Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Bowe Tuesday
by Andrea Plescia

Can you imagine serving this wonderful country and being held against your will for 4 years, 5 months and 3 days. Today is Bowe Tuesday. Just another day to many Americans, but not to those who care about Bowe, those who serve this country and Bowe's family and friends. 

If you can pick up a phone to make a personal call today, you can certainly pick up the phone and call an Elected Official about bringing Bowe home. Our efforts cannot be an exercise in futility and we must continue to fight until this young man is safe on American soil. Educate someone today about Bowe, raise awareness. It is amazing to me that so many Elected Officials, their staff and the American public are unaware that we have a POW who was captured by the Taliban in 2009. 

PLEASE make a phone call, raise awareness, say a prayer. Thank you.

Inflation has been tame in the U.S. during the Obama administration, at least in regards to things the government is worried about, like wages.

If one looks at the official CPI measurements, inflation isn’t a problem. Deflation however could be, according to the Fed’s Politburo of Governors.

Falling prices, which presumably would give the rest of us relief at the checkout counter, if it wouldn’t do anything to add to our paycheck, is the biggest danger to the safety of our Republic, say central bankers.

“The Consumer Price Index… decreased 0.1 percent in October on a seasonally adjusted basis, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 1.0 percent before seasonal adjustment.”

That puts inflation just between one and none for the year.

Officially, anyway.

But the system of measurement that the government uses is geared to only record inflationary pressures in areas the government would like to control, like how much your paycheck and my paycheck is growing.

For the Fed, the ultimate sin of the economy is rising wages. When wages start to go up, look out. That’s when the Fed will start to hike interest rates to “cool” things off.

If you look at the way inflation was calculated prior to either the “reforms” in calculating CPI made by the government in 1990 or 1980, says the economic site ShadowStats, inflation is running near 5 percent or 9 percent respectively. 

That rate includes the things that matter to you and me like food, energy, rents and clothes.

You know? The little things in life.
And those rates are quite unsettling considering how anemic our economy is.

I would say that anything above 10 percent inflation as calculated using the “prior to 1980” formula is likely a strain on the economy.

The strain could cause—likely would cause-- the country to eventually go into a recessionary spiral no matter how low our wages remain or how anemic economic velocity is here at home.

The chart above tends to confirm that there was some link between spiking inflationary pressures and the financial crash of 2008.

As I have said before, I think the culprit was rising gas prices. Others may disagree.

Certainly consumers and producers are getting some relief today by lower gas prices, but that relief could be short term as long as our government pretends that low cost energy isn’t beneficial for the country.

But here’s the part that has me a little concerned and it’s tinged with good news and bad news: The good news is that bank lending is up and it’s helping both business and consumers.

Reports Reuters:

"I think what we're seeing in the U.S. is that capital ratios have improved. We're now seeing pretty robust lending," Boston Federal Reserve President Eric Rosengren told reporters on the sidelines of a conference in the United Arab Emirates on financial regulation.
Asked where U.S. bank loans were going, he replied: "It's going both to the C&I, commercial and industrial, sector - it's also going to the consumer sector. That's exactly what you'd want to get with what we're doing with monetary policy, with the banks providing lending to both the households and the firms."
The bad news is that that means that all that money that has been pumped into the system by the Federal Reserve through quantitative easing and other monetary stimulus efforts—a record amount of money now sits in accounts in the United States—will start to increase monetary velocity, meaning it will change hands more frequently.

And when that happens, inflation will surely follow.

Now imagine how bad things will get if Maxine Waters ends up running the financial services committee in the United States House of Representatives while we have an inflationary peak and the economy is in another crisis.

Today the essential element of inflation is the availability of credit, not necessarily money supply.

And Congress can put pressure on banks to loan money regardless of circumstances, income, credit or risk.

“We must ensure that reform of this complicated market is accomplished in a manner that provides opportunity to Americans on all income levels," said Waters recently about her proposal for the government to guarantee the housing market, "protects taxpayers and consumers, and brings equity and accountability to all actors within our financial system."

Note her omission of Congress when it comes to accountability.

Inflation, generally speaking, happens in a flash. Where there is no inflation, suddenly in a period of six months or so, inflation becomes a problem.

For example, from December of 1977 inflation went from a relatively mild 4 percent annualized rate to 12 percent by June 1978. And then it took until 1981 to stabilize and reverse the inflation trend.

One way of looking at it—I explain this especially for Rep. Maxine Water who WILL be the US House chair of the financial system if Dems win a majority in the House-- is to think of the money supply as fuel in a propane tank, the banking system as the hose that carries the fuel and inflation as the fire. If you suddenly expand the size of hose by loaning more money, you will add more fuel to your fire.

The mistake the government types are making has been they have been adding more fuel as a substitute for taking care for the size of the hose—the hose being the banking sector.

The private economy has a way of adapting, however, even to government policies that we have today. It wants a larger hose and will eventually get one by its own efforts. In the meantime the government has pumped the tank with more fuel under higher pressure.

When that record fuel under higher pressure meets that expanding hose, a conflagration is what we’ll get.

And it will be years in taming. Maybe decades if Maxine Waters gets her shot.

Saturday the 7th of December will mark the seventy-second anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The commemoration of that “date which will live in infamy” brings up memories of more than Pearl Harbor but of the entire American effort in World War II: of the phenomenal production of planes and tanks and munitions by American industry; of millions of young men enlisting (with thousands lying about their age to get into the service); of the men who led the war, then and now seeming larger than life—Churchill and F.D.R., Eisenhower and MacArthur, Monty and Patton; and of the battles themselves in which uncommon valor was a common virtue: Midway, D-Day, Guadalcanal, and Iwo Jima, to name only a few. Most of us today do not know those events directly but have encountered them in history books.

And when we think of World War II, the people who come to mind first are our grandparents: the men and women of the Greatest Generation who are our surest link to the past.

One of the most vital questions for us—grandchildren of the Greatest Generation—is how we will preserve their memory. Ours is the much easier but still important task of making sure that subsequent generations understand the heroism and sacrifice needed to keep America—and indeed the world—safe, prosperous, and free during the grave crisis that was the Second World War.

Presumably these lessons not only honor our forebears, who passed on a free and great nation to us, but they also set the example of how we must meet the challenges and crises of our own time. A glance at one of the nation’s leading high-school literature textbooks—Prentice Hall’s The American Experience, which has been aligned to the Common Core—will tell us how we are doing on that front.

The opening page of the slim chapter devoted to World War II called “War Shock” features a photograph of a woman inspecting a large stockpile of thousand-pound bomb castings. The notes in the margins of the Teacher’s Edition set the tone:
In this section, nonfiction prose and a single stark poem etch into a reader’s mind the dehumanizing horror of world war. . . .
The editors of the textbook script the question teachers are supposed to ask students in light of the photograph as well as provide the answer:
Ask: What dominant impression do you take away from this photograph?
Possible response: Students may say that the piled rows of giant munitions give a strong impression of America’s power of mass production and the bombs’ potential for mass destruction.
Translation: Americans made lots of big bombs that killed lots of people.

The principal selection of the chapter is taken from John Hersey’s Hiroshima. It is a description of ordinary men and women in Hiroshima living out their lives the day the bomb was dropped. A couple of lines reveal the spirit of the document:
The Reverend Mr. Tanimoto got up at five o’clock that morning. He was alone in the parsonage, because for some time his wife had been commuting with their year-old baby to spend nights with a friend in Ushida, a suburb to the north.
Further prompts from the margins of the Teacher’s Edition indicate how the selection is to be read and taught:
World War II has been called a popular war in which the issues that spurred the conflict were clearly defined. . . . Nevertheless, technological advances . . . [and the media] brought home the horrors of war in a new way. Although a serious antiwar movement in the United States did not become a reality until the 1960s, these works by Hersey and by Jarrell take their place in the ranks of early antiwar literature.
Have students think about and record in writing their personal feelings about war. Encourage students to list images of war that they recall vividly. [Conveniently, there is a photograph of the devastation in Hiroshima next to this prompt].
Tell students they will revisit their feelings about war after they have read these selections.
The entire section is littered with questions and prompts in this vein and plenty of photos that show the destruction of Hiroshima. In case the students would be inclined to take the American side in this conflict, the editors see to it that teachers will remind the students repeatedly that there are two sides in every war:
Think Aloud: Model the Skill
Say to students:
When I was reading the history textbook, I noticed that the writer included profiles of three war heroes, all of whom fought for the Allies. The writer did not include similar profiles for fighters on the other side. I realize that this choice reflects a political assumption: that readers want to read about only their side’s heroes.
. . . Mr. Tanimoto is on the side of “the enemy.” Explain that to vilify is to make malicious statements about someone. During wartime, it is common to vilify people on the other side, or “the enemy.”

Senator Dianne Feinstein: U.S. "not safer today" because "terror is up worldwide"
From Jihad Watch / Posted by Robert Spencer


She said that reason for this was that there were "more groups, more fundamentalist, more jihadist, more determined to kill to get to where they want to get." It was refreshing that she said "jihadist," and I expect that the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) will duly rebuke her for that and demand an apology, which they will probably get. They are no doubt reassured, however, that she did not note one of the chief causes for this increase in jihad terror activity: the craven willful ignorance on the part of government and law enforcement officials, who have jumped to do Hamas-linked CAIR's bidding and forbid themselves to study the motives and goals of those who have vowed to destroy us. No wonder they're more emboldened than ever.

"Feinstein: America is less safe from terrorism," by S.A. Miller for the New York Post, December 1:
WASHINGTON – The heads of Congress’ intelligence committees warned Sunday that America is less safe from terrorism today than it has been in recent years. 
The dire warning came from both sides of the aisle, with Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) agreeing that the threat is worse.]
“Terror is up worldwide. The statistics indicate that,” Feinstein declared on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“The fatalities are way up. … There are new bombs, very big bombs — trucks being reinforced for those bombs,” she said. “There are bombs that go through magnetometers
The bomb maker is still alive. There are more groups than ever. And there is huge malevolence out there.”
She said the threat to the US has grown with the rise of “more groups, more fundamentalist, more jihadist, more determined to kill to get to where they want to get.”...

An Open Letter Urging Universities To Encourage Conversation About Online Privacy

by   / Personal Liberty Digest

An Open Letter Urging Universities To Encourage Conversation About Online Privacy
This article, written by EFF activist April Glaser, was originally published on the foundation’s website on Dec. 2.

When a group of students from Iowa State University (ISU) contacted the Electronic Freedom Foundation about forming an ISU Digital Freedom group, they were facing an unexpected problem: Despite their simple goal of fostering a healthy conversation around freedom-enhancing software, the university administration denied them official recognition. The university has since granted the Digital Freedom group the green light to meet on campus, but under unduly restrictive conditions. These students’ story is instructive to students around the country and the world who are concerned about online privacy.

The administration initially denied the Digital Freedom Group’s proposal because it did not want ISU students either to advocate for or participate in the “secrecy network” Tor, and would not permit the student group to use any “free software designed to enable online anonymity.” The students had not proposed that a Tor node be established on campus. Rather they asked that they be able to provide a forum to “discuss, learn and practice techniques to anonymize and protect digital communication.”

The students were told they had to gain clearance from the Iowa State University attorneys and security clearance from the university’s Chief Information Officer. They were ultimately successful, and Iowa State University is now home to its very own Digital Freedom Group.

EFF strongly supports the formation of student groups like the Digital Freedom Group that aim to discuss and learn about methods for secure and private use of the Internet. We submit this open letter to campus activity review boards across the world that may feel a similar hesitation on the topic of online anonymity and privacy. Students, professors, and staff from other universities are invited to contact us [students@eff.org] with stories of misguided, speech-chilling policies.
"University administrations around the world,
A healthy conversation about online privacy should never be stifled. Yet we’ve heard too many stories of students whose efforts to initiate these conversations have faced roadblocks from university administrators fearful of encryption and anonymity software.
But the time has come now to embrace these technologies, not blindly reject them. There is nothing to fear about online privacy and the various tools available to achieve it.
The demonization of technology because of a few bad actors is a dangerous path. Think about it: the classification of a computer as a machine designed for cybercrime, makes no more sense than maligning cell phones because drug dealers use them to make illegal sales. Instead, we should encourage ethical and responsible use of technologies. The best way to do this is through meaningful conversation that explains how technologies function and the myriad ways technology is and can be utilized.
Tor, in particular, was originally developed by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory for the purposes of protecting government communications. But today it is used to serve a variety of needs. Journalists use Tor to protect the anonymity of their sources; Internet users in countries where information is censored use Tor to circumvent oppressive firewalls; lawyers use iTor to exchange sensitive information relating to a case; corporations use Tor to protect trade secrets; and people use Tor everyday to have conversations about topics they might feel uncomfortable discussing without the protection anonymity provides. The technology is popular among survivors of rape or gang violence and medical patients who want to take part in online communities, but may only wish do so anonymously.
Anonymous speech has a long history in democratic societies, particularly when used by those whose politically contentious views might have put them ill-at-ease amongst their contemporaries (like Mark Twain, Voltaire, and George Orwell—all pen names). The Federalist Papers were written under the collective pen name Publius to protect the identities of the individual authors. In a similar fashion, Tor gives people the opportunity to discuss anything, freely and without fear of being tracked or chastised for their opinions.
There are other free software tools that we consider to be good hygiene for a privacy-conscious user, like GPG email encryption, which is used to keep email communication private from malicious hackers or unconstitutional government surveillance. There is also our HTTPS Everywhere browser extension, designed to encrypt data that travels between a user’s computer and a website. These practices are not designed to cloak criminals from the view of law-enforcement. Rather, they are intended to make experiences online as trustworthy as possible, despite the fact that the interactions occur across great distances between people and organizations that may never meet in the physical sense.
Conversations about online privacy and security should be encouraged, and never silenced. The more that students understand how security threats function and the myriad ways they can protect their communications and identity, the less vulnerable they are to cybercrime or unwanted surveillance. Privacy technologies can be introduced as a framework grounded in ethical applications and First Amendment principles.
Please never hesitate to contact the Electronic Frontier Foundation with questions about online privacy or anonymity tools, and more importantly, think twice before ever limiting what students can and cannot discuss openly, especially when it comes to the use of technology. Healthy and open dialogue about how students can, should, and do use existing technologies is far better than forcing secrecy, which may only serve to promote notions of criminality about Internet practices that, if used properly, serve to enhance and protect our basic rights online.
Securely and sincerely,
The Electronic Frontier Foundation
PS: Please see and share our “Myths and Facts About Tor” document for a deeper discussion about the oft-misunderstood software. "
Creeping sharia creeps along thanks to Barack HUSSEIN Obama

By: Diane Sori

While we have all been focused on the disaster known as ObamaCare…diverted to focus on I should say…something very dangerous… something Barack HUSSEIN Obama sanctions… has silently and under the radar been creeping into the fabric of our American society...and its name is sharia law.

Creeping slowly over this year into cities across America, sharia law...a form of soft jihad...is the first step in Obama’s and his muslim buddies goal of turning our beloved America into an islamic caliphate. Here are but three examples:

In Dearborn, Michigan…a city where 30% of its 98,000 residents are muslim (the largest concentration of muslims in the US)…their muslim stacked city council recently voted 4-3 to became the first US city to ‘officially’ implement all aspects of sharia law into its city government. Starting on January 1st, what now is governed under American secular law...meaning crime, politics and economics…will now become sharia compliant as will personal matters such as sexual issues, fasting, prayer, diet, and hygiene…in other words all religious conduct and rituals.

Hear anything about this in the media…I think NOT.

Last March 3rd, Richard A. Nielson, a 13th Circuit Court Judge, ruled that a civil suit between the Islamic Education Center of Tampa, Florida and four of its trustees be remanded to another venue…in this case venue meaning that the suit be settled under ‘Ecclesiastical Islamic Law’ which is NOTHING but a fancy name for sharia law. By doing this, Judge Nielson has knowingly violated our separation of Church and State laws, thus giving legitimacy to the sharia as a way to settle civil disputes between muslims…muslims living here in America who should be governed under our laws alone if just for the mere fact that they’re living here…remember, as in Rome do as the Romans do.

Hear much about this from the media…again I think NOT.

Article 36 of The Constitution of Maryland prohibits special treatment for any religious group yet that constitution has been thrown aside to cater to complaining muslim women bathers at a public pool in Howard County, Maryland. Instead of telling them to bug off…and having the legal constitutional grounds to do so…these burqa and hajib garbed women have been acquiesced to and afforded separate swim times where all others must leave the public pool, and where only female life guards will now be allowed, as per the sharia tenet of NOT being allowed to swim in mixed company. But I say if muslim women want special allowances made just for them like with this pool issue, let them build their own pool to swim in…or better yet let them pack up and go live in countries that condone such nonsense.

As CAIR founder Omar Ahmad said on many occasions, “Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant. The Qur’an should be the highest authority in America.”

And so these are but three examples of the sharia in action…and of what Almad’s goal for slam in America is…as slowly the sharia is silently creeping into our American society. But beyond these quite tame examples what really awaits us if the sharia is successful in being implemented across our nation complete with its undermining of our national identity all while claiming it’s to protect islam's ‘sound’ religious practice, life, sanity, the family, and personal and communal wealth.

If the sharia ever became the rule of law here in the US we could see Americans stoned for adultery or having their right hand amputated for petty theft. Being caught drinking alcohol, gambling, or merely listening to music would result in flogging and caning. All women and girl children would have to be veiled and be clothed in the burqa ‘garbage bag’ as to do otherwise according to the sharia is a sign of promiscuity deserving of harsh punishment. In order for a woman to prove she was raped she would need the testimony of four adult male witnesses to the act (meaning from those who raped her) or she will be accused of adultery or fornication and be punished accordingly…as in the victim becoming the guilty.

And the sharia denigrates women to mere possessions, and allows and condones arranged marriages, forced marriages, and child marriage…which in reality is child rape. Honor killings would become the norm as any male relative believing shame is brought to the family by any female family member…whether the woman is guilty of said 'supposed' shame or NOT… would NOT be punished for such killing. And blasphemy of any kind against islam or the sharia would mean immediate death.

NOT quite the way we Americans live or what we Americans believe in…yet 35 countries...including some Western countries...and sadly now thanks to judges like Richard A. Nielson and cities like Dearborn we are one of those countries who have incorporated the sharia in some form into their civil, common, or customary law. And while muslim leaders here in America love to claim that the sharia is compliant with American law…is compliant with our Constitution…it is anything but for when religious laws conflict with American law…as does the sharia…the ‘Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses’ of the First Amendment prohibit our government, including the courts, from substituting religious laws for civil law or following religious laws that violate our civil law, and this applies to all religions equally but most assuredly to islam.

And yet this is what Judge Richard A. Nielson did in Dearborn, Michigan, and NO one has stepped in to overturn his unconstitutional ruling.

And why should anyone do so as all the rules of American law have changed or been discarded under Barack HUSSEIN Obama and his leftist, muslim-loving cronies. Or is there a glimmer of hope in stopping the creeping sharia for currently more than two dozen state legislatures... legislatures who realize the dangers of the sharia...are currently considering or have enacted laws barring state courts from using foreign or religious laws when adjudicating criminal or civil cases. Remember, the First Amendment clearly bars government imposition of any religious law upon the public even while it protects the right of religious groups to observe their laws in matters of faith…meaning separation of Church and State must be maintained as the practice of the tenets of one’s faith…and the sharia is one of islam’s tenets… must NOT be allowed to trump our Constitution. And that goes especially for islam for the subjugating perversion known as sharia law is just the end game in the muslim quest for global jihad and NOTHING less.

Now someone in Michigan needs to wake up Judge Nielson to that fact…someone needs to wake up the officials in Maryland to that fact…and someone needs to lock Barack HUSSEIN Obama up for condoning, for sanctioning, and for even allowing the abomination known as the sharia to rear its ugly head here in America.