America Is Done

A historical moment is upon us.

As the Republican National Convention trudges on in Tampa, Fla., many Americans are unwittingly witnessing what the death of government by the people looks like. News reports of contention among two factions of the party — the old guard, follow-the-leader types and the raucous, new-to-politics Ron Paul types — from the Republican Presidential primary season notwithstanding, the inevitable took place on Tuesday as the Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan GOP was validated.

Watching the C-SPAN live footage of the delegates taking to their microphones State by State to cheerfully assign their delegates to the Romney/Ryan ticket was painful. It was painful not because I believe there is any doubt that Romney amassed the largest number of delegates, but because it was the most sincere representation of what has become the American electoral system that I have witnessed throughout this entire campaign season.

We are Republicans; we are one.

Republicans, at the behest of their corporate-crony leadership, have adorned themselves with a veneer of self-reliance and objectivist philosophy that is proudly touted as the collective party ideal (sound mutually exclusive at all?). But the facade is a self-desecrating one, made up of mere talking points that serve only to occupy useful idiots. Real ideas, real suggestions and real optimism about a renaissance in the way American government works are not welcome from the Republican useful idiots. The function of the masses on the convention floor is to march, lockstep, to their own demise.

That is why they have been told to be excited about a new “conservative” leader who just happened to have been the inspiration for Obamacare.

That is why the Vice Presidential candidate licked the shoes of the same corporate masters as liberals and neocons when he voted for auto industry bailouts and damning inflationary spending.

That is why they are to be excited about a Presidential candidate with many of the same financial friends as the current Usurper in Chief.

That is why, despite Romney’s past Constitutional missteps, they are to believe his Administration would have a restorative effect on American freedom and liberty.

And for those who repudiate any of the things the party wants them to believe: They are shills, part of an evil liberal conspiracy to re-elect President Barack Obama. 2+2=5. If you don’t like it, you are against us, this collective, this Republican Party; and we don’t want you here.

The message was made astoundingly clear by the treatment of Paul and his delegates. The candidate was reportedly offered a speech, but only if Romney’s people approved the message and were given an endorsement. Paul turned down the opportunity. Fighting illegal rule changes proved futile, as months of fighting was undone in seconds with a close voice vote, the result of which determined by John Boehner. That’s fair, right?

Media are calling Paul’s revolution over. Many of Paul’s people are looking to Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, and a handful of them are likely hanging their heads and giving up. The Republican Party is chastising them for not supporting Romney. “A third party vote, a Paul write-in, is a vote for Obama.”

But perhaps a more poignant criticism should be foisted on those who believe Romney will save the Nation, or even help it: A vote for Romney is a vote for ignorance; it is a vote against liberty. A vote for Romney is bowing to a political machine that values your opinion as much as it values America’s founding principles. A vote for Romney is to spit on the graves of men who bravely died in the name of freedom. A vote for Romney is a vote for Obama, they are one in the same: representatives of the Grim Reaper sent to do in our Constitutional republic once and for all.

It may be too late to save the Nation, but isn’t it worth a try?

Administrative Subpoena Loved By Government Spies

Americans believe that the Bill of Rights, or what is left of it, protects them from unreasonable and warrantless search and seizure under the 4th Amendment. This simply isn’t true, and hundreds of thousands of warrantless searches are likely under way as you read this.

Thanks to a helpful tool in the Federal government’s Soviet-esque spy arsenal called the “administrative subpoena” — the power of which has been emboldened in recent years by the Patriot Act and about 335 other Federal statutes — you no longer have the right to remain secure in your home, papers and effects.

The administrative subpoena gives Federal bureaucrats the ability to glean a variety of information about you from just about any entity that you choose to conduct business with. And while the government would have you believe that the tool is necessary to thwart terrorism and drug activity, an exposé published by Wired tells a different story:

Some of the stranger statutes authorizing administrative subpoenas involve the Agriculture Department’s power to investigate breaches of the Floral Research and Consumer Information Act and the Fresh Cut Flowers and Fresh Cut Greens Promotion and Information Act. The Commerce Department has administrative subpoena power for enforcing laws relating to the Atlantic tuna and the Northern Pacific halibut. It also has those powers when it comes to enforcing the National Weather Modification Act of 1976, requiring “any person to submit a report before, during, or after that person may engage in any weather modification attempt or activity.”

The administrative subpoena is also widely used to extract information from cellphone and Internet providers including location data, Web activity and information regarding private correspondence.

School Board Victimizes 3-Year-Old Deaf Boy

A Nebraska school district is telling the parents of a deaf 3-year-old boy that the sign language for his name, Hunter Spanjer, looks too much like a gun and must be changed.

Despite the fact that Hunter uses Signing Exact English (S.E.E.), the standard sign language, for his name, the school district says that the gestures he makes too closely resemble a gun. The imagery of a “dangerous weapon” is created when he crosses his index and middle fingers and waves them slightly.

But, the child’s name apparently offends the Grand Island School districts “Weapons in Schools” Board Policy 8470 which forbids “any instrument…that looks like a weapon.” This apparently includes a 3-year-old’s hands.

“Anybody that I have talked to thinks this is absolutely ridiculous. This is not threatening in any way,” Hunter’s grandmother Janet Logue told the local NCN news channel.

 

 

“We are working with the parents to come to the best solution we can for the child,” Jack Sheard, Grand Island Public Schools spokesperson, told KOLN.

The American Civil Liberties Union has urged the district to reconsider its deeming of the child’s name as an offensive gesture.

Gold Still A Sound Investment

Ahead of the annual monetary policy gabfest at Jackson Hole retreat in Wyoming, members of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve have been quietly hinting that another round of stimulus or “quantitative easing” (inflationary money printing) may be on the horizon.

Speculation that the Fed will again act and questions about its continued near-zero interest rate policy and what long-term effects a new round of quantitative easing will have on the U.S. economy have created some volatility in markets. But one area where volatility has been remarkably low (not surprisingly given historical evidence) is precious metals.

Over the next 18 months, most analysts expect gold prices to fluctuate little between $1,750 and $1,800 with a high side of $2,000. As the European Union continues to falter and talk of the U.S. economic cliff becomes louder and more constant, precious metal prices can only improve. Silver should stick it out in the mid $30s per ounce range over the 18-month period, but economic uncertainty has the potential to push the lesser precious metal to unchartered highs, according to some market watchers.

While investing in physical gold and silver is a good idea in the eyes of most well-prepared investors, it is also a good time to reap benefits from investments in precious metal-mining operations.

Over the past four weeks, gold and silver shares have outperformed Standard & Poor’s 500 index with gold up by about 3.3 percent and silver 9.1 percent. Analysts expect further upward mobility.

Surviving The Storm

With the prospect of Hurricane Isaac following a similar trajectory as Hurricane Katrina did seven years ago nearly to the day and as thousands have been urged to evacuate affected areas, it is a good time for preppers to take an opportunity to re-evaluate their plans for the unexpected.

When weather-created emergencies happen, some of the most obvious and easily obtained survival items quickly become commodities in short supply as the thousands of people who have neglected any sort of preparation rush to acquire them to ride out the storm in their homes.

These things include:

  • Extra fuel for vehicles and generators.
  • Food that can be prepared without the need for electricity.
  • A camping stove and extra fuel.
  • A store of clean water. (Remember to store enough for one gallon per person daily.)
  • Flashlights and candles for light.
  • A battery-operated radio.
  • Batteries.

In the time directly following a weather-related emergency, these are often the first things that will fly off of store shelves, assuming travel to stores is possible, as survivors prepare to live as comfortably as possible without basic infrastructure. Not knowing how long it could take for power and other utilities to be restored makes it important for those prepping to consider stocking up to at least a month’s worth of these supplies.

In the event that travel is impossible, not having these things on hand can greatly lessen your chances of surviving a catastrophe. With no available methods of travel, even the most minor injuries or medical conditions can become serious, making the preparation of a comprehensive home first-aid kit paramount.

Your first-aid kit should include:

  • Acetaminophen, ibuprofen and aspirin tablets.
  • Ipecac syrup and activated charcoal.
  • Antibacterial soap.
  • Elastic wrap.
  • Triangular bandages.
  • Scissors with rounded tips.
  • Adhesive tape and 2-inch gauze.
  • Disposable, instant ice bags.
  • Bandages of assorted sizes.
  • Antibiotic ointment.
  • Extras of prescription medications required regularly.

As with any catastrophic situation, the desperate or simply criminally inclined will seek opportunities to victimize anyone left in a compromised state. It is important to have on hand firearms, ammunition and other weapons in order to protect your loved ones and property from looters.

In the unfortunate event that you are forced to evacuate your home, a bug-out bag for each member of your family containing essential survival items as well as a collection of important personal documents and cash will aid in comfort and survival.

For more information related to surviving catastrophic situations check out Bob Livingston’s How to Survive the Collapse of Civilization and In Case of Emergency! Lifesaving Tips for your Family’s Survival.

Rand Paul Wants Legal Hemp

Senator Rand Paul (R.-Ky.) is currently working to do away with Federal laws that classify industrial hemp in the same way as marijuana, a move that he says would have lasting economic benefits.

Currently, the Federal government effectively prohibits production of the non-hallucinogenic plant that can be used to make products including twine, paper and clothing. Even though 27 States have made some moves to facilitate hemp production, farmers who grow the plants still risk Federal raids.

“The rest of the world can grow hemp and we’re not, so we’re losing out on that product,” Paul said. “You know our farmers are one of the greatest parts of our economy. We do things very well in agriculture. If we would legalize hemp I think we would be one of the leaders of the world. I think we have a chance of passing it.”

Paul presented legislation in the Senate last month — similar to a House bill proposed by his father Ron — that would make it legal for farmers to grow industrial hemp crops.

Hemp advocates contend that by allowing hemp farming, the $400 million industry would lead to “instant job creation.” Pointing out that hemp is widely used in the manufacture of clothing, it was noted recently that President Barack Obama is raising campaign funds by selling a Monique Péan scarf on his website made of 45 percent cotton and 55 percent hemp. The hemp is imported from China.

Golden Platform Additions For GOP

A return to the gold standard in American currency is something that has been constantly cited by Republican Presidential candidate Ron Paul as a viable option to help the dollar reclaim its strength. Despite mainstream politicos writing off Paul’s economic ideas as kooky, the GOP is set to make at least investigating a gold standard part of the Party platform.

According to CNBC, drafts of the Republican Party platform, which will be adopted at the convention this week, include provisions for setting up a commission that would investigate the effects of a return to the gold standard. There is also a call for an audit of the Federal Reserve, another of Paul’s utmost goals.

The commission would only have the power to make recommendations, but could serve to educate politicians and the public about the pros and cons of a return to gold.

“There is a growing recognition within the Republican Party and in America more generally that we’re not going to be able to print our way to prosperity,” Sean Fieler, chairman of the American Principles Project, told Financial Times.

In the Republican platforms of both 1980 and 1984, gold was mentioned as a possible way to improve American economic affairs. And in 1981, President Ronald Reagan created a commission to examine the possibility of returning to a gold standard. It has not been part of the Republican Party platform since.

Stimulus Likely Amid Election Heat-Up

Get ready for another round of fiat money production courtesy of the Federal Reserve; the central bank says if economic data doesn’t turn around, it will fire up the presses “fairly soon.”

Recently released minutes from meetings of the Federal Open Market Committee indicate that Fed officials have concerns about slow growth and the state of European economic affairs.

The stimulus is not set in stone, but most analysts contend that it would not be unlikely for Americans to see a third round of quantitative easing (money printing) announced at the Fed meeting in September.

“Many members judged that additional monetary accommodation would likely be warranted fairly soon unless incoming information pointed to a substantial and sustainable strengthening in the pace of the economic recovery,” the minutes of the July 31-Aug. 1 FOMC meeting said.

Fed policymakers also cited conditions that “warrant exceptionally low levels for the federal funds rate at least through late 2014” as a reason to possibly extend the duration the main interest rate will remain near zero, the minutes show.

There has been widespread speculation that the Fed will act in the months prior to the Presidential election in order to create a temporary economic boom that would aid President Barack Obama in re-election. This is despite Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s assertion that the Federal Reserve makes no decisions based on political considerations.

Liberal economist Paul Krugman lambasted conservative pressure on the Fed earlier this month in a post on a New York Times blog, writing: “It really makes no sense — except in terms of politics. I really believe that we have reached a point where the Fed is afraid to do its job, for fear of being accused of helping Obama.”

Picket Fences Are Long Gone

The American middle class is shrinking rapidly, and those holding on to the vestiges of the socioeconomic bracket once exemplary of the American dream now have it worse than ever before.

This, according to a new study out from the Pew Research Center, is a trend that will most likely continue in the United States. As both President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney attempt to make their case to the American public of how they plan to embolden the American middle class, the population segment is in the worst shape it’s been since World War II.

In 1971, about 61 percent of American households were described as middle class. Today, just 51 percent fall into the group. The most rapid decline in middle-class affluence, according to Pew, has occurred over the past decade.

According to Pew:

For the middle-income group, the “lost decade” of the 2000s has been even worse for wealth loss than for income loss. The median income of the middle-income tier fell 5%, but median wealth (assets minus debt) declined by 28%, to $93,150 from $129,582.

The research center notes that the dismal past decade the middle class has endured has taken its toll on the confidence of middle-class Americans, with 23 percent doubting they will have the savings to last throughout retirement and only two-thirds believing that hard work guarantees one might get ahead.

“The notion that we are a society with a large middle class, with lots of economic and social mobility and a belief that each generation does better than the next — these are among the core tenets of what it means to be an American,” said Paul Taylor, the Pew Research Center’s executive vice president. “But that’s not necessarily the case anymore.”

Ruby Ridge Tactics Now Modus Operandi?

This week, two decades ago, Americans were watching reports of the horrific escalation of the events that occurred in Ruby Ridge, Idaho, where agents of the Federal government terrorized and killed members of Randy Weaver’s family after he failed to appear in court on a charge of selling to an undercover Federal agent shotguns that were slightly too short.

The standoff began on Aug. 21, 1992 when agents skulking through the woods near Weaver’s secluded residence happened upon his son Sam Weaver and friend Kevin Harris along with a family dog. The agents, alleging the dog had tried to attack them, killed the animal. The Weavers’ 14-year-old son, not realizing who had fired at his dog, fired a shot in response before attempting to flee; he was shot in the back. A gunfight between the agents and Harris ensued, resulting in U.S. Marshal William Degan’s death.

The agents later shot Weaver’s wife, Vicki (who was holding a 10-month-old baby in her arms), in the face as his teenage daughter Sara ran toward her mother and the safety of their home.

After his surrender and trial, both Weaver and Harris were cleared of the most serious charges stemming from the incident.

From Reason in October 1993:

On July 8, 1993, in what The New York Times called “a strong rebuke of the Government’s use of force during an armed siege,” a jury in Boise found Randy Weaver, 45 and almost always described in the media as a “white separatist,” and family friend Kevin Harris, 25, not guilty on six of eight counts, including murder of a U.S. marshal, conspiracy to provoke a confrontation with the government, aiding and abetting murder, and harboring a fugitive.

Weaver was found guilty on two minor counts: failure to appear on an earlier firearms charge and violating conditions of bail on the same count. As of this writing, he is still in custody, with sentencing scheduled for September 28. Although the maximum sentence for the two crimes is 15 years, his sentence is likely to be about a year, roughly the amount of time he has already served. Kevin Harris went free the day of the verdict.

It seems, however, that at least some within the FBI were aware that what they were doing was unlawful and unConstitutional as demonstrated by a memo written by FBI Deputy Assistant Director Danny Coulson while the siege was under way:

OPR 004477

Something to Consider

1. Charge against Weaver is Bull Shit.

2. No one saw Weaver do any shooting.

3. Vicki has no charges against her.

4. Weaver’s defense. He ran down the hill to see what dog was barking at. Some guys in camys shot his dog. Started shooting at him. Killed his son. Harris did the shooting [of Degan]. He [Weaver] is in pretty strong legal position.

The U.S. Marshals considered Weaver a very dangerous man who was affiliated with various “right-wing” hate organizations and who, they were told, had spoken ill of Federal government officials and likely posed a significant threat.

In 1995, however, the Senate Judiciary Committee issued a report that called the threat-profile that the government had compiled about Weaver seriously flawed, noting:

…as marshals investigating the Weaver case learned facts that contradicted information they previously had been provided, they did not adequately integrate their updated knowledge into their overall assessment of who Randy Weaver was or what threat he might pose. If the Marshals made any attempt to assess the credibility of the various people who gave them information about Weaver, they never recorded their assessments. Thus, rather than maintaining the Threat Source Profile as a living document, the marshals added new reports to an ever-expanding file, and their overall assessment never really changed. These problems rendered it difficult for other law enforcement officials to assess the Weaver case accurately without the benefit of first-hand briefings from persons who had continuing involvement with him.

Two decades after the incident at Ruby Ridge, law enforcement officials and the Department of Homeland Security have made it easier than ever before to define American citizens as right-wing extremists. All the while, law enforcement down to the smallest hometown police departments have become militarized to the point of or beyond how the agents at Ruby Ridge were equipped.

The paranoid and ever-expanding security apparatus has, in the time since Ruby Ridge, created information “fusion centers” where they compile threat-profiles about religious people, pro- and anti-abortion activists, environmental activists, Ron Paul supporters, Tea Partiers, Constitutionalists, and just about anyone else who has a political opinion.

The Patriot and other Federal acts have given government the power to spy on any person at any time without warrant. And the President of the United States has made clear that Federal operatives reserve the right to kill American citizens that they deem “enemy combatants” or to indefinitely detain them without trial.

Law enforcement was met with condemnation for tactics of haphazardly profiling as a dangerous radical and carrying out a shoot-first-think-later operation against Weaver and his family; two decades later, however, it seems to many people that government has adopted the dangerous policy as a way to exercise its power over all Americans.