In discussions with some of my conservative friends, I quite often say that in my lifetime - since 1959 - George W. Bush is the hands-down winner as the worst president. Hands-down.
They look at me like I'm on crack. "No, no, no! What about Tricky Dick? Carter? Clinton? Hell, even after only 2 1/2 years, Obama is WAY worse. What are you thinking?"
Although there are many specifics I bring up, there is one big-dog issue that drives my opinion: The USA PATRIOT Act.
In one fell swoop, that act has wrought more damage on America, in such a short period of time, than anything that was enacted before or since.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. We had the Federal Reserve act, and the Harrison Narcotic Tax act, and the "New Deal", and the "Great Society", and Affirmative Action, and CRA and all kinds of socialist or fascist laws.
All of those weakened the American spirit and softened the body - setting us up for the big punch. The USA PATRIOT act is the brass-knuckled sucker punch that puts us down. Most Americans didn't even see it coming, or, if they were paying attention, they actually embraced it.
Gotta protect us from all of those crazy Muslims, after all. By any means necessary.
Now, I don't talk about the USA PATRIOT act as some sort of an academic exercise. I used to enforce portions of it. If you're interested, click here ("Sunday Grumpy: It's For Your Protection") to see an article I posted about a year ago.
I just saw an article on the Shenandoah blog (h/t to Gunrights4US for the link) that talks about similar encroachments on our financial and mobility freedoms.... all courtesy of the USA PATRIOT act. Without giving away the whole article, if your plan is to take off to some foreign country with your bullion and cash, you'd better get moving.
Or change your plans.
BTW, Carter was a bumbling boob. He was an embarassment to America, but did little real damage. Clinton was worse, but what he did was accomplished with the blessing and consent of a Republican congress. Obama is just a socialist using the tools given him by Bush and his other predecessors to advance his agenda.
I'm a pragmatist. I evaluate what I see, process that information, make decisions and take actions. I try and sift through the hyperbole and get to the facts.
The facts I see show me that nothing is going to happen to make real change in our country. The road we're on will not change. The only unknown is how long it will take.
I saw Michelle Bachmann on Judge Napalitano's Fox show. He asked her about the USA PATRIOT Act and how she would vote on its pending extension. She hemmed and hawed and squirmed. The bottom line: Bachmann won't condemn it.
As such, she will never get my vote should she decide to run for president.
I like her on a number of other issues, such as budget and fiscal matters. But the USA PATRIOT act is a deal-breaker. Anyone who supports that bastardization of the Constitution does not believe in liberty. Plain and simple.
I don't care about compromise. I don't care about cutting deals for the "greater good". I don't care about "needing extreme measures for extreme times" or whatever the pseudo-patriotic claptrap might be. You either believe in the Constitution or you don't. Part of my definition of an American is one who willingly assumes personal risk in exchange for freedom.
Bachmann is the Queen of the Tea Party caucus in the Congress. These folks are supposedly our last, best hope to rein in this out-of-control spending.
Who thinks the debt limit won't be increased? Oh, they may say we're getting this-and-that spending cut, but the limit WILL be increased.
According to the CBO, even Paul Ryan's proposal ONLY increases the national debt by some $5 trillion dollars. If you listen to the president and his Imperial Scribes (the press), that's the proposal which will leave babies piled in the street right next to the bones of the disabled that have been cast aside by the heartless Republicans.
Yeah, it has a chance...
Accept The Challenge
I write this stuff up - when I'm all full of disgust and anger - and by the time I'm done, I'm in the same spot, but just a bit more relaxed 'cause I get to blow off some steam!
My admittedly gloomy outlook remains unchanged: Our personal plans need to revolve around minimizing the impact of what's coming down the road. "Make hay" while you are still able, and put as much away as possible.
I believe our ability to change things via the vote has passed. Both major parties are in the bag. The Republicans have the Tea Partiers to deal with right now, but soon enough, they'll be bought and paid for.
Why so skeptical? The Republicans stormed Washington on a promise to cut $100 billion this year. They settled for what amounts to $350 million.
To put THAT into perspective, we're currently borrowing $188 million per hour to keep this rickety ship afloat. So, less than 2 hours after you read these words, all of the "hard-fought" savings will already be gone.
And I don't have any words of wisdom for the dolts in DC anyways. If they cut the 40% of our current expenditures that are borrowed, this joint would crash and burn - litterally - in a couple of days. The rioting in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East would seem like a calm walk on the beach compared to what would happen here.
So no changes will be made. Voluntarily. It will crash under its own bloated carcass.
The personal plan remains unchanged: Food, equipment, precious metals, land, guns, ammo, fuel, medical supplies and water. Knowledge to convert raw materials into finished goods, and to produce as much of my own raw materials as possible.
I don't make my own beer, bread, cheese, sprouts or other items because I think it's cool. I do it because I like consuming those things and they may not be available at some time in the future. Finished goods also have a higher barter value in the event the dollar becomes totally worthless and the black market takes hold.
I fully expect at some time in the not too distant future (a couple of years) that the US Treasury debt will regain its "neutral" rating from S&P. I don't think we'll deserve it, but it will happen anyways, either via statistical manipulation or outright threats.
I think when it happens, gold and silver will be hurt.
Yet, I will continue to acquire both. Why? Because when the facade finally cracks for good, they will be one of the only trusted stores of wealth outside of tangible goods.
Selling it and converting it to cash or goods might be problematic, but that's something that I'll deal with at that time. I can only haul and protect so much food, equipment and ammo. PMs have always represented a compact store of wealth, and I believe they will continue to do so in the future.
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