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The Bottom Line is a collection of well thought out contemplations on the state of today's economy, financial dire straits and current affairs, as well as glimpses into the world's predicament: is the glass half full? or is it half empty?...

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  • 02/12/11--17:23: The Proposition of Freedom
  • It's a good sign to see people in the middle east and Africa are not afraid of their governments and believe that power is in the people, this will form the strongest forms of Democracy. It did in America, but a time comes when the people need to remind the government and themselves that these are the truths, of true democracies." it is healthy for governments to fear their people, it keeps them honest".

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    I find wanting to sympathize with some of the folks in America today,and the hard times they have endured over the last several years. but I can't, not because I don't understand but because I do. These times are made harder due to the poor decision making ability and the lack of self control that American people have in this country today and the shift away from basic family values. Until we as a nation take back the principals that guided our grand-parents and to some extent our own parents we are going to be a lost and wondering generations, always relying on the government to have a safety net to catch us when we fall. I say don't make the bad choices that, for sure will have you falling, example children out of wedlock. drug abuse, being in an abusive relationship, marry a man / or women that can't be a financial partner as well as a sex partner. Spending more then you make, having credit cards, not staying physically fit,(later in life having high medical costs and missing work because of poor health.) All of these things lead to a bleak economic outcome in life, its not hard to make money if you have any degree of motivation the trick is how not to spend it on crap... or unwisely, (" A fool and his money are easily parted") this is ohhh so very true, good luck my fellow Americans I hope you the best even if you are being set up to fail every day in life, hopefully one day soon you will have an Epiphany and see how easy it is to make good decisions and reap your reward of financial freedom.

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  • 02/21/11--18:31: Unions And The Modern Era
  • What I would like to see is would anybody go for, accept it, if our military wanted to unionize?  Of course not, that would be absurd to consider such a vital part of American government to be subjected to bargaining of a job signed by contract, to victimize at very critcal moments, that could jeopardize national secrurity. The point is the founding and development of unions in the 20s & 30s was a great thing for labor, at the early years of the industrial revolution. However, like much other ground breaking civil revolutions, for ex: women's right to vote, segregation laws, etc... the protection of labor from the big bad corporations is nowhere near as vital as it was in the infancy of the industrial revolution, therefore the unions have ran the major course of their need. I say that with the utmost respect for labor rights, not as much for the rights of an entity to fleece the American taxpayer as a whole. In a time of litigation and whistleblower lawsuits as well as wrongful discharge lawsuits, the aid of the media to overnight victimize to bring to trial and convict a company on national television, such as Toyota, and Wal-Mart, recently, will cost a company hundreds of millions to billions of dollars in bad media, lost stock, performance to decreased sales. No entity that provides public services in this country, paid for by tax payer dollars should have a taxpayer funded pension, or any other compensation package funded by tax dollars after the individual employment has ended at such job. This would include police, fire, teachers, public officials, as well as county workers and state employees. These jobs are at the liberty and good fortune of the public, we as the taxpayers expect these services to be provided at the lowest economic burden to us - as good stewards of government it is your responsibility to provide that. SO DO IT!!!! 

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    Who will tell the truth? The banks? Probably not. Can you really believe the government to release a report that isn't driven with an alternative motive? I would say no!  How are the public and the citizens of this country supposed to make intelligent decisions if the leaders and mainstream large firms are going to skew the facts of a subject to either attempt to defraud the American people or to cause a prolonged position of fiscal depression? I will try here to discuss the topic in a manner that can help make a more informed decision about spending so much money on one item.

    In order to determine which of these two places is the home for you, let's determine age and marital status. If you're single, out of high school, or in early college (and commute to community college), I would suggest you find and interview a same sex and about same  age roommate, and share an apartment or house until your completion of college. If you are a young adult after college, and married (or not), with children, I would suggest a comfortable economical flat, or small 2 bedroom apartment in the city, close to where the lowest paid partner works. Taking these economical measures insures that more of your payroll will be alotted to repay school loans, and auto loans, and will allow you to have the disposable income young folks need without denying your financial responsibilities you have entered into contractually, which will severely damage your credit, that could cost you that progressive movement into another company when seeking higher paying job placement. There is no need whatsoever for anyone in their mid-twenties coming out of the home, or coming from college to go into further debt by making a home purchase. The amount of financial loss far, far outways any misguided gains presented to you buy parents, friends, family members, or any so-called financial advisors that "only have your best interest at heart". If they really do have your best interest at heart ask if they will pay off your school loans first, or give you the 20% down payment required to have the proper amount of equity to avoid the private mortgage insurance you will have to pay on your mortgage. Moreover, these same professionals will fail to explain the increase in a mortgage payment by as much as $150 - $300 or more in this insurance, which will be neatly wrapped into another mortgage separate from the main loan - these are called 80/20 loans. Stay away from this topic like the plague, this is as toxic for your future as it gets. There is one and only one money issue for folks of this age group and that's paying off school or car loans. I say this over and over again not due to the lack of other important things to suggest, but to try to express the importance of eliminating these depressing and life crushing debts, that the sooner you remove them from your balance sheet, the better prepared you will be to start your wealth building process.

    So far we have covered and talked of single people or young couples with no children, assuming that at least some will have some serious debt by now. Let us venture now into an older age group, say 30 somethings that for the most part may be married and will (a few or small percentage) have at least one child by now. We also for the sake of this blog topic will assume either one person of this couple has moved into their second level of their career. Moreover we will assume that most of at least one person's school loans are paid off, or about to be. You may or may not have moved from your hometown to pursue your career ambitions. All these assumptions are meant to set the clear understanding that we are discussing mostly college bound people, but this example is not exclusive to them. Anytime there is an option to choose spending a large amount of money, or taking on large debt, the application of common sense and fiscal prudence is not exclusively reserved for college grads. As much as it is important for some to benefit from financial freedom, it is more important for those that have not been formally educated to have that opportunity, as they are most likely to be the strain later in life on social resources, paid by all, even college graduates, through higher tax burdens. The examination and temptation to make the big move to home ownership at this point should be... delayed!

    YES, I said it - in my opinion here are the reasons why. Mostly I would argue that if single at this age group of 29-34, or married/living together, with or without child, that your primary goal right now in life would be to completely pay off all household debt, school loans, car loans, credit cards, and to build a savings account of around $10,000/$15,000. After which time you should begin working with a financial planner to start investing in stocks and mutual funds of about $12,000/$15,000 a year. TIME is what builds wealth and nothing else (outside of hitting the lottery or an inheritance) which most, a vast majority of us, will never receive.  As you can see by now at age 30 or 35 it's still not in your financial best interest to buy a product that causes you to give away a large portion of your savings with little return on investment (roi - a term I will use a lot later on). At some point in the next few years one of the persons in these scenarios, if coupled, will find an opportunity to move inner company or possibly a move to another company in another city or even state. Having this flexibility by not owning a home, gives you the possibility to pursue more gainful employment. If you are still single at this point it would be even more acceptable for you to chase your career and life experience - without owning a home you too will have the freedom to make these life enhancing changes. We need to see that buying a house is not to be the emotional coming to adulthood moment that we have been led to believe for the last half century. Buying a house has nothing to do anymore with having a home, it is whether it's financially beneficial or not to buy. As long as we can generate money through working and investing, there is no real reason to give it away.

    I know by now you want to have two questions answered: first, at what point do we buy the house? and second, tell us the reasons the house is a bad investment. OK, first I would say after you read the next answer you should be able to answer the first question yourself. In order to purchase a home the right way, you need a 20% down payment, and with stricter banking regulations, the down payments will absolutely have to be larger than 3%. There is a temptation to buy more than you need so we will assume you over borrow when you're 30, say $150,000. You will need $30,000 down, in a suburban community that will have at least a tax rate of around  $2000/$3500 a year. These property taxes are due every year even if the loan has been paid off. Contrary to popular misconception, I estimate the return on real estate growth over the next 10 to 15 years won't exceed more then a 3% growth a year. Moreover the rate of deterioration in the property, and maintenance and upgrades will outpace growth year over year. There are other factors to include in the equation, such as water bills, that will need to be paid. More often then not this bill is not part of an apartment usage. Water usage, as well as the heat bill in some leases, are included in the rent payment - this could be as much as $2000 a year depending on location in the country.

    Let's now look at just the down payment that you would spend on your new home, that you will never get back - $30,000. Here are two scenarios this money could have been invested: on the one hand you could be aggressive and seek a rate of 15% a year on your money which amounts to $4500 a year while you still maintain initial principal. Over a period of 10 years you have $45,000. On the other hand, a more conservative approach would be a 5 to 8% rate. There are even more savings to one's life which is the ability to move readily from one place to another and seek and achieve the highest pay scale. At the end of it all, if you are not financial slaves to any man or institution, you are at the pentacle of freedom, freedom to work were you want, live were you want, and in the worst case if the economy tanks, the folks with mortgages and their safe homes, they still owe money to the bank. 

    Go forward in life with confidence, remember - almost 50% of all marriages end in divorce , and the #1 argument married couples have is over money.

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    Whether you like this guy or not what the issue is here is the letter of the law. Unfortunately the first amendment affords him the right to peaceably assemble and to protest. It however doesn't state that he is responsible for the actions of others viewing his protests. Blacks in this country were allowed in the 60's to protest as much as it upset sickened some and angered many , granted the white cops didn't do all the could or were supposed to do to protect the right s of protesters. As recently as this spring our own Supreme Court of the United States ruled in favor of the Kansas church that trolls the country looking for the grieving families of dead soldiers and descends upon funerals to mock and protest the tragedy. Their antagonizing and out right hateful display of christian love is one of the most socially irresponsible things I've  ever witnessed as an American, to protest a funeral, but nevertheless to my and many other veterans and civilized Americans the court found it a violation of the 1st amendment to stop it. So as much as it would pain many in the community where this protest would take place this man has the right to peaceable assemble and to conduct his protest in a orderly fashion. The fact of the matter is every minority group in this country think the constitution affords only themselves the right to create equality, when in fact it is place to offer ALL of the citizens a voice for what they and they alone see as a inequality, when we as a nation start to sit and decide to whom and to what extent the severity of the grievance that a group is trying to protest we have now eroded immeasurably the benefit and purpose of the finest document ever drafted to govern civil behavior. Moreover protests in this country by many of the same individuals clamoring to stop the Rev Terry Jones have themselves burned flags of America and protested the action of the very government that blankets them with these protecting civil liberties, but now somehow object to being the center of a protests............ Welcome to America.  

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    Let's talk about freedom!!!!!!

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110424/ap_on_hi_te/us_wi_fi_warning

    There are few things that scare me about the overall actions of my government, in their covert domestic operations. However, this is an example of the police state tactics that are very worrisome. For the most part you can insulate yourself from a degree of " guilt by association" situations, simply by not associating yourself in those positions. There are some circumstances that are a little more out of your control ( granted proper pass word protection and other encrypted safe guards) may, I use this term loosely , may have prevented this whole incident, although the police with reduced resources, due to lower tax bases, people moving from states in mass droves, and reduced revenue sharing to local cities by state governments, are not in a position to investigate crimes and run forensic investigations like they should, to bring EVIDENCE to the table to base an arrest on. That is no excuse for state, local departments, and Federal agencies to go after U.S citizens, with out properly investigating the accusation, to breaking the doors down of families ,arresting, confiscating, and physically assaulting, an innocent family. How is it that a federal agency, that is sent and tasked with immigration and border patrol, would be involved in such an arrest, and raid?  The logical thought would be this is a lawsuit waiting to happen, but something tells me their wont be one agent reprimanded and not one lawsuit filed. I believe the American people are seeing in the last 10 years, the evolution of the United Sates, to the next process of, dare I say it?,, Police State http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Police_state.  Here is a little example, and the history of police state countries. Congressman Ron Paul thinks, America is here, or damn close to being one. There are enough concerns, to assume 1,000,000, people cant be wrong, type mentality has fallen over the masses, but American people feel we are just to civilized,as a society, to buck our government with the use of violence, but refuse to acknowledge that the government is using extreme deadly force in a lot of situation and, the legal system, to put down the public. The  United States, above China, Iran, Venezuela, North Korea, and even Saudi Arabia, imprison more of its citizens then any one of these other nations, whom are far more of a dictatorship repressive government, then the good ole' U.S.A.,, or are they? We have cloaked our living in a police state, for the last quarter century, under the guises of Democracy. It is my opinion, that this country is on a crash course to an up rising of our own that will be led with violence and it will not be pretty.  I believe this to be the case, because the government has failed and is continuing to erode and diminish the middle class. By the separating of the classes in such a drastic way there is a greater unrest in the citizenry.  I would like to see the people of this country get smart quicker by demanding from themselves a more honest set of politicians. But I don't see us as a nation doing so, nor do I see the politicians waking up to the writing on the wall, due to their complete lack of having a feel for the pulse of true mainstream America. Which by the way is not the room full of donors at a $1000. a plate breakfast. What I do see is the politicians are so caught up in the greed of holding office, that they are trying to insulate themselves from the actions of the public by allowing the evolution to us becoming a police state..... So I say to all of you pick a side. You need to decide where u stand, and don't wait until the fight is on your doorstep, it may be to late by then. Our founders never saw a problem with the people having the means and the right to challenge our government, whether it was our old one or our new one.

    God Bless America.

     

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  • 07/22/11--15:42: Federal Budget, Deficit.
  •                                 GEN – X, Deficit Reduction Plan 2011

    There seems to be an understanding that criticizing one’s opinion isn’t appreciated unless the person criticizing has himself an offer of solution. Here I have a perfect opportunity   to do a lot of both. The criticism comes as an interpretation of observing the lackluster performance of the leaders of this great nation for the last several decades. What we have here is failure to communicate. We as a nation are faced with a unique moment to repair many of the problems that ail us as a family. The question is, do our leaders have the political will to do the right thing? Or maintain the current course, and letting those standards and minute few, further corrupt the integrity of the American way of life. I personally believe the time is now to draw a line in the sand.

    There are two (2) major issues, of grave concern that will be addressed with my solution.
    First and foremost is the fiscal dilemma to address here. This is a deep dividing concern in this country and could very well be the pre-cursor to a more long-term systemic social issue in the near future. The second is an eroded trust problem that the people have lost in their government. The approval ratings for congress over the last 20 years has never been over 30% but on a selective few moments in time, for the briefest of moments.

    The fiscal issues that are weighing down the growth of America are an easy fix, so without further delay let’s begin.

    (1)   To all programs, grants, loans, supplemental programs, mutual science endeavors, contributions to foreign programs, and any outlay of funds of any type that would be written, paid, or otherwise loaned or funded by money generated through the taxation of U.S. citizens, authorized by congress or the U.S Treasury, or granted to or appropriated by the Executive branch or in any way funded in conjunction with any or made part of any other type of fiscal outlay of funds. All of these said payment types that would be going to an end (final) destination, that would be or (is) where this money/financial resources are outside the borders of the United States of America, all should be cut across the board by 25%. Reductions to programs such as all expenditures to the United Nations, a 25% cut to the roughly $3 bill. of annual expenditures to Israel, as well as reduction to military aid by the same. Foreign Aid to countries individually, example Libya, $25 million, as well as any military aid, by 25%.
    (2)   The overall reduction, or draw down of U.S. forces around the world, all bases that are out side the United States borders decline personnel by 25% along with future funding in equipment and to include any technology upgrades, and defensible upgrades to property. Those of the most remote out of the way bases not of strategic value would be closed completely, within 3 yrs. Bases for example: Joint Task Force East, Camp Darby, Fort Buckner, MCLB Barstow, MCAC New River, Rota Naval Station, Scott Air Force Base, and many other types of draw down if not these in particular, there are thousands around the world that can be part of the cost cutting and responsible fiscal policy.
    (3)   Comes what I am going to call the “Belt-Way” tightening. Here is what the American people want to see out of our leaders, when punch lines are being used like, “we are all in this together” and “shared sacrifice”. When most Americans lost 1/3 of the equity in their homes and up to 40% of the value in their 401k’s, millions have been unemployed or under employed for years now, the words “shared sacrifice” drives people to the brink of emotional meltdown, and a bitter rage towards their leaders boils inside. So the beginning is to stop all salary pensions to former Presidents, all Secret Service protection to all former Presidents and their wives/widows, stop all payments for any member of congress after their completion of service (unless that member has served a min. of 20 years consecutive) stop all payments to Senators after their service in the Senate. Speaker of the House earns $223,500, Majority party leader earns $193,000 -Congressional pay and senate pay should be reduced by 25%.

    Members of Congress receive retirement and health benefits under the same plans available to other federal employees. They become vested after five years of full participation. This when everyone else in the country has to work 25 to 30 years for a pension, if they are lucky to get one at all.

    Members of the Senate and Congress, whom have a total of around 18 staffers per member, will be required to cut those staff numbers by 10%, and the pay scale for those left on payroll will see reduction in pay by 40%. The $830,000 allotment for each of the 435 members of the U.S. Congress and all reimbursements for travel along with the Senates $2.5 mill- $4.1 mill. alotments for clerical and office expenses, are excessive amounts and should receive trimming by 25%. All travel reimbursement should be by milage for all Senate and Congrssional members that are elected from states within 600 miles of Washington D.C. at a rate of .25 c per mile. These cuts in staff are also suggested for the Executive branch, a cut to the more then 400 staffers in the executive branch and a salary scale that would not be allowed to exceed $75,000 for a senior position and step down, from there based on job title and education and experience.

    There would then be a 10% cut to all govermental offices across the board from Homeland Security to the C.I.A., to the U.S. Postal workers. Any and all offices that employ personel that would otherwise be paid, and are paid, as a classification of being a federal employee, would be subject to this reduction. Reform future federal pension programs to read (and grandfather) current employees whom have more than 15 years before eligible retirement time, would no longer receive a pension but instead fund their own 401k, while the government would match dollar for dollar, up to 25% contribution.  Until the point at which time the employee retired or quit.

    (4)   There comes a point were we have to understand accountablity from the top down, instead of expecting the bottom tier of society to be accountable for fiscal policy issues, where they are accountable for far less of the money supply then those at the top levels of governmental control. This expectation is not only irrational, it frankly doesn’t make good fiscal sense as a policy to continue to balance the unsustainable spending habbits, we as a nation have come to participate in, on the empty notion that those without money are somehow responsible for preserving it. Programs that involve social support should receive a 10% reduction in all aspects; this would include but not be limited to all expenditures such as payroll and staff. The only 2 departaments to not receive cuts would be the Social Security benefits, and Medicare/Medicade. But a serious look in over turning the health care bill should be considered, due to the excess amount of public funding.

    There comes a point to funding a specific idea that by the success of that idea is dependent on the fiscal discipline of those charged with its oversight. Moreover by being elected to office part of the expectation is to do what is in the best interest of those whom elected one to office. With that expectation it is a matter of morality to the degree in which one will either execute the office or sail the ship of hypocrisy. Taking hold of the reins of governemet after it is out of control is a far greater task than riding the wild ride till you get bucked off. However, take this notion not so lightly we are at the cusp of the point of no return, if I may share with you an observation of our course and the overlay of the past that is for sure truth:

    “From the void of emptiness, comes the life for many.                      
    There is a life force that grows,
    and knows not its father.                                                                 
    As it ages, it can not see its demise, it knows only to grow,            
    Time is its unknown enemy, and history its overseer.                     
    As that life dies, so die many,
    When time comes to call,
    History, will once again teach.”
    (written by: James Owens)

    We as a great nation have an opportunity to show the rest of the world what good government is, and how it works, and is not abusive and unreasonable to its people. This being a teaching moment for us also, by showing the public that they are being put first and restoring the patriotic feel that has been missing in America for some 50 years. The level of productivity and spending will once again be the machine that fuels GDP growth by the once enjoyed 3-4% rates that makes our country so desirable. Establishing corporate tax cuts and personal tax cuts to payroll would more than inspire industries to hire up the individuals that will lose jobs from the government cuts. Cutting waste and unnecessary spending, excessive waste from the top down. This will bring in more growth in the long run than trying to fix poor fiscal habits in the short run.

    My name is James  and I am a Michigan resident, and very concerned with making America the industrial powerhouse for the next 100 yrs. we have been for the last 150.


    Respectfully,

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    I was sent this site the other day and told here is some extra water for you. So I read on and to my astonishment this was so far fetched, I was shocked, then laughed. The reason I laughed is because here is a man that has the resources to live a lifestyle that would set an example for the rest of New York, and the country, instead what does he do? Here is an excerpt from the article: "Drexler’s $6 $10 million property in Bridgehampton used 18.4 million gallons of water in the last year — or 115 times the average for the country, reported the East Hampton Press and the Southampton Press".  Here is the link to read the... rest... of the story, http://blogs.wsj.com/deals/2011/07/07/j-crew-ceo-mickey-drexler-is-a-water-hog/ .

    It's amazing to hear the elitist left, talk about how the average Americans need to conserve and reduce our footprint on the planet. I'm just curious how many other millionaires have waterbills that excede 5 to 10 times normal water consumption? How many gallons of jet fuel and gasoline they use above my minuscule 750 gal. a year, of gasoline? (Oh, I don't use jet fuel). It's nice to set these lofty ideas, and stand on a soapbox, and preach to the flock about how the poor commoners, are the burden on resources, when in fact those that preach the hardest are more often the ones that are the high consumers,( Al Gore) ring a bell.

    The only way such an assertion could possiblly be true, that the less fortunate, are the wasters, is to add up all there consumption and compare to the total consumption of the elitists. Per capita, it is wrong, there are less millionaries than people that earn between $25,000/yr and $100,000/yr., but their consumption levels are 5-10 times that of a lower and middle class family. So in the end the rich end up being the wasters, along with the government itself. But hey, America, it's not enough to go to work, come home, eat dinner, go to bed get up next morning and do it again, repeat till 65. Lot of waste happening with that routine!

    Good luck folks, keep drinking the kool-aid while they continue to live the American Dream.

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    For years there has been an appetite for the largest commodity of energy, oil. This is the convenient truth. Here in America we discovered oil, drilled it , and pumped the hell out of it, starting in the late 19th century. By the end of the 2nd decade, of the 20th century, it was a staple of the new America.
                Observing the progress made, we must remember that by this time,(1920) we as a nation, were a mere 145 yrs yrs old. That's all it took for this country to go from humble beginnings, to the roaring 20's, were we as a nation, had put an end to the first World War, and became one of the 3, most influential military,and econmic powers in the world.
    The growth the United States produced is an example of allowing the people and their hunger for ingenuity, and an increased standard of living, to drive technology and allow  there to be an exponential growth year over year. On every type of product, from toasters, to radios, to cars, to t.v.'s, to telephones.
    All of the products we used as a public, evolved into a smaller lighter faster, and more technologically capable product. The one thing that hasn't changed or evolved is the energy we use to run the majority of our day to day lives as a home, business and nation, oil. Unfortunately, the only inconvenience now is, we will require a major disruption to occur in our lives to awaken the majority to come to the realization, that this is the only truth..............   " it is our responsibility as a people to , if we have the technological capacity,, to evolve,, then our obligation to our kind, is to do so". )

    There is not any other issue that is on the table right now in our time, that is greater of a burden philosophically, then this one as a species, to examine, that collectively, having a responsibility to our existence , by putting in the forefront of thought with the burden of each decision that  "(in what way can the mass of society benefit from this action or this development") Decision making as a collective, and making these decisions with the moral obligation, will not in any way impede the potential for economic success, on the contrary it would grow at the rate of exponential technological growth.
               So as we shut out the lights tonight, turn off the t.v., power down the computer, recharge the cell phone, plug in your Chevy Volt, wonder to yourself why in the hell are we still using an energy source we discovered 130 yrs ago, in this great America,: the epi- center for technological growth in the cosmos!!!

           Good Night America.


                     

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    Oakland County Oak Park garden rebel putting down Seattle roots The Detroit News

    So much for staying to fight the good fight, eh Julie Bass?

    Oak Park garden rebel putting down Seattle roots

    Mark Hicks/ The Detroit News.

    Oak Park— A woman who gained an international following when she was ticketed for having a front-yard vegetable garden is taking her green leanings to a new city.

    Oak Park dropped all charges against Julie Bass last month stemming from the flap. But on Monday, the mother of six announced on her blog the family is uprooting to Seattle, where her husband Jason got a job with Amazon.com.
    "I'm trying to delay the move until we pick every single last vegetable," Bass joked Monday night.
    Bass opted to plant vegetables this spring after her front yard was torn up to replace an underground pipe. In June, she was ticketed days after being warned not to grow vegetables in her yard's raised beds.
    Oak Park Planning Director Kevin Rulkowski has said the city isn't opposed to vegetables, but there are ordinances in place to regulate community aesthetics.
    Bass had faced charges for the garden punishable by up to 93 days in jail and a $100 fine.
    On the same day of the ticketing, she was cited for not having licenses for two dogs.
    The vegetable garden battle garnered worldwide attention after Bass launched a blog and a friend set up a Facebook page, both called "Oak Park Hates Veggies."
    Last month, City Prosecutor Eugene Lumberg dismissed the garden charges. And within two weeks, Bass was cleared of failing to have dog licenses.
    Attorney Solomon Radner, who represented Bass, said it's still unclear what prompted the case, but the outcome could cast a shadow on future wranglings between city officials and residents.
    "I'm hoping this brings a certain level of sanity to future prosecutions in the city of Oak Park," he said.
    As for Bass and her family, plans for their relocation, and the garden, still are being finalized.
    A friend plans to use her compost pile. The fate of her plot depends on the home's new owners.
    Despite the controversy that sprang up around the clash for its survival, the home garden "was worth it," Bass said. "It was a tremendous thing for our neighbors and our friends. … We're sorry to see it go."
    Once she and her family are resettled, Bass will decide on growing another garden in a similar spot. "It depends on the neighborhood and the lay of the land, where we are," she said. 

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  • 08/11/11--20:16: WSJ , Kelly Evans
  • Government Spending Holds Key to Growth

    Response: I believe the measure of any good economists is the ability to analyze the data and come to an unbiased conclusion. However, it is nearly impossible to learn your craft through the ranks of higher education without succumbing to the continuous barrage of idealism from professors. No matter whether you attended a liberal university, or a conservative one, the agenda is clear, and the attempt is constant.  Which brings me to deduct as an economists, you have but one choice, that is to decide whether you are a socialist, or a capitalist, and then mold your philosophical approach in the best manner to achieve the optimal outcome, based on that belief standard.
    I read you article yesterday that was in the WSJ, (ahead of the tape), and I can see from your tone, and assertions, you have chose your path, albeit an ill-advised one non the less a choice. My dear, it pains me to see the naivety off youth, be so close to the surface of opinion, as it reflects insecurity and apprehension, in ones life experiences. So much,  that the redundancies in tone are ambiguous to your thought. Why am I so concerned with the article of one young woman , in such an obscure, unapproachable position? Is because there are, is a group of readers that would read this and assume you know what you are talking about, and consider it fact. Moreover, not only are you in a position to misled readers at leisure, you do so with no conscience, as to the nature of negative secondary effects.
    Keynesian economics is not the answer to the problems that face America, any more then you exceeding your own personnel credit to debt ratio by more then 100%. Any attempt to max-out your available credit, without generating any further revenue, would be met by the bank, as an impossible request to further extend credit to you in such a position. No responsible adult in their right mind would consider such behavior, why then should it, and is it expected behavior from a nation. I will give credit were credit is due you, your assessment of wall street taking its lead from Washington was spot on. Although our definitions differ, I feel it will be the lead of tax reductions, simplifying tax code, lower Federal tax rates on business, and starting to balance the trade. Semantics some would say, but a fundamental difference in tone from you, were the government is the entity that makes things all right. Ms. Evans I do sincerely wish all the best in your future studies, and attempt to grasp the grand complexity of human emotion, were it comes to talking politics, but we are economists, never forget we neither have the luxury to pick sides, nor do we wish to get dirty by doing so.


    Respectfully,
    James             

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    It is my firm believe, that the human race is standing on the cusp of the abyss, and have a banana peel under one foot. There is a list that everyone of us have, to outline the number of reasons, and the different ways that will bring us to the brink, but I can tell you this, is happening as we speak. Around the world the population is growing, in the areas with greatest growth ,poor. More importantly they are in poor nations that are primarily anti- American, and anti western society. Typically the major conflict comes during an extended period of economic depression, well we are in one, and will probably see it get worse when, ( not if) Europe nations start eating each other over sovereign debt. This will be the epi center of this breakdown, led by the fact that a strong economic Germany, will not take it very well when asked to carry the brunt of the fiscal irresponsibility of  neighboring countries, Germany, lets say don't appreciate to begin with.Countries like Spain, Portugal, and, Italy. Ireland has already borrowed, more then they can pay back, as has Portugal.
    We really haven't covered the tip of the fiscal problems leading to civil unrest or the ability for countries to remain solvent. However, there is always more then just economies that lead to global disturbances, another is the inability for people to have access to abundant food supply. We have already seen plenty of evidence of this, Egypt, Libya, and several other north African, and Middle Eastern countries.
    To not forget the third and certainly one of the most important, religion. We in the United States are under attack from Muslims, and their religion. Europe has been enduring this battle for the last 50 yrs and the latest riots in London this summer was led mostly by local Muslims. In their defense those riots happened in one of the areas of London with, can we guess, high unemployment, and poor living conditions, with expensive food , and energy costs. This is all leading to a climax were other nations are going to add to the delicate relations and frayed nerves. By encroaching on nations borders, will push friends to waiver, North and South Korea, in resent years has pushed the envelope. China launching, and building a stronger presence in their region could strain the relations with Taiwan, as well as Japan. India now growing the countries population as well as their economy will create friction with Kashmir as well as Pakistan. These are just a few of the more well known hot spots in the world, there are however 20 more for every one I mentioned.

    Here is a perfect example of a minor, problem we as America will get involved in, under current world conditions, that could led to a global incident(http://news.yahoo.com/ap-somalia-famine-aid-stolen-un-investigating-143004341.html )

    MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — Thousands of sacks of food aid meant for Somalia's famine victims have been stolen and are being sold at markets in the same neighborhoods where skeletal children in filthy refugee camps can't find enough to eat, an Associated Press investigation has found.
    The U.N.'s World Food Program for the first time acknowledged it has been investigating food theft in Somalia for two months. The WFP said that the "scale and intensity" of the famine crisis does not allow for a suspension of assistance, saying that doing so would lead to "many unnecessary deaths."
    And the aid is not even safe once it has been distributed to families huddled in the makeshift camps popping up around the capital. Families at the large, government-run Badbado camp, where several aid groups have been distributing food, said they were often forced to hand back aid after journalists had taken photos of them with it.
    Ali Said Nur said he received two sacks of maize twice, but each time was forced to give one to the camp leader.
    "You don't have a choice. You have to simply give without an argument to be able to stay here," he said.
    The U.N. says more than 3.2 million Somalis — nearly half the population — need food aid after a severe drought that has been complicated by Somalia's long-running war. More than 450,000 Somalis live in famine zones controlled by al-Qaida-linked militants, where aid is difficult to deliver. The U.S. says 29,000 Somali children under the age of 5 already have died.
    International officials have long expected some of the food aid pouring into Somalia to go missing. But the sheer scale of the theft taking place calls into question aid groups' ability to reach the starving. It also raises concerns about the willingness of aid agencies and the Somali government to fight corruption, and whether diverted aid is fueling Somalia's 20-year-civil war.
    "While helping starving people, you are also feeding the power groups that make a business out of the disaster," said Joakim Gundel, who heads Katuni Consult, a Nairobi-based company often asked to evaluate international aid efforts in Somalia. "You're saving people's lives today so they can die tomorrow."
    WFP Somalia country director Stefano Porretti said the agency's system of independent, third-party monitors uncovered allegations of possible food diversion. But he underscored how dangerous the work is: WFP has had 14 employees killed in Somalia since 2008.
    "Monitoring food assistance in Somalia is a particularly dangerous process," Porretti said.
    In Mogadishu markets, vast piles of food sacks are for sale with stamps on them from the World Food Program, the U.S. government aid arm USAID and the Japanese government. The AP found eight sites where aid food was being sold in bulk and numerous smaller stores. Among the items being sold were corn, grain, and Plumpy'nut — a specially fortified peanut butter designed for starving children.
    An official in Mogadishu with extensive knowledge of the food trade said he believes a massive amount of aid is being stolen — perhaps up to half of aid deliveries — by unscrupulous businessmen. The percentage had been lower, he said, but in recent weeks the flood of aid into the capital with little or no controls has created a bonanza for businessmen.
    The official, like the businessmen interviewed for this story, spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid reprisals.
    The AP could not verify the officials claims. WFP said that it rejected the scale of diversions alleged by the official.
    At one of the sites for stolen food aid, about a dozen corrugated iron sheds are stacked with sacks. Outside, women sell food from open 110-pound (50-kilogram) sacks, and traders load the food onto carts or vehicles under the indifferent eyes of local officials.
    Stolen food aid is not new in Somalia — it's the main reason the U.S. military become involved in Somalia during the country's 1992 famine, an intervention that ended shortly after the military battle known as Black Hawk Down. There are no indications the military plans to get involved in this year's famine relief efforts.
    WFP said in a statement that it has put into place "strengthened and rigorous" monitoring and control in Somalia.
    "However, given the lack of access to much of the territory due to security dangers and restrictions, humanitarian supply lines remain highly vulnerable to looting, attack and diversion by armed groups," WFP told the AP.
    Somali government spokesman Abdirahman Omar Osman said the government does not believe food aid is being stolen on a large scale but if such reports come to light, the government "will do everything in our power" to bring judicial action.
    The AP investigation also found evidence that WFP is relying on a contractor blamed for diverting large amounts of food aid in a 2010 U.N. report
    Eight Somali businessmen said they bought food from the contractor, Abdulqadir Mohamed Nur, who is known as Enow. His wife heads Saacid, a powerful Somali aid agency that WFP uses to distribute hot food. The official with extensive knowledge of the food trade said at some Saacid sites it appeared less than half the amount of food supplied was being prepared.
    Attempts to reach Enow or his wife for comment were not successful.
     
    You make you own conclusion, I however tend to lean toward WWWIII, sorry.

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    Members of the organization Food Not Bombs were in good spirits as they passed out corn on the cob, rice, beans and other vegetarian dishes to the homeless and hungry in an Orlando park. This cheer was interrupted when police officers on bicycles arrived and arrested five of the volunteers.
    This is not the first time this scene has played out for members of Food Not Bombs.
    Since June 1, a dozen members of the group have been arrested for violating a new Orlando city ordinance that prohibits sharing food with large groups in downtown parks more than twice a year.
    The mayor of Orlando even branded them "food terrorists."
    Food Not Bombs is an international political organization that protests war, poverty and the destruction of the environment, according to their website. The group meets to distribute food twice a week in downtown Orlando's Lake Eola Park.
    They won a district court case to prevent the enforcement of the new ordinance , but the decision was overturned in the appellate court.

    PHOTO: On April 4, 2007 Food Not Bombs volunteer Eric Montanez was arrested by police.
    Food Not Bombs
    On April 4, 2007 Food Not Bombs volunteer... View Full Size
    PHOTO: On April 4, 2007 Food Not Bombs volunteer Eric Montanez was arrested by police.
    Food Not Bombs
    On April 4, 2007 Food Not Bombs volunteer Eric Montanez was arrested by police.
    Record Numbers of Homeless Students Watch Video
    Man Opens His Yard to the Homeless Watch Video
    A spokesperson for the city of Orlando said that the ordinance had its origins in complaints from residents and business owners about trash left after the food distribution, public urination and concerns about crime.
    Breaking the Law By Feeding the Homeless
    Lake Eola Park is the city's "crown jewel and a signature part of the city right in the middle of Orlando," according to the spokesperson. The city says the ordinance is a permit system that allows them to be aware of what is happening and where so that they can provide necessary services such as clean-up.
    In regards to Food Not Bombs, the spokesperson says, "We would really like to find a solution and a compromise."
    The court decision says, "The City of Orlando enacted the ordinance to spread the burden that feedings of large groups have on parks and their surrounding neighborhoods."
    The document also says that Food Not Bombs could obtain two permits a year for each of the 42 parks in downtown Orlando, for a total of 84 large group feedings a year. The ordinance does not put restrictions on group feedings outside of the downtown area.
    "The idea that every week we have to move to a different part of the city and that people have to find us just doesn't make any sense," said Keith McHenry, one of the founders of Food Not Bombs and the first to be arrested in Orlando.
    "It's a really wonderful experience to save food, cook it with your friends, and hand it out," McHenry said. "You can't imagine the government saying this beautiful thing can't happen."
    Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer has been quoted calling the group "food terrorists." He told ABC's Orlando affiliate WTFV, "I think they are using food or the feeding of the homeless for different purposes."

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    We will start by preferencing this whole article, that you believe in a "God", the God. With the understanding that the one true God that we are speaking of, is indeed, the God of reference in the Bible. The God, that is mentioned when credit to creation, and live on this earth is given. This will be the "God" I will be referring to when ever I mention "God".

    We have witnessed on T.V. and through the Internet, and newspaper, the undoing of a long lived tyrant in Libya. Muammer Gaddafi has been captured, and killed, and the liberated peoples of Libya now have another fight on their hands. After battling for decades, to gain freedom, and a life of  prosperity, and a future that had been denied them under Muammar Gaddafi and his regime. Libyans are being manipulated into another tyrannical system of suppression and oppression, Under the rule of "Sharia Law" the people of this country, whom have been denied reasonable opportunities by past governments, to prosper and have the possibilities of a full filled life given to them, will be once again denied those same "GOD" given rights. Sharia Law is "anti" women's right, under these oppressive doctrine, women would be set back 50 years in Libya. One example, is the injustice in the (Family Law) portion of Sharia Law. There are areas of life that this form of law will, I suppose bring order to an otherwise lawless land, however the invitation of civil rights abuse, and the breeding of discrimination, and imbalance of power, to be given to a religious group, is a recipe for future degradation. Afghanistan , is a perfect example, as is Saudi Arabia, were human right take a back seat to Allah's Law. My hope for the struggling people of Libya is that some of the young modern thinking minds that are hungry for a sustainable future for their nation, moves to be more exclusive of this obvious counter productive, divisive, model of  governing. My belief is that God loves us, and through his love, wants us to love one another, this however is not what Sharia Law wants for us whether we are in Libya, London, Luxembourg or Los Angeles.

    There are plenty of people that will want to argue, say Sharia Law is the way God wants man to live, and tries to put man closer to God. I would argue that just watch in society and see how people interact with one another, and see if people respond to acts of kindness and aid and compassion, or do people respond to restriction rigorous rules and penalties , and extreme punishment, with little compassion for one another.  You decide which law you would like to life under the next time ,in a town near you, a few, start pressing local leaders to implement Sharia Law.

    http://www.danielpipes.org/1595/islamic-law-rules-in-iraq
    http://www.crf-usa.org/america-responds-to-terrorism/the-origins-of-islamic-law.html

    Here are are a couple other articles, for further reading enjoy. Remember love comes from the heart, not the end of a sword.

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    Is there a correlation between personal property rights throughout history, and the level and contagion of poverty today? If you have never had nothing, can you learn to ever have anything? When a society or group of people have been denied a culture, and then are afforded those rights, is the culture shock to much to overcome? These are just a few questions I pose to you in this article -  to better understand and try to come to terms with, why such the disparage in social success.
         It has occured to me that by introducing a new set of boundaries and social parameters abruptly, hundreds of years of social and cultural oppression couldn't be turned like a light switch. Caste systems are in every level of society in every culture, we can identify them even in modern history as well as present history. These systems have led to many generations being denied the learning experience of personal property rights. Not being able to vote, to attend school, to collect and save income, to have purchasing power that would require an individual to enter into a contract. All of these things teach personal responsibility to the social contract, by not having an opportunity to make and pass on these civil characteristics through the generations leads to a deficiency in the ability to comprehend the necessity immediately. Furthermore when a large populations of society are concentrated in one local, these types of issues with not being able to abide, conform to the prevalent cultural ways, shows up as mass poverty.
    My example is going to be almost every major inner city in this country. The reason I believe this to be is based on the obvious. Like minded people flock together, whether it be social acceptance, or economic persuasion, there is a migratory pattern to their settlements. Detroit, Cleveland, Oakland, Houston, Los Angeles, Jacksonville, Miami, New Orleans, Raleigh, the list goes on and on and on. There is a level of poverty in all of these places that has the same symptoms.
       1- there is very low home ownerships rates, even before 2008, now fewer. 
       2 - There are high levels of unemployment, these levels are higher now the before 2008, 
       3 - there are high levels of drop outs, Detroit alone has only a graduation rate of around 25 -30 %. the people are uneducated. 
       4 - There is virtually no reinvesting in self, financially, meaning no IRA accounts, savings accounts, or stock purchase accounts, which denies the "furthering the flock" mentality.
    Simply being behind in these four ares will almost certainly guarantee a persons' failure in America, in other nations... it will.
       We as a society tend to look at those that can't support or provide for themselves as the weak link in the group. In smaller social settings the community will attempt to carry the load and give assistance, it is found in rural small town atmospheres, where programs aren't mandated as often by governments, it's private entities stepping up and filling the role. Maybe the burden is so slight this is acceptable to the group as a whole.  However when you look at big cities like the ones I mentioned earlier, the size of the city reflects the size of the need. Those cities have such a large group of people that are not contributing that the group of succeeders separates itself and isolates the weak and refuses to carry the load, thereby causing government to take forcefully, (through taxes) and give to the poor.
    My conclusion is that, if you have never had anything, it is hard to every have something. If you are not being taught how to aquire, you can't have. If you don't understand the meaning of self preservasion, you can't help your offspring. These subtle survival skills come with personal property right, being denied one, denies both.

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    If you want some relief, to sleep better at night, to not live pay check to pay check, listen to what I have to say and you will sleep better at night.

    I will attempt to make this strategy as universal as possible. There will be some assumptions and I will generalize taking into consideration national averages, and "norms" of most citizens of this country in general. I speak of only things that I know to work from personal experience, and have been at the bottom of the system, with a recorded "credit rating' of less then 525, and with a score that low, you can't borrow a plug nickle. By the way this was during the late 90's and early 2000's, when the economy was humming along fine. Now it's around 740.
      1st--- , if you are a single mother, and you are not getting any money from your babies father, get a lawyer and take him to court for child support. There is no reason for fathers to not be paying their responsibility, it isn't mine child, or Steve's, or Paul's, or Marques es, so make the father pay.

    2nd ---, if you have school loans outstanding, I suggest you call the debt collector agency that has bought the debt from the school, and ask them if (eg. you owe $4000, and your next tax return averages $1800, $2500) call and, without discussing your potential future tax amount, ask them if you make a lump sum payment for $2500, $3000 will they except the pay off. If they agree send them a money order or certified check but make sure they will send you a letter stating, this agreement pays off in full your balance. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT!!! make sure they agree to this and send you a letter stating so.
       This will be a process it will take you years to fix your credit and pay off all your debt. I have only my home that I owe money to, you can make this work you need patience and the desire. One other thing that needs to be established is a little emergency fund of about $750 to $1000.  You are going to need stop using any and all credit cards.  If you have a lease car, go talk to the dealer and find out how much it will cost to get out of your lease early. If you can't due to high fees let it end and, NEVER EVER, EVER, NEVER !! lease another car again.

      These 3 or 4 things are a necessity to help stop the bleeding of further debt, and gives you some idea of the self control it's going to take to go the distance in paying off all the big debt. We will talk some more next week about some of the inner workings of setting up a pay down schedule.
     Good luck with your march to freedom.

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  • 04/05/12--20:02: Mind Your Own Business !!
  • I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America , and to the Republic for which it stands , one nation, under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all. Everyday before Congress and the Senate, of our nation start work, they stand, face the flag, and put their hand on their chest and recite these words, everyday, as do our Justices.  Nowhere in this great promise does it promise to protect, take into consideration, or adhere to the voice of any other country, other than the United States of America. We are not passing laws or presenting legislation thinking wow!! we need to emulate the catastrophic, mind numbingly stupid policies that for sure, destroy the social fabric of a nation, as those like socialist countries live by. We as a nation have fought the shackles of government tyranny, and the repression of rulers that would wish to deny the citizens their freedoms. I know this is a foreign concept to people in France, Spain , Germany, or any other misfit country that has never felt the exhilarating feeling of telling its ruler to go get bent and kicking his ASS back across the pond.Oh yea the United States is the only living example of that kind of backbone.

        Now my rant is over, look the system you have going over there works for you, we have a believe over here that less government is better. There is a fundamental difference with the role government is expected to play in the lives of its citizenry. I personally ( as do about 60%) of Americans, that the government in this country has over stepped its bounds in the last 10 years. There is a bigger under lying problem in this country more detrimental, then Obama's legislation being overturned.
          The government putting this nation on welfare is killing us.  Currently there is about 165 million people that is in some way shape or form receiving assistance ,out of the 305 million.  There is a plan from the government to slowly and deliberately, promote the separation of class, and furthermore believe that the government has only one play from here on out and that is to control its people through non traditional methods, separating class, destroying food supply.

        People should watch us, question and discuss what is developing in the halls of Justice in our country, from a- far, and keep your comments to yourself. The public condemnation of how we conduct our own personal business in house could lead to future refusal of bailing someone out of invasion or hostile take over in the future.

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    Congress is taking a new look  for Secretary of State at, Joseph R. Donovan Jr. he is as well credentialed, for the job as you will find, a life of in the field Foreign relations work all over the globe.. show support email your congressman with this mans name and your support.

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          The 2010 census report in America revealed there to be 308.7 million people living in the United States. Of these 308.7 million people there are 217,149,127 people age 16 and over. Of these the make up of males between the age of 16 and 50, is 74,609,713. That is 74 million, 609 thousand and 713 males in America, between the age of  16 - 59. As a nation, we are a fairly large, and a diverse population, among the rest of the world, America ranks 3rd of 200 countries. However, the debate we are having here in the United States, over the 2nd amendment, is dividing this nation and stressing relations of brothers against brothers, fathers against sons.
           In Newtown Connecticut, on December, 14th 2012, Adam Lanza shot his own mother to death in her home, then went to the local elementary school with a hand gun and assault rifle, and shot and killed 6 school employees and 20 children. These are the facts and the totality of the destruction.
           According to the 2010 statistics posted by the F.B.I., 8,775 people were killed in the United States by firearms. Of those people killed, 6009 people were killed by handguns (pistols), 358 were killed by rifles.    As Washington descends down upon the 2nd amendment, like a bird to its prey, the lines are being drawn in the sand. Debates are hostile and normal everyday Americans are exhibiting hostility not seen in over 50 years towards one another. Anti-gun, special interest groups have decided to use this incident to position themselves right between Americans and their guns.
           The narrative that is being used by most of these groups, and force fed by the media, is one that so many Americans every year are being killed by guns. The fact that 20 children were killed, in school nonetheless, and two weeks before Christmas, has presented a golden egg for these groups, as well as for a very liberal anti-gun president. Unfortunately, the narrative that is being presented is completely exaggerated and, a knee jerk reaction, as a consequence to a terrible incident that killed 20 kids. As tragic as it all was in Newtown, anti-gun people are attacking assault riffles, particularly, when fact is the rifle jammed on the shooter and was found in the hallway, most of the victims were shot with the .40 cal. hand guns he took into the school with him. This is evidence that the real issue is not going to be addressed, nor do the anti-gun groups or the President have any interest, other than infringing American rights.
           We are in a place where the truth needs to be talked about. Moreover we need to be honest with ourselves and expose the media, and special-interest anti-gun lobbyists, for their intentional, and malicious, deceit towards the American people.

    Here are a few looks at statistics, some numbers, that bring all this into perspective:
    2010 deaths caused by shotguns .....................................................................373
    2010 deaths caused by  knives and other cutting instruments.............................1,704
    2010 deaths caused by blunt objects (tire irons, hammers, bats)..........................540
    2010 deaths caused by personal weapons (hands, feet and ect.).........................742

    2010 deaths caused by riffles (including assault weapons)..................................358 *

    These stats are provided by the F.B.I. 2010 crime report. I ask you, why are we allowing the special-interest groups and the anti-gun President to attack the rights of law abiding gun owners? When clearly this is not even the issue? It is however, simply being motivated and moved on a wave of emotion, over 20 children. The government is not wasting a perfectly good tragedy, to maneuver their political agenda squarely in a place to capitalize on the misfortune of  little kids and grieving parents.
     
    Wake up America, my fellow Americans, and see the Trojan horse for what it is: A crafty play by a crafty Chicago politician that only looks to divide and destroy the rights of law abiding Americans.

    God bless and this is "THE BOTTOM LINE".   

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