Posts Tagged ‘Constitution’
I guarantee there wouldn’t be a problem if they had been referencing Allah and allowing the kids to pray five times a day facing Mecca.
A Louisiana lawman is livid over the federal government’s decision to cut off funds for two programs to help troubled young people, all, he says, because he refused to sign a pledge to bar prayer or any mention of God at their meetings.
Julian Whittington, the sheriff of Bossier Parish, La., told Fox News the Department of Justice Office of Civil Rights defunded $30,000 for their Young Marines chapter as well as a youth diversion program. Federal officials objected to a voluntary student-led prayer in the department’s youth diversion program and an oath recited by the Young Marines that mentions God, according to Whittington, who blasted what he considers the government’s “aggression and infringement of our religious freedoms.”
“We were informed that these are unacceptable, inherently religious activities and the Department of Justice would not be able to fund the programs if it continued,” Whittington told Fox News. “They wanted a letter from me stating that I would no longer have voluntary prayer and I would also have to remove ‘God’ from the Young Marine’s oath.”
I must have missed the part of the 1st Amendment that mentions forcing groups to surrender their free speech and religious practices in exchange for federal funds.
“I flat said, ‘It’s not going to happen,’” he told reporters. “Enough is enough. This is the United States of America—and the idea that the mere mention of God or voluntary prayer is prohibited is ridiculous.”
Whittington further emphasized that he’s more concerned about the censorship than he is the lost funds.
“The money is not the issue,” he stated. “It’s the principle of the matter. What is going on here? Who is dictating what can or can’t be said in Bossier Parish?”
Thankfully, they’re not about to cave any time soon:
Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington was greeted with loud applause and shouts of “Amen” when he said he will not remove God from the Young Marines program during its 27th class graduation ceremony today.
The program has lost about $30,000 in federal funding because of a voluntary prayer cadets recite.
“He doesn’t need the politicians,” Lindea McCroix, who’s 9-year-old daughter Savannah Truelove graduated. “God will take him through it.”
The department has never received a complaint about the voluntary prayer, which states “… I will set an example for all other youth to follow and I shall never do anything that would bring disgrace or dishonor upon my God, my Country and its flag, my parents, myself or the Young Marines…”
The prayer has been a part of the program since its inception 10 years ago. A random audit showing the federal funding sparked the controversy.
“We’ve never had one complaint from anybody for anything,” Whittington said, noting the department tried to compromise with the Department of Justice, which said God must be removed in order for federal funding to continue.
“I said, ‘Keep it. We’re not doing it. Game over.”
This is the kind of crap that the KGB would pull in Soviet countries. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
On Thursday the Examiner provided an exclusive report indicating that the Obama administration had implemented a covert program beginning in 2009 that was intended to spy on conservative, evangelical Christian churches.
That program involved infiltration — sending in government operatives to join churches for the purpose of data collection. The government snoops would keep their eyes and ears open for criticism of the Obama administration, talk of Tea Party participation, conversations about gun ownership, and a number of other issues.
But a special report issued today by Fox News indicates that the program went far beyond infiltration and snooping. The IRS was used to harass Christian churches if they were identified as places where large numbers of anti-Obama citizens congregated for worship.
The Obama administration, according to the report, considered any public criticism of administration policies to be political in nature and should therefore impact whether or not these congregations were allowed to gain or keep their tax exempt status.
Daniel Blomberg and Eric Rassbach explain at Fox News:
What most people don’t realize is that the IRS has been acting as the speech police for decades. Ever since 1954, when then-Senator Lyndon Johnson pushed for a law enabling the IRS to punish non-profits who opposed him politically, the IRS has been in the business of government censor. What’s worse is that one of the biggest targets of this censorship has been religious people and houses of worship. In fact, one of the IRS’s first targets in the 1950s was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who was subjected to a searching IRS audit because of his religious advocacy for civil rights for African-Americans.
The IRS of course has the crushing power to deny or revoke the non-profit status of a synagogue, church, or mosque if it says something the IRS decides is too “political.” But it can also put houses of worship and other religious organizations through the wringer of intrusive, costly, and time-consuming audits.
There are two ways the targeting works. One way is for an outside group, often one that is anti-religion, to file a complaint asking the IRS to investigate a church they don’t like. The IRS responds to the complaint by opening an investigation and asking the church often hundreds of questions about its activities, with the threat of revocation of non-profit status. This is what lawyers call “selective enforcement” and it is unconstitutional. No one should be singled out in this way, especially because of collusion between the IRS and outside groups with an ax to grind.
The second way the censorship starts is for IRS officials to take their lead from high government officials, including the President, to decide which groups to target for disfavor. This is apparently what happened to the “tea party” groups, but religious groups have also been targeted in this way.
Don’t believe it? Just ask Billy Graham. Last fall, the famed Christian evangelist publicly advocated on behalf of a ballot measure in his home state of North Carolina, taking a position that the President and other high government officials publicly opposed. The tax man was knocking at the door almost immediately. And while the expensive, time-consuming audit eventually ended without any finding of wrongdoing by Graham, a message was sent to every other religious group that might oppose government policy: the IRS can use its audit powers to harass you or shut you down simply for saying what you believe. That kind of intimidation is wrong–and unconstitutional.
Funny…he wouldn’t dare say that about Sunni and Shi’a Madrasas.
President Barack Obama reportedly offended Catholics and Protestants during a speech he gave while in Northern Ireland for the G8 summit.
Speaking to about 2,000 young people, which included many Catholics, Obama seemingly argued that religious education can promote division and resentment.
“If towns remain divided—if Catholics have their schools and buildings and Protestants have theirs, if we can’t see ourselves in one another and fear or resentment are allowed to harden—that too encourages division and discourages cooperation,” Obama said, according to the Scottish Catholic Observer.
Just two days before Obama made his comments, Archbishop Gerhard Mueller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, spoke to a crowd in Glasgow, Scotland. Mueller told his listeners that religious education upholds the dignity of the human person, and Catholic schools should promote “all that is good in the philosophies of societies and human culture.” Mueller said that Catholic education is “a critical component of the Church.”
In addition, Mueller advocated for an understanding of “Catholic” which includes the breadth of “all that is good in the philosophies of societies and human culture.” The archbishop spoke of relativism as a threat to education because the objects of education—the true and the good—“stand in some way outside the person” and are transcendent.
“A danger in the relativism of modern society is the assumption that human freedom essentially entails creating one’s own truth and moral good.”
Mueller said that the implications of relativism “would lead to the breakdown of society… if pursued to their logical conclusion.”
How ironic—and perhaps providential—that Archbishop Mueller spoke his faith-filled words in Scotland at about the same time President Obama spoke his words of sabotage in Ireland.
As is often the case, Obama begins his process of undermining faith, the Constitution—whatever—by speaking to young people, hoping to divide them from those who will hand down the traditions and the culture to them. In truth, it is Obama—not faith or the Church—who is the Great Divider, the promoter of class warfare, envy, racism, etc.
School Cuts Off Valedictorian’s Mic, Threatens His Naval Academy Appointment For Mentioning God And Constitution In Speech
Valedictorian’s mic cut off as he made impromptu speech about value of the constitution
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What happens when the star student dares to think for himself and speak from the heart instead of from a pre-approved script? The government-run school censorship brigade swings into action.
He was one of the most quiet and softspoken students of the Joshua High School graduating class, and what the valedictorian wasn’t allowed to say at commencement exercises is making national news.
“Most people have never ever heard me speak much less see me smile,” said Remington Reimer, as he addressed the large crowd gathered Thursday at Owl Stadium.
And then, the Burleson resident began what would have appeared to have been a traditional graduation speech – thanking his parents and naming special teachers that have helped him along the way and telling the crowd how proud he was of his class and how close they all were.
He discussed perseverance in life, and told fellow graduates its the finish that matters. He then told a story about a runner who finished a race with a broken leg. He added that, years from now, it wouldn’t matter that he was valedictorian or first in his class but, rather, that he and his classmates finished the race and finished well.
Nice words. Nice kid. Another graduation day in America.
Then Reimer discussed his faith and thanked God for “sending His only son to die for me and the rest of the world.”
Reimer, who has secured an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy, talked about free speech and the U.S. Constitution and how that “yesterday, I was threatened with having the mic turned off and…”
And then the mic was turned off.
[...] Another Facebook posting emailed to the Burleson Star clarified what Reimer had said after the microphone was cut off:
“We are all fortunate to live in a country where we can express our beliefs, where our mics won’t be turned off, as I have been threatened to be if I veer away from the school-censored speech I have just finished. Just as Jesus spoke out against the authority of the Pharisees and Sadducees, who tried to silence him, I will not have my freedom of speech taken away from me. And I urge you all to do the same. Do not let anyone take away your religious or Constitutional rights from you.”
The crowd roared with enthusiasm and Reimer sat down.
Unfortunately, it didn’t stop with censorship. Afterwards, the principle apparently threatened to put his future in jeopardy by disparaging his character to the Naval Academy, where he had been recently accepted:
A Texas high school principal threatened to sabotage a valedictorian’s appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy after the student delivered a speech that referenced God and the U.S. Constitution, the boy’s attorney alleges.
Hiram Sasser, director of litigation with the Liberty Institute, said Joshua High School principal Mick Cochran threatened to write a letter to the U.S. Naval Academy disparaging the character of Remington Reimer.
“It was intimidating having my high school principal threaten my future because I wanted to stand up for the Constitution and acknowledge my faith and not simply read a government approved speech,” the teenager said.
Sasser is now representing the teenager and is calling for the Joshua Independent School District to issue a public statement exonerating him of any wrongdoing.
He said the speech was edited and reviewed by four different school officials – including an officer in the JROTC. Sasser said the censorship violated federal and state laws.
[...] The following day the principal met with Reimer’s father and informed him “that he intended to punish Remington for his perceived misdeed.”
“Specifically, he threatened to send a letter to the United States Naval Academy advising them that Remington has poor character or words to that effect,” Sasser told Fox News.
After consulting with a school attorney, the principal temporarily retracted the threat, Sasser said.
“The principal said he wanted to try to ruin him for what he did – for talking about the Constitution and his faith,” Sasser said. “I don’t know if he’s going to be able to continue to be the principal of that school.”
The unmitigated gall of this man is mind-blowing. His administration’s gun-running scheme armed Mexican drug cartels and resulted in the deaths of at least 2 border agents and 300 Mexican citizens. And he has the nerve to blame US??
President Barack Obama, speaking in Mexico City on Friday, said the United States is responsible for much of the crime and violence in Mexico because of the demand for drugs and the illegal smuggling of guns across the southern border.
He told the crowd, “We understand that the root cause of violence that’s been happening here in Mexico for which so many Mexicans have suffered is the demand for illegal drugs in the United States.” He later added, “We also recognize that most of the guns used to commit violence here in Mexico come from the United States.”
Obama acknowledged the illegal smuggling of guns into Mexico by American criminals, but did not mention the Justice Department’s Operation Fast and Furious that allowed the flow of about 2,000 U.S. guns to Mexican drug trafficking organizations. Fast and Furious began in the fall of 2009 and was halted in December 2010 after two of the weapons from the DOJ gun walking program were found at the murder scene of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.
Obama didn’t just offer a few throwaway lines at the issue, taking playful jabs at his Republican opponents. He actually seemed to be blaming Americans for the corrupt and violent Mexican drug culture.
He said, “Much of the root cause of violence that’s been happening here in Mexico, for which so many Mexicans have suffered, is the demand for illegal drugs in the United States.”
Can you believe that? Who thinks that way, much less a United States president? Whose team is he on? Whom is he fighting for? Wouldn’t you think that if the captain of our team were going to complain about problems between our two countries, he would direct his criticisms at those committing the crimes in their own country and those who also come to our country in droves illegally, even if the numbers have decreased recently because of Obama’s economy?
But no, it’s our fault. It’s always our fault, even when he’s the president. What an impotent guy he must be not to be able to have a more positive effect on us evil Americans.
But he didn’t stop there. Why should he have? He had a perfect platform to kill a couple of eagles with the same stone. He next took aim at America’s evil gun manufacturers.
He said: “Most of the guns used to commit violence here in Mexico come from the United States. I think many of you know that in America, our Constitution guarantees our individual right to bear arms. And as president, I swore an oath to uphold that right, and I always will. But at the same time, as I’ve said in the United States, I will continue to do everything in my power to pass common-sense reforms that keep guns out of the hands of criminals and dangerous people. That can save lives here in Mexico and back home in the United States. It’s the right thing to do.”
It is disgraceful enough that this American president would gratuitously paint America in a negative light before foreign people and their leaders (absent some egregious, deliberate action by the United States). But it is especially reprehensible that he attacked Americans and American gun manufacturers for the purpose of advancing his political and policy agenda in the United States.
If he wanted to apologize to Mexico, perhaps he should have started with Fast and Furious and the illegal guns his administration walked into Mexico without its permission or knowledge, which resulted in the death of some 200 Mexicans. But his apology ought to be on behalf of his administration, including himself and his attorney general, not America generally.
Translation: Don’t think. Don’t Question. Just go along with whatever the ruling class tells you to do.
A year to the day after kicking off his re-election campaign at Ohio State University, President Barack Obama returned to the college campus and told graduates that only through vigorous participation in their “democracy” can they right an ill-functioning government and break through relentless cynicism about the nation’s future.
Obama also urged the students to “reject these voices” that warn of the evils of government, saying:
Still, you’ll hear voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s the root of all our problems, even as they do their best to gum up the works; or that tyranny always lurks just around the corner. You should reject these voices. Because what they suggest is that our brave, creative, unique experiment in self-rule is just a sham with which we can’t be trusted.
We have never been a people who place all our faith in government to solve our problems, nor do we want it to. But we don’t think the government is the source of all our problems, either. Because we understand that this democracy is ours. As citizens, we understand that America is not about what can be done for us. It’s about what can be done by us, together, through the hard and frustrating but absolutely necessary work of self-government.
The cynics may be the loudest voices—but they accomplish the least. It’s the silent disruptors—those who do the long, hard, committed work of change—that gradually push this country in the right direction, and make the most lasting difference. [Emphasis added]
Doug Powers makes a powerful observation:
Interesting. Obama said that those who warn others to be on the lookout for government tyranny run counter to the reason this “brave, and creative, and unique experiment in self-rule” called the United States of America was formed, when in fact a stand against government tyranny is precisely why this country came into existence. Can somebody please flick the paradox switch on the teleprompter to the “off” position?
Thomas Paine wrote about the “government and society should be a single entity” approach in Common Sense, and concluded the two should never be indistinguishable:
“Some writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only different, but have different origins. Society is produced by our wants, and government by wickedness; the former promotes our happiness positively by uniting our affections, the latter negatively by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first is a patron, the last a punisher. Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one;”
1. We need no further proof to justify a chorus of horse-laughter over his claim to being a Constitutional scholar. Because a Constitutional scholar would have read a book or two. Specifically, say, the Federalist Papers and the Anti-Federalist Papers. He would’ve seen that the nation was extremely concerned about tyranny in America in the run-up to the ratification of the federal Constitution. Indeed, those on the Anti-Federalist side seem more like prophets with each passing day, as they were convinced that the new Constitution would not, in fact, keep tyranny from happening here. Warning about government tyranny is practically the sine qua non of the American experiment.
President Reagan spoke as an American in this honorable tradition when he quipped that the scariest words in our language were, “We’re from the government and we’re here to help.” Mr. Obama speaks those words in earnest, like he really means them, and wonders why anyone would be nervous about it.
2. I really have no idea who he’s talking about, these mysterious voices warning of tyranny lurking around the corner. Everyone I know who is paying any attention is aware that tyranny is here right now, out in the open! I wish we lived in a time when tyrants were still afraid to show themselves!
I especially like Trifecta’s take on this:
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Earlier today, 7 anti-gun bills were defeated in the senate (2 more remain to be voted on Thursday).
Never one to take defeat graciously, Obama threw a full-blown tantrum in the bully pulpit, using Gabby Giffords and the Newtown families as political props as he declared the Senate vote “shameful” and slammed 2nd Amendment advocates as “liars.”
With the failure of the Democrats’ attempt to exploit the Newtown school shooting to press forward gun control measures, President Obama took to the microphones along with the relatives of Sandy Hook victims to demonize his opposition. This, of course, was his strategy all along: knowing that he did not have 60 votes in the Democrat-controlled Senate to pass his gun control legislation, he pressed forward anyway, hoping to paint Republicans as intransigent, immoral tools of the gun lobby who don’t care about dead children. After demonizing Republicans, Obama hopes, he can press Americans into voting Democrats back into power in the House of Representatives.
On Wednesday afternoon, Obama played his part to perfection. Mark Barden, father of a first-grader murdered in Newtown, introduced him. Flanking Obama were other Newtown victims; Vice President Joe Biden, face creased in supposed emotional agony, his arm around the mother of a Sandy Hook victim; and former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who has been one of the lead advocate for gun control on behalf of the administration.
“On behalf of the Sandy Hook parents, I would like to thank President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden,” said Mark Barden, father of a first-grader murdered in Newtown. “We will not be defeated. We are not defeated and we will not be defeated ….. I’d like to end by repeating the words by which the Sandy Hook promise begins: Our hearts are broken. Our spirit is not.”
He then introduced President Obama, who blasted away in a carefully calculated and calibrated assault on gunowners, Republicans, and all those with the temerity to disagree on his gun control proposals. Lashing out with more emotion than he has on any issue of his presidency, Obama played up to the cameras, all the while using gun violence victims as a backdrop.
Obama said that he had acted in response to the shooting of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and Sandy Hook. “Families that had known unspeakable grief,” Obama said, reached out “to protect the lives of all children …. A few minutes ago, a minority in the Senate decided it wasn’t worth it.” Standing on the graves of the children of Sandy Hook has become rote for this president.
[...] All of this was setup for the coup de grace: a request for more power. Because, after all, Obama was never going to win this debate. He didn’t have the votes, he didn’t have the evidence, and he didn’t have a decent piece of legislation to propose. What he did have was unbridled faux moral indignation and a compliant press.
But he needs more. He needs a majority in the House. And he asked for it. “So all in all, this was a pretty shameful day for Washington. But this effort is not over,” said Obama. “If this Congress refuses to listen … the real impact is going to have to come from the voters.”
“The memories of these children demand [gun control],” Obama concluded.
What he meant was obvious: the memories of dead children in Sandy Hook demands that voters give Obama more Senators and more Congresspeople. How convenient for him.
Neither Obama nor the media are interested in hearing from family members of gun violence victims who opposed his gun control scheme, such as this father from Newtown, and the father of 9-year-old Christina Green, who was shot and killed in the Tuscon attack.
They’re only interested in exploiting those grieving families they can use to forward their own political agenda.
Funny how Marxists don’t recognize your unalienable right to keep the fruits of your labor (especially if you happen to be more successful than they think you should be), but they claim that they have a “right” to demand free goodies at the expense of others.
Speaking outside on a sunny day, Harris-Perry says in an ad that aired Wednesday morning:
Americans will always want some level of inequality, because it’s a representation of meritocracy. People who work hard and sacrifice and save their money and make major contributions — we think that they should earn a little more. They should have more resources, and that’s fine. But we also, however, have to have a floor under which nobody falls. And if you’re below that — especially if you’re a child and you’re below that — we are not going to accept that. You do have the the right to health care, and to education, and to decent housing and to quality food at all times. [Emphasis added]
When something is a “right” (your life or conscience, for instance), it means you don’t have to do anything to earn it. You get to have it just for existing. It’s a gift from your Creator.
When you describe goods and services like food and housing as “rights,” you are saying that the people who produce these goods and services are obligated to provide them for you, whether you pay for them or not. There’s a word for this: slavery. Only slaves are forced to produce for others without compensation. TRUE rights come from God, and are unalienable. They cannot be provided by others, who could just as easily take them away.
You have an unalienable right to work and trade for goods and services. You do NOT have a “right” to demand them free of charge from others.
Melissa Harris-Perry: All Your Kids Belong to Us (Not the Parents)
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I’ve seen the village, and I don’t want it raising my kids!
In a scripted MSNBC promo, Melissa Harris-Perry made the following statement:
“We have never invested as much in public education as we should have because we’ve always had a private notion of children, your kid is yours and totally your responsibility. We haven’t had a very collective notion of these are our children. So part of it is we have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents or kids belong to their families and recognize that kids belong to whole communities.”
Got that? You kid doesn’t belong to you. He/she belongs to the “collective” – meaning, the state.
Ironically, this is the same woman who calls unborn babies “things that turn into humans.”
How do I put this politely? Stay the **** way from my kids!
So kids belong to whole communities? Didn’t we fight a war back in the 1800s to prove that people weren’t owned by the state or anyone else, but were, in fact, people? Seriously?
But take that out of it. This is amazingly stupid commentary. All of us who own property (real property, not children) pay property taxes to fund a public education system to educate our children. We have democratically elected school boards to make the decisions on how tocollectively educate our kids to common, state approved standards.
It is failing spectacularly. And I suspect that the tangible efforts to improve it, from neutering teachers unions to giving parents choices in where to send their children, are opposed by Melissa Harris-Perry.
I never thought I’d see the day when self-styled progressives advocated the state owning the people.
Ken Shepherd at Newsbusters correctly points out that this is actually Maoist philosophy she’s spewing:
[T]he notion of collective responsibility for children was a philosophy that undergirded the Cultural Revolution in Communist China under Chairman Mao. I bring that up because, as you may recall, another Harris-Perry “Lean Forward” spot contains a reference to a “great leap forward,” which calls to mind the disastrous agricultural reform plan which starved millions of Chinese to death in the 1950s.
The Five on Fox made some great points about this collectivist mentality while discussing this around the table:
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Sarah Palin tweeted a few ingenious responses to this:
Love it! After having spent 22 hours of my life in labor, I heartily agree!
After the justifiable outrage and backlash, Harris-Perry is trying to walk back her statements and blame the views for misunderstanding her. Nice try. This is typical for the Left. They float a trial balloon and then pretend it was all an innocent misunderstanding when they get called for dropping their mask. The mask goes back up, but the ugliness behind it doesn’t go away. They work by desensitizing people over time, so that what sounds outrageous now will actually start to sound reasonable a few years from now. I don’t buy her “backpedaling” for a second.
Sign the petition to adopt the only Constitutional Amendment that will protect children from this kind of power grab – the Parental Rights Amendment!
The foundation for the housing crisis was laid with the Community Reinvestment Act in 1977, where the government took it upon itself to encourage home ownership by pressuring banks to lend to lower-income buyers, often to meet arbitrary racial quotas. Obviously they haven’t learned a thing from where that got us.
Would it surprise anyone to learn that as a lawyer, Obama sued banks to force them to issue subprime loans? He also worked for ACORN, which specialized in using the Community Reinvestment Act to shake down banks and pressure them to loan money to low-income minorities or face “discrimination” charges.
According to the Washington Post, the Obama administration is pushing big banks to make more home loans available to Americans with bad credit – the same kind of government guidance that helped blow up the housing market:
In response, administration officials say they are working to get banks to lend to a wider range of borrowers by taking advantage of taxpayer-backed programs — including those offered by the Federal Housing Administration — that insure home loans against default.
Housing officials are urging the Justice Department to provide assurances to banks, which have become increasingly cautious, that they will not face legal or financial recriminations if they make loans to riskier borrowers who meet government standards but later default.
Think about this statement. The administration is asking banks – banks that Washington bails out; banks that Washington crafts regulations for — to embrace risky policies that put the institution and its investors (not to mention, all of us) in a precarious position. So precarious, in fact, that banks have to ask government if they can be freed of any legal or financial consequences.
What could possibly go wrong?
These types of government policies initially emerged the mid-1970s, when “progressive” Democrats in Congress began a campaign to help low-income minorities become homeowners. This led to the passage, in 1977, of theCommunity Reinvestment Act (CRA), a mandate for banks to make special efforts to seek out and lend to borrowers of meager means. Founded on the premise that government intervention is necessary to counteract the fundamentally racist and inequitable nature of American society and the free market, the CRA was eventually transformed from an outreach effort into a strict quota system by the Clinton administration. Under the new arrangement, if a bank failed to meet its quota for loans to low-income minorities, it ran the risk of getting a low CRA rating from the FDIC. This, in turn, could derail the bank’s efforts to expand, relocate, merge, etc. From a practical standpoint, then, banks had no recourse but to drastically lower their standards on down-payments and underwriting, and to approve many loans even to borrowers with weak credit credentials. As Hoover Institution Fellow Thomas Sowell explains, this led to “skyrocketing rates of mortgage delinquencies and defaults,” and the rest is history.
The CRA was by no means the only mechanism designed by government to impose lending quotas on financial institutions. For instance, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) developed rules encouraging lenders to dramatically hike their loan-approval rates for minority applicants and began bringing legal actions against mortgage bankers who failed to do so, regardless of the reason. This, too, caused lenders to lower their down-payment and income requirements.
Moreover, HUD pressured the government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two largest sources of housing finance in the United States, to earmark a steeply rising number of their own loans for low-income borrowers. Many of these were subprime mortgages—loans characterized by higher interest rates and less favorable terms in order to compensate lenders for the high credit risk they were incurring.
Additional pressure toward this end was applied by community organizations like the pro-socialist ACORN. By accusing banks—however frivolously or unjustly—of having engaged in racially discriminatory lending practices that violated the mandates of the CRA, these groups commonly sued banks toprevent them from expanding or merging as they wished. Barack Obama, ACORN’s staunch ally, was strongly in favor of this practice. Indeed, in a 1994 class-action lawsuit against Citibank, Obama represented ACORN in demanding more favorable terms for subprime homebuyer mortgages. After four years of being dragged through the mud, a beleaguered Citibank—anxious to put an end to the incessant smears (charging racism) that Obama and his fellow litigators were hurling in its direction (to say nothing of its mounting legal bills)—agreed to settle the case.
Forbes magazine puts it bluntly: “Obama has been a staunch supporter of the CRA throughout his public life.” In other words, he has long advocated the very policies that already have reduced the real-estate market to rubble. And now he is actively pushing those very same practices again.
Obama’s ‘Organizing For Action’ Campaign Siphons Donations Away From Democrat Party Leading Up To 2014 Election
As the Democrats prepare to try to take back the House in 2014, they are beginning to realize that Obama’s permanent campaign arm, “Organizing For Action,” isn’t necessarily in their camp. They are competing with the Democrat party for fundraising dollars, and using the money to prop up the Cult of Obama, not the Democrat party.
Anyone who has been paying attention to the Obamessiah’s narcissistic behavior for the past four years could have seen this coming a mile away. Sadly, it appears the suckers at the DNC are only just realizing that their idol’s just not that into them.
President Barack Obama’s decision to launch his own political organization has some Democrats wondering: Is he just in it for himself?
Obama’s new group, Organizing for Action, will focus on his policy agenda – not on electing Democratic candidates – by raising unlimited amounts of cash and accessing the president’s secret list of 20 million supporters, volunteers and donors.
The operation won’t share money, resources or the priceless Obama email list with the Democratic National Committee or campaign committees that help elect members of Congress, governors and legislators. And it has no plans to coordinate efforts, leading some Democrats to worry that it will take money and manpower away from the party as it heads into the 2014 elections for control of Congress.
“There’s only so much money to go around in Democratic circles. There’s a limited pool of resources,” said Gilda Cobb Hunter, a South Carolina legislator and a member of the Democratic National Committee. “Why can’t we strengthen one entity?”
[...] Days before his second term began, Obama announced that his campaign would morph into a nonprofit, tax-exempt group to rally support across the country for his agenda. “Organizing for Action will be an unparalleled force in American politics,” he told supporters.
Other presidents have created or championed organizations outside the major national parties. Bill Clinton, for example, embraced the Democratic Leadership Council, an organization that pushed a moderate agenda.
But that functioned more as a think tank. And Obama is the first to form a group that will raise millions of dollars as it seeks to perpetuate a year-round campaign for him.
The decision to create Organizing for Action separate from the DNC, where a similar group was housed after the 2008 election, has prompted some Democrats to accuse Obama of focusing more on his legacy and less on his party.
What does Obama have to gain from withholding the e-mail list, siphoning away donations, and otherwise threatening to weaken the DNC’s 2014 campaign efforts? Is he trying to force them to come crawling to him to stay in power?
The Senate voted earlier to block the U.S. from joining the treaty, but Obama is likely to sign it anyway.
He’s already heading out onto the never-ending campaign trail to stump for more gun control. He wants to stir up public pressure to force the Senate to ratify it. If they do, you can kiss your 2nd Amendment rights good-bye.
This morning, by a vote of 154 nations in favor (including the United States), 23 abstentions, and three against (Syria, North Korea, and Iran), the U.N. General Assembly adopted the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). The treaty will be open for national signature on June 3, 2013, and will enter into force for its signatories when it has been signed and ratified by 50 nations.
Though the vote in favor of the treaty seems overwhelming, a closer look shows something different. Among the major exporting and importing nations, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, and Russia abstained. So did most of the Arab Group, as well as a range of anti-American regimes, including Bolivia, Cuba, and Nicaragua, and a smattering of others, including Belarus, Burma, and Sri Lanka.
A further 13 nations did not vote, including some known opponents of the treaty, such as Venezuela and Zimbabwe. Finally, while Pakistan voted in favor of the treaty, its statement in explanation implied that it was voting for the treaty because it anticipated that India would abstain, and it wanted to look good by comparison.
Thus, what the U.N. vote amounts to is the tacit rejection of the treaty by most of the world’s most irresponsible arms exporters and anti-American dictatorships, who collectively amount to half of the world’s population.
Ken Klukowski warns, “What Americans Need To Know About The UN Gun Control Treaty“:
Today the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted a global gun control treaty called the Arms Trade Treaty. Now the fight begins here at home. There are several things gun owners need to know to protect their constitutional rights.
Now that it’s been proposed, the treaty goes to all the member states to decide on whether to join. Per the U.S. Constitution, in America it must first be signed by the president (which it will), then be ratified by two-thirds of the U.S. Senate (which it won’t). The United States is not likely to join the treaty as a nation, though President Barack Obama will likely push for it.
The General Assembly can’t do anything at the United Nations except propose (not establish) treaties and admit new U.N. members. Most of the power at the U.N. is in the Security Council, which consists of five permanent members (including the U.S.) and ten rotating seats among all the other U.N. members. So the General Assembly did one of the only things it can by recommending this treaty to its member states.
However, the first danger is that U.S. courts have held we’re bound by “customary international law,” sometimes called the “law of nations.” If enough U.N. member states were to adopt this treaty, a liberal federal court could rule it has become customary international law. The current Supreme Court would never affirm such a ruling, but there is a real danger if Obama changes the balance of the Court over the next three years.
Because federal statutes and treaties are of equal force under the U.S. Constitution, whenever they are in direct conflict, the most-recently passed of the two prevails. So, if somehow this treaty were ratified by the Senate, if Congress were to later pass a statute taking the opposite position, it would trump the treaty.
Of course, you need a president’s signature to pass a statute or two-thirds of Congress to override a presidential veto, so we would need a president in 2016 who supports the Second Amendment to pass such a law.
[...] The dangers are obvious, however. If Barack Obama manages to get an anti-gun politician like Hillary Clinton or Andrew Cuomo to follow him in 2016 as president, and changes the balance of the Supreme Court over time, then the Arms Trade Treaty could open America up to a worldwide U.N. gun control regime. That could lay the groundwork and set up a system that a decade or two from now could restrict lawful firearm ownership in this nation.
If the goal is to save lives, liability insurance isn’t going to do it. But of course, this isn’t really about saving lives. It’s about control. It’s about putting up as many hurdles as they can think of between the average, law-abiding American and their right to self-defense.
A contingent of liberal Democrats in Congress is proposing a new federal gun control idea: mandatory liability insurance for gun owners.
When New York Rep. Carolyn Maloney introduced the legislation last month with eight other Democrats, she boasted that it is “the first bill to require liability insurance of gun buyers nationwide.”
Maloney’s “Firearm Risk Protection Act” requires gun buyers to have “a qualified liability insurance policy” before they are able to legally purchase a firearm.
It also calls for the federal government to impose a fine as much as $10,000 if a gun owner doesn’t have insurance on a firearm purchased after the bill goes into effect.
Want to guess who this would hurt most? You got it: poor people living in dangerous neighborhoods, who would be barred from defending themselves due to the high cost of insurance.
The smart ones will go to the black market and arm themselves anyway.
In Cyprus, politicians are trying to bail themselves out by stealing directly from people’s bank accounts. In America, the government is more subtle.
It’s been stealing from us for years – through inflation. Thomas Sowell explains:
One of the big differences between the United States and Cyprus is that the U.S. government can simply print more money to get out of a financial crisis. But Cyprus cannot print more euros, which are controlled by international institutions.
Does that mean that Americans’ money is safe in banks? Yes and no.
The U.S. government is very unlikely to just seize money wholesale from people’s bank accounts, as is being done in Cyprus.
But does that mean that your life savings are safe?
No. There are more sophisticated ways for governments to take what you have put aside for yourself and use it for whatever the politicians feel like using it for.
If they do it slowly but steadily, they can take a big chunk of what you have sacrificed for years to save, before you are even aware, much less alarmed.
That is in fact already happening.
When officials of the Federal Reserve System speak in vague and lofty terms about “quantitative easing,” what they are talking about is creating more money out of thin air, as the Federal Reserve is authorized to do — and has been doing in recent years, to the tune of tens of billions of dollars a month.
When the federal government spends far beyond the tax revenues it has, it gets the extra money by selling bonds. The Federal Reserve has become the biggest buyer of these bonds, since it costs them nothing to create more money.
This new money buys just as much as the money you sacrificed to save for years. But more money in circulation, without a corresponding increase in output, means rising prices.
Although the numbers in your bank book may remain the same, part of the purchasing power of your money is transferred to the government. Is that really different from what Cyprus has done?
Through the centuries – in historic cultures like that of Yap Island who used giant, immovable stone disks for commerce, to today’s United States, whose Dollar fiat currency exists primarily in digital form – “money” is able to be exchanged for goods and services because society agrees to accept it (at a certain rate of exchange).
But what happens when a society starts doubting the value of its money?
Fed, the Great & Powerful
The podcast goes into the mind-blowingly simple process by which new money is created in America by the Federal Reserve (or the “Fed”). That is to say:
- The Fed holds a meeting
- Those in the room decide how many more dollars they think the world needs
- Someone walks over to a computer and adds that many dollars to the banks, with a few clicks of the keyboard
The banks then, if they want to, lend this new money out into the economy on a fractional basis, adding even more “thin air” dollars to the nation’s money supply.
This unique ability in America lends the Fed enormous power. The power to create new money from nothing. With no limit.
And with that power, the Fed can control and/or influence economies and markets the world over.
Should such power exist? And if so, should a single private entity owned by the major players in the banking system be allowed to wield it?
Such power certainly has its dangers.
[...] Money is not wealth. It is merely a claim on wealth.
You can’t print your way to prosperity. History is abundantly clear on that.
With the clarity of hindsight, it’s now obvious how the Fed has now painted itself into a corner.
[...] Cyprus has awakened the world to the reality that central planners can appropriate their money with the bang of a gavel. And while we don’t yet know with certainty how things will unfold in Cyprus, we can project that events there have shaken society’s confidence in the soundness of fiat currency in general. If we know it can be confiscated or devalued overnight, we are less likely to unquestioningly accept its stated value. This doubt that strikes at the very foundation of modern monetary systems.
Cyprus is meaningful in the way that it shines a light on both the importance of hard assets and the risk it poses to market stability. It certainly increases the risk of our prediction of a 40%+ stock-market correction by September, as investors begin to realize that current high values are simply the ephemeral effect of too much money, instead of a sign of true value.
At this point, prudence suggests we prepare for the worst (by parking capital on the sidelines, investing in our personal resilience, etc.) and add to our hard asset holdings (like precious metals bullion, productive real estate, etc.) as insurance to protect our purchasing power. The dollar may strengthen for a bit versus other currencies and perhaps the financial markets, but the long-term trend is a safer and surer bet: Dollars will be inflated. There will be more of them in the future than there are today. So, while our dollars still have the purchasing power they do, we should use the window of time we have now to exchange paper money for tangible wealth at today’s prices.
Cyprus is only the first domino.
Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades has struck a deal with the European Union and International Monetary Fund that will seize up to 40% of uninsured funds from wealthier depositors with over 100,000 euros and will not siphon funds from those below that amount.
The 10 billion euros ($13 billion) bailout plan calls for the Cyprus Popular Bank to be dissolved and all its viable assets transferred to the country’s biggest bank, Bank of Cyprus.
Presently, Cypriot banks have imposed a 100 euros ATM withdraw limit, and Cyprus border officials at air and sea ports have been ordered to confiscate the funds of any traveler attempting to leave with over 10,000 euros.
How dare they try to keep the money they worked so hard for and saved AFTER taxes were already paid on it? Don’t they know that private property is an illusion under Socialism? That the government is free to spend as irresponsibly as it wants, and can steal your money at will to pay the tab? That’s what they’ve been voting for all this time, right? Or didn’t they realize it?
Understandably, Cypriots are desperately trying to get their money out, but it’s too late:
The president of Cyprus assured his people a bailout deal he struck with the European Union was in their best interests, but banks will remain closed until Thursday – and even then subject to capital controls to prevent a run on deposits.
The ruling class insists that stealing money out of their bank accounts is “in their best interests.” Doesn’t that make them feel better? They’ll be patriotic and happy to “share the sacrifice” for the greater good, right? Of course not!
Tyler Durden reports that there is a “Cash Exodus From Cyprus Surges Despite Bank Closures, Capital Controls“:
From FAZ, google translation edited:
Despite the closed banks and a lock for payments in the past week, more money flowed out of Cyprus than in previous weeks, Frankfurter experts report for payments. Prior to the escalation of the crisis in Cyprus accruing on the payment system Target liabilities of Cypriot central bank to the European Central Bank (ECB) had increased daily at approximately 100 to 200 million euros. In recent days was after Parliament the stabilization program initially had to fail, the daily has risen to more than double. Just in the last week so could cash assets have been withdrawn from Cyprus in the billions, although the Cypriot central bank has actually issued a lock.
How is it possible that cash is leaving the country even with a bank halt? It isn’t, unless of course, the banks aren’t really halted, and some outbound wire transfers, which are permitted, are more equal than other wire transfers which are stuck on the island. Of course, that would imply an “Europe Farm” type of arrangement, which in the bastion of fairness, equality and honesty which is Europe, would be absolutely impossible.
On the other hand, if indeed the drain of the Cypriot banking system has continued despite all the enacted halts during the past week, then it’s game over for Cyprus, which will soon have only the ECB to thank for providing liquidity, an arrangement that may not be the best long-term outcome for a nation whose economy has basically been gutted in the span of one week.
It also means game over for the bailout as envisioned, as the EUR17 billion is history, and much more cash will have to be injected to cover for the stealth outflows.
Cyprus won’t be the only one affected, of course. An unusually honest Eurozone official has made it clear that the EU will use the same confiscation tactics as Cyprus if things get worse (which of course they will):
Savings accounts in Spain, Italy and other European countries will be raided if needed to preserve Europe’s single currency by propping up failing banks, a senior eurozone official has announced.
The new policy will alarm hundreds of thousands of British expatriates who live and have transferred their savings, proceeds from house sales and other assets to eurozone bank accounts in countries such as France, Spain and Italy.
The euro fell on global markets after Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch chairman of the eurozone, told the FT and Reuters that the heavy losses inflicted on depositors in Cyprus would be the template for future banking crises across Europe.
Dijsselbloem tried to retract the statement after investors started panicking, but the damage is already done. Now the cat is out of the bag:
Translation: it now officially sucks to be an unsecured creditor in Europe. In other words: an uninsured depositor.
Why this ad hoc dramatic shift in the European approach to bank solvency, which if anything makes the link between bank and sovereign closer than ever, and crushes all that Draghi achieved in the summer of 2012?
Simple: because what Cyprus allowed was the effective usurpation of democracy - the only reason the Cypriot bailout “passed” (at least so far) is because it was structured as a bank restructuring, a financial system “resolution”, not a tax,and thus not in need of a parliamentary, democratic vote. Because as Cyprus also showed, votes to deprive depositors of cash, whether insured or uninsured, simply won’t fly.
Hence the shift.
However, there is a problem: it means that depositors are now fair game everywhere, and that the ESM or EFSF, with their unlimited scope but “democratic” impleention pathway, are on the backburner.
And now, the scramble to pull uninsured deposits out of banks everywhere begins. Thanks to the new Eurogroup head.
“You ask for miracles, Theo. I give you Diesel-BOOM”
And now, every European depositor is going to their local financial dictionary to look up the definition of General Unsecured Claims, only to see a picture of… themselves.
Simon Black at Sovereign Man blog tells readers to “Expect These Eight Steps From The Government’s Playbook“:
To anyone paying attention, reality is now painfully obvious. These bankrupt, insolvent governments have just about run out of fingers to plug the dikes. And history shows that, once this happens, governments fall back on a very limited playbook:
As Cyprus showed us, bankrupt governments are quite happy to plunder people’s bank accounts, especially if it’s a wealthy minority.
Aside from bank levies, though, this also includes things like seizing retirement accounts (Argentina), increases in civil asset forfeiture (United States), and gold criminalization.
Just another form of confiscation, taxation plunders the hard work and talent of the citizenry. But thanks to decades of brainwashing, it’s more socially acceptable. We’ve come to regard taxes as a ‘necessary evil,’ not realizing that the country existed for decades, even centuries, without an income tax.
Yet when bankrupt governments get desperate enough, they begin imposing new taxes… primarily WEALTH taxes (Argentina) or windfall profits taxes (United States in the 1970s).
This is indirect confiscation– the slow, gradual plundering of people’s savings. Again, governments have been quite successful at inculcating a belief that inflation is also a necessary evil. They’re also adept at fooling people with phony inflation statistics.
Governments can, do, and will restrict the free-flow of capital across borders. They’ll prevent you from moving your own money to a safer jurisdiction, forcing you to keep your hard earned savings at home where it can be plundered and devalued.
We’re seeing this everywhere in the developed world… from withdrawal limits in Europe to cash-sniffing dogs at border checkpoints. And it certainly doesn’t help when everyone from the IMF to Nobel laureate Paul Krugman argue in favor of Capital Controls.
Wage and Price controls
When even the lowest common denominator in society realizes that prices are getting higher, governments step in and ‘fix’ things by imposing price controls.
Occasionally this also includes wage controls… though wage increases tend to be vastly outpaced by price increases.
Of course, as any basic economics textbook can illustrate, price controls never work and typically lead to shortages and massive misallocations.
Wage and Price controls– on STEROIDS
When the first round of price controls don’t work, the next step is to impose severe penalties for not abiding by the terms.
In the days of Diocletian’s Edict on Prices in the 4th century AD, any Roman caught violating the price controls was put to death.
In post-revolutionary France, shopkeepers who violated the “Law of Maximum” were fleeced of their private property… and a national spy system was put into place to enforce the measures.
Despite being completely broke, governments will dramatically expand their ranks in a last desperate gasp to envelop the problem in sheer size.
In the early 1920s, for example, the number of bureaucratic officials in the Weimar Republic increased 242%, even though the country was flat broke from its Great War reparation payments and hyperinflation episode.
The increase in both regulations and government officials criminalizes and/or controls almost every aspect of our existence… from what we can/cannot put in our bodies to how we are allowed to raise our own children.
War and National Emergency
When all else fails, just invade another country. Pick a fight. Keep people distracted by work them into a frenzy over men in caves… or some completely irrelevant island.