The House on the Lake

The Martins use to live in a lovely house in Pleasantville. The town was unusual in that it was situated on top of a body of water.

pleasentville

It was an enormous lake that was designed to be in the center of the town. The homes were built around the lake so all the citizens could enjoy the majesty and all of the benefits the lake had to offer.

People came from all over the country to live here because it was so spectacular. And because of this, the local business community flourished. The local bankers and the housing sector benefited the most because of the great demand to buy homes there.

As people continued to move to the town, loans were made to home  buyers and in turn the builders employed thousands of workers to make these homes. The municipal employees that lived and worked there also benefited from the steady work and excellent benefits that the town offered.

Pleasantville was one of the nicest places to live in the world.

There was, however, one small problem. The lake was man made. It always needed an influx of water to sustain itself. Without the water, the lake would dry up, become barren and, in essence, destroy the community. The townspeople knew their livelihood and the value of their homes depended upon the lake being full for if it were to dry up,  property values would plummet, the banks would go bust, and Pleasantville would be no more

The municipality, knowing this, bought water by the truckloads and filled the lake each week. But over time, this got to be a prohibitively expensive and they had to raise taxes on the homeowners to cover this cost. At first it worked but then the  homeowners couldn’t keep paying higher and higher taxes necessary to purchase and transport the water.

So, the municipality decided to print money called Pleasantville dollars. The town started to use this “extra” money to truck in the water, and for a while it worked because  the water suppliers knew that Pleasantville was good for the money. Afterall, it was wealthy, had the best economy and now, a seemingly endless supply of dollars.

Then something happened. The town became addicted to the new money and started to spend it like crazy. Eventually it ran up enormous debts.  Plus,with so  many new dollars in circulation, the value of the Pleasantville dollars started to decline. So, the all its creditors stopped taking the dollars for payment.

When that happened, the suppliers of water stopped bringing water to fill the lake.

Without water, the lake began to evaporate and its level recede. In short order, the beautiful waterfront homes sat on top of a bowl of dry land. A dust bowl.  Because of this, home prices started to decline. People who were overextended on their home loans walked just away from their houses. Banks went bust. People were laid off.  In a few short years Pleasantville became a ghost town.

Sounds like a fairy tale gone wrong right? Well it isn’t. In the last 10 years, this fairy tale gone bad has happened here in the U.S and overseas.

In 2003, Nakheel properties embarked on an ambitious real estate project in Dubai. They literally began pouring sand and concrete into the sea to create a series of islands called “The World”. It was meant to encompass 300 islands covering anywhere form 14,000 to 42,000 square meters. The result? The project defaulted in 2008 (estimated at over 10 billion dollars) and the islands are slowly sinking back into the sea. Like Pleasantville, “The World” was meant to be an oasis of sorts for the world’s wealthy; but, in the end the financial ruin of that project caused devastation in Dubai.

Then there is China. Flush with cash and wanting to take part in the global economic boom, it created hundreds of ghost cities. These are actual cities with high rises and shopping malls. Some of them are the size of Madrid and Hong Kong yet nobody lives in them. They remain totally uninhabited. Economists believe that given the amount of people in China, Communist Party planners created theses cities thinking they would provide jobs and head off the civil unrest that massive unemployment can bring.

So you think the U.S is immune to these types of shenanigans?

The U.S just went through one of its worst recessions in history when the housing bubble burst because of mass hysteria surrounding the belief that the road to wealth was paved through home ownership…not responsible home ownership. Just ownership.

In our tale, the Martin family from Pleasantville went bankrupt. They were unable to pay the mortgage and forced to move to a new city where they are starting over. If it were just a fairy tale gone wrong, we could shrug it off and not retell the story. But the story is being acted out every days as countless Americans have been forced to move and start over. Its so easy to understand the confusion, followed by the anger and mistrust, at those whose solution had been to print more money and create more irresponsible home ownership.

You see, so many of these now wandering Americans thought they had already arrived in Pleasantville… and the view of the lake was just lovely and, of course, would remain that way.

 

Steve

sleeclark@gmail.com

 

Bill Gates’s Biggest Regret

It’s a somewhat shocking regret. Bill Gates regrets that early on in the development of Microsoft he resisted hiring lobbyists. Apple’s Steve Jobs made no such error.

regret

When I first heard what Gates said I immediately thought of the disparate lives and alliances of Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison. If you’re unfamiliar with the politics of one or both both of these men, here’s the abbreviated version.

Tesla, inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, physicist and futurist is best known for having discovered alternating current (AC). He was backed and financed by entrepreneur George Westinghouse and Westinghouse Electric Company. Edison, inventor and businessman, is best known for inventing the light bulb and phonograph. He was backed and financed by Edison General Electric, which came into being in 1889 as a result of a merger spearheaded by J.P. Morgan’s Drexel, Morgan & Co.

What do Tesla and Edison have to so with Gates and Jobs?

While a great many people recognize the names Thomas Edison and General Electric, the same cannot be said about Nikola Tesla and Westinghouse (although Elon Musk has certainly brought “Tesla” into vogue). The reason for our “education” into the first two and not the latter is, arguably, politics.

General Electric was, and still is, a highly “political” corporation that established a relationship with the federal government that persists to this day. In case you doubt that just look at what happened in 2008. Over a period of several weeks, GE borrowed $16 billion by selling commercial paper through the Federal Reserve. While such purchases (short-term IOU’S) are not uncommon for companies like GE in order to fund daily operations, at that time the credit crisis had begun and private markets were frozen as a result. And that was just a snapshot of the collusion between GE and the government. In fact, GE did not initially even qualify for the any of the bailout programs it utilized but after lobbying by the company and assistance from then the secretary of the Treasury, Hank Paulson, the FDIC changed the eligibility rules and GE was accepted.

(As you finished reading that last sentence you may have heard Bill Gates’s greatest regret about not having hired lobbyists echoing in your ears).

Edison and GE understood, as did Jobs and Apple, the benefits, perks and power inherent in aligning with government and using lobbyists to court and payoff politicians. Which is why the federal government’s Department of Education authorizes text books that teach about Edison not Tesla and why, in 2014, GE ranked among the Fortune 500 as the 6th-largest firms in the U.S.  and the 14th most profitable. As of 2012 the company was listed the fourth-largest in the world among the Forbes Global 2000,

Oh, there is a Westinghouse Corporation of today that flourishes as a global nuclear power company; but, it was founded in 1999.  George Westinghouse‘s Westinghouse Electric, founded in 1886, ceased to exist due to a series of mergers. It ceased to exist because Westinghouse didn’t play the same corrupt game as GE. As for Tesla, he believed with every fiber of his being, that energy was free and able to be extracted, or harnessed, from the very air itself. He worked toward revealing that process until his death. Imagine how freaked out the powers that be were at the thought of free energy for every citizen to access without government control or profit!

So Edison’s reputation and “celebrity” survive today as does GE’s profitability and near zero payment in federal taxes. Tesla’s notoriety and accomplishments, by comparison, are in relative obscurity but for those who self-educate and Westinghouse…well you have the picture by now.

Let’s fast forward. We’re about to elect a new President.

Even if we take the most cynical view that every one of the current candidates is an establishment politician and political insider it does not alleviate us of the responsibility to none-the-less make our choice.  While certain candidates entrenchment is more patently obvious than others (Hillary Clinton more so than Donald Trump), they they have all emerged out of a broken system that is at least 150 years in the breaking.

My suggestion is that each of us voters looks beyond the self-serving labels these candidates give themselves, beyond the rhetoric and puffing and looks instead to the issues and solutions that they identify and propose. Because in the end it will still be the power brokers, in and out of government, who move and shake the economy and foreign policy. At least if we refuse to allow ourselves to be conned by such things as a bumper sticker (“Hope and Change”) or a slogan (“Make American Great Again”) and instead, pull that lever or punch that chad based upon policies and principles… we’ll have a prayer.

If enough of us refuse to play the game, if enough of us start to make informed decisions, if enough of us stop rewarding the crooks and ignoring the patriots we have a chance of creating a future where the nice guys finish first…not last.

Carole

contact@carolegold.com

What Is The Real Price of Anything?

The intersection of where supply meets demand is the point where prices get set.

demand supply curve

This lesson is the basis of all classes on economics. It was drilled into me at college and graduate school by my professors.  The principal is the basis of all economic theory implemented by Wall Street as well as government officials.  Without it there would be no way to measure and track prices.

However, given the economic stagnation that has permeated the U.S over the last eight years, the U.S. has gone on a money printing scheme the likes of which the world has never seen. The Federal Reserve, the United States central bank, has “printed” more than $2 trillion since the global economic crisis began in 2008. This has more than tripled the size of its balance sheet.  Prior to beginning this paper money creation spree, the Fed held $950 billion in assets; now it holds nearly $3 trillion.” (This number is dated and actually much higher today). Since we had no demand, the U.S decided to print more money (supply) so that people would actually go out and purchase things as well as invest in order to increase demand.

The basis of sound investing is the principle that you earn a good rate of return given sound fundamentals. However when so much money is printed and flooded into the economy, the price of things naturally goes up; and, its at this point that investing becomes quite difficult. At that juncture, you have to decide if the investment looks good on its merits, or looks so because the amount of money that is in circulation is causing the price to go up.

Investors throughout the world grabbed the billions being created by the government and made bets on certain sectors where they thought they could make money. A rising tide lifts all boats; but, as business magnate, investor and philanthropist Warren Buffett said, “when the tide goes out you get to see who’s been swimming naked.”

To understand the consequences of this, take a look at oil.

Spending on global oil production has increased by around 350% since the early 2000s. Back then, the global oil exploration and production industry was spending around $150 billion a year on capital investments. By 2013, that figure had grown to more than $500 billion a year. In the U.S. alone, the 50 largest oil and gas production companies in 2013 invested nearly $200 billion into new production.”

The U.S discovered so much oil that its now the second largest producer of oil in the world. Drivers in the U.S are ecstatic that they are now paying less at the pump. But these lower prices are a result of the billions of dollars that went into that industry. What about the investors who poured that money into oil?

The industry is in trouble  because a lot of the capital used was raised via debt.  Since 2007, total debt in the U.S. exploration and production sector has gone from $125 billion to almost $300 billion.  Much of this debt is destined to default. These defaults are going to wipe out many companies and many investors.

These defaults are a direct result of too much money chasing too few goods. The investors thought they were making good decisions; but, the influx of all this money tricked them. The investments in oil were made because the price of oil was high and investors could borrow money easily. Most investors in this space had no idea that the price of oil would drop dramatically. But, when you have smart people and $300 billion dollars flooding into the oil sector, the inevitable happened: they found more ways to extract oil from the earth.

The oil sector is not alone in this phenomena. In the end, the flawed decision by policy wonks to create more cash to get the economy going will cause much more capital destruction.  Last year along renewable energy attracted $329 billion. I believe much of this money will be destroyed as well.  Even as money pours into that sector, defaults are already surfacing.  Sun Edison, a solar company valued at $10 billion  a year ago is facing a $1.4 billion default.

This money creation has also effected many real estate markets here in the U.S.  Major cities, such as Manhattan and San Fransisco, have seen prices skyrocket as the wealthiest people in the world have bought homes in order to make money from the certain price appreciation. The rich know that when the government turns on the printing presses it is time to trade dollars for assets. The poor and middle class do not have this opportunity available to them as they do not have the disposable dollars to invest. Once again those sectors of the population will feel the brunt of this as they get priced out of these markets.

The decision to print money to bolster the economy will not end well. History is replete with examples showing that no country has ever spent its way to prosperity. The same way households have to contract spending and make priority decisions on necessary spending when attempting to wipe out debt, so too nations. After 2008, the U.S had a chance to clear the decks and eliminate many companies that had made bad fiscal decisions and were on the verge of collapse.  Instead, the financial sector as well as the auto industry were “rescued (read: “bailed-out”) instead of allowing them to go under. Those bad debts did not disappear. The government just restructured them and printed a boat load of money hoping the problems would go away. They did not. They remain…bigger and worse than before.

We now have a second default wave coming from the oil and renewable energy sectors that, once again, will put us in the same or worse peril than did the housing crisis.

Don’t kill the messenger.

Steve

sleeclark@gmail.com

 

Science Makes A Life-Altering Discovery

If we look at the history of our species and what we have accomplished to-date, it is difficult for me to understand why anyone would doubt what can, and is, occurring beyond the realm of our five senses. Have we not yet learned that there is more that we don’t know… than we do?

Universe

The latest example of the seemingly incomprehensible is the just released finding by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) that the entire corpus of Western classical music exists in a field of reality completely removed from human perception. In case you don’t immediately grasp what that means (as I did not; it took me two reads to get it) this means that when you stop listening to classical music, it doesn’t cease to exist. It actually continues to exist in a realm, along with all the other classical music ever composed, outside of our human perception but none-the-less real. In other words, it’s all “floating around” out there as surely as we are floating around in here.

Or, in the alternative, is either of us floating around anywhere?

This discovery by CERN, and the question I just posed, is why I call myself The Jury Whisperer and founded a business by the same name. For years, I practiced law and was an Intuitive with a national client base. But I kept the two worlds separate because, while the Integration of those two seemingly incompatible skill sets was the norm for me, it was certainly not the norm for society. In fact, my legal friends disparaged intuition and my intuitive friends disparaged lawyers! That left me having to bifurcate my exterior world in order to co-exist.

Talk about a legitimate basis for psychosis!

Ultimately, I decided that my success as a lawyer was in large part due to my intuition and my openness to listening and following that guidance from within. I always perceived the information I received internally as similar to tuning into a frequency not often accessed by others… like AM and FM but simply by some other call letters. This information exists outside the realm of our five senses just waiting to be “tuned in.”

Like Tesla or Marconi (if you’ll allow me a moment to hang with some pretty awesome company) I felt that what I knew could be shared for the greater good and accessed by many. That’s because I had developed and honed, over time, my own abilities through repetitive use: commonly called “practice.” Now, I am teaching lawyers to identify, strengthen and apply their own intuition to their professional lives. But its certainly not limited to lawyers. Anyone can elevate the quality of their existence, personal and professional, by releasing limiting ideas about what is knowable beyond that which has been known.

It’s always a thrill for me each time science catches up with Universal Intelligence. That’s what the CERN discovery is. It’s not only a boon for our conscious evolution, it’s also a welcome affirmation for those of us already aware that what we don’t know far exceeds what we do.

Carole

contact@carolegold.com

Exodus from Materialism

Tonight begins the Passover. It is the ageless story of release from bondage. As I prepare to align my mind and heart with this theme, I cannot help being struck by how much the story and its message is ours for the taking… if only we are not too blind to see and too unconscious to care.

 

Exodus

There are many types of enslavement. Surely we can be enslaved physically as the Hebrews were to Pharaoh. This part of the lesson is well known. But the Hebrews were enslaved in another way. Their consciousness had become enslaved in much the same way as our consciousness is today. They were enslaved to the materialism that was ancient Egypt and they had become dependent upon Pharaoh for their livelihood, their sustenance and their protection.

So too, have we become enslaved to government. Our enslavement has never been clearer to me than during this election season.

Regardless of whether you look Left or Right, what you find thus far is that the voters are buying into, and passionately supporting, the candidates on both sides who are promising (both implicitly and explicitly) that they (Clinton/Trump) and it (government) will provide, protect and take care of our most basic needs. Their combined message is that they will give us “lots more free stuff” and they will “make us winners.” In exchange for free stuff and winning, we are apparently eager to relinquish the personal freedoms upon which this country was founded.

It does seem like a “great deal” for those in power; but, for the rest of us not so much.

We’ve been on this slippery slope of relinquishing our personal liberties for quite some time now. It didn’t start with this Administration, although President Obama certainly put the pedal to the metal. And this is where I think the Passover story of the Exodus is timely and instructive because, at some point, you’re just too far down the slope to ascend.

The back story to the Exodus is taught in Kabbalah, Jewish mysticism. Egypt was more than just a geographic location or a nation. It was a level of consciousness that represented total immersion in materialism. The ancient Hebrews had become so much a part of that consciousness that they were all but detached from their spiritual selves. The story of their rapid exit from Egypt, so rapid that the yeast in the bread “had no time to rise” wasn’t about bread and yeast at all.

In Kabbalah, it is taught that there are 50 levels of consciousness. At the 50th level you’re basically a rock. The enslaved consciousness of the ancient Hebrews was at the 49th level. Had they remained within “Egypt”…the consciousness of total materialism…there would have been no way for them to “ascend” back to a level of conscious awareness where they would have been able to connect with their spiritual selves and, by extension, God.

Hence the hurried exit and, relatively soon thereafter, the First Commandment.

When asked, most people will tell you the First Commandment is “I am the Lord your God.” Well, that’s half of it. In Hebrew it’s, “I am the Lord your G‑d, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

The Ten Commandments are the spiritual foundation upon which those of us who are of Judeo-Christian lineage are encouraged to live our lives/ So, then, that first one must be pretty important to remember. In that first commandment, God wasn’t just saying “I’m the One.” God was saying “I’m the One and remember that but for what I did for you, you’d be a rock.”

We were taken out of enslavement to materialism and the adherence to it that prevents us from achieving a connection to our higher selves and God.

Now, we are once again living in culture that has become enslaved to materialism. We know that it is both unsatisfying and wrong. Yet, with an opportunity to exercise the governmental equivalent of Free Will, our vote, we clamor for more “stuff” and less freedom…another Pharaoh and more slavery.

Pharaoh had the slaves build the pyramids on swamp land so no matter how hard they worked it all kept sinking so they had to come back the next day and do the same work again. Apple and the other gods of materialism make products that are obsolete by the time you figure out how to operate them so you need to buy the newest version. Keeping up isn’t only exhausting, its demoralizing.

Look around. The hour is late.  We’re at the 49th level. You don’t have to be a Jew this time. You have to be awake and have the courage to not go off the cliff with the others. As they’re heading for the cliff, you head for the desert.

Yes, I know. The desert looks dry with rugged terrain, while the view from the cliff is breathtaking. But I can promise you this: going over that cliff will, literally, take your breath away. Head out into the desert.

There you will find all that you’ve been looking for… and the breath of life.

 

Carole

contact@carolegold.com

 

The Selfie Generation

“A picture is worth a thousand words” is a well known idiom in the English language that means a complex idea can be conveyed by a simple image.

Selfie

The majority of posted images that we see today, especially on social media, are “Selfies.” In prior generations, we took pictures of other people and our surroundings. If we wanted a picture of ourselves, we would ask a friend, or even a stranger, to take the photo. Given the advances in cellphones, and technology in general, it became easy to turn the camera around and take a Selfie.  As early as the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, cameras had become small enough that it was possible to take Selfies. But, people didn’t.

So what happened?

In the past, photos were something shared with family and friends. There was a certain intimacy, and a preservation of the past, that was shared in those photos. But with the advent of social media and cell phones, pictures became less about sharing and more about self expression. Selfies scream out “Look at me. Look at what I have done.”

Oddly enough, it was the Greek God Narcissus who warned of the danger. He was proud, in that he disdained those who loved him. In other words, he loved himself so much there was not room in his heart to love others.  Another Greek God, Nemesis, noticed this behavior and attracted Narcissus to a pool, where he saw his own reflection in the water and proceeded to fall in love with it. Not realizing it was merely an image, and unable to leave the beauty of his own reflection, he stared at his reflection until he died.  He had lost his will to live. His love of self is what killed him.

An occasional Selfie, in and of itself, doesn’t mean much. However, when you see the whole society nearly obsessing on it, I believe it says a lot.

I use to work in finance trading for a living.  It was my job to analyze events in order to gauge market sentiment and the direction of the market economy. I learned to tell the health of the markets just by where I sat on the trading floor. When our trading desks overflowed with people and new hires, like in 1998 (which coincided with Long Term Capital blowing up), I knew we were close to the top.  Needless to say, shortly afterwards, the markets tanked and all of those excess people were fired. In 2007, when our emerging market desk was moved to a new floor to accommodate yet more people, my boss looked at me and said. “In normal times, our trading area would have been rearranged for all these new people; but, the fact that our whole department is being moved to a new floor is probably a bad omen indicating the destruction of our firm.” Sure enough, Merrill Lynch went bankrupt a few months later.

Selfies, like the trading desk moves, are better read as signals of where things are headed. I think the rise of Selfies can be best be related to a boorish and selfish society on the road to self-destruction. Like Narcissus.

I am not a saint and can be as selfish as anybody else. But, as a father of six I have to tend to others. Thankfully, I have constant reminders to act selflessly. For example, every day homework has to done, dinner needs to be made, kids need to be bathed. This has to happen regardless of my health or my mental disposition. My children need tending. The worst times are getting up in the middle of the night to tend to a sick child as “unannounced sacrifices are often much harder than the sacrifices we choose for ourselves.” I don’t believe having children makes you more or less noble than someone else; but, having children does prompt you to be more selfless.

The fact is I love social media because it serves as a connector and has been a great tool for connecting people.  At the same time, it has the potential, at the same time, to disconnect us from ourselves and everyone else. The pictures we post are usually done at home, on our computers, away from other people. The sharing we do is virtual…not in physical contact or exchange with others. If all we do is post Selfies to draw attention to ourselves then like Narcissus, we will drowning in our own image.

Selfishness has consequences. I can’t predict how it will end; but, if a picture is worth a thousand words…a Selfie is a tome.

 

Steve

sleeclark@gmail.com

 

Was Michael Savage’s Thinking Too Small?

Is it about Christianity or a Divine path by whatever name?

Big

An article appearing in “The New American” outlines talk radio host Michael Savage’s opinion as articulated on his recent radio broadcast, that without a  “revival” of Christianity the West in general, and the United States in particular, are racing towards their demise.

I understand the arguments Savage makes. I have the utmost respect for the Christian faith. Not the bureaucratic organizations that hijacked it over the centuries, the faith itself. I understand the bell that Savage is ringing.  I just happen to think that looking to Christianity alone is casting too narrow a net (if you’ll excuse the fisherman’s analogy, no pun intended).

The bind we find ourselves in is the result of two specific errors: 1) turning the belief in a loving and involved Supreme energy source into a retrogressive and laughable idea and, 2) allowing ourselves to become subservient to technology.

Error #1:  I don’t care what you call the Sole Source of All That Is. If you believe that this Source has, as its intention and primary directive, the highest good for all things formed in the physical world then the name is irrelevant. If you believe that this Source provides not only the framework, but also the vital life force energy to sustain all that exists in the physical and non-physical worlds, you cannot but help act in accordance with that knowing. And while you may not get it right 100% of the time, you are more likely than not to live your life with humility and gratitude for that sustenance… while holding yourself accountable for how you use this Source energy that, second by second, allows you to keep on breathing.

Error #2: The more we can do virtually, the less we will do physically. It’s unfortunately (or perhaps deliberately) human nature.  As is preferring to have things given to us and done for us rather than earning or accomplishing them through our own efforts. Our default drive, if you will, seems to be the path of least resistance inevitably leading to enslavement. Ironic since everything that happens in life teaches us that it’s through adversity, or at least a healthy dose of resistance, that we experience our greatest sense of satisfaction. The technology has made us more able to be less physical. Not less stressed just less physical. In that pseudo freedom we find ourselves enslaved to its speed. Faster and faster we race headlong into inertia. Talk about a paradox!

Now, when you combine the practical reality of Errors 1 & 2 you get a rudderless human enslaved to something inhuman. On the larger scale, you get a dying culture enslaved to… well, whoever or whatever shows up promising a better life for even less effort.

When you combine the practical outcome of Errors 1 & 2, you get a people, like a heard of sheep, willingly moving in the direction of their own slaughter.

I’m a Jew raised within my religion. Steve, my partner in this website, is Catholic raised within his. I understand the basics of mine as he does his. We talk about them often and try and live them as well. But as much as the principles of religion unite us as individuals, so too do they divide us as a species. After all, I suspect we have killed more of each other in the name of God than under any other banner.

So while Michael Savage thinks its Christianity that will save us, I think it’s broader than that.  What will save the West, and humanity in general, is this:

  1. All matter (you, me, rocks, the oceans, stars…whatever) exists and is continually sustained by a single loving Source.
  2. There really is only one way but it has many names. God, Source, Creator, Hashem, Jesus, Krishna and so on.
  3. Its vital that we publicly and privately, vocally and silently, acknowledge and show gratitude for #1.
  4. Technology (and governments) work for us; not the other way around.
  5. You are only enslaved to the extent that you wake up every day and choose it.
  6. By our efforts flows our joy.
  7. There is only One of Us

 

Carole

contact@carolegold.com

 

Joe Biden’s Chutzpah

If you’re not up on your Hebrew, chutzpah means arrogance.

Biden

Several decades ago I had the fortunate opportunity to work in conjunction with a team of lawyers and Congressman to have the humanitarian, Swedish WWII war hero, Raoul Wallenberg, deemed to be a U.S. Citizen. The effort was spearheaded by Wallenberg’s family in trying to find out what happened to him after the war ended and he was taken prisoner by the Soviets.

Wallenberg had saved tens of thousands of Jews in Nazi-occupied Hungary but as the war ended, the Russians believed him to be an American Intelligence asset.  Taken into Soviet custody, he was never seen again although for years there were rumors and spottings by released prisoners that he was being held in Lubyanka Prison. He was officially declared dead in absentia in October 2016 by the Swedish Tax Agency. His story is truly amazing.

Wallenberg was, in fact, awarded the title of Honorary Citizen on the United States by President Ronald Regan in 1981. I played a small part in the events leading up to that award. Without going into much detail, I had the opportunity at that time to meet with then Senator Joe Biden to discuss efforts being made by the Wallenberg family to freeze, through litigation, Soviet financial assets here in U.S. banks to force the Russians to reveal his whereabouts or fate following his capture.

At the time, my impression of Senator Biden was that he was charming, personable, likeable and not too bright. Over the ensuing decades, his public persona seemed to validate my perception of long ago. Oftentimes I, like many Americans, found his foibles and verbal fopahs the basis for a good laugh. “Good Old Joe” was fun to watch and expectations of grand achievements were low.

Fun to watch until today.

Today, a much older but no wiser Vice President Biden had the audacity to slam Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for obstructing the Middle East Peace Process, with reference to the Netanyahu government’s policies regarding settlements in Judea and Samaria (West Bank).

Biden said “I firmly believe that the actions that Israel’s government has taken over the past several years — the steady and systematic expansion of settlements, the legalization of outposts, land seizures — they’re moving us and more importantly they’re moving Israel in the wrong direction” He continued that those policies were moving Israel toward a “one-state reality” “That reality is dangerous,” Biden added.

First of all, with friends like him who needs Arab enemies? Secondly, how dare he tell a statesman who has, literally, dedicated his life (as his brother Yoni gave his life) in defense of the country he loves? Thirdly, how does he know in what direction Israel needs to move and who is he to say anyway? Fourth, no two state solution? Good! Because once Palestinians have that other state they will be joined by their Arab neighbors and, in accordance with the PLO Charter and Hamas’ stated goal, set out in full force to attempt to annihilate Israel once and for all.

The impediment to peace is Israel’s policy of building homes in a specific area? Its not rabid, knife-wielding Palestinian terrorists randomly stabbing innocent Israelis and Americans just walking the streets of Jerusalem? Its not tunnels ending in Israeli towns or army bases, built by Hamas, for the sole purpose of kidnapping Israelis or slaughtering them in their sleep? Its not Palestinian-planted fire bombs on public buses transporting men, women and children just living their daily lives? It’s not Palestinian schools teaching that Jews are pigs, or worse, and killing them is the highest aspiration a child can achieve?

Please.

Biden had two problems in giving that speech; one is that he works for an anti-Semitic boss. Two, Biden was playing to his audience and giving them what they wanted to hear. He was speaking before “J Street” which the media often mischaracterizes as a pro-Israeli advocacy group. Nothing could be further from the truth. J-Street is a left-leaning lobby that disparages Israel’s efforts to defend itself and undermines the country’s image when it can.  J Street is Pro-gressive not Pro-Israel. Shame on Biden for carrying Obama’s water and for pandering to J Street.

However, in this primary season with all its chaos, there is apparently reason for hope and celebration. Joe Biden isn’t running.

Carole

contact@carolegold.com

The $16,000 IRS Windfall

An immigrant to the U.S. from Mexico filed his Federal Income Tax return.  He paid $800 in taxes and got a $16,000 refund. How?  He did it by claiming 16 minors as dependents, none of whom live in the United States. None of whom are even actually his children.

scam

If you don’t know what an ITIN is you’re not alone. Until today, neither did I.  I happened to hear an immigration lawyer talking about this and what I heard made me really angry.

The ITIN is part and parcel to the IRS regulation that allows a taxpayer to file for what is termed the Additional Child Tax Credit. This provides a credit of up to $1000 for every child claimed. It is intended to offset the expenses incurred in raising children.  But in order to get the credit, you need to file a social security number for the dependent child, or, if the child is not eligible for one, obtain an ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) and use it in place of a social security number. You can easily recognize an ITIN because they all begin with the number 9.

If you go onto the IRS government website this is the criterion for applying for an ITIN:

“Use this form to apply for an IRS individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN). An ITIN is a nine-digit number issued by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to individuals who are required for U.S. tax purposes to have a U.S. taxpayer identification number but who do not have and are not eligible to get a social security number (SSN).” [emphasis added].

The only thing you need do to get an ITIN is submit a birth certificate for the alleged child.  So for example, in the case above of the person who paid $800 in and got $16,000 back, he got birth certificates from children of relatives who live in Mexico and used those to get the ITIN’s for all 16 children.  The submission requirements for minors under age 18 require no photo ID and only a civil birth certificate—since civil birth certificates do not contain an expiration date, they are considered current at all times. They don’t have to be U.S. birth certificates!

You can even be a non-resident alien, who works in the United States and therefore has to file a federal income tax return for income earned within the United States and still be able to apply for an ITIN (or as many ITIN’s as you have the nerve to file) for every child you want to claim as a dependent.

Hence, turning an $800 liability into a $16,000 windfall!

So, you can see why this made me angry. Perhaps you can also see why I am supporting Ted Cruz. He is the only candidate who has pledged to abolish the IRS and replace it with an across the board flat tax you can file on a form the size of a postcard.

Between the IRS, which has been corrupted and weaponized…and the Federal Reserve, which is grossly negligent if not intentionally corrupt, we have little hope of regaining whatever individual liberty we ever had unless one or both are deconstructed.

I, for one, want to see an individual put in the White House who has a verifiable record of promises made to constituents that have been kept. Again, Ted Cruz. An individual who has spent his entire career respecting individual liberties and standing for the Constitution. Again, Ted Cruz.

I am not willing to bank what is left of my freedoms, and the freedoms I hope my daughter will enjoy, to an individual who has publicly acknowledged, and even brags about, having knowingly participated in the incestuous and corrupt relationship between business and government. An individual who has most recently hired, as his convention delegate expert, a former lobbyist for Saudi Arabia and Pakistan’s Intelligence Service who sought to influence members of the United States Congress against the interests of Israel and Kashmir, respectively.

Yes, I am angry at how easy it is to milk the system, whether you are a non-resident alien or a corrupt businessman. But I am even angrier that so many Americans are willing to act out their anger without taking the time to question whether or not the choice they are making while in anger will cause them, and the nation, more harm than good.

Carole

contact@carolegold.com