December 2nd, 2014
While we worry over the silly events which the media and the Regime keep pushing which consistently amounts to much ado about stupid-- if not empty --Leftist agenda items, there are those other very major things that have been successfully deflected.
The main one being this--the US debt just hit an impossible $ 18 trillion dollars, and it could be what brings America down as an economic superpower, if not far, far, worse.
This massive amount of US debt, which rocketed the Tea Party into power, is perhaps, the main one, out of many concerns which Obama consistently refuses to face, along with all of the Left-Wing of America and most of the Establishment types.
As a result, our Children , Grandchildren , and perhaps even Great Grandchildren, will most likely look back on this generation wondering at what in the hell it was , that was so important that it was worth our squandering their inheritance.....~Refocus Notes
Submitted by Simon Black via Sovereign Man blog,
As the US government just hit $18 trillion in debt on Friday afternoon, it has taken a measly 403 days to accumulate its most recent trillion.
There’s so much misinformation and propaganda about this; let’s examine some of the biggest lies out there about the US debt:
1) “They can get it under control.”
What a massive lie. Politicians have been saying for decades that they’re going to cut spending and get the debt under control.
FACT: The last time the US debt actually decreased from one fiscal year to the next was back in 1957 during the EISENHOWER administration.
FACT: For the last several years, the US government has been spending roughly 90% of its ENTIRE tax revenue just to pay for mandatory entitlement programs and interest on the debt.
This leaves almost nothing for practically everything else we think of as government.
2) “The debt doesn’t matter because we owe it to ourselves.”
This is probably the biggest lie of all. Two of the Social Security trust funds alone (OASI and DI) own $2.72 trillion of US debt.
The federal government owes this money to current and future beneficiaries of those trust funds, i.e. EVERY SINGLE US CITIZEN ALIVE.
I fail to see the silver lining here. How is it somehow ‘better’ if the government defaults on its citizens as opposed to, say, banks?
3) “They can always ‘selectively default’ on the debt”
Another lie. People think that the US government can pick and choose who it pays.
They could make a bing stink about China, for example, and then choose to default on the $2 trillion in debt that’s owed to the Chinese.
Nice try. But this would rock global financial markets and destroy whatever tiny shred of credibility the US still has.
Others have suggested that the government could selectively default on the Federal Reserve (which owns $2.46 trillion of US debt).
Again, possible. But given that the Fed (the issuer of the US dollar) would become immediately insolvent, the resulting currency crisis would be completely disastrous.
4) “It’s the NET debt that’s important”
Analysts often pay attention to a country’s “net debt” instead of its gross debt. If you have a million bucks in debt, and a million bucks in cash, then your ‘net debt’ is zero. It washes out.
Problem is, the US government doesn’t have any cash. The Treasury Department opened its business day on Friday morning with just $71.9 billion in cash, or just 0.39% of its total debt level.
Apple has more money than that.
5) “They can fix it by raising taxes”
No they can’t. Just look at the numbers. Since the end of World War II, US government tax revenue has consistently been roughly 17% of GDP.
They can raise tax rates, but it doesn’t move the needle in terms of revenue as a percentage of GDP.
In other words, the government’s ‘slice of the pie’ is pretty consistent.
You’d think with this obvious data that, rather than try to increase tax rates (ineffective), they’d do everything they can to help make a bigger pie.
Or better yet, just leave everyone the hell alone so we’re free to bake as much as we can.
But no. They have to regulate every aspect of people’s existence: How you are allowed to educate your children. What you can/cannot put in your body. How much interest you are entitled to receive on your savings.
All of this costs time, money, and efficiency. So do never-ending wars. The bombs. The drones. The airstrikes.
This isn’t about any single person or President. The problem is with the system itself.
History shows that every leading superpower from the past almost invariably fell to the same fate.
Great powers often feel that their wealth and success entitles them to spend recklessly and wage endless, arrogant wars. The Romans. The Ottoman Empire. The British.
History may not repeat but it certainly rhymes. And the lesson here is very clear: debt weakens a nation. It weakens a society.
Generations that will not even be born for decades will inherit these debts by complete accident of birth.
And the people in charge of the system have backed themselves into a corner where there is no way out other than to default– either on their creditors (creating a global financial crisis), the central bank (creating a currency crisis), or on the citizens themselves (creating an epic social crisis).
Bottom line: this is not a consequence-free environment. And while you can’t fix the debt problem, you can certainly reduce your own exposure to what happens next.
Related from ZeroHedge
December 1st, 2014
By KATE BRUMBACK, Associated Press
ATLANTA (AP) — Speaking at Ebenezer Baptist Churchin Atlanta — the church where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. preached — U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said Monday that he will soon unveil long-plannedJustice Department guidance aimed at ending racial profiling.
Holder traveled to Atlanta to meet with law enforcement and community leaders for the first in a series of regional meetings around the country. The president asked Holder to set up the meetings in the wake of clashes between protesters and police in Ferguson, Missouri.
"In the coming days, I will announce updated Justice Department guidance regarding profiling by federal law enforcement. This will institute rigorous new standards — and robust safeguards — to help end racial profiling, once and for all," Holder said. "This new guidance will codify our commitment to the very highest standards of fair and effective policing."
Tensions between police and the community in Ferguson boiled over into violent confrontations in August after a white police officer shot a black teenager. Protests turned violent again last week after a grand jury declined to indict officer Darren Wilson in the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown.
Holder's meeting in Atlanta included a closed roundtable discussion with law enforcement and community leaders followed by a public interfaith service and community forum.
The meeting came on the heels of President Barack Obama's request to federal agencies Monday for recommendations to ensure the U.S. isn't building a "militarized culture" within police departments. The White House also announced it wants more police to wear cameras that capture their interactions with civilians. The cameras are part of a $263 million spending package to help police departments improve their community relations.
The selection of King's church as the site for the meeting was significant. The most successful and enduring movements for change adhere to the principles of non-aggression and nonviolence that King preached, Holder said.
"As this congregation knows better than most, peaceful protest has long been a hallmark, and a legacy, of past struggles for progress," he said. "This is what Dr. King taught us, half a century ago, in his eloquent words from the Ebenezer pulpit and in the vision he shared from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial."
While the grand jury has made its decision, the Justice Department continues its investigation into the death of Brown and into allegations of unconstitutional policing patterns or practices by the Ferguson Police Department, Holder said to loud applause.
Holder also told the crowd that the meetings he's convening around the country are just the beginning and that he wants to start a frank dialogue and then translate that into concrete action and results.
Holder's comments were well-received by the audience. When a group of people interrupted his speech with chants and was escorted out, Holder applauded their "genuine expression of concern and involvement" and got a standing ovation from the crowd.
Several dozen protesters chanted and waved signs referencing Ferguson outside the doors of church.
Holder, who plans to leave the position once a successor is confirmed, has identified civil rights as a cornerstone priority for the Justice Department and speaks frequently about what he calls inequities in the treatment of minorities in the criminal justice system. He has targeted sentences for nonviolent drug crimes that he says are overly harsh and disproportionately affect black defendants and has promoted alternatives to prison for non-violent offenders.
Last year, as part of the Justice Department's "Smart on Crime" initiative, he instructed federal prosecutors to stop charging many nonviolent drug defendants with offenses that carry mandatory minimum sentences — punishments that he said were contributing to overcrowded prisons. The Justice Department has also broadened the criteria for inmates seeking clemency in hopes of encouraging potentially thousands more inmates to apply, and Holder backed changes in federal sentencing guideline ranges that could result in tens of thousands of drug prisoners becoming eligible for early release.
Holder also has publicly discussed the need to ease tensions between police departments and minority communities. The Justice Department has also targeted flawed police departments, initiating roughly 20 investigations of local police agencies — including Ferguson — in the past five years. A new pilot program announced weeks after the Ferguson shooting will study racial bias in American cities and recommend ways to reduce the problem.
He has spoken about race in sometimes personal terms, recalling after the Ferguson shooting instances in which as a younger man he was stopped or confronted by police without cause. He has also said he understands mistrust of law enforcement in minority communities.
Associated Press writer Eric Tucker in Washington contributed to this report.
December 1st, 2014
Christian Science Monitor
By Warren Richey
WASHINGTON — The US Supreme Court grappled on Monday with the thorny issue of how far the First Amendment stretches to protect offensive and frightening speech when the speaker claims his statements are meant in jest and delivered in the form of rap lyrics.
The case is potentially important because it could test the outer boundaries of First Amendment protection of threatening communications that put others in fear for their safety.
It is also important because it arises in the context of comments posted onFacebook. It provides the justices with their first opportunity to examine free speech issues that are increasingly arising in the fast-paced world of social media, where careless or malicious comments can achieve vast circulation in an instant.
The issue arises in the case of Pennsylvania man Anthony Elonis, who was convicted of writing a series of threatening posts on his Facebook page. The posts included menacing comments directed at his estranged wife and at anFBI agent who came to his home to investigate the Facebook posts.
Mr. Elonis maintains that his posts were protected speech because, as rap lyrics, they were artistic expression. He also argues that he never intended that his comments would be taken as an actual threat that would put others in fear for their lives.
The Facebook site included repeated notices that the content was strictly for entertainment and that the posts were not meant to pose a threat to anyone, Washington appellate lawyer John Elwood told the justices.
But some members of the court seemed skeptical.
“This sounds like a road map for threatening a spouse and getting away with it,” Justice Samuel Alito said.
The question in the case is when menacing comments cross the line separating free speech that is protected under the First Amendment from “true threats” that can be prosecuted as a crime.
Although the First Amendment protects a wide swath of speech, Americans are not free to say anything they like. For example, it is illegal to falsely yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater. It is illegal to make false, malicious statements about someone with the intent to harm their reputation. And Congress passed a law making it illegal to deliver “true threats” that place someone in fear.
Various free speech groups are siding with Elonis and urging the high court to establish a rigorous test of what qualifies as a “true threat” eligible for prosecution.
The Obama administration and groups seeking to protect domestic violence victims are urging the court to make it easier to prosecute those whose comments trigger fear.
Deputy Solicitor General Michael Dreeben said in his argument that Congress passed the threat law with the assumption that people would know the meaning of their own words and could be held accountable when their words caused fear or terror.
Mr. Dreeben dismissed arguments of opposing counsel that Elonis was merely writing therapeutic rap lyrics and posting disclaimers.
“He knows his wife is reading these posts,” Dreeben said.
Justice Elena Kagan expressed concern about the potential that such a broadly-enforced statute against “threats” might chill legitimate free speech.
“We typically say that the First Amendment requires a kind of buffer zone,” she said.
Dreeben responded that Elonis’s Facebook posts contained no First Amendment value. He said there was no evidence that enforcement of the statute in Elonis’s case would chill protected speech.
What about violent rap lyrics, such as those written and performed by rap stars like Eminem, Chief Justice John Roberts asked.
Dreeben said that context helps distinguish which statements constitute a true threat and thus warrant prosecution.
Violent rap lyrics performed by Eminem arise in the context of providing entertainment rather than in the context of an ongoing attempt to intimidate or frighten.
“If a jury concludes it is ambiguous, it must acquit,” Dreeben said.
The case stems from a series of major setbacks for Elonis in 2010 when his wife left him and took their children and then he lost his job at a Pennsylvania amusement park.
Elonis responded by lashing out at his estranged wife and his former employer in a series of posts on his Facebook page. Some of the posts were written as rap lyrics....
December 1st, 2014
Refocus Note: As one man said, "Lord please don't let any Grinches come steal this man's compassion." I give that a resounding AMEN!
A lucky recipient of a Never Ending Pasta Pass decided to pay it forward by giving out most of his meals to Salt Lake City’s homeless and friends, reportsFox 13.
Unlike some who used the pass to carbo-load for nearly two months, Matt Tribe of Ogden, Utah spent seven weeks delivering pasta meals to friends, neighbors and local homeless people through a project he dubbed “Random Acts of Pasta.”
“Every day I’d go get pasta, and I’d just go show up and [sic] someone’s house and brighten their life with some Olive Garden,” Tribe told Fox 13.
Tribe was the recipient of one of 1,000 Never Ending Pasta Pass cards from Olive Garden which granted owners unlimited meals at the chain for seven weeks-- all for $100. Tribe was originally looking forward to enjoying the meals by himself but realized he could spread a little joy throughout the neighborhood. He reportedly got the ok from the chain to make sure he could use the pass for take-out orders.
“It was super fulfilling because the entire time I was doing this for a month, just about every night, the only thing I was thinking about was who could I take Olive Garden to, who could I do Random Acts of Pasta to, who could I do something nice for,” Tribe said.
At the end of seven weeks, Tribe says he has given away 125 meals, surpassing his original goal of 100. He ate just 14 pasta dishes himself during the promotion.
Ben Taylor, a friend of Tribe’s, documented the various surprise pasta giftings on YouTube. The pair also kept a blog that details every recipient and date of meal delivery.
“You forget about all your worries, you forget about all your troubles,” says Tribe. “Everything’s better.”
November 30th, 2014
By Barry Secrest
Volunteers from the 35,000-member group known as Oath Keepers had been keeping silent vigil in an effort to protect apartments and businesses in downtown Ferguson after a large number of businesses were either destroyed or severely damaged.
The reason for the Oath Keepers' intervention, and what happened next, is where the story becomes even more compelling.
By the account of some highly appointed officials, the Democrat governor of Missouri had actually withheld the National Guard from protecting the businesses due to political interests in concert with both the Obama regime and the DOJ, whose primary interests fall in line with the community organizing activists in charge of roiling Ferguson.
The Oath Keepers, as a result, had decided it was time to respond and assigned volunteers to keep silent vigil in both the high risk and unguarded areas. Unfortunately for those businesses and individuals still at risk, the Oath Keepers can no longer keep to their mission.
According to the St Louis Dispatch, Stewart Rhodes, the founder of Oath Keepers, had this to say of the latest governmental absurdity:
"We thought they were going to do it right this time," Rhodes said of government response to the grand jury decision released Monday in the Michael Brown case. "But when Monday rolled around and they didn't park the National Guard at these businesses, that's when we said we have got to do something.
"Historically, the government almost always fails to protect people," he added.
The reason for the abrupt deactivation of their mission had nothing to do with any Oath Keepers decision, but rather, from the actual officials in charge who haven't exactly executed their assigned mission of protecting life and property very successfully.
In what amounts to an order of 'cease and desist,' the Oath Keepers were shut down under threat of arrest by authorities, if they contined their mission of guarding lives and property.
That not being quite enough, it gets even better.
In fact, the police had known of the presence of Oath Keepers earlier in the week, it wasn't until the Media, who're largely in support of the often riotous protesters, complained to police with regard to the Oath Keepers' presence, that the police eventually ordered the Oath Keepers to get out of town or else.
Indeed, the members who were carefully assigned to Ferguson have not just been guarding the businesses. The Oath Keepers there have actually helped many businesses by boarding up storefronts and keeping stores of water and fire extinguishers at the ready, in addition to their weapons, if needed....