Saturday, September 22, 2012

Take the Test to See If You Might Be Considered a “Potential Terrorist” By Government Officials
September 21, 2012
Find Out If You Are Doing Things Which Might Be Considered Suspicious
There have been so many anti-terrorism laws passed since 9/11 that it is hard to keep up on what kinds of things might get one on a “list” of suspected bad guys.
We’ve prepared this quick checklist so you can see if you might be doing something which might get hassled.
The following actions may get an American citizen living on U.S. soil labeled as a “suspected terrorist” today:
– Criticizing the government’s targeting of innocent civilians with drones (although killing innocent civilians with drones is one of the main things which increases terrorism. And seethis)
Holding the following beliefs may also be considered grounds for suspected terrorism:
– Being a Christian
– Being “anti-nuclear”
– Being “anti-global”
Many Americans assume that only “bad people” have to worry about draconian anti-terror laws.
But as the above lists show, this isn’t true.
When even Supreme Court Justices and congressmen worry that we are drifting into dictatorship, we should all be concerned.

100 Days Until Taxmageddon

Americans for Tax Reform
September 21, 2012

Sunday will mark the start of the 100-day countdown to “Taxmageddon” – the date the largest tax hikes in the history of America will take effect.  They will hit families and small businesses in three great waves on January 1, 2013:

First Wave: Expiration of 2001 and 2003 Tax Relief
In 2001 and 2003, the GOP Congress enacted several tax cuts for small business owners, families, and investors (later re-upped by President Obama and Democrat Congress in 2010).  The following tax hikes will occur on January 1, 2013:

Personal income tax rates will rise on January 1, 2013.  The top income tax rate will rise from 35 to 39.6 percent (this is also the rate at which the majority of small business profits are taxed).  The lowest rate will rise from 10 to 15 percent.  All the rates in between will also rise.  Itemized deductions and personal exemptions will again phase out, which has the same mathematical effect as higher marginal tax rates.  The full list of marginal rate hikes is below:
-The 10% bracket rises to a new and expanded 15%
-The 25% bracket rises to 28%
-The 28% bracket rises to 31%
-The 33% bracket rises to 36%
-The 35% bracket rises to 39.6%

Higher taxes on marriage and family coming on January 1, 2013.  The “marriage penalty” (narrower tax brackets for married couples) will return from the first dollar of taxable income.  The child tax credit will be cut in half from $1000 to $500 per child.  The standard deduction will no longer be doubled for married couples relative to the single level. 

Middle Class Death Tax returns on January 1, 2013.  The death tax is currently 35% with an exemption of $5 million ($10 million for married couples).  For those dying on or after January 1 2013, there is a 55 percent top death tax rate on estates over $1 million.  A person leaving behind two homes and a retirement account could easily pass along a death tax bill to their loved ones.

Read the entire article

Surprise drill: IDF gets ready for war

RT News
September 19, 2012

The Israeli Defense Force has begun surprise live-fire war games on the Golan Heights, bordering unstable Lebanon and Syria. Officially, the Israeli military is practicing combat readiness to repel possible sudden attack from Lebanon-based Hezbollah.
The Chief of IDF General Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz ordered troops from the Northern and Central commands, reinforced by reservists, to simulate an emergency. The IDF insists the drill is a routine scheduled event, but for unknown reasons withheld from making public how many troops and what military vehicles are being involved in the war games.
But Israel Radio’s military affairs correspondent who is in regular contact with senior officers, said on air that the timing of the exercise was “not mere coincidence.”
Troops were flown by helicopter from central Israel to the Golan Heights for the exercise.
The live fire drill will be conducted later in the evening and will be overseen by the IDF’s Chief Artillery Officer, Brig. Gen. Roei Riftin.
Similar war games were held a year ago and last week the IDF held drills simulating a mass rocket assault on Israeli territory by Hezbollah.
The IDF has expressed concerns several times that the situation in neighboring Syria, where a civil war is in full swing, might get out of hand. Syria has a considerable chemical weapons stockpile and Israel fears these weapons could fall into the wrong hands if President Bashar al-Assad is ousted. Some defecting Syrian officers claim Assad has plans to hand some of the chemical weapons over to Hezbollah.

Friday, September 21, 2012

The tax consequences of a shrinking middle class – Nearly half of Americans do not pay income taxes because they earn too little or are flat out on Social Security.

September 21, 2012

Recently the topic of taxes has been put on center stage again.  Aside from the political bickering the data shows us an even more disturbing trend.  The middle class is demonstrably shrinking at a time that the government is spending money it doesn’t have while the Fed is digitally printing money to save its allied banks.  The reason nearly half of Americans pay no federal taxes, this is different from other taxes (i.e., payroll, sales, etc) is that nearly half of Americans make too little money.  This might come as a surprise to many given that we are the wealthiest nation on the face of the planet.  However, we need only remember that we have the highest percentage of Americans on food stamps in a generation with nearly 46.5 million receiving this aid.  Yet part of the data also reflects our aging population.  After all, since 1 out of 3 Americans have zero in savings many retire relying completely on Social Security for their income.
The tax data
Let us break down the figures for income taxes:
pay income tax data
Source: Tax Policy Center Credit: Lam Thuy Vo / NPR
First, what you’ll notice is that 23 percent do not pay income taxes because they simply make too little.  Again, this does not mean that they do not pay payroll taxes (i.e., Social Security and Medicare) which all Americans earning any money must.  How low is this?  For a family of four it would need to be under $26,400.  Given that the average per capita earnings for Americans is $25,000 it should come as no surprise that many fall under this category.
Then you have older Americans on Social Security.  Since many rely on this as their major source of income and the typical payment is roughly $1,000 a month, not much you can tax here.  Then you have benefits for the working poor that allow additional deductions such as the earned income tax credit.  In this case, a family of two parents and two children earning $45,775 would have paid no income taxes.  Again, they are still paying payroll taxes.  Given the median household income is $50,000 you would expect this figure to put many in the non-income tax paying category.
Yet the overall issue of course is that we are spending more than we make and somehow trying to ignore the fact that we are crushing the middle class.  The middle class has shrunk over the last 40 years by 10 percent:
Source:  CNN Money
What was even more troubling is that nearly half of Americans pass away with zero to their name:
“(NBER) We find that a substantial fraction of persons die with virtually no financial assets – 46.1 percent with less than $10,000 – and many of these households also have no housing wealth and rely almost entirely on Social Security benefits for support.”
The heavy reliance on Social Security, food stamps, Medicare, and other programs shows how precariously close our economic system is to a depression.  We have 46.5 million Americans that would likely have a hard time buying food if it were not for these programs.  Does this even remotely sound like an economic recovery to you?  The spending keeps going up yet the economic growth isn’t necessarily coming:
You’ll notice that out debt growth is far outpacing out GDP growth.  It is unfortunate that mired in all the rhetoric there is little substantive debate regarding helping the middle class.  We have a system that is largely controlled by a millionaire Congress that is far removed from Main Street.  The fact that many Americans are confused about the tax equation isn’t surprising given the low level of financial literacy in our country.  Much of what is out there is set to confuse and keep turmoil in the system.  If you haven’t notice, our economic inequality is at levels last seen since the Great Depression.

21 Facts About America’s Decaying Infrastructure That Will Blow Your Mind

Michael Snyder
Economic Collapse Blog
September 21, 2012
You can tell a lot about a nation by the condition of the infrastructure. So what does our infrastructure say about us? It says that we are in a very advanced state of decay. At this point, much of America is being held together with spit, duct tape and prayers. Our roads are crumbling and thousands of our bridges look like they could collapse at any moment. Our power grid is ancient and over a trillion gallons of untreated sewage is leaking from our aging sewer systems each year. Our airports and our seaports are clogged with far more traffic than they were ever designed to carry. Approximately a third of all of the dam failures that have taken place in the United States since 1874 have happened during the past decade. Our national parks and recreation areas have been terribly neglected and our railroads are a bad joke. Hurricane Katrina showed how vulnerable our levees are, and drinking water systems all over the country are badly outdated. Sadly, at a time when we could use significant new investment in infrastructure, our spending on infrastructure is actually way down. Back during the 50s and the 60s, the U.S. was spending between 3 and 4 percent of GDP on infrastructure. Today, that figure is down to about 2.4 percent. But of course we don’t have any extra money to spend on infrastructure because of our reckless spending and because of the massive amount of debt that we have accumulated. While the Obama administration is spending more than half a million dollars to figure out why chimpanzees throw poop, our national infrastructure is literally falling apart all around us. Once upon a time nobody else on the planet could match our infrastructure, and now we are in the process of becoming a joke to the rest of the world.
The following are 21 facts about America’s failing infrastructure that will blow your mind….
#1 The American Society of Civil Engineers has given America’s crumbling infrastructure an overall grade of D.
#2 There are simply not enough roads in the United States today. Each year, traffic jams cost the commuters of America 4.2 billion hours and about 2.8 million gallons of gasoline.
#3 It is being projected that Americans will spend an average of 160 hours stuck in traffic annually by the year 2035.
#4 Approximately one-third of all roads in the United States are in substandard condition.
#5 Close to a third of all highway fatalities are due “to substandard road conditions, obsolete road designs, or roadside hazards.”
#6 One out of every four bridges in America either carries more traffic than originally intended or is in need of repair.
#7 Repairing all of the bridges in the United States that need repair would take approximately 140 billion dollars.
#8 According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, our decaying transportation system costs the U.S. economy about 78 billion dollars annually in lost time and fuel.
#9 All over America, asphalt roads are being ground up and are being replaced with gravel roadsbecause they are cheaper to maintain. The state of South Dakota has transformed over 100 miles of asphalt roads into gravel roads, and 38 out of the 83 counties in the state of Michigan have transformed at least some of their asphalt roads into gravel roads.
#10 There are 4,095 dams in the United States that are at risk of failure. That number has risen bymore than 100 percent since 1999.
#11 Of all the dam failures that have happened in the United States since 1874, a third of them have happened during the past decade.
#12 Close to half of all U.S. households do not have access to bus or rail transit.

Celente: The Tyranny of an Arrested Development Republic
September 19, 2012

Alex talks with trendsetter, author, and editor and publisher of the Trends Journal, Gerald Celente. Gerald talks with Alex about latest geopolitical and economic events unfolding as the world moves inextricably toward all-out war.

Median income in Ohio hits 27-year low

The Columbus Dispatch
September 21, 2012

Ohio households were poorer last year than they’ve been in more than 25 years, and the number of people living in poverty is higher than it’s been in more than 30 years, according to a census report released yesterday.
“People are getting squeezed from every direction,” said James Newton, chief economic adviser to Commerce National Bank.
When adjusted for inflation, the 2010 annual median household income in Ohio of $46,093 was down by $543 from the previous year, and down 15.3 percent from the peak of $54,395 in 2000, according to the census’s Current Population Survey, which was released yesterday.
The inflation-adjusted figure hasn’t been lower for Ohio since officials began keeping that record in 1984, census officials said.
Ohio’s level of poverty — 15.3 percent — was worse than the nation’s, which was at 15.1 percent. Ohio’s level jumped 2 percentage points from 2009; it has never been this high since those records were first kept in 1980.
The worst year before 2010 was 1994, when 14.1 percent of Ohioans were in poverty.

New Ad Implies Obama Is Cozy With Muslim Brotherhood

U.S. News
September 20, 2012

The conservative advocacy group Let Freedom Ring released an ad Thursday to run in key swing states depicting President Barack Obama as a Muslim Brotherhood sympathizer.
The group was planning on airing the ads next month, but shifted course after Muslims attacked the Egyptian embassy and killed four Americans in Libya, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens. Egypt's new president, Mohammed Morsi, belongs to the Muslim Brotherhood, considered a terrorist organization by some. The Brotherhood denies such claims.
Let Freedom Ring President Colin Hanna says Obama's response to the incidents illustrated his na├»vete´ on foreign affairs.
"After our embassies were stormed, President Obama's administration offered apologies while the Muslim Brotherhood stood by as we were attacked," Hanna says. "Instead of confronting our enemies such as the Muslim Brotherhood, Obama kowtows to them."
The one-minute ad is part of a $7 million online campaign, which is being launched in Wisconsin, Virginia, and Pennsylvania with less than 50 days until the election.

Napolitano Says Cybersecurity Executive Order Almost Ready

The New American
September 21, 2012

Napolitano Says Cybersecurity Executive Order Almost Ready
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano revealed September 19 that the an executive order granting the president sweeping power over the Internet is “close to completion.”
Testifying before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Napolitano said that the order is still “being drafted” and vetted by various high-level bureaucrats. But she also indicated that it would be issued as soon as a “few issues” were resolved. Assuming control of the nation’s Internet infrastructure is a DHS responsibility, Napolitano added.
“DHS is the Federal government’s lead agency for securing civilian government computer systems and works with our industry and Federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government partners to secure critical infrastructure and information systems,” she informed senators.
Precisely which clause in the Constitution grants to the president specifically or the executive branch (of which DHS is a part) generally authority to exercise any sort of oversight of such matters was not cited by Secretary Napolitano.
Naturally, a document written 225 years ago would not include a reference to cybersecurity, but the principles of enumerated powers and limited government apply to any program or project of the federal government. According to the contract that created the three branches of the federal government, none of the those departments may do anything unless specifically granted that authority in the Constitution.
This is a principle of constitutional interpretation often overlooked. Those promoting a larger government with increasing influence on the lives of private citizens commonly defend government growth by insisting that “nothing in the Constitution forbids us from doing” whatever federal program they are advocating.
Such a theory is contrary to that held by the Founders. As James Madison explained in The Federalist, No. 45:
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; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.
As with so many of her ilk, Napolitano will not allow something as “irrelevant” as the Constitution to stand in the way of our Republic’s slouch into autocracy.
In that vein, the Obama Administration will not stop at seizing control of the Internet. Napolitano declared the president’s intent to enclose an immense territory within the fences of the federal fiefdom. With respect to critical infrastructure, DHS and the sector specific agencies work together with the private sector to help secure the key systems upon which Americans rely, such as the financial sector, the power grid, water systems, and transportation networks.
The president began mulling a cybersecurity executive order after repeated congressional failure to pass a law accomplishing the same end.
“In the wake of Congressional inaction and Republican stall tactics, unfortunately, we will continue to be hamstrung by outdated and inadequate statutory authorities that the legislation would have fixed. Moving forward, the President is determined to do absolutely everything we can to better protect our nation against today’s cyber threats and we will do that," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in an email reported by The Hill.

Civil Unrest: Do Our Rulers Actually Want It To Happen?

Scott Lazarowitz
September 20, 2012
There have been several different predictions and scenarios involving how inflation and austerity measures in the U.S. could bring about food shortages and other shortages, food riots, looting, violent protests, flash mobs, and martial law.
All these things can be prevented, of course, if more people could wake up to the fact that government central planning in money and economic matters is inherently flawed and doomed to failure, societal self-destruction and collapse.
Some people see the recent German court decision to approve German bailouts of irresponsible European governments as a new dictatorship for Germany and a boon for investors. And there are others who see this new scheme as the beginning of runaway hyperinflation in Europe that will spread to the U.S.
Following this decision by the high German court, the U.S. Federal Reserve has announced a new round of quantitative easing (QE3). Some people believe that QE3 will cause more economic instability, and further destruction of the dollar.
Eventually the austerity measures we have been seeing in Europe will reach the U.S.
Austerity measures will hit public employee benefits and pensions, and welfare and Medicare recipients (but not the bloated salaries, benefits and pensions of Congressmen and their beloved bureaucrats).
But it seems that the U.S. government has been pushing hard to get as many people dependent on government as possible. Food stamps spending has more than doubled since Barack Obama became President, although the number of Americans on food stamps almost doubled from 2001 to 2009 during the presidency of George W. Bush as well.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

DOJ-Funded Training Manual Lists Bumper Stickers as Terrorism

People who have a political opinion that “represents a fairly popular point of view” also listed as extremists
Paul Joseph Watson
September 20, 2012
A leaked training manual used in the State and Local Anti-Terrorism Training (SLATT) program for law enforcement and funded by the Department of Justice lists political bumper stickers expressing opposition to the United Nations and support for the bill of rights as indications of terrorist activity.
The presentation documents, leaked to the Public Intelligence website, are entitled Terrorism Training For Law Enforcement and are marked “law enforcement sensitive.” The program is funded by grants from the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance.
Slides for the presentation depict the kind of behavior that law enforcement officials should be wary of in spotting potential terrorists during highway patrols.
One of the slides – entitled “Fourth Amendment Issues” – notes that “a suspicious map located on the passenger seat” could warrant further investigation as a potential indicator of terrorism.
Another slide entitled “General Right Wing Extremist” – depicts suspicious bumper stickers that should warrant further investigation by cops conducting traffic stops.
The bumper stickers read, “Know Your RIghts Or Lose Them,” and “If You Love Your Country, the U.N. Is Not Your Friend!,” and “Get US Out Of the United Nations”.

Nations Gathering for War

Nations Gathering for War

by Mark Matheny

September 20, 2012

Mark Matheny discusses events in the Middle East that may be culminating into war.....

Listen to internet radio with Mark Matheny on Blog Talk Radio

ACLU Demands CIA Disclose Details of Death-by-Drone Program

The New American
September 20, 2012

ACLU Demands CIA Disclose Details of Death-by-Drone Program
Attorneys representing the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) are scheduled to appear today in a federal appeals court in defense of that organization’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the CIA for greater information on its death-by-drone program.
The petition was filed in January 2010 and “seeks to learn when, where and against whom drone strikes can be authorized, and how the U.S. ensures compliance with international laws relating to extrajudicial killings.”
Over the last couple of years, the ACLU and a group of reporters have filed several Freedom of Information Act petitions requesting that the federal government provide greater access to operational details of the drone program and the legal arguments forwarded by the Obama administration in justifying not only the use of the drones, but their use in the killing of thousands in Pakistan alone.
The ACLU’s Chris Calabrese told the Associated Press that the recently composed code of conduct for the drone industry is respectable, but does not go far enough.
"I think it's really important that they're paying attention to privacy. That's to their credit. But I can't imagine they expect this to quell privacy concerns,” he told the Associated Press.
"I think Congress needs to step in. This is new technology. It's potentially incredibly invasive. People are profoundly discomforted by the idea of drones monitoring them,” he continued.
Maybe, maybe not.
According to a recent survey conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute, nearly 80 percent of respondents supported using drones for search-and-rescue missions.
Over 60 percent were in favor of drones being used to search for criminals.
Friends of liberty support the lawful efforts of state and local police to enforce the law and keep their streets safe. They are aware, however, that government begins the deprivation of freedom under the name of protecting the people, but freedom is the only currency it will accept in exchange for that safety.
In a press release announcing the upcoming hearing, the ACLU’s deputy legal director Jameel Jaffer insists that the CIA’s “secret” targeting of people for assassination by drone is anything but secret:
The notion that the CIA’s targeted killing program is a secret is nothing short of absurd. For more than two years, senior officials have been making claims about the program both on the record and off. They’ve claimed that the program is effective, lawful and closely supervised. If they can make these claims, there is no reason why they should not be required to respond to requests under the Freedom of Information Act.
Should the CIA and the White House persist in their drive to eliminate anyone believed by them to merit summary execution, the fundamental constitutional principle of due process would be obliterated forever.
The constitutional preeminence of due process is found in the Federalist Papers, where Alexander Hamilton warned against its violation in any form:
The creation of crimes after the commission of the fact, or, in other words, the subjecting of men to punishment for things which, when they were done, were breaches of no law, and the practice of arbitrary imprisonments, have been, in all ages, the favorite and most formidable instruments of tyranny.
This fundamental restraint on the royal presumption of the power to lop off heads on command was incorporated by our Founders in the Bill of Rights, particularly in the Fifth Amendment that says in relevant part: “No person shall ... be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”
Moreover, the federal government’s nearly daily approval of another drone-delivered assassination is an effrontery to over 650 years of our Anglo-American law’s protection from autocratic decrees of death without due process of law.

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My Other Passions

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Aikido and Iaido