December 30, 2009

Rioting in the Streets and Devolution to a Bartering System

We're Screwed!

John Williams explains the risk of hyperinflation. Worst-case scenario? Rioting in the streets and devolution to a bartering system.

By Phil Maymin, Fairfield County Weekly
December 23, 2009

Do you believe everything the government tells you?

Economist and statistician John Williams sure doesn't. Williams, who has consulted for individuals and Fortune 500 companies, now uncovers the truth behind the U.S. government's economic numbers on his website at ShadowStats.

Williams says, over the last several decades, the feds have been infusing their data with optimistic biases to make the economy seem far rosier than it really is. His site reruns the numbers using the original methodology. What he found was not good.

Maymin: So we are technically bankrupt?

Williams: Yes, and when countries are in that state, what they usually do is rev up the printing presses and print the money they need to meet their obligations. And that creates inflation, hyperinflation, and makes the currency worthless.

Maymin: Obama says America will go bankrupt if Congress doesn't pass the health care bill.

Williams: Well, it's going to go bankrupt if they do pass the health care bill, too, but at least he's thinking about it. He talks about it publicly, which is one thing prior administrations refused to do. Give him credit for that. But what he's setting up with this health care system will just accelerate the process.

Maymin: Where are we right now?

Williams: In terms of the GDP, we are about halfway to depression level. If you look at retail sales, industrial production, we are already well into depressionary. If you look at things such as the housing industry, the new orders for durable goods, we are in Great Depression territory. If we have hyperinflation, which I see coming not too far down the road, that would be so disruptive to our system that it would result in the cessation of many levels of normal economic commerce, and that would throw us into a great depression, and one worse than was seen in the 1930s.

Maymin: What kind of hyperinflation are we talking about?

Williams: I am talking something like you saw with the Weimar Republic of the 1920s. There the currency became worthless enough that people used it actually as toilet paper or wallpaper. You could go to a fine restaurant and have an expensive dinner and order an expensive bottle of wine. The next morning that empty bottle of wine is worth more as scrap glass than it had been the night before filled with expensive wine.

We just saw an extreme example in Zimbabwe ... Probably the most extreme hyperinflation that anyone has ever seen. At the same time, you still had a functioning, albeit troubled, Zimbabwe economy. How could that be? They had a workable backup system of a black market in U.S. dollars. We don't have a backup system of anything. Our system, with its heavy dependence on electronic currency, in a hyperinflation would not do well. It would probably cease to function very quickly. You could have disruptions in supply chains to food stores. The economy would devolve into something like a barter system until they came up with a replacement global currency.

Maymin: What can we do to avoid hyperinflation? What if we just shut down the Fed or something like that?

Williams: We can't. The actions have already been taken to put us in it. It's beyond control. The government does put out financial statements usually in December using generally accepted accounting principles, where unfunded liabilities like Medicare and Social Security are included in the same way as corporations account for their employee pension liabilities. And in 2008, for example, the one-year deficit was $5.1 trillion dollars. And that's instead of the $450 billion, plus or minus, that was officially reported.

Maymin: Wow.

Williams: These numbers are beyond containment. Even the 2008 numbers, you can take 100 percent of people's income and corporate profit and you'd still be in deficit. There's no way you can raise enough money in taxes.

Maymin: What about spending?

Williams: If you eliminated all federal expenditures except for Medicare and Social Security, you'd still be in deficit. You have to slash Social Security and Medicare. But I don't see any political will to rein in the costs the way they have to be reined in. There's just no way it can be contained. The total federal debt and net present value of the unfunded liabilities right now totals about $75 trillion. That's five times the level of GDP.

Maymin: What can we, the people, do to stop the government from, you know, taking all our money?

Williams: We should have acted 20 years ago. There's not much you can do at this point to prevent the eventual debasement of the dollar. This involves both sides of the political spectrum. It's not limited to the Republicans or the Democrats. They've both been very active in setting this up.

Maymin: What can individuals do?

Williams: The only thing individuals can do now is look to protect themselves. I wish I could see a way, but shy of severe slashing of the social programs — that is so politically reprehensible and would create such problems and social unrest — I don't see that as a practical solution.

Maymin: If you're a young 20- or 25-year-old guy or gal, would you move to another country? What would you do?

Williams: We still have a great country. We're going through a period of economic pain. It's happened before. This is the kind of thing that's taken us decades to get into and it will take us decades to get out. Although the hyperinflation is going to be limited largely to the U.S., the economic downturn will affect things globally. I can't tell you how things will go with a hyperinflationary Great Depression, which is where I see things going.

It's the type of thing that will tend to lead to significant political change. People tend to vote their pocketbooks. You could have the rise of a third party. You could even have rioting in the streets. I'm not formally predicting that — anyone can run these different scenarios. For the individual, what you need to do, from an investment standpoint, look to preserve your wealth and assets. Don't worry about the day-to-day fluctuations in the markets. What I'm talking about here is over the long haul...

[Gold is] going to be highly volatile, as will the dollar, over the near term, but longer term, physical gold I would look at as a primary hedge for preserving the purchasing power of your wealth and assets. Maybe some physical silver. Get some assets outside the U.S. dollar. I might even look to move some assets physically outside the United States.

The key here is to look at a longer range survival package, battening down the hatches, and preserving your wealth and assets during a very difficult time. Once you're through that, you'll have some extraordinary investment opportunities, and I can't tell you what it's going to be like on the other side of this crisis.

Dr. Phil Maymin is an Assistant Professor of Finance and Risk Engineering at NYU-Polytechnic Institute. The views represented are his own.

December 28, 2009

Don’t Let the Devil Plant the Seed of Doubt

The following is adapted from the Daily Meditations of Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Be Careful to Maintain Good Works

“How long will it be ere they believe me?” (Numbers 14:11)

Strive with all diligence to keep out that monster unbelief. It so dishonors Christ that He will withdraw His visible presence if we insult Him by indulging it.

It is true that unbelief is a weed, the seeds of which we can never entirely extract from the soil; but we must aim at its root with zeal and perseverance. Among hateful things, it is the most to be abhorred; its injurious nature is so venomous that he that exercises it, and he upon whom it is exercised, are both hurt thereby.

In your case, O believer, unbelief is most wicked, for the mercies of your Lord in the past increase your guilt in doubting Him now—this is crowning His head with thorns of the sharpest kind.

When you distrust the Lord Jesus, He may well cry out: “Behold I am pressed under you, as a cart is pressed that is full of sheaves.”

As it is very cruel for a well beloved wife to mistrust a kind and faithful husband, so it is very cruel to distrust the Lord: the sin is needless, foolish, and unwarranted.

Jesus has never given the slightest ground for suspicion, and it is hard to be doubted by those to whom our conduct is uniformly affectionate and true. Jesus is the Son of the Highest and has unbounded wealth. It is shameful to doubt Omnipotence and distrust all sufficiency.

The cattle on a thousand hills will suffice for our most hungry feeding, and the granaries of heaven are not likely to be emptied by our eating. If Christ were only a cistern, we might soon exhaust His fullness, but who can drain a fountain? Myriad spirits have drawn their supplies from Him, and not one of them has murmured at the scantiness of His resources.

Away, then, with this lying traitor unbelief, for his only errand is to cut the bonds of communion and make us mourn an absent Savior.

Bunyan tells us that unbelief has “as many lives as a cat.” If so, let us kill one life now and continue the work till the whole nine are gone.

“Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands.” (Isaiah 49:16)

There is no doubt that a part of the wonder concentrated in the word “behold” is excited by the unbelieving lamentation of the preceding sentence. Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me, and my God has forgotten me.” How amazed the divine mind seems to be at this wicked unbelief!

What can be more astounding than the unfounded doubts and fears of God’s favored people? The Lord’s loving word of rebuke should make us blush—He cries: “How can I have forgotten you, when I have graven you upon the palms of my hands? How dare you doubt my constant remembrance, when the memorial is set upon my very flesh?”

O unbelief, how strange a marvel you are! We do not know at which we should most wonder: the faithfulness of God or the unbelief of His people.

God keeps His promise a thousand times, and yet the next trial makes us doubt Him. He never fails; He is never a dry well; He is never as a setting sun, a passing meteor, or a melting vapor. And yet we are as continually vexed with anxieties, molested with suspicions, and disturbed with fears as if our God were the mirage of the desert.

“Behold,” is a word intended to excite admiration. Here, indeed, we have a theme for marveling.

Heaven and earth may well be astonished that rebels should obtain so great a nearness to the heart of infinite love as to be written upon the palms of His hands—“I have graven you”—It does not say, “your name.” The name is there, but that is not all: “I have graven you.”

See the fullness of this! I have graven your person, your image, your case, your circumstances, your sins, your temptations, your weaknesses, your wants, your works. I have graven you, everything about you, all that concerns you. I have put you altogether there.

Will you ever say again that your God has forsaken you when He has graven you upon His own palms?

“Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord.” (Exodus 14:13)

These words contain God’s command to the believer when he is reduced to great straits and brought into extraordinary difficulties. He cannot retreat; he cannot go forward; he is shut up on the right hand and on the left; what is he now to do? The Master’s word to him is, “Stand still.”

It will be well for him if, at such times, he listen only to His Master’s word, for other and evil advisers come with their suggestions.

  • Despair whispers: “Lie down and die; give it all up.”

    But God would have us put on a cheerful courage and, even in our worst times, rejoice in His love and faithfulness.

  • Cowardice says: “Retreat; go back to the worldling’s way of action; you cannot play the Christian’s part, it is too difficult. Relinquish your principles.”

    But, however much Satan may urge this course upon you, you cannot follow it if you are a child of God. His divine fiat has bid you go from strength to strength, and so you shall; and neither death nor hell shall turn you from your course. What, if for a while, you are called to stand still, yet this is but to renew your strength for some greater advance in due time.

  • Precipitancy cries: “Do something. Stir yourself—to stand still and wait is sheer idleness.”

    We must be doing something at once—we must do it, so we think, instead of looking to the Lord, who will not only do something, but will do everything.

  • Presumption boasts: “If the sea be before you, march into it and expect a miracle.”
But Faith listens neither to Presumption, nor to Despair, nor to Cowardice, nor to Precipitancy, but it hears God say, “Stand still,” and immovable as a rock it stands.

“Stand still”—keep the posture of an upright man, ready for action, expecting further orders, cheerfully and patiently awaiting the directing voice; and it will not be long before God shall say to you, as distinctly as Moses said it to the people of Israel, “Go forward.”

Avoid Foolish Questions

Avoid foolish questions. (Titus 3:9)

Our days are few and are far better spent in doing good, than in disputing over matters that are, at best, of minor importance. The old schoolmen did a world of mischief by their incessant discussion of subjects of no practical importance; and our Churches suffer much from petty wars over abstruse points and unimportant questions. After everything has been said that can be said, neither party is any the wiser and, therefore, the discussion no more promotes knowledge than love, and it is foolish to sow in so barren a field.

Questions upon points wherein Scripture is silent; upon mysteries which belong to God alone; upon prophecies of doubtful interpretation; and upon mere modes of observing human ceremonials are all foolish, and wise men avoid them.

Our business is neither to ask nor answer foolish questions, but to avoid them altogether. If we observe the apostle’s precept (Titus 3:8) to be careful to maintain good works, we shall find ourselves far too much occupied with profitable business to take much interest in unworthy, contentious, and needless strivings.

There are, however, some questions that are the reverse of foolish, which we must not avoid, but fairly and honestly meet, such as these:

  • Do I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ?

  • Am I renewed in the spirit of my mind?

  • Am I walking not after the flesh, but after the Spirit?

  • Am I growing in grace?

  • Does my conversation adorn the doctrine of God my Savior?

  • Am I looking for the coming of the Lord and watching as a servant should do who expects his master?

  • What more can I do for Jesus?
Such inquiries as these urgently demand our attention. If we have been at all given to caviling, let us now turn our critical abilities to a service so much more profitable. Let us be peacemakers and endeavor to lead others both by our precept and example to “avoid foolish questions.”

Other Related Scripture

Put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: neither give place to the devil. Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:22-32)

And a certain ruler asked Him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, “Why callest thou me good? None is good, save one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother.” And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up. Now when Jesus heard these things, He said unto him, “Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.” (Luke 18:18-22)

And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted Him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, “What is written in the law? How readest thou?” And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And He said unto him, “Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.” (Luke 10:25-28)

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. (Romans 6:12-18)

Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, to speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men. For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men. But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain. (Titus 3:1-9)

For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand. As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh. But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God. (Galatians 6:8-16)

But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you. My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you. Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. (Galatians 4:18-26)

December 26, 2009

The National ID Card and Biometric ID

Flashback: No Real Debate for Real ID

Originally Published on May 10, 2005

Hundreds of civil liberties groups, immigrant support groups and government associations oppose the Real ID Act, a piece of legislation that critics say would produce a defacto national ID card, cost states millions of dollars, and punish undocumented immigrants.

Yet despite widespread opposition to the bill, it passed through the House last week and is expected to easily pass through the Senate on Tuesday.

The legislation is raising questions not only about privacy and costs but about the ways in which critical legislation gets passed in Congress.

That's because lawmakers slipped the bill into a larger piece of legislation -- an $82 billion spending bill -- that authorizes funds for the Iraq war and tsunami relief, among other things, and is considered a must-pass piece of legislation.

It's not the first time Congress has slipped contentious bills into larger legislation that is almost guaranteed to pass. In 2003, Congress augmented Patriot Act surveillance powers with wording slipped into the Intelligence Authorization Act, a bill that authorized funding for intelligence agencies.

Critics, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, say lawmakers slipped the Real ID Act into the relatively uncontroversial spending bill in order to avoid a congressional debate over the ID measure.
"The legislation was created in the backrooms of Congress without hearings and without any real understanding or thought about what was being created," said Barry Steinhardt, director of the ACLU's technology and liberty program...
Among other things, the legislation would force states to produce standardized, tamper-resistant driver's licenses that would include machine-readable, encoded data. States theoretically could choose not to comply with the standards, but residents of those states would not be able to use their license as identification to obtain federal benefits -- such as veteran's benefits or Social Security -- or to travel on airplanes.

The legislation doesn't specify what data states must encode in the driver's license. The secretary of transportation and Department of Homeland Security secretary have authority to designate the data.

The National Governors Association, the Council of State Governments, and the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators are among those who say the law creates unnecessary bureaucracy for drivers and imposes hardship and undue cost on state offices.

The legislation would require all drivers, including current license holders, to provide multiple documents to verify their identity before they could obtain a license or renew one. Drivers would have to provide four types of documentation, such as a photo ID, a birth certificate, proof that their Social Security number is legitimate, and something that verifies the applicant's full home address, such as a utility bill. The law would then compel Department of Motor Vehicle employees to verify the documents against federal databases and store the documents and a digital photo of the card holder in a database...

Civil liberties groups are concerned about the privacy implications of the bill. Although the bill states that licenses must be machine-readable, it does not state the kind of technology to be used.

Steinhardt said that officials would likely require states to embed a contactless RFID chip in licenses at some point, even if they didn't require this in the initial rollout of licenses. RFID chips can hold more data than magnetic stripes, but they can also allow someone with an RFID reader to collect information stored on a license from a distance without the license holder's knowledge.

The machine-readable part of the license will contain most of the information printed on the license front -- such as the holder's name, birth date, gender and digital photograph. But the Department of Homeland Security could add more data, such as digital fingerprints.

Proponents of the bill such as the nonprofit group NumbersUSA, could not be reached for comment. But the group's members have said in the past that the bill successfully balances security and privacy interests.

Among other things, the group argues that the bill does not create a national ID card because it allows individual states to issue the documents and does not force states to comply unless they want the documents to be accepted by federal agencies as proof of identity. In fact, they argue that the Real ID bill will make it unnecessary for the federal government to issue a national ID card.

Steinhardt disagrees.

"This is a national ID, there's no question about that," Steinhardt said. "It may be issued by the 50 states, but it's going to be the same documents, which will be backed up by a huge database."
Steinhardt says a standardized license would allow the government and businesses to track people and would essentially create a single national database, since states would be required to open their driver's license databases to other states. He expressed concern that businesses would also want to read and collect the data on driver's licenses.
"Everyone from 7-Eleven to the owner of your apartment building to a retailer and a bank are going to demand to see this document," Steinhardt said. "And they're going to be able to read all of the private data off of the machine-readable strip."
Currently, some business such as bars and restaurants scan the magnetic strip on driver's licenses to collect data on patrons for marketing purposes. But the practice is not widespread.

Steinhardt said that making the content and format of the data uniform would encourage retailers and others to harvest the information and create their own parallel database and sell the information to data brokers like ChoicePoint.

Talk about a standardized driver's license arose last year after the 9/11 Commission Report revealed the ease with which the World Trade Center terrorists obtained legitimate driver's licenses and moved around the country unthwarted.

This year Sensenbrenner introduced the legislation as a stand-alone bill, which passed in the House in February. In March lawmakers, anticipating trouble passing it through the Senate, slipped the act into the larger, must-pass spending bill. It's this bill that the Senate is expected to pass on Tuesday.
"The deal's been cut," Steinhardt said. "I would be stunned beyond belief if it didn't pass at this point."

What Will the REAL ID Act’s Driver’s License Restrictions Really Do?

National Immigration Law Center
May 2005
  • Repeal the federal driver’s license standards that were signed into law by President Bush just last December as part of the 9/11 Commission antiterrorism law.
  • Halt the process of consultation and rulemaking that has already begun under the 9/11 law.
  • Substitute new top-down rules that will stifle state innovation on security measures.
  • Make it impossible for many legal immigrants to get driver’s licenses through no fault of
  • their own.
  • Raise insurance rates; increase traffic fatalities.
  • Make us more vulnerable to terrorism and other crimes.
  • Distract from urgently needed immigration reforms.

Move to National ID Cards Delayed

December 14, 2009

The United States’ quest for a national identification database associated with driver’s licenses won’t be finished by year’s end.

The deadline was Dec. 31 for the states to create what would be the largest identification database of its kind under the auspices of the Real ID program. The law also mandates uniform anti-counterfeiting standards for state driver’s licenses.



None of the states are in full compliance with the law, first adopted in 2005, requiring state motor vehicle bureaus to obtain and internally scan and store personal information like Social Security cards and birth certificates for a national database, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. About half the states oppose the mandate, or have said they would never comply.

Beginning Jan.1, the law was supposed to have blocked anybody from boarding a plane using their driver’s license as ID if their resident state did not comport with the Real ID program. But the Department of Homeland Security is set to extend, for at least a year, the deadline of the Real ID program that has raised the ire of privacy advocates.

Homeland Security officials point to the 9/11 hijackers’ ability to get driver’s licenses in Virginia using false information as justification for the proposed $24 billion program.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation suggest the plan is misguided, and might pave the way for requiring such IDs to vote or purchase prescription drugs.

“Our biggest concern is that it is a national ID card. It changes the relationship between the citizen and the state,” Chris Calabrese, the ACLU’s legislative counsel, said in a telephone interview. “We see it as a potential mission creep, and an individual’s rights can be curtailed because of this.”
Richard Esguerra, the EFF’s residence activist, said in a telephone interview Monday and in a recent blog post that the giant database, if it ever comes to fruition, “threatens citizens’ personal privacy without actually justifying its impact or improving security.”

Following Criticism, Netanyahu Defers Vote on Biometric Database Law

November 16, 2009

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday postponed a vote on a controversial law that would set up a biometric database with information about every citizen of the country, following heavy criticism.

Netanyahu decided to impede the vote, which reached second and third readings and was expected to be approved by the Knesset on Monday, making this the third time the vote on the legislation has been postponed in the last few weeks.

The database would be used to issue "smart" identity cards.

The bill would require all Israeli identity cards and passports to be "smart" documents, containing an electronic chip with the holder's fingerprints and facial scan. That information would then be stored in a biometric database.

Opponents argue that such a database constitutes a real threat to Israelis' welfare, as the data could too easily pass into the wrong hands. For instance, criminals might obtain an innocent person's biometric data, and somehow plant them at a crime scene to cover their own tracks, or enemy states might obtain the data and use them to identify Israeli agents operating on their soil.

This argument is based in part on the latest State Comptroller's Report, which found that items included in the extremely sensitive Population Registry database - which includes every Israeli's ID number, address, and other personal and family information - were leaked to the Internet because the Interior Ministry had not protected it properly. Nor were police ever able to finger the culprits in this activity.

Under such circumstances, say opponents of the bill, what grounds are there for believing the government would do a better job of protecting the biometric database? Moreover, they charge, such a database would turn the government into "Big Brother."

Biometric bill vote delayed by two years

Chips in Official IDs Raise Privacy Fears

The Associated Press
August 4, 2009

Climbing into his Volvo, outfitted with a Matrics antenna and a Motorola reader he’d bought on eBay for $190, Chris Paget cruised the streets of San Francisco with this objective: to read the identity cards of strangers, wirelessly, without ever leaving his car.

It took him 20 minutes to strike hacker’s gold.

Zipping past Fisherman’s Wharf, his scanner detected, then downloaded to his laptop, the unique serial numbers of two pedestrians’ electronic U.S. passport cards embedded with radio frequency identification, or RFID tags. Within an hour, he’d “skimmed” the identifiers of four more of the new, microchipped PASS cards from a distance of 20 feet.

Embedding identity documents — passports, drivers licenses, and the like — with RFID chips is a no-brainer to government officials. Increasingly, they are promoting it as a 21st century application of technology that will help speed border crossings, safeguard credentials against counterfeiters, and keep terrorists from sneaking into the country.

But Paget’s February experiment demonstrated something privacy advocates had feared for years: That RFID, coupled with other technologies, could make people trackable without their knowledge or consent.

He filmed his drive-by heist, and soon his video went viral on the Web, intensifying a debate over a push by government, federal and state, to put tracking technologies in identity documents and over their potential to erode privacy.

Putting a traceable RFID in every pocket has the potential to make everybody a blip on someone’s radar screen, critics say, and to redefine Orwellian government snooping for the digital age.

“Little Brother,” some are already calling it — even though elements of the global surveillance web they warn against exist only on drawing boards, neither available nor approved for use.

But with advances in tracking technologies coming at an ever-faster rate, critics say, it won’t be long before governments could be able to identify and track anyone in real time, 24-7, from a cafe in Paris to the shores of California.

The key to getting such a system to work, these opponents say, is making sure everyone carries an RFID tag linked to a biometric data file.

On June 1, it became mandatory for Americans entering the United States by land or sea from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and the Caribbean to present identity documents embedded with RFID tags, though conventional passports remain valid until they expire.

Among new options are the chipped “e-passport,” and the new, electronic PASS card — credit-card sized, with the bearer’s digital photograph and a chip that can be scanned through a pocket, backpack or purse from 30 feet.

Alternatively, travelers can use “enhanced” driver’s licenses embedded with RFID tags now being issued in some border states: Washington, Vermont, Michigan and New York. Texas and Arizona have entered into agreements with the federal government to offer chipped licenses, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has recommended expansion to non-border states. Kansas and Florida officials have received DHS briefings on the licenses, agency records show...

ID Cards for India: 1.1 Billion Citizens Will Go into Second Largest Citizens' Database

Daily Mail
June 28, 2009

India is planning to provide its 1.1 billion-plus citizens with ID cards. Entrepreneur, Nandan Nilekani has been chosen to lead the ambitious project which will be the second largest citizens' database in a democracy, with China being the biggest.

The government believes the scheme, which will be finalised over three years, will aid the delivery of vital social services to the poorest people who often lack sufficient identification papers. It also sees the scheme as a way to tackle increasing amounts of identity fraud and theft and, at a time of increased concern over the threat of militant violence, to boost national security and help police and law officials.

Like Britain's £5billion ID cards plan, due to roll out in 2011/12, India's scheme is not without controversy. Observers have raised questions including how the cards will actually improve the delivery of services and also concerns that the scheme could be disruptive.

In an interview in The Independent today, associate fellow of the Asia programme at Chatham House, Charu Lata Hogg, said: 'It cannot be denied that the system of proving identity in India is complicated and confusing. But a system of national ID cards can technically introduce a new route to citizenship. 'This could be used as a security measure by the government which leaves migrant workers, refugees and other stateless people in India in limbo without access to public services, employment and basic welfare.'

Bill Gates working with India on identity card project

NSA’s New Data-Mining Facility

San Antonio Current
June 21, 2009

...America’s top spy agency has taken over the former Sony microchip plant and is transforming it into a new data-mining headquarters — oddly positioned directly across the street from a 24-hour Walmart — where billions of electronic communications will be sifted in the agency’s mission to identify terrorist threats.
“No longer able to store all the intercepted phone calls and e-mail in its secret city, the agency has now built a new data warehouse in San Antonio, Texas,” writes author James Bamford in the Shadow Factory, his third book about the NSA. “Costing, with renovations, upwards of $130 million, the 470,000-square-foot facility will be almost the size of the Alamodome. Considering how much data can now be squeezed onto a small flash drive, the new NSA building may eventually be able to hold all the information in the world...”

Radio Chip Coming Soon to Your Driver's License?

Homeland Security seeks next-generation REAL ID

February 28, 2009

Privacy advocates are issuing warnings about a new radio chip plan that ultimately could provide electronic identification for every adult in the U.S. and allow agents to compile attendance lists at anti-government rallies simply by walking through the assembly. The proposal, which has earned the support of Janet Napolitano, the newly chosen chief of the Department of Homeland Security, would embed radio chips in driver's licenses or "enhanced driver's licenses." "Enhanced driver's licenses give confidence that the person holding the card is the person who is supposed to be holding the card, and it's less elaborate than REAL ID," Napolitano said in a Washington Times report.

REAL ID is a plan for a federal identification system standardized across the nation that so alarmed governors many states have adopted formal plans to oppose it. However, a privacy advocate today told WND that the EDLs are many times worse...

Real ID Mandate Resisted in Virginia

The Associated Press
January 3, 2009

Since the law's enactment in 2005, at least 42 states have considered anti-Real ID legislation, and more than half have passed measures either forbidding their states from participating or urging Congress to amend or repeal the law. At least five states have gone in the other direction, passing bills bringing their programs into compliance. Critics say they expect other states to join Virginia this year to fight against Real ID.

The program was born out of the commission that looked into the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. It recommended that the U.S. improve its system of issuing identification documents because the hijackers had numerous licenses and state IDs. Congress approved legislation requiring states to issue licenses and ID cards that meet certain security standards.

The new IDs will be required for federal purposes, such as boarding an airplane or entering a federal building. Other federal identification, including passports and military IDs, also will be accepted.
“The bottom line is that citizens of states who do not move forward with the Real ID mandate from Congress will see real consequences,” said Laura Keehner, a spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security, which is in charge of the program.
States had until May 2008 to implement Real ID, but the department extended that until Dec. 31, 2009. If they need more time and have met certain benchmarks, states can request an extension until May 11, 2011.

The opposition has centered around cost and privacy concerns. Homeland Security originally estimated it would cost states $14 billion to implement the program, but in January it loosened the restrictions and said the added flexibility would bring the cost to under $4 billion. Homeland Security and other agencies have given out about $500 million in grants, but state officials say that’s not enough.

Critics also claim that Real ID diminishes privacy, and they object to a national ID that would have to be shown for everyday identification purposes...

The Bill Nobody Noticed: National DNA Databank

Natural News
December 18, 2008

In April of 2008, President Bush signed into law S.1858 which allows the federal government to screen the DNA of all newborn babies in the U.S. This was to be implemented within 6 months meaning that this collection is now being carried out. Congressman Ron Paul states that this bill is the first step towards the establishment of a national DNA database.

S.1858, known as The Newborn Screening Saves Lives Act of 2007, is justified as a "national contingency plan" in that it represents preparation for any sort of public health emergency. The bill states that the federal government should "continue to carry out, coordinate, and expand research in newborn screening" and "maintain a central clearinghouse of current information on newborn screening... ensuring that the clearinghouse is available on the Internet and is updated at least quarterly". Sections of the bill also make it clear that DNA may be used in genetic experiments and tests. Read the full bill: ...

Twila Brase, president of the Citizens' Council on Health Care warns that this new law represents the beginning of nationwide genetic testing. Brase states that S.1858 and H.R. 3825, the House version of the bill, will:
  • Establish a national list of genetic conditions for which newborns and children are to be tested.

  • Establish protocols for the linking and sharing of genetic test results nationwide.

  • Build surveillance systems for tracking the health status and health outcomes of individuals diagnosed at birth with a genetic defect or trait.

  • Use the newborn screening program as an opportunity for government agencies to identify, list, and study "secondary conditions" of individuals and their families.

  • Subject citizens to genetic research without their knowledge or consent ...

How RFID Tags Could Be Used to Track Unsuspecting People

Average consumers may not realize how many RFID tags they carry around. The devices are embedded in personal items and even some clothing.

Scientific American
August 26, 2008

If you live in a state bordering Canada or Mexico, you may soon be given an opportunity to carry a very high tech item: a remotely readable driver’s license. Designed to identify U.S. citizens as they approach the nation’s borders, the cards are being promoted by the Department of Homeland Security as a way to save time and simplify border crossings. But if you care about your safety and privacy as much as convenience, you might want to think twice before signing up.

The new licenses come equipped with radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags that can be read right through a wallet, pocket or purse from as far away as 30 feet. Each tag incorporates a tiny microchip encoded with a unique identification number. As the bearer approaches a border station, radio energy broadcast by a reader device is picked up by an antenna connected to the chip, causing it to emit the ID number. By the time the license holder reaches the border agent, the number has already been fed into a Homeland Security database, and the traveler’s photograph and other details are displayed on the agent’s screen.

Although such “enhanced” driver’s licenses remain voluntary in the states that offer them, privacy and security experts are concerned that those who sign up for the cards are unaware of the risk: anyone with a readily available reader device—unscrupulous marketers, government agents, stalkers, thieves and just plain snoops—can also access the data on the licenses to remotely track people without their knowledge or consent. What is more, once the tag’s ID number is associated with an individual’s identity—for example, when the person carrying the license makes a credit-card transaction—the radio tag becomes a proxy for that individual. And the driver’s licenses are just the latest addition to a growing array of “tagged” items that consumers might be wearing or carrying around, such as transit and toll passes, office key cards, school IDs, “contactless” credit cards, clothing, phones and even groceries.

RFID tags have been likened to barcodes that broadcast their information, and the comparison is apt in the sense that the tiny devices have been used mainly for identifying parts and inventory, including cattle, as they make their way through supply chains. Instead of having to scan every individual item’s Universal Product Code (UPC), a warehouse worker can register the contents of an entire pallet of, say, paper towels by scanning the unique serial number encoded in the attached RFID tag. That number is associated in a central database with a detailed list of the pallet’s contents. But people are not paper products. During the past decade a shift toward embedding chips in individual consumer goods and, now, official identity documents has created a new set of privacy and security problems precisely because RFID is such a powerful tracking technology. Very little security is built into the tags themselves, and existing laws offer people scant protection from being surreptitiously tracked and profiled while living an increasingly tagged life.

Beyond Barcodes

The first radio tags identified military aircraft as friend or foe during World War II, but it was not until the late 1980s that similar tags became the basis of electronic toll-collection systems, such as E-ZPass along the East Coast. And in 1999 corporations began considering the tags’ potential for tracking millions of individual objects. In that year Procter & Gamble and Gillette (which have since merged to become the world’s largest consumer-product manufacturing company) formed a consortium with Massachusetts Institute of Technology engineers, called the Auto-ID Center, to develop RFID tags that would be small, efficient and cheap enough to eventually replace the UPC barcode on everyday consumer products.

But the possibility that the security of such cards could be compromised is just one reason for concern. Even if tighter data-protection measures could someday prevent unauthorized access to RFID-card data, many privacy advocates worry that remotely readable identity documents could be abused by governments that wish to tightly monitor and control their citizens.

China’s national ID cards, for instance, are encoded with what most people would consider a shocking amount of personal information, including health and reproductive history, employment status, religion, ethnicity and even the name and phone number of each cardholder’s landlord. More ominous still, the cards are part of a larger project to blanket Chinese cities with state-of-the-art surveillance technologies. Michael Lin, a vice president for China Public Security Technology, a private company providing the RFID cards for the program, unflinchingly described them to the New York Times as “a way for the government to control the population in the future.” And even if other governments do not take advantage of the surveillance potential inherent in the new ID cards, ample evidence suggests that data-hungry corporations will.

Living a Tagged Life

According to the patent, here is how it would work in a retail environment: an “RFID tag scanner located [in the desired tracking location]… scans the RFID tags on [a] person…. As that person moves around the store, different RFID tag scanners located throughout the store can pick up radio signals from the RFID tags carried on that person and the movement of that person is tracked based on these detections…. The person tracking unit may keep records of different locations where the person has visited, as well as the visitation times.”

Protecting the Public

If RFID tags can enable an amusement park to capture detailed, personalized videos of thousands of people a day, imagine what a determined government could do—not to mention marketers or criminals. That is why my colleagues in the privacy community and I have so firmly opposed the use of RFID in government-issued identity documents or individual consumer items. As far back as 2003, my organization, CASPIAN (Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering)—along with the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the American Civil Liberties Union, and 40 other leading privacy and civil liberties advocates and organizations recognized this threat and issued a position paper that condemned the tracking of human beings with RFID as inappropriate.

In response to these concerns, dozens of U.S. states have introduced RFID consumer-protection bills—which have all been either killed or gutted by heavy opposition from lobbyists for the RFID industry. When the New Hampshire Senate voted on a bill that would have imposed tough regulations on RFID in 2006, a last-minute floor amendment replaced it with a two-year study instead. (I was appointed by the governor to serve on the resulting commission.) That same year a California bill that would have prohibited the use of RFID in government-issued documents passed both houses of the legislature, only to be vetoed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

On the federal level, no high-profile consumer-protection bills related to RFID have been passed. Instead, in 2005, the Senate Republican High Tech Task Force praised RFID applications as “exciting new technologies” with “tremendous promise for our economy” and vowed to protect RFID from regulation or legislation.

Meanwhile the RFID train is barreling forward. Gigi Zenk, a spokesperson at Washington’s licensing agency, recently confirmed that there are 10,000 enhanced licenses “on the street now—that people are actually carrying.” That’s a lot of potential for abuse, and it will only grow. The state recently mustered a halfhearted response, passing a law that designates the unauthorized reading of a tag “for the purpose of fraud, identity theft, or for any other illegal purpose” as a class C felony, subject to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Nowhere in the law does it say, however, that scanning for other purposes such as marketing—or perhaps “to control the population”—is prohibited. We ignore these risks at our peril.

December 25, 2009

We Christians Are Unwitting Contributors to the Demise of Freedom and Rise of Oppression

An Open Letter to America's Christians

By Chuck Baldwin, Crossroad Baptist Church
December 4, 2009

I was led to Christ at the tender age of 5 while sitting on my mother's lap. I was raised in a devout, churchgoing Christian home. I have been in Gospel ministry all of my adult life (I am 57 years old). I have attended or have degrees and/or diplomas from four fundamentalist / evangelical colleges or Bible schools. I have been the Senior Pastor of a local Independent Baptist congregation for 34 years and counting. I have spoken in churches and Christian gatherings all over the country.

I say all of that simply to provide my Christian credentials (in much the same way that the Apostle Paul provided his Jewish credentials in Philippians 3:5,6). As such, I believe I know something about the attitudes, conduct, philosophy, mindset, etc. of America's Christians. I am not an outsider; I speak as one within the conservative / fundamentalist Christian camp.

As it relates to the rightful understanding of following Christ's instruction that we are to be "salt" and "light" (and what that means for us Americans), and properly rendering to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's (and knowing the difference), there are basically two groups:

  1. Those who sincerely want to help America maintain its foundational principles, and
  2. Those who, frankly, are too preoccupied (or cowardly) to give much thought to it one way or another.
I would say that the first group is slightly larger than the second group. The problem is, among the first group, there is a vast void of understanding regarding exactly how we are to implement and carry forth the principles of Christian liberty--which are the principles upon which America was built, of course.

As I see it, there are two glaring obstacles that keep today's Christians from being truly effectual and influential in helping to restore America's freedoms and founding principles. [And let's be honest enough to admit that, for the most part, today's Christians (including our pastors) are ineffective and irrelevant in providing any meaningful solutions to America's many problems. Sadly, more often than not, we are little more than gullible pawns, which wily and wicked politicians use to advance their own nefarious agendas.]

Obstacle Number One

America's current generation of Christians has allowed itself to become pathetically ignorant as to the Biblical, Natural Law principles of liberty and government. And when it comes to America's historical principles of self-government and federalism, the ignorance quotient goes up even further.

It is really sad: we Christians (including our Christian pastors) know virtually nothing of real American history, law, government, etc.

For example, I'm not sure that we can begin to remotely understand what Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence if we have not read John Locke's Second Treatise of Government. I'm not sure we can begin to comprehend the American philosophy of government if we have not read George Washington's Farewell Address. Without reading The Federalist Papers, one cannot begin to properly appreciate the US Constitution and the principles upon which it was predicated. Without reading Pastor Jonas Clark, one cannot understand what really happened at Lexington Green and Concord Bridge. Without reading Alexander Stephens' History of the United States, it is doubtful that one can truly understand or appreciate the principles of federalism and State sovereignty.

And how many of us have read even one of the above? And this does not even scratch the surface of necessary knowledge.

Let's admit it: today's Christians, for the most part, are operating in a vacuum of truth and understanding. Without a firm grasp of necessary truth, how can we know what to do, who to believe, or how to act?

Accordingly, smooth-talking "conservative" politicians who know how to use religious clichés and terminology to gain our support and votes easily dupe the vast majority of sincere Christians. But it is actually worse than that. We Christians are, for the most part, unwitting contributors to the demise of freedom and rise of oppression in our land.

For example, Americans--including Christian Americans--lost more freedoms under former President George W. Bush than under any President since Lyndon Johnson, or maybe since Franklin Roosevelt. Yet, even today, most evangelical Christians continue to hold Bush in high esteem. They seem to be totally oblivious to the fact that Bush set the table and provided the opportunities for virtually everything that President Barack Obama is currently doing to advance socialism and globalism in our country.

For the most part, Christians seemed to never notice that President Bush did almost nothing to change the course and direction set by his predecessor, President Bill Clinton. And liberals are just now beginning to wake up to the reality that, at the executive level, Obama is doing precious little to change the course set by George Bush--including escalating Bush's war (now Obama's war) in the Middle East.

Will the American people never awaken to the fact that, for the most part, the only difference between these two parties at the national level is one of degrees, not direction?

At the national level, Democrats want to expand Big Government for the benefit of advancing the Welfare State, while Republicans want to expand Big Government for the benefit of advancing the Warfare State--but both want to expand Big Government.

Make no mistake about it: neither major party in Washington, D.C., has any intention of returning America to the constitutional principles of limited government and federalism. But do Christians see this? No, they do not!

For the most part, today's Christians seem to have the attitude that G.O.P. stands for God's Own Party. That the Republican Party in Washington, D.C., is equally culpable for the destruction of liberty, and constitutional government never seems to once enter their minds. The sum total of their patriotism seems to be voting Republican, watching Fox News, and paying taxes. The shallowness of today's pastors and Christians is a major obstacle preventing us from doing much of anything that would actually contribute to good government.

Obstacle Number Two

Today's Christians are not willing to support the principles they profess to believe.

I could not count the number of times that a sincere Christian brother or sister has asked me, "What is wrong with my pastor? Why does he refuse to take a stand?" or questions to that effect. Dear Christian Friend, as kindly as I know how to say it, YOU ARE THE PROBLEM.

I ask you, Why should your pastor "take a stand"? Why should he "get involved"? You and all the others of his congregation are more than willing to support his ministry the way it is. You sit under his preaching. You follow his leadership in the church. You give your tithes and offerings to support his vision for God's work.

Look around you. What do you see? You see the Joel Osteen-type churches bulging out at the seams. Churches--where pastors are unwilling to get involved in anything "controversial," where pastors are content to stay completely disengaged from anything that might be deemed "political," and where pastors refuse to even hear the truth of what is really going on--are filled every Sunday. They have the largest crowds, biggest offerings, and most ornate buildings. Why, in the name of common sense, would you expect your pastor to "take a stand" or "get involved"? Why should he? You have--by your support, attendance, and offerings--clearly told him that you like him just the way he is!

Yet, throughout history, it has been pastors and preachers that have led the great civil movements and revolutions--including our own American Revolution.

It is no hyperbole to say that without the leadership, courage and resolve of Colonial America's clergymen, we would still be a Crown colony of England, with no Declaration of Independence, no US Constitution, no Bill of Rights, and little freedom. And, it's not like we do not have the same kind of lionhearted preachers today as we did in days of old, because we do.

All across America, there are hundreds of Bible-preaching men from virtually every Christian denomination who are more than willing to "take a stand" and "get involved." As an example, go to my Black Regiment list and see the names of over 200 pastors who are out front in the fight for right. The problem is, the vast majority of America's Christians today will not support these stalwart spiritual statesmen.

So, Christian friend, why do you continue to worship under the leadership of a pastor who has no intention of standing in the gap for our country's freedom? Why do you continue to give your tithes and offerings to such a church?

It is time for Christians who know and care about what is going on to GET OUT of these spineless churches! If you really believe the principles you profess, how can you continue to deny those principles by staying in a church that has no intention of teaching those principles?

If you cannot find a patriot-pastor of your denomination, look for one outside your denomination. I would rather worship with a man with whom I disagree on secondary doctrines (but who is firm on the fundamentals, of course), but who is willing to stand for truth and freedom, than worship with a man of my preferred denomination, but who will do nothing to confront the evils that are currently destroying our republic.

Good grief! We have thousands of evangelical pastors who are willing to follow a man such as Rick Warren; a man who has become a partner with one of the most devilish and sinister organizations in the world--an organization that is actively working against the principles of freedom and independence, and in support of the principles of globalism and universalism--the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).

Remember, it was Rear Admiral Chester Ward, former Judge Advocate General of the Navy, who rightly said:

"The main purpose of the Council on Foreign Relations is promoting the disarmament of U.S. sovereignty and national independence and submergence into an all-powerful, one world government."
Most Christians readily discern any attempt at global government to be "of the devil." Yet, Rick Warren is now an active member of the one organization whose major claim to fame is its incessant promotion of globalism.

How can any sincere Christian who is even remotely aware of what is going on--and who truly cares about the preservation of freedom--follow any pastor who follows someone such as Rick Warren? Yet, the Warren-type churches are flourishing all over America; and, at the same time, many of those congregants complain that their pastor is not "taking a stand."

So, why don't YOU take a stand by GETTING OUT of these soft, straddling, sugary, superficial, shallow, saltless churches?

It is infinitely more important that you be in a church that preaches the truth and takes a stand than that your teens attend "the most exciting youth program," or that your kids are in one of these glorified playgrounds (called "children's ministries") so they can play games and stay entertained, or that your church has a softball team, or that it has the prettiest buildings, or that it has music you think is "just right," or that it is the "premier church in town" for social gatherings or business contacts.

...Imagine what could happen if Black Regiment-type churches were the largest churches in a majority of the great metropolises throughout America?

I say again (as kindly as I know how): if you stay in, support, attend, and give your offerings to these churches that are pastored by men who will not take a stand, YOU ARE THE PROBLEM.

And though I would prefer that everyone have a local church they could support in good conscience, there are hundreds of people across America who, because they cannot find such a church, worship online with me and my church every Sunday morning, as we Livestream our service. We do this specifically for those who cannot find a church that will take a stand in their area.

To tune in to our Livestreamed service each Sunday morning at approximately 10:30am (CST), go to:

If Christians today are to regain any semblance of relevancy in preserving America's liberties, they must do two things:
  1. Immediately become acquainted with the foundational principles that created this country, and
  2. Get serious about supporting only those churches and ministries that truly know what's going on and are willing to courageously stand in the gap.
Anything short of this is pious-sounding rhetoric. And rhetoric will do nothing to help us--not now, anyway.

P.S. Educating Americans about their history is what motivated me to compile THE FREEDOM DOCUMENTS. We are almost sold out of the current printing, and this is the final announcement. If you want to obtain copies of THE FREEDOM DOCUMENTS, which contains 50 of the finest historical documents of American history in one volume, you must order NOW! Order here:

*If you appreciate this column and want to help me distribute these editorial opinions to an ever-growing audience, donations may now be made by credit card, check, or Money Order. Use this link:

© Chuck Baldwin

December 23, 2009

The Takeover of the 50 States and Their Sovereignty

"Regional Governance is the method whereby would-be rulers intend to control every aspect of our lives. Without the full implementation of Regional Governance, their plan for world dominance cannot succeed... (Governance, as opposed to Government, means 'control by rules, restrictions, and regulations.') In order to subvert the sovereignty of the United States and the individual states guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution, a parallel and entirely unconstitutional governance structure, termed 'Regional Government,' has been covertly established over the past half century." - Jakie Patru, "Regionalism: Sneaking America into Global Government"

As the following chart shows, federal aid to state and local governments has almost doubled in real terms over the past decade:

It’s not a coincidence that the states find themselves in a fiscal bind. [Source]

Beware Metro: Pushing Collectivism At Every Level

By Gary Allen, American Opinion Magazine
Originally Published in January 1973

On February 12, 1972, as Richard Nixon and his entourage prepared to wing their way toward Red China on Air Force One, an Executive Order numbered 11647, which the President had signed two days earlier, appeared in the daily Federal Register. With all eyes on the precedent-setting excursion to Maoland, this monumentally dangerous Executive Order went virtually uncommented in the press. Carrying all the authority and power of a law passed by Congress, it was every bit as revolutionary as Mr. Nixon's trip to Red China.

Without so much as consulting the Congress, President Nixon had by Executive Order divided the United States into 10 federal regions to be run by "Federal Regional Councils." Excused as a new means to develop "closer working relationships between major Federal grant-making agencies and State and local government," the Federal Regional Councils represent a major step toward the era of Big Brother predicted by George Orwell.

Executive Order 11647 creates, along with the 10 regions, 10 sub-capitals through which the federal bureaucrats will reign over the natives. The Order states:

"There is hereby established a Federal Regional Council for each of the ten standard Federal Regions. Each Council shall be composed of the directors of the regional offices of the Department of Labor, of Health, Education, and Welfare, and Housing and Urban Development, the Secretarial Representative of the Department of Transportation, and the directors of the regional offices of the Office of Economic Opportunity, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration. The President shall designate one member of each such Council as Chairman of that Council and such Chairman shall serve at the pleasure of the President. Representatives of the Office of Management and Budget may participate in any deliberations of each Council ..."
This Executive Order had been "telegraphed" on March 27, 1969, in a policy statement by Professor Daniel P. Moynihan, then a top Presidential advisor. Professor Moynihan, who is a former chairman of the Fabian Socialists' Americans for Democratic Action, told newsmen at a press conference that the creation of Federal Regional Councils "has been something Presidents have been trying to put into effect for almost 20 years now." And Daniel Moynihan's assistant added:
"No President has ever been willing to bite the bullet. Now we have done so."
The division of our country into federal regions was so radical a step that neither John Kennedy nor Lyndon Johnson had dared make the move. It took a Richard Nixon to so hypnotize the American public that our very form of government could be changed without eliciting so much as a yawn.

But what is so radical and revolutionary about establishing 10 federal regions? Are they not just a mechanism for "improving the delivery system" for federal programs? After all, we have Federal Reserve Districts and Federal District Courts. We seem to have survived them. Why be excited over Federal Regional Councils? Read on Macduff.

The Federal Regional Councils are part of something variously known as Regional Government. Metropolitan Government, or "Metro." In a nutshell, Metro is the governing of an area or region by a central body of "experts" -- planners who are usually appointed and vested with great powers, and who are not directly accountable to the people.

Metro policies and programs, goals and methods, appear in a variety of forms designed to deal with varying state and local laws. But the basic strategy involves merging and consolidation of local city or town governments into it larger area government. Cities are merged with other cities and/or with a county. The counties are merged with other counties, erasing state lines.

The distinguished columnist Jo Hindman, who has for fifteen years specialized in watching this business, sums it up this way:

Metro proposes to collect independent units of municipal government under a big super-government and to maintain control of such bodies through something described as "appointed executive" administration. Since these proposed metropolitan districts frequently cross state lines, the very concept of government units corresponding to them makes hash of our Constitution which vests all reserved governing powers in the several states.
The legions of Metro promoters, dubbed "metrocrats" by columnist Hindman, are either government bureaucrats out huckstering the wonders of myriad federally-funded programs, or they are connected with one of the organizations collectively known as "Thirteen-Thirteen."

Thirteen-Thirteen is at once an idea, a "movement," and a clearinghouse address. The term is applied to the complex by its own people, and is used to designate 22 separate organizations with heavily interlocking officers, directors, and trustees -- all headquartered in a building erected to house them at 1313 East Sixtieth Street in Chicago. The building is located on land provided by the University of Chicago and was built with funds given for the purpose by the Rockefellers. Out of this headquarters operate the "planners" and social engineers of Metro -- men and women who feel they are a class apart; people keepers who see their role in life as that of managers of hoi polloi.

Ten regions, run by Federal Regional Councils, were created in February by Executive Order 11647.

  1. Capital: Boston includes all the States east of New York.
  2. Capital: N.Y.C. includes States: New York and New Jersey.
  3. Capital: Philadelphia includes Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Virginia.
  4. Capital: Atlanta; includes States: Kentucky, Tennessee and all east and south.
  5. Capital: Chicago includes States: Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota.
  6. Capital: Dallas-Ft. Worth includes States: Arkansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and all south.
  7. Capital: Kansas City includes States: Kansas, Missouri, Iowa and Nebraska.
  8. Capital: Denver includes States: Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, North and South Dakota.
  9. Capital: San Francisco includes States: Arizona, Nevada, and California.
  10. Capital: Seattle includes States: Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.
In practice, the groups making up Thirteen-Thirteen are a single organization divided into 22 divisions, each pursuing a separate socialist program aimed at promoting Metro government. Consider the breakdown:
  • taxing (Federation of Tax Administrators);

  • rezoning for higher taxation (Municipal Finance Officers Association);

  • prefabricated Metro systems (Public Administration Service);

  • masterplanning (American Society of Planning Officials);

  • international affairs (international City Managers Association and Committee for
    International Municipal Cooperation);

  • mental health propaganda (interstate Clearing House on Mental Health);

  • erasing state sovereignty (Council of State Governments); and,

  • retroactive building codes (Building Officials Conference of America).*
*See the author's paperback book, None Dare Call It Conspiracy.

The Thirteen-Thirteen operation is an avatar of the National Municipal League, founded in New York City in the 1890s. It is not without meaning that the National Municipal League is today located on East 68th Street in New York City, right across the street from the Establishment Insiders' Council on Foreign Relations. Metro has often been described as the domestic arm of the Council on Foreign Relations, and the connections go far beyond mere location as we shall see.

In the beginning the National Municipal League held meetings which were attended by prominent citizens sincerely interested in ending corruption in municipal affairs. By the 1930s, however, the League was being run by highly trained (and highly salaried) "urban specialists," city planners, radical university professors, and an assortment of fanatically ambitious city officials. The National Municipal League quickly became the executive "brain" of the Metro movement and established Thirteen-Thirteen in Chicago as a base for its operations.

Many of the arguments heard in town council meetings from Bangor to San Diego and from Tallahassee to Seattle are now little more than restatements of materials distributed by one or more of the 22 organizations centered in the Thirteen-Thirteen complex. Chances are that your own city manager and other city, county, and state officials are members of one or more of these organizations, subscribe to Thirteen-Thirteen publications, have been trained by the Metro staff, or have attended one of its seminars.

The vast Thirteen-Thirteen operation requires, and spends, great sums of money. Who finances it'? Who would lie interested in promoting regional amalgamation pursuant to elimination of governments below the federal level?

Students of the operations of Establishment Insiders will not be surprised to learn that the Rockefeller clan has been the major sugar daddy of the Metro movement. The Laura Spelinan Rockefeller Memorial created the Spelman Fund in 1928, with capital of tell million dollars, and it has received further capital from the Rockefeller Foundation. According to the Fund's annual report of 1947-1948: "The Spelman Fund assumed as its major responsibility an exploration of the possibilities of cooperation with public bodies for the improvement of public administration." The report also speaks of the Fund's role in creating Thirteen-Thirteen:

In 1938, a new building at 1313 E. Sixtieth St., Chicago, (constructed under grants front the Spelman Fund) was completed to provide adequate quarters ... for the use and occupancy of the national governmental organizations. This building has come to be known as "1313" ... An agency known as the Public Administration Clearing House was set up ... Endorsement of the public Administration Clearing House came from the National Municipal League, the American Municipal Association, etc. ... The Public Administration Clearing House manages the building at 1313 E. Sixtieth St., Chicago ...
The report of the Rockefellers' Spelman Fund adds:
"The Public Administration Clearing House ... has no members and no independent means of support."
Further bankrolling of Thirteen-Thirteen has since been provided by such perennial cornucopias of the Left as the Carnegie Corporation, the Julius Rosenwald (Sears Roebuck & Company) Fund, and the Russell Sage Foundation. But, as with most Insider projects, the primary funding now comes from the Ford Foundation. Ford has poured tens of millions of dollars into scores, possibly hundreds, of regional government projects.

It is no coincidence that it is these same foundations which have financed the Establishment Insiders' Council on Foreign Relations. The CFR's primary objective is the creation of a World Government. The replacement of local governments by regional governments is the domestic version of the same program, by which socialism is to be used as a means to control the people from central headquarters.

This building at 1313 East Sixtieth Street in Chicago houses the twenty-two Metro organizations that form the vast Thirteen-Thirteen complex, the purpose of which is to remove local control from the people and place it in the hands of appointed "experts" and "managers." The structure was built to house this operation by the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Fund, and it all was long supported exclusively by the Rockefellers. The major funding now comes from the Ford Foundation ...

When the Reece Congressional Committee was charged with investigating the tax-free foundations, its chief investigator Norman Dodd personally interviewed H. Rowan Gaither Jr., then president of the giant Ford Foundation. Gaither blithely admitted to Dodd that the purpose to which the Ford Foundation would be applied "was to so alter American society that it could be comfortably merged with that of the Soviet Union." Regional government is a major and necessary step toward that merger. Its objective is to prepare our economy to be merged efficiently with that of the USSR by placing all authority in the hands of the elite planners.

For those who have sought to create the New World Order abroad and the New Society at home, the unique American form of government -- specifically the division of powers between the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches; and between federal, state, and local units of government -- has been an almost insurmountable obstacle. To overcome this system of checks and balances, schemes had to be devised which appear to ameliorate problems, but which result in the concentration of more and more power in the Executive branch of the federal government. Indeed, we have been unable to find a single piece of legislation passed by Congress during the last four decades that has not done this -- including Mr. Nixon's vaunted "revenue sharing" program, which is ballyhooed as doing exactly the opposite.

"After nearly 20 years in Congress," said John Ashbrook of Ohio, "I continually witness a gap between the stated intention and the real goal, between the alleged and the actual, between the reported and the unreported." Americans would do well to keep Congressman Ashbrook's observation in mind, as well as these words of the sagacious Thomas Jefferson:

"When all governments shall be drawn to Washington, as the center of power, it will become venal and oppressive."
American government was built upon the political theory of divided sovereignty -- the concept known as a republic. The Constitution declared that "The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union, a Republican Form of Government." The law books say that a
"Republican Form of Government" is a government of elected representatives, wherein no basic power of government can be withheld by appointees. Metro is designed to reverse this system. It is government by an elite corps of experts. These metrocrat appointees replace or assume authority over locally elected officials.

It is a hoary cliché that you can't fight City Hall. Sometimes that has been true. But there have been a lot of City Hall gangs unceremoniously dispatched by the voters to the ranks of the unemployed. It is nonetheless a fact that when City Hall is run by appointed bureaucrats you are not likely to receive satisfaction. You have a complaint. You take it to your friendly local bureaucrat. He may even be sympathetic. But he explains to you that the matter is out of his hands. Just where the jurisdiction lies to deal with your problem is hard to determine. Your town government has now been merged with 10 others into a countywide government. The county government has its own rules and regulations, and then there are the federal guidelines established by the Federal Regional District. Your only recourse is to bang the metrocrat over the head with a copy of Atlas Shrugged -- a prospect which is seldom productive.

Our Constitutional Republic was based upon the rule of law, not on the whims of bureaucrats. But, as we have seen, regional government reverses the process. With regional governments becoming more and more enmeshed with the federal government through Urban Renewal, the Model Cities Program, air and water pollution control, road construction, "aid" to law enforcement, transportation control, War on Poverty programs, manpower training, welfare, and a ton of other schemes, local government is being turned into an administrative arm of the federal bureaucracy.

The many federal bureaus with which you must now deal operate on general grants of power given to them by Congress at their creation. But Congress lets the bureaus set up their own day-to-day procedures by non-statutory administrative rules and regulations that carry the force of law. This is nearly the same situation, except at a lower level, as the one we discussed earlier whereby the President issues Executive Orders that amount to royal decrees. Metro administrators, armed with these administrative rules and regulations, run their fiefdoms with all the impunity of the agents of King George III. The Declaration of Independence cites the arbitrary power of such "swarms of officers" as one of our grievances against England. Today we are enthroning precisely the system against which our colonial forebears once rebelled.

Closely related to the replacement of our Constitutional system of rule by law with rule by bureaucratic edict is the regional government policy of disregarding state lines. One of the major checks and balances (or "counterveiling powers") established by the Constitution in the Tenth Amendment was the retention of all powers, not specifically given to the federal government, in the hands of the states and the people. This makes for sovereign states whose internal affairs are their own business. But by tying federal grants to the new federal regions, each of which encompasses a number of states, the state lines are made to have no more meaning than traffic lights in New York City.

The attitude of Metro proponents towards the states is typified by the Council for Economic Development (CED), an important study group closely tied with the Council on Foreign Relations. In one of its studies on local government, the CED declares:

Fiscal realities have modified the legal concept that the states are the fountain source of all governmental power. The states created the national government, assigning it certain functions and granting it essential powers. The powers of local units were also granted by the states. Realistically, however, capability of response to public desires and adequate financial resources take precedence over legal theory. The states seem less "sovereign" with 20% of their total annual revenues drawn from the federal treasury.
The point is that the sovereignty of the states is meant to diminish as the percentage of annual revenue received from the federal government rises. This explains the real purpose behind "revenue sharing" and similar Metro-backed proposals.

Ironically, some Metro programs are promoted under the guise of increasing the power of the states, others purport to increase the jurisdiction of the counties, while others are said to increase the independence of cities. In each case Metro plays the bigger government against the smaller, the objective being to centralize power at an ever higher level. The purpose is to place all power in the hands of the federal government and to turn state, county, and city governments into administrative cogs in one big bureaucratic machine.

Metro is a mechanism for changing a limited Constitutional Republic into an unlimited autocracy without altering the apparent form of our government. The State of Kansas will still exist. The City of Seattle will still exist. The County of Los Angeles will still exist. But their independence will not. Our entire form of government will have changed. And we hardly need remind you that when a government is run by bureaucratic edicts which for all practical purposes cannot be reversed by the people, dictatorship exists.

You doubt that it will happen? You think this is an exaggeration? Think about your own experiences in trying to obtain justice from the Bureau of internal Revenue where bureaucrats act as prosecutor, judge, and jury.

Control over taxation is a very important aspect of the Metro movement. Thomas Jefferson advised us long ago that the power to tax is the power to destroy. We might add that the power to tax is also the power to control. That is why Metro units are so eager to get their hands on the power to tax. One of their main arguments is that the big city politicians, through vote-buying welfare schemes, have chased productive taxpayers to the suburbs -- leaving the central cities between a fiscal rock and a financial hard place. The woebegone taxpayer who accepts Metro taxation to improve the tax base for the cities is then caught between a vice of rising taxes levied by regional government (often raised to obtain matching federal grants), and increased federal taxes to finance the myriad federal programs said to be designed to "improve the quality of life" at the city, county, and state level. Voters can still deal with the problem at the federal level because Congress controls the purse strings, but in the local Metro areas taxes can be set by metrocrats in what amounts to taxation without representation.

While taxation is used to make a direct attack on private property, it is not the only such attack made by the metrocrats. The Metro Planners have used their foundation grants to develop a variety of programs to control and confiscate private property. One of the most successful is Urban Renewal, and such related schemes as Public Housing and Model Cities. Promotion of these programs has long been a priority for the organizations based at Thirteen-Thirteen. It was their lobbying that first put the federal foot in the door of local housing when they persuaded Congress to pass the Title I Housing Act of 1949, establishing federal financing for slum clearance and redevelopment. The Housing Act of 1954 broadened the provisions of Title I to include not only slum clearance but slum prevention.

Then, in 1954, the Warren Court produced a swamp of sociological jurisprudence giving unlimited power to the government to seize anything it wanted through the formerly very limited "right of eminent domain." According to the Supreme Court, the government could use eminent domain to seize any piece of property it wanted. Karl Marx proposed this concept somewhat differently: he said it in German. The Court blasted selfish owners, stating:

If owner after owner were permitted to resist these redevelopment programs on the ground that his particular property was not being used against the public interest, integrated plans for redevelopment would suffer greatly. The argument pressed upon us is, indeed, a plea to substitute the landowner's standard of the public need for the standard prescribed by Congress... Once the question of the public purpose has been decided, the amount and character of land to be taken for the project and the need for a particular tract to complete the integrated plan rests in the discretion of the legislative branch.
Here is an uncomfortable thought for the future: If forced sale of property for Urban Renewal and related programs is Constitutional, why not forced sale for agrarian reform? Sorry I mentioned it.

One would have thought that associations of property owners would have held court and put the Warren gang on trial with Judge Lynch presiding. They did not because Urban Renewal amounted to a federal subsidy for realtors (appraisals are required), for bankers (who financed rebuilding), for construction workers and contractors, and for lawyers who defended the practice with great vigor. The Chambers of Commerce loved it. And no one said that compulsory Urban Renewal is nothing but politically legalized theft.

Besides the immorality of Urban Renewal, it is also a monumental flop from the standpoint of the "humanitarian" purposes that were ascribed to it by the Thirteen-Thirteen lobbyists. During the nineteen-year period from its inception to the end of January 1968, Urban Renewal has depleted the nation's housing supply by 315,451 units. Only 124,175 replacement dwellings were built, but 439,626 were demolished under Urban Renewal programming. During this period, $7.1 billion was spent on these projects.

Over a million people and an uncounted number of small neighborhood businesses have been the victims of the federal bulldozer. Who weeps for them? Private land which Urban Renewal confiscates from hapless owners is divided by the bureaucrats between public and private interests. About 16 percent has remained tax exempt in public ownership (raising local taxes), while valuable acreage is sold at cut-rate prices to privileged interests which build high-rise office complexes and shopping centers rather than housing. Meanwhile the former residents of the area find it harder and harder to locate alternative low-cost housing. This leads to over-crowding in adjacent areas. It has in some cases (Cleveland, for example) been blamed as a contributing factor in massive rioting.

With the creation of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the passage of the Model Cities Act, the Urban Renewal concept went regional. Model Cities programs now involve 150 cities -- or, to be more accurate, areas -- forcing regional government by tying federal funds to its creation. Such payoffs became necessary because, despite all of the pro-Metro propaganda about (whenever Metro government was offered on the local ballot, voters almost always rejected it by a ratio of two to one; it took promises of "free" federal funds to overcome their better judgment).

Under Title II of the Omnibus Cities Bill of 1966 -- the Metro title -- all applications for federal aid under 10 programs to provide sewers, construction of hospitals, highways, libraries, airports, etc. must soon be submitted for recommendation to a Metro government before they are forwarded to Washington. The Metro government to which the applications are to be submitted must be a joint planning body for the central city and suburbs. As a result, the big city Urban Renewal projects have been integrated with the suburbs, forcing "scattered-site" public housing upon quiet, formerly pleasant, suburban communities. Just as with busing, President Nixon decries what his own appointees are doing, but he lets them go right on doing it.

Taxation and the direct seizure of property are not the only ways in which the metrocrats attack private property. Thirteen-Thirteen literature boasts of plans to use practices common in Urban Renewal and Model Cities programs to place complete control of all land in the United States in the hands of Metro. Now, whenever land is even temporarily held by Metro Authority, land-use controls are applied by covenants which pass with the land. Forever after, that land is subject to the control of the Metro Planners. Robert C. Weaver, former Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), was quite frank about it, declaring:

Regional government means absolute Federal control over all property and its development regardless of location, anywhere in the United States, to be administered on the Federal officials' determination. It [regional government) would supercede state and local laws... through this authority we seek to recapture control of the use of land, most of which the government has already given to the people.
Land control is people control. Already Model Cities programs have forced communities to integrate their schools under preposterously racist schemes; to establish sensitivity training for community leaders, teachers, social workers, and the police; and to accept federal guidelines concerning health, education, employment, recreation, and housing. The Metro Planners also have an abiding interest in the police. Not only do they promote sensitivity training for the local constabulary, they often require the establishment of the highly discredited "civilian review boards."

Even before HUD became involved, Thirteen-Thirteen pushed for consolidation of local police departments and sheriff's offices into metropolitan police forces under a political appointee responsible to a Metro manager. A manual published by the International City Managers Association of 1313 East Sixtieth Street, Chicago, states:

The Police function should be administered through a regular city department headed by a police chief directly responsible to the chief administrator of the city [manager] ... Appointment of the police chief should be made by the chief administrator of the city ... rather than by a separate board, commission, or the city council.
One should keep in mind that among the federal bureaus that will have offices in each of Richard Nixon's 10 regional districts is the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (L.E.A.A.). Only those who are still moist behind their hearing apparatus will doubt that L.E.A.A., working through the federal sub-capitals, is laboring to produce regional police as a step toward a federal police force. When they start recruiting in one region for duty in another region, or begin the transfer of police from one region to another, you will know that Fedcop is here. Loss of jurisdiction and control over our local police is a certain step toward Orwell's 1984.

But this is only part of what is involved when one recalls that in addition to Executive Order 11647 of February 10, 1972, and the Revenue Sharing Act that has given the federal government dictatorial power in setting guidelines for our local communities, we also face Executive Order 11490 of October 30, 1969, "Assigning Emergency Preparedness Functions to Federal Departments." This Order, discussed at length in Alan Stang's article beginning on page one, empowers Regional Council members, under the color of law, to control all food supply, money and credit, transportation, communications, public utilities, hospitals, and other essential facets of human existence. That is what regional government really means!

America has genuine urban problems. But regionalization can hardly be cited as a solution so long as communities can voluntarily contract with each other to work together in their solution. Such things as fire, police, or trash collection services, for instance, can be shared by contract. Pollution problems can be solved by state legislatures and the courts -- so that if someone is pouring sewage in your drinking water, you can settle the matter in court. Curing pollution hardly requires the abolition of our Constitutional Republic. But the metrocrats are not interested in these genuine solutions, they are after power. They are working to carry out what the Ford Foundation's Rowan Gaither described as the plan to merge the United States with the Soviet Union.

Certainly Richard Nixon is carrying out part of this program by making the United States dependent on Soviet natural resources. Does it not seem odd that our government will not allow a pipeline to be built across Alaska to allow the development of that state's huge petroleum resources under the excuse that it will upset the ecology of snow bunnies and polar bears, while at the same time we prepare to import natural gas from the Soviet Union? Does it not seem odd that the Rockefellers' Chase Manhattan Bank is opening a branch in beautiful downtown Moscow, even as the Soviets are preparing to sell bonds in America?

The Metro conspiracy made great advances with the aid of Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson, but its triumph awaited the Administration of Richard Nixon. Mr. Nixon was the first to "bite the bullet" and create the 10 federal regions as part of his "New Federalism" ... a takeover which he describes as part of a "New American Revolution." It might more accurately be described as a "counter revolution" to that of 1776 which freed us from the arbitrary rule of "swarms of officers."

As I write, President Nixon is in the process of creating a Cabinet post of Community Development, the boss of which will act as a commissar ruling over his 10 regional soviets and using the $30 billion in "revenue sharing" funds as both a carrot and a stick to implement Metro rule. And Richard Nixon means business. Washington columnist Richard Wilson informs us that the "new federalism ... is an obsession with him." Ironically, Mr. Nixon's collectivist obsession is being sold to the public as decentralization. The President has proclaimed:

I realize that what I am asking is that not only the executive branch in Washington, but even this Congress will have to change by giving up some of its power.
Nixon is taking power from the Executive Department in Washington by creating 10 branches of the Executive Department throughout the country. Sacrebleu!

Under the title "Domestic Kissingers To Have Vast Powers," columnists Evans and Novak reveal what Mr. Nixon is really up to:

Many details await final Presidential determination, but the intent of the drastic reorganization has now become inescapably clear: to devise lines of power and authority which will centralize all decision-making in the White House to about the same extent that Henry Kissinger now controls every aspect of foreign policy.
In blueprint form is a proposal to create four or five new Kissinger-type master bureaucrats, working directly under the President. They would exercise fully as much control over their old-line departments as Kissinger now exercises over the State Department through the National Security Council (NSCJ).

What this means is that Mr. Nixon intends to take direct control of the sprawling and often immovable bureaucracy into his own hands, operating through his new master bureaucrats.
Our country is being changed into a Big Brother dictatorship with Newspeak as the official language. The first thing you know, the "domestic Kissingers" will be trying to put a federal television set in every home to spy on us. And if you don't believe it, read Alan Stang's article called Big Brother in America.

Federal Aid Is Top Revenue for States

By Dennis Cauchon, USA TODAY
May 4, 2009

In a historic first, Uncle Sam has supplanted sales, property and income taxes as the biggest source of revenue for state and local governments.

The shift shows how deeply the recession is cutting. Federal stimulus money aimed at reviving the economy and a sharp drop in tax collections have altered, at least temporarily, the traditional balance of how states, cities, counties and schools pay for their operations.

The sales tax had been the No. 1 source of state and local revenue since the mid-1970s, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Before that, property taxes were the primary source. That changed in the first three months of 2009.

Federal grants — early stimulus money plus conventional federal aid — soared 15% in the first quarter to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $437 billion, eclipsing sales taxes, which fell 2%.

The dominance of federal money is set to expand dramatically this year because tax collections are sinking while the bulk of federal stimulus aid is just starting to arrive.

"This money isn't manna from heaven. It comes with a price," says Indiana state Sen. Jim Buck, a Republican.
He worries that the federal money will leave states under greater federal control and burden future generations with debt.

Nick Johnson, a state finance expert at the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, says the federal aid is well-timed.
"This has more to say about the severity of the recession than anything else," he says. "Congress stepped in on a temporary basis to help states."
The federal government plans to provide about $300 billion in extra aid to state and local governments over the next two years, mostly for health care, education and transportation projects. State and local governments spend about $2 trillion a year, and the federal government is now paying about 23% of those costs.

States are counting on tax collections rebounding by 2012, when stimulus money starts to run out.

The early flow of stimulus money helped lift total state and local revenue by 1.6% in the first quarter compared with a year earlier despite a 2.9% drop in total tax collections. Spending rose 1.5%.

Things are getting worse for states that rely on the income tax. Reason: Unexpectedly large refund checks in March and April are going to workers who lost jobs or had wage cuts last year.

Michigan's income tax collections are down $200 million and refunds are up about $200 million — a $400 million swing. Connecticut has paid nearly $1 billion in tax refunds this year, about 20% more than expected. "These are big numbers. It's put us in a very bad situation," says Connecticut Comptroller Nancy Wyman.

Key state and local taxes:
  • Sales tax. Collections started falling at the end of 2008 for the first time since the Bureau of Economic Analysis first reported data in 1958. The drop in sales of automobiles and construction materials has taken a big bite out of sales tax revenue.

  • Property tax. The most stable tax is generating increasing revenue, mostly for schools, despite plunging property values. One reason: Forty-six states limit how fast property taxes rise or fall.

  • Income tax. The most volatile tax produces big increases during boom times and giant declines during hard times. California, New York, Oregon, Connecticut and other states that depend heavily on taxing year-end bonuses and capital gains on investments have been hardest hit by the worst income tax drops since 2002.
Federal Stimulus Spending: Breakdown By State
Mired in Crisis, States Kick Off Legislative Year
State Tax Revenue in U.S. Drops Most Since 1963, Study Says
Obama Extends Diplomatic Immunity to Interpol by Executive Order
Obama grants Interpol immunity as foreign ‘assets’ assigned to U.S. homeland
Obama Expands Federal Power Over the States with Executive Order
American Republic Replaced by "Council of Governors"?
Vast Majority of Federal Transportation Dollars Get Divided Among States
Hundreds of public and private groups spent more than $19 million on lobbying teams focused solely on surface transportation, but that drastically understates the total amounts being spent by local governments, businesses, and other interest groups around the nation... Transportation policy and transportation bills provide depressingly stark proof that all politics is local. Each city, state, and more specifically, congressional district, has its own battles to fight... The vast majority of federal transportation dollars get divided among states and localities to spend as they see fit. Congress has created dozens of programs through which those dollars flow from Washington. But there’s no overarching national strategy. And few goals. Beyond that, though, a portion of the pot is doled out project-by-project in Washington. So lots of groups end up hiring lobbyists to bypass local and state decision-makers and get projects funded federally... House leaders proposed some nontraditional ways to collect more money, such as a tax on oil speculators, a national sales tax, or the use of more tolling and private partnerships. A "miles traveled" tax, which levies specific charges on drivers based in part on the number of miles they drive, has gained the support of Congress’ two national policy commissions, but that option would require years to implement and would likely be a tough sell to the public.
PDD 51 & New Executive Order Give Obama Dictator Power
President Obama Signed a New Executive Order that Forms a Council of Governors
Obama Establishes a Council of Governors
'This is a military plan that's designed to bypass the Posse Comitatus Act that traditionally prohibited the US military from operating within the borders of the United States. Not only will American soldiers be deployed at the discretion of whomever is sitting in the Oval Office, but foreign soldiers will also be deployed in American cities,' warns Lt. Steven Rodgers, commander of the Nutley, NJ Police Department's detective bureau.
State Unemployment Funds Going ‘Absolutely Broke’
Small-business bankruptcies rise 81% in California
Schwarzenegger submits "draconian" California budget
Government aid is a hard habit to break
Why 650 Local Governments Use Lobbyists to Get Cash for Buses, Trains, and Roads
States to Government: Hands Off Education
Obama to Propose $3.8 Trillion Budget Boosting Education, Energy, NYT Says
Budget-strapped states avoid the word ‘taxes’
Pennsylvania State Capital Mulls Bankruptcy as a Budget Option
Phoenix gives OK to 2% tax on food
MIAC Report Supporter and Missouri Gov. Nixon to Sit On Obama’s Council of Governors
De Facto Military Occupation of Pennsylvania
Massive Layoffs Coming in NYC, Nevada, California, Colorado, Arizona, Everywhere
Cities, states, and municipalities are sinking by the minute. And unless unions agree to concessions (which they won't) massive layoffs are coming everywhere you look. New York City is a prime example.
New Jersey Governor Declares Fiscal Emergency
Cash-strapped states face multimillion-dollar storm cleanup
Council of Governors Takes Shape
Kansas Senate passes state sovereignty measure
The Kansas Senate sent a non-binding resolution to the House which would urge the federal government to respect state sovereignty. The resolution calls for the state to send a letter to federal officials, including the president, urging the president to respect the 10th Amendment, said Sen. Mary Pilcher Cook, R-Shawnee, who sponsored Senate Concurrent Resolution 1615.
“It does not stop the erosion of state sovereignty, but it does serve a purpose,” she said.
Pennsylvania Counties Seek Long-Term Solution to Declining Tax Revenue
Tennessee Hospitals to State: Tax Us, Please!
States Freeze Tax Refunds
States from New York to Hawaii that have been hard-hit by the economic downturn say they have either delayed refunds or are considering doing so because of budget shortfalls.
Regionalism: Destroying the American System of Government
States Sue Over Overhaul That Will Bust State Budgets
Florida, Texas and Pennsylvania are among 14 states that filed suit after the president signed the health care bill over the constitutionality of the burden imposed by the legislation. The health-care overhaul will make as many as 15 million more Americans eligible for Medicaid nationwide starting in 2014 and will cost the states billions to administer.
Florida budget action sets up fight over health care, schools, roads
The Florida House on Thursday approved a $67.2 billion state budget on a party-line 74-44 vote, setting the stage for a month of hard bargaining with the Senate over funding for health care, schools, road building and state workers. Both chambers attempt to balance the budget — and a $3.2 billion shortfall — in different ways. The Senate’s bigger $69.9 billion plan is buoyed by more than $1.3 billion in federal cash and Seminole Tribe of Florida gaming money, though neither is guaranteed.

Updated 4/2/10 (Newest Additions at End of List)

Go to The Lamb Slain Home Page