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


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Joy to the World


For today a Savior has been born for you....

And it happened in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, so that the whole world would be enrolled.
 
This was the first enrollment; it was made by the ruler of Syria, Quirinius.

And all went to be declared, each one to his own city.

Then Joseph also ascended from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to be declared, with Mary his espoused wife, who was with child.

Then it happened that, while they were there, the days were completed, so that she would give birth.

And she brought forth her firstborn son. And she wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them at the inn.

And there were shepherds in the same region, being vigilant and keeping watch in the night over their flock.

And behold, an Angel of the Lord stood near them, and the brightness of God shone around them, and they were struck with a great fear.

And the Angel said to them: “Do not be afraid. For, behold, I proclaim to you a great joy, which will be for all the people. For today a Saviour has been born for you in the city of David: he is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find the infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”

And suddenly there was with the Angel a multitude of the celestial army, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of good will.”

And it happened that, when the Angels had departed from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us cross over to Bethlehem and see this word, which has happened, which the Lord has revealed to us.”

And they went quickly. And they found Mary and Joseph; and the infant was lying in a manger.

Then, upon seeing this, they understood the word that had been spoken to them about this boy.

And all who heard it were amazed by this, and by those things which were told to them by the shepherds.

But Mary kept all these words, pondering them in her heart.

The Gospel of Luke

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

"'Twas the Night Before Christmas" 
By Clement Clarke Moore

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
 
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,
 
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter,
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
 
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
 
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
 
"Now, DASHER! now, DANCER! now, PRANCER and VIXEN!
On, COMET! on CUPID! on, DONDER and BLITZEN!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"
 
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.
 
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
 
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
 
His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
 
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.
 
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
 
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
 
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOOD-NIGHT!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Snowden Doctrine

Mr. Obama and Mr. Snowden are of one mind when it comes to transparency and open government.  Some time ago Mr. Obama issued an executive order committing to "...an unprecedented level of openness in Government."  Mr. Snowden could not have said it better.  So, TheFundamentals refers to this commitment as the Snowden Doctrine. 
 
The Doctrine is published below for your perusal.
Comment from TheFundamentals – we underlined two sentences for you in this strong commitment to openness and transparency.  The first one says – we will disclose information quickly and in a usable fashion.  The second one says – but you can’t make us.

Transparency and Open Government
Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies

SUBJECT:      Transparency and Open Government
My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government.  We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government.
Government should be transparent.  Transparency promotes accountability and provides information for citizens about what their Government is doing.  Information maintained by the Federal Government is a national asset. My Administration will take appropriate action, consistent with law and policy, to disclose information rapidly in forms that the public can readily find and use. Executive departments and agencies should harness new technologies to put information about their operations and decisions online and readily available to the public. Executive departments and agencies should also solicit public feedback to identify information of greatest use to the public.
Government should be participatory. Public engagement enhances the Government's effectiveness and improves the quality of its decisions. Knowledge is widely dispersed in society, and public officials benefit from having access to that dispersed knowledge. Executive departments and agencies should offer Americans increased opportunities to participate in policymaking and to provide their Government with the benefits of their collective expertise and information. Executive departments and agencies should also solicit public input on how we can increase and improve opportunities for public participation in Government.
Government should be collaborative.  Collaboration actively engages Americans in the work of their Government. Executive departments and agencies should use innovative tools, methods, and systems to cooperate among themselves, across all levels of Government, and with nonprofit organizations, businesses, and individuals in the private sector.  Executive departments and agencies should solicit public feedback to assess and improve their level of collaboration and to identify new opportunities for cooperation.
I direct the Chief Technology Officer, in coordination with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Administrator of General Services, to coordinate the development by appropriate executive departments and agencies, within 120 days, of recommendations for an Open Government Directive, to be issued by the Director of OMB, that instructs executive departments and agencies to take specific actions implementing the principles set forth in this memorandum. The independent agencies should comply with the Open Government Directive.
This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by a party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
This memorandum shall be published in the Federal Register.
BARACK OBAMA


 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Cover-up

There is very little, if any, trust left for most U.S. federal government bureaucracies.  These agencies are occupied by bureaucrats who hide behind well guarded, locked down facilities that are not open to American citizens or taxpayers.  The media must pander to them to get peripheral access to carefully managed snippets and tidbits of redacted data, reports and information. The congress is afraid of them; the president is unwilling and unable and just not up to managing them; the courts find few if any occasion to either challenge them or force behavior modification.

The bureaucracies have lives of their own; disconnected from the elected representatives who created them and who repeatedly and robotically fund their ever growing budgets and ever expanding personnel rosters.  They have no management accountability – and they know it.  We, the people, report to them.  As does the congress; the president and the supreme court.
Here are a few examples; things you may wish to read; to view; to observe:
·         National Security Agency (NSA).   In a carefully managed PR, propaganda stunt staged with the compliant assistance of a Hollywood media TV news bureau, this agency denies any abuse of the constitutional protection 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.”
 
·         In our essay published on September 17, 2013,  we asked if you had seen the warrant that lists your name and the cause(s) which authorize the federal government to gather any information about your various “…houses, papers, and effects…”?  We have not seen one with our name on it; yet, the bureaucrat who runs the NSA speaks of his careful respect for the constitution to a nodding, apparently fully agreeing “newsperson”, while his NSA outfit continues to gather all such information and records at will.

·         The CIA, FBI and NTSB.  Over 15 years ago, an American commercial airliner blew up in the sky shortly after takeoff from a New York airport.  The three agencies just named put together a series of documents and presentations attributing this calamity to an internal explosion even though they lacked evidence to support this claim while ignoring substantial evidence to the contrary.  Case closed?  Well, apparently.  At least by them.  A recent documentary entitled “TWA Flight 800” discloses much about their investigation that warrants a complete house cleaning of these agencies (we mean get rid of all top management) but who is kidding whom?  No one investigates the government in the new America.  See below:


 
·         The Obama administration will not manage any of its bureaucracies.  None of them. There are many questions and issues that remain open at this very minute involving IRS; State Department; NLRB; ATF; Department of Justice and Department of HHS.  In all cases there is a deferral to an “internal investigation” with a waiting period that has no terminus – in other words, there is a cover-up by the simple process of doing nothing.  Here are the opening words of the US Constitution:  We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare….  If the US supreme court cannot understand the derivation of powers in this country, they need to be impeached.  Ditto for the president.

·         In Illinois, five months ago, some suburban cops killed a 95 year old resident of a senior living facility by shooting him with high velocity bean bags at close range.  These “protect and serve” fellows are scot free; under investigation by their own kind.  In real life, we call this what it is – a cover up.  There is one very courageous local newspaper columnist who keeps coming back to this slaying of this old man – John Kass at the Chicago Tribune (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/ct-kass-met-1215-20131215,0,674817.column ). Is John getting any government help?  No. Is the State Attorney holding news conferences to demand justice?  No.  The governor?  No.  Some judge, somewhere?  No.  America's Hollywood media?  No.
A key role of federal courts is to enforce the rights of citizens against bureaucrats; not the other way around.  The federal courts have lost their way – and their mission.  Bureaucrats that engage in cover-ups are violating the rights of citizens – if the courts do not smack down the bureaucrats and the elected officials are afraid of the bureaucrats, the government is not of the people – it is neither democratic nor a republic  – it is a bureaucratic tyranny.  Bureaucrats and tyrants thrive and survive on cover-ups.

 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Mr. Obama’s War on Young Americans

It is difficult to understand why the young are so taken with Mr. Obama – if they still are that is.  He sure is playing them for fools.

His Obamacare is a scam, for the young as well as some of us not so young.  He wants them to buy health insurance, which most will not need for any foreseeable time, to offset the added costs of covering other Americans who don’t buy insurance – either because they don’t want it or they can’t afford it.
Isn’t it enough that we already make the young pay into social security while telling them that it may well be financially bankrupt when it’s their turn to file for benefits?
Isn’t it enough that we make them pay into Medicare – a future health program that is years away from meeting their needs – perhaps 30 or 40 years out, at the same time we present financial analyses predicting the program will be bankrupt in 20 years, or less?
We encourage them to go to college – get a degree – study hard – get good grades – and build up record high levels of college debt that may take them decades to repay. At the same time, we pass laws and create bureaucracies and apply so many taxes to burden our business community that business leaders take the good jobs overseas simply to compete and survive?  And ship back low quality, made in China products for the kids and the rest of us to buy.
In each of our cities and counties and towns and villages, we hire teachers and police and firemen and mayors and all sorts of administrators to work in public jobs for 25 or 30 years and we pay them very well and provide them with lots of vacation time and holidays and personal days off and then give them free health care and we promise them a pension – that will go on until they die.  Who will pay these pensions?  Young Americans will pay these obligations.  As a matter of fact, not only will they get to pay the retirees; there won’t be any money left over for the services they will need.
As if that were not enough, 20 years ago the national debt was under $5 trillion.  In a couple of years it will reach $20 trillion.  There are no plans to pay it off.  Obama just keeps adding to it – at record levels.  Adding to it and rolling it over.
Mr. Obama has declared war on the young – but never asked congress for approval.  Together they carry out this war; program by program; bureaucracy by bureaucracy; special interest by special interest. It may be a stealth war – drones with debt, but the damage is immeasurable.
As parents, we teach our young to respect adults and authority figures including the president.  It is not reasonable to respect, much less trust, a person who carries out a political agenda that destroys the future of young people.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Dump the NEA and the AFT

When will one politician, with a greater concern for his/her country and our children, take a position that simply says – get rid of teacher unions.  Open up competition in education – at all levels.

America is a representative democracy – the people don’t get to vote on things like – dumping the NEA and the AFT.
Instead we elect representatives and senators and even a president and tell them to do what is best for all of us.  They don’t do it.  They buy votes and they cater to special interests and they do everything to stay in office even if it means – the heck with the people; the heck with our children.
The National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) claim to care about student performance.  But the evidence suggest strongly that they exist for two other more significant priorities:
·         The financial well being of their union organizers and officers and employees, and
·         The financial well being and work load of their membership
Why would any educational organization emphasize these priorities above and beyond the progress of the children they are entrusted to educate?  Well we can’t answer that simple question.
The performance of the leadership and membership of NEA and AFT is deplorable.  It just plain stinks.
Here are the recent results of what our kids are scoring in major areas of education (think the three R’s – reading, writing and arithmetic)
·         Shanghai China scored tops in mathematics.  The others in the top ten were:  Singapore, Hong Kong-China, Chinese Taipei, Korea, Macao-China, Japan, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and the Netherlands

·         Reading – here are the top five:  Shanghai-China, Hong Kong-China, Singapore, Japan and Korea

·         Science – the top five are:  Shanghai-China, Hong Kong-China, Singapore, Japan and Finland

·         The US of A?  We are not even going to present the results – they are so unsatisfactory as to not warrant display on these pages.  American performance is disgusting.  We are not in the top 20 in any category.  You can see for yourself, and draw your own conclusions by clicking on:  http://www.oecd.org/pisa/keyfindings/pisa-2012-results-overview.pdf 

The Obama administration has pathetic results on most key financial and economic metrics but nowhere do they deserve the shame and disgust of any caring citizen than in the area of education results.  Why would anyone vote for any representative/senator/president who supports the NEA and the AFT unless they are a member of the AFT or the NEA?  Why would the membership, teachers who truly care,  even support these horrible unions?  Unless they just don’t care?
The NEA and AFT must go – they must be dissolved – shut down – eliminated – outlawed.  They are destroying America; they are not educating our kids;  they are the reason we are slipping behind disciplined and advanced education programs elsewhere.  Education has to compete to improve – parents need to direct education funds to the schools of their choosing – the obstacles to these fundamentals need to be eliminated.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

WORK and DEBT

For all the writing we do, on these pages; for all the writing and reports, the analysis and careful consideration of cause and effect that is on display by responsible media all over this great land of ours, nothing tells the story as simply as these metrics:

United States DEBT
When WJClinton took office:          $ 4.1 Trillion
When GWBush took office:            $ 5.7 Trillion
When BHObama took office:        $ 10.6 Trillion
US DEBT today:                           $ 17.2 Trillion
As you observe these debt increases, over just a 20 year time period, please keep in mind (this is for all you “Keynesians” out there) that the GDP of America grew from $ 6.9 Trillion when Clinton took office to $ 16.2 Trillion today (current dollars.) Keynesians argue that government stimulus (DEBT) is required during a period of economic decline and government frugality (surplus) is needed during economic growth.  Today's Keynesians are simply convenient, one-way subscribers to the British economist's views.

WORKFORCE

                                                         Population                 Those who are
16 – 65 years            Working or Looking

When WJClinton took office:         194.8 Million                129.2 Million
When GWBush took office:           215.1 Million                143.8 Million
When BHObama took office:         235.8 Million                154.2 Million
Workforce today:                            246.4 Million                154.8 Million
The important fact to take away from these numbers is this – in the past 20 years the population eligible to be in the workforce has increased from 194.8 million to 246.4 million, an increase of 51.6 million Americans. Of those 51.6 million, 25.6 are either working or looking for work (i.e. in the workforce.)  The other 50% - not working; not looking for work.  Ask yourself how a country can survive when only one half of its growing potential workforce is either working or looking for work?

Working Percent:
% of Americans in Workforce when WJClinton took office:    66.2%
% of Americans in Workforce when GWBush took office:      67.2%
% of Americans in Workforce when BHObama took office:    65.7%
% of Americans in Workforce today:                                       62.8%
Here is the graphical display of this modern day work decline:

The policies of the American federal government – in Washington DC – promote debt and suppress work.  These policies, in the form of lengthy laws, rules, taxes and out of control bureaucracies are effective; they have accomplished their mission – debt goes up; working people go down.  Just think what would happen if the policies were reversed?  The process by which politicians and bureaucrats have redefined American governance from discouraging debt and encouraging work to encouraging debt and discouraging work has destroyed the American dream.

 
There are many positive purposes to define a country.  Here are a few:
·         Equality and opportunity
·         Care for aged, sick and disabled
·         Freedom and independence
·         Peace; good neighbor
·         Work and prosperity
·         Strong military
·         Social programs and safety nets 

None of these purposes can be accomplished, over a long term, in a society that builds debt and loses workers.
Name one country; one empire; one nation or even a grouping or union of nations that has prevailed, lasted, succeeded, grown and survived with a combination of growing debt and declining work?  Name one in recorded history?
Please.