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Member since: Thu Oct 21, 2004, 06:06 PM
Number of posts: 18,505

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A straggler for "sky" - cleaning up Florida photos

Picasa: Auto contrast, and slider for Shadows moved just a touch. Other than that it's how it came out of the camera. No crop.

Mission Accomplished - a different take and a good read - The Sovereign Man

Date: June 13, 2012
Reporting From: New York City
In Medieval Europe when most people were living short, brutish lives wallowing in muddy serfdom, there was one city that served as a shining economic beacon for the rest of the continent: Venice.
At the time, Venice was one of the richest places in the known world, underpinned by its dominance in trade and the upward mobility of its citizens.
The concept of what we know today as "America" was alive and well in Venice during the Middle Ages; Venice was a place where, with guts, hard work, and a little bit of luck, you could become very wealthy and live the Venetian Dream.
The modern Limited Partnership structure, in fact, is derived from an early Venetian model called the 'commenda', a sort of special purpose vehicle for trade missions.
A standard commenda involved young entrepreneurs with a lot of energy but no capital partnering with older veterans with a lot of capital but no energy. The old guys would finance a trade mission to Asia, and the young guy would head off to foreign lands to make money.
If/when he returned, they would split the profits, the young guy receiving 25% to 50%.
A lot of people became very wealthy through this model, and even the poorest serf could come to Venice and rise up in social and financial status.
As you could imagine, though, they managed to find a way to screw it up.
In the early 1300s, the ruling elite eliminated the commenda structure that had made so many people so much money. Shortly afterward, the state started charging exorbitant taxes to merchants and nationalizing trade.
A police force was introduced in 1310 for the first time ever... not to protect the people from criminals, but to protect the criminals (government) from the people.
It didn't take long for Venice to decline into insignificance. Any opportunities to create wealth and live prosperously vanished as Venetian politicians engaged in the wholesale destruction of their economy, the livelihoods of its participants, and the 'Venetian Dream.'
With 20/20 hindsight, we can look back upon medieval Venice and pinpoint the early 1300s as the turning point to rapid decline... when there was a great unraveling of economic foundations and personal freedom.
It certainly makes one wonder whether future historians will look back upon this period in Western civilization and draw the same conclusion.
While I'm no fan of economist Joseph Stiglitz or the neo-Keynesian ideals he espouses, his new book proves this point more than just about any other recent work.
In The Price of Inequality, Stiglitz provides copious data showing that individuals in the United States now have a lower likelihood of moving up in social/financial status than any other developed country in the world.
This fact is reinforced by the Federal Reserve's most recent Survey on Consumer Finances, which showed that median US household net worth fell nearly 40% from 2007 to 2010.
This is the natural effect when you base an entire system on the whims of a very small elite that has awarded itself the ability to spend recklessly, rack up unsustainable levels of debt, and conjure money out of thin air.
As in Venice before them, US politicians have been engaging in the wholesale destruction of their economy, the livelihoods of its participants, and the American Dream.
Mission accomplished.

Simon Black
Senior Editor

www. SovereignMan.com

Sometimes the results of carrying a camera along make me smile.

Why I voted for Ron Paul By: Joe Scarborough

Posted for your information only. I found it interesting, maybe so will others

Why I voted for Ron Paul

By: Joe Scarborough
June 12, 2012 01:11 PM EDT

I operate on instinct. So I should not have been surprised by my own gut reaction to the absentee ballot that lay before me on the kitchen table.
I scanned the list for Republican primary candidates and let instinct take over.

Mitt Romney? Not on your life. A big government Republican who will say anything to get elected.
Rick Santorum? No way. A pro-life statist who helped George W. Bush double the national debt.
Newt Gingrich? Ideologically unmoored. A champion of liberty one day, a central planner the next.
Ron Paul? Yep. I quickly checked his name and moved on to a far more complex task: fixing my daughter a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
After spending six months analyzing each candidate’s every move for three hours a day, five days a week, it never occurred to me that my decision to vote for the quirky congressman from Texas would happen as fast as a tornado whipping through an Amarillo parking lot. After all, who would vote for a candidate that criticized the killing of Osama bin Laden, blamed U.S. foreign policy for Sept. 11 and wants to abolish Social Security?
Certainly not me.
But I also would never vote for a GOP candidate who was the godfather of Obamacare, or another who added $7 trillion to Medicare’s debt or yet another who bashed Paul Ryan one week and venture capital the next. Faced with this truckload of big government Republicans, I cast my vote for the only candidate who spent his entire public career standing athwart history yelling “stop” to an ever-expanding centralized state.
While Romney was distancing himself from Ronald Reagan, Paul was fighting with Republicans to balance the budget for the first time in a generation. While Santorum was supporting an unprecedented expansion of entitlement spending, Paul was warning of a great recession that would be caused by government interference in the housing market. And while Gingrich was talking about how he would build up the federal government to push his conservative agenda, Congressman Paul spent all his waking hours focused on dismembering that big government beast.
It was the first “protest” vote I’ve ever cast, and it felt … well, it felt good. Suddenly I understood a bit better why the Ross Perot or the Pat Buchanan or the Ralph Nader voters did what they did.
They thought the system was so broken that they couldn’t sit out but also couldn’t stomach voting for a conventional candidate at a time of unconventional problems.
Do I think a Ron Paul presidency is ever possible? No, I don’t. But I do want some of the Pauline virtues of candor and non-poll-tested conviction to play a larger role in our politics.
So now I’ve cast my protest vote. It felt good.
What I really want, though, is a party and a politics that’s commensurate with the problems and possibilities of the country. We’ll get there one day — and then we can focus on progress, not protest.
A guest columnist for POLITICO, Joe Scarborough hosts “Morning Joe” on MSNBC and represented Florida’s 1st Congressional District in the House of Representatives from 1995 to 2001.


In Emergency Session, U.N. Declares Florida a Rogue State reported by Andy Borowitz

In Emergency Session, U.N. Declares Florida a Rogue State
Status of Democracy ‘Fragile,’ Spokesperson Says

NEW YORK (The Borowitz Report) – Calling the status of democracy in the Sunshine State “fragile at best,” the United Nations met in emergency session today to declare Florida a rogue state.

The actions by Florida Gov. Rick Scott to purge the voter rolls in his state might have inspired the vote by the U.N., but as the spokesperson for the U.N. Secretary-General said, “We’ve had problems with elections in Florida before.”

The vote means the U.N. could soon dispatch a team of observers to Florida, led by diplomats from such democracies as Egypt and Libya.

Gov. Scott’s voter purge was only the latest in a series of events “that reveal a near-total breakdown of the rule of law in Florida,” the U.N. spokesperson said.

“This is a state where people have been killed for carrying Skittles and iced tea, or had their faces eaten off by zombies high on bath salts,” he said. “And now this thing with Rick Scott.”

In other Florida news, former Gov. Jeb Bush yesterday risked alienating his fellow Republicans by making what Fox News called “a series of dangerously sane remarks.”

In stating that the current Republican Party would not be hospitable to the likes of Ronald Reagan, Fox reported, “Jeb Bush displayed a level of sanity that makes most of his fellow Republicans extremely uncomfortable.”

Mr. Bush was said to be huddling with his advisers to come up with a statement unhinged enough to win his way back into the hearts of the Republican mainstream, perhaps by advocating legal marriage between a man and an assault rifle.

Elsewhere on the political scene, President Obama today said he “misspoke” when he said last week that the private sector of the economy was fine: “What I meant to say was that Mitt Romney is a dick.”

And after a woman was arrested for cooking meth in a Missouri Walmart, the company released the following statement: “Walmart has a strict policy against American-made products.”


How Citizens United helped Scott Walker win in Wisconsin | Amy Goodman

How Citizens United helped Scott Walker win in Wisconsin | Amy Goodman

It's no coincidence he's the first governor to survive recall -- after the supreme court took the cap off corporate campaign finance Central to Walker's win was a massive infusion of campaign cash, saturating Wisconsin with months of political advertising. His win signals less a loss for the unions than a loss for our democracy in this post-Citizens United era, when elections can be bought with the help of a few billionaires. According to Forbes magazine, 14 billionaires made contributions to Walker, only one of whom lives in Wisconsin. Among the 13 out-of-state billionaires was Christy Walton, the widow of John T Walton, son of Walmart founder Sam Walton. Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz notes, 'the six heirs to the Walmart empire command wealth of $69.7bn, which is equivalent to the wealth of the entire bottom 30% of US society.' That is almost 95 million people.

Read the rest of the story HERE:

Ran across this very smart doggie, carrying a big sign with an important message

----- Holder Assigns U.S. Attorneys to Investigate Possible Classified Leaks

Source: New York Times

Breaking News Alert
The New York Times
Friday, June 8, 2012 -- 7:04 PM EDT

Holder Assigns U.S. Attorneys to Investigate Possible Classified Leaks

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said in a statement on Friday that two United States attorneys had been assigned to investigate possible unauthorized disclosures of classified information.
Ronald C. Machen Jr., the attorney for the District of Columbia, and Rod J. Rosenstein of the District of Maryland will lead separate criminal investigations being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

“The unauthorized disclosure of classified information can compromise the security of this country and all Americans, and it will not be tolerated,” Mr. Holder said in the statement.

Earlier on Friday, President Obama rebutted accusations that his administration leaked information about a terrorist “kill list” and cyberwarfare to make himself look tough in an election year. Without confirming the accuracy of the information — which was revealed in two articles in The New York Times last week — Mr. Obama said that such leaks dealt with the safety of the American people, its military and its allies.

Read More:

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/?emc=na

Mark Twain - with an insight worth pondering

Our own Economy Group has the BEST images: Here is the one for today. VERY pertinent for right now

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