"The most significant threat to our national security is our debt," Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, August 27,2010


Monday, September 30, 2013

Public Assets

Who owns the Grand Canyon?  How about the road you use to get your kids to school?  To work?  When you go on vacation?

Who owns the sidewalks in your town or village or city?  Sewers?  Water supply lines?  Treatment plants?

If you live in a medium or large city, and the airport is not privately owned, who owns it?

By “owns it” we mean has the right to sell it or borrow against its value?  We know if we own something we can sell it – or pawn it – or mortgage it – or lease it out.  We can even give it away.

Americans have multiple claims on various public assets.  First and foremost we are Americans and the United States owns a lot of assets.  We are also citizens of either a state or a district or a protectorate and those entities also own a lot of assets.  Ditto for our cities/villages/towns and our counties and our school districts and park districts. 

All of these public entities hold title to lots of public assets.  Mostly, our biggest owned asset is land and everything beneath the surface.

Can these public assets be sold or pawned or mortgaged or given away without the citizens having a say-so?

The most significant asset any governmental entity has is its power to tax – future tax receipts.  That asset is the basis of the municipal bond market – lenders will turn their money over to a government entity today because they know that the government will be able to forcibly remove taxpayer funds forever – or at least until the tax base (people and property) leave, die or just go broke – see Detroit.

But there are some catches with taxes – one is called elections. Taxpayers have this nasty habit of getting rid of politicians who raise taxes or find new ways to collect fees and other forms of revenues from taxpayers.  Not so though with public assets.  Those deals can be very subtle – not noticed – behind the scenes.  The politicians can get away with disposing of public assets with little or no exposure.  They are doing it now – as you read these words.

No one ever said the recently retired mayor Daley of Chicago was bright as in smart, intelligent or savvy.  No one ever said he was honest – not corrupt.  No one ever said he was clever in a strategic way – what he was and many did say this was that he was a machine politician who kept jobs under his control to feed out to those who did his bidding.  Ditto for contracts for city goods and services – just do his bidding you might get a contract.  Ditto for votes – if you wanted something as simple as garbage pickup – do his bidding.

What did he do when it came to all the public employees and all their salaries and all their benefits and all their pensions?  Well, after he raised taxes to the point that some neighborhoods were collapsing and after he raised fees to the point where there was no proportionality between the cost of the fee and the purpose of the fee and after he raised fines everyway conceivable – cameras and $200 parking fines and so on, what did he do?

He sold public assets.  He actually sold the city’s parking meters – he sold the future revenue stream, for 75 years.  Now go back a few paragraphs – do you remember what no one ever said about his brain power?  Daley got taken to the cleaners by some smarty pants bankers and investors who tied his shorts in a knot while still on his stubby behind.  They gave him pennies on the dollar for Chicago’s parking meters and then the voters found out that he was a chump.  So what did he do?  He quit – retired – took a gigantic pension and left the taxpayers with a 75 year lousy parking meter deal.  Oh, he did one more thing – the badly discounted proceeds he got for the parking meters?  He spent it before he left.  To keep the minions that work for the city happy for a few more weeks.

In the Detroit bankruptcy – underway right now – the unions are trying to get their hands on every public asset and convert it to pay their pensions and other claims.  They are even trying to get the art collection accumulated over 100 years – in many cases donated to the city by donors who wished those assets to be forever available to the citizens for their viewing and enjoyment.  The unions want the cash – they have hired lawyers to get the assets and then cash the assets in.

As our towns and cities and states run out of money, bad actors like Daley will sell assets and stick the citizens with bad deals.  Some will even benefit directly – others will do what Daley did – try to keep the public employee unions happy for a few more months and then cash in on their pension and leave.  It is happening in many towns and cities this very minute.

There oughta be a law against any politician, representative, bureaucrat, even a stupid mayor, from selling any public asset, anywhere, anytime.  They don’t belong to them – they belong to us, and our kids, and their kids.  Does your city, state, park district have such a law?  Does your country?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A Constitutional Crisis?

As always, let’s define the term – constitutional crisis (cc) – and see if that assists our analysis of the topic: 

A constitutional crisis is a situation that the legal system's constitution other basic principles of operation appear unable to resolve; it often results in a breakdown in the orderly operation of government. Often, generally speaking, a constitutional crisis is a situation in which separate factions within a government disagree about the extent to which each of these factions hold sovereignty. Most commonly, constitutional crises involve some degree of conflict between different branches of government (e.g., executive, legislature, and/or judiciary), or between different levels of government in a federal system (e.g., state and federal governments).

Source: Wikipedia

So, yes, America could be looking at a cc, as defined above.

Where does one usually find a cc?  Is such a situation unique to America?  Well, in answering these questions TheFundamentals is about to introduce a component of the cc definition not found above. The component is power.  The simple exercise of power regardless of the existence of a written constitution.

Who has the power?  Who exercises the power?  What is the history of the “orderly operation of government?”

Examples please. 

Chicago.  Could Chicago have a cc?  Not a chance.  Power in Chicago is not defined nor is the orderly operation of government separated – to an executive or a legislative body or the courts.  It is centralized – in one man – in one party – in one cabal.  Ergo, no cc’s in Chicago.

One more example please.  Okay, Illinois.  Could Illinois have a cc?  Not a chance.  Power is not defined nor is the orderly operation of government separated – to an executive or a legislative body or the courts.  It is centralized – in one man – in one party – in one cabal.  Ergo, no cc’s in Illinois.

Well, we think we are getting it.  Just one more please.  Okay, how about Russia?  Could Russia have a cc?  You guessed it – not a chance.  Power is not defined nor is the orderly operation of government separated – to an executive or a legislative body or the courts.  It is centralized – in one man – in one party – in one cabal.  Ergo, no cc’s in Russia.

So why are we having, or at least facing, the possibility of a cc here at home, in our beloved Washington DC?  Doesn’t the president and his party control most everything?  Aren’t they used to getting their way?  Little or no opposition? 

Sure they are but it is possible that we are about to see, to experience, to witness, a cc, if this simple statement in our (America’s) basic law – the constitution (c) – has any meaning in the face of a dominant group lead by one man which has no experience with separation of power and checks and balances doctrines.   Read this please:

Article I. Section 9 - US constitution

“No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.”

Article I and its many sections define the powers of the congress – the senate and the house of representatives.

You see, this place, America, is about laws, not men, not cabals, not one political party, not one man.  For almost five years now, the propaganda machine of one man and his cabal – his political party, have ruled without any concern about the law because those who could have opposed him/them did not.  And now, they appear, or at least a few of them appear to have decided to perform according to the law and not do what the one man and his cabal – his political party want to do.

The one man and his cabal have little or no experience with this situation.  Mr. Obama  came out of a one man/one cabal/one political party situation that always got its way – no compromise needed – just do it our way – always our way.  Wasn’t Russia, but a place very similar to Russia in its system of governance.  No opposition party to deal with – so one man, one system, one cabal gets its way – in everything.  That is Chicago and the state of Illinois.

Those places are bankrupt – morally and financially bankrupt.  In Washington DC a few of the opposition fellows decided to stop the country (America’s) path to the same destiny.  Well at least for this moment it appears such. You see, we are very suspicious of the other fellows (the minority opposition cabal) because they are leaderless and very, very weak, self focused men, also.

We can only hope we are about to have a full blown, true in every sense of the word – constitutional crisis.  Even if you don’t like the players and regardless of your view(s) or which side you may align with – it is in all of our best interest that this turns out to be a doozy of a cc.  We doubt that it will but it could be a sign of things to come.  We are a much divided nation.  Divided nations don’t settle their differences readily. 

 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Fourth Amendment



“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Does government, any government – local, state, federal have any of the following items of yours?

·         Bank records and papers

·         Other financial institution papers and records

·         Credit/debit card papers and records

·         Family information (not census gathered)

·         Health and illness information and papers

·         Personal and real asset seizure without due process

·         Communication records and papers, including:

o   Telephone

o   US mail

o   Internet access and browsing

o   Email

o   Social media

o   Text messages

·         Earnings and expenditures papers and records

·         Home (house) ownership papers

·         Education records

·         What you read

·         Where you go – literally by the minute, by the finite location

·         What groups/organization/clubs you belong to/associate with

·         Foreign bank/investment accounts and papers

·         Transportation records and papers including personal vehicles

·         Where you eat, what you eat/drink, who you see and when you see them

·         If you carouse, with whom you carouse; when and where

·         Travel information records

·         Employment papers

·         Pictures of your physical presence in various locations


If so, has that government issued a Warrant after providing probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation?

Have you seen that Warrant?

Does that Warrant describe the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized?

Last question – who can you turn to if you wish any level of government to abide by the fourth amendment – it applies at all levels? In other words, who enforces the fourth amendment on your behalf?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Superpower

What makes a country a superpower?  That question was posed last week to America’s current top military man in the form of this question, “Is Russia still a superpower?”

General Dempsey answered thusly – the components that define a superpower are:

  • Military power
  • Diplomatic power
  • Economic power

That’s Dempsey’s order - we will come back to the order in a bit. 

Now, if you look above, at the very top of this page, Dempsey’s predecessor described the key security threat to our own country, three years ago, as debt.  Not a deterioration of our military capability or power.  Not a diminution of our diplomatic capability or power. But debt – very much an economic condition. 

An economic power condition.  The massive burden of debt. 

When Admiral Mullen made his statement the stated US debt – by no means the real US debt – was $ 13.375 Trillion.

Today, the stated US debt has risen to $ 16.739.  Up $ 3+ Trillion in 3 years.

You don’t need TheFundamentals to draw the obvious conclusion that the threat has grown – by quite a bit.  Think about that – the key national security issue is worsening and the American political/bureaucratic/military leadership wants to focus on Syria.

No one asked Dempsey what he saw as the key security threat to America, today.  But if we go back to Dempsey’s list, the list of the three power components that together constitute a superpower – we can safely say no superpower attains such overall status without a strong economic base on which to build its military and diplomatic power bases.

Playing around with distractions such as Syria and ignoring self destructive behavior such as uncontrolled debt build up is not indicative of a commitment to maintaining superpower status.  It is either a willful plan to diminish superpower status or a self deceptive willingness to test the limits of economic deterioration without triggering the loss of superpower status.

Now, if it’s the former, we are not quite there but the last 8 or 10 years have moved us closer to the goal.  If it’s the latter, the mission is similarly well underway – and there will be no magical destination point; instead it will just be a steady decline – which is a fair assessment of our current situation.

Mullen was not afraid of drawing a line for all to see – get your economic house in order or America will face national security challenges unlike anything coming from any other source.  Mullen’s boss ignored his warning.  The congress ignored his warning.  The electorate, last November ignored his warning.  Mullen’s successor is ignoring the warning too.

America is on a course of removing the underpinning of its superpower status – a powerful economy which by definition requires great wealth creation capability – grow, extract, manufacture goods and services and a strong financial condition – live within our means, pay our bills on time, pay off debt.

The last American president to understand this issue was a former military man – five star General DDEisenhower.   He pleaded with the American people and its bureaucrats and its military establishment to understand and set priorities and use our resources carefully – frugally – wisely.  Please go to:  http://thefundamentalsus.blogspot.com/2011/05/eisenhower-looks-forward.html

For fifty years we, all of us, have ignored what this man understood about the fragility of superpower status.  General Eisenhower was no genius but he did have common sense.  And he used it.

 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Oh Goody - Another Obama Speech

Here is a list of the key issues we expect Mr. Obama to address tomorrow night:

·         Black unemployment under Mr. Obama compared with any previous president
o   WAY UP

·         Black youth unemployment under Mr. Obama compared with any previous president
o   UP EVEN HIGHER

·         Middle class workers employed under Mr. Obama compared with any previous president
o   WAY DOWN

·         Middle class paychecks (household income – private sector) under Mr. Obama compared with any previous president
o   WAY DOWN

·         And this one, in case you forget – Mr. Obama was going to double exports (100% increase)  in five years – what did he do?
o   Increased 19% from 2008 - 2012  

·         Manufacturing employment
o   Down

·         Home Ownership
o   18 year low

·         Real GDP growth
o   We frankly do not know – there is so much government propping up now we don’t know what the real GDP growth is but we think it is negative

·         Government employment
o   Way Up

·         Workers exiting the workforce – not working or not looking for work
o   Up 10,000,000 just since Obama took office – highest ever!

·         Government bureaucrat average earnings/benefits/pensions
o   Through the roof

·         Government spending/debt
o   Record levels

·         Government waste/inefficiency
o   Record levels – documented

·         Government bureaucrat exemption from laws/rules applicable to citizens
o   Not even quantifiable it is now so epidemic

·         Business start ups
o   Down

·         Major new, large businesses created/developed
o   Almost Nil

·         Refugee camps on American soil
o   Detroit, Oakland, large portions of Philadelphia, Chicago and Los Angeles (our apologies if we missed your town)

Please feel free to check off the items on this list as Mr. Obama addresses them.

We have left Syria off the list because it is:
1.    A distraction
2.    A deflection
3.    A delusion
4.    Insignificant compared to all of the above

No American president worthy of the office would possibly be distracted, deflected and deluded toward an inconsequential issue in the face of the significant issues listed above.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Saudi Arabia Interests

If something of some import is going on in Europe who gets the attention?  Who is asked, “What are you going to do?”  Where do the media types gather to try and pin down a plan?  A strategy?

Well, it’s not Portugal or Greece, is it?  It’s Germany.  Everyone wants to know what Germany is going to do.

Say, it’s here, in our own hemisphere.  Something of some import is going on.  Everyone wants to know – what is America going to do?   Not Guatemala or Surinam or Haiti, huh?

There are several great spheres of interest and influence in the world today.  Most all are enjoying some form of conflict.  But that darn middle east seems to always be at the forefront.  Who calls the shots in the middle east?  Who is the big dog?  Who has the money – endless supplies of money?

The answer lies under the ground – Saudi Arabia has the oil and the money.  They also have a very precarious situation within and without their country.  It’s called – Islamic Fundamentalists (IF.)  Who was the greatest IF of our time?  A Saudi – Osama bin Laden.  What was one of Osama’s key agenda items?  Get control of Saudi Arabia and its oil/money.  What remains the key objective of the IF movement in the middle east?  Get control of Saudi Arabia and the oil/money.

Who does Saudi Arabia’s bidding in the west?  The former free world?  Well, a few years back it was GHWBush (the elder) and then WJClinton.  Next came GWBush.  Today it is BHObama.  No matter who you think you are – no matter how many lobbyists and bureaucrats and special interests bow down as you enter a room – even if the entire Hollywood media of the mighty American debt machine fawns upon your every word, you can always count on one thing for sure:  When the Saudi Arabian ambassador wants to see you – or talk to you – you take the call – you rearrange your schedule – you make yourself available. 

BHObama is doing the business of the Saudi’s in the middle east today.  The Saudi’s wish to stay in power.  They see what is happening all around them.  It is not good.  The IF’s want the oil/money in the Arabian peninsula and they figure time is on their side.  

Saudi money is flowing fast and steady to every place in the middle east that has someone willing to fight the jihadists – the IF’s.    America’s top commander, BHObama awaits his marching orders from the Saudi’s.  He may talk about wind power and solar power and electric cars but he knows that every time he boards that big fancy plane of his it doesn’t leave the ground unless its tanks are filled with kerosene.

Kerosene is distilled from crude oil which is plentiful, albeit costly, in the Arabian peninsula.  Distillation is a process by which crude oil is heated (in the case of kerosene, it is heated to between 150 and 275 C), and then the vapor created condenses and is collected – eureka, kerosene is attained – air force one flies.

Obama does what he does because he always asks, “What do the Saudis want?” because air force one flies better with fuel tanks filled with Saudi kerosene.  Even Barack learned the lessons of JCarter.  But Barack’s immediate predecessor rallied quite the coalition – 40+ countries when he did the Saudi’s biding.  Barack is struggling to get 3 or 4.  War weariness?  Or Barack weariness?  We don’t know.  We can’t figure out what is going on.

We know what the Saudi’s want.  We just don’t know if they have a clue these days how to go about getting it.  Or keeping it.  Perhaps al jazeera America will have an answer.

One more thing – history will look very unfavorably on Barack’s lack of interest in developing American carbon fuel independence.  Just one more area where Barack chooses politics, and Saudi interests, over what is best for all Americans.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Christians in the Middle East

In the very lands where Jesus of Nazareth was born – where he nursed and took his first steps – where he worked along side his father – took care of his mother and his relatives – where he developed his thoughts and his beliefs and his commitment to his Father – where he walked and spoke and challenged us all – where he was rejected and tracked and detained and questioned and tortured and killed in a spectacle which to this day brings shame on those who complacently witnessed it or, even worse, participated, Jesus would not be welcome.  He would be persecuted today – he would be tracked, watched, detained, questioned and then he would be tortured and killed.

There are very few Christians left in the middle east.  They have been removed – either fled for their safety or just killed by the intolerance of those who now control the lands and the politics and the military of this mixture of religion and culture and terror and waste.  The Christians have no homeland – no place of safety – no protectorate – no military standing with them – in front of them – to guarantee their safety and their homeland rights.

Here are “facts” that we took from an article in The Jerusalem Post:

·         Despite Muslim domination of the region, Christians comprised an estimated 20 percent of the Middle East population until the early 20th century.

·         Today, however, Christians make up a mere 2% to 5% of the Middle East and their numbers are fast dwindling.

·         Home to one of the oldest Christian communities in the world, Egypt also has the largest Christian population in the Middle East, totaling 8-12 million people. But because Christian Copts make up only about 10% to 15% of Egypt’s estimated 80 million people, they have for decades lived in fear as second-class citizens, subjected to attacks on churches, villages, homes and shops, mob killings and the abduction and forced Islamic conversion of Christian women compelled to marry Muslim men.

·         The Christian population (in Lebanon)  is estimated to have dropped from over 50% (according to a 1932 census) to about 40%. Over the past few years, the de facto governing power in Lebanon has become Hezbollah, the radical and heavily-armed Shi’ite movement sponsored by Iran.

·         In Syria, 2.5 million Christians comprised about 10% of the population and enjoyed some protection under the secular and often brutal regimes of the Assad dynasty. But as jihadi groups fighting Assad extend their territorial control, the past protection of Christians is often the cause of their current persecution by resentful Sunnis who revile the Assad regime and seek to impose Sharia law wherever they can.

·         In Iraq, the bloody aftermath of the 2003 invasion demonstrated how dangerous life can become for a Christian minority when a multicultural society in the Middle East explodes into sectarian violence. By 2008, half of the 800,000 Iraqi Christians were estimated to have left, rendering those remaining even more insecure. In 2010, Salafist extremists attacked a Baghdad church during Sunday Mass, killing or wounding nearly the whole congregation.

·         Because Israel is the only non- Muslim state in all of the Middle East and North Africa, it represents a small victory for religious minorities in the region, and serves as the last protector of freedom and security for Jews, Christians, Bahai, Druse and others.
Notwithstanding the accuracy of the last observation point above, TheFundamentals can find no evidence to indicate that persecuted Christians are flocking or are encouraged to seek refuge in Israel.
Please read these recent articles –
Please watch this video from PBS News Hour, presented one year ago –

 
During Mr. Bush's Iraq adventure, many Christians, who had been protected under Saddam, fled to Syria where they received protection under Assad.   Today we seek to demonize and destroy Assad just as we previously demonized Saddam.  We do not hear much from Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama about this situation - the new fellow, Kerry, is equally silent as is his good buddy, Joe Biden, and others.
 
Do any of these "leaders" have a clue about what they are doing?  Are they using US taxpayer money, much of it from Christian US taxpayers, to terrorize Christians in the middle east?  Is it not time for America to come to the aid of Christians in the middle east?   To save Christian lives?