Even Neocons Are Noticing How Big Big Brother Is Getting…well sort of

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government | Posted on 24-03-2010

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Are the neocons now starting to see the error of their ways? Do they realize that you cannot give up liberty for security, for as Franklin told us, you’ll have neither? Here is a post from Hot Air, where it seems like they are actually catching on.

This should prove an interesting conundrum for those who supported the NSA’s warrantless terrorist-surveillance program. The FBI and local law enforcement agencies have been accessing cell-phone tracking data, possible with the newer generations of GPS-embedded smart phones, in order to solve regular crimes as well as in the national-security arena, using a low bar for cause on warrants. Does this constitute an intelligent leverage of new technology, or a danger to civil liberties?

Of course it’s a threat to civil liberties. If the government turns tyrannical, well more tyrannical than it is, and if we condone this or pass laws like say the Patriot Act to give the government the power they claim to need, then they can use those powers to squash any group of citizens who do not like what the government has become. While you may be able to accept handing some powers to the government when you think it’s your side running the government, “your side” is not always going to be in power. This is the fundamental reason for Franklin’s famous quote. The Hot Air post goes on to quote an article from Newsweek.

Amid all the furor over the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program a few years ago, a mini-revolt was brewing over another type of federal snooping that was getting no public attention at all. Federal prosecutors were seeking what seemed to be unusually sensitive records: internal data from telecommunications companies that showed the locations of their customers’ cell phones—sometimes in real time, sometimes after the fact. The prosecutors said they needed the records to trace the movements of suspected drug traffickers, human smugglers, even corrupt public officials. But many federal magistrates—whose job is to sign off on search warrants and handle other routine court duties—were spooked by the requests. Some in New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas balked. Prosecutors “were using the cell phone as a surreptitious tracking device,” said Stephen W. Smith, a federal magistrate in Houston. “And I started asking the U.S. Attorney’s Office, ‘What is the legal authority for this? What is the legal standard for getting this information?’ ”

The Justice Department doesn’t keep statistics on requests for cell-phone data, according to the spokeswoman. So it’s hard to gauge just how often these records are retrieved. But Al Gidari, a telecommunications lawyer who represents several wireless providers, tells NEWSWEEK that the companies are now getting “thousands of these requests per month,” and the amount has grown “exponentially” over the past few years. Sprint Nextel has even set up a dedicated Web site so that law-enforcement agents can access the records from their desks—a fact divulged by the company’s “manager of electronic surveillance” at a private Washington security conference last October. “The tool has just really caught on fire with law enforcement,” said the Sprint executive, according to a tape made by a privacy activist who sneaked into the event. (A Sprint spokesman acknowledged the company has created the Web “portal” but says that law-enforcement agents must be “authenticated” before they are given passwords to log on, and even then still must provide valid court orders for all nonemergency requests.)

Again, Franklin’s warning comes to mind. Neocons, including myself at the time, thought the warrantless wiretapping was needed. How could Bush track those evil terrorists without it? Well, what happens once you give that power to the government for terrorists? Shouldn’t they use it on child molestors? I mean is there any bigger group of terrorists than child molestors? Heck, what about murderers? How about drug dealers, bank robbers, oh and what about that rich ponzi scheme guy? No, not the government. I’m talking about Bernie Madoff. Shouldn’t we be able to track him? How many lives did he ruin? As you can see, this never ends. Before you know it, to government is tracking you down for your outstanding speeding tickets.

Most of us would understand that law-enforcement agencies have a need occasionally to track a suspect in a criminal matter and certainly for the FBI in counterterrorist operations (give up those liberties for the boogiemen).  However, according to this Newsweek report, the Obama administration and other agencies are using a particularly weak type of claim in order to make thousands of requests a month, most of which have nothing to do with national security:

The grounds for such requests, says Smith, were often flimsy: almost all were being submitted as “2703(d)” orders—a reference to an obscure provision of a 1986 law called the Stored Communications Act, in which prosecutors only need to assert that records are “relevant” to an ongoing criminal investigation. That’s the lowest possible standard in federal criminal law, and one that, as a practical matter, magistrates can’t really verify. …

A potentially more sinister request came from some Michigan cops who, purportedly concerned about a possible “riot,” pressed another telecom for information on all the cell phones that were congregating in an area where a labor-union protest was expected. “We haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of abuse on this,” says Gidari.

I’m no fan of labor-union activism, but Americans have a right to peaceably assemble for political purposes without the government conducting covert surveillance.  Just as with the NSA’s program, this is a very powerful tool that law enforcement can and should use — but for legitimate and very limited purposes.   This requires a much higher standard for warrants on law enforcement investigations than what is described in this article.

via Hot Air » Blog Archive » Hmmm: Feds, local law enforcement accessing cell phone tracking “thousands of times a month”.

What a minute. Are you telling me the government was using these laws to track American citizens, who did nothing illegal? No way! Not our government. Not the American government. This is the home of the free and the land of the brave, right? Are you getting the point yet? Governments do not obey rules, and they don’t sit back and say, “Well, the people really meant to give us this power to protect them from overseas boogiemen. We can’t really use it on Americans themselves.” No, they will use every means necessary against their own people to maintain and grow their power. Do not be fooled by their stated intentions of protecting us. All tyrants claim to be looking out for and protecting their people. Do you think for one second Chavez doesn’t claim to be looking out for the Venezuelan people? Of course he does. All governments are the same. They all want to grow and control every aspect of the economy, society, etc. Under Bush it was warrantless wiretaps, and now under Obama it’s ObamaCare, Net Neutrality and Financial reform.

Ok, gotta go. I should have yanked the battery out of my cell phone before starting this blog.

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Bipartisanship Is Achieved…But It’s On Taking Away Your Rights

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government | Posted on 16-02-2010

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Have you ever felt like politics in the US is just bumper bowling? The people bounce back and forth between the two parties, all the while moving down the lane towards tyranny. Everyone votes for Republicans when they preach the virtues of small government. Then when they realize Republicans want to use the fear of some foreign boogieman to take their civil liberties away and to maintain an empire, they bounce back to a liberal Democrat who claims to be against war and to be for civil liberties.

Soon the people realize the Democrats are just another bumper keeping the people on the path towards tyranny. Of course, now the neocons over at HotAir are coming out against the possible civil rights violations that the Obama administration is considering. These are the same neocons who loved ignoring constitutional rights when they were in power. The truth is both parties would prefer to take your liberties all at once, but the chance of a revolution forces them to do it slowly.

After the people (No not me.) voted for Obama in hopes that he would end the wars and bring the troops home, they quickly found out that Obama expanded the wars, increased bombings and is now looking to make indefinite imprisonment the law of the land. Don’t worry though, Lindsey Graham, who believes himself representative of the real Republican party, backs Obama.

From HotAir.com.

As Allahpundit noted last night, the push to create an indefinite-detention law to allow the government to hold al-Qaeda terrorists is not a new idea, but it is a bad idea. It springs from a return to the law-enforcement model and the desperation of an administration that has begun to feel the limitations of their approach. That’s why the White House has once again begun floating trial balloons to which it hopes Congress will react with legislation, and unfortunately some on Capitol Hill — including one prominent Republican — want to provide that cover:

The White House is considering endorsing a law that would allow the indefinite detention of some alleged terrorists without trial as part of efforts to break a logjam with Congress over President Barack Obama’s plans to close the Guantanamo Bay prison, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Monday.

Last summer, White House officials said they had ruled out seeking a “preventive detention” statute as a way to deal with anti-terror detainees, saying the administration would hold any Guantanamo prisoners brought to the U.S. in criminal courts or under the general “law of war” principles permitting detention of enemy combatants.

However, speaking at a news conference in Greenville, S.C. Monday, Graham said the White House now seems open to a new law to lay out the standards for open-ended imprisonment of those alleged to be members of or fighters for Al Qaeda or the Taliban.

via Hot Air » Blog Archive » Indefinite detention law a bad idea.

Wonder if Allahpundit was saying it was a bad idea when Bush was ignoring the fourth, fifth, six and eighth amendments of the Bill of Rights? Oh, that’s right. It doesn’t apply to enemy combatants. The founders believed these to be natural rights, but to neocons it must mean natural born citizen’s rights. Wait. Wait.

Andy McCarthy tries to do a snow job on Jose Padilla and Ali Saleh al-Marri:

Jose Padilla (who, unlike Abdulmutallab, is an American citizen) was designated an enemy combatant and held without trial after being arrested inside the United States; so was Ali al-Marri. Ultimately, both were prosecuted in the civilian system — but only years later, after the intelligence community had ample opportunity to exhaust their capacity to provide useful information.

In fact, they were put back in the criminal justice system because the courts were about to wipe the floor with the Bush administration over Padilla, and as I’ve reported before, the Obama administration over al-Marri. They weren’t put back in because their capacity to provide useful information had been “exhausted.” What I love about this line of argument is that it directly contradicts the ones Republicans make in favor of detaining Umar Abdulmutallab in this manner. Republicans argue that military detention allows the government to get otherwise “perishable” intelligence quickly, but Padilla was held for three and a half years in military custody, al-Marri for nearly eight. That’s some pretty non-perishable intelligence.

via TAPPED Archive | The American Prospect.

I forgot. They aren’t even meant for all citizens. All that has to happen to take away these natural rights is for anyone in the government to claim you have terrorist connections.  I guess under Republicans it’s up to neocons to decide who gets rights and who doesn’t. Under Obama is it Holder, Van Jones, SEIU or some other socialist group?

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“What Would It Take For Americans to Realize They Are Not Free?”

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government | Posted on 29-01-2010

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Just the other day I was having a discussion with my dad, where I said I don’t trust either party. I  said both parties want to take our liberties and control us. They are both bought and paid for by some special interest group. To this, my dad said I was becoming too cynical. In typical Neo-con fashion, he told me how evil the Democrats are and how Republicans are so much better.

A couple days later, I come across Bob Murphy’s post highlighting how George W. Bush and Barack Obama, a Republican and a “anti-war” Democrat, can care less about our Constitution. Despite the Bill of Rights, they believe all they have to do is label someone a terrorist, and they have the right to imprison the person without cause or trial. Now to take it one step further, they have the right to kill that person (could be you one day) based on their judgement alone. All they have to do is label you a terrorist or say you are helping terrorists and put you on their “hit list”. Considering how horrible they are at the no fly list, I hate to see how this list pans out.

Here’s Bob’s post.

What Would It Take For Americans to Realize They Are Not Free?

I was having lunch with someone today (name being withheld in case he doesn’t want this broadcast) and we were musing over the contradiction in the average American’s mind. On the one hand, if you asked Americans to rate professions in terms of their morality or decency, politicians would come in at or near dead last, and if they beat out lawyers, that wouldn’t be much help–most politicians are lawyers.

But at the same time, when it comes to the life-and-death decisions that U.S. politicians make, most Americans give them the benefit of the doubt–often ridiculously so. Sure, they might have made a mistake in, say, invading Iraq, but it really was always about protecting Americans and freeing Iraqis from a brutal thug. The CIA guys just goofed, that’s all.

So anyway, my buddy asked something like, “At what point are Americans going to wake up and realize they can’t trust their government?”

My answer, “When it’s too late for them to do anything about it.”

Note that I wasn’t just trying to say something dramatic, at which point the snare drums kick in and lightning cracks in the background. I meant it quite seriously: The people in charge have to keep up appearances so long as it’s necessary for the overwhelming majority to actually trust that the system basically works. In contrast, in more totalitarian regimes, a large portion of the population knows full well that the rulers are evil, and they are kept in place by fear and helplessness. (They also might think there are no better alternatives.)

So with that in mind, let’s quote from today’s post by Glenn Greenwald. We have already learned that Americans won’t revolt–heck, won’t even vote against an incumbent–just because of worldwide CIA secret prisons and systematic torture of POWs. OK fine. What about this?

The Washington Post’s Dana Priest today reports that “U.S. military teams and intelligence agencies are deeply involved in secret joint operations with Yemeni troops who in the past six weeks have killed scores of people.”…

But buried in Priest’s article is her revelation that American citizens are now being placed on a secret “hit list” of people whom the President has personally authorized to be killed…

Read the full post at Free Advice: What Would It Take For Americans to Realize They Are Not Free?.

So back to the question Bob posed in his title, “What Would It Take For Americans to Realize They Are Not Free?”  I am hoping that people are waking up to what our government has become, a corrupt, over grown, oppressive government of the bankers, by the bankers, and for the bankers.

It’s funny how people like my dad (his counterparts on the left do the same thing) will ascribe the most horrendous intentions to Democrats (some are justified), but he does not see the intentions of the Republicans. When I mentioned this article to him today and how easy it would be to label anyone a terrorist, he said, “Yeah, I can’t see that ever really happening.” Do you think it is just coincidence that our government found the perfect boogie man to get US citizens to give up their liberty, condone the suspension of habeas corpus and now kill off Americans at the President’s behest?

Like I said in my post about us living in the real world Matrix, this Democrat vs Republican scam is setup to get people to ignore what is really happening. By cheering on your team, you become too invested in winning to notice your team has the same intentions. Both teams want to take your liberty, enslave you to Washington and Wall Street, and all the while make you think it’s your choice.

So are you really free just because you get to choose between one party or the other, but you get the same result from both? Imagine if I said the following to you.  “You are free, baby. I don’t want to take your rights away. You are free to choose. I don’t care what three days a week you work for me, it’s your choice. Oh, and don’t worry about this gun pointed at you. It’s here to protect you from those evil people trying to harm what we got going on here. You sure are a lucky sum bitch to have me here protecting you like this. Ok, decide which days and get to work. I know I had to shoot one of our workers, but he was helping those evil people. I just know it. It was completely justified. Trust me.”

Would you still think you are free?

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The Listening Project

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government, History | Posted on 17-01-2010

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I watched a documentary this weekend called The Listening Project, and it made me think about my post Public Education – A View From Outside The Matrix. The documentary has a group of people traveling around the world asking people what they think about these United States (notices these instead of the!).

The one thing that I noticed is most of the people knew a lot more about history than most Americans do. They were talking about Rome, Julius Ceasar, etc. While many Americans may have heard of both, they probably aren’t able to explain either and how they relate to modern times. To tell you the truth, I don’t even remember being taught about Rome in school. What I know of Rome has been self taught as an adult. I guess that wasn’t part of what the government mandates us to learn. Study hall was no doubt more important to society.

What the people recognized was we are no doubt the last empire of the world. Now conservatives will argue that we don’t want to conquer lands, so there for we aren’t an empire. We cannot have bases in well over 100 countries, claim we use our bases to look out for our national interests, and then say we aren’t an empire. We use our military and economic power to push countries in the direction we want. Anyways, this is all besides the point. The point is the rest of the world recognizes that we are an empire, and that we are no different than the Roman Empire. Countless people said we are the Rome of today, and that like Rome our empire will perish. They didn’t say this in a way that they want it to happen. They were stating the obvious. It’s too bad most Americans don’t recognize this, because all it would take to avoid it is getting back to what we were founded on.

The other thing that was noticeable in the documentary was that most of the people love the idea of America. They love the people and the spirit that is America. They love the idea that someone can pursue their dreams and make it. What they didn’t like was our government. This goes back to our foreign policy and how we try to force the world to be more like us. It was a bit shocking to see how many of them specifically stated there is a difference between the people and the government. Considering we elect these bums, that was pretty charitable. So here we are socializing everything under the sun, but it isn’t the social programs other nations love. It wasn’t our stimulus bills or our banking system. It’s our liberty. It’s what they believe we have. They don’t realize that we have lost so much liberty, but then again most Americans don’t recognize how much liberty we have lost.

Anyway, it was a pretty good documentary. It’s definitely worth watching. I’m guessing it was made to bash Bush, but I’m sure the people that were interviewed would probably still have the same opinions with Obama in the White House. He has only been a change for the worst. It’s just a shame that public education in this country is leading us down a path of ignorance compared to other parts of he world. When people in South Africa are explaining how Rome fell and how that relates to the US, yet most Americans wouldn’t know what they are talking about, you know it won’t be long before the new Rome is no more.

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Here we go again….Alan S. Blinder: When Greed Is Not Good

Posted by Jason | Posted in Economics | Posted on 12-01-2010

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Alan S. Blinder wrote another half witted op-ed about financial regulation and Wall Street’s return to “greed”. As all half witted intellectuals, he recognizes a symptom, but never questions the source. Here is a paragraph where he talks about Adam Smith.

When economists first heard Gekko’s now-famous dictum, “Greed is good,” they thought it a crude expression of Adam Smith’s “Invisible Hand”—which is one of history’s great ideas. But in Smith’s vision, greed is socially beneficial only when properly harnessed and channeled. The necessary conditions include, among other things: appropriate incentives (for risk taking, etc.), effective competition, safeguards against exploitation of what economists call “asymmetric information” (as when a deceitful seller unloads junk on an unsuspecting buyer), regulators to enforce the rules and keep participants honest, and—when relevant—protection of taxpayers against pilferage or malfeasance by others. When these conditions fail to hold, greed is not good.

via Alan S. Blinder: When Greed Is Not Good – WSJ.com.

Binder says “in Smith’s vision, greed is socially beneficial only when properly harnessed and channeled”, and I’m guessing he thinks the geniuses in Washington should be the ones to do the harnessing and channeling. Is Binder really this ignorant, or is he so trapped in his own reality that he can’t see past his old ideas? By giving Washington the power to “harness and channel” Wall Street, the economy or anything else, you create the source of corruption. Washington has become Wall Street. Look at who occupies the White House staff. This isn’t just Obama. This was Bush as well.

Greed is only harmful to society when the negative results of greed are forced on society instead of the source of the greed. In this case, Wall Street’s greed led to subprime mortgages, but instead of them being harmed by the negative results, they used government force to dish the negative results on the tax payers.

People aren’t typically greedy, despite all the negative comments by the like of Blinder. Something usually entices you into greed. Someone sees the chance of unearned profits, and they get…. well “greedy” for it. In this case, Wall Street got greedy because the Fed was printing “free” money. Who benefits from this money? Well, the banks are the ones who get the money first before it’s devalued. They get to loan it out and make their profit before the damage is done. In their ability to do this, because of the Fed, would they not be making unearned profits? It would be no different than a man giving you $1,000 and saying go ahead lend that out at whatever interest rate you can to make a profit. You pay the man back one percent interest and keep the rest. You really don’t have any risk there. Inflation is typically three to four percent. Hmm, just think how much you can make with no risk if you make even more of these loans. What if you loaned out $1 million? Now you can see where greed comes from.

If we didn’t have the Fed in bed with Wall Street bankers, we wouldn’t have had the easy money that created the last bubble in which Wall Street so enriched themselves. Then when the bubble burst did Wall Street have to take their punishment? Nope. Because of government force and collusion, they were able to force all of America to pay the bill.

What Blinder doesn’t understand is the problem isn’t an unregulated “invisible hand”. The problem is because of government the “invisible hand” now has a gun in it. When there is a gun, this is when “greed is not good”.

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Peter Schiff hands out an ass whoopin to David Epstein

Posted by Jason | Posted in Economics, Government, Video | Posted on 12-12-2009

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I can’t remember how I found this video, but if you have the time, it’s a much watch. You want to know why we are heading for disaster? It’s because the government is filled with David Epsteins, when we need more Peter Schiffs. Hopefully, Schiff will defeat Dodd next year, and we’ll at least have one. Add Rand Paul into the equation, and we are heading into the right direction.

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Thanksgiving, Statism And Life Outside The Matrix

Posted by Jason | Posted in Economics, Education, Government, Gun Control, Health Care, History | Posted on 28-11-2009

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Over Thanksgiving dinner, my brother and I began our normal debates of politics, war, health care, etc. This year was  a little different.

I’ve always been the typical conservative, who believes the government is a necessary evil that wants to control us more and more with healthcare, welfare, net neutrality and on and on, but we need to maintain a strong military and remain on the offense in the war on terror.

Having always considered my self a free market capitalist, I was reading pro-capitalist books, websites, etc. Eventually, I found myself in a world that challenged my own contradictions. I’ve always realized that liberalism was irrational and illogical, but I always thought conservatism was rational and logical. After reading Ron Paul’s book, End The Fed, I started a debate on Mises.org, a pro-free market site founded to spread the economic ideas of Ludwig von Mises. Like most conservatives, I liked Ron Paul’s belief in the constitution and his domestic policy beliefs, but I thought his foreign policy was isolationist and unrealistic. In the forums, I said I like Ron Paul and would vote for him, but I didn’t believe in his isolationism and questioned whether he believed in a strong military. Having always laughed at liberals and all their contradictions, it was now I who seemed to be the one with contradictions.

Not being used to people debating with logic and reason, I quickly felt like I was being presented an option. The forum users were offering me the Red Pill, leading me on a path which would challenge my assumptions and the Matrix in which we live, or the Blue Pill, in which I could ignore their arguments and stay in the comfort of what I’ve always believed and had reinforced by the Matrix. Having always believed in pursuing TRUTH in spite of fear, ostracizing, or ego, I took the Red Pill. Quickly I realized I was outside the Matrix looking in.

The first thing you realize is the Matrix is constructed of two sides who are opposites of the same contradictory, statist coin. Both believe in using government force in order to compel the populace to live by their terms. One side believes in “national greatness” while the other believes in “national virtue”. Neither fulfills their stated goal, and neither believes in individual liberty. Both sides benefit from the endless debate and the “my team is best” mentality. The Matrix was not constructed over night. It was developed over time piece by piece and quickly became the known world to those who know no alternative to life inside the Matrix. Current generations have had the programming loaded into their minds through the government schools. Even if you attend private schools, you must meet certain mandated “standards”. As an adult, your programming is reinforced with TV shows, news programs, and “educational” programs that reinforce the assumptions that were programmed into you as a child.

The founding institution of the Matrix, the State, is formed by competing parties, which you are encouraged to cheer one as your team and boo the others as the enemy no matter what the topic. Debates rage with differing opinions, but never involve root causes or underlying assumptions. Both sides debate particular wars, but never discuss what caused the war or whether foreign intervention is just and in our best interest (ex: Should our military is deployed in 150 countries). We debate how to best raise the standards of public schools, but no one questions the existence of the public schools or the historical failure of them(ex: Black Americans went from 20% literacy rate in 1860 to 80% by 1890. Now, black Americans have a 60% literacy rate). They debate how to best handle retirement savings, but neither questions whether the government should be handling it at all or the consequences of their mishandling (ex: Inflating Wall Street pay via 401ks and IRAs). Currently, we’re debating health care. One side argues for national health care, and the other argues against it. Neither side debates government involvement and it’s effect on skyrocketing prices in the first place.

It’s not hard to understand why the Matrix is so hard to break free from. It’s all we’ve known. We haven’t experienced schooling without public schools, health care without insurance, a world without US policing, or life without so called “safety nets”. During the debate with my brother, who always argued with my beliefs on foreign policy when I was inside the Matrix, agreed Americans were not looking at the issue properly because they are surrounded by re-enforcing factors such as the media. The media never gives a historical perspective. They only ask what should be done about terrorism or which war we should fight. They never ask why is there terrorism or if we think punishing civilians via embargoes will help them overthrow tyranny. They never ask if we believe it creates less responsibility for Wall Street executives when the Fed drops interest rates to zero and promises to prevent bank failures. They are only asked whether we should have bailouts or not.

The funny thing was as soon as the debate turned to public education, my brother was back in the Matrix. I asked the question of why there should even be public schools, and immediately his programming took hold. “You have to have government schools. How would people get schooling? I don’t think the schools are bad. It’s our culture. Teacher unions aren’t to blame, it’s the parents. You can’t teach a child who’s parent is a drug addict. What about the poor?” On and on the debate raged, but he could not get his head around the fact that the government has created the disastrous system in the first place. He could not comprehend a world without the government. It was if nothing comes about without the government. It’s understandable. Can you imagine arguing what life would be like without slavery in the early 1800s? Surely, you would have been nuts. They were living inside their Matrix, created by generations that came before.

Over the coming months, I will attempt to touch on some of these topics. While I am not an expert, I will present you with Red and Blue pills. The Red pill will question whether our lives our better with government involvement in all aspects of our lives. Is the government really protecting us? Could we live without government? You will have to open your mind and challenge your assumptions if you take the Red pill. On the other hand, you can take the Blue pill. You can stay in your comfort zone, fight the same old fights, assume the government is there for your protection, and live out the consequences of those beliefs. The choice is yours, but you must make a choice.

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Obama’s Malaise

Posted by Jason | Posted in Economics | Posted on 20-11-2009

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In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal this morning, Republican reps Jeb Hensarling and Pau Ryan layout why economic expectations are so low.

Why all the pessimism? The source appears to be a growing fear that the federal government is retreating from the free-market economic principles of the last half-century, and in particular the strong growth policies that began under Ronald Reagan. A review of the economic policies instituted by President Barack Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress lends credibility to this concern.

Exhibit A is the economic stimulus package signed into law by President Barack Obama in February. Even among previous stimulus efforts, the 2009 stimulus stands out for its ineffective targeting and sheer size. With interest, it is $1.1 trillion, double the size of Roosevelt’s New Deal spending as a percentage of GDP.

Exhibit B is tax policy going forward. It is a near certainty that Democratic-controlled Congress will allow most of the tax cuts of 2001-2003 to expire on Dec. 31, 2010.

Exhibit C is the administration’s intervention in the GM and Chrysler reorganizations. Upsetting decades of accepted bankruptcy law, the administration leveraged TARP funds to place unsecured and lower priority creditors like the United Auto Workers union in front of secured and higher priority creditors.

Health care, the administration’s signature issue, is Exhibit D. Disregarding its impact on quality and access, its plan will surely cost well over $1 trillion over the next decade. The House-passed version includes an 8% “pay or play” payroll tax and a half-trillion dollar surtax on incomes over $500,000, much of which will strike small business. Both taxes will tend to depress investment and the creation of new jobs.

If one substitutes the Blue Chip Economic Forecast’s interest-rate forecast for that of the administration, deficits will increase by an additional $1.2 trillion over the administration’s projected deficits. If the next decade’s interest rates climb to match those of the 1980s, then the deficit would increase another $5.3 trillion. If higher interest rates then slow economic growth, the impact on the deficit would be much worse.

via Jeb Hensarling and Paul Ryan: Why No One Expects a Strong Recovery – WSJ.com.

While I agree with all these, I think the reps believes that government is the solution, and the problem is their solution is not being implemented. This is what happens when you believe the government is the solution to our problems. Whoever lies the best and gets control of the government sets the policies. I’d love to see these guys calling for the government to quit tinkering with the economy.

The free market works, and will handle slow downs much better than politics. This recession would have hit us fast and moved on already without the tinkering. Can you imagine a doctor giving you a shot and saying I don’t want to inflict the pain, so let me put the needle in slowly? When you get a shot, you want it fast and quick. You know it’s going to hurt. Just get it over with. The economy is the same way. If we are going to go through some economic pain, take the brunt of it and get it over with. Instead we have these idiots trying to avoid any pain, and all they do is prolong it. The Fed caused the damn pain, and then says their role is minimize the pain and prevent it going forward. Really? Good job jackasses. Maybe we should try to control the weather so we don’t have any natural disasters.

If you want expectations to pick up, go back to the constitution. Quit tinkering. Tinkering only causes people to speculate on what the tinkering will be, and because our current tinkerers are bigger socialists than the previous tinkerers, they don’t feel good about the tinkering. Remove the tinkering ,and you remove the speculation and the negative expectations.

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Systematic Risk?

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government | Posted on 20-11-2009

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Was Bush, Obama and Geithner really “bailing out Wall Street in order to bail out Main Street”? It sure not looking like it.

TARP Inspector General Neil Barofsky keeps committing flagrant acts of political transparency, which if nothing else ought to inform the debate going forward over financial reform. In his latest bombshell, the IG discloses that the New York Federal Reserve did not believe that AIG’s credit-default swap (CDS) counterparties posed a systemic financial risk.

Hello?

For the last year, the entire Beltway theory of the financial panic has been based on the claim that the “opaque,” unregulated CDS market had forced the Fed to take over AIG and pay off its counterparties, lest the system collapse. Yet we now learn from Mr. Barofsky that saving the counterparties was not the reason for the bailout.

In the fall of 2008 the New York Fed drove a baby-soft bargain with AIG’s credit-default-swap counterparties. The Fed’s taxpayer-funded vehicle, Maiden Lane III, bought out the counterparties’ mortgage-backed securities at 100 cents on the dollar, effectively canceling out the CDS contracts. This was miles above what those assets could have fetched in the market at that time, if they could have been sold at all.

The New York Fed president at the time was none other than Timothy Geithner, the current Treasury Secretary, and Mr. Geithner now tells Mr. Barofsky that in deciding to make the counterparties whole, “the financial condition of the counterparties was not a relevant factor.”

This is startling. In April we noted in these columns that Goldman Sachs, a major AIG counterparty, would certainly have suffered from an AIG failure. And in his latest report, Mr. Barofsky comes to the same conclusion. But if Mr. Geithner now says the AIG bailout wasn’t driven by a need to rescue CDS counterparties, then what was the point? Why pay Goldman and even foreign banks like Societe Generale billions of tax dollars to make them whole?

Who was Treasury Secretary and worked hand in hand with Geithner to bail out Goldman Sachs, I mean AIG? Henry Paulson. Where did Henry Paulson work prior to becoming Treasury Secretary? What do you know, Goldman Sachs. I’m sure that’s just a coincidence. I’m sure one man couldn’t force the spending of billions of tax payer dollars to bail out the company he ran. Wonder if there are any other politicians that are involved with Goldman. Let’s see!

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Wake up and quit selling your children into slavery!

Posted by Jason | Posted in Economics, Government | Posted on 23-10-2009

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For some reason, Americans have been sold on what I’ll now term “the free ride theory”, in which we think we can live our collective lives like we’ve lived our lives over the past decade by racking up our collective debt for today’s keep up with the Jones. Under the Bush administration we racked up debt for a prescription drug program, pork projects and wars. Not to be shown up, Obama has increased our yearly deficits four fold. Is there any end in sight?

No, of course not.

Why stop spending when you can buy votes with so called free goodies. We need to nationalize health care, because we don’t want to pay Wal-Mart for our $4 prescriptions. We need to bail out banks, because supposedly we’ll all lose our jobs if we don’t. We have to take over GM, so that a company, which none of us wants their products, can stay in business. We have to bribe granny with a $250 check, because we don’t want to lose her vote. We have to spend billions to create so called “Green Jobs” because there is no market for them. We’re talking about bailing out newspapers; although most of us get news on the internet. We pay farmers to destroy crops, because we think prices need to be high enough for them to keep producing. With all this frivilous spending, how do you think it is going to be paid for? It is going to be paid by the enslavement of your children, my children and our grandchildren.

This is not just colorful language. It is grounded in the reality we will soon bare witness to.

What is debt? Debt is you promising tomorrows labor for today’s expenditures. When you buy that new car with a loan, you are saying I am going to work X number of hours in the future to get you the money for this plus interest, so that you can give me the car now. If you don’t work those hours, you don’t make the money. If you don’t make the money and pay them, they take the car back. Personal debt is bad enough, but at least you are only enslaving yourself.

What is the most dispicable aspect of what we (yes that includes me) are doing is we are not just enslaving ourselves. We are not saying, I will pay for this. We are building up so much debt that my two year old daughter, my nine year old son, your children, our children’s children and who knows how many generations to come will be enslaved. We are not pledging our future labor for today’s useless expenditures. We are pledging ours and future generations. We aren’t even giving them the chance to say NO. We are saying, “Sorry future Americans, but we want ‘free health car’. We don’t want any job losses (they haven’t stopped have they). We want bridges to nowhere. We want research how to manage the smell of manure! And we want you to pay for it.”

Now, economists would argue that deficits cancel themselves out. They explain this by saying that while we borrow the money, the future generation will hold the Treasury Bonds (an asset) and receive the interest plus principle of those bonds. This basically negates the theory that debt robs one generation by the previous. While this may be true, I emailed the economist that had this in his book. I asked “that may be true if all the debt was held by Americans, but what if China is holding a large portion of that debt. Would that not mean, that A) China is holding the Treasury bond as an asset, and B) won’t they be receiving the interest.?” He responded Yes, that is correct. The book would only apply if future generations means all people regardless of borders. So, not only are we enslaving our future generations, we are enslaving them to China, Japan and other nations. We are saying we want all this stuff, and we are willing to make the next generation work for it in order to transfer the value of their production out of the country. Does this sound like a recipe for a brighter future for our children? While our children are working, the rewards of their work is not bettering their lives. It’s being transferred out to better the lives of foreign nations.

Does this sound like it’s just theory? As of right this  second (it goes up constantly), each citizen owes $343,785. If you have a family of four as I do, multiply that by four, and you get your household debt. Just this week, Moody’s rating agency said the US is a few years away from losing our AAA credit rating. This has never happened. It would be catastrophic to our country and economy. It would mean higher interest on the debt, which would mean even more future labor pledged to today’s expenses.

What does it say that our Secretary of State is begging China to buy more of our debt? We are begging our children’s masters to enslave them. How moral are we?

The financial crisis, we are still in the midst of, undoubtedly woke a lot of people up to the evils of excessive debt. Unfortunately, it has not awoken our politicians. While many families have cut back spending to bring their lives under control, they have at the same time asked the government to continue and even ramp up the very actions that caused them harm in the first place.

While this post is a little depressing, hopefully it will serve as a call to action. A call to stop asking for free handouts from the government that your children will be enslaved for. Stop electing politicians who promise the world and buy votes with pork. Vote for politicians who are going to address the debt problem and speak the truth. With every government policy you hear about ask “How is that going to lower the debt?” Lastly, realize that nothing from the government is free. Everything you ask for from the government comes at the lost liberty of you and your children.

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