Tag Archives: national debt

How’s your Financial I.Q.? Take the test!

America’s federal, state, and city governments are  profligate and irresponsible with taxpayers’ money, over-spending themselves into declared and undeclared bankruptcy, and a national debt that now exceeds America’s GDP.

But if we, the American people, are better managers of our own finances, not only would more of us realize the financial black hole government is in, we would also demand more fiscal prudence from officialdom. Alas, Hadley Malcolm reports for USA Today, April 24, 2012, that “despite the recession, most Americans still know NOTHING about their finances,” especially young people. Here are the facts:

  • Americans in their 20s hold an average debt of about $45,000, which includes everything from cars to credit cards to student loans to mortgages, according to a PNC financial independence survey released last month.
  • At the same time, Americans 18-29 year old have a much higher jobless rate of  12.4%, well above the national rate of 8.2%.
  • Financial literacy is especially needed for young Americans because they face an increasingly complex global economy that is credit-driven and puts more responsibility on individuals to plan for and manage their retirement accounts.
  • But too many young Americans are financial illiterates. A biennial survey by Jumpstart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy found that U.S. high school seniors scored an average of 57.3% on a 31-question financial literacy exam in 1997. Ten years later, in 2008, the average score was even worse, declining to 48.3%.
  • Fewer than half of states in American make high school students take an economics class, and just 13 require a personal finance class, according to a 2011 survey by the Council for Economic Education. In those 13 states, though, the payoff is clear: Students who had taken such courses were more likely to go on to save money and pay off a credit card bill in full each month, and less likely to be compulsive buyers, max out credit cards and make late payments.
How do you think you’ll do in the financial literacy test?

Bankrate.com has a test comprised of 12 of the questions from the 31-question financial literacy exam used by JumpStart. It’s quite challenging, much harder than the Pew political IQ quiz I posted last week.

To take the Financial I.Q. test, click here!


P.S. I correctly answered 11 questions, which gives me a score of 11/12.  :D

Eye Popper of the Day

It is going to be one Hell of a train wreck.


(h/t: Neal Boortz)

Wake Up America!

We are enslaved to our debt. Wake up, America! Before it is too late…

Every man, woman and child in America is enslaved to the national debt. As an artist, I have painted my vision of the dire circumstances that surround us. Now, more than ever, each American must make a choice: we must unlock the shackles that enslave us, or will we lose our freedom. It is my hope and prayer that America will “wake up” before it is too late.

Those who are familiar with my work know that I like to use symbolism and metaphor to engage the viewer. See if you can find and decipher the many symbols in this image by visiting http://www.jonmcnaughton.com

In the painting I have intentionally hidden six keys that represent solutions that will release us from the chains of economic and political bondage. Find these keys and share them with as many Americans as you can. If we don’t “wake up” future generations may not know what it means to be free.

-Jon McNaughton, political artist

To see an interactive map of this painting, or to find the six keys, please go to http://www.jonmcnaughton.com

7 signs that you are a slave

The warning signs are all there:

  • National debt of nearly $16 trillion, which now exceeds America’s GDP.
  • An economy that continues to ail, its decreasing jobless rate due only to the increasing numbers of American who have given up trying to find work.
  • An administration that rules by fiat, via executive orders, administrative rules, and “czars” who were never approved nor confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
  • A President who still conceals many of his documents, including even his kindergarten school records, and whose birth certificate image and Selective Service registration are suspected to be forgeries according to the investigation of an elected county sheriff.
  • A Congress that passed into law a healthcare bill that may be unconstitutional, and a National Defense Authorization Act that makes it lawful to arrest and detain U.S. citizens without charge or trial.
  • A media and Black leaders who twist, exploit, and outright misrepresent the facts of a tragic shooting to inflame racial tensions.

Despite all these signs, and more, millions of Americans seem deliberately uninformed, obdurately ignorant, and blithely unconcerned about what has and is happening to our country. We call them sheeple.

Are you frustrated by the Slumber of the Sheeple?

We, the writers of Fellowship of the Mind, certainly do and have made it our quest to tell the truth and hopefully waken the sheeple.

All that is the subject of the Brandon Smith’s “Understanding the Slave Mentality,” for Alt-Market.com. He calls the sheeple’s slumber the Slave Mentality — “unconscious desire for collectivism and control”.

In the long excerpt from his article (below), Smith explains and offers 7 signs of the slave mentality. (I inserted the numbers 1-7.)

The rest of Smith’s long article is his analysis of the dismissal of anti-Obama Marine Sgt Gary Stein and whether soldiers should forfeit their constitutional free speech rights. For that analysis, go here.


Understanding the Slave Mentality

By Brandon Smith – Alt-Market.com – April 2, 2012

In the initial stages of nearly every recorded tyranny, the saucer eyed dumbstruck masses exhibit astonishing and masterful skill when denying reality.  The facts behind their dire circumstances and of their antagonistic government become a source of cynical psychological gameplay rather than a source of legitimate concern.  Their desperate need to maintain their normalcy bias creates a memory and observation vacuum in which all that runs counter to their false assumptions and preconceptions disappears forever.  It is as if they truly cannot see the color of the sky, or the boot on their face.  The concrete world of truth becomes a dream, an illusion that can be heeded or completely ignored depending on one’s mood.  For them, life is a constant struggle of dissociation, where the tangible is NOT welcome…

This is the problem that we in the Liberty Movement deal with most often in our writings and films.  Our confrontation with willful ignorance has been epic, even by far reaching historical standards.  The gains in social awareness have been substantial, and yet the obstacles are incredible.  Unprecedented.  As an activist trend, we have an almost obsessive drive to draw back the curtain so that the public has at least the opportunity to see what is on the other side.

[...] But what are the signs of this unconscious desire for collectivism and control?  What makes a slave do what he does?  Here are just a handful of explanations to consider…

1. The True Slave: The true slave is not a person who has been shackled, beaten, tortured, and made to comply under threat of death.  As long as that poor soul has the spirit of rebellion and is ever seeking freedom, they are not imprisoned fully.  The true slave is a person who enjoys their subservience, who is weighted with fear by the very idea of independence from the system, and who would actually fight and die to maintain the establishment which enslaves them.  The true slave is not able to imagine living any other life beyond his micro-managed existence.

2. The Facts Lose Value: The worst flaw of the slave is not necessarily his ability to overlook the truth, but his ability to see it, comprehend it, and then shrug it off anyway because it is contrary to his mission to fulfill his private delusions.  For the slave, the truth exists, but is no longer useful.  Lies make his universe turn, and facts are a tool to be used or cast aside at his leisure.

3. The Obsession With The Law:
The slave mentality, though illogical and psychotic, still requires a certain foundation to hold it together.  The laws of governments tend to suffice.  These laws may go completely against the force of inherent conscience, but because the slave has already abandoned listening to his inner voice of reason, this does not bother him much.  If you have ever wondered why modern tyrannies always feel the need to put their horrific enforcements in writing first, THIS is why.  Oligarchs understand that the law provides the slave with a means to rationalize his participation in the crimes of the state.  After all, if some gut-bloated bloodthirsty elitists in government etch their mad inbred ramblings into law, then we have no choice but to follow them, right?

4. The Need To Be Accepted: A slave seeks harmony not within, but without, even when that “harmony” is with a system that is designed to destroy him.  The viciousness of collectivism lay in its ability to comfort converts with atrocity.  As long as the slave feels as though he is a part of the machine, and accepted by the group, he cares not what the machine does to others.  Common arguments include; “We all have to live together, and so we must sacrifice our selfish individualism for the greater good…” or “Governments are here to protect us and we should do everything we can to make their job easier…”  Rarely if ever do they question if the system is legitimately helpful or harmful.  The system just “is”, it fulfills their need to be coddled, and that is good enough for them.  For all their talk of “unity” and the “greater good”, collectivists are for the most part deeply selfish.  They do not support or participate in the collective for the sake of others.  They do it to satiate their personal desires.

5. The Need For Control:
I suppose it’s ironic, but the average slave loves tyranny because it affords him a perceived seat at the table of power, perhaps for the first time in his entire life.  Collectivist slaves are often people who have felt weak and inadequate since childhood.  While honorable human beings fight this personal uncertainty by strengthening themselves physically and mentally, and improving upon their own character, the slave takes the easy route by joining with bureaucracy and living vicariously through its conquests.  Through the state, the hollow, cowardly, and stupid, have the ability to “show the world who’s boss”, and get revenge for a life filled with meaninglessness.

6. The Need For Structure:
An individual takes responsibility for himself, learning over time to provide his own structure which works at his pace and serves his unique needs.  A slave does not have the energy or the drive to do that, and so, he asks the establishment to tell him how he should live.  He will hold at face value the word of nearly anyone in a position of petty authority.  When confronted with those who go their own way, or who rebel against the cookie-cutter template for social participation, the slave sneers in disgust.  Independent rebellion is abhorrent to him, because the system provides him with his very identity.  To insult the fabric of the system is to insult who he is.  It’s pathetic, but common…

7. The Need For Vindication: Sometimes it is not enough for certain people to have their own world view.  The slave seeks approval for his world view at every turn, even if that world view is twisted by bleary eyed logic, and will go so far as to force others to agree with it so that they can feel safer in their beliefs.  It is natural for people to seek out others with similar views and ideals, but, it is not natural or healthy for those same people to use the government apparatus as a weapon to frighten the rest of us into submission just so they can become more confident in their ludicrous slapdash philosophies.  Slaves want a world without contradiction.  Laughably, everything they do is a contradiction.

US Special Ops are already in Syria

On March 7, I did a post, “Warmongers,” railing against three senators (John McCain, Joe Liberman, and Lindsey Graham) urging us to initiate military action against Syria in the name of human rights.

Silly me.

Turns out our military is already in Syria, in the form of Special Op Forces.

This is yet another war Nobel Peace Laureate Barack Obama got the United States in, at a time when:

  • We can ill afford another war, with a national debt of more than $15 trillion, which now exceeds our GDP.

Bryant Jordan writes for Military.com, March 9, 2012, that according to a leaked Stratfor memo published by WikiLeaks, U.S. Special Operation Forces reportedly have been in Syria since December training groups to conduct guerrilla attacks and assassinations to bring down Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Stratfor is a Texas-based private intelligence-gathering company.

But Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. James Gregory said he could not comment on the memo’s authenticity, and that “due to the method” in which the memo was uncovered (by Wikileaks), it “seems to be pure conjecture.” He also said that DoD does not provide information on Special Operations deployments.

The claim of American Spec Ops Forces operating in Syria is made in an internal email dated Dec. 7, 2011, from an official at Stratfor. The writer — whose email reportedly belongs to the company’s director of analysis, Reva Bhalla — recounts a Pentagon meeting where officials “said without saying that SOF teams (presumably from US, UK, France, Jordan, Turkey) are already on the ground focused on recce [reconnaissance] missions and training opposition forces.” The idea ‘hypothetically’ is to commit guerrilla attacks, assassination campaigns, try to break the back of the Alawite forces, elicit collapse from within.  (Alawite is a minority branch of Islam to which the Assad family belongs.)

Last year during a breakfast meeting of the Association of the U.S. Army’s Land Warfare Institute, Maj. Gen. Kurt Fuller, deputy commanding general of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command, said that special operators have been in the Middle East since the “Arab Spring” started, but their mission was to keep volatile situations from getting worse:

“We also keep a close eye on and can’t ignore the other unstable regions in the world, and you’ve seen them in the mix here recently, too — Egypt, Lebanon, Algeria, Tunisia, Sudan. I can tell you that just about any place you see things happening on the news we’ve got Army Special Operations forces there, and they’re doing a variety of different things to hopefully prevent and deter these things from getting worse. I’m not going to tell you exactly where our people are or aren’t. I’ll say that if it’s important to this nation we’ve probably got guys there. They may not be there now but they’ve been there or they’re going.”

During a recent Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the Pentagon has begun early work drawing up “options” for a military campaign against Syria, but insisted that force should be the last option for ending the bloodshed and that the U.S. must not act alone. “We can do anything,” Dempsey said. “It’s not about ‘can we do it,’ It’s the question of ‘should we do it,’ and what are the opportunity costs elsewhere.”


Ever Wondered Why Chimps Throw Poop?

Me neither, but somebody in the federal government must have really had a knot in their boxers wanting to know, as last year they spent $592,000 of our money in an effort to find out why.

Via moneymorning.com:

Why Chimps Throw Poop… And 17 Other Examples of Government Waste

February 22, 2012

By David Zeiler, Associate Editor, Money Morning

Never mind the $15 trillion national debt; the government blew $592,000 on a study last year to figure out why chimpanzees throw poop.

That’s just one example of government waste described in a recent book by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-OK. His “Wastebook 2011″ features 100 examples of needless or ill-advised government spending.

It adds up to $6.9 billion that America can’t afford. And while such waste is just a fraction of the federal government’s $3.8 trillion budget, a country that needs to borrow 36 cents of every dollar it spends should not be throwing money away on non-essential research.

Like why chimps throw poop.

Here are 17 other things the government wasted tax dollars on last year:

17 Ways Government Wastes Your Money

1. Exporting Elmo: The U.S. Agency for International Development provided $10 million to a Pakistani arts organization to adapt “Sesame Street” for Pakistani toddlers. The money will also help pay for the creation of 130 episodes of the show.

2. Dragon Robots for Preschoolers: The National Science Foundation spent $131,000 on robot dragons designed to mimic human responses to help teach preschoolers language skills. Apparently interaction with real humans was deemed inadequate.

3. Virtual Mummies: Thanks to a $25,000 federal grant, visitors to the Milwaukee Public Museum will now be able to experience a “3-D high-definition, full-color true holographic or holographic-like exhibit of a virtual mummy unwrapping.”

4. Dead Man’s Party: Those who complain federal employment benefits are already too generous won’t be pleased to learn that many government workers keep receiving payments long after they’ve died. The Inspector General for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management says “the amount of post-death improper payments is consistently $100-$150 million annually, totaling over $601 million in the last five years.”

5. Cowboy Poetry: It’s hard to recall John Wayne reciting verse in any of the many Westerns he made, but cowboy poetry is a big enough phenomenon to have its own annual celebration. And this year taxpayers helped pay for it courtesy of a $50,000 contribution from the U.S. government.

6. Promiscuous Quail: The National Institute of Health gave the University of Kentucky $176,000 to determine if Japanese quail are more likely to have sex when high on cocaine. The study is scheduled to last through 2015.

7. Happiness is … Social Media: Another National Science Foundation grant for $198,000 paid for a University of California-Riverside study of “motivations, expectations and goal pursuit in social media.” Among the questions the study seeks to answer: “Do unhappy people spend more time on Twitter or Facebook?”


16. Chinese Puzzle: The Chinese economy is second only to that of the United States. And China holds billions of dollars in U.S. debt. So the U.S. government sent $17.8 million in aid to China last year to improve the Asian giant’s social services and clean up its environment. That makes sense, right?

You will find the rest of the list here.

And we wonder why we are spinning in the bottom of the financial toilet bowl as a nation, as you can be sure the eighteen things listed here are not even scratching the surface.


Rasmussen Poll has Obama losing to Romney & Santorum

If the elections were held today, Obama would lose to either Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum!

That’s what the Rasmussen Reports’ daily Presidential Tracking Poll found today, March 10, 2012.

In a hypothetical 2012 matchup, it’s:

  • Romney at 48% vs. Obama at 43%
  • Santorum at 46% vs. Obama at 45%

Romney’s 5-point lead over Obama is Romney’s largest lead since December 2011. This is the second time since polling began in 2011 that Santorum has had a slight lead over Obama.

Other findings of today’s Rasmussen poll:

  • Barack Obama is now “strongly disapproved” by 44% of America’s voters, and “strongly approved” by only 25% of voters. Overall, 44% of voters say they at least somewhat approve of Obama’s job performance, whereas 54% say they at least somewhat disapprove.
  • Regardless of who they want to win, 80% of Republican Primary Voters nationwide believe Romney will be the party’s nominee.


Dare we hope?….


Why the Dear Ruler Must Be Defeated

Via  blog.american.com:

10 disasters America will face if Obama gets a second term

By Marc Thiessen
March 5, 2012, 3:02 pm

In today’s Washington Post, I argue that while electing a transformational conservative president may not be in the cards this November, stopping a transformational liberal president still is. The damage of a second Obama term could be potentially irrevocable. I asked a number of conservative thinkers what they feared most from a second term, and compiled this list of the top ten disasters that would befall America if Obama were re-elected this fall:

1. Obamacare will not be repealed.

2. The unprecedented levels of spending in Obama’s first four years will become the new floor, as America sets new records for fiscal profligacy and debt.

3. Job creators will face massive tax increases, and more Americans will come off the tax rolls—resulting in fewer citizens with a stake in keeping taxes low and more with a stake in protecting benefits.

4. Government dependency, already at record levels, will continue to grow.

5. Four lost years in dealing with the entitlement crisis will become eight—digging us into a hole from which we may not be able to emerge.

6. Obama, unworried about the impact of gas and electricity prices on his reelection, will finally wage the regulatory war on fossil fuels the Left demands.

7. He will unleash the Environmental Protection Agency to impose crushing new burdens on U.S. business.

8. His administration’s assault on religious freedom will go on and expand to new areas.

9. The Defense Department will be gutted, with cuts so deep that America will no longer be a superpower.

10. Obama could have the opportunity to appoint more liberal Supreme Court justices, ending the Roberts court in all but name for a generation.

This is, of course, not a complete list—not by a long shot. I’d be interested what readers and my fellow AEI scholars think: What’s missing from this litany of impending disasters?


I have a few to add:

11. You can kiss the 2nd Amendment good-bye.

12.  Janet “Reno II” Napolitano, known affectionately as Big Sis, will step up the Obamanista regime’s intimidation of conservative blogs, and conservative media in general.

13.  The inner dictator that is bubbling just under the surface of Barack Hussein Obama is going to come busting out in ways you are not going to believe, as he now knows he can get away with just about anything, and he will not have to worry about running for reelection in 2016.

14. At some point during Obama’s second term (probably before the first year has passed), we are going to reach the proverbial “tipping point, ” after which this nation, as founded, will no-longer be salvageable via the ballot box.

-And to be bluntly honest, I am not exactly sure it is now, as there is a little voice deep down inside of me that keeps whispering that our last chance came and went in November of 2008.

I hope that little voice is wrong.


(h/t: boortz.com)

Bill Whittle Video: The Vote Pump


(h/t: boortz.com)

Obama’s Black Thumb Strikes Again (Updated)


(See update at bottom) 

Yet another “green” enterprise that got big Obama bucks has gone Tango Uniform.

Via cnsnews.com:

Electric-Car Firm That Received Biden Visit and $118M in Stimulus Funds Files for Bankruptcy

By Fred Lucas

(CNSNews.com) – Ener1–a company that manufactures batteries for electric cars, and that received $118.5 million in federal stimulus money, and that Vice President Joe Biden visited last year the day after President Obama’s State of the Union Address—announced today that it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

In last year’s State of the Union Address, delivered Jan. 25, 2011, President Obama set a national goal of having a million electric vehicles on the road in the United States by 2015—a goal that would be achieved, Obama said, by taking money out of the oil industry and “investing” it in new technology.

“With more research and incentives, we can break our dependence on oil with biofuels and become the first country to have a million electric vehicles on the road by 2015,” said Obama.

“We need to get behind this innovation,” he said. “And to help pay for it, I’m asking Congress to eliminate the billions in taxpayer dollars we currently give to oil companies. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but they’re doing just fine on their own. So instead of subsidizing yesterday’s energy, let’s invest in tomorrow’s.”

The next day, Biden visited the Ener1 plant in Greenfield, Ind.—which the White House said at the time had received a $118.5 million grant from the Department of Energy and was the type of investment the president was talking about in his State of the Union.

Brian Levine, deputy domestic policy adviser to Biden, wrote an article about Biden’s visit to Ener1 on the White House webpage for the White House Middle Class Task Force, which Biden leads. The article was headlined “Our Plan to Put One Million Advanced Technology Vehicles on America’s Roads.”

“Last night, President Obama set a goal of making the United States the first country in the world to put one million advanced technology vehicles on the road,” Levine wrote. “This goal is part of the President’s plan to rebuild our economy by investing in innovation to create the jobs and industries of the future.

“Today, Vice President Biden visited Ener1, Inc., a manufacturer of advanced batteries for electric vehicles, in Greenfield, Indiana to announce our plan to reach this one million vehicle goal by 2015,” wrote Levine. “The facility that the Vice President visited would not exist if not for a $118.5 million grant from the Department of Energy, which was part of a $2.4 billion Recovery Act investment in electric vehicles. Ener1 added 120 jobs across the company in 2010 and the future looks bright. They expect to expand the manufacturing and assembly operation in Greenfield from 80 workers today to over a thousand by the start of 2013.”

At the Ener1 plant, Biden made a gaffe, mistakenly referring to Ener1—as Enron1.

“Well, ladies and gentlemen, here at Ener1, we’re going to harness electricity and bring it to the world like Edison did more than a century ago,” said Biden. “We’re going to reshape the way Americans drive, the way Americans consume, the way Americans power their lives. And in turn, we’re going to reshape America itself. We may not make battery power so cheap that only the rich can afford to drive their cars on imported oil, but—but–with Enron1 (sic) leading the way, we’re certainly going to come pretty close.”

Ener1 produces advanced lithium-ion battery systems for electric vehicles.

On Thursday, the company put out a statement announcing that it was filing for Chanter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York.

You will find the rest of the article here.

I realize $118.5 million is chump change in the overall scheme of things, but I am curious as to just how much of it found its way into the Dear Ruler’s reelection slush fund.

Update: Electric cars aren’t just a tough sell here in America, but apparently prospective car buyers the world over are shunning them.


(h/t: boortz.com)