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Is It Over, and We Just Don’t Know It?


Posted by Tom Blumer via PJMedia

on Wednesday, 12 February 2014 16:18

constitution off switch big 2-6-14-2Has the U.S. lost their Founders' government?

Historians have a tough time agreeing on many of the turning points in ancient history.

(The republic) began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, c. 509 BC, and lasted over 450 years.

* * * * * *

Towards the end of the period a selection of Roman leaders came to so dominate the political arena that they exceeded the limitations of the Republic as a matter of course. Historians have variously proposed the appointment of Julius Caesar as perpetual dictator in 44 BC, the defeat of Mark Antony at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC, and the Roman Senate’s grant of extraordinary powers to Octavian (Augustus) under the first settlement in 27 BC, as candidates for the defining pivotal event ending the Republic.

There’s little doubt that the United States of America has reached a point where, relatively unhampered by legislative or judicial barriers, its president and his bureaucracy exceed the limits of the nation’s Constitution “as a matter of course.” They in turn are quietly but effectively under the control of our “independent” central bank.

Decades from now, it’s possible that historians will look back and conclude that the American experiment, which began with its declaration of independence from and defeat of Great Britain, ended sometime between 1999 and 2014. As with Rome, the pivotal event isn’t obvious, and the list which follows isn’t all-inclusive.

The failure by the U.S. Senate to convict Bill Clinton after his impeachment by the House was the first signal that the rule of law might not matter any more. These days, the law seems to be whatever Barack Obama and Eric Holder want it to be.

President George W. Bush’s formation of the mammoth Homeland Security Department and mission creep at the National Security Agency after the 9/11 terrorist attacks consolidated awesome and disturbing powers in very few hands. Now both outfits are out-of-control monsters.

The 2007-2008 crackup in housing and mortgage lending would be a leading candidate for the pivotal moment prize if one believes that it was the result of decades of conscious effort. Evidence that it was, including the Community Reinvestment Act and HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo’s 1990s housing discrimination directives, both of which forced banks to make loans to vast numbers of borrowers who couldn’t repay, is compelling. Compounding the problem, government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac “routinely misrepresented” the quality of both the mortgages they packaged for the securities markets and those they kept on their own books for 15 years. The amounts involved were in the trillions of dollars.

It would have been painful in the short term, but the nation’s economy would likely have recovered, as it always previously had, from that Cloward Piven-like attempt to collapse the system if a frightened George W. Bush administration, opportunistic Congress, and conflicted Federal Reserve hadn’t intervened in the fall of 2008. But they did, and heavy-handedly. Congress passed TARP, despite citizens’ overwhelming opposition. Bush’s Treasury Department then used it to “put a gun to the head” of big-bank CEOs, forcing them to accept government “investment” and de facto control, which the Dodd-Frank legislation solidified two years later.

All the while, the Fed engaged in a massive, undisclosed bailout of domestic and even foreign banks, followed by what became known as “quantitative easing.” And $4.1 trillion later, our central bank’s tiny cadre of suits and skirts now has the ability to almost instantly send the economy into a tailspin any time they see federal government policies or actions they don’t like. Don’t think for a minute that the three branches which nominally run our government don’t know this.

Historians may conclude that the presidential election of 2012 was the last chance to undo the authoritarian encroachment. Pervasive Obama administration harassment of political opponents by its Internal Revenue Service, serial lying about the September 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack, and the mother of all 21st century lies — “if you like your health care plan, doctor, medical provider, and drug regimen, you can keep them” — inarguably delegitimized its result.

Things have now gotten so out of hand that a president consumed with arrogance can go in front of his nation and tell it that he plans to exceed his constitutional authority — and get a standing ovation from the same people who said they were scared to death of “the imperial presidency” a decade ago.

Obama acts as if he’s untouchable, and he seemingly is. If there’s a level of defiance or incompetence which will lead to serious calls for his removal, we haven’t yet reached that threshold — one which would long since have been crossed with any other president of either party.

Just days after his State of the Union address, we saw a cocky president comically declare that there’s “not a smidgen of corruption” at the IRS. He then stood by as the agency, in a clearly in-your-face move, handed out millions in bonuses to employees.

A short time later, we learned that the Health and Human Services Department allegedly allowed programmers from Belarus, a country which should be considered an enemy, to be involved in producing the objectively not-secure HealthCare.gov web site supporting Obama’s so-called “signature achievement,” the Affordable Care Act. The intelligence community believes that these programmers may have deliberately installed malware, which “could be used to covertly route data from the Obamacare website to foreign locations.” Since the Obamacare computers have access to a myriad of other federal databases, our enemies may literally now have the keys to the kingdom. As of when this column was written, this shocking development had barely made a ripple.

I certainly hope I’m wrong, and I’m not suggesting that we hang our heads and give up. But it sure feels like we are already in the grip of post-constitutional despotism. The best counter-argument right now is that some in Congress have finally determined that passing laws or even discussing legislation while a lawless president is in office is a pointless exercise. Will enough of them figure that out in time to begin taking the country back?

 



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Lifestyle

You, Taxpayer, Come Hither


Posted by David Thompson via SmallDeadAnimals.com

on Monday, 10 February 2014 02:02

UnknownNovelist Brigid Delaney is just better than us:

As a member of our creative caste, Ms Delaney wants to capture the buzz and thrum of city life. She wants to inspire "recognition" and, above all, "empathy." It's just that she'd prefer not to empathise too much with those non-creative people. Say, by working for a living and paying her own bills. via http://smalldeadanimals.com


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Lifestyle

You'll Be Surprised How Many Donuts Worth Of Sugar Are In These 10 Everyday Foods


Posted by Dina Spector - Business Insider

on Thursday, 06 February 2014 13:21

Some foods contain a shocking amount of sugar.

To visualize this, we compared the amount of sugar in foods that are not traditionally thought of as dessert items, like yogurt and apple sauce, to the amount of sugar in a chocolate glazed donut — about 13 grams.

Nutritionists recommend limiting added sugar to 6 teaspoons per day for women and 9 teaspoons per day for men. For reference, 4 grams of sugar equals one teaspoon of granulated sugar.

Added sugar only includes things like cane sugar and high fructose corn syrup that aren't found naturally in ingredients like fruit and milk. Keep in mind that naturally-occurring sugars and added sugar are combined on nutrition labels as "total sugar." 

(A similar post from Dana Liebelson at Mother Jones inspired our list of high-sugar foods. See their list here.)

Fruit-flavored yogurt = 2 chocolate glazed donuts.

....continue reading & viewing 10 more foods HERE

 

yogurt-19

 

....continue reading & viewing 10 more foods HERE



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What's in Millennials' Wallets? Fewer Credit Cards


Posted by Emily Alpert - Los Angeles Times

on Wednesday, 05 February 2014 20:23

Boom-bust cycles leave the millennial generation more wary of credit card debt and more prone to thrifty lifestyles.

UnknownRinged by the posh shops of Beverly Center, Tim Ratliff said no — he didn't have a credit card. He didn't need one.

"I just hear so many horror stories about people being in debt," said Ratliff, 21, who studies psychology at Ohio State University. "When you have a credit card, you feel like you have a lot of money when you don't."

Ratliff is like many young adults, emerging data show. His generation, dubbed millennials by academics and marketers, grew up during the boom and bust cycles of the U.S. economy over the last decade and a half — crises that appear to have reshaped their attitudes toward spending and debt.

Millennials, who range from teenagers to people in their early 30s, are more financially cautious than the stereotype of the spendthrift twentysomething, several studies suggest. Many embrace thrift.

Some experts say their habits echo those of another generation, those who came of age during the Great Depression and forged lifelong habits of scrimping and saving — along with a suspicion of financial risk.

"Both generations had a childhood memory of wealth and then saw that wealth yanked out from under them" in or around their teenage years, said Morley Winograd, who has co-written several books on the millennial generation. Though the pain was much more severe during the Depression, "Both generations are very conservative spenders," Winograd said.

During the economic downturn, while older households ran up credit card debt, younger households whittled it down, a Pew Research Center analysis of federal data found earlier this year.

More young households had no credit card debt in 2010 than was the case in 2001, the data show. Among those who did owe on their credit cards, the median amount fell from roughly $2,500 to less than $1,700.

Maria Garcia, 30, said she gave up her credit card seven years ago. "The fees — they get you," said Garcia, a mother studying Web development at Los Angeles Harbor College. Her attitude these days is, "If I can do without it, I'll do without it."

Other studies hint that Garcia is not alone in that attitude: Young adults were less likely to report using a credit card for everyday expenses than the average adult, a National Foundation for Credit Counseling survey found. Another survey from the Corporate Executive Board, a business advisory company, found that millennials with credit card debt feel worse about it than older adults do.

"They're keenly aware that the decisions made by their parents, politically and economically, have put them behind the eight ball," said Michael D'Antonio, co-author of "Spend Shift," which draws upon an international opinion survey about values and spending. "This is the screwed generation — and I think they know it."

Many young adults have forgone big purchases. Millennials buy fewer cars and own fewer homes, federal data show.

They cook from scratch more often than older adults, are more likely to try homemade beauty treatments, and are more apt to use coupons to find deals, the market research firm Information Resources Inc. found in a survey last year.

In recent years, Bureau of Labor Statistics data reveal, young adults between the ages of 25 and 34 spent less annually on entertainment than those ages 65 to 74.

Even as they cut back on spending, millennials started saving for retirement earlier than older generations, according to studies by Merrill Edge, Fidelity and TD Ameritrade Holding Corp.

"It's not that we're more pious about saving money," said Nona Willis Aronowitz, a 28-year-old Pipeline fellow with the progressive Roosevelt Institute who writes about generational issues. "It's more that we have no idea what the future looks like. We're not sure if we'll have our jobs in six months."

Aronowitz added that many millennials who went to college also are burdened by ballooning student loans, making them loath to load up more debt.

Yet despite their thinned wallets, young adults were more likely than any other group — including households making $90,000 or more — to say they were happy with their standard of living, a Gallup survey found two years ago. In another Gallup survey last month, they were more likely than adults ages 30 to 64 to say that their financial situation was good or excellent — which nearly half of them asserted.

In some quarters, thrift has become cool, reflected in the do-it-yourself stylings of Los Angeles hipsters and economical new apps and websites.

"As a kid, if you had a patch on your jeans it wasn't cool — people made fun of me," said Jonaya Kemper, a 27-year-old preschool teacher who grows her own vegetables and sews her own sundresses. "Now they ask, 'Can you teach me?'"

also:

SCIENCE
September 3, 2013 | By Monte Morin
At least 200,000 Americans die needlessly each year due to heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure, and more than half of these deaths occur in people younger than 65, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. All of these premature deaths could be prevented by quitting smoking, controlling blood pressure, keeping cholesterol levels in check and taking aspirin when recommended by a physician, public health experts said. "These findings are really striking.

 



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50 Reasons We're Living Through the Greatest Period in World History


Posted by The Motley Fool

on Thursday, 30 January 2014 11:07

planetearth large

I recently talked to a doctor who retired after a 30-year career. I asked him how much medicine had changed during the three decades he practiced. "Oh, tremendously," he said. He listed off a dozen examples. Deaths from heart disease and stroke are way down. Cancer survival rates are way up. We're better at diagnosing, treating, preventing, and curing disease than ever before.

Consider this: In 1900, 1% of American women giving birth died in labor. Today, the five-year mortality rate for localized breast cancer is 1.2%. Being pregnant 100 years ago was almost as dangerous as having breast cancer is today.

The problem, the doctor said, is that these advances happen slowly over time, so you probably don't hear about them. If cancer survival rates improve, say, 1% per year, any given year's progress looks low, but over three decades, extraordinary progress is made. 

Compare health-care improvements with the stuff that gets talked about in the news -- NBC anchor Andrea Mitchell interrupted a Congresswoman last week to announce Justin Bieber's arrest -- and you can understand why Americans aren't optimistic about the country's direction. We ignore the really important news because it happens slowly, but we obsess over trivial news because it happens all day long.

Expanding on my belief that everything is amazing and nobody is happy, here are 50 facts that show we're actually living through the greatest period in world history.

....all 50 HERE



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