November 30, 2014

Federal Employees are Covered by Two Pension Plans Plus Social Security; Most Private Sector Retirees Who Fund Those Plans Have Only Social Security to Rely On

Because so many people have saved zero money for retirement, it's not too helpful to compare your own retirement savings to those of the average American. Instead, it's more helpful to compare how your retirement savings stack up against others who are also saving. According to the Federal Reserve, the median balance of retirement accounts held by Americans who are saving for retirement totals less than $60,000. As a result, most Americans will rely heavily on Social Security, but Social Security on its own won't allow people to live lives of luxury. According to the Social Security Administration, the average Social Security recipient collected just $1,300 a month in 2014. Add that $1,300 in Social Security payments to the $343 in income from retirement savings, and the typical retiree is looking at a monthly income of just $1,643, or only $19,716 per year. Given those numbers, it's no surprise that the Employee Benefit Research Institute reports that only 18% of U.S. workers are confident that they'll be financially secure during their golden years. If you're one of the 82% that isn't confident, then there's no time like the present to begin making changes that could have a big impact on your retirement nest egg. [Source]


The average federal pension pays $32,824 annually. The average state and local government pension pays $24,373, Census data show. The average military pension is $22,492. ExxonMobil, which has one of the best remaining private pensions, pays an average of $18,250 per retiree, Labor Department filings show. "Government pensions are vastly more generous than those in the private sector," says economist Veronique de Rugy of the market-oriented Mercatus Center. "It's no coincidence that if there is a good plan, it's available to federal employees rather than in the private sector." More than 21,000 retired federal workers receive lifetime government pensions of $100,000 or more per year, a USA TODAY/Gannett analysis finds. The six-figure pensions spread across a broad swath of the federal workforce: doctors, budget analysts, accountants, public relations specialists and human resource managers. Most do not get Social Security benefits. Retired law enforcement is the most common profession receiving $100,000-plus pensions, including 326 Drug Enforcement Administration agents, 237 IRS investigators and 186 FBI agents. The Postal Service has 714 retired workers getting six-figure retirements. The Social Security Administration has 444. A retired Smithsonian zoologist has a $162,000 annual lifetime pension. The six $200,000-plus pensions include a doctor, a dentist and a credit union regulator, plus three retirees whose occupations weren't listed. The federal government has two retirement systems: one for those hired before 1984 and another for those hired after. Under the older system, employees did not participate in Social Security. The older system covers 78% of current retirees and accounts for 96% of six-figure pensions. All federal retirees receive health benefits. [2012 Source]

The Federal Employees Retirement System has three elements: (1) Social Security, (2) the FERS basic retirement annuity and FERS supplement, and (3) the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP).

In the FERS, government employees contribute 0.8 percent of pay while U.S. taxpayers put in 11 percent (federal employees who enroll in FERS beginning in 2014 are required to contribute 4.4 percent of their pay toward their defined benefit plan, up 0.8 percent for federal employees who joined government service before that date).

Federal employees who don't invest in the TSP still get a 1 percent contribution from U.S. taxpayers. The first 3% of pay contributed by a federal employee to TSP is matched dollar-for-dollar by U.S. taxpayers, and the next 2% of pay is matched by U.S. taxpayers at the rate of 50 cents on the dollar. TSP has the lowest administrative fees in the business and is the only 401k plan account that offers stocks, bonds and super-safe, never-have-a-bad-day Treasury securities in the G-fund. TSP, used by millions of federal workers, charged an average expense ratio of a mere 0.03% in 2013.

To summarize, in addition to their generous federal pensions funded by U.S. taxpayers, federal employees have a generous financial match from U.S. taxpayers for their TSP, the government equivalent of a 401k plan.

Many, if not most, private employers don't provide any match to employee 401k plans. If they do, it is typically at the rate of 50 cents on the dollar on only the first 3 percent. It is unusual for the employer to match contributions at the 5 percent level of the federal TSP (and no private employer contributes 1 percent if the employee chooses not to participate, unlike the 1 percent U.S. taxpayers contribute to the TSPs of non-participating federal employees). In addition, IRAs or employer-sponsored 401(k)s in the private sector typically charge more than 10 times the amount charged in administrative fees for federal TSP.

How Generous Are Federal Employee Pensions?

September 30, 2011

American Enterprise Institute - USA Today reports that “retirement programs for former federal workers—civilian and military—are growing so fast they now face a multitrillion-dollar shortfall nearly as big as Social Security’s.” USA Today’s figures include both pension and retiree health costs and are inclusive of military programs, so it is a broad figure. Nevertheless, it raises an interesting question: how did retirement costs for a small segment of the population grow to rival Social Security, a program designed to cover nearly all Americans? One big reason is that federal pension benefits are simply very generous relative to typical private sector plans.

How generous? To check, I took a stylized worker and ran his annual salary through both the federal pension programs and a typical plan offered to private sector employees to see the difference in how much they would end up with at retirement.

Since federal workers receive higher salaries than the average private sector worker (more on that here) I assumed the employee earned 150 percent of the average wage each year; that would put his earnings this year at a bit over $60,000. I assumed he entered the workforce at age 21 and worked until age 65; in reality, most people take some time out of the workforce and most federal employees have held other jobs, but for these purposes that doesn’t matter too much.

Most current federal employees are covered by two pension plans (most private sector workers don't even have one): a defined benefit (DB) program known as the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) and a defined contribution (DC) program called the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). For a federal employee who retires at age 62 or older and has 20 or more years of service, his basic FERS benefit will equal 1.1 percent of his highest 3 years of average earnings, multiplied by his years of service.

For FERS, most federal employees contribute 0.85 percent of pay, with the remaining costs covered by U.S. taxpayers.  

The Thrift Savings Plan functions similarly to a private sector 401(k) plan. U.S. taxpayers contribute 1 percent of worker wages to the TSP regardless of whether individuals participate. In addition, the U.S. taxpayers matches employee contributions $1.00 per $1.00 for the first 3 percent of earnings contributed and $.50 per $1.00 for the next 2 percent of earnings. A federal employee contributing 5 percent of earnings to the TSP would receive a total employer contribution of 5 percent of earnings. Most current federal employees also participate in the Social Security program.

In the private sector, a typical pension plan today is a defined contribution 401(k) program, which is generally funded with a combination of worker contributions and employer matches. The most common matching formula is $.50 per $1.00 of contributions, up to the first 6 percent of pay (but that figure is dropping). Around one-third of employers offering matching 401(k) plans use this approach, so we’ll follow it here.

DB plans still exist in the private sector, but they’re shrinking fast: only 13 of the Fortune 100 companies now offer a traditional DB plan to newly hired employees. Some offer so-called “hybrid plans”—which are themselves shrinking—while the remainder offer 401(k) plans.

For both 401(k)s and the TSP, we need to make the risk of the benefits they offer comparable to the guaranteed benefits from a defined benefit plan; otherwise, investments in riskier assets like stocks will seem like “free money.” To do that, I follow the Congressional Budget Office’s approach of assuming that DC plans invest in government bonds, which I assume to have a 4 percent yield. That’s higher than the roughly 2.5 percent Treasury securities are currently paying but lower than the historical average, so you can adjust up or down as you see fit. Once people retire, I convert their DC accounts to a joint and survivor annuity using rates published by the TSP. For both workers, I assume they contribute enough to receive the maximum employer match to their DC account; but in comparing benefits I use only those generated by the employer match, not from the worker’s own contributions.

In both federal and private sector employment the worker would receive the same annual Social Security benefit of around $21,656.

At retirement, the federal worker’s highest three years of earnings average at $60,368; with an assumed 44 years of service (42% of federal workers retire between the ages of 55 and 59 with an average of 34.8 years of service) and a 1.1 percent replacement factor, that generates an annual FERS pension of $29,218. In addition, the annuitized value of the employer match to the TSP generates another $6,960 in annual benefits, for a total retirement income of $57,834. In addition, the federal employee would have whatever income his own TSP contributions generated.

The private sector worker would have a Social Security benefit of around $21,656, plus an annuity payment drawn from his employer’s 401(k) contributions of around $4,175 per year. The total retirement income would be around $25,832, plus whatever he received through his own 401(k) contributions. To make things simple, $25,832/$57,834 = around 45 percent, so the private sector worker clearly is receiving far less.

Now, we can haggle about some of these assumptions. Maybe private sector workers who are comparable to federal workers in terms of education or other skills receive more generous pensions. But even if we assume that the employer matches 6 percent of pay rather than the more typical 3 percent, that brings the private pension benefit up to only 51 percent of the federal level. And bear in mind that these percentage differences are reduced by the inclusion of Social Security; if I looked only at employer-provided pension benefits, the private benefit would be only around one-tenth the federal level.

Put it this way: federal employees have a more generous defined contribution pension than most private sector workers, and on top of this they have a defined benefit plan for which they pay less than 1 percent of salaries

State and local workers who participate in Social Security usually have more generous DB plans (a replacement factor of around 1.9 percent of final earnings versus 1 or 1.1 percent for federal employees, according to the Public Plans Database), but they pay far more for their benefits: almost 5 percent of pay versus less than 1 percent for federal employees.

In addition, federal employees are also eligible for retiree health coverage, which is very valuable for early retirees but which in the private sector is shrinking even faster than DB pensions. Based on CBO figures, Jason Richwine and I estimated that eligibility for retiree health coverage is worth around an extra 6 percent of pay for federal workers.

In simple terms, the federal employment package is a great deal for federal employees, and as a former federal employee I was happy to get it. But if you wonder why costs are so high, now you know.

November 28, 2014

China is Hoarding Gold; Is the U.S. Dollar About to Collapse?


Iran and its leading oil buyers, China and India, found ways to skirt U.S. and European Union financial sanctions on the Islamic republic by agreeing to trade oil for local currencies and goods including wheat, soybean meal and consumer products. The second-largest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, Iran said in February 2012 that it will accept payment in any local currency or gold as new sanctions make it harder for trading partners to pay in dollars and euros. [Source]

First, let’s backtrack. In March 2012, the United States and European Union beefed up their economic sanctions on Iran, shutting Iran out of the global payments network called SWIFT. Also in March 2012, Turkey’s gold exports to Iran doubled from the month before and exploded 37 times over the March 2011 figure. “Natural gas is the source of almost all electricity in Turkey. I wrote in Apogee Advisory. “More than 90% of Iran’s gas exports go to Turkey. Iran furnishes 18% of Turkey’s natural gas. Without Iran, Turkey would depend almost entirely on a single gas supplier to keep the lights on — Russia. Under the sanctions, Turkey can’t pay for Iranian gas with dollars or euros. So it pays with gold.” India likewise paid with gold for Iranian oil. Iran could then use the gold to buy food or manufactured goods from Russia and China. “The United States,” Rickards writes,” had inflicted a currency collapse, hyperinflation, and a bank run and had caused a scarcity of food, gasoline and consumer goods, through the expedient of cutting Iran out of the global payments system.” Gold had become Iran’s lifeline...When Iran agreed to resume nuclear talks, a conceit took hold in Washington that “the sanctions worked” — the Iranians had been more or less starved to the negotiating table. Not so, says former Ambassador William Miller, who was stationed in Iran during the 1960s and is in contact with the current regime. “Sanctions only made them more defiant,” he tells the Los Angeles Times. Want proof? Iran put the same offer on the table in 2003 — only to be spurned by the United States. Actually, it was a better offer from Washington’s perspective. Back then, Iran had only 164 nuclear centrifuges; by 2013, it had 19,000. That’s a heck of a lot more bargaining chips to hold once negotiations begin in earnest. [Source]

Soon the feds will seize all retirement accounts, and redemptions will be blocked. Many who are around 60 years old and possessing gigantic “paper wealth” and close to retirement seem absolutely frozen, immobilized, stuck in neutral gear, either unwilling or unable to make that 401K—IRA—Keogh—pension account redemption call. Obama will pitch as an annuity or “guaranteed” income stream from that Mother of All Safe Financial Instruments... U.S. Treasury Bonds!! And how coincidental / convenient that it turns out that the sum total of all retirement accounts is right around 17 trillion…close to at least the federal debt figure quoted in the mainstream media. Neat and tidy and more digestible…..when of course (without regard to derivatives losses of one-and-a-half quadrillion)….America’s REAL debt — including unfunded liabilities like Social Security, Fannie, Freddie, Medicare, — is a staggering $240 trillion. TO ANYONE READING THIS—Please take aside those you care about and do whatever it takes to just “get over” the 20% early withdrawal penalty and CALL THEIR MUTUAL FUND ADVISOR, stock broker, etc. The window of opportunity to re-invest those soon-to-be-worthless dollars into things with high intrinsic value closes a little more each day. [David Carswell]

The global rejection of the Petro-Dollar is well along, which began with the introduction of QE, then QE2, then Operation Twist. But the global rejection took flight after Taper Talk failed in its trial balloon, and achieved supersonic speed with the recognition of QE to Infinity was implicitly endorsed. The global rejection saw the prototype built in the hangar with the Iran sanction workarounds, where India bought Iran's oil and gas, but paid with Turkish gold, delivered to Tehran banks. The global rejection will achieve escape velocity with the acceptance of Russian Rubles for its energy products. The global rejection will achieve additional escape velocity with the acceptance of Chinese Yuan payments for Saudi crude oil (then all OPEC oil). Coming is the launch of both the gold-backed Russian Ruble and the gold-backed Chinese Yuan. The global rejection will be final, and the funeral will be announced. They will enter the financial airspace first, followed by others. When the US Military defense of the US Dollar is recognized as blatant, dishonorable, toothless, and ineffective, the other gold-backed currencies will follow. The isolated paper tiger was revealed in Syria. The toothless rampaging tiger will be revealed in Ukraine. The Kiev Govt is almost ready to collapse already. The Russians and Chinese might put the first daggers in the USDollar heart, but numerous death blows will come from other parties. [Source]

Is China Hoarding Gold to Challenge the U.S. Dollar?

November 19, 2014

WallStCheatSheet - In a world filled with fiat currencies, how important is gold’s role in the financial system? Proponents often view the precious metal as a hedge against economic chaos, while critics typically claim gold is hardly more than an unproductive rock. Interestingly, some countries appear to believe gold is quite important, and one former Fed chair explains why.

Alan Greenspan, who served at the helm of the Federal Reserve for nearly two decades, recently penned an op-ed for the Council on Foreign Relations discussing gold and its possible role in China, the world’s second-largest economy. He notes that if China converted only a “relatively modest part of its $4 trillion foreign exchange reserves into gold, the country’s currency could take on unexpected strength in today’s international financial system.”

Greenspan also believes the downside risks for China stockpiling gold are limited, at least from a pure investment point of view. “It would be a gamble, of course, for China to use part of its reserves to buy enough gold bullion to displace the United States from its position as the world’s largest holder of monetary gold,” he wrote. “But the penalty for being wrong, in terms of lost interest and the cost of storage, would be modest.”

The People’s Bank of China has not formally disclosed any changes to its gold holdings in years, but it’s believed that the central bank is purchasing gold to diversify its reserve holdings. In 2009, China announced that it boosted its gold reserves by 454 tonnes via acquiring gold quietly over the previous five years. That represented an impressive 76 percent increase in gold reserves. Today, China still shows that it holds 1,054.1 tonnes in reserves, but it’s speculated by analysts to actually have around 2,000 to 3,000 tonnes.

Some market participants also believe China is building up its gold reserves to challenge the U.S. dollar, which is currently the world’s reserve currency. A few years ago, China’s official news agency, Xinhua, said, “International supervision over the issue of U.S. dollars should be introduced and a new, stable and secured global reserve currency may also be an option to avert a catastrophe caused by any single country.”

Gold already plays a significant role in China’s economy. In 2013, China’s gold consumption surged 41 percent year-over-year to 1,176.40 tonnes, exceeding 1,000 tonnes for the first time on record, according to the China Gold Association. Demand for jewelry was the biggest contributor, with an increase of 43 percent to 716.50 tonnes, while bullion demand rose 57 percent to 375.73 tonnes. China is the largest gold consumer and producer in the world.

China faces an uphill battle if it’s going to challenge America’s gold stockpile. According to the most recent data from the World Gold Council, the U.S. holds 8,133.5 tonnes of gold, representing 71.8 percent of reserves and the most held by any one country in the world. Furthermore, a behind-the-scenes look from Greenspan reveals that the U.S. is not likely to sell its gold stash anytime soon.
“In 1976, for example, I participated, as chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, in a conversation in which then U.S. Treasury Secretary William Simon and then Federal Reserve Board Chair Arthur Burns met with President Gerald Ford to discuss Simon’s recommendation that the United States sell its 275 million ounces of gold and invest the proceeds in interest-earning assets,” said Greenspan. “Whereas Simon, following the economist Milton Friedman’s view at that time, argued that gold no longer served any useful monetary purpose, Burns argued that gold was the ultimate crisis backstop to the dollar. The two advocates were unable to find common ground. In the end, Ford chose to do nothing. And to this day, the U.S. gold hoard has changed little, amounting to 261 million ounces.”

Russian Navy Tests New Missile Capable of Carrying Up to 10 Nuclear Warheads 5,000 Miles

Russian Navy successfully tests new missile

November 28, 2014

AP - The Russian Navy on Friday successfully test-fired a new intercontinental ballistic missile for a second time in as many months, proving its reliability following a troublesome development.

The Defense Ministry said the Alexander Nevsky nuclear submarine test-fired a Bulava missile from an underwater position in the Barents Sea. The missile's warheads reached designated targets at a testing range in Russia's far eastern Kamchatka Peninsula.

The Bulava suffered many failures during a decade of tests, raising doubts about the fate of Russia's most expensive and ambitious weapons program since the Soviet collapse. But a series of recent launches has been successful and the Navy now has three Borei-class nuclear submarines armed with the Bulava.

Two of them, the Alexander Nevsky and the Yuri Dolgoruky, named after medieval Russian rulers, already have entered service. The third one has been completed and is waiting to be formally commissioned by the Navy. Overall, eight Borei-class submarines are set to be built.

Like the previous Bulava launch on Oct. 29 from the Yuri Dolgoruky, Friday's test was essential for confirming the capability of the missile, which Russia touted as a key part of its nuclear deterrent.

With Soviet-built nuclear submarines approaching the end of their lifetime, the Kremlin has made replacing them a top priority in the arms modernization program, which envisages spending 20 trillion rubles (more than $400 billion) on new weapons through 2020.

According to Russian media reports, the Bulava has a range of more than 8,000 kilometers (nearly 5,000 miles) and is capable of carrying up to 10 nuclear warheads. Military officials have boasted about its ability to penetrate any prospective missile defense.

Images of Drones That Look Like Insects

Terrifying New ‘Insect Drones’ May Soon Be Buzzing Our Skies…

Nature has perfected something that us humans simply stumbled upon. In doing research and development of drones, engineers were struggling with one major problem: how to make drones be able to dodge and fly around objects, move with extreme agility, and navigate the elements that Mother Nature produces.

Well, Mother Nature herself had the answer to their problems. Engineers soon realized that she had perfected flight, in the form of insects, which were ‘engineered’ vastly different than what man had produced thus far: they had flapping wings, whereas man had always made it’s flight possible with ‘fixed-wing’ aircraft.
No longer…
Engineers have began producing tiny drones that mimic the biological technology that pesky insects exhibit on a daily basis. They designed drones that were just like insects…thus…the Microdrone.
Let the Apocalyptical theories begin…

Engineers have developed drones based on technology Mother Nature has provided through insects, and are calling these new drones 'Microdrones'

Engineers have developed drones based on technology Mother Nature has provided through insects, and are calling these new drones ‘Microdrones’

Mother Nature has had this technology available for millions of years. We have merely discovered it's existence.

Mother Nature has had this technology available for millions of years. We have merely discovered it’s existence.

Apparently traditional 'Fixed-wing' aircraft are pretty old school now...

Apparently traditional ‘Fixed-wing’ aircraft are pretty old school now…

"The robots you know tomorrow are going to look like nothing you know today. More likely, they will look like the animals around you.." says Peter Singer of the Brookings Institute.

“The robots you know tomorrow are going to look like nothing you know today. More likely, they will look like the animals around you..” says Peter Singer of the Brookings Institute.

The Microdrones can fly, bump into things, recover, and keep flying.

The Microdrones can fly, bump into things, recover, and keep flying.

The Microdrones can fly, bump into things, recover, and keep flying.

This is one of the first ones developed by researchers at Harvard University.

Most of them have shock absorbers that are designed from the bodies of house flies.

Most of them have shock absorbers that are designed from the bodies of house flies.

Some of these robotic insects could perform humanitarian efforts, such as searching disaster areas for survivors.

Some of these robotic insects could perform humanitarian efforts, such as searching disaster areas for survivors.

Some could have agricultural benefits, such as pollination that real bees usually do. Others could monitor traffic, or be used for environmental research.

Some could have agricultural benefits, such as pollination that real bees usually do. Others could monitor traffic, or be used for environmental research.

US military developing insect surveillance drones

July 28, 2012

PressTV - Reports indicate the US military has poured huge sums of money into surveillance drone miniaturization and is developing micro aircraft which now come in a swarm of bug-sized flying spies.

According to various internet sources, a team of researchers at the Johns Hopkins University in conjunction with the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Arlington, Virginia, is helping develop what they are calling a micro aerial vehicle (MAV) that will undertake various espionage tasks.
The robotic insect can effortlessly infiltrate urban areas, where dense concentrations of buildings and people, along with unpredictable winds and other obstacles make it impractical.
It can be controlled from a great distance and is equipped with a camera and a built-in microphone.

The new device has the capability to land precisely on human skin, use its super-micron sized needle to take DNA samples and fly off again at speed. All people feel is the pain of a mosquito bite without the burning sensation and the swelling of course.
The hard-to-detect surveillance drone can also inject a micro radio frequency identification (RFID) tracking device right under skin, and can be used to inject toxins into enemies during wars.
As early as in 2007, the US government was accused of secretly developing robotic insect spies when anti-war protesters in the United States saw some flying objects similar to dragonflies or little helicopters hovering above them.

The US is not alone in miniaturizing drones that imitate nature: France, the Netherlands and Israel are also developing similar devices.

France has developed flapping wing bio-inspired micro drones. The Netherlands BioMAV (Biologically Inspired AI for Micro Aerial Vehicles) has also built Parrot AR drones.
Meanwhile, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has produced a butterfly-shaped drone, weighing just 20 grams, which can gather intelligence inside buildings.
The insect drone, with its 0.15-gram camera and memory card, is managed remotely with a special helmet. Putting on the helmet, the operator finds themselves in the “butterfly’s cockpit” and virtually sees what the butterfly sees in real time.


Drones May Well Be the 'Locusts' That Come Out from the Smoke of the Bottomless Pit 

November 27, 2014

The Middle Class Has Become the Enemy of the State (Statists and Elitists)

Elitists and moral supremacists, referring to themselves as "progressives," believe that they know so much more about justice, the market, and how we should live. In his book “Intellectuals and Society”, Thomas Sowell explains how the “anointed” believe that their advanced education and depth of knowledge in one field automatically makes them an authority on any field in which they wield an opinion. Sowell further explains that the most educated among us know only the smallest fraction of what is to be known. That these highly educated people may know so much more than any one of us does not mean that they know a fraction as much as do all of us.

Sowell also said: "Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it.”

The excerpt below is from "Obama’s (Middle) Class Warfare" by Cheryl Pass, September 30, 2011:
The elitists, statists, and the greens are not attacking the poor or themselves. And Obama is not going after “the wealthy” to pay their fair share. The object of their hatred is all aimed at the middle class. They can, will, and have controlled the poor. In fact they’ve been doing that for 100 years, since Wilson and FDR. Statists believe they have conquered those in the lower economic tier through welfare programs, unemployment insurance benefits, social services, public education, housing subsidies, and whatever other give-away programs they have used as bribes. And I could not argue their success. The poor, with their hands out, are not in a position to fight back. Having accomplished their goals with the poor, they now are laser focused on the middle class. And it is this middle class who is giving them a fight.

The middle class is still the group closest to the Constitution. The middle class is the group who has sacrificed the most lives in wars and defense of the nation. The middle class is the group who produced the goods that made the country self-sufficient. The middle class is the group of citizens who are outraged and appalled at the assault on the nation from within by the elites. So who does Obama perceive as his enemy? Who is the next victim class of the elite and statists? The middle class.

How do you kill the middle class? You eliminate their income potential. You kill their jobs. You destroy manufacturing. You make their lives miserable with regulations. You make their energy so expensive they cannot function. You ridicule their cultural and moral codes. You promote things to undermine their family structure. You tax them to death. You take over their communications. You attempt to track all of their activities. You humiliate them in airports, schools, media, and through their health care. You call them names. You inhibit their mobility and use their tax dollars to limit auto traffic, telling them they must walk or bike. You limit their food. You limit all of their independent survival abilities and micro-manage every aspect of their lives.

The middle class has become the enemy of the state (statists).

How does someone advocate for a smaller government while having only ever received a paycheck from the government?
Maybe this is obvious to others, but lately I have been taken aback by the number of statists who have no understanding of the economic costs of socialism (to the individual or the greater society). The academic elitists use euphemisms such as "universal health care" to hide its true nature, but lately the masses have been calling it "free health care." The term "free-health care" is not a convenient shorthand for a complicated issue, but an indicator of a severe misunderstanding of basic economics.
Some of them just assume faceless wealthy people will take on the financial burden, but a lot of these statists genuinely believe that socialism is free. It's a simple concept that is obvious to libertarians/ancaps, but if their perspective is forgotten or ignored, the debate is over before it started, as any sophisticated defense of capitalism is built on a foundation of nothing.
The best scenario is that the capitalist will come across as a moron, and the worst is that he will come across as a monster. I'm getting called out for circlejerking and setting up a strawman. I posted similar thing joking around in /r/whowillbuildtheroads, but I'm being serious here about this phenomenon. There are plenty of lefties who believe in redistribution and social justice and whatnot, but if you project these arguments onto every single person and ignore the common existence of magical thinking, you are going to have a bad time.
I'm in medicine and I talk to people about health care every single day (especially outside of work when inhibitions are lowered). It is common for people to be sincerely confused about why anyone would be opposed to "free-health care."
My experience in real-life has not been the entitlement mentality of naive /r/politics "the rich owe us." They are an over-educated subgroup that is severely over-represented on the internet of the left-wing.
In real-life, a shockingly large number of people are somewhat illiterate. They can read enough to get by and fake it, but when you have them read out loud or explain concepts to you the facade they put on to fit into society becomes obvious. They have learned to repeat things that sound pretty good and are agreeable. Who do you think they are mimicking? Economists? OF COURSE NOT. Acknowledging that many, MANY people do not have a basic understanding of economics is not circlejerking or creating a stawman. It's accepting reality. Projecting economic understanding into their opinions is a strawman. [Source]

Elite Contempt for Ordinary Americans (Excerpt)

November 26, 2014

The Tenth Amendment Center - Universities are home to the academic elite — people who believe they have more intelligence than and superior wisdom to the masses. They believe they have been ordained to forcibly impose that wisdom on the rest of us. Academic elitists have what they consider to be good reasons for restricting the freedom of others. But every tyrant who has ever lived has had what he considered good reasons.

America’s elite found on university campuses, in news media and in political office are chief supporters of reduced private property rights and reduced rights to profits, and they are anti-competition and pro-monopoly.

They are pro-control and coercion by the state. Their plan requires the elimination or attenuation of the free market and what is implied by it — voluntary exchange. Their reasoning is simple. Tyrants do not trust that people acting voluntarily will do what the tyrants think they should do. Therefore, tyrants want to replace the market and voluntary exchange with economic planning. Economic planning is nothing more than the forcible superseding of other people’s plans by the powerful elite backed up by the brute force of government.

In a 1991 speech, Yale University President Benno Schmidt warned: “The most serious problems of freedom of expression in our society today exist on our campuses. The assumption seems to be that the purpose of education is to induce correct opinion rather than to search for wisdom and to liberate the mind.”

Jonathan Gruber, MIT economist and paid architect of Obamacare, has shocked and disgusted many Americans. I watched the videos of Gruber’s speeches. Academics raised little concern as to either the dishonesty of Obamacare or the claim that Americans were too stupid to understand.

A study by my George Mason University colleague Daniel B. Klein, along with Charlotta Stern of the Swedish Institute for Social Research, titled “Professors and Their Politics: The Policy Views of Social Scientists” ( concluded:
“The academic social sciences are pretty much a one-party system. Were the Democratic tent broad, the one-party system might have intellectual diversity. But the data show almost no diversity of opinion among the Democratic professors when it comes to the regulatory, redistributive state: they like it. Especially when it comes to the minimum wage, workplace-safety regulation, pharmaceutical regulation, environmental regulation, discrimination regulation, gun control, income redistribution, and public schooling.”
Focusing only on Professor Gruber’s arrogance, we ignore the more important fact that he is highly representative of the academic mindset — the people who are brainwashing our youngsters.

November 26, 2014

Federal Unified Agenda is the Obama Administration’s Regulatory Road Map, Laying Out Thousands of Regulations Being Finalized in the Coming Months

With Everyone Focused on Ferguson, Obama Quietly Passing 3,415 New Regulations Before Thanksgiving

November 26, 2014

Why, you might ask?

Because the Obama administration has prepared, for the fifth time now, to oh-so-quietly release 3,415 brand spanking new regulations right before Thanksgiving while everyone just so happens to be totally distracted and focusing on the orchestrated civil disorder going on in Ferguson.

Via The Daily Caller:
The federal Unified Agenda is the Obama administration’s regulatory road map, and it lays out thousands of regulations being finalized in the coming months. Under President Barack Obama, there has been a tradition of releasing the agenda late on Friday — and right before a major holiday.
“It’s become an unfortunate tradition of this administration and others to drop these regulatory agendas late on a Friday and right before a holiday,” Matt Shudtz, executive director of the Center for Progressive Reform, told The Hill newspaper.
The White House’s regulatory agenda for spring 2014 was released on the eve of the Memorial Day weekend, when millions of people set out on weekend getaways or family vacations.
“It’s unfortunate because it’s an update on protections for Americans of all stripes,” Shudtz told the Hill. “It lays out the administration’s plan and it deserves more attention.”
Nice, right?

Apparently, this release comes new and improved with even more regulations than last time, and it even comes complete with the added bonus of having 189 rules which come with a nice fat price tag of $100 million.

It’s funny… Once upon a time, throwing out an amount like a hundred million would’ve made some people’s eyeballs literally pop out of their heads. I can use the word literally in a figurative sense now without being incorrect, because apparently we live in such an Idiocracy society that the official definition of the word “literally” has been updated to include “used for emphasis or to express strong feeling while not being literally true.”

… I’m not even kidding.

Anyway, who knows what evil will be lurking in those 3,415 new regulations. No, really. Who knows? Hardly anyone knows, because these regs will be slipped in under cover of concocted protests in Ferguson, a plate full of turkey and stuffing, and a football game.

Melissa Melton is a writer, researcher, and analyst for The Daily Sheeple and a co-creator of Truthstream Media with Aaron Dykes, a site that offers teleprompter-free, unscripted analysis of The Matrix we find ourselves living in. Melissa also co-founded Nutritional Anarchy with Daisy Luther of The Organic Prepper, a site focused on resistance through food self-sufficiency. Wake the flock up!

November 25, 2014

Top 10 Percent of American Earners Own 80 Percent of All Stocks and Pull In 50 Percent of Total Wages

Top 10 percent of American earners pulled in 49.7 percent of total wages

Ttop 10 percent of Americans own more than 80 percent of all stocks

$23.7 trillion Wall Street bailout was paid for by the bottom 99 percent

Goldman gets $52 billion in low-interest loans from the government (the taxpayers) to finance its trading


According to data from Spectrem Group, the Chicago-based wealth research firm, in 2013 they were 8.99 million U.S. households whose net worth totals $1 million or more (not including primary residence). That was up from 8.6 million in 2011 and just short of the all-time record set in 2006, when the United States had 9.2 million millionaire households.

The stock market's rise has been the biggest driver of millionaire creation. With 2013's gains, Spectrem said, the United States may have already exceeded its all-time record.

Most of the benefits from rising stocks have gone to the wealthy, since the top 10 percent of Americans own more than 80 percent of all stocks, according to research from Edward Wolff of New York University. But the recent stock surge has also created a new gap within the wealthy, or at least between millionaires and the so-called affluent.

According to Spectrem, the number of households worth $1 million or more, and $5 million or more is near the record. But the number of households worth $500,000 or more (the affluent) is much lower than the record in 2007. There are 14.3 million households worth $500,000 or more — down from 15.7 million in 2007.

Flashback: Pennsylvania Drafts 2009 Mandatory Vaccination, Gun Confiscation Law

Pennsylvania Drafts 2009 Mandatory Vaccination, Gun Confiscation Law

October 16, 2009

Farm Wars - State governments continue promoting emergency powers legislation, even while insisting these unconstitutional powers will never be used. Here are a few excerpts from Pennsylvania House Bill 492, the “Emergency Health Powers Act” [PDF]:

Section 2523-D. Effect of declaration.
(b) Emergency powers of Governor.–During a state of public health emergency, the Governor may:
(4) Mobilize all or any part of the Pennsylvania National Guard into service of the Commonwealth. An order directing the Pennsylvania National Guard to report for active duty shall state the purpose for which it is mobilized and the objectives to be accomplished.

Section 2532-D. Access to and control of facilities and property.
The public health authority may exercise, for such period as the state of public health emergency exists, the following powers concerning facilities, materials, roads or public areas:
(3) To control, restrict and regulate by rationing and using quotas, prohibitions on shipments, price fixing, allocation or other means, the use, sale, dispensing, distribution or transportation of food, fuel, clothing and other commodities, alcoholic beverages, firearms, explosives and combustibles, as may be reasonable and necessary for emergency response.
(5) To control ingress and egress to and from any stricken or threatened public area, the movement of persons within the area and the occupancy of premises therein, if such action is reasonable and necessary for emergency response.

Section 2542-D. Mandatory medical examinations.
(a) Powers of public health authority.–The public health authority may exercise, for such period as the state of public health emergency exists, the following emergency powers over persons:
(1) To compel a person to submit to a physical examination or testing, or both, as necessary to diagnose or treat the person subject to the following:
(i) The medical examination or testing may be performed by any qualified person authorized by the public health authority.
(ii) The medical examination or testing may not be reasonably likely to result in serious harm to the affected individual.
(iii) The medical examination or testing shall be performed immediately upon the order of the public health authority without resort to judicial or quasi-judicial authority.
(iv) If the public health authority is uncertain whether a person who refuses to undergo medical examination or testing may have been exposed to an infectious disease or otherwise poses a danger to public health, the public health authority may subject the individual to isolation or quarantine as provided in this article.
(2) To require any physician or other health care provider to perform the medical examination or testing, or both.
(b) Enforcement.–An order of the public health authority given to effectuate the purposes of this section shall be immediately enforceable by any law enforcement officer.
(c) Penalty.–A person who refuses to submit or perform a medical examination or test under this section commits a misdemeanor of the third degree.

Section 2544-D. Vaccination and treatment.
(a) Powers of public health authority.–The public health authority may, for such period as the state of public health emergency exists, compel a person to be vaccinated or treated, or both, for an infectious disease subject to the following provisions:
(1) Vaccination may be performed by any qualified person authorized by the public health authority.
(2) A vaccine may not be given if the public health authority has reason to know that a particular individual is likely to suffer serious harm from the vaccination.
(3) Treatment may be performed by any qualified person authorized by the public health authority.
(4) Treatment must not be such as is reasonably likely to lead to serious harm to the affected individual.
(b) Refusal.–If, by reason of refusal of vaccination or treatment, the person poses a danger to the public health, the person may be isolated or quarantined pursuant to the provisions of this article.
(c) Enforcement.–An order of the public health authority given to effectuate the purposes of this section shall be immediately enforceable by any peace officer.
(d) Penalty.–A person who fails to comply with this section commits a misdemeanor of the third degree.

Section 2572-D. Enforcement.
(a) General rule.–The public health authority shall have the power to enforce the provisions of this article through the imposition of fines and penalties, the issuance of orders and such other remedies as are provided by law.

Section 2574-D. Liability.
(a) State immunity.–Neither the Commonwealth, its political subdivisions, nor, except in cases of gross negligence or willful misconduct, the Governor, the public health authority or any other State official referenced in this article shall be liable for the death of or any injury to persons or damage to property as a result of complying with or attempting to comply with this article or any rule or regulations promulgated pursuant to this article.
(b) Private liability.
(3) During a state of public health emergency, no private person, firm or corporation and employees and agents of such person, firm or corporation who renders assistance or advice at the request of the Commonwealth or its political subdivisions under the provisions of this article shall be civilly liable for causing the death of or injury to any person or damage to any property except in the event of gross negligence or willful misconduct.

For our purposes here, the most important clause in this Act is as follows:

A vaccine may not be given if the public health authority has reason to know that a particular individual is likely to suffer serious harm from the vaccination.

Unfortunately, the CDC has already declared–contrary to evidence from 1976 onwards–that individuals are unlikely to suffer serious harm from vaccination!

And if you do suffer harm–as thousands of others have over the years–the state and its contractors accept no responsibility.

November 24, 2014

Nuclear Negotiations with Iran Fail

Here's The Depressing Reason Why Iran May Have Rejected A Generous Nuclear Deal

November 24, 2014

Business Insider - The nuclear negotiations between Iran and a US-led group of countries over Tehran's nuclear program have once again fallen short.

On the one year anniversary after the signing of the landmark Joint Plan of Action in Geneva, diplomats from Iran and the PP5+1 — the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany — announced that the negotiating period will be extended for another seven months after the parties failed to reach a final deal during a marathon session in Vienna.

This round of talks was punctuated with reports that the P5+1 had softened its position on issues considered central to resolving the nuclear standoff.

The Jerusalem Post cited an anonymous Israeli official claiming that the P5+1 offered a deal that would expire after only ten years. News reports and expert analysis suggested that the US was willing to allow Iran to leave as many as 5,000 uranium centrifuges in place under a final deal, effectively conceding that Iran would be able to keep much of its uranium enrichment infrastructure even after an agreement was signed. And the Wall Street Journal reported that the P5+1 was no longer demanding the closure of Iran's heavy water reactor at Arak — a facility capable of producing weaponized plutonium —and didn't plan on using the deal to scale back Iran's ballistic missile program.

The P5+1 was reportedly willing to settle for an agreement that delivered a strict verification regime theoretically capable of cutting off Tehran's pathway to a bomb — while leaving in place much of the infrastructure needed to actually build and deliver a nuclear weapon. 

It's an arrangement that would seem to favor Tehran in some respects, winning it sanctions relief along with some limited international recognition of the legitimacy of their nuclear program. So why didn't Iran take it? And given that the negotiations have gone on for over a year now — with a White House committed to a negotiated way out of the nuclear impasse — what else does Iran really think it can get out of the process?

One possibility is that Iran simply doesn't want a deal or isn't in a position to sign even a generous one. Iran is a compartmentalized authoritarian state with several often-competing and only semi-accountable centers of power. If one of them doesn't want a deal — if, for instance, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei winces at the possibility of any grand bargain with the west — it isn't getting done. It's easier, from that perspective, for Iranian negotiators to keep extending the talks rather than dealing with the implications of a final deal, especially when Iran will be allowed to access an additional $700 million a month in frozen assets as long as the talks continue.

Another possibility is that Iran's intransigence is not only intentional but actually a highly effective negotiating tactic.

As Tom Moore, a former Senate Foreign Relations Committee staffer and Luger Center senior fellow who has followed the Iranian nuclear issue for over a decade explained to Business Insider, Tehran's strategy towards the US hasn't actually changed much over the years. Iran has always used the possibility of near-term concessions to keep the west interested in negotiating — while slowly building its program and resisting a final resolution to the nuclear issue.
"They've made the decision they get more out of doing this than out of a final deal," Moore says of the post-Geneva agreement series of negotiating extensions. 
Moore recalled the 2004 Paris Agreement between Iran and three EU countries, in which Tehran agreed to curtail certain aspects of its nuclear program. The deal came around the same time Iran agreed to the International Atomic Energy Agency's additional protocols for nuclear monitoring. 

Ten years later, Iran has never actually allowed the inspection protocol to be implemented while the expansion of Tehran's program has turned the Paris Agreement is a now-obscure footnote. 
"Nothing changed much between 2004 and 2014 ... it's the same dynamic all over a again," says Moore. "The only difference is that the P5+1 is now involved."
In taking an incremental approach, Iran gets the benefits of a short-term agreement — benefits like sanctions relief and diplomatic good will — while not giving up anything major and at least preserving the long-term option of ramping up its program again.

In that respect, the Geneva interim agreement is actaully favorable for Tehran, as Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies, explained to Business Insider.
"Advanced centrifuge research and development, weaponization, ballistic missiles — none of these are prohibited under the JPOA," Dubowitz explained. "They get time to work on what they haven't perfected while freezing the parts of the program they have perfected. They don't pay any price for continuing to run out clock."
The Vienna extension suggests that Iran doesn't really see much urgency in completing a deal — or even that only one side thinks there's much of a benefit to a comprehensive nuclear agreement. If an agreement comes it may be less far-reaching than a lot of observers hope, with an over year-long negotiating process lurching towards an anti-climactic end.

U.N. Recognition of Palestine as a State Gains Momentum

UN chief: Palestinian recognition gains momentum

November 24, 2014

AP- Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Monday the international community's failure to advance a political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is spurring governments and parliaments to take action to recognize the state of Palestine — and "that momentum will grow."

The U.N. chief said at the U.N. commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People that the international community must assume "a collective failure" for not being able to get a peace deal.
"Indeed — as we see around the world — governments and parliaments are taking action," Ban said.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, in a statement read at the commemoration, welcomed changes in popular sentiment in the West that have reached "official political levels," starting with Sweden's recognition of the state of Palestine and the overwhelming motions supporting recognition by parliaments in Britain, Ireland and Spain.

He said these actions, and upcoming votes in France and other European countries, are "positive developments which enhance the opportunities for peace and security and stability in the region."
"Does Israel, the occupying power, understand all of the messages in this regard?," Abbas asked.
Israel's U.N. Ambassador Ron Prosor told the General Assembly later Monday that Sweden and European parliaments supporting recognition of a Palestinians are taking away any incentive for the Palestinians to negotiate, compromise or renounce violence and are giving them exactly what they want — "statehood without peace."

Secretary-General Ban warned that incitement and provocative acts at the holy sites in Jerusalem "are fanning the flames of conflict far beyond the holy city."
"Extremists on both sides are dictating the agenda," Ban said. "I call on the parties to step back from the brink and find the path of peace before hope and time run out."
Much of the recent violence has stemmed from tensions surrounding Jerusalem's hilltop complex that is revered by Muslims and Jews. The collapse of U.S.-brokered peace talks, Israel's war last summer in the Gaza Strip against the Islamic militant group Hamas, and continued Israeli settlement construction in east Jerusalem have added to Israeli-Palestinian distrust.

Abbas accused Israel of trying to alter or erase the Palestinian and Christian and Muslim presence in Jerusalem and of taking measures aimed at turning East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians want as the capital of their future state, into a Jewish area.

Prosor accused Abbas of inciting violence against Jews at the Jerusalem hilltop complex. He said Israel "will make sure that the holy places remain open to all people of all faiths for all time."

Abbas reiterated that the Palestinians are seeking a U.N. Security Council resolution that would set November 2016 as the deadline for Israeli troops to withdraw from all Palestinian territory. Palestinian U.N. Ambassador Riyad Mansour indicated there will not be a vote in November.

Israel Resumes Razing Homes to Punish Attackers

Israel resumes razing homes to punish attackers

File - In this Nov. 19, 2014 file photo Palestinians hang national flag inside the demolished apartment of Abdel Rahman al-Shaludi in east Jerusalem on. Israeli authorities demolished the apartment as a punitive measure after al-Shaludi's deadly attack with his car on a Jerusalem train station last month which left two people dead.  Israel says it is resuming demolitions because it needs more tools to stop a recent wave of Palestinian attacks on Jews.  (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean, File)
November 24, 2014
AP - Enas Shalodi, a Palestinian mother of six, has been severely punished by Israel for something she didn't do.

A wrecking crew gutted her family's apartment in Jerusalem last week, tearing down inner walls and leaving behind a thick layer of debris.

The demolition came a month after her oldest son, 21-year-old Abdel Rahman, drove a car into a crowd waiting for a train in Jerusalem, killing a 3-month-old girl and an Ecuadorean tourist before being shot and killed at the scene.

Israel says it needs tougher tools to stop recent "lone wolf" attacks on Jews by Palestinians. But critics say the practice is strikingly at odds with basic notions of justice, fairness and legality in a democracy — and that it is bound to bring on more hatred rather than serve as a deterrent.

Israel has given house demolition notices to families of six Jerusalem assailants, including the Shalodis and the relatives of two cousins who killed five people in a synagogue last week.

In razing the homes of attackers, Israel is reviving a punishment it largely halted in 2005. An army committee found at the time that punitive demolitions don't deter potential attackers.

Government spokesman Mark Regev said Israel's security services now "firmly believe that this can be an effective deterrent."

He was backed by Cabinet minister Yaakov Peri, a former head of Israel's Shin Bet security service, who said lone assailants can't be stopped by conventional means, and that the demolitions of homes, if carried out quickly, can be effective.

Others said the government simply tried to appease a jittery public.
"There is no policy component here. The only thing left is simple revenge," said Jeff Halper, a longtime campaigner against demolitions. "The government needs to do something quick, wants to show it is tough."
Human rights groups say razing homes as a deterrent amounts to collective punishment and violates the rules that govern occupied territories such as east Jerusalem, which Israel captured in 1967, along with the West Bank and Gaza.
"This is a deliberate policy of punishing the innocent," said Sarit Michaeli of B'Tselem, an Israeli human rights group. "This is completely unacceptable in a country that aims to be a democracy."
The demolitions come at a time of heightened tensions in Jerusalem, a volatile city at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Palestinian residents complain of longstanding official discrimination and fear Israel is marginalizing them further with settlements and a separation barrier slicing through Arab neighborhoods.

Violence "will only stop when they end the occupation," said Enas Shalodi, who now lives with her husband and remaining children in two rooms in a relative's temporarily vacant apartment in her building.

She insisted her son didn't intend to ram into those waiting at the train stop, although video suggested he slowed down before accelerating into the crowd. 

Israel has demolished hundreds of Palestinian homes as punishment since 1967, along with thousands more that were razed for other reasons, such as lacking building permits, which Palestinians say are difficult to get from Israel.

Between 1987 and 2005, a period encompassing two Palestinian uprisings, Israel destroyed 1,115 Palestinian homes as punishment, partially demolished 64 and sealed or partially sealed 417, according to B'Tselem.

Punitive demolitions were largely halted in February 2005 after the army committee deemed them ineffective. That decision followed four years in which Palestinian bombers and gunmen killed more than 1,000 Israelis.
Some in Israel fear they are seeing the start of a third uprising.

Religious passions among Muslims — the vast majority of the city's Palestinians — have been stoked by demands from some members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition to allow Jewish worship at a major Jerusalem shrine that is run by Muslims but is sacred to both faiths.

In this climate, lone Palestinian assailants have struck repeatedly in Jerusalem:

— In August, the driver of a construction vehicle ran over and killed an inspector at a building site.
— In October, a week after the attack by Shalodi, a waiter shot and severely wounded a rabbi who has been pushing for Jewish prayer rights at the contested holy site.
— In early November, a motorist slammed a minivan into a crowd waiting for a train, killing two people.
— Last week, cousins Ghassan and Oday Abu Jamal, wielding meat cleavers, knives and a handgun, killed four Jewish worshippers and a policeman in the synagogue attack.

All six assailants were shot to death on the spot by security forces, and Netanyahu ordered their family homes demolished.

Netanyahu said suicide attackers may not care if they die, "but they care if in some cases, and often in many cases, if their homes are demolished afterward or sealed."
"We're looking at other means as well, but just imagine what the American public would say if you had — day in and day out — these terrorist murderers coming in, blowing up people, knifing people, running down people with cars," Netanyahu said Sunday in an interview with ABC's "This Week."
"You'd want to look for the ways that are effective to deter such future attacks, both to protect people in real time, but also to deter future suicides. And home demolitions is one of those means," he added.
Shalodi's home was the first to be destroyed because his family did not appeal. The other five families have submitted appeals and will go to Israel's Supreme Court if needed, their lawyers said.

The high court has overwhelmingly ruled against Palestinian homeowners in the past, according to B'Tselem.
Palestinians whose homes are demolished by Israel usually receive some compensation from the Palestinian self-rule government in the West Bank. Relatives of "martyrs," or those killed in attacks or confrontations with Israeli forces, receive a monthly stipend. Officials would not discuss the amounts involved.

The family of Oday Abu Jamal, 22, is fighting demolition but has already removed most belongings from their three-bedroom home in the Jabal Mukaber neighborhood.

The demolition will displace eight people, said Oday's 53-year-old mother Fatima.

This includes herself, her husband, four unmarried children, a sister-in-law and a bedridden mother-in-law. The elderly woman, bundled in blankets, lay on a bed in a dark room in the house.

Fatima said she had been unaware of her son's plan to attack the synagogue, describing him as a quiet young man who worked as a laborer. She blocked questions about the gruesome nature of his act.

In her grief, she appeared almost indifferent to the likely loss of her home.
"My son is gone," she said. "I want my son, not the house. They come to demolish the house? Let them."