Open Letter to my U.S. Senator 4/3/17


Dear Senator Stabenow,

Please vote to confirm Judge Gorsuch for the Supreme Court.

As you know, he was earlier voted onto the Appeals Court with 100% of the Senators voting “yes”, and since then has not done anything to disqualify him.  He is a terrific candidate, and just because you or the Senator from New York disagree on some of his rulings does not disqualify him.

My fear is that, if Democrats sink this candidate, the next one will be someone that very few will want to support.  Not supporting moderates like Gorsuch will only cause ideologues to step in for the next (many) nominations.  Previous Democrat-led Senate leaders have shown the current Senate leadership that long-running “rules don’t matter” when a favorite nominee is wanted, and unfortunately the current leadership may in turn (if Gorsuch fails) adopt tactics used by Harry Reid to put through controversial appointments.  Our country needs you to fight when important questions are on the table – – not just to play a partisan role.  I would hope you will be the adult in the room and not reject Gorsuch for the minor reasons being put forward.

Thank you.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Why should you care if the government can store your phone records and email?


Are you bothered by the recent news about the incredible level of snooping being done by the U.S. Government?  What exactly is the problem?

“The NSA has built an infrastructure that allows it to intercept almost everything. If I wanted to see your e-mails or your wife’s phone, all I have to do is use intercepts. I can get your e-mails, passwords, phone records, credit cards. Any analyst – at any time – can target anyone. I, sitting at my desk, had the authority to wiretap anyone; from you, to or your accountant, to a federal judge, to even the President.”

-Edward Snowden, NSA whistleblower

Unless this is addressed immediately, we will have entered the point of “no return” – – no return of:

  • our liberty
  • our ability to speak out freely
  • our ability to redress grievances we have with the government
  • our right to privacy
  • our Constitutional right to be free from people accessing our private family, financial and health care information.

Instead of being presumed innocent, we are all now presumed to be involved in terrorist activity and are having our personal files and records collected by the government for searching.  With the phone records by themselves, the government will know:

  • who you spoke with, and for how long
  • where you were (courtesy of GPS location on your phone) when you made/took the call

Can you imagine the havoc some government bureaucrat can now wreak on you, your family and friends with your phone records?  How about your email?  Could the emails you receive be used by the government to expose the private information about someone else?   Do you think this will not happen?  Let me share a story:

During the 1990’s, the Clinton campaign became famous for the “politics of personal destruction”, which was a brutal reaction to multiple accusations involving Bill Clinton’s infidelity with several women (remember Gennifer Flowers?) when he was Governor of Arkansas.  The intent was to dig up “dirt” on these women, discredit them and intimidate them so they would not press forward with their stories about Clinton.  Once elected, the President and the Clinton administration reportedly continued these practices.

In 1998, the walls protecting the President began to crumble with the allegations and physical evidence (remember the “stained” dress?) involving Monica Lewinsky, the young White House intern.  So what happened?  As the Congress began to talk about a possible impeachment of the President, the “politics of personal destruction” went to a new level — targeting members of Congress with threats of disclosure of personal information that had been collected and was now in the hands of allies in the alternative media (Salon.com) and Hollywood.

  • On 9/16/1998, David Talbot ran a story on Salon.com about Rep. Henry Hyde, head of the House Judiciary Committee — he was “outed” for an adultery incident that occurred several decades earlier.  They even tracked down Hyde’s daughter and got a negative quote about her estranged father.
  • On 10/4/1998 Larry Flynt exposed the incoming Speaker of the House Bob Livingston for having cheated on his wife.
  • Rep. Bob Barr had the unfortunate experience of having his wife’s abortion exposed to the world.
  • Rep. Dan Burton was unnerved about the probing into his personal life and “outed” himself about his past.

While running for State Senator in Illinois, Barak Obama’s campaign was able to destroy an opponent by accessing and disclosing allegations within sealed court records from a nasty divorce.

Can you imagine how this could work today?  There are over 1,900 governmental departments and functions involving security matters, with hundreds of thousands of employees and contractors with access to very sensitive information.  Just the buildings in Washington, DC built or being built to house the security functions in total rival the size of a medium size city.  No one knows the annual budget for these functions.  No one in Congress knows the scope or extent of the data collection on Americans.

In just the last two weeks, we have seen the tip of the iceberg of the risks to our privacy and our Constitution:

  • IRS targeting groups based on political beliefs
  • Work and cell phones of 20 journalists and 100 phone lines at the Associated Press tapped instead of pursuing just the records of the reporter in question
  • Possibly false statements included in sworn warrants accusing a Fox News reporter of being a co-conspirator to terrorism because he reported a story the Justice Department didn’t like

Personally, I’m shocked so many members of Congress including my representative Mike Rogers knew about and are even endorsing the data collection programs today.  I immediately called his office to let him know how disappointed I am with his involvement in this and the trashing of the 4th Amendment.  Have you called or written???

So let me close with one other true story:  the Colonists in 1761 we very upset with the British government.  Why?  They were subjected to something called “general warrants” which allows British troops to enter any home or business for a search without having to show reasonable suspicion of a crime or go before a judge to outline what specifically needs to be searched and why.  Today, we have the FISA court (a secret court you cannot attend) granting access to the records of all Americans although the NSA, FBI, DHS, ATF, and other police and security services have  no allegations about 99.99% of us.  Why is this allowed?

 

Posted in Congress, Failure to Govern, Freedom, Government Overreach, Government Policy Failure, Political Discourse, Political Intimidation, Privacy, Taking Back America, U.S. Supreme Court | Leave a comment

Should I be concerned about inflation? Why does my dollar buy less and less?


Who is accountable for the theft of $17 trillion in American wealth?

Who is accountable for the theft of $17 trillion in American wealth?

90 percent silver coinsWould you like to know something fascinating?

When I was a young kid growing up in the early 1960s I can remember the big, yellow Town Talk gas station on 28th Street located next to the Dairy Treat.  Gasoline was $.30 per gallon in 1963, the year President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.  A postage stamp was 4 cents and a gallon of milk was 49 cents.  See the stats at:  http://www.1960sflashback.com/1963/economy.asp

So it took one quarter and one nickel to pay for a gallon of gas.  Today, it takes 15 quarters and one nickel for a gallon ($3.80 at BP).  Why?

Some people say, “Aww … that’s just inflation for you.  Those days of $.50 cigarette packs and $.75 movies are gone.  Today things just cost more!”

Actually, the price of things relative to real, tangible things like gold and silver have not changed much.  Let me illustrate for you.

  • That 25 cent piece or quarter I had in my pocket in 1963 is worth $4.30 today!
  • The reason is that our coins used to be made of 90% silver.  The value rises beyond this “melt value” if the particular coin is rare (numismatic coins).
  • In 1964, the silver content put into our coins by the U.S. mint was reduced from 90% to 40%.
  • Today our coins are only worth the stated value, such as 25 cents.

Check out the facts about the value of pre-1964 silver coins here:  http://www.coinflation.com/silver_coin_values.html

So the REAL price of gasoline has not increased … the purchasing value of your U.S. Dollar has declined!   One US quarter and nickel dated 1964 or prior can be sold to any coin shop for $5.63, less a small premium — much more than the $3.80 gallon of gas!

This decline in the value of our currency has been going on since the Federal Reserve was established in 1913.  The “Fed” (as it is called) is neither a Federal agency or contains a “reserve”, but is a private corporation owned by member banks, which is overseen by a board of governors — with the Chairman being appointed by the U.S. President.  The Fed’s purpose is to maintain stability in the value of the Dollar and maintain full employment.  Many argue the Fed has failed on both objectives.  It is authorized to create “new” dollars to buy “assets” such as US Treasury bonds and bills.  So our money is actually based on debt — US taxpayer debt.  Since 1913, the buying power of the Dollar is down a whopping 97-98%!  In 2011, the Occupy Wall Street crowd also protested to “End the Fed” … and now you know why.

Our Dollar’s value, which is measured against other things of value such as gold, silver or oil, has been steadily declining for a number of reasons — including Congress’ failure to manage spending and the national debt for several decades.  You can’t spend 40% more than you take in with taxes and continue to go on without consequences!  Today, the Fed actually buys about 70% of all U.S. Treasury debt being issued … about $1 Trillion annually!

Here is one other true story from my past.  My Grandma, in her later years, was so tapped out financially that she gave each grandchild a crisp U.S. one dollar bill as their Christmas present.  I still have this bill as a keepsake of my memories of her.  Had she instead given us four 25 cent pieces, that gift which is still worth $1 would instead be worth $17.20 in current melt value for the silver content.  Pretty remarkable, no?

What are you doing to protect yourself and your family from the ravages of the declining dollar?  Many experts say it continues to decline 7-9% per year.

Posted in Failure to Govern, Federal Spending, Financial Crisis, Fiscal Cliff - the REAL one, Government Policy Failure, Money and real value, Precious Metals as a Personal Hedge, Protecting Yourself from the Coming Calamity | Leave a comment

What the Hell is going on with our economy?


If you’ve ever asked yourself or others the above question, as I have … then keep reading.

Personally, I do a LOT of reading to develop a broad understanding of all things impacting our family and finances.  I’m constantly scouring books, magazines, blogs, numerous newsletters, and attending forums and workshops to gain insight from as many different sources as possible to learn the truth.

From time to time, I come across really insightful pieces that I either add to my library or share with family and friends.  Today, I decided to share one such piece with you.  My source was the MilesFranklin.com newsletter written by David Schectman.   Why is this item important?  Failing to understand how bad the U.S. Government finances really are will seriously impact you.  You must take steps to protect yourself.  No kidding.  Don’t think that “it can’t happen here” as it has hundreds of times throughout history.  Read on:

Richard Russell (dowtheoryletters.com)

April 25, 2013

 Richard’s Remarks:

The US is now borrowing money to pay for the interest on our national debt. The US now borrows roughly 46 cents for every dollar that it spends. We’ve finally come to the point where our foreign creditors no longer want to lend money to the US to cover our outrageous debts. What’s next? The Federal Reserve is now buying the US’s bonds. How does the Fed pay for the bonds? The Federal Reserve pays for the bonds with money that it CREATES out of thin air. This process is systematically shrinking the purchasing power of the “dollar.” And worse, the world is fully aware of it. Almost every nation is now moving to protect itself against the shrinking purchasing power of the dollars in their reserves. So far, Americans seem totally unaware of what is happening to their dollars. The government is lying about inflation in our lives. Yet we see inflation in our energy and gas bills, in the price we pay for food at the supermarkets, in the cost of imported goods, in our medical bills, in college tuition, and in almost everything else.

 The real danger in all this is that the move away from dollars is accelerating. At some point in the weeks or months ahead, the “escape from the dollar” will break out into the open. At that time interest rates will suddenly and automatically rise, as the dollar is forced to defend itself (higher rates render the dollar more attractive to our creditors). When rates start to rise, the bond market will begin to crumble. The exact timing of all this is impossible to predict. But that doesn’t matter — the implications of a bond crash are so ominous that they transcend precise timing. The time to prepare for safety is now.

 Ultimate safety lies in actual gold in your possession. If the US government really cared about its people, it would now (like China) be urging Americans to accumulate gold for their protection. Instead, Uncle Sam insists that gold is not money, and worse — does its best to hold the price of gold down.

Posted in Failure to Govern, Federal Spending, Financial Crisis, Financial Suicide, Fiscal Cliff - the REAL one, Government Policy Failure, Political Discourse, Precious Metals as a Personal Hedge, Protecting Yourself from the Coming Calamity, US Spending Spree | Leave a comment

Andrew “Ranting Andy” Hoffman Coming to Clarkston, MI


Similar to the event I sponsored last April, I  will be hosting “The Road to Independence II” on April 20, 2013 in Independence Township, Michigan.

Our speakers will not disappoint: Andrew “Ranting Andy” Hoffman, blogger and former Wall Street insider, and Andrew Schectman, President of Miles Franklin, Inc.  These guys are flying in from Colorado and Minnesota just to share their knowledge of what is going on in the world and U.S. economy, and talk about what we can to do protect ourselves and our families.

We will have plenty of time to ask Andy and Andy our questions; the session starts at 8:30 a.m. and will not end until either noon or the speakers have to head to the airport for their next engagement.

Miles Franklin is one of the oldest and most trusted precious metals dealers in America.  These guys are taking their Saturday away from their families not for paid speaking engagements – – but to come here and help us understand the current economic climate and what our choices are about how to protect ourselves.

You may not have noticed what is happening this week in Cyprus, a small island in the Mediterranean Ocean south of Europe.  This country, a member of the European Community that uses the Euro as it currency, is in deep trouble caused by their banks buying billions of euros of bonds from insolvent countries such as Greece.  Instead of letting the banks fail for making bad investments, the European Central Bank (ECB) wants to pay for the “bail out” partially by taking depositor money.  This should be a wake-up call for anyone with money in European banks — many of the countries and lending institutions have now shown us the risk of leaving our cash in the bank.

It should be a great session on the 20th.  While we’ve already filled the available seats, do let me know if you’d like to attend (no charge) as I’m trying to get a larger room at the same facility.  It should be a great time!

Posted in Federal Spending, Financial Crisis, Financial Suicide, Fiscal Cliff - the REAL one, Precious Metals as a Personal Hedge, Protecting Yourself from the Coming Calamity, US Spending Spree | Leave a comment

My Blog in Review – 2012


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 2,200 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 4 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The REAL Fiscal Cliff: We Just Went Over in a Rolls Royce Silver Shadow


Dear Reader:

Sometimes an individual puts a problem so succinctly that there is no way to improve upon it.  Here is one such example.  Credit goes to a talented writer, Simon Black:

Sovereign Man (www.sovereignman.com)

I apologize for what you’re about to read

Simon Black on November 6, 2012

 It’s really hard to ignore what’s happening today; the election phenomenon is global.

 Over the last several weeks, I’ve traveled to so many countries, and EVERYWHERE it seems, the US presidential election is big news. Even when I was in Myanmar ten days ago, local pundits were engaged in the Obamney debate. Chile. Spain. Germany. Finland. Hong Kong. Thailand. Singapore. It was inescapable.

The entire world seems fixated on this belief that it actually matters who becomes the President of the United States anymore… or that one of these two guys is going to ‘fix’ things.

 Fact is, it doesn’t matter. Not one bit. And I’ll show you mathematically:

 1) When the US federal government spends money, expenses are officially categorized in three different ways.

  • Discretionary spending includes nearly everything we think of related to government– the US military, Air Force One, the Department of Homeland Security, TSA agents who sexually assault passengers, etc.
  • Mandatory spending includes entitlements like Medicare, Social Security, VA benefits, etc. which are REQUIRED by law to be paid.
  • The final category is interest on the debt. It is non-negotiable.

 Mandatory spending and debt interest go out the door automatically. It’s like having your mortgage payment auto-drafted from your bank account– Congress doesn’t even see the money, it’s automatically deducted.  

2) With the rise of baby boomer entitlements and steady increase in overall debt levels, mandatory spending and interest payments have exploded in recent years. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office predicted in 2010 that the US government’s TOTAL revenue would be exceeded by mandatory spending and interest expense within 15-years.

That’s a scary thought. Except it happened the very next year.

3) In fiscal year 2011, the federal government collected $2.303 trillion in tax revenue. Interest on the debt that year totaled $454.4 billion, and mandatory spending totaled $2,025 billion. In sum, mandatory spending plus debt interest totaled $2.479 trillion… exceeding total revenue by $176.4 billion.

For fiscal year 2012 which just ended 37 days ago, that shortfall increased 43% to $251.8 billion.

In other words, they could cut the entirety of the Federal Government’s discretionary budget— no more military, SEC, FBI, EPA, TSA, DHS, IRS, etc.– and they would still be in the hole by a quarter of a trillion dollars.

4) Raising taxes won’t help. Since the end of World War II, tax receipts in the US have averaged 17.7% of GDP in a very tight range. The low has been 14.4% of GDP, and the high has been 20.6% of GDP.

During that period, however, tax rates have been all over the board. Individual rates have ranged from 10% to 91%. Corporate rates from 15% to 53%. Gift taxes, estate taxes, etc. have all varied. And yet, total tax revenue has stayed nearly constant at 17.7% of GDP.

It doesn’t matter how much they increase tax rates— they won’t collect any more money.

5) GDP growth prospects are tepid at best. Facing so many headwinds like quickening inflation, an enormous debt load, and debilitating regulatory burdens, the US economy is barely keeping pace with population growth.

6) The only thing registering any meaningful growth in the US is the national debt. It took over 200 years for the US government to accumulate its first trillion dollars in debt. It took just 286 days to accumulate the most recent trillion (from $15 trillion to $16 trillion).

Last month alone, the first full month of fiscal year 2013, the US government accumulated nearly $200 billion in new debt– 20% of the way to a fresh trillion in just 31 days.

7) Not to mention, the numbers will only continue to get worse. 10,000 people each day begin receiving mandatory entitlements. Fewer people remain behind to pay into the system. The debt keeps rising, and interest payments will continue rising.

8) Curiously, a series of polls taken by ABC News/Washington Post and NBC News/Wall Street Journal show that while 80% of Americans are concerned about the debt, roughly the same amount (78%) oppose cutbacks to mandatory entitlements like Medicare.

9) Bottom line, the US government is legally bound to spend more money on mandatory entitlements and interest than it can raise in tax revenue. It won’t make a difference how high they raise taxes, or even if they cut everything else that remains in government as we know it.

This is not a political problem, it’s a mathematical one. Facts are facts, no matter how uncomfortable they may be. Today’s election is merely a choice of who is going to captain the sinking Titanic.

Posted in Congress, Failure to Govern, Federal Spending, Financial Crisis, Financial Suicide, Fiscal Cliff - the REAL one, Government Policy Failure, Taxes, US Spending Spree | Leave a comment