Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Trillion-Plus Heist


By Sylvia Bokor

Government produces nothing. It creates no wealth. Yet the District of Columbia is ranked as the richest area in the nation.

Politicians and bureaucrats shriek that business people are "greedy." But facts show differently. Imagine voting yourself a raise and millions of dollars in allowances. Imagine 5-figure bonuses. Lifetime pensions to which you contribute only 1.3%. Imagine opening 3 or 4 offices around the state for which you pay not a dime.

Politicians and bureaucrats are diseased with avarice -- and complain with self-righteous indignation when CEOs arrive in private jets for a White House meeting.

D.C. is the richest area in the nation not only because an annual salary of $174,000 is paid to congressional members, 261 of whom are millionaires, not only because most of the appointed cabinet secretaries are multimillionaires, but also because federal employees are paid salaries over three times what the average taxpayer earns.

The source of all that money is taxes levied on production.
Business people -- both employers and employees alike -- produce all of the services and products that provide our as well as politicians and bureaucrats' comfort, health, safety and pleasure. Business people create the nation's prosperity. They are the nation's wealth -- and are regulated by those that produce no economic values whatsoever.

What are the total federal salaries business people are forced to pay those that produce nothing? Here is an estimate.

The executive branch is the most profligate. The White House staff numbers 460 bureaucrats. Their annual salaries vary from a few at $42,000 to hundreds between $75,000 and $174,000, and some as high as or over $200,000.

The executive branch includes the cabinet, which consists of 15 departments. The annual salary of each Secretary is $200,700. The number of bureaucrats comprising cabinet staffs range from 15,000 to 240,000. Annual staff salaries average $100,000. Some are higher. For example, the Department of Homeland Security has a staff of 240,000. Of this number 9,525 are "titled" and paid an average of $133,486 annually. Of the remaining 230,475 bureaucrats, the average annual salary is $120,000. Total DHS salaries is $27,657,000,000.

Adding in the Secret Service, chief executive, vice president and White House staff, the total executive branch numbers 6,546,673 employees that are paid an estimated $549,126,870,330.

The legislative branch has 12,835 employees. The total paid in salaries is $1,568,131,700. A 2009 report stated that 2,043 staffers were paid an average of $168,000 The remainder of 5,787 staffers average $100,000 annually. "Assistance" and allowances for Senate and House members comes to $3,682,468,080. The total for the legislative branch is an estimated $5,250,599,780.

For the judicial branch, the total number of employees is 1,324 and $199,418,700 in salaries. The judicial branch includes the Supreme Court (9), the Courts of Appeal (179), district judges (677), international trade (9) and their staffs (450 -- estimated).

As for agencies, although the actual number remains in dispute 491 is used here because that is the number of agencies -- minus cabinet posts and military services -- shown in a government listing. These 491 agencies employ 5,148,867 individuals. Total annual salaries: $569,886,700,000.

These numbers -- of agencies, employees and salaries -- are hugely underestimated. Many federal agencies subsume dozens of agencies and bureaus that are not listed. The National Institutes of Health, for example, consists of 47 separate bureaucracies, the number of their personnel and salaries unstated.

The number of employees and salaries of some agencies is classified, such as the CIA and the NSA. An example is the NSA, which experts estimate employs between 100,000 and 200,000 employees with a budget of "at least $40 billion." This sum is included under agencies with an estimated 150,000 employees averaging an annual salary of $100,000.


Executive -- 6,546,673 employees; salaries ..... $ 549,126,870,330.
Legislative -- 12,835 employees; salaries ....... 5,250,599,780.
Judicial -- 1,324 employees; salaries ....... 199,418,700.
Agencies -- 5,298,867 employees; salaries ....... 569,886,700,000.
Total = 11,859,699 employees; salaries .... $ 1,124,463,588,810.

The consequences of these stupefyingly large numbers are far more devastating than can be seen directly. To grasp the extent of that destruction, consider the level of prosperity that employers and employees achieve today despite regulations, taxes, permits, fines, and wasted time on government paperwork.

Because of government confiscation of producers' time and money, gone are the businesses that would have been started with that income. Never to be recouped is the time that would have been spent on innovations, inventions, discoveries and products that would have been made. Never to be retrieved is the prosperity that would have inevitably raised the standard of living, elevated the destitute and eventually wiped out poverty.

The money that politicians and bureaucrats have looted has gone and continues to go into the pockets of the nonproductive. Vying with one another to ingratiate themselves with the most politically influential, politicians and bureaucrats toss around their loot to raise the height of the soapbox before which others rush to kneel. None of that money creates wealth. It stops dead, going no farther.

If the electorate is concerned about the destitute, they should demand radical and permanent deregulation that closes three-quarters of the agencies and cuts federal salaries by 50%. The result would free producers to create more goods and jobs, raising the standard of living for all.

If the electorate is concerned about the unemployed they should recognize that only those with savings can create jobs. If the electorate is concerned about the young or the elderly, the sick, disabled or abused, they should recognize that only the able, the competent, the thoughtful -- in other words, producers -- can alleviate and solve such problems.

Government cannot do it. "The Government" is only a bunch of bureaucrats and politicians that obstruct those who can.

The individual business person's right to life and property is being brazenly violated. Today's politicians and bureaucrats are the self-appointed plutocrats of this nation. And they have forced business people -- employers and employees alike -- to be their feudal serfs by means of how much of their income earners are allowed to keep.

When Obama or some other Retrograde (AKA "Progressive") complains about the growing "gap between the rich and the poor" they expect one to understand that the "gap" referred to is between the productive rich and the non-productive poor.

But knowing something about the mammoth amounts of money that bureaucrats and politicians routinely rip off from taxpayers paints a different picture. The actual gap is between the nonproductive rich -- politicians and bureaucrats -- on the one hand and on the other the productive of our nation that are the victims of over a trillion dollar heist.

Sylvia Bokor writes a newsletter for New Mexico residents on state issues, and a National Newsletter, which discusses different political issues from a broader perspective.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Liberalism vs Blacks (Thomas Sowell)


Thomas Sowell (2013.12.26 )

There is no question that liberals do an impressive job of expressing concern for blacks. But do the intentions expressed in their words match the actual consequences of their deeds?

San Francisco is a classic example of a city unexcelled in its liberalism. But the black population of San Francisco today is less than half of what it was back in 1970, even though the city’s total population has grown.

Severe restrictions on building housing in San Francisco have driven rents and home prices so high that blacks and other people with low or moderate incomes have been driven out of the city. The same thing has happened in a number of other California communities dominated by liberals.

Liberals try to show their concern for the poor by raising the level of minimum wage laws. Yet they show no interest in hard evidence that minimum wage laws create disastrous levels of unemployment among young blacks in this country, as such laws created high unemployment rates among young people in general in European countries.

The black family survived centuries of slavery and generations of Jim Crow, but it has disintegrated in the wake of the liberals’ expansion of the welfare state. Most black children grew up in homes with two parents during all that time but most grow up with only one parent today.

Liberals have pushed affirmative action, supposedly for the benefit of blacks and other minorities. But two recent factual studies show that affirmative action in college admissions has led to black students with every qualification for success being artificially turned into failures by being mismatched with colleges for the sake of racial body count.

The two most recent books that show this with hard facts are “Mismatch” by Richard Sander and Stuart Taylor, Jr., and “Wounds That Will Not Heal” by Russell K. Nieli. My own book “Affirmative Action Around the World” shows the same thing with different evidence.

In all these cases, and many others, liberals take positions that make them look good and feel good — and show very little interest in the actual consequences for others, even when liberal policies are leaving havoc in their wake.

The current liberal crusade for more so-called “gun control” laws is more of the same. Factual studies over the years, both in the United States and in other countries, repeatedly show that “gun control” laws do not in fact reduce crimes committed with guns.

Cities with some of the tightest gun control laws in the nation have murder rates far above the national average. In the middle of the 20th century, New York had far more restrictive gun control laws than London, but London had far less gun crime. Yet gun crimes in London skyrocketed after severe gun control laws were imposed over the next several decades.

Although gun control is not usually considered a racial issue, a wholly disproportionate number of Americans killed by guns are black. But here, as elsewhere, liberals’ devotion to their ideology greatly exceeds their concern about what actually happens to flesh and blood human beings as a result of their ideology.

One of the most polarizing and counterproductive liberal crusades of the 20th century has been the decades-long busing crusade to send black children to predominantly white schools. The idea behind this goes back to the pronouncement by Chief Justice Earl Warren that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.”

Yet within walking distance of the Supreme Court where this pronouncement was made was an all-black high school that had scored higher than two-thirds of the city’s white high schools taking the same test — way back in 1899! But who cares about facts, when you are on a liberal crusade that makes you feel morally superior?

To challenge government-imposed racial segregation and discrimination is one thing. But to claim that blacks get a better education if they sit next to whites in school is something very different. And it is something that goes counter to the facts.

Many liberal ideas about race sound plausible, and it is understandable that these ideas might have been attractive 50 years ago. What is not understandable is how so many liberals can blindly ignore 50 years of evidence to the contrary since then.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Greenfield: The Left is too Smart to Fail

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog ^ | Sunday, December 22, 2013 | Daniel Greenfield

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Left is Too Smart to Fail

Posted by Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog

The infrastructure of manufactured intelligence has become a truly impressive thing. Today as never before there is an industry dedicated, not to educating people, but to making them feel smart. From paradigm shifting TED talks to paradigm to books by thought leaders and documentaries by change agents that transform your view of the world, manufactured intelligence has become its own culture.
Manufactured intelligence is the smarmy quality that oozes out of a New York Times column by Thomas Friedman, Maureen Dowd, Frank Bruni and the rest of the gang who tell you nothing meaningful while dazzling you with references to international locations, political events and pop culture, tying together absurdities into one synergistic web of nonsense that feels meaningful.
There's a reason that there's a Tom Friedman article generator online. But it could just as easily be a New York Times article generator that sums up the hollowness of the buzzword-fed crowd that is always hungry to reaffirm the illusion of its own intelligence.
We all know that George W. Bush was a moron. And we all know that Obama is a genius. We have been told by Valerie Jarrett, by his media lapdogs and even by the great man himself that he is just too smart to do his job. And it's reasonable that a genius would be bored by the tedious tasks involved in running the most powerful nation on earth.
But what is "smart" anyway? What makes Obama a genius? It's not his IQ. It's probably not his grades or we would have seen them already. It's that like so many of the thought leaders and TED talkers, he makes his supporters feel smart. The perception of intelligence is really a reflection.
Smart once used to be an unreachable quality. Einstein was proclaimed a genius, because it was said that no one understood his theories. Those were undemocratic times when it was assumed that the eggheads playing with the atom had to be a lot smarter than us or we were in big trouble.
Intelligence has since been democratized. Smart has been redistributed. Anyone can get an A for effort. And the impulse of manufactured intelligence is not smart people, but people who make us feel smart. That is why Neil deGrasse Tyson, another obsessively self-promoting mediocrity like Carl Sagan, is now the new face of science. Sagan made science-illiterate liberals feel smart while pandering to their biases. Tyson does the same thing for the Twitter generation.
Self-esteem is the new intelligence. Obama's intelligence was manufactured by pandering to the biases and tastes of his supporters. The more he shared their biases and tastes, the smarter he seemed to be and the smarter they felt by having so much in common with such a smart man.
Obama Inc. built his image around the accessories of modern manufactured intelligence, premature biographies, global reference points and pop culture. This marriage of high and low with an exotic spice from the east embodies modern liberal intelligence. Take a dash of pop culture, mix it with an important quote, throw in some recent technological development that promises to "change how we all live", mention your time in a foreign culture and draw an insipid conclusion.
That's not just the DNA of every other New York Times column, TED talk and important book by an equally important thought leader sitting under the floodlights at your local struggling chain bookstore with its portraits of great writers on the wall and the tables groaning under unsold copies of Fifty Shades of Grey, Malcolm Gladwell, Candace Bushnell and Khaled Hosseini.
It's also the DNA of Obama Inc. It is its assumption of intelligence through compassionate self-involvement, progressive insights derived from an obsession with the self and the sanctification of Third World references, real or imaginary, invoking the spiritual power of the Other, the totem of alien magic, to transcend the rational and the pragmatic. It is upscale Oprah; egotism masquerading as enlightenment, condescension as compassion and soothing quotes as religion.

Once upon a time, bright young American men went to Europe and wrote books about the world. That was our notion of intelligence. JFK did it and was widely praised for his intelligence. Today bright young American men and women go to the Third World and write their books about the world, mining the compost of their Flickr accounts, Tumblr updates and Twitter feed for deep thoughts.
Intelligence to a modern liberal isn't depth, it's appearance. It isn't even an intellectual quality, but a spiritual quality. Compassionate people who care about others are always "smarter", no matter how stupid they might be, because they care about the world around them.
An insight into how we live matters more than useful knowledge. Skill is irrelevant unless it's a transformative progressive "changing the way we live" application.
Obama and his audience mistake their orgy of mutual flattery for intelligence and depth. Like a trendy restaurant whose patrons know that they have good taste because they patronize it, his supporters know that they are smart because they support a smart man and Obama knows he is smart because so many smart people support him.
The thought never rises within this bubble of manufactured intelligence that all of them might really be idiots who have convinced themselves that they are geniuses because they read the right books (or pretend to read them), watch the right movies and shows (or pretend to) and have the right values (or pretend to).
Smart is surplus when you have Gladwell sitting under a full DVD set of The Wire prominently displayed on your bookshelf right alongside a signed copy of The Audacity of Hope.
Marxists thought that Marxism was smart. Progressives measure intelligence in progressivism. Its only two qualities are "world awareness" and "progressive future adaptation".
Obama hit both these qualities perfectly with his Third Culture background and the appearance of modern technocratic polish. Not just a politician, but a thought leader, he had the pseudo-celebrity quality of their kind, able to move smoothly from a celebrity panel about Third World microfinance, to a Jay-Z concert to a fundraiser for DIY solar panels for India to a banquet for a political hack.
Everyone who encountered him thought that he was smart because he made them feel smart. And that is the supreme duty of the modern liberal intellectual, not to be smart, but to make others feel smart. Genuine intelligence is threatening. Manufactured intelligence is soothing. And those intellectually superior progressives who need to believe that Obama is smart in order to believe that they are smart cannot stop believing in his brains without confronting the illusion of their own intelligence.
Manufactured intelligence isn't smart. It's stupid. It's as stupid as building windmills for sustainable energy in places where the wind hardly blows, as stupid as calling inflated budgets "investments" and as stupid as believing that a man is smart because he can reference poverty in the Third World.
It's easy to tell apart fake intelligence from the real thing. Manufactured intelligence fakes "smart" by playing word games. It constantly invents new terms to provide the enlightened elites with a secret language of Newspeak buzzwords that mean less than the words they are replacing. The buzzwords, Thought Leader and Change Agent, quickly take on cultist overtones and become ways of describing how the group's leaders would like to use power, than anything about the world that they describe.
Manufactured intelligence is a consensus, not a debate. It's not arrived at through a process, but flopped into like a warm soothing bath of nothingness. It's correct because everyone says so. And anyone who disagrees is clearly stupid and lacks awareness of the interconnected ways that the world synergistically works. And probably doesn't know science, Sagan or Neil deGrasse Tyson either.
Real intelligence is the product of constant debate. It is forever striving to overthrow the consensus and willing to challenge anything and everything. It uses a specialized vocabulary only to describe specialized phenomena, rather than replacing existing words with new words to describing existing phenomena in order to seem as if it understands the future better by going all 1984 on it.
Finally, manufactured intelligence is self-involved. It mistakes feeling for thinking. It deals not with how things are or even how we would like them to be, but how we feel about the way things are and what our feelings about the way things are say about what kind of people we are.
Liberal intelligence is largely concerned with the latter. It is a self-esteem project for mediocre elites, the sons and daughters of the formerly accomplished who are constantly diving into the shallow pools of their own minds to explore how their privilege and entitlement makes them view the world and how they can be good people by challenging everyone's paradigms and how they can think outside the box by climbing into it and pulling the flaps shut behind them.
Perpetual self-involvement isn't intelligence regardless of how many of the linguistic tricks of memoir fiction it borrows to endow its liberal self-help section with the appearance of nobility.
Liberalism isn't really about making the world a better place. It's about reassuring the elites that they are good people for wanting to rule over it.
That is why Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize for having good intentions. His actual foreign policy mattered less than the appearance of a new transformative foreign policy based on speeches. Gore promised to be be harsher on Saddam than Bush, but no one remembers that because everyone in the bubble knows that the Iraq War was stupid... and only conservatives do stupid things.
Liberal intelligence exists on the illusion of its self-worth. The magical thinking that guides it in every other area from economics to diplomacy also convinces it that if it believes it is smart, that it will be. The impenetrable liberal consensus in every area is based on this delusion of intelligence. Every policy is right because it's smart and it's smart because it's progressive and it's progressive because smart progressives say that it is.
Progressives manufacture the consensus of their own intelligence and insist that it proves them right.
Imagine a million people walking in a circle and shouting, "WE'RE SMART AND WE'RE RIGHT. WE'RE RIGHT BECAUSE WE'RE SMART. WE'RE SMART BECAUSE WE'RE RIGHT." Now imagine that these marching morons dominate academia, the government bureaucracy and the entertainment industry allowing them to spend billions yelling their idiot message until it outshouts everyone else while ignoring the disasters in their wake because they are too smart to fail.
That is liberalism.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Thirteen Years Of NASA Data Tampering – In Six Seconds (Real Science)


Posted on December 21, 2013 by stevengoddard


1999 version : www.giss.nasa.gov/data/update/gistemp/graphs/FigD.txt
2001 version : www.giss.nasa.gov/data/update/gistemp/graphs/FigD.txt
2012 version : data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs_v3/Fig.D.txt
2013 version : data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs_v3/Fig.D.txt

The animation above shows four versions of GISS 1930-1999 US temperatures – from 1999, 2001, 2012, and 2013. NASA has repeatedly tampered* with the data to hide the decline in US temperatures since the 1930′s. Each successive alteration makes the past cooler and the present warmer.

Earlier versions showed even more of a decline, but I can’t locate digital data for them.

*Mosher says these adjustments are all first rate science.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Things That Make You Go Hmmm... Like "Nothing Being What It Seems" (ZeroHedge)


Submitted by Tyler Durden on 12/10/2013 20:47 -0500

    Investors all over the world are confronted by markets that have been dressed up for the amusement of the crew in charge of the ship, and nobody seems to recognize what they are looking at. Sure, they look like markets, but at the same time there is an unfamiliarity that is extremely unnerving to at least a few in the gathering crowd. The majority of the mob, however, have decided that they look enough like markets to charge in blindly in the expectation that all will be as it should. Things are not as they should be. Far from it.

Everywhere one looks are signs that the markets are just monkeys dressed up in fancy costumes...


From benign inflation, housing's recovery, improved unemployment, and sustainable profitability; Grant Williams destroys the myths of the disturbing disconnects between these "headlines" and the facts in his must-read letter...

Countries all seem far rosier when viewed through the prism of stock market performance and government bond prices than when examined realistically by means of a long, hard look at the underlying economies — particularly if the necessary adjustment is made to account for the extraordinary level of stimulus applied by all and sundry.

Which provides the perfect segue...

Raoul Pal and Remi Tetot of Global Macro Investor (one of, if not the, very best macro publications available anywhere) put this chart together for their most recent monthly and kindly gave me permission to use it.

It is without question the single best chart I've seen to explain the reality of all-time highs on the S&P 500 in relation to the application of trillions of stimulus dollars. This chart obviously applies solely to the USA, but no doubt we would find a similar pattern in just about all the major, QE-riddled markets.

The chart shows the S&P 500 deflated by QE — and it's breathtaking:

There's your all-time-high stock market, folks.

Just another primate dolled up like a sailor, I'm afraid.

Don't follow the crowd and dive into markets just because everybody else is doing so.

That's how monkeys end up getting hanged.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

21st Century - Reality Vs. Storyline (ZeroHedge)


Submitted by Tyler Durden on 12/07/2013 19:45 -0500

Submitted by Jim Quinn of The Burning Platform blog,

I’m baffled by the storyline portrayed by the dying legacy media, sponsored by Wall Street and the CEO executive suites of mega-corps, and supported by the propaganda data agencies of the U.S. government. The BLS, BEA,  CBO, CNBC, CNN, and a myriad of other government sponsored letters present supposedly accurate data that is designed to convince the ignorant masses everything is fine and their lives are improving.

For anyone willing to uncover the facts and think critically about the storyline being presented, an entirely different reality is revealed. The simple chart below obliterates the “official” storyline. Do you have the uncomfortable feeling that your financial situation has been declining for the first 13 years of the 21st Century?

Your beloved government puppets and their Wall Street puppeteers have used their control of the mainstream media to fully utilize Edward Bernays’ propaganda techniques to convince you that your household income has actually risen by 28% since 2000. There is a reason the government run public schools don’t teach children about inflation. They might figure out how badly they are getting screwed by their owners.

In reality, even using the heavily manipulated CPI numbers issued by the BLS, REAL median household income in the United States has FALLEN by 7% since 2000. Most households in the U.S. have less annual income than they did 13 years ago.

But it gets better. Median REAL household income is down 8% since the peak in 2008. Now for the government statistic reality check. According to the government and their media mouthpieces, the economy bottomed in 2009, with 10.3% unemployment and GDP bottoming at $14.34 trillion. Since the “official” end of the recession in 2009, the unemployment rate has plummeted to 7.0% and GDP has surged to $16.9 trillion.

If this government reported data is true, how could REAL median household income still be 4% lower than at the END of the recession in 2009? If all these jobs were created and the economy has truly grown by 18%, REAL median household income must be higher than it was in 2009. But it’s not.

Do you still believe the storyline? Do you still believe in the American Dream of a better tomorrow? If you do, you’d have to be asleep.

Luckily for the ruling class, they have successfully “educated” the masses to not understand inflation or revolution would be on the horizon.

“It is well enough that 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

Friday, December 6, 2013

As Fast Food Workers Go On Strike In 100 Cities, Applebees Unveils The "Waiter Terminator" (ZeroHedge)



Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 12/05/2013 22:55 -0500

    Today, in the latest escalation by minimum paid restaurant workers who demand greater wages, Fast-food workers and labor organizers are set to turn out in support of higher wages in cities across the country Thursday and walkouts are planned in 100 cities, with rallies set for another 100 cities. While it's not clear what the actual turnout will be, how many of the participants are workers and what impact they'll have on restaurant operations, it is possible that your 99 cent lunch may be delayed or outright cancelled today.

Per the AP:

The actions would mark the largest showing yet over the past year. At a time when there's growing national and international attention on economic disparities, labor unions, worker advocacy groups and Democrats are hoping to build public support to raise the federal minimum wage of $7.25, or about $15,000 a year for full-time work.

In New York City, about 100 protesters carrying signs, blowing whistles and beating drums marched into a McDonald's at around 6:30 a.m.; one startled customer grabbed his food and fled as they flooded the restaurant, while another didn't look up from eating and reading amid their chants of "We can't survive on $7.25!"

It seems trying to persuade these minimum wage workers to enjoy what they have - namley that corporations have all the leverage while unskilled, undereducated employees have none (the Service Employees International Union represents more than 2 million workers, on the other hand there are 91 million non-unionized workers out of the workforce) and that any increases in wages would simply be passed on to other consumers, and certainly result in broad terminations to keep the SG&A line flat - is probably a moot point.

So instead the strikers were met with something a bit more persuasive: brute Police force.

Community leaders took turns giving speeches for about 15 minutes until the police arrived and ordered protesters out of the store. The crowd continued to demonstrate outside for about 45 more minutes while a handful of customers remained inside. A McDonald's manager declined to be interviewed and asked that customers not be bothered.

Tyeisha Batts, a 27-year-old employee at Burger King, was among those taking part in the demonstrations planned throughout the day in New York City. She said she has been working at the location for about seven months and earns $7.25 an hour.

"My boss took me off the schedule because she knows I'm participating," Batts said.

Considering there are a few hundred thousand applicants for your position , Ms. Batts, we find that perfectly explainable. Then again, if you are unhappy with your position, you are welcome to quit and find a better paying job. Especially since in the very near future you may not even have the option of choosing, as it will be done for you. Earlier this week, restaurant chain Applebees unveiled what may soon be the "Waiter Terminator."

From the company's press release: "Applebee’s steps into the future to redefine and enhance the guest experience through the installation of 100,000 E la Carte Presto tablets, powered by Intel, on every table and multiple bar positions at more than 1,800 Applebee’s restaurants in the United States by the end of next year."

The LA Times reports:

The E La Carte Presto tablets – powered by Intel – will allow patrons to pay from their seats while also adding food and beverages to their existing orders. A pilot program helped customers save time, according to Applebee’s Glendale-based parent DineEquity.

Let’s face it, everyone who has ever been to a restaurant has been frustrated by waiting for their check,” said Mike Archer, Applebee’s president, in a statement.

Eventually, the gadgets will also feature an expanded lineup of games, video streaming capabilities, music options, gift card sales and social media interaction. The Presto tablets, which were developed at MIT, have been “ruggedized” to deal with the spills and rowdy children common in such restaurants, according to the company.

And the punchline:

In the pilot program, the Presto tablets not only significantly reduced transaction times for guests, but also provided them a better overall experience, based on their feedback. By simplifying the transaction process and allowing guests to control the timing, Team Members were able to provide better service and more attention to guest needs throughout the dining experience, rather than focusing on delivering a check.

Also, much more time to work on their resume. In other words, Applebees is already taking steps at outsourcing its minimum wage waiters with tablets. Which incidentally is a brilliant idea, especially in a cost-cutting environment. So brilliant in fact that others are already joining in..

DineEquity said it might consider introducing the tablets at its IHOP restaurant chain as well. The company joins many others in the industry that have begun incorporating technology into the customer experience, installing ordering kiosks, equipping servers with mobile devices and more.

In other words, a funny thing happened as fast food workers were striking across the land - they were all just made obsolete courtesy of iPads.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

"I Fear For What’s Coming" – 68% Of Americans Believe The Country Is On The Wrong Track (Zerohedge)


Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 11/26/2013 22:30 -0500

Are you deeply concerned about the future of America?  Is something in your gut telling you that our system is fundamentally broken and that the mainstream media is not telling you the truth about what is happening?  If so, you are definitely not alone.  Right now, there are millions upon millions of Americans that are absolutely horrified as they watch this nation deteriorate.  In fact, according to an analysis of recent polling data conducted by Real Clear Politics, approximately 68 percent of all Americans believe that the country is on the wrong track and only 23.5 percent of all Americans believe that the country is on the right track.

And of course our problems did not appear just recently.  In fact, many of them are the result of decades of very foolish decisions and they are not going to be fixed easily.  Unfortunately, there is very little consensus among Americans about how to fix any of our problems.  There is more anger, frustration, hatred and division in the United States today than there has been in decades, and there is very little hope that the great storms that are looming on the horizon will be averted.  Those that are wise are preparing for what is coming.  Those that are not are going to be absolutely blindsided by what is rapidly approaching.

Once upon a time, America was the wealthiest nation on the entire globe by a huge margin and it had the largest and most thriving middle class the world had ever seen.  But now America is drowning in the biggest ocean of red ink in the history of the planet and the middle class is being systematically destroyed.

If you read my articles on a regular basis, you already know all of this.  But now there are certain factors that are going to cause the problems of the middle class to greatly accelerate.

For instance, just consider what Obamacare is going to do to millions of American families.

The Foundry recently posted a story that detailed the extreme hardship that Obamacare is going to impose on one middle class family in Sonora, California.  This particular family is very healthy and does not have a history of health problems.  Up until now, they have had a health insurance policy with Anthem Blue Cross Insurance that they have been very happy with.

Back in 2011, this family was paying $389 a month for health insurance.

In 2012, due to changes in California law that figure went up to $499 a month.

Now, this family has just received a letter informing them that their current plan is being canceled and that if they want a new plan it is going to cost them $1,252 a month.

Needless to say, that news did not go over very well with that family.

Just think about it.

Can you come up with an extra $753 a month for health insurance?

Most American families certainly cannot.

Well, Kate Joy and her husband sat down and started trying to figure out how they could squeeze the new health insurance policy into their budget.  It turned out that they would have to cut out a lot of things.  The following is a list of the proposed cuts that they have come up with so far...

  • Stop paying the extra payment on my mortgage: $100/month
  • Stop eating out: $150/month
  • Don’t go to the movies: $36/month
  • Switch to getting a haircut every other month: $15/month
  • Stop getting manicures: $40/month
  • Stop monthly charitable donations to Wounded Warrior and Habitat for Humanity: $70/month
  • Stop saving for an annual anniversary getaway: $60/month
  • No Christmas gifts to extended family: $40/month
  • Quit buying beef at the grocery store: $100/month
  • Teeth cleaning only once per year: $30/month
  • Cancel all magazine/newspaper subscriptions: at least $30/month
  • Cut DISH service to cheaper plan: $50/month
  • Cancel land line phone service: $70/month

If they make all of those cuts, it will save the family $791 a month.

Understandably, that family is having a very hard time feeling optimistic about the future right now.  In fact, at the end of the article Kate Joy is quoted as saying the following...

"I fear for what’s coming."

And of course her family is not the only one that is being absolutely hammered by Obamacare.

In a previous article, I discussed the results of one study which showed that health insurance premiums for men are going to go up by an average of 99 percent under Obamacare and health insurance premiums for women are going to go up by an average of 62 percent under Obamacare.

And a different study found that health insurance premiums for healthy 30-year-old men are going to go up by an average of 260 percent under Obamacare.

All of this is going to suck a tremendous amount of "discretionary income" out of the economy.

In addition, millions upon millions of Americans are going to make the choice to go without health insurance altogether.  And considering the level of care that we get in many of these hospitals that is understandable.  For example, the body of 57-year-old Lynne Spalding was recently discovered in a stairwell at San Francisco General Hospital 17 days after she had disappeared from her hospital room.

Those that provide our "health care" don't care about us as much as they did in the old days.  Instead, the health care industry just wants to get as much money out of us as rapidly as they can and then move on to the next victim.

And of course health care is not the only thing that middle class families have to be concerned about these days.  Our national employment crisis is getting even worse, incomes are shrinking, and Obama is pushing Congress to approve a secret treaty that will ship millions more of our jobs out of the country.

And there are certainly a lot of troubling economic signs as we head toward 2014.  Just consider the following examples...

-Pending home sales in the United States have fallen for five months in a row.

-Machinery giant Caterpillar is reporting negative retail sales growth in every region on the globe.  Historically, the sales growth of Caterpillar has been one of the most important indications of where the economy is headed next.

-Major banks are warning the Federal Reserve that they may have to start charging depositors a fee.  In other words, you may soon have to pay for the "privilege" of putting your money in the bank.

Of course this is just the beginning.  Things are going to get much, much worse in the years ahead as our economy continues to deteriorate.

And as things continue to fall apart, people are going to become a lot more desperate.  To get an idea of what is coming to America, just look at what is happening in Greece.  Some poor people in Greece have become so desperate that they are literally infecting themselves with HIV just so that they can get monthly government payments...

Suicides rose by 17% between 2007 and 2009 and to 25% in 2010, according to unofficial 2010 data (398). The Minister of Health reported a further 40% rise in the first half of 2011 compared with the same period in 2010. Suicide attempts have also increased, particularly among people reporting economic distress (610). Homicide and theft rates have doubled. HIV rates and heroin use have risen significantly, with about half of new HIV infections being self-inflicted to enable people to receive benefits of €700 per month and faster admission on to drug-substitution programmes. Prostitution has also risen, probably as a response to economic hardship. Health care access has declined as hospital budgets have been cut by about 40% (398) and it is estimated that 26 000 public health workers (9100 doctors) will lose their jobs (611). Further cuts are expected as a result of recent negotiations with the IMF and European Central Bank.

If you doubt this, you can find the original report with these findings right here.

A lot of people accuse me of being a "doom and gloomer" for writing articles like this.

A lot of people accuse me of trying to spread worry and fear.

But I do not see it that way at all.

I was recently asked what the number one issue is that has me so worried that it keeps me up at night.

Do you know what my answer was?


Nothing that I write about keeps me up at night.

I am not worried about what is coming and I do not believe in giving in to fear.

Rather, I believe that there is hope in understanding what is happening, and I believe that there is hope in getting prepared.

Do you want to know who is going to be totally giving in to worry, fear and despair in the years ahead?

The people that are not getting prepared right now.

Do you want to know who is going to be jumping off the top of tall buildings in the years ahead?

The people that are laughing at articles like this one.

For most adults in America, they primarily define their lives by their jobs, their material possessions and by all of the toys that they have accumulated.  When those things get taken away, we are going to see a national hissy fit that is absolutely unprecedented.

The Republicans are not going to save us from the storm that is coming and neither are the Democrats.

It is coming.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Scheme behind the Obamacare Fraud

NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE www.nationalreview.com PRINT

November 23, 2013 4:00 AM

Lies smooth the transition to a fundamental transformation of our health-care system.

By  Andrew C. McCarthy

Fraud can be so brazen it takes people’s breath away. But for a prosecutor tasked with proving a swindle — or what federal law describes as a “scheme to defraud” — the crucial thing is not so much the fraud. It is the scheme.

To be sure, it is the fraud — the individual false statements, sneaky omissions, and deceptive practices — that grabs our attention. As I’ve recounted in this space, President Obama repeatedly and emphatically vowed, “If you like your health-insurance plan, you can keep your health-insurance plan, period.” The incontrovertible record — disclosures by the Obama administration in the Federal Register, representations by the Obama Justice Department in federal court — proves that Obama’s promises were systematically deceitful. The president’s audacity is bracing, and not just because he lies so casually while looking us in the eye. Obama also insults our intelligence. It is one thing to tuck evidence of falsehood into a few paragraphs on page 34,552 of a dusty governmental journal no one may ever look at. It is quite something else to announce it in a legal brief publicly filed in a case of intense interest to millions of Americans aggrieved by Obamacare’s religious-liberty violations. To be so bold is to say, in effect, “The public is too ignorant and disengaged to catch me, and the press is too deep in my pocket to raise alarms.”

Still, to show that politicians lie is like pointing out that it gets dark at night. The lie, the fraud, does not tell us why they lied in this instance. The fraud does not tell us what the stakes are. To know that, we must understand the scheme — the design.

The point of showing that Obama is carrying out a massive scheme to defraud — one that certainly would be prosecuted if committed in the private sector — is not to agitate for a prosecution that is never going to happen. It is to demonstrate that there is logic to the lies. There is an objective that the fraud aims to achieve. The scheme is the framework within which the myriad deceptions are peddled. Once you understand the scheme, once you can put the lies in a rational context, you understand why fraud was the president’s only option — and why “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan” barely scratches the surface of Obamacare’s deceit.

In 2003, when he was an ambitious Illinois state senator from a hyper-statist district, Obama declared:

I happen to be a proponent of a single-payer universal health-care program. I see no reason why the United States of America, the wealthiest country in the history of the world, spending 14 percent of its gross national product on health care, cannot provide basic health insurance to everybody. . . . Everybody in, nobody out. A single-payer health care plan, a universal health care plan. That’s what I’d like to see. But as all of you know, we may not get there immediately.

That is the Obamacare scheme.

It is a Fabian plan to move an unwilling nation, rooted in free enterprise, into Washington-controlled, fully socialized medicine. As its tentacles spread over time, the scheme (a) pushes all Americans into government markets (a metastasizing blend of Medicare, Medicaid, and “exchanges” run by state and federal agencies); (b) dictates the content of the “private” insurance product; (c) sets the price; (d) micromanages the patient access, business practices, and fees of doctors; and (e) rations medical care. Concurrently, the scheme purposely sows a financing crisis into the system, designed to explode after Leviathan has so enveloped health care, and so decimated the private medical sector, that a British- or Canadian-style “free” system — formerly unthinkable for the United States — becomes the inexorable solution.

Once you grasp that this is the scheme, the imperative to lull the public with lies makes sense. Like all swindles, Obamacare cannot work if its targeted victims figure out the endgame before it is a fait accompli.

The president is a community organizer in the Saul Alinsky tradition. He is trained to adopt the language and co-opt the sensibilities of the masses in order to become politically viable; then, once raw power is acquired, the Alinskyite uses every component of it to thwart opposition in patient but remorseless pursuit of the given “social justice” goal. Consequently, in pursuit of health-care statism, Obama moderated his rhetoric over the years, but not his ideological goals. He stressed pragmatism: a gradual campaign that kept the ultimate prize in sight. “I don’t think we’re going to be able to eliminate employer coverage immediately,” he told his hard-Left base at a 2007 SEIU health-care forum. “There’s going to be potentially some transition process. I can envision a decade out or 15 years or 20 years out.”

There’s that word: transition. It’s the route “change” takes to reach its final destination: “fundamental transformation.” If you’re paying attention, you’ll hear the word transition a lot in Obama’s health-care speeches. You’ll also find it in that Justice Department brief the administration no doubt wishes Eric Holder’s minions had edited more furtively:

The [Affordable Care Act’s] grandfathering provision’s incremental transition does not undermine the government’s interests in a significant way. Even under the grandfathering provision, it is projected that more group health plans will transition to the requirements under the regulations as time goes on. [Officials of the Department of Health and Human Services] have estimated that a majority of group health plans will have lost their grandfather status by the end of 2013 [emphasis added].

Understand what this studiously unthreatening, gradualist gobbledygook means. A “group health plan” is employer-provided insurance; the phrase thus blithely refers to the “transition” of 156 million Americans who get health insurance for themselves and their families through work. It does not mention the so-called individual market, consumers who buy health insurance on their own. That’s because the administration assumes the “transition” of those 25 million Americans from their preferred plans to Obamacare will already have progressed well toward completion. And indeed it has, as we have seen in the millions of cancellation notices reported in the last six weeks.

The Justice Department’s assertion, based on the administration’s internal analyses, conveys that by the third year of Obamacare’s implementation — “the end of 2013,” which has since been extended by a year due to Obama’s “waiver” of the employer mandate — more than half of those 156 million group policies will have lost their “grandfather status.” “Grandfathering” is the mirage Obama projected for his illusory “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan” guarantee.

You couldn’t keep your plan because Obamacare mandates made it impossible for private insurers to offer it. The mandates essentially require that everything and everyone be covered — even though you do not need coverage for everything (e.g., 23-year-old men do not need birth-control pills, neo-natal care, and periodic colonoscopies), and even though mandatory coverage for preexisting conditions is not insurance but welfare. The mandates are simply cost-shifting from the young and healthy to the older and sicklier — just as you would find in any universal, single-payer system. But Obamacare is camouflaged to make it look like the insurers are deciding not to offer your plan anymore, rather than that the government is forcing their hand.

Of course, that’s not the half of the deceit — not in a program the president publicly insisted was not a tax even as his Justice Department insisted to the Supreme Court that it was one. Obama also said, “If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period.” As Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey noted this week, that promise too is fraudulent. If your doctor is not part of the network offered on the plans in your exchange, you will lose your doctor. To keep costs down, exchanges will limit their provider networks. Top doctors and hospitals are already being cut out. Moreover, the onerous regulations, reporting requirements, and constant threat of fee-slashing are beginning to drive doctors out of the profession.

Then there is the Independent Payment Advisory Board. Stanley Kurtz described the IPAB in all its frightening detail in a 2011 National Review cover story: “An unelected and unaccountable bureaucratic entity with nearly limitless power over federal Medicare spending, [it] will have the power to effectively ration health care through price controls.”

Put aside that the IPAB, which Obamacare insulates from judicial review, is an unconstitutional delegation of Congress’s legislative power — a model that, if adopted in spheres of activity beyond health care, would effectively end popular self-governance. As the rising costs driven by our health-care system’s suffocating regulations compound our astronomical debt, pressure is mounting for the IPAB to oversee cost-cutting — i.e., rationing — not only in Medicare but across the whole Obamacare framework. In fact, as Stanley recounts, the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission appointed by Obama made just such a recommendation — giving the president political cover to push hard for IPAB expansion. “Once IPAB’s rules govern America’s health-care system as a whole,” Stanley concludes, “we will be most of the way down the road to a British-style single-payer system.”

So how does Obama get all the way down that road? That is where the scheme’s manufactured crisis comes in. Obamacare commands that all Americans purchase health insurance, whether they want it or not. This is essential: If young healthy people refused to buy overpriced, largely superfluous coverage to underwrite the cost of insuring older and sick people, premiums would further skyrocket. As Powerline’s John Hinderaker explains, insurance companies would either have to fold or shift the costs to whatever employer plans still remained. This, in turn, would spur employers to cancel plans, dumping ever more people into the government exchanges.

The individual mandate is what is supposed to prevent that death spiral. There’s just one thing: The individual mandate is legally unenforceable.

Yes, there is a penalty for failing to purchase insurance — starting at $95 or 1 percent of income the first year and rising sharply thereafter. But the designers of Obamacare went out of their way to prohibit the IRS from using its usual array of civil and criminal processes (fines, liens, etc.) to confiscate it. The government may only collect the penalty by deducting it from tax refunds — meaning people who prudently structure their tax withholding so that no refund accumulates can avoid paying with impunity.

Obviously, it would be far less expensive for young people — who are already disproportionately strained by Obama’s no-growth, high-unemployment economy — to opt for a penalty they are not actually required to pay than to purchase prohibitively costly coverage. After all, under Obamacare, they can wait until they are sick to buy “insurance.” That is, Obamacare’s architects consciously created the incentive to destroy the program’s own insurance exchanges.

By the time that problem erupts, private insurance will already be gutted. Coverage requirements will already be dictated by government, as will pricing, with a subsidy structure that builds in progressive wealth redistribution. And doctors will already be beholden to government for patient access, treatment options, record-keeping requirements, and payment. That is, much of the single-payer infrastructure will be in place.

The manufactured financial crisis will be portrayed as a demonstration that exchanges based on the assumption that individuals will take responsibility for their own “private” insurance arrangements do not work. It will be time to solve the crisis by a seamless transition — there’s that word again — to a fully socialized health-care system, now overtly controlled by the government. “Free” health care for everyone — with all the substandard treatment, absurd wait times, and rationing that entails — will be supported by a few “tweaks” to our progressive tax system . . . no more unwieldy, unpredictable premium payments.

That’s the scheme. Or maybe you still believe that if you like your private medical system, you can keep your private medical system, period.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a senior fellow at the National Review Institute. He is the author, most recently, of Spring Fever: The Illusion of Islamic Democracy.

The 'fatal conceit' of President Obama and Kathleen Sebelius

Washington Examiner ^ | 11/23/2013 | Star Parker

Posted on ‎11‎/‎23‎/‎2013‎ ‎7‎:‎59‎:‎32‎ ‎AM by markomalley

I have lined up my Christmas presents this year for President Obama and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius.

I will send them both a copy of the last book written by one of greatest economists of the last century, and winner of the Nobel Prize in economics in 1974, F.A. Hayek.

The book is called The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism.

Although the language and discussion of the book is not all that simple, the basic point is, I think, pretty straightforward. Hayek summed it all up in his acceptance speech for his Nobel Prize.

He noted the critical importance that we know what we don’t know. Thinking you know what you don’t and can’t know, the illusion that men can plan, organize, and control things far beyond their understanding is the “fatal conceit” of socialism.

And, Hayek concludes, that knowing what you don’t know, “ought to teach the student of society a lesson of humility, which should guard him against becoming an accomplice in men’s fatal striving to control society — a striving which makes him not only a tyrant over his fellow, but which may well make him the destroyer of a civilization which no brain has designed but which has grown from the free efforts of millions of individuals.”

Take a walk through the mall or the supermarket. Look at the almost infinite varieties of products in stores and on shelves designed and engineered to meet the unique tastes and desires of millions of different individuals.

You don’t need a Nobel Prize or a Ph.D. to appreciate that no supreme bureaucrat with all the power in the world could ever conceive that vast array of products and decide they should be produced.

This is the product and beauty of freedom. Free people deciding what they want and living how they want. And free people deciding to take risk, go into business, and become entrepreneurs and produce and deliver these many varied products.

This approach — freedom — has produced bounty as has never before been produced anywhere under any other arrangement.

But the “fatal conceit” is a powerful force. It is a powerful force because there will always be haughty, arrogant people for whom humility is a challenge and who are convinced that the world would be better off if they designed it rather than letting free private individuals run their own lives.

This is totally what the debacle we now confront with the Affordable Care Act — Obamacare — is about.

Anyone who follows these things and knows just a little bit of history knew from the day Obama signed this law in 2010 that what is happening today was inevitable.

Neither Obama nor Sebelius have ever done anything in their lives except work in one way or another in politics.

Neither has ever run a small business, let alone a big one. Neither has a day of experience of being an entrepreneur, of taking personal risk and taking a loan to make a product to serve customers and to meet a payroll.

But both have been supremely confident that they could take over and redesign one-sixth of a $16 trillion economy.

Nothing is more unique to each individual than his or her personal health profile and needs. Yet a couple of supreme bureaucrats in Washington have used their power to decide what kind of health care hundreds of millions of unique American individual citizens need and how to deliver it.

Can it be any wonder that it is all collapsing?

The only wonders are that there are still those who maintain that this socialist monstrosity can still work and that so many Americans have been willing to give up their precious personal freedom and turn their lives over to arrogant, pretentious, and deeply confused bureaucrats and politicians in Washington.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The War Against Achievement

Thomas Sowell


A friend recently sent me a link to an inspiring video about an upbeat young black man who was born without arms. It showed him going to work — unlike the record number of people living on government payments for "disabilities" that are far less serious, if not fictitious.

How is this young man getting to work? He gets into his car and drives there — using controls set up so that he can operate the car with his feet.

What kind of work does he do, and how does he do it? He is involved in the design of racing cars. He sits at his computer, looking at the screen, with the keyboard on the floor, where he uses his toes as others use their fingers.

His story recalls the story of Helen Keller, who went to an elite college and on to a career, despite being both deaf and blind. Her story was celebrated in books, in television documentaries and in an inspiring movie, "The Miracle Worker."

But our culture has changed so much over the years that the young man with no arms is unlikely to get comparable publicity. Helen Keller's achievement was seen as an inspiration for others, but this young man's achievement is more like a threat to the prevailing ideology of our times.

The vision on which the all-encompassing and all-controlling welfare state was built is a vision of widespread helplessness, requiring ever more expanding big government. Our "compassionate" statists would probably have wanted to take this young man without arms, early on, and put him in some government institution.

But to celebrate him in the mainstream media today would undermine a whole ideological vision of the world — and of the vast government bureaucracies built on that vision. It might even cause people to think twice about giving money to able-bodied men who are standing on street corners, begging.

The last thing the political left needs, or can even afford, are self-reliant individuals. If such people became the norm, that would destroy not only the agenda and the careers of those on the left, but even their flattering image of themselves as saviors of the less fortunate.

Victimhood is where it's at. If there are not enough real victims, then fictitious victims must be created — as with the claim that there is "a war on women." Why anyone would have an incentive or a motivation to create a war on women in the first place is just one of the questions that should be asked of those who promote this political slogan, obviously designed for the gullible.

The real war — which is being waged in our schools, in the media and among the intelligentsia — is the war on achievement. When President Obama told business owners, "You didn't build that!" this was just one passing skirmish in the war on achievement.

The very word "achievement" has been replaced by the word "privilege" in many writings of our times. Individuals or groups that have achieved more than others are called "privileged" individuals or groups, who are to be resented rather than emulated.

The length to which this kind of thinking — or lack of thinking — can be carried was shown in a report on various ethnic groups in Toronto. It said that people of Japanese ancestry in that city were the most "privileged" group there, because they had the highest average income.

What made this claim of "privilege" grotesque was a history of anti-Japanese discrimination in Canada, climaxed by people of Japanese ancestry being interned during World War II longer than Japanese Americans.

If the concept of achievement threatens the prevailing ideology, the reality of achievement despite having obstacles to overcome is a deadly threat. That is why the achievements of Asians in general — and of people like the young black man with no arms — make those on the left uneasy. And why the achievements of people who created their own businesses have to be undermined by the President of the United States.

What would happen if Americans in general, or blacks in particular, started celebrating people like this armless young man, instead of trying to make heroes out of hoodlums? Many of us would find that promising and inspiring. But it would be a political disaster for the left — which is why it is not likely to happen.

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305. His website is www.tsowell.com. To find out more about Thomas Sowell and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.


Friday, November 15, 2013

This Could Be One of the Best Cases Ever Made Against Common Core – No One Expected It to Come From a High School Student


Nov. 15, 2013 7:23am Jason Howerton

Speaking at a local school board meeting earlier this month, a Tennessee high school senior issued a brief and incredibly insightful address on the problems with Common Core standards.

Ethan Young, a student at Farragut High School in Knox County, Tenn., made his case as to why he believes the school district should drop the new national education standards, a set of guidelines that were never voted on by Congress, the Department of Education nor by local or state governments.

“The president essentially bribed states into implementation via ‘Race to the Top,’ offering $4.35 billion taxpayer dollars to participating states, $500 million of which went to Tennessee,” Young said. “And much like No Child Left Behind, the program promises national testing and a one-size-fits-all education, because hey, it worked so well the first time.”

“If nothing else, these standards are a glowing conflict of interest and they lack the research they allegedly received,” he added.

Young also argued that Common Core standards display a “mistrust of teachers,” a line that prompted applause from the audience.

Tenn. High School Student Ethan Young Delivers Anti Common Core Speech


“I stand before you because I care about education, but also because I want to support my teachers,” he said. “And just as they fought for my academic achievement, so I want to fight for their ability to teach. This relationship is at the heart of instruction, yet there will never be a system by which it is accurately measured.”

The high school senior went on to argue that “standards-based education is ruining the way we teach and learn.” He also revealed that legislators and administrators have told him “that’s just the way things work.”

Now, he’s daring to ask: “Why?”

“I’m gonna answer that question: Bureaucratic convenience,” he added. “It works with nuclear reactors, it works with business models, why can’t it work with students? I mean how convenient, calculating exactly who knows what and who needs what. I mean, why don’t we just manufacture robots instead of students? They last longer and they always do what they’re told.”

“Somewhere our Founding Fathers are turning in their graves.”


The problem is, the extremely bright student continued, “education is unlike every other bureaucratic institute in our government” because the “task of teaching is never quantifiable.”

“If everything I learn in high school is a measurable objective, I have not learned anything,” Young proclaimed. “I’d like to repeat that. If everything I learn in high school is a measurable objective, I have not learned anything.”

Government bureaucrats will never be able to measure “creativity, appreciation, inquisitiveness” but they are the “purpose of education,” he lectured.

“Somewhere our Founding Fathers are turning in their graves — pleading, screaming and trying to say to us that we teach to free minds. We teach to inspire. We teach to equip, the careers will come naturally.”

Watch Young’s entire inspiring, must-see speech below:

Monday, November 11, 2013

Safest Place in Canada

In light  of all that is taking place within our world and country,
do you sometimes  wonder where you can find peace and safety. 
Where is  the Safest place in Canada ? 

As you  view this picture, I believe you will agree, we now know. 


This picture was taken at Tim's in Tillsonburg, Ontario

Israeli Company Ices Tumors, Now Aims for Lung Cancer

By Ari Yashar, INN

Israeli company IceCure, developer of a treatment for breast tumors by freezing them into ice, is currently attempting to expand its technique into the treatment of lung cancer.

The site NoCamels reported Wednesday that the biomedical company specializing in cryoablation, a process of destroying diseased cells by freezing, will soon conduct its first clinical trials in Japan using the same technology on lung tumors.
President and CEO Hezi Himelfarb noted that the study is fully funded by the Kameda Medical Center in Japan.

According to the company’s website, the “IceSense3 system” is currently a minimally invasive, in-office treatment for symptomatic breast tumors, known as fibroadenomas. The procedure uses ultrasound imaging to guide a small probe, namely a thin hollow needle, into the tumor.

The end of the needle is then cooled to -274 F (-170 C) using liquid nitrogen, turning the tumor into a ball of ice and allowing the body to reabsorb the dead cells over time.

Requiring only local anaesthetic, the procedure is safe and can be performed in just 10 to 15 minutes. Furthermore the process leaves behind no scarring.

In June Globes reported that IceCure’s share price rocketed nearly 300 percent in two days after announcing that the American medical insurance company HCSC would provide coverage from June 15 for its IceSense3 procedure.

If the Japanese trials to apply the technology to lung cancer yield success, Himelfarb says it will “open the possibility to enter a huge market with hundreds of thousands of new cases every year.”

According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer is the leading killer among cancers in the US.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

U.S. Labor Force Declines by 720K October (Unemployment Manipulation)

U.S. Labor Force Declines by 720K

October Unemployment Manipulation


- By: Larry Walker II -

The big story out of the October household survey was the decline by 720,000 in the headline labor force, which largely reflected the loss of longer-term unemployed into the broader U-6 unemployment measure.

In fact, since January 2009, the U.S. Labor Force has only grown by 607,000. Yet, over the same period, 11,034,000 persons have been removed from the labor force (see chart above). Once removed, such are neither counted as employed nor unemployed, each amounting to the equivalent of zero-fifths of a person in terms of modern governmental accounting.

In Manipulation 101: The Real Unemployment Rate, we learned that as the size of the labor force erodes, the unemployment rate artificially declines. So let’s recall how the unemployment rate is calculated. The unemployment rate is calculated by dividing the number of unemployed persons by the size of the labor force:

[ (A) Total Unemployed / (B) Labor Force = (C) Unemployment Rate ]

Thus, the official unemployment rate of 7.3%, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on its November 8, 2013, Employment Situation Report, was calculated as follows:

However, when the 720,000 longer-term unemployed which were removed from the labor force in October are added back, the real unemployment rate actually rose to 7.7% (shown above). And, if we were to add back all long-term unemployed workers, removed from the labor force since February 2009, the real unemployment rate would be 13.4% (also shown above).

As I reported earlier this year, in Black Unemployment Rate Closer to 37.9%, there is an alternative to the federal government’s phony reporting. Shadow Government Statistics publishes a more accurate measure of unemployment based on pre-1994 BLS methodology. The seasonally-adjusted SGS Alternate Unemployment Rate reflects current unemployment reporting methodology adjusted for SGS-estimated long-term discouraged workers, who were defined out of official existence in 1994.

In other words, the SGS Alternate Rate adds millions of long-term discouraged workers back to the BLS estimate, which only includes short-term discouraged workers. In case you didn’t catch that, this means the BLS has eliminated long-term discouraged workers (i.e. those who have been without a job for so long that they haven't bothered to look for work in more than 12 months) from official unemployment statistics since 1994, thus distorting the true employment situation.

Accordingly, although the Bureau of Labor Statistics boasts of an official U-3 unemployment rate of 7.3%, and an official U-6 rate of 13.8%, the real unemployment rate, based on pre-1994 BLS methodology, has actually increased from 18.3% in January 2009 to 23.5% as of October 2013 (shown above).

Of course the Chief of the White House will simply continue to repeat something like, ‘Now that we’ve fixed (i.e. effed up) the nation’s health care system, it’s time to finish fixing (i.e. effing up) the economy.’

Friday, November 8, 2013

Ten Reasons ObamaCare Will Fail

FrontPage Magazine ^ | November 8, 2013 | Steven Plaut

Posted on Friday, November 08, 2013 8:27:35 AM by SJackson

- FrontPage Magazine - http://frontpagemag.com -

Ten Reasons ObamaCare Will Fail

Posted By Steven Plaut On November 8, 2013 @ 12:50 am In Daily Mailer,FrontPage | 1 Comment

There is a fundamental difference between economists and lawyers (or legal scholars) when it comes to resolving complex social and economic problems.  Economists believe that human behavior and the functioning of institutions are based upon incentives.  Lawyers and legal types believe that one can resolve complex problems by passing laws and imposing regulations.  The latter think one can legislate away the problem.

I like to describe the approach by lawyer-types to such problems as “rain laws.” They are like trying to resolve the problem of flooding from heavy rainfall by means of a law making it illegal for it to rain.  Or solving droughts by passing a mandate that it must rain.  Making global warming illegal is a pretty close runner-up idea.  An example of a rain law in the area of health care would be to solve shortages, health care inflation, and inadequate coverage by passing a law making it illegal for people to get sick.  A second example would be Obamacare.

The entire matter of Obamacare is so complex that most people have lost sight of the fundamental problems within it and especially its rain law aspects.   Instead, the media and much of the public are concentrating on tangential matters, like whether or not the software on the Obamacare web sites is functioning properly.

I will not attempt here to spell out all the issues and problems with Obamacare.  I would just like to point out a few of its flaws in simple words, and these should be sufficient to understand why the entire apparatus will fail.

1.   Provision and production of health care services involves resources.   Those resources cost money.  The real costs of those resources will not be reduced under Obamacare.  Doctor, nurse, and technician salaries will not be reduced.  The prices of medical equipment will not be reduced.  The costs of hospital buildings and infrastructure will not be reduced.  The costs of resources used for developing and producing medicines will not be reduced.  Costs of other factors, such as the notoriously high expense of malpractice insurance thanks to the rather loony American tort system, will not be reduced.

2.  If anything, the costs of all the items cited above will rise under Obamacare.  That is because the most important openly-stated goal of Obamacare is to expand access to medical services and coverage for the uninsured.  In simple words, Obamacare seeks to expand consumption of or demand for medical services, without changing in any significant way the supply of medical services.  The number of man-hours, the amounts of medication, and the set of equipment required to perform any medical procedure or service will not change because of Obamacare.  Raising demand without any shift in the supply function produces inflation in the prices of medical services.

3.  When demand expands but the supply function does not, the only way to prevent this from manifesting itself in inflation is using price controls.  But price controls produce shortages, long queues, denial of access to services, and diminishing quality of services.  The main mechanism for controlling costs in other state-run medical systems, ranging from the British Health System to Medicare, is indeed price controls and shortages and queues.   Since Obamacare does nothing to change the cost of the inputs used in producing medical services, the only manner in which it can seek to prevent the inevitable inflation from expanded “coverage” is price controls.

4.   Price controls with regard to insurance itself have the same consequence as price controls regarding particular medical treatments and services.  They produce shortages.  The price controls regarding health insurance packages contained in Obamacare mean that the market for Obamacare-defined health insurance will unavoidably fail to clear.

5.  In every place they have been used, in every country and in every period of history, price controls create shortages and cause reductions in quality.  Ask tenants in NY rent-controlled apartments about this.

6.  To an extent, some of the shortages produced by price controls can be disguised with government subsidies.   But “suppressing” inflation of health care services with price controls does not really eliminate the inflation.  It just means that people will pay the higher prices through taxes instead of directly out of pocket as consumers.  Consumers will quickly figure out the scam.

7.  You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make it drink.  The Democrats can define a minimally acceptable health insurance package, but they cannot ensure that sufficient Obamacare insurance packages will be offered to consumers by the insurance industry to clear the market.   The more that Congress tries to twist the arms of the insurers to provide more policies to clear the market, in other words, the more it tries to escalate the level of regulation of insurers, the worse the problem will become.  The shortage in Obamacare insurance policies means that those who fail to find such coverage are left with the option of buying non-Obamacare health insurance, and this augmented demand will significantly raise the prices of such “private” non-Obamacare health insurance.

8.  From the start, the “problem” of the uninsured in the United States was very different from the way it was presented in the media.  Before Obamacare the number of Americans who did not have health insurance because they were too poor to buy it was basically zero.  That is because the truly poor could get their health insurance from Medicaid.   On the other hand, millions of healthy young Americans were choosing NOT to buy insurance because they preferred spending their money on other things, like education, child rearing, and housing.  This was no more of a social problem than the fact that few 30-year-olds save for their old age, while few 50-year-olds do not.  At 30, people have other concerns on their minds.   At most, a case might have been made for requiring that people get a high-deductible catastrophic health insurance policy, a bit like some states require car owners to have insurance that covers injuries their car may cause to other people.  Instead, Americans got Obamacare, a law whose pages must be measured by the kilogram.

9.  Denying the ability of medical insurance providers to differentiate insurance premiums based upon risk is idiotic and self-defeating.  It is like requiring that life insurance companies charge the same exact rates to 25-year-olds and 80-year-olds.  It simply ensures that the 25-year-olds will not want to buy life insurance and will probably refuse to buy it EVEN if they are charged a penalty for remaining uncovered by life insurance.  Indeed, such suppression of differential risk pricing is what lies behind much of the “uninsured” population “problem” and explains why these people have refused to buy insurance.  This suppression of differential pricing is a thinly disguised form of income and wealth redistribution.  It is as silly as requiring that non-smokers agree to pay higher insurance premiums in order to offset the high premiums that smokers would ordinarily be charged for coverage by the market.  Come to think of it, Obamacare contains THIS subsidy of smokers as well.

10.  A bureaucrat in Washington cannot effectively define the managerial principles and rules that would lead to the efficient functioning of an ice cream soda fountain outside of Washington.  Washington bureaucrats cannot deliver the mail with any semblance of efficiency or competence.  Why would anyone think they can create a system of regulations that will lead to the efficient functioning of thousands of medical providers?

The Declaration of Independence promises Americans they are free to pursue happiness.  It does not guarantee that they will be happy.  A governmental regulatory bureaucracy that set up regional exchanges to supervise consumer happiness and formulate definitions and regulations establishing the adequate amount of happiness would be an absurdity.  A set of rules that insisted that Americans have an entitlement to happiness, defined in the exact same way for all people as a “one size fits all” notion, without anyone bothering to contemplate how happiness is produced or what its costs of provision are, would be even more absurd.

So just why is Obamacare any less absurd than this?