Posts Tagged ‘Government Spending’
Sestak, Solyndra, Pigford, Fast & Furious, Benghazi, IRS targeting, AP phone records, HHS soliciting funds, and now the revelation of EPA double standards.
With this administration it’s just one lawless scandal after another. When will the American people finally say ENOUGH!?
The IRS may not be the only federal agency singling out conservative groups. Records suggest that the Environmental Protection Agency has made it easier for environmental groups to file Freedom of Information Act requests than conservative organizations.
According to EPA records obtained by the free market Competitive Enterprise Institute, since January 2012 the agency has granted fee waivers for 75 out of 82 Freedom of Information Act Requests sent by major environmental groups, denying only seven of them — meaning green groups saw their fees waived 92 percent of the time.
At the same time, the EPA frequently denied fee waivers to conservative groups. EPA records show that the agency rejected or ignored 21 out of 26 fee waiver requests from such conservative groups as the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Institute for Energy Research, and Judicial Watch — an 81 percent rejection rate.
[...] “This is as clear an example of disparate treatment as the IRS hurdles selectively imposed upon groups with names ominously reflecting an interest in, say, a less intrusive or biased federal government,” said CEI senior fellow Chris Horner, author of “The Liberal War on Transparency.”
Horner described the EPA’s actions as “a clear pattern of favoritism for allied groups and “a concerted campaign to make life more difficult for those deemed unfriendly.”
This kind of favoritism springs from a worldview. The EPA that authored this bias was the same EPA led by Lisa Jackson. She left office last year amid her own scandal involving the use of personal, secret email accounts to conduct agency business — the “Richard Windsor” scandal.
It’s time to ask a serious question. In light of the IRS targeting conservatives and the EPA denying conservatives at the same time, do liberals even believe that conservatives are due fair treatment under the law?
The EPA has become an unaccountable, tyrannical weapon wielded by unelected bureaucrats to abuse unconstitutional powers to advance their agenda.
It’s time for the EPA to be abolished, along with every other agency that doesn’t fall under the specific, enumerated powers granted in the constitution to the federal government.
Shocking Undercover Video: Late Term Abortion Describes Gruesome Procedures, Lies About Risks To Patient
Unreal! Late-term abortionist Leroy Carhart was caught on tape describing the grisly abortion procedure and lying to women about the dangers:
View on YouTube
John Hayward gives a chilling overview of the content:
The fourth undercover video in LiveAction’s “Inhuman” expose of late-term abortion brings us renowned abortionist Dr. LeRoy Carhart reassuring a pregnant woman that carrying a dead 26-week baby inside her womb for three days is no big deal. ”It’s like putting meat in a Crock-Pot, OK?” he says.
Carhart also jokes that his tools for dismembering and removing a dead child include “a pickaxe” and “a drill bit.” When advising the woman to allow nothing into her vagina for three weeks after the procedure, he says, “As I tell everyone, that includes fingers, friends, and fruit, OK?”
The famed abortionist begins telling his patient that she’ll be affected emotionally and psychologically by the procedure… but then he tries to portray it as a positive life experience, dismissing the notion of post-abortion depression. [...]
Like other late-term abortion doctors and clinic staffers profiled in the “Inhuman” series, Carhart frantically instructs his prospective patient not to call 911 if she goes into labor during the procedure, because “they’ll take you to the hospital, right? They won’t bring you to the clinic, so…”
Instead, he advises her to get in a car and drive to the clinic, or call him. And this later segment of the video was made 7 weeks after Jennifer Morbelli’s death. Put that in your Crock-Pot and slow-cook it.
How did we get to the point where we not only murder innocent children, but use tax dollars to pay the hit men?
“Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever.” ~ Thomas Jefferson
President Obama offered a defiant defense of government funding for Planned Parenthood Friday and urged the group’s members to help his administration sign up more women for benefits under his besieged health-care law.
The first sitting president to address Planned Parenthood, Mr. Obama accused conservative politicians of trying to “roll back the clock” on abortion rights and health-care services for women.
“They’ve been involved in an orchestrated and historic effort to roll back basic rights when it comes to women’s health,” Mr. Obama told the group’s annual convention in Washington. “When politicians try to turn Planned Parenthood into a punching bag, they’re not just talking about you, they’re talking about the millions of women who you serve. And when they talk about cutting off your funding, let’s be clear, they’re talking about telling many of those women, ‘You’re own your own.’
That is a bold-faced lie. Pro-life groups do more to support and provide services for women in crisis pregnancies than anyone else. And those services don’t involve murdering a child and scarring a woman for life!
Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said Mr. Obama should have reproached Planned Parenthood officials for not doing more to stop the alleged violations at the clinic of Dr. Kermit Gosnell. Planned Parenthood officials in Philadelphia said they encouraged patients who complained to them about the clinic to report it to state authorities.
“President Obama blatantly ignored this inconvenient truth about the abortion industry’s horrific lack of oversight, and disparaged the pro-life advocates who wake up each morning with the goal of saving the lives of unborn children and women from the pain of abortion,” Ms. Dannenfelser said in a statement.
Instead, the president decried efforts across the country to limit women’s access to abortion services.
As he ended his speech, Obama blasphemously called on God to “bless” the largest child murder organization in the country.
“As long as we’ve got to fight to make sure women have access to quality, affordable health care, and as long as we’ve got to fight to protect a woman’s right to make her own choices about her own health, I want you to know that you’ve also got a president who’s going to be right there with you, fighting every step of the way,” said Obama. “Thank you, Planned Parenthood. God bless you.”
Murdering children is NOT health care, and the choice to kill a child is NOT a choice about one’s one health, but to end the life of another human being.
“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” ~ Isaiah 5:20
Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, referred to blacks as “human weeds” and “reckless breeders.” Ironic the first black president is the first president to speak to a child killing organization founded by a racist who targeted blacks. KKK should be applauding Obama’s speech today, for they had the same goals as Sanger.
Think Kermit Gosnell‘s barbaric practices are rare? Think again.
Live Action goes undercover to expose the barbaric reality of late-term abortions in the United States.
In this first video, a 23-week pregnant woman is told how her baby will be placed in a toxic solution to drown if he/she is born alive, and advised to “flush it” down the toilet if she happens to accidentally deliver at home:
View on YouTube
In the second video, a doctor explains how he tries to sever the umbilical cord to kill the baby in utero, then admits that he is legally obligated to help the baby if it happens to survive the abortion, but would allow him/her to suffocate instead:
View on YouTube
Lila Rose, founder of Live Action, spoke to Bill O’Reilly about the inhumanity that the abortion culture has led us to:
View on YouTube
Yesterday, the judge in the Gosnell trial dropped 3 murder charges against him:
The judge ruled there wasn’t enough evidence to pursue the three first-degree murder charges against 72-year-old Gosnell, ABC reported.
[...] ABC reports the judge didn’t immediately explain why there wasn’t enough evidence to pursue the three murder charges. The case against Gosnell appeared to suffer a setback last week when the chief medical examiner testified he couldn’t say for sure whether any of the fetuses found in Gosnell’s clinic were born alive.
Gosnell is accused of operating a filthy clinic, spreading venereal diseases by using dirty equipment and routinely killing newborns. The crux of his defense is that no babies were ever born alive in his clinic.
The “lack of evidence” they cite has to do with whether or not the babies were alive outside the womb before Gosnell killed them. As if biologically or ethically, the location matters! Inside or outside the womb, it’s STILL killing a live baby! Our legal system is so messed up!
Today, the judge changed his mind about one of the charges:
The judge in the Kermit Gosnell murder trial admitted today he made an error when dropping one of the charges against the abortion practitioner.
Common pleas court Judge Jeffrey Minehart admitted he “erred” when dropping the murder charge for Baby C, who was killed in an abortion-infanticide when he was a victim of an attempted abortion but was born alive and tossed in a shoe box, with Gosnell staffers confirming they saw him breathing for 20 minutes.
Gosnell faces eight total murder counts — one for killing a woman in a botched abortion and seven for killing babies in abortion-infanticides that involved live-birth abortions and snipping their necks after birth. The judge received heavy criticism yesterday for dropping three of the murder charges.
Planned Parenthood is one of Obama’s biggest fans. They poured millions of dollars and volunteer hours into his re-election campaign, and have been rewarded handsomely for their support.
Obama has directed millions in federal taxpayer dollars into their coffers, sending his Justice Department to sue any state that tries to block taxpayer funding of abortion.
He is forcing all employers – even those with religious objections – to purchase insurance policies that include abortions. And Obamacare is on the verge of creating an enormous boom in business to the abortion industry, which they are preparing for by building enormous new abortion clinics.
Is it any wonder they invited him to be the keynote speaker at their annual fundraiser dinner?
It bears repeating that Obama strongly opposed the Illinois Born Alive Infants Protection Act, which would have required doctors to assist babies born as a result of a failed abortion. How about his opposition to a bill that would have prevented partial-birth abortion?
If Obama wanted to make abortion rare, would he be such a strong supporter of Planned Parenthood and its notorious abortion industry? No one could be more in bed with that organization than Obama, who is planning on attending the organization’s fundraising gala this coming Thursday.
Obama and the pro-abortion left don’t want to call attention to the grisly practices of Gosnell for a number of reasons. You can disguise the practice of abortion with euphemisms, such as “they snipped the baby’s spinal cord,” but in the end, we are talking about the intentional killing of human life, and it follows that a facility so morally corrupt as to routinely engage in that despicable practice might not dot and cross all its other ethical i’s” and t’s.
If Obama or the leftist media were to shine a disinfecting light on the Gosnell trial, it might lead to a public discussion on abortion and an inquiry into how widespread such abuses are. The less attention the left permits to be drawn to this the better.
But there are additional sinister reasons Obama and his liberal media cohorts have suppressed the news on this story, knowing as they do just how horrendous Gosnell’s clinic was.
The pro-abortion left ridicules and condemns Second Amendment advocates for being paranoid purists in opposing all restrictions on gun rights, but in the purist and paranoia categories, they make gun advocates look like pikers.
Abortion is the left’s holy grail; it is liberals’ sacred ritual, about which nothing negative may be uttered for fear that it might lead to even the slightest infringement on it. Likewise, the abortion lobby simply will not countenance any restriction on abortion or any negative light to be cast on any abortion practice or clinic for fear that it could lead to a slippery slope whereby abortion might actually become significantly rarer. That would be a big setback for the lucrative abortion industry and for the campaign blood money it generates for supporting politicians.
The trial of the century is underway, but the media seating looks like this:
Why? Because the man on trial is an abortionist.
Kermit Gosnell is a monster.
He drugged patients that came to him for late term abortions and would leave them for hours, waiting for their babies to be born so he could kill them by snipping their spinal cords with a pair of scissors.
He killed at least one woman, but did absolutely nothing to try to save her and abandoned her after the paramedics picked her up.
A former worker at the clinic testified that Gosnell’s gruesome practice of snipping babies’ necks “gave me the creeps.” She knew the babies were still alive because she witnessed one baby “jump” when he was stabbed in the neck, and other who’s chest was still moving even after his spine had been severed.
Gosnell told one teenage assistant, “That’s what you call a chicken with its head cut off.”
Another former employee recalled a baby who screamed after surviving an abortion, only to be killed later.
Gosnell kept the remains of at least 47 babies in cat food containers and other receptacles around his office. He kept their severed feet in jars. Some of the babies were disposed of down the toilets, which would frequently back up from body parts.
The Pennsylvania Health Department deliberately ignored complaints and refused to investigate them for years.
His clinic went 17 years without a health inspection, until an FBI raid in 2010 revealed a gruesome sight:
They found moaning women covered in blood-stained blankets and jars with severed fetus feet, according to the 281-page grand jury report.
The grand jury report that lays out allegations against Gosnell has an entire section called “How did this go on so long?” The simple answer is politics.
Pennsylvania’s health department stopped routine inspections of abortion facilities in the state after Tom Ridge, a pro-choice Republican, became governor in 1995.
Health department lawyers “changed their legal opinions and advice to suit the policy preferences of different governors,” health department official Janet Staloski said in grand jury testimony. In this case, she said the state didn’t want to be “putting a barrier up to women” who wanted abortions.
The reason they avoided inspecting abortion clinics is the same reason the media avoids reporting on their atrocities: they want to protect abortion-on-demand, no matter how many people get hurt or killed.
Because Gosnell was an abortionist whose victims were premature babies, the media covers up his atrocities as if they never happened. His crimes don’t serve their political agenda. His tortured victims are brushed under the rug.
Even Connor Friedersdorf from The Atlantic argues that this story should be front-page news:
The grand jury report in the case of Kermit Gosnell, 72, is among the most horrifying I’ve read. “This case is about a doctor who killed babies and endangered women. What we mean is that he regularly and illegally delivered live, viable babies in the third trimester of pregnancy – and then murdered these newborns by severing their spinal cords with scissors,” it states. “The medical practice by which he carried out this business was a filthy fraud in which he overdosed his patients with dangerous drugs, spread venereal disease among them with infected instruments, perforated their wombs and bowels – and, on at least two occasions, caused their deaths.”
Charged with seven counts of first-degree murder, Gosnell is now standing trial in a Philadelphia courtroom. An NBC affiliate’s coverage includes testimony as grisly as you’d expect. “An unlicensed medical school graduate delivered graphic testimony about the chaos at a Philadelphia clinic where he helped perform late-term abortions,” the channel reports. “Stephen Massof described how he snipped the spinal cords of babies, calling it, ‘literally a beheading. It is separating the brain from the body.’ He testified that at times, when women were given medicine to speed up their deliveries, ‘it would rain fetuses. Fetuses and blood all over the place.’”
[...] One woman “was left lying in place for hours after Gosnell tore her cervix and colon while trying, unsuccessfully, to extract the fetus,” the report states. Another patient, 19, “was held for several hours after Gosnell punctured her uterus. As a result of the delay, she fell into shock from blood loss, and had to undergo a hysterectomy.” A third patient “went into convulsions during an abortion, fell off the procedure table, and hit her head on the floor. Gosnell wouldn’t call an ambulance, and wouldn’t let the woman’s companion leave the building so that he could call an ambulance.”
[...] Inducing live births and subsequently severing the heads of the babies is indeed a horrific story that merits significant attention. Strange as it seems to say it, however, that understates the case.
For this isn’t solely a story about babies having their heads severed, though it is that. It is also a story about a place where, according to the grand jury, women were sent to give birth into toilets; where a doctor casually spread gonorrhea and chlamydiae to unsuspecting women through the reuse of cheap, disposable instruments; an office where a 15-year-old administered anesthesia; an office where former workers admit to playing games when giving patients powerful narcotics; an office where white women were attended to by a doctor and black women were pawned off on clueless untrained staffers. Any single one of those things would itself make for a blockbuster news story. Is it even conceivable that an optometrist who attended to his white patients in a clean office while an intern took care of the black patients in a filthy room wouldn’t make national headlines?
But it isn’t even solely a story of a rogue clinic that’s awful in all sorts of sensational ways either. Multiple local and state agencies are implicated in an oversight failure that is epic in proportions! If I were a city editor for any Philadelphia newspaper the grand jury report would suggest a dozen major investigative projects I could undertake if I had the staff to support them. And I probably wouldn’t have the staff. But there is so much fodder for additional reporting.
One pro-abortion blogger was unusually candid about why she and her fellow leftists wouldn’t cover the story:
[T]hose of us who are pro-choice must worry that this will restrict access to abortion: that a crackdown on abortion clinics will follow, with onerous white-glove inspections; that a revolted public will demand more restrictions on late-term abortions; or that women will be too afraid of Gosnell-style crimes to seek a medically necessary abortion.
What if Dr. Kermit Gosnell had snipped the spinal cords of puppies whose owners and brought them to him to be put down? What if he had murdered teenage girls whose parents didn’t want them anymore, and stored their severed feet as trophies in jars? What if he had used a gun as a murder weapon? Would the media have ignored him then?
Consider how the media praised Dr. Tiller, a late-term abortionist who was murdered. The only difference between Dr. Tiller and Dr. Gosnell was the location of the baby and the method of execution. Dr. Tiller made sure the babies’ head stayed inside the birth canal as he punctured their skulls and vacuumed out their brain matter. Dr. Gosnell delivered them live, and then severed their spinal cords with a pair of scissors. What difference does it make? Both inflicted excruciating pain and death on innocent, helpless infants.
Planned Parenthood, which pretends to condemn Gosnells’ actions, has already admitted that they support killing infants who survive abortion. President Obama voted multiple times as a senator to deny medical care to babies who were born alive after a botched abortion attempt.
All of them deny a baby’s humanity and unalienable right to life. The only difference is that Dr. Gosnell found an especially gruesome way to speed up the process.
The Left and the media (but I repeat myself) support infanticide both inside and outside the womb, at any and every stage of pregnancy and immediately after birth. That is why they are trying to ignore the Gosnell story. They secretly support him. They consider him a warrior for the sacred cause of a “woman’s choice” to kill her own child.
They’ll throw him under the bus when it becomes politically necessary to do so, but make no mistake: they honestly see nothing wrong with what he’s done. Their view of human life is no different than his…and that’s a very scary thought.
Common Core is a federal attempt to nationalize curriculum. We MUST oppose this, from every school board!
Critics of the Common Core State Standards had our fears confirmed on Monday when Education Week reported that the Department of Education will oversee the assessment test design for the new national standards. This is no April Fool’s joke: Washington will soon be directly regulating what America’s schoolchildren learn and on what they are tested. This massive expansion of federal power is concerning considering the federal government’s failed history of intervening in public education.
As I recently explained in AFP Foundation’s school choice policy report, the federal government has had its meddling hands in America’s public schools for decades. From the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to No Child Left Behind today, Congress has provided Title I federal funding to schools with low-income student bodies for the past half-century. But, this money is by no means free. As is often the case with federal funds, Title I comes with strings attached – which explains how Washington has been such a major player in American education despite the fact that public schools are function of the states.
[...] After decades of failed federal intervention in America’s public schools, Common Core’s similar approach of centrally planning public schools has worried education reformers since the initiative was launched in 2009. For years, proponents of the standards have tried to soothe these fears by emphasizing that they are not administered by the federal government. Common Core’s official website, for example, downplays the protests by claiming “[t]he federal government had no role in the development of the Common Core State Standards and will not have a role in their implementation.”
Perhaps this claim could hold water four years ago, but today it’s evident that Common Core is nothing more than a federal ruse to exert even greater control over America’s classrooms. [...]
[I]t looks like Common Core is poised to repeat and amplify the federal government’s failed educational interventions by giving the central government even greater control of what American schoolchildren are learning. If the success of school choice has taught us anything, it’s that education is most effective when controlled by actors on the local level, like teachers with freedom in how to teacher their students at charter schools, or parents with options of where to send their child to school through opportunity scholarships. Choice from the bottom, not force from the top, leads to effective learning.
Boomtown 2: The Business Of Food Stamps
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For the Left, this is all part of the Cloward-Piven strategy to overwhelm the system with impossible demands, bringing about an inevitable collapse that will set the stage for a Communist revolution.
For corporations vying for their turn at the taxpayer trough, this is a dance with the devil…and they don’t even realize it.
“Boomtown 1: Washington, The Imperial City” exposed the cronyism and luxurious lifestyle of Washington, DC’s power elite. On Friday “Boomtown 2: The Business of Food Stamps” Government Accountability Institute (GAI) President Peter Schweizer and Breitbart News Executive Chairman Stephen K. Bannon exposed how politicians and corporations have used the country’s food stamps program to profit on the backs of tax payers.
Though the food stamps program was always meant to be a “safety net” to provide temporary assistance, Schweizer pointed out that it has “become an insider game of power and profit” for corporations who are attempting to get a slice of the $75 billiion provided by the taxpayers.
[...] The GAI president points out that the food stamps program was intended to provide basic foods, but has grown to include all types of things including soft drinks and fast food. We have also pointed out that the food stamps program has been used to purchase guns, drugs and pay for strippers and massage parlors, not to mention that the USDA has targeted illegal aliens for the program.
The fraud of the food stamps program has grown since EBT cards were issued in 2002, which gave no reason for either government or corporations to look to reform the system or limit the fraud.
The Obama administration is proudly shattering welfare records with an astonishing number of people collecting public benefits long term, especially food stamps.
In fact, as I discussed in a special to be aired on Hannity tonight, Obama and his friends have actually found a way to meld corporate cronyism with food stamp abuse to line their pockets while undermining our election systems at the same time.
Under Obama, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps, has exploded with a record number of people – 46 million and growing – getting free groceries from the American taxpayer. Adding insult to injury, a federal audit revealed last year that many who don’t qualify for food stamps now receive them under a new “broad-based” eligibility program that disregards income and asset requirements.
Obama says the food stamp extension is part of his intention to eradicate “food insecure households.” However, it’s really part of a massive redistribution of wealth. Last year, taxpayers were forced to pay more than $80 billion, including an estimated $750 million a year in outright fraud.
[...] According to the study, the current food stamp Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card industry is dominated by three main players: J.P. Morgan Electronic Financial Services, Affiliated Computer Services, and eFunds. Together they collect money from 49 states and three territories. In fact, since 2004, 18 of 24 states that contract with J.P. Morgan have paid more than $560 million to the financial monolith.
There is little wonder then that those three companies appear to be perfectly content with the exploding food stamp rolls – and wholly unconcerned about rampant fraud and abuse. As the GAI study observed, “The more persons enrolled in the program, the more money the EBT industry makes.” That may also help explain why, when the state of Florida initiated an eight-month program to detect and prevent fraud among its three million EBT card users, J.P. Morgan saw fit to assign just one employee to the program.
And then there is this: During the 2008 election, Barack Obama received more than $800,000 from J.P. Morgan alone. After his election, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, initiated by Obama and passed by a compliant Congress, made two major changes to existing food stamp policies. First, it increased benefits by 13.6 percent. Second, it actively encouraged states to add more recipients to their food stamp rolls.
And the corporate cronyism and political payoffs don’t end there. The House and Senate Agricultural Committees have jurisdiction over all food assistance and distribution programs, including the food stamp program. So, just as one might expect, analysis by the GAI uncovered a clear trend of increasing contributions to Agriculture Committee members of both the House and Senate on the part of J.P. Morgan that clearly coincides with their entry into the lucrative EBT card, food stamp market.
Between 1998 and 2002, JP Morgan’s total contributions per election cycle averaged $82,897. After the bank entered the EBT services market until the 2010 election cycle, their average donation per cycle more than doubled to $215,120. And the Agriculture Committees, in turn, have broadly expanded the number of food stamp recipients.
Of course, the more recipients that are added to the food stamp rolls, the more voters Obama can count on at election time. And the offshoots of Obama’s former client and campaign partner ACORN not only assure that those voters are registered but also that they know to whom they are beholden for their government handouts.
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.
NO ONE is exempt from the new federal power-grab over education, which is designed to force all states and schools to teach a government-approved (Marxist?) curriculum.
The CCSS removes education standards from the purview of state and local control to being controlled by unaccountable education policy experts sitting in a board room far removed from the parents, students, and teachers who are most critical to a child’s educational success.
Will the CCSS Affect Homeschools?
The CCSS specifically do not apply to private or homeschools, unless they receive government dollars (online charter school programs have no such protection). However, HSLDA has serious concerns with the rush to adopt the CCSS. HSLDA has fought national education standards for the past two decades. Why? National standards lead to national curriculum and national tests, and subsequent pressure on homeschool students to be taught from the same curricula.
The College Board—the entity that created the PSAT and SAT—has already indicated that its signature college entrance exam will be aligned with the CCSS. And many homeschoolers worry that colleges and universities may look askance at homeschool graduates who apply for admission if their highschool transcripts are not aligned with the CCSS.
The more that I read and study, the more convinced I am of the extreme detriment that the Common Core (CC) poses, not just to our children and our educational system – but to our country.
There are a few questions and comments that I have received this past week, some ranging from fear, and some from outright astonishment that I would even propose that CC presents a risk. I want to, as succintly as possible, answer some of these…
The Common Core is being introduced into the PUBLIC school, so if I’m homeschooling, I don’t need to worry, right?
WRONG. The CC is being adopted by 45 of the 50 states, including the District of Columbia, and it’s goal is NOT educational excellence. One look at the standards and examples that we detailed in our previous post will undeniably confirm that. The goal of Common Core is CONTROL. The government is seeking to Nationalize educational standards, which goes COMPLETELY against that 10th Amendment of the Constitution, which outlines education as being within the scope of the State government, not the Federal government. If the States decide not to adopt CC, they will not be granted federal dollars, so although it’s not a mandate, it’s a mob version of law via monetary coercion.
Furthermore, homeschoolers will eventually need to meet the same educational standard and use CC approved/aligned curricula because the SATs, State tests and GEDs will all be modified to fit the new CC standards.
But homeschoolers traditionally test higher in academics, so I’m not worried. My child will do fine on the tests.
Although it’s true that homeschoolers traditionally, on average, test significantly higher than their publicly educated peers, this is not a safeguard given what is coming down the pipeline in terms of change. Standardized testing is slated to be reformatted and rewritten, so we’re talking about a totally different measure of scope and sequence. For example, math problem, as formed by the CC, are based on mental and verbal math; the emphasis is now on the process, not the answer. Eventually, CC-educated students will be asked to verbally explain their method for solving the problem, regardless of whether or not the answer was correct. If your homeschooled Senior can successfully complete complex mathematical algorithms but he is unable to explain how he got his answer, he will not pass.
Additionally, the literature requirements are changing significantly. Non-fiction manuals are now required to compose 70% of your child’s “literature” by the time they graduate. Here is a sample of the suggested reading within the CC:
- Petroski, Henry. “The Evolution of the Grocery Bag.”
- California Invasive Plant Council. Invasive Plant Inventory
- Kurlansky, Mark. Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World.
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency/U.S. Department of Energy. Recommended Levels of Insulation
- FedViews by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco
- Calishain, Tara, and Rael Dornfest. Google Hacks: Tips & Tools for Smarter Searching, 2nd Edition
- Fischetti, Mark. “Working Knowledge: Electronic Stability Control.”
- U.S. General Services Administration. Executive Order 13423: Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management
- Gawande, Atul. “The Cost Conundrum: Health Care Costs in McAllen, Texas.”
As enlightening as they may be, we’ll be tossing out “To Kill A Mockingbird”, “The Scarlet Letter” , Shakespeare and many other classics in lieu of “The Evolution Of The Grocery Bag”. Therefore, as homeschoolers, if we haven’t been reading the above list with our Seniors, they have no hope of passing the SATs or GEDs, because we’re talking about two completely different lists of topics and material.
But as a homeschooler, I get to choose my own curriculum, so it’s my decision what my children will read and study.
True, for now. However, I was disheartened to see that many large homeschool publishers have already, or are planning to, rewrite their curriculum in order to meet CC standards. For a very thorough and growing list, check out the curriculum updates on The Educational Freedom Coalition.
Obama Proclaims April ‘Financial Capability Month,’ Plans To Teach Young People ‘How to Budget Responsibly’
You can’t make this stuff up! And no, it wasn’t an April Fools joke!
President Barack Obama, who has increased the national debt by $53,377 per household, has proclaimed April“National Financial Capability Month,” during which his administration will do things such as teach young people “how to budget responsibly.”
“I call upon all Americans to observe this month with programs and activities to improve their understanding of financial principles and practices,” Obama said in an official proclamation released Friday.
[...] The proclamation on the White House website links to two other government websites: the site for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and MyMoney.gov, which includes materials from 21 federal agencies.
Listed among the “popular topics” on MyMoney.gov is “Managing Debt and Credit,” which includes a link to a page on the Federal Reserve’s website called “Getting the most from your credit card.” Tip 2 on that page is: “Stay Below Your Credit Limit.”
When Obama was inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2009, the total debt of the federal government was $10,626,877,048,913.08. As of the close of business on March 28, 2013, the total debt of the federal government was $16,766,988,432,792.62—an increase of $6,140,111,383,879.54 since Obama took office.
That means that under Obama the federal debt has increased $53,377 for each one of the 115,031,000 households the Census Bureau says there are now in the United States. The president is required by law to submit a budget proposal for the next fiscal year by the first Monday in February.
Thus far, Obama has not submitted his budget proposal for fiscal 2014.
It’s the liberal way to perceive yourself as diametrically opposed to what and who you actually are. Therefore, Barack Obama being a financially incapable liberal is precisely the reason why the man who has yet to submit a budget proposal for 2014 feels he’s qualified to teach young people “how to budget responsibly.”
What’s next, Bill and Hillary Clinton running a Marital Cohesiveness and Fidelity Seminar? How about first daughters Sasha and Malia, who took not one but two spring break vacations, sharing with the younger set how to spend a week at the Atlantis in the Bahamas and River Run in Sun Valley, Idaho on a limited budget? Sorry, but if Barack Obama is financially capable, then outgoing MSNBC host Ed Schultz is qualified to host a new “Eradicate Bias in the Media” show.
Then again, this is the president who is expert at exempting himself from what he insists others do. That is why a person who clearly has no understanding of sound financial principles can say with a straight face: “I call upon all Americans to observe this month with programs and activities to improve their understanding of financial principles and practices.”
Wait! When Obama says “all Americans” does “all” include himself and the $10 million dollar vacationer he’s married to, or does “all” just mean everybody except Mr. and Mrs. Obama?
Either way, the president must truly believe that he’s an authority on stretching a dollar, because in his “National Financial Capability Month” proclamation, he said that his “[a]dministration is dedicated to helping people make sound decisions in the marketplace.” That marketplace, by the way, is the same marketplace that he’s currently in the process of destroying. It could be that President Obama thinks that the soundest way to save money in the marketplace is to exchange the marketplace for something altogether different.
Creepy doesn’t begin to describe this.
As part of the government’s initiative to institute Common Core standards for education, so comes a system that would mine information about students to establish best practices for effective teaching. But some think the technology that would conduct the mining crosses a line.
[...] In the draft “Promoting Grit, Tenacity, and Perseverance: Critical Factors for Success in the 21st Century” report released in February by the Department of Education is a section detailing how to measure such qualities in a student through Behavioral Task Performance.
“Behavioral task performance measures are the broad set of methods used to capture behaviors consistent with perseverance or lack thereof—and in many cases, associated emotional experiences, physical movements or facial expressions, physiological responses, and thoughts— that students do in response to a particular challenge,” the report states.
[...] Understanding the emotions or physiological state of a student while they’re presented with a challenge, the report said, can be measured through “analysis of facial expressions, EEG brain wave patterns, skin conductance, heart rate variability, posture and eye- tracking.”
The report presents this figure showing a variety of sensors that could be used to determine the emotional state of a student while performing a certain task:
“Sensors provide constant, parallel streams of data and are used with data mining techniques and self-report measures to examine frustration, motivation/flow, confidence, boredom and fatigue,” the report states.
It presents MIT’s Mood Meter — a device that captures facial expression through a camera on a laptop while software analyses the mood — as an example of technology that can conduct these measurements. [...]
A study in 1999 published by MIT researchers delved into the use of a posture-sensing chair to evaluate a student. The experiment using a chair with pressure sensors on the seat and back evaluated student interest in order to better learn how to improve the experience for students in a computer-learning situation.
But a camera, chair, mouse and wristband equipped with sensors to track different metrics isn’t not all. The report also highlights the value of FMRI (functional magnetic resonance imagery), which would reveal different areas of activity in the brain through scans.
Apparently they see classrooms full of children as guinea pigs who can be used for their Frankenexperiments – a captive audience that can’t leave once they find out that they have become the show.
Planned Parenthood’s primary source of income is abortion. The purpose of their “sex ed” agenda is to encourage kids to experiment sexually and create as many new potential customers as possible. They will bulldoze anybody who dares to get in the way.
Last week, a Portland, Oregon math teacher was led out of his classroom by police and is expected to be fired for his opposition to Planned Parenthood. For years, Benson High School teacher Bill Diss has protested Planned Parenthood of Columbia Willamette (PPCW) building an abortion facility as well as their infiltration into the city’s schools.
This Fall, he refused to allow Planned Parenthood staffers to come into his class to push their agenda, under the auspices of the Teen Outreach Program – why was this interrupting a math class, of all things? – and ever since, the school’s administration (not to mention PPCW) has had it out for him.
Now that PPCW has completed the heroic task of stopping Mr. Diss, they can go back to their very important, regularly scheduled programing – promoting sex toys!
Tonight, as part of “Sexy Tuesdays,” PPCW is offering a “Sex Toy Workshop & Soiree.”
Ladies and gentlemen, THIS is the organization that Benson High School allows access to their students to, even to the point of interrupting class time against the wishes of teachers, and firing educators like Mr. Diss.
Sex toy seminars are just the tip of the iceberg. Planned Parenthood is determined to indoctrinate children as young as 5 with their sexual anarchist ideology:
While the White House says sequestration has eliminated funds for children touring the White House, President Obama has no problem spending $350 million federal tax dollars for sexual indoctrination programs starting in kindergarten for those same children.
This is not your grandmother’s sex education about how things work and what can go “wrong.” In fact, the exact opposite is the essence of the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP): Obamacare funnels $75 million annually into PREP, which must be used exclusively for Planned Parenthood-style “comprehensive” sex ed programs where no type of sex is wrong and the only sexual behavior PP considers “unsafe” is becoming pregnant.
More than one-fourth of the funds ‒ $20 million ‒ has been awarded to a coalition of six Planned Parenthood affiliates, operating under the name Northwest Coalition for Adolescent Health, to implement HHS’s TOP program across Montana, Oregon, Idaho, Washington, and Alaska at over 50 sites. In Oregon schools, Planned Parenthood is paying children cash incentives to participate.
PP is funded with our tax dollars to market sex to our children in our schools under the guise of sex education, anti-bullying, diversity, and tolerance. Once sexualized, those children then become PP sex customers for contraceptives, STD testing, and abortion.
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.