Friday, September 28, 2012

Obama: Actions Speak Louder Than Words

The following short video by Reality Check regarding the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is a good summary of the Bill, from its passing into law to its current status in litigation. The NDAA gives the President the power to indefinitely detain any US citizen, without evidence, without trial, anywhere in the world, for how ever long the President wants, if the government believes their acts are "belligerent" and associated with a terror group (note that Wikileaks was just listed as an enemy of the state, maybe you will be indefinitely detained if you tried to post something to Wikileaks, see that article here.

In short, President Obama, our beloved leader, promised to veto the NDAA, but when the bill was presented to him, he unexpectedly signed it into law. Note that Mitt Romney has stated he would have passed the bill as well, so this is but another important issue where there is no difference between our two party system which presents us with an alleged stark contrast of a choice in this years election (the two parties are the same, it is true, it is sad, it is undemocratic, their differences are negligible and meaningless, but I digress). However, in signing the NDAA into law, President Obama ensured he disagreed with the indefinite detention article and would not implement it in his Presidency. Ok. That is a nice assurance. That makes me feel good, right? Well, then a judge of the 2nd Circuit District Court enjoined the indefinite detention provision as "facially unconstitutional." This means the President cannot use that provision until its constitutionality is determined by the Court. You would think President Obama would be happy with this situation, he got to sign a law he thought necessary for our safety into law, and like a line item veto the Court made his life easier by striking down the clearly unconstitutional provision he was opposed to from the get-go. You would be wrong. Despite what President Obama said before the bill was passed, and despite what he said when signing the bill, he appealed the decision to the Appeals Court and had the injunction overturned. So now the President can enforce the indefinite detention provision, the one he was going to veto and would not use, that he signed into law and appealed to remove an injunction against.

Reality Check says it best, "actions speak louder than words."

p.s. The Libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson, opposes the NDAA. Obama and Romney both support it.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Assange Labelled "Enemy of the State" by US

Julian Assange, creator of Wikileaks, has been labelled an enemy of the state by the US military, the same label applied to Al Qaeda. Declassified counter-intelligence documents show that military members who contact Wikileaks or support Wikileaks will be charged with "communicating with the enemy," a charge wich holds a maximum penalty of death.

Vice President Biden had previously labelled Mr. Assange a "hi-tech terrorist."

Assange's US attorney, Michael Ratner, stated that "an enemy is dealt with under the laws of war, which could include killing, capturing, detaining without trial, etc."

Mr. Assange website released massive amounts of information that was released by Bradley Manning. This included video of US soldiers killing Iraqi civilians.

Article here.

Obama criticized as "worse than Bush" and as a "lesser . . . evil" by some people that may surprise you

Ralph Nader

Who he is:
American Political Activist, he advocated for consumer protectionism, especially in regards to the automotive industry. He ran for President as either a write-in candidate or for the Green Party between 1996 and 2008, garnering 2.74% of the national popular vote in 2000.

His statements:
Ralph Nader called President Obama a "war criminal," and stated that his foreign policies are "more aggressive" and "more illegal" than President Bush. Nader also stated the President Obama "thinks the world is his plate." He went on to say he still supports President Obama over Mitt Romney for President, as the "lesser of two evils."

Go here for the article and video.

Christopher Hitchens

Who he is:
British firebrand journalist, known for his atheism. He considered himself socialist at one point, later labelling himself a "conservative Marxist." See here.

His statements:
At the end of 2008, Chris Matthews, a (bad) host on MSNBC, predicted that President Obama' recently appointed national security team would take foreign policy "a notch or two to the left." Hitchens hits back that "this is not change," calling the appointments "disappointing." Hitchens had amazing foresight in this video, and history has proven him right. The video can be found here.

Noam Chomsky

Who he is:
MIT professor in linguistics, philosopher, author, and much more, he is one of the most cited authors alive, he favors "voluntary socialism."

His statements:
When interviewed by DemocracyNow, a left-leaning organization, on his thoughts of the Obama Presidency,  Noam Chomsky replied "In many ways it's a little worse than I expected, but I didnt expect anything." Go to minute 25:05 to see the comments here. Regarding Obama's attacks on civil liberties, Noam stated that "the part that really did surprise me -- and I don't frankly understand it -- is his attack on civil liberties, which is extreme. He's gone beyond Bush."

Noam also stated that when Bush didn't like someone, they would capture them and torture them, "if the Obama administration decides they don't like someone, they murder them." About minute into same video.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Penn Jillette on Obama & Drugs

Obama, in his book, admits that he smoked marijuana and and maybe did a little blow. President Obama was not caught, was not jailed, and went on to go to Harvard and become President. However, if he was caught under the laws he is now enforcing, "he would have done hard fucking time." The US has more people in jail than any other country in the world, and one out of 6 of those people are there for marijuana. If this does not make you mad it should. Penn is mad.

Friday, September 14, 2012

QE3: You Are Being Screwed & You Should Care

"The Administration's central activity -- the political allocation of wealth and opportunity -- is not merely susceptible to corruption, it is corruption." George Will

On Thursday, September 13, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke announced that the Fed will begin to "buy" $40 billion in mortgage-backed-securities (MBS), a type of security packaged by our good friends at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Every month. Indefinitely. $40 billion. This unconventional monetary policy performed by the Fed is called Quantitative Easing (QE). Most people have no idea what it means or how it will impact them. Most people ignore this as just arcane monetary policy enacted by the government, that we can trust because Hey, the government did it and the government acts in our best interests. The apathy is ill-deserved and the trust in government is ignorant. QE will impact You, and the government is not looking out for your best interest, they are not acting out of virtue, they are acting in their best political interest (in this case reelection). This 3rd round of QE by the Fed will harm the middle class, will make us poorer, and will further deteriorate at the long-term strength of our economy.

First, what is QE, second, why is it bad.

What is actually happening is the Fed approaches Wall Street banks and buys their mortgage securities by crediting their accounts. This money will not be added to the national debt though, because the Fed just makes it up. They credit the account by just "printing" money, although no actual money is printed because it is electronic, but you get the idea. Money is created, and it is given to Wall Street. (There is a reason Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, & Citigroup were all within the top 10 contributors to the Obama campaign in 2008, see here) So, the Fed creates cash and gives it to the big banks holding mortgage securities.

Everyone loves pictures...

QE3 will relieve banks of their mortgage securities, allowing them to use this influx of cash to invest in other ventures. QE3 will also make it easier to borrow and buy a home. The Fed hopes that this indefinite promise of $40 billion every single month to buy mortgage backed securities will spur investment in the US economy (commodities, small businesses, capital ventures, IPO's, etc) which will in turn create jobs. Wohoo, sounds great, right! right?

No. It is not great. Is our memory really so short-sighted that we do not recall the 2008 sub-prime mortgage crisis where easy credit, a la Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (government guaranteed mortgages totaling 1.4 trillion, or 40% of all mortgages in the US, see here), and government directives, a la the Community reinvestment Act (The Act's goal was to promote home ownership by requiring loans to low-income households, see here), created such a massive bubble (mis-allocation of wealth) that when it burst the economy was thrown into a recession which we are still struggling with. Instead of allowing the free market to reach equilibrium and for real estate, and homes, to return to their true value so that the economy can begin to enjoy true and sustainable growth, the Fed is going to subsidize the housing market. The free money for mortgage backed securities will create a malinvestment in real estate which will only further damage the economy.

When you first look at it, QE3 seems great, it allows for more investment by Wall Street in Main Street and it does not add to the debt! Yay. However, "there is no such thing as a free lunch" (Milton Friedman) and this infusion of cash will be no different. I just described how it will cause malinvestment, but it will also benefit the rich at the expense of the poor and middle class. This is because of inflation. Simply, when you add money to the market, prices increase. But it is not immediate. QE3 will give Main Street plenty of cash to profit off of while at the same time inflating the price of commodities and everything else people buy. This inflation in price, in homes, in gas, in food, in clothes, will harm the average consumer, while Wall Street gets to invest it and use it before the inflationary correction. The dollar has already been weakened by the announcement, see here.

The Fed is going to continue to print money to buy mortgage securities until there is a substantial increase in employment. This action is a boon to Wall Street yet will further tighten the average consumer's pocket book. It will create malinvestment. Also, it will not create true sustainable growth because it is premised on free money and easy credit, something which will not always exist. Jobs created that rely on this easy credit will not last, they cannot last. It is a facade of prosperity.

To steal a Peter Schiff analogy, we are building a larger and larger skyscraper on a crumbling foundation. We need to mend the foundation before we can have sustainable growth, building the skyscraper higher will only further break the foundation.

QE3 is meant to help Pres. Obama win reelection, it is meant to make people feel good about the economy, its a move in an incumbent President's playbook to create a political advantage. QE3 is not meant to make this country stronger, it does not create real growth, it does not benefit anyone but Wall Street, and you should care, because you are being screwed.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Peter Schiff: DNC Interviews

Peter Schiff asks DNC attendees if corporate profits should be banned? The results are sadly unsurprising.

If you have not seen it, you should also watch Schiff's video of him interviewing people participating in the Occupy Wall Street movement. See here.

Hodgepodgery of political cartoons

But don't worry, Obama made the reassuring statement that  "my Administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens." Please ignore his assassination of American Citizens.

Clinton's 50 minute keynote speech at the DNC was an important lesson on using rational fiscal restraint. Fiscal restraint which left the government with a surplus when Clinton left office. Unfortunately, Obama is not Clinton, and Obama does not practice fiscal restraint.