Judge: 4th Amendment Doesn’t Bar 24/7 Video On Private Land

A Federal judge has ruled that it is not a violation of the 4th Amendment for police to install surveillance cameras on a person’s private property if they expect a crime is being committed.

Officers in Wisconsin charged Manuel Mendoza and Marco Magana of Green Bay with Federal drug charges after discovering an alleged 1,000 marijuana plants growing on a heavily wooded, 22-acre property. Agents with the Drug Enforcement Agency gathered video evidence on the gated, posted property without a warrant. Magana and Mendoza, facing life imprisonment and $10 million in fines, asked U.S. Magistrate Judge William Callahan to throw out the video evidence on 4th Amendment grounds.

On Oct. 8, however, Callahan agreed with a 1984 Supreme Court case ruling in Oliver v. United States allowing for the warrantless search of open fields on private property by the government and extended the ruling to video surveillance.

“That one’s actions could be recorded on their own property, even if the property is not within the curtilage, is contrary to society’s concept of privacy,” wrote Brett Reetz, Magana’s attorney, in a legal filing last month. “The owner and his guest… had reason to believe that their activities on the property were not subject to video surveillance as it would constitute a violation of privacy.”

“Curtilage” is a legal term for property closer to a residence which traditionally is more protected by privacy rights.

Federal Judge William Griesbach rejected a request for repeal in the case. It has also been noted that it is unclear Magana had complete ownership of the property or was leasing the land, according to reports. A jury trial has been scheduled to begin Jan. 22.

Terror, Terror, Terror!

New York University students in a class on transnational terrorism cannot pass the course until they “hypothetically plan a terrorist attack” of their own, including details about location and how they would carry out their dastardly plans.

An investigative report compiled by the New York Post, unveils how students of former Navy criminal investigator Marie-Helen Maras are asked to “step into [a terrorist’s] shoes” to write a 10- to 15-page paper on their proposed act of terror.

“In your paper, you must describe your hypothetical attack and what will happen in the aftermath of the attack,” Maras wrote in the syllabus obtained by The Post.

The students are also reportedly required to outline a government-response plan to the attack.

Ryan Singel, editor of Wired’s “Threat Level” blog, offered a critique of The Post’s alarmism that is rife with sarcasm.

He writes:

I know you apologists will say such an exercise is intended to train analysts to know how to think like their adversaries, and be able to understand how to detect and disrupt attacks. But that’s just fancy intellectualizing.

…But we need to do more than keep our students from drawing up plots for terrorists and then e-mailing their homework to them.

We need to rein in Hollywood and put export controls on — or even better — ban terrorist-communications-masquerading-as-entertainment like “Live Free or Die,” “Homeland,” and “24“. We should even consider controls on well-intentioned fare like the “Red Dawn” and “Rambo” movies from the 1980s.

The only way to keep the terrorists in the Dark Ages is to keep them in the dark, even if we have to sacrifice by living there too. Our bright future depends on it.

But perhaps there is a bigger picture than whether it is dangerous for graduate students to plot terrorist attacks and government response scenarios in class. The terrorism-lurks-around-every-corner mentality has become the American norm in the years since 9/11’s devastation — even as there have been an underwhelming number of terrorist attacks during the same period.

The students may still be gaining valuable skill, however, in learning to set up and subsequently thwart acts of terrorism — especially if you consider the way “counterterrorism” has largely worked in the past decade or so. Government agencies like the FBI set up elaborate plots, find weak-minded patsies to play along, equip them and then sweep in to save the day.

The New York Times pointed out in April: “Of the 22 most frightening plans for attacks since 9/11 on American soil, 14 were developed in sting operations.”

The most recent FBI plot was earlier this month when the agency convinced a 21-year-old Bangladeshi man that he wanted to blow up the Federal Reserve Bank of New York:

From New York Daily News:

While en route to his target Wednesday morning, [Rezwanul ] Nafis bragged to his accomplices — actually undercovers working for the FBI — that he had a “Plan B” to conduct a suicide bombing operation if cops thwarted his Federal Reserve mission.

…[The FBI’s acting assistant director in New York] insisted the public was never at risk because the explosives he had accumulated with the help of an undercover FBI agent and an FBI source posing as his accomplices were inert.

The Federal agents keep their jobs, the American people remain terrified of anyone who is lightly brown on an airplane or wearing a turban near a government building, and the security/police state continues to grow for when the elitists in charge will need it the most: when factions of the citizen population realize the folly of bureaucracy and take the advice of the Founders regarding tyrannical government.

Until then, enjoy your radioactive airport body scans, your government’s ability to conduct surveillance and make arrests at will and without warrant, and the continued militarization of and Federalized partnerships being made by your local law enforcement.

Americans should be frightened, but not of a “terrorist’s” potential to acquire an NYU student’s notebook; it’s what students may be required to do by their Federal masters in the not-so-distant future that’s scary.

Polls Shaken By Sandy

If you rely on the polls mainstream media continually publish as a reliable source of information about who may be leading in the Presidential election, beware: The already skewed and confusing results are going to be increasingly unreliable in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

According to The Hill, Gallup has suspended daily national polling due to the storm, and many voters in the battlegrounds of Pennsylvania, Virginia and New Hampshire may be out of pollsters’ reach just days before the election.

“As a pollster right now I couldn’t poll from Virginia up to New Hampshire; it would be a total blackout,” Brad Coker, managing director at Mason-Dixon Polling and Research told the publication. “All of New England is off the board, so you’re going into this last weekend basically not knowing.”

While the latest numbers before the polling blackout indicated a largely tied race with Mitt Romney pulling slightly ahead, it looks like Americans are going to have to wait until after the election to find out if a surprise landslide for either candidate is in store.

Some conservative pundits have speculated that, sensing a Romney lead, the left is going to use Hurricane Sandy to delegitimize a Republican victory should the candidate win.

Federal/Private Police State To Result From New Obama Order

A new executive order signed into law by President Barack Obama quietly last week further empowers the Department of Homeland Security by helping it to create local partnerships between Federal and private institutions “to address homeland security challenges.”

According to the executive order (the 141st signed by Obama), the purpose of the decree is to allow the Federal government and private entities to operate more closely “to use resources more efficiently, build on one another’s expertise, drive innovation, engage in collective action, broaden investments to achieve shared goals, and improve performance” in embolden National security.

“This approach recognizes that, given the complexities and range of challenges, we must institutionalize an all-of-Nation effort to address the evolving threats to the United States,” the executive order declares.

The efforts to encourage more Federal and private collaboration with regard to national security will be headed up by a “steering committee” consisting of representatives “at the Deputy agency head level” from a number of Federal agencies, including the Department of State, the Department of Defense, the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and others. The resulting Homeland Security Partnership Council will be chaired by either the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism or a designee from the National Security Staff.

Besides allowing the government more wiggle room on private Homeland Security partnerships, the executive order will also reportedly give local law enforcement more incentive to operate alongside Federal agencies.

Left Targets Immature Voters

Recent reports show that, despite the increasingly kitschy campaign ads from the left (called by some pundits an attempt to lure younger, more immature voters), the campaign for President Barack Obama lacks youth support in key battleground States.

A survey of college-aged voters conducted by Sky News in Ohio, a political battleground State, shows Obama failing to energize young voters with the “rock star” persona he touted in 2008. Many young voters polled said that Obama’s youth appeal has been largely exposed as fraudulent to younger voters after four years of policy that doesn’t match.

From the article:

The president has been campaigning hard for the youth vote in Ohio, which is widely seen as a must-win state for both candidates.

But some students at Bowling Green State University (BGSU) told Sky News Mr Obama had failed to recreate the rock star appeal of his historic 2008 campaign, when hyped-up voters aged under 30 formed a vital part of his achievement.

The president still attracts a larger share of young voters than Mitt Romney, polls suggest, but he is now only polling with a slight overall lead over his rival in Ohio. That means he needs every vote he can get and with each one he loses, he is more exposed to Mr Romney’s gains in other areas.

Slipping youth support appears to be driving the left into a frenzy to create ads of little political value that seem to serve most as a ploy for a chuckle to cement the candidate in the minds of younger, less informed and less politically active Americans.

Like this “message from the greatest generation” from Michael Moore:

 

 

Or Lena Dunham’s tasteless sex-themed advertisement paid for by Obama for America:

 

Media Continues Election Race-Baiting

Mainstream media continue to push the idea that the upcoming Presidential election is about race.

In a television appearance Sunday on ABC’s This Week, Andrew Sullivan of The Daily Beast said that if Mitt Romney wins a majority of the vote in Florida and Virginia, the electoral map will look exactly as did the pro-slavery portion of the United States during the Civil War.

Sullivan was responding to an observation made by This Week host George Stephanopoulos noting that national polls indicate Romney holds the favor of six out of 10 white voters.

The Associated Press has also done its part to push the race narrative as the Presidential election season draws down. The news agency published a poll on Saturday titled “AP poll: Majority harbor prejudice against blacks.”

The article begins:

Racial attitudes have not improved in the four years since the United States elected its first black president, an Associated Press poll finds, as a slight majority of Americans now express prejudice toward blacks whether they recognize those feelings or not.

Those views could cost President Barack Obama votes as he tries for re-election, the survey found, though the effects are mitigated by some Americans’ more favorable views of blacks.

The AP’s polling data suggest that 51 percent of Americans harbor negative feelings toward blacks.

National Security And Kindergarten

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is looking for potential future additions to the United States’ massive security/surveillance apparatus; her agency has begun to target kindergarten-aged children with cybersecurity training.

In a recent blog post on the Department of Homeland Security website, Napolitano writes of the importance of recognizing the next generation of government cybersecurity experts:

At DHS, we’re working to develop the next generation of leaders in cybersecurity while fostering an environment for talented staff to grow in this field.  We are building strong cybersecurity career paths within the Department, and in partnership with other government agencies.  We are also creating training and development opportunities to retain our most talented employees and ensure their professional development.  In collaboration with the National Security Agency, we are strengthening the nation’s educational infrastructure by supporting Centers of Academic Excellence across the country.

In addition, we are extending the scope of cyber education beyond the federal workplace through the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education, involving students from kindergarten through post-graduate school. And we sponsor the U.S. Cyber Challenge, a program that works with academia and the private sector to identify and develop the best and brightest cyber talent to meet our nation’s growing and changing security needs.

The DHS has been working desperately in recent years to identify young cybersecurity talent to work in what officials say will play a key role in keeping Americans safe.

Obama Wants ‘Secretary Of Business’

President Barack Obama, seeking to embolden his weak record on American business, said that he would appoint a “secretary of Business” if he is elected to a second term in the White House.

The President said in a recent interview that he would consolidate a number of government business agencies to create a “one-stop shop” for business oversight.

“I’ve said that I want to consolidate a whole bunch of government agencies. We should have one secretary of Business, instead of nine different departments that are dealing with things like giving loans to SBA [the Small Business Administration] or helping companies with exports,” he said in an interview with MSNBC.

Under a proposal that Obama put forth in January, six government commerce and trade agencies — including the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the Export-Import Bank — would be combined under one Federal agency. He also suggested the SBA should have a seat in the Presidential cabinet.

Congress was not enthusiastic about the President’s proposal, and the initiative failed to gain the support needed to move forward.

Despite Obama’s attempts to appeal to America’s business community, Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney is continuing with a message that paints the President as a decidedly anti-business candidate.

Political Opportunism And Sandy

As Hurricane Sandy threatened much of the United States’ Eastern seaboard, political pundits took the opportunity to shout back and forth about which Presidential candidate would cut the most funding to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The Huffington Post dug up a Mitt Romney quote from during the Republican primary. The candidate was discussing the possibility of doing away with FEMA and making emergency management the responsibility of the States.

“Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction. And if you can go even further, and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better. Instead of thinking, in the federal budget, what we should cut, we should ask the opposite question, what should we keep?” Romney said of the agency.

Headlines from various other news organizations ran with the theme touting things like Salon’s “Mitt’s Frankenstorm economics.” That article claimed that Romney has a vision of an America where free enterprise takes advantage of people in helpless situations as a result of privatization.

Conservative publication Breitbart swung back at the Barack Obama apologist media by pointing out that the President’s proposal for the upcoming budget sequester also calls for cuts to FEMA.

The source reports:

Obama’s proposed cuts to FEMA include the following (emphasis added):

  • Flood Hazard Mapping and Risk Analysis Program – $8 million
  • State and Local Emergency Programs (non-defense) – $183 million
  • State and Local Emergency Programs (defense) – $5 million
  • United States Fire Administration and Training – $4 million
  • Salaries and Expenses (non-defense) – $75 million
  • Salaries and Expenses (defense) – $7 million
  • Disaster Relief – $580 million
  • Emergency Food and Shelter – $10 million
  • Radiological Emergency Preparedness Program – $3 million
  • National Pre-disaster Mitigation Fund – $3 million

Supreme Court Hears Wiretapping Arguments

Today, the Supreme Court will consider a matter (Amnesty International v. Clapper) that could take away the National Security Agency’s ability to eavesdrop on Americans’ email and cellular communications without first obtaining a warrant.

Following the events that took place on 9/11, President George W. Bush ordered amendments (FISA Amendment Act) to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) — which was originally implemented in 1970 — that allowed the government to monitor the U.S. citizens corresponding with people outside of the country.

Last month, when the U.S. House voted to reauthorize the amendments, civil liberties activists issued harsh criticism of the move.

A legal briefing filed by the American Civil Liberties Union stated: Under the FAA, the government can target anyone — human rights researchers, academics, attorneys, political activists, journalists — simply because they are foreigners outside the United States, and in the course of its surveillance it can collect Americans’ communications with those individuals.

Aside from gripes over the potential 4th Amendment violations, civil liberties activists call the Justice Department’s justification for disallowing challenges to the FISA Amendments bunk. Justice contends that Americans cannot challenge the government’s eavesdropping because they likely do not know whether they have been targeted.

“This law clearly intrudes on constitutionally protected privacy and free speech rights, and the courts have not just the authority but the obligation to intervene,” said ACLU deputy legal director Jameel Jaffer, who will appear before the justices. “The Court of Appeals rightly held that our clients have the right to challenge the law, because the substantial risk that their communications will be monitored under it has compelled them to take costly measures to protect information that is sensitive. We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will agree with the Court of Appeals that the constitutionality of the government’s surveillance powers can and should be tested in court.”

Any time information about those targeted for surveillance under FAA has come up, Federal officials have simply stated that national security prohibits them from releasing the information. Furthermore, the government has tried to block courts from determining the Constitutionality of its actions by using its own refusal to provide information as the bulwark to prevent court hearings.

Bill Binney worked at the NSA from 1965 to 2001, and J. Kirk Wiebe worked at the NSA from 1975 to 2001. Last week, the two penned a whistle-blowing column in POLITICO outlining why the NSA has too much power to spy on U.S. citizens:

The NSA cannot be trusted with this power. No agency should be. Since 2001, the NSA has been willing time and again to throw the Constitution overboard and snoop on innocent Americans who are not suspected of any wrongdoing. Using shockingly fast machines called NARUS devices, the NSA can monitor virtually every single phone call, email and text that passes through the United States. The agency can make a mirror image of all those communications, then funnel those copies to massive data vaults. When it wants to, the NSA can then go through and compile a dossier on each and every one of us. That would be well and good if the agency followed the law and tracked only suspected terrorists. But it does not. Under the warrantless wiretapping program and now the FISA Amendments Act, the NSA conducts blanket, dragnet surveillance of Americans’ international communications, even when there is not even a hint that we’ve done something wrong.

America’s Mighty Drones

The United Nations has its sights set on American drone policy in the Mideast after long condemning the use of drone strikes in areas where civilian casualties often result. Early next year, a U.N. investigative team is set to conduct a thorough investigation of civilian casualties resulting from the strikes.

In a speech last week at Harvard Law School, U.N. special rapporteur Ben Emmerson, who monitors counterterrorism efforts, said that the organization could explore the possibility that the drone strikes are war crimes.

Emmerson said:

[It is] alleged that since President Obama took office at least 50 civilians were killed in follow-up strikes when they had gone to help victims and more than 20 civilians have also been attacked in deliberate strikes on funerals and mourners. [U.N. consultant, professor of human rights] Christof Heyns … has described such attacks, if they prove to have happened, as war crimes. I would endorse that view.

Also last week, The Washington Post reported that U.S. officials are developing an expanded drone kill list that is “designed to go beyond existing kill lists, mapping plans for the ‘disposition’ of suspects beyond the reach of American drones.”

“The problem with the drone is it’s like your lawn mower,” Bruce Riedel, a former CIA analyst and Obama counterterrorism adviser, told The Post. “You’ve got to mow the lawn all the time. The minute you stop mowing, the grass is going to grow back.”

The CIA recently also submitted a proposal asking Congress to provide it with more drones for use in the Mideast. The unmanned aerial vehicles are tools that both President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney agree should continue to be used in the same manner which they are now.

CEOs To Pressure Congress On Fiscal Cliff

A group of leading American CEOs has joined together in initiating a campaign to encourage Washington lawmakers to come to an agreement about what should be done to avoid the impending fiscal cliff.

According to The Hill, chief executives from dozens of the Nation’s biggest corporations have joined to coax an agreement to break the fiscal stalemate that has kept the 112th Congress from making progress with regard to the ever-expanding National debt.

“What we’re trying to do is drive support for the radical middle, the 70 percent of us … that really want to do the right thing down the middle and recognize that the only way you can govern is through compromise,” said David Cote, chairman and CEO of Honeywell.

The executives say they want a deal from Congress that would reform entitlement spending programs to cut the deficit and overhaul the tax code to create more revenue. This would strike balance between Democratic and Republican plans that Congress continues to argue over.

With $40 million in private donations for its cause, the group plans to embark on an aggressive advertising campaign after the elections to pressure Congress. Chief executives joining the cause include the heads of Aetna, Microsoft, JPMorgan Chase, General Electric and Boeing.

The CEOs were organized by the nonpartisan group Fix the Debt.

Massive Storm Possible On East Coast

Preppers in the Northeast should prepare for some harrowing weather next week as what is being dubbed as a “perfect storm” is predicted by forecasters and could affect people from North Carolina to Nova Scotia.

“It is likely that significant impacts will be felt over portions of the U.S. East Coast through the weekend and into early next week,” the National Hurricane Center said.

On Thursday, Hurricane Sandy battered Cuba before taking a turn that could lead it right up the East Coast. The hurricane could track north just in time not only to cause heavy rains but also to meet a cold weather front, which would make for a potential Hurricane/winter weather hybrid event that could cause up to $1 billion in damage, forecasters say.

Some meteorologists are predicting a mix of steady gale-force winds, heavy rain, flooding and possible snow starting Sunday and continuing past Halloween on Wednesday for people in the eastern part of the United States.

“It’s going to be a high-impact event,” said Bob Oravec, a lead forecaster with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Hydro-Meteorological Prediction Center in College Park, Md.

“It has the potential to be a very significant storm with respect to coastal flooding, depending on exactly where it comes in. Power outages are definitely a big threat,” he said.

Officials say that if the storm makes landfall as expected on the Northeastern coast, it has the potential to grow into a storm that will “go down in history books.”

A Third Party Vote Is A Vote For America

On Monday, Americans watched a supposedly liberal candidate for President and a supposedly conservative candidate for President agree on the importance of massive military spending.

Those who voted for Barack Obama in 2008 with the hopes of less American meddling in the Mideast heard him talking about why he has used drone attacks galore in the region, even killing an American citizen in the role of judge, jury and executioner. They heard why we must remain in the Mideast and why America must shun cuts to military spending.

Mitt Romney agreed with Obama on his points and upped the ante, suggesting that not only should cuts be shunned but also that military spending increases should be championed. And conservative voters watched yet another Romney forward-march toward centrist candidate, effectively Etch A Sketch-ing much of the “true conservative” Republican persona that many voters on the right so badly wanted to battle Obama in the coming election.

Oh yeah, and they talked about Israel. And Israel. And Israel. And Israel. It became apparent that the third and final Presidential “foreign policy” debate focused largely on domestic policy. When the candidates did focus on the intended topic, the differences in position were non-apparent.

So the choice — the “direction for America’s future” choice — is clear, and the next four years are going to be a continuation of the past 12: a back-and-forth over taxes at home that never reaches a clear and concrete conclusion to the benefit of anyone; a continued assault on Constitutional civil liberties; a continued boon to the American and International banking cartels; and, without a doubt, a continued effort to line the pockets of America’s ever-expanding military industrial complex, which will take the lives of more American volunteers abroad and continue to double down its domestic expansion.

Often, it seems that these political writings are constantly dismal in tone. But there is no other option, for the readers will continue to lie to themselves until they are no longer allowed a political opinion. But, for all of those who continue to lambaste anyone who suggests that neither Obama nor Romney is the man for the job, here are some points with which you may agree at least slightly.

  • America is financially doomed due to a little more than half a century of government ineptitude.
  • The only way to reverse the coming economic calamity is to implement drastic change and completely alter the way citizens of the Nation view their place in the world and their responsibility at home.
  • This was not a Nation built on the idea that a ruling class has the authority to manipulate a peasant class.
  • The government no longer works for you.
  • Debt cannot be lessened by increasing spending, whether it is on corporate welfare, domestic entitlements or the military.
  • A government with the ability to print money ad infinitum has no reason to tax its citizens’ income.
  • The National Defense Authorization Act, domestic surveillance dragnets set up to catch anyone critical of government, parliamentary police forces and threats to free speech, personal property and the right to personal defense must all be eliminated.

Neither Obama nor Romney agrees with any of these things. They both incorrectly believe that governments can effectively create jobs. They both believe that safety always trumps liberty. They believe in and belong to the ruling class and are surrounded by members of the military-industrial and banking cartels that flourish only when Average Joe flounders. They both believe that increasing government spending in one way or another will help to reduce the government’s debt.

So, say again that a vote for anyone but Romney is a vote for Obama; it doesn’t matter because a vote for Romney is a vote for Obama. A vote for either man is a vote for moving again further from the principles upon which this Nation was founded.

A third party vote may indeed be a fool’s errand, because a vast majority of the population of this Nation is informed only by corporate-controlled (and, thereby, government-controlled) mainstream media that have gone to great lengths to black out any message but that of the two (one) party status quo.

On Tuesday, another debate was broadcast. It wasn’t carried by FOX, MSNBC, CNN or any other major television news networks. It was, however, shown on Russian semi-state-run network RT, as well as C-Span and a handful of online news channels.

The event, sponsored by the Free and Equal Elections Foundation, included the Justice Party’s Rocky Anderson, the Constitution Party’s Virgil Goode and the Green Party’s Jill Stein (none of whom you’ve probably heard of) along with Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson. The debate was refreshing; and, while the candidates agreed on many of the issues of the zeitgeist, they certainly offered a clear collective rebuttal to the ideas of Romney and Obama.

Because most readers probably don’t know much of anything about the aforementioned third party candidates, this column will not pick apart the debate but will rather challenge readers to wake up from the Romney/Obama coma and watch the event below. There are no funny moments or personal attacks, but it looks a lot like what one may expect the Nation’s Founders had hoped for modern political discourse.

*The debate begins at 1:02:55.*


 

Johnson took the night. Though the Libertarian is on the ballots in 48 States, enough to secure an Electoral College victory, it is evident that he won’t win in the Presidential election. America is too lazy to digest anything but FOX/MSNBC mind mush and demand a clear alternative to Thing 1 or Thing 2.

Bernanke May Step Down From Fed

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will likely resign from his position in January 2014, regardless of whether President Barack Obama is re-elected.

Though Bernanke has declined to comment publicly about the possibility of giving up the position he has held since the George W. Bush Presidency, it is reported that sources close to him say he will likely step down.

“I am very focused on my work, I don’t have any decision or any information to give you on my personal plans,” he said at a news conference last month.

Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney has already vowed to replace the Fed chairman if he is elected, most likely with Glenn Hubbard, former Bush Administration head of the Council of Economic Advisers and current economic adviser to the candidate’s campaign.

If Obama is re-elected, a possible replacement for the Fed chairman could be Lawrence Summers, who served as Treasury Secretary from 1999 to 2001 and Director of the White House United States National Economic Council until November 2010.

Whoever replaces the current Fed chair, Bernanke’s Keynesian legacy will likely impact American economics for decades to come. The Fed in recent years has given banks about $16 trillion in undisclosed funds, including $3 trillion to foreign banks. It also announced with its most recent round of quantitative easing that inflationary fiat money printing could continue indefinitely.

Sacred Cow Defense Will Kill America

President Barack Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney both agree that the United States is in the midst of a historically unsustainable debt spiral; they also both agree that military spending is a sacred cow that can be cut under no circumstance.

Obama has used drones in an unprecedented way that has resulted in the loss of life of not only enemy combatants in war zones, but also civilian casualties in countries like Pakistan where the United States is not at war. And Romney — who, if elected, will take control of the same remote-operated fleet of death machines — applauds the current President’s drone strategy, which has come under fire from many within the human rights community and drawn protest from the citizens and leadership of countries abroad.

“I support that entirely and feel the president was right to up the usage of that technology and believe that we should continue to use it to continue to go after the people who represent a threat to this nation and to our friends,” Romney said when asked about drone policy at the Presidential debate Monday.

Romney also proffered the same 2014 Afghanistan troop withdrawal date that Obama has been touting, despite having criticizing the President in the past for “offering the enemy a timeline.”

The two candidates spent a long time during the debate Monday driving home one point: America is in dire financial trouble, but cannot make defense spending cuts.

Unmentioned, however, was the fact that the budget cuts that the two candidates are so worried about do not actually cut defense spending at all. The focus of the contention is on “sequestration” cuts — automatic spending cuts put into place last year when government again raised the debt ceiling.

The first round of “cuts” has already taken place under sequestration, shaving $487 billion from Pentagon spending over the next decade as defense spending continues to grow at the rate of inflation.

Romney wants to reinstate that money. And Obama said Monday that he, too, would reverse sequestration cuts.

If government doesn’t act by January, an additional $600 billion in defense spending will go into action. But even under complete sequestration, defense spending will continue to rise by about 16 percent.
 

The CIA Wants More Drones

The Central Intelligence Agency needs more drones, according to a proposal submitted by director David Petraeus.

Petraeus submitted a proposal to add up to 10 drones to a program that currently has about 30 to 35 of the unmanned aerial vehicles. The increase is needed to allow the agency to continue launching strikes in Pakistan and Yemen, while targeting terror threats in other regions of the world, according to a report by The Washington Post.

If the CIA proposal is approved, it could expand its drone missions to North Africa, where al-Qaida is expected to have established significant strongholds, while continuing aggressive bombing missions in Yemen and Pakistan.

Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik recently claimed that 80 percent of those killed in U.S. drone attacks in his country are civilians. And a recent study conducted by Stanford and New York University backs up the claim, finding that only about 2 percent of the nearly 3,000 casualties were high-value militant targets.

The White House Counterterrorism Security Group has not yet approved the CIA proposal; and, because top Pentagon officials have previously expressed concern about the CIA’s increasing involvement in targeted killing missions, there is a chance the agency will not get the extra drones.

Internet Freedom Is In Danger

Americans are likely going to see the Federal government take greater control over the Internet in the near future if the increasingly frequent “wolf” cries from officials about the threat of a cyberattack are any indicator.

On Oct. 15, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the United States faces a “Cyber-Pearl Harbor” which could cripple the Nation’s vital infrastructure during a speech to a number of national security experts in New York. He said that America is in a pre-9/11 moment and could implement the security measures now to avoid a cyber-catastrophe that could potentially shut down technology across the country.

Halfway through last week, minor cyber-attacks on Capital One Financial Corp. and BB&T Corp. temporarily prevented some customers of the companies to view personal banking information. U.S. officials promptly blamed the attacks on Iranian government-backed groups.

With all of the talk about cyberspying and cyberattacks against the United States, government is undoubtedly gearing up to implement a series of controls on the Internet by Presidential fiat to expand its control.

Unfortunately for American Internet users, the controls will likely be the online equivalent of the civil liberties-destroying policies put in place via the Patriot Act and the Department of Homeland Security following 9/11.

The U.S. government, to the dismay of many Internet freedom advocates, has already been involved in the seizure of domain names and entire websites, claiming copyright laws had been violated. And in San Francisco last year, officials suspended cellphone and social network access to pre-empt a protest of police brutality. Occupy Wall Street protestors also had their Twitter accounts hacked so that government officials could learn more about that protest movement.

When Congress attempted to pass laws earlier in the year — the Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA), tha Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), and Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act (PROTECT IP) — to gain more government control over the Internet, public outcry quashed the initiatives. More talk from the Department of Defense about Internet security means that the President may soon pass a similar measure with no way for the public to stop it.

Fear Can Alter Depth Perception

Preppers and survival experts often note how the body’s reaction to fear affects different senses vital to survival. According to a new study, fear can make you underestimate the distance between you and a potential threat.

“Our results show that emotion and perception are not fully dissociable in the mind,” said psychologist Stella Lourenco, co-author of the study published in Current Biology. “Fear can alter even basic aspects of how we perceive the world around us. This has clear implications for understanding clinical phobias.”

In general, people have a good sense for when objects heading toward them will make contact, giving them a split second to react by ducking or bracing for the object to strike them. The researchers sought to test the effect of fear on the accuracy of that skill.

The researchers had study participants make time-to-collision judgments of images on a computer screen. The study participants were instructed to gauge when each of the images, which varied from pictures of butterflies and rabbits to ones of menacing snakes and spiders, on the computer screen would have collided with them by pressing a button. The researchers found that the study participants often thought the snakes and spiders were closer than the less threatening visuals.

“We’re showing that what the object is affects how we perceive looming. If we’re afraid of something, we perceive it as making contact sooner,” said Matthew Longo, a psychologist at Birkbeck, University of London.

“Even more striking,” Lourenco added, “it is possible to predict how much a participant will underestimate the collision time of an object by assessing the amount of fear they have for that object. The more fearful someone reported feeling of spiders, for example, the more they underestimated time-to-collision for a looming spider. That makes adaptive sense: If an object is dangerous, it’s better to swerve a half-second too soon than a half-second too late.”

Obama Is A Really, Really Bad Businessman

Conservatives often argue that government is inefficient and loves to waste money. Now, they are getting a look at what it looks like when government gets involved in the manufacturing sector.

Workers at a heavily taxpayer-funded battery plant that cost about $300 million spend most of their time not churning out expensive lithium-ion batteries for Chevy Volts, but rather playing cards, reading magazines and cleaning the building.

Investigators from Wood 8 TV reporting in Holland, Mich., found that many taxpayer-funded workers at LG Chem spend much of their time doing absolutely nothing.

“There would be up to 40 of us that would just sit in there during the day,” former LG Chem employee Nicole Merryman, who quit in May, told the news station.

The plant was made possible by $151 million provided by President Barack Obama’s stimulus bill; and of its 200 employees, 100 are paid for through the grant. So far, according to the news channel, $133 million of the grant money has already been spent; about 40 percent went to foreign companies.

In recent months, while many of the taxpayer-funded employees have become tired of sitting idle, they have reportedly taken to doing volunteer projects throughout the local community while on company time.

Obama’s Unemployment Lies

President Barack Obama has been lauding the latest unemployment numbers during campaign speeches and debates in recent weeks as a sign of a turnaround aided by the policies of his Administration, but a closer look — as many conservatives have pointed out — reveals a dismal employment outlook.

Only about four out of 10 Americans currently have a job. And though the Labor Department’s most recent numbers indicate a drop from 9 percent in September of last year to 7.8 percent this September, the falling unemployment numbers are due largely to the way the Labor Department defines what it means to be an unemployed American looking for work.

The government assumes that about 5 percent of the American population is actively seeking employment — thus, unemployed — and another 3 percent are looking for work but have yet to apply for jobs. Combining the two figures gives the Labor Department its lofty 7.8 percent.

Currently, 23 million people are out of work or unemployed but actually looking for work. Add to that what the government subtracts as “discouraged workers,” and the numbers are much more frightening: 33 percent of Americans are not only unemployed but also don’t want a job. This is based on the ratio of employment to population, which gives a better picture of how many Americans believe it is beneficial to work rather than survive on the government dole.

At present, the employment-to-population ratio indicates that 58.7 percent of Americans are working, but a staggering 82 million are looking for work or are unemployed and don’t want work. That would put real population-based unemployment at a staggering 41 percent overall.

“The employment-to-population ratio is the best measure of labor market conditions and it currently shows that there has been almost no improvement whatsoever over the past three years,” Paul Ashworth, chief North American economist for Capital Economics, writes in a note to clients obtained by CNN.

The reason so many unemployed Americans fall into the “discouraged worker” category is a direct consequence of the government’s constant expansion of social welfare programs even in the face of a crippling National debt crisis. Recent numbers show that around 47 million people in the United States rely on food stamps and do so for longer periods of time than ever.

In a recent address to Americans, former Presidential contender Ron Paul lamented: “Not all of the unemployed are counted in the BLS unemployment numbers.  This is no secret.  In 1994 government statisticians came up with the term ‘discouraged worker’ to remove entire swaths of people from the unemployment statistic.  Now all the government has to do to improve the unemployment numbers is discourage people from looking for a job.”

Paul cited in his address a lesser unemployment rate of about 22.8 percent from Shadow Government Statistics that, while not based on the employment-to-population ratio, uses a more economically conservative methodology to reach a lesser but still dismal unemployment rate.

 

America’s Decadent Reality Show Politics

If the pundits on both sides of the political spectrum are to be believed, the upcoming Presidential election is one that will determine the future course of the United States. But that hasn’t stopped the election-year political squabbling from sounding a great deal like dialogue in an episode of a kitschy reality television show.

If you were looking for a strong and dignified leader, a true statesman who could be likened to American leaders from decades past, to inhabit the Oval Office following the November election, this just isn’t your year. Here are some reasons why.

Mitt Romney’s son wants to take a cheap shot at the President.

It’s probably safe to assume that most readers of this article have been involved in a schoolyard scrap or two, maybe even a bar fight. Very few, however, have probably upon arriving at work become disgruntled at a fellow employee and rushed over to take a swing at them. But these are heated political times. Maybe if Taggert Romney one day decides to get involved in Presidential politics like his father, however, America can look forward to another Aaron Burr-Alexander Hamilton type affair. That is, if the Romneys still have those varmint-hunting guns lying around.

Unfortunately, the younger Romney’s remarks gave liberal media types an opening to further attempt to discourage less-well-off and minority voters with all matter of “spoiled rich boy wants to punch the President” headlines. And, before we assume it’s just liberals picking on the Republican candidate, consider this: If one of Obama’s Kenyan relatives made a similar remark on National television, it’s a safe bet that Fox would have a field day.

On the bright side, liberal media madman Lawrence O’Donnell challenged Tagg to a fight, saying: “Take a swing at me, and don’t worry, there won’t be any Secret Service involved. Just us. And I’ll make it easy for you. I’ll come to you any time, anywhere. Go ahead Taggert, take your best shot.”

One can only hope the younger Romney accepts the invitation; O’Donnell is probably long overdue for a pummeling.

The first lady of the United States is on National television talking about the President going commando.

Could you imagine Nancy Reagan appearing on daytime television and fielding a question about which type of underwear she preferred on the President. Well, on the show Live! last Friday, Michelle Obama was asked that very question, to which she answered “None of the above.” (One benefit of voting for Romney is the assurance that his wife will never field such a question due to his religious sensibilities.)

We also can learn from the first lady’s appearance last week that she likes to eat French fries and watches “The Real Housewives” when she isn’t trying to make schoolchildren eat too-small portions at lunch.

Paul Ryan’s ridiculous photo shoot.

Paul Ryan

A picture is worth a thousand words.

Joe Biden. Enough said.

Biden must know that he is a walking parody of himself, yet he spent the entire Vice Presidential debate employing a strategy of laughing down his opponent. Members of Biden’s party loved the Vice President’s misplaced condescension. But the rest of America spent the evening pondering the gravity of this exchange between Ryan and Biden:

“I think the Vice President very well knows that sometimes words don’t come out of your mouth the right way,” Ryan said.

Biden laughed and retorted: “But I always say what I mean.”

Yikes.

If this is the Presidential campaign that is going to determine the direction of the country, we’re all in trouble. There was a statesman in the race, but in a country where television shows about chubby ill-mannered little girls farting in public receive high rankings, it’s not surprising that the media and the voters shunned him.

Third Party Debate Scheduled

Libertarian Presidential candidate Gary Johnson will finally be allowed to participate in a Presidential debate, except Mitt Romney and Barack Obama will not be present.

The debate, sponsored by the Free and Equal Elections Foundation, will take place Tuesday and will also include the Justice Party’s Rocky Anderson, the Constitution Party’s Virgil Goode and the Green Party’s Jill Stein.

“The previous debates between President Obama and Governor Romney have failed to address the issues that really concern everyday Americans,” said Christina Tobin, founder and chairwoman of the Free and Equal Elections Foundation. “From foreign policy, to the economy, to taboo subjects like our diminishing civil liberties and the drug war, Americans deserve a real debate, real solutions, and real electoral options.”

Johnson has also been critical of the two-party Presidential debates, describing them as “dueling Phil Donahue acts carping at one another over who is worse.”

“I defy anyone who watched the debate to identify a plan from either the Republican or Democrat that will achieve a balanced budget,” he said. “We need a fundamental reduction in the role and cost of government, and both Romney and Obama are fundamentally big-government guys.”

The third party debate next Tuesday will be broadcasted live by Ora T, a digital programming service, and moderated by famed television newsman Larry King.