Obama 0, Private Equity Investments 1

The President, realizing that his opponent in the upcoming election became a very wealthy man because of private equity investments, is making claims that don’t add up.

“If your main argument for how to grow the economy is, ‘I knew how to make a lot of money for investors,’ then you’re missing what this job is about,” President Barack Obama said at a news conference last Monday. “This issue is not a distraction. This is what this campaign is going to be about.”

Though it is not surprising for Obama to use class warfare and make villains of wealthy Americans for political reasons, Mayor Corey Booker of Newark, N.J., recently pointed out the absurdity of a President running against a type of business.

But if Obama really wants Americans to believe that his attack on private equity is not a red herring, he is also asking them to believe that he is extremely misinformed. Private equity investments such as those that Mitt Romney was involved in during his tenure at Bain Capital are good for the economy on the whole.

Reason recently pointed to a 2010 National Bureau of Economic Research 2010 study, Private Equity and Economic Performance, by researchers from Columbia and Harvard Universities and the Swedish Institute for Financial Research. It says (the emphasis is the author’s own):

Industries where PE [private equity) funds have been active in the past five years grow more rapidly than other sectors, whether measured using total production, value added, or employment…

PE industries appear to grow significantly faster in terms of labor costs and the number of employees. The annual growth rate of total labor cost is 0.5 to 1.4 percentage points greater for PE industries, and the number of employees grows at an annual rate that is 0.4 to 1.0 percentage points greater. These findings are particularly surprising, since a common concern is that PE investors act aggressively to reduce costs with little concern for employees. This concern is not necessarily inconsistent with our results. Despite initial employment reductions at private equity-backed firms, the greater subsequent growth in total production … may lead to subsequent employment growth in the industry overall.

Considering the specifications with PE activity quartiles, industries with more PE activity appear to have more rapid growth of total labor costs, but the growth rate of the number of employees is fastest in industries with more moderate levels of PE activity. Regardless of the level of PE activity, however, the PE industries’ growth rates of labor costs and employment always exceed the rates for non-PE industries.

Perhaps someone should send the Obama Administration a memo stating that private equity works better than government bailouts.

Poll: Americans Are Economic Conservatives

Judging by the way the U.S. government spends money, it is hard to believe that American citizens are two times more likely to identify as economically conservative than liberal.

According to a recent Gallup poll, 46 percent of Americans consider themselves “total conservatives” on matters concerning economics, compared to 20 percent claiming to be “total liberals.” People who describe themselves as “moderates” in terms of economic issues made up 32 percent of the total.

The results are based on Gallup’s annual Values and Beliefs poll, which asks Americans to say whether they are liberal, moderate or conservative on “economic” and, separately, “social” issues.

The poll found that people are less likely to say they are conservatives when talking about social issues, with 38 percent claiming the title “total conservative” and 28 percent “total liberal.” Moderates made up 31 percent of respondents in that category.

Gallup says the results suggest: “More Americans identify as economic conservatives than as social conservatives or conservatives in general. And that tendency has increased in the last four years, perhaps due to President Obama’s economic agenda. This suggests that a conservative economic message from Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney may resonate with voters this year.”

Another Reason To Support Ron Paul

He’s the only candidate for President who has supporters passionate enough about his message to set up a festival in his honor.

Like him or not, Presidential candidate Ron Paul is one of the most iconic political figures of modern times. So it is fitting that his supporters are planning an event called Paul Festival 2012 at the Florida Fairgrounds in Tampa, Fla., right before the Republican National Convention.

If everything goes as planned Paul Festival 2012 will run from Aug. 24-26, ending the day before the convention begins.

Details about the event were still sketchy at the time of this report, but organizers are working to put together a celebration of liberty in honor of Paul, complete with musical acts, speakers and celebrity guests.

From the event website:

With Dr. Paul’s growing support among celebrities and musicians, it is our hope to accommodate that change through a momentous 3-day Festival which will include many of Dr. Paul’s celebrity-supporters.

Our goal is to have musical acts (of different genres), comedy, speakers, celebrity appearances with pictures and autographs, book signings, big screens showing Dr. Paul’s famous speeches, vendors of all sorts, and really great food!  It will be all inclusive – family friendly during the day, and anything that is adult oriented will be held during the evening hours.

Our team is working on finalizing a venue and the dates for this festival – while concurrently contacting musicians, celebrities, speakers, and V.I.P. s who either support, or have officially endorsed Ron Paul for President 2012.

It is our belief that this will be the biggest celebration of Liberty the world has ever seen – a tribute to Ron Paul and the message of freedom.  Be a part of history!

The festival is expected to draw a crowd of more than 20,000 attendees. International Business Times speculated in a recent report that Paul’s supporters could upstage those of Republican establishment favorite Mitt Romney in Tampa.

Bug Out Boat?

Preppers who are serious about being prepared for anything when they grab their bug out bags may want to check out the Foldboat, a plastic rowboat that can be folded down small enough to be easily carried.

Using a sheet of high-density polyethylene plastic, the designers crafted a vessel that can be folded away and packed into the trunk of a car or slung over the shoulder. The durable plastic can be folded up to 6,000 times before wearing out. The boat when folded is a little longer than a yardstick and about 2 feet in diameter.

Another version of the boat does not fold quite as small, but can be folded into a flat sheet that would be easily transported in a car. The makers say that it can be put together in just about two minutes.

Design students Max Frommeld, 29, and Arno Mathies, 26, were both studying for their master’s degrees in production design at London’s Royal College of Art when they came up with the idea for the Foldboat, according to the Daily Mail. One of the uses the pair envisions for the boat is conducting rescues in areas where devastating floods have occurred.

The boats sell for about $1,200 each. Foldboat also sells compact oars and inflatable pillows to go with the boats.

Rand Paul Wants FDA Disarmed

When most Americans think of employees of the Food and Drug Administration, images of researchers, scientists and inspectors working to ensure that mass-produced food and medicines are fit for human consumption may come to mind. But for hundreds of American farmers who have been — often frighteningly literally — targeted by the FDA, the reality is very different: They see images of bureaucrats armed to the teeth violently invading their farms.

Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) says it is time for the Federal government to stop arming these bureaucrats and allowing them to torment small American farmers.

“We have nearly 40 federal agencies that are armed. I’m not against having police, I’m not against the army, the military, the FBI, but I think bureaucrats don’t need to be carrying weapons and I think what we ought to do, is if there is a need for an armed policeman to be there, the FBI who are trained to do this should do it. But I don’t think it’s a good idea to be arming bureaucrats to go on the farm to, with arms, to stop people from selling milk from a cow,” Paul said Wednesday calling for an end to the FDA’s police powers.

Paul offered an amendment to the Prescription Drug User Fee Act that would quell FDA abuses and disarm bureaucratic Health and Human Services Agencies.

Among the other things the Senator wished to accomplish with the amendment are no longer restricting people who sell natural health products from advertising their benefits and ending the criminalization of mistakes.

He said the amendment would have required the FDA to prove mens rea, or criminal intent, when charging people with a crime.

Paul said:

This amendment would fix this problem by strengthening the mens rea component of each of the prohibited acts and the FDA acts by including the words “knowing” and “willful” before we address and accuse someone of a crime.

This I think would give protection to folks who are guilty of inadvertently guilty of breaking a regulation and would keep from overflowing our jails. We’ve got plenty of violent criminals without putting people in for honest breaches of regulations. If Congress is going to criminalize conduct at the federal level as it does with the FDA act, the least it can do have is have an adequate mens rea requirement. My amendment will attempt to do this.

It’s not that we won’t have rules at the federal level, but the rules ought to be reasonable. We ought to allow people to market vitamins. There’s no earthly reason why somebody who markets prune juice can’t advertise it helps with constipation.

Unfortunately for people who have endured armed FDA raids and will in the future, Paul’s initiative was voted down on the Senate floor Thursday by 78 Senators. Only 15 Senators, all Republicans, supported Paul’s amendment.

Obama’s Lies To American Youths

In 2008, Barack Obama proved that he is really good at one thing in particular: preying on the Generation Y crowd.

With the promise of “Hope” and “Change,” celebrity friends, a good Internet campaign presence, an overall campaign presence that just felt so very underdog — so grassroots — and an aura of rolled-up-sleeve-sunglass-wearing-antithesis-of-politician coolness, Obama was able to gain favor with about 66 percent of the coveted 18-year-old to 29-year-old voter bloc.

Aside from the campaign image, Obama made some promises to America’s youths: more jobs for recent college graduates and young people, an end to perpetual war and a new look at the War on Drugs.

Unfortunately for the President, he has failed to deliver on any of these promises in his nearly four years in the White House.

For those concerned about getting a good job out of college, there are some telling statistics:

  • One in two college graduates under the age of 25 is unemployed or underemployed.
  • The unemployment rate for 20-year-olds to 24-year-olds has jumped to 13.2 percent from 12.4 percent since Obama took office.

Overall, only 54.3 percent of Americans aged 18-24 are employed; that is the lowest number since 1948 when employment numbers were first tallied.

Perhaps when Obama promised that his Administration would expand employment opportunities for youths, he wasn’t talking about American youths. A recent report by The Washington Post illustrates that the Obama Administration is going to great lengths to make sure fun, safe and paying summer jobs are available — to about 100,000 foreign student workers who will visit this summer on visas.

The article explains that on May 11 the State Department “issued rules that ban foreign students from jobs that could be harmful, limited them to light, seasonal occupations that are not likely to displace U.S. workers and required closer scrutiny of their conditions.” Certainly, by Obama’s logic, none of those18-year-old to 24-year-old Americans who are unemployed would like to work as a pool cleaner or a lifeguard this summer. Besides, they should be taking summer classes in an attempt to see how close they can get their student loan debt to six figures.

The President has not done so well with regard to helping American youths find gainful employment, but surely he has gained some favor among the bunch with his foreign policy prowess. Though the warmongering, profiteering, neocon antics of the George W. Bush Administration should have been an easy act for a peace-promising President to follow, Obama simply doubled down on war.

The President promised to end the war in Iraq within 16 months. He didn’t. Obama did, however,  manage to authorize a surge in Afghanistan, lob thousands of missiles at Libya in a “humanitarian” action in coordination with NATO, and announce that he is sending 100 special operation personnel to Uganda as “advisers.” His Administration covertly involved the United States in supporting the “Arab Spring” in Egypt, Libya and Syria. The President also learned that targeting enemies with secret drone strikes was met with less chagrin from the general public. So the drone has become his “big stick” — which, by the way, is also a weapon that he doesn’t mind using to assassinate American citizens. And thanks to his partnership with neocons in passing the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, he can now even target citizens on U.S. soil or detain them indefinitely.

Lies from the President of the United States are not funny; but if one had to be, it would be Obama’s drug policy hypocrisy. It holds as a pretty fundamental truth that members of the 18-29 demographic largely adhere to a libertarian view with regard to the War on Drugs: End it. That’s why when a Presidential candidate writes in his memoir Dreams From My Father that he once experimented with various illegal substances, they appreciate his honesty.

Obama writes, “I blew a few smoke rings, remembering those years. Pot had helped, and booze; maybe a little blow when you could afford it… Junkie. Pothead. That’s where I’d been headed; the final fatal role of the would-be black man. Except the highs hadn’t been about that, me trying to prove what a down brother I was. Not by then, anyway. I got high for just the opposite effect, something that could push questions of who I was out of my mind. Something that could flatten out the landscape of my heart, blur the edges of my memory.”

Obama promised to allow the legality of medical marijuana to be an issue decided by the States; but once he was elected, his Administration began a brutal crackdown on medical marijuana. Maybe his memory just got a little blurred around the edges and he forgot what he said he would do.

Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, explains the President’s drug policy as follows: “The Obama administration’s latest moves strongly suggest that their medical marijuana policies are now being driven by overzealous prosecutors and the anti-marijuana ideologues who dominated policymaking in past administrations. Barack Obama is betraying promises made when he ran for president and turning his back on the sensible policies announced during his first year in office. Instead of encouraging state and local authorities to regulate medical marijuana distribution in the interests of public safety and health, his administration seems determined to recriminalize as much as possible. It all adds up to bad policy, bad politics and bad faith.”

If you can stand the profanity, comedian Penn Jillette summed up nicely earlier this week how Obama’s hypocrisy with regard to medical marijuana is ridiculous:


The President told young voters many more lies when he was trying to get their vote in the last Presidential election, there are surely many more to come. Obama’s most recent fairy tale to his young constituents involves promising them a lower interest rate on Federal student loans. Of course, he could be lying.

Breitbart reports, “College students are being played for suckers by the Democratic Party again. Barack Obama’s 2013 budget indicates that the interest rate on federally backed student loans student loan will jump from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent in the summer of 2013. This comes as Obama is preaching his love for college students on campuses by virtue of his agreeing with the Republicans to limit the rate to 3.4 percent. The doubling of the rate will only occur eight months after Obama’s reelection can be attained.”

All of this makes one wonder if the Obama Administration can sell “Hope” and “Change” now that young Americans know what the terms look like in practice. If not, Obama has a new one liner: “Forward.” Hopefully, this time American youths will look for meaning in the word before the election.

Cato To Track Bad Cops

The Cato Institute has launched an initiative focused on keeping an eye on incidents of misconduct by police throughout the United States.

Cato’s National Police Misconduct Reporting Project grew out of the police abuse news feed, Injustice Everywhere, which founder and researcher David Packman shut down in April because he could no longer devote time to the project.

The project is now being headed up by Cato Director of the Project on Criminal Justice Tim Lynch, a leading voice in support of the Bill of Rights and civil liberties. His research interests include the war on terrorism, over-criminalization, the drug war, the militarization of police tactics and gun control. He has also served on the National Committee to Prevent Wrongful Executions.

Lynch writes: “The purpose of the project is to gather news reports about police misconduct in America in a fair and unbiased way. Our objective is to study the scope of the problem and to identify policies that can minimize misconduct.”

According to the site, police misconduct is not regularly examined in the United States and — in light of recent highly publicized examples — it is time to take a closer look at the problem.

The site also gives visitors the ability to report police misconduct if their stories are “supported by third-party witnesses or other compelling evidence.”

Federal Corruption Ruins Organic Food

If you are one of the growing number of Americans concerned about the safety of genetically modified food or what types of chemicals and pesticides are used in the production of the food you consume, you might opt for organic options. But the Federal government is letting insiders linked to the same big agribusiness companies that produce chemical-laden and genetically modified products be the judges of what is organic.

Research conducted by the Cornucopia Institute in Wisconsin exposes how the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) governmental panel that determines what is and isn’t considered “organic” is stacked with Federal insiders with an alternative agenda.

According to the findings in The Organic Watergate paper released by the Institute, the USDA’s National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) has taken a turn for the worse in recent years. It also illustrates how currently almost 300 non-organic and synthetic compounds are approved for use in organic farming or food production.

Mark Kastel, the co-director and Senior Farm Policy Analyst at the Cornucopia Institute explained: “An incident last fall caused Cornucopia staff to do a cursory review of many non-organic and synthetic ingredients that have been approved for use in organics since the USDA took over regulation in 2002. And what do we find? A corporate and governmental conspiracy to allow almost any chemical petitioned by agribusinesses in organic food, regardless of the fact that Congress mandated review of all such substitutes to make sure that they will not damage the environment or human health.”

Evidence of the corruption is illustrated in how a corporate employee of General Mills was nominated as the “consumer representative” of the National Organic Standards Board. There was such a strong backlash that her name was withdrawn. Later, she was nominated and served in a slot reserved for a scientist.
 

You can sign a petition to reduce big agribusiness influence over organic food production here.

With Corruption, Injustice And Propaganda For All

Often, media outlets provide headlines of shocking abuses of the state from abroad that leave Americans feeling happy that they reside in the land of the free. But things happening right here in the United States are slowly leading the Nation to the very type of despotism that its citizens are appalled to see occurring in other parts of the world.

Here are five signs that the United States is becoming a totalitarian country where people are fed disinformation and beaten into submission not by sinister-looking soldiers, but by their teachers and local police:

  1. At North Rowan High School in North Carolina a high school social studies teacher told her students that not only would she not tolerate students speaking ill of President Barack Obama, but also that they could be arrested for doing so.
     
    Sadly, the incident is not isolated and illustrates part of the broader problem that the United States public education system functions as little more than an indoctrination machine. Routinely, students are subject to school lessons that fail to teach them to read proficiently and to do basic math and science work. In fact, students in the U.S. perform far worse than their international peers in those areas. Instead, U.S. high school students are educated to feel good about themselves and about people living alternative lifestyles. They are taught that U.S. foreign and economic policy are paramount, that global warming will kill us all and that rational self-interest should never be a motivation for anything. Upon graduating, many of them go to college where they receive an accelerated version of the aforementioned curriculum. After that, with no capacity for thought or self-improvement, they join the ranks of the unemployed or underemployed and are helped along by the Nanny State.
  2.  

  3. In many countries, there is no such thing as fair trial, and accusations are enough for imprisonment. Since 1989, re-examination of evidence has freed more than 2,000 people who were sitting in prisons throughout the U.S. because of wrongful convictions. Experts say there are likely thousands more who deserve exoneration. Each day, overzealous prosecutors, motivated by the prospect of gaining higher authority in the bureaucracy of the justice system, use tactics that send innocent people to prison.
  4.  

  5. Not only is justice being removed from the court system, but law enforcement agencies increasingly rely on entrapment to quell dissidence and validate their increasingly militaristic nature. The FBI repeatedly preys on mentally disturbed and inept individuals and coerces them into agreeing to perform outlandish and often impossible “terror” attacks that otherwise would not have happened.
  6.  

  7. In many developing countries, it is common for police to bribe people with the threat of false imprisonment if their demands are not met. This has also become common practice in the United States. Police in Brown County, Wis., recently stole $7,500 from Beverly Greer, stating that the money — which she had gotten out of a series of ATMs to pay her son’s bail — had traces of narcotics on it. This was done through civil asset forfeiture, a policy that lets police confiscate money and property with very little evidence to connect them to drug activity. The assets usually go back to the coffers of the police department that confiscated them. In most instances, individuals whose property is stolen by police are never convicted of a crime.
     
  8.  

  9. Images of street riots and of people in foreign countries being brutally beaten by authorities are always shocking to Americans. But it is probably going on in a city near you as you are reading this and will likely intensify in coming months. Though many Americans aren’t too worried about police crackdowns on raucous protesters because they don’t get involved in such situations, it is worth noting that tyranny historically makes massive power gains in times of chaos. Some people posit that growing and increasingly violent protests will result in the Federal government’s implementation of martial control over the entire American populace, possibly aided by foreign governments.

Teachers and police were once lionized for their selfless service to communities. But the positions have become so bureaucratized and given so much power in recent years that they have become attractive career paths for sociopaths and statists. More and more often, these once public service jobs are becoming burgeoning examples of how the state is taking control.

These are only a few examples of how the United States is beginning to embrace propagandist, unjust and brutal policies to control its people. Each day, more examples are offered in the headlines and are pushed on to Americans as positives that will make them safer and healthier. But the truth is that the general public of the United States will only become dumber and more submissive to the ruling elite with each passing day.

Is Google Going To Control All Info?

Changes to the Google search engine will have Internet users receiving “facts” and tips from sources like the CIA World Factbook, Wikipedia and the World Bank along with search results.

The new feature, called Knowledge Graph, takes a step away from the traditional search engine practice of matching keywords. Instead, the new feature will draw information from places like Wikipedia for historical information, CIA World Factbook for geopolitical answers and the World Bank for economic facts. Another Google-owned company called Freebase will provide information about people and other predetermined sources.

Activist Post reports:

This move by Google seems eerily similar to Orwell’s Ministry of Truth in that search results, or “answers and facts”, will no longer be gathered based on the algorithmic popularity of content, but rather selected by Google.

Sure, most would argue that Wikipedia does a pretty good job through its open-source format to nail down basic facts.  However, the CIA and the World Bank are organizations with agendas sometimes counter to the truth, and making them the authority on facts gives them tremendous power to shape public knowledge.

Here is Google’s explanation of how it intends to shape information:

 

Political Correctness And Make Believe

The United States has come a long way since Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.

One must wonder what King, whose dream was for his four children to live in a Nation where they would “not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character,” would think of today’s political correctness-obsessed society. Our society has become so overly sensitive in matters of race that even the most innocent things are deemed offensive.

Take, for instance, the efforts of school officials at Meridian Ranch Elementary School in Peyton, Colo., to make an innocent second-grader believe he had done something wrong for preparing a presentation about King all by himself. The incident happened on the school’s wax museum day, according to local KRDO NewsChannel 13. Second-grade students were assigned historical figures to dress up as and report on, and Sean King, a white student, was assigned the famous civil rights leader.

In preparation for his project, Sean decided he would need a few things if he would be portraying King. He went about putting together his costume, complete with the white shirt, black suit and black tie combination that King was often pictured wearing, a fake moustache; and black face paint to make himself look more like King.

On the day of the presentation, Sean’s parents went to the school along with the parents of other youngsters who were dressed as various other historical figures.

“Right before it was time to come in (to the classroom), the principal came up and stated he (Sean) was to take the face mask off. There was a person in the faculty that had an issue with it,” Michelle King-Roca, the child’s mother, told KRDO.

A spokesman for the school told the news source that the principal’s decision was made because staff members, and possibly some students, were offended by Sean’s costume. His parents opted to leave the school with Sean rather than ruin the presentation for which he had prepared so diligently.

“As a parent I think it’s pretty sad that you’ve got a principal and a faculty member that are acting the way they are when they should be setting an example for children,” Anthony Roca said.

A local chapter of the National Association for the Achievement of Colored People chimed in and offered support for the school’s decision to confuse the child and make him feel as if he had done something terribly wrong.

“By having blackface as part of his presentation, it ended up harkening back to a really tragic time in the life of this country, a time when blackface was used by entertainers primarily to demean African-Americans,” Rosemary Harris Lytle told KRDO.

Of course the student, being in the second grade and not working for the NAACP, likely has no knowledge of the use of blackface by white actors to portray blacks in cinema of the past (and more recently, on an episode of the sitcom “30 Rock”) or why it could be offensive.

 

 

This story is just one of an ever-compounding number of examples of a problem that has replaced bigoted racism in America: sensitive racism.

In “The Historical Roots of ‘Political Correctness’”, Raymond V. Raehn writes: “Political Correctness is not at all about ‘being nice,’ unless one thinks gulags are nice places. Political Correctness is Marxism, with all that implies: loss of freedom of expression, thought control, inversion of the traditional social order and, ultimately, a totalitarian state.”

Indefinite Detention Barred By Federal Judge

Earlier this week, a Federal judge granted a preliminary injunction to block provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act that allowed for the indefinite military detention of American citizens.

In statute 1021 of the NDAA, language is included that lets the military detain anyone it suspects “substantially supported” al-Qaida, the Taliban or “associated forces” without charge or trial until the “end of hostilities.”

U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest issued a 68-page ruling explaining that the indefinite detention statute fails to “pass Constitutional muster.” The judge opined that the broad language of the bill could be used to quell political dissent.

“There is a strong public interest in protecting rights guaranteed by the First Amendment,” Forrest writes. “There is also a strong public interest in ensuring that due process rights guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment are protected by ensuring that ordinary citizens are able to understand the scope of conduct that could subject them to indefinite military detention.”

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges filed suit in the weeks following President Barack Obama’s New Year’s Eve signing of the NDAA into law. According to Courthouse News Service, more activists, scholars and politicians subsequently joined the suit, including Pentagon Papers whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg; Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Noam Chomsky; Icelandic parliamentarian Birgitta Jonsdottir; Kai Wargalla, an organizer from Occupy London; and Alexa O’Brien, an organizer for the New York-based activist group U.S. Day of Rage.

In March, three of the plaintiffs testified that the possibility of government repression under the NDAA made them reconsider how they approached their journalism and activism.

Forrest writes: “This court is acutely aware that preliminarily enjoining an act of Congress must be done with great caution. However, it is the responsibility of our judicial system to protect the public from acts of Congress which infringe upon constitutional rights. As set forth above, this court has found that plaintiffs have shown a likelihood of success on the merits regarding their constitutional claim and it therefore has a responsibility to insure that the public’s constitutional rights are protected.”

The U.S. Attorney’s office reportedly declined to comment on the injunction.

The NDAA and amendments to the bill that would do away with the indefinite detention provision have been considered in the House this week; the schedule calls for last votes no later than 3 p.m. today.

Minorities Account For More Than Half Of U.S. Births

For the first time in history, racial and ethnic minorities now make up more than half of all of the children born in the United States.

According to new Census Bureau estimates, 50.4 percent of U.S. births in the 12-month period ending July 2011 were minority babies.

On the whole, the Nation’s minority population also continues to rise. Minorities increased 1.9 percent to 114.1 million, or 36.6 percent of the total U.S. population, due in part to waves of immigration that brought in young families and boosted the number of Hispanic women in their prime childbearing years.

More information from the Census Bureau:

  • The most populous national minority group remains Hispanics, who numbered 52 million in 2011; they also were the fastest growing, with their population increasing by 3.1 percent since 2010. This boosted the Hispanic share of the Nation’s total population to 16.7 percent in 2011, up from 16.3 percent in 2010.
  • African-Americans were the second largest minority group in the United States, at 43.9 million in 2011 (up 1.6 percent from 2010).
  • Asians, who numbered 18.2 million nationally in 2011, were the second fastest-growing minority group, growing by 3.0 percent since 2010.

Obama: From Magic Negro To Cult Of Personality

Barack Obama, the President of the United States, has been accused by his critics of being a serial narcissist, addicted to fame and even of having a “messiah complex” — all charges Obama does little to defend himself against. And to be fair, becoming the President is a pretty impressive achievement. That said, Obama’s lack of humility is becoming frighteningly dictatorial.

In 2007, the Los Angeles Times portrayed then-Senator Obama as a man working toward the goal of becoming America’s “Magic Negro.” The Magic Negro emerged as a figure in postmodern folklore, often portrayed in film and literature as a black character that has no past and shows up in the middle of the story to help the story’s white protagonist out of a troublesome situation. The Times’ piece describes the existence of the Magic Negro character as a white attempt to assuage guilt for the historical oppression and discrimination against blacks in America.

Or as Rush Limbaugh put it: “The only thing that matters is he’s black and he sounds good and it allows you white racists to assuage your guilt. There is white racism out there, much of it is on the left where the plantation mentality still resides.”

Whether Americans would like to admit it, the excitement surrounding Obama’s first successful bid for President was largely due to the Magic Negro phenomenon. Charismatic, young and half black, Obama offered voters a long overdue alternative to the balding, older white men who had occupied the White House for more than two centuries. And the Magic Negro persona easily beat out Obama’s opponent John McCain, who appeared to be an older, more war-hungry version of George W. Bush.

Only after the election did Obama and his supporters begin to recognize the real problems associated with being the Magic Negro of the White House. By definition, the Magic Negro character enters the story with little or no background; he simply shows up to help the protagonist. Obama swept into the Presidential spotlight with Americans knowing little more than that he once taught Constitutional law, he was first a community organizer and then a Senator from Illinois, and he had an unconventional childhood and family history.

With little record upon which to base their criticisms, Obama’s detractors quickly focused on what they did know: There were many holes in the story of his past. Was he even eligible to be the President of the United States? Was he prepared for his political ambitions by people with radical and Communist ideologies? Was Obama himself a racist?

Obama offered partial answers to the questions, setting out with an ambitious plan to reshape the American psyche by playing upon racial and class tension in the United States. From his constant rhetoric about “millionaires paying their fair share” to getting involved in the media-fueled controversy of the shooting of black teenager Trayvon Martin (“If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon”).

While Obama’s detractors asked questions about his background, his supporters began to ask some questions of their own. What about Obama’s promises regarding medical marijuana reform? Where are the “shovel-ready” jobs? Why are the perpetual wars becoming evermore perpetual? Why are civil liberties still being assaulted like they were under Bush?

The Magic Negro persona has worn thin, and now it is time for re-election. Enter Obama the Messiah, Obama the Dear Leader and Obama the man without whom Americans could not survive. Like any savvy despot, Obama and his re-election team have positioned the President to prey upon the weak in the upcoming election. Many people will not remember his failures, but will seize upon whatever information they hear about the President right before the election. The campaign is working feverishly to give the Magic Negro a larger role in the plot leading up to his insertion in the story.

Earlier this month, Vanity Fair brought Obama’s 1995 memoir “Dreams From My Father” back to national light, after it had been resigned for more than half a decade to gathering dust on the back shelves of bookstores. The magazine reported that Obama “compressed” several of his former girlfriends to shorten the book. A new biography written by Washington Post reporter David Maraniss focuses its attention on one woman in particular, Genevieve Cook, whom Obama dated when he was in his 20s. To tease the biography, Vanity Fair published excerpts from Cook’s diary that portray Obama as a thoughtful young man, desperately searching for an identity in a “Siddhartha”-type narrative. The biography also reportedly details Obama’s decision to identify himself as an American so that he could change the political landscape.

This Obama “coming of age” narrative that has recently been shoved down Americans’ throats is all part of an attempt to give the President a background to re-endear him to those who voted for the Magic Negro and were then disappointed by his inability to actually accomplish anything once in office. The same liberal bleeding hearts who voted for Obama simply because it was time for a black President in America are also suckers for a good “finding oneself” story like the one currently being pushed.

Aside from re-engineering and re-marketing the story of his personal life, Obama is attempting to piggyback on the legislative achievements of nearly every President since Calvin Coolidge. The White House, in an attempt to broaden Obama’s cult of personality, has added to the Presidential biographies of former U.S. Presidents notes about things that Obama has done since taking office. For instance:

  • At the end of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s biography, the Obama White House has added: “On August 14, 1935, President Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act. Today the Obama administration continues to protect seniors and ensure Social Security will be there for future generations.”
  • After learning about Lyndon Johnson’s tenure in the White House, visitors to the site are offered: “President Lyndon Johnson signed Medicare into law in 1965 — providing millions of elderly health care stability. President Obama’s historic health care reform law, the Affordable Care Act, strengthens Medicare, offers eligible seniors a range of preventive services with no cost-sharing, and provides discounts on drugs when in the coverage gap known as the ‘donut hole.'”
  • Dear Leader didn’t even spare the The Gipper: “President Reagan designated Martin Luther King Jr. Day a national holiday; today the Obama Administration honors this tradition, with the First and Second Families participating in service projects on this day.
    “In a June 28, 1985 speech Reagan called for a fairer tax code, one where a multi-millionaire did not have a lower tax rate than his secretary. Today, President Obama is calling for the same with the Buffett Rule.”

Besides the President’s attempt to pad his own resume with the historical achievements of other men, he is also working toward making Americans believe that an Obama-less future is a hopeless one. The campaign demonstrated this by creating its “Life of Julia” website that gives visitors the opportunity to view propaganda about what a young woman’s life might be like with or without Obama.

The Obama transformation from Magic Negro to Dear Leader has taken place in just under four years. Given another term, who knows how far the Dear Leader may go.

Florida: Lower Grades, Lower Standards

School officials in Florida have demonstrated why the public education system is making Americans stupid: Student scores on standardized tests dropped, so school officials lowered the minimum passing grade.

According to Click Orlando, the State’s Board of Education decided in an emergency meeting Tuesday to lower the passing grade on the writing portion of Florida’s standardized test after results showed a drop in student scores.

If the passing score had not been lowered, only about one-third of students would have passed this year’s tougher Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test exam, compared with a passing rate of 80 percent or more last year. The lower passing score is expected to increase the number of students passing the exam to 48 percent for fourth grade, 52 percent for eighth grade and 60 percent for 10th grade, still well below last year’s results.

The students’ poor scores were blamed on a tougher writing portion of the standardized test this year that emphasized increased expectations for proper punctuation, capitalization, spelling and sentence structure.

Hackers Taking Over

According to news reports, the loose-knit hacktivist group Anonymous may be becoming one of the most powerful organizations on the planet.

“The entire world right now is run by information,” Anonymous hacker Chris Doyon tells Postmedia News from an undisclosed location in Canada. “Our entire world is being controlled and operated by tiny invisible 1s and 0s that are flashing through the air and flashing through the wires around us. So if that’s what controls our world, ask yourself who controls the 1s and the 0s. It’s the geeks and computer hackers of the world.”

Doyon claims that code crackers like those in Anonymous are in possession of some of the most powerful knowledge known to man. The hacker, reported to be in his late 40s, was charged last year for partaking in a Distributed Denial of Service attack on the website for the county of Santa Cruz, Calif., according to RT. Since February, the source reports, he has resided in Canada after using what he called the new “underground railroad” to escape persecution for alleged computer crimes in the States.

Doyon explains how organizations like Anonymous easily access government systems:

You know how we got access? We didn’t hack them. The access was given to us by the people who run the systems. The five-star general (and) the Secretary of Defense who sit in the cushy plush offices at the top of the Pentagon don’t run anything anymore. It’s the pimply-faced kid in the basement who controls the whole game, and Bradley Manning proved that. The fact he had the 250,000 cables that were released effectively cut the power of the US State Department in half. The Afghan war diaries and the Iran war diaries effectively cut the political clout of the US Department of Defense in half. All because of one guy who had enough balls to slip a CD in an envelope and mail it to somebody.

Doyon told RT that groups like Anonymous are currently seeking a European country that would be willing to offer them asylum.

Romney’s Big Government Military Budget

Neoconservatives love big government.

If you are among the Americans who have continually said things like “We need to unite to back Romney” or “I’m not voting for Romney, I’m voting against Obama” throughout the Republican Presidential primaries, you are simply saying “I love big government.”

Throughout his campaign, Romney has claimed that his platform is based upon less spending, smaller deficits and a renewed fiscal responsibility that would slow the United States’ inevitable economic collapse. But Romney’s budget proposal greatly grows the size of government in the name of “safety.”

Romney’s plan for defense spending includes adding in excess of $2 trillion to the U.S. deficit over the next decade, according to an analysis conducted by CNNMoney’s Travis Sharp. The plan would allow for the Pentagon to spend $4 for every $100 the American economy produces.

Romney’s plan to grow the military budget is likely indicative of his plan for a continuation of the world policing and war-happy foreign policies of both the Administrations of George Bush and Barack Obama.

An article from the CATO Institute in 2011 states: “Cutting military spending without changing our foreign policies will put additional burdens on a force strained by a decade of war. Sticking with the status quo will translate into heavier burdens on U.S. taxpayers. If the powers-that-be inside the Beltway decide that we should continue to discourage wealthy allies from defending themselves, then they should explain that to the American people.”

The campaign of GOP candidate Ron Paul, who is no longer campaigning in primary States but is still seeking delegates, released a statement regarding Romney’s military budget saying that Romney and Obama will both increase deficits:

… Americans are stuck with two presumed presidential candidates who will essentially spend an equal amount of money, thus racking up further deficits and debt.

Ron Paul has stressed time and again that to seriously tackle big government and debt we have to reduce both domestic and foreign spending. Paul’s Restore America Now plan allows for the strongest military force on earth, but within the confines of the Constitution and our budget.

Romney’s willingness to spend far more than our national deficit on just military alone does not bode well for anyone wanting to save this country from imminent bankruptcy.

Americans who now reject Obama also do not want to return to George W. Bush. Romney’s military budget alone spends more than Obama or Bush.

The Romney campaign lists as a top priority reversing military cuts put into place by the Obama Administration. For that, the candidate has received a large amount of support from conservative lawmakers from districts with military installations.

NYPD Touts Success Of ‘Stop And Frisk’

The New York Police Department is touting the success of its totalitarian “stop and frisk” police state tactics saying that policies implementation has yielded a spike in the number of firearms confiscated coinciding with a historically low murder rate in the city.

According to CNN, comparing numbers from the first three months of 2012 to the same period last year, the number of such stops increased 10 percent and the number of illicit guns taken away went up 31 percent. The report also says that the city’s murder rate has dropped by 21 percent in the same period.

“New York City continues to be the safest big city in America, and one of the safest of any size, with significantly less crime per capita … than even small cities,” NYPD said.

Critics of the tactic say that only about 6 percent of stops lead to arrests. But the stops usually lead to officers writing summonses for minor infractions like disorderly conduct. The NYPD issues more than 500,000 summonses a year, most not arising from street stops but as part of a “quality of life” campaign the department embarked on in the 1990s. Critics also claim that blacks and Latinos are disproportionately targeted to be stopped and frisked by the police.

Ron Paul Re-Strategizes, Establishment Continues To Fight Him

“Mayhem,” “ruckus” and “insanity” are all words that are being used in the most recent news reports about Republican Presidential candidate Ron Paul’s performance last weekend.

In Oklahoma, Paul supporters and those of Mitt Romney reportedly came to blows over the nominating process, necessitating police intervention.

Paul supporters, who numbered about 600 and made up about 40 percent of the convention, used various parliamentary procedures to contest rules. The Paul side fell short of electing their slate of delegates amid allegations of foul play.

In Arizona, where Mitt’s son Josh Romney was booed for pushing his father’s approved slate, the convention began relatively peacefully, but deteriorated once Romney supporters realized how many Paul backers were in attendance.

Policymic reports: “First, the convention’s leaders attempted to confuse voters by yo-yoing them back and forth between convention halls and the main floor. In that time, several cases of ballot stuffing were reported, as well as physical assaults on two Ron Paul delegates; but it was not enough.”

When it became evident that Paul was garnering impressive delegate support, the party chair reportedly shut down the convention.

The Paul campaign announced yesterday that it would no longer focus resources on campaign in States that have yet to hold primary votes, but would continue to focus on groundwork to grab delegates throughout the country.

It still remains unclear what power Paul will have at the Republican National Convention, but the option remains that his supporters will secure enough delegate seats to put him in a role of prominence.

A Rasmussen poll last week showed that Paul polls better against President Barack Obama in a head-to-head matchup than establishment-choice moderate Romney. Paul edges out Obama by 1 percentage point, 44 to 43 percent. The survey also noted that in a hypothetical 2012 head-to-head, Obama and Romney are tied at 45 percent.

Breaking: Ron Paul Will Not Campaign In States With Upcoming Primaries, Continues Delegate Strategy

In an email sent to supporters this afternoon, Republican Presidential Ron Paul tells his supporters that he does not plan to campaign for primaries in States that have not yet voted.

The letter reads as follows:

As I reflect on our 2012 Presidential campaign, I am humbled by the supporters who have worked so hard and sacrificed so much. And I am so proud of what we have accomplished. We will not stop until we have restored what once made America the greatest country in human history.

This campaign fought hard and won electoral success that the talking heads and pundits never thought possible. But, this campaign is also about more than just the 2012 election. It has been part of a quest I began 40 years ago and that so many have joined. It is about the campaign for Liberty, which has taken a tremendous leap forward in this election and will continue to grow stronger in the future until we finally win.

Our campaign will continue to work in the state convention process. We will continue to take leadership positions, win delegates, and carry a strong message to the Republican National Convention that Liberty is the way of the future.

Moving forward, however, we will no longer spend resources campaigning in primaries in states that have not yet voted. Doing so with any hope of success would take many tens of millions of dollars we simply do not have. I encourage all supporters of Liberty to make sure you get to the polls and make your voices heard, particularly in the local, state, and Congressional elections, where so many defenders of Freedom are fighting and need your support.

I hope all supporters of Liberty will remain deeply involved – become delegates, win office, and take leadership positions. I will be right there with you. In the coming days, my campaign leadership will lay out to you our delegate strategy and what you can do to help, so please stay tuned.

Though Paul will not actively campaign in any more State primaries, he us expected to continue full-force with his delegate-grabbing ground game until the Republican National Convention in August. His efforts are expected to give him more voice and leverage at the RNC.

Bush Administration ‘Guilty’ Of War Crimes

Last week, the War Crimes Tribunal in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, found former President George W. Bush guilty of the crime of torture and war crimes.

The verdict was delivered by a five-panel tribunal that also found former Vice President Dick Cheney; former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld; Alberto Gonzales, former counsel to Bush; David Addington, former general counsel to the Vice President; William Haynes, former general counsel to the Secretary of Defense; former Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee; and John Yoo, former Deputy Assistant Attorney-General guilty of war crimes.

The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission is an initiative of the Kuala Lumpur Foundation to Criminalize War, an organization created by former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in 2007 to examine abuses of Western governments in Iraq, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories.

Though the commission has no real authority, it carried out the hearings like a legal proceeding complete with a presiding panel of five retired judges and legal scholars, along with prosecutors, defense counsel and witnesses. The result of the commission’s guilty verdict will be that the names of the persons found guilty will be entered in the Commission’s Register of War Criminals.

The group says that because war crimes are covered by universal jurisdiction, the tribunal judgments “can be used by any government to arrest and subject convicted persons to a trial.”

After a four-day hearing in November regarding the commission of crimes against peace during the Iraq war, the Tribunal put Bush’s name on the list along with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and urged nations to arrest the two men.

Young Keynesians

Part of Ron Paul’s mission has been to simplify economic ideas into terms average Americans can understand in order to point out the crimes of Keynesian policies and the Federal Reserve. In doing this he has turned an army of young people on to the sound principles of Austrian economic theory, but the other side is fighting back.

It is no surprise with the number of left-leaning educators in universities throughout the United States that those who prefer Keynesian (or spend-your-way-out-of-debt) economic theory dominate the market on indoctrination. And as it becomes increasingly clear that this mainstream economic policy is deeply flawed and unsustainable, the Keynesians are working to make younger audiences favor their ideas.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York touts an “education” initiative called the High School Fed Challenge that it claims is an effort to “bring real-world economics” to high school classrooms. In a series of competitions hosted by Fed board members, students compete in analyzing economic current events to determine which are most able to sound like Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke in delivering suggestions for a course of monetary action.

NPR reported on the most recent installment of the competition which was won by students from Montclair High School in Montclair, N.J.: “The students are clearly very good at parroting Ben Bernanke. But they also seem to have a solid grasp of what the economy means for their own lives…Obviously, putting the words ‘Fed Challenge’ on a college application looks impressive. But there’s also a sense that understanding all this stuff really matters right now. In the finals, the students answer questions about things the people who run the Fed are debating right now — from quantitative easing to the outlook for inflation.”

While only a small number of students participate in the Fed Challenge, the initiative represents what many people might recognize as a broader problem in the state of modern economic thinking: Many leading economists simply have not been largely exposed to Austrian economics. The efforts of people like Paul and Economic Policy Journal publisher Robert Wenzel, however, are slowly bringing the conservative economic idea into the conversation.

Wenzel writes of a speech he was recently invited to give at the Federal Reserve in New York:

I then asked one economist ( a 20 year plus veteran of the Fed) if he was familiar with Austrian economics. He said that in college he had taken two history of economics courses and then said that the Austrian school is part of the classical tradition. This told me that he was not aware of the important differences between the Austrian school and classical economics (and also the neo-classical tradition).

…Overall, I was simply amazed at the lack of knowledge of these economists about the Austrian school. It was very close to non-existent. This points out the extremely important work being done by the Mises Institute and also Ron Paul. The number of students with an understanding of Austrian economics is increasing at an exponential rate. I can’t imagine that future economists, even those who work for the Fed, won’t have some acquaintance with Austrian economics thanks to MI and Ron Paul.

Maybe if the trend continues, it will become normal at some point in the future to read an economic editorial in The New York Times that touts the value of Austrian ideals rather than the Keynesian nonsense regularly disseminated by the likes of Paul Krugman.

Obama, States’ Rights Hypocrisy And False Hope

Did President Barack Obama become the first President in the history of the United States to announce that he is a homosexual this week? No, he didn’t. But with the amount of coverage of what he did say and jubilation from the gay community, it almost seems as though he did.

The President’s remarks on Wednesday should be minimally surprising to both his critics and his supporters.

“I’ve always been adamant that gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly and equally,” Obama told ABC’s Robin Roberts.

This is something that Americans already know, as the remark was made by the head of an Administration that ended the ban on openly gay individuals serving in the United States military.

Obama went on to say:

I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or Marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married.

Some pundits claim that Obama has exhibited the paramount in political bravery in simply uttering the words “I think same sex couples should be able to get married,” but others would classify the so-called bravery as cowardice. The President has been under pressure to comment on the issue of gay marriage since gaffe-happy Vice President Joe Biden said last Sunday that he completely supports the rights of gay Americans to marry.

While party-line Republicans and Democrats have certainly seized the moment and either used it in criticism or support of the President, there exists no political victory or defeat for either side in what he said. What is illustrated by Obama’s support of gay marriage — but, only as a State issue — is what some people might recognize as the President’s disdain for States’ rights and how even when he advocates them, he cancels them out.

Obama instructed the Justice Department in February to no longer defend the Constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, the legal prohibition on Federal recognition of same-sex marriages. DOMA also included provisions giving States that opt out of allowing gay Americans to marry the right to decline to recognize gay marriages performed in other States. Essentially, the President has attempted to play both sides of the issue: Support States’ rights to perform gay marriages while eliminating other States’ rights to decline to recognize those marriages performed in other States, 1+(-1)=0.

This is just a new example of Obama’s false hope. Consider how he has hoped medical marijuana patients in some States would have short-term memory loss about his 2008 campaign rhetoric on States’ rights and pot. Remember how he wasn’t planning to “use Justice Department resources to try and circumvent State laws about medical marijuana.” Well, he has changed his tune of late, saying last month: “It’s against Federal law. I can’t nullify Congressional law. I can’t ask the Justice Department to say, ‘Ignore completely a Federal law that’s on the books.’”