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Monday, April 30, 2012

Why Does Everyone, Me Included, Keep Shouting, Jobs, Jobs, Jobs................But Nobody Does Anything About It???????

We have talked here about our growing "Two Tier" economy and the income tax madness that is helping create it.  However, Michael (the guy who writes The Economic Collapse), makes the excellent point that if you don't have a job, it is damn hard to get into the 1%.  He also has some very interesting numbers about how the government is playing an increasing role in the lives of average Americans.  Here is part of his latest rant.

In a previous article, I detailed how many of the largest and most profitable corporations in America get away with paying absolutely nothing in taxes.

There is something very wrong with that.

Our income tax system should be abolished altogether, but if we do have to pay income taxes, then it is fundamentally unfair for some people and businesses to be able to pay little or nothing while the rest of us get absolutely obliterated by taxes.

But if you try to say that to many on the right, they will look at you in horror.
The other day, there was a New York Times article that detailed the extreme measures that Apple takes to avoid paying taxes.  It turns out that Apple sets up shell offices all over the globe in order to evade taxation....
As it has in Nevada, Apple has created subsidiaries in low-tax places like Ireland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and the British Virgin Islands — some little more than a letterbox or an anonymous office — that help cut the taxes it pays around the world.
That same article talked about how Apple has become a model which hundreds of other companies have followed.  To giant corporations such as Apple, tax evasion has become an art form....
Apple, for instance, was among the first tech companies to designate overseas salespeople in high-tax countries in a manner that allowed them to sell on behalf of low-tax subsidiaries on other continents, sidestepping income taxes, according to former executives. Apple was a pioneer of an accounting technique known as the “Double Irish With a Dutch Sandwich,” which reduces taxes by routing profits through Irish subsidiaries and the Netherlands and then to the Caribbean. Today, that tactic is used by hundreds of other corporations — some of which directly imitated Apple’s methods, say accountants at those companies.
So what is the solution to all of this?

Raising income taxes won't work too well because the tax lawyers are always several steps ahead of our politicians.

The truth is that when taxes get raised it is always the middle class that gets absolutely clobbered and the wealthy always find more ways to reduce their exposure.

Just take a look at Mitt Romney.  He made more than 42 million dollars in 2010 and yet Romney had an effective tax rate of only 14 percent.

If I could find a way to have an effective tax rate of only 14 percent I would be jumping up and down for joy, and so would millions of other Americans.

Our tax system is deeply, deeply broken and needs to be thrown into the trash can.
Abandoning the current tax system would not solve all of our problems, but it would be a start.

Unfortunately, neither political party is willing to even consider this.

Instead, the Democrats want to raise taxes a little bit and the Republicans want to lower taxes a little bit.
But neither alternative will do much of anything to solve any of the real problems we are facing.

Our economy is dying and it is not producing nearly enough jobs for all of us.  When Barack Obama took office, the number of "long-term unemployed workers" in America was 2.6 million.  Today, it is 5.3 million.
At this point, an astounding 53 percent of all college graduates under the age of 25 are either unemployed or underemployed.

So where is all of the "change" that Obama promised?

Things just keep getting worse.

Since Obama has been in the White House, 14 million more Americans have gone on food stamps, and more than 25 percent of all American children are enrolled in the program today.
How will class warfare help those people?

Will blaming the wealthy make things better for them?

They are already receiving government handouts.

Will increasing those handouts a little bit more fundamentally change their lives for the better?
Of course not.

What those people need are good jobs.

But instead, both the Democrats and the Republicans continue to pursue the same job killing policies that have been destroying American jobs for decades.

Without good jobs, the number of Americans dependent on the government is going to continue to grow.
In a previous article, I detailed the explosive growth of social welfare benefits that we have seen under both Republicans and Democrats....
Back in 1960, social welfare benefits made up approximately 10 percent of all salaries and wages.  In the year 2000, social welfare benefits made up approximately 21 percent of all salaries and wages.  Today, social welfare benefits make up approximately 35 percent of all salaries and wages.
The goal should not be to rape the rich and give out even more social welfare benefits.

Instead, the goal should be to develop an economy that creates good jobs.

We need have an economy that empowers individuals and small businesses.

Instead, we have an economy dominated by big government and big corporations.

We have an economy that funnels the vast majority of the economic rewards to a tiny elite while most of the rest of us struggle.

Just consider the following statistics....
*Back in the 1970s, the top 1 percent of all income earners in the United States brought in about 8 percent of all income.  Today, they bring in about 21 percent of all income.
*The following is how income gains in the U.S. were distributed during 2010....
-37 percent of all income gains went to the top 0.01 percent of all income earners
-56 percent of all income gains went to the rest of the top 1 percent
-7 percent of all income gains went to the bottom 99 percent
*In America today, the wealthiest one percent of all Americans have a greater net worth than the bottom 90 percent combined.

*According to Forbes, the 400 wealthiest Americans have more wealth than the bottom 150 million Americans combined.

So what is the solution to that problem?

Is it to attack the rich and take away all their money and give more government handouts to the poor?

Of course not.

Rather, we need to change the rules of the game so that individuals and small businesses are empowered to succeed.

We need to decentralize economic power and dramatically reduce the undue influence that big government and giant corporations have over our economic system.

We need to create an environment where almost anyone that has a good idea and that is willing to work hard can succeed.

But instead of focusing on real solutions like shutting down the Federal Reserve, converting to debt-free currency, eliminating the income tax, shutting down the IRS, massively reducing the size of government and getting rid of thousands upon thousands of unneeded regulations, the mainstream media and our politicians are going to continue to try to get Americans to blame one another for our problems.
The efforts to divide America are working, and hatred is growing to unprecedented levels in this country.
Eventually this will lead to mass rioting in our major cities and that will make our problems far worse.
Hatred and division are not going to bring us a better future.

They are only going to destroy us from within.

We don't need hate.

What we need is more love and more solutions.

Unfortunately, our leaders are leading us down a very dark path, and we are heading for a future that is going to be a complete mess.

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O.K., Here Is My Theory.  There Is A Small Group Of Republican Congressmen That Hate The President's Race So MuchThat They Are Willing To Destroy The Entire Country To Get Him Out Of Office!!!!

And you know their names.  Start with Mitch McConnell and read carefully, or not so carefully, anything he has ever said about Obama.

We have visited the problems of jobs for young people before.  Here is Paul Krugman explaining the problem quite clearly in the New York Times today.

April 29, 2012

Wasting Our Minds

In Spain, the unemployment rate among workers under 25 is more than 50 percent. In Ireland almost a third of the young are unemployed. Here in America, youth unemployment is “only” 16.5 percent, which is still terrible — but things could be worse. 

And sure enough, many politicians are doing all they can to guarantee that things will, in fact, get worse. We’ve been hearing a lot about the war on women, which is real enough. But there’s also a war on the young, which is just as real even if it’s better disguised. And it’s doing immense harm, not just to the young, but to the nation’s future. 

Let’s start with some advice Mitt Romney gave to college students during an appearance last week. After denouncing President Obama’s “divisiveness,” the candidate told his audience, “Take a shot, go for it, take a risk, get the education, borrow money if you have to from your parents, start a business.”
The first thing you notice here is, of course, the Romney touch — the distinctive lack of empathy for those who weren’t born into affluent families, who can’t rely on the Bank of Mom and Dad to finance their ambitions. But the rest of the remark is just as bad in its own way. 

I mean, “get the education”? And pay for it how? Tuition at public colleges and universities has soared, in part thanks to sharp reductions in state aid. Mr. Romney isn’t proposing anything that would fix that; he is, however, a strong supporter of the Ryan budget plan, which would drastically cut federal student aid, causing roughly a million students to lose their Pell grants. 

So how, exactly, are young people from cash-strapped families supposed to “get the education”? Back in March Mr. Romney had the answer: Find the college “that has a little lower price where you can get a good education.” Good luck with that. But I guess it’s divisive to point out that Mr. Romney’s prescriptions are useless for Americans who weren’t born with his advantages.
There is, however, a larger issue: even if students do manage, somehow, to “get the education,” which they do all too often by incurring a lot of debt, they’ll be graduating into an economy that doesn’t seem to want them.
You’ve probably heard lots about how workers with college degrees are faring better in this slump than those with only a high school education, which is true. But the story is far less encouraging if you focus not on middle-aged Americans with degrees but on recent graduates. Unemployment among recent graduates has soared; so has part-time work, presumably reflecting the inability of graduates to find full-time jobs. Perhaps most telling, earnings have plunged even among those graduates working full time — a sign that many have been forced to take jobs that make no use of their education. 

College graduates, then, are taking it on the chin thanks to the weak economy. And research tells us that the price isn’t temporary: students who graduate into a bad economy never recover the lost ground. Instead, their earnings are depressed for life. 

What the young need most of all, then, is a better job market. People like Mr. Romney claim that they have the recipe for job creation: slash taxes on corporations and the rich, slash spending on public services and the poor. But we now have plenty of evidence on how these policies actually work in a depressed economy — and they clearly destroy jobs rather than create them.

For as you look at the economic devastation in Europe, you should bear in mind that some of the countries experiencing the worst devastation have been doing everything American conservatives say we should do here. Not long ago, conservatives gushed over Ireland’s economic policies, especially its low corporate tax rate; the Heritage Foundation used to give it higher marks for “economic freedom” than any other Western nation. When things went bad, Ireland once again received lavish praise, this time for its harsh spending cuts, which were supposed to inspire confidence and lead to quick recovery. 

And now, as I said, almost a third of Ireland’s young can’t find jobs.

What should we do to help America’s young? Basically, the opposite of what Mr. Romney and his friends want. We should be expanding student aid, not slashing it. And we should reverse the de facto austerity policies that are holding back the U.S. economy — the unprecedented cutbacks at the state and local level, which have been hitting education especially hard. 

Yes, such a policy reversal would cost money. But refusing to spend that money is foolish and shortsighted even in purely fiscal terms. Remember, the young aren’t just America’s future; they’re the future of the tax base, too. 

A mind is a terrible thing to waste; wasting the minds of a whole generation is even more terrible. Let’s stop doing it. 

P.S.  In the Sunday (April 29, 2012) New York Times Magazine, Krugman takes Ben Bernacke to the wood shed.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

But Here Is Some Good News!!  And It Really Is Good!!  It Is Just That No One Seems To Know Why??

Anyway, today's New York Times says this about the Number One problem facing the United States.

April 28, 2012

In Hopeful Sign, Health Spending Is Flattening Out

WASHINGTON — The growth of health spending has slowed substantially in the last few years, surprising experts and offering some fuel for optimism about the federal government’s long-term fiscal performance.
Much of the slowdown is because of the recession, and thus not unexpected, health experts say. But some of it seems to be attributable to changing behavior by consumers and providers of health care — meaning that the lower rates of growth might persist even as the economy picks up. 

Because Medicare and Medicaid are two of the largest contributors to the country’s long-term debts, slower growth in health costs could reduce the pressure for enormous spending cuts or tax increases.
In 2009 and 2010, total nationwide health care spending grew less than 4 percent per year, the slowest annual pace in more than five decades, according to the latest numbers from the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services. After years of taking up a growing share of economic activity, health spending held steady in 2010, at 17.9 percent of the gross domestic product. 

The growth rate mostly slowed as millions of Americans lost insurance coverage along with their jobs. Worried about job security, others may have feared taking time off work for doctor’s visits or surgical procedures, or skipped nonurgent care when money was tight.

Still, the slowdown was sharper than health economists expected, and a broad, bipartisan range of academics, hospital administrators and policy experts has started to wonder if what had seemed impossible might be happening — if doctors and patients have begun to change their behavior in ways that bend the so-called cost curve. 

If so, it was happening just as the new health care law was coming into force, and before the Supreme Court could weigh in on it or the voters could pronounce their own verdict at the polls.

“The tectonic plates might be beginning to shift,” said Karen Davis, the president of the Commonwealth Fund, a nonprofit research group in New York. “It’s hard to believe everything that’s been tried over the last decade to slow spending wouldn’t be making a difference.” 

Experts were surprised, for instance, at a drop in spending on some hospitalized seniors — people enrolled in Medicare, whose coverage the recession should not affect. They also noted that some of the states where health care spending slowed most rapidly were states that were not hit particularly badly by the recession, suggesting that other factors were at play. 

“The recession just doesn’t account for the numbers we’re seeing,” said David Cutler, a Harvard health economist and former adviser to President Obama. “I think there’s much more going on.” 

The implications of a bend in the cost curve would be enormous. Policy makers on both sides of the aisle see rising health care costs as the central threat to household budgets and the country’s fiscal health. If the growth in Medicare were to come down to a rate of only 1 percentage point a year faster than the economy’s growth, the projected long-term deficit would fall by more than one-third. 

The growth of health costs slowed in the 1990s as health maintenance organizations became more popular. That played a role in both gains in household income — less money on employer-provided health benefits means more money for raises — and in budget surpluses, economists argue. 

Some experts caution that there remains too little data to determine whether the current slowdown will become permanent, or whether it is merely a blip caused by the economy’s weakness. 

“If there’s something else going on, we don’t know what it is yet,” said Gail Wilensky, a health economist who headed Medicare and Medicaid during the administration of President George Bush. “The most honest thing to say is that, one, the reduction in use is greater than the recession predicts; two, we don’t understand why yet; and, three, you’d be foolhardy to say that we can understand it.” 

She argued that the unusual decline in not just income but also wealth during the recession might be one factor cutting down on use of the health care system.

But many other health experts say that there is just enough data to start detecting trends — even if the numbers remain murky, and the vast complexity of the national health care market puts definitive answers out of reach.
Many experts — and the Medicare and Medicaid center itself — point to the explosion of high-deductible plans, in which consumers have lower premiums but pay more out of pocket, as one main factor. The share of employees enrolled in high-deductible plans surged to 13 percent in 2011 from 3 percent in 2006, according to Mercer Consulting. 

That means thousands of consumers with an incentive to think twice about heading to the doctor. One study by the RAND Corporation found that health spending among people who shifted into a high-deductible plan dropped 14 percent — though the study also found that enrollees cut back on some care that tended to save money in the long run, like vaccinations

A second factor is a dearth of expensive, novel drugs coming onto the market, experts said, as well as growing pressure to use generics. “There just aren’t as many blockbusters,” said Professor Cutler, the Harvard economist. 

Finally, and most important, health economists point to a shift toward accountable care, in which providers are paid for the quality of care, not the quantity. 

There are about 164 “accountable organizations” in the United States, according to research by Leavitt Partners. Hundreds of other insurers and health systems have enacted some of the features of accountable care, like assigning specially trained nurse practitioners to patients with multiple chronic conditions to make sure they take their medications and to prevent hospitalizations. 

Many health care experts said they believed that the shift toward publicizing medical error rates and encouraging accountable care seemed to be paying dividends — and that providers were making changes in anticipation of the health care overhaul, which further emphasize accountable care. 

“In Massachusetts, we had a lot of political pressure to understand the growth in costs as unsustainable,” said Sandra Fenwick, the chief operating officer of Children’s Hospital Boston, which has put more than 100 reforms into effect, saving millions of dollars, in the past four years. “We had to figure out how we were going to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.” 

Ms. Davis of the Commonwealth Fund said that “a lot of the big gains have come from keeping people out of the hospital and the emergency rooms.” 

“Five or seven years ago, the private sector started rewarding providers that got their patients’ chronic conditions like diabetes and asthma under control,” Ms. Davis said. “That was couched as a quality-control measure, or putting an emphasis on chronic-disease care. But the direct result is going to be a reduction of hospitalization.” 

Moreover, experts said not to discount the accountable-care revolution just because it remained small or because the changes implemented by the Obama health care law had not come into full effect yet.
“In the past, these slowdowns have occurred not just because of the direct effect of reforms, but because of greater attention to reforms changing provider and patient behavior,” said Mark B. McClellan, the economist and doctor who ran Medicare and Medicaid under President George W. Bush. 

Of course, health care experts caution that there have been times when health care spending had slowed, only to start tracking back up again. 

“If you asked me, ‘How confident are you that this is not just the recession?’ I’d say 75 percent,” said Professor Cutler of Harvard. But he said he was less confident that this trend would continue.
Here Is The Bad News!!  And It Really Is Bad!!

Today's New York Times carries this story.  Remember that chronic disease is the second major cost in U.S. healthcare costs.


Obesity-Linked Diabetes in Children Resists Treatment

Obesity and the form of diabetes linked to it are taking an even worse toll on America’s youth than medical experts had realized. As obesity rates in children have climbed, so has the incidence of type 2 diabetes, and a new study adds another worry: the disease progresses more rapidly in children than in adults, and is harder to treat. 

“It’s frightening how severe this metabolic disease is in children,” said Dr. David M. Nathan, an author of the study and director of the diabetes center at the Massachusetts General Hospital. “It’s really got a hold on them and it’s hard to turn around.” 

Before the 1990s, this form of diabetes was hardly ever seen in children. It is still uncommon, but experts say any increase in such a serious disease is troubling. There were about 3,600 new cases a year from 2002 to 2005 (the latest available data).
The research is the first large study of type 2 diabetes in children, “because this didn’t used to exist,” said Dr. Robin Goland, a member of the research team and co-director of the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center at Columbia University Medical Center in New York. She added, “These are people who are struggling with something that shouldn’t happen in kids who are this young.” 

Why the disease is so hard to control in children and teenagers is not known. The researchers said that rapid growth and the intense hormonal changes at puberty may play a part. 

The study followed 699 children ages 10 to 17 at medical centers around the country for about four years. It found that the usual oral medicine for type 2 diabetes stopped working in about half of the patients within a few years, and they had to add daily shots of insulin to control their blood sugar. Researchers said they were shocked by how poorly the oral drugs performed, because they work much better in adults. The results and an editorial are being published online on Sunday by The New England Journal of Medicine

The findings could signal trouble ahead, because poorly controlled diabetes significantly increases the risk of heart disease, eye problems, nerve damage, amputations and kidney failure. The longer a person has the disease, the greater the risk. So in theory, people who develop diabetes as children may suffer its complications much earlier in life than did previous generations who became diabetic as adults. 

“I fear that these children are going to become sick earlier in their lives than we’ve ever seen before,” Dr. Nathan said.

But aggressive treatment can lower the risks. 

“You really have to be on top of these kids and individualize therapy for each person,” said Dr. Barbara Linder, a senior adviser for childhood diabetes research at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, which sponsored the new study. 

Sara Chernov, 21, a college senior from Great Neck, N.Y., learned that she had type 2 diabetes when she was 16. Her grandfather had had both legs amputated as a result of the disease, and one of the first questions she asked was when she would lose her legs and her eyesight. A doctor scolded her for being fat and told her she had to lose weight and could never eat sugar again. She left the office in tears and did not go back; soon after, she joined the study at Columbia. Like many of the children in the program, she did not even know how to swallow a pill. 

She believes that the disease “is not a death sentence,” she said, if she is careful about controlling her blood sugar. But it has been a struggle. Her family tends to be overweight, she sometimes craves sweets and she has orthopedic problems that have required surgery and have made it hard for her to exercise. She is also being treated for high blood pressure

A few weeks ago, because her blood sugar shot up despite the diabetes pills she was taking, she began using insulin.

Most of the participants in the study came from low-income families: 42 percent had yearly incomes under $25,000, and 34 percent below $50,000. About 40 percent were Hispanic, 33 percent black, 20 percent white, 6 percent American Indian and less than 2 percent Asian. Poor people and minority groups have some of the highest rates of obesity and diabetes in both adults and children. 

Dr. Phil Zeitler, an author of the study and a professor of pediatrics at the University of Colorado, Denver, said many participants lived with a single parent or guardian and, like Ms. Chernov, came from families with a history of diabetes and had relatives with kidney failure or amputations. 

“They’re wrapped up in a lot of family chaos,” Dr. Zeitler said, calling them a “challenging population” with a lot of stress in their lives, on top of the normal chaos of the teen years.

Type 2 diabetes used to be so rare in children that it was called adult-onset diabetes. Type 1, a much less common form, was most likely to strike children and teenagers, and was called juvenile diabetes. Both forms of the disease cause high blood sugar, but their underlying causes are different. 

Type 1 occurs because the patient’s own immune system mistakenly destroys the cells in the pancreas that make insulin, a hormone needed to control blood sugar levels. Patients have to take insulin. 

Type 2 is thought to be brought on by obesity and inactivity in people who have a genetic predisposition to develop the disease when they gain weight. And they may also have an inborn tendency to put on weight. The pancreas still makes insulin, though not enough, and the body does not use insulin properly — a condition called insulin resistance. High blood pressure and cholesterol often come with the disease. Initial treatments include diet, exercise and oral medicines, but many people eventually need insulin. 

Doctors began noticing an alarming increase in type 2 cases in children in the 1990s, especially among blacks and Hispanics from poorer families. The problem had started even earlier in American Indians, who have had sharp increases in obesity in recent years.

The current study was meant to find the best treatment. The participants were all overweight, some very obese. All, with a parent or guardian, got diabetes education. Then they were assigned at random to one of three groups. One group took only metformin, a standard diabetes pill (also called Glucophage). Another took metformin and a second drug, rosiglitazone (also called Avandia). A third group took metformin and went through an intensive diet, exercise and weight-loss program (which has worked in adults). They were followed for an average of about four years.

The results were disappointing: all three regimens had high failure rates, meaning that they could not control blood sugar. Metformin alone failed in 52 percent of patients, metformin plus rosiglitazine failed in 39 percent and metformin plus the diet program failed in 47 percent. Metformin alone was least effective in blacks, and metformin combined with rosiglitazone worked better in girls than in boys. The failure rates were high even in the patients who adhered most strictly to their treatment programs. 

The obvious conclusion is that better treatments are needed. Adding rosiglitazone is not a good option, researchers say, even though the combination worked better than metformin alone; rosiglitazone has been linked to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke in adults, and its use has been restricted by the Food and Drug Administration. There are other oral diabetes drugs, but none have been approved or tested in children. In the meantime, the doctors said, the best solution is to move quickly to insulin shots if metformin does not work. 

Ideally, type 2 diabetes should be preventable, with improvements in diet and exercise. But so far, that has been easier said than done.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Now That You Have Read Michael's Take On Unemployment Among Young People, Read This Story From The Los Angeles Times.  It Will Break Your Heart!!

WASHINGTON — Matt Pizzo has a law degree, can-do attitude, proven leadership skills, and expertise in communications and satellite technology from his four years in the Air Force.
Yet the 29-year-old has been told that he's overqualified, too old, too "non-traditional," and that he's fallen behind his civilian contemporaries.

"It was disheartening, to say the least," he said of his latest job rejection. "But it's typical, I'm afraid."
For unemployed veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, rejection is a special ordeal. Veterans' advocacy groups, and many unemployed veterans, say civilian employers don't always appreciate veterans' skills and maturity. They point out that this is the first generation of employers who have no widespread military experience and thus no inherent appreciation for what the institution can provide.

Further, the increased military and media attention given topost-traumatic stress disorderand traumatic brain injury has had the effect of stigmatizing veterans, advocates say. Some employers fear that soldiers diagnosed with these conditions are prone to violence or instability.

The unemployment rate for veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq is 10.3%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For veterans age 24 and under, the rate is 29.1%, or 12 points higher than for civilians the same age. That compares with 8.2% unemployment nationally, and 7.5% for all veterans.

A survey this year by the advocacy group Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America found that a quarter of its members could not find a job to match their skill level, and half said they did not believe employers were open to hiring veterans.

"These veterans have skills and maturity a decade beyond their civilian peers," said Tom Tarantino, the group's deputy policy director, who couldn't find work for 10 months after he left the Army in 2007. "It's very frustrating for them to be told they have to retrain for jobs they've already been trained for in the military."

Tarantino said that he spent 10 years as an officer who managed a multimillion-dollar budget and supervised 400 people.

"They just don't get it," Tarantino said of today's employers. "It's hard to make that cultural connection."
When it comes to hiring barriers, PTSD is the often-unacknowledged obstacle.
The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that 11% to 20% of Afghanistan and Iraq veterans suffer from the disorder. A 2008 Rand Corp. study found that 30% of returning veterans screened positive for PTSD, traumatic brain injuries or depression.

Hannah Rudstam of Cornell University's Industrial and Labor Relations School studies veterans' employment, and says many employers consider PTSD and traumatic brain injury mysterious and threatening.

In a recent survey of human resource officers conducted by Rudstam and others, 73% of respondents agreed that hiring veterans with disabilities would help their business. But at the same time, 63% said that employing workers with PTSD or traumatic brain injury would require more effort — and 61% said they were unsure whether they posed a workplace threat.

"We know it's an issue," said John Moran, who directs the Veterans' Employment and Training Service at the Labor Department. An agency website offers employers a "tool kit" with detailed information about PTSD and traumatic brain injuries.

But veterans themselves don't always do a good job at making their case to potential employers.
Lisa Rosser, a 22-year Army veteran who runs Value of a Veteran, a consulting firm, said many veterans didn't translate their military experience into civilian language even though 81% of military jobs have a close civilian equivalent.

For instance, the military's Visual Information Equipment Operator-Maintainer MOS 25R would be, in the civilian world, someone who runs video teleconferencing.

"Employers don't understand those resumes," said Rosser, whose firm advises employers on hiring veterans. "But they have plenty of civilian resumes on hand to choose from, so they tend to go with what they understand."

Many Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, of course, do land jobs — at least 240,000 in the most recent 12-month reporting period, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The biggest hiring increases were in wholesale and retail trade (79,000 jobs) and state or local government (50,000). On the other hand, 10,000 fewer Afghanistan and Iraq war veterans were hired by the federal government and 8,000 fewer were hired by the construction industry compared with the previous 12-month period.

Hundreds of job fairs have sprung up to help what one VA official calls a "tsunami" of more than a million veterans who will be returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. About 7,000 veterans have found jobs through "Hiring Our Heroes," a series of 140 job fairs sponsored by theU.S. Chamber of Commerce.
But some veterans find job fairs frustrating. Jeffrey Barretta, who left the Army in October, attended a "Hiring Our Heroes" fair in Fayetteville, N.C., recently, only to be told by employers to go online to fill out an application.

Barretta, 28, was an Army construction engineer for nearly four years. He's seeking a job operating a bulldozer or crane, he said, but has not had a single reply from a dozen applications.
Barretta lives on food stamps and bunks with two Army buddies in Fayetteville, outside Ft. Bragg, while his wife works as a dance instructor in Florida. At the job fair, he glanced around at hundreds of former soldiers lining up, resumes in hand.
"The economy's bad enough," he said. "But on top of that, all these veterans are competing with each other for a limited number of jobs."
This month, the Army began requiring soldiers to take job and career training and other "transitional" instruction 12 months before leaving the service. And Congress has offered incentives for employers who hire veterans.

Meanwhile, the Labor Department runs 3,000 career centers where veterans have priority, with 1,000 employment specialists advocating for veterans among employers nationwide.

One such program, in Frederick, Md., helped Carlos Canas, a former Army medic, pay for community college tuition after he was laid off. He earned a phlebotomy certificate that led to a job drawing blood at a local hospital.

But other veterans continue to be turned away.

One employer told Pizzo, the Air Force veteran, that he didn't think Pizzo would be willing to take orders from younger civilians.

"I get responses like, 'We're looking for a more traditional background,' " he said. To make ends meet, Pizzo, who lives on Long Island, has worked part-time construction and demolition jobs.
But he's still trying to find the perfect job.

"One good thing about the military is that it gave me the confidence to keep on going," he said. "Whoever hires me, they're going to hit the jackpot."
Here Is The Other Problem We Are Creating For The Future Of The USA!

As you know, we are borrowing 40 cents of every $1.00 we are spending.  Sometime in the future, we will have to pay back all these borrowed dollars.  One way that can happen is to cut deeply into health care, military spending, and a whole collection of government programs.  This assumes Congress comes to its senses and takes the cap off Social Security.

This cutting method, currently called austerity, would offend so many special interest groups that it is unlikely to happen.  All of the last twelve years of Congressional performance re-enforce the conclusion this will not happen.

The other response is to simply inflate the currency, i.e., endorse inflation.  See Argentina in the 2000's and again now to see how it works.  This is the most likely future and you can find out how to protect yourself, as much as you can, in The Great Recession Conspiracy.

But the other enormous future problem that must be solved, in one way or another, is providing jobs for young people in the U.S.  The unemployment, or underemployment, rate for current college graduates is an astounding 53%!!

Michael is exceptionally dramatic about the problem, but his facts are exactly correct.  Add to this, the incredible amount of college loans floating around, trillions of dollars, the single largest source of debt in the U.S. today, and you should be worried about the future of the country.

So read what Michael has to say about the subject 

53 Percent Of All Young College Graduates In America Are Either Unemployed Or Underemployed

If you are in college right now, you will most likely either be unemployed or working a job that only requires a high school degree when you graduate.  The truth is that the U.S. economy is not coming anywhere close to producing enough jobs for the hordes of new college graduates that are entering the workforce every year.  In 2011, 53 percent of all Americans with a bachelor's degree under the age of 25 were either unemployed or underemployed.  Millions upon millions of young college graduates feel like the system has totally failed them.  They worked hard in school all their lives, they went into huge amounts of debt in order to get the college education that they were told they "must have" in order to get a good job, but after graduation they found that there were only a handful of good jobs for the huge waves of college graduates that were entering the "real world".  All over America, college graduates can be found waiting tables, flipping burgers and working behind the register at retail stores.  Unfortunately, the employment picture in America is not going to get significantly better any time soon.
All over the United States, "middle class jobs" are being replaced by "low income jobs" and young college graduates are being hurt by this transition more than almost anyone else.  Massive numbers of young college graduates are now working jobs that do not even require a high school degree.  Some of the statistics about young college graduates are absolutely astounding.  The following is from a recent CNBC article....
In the last year, they were more likely to be employed as waiters, waitresses, bartenders and food-service helpers than as engineers, physicists, chemists and mathematicians combined (100,000 versus 90,000). There were more working in office-related jobs such as receptionist or payroll clerk than in all computer professional jobs (163,000 versus 100,000). More also were employed as cashiers, retail clerks and customer representatives than engineers (125,000 versus 80,000).
Can you imagine working really hard all throughout high school and college and always getting good grades and then ending up as a bartender?
Sadly, many hard working college graduates cannot seem to find a decent job no matter how hard they try.  The following is one example from the CNBC article mentioned above....
"I don't even know what I'm looking for," says Michael Bledsoe, who described months of fruitless job searches as he served customers at a Seattle coffeehouse. The 23-year-old graduated in 2010 with a creative writing degree.
Initially hopeful that his college education would create opportunities, Bledsoe languished for three months before finally taking a job as a barista, a position he has held for the last two years. In the beginning he sent three or four resumes day. But, Bledsoe said, employers questioned his lack of experience or the practical worth of his major. Now he sends a resume once every two weeks or so.
Have you ever been there?
Have you ever sent out resumes week after week, month after month, only to get absolutely nowhere?
Many recent college graduates are being advised by "career counselors" that they should go back and "get more education".
But is that really the answer?  The truth is that there are lots and lots of unemployed and underemployed Americans with advanced degrees too.  For example, a recent Business Insider article profiled a law school graduate named Erin that is actually on food stamps....
She remains on food stamps so her social life suffers. She can't afford a car, so she has to rely on the bus to get around Austin, Texas, where she lives. And currently unable to pay back her growing pile of law school debt, Gilmer says she wonders if she will ever be able to pay it back.
"That has been really hard for me," she says. "I have absolutely no credit anymore. I haven't been able to pay loans. It's scary, and it's a hard thing to think you’re a lawyer but you’re impoverished. People don’t understand that most lawyers actually aren’t making the big money."
But what "more education" will do is that it will get you into even more debt.  Student loan debt can be one of the cruelest forms of debt, because it cannot be discharged in bankruptcy.
As I wrote about a few days ago, total student loan debt in the United States recently surpassed the one trillion dollar mark.  Students keep on racking up student loan debt in the hope that they will find "the American Dream" at the end of the rainbow.
Sadly, many students do everything "right" and still end up in the middle of a nightmare.
But it is not just young college graduates that are suffering in this economy.
As I wrote about a while back, the U.S. economy is not producing enough jobs for anyone at this point.
The mainstream media keeps telling us that unemployment is going down, but the truth is that the percentage of working age Americans that are employed is not increasing.  In March 2010, 58.5 percent of all working age Americans had a job.  In March 2012, 58.5 percent of all working age Americans had a job.
Does that sounds like improvement?
Of course not.
Unlike what we have seen after every other recession in the post-World War II era, the employment to population ratio is not bouncing back, and that is really bad news.
The main reason for this is because of the bad economy, but also it is important to understand that we are transitioning away from an "employment economy".
Today, most large corporations view employees as very expensive "liabilities".  The goal for most large corporations is to minimize those "liabilities" as much as possible.  In fact, these days some large corporations lay off huge numbers of workers even while they are making huge profits at the same time.
Once upon a time, Henry Ford made a conscious decision to pay his workers enough money so that they could afford to buy the cars that they were making.
Today, most corporations simply do not care about the living standards of their workers.  They simply want to maximize profits to the fullest extent possible.
Many small businesses would like to hire more workers, but the federal government has made hiring workers so complicated and so expensive that it has become exceedingly difficult to make a profit on a worker.  Most of the time it is simply easier to try to do more with what you already have.
The number of Americans that can work a job ("just over broke") and still live "the American Dream" is steadily shrinking.  Increasingly, the financial rewards in our economy are being funneled to the very top of organizations and workers are finding that their living standards continue to slowly go down.
At corporations that belong to the Standard & Poor's 500 stock index, CEOs earn 380 times what the average worker makes at those companies.  In 1980, CEOs only earned 42 times what the average worker made at those companies.
A fundamental shift is happening in our economy and it is not going to be reversed any time soon.  Workers are not valued at most companies anymore.  No matter how much of yourself you give to your company, when the day comes that you become "disposable", you will be cast aside as so much rubbish.
That is why I try to encourage people to start their own businesses and to be their own bosses.  There is no job security anymore.  The job that you have today could be gone tomorrow.
Meanwhile, the federal government is actually spending your money to train foreign workers to take our jobs.  The following is from a recent Daily Caller article....
While the president has been urging “insourcing,” the government has been sending money to the Philippines to train foreign workers for jobs in English-speaking call centers.
According to New York Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop and North Carolina Republican Rep. Walter Jones, this is unacceptable and “shocking.”
The pair are calling on the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to immediately suspend what is known as the Job Enabling English Proficiency (JEEP) program.
Can you believe that?
Over and over again, our politicians talk about the need to keep jobs in the United States and then they go out and do things that have the exact opposite effect.
It is truly maddening.
So what are the hordes of American workers that cannot find jobs supposed to do?
Well, one thing we are definitely seeing is a huge rise in the number of Americans that are dependent on the government.
For example, at the end of the Reagan administration the ratio of workers on Social Security disability to active workers was about 2 percent.
Today, it is over 6 percent.
During the first four months of 2012 alone, 539,000 more Americans were added to the Social Security disability rolls and another 725,000 submitted new applications.
Another federal program that is experiencing explosive growth is food stamps.
Last year, one out of every seven Americans was on food stamps, and the Congressional Budget Office is projecting that the number of people on food stamps will continue to grow through 2014.
It is so sad to see what is happening to America.  Our economy is being dismantled all around us and the future looks incredibly bleak.
Right now there are millions upon millions of Americans that are sitting at home wallowing in despair.  They don't understand why nobody will hire them and they are rapidly running out of options.
The following is a comment that a reader left on one of my recent articles about the middle class....
I cannot believe my present situation…
I worked hard in school and college so that I could escape the low income uneducated mess I grew up in.
I made all the correct decisions with my career, finances, etc. I cannot figure out how I got to where I am at now.
In late 2008 I was laid off in the IT field. I was a go-getter, and I didn’t let anyone tell me the economy would make it difficult to find a job. I had another within 4 weeks.
Was laid off from that job last year. I qualified for unemployment, but then my employer decides to bring a bunch of lawyers and fight my eligibility. After I won again, they appealed again. I finally couldn’t afford to keep paying attorney fees. I finally lost the appeal. I had to pay all that money back.
I’m still trying to find a job in my field. Being the go-getting I am, I immediately took a job waiting tables which amounted to a 75% pay-cut.
I had saved 6 months of expenses and that is completely dry. I have completely drained my retirement and savings. Still cannot find a livable wage job after almost a decade in my field.
Things are slowly going into default and it feels utterly hopeless and stressful. My pristine credit rating is gone, my savings and everything I worked for is gone. I haven’t missed a payment on my mortgage, but it is coming. I can’t cut anything more than I already have.
I just can’t figure out how this could have happened to me. I played by the rules and made all the right choices. I skipped vacations and time off to prove I was a good worker and had what it took to be a valuable employee.
I really am just at a loss at this point. I’m single and have no family. This is really make-or-break for me. I have no fallback plan. The feeling of failure is just gut-wrenching.
Please say a prayer for that reader and for all of the other hard working Americans out there that are desperate to find a job.
If you are at the end of your rope, please do not give up.  Even in the darkest moments, there is always a way to turn things around if you will just keep on fighting.
Sadly, way too many people are giving up on life because of the economy.  In Europe, economic conditions have deteriorated so badly that there has been a dramatic increase in suicides.  The following is from a recent article in the New York Times....
The economic downturn that has shaken Europe for the last three years has also swept away the foundations of once-sturdy lives, leading to an alarming spike in suicide rates. Especially in the most fragile nations like Greece, Ireland and Italy, small-business owners and entrepreneurs are increasingly taking their own lives in a phenomenon some European newspapers have started calling “suicide by economic crisis.”
When the next major economic downturn happens in the United States, we will probably see a similar thing happen here too.
But people need to realize that our lives are not about how much stuff we own.
Even if every single thing is taken away from you and you are left with nothing that does not mean that your life is over.
Even if you have not been able to find a job for years, that does not mean that you should give up.
In life, everyone gets knocked down.
But unless you are dead, there is always a way to get things turned around in a more positive direction.
One thing that I have learned in life is that you must never, ever, ever, ever give up.
The years ahead are going to be really hard for the global economy, but that doesn't mean that they have to be horrible years for you.
The years ahead can be the very best years of your entire life, but that will never happen if you decide to simply give up.

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The Least Honored Idea In Washington..The Truth!

The White House has been blathering on about how profitable the TARP bill was for the American people.  This column in the Los Angeles Times makes it clear that the truth is quite different.

U.S. watchdog doubts TARP will turn a profit for taxpayers

Christy Romero, the special inspector general for the bailout fund, says it's a 'widely held misconception' that it will make money.

By Jim Puzzanghera, Los Angeles Times
April 26, 2012
WASHINGTON — The government's watchdog for the $700-billion Troubled Asset Relief Program disputed suggestions the bailout fund would turn a profit for taxpayers and warned that many small banks are still struggling to repay.

"It is a widely held misconception that TARP will make a profit," said a report by Christy Romero, the special inspector general for TARP.

The Obama administration has said TARP has turned a profit on about $205 billion injected into banks, but still projects losses for the entire fund.

The report to Congress said that one recent cost estimate put TARP losses at about $68 billion and noted that banks and other financial institutions still owe $118.5 billion.

Policymakers "should not be focused alone on money in and money out. TARP's costs and legacies involve far more than just dollars and cents," the report said.

"While TARP and other government responses to the financial crisis may have prevented the immediate collapse of our financial and auto manufacturing industries, and improved stability since 2008, the trade-off is not without profound long-term consequences.

"A significant legacy of TARP is increased moral hazard and potentially disastrous consequences associated with institutions deemed 'too big to fail.'"

Romero and her predecessor in the watchdog position, Neil Barofsky, have been highly critical of the way the Treasury Department has run TARP. They have pushed back strongly against the administration's positive stance on TARP's effect and financial outlook.

Last week, administration officials predicted that the U.S. probably would make a profit of as much as $163 billion over the next decade on all the bailout initiatives that began in 2008 to rescue the financial industry during the Great Recession.

That result would be attributed largely to $179 billion in excess profit from the Federal Reserve over the next 10 years, mainly gains from its extraordinary purchases of mortgage-backed securities and other assets that helped bail out the industry and stimulate the economy.

The Treasury Department has never projected a profit for the entire TARP program. The administration estimated in February that lifetime losses from TARP would be $67.8 billion, largely because of the General Motors Co. and the Chrysler Group bailouts, as well as mortgage assistance programs.

Last month, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that TARP would lose $32 billion.

Treasury officials have said the government has made a small profit on the TARP money invested in banks. Most large banks have repaid their government aid and also have paid cash dividends and bought back stock warrants granted to the government.

Still, 351 of the 707 banks that received bailout money had not repaid it as of March 31, with taxpayers still on the hook for about $15.7 billion, the report said. Of those banks, 330 received less than $100 million each in bailout money.

"They may be virtually unknown outside their immediate communities, but many of these small banks play a critical role in providing loans and cash management services to local employers as well as services, such as checking accounts and auto loans, to local residents," the report said.

Saigon National Bank in Westminster, for instance, caters to Vietnamese immigrants in Orange County and is one of the smallest banks that has yet to repay its TARP money. The bank has $59 million in assets and has missed 13 dividend payments totaling $265,328 on the $1.6-million bailout it received in late 2008.

"Despite the dramatic efforts to expedite the exit of the largest banks from TARP, there appears to be no corresponding plan for community banks," the report said.

Tim Massad, assistant Treasury secretary for financial stability, predicted that more banks would repay their bailout money.

"We've already recovered more than we invested in TARP's bank programs through repayments and other income," he said.

"While there's no one-size-fits-all approach, you'll continue to see us make significant additional progress winding down the program in the year ahead through repayments, sales and other methods."

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Benjamin Franklin Got It Right Hundreds Of Years Ago!!

This is not exactly, word for word, what he said, but it is close.  Ben said that "Those who would give up liberty for a little security, deserve neither."  And that is exactly where we are today.  I just reported on the thought police.  Now Michael expands the problem for you.


Why Is It Necessary For The Federal Government To Turn The United States Into A Prison Camp?

There has been no society in the history of the world that has ever been 100% safe.  No matter how much money the federal government spends on "homeland security", the truth is that bad things will still happen.  Our world is a very dangerous place and it is becoming increasingly unstable.  The federal government could turn the entire country into one giant prison camp, but that would still not keep us safe.  It is inevitable that bad stuff will happen in life.  But we have a choice.  We can choose to live in fear or we can choose to live as free men and women.  Our forefathers intended to establish a nation where liberty and freedom would be maximized.  But today we are told that we have to give up our liberties and our freedoms and our privacy for increased security.  But is such a trade really worth it?  Just think of the various totalitarian societies that we have seen down throughout history.  Have any of them ever really thrived?  Have their people been happy?  Unfortunately, the U.S. federal government has decided that the entire country needs to be put on lock down.  Nearly everything that we do today is watched and tracked, and personal privacy is rapidly becoming a thing of the past.  Many of the things that George Orwell wrote about in 1984 are becoming a reality, and that is a very frightening thing.  The United States is supposed to be the land of the free and the home of the brave.  Sadly, we are rapidly becoming the exact opposite of that.

I don't know about you, but I never signed up to live in North Korea.  When I was growing up I was taught that repressive regimes such as North Korea are "the bad guys" and that America is where "the good guys" live.

So why do we want to be just like North Korea?
When they put in the naked body scanners at U.S. airports and started having TSA agents conduct "enhanced pat-downs" of travelers, I decided that I was not going to fly anymore unless absolutely necessary.

Then I heard about how "random bag checks" were being conducted at Metro train stations in the Washington D.C. area, and I was glad that I was no longer taking the train into D.C. anymore.
But now the TSA is showing up everywhere.  Down in Houston, undercover TSA agents and police officers will now "ride buses, perform random bag checks, and conduct K-9 sweeps, as well as place uniformed and plainclothes officers at Transit Centers and rail platforms to detect, prevent and address latent criminal activity or behavior."

So now I have another thing to add to my list of things that I can't do anymore.
No more riding buses for me.
But the truth is that you can't escape this expanding security grid no matter how hard you try.
In fact, TSA "VIPR teams" conduct approximately 8,000 "unannounced security screenings" every year at bus terminals, train stations, ports and highway rest stops throughout the United States.
Look, every society needs some level of security.  There are always bad guys out there that want to harm innocent people.

But in the United States we must demand that those in charge of our security do their jobs in a way that does not compromise our dignity, our liberties or our freedoms.

Does having TSA thugs touch the private parts of old women and young children before they get on their flights keep us any safer?
Of course not.

But it does move our country in a very dangerous direction.

The reality is that this "Big Brother control grid" that is being constructed all around us is expanding in a thousand different ways.

For example, a new bill before the U.S. Congress would require black box data recorders to be installed in all new vehicles starting in 2015.  These black box data recorders will be able to constantly transmit data about everything that your car is  doing to the government and to the insurance companies.  The following is from a recent article by Eric Peters....
And naturally, they – the government, insurance companies – will be able to track your every move, noting (and recording) where you’ve been and when. This will create a surveillance net beyond anything that ever existed previously. Some will not sweat this: After all, if you’ve got nothing to hide, why worry? Except for the fact that, courtesy of almost everything we do being either “illegal” or at least “suspicious” we all have a great deal to hide. The naivety of the Don’t Worry, it’s No Big Deal crowd is breathtaking. Did the average Soviet citizen also “not have anything to hide,” and hence why worry?
But the last possibility is probably the creepiest possibility: EDRs tied into your car’s GPS will give them – the government and its corporate **** ******* (edited for language) – literal physical control over (hack) “your” vehicle. This is not conspiracy theorizing. It is technological fact. Current GM vehicles equipped with the same technology about to be mandated for every vehicle can be disabled remotely. Just turned off. All the OnStar operator has to do is send the appropriate command over the GPS to your car’s computer, which controls the engine. It is one of the features touted by OnStar – of course, as a “safety” feature.
In the future, it will be used to limit your driving – for the sake of “energy conservation” or perhaps, “the environment.” It will be the perfect, er, vehicle, for implementing U.N. Agenda 21 – the plan to herd all of us formerly free-range tax cattle into urban feedlots. So much easier to control us this way. No more bailing out to the country or living off the grid – unless you get there (and to your work) by walking.
Even when you are sitting at home you are still being watched and monitored in countless ways.
For example, every single call you make on your cell phone is intercepted and monitored by the government.
Your Internet activity is tracked and monitored by a whole host of government agencies as well.  If you doubt this, just read this article.

Now CISPA would expand government surveillance of the Internet even further.  The following description of CISPA comes from the Electronic Frontier Foundation website....
CISPA creates an exception to all privacy laws to permit companies to share our information with each other and with the government in the name of cybersecurity…. CISPA’s ‘information sharing’ regime allows the transfer of vast amounts of data, including sensitive information like internet use history or the content of emails, to any agency in the government including military and intelligence agencies like the National Security Agency or the Department of Defense Cyber Command. Once in government hands, this information can be used for any non-regulatory purpose so long as one significant purpose is for cybersecurity or to protect national security.
Frightening stuff, eh?

I want you to imagine a scenario for a moment.  Imagine that the government assigned two "watchers" to you that followed you everywhere you went and stared directly into your face the entire time.

Would you feel comfortable?

Why not?

You don't have anything to hide, do you?

Well, of course the truth is that none of us would like having our privacy constantly invaded.  It is not pleasant to constantly feel like you are being watched.

That is why all of these new "security measures" are so alarming.  A system is being set up where all of us are being constantly watched and monitored 24 hours a day.

And most Americans have no idea how fast the transition to full martial law could potentially be.
Barack Obama recently updated an old executive order that has been around for decades that would enable him to take charge of all food, all energy, all health resources and all transportation resources in the United States with the stroke of a pen.  This new update would allow him to do it even in "non-emergency" situations.

The following is what U.S. Representative Kay Granger recently had to say about this executive order....
This means all of our water resources, construction services and materials (steel, concrete, etc.), our civil transportation system, food and health resources, our energy supplies including oil and natural gas – even farm equipment – can be taken over by the President and his cabinet secretaries.  The Government can also draft U.S. citizens into the military and force U.S. citizens to fulfill "labor requirements" for the purposes of "national defense."  There is not even any Congressional oversight, only briefings are required.
Later on in her letter, Representative Granger even used the phrases "martial law" and "government takeover" to describe the power that Barack Obama potentially has under this executive order....
It is still unclear why this order was signed now, and what the consequences are for our nation – especially during times of peace.  This type of Martial Law imposes a government takeover on U.S. citizens that is typically reserved for national emergencies, not in a time of relative peace.
Do you trust Barack Obama with that kind of power?

Unfortunately, considering the really bad decisions that all of our government officials regularly make, it is really hard to trust any of them to do the right thing at this point.

The American people need to let their voices be heard on these issues.  If not, the federal government will continue to strip away our privacy, our liberties and our freedoms until everything is gone.

Do you want your children to grow up in a country that has been turned into a giant prison camp and that more closely resembles North Korea than it does the nation that our forefathers originally founded?
If not, please do what you can to speak out against these abuses.

The truth is that the federal government does not really even care about our national security anyway.
If they did, they would secure our borders.  Just today I read that the National Guard is withdrawing 900 troops from the U.S.-Mexico border.  Our border security is already a total joke and now it is going to be even worse.

Over the past several decades, tens of millions of people have crossed that border illegally.  Every single day, terrorists, drug dealers, gang members, sexual predators and a whole host of other "bad guys" could be crossing that border and we would never even know about it because we aren't doing anything to stop it.
For nearly 60 years, the U.S. government has successfully protected the border between South Korea and North Korea, but the U.S. government flatly refuses to protect our own borders.

Until the federal government decides to do what the U.S. Constitution requires them to do and start protecting our borders, then the federal government should not be asking any of us to make a single sacrifice in the name of "security".

The truth is that we can have a reasonable level of security in this nation without giving up the liberties and the freedoms that millions of Americans have shed their blood to protect.
We do not need to turn the United States into a giant prison camp.  America is supposed to be the land of the free, and we need to work hard to get that dream back.

O.K. now take half of what Michael just said and agree that it is hysterical crap.  But if the remaining 50% doesn't scare the crap out of you, I don't know what will!!!!