Federal authorities furnished Michigan transportation officials Wednesday with a $196.5 million grant for track and signal upgrades on an Amtrak passenger rail running between Chicago and Detroit. The line, running on Amtrak’s Wolverine and Blue Water services, will reportedly yield speeds of up to 110 miles per hour on a route serving nearly 30 million people. Granted to its own beloved enterprise (all of Amtrak’s preferred stock is owned by the federal government), the government’s lavish gift to the train line comes at the expense of American taxpayers.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood claims the grant to the Michigan Department of Transportation will slash travel times between Detroit and Chicago by up to 30 minutes. "This is an important investment that will reduce travel time, improve reliability and on-time performance, and attract more passengers," LaHood applauded. "We are creating jobs in Michigan, building our rails with American-made materials and growing the regional economy."

Predictably, Democratic supporters tout the infrastructure jobs and new business activity that will stem from Amtrak’s latest endowment. Michigan Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow hailed the grant’s approval and its economic benefits for their state —

Steve Jobs, a man who played a pivotal role in defining the future of home and business computing, died Wednesday at the age of 56.  Part of Jobs' legacy is a world in which many individuals under the age of 25 simply take for granted the innovations that he helped bring to the realm of personal computing. When Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne founded Apple Computer in 1976 the very concept of computers having a place in the home of the average American seemed farfetched — at best.

Now, the seeming-omnipresence of Apple-inspired or influenced technologies surround us every day. The fundamental change that Apple has helped to bring was symbolized when the company changed its name to “Apple, Inc.” in early 2007 — the integration of phones, music, television and computing had reached the point where the very concept of computing had changed.

Republican presidential debates have been marked by sometimes awkward audience cheers, but former Obama administration official and U.S. Senate candidate frontrunner Elizabeth Warren got a really awkward and wild audience cheer in a Massachusetts Democratic Party primary debate when she declared that she'd use her government position to attack Wall Street. Warren stated, "Forbes magazine named Scott Brown 'Wall Street's favorite senator.' And I was thinking, that’s probably not an award I’m going to get.”

The audience erupted.

The remark was part of a broad-based attack on capitalism by Warren, who, when asked about the Occupy Wall Street protests, remarked,

The people on Wall Street broke this country, and they did it one lousy mortgage at a time. It happened more than three years ago, and there has still been no basic accountability and there has been no real effort to fix it. That's why I want to run for the United States Senate. That's what I want to do to change the system.

Again, the Lowell, Massachusetts, audience erupted with wild applause.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s recent offering of his “National Emergency Employment Defense Act” (NEED Act) is designed to remove all money creation powers from the Fed to a newly established congressional agency, the Monetary Authority. According to Kucinich, the bill “would reassert congressional sovereignty and regain control of monetary policy from private banks [the Federal Reserve]” by placing that control into the hands of “a separate Monetary Authority made up of experts … responsible for managing monetary policy.” That Monetary Authority would advise the …

Treasury how much money is needed in the economy. Treasury [would advise] Congress how much recycled or new money is required to pay off debt (as it comes due) and supplement existing revenues to fund infrastructure renewal, grants and loans to state and local governments, education and other priorities, as appropriated by Congress.
 
From the actual language of the bill, it promises everything: to create full employment, to retire the national debt, to “stabilize” Social Security, to restore the authority of Congress to create and regulate money, to modernize and provide stability for the monetary system, and “for other public purposes.” In the body of the bill it reiterates that “the authority to create money is a sovereign power vested in the Congress under Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution,” and that the purpose of the act is as follows:

Labor unions, communists, “community organizers,” socialists, and anti-capitalist agitators have all joined together to “Occupy Wall Street” and protest against “greed,” corporations, and bankers. But despite efforts to portray the movement as “leaderless” or “grassroots,” it is becoming obvious that there is much more going on behind the scenes than meets the eye.

Billionaire financier George Soros’ fingerprints, for example, have been all over the anti-Wall Street campaign from the very beginning. And this week, the infamous hedge-fund boss publicly announced his sympathy for the protesters and their complaints about bailouts — despite the fact that he lobbied for even greater unconstitutional handouts to bankers in 2009.

“Actually I can understand their sentiment, frankly,” he told reporters while announcing a large donation to the United Nations. “I can sympathize with their grievances.”

But Soros’ support for the protesters goes far beyond his tepid public statements. In fact, the original call to “Occupy Wall Street” came from the magazine AdBusters, an “anti-consumerist” publication financed by, among other sources, the Soros-funded Tides Foundation.

GOP lawmakers in Michigan, the birthplace of the American labor movement, are pursuing historic legislation that would make theirs the 23rd state to finalize a "right-to-work" law. But could the state that harbors both the United Auto Workers and the Michigan Education Association really pass a law prohibiting unions from regulating dues and compelling membership in closed-shop work environments? With the GOP now in control of the state legislature and a Republican Governor at the helm, observers are predicting that the measure is indeed entirely possible.

The last time a right-to-work bill was proposed by Michigan legislators was in 2008, but it was quickly muffled, as Democrat Jennifer Granholm held the governorship and Democrats enjoyed firmer pull in the legislature. But because the party gap in the state legislature has now widened in the GOP’s favor and a Republican is now Governor, right-to-work advocates are anticipating a dramatic shift in political authority.

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has stated that his agenda is not to promote right-to-work status; however, analysts believe state lawmakers could still push through a bill without public support from Snyder.

America at the end of WWII produced 60 percent of all the petroleum in the world. In fact, its status as the chief exporter of oil (the United States produced much more than the consumer and war economies needed) was a salient factor in the American victory. Interestingly, at one point the nation produced so much oil and gas that natural gas was “flared” or burned away because it was not economical to transport it. Once, in the lifetime of many Americans, filling stations engaged in “price wars” and sold gas at or near cost to consumers.

Abundant energy has been vital to American prosperity. Coal mines a short train ride from Pittsburgh and iron transported by freighters out of Duluth to ports on Lake Erie made Pittsburgh into the most efficient producer of high quality steel in the world, although other cities such as Birmingham and Bethlehem competed against Pittsburgh.

The steel of Pittsburgh was close to the factories of Detroit, which manufactured automobiles and trucks — and later, warplanes and tanks. Between those two metropolises lay Ohio cities such as Akron, Youngstown, Dayton, and Canton, largely built around the making of tires and glass. The marvelous engine of America industry, which dwarfed the rest of the world, grew not from government plans or subsidies, but rather out of the genius of Americans exercising the blessing of liberty. Freedom was what made our nation affluent and largely self-sufficient.

Federal Reserve Open Market Committee Chairman Ben Bernanke's told the congressional Joint Economic Committee of Congress October 4 that he has the remedy for the ailing economic recovery he admits is "close to faltering": More of the same deficit spending, monetary stimulus, and work to re-inflate the housing bubble.

Bernanke acknowledged to Congress that deficit spending is out of control. "One crucial objective is to achieve long-run fiscal sustainability. The federal budget is clearly not on a sustainable path at present," he told members of the House-Senate joint committee. The Fed Chairman termed the work of Congress' other joint House-Senate "Super-Congress" committee, charged with cutting some $1.5 trillion of the estimated $8-9 trillion in expected deficits over the next 10 years, "a substantial step; however, more will be needed to achieve fiscal sustainability.... In sum, the nation faces difficult and fundamental fiscal choices, which cannot be safely or responsibly postponed."

By those remarks, Bernanke didn't mean that federal, state, and local governments should balance their budgets and stop using deficit spending to continue their stranglehold on the credit markets.

Twenty years ago, hysteria swept through the media over "hunger in America."

Dan Rather opened a CBS Evening News broadcast in 1991 declaring, "one in eight American children is going hungry tonight." Newsweek, the Associated Press, and the Boston Globe repeated this statistic, and many others joined the media chorus, with or without that unsubstantiated statistic.

When the Centers for Disease Control and the Department of Agriculture examined people from a variety of income levels, however, they found no evidence of malnutrition among those in the lowest income brackets. Nor was there any significant difference in the intake of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients from one income level to another.

That should have been the end of that hysteria. But the same "hunger in America" theme reappeared years later, when Senator John Edwards was running for Vice President. And others have resurrected that same claim, right up to the present day.

Politicians who are principled enough to point out the fraud of Social Security, referring to it as a lie and Ponzi scheme, are under siege. Acknowledgment of Social Security's problems is not the same as calling for the abandonment of its recipients. Instead, it's a call to take actions now, while there's time to avert a disaster. Let's look at it.

The term was derived from the scheme created during the 1920s by Charles Ponzi, a poor but enterprising Italian immigrant. Here's how it works. You persuade some people to give you their money to invest. After a while, you pay them a nice return, but the return doesn't come from investments. What you pay them with comes from the money of other people whom you've persuaded to "invest" in your scheme. The scheme works so long as you can persuade greater and greater numbers of people to "invest" so that you can pay off earlier "investors." After a while, Ponzi couldn't find enough new investors, and his scheme collapsed. He was convicted of fraud and sent to prison.

The very first Social Security check went to Ida May Fuller in 1940. She paid just $24.75 in Social Security taxes but collected a total of $22,888.92 in benefits, getting back all she put into Social Security in a month.

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