Rule Change Allows More Government Monitoring

The Federal government is now allowed to store personal information about private citizens with absolutely no ties to terrorism for up to five years, expanding previous authority under new rules implemented by the Administration of Barack Obama.

Before the change, the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) was supposed to immediately destroy intelligence information about Americans when they were deemed to have no clear ties to terrorism. Government officials who want the right to spy on every American have used terror attempts to justify their actions.

“Following the failed terrorist attack in December 2009, representatives of the counterterrorism community concluded it is vital for NCTC to be provided with a variety of datasets from various agencies that contain terrorism information,” Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said in a statement last Thursday. “The ability to search against these datasets for up to five years on a continuing basis as these updated guidelines permit will enable NCTC to accomplish its mission more practically and effectively.”

Officials claim the guidelines will make the Nation safer by making sure relevant terrorism information is readily accessible to analysts, according to The Washington Post.

Earlier this year, the FBI and the Department of Justice released a series of flyers that outline possible indicators of terrorist plotting. The flyers noted many obscure activities that many Americans do every day, such as paying for things with cash, taking photos, etc. Over the past several months, the government has taken steps to make it possible to subject nearly any person to the scrutiny of a terror investigation.

The True Nature Of Politics

Politicians are employees of the state.

What’s the mystery? Why are these people (with some few exceptions) so against the American people? Why do they consistently promote socialism? Why do they have no financial responsibility? Why do they always promote socialist agendas like Obamacare and the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act that do away with human and personal liberties that have existed since the Magna Carta was issued?

Do not be deceived. Subversive elements can hollow out the soul of a nation without destroying its flag and national symbols, with very few people alert to what is happening. People, in their oblivion, think that they are still free if they don’t see tanks rumbling down the streets, armed guards and barbed wire, and fortified buildings with barred doors and windows.

Modern population control is not conventional warfare and military occupation. Modern warfare is psychological warfare. War has evolved into a form of false benevolence that masks tyranny in its most pernicious forms. It removes from the collective mind of the populace the thought that those being “protected” are, in fact, the target of the attack.

The pretenses and propaganda are so real that all but a few are deceived about the modus operandi of the political establishment charade. The state-induced psychosis segments and divides strangers, families and friends against themselves and polarizes the collective population against a small, alert minority.

This unbalanced situation can go on for years. Unbeknownst to the ruling elite, they continually self-destruct while their greed blinds them to reality that resistance is building sub-rosa.

People can be oppressed (pacified) to the extreme with propaganda and social welfare until a critical tipping point or shock potential is reached. At that point, physical pain and privation become general awareness, and demonstrations and riots appear.

This, too, can be suppressed with superior force for a time, but the same harsh armed suppression causes a greater portion of the populace to realize that government force is on one side and the citizenry on the other. This triggers a swell of capped rebellion to express itself and join the crowd.

So what happens? The state, in its unbridled greed, self-destructs. When the thousands of greedy bureaucrats and paid politicians overplay their greed so that chicanery in government is widespread and widely visible, it sparks social and militant revolution between the state and an aroused people who have guns. This is now!

Nothing can change this spontaneous process. It might blow hot and cold with twists and turns in the propaganda and a few million more food stamps. But the end is in sight and the crowds of people are beginning to see reality: A change of regime is at hand.

The old entrenched crowd must go, and some must be tried for treason. The hangman must be hanged!

Now, my friends, what do you imagine has delayed and postponed the liberation of the people from a greedy and despotic government? The answer is that there are two kinds of people in the world, and always have been, and never the twain shall be one. On one side is the great mass of basically honest people, then there is government.

All governments by nature attract greedy and parasitic people. In short, these are people who have the born mentality to live off of other people.

Politics and government are perfectly made for them. Keep in mind, there are a few exceptions. These (shall I call them humanoids?) have unusual qualities and attributes of personality that present them as benevolent, caring and concerned people with absolutely no hint that they wear masks that hide them as charlatans and greedy monsters. Under the masks they are Satanists devouring whom they will. Greed and aggrandizement are their silent forte.

Many of them belong to secret societies that historically have been at the center of subversive movements. Boy, this is mum!

We will call these people humanoids because they are deviants and devious. They have no conscience and no moral scruples. They are no respecter of persons except a feigned glow to extract something.

Their every thought is how to make the world flow to themselves. They would rip off their own parents or mate. “Selfish” is a kind word we can use to describe them.

What shall we call those people besides humanoids? By definition they are psychopaths. A more gentle term is sociopaths.

A caveat here is that most psychopaths don’t know that they are psychopaths. This makes them even more aggressive and sinister. They can kill people en masse for aggrandizement and greed. They hate wealth if it is not theirs. Sound familiar?

Another caveat: There are many rich and wealthy people who are not psychopaths.

Government is something for nothing as exemplified in the fiat monetary system. Something for nothing attracts greed and parasites. For sociopaths, government appears to offer something for nothing — an easy life and easy riches.

Sociopathic politicians and bureaucrats are usually intelligent and articulate. They know how to articulate and to harness the power of speech. They quickly learn control words as expressed here, and they repeat the themes of the elite and the party line. They are cold and calculating, and their every intent is to stay in office and stay in government.

Almost no politician will advocate a gold-backed currency. They won’t even mention it because gold is an economic straight jacket for Big Government and its politicians.

No politician will mention limiting House and Senate terms of office. No politician will advocate a bill to eliminate the privileges of office like their special healthcare and retirement benefits. Government is a privileged and plush existence for bureaucrats and politicians.

Politicians are afraid not to beat the drums for war because war is the agenda of the warfare-welfare state. They will support and mimic any war propaganda. Sociopaths/psychopaths will sell to the highest bidder as Judas sold out Jesus Christ for 30 pieces of silver.

Political sociopaths collectively cannot imagine themselves suffering the same punishment, misery and impoverishment that they have vented upon the American people. They have no conscience and they cannot discern that they are destroyers of law and order and that indeed they are destroying the system.

So you will know, in closing, we profile the sociopath:

  • He has glibness and superficial charm.
  • He is manipulative and cunning. Under his feigned charm, he is covertly hostile and domineering.
  • He has a grandiose sense of self.
  • He is a pathological liar.
  • He has no remorse, shame or guilt.
  • He has shallow emotions.
  • He has incapacity for love.
  • He is not concerned about how many lives he wrecks.
  • He usually has promiscuous sexual behavior.
  • He has a poor work ethic but is a master of exploiting others.
  • He has versatility and will change his image quickly to avoid prosecution.
  • He is contemptuous of anyone who understands them, like this writer.
  • He thinks only of his own immediate gratification.

Politicians in America are employees of the state. This must be understood! Until this is understood, we have no hope.

AIG Hits Payback Milestone

WASHINGTON (UPI) — American International Group, recipient of $182 billion in bailout funds, has repaid in full the U.S. Treasury’s preferred equity investment, the department said.

With a payment of $1.5 billion made Thursday, AIG has reached that repayment goal a year of ahead of schedule, the department said in a statement.

That leaves the Treasury — or, one could say, U.S. taxpayers — with $45 billion invested in the firm, “which represents more than 75 percent reduction from that original commitment,” the department said.

The Treasury Department currently holds 1.248 billion shares of AIG common stock, 70 percent of the firm’s outstanding common stock, which is valued at $35.7 billion.

“In the dark days of the financial crisis, when commitments to AIG totaled $182 billion, few would have believed that we’d already be able to reduce that amount by more than 75 percent,” said Assistant Secretary for Financial Stability Tim Massad.

“This demonstrates the significant progress that AIG and the government have made in restructuring the company’s business so that it can repay taxpayers,” he added.

The Treasury also took in another $14.6 billion from AIG this month, including $6 billion from the sale of AIG common stock and $8.6 billion in prior repayments of the preferred equity investment.

Immigration Reform, Democrat-Style


 
Obama’s just making it up as he goes along. The TSA always gets their man; more or less. Lil’ Johnny Ambulance-chaser goes “pro.” And Brian Williams raises the alarm! All this — plus — the fleabaggers didn’t even put the seat down. Presented in 1080 hi-def, FOR FREE! It’s The Great Eight, from the Personal Liberty Digest™!

Romney: Abolish ‘Obamacare’

WASHINGTON (UPI) — U.S. Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney Friday called President Obama’s signature healthcare reform program “an unfolding disaster.”

In an op-ed piece published in USA Today, Romney marked the second anniversary of the signing of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, saying he always has opposed a “one-size-fits-all” plan for the entire country, preferring instead to allow each state to come up with its own solution.

“President Obama’s program is an unfolding disaster for the American economy, a budget-busting entitlement, and a dramatic new federal intrusion into our lives,” Romney wrote, adding that overturning the law is only part of the solution.

“Just as important is the question of what to put in its place. Instead of the massive new taxes, trillions of dollars in new spending, and top-down bureaucratic decrees of Obamacare, we need to limit Washington’s control by spurring competition, creating maximum flexibility and enhancing consumer choice.

“I would begin by changing the tax code, which … discriminates against individuals who want to buy insurance on their own.”

Romney called for action on “out-of-control medical malpractice litigation,” which he said distorts the way care is given.

“The reforms I propose for the country could not be more different from Barack Obama’s. They entail no new taxes, no massive diversions of funds away from Medicare, no tax discrimination, and no new bureaucracies,” Romney wrote. “At the same time, they increase consumer choice, lower healthcare costs, decrease government spending and give states responsibility for dealing with the uninsured.

“Whatever the Supreme Court decides about the constitutionality of Obamacare, we already know that it is bad policy and wrong for America. Abolishing it and putting sensible changes in its place will be one of my highest priorities as president.”

 

Army Charges Bales In Afghan Massacre

FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (UPI) — The U.S. soldier accused of killing 17 Afghan civilians was charged Friday with the deaths in the first formal acknowledgement by the military of the massacre.

Staff Sgt. Robert Bales was being held at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas. He was charged with 17 counts of murder, six counts of attempted murder and six counts of aggravated assault, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The charges also were announced by U.S. forces in Afghanistan and were to be delivered to Bales and his lawyers.

Bales, 38, a father of two who lives in Lake Tapps, Wash., has been held in solitary confinement in the U.S. military’s only domestic maximum-security facility since being flown from Afghanistan last week.

While Army prosecutors are said to have concluded the slayings were premeditated and Bales was aware of his actions, Bales’ civilian attorney, John Henry Browne, has said his client does not remember much about what happened in the predawn hours of March 11.

Military officials allege Bales, on his fourth combat tour overseas, walked off a small combat outpost in Kandahar province and slaughtered 17 villagers, most of them women and children, and then burned some of the victims’ bodies and walked back to his base to turn himself in.

Authorities originally said 16 Afghans were killed and several others critically wounded in the massacre, considered the worst U.S. atrocity of the Afghan war. They said Thursday the death toll had since risen to 17.

Browne did not immediately respond to a phone message from United Press International seeking comment on the charges.

U.S. officials hope the charges, coming less than two weeks after the shootings, will be seen in Afghanistan as an indication Washington is determined to hold the perpetrator accountable, the Los Angeles Times reported.

A court-martial could be months or even years away, officials said.

President Barack Obama promised to hold accountable “anyone responsible” for the killings.

The attacks came at a time of evaporating trust between the U.S. military and its Afghan allies.

In January, an Internet video depicted U.S. Marines urinating on the corpses of Taliban fighters. Soon after, U.S. troops inadvertently burned copies of the Koran and other Islamic holy texts, sparking widespread riots.

 

40 Percent Of Women Never Married

WASHINGTON (UPI) — A federal report shows 38 percent of American women today have never been married, up from 33 percent in 1995.

On the flip side, of the 12,279 women interviewed from 2006 to 2010 by the National Center for Health Statistics, 36 percent of women ages 15 to 44 said they are in their first marriage, down from 44 percent in 1982, USA Today reported.

The study, released Thursday, also found the median age at first marriage was 25.8 for women.

Galena Rhoades of the University of Denver’s Center for Marital and Family Studies, said the findings reflect not only the “delay in getting married for the first time” but also “that more people are cohabiting.”

The study further found nearly half of marriages break up within 20 years. The data show 52 percent of women’s first marriages survived the 20-year mark.

Education seemed to be a factor that affects the likelihood of divorce, experts said. For women with at least a bachelor’s degree, for example, 78 percent were still married after 20 years, compared to 49 percent of women with some college and 41 percent of women who only hold a high school diploma.

Experts say this data is reliable.

“Of all the government reports, this series has the best methodology about marriage and divorce,” says sociologist Andrew Cherlin, a demographer at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

Santorum Would Vote Romney Over Obama

WASHINGTON (UPI) — Rick Santorum will vote for Mitt Romney if the former Massachusetts governor wins the Republican presidential nomination, a spokeswoman said Friday.

Alice Stewart, speaking on CNN’s “Starting Point,” was trying to douse an uproar Santorum started Thursday when he suggested Romney is only “a little different” from President Obama, USA Today reported.

“Rick has made it abundantly clear once a nominee is chosen he’ll stand behind the nominee and do everything we can to replace Barack Obama,” Stewart said.

Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich piled on after Santorum’s remark in San Antonio, joined by Republican bloggers. Ed Morrissey, a Santorum supporter, suggested the former U.S. senator had “forgotten the purpose of the Republican primary.”

“You win by giving people the opportunity to see a different vision for our country not someone who is just going to be a little different than the person in there,” Santorum said. “If they’re going to be a little different we may as well stay with what we have instead of taking a risk in what may be the Etch A Sketch candidate for the future,” a reference to a gaffe earlier this week by a Romney campaign spokesman.

Santorum’s campaign Friday highlighted Santorum’s opposition to Obama with a political ad that paints a hypothetically bleak future for a fictional American town called “Obamaville,” The Hill reported.

“Imagine a small American town two years from now if Obama is re-elected,” the voiceover in the ad says. “Small businesses are struggling and families are worried about their jobs and their future. The wait to see a doctor is ever increasing, gas prices … through the roof and their freedom of religion: under attack.”

The ad then shows images of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, warning “Obamaville” would also be under the cloud of a possible nuclear threat from a “sworn enemy” of the United States.

“Welcome to a place where one president’s failed policies, really hit home. Welcome to Obamaville, more than a town, a cautionary tale,” the ad said.

Gallup: Romney Support At 40 Percent

PRINCETON, N.J. (UPI) — The latest Gallup poll Friday indicated Mitt Romney has the support of 40 percent of Republicans in the battle for the GOP’s U.S. presidential nomination.

It is first time a U.S. presidential candidate has reached that level in this campaign.

The result came in the same week Romney posted a convincing victory in the Illinois primary and won the endorsement of Jeb Bush. It also gives him a double digit lead over Rich Santorum, his closest competitor for the GOP presidential nomination.

The poll put Santorum’s support at 26 percent, followed by Newt Gingrich at 14 percent and Ron Paul at 8 percent.

The poll was conducted Sunday through Thursday among 1,157 Republican or Republican-leaning voters. The sampling error was put at 4 percentage points with 95 percent confidence.

Gallup: Romney Support At 40 Percent

PRINCETON, N.J. (UPI) — The latest Gallup poll Friday indicated Mitt Romney has the support of 40 percent of Republicans in the battle for the GOP’s U.S. presidential nomination.

It is first time a U.S. presidential candidate has reached that level in this campaign.

The result came in the same week Romney posted a convincing victory in the Illinois primary and won the endorsement of Jeb Bush. It also gives him a double digit lead over Rich Santorum, his closest competitor for the GOP presidential nomination.

The poll put Santorum’s support at 26 percent, followed by Newt Gingrich at 14 percent and Ron Paul at 8 percent.

The poll was conducted Sunday through Thursday among 1,157 Republican or Republican-leaning voters. The sampling error was put at 4 percentage points with 95 percent confidence.

Marine Who Criticized Obama Faces Discharge

A Marine sergeant who made online comments vowing to stand up to the Constitution and criticizing President Barack Obama and his policies is facing dismissal from the Corps for his actions.

According to The Associated Press, Sgt. Gary Stein, who started a Facebook page called Armed Forces Tea Party, was informed by the Marines that he violated a Pentagon policy barring troops from political activities.

The nine-year Marine veteran said he started the page to encourage fellow service members to exercise their free speech rights. Stein was first cautioned by his superiors at Camp Pendleton in 2010, after he launched the Facebook page and criticized Obama’s healthcare overhaul. He volunteered to take down the page while he reviewed the rules at the request of his superiors. Upon determining that he was not in violation of the rules, Stein relaunched the page.

Last week, in response to a post in which Stein said he would refuse to follow unlawful orders from the President, Stein’s superiors barred him from using social media sites on government computers.

The Marines say Stein failed to follow Pentagon directives that say military personnel in uniform cannot sponsor a political club; participate in any TV or radio program or group discussion that advocates for or against a political party, candidate or cause; or speak at any event promoting a political movement. Officers also are not allowed to use contemptuous words against senior officials, including the defense secretary or the President.

Stein said in a statement: “The allegations drummed up against me are no more than an agenda by the Marine Corps to use me as an example. I have never spoken on behalf of the Marine Corps or in uniform.  I have stayed within guidelines DOD Directive 1344.10 and made sure to. If I am guilty of anything it would be that I am American, a freedom loving Conservative, hell bent on defending the constitution and preserving Americas greatness. I am no more the Leader of the Armed Forces Tea Party than any other of 18,000 members are. I just happen to be normal guy who started a facebook page and who hold the Tea Party values close my heart and believes the Tea Party can enact real change in this county. We are all leaders in the Tea Party!”

The Joke’s On Us

This gives new meaning to April Fools’ Day. On the first of next month, Japan cuts its tax rate on corporate profits from 39.5 percent to 36.8 percent. So what, you ask? When that happens, it means that the United States will have the world’s highest corporate tax rate. Our combined Federal and State levies of 39.2 percent will be higher than taxes charged in Russia, China, Sweden and Denmark. Oh, and Japan plans to cut those taxes by another 2.3 percent in three years. Hey, aren’t we supposed to be the pro-capitalist country?

How many times did you use it? The 244-year-old Encyclopaedia Britannica is abandoning its print edition. Those gold-lettered reference books that were sold by thousands of door-to-door salesmen will be no more. The company pointed out that its Web edition contains more information than its 32-volume print edition. And, besides, it is continuously updated.

A millionaire food stamp recipient. When Amanda Clayton, an unemployed 24-year-old in Lincoln Park, Mich., won $1 million in the State lottery, she promptly went out and bought a house and new car. She also continued to collect $200 a month in food stamps. When a local reporter asked her if she thought that was right, she replied, “I feel that it’s okay because, I mean, I have no income and I have bills to pay.”

Food stamps buy drugs and guns. Phyllis Fong, the inspector general of the Department of Agriculture, told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that some welfare recipients are selling their food stamps for cash and buying drugs with the money. “By giving a recipient $50 in cash for $100 in benefits, an unscrupulous retailer can make a significant profit; recipients, of course, are then able to spend the cash however they like,” she said. “In some cases, recipients have exchanged benefits for drugs, weapons, and other contraband.” Your taxes at work, folks.

Chip Wood

Obama Popular On The Internet

The Internet has become increasingly involved in political campaigns over the course of the past decade; new research shows that Barack Obama has been more successful than any of his Republican challengers at harnessing online campaign power.

According to Nielson Media Research, Obama’s re-election website had 4.2 million unique monthly visitors over age 18 in January compared to a combined 2.9 million visitors to the campaign sites of Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum during the same month.

  • Ron Paul’s site had 830,000 visitors.
  • Mitt Romney’s site had 773,000 visitors.
  • Rick Santorum’s site had 696,000 visitors.
  • Newt Gingrich’s site had 609,000 visitors.

Women made up more than 60 percent of all traffic to Santorum’s site, the largest gender split of any candidate. Only Paul and Gingrich drew more men than women with 56 percent and 51 percent respectively.

The research indicates that Paul drew the most visitors in the coveted 18- to 34-year-old demographic with 36.8 percent of his visitors falling into the category. Obama, for whom young voters were a key constituency in 2008, was visited mostly by people between the ages of 50 and 64 — only 17.1 percent were 18 to 34.

The information comes after a recent POLITICO report that describes how the Obama campaign has invested millions of dollars in sophisticated Internet messaging, marketing and fundraising efforts that rely on personal data about voters collected on the Internet that is sometimes offered up voluntarily — like posts on a Facebook page — but sometimes not.

Americans Victimized By Etch A Sketch Politics For Too Long

The Republican Presidential primary race is a joke, and Barack Obama will have four more years to continue to radically reshape the United States.

Mitt Romney campaign adviser Eric Fehrnstrom summed up why Republicans are poised to lose in the fall during an appearance on CNN Wednesday: The guy who will most likely be the GOP’s choice in the general election has the conviction of an Etch A Sketch.

When asked whether Romney’s very conservative rhetoric throughout the primary season would hurt his chances of wooing moderate voters in a campaign against Obama, Fehrnstrom replied: “I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It’s almost like an Etch A Sketch — you shake it all up and start over again.”

The remark — which should certainly come as no surprise to real conservatives, because Romney is essentially Obama-lite — represents one absolute truth: Except for Ron Paul, there is no true conservative running in the GOP primary.

Even if Romney, Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich had a chance to beat Obama, it wouldn’t matter. Look past the phony rhetoric and it is easy to see that Romney, Santorum and Gingrich all represent the same problem for voters. If any one of these men gets the job, nothing is going to change. The destruction of the United States is simply a consequence of other goals shared by the elite within the parties of both establishment Republicans and establishment Democrats.

The shared ambitions between the most powerful people within the two parties are:

  • Lining the pockets of the people at the highest levels within the military-industrial complex, the medical establishment and the Federal government while doing away with individual liberty.
  • And dehumanizing and demoralizing the greater American populace until submission to the will of the elite comes without a fight.

When the goal is accomplished, the United States will have reached the end of the road to tyranny that it has been slowly traveling for more than a century. Elections will no longer be necessary.

The number of people throughout the Nation who see the writing on the wall is growing. They are investing money in precious metals, food and tradable goods in anticipation of the economic collapse that the political elite have orchestrated. They are stocking weapons in anticipation of widespread social disorder and are visiting websites like Personal Liberty Digest™ to learn vital skills and find out about the latest efforts of elitists to control every aspect of their lives while they still can. These are people who demand only the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — things that are becoming foreign ideas to citizens of the United States.

Sadly, there exists a greater number of Americans who remain slave to the false left-right paradigm, many of whom feel the Federal government’s purpose is to make decisions and care for each and every one of its citizens. These people are willing to relinquish the liberty of all Americans for that care.

If there were any hope of the United States returning to its former glory rather than taking its place among the failed empires of history, it would only be the result of a painful process of reigning in spending and dependence on government. It would surely be an uncomfortable process. Paul is the only Presidential candidate who has been willing to admit this, and he is the only one who has provided a plan that would really undo the damage that has been done to the greatest Nation in history. Paul’s plan would cut $1 trillion in Federal spending during his first year in office, give young Americans the ability to opt out of Social Security, provide block grants to States to pay for social welfare programs, reduce the Federal workforce by 10 percent, cut taxes drastically and repeal overreaching Federal regulation. The candidate has also called for an end to unConstitutional military adventurism and restoration of Americans’ liberty.

Is it any wonder the establishment has made every effort to shut Paul up? Even if he were unable to achieve all of his goals, a Paul Presidency would badly damage the elitist agenda. For more than three decades, Paul has warned the Nation about the damage being done at the hands of the political elite with unwavering consistency that is even recognized by his harshest critics. It is time for Americans to reject phony slogans like hope and change, flip-flopping politicians and the top-down destruction of their Nation. This is no time for Etch A Sketch politics.

Hires Fuel Talk Of Biden Bid In 2016

WASHINGTON (UPI) — Several hires by Vice President Joe Biden are causing some Washington insiders to wonder whether he is considering a Presidential bid in 2016.

Former Senator Ted Kaufman, D-Del., who has been a Biden friend, staffer and adviser since the early 1970s, said it’s “premature” to say whether the Vice President was laying the groundwork for a 2016 run but added that his friend would be more than capable of it, POLITICO reported Thursday.

“What I’ve been saying, and what I think he believes also, is that after this election is over, he should seriously think about 2016,” Kaufman said.

Biden, who sought the Democratic Presidential nod in 1988 and 2008, would be 73 in 2016.

Kaufman, appointed to finish Biden’s term when Biden resigned to become Vice President, is part of an informal advisory group that includes Biden’s former chief of staff Ron Klain and Mike Donilon, a former adviser replaced by Steve Ricchetti, a one-time adviser to President Bill Clinton, POLITICO said.

“If I were him, I’d be thinking about running,” one Obama staffer said. “It would be stupid not to.”

Another person close to Obama told POLITICO he thought 2016 “is in the back of [Biden’s] mind and his staff is doing its due diligence. But he’ll have nothing if we don’t win in 2012.”

Still, if he is considering a 2016 bid, Biden would do well to be low-key about it.

“The V.P. should impose a gag order on any 2016 speculation,” said Phil Singer, a former aide to Clinton in 2008. “His 2016 viability hinges directly on his ability to focus on being a good VP and running mate. Angling for 2016 will provoke intense media scrutiny and will likely undo the work he has done.”

LA Council Mulls Condemning On-Air Slurs

LOS ANGELES (UPI) — The Los Angeles City Council is considering a resolution that would condemn certain types of speech on public airwaves.

Council member Jan Perry introduced legislation that would call upon media companies to ensure “on-air hosts do not use and promote racist and sexist slurs” while broadcasting, CBS in Los Angeles reported Wednesday.

The resolution drew attention to uproar over comments by KFI-AM talk show hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou when they called late pop singer Whitney Houston a “crack ho” soon after she died in February. The two were suspended.

The proposal also cited remarks made by conservative talk-show host Rush Limbaugh in which he called Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke a “slut” after she testified in Washington about women’s access to contraception.

The proposal said KFI has a “long history of racially offensive comments, as well as deplorable sexist remarks, particularly towards women and black, Latino, and Asian communities” and called on parent company Clear Channel Communications and other broadcasters to hire a more diverse workforce as a way to address the trend.

“It is easy to become desensitized to what other groups find intolerable, which ultimately fosters an environment where negative comments can go unchecked and corporate guidelines and policies are no longer being enforced,” the resolution said.

How To Buy Gasoline For 20 Cents A Gallon

Has the price of gas hit $4 a gallon yet where you live? As I mentioned in last week’s column, several analysts predict that price will seem cheap before the year is out. Are you ready to pay $5 a gallon?

Some neighbors and I were reminiscing recently about how cheap things were back in “the good old days.” I mentioned that the very first credit card I got was for one of the gas-station chains. Back then, gasoline cost less than 25 cents a gallon.

Then I said something that stopped them cold. “Do you know that you can still buy gasoline for about 20 cents a gallon?” They were all positive there was a trick to my question… and there is.

My claim is absolutely, totally, 100 percent true — if you pay with dimes that were minted before 1965.

Back then, dimes, quarters, half dollars and silver dollars were 90 percent pure silver. Today, those coins are commonly referred to as “junk silver.” But believe me, there is nothing junky about them.

These genuine silver coins are typically sold in bags with a face value of $1,000.  If they were all dimes, that would be 10,000 of them. Each bag contains about 712 ounces of silver. A pre-1965 silver dime has about 1/14 of an ounce of silver in it. With silver now around $32 an ounce, one of those “junk silver” dimes is worth about $2.29. Selling two of them would buy you a gallon of gas anywhere in the country.

Remember when a loaf of bread cost 10 cents? Well, one of those silver dimes will still get you one of the fancy fresh-baked loaves in the bakery section of your local grocery store. One of the mass-produced marvels with more air than nutrients will cost half that amount.

My point is simply this: The value of the goods we buy every day hasn’t changed. A loaf of bread is still a loaf of bread — ditto a quart of milk, a gallon of gas or a suit of clothes.

The reason things cost 10 or 20 or 50 times more than they used to isn’t that they are that much more valuable today. It’s that our measuring stick, the U.S. dollar, is worth so much less. Back in our grandparents’ day, the dollar was not only backed by gold, but for most of this country’s existence the U.S. government promised that it could be exchanged for gold at any bank in the Federal system.

The Treasury also produced something called “silver certificates” that operated the same way, except that they could be exchanged for silver. And our government promised to keep enough gold and silver in its reserves to honor all of those commitments.

But that was then. Today, the U.S. dollar is an “I.O.U. nothing,” as a friend of mine likes to put it. Oh, it says it is backed by the “full faith and credit of the United States.” But let me ask you: When you look at the disaster that Washington has made of the budget process and our economy, how much full faith and credit do you have in the people running the show today?

And how much “full faith and credit” do you have in the pieces of fiat currency called the U.S. dollar that they are producing by the trillions? I hope the answer to both of my rhetorical questions is “very little” and “not much.”

Our Founding Fathers knew that gold and silver were real money. That’s why they put into our Constitution that only gold and silver could be used to create our coinage.

Sadly, we’ve allowed the powers that be to create “money” out of thin air, with absolutely nothing to back it. That is why the value of our currency has plummeted more than 95 percent in past 100 years.

But more and more Americans are learning not to put their “full faith and credit” in our politicians or the currency that they manipulate. Want to protect the purchasing power of your savings? Then I’d suggest putting them into things of real value. And for the past 5,000 years, nothing has preserved value better than the Midas metal and its less-expensive sister, silver.

Exchanging dollars for gold and silver could be the best investment you make this year. It certainly has been for the past decade.

Until next time, keep some powder — and some gold and silver — on hand.

–Chip Wood

Geithner: No Plans To Increase IMF Funding

WASHINGTON (UPI) — U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Wednesday there were no plans to increase U.S. aid to the International Monetary Fund.

In a prepared text presented to the House Financial Services Committee, Geithner said the European economy was critical and its troubles had wide-ranging implications.

However, “We have no intention to seek additional U.S. resources for the IMF,” he said.

Geithner praised the IMF and the European Central Bank for steps taken to contain the debt crisis in Europe, but he encouraged Europe to create a bigger “firewall” — a fund meant to protect the financial system of Europe during a downturn.

He also encouraged the European Union to follow through on fiscal discipline measures recently adopted in Belgium.

Geithner said the U.S. economy is in a “much stronger position than the Continent as a whole.” In addition, “When growth slows in Europe, it affects growth around the world,” he said.

However, once its financial crisis is contained, then comes the hard work of restoring competitiveness to European businesses.

“Fiscal reforms are only part of the solution. The harder challenge is to address the erosion in competitiveness and restore reasonable rates of economic growth, a challenge made more difficult by the fact that in a monetary union, the member states do not have their own monetary policies or currencies that can adjust, and in Europe today there is no mechanism for fiscal transfers to help cushion economic shocks,” he said.

 

U.S. Mortgage Rates Move Higher

WASHINGTON (UPI) — Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates topped 4 percent for the first time in months in the week ending Thursday, the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. said.

Rates for 30-year contracts rose from 3.92 percent to 4.08 percent with 0.8 point for the week. A year earlier, 30-year mortgage rates averaged 3.92 percent.

Interest rates for 30-year contracts have hit historic lows in recent months. Rates have not risen above 4 percent since the week ending Oct. 27, Freddie Mac said.

Average rates for 15-year fixed-rate contracts rose from 3.16 percent to 3.3 percent with 0.8 point, Freddie Mac said.

In the same week of 2011, the average rate for 15-year loans stood at 4.04 percent.

Five-year adjustable rate mortgages averaged 2.96 percent for the week with an average 0.7 point, up from last week’s rate of 2.83 percent. A year earlier, five-year adjustable rate contracts averaged 3.62 percent.

One year Treasury-indexed adjustable mortgage rates rose in the week from 2.79 percent to 2.84 percent with 0.6 point. A year ago, rates for these loans averaged 3.17 percent.

“Mortgage rates are catching up with increases in U.S. Treasury bond yield,” said Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist Frank Nothaft. “Bond yields rose over the past two weeks in part due to an improving assessment of the state of the economy by the Federal Reserve, better than expected results of commercial bank stress tests and the likelihood of a second bailout for Greece,” he said.

First-Time Jobless Claims Drop By 5,000

LONDON (UPI) — The U.S. Labor Department said first-time jobless claims fell 5,000 in the week ended Saturday to 348,000, pushing the four-week rolling average to 355,000.

Last week’s drop followed a decrease of 14,000 the preceding week.

The four-week rolling average decreased 1,250 from the previous week’s 356,250, Labor said.

The biggest increases in initial jobless claims for the week ended March 10 were in Kentucky (up 742), Puerto Rico (up 643), Alabama (up 475), North Carolina (up 471) and Tennessee (up 457).

The biggest decreases were recorded in New York (down 14,222), California (down 4,696), Illinois (down 1,290), Florida (down 1,215) and Pennsylvania (down 1,129).

The U.S. unemployment rate was 8.3 percent in February, unchanged from January.

Detroit’s Finances Deemed In Severe Straits

DETROIT (UPI) — A team of financial advisers in Michigan deemed the city of Detroit in serious financial straits but said it would hold off on an outright state takeover.

The state-appointed team reviewing the city’s finances said Detroit was in a “severe financial emergency,” The Detroit News reported Thursday.

Michigan’s laws allow the state to take over a municipality’s finances if it is deemed to be in severe trouble. The review team, however, allowed the Detroit City Council to make one more attempt to forge a budget to put the city back on its feet.

“What’s accomplished is the review team has passed a motion recognizing the city is in severe financial stress,” state Treasurer Andy Dillon said.

The team, however, said it would review the new budget plan put together by Mayor Dave Bing and three city council members and send recommendations to Gov. Rick Snyder by Monday, the News said.

“We’ve made some significant progress, not only between the mayor and the council, but also with the state,” City Council President Charles Pugh said.

“We have been very creative and figured out a way for the state to have input, but not control.”