Tag Archives: federal government

Americans seem to agree on at least one thing: They REALLY dislike the US government!

If there is one thing that Americans can agree on these days, it is the fact that most of us don’t like the government.

 

CBS News has just released an article entitled “Americans hate the U.S. government more than ever“, and an average of recent surveys calculated by Real Clear Politics found that 63 percent of all Americans believe the country is heading in the wrong direction and only 28 percent of all Americans believe that the country is heading in the right direction.  In just a few days the first real ballots of the 2016 election will be cast in Iowa, and up to this point the big story of this cycle has been the rise of “outsider” candidates that many of the pundits had assumed would never have a legitimate chance.  Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders have all been beneficiaries of the overwhelming disgust that the American people feel regarding what has been going on in Washington.

And it isn’t just Barack Obama or members of Congress that Americans are disgusted with.  According to the CBS News article that I referenced above, our satisfaction with various federal agencies has fallen to an eight year low…

A handful of industries are those “love to hate” types of businesses, such as cable-television companies and Internet service providers.

The federal government has joined the ranks of the bottom-of-the-barrel industries, according to a new survey from the American Customer Satisfaction Index. Americans’ satisfaction level in dealing with federal agencies –everything from Treasury to Homeland Security — has fallen for a third consecutive year, reaching an eight-year low.

So if we are all so fed up with the way that things are running, it should be easy to fix right?

Unfortunately, things are not so simple.

In America today, we are more divided as a nation than ever.  If you ask 100 different people how we should fix this country, you are going to get 100 very different answers.  We no longer have a single shared set of values or principles that unites us, and therefore it is going to be nearly impossible for us to come together on specific solutions.

You would think that the principles enshrined in the U.S. Constitution should be able to unite us, but sadly those days are long gone.  In fact, the word “constitutionalist” has become almost synonymous with “terrorist” in our nation.  If you go around calling yourself a “constitutionalist” in America today, there is a good chance that you will be dismissed as a radical right-wing wacko who probably needs to be locked up.

The increasing division in our nation can be seen very clearly during this election season.  On the left, an admitted socialist is generating the most enthusiasm of any of the candidates.  Among many Democrats today, Hillary Clinton is simply “not liberal enough” and no longer represents their values.

On the other end of the spectrum, a lot of Republican voters are gravitating toward either Donald Trump or Ted Cruz.  Both of those candidates represent a complete break from how establishment Republicans have been doing things in recent years.

Now don’t get me wrong – I am certainly not suggesting that we need to meet in the middle.  My point is that there is absolutely no national consensus about what we should do.  On the far left, they want to take us into full-blown socialism.  Those that support Donald Trump or Ted Cruz want to take us in a more conservative direction.  But even among Republicans there are vast disagreements about how to fix this country.  Establishment Republicans greatly dislike both Trump and Cruz, and they are quite determined to do whatever it takes to keep either of them from getting the nomination.  The elite have grown very accustomed to anointing the nominee from each party every four years, and so the popularity of Trump and Cruz is making them quite uneasy this time around.  The following comes from the New York Times

The members of the party establishment are growing impatient as they watch Mr. Trump and Mr. Cruz dominate the field heading into the Iowa caucuses next Monday and the New Hampshire primary about a week later.

The party elders had hoped that one of their preferred candidates, such as Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, would be rising above the others by now and becoming a contender to rally around.

The global elite gathered in Davos, Switzerland are also greatly displeased with Trump.  Just check out some of the words that they are using to describe him

Unbelievable“, “embarrassing” even “dangerous” are some of the words the financial elite gathered at the World Economic Forum conference in the Swiss resort of Davos have been using to describe U.S. Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump.

Although some said they still expected his campaign to founder before his party picks its nominee for the November election many said it was no longer unthinkable that he could be the Republican candidate.

The truth is that the Republican Party represents somewhere less than half the population in the United States, and today it is at war with itself.  Supporters of Trump have a significantly different vision of the future than supporters of Cruz, and the establishment wing wants nothing to do with either candidate.

A lot of people seem to assume that since Trump is leading in the polls that he will almost certainly get the nomination.

That is not exactly a safe bet.

It is my contention that the establishment will pull out every trick in the book to keep either him or Cruz from getting the nomination.  And in order to lock up the nomination before the Republican convention, a candidate will need to have secured slightly more than 60 percent of all of the delegates during the caucuses and the primaries.

The following is an excerpt from one of my previous articles in which I discussed the difficult delegate math that the Republican candidates are facing this time around…

It is going to be much more difficult for Donald Trump to win the Republican nomination than most people think.  In order to win the nomination, a candidate must secure at least 1,237 of the 2,472 delegates that are up for grabs.  But not all of them will be won during the state-by-state series of caucuses and primaries that will take place during the first half of 2016.  Of the total of 2,472 Republican delegates, 437 of them are unpledged delegates – and 168 of those are members of the Republican National Committee.  And unless you have been hiding under a rock somewhere, you already know that the Republican National Committee is not a fan of Donald Trump.  In order to win the Republican nomination without any of the unpledged delegates, Trump would need to win 60.78 percent of the delegates that are up for grabs during the caucuses and primaries.  And considering that his poll support is hovering around 30 percent right now, that is a very tall order.

In the past, it was easier for a front-runner to pile up delegates in “winner take all” states, but for this election cycle the Republicans have changed quite a few things.  In 2016, all states that hold caucuses or primaries before March 15th must award their delegates proportionally.  So when Trump wins any of those early states, he won’t receive all of the delegates.  Instead, he will just get a portion of them based on the percentage of the vote that he received.

In 2016, more delegates will be allocated on a proportional basis by the Republicans than ever before, and with such a crowded field that makes it quite likely that no candidate will have secured enough delegates for the nomination by the time the Republican convention rolls around.

If no candidate has more than 60 percent of the delegates by the end of the process, then it is quite likely that we will see the first true “brokered convention” in decades.

If we do see a “brokered convention”, that would almost surely result in an establishment candidate coming away with the nomination.  That list of names would include Bush, Rubio, Christie and Kasich.

And if by some incredible miracle either Trump or Cruz does get the nomination, the elite will move heaven and earth to make sure that Hillary Clinton ends up in the White House.

For decades, it has seemed like nothing ever really changes no matter which political party is in power, and that is exactly how the elite like it.  Our two major political parties are really just two sides of the same coin, and they are both leading this nation right down the drain.

 

[by Michael Snyder, writing for The Economic Collapse Blog]

 

NORM ‘n’ AL Note:  If it seems like the good ol’ USA is foundering like a ship in a storm, that’s because the USA very definitely IS foundering. Just like the Titanic, which although proclaimed unsinkable, hit an iceberg and took thousands of its passengers to a cold and watery grave, the USA, once the brightest light among countries anywhere on the planet, is very close to taking many millions of its own citizens to their graves. The demise of the Titanic was preventable by those at the helm. The demise of the USA is also preventable, but those at the helm are too busy re-arranging deck chairs while the ship they are supposed to be steering is heading straight for the rocks.

Americans used to have respect for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Now we have no respect for life: We murder little human beings with hardly a thought, and since Roe v. Wade became law, we have murdered nearly 60 million of them. We obviously have no respect for liberty, because we continue to do our best to enslave those in coming generations who have not a prayer of being able to repay the monstrous level of debt we continue to heap upon them. As for happiness, just ask yourself this very simple question: Am I happy? Do I like the fact that the US government is more restrictive than ever before? Does it make me happy to see our economy prevent millions of us from getting a job? Does it make me happy to see our Oval Office Occupant favor Muslims over Christians? Am I happy with a government that is now so big and clumsy and oppressive that it simply cannot get out of its own way and protect its citizens, which is its most basic obligation? If you want to experience first-hand just how big and clumsy and inept the US government really is, just get sick and try to get good, effective, first-rate health care. You stand a better chance of getting well in 36 other countries, because the US is now ranked 37th in quality of healthcare. (That ranking comes from the World Health Organization, WHO, which has been ranking the world’s quality of healthcare for decades. WHO knows what good healthcare is.)

Are you not yet sick and tired of politicians who seek office for their OWN benefit, and not that of the USA? You SHOULD be fighting mad by now, unless it makes you happy to live like a doormat. Do you think God is going to look with favor on a country that continues to kill its unborn by the millions? That has removed prayer from its schools in an all-out effort to remove God from its children? That has spared no expense to remove all references to the Creator from the everyday lives of its citizens? That has absolutely no respect for the truth of the Bible? Think again. You are now living in a country which is showing you very clearly what ONE NATION UNDER NO GOD looks like, feels like, and will be like, next week and next year.

 

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

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It’s about to get a lot harder to find a good doctor…

Finding a good doctor is going to get a lot harder...

Medicare is contributing to a potential shortage of 90,000 doctors by 2025.

Two Medicare issues, if left unresolved, would limit the future supply of doctors and reduce the ability to find a doctor during retirement: Physician payments under the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) and financing of Graduate Medical Education (GME).

Medicare is the main source of health insurance for those 65 and older and Congress is focused on preventing an automatic 21% cut in Medicare physician payments due to occur March 31. The Sustainable Growth Rate, or SGR, was established in the 1997 Balanced Budget Act to curtail the rise in health-care costs by linking physician payments under Medicare to an arbitrary target of economic growth.

Under SGR, doctors received annual pay increases until 2002, at which point Medicare spending started to outpace economic growth. As a result, doctors were set to receive a 4.8 % payment cut. Not surprisingly, doctors successfully lobbied Congress for a change. Ever since, Congress has routinely passed a “doc fix” that puts off the scheduled cuts. Just like the movie Groundhog Day, if Congress fails to permanently fix the SGR, it will have to vote year after year on this contentious issue.

These “fixes” have done nothing to solve the underlying problem and have only deferred and compounded the necessary cuts, resulting in more costly fixes each year. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that a 10-year fix would cost between $137 billion and $175 billion, while the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates a permanent fix would cost up to $215 billion over 10 years.

A 21% cut in doctor payments would have a significant impact on physicians’ willingness to see Medicare patients and limit the ability of many retirees to see a doctor. Further, legislating temporary SGR “fixes” year after year only creates uncertainty among physicians and leads to further erosion of faith in our political system and the government’s ability to deal with health care reform issues efficiently and effectively.

Adding to the problem, and yet less noticed, is how the financing of graduate medical education is restricting the supply of doctors. This will be a surprise to many readers — Medicare funds GME and residency programs. To be a licensed physician, a person must attend medical school and then pass board certification (both at great expense). What a lot of people outside the field of medicine don’t realize is that to be a licensed physician, a doctor must also complete additional graduate medical education in a residency program. Finding a proper “match” for a residency relies in part on an algorithm that appears more complicated than astrophysics.

A Wall Street Journal article addressed the problem of a residency program shortage back in 2013, but the financing problem has only increased since. According to the Institute of Medicine, taxpayers provide $15 billion in GME support; Medicare provides $9.7 billion, Medicaid $3.9 billion, and the Veterans Health Administration an additional $1.4 billion. These funding levels have essentially been capped since 1997.

From a public policy perspective, it is questionable whether the federal government should finance GME, or whether hospitals that benefit from the cheap labor of residents should be picking up the cost of training doctors. Either way, without additional resources to fund residency programs, the nation may end up with a shortage of physicians and limit the availability of retirees to see and choose a doctor.

A properly functioning health-care system requires a sufficient number of doctors to meet demand. Unless we adequately train and compensate physicians, we’ll eventually end up with limited choices and worse health care overall. The sustainable growth rate and financing of graduate medical education serve as a reminder that Medicare has enormous influence on health care delivery in the U.S. The Institute of Medicine report on GME provides options for reform that continues government funding of GME and expands the number of residency programs. Providing market-based ideas for reform, a Heritage Foundation report suggests an increase role for private funding of GME, as well as allocating federal funding directly to the states instead of to teaching hospitals so states can tailor GME to their own regional needs.

Finally, fixing the SGR, and the way we as a nation finance GME, must not distract us from reforming the overall health-care system and curtailing the public cost of providing health care. According to the Congressional Budget Office, federal spending on government health care programs will total $1.87 trillion by 2025, or 31 % of all federal spending and almost 7 % of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP).

Congress will never find the willpower necessary to tackle the larger problems associated with the U.S. health-care system if it first can’t address the urgent need to permanently fix SGR or reform GME.

 

[by Jason J. Fichtner, writing for MARKETWATCH]

 

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

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Checking in on Obamacare…

We all know at this point that the Affordable Care Act is not affordable and does not provide adequate care to millions of Americans who have been forced to enroll in it. We also know it’s never going to be the great healthcare money-saver that we were told it would be. We know medical personnel hate it for the hours of data entry it requires, and that doctors hate it for the greatly reduced but mandatory payments they are forced to accept.

Our illustrious president...Here are some of the other things we know:

– This legislation is a perfect symbol of the way leftist Americans (“progressives”) use coercion and punishment in implementing programs they claim are humanitarian.

– It is a perfect example of the way Democrats knowingly, willingly lie, over and over again, to sell their ideas and programs to the American people.  (Because as we learned directly from Mr. Gruber, the architect of ACA, if the Democrats told the truth to us “stupid” Americans, we would never go for the programs the Dems are selling.)

– It reveals clearly how Democrats do not understand fundamentals of economics and detest the market-based free enterprise system that the USA was founded upon.

– It shows that Democrats place absolutely no value on personal choice and individual liberty. (“Government always knows best” is the rallying cry of the left-wingers. Remember Hillary’s “It takes a village to raise a child” admonition to all of us “stupid Americans” who were trying to raise kids in a family setting?)

– It illustrates better than almost anything else that “progressives” are anything but; in fact, they are incompetent at governing.

HOWEVER…we are now seeing that Republicans are doing their best to look like Democrats in disguise. We thought that following last November’s midterm elections, Republicans were actually going to lead this country in the direction voters wanted to go.

It’s really very simple: To not defund is to defend.

This needs to be the slogan of grass-roots activism running all the way through the 2016 election.

To not defund is to defend.

Republicans were handed the reins of the House for just such a time as this. They were elected in 2010 because the American voters rejected Obamacare. They lost seats in 2012 because they wavered for two years in what they claimed was an absolute commitment to repeal it. They won more seats in the House and control of the Senate in 2014 because they SAID they would repeal Obamacare.

In short, the Republican House leadership lied. They deceived us. They tried to broker the threat of ACA implementation for the presidency, for control of the Senate, and for more votes in the House that they didn’t even need. They claimed they didn’t have the power to repeal. That may be technically true…but they have the power to defund, have had it since January 2011, and they have failed to use it.

Failing to use that power this year and next could very well lead Republicans to lose control of the most powerful legislative body in the most powerful branch of the federal government. It could also cost them the Senate and any chance to capture the White House.

To not defund is to defend.

Why is failing to defund the ACA tantamount to defending it? Because House Republicans got elected because they opposed Obamacare, but then failed to do anything meaningful with the mandate the voters gave them. This has been an outright betrayal of their campaign promises. It has sent an unmistakeable signal to millions of Americans that Republicans really do not represent a viable alternative to Democratic rule.

Leading up to November’s election, voters were so fired up they took to the streets and traveled to Washington to make their voices heard; the message delivered after the election is that there really is very little citizens can do to  influence elected leaders. Those elected leaders, those Republicans who said they were ready to perform as the voters had demanded, not only betrayed their own constituencies, but thus far they have also betrayed the whole concept of representative government and the rule of law.

Campaign talk is cheap. (Maybe even the cheapest, if Obama is the example.) What our elected officials say to get elected, and do once they assume office, DOES NOT MATTER. What matters is what they actually do once they have the power to do it.

To not defund is to defend.

Thus far the House Republican leadership has failed to stand against the biggest borrowing and spending spree in American history. (The biggest by a huge margin.) They have the power to stop it, but for lots of reasons, most of them politically selfish and shortsighted, they have consciously decided not to oppose it. (Result: this USA that we love, and love living in, is now so deeply in debt that we probably will have no choice in the future but to default on some of that debt, which will then have the effect of decreasing the value of the dollar to worthless junk.)

Republicans have now put themselves in the position of being complicit in the Obamacare scam. There is no other way to view it. This is the way millions of Americans, mostly Republicans, now see it…and will continue to see it until they see something coming from the mandate of last year’s election.

TO NOT DEFUND IS TO DEFEND.

Remember that. And let your elected representatives KNOW you remember it.

[from an article by Joseph Farah in Whistleblower magazine]
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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

 

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Obamacare facing another court threat, and this one could be fatal…

The threats to Obamacare just keep on coming.

A case before the U.S. District Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia may determine the Affordable Care Act was written in such a way that it prevents the federal government’s HealthCare.gov web site from offering subsidies.

Now such a ruling would have a long way to go before it actually would become enacted — and a lot of legal hoops would have to be jumped through — but such a finding could be a show-stopper for Obamacare. More than 5 million of the 8 million who signed up for Obamacare through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ web site would thus not be eligible for tax credits. Most, presumably, would fall off the rolls of the insured.

The case that could be ruled upon as early as Tuesday is known as Halbig v. Burwell, formerly Halbig v. Sebelius. CNBC reported Monday two of the three judges who heard the case in March indicated they might rule in favor of the plaintiffs. And an op-ed piece in last week’s Los Angeles Times noted that lower courts may follow the Supreme Court’s lead, which has ruled the Obama administration has overstepped its bounds in recent cases.

There are at least three other similar cases to Halbig. They all contend that the ACA was written to grant subsidies only to people in states that have established their own health-insurance exchanges. It was something the federal government could not have foreseen, since it expected all states to set up their own networks, but only 16 states and the District of Columbia accomplished that task. Thirty-four states are using the federal government’s HealthCare.gov web site to find health coverage.

Phrasing in the law uses the words “established by the State” as opposed to “established under this Act” and plaintiffs in the cases have construed that to mean exchanges only established by a state. But the Halbig case, along with another in Virginia, were dismissed earlier this year when lower-court judges found the arguments for the plaintiffs to be off base, since the ACA’s subsidies clearly were meant for those in states where the federal government had to step in to establish the exchange.

Both Halbig and the Virginia case will be ruled upon by appeals courts. Two other cases are awaiting rulings on motions to dismiss those cases by district judges.

Should Halbig prevail, it’s expected the Obama administration will appeal immediately to all judges at the D.C. Circuit Court, and then it would go on to the Supreme Court from there. It’s not guaranteed, though, that the high court would hear the case. Obama administration officials are mum on the case until there is a ruling in the D.C. court.

One question that remains unanswered: Why didn’t Obamacare opponents in Congress key in on this when the law was being implemented late last year and early this year?

[by Russ Britt, writing for MARKETWATCH]

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

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“Taking from the federal government the power of borrowing” was Thomas Jefferson’s single solution to bring the government in line with the Constitution…

Why have we turned our backs on the principles that this nation was founded upon? We are literally killing the nation that our founders bled and died for. We are choking the life out of it with big government, corrupt government, and huge levels of debt.

Many of those who founded this nation bled and died so that we could experience “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.  And yet we have tossed their ideals aside as if they were so much rubbish.

Our founders had experienced the tyranny of big government (the monarchy) and the tyranny of the big banks and feudal lords, and they wanted something very different for the citizens of the new republic that they were forming.  They wanted a country where private property was respected and hard work was rewarded.  They wanted a country where the individual was empowered, and where everyone could own land and start businesses.  They wanted a country where there were severe restrictions on all large collections of power (government, banks and corporations all included).  They wanted a country where freedom and liberty were maximized and where ordinary people had the power to pursue their dreams and build better lives for their families.  And you know what?  While no system is ever perfect, the experiment that our founders originally set up worked beyond their wildest dreams.  But now we are killing it.

Why in the world would we want to do that?

Most people are under the illusion that the United States has a “capitalist economy” today, but that simply is not accurate.  At best, we have a “mixed economy” that is becoming a little bit more socialist with each passing day.  We pay dozens of different types of taxes each year, and some Americans actually end up giving more of their earnings to the government than they keep themselves.  But that is still not enough, and so our state governments have accumulated astounding amounts of debt, and our federal government has amassed the largest single debt that the world has ever seen.  If future generations of Americans get the chance, they will curse us for the chains of debt that we have placed upon their shoulders.

So what do our government officials do with all of this money?

Well, today approximately 70 percent of all federal government activity involves taking money from some Americans and giving it to other Americans.

Despite this unprecedented wealth-redistribution program, poverty is absolutely exploding in this country and 49 million Americans are dealing with food insecurity.

Meanwhile, the bankers have been getting fabulously wealthy from all of this debt.  The Federal Reserve system was designed to trap the U.S. government in an endless spiral of debt from which it could never possibly escape, and that mission has been accomplished.  In fact, the U.S. national debt is now more than 5000 times larger than it was when the Federal Reserve was first created a little more than 100 years ago.

Most people like to think of big banks as “capitalist” institutions, but that is not really accurate either.  In the end, giant corporate banks like we have in the United States are actually collectivist institutions.  They tend to greatly concentrate wealth and power, and socialists find those kinds of banks very useful.

In fact, Lenin once said that “without big banks, socialism would be impossible.”

While there may be a bit of animosity between big government and big banks once in a while, the truth is that they are usually very closely tied to one another.  We saw this close relationship very clearly during the financial crisis of 2008, and it is no secret that there is a revolving door between the boardrooms of Wall Street and the halls of power in Washington.  The elite dominate both spheres, and it is not for the benefit of the rest of us.

In America today, government just keeps getting bigger and the banksjust keep getting bigger.  Meanwhile, the percentage of self-employed Americans is at an all-time low and the middle class is steadily dying.

What we are doing right now is clearly not working.

So why don’t we go back and do the things that we were doing when we were extremely successful as a nation?

In case you don’t know what those things were, we offer these clues…

#1 “A wise and frugal government… shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.” — Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801

#2 “A people… who are possessed of the spirit of commerce, who see and who will pursue their advantages may achieve almost anything.” – George Washington

#3 “Government is instituted to protect property of every sort; as well that which lies in the various rights of individuals, as that which the term particularly expresses. This being the end of government, that alone is a just government which impartially secures to every man whatever is his own.” – James Madison, Essay on Property, 1792

#4 “Banks have done more injury to the religion, morality, tranquility, prosperity, and even wealth of the nation than they can have done or ever will do good.” – John Adams

#5 “To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.” — Thomas Jefferson, letter to Joseph Milligan, April 6, 1816

#6 “The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. If ‘Thou shalt not covet’ and ‘Thou shalt not steal’ were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society before it can be civilized or made free.” — John Adams, A Defense of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America, 1787

#7 “I place economy among the first and most important virtues, and public debt as the greatest of dangers to be feared. To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. If we run into such debts, we must be taxed in our meat and drink, in our necessities and in our comforts, in our labor and in our amusements.” – Thomas Jefferson

#8 “Beware the greedy hand of government thrusting itself into every corner and crevice of industry.” – Thomas Paine

#9 “If we can but prevent the government from wasting the labours of the people, under the pretence of taking care of them, they must become happy.” – Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Cooper, November 29, 1802

#10 “All the perplexities, confusion and distress in America arise not from defects in the Constitution or Confederation, not from a want of honor or virtue so much as from downright ignorance of the nature of coin, credit and circulation.” – John Adams, at the Constitutional Convention (1787)

#11 “The principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.” – Thomas Jefferson

#12 “Liberty must at all hazards be supported. We have a right to it, derived from our Maker. But if we had not, our fathers have earned and bought it for us, at the expense of their ease, their estates, their pleasure, and their blood.” – John Adams, 1765

#13 “If ever again our nation stumbles upon unfunded paper, it shall surely be like death to our body politic. This country will crash.” – George Washington

#14 “I wish it were possible to obtain a single amendment to our Constitution. I would be willing to depend on that alone for the reduction of the administration of our government to the genuine principles of its Constitution; I mean an additional article, taking from the federal government the power of borrowing.” – Thomas Jefferson

#15 “When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.” — Benjamin Franklin

[from an article by Michael Snyder in THE ECONOMIC COLLAPSE Blog]

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

 

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“The feds are coming, the feds are coming!”

Cliven Bundy looked like a 21st-century Paul Revere as he ran about his Nevada ranch shouting the feds are coming, the feds are coming, successfully arousing others who joined him in standing up to a mighty force that backed down in some of its overkill. Is he a hero, then? No, but stay tuned.

He’s not a hero because, as others note, he is disobeying the law by not paying federal fees for use of land he says does not belong to the federal government. It does belong to the federal government. What’s more, armed militia members were part of a protest on Bundy’s behalf, and that disgusts me. I abhor the whole militia idea. Please keep those guys away.

It can also be said, however, that Bundy has pointed a finger at real wrongs, including the government’s own refusal to obey the law. I would even say his situation bears some slight resemblance to issues the colonists confronted when the British Empire said, look, the French and Indian War cost a lot of money, you Americans need to pay more and we’re not waiting for Paul Revere or anyone else to volunteer his cash.

Remember that the British encouraged development in the colonies and afforded settlers a sometimes spotty but relatively high degree of self-government. Then, in the late 18th century as its coffers were beginning to look embarrassingly bare, the Brits started throwing some heavy taxes at colonists who had no parliamentary representatives. When they protested too vehemently, the British officials clamped down on their liberties. It was like first saying you are mostly free, then that you are a lot less free and finally that you haven’t seen anything yet, all of which led to the Declaration of Independence.

Similarly, as the lawyer-manned Power Line blog site tells us, the federal government in the 19th century said, hey, we’d like some ranching in Nevada and guess what: We’ll let your cattle graze for free on federal land. Bundy’s forebears arrived in the 1870s and all went well. Then, much later, something else came along, the Bureau of Land Management, which eventually got cozy with radical environmentalists as it started implementing rules that gave cows less grazing space and fees that cost scads of ranchers their ranches. Bundy, wanting to keep his, has said no to the fees since 1993.

The bureau, which aims to protect the desert tortoise even as it encourages Nevada solar-power projects that endanger the desert tortoise, recently decided it wasn’t going to stand for this. It sent rangers out to round up Bundy’s cattle along with armed officers to surround the ranch. It restricted protesters to a narrow free-speech zone. Ex-Judge Andrew Napolitano, a positive force for rule of law, has pointed out on TV that the government reaction was “draconian, authoritarian” and that parts of it were illegal. There is at least this to be said. The government stopped short of a tragic travesty that could have resembled the 1993 horror in Waco, Texas, when four federal agents and 82 men, women and children belonging to a religious cult were killed. The bureau let the cattle go. It retreated for the time being.

The message to the nation of all of this? Namely that the federal government is here, there and everywhere, is always expanding its reach, intrudes overly much in the lives of Americans, limits opportunity even as it preaches opportunity, and itself is ever more lax about heeding the law. When President Barack Obama shrugs his shoulders at constitutional restrictions, what example exactly is he setting? I suggest that in the midterm 2014 elections, we have a voting booth uprising favoring candidates who believe in adherence to law and governmental limits.

NORM ‘n’ AL Note: Amen, sir. Let’s show the gummint  in this year’s elections exactly what we think of its very intrusive management style, and by so doing, show its Intruder-in-Chief what we think of him.

[by Jay Ambrose, writing for the McClatchy-Tribune]

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

 

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Obamacare still increasing premiums and limiting access to doctors, even with higher enrollment numbers…

Well, what is arguably the most painful day of the year, Tax Day, is finally over. Here’s our recap of the latest spending-related news, in case you need a reminder about where your money will be going.

The Cost of Obamacare. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently released a report that revised the estimated cost of Obamacare. The new projections estimate thatthe federal government will spend nearly $2 trillion on the ACA over the next decade.

If you like your metrics, you can keep your metrics. With as much money as taxpayers will be shelling out to pay for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), you would think the government might want to have a clear way to measure the law’s success. You would be wrong. The Census Bureau has decided to change the way it measures who is uninsured in America, making it difficult to measure the effects of the ACA in its next report.

Waste: The Final Frontier. Star Trek has made another appearance in the annals of government waste. In 2013, federal workers were paid to watch the new Star Trek movie. In what was described as a team-building exercise, a group of federal employees and contractors spent one day last summer at a local restaurant followed by an afternoon watching the movie—at taxpayers’ expense.

Enrollment is up, but doctors are nowhere to be found. President Obama announced that 8 million individuals had signed up for health insurance through ACA exchanges. Despite the new numbers, many of those who enrolled have been left with rising premiums and smaller networks. Among the states seeing the sharpest increases were Delaware, with an average 100 percent premium increase, New Hampshire, with a 90 percent average increase, and Indiana with a 54 percent average premium increase.

Mr. Obama announced 8 million individuals had gained health insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA). While the administration touted that they surpassed all previous projections, there was still missing information from those numbers. Most importantly, the administration failed to note the distinction between people that gained coverage after previously being uninsured and individuals that were replacing an existing policy.  

Although the administration exceeded expectations with enrolling individuals, many are still left with unaffordable plans or limited coverage. The New York Post recently reported that some patients with neurological diseases are losing their doctors under new ACA certified plans. Margaret Figuero, an Arden Heights resident of Staten Island, has now lost access to her doctors, which leaves her unable to get prescriptions for her medication. Figuero, who has had four brain operations, enrolled in a new EmblemHealth insurance program as required by the ACA. According to The Post, “After paying her premium, she received a temporary ID card. But when she went to order medication, the pharmacists said her name wasn’t in the system. And she said her doctors were not included in her new medical plan.”  

In addition, Forbes magazine recently reported that health insurance premiums are showing the sharpest increases perhaps ever. A Morgan Stanley healthcare analysis of 148 brokers showed that average premium increases are in excess of 11 percent in small group market and 12 percent in the individual market. Some states are showing increases 10 to 50 times that amount and the “increases are largely due to changes under the ACA.”

According to Forbes, “The prior survey conducted in January also showed rates rising during the fall of 2013, but the new increases will come on top of those hikes and are even sharper. That prior survey of 131 brokers found that December 2013 rates were rising in excess of 6% in the small group market, and 9% in the individual market.” Among the states seeing the sharpest increases were Delaware at an average of 100 percent premium increase, New Hampshire at 90 percent average increase and Indiana a 54 percent average premium increase. 

[from an article by Natalie Webb in BANKRUPTING AMERICA]

 

ON ANOTHER SUBJECT, and we know this is going to be terribly shocking to many of our readers, according to a recent poll done by Fox News, the majority of Americans believe that President Obama is usually lying.

Sixty-one percent of the people who took the poll believe that President Obama is lying at least some of the time on important issues. An additional twenty percent say that the President lies “here and there.” That means that eighty-one percent of Americans believe that Barack Obama lies to us.

Sadly, the poll also finds the President’s approval rating at forty-two percent. That means about forty percent of the people who took this poll know that the President is a liar and they just don’t care.

obamaliesI know. I know.

A lot of you believe that all politicians are liars and that’s just how life is.

But it’s not how things should be. We don’t have to settle for men and women who lie to us with impunity. We don’t have to settle for leaders to whom lying has become second nature. We don’t have to settle for politicians with no moral compass and a character reminiscent of something slimy that you might find on the bottom of your shoe.

We can demand that our representatives be above reproach. We can demand that they speak honestly with us. We can expect them to be morally upright and to build a wall between themselves and corruption.

The only reason our politicians get away with being liars is because we let them. Our politicians are bad because we allow them to be. It’s our fault.

But we can fix it. Let’s start with the current crop of liars, thieves and swindlers. Let’s vote them out and vote in honest, decent men and women with upright moral fiber.

NORM ‘n’ AL say, “Amen!”

 

[by Onan Coca, writing for EAGLE RISING]

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

 

 

 

 

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A big solution to a big, and still growing, problem…

COS logo

We see four major abuses perpetrated by the federal government.

These abuses are not mere instances of bad policy. They are driving us towards an age of “soft tyranny” in which the government does not shatter men’s wills but “softens, bends, and guides” them. If we do nothing to halt these abuses, we run the risk of becoming, as Alexis de Tocquevill warned in 1840, nothing more than “a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.” (Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 1840)

1. The Spending and Debt Crisis

The $17 trillion national debt is staggering, but it only tells a part of the story. If we apply the normal rules of accounting, the federal government owes trillions more in vested Social Security benefits and other programs. This is why the government cannot tax its way out of debt. Even if they confiscated everything, it would not cover the debt.

2. The Regulatory Crisis

The federal bureaucracy has placed a regulatory burden upon businesses that is complex, conflicted, and crushing. Little accountability exists when agencies—rather than Congress—enact the real substance of the law. Research from the American Enterprise Institute, shows that since 1949 federal regulations have lowered the real GDP growth by 2% and made America 72% poorer.

3. Congressional Attacks on State Sovereignty

For years, Congress has been using federal grants to keep the states under its control. Using these grants accompanied by mandates (which are rarely fully funded), Congress has turned state legislatures into their regional agencies rather than truly independent republican governments.

A radical social agenda and an erosion of the rights of the people accompany all of this.  While substantial efforts have been made to combat the social engineering and to protect peoples’ rights, we have missed one of the most important principles of the American founding.

4. Federal Takeover of the Decision-Making Process

The Founders believed that the structures of a limited government would provide the greatest protection of liberty. There were to be checks and balances at the federal level. And everything not specifically granted to Congress for legislative control was to be left to the states.

Collusion among decision-makers in Washington, D.C., has replaced these checks and balances. The federal judiciary supports Congress and the White House in its ever-escalating attack upon the jurisdiction of the fifty states.

We need to realize that the structure of decision-making matters. Who decides what the law shall be is even more important than what is decided. The protection of liberty requires a strict adherence to the principle that power is limited and delegated.

We the People can do it!

Washington, D.C., does not believe this principle, as evidenced by an unbroken practice of expanding the boundaries of federal power. In a remarkably frank admission, the Supreme Court rebuffed another challenge to the federal spending power by acknowledging their approval of programs that violate the will of the Founders:

This framework has been sufficiently flexible over the past two centuries to allow for enormous changes in the nature of government. The Federal Government undertakes activities today that would have been unimaginable to the Framers in two senses; first, because the Framers would not have conceived that any government would conduct such activities; and second, because the Framers would not have believed that the Federal Government, rather than the States, would assume such responsibilities. Yet the powers conferred upon the Federal Government by the Constitution were phrased in language broad enough to allow for the expansion of the Federal Government’s role.

New York v. United States, 505 U.S. 144, 157 (1992).

What Does this Mean?

This is not a partisan issue. Washington, D.C., will never voluntarily relinquish meaningful power—no matter who is elected. The only rational conclusion is this: unless some political force outside of Washington, D.C., intervenes, the federal government will continue to bankrupt this nation, embezzle the legitimate authority of the states, and destroy the liberty of the people. Rather than securing the blessings of liberty for future generations, Washington, D.C., is on a path that will enslave our children and grandchildren to the debts of the past.

The problem is big, but we have a solution.  Article V gives us a tool to fix the mess in D.C.

We are approaching a crossroads.

One path leads to the escalating power of an irresponsible centralized government, ultimately resulting in the financial ruin of generations of Americans. The other path leads to the restoration of liberty and an American renaissance.

The correct path can be found within Article V of the United States Constitution.

COS text

Many people don’t know that there are two methods to propose amendments to the Constitution, both found under Article V.

  1. Congress can propose amendments to the Constitution at any time if 2/3 of both houses of Congress agree.
  2. A Convention of States can propose amendments if 2/3 of states submit applications for such a convention. These applications must all deal with the same issue (i.e., limiting the power and jurisdiction of the federal government).

The Founders knew the federal government might one day become drunk with the abuses of power. The most important check to this power is Article V. Article V gives states the power to call a convention for the purpose of proposing amendments to the Constitution.

By calling a convention of the states, we can stop the federal spending and debt spree, the power grabs of the federal courts, and other misuses of federal power. The current situation is precisely what the Founders feared, and they gave us a solution we have a duty to use.

After the states propose, debate, and vote upon the proposed amendments, they will be sent to the 50 state legislatures for ratification. Three-quarters of the states must agree for any of the proposed amendments to be ratified.

Congress has no authority to stop such a process. The Founders made sure of that.

We are approaching a crossroads. Which path will we choose?

We believe our strategy give us an almost certain chance of success.

Two goals separate our plan from all other Article V organizations:

1. We want to call a convention for a particular subject rather than a particular amendment. Instead of calling a convention for a balanced budget amendment (though we are entirely supportive of such an amendment), we want to call a convention for the purpose of limiting the power and jurisdiction of the federal government.

2. We believe the grassroots is the key to calling a successful convention.  The goal is to build a political operation in a minimum of 40 states, getting 100 people to volunteer in at least 75% of the state’s legislative district.  We believe this is very doable. Only through the support of the American people will this project have a chance to succeed.

Our Solution is Big Enough to Solve the Problem

Rather than calling a convention for a specific amendment, Citizens for Self-Governance (CSG) has launched the Convention of the States Project to urge state legislatures to properly use Article V to call a convention for a particular subject—reducing the power of Washington, D.C. It is important to note that a convention for an individual amendment (e.g. a Balanced Budget Amendment) would be limited to that single idea. Requiring a balanced budget is a great idea that CSG fully supports. Congress, however, could comply with a Balanced Budget Amendment by simply raising taxes. We need spending restraints as well. We need restraints on taxation. We need prohibitions against improper federal regulation. We need to stop unfunded mandates.

A convention of states needs to be called to ensure that we are able to debate and impose a complete package of restraints on the misuse of power by all branches of the federal government.

What Sorts of Amendments Could be Passed?

The following are examples of amendment topics that could be discussed at a convention of states:

  • A balanced budget amendment
  • A redefinition of the General Welfare Clause (the original view was the federal government could not spend money on any topic within the jurisdiction of the states)
  • A redefinition of the Commerce Clause (the original view was that Congress was granted a narrow and exclusive power to regulate shipments across state lines–not all the economic activity of the nation)
  • A prohibition of using international treaties and law to govern the domestic law of the United States
  • A limitation on using Executive Orders and federal regulations to enact laws (since Congress is supposed to be the exclusive agency to enact laws)
  • Imposing term limits on Congress and the Supreme Court
  • Placing an upper limit on federal taxation
  • Requiring the sunset of all existing federal taxes and a super-majority vote to replace them with new, fairer taxes

Of course, these are merely examples of what would be up for discussion. The convention of states itself would determine which ideas deserve serious consideration, and it will take a majority of votes from the states to formally propose any amendments.

The Founders gave us a legitimate path to save our liberty by using our state governments to impose binding restraints on the federal government. We must use the power granted to the states in the Constitution.

America needs help!

The Grassroots

The leadership of the COS Project believes the success of a convention of states depends to a large extent on the American citizens. Our plan is as follows:

1. We seek to have a viable political operation that is active in a minimum of 40 states.

2. Our goal is to have local leaders–District Captains–in at least 75% of the districts in these states.

3. District captains will organize at least 100 people in each of these districts to contact their legislator to support a convention of the states, and turn out at least 25 people per district at legislative hearings.

Legislators must know that our grassroots team will have their backs if they support a convention of the states. A widespread grassroots organization has been missing from the Article V movement. CSG’s President, Mark Meckler, was the co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots—one of the largest tea party groups in the country. Michael Farris is the founder of the Home School Legal Defense Association. As such, he brings with him over 30 years of grassroots leadership and activism in all 50 states. We are rapidly building not only a staff for this project, but networking with like-minded coalition members who will support this project once they see it up and running.

We believe that our unique application strategy combined with strong grassroots support will guarantee the success of this Project.

Only one question remains. Will you help us?

NORM ‘n’ AL Note:  If you believe, like a majority of Americans, that this country is in dire need of help today, you owe it to yourself as a citizen and to the USA as the country to which you pledge your allegiance, to be part of that help. Visit ConventionOfStates.com now to learn more and to explore the many ways you can provide valuable assistance.

As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

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How Obama intends to rule for the next three years…

THIS NATION IS IN GRAVE JEOPARDY, like nothing I have seen in my lifetime, and like nothing that has occurred in the USA in the last century.

We won the Second World War, which threatened our very existence, and we have weathered many challenges.

But what is happening right now, because of individuals who reject our form of representative  government, individuals who will stop at nothing to advance a radical agenda that America as a whole does not want, is very different from anything we have seen before.

We have a president who should have been impeached and removed from office last year. But to even mention that option is considered wacko and extreme and controversial and provocative. The founders of our nation, however, would not have thought so.

We have a president who announced last month, and who has announced before, and just announced again in yesterday’s State of the Union address, that he fully intends to rule this country by executive order, by fiat. He has said repeatedly, “If Congress doesn’t act, I will!”

When Democrats win elections, they insist on getting 100% of what they want. When they lose elections, they use the permanent part of the federal government, the courts, the in-place bureaucracy, to advance their agenda. In other words, they never lose. In fact, they are hardly ever allowed to lose. Your vote can start to look pretty useless when it’s “heads, they win, and tails, we lose.”

The present Congress does not function like it is supposed to. The Congress is impotent. They will tell you they are impotent. They will tell you they can’t do anything, but it’s really because they won’t do anything. They surrender in advance, whether it’s the debt ceiling or the continuing resolution or almost any other issue.

Even conservatives, even libertarians, even people who write for editorial pages that are supposed to be conservative and libertarian, seem to all have given up on the country. They have given up on limited government and checks and balances. They have given up on federalism.

Let me advise you, please, on what’s actually going on here: Mr. Obama intends, completely intends, to get his way from the Oval Office. He despises our form of government. He has no interest and no intent on actually working with Congress.

Harry Reid is Obama’s water boy. That’s all he does, and that’s why he is there. He obstructs when Obama wants him to obstruct, and he rams through the bills that Obama wants rammed through. We have Obamacare because of Harry Reid, because Reid is good at sinister scheming and conniving in the shadows, violating Senate rules.

But, ladies and gentlemen, the Democrats are not anywhere near done in their effort to remake this country. They are not nearly done trying to change your lifestyle. They don’t like the way you live, they don’t like your lifestyle of consumption, they don’t like your capitalist system, and they don’t like your private property rights. These people have no desire to serve us, because what they want to rule over us.

Today we have a runaway federal government in large measure because of what the Senate has become. The news reports today are disgusting. Journalists seem to have hit new lows in reportorial dumbness. “Eighteen times the Senate has changed its rules,” they say. Which rules? We’ve never had a simple majority for federal judges — when was that rule changed? The filibuster rule in the Senate used to need 67 votes, but that was lowered to 60. Judicial nominations, with the exception of the Supreme Court, until they change that too, need a simple majority of affirming votes.

The result? We will load up the federal judiciary with a bunch of rabid, leftwing, radical academics. We’re going to move them out of the classrooms and lecture halls, put them in the courts and give them black robes and call them “Your Honor.” They will then be able to be much more effective in imposing their will from on high…which means they will use the law to violate the law. They will use the Constitution to undermine the Constitution.

“Oh, we couldn’t get our three judicial nominees for the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals confirmed,” they say. Well, they don’t need those three “vacancies” filled, because the workload there is smaller than any other circuit in the entire United States. We know this because the Democrats argued that just a few years ago. But they will argue anything, because the end always justifies the means. That was then, this is now.

Having destroyed our healthcare system, continuing to destroy the private sector by using the EPA, having destroyed the presidency by creating this precedent of imperial power from the Oval Office, now they move on to the courts. The Democrats are doing all they can to pack the courts with leftwingers, one district after another. If Obama gets the chance to select another Supreme Court nominee, I assure you we will see another attempt at a rules change again.

Why can I be so sure of that? Because the rules don’t matter. Today’s men and women of the Democrat party all seem to have no virtue. None whatsoever. The rule of law? They seem to think they are the rule of law. We get that picture from the Oval Office on down. Obama and the Democrats want to make use of our massive bureaucracy to impose their will on US citizens. The EPA, the Interior Department, the IRS, the Agriculture Department, are all running wild and trampling our rights in the process.

But here’s the bottom line: when we go to court now to challenge Democrats in a majority of these cases, we must go to the Appellate Court in Washington. But Democrats have turned that into little more than a rubber stamp court. That is why Harry Reid did what he did. He wants to make sure, if Democrats lose the Senate majority because of what they’ve done with Obamacare and other issues, that they cannot lose at the court house.

Having others impose their will upon you without your consent is called tyranny. That is the kind of government the Democrats most want to see.

[by Mark Levin, from an article published by WND.com and taken originally from Mr. Levin’s radio broadcast of November 21, 2013.]

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

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Holiday season will not be so merry this year, according to poll results…

“According to the polls, Christmas this year will not be as merry as it should be for most Americans,” according to conservative activist Dan Weber.

He attributes the “ nation’s malaise ” to what he called the “shoddy and deceitful way” the people are being treated by big government and referenced the spate of scandals that have rocked the White House in recent months.

Weber, who is president of the Association of Mature American Citizens, cited a statement by Wal-Mart just a few days ago “suggesting that Obamacare may be a principal reason why Christmas shoppers have shorter lists this year.  This week, too, Gallup published one study that indicated 63% of us are disenchanted with the realities of Obamacare and another that showed 80% of Americans are none too happy with the state of the Union in general.”

Yes, Virginia, there is a real grinch...

Chris Christopher, director of consumer economics at the IHS Global Insight consulting firm, believes it is not just Obamacare that has put a damper on the holidays this year.  He said that it is an overall loss of confidence that is to blame, perhaps exacerbated by the prospects of higher health care costs next year due to Affordable Care Act.

“Add to that the general suspicion that the president may have been telling us outright lies about Obamacare and its benefits all along and you’ve got the makings of a not so jolly Christmas,” Weber commented.

He added that “it is not so surprising that a nation that treasures its independent spirit, its heritage and its values balks at the prospect of bureaucrats telling us how to live.  We’re being led down the road to a promised land that doesn’t exist—a Utopian Socialist State in which it is the government that decides what’s right and wrong.  We’re a country founded on conservative principles, not liberal ideologies.   We are a people that want to think for ourselves and who want to choose for ourselves and with a little help from God and the voters we can begin to change things in Washington come November 2014.”

[from AMAC, the Association of Mature American Citizens]

NORM ‘n’ AL Note:  Please allow us to suggest as we all look toward this Christmas season that there is one, and only one, best part about Christmas. That part is remembering the birth of Christ, of course. If your past Christmases did not have much Christ in them, please do yourself the biggest possible favor this year, and visit WHOFIRST.COM to find how easy it is — because of all the facts surrounding the advent of the Savior, Jesus Christ — to put Him into your Christmas this year!

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

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