Monday, October 28, 2013

Daily Briefing For Monday, October 28, 2013

The Jig Saw Puzzle That Is Our Current Situation

As a kid, people would give me jig saw puzzles as gifts.  Honestly, I didn't like them.  I still don't.  I suspect it's because I can't pay attention long enough to actually complete one.  Plus, it seems rather mundane to me.  Sorting all the little pieces based on their color, looking for border pieces, and to what end?  Just so you can say you spent hours of your life - hours you will never get back - piecing it all together?

Other types of puzzles can be quite enjoyable.  The second best thing about being a trial lawyer was trying cases in the courtroom.  The best thing about being a trial lawyer, for me, is the puzzle of trial preparation.  I absolutely loved it.  Going into a conference room, closing the door, spreading the entire litigation file over the table, and scribbling notes on a white board about strategies, themes, and specific tactics to use during a given situation in the court room - that was awesome.  I learned early on that it's okay to lose in court, provided you didn't lose because you weren't prepared.  That would be inexcusable.  I also learned that most lawyers didn't prep to the extent I did, which gave me a tremendous advantage in front of the jury.

My wife is also a lover of puzzles - even jig saw ones.  And she's one of the smartest people I know.  I'm talking SAT-and-ACT-scores-in-the-stratosphere/full-ride-to-college/passed-the-entire-CPA-exam-on-the-first-try kind of smart.  So it's no wonder that she likes puzzles such as Sudoku and Words With Friends. 

What she will be quick to tell you is that she isn't a big consumer of news.  She overloads on financial reporting, SEC regulations (and I don't mean the South Eastern Conference) and FASB accounting standards all day long, and so when she's done she'd rather not spend time digesting news and information.  That is left to me, and I am to feed her important news from time to time as I see fitting.

The other night, we were talking about the news and current events, and I told her how alarmed I was to see how much our government is growing, how our nation's finances are in peril and how our civil liberties have been eroded over the last twenty years.  I shared my thought that the pace of this growth and erosion has picked up considerably since 2001.  She responded by saying that she isn't fully aware of what I was talking about (an intellectually honest answer) and asked me to pull together some articles highlighting my concerns.  I suspect her lack of information on these issues stems largely from the fact that it requires people to put pieces of a puzzle together - news articles, government documents, and data - from a large number of sources.

I started pulling information together on Saturday evening (because my life is just that exciting...I surf the net on Saturday nights, looking for gloom and doom articles), and by Sunday evening, I had amassed a number of stories to share with her.  It dawned on me this compendium might be of some help to you as you discuss these matters with your friends.

I set two rules for myself to follow during this exercise:

  1. To the extent possible, I would only cite to mainstream media sources.  I've been fairly successful in that regard.
  2. I would not editorialize or share my opinion on the pieces.  I want her to draw her own conclusions without suggestions from me.
Below I cite to ten articles or government documents which I find chronicle in large part what ails our nation: an ever-expanding government, with the concomitant burgeoning sovereign debt, elimination of liberties, and increased dependence on entitlements, subsidies and cronyism.  I don't know that I can describe it any more succinctly or accurately than that; perhaps you can.

It's my hope you can find some use for these articles as you discuss our current affairs with your friends and family.  I know there are many wonderful and bright Americans out there that, for one reason or another, aren't really aware of what we are facing.  We need to help them get up to speed.  And if they are aware but feel too paralyzed to take action, we need to encourage them to do so.  It's my hope and prayer that all of us, irrespective of political orientation, can agree on the nature and scope of the problem and set ourselves on a course to remedy what ails us, sooner rather than later.

And what if I'm wrong?  What if the Paul Krugmans and Bernie Sanders of the world are right, and that we just need to spend more and tax more to fix our problems?  What if unemployment drops so dramatically over the next two years that more people re-enter the work force and successfully find good paying jobs?  What if we're able to generate so much tax revenue that we eliminate the deficit and start making progress on the reduction on our national debt?

Just typing those hypotheticals and re-reading them makes me more confident that those things cannot - and will not - happen without a dramatic course change in our nation's future direction.

Read these stories below.  Share them as you see fit.  Please understand that there's not a seminal book or treatise out there - and if there is, please tell me - that puts all of the pieces of the puzzle together.  That's for us to do on our own.  I wish you well in your efforts.

From Fox News – “Army halts training program that labeled Christians as extremists.”  From the article:

“The Camp Shelby briefing was one of a number of incidents on Army bases around the nation where soldiers were instructed that groups like the American Family Association and Family Research Council should be considered domestic hate groups because of their support for traditional marriage.

Last week soldiers at Fort Hood were warned that participating in or donating money to evangelical Christian groups or Tea Party groups could result in military punishment.

And last May an Army Reserve training brief listed Catholics and Evangelical Christians as examples of religious extremism. That incident prompted 34 members of Congress to raise objections.”


“Why, indeed, should the federal government not be deploying armored personnel carriers and stockpiling enough ammo for a 20-year war in the homeland?  Because it’s wrong in every way.  President Obama has an opportunity, now, to live up to some of his rhetoric by helping the federal government set a noble example in a matter very close to his heart (and that of his Progressive base), one not inimical to the Bill of Rights: gun control.  The federal government can (for a nice change) begin practicing what it preaches by controlling itself.”

From The Blaze – “Homeland Security-Funded Study Lists People ‘Reverent of Individual Liberty’ as ‘Extreme Right-Wing’ Terrorists.”  From the report written by the University of Maryland and paid for by the Department of Homeland Security:  the authors of the report deem those who are extreme right-wing as likely terrorism perpetrators.  In their estimation, those who are extreme right wing are those in

“groups that believe that one’s personal and/or national "way of life" is under attack and is either already lost or that the threat is imminent (for some the threat is from a specific ethnic, racial, or religious group), and believe in the need to be prepared for an attack either by participating in paramilitary preparations and training or survivalism. Groups may also be fiercely nationalistic (as opposed to universal and international in orientation), anti-global, suspicious of centralized federal authority, reverent of individual liberty, and believe in conspiracy theories that involve grave threat to national sovereignty and/or personal liberty.”

“I am not here to cheer you up. The situation is about as serious and difficult as I’ve experienced in my career,” Soros told Newsweek. “We are facing an extremely difficult time, comparable in many ways to the 1930s, the Great Depression. We are facing now a general retrenchment in the developed world, which threatens to put us in a decade of more stagnation, or worse. The best-case scenario is a deflationary environment. The worst-case scenario is a collapse of the financial system.”


From Newsweek:  "George Soros on the Coming U.S. Class War."  From the article:

“'At times like these, survival is the most important thing,' he says, peering through his owlish glasses and brushing wisps of gray hair off his forehead. He doesn’t just mean it’s time to protect your assets. He means it’s time to stave off disaster. As he sees it, the world faces one of the most dangerous periods of modern history—a period of “evil.” Europe is confronting a descent into chaos and conflict. In America he predicts riots on the streets that will lead to a brutal clampdown that will dramatically curtail civil liberties. The global economic system could even collapse altogether."

From Fox News – “Cloward, Piven and the Fundamental Transformation of America.”  This is an opinion piece written by Glenn Beck.  It does a good job of explaining “the concept that there are people in this country who want to intentionally collapse our economic system.”

From The Atlantic – “No Taxes, No Travel: Why the IRS Wants the Right to Seize Your Passport.”  From the article:

“A new bill, quietly making its way through Congress, allows the federal government to stop people with unpaid taxes from leaving the country-- even if they haven't been charged with tax evasion or any other formal crime.”


From Forbes – “The National Defense Authorization Act is the Greatest Threat to Civil Liberties Americans Face.”  From the article:

“A law recently passed by the Senate which would place domestic terror investigations and interrogations into the hands of the military and which would open the door for trial-free, indefinite detention of anyone, including American citizens, so long as the government calls them terrorists.  So much for innocent until proven guilty. So much for limited government. What Americans are now facing is quite literally the end of the line. We will either uphold the freedoms baked into our Constitutional Republic, or we will scrap the entire project in the name of security as we wage, endlessly, this futile, costly, and ultimately self-defeating War on Terror.”



From the US Department of Defense -   Military Training Manual Calls Founding Fathers “Extremists.”  You can read a Russia Today news article about the story here; you can read the actual allegations in the training manual here.  From the manual:

“In U.S. history, there are many examples of extremist ideologies and movements. The colonists who sought to free themselves from British rule and the Confederate states who sought to secede from the Northern states are just two examples….. Nowadays, instead of dressing in sheets or publicly espousing hate messages, many extremists will talk of individual liberties, states’ rights, and how to make the world a better place.”

From the Cato Institute - "The Damaging Rise in Federal Spending and Debt."  From the article:

"Federal spending is soaring, and government debt is piling up at more than a trillion dollars a year. Official projections show rivers of red ink for years to come unless policymakers enact major budget reforms. Unless spending and deficits are cut, the United States is headed for economic ruin as growth falls and rising debt threatens further financial crises.


"Some analysts worry that spending cuts would hurt the economy, but other high-income nations have cut spending with very positive results. In the mid-1990s, for example, Canada faced a debt crisis caused by runaway spending — similar to our current situation. But the Canadian government changed course and slashed total spending 10 percent in just two years — which would be like us chopping annual spending by $360 billion in two years. Total government spending in Canada was cut by more than 10 percentage points of GDP over a decade. The Canadian economy did not sink into a recession as Keynesian economists might fear, but instead was launched on a 15-year economic boom."

In my next blog entry, I will address what we in the preparedness community should take from this and what we should be doing as a result of it.


  1. SDS,

    I went through something of the same process with my wife. I had been viewing many articles like the ones you cited and started talking to her. Rather than pulling together a list; my wife actually started looking around. Now she is as alarmed as I am.

    Taking individual articles, reports and indicators as whole; I am very worried about the direction of the country. Reading Matt Bracken's Enemies Foreign and Domestic Trilogy has me re-evaluating the 'randomness' of the events. I'm not saying I'm favoring a vast conspiracy; I'm wondering if people aren't pushing individually for the same goal -- a fundamental break in the values/principles and beliefs that our society rests on.

  2. Paul,
    If you are listening... that giant flushing sound is us going down the toilet---all of us. If it was just the same 'ol same ol,' we would be merely floating in the mess, like previous news pieces of the jigsaw puzzles have been pointing in most of my 60+ life. Now can plainly see we have been in a inescapable downward spiral, that is not going to reverse.

    The ultimate survival, and only feasible, preparation any of us are able to do is make sure you will pass into eternity. Therefore, the only investment that makes any sense, is not in bullets or beans, but sharing God's way out of the mess we have all brought upon the world.
    Time is running out too fast to do otherwise. As bad as you can imagine the jigsaw picture is, that is forming from all these articles over all these decade, I think it will be much worse. But what do I know?