The “disastrous” failure of the German bond auction on Wednesday when buyers failed to bid the offering and Germany’s Central Bank — the Bundesbank — had to step in and purchase nearly 40 percent of the offering came just a day after SpiegelOnline posted an article critical of the country’s finances. The article virtually accused Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schauble, of “cheerleading” the economy’s supposed strength while ignoring major weaknesses. Merkel says her country has “a clear compass for reducing debt [and that] getting our finances in order is good for our country.” Schauble was an echo: Germany is a “safe haven [because] the entire world has great confidence in both the performance and soundness of the fiscal policies of the Federal Republic of Germany.”
Cracks in Germany’s economy were noted by Professor Wilhelm Hankel of Frankfurt University back in November of 2010: “Germany cannot keep paying for bail-outs without going bankrupt itself. This is frightening people.” He added,
You cannot find a bank safe deposit box in Germany because every single one has already been taken and stuffed with gold and silver. It is like an underground Switzerland within our borders. People have terrible memories of 1948 and 1923 when they lost their savings.
Moderns who rely upon conventional history have been spoon-fed many historical myths, which are indispensable to the perpetuation of statist collectivism and all the organs of totalitarianism in education, government, and culture. One great myth is that Nazis, Fascists, and Japanese imperialists once dwelt on the opposite end of the political spectrum (the far right) than that occupied by Bolsheviks, Maoists, and other spawn of Marx’s theories lived (the far left).
In fact, these groups — Nazis, Bolsheviks, Fascists, Japanese imperialists and the like — were all essentially the same. Today is the 75th anniversary when Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan signed the “Anti-comintern Pact,” which was purported to be the foundation of the Axis Powers: hostility against Bolshevism. The purpose of this pact was to intellectually and morally disarm Americans, Britons, and others living in relatively free nations with significant percentages of the population who were religiously serious Christians and Jews.
Those who grasped the true nature of these ideologies also understood that the Nazis (National Socialists), Fascists, Bolsheviks, and Japanese Imperialists all had the same beliefs. The Anti-comintern Pact was simply a shifting of alliances between gangs.
More documents and statements have emerged showing that evidence was withheld from the jury that convicted Border Patrol Agent Jesus “Chito” Diaz, Jr., prompting strong criticism and a growing uproar in Congress.
On November 22, the non-profit Law Enforcement Officers Advocate Council (LEOAC) released official documents related to the case that were obtained during discovery process — when the defense is allowed to review the evidence against the defendant. The judge in the case had issued an order prohibiting defense attorneys from releasing the information, but LEOAC and its legal counsel obtained the documents well before the order was given. They do not believe the restriction applies to third parties.
Among the trove of documents sent to The New American and posted online were interviews with trainee agents who claimed to have witnessed the alleged excessive use of force. Also included were interviews with agents who were in the area but did not see agent Diaz engaging in any improper behavior. A complaint from the Mexican Consulate was made available as well.
According to experts, the picture that emerges from a review of the documents is troubling. And more than a few prominent individuals have expressed deep concerns about a possible miscarriage of justice.
Raise the issue of religious lobbying and the average American will immediately think of groups like the Moral Majority and the Christian Coalition, which enjoyed their heyday back in the 1980s and ’90s. But a new study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life reveals that the number of religious — and anti-religious — groups pushing a plethora of values-based agendas has exploded over the past 40 years.
Those groups include such broadly focused entities as Focus on the Family (FOTF), the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, People for the American Way, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and the Family Research Council, as well as such special interest organizations as the American Life League, the National Right to Life Committee, Bread for the World, the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), and the National Organization for Marriage.
According to the Pew study, the number of groups “engaged in religious lobbying or religion-related advocacy in Washington, D.C., has increased roughly fivefold in the past four decades, from fewer than 40 in 1970 to more than 200 today.” The total of 212 organizations analyzed by Pew collectively employ at least 1,000 staff members and spend more than $390 million annually to influence Congress and other Beltway movers and shakers on some 300 policy issues. “Religious advocacy is now a permanent and sizable feature of the Washington scene,” said Allen Hertzke, a political scientist at the University of Oklahoma and lead author of the report.
Democrat lawmakers and a coalition of radical activist groups are pushing for constitutional amendments to reverse the Supreme Court’s landmark “Citizens United” ruling, a decision that recognized that groups of people have a right to free speech even if they are acting together under the banner of a corporation, union, or non-profit organization.
One of the amendments, introduced in the U.S. Senate this month by Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and other Democrats, would give Congress the authority to further regulate and limit spending in federal elections. State governments would also be allowed to intrude in state-level political campaigning.
"As we head into another election year, we are about to see unprecedented amounts of money spent on efforts to influence the outcome of our elections,” Udall said in a statement. “With the Supreme Court striking down the sensible regulations Congress has passed, the only way to address the root cause of this problem is to give Congress clear authority to regulate the campaign finance system."
While the amendment does not specify the regulations, it would allow Congress to pass laws limiting contributions to candidates. Independent political spending for or against any campaign — such as through advertisements highlighting a candidate’s voting record — could also be restricted or prohibited if the amendment were to pass.
One of the great virtues of the 11 debates the Republican candidates have undergone is that by now we know much more about them as human beings and as individuals potentially capable of leading the nation in the post-Obama era. The candidates have had so much television and video exposure, that by now they have become the refrigerator magnets of the mind. Also, the public has been able to learn a great deal about the crucial issues we face — and that, perhaps not surprisingly, the only candidate who gets down to constitutional fundamentals is Ron Paul.
During Tuesday's foreign policy debate in Washington, the Texas libertarian Congressman forcefully articulated his pro-freedom views without any hesitation or equivocation, thus presenting a philosophical alternative to the other contenders, who have adopted a neo-conservative Establishment consensus. For example, on the subject of aiding Israel, all of the candidates except Paul agreed that the U.S. government should continue to financially aid Israel. Paul argued that the Israelis were quite capable of taking care of themselves and that our so-called help was undermining their sovereignty. Why should an American President put pressure on the Israelis in the matter of borders, settlements, or constructing houses? To Paul, that’s the high price that Israel pays for America’s help, which in reality diminishes Israel’s ability to make decisions which are in its own best interests. He is against foreign aid to all countries as a matter of principle. We gave all of that aid to Egypt, and the country is now in complete turmoil.
The House of Representatives voted down the latest proposal for a balanced budget amendment on November 18.
Under the terms of the Constitution, a constitutional amendment must be passed by a two-thirds majority vote in both houses of Congress and then be ratified by three-fourths of the states in order to become part of the Constitution. The vote in the House was 261 in favor and 165 opposed. That is 23 votes short of the necessary two-thirds.
In a statement issued by his office after the vote was taken, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) scolded the party across the aisle: “It’s unfortunate that Democrats still don’t recognize the urgency of stopping Washington’s job-crushing spending binge."
Others were pleased with the outcome, however.
Gerald McEntee, head of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, rejoiced in the rejection, calling it “a win for working families.” He praised Democrats in the House for boldly withstanding the attempt by supporters to pass a bill and “the deep cuts it would have made to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.”
Jeff Jacoby listed some of the reasons he was thankful on Thanksgiving Day in 2003, including the feast on the table, the company of his family and loved ones, the good fortunes enjoyed during the year, the privilege of being an American. But what about such common things taken for granted, like airline schedules, and movie theaters, and recipes in the paper — and the turkey?
He wrote, “Isn’t there something wondrous — something almost inexplicable — in the way your Thanksgiving weekend is made possible by the skill and labor of vast numbers of total strangers?” The magnificent choreography of the free market, including the poultry farmers, the food distributors, the truckers, the architects who built the hatchery, the technicians who keep it running, the people prepping the turkey — from slaughter to defeathering to inspecting to wrapping to transporting to pricing to displaying — all of this coming together voluntarily by the mystery of the free market. All of this, he said,
had to be precisely timed so that when you showed up to buy a fresh Thanksgiving turkey there would be one – or more likely a few dozen – waiting. The level of coordination that was required to pull it off is mind-boggling.
The Supreme Court approved petitions last week to hear arguments in two cases challenging the constitutionality of ObamaCare. One of the issues that will be argued before the justices of the high court is the legality of the currently operating Medicaid scheme.
Admittedly, the question is a very “narrow” one, but it will have far-reaching impact on the future of federalism and on the power of Congress to raise and spend revenue.
In one of the cases filed against President Obama’s pet project, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta rejected a similar claim against provisions of Medicaid. In that suit, filed by the Attorneys General of the states of Florida, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Nebraska, the court held that the expansion of the program made under provisions of ObamaCare was constitutional.
The essence of the states’ argument is that the use of the existing Medicaid arrangement to provide expanded healthcare coverage to citizens of the states is unduly burdensome on the governments of those states. ObamaCare mandates that the states cover 100 percent of the administrative expenses associated with implementing the new Medicaid policies set out in ObamaCare.
The federal government continues its infringement upon private business rights by proposing legislation that mandates that airlines may no longer charge baggage fees to their passengers. Senator Mary Landrieu (D-La.) — who introduced the bill on Tuesday, just days before one of the busiest travel days of the year — described it as a way to spare passengers from having to pay “unfair fees.”
Entitled the Airline Passenger BASICS — Basic Airline Standards to Improve Customer Satisfaction — Landrieu’s proposal permits passengers to check in a single piece of luggage and carry on an additional one free of charge, as long as the two items are within the size limits. It also mandates that airlines provide free access to water and restrooms, imposing a penalty on any airline which fails to comply.