers of federal funding, who doubts that they can’t continue to be bought?  Federal grants make up almost 35% of the States’ annual budgets!  The States are addicted to federal funds – who thinks they won’t agree to get more money?

The BBA enshrines Debt as a permanent feature of our Country; gives it constitutional approval; does nothing to reduce spending or “balance the budget”; authorizes a new national tax; and wipes out the “enumerated powers” limitation on the federal government.

Let’s look at the BBA, section by section, using plain and honest English.  And then let’s look at how our Framers wrote our Constitution to strictly control federal spending.

Compact for America’s BBA

Section 1 says the federal government may not spend more than they take from you in taxes or add to the national debt. [Yes, you read that right.]

Section 2 accepts debt as a permanent feature of our Country – the “Authorized Debt”. This is the maximum amount of debt the federal government may incur at any given point in time.

  • Initially, when the Amendment is ratified, the “authorized debt” may not be more than 105% of the then existing national debt.  So!  If the national debt is $20 trillion when the Amendment is ratified, the federal government may not initially add more than 105% of    $20 trillion [or $1 trillion] to the national debt.
  • After that initial addition to the national debt, the “authorized debt” may not be increased unless it is approved by State Legislatures as provided in Section 3.

Section 3 says whenever Congress wants, it may increase the national debt if 26 of the State Legislatures agree.  [Yes, you read that right.]

Section 4 says whenever the national debt exceeds 98% of “the debt limit set by Section 2”, the President shall “impound” sufficient expenditures so that the national debt won’t exceed the “authorized debt”.  And if the President doesn’t do this, Congress may impeach him!

This is a hoot, Folks!  I’ll show you:

  • No debt limit is set by Section 2!  The national debt can be increased at any time if Congress gets 26 State Legislatures to agree.  Can 26 States be bought?
  • Section 6 defines “impoundment” as “a proposal not to spend all or part of a sum of money appropriated by Congress”.  Who believes Congress will impeach the President 2 for failing to “impound” an appropriation made by Congress?

Section 5 says any new or increased federal “general revenue tax” must be approved by 2/3 of the members of both houses of Congress.

Now pay attention, because this is a monstrous trick to be played on you:  Section 6 defines “general revenue tax” as “any income tax, sales tax, or value-added tax” levied by the federal government.

And when you read the first sentence of Section 5 with the definition of “general revenue taxin place of “general revenue tax”, you see that it says:

“No bill that provides for a new or increased income tax, sales tax, or value-added tax shall become law unless approved by a two-thirds roll call vote…” 

Do you see?  This permits Congress to impose a national sales tax or value added tax in addition to the income tax, 3 if 2/3 of both houses agree.  [Yes, you read that right.]

 

Read More Here

 

 

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Independence Hall, where the 1787 Constitution was crafted

Q: How are amendments to the federal Constitution made?

A: Article V of our Constitution provides two method of amending the Constitution:

  1. Congress proposes amendments and presents them to the States for ratification; or
  2. When 2/3 of the States apply for it, Congress calls a convention to propose amendments.

Q: Which method was used for our existing 27 amendments?

A:  The first method was used for all 27 amendments including the Bill of Rights which were introduced into Congress by James Madison. 3

Q:  Is there a difference between a constitutional convention, con con, or Article V Convention?

A:  These names have been used interchangeably during the last 50 years.

Q:  What is a “convention of states”?

A:  That is what the people pushing for an Article V convention now call it. 

Q: Who is behind this push for an Art. V convention?

A:  The push to impose a new Constitution by means of an Article V convention (and using a “balanced budget” amendment as justification) started in 1963 with the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations.  1    Today, it is pushed by:

Q:  Why do they want an Article V Convention?

A:  The only way to get rid of our existing Constitution and Bill of Rights is to have an Article V convention where they can re-write our Constitution.  Jordan Sillars, Communications Director for Michael Farris’ “Convention of States”, said:

“… 3. I think the majority of Americans are too lazy to elect honest politicians. But I think some men and women could be found who are morally and intellectually capable of re-writing the Constitution” [boldface mine].

Q: How can they impose a new constitution if ¾ of the States don’t agree to it?

A: Only amendments require ratification by ¾ of the States (see Art. V). But a new constitution would have its own new method of ratification – it can be whatever the drafters want.  For example, the proposed Constitution for the Newstates of America is ratified by a referendum called by the President.

Q: Can a convention be stopped from proposing a new Constitution?

A:  No.  Once the delegates are duly appointed & assembled, they are acting under the inherent authority of A People to alter or abolish their form of government [Declaration of Independence, 2nd para]; and have the sovereign power to do whatever they want at the convention.

Q: Is this what happened at the Federal Convention of 1787?

A:  Yes.  Pursuant to Article XIII of The Articles of Confederation, the Continental Congress resolved on February 21, 1787 (p 71-74) to call a convention to be held at Philadelphia “for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation”.  But the delegates ignored this limitation and wrote a new Constitution.  Because of this inherent authority of delegatesit is impossible to stop it from happening at another convention.  And George Washington, James Madison, Ben Franklin, and Alexander Hamilton won’t be there to protect you.

Q: Did the delegates at the Convention of 1787 introduce a new mode of ratification for the new Constitution?

A:  Yes. The Articles of Confederation required the approval of all 13 States for amendments to the Articles to be ratified.  But the new Constitution provided it would become effective if only 9 of the 13 States ratified it (Art. VII, cl. 1, U.S. Constitution).

Q:  Who would be delegates at a Convention?

A:  Either Congress appoints whomever they want; or State governments appoint whomever they want.

Q: Who would be chairman at a convention?

A: We don’t know.  But chairmen have lots of power – and George Washington won’t be chairman.

Q: But if the States appoint the delegates, won’t a convention be safe?

A: Who controls your State?  They will be the ones who choose the delegates if Congress permits the States to appoint delegates.  Are the people who control your State virtuous, wise, honest, and true?  [Tell PH if they are, so she can move there.]

Q: But aren’t the States the ones to rein in the federal government?

A: They should have been, but the States have become major consumers of federal funding.  Federal funds make up almost 35% of the States’ annual budgets. The States don’t want to rein in the feds – they don’t want to lose their federal funding.

Q: Did Thomas Jefferson say the federal Constitution should be amended every 20 years?

A: No! In his letter to Samuel Kercheval of July 12, 1816, Jefferson wrote about the Constitution for the State of Virginia, which he said needed major revision.  And remember James Madison’s words in Federalist No. 45 (3rd para from the end):

The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce … The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which … concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.” [boldface mine]

The powers delegated to the feds are “few and defined” – what’s to amend?  All else is reserved to the States or the People – so State Constitutions would need more frequent amendments.  Do you see?

Q:  Did Alexander Hamilton say in Federalist No 85 (next to last para) that a convention is safe?

A:  No!  He said, respecting the ratification of amendments, that we “may safely rely on the disposition of the State legislatures to erect barriers against the encroachments of the national authority”.  But today, our State legislatures don’t protect us from federal encroachments because:

  • We have been so dumbed down by progressive education that we know nothing & can’t think;
  • State legislatures have been bought off with federal funds; and
  • Our public and personal morality is in the sewer.

Q: Did Our Framers – the ones who signed The Constitution – think conventions a fine idea?

A:  No!

“Conventions are serious things, and ought not to be repeated.”

 

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This Is What Employment In America Really Looks Like…

By Michael Snyder, on April 6th, 2014

Warren Buffett - Photo by Mark Hirschey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The level of employment in the United States has been declining since the year 2000.  There have been moments when things have appeared to have been getting better for a short period of time, and then the decline has resumed.  Thanks to the offshoring of millions of jobs, the replacement of millions of workers with technology and the overall weakness of the U.S. economy, the percentage of Americans that are actually working is significantly lower than it was when this century began.  And even though things have stabilized at a reduced level over the past few years, it is only a matter of time until the next major wave of the economic collapse strikes and the employment level goes even lower.  And the truth is that more good jobs are being lost every single day in America.  For example, as you will read about below, Warren Buffett is shutting down a Fruit of the Loom factory in Kentucky and moving it to Honduras just so that he can make a little bit more money.  We see this kind of betrayal over and over again, and it is absolutely ripping the middle class of America to shreds.

Below I have posted a chart that you never hear any of our politicians talk about.  It is a chart that shows how the percentage of working age Americans with a job has steadily declined since the turn of the century.  Just before the last recession, we were sitting at about 63 percent, but now we have been below 59 percent since the end of 2009…

Employment Population Ratio 2014

We should be thankful that things have stabilized at this lower level for the past few years.

At least things have not been getting worse.

But anyone that believes that “things have returned to normal” is just being delusional.

And nothing is being done about the long-term trends that are absolutely crippling our economy.  One of those trends is the offshoring of middle class jobs.  As I mentioned above, Fruit of the Loom (which is essentially owned by Warren Buffett) has made the decision to close their factory in Jamestown, Kentucky and lay off all the workers at that factory by the end of 2014

Clothing company Fruit of the Loom announced Thursday that it will permanently close its plant in Jamestown and lay off all 600 employees by the end of the year.

The Jamestown plant is the last Fruit of the Loom plant in a state where the company had once been a manufacturing titan second only to General Electric.

This isn’t being done because Fruit of the Loom is going out of business.  They are still going to be making t-shirts and underwear.  They are just going to be making them in Honduras from now on…

The company, owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway but headquartered in Bowling Green, said the move is “part of the company’s ongoing efforts to align its global supply chain” and will allow the company to better use its existing investments to provide products cheaper and faster.

The company said it is moving the plant’s textile operations to Honduras to save money.

So what are those workers supposed to do?

Go on welfare?

The number of Americans that are dependent on the government is already at an all-time record high.

And doesn’t Warren Buffett already have enough money?

In business school, they teach you that the sole responsibility of a corporation is to maximize wealth for the shareholders.

And so when business students get out into “the real world”, that is how they behave.

But the truth is that corporations have a responsibility to treat their workers, their customers and the communities in which they operate well.  This responsibility exists whether corporate executives want to admit it or not.

And we all have a responsibility to our fellow citizens.  When we stand aside and do nothing as millions of good paying American jobs are shipped overseas so that the “one world economic agenda” can be advanced and so that men like Warren Buffett can stuff their pockets just a little bit more, we are failing our fellow countrymen.

Because so many of us have fallen for the lie that “globalism is good”, we have allowed our once great manufacturing cities to crumble and die.  Just consider what is happening to Detroit.  It was once the greatest manufacturing city in the history of the planet, but now foreign newspapers publish stories about what a horror show that it has become…

 

Read More Here

 

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U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics | Division of Labor Force Statistic

 

Employment Situation Summary

Transmission of material in this release is embargoed until                    USDL-14-0530
8:30 a.m. (EDT) Friday, April 4, 2014

Technical information: 
  Household data:         (202) 691-6378  •  cpsinfo@bls.gov  •  www.bls.gov/cps
  Establishment data:     (202) 691-6555  •  cesinfo@bls.gov  •  www.bls.gov/ces

Media contact:	          (202) 691-5902  •  PressOffice@bls.gov


                              THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION -- MARCH 2014


Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 192,000 in March, and the unemployment rate
was unchanged at 6.7 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.
Employment grew in professional and business services, in health care, and in mining
and logging.

Household Survey Data

In March, the number of unemployed persons was essentially unchanged at 10.5 million,
and the unemployment rate held at 6.7 percent. Both measures have shown little movement
since December 2013. Over the year, the number of unemployed persons and the unemployment
rate were down by 1.2 million and 0.8 percentage point, respectively. (See table A-1.)

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for adult women increased to 6.2
percent in March, and the rate for adult men decreased to 6.2 percent. The rates for
teenagers (20.9 percent), whites (5.8 percent), blacks (12.4 percent), and Hispanics
(7.9 percent) showed little or no change. The jobless rate for Asians was 5.4 percent
(not seasonally adjusted), little changed from a year earlier. (See tables A-1, A-2,
and A-3.)

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more), at 3.7 million,
changed little in March; these individuals accounted for 35.8 percent of the unemployed.
The number of long-term unemployed was down by 837,000 over the year. (See table A-12.)

Both the civilian labor force and total employment increased in March. The labor force
participation rate (63.2 percent) and the employment-population ratio (58.9 percent)
changed little over the month. (See table A-1.) The number of persons employed part
time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was
little changed at 7.4 million in March. These individuals were working part time because
their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find full-time work. (See
table A-8.)

In March, 2.2 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, little changed
from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not
in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime
in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched
for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. (See table A-16.)

Among the marginally attached, there were 698,000 discouraged workers in March, down 
slightly from a year earlier. (These data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged
workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are
available for them. The remaining 1.5 million persons marginally attached to the labor
force in March had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family
responsibilities. (See table A-16.)

Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 192,000 in March. Job growth averaged 183,000
per month over the prior 12 months. In March, employment grew in professional and business
services, in health care, and in mining and logging. (See table B-1.)

Professional and business services added 57,000 jobs in March, in line with its average
monthly gain of 56,000 over the prior 12 months. Within the industry, employment increased
in March in temporary help services (+29,000), in computer systems design and related
services (+6,000), and in architectural and engineering services (+5,000).

In March, health care added 19,000 jobs. Employment in ambulatory health care services
rose by 20,000, with a gain of 9,000 jobs in home health care services. Nursing care
facilities lost 5,000 jobs over the month. Job growth in health care averaged 17,000 per
month over the prior 12 months.

Employment in mining and logging rose in March (+7,000), with the bulk of the increase
occurring in support activities for mining (+5,000). Over the prior 12 months, the mining
and logging industry added an average of 3,000 jobs per month.

Employment continued to trend up in March in food services and drinking places (+30,000).
Over the past year, food services and drinking places has added 323,000 jobs.

Construction employment continued to trend up in March (+19,000). Over the past year,
construction employment has risen by 151,000.

Employment in government was unchanged in March. A decline of 9,000 jobs in federal
government was mostly offset by an increase of 8,000 jobs in local government, excluding
education. Over the past year, employment in federal government has fallen by 85,000.

Employment in other major industries, including manufacturing, wholesale trade, retail
trade, transportation and warehousing, information, and financial activities, changed
little over the month.

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 0.2
hour in March to 34.5 hours, offsetting a net decline over the prior 3 months. The
manufacturing workweek rose by 0.3 hour in March to 41.1 hours, and factory overtime
rose by 0.1 hour to 3.5 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory
employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 0.3 hour to 33.7 hours. (See
tables B-2 and B-7.)

In March, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged
down by 1 cent to $24.30, following a 9 cent increase in February. Over the year,
average hourly earnings have risen by 49 cents, or 2.1 percent. In March, average
hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees edged down
by 2 cents to $20.47. (See tables B-3 and B-8.)

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for January was revised from +129,000 to
+144,000, and the change for February was revised from +175,000 to +197,000. With these
revisions, employment gains in January and February were 37,000 higher than previously
reported.

_____________
The Employment Situation for April is scheduled to be released on Friday, May 2, 2014,
at 8:30 a.m. (EDT).



 

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Another Fraudulent Jobs Report — Paul Craig Roberts

Another Fraudulent Jobs Report

Paul Craig Roberts

The March payroll jobs report released April 4 claims 192,000 new private sector jobs.
Here is what John Williams has to say about the claim:

“The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) deliberately publishes its seasonally-adjusted historical payroll-employment and household-survey (unemployment) data so that the numbers are neither consistent nor comparable with current headline reporting.  The upside revisions to the January and February monthly jobs gains, and the relatively strong March payroll showing, reflected nothing more than concealed, favorable shifts in underlying seasonal factors, hidden by the lack of consistent BLS reporting.  In like manner, consistent month-to-month changes in the unemployment rate or labor force simply are not knowable, because the BLS cloaks the consistent and comparable numbers.”

Here is what Dave Kranzler has to say: “the employment report is probably the most deceptively fraudulent report produced by the Government.”

As I have pointed out for a decade, the “New Economy” jobs that we were promised in exchange for our manufacturing jobs and tradable professional service jobs that were offshored have never shown up. The transnational corporations and their hired shills among economists lied to us. Not even a jobs report as deceptive and fraudulent as the BLS payroll jobs report can hide the fact that Congress, the White House, and the American people have sat sucking their thumbs while corporations maximized profits for the one percent at the expense of everyone else in the United States.

Let’s look at where the alleged jobs are. The BLS jobs report says that 28,400 jobs were created in March in wholesale and retail sales. March is the month that Macy’s, Sears, JC Penny, Staples, Radio Shack, Office Depot, and other retailers announced combined closings of several thousand stores, but more retail clerks were hired.

The BLS payroll jobs report claims 57,000 jobs in “professional and business services.” Are these jobs for lawyers, accountants, architects, engineers, and managers? No. The combined new jobs for these middle class professional skills totaled 10,400. Employment services accounted for 42,000 of the jobs in “professional and business services” of which temporary help accounted for 28,500.

 

Read More Here

 

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One Third of Uninsured Won’t Sign Up for Obamacare

The Fiscal Times

March 17, 2014

As the White House scrambles to get people signed up for health insurance before the March 31 deadline, many uninsured Americans say they are still planning to take their chances and remain without coverage.

A new study by Bankrate.com shows that about one third of uninsured Americans are going to remain without coverage and opt to pay the penalty.

The survey results suggest that the administration’s outreach to uninsured people may be falling short, with more than half of people without insurance unaware of the March 31 deadline—and even more unaware of subsidies that could make their policies more affordable.

Related: Obamacare May Be Failing the Uninsured

Bankrate surveyed 3,005 people and found that 41 percent of those who were uninsured said they plan to stay uninsured because they think that health insurance is too costly. Meanwhile, about 70 percent said they were unaware of subsidies available under the new law that could make their health plans more affordable.

The study’s findings are worrisome for the Obama administration since the key goal of the president’s health care law was to extend access to health coverage for the uninsured.

A separate study by the McKinsey consulting firm found just 27 percent of Obamacare enrollees were uninsured. That means that the majority of those signing up for Obamacare had previous insurance of some kind—whether they were kicked off their old policies, or they found a better deal on the exchanges. Though not confirmed by the White House, if accurate, that could mean the law is failing to meet its intended goal.

Related: Gallup: Employment, Obamacare Lower Uninsured Rate

Gary Cohen, an official for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said the administration has not been tracking how many of the Obamacare enrollees were previously uninsured.

Read  More Here

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Breitbart

Eight Ways to Opt Out of Obamacare

With the deadline to sign up for Obamacare having come and gone, many Americans have decided to “opt out” of President Obama’s signature health care reform law, choosing instead to pay the $95 penalty for sidestepping the individual mandate.

“For many Americans opting out of Obamacare is the best decision they can make, but it’s important that they do it the right way—just refusing to buy health insurance and not having another way to pay for catastrophic medical expenses is a mistake,” Sean Parnell, author of the newly-released The Self-Pay Patient, told Breitbart News. “People who want to opt out should be looking at alternatives to conventional health insurance, such as joining a health care sharing ministry or purchasing a fixed benefits policy.”

Parnell also strongly advises Americans against opting out and simply paying the “list” price for medical visits and prescription drugs without shopping around, or by relying solely on the local hospital emergency room for routine medical care.

“This approach leaves people who opt out vulnerable to sky-high medical expenses at inflated ‘list’ or ‘chargemaster’ rates, and can result in an inability to obtain needed care because of cost,” Parnell writes on his blog, selfpaypatient.com.

Instead, Parnell recommends the following eight options for those who have opted out of ObamaCare:

1. Join a health care sharing ministry, which are voluntary, charitable membership organizations that share medical expenses among the membership.

Parnell states that Samaritan Ministries, Christian Healthcare Ministries, and Christian Care Ministry are open to practicing Christians, while Liberty HealthShare is open to those who are committed to religious liberty.

Healthcare sharing ministries “operate entirely outside of ObamaCare’s regulations, and typically offer benefits for about half the cost of similar health insurance,” says Parnell. “Members are also exempt from having to pay the tax for being uninsured.”

Read More Here

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Huge Increases in ObamaCare Premiums Are Coming

Written by 

When Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius sought to quell concerns about rising premiums under ObamaCare last week, she said: “The increases [we’re seeing] are far less significant than what they were prior to the Affordable Care Act.” This was an echo of a representative of Sebelius at HHS, Joanne Peters, who told Fox News, “Since the Affordable Care Act became law, health-care costs have been slowing and premium growth has slowed to the lowest rate in years … making it easier for [small] businesses to offer coverage.”

These claims surprised health insurance company officials, who have been wrestling with the massive takeover by the government and trying to charge enough to stay solvent. Said one official, on conditions of anonymity: “[These comments are] pretty shortsighted … everybody knows that [ObamaCare] is going to lead to higher costs.” Privately, the same official said that his company, located in a large swing state, expects to triple its rates next year.

Another insurance company official stated: “We’re exasperated. All of these major delays on very significant portions of the law are going to change what it’s going to cost.” Bill Hoagland, a former executive at health insurance company CIGNA, agreed: “My gut tells me that, for some people, these increases will be significant.”

 

Analysts have been trying to estimate precisely what those cost increases are likely to be. Three economists with the Manhattan Institute made their first estimate last September, expanded it later that month, and issued a further broader report in November. Writing in Forbes, one of them said the average increase will be more than 40 percent over current premiums, with some insureds seeing their premiums double:

This nearly-complete analysis finds that the average state will face underlying premium increases of 41 percent.

Men will have the steepest increases: 77, 37, and 47 percent for 27-year-olds, 40-year-olds, and 64-year-olds, respectively….

The eight states that will face the biggest increases in underlying premiums are: Nevada (+179 percent), New Mexico (+142 percent), Arkansas (+138 percent), North Carolina (+136 percent), Vermont (+117 percent), Georgia (+92 percent), South Dakota (+77 percent) and Nebraska (+74 percent).

The reason young men will suffer the biggest increases under ObamaCare is because they are the healthiest and, under the program, will be expected to carry most of the burden for the others, including women who use more healthcare services than men. ObamaCare requires insurers to charge them the same as men. And older people, who consume up to six times the services that young people do, may not, under those rules, be charged more than three times their premiums.

There’s also the matter of subsidies, which, because oldsters pay more, will qualify them for higher subsidies. Wrote one of the authors of that study, Avik Roy:

Read More Here

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The Hill

O-Care premiums to skyrocket

 

Health industry officials say ObamaCare-related premiums will double in some parts of the country, countering claims recently made by the administration.

The expected rate hikes will be announced in the coming months amid an intense election year, when control of the Senate is up for grabs. The sticker shock would likely bolster the GOP’s prospects in November and hamper ObamaCare insurance enrollment efforts in 2015.

The industry complaints come less than a week after Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius sought to downplay concerns about rising premiums in the healthcare sector. She told lawmakers rates would increase in 2015 but grow more slowly than in the past.

“The increases are far less significant than what they were prior to the Affordable Care Act,” the secretary said in testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee.

Her comment baffled insurance officials, who said it runs counter to the industry’s consensus about next year.

“It’s pretty shortsighted because I think everybody knows that the way the exchange has rolled out … is going to lead to higher costs,” said one senior insurance executive who requested anonymity.

The insurance official, who hails from a populous swing state, said his company expects to triple its rates next year on the ObamaCare exchange.

The hikes are expected to vary substantially by region, state and carrier.

Areas of the country with older, sicker or smaller populations are likely to be hit hardest, while others might not see substantial increases at all.

Several major companies have been bullish on the healthcare law as a growth opportunity. With investors, especially, the firms downplay the consequences of more older, sicker enrollees in the risk pool.

Much will depend on how firms are coping with the healthcare law’s raft of new fees and regulatory restrictions, according to another industry official.

Some insurers initially underpriced their policies to begin with, expecting to raise rates in the second year.

Others, especially in larger states, will continue to hold rates low in order to remain competitive.

After this story was published, the administration pointed to some independent analyses that have cast doubt on whether the current mix of enrollees will lead to premium hikes.

ObamaCare also includes several programs designed to ease the transition and stave off premium increases. Reinsurance, for example, will send payments to insurers to help shoulder the cost of covering sick patients.

But insurance officials are quick to emphasize that any spikes would be a consequence of delays and changes in ObamaCare’s rollout.

Read More Here

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I stumbled onto this blog ( The Last Great Stand) today and  found something  that  I  felt  I  needed to  share.  There  is  so  much  information here.  So  much research and  data  has  been  compiled that I was  compelled. 

For those  who are teetering on the  fence……

It is  time  to open your  eyes  and  see the possibilities of what  our  future could very  well be. 

Do  we  know  for  sure any of this  will take place?

No one  can  be  100% sure.

Was  anyone 100% sure  that the  Great Depression  would take  place?

I am  betting that  those  who took  their lives  after the  crash  , never in their  wildest  dreams  thought anything quite like that  would take  place.     I am  also  willing to  bet  they  would have laughed at  anyone warning them of  the  impending doom  about  to  descend on their prosperous lives.

Still feeling strong  in your  convictions  of  ridicule and  conspiracy theory labeling?

How many listened  when the financial trouble  of  2008 was being  discussed?

It hit  most  like a  runaway train.

Question is  ……has it  rattled  your  sense  of  reality  enough to  bring you out of  your little  idyllic  dream world?

If  it  has , then do not let the  length  nor the  volume  of  information  in these presentations  deter you.  Here  you  will find  information  you  may  already  be  aware  of  and  items  that  had  never even  occurred to you.  In  either  case  it is  well worth the  time invested.

I  hope  you  will give it a  go ,  you have  nothing to  lose  but a  bit  of  time  and  so  much  to  gain.

For those  who are  still poo pooing good luck to  you .  I  sincerely  wish you  well.

~Desert Rose~

…..

MY PERSONAL PREDICTIONS IN DETAIL
JUST USING COMMON SENSE
(WITH A TOUCH FROM PARTS I-IX)

 

For anyone interested in learning just how screwed the U.S. is, I am doing what will end up being about 10 Part Series. Many people laugh when you mention the Dollar collapsing and Martial Law. I’m afraid it’s no laughing matter. I put these together to explain to the nay sayers as best I could:

by reasonvoice

The Last Great Stand

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The Last Great Stand

 

Part I: Saudi Arabia Acting Like an Anchor Weight Around the Petrodollar…

by reasonvoice

..

The largest oil exporter in the Middle East has teamed up with the second largest consumer of oil in the world (China) to build a gigantic new oil refinery and the mainstream media in the United States has barely even noticed it.  This mammoth new refinery is scheduled to be fully operational in the Red Sea port city of Yanbu by 2014.  Over the past several years, China has sought to aggressively expand trade with Saudi Arabia, and China now actually imports more oil from Saudi Arabia than the United States does.  In February, China imported 1.39 million barrels of oil per day from Saudi Arabia.  That was 39 percent higher than last February.  So why is this important?  Well, back in 1973 the United States and Saudi Arabia agreed that all oil sold by Saudi Arabia would be denominated in U.S. dollars.  This petrodollar system was adopted by almost the entire world and it has had great benefits for the U.S. economy.  But if China becomes Saudi Arabia’s most important trading partner, then why should Saudi Arabia continue to only sell oil in U.S. dollars?  And if the petrodollar system collapses, what is that going to mean for the U.S. economy?

Those are very important questions, and they will be addressed later on in this article.  First of all, let’s take a closer look at the agreement reached between Saudi Arabia and China recently.

The following is how the deal was described in a recent China Daily article….

In what Riyadh calls “the largest expansion by any oil company in the world”, Sinopec’s deal on Saturday with Saudi oil giant Aramco will allow a major oil refinery to become operational in the Red Sea port of Yanbu by 2014.

The $8.5 billion joint venture, which covers an area of about 5.2 million square meters, is already under construction. It will process 400,000 barrels of heavy crude oil per day. Aramco will hold a 62.5 percent stake in the plant while Sinopec will own the remaining 37.5 percent.

At a time when the U.S. is actually losing refining capacity, this is a stunning development.

Yet the U.S. press has been largely silent about this.

Very curious.

Read More Here

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The Last Great Stand

Part II: The Beginning of the End of the Petrodollar: And The United States

by reasonvoice



Throughout history, empires and their civilisations have come and gone. During the first part of the last century, the US quietly built its empire, first in the North and Central Americas and in South America. Soon after the Second World War, the US worked to maximise the advantages it gained, and the power it assumed, between 1943 and 1945, from its victory over Germany and Japan, and as a consequence of massive Soviet casualties, and large British debt and financial burden caused by the war. The USA assumed the leading role in the Western world by, on one hand, containing the Soviet Union and preventing the spread of communist revolution beyond the borders of the Soviet bloc; and on the other hand, ensuring uncontested American supremacy within the Western world.

During the Cold War years, there was little or no challenge to the dominant position of the US in the Western world. However, with the end of the Soviet Union in 1991, the knot tying the basic objectives of the US global strategy together began to come unravelled. Once the communist danger was off the table, American supremacy ceased to be an automatic requirement of the Western system.

Since 20 September 2002, the US government has abandoned its former multilateral approach to global affairs, and adopted an imperial posture known as the so-called Bush doctrine.

This new agenda is based on militarist and imperial values with some theocratic overtones. This current agenda looks much like what some people see in US foreign policy at the end of the 19th century, and the beginning of the 20th, when the US actively sought to dominate the entire Caribbean basin, Central America and even the western Pacific.

Six months after the Bush doctrine was announced, the new American doctrine was applied as a justification for an unprovoked war against Iraq by the neo-conservative administration of the US government. Toppling Saddam Hussein’s regime without the support of the UN, and in the face of strong opposition from traditional US allies, was a clear presentation of a new unilateralist American foreign policy. The “regime change” in Baghdad was not an isolated event, but only an opening salvo in a much broader neo-conservative agenda. The neo-conservatives ‘advocate a paradigm shift in which the United States spreads American values by asserting American power-by force, if necessary’. This agenda seeks to reshape American hegemonic practices according to old imperial doctrines, but with new post-colonial political and military tools.

Since 2005, there is a looming crisis brewing over Iran. In the media the phantom of Iran “threat” is being amplified across the world. In order to justify a military operation against Iran, the neo-conservative rulers of the US have started a demonization campaign against this country, presenting the latest incarnation of America’s enemy, in much the same way Saddam Hussein was in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. They have put a lot of effort into making people believe that Iran is ruled by dangerously crazy people who are trying to make a nuclear bomb, and that they would not hesitate to bomb one or more US cities. In view of such a danger, the only answer is to wage a preventive war. Speculations about possible U.S.-Israel attacks on Iran have reached a stage of war propaganda by Western media. A recent report by the Oxford Research Group revealed that any bombing of Iran by U.S. forces, or by their Israeli allies, would result in the unnecessary death of many innocent lives.

Many observers view the US neo-conservative clique and its agenda as a conspiracy. This article, however, is based on the premise that they are merely part of a larger equation of global economic and political conditions. This view is rooted in an understanding that vested interests representing the energy, electronics, weapons, and influential segments of the media and communications industries in the US are always entrenched in key sectors of government. These interests are concerned with maintaining their privileged position. And key elements of the US economic and political elite are now responding directly to changes in global conditions that have arisen since the end of the Cold War. This is not a conspiracy. It is only business as usual.

Since the end of the Cold War, the US has waged four wars – two in Iraq, one in the former-Yugoslavia, and one in Afghanistan- and is threatening more. All this aggression is not the result of a paranoid theory, but simply a convergence of political and economic interests, travelling under the rubric of “war on terror”. This argument is not based on the image of a few evil people, conspiring in secret, against the people for their evil aims. However, diverging from conspiracy theory does not ignore the fact that indeed there are real conspiracies, criminal or otherwise. In particular, the US political landscape is littered with examples of illegal political, corporate and government conspiracies, such as Watergate, and the Iran-Contra scandal.

Having said that I generally consider the belief in conspiracy theories a pointless diversion of focus, and waste of energy. While real conspiracies have existed throughout history, history itself is not a conspiracy.

Since the end of the Cold War, the power of the United States is in decline. Particularly its share of world trade and manufacturing is substantially less than it was just prior to the end of the Cold War, and its relative economic strength measured against the EU and the East Asian economic group of Japan, China and Southeast Asia is similarly in retreat. The persistent use of US military power can be viewed as a reaction to its declining economic power and not merely as a response to the post-Cold War geopolitical picture. The American neo-conservative leaders see the military power of the US ‘as a trump card that can be employed to prevail over all its rivals’, and thus stop this decline. This is what the Bush administration is trying to achieve: to create a militarised world in which the strength of the US military forces can change and re-define the rules of the game. This is a clear goal, a specific agenda, which does not constitute a conspiracy. It is merely the way in which the system currently works, and the US is taking advantage of existing structural opportunities. This article is an attempt to provide primarily a macroeconomic explanation to the origins of and motivations behind the recent US policies shaped by the neo-conservative Bush administration.

Read More Here

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The Last Great Stand

Part III: Why Are We Letting China Buy American companies?

by reasonvoice

CAN YOU IMAGINE THE INFLATION ALL  HITTING THE SYSTEM AT ONCE?

IN MY OPINION, THAT PUTS THE STOCK MARKET’S REAL VALUE AT LESS THAN AN OUNCE OF GOLD WHEN THE FINANCIAL HOUSE OF CARDS FINALLY DOES COME CRASHING DOWN. ITS ALMOST COMPLETELY WORTHLESS, REGARDLESS OF THE NUMBER IT READS. OF COURSE STOCKS ARE GOING TO PLUNGE!

This takeover, the largest takeover of a US company by a Chinese firm, represents a precedent that will damage the American economy and cost jobs in the long run.

It also may have emboldened China. Weeks after permission was granted by Washington, Beijing claimed the airspace over some contested islands in the East China Sea as “a defense identification zone.” Chinese saber rattling forced the Pentagon to dispatch two unarmed B-52 bombers to fly in the airspace to send a message to China that it was overstepping its bounds.

China’s ambitions are multi-pronged and the Smithfield Foods transaction is another questionable invasion by Beijing. Currently, American authorities only evaluate foreign takeovers on the basis of national-security issues or shareholder rights and securities laws. But these criteria are inadequate.

A fairer test in the case of Smithfield, and future buyout attempts by China, should also require reciprocity: Only corporations from countries that allow Americans to buy large companies should be allowed to buy large American companies.

That’s not the case with China, Middle Eastern sheikhs or Russians. Critics of reciprocity label this as protectionism. It’s not. It’s protectiveness.

Here’s why.

Last year, Chinese banks were also allowed for the first time to buy several financial institutions. Next year, in the absence of curbs, China will likely launch a bid for a sizeable resource company. This was last attempted in 2005, when a Chinese oil giant bid $18.5 billion to buy Unocal Corporation. Congress and the media reacted negatively and the Chinese withdrew the bid.

But Wall Street has been lobbying to allow China in to make big takeovers so it can earn larger fees.
They and others argue that restricting China would be unfair and foolish because American companies have been allowed to invest billions in China. But investments there are restricted to “green fields” — high-risk start-up operations or minority ownership. The fact is that Coca-Cola or General Motors or Maytag cannot take control of an existing, established Chinese rival.

Smithfield has become the branch plant of its new proprietor — a holding company called Shuanghai International Holdings Limited, the biggest meat processor in China. But the ultimate beneficial owner is the Chinese government, and Shuanghai answers to the politics, policies and edicts of Beijing. This is the nature of “China Inc.”

The Smithfield buyout is a great loss because the company has become a huge exporter, to Japan and elsewhere, and has developed, with taxpayer assistance, systems and technologies that are best in class.

Of course, that was why it became a target and why China Inc. overpaid to get it. But the only American beneficiaries will be a handful of investors. The rest of Smithfield’s stakeholders, and the American economy, will be bruised.

The damage includes the fact that Smithfield’s technology, research and development and patents will be transferred to the Chinese parent company. Smithfield will be hollowed out and the head office will be moved to China. Talent will leave.

Read More Here

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The Last Great Stand

Part IV: Get Ready America. It’s Going to be US In the Nike Sweatshops Very Soon!

by reasonvoice

  • The Role These Chinese Buys Will Play In Our Downfall
  • What is FRACTIONAL RESERVE BANKING and why does it matter?
  • I talked about our lack of ability to PRODUCE for ourselves if we had to. 
  • The Article Talks About the Chinese Investments

HOW IS ALL THIS WORKING TOGETHER?

THINK… NONE OF THIS FACTORS OUR DOMESTIC FINANCIAL WOES

ARTICLE BELOW DOES AN UNREAL JOB EXPLAINING THE CURRENT TRANSITION

What Russia has done is allow the Chinese to become the wholesale brokers of Russian oil. The deal is between Russian Rosneft the biggest oil company in the world and  China’s Sinopec.  The deal is valued at $85 billion and will supply China with 100 million tons of Crude oil. On top of that LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) deal was signed that will sell 3 million tons of LNG per year to China as well . The energy deals between the two partners is worth $270 Billion over the course of 25 years. Over 21 trade deals in total have been signed by the two powers and none of them have anything to do with the dollar.

imply incredible is what I can say that has transpired in the last 6 years since the collapse of the US economy in 2008. Folks what we are witnessing right now is the final paragraphs of the final chapter that was the US economic superpower. I am not kidding you nor am I using any form of hyperbole when I say that this year is critical. Though I do not posses a crystal ball to tell you “EXACTLY” when the end will come, what I do posses is major market as well as global indicators that can give me an idea as to a time frame.

Using the vast amount of data at my fingertips what I can tell you is this: 2014 is the year to prepare and get your life in order and I will detail this as clearly as I can to show you why.

  • First and foremost there is a major global reconfiguration away from the dollar as a the preferred means of trade settlement.

I have often stated that the largest economies have taken strategic steps already to trade in a world without the dollar.  The chief architects of this plan are the Russians and Chinese and what they have done and are doing is dismantling with precision the petro-dollar supremacy. Case in point, Russia is the largest oil producer in the world and they have back in 2013 set up a deal with the Chinese. That deal was the first major shot into the Dollar’s armor as world reserve currency and it’s grip to the pricing of oil

So what does it mean? Simple the largest oil producer is handing off the distribution of it’s product to the largest economy in world (China) to sell it in YUAN bypassing the dollar!!!  In order to put this in proper perspective you have to get into your head that the entire Petro-Dollar scheme was based off the idea of cheap Saudi oil supplied perpetually. Well that reality is coming apart in a major way, lets take a second and look at Saudi oil and it’s history.

Read More Here

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The Last Great Stand

Part V: The Coming Economic Enslavement of Communism

by reasonvoice

Experts Warning of Coming Global Financial MeltdownThis all is starting to make a lot of sense now. In the last month there has been 8 mysterious death of 8 bankers across the globe. Maybe they knew something and were trying to warn others before its too late. From Bank of America’s head of global technical strategy warning that the U.S. dollar is in serious trouble, to Capitol One’s unprecedented policy change where they will now show up at Credit Card users homes to collect on debts, it seems even the big banks are going into panic mode.

In spite of all the government media propaganda, the warning signs are getting harder and harder to ignore. The fact is, our economy has teetered on the edge of the financial abyss for quite some time; and with the government now racking up over $1 trillion dollars a year in debt, it’s only a matter of time before the house of cards comes crashing down.U.S. about to hit the Debt Ceiling Yet Again…We are now only a couple of weeks away from another possible government default, as Treasury Secretary Jack Lew warns the government will run out of money to pay the nation’s bills, unless congress yet again raises the federal debt limit.

As part of the so-called budget deal that reopened the government last October, Congress suspended the $16.7-trillion debt limit through Feb. 7, 2014. With that deadline now passed, we’re now only weeks away from another possible default, causing some to wonder how much more this economy can take. In fact, former Harvard Economist Terry Burnham is so worried that he pulled all of his money out of Bank of America, and started warning everyone that they might want to consider doing the same.

Read More Here

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The Last Great Stand

Part VI: China Starts To Make A Power Move Against The U.S. Dollar

by reasonvoice

With the Chinese buying up and owning our few (relative) existing factories, we will be weak and at the mercy of others. We will be beyond any level of weakness the United States has ever known. In comes FEMA Cammps…

In order for our current level of debt-fueled prosperity to continue, the rest of the world must continue to use our dollars to trade with one another and must continue to buy our debt at ridiculously low interest rates.  Of course the number one foreign nation that we depend on to participate in our system is China.  China accounts for more global trade than anyone else on the planet (including the United States), and most of that trade is conducted in U.S. dollars. 

This keeps demand for our dollars very high, and it ensures that we can import massive quantities of goods from overseas at very low cost.  As a major exporting nation, China ends up with gigantic piles of our dollars.  They lend many of those dollars back to us at ridiculously low interest rates.  At this point, China owns more of our national debt than any other country does.  But if China was to decide to quit playing our game and started moving away from U.S. dollars and U.S. debt, our economic prosperity could disappear very rapidly.  Demand for the U.S. dollar would fall and prices would go up.  And interest rates on our debt and everything else in our financial system would go up to crippling levels.  So it is absolutely critical to our financial future that China continues to play our game.

Unfortunately, there are signs that China has now decided to start looking for a smooth exit from the game.  In November, I wrote about how the central bank of China has announced that it is “no longer in China’s favor to accumulate foreign-exchange reserves”.  That means that the pile of U.S. dollars that China is sitting on is not going to get any higher.

In addition, China has signed a whole host of international currency agreements with other nations during the past couple of years which are going to result in less U.S. dollars being used in international trade.  You can read about many of these agreements in this article.

This week, we learned that China started to dump U.S. debt during the month of December.  Many have imagined that China would try to dump a flood of our debt on to the market all of a sudden once they decided to exit, but that simply does not make sense.  Instead, it makes sense for China to dump a bit of debt at a time so that the market will not panic and so that they can get close to full value for the paper that they are holding.

As Bloomberg reported the other day, China dumped nearly 50 billion dollars of U.S. debt during the month of December…

China, the largest foreign U.S. creditor, reduced holdings of U.S. Treasury debt in December by the most in two years as the Federal Reserve announced plans to slow asset purchases.

The nation pared its position in U.S. government bonds by $47.8 billion, or 3.6 percent, to $1.27 trillion, the largest decline since December 2011, according to U.S. Treasury Department data released yesterday.

This is how I would do it if I was China.  I would try to dump 30, 40 or 50 billion dollars a month.  I would try to make a smooth exit and try to get as much for my U.S. debt paper as I could.

So if China is not going to stockpile U.S. dollars or U.S. debt any longer, what is it going to stockpile?

It is going to stockpile gold of course.  In fact, China has been voraciously stockpiling gold for quite some time, and their hunger for gold appears to be growing.

According to Bloomberg, more than 80 percent of the gold that was exported from Switzerland last month went to Asia…

Read More Here

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The Last Great Stand

Part VII: U.S. Stock Market Takes a Dive – Is The Bubble Beginning to Pop?

by reasonvoice

THIS ARTICLE IS IN MY SERIES FOR ONE REASON, AND ONE REASON ONLY. 

NO ONE CAN PREDICT EXACTLY WHEN THE CRASH IS GOING TO HAPPEN.
THERE ARE TOO MANY VARIABLES THIS TIME, vs. THE HOUSING BUBBLE. 
IN A LATER PIECE I WILL DESCRIBE HOW I SEE IT ALL FITTING TOGETHER…
BUT FOR NOW… JUST FACTS IN PARTS I-VII

In regard to the U.S. stock market bubble it’s not a question of if it will pop, but rather of when (and what excuse the so called experts that denied that it was coming will use to distract from the real cause). They’ll tell you it was due to slow downs in emerging markets, some disappointing jobs report or lower than expected corporate earnings, but this is like blaming a blade of grass that a soap bubble lands on for its demise. Bubbles pop because they are bubbles. Once they are inflated the result is inevitable. The wind may carry it a bit farther than expected (QE3) but sooner or later the laws of nature always prevail.

Read More Here

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The Last Great Stand

Part VIII: 25 Fast Facts About The Federal Reserve – Please Share With Everyone You Know

by reasonvoice

Most Americans are under the illusion the FED is somehow part of our government. Whether that would be a good thing or a bad thing is really irrelevant, because it’s not. The FED is an independently owned bank that operates for the benefit of one group of people and one group of people only… the owners of the Fed.

As we approach the 100 year anniversary of the creation of the Federal Reserve, it is absolutely imperative that we get the American people to understand that the Fed is at the very heart of our economic problems.  It is a system of money that was created by the bankers and that operates for the benefit of the bankers.  The American people like to think that we have a “democratic system”, but there is nothing “democratic” about the Federal Reserve.  Unelected, unaccountable central planners from a private central bank run our financial system and manage our economy.  There is a reason why financial markets respond with a yawn when Barack Obama says something about the economy, but they swing wildly whenever Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke opens his mouth.  The Federal Reserve has far more power over the U.S. economy than anyone else does by a huge margin.

THE FED IS THE BIGGEST PONZE SCHEME IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD, and if the American people truly understood how it really works, they would be SCREAMING for it to be abolished immediately.  The following are 25 fast facts about the Federal Reserve that everyone should know…

#1 The greatest period of economic growth in U.S. history was whenthere was no central bank.

#2 The United States never had a persistent, ongoing problem with inflation until the Federal Reserve was created.  In the century before the Federal Reserve was created, the average annual rate of inflation was about half a percent.  In the century since the Federal Reserve was created, the average annual rate of inflation has beenabout 3.5 percent, and it would be even higher than that if the inflation numbers were not being so grossly manipulated.

#3 Even using the official numbers, the value of the U.S. dollar has declined by more than 95 percent since the Federal Reserve was created nearly 100 years ago.

#4 The secret November 1910 gathering at Jekyll Island, Georgia during which the plan for the Federal Reserve was hatched was attended by U.S. Senator Nelson W. Aldrich, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Department A.P. Andrews and a whole host of representatives from the upper crust of the Wall Street banking establishment.

#5 In 1913, Congress was promised that if the Federal Reserve Act was passed that it would eliminate the business cycle.

#6 The following comes directly from the Fed’s official mission statement: “To provide the nation with a safer, more flexible, and more stable monetary and financial system. Over the years, its role in banking and the economy has expanded.”

#7 It was not an accident that a permanent income tax was also introduced the same year when the Federal Reserve system was established.  The whole idea was to transfer wealth from our pockets to the federal government and from the federal government to the bankers.

#8 Within 20 years of the creation of the Federal Reserve, the U.S. economy was plunged into the Great Depression.

#9 If you can believe it, there have been 10 different economic recessions since 1950.  The Federal Reserve created the “dotcom bubble”, the Federal Reserve created the “housing bubble” and now it has created the largest bond bubble in the history of the planet.

#10 According to an official government report, the Federal Reserve made 16.1 trillion dollars in secret loans to the big banks during the last financial crisis.  The following is a list of loan recipients that was taken directly from page 131 of the report…

Citigroup - $2.513 trillion
Morgan Stanley - $2.041 trillion
Merrill Lynch - $1.949 trillion
Bank of America - $1.344 trillion
Barclays PLC - $868 billion
Bear Sterns - $853 billion
Goldman Sachs - $814 billion
Royal Bank of Scotland - $541 billion
JP Morgan Chase - $391 billion
Deutsche Bank - $354 billion
UBS - $287 billion
Credit Suisse - $262 billion
Lehman Brothers - $183 billion
Bank of Scotland - $181 billion
BNP Paribas - $175 billion
Wells Fargo - $159 billion
Dexia - $159 billion
Wachovia - $142 billion
Dresdner Bank - $135 billion
Societe Generale - $124 billion
“All Other Borrowers” - $2.639 trillion

Read More Here

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The Last Great Stand

Part IX: Explaining The Federal Reserve, Inflation, and the Economic Bubbles About To BURST In Layman’s Terms

by reasonvoice

DO YOU EVER WONDER?

Ever wonder about why our economy is in trouble? How can so many people can be in so much debt at the same time? Does it seem strange to you no matter how hard one works, and in spite of all the advances in society, most hard working people cannot escape the treadmill of perpetual debt?

Why are so many families losing their homes to foreclosure? Why are many households dependent upon credit cards to supplement their income? Why does it take TWO spouses to maintain a household when it used to take just one? Why have so many retirement savings been wiped out? Why do prices always creep up?

Did you know that close to 1/3 of all income taxes are consumed just to pay interest on the Federal Debt? (National Debt currently 17 TRILLION DOLLARS , or about $165,000 per household.) Think about it. Every penny that you pay in income tax from January 1 - April 1 is consumed just to pay interest on Federal debt, much of it to foreign banking families!  And let’s not forget the Government’s unfunded future liabilities, estimated at 75 TRILLION. (an additional $750,000+ per household.)

Add those staggering sums to the 11 Trillion in total consumer debt (mortgages, car loans debt, credit cards, etc), student loan debt (1 Trillion more), State debt, County debt, City/Town debt, small business debt, big business debt, and you will see that the total of these debts actually exceeds (BY FAR) the amount of money supply in circulation.

So, how can such astronomical debt ever be repaid? Well, if you haven’t figured it out yet – IT CAN’T. The only way for society to service just the interest on these monstrous debts is to constantly inject new debts into the system.

Finally, on top of all your Federal, State, gasoline, and local taxes, (30% – 40% of your gross income) and on top of your personal debt service burden (another 25%-50%), there’s this thing called “inflation”, or  ”the cost of living.” What exactly is “the cost of living?” What causes it? Why does a dollar buy less and less each year while wages stay flat?

Is the stress of perpetual debt and rising prices keeping you up at night? How many strokes, heart attacks, and even suicides are induced by financial stress each year? Money and debt may even have led to your drinking problem, or perhaps even to  depression. Debt may have been the underlying cause of your divorce or that of some couple that you know.

You know in your gut that something isn’t right in this country. But you don’t have the “Economics education” to figure it out. It all seems too complicated for you to put your finger on, so you just keep slaving away to pay interest and taxes as your dollar buys less and less. All you can do is keep working like a dog and leave the matter to the Wall Street “experts” and politicians to handle for you.

But it’s all quite simple really. So simple in fact, even a dummy can understand it when it is broken down to basic elements.

Read More Here

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The Last Great Stand

Part X: A Storm is Brewing on the Horizon – Martial Law Before 2016?

by reasonvoice

All Out Political Revolution and War is Upon America in 2014?????

Problems I See As Unavoidable:

This is a perfect chance for my two cents on the monetary system. Parts I – IX gave all the technical reasons the Dollar doesn’t stand a chance in the long run. I think it’s far more common sense than all those technical reasons, but I wanted to shut up all the nay sayers. 

First, I think we can assume a worthless Dollar is VERY bad. That takes away our ability to import things we don’t produce domestically. That means whatever we use to sustain ourselves as a nation has to be here. Let’s think about it: As Part III put, we have not only outsourced almost all of our production capability overseas for cheap labor, what little production capacity we have left is being rapidly bought up by the Chinese so they can get out of our Dollar and retain something of value: namely our production capability. 

How do 300 million people survive if we can’t import anything and don’t produce squat because we are a “service” economy now? Short answer? We don’t. Not enough for everyone. That means if you have food, people will do whatever is necessary for them and their loved ones. Chances are if you have none, you’ll do the same. THAT is how a worthless Dollar plays out. Period. There will be a TON of violence for those without somewhere safe, heavily stocked with food, and well protected. 

NOW, THE MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION: DO WE EVER GET TO THAT POINT?

1. Hyperinflation: 

  • Right now the Fed is monitizing our debt to the tune of about 85 BILLION per month. That is over $5 TRILLION OUT OF THIN AIR since Obama took office. What does that mean? It means they are printing that money out of thin air. That does two things. First, it debases our currency as can be seen by one look at the dollar index. LOOK YOURSELF! The dollar has been in free fall. The ONLY thing saving the Dollar is that it is still the world reserve currency… but don’t get too excited because I’ll get to that later. Don’t count on that continuing for long. In addition to debasing the currency, it creates inflation. MASSIVE INFLATION.
  • The government tells us inflation is like 2%. Um. Ok. Gas went from under $2.00 to close to $4.00. What is that? Food prices are going up – but NOTHING like they will be soon. The same bag of dog food I used to get for $9.50 is now about $13.00. What is that if not inflation? That doesn’t sound like 2% to me. Anyone in your family who does the food shopping KNOWS food prices are going up much more than 2%.
  • We have not even begun to feel the inflation that is coming as a result of the printing presses Obama and his economic advisors have been running around the clock.
  • As I mentioned we use a system of banking called Fractional Reserve Banking. Everyone knows banks have been tight on lending money. Familiarize yourself with how Fractional Reserve Banking works, and imagine when the full extent of all this printed money IS actually all in circulation. OMG. Prices will SKYROCKET… and I’m still not even touching the reserve currency status yet. I’m assuming we still have that thus far. Stay tuned for more on that. 
  • Remember those baby boomers on fixed incomes? How are those skyrocketing prices going to work out for them? Expect ramped up foreclosures and parents moving back in with their kids. As more people experience financial hardship they’ll buy less stuff, causing companies to cut back MORE – that means more layoffs, more foreclosures, and the cycle keeps going. This is when I see the Dow ultimately dipping to around 5,000.
  • Furthermore, if there are skyrocketing prices, and super high unemployment, how will people feed their families? Hmmm. I sense this could create some MAJOR problems. I fully predict neighbor will be robbing neighbor trying to feed starving family members, so you better be armed and ready to protect your food…. oh wait… Obama wants your guns. Wow.

2. Healthcare: Even without the atrocity otherwise known as Obamacare, the costs of healthcare have already been increasing exponentially, so healthcare is potentially the first domino in a long line of dominos that ultimately bring down the financial strength of this nation. How? I am a simple man, so I’ll use simple arithmetic:

  • We have the largest generation in American history just entering retirement. Consequently, as a nation we will face the largest expenditures for healthcare probably in human history, but at the very least in American history. Where are these baby boomers going to get the money to pay those medical bills? The “stock market” (which is a term I will use generally for retirement investments) is where most of this enormous group of Americans have the bulk of their wealth tied up. Not all do, but a huge majority of them.
  • Prior to the 2008 crash it was estimated about 40% of Americans had enough money saved for retirement. Let’s be REALLY optimistic and say that after the crash 35% still had enough. First of all, that would be LUDICROUS, but lets assume so anyway. It’s obviously a MUCH lower number.
  • As the baby boomers begin to cash in those investments for their ungodly high medical bills and their retirement living in general, the stock market is inevitably going to drop as money is pulled out. It MIGHT not be so bad if Generation X or their employers were contributing even a fraction of what their baby boomer parents did to replace the withdrawls. HOWEVER, the reality is that so many Generation X ‘s are out of work or underemployed, so there is NOWHERE NEAR enough going in to replace what will be coming out. Furthermore, about 50% of the money in the stock market right now is “Institutional Investors.” When the Fed is lending at 0%, why not borrow and invest speculatively if you’re a huge financial institution?
  • Guess what? BUBBLE #1: We have another stock bubble brewing, but that is the smallest of the bubbles presently brewing. At some point, the institutional investors will begin the selloff and start to get out of the overpriced market while the getting is good. In an attempt to minimize losses to their retirement funds, the mom and pops of the country are going to be scrambling to get out as fast as they can. Prices will be dropping like a rock as institutions pull out in volume, and mom and pop always panic. It’s like clockwork. THEN, stocks REALLY start to drop like a ROCK as everyone is trying desperately to get into CASH. On a side note, when the market bottoms out and the mom and pops are all cleaned out and devastated, THAT is when the institutional investors will jump back in at low prices and ride the wave back up that screws the average investor again. It’s a cycle. That’s assuming we’re not under Martial Law by then- but I’ll get to that in a bit.
  • As stock prices drop, eventually we’ll see a mad selloff driven by fear like in 2008. In turn, since corporations could care less about the welfare of their employees, and they only care about the almighty shareholder – it will be LAYOFF time. MASSIVE LAYOFFS will be needed to cut costs so share prices stay up as much as possible. The more people continue to get laid off, you can count on the cycle of people not making their mortgage payments to start up again. THEN, another super round of foreclosures will begin. Banks still haven’t gotten rid of all the previous foreclosures on the books from 2008, so expect prices of homes to drop faster than you can say FAST as the selloff begins again.
  • More people pull out of the market, leads to more layoffs, leads to more jobless, leads to more foreclosures, and the cycle will be rapid. I could easily see the Dow and an ounce of gold both being around $5,000. Yes – I said 5,000. I am very well aware we’re at 16,000 now. But how you ask? Calm down, I’m getting there.

 

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End of the Petro Dollar

Courtesy of oil-price.net

On March 6, Congress passed overwhelmingly, at the behest of the Obama Administration. new economic sanctions on Russia for their intervention in the Crimean region of Ukraine. In doing so, President Obama has now placed the dollar and entire Treasury reserve structure at risk, and as Dr. Jim Willie noted yesterday, has brought America to the brink of its ‘Waterloo’.

If the Kremlin demands Gold bullion (or even Russian Rubles) for oil payments, then the interventions to subvert the Ruble currency by the London and Wall Street houses will backfire and blow up in the bankster faces. Expect any surplus Rubles would be converted quickly to Gold bullion. If the Chinese demand that they are permitted to pay for oil shipments in Yuan currency, then the entire Petro-Dollar platform will be subjected to sledge hammers and wrecking balls. The new Petro-Yuan defacto standard will have been launched from the Shanghai outpost. If the Saudis curry favor to the Russians and Chinese by accepting non-USDollar payments for oil shipments, then the Petro-Dollar is dead and buried. The rise of the Nat Gas Coop run by Gazprom is in progress, its gas pipelines to strangle the OPEC and its bastard Petro-Dollar child. The entire USDollar foundation with the USTreasury Bond bank reserve structure is at risk is collapsing, as consequence to the desperate adventure and criminal activity conducted in Ukraine. – Silver Doctors

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AMTV AMTV

Published on Mar 5, 2014

In today’s video, Christopher Greene of AMTV reports that States are beginning to secede from the Union.
http://www.amtvmedia.com/re-direct-am…

 

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Texas Independence Day Highlights State’s Ongoing Secession Efforts

 

 


 

As Texas celebrated its annual “Texas Independence Day,” many in the state’s government leadership and ongoing secession movement say Texas is finally preparing to become an “independent nation,” from the United States. (Photo by Ben Sklar/Getty Images)

As Texas celebrated its annual “Texas Independence Day,” many in the state’s government leadership and ongoing secession movement say Texas is finally preparing to become an “independent nation,” from the United States. (Photo by Ben Sklar/Getty Images)

 

Houston (CBS HOUSTON) – As Texas celebrated its annual “Texas Independence Day,” many in the state’s government leadership and ongoing secession movement say Texas is finally preparing to become an “independent nation.”

 

The 178th anniversary of the 59 settlers’ signing of the Texas Declaration of Independence commemorates the Lone Star State’s March 2, 1836 break from Mexico to create the Republic of Texas. With the Alamo famously under siege, the delegates declared their independence and today the only state that ever won a war to become its own country celebrates March 2 as its own official “national” holiday.

 

The U.S. brought Texas in as the 28th state of the Union in an event known as the Texas Annexation of 1845.

 

But recent rhetoric from anti-tax Tea Partiers, libertarians and state officials alike suggests that the secession movement may be moving a step beyond parties and re-enactments, The Inquisitr reported.

 

Texas Attorney General candidate Barry Smitherman has openly expressed the possibility of Texas secession.

 

Read More Here

 

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Texas Independence Day Brings Up Secession: Do Texans Still Want To Secede?

 

Texas Independence Day Brings Up Secession: Do Texans Still Want To Secede?

 

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Texas Independence Day is not only about celebrating separation from Mexico and becoming its own nation for a time. According to some, the Texas secession movement uses it as a time to discuss having Texas secede from the United States.

 

In a related report by The Inquisitr, most people would call efforts to have Texas secede illegal, but a careful reading of the Texas v. White Supreme Court ruling on the Texas secession during the Civil War era seems to leave a little bit of wiggle room.

 

Most people in the state celebrate Texas Independence Day with parties and re-enactments, but others point to the political movement still pushing for a Texas secession. For example, Texas Attorney General candidate Barry Smitherman openly says seceding is still a possibility:

 

“Generally speaking, we have made great progress in becoming an independent nation, an ‘island nation’ if you will, and I think we want to continue down that path so that if the rest of the country falls apart, Texas can operate as a stand-alone entity with energy, food, water and roads as if we were a closed-loop system.”

 

Larry Kilgore is in the running to become Texas’ governor and he believes a “U.S. economic collapse cannot be avoided” and that the solution is for “”Texas to secede now or we will sink too.” Still, his chances at succeeding in his bid for the governorship are said to be relatively low compared to other candidates.

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Some Western Md. Residents Want To Form Their Own State

 

 


 

secession

 

 

Mary Bubala

 

WESTMINSTER, Md. (WJZ) — A tale of two Marylands: Western Maryland and the rest of the state. Fed up with high taxes and gun control, some people want to break away and go it alone.

 

Mary Bubala explains why they’re trying to form their own state.

 

There’s a storm brewing over the beautiful mountains and valleys of Western Maryland. More and more people in those five counties say Governor Martin O’Malley is out of touch and they want to break away from the rest of the state.

 

“I can’t imagine Maryland without Western Maryland,” said Governor Martin O’Malley.

 

“Do you actually care about your citizens?” questioned Rob Parr.

“I certainly don’t live in a bubble and I go around the state all the time,” O’Malley said.

 

“Why don’t you want to listen to people that you don’t agree with?” said Suzanne Olden.

 

“I spend my whole day listening,” O’Malley said.

 

Scott Strzelczyk, Suzanne Olden and Rob Parr are part of a growing group that wants to rip Maryland in two, creating the nation’s 51st state. They met recently at O’Lordan’s Irish Pub in Westminster to tell WJZ they’re fed up with politics as usual in Annapolis.

 

“If your vote doesn’t count, it’s the same as having no vote. We’re not free,” Strzelczyk said. “We’re doing exactly what they did in 1776. I just simply want to live as a free human being with limited government intrusion in my life and that’s really why I do this.”

 

Read More Here

 

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Western Marylanders push to secede from state

maryland_gov_omalley.jpg

Feb. 10, 2012: Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley testifies in support of a same-sex marriage bill during a committee hearing in Annapolis, Md.AP

A push by frustrated western Maryland residents to part ways with their state is gaining momentum as the initiative turns to social media to get its message out.

Residents in Garrett, Allegany, Washington, Frederick and Carroll County, for months have been pushing an initiative to secede from the state and form a new one, called Western Maryland. Among the biggest problems the group has with Maryland are new gun restrictions, tax increases and what they call unfair district lines the group claims unfairly favor Democrats.

The western Maryland initiative now has nearly 9,000 Facebook “likes” since it was formed in July 2013. Activist Scott Strzelczyk  started the Facebook page as a way to bring dissatisfied residents together.

“Here at the state level, we’re controlled by a single party – Democrats – and we feel we have no other recourse,” he has told Fox News. “We’re sick and tired of being sick and tired.”

They also have a beef with the high-crime city of Baltimore.

“Little mystery why this is the case,” the group states. “We don’t want our tax dollars going to Baltimore City or other parts of the state to support the same old failed policies. The solution is simple. We want our own state.”

 

Read More Here

 

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CBN News

 

 

GREELEY, Colo. — If you mention the word “secession” most people think of the South during the Civil War. But today, a new movement is gaining steam because of frustration over a growing, out-of-control federal government.

 

A number of conservative, rural Americans are taking about seceding and creating their own states, meaning a new map of the United States of America could include the following:

 

  • A 51st state called Jefferson, made up of Northern California and Southern Oregon
  • A new state called Western Maryland
  • A new state called North Colorado

 

These are real movements gaining traction with voters across the country. Jeffrey Hare runs the 51st State Initiative in Colorado, an effort to fight an out-of-control legislature trying to ram big government policies down the throats of voters.

 

“We’re at this point of irreconcilable differences,” Hare told CBN News.

 

Secessionist talk has filled town hall meetings and the divide discussed is not just ideological.

 

“It’s predominately left versus right, but it’s urban versus rural because you typically find more typical conservative values in rural America,” Hare said.

 

An Attack on Colorado?

 

That’s the crux of the issue. Rural Americans across many states feel they’re not being heard. Their laundry list is long and at the top of that list are stricter gun control laws.

 

According to Weld County, Colo., Sheriff John Cooke, the state legislature is out of control.

 

“They are out of touch with rural Colorado,” he said. “There is an attack on rural Colorado and it’s not just on gun control laws. It’s on several of the other bills that they passed.”

 

Government mandates on renewable energy, environmental policies restricting oil and gas drilling, and controversial social issues like gay marriage have also led to this divide and talk of secession.

 

Organizers want to create “North Colorado,” an idea that went to voters in 11 counties this past fall. But not everyone in Colorado thinks secession is a great idea.

 

“I don’t think that’s necessarily the way to make something happen within the area you live,” Colorado resident Greg Howe told CBN News. “You’re supposed to work within our electoral services.”

 

The so-called secession movement in Colorado had mixed results this past November. Some counties approved it. Others didn’t.

 

But the organizers of the 51st State Initiative are undaunted, saying this type of movement takes time.

 

“Movements take a while; education takes time,” Hare said. “People do have a hard time saying ,’I want to live in a different state,’ even though physically they live in the same house.”

 

“It’s hard for them since their lives have been Coloradoans,” he explained. “Their whole lives to say that ‘I’m going to be a new Coloradoan’ or ‘I want to live in the state of liberty’ or something different.”

Read More Here

 

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10 Stories From The Cold, Hard Streets Of America That Will Break Your Heart

Depressed - Photo by Sander van der Wel

If the economy is really “getting better”, then why have millions upon millions of formerly middle class Americans been pushed to the point of utter despair?

The stories that you are about to read are absolutely heartbreaking.  I don’t know how anyone can read them without getting chills.  In America today, if you lose a good job, there is a good chance that you will get back on your feet before too long.  But there is also a good chance that you won’t be able to find a decent job and will plunge into the abyss of depression and desperation that so many millions of other Americans have fallen into.  As I wrote about earlier this month, the U.S. economy is definitely not getting any better.  For example, if you assume that the percentage of Americans that want to work is about at the long term average, then the official unemployment rate in the United States would be above 11 percent.  And compared to six years ago, 1,154,000 fewer Americans are working today even though our population has gotten significantly larger since then.  Behind all of these numbers are real flesh and blood people, and you are about to hear from some of them.  The following are 10 stories from the cold, hard streets of America that will break your heart…

#1 A 34-year-old man named Rocco

“While my wife goes to work, I’ve been staying at home to conserve fuel. I’ve been losing weight from eating less, so my family has more on their plates. It feels like the government and big business expect more and more while trying to give back as little as possible. Soon my internet connection will be shut off and since most companies don’t offer paper applications, how will I find work then? Walking around for miles a day, asking for an application that may or may not be available?”

#2 Homeless people wasting away in “Obamavilles” on the outskirts of Baltimore, Maryland…

A sheet of plastic laid over a clothesline. A mini-fortress of milk crates stacked under a tree. A thin mattress on a flimsy crate lying in a dark tunnel.

On the edge of Baltimore’s woodlands, dozens of the city’s transients live in makeshift homes which they consider safer than homeless shelters.

You can see some incredible photos of how these homeless people are living right here.

#3 A 50-year-old woman in Pennsylvania named Karen

“My husband only makes 10 dollars an hour and drives 30 miles round trip, so it’s taking all we have just to keep the Jeep filled with gas. We stopped going to church and all to save gas. We are homebodies now, afraid to use what gas we have. We save two kids from getting put in foster care just to be hit like this. It’s just a constant trap they try to keep you from receiving any help! I’m so disgusted when my 12-year-old asks me why we don’t have snacks anymore, or why are we eating so much rice, etc.”

#4 The following is an excerpt from a comment that was recently left by one of my readers

“I live right at ground zero. South West Virginia and let me tell you things are bad and getting worse by the day. We don’t do drugs but have family members hooked on meth and or pills or both. Many of these pills are prescribed by local doctors either Suboxone to get you off the opiates, a total joke by the way and tons of Xanax why would anyone need 120 Xanax a month how can you even be expected to function. These pills get traded for cash sex and other items, same goes for the SNAP cards. We have family members going to jail repeatedly for the same crimes making meth, selling pills and stealing anything that’s not nailed down. People who are 30 years old look like they are 55 years old. The jobs here are awful walmat, gas stations, fast food etc. Most of our whole county is on the government dole.”

#5 A 55-year-old man from California named Randy Carpadus

“I was working as a firefighter for the state of California and was laid off in April 2012, right at the beginning of fire season. At my age, I’m not going to be picked up by another fire department. They want younger guys.

I’ve applied for everything from truck driver, to sales, to nonprofit work. I’ve sent out almost 400 resumes, and I’ve gotten nothing. I’ve done whatever I could to make ends meet.

Through some connections, I got a temp job as a truck driver in Napa Valley — a 3-hour commute from where I live. I lived in my car and worked during grape harvest.”

#6 In this tough economic environment, debt collectors are becoming even more aggressive.  Just check out the kind of harassment that one woman named Jennifer Posey has been put through…

“This is Jimmy Lee calling from CheckCare. Just letting you know we’re in full force,” he said. The man had a thick Southern accent that stretched the word “you” into a two-syllable accusation. “We’re going to have warrants out for your arrest in Columbus, Ga.,” the man threatened. “We know you have an apartment on the canal in Clearwater.”

It was when he mentioned her home in Florida that Posey began to feel anxious. “We’re hurting you,” he continued. “We’re hurting your family, your son’s family, your cousin’s family. Whatever we can do to get you to pay.”

Forty minutes later, her phone rang again. “What about that 12-, 13-year-old child you’re trying to raise?” the voice sneered.

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Enlarge Photo

Photo by: Jacquelyn Martin

President Barack Obama waves to the media as he greets Jordan‘s King Abdullah II at The Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands, Rancho Mirage, Calif., Friday, Feb. 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

 

The Washington Times

President Obama announced late Friday night that the U.S. will provide a $1 billion loan guarantee to Jordan, money meant to help the nation deal with the flood of refugees that have crossed over from Syria to escape a bloody civil war.

Mr. Obama made the announcement during a bilateral meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah II at a private retreat in Rancho Mirage, Calif. The president also said he intends to renew a five-year memorandum of understanding with Jordan, worth about $360 million in direct economic support and another $300 million in military financing, according to the White House.

Mr. Obama said both the agreement and the $1 billion loan are designed to help Jordanian economic development overall, but also said the deteriorating situation in Syria has placed a burden on Jordan that other countries must help bear.

“The people of Jordan have been very generous in absorbing hundreds of thousands of displaced persons from that war-ravaged country,” Mr. Obama said at the outset of his meeting with the king. “It puts a great strain on the resources of Jordan and it’s very important for us to make sure that we’re supportive of the kingdom in accommodating all these refugees.”

 

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