“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Thursday, December 13, 2012

US, Uk and French ramp up support for Syrian rebels. An up close and personal look at our new head hacking allies. Not for the weak of heart.

More evidence that the Obama administration is backing jihadists

Paul Joseph Watson
December 10, 2012

A disturbing YouTube video shows Syrian rebels making a child behead an unarmed prisoner – another shocking example of how many of the militants the Obama administration is backing in Syria are Islamic extremists and terrorists.

The clip shows a child hacking away at the head of a bound prisoner with a machete. The video then cuts to militants displaying the man’s severed head while chanting “Allahu Akbar”. Other beheaded prisoners can also be seen in the footage.

The video once again illustrates how the “Syrian rebels” who have been backed by the Obama administration to the tune of over $200 million dollars are committing atrocities on a routine basis on a par with anything the Assad regime has been accused of, and again emphasizes that they are not democratic freedom fighters but jihadist extremists who will stop at nothing to achieve their goals, even to the point of making children do their dirty work for them.

After first denying the presence of Al-Qaeda militants in Syria, the mainstream media now admits that they are the primary front line fighters in all the major battles. In a report yesterday, the New York Times concedes that the Nusra Front, “a direct offshoot of Al Qaeda in Iraq,” “has become one of the uprising’s most effective fighting forces” and whose ally, Al-Qaeda in Iraq, has “killed numerous American troops in Iraq.”

A recent McClatchy Newspapers report also documented how the same group “has become essential to the frontline operations of the rebels fighting to topple Assad,” that the group is “critical to the rebels’ military advance” and how it conducts the “heaviest frontline fighting” in “battle after battle across the country.”
A recent Lebanon Daily Star report also highlighted the fact that “Many of the fighters are non-Syrian,” and that the FSA rebels are not even being allowed to take part in some battles by the Al-Qaeda commanders.
Western-backed rebels in Syria have openly espoused their plan to impose draconian Sharia law across the region and have gone about the task by ransacking Christian churches while slaughtering prisoners in cold blood.

They have also made brazen threats to carry out ethnic cleansing against other Syrians who refuse to accept their rule by means of chemical weapons.

There are also innumerable You Tube videos that show opposition forces flying the Al-Qaeda flag – the same distinctive black flag with white Arabic lettering that was flown by rioters during anti-U.S. demonstrations in numerous countries earlier this year.

Another opposition fighter recently spoke of his desire to see the Al-Qaeda flag fly over the White House once the rebels are victorious across the region.
Videos have also emerged of opposition rebels burning U.S. flags while chanting anti-American slogans.

Given recent events in both Libya and Egypt, where chaos and bloodshed has ensued as a consequence of extremist factions backed by the Obama administration seizing power, the White House’s support for Jihadist rebels in Syria is leading down the same path, only with a far graver potential outcome given the fact that rebel militants have openly espoused their desire to ethnically cleanse Syria’s minority Alawite population.

Paul Joseph Watson is the editor and writer for and Prison He is the author of Order Out Of Chaos. Watson is also a host for Infowars Nightly News.

This article was posted: Monday, December 10, 2012 at 5:53 am



  1. Almost makes one believe this commenter has it right, doesn't it --


    Who is Obama? One can, now, conclude that, for all intents and purposes, he is a Muslim. That was a claim recently made by someone in Wright's church to Jerome Corsi.

    Obama is aiding and abetting the Rise of Islam. He is helping the Muslim Brotherhood bring about islam's much vaunted Caliphate.

    Obama has embraced the cause of the Muslim Brotherhood, and We the People of the United States are Barack Obama's unwitting but "useful idiots".

  2. Is there any war quite filthy enough for us not to get involved in?

    Has our level of cynicism become so complete that there Is no side that we will not take?

    The answer is no.

    1. All for the Caliphate.

      heh, aw gawd

    2. 20 brand spanking new F-16's to Egypt.

  3. Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R- UT) told Breitbart News on Wednesday that he has been “thwarted” by the State Department from seeing any Americans who survived the deadly attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi. Many people forget that there were Americans who survived the Benghazi attack, some of whom were badly injured and are still recovering.

    Why in the world would they be kept away from the press, and Congressmen? I thought Barky wanted to get to the bottom of Benghazi. He said no one wanted the truth more than he. He was going to issue a report after the election. He said he issued all necessary orders.....

  4. Head hacking by the young now OkeeDokee -


  5. That's Classified, boobie

    Well beyond the Congressman's clearance level.

    You know what they say...

    Loose lips sink ships.

    The President, Hiillary and General P all 'KNOW' what happened.
    General P was fired.

  6. Ah, it's fun to be proven right.

    “Further, more grain will be available for non-ethanol use than any other time in history with the single exception of last year,” said RFA Vice President, Research and Analysis Geoff Cooper. “In fact, grain available for non-ethanol use in 2012/13 will be 15% higher than 10 years ago in 2003/04. Meanwhile global population grew 9.8% during this period.”

    Cornpone Quarterly

    1. What happened of course, is that when corn got up to around $4.00/$4.50 per bushel (about $0.08/lb) unsubsidized farmers around the world could afford to grow it.

      Even with the U.S. losing 4 Billion Bushels from the drought there was as much corn harvested globally this year as last.

  7. Rufus,

    Your argument about a revenue problem versus a spending problem is really quite silly. The problem is the gap between revenue and spending and how to close it.

    1. You have no idea what you're talking about. What would be silly would be to drastically cut spending back from the historical average in the middle of a stagnant/falling economy.

      We normally take in about 19% of GDP in revenues to run the national government. We dropped to 15.5% in 2009, and haven't budged an inch off of that level even though Nominal GDP has increased by 15%, or so.

      Meanwhile, our largest corporations continue to pay very little to no taxes, and hide their money in offshore dodges (thus, making the money unavailable to both taxation, AND investment.)

    2. Ash, we have to look to the historical norm.
      Federal spending has run in the 21% range ... forever.

      Revenue ran at about 19% of GDP

      The gap covered by borrowing.

      If spending is back to historical levels, well then ...

      Time to do the same with revenue.
      After revenue returns to the historical norm, that is when to have the debate about spending priorities.

    3. We traditionally spend about 21% of GDP through the federal government.

      This means we normally run about a 2% deficit. This allows for a "little" inflation, which tends to keep the engine, and gears well-oiled, and operating smoothly.

      That's the whole idea of having a fiat currency.

    4. Rufus, you are blowing smoke.

      I haven't claimed one should cut spending in a recession but now that you mention it, yes, spending needs to be cut to help bring the deficit under control. Also, more revenue needs to be raised to narrow the deficit. The tax cutters also make the same argument as you - 'a slow economy is not the time to raise taxes'. Deficits, especially this large, can not be run forever and pols always use the excuse of "not now, the timing is not right". Spending needs to be cut AND revenue needs to be raised.

      With respect to GDP, as even you argued recently, it is a very rough and broad measure of the economy and hence not that useful. You can 'run your numbers' til you are blue in the face with revenues and expeditures relative to GDP but that won't do a damn thing to narrow the deficit. For example, just because America has spent x% of GDP on the Military doesn't mean it should keep doing so.

    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    6. The challenge, ash, is with thepublic.

      Even boobie wants to maintain the socialist norm, when it benefits him.

      There is no support for cuts.
      Not for cutting the defense budget, not for cutting food stamps.

      Or we'd have had budget austerity.

      'Starving the Beast' ...
      A policy that has failed, miserably.

    7. Rat, how much will taxes have to be raised to bring revenue in line with the historical norm of GDP? Maybe a Federal Sales tax should be started, is that your fix? What rate should the feds levy on everything?

    8. I agree Rat, the US public has shown little sanity, no cuts and no taxes. There is a limit to the ability of the printing press to maintain this insanity though and I wonder when we will see it. I've been thinking that it will be once the Euros work through their problems but, maybe not.

    9. 'Starving the Beast' ...
      A policy that has failed, miserably.

      That's disingenuous and you know it.

      The technical details of the SS fix have been established. The public is generally in line with phased-in reform. As I have linked many times before, SS admin costs are very low making it one of the most efficient programs in both the public and the private sector.

      The bigger problem is Medicare (Medicaid a smaller version) and both of these "entitlement" programs are wrapped up in the health care mess. Fix health care and you fix Medicare. Some would say the other way around, but they are flip sides of a bigger problem. One excellent place to start would be prosecuting Medicare fraud, which the Obama administration has done, health care fraud cases have risen sharply under Obama's term.

      (Sidebar: The "medium-information content bloggers like to put on their water cooler chat hats by claiming the Medicare fee for service model is to blame for the explosion of fraud. Like claiming that the friendly bartender made me get drunk.)

      I could rant some more but I suspect there is some salting of the stew going on.

      The public doesn't support military cuts? That's news to me.

      The food stamp (SNAP) program needs some work - but it's a technical fix to the "kludgeocracy."

      Rufus is right. It's the revenue.

    10. DDR, how, specifically, do you raise the revenue needed? How much of a tax increase is needed to raise the (roughly) 2% of GDP required?

  8. Is 'Prison Planet' really a viable source?

  9. Yep those Syrian beheadings are not newsworthy....

    What is newsworthy and a war crime is how Israel is going to build houses on a barren hilltop, 2 miles from Jerusalem.

    Let's not lose our perspective folks. Building homes on sacred Islamic trust lands is the problem.

  10. The Social Security Trust Fund takes in more than it pays out Every Year. On top of that it has a $2.7 Billion positive balance.

    It is, surely, not the problem.

    1. The projections aren't so rosy, are they? what with the boomers entering retirement age and a 'lack' of gainfully employed youth to support them?

    2. To raise revenue:

      1) Raise Taxes on the top 2%

      2) Put an end to the Corporate "Offshore Dodge" - Collect the damned taxes in the year the profit is earned.

      3) Tax "Income" as Income - regardless of the source.

      4) Raise the Minimum Wage.

      5) Invest in needed long-term infrastructure improvements - eg. 3,000 ethanol biorefineries. :)

      Just for starters.

    3. And, one more time for those too dense to understand numbers:

      Our current deficit is from historically low tax collections, not from spending.

      Spending, this year, will be right in line with long-term norms - about 21% of GDP. And, that ain't "blowin' smoke."

    4. A quick back of the napkin estimate on tax increase required to raise 2% more of GDP is about a 12.5% across the board tax increase (~15 trillion GDP yielded 2.4 trillion in tax receipts in 2011) which gets you back to a 2.4 trillion deficit (2% of GDP) per year.

      p.s. taxing that "offshore dodge" has been difficult to acheive to date and there is little prospect of that changing. I'd be curious as to how it could be ended effectively.

    5. if norm for spending is 21% and the desired gap is 2% one needs to get to 19% of gdp for revenue. If memory serves 2011 gdp rev was 15.5%. 3.5% of gdp tax increase would be one heckuva big nut - roughly 20% across the board tax increase based on rough numbers above.

  11. There is no Trust fund.

    Payroll taxes for FICA are not dedicated to SS.
    That was decided by the Supremes, in 1960.

    DRR the military budget continues to expand, there have been no cuts. If that is news to you, read more.

    There is no need for a Federal sales tax, or a VAT.

    Clinton/Gingrich ran caash flow surplus, with niether. The 'solution' to the challenge can be found in the tax&spend policies of Clinton/Gingrich.

    1. Ash, the "Baby Boom" was built into the last SS fix. The people that made the "fix" were, themselves, baby boomers. They were well aware of the fact that they "existed."

      8% Unemployment, however, is not, and never has been, in Anyone's projections.

      We HAVE to get people back to work (and, at a "living wage.")

    2. And, btw, before we get all completely het up, and discombobulated about "gummint debt," let's keep in mind that the world is so worried about it that the U.S. Government can borrow, literally, Trillions of Dollars for 10 yrs. at 1.6%.

    3. really!? the SS fix has accounted for the Demographic bulge of the aging boomers? What did they do to 'fix' that?

      To the best of my knowledge the aging demographic is a looming problem for health care, pensions (both public and private) and SS. I'm real curious as to what fix they came up with. Please tell.

    4. Yes, the US gov is able to borrow cheap, real cheap! Ironically one of the reasons for that is the back stopping done by the Feds printing press. When, if, the worm turns things won't be pretty. The US debt looks good compared to Spain's and Italy's but once they drop off the radar screen... well, I'd be careful thinking the cheap money will continue ad infinitum.

    5. Of course it won't. Right now we just happen to be one of the better houses in a really shitty neighborhood.

    6. DRR the military budget continues to expand, there have been no cuts. If that is news to you, read more.

      You said that "starve the beast" failed because the public supports the beast. The public does not support an expanding military budget. (The ME wind-down is what - a couple trillion dollar peanut?)

      As for the SS "fix." I will borrow DR's advice: read more. I don't have time right now but some very workable plans have been proposed by the policy number crunchers. Check out Ezra Klein and Huffington Post.

    7. The biggest thing the prior SS Commission didn't account for was a dip into the worst recession since the Great Depression.

      Nor did they account for 13 Years of Declining Real Income.

    8. And, remember, somewhere around $80 or $90 Billion of SS Income is coming back online Jan 1 when that 2% SS Reduction goes away.

      And, don't forget the $65 Billion in Afghanistan War Costs that will be dropping off.

    9. DDR, I haven't the time, nor the inclination, to read up on the details of SS but proposed "workable plans" are not implemented "workable plans". Unfortunately that is a big difference. Hopefully workable plans will be adopted.

    10. p.s. rufus said SS has been fixed. I'm still curious what that fix is. I like good news!

      unfortunately, rufus, the recession is a fact. The projections for the foreseeable future appear to be flat to very slow growth and an aging demographci.

    11. It's running a surplus (in spite of having a holiday on 16% of the receipts.)

      How much more "fixed" do you want it?

      As for the recession: Surely you don't think raising taxes/reducing income on the poorest among us is the way to fix THAT.

      If they "really" wanted to raise SS revenues they would just make the SS taxes apply to, say, the first $200,000.00 of Income, and not just to the initial $110,000.00.

    12. The Republican Party is like the old Southern Plantation Owner.

      It loses half its money gambling, and then goes home in a drunken rage, and informs the slaves their rations are being cut, and that they'll be working more hours.

    13. proposed "workable plans" are not implemented "workable plans".

      The obstacles are political, not technical or even particularly policy-related. That was my original point! DR implied the obstacles derive from some deficiency of the public, which is wrong. You, OTOH, are tilting at windmills. I'm not even sure what your argument is.

      SS can be "modified" by incrementally raising the retirement age, means testing, and fiddling with the caps. All incremental. No huge pain required at the level of John and Jane Public. But none of this is where the real fiscal imbalances play out. It's just a playing card to allow the republicans to save face when they agree to dissolve the MIC.

      I can link The King again if you like. I thought his arm waving was reminiscent of something.

    14. My argument is primarily that both revenue AND expenditures need be addressed to narrow the fiscal gap, which I believe is unsustainable the way it is. I find it odd that most every argument in the US gets divided up into two teams represented by the republicans and the democrats. In this case the repubs yell "IT IS A SPENDING PROBLEM" and the dems yesl "IT IS A REVENUE PROBLEM". Silly really but, hey, that is what you guys are doing.

      With respect to SS I am simply curious as to how it will work out. Given that there is no actual reserve fund (unlike Canada and private pensions for example) and the demographics are going upside down pear shaped I don't understand how SS can not become a drain on the taxpayer. You assure me a little nip here and a tuck there and all will be fine. I find that unlikely given funds that actually have reserves that even earn returns are stuggling to meet their obligations but you and Rufus are quite confident SS is fine.

    15. While parliamentary forms of government do have some advantages to the US system they still suffer from the actions of politcal creatures.

      In Canada they made a modest adjustment to an supplement to pensions citing the funding problems and demographics I've referred to. Unfortunately the changes aren't slated to start until after the vast majority of the boomers hit retirement. Cynical and much like slamming the barn door shut after the horses have fled but the politicians know where the votes are and the boomers vote.

    16. One thing that wasn't foreseen is, only about 25% are waiting to collect their Maximum Benefits. An overwhelming majority are taking their benefits (and, thus, much reduced payments) at 62.

  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

  13. And, then, there's THIS (which everyone seems to be ignoring:)

    The prospect of cutting Medicare benefits in a “fiscal cliff” deal has prompted an outcry from concerned liberals. But whether or not legislators actually end up raising the Medicare age or paring back Social Security payments, domestic benefits and services—ranging from veterans’ health care and low-income housing to Head Start programs—are going to get squeezed over the next 10 years.

    Last year’s debt-ceiling agreement included $1.5 trillion in cuts to discretionary programs through 10-year spending caps that are already in effect. According to a new analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the domestic programs subject to the spending caps will face a $615 billion shortfall if they keep their benefits and services at 2012 levels. If such, they’ll be forced to scale back unless Congress decides otherwise—and right now, the Republicans want even less money spent on these domestic programs, not more.

    These cuts are, actually, just now kicking in

    The truth in this story isn't anywhere near what some of the less-informed folks think it is.

  14. No, no, no! This is the exact wrong way to go about it. The problem with the sequester cuts is the same problem that we see in the "fiscal cliff" scenario: it threatens ordinary American citizens. If lawmakers were actually motivated to save or help ordinary American citizens, they would not send so many of them off to die hopelessly in Afghanistan. If you tell lawmakers that their failure to act will imperil their constituents, they will not act. I feel that recent history overwhelmingly confirms this.

    "Instead of coming up with schemes to hurt the American people if no grand bargain is reached," Matt Yglesias suggests, "come up with a scheme to hurt the politicians in question." Exactly. If we come to the point where we are talking about a second set of sequestration "trigger" cuts, then we need to aim the trigger at lawmakers. Your lawmakers will never be motivated by the pain that could be visited upon you, so we need to force them into a position where they start bearing the cost for their incompetence.

    1. Ideally, the punishments meted out should begin reasonably and eventually proceed to levels that are both cruel (so that it really hurts them) and comedic (so that we can all enjoy it). So, let's say that their failure to act should trigger a massive reduction in their take-home pay, right off the bat. After another week of inaction, they lose their office funding. A third week costs them their family health benefits. A fourth week costs them their privileges. After five weeks, they get punched in the face every day. And we continue from there, until their punishments are so severe and their public humiliation so acute that they are desperate to come to an agreement.

      Naturally, we live in a free society, and there is no reason why anyone should feel forced to endure this if they don't want to, so I'll suggest that any lawmaker who cannot endure this pain is allowed to end it immediately by using the "safe word," which in this case would be, "I resign, effective immediately."

      If we must have some set of triggered mishaps and punishments, then this way probably leads to better overall outcomes for actual human Americans than any other. So anyone who suggests any other kind of "Sequester II" is a straight-up monster.

      Sequestration done right

  15. Israel's attorney general has indicted Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on two corruption charges, sparking calls for the resignation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's top political ally just weeks before Israelis are set to vote in parliamentary elections.

    Attorney General Yehudah Weinstein accused the foreign minister of fraud and breach of trust for allegedly promoting a diplomat who leaked information to Mr. Lieberman from a police investigation in the corruption case against him. The attorney general said he dropped more serious charges against Mr. Lieberman of money laundering, harrassing witnesses and accepting bribes, citing lack of sufficient evidence.

  16. The Minister for Women Jo Swinson last week urged the police to investigate anyone suspected of taking advantage of students or forcing vulnerable women into prostitution, in response to a question by the Labour MP and former minister Helen Goodman about

    The investigation followed mounting concern that rising student fees could be forcing young people into sex work to cover their debt with experts claiming the site was the “tip of the iceberg”.


    The “assessor” used the name and former address of a top academic at a leading British university in his dealings with potential students. The academic has since contacted the police.

  17. Why Ash, you are making a good deal of sense today. And I am in sympathy with you regarding Rufus II.

    Take this, for example -

    The Republican Party is like the old Southern Plantation Owner.

    It loses half its money gambling, and then goes home in a drunken rage, and informs the slaves their rations are being cut, and that they'll be working more hours.

    How can one possibly argue with this?

    I have thought for a long time now that all the alcoholic and drug imagery in his posts along with the helter skelter reasoning may indicate that his problems might only be solved by -

    Controversial Surgery for Addiction That Burns Away The Brain’s Pleasure Center

    How far should doctors go in attempting to cure addiction? In China, some physicians are taking the most extreme measures. By destroying parts of the brain’s “pleasure centers” in heroin addicts and alcoholics, these neurosurgeons hope to stop drug cravings. But damaging the brain region involved in addictive desires risks permanently ending the entire spectrum of natural longings and emotions, including the ability to feel joy.

    One should weigh carefully the benefits derived over against the disadvantages incurred by any action. Is it better to feel happy and make no sense, or to be somewhat more rational with a possible increase in sadness?

  18. .

    The Status of Social Security today

    Social Security is not sustainable over the long term at current benefit and tax rates. Beginning in 2010 and continuing in 2011, the program paid more in benefits and expenses than it collected in taxes and other noninterest income, and the 2012 Trustees Report projects this pattern to continue for the next 75 years. The Trustees estimate that the trust funds will be exhausted by 2033. At that point, payroll taxes and other income will flow into the fund but will be sufficient to pay only 75% of program costs. As reported in the 2012 Trustees Report, the projected shortfall over the next 75 years is 2.67% of taxable payroll.

    (Of course, I might be considered part of less-informed.)


    1. I've seen the same bunch miss receipts by $100 Billion One Year Out.

    2. .

      You have said SS has run surpluses.

      Where did you get your numbers from?


    3. The Republicans hate Social Security. They have always hated Social Security. They have fought it since Day One. They have always believed that every dollar to Social Security was a dollar out of their Cayman Islands/Swiss Alps/Bermuda/etc. Tax Dodge.

      Any shortfall could be easily solved by raising the caps a bit.

      Alan Grayson was right. All the Republicans want is for you to labor at low wages for as long as you can, and then get sick and die quickly.

      The Republican Party is the Party of Scum.

    4. The simple fact that SS has $2.7 Trillion in its Trust Fund doesn't tell you anything?

      Here's the year-ending budget numbers

      Treasury Report

    5. Why in the whirled would Interest Income not be included?

      Why are the debts owed to the Trust Fund considered no good?

    6. I was under the impression that the trust fund was an accounting term and that there is no SS money actually invested somewhere other than on the US government books unlike private pension plans or the CPP (Canadian Pension Plan).

    7. Just "google" it. There is a Trust Fund, enacted under law. The only difference between your pension, and the Trust Fund is that it is required, by law, to invest its money in "Special" Govt. Bonds.

      It is in the black to the tune of $2.7 Trillion.

    8. .

      Just as I thought, Ruf. You are still suffering under the delusion that there is an actual "trust fund".

      SS is a pay-as-you-go system. The Trustees have said as much.

      See the attached chart. It's nice and simple and explains the 'surplus' for those willing to look.

      2011 SS Revenues/Expenditures

      The chart shows revenues of $805.1 billion and expenditures of $736.1 billion leaving a surplus of $69 billion. However, only the more-informed would actually believe that was a true surplus.

      Note that within that $805.1 billion, $114.4 billion is interest. However, since the SS bonds are merely an accounting gimmick, they are worth shit. They are a 'promise'. They are not something tangible that can be sold on the open market. That's why when SSA gives summaries of the Trustees reports they talk so often about non-interest revenues.

      SS didn't end up with a $69 billion surplus in 2011. They ended up with a $45 billion deficit.

      Social Security last as long as Congress says it will last.

      I'll leave talk of trillion dollar 'trust funds' to our more-informed posters.


    9. Your "proof" that SS is not a Trust Fund comes from posting an accounting of the Trust Fund?

      It IS a Trust Fund, and those Bonds that it owns ARE UNITED STATES BONDS.

    10. Rufus, thanks for the information!

      When the SS runs a deficit in a given year how does the Government redeem the Special Bonds?

    11. .

      SS tax receipts stopped supporting current benefits a couple years ago. Even if one accepts the concept of a 'trust fund', that trust fund starts getting drawn down in 2013 and continues to be drawn down into the forseeable future. By 2033, the 'trust fund' is drawn down and the system goes insolvent unless Congress pumps in more money not currently designated for the system.

      Since it all comes out of the general fund, some other program suffers or we go further into debt.


    12. Ash, the government would redeem its SS Bonds the same way you would pay a note - in cash (or, electronic bits transmitted over the intertubes, I suppose.)

      No, Q; by law, if the trust fund runs empty, and revenues don't cover benefits, benefits will be reduced.

    13. .

      Your "proof" that SS is not a Trust Fund comes from posting an accounting of the Trust Fund?

      It IS a Trust Fund, and those Bonds that it owns ARE UNITED STATES BONDS

      They are special bonds. It is the government writing an IOU to itself. By law, when SS was running surpluses, they were not allowed to to do anything with their surpluses except dump them into the general fund.

      You can shuffle the books any way you want, but it doesn't change the fact that SS tax revenue stopped supporting full SS benefits a couple of years ago.

      And even if you accept the concept of the 'trust fund' it runs out in 2033.

      How you can say SS is not a problem is beyond me.

      It's not THE biggest problem we've got, but it is a problem and with the amount of baby boomers retiring, it will soon become a very big problem without some changes.


    14. .

      SS projects that at the point they become insolvent, their revenues will cover 75% of the benefits.

      If you don't consider that a problem, well...

      What can I say.


    15. This comment has been removed by the author.

    16. Thanks again Rufus. A bond, by definition, is a promissory note usually with a term and interest rate specified. These are "Special Bonds" so does the US government both hold the bond and have the responsibility to honor the bond plus it has no interest or term attached? Is that what makes it special?

      If the answer is yes to the above then on the balance sheet the asset of holding the bond would cancel out the liability of having to honor the bond, right?

    17. Q, Millions of Americans have been paying into what they were told was a "Trust Fund" for Decades. They have been paying more than they have been withdrawing, and they have been buying Government Bonds with the Surplus.

      Now, you want to tell them that the Government Bonds are useless - that it's all been a joke? Good luck.

      BTW, the Main Headquarters of the SS Trust Fund is San Francisco. That was done on purpose. The politicians wanted to make it clear that the SS Trust Fund was separated by the whole continent from the crooks in DC.

    18. But, Rufus, you said they were "Special Bonds" that, I presume, means they are different that the usual Government Bonds which the rest of the world buys, right? Will, Citibank, or the Royal Bank of Canada, treat them as securities on par with US treasuries?

    19. Ash, they are "special" bonds because the interest rate is fixed (doesn't vary day to day, month to month, like Ordinary U.S. Bonds,) and cannot be traded. They are held BY the Social Security Trust Fund.

      I'm not sure as to the "legalities" attached to a default.

      As for projections, Q, I would imagine they might change a great deal depending on whether they are made during a time of recession/slow growth, and 8% Unemployment, or during more ordinary times.

    20. This is a lot of "angels dancing on the head of a pin" stuff, but the fact is: any problems with SS would be pretty easy to fix.

      It's purely a distraction.

    21. It is more than a distraction!

      Since the asset of holding the bond is offset by the liability of having to honor the bond (the US government is both the holder and issuer of these bonds) then SS is simply funded through year to year general fund cash flows. If the fund is, as you all seem to agree, currently running in operating deficit, then it simply adds to the obligations of the US government and adds further to the yearly deficit problem. It is an UNFUNDED LIABILITY. These are bad things, unfunded liabilities, and many pension funds around the world have them to a greater or lesser degree. It seems SS is of a large degree as the surpluses were never 'banked'.

      rufus wrote:
      "Q, Millions of Americans have been paying into what they were told was a "Trust Fund" for Decades. They have been paying more than they have been withdrawing, and they have been buying Government Bonds with the Surplus.

      Now, you want to tell them that the Government Bonds are useless - that it's all been a joke? Good luck."

      It certainly does appear to be a joke and I think a few people might be a little pissed to learn that the lauded "Trust Fund" is filled with just more politicians promises and those boys are long gone.

    22. How can you say SS is "running a deficit" when the Trust Fund "Grows" every year? Even during the worst recession since the '30's.

    23. It runs a deficit if more money is paid out than is received in revenues during any given time period. The fiscal year is a common time period.

    24. But, obviously, they ARE receiving more revenues than they are paying out. That's why the Trust Fund is growing. If part of it is from interest revenue, so be it. That's the deal. you loan money, you get interest.

    25. If you pay the interest and you receive the interest it negates itself.

    26. Maybe that will be the next Republican thang: The total negation of the Social Security Trust Fund. It wouldn't surprise me.

    27. .

      Now, you want to tell them that the Government Bonds are useless - that it's all been a joke? Good luck.

      I don't need to tell them anything. That's Congress' job, if they choose to accept it.

      I was merely responding to your comment that SS does not have a problem because it is in the black. It has the same problem every federal program has, a federal deficit in excess of $16 trillion.

      SS can no longer support the promised benefits on a pay-as-you-go basis given current and projected revenues. That means it becomes a political problem. Some people have been calling SS a ponzi scheme. It's not. It's a social program financed by SS tax revenue and starting in 2013 by general tax revenues.

      You can say the payments to SS are allocations, interest payments, or a paydown of a 'trust fund', but it all comes from the same source, the government taking in money with one hand and allocating it with the other, a political process.

      Current SS rules, or laws if you like, were created by Congress. They can be changed by Congress. The only thing stopping it is the politics involved.

      Next to Medicare/Medicaid, SS is the biggest entitlement program. I suspect it won't be the first program hit during this budget battle; but changes will likely have to be made. What the changes are (if any) will depend how much political heat the boys in OZ are willing to take.

      I might point out in passing that Obama agrees with me (or he is simply lying through his teeth). Obama said, "Social Security is not contributing to the deficit". The only way this possibly makes sense over the past couple years is if you write off the interest payments as a trifle, miasma that can be ignored.

      For those who really believe that SS benefits are a 'right',

      Fleming vs Nestor



  19. Greeks earning more than €42,000 ($55,000) per year will now be taxed at a new top rate of 42 percent, under a major new tax reform bill submitted to the country's parliament.

    Under the new guidelines published late Thursday, the new 42 percent top tax rate and earnings threshold replaces the previous level of 45 percent for incomes above €100,000 ($130,770).

  20. Q, I see where your boy, Snyder, has passed another emergency management law. Didn't the public just shoot one down by referendum?

    1. .

      They did.

      I haven't followed the details but I suspect they merely shuffled a few words around and called it a new law. Some cities (Detroit) hate the law. Others (Pontiac) accept it as their only way out without filing bankruptcy. The unions hate it. That was one of the reasons they tried passing Prop 2 (which backfired and ended up having the State, read GOP, pass the right-to-work legislation on Tuesday).

      I'm kinda for EM law, the right-to-work not so much.

      But as I've said before, they are all dicks.


    2. Charlie Rangel is not a dick. Sometimes maybe a little thick, and not so quick, but certainly not a dick. Nor a hick. Works the tax code trying to make it click. For himself. And you.

  21. The Republicans hate Social Security. They have always hated Social Security. They have fought it since Day One. They have always believed that every dollar to Social Security was a dollar out of their Cayman Islands/Swiss Alps/Bermuda/etc. Tax Dodge.

    Any shortfall could be easily solved by raising the caps a bit.

    Alan Grayson was right. All the Republicans want is for you to labor at low wages for as long as you can, and then get sick and die quickly.

    The Republican Party is the Party of Scum.

    Heh :):)

    Pure Rufus.

    One wonders sometimes who wrote most of the tax code over the years......One wonders what Charlie Rangel was doing all those years.....

    In September 2008, Rangel's attorney, Lanny Davis, disclosed that Rangel had failed to report on his tax returns or in congressional disclosure forms $75,000 in income he had received for renting his Dominican villa. That month, Rangel paid $10,800 to cover his liability for the related back taxes.[117][118] He had owed back taxes for at least three years. The Ways and Means Committee writes the U.S. tax code, and as such his failure to pay taxes himself led to heavy criticism.[118].....

    On September 24, 2008, the House Ethics Committee announced that it would investigate whether Rangel had violated its code of conduct or any law or other regulation related to his performance of his duties.[120] On November 23, 2008, The New York Post reported that Rangel took a "homestead" tax break on his Washington, DC, house for years, while simultaneously occupying multiple New York City rent-stabilized apartments, "possibly violating laws and regulations in both cases."[121] In January 2009, Republican Representative John R. Carter introduced the Rangel Rule Act of 2009 (H.R. 735), a tongue-in-cheek proposal that would have allowed all taxpayers to not pay penalties and interest on back taxes, in reference to Rangel not yet having paid his.[122]....

    In November 2008, following reports by The New York Times, Republican Congressmen asked the House Ethics Committee to look into Rangel's defense of a tax shelter approved by his Ways and Means Committee. One of the four companies that benefited from the loophole was Nabors Industries, which opened headquarters in Bermuda as a foreign corporation.[123] Under the loophole, Nabors receives tens of millions of dollars in tax breaks. In 2004, Rangel had led opposition to the tax breaks.[123] Nabors donated $1 million in 2006, and $100,000 later, to the City College of New York school named after Rangel.


  22. Rufus be one of the first to post a comment on John Boehner's Website and tax and spending projections here -

    1. You might also want to comment here -

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