Friday, January 01, 2010

2010 - What will Happen This Year?

The Significance of Two Thousand Ten
By Betty Freauf
January 9, 2010
Oregonians may have thought the significance of 2010 was because their beloved Ducks played the Ohio Buckeyes in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California on January 1, 2010. I saw the big hype and I remembered one of the diversionary tactics used by the globalists to bring in one world government noted in the Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars adopted by the elitist policy committee of Bilderberg Group during its first known meeting in 1954 was to keep the public entertainment below a sixth grade level. The few minutes I watched, I saw all those jocks out on the field and I wondered how many could write in cursive a coherent paragraph without the spell check and a computer. Later I read Rabbi Nachum Shifren’s article: A Warning to America’s Teachers where he asked, “Where is the teacher so confident and steadfast in principle, that can withstand the run-away train of junk-grades, given to take the pressure off due to community activists and football coaches meddling into the teacher’s grading system.”
When did this dumbing down process begin? Well, Col. Victor J. Fox in his 1958 book The Pentagon Case said the grading system is so vague these days that neither the children nor their parents know what progress the child is making. The student would receive a passing grade when he should have received failing grades long ago, which would have alerted us. Instead, he was passed along with no indication he didn’t even know his ABCs. He explains that printing and disjointed letters instead of the cursive or flowing handwriting that generations before were taught with copybooks slows the thinking process and the ability of the student to express thoughts articulately. And now with calculators, have the multiplication tables also become extinct? Col. Fox says the student has never learned the multiplication tables even up through the tens when in his day they were taught through the fifteens.
Today’s students rely way too much on all the new technology – that eye in the sky that gives us the Internet and if the cell phones came down would there be anarchy by the entire population? And now Ford is developing voice activated dashboard screens for its cars! One strong swish by the creator can knock that technology out of commission forever and our world would come to a stand still.
Christmas was busy again for shoppers looking for the best buys and those interviewed for the TV news were telling about the great buys they were getting and I thought, “Another diversionary tactic.” Christmas morning found 23- year old Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, an Islamic devotee attempting to blow up Delta Flight 253 over Detroit. There were no undercover air marshals on board so once again, alert passengers thwarted the explosion after the destructive device in his underwear malfunctioned burning him severely. While the news has had constant coverage about the Christmas morning attack, has anyone heard anything more about the Muslim who boarded another airplane 48 hours later and I believe purposely disobeyed the new rules of not being able to go to the bathroom an hour before landing? I doubt the guy was sick as he claimed. Passengers on planes are understandably having profound anxiety and it is this writer’s opinion that the second passenger was a deliberate plant to cause more anxiety and to test Barack’s resolve to get tough with the terrorists. So while the Barack administration continues to refuse profiling, it is demanding full body scans for all American airports but will the Muslim countries where many of these terrorists originate install them? Remember, Muslims are against exposing the human body. Political correctness has brought us to the politics of divisions and eventually the politics of destruction. A point of interest: It was in July 1934 that the first x-ray photo of the entire body was performed in Rochester, NY.
Another diversionary tactic occurred in Congress and the Senate trying to fulfill President Obama’s desire of passing some ridiculous health care reform bill just to be able to claim this as a “historic” event because no other president has been able to do. In 1965, Democrat President Lyndon Johnson and the Democrat Congress passed the Medicare and Medicaid entitlement programs established under the 1935 Social Security Act signed by Democrat president Franklin D. Roosevelt who said at the signing, “Social Security was a cornerstone in a structure which is being built but it is by no means complete.” Well, the house of cards has been built and now it is ready to collapse.
And at the height of the health care debates, President Barack Obama flew off to pick up his Nobel Peace Prize and later he flew to the Climate Conference in Copenhagen. And since God has made such fools out of former Vice President Al Gore and his global warming predictions by dropping huge amounts of snow in many states and completely paralyzing some, they now call it a climate conference. While many of Obama’s key players who are to protect us from terrorist attacks were Christmas vacationing, the president and his family and his many friends were also vacationing in Hawaii, which he claims has his birth state, when the airplane incident occurred. He eventually held press conferences admitting security lapses that allowed Umar to get on the plane but no one cut their vacations short.
But there was one thing that nearly slipped through the cracks on November 21, 2009 while America was preparing for Thanksgiving and a four-day holiday weekend and the beginning of Christmas shopping for many. Reuters News Service reported the European Parliament as its first permanent president selected Herman Van Rompuy, former Prime Minister of Belgium. In his acceptance speech he said, “2009 is also the first year of global governance, with the establishment of the G-20 in the middle of the financial crisis. The climate conference in Copenhagen is another step towards the global management of our planet.” The day following November 21, 2009, a resident in the United Kingdom wrote, “Well, the United Kingdom is now officially not a sovereign state any more. As of midnight last night, we became integrated into the European Federation…”
The late President Franklin Delano Roosevelt brazenly stated, “…If it happened, you can bet that we planned it that way.” This brings me to a Washington Post article dated again near to our busy Christmas season on December 16, 2001 that said Europe was moving towards a unified government. The leaders of the European Union had launched a constitutional convention to design a federated Europe that could govern more than half a billion people from Dublin to Dubrovnik before the end of the decade. And then the article went on to say, “The continent would be more united by, say 2010, than at any time since the European Empire. In terms of population and GDP, this enlarged European Union would be bigger and richer than the United States.” Its Euro is now the currency in demand as our dollar shrinks in value.
So while most people were sleeping, our country was being transformed. The Rotchschild Brothers of London said in a letter about their new banking scheme with fellow conspirators June 25, 1863, “the few who understand the system will either be so interested in its profits, or so dependent on its favors that there will be no opposition from that class. The great body of people mentally incapable of comprehending the tremendous advantages will bear its burden without complaint. This was being said before their takeover of the U.S. Banking system in 1913. Remember FDR’s words, nothing happens by accident.
Richard Hofstadter in his 1963 book The Progressive Movement 1900-1915 told that the Progressive Party’s 1912 platform provided the most ample and ambitious statement of the national legislative aims of Progressivism. It was particularly noteworthy for spelling out in detail a program of social legislation. While Teddy Roosevelt became president in 1904 as a Republican, he embraced the Progressive platform and then two life -altering events happened in 1913. Congress and Democrat President Woodrow Wilson gave us Sixteenth Amendment (Income tax) that was never ratified by the required number of states and on Christmas Eve that same Congress and President Woodrow Wilson created the unconstitutional Federal Reserve giving the powers to coin and regulate money over to private bankers. Democrat FDR on March 4, 1933 to April 12, 1945, created the now bankrupt Social Security system (FICA). Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson took Social Security from the Independent “Trust Fund” and put it into the General Fund so that Congress could steal it. The Revenue Act of 1971 with a companion measure to that year’s Federal Election Campaign Reform Act (FECA) was the first formal step on the road to taxpayer funded federal elections. And how can we have “revenue sharing” when we don’t have any revenue to share? Revenue sharing was basically Robin Hood in reverse. No one knows for certain but we could be nearing $100 trillion in entitlements.
Republican Richard Nixon became president in 1972 and gave us regional government –one step under world government. On the 12th of February 1972 he staffed each of these ten Federal Regional headquarters with the grant making agencies of the Federal Government. These grant- making agencies then had the authority of allocating so-called Revenue Sharing “free government money” to local units of the government who were willing to jump through the required hoops in order to receive these handouts. Those who control the funds control the policies in the application of these funds and at that time, local government entities then began to hire “grant writers”. The federal government was then in the subsidy and blackmail/intimidation business!
Not to be outdone, Republican President George W. Bush gave us the Prescription Drug program! These unconstitutional socialist programs in order for the U.S. to remain at least afloat a little while longer must be cut back and eventually eliminated. I suggest LIFO – Last In First Out for the sake of our children and grandchildren. It’s going to be painful but the cancer must be cut out. And our elected officials must sacrifice likewise.
To illustrate how the feds control the checkbook of states, two referendums requiring a “no” vote are due to be voted on in a few weeks in Oregon repealing a plethora of taxes the legislature passed in 2009. They are tricky worded ballot measures designed by a legislative committee to make uninformed voters say “Yes.” A letter to our local newspaper recommending a “yes” vote on Measure 66 and 67 while admitting Oregon is one of 10 states headed for bankruptcy still says more taxes is a fair way to sustain Oregon’s livability (many unconstitutional agencies). She chastises the opponents who want to cut services causing Oregon to lose matching federal funds for our schools that would increase unemployment, produce less revenue and dig our hole deeper. She sounds as though she works for some school district and doesn’t realize that the PERS system that she hopes to enjoy when she retires is also bankrupt and depending on stimulus money to keep it afloat.
Everything is moving rapidly. The nations of Europe are now one and any nation wishing to keep its sovereignty and unwilling to participate will be ostracized. In a deliberate attempt to dismantle our republic and sovereignty, without any Congressional oversight, the Security and Prosperity Partnership with Canada and Mexico was launched under Republican President George W. Bush with no fanfare in March 2005 at Waco, Texas envisioning the eventual economic and political merger of the three NAFTA nations. Readers will recall under Democrat President Bill Clinton and Republican Senate and Congress under House Speaker Newt Gingrich in 1994 (Newt may be planning to run for president) created the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Are we destined to follow the model used to merge the countries of Europe into the European Union? Then there is the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) also in the hopper.
It is interesting to learn that the original Roman Empire fell in the year 476 A.D. and no king or emperor was ever able to revive that empire. In 1534 King Henry VIII of England caused an even greater rift by breaking away from the Roman Catholic Church and starting the Church of England. Thus, there was a physical and a spiritual rift, a deadly wound, which seemed impossible to heal. When we add those numbers of 476 and 1534 together, we have the number 2010, the first full year of the revived Roman Empire.
2010 forecast sees more homeowners 'upside down' and 'under house arrest'
By Roger Yohem, Inside Tucson Business
Published on Friday, January 08, 2010
Thousands of five-year, interest-only adjustable rate mortgages will reset this year and next, dragging out the Tucson region’s rocky housing market recovery for another three years. That’s the estimated time it will take to sell off a second wave of foreclosures caused by these mortgages that were wildly popular during the 2005-2006 housing boom.
The 6,000 foreclosures on the market today were caused by a huge number of three-year ARMs sold to homebuyers from 2004 to early 2006. The five-year version already has begun to add inventory to the market, according to analyst John Strobeck of Bright Future Business Consultants in his Tucson Area Housing Forecast for 2010 and Beyond.
“It will take at least through 2013 to clear out the foreclosures that will be coming on the market through 2011,” said Stobeck. “Government programs have not done enough to stem the upcoming wave of foreclosures.”
As interest-only adjustable rate mortgages reset, payments typically increased $2,000 to $3,000 a month, explained Strobeck. At the same time, values fell, making a $220,000 home worth $160,000, for example.
For these borrowers, being “under water” makes it hard to refinance. It is a situation that caused many people “to simply walk away and allow the bank to foreclose,” said Strobeck.
Foreclosures began to appear in 2006 and now make up 30 percent of the resale market.
Elliot Eisenberg, senior economist for the National Association of Home Builders, said that until there is sustained employment growth, housing markets in places such as Southern Arizona, Nevada and Florida will struggle.
“People are stuck until the jobs come back,” Eisenberg said. “Many are afraid they’ll lose their jobs soon. Many are one payment away from default. They can’t sell because their home’s not worth what they paid. They have no money to move away. They can’t go anywhere, it’s like being under house arrest.”
For the foreseeable future, Eisenberg agrees with Strobeck that Arizona will continue to have one of the highest foreclosure rates in the nation.
Marshall Vest, forecasting project manager at the University of Arizona Eller College of Business, has estimated that Arizona’s unemployment rate will remain at close to 10 percent — the latest from the Arizona Department of Commerce puts it at 8.9 percent — and not fall to a manageable level of 6 percent until 2014.
It’s a classic good news/bad news situation. Additional foreclosures sink all home values. That’s good news for buyers and property taxpayers. But it’s bad news for sellers and home builders.
Since April, foreclosure sales have leveled off at a high rate of about 330 units per month. This has brought some investors back into the market, “snapping up the best bargains,” said Strobeck. Likewise, those with the financial means to purchase move-up homes are finding great deals.
Throughout Pima County, foreclosures have pushed most housing prices back to 2004 levels. To compete, new home builders will continue offering new products priced below $150,000 for the next few years. Currently, 22 percent of all new-construction sales are in this price range, according to Strobeck.
Until there is a turnaround, new home builders will be in “a subsistence mode to maintain their corporate identity,” he said. They have to compete in a market with extremely small profit margins. Companies that adjust will sell enough new homes “to keep their doors open.”
For this year, the extended and modified federal government housing tax credit will attract some buyers. Most purchases, however, will be foreclosures, continuing to make up about 30 percent of all sales.
This will keep the resale market in a much better position than new construction that traditionally held a market share of one out of every three homes. Strobeck predicts it will slip to half that amount or lower.
“New construction, single-family detached homes will not be able to be built to compete with the pricing of resales and foreclosures,” he said.
Meanwhile, mortgage rates are expected to remain low and affordable. Inflation is the wildcard that could stall housing’s upturn and the entire regional economy.
In 2009, about 2,050 new home permits were issued in the Tucson metropolitan area. Activity peaked in 2005 at 11,762 permits. Looking forward, Strobeck estimates that permit numbers will be relatively steady until the glut of foreclosures ends.
For 2010, he estimates permits to increase slightly to 2,100 increasing to around 2,130 in 2011. Out into the future he is projecting 2,200 permits in 2012; 2,700 permits in 2013; 3,100 permits in 2014; and 3,600 permits in 2015.
Strobeck will release the complete details of his projections at his 13th annual New Construction Review, Analysis and Forecast at 3 p.m., Feb. 4, at the Westin La Paloma Resort and Spa, 3800 E. Sunrise Drive. Joining him as presenters at the event will be the UA’s Vest; R.L. Brown of R.L. Brown Housing Reports in Phoenix; and Jim Marian, of Chapman Lindsey Commercial Real Estate.
Southwest Gas is the headline sponsor. The cost for the event is $20 per person. To make reservations, contact Strobeck by e-mail:
Going global for TIThe brokers who are marketing the vacant, high-tech complex near Tucson International Airport, formerly used by Texas Instruments, are “going global” in their efforts to land a new tenant for the 17.6-acre site. Already, prospective companies have been contacted in India, the Middle East and Europe, in addition to firms in the United States that are looking to establish operations in the Southwest.
The site’s six buildings cover 253,393 square feet of space. And since the complex features 63,230 square feet of “clean room” space, targeted industries include semiconductor and solar manufacturing, pharmaceutical and biological products, electronic equipment, data processing, and technologically advanced research and development operations.
The property, at 6730 S. Tucson Blvd., is being marketed by Binswanger, an international real estate company headquartered in Philadelphia. Doug Heller, vice president for Binswanger in Phoenix, is handling the listing.
The sales price is listed at $12.9 million, or $51 per square foot. That price “is pretty appealing for this type of complex. It should get the attention of companies needing a facility like this,” said Heller. Construction of a new, comparably equipped, high-tech building would cost $400 to $500 a square foot, he added.
The property also has 3,500 square feet of lab space, 151,200 square feet of office space, compressed air-lines throughout, 7 megawatts of power, 8-inch concrete floors, and five shipping bays/doors.
The complex, built in phases from 1965 to 2000, originally was the site for the Tucson-based Burr-Brown Corporation, which was acquired by Texas Instruments in 2000 for $7.6 billion. Primarily, the site was used to manufacture semi-conductor wafers.
Texas Instruments vacated the site in August 2009 after consolidating manufacturing operations to Texas and moving 344 design and test engineers, technicians and control personnel to office buildings at 5401 and 5421 E. Williams Blvd. in Williams Centre.
Best and Worst Bonuses of 2009
Dan Collins
I once worked for a newspaper in New Haven that gave us holiday bonuses in the form of gift certificates for turkeys at the local supermarket. The program was canceled after we all got together one year and gave our turkey certificates to striking workers at Yale.
Bonuses never did loom large in the newspaper business, where holiday surprises have tended to come more along the line of mass layoffs.
But even when I didn't get them, I was generally happy for people who did. Most of them aren't using them to buy a third vacation house. Hewitt Associates, a consulting firm that produces surveys on this sort of thing, said the median holiday bonus this year will only amount to about $250. And only 24 percent of firms are planning to give them out at all, down from 42 percent the year before.
It's the economy, of course. But rage over Wall Street excesses has also tainted the whole bonus concept.
To put the situation in perspective, I thought I'd rank some of the best-publicized bonuses that were given out in 2009, on a scale of one to ten. One would be a nod of affirmation, two is a shrug. By the time you get to ten, angry peasants are waving pitchforks and torches.
1. Army Enlistment Bonuses. (Signing up for a three-year stint as an explosive ordnance disposal specialist gets you $15,000. If you can speak Arabic, add $10,000.)
2. The $250,000 actor Matthew Fox got to extend his Lost contract.
3. $42,000 for players on the losing team in the Super Bowl.
4. $22,500 for players on the losing team in the Pro Bowl.
5. $1 million from Ford trucks for the top professional bull rider of the year.
6. Retention bonuses given to innocent bystanders in places like AIG's financial products unit, who have agreed to stay and unwind the mess left behind by their evil brethren, until everything is cleaned up and they become unemployed.
7. Retention bonus of $7,700 that was paid in March to a really excellent AIG kitchen worker.
8. Ridiculously large signing bonuses for the new brooms who are supposed to sweep out the old culture of excess, like the $1.95 million Ross J. Kari got for agreeing to become the new chief financial officer of Freddie Mac, which has received $51 billion in taxpayer bailout money.
9. Ridiculously large bonuses handed out by corporations that aren't on Wall Street.
10. Ridiculously large bonuses handed out by corporations that aren't on Wall Street that laid off a member of your family in 2009.
State of the Republic 2009
Part 1 of 2
By Marilyn M. Barnewall
December 30, 2009
This year of 2009 ends and 2010 begins. How did America do this year? I always like to write a year-end review. Since this has been a particularly dismal year economically and since this will be my last article for a few months, the following words are my way of saying “if you know this, you’ll know what to expect in 2010.”
“How did we do?” can best be answered by a multimedia presentation from the American Observer titled The Geography of a Recession. It takes less than two minutes to watch. If you really want a factual overview of America as of November 2009, watch it.
No matter how many times he claims everything is George Bush’s fault, Barack Obama was President of the United States for all but a few days of 2009. The lack of economic recovery is his. It’s true that he inherited problems – just as Bush inherited a recession from Bill Clinton. I’m not a fan of the neo-conservative (liberal lite) Bush, but he did a far better job with a sagging economy than the present White House occupant.
It is apparent no one understands how impossible is the concept of using debt to get out of debt. And, in my opinion, much of what has happened constitutes fraud. Some call it treason.
At the very least, it appears to me the law was violated by the administrations of both George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Writers often talk about what Congress and other federal officials – like the FDIC and the Comptroller of the Currency – have or have not done, how they violated the law. No precise law is ever cited, however. As we end the year, I cite one. I’m confident there are others.
TITLE 12, CHAPTER 16, §1831o. Do a search for it under The Prompt Corrective Action Law (PCA). Cornell University’s law school has a good overview online, too.
Our current Secretary of the Treasury, Timothy Geithner, once said that he didn’t “have the power” to close down the big banks. Actually, both Geithner and former Treasury Secretary Henry (Hank) Paulson broke the law by not complying with Title 12, Chapter 16, §1831o.
Under 1831o (as in oh), it says:
“(3), Conservatorship, receivership or other action required
(A) In general
“The appropriate Federal banking agency shall, not later than 90 days after an insured depository institution becomes critically undercapitalized –
(i) appoint a receiver (or, with the concurrence of the Corporation, a conservator) for the institution; or,
(ii) take such other action as the agency determines, with the concurrence of the Corporation, would better achieve the purpose of this section, after documenting why the action would better achieve the purpose of this section.”
For nationally-chartered banks like Bank of America, Citibank, Chase Manhattan, Wells Fargo – the too big to jail guys that required TARP funds – the “appropriate federal banking agency” is the Comptroller of the Currency (which reports to Treasury). It is likely Treasury Secretary Geithner would respond to a question regarding his lack of attention to PCA by saying he chose alternative (ii). If so, that means he has, on file, dated within 90 days of the identified under-capitalization at BofA, Wells Fargo, Wachovia, etc., documented evidence why the action he and the FDIC and the Federal Reserve System took better achieved the purpose of this section of Title 12, Chapter 16, §1831o. In other words, under the law he had to document why a bailout better protected the American people from loss than bank closures. Such documentation would, however, have exposed a violation of the law.
Concern was raised about the lack of business experience among Obama’s Cabinet members when the appointments were made. Most of us were concerned about a Treasury Secretary who didn’t pay his own personal income taxes but was put in charge of making sure we paid ours. Maybe Congress thought it was playing a role in To Catch a Thief? Timothy Geithner is a poor little rich kid who has never been anything other than a bureaucrat – and not a very good one, at that.
In 2009, we had the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 ($152 billion estimated) signed by Bush on February 13, 2008. We all got our $300 or $600 checks in the mail. We were supposed to spend money and stimulate the economy. The government still hasn’t figured out that an unemployed populace doesn’t support a consumer/credit-driven economy.
Then we had TARP – a $700 billion revolving line of credit to the Treasury Department. Remember that a revolving credit line may be paid down, but there is always credit available up to $700 billion limit. It’s like your credit card. You pay it down each month, but you can always take it back up to the limit. This was not a one time loan, as most Americans appear to believe. George Bush signed TARP October 3, 2008.
TARP funds ($85 billion) were used to buy American International Group (AIG) out of trouble and they, in turn, bailed out Goldman Sachs and various other Wall Street and international investment banks that believe capitalism means them taking illogical (and illegal) risks and taxpayers paying for any and all losses. It’s called “fraud.”
Then Obama took his Oath of Office (twice, to make sure he got it right at least once) and signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (AARA). A little over $750 billion in taxpayer debt was committed in February 2009. In March, Obama signed the Term Asset Lending Facility (TALF) created by the privately-owned Federal Reserve System and another $1 trillion debt was piled on the backs of American taxpayers.
There are other examples, but being a proponent of my own advice to not look at issues and to seek core problems, the above represent issues. What is the problem?
The problem is a lack of respect for the Rule of Law. A second core problem is the lack of respect and treasonous rejection of our Constitution. The Supremes can call it a “living document” all they want, but it doesn’t change the clearly stated, clearly defined limits placed on what government in America is permitted and not permitted to do. It is in black and white for anyone who can read.
One of the biggest concerns I have about Barack Obama and 2010 has to do with the advisors with whom he surrounds himself. His choices are a reflection of him – not just personally, but intellectually, morally and politically. The public may have elected the useful idiots that serve in Congress, but Obama chose his advisors.
I recently wrote an article quoting concerns expressed over Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood’s lack of business experience. His lack of business acumen was more than evident in the non-business plan he published in 2009 about high-speed rail. A few days ago, Janet Napolitano of Homeland Security said on Sunday that regarding Flight 253, airport security systems worked.
It was such a stupid statement, she admitted on Monday the system didn’t work. A system doesn’t work when someone boards an airplane with the explosives – and sets the aircraft afire in an attempt to ignite them. I’ve mentioned the education czar in previous articles – the one who thinks young women might raise their self-images by becoming prostitutes.
This is what your tax dollars supports! Wake up!
Lawrence H. Summers, Obama’s chief economic advisor served as President of Harvard University until 2006. While there, Summers approved a decision to use swaps to pay for to the university’s expansion. A Bloomberg headline last week said: “Harvard Swaps Are So Toxic Even Summers Won’t Explain.” Harvard had to agree to pay banks a total of almost $1 billion to terminate them.
Prior to taking his Oath of Office in July 1999 as Secretary of the Treasury, Larry Summers was Under Secretary for International Affairs and Deputy Secretary of the Treasury. He served as Chief Economist of the World Bank from 1991 to 1993. Before coming to Washington, Summers taught Political Economy at Harvard.
His background is very impressive, but his actions suggest a total lack of common sense – and a lack of business expertise.
Though I never forget that Paul Volcker is a founding member of the Trilateral Commission (as is Alan Greenspan), at least he understands how to play chess. He thinks three moves ahead. He understands if he takes one action, other actions will follow. Does Obama listen to Volcker? No.
He listens to Larry Summers who just caused Harvard to pay almost $1 billion to get out of lousy investments approved by him while he was Harvard’s President.
Intelligence is not wisdom and does not suggest good judgment. Those who lack wisdom seldom realize this truth and almost always lack common sense. Perhaps they confuse “shrewd” or “educated” with “wise.”
Following are the names of people who advise the President about health care, taxation, bank regulations, unemployment, economic stimulation, and a myriad of other things that impact each of our lives, daily:
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. Central Intelligence Agency Director Leon E. Panetta Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel Director of National Economic Council Lawrence H. Summers Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson National Security Adviser James L. Jones Office of Management and Budget Director Peter R. Orszag Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates Secretary of Education Arne Duncan Secretary of Energy Steven Chu Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood Secretary of Treasury Timothy F. Geithner Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki United Nations Ambassador Susan E. Rice United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk White House Coordinator of Energy and Climate Policy Carol M. Browner White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs
As the French say, “C'est la vie.” That’s life. I don’t know how to say “That’s what we’re stuck with!” in French.
Here is a New Year prediction regarding the above-listed names. I went outside and stuck my finger in the air – easy to see which way the wind is blowing. The snow -- caused by global warming -- is falling in the direction the wind blows it. The wind whispered a 2010 secret: "Geithner is gone; Paul Volcker will return."
Dream on? Maybe. Maybe not.
Part 2 of 2
By Marilyn M. Barnewall
December 30, 2009
What’s going to happen in 2010? readers are very well informed. Letters from readers tell me so. Writers like C. J. Williams, Selwyn Duke, Devvy Kidd, Jon Christian Ryter, Edwin Viera, Chuck Baldwin and many others use their writing skills to achieve that objective. I’ve noticed something else, though. Some people want to be informed but don’t want to do anything to implement change. Being informed is enough for them.
Well, if you don’t want to lose your country, being informed is not enough. Attending Tea parties isn’t enough. Like it or not, want it or not, Americans need to deploy. People – including you and me – must realize, like our troops around the world, that we have a mission. Our mission is to make sure that when our guys come home from the Battles of the Sandbox they return to the same nation they swore to defend to the death, not a socialist/fascist country, but a Republic.
One sure thing about the economy is this: Barring a miracle, there is no recovery possible.
The bubble created by government bailout borrowing will likely burst this spring. The pin that pricks that bubble will likely be the mortgage mess and foreclosures expected from the next round of Adjusted Rate Mortgage (ARMs). The failure of government’s financing programs for already foreclosed homes and homeowners in danger of foreclosure will also be a factor.
Walk down Memory Lane with me. The primary problem that caused the real estate bubble to burst occurred when Bill Clinton put the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) on steroids. CRA, or 12 U.S.C. 2901, was a mistake from its beginning in 1977, making mortgage loans available to people, mostly minorities, who could not afford to repay them. These bad loans were bought by investment companies, formatted into derivatives, leveraged up to 40 times and were sold internationally.
The government has taken over the banking industry (the auto industry, too, and is working on the insurance industry), and blames bankers for not making more mortgage loans. Hmmm. Does that make sense? It’s a little like the car czar telling Government Motors to get a specific model on the production line, providing bad management incapable of doing what he tells them, then complaining that workers aren’t getting the job done. Whose fault is it? The car czar’s poor management skills and lack of auto industry experience? Or is it the fault of workers on the production line who do what management tells them?
Banks cannot loan the public’s money to people unable to repay. For some reason, Tim Geithner and Ben Bernanke don’t understand this basic principle of commercial banking loan repayment.
In Part I of this article, I suggested that the people with whom Barack Obama has surrounded himself lack business experience and common sense. The “let us refinance your mortgage and keep you from foreclosure” programs are evidence of it. Only one in three homeowners who signed up for the mortgage relief program returned the required paperwork. Why do you think that is? Probable causes include lack of income qualification for the loan size required (meaning they didn’t qualify for the original mortgage loan and without CRA would not have gotten it). Remember. The Community Reinvestment Act forced banks and mortgage companies to lend to unqualified borrowers.
The loss of job(s) within the family unit is another reason. Anyone who thinks the housing crisis can be solved while unemployment runs rampant is naïve, dumb, lives in an unreal/synthetic world and doesn’t realize the damage he/she is doing to people in the real world. Why is it such a hard lesson for liberals to learn that life doesn’t happen as they think it should? Life moves logically. The Laws of Nature cannot be bypassed because someone has a social or political dream.
How hard is it to realize that Step A will be followed by Steps B, C, and D – as exemplified by the history of the world? Only those too arrogant to realize they cannot change nature’s laws make such foolish assumptions.
Treasury Department statistics through October show less than five percent of homeowners who applied for mortgages under the Obama Administration’s new program completed required trial periods and achieved permanently lowered mortgage payments. And, Treasury says it expects up to 40 percent of those borrowers to re-default within five years.
The numbers do not support the rosy conclusion that problems in the housing market have been solved. Over 14 percent of ALL mortgage holders have a record of late payments or are in foreclosure. Because unemployment remains high, that number is expected to keep going up. Some statisticians say that figure is closer to 20 percent. That’s one-fifth of homeowners who are in trouble!
So what is the mission upon which we must embark to save our nation?
Start with the Tea Parties (hereinafter referred to as “TP”). Too many people who, for the first time, attended a group meeting to protest government misbehavior are being let down by poor management skills of those who kindly sponsored the original TPs. Too few people understand how to organize effectively. They don’t understand how to make their groups achievement-oriented at the local, then the county, then the state level. In my own city, politicians who are responsible for the problems are invited to speak at TP events.
What can TP groups do? How can they achieve objectives most beneficial to the greatest number? The people who come to a TP seek solutions to problems created by government. How are they best served?
Start with the problems we could face as unemployment and home ownership plague our economy. Will there be martial law? A lot of people think so. If so, food, reliable communication, heat, water, health care, security and shelter all become key issues. Is your TP group doing anything to effectively deal with these issues? Attendees can be given the opportunity to become active in one of many planning groups. Party sponsors may want to ask attendees for suggestions about other areas of concern.
A group meeting is scheduled for each suggested category. A leader and board are elected by each. Group volunteers discuss food availability (or heat alternatives or health care resources) during an emergency. The group creates a plan that makes alternatives available to each TP member. Maybe, for a small cost, a building can be rented, secured, and lockers provided so extra canned goods and dried foods can be placed at a central location. Maybe those who can tomatoes each summer will volunteer a few extra quarts. Maybe ten suggestions to provide food during an emergency result from that group’s meetings. That plan is presented for approval to all Tea Party members. The same thing occurs with other committees… communications, heat, water, health care, shelter, security, etc.
All group leaders in the city where the TP resides meet. All have developed plans. Merging information from all resident groups living in that city creates a total plan. That merged plan goes to the county level, then to the state. At the end of the process, all TP groups within the state are working from a compatible plan for common objectives.
TP gatherings occur monthly or quarterly and reports on progress are made. All group members find out the Communications Group has enlisted a printer to join them. If the Internet fails or is taken over by government, TP members will have volunteers deliver important information to them. They learn there are four health care professionals who can help treat members if the medical system falls apart. They find out the protections available to them as Tea Party members. They will be protected from worst possible scenarios. As each TP grows in size, so does its resources – and, soon, no one is dependent upon government for basic survival needs.
I didn’t mention the TP government action committee. Its job is to find the best possible political candidates… not the ones who have no core beliefs but, like trained clowns, have learned to say “I oppose abortion; I support lower taxes; I believe in the Constitution; I believe in smaller government; etc.” Members of this group make sure local political parties support TP political candidate choices – or lose the support of a large group of people who will actively work to defeat the political party’s candidates. And work you must.
To see how much TP members can accomplish, read how they took over the Republican Party in Nevada. For other insights about making TPs meaningfully productive, see this American Liberty Alliance article. Before things can be cleaned up nationally; you must first sweep your local political floors. Everything, but especially politics, begins at home.
TP plans can create the potential for small business growth.
This will be the year for independent businesses to grow and succeed. Not all small businesses. The “buy what you need, not what you want” and “buy American” philosophies will impact the success or failure of new companies. Remember, more than 90 percent of Americans are employed by independent businesses, not publicly traded behemoths. That is likely why we are seeing an attack against independent commercial banks. That, in turn, results in failed independent businesses. To prevent this is a major part of our battle.
Clean, filtered water made available to the public, for example, is a business that could thrive – if local TP members support it. So, too, is access to heating or cooling sources a good idea. These things should be supported during the “good” times so they will be available if our worst nightmares come true. Can a TP member who owns (or will start) a propane company be recruited? Can a mechanically skilled TP member start a company that creates less expensive solar panels for group members? Can a licensed electrician be found among TP members to activate the system and get members off of the utility company’s grid? Though it may require some recruiting, probably.
I apologize for the length of this article, but it is my last for awhile. I have a book to finish. I’ve let too many other things get me off track. When it’s done, I’ll be back.
Until then, keep your powder dry and take advantage of the opportunities the spirit of the people of America makes possible.
God bless us – every one – and God bless our Great Nation and the patriots, known and unknown, who are trying to save Her.
The National Anxiety Center Lists Top Ten Fears
2010's Top Anxieties
By Alan Caruba Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Founded in 1990, The National Anxiety Center, a clearinghouse for information about “scare campaigns” designed to influence public opinion and policy, has periodically issued a list of the top anxieties Americans will experience in the coming year.
“The list,” says founder Alan Caruba, “is subjective; based on an analysis of the past year’s headlines and anticipated events. It incorporates on-going, often long term concerns that Americans have expressed.”
1. Out of Control Government Spending. It is evident to everyone except the White House and Congress that America cannot spend its way out of the deepest recession since the Great Depression, but both have embraced programs that will increase the level of taxation facing Americans, while engaging in “stimulus” programs that only stimulate more anxiety. The lack of job creation in the private sector will be the major anxiety Americans encounter in 2010.
2. Iran. It is evident to Americans and the world that Iran is intent on acquiring nuclear weapons that can be used in a missile attack on Israel and which can reach Europe and other nations throughout the Middle East. The only option available is an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities and there is considerable anxiety regarding its timing and outcome.
3. Afghanistan War. Eight years after the initial effort to rid Afghanistan of the Taliban, Americans are war weary and increasingly wondering about the benefit of further involvement, its costs, and the possibility that leaving would embolden Islamist enemies there, in Iraq, and worldwide. The Middle East remains a powder keg of instability.
4. The Economy. There is anxiety concerning how long it will take for the American economy to recover from the housing and credit bubble created by Congressional programs such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. No steps have been taken to eliminate these programs and, indeed, other federal programs have been introduced to assist imprudent mortgage holders already in default.
5. Inflation. The raising of the nation’s debt limit, the printing of vast amounts of paper currency by the Federal Reserve, and other comparable actions portend an inflation of prices and a possible default. Moody’s Investor Service has warned both the U.S. and British governments they are in peril of losing their triple-A ratings.
6. Medicare. Medicare, like Social Security, will be insolvent within a few years and Americans of all ages are worried, not only about solutions to this prospect, but about proposals to vastly expand Medicare at the most inopportune time.
7. Illegal Immigration and Amnesty. The drain on the nation’s economy and problems associated with illegal immigration, now estimated to number more than 12 million, as well as yet recently proposed amnesty program continue to worry Americans.
8. Education. The continued failure of the nation’s school systems to meet international standards of scholastic achievement has resulted in the decline in the ability of American’s children’s to acquire basic skills and the knowledge required to compete in a global economy.
9. Diet and Health. The growing number of overweight and obese Americans is a personal and national concern for the overall health of everyone struggling with weight problems and their potential for diabetes and other diseases.
10. American Culture. The increasing vulgarity found in films, on television, in music, fashion, and other elements of American culture remains a concern for many, particularly as it affects the younger generation.
“The good news is that more Americans are no longer concerned about global warming and carbon dioxide as they become aware that the claims justifying these fears are based on deliberately falsified computer models and the fact that the nation and the planet are now a decade into a natural cooling cycle,” says Caruba.
“2010, the end of the first decade of the 21st century, is likely to be seen in retrospect as a tipping point that will determine either a return to traditional standards of fiscal prudence,” says Caruba, “or will plunge the nation and the world into a Depression of cataclysmic proportions.”
2010: "The Year of Severe Economic Contraction"
By Mike Whitney
\Global Research, December 15, 2009
Upbeat reports in the financial media, belie the effects of the ongoing credit contraction. Massive injections of central bank liquidity have prevented the collapse of financial markets, but have done little to ease the deleveraging of households or stimulate activity the broader economy. The crisis has stripped $13 trillion in equity from working families who now find their access to credit either cut off or severely curtailed by the same banks that received hefty taxpayer-funded bailouts. The fiscal strangulation of the millions of people who are no longer considered "creditworthy" is progressively weakening demand and spreading pessimism across all income levels. Growing public desperation was the focus of a special weekend report by Bloomberg News:
"Americans have grown gloomier about both the economy and the nation's direction over the past three months even as the U.S. shows signs of moving from recession to recovery. Almost half the people now feel less financially secure than when President Barack Obama took office in January, a Bloomberg National Poll shows.
The economy is the country's top concern, with persistently high unemployment the greatest threat the public sees. Eight of 10 Americans rate joblessness a high risk to the economy in the next two years, outranking the federal budget deficit, which is cited by 7 of 10. An increase in taxes is named as a high risk by almost 6 of 10.
Fewer than 1 in 3 Americans think the economy will improve in the next six months....Only 32 percent of poll respondents believe the country is headed in the right direction, down from 40 percent who said so in September." (Bloomberg)
The near-delirious optimism that followed the 2008 presidential election has fizzled in less than 12 months. While the policies of the Obama administration have improved Wall Street's prospects for record profits and lavish bonuses, ordinary working people continue to fight to keep their jobs and maintain their standard of living. Recent data show that household debt which surged during the boom years is being pared back at a historic pace. Household debt to disposable income has plummeted from 136 percent to 122 percent in a little more than a year, leaving many families with little to spend at the malls or shopping centers.
Severe retrenchment has triggered a shift towards personal thriftiness which is reducing economic activity and strengthening deflationary pressures. 2010 is likely to be even worse, as mushrooming foreclosures and commercial real estate defaults force banks to slash lending accelerating the rate of decline. This is from Bloomberg:
"Foreclosure filings in the U.S. will reach a record for the second consecutive year with 3.9 million notices sent to homeowners in default, RealtyTrac Inc. said. This year's filings will surpass 2008's total of 3.2 million as record unemployment and price erosion batter the housing market...
Foreclosure filings exceeded 300,000 for the ninth straight month in November, RealtyTrac said today. A weak labor market and tight credit are "formidable headwinds" for the economy, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said in a Dec. 7 speech in Washington. The 7.2 million jobs lost since the recession began in December 2007 are the most of any postwar economic slump, Labor Department data show. Unemployment, at 10 percent last month, won't peak until the first quarter, Quigley said." (Bloomberg)
The Obama administration's $787 billion stimulus pushed GDP into positive territory for the first time in more than a year, but the maximum impact has already been felt. President Obama--under advice from his chief advisors-- has shifted his focus from soaring unemployment to long-term deficits. Additional stimulus will be no more than $200 billion, of which, a mere $50 billion will go towards jobs initiatives. At the same time, Fed chair Ben Bernanke will terminate the quantitative easing (QE) program which kept long-term interest rates low while providing financing for the housing market. When the program ends, rates will rise, housing prices will tumble, and liquidity will drain from the system. The end of QE coupled with dwindling stimulus ensures that economy will slide back into recession in the 2nd or 3rd Quarter of 2010.
Policymakers have decided to create conditions that are favorable to financial sector consolidation and the further privatization of public assets. The economy is being strangled by design.
Here's economist Mark Thoma explaining why consumption will not return to pre-crisis levels:
"For the immediate future and likely for much longer than that, slow consumption growth is expected. One way that could change is if the government implements a successful jobs program or uses some other means to increase household income (e.g. a payroll tax cut), and households spend rather than save the extra income..., but the political environment makes a jobs program or further fiscal policy action highly unlikely.
Similarly...the Fed is anxious to unwind its massive policy intervention, not extend it, so monetary policy is unlikely to help much either. Since monetary and fiscal policy authorities are unwilling to provide further help, slow growth is the best outcome we're likely to get." ("Will Consumption Growth Return to Its Pre-Recession Level?" Mark Thoma,
Along with flagging consumption, economists Antonio Fatas and Ilian Mihov show why both investment and employment will not rebound in the way that many bullish analysts expect. By tracking the rate of recovery in the last 5 recessions, the two economists show that demand will remain flat for a prolonged period of time, precipitating a "jobless" and "investmentless" recovery. Their research supports additional stimulus to reduce the output gap and engage the labor force in productive activity. The administration's policies are the exact opposite of the majority of professional economists who believe that deficits need to increase to effect overcapacity and underutilization. Obama is deliberately steering the economy into a double-dip recession.
While financial institutions have been propped up with zero-rates, myriad lending facilities and boatloads of Fed liquidity, the real economy continues to on a downward path. As households rebalance accounts and increase savings, the signs of distress are becoming more apparent. In Europe, the ECB and IMF have begun to use the financial crisis to wrest control of the budgets of deficits-plagued nations to apply business-friendly austerity measures. The economic meltdown--that was generated by overleveraged banks trading dodgy investment paper--is now being used to assert corporate/bank control over sovereign nations. Greece, Ireland, Iceland, Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal and Spain are all presently in the crosshairs of neoliberal restructuring. Surely, the same policies will be applied within the United States under the guidance of supply-side economist and chief advisor to the president, Lawrence Summers. Thus, in 2010, economic contraction will continue to force state and local governmnets to lay off millions of more workers while public assets and services are made available at firesale prices to private industry.
Debt deflation and deleveraging will continue into 2011, while foreclosures, personal bankruptcies and defaults continue to mount. The public's frustration with ineffective government policies, is likely to change from pessimism to rage on short notice. The prospect of social unrest or sporadic incidents of violence can no longer be excluded.