Entries Tagged as ''

The Next Recession Has Already Begun

The Next Recession Has Already Begun

The following is an excerpt from a recent issue of Private Wealth Advisory.

The official data is out and it shows that GDP collapsed 0.7% in the first quarter of 2015.

The financial world is shocked by this because:

1)   The drop occurred despite the Government massaging the heck out of the data to make it look better.

2)   The world has bought into the idea that the Fed can remove any and all recessions by printing money.

Regarding #1, the Government recently added a bunch of bogus measures to GDP such as intellectual property. How exactly you can accurately measure the value of intellectual property is beyond me. But then again, much of what the Government does in the name of “the better good” is beyond me as well.

Despite adding this and a slew of other accounting gimmicks, the economy collapsed 0.7% in the first quarter. This is shocking only to those who believe that official GDP is an accurate measure of economic growth.

Our readers have been well aware for some time that the GDP number is largely an accounting fiction meant to overstate growth. Indeed, if you strip out the various gimmicks employed by the BLS, you find that the year over year growth for GDP has been at levels usually associated with recessions for years.

Recessionary levels are circled in the chart below.


Small wonder the “recovery” has felt so weak… the economy has been moving at pace usually associated with a contraction!

Make Crude Oil Exports a Part of US Trade Policy

Make Crude Oil Exports a Part of U.S. Trade Policy

Sen. William S. Cohen

Recently, former Sen. William S. Cohen made headlines by presenting a thorough and persuasive argument that President Obama should seek to make crude oil exports a part of US trade policy. The argument was presented via Time and pointed specifically to four main benefits the U.S. could enjoy by focusing more on energy exports:

1 – Exports would strengthen NATO by providing an adequate Western response to Russia’s practice of withholding energy resources as a power play. Energy exports from the U.S. would provide European allies with an alternative to dependence on Russia.

2 – Exports to the Far East would promote economic growth in allies like Japan and South Korea while opening the possibility of collaborative trade efforts with influential countries like China and India.

3 – Energy exports could promote a great deal of collaboration with Central and South American countries. According to reports by FXCM, Venezuela remains the country with the single highest volume of oil reserves. With approximately 297.6 billion barrels on reserve (ahead of Saudi Arabia’s 267.9), the country is naturally viewed as the leading source for this part of the world. However, Cohen’s argument points out that domestic challenges are causing Venezuela to scale back its exports. This results in a new need for energy resources, which the U.S. could provide, for much of the hemisphere.

4 – Easing restrictions on U.S. crude oil exports could drastically improve the economy and job situation at home. Cohen notes that crude oil exports would essentially serve to further the energy boom that has already had positive effects on the U.S. economy, specifically pointing to the “shale revolution” as an example.

As mentioned previously, it’s a very convincing argument for an increased focus on energy exports for the U.S. Not only have new technologies essentially increased the United States’ energy reserves by opening new avenues for obtaining resources, but shifts in geopolitics around the world have simultaneously created new needs in various regions. These two factors would seem, as Cohen suggests, to foster natural trade partnerships that could be extraordinarily beneficial for the U.S. economy and also save President Obama’s legacy on trade.

So why haven’t we gone about it already? Well, as is often the case with political matters, it’s a problem that sounds simple but has proven to be exceedingly complicated. Basically, as is explained in an article at Bakken, a U.S. ban on crude oil exports has been in place since the 1973 Arab oil embargo. Also, various periods of inaction in Congress since then have resulted in the ban’s ongoing existence.

This means that before the U.S. can turn its attention toward organizing and implementing crude oil and energy export programs, Congress and President Obama will have to work together to lift an existing ban. As has been proven over the years, such a collaborative effort is difficult to come by. The hope, in this case, is that the clear benefits of increased energy exports by the U.S. both abroad and at home will yield a rare sense of partnership between the president and Congress.

It’s a lot to hope for, but the benefits are clear. In the aforementioned Bakken article, former CIA director Leon Panetta and NSA advisor Stephen Hadley were quoted with the most simple explanation of the idea of energy exports: “The U.S. can provide friends and allies with a stable alternative to threats of supply disruption…. This is a strategic imperative as well as a matter of economic self-interest.”

It’s hard to imagine why we wouldn’t give it a shot.

Jenna Batten is a freelance writer based outside of Baltimore. She typically covers topics in finance, politics, and travel, and has contributed to numerous publications online. When Jenna isn’t writing, her hobbies include sailing and web design.

Note from Mover Mike – there has been some concern about exporting natural gas. Some have argued it would be good for our balance of trade, but the increased demand would raise prices for a very cheap fossil fuel here at home.

Matthew McConaughey, University Of Houston Commencement Speech 2015

There are so many great ideas in this speech, I decided to post the whole commencement address. I hope you enjoy it.

Short and sweet or long and salty? A sugar donut or some oatmeal? Out of respect for you and your efforts in getting your degree, I thought long and hard about what I could share with you tonight. Did I want to stand at a podium and read you your rights? Did I want to come up here and just share some really funny stories? I thought about what you would WANT. I thought about what you might NEED. I also thought about what I WANT to say. What I NEED to say… Hopefully, we’ll both be happy on both accounts… And as the saying goes, take what you like, leave the rest. Thank you for having me.

So, before I share with you some “what I do knows,” let’s talk about a “what I don’t know.”

I have 2 older brothers.

One was in high school in the early 1970s?—?a time when a high school GED got you a job and college degree was exemplary.

My other brother was in HS in the early 1980s, and by this time the GED wasn’t enough to guarantee employment, you needed a college degree, and if you got one, you had a pretty good chance of getting the kind of job you wanted after you graduated.

Me, I graduated HS in 1988, got my college degree in ’93. That college degree? Didn’t mean as much. No ticket, no voucher, no free pass go to anything.

So, what does your college degree mean?

It means you got an education, means you have more knowledge in a specific subject, vocation, means you may have more expertise in “what your degree” is in.

But what is it worth? In the job market? Today?

We know the market for college graduates is more competitive now than ever.

And some of you already have a job lined up, a path where today’s job can become tomorrow’s career, but for most of you, the future’s probably still pretty fuzzy?—?you don’t have that job that directly reflects the degree you just got, and many of you don’t even have a job at all. You’ve just completed your scholastic educational curriculum in life?—?the one you started when you were 5 years old up until now… and your future, your “days to come,” may be no more clear than it was 5 years ago?—?you don’t have all the answers?—?and it’s scary.

And that’s OK, because hey, that’s how it is, this is the reality you face?—?the world we live in…And while I’m not here to discourage you or in any way belittle your accomplishments of which we celebrate tonight…I am here to talk brass tacks, to skip the flattery and the “attaboys” because I DO know this.

The sooner we become LESS IMPRESSED?—?with our life, our accomplishments, our career, the prospect in front of us. As soon as we become LESS IMPRESSED?—?and MORE INVOLVED with these things, the sooner we get a whole lot better at doing them.

So, I’m going to talk to you about some things I’ve learned along my journey?—?most from experience, some I heard in passing, many I’m still practicing, but ALL of them, true.

Yes, they may be truths to me, but don’t think that that makes them MINE… because you can’t own a truth. Think of these as signposts, approaches, paradigms, that give some science to satisfaction. They are yours to steal, to share, to liken to your own lives, and to personally apply in your OWN lives, in your own way, should you choose to.

1. Life is not easy…

NUMBER 1, LIFE’S NOT EASY…don’t try and make it that way. It’s not fair, it never was, it isn’t now, it won’t ever be. Do not fall into the entitlement trap of feeling you are a victim, you are not. Get over it and get on with it. And yes, most things are more rewarding when you break a sweat to get em.

2. “Unbelievable” is the stupidest word in the dictionary

It shouldn’t ever come out of our mouths.

To say, “What an unbelievable play!” It was an unbelievable book, film, act of courage…really?

It may be spectacular, phenomenal, most excellent and outstanding… but unbelievable? NO. Give others and yourself more credit. It just happened, you witnessed it, you just did it, believe it.

How about the other side of unbelievable? When we humans “under perform” or act OUT of character??—?“man flies a suicide jet into the World Trade Center, millions die from diseases that we have cures for, Bob the builder swears he’ll have your house built by Thanksgiving and you can’t move in ’til Christmas, THE NEXT YEAR…” Our best friend lies to us, and WE, lie to our self, all the time…unbelievable? I don’t think so.. Again, it just happened, and it happens everyday …

NOTHING we homosapien earthlings do is unbelievable?—?one thing you can depend on people being…is people. So we shouldn’t be surprised, we are the trickiest mammal walking the planet!! (It ain’t the monkeys I’m worried about, it’s you and me.)

Acknowledge acts of greatness as real, and do NOT be naive about mankind’s capacity for evil nor be in denial of our own shortcomings.

NOTHING we do is unbelievable. Stupid word. Un-be-lievably stupid word.

3. Happiness is different than Joy

“I just want to be happy.” I hear that all the time. But what IS happiness? Happiness is an emotional response to an outcome?—?If I win I will be happy, if I don’t I won’t. An if-then, cause and effect, quid pro quo standard that we cannot sustain because we immediately raise it every time we attain it. You see, happiness demands a certain outcome, it is result reliant.

If happiness is what you’re after, then you are going to be let down frequently and be unhappy much of your time. Joy, though, is something else. It’s not a choice, not a response to some result, it is a constant. Joy is “the feeling we have from doing what we are fashioned to do,” no matter the outcome.

Personally, as an actor, I started enjoying my work and literally being happier when I stopped trying to make the daily labor a means to a certain end?—?I need this film to be a box office success, I need my performance to be acknowledged, I need the respect of my peers.

All reasonable aspirations but truth is, as soon as the WORK, the MAKING of the movie, the DOING of the deed became the reward in itself?—?I got more box-office, more accolades and respect than I’d ever had before. See, JOY is always in process, under construction?—?it’s in the constant approach, alive and well —in the DOING of what we are fashioned to do… and enJOYing doing it.

4. Define Success For Yourself

I went to a voodoo shop south of New Orleans a few years back?—?they had vials of “magic” potions stacked in columns with headings above each defining what they would give you?—?Fertility, Health, Family, Legal Help, Energy, Forgiveness, Money.

Guess which column was empty? Money. Let’s admit it, “money” is king today, makes the world go round. Money is SUCCESS, the more we have, the more “successful” we are, right?

I’d argue that our cultural values have even been financialized?—?humility is not in vogue anymore, it’s too passive. It’s a get rich quick on the internet, 15 minutes of fame world we live in. See it every day.

But, we all want to succeed right? Question we have to ask ourselves is, what success is to us, what success is to YOU. More money? OK, I got nothing against money. But maybe it’s a healthy family? A happy marriage? To help others? To be famous? To be spiritually sound? To leave the world a little bit better place than you found it?

Continue to ask yourself that question. Your answer may change over time and that’s fine, but do yourself this favor:

WHATEVER your answer is, DON’T CHOOSE ANYTHING THAT WILL JEOPARDIZE YOUR SOUL. PRIORITIZE WHO YOU ARE, WHO YOU WANT TO BE, AND DON’T SPEND TIME WITH ANYTHING THAT ANTAGONIZES YOUR CHARACTER. DON’T DRINK THE KOOL AID!! It tastes sweet today but it will give you cavities tomorrow. Life is not a popularity contest. Be brave, take the hill but first, answer the question, “What is my hill?”

How do I define success? For me, it’s a measurement of five things?—?fatherhood, being a good husband, health, career, friendships. These are what’s important to me in my life.

So, I try to measure these five each day, check in with them, see whether or not I’m in the debit or the credit section with each one. Am I in the red or in the black with each of them?

For instance, sometimes my career is rolling (in the black) but I see how my relationship with my wife could use a little more attention. I gotta pick up the slack on being a better husband, get that one out of the red. Or say my spiritual health could use some maintenance (red) but hey, my friendships and social life are in high gear (black)… I gotta recalibrate, checks and balances, go to church, remember to say thank you more often. I gotta take the tally. Because I want to keep ALL 5 in healthy shape, and I know that if I DON’T take care of them, if I don’t keep up maintenance on them, ONE of them is going to get weak, dip too deep into the debit section, go bankrupt, get sick… die even.

So first, we have to DEFINE success for ourselves, then we have to put in the work to MAINTAIN it?—?take our daily tally, tend our garden, keep the things that are important to us in good shape.

Let’s admit it, we all got two wolves in us, a good one and a bad one, you know what I’m talking about?—?and they BOTH wanna eat… We just gotta feed that good wolf a little more than the other one.

5. Process of elimination is the first step to our identity (a.k.a where you are NOT is as important as where you are)

In 1992, I got my first job as an actor. Three lines, three days work, in a film called Dazed and Confused. Alright.

Alright, Alright, Alright.

The director, Richard Linklater, kept inviting me back to set each night, putting me in more scenes which led to more lines all of which I happily said YES to. I was having a blast. People said I was good at it, they were writing me a check for $325 a day. I mean hell yeah, give me more scenes, I love this!! And by the end of the shoot those 3 lines had turned into over 3 weeks work and “it was Wooderson’s ’70 Chevelle we went to get Aerosmith tickets in.” Bad ass.

Well, a few years ago I was watching the film again and I noticed two scenes that I really shouldn’t have been in. In one of the scenes, I exited screen left to head somewhere, then re-entered the screen to “double check” if any of the other characters wanted to go with me. Now, in rewatching the film, (and you’ll agree if you know Wooderson), he was not a guy who would ever say, “later,” and then COME BACK to “see if you were sure you didn’t wanna come with him..” No, when Wooderson leaves, Wooderson’s gone, he doesn’t stutter step, flinch, rewind, ask twice, or solicit, right? He just “likes those high school girls cus he gets older and they stay the same age.”

My point is, I should NOT have been in THAT scene, I should have exited screen left and never come back.

But back then, making my first film, getting invited back to set, cashing that check and having a ball, I WANTED more screen time, I WANTED to be in the scene longer and more, and come back into the scene right?

I shouldn’t have been there. Wooderson shouldn’t have been there.

It’s just as important where we are not as it is where we are.

The first step that leads to our identity in life is usually NOT “I know who I am,” but rather “I know who I AM NOT.” Process of elimination.

Defining ourselves by what we are NOT is the first step that leads us to really KNOWING WHO WE ARE.

You know that group of friends you hang out with that really don’t bring out your best? They gossip too much, or they’re kind of shady, and they really aren’t gonna be there for you in a pinch? Or how about that bar we keep going to that we always seem to have the worst hangover from? Or that computer screen that keeps giving us an excuse not to get out of the house and engage with the world and get some HUMAN interaction? Or how about that food we keep eating? Tastes so good going down but makes us feel like crap the next week when we feel lethargic and keep putting on weight?

Those people, those places, those things?—?STOP giving them your TIME and ENERGY. Don’t GO there, put them DOWN?—?and when you DO quit giving them your time, you inadvertently find yourself spending MORE time and in more PLACES that are more healthy for YOU, that bring YOU more joy?—?WHY?

Because you just eliminated the who’s, the where’s, the what’s and the when’s that were keeping you from your identity. Trust me, too many options makes a tyrants of us all. So get rid of the excess, the wasted time, decrease your options… and you will have accidentally, almost innocently, put in front of you, what is important to you by process of elimination.

Knowing who we ARE is hard. Give yourself a break. Eliminate who you are NOT first, and you’ll find yourself where you need to be.

6. DON’T LEAVE CRUMBS?—?and the beauty of delayed gratification

What are crumbs? The crumbs I’m talking about are the choice we make that make us have to look over our shoulder in the future.

You didn’t pay that guy back the money you owed him and tonight you just saw him sitting 3 rows behind you…shit…You slept around on your spouse and you just found out that tomorrow, she and the lady you’re having an affair with, are going to be at the same PTA meeting…shit again… You drank too much last night and you’re too hungover to drive your son to his 8 a.m. Saturday morning baseball practice. THESE ARE CRUMBS! They come in the form of regret, guilt, and remorse?—?you leave em today, they will cause you more stress tomorrow, and they DISALLOW you from creating a customized future in which you DO NOT have to look over your shoulder.

So…let’s flip the script. Instead of creating outcomes that take FROM us, let’s create MORE outcomes that pay us BACK, fill us up, keep your fire lit, turn you ON, for the most amount of TIME in your future.

These are the choices I speak of and this is the beauty of delayed gratification.

Tee yourself up. Do yourself a favor. Make the choices, the purchase TODAY that PAYS you back TOMORROW. RESIDUALS. In my business, it’s called “mailbox money.” I do my job well today, I get checks in the mailbox five years from now?—?heck of a deal.

So, whether its prepping the coffee maker the night before so all you gotta do is press the button in the morning, or getting ready for the job interview early so you don’t have to cram the night before, or choosing not to hook up with that married woman because you know you’ll feel horrible about it tomorrow (and her husband carries a gun), or paying your debts on time so when you do see that guy three rows back tonight?—?you don’t have to hunker down in your seat hoping he don’t see you. Get some R.O.I?—?RETURN ON INVESTMENT?—?Your investment. You. You customize your future.


7. DISSECT YOUR SUCCESSES (and the reciprocity of gratitude)

We so often focus on our FAILURES. We study them. We obsess on them. We DISSECT them. We end up intoxicated with them to the point of disillusion.

When do we write in our diary? When we’re depressed. What do we gossip about? Other people’s flaws and limitations. We can dissect ourselves into self loathing if we’re not careful?—?and I find that most of the times our obsession with what is wrong just breeds more wrong and more failure.

The easiest way to dissect success is though gratitude. Giving thanks for that which we do have, for what is working, appreciating the simple things we sometimes take for granted. We give thanks for these things and that gratitude reciprocates, creating more to be thankful for. It’s simple, and it works.

I’m not saying be in denial of your failures. No, we can learn from them too, but only if we look at them constructively. As a means to reveal what we are good at, what we can get better at, what we do succeed at.

I’ve read a lot of my bad reviews, and the good “bad reviews,” written by the more talented critics, are constructive. They reveal to me what did translate in my work, what came across, what was seen, or what wasn’t. I don’t obsess on the unfavorable aspect of their review, but I do seek what I can learn from it?—?Because their displeasure actually uncovers and makes more apparent what I do do well, what I am successful at… and then I dissect that.

Life is a verb. We try our best. We don’t always do our best. Well, architecture is a verb as well. And since we are the architects of our lives, lets study the habits, the practices, the routines we have that lead to and feed our success… our joy, our honest pain, our laughter, our earned tears…Let’s Dissect THAT and give thanks for THOSE things… and when we do that what happens? We get better at them…and have more to dissect.


Mom and dad teach us things as children. Teachers, mentors, the government and laws all give us guidelines to navigate life, rules to abide by in the name of accountability.

I’m not talking about those obligations. I’m talking about the ones we make with ourselves, with our God, with our own consciousness. I’m talking about the YOU versus YOU obligations. We have to have them. Again, these are not societal laws and expectations that we acknowledge and endow for anyone other than ourselves. These are FAITH based OBLIGATIONS that we make on our own.

Not the lowered insurance rate for a good driving record, you will not be fined or put in jail if you do not gratify the obligations I speak of?—?no one else governs these but you.

They’re secrets with yourself, private council, personal protocols, and while nobody throws you a party when you abide by them, no one will arrest you when you break them either. Except yourself. Or, some cops who got a “disturbing the peace” call at 2:30 in the morning because you were playing bongos in your birthday suit.

An honest man’s pillow is his peace of mind, and when you lay down on the pillow at night, no matter who’s in our bed we ALL sleep alone.?—?These are your personal jiminy crickets. And there are not enough cops in the entire world to police them?—?It’s on YOU.

9. From can to want

1995. I got my first big paycheck as an actor. I think it was 150 grand. The film was Boys on the Side and we’re shooting in Tucson, AZ and I have this sweet little adobe guest house on the edge of the Saguaro National Park. The house came with a maid. My first maid. It was awesome. So, I’ve got a friend over one Friday night and we’re having a good time and I’m telling her about how happy I am with my set up . The house. The maid. Especially, the maid. I’m telling her, “she cleans the place after I go to work, washes my clothes, the dishes, puts fresh water by my bed, leaves me cooked meals sometimes, and SHE EVEN PRESSES MY JEANS!” My friend, she smiles at me, happy for my genuine excitement over this “luxury service” I’m getting, and she says, “Well…that’s great…if you like your jeans pressed.”

I kind of looked at her, kind of stuttered without saying anything, you know, that dumb ass look you can get, and it hit me…

I hate that line going down my jeans! And it was then, for the first time, that I noticed…I’ve never thought about NOT liking that starched line down the front of my jeans!! Because I’d never had a maid to iron my jeans before!! And since she did, now, for the first time in my life, I just liked it because I could get it, I never thought about if I really wanted it there. Well, I did NOT want it there. That line… and that night I learned something.

Just because you CAN?… Nah… It’s not a good enough reason to do something. Even when it means having more, be discerning, choose it, because you WANT it, DO IT because you WANT to.

I’ve never had my jeans pressed since.

10. A roof is a man made thing

January 3, 1993. NFL playoffs. Your Houston Oilers vs. Buffalo Bills. Oilers up 28–3 at halftime, 35–3 early in the 3rd. Frank Reich and the Bills come back to win 41–38 in overtime for one of the greatest comebacks in NFL history. Yeah, the Bills won, but they didn’t really beat the Oilers. The Oilers lost that game, they beat themselves.

Why? Because at halftime they put a ceiling, a roof, a limit on their belief in themselves, a.k.a the “prevent defense.” Maybe they started thinking about the next opponent at halftime, played on their heels, lost the mental edge the entire 2nd half and voila, they lost. In a mere 2 quarters defensive coordinator Jim Eddy went from being called DC OF THE YEAR and “the man first in line to be a HC next year” to a man without a job in the NFL.

You ever choked? You know what I mean, fumbled at the goal line, stuck your foot in your mouth once you got the microphone, had a brain freeze on the exam you were totally prepared for, forgot the punch line to a joke in front of four thousand graduating students at a University of Houston Commencement speech? Or maybe you’ve had that feeling of “Oh my God, life can’t get any better, do I deserve this?”

What happens when we get that feeling? We tense up, we have this outer body experience where we are literally seeing our self in the third person. We realize that the moment just got bigger than us. You ever felt that way? I have.

It’s because we have created a fictitious ceiling, a roof, to our expectations of ourselves, a limit?—?where we think it’s all too good to be true. BUT IT ISN’T. AND IT’S NOT OUR RIGHT TO SAY OR BELIEVE IT IS.

We shouldn’t create these restrictions on ourselves. A blue ribbon, a statue, a score, a great idea, the love of our life, a euphoric bliss. Who are we to think we don’t deserve or haven’t earned these gifts when we get them?

Not our right.

But if we stay in process, within ourselves, in the joy of the doing, we will never choke at the finish line. Why? Because we aren’t thinking of the finish line, we’re not looking at the clock, we’re not watching ourselves on the Jumbotron performing the very act we are in the middle of. No, we’re in process, the APPROACH IS THE DESTINATION… and we are NEVER finished.

Bo Jackson ran over the goal line, through the end zone and up the tunnel?—?the greatest snipers and marksmen in the world don’t aim at the target, they aim on the other side of it.

We do our best when our destinations are beyond the “measurement,” when our reach continually exceeds our grasp, when we have immortal finish lines.

When we do this, the race is never over. The journey has no port. The adventure never ends because we are always on our way. Do this, and let them tap us on the shoulder and say, “hey, you scored.” Let them tell you “You won.” Let them come tell you, “you can go home now.” Let them say “I love you too.” Let them say “thank you.”


11. Turn the page

The late and great University of Texas football coach Daryl Royal was a friend of mine and a good friend to many. A lot of people looked up to him. One was a musician named “Larry.” Now at this time in his life Larry was in the prime of his country music career, had #1 hits and his life was rollin’. He had picked up a habit snortin’ “the white stuff” somewhere along the line and at one particular party after a “bathroom break,” Larry went confidently up to his mentor Daryl and he started telling Coach a story. Coach listened as he always had and when Larry finished his story and was about to walk away, Coach Royal put a gentle hand on his shoulder and very discreetly said, “Larry, you got something on your nose there bud.” Larry immediately hurried to the bathroom mirror where he saw some white powder he hadn’t cleaned off his nose. He was ashamed. He was embarrassed. As much because he felt so disrespectful to Coach Royal, and as much because he’d obviously gotten too comfortable with the drug to even hide as well as he should.

Well, the next day Larry went to coach’s house, rang the doorbell, Coach answered and he said, “Coach, I need to talk to you.” Daryl said, “sure, c’mon in.”

Larry confessed. He purged his sins to Coach. He told him how embarrassed he was, and how he’s “lost his way” in the midst of all the fame and fortune and towards the end of an hour, Larry, in tears, asked Coach, “What do you think I should do?” Now, Coach, being a man of few words, just looked at him and calmly confessed himself. He said, “Larry, I have never had any trouble turning the page in the book of my life.” Larry got sober that day and he has been for the last 40 years.

You ever get in a rut? Stuck on the merry-go-round of a bad habit? I have. You are going to make mistakes?—?own them, make amends, and move on. Guilt and regret kills many a man before their time. Turn the page, get off the ride. YOU are the author of the book of your life. Turn the page.

12. Give your obstacles credit

You know these No Fear t-shirts? I don’t get em. Hell, I try to scare myself at least once a day. I get butterflies every morning before I go to work. I was nervous before I got here to speak tonight. I think fear is a good thing. Why? Because it increases our NEED to overcome that fear.

Say your obstacle is fear of rejection. You want to ask her out but you fear she may say “no.” You want to ask for that promotion but you’re scared your boss will think you’re overstepping your bounds.

Well, instead of denying these fears, declare them, say them out loud, admit them, give them the credit they deserve. Don’t get all macho and act like they’re no big deal, and don’t get paralyzed by denying they exist and therefore abandoning your need to overcome them. I mean, I’d subscribe to the belief that we’re all destined to have to do the thing we fear the most anyway.

So, you give your obstacles credit and you will one. Find the courage to overcome them or see clearly that they are not really worth prevailing over.


13. So how do we know when we cross the truth?

13. Why 13? Unlucky # right?

Well, when did 13 get the bad rap and become the mongrel of numerology? Thirteen’s never done me wrong. In fact, 13 has been a pretty lucky number for me, lemme tell you how:

I’ve always taken these 21 day trips by myself to far off places where I usually don’t know the language and nobody knows my name. They’re adventures and they’re a purge, a cleanse for me. Like a 21 day fast from attention, from all the things I have in my well appointed life. They’re a check OUT, so I can check IN with myself.

See how I’m doing, be forced to be my own and only company, to have a look in MY mirror. And you know what can happen when we do THAT?—?sometimes we don’t like what we see.

In 1996, right after I got “famous” from a film called A Time to Kill, I headed out on one of these 21-day walkabouts?—?this time to the jungles and mountains of Peru. The sudden fame I’d just gotten was somewhat unbalancing. My face was everywhere, everyone wanted a piece of me, people I’d never met were swearing they “loved me”?—?everywhere I went, there I was, on a billboard, a magazine cover. It was just weird. What was this all about? What was reality and what was bullshit? Did I deserve all this?” were all questions I was asking myself.

“Who was I?” was another.

Now, there’s always an initiation period with these trips. An amount of time that it takes for the place to INITIATE the traveler. The time it takes to disconnect from the world we left, and become completely present in the one we are traveling in…For me, that initiation period usually last about thirteen days. Yes. Thirteen hellish days until I’m out of my own way. After that, the trip is smooth sailing.

Well, it was the night of the twelfth day of my 21-day trip. I was settling into camp, I’d already hiked 80 miles to this point and had a three-day trek to Machu Pichu ahead of me.

I was sick of myself. Wrestling with the loss of my anonymity, guilt ridden for sins of my past, full of regret. I was lonely?—?disgusted with the company I was keeping: MY OWN?—?and doing a pretty good job of mentally beating the shit out of myself.

Grappling with the demons on this night, I couldn’t sleep. All of these badges and banners and expectations and anxieties I was carrying with me. I needed to free myself from them… Who was I? I asked myself. Not only on this trip but in this life. So I stripped down to nothing. I took off every moniker that gave me pride and confidence, all the window dressings, the packaging around my product (heart). I discarded my lucky and faithful American cap, stripped off my talismans from adventures past. I even discarded my late father’s gold ring he gave to me that was made from a meltdown of he and my mom’s class rings and gold from one of her teeth.

I was naked. Literally and figuratively. And I got sick. Soaked in sweat, I threw up until there was no bile left in my belly, and finally passed out from exhaustion.

A few hours later, I awoke on this thirteenth morning to a rising sun. Surprisingly fresh and energized, I dressed, made some tea and went for a morning walk. Not towards my destination Machu Pichu but rather to nowhere in particular. My gut was still a bit piqued from last night’s purge, yet I curiously felt pretty good: alive, clean, free, light.

Along a muddy path on this walk, I turned a corner and there in the middle of the road was a mirage of the most magnificent pinks and blues and red colors I had ever seen. It was electric, glowing and vibrant, hovering just off the surface, as if it was plugged in to some neon power plant.

I stopped. I stared. There was no way around it: The jungle floor in front of me was actually THOUSANDS OF BUTTERFLIES. There, in my path. It was SPECTACULAR.

I stayed awhile, and somewhere in my captivation, I heard this little voice inside my head say these words, “All I want is what I can see, and what I can see, is in front of me.”

At that moment, for the first time on this trip, I had stopped anticipating what was around the corner, stopped thinking about what was coming up next and what was up ahead. Time slowed down. I was no longer in a rush to get anywhere. My anxieties were eased.

A few hours later I returned to camp and packed for my continued journey onto Machu Pichu. I had a bounce in my step, new energy. The local Sherpas I was traveling with even noticed, calling out to me, “sois luz Mateo, sois luz!!!”?—?meaning “you are light” in Spanish.

You see, I forgave myself that morning. I let go of the guilt, the weight on my shoulders lifted, my penance paid, and I got back in good graces with God. I shook hands with myself, my best friend, the one we’re all stuck with anyway. From that morning on, the adventure was awesome. I was present, out of my own way, not anticipating next, embracing only what was in front of my eyes, and giving everything the justice it deserved.

You see, I crossed a truth that morning. Did I find it? I don’t know, I think it found me. Why? Because I put myself in a place to be found. I put myself in a place to receive the truth.

So, how do we know when we cross the truth?

I believe the truth is all around us, all the time. The answer, you know, it’s always right there. But we don’t always see it, grasp it, hear it, access it?—?because we’re not in the right place to.

So what do we do?

First, we have to put ourselves in the place to receive the truth. We live in an extremely noisy world with all kinds of frequencies coming at us?—?commitments, deadlines, fix this, do that, plans, expectations?—?and they all make it hard to get clarity and peace of mind. So we have to consciously put ourselves in a place to receive that clarity. Whether that’s prayer, meditation, a walkabout, being in right company, a road trip, whatever it is for you.

Schedule that time to be in a place to receive the truth.

Now, if we hear it, if it becomes clear, a truth that is natural and infinite, then the second part comes…

…which is to PERSONALIZE it. Ask how it works for you, how it applies to you personally, why you need it in your life, specifically.

…If we do THAT, then comes the third part:

….having the patience to internalize it?—?and get it from our intellectual head and into our bones and soul and our instinct. We can’t rush this part, it takes time.

And if we get that far. We received it, we personalized it, we internalized it. If we make it that far, then comes THE BIGGIE ….

Having the courage to act on it. To actually take it into our daily lives and practice it, to make it an active part of who we are and live it.

If we can do that, then we have what I believe is Heaven on Earth.

The place where what we want is also just what we need. I mean that’s the ticket isn’t it!!? That’s where I want to live!!

So while we’re here, let’s make it a place where we break a sweat, where we believe, where we enjoy the process of succeeding in the places and ways we are fashioned to. Where we don’t have to look over our shoulder because we are too busy doing what we’re good at. Voluntarily keeping our own council because we WANT to. Traveling towards immortal finish lines. We write our book. Overcome our fears. We make friends with ourselves.

That is the place I’m talking about.

Thank you, good luck and just keep livin.

Matthew McConaughey, University Of Houston Commencement Speech 2015

It Is Mathematically Impossible To Pay Off All Of Our Debt

From Michael Snyder at The Economic Collapse:

“Did you know that if you took every single penny away from everyone in the United States that it still would not be enough to pay off the national debt?  Today, the debt of the federal government exceeds $145,000 per household, and it is getting worse with each passing year.  Many believe that if we paid it off a little bit at a time that we could eventually pay it all off, but as you will see below that isn’t going to work either.  It has been projected that “mandatory” federal spending on programs such as Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare plus interest on the national debt will exceed total federal revenue by the year 2025.  That is before a single dollar is spent on the U.S. military, homeland security, paying federal workers or building any roads and bridges.  So no, we aren’t going to be “paying down” our debt any time in the foreseeable future.  And of course it isn’t just our 18 trillion dollar national debt that we need to be concerned about.  Overall, Americans are a total of 58 trillion dollars in debt.  35 years ago, that number was sitting at just 4.3 trillion dollars.  There is no way in the world that all of that debt can ever be repaid.  The only thing that we can hope for now is for this debt bubble to last for as long as possible before it finally explodes.

“It shocks many people to learn that our debt is far larger than the total amount of money in existence.  So let’s take a few moments and go through some of the numbers.

“When most people think of “money”, they think of coins, paper money and checking accounts.  All of those are contained in one of the most basic measures of money known as M1.  The following definition of M1 comes from Investopedia

A measure of the money supply that includes all physical money, such as coins and currency, as well as demand deposits, checking accounts and Negotiable Order of Withdrawal (NOW) accounts. M1 measures the most liquid components of the money supply, as it contains cash and assets that can quickly be converted to currency.

“As you can see from the chart below, M1 has really grown in recent years thanks to rampant quantitative easing by the Federal Reserve.  At the moment it is sitting just shy of 3 trillion dollars…

M1 Money Supply 2015

“So if you gathered up all coins, all paper currency and all money in everyone’s checking accounts, would that even make much of a dent in our debt?


“We’ll have to find more “money” to grab.

“M2 is a broader definition of money than M1 is, because it includes more things.  The following definition of M2 comes from Investopedia

A measure of money supply that includes cash and checking deposits (M1) as well as near money. “Near money” in M2 includes savings deposits, money market mutual funds and other time deposits, which are less liquid and not as suitable as exchange mediums but can be quickly converted into cash or checking deposits.

“As you can see from the chart below, M2 is sitting just short of 12 trillion dollars right now…

M2 Money Supply 2015

“That is a lot more “money”, but it still wouldn’t pay off our national debt, much less our total debt of 58 trillion dollars.

“So is there anything else that we could grab?

“Well, the broadest definition of “money” that is commonly used is M3.  The following definition of M3 comes from Investopedia

A measure of money supply that includes M2 as well as large time deposits, institutional money market funds, short-term repurchase agreements and other larger liquid assets. The M3 measurement includes assets that are less liquid than other components of the money supply, and are more closely related to the finances of larger financial institutions and corporations than to those of businesses and individuals. These types of assets are referred to as “near, near money.”

“The Federal Reserve no longer provides charts for M3, but according to John Williams of shadowstats.com, M3 is currently sitting somewhere in the neighborhood of 17 trillion dollars.

“So even with the broadest possible definition of “money”, we simply cannot come up with enough to pay off the debt of the federal government, much less the rest of our debts.

“That is not good news at all.

“Alternatively, could we just start spending less than we bring in and start paying down the national debt a little bit at a time?

“Perhaps that may have been true at one time, but now we are really up against a wall.  Our rapidly aging population is going to put an enormous amount of stress on our national finances in the years ahead.

“According to U.S. Representative Frank Wolf, interest on the national debt plus “mandatory” spending on programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid will surpass the total amount of federal revenue by the year 2025.  That is before a single penny is spent on homeland security, national defense, paying federal workers, etc.

“But even now things are a giant mess.  We are told that “deficits are under control”, but that is a massive hoax that is based on accounting gimmicks.  During fiscal year 2014, the U.S. national debt increased by more than a trillion dollars.  That is not “under control” – that is a raging national crisis.

“Many believe that that we could improve the situation by raising taxes.  And yes, a little bit more could probably be squeezed out of us, but the impact on government finances would be negligible.  Since the end of World War II, the amount of tax revenue taken in by the federal government has fluctuated in a range between 15 and 20 percent of GDP no matter what tax rates have been.  I believe that it is possible to get up into the low twenties, but that would also be very damaging to our economy and the American public would probably throw a huge temper tantrum.

“The real problem, of course, is our out of control spending.

“During the past two decades, spending by the federal government has grown 63 percent more rapidly than inflation, and “mandatory” spending on programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid has actually doubled after you adjust for inflation.

“We simply cannot afford to keep spending money like this.

“And then there is the matter of interest on the national debt.  For the moment, the rest of the world is lending us gigantic mountains of money at ridiculously low interest rates.  However, if the average rate of interest on U.S. government debt was just to return to the long-term average, we would be spending more than a trillion dollars a year just in interest on the national debt.

“So the best possible environment for “paying down our debt” that we are ever going to see is happening right now.  The only place that interest rates on U.S. government debt have to go is up, and our population is going to just keep getting older and more dependent on government programs.

“Meanwhile, our overall debt continues to spiral out of control as well.  According to CNBC, the total amount of debt that Americans owe has reached a staggering 58.7 trillion dollars…

As the nation entered the 1980s, there was comparatively little debt—just about $4.3 trillion. That was only about 1.5 times the size of gross GDP. Then a funny thing happened.

The gap began to widen during the decade, and then became basically parabolic through the ’90s and into the early part of the 21st century.

Though debt took a brief decline in 2009 as the country limped its way out of the financial crisis, it has climbed again and is now, at $58.7 trillion, 3.3 times the size of GDP and about 13 times what it was in 1980, according to data from the Federal Reserve’s St. Louis branch. (The total debt measure is not to be confused with the $18.2 trillion national debt, which is 102 percent of GDP and is a subset of the total figure.)

“As I discussed above, there isn’t enough money in our entire system to even pay off a significant chunk of that debt.

“So what happens when the total amount of debt in a society vastly exceeds the total amount of money?

“Is there any way out other than collapse?”

My note: Snyder doesn’t mention that Americans have over $19 Billion in pension plans. I believe that will be the next target. Just require all Pension plans to be invested in US Treasuries.


4.2 Quake Off Oregon Coast

M 4.2 – 217km W of Bandon, Oregon

43.470°N 127.052°W
10.0 km



Written by Richard Rahn at To The Point News

If taxpayers suddenly stopped subsidizing Amtrak, what do you think would happen?

Before trying to answer that question, it is useful to review U.S. railroad history. The first railroads were built in the United States in the late 1820s, and by 1900, only 70 years later, almost every town in the country had rail access.

Railroads were high tech, the Internet of their time. The system was built and profitably operated by private companies.

Amtrak and the modern freight railroad companies use the infrastructure that was built long ago. The 180-year-old privately built Canton Viaduct (an incredible stone bridge – see link) in Canton, Massachusetts and the 100-year-old Hell Gate Bridge (the model for the Sydney Harbor Bridge in Australia) over the East River in New York are still used by Amtrak.

The investor-owned Pennsylvania Railroad built the hugely expensive North River Tunnels under the Hudson River in 1904-1908, which were technological wonders of the time. They are still used by all of those who ride Amtrak from New Jersey to New York.

(As an aside, I found it rather ironic when President Obama claimed that private business only succeeded by using government infrastructure —  “You did not build that” — when, in fact, government mostly uses privately built infrastructure.)

Once the railroads were built, state and local governments began heavily taxing every mile of track and other railroad facilities, and the federal government imposed endless regulations, including regulating fares.

The predictable result was that expenses grew faster than revenues — causing deferred capital spending and maintenance. Eighty years ago, trucks, automobiles and airplanes began to lure away rail’s customers. As a result, the rail industry began a death march after World War II.

Railroad companies ripped up thousands of miles of track to save on expenses and tax levies. Today, the United States has a fraction of the number of miles of railroad tracks compared to what it had 100 years ago. Route mileage peaked at 254,251 miles in 1916 and fell to 139,679 miles in 2011.

By the late 1960s, most of the nation’s railroads were in deep trouble as a result of new forms of competition, disastrous tax and regulatory policies, and inflexible unions. In 1971, the federal government created Amtrak as a government corporation to operate intercity passenger rail service.

By contrast, freight rail was finally deregulated in 1980, now resulting in the most efficient and profitable freight railways in the world.

Amtrak has eaten through more than $45 billion in taxpayer subsidies in its 44-year history. The only line it has that it claims to be profitable is the Northeast corridor from Washington to Boston, which was shut down for six days following last week’s fatal train crash near Philadelphia.

It is widely acknowledged that Amtrak is poorly managed — as are most government enterprises — but nothing is done about it by either the administration or Congress. Amtrak even manages to lose money on its food service, which is hard to do when one has a captive market and serves only mediocre food at high prices.

Studies show the government could save money by giving away airline tickets to everyone who rides some of the long-distance Amtrak routes, because the subsidy per passenger exceeds the cost of an airline ticket over the same route.

It is no surprise that many of those who call for more taxpayer spending on Amtrak are the affluent media and political folks who frequently travel between New York and Washington. To pay for their subsidies, they seem to have no trouble taxing lower-income folks in much of America who have no access to Amtrak.

The rail tunnels under the Hudson River are now more than a hundred years old and will need to be rebuilt or replaced. Many members of Congress are calling for billions of taxpayer dollars to be spent to rebuild these tunnels.

Yet we have many examples of private companies that are willing to invest in transportation infrastructure, such as bridges, tunnels and roads, when they are allowed to charge market prices for use of the infrastructure. No taxpayer dollars need be spent.

Again, if the subsidies were eliminated, what would happen?

All of the trains now operated by Amtrak, other than the Northeast corridor, would cease operation. But then many private entrepreneurs would buy up some of the rail cars or buy new ones, and make contracts with the railroads to run trains over their tracks (Amtrak uses the private railroad companies’ tracks).

Private passenger rail companies might well successfully compete with airplanes, buses and cars on some routes by providing luxury services with great dining cars as an alternative transportation experience, as they do in other parts of the world.

We now know that a socialistic, government-regulated, -taxed and -operated passenger rail does not work. So let’s get rid of Amtrak and its taxpayer subsidies, and see what magic free-market rail entrepreneurs might create.

Richard W. Rahn is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and chairman of the Institute for Global Economic Growth.

Why Housing Stocks May Be Slowing Down

I write a lot about housing and real estate as a freelancer for many real estate investors around the country. Generally it is positive about buying a house instead of renting. I also write about foreclosure and bankruptcy; how to avoid both and, if you can’t get out by yourself there are options, such as sell for cash quickly to those real estate investors.  I have noticed that the high priced houses are selling fairly quickly in the market place, but the lower priced houses are having trouble. I suspect it is because the average American hasn’t seen any income or wage increases for at least 5 to to years.

An article in Seeking Alpha caught my eye. Why Housing Stocks May Be Slowing Down. Isn’t that just the opposite of the latest news? Andrew Sachais writes:

  • U.S. housing permits are slowing.
  • Moreover, housing starts and homebuilder confidence are also declining.
  • As sentiment recedes surrounding the industry, housing stocks could remain in a range over the next few months.

U.S. housing stocks could remain range-bound as confidence declines amid slowing building permits and housing starts. U.S. housing stocks are represented by iShares Dow Jones US Home Construction(NYSEARCA:ITB).

In April, the building permits figure came in at an annual pace of 5.18%, slightly above the previous month’s reading of 5.12%. After peaking in 2013 at over 33% annual growth, building permits have slowed to a more modest level, seen below. As the rebound in permits slowed, so too did actual housing starts.


I took a look at (NYSEARCA:ITB)and was surprised by what I saw.

Daily ITB


I see a big divergence in price to the indicator. Does it mean just a correction to the action or is it forecasting trouble ahead? Watch to see if ITB can make a new high and watch the bottom. The last low was above 25. Breaking 25 would be a clear signal that housing/construction has changed.

Remember no guarantees on anything I wrote.

Charging Clients on Deposits

Banning cash transactions and then charging for deposits seems to be our future. Now this is the latest:

HSBC has become one of the biggest global banks to say it will begin charging clients on deposits in a basket of European currencies to prevent its profit margins from being crushed in a record low-interest rate environment. The unusual steps come after the ECB became the first big central bank to announce a negative deposit rate – in effect a penalty on banks parking their surplus cash – last year. HSBC -0.5% premarket.

Obama Can Not Defeat ISIS with Soft Power


From Daniel Greenfield writing at To The Point News: Obama can not defeat ISIS with soft power, though ISIS could beat him with soft power assuming its Caliph ever decided to agree to sit down at a table with John Kerry without beheading him.

Iran has picked up billions in sanctions relief and the right to take over Yemen and raid ships in international waters in the Persian Gulf just for agreeing to listen to Kerry talk for an hour. And that might be a fair exchange.

As bad as having your capital or ship seized by Iran is, listening to John Kerry talk is even worse.

If ISIS were to agree to a deal, it could pick up Baghdad and Damascus just in exchange for showing up. All it would have to do is find a Jihadi who hasn’t chopped off any heads on camera to present as a moderate. The administration and its media operatives would accuse anyone who disagreed of aiding the ISIS hardliners at the expense of the ISIS moderates who also represent the hardliners.

If Obama did that, he would at least lose in a way that he understands — instead of in a way he doesn’t.

So far ISIS has preferred the classical approach of killing everything in its path. The approach, deemed insufficiently nuanced by masters of subtlety like Obama and Kerry, has worked surprisingly well. Their response, which is big on the Bush arsenal of drone strikes, Special Forces raids and selective air strikes, hasn’t. But Bush was fighting terrorist groups, not unrecognized states capable of taking on armies.

It’s hard to destroy something if you don’t know what it is. And it’s hard to know what a thing is if you won’t even call it by its name or name its ideology.

The left loves root causes, but the root cause of ISIS isn’t poverty, unemployment or a lack of democracy.

It’s Islam.

The Islamic State isn’t unnatural. Its strength comes from being an organic part of the region, the religion and its culture. Its Arab enemies have performed so poorly fighting it because their institutions, their governments and their armies are unstable imitations of Western entities.

The United States can’t make the Iraqi army work because Iraq isn’t America. The assumptions about meritocracy, loyalty to comrades and initiative that make our military work are foreign in Iraq and Afghanistan where the fundamental unit is not the nation, but the tribe, clan and group.

Iraq and Syria aren’t countries; they’re collections of quarreling tribes that were forced into an arrangement that included the forms of Western government without any of the substance. When the Europeans left, kingdoms quickly became military juntas. Now the juntas are fighting for survival against Islamic insurgencies that are striving to return the region to what it was in the days of Mohammed.

ISIS is the ultimate decolonization effort. It’s what the left claims that it wants. But real decolonization means stripping away everything the Europeans brought, including constitutions, labor unions and elections. The cities that ISIS controls have been truly decolonized. There is no music, there are no rights, slavery is back and every decision is made by a cleric with a militia or a militia leader with a cleric.

That’s Mohammed. It’s the Koran. It’s 7th century Islam.

ISIS, or something very much like it, was always waiting to reemerge out of the chaos. 100 years before ISIS, there were the Wahhabi armies of the Ikhwan which did most of the same things as ISIS. The British bombed them to pieces in the 1920s and the remainder became the Saudi Arabian National Guard.

The insistence on democratic institutions weakened the military juntas holding back Islamist insurgencies. Islamists took power across the region. Where they couldn’t win elections, they went to war. But whether they won on the battlefield or the ballot box, violence and instability followed them.

The fundamental mistake of the Arab Spring was the failure to understand that Islamist democracy is still a road leading to the Caliphate. Turkey’s Erdogan, the Islamist whose rule was used to prove that Islamist democracy can work, now openly promotes the reestablishment of the Ottoman Empire.

Or as Mullah Krekar of Ansar Al-Islam put it, “The resistance is not only a reaction to the American invasion; it is part of the continuous Islamic struggle since the collapse of the Caliphate. All Islamic struggles since then are part of one organized efforts to bring back the Caliphate.”

A decade later, the Jihadist leader has proven to be more accurate than his Western hosts in Norway.

ISIS is not a reaction. It’s the underlying pathology in the Moslem world. Everything planted on top of that, from democracy to dictatorships, from smartphones to soft drinks, suppresses the disease. But the disease is always there. The left insists that Western colonialism is the problem. But the true regional alternative to Western colonialism is slavery, genocide and the tyranny of Jihadist bandit armies.

Our policy for fighting ISIS is colonialism by another name. We are trying to reform Iraqi institutions in line with our values and build a viable Iraqi military along the lines of our own military. Yes, the West is the solution  — but institutional Westernization that never goes beyond a few government offices and military officers won’t work.

Neither will the attempt to artificially inject a few big ideas such as democracy into an undemocratic tribal culture. The only alternative to depending on military juntas is transforming the people.

The West won a culture war with the USSR. It is capable of winning one with Saudi Arabia. It has even unintentionally won a culture war with Iran.  (Which is why most Iranians love America and hate their mullah government. See Hope for Iran, November 2014-JW)

ISIS is not just a military force. It is a cultural one. Much of its success has come from its cultural appeal.

As long as the Middle East is defined in terms of Islam, some variation of the Islamic State or the Moslem Brotherhood bent on recreating the Caliphate will continue reemerging. We can accept that and give up, but the growing number of Moslem migrants and settlers mean that it will emerge in our country as well.

We have a choice between Islamization and de-Islamization.

After defeating Saddam, we pursued the de-Baathization of Iraq. If we are going to intervene in the Moslem world, it should not be to reward one Islamist group, whether it’s Iran or the Moslem Brotherhood, at the expense of another. Instead we must carve out secular spaces by making it clear that our support is conditional on civil rights for Christians, non-believers and other non-Moslems.

Our most potent weapon isn’t drones or fighter jets, it’s our culture. We disrupt Islamists with our culture even when we aren’t trying. Imagine what we could accomplish if we really tried.

But first we must abandon the idea that we need to take sides in Islamic civil wars. Any intervention we undertake should be conditioned on a reciprocal degree of de-Islamization from those governments that we are protecting.

Instead of pursuing democracy, we should strengthen non-Islamic and counter-Islamic forces in the Moslem world.

We can’t beat ISIS with Islam and we can’t fight for freedom while endorsing constitutions that make Sharia law into the law of the land in places like Iraq and Libya.

We don’t only need to defeat ISIS militarily. We must defeat the culture that makes ISIS inevitable.

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.

373 Times

373 Times

From Seeking AlphaThe numbers are in on 2014 CEO compensation, and it does not look like the controversial income gap in America is narrowing. According to the AFL-CIO, the average S&P 500 company CEO made 373 times the salary of the average production and non-supervisory worker in 2014, up from 331 times in 2013. This translates into an average CEO pay package of $22.6M, up from $20.7M last year.

Copyright © 2007 Mover Mike. Design by Anthony Baggett.

Fatal error: Call to undefined function is_sidebar1_page() in /homepages/7/d182093141/htdocs/movermike/wp-content/themes/networker-10/footer.php on line 13