As we forecast back in November, it is now official that the House will not vote on any deal out of the Senate, assuming there is one which there won’t be of course, later today, which means America will officially slide off the Fiscal Cliff. And now cue everyone being very hopeful and optimistic a deal will get done momentarily, if not sooner, in 2013. Of course, we all know just how far optimism takes America’s dysfunctional Congress. The biggest irony in all of this is that the only winners today were the much hated “1%”-ers, whose taxes may or may not go up, who just got to book major year end profits on this last minute ramp. The remainder of America’s population can quietly look forward to 2013 with “hope” and “optimism” that in 2013 Congress will finally stop being dysfunctional. Good luck. Oh, and before we forget, America just breached its debt ceiling: now the pillaging of various government retirement funds begins.
Finally, since the US is now officially over the cliff, does this mean that Ben Bernanke can finally get to work?Recall his words:
“if the economy actually went off the fiscal cliff, our assessment, the CBO’s assessment, outside forecasters, all think that that would have very significant adverse effects on the economy and on the unemployment rate. And so, on the margin, we would try to do what we could. We would perhaps increase a bit.”
As I prepare to retire from Congress I’d like to suggest a few New Year’s resolutions for my colleagues to consider. For the sake of liberty, peace and prosperity I certainly hope more members of Congress consider the strict libertarian-constitutional approach to government in 2013.
In just a few days, Congress will solemnly swear to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. They should read Article 1 Section 8 and the Bill of Rights before taking such a serious oath. Most legislation violates key provisions of the Constitution in very basic ways, and if members can’t bring themselves to say “no” in the face of pressure from the special interests, they have broken trust with their constituents and violated their oath. Congress does not exist to serve the special interests. It exists to protect the rule of law.
I also urge my colleagues to end unconstitutional wars overseas. Stop the drone strikes. Stop the covert activities and the meddling in the internal affairs of other nations. Strive to observe good faith and justice towards all nations, as George Washington admonished. We are only making more enemies, wasting lives and bankrupting ourselves with the neoconservative interventionist mindset that endorses preemptive war that now dominates both parties.
All foreign aid should end, which is blatantly unconstitutional. While it may be a relatively small part of our federal budget, for many countries it is a large part of theirs and it creates perverse incentives for both our friends and enemies. There is no way members of Congress can know or understand the political, economic, legal and social realities in the many nations to which they send taxpayers’ dollars.
Congress needs to stop accumulating more debt. U.S. debt monetized by the Federal Reserve is the true threat to our national security. Revisiting the parameters of Article 1 Section 8 would be a good start.
Congress should resolve to respect personal liberty and free markets. Learn more about the free market and how it regulates commerce and produces greater prosperity ever than any legislation or regulation.
Understand that economic freedom is freedom. Resolve not to get in the way of voluntary contracts between consenting adults. Stop bailing out failed yet politically connected companies and industries. Stop forcing people to engage in commerce when they don’t want to, and stop prohibiting them from buying and selling when they want to. Stop trying to legislate your ideas of fairness. Protect property rights. Protect the individual. That is enough.
There are many more resolutions I would like to see my colleagues in Congress adopt, but respect for the Constitution and the oath of office should be at the core of every single member’s of Congress due in 2013.
On January 1, regardless of the outcome of fiscal cliff negotiations, Americans will be hit with a $1 trillion Obamacare tax hike.
Obamacare contains twenty new or higher taxes. Five of the taxes hit for the first time on January 1. In total, Americans face a net $1 trillion tax hike for the years 2013-2022, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
The five major Obamacare taxes taking effect on January 1 are as follows: Continue reading »
These days, there are few few things to admire about the socialist, bankrupt and culturally degenerating USA, but at least so far, one thing remains: the right to bare arms and use deadly force to defend one’s self and possessions.
This will probably come as a total shock to most of my Western readers, but at one point, Russia was one of the most heavily armed societies on earth. This was, of course, when we were free under the Tsar. Weapons, from swords and spears to pistols, rifles and shotguns were everywhere, common items. People carried them concealed, they carried them holstered. Fighting knives were a prominent part of many traditional attires and those little tubes criss crossing on the costumes of Cossacks and various Caucasian peoples? Well those are bullet holders for rifles.
Various armies, such as the Poles, during the Смута (Times of Troubles), or Napoleon, or the Germans even as the Tsarist state collapsed under the weight of WW1 and Wall Street monies, found that holding Russian lands was much much harder than taking them and taking was no easy walk in the park but a blood bath all its own. In holding, one faced an extremely well armed and aggressive population Hell bent on exterminating or driving out the aggressor.
This well armed population was what allowed the various White factions to rise up, no matter how disorganized politically and militarily they were in 1918 and wage a savage civil war against the Reds. It should be noted that many of these armies were armed peasants, villagers, farmers and merchants, protecting their own. If it had not been for Washington’s clandestine support of and for the Reds, history would have gone quite differently. Continue reading »
The middle class has quite a gift welcoming them as the calendar flips over to 2013. Their payroll taxes are going to go up, their income taxes are going to go up, and approximately 28 million households are going to be hit with a huge, unexpected AMT tax bill on their 2012 earnings. So happy New Year middle class! You are about to be ripped to shreds. In addition to the tax increases that I just mentioned, approximately two million unemployed Americans will instantly lose their extended unemployment benefits when 2013 begins, and new Obamacare tax hikes which will cost American taxpayers about a trillion dollars over the next decade will start to go into effect. If Congress is not able to come to some sort of a deal, all middle class families in America will be sending thousands more dollars to Uncle Sam next year than they were previously. And considering the fact that the middle class is already steadily shrinking and that the U.S. economy is already in an advanced state of decline, that is not good news. You would think that both major political parties would want to do something to keep the middle class from being hit with this kind of tax sledgehammer. Unfortunately, at this point it appears that our “leaders” in Washington D.C. are incapable of getting anything done. So get ready for much smaller paychecks and much larger tax bills. What is coming is not going to be pleasant.
PARIS—The government of Socialist President François Hollande on Sunday said it would consider other ways of imposing a top income-tax rate of 75% on high-wealth individuals after the country’s top constitutional authority scrapped the plan.
The Constitutional Council’s decision is a political blow to Mr. Hollande, who had vowed to shift to the rich the burden of efforts to improve the country’s finances.
Mandatory federal spending cuts designed to be prohibitively drastic will become a reality on Wednesday if negotiators remain unable to reach an agreement to avert the reductions.
The cuts would hit a broad array of departments and programs, from the military’s purchase of mine-resistant vehicles to government food inspections. They would slash funding for Secret Service details and cut rental housing subsidies in rural areas.
Illustrating the gravity of the cuts, the Pentagon plans to notify 800,000 civilian employees that they could be forced to take several weeks of unpaid leave in 2013 if a deal isn’t struck, and other agencies are likely to follow suit.
Just in case the stakes in the final episode of the 2012 season of the “Fiscal Cliff” soap opera, and a 30 second advertising block was not selling for a record amount, here comes the Pentagon with a warning that it may fire almost 1 million civillians their services will be required but unpaid if there is no Cliff deal. From the WSJ: “Mandatory federal spending cuts designed to be prohibitively drastic will become a reality on Wednesday if negotiators remain unable to reach an agreement to avert the reductions. Illustrating the gravity of the cuts, the Pentagon plans to notify 800,000 civilian employees that they could be forced to take several weeks of unpaid leave in 2013 if a deal isn’t struck, and other agencies are likely to follow suit. The cuts, which members of both parties have referred to as a “meat ax,” are the product of a hastily designed 2011 law that required $110 billion in annual spending reductions over nine years to reduce the deficit. Their severity, representing close to 10% of annually appropriated spending, was intended to force Democrats and Republicans to come together on a broader package of deficit-reduction measures, which would replace the cuts. That effort failed, raising the prospect of the cuts’ taking place.”
It gets worse now that it turns out absolutely nobody is prepared for precisely the contingency America is now facing:
Complicating matters, the White House hasn’t informed federal agencies or contractors of precisely how the cuts might be administered, leading to confusion about the potential impact. Several federal agencies referred questions about the cuts to the White House’s Office of Management and Budget. OMB didn’t respond to questions.
Tepco has estimated the total nuclear damage compensation to be 2.5 trillion yen and has been requesting the financial support from the Nuclear Damage Liability Facilitation Fund based on the revised Special Business Plan approved on May 9, 2012.
However, after deciding the compensation standard of lands or houses, adding real estate and postponing the compensation term for spontaneous evacuees and harmful rumor of agricultural products,the estimated compensation amount increased to be 3.2 trillion yen.
On 12/27/2012, Tepco requested the Nuclear Damage Liability Facilitation Fund for 697 billion yen of the additional financial support.
NEW YORK – Since the housing bubble burst in Florida five years ago, more than 400,000 borrowers have had their homes foreclosed on by their lenders. But for some, it’s payback time.
Hundreds of homeowners and condo associations are foreclosing on banks that have failed to pay dues and other expenses on the properties they’ve repossessed.
When banks foreclose on a home they become responsible for paying fees to the homeowners association — both any unpaid fees going back as far as 12 months and all expenses going forward.
In many cases, however, banks are failing to pay, leaving these associations short on cash, according to Miami-based attorney Ben Solomon.
But now, homeowners groups are putting liens on the properties until banks pay up and foreclosing on them if they don’t.
So far, Solomon’s firm has filed more than 1,100 liens against banks on behalf of homeowners and has pursued 131 foreclosures. In more than 90% of the cases, he said, the banks settle by payingthe bills. Continue reading »
China has long been a home to internet censorship, but it has been relatively lax until recently. Internet users have been able to easily and cheaply thwart the restrictions for years, but a number of concerning events show a trend toward more substantial censorship in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Scary new legislation that was recently approved will effectively turn China’s ISPs into the internet police. Now, ISPs will be forced to delete content deemed illegal and file a report with the government.
Bolivia nationalised two electricity distribution companies owned by Spanish utility Iberdrola on Saturday, the latest move by leftist President Evo Morales to assert control over the country’s resources.
Iberdrola will be compensated according to a valuation to be drawn up by an independent arbiter, Morales said, adding that the measure was aimed at enhancing rural energy services.
“We considered this measure necessary to ensure equitable energy tariffs … and to see to it that the quality of electricity service is uniform in rural as well as urban areas,” Morales said.
President Morales has nationalised oil, telecommunications, mining and electrical generation companies.
Writing for Wired’s Danger Room, Axe says, “When the deployments are complete in 2017, Air Force F-22s and B-2s and Marine Corps F-35s could all be within striking range of America’s biggest economic rival at the same time.”
The United States’ presence in the Asia-Pacific is about to be much more impressive: by 2017, the US is expected to have all but surrounded China, its number one economic rival, with fleets of the most advanced stealth warplanes in the world.
According to recent reports from some of the Pentagon’s top-brass, Uncle Sam will be essentially surrounding the United States’ top competitor in only five years’ time. By 2017, the Air Force’s F-22s and B-2s, as well as a fleet of the Marine Corps’ F-35, will all be deployed east.
News of the long-term plan stems from a report by Wired’s David Axe this week, who notes that several recent interviews with Defense Department officials suggest that the Obama administration’s “strategic pivot” plan in Asia announced earlier this year hasn’t been ignored just yet.
In June, the Pentagon revealed plans to restructure the US military so that 60 percent of its warships would be in the Asia-Pacific by 2020. At the time, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the decision was not meant to intimidate China, but was rather a common sense response to make sure America’s resources were divvied out where they might be most needed.
“Some view the increased emphasis by the United States on Asia-Pacific as a challenge to China, I reject that view entirely,” Panetta said this summer.
Almost half of all US women deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan say they were sexually harassed, while nearly one-quarter claim they were sexually assaulted. The findings shed light on the additional stress military women face when they work abroad.
Research by the Department of Veterans Affairs shows that sexual misconduct is a much greater problem than previously believed, since the Pentagon asserts that few reports were filed alleging sexual assault.
The United States Army will be deploying troops to nearly three-dozen African nations in the coming year.
Soldiers based out of Fort Riley, Kansas’ 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division will begin training in March 2013 in order to prepare for a project that will send troops to as many as 35 African nations, the Associated Press reports.
Citing a growing threat from extremist groups, including those with ties to al-Qaeda, the Department of Defense is hoping to install American soldiers overseas in order to prepare local troops there for any future crises as tensions escalate.
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan’s first term. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, and Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University.
In the Western world truth no longer has any meaning. In its place stands agenda.
Agenda is all important, because it is the way Washington achieves hegemony over the world and the American people. 9/11 was the “new Pearl Harbor” that the neoconservatives declared to be necessary for their planned wars against Muslim countries. For the neoconservatives to go forward with their agenda, it was necessary for Americans to be connected to the agenda.
President George W. Bush’s first Treasury Secretary, Paul O’Neil, said that prior to 9/11 the first cabinet meeting was about the need to invade Iraq.
9/11 was initially blamed on Afghanistan, and the blame was later shifted to Iraq. Washington’s mobilization against Afghanistan was in place prior to 9/11. The George W. Bush regime’s invasion of Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom) occurred on October 7, 2001, less than a month after 9/11. Every military person knows that it is not possible to have mobilization for invading a country half way around the world ready in three weeks.
The Orwellian “PATRIOT Act” is another example of planning prior to the event. This vast police state measure could not possibly have been written in the short time between 9/11 and its introduction in Congress. The bill was already written, sitting on the shelf waiting its opportunity. Why? Who wrote it? Why has there been no media investigation of the advanced preparation of this police state legislation?
KABUL, Afghanistan — Packed into hand luggage and tucked into jacket pockets, roughly hewed bars of gold are being flown out of Kabul with increasing regularity, confounding Afghan and American officials who fear money launderers have found a new way to spirit funds from the country. Continue reading »
Fifteen people have died in the powerful winter storm that triggered tornadoes in the American South and is now burying the Northeast in snow. With hundreds of flight delays, post-Christmas air travelers still remain stuck at US airports.
Since Tuesday, 15 have died in weather-related incidents across the US, including a 1-year-old and a 2-year-old who were killed in a car accident. While many of the victims lost their lives during traffic accidents caused by the rough weather, others were crushed to death by falling trees.
When it comes to US austerity, a very sensitive topic as framed best by the “spending cuts” portion in the Fiscal Cliff debate, the ideas range from the surreal to the outright idiotic: as an example in the most recent Obama proposal spending would be “reduced” in the form of $290 billion in interest savings – not an actual spending reduction, but a hope and a prayer that because rates are lower, the government will “save” money with rates continuing to be lower (something which immediately causes a #Ref! explosion for anyone not using government math), $130 billion in savings that would come from once again rejiggering the definition of ‘inflation’, as well as “savings” from not funding extra defense spending because the US is not engaged in a pro forma war. Like we said: surreal and idiotic, or in other words, no actual real cuts to spending. Yet even as the nation is gripped by the melodrama of fake spending cuts offset by the threat to tax millionaires more (all of whom will merely find more creative and effective ways to hide their wealth and income offshore), spending increases are all too real, such as last night’s order by Obama’s just issued an executive order to end the pay freeze for federal employees, which is the equivalent of a wage increase. A truly deserved rise in wages for a job well done by the most dysfunctional Congress America has ever seen.
Among the workers to receive a pay increase is Vice President Job Biden. As the Weekly Standard reports, citing disclosure forms, Biden made $225,521 last year and after the pay increase, he’ll now make $231,900 per year. More: “Members of Congress, from the House and Senate, also will receive a little bump, as their annual salary will go from $174,000 to 174,900. Leadership in Congress, including the speaker of the House, will likewise get an increase.” Somehow we have the feeling that Congress will be quite united behind this “order”, just as the Senate was very united yesterday in its decision to continue spying on America’s citizens. Continue reading »
It is incredible that mention of a one-world government in many circles is still considered to be conspiracy talk. Fortunately, the global political awakening that arch-globalist Zbigniew Brzezinski has referred to is forcing ever-increasing justifications for their use of globalist language.
One would hope that a relatively new Council on Foreign Relations initiative that is expanding can lay to rest any debate about the desire to form a global government in the name of supposedly solving global problems.
The initiative called The Council of Councils was featured in a recent round table discussion of the central problems facing the world that they believe require multilateral cooperation. The discussions and recommendations released from this convention of experts is important to keep available the next time you hear the label conspiracy theorist hurled in your direction. The title of the round table was Challenges for Global Governance in 2013.
It is time the critics of the Second Amendment put up and repeal it, or shut up about violating it. Their efforts to disarm and short-arm Americans violate the U.S. Constitution in Merriam Webster’s first sense of the term—to “disregard” it.
Hard cases make bad law, which is why they are reserved for the Constitution, not left to the caprice of legislatures, the sophistry and casuistry of judges or the despotic rule making of the chief executive and his bureaucracy. And make no mistake, guns pose one of the hardest cases a free people confronts in the 21st century, a test of whether that people cherishes liberty above tyranny, values individual sovereignty above dependency on the state, and whether they dare any longer to live free.
A people cannot simultaneously live free and be bound to any human master or man-made institution, especially to politicians, judges, bureaucrats and faceless government agencies. The Second Amendment along with the other nine amendments of the Bill of Rights was designed to prevent individuals’ enslavement to government, not just to guarantee people the right to hunt squirrels or sport shoot at targets, nor was it included in the Bill of Rights just to guarantee individuals the right to defend themselves against robbers, rapers and lunatics, or to make sure the states could raise a militia quick, on the cheap to defend against a foreign invader or domestic unrest.The Second Amendment was designed to ensure that individuals retained the right and means to defend themselves against any illegitimate attempt to do them harm, be it an attempt by a private outlaw or government agents violating their trust under the color of law. The Second Amendment was meant to guarantee individuals the right to protect themselves against government as much as against private bad guys and gangs.