Category Archives: Socialism

Venezuela military to play central power broker

chavez
Associated Press/Fernando Llano, File – FILE – In this Oct. 20, 2011 file photo, Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez speaks to soldiers in La Fria, Venezuela.

Associated Press | Jan 17, 2013

By FABIOLA SANCHEZ

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — In a country riven by political strife, Venezuela’s military often has served as the arbiter of power. It has launched coups and frustrated them and dispatched soldiers to guarantee stability, distributing food, fighting crime and securing oil fields.

Now with President Hugo Chavez battling for his life, the stance of the 134,000-strong armed forces again will be crucial.

Divisions within the military have clouded attempts to determine who it might support among Chavez loyalists or if it would side with the opposition. While the military’s leadership is packed with Chavez supporters, the officer corps may not be so loyal. Much will depend on what Chavez’s political heirs do in the coming weeks.

Experts and former military officers agree that the governing duo of Vice President Nicolas Maduro and National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello has been unable to fill the leadership vacuum created by Chavez’s five-week absence and silence. Without a commander in chief, there is no one to ensure unity or guarantee continued loyalty through promotions and retirements.

Retired army Gen. Antonio Rivero was one of the first to sound the alarm about the leadership gap when he told the Venezuelan news website Noticias24 that if Chavez didn’t return from Cuba for his Jan. 10 swearing-in, the armed forces from that point on would “not have a commander in chief.” He’s since gone into hiding after state intelligence agents came to his house looking for him. He said in an interview that he had sparked government ire by accusing it of letting Cubans influence the military.

Maduro, for his part, has repeatedly tried to put to rest any questions about the military’s loyalties by rallying troops and publicly appearing alongside top brass.

On Wednesday, the vice president celebrated the supposed support of hundreds of soldiers gathered at the Fort Tiuna military base in Caracas. At the end of the televised speech, a band struck up a folk song and soldiers clapped in time to the lyrics “Onward, commander!”

“(Chavez) told us to transmit from his heart to the Bolivarian national armed forces all his appreciation for so much loyalty toward him as a humble soldier of this country,” Maduro said. “Thanks to everybody for so much loyalty and for so much love.”

The vice president also said on Thursday that Chavez had authorized the equivalent of $372 million in financing to be provided as auto loans for soldiers. Maduro said that “20,000 military families are going to have their personal car with a loan with good terms.”

Opposition leader Henrique Capriles has also trumpeted his military ties, announcing last week in a news conference that he has been in touch with officers and suggested they would step in to ensure leaders follow the country’s laws governing what should happen in a transition.

The military, like the rest of the country, is in limbo, awaiting the outcome of Chavez’s fourth cancer surgery.

Government officials have insisted they can indefinitely postpone the president’s swearing-in, which the constitution had set for Jan. 10, as long as he’s physically incapacitated. Opposition leaders say the move is unconstitutional although it was ratified by the Supreme Court.

“The Armed Force also has a role to play here … of respecting the constitution,” Capriles said during a news conference.

Throughout his 14 years in power, Chavez has proved masterful at commandeering support both inside and outside the military. With his natural political touch and ramped-up public aid programs, Chavez has easily won re-election three times, including in October when he defeated Capriles with 55 percent of the vote.

Since taking office in 1999, Chavez has attempted to transform the rank and file into defenders of his socialist-inspired policies. After a 2002 coup that included rebellious soldiers briefly dislodged him from power, Chavez returned to the presidential palace only after loyalists within the military stepped in to put down the uprising, and he subsequently promoted allies.

Chavez also has defended officers accused by the U.S. of drug trafficking and blasted what he’s said is fabricated evidence against them.

Chavez’s government is replete with military brass, including seven of 29 Cabinet ministers. When Chavez’s allies swept the country’s gubernatorial elections in December, 11 of the country’s 23 governorships ended up in the hands of former military officers allied with the president.

If he dies or otherwise leaves power, the country’s constitution requires an election be called within 30 days to replace him, which could unleash a power struggle.

What may ultimately guide the transition is the complex mix of loyalties among both top leadership and lower-ranking officers, said Rocio San Miguel, president of the nonprofit group Citizen Control for Security, Defense and the Armed Force.

A former paratrooper, Chavez enjoys explicit support from his two top military leaders, Defense Minister Adm. Diego Molero and chief strategic operational officer, army Gen. Wilmer Barrientos, both of whom the president appointed.

Cabello, who’s a close Chavez ally and former army lieutenant, can also count on officers promoted by the country’s main military academy around 1987, the year of his class. Retired Adm. Ivan Carratu estimated more than 85 men from that class, out of hundreds of high-ranking officers, are serving in command posts around the country.

But while the top leadership is solidly pro-Chavez, the loyalties of some 8,500 to 10,000 middle- and low-ranking officers remain unknown, San Miguel said, and they could determine the military’s posture.

“We are clearly in a transition in Venezuela and what’s to be defined is what is the real alternative to power, first within Chavismo and secondly, with regard to the opposition’s aspirations,” San Miguel said.

Opposition politicians insist that many in the armed forces are unhappy with Chavez for introducing Cuban officials among their ranks and for failing to improve soldiers’ low wages and poor benefits.

Carratu told The Associated Press that more than 100 officers, largely colonels, have been kept out of active duty after being identified as unsympathetic to Chavez’s policies. He added that the authorities hope to retire many of them after two years out of active duty.

Carratu said another batch of officers is not aligned with any political movement and consider themselves loyal only to the constitution.

“There exists a group of soldiers … where what’s totally and absolutely important is the army,” Carratu said. “It’s where there isn’t visible authority.”

Another question complicating any transition is a 125,000 person-strong civilian militia that the Chavez government has cultivated as a shadow army defending his programs. San Miguel estimated that about 30,000 of them could be considered armed combatants.

Under the command of a Chavez-appointed army general, the militia represents “a threat to the civilian population that decides to protest peacefully,” she said.

At least for now, the military appears to be playing its historic part by ensuring peace, said Diego Moya-Ocampos, a political analyst with the London-based economic consultancy IHS Global Insight.

“In the current scenario of weak institutions in Venezuela, the armed forces plays a role of a sort of constitutional police that guarantees the constitution and the democratic process,” Moya-Ocampos said. “The military is committed to political stability and to the Venezuelan Constitution.”

“There are tensions behind the scenes but not strong enough yet to fragment the armed forces.”

San Miguel, however, suggested the military simply may be waiting until the president’s departure to make any move, as are all the players in Venezuela’s post-Chavez chess game.

When will it finally reveal its plans? “Not until there’s a real alternative of power,” San Miguel said.

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China May Perform Some Cosmetic Reforms on Gulag System of ‘Re-education’ Camps

child prisoners re-education
A Chinese policewoman guards child prisoners as they participate in a meeting to mark the 10-year anniversary of a re-education program at a youth jail in Guangzhou, back in 2002 Photo: REUTERS

“The risk is we’ll get re-education lite — a system that perpetuates the ability of police to deprive people of liberty for significant periods of time without trial or judicial oversight,” said Nicholas Bequelin, a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch. “My fear is that such a system would end up being harder to do away with.”

nytimes.com | Jan 7, 2013

By ANDREW JACOBS

BEIJING — China will start overhauling its draconian system of re-education through labor in the coming year, according to the state news media, signaling the incoming leadership’s determination to alter one of the government’s more widely despised cudgels for punishing petty criminals, religious dissidents, petitioners and other perceived social irritants.

The brief announcement on Monday, by the official Xinhua news agency, lacked details, but legal advocates said they were hopeful that the five-decade-old system for locking up offenders without trial would be significantly modified, if not abolished altogether.

“If true, this would be an important advance,” said Zhang Qianfan, a law professor at Peking University who has long pushed for the system’s demise. “It’s a tool that is widely abused.”

Established by Mao Zedong in the 1950s to swiftly neutralize political opponents, re-education through labor has evolved into a sprawling extralegal system of 350 camps where more than 100,000 people toil in prison factories and on farms for up to four years. Sentences are meted out by local public security officials, and defendants have no access to lawyers and little chance for appeal.

Since the 1980s, legal scholars and human rights advocates have been urging an end to the system and urging that the prosecution of minor offenses be shifted to criminal courts. The campaign has been re-energized in recent months by several cases, widely promoted in the news media, in which people were consigned to the camps for criticizing or simply annoying local party officials.

Among the more notable cases was that of Ren Jianyu, a college graduate turned village official in southwestern China who was sent to a work camp for “subversion” after investigators found in his closet a T-shirt that declared “Freedom or death.” In November, local officials, apparently cowed by a welter of condemnation in newspapers and on the Internet, cut short his two-year sentence.

A similar backlash also persuaded officials in Hunan Province last summer to free a woman, Tang Hui, who was given an 18-month sentence after she repeatedly protested that the seven men who had raped and forced her 11-year-old daughter into prostitution had been treated too leniently.

But any jubilation that the system might be on its way out was tempered by the manner in which the news emerged. Details of a conference held by top judicial and legal officials were reported online on Monday by a number of news media outlets — including word that the party would “stop using the system” within a year. Those accounts, however, were later deleted, leaving only the brief Xinhua account.

Chen Dongsheng, a bureau chief for the official Legal Daily who listened to a closed-circuit telecast of the meeting, told The Associated Press that Meng Jianzhu, chief of the Communist Party’s politics and law committee, had pledged to end the system, saying it had “played a useful role in the past, but conditions had now changed.”

But Mr. Chen’s microblog postings on the subject promptly disappeared, and he could not be reached for comment.

In its own report, Xinhua used the word “reform,” suggesting the changes to the system labor might be less than sweeping. Such changes could involve giving the system the legislative authority it currently lacks and subjecting decisions to some level of judicial review, although China’s party-controlled courts rarely rule in favor of defendants.

In a separate account of the same meeting, Xinhua included comments by Mr. Meng and Xi Jinping, the incoming president, but left out any mention of re-education through labor. Mr. Xi, who has promised to strengthen the nation’s legal system since his elevation to party secretary in November, reiterated his support for greater rule of law, saying the government should “improve empathy and public credibility of legal affairs work, striving to ensure that the public feels that justice is served in every law case.”

Rights advocates are pleased that the issue is on the leadership’s agenda but said that the devil would be in the details. Previous proposals for change, they noted, have included an 18-month cap on sentences, weekend furloughs for prisoners and access to lawyers for defendants. But such modifications alone, they said, would leave intact the bones of a system that violates international legal conventions as well as Chinese law.

“The risk is we’ll get re-education lite — a system that perpetuates the ability of police to deprive people of liberty for significant periods of time without trial or judicial oversight,” said Nicholas Bequelin, a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch. “My fear is that such a system would end up being harder to do away with.”

Pravda: Americans never give up your guns

What they hate is guns in the hands of those who are not marching in lock step of their ideology. They hate guns in the hands of those who think for themselves and do not obey without question.

Pravda | Dec 28, 2012

By Stanislav Mishin

gunThese days, there are few things to admire about the socialist, bankrupt and culturally degenerating USA, but at least so far, one thing remains: the right to bear arms and use deadly force to defend one’s self and possessions.

This will probably come as a total shock to most of my Western readers, but at one point, Russia was one of the most heavily armed societies on earth. This was, of course, when we were free under the Tsar. Weapons, from swords and spears to pistols, rifles and shotguns were everywhere, common items. People carried them concealed, they carried them holstered. Fighting knives were a prominent part of many traditional attires and those little tubes criss crossing on the costumes of Cossacks and various Caucasian peoples? Well those are bullet holders for rifles.

Various armies, such as the Poles, during the Смута (Times of Troubles), or Napoleon, or the Germans even as the Tsarist state collapsed under the weight of WW1 and Wall Street monies, found that holding Russian lands was much much harder than taking them and taking was no easy walk in the park but a blood bath all its own. In holding, one faced an extremely well armed and aggressive population Hell bent on exterminating or driving out the aggressor.

This well armed population was what allowed the various White factions to rise up, no matter how disorganized politically and militarily they were in 1918 and wage a savage civil war against the Reds. It should be noted that many of these armies were armed peasants, villagers, farmers and merchants, protecting their own. If it had not been for Washington’s clandestine support of and for the Reds, history would have gone quite differently.

Moscow fell, for example, not from a lack of weapons to defend it, but from the lying guile of the Reds. Ten thousand Reds took Moscow and were opposed only by some few hundreds of officer cadets and their instructors. Even then the battle was fierce and losses high. However, in the city alone, at that time, lived over 30,000 military officers (both active and retired), all with their own issued weapons and ammunition, plus tens of thousands of other citizens who were armed. The Soviets promised to leave them all alone if they did not intervene. They did not and for that were asked afterwards to come register themselves and their weapons: where they were promptly shot.

Of course being savages, murderers and liars does not mean being stupid and the Reds learned from their Civil War experience. One of the first things they did was to disarm the population. From that point, mass repression, mass arrests, mass deportations, mass murder, mass starvation were all a safe game for the powers that were. The worst they had to fear was a pitchfork in the guts or a knife in the back or the occasional hunting rifle. Not much for soldiers.

To this day, with the Soviet Union now dead 21 years, with a whole generation born and raised to adulthood without the SU, we are still denied our basic and traditional rights to self defense. Why? We are told that everyone would just start shooting each other and crime would be everywhere….but criminals are still armed and still murdering and too often, especially in the far regions, those criminals wear the uniforms of the police. The fact that everyone would start shooting is also laughable when statistics are examined.

While President Putin pushes through reforms, the local authorities, especially in our vast hinterland, do not feel they need to act like they work for the people. They do as they please, a tyrannical class who knows they have absolutely nothing to fear from a relatively unarmed population. This in turn breeds not respect but absolute contempt and often enough, criminal abuse.

For those of us fighting for our traditional rights, the US 2nd Amendment is a rare light in an ever darkening room. Governments will use the excuse of trying to protect the people from maniacs and crime, but are in reality, it is the bureaucrats protecting their power and position. In all cases where guns are banned, gun crime continues and often increases. As for maniacs, be it nuts with cars (NYC, Chapel Hill NC), swords (Japan), knives (China) or home made bombs (everywhere), insane people strike. They throw acid (Pakistan, UK), they throw fire bombs (France), they attack. What is worse, is, that the best way to stop a maniac is not psychology or jail or “talking to them”, it is a bullet in the head, that is why they are a maniac, because they are incapable of living in reality or stopping themselves.

The excuse that people will start shooting each other is also plain and silly. So it is our politicians saying that our society is full of incapable adolescents who can never be trusted? Then, please explain how we can trust them or the police, who themselves grew up and came from the same culture?

No it is about power and a total power over the people. There is a lot of desire to bad mouth the Tsar, particularly by the Communists, who claim he was a tyrant, and yet under him we were armed and under the progressives disarmed. Do not be fooled by a belief that progressives, leftists hate guns. Oh, no, they do not. What they hate is guns in the hands of those who are not marching in lock step of their ideology. They hate guns in the hands of those who think for themselves and do not obey without question. They hate guns in those whom they have slated for a barrel to the back of the ear.

So, do not fall for the false promises and do not extinguish the light that is left to allow humanity a measure of self respect.

Unemployment and Poverty in America: 75 Economic Numbers From 2012 that are Almost too Crazy to Believe

unemploymentWhat a year 2012 has been!  The mainstream media continues to tell us what a “great job” the Obama administration and the Federal Reserve are doing of managing the economy, but meanwhile things just continue to get even worse for the poor and the middle class.  It is imperative that we educate the American people about the true condition of our economy and about why all of this is happening. 

If nothing is done, our debt problems will continue to get worse, millions of jobs will continue to leave the country, small businesses will continue to be suffocated, the middle class will continue to collapse, and poverty in the United States will continue to explode.  Just “tweaking” things slightly is not going to fix our economy.  We need a fundamental change in direction.  Right now we are living in a bubble of debt-fueled false prosperity that allows us to continue to consume far more wealth than we produce, but when that bubble bursts we are going to experience the most painful economic “adjustment” that America has ever gone through.  We need to be able to explain to our fellow Americans what is coming, why it is coming and what needs to be done.  Hopefully the crazy economic numbers that I have included in this article will be shocking enough to wake some people up.

The end of the year is a time when people tend to gather with family and friends more than they do during the rest of the year.  Hopefully many of you will use the list below as a tool to help start some conversations about the coming economic collapse with your loved ones.  Sadly, most Americans still tend to doubt that we are heading into economic oblivion.  So if you have someone among your family and friends that believes that everything is going to be “just fine”, just show them these numbers.  They are a good summary of the problems that the U.S. economy is currently facing.

The following are 75 economic numbers from 2012 that are almost too crazy to believe…

#1 In December 2008, 31.6 million Americans were on food stamps.  Today, a new all-time record of 47.7 million Americans are on food stamps.  That number has increased by more than 50 percent over the past four years, and yet the mainstream media still has the gall to insist that “things are getting better”.

#2 Back in the 1970s, about one out of every 50 Americans was on food stamps.  Today, about one out of every 6.5 Americans is on food stamps.

#3 According to one calculation, the number of Americans on food stamps now exceeds the combined populations of “Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.”

#4 According to one recent survey, 55 percent of all Americans have received money from a safety net program run by the federal government at some point in their lives.

#5 For the first time ever, more than a million public school students in the United States are homeless.  That number has risen by 57 percent since the 2006-2007 school year.

#6 Median household income in the U.S. has fallen for four consecutive years.  Overall, it has declined by over $4000 during that time span.

#7 Families that have a head of household under the age of 30 have a poverty rate of 37 percent.

#8 The percentage of working age Americans with a job has been under 59 percent for 39 months in a row.

#9 In September 2009, during the depths of the last economic crisis, 58.7 percent of all working age Americans were employed.  In November 2012, 58.7 percent of all working age Americans were employed.  It is more then 3 years later, and we are in the exact same place.

#10 When you total up all working age Americans that do not have a job in America today, it comes to more than 100 million.

#11 According to one recent survey, 55 percent of all small business owners in America “say they would not start a business today given what they know now and in the current environment.”

#12 The number of jobs at new small businesses continues to decline.  According to economist Tim Kane, the following is how the decline in the number of startup jobs per 1000 Americans breaks down by presidential administration

Bush Sr.: 11.3

Clinton: 11.2

Bush Jr.: 10.8

Obama: 7.8

#13 The U.S. share of global GDP has fallen from 31.8 percent in 2001 to 21.6 percent in 2011.

#14 The United States has fallen in the global economic competitiveness rankings compiled by the World Economic Forum for four years in a row.

#15 There are four major U.S. banks that each have more than 40 trillion dollars of exposure to derivatives.

#16 In 2000, there were more than 17 million Americans working in manufacturing, but now there are less than 12 million.

#17 According to the Pew Research Center, 61 percent of all Americans were “middle income” back in 1971.  Today, only 51 percent of all Americans are.

#18 The Pew Research Center has also found that 85 percent of all middle class Americans say that it is harder to maintain a middle class standard of living today than it was 10 years ago.

#19 62 percent of all middle class Americans say that they have had to reduce household spending over the past year.

#20 Right now, approximately 48 percent of all Americans are either considered to be “low income” or are living in poverty.

#21 Approximately 57 percent of all children in the United States are living in homes that are either considered to be either “low income” or impoverished.

#22 According to one survey, 77 percent of all Americans are now living paycheck to paycheck at least part of the time.

#23 Back in 1950, more than 80 percent of all men in the United States had jobs.  Today, less than 65 percent of all men in the United States have jobs.

#24 The average amount of time that an unemployed worker stays out of work in the United States is 40 weeks.

#25 If you can believe it, approximately one out of every four American workers makes 10 dollars an hour or less.

#26 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, an all-time record 49 percent of all Americans live in a home where at least one person receives financial assistance from the federal government.  Back in 1983, that number was less than 30 percent.

#27 Right now, more than 100 million Americans are enrolled in at least one welfare program run by the federal government.  And that does not even count Social Security or Medicare.  Overall, there are almost 80 different “means-tested welfare programs” that the federal government is currently running.

#28 When you account for all government transfer payments and all forms of government employment, more than half of all Americans are now at least partially financially dependent on the government.

#29 Barack Obama has been president for less than four years, and during that time the number of Americans “not in the labor force” has increased by nearly 8.5 million.  Something seems really “off” about that number, because during the entire decade of the 1980s the number of Americans “not in the labor force” only rose by about 2.5 million.

#30 Electricity bills in the United States have risen faster than the overall rate of inflation for five years in a row.

#31 According to USA Today, many Americans have actually seen their water bills triple over the past 12 years.

#32 There are now 20.2 million Americans that spend more than half of their incomes on housing.  That represents a 46 percent increase from 2001.

#33 Right now, approximately 25 million American adults are living with their parents.

#34 As the economy has slowed down, so has the number of marriages.  According to a Pew Research Center analysis, only 51 percent of all Americans that are at least 18 years old are currently married.  Back in 1960, 72 percent of all U.S. adults were married.

#35 At this point, only 24.6 percent of all jobs in the United States are good jobs.

#36 In 1999, 64.1 percent of all Americans were covered by employment-based health insurance.  Today, only 55.1 percent are covered by employment-based health insurance.

#37 Recently it was announced that total student loan debt in the United States has passed the one trillion dollar mark.

#38 If you can believe it, one out of every seven Americans has at least 10 credit cards.

#39 One survey of business executives has ranked California as the worst state in America to do business for 8 years in a row.

#40 In the city of Detroit today, more than 50 percent of all children are living in poverty, and close to 50 percent of all adults are functionally illiterate.

#41 It is being projected that half of all American children will be on food stamps at least once before they turn 18 years of age.

#42 More than three times as many new homes were sold in the United States in 2005 as will be sold in 2012.

#43 If you can believe it, 53 percent of all Americans with a bachelor’s degree under the age of 25 were either unemployed or underemployed last year.

#44 The U.S. economy continues to trade good paying jobs for low paying jobs.  60 percent of the jobs lost during the last recession were mid-wage jobs, but 58 percent of the jobs created since then have been low wage jobs.

#45 Our trade deficit with China in 2011 was $295.5 billion.  That was the largest trade deficit that one country has had with another country in the history of the planet.

#46 The United States has lost an average of approximately 50,000 manufacturing jobs a month since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.

#47 According to the Economic Policy Institute, America is losing half a million jobs to China every single year.

#48 The U.S. tax code is now more than 3.8 million words long.  If you took all of William Shakespeare’s works and collected them together, the entire collection would only be about 900,000 words long.

#49 According to the IMF, the global elite are holding a total of 18 trillion dollars in offshore banking havens such as the Cayman Islands.

#50 The value of the U.S. dollar has declined by more than 96 percent since the Federal Reserve was first created.

#51 2012 was the third year in a row that the yield for corn has declined in the United States.

#52 Experts are telling us that global food reserves have reached their lowest level in almost 40 years.

#53 One recent survey discovered that 40 percent of all Americans have $500 or less in savings.

#54 If you can believe it, one recent survey found that 28 percent of all Americans do not have a single penny saved for emergencies.

#55 Medical costs related to obesity in the United States are estimated to be approximately $147 billion a year.

#56 Corporate profits as a percentage of GDP are at an all-time high.  Meanwhile, wages as a percentage of GDP are near an all-time low.

#57 Today, the wealthiest 1 percent of all Americans own more wealth than the bottom 95 percent combined.

#58 The wealthiest 400 families in the United States have about as much wealth as the bottom 50 percent of all Americans combined.

#59 The six heirs of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton have a net worth that is roughly equal to the bottom 30 percent of all Americans combined.

#60 At this point, the poorest 50 percent of all Americans collectively own just 2.5% of all the wealth in the United States.

#61 Nearly 500,000 federal employees now make at least $100,000 a year.

#62 In 2006, only 12 percent of all federal workers made $100,000 or more per year.  Now, approximately 22 percent of all federal workers do.

#63 If you can believe it, there are 77,000 federal workers that make more than the governors of their own states do.

#64 Nearly 15,000 retired federal workers are collecting federal pensions for life worth at least $100,000 annually.  The list includes such names as Newt Gingrich, Bob Dole, Trent Lott, Dick Gephardt and Dick Cheney.

#65 U.S. taxpayers spend more than 20 times as much on the Obamas as British taxpayers spend on the royal family.

#66 Family homelessness in the Washington D.C. region (one of the wealthiest regions in the entire country) has risen 23 percent since the last recession began.

#67 If Bill Gates gave every single penny of his fortune to the U.S. government, it would only cover the U.S. budget deficit for about 15 days.

#68 During fiscal year 2012, 62 percent of the federal budget was spent on entitlements.

#69 Back in 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid.  Today, approximately one out of every 6 Americans is on Medicaid.

#70 It is being projected that Obamacare will add 16 million more Americans to the Medicaid rolls.

#71 Medicare is also growing by leaps and bounds.  As I wrote about recently, it is being projected that the number of Americans on Medicare will grow from 50.7 million in 2012 to 73.2 million in 2025.

#72 Thanks to our foolish politicians (including Obama), Medicare is facing unfunded liabilities of more than 38 trillion dollars over the next 75 years.  That comes to approximately $328,404 for each and every household in the United States.

#73 Amazingly, the U.S. national debt is now up to 16.3 trillion dollars.  When Barack Obama first took office the national debt was just 10.6 trillion dollars.

#74 During the first four years of the Obama administration, the U.S. government accumulated about as much debt as it did from the time that George Washington took office to the time that George W. Bush took office.

#75 Today, the U.S. national debt is more than 5000 times larger than it was when the Federal Reserve was originally created back in 1913.

Amsterdam shipping containers used for punishment housing camps for “scum”

geert-wilders-amst_2416763bThe plan echoes a proposal from Geert Wilders, the leader of a populist Dutch Right-wing party Photo: AFP/GETTY

Amsterdam is to create “Scum villages” where nuisance neighbours and anti-social tenants will be exiled from the city and rehoused in caravans or containers with “minimal services” under constant police supervision.

There are already several small-scale trial projects in the Netherlands, including in Amsterdam, where 10 shipping container homes have been set aside for persistent offenders, living under 24-hour supervision from social workers and police.

Amsterdam to create ‘scum villages’

telegraph.co.uk | Dec 3, 2012

By Bruno Waterfield

Holland’s capital already has a special hit squad of municipal officials to identify the worst offenders for a compulsory six month course in how to behave.

Social housing problem families or tenants who do not show an improvement or refuse to go to the special units face eviction and homelessness.

Eberhard van der Laan, Amsterdam’s Labour mayor, has tabled the £810,000 plan to tackle 13,000 complaints of anti-social behaviour every year. He complained that long-term harassment often leads to law abiding tenants, rather than their nuisance neighbours, being driven out.

“This is the world turned upside down,” the mayor said at the weekend.

The project also involves setting up a special hotline and system for victims to report their problems to the authorities.

The new punishment housing camps have been dubbed “scum villages” because the plan echoes a proposal from Geert Wilders, the leader of a populist Dutch Right-wing party, for special units to deal with persistent troublemakers.

“Repeat offenders should be forcibly removed from their neighbourhood and sent to a village for scum,” he suggested last year. “Put all the trash together.”

Whilst denying that the new projects would be punishment camps for “scum”, a spokesman for the city mayor stressed that the special residential units would aim to enforce good behaviour.

“The aim is not to reward people who behave badly with a new five-room home with a south-facing garden. This is supposed to be a deterrent,” he said.

The tough approach taken by Mr van der Laan appears to jar with Amsterdam’s famous tolerance for prostitution and soft drugs but reflects hardening attitudes to routine anti-social behaviour that falls short of criminality.

There are already several small-scale trial projects in the Netherlands, including in Amsterdam, where 10 shipping container homes have been set aside for persistent offenders, living under 24-hour supervision from social workers and police.

Under the new policy, from January next year, victims will no longer have to move to escape their tormentors, who will be moved to the new units.

A team of district “harassment directors” have already been appointed to spot signals of problems and to gather reports of nuisance tenants.

The Dutch Parool newspaper observed that the policy was not a new one. In the 19th century, troublemakers were moved to special villages in Drenthe and Overijssel outside Amsterdam. The villages were rarely successful, becoming sink estates for the lawless.

“We have learned from the past,” said the mayor’s spokesman. “A neighbourhood can deal with one problem family but if there are more the situation escalates.”

An Obama Friend And His Communist Connection


Danny Davis: Obama shares his values. AP

investors.com | Mar 14, 2012

Vetting: That a U.S. congressman has been honored by a communist group is in itself noteworthy. That the congressman is a political ally of President Obama whose values he shares is even more so.

Late last month, Rep. Danny Davis, a Democrat who has represented Chicago’s Loop since 1998, accepted the Chris Hani and Rudy Lozano Social Justice Award from the People’s World, an online news provider that, according to its website, enjoys “a special relationship with the Communist Party USA” and publishes “its news and views.” Part of its editorial mission is “to popularize the ideas of Marxism and Bill of Rights socialism.”

There was no mainstream media coverage of the award ceremony, just a RebelPundit.com video of Davis accepting the award and a sidewalk interview that turned confrontational when the congressman’s comrades tried to intimidate Jeremy Segal, the self-described citizen journalist of RebelPundit who was asking legitimate questions and peacefully shooting the video.

Segal bookends the Davis portion of the video with clips of President Obama in 2004 telling a group that the reason Davis is “one of the best congressmen in the country” is that “he shares our values.” Davis introduces Obama at the rally as a “friend of mine.”

Having a member of the Congress so closely aligned with the Communist Party should be better publicized. Would it be acceptable if he received an award from a Nazi group? A fascist organization? Of course not.

Yet he is honored by a organization that backs the policies of communist regimes that have murdered as many as 260 million people, according to academic R.J. Rummel’s high-limit estimate, and there’s no outcry save for one citizen journalist and a few websites that have picked up on his fearless coverage. What kind of country are we living in these days?

The offense only begins with Davis, though. It extends through him all the way to the top of the party — and the U.S. government.

During the 2008 campaign, Obama crafted an image of himself as a moderate. But he has strong bonds with the far left. At least two members of his administration have communist connections.

One, Van Jones, the green jobs czar who lasted six months in the job, was an admitted communist. Another, former White House communications director Anita Dunn, listed Mao Zedong, a member of the mass-murdering class documented by Rummel’s research, as one of her favorite philosophers.

Further back is Frank Marshall Davis, a member of the Communist Party USA who is known as young Obama’s mentor.

Despite these and other links, we’re not saying Obama himself is a communist. He is a member, and titular head, of the Democratic Party. But he has a history of surrounding himself with radicals. It’s discouraging that this part of his background has not been revealed in the vetting process.

Russian election watchdog ‘silenced by the state’ three days before parliamentary polls

Daily Mail | Dec 2, 2011

By Emma Reynolds

 

'Hampered': Gregory Melkonyants, leading activist of election watchdog Golos, was in a court accused of violating election law today

Russia’s chief election watchdog has been ‘silenced by the state’ three days before the Parliamentary polls, according to the group.

Moscow city prosecutors said they had received complaints from lawmakers over Golos’s foreign financing and calls for it to stop monitoring votes.

The news comes after Vladmir Putin said in a speech a week ago that foreigners were funding his political opponents – in what commentators said sounded much like the anti-Western rhetoric of his eight-year presidency from 2000.

Prime minister Mr Putin is expected to easily regain the position in March, but opinion polls have shown that his dominance could be damaged in the lower house by Sunday’s vote.

Newspapers such as The Guardian warned yesterday that Mr Putin’s reincarnation as all-powerful president, potentially until 2024, poses a challenge to western powers for which they seem ill-prepared.

He has one overriding objective, said the newspaper – the creation of a third, post-tsarist, post-Soviet Russian empire.

Employees at election watchdog Golos said it had been served with a ‘speedy’ court order to hear its case on Friday.

It came as president Dmitry Medvedev and Mr Putin pledged public sector pay rises in a late attempt to gain extra votes.

‘This a premeditated campaign, which started with attacks in the press, but is now making use of law enforcement agencies,’ said Grigory Melkonyants, the deputy head of Golos.

‘We are certain this is only the first summons and there will be other investigations, especially targeted at hampering us from observing (the vote) on December 4.’

The non-profit organisation – whose name means voice in English – is open about the fact its funding comes entirely from Europe and the U.S. and claims that helps it to be objective.

Golos has been running since 200, and provides a hotline and interactive map where viewers can see campaign violations on the site kartanarusheniy.ru.

Mr Melkonyants read from documents in which prosecutors warn the organisation about breaking election laws by spreading ‘falsifications and rumours’.

More than 3,000 alleged campaign violations were detailed on Golos’s website, many of them including videos which have embarrassed members of Mr Putin’s United Russia party.

One popular clip showed a top official in the western Urals city of Izhevsk telling veterans they would get money if they voted for United Russia.

It led to a rare punishment from authorities, and the employee was found guilty by a Russian court and fined.

Mr Melkonyants claimed the trouble began when reporters from the Kremlin-friendly TV station NTV barged into Golos’s offices last weekend, shouting and asking questions about the watchdog’s financing.

On Wednesday, online news portal Gazeta.ru removed a link to Golos’s website. One of its deputy editors, Roman Badanin, resigned over what he called the ‘amoral’ decision.

Tanya Lokshina, of the Moscow branch of New York-based Human Rights Watch, said the incidents were part of a smear campaign directed at ‘getting rid of the organisation altogether.’

‘They are trying to shut it up because Golos is the only large-scale, serious organisation that is exposing election violations,’ she said.

Prosecutors could not immediately be reached for comment.

Russian soldiers will be woken with ‘pleasant music’ on Sunday before they go to vote, and will be encouraged to watch state television, reported the Daily Telegraph.

United Russia is said to be counting on the military vote as its majority looks likely to be cut.

Staff from the defence ministry have visited barracks across the country and advised officers to give soldiers a ‘celebratory breakfast’ before the polls, according to Izvestia newspaper.