Saturday, January 16, 2010

ABC's Positive Take on Tea Parties: "A Movement With Momentum"

Media Research Center
By: Brad Wilmouth
January 08, 2010 09:18 ET


On Thursday’s World News, ABC correspondent Kate Snow filed a report that avoided portraying Tea Party activists as extremists, instead conveying the movement’s growing appeal and the fact that even some former Barack Obama supporters have signed on. Snow: "The majority of supporters are long-time Republicans like Danita, but there are growing numbers of independents, and even some former Obama supporters."

After recounting the movement’s recent successes in bringing down moderate political figures for not being conservative enough, Snow related that "moderates are scrambling to show their support." The piece also included a soundbite of ABC News contributor Matthew Dowd who suggested that Democrats are making a mistake in "trying to marginalize" the movement. Dowd: "I think Republicans definitely dismiss this at their peril. I also think Democrats, by trying to marginalize it, underestimate the anger out there."

Below is a complete transcript of the report from the Thursday, January 7, World News on ABC:






DIANE SAWYER: Up next, in politics, it was confirmed today that former Governor Sarah Palin will keynote two political conventions in the next month – not Republicans or Democrats, but the anti-establishment movement of the Tea Party. A month ago, we saw those heated town hall meetings on health care, but Kate Snow says since then the Tea Party has become a more organized political force – at least 3,000 outposts taking aim at moderate candidates for office and taking them down.
 

KATE SNOW: It is a movement with momentum, and now it's taking politicians down. The biggest example this week, Florida's Republican Party chairman, brought down in part by pressure from Tea Party activists who've rallied around a young outspoken conservative in the Florida Senate race. His opponent, Republican Governor Charlie Crist, may be the next Tea Party victim. Where once Obama's army had the passion, columnist David Brooks wrote, "Now the Tea Party brigades have all the intensity."




MATTHEW DOWD, ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I think Republicans definitely dismiss this at their peril. I also think Democrats, by trying to marginalize it, underestimate the anger out there.



SNOW: Their influence is showing up all over the country. In California, the first woman to lead a Fortune 500 company may lose her bid for Senate because she's not conservative enough. In Kentucky, the son of former presidential candidate Ron Paul is riding the Tea Party wave.



DANITA KILCULLEN, TEA PARTY FORT LAUDERDALE: We just don't give up. We're unrelenting.



SNOW: Danita Kilcullen has been bringing people to this corner in Fort Lauderdale every Saturday for 46 weeks, then posting it on YouTube.



KILCULLEN: The tea parties across America are going to have a great deal to say about who is in office.



SNOW: The majority of supporters are long-time Republicans like Danita, but there are growing numbers of independents, and even some former Obama supporters.



NATE WHIGHAM, GEORGIA TEA PARTY: The Tea Party kind of aligned what I was already feeling with their three core values.



SNOW: They organize mainly online not bound by religion but loosely linked by an overarching philosophy for small government, against deficit spending and against raising taxes. There's no real leader, but star power – Sarah Palin and TV host Glenn Beck whose empire includes everything from a Christmas picture book to ads to a live stage show – have both given face to the movement. And moderates are scrambling to show their support.



UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I've added a tea bag.



SNOW: A tea bag in his pocket, armor for a former Congressman running for Senate. And just recently the first Tea Party political action committee was created. That means money – $13,000 so far, Diane, and growing. This is a force to watch.





—Brad Wilmouth is a news analyst at the Media Research Center

Friday, January 15, 2010

Controversy hits pope's Rome synagogue visit


AP – Pope Benedict XVI
By ARIEL DAVID, Associated Press Writer Ariel David, Associated Press Writer – 42 mins ago


ROME – Pope Benedict XVI's planned visit to Rome's main synagogue on Sunday has sharply divided Italian Jews, with some angered by his moves to push World War II Pope Pius XII toward sainthood.


Some Jews and historians have accused Pius of not doing enough to stop the Holocaust.

A top rabbi and at least one other prominent community member have announced they will not attend the synagogue visit in protest. And the tension, which comes on the heels of other mishaps in Jewish-Catholic relations, has raised fears of demonstrations, although both sides insist they will not let the event be marred by controversy.

Jewish leaders from around the world have traveled to Rome for the German-born Benedict's third visit to a synagogue as pope after seeing ones in Cologne, Germany, and New York.

He will be following in the steps of his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, who became the first pontiff to set foot in a synagogue when he visited the monumental synagogue in Rome near the Tiber River in 1986.

"It will be a meeting of peace, friendship and mutual respect," said Rome's chief rabbi, Riccardo Di Segni. "But above all it will be an example of how to coexist even if he have differences."

But Rabbi Giuseppe Laras, head of the Italian Rabbinic Assembly, told the Corriere della Sera daily on Thursday that he will not be at the synagogue because he felt that such a step on Pius so close to the visit was a "less than friendly" gesture.

Cardinal Walter Kasper, the top Vatican official in charge of relations with Jews, said "problems and difficulties will be open until the last day of history," but "the visit will not speak about the problems, but about what we have in common."

Last month, Benedict sparked outrage among some Jewish groups by signing a decree on Pius' heroic virtues, paving the way for him to be beatified once a miracle attributed to Pius' intercession is confirmed.


Beatification is the last formal step before possible sainthood. The process has been going on for decades, and the Vatican says Pius' faith and virtues were greater than those normally expected from faithful, making him a model of Christian life.

Some Jews and historians have argued that Pius, pope from 1939 to 1958, was largely silent on the Holocaust and should have done more to prevent the deaths of 6 million Jews at the hands of the Nazis and their collaborators. Among the victims were more than 1,000 Roman Jews who were deported in 1943 from the old Ghetto neighborhood by the synagogue, across the river from the Vatican.

Piero Terracina, one of about a dozen survivors of the deportation, said he would not attend Benedict's visit.

"I am convinced that if that pope had come out, had made a single gesture, the Roman Jews would not have been deported, but that didn't happen," Terracina was quoted as saying by Corriere.

The Vatican insists Pius used quiet diplomacy to try to save Jews and that speaking out more forcefully would have resulted in even more deaths.

Kasper, speaking to reporters this week, reiterated the Vatican's position that the beatification was an "internal question of the Church" and had to do with the "spiritual judgment" of Pius, not his historical role.

Before entering the synagogue, the German-born Benedict is expected to pause in the adjacent square where the Jews were rounded up for deportation.

Rabbi Arthur Schneier, who hosted Benedict's New York synagogue visit in 2008, said he respects those made uncomfortable by the beatification moves, but told The Associated Press that "one should not be paralyzed by the past, one has to move on."

Other disputes that have strained Jewish-Catholic relations include Benedict's rehabilitation of a Holocaust-denying bishop last year and his 2007 decision to revive the old Latin Mass, which includes a prayer for the conversion of Jews.

Schneier, a Holocaust survivor who converses in German with Benedict, noted that in each case the pope and the Vatican had sought to issue clarifications or correct mistakes, showing that Benedict was acting in good faith.

"I don't think the pope would deliberately bring about missteps and then find himself correcting them," Schneier said.



___



AP writer Daniela Petroff contributed to this report


Dollar Crisis Looms if US Doesn't Curb Debt: Experts

CNBC.com
Published: Wednesday, 13 Jan 2010

6:23 PM ET
 By: Reuters
 
The United States must soon raise taxes or cut government spending to curb its debt, and failure to act will risk a crippling dollar crisis as investor confidence ebbs, a panel of experts said on Wednesday.




"It has got to be done. It will be done some day. It may be done with enormous pain. Or it may be done more rationally," said Rudolph Penner, a former head of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget office who co-chaired the 24-strong Committee on the Fiscal Future of the United States.

President Barack Obama's administration will present his budget for fiscal 2011 early next month amid intense pressure to live up to election campaign promises not to raise taxes on middle class Americans, while confronting a record deficit.




As a result, Obama is expected to focus on long-term fiscal discipline, while maintaining policy support for an economic recovery in the near-term as the country rebuilds after its worst recession since the Great Depression.


The two-year study by the panel, assembled by the highly respected National Research Council and the National Academy of Public Administration, said that the White House had some time on its side to restore growth, but must then act.


"In the next year or two, large deficits and more borrowing are unavoidable given the severity of the economic downturn. However, action ought to begin soon thereafter," they said.


The national debt has risen above 50 percent of GDP (gross domestic product) from 40 percent two years ago, and within 20 years will blow past a previous record above 100 percent of GDP set after World War Two without stern official steps.



Mounting debt could sap investor confidence in the economy, and the nation's ability to honor its obligations, pushing up interest rates and causing a steep fall in the value of the dollar as international creditors seek safer returns elsewhere.



Cut Health Care


The committee identified curbing Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security spending as the top challenge, and had a lukewarm assessment of cost containment in health care reform currently before Congress that Obama hopes to sign soon.


Committee co-chair John Palmer said the reforms might lay the foundation for improvements in the future, but he was skeptical about presumed saving levels and said that "passage would not change in any substantial way our analysis."


The committee, which included three former heads of the CBO, outlined a range of options to lower the ratio of the national debt to 60 percent of the size of the economy.


The 60 percent threshold of debt to GDP, a target that is also used by the nations sharing the euro common currency, was a "judgment choice", said Penner, who is a senior fellow at the Urban Institute, a Washington think-tank.

He said it was deemed to be the most that could be borne without incurring debt levels that would drive up long-term interest rates, and the least that was politically feasible in terms of reductions in government spending.



At one end of the options, the committee reviewed a policy mix based on low spending and low taxes. This envisaged payroll and income tax rates staying as they are, around 18-19 percent of GDP, but healthcare and retirement program costs sharply curtailed and defense and domestic spending cut 20 percent.


The other end of the scale looked at a high spending/high taxes policy mix that would maintain the projected growth in Social Security and allow higher spending on federal programs.


However, this would see taxes rise above 40 percent of GDP, or in the neighborhood of Denmark or Sweden, in order to hold the national debt to 60 percent, unless a value added sales tax was also introduced to augment government revenue.


Between the two were several intermediary solutions relying on a blend of higher taxes and lower spending. The committee made no recommendations but warned there was no time to waste.


"If action is taken soon, the country has a wide choice of options to help achieve fiscal sustainability. All are difficult; but if action is postponed, the options will be fewer and the choices even more difficult," they said.




Thursday, January 14, 2010

Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission - FCIC Needs to Recommend the Breaking up of Commercial and Investment Banking

MyBudget360.com
Posted: 13 Jan 2010 11:00 PM PST

The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC) started hearings this week. I was reading through a report they put out examining financial market and economic data and it is fascinating that many of the charts we are seeing in the report are covering aspects that are largely being missed by the regular media.

They cover the massive lopsided profits of the corporate banking sector and also examine the $11 trillion decline in household net worth. Ideally the FCIC will come out with real reform that will restructure the banking system in the U.S. and not get caught up with lightning rod issues like bonus payments. I am the first to agree that bonuses are downright disturbing given the bailouts these banks received yet the bonuses are merely the symptom, the not actual sickness. Here is one chart put out in the FCIC report:





The financial services sector has grown as a share of GDP for a solid 40 years. Even with the current crisis it doesn’t seem to have retreated all that much. For the most part, this has to do with the corporatocracy running the country. While virtually every average American has had to deal with the recession by watching home values plummet, stocks decline, and jobs disappear the financial services sector has somehow managed to maintain their share of the GDP pie. This is something that needs to be vetted in the FCIC hearings.


Here is another chart driving the point home:














American households have lost $11 trillion in wealth since the peak in the bubble. Much of this had to do with the bursting housing bubble. The average American carries most of their net worth in housing values and not stocks. That is why this 70 percent casino rally is benefitting the top 1 percent more than ever before and the average American is still licking their $11 trillion wound. Take a look at some of the banking stocks since the lows last March:















Thanks to the wonderful bailouts, the banking system has picked up right where it left off after it destroyed the real economy. Now, it doesn’t even need to bother with the real economy since it has unlimited funds from the government to gamble in what is now the new gambling hotspot, Wall Street. Forget about Las Vegas, the new capital of gambling is in New York City and is headed by the investment banks.


Here are some prepared remarks from Lloyd Blankein from Goldman Sachs:

” Before the crisis and since, we have remained focused on providing advice, allocating capital, making markets, managing money and investing with and for our clients. We have all witnessed the consequences of having too narrow a business model. At the same time, we have resisted becoming a financial supermarket - concerned that being too big or dispersed would detract from our focus and expertise.

We have been particularly focused on fee income businesses, such as advisory, commissions and asset management fees, and since our IPO more than ten years ago, we have generated half of our income from them. We continue to see the benefits of a diversified revenue stream across a global franchise centered around integrating advice, execution, financing and co-investing with best-in-class risk management to a broad range of largely institutional clients.”

You are not their client so this doesn’t apply to you. Basically many investment banks provide “advice” on the next quick bubble to exploit. In the 1990s it was tech stocks and in the 2000s it was housing. In the end the average American ends up with nothing yet Wall Street seems to grow. However, the taxpayer has provided them the ability to survive and actually continue operating with your generous taxpayer money. I heard an analysis saying that the Fed doesn’t receive taxpayer money so this is a moot point. This point is such an egregious misstatement of facts that this person had to be a banking analyst (which he was). In fact, the Fed by printing virtual money has systematically annihilated the value of the U.S. dollar. Sure, they aren’t taking the money right out of your W-2 but the dollars you are being paid with are worth less each and every other day because of the irresponsible handling of the current crisis.

The FCIC needs to focus on this main thesis; how can banks make such irresponsible bets yet be expected to be bailed out when things go wrong? The leverage they have is that they commingled bread and butter banking (deposits, checking, and mortgages) with nonsense financial engineering (derivatives, CDOs, credit default swaps) and this has led us to this point. It should be abundantly clear that the first mission of the FCIC is to break up commercial and investment banking. Period. It should then be made explicit that any investment bank that reaches a breaking point will go the way of Lehman Brothers.

The Chairman Phil Angelides has big shoes to fill since he is working trying to match the power and charisma of Ferdinand Pecora during the Great Depression. Mr. Pecora understood the theatrical and financial side of the issue and his hearings led to some of the most wide sweeping reforms to Wall Street. These reforms were stripped out over 80 years and here we are, repeating the same mistakes. Yet this time, it seem as if nothing is changing and the top 1 percent continue to control 42 percent of the nation’s wealth and what would appear to be 100 percent of our government.

People should be keeping a watchful eye on these hearings. The website is at FCIC and you can keep up with what is going on there. If this delves into Kabuki Theater and mere public hand slaps, we are going to find ourselves in another crisis rivaling the last.












 

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Networks Fail to Criticize Obama Despite Most Jobs Lost in a Year Since 1940

Reporters omit failure of stimulus, problems counting jobs created or saved from many jobs stories.


By Julia A. Seymour

Business & Media Institute
1/13/2010 3:26:13 PM




The national unemployment rate rests at 10 percent after 85,000 more jobs were lost in December, while the number of people too discouraged to look for work increased by 642,000. CNBC’s Steve Liesman called those figures “absolutely devastating.”


Yet the network news media refused to hold President Barack Obama responsible for the losses since the jobs release Jan. 8. Obama has been in office for a full year and made a number of “extravagant” promises regarding job growth, yet network news reports remained uncritical with the exception of Sunday talk shows.

That’s a sharp contrast to the treatment of Republican administrations’ jobs data. In those cases, the networks were determined to present a negative picture – even when times were good.

Anchor Brian Williams began the Dec. 2, 2005 “Nightly News” with a strong note of caution: “Rebound: A slew of good news about jobs and the economy, but are there warning signs ahead?” That’s how he prefaced a report about 215,000 new jobs.


Throughout 2005, the networks emphasized layoffs instead of the 2 million new jobs created that year under President George W. Bush. Now in 2009, Obama has presided over the most job losses in a single year since 1940 and some in the media tried to remain cheerful.

CNN’s Susan Lisovicz actually cited the 4,000 jobs created in Nov. 2009 as “glimmers of hope” Jan. 8, the same day Christine Romans called 10 percent unemployment “uncomfortable for many people.”

“Ten percent unemployment is just something that is not sustainable in a healthy economy. That’s just the bottom line there. But the pace of job loss over the past year has slowed pretty dramatically, and frankly, Heidi, even by the month of November last year we saw some job creation,” Romans said during the 10 a.m. hour.

With the exception of a single CBS mention, the networks’ job reports also failed to inform their viewers that 2009 had the highest yearly job losses on record (more than 4.1 million). And when Katie Couric did address the historic nature of the job losses, she underreported the number of jobs lost in 2009 by 700,000.

Many of those network stories also failed to admit that the stimulus package hadn’t created jobs. A recent Associated Press analysis of the “shovel-ready” construction part of the stimulus found almost no impact on job creation at the local level.

“The effect was so small, one economist compared it to trying to move the Empire State Building by pushing against it,” AP wrote.



Obama Says Stimulus Created Jobs, Networks Fail to Contradict

Obama made grandiose claims that his $787 stimulus package would halt rising unemployment, preventing it from climbing above 8 percent. During the campaign he also promised to “save or create” 3-4 million jobs.

But even with the 10 percent unemployment rate as evidence of the stimulus’ failure, many in the news media have given Obama a pass, refusing to criticize billions wasted on stimulus and some have even continued to support his plan to create jobs by spending even more taxpayer money.

Only one story on the networks reported the AP’s findings about the “failure” of the $20 billion stimulus money spent on roads and bridges to create jobs.

NBC’s “Today” even repeated the White House call for targeted spending on jobs. On Jan. 11, Jim Cramer supported the notion saying, “If we don’t get more stimulus, we will not have more jobs.”

Ironically, Cramer admitted that so far the stimulus package hadn’t created jobs. The White House claimed on Jan. 12 that the stimulus had “created to saved” between 1.7 million and 2 million jobs.

But the Washington Post’s Jan. 13 article about those saved or created jobs buried a very significant detail in the middle of that story: “Separately, the White House has announced a change in the way those reports tally jobs, a response to critics that could make the reports more reliable but make it more difficult to gauge the stimulus’s impact over time.”

Where’s the outrage over this change in accounting methods? Certainly the networks wouldn’t have put up with this under the Bush or Reagan administrations.

AP reported that it is “impossible to quantify exactly what effect the stimulus has had on job creation.” So the administration can claim it created or saved any number of jobs because there will be no way to prove or disprove it.

Just counting the jobs is becoming a challenge according to AP, which said: “Those who receive stimulus money can now credit jobs to the program even if they were never in jeopardy of being lost, according to new rules outlined by the White House's Office of Management and Budget.”



Downplaying the ‘Bad News’

Although the networks were somewhat downbeat using terms like “disappointed” and “less than stellar” after the jobs report came out Jan. 8, most reporters did not portray 10 percent unemployment as a terrible tragedy.

Only one report mentioned that over a half million people were so discouraged in December they dropped out of the workforce, while several mentioned the 17.3 percent “real unemployment” rate.

NBC’s Savannah Guthrie reported Jan. 8 “they [White House] tried to put the best face on it here, but there’s no question this unemployment report is a disappointment.”

“Disappointment” understated the pain felt by many as 4.1 million jobs disappeared during Obama’s first year in office.

In 1982, when unemployment was slightly lower the networks quoted vicious political attacks on Ronald Reagan and showed footage of people living out of trucks under a bridge.

Network reports showed desperation, sadness and tragedy as a result of rising joblessness in 1982. NBC pictured lines of people waiting outside a food bank and interviewed crisis counselors in Seattle on May 7.

“More callers talk of despair and even suicide,” Don Oliver reported that night, before interviewing Jim and Pam Smalls. Oliver called them “victims of unemployment depression and anger,” because Pam had to seek help from a battered woman’s shelter.

Nothing like that appeared in the network jobs reports following the Jan. 8 release. In fact, during 2009 the networks found a man “doing backflips” after he was rehired by his company.

Journalists on ABC, CBS and NBC constantly praised Obama for trying to stop rising unemployment in 2009, even as he failed. Month after month they tried to find the “good news” or signs of a turnaround.

The networks have been talking about the economic recovery, but even the economy is recovering as the White House and some journalists claim, it may not feel like one to many people.

According to BusinessWeek, the “misery index” (the sum of unemployment and inflation rates) is at 11.8 percent. That is the highest since May 1991.

“The last time the U.S. misery index was this high, in the early 1990s, gains in consumer prices accounted for almost half its reading. Today inflation makes up less than a fifth of the measure,” BusinessWeek wrote.











Government Spies to Monitor Tweets, Blogs

Written by Steven Yates

Tuesday, 20 October 2009 13:11
JBS.org

Big Brother used to be watching just you. Now, with a new investment with a private technology firm, he’s in an even better position to monitor your blogs, tweets, Amazon.com reviews, and other online activities.




According to a recent report on Wired’s online edition, In-Q-Tel, created in 1999 by the Central Intelligence Agency, has formed an investment partnership with Visible Technologies, a company specializing in software that monitors social media. Visible Technologies has announced the partnership on its website. Neither party has been willing to disclose the size of the investment.



The intelligence community — especially the CIA — is interested in monitoring publicly available information buried in the flood of online articles, blog posts, Twitter feeds, YouTube videos, and so on.



Such material is called open source intelligence. Last year, Wired referred to this as “spook speak for tidbits taken from newspapers, internet postings, and TV shows.”

Read the entire story


CIA Assassination and Rendition Plot in Germany?

Written by Alex Newman

Wednesday, 13 January 2010 13:00
JBS.org

The German Parliament and criminal prosecutors will investigate allegations of U.S. Central Intelligence Agency plans to illegally kidnap and possibly even assassinate German citizens without informing the government, international press reported this week.




In an explosive story that was first uncovered and exposed by Vanity Fair in its current issue, and this weekend expanded upon by the German publication Spiegel, a former CIA agent and others revealed that the agency had illegal plans to “rendition” people suspected of supporting terrorism. "It was about grabbing people without the Germans knowing about it," the German magazine quoted the ex-agent as saying. "We were planning stuff that was totally illegal."



The “extraordinary rendition” program, originally developed in its current incarnation by the former President George W. Bush administration, involves kidnapping suspects and shipping them to other countries for torture, interrogation and detainment. Last year, as The John Birch Society reported, more than 20 CIA agents were convicted in an Italian court for involvement with just such an operation in Milan; kidnapping an Egyptian cleric and sending him via a U.S. air base in Germany to Egypt for four years of “enhanced interrogations,” eventually releasing him without charges.
 
Read the entire story

Chrysler CEO: World supply of cars outpaces demand

Myfreeze.com
(AP) By TOM KRISHER AP Auto Writer

The global auto industry must reduce factory capacity in order to survive, especially in Europe, Chrysler Group LLC CEO Sergio Marchionne said Wednesday.

 World automakers can build 94 million cars and trucks a year, Marchionne told the Automotive News World Congress. But that's 30 million more than it can sell, he said. Bankruptcies and economic struggles have forced cuts in North America, but European manufacturers have not closed plants, often because they are paid by governments not to, he said.

 He predicted the global auto industry will be consolidated into five or six companies Marchionne also said Chrysler has not decided if it will challenge Congress' decision to require arbitration for 789 dealers whose franchises were revoked during the company's passage through bankruptcy protection.


Marchionne's speech was interrupted twice by protesters. One man yelled "Shame!" in Italian, and Marchionne later said the man was protesting Fiat's plan to close a factory in Sicily.

Another said her mother was killed by a defective Chrysler product. Both were escorted out of the room.
Marchionne said Fiat loses money on every car built at the plant in Sicily. He did not respond to the woman's statement.

The Chrysler CEO said the company will survive this year by being cheap, saying it still has cash reserves of $5 billion to $6 billion.

"You know the concept of hibernation Canadian bears use?" he asked when asked how the company will survive its sales slump with no immediate new products.

Chrysler sales were down 36 percent last year.

Marchionne conceded that the only new thing it is displaying at the Detroit auto show is a new interior in the Dodge Caliber compact.

But he said the Fiat 500 minicar will be in the U.S. in December.




Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Obama Expands Federal Power Over the States with Executive Order

Kurt Nimmo

Infowars.com
January 12, 2010
 
Obama has issued another executive order, this time establishing a so-called “Council of Governors.”




The order, signed on January 11, further diminishes the sovereignty of the states and builds on a framework for possible martial law. The executive order was completely ignored by the corporate media.

“By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including section 1822 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2008 (Public Law 110-181), and in order to strengthen further the partnership between the Federal Government and State governments to protect our Nation and its people and property,” the order reads.


Read the entire story



"Right to move about freely; at home and abroad..." ?

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 06, 2010


Spirituallysmart.com

I was amazed to hear my daughter repeating these words. I looked at what she was reading from and it was right out of her school text book and was a list of freedoms supposedly covered by the First Amendment of the US Constitution. Why or how could she actually be taught this right now? We cannot move about freely at all. I am sick over what these incompetant people are having done at the airports. I will never fly under these conditions and I wish others wouldn't fly anymore either. How can you let people touch you or look under your clothes and search your personal belongings without batting an eye?




Recently a friend of mine travelled to Florida for vacation. She verbally protested the embarrassing search of her personal belongings. The airport "security" then began to make a public example of her. Cordening her off with her child as they both were violated by the hands of strangers on their bodies. This is nothing less than sexual assault. Yet America will not speak up. So why not think that Nazi Germany is upon us again? They "dusted" my friends child's hair for explosives. And it wasn't because they suspected them of being a terrorist. It was because they spoke up. Truly evil and wicked individuals. I pray all these people that oppress others in the name of "freedom" have all peace of mind (if they have any) removed from them by God Almighty.



I am almost too disgusted to write this because I can feel the injustice of having to go through this if I wanted to travel. Of course I wouldn't keep quiet either. This would then cause me to be blocked from getting on my flight. People actually do not even want to fly with someone like me. They think you're dangerous or even perhaps a terrorist yourself if you protest the assault on your privacy we must endure. Or maybe I would end up like like the Carol Ann Gotbaum who was murdered by airport security by being choked to death and left for dead in a small cell.



While these people are saying they are protecting me from "terrorists", who will protect me from them? I haven't seen a terrorist except the ones who are wearing badges eyeballing me and asking to look through my bags at any given time. To me these are the true terrorists. Can I help being offended at this intrusion? No I can't. I am just verbally expressing how I feel. I have the right to do that. Don't I? Only here though right? Only in this little forum I have here. But what happens if you go out and verbally protest? You become a target of harassment and intimidation.




So this leads me again to the focus and cause of my work. Being that Religious Roman Catholics are in power in this government, who can I blame?



Don't forget the article from the Washington Post which spoke of President Bush's guidance of Roman Catholic thinkers under who's watch much of this oppressive legislation was passed. The article is called, "A Catholic Wind in the White House". This "Catholic wind" has blown away ALL of our precious civil liberties.



What's very strange is that when all this oppressive legislation like the Patriot Act was being passed I heard SOME voices protesting that it was dangerous legislation. But right now, in the face of 24 hour a day News coverage of all this crazy intrusive security I don't hear any public outcry of concern of the violation of our inherited rights to move about freely at home or abroad.



So while one child is learning about Freedoms under our constitution, another child is being "dusted" for explosives and held back, separated from their mother and having bags checked by THUGS and being taught there is no US Consitution at all and that you have no freedom to move about or any privacy.



Maybe the answer lies in my above statement, "I pray all these people that oppress others in the name of "freedom" have all peace of mind (if they have any) removed from them by God Almighty." Maybe none of them have any peace and are terrified at nothing. Here's a few verses which describe this feeling they have and WHY. "The wicked flee when no man pursueth:" (Proverbs 28:1) and "There is no peace, saith the LORD, unto the wicked." (Isaiah 48:22) Important verses to mediatate on. Do you line up?


Monday, January 11, 2010

Domestic Espionage Alert: Spy Drone Discovered

By Ole Ole Olson

NEWS JUNKIE POST
Jan 8, 2010


KPRC news in Houston recently filmed a secret experiment by law enforcement agencies including the Dept. of Homeland Security of a drone intended to spy on Americans.


The drone uncovered during this investigation are not like the large, expensive models used by the military for targeted strikes on militants half a world away. These are manufactured by Insitu out of Bingen, Washington (corporate offices located in Australia), only weigh about 40 pounds (18.1 kg) before monitoring equipment is installed. This model has the capacity to stay airborne for up to a day.


The Houston Police Department responded with the following statement, “Potential public safety applications include mobility, evacuations, homeland security, search and rescue, as well as tactical.”

Such benign excuses were also used during the passage of draconian bills such as FISA and the Patriot Act before it was revealed the much more insidious and rampant applications of those tools.


Houston is within the coastal and border zone of America, where two-thirds of the population lives and where constitutional rights are routinely disregarded according to the ACLU, yet this poses the question about whether this is pilot program and the usage of unmanned drones might become a regular policy of law enforcement agencies in surveillance operations.

Pope denounces failure to forge new climate treaty

YahooNews.com
By NICOLE WINFIELD,
Associated Press – 1 hr 7 mins ago


VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI denounced the failure of world leaders to agree to a new climate change treaty in Copenhagen last month, saying Monday that world peace depends on safeguarding God's creation.

He issued the admonition in a speech to ambassadors accredited to the Vatican, an annual appointment during which the pontiff reflects on issues the Vatican wants to highlight to the diplomatic corps.

Benedict has been dubbed the "green pope" for his increasingly vocal concern about the need to protect the environment. Under his watch, the Vatican has installed photovoltaic cells on its main auditorium to convert sunlight into electricity and has joined a reforestation project aimed at offsetting its CO2 emissions.

For the pontiff, it's a moral issue: Church teaching holds that man must respect creation because it's destined for the benefit of humanity's future.

In his speech, the pontiff criticized the "economic and political resistance" to fighting environmental degradation and creating a new climate treaty at last month's negotiations in Copenhagen.

Officials from 193 countries met at the summit, which ended Dec. 19 having failed to produce a successor treaty to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. It produced instead a non-biding accord that included few concrete steps to combat global warming.

The Copenhagen summit did set up the first significant program of ensuring aid to help poorer nations cope with the effects of a changing climate. But while the accord urged deeper cuts in emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases blamed for global warming, it did nothing to demand them.

"I trust that in the course of this year ... it will be possible to reach an agreement for effectively dealing with this question," Benedict said.

He said the issue was particularly critical for island nations and in places like Africa, where the battle for resources, increased desertification and over-exploitation of land has resulted in wars.

"To cultivate peace, one must protect creation!" Benedict told the ambassadors, many of whom wore their national dress or medal-draped formal attire for the audience in the frescoed Sala Regia of the Vatican's apostolic palace.

The pontiff said the same "self-centered and materialistic" way of thinking that sparked the worldwide financial meltdown was also endangering creation. To combat it will require a new way of thinking and a new lifestyle — and an acknowledgment that the question is a moral one, he said.

"The protection of creation is not principally a response to an aesthetic need, but much more to a moral need, inasmuch as nature expresses a plan of love and truth which is prior to us and which comes from God," he said.

To illustrate his point, the German-born pope pointed to the experiences of eastern Europe under the "materialistic and atheistic regimes" of the former Soviet bloc.

"Was it not easy to see the great harm which an economic system lacking any reference to the truth about man had done not only to the dignity and freedom of individuals and peoples, but to nature itself, by polluting soil, water and air?" he asked.

"The denial of God distorts the freedom of the human person, yet it also devastates creation."


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Robert Chapman-Dollar Collapse Time Table

1.41 Million Americans Filed for Personal Bankruptcies in 2009 a jump of 32 Percent from 2008. More and More Average Americans Resorting to Bankruptcy even with Tougher Rules to File.

MyBudget360.com
Posted: 09 Jan 2010 12:08 PM PST




The employment report out on Friday just goes to show that the American economy is still struggling to create jobs for average Americans. In fact 85,000 more jobs were lost in December but that isn’t the biggest data point out of the report. The civilian labor force shrunk by a stunning 661,000 and that is really the only reason the unemployment rate is still at 10 percent. This economy that is still very much in a jobs recession has pushed more and more Americans into the ultimate economic distress equivalent of a SOS. Bankruptcies are soaring and in 2009 1.41 million Americans filed for personal bankruptcies, a jump of 32 percent from 2008.



This must put the recent stock market rally into perspective. The average American is still trying to negotiate the new economic landscape while the select few are able to increase their wealth at the expense of the many. Let us look at bankruptcy filings per year:


Now you might be wondering why there was a big jump in 2005 in the midst of the “growing” economy. In 2005 new rules and regulations were coming into effect that would make future bankruptcy filings more onerous and had clauses to gouge average Americans. So many rushed to file before means testing and other criteria came into effect. So this recent jump is more significant since it comes in light of the new tougher standards to file. But the economy is aching and average Americans are trying all they can to get by, tougher rules or not. How much money can you squeeze out of a family that just lost their job?




This enormous jump in bankruptcies came in a year that the stock market rallied by over 60 percent from the March lows in 2009. Apparently, this stock market rally did very little to assist many average Americans in their economic struggles. As you would expect this crisis is causing many people to file and not what you may expect. Average Americans from all levels are having troubles servicing their mounting debt:



“(WSJ) during this recession, the housing crisis and high unemployment rate have prompted more people to file for bankruptcy who may never have considered the option before, experts said. Filings from 2008 showed more people with high income and high education levels resorting to bankruptcy petitions, according to an annual survey of consumer-bankruptcy filers’ demographics by the Institute for Financial Literacy, a nonprofit that provides bankruptcy-related counseling and education services. Those demographic trends appeared to continue last year.

Mr. Mann said he believes bankruptcies reached their peak sometime last year, but bankruptcy attorneys from across the country said there was no sign that business was slowing. The 113,274 filings in December alone were a third higher than the same month a year earlier.
“I can’t see over the top of the files on my desk,” said Cathleen Moran, a bankruptcy attorney at Moran Law Group in Mountain View, Calif., likening it to the rush of clients before the revised law went into effect. In a three-month period before those rules changed in 2005, her firm filed five times as many cases as usual.Ms. Moran’s clients in 2008 typically were people who earned between $40,000 and $80,000. That changed last year when a rash of people who earned $100,000 to $300,000 began filing as well, she said.”
So of course, those that are in the trenches continue to see problems in the economy. The 10 percent headline unemployment rate is misleading. If we look at the underemployment and unemployment rate we find that 27 million Americans are without work or are working part-time hoping for full-time work. And with this recession, it is looking like more and more of those jobs are not coming back:



As the unemployment situation struggles to improve, we may be seeing a permanent shift in the economy where high part-time employment is simply part of our economy. Now this is only more reason to believe bankruptcies will remain elevated since debt is the major reason for bankruptcies. Or better put, the ability to service the debt. And as many bankruptcy attorneys are finding out many people with once high incomes may have had to take cuts in their wages while their debt is still elevated to the halcyon days of the bubble. This brings us to a new austerity in the country that is probably something we have yet to go through since the post-World War II era.




Now if we look at the pool of those that are at risk for bankruptcy, we still see that many average Americans are still in massive amounts of debt:

Household debt obligations as a percent of personal income is still higher than it was in 2000 at the start of the bubble. What that means is we can expect more de-leveraging of debt that people cannot pay with current incomes. That is why there is little reason to believe foreclosures will slow down significantly in 2010 and also, bankruptcies will remain elevated. It is also the case that credit card companies are putting on the clamps on households that are struggling even though credit card companies have received enormous amounts of bailouts. It is a misnomer to label them “credit card companies” since the too big to fail banks issue the largest amount of credit cards. This again shows how the corporatocracy is able to wield excellent profits while the economy is really struggling.




People forget that no one wants to file bankruptcy just as much as someone wants to go through foreclosure. These are financial decisions made in stressful situations. No one wakes up and says, “today seems like a good day to go into bankruptcy.” Many bankruptcies hit even in the best of times as the chart above highlights. Yet the double-edged sword of debt is that it maximizes pain in the bad times just as it amplifies bets in the good times. A household that cannot pay their debts won’t. It is that simple. The rise in bankruptcies only reflects what we all know and that is the economy for the average American is still in tough shape.





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