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Archive for the category “10/25/2012”

Texas attorney general threatens to arrest international election monitors

The Texas attorney general, Greg Abbott, has threatened to arrest international election monitors invited by liberal groups to observe the conduct of next month’s presidential vote in states accused of attempting to disenfranchise minorities.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott

Abbott has written to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe warning that its monitors have no right to monitor the vote even though they have observed previous US elections.

“The OSCE’s representatives are not authorized by Texas law to enter a polling place. It may be a criminal offence for OSCE’s representatives to maintain a presence within 100 feet of a polling place’s entrance,” he said. “Failure to comply with these requirements could subject the OSCE’s representatives to criminal prosecution for violating state law.”

The OSCE is sending 44 observers to voting stations across the US at the request of various groups, including the NAACP and the American Civil Liberties Union, because of “an unprecedented and sophisticated level of coordination to restrict voting rights in our nation”. These include attempts by several states, including Texas, to introduce voter identification laws and other measures blocked by federal courts which have ruled they were motivated by racial discrimination.

In his letter, Abbott glossed over the recent judgements striking down the Texas identification law and pointed to a supreme court ruling in a case involving another state.

“The OSCE may be entitled to its opinions about voter ID laws, but your opinion is legally irrelevant in the United States, where the supreme court has already determined that voter ID laws are constitutional,” Abbott said.

The US routinely sends poll watchers to elections in foreign countries, particularly those where there are concerns about the fairness of the vote. In television interviews, Abbott denounced the OSCE as an interfering foreign body even though the US is a founding member and it was invited by President George Bush’s administration to monitor the 2004 and 2008 presidential elections in the US.

“If OSCE members want to learn more about our election processes so they can improve their own democratic systems, we welcome the opportunity to discuss the measures Texas has implemented to protect the integrity of elections,” Abbott wrote. “However, groups and individuals from outside the United States are not allowed to influence or interfere with the election process in Texas. This state has robust election laws that were carefully crafted to protect the integrity of our election system. All persons – including persons connected with OSCE – are required to comply with these laws.”

The OSCE responded later on Wednesday in a letter to the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, calling Abbott’s threat “unacceptable” and noting that the organisation’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) has an agreement with the US permitting it to monitor elections.

“The United States, like all countries in the OSCE, has an obligation to invite ODIHR observers to observe its elections,” it said. “The threat of criminal sanctions against OSCE/ODIHR observers is unacceptable.”

A Florida congressman running for the Senate, Connie Mack, also waded into the debate, saying that reports the United Nations wants to send election monitors was an outrage. The OSCE was founded under the UN charter.

“The very idea that the United Nations – the world body dedicated to diminishing America’s role in the world – would be allowed, if not encouraged, to install foreigners sympathetic to the likes of Castro, Chavez, Ahmadinejad, and Putin to oversee our elections is nothing short of disgusting,” he told the Orlando Sentinal.

“The United Nations should be kicked off of American soil once and for all. And the American people should demand that the United Nations be stopped from ‘monitoring’ American elections. The only ones who should ever oversee American elections are Americans.”

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/10/24/texas-attorney-general-threatens-to-arrest-international-election-monitors/

Damascus agrees to 4-day Eid ceasefire across Syria, starting Friday

A unit of the Syrian armed forces carry out a military operation in the Khan al-Raslan neighbourhood of Syria’s northern city of Aleppo (AFP Photo / STR)

Damascus announced it has agreed to a four-day ceasefire across Syria for the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha, the ‘Feast of Sacrifice.’ The truce will begin on Friday.

“We hope that they both realize the importance of a pause in the fighting… in the symbolic quieting, the silence of the guns,” UN deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson said after a closed-door meeting of the 15-nation Security Council.

Eliasson confirmed that the temporary truce could “create a political environment, where political talks are possible.”

The ceasefire came after UN-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi visited Syria earlier this week, and is one of the first real breakthroughs in halting violence in the war-torn country so far.

Brahimi proposed that both sides lay down their arms for the Islamic holiday celebrated by most of the world’s Muslims, which begins on Friday.

Syrian army command agreed to suspend military operations, but insisted on the right to retaliate against any rebel attacks.

During this period, it said, it would also respond to attempts to smuggle in arms from neighboring countries, and against any rebel group attempting to reinforce. The army also said it would prevent “terrorists” from crossing its borders.

The Free Syrian Army commander responded that the rebels would commit to the truce, on the condition that prisoners be released on Friday.

A spokesperson for the Islamist group Ansar al-Islam said that their fighters would not commit to the ceasefire, and expressed doubts that the Syrian Army would honor it.

http://rt.com/news/syria-ceasefire-eid-holiday-239/

THE TRUTH ABOUT THE FEDERAL RESERVE BANK

The Federal Reserve Bank is NOT actually a lending operation.  IT IS A FIAT PRINTING PRESS.  It is an illegal monopoly on the power to counterfeit fiat paper, as U.S.dollars”.  That’s right, I said COUNTERFEIT.  It is an unconstitutional, and therefore illegal, monopoly on the power to counterfeit “money” into existence, in its own hands of course.  A power that has of course, been unconstitutionally granted to the bank’s owners by the morons (and traitors) in Congress.  The reason why this is all true is because the bank DOES NOT POSSESS THE MONEY THAT IT LENDS, BUT SIMPLY COUNTERFEITS IT OUT OF THIN AIR. Tell me, how do you lend to others, that which you do not actually possess yourself to lend?  Can you lend money that you do not possess to someone who asks for a loan, or for help?  HOW DOES THE FEDERAL RESERVE BANK DO IT?  (By illegal monopoly?)  You don’t really think they actually have ten trillion dollars to lend to the U.S. government, do you?  So how is it possible?  ONLY BY FRAUD AND THEFT.

Also, the Federal Reserve Bank is NOT EVEN actually part of the Federal government.  It is no more Federal than Federal Express, or Federated Department Stores.  It is a private corporation with a legislated monopoly on currency and credit that is allowed to BUY its paper currency for nothing more than the cost of the paper, ink, and labor, from the Bureau of Printing & Engraving (U.S. Treasury).  Originally this added up to about 2.3 cents per note, or $230 of cost to buy one million dollars (10,000 100 dollar bills).  Today the cost is apparently still about the same.

Because of the existence of the Federal Reserve bank and fractional reserve banking system, America is now without any permanent money supply AT ALL, and all of the paper (notes) that we now have and use as money (in place of real money) have been borrowed into existence from this monopoly.  Unfortunately, the “money” to pay the interest on this borrowing has never been created within the system. So the national debts under this system are now inextinguishable.

Also, just as the income tax is the 2nd plank, the Federal Reserve bank is the Fifth plank of the Communist Manifesto.

 

The Federal Reserve bank has never paid a dime in income tax and has never been audited, and a percentage of this private bank is owned (or controlled) by foreigners (or their corporate shells)!!

Can you buy your money for $230 per million ?

Whatever happened to equal opportunity ?  Why are only the Federal Reserve Bankers allowed to buy money?  Does this monopoly make them rich?

“The Federal Reserve Banks are privately owned, locally controlled corporations”
[Lewis vs. U.S., 680 F.2d 1239, 1241](1982)

“As we have advised, the Federal Reserve is currently paying the Bureau approximately $23 for each 1,000 notes printed. This does include the cost of printing, paper, ink, labor, etc. Therefore, 10,000 notes of any denomination, including the $100 note would cost the Federal Reserve $230. In addition, the Federal Reserve must secure a pledge of collateral equal to the face value of the notes.”
– William H. Ferkler (Manager Public Affairs, Dept. of Treasury, Bureau of Engraving & Printing, Wash. D.C.

“It is well enough that the people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.”
– Henry Ford, Founder of the Ford Motor Co.

I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies… if the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of currency…the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent that their fathers conquered.” – Thomas Jefferson  (Ed. – Does this sound familiar ?)

 

Why are private unelected individuals controlling the American currency system ?  Virtually running the entire country, the stock market, the banks, the lending rates, nearly everything ?  Where is any of this in the Constitution?

Do you really believe they are representing We the People with their policies?

If you do, you aren’t thinking clearly!

“All the perplexities, confusion and distress in America arise, not from defects in their Constitution or Confederation, not from want of honor or virtue, so much as from the downright ignorance of the nature of coin, credit and circulation.” – John Adams

Wouldn’t you like to buy your currency for $230 per million (and have the American People guarantee its full face value, with their own assets)? Well, we won’t do that for Citizens but we do it for a select group of private and foreign bankers.  And then we let them fractionalize the reserves to issue even more fiat money in the form of unbacked credit.  What, you mean your government didn’t teach you about this little arrangement in their propaganda centers (public schools). Can you guess why?

Why is a private corporation cashing your income tax check instead of the Treasury?  The money doesn’t even go to the Federal government?  That’s right, not one penny actually goes into the Treasury! It all goes straight to the Federal Reserve bank to service the debts owed to them because of this monopoly on borrowing money into existence that they use to control the money supply.  These very rich banksters are illegally and unconstitutionally attempting to usurp control and rule over America, its People and their wealth, by unlawfully controlling and manipulating our currency through their ownership of this bank, and using that power to manipulate the national policies of our government and nation !

Because of the existence of this unconstitutional bank (Federal Reserve Bank) and its fractional reserve banking system, every penny of our money supply has been borrowed into existence from this bank and its monopoly on “money” (currency and credit), which includes the sole power to issue money without backing – essentially from nothing but air.

Therefore, when the debt is repaid OUR MONEY DISAPPEARS FROM CIRCULATION, unless the bank re-lends the money BACK out into circulation.  Therefore, when ALL the debts are paid off, America will have no “money” left in circulation and will be bankrupt, or will be completely beholden to the banks for more money.  So it is not only impossible to pay off the debts, because while the principal is printed into existence the money necessary to pay the interest never is created, it is not desirable under the current so-called “money” system, because it will bankrupt the nation.  The so-called “money” system is really nothing more than a sophisticated peonage scam that keeps We the People servicing the debts of the bankers forever in order to have “money” to “use” (rent), that they are allowed to create out of thin air as their private property to lend.  What a scam. But sorry, its not available to you.

Because of this hellish system, AMERICA IS ABSOLUTELY NOW WITHOUT A PERMANENT MONEY SUPPLY (like we used to have in gold and silver coin that never disappeared from the accounting books), and the American People are forever chained and enslaved to the repayment of debts for the loans from the banks of “property” that never existed (in the bank’s name) to be borrowed in the first place!  A monopoly on the power to create “money”. WOW – where is that in the ConstitutionIsn’t that actually prohibited ?

WITHOUT A PERMANENT MONEY SUPPLY IN EXISTENCE, THE ENTIRE NATION IS BEHOLDEN TO THE BANKERS FOR ITS VIABILITY AND SOLVENCY.  AS Thomas Jefferson said: “The issuing power must be taken from the banks and returned to the People where it rightfully belongs”

SOON, because of this so-called banking system (that is really not a banking system at all, but a sophisticated system of peonage (debt service)) ALL OF OUR NATIONAL POLICIES WILL BE DIRECTED BY THE BANKERS, NOT THE GOVERNMENT.  SOME FEEL THAT THIS HAS ALREADY BEEN HAPPENING FOR A WHILE, AND THAT THE CURRENT EVENTS ON CAPITAL HILL CONFIRM DAILY THAT THIS IS NOW UNDENIABLY TRUE !

Do you know what peonage is?  Do you feel like a peon?

You should, because that is the role your government has relegated you to.

The servicing of the debt.

If you are not able to understand what is written above, PLEASE READ THE INFORMATON ARTICLES BELOW UNTIL YOU GET IT !

“AS GOES THE FATE OF THE CURRENCY,
SO GOES THE FATE OF THE NATION !”

 

AND RIGHT NOW,

THEY ARE RUNNING IT OUT !

http://www.tax-freedom.com/ta24000.htm

Hungarian demonstrators burn Israeli flag in Budapest

Members of Hungary’s Jobbik ultra-nationalist party have burned an Israeli flag in front of a major synagogue in the capital Budapest, calling on the government to cut diplomatic and economic ties with the Tel Aviv regime.

File photo shows an Israeli flag being burned.

 

The protesters gathered outside the Dohany Street Synagogue, which is regarded as the largest synagogue in Europe, on Tuesday, when the country marked the 56th anniversary of the anti-Communist revolution in 1956.

Jobbik leader Gabor Vona denounced Hungary’s cooperation with the Israeli regime and said any “agreement between Hungary and Israel should be canceled.”

Meanwhile, Israeli Ambassador to Budapest Ilan Mor appeared on a TV program later in the day, condemning the anti-Israel demonstration in Budapest.

Jobbik holds 47 parliamentary seats and has been against Israeli investment in Hungary. It also considers Israeli business as threatening for the country.

In an interview in February, the party’s foreign affairs spokesman, Marton Gyongyosi, condemned policies of the Tel Aviv regime toward Palestinians.

Gyongyosi stated that Israel’s treatment of Palestinians amounted to a “Nazi system.”

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2012/10/25/268630/israel-flag-burned-in-hungary-capital/

Top 10 Survival Downloads You Should Have Copy & Keep For Reference

There are tons of good downloads in the Survival Database Download section of this website. For this article – I have selected 10 that everyone should have either printed and put away, or placed on a USB drive – or better yet both.

#10. FM 4-25-11 First Aid (2002)Military First Aid Manual.First aid information is a must – get training before you need it – use this manual for reference.

#9. Guide to Canning– Being able to preserve crops to be able to provide for yourself and your family long after the growing season is over is important. This guide will help with that.
#8. Rangers Handbook (2006) – Crammed with info on demolitions, booby traps, communications, patrolling, tactical movement, battle drills, combat intelligence and much more
#7. Where There is No Dentist– The author uses straightforward language and careful instructions to explain how to: examine patients; diagnose common dental problems; make and use dental equipment; use local anesthetics; place fillings; and remove teeth.
#6. NATO Emergency War Surgery– While this is certainly not a manual that would stand alone in most persons emergency/disaster library, it is an absolutely necessary resource if you expect to handle any type of trauma where immediate comprehensive medical care is not available.
#5. A Guide to Raised Bed Gardening– This is not an “all knowing” gardening book – however it provides a lot of information to the “urban gardener” before or after TSHTF. Best to get the experience and knowledge of gardening NOW rather than later.
#4. FM 3-06 Combined Arms Operations in Urban Terrain – Combat techniques covered in the manual which may be very valuable in a “Roadwarrior”-type world.
#3. 1881 Household Cyclopedia – A massive resource of information that much of it has been lost over the past 203 generations. From Angling to Knitting – its here.
#2. FM 21-76-1 Survival-Evasion-Recovery (1999) – Excellent manual geared towards the soldier that finds himself behind enemy lines
#1. FM 21-76 US Army Survival Manual – From Amazon.com: This manual has been written to help you acquire survival skills. It tells you how to travel, find water and food, shelter yourself from the weather and care for yourself if you become sick or injured. This information is first treated generally and then applied specifically to such special areas as the Arctic, the desert, the jungle and the ocean.1970 Military Issue Manual. General Introduction and Individual and Group Survival Orientation Navigation, Finding Water In All Parts of The Globe. How To Obtain Food, Start a Fire and much more!

U.S. Sues Bank of America for $1 Billion for Mortgage Fraud

NEW YORK (AP) – The top federal prosecutor in Manhattan sued Bank of America (BAC) for more than $1 billion on Wednesday for mortgage fraud against Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac during the years around the financial crisis.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said Countrywide Financial, which was later bought by Bank of America, churned out mortgage loans from 2007 to 2009 without making sure that borrowers could afford them.

“The fraudulent conduct alleged in today’s complaint was spectacularly brazen in scope,” Bharara said in a statement. He said the suit was partly to recover money that Fannie and Freddie lost from defaulted loans.

Bank of America had no immediate comment.

Countrywide sold the loans to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which were left to pay for the loans when they defaulted, according to the lawsuit. Fannie and Freddie were effectively nationalized in 2008.

According to the lawsuit, Countrywide used a process called “the Hustle,” shorthand for “High-Speed Swim Lane.” The idea was that mortgage loans, as they were being processed, would “move forward, never backward.”

The lawsuit alleged that Countrywide traded quantity for quality and eliminated underwriters, even from mortgage loans for which borrowers did not have to get their income verified.

Instead, loan processors simply entered data into an automated underwriting system, and if the system gave the go-ahead, “no underwriter would ever see the loan,” the lawsuit alleged.

With few checks and balances, there was “widespread falsification” of the data entered into the program, Bharara charged.

Loan processors were given little guidance, the suit said: Checklists for making sure that loans were compliant – for example, assessing whether the income level that a borrower listed was reasonable – were eliminated. Bonuses were based solely on how many loans an employee could process, not the quality.

The lawsuit said that Countrywide executives were aware of the dangerous path they were treading. For example, a quality review in January 2008 showed that 57 percent of Hustle loans went into default.

Instead of notifying Fannie and Freddie, Countrywide instead set about to conceal the quality of the loans it was selling them, the suit said. It said Countrywide even offered a bonus to quality-control workers who could “rebut” the default rates that the review had found.

The lawsuit didn’t give specifics, but it accused Countrywide, and later Bank of America, of selling “thousands” of Hustle loans to Fannie and Freddie. Bank of America bought Countrywide in July 2008.

Fannie and Freddie buy mortgage loans from banks, package them into securities and sell them to investors. The idea is to free up banks to make more loans. If a loan defaults, Fannie and Freddie guarantee payments to the investors.

According to the lawsuit, Fannie and Freddie don’t review the loans before they purchase them. Instead, they rely on banks’ statements that the loans meet certain qualifications.

Bharara said the lawsuit was the first civil fraud suit brought by the Justice Department concerning loans that were later sold to Fannie and Freddie.

http://www.dailyfinance.com/2012/10/24/u-s-sues-bank-of-america-for-1-billion-for-mortgage-fraud/?ncid=webmail6

Jim Moran’s (D-Va.) Field Director Conspires to Commit Voter Fraud,

JOIN US AT http://WWW.ENDVOTERFRAUDNOW.COM

“Effective immediately, I have resigned from the Moran for Congress campaign,” Patrick Moran said in a statement to TPM sent from his campaign email address. http://bitly.com/QYwF22

Watch our Project Veritas reporter being educated on how to properly commit massive voter fraud by the son of a sitting US Congressman. Patrick Moran, son of Congressman James Moran, discusses forging utility bills and impersonating pollsters, all for the goal of circumventing voter ID laws in Virginia and casting ballots for unsuspecting inactive voters within the state for Barack Obama. Patrick Moran holds the salaried title of Field Director for his father’s congressional campaign, and assures our reporter that “committee” lawyers will defend his fraud if the forged documents “look good”.

Obama Closer to Seizing Control of Cyberspace; Exec. Order Imminent

According to a copy of a draft executive order on cybersecurity obtained by the Associated Press (AP), President Obama will soon order “U.S. spy agencies to share the latest intelligence about cyberthreats with companies operating electric grids, water plants, railroads and other vital industries to help protect them from electronic attacks.”

For some time, government officials have insisted that Iran is planning a cyberattack on the electronic communications infrastructure of the United States. The AP reports that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said that the U.S. armed forces are “ready to retaliate” should Iran — or any other country — attempt an attack on U.S. cybersecurity.

Promises of the White House’s imminent issuing of the edict have been coming for months. The AP reports that regardless of the latest leak, “the White House declined to say when the president will sign the order.”

On September 19, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the executive order granting the president sweeping power over the Internet is “close to completion.”

In testimony before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Napolitano said that the order is still “being drafted” and vetted by various high-level bureaucrats. But she also indicated that it would be issued as soon as a “few issues” were resolved. Assuming control of the nation’s Internet infrastructure is a DHS responsibility, Napolitano added.

“DHS is the Federal government’s lead agency for securing civilian government computer systems and works with our industry and Federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government partners to secure critical infrastructure and information systems,” she informed senators.

Napolitano’s report on the role of DHS squares with the information revealed in the seven-page version of the order the AP has read. According to the report of their findings:

The draft order would put the Department of Homeland Security in charge of organizing an information-sharing network that rapidly distributes sanitized summaries of top-secret intelligence reports about known cyberthreats that identify a specific target. With these warnings, known as tear lines, the owners and operators of essential U.S. businesses would be better able to block potential attackers from gaining access to their computer systems.

The new draft, which is not dated, retains a section that requires Homeland Security to identify the vital systems that, if hit by cyberattack, could “reasonably result in a debilitating impact” on national and economic security. Other sections establish a program to encourage companies to adopt voluntary security standards and direct federal agencies to determine whether existing cyber security regulations are adequate.

The president’s de facto re-routing of all Internet traffic through federal intelligence officers deputizes more than just DHS as cybertraffic cops. The AP reports that “the Pentagon, the National Security Agency (NSA), the director of national intelligence, and the Justice Department” will all cooperate in the surveillance — in the name of national security, of course.

Corporate employees will be authorized to snoop, as well. Per the AP’s reading of the draft executive order, “selected employees at critical infrastructure companies would receive security clearances allowing them to receive the information.

As for those companies considered less critical to our national cybersecurity, “the government would ask businesses to tell the government about cyberthreats or cyberattacks. There would be no requirement to do so.”

Given the history of the federal government’s penchant for vague language, however, it is likely that despite the denial of compulsory cooperation with the government there will be a loophole just large enough to mandate private cooperation with the federal government.

Although the president and officials in his administration portray the attack as imminent, Congress isn’t persuaded, and on several occasions lawmakers have rejected measures calling for greater government control over the Internet and the communications infrastructure.

The president claims that this legislative lassitude is forcing him to bypass the Constitution and act alone to protect the country from cyberattacks. Once Barack Obama signs his name to this edict and assuming compliance with its mandates changes from voluntary to involuntary, he will possess powers only dreamed about by the most ambitious dictators of history.

“In the wake of Congressional inaction and Republican stall tactics, unfortunately, we will continue to be hamstrung by outdated and inadequate statutory authorities that the legislation would have fixed. Moving forward, the President is determined to do absolutely everything we can to better protect our nation against today’s cyber threats and we will do that,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in an email reported by The Hill.

The demise of the bill in the Senate was not unforeseen. As The New American reported in July:

The Cybersecurity Act of 2012 has been the subject of some criticism as privacy advocates feared that the bill would pose too many threats to the constitutional rights of the American people.

Likewise, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and IBM sent out letters to show their opposition for the original bill, asserting that it would overwhelm the industry with regulations.

In response to the criticism, Senator Lieberman reformed the original bill.

For example, the updated version of the bill reflects changes to the provision to assign the Department of Homeland Security the role of creating mandatory cybersecurity standards for infrastructure industries.

The newer version of the bill does not include language for “mandatory, regulatory sections,” but still requires a creation of industry best practice standards for the purposes of protecting critical infrastructure, but rather than making the adoption of those standards mandatory, the owners of the critical infrastructure adopt “voluntary” standards. The bill offers incentives to adopt those standards, such as liability protection, and access to threat information.

Some contend that the revisions are not ideal, however, as it gives the government the power to deny threat information to critical infrastructure owners who choose not to comply with the voluntary standards. Likewise, the incentives are too insignificant to fully incentivize any company to adopt the standards.

Since the beginning of his administration, President Obama has made cybersecurity a central plank in his presidential platform. As The New American reported in 2009:

The president pointed out that shortly after taking office he directed the National Security Council and Homeland Security Council to thoroughly review the federal government’s efforts “to defend our information and communications infrastructure” and to recommend improvements. He mentioned that National Security Council Acting Senior Director for Cyberspace Melissa Hathaway led the review team, and that the 60-day review included input from industry, academia, civil liberty and privacy advocates, every level and branch of government, Congress, and other advisers — even input from “international partners.”

To that end, the White House proposed legislation in 2011 and has ordered one after the other administration official to testify at no fewer than 17 congressional hearings on the subject.

In a recent Wall Street Journal opinion piece penned by the president, he did his best to instill in the American people fear of the consequences we would suffer should someone launch a successful cyberattack on the critical infrastructure networks of our nation.

The AP reports that the version of the order it obtained was undated and that Obama administration spokesmen refused to disclose when President Obama would issue the order.

National Security Council spokesman Caitlin Hayden was quoted parroting the president’s party line on the urgent need for action, however: “Given the gravity of the threats we face in cyberspace, we want to get this right in addition to getting it done swiftly,” Hayden told the AP.

http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/item/13334-obama-closer-to-seizing-control-of-cyberspace-exec-order-imminent

Robust Political Economy: Classical Liberalism and the Future of Public Policy

In Robust Political Economy, Mark Pennington offers one of the best cases for classical liberalism ever presented in a single volume.  I do not exaggerate.  Pennington—professor of political economy at King’s College, University of London—here surveys fully and summarizes fairly the major objections to classical liberalism (or, if you prefer, libertarianism).  He systematically demonstrates that each of those objections fails.  The alternative social arrangements, plans, and schemes offered by opponents of classical liberalism all fall well short of dealing adequately with two eternal problems that must be dealt with if people are to enjoy peace and prosperity: the knowledge problem and the incentive problem.

Because people operating within social institutions that conform to classical-liberal tenets deal best with these two enduring problems, such institutions are more robust than their alternatives.  Pennington painstakingly shows that the further institutions are from those recommended by classical liberalism, the more their success requires that individuals perform superhuman feats of accumulating and processing information while exhibiting implausible readiness to sacrifice their personal self-interests for (what they imagine to be) the greater good.

Pennington is hardly the first scholar to identify these two problems and to explain their relevance.  The knowledge problem is most famously associated with the work of F. A. Hayek (or, more generally, Austrian economists) and the incentive problem with the work of James Buchanan and Gordon Tullock (or, more generally, Public Choice economists).  But in applying so comprehensively and powerfully the lessons drawn from a recognition of these two problems, Pennington gives us a volume that might justly be described as The Constitution of Liberty for our day.

I am aware that this praise is unusually high.  And while significant differences in both style and substance do indeed separate Pennington’s 2011 book from Hayek’s 1960 classic, the similarities are enough to justify the comparison and the praise.

As with Hayek’s work, central to Pennington’s book is a deep understanding of the knowledge problem.  This of course involves understanding that the relative values of alternative outputs that can be produced with the same set of inputs can be determined only in competitive, private-property-based markets.  But this understanding involves more; it also involves the realization that such knowledge is never and can never be “given” (as is assumed in economics textbooks).  That is, this knowledge is not simply revealed by decentralized, competitive decision-making; it is also produced by that process.

No consumer comes to market with a detailed, full, and fixed scale of values that he seeks to satisfy.  That scale takes shape only as consumers confront actual alternative opportunities in the market.  Likewise, no producer comes to market with detailed, full, and fixed plans on exactly what to produce, how to produce it, and how much of it to produce.  Those plans take operational shape, and are modified, in light of actual experience in the market—a market whose details are always changing in unanticipated ways for both consumers and producers.

The knowledge problem, though, has yet another dimension beyond the economic.  It springs from the fact that different people have different scales of ethical and political values.  Pennington shines especially brightly in showing how various proposed alternatives to a classical-liberal society are bound to fail—or at least to encounter unexpectedly rough seas—because the success of those alternative social arrangements requires far more agreement than is likely to be found on the relative weights of different ethical and political values.  Egalitarians of various stripes, “market-failure” theorists of various pedigrees, and environmentalists of various shades of green all typically base their social-engineering schemes not only on a presumed agreement on ends that is unlikely to exist, but also on the simplistic assumption that knowledge of the rankings of various ends is easily gathered and made known to government officials.

Speaking of government officials, Pennington goes well beyond repeating the fact that the incentives facing political decision-makers frequently prompt them to act in ways contrary to the best interest of society at large.  He carefully details how the many egalitarian, market-failure, and green challenges to classical liberalism overlook—each in its own uniquely careless way—the perverse incentives that their implementation would create for officials charged with intervening in market arrangements.

Pennington’s survey of the most notable challenges to classical liberalism is a tour de force of scholarship.  And his crystal-clear, fair, yet firm demonstration of the serious flaws that infect each of these challenges is not to be missed.

http://www.thefreemanonline.org/headline/robust-political-economy-classical-liberalism-and-the-future-of-public-policy/

General Motors is becoming China Motors

General Motors is becoming China Motors. Forget the spin. The evidence is clear and convincing. Did U.S. taxpayers save GM for China? Listen to the candid comments of GM’s CEO.

Real ID Act deadline approaching, passports may be required to travel anywhere for LA residents

If you’re a frequent-flier, come January all Louisiana residents could be required to have a passport when boarding a plane, no matter the destination. It all has to do with a federal law, called the Real ID Act. It was signed into law back in 2005 in the wake of the September 11th terror attacks. It requires states to have enhanced driver’s licenses and state ID’s to boost security at airports. Louisiana has been able to get around the law since 2005, but that might be coming to an end.

There’s now a new deadline for states to comply, and it’s coming up very soon on January 15th. Louisiana is one of a handful of states, which currently does not meet the requirements of the Real ID Act. The state’s been able to get around it thanks to a law signed in 2008 by Governor Bobby Jindal. But now, the state may be forced to comply with the new deadline. As it stands right now, come January 15th, Louisiana residents would be required to have a passport, should they want to fly, even for domestic travel.

“It is a multi-million dollar change, revision to our system to do that,” said DMV Commissioner Stephen Campbell. “That system won’t be fully operational until October 2013. So with the progress that we’ve made, the things we’re doing and will have done later on next year, we’re hopeful that Homeland Security will continue to allow the Louisiana document to satisfy those requirements.”

So, if Homeland Security decides to stick to their deadline, the big question is, how will this affect the travel industry in Louisiana?

“People have to travel for business, and pleasure, but certainly if people find out on January 14th that they can’t use their driver’s license, and have not prepared by getting another ID, that’s going to create a problem,” said Robbie Bush, owner of Associated Travel Group.

The Department of Homeland Security issued this statement:

“As of January 15, 2013, if presented with a state-issued driver’s license or identification card, federal agencies can only accept driver’s licenses or identification cards for official purposes from states that have been found by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to be in compliance with the minimum standards established by REAL ID. Official purposes, as defined in statute and regulation, are accessing a Federal facility, boarding federally-regulated commercial aircraft, and entering nuclear power plants.

DHS strongly encourages states to submit information certifying their progress or as much information as possible to aid DHS in making a determination about compliance. Based on that submission, DHS retains authority to provide extensions on a case-by-case basis if circumstances warrant.”

We reached out to Governor Jindal’s office, who did not return our repeated phone calls.

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