Saturday, December 17, 2011
Life in the Googleplex has a fairy tale allure: gourmet food! Ski trips! Giant dessert statues popping up out of nowhere every six months! And if working for the company seems like some alternaworld fantasy dreamscape, well, it kind of is. Just not, it turns out, for everyone.
HISTORY OF THE VIKINGS
The ancestors of the Vikings traded with the Romans. They exported furs, skins, walrus ivory and amber. After the fall of Rome the Scandinavian peoples slowly grew more united. The first towns were formed. Meanwhile they started using sails. Before the mid-7th century Scandinavian ships were rowed but once they began using sails they could make the long voyage across the North Sea - with devastating results for the people who lived further south.
At the end of the 8th century Scandinavians began raiding other parts of Europe. Then, in the 9th and 10th centuries they turned to conquest.
These new raiders and invaders were known as Northmen, Norsemen or Vikings.
The Vikings plundered monasteries of gold and jewels. They also took livestock and kidnapped children to be slaves. However although they terrorised Europe the Vikings were also great traders and craftsmen.
The Vikings In Scotland
In 795 the Vikings raided the monastery at Iona - the first of many such raids on Scotland. During the 9th century they settled the Shetlands, the Orkneys and the Hebrides. Vikings also settled in Caithness and Sutherland. They called the latter region Suder land (Southern land) and so they gave that part of Scotland its name.
However Scandinavian power in Scotland waned in the 12th and 13th centuries. In 1202 the Vikings lost all their land in Caithness and Sutherland. Then in 1263 the Scots crushed the Norwegians at the battle of Largs. Subsequently by the Treaty of Perth (1266) the Norwegians surrendered all their territory in Scotland apart from the Orkneys and the Shetlands in return for a large sum of money.
The Vikings in Ireland
The Vikings first attacked Ireland in 795. They looted monasteries. They also took women and children as slaves. However the Vikings were not only raiders. They were also traders and craftsmen. In the 9th century they founded Ireland's first towns, Dublin, Wexford, Cork and Limerick. They also gave Ireland its name, a combination of the Gaelic word Eire and the Viking word land. In time the Vikings settled down. They intermarried with the Irish and accepted Christianity.
Around 940 the great High King Brian Boru was born. At that time the Danes had conquered much of the kingdom of Munster. Brian defeated them in several battles. In 968 he recaptured Cashel, the capital of Munster. After 976 Brian was king of Munster and in 1002 he became the High King of Ireland. However in 1014 Leinster, the people of Dublin and the Danes joined forces against him. Brian fought and defeated them at the battle of Clontarf on 23 April 1014, although he was killed himself. This victory ended the Viking threat to Ireland.
The Vikings In England
In 787 three Danish ships landed at Dorset. A royal official called a reeve went to meet them. He assumed the strangers had come to trade. Instead they killed him and sailed away.
Then in 793 when Norsemen raided a monastery at Lindisfarne. There followed a respite until 835 when the Danes descended on the Isle of Sheppey.
However although the Viking raiders were fearsome they were not invincible. In 836 the Danes joined forces with the Celts of Cornwall. However they were defeated by Egbert, king of Wessex, at Hingston Down.
Nevertheless the Danes continued raiding England. In 840 a force of Saxons from Hampshire crushed a Danish force at Southampton. However the same year Saxons from Dorset were defeated by the Danes at Portland.
In 841 the Danes ravaged Kent, East Anglia and what is now Lincolnshire. In 842 they sacked Southampton. Further Viking raids occurred in 843 and 845. In the latter year the Saxons defeated the Danes in a battle at the mouth of the River Parret in Somerset.
Then in 850-51 the Vikings spent the winter of the Isle of Thanet. In the spring they attacked the Mercians and defeated them in battle. However they were later defeated by an army from Wessex.
In 854 another Danish force wintered on the Isle of Sheppey before raiding England.
There then followed a relatively peaceful period in which the Vikings raided England only once.
The Viking Invasion of England
However the Danes eventually stopped raiding and turned to conquest. In the autumn of 865 an army of Danes landed in East Anglia. In the following year, 866, they captured York. The Northumbrians attacked the Vikings occupying York in 867 but they were defeated. The Danes then installed a man named Egbert as puppet ruler of Northumbria.
The Danes then marched south and they spent the winter of 867 in Nottingham. In 869 they marched to Thetford in East Anglia. In the spring of 870 they crushed an army of East Anglians.
The Danes were now in control of Northumbria, part of Mercia and East Anglia. They then turned their attention of Wessex. At the end of 870 they captured Reading. The men of Wessex won a victory at Ashdown. However the Danes then won two battles, at Basing and at an unidentified location.
Then in the spring of 871 Alfred became king of Wessex. He became known as Alfred the Great. The Saxons and the Danes fought several battles during 871 but the Danes were unable to break Saxon resistance so they made a peace treaty and the Danes turned their attention to the other parts of England.
In 873 they attacked the unoccupied part of Mercia. The Mercian king fled and was replaced by a puppet ruler. Afterwards Wessex remained the only independent Saxon kingdom.
In 875 a Danish army invaded Wessex again. However they were unable to conquer Wessex so in 877 they withdrew to Gloucester. In 878 they launched a surprise attack on Chippenham. King Alfred was forced to flee and hide in the marshes of Atheleney. Alfred fought a guerrilla war for some months then took on the Danes in battle. The Danes were routed at the battle of Edington. Afterwards Guthrum, the Danish leader, and his men were baptised and made a treaty with Alfred. They split southern and central England between them. Guthrum took London, East Anglia and all the territory east of the old Roman road, Watling Street. Later this Danish kingdom became known as the Danelaw. Alfred took the land west of Watling street and southern England. However in 886 Alfred's men captured London.
The Danes Return
Moreover the wars with the Danes were not over. In 892 some Danes who had been attacking France turned their attention to Kent. In 893 the Saxons defeated them and they withdrew into Essex (part of the Danelaw). Meanwhile in 893 another group of Danes sailed to Devon and laid siege to Exeter. They withdrew in 894. They sailed to Sussex and landed near Chichester. This time the local Saxons marched out and utterly defeated them in battle.
War with the Danes continued in 895-896. Danes from the Danelaw marched into what is now Shropshire but they were forced to withdraw.
There then followed a few years of peace.
Then in 980 the Danes returned. They attacked The Isle of Thanet, Southampton and Cheshire. In 981 they raided Devon and Cornwall and in 983 they attacked Dorset.
The Danes continued to raid England. They returned in 991, 992, 993 and 994. In 997 a Danish army came and systematically raided southern England over a period of 3 years. The Danes sailed to Normandy in 1001 but they returned to England in 1002.In 1003 they raided the southwest and in 1004 they plundered East Anglia. In 1006 they raided southeast England. In 1009-1012 they ravaged eastern England.
The Saxons paid the Danes to stop raiding and return home. However the amount the Danes demanded increased each time. In 991 they were paid 10,000 pounds to go home. In 1002 they were paid 24,000 pounds in 1007 they were paid 36,000 pounds. England was drained of its resources by paying these huge sums of money called Danegeld (Dane gold).
England finally gained peace in 1016 when a Dane called Canute became king.
The Vikings in Central Europe
The Vikings also raided what is now the Netherlands, Germany and France. In 845 Vikings attacked Hamburg. The same year Vikings besieged Paris and the French king paid them 7,000 pounds of silver to leave. In 885 the Vikings besieged Paris again. This time the French king arrived with a relief army and drove them away.
Finally in 911 the French king made a treaty with a Viking leader called Hrolf (or Rollo). He gave Hrolf what is now Normandy as a Dukedom. In return Hrolf became a Christian and protected France from further Viking attacks. In 1066 Hrolf's descendants conquered England.
The Vikings In Eastern Europe
In the 9th century Swedish Vikings sailed from the Baltic Sea along rivers into Russia and the Ukraine and settled there. The Slaves called the Vikings Rus and they gave their name to Russia.
From Russia the Vikings sailed into the Black Sea and they attacked the Byzantine Empire.The Vikings in Southern Europe
In 844 the Vikings attacked Spain and Portugal. (At that time the Iberian Peninsula was controlled by Muslims). They sacked Lisbon, Cadiz and Medina Sidonia then captured Seville. However the Muslims counterattacked and defeated them. The survivors fled.
The Vikings carried out further raids on Spain and Portugal but the Muslims fought back effectively.
The Vikings in Iceland
The first people to settle in Iceland were probably Irish monks who came in the 8th century. However in the 9th century they were driven out by Vikings.
According to tradition the first Viking to discover Iceland was a man named Naddoddur who got lost while on his way to the Faeroes. Following him a Swede named Gardar Svavarsson circumnavigated Iceland about 860. However the first Viking attempt to settle was by a Norwegian named Floki Vilgeroason. He landed in the northwest but a severe winter killed his domestic animals and he sailed back to Norway. However he gave the land its name. He called it Iceland.
Then in the late 9th century many settlers came to Iceland from Norway and the Viking colonies in the British Isles. A Norwegian named Ingolfur Arnarson led them. He sailed with his family, slaves and animals.
When he sighted Iceland Ingolfur dedicated his wooden posts to his gods then threw them overboard. He vowed to settle at the place where the sea washed them up. He then explored Iceland. When the posts were found in the southwest Ingolfur and his household settled there. He called the place Reykjavik, meaning Smokey bay. Many other Vikings followed him to Iceland.
The land was free to whoever wanted it. A man could claim as much land as he could light fires around in one day while a woman could claim as much land as she could lead a heifer round in one day.
There were very good fishing grounds around Iceland and the land was well suited to sheep. Many Vikings brought flocks with them and soon sheep became a major Icelandic industry. The population of Iceland soared. By about 930 there were about 60,000 people living in Iceland.
In 985 Erik the Red led a group of colonists to Greenland. Then in 986 a Viking called Bjarni Herjolfsson was blown off course by a storm and he spotted a new land. However he sailed away without landing. In 1001 a man named Leif Eriksson landed in the new land, which he named Vinland (it was part of North America). However Eriksson did not stay permanently. Later the Vikings did establish a colony in North America but they abandoned it because of conflict with the natives.
VIKINGS EVERYDAY LIFE
Upper class Vikings were called Jarls (from which we derive our word Earl). Below them were a class of farmers and craftsmen called Karls. At the bottom of the heap were a class of slaves called thralls. Slavery was common in the world at that time. It was accepted as an inevitable part of life.
The Vikings captured women and children on their raids and made them slaves. They were sold in markets and they had no rights. Slaves did the hardest and most unpleasant work.
Viking Merchants and Craftsmen
Viking merchants imported glass and silk from the Byzantine Empire. They also imported spices, fine wool and wine. They exported slaves, furs, beeswax, honey and walrus ivory.
Viking craftsmen included blacksmiths, bronzesmiths, coopers, leather tanners, saddlers, shoemakers and other men who made leather goods like purses and belts. They also had jewellers and men who carved bowls from soapstone. Other craftsmen carved bone and antler into goods like combs.
The Vikings also had their own form of writing. The Viking alphabet was called the futhark and the 16 individual letters were called runes. They were made of straight and diagonal lines, which were carved into wood or stone. (In the late Viking era people wrote on sheep or calf skin.
Vikings wore iron helmets. Some of them also wore chain mail. They also carried round wooden shields. They fought with spears, bows, axes and swords. In battle Vikings stood in rows and formed a wall of shields called a skjaldbogr.
Some Vikings were called Berserkers (from which we get our word berserk). They spent the hours before a battle working themselves into frenzy. How they did this is not known but they probably took some form of drug.
The Vikings also built fortresses. They dug a ditch and created an earth bank then erected a wooden stockade on top.
The Vikings grew wheat, barley and rye. They made bread and porridge. Sometimes they added peas to the porridge to make it go further. They also ate cabbages, onions and leeks and they used herbs like dill and coriander. The Vikings grew apples and plums and they gathered wild berries.
Fish was an important part of the Viking diet and they ate cod and herring. They also raised pigs, cattle, sheep and goats. (Sheep and goats were used for milk). Vikings also kept geese and chickens. However the Vikings could not grow enough food to keep much livestock through the winter. So in autumn they killed many animals and salted or smoked the meat to preserve it.
The Vikings were fond of pork and beef but they also ate horsemeat and goat meat and they hunted deer for venison. The Vikings also hunted whales and seals.
Meat was roasted on a spit. Vikings women also boiled food in an iron cauldron.
Vikings drank mead (a drink made from honey, water and yeast), beer and (if they could afford it) wine.
The Vikings ate from wooden bowls and dishes. Spoons were made of horn or (for the well off) metal. The Vikings also ate with knives but there were no forks. They often drank from hollow horns called drinking horns.
A Viking house often consisted of just one room. (Although in a well off family mum and dad might have a separate bedroom). The house was usually made with a wooden frame, which was filled in with timber planks or wattle and daub (wickerwork and plaster). However in areas where wood was scarce (like Greenland) stone was used for building and roofs might be made of turf.
In a Viking house there were no panes of glass so windows had to be small. At night wooden shutters covered them. Viking houses were dark because the windows were small and the only light came from oil lamps carved from soapstone.
In the centre of the hut was a hearth where the cooking was done. However there was no chimney and the smoke just escaped through a hole in the roof.
Viking homes had little furniture. In the hut there would be a table and stools but chairs were a luxury. Chests were used to store tools and clothes.
Only wealthy Vikings could afford beds. Most people slept on benches with rugs around the side of the hut. Even if you had a bed the mattress was not very comfortable, it was stuffed with straw or down. Blankets were made of wool otherwise you used furs.
Rich people might have tapestries on the walls but there were no carpets on the floors. Instead people spread rushes on them.
To us Viking houses would seem very uncomfortable. They were cold and draughty, dark and smoky. Furniture was hard and uncomfortable.
Viking women spun and wove cloth at home and made the families clothes. Women wore a dress like garment called a shift made of linen or wool. Over it they wore a dress open at the sides, held with shoulder straps. In cold weather they wore cloaks or shawls. Clothing was held in place by brooches. Viking women often had their hair plaited or held under a head scarf.
Viking men wore trouser like garments and linen shirts and tunics. They usually wore beards. Both sexes wore jewellery.
The Vikings enjoyed many sports including swimming, wrestling, skiing and ice-skating. They also practiced archery. Vikings also enjoyed hunting and falconry. They were also fond of horse fighting.
Indoors they played dice and a board games called Hnefatafl. They also played chess. Vikings also played a game similar to backgammon called Kvatrutafl and an early form of draughts.
The Vikings were also fond of listening to stories and telling riddles.
Rich Vikings held great feasts. At them poets called skalds sang poems praising their lord's brave deeds.
Viking musical instruments included harps, horns and wooden pipes.
The Vikings built long and slender ships called longboats for raiding. Longboats could be up to 23 metres long. For trade they built shorter and broader ships called knorrs. The Vikings also built a type of little rowing boat with 4 oars called a faering and a boat with 6 oars called a sexaering, which were used for fishing.
Viking ships were clinker built i.e. they were made with overlapping planks. They had a single square sail and up to 50 oars.
On land in summer goods were transported by packhorse or cart but in Viking lands in winter sledges were used. People rode horses or walked in summer but in winter they used skis or skates made from bone. Viking roads were just dirt tracks but in towns they were paved with wooden planks. In alleys panels of wattle (a kind of wickerwork) were laid down to keep your feet out of the mud.
The Vikings were polytheists. (They worshipped many gods). Father of the gods was Odin, also known as Woden or Wotan. Odin was god of wisdom. (He sacrificed one of his eyes to obtain wisdom). His wife was Frigg, goddess of love. Another important god was Thor god of thunder and lightning. He had a hammer, which always returned to him when thrown. Tiw was god of war.
In Viking mythology the universe was divided into three levels, one above another. A giant ash tree called Yggdrasil supported them all. At the top was Asgard the abode of the gods. In the middle was Midgard where humans lived. Midgard was joined to Asgard by a rainbow bridge called Bifrost, which was guarded by Heimdal the watchman of the gods. At the bottom was Niflheim a desolate place of ice, which was ruled by Hel, Queen of the dead.
Vikings who died of old age or illness went to the realm of Hel. However those who died in battle went to Valhalla, a magnificent hall in Asgard where dead warriors enjoyed great feasts. Female beings called valkeryies flew over battles and took the souls of the slain to Valhalla.
In Viking mythology the world would end with a conflict between the gods and their enemies the ice giants. This final struggle was called Ragnarok. However a new world would emerge from the ruins of the old.
book of vision?
Friday, December 16, 2011
The First Time I
Heard Of Barack
By Tom Fife
- During the period of roughly February 1992 to mid 1994, I was making frequent trips to Moscow, Russia, in the process of starting a software development joint-venture company with some people from the Russian scientific community. One of the men in charge on the Russian side was named V. M.; he had a wife named T.M.
- V. was a level-headed scientist while his wife was rather deeply committed to the losing Communist cause - a cause she obviously was not abandoning.
- One evening, during a trip early in 1992, the American half of our venture were invited to V. & T.'s Moscow flat as we were about to return to the States. The party went well and we had the normal dinner discussions.
- As the evening wore on, T. developed a decidedly rough anti-American edge - one her husband tried to quietly rein in.
- The bottom line of the tirade she started against the United States went something like this:
- "You Americans always like to think that you have the perfect government and your people are always so perfect. Well then, why haven't you had a woman president by now? You had a chance to vote for a woman vice-president and you didn't do it."
- The general response went something along the lines that you don't vote for someone just because of their sex. Besides, you don't vote for vice-president, but the president and vice-president as a ticket.
- "Well, I think you are going to be surprised when you get a black president very soon."
- The consensus we expressed was that we didn't think there was anything innately barring that. The right person at the right time and sure, America would try to vote for the right person, be he or she black or not.
- "What if I told you that you will have a black president very soon and he will be a Communist?"
- The out-of-the-blue remark was met by our stares. She continued, "Well, you will; and he will be a Communist."
- It was then that the husband unsuccessfully tried to change the subject; but she was on a roll and would have nothing of it. One of us asked, "It sounds like you know something we don't know."
- "Yes, it is true. This is not some idle talk. He is already born and he is educated and being groomed to be president right now. You will be impressed to know that he has gone to the best schools of Presidents. He is what you call "Ivy League". You don't believe me, but he is real and I even know his name. His name is Barack. His mother is white and American and his father is black from Africa. That's right, a chocolate baby! And he's going to be your President."
- She became more and more smug as she presented her stream of detailed knowledge and predictions so matter-of-factly - as though all were foregone conclusions. "It's all been thought out. His father is not an American black so he won't have that social slave stigma. He is intelligent and he is half white and has been raised from the cradle to be an atheist and a Communist. He's gone to the finest schools. He is being guided every step of the way and he will be irresistible to America."
- We sat there not knowing what to say. She was obviously very happy that the Communists were doing this and that it would somehow be a thumbing of their collective noses at America: they would give us a black president and he'd be a Communist to boot. She made it quite obvious that she thought that this was going to breathe new life into world Communism. From this and other conversations with her, she always asserted that Communism was far from dead.
- She was full of little details about him that she was eager to relate. I thought that maybe she was trying to show off that this truly was a real person and not just hot air.
- She rattled off a complete litany. He was from Hawaii. He went to school in California. He lived in Chicago. He was soon to be elected to the legislature. "Have no doubt: he is one of us, a Soviet."
- At one point, she related some sort of San Francisco connection, but I didn't understand what the point was and don't recall much about that. I was just left with the notion that she considered the city to be some sort of a center for their activity here.
- Since I had dabbled in languages, I knew a smattering of Arabic. I made a comment: "If I remember correctly, 'Barack' comes from the Arabic word for 'Blessing.' That seems to be an odd name for an American." She replied quickly, "Yes. It is 'African'", she insisted, "and he will be a blessing for world Communism. We will regain our strength and become the number one power in the world."
- She continued with something to the effect that America was at the same time the great hope and the great obstacle for Communism. America would have to be converted to Communism and Barack was going to pave the way.
- So, what does this conversation from 1992 prove?
- Well, it's definitely anecdotal. It doesn't prove that Obama has had Soviet Communist training nor that he was groomed to be the first black American president, but it does show one thing that I think is very important. It shows that Soviet Russian Communists knew of Barack from a very early date. It also shows that they truly believed among themselves that he was raised and groomed Communist to pave the way for their future. This report on Barack came personally to me from one of them long before America knew he existed.
- Although I had never before heard of him, at the time of this conversation Obama was 30+ years old and was obviously tested enough that he was their anticipated rising star.
- Tom Fife
Thursday, December 15, 2011
12:01AM GMT 18 Feb 2006
"The notice said stubborn individuals who refused to give up their veils, Arab dress or long beards should be educated, and 'diehards' turned over to judicial departments."
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
What Democrats and big-government Republicans aren't telling you is this: the Obama-Pelosi-Reid "one-time Stimulus package" was built into the baseline, which means each year that the Obamacrats can avoid writing a budget is another year that this cash furnace can continue burning your children's money.
- www.gradesaver.com/the-federalist-papers/study-guide/section19/This Federalist paper defends the Senate as providing the wisdom and the stability "aristocracy virtues" needed to check the fickle lack of wisdom that Madison ...
- www.gradesaver.com/...federalist-papers/.../in-senses-are-the-federali...Sep 14, 2011 – consider both the social standing of the two groups and their ideas about politics.
- www.iapn.org/Fedaristocracy.htmAnd it will eventually turn into a tyrannical aristocracy. Federalist Paper # 57 [
paragraph 1-3]. The third charge against the House of Representative is that ...
- www.conservativetruth.org/library/fed39.htmlFEDERALIST PAPER No. 39 ... Poland, which is a mixture of aristocracy and of monarchy in their worst forms, has been dignified with the same appellation. ...
- www.barefootsworld.net/antifederalist.htmlIndex - Anti-Federalist Papers .... The hideous daemon of Aristocracy has hitherto had so much influence as to bar the channels of investigation, preclude the ...
- en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Title_of_Nobility_ClauseThe Title of Nobility Clause is a provision in Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 of the ... For this reason, the clause was cited by Anti-Federalists who supported the ...
- www.knowfree.com/FedPaparistocracy.htmIt will exclude all titles of nobility. # 85 . *The United States Constitution: Annotated with The Federalist Papers in Modern English, p. 233 ...
- geopolicraticus.wordpress.com/2011/02/18/meritocracys-elite/Feb 18, 2011 – I agree with you that there is a natural aristocracy among men. ... The essential Federalist and anti-Federalist papers edited by David Wootton, ...
[Distiller Orlin] Sorensen has urged his fellow distillers in the Washington Distillers Guild that they “need to remind the liquor control board that the voter's intent of 1183 was to privatize liquor, not raise taxes and fees on craft distillers and handcuff them from doing business in the state.”
His mother was an unabashed hippie from 1960s central casting. His father was an openly avowed Communist from Kenya. While his father wasn't around much, his devoutly progressive grandparents arranged for him to be mentored during his adolescent years by a dues paying member of the U.S. Communist Party, Frank Marshall Davis.
When he went to college, he was attracted to the Marxist professors and student activists, according to his own published memoirs. When he graduated, he moved to Chicago and became an instructor for the left-wing extremist organization ACORN in the social manipulation methods of radical Marxist agitator Saul Alinsky. He attended for close to two decades the Trinity United Church of Christ, which practiced neo-Marxist Black Liberation Theology. That church was headed during those years by the openly socialist Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who declared that the 9/11 terrorist attack on America was "America's chickens coming home to roost." He also famously preached from his pulpit, "Not God bless America, God damn America…."
He launched his political career in the living room of the home of Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, co-founders and former leaders of the openly Communist domestic terrorist organization, the Weather Underground. That organization conducted several bombings in America and engaged in other violence that resulted in several injuries and even deaths.
All of this is documented in the public record. This is the man the Democrat party took off the streets of Chicago, then pursuing a career as a Marxist street agitator, and launched into the White House, favoring him over Hillary Clinton because she was too moderate for the party. They did that because he best reflects the heart and soul of today's radical-left, Che Guevara Democratic Party. It is in this context that we should understand and analyze Obama's Hugo Chavez speech given last week at Osawatomie High School in Kansas.
Obama's Hugo Chavez Coming Out
In that speech, he drew a picture of America as a struggling third world nation, saying at stake today "is whether this will be a country where working people can earn enough to raise a family, build a modest savings, own a home, and secure a retirement." In fact, he said, "there are millions of working families in this country who are now forced to take their children to food banks for a decent meal."
This sounds more like Indonesia, or Venezuela, or Nicaragua. But it is not America "long before the recession hit."
He explained the roots of the problem as:
Over the last few decades, huge advances in technology have allowed businesses to do more with less, and made it easier for them to set up shop and hire workers anywhere in the world…. Steel mills that needed 1,000 employees are now able to do the same work with 100, so that layoffs were too often permanent, not just a temporary part of the business cycle…. If you were a bank teller or a phone operator or a travel agent, you saw many in your profession replaced by ATMs or the Internet.
This Luddite analysis fundamentally misconceives the role of technology in a modern economy. Such advancing technology increases worker productivity, and, therefore, wages and standard of living. Technological progress over the decades is why the average American worker in 2000 enjoyed 7 times the standard of living of the average American worker in 1900.
He then tries to pin the blame for his failures on others, saying, "Now, in the midst of this debate, there are some who seem to be suffering from a kind of collective amnesia. After all that's happened, after the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, they want to return to the same practices that got us into this mess."
The policies that got us into this mess included primarily the so-called "affordable housing policies" Obama himself and other Democrats long advocated, with the government forcing the banks by overregulation to drop their traditional lending standards to provide loans and mortgages to low and moderate income applicants who could not qualify under those traditional standards. (See the full documentation and discussion in Paul Sperry's The Great American Bank Robbery: The Unauthorized Report About What Really Caused the Financial Crisis and Gretchen Morgenson and Joshua Rosner's, Reckless Endangerment: How Outsized Ambition, Greed, and Corruption Led to Economic Armageddon.
The other major factor was the Fed's loose monetary policy starting under Bush in the 2000s, which funded the housing bubble. Both policies were departures from the fundamental planks of Reaganomics. As I discuss in detail in my own book, America's Ticking Bankruptcy Bomb, the four planks of Reaganomics had been effectively abandoned by 2008, and that was the cause of the financial crisis, which ended the 25-year economic boom from 1982 to 2007 that Reaganomics had created.
Obama tries to continue his historical revisionism, saying, "Remember that in those years, in 2001 and 2003, Congress passed two of the most expensive tax cuts in history, and what did they get us? The slowest job growth in half a century. Massive deficits that have made it much harder to pay for the investments that built this country."
Here is what really happened. Those Bush tax cuts quickly ended the 2001 recession, despite the contractionary economic impacts of 9/11, and the economy continued to grow for another 73 months. After the rate cuts were all fully implemented in 2003, the economy created 7.8 million new jobs and the unemployment rate fell from over 6% to 4.4%. Real economic growth over the next 3 years doubled from the average for the prior 3 years, to 3.5%.
(Page 2 of 3)
In response to the rate cuts, business investment spending, which had declined for 9 straight quarters, reversed and increased 6.7% per quarter. That is where the jobs came from. Manufacturing output soared to its highest level in 20 years. The stock market revived, creating almost $7 trillion in new shareholder wealth. From 2003 to 2007, the S&P 500 almost doubled. Capital gains tax revenues had doubled by 2005, despite Bush's 25% cut in the capital gains rate.
The deficit in the last budget adopted by Republican Congressional majorities was $161 billion for fiscal 2007. Today that deficit is nearly 10 times as much. Total federal revenues under Bush soared by nearly 30%, from $1.991 trillion in 2001 to $2.568 trillion in 2007. The day the Democrat Congressional majorities took office, January 3, 2007, the unemployment rate was 4.6%. George Bush's economic policies, "the failed policies of the past" in Obama's rhetoric, had set a record of 52 straight months of job creation.
What has continued to fail us now is that Obama's own policies, the exact opposite of Reaganomics in every detail, have failed to produce any timely real recovery from the last recession. Before this last recession, since the Great Depression recessions in America have lasted an average of 10 months, with the longest previously at 16 months. But here we are today 48 months after the last recession started and there is still no real recovery. Instead, we have record poverty, and record extended unemployment.
They can't say that is because the recession was so bad, because the historical record in America is that the deeper the recession the stronger the recovery. Based on the historical record, we should be ending the second year of a booming economy right now. The failure to achieve that is the responsibility of Barack Obama.
Obama himself was counting on precisely this history making him look like a hero. That is why he so confidently told the Today Show on Feb. 2, 2009, "a year from now I think people are gonna see that we're starting to make some progress…if I don't have this done in three years, then this is going to be a one-term proposition."
Before Barack Obama as President, the rest of the world looked to America as the example for the economic model that works to achieve prosperity. But today Obama tells America "It doesn't work. It's never worked. It didn't work when it was tried in the decade before the Great Depression. It's not what led to the incredible postwar boom of the 50s and 60s. And it didn't work when we tried it during the last decade."
But it's President Obama, who fundamentally doesn't understand his own country, that doesn't work.
Obama's Tax and Spending Fantasies
In his Kansas speech, Obama offered as his solution increased government spending as the foundation for rising prosperity. He says:
Today, manufacturers and other companies are setting up shop in places with the best infrastructure to ship their products, move their workers, and communicate with the rest of the world. That's why the over one million construction workers who lost their jobs when the housing market collapsed shouldn't be sitting at home with nothing to do. They should be rebuilding our roads and bridges; laying down faster railroads and broadband; modernizing our schools -- all the things other countries are doing to attract good jobs and businesses to their shores.
Instead of the American capitalist model maximized by Reaganomics, Obama tells us to look at the basic infrastructure spending of other countries as the model that works. But American economic growth is not suffering because of a lack of basic infrastructure like a third world country. It is suffering because Obama is so doggedly pursuing the opposite of every policy that would free the economy to produce and boom. Under such Obamanomics, soon enough America will be suffering from the lack of a reliable energy grid like a third world country.
Obama whines that Bush's massive deficits (if his deficits were massive what are Obama's?), supposedly caused by his tax cuts (not--revenue again rose during the Bush years), "have made it much harder to pay for the investments that built this country and provided the basic security that helped millions of Americans reach and stay in the middle class -- things like education and infrastructure; science and technology; Medicare and Social Security."
But spending on all of those items soared during the Bush years, and they have rocketed up all the faster under Obama. To no avail, because government spending is not the foundation of increased economic growth and prosperity. Increased production, spurred by ever stronger incentives, is.
Of course, essential to all of President Obama's essential spending is to increase tax rates on the rich, otherwise known in English as the nation's investors and job creators. As President Obama tutored us in Kansas last week:
But we don't have unlimited resources. And so we have to set priorities. If we want a strong middle class, then our tax code must reflect our values. We have to make choices…. Do we want to make the investments we need in things like education, and research, and high-tech manufacturing? Or do we want to keep in place the tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans in our country? Because we can't afford to do both. That's not politics. That's just math.
(Page 3 of 3)
So there you have the Obama formula for economic growth and prosperity. After the greatest runaway spending spree in American history during the Obama Administration, the answer is for government to increase spending even more, financed by increasing tax rates even more on the very investors and job creators that produce the jobs for the middle class and working people in America's economic system. That is a perfect prescription for another recession, not the long, long overdue recovery America is still waiting for under Obamanomics. Obama tells us, "It is wrong that in the United States of America, a teacher or a nurse or a construction worker who earns $50,000 should pay a higher tax rate than somebody pulling in $50 million." That would be wrong if it were true. But it is not.
What Obama is peddling to America on tax policy is only the ugliest example of his well-established rhetorical style of calculated deception. It is based on what he thinks the average voter does not know and will not know, and can be manipulated to believe to Obama's political advantage. For the picture he is painting of the rich getting away without paying their fair share while working people bear most of the tax burden is the opposite of reality.
Even before Obama was elected, under those "failed policies of the past," the top 1% of income earners in 2007 paid 40% of federal income taxes (up from 17.6% when Reagan entered office), while the CBO just reported that they earned 17% of the income in 2007. Moreover, that 40% of federal income taxes paid by the top 1% was more than paid by the bottom 95% combined, according to official IRS data. While the top 1% paid 40% of federal income taxes, the bottom 40% paid no federal income taxes as a group on net. Today 47% pay no federal income taxes.
Yet, Obama has already enacted under current law further tax increases on the nation's job creators, investors and small businesses going into effect in 2013, when the tax increases of Obamacare become effective and the Bush tax cuts expire. Consequently, that year the top two income tax rates would rise by close to 20%, the capital gains tax would soar by nearly 60%, the tax on dividends would nearly triple, and the Medicare payroll tax would rocket up by 62% for these disfavored taxpayers. This alone would take us well beyond the Clinton tax rates, despite Obama's outdated talking point that he is still repeating from 2008.
This is in addition to America suffering with virtually the highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world at nearly 40% on average, counting state corporate rates. As I have previously noted, even Communist China imposes only a 25% rate, with the rate in the EU even less on average. Our Canadian neighbors, enjoying a booming economy since Obama was elected in America, will enjoy a 15% rate next year, down from 16.5% this year.
Yet Obama barnstorms America calling for still more tax increases on American business, large and small, and the job creators and investors on which jobs and prosperity for working people depend. The galloping regulatory burdens he is now imposing effectively involve still further tax increases stifling production. It all adds up to a brew for another recession in 2013, unless the American people force a change in course in 2012.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
White House Threatens to Veto Middle Class Tax Relief Bill Over Provisions That Do Not Exist | Speaker of the House John Boehner | speaker.gov
Monday, December 12, 2011
Sunday, December 11, 2011
Part of the Univision documentary La Amenaza Iraní, via ‘That is how I infiltrated Iran’ – Univision Noticias.
A Young Mexican spy narrates the details of an operation executed in Teheran
José Carlos García Tolentino, a former student at Universidad Autónoma de México (UNAM), feigned a religious conversion to Islam as part of his mission to infiltrate the world of Islamic extremism. In early 2011, after gaining the trust of the Iranian ambassador to Mexico, he was able to enlist in a 2 month-long course in Islam at Al Mustafa University in the sacred city of Qom in Iran.
García Tolentino, then only 19 years-old, was a member of a group of young individuals, many of them UNAM alumni, that decided to expose an alleged hacking, intelligence, and cyber terrorism operation that was being launched against the United States.
Univision journalists, Jorge Mota and Guillermo González del Campo were able to interview García Tolentino in April of 2011.
What did you learn during your time in Iran?
Well, they want to hide everything under the umbrella od the mosque. Everything. They arrive, they establish themselves, they put people to work, but the sheiks never truly dedicate themselves to spreading theology. They constantly send sheiks to all of their previously established mosques, but the sheiks deal with other things, I wasn’t able to ascertain what exactly they do because of time constraints and more than anything the lack of trust that they had in me.
What was it that stood out the most, or scared you the most, or seemed strangest?
The obsession with sacrificing oneself in order to reach paradise. They tell you that being a martyr gives you a direct ticket to paradise, it’s a corporeal gift that you offer if you sacrifice yourself, you kill yourself, or you do something in the name of Allah with the eventual goal of reaching paradise – you do all of that in the name of Allah. To be able to sacrifice yourself or kill people in the name of Allah and for Islam is something very beautiful to them.
Do you thing that through these teachings they were trying to insinuate that that was the best way to achieve some sort of mystical elevation or degree of holiness?
It’s not a mystical elevation, because that is here on Earth, what they were searching for was paradise after life on Earth. They search for paradise in Heaven, with Allah – they don’t care about their bodies, they are ready to blow themselves up wherever they want, in the name of Allah.
Everything is done for Allah. ]’; . They want to institute the politics from Iran in every place that they can, the same laws – they want to remove whatever government is in power in every country and institute their own, the word of Allah, the laws of Allah, because there is no greater law than Allah’s.
How do they feel about Christianity and other religions? Did they speak to you about that in the classes?
Yes. They insult everything, they talk bad about everything, but if any other religion dares to speak about Islam, that is when they go in there and kill the people, they go there and put bombs, they go and do things to them, but they are allowed to talk about whatever they want. They can talk bad about every other religion, they invent things so that they seem ridiculous, they ridicule everything that is in front of them, they ridicule it and they have experts dedicated to everything. Also, one of the sheiks, Ali Qomi, when I first gained his trust, he told me what they are now doing is waging an intellectual war, what they are going to do is prepare people intellectually so that they can attack the masses intellectually. That is what they are doing directly from Qom. Precisely in Qom.
European Central Bank Research Shows that Government Spending Undermines Economic Performance « International Liberty
European Central Bank Research Shows that Government Spending Undermines Economic Performance
December 11, 2011 by Dan Mitchell
Europe is in the midst of a fiscal crisis caused by too much government spending, yet many of the continent’s politicians want the European Central Bank to purchase the dodgy debt of reckless welfare states such as Spain, Italy, Greece, and Portugal in order to prop up these big government policies.
So it’s especially noteworthy that economists at the European Central Bank have just produced a study showing that government spending is unambiguously harmful to economic performance. Here is a brief description of the key findings.
…we analyse a wide set of 108 countries composed of both developed and emerging and developing countries, using a long time span running from 1970-2008, and employing different proxies for government size… Our results show a significant negative effect of the size of government on growth. …Interestingly, government consumption is consistently detrimental to output growth irrespective of the country sample considered (OECD, emerging and developing countries).
There are two very interesting takeaways from this new research. First, the evidence shows that the problem is government spending, and that problem exists regardless of whether the budget is financed by taxes or borrowing. Unfortunately, too many supposedly conservative policy makers fail to grasp this key distinction and mistakenly focus on the symptom (deficits) rather than the underlying disease (big government).
The second key takeaway is that Europe’s corrupt political elite is engaging in a classic case of Mitchell’s Law, which is when one bad government policy is used to justify another bad government policy. In this case, they undermined prosperity by recklessly increasing the burden of government spending, and they’re now using the resulting fiscal crisis as an excuse to promote inflationary monetary policy by the European Central Bank.
The ECB study, by contrast, shows that the only good answer is to reduce the burden of the public sector. Moreover, the research also has a discussion of the growth-maximizing size of government.
… economic progress is limited when government is zero percent of the economy (absence of rule of law, property rights, etc.), but also when it is closer to 100 percent (the law of diminishing returns operates in addition to, e.g., increased taxation required to finance the government’s growing burden – which has adverse effects on human economic behaviour, namely on consumption decisions).
The key lesson in the video is that government is far too big in the United States and other industrialized nations, which is precisely what the scholars found in the European Central Bank study.
Another interesting finding in the study is that the quality and structure of government matters.
Growth in government size has negative effects on economic growth, but the negative effects are three times as great in non-democratic systems as in democratic systems. …the negative effect of government size on GDP per capita is stronger at lower levels of institutional quality, and ii) the positive effect of institutional quality on GDP per capita is stronger at smaller levels of government size.
The simple way of thinking about these results is that government spending doesn’t do as much damage in a nation such as Sweden as it does in a failed state such as Mexico.
Last but not least, the ECB study analyzes various budget process reforms. There’s a bit of jargon in this excerpt, but it basically shows that spending limits (presumably policies similar to Senator Corker’s CAP Act or Congressman Brady’s MAP Act) are far better than balanced budget rules.
…we use three indices constructed by the European Commission (overall rule index, expenditure rule index, and budget balance and debt rule index). …The former incorporates each index individually whereas the latter includes interacted terms between fiscal rules and government size proxies. Particularly under the total government expenditure and government spending specifications…we find statistically significant positive coefficients on the overall rule index and the expenditure rule index, meaning that having these fiscal numerical rules improves GDP growth for these set of EU countries.
This research is important because it shows that rules focusing on deficits and debt (such as requirements to balance the budget) are not as effective because politicians can use them as an excuse to raise taxes.
At the risk of citing myself again, the number one message from this new ECB research is that lawmakers – at the very least – need to follow Mitchell’s Golden Rule and make sure government spending grows slower than the private sector. Fortunately, that can happen, as shown in this video.
But my Golden Rule is just a minimum requirement. If politicians really want to do the right thing, they should copy the Baltic nations and implement genuine spending cuts rather than just reductions in the rate of growth in the burden of government.
I love this item from Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler. Romney says that Obama is going around the world apologizing for America. The headline: “Romney’s claim that Obama is an apologist for U.S. is based on distortions.”
An apologist is someone who zealously defends something, not someone who apologizes for its failures. An “apologist for America” is what the president largely should be, and it is most certainly not what Romney is calling him. At first I thought Kessler might be a victim of his headline writer. Happens all the time. But no. From the piece:
Romney likes to say that President Obama apologized overseas for the United States. He even titled his campaign book “No Apology.”
Even more, Romney suggests, Obama does not believe in American strength and greatness. The assertion feeds into a subterranean narrative that Obama, with his exotic, mixed-race background, is not really American in the first place.
The claim that Obama is an apologist for the nation began to take shape shortly after he became president. It had been bubbling in the conservative blogs before Karl Rove, who was George W. Bush’s political adviser, had an article titled “The President’s Apology Tour” published in the Wall Street Journal on April 23, 2009, just three months after Obama took the oath of office.
According to police, a letter bomb was recently sent to the CEO of Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt, Germany.
It was only a matter of time.
Left wing protesters – from the union loonies at SEIU to the equally loony, but more radical Occupy Wall Street crowd – have been targeting bank executives for some time. It was bound to happen that someone would take all the venom aimed by the media and the left at so-called “banksters” and turn it into a near Unabomber homage.
The term “bankster” sounds cute. Though the way the left uses it, “bankster” would be hate speech if applied to some protected class they support. The website www.Banksterusa.org, for example, claims it wants “to be your go-to site for updates on the financial services re-regulation fight in Congress and for progressive net-roots campaigning against the big boys on Wall Street.” It all appears fairly benign, except that the logo for the site is riddled with about three dozen bullet holes.
The site says the term was “popularized in the 1930s by Ferdinand Pecora.” That comment links to a New York Times opinion piece about a 1930s congressional investigation into Wall Street, headed by Pecora who was “imbued with the crusading fervor of the Progressive Era.”
BanksterUSA.org is “part of the Center for Media and Democracy,” funded to the tune of $200,000 by the Open Society Institute, the charity arm of lefty investor George Soros. Apparently, some Wall Street money is OK, even for crusading progressives.
But bankers are still evil. Evil enough that the left has taken not just to the streets, but to their homes.
Protesters in Washington and New York have done their best to intimidate the banking community. Fortune magazine’s Nina Easton was eyewitness to one such 2010 protest in D.C., sponsored by the radical union SEIU:
“Last Sunday, on a peaceful, sun-crisp afternoon, our toddler finally napping upstairs, my front yard exploded with 500 screaming, placard-waving strangers on a mission to intimidate my neighbor, Greg Baer,” she wrote.
Thugs from SEIU (OK, that’s redundant), openly trespassed onto the property and terrorized Bear’s 14-year-old son, who was home alone.
Take a look at the photo of dozens of frothing protesters posed around the front porch of the man’s home and ask yourself how you’d react if that were your home.
The Washington Post so ignored the story that ombudsman Andy Alexander asked why it took nine days for the paper to cover protests with an item that only ran online. “Still, not a single word about the protests had appeared in the printed Post. How could this be?”
The obvious answer, because it made the left look bad.
In October of this year, Occupy Wall Street protesters went even further. They “marched to the houses of Rupert Murdoch, JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, billionaire David Koch, financier Howard Milstein and hedge fund mogul John Paulson.” (Strangely, they skipped Soros.) When Dimon spoke in Seattle protesters surrounded his hotel and police had to use pepper spray just to get him out of the hotel.
Despite the left’s broad brush attacks on bankers, some bankers bring it on themselves. Witness former N.J. Democratic Gov. John Corzine, turned walking federal investigation. As MF Global’s top executive, he was so grossly incompetent “that about $1 billion of customer money could not be located,” wrote The New York Times. It’s hard to tell how his case will turn out, since he is so well-connected politically. But at least he can comfort himself in knowing that stripes can be slimming.
This is the environment where Obama delivers his new economic agenda. Remember, this is the president who got over $10 million more than Sen. John McCain from financial firms last election cycle.
Goldman Sachs (Yes, the guys the Occupiers hate so much) was Obama’s second highest contributor. That didn’t stop him from going to Osawatomie, Kansas this week, to promote talk of class warfare.
“Their philosophy is simple. We are better off when everybody is left to fend for themselves and play by their own rules,” he said of opponents.
Osawatomie was an appropriate choice for Obama, though for different reasons than he had planned.
Obama had wanted to channel his inner Teddy Roosevelt. Roosevelt had spoken at Osawatomie in 1910 to push a progressive economic agenda. The current president (Pull date: Nov. 6, 2012) used his trip to emphasize his Kansan roots and to push class warfare.
Osawatomie was once ground zero for another type of warfare when the area was called “Bleeding Kansas” and John Brown’s abolitionists fought violently against pro-slave forces. In the 1856 “‘Battle of Osawatomie’ five of Brown’s men, including one of his sons, were killed and the town burned.”
In 2011, the class war promoted by Team Obama, the Occupiers and the rest of the radical left is only now turning violent.
What followed in Obama’s speech were a series of instructions on how to run a business from the community organizer turned Lecturer-in-Chief, with regular assaults on bankers, businessmen and conservatives who dare have a different view of the world.
According to Obama, anyone who opposes his common sense solution for banks is just evil. “Now, unless you’re a financial institution whose business model is built on breaking the law, cheating consumers, or making risky bets that could damage the entire economy, you have nothing to fear from these new rules,” he told the crowd.
That’s certainly the consistent left-wing view on banks. Take formerly sane CNBC host turned MSNBC lunatic Dylan Ratigan (please). He loves the term “bankster” with all it entails.
He even has a new book coming out titled “Greedy Bastards: How We Can Stop Corporate Communists, Banksters, and Other Vampires from Sucking America Dry.”
In one TV appearance, he took ownership of the term, saying “At the end of the day … the Euro currency, the Euro Zone, was a bankers’ concept or banksters’, if you’re going to use my word.”
Watching Ratigan, those of us who can bear it, is reminiscent of the Great Depression era hatred for bankers, landlords and businesspeople. It’s a theme the left and the media have institutionalized, especially with bankers.
The famous Frank Capra movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” pits the lovable Jimmy Stewart as a community Building and Loan head against the evil Mr. Potter, played wonderfully by Lionel Barrymore. Viewers are taught successful people are Scrooge-like and to be vilified.
Sixty-five years later, that movie has turned into a holiday classic. Every single year, we are reminded that it’s a wonderful life, as long as you aren’t a bankster. If you’re one of those, it might just be a wonderfully short life if the left has its way.
Dan Gainor is the Boone Pickens Fellow and the Media Research Center’s Vice President for Business and Culture. His column appears each week on The Fox Forum. He can also be contacted on Facebook and Twitter as dangainor.
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2011/12/11/left-obama-escalate-war-on-banks-into-dangerous-territory/#ixzz1gFZ9Ul00