What’s going on with our police? More and more, it seems that our men in blue have been transformed from a friendly neighborhood peace office, whose mission is to protect and serve, to a hostile military force, whose mission is to harass and intimidate.
I am going to broach a subject in this syndicated column this week that people such as me are not supposed to talk about. By people such as me, I mean Christians, “conservatives,” Republican-types, etc. “We” are NEVER supposed to criticize the police–not in any shape, manner, or form. ANY criticism of all things police (and military, for that matter) is immediately deemed to be “left-wing,” “unpatriotic,” etc. To criticize the police in any way brings immediate and vehement accusations that one is against law and order or is a “bleeding heart liberal,” etc. But, in all probability, the vast majority of “our” folks will simply ignore this column. My observation is “WE” are mostly very closed-minded and don’t tolerate ideas that are outside the box of what is heard on FOX NEWS or from today’s milquetoast preachers.
However, it is an absolute fact that today’s law enforcement agencies are more and more being militarized and are becoming more and more hostile to the American citizenry. More and more, police officers view the American people as “enemy combatants” and are developing a deeply imbedded “us versus them” mindset. More and more, police officers are behaving like soldiers, not peace officers. Examples of police abuse are becoming more and more frequent and more and more severe. If this breach of the public trust is not reined in soon, it is going to get very ugly in this country.
When I grew up, we were all taught that policemen were our friends and that we could always trust them. Hardly anyone teaches that to their children anymore–and for good reason. Too many policemen have abused and misused the trust that the American people have placed in them. I’m sorry if you don’t like to hear that–I don’t enjoy saying that–but it is the honest truth.
More and more often, routine traffic stops quickly escalate into full-fledged police abuse over the most innocent conduct. Too many police officers today have developed an “I-have-a-badge-and-a-gun-and-
One does not have to search long to find limitless examples of what I am talking about.
In the State of New York, a police sergeant is under investigation for slapping around a law-abiding young man simply because he asked the officer why he was demanding to search his vehicle. After the young man questioned the sergeant, who is a 27-year veteran of the police force, the officer slapped the man and yelled that he could “rip your f****** head off and s*** down your neck.” The only reason an internal investigation is going on is because another passenger video-recorded the event.
See the report:
In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a police officer threatened to “beat the s***” out of a young man for simply looking at him. That’s right. All the young man did was look at him as he walked down the street.
In Miami, Florida, a police officer went ballistic with rage after a young man, whom he had just given a traffic ticket to, said, “God bless you.” That simple remark set off a profanity-laced tirade from the officer in which he took out his handcuffs and threatened to put the young man in jail.
See the report:
In East Dublin, Georgia, drug task force police officers gunned down an innocent grandfather in his own home on the word of a self-confessed meth addict. Police executed a no-knock invasion of the home and killed the innocent 59-year-old businessman who had armed himself to protect his family from what he could only determine were armed home invaders. The resident was killed in a hail of gunfire by police. He was completely innocent of any drug offenses. Police acted as judge, jury, and executioner of the poor man.
See the report:
In Boynton Beach, Florida, two young men were pulled over by police in a traffic stop. One of the young men began to video-record the officers. Quickly, the policemen became enraged and began physically assaulting the young men. One officer pointed his pistol at the boys and threatened to immediately shoot them. At no point did the young men display a weapon or physically assault the officers. Granted, the young men acted rudely and disrespectfully. But since when in America is cockiness and rudeness a potential death sentence?
But the worst part of the story came afterward when the chief of police issued a statement defending the conduct of the officers. Chief Jeffrey Katz viewed the video tape (recorded by a passenger in the car) and said the following: “When I watch this video, I don’t see a car full of young men who are behaving in a manner consistent with FEAR OF THE POLICE.” (Emphasis added)
See the report here:
Did you get that? The police chief and his officers were angry that the young men didn’t FEAR the police enough.
So, that’s it. We are supposed to FEAR the police. Really? Then, pray tell, who are the police supposed to fear? My father didn’t teach me to fear the police. He taught me to respect the police. And he taught me that the police were my friends. He did not teach me that I had to fear for my rights and my very life every time I’m pulled over for a traffic stop. And that’s not the way that Sheriff Cliff Arnold’s deputies behaved while I was growing up.
And, again in the State of Georgia, Henry County Police forced a small group of fifth graders to the ground at gunpoint as they attempted to build a tree fort in their neighborhood. Can you imagine? Throwing 11-year-old children to the ground and putting a gun to their heads for building a tree fort? This is reality in modern America’s burgeoning Police State.
See the report here:
These kinds of reports are virtually endless.
Am I suggesting that all sheriff’s deputies and police officers behave in such fashion? Of course not! I am confident that the vast majority of our men and women in blue (and brown for sheriff’s deputies) are honest, law-abiding people who are doing their best to keep the peace and who respect the rights of the citizens they are charged to serve. But I am saying that the training procedures and mindset of our police agencies nationwide IS quickly developing into a police-state mentality. And the everyday occurrences such as those listed above absolutely prove my assertion. It is also an undeniable fact that more and more police training omits teaching the Constitution and, accordingly, more and more police officers are truly ignorant of the rights and liberties of the American people under the U.S. Constitution.
Based on current statistical data, you and I are eight times more likely to be killed by a police officer than we are an actual terrorist. Since 2001, over 5,000 American citizens have been killed by policemen. How many of these deaths were truly justified we will never know as police departments and courts of law have a proven track record of hardly ever charging an officer with wrongful death.
Add to the above the fact that even many minor incidents will often result in SWAT teams being deployed. In fact, Eastern Kentucky University professor Peter Kraska documents research showing, “There has been more than a 1,400% increase in the total number of police paramilitary deployments, or callouts, between 1980 and 2000. Today, an estimated 45,000 SWAT-team deployments are conducted yearly among those departments surveyed; in the early 1980s there was an average of about 3,000.”
See Kraska’s report here:
Has violent crime increased 1,400 percent during that time? Not at all. In fact, for the last several years, violent crime has been decreasing to the point that currently it is at record lows. So, how can the need for SWAT teams increase by 1,400 percent? It is the result of Washington, D.C., deliberately militarizing our police agencies.
I am convinced that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is intentionally turning our State and local police agencies against us. Washington, D.C., is deliberately militarizing our police agencies. Give them military equipment, weapons, training, etc., and they will start acting like soldiers, not policemen. And that is exactly what is happening.
The phrase that we hear constantly repeated today by law enforcement personnel and spokesmen is “the safety of the officer.” But wait a minute! The sworn duty of a police officer is to obey the Constitution (including the Bill of Rights), which is designed to protect the rights, liberties, and safely of the American people. The role of the police officer is to protect the safety of the public. Any man or woman who volunteers to put on a badge should be consciously willing to put his or her life on the line to protect the public. That’s what their job is all about. And no one forces them to take this risk; they take it of their own volition.
Of course the men and women of law enforcement want to go home at the end of their shift. But so do the people of their community. Policemen are not the only ones who face hostility and threats of violence. I have had my life threatened too many times to count. I have even been shot at. (I would venture to say that the vast majority of police officers in the country have never actually been shot at.) I have had my family threatened. And none of us wear Kevlar vests and helmets and can call backup with the push of a button (calling 911 is not the same as a policeman calling for back up–not even close).
If the safety of the officer is the primary duty of policemen, they should just shoot suspects on sight and eliminate the threat before it exists. And that is pretty much what they do in totalitarian countries. But this is America where the rule of law and the rights of the individual reign supreme. In a free country, people are judged to be innocent until proven guilty. Plus, the only lawful reason a police officer has to fire his weapon at someone is for the same reason that the rest of us can do so: for self-defense against an imminent threat to their (our) lives.
Again, the impetus of the militarization of police is coming directly from DHS. In addition to receiving military equipment, hardware, attack helicopters, tanks, etc., from the DOD and DHS, more and more often U.S. military Special Forces troops are being employed to train our local police personnel. To the miscreants inside the Beltway, the American people are seen as the real terrorists, not foreign enemies or the criminal gang members that are pouring across our southern border. In truth, DHS is using our local police agencies in much the same way that the Nazi government used the local police agencies inside the occupied countries of Europe. And, unfortunately, it seems that most of our Christians, “conservatives,” and Republican-types are completely oblivious to the problem.
I applaud the numerous constitutionalist sheriffs around the country who are doing their best to maintain constitutional government within their counties and who are courageously resisting the efforts of DHS to turn their deputies into Storm Troopers. I just wish we had a lot more of these stalwart defenders of liberty. The American people are not doing a very good job of electing these kinds of patriots to public office, including the sheriff’s office. But on the whole, our sheriff’s offices around the country are far less oppressive than their counterparts in city police departments. The obvious reason for this is due to the fact that, while the sheriff is a constitutionally elective office, our chiefs of police are usually appointed by some sort of city council and are not answerable directly to the public. Bureaucrats are seldom known for any kind of allegiance to constitutional government.
And, again, this column is not an indictment against any of our law-abiding, liberty-loving, policemen and sheriff’s deputies. And I suggest that any policeman who would take umbrage at this column is subconsciously incriminating him or herself. Of all people, police officers, themselves, should be the most angry when their fellow officers betray the public trust and violate fundamental rights. A bad cop reflects badly on good cops. Therefore, instead of reacting angrily against a column such as this, it should behoove honest policemen to lead the charge against this kind of unlawful conduct being committed by their brethren in blue. They should also be the ones to most doggedly resist the militarization of their agencies by DHS.
However, this column IS an indictment against the current trend within law enforcement to become increasingly federalized, militarized, and Gestapo-like. I suppose it is also an indictment against the American people (including Christians, “conservatives,” and Republican-types) who seem to be blind and apathetic to what is becoming a major problem within our country.
15 Reasons Why Americans Think We’re Still in a Recession…
1: Wage Stagnation: Why America’s Workers Need Faster Wage Growth—And What We Can Do About It, Elise Gould, EPI
Economic Policy Institute:
“The hourly compensation of a typical worker grew in tandem with productivity from 1948-1973. …. After 1973, productivity grew strongly, especially after 1995, while the typical worker’s compensation was relatively stagnant. This divergence of pay and productivity has meant that many workers were not benefitting from productivity growth—the economy could afford higher pay but it was not providing it.
Between 1979 and 2013, productivity grew 64.9 percent, while hourly compensation of production and nonsupervisory workers, who comprise over 80 percent of the private-sector workforce, grew just 8.0 percent. Productivity thus grew eight times faster than typical worker compensation…” (EPI)
(Note: Flatlining wages are the Number 1 reason that the majority of Americans still think we’re in a recession.)
2: Most people still haven’t recouped what they lost in the crash: Typical Household Wealth Has Plunged 36% Since 2003, Zero Hedge
“According to a new study by the Russell Sage Foundation, the inflation-adjusted net worth for the typical household was $87,992 in 2003. Ten years later, it was only $56,335, or a 36% decline… Welcome to America’s Lost Decade.
Simply put, the NY Times notes, it’s not merely an issue of the rich getting richer. The typical American household has been getting poorer, too.
The reasons for these declines are complex and controversial, but one point seems clear: When only a few people are winning and more than half the population is losing, surely something is amiss. (chart)”
3: Most working people are still living hand-to-mouth: 76% of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck, CNN Money
“Roughly three-quarters of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck, with little to no emergency savings, according to a survey released by Bankrate.com Monday.
Fewer than one in four Americans have enough money in their savings account to cover at least six months of expenses, enough to help cushion the blow of a job loss, medical emergency or some other unexpected event, according to the survey of 1,000 adults. Meanwhile, 50% of those surveyed have less than a three-month cushion and 27% had no savings at all…
Last week, online lender CashNetUSA said 22% of the 1,000 people it recently surveyed had less than $100 in savings to cover an emergency, while 46% had less than $800. After paying debts and taking care of housing, car and child care-related expenses, the respondents said there just isn’t enough money left over for saving more.”
4: Millennials are Drowning in Red Ink: Biggest economic threat? Student loan debt, USA Today
“Total student loan debt has grown more than 150% since 2005… We have more than $1.2 trillion of student loan debt…
And while 6.7 million borrowers in repayment mode are delinquent, the sad fact is that many lenders aren’t exactly incentivized to work with borrowers. Unlike all other forms of debt, student loans can’t be discharged in bankruptcy. Moreover, lenders can garnish wages and even Social Security benefits to get repaid…
In 2005 student loans accounted for less than 13% of the total debt load for adults age 20-29. Today, student loans account for nearly 37% of that group’s outstanding debt. Student loan debt’s slice of the total debt pie for the age group nearly tripled! The average loan balance for that age group is now more than $25,500, up from $15,900 in 2005.”
5: Downward mobility is the new reality: Middle-Class Death Watch: As Poverty Spreads, 28 Percent of Americans Fall Out of Middle Class, Truthout
“The promise of the American dream has given many hope that they themselves could one day rise up the economic ladder. But according to a study released those already in financially-stable circumstances should fear falling down a few rungs too. The study… found that nearly a third of Americans who were part of the middle class as teenagers in the 1970s have fallen out of it as adults… its findings suggest the relative ease with which people in the U.S. can end up in low-income, low-opportunity lifestyles — even if they started out with a number of advantages. Though the American middle class has been repeatedly invoked as a key factor in any economic turnaround, numerous reports have suggested that the middle class enjoys less existential security than it did a generation ago, thanks to stagnating incomes and the decline of the industrial sector.”
6: People are more vulnerable than ever: “More Than Half Of All Americans Can’t Come Up With $400 In Emergency Cash… Unless They Borrow“, Personal Liberty
“According to a Federal Reserve report on American households’ “economic well-being” in 2013, fewer than half of all Americans said they’d be able to come up with four Benjamins on short notice to deal with an unexpected expense…
Under a section titled “Savings,” the report notes that “[s]avings are depleted for many households after the recession,” and lists the following findings:
*Among those who had savings prior to 2008, 57 percent reported using up some or all of their savings in the Great Recession and its aftermath.
*39 percent of respondents reported having a rainy day fund adequate to cover three months of expenses.
*Only 48 percent of respondents said that they would completely cover a hypothetical emergency expense costing $400 without selling something or borrowing money.
7: Working people are getting poorer: The Typical Household, Now Worth a Third, New York Times
“The inflation-adjusted net worth for the typical household was $87,992 in 2003. Ten years later, it was only $56,335, or a 36 percent decline, according to a study financed by the Russell Sage Foundation.
Those are the figures for a household at the median point in the wealth distribution — the level at which there are an equal number of households whose worth is higher and lower. But during the same period, the net worth of wealthy households increased substantially….“The housing bubble basically hid a trend of declining financial wealth at the median that began in 2001,” said Fabian T. Pfeffer, the University of Michigan professor who is lead author of the Russell Sage Foundation study.
The reasons for these declines are complex and controversial, but one point seems clear: When only a few people are winning and more than half the population is losing, surely something is amiss.”
8: Most people can’t even afford to get their teeth fixed: 7 things the middle class can’t afford anymore, USA Today
“A vacation is an extra expense that many middle-earners cannot afford without sacrificing something else. A Statista survey found that this year 54% of people gave up purchasing big ticket items like TVs or electronics so they can go on a vacation. Others made sacrifices like reducing or eliminating their trips to the movies (47%), reducing or eliminating trips out to restaurants (43%), or avoiding purchasing small ticket items like new clothing (43%).
3–To pay off debt…
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “the U.S. spends about $64 billion each year on oral health care — just 4% is paid by Government programs.” About 108 million people in the U.S. have no dental coverage and even those who are covered may have trouble getting the care they need, the department reports.”
9: The good, high-paying jobs have vanished: Recovery Has Created Far More Low-Wage Jobs Than Better-Paid Ones, New York Times
“The deep recession wiped out primarily high-wage and middle-wage jobs. Yet the strongest employment growth during the sluggish recovery has been in low-wage work, at places like strip malls and fast-food restaurants.
In essence, the poor economy has replaced good jobs with bad ones. That is the conclusion of anew report from the National Employment Law Project, a research and advocacy group, analyzing employment trends four years into the recovery.
“Fast food is driving the bulk of the job growth at the low end — the job gains there are absolutely phenomenal,” said Michael Evangelist, the report’s author. “If this is the reality — if these jobs are here to stay and are going to be making up a considerable part of the economy — the question is, how do we make them better?”
10: More workers are throwing in the towel: Labor Participation Rate Drops To 36 Year Low; Record 92.6 Million Americans Not In Labor Force, Zero Hedge
“For those curious why the US unemployment rate just slid once more to a meager 5.9%, the lowest print since the summer of 2008, the answer is the same one we have shown every month since 2010: the collapse in the labor force participation rate, which in September slid from an already three decade low 62.8% to 62.7% – the lowest in over 36 years, matching the February 1978 lows. And while according to the Household Survey, 232,000 people found jobs, what is more disturbing is that the people not in the labor force, rose to a new record high, increasing by 315,000 to 92.6 million!
Bottom line: Unemployment has gone down because more people aren’t working and have fallen off the radar.”
11: Nearly twice as many people still rely on Food Stamps than before the recession: Food-stamp use is falling from its peak, Marketwatch
“Food-stamp use is finally moving away from the peak. At 46.1 million people, total food-stamp usage is down about 4% from its high in December 2012 of 47.8 million. Only eight states in March (the latest data available) were up from the same month of 2013.
It’s still not great news, however, considering there were 26.3 million people receiving food stamps in 2007…”
12: The ocean of red ink continues to grow: American Household Credit Card Debt Statistics: 2014, Nerd Wallet Finance
Nerd Wallet Finance:
U.S. household consumer debt profile:
*Average credit card debt: $15,607
*Average mortgage debt: $153,500
*Average student loan debt: $32,656
In total, American consumers owe:
*$11.63 trillion in debt
*An increase of 3.8% from last year
*$880.5 billion in credit card debt
*$8.07 trillion in mortgages
*$1,120.3 billion in student loans
*An increase of 11.5% from last year
13: No Recovery for working people: The collapse of household income in the US, World Socialist Web Site
“The US Federal Reserve’s latest Survey of Consumer Finances, released last Thursday, documents a devastating decline in economic conditions for a large majority of the population during the so-called economic recovery.
The report reveals that between 2007 and 2013, the income of a typical US household fell 12 percent. The median American household now earns $6,400 less per year than it did in 2007.
Source: Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances
Much of the decline occurred during the “recovery” presided over by the Obama administration. In the three years between 2010 and 2013, the annual income of a typical household fell by an additional 5 percent.
The report also shows that wealth has become even more concentrated in the topmost economic layers. The wealth share of the top 3 percent climbed from 44.8 percent in 1989 to 54.4 percent in 2013. The share of wealth held by the bottom 90 percent fell from 33.2 percent in 1989 to 24.7 percent in 2013.”
14: Most people will work until they die: The Greatest Retirement Crisis In American History, Forbes
“We are on the precipice of the greatest retirement crisis in the history of the world. In the decades to come, we will witness millions of elderly Americans, the Baby Boomers and others, slipping into poverty.
Too frail to work, too poor to retire will become the “new normal” for many elderly Americans.
That dire prediction… is already coming true. Our national demographics, coupled with indisputable glaringly insufficient retirement savings and human physiology, suggest that a catastrophic outcome for at least a significant percentage of our elderly population is inevitable. With the average 401(k) balance for 65 year olds estimated at $25,000 by independent experts …the decades many elders will spend in forced or elected “retirement” will be grim…
The signs of the coming retirement crisis are all around you. Who’s bagging your groceries: a young high school kid or an older “retiree” who had to go back to work to supplement his income or qualify for health insurance?”
15: Americans are more pessimistic about the future, Polling Report
According to a CNN/ORC Poll May 29-June 1, 2014:
“Do you agree or disagree? The American dream has become impossible for most people to achieve.”
According to a NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll conducted by the polling organizations of Peter Hart (D) and Bill McInturff (R). April 23-27, 2014:
“Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Because of the widening gap between the incomes of the wealthy and everyone else, America is no longer a country where everyone, regardless of their background, has an opportunity to get ahead and move up to a better standard of living.”Agree: 54%
Also, according to a CBS News Poll. Jan. 17-21, 2014. N=1,018 adults nationwide.
“Looking to the future, do you think most children in this country will grow up to be better off or worse off than their parents?”Better off: 34%
Worse off: 63%
The majority of people in the United States, no longer believe in the American dream, or that America is the land of opportunity, or that their children will have a better standard of living than their own. They’ve grown more pessimistic because they haven’t seen the changes they were hoping for, and because their lives are just as hard as they were right after the crash. In fact, according to a 2014 Public Religion Research Institute poll– 72 percent of those surveyed said they think “the economy is still in recession.”
Judging by the info in the 15 links above, they’re probably right.
Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC), was on a conference call this past Monday evening, which was sponsored by TheTeaParty.net and attended by hundreds of Tea Party activists. During the conference call, a Tea Party activist asked him about President Barack Obama’s plans for executive amnesty. Priebus replied, “It’s unconstitutional, illegal, and we don’t support it.”
Breitbart.com covered the story. “‘While I can’t speak for the legislature, I’m very confident we will stop that,’ Priebus said. ‘We will do everything we can to make sure it doesn’t happen: Defunding, going to court, injunction. You name it. It’s wrong. It’s illegal. And for so many reasons, and just the basic fabric of this country, we can’t allow it to happen and we won’t let it happen. I don’t know how to be any stronger than that. I’m telling you, everything we can do to stop it we will.’”
Breitbart goes on to quote Priebus, “‘I have said repeatedly on immigration that the first thing is border security and the second thing is upholding the law that’s in place today. What ever happened to the border fence that was promised by Congress in 2006? It never happened. What about these sanctuary cities out there that take federal money and they’re not even upholding the law that we have in place? So somehow or another what can’t get lost in any of this conversation is the importance of border security and making sure that any sort of immigration reform talk doesn’t even begin without taking that first step.’”
As Ronald Reagan said to President Jimmy Carter, “There you go again.” There the GOP goes again: making a promise they have absolutely no intention of keeping.
Priebus’ promise that, should the GOP capture the U.S. Senate, they will stop Obama’s executive amnesty is just so much hot air. I guess he thinks that we have all forgotten then Speaker of The House Newt Gingrich’s “Contract With America.”
During the congressional elections of 1994, Gingrich promised the American people that if they put Republicans in charge of the Congress, they would pass legislation to eliminate five federal departments (Education, Energy, Commerce, Interior, and Housing and Urban Development), 95 federal domestic programs, and slash federal spending across the board. The GOP promises made during the ’94 elections became known as the “Contract With America.”
GOP promises during that election cycle proved extremely successful. In the House of Representatives there was a 54-seat swing to the Republicans, which gave them a majority of seats for the first time since 1954. In the U.S. Senate there was an eight-seat swing, which allowed the GOP to capture both houses of Congress.
During the succeeding congressional session, many of the elements of the Contract were indeed passed by the Republican-led House of Representatives. It was quite another story in the GOP-led Senate. In the Senate, most of the promised bills were either killed altogether or seriously compromised through a variety of watered-down amendments. A few bills–and I mean a precious few bills–made it somewhat intact out of the Senate. At the end of the session, very little of the Contract survived. In fact, during that time, Republican senators reminded everyone that the Contract With America was only the promise of the GOP House, that the GOP Senate never joined in that promise. (Politicians are the slickest liars in the world, are they not?)
While there were several positive results of that “Republican Revolution” of 1994, including a balanced budget in 1998 and surpluses in the federal budgets from 1999-2001–all of these budgets being proposed by Democratic President Bill Clinton–Gingrich and Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott quickly began to compromise away most of the principles of the 1994 Contract. This led to Gingrich being ousted as Speaker of the House.
Of course, none of the five federal departments targeted were eliminated–neither were any of the 95 targeted federal programs. In fact, not only were these departments and programs not eliminated, funding for all of these departments and programs actually INCREASED under the GOP-led Congress. In 2000, Edward Crane, president of the Cato Institute, noted that “the combined budgets of the 95 major programs that the Contract With America promised to eliminate have increased by 13%.” And, in case Republicans want to try and blame the Democrat Bill Clinton for these budgetary backslidings, the facts just don’t support it.
Consider the fact that from 2001 through 2006, the GOP controlled the entire federal government: the White House, House of Representatives, and Senate. Plus, Republican-appointed justices comprised a majority on the U.S. Supreme Court. (That has been the case since the early 1970s). During those long six years, the GOP-dominated federal government NEVER revisited the principles of the Contract With America. In fact, the Bush years are on record as seeing the most explosive growth in federal spending and overreach in U.S. history to that time. There has been absolutely NOTHING fiscally conservative about the Twenty-First Century GOP. And that’s a fact.
Again, even though the GOP controlled the entire federal government for the first six years of this century, there was no attention given to the promises of the 1994 Contract With America. In addition, no attention was given to overturning Roe v. Wade and ending legalized abortion-on-demand, and no attention was given to overturning Bill Clinton’s egregiously unconstitutional Executive Orders. In fact, no attention was given to G.W. Bush’s campaign promises of fiscal restraint and no-nation building, non-aggressive foreign policy promises, or his vow to honor the Constitution by curbing the usurpations of Washington, D.C., of individual liberties and civil rights. What a joke that turned out to be!
Now we have a Democratic President, Barack Obama, who is one of the most unpopular presidents of our entire history, and the GOP is struggling to energize its own base. How pathetic is that? That’s why RNC Chairman Reince Priebus took to the air with a live conference call with Tea Party activists. The national GOP has so alienated Tea Party conservatives that it is concerned that even with a despised Democrat President, disenfranchised conservatives within the GOP could stay home in large numbers next Tuesday.
Priebus’ concern is warranted.
So, Priebus makes a Contract With America-type promise: give us the Senate and we will stop Obama’s executive amnesty. And even though it was a conference call, I assume he said it with a straight face. The problem is, it is a lie, and Priebus knows it.
Obama is going to sign his executive amnesty order soon after the elections and before the Senate convenes next year. And there are about as many Republicans in the Senate that favor amnesty as there are Democrats. Does anyone really think that John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Lamar Alexander, et al. are going to get exercised over amnesty? The Chamber of Commerce establishment Republicans are salivating over amnesty for illegals. Some of them are trying to hide an amnesty amendment in the upcoming NDAA even as we speak. Plus, just exactly what is the Senate going to do to overturn an executive amnesty order? I can already hear it. After the GOP wins the Senate, they will say, “Well, as the U.S. Senate, we can’t really do anything; we need a Republican President in 2016. Then we will do something about it.” And the beat goes on.
It’s not about stopping amnesty; it’s about political posturing for a November election. House Speaker John Boehner has promised Big Business Republicans an amnesty deal. Does anyone in their right mind believe the GOP is going to overturn an Obama amnesty order? It’s a campaign bluff. I know it; and so does Barack Obama. (I would love to be proven wrong; but the GOP track record says I am 100% right.)
The Breitbart report goes on to say, “Priebus said at the end of the town hall that he thinks it’s important for Tea Partiers and the grassroots to hold Republicans accountable.
“‘I think it’s important to build our party through addition and make sure that we don’t subtract people out of our party,’ he said. ‘It’s also important for the Tea Party to hold the Republican Party accountable. I get that. It’s not always a cheerleading opportunity. It’s both that we’re going to be with you and help you, but we have to hold you accountable once in a while. And I understand that and respect it.’”
See the report here:
No, Priebus doesn’t understand that; neither does he respect it. This is pure partisan party electioneering.
The GOP leadership has not allowed itself to be held accountable to ANYBODY. They wouldn’t let Ross Perot do it; they wouldn’t let Pat Buchanan do it; they wouldn’t let Ron Paul do it; and they aren’t letting the Tea Party Republicans do it. They think themselves above their own platform, above their conservative base, and even above the U.S. Constitution. Accordingly, they have been subtracting numbers from their own ranks for a long, long time. Where do you think the Libertarian and Constitution parties came from? Where do you think so many of the registered independent voters came from?
In any given national election the numbers of people who stay home and don’t vote always outnumber the ones who do vote. Why is that? It’s because both the Democrat and Republican parties have been ignoring so much of their grassroots base that people from both parties have been drifting away by the millions. People by the millions have given up on both major parties. Neither party in Washington, D.C., respects the people of the United States or the U.S. Constitution. Both parties grovel before Big Money. That’s why so many people have removed themselves from the two major parties.
If the Republican leadership in Washington, D.C., had been listening to its base over the past several years, Barack Obama would not be President today and the GOP would not be biting its fingernails as to whether they can take back the Senate. This should be a slam-dunk election for the GOP. And, despite the stiff-necked, Big Business, Big Brother leadership of the national Republican Party, I think the GOP will take the Senate. But if you think for one minute that a GOP-led Senate and House will do diddly squat to stop Obama’s amnesty order or to close our Southern Border, there is this bridge in the Mojave Desert you need to look at. The GOP is famous for doing NOTHING after elections are won.
Reince Priebus lamented over the failure of Congress to honor its promise to close the Southern Border back in 2006. Well, Mr. Priebus, it was the Republican Party that controlled the federal government from 2001-2006, and despite their promises to close the Southern Border, did NOTHING to actually do it. And you think a GOP-led Congress is going to do something about it now? What a joke! Most of the anti-amnesty Republicans are in the House, and they are not even a majority within their own caucus there. Try to name the anti-amnesty senators. The only ones I can recall who have been outspoken against amnesty are Jeff Sessions, Ted Cruz, and Mike Lee. Even Rand Paul has softened on the subject.
I wasn’t on the Tea Party conference call last Monday evening with Mr. Priebus when he said what he said, but I’m hoping someone on the call hollered, “There you go again.”
There is one particular thing that illustrates better than anything else the unreasonableness — and some would say gall — of homosexuality activists. It’s not demanding that bakers, shirt printers and wedding planners be party to events and expression deeply contrary to their principles, as offensive as that is. What I speak of is something even more fundamental, something again brought to light by the recent Vatican synod on the family.
As many know, the synod made news with an unwisely released and widely misrepresented mid-term report containing language that the secular media interpreted as signaling Church capitulation on the matter of homosexuality (an excellent article on this by Paul Bois is found here). And when it emerged that the language was the handiwork of just one or two individuals and was roundly rejected by the bishops, melancholia — and Machiavellianism — defined the media. “What a shame it is that the Church rejected the more welcoming tone,” we heard. “We thought tolerance and deference to the times were winning out, but then the voices of prejudice quashed progress.” They thought? Insofar as these leftists think at all, they do it all wrong.
The media’s notion that the Catholic Church isn’t “welcoming” to people with same-sex attraction (PSSA) is at best due to ignorance, at worst driven by insidious manipulation. Just consider the followingc passage — which expresses a long-held Church position — from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
What about that sounds “unwelcoming”? Let me add that for nigh on 20 years I’ve attended Mass every Sunday and on Holy Days in parishes all over my area and in other parts of the country, and I have never, ever heard a priest rail against homosexuality; in fact, lamentably, I can’t even remember a priest mentioning it during a sermon, let alone talking “about these issues all the time,” as one rather prominent Catholic put it last year. In other words, the notion that priests are smoking PSSA out of churches with fire-and-brimstone, acid-tongued preaching is a media assumption — and invention.
It’s also quite stupid. Does anyone think the Church turns away adulterers, fornicators, artificial-contraception users or self-gratifiers? So why would anyone think it’s at all different with PSSA? In accordance with Jesus’ saying that “the healthy are in no need of a physician,” that God rejoices more over one lost sheep found than 99 who were never lost, the Church’s business is attracting sinners. And, of course, since she teaches that we’re all sinners, she’d have to close her doors if her market were confined to angels.
The reality is that homosexuality activists and the media (redundant, I know) are guilty of projection. They’d have us believe that the Church and other traditionalists can’t stop talking about PSSA, when they’re the ones who cannot. Much like a man who rains down unprovoked blows upon another and then screams “Why are you so violent!?” when the victim merely raises his arms to block, they start a fight and then are shocked when others defend themselves; not only that, they then portray their offensive against tradition as defense and the defense of it as offensive.
But the Church exercises no double standard. Her teaching lists homosexual behavior as just one of many behaviors at variance with God’s plan for man’s sexuality. It’s homosexuality activists who have the double standard, and this brings us to what they really want. Since the Church has always welcomed PSSA, the issue is not one of accepting “homosexuals.”
The activists want the Church to accept homosexuality.
Perhaps this is stating the obvious for many, but framing this properly illustrates its absurdity. The activists want a special dispensation from Church sexual teaching — and, of course, this can be applied to all of traditionalist Christianity — for their particular behavior. But consider where this leaves us:
Is the Church supposed to say adultery is a sin, fornication is a sin, self-gratification is a sin, viewing pornography is a sin, but homosexuality is, what? A lifestyle choice, sort of like living on a houseboat?
This would be comical to anyone who didn’t fail at mastering childhood categorization problems (i.e., what things belong together?). It would be like saying that devil’s food cake didn’t belong with sugar cookies, petits fours, Napoleons and ladyfingers in the category of desserts because it’s the favorite of some corpulent, Jabba the Hut-looking slob who’ll feel better about himself if it’s classified as a vegetable.
So in essence, what homosexuality activists are asking is that the Church scrap all of its sexual teaching to accommodate their wishes. It doesn’t matter that the teaching is the product of ages of thought, scholarship, discernment and divine revelation; that it’s promulgated in numerous official documents such as Humanae Vitae; or that it’s considered infallible, as it reflects Truth. You want it gone? We’ll get right on that for ya’.
To echo Bois in the earlier referenced article, that’s not happening — end of story.
Insofar as some PSSA are sincere in their conflation of acceptance of their behavior with acceptance of themselves, the psychology is no mystery. They identify so closely with their sin that there is little, if any, separation between it and themselves on an emotional level; thus, they view any rejection of their sin as a rejection of themselves. This is why I’ve generally avoided using the term “homosexual” in this article: the word too often carries the implication that it defines the person who thus identifies himself. And this is why homosexuality activists can, in certain cases, quite sincerely equate their movement with that of black civil rights. They tend to see their sexual impulses as integral to who they are and “homosexual” as their master status in the same way many blacks believe their race defines them (not that we should be consumed with race, either).
Yet there is even more going on when the Church is labeled “unwelcoming.” Some in the media do truly conflate the sin with the sinner; others are simply so ignorant of Catholic teaching and realities on the ground that they actually believe the fire-and-brimstone stereotype. But then there are the vile propagandists. They know something, something Bois mentioned when writing, “[T]he Catholic Church has lost its prominence in the West due to cultural acceptance of homosexuality and [‘gay marriage’].” And, no, that’s not the only reason. But it is a big one.
Think about it: if you can successfully portray rejection of homosexual behavior as analogous to rejection based solely on skin color — if “homophobia”=“racism” — the Catholic Church=the KKK. Of course, I don’t believe this, but it is how people imbued with homosexuality doctrine will view it.
This explains not only the utility of misrepresenting the Church’s teaching on homosexuality, but also why this tactic is ideal not just for homosexuality activists but all anti-Christian agitators. The more you can cast the Church as a fire-and-brimstone rejecter of PSSA, the more you push it into the hate-group category in modernists’ minds (note that overseas “hate speech” laws often prohibit criticism of homosexuality). And since the Church cannot bend on definitive teaching, she can do nothing to extricate herself from this category. It’s brilliantly devious — some would say devilish.
The good news is that “a lie has speed, but Truth has endurance,” as the proverb goes. Leftists are fond of saying about the Church, and traditionalists in general, that they’re on the wrong side of history. But the Church has been around for 2000 years and has often found herself on the “wrong side of history” — until that history became history and we found out it wasn’t history at all but just current events. And the Church will be around long after the current current-event commissars, and their ideas, are dust.
Here we go again.
Last week, the country’s biggest mortgage lenders scored a couple of key victories that will allow them to ease lending standards, crank out more toxic assets, and inflate another housing bubble. Here’s what’s going on.
On Monday, the head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), Mel Watt, announced that Fannie and Freddie would slash the minimum down-payment requirement on mortgages from 5 percent to 3 percent while making loans more available to people with spotty credit. If this all sounds hauntingly familiar, it should. It was less than 7 years ago that shoddy lending practices blew up the financial system precipitating the deepest slump since the Great Depression. Now Watt wants to repeat that catastrophe by pumping up another credit bubble. Here’s the story from the Washington Post:
“When it comes to taking out a mortgage, two factors can stand in the way: the price of the mortgage,…and the borrower’s credit profile.”
On Monday, the head of the agency that oversees the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac outlined … how he plans to make it easier for borrowers on both fronts. Mel Watt, director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, did not give exact timing on the initiatives. But most of them are designed to encourage the industry to extend mortgages to a broader swath of borrowers.
Here’s what Watt said about his plans in a speech at the Mortgage Bankers Association annual convention in Las Vegas:
Saving enough money for a downpayment is often cited as the toughest hurdle for first-time buyers in particular. Watt said that Fannie and Freddie are working to develop “sensible and responsible” guidelines that will allow them to buy mortgages with down payments as low as 3 percent, instead of the 5 percent minimum that both institutions currently require.”
Does Watt really want to “encourage the industry to extend mortgages to a broader swath of borrowers” or is this just another scam to enrich bankers at the expense of the public? It might be worth noting at this point that Watt’s political history casts doubt on his real objectives. According to Open Secrets, among the Top 20 contributors to Watt’s 2009-2010 campaign were Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Citigroup Inc., Bank of New York Mellon, American bankers Association, US Bancorp, and The National Association of Realtors. (“Top 20 Contributors, 2009-2010“, Open Secrets)
Man oh man, this guy’s got all of Wall Street rooting for him. Why is that, I wonder? Is it because he’s faithfully executing his office and defending the public’s interests or is it because he’s a reliable stooge who brings home the bacon for fatcat bankers and their brood?
This is such a farce, isn’t it? I mean, c’mon, do you really think that the big banks make political contributions out of the kindness of their heart or because they want something in return? And do you really think that a guy who is supported by Goldman Sachs has your “best interests” in mind? Don’t make me laugh.
The reason that Obama picked Watt was because he knew he could be trusted to do whatever Wall Street wanted, and that’s precisely what he’s doing. Smaller down payments and looser underwriting are just the beginning; teaser rates, balloon payments, and liars loans are bound to follow. In fact, there’s a funny story about credit scores in the Washington Post that explains what’s really going on behind the scenes. See if you can figure it out:
“Most housing advocates agree that a bigger bang for the buck would come from having lenders lower the unusually high credit scores that they’re now demanding from borrowers.
After the housing market tanked, Fannie and Freddie forced the industry to buy back billions of dollars in loans. In a bid to protect themselves from further financial penalties, lenders reacted by imposing credit scores that exceed what Fannie and Freddie require. Housing experts say the push to hold lenders accountable for loose lending practices of the past steered the industry toward the highest-quality borrowers, undermining the mission of Fannie and Freddie to serve the broader population, including low- to moderate- income borrowers.
Today, the average credit score on a loan backed by Fannie and Freddie is close to 745, versus about 710 in the early 2000s, according to Moody’s Analytics. And lenders say they won’t ease up until the government clarifies rules that dictate when Fannie and Freddie can take action against them.” (Washington Post)
Can you see what’s going on? The banks have been requiring higher credit scores than Fannie or Freddie.
But why? After all, the banks are in the lending business, so the more loans they issue the more money they make, right?
Right. But the banks don’t care about the short-term dough. They’d rather withhold credit and slow the economy in order to blackmail the government into doing what they want.
And what do they want?
They want looser regulations and they want to know that Fannie and Freddie aren’t going to demand their money back (“put backs”) when they sell them crappy mortgages that won’t get repaid. You see, the banks figure that once they’ve off-loaded a loan to Fannie and Freddie, their job is done. So, if the mortgage blows up two months later, they don’t think they should have to pay for it. They want the taxpayer to pay for it. That’s what they’ve been whining about for the last 5 years. And that’s what Watt is trying to fix for them. Here’s the story from Dave Dayen:
“Watt signaled to mortgage bankers that they can loosen their underwriting standards, and that Fannie and Freddie will purchase the loans anyway, without much recourse if they turn sour. The lending industry welcomed the announcement as a way to ease uncertainty and boost home purchases, a key indicator for the economy. But it’s actually a surrender to the incorrect idea that expanding risky lending can create economic growth.
Watt’s remarks come amid a concerted effort by the mortgage industry to roll back regulations meant to prevent the type of housing market that nearly obliterated the economy in 2008. Bankers have complained to the media that the oppressive hand of government prevents them from lending to anyone with less-than-perfect credit. Average borrower credit scores are historically high, and lenders make even eligible borrowers jump through enough hoops to garner publicity. Why, even Ben Bernanke can’t get a refinance done! (Actually, he could, and fairly easily, but the anecdote serves the industry’s argument.)
(“The Mortgage Industry Is Strangling the Housing Market and Blaming the Government“, Dave Dayen, The New Republic)
Can you see what a fraud this is? 6 years have passed since Lehman crashed and the scum-sucking bankers are still fighting tooth-and-nail to unwind the meager provisions that have been put in place to avoid another system-shattering disaster. It’s crazy. These guys should all be in Gitmo pounding rocks and instead they’re setting the regulatory agenda. Explain that to me? And this whole thing about blackmailing the government because they don’t want to be held responsible for the bad mortgages they sold to the GSE’s is particularly irritating. Here’s more from Dave Dayen:
“After the housing market tanked, Fannie and Freddie forced the industry to buy back billions of dollars in loans. In a bid to protect themselves from further financial penalties, lenders reacted by imposing credit scores that exceed what Fannie and Freddie require. ….And lenders say they won’t ease up until the government clarifies rules that dictate when Fannie and Freddie can take action against them.”
So the industry has engaged in an insidious tactic: tightening lending well beyond required standards, and then claiming the GSEs make it impossible for them to do business. For example, Fannie and Freddie require a minimum 680 credit score to purchase most loans, but lenders are setting their targets at 740. They are rejecting eligible borrowers….so they can profit much more from a regulation-free zone down the line.
So, I ask you, dear reader; is that blackmail or is it blackmail?
And what does Watt mean when he talks about “developing sensible and responsible guidelines’ that will allow them (borrowers) to buy mortgages with down payments as low as 3 percent”?
What a joke. Using traditional underwriting standards, (the likes of which had been used for the entire post-war period until we handed the system over to the banks) a lender would require a 10 or 20 percent down, decent credit scores, and a job. The only reason Watt wants to wave those requirements is so the banks can fire-up the old credit engine and dump more crap-ass mortgages on Uncle Sam. That’s the whole thing in a nutshell. It’s infuriating!
Let me fill you in on a little secret: Down payments matter! In fact, people who put more down on a home (who have “more skin in the game”) are much less likely to default. According to David Battany, executive vice president of PennyMac, “there is a strong correlation between down payments to mortgage default. The risk of default almost doubles with every 1%.”
Economist Dean Baker says the same thing in a recent blog post:
“The delinquency rate, which closely follows the default rate, is several times higher for people who put 5 percent or less down on a house than for people who put 20 percent or more down.
Contrary to what some folks seem to believe, getting moderate income people into a home that they subsequently lose to foreclosure or a distressed sale is not an effective way for them to build wealth, even if it does help build the wealth of the banks.”
(“Low Down Payment Mortgages Have Much Higher Default Rates“, Dean Baker, CEPR)
Now take a look at this chart from Dr. Housing Bubble which helps to illustrate the dangers of low down payments in terms of increased delinquencies:
Data on mortgage delinquencies by downpayment. Source: Felix Salmon
“When the mortgage industry starts complaining about the 14 million people who would be denied the chance to buy a qualified mortgage if they don’t have a 5% downpayment, it’s worth remembering that qualified mortgages for people who don’t have a 5% downpayment have a delinquency rate of 16% over the course of the whole housing cycle.” (“Why a sizable down payment is important“, Dr. Housing Bubble)
So despite what Watt thinks, higher down payments mean fewer defaults, fewer foreclosures, fewer shocks to the market, and greater financial stability.
And here’s something else that Watt should mull over: The housing market isn’t broken and doesn’t need to be fixed. It’s doing just fine, thank you very much. First of all, sales and prices are already above their historic trend. Check it out from economist Dean Baker:
“If we compare total sales (new and existing homes) with sales in the pre-bubble years 1993-1995, they would actually be somewhat higher today, even after adjusting for population growth. While there may be an issue of many people being unable to qualify for mortgages because of their credit history, this does not appear to be having a negative effect on the state of market. Prices are already about 20 percent above their trend levels.” (“Total Home Sales Are At or Above Trend“, Dean Baker, CEPR)
Got it? Sales and prices are ALREADY where they should be, so there’s no need to lower down payments and ease credit to start another orgy of speculation. We don’t need that.
Second, the quality of today’s mortgages ARE BETTER THAN EVER, so why mess with success? Take a look at this from Black Knight Financial Services and you’ll see what I mean:
“Today, the Data and Analytics division of Black Knight Financial Services … released its November Mortgage Monitor Report, which found that loans originated in 2013 are proving to be the best-performing mortgages on record…..
“Looking at the most current mortgage origination data, several points become clear,” said Herb Blecher, senior vice president of Black Knight Financial Services’ Data & Analytics division. “First is that heightened credit standards have resulted in this year being the best-performing vintage on record. Even adjusting for some of these changes, such as credit scores and loan-to-values, we are seeing total delinquencies for 2013 loans at extremely low levels across every product category.”
Okay, so sales and prices are fine and mortgage quality is excellent. So why not leave the bloody system alone? As the saying goes: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
But you know why they’re going to keep tinkering with the housing market. Everyone knows why. It’s because the banks can’t inflate another big-honking credit bubble unless they churn out zillions of shi**y mortgages that they offload onto Fannie and Freddie. That’s just the name of the game: Grind out the product (mortgages), pack it into sausages (securities and bonds), leverage up to your eyeballs (borrow as much as humanly possible), and dump the junk-paper on yield-chasing baboons who think they’re buying triple A “risk free” bonds.
Garbage in, garbage out. Isn’t this how the banks make their money?
You bet it is, and in that regard things have gotten a helluva a lot scarier since last Wednesday’s announcement that the banks are NOT going to be required to hold any capital against the securities they create from bundles of mortgages.
You read that right. According to the New York Times: “there will be no risk retention to speak of, at least on residential mortgage loans that are securitized.”
But how can that be, after all, it wasn’t subprime mortgages that blew up the financial system (subprime mortgages only totaled $1.5 at their peak), but the nearly $10 trillion in subprime infected mortgage-backed securities (MBS) that stopped trading in the secondary market after a French Bank stopped taking redemptions in July 2007. (a full year before the crisis brought down Lehman Brothers) . That’s what brought the whole rattling financial system to a grinding halt. Clearly, if the banks had had a stake in those shabby MBS— that is, if they were required to set aside 5 or 10 percent capital as insurance in the event that some of these toxic assets went south– then the whole financial collapse could have been avoided, right?
Right. It could have been avoided. But the banks don’t want to hold any capital against their stockpile of rancid assets, in fact, they don’t want to use their own freaking money at all, which is why 90 percent of all mortgages are financed by Uncle Sugar. It’s because the banks are just as broke as they were in 2008 when the system went off the cliff. Here’s a summary from the New York Times:
“Once upon a time, those who made loans would profit only if the loan were paid back. If the borrower defaulted, the lender would suffer.
That idea must have seemed quaint in 2005, as the mortgage lending boom reached a peak on the back of mushrooming private securitizations of mortgages, which were intended to transfer the risk away from those who made the loans to investors with no real knowledge of what was going on.
Less well remembered is that there was a raft of real estate securitizations once before, in the 1920s. The securities were not as complicated, but they had the same goal — making it possible for lenders to profit without risking capital.
The Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 set out to clean that up. Now, there would be “risk retention.” Lenders would have to have “skin in the game.” Not 100 percent of the risk, as in the old days when banks made mortgage loans and retained them until they were paid back, but enough to make the banks care whether the loans were repaid.
At least that was the idea. The details were left to regulators, and it took more than four years for them to settle on the details, which they did this week.
The result is that there will be no risk retention to speak of, at least on residential mortgage loans that are securitized.
“…..Under Dodd-Frank, the general rule was to be that if a lender wanted to securitize mortgages, that lender had to keep at least 5 percent of the risk…….But when the final rule was adopted this week, that idea was dropped.” (“Banks Again Avoid Having Any Skin in the Game”, New York Times)
No skin in the game, you say?
That means the taxpayer is accepting 100 percent of the risk. How fair is that?
Let’s review: The banks used to lend money to creditworthy borrowers and keep the loans on their books.
They don’t do that anymore, in fact, they’re not really banks at all, they’re just intermediaries who sell their loans to the USG or investors.
This arrangement has changed the incentives structure. Now the goal is quantity not quality. “How many loans can I churn-out and dump on Uncle Sam or mutual funds etc.” That’s how bankers think now. That’s the objective.
Regulations are bad because regulations stipulate that loans must be of a certain quality, which reduces the volume of loans and shrinks profits. (Can’t have that!) Therefore, the banks must use their money to hand-pick their own regulators (“You’re doin’ a heckuva job, Mel”) and ferociously lobby against any rules that limit their ability to issue credit to anyone who can fog a mirror. Now you understand how modern-day banking works.
It would be hard to imagine a more corrupt system.
Conspiracy theorists, those who look for the facts, ignoring the pressure of jeers, flawed appeals to authority, and intimidation, are the sanest among us. The steady migration of investigative journalists, who turn their backs on more lucrative employment, is only one indication of this.
In a recent article, Scientific Study Reveals Conspiracy Theorists The Most Sane Of All, the author, J. D. Hayes, cites a recent study, published July 2013, by psychologists Michael J. Wood and Karen M. Douglas of the University of Kent in the UK. It was entitled “‘What about Building 7?’ A Social Psychological Study of Online Discussion of 9/11 Conspiracy Theories.”
Their conclusion is that, contrary to those mainstream media stereotypes, “conspiracy theorists” appear to be more sane than people who accept official versions of controversial and contested events.
Attempts to demonize our perception on conspiracy theorists erects barriers to protect those whose profits are endangered by the truth.
These techniques for manufacturing opinion were outlined by Edward Bernays, whose book, “Propaganda,” asserts those who rule should use the trust accorded them in exactly this way.
Interestingly, Leo Strauss, whose political philosophy is in alignment with Bernays, asserted the same opinion. Strauss’ work was largely adopted by those who call themselves NeoConservatives who are anything but Conservative.
The opinion shared was that those in power are justified to lie, cheat and steal to keep and increase their power. The Kochs use these techniques in business and politically.
The use of the term, “Conspiracy Theory” increased rapidly in the wake of the JFK assassination due to its pejorative use in the MSM. This worked to stifle questions already being raised.
The issue which underlies the article by William Saletan, Conspiracy Theorists Aren’t Really Skeptics attempts to validate intellectual bullying, a logical extension of the philosophies of Bernays and Strauss. You don’t get more MSM than the Washington Post.
In the original formulation of American society those in positions of authority were morally and ethically obligated to explain themselves. The facts were to be available to all. Journalists investigated and reported the truth, as they saw it. This changed.
Saletan raised the issue of human psychology but failed to mention a perplexing issue which has long troubled us. This is the presence of those without conscience. For most of the 20th Century therapists believed these individuals could change, the problem was psychological. Today we know this is a neurological issue.
Advances in neurobiology have brought objective understanding. Now, thousands of criminals have been identified as psychopaths using an fMRI. The scan identified malfunctions in areas of the amygdala, which is now known to be associated with conscience, empathy, and compassion.
According to Dr. Robert Hare, serial murderers and con-men are always psychopaths. But Hare has also noted many who are also psychopathic are not violent and well able to control their impulses to gain far more expansive goals.
These individuals are highly intelligent. At any time there are 20,000 psychopaths with I.Q.s over 180 at large in the United States.
It would be instructive to see test results from MRI scans done on Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, and their cadre.
The cost of psychopathy has been calculated at around 360 billion a year – in the US. This does not include the highly intelligent ones which, clearly cost far more, given the impact of Cheney and company on America. Could the people who so desperately wanted torture as a tool be emotionally normal?
Today, experts believe the explanation for the financial meltdown now ongoing can be explained by the concentration of psychopathic individuals in corporations, finance and government.
The characteristics of the condition include calloused unconcern for others. This accounts for the oil companies which routinely externalize their costs, leaving those harmed by the toxic waste they cause, to struggle and die.
Those without conscience, willing to lie for their own profit, have long been with us. But today they can avoid the troublesome issue of having their actions known and understood. They have learned to spin.
To ensure this continues they must continue manufacturing public opinion about their previous actions. This is why they began using the term, “Conspiracy Theory.” They work vigorously to ensure the facts remain hidden.
Refusing to accept the officially mandated opinion on any subject, be in the JFK assassination or whether or not to give your child pharmaceuticals as treatment for ADHD has been used to categorize individuals who refuse to accept predigested conclusions as crazy, stupid or paranoid. When this happens, rest assured, some corporation’s profits could be impacted.
This is a form of control intended to intimidate and inject fear. It also marginalizes vast numbers of people, keeping them in fear so they can be controlled.
To that end they, I call them Greedvilleins, also use our love of each other, country, loyalty, and trust, to manipulate us into wars which profit them and place us in perpetual debt.
If you limit what is acceptable to hold as opinions and deny people full access to the facts you destroy the trust basis of our society. Emotionally normal people are not comfortable when they cannot trust those around them.
These are rational responses to existing conditions.
What is insane is trusting psychopaths. Yet these are now common in finance and government. You can be sure they will routinely act with a sublime lack of conscience, for your freedom, your assets and your very life.
To cope with these conditions many still refuse to think about it, thus avoiding extreme anxiety. Others, for instance those who look for the facts, and are demeaned as “conspiracy theorists.”
The presence of highly intelligent psychopaths among us, who generally avoid being prosecuted, is one of these explanations.
Saladan’s article passes today as investigative journalism. It pays well and explains why so many truly honest journalists left to work in the alternative media.
When I started my radio talk show back in 1994–and for the next six years hosting the show–I was considered a hero by conservatives everywhere. Between my leadership position with the Moral Majority back in the 1980s and my radio talk show in the 1990s, I walked shoulder-to-shoulder with practically every notable conservative leader, including Christian leaders, one could think of. I traveled the country speaking with, and for, the most visible conservative leaders in America. I became friends with a host of U.S. congressmen and senators, not to mention several State governors. I even sat at the “king’s table” with President Ronald Reagan and Vice President George H.W. Bush. I was one of the “darlings” of conservatism. Just about anybody who was anybody was a guest on my show.
I only mention all of that so readers can understand my background–along with the “rest of the story” that brought me to where I am today.
Back in those days, I fell right in lock-step with the left-right paradigm: Republicans were good; Democrats were bad. And even if the Republican was downright bad, he wasn’t as bad as the Democrat. That doctrine was sacrosanct and unassailable. And I believed that malarkey as much as anyone.
I started smelling a rat in 1996 when the GOP anointed Bob Dole as the next “conservative” Republican who was going to lead us to the Promised Land. I knew Dole well enough: he was anything but a conservative. In fact, he joined the likes of Richard Nixon and now John Boehner who say that they have never read the Republican Party platform. Boehner has gone so far as to say that he doesn’t know anybody who has read it. He probably told the truth there. The vast majority of Republican leaders in Washington, D.C., have not read it, don’t care what it says, and give no heed to it. I knew in my heart that Bob Dole would be a horrible President, and that he would NOT give a hoot in hades about obeying the Constitution. Plus, I had developed a great respect for and friendship with Pat Buchanan, who was an ardent conservative constitutionalist. So, I was supporting Pat’s presidential candidacy.
There is so much I would love to tell you about the rest of that primary, but let me fast forward to the end of the season. Toward the end of that 1996 GOP primary season, the congressman that my radio talk show was largely responsible for helping get elected, Joe Scarborough, came to me and pleaded, saying, “Chuck, I’m the only Republican congressman to not have already endorsed Dole. I’ve held out for as long as I can. Pat can’t win the nomination. It’s over. Dole will be the candidate. We have to rally behind Dole in order to beat Bill Clinton. You have to help me.”
I caved. For the sake of “party unity” and “defeating Bill Clinton,” I totally capitulated. Remember the sacred doctrine: Republicans are always good guys, and Democrats are always bad guys. And if even if the Republican is a bad guy he is not as bad as the Democrat.
So, there I was, standing next to Senator Bob Dole and Congressman Joe Scarborough at a press conference at the General Aviation office at the Pensacola, Florida, regional airport publicly endorsing the Republican Bob Dole for President of the United States. Albeit, I was still wearing my Pat Buchanan lapel pin. My defiance wasn’t dead, only crippled.
As I walked to my car after the press conference, I felt sick. I mean, totally and thoroughly sick. I had betrayed my convictions and my conscience, and I knew it. I vowed then and there that I would never again support a candidate—any candidate, no matter what his or her party label–for any public office that I did not believe in my heart would at least be faithful to the essential principles of liberty upon which our country was built.
For the next four years I marched forward with my radio talk show extolling the principles of liberty as loudly as I knew how. Mind you, the bitter taste of my compromise stayed in my mouth. It never went away. Still hasn’t. In addition, the next four years afforded me great opportunity to awaken to a host of truths, including the truth that both major parties in Washington, D.C., were actually not all that different. I came to realize that what Pat Buchanan had said was really true: “There are not two political parties in Washington, D.C., just two wings of the same bird of prey.”
One of the highlights of that awakening came when I interviewed David Schippers, who was the lead counsel for the House Judiciary Committee in the Bill Clinton impeachment hearings. He told me that as he pleaded with Republican leaders in the Senate (Trent Lott, Ted Stevens, etc.) to look at the evidence that his legal team had gathered, one of the “good guy” Republican senators said, “David, we don’t care if you have a video tape of the President raping a woman, then standing up and shooting her dead, we are not going to vote to remove this President from office.”
Schippers, a lifelong Democrat, was absolutely stunned. You can imagine. Schippers was a tough, no-nonsense, right-is-right, law-and-order kind of guy. He was the guy who took on the Chicago mafia–and won. He was an honest Democrat who was willing to unveil the criminality of a corrupt Democrat. Now he was watching a group of Republican senators in Washington, D.C., make the mafia look like good guys.
Schippers wrote a book of the whole sordid ordeal called, “Sellout: The Inside Story of President Clinton’s Impeachment.” It was published by Regnery Publishing. If you’ve never read it, you should do so immediately. The real story will shock you. And you will discover that, no, the Republicans are NOT always good guys–or even the “lesser of two evils.”
Enter the 2000 presidential elections. By now, my eyes were much wider open than they had been four years ago. But when G.W. Bush first ran for President, he said all of the right things. He said he was pro-life, pro-Constitution, pro-liberty, pro-less government, pro-Bill of Rights, etc. So in 2000, I supported G.W.
I’m still doing my radio talk show (and by now I was writing this column); I’m still a conservative hero; I’m still basking in the “success” of being a conservative Republican “darling.”
But that’s when the fun started! It didn’t take very long to realize that G.W. Bush was as phony as a three dollar bill. He was no “conservative.” He was not pro-liberty, pro-Bill of Rights or anything of the kind. G.W. Bush was Bill Clinton on steroids! Bill Clinton tried to pass what became known as the USA Patriot Act, but couldn’t get it done. Bush passed it with ease. He signed the Military Commissions Act into law; he gave America an unconstitutional national police force known as the Department of Homeland Security. Bill Clinton never attempted and could never have accomplished such things. G.W. Bush introduced the “preemptive war” doctrine to America. He invaded nations that had absolutely NOTHING to do with 9/11. He signed a law authorizing U.S. federal agents–or even military troops–to seize American citizens on U.S. soil and incarcerate them indefinitely without a subpoena or court order of any kind, without habeas corpus, without legal counsel, or any other requirement of justice guaranteed in our Bill of Rights. In truth, everything that Barack Obama is using today to abuse the power of the presidency, he borrowed from G.W. Bush.
So, by 2002 and 2003, and with the bitter taste of Bob Dole still gagging me, I made a decision: I will no longer protect and support Republicans for the sake of “party unity” or for the sake of “he’s not as bad as the Democrat.” No! In truth, it dawned on me that many times Republicans were WORSE than Democrats. From now on I was going to be faithful to my convictions and to the truth as I understood it.
Many of these “pragmatic political scientists” view politics as nothing more than mathematical formulas, test tube experiments, and lab rats. They will support and endorse any formula, no matter how evil the immediate process might be, in order to obtain their supposed “greater good” objective. They recognize absolutely nothing moral or immoral as it relates to politics. It is just “science.” Nothing is right; nothing is wrong; it’s all about putting in the right formulas in order to obtain some lofty, utopian, long-term objective.
In theological terms, the above is called “moral relativism.” In philosophical terms, it is called, “the end justifies the means.” In military terms, it is called, “might makes right.” In business terms, it is called, “what’s good for General Motors is good for America.” And it’s all a bunch of horse manure!
Republican shills will accept practically any evil committed by Republicans under the rubric of the “lesser of two evils” mantra. Democrat apologists will do the same for their fellow Democrats. In truth, party loyalists from both the Republican and Democrat parties in Washington, D.C., are giving America the royal SHAFT.
Our first and greatest president, George Washington, tried to warn us about this danger in his masterful “Farewell Address.” Washington said that the “spirit of party” (meaning, the preoccupation with, and loyalty to, political parties) was our “worst enemy.” He said it was “sharpened by the spirit of revenge,” and that it “perpetuated the most horrid enormities.” He said that the “spirit of party” led to “a more formal and permanent despotism.” He said the leaders of political parties would be elevated “on the ruins of public liberty.” He said it is “the interest and duty of wise people to discourage and restrain it.”
Washington went on to say that the “spirit of party” “agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms.” He said it “opens the door to foreign influence and corruption.” He said the “force of public opinion” must always “mitigate and assuage it.” Then, Washington ended this section of the address saying, “A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest instead of warming it should consume.”
Every warning George Washington gave us concerning the “spirit of party” has come true in modern America. Party hacks place more loyalty to doing what is good for their party than doing what is good for their country. In many respects, their preoccupation with party partisanship has become their own worst enemy, just as Washington warned. These party shills constantly demonstrate the “spirit of revenge.” In the name of fighting FUTURE despotism, party hacks constantly surrender to an IMMEDIATE and “more formal and permanent despotism.” Party members are “elevated [elected] on the ruins of public liberty.” Party shills are constantly agitating “the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms [especially about how bad the other party’s candidate is].” Party shills stand back and say nothing when their party opens the door to “foreign influence and corruption.” Again, to them, party is more important than country.
The fascination with “political science” demonstrated by party hacks reveals a complete lack of moral conscience. Remember, to party hacks, nothing is right or wrong, only better or worse. Their mantra is, “Our party is better; their party is worse.” And virtually every moral and constitutional malfeasance committed by the favored party member is justified under this mantra.
Thus, Bill Clinton’s repeated perjuries could take the Office of The President of The United States to the brink of disgrace and ruin and, yet, he could still be thought a hero by Democrats. And G.W. Bush’s unconstitutional wars and assaults against the Bill of Rights could take the American people to the brink of totalitarian government and, yet, he could still be thought a hero by Republicans.
Needless to say, when I started telling the truth about G.W. Bush on my radio talk show (just as I had done when Clinton was in office), the “darling” luster quickly vanished. Suddenly, where I was once a hero, now I was a villain. Where I was once a man with great conviction and honor, now I was considered extremist–or even evil. But I was standing for the exact same principles and ideals I had always stood for. But because I was no longer loyal to the “spirit of party,” I became a political outcast. George Washington was exactly right!
As most readers know, I went on to run for President of the United States after Ron Paul was defeated in the Republican primaries in 2008. There was no way in hades I was going to pull another Bob Dole poison pill out of the GOP Big Pharma pill box and vote for the Neocon John McCain. So, when hundreds of Pat Buchanan/Ron Paul conservatives asked me to help keep the voice of constitutional government alive in the 2008 presidential campaign by seeking the presidential nomination of the Constitution Party, I did just that. And as far as I know, I am the only candidate for President that Ron Paul publicly endorsed since Ronald Reagan.
And, no, I didn’t vote for the Neocon Mitt Romney in 2012. And I won’t vote for any Neocon candidate in 2014. And should the GOP nominate another Neocon for President in 2016, I won’t vote for him either.
The liberties of the American people protected in the Bill of Rights are not test tube rats to be scientifically dissected and analyzed by party hacks, who love to call themselves political scientists. Our liberties and freedoms are not subject to the pragmatic “lesser evil” agendas of party shills–be they Democrats or Republicans.
We have been trading Democrats for Republicans and vice versa for as long as any of us can remember. And where has it gotten us? I realize that compromise is necessary in many aspects of politics–but NOT when it comes to the fundamental tenets of the Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence. Compromise of those fundamental tenets is not compromise at all; it is appeasement and the worst kind of surrender. And to support those who commit such crimes in the name of party partisanship is the worst kind of patriotism.
Here is the problem. The political scientists and hacks among us do NOT recognize in any way, shape, manner or form, the SPIRITUAL warfare that we face. They do not recognize the spirit of darkness that governs in high places. They cannot recognize nor comprehend that the Evil One can just as easily accomplish his devilish purposes through a Republican office-holder as he can through a Democrat office-holder. Even many professing Christians seem to suffer from this myopia. It seems lost to them that there could be very powerful people who are masters at manipulating “conservative Republicans” and “liberal Democrats” alike for their own wicked and evil purposes. Well, there are; and they do. To single out one party as inherently “worse” and another party as inheritably “better” is the height of naiveté.
In fact, in many ways an “in the dark” Republican is MORE DANGEROUS than an “in the dark” Democrat, because the Republican is operating under the ruse of “light.” An enemy who wears the uniform of a friend is more dangerous than an enemy who wears the uniform of an enemy. That’s why G.W. Bush got away with a whole lot more than Bill Clinton did. And that’s why Mitt Romney would have gotten away with a whole lot more than Barack Obama has. And that’s why your local Neocon Republican congressional or senatorial candidate will get away with a whole lot more than your local Democrat candidate.
I made my decision as I walked away from a press conference with Bob Dole back in 1996. Somehow, in that short walk from the press room to my car, I came to agree with George Washington; and I traded the “spirit of party” for the “Spirit of ’76.” And I’ve never looked back.
Ever since the 2008 financial collapse, banks have reduced their lending while accumulating U.S. Treasuries. On the surface placing capital into the safest depositor may seem prudent. On the other hand, Why Big Banks Are Suddenly Interested in Talking to You Again? According to Inc, “After years of turning away small-business borrowers, the country’s largest banks are now granting one out of five loan applications they receive. The 20 percent benchmark represents a post-recession high for big banks (assets of $10B+). Further, small banks have been approving more than half of the funding requests they receive.”
Such news would normally be welcomed. The Sovereign Man article, Here’s Why US Banks Are Now Extremely Vulnerable, presents a sober warning that the banking industry is at risk from a bond market sell-off.
“In just the last month alone American banks increased their holdings of US treasuries by $54 billion, to a record $1.99 trillion.
Facing $127 trillion in unfunded liabilities – which is nearly double 2012’s total global output – and with no inclination to reduce those numbers at all, at this point disaster for the US is entirely unavoidable.
Under the rather arbitrary Bank of International Settlements Basel capital adequacy rules government debt rated at least AA continues to carry a “zero risk” weighting. Meaning that banks do not need to set aside capital against it.
Beyond that, regulations imposed after the last crash to reduce risk require banks to hold $100 billion in liquid assets, which of course includes bonds. Thus, they are not only encouraged, but actually forced to buy government bonds.”
The fundamental change in the last six years is that the banks were rescued from normal capital requirements under a zero interest rate discount window. The inevitable result starved the small business and personal borrowing market from obtaining loans. With the loosing of funds to finance business and consumers, could the dire warning that the banks understand they need to rotate out of Treasuries, be the reason for the shift in lending?
However, the rush to come into compliance has America’s Banks Pile Up Treasuries as Deposits Overwhelm Lending. This explanation of a change in regulation ordains that U.S. Bonds are still a necessary component in their balance sheet.
“Rules approved Sept. 3 by the Fed, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. leave banks about $100 billion short of the $2.5 trillion in easy-to-sell assets that they need to meet the liquidity standard, according to the Fed. Lenders must reach 80 percent of their liquidity coverage ratios by January and have until the start of 2017 to reach full compliance.”
Illustrating this point, “Bank of America alone may need to purchase as much as $65 billion of government debt to become fully compliant, according to report last month from Marty Mosby, a banking analyst at Memphis, Tennessee-based Vining Sparks.”
Providing additional encouragement is a WSJ report that U.S. Bank Profits Near Record Levels.
“On the heels of the financial crisis, some lawmakers, regulators and consumers complained that banks weren’t lending enough. But steady improvement in credit quality, or borrowers’ ability to repay loans, is prompting banks not only to lend more but also to ease their standards.
The higher loan levels come as banks are easing up on their underwriting standards to borrowers. A Federal Reserve survey of senior loan officers released last week found that lenders were loosening standards and loan terms for commercial and industrial loans and commercial real-estate loans.”
Reconciling the need to keep buying treasuries and originating new loans to satisfy business demand is a challenging objective. By returning to the old fashion business model, of actually making loans to customers, banks are generating significant profits.
While graphs show the downward trend in loans since TARP, the current upturn is ready to be charted. Lending money for productive enterprise has contributed to a rise in GDP. The transition to a consumer based economy is dependent on the flow of transactions. When the pace of the velocity of money increases and confidence strengthens, prosperity usually follows.
The different in this feeble recovery phase is that the debt assumed by the Treasury, monetized within Federal Reserve liabilities, requires servicing no matter the health of the general economy. Near zero or cost free interest rates is approaching an expected crisis of uninterrupted maintenance. The exact trigger that drives up rates, while elusive to forecast, is inevitable in coming.
The Money Show article, Rising Rates? Beware of Big Banks, describes the predicament accordingly.
“The reality is that traditional commercial and consumer lending is no longer the big money maker that it used to be for banks. Since the 2008 financial crisis, households and businesses have been deleveraging—paying down debt—and demand for loans has been limp.
In recent years, the big banks have fattened their profits mainly from capital-markets businesses: Mergers and acquisitions, stock and bond offerings, and other types of trading. Rising interest rates also make the cost of capital go up for businesses, which can result in less deal making, lowering financing fees for the banks.”
Hype that loan demands have returned in earnest is overstated. Coming off such a low level, any modest increase looks bigger than it really is. That revered business cycle, simply is no longer the same.
So what happens in the catch-22 scenario when banks are adjusting to different capital requirements and Treasuries drop in price with a rise in interest rates? That’s the 64 trillion dollar question.
Banking is more about mathematics than business acumen when additional debt created money is needed to pay the service of obligations that come due. The roll over can be staggering. Banksters make up the monetary rules. That $127 trillion nut is bigger than all the bank reserves put together.
For those who argue the economy can grow its way out of this liquidity squeeze must have a time frame longer than the imaginative bag of tricks left in the vaults of banks.
“…that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. It is a difficult dream for the European upper classes to interpret adequately, and too many of us ourselves have grown weary and mistrustful of it. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.”
– James Truslow Adams, The Epic of America (1931)
The American Dream has been defined many ways by writers of both poetic and prosaic bent, but its essentials tend to involve life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (or property, depending on your source).
The Declaration of Independence, upon which an entire nation was radically brought into existence, asserts that not only are all men created equal but that this is a “self-evident” truth. By this “unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,” a contract was agreed to, that their union would be founded on this principle. Thus, America was endowed with its dream at the moment of its conception: the freedom to succeed.
The United States has promoted a self-congratulating exceptionalism for decades, waving its Declaration and Constitution in the faces of other sovereign nations as if the latter had never considered such concepts. Our capital F “Freedom” sets us apart from the rest of the world, as the political rhetoric has repeated ad nauseam, no matter the freedoms enjoyed by democracies on almost every continent. And yet our basic freedom, the freedom to succeed, America’s contractual promise, has been shrinking for thirty years.
The freedom to succeed transcends economic systems but it is most potently expressed by capitalist gains. The ability to go “from rags to riches” is ingrained in this nation’s ethos and there is nothing intrinsically immoral about that goal. However, the current state of American inequality reveals a very real and expanding gap between the rich and poor that betrays the foundational endowment of this Union. When the freedom to succeed is denied every citizen, their equality is equally denied.
Recently, the Pew Research Center released a poll on what international citizens consider the greatest threat to the planet. Conducted between March 17 and June 5 of this year, the survey received answers from 48,643 respondents in 44 countries. In the U.S. and Europe, the growing gap between the rich and the poor was overwhelmingly considered the greatest danger to world prosperity. Over a quarter of Americans ranked “Inequality” as number one, above Religious & ethnic hatred, Pollution, Nuclear weapons and Infectious diseases.
This is hardly startling news considering that the median net worth of American households fell by 35 percent ($106,591 to $68,839) between 2005 and 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. It is, however, disturbing that inequality remains so prevalent five years after the Great Recession.
Capitalism is not the problem. The problem is that we have let inequality advance in this country so gradually that its obviousness is masked by its familiarity. Below, I outline eight facts about inequality in America that every American should know.
1) 400 Americans have more wealth than half of all Americans combined. This ratio has been verified by Politifact and former Labor Secretary Robert Reich. To put it into context, last year the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that there were over 316 million people living in the United States. That means 400 Americans have more money than over 158 million of their fellow citizens. Their net worth is over$2 trillion, which is approximate to the Gross Domestic Product of Russia.
One explanation for the vast discrepancy in wealth is the definition of “worth,” which includes everything a person or household owns. This means savings and property but also mortgages, bills and debt. Poorer households can owe so much in debt that they possess a negative net worth.
2) America has the second-highest level of income inequality, after Chile. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development studies thirty-four developed countries and ranks them both before and after taxes and government transfers take effect (government transfers include Social Security, income tax credit and unemployment insurance). Before taxes and government transfers, America ranks tenth in income inequality. After taxes and transfers, it ranks second. Whereas its developed peers reduce inequality through government programs, the United States’ government exacerbates it.
3) The current state of inequality can be traced back to 1979. After the Stock Market Crash of 1929, the gap between the rich and the poor began to narrow. For fifty years, wages differed between the upper- and working-classes, but a robust middle-class took shape and there remained ample opportunity for working-class individuals to ascend.
In his book, “The Great Divergence,” journalist Timothy Noah traced today’s inequality to the beginning of the 1980s and the widening gap between the middle- and upper-classes. This gap was influenced by the following factors: the failure of American schools to prepare students for new technology; poor immigration policies that favor unskilled workers and drive down the price of already low-income labor; federally-mandated minimum wage that has failed to keep pace with inflation; and the decline of labor unions.
4) Non-union wages are also affected by the decline of unions. The Economic Policy Institute claims that 20 percent of the growth in the wage gap between high-school-educated and college-educated men can be attributed to deunionization.
Between 1978 and 2011, union representation for blue-collar and high-school educated workers declined by more than half. This has also diminished the “union wage effect,” whereby the existence of unions (more than 40 percent of blue-collar workers were union members in 1978) was enough to boost wages in non-union jobs – in high school graduates by as much as 8.2 percent. Not only did unions protect lower- and middle-class workers from unfair wages, they also established norms and practices that were then adopted by non-union employers. Two prime examples are employee pensions and healthcare.
Today, about 13 percent of workers belong to unions, which has reduced their bargaining power and influence.
5) There is less opportunity for intergenerational mobility. In December 2011, President Obama spoke at Osawatomie High School in Kansas. He was very clear about the prospects of the poor in today’s United States:
“[O]ver the last few decades, the rungs on the ladder of opportunity have grown farther and farther apart, and the middle class has shrunk. You know, a few years after World War II, a child who was born into poverty had a slightly better than 50-50 chance of becoming middle class as an adult. By 1980, that chance had fallen to around 40 percent. And if the trend of rising inequality over the last few decades continues, it’s estimated that a child born today will only have a one-in-three chance of making it to the middle class – 33 percent.”
As refreshing as that honesty is, Obama promised no fix beyond $1 trillion in spending cuts and a need to work toward an “innovation economy.”
In a speech one month later, Obama’s Chairman of Economic Advisers, Alan Krueger, elaborated on the dire state of America’s shrinking middle-class. The contraction, he stated, could partially be attributed to “skill-biased technical change”: work activities that have become automated over time, reducing the need for unskilled labor and favoring those with analytical training. He also highlighted the 50 year decline in tax rates for the top 0.1 percent, increased competition from overseas workers, and a lack of educational equality for children. Poor children are denied the private tutors, college prep and business network of family and friends available to their wealthier peers, which locks them into the class they are born into.
6) Tax cuts to the wealthiest have not improved the economy or created more jobs. Krueger also revealed that the tax cuts of the 2000s for top earners did not improve the economy any better than they did in the 1990s (meanwhile, income growth was stronger for lower- and middle-class families in the 1990s than in the last forty years).
Tax rates for the top income earners in America peaked in 1945 at 66.4 percent. Following decades of gradual reductions, they have since been cut in half. During the same time, the payroll tax has increased since the 1950s and individual income tax has bounced between 40-50 percent through the present day. Conversely, corporate tax declined from above 30 percent in the 1950s to under 10 percent in 2011.
All of these tax cuts are made ostensibly to improve the economy and create jobs. However, the National Bureau of Economic Research has concluded that it is young companies, “regardless of their size,” that are the real job creators in America. Tax cuts to the wealthiest do not create jobs.
7) Incomes for the top 1% have increased (but the top 0.01% make even more). Between 1979 and 2007, the average incomes of the 1 percent increased 241 percent. Compare that to 19 percent growth for the middle fifth of America and 11 percent for the bottom fifth. Put another way, in 1980 the average American CEO earned forty-two times as much as his average worker. In 2001, he earned 531 times as much.
Average income across the 1 percent is actually stratified into widely disparate echelons. Compare the $29,840 average income for the bottom 90 percent to the $161,139 of the top 10 percent. Compare the $1 million average income of the top 1 percent to the $2.8 million of the top 0.1 percent. Yet both still pale beside the $23 million average income of the top 0.01 percent.
If those numbers seem a bit overwhelming, Politizane has created a video that illustrates this staggering inequality:
8) The majority of Congress does not feel your pain. Empowered by the Constitution to represent their constituents, United States Congress members are, for the first time in history, mostly millionaires. The 2012 financial disclosure information of the 534 current Congress men and women reveals that over half of them have a net worth of $1 million or more.
After the past seven facts it is difficult to read this last one and believe that these 268 legislators have the best interests of the remaining 99 percent at heart. But if that is too presumptuous a leap, it is not too bold to say that wealthier donors, lobbyists and special interest groups enjoy greater access to these lawmakers than the average American.
In January, Congress failed to extend emergency benefits for unemployment, leaving 1.3 million people without federal aid. Congress then went on a weeklong recess that kept them from debating the issue until the end of the month. The bill was too divisive for Republicans and Democrats to reach an agreement on, though unemployment was then above 7 percent nationally.
Thankfully, the unemployed have their Congress working for them. And at $174,000 annual pay, those representatives are sure to return from their vacations committed to fresh solutions.
“Financial markets are faced with uncertainty that isn’t going away. The slowdown in Europe is probably in the early innings, the Fed hasn’t begun to raise interest rates, and geopolitical crises seem to pop up by the day.” Jeff Cox, Finance editor, CNBC
Six years of zero rates and trillions of dollars of asset purchases couldn’t stop stocks from falling sharply on Wednesday. All three major indices moved deep into the red, with the Dow Jones leading the pack, dropping an eye-watering 460 points before rebounding nearly 300 points by the end of the session. Risk-free assets, particularly US Treasuries, rallied hard on the flight-to-safety move with the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield slipping to a Depression era 1.87 percent before climbing back above the 2 percent mark. US financials were the worst hit sector, taking it on the chin for 9 percent by mid-day, while Brent crude was soundly walloped, falling to a 47-month low on oversupply and deflation fears. Stock market gains for the year had nearly been wiped out before a miraculous about-face turned Armageddon into a so-so day with survivable losses. Even so, analysts have already started paring back their estimates for 4th quarter growth while traders stocked up on antacid for Thursday’s opening bell.
The proximate cause of Wednesday’s bloodbath was weaker than expected economic data from Europe–which is sliding towards its third recession in five years– droopy retail sales in the US, and a report from Department of Labor showing that wholesale prices for producers are edging closer towards deflation, the opposite of what the Fed is trying to achieve via its aggressive monetary policy.
But the real trigger for the selloff was not the dismal data, but the policies that have been in place since the Financial Crisis of 2008. While the Obama administration has steadily decreased demand by shaving the deficits which provide vital fiscal stimulus for the economy, (On Wednesday, the USG announced the budget deficit fell to $483 billion, the lowest since 2008) the Federal Reserve has been providing trillions of dollars of cheap money to the banks and brokerages. The result of this one-two combo has not only been the biggest transfer of wealth in human history, but also “a fundamental breakdown in the functioning of the global capitalist economy.” As the International Monetary Fund (IMF) noted in a recent paper on the global recovery: “a pickup in investment has not yet materialized…reflecting concerns about low medium-term growth potential and subdued private consumption.” Demand shortfalls in the advanced countries “could lead to sustained global economic weakness over a five-year period.” (IMF report records global economic breakdown, Nick Beams, World Socialist Web Site)
Simply put: The Fed’s policies have made investors richer, but they haven’t created opportunities for recycling profits, which is a critical part of capitalism’s so called virtuous circle. Anemic investment, means less hiring, less spending, weaker demand and slower growth, all of which are visible in today’s sluggish, underperforming economy. Pumping money into financial assets (QE) can fatten the bank accounts of rich speculators, but it doesn’t do jack for the economy. It just creates bubbles that burst in a flurry of panic selling. Here’s more from Larry Elliot at the Guardian:
“Six years after the global banking system had its near-death experience, interest rates are still at emergency levels. Even attaining the mediocre levels of activity expected by the IMF in the developed countries requires central banks to continue providing large amounts of stimulus. The hope has been that copious amounts of dirt-cheap money will find its way into productive uses, with private investment leading to stronger and better balanced growth.
It hasn’t happened like that. Instead, as the IMF rightly pointed out, the money has not gone into economic risk-taking but into financial risk-taking. Animal spirits of entrepreneurs have remained weak but asset prices have been strong. Tighter controls on banks have been accompanied by the emergence of a powerful and largely unchecked shadow banking system. Investors have been piling into all sorts of dodgy-looking schemes, just as they did pre-2007. Recovery, such as it is, is once again reliant on rising debt levels. Central bankers know this but also know that jacking up interest rates would push their economies back into recession. They cross their fingers and hope for the best.” (World leaders play war games as the next financial crisis looms, Larry Elliot, Guardian)
The policies implemented by the Obama administration and Fed have achieved precisely what they were designed to achieve; they’ve enriched the voracious plutocrats who run the system but left everyone else scraping by on less and less. An article in the Washington Post explains what’s going on in greater detail. Here’s a short excerpt from the piece titled “Why is the recovery so weak? It’s the austerity, stupid”:
“Welcome to Austerity U.S.A., where the deficit is back below 3 percent of GDP and growth is still disappointing—which aren’t unrelated facts.
It started when the stimulus ran out. Then state and local governments had to balance their budgets amidst a still-weak economy. And finally, there was the debt ceiling deal with its staggered $2.1 trillion of cuts over the next decade. Add it all up, and there’s been a big fiscal tightening the past few years, something like 4 percent of potential GDP. Indeed, as Paul Krugman points out, real government spending per capita has been falling faster now than any time since the Korean War demobilization. (chart)
Fiscal Impact Measure
Source: Hutchins Center
And, as you can see above, all this austerity has been hurting GDP growth since 2011. It shows the Hutchins Center’s new “fiscal impact measure,” which looks at how much total government tax-and-spending decisions have helped or harmed growth. The dark blue line is what policy has actually done, and the light blue one is what a neutral policy would have done. So, in other words, if the dark blue line is below the light blue one, like it has the last three years, then policy has subtracted from growth.” (Why is the recovery so weak? It’s the austerity, stupid. Washington Post)
By cutting the deficits, Obama reduced the blood flow to the real economy and weakened demand. That’s what torpedoed the recovery. In contrast, stocks and bonds have done remarkably well, mainly because the Fed pumped $4 trillion into financial assets which was a taken as a greenlight by risk takers everywhere to load up on everything from overpriced equities to low-yield junk. Now, after more than three years without as much as a 10 percent correction, the momentum has shifted, volatility has returned, earnings are looking wobbly, and the fear is palpable. Stocks appear to be headed for a major repricing event. Here’s how investment guru John Hussman sums it up in his Weekly Market Comment:
“Our concerns at present mirror those that we expressed at the 2000 and 2007 peaks, as we again observe an overvalued, overbought, overbullish extreme that is now coupled with a clear deterioration in market internals, a widening of credit spreads, and a breakdown in our measures of trend uniformity…
…it has become urgent for investors to carefully examine all risk exposures. When extreme valuations on historically reliable measures, lopsided bullishness, and compressed risk premiums are joined by deteriorating market internals, widening credit spreads, and a breakdown in trend uniformity, it’s advisable to make certain that the long position you have is the long position you want over the remainder of the market cycle. As conditions stand, we currently observe the ingredients of a market crash.” (The Ingredients of a Market Crash, John P. Hussman, Ph.D., Hussman Funds)
Sounds ominous, doesn’t it? And Hussman is not alone either. The bearish mood on Wall Street is gaining pace even among those who focus more on geopolitical issues than fundamentals, like the Bank for International Settlements’ Guy Debelle who said in an interview on CNBC on Tuesday that he was concerned about the possibility of a “violent” market drop, particularly in bonds.
“If I had told you that there were heightened tensions in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, uncertainty about the turning point in U.S. monetary policy, a succession of strong U.S. job numbers, uncertainty about the future direction of policy in Europe and Japan, as well as increased concern about the strength of the Chinese economy, you would not be expecting that to make for a benign time in financial markets,” Guy Debelle of the BIS said. “But that is what we have seen for much of this year.” (CNBC)
But stocks aren’t cratering because of tensions in the Middle East or Eastern Europe. That’s baloney. And they’re not falling because of decelerating global growth, plunging oil prices or Ebola. They’re falling because no one knows what the heck is going to happen when QE stops at the end of October. That’s what has everyone in a lather.
Keep in mind, that 20 percent of the current market cap (more than $4 trillion) is stock buybacks, that is, corporations that have bought their own shares to juice prices. Do you really think that corporate bosses are going to play as fast and loose after the Fed stops its liquidity injections?
Not on your life. They’re going to pull in their horns and see what happens next. And if things go sideways, (which they very well could) they’re going to cash in and call it a day. That’s going to drive down stock prices and send markets reeling.
Stocks have nearly tripled since March 2009 when the Fed started this “credit easing” fiasco. So if stocks rode higher on an ocean of Fed liquidity, then how low are they going to go when the spigot is turned off? There are some, like technical strategist Abigail Doolittle, who think the S and P 500 could suffer a major heart attack, dropping as much as 60 percent before equities touch down. Check it out from CNBC:
“(Abigail) Doolittle, founder of Peak Theories Research, has made headlines lately suggesting a market correction worse than anyone thinks is ahead. The long-term possibility, she has said, is a 60 percent collapse for the S&P 500.
In early August, Doolittle was warning both of a looming “super spike” in the CBOE Volatility Index as well as a “death cross” in the 10-year Treasury note.
And so it’s come to pass at least for the VIX, which has jumped 74 percent over the past three months and crossed the 20 threshold that historically has served as a dividing line between complacency and fear. That’s its highest level in nearly two years. From Doolittle’s perspective, the spike represents a bad-news/bad-news scenario … that the near-term selling action is likely to continue and even accelerate…
…she thinks “violent waves of selling action” could send the VIX all the way to 90—even beyond its peak during the financial crisis.” (CNBC)
Now maybe Doolittle is just exaggerating or paranoid, but her conclusions do seem to square with CNN Money. Here’s a clip from yesterday’s article:
“CNNMoney’s Fear & Greed Index is a good indicator of market momentum. Today it hit zero. That’s a huge red flag and showcases extreme fear in the stock market. The only other time the index ever touched that low point is in August 2011 — shortly after Standard & Poor’s downgraded the U.S. debt.
Volatility — or what some are calling “market whiplash” — is clearly back in the market. The VIX, an index that measures volatility and is one of the factors that goes into the Fear & Greed Index — spiked again today. It’s up a whopping 60% in the past week alone.” (Extreme Fear in stock market, CNN Money)
So fear and volatility are back, but liquidity has suddenly gone missing. That sounds like a prescription for disaster to me. So what can we expect in the weeks to come?
Well, more of the same, at least that’s how Pimco’s former chief executive officer Mohamed El Erian sees it. Here’s how he summed it up on Wednesday in a Bloomberg editorial:
“Though unlikely to be as dramatic as today, market volatility can be expected to continue in the days and weeks to come as two forces compete: first, the forced deleveraging of certain investors, particularly overstretched hedge funds registering big October losses; second, central banks scrambling to say all sorts of reassuring things. All of this will serve to reinforce October’s longstanding reputation as a threatening month for investors around the world.” (October’s Wild Ride Isn’t Over Yet, Mohamed A. El-Erian, Bloomberg)
Did he say “forced deleveraging”?
Uh huh. So, after a 6 year bacchanal, the Fed is finally going to take away the punch bowl and force the revelers to pay down their debts, clean up their balance sheets, and take a few less risks. Is that it?
Yep. It sure looks like it. But, that could change in the blink of an eye, after all, the Fed has its friends to think of. Which means that Ms. Yellen could announce QE4 any day now.
A recent study by Harvard Business School found that United States corporate executives make over 300 times as much as the average worker. Based on a $30,000 annual worker income and a 40 hour week the CEO gets $4326.00 an hour while the worker gets $14.42.
In the mid-thirties during the depth of a serious depression executives at General Motors were making 200 times as much as their workers. It was this disparity that helped set the stage for a power shift from the corporate moguls to John L .Lewis and his CIO (Congress of Industrial Organizations). John L. Lewis and hundreds of thousands of disgruntled workers succeeded in forcing well-armed and well connected corporate executives to allow collective bargaining which ultimately unionized large portions of the U. S work force.
It was a struggle of epic proportions that bared the fangs of the power elite against the will and leadership of the workers. It began at the Chevrolet Body Plant in Cleveland, Ohio and spread to Flint, Michigan then to Atlanta, Kansas City, Pontiac, and finally to Detroit itself. Nearly half a million workers were involved. At Flint they staged a sit in where the workers sat at their stations day and night. Machine guns were brought in. The courts got involved. Finally an injunction was issued.
The strike began on December 28, 1936. The edict ordered prison sentences and million dollar fines if the strike was not stopped by February 3rd. Governor Frank Murphy of Michigan called out the National Guard who along with strike breakers armed with clubs and crowbars surround the Flint Plant.
According to William Manchester’s account in “The Glory and the Dream” Governor Murphy was ready to send the bayonets of the National Guard against the workers when at the last moment he called John L. Lewis asking what he should do. Lewis replied, “You want my answer, sir? I shall personally enter General Motors Chevrolet Plant Number Four. I shall order the men to disregard your order, to stand fast. I shall walk up to the largest window in the plant, open it, divest myself of my outer raiment, remove my shirt and bare my bosom. Then when you order your troops to fire, mine will be the first breast that those bullets will strike. And as my body falls to the ground, you will listen to the voice of your grandfather as he whispers in your ear, ‘Frank, are you sure you are doing the right thing?’” (Murphy’s grandfather had been hanged in an Irish uprising.)
Fourteen strikers were wounded during the night but Murphy backed down and finally ordered GM not to prevent the strikers from carrying food to the sitting strikers. With President Roosevelt silent and Governor Murphy aiding the strikers the corporate elites succumbed, signing contracts for collective bargaining. Unionization spread rapidly into other big corporations.
Globalization was anathema to union workers. When the rape of United States markets was set in place by our elected officials through ratification of international trade legislation a great burden was placed on unions. The rush to be competitive in world markets was diametrical to unionism.
Justice is a prerequisite to peace. When human power is concentrated and not prescribed ghastly actions often result. God’s overarching legal system provides perfect justice and a necessary restraint; when it is cast off the power swings that marked unions and management replace it.
In our time a more insidious power structure threatens our well-being. For at least a century a systematic plan has been in place to bring the nations of the world under international law. Nation after nation has been subverted by monstrous, opaque centralized power. Every major nation of the Western world has been subjected to stealth control. Debt is the weapon. Since Islam forbids most debt, Muslim nations are harder to conquer. Military force is necessary and the United States is being used as an instrument of conquest.
Corporate mergers have created behemoths that have little competition and are tyrannical in their own rite. The furtive power seekers are not planning a free society. Their vision appears to be a controlled environment similar to China. As economic pressure drains wealth from the United States and oppression ramps up, our standard of living falls, eventually bringing us to par with third world labor. It is like a 007 movie where James Bond has accepted a bribe to join Blofeld.
Globalization is marred by the illegal procedures used to bring it about. Wealthy and powerful men and women conspired to burglarize, undermine, and tyrannize the entire population of the world. Their methods are bribery and intimidation and the results of their evil intentions are apparent around the globe.
One wonders if an honest, forthright free-will proposition had been presented to the people of Western Civilization they might have voluntarily participated in bringing the Far Eastern Nations into their economic circle and endorsed an international legal code that would guide global trade. Conspiracies are sometimes successful but they are wicked and harsh.
Recently, the National Press Club hosted a debate on War and the Constitution between Bruce Fein, a Ron Paul adviser and resident scholar at the Turkish Coalition of America, and John Yoo, a wily Korean born Constitutional Lawyer and prominent Bush II adviser. C-Span carried the debate. Yoo maintained that the increase in the power of the Executive Branch of our government was a result of congressional acquiescence and Fein maintained that it is up to the people to elect officials that will abide by the Constitution.
The contending positons were logical and convincing but as with all of public discourse the core issues were evaded. No one mentioned the fact the incumbent elected official have the political clout to codify unconstitutional and tyrannical law while continuing to garner enough votes to stay in office. Yoo claimed that congressional leaders are regularly consulted on Executive Orders and other major decision.inclosed sessions; no one mentioned that this plotting is inimical to the well-being and health of the nation.
Consider the repercussions if a nuclear bomb had been dropped on the city of Detroit! Legislation passed by our elected officials has caused similar damage. In a recent interview a Detroit official said that there are 80,000 derelict homes in the city. They are being demolished in a process that is similar to cleaning up after a major attack. The destruction of this once great city is a result of the heretical actions of our own government and it has been done without as much as a whimper from our citizens.
Fein was right when he placed responsibility with the people but at this point the statement was mute for not only has the damage been done but our people are still inert and deluded. Because we have forsaken the Creator and cleaved to the creature our delusion has allowed us to sink so far into the quicksand that escape seems improbable.
Rousas Rushdoony writes “To control the god of any system is to control the men within it. The long battle between church and state has this fact at its roots. Orthodox Christianity gives us a God who is beyond the control of church and state alike. Hence the God of Scripture has been resented by civil governments, and attempts to subvert orthodox Christianity and its churches have been legion. The church too often has been restless under so sovereign a God; churchmen too prefer a god who can be put into man’s pocket.”
The citizens of the United States of America worship humanistic gods. Our deities are designed and controlled by human beings. These gods, created in human minds, have been in place for most of United States history.
Now the chickens have come home to roost!
Human beings were not created to govern themselves and when the anarchy of human opinion gains leverage over society, absurdity, chaos, and tyranny soon follow.
In the Harvard survey U. S. citizens guessed that corporate executives were making about 30 times the average worker’s wage. Citizens in other nations made similar errors in estimates.
It is readily apparent that the captain of the ship fills a more important role than a kitchen worker but to accurately measure and quantify that difference is difficult.
What is interesting, however, is that the U. S. tops the world in the size of its wage inequity. Switzerland is 2nd and Germany is 3rd, both have disparities of about 150 times the average worker or half that of the U. S. Wage inequity is not the only area in which our nation excels: We incarcerate the larger percentage of our citizens than any other nation in the world (including China and Russia); we have the world’s largest army. We had the world’s largest economy before the power barons began to dismantle it. We are probably the most violent nation. Violence brought the United States independence, violence freed the slaves and preserved the nation, violence conquered the West, it was the instrument of land acquisition, and of efforts to subdue rebels. Now it is being used to subdue the Muslim world.
When we are too lethargic to stop voting in elections that are rigged and too lazy to verify that our news is mostly propaganda and lies, we have no chance of helping to bring our profligate nation back under the sovereignty of the One True God.
God’s Law provides perfect justice. Peace is impossible without justice. When injustice becomes ingrained in a society that society comes under judgment and God’s judgment can be grueling. If Bruce Fein’s charge to U. S. citizens ever finds fertile ground it must start with Christians. Christians are required to be the light of the world. Light reveals what darkness hides. It is long past time for Christians to discern and reveal the evil that confronts us.
The cozy relationship between financial institutions and their respective regulators has long been known. Concern from reformers and activists comes from all stripes of ideological perspectives. With the attention that Carmen Segarra, the whistleblower of Wall Street, has gained, the noise from the banking establishment pushes back. Here comes the expected spin from the Fed, The New York Fed Slams Tape-Recording Whistleblower, Says She Was Fired After Just 7 Months Over Performance. Read their Statement Regarding New York Fed Supervision. So what is this controversy all about?
How dare a mere low level regulator document the goings on within the financial establishment, Inside the New York Fed: Secret Recordings and a Culture Clash, writes.
“As ProPublica reported last year, Segarra sued the New York Fed and her bosses, claiming she was retaliated against for refusing to back down from a negative finding about Goldman Sachs. A judge threw out the case this year without ruling on the merits, saying the facts didn’t fit the statute under which she sued.
At the bottom of a document filed in the case, however, her lawyer disclosed a stunning fact: Segarra had made a series of audio recordings while at the New York Fed. Worried about what she was witnessing, Segarra wanted a record in case events were disputed. So she had purchased a tiny recorder at the Spy Store and began capturing what took place at Goldman and with her bosses.
Segarra ultimately recorded about 46 hours of meetings and conversations with her colleagues. Many of these events document key moments leading to her firing. But against the backdrop of the Beim report, they also offer an intimate study of the New York Fed’s culture at a pivotal moment in its effort to become a more forceful financial supervisor. Fed deliberations, confidential by regulation, rarely become public.”
In an attempt at damage control, the Fed was looking for a favorable review. What they got was not what they wanted, N.Y. Fed Staff Afraid to Speak Up, Secret Review Found.
“The investigation, conducted by Columbia University finance professor David Beim, was initially confidential but was later released by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission.
Mr. Beim’s report called on the New York Fed to demand that its regulatory staffers maintain a “more distanced, high-level and skeptical view” of how the banks they oversee make money.”
A Short History of the Breathtaking Cluelessness of U.S. Financial Regulators, is outlined by the Motley Fool analysis. Any serious observer of the cozy relationships that permeate the financial community knows all too well, that the revolving door turns when favorable regulation decisions spin in the right direction.
The significance of this latest scandal, points out just how the regulation process is conducted in the suites of money manipulation. This next account is most telling; You Should Listen To The Goldman New York Fed Story.
“This American Life has a banking supervision story that turns on secret recordings made by a former employee of the New York Fed, Carmen Segarra, and it’s pretty good, because it shows how regulators basically do a lot of their regulating of banks through meetings, with no action items after. That’s weird, and it’s instructive to see how intertwined banking and supervision are. There’s a killer meeting after a meeting with Goldman Sachs where Fed employees talk about what happened, and – though we don’t know what was left on the cutting room floor – the modesty of the regulatory options being considered is fascinating. Nothing about fines, stopping certain sorts of deals, stern letters, or anything else. The talk is self-congratulation (for having that meeting with Goldman) and “let’s not get too judgmental, here, guys.”
The takeaway of the story, which is blessedly not an example of the “me mad, banksters bad!” genre, is that this kind of regulation isn’t very effective. It clearly hasn’t prevented banks from being insanely profitable until recently, in a way that you’d think would get competed away in open markets.”
Why is Goldman exempt from any meaningful oversight? William D. Cohen over at Politico provides an answer to the question, Why the Fed Will Always Wimp Out on Goldman.
“Although Michael Silva, Segarra’s superior, didn’t doubt that the Goldman-Santander transaction was legal, he didn’t think it passed the smell test. “It’s pretty apparent when you think this thing through that it’s basically window dressing that’s designed to help Banco Santander artificially enhance its capital position,” he told his New York Fed team before a meeting on the topic with Goldman executives.”
Segarra thought her boss’s pre-occupation with whether Goldman “should” have done the deal, or been allowed to do the deal, was all just a big waste of time and obfuscated the larger issue that Goldman, and other Wall Street banks, were busy pushing around a key regulator – the New York Fed – rather than the other way around. She worried that her bosses were focusing on “fuzzy” and “esoteric” issues such as Goldman’s “reputational risk.” Silva also shared with Segarra that it was all moot anyway, because Tom Baxter, the New York Fed’s general counsel, had, he said, “reined him in” on the subject. “I was all fired up, and he doesn’t want me getting the Fed to assert powers it doesn’t have,” Silva tells Segarra, according to the tape recording.”
Breaking down all the details and dialogues that transpire in the normal course of banking reviews comes down to the undeniable fact that Goldman is in charge of the process. The ownership of the Federal Reserve, a private entity, is ultimately owned by the shadow families that control the major financial institutions. Only a very naïve analysis or a compromised minion of the financial elite Plutocracy would dispute the power and clout that is applied to the political nature of regulatory oversight.
Bankster’s earn this graphic title by the way they conduct their protection racket. Courageous regulators like Carmen Segarra are treated as traitors to a system that is designed to facilitate every abuse that firms like Goldman can devise. Now you know who really owns the gold, because they make up whatever rules that foster their financial corruption.
The ongoing failures of the Secret Service to provide proper protection for the President have political careerists in a tizzy. Scares that harm could come to the commander-in-chief, also worries the press. Ordinary citizens on principle, accept that the White House should be secure grounds. Rotating blame usually means that the buck does not stop on the oval office desk. Indeed, who could expect any President to be responsible for their own safety? Surely, policy decisions made as a government could not possibly have any bearing on the lunatics that harbor ill will towards our fearless leaders.
Refreshing your memory, Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, William McKinley and John F. Kennedy got whacked. Andrew Jackson, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan were targets of serious assassination attempts.
With all the Secret Service trial and tribulations experienced in the last years, the popular assessment is that the Praetorian Guard bodyguards have become a dysfunctional band of self-indulgent thrill seekers.
How much money is enough to spend on Presidential security? Some like ousted Secret Service Director Julia Pierson presumably would say a price tag cannot be placed on keeping the leader alive and safe from assassination. Though, Pierson failed to provide fresh start for Secret Service that administration wanted, proves that the culture of political privilege deems their importance to be most costly.
“Homeland Security requested $1.49 billion in operating funds for the Secret Service, a $60 million dip from last fiscal year. But even spending-conscious Republicans said that was too much. So Congress instead agreed to a rare increase over the administration’s request, giving the agency $1.53 billion.”
Such benevolence must come from a motivation to avoid another national tragedy. Absent in budget hearings is a serious debate if the propensity for violently eliminating presidents comes from pragmatic power political expediency as opposed to the usual conclusion that madmen (or women) are acting alone. Well, it is a nice myth if keeping the public living in a dream is the intent. Names like Lawrence, Guiteau, Czolgosz, Fromme and Moore do not carry the same notoriety as icons of assassins like Booth and Oswald, but official accounts paint them all as deranged.
Heads of state are far more cautious and seldom fall into the trap that their greatest danger comes from lone guns. There is good reason for Argentina president claims US plotting to oust her.
“Argentinian opposition politicians have accused the country’s president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, of being “completely out of touch with reality” after she gave a rambling televised address in which she claimed the US may be behind a plot to overthrow her government and possibly even assassinate her.
“If something should happen to me, don’t look to the Middle East, look to the North,” Fernández said during the address on Tuesday night, in which she alluded to an alleged plot against her by local bankers and businessmen “with foreign help”.
Is Ms. Fernández paranoid or just expressing a healthy appreciation of practices that have long been condoned?
When FDR approved Operation Vengeance, the killing of Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, it was during WWII. The NDAA Actually Gives Obama the Legal Authority to Kill. Just ponder the perversion in the meaning of the term legal. Examples of killing the king in history usually means the victor won the war. Somehow justifying NDAA methods as acceptable demeans every citizen who pledges their allegiance to a constitutional republic.
The New York Times confirms that the Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles and Will, but that begs the theoretical question what authority endows the right to even accept that a kill list is principled, much less a sensible decree of any government? Just where does the moral imperative enter into the craft of statesmanship?
“Mr. Obama has placed himself at the helm of a top secret “nominations” process to designate terrorists for kill or capture, of which the capture part has become largely theoretical. He had vowed to align the fight against Al Qaeda with American values; the chart, introducing people whose deaths he might soon be asked to order, underscored just what a moral and legal conundrum this could be.”
Those American values in the 21th century have little in common from those practiced at the inception of the country. Covert agencies on missions of foreign intrigue are commonly practiced. The use of “special forces” and ex-military contractors seek to enjoy the cover and exoneration that fighting terrorists is the biggest growth industry on the planet. Delineating war loosely without a declared and defined enemy state provides broad discretion to place any antagonist in the crosshairs.
Truth Lies Deception and Cover-ups argues The Presidents Kill List and State Sponsored Assassination is far more dangerous and frequently employed than publically admitted.
“If the “Kill List” nominally exists in the interest of National Security – it is fair to predict that, particularly in a country that estimates it’s own domestic enemies (who are tracked with their surveillance systems) to be in the order of millions – it would be easy to tack journalists or whistle-blowers on to such a list.
This would not be because journalists and whistleblowers present a risk to National Security – but, they present a risk of embarrassing the ruling elite in the government, government agencies, government contractors and the financial giants (or other cronies that lurk in the shadows and pull the strings of politicians and other officials with influence).”
Recall the evidence surrounding the Suspicions Growing Over Death of Journalist Probing NSA and CIA Abuses. The malicious culture that routinely orders foes neutralized by means once considered abhorrent, now defy restraints of civilized society.
“When the Obama administration was exposed spying on journalists earlier this year, the investigative reporter blasted what he referred to as the president’s “war” on journalism. “The Obama administration has clearly declared war on the press. It has declared war on investigative journalists — our sources,” he said during a recent TV interview, blasting the administration’s lawless behavior, obsession with secrecy, and vicious persecution of whistleblowers. Beyond simple criticism, though, Hastings openly said it was time for journalists to fight back.”
Government cover-ups operate as bait and switch sophistry. Exposing corruption once was the pursuit of the art of refined reporting. Now, serious investigative journalism is a threat to any imperial administration.
Revealing and documenting subversion is viewed as endangering the Oval Office. Threats to authoritarian presidents are not limited to high powered rifles. Without regard to life and limb, earning a place on the enemy list is becoming deadly serious.
If the Secret Service has the charge to protect the life of the President, the entire military-intelligence-security complex functions as a hit squad for the institution of the presidency itself. While conflicting factions within the government vie for their own parochial seats of power on a continuous basis the precarious real national security declines. Blowback against the country is evident in every foreign policy arena. Such resentment unsurprisingly places the President in a self-induced greater risk of retaliation.
However, it must be acknowledged that the successful presidential assassinations (and several of those that failed) aimed their fatal bullet at an office holder who defied the ruling cabal that actually controls the financial and economic establishment.
It is difficult to believe that a truly independent and patriotic warrior could ever campaign through the election process and vote count to become President. The enormous entourage that protects the Chief Executive has grown to become its own cottage industry. Lost in the concern for protecting one man is that the White House Continuity of Government Plan makes the elimination of a President merely a lateral move.
Since responsible citizens value the life and safety of legitimate authority, the task of reversing the State sponsored assassination culture is imperative. When your own government conducts their “Murder Inc.” bureau as part of their survival plan, people need to question the degree of loyalty which that same government deserves.
Clint Eastwood’s latest movie production ‘American Sniper’ about Navy SEAL Chris Kyle will hopefully compliment ‘In Line of Fire’ in which he starred as a secret service agent present at the JFK assassination. The other side of the assassination equation is mostly ignored.
Sorrowfully, government officials are locked into a denial mindset that disassociates any relationship and connection between increased levels of risks to officials and the sanctioned killings approved by their governments. Review 82 pages of a list of assassinated heads of state. It is hard to believe that such a record of terminal violence will end any time soon.
Royal guards have an impossible task, no matter how much their budget allows. Until the power structure “gets religion” and renounces their evil ways, the system will never permit a civilized society. Assassination is wrong and adopting such an approach only invites backfire threats. Keeping the President safe begins in implementing moral conduct and renouncing the killer elite mentality.
Seldom does the enormous bond market turn on the fate of a single trader. Well, the news that Bill Gross was leaving Pimco under suspicious circumstances did not go unnoticed. The WSJ writes:
“The yield on the 10-year benchmark Treasury note was hovering around 2.506% immediately before the disclosure that Mr. Gross was leaving the hundreds-of-billions of dollars in Treasurys and other debt he oversaw at Pimco to go to rival firm Janus Capital Group Inc.
Within a half-hour, the yield jumped to 2.546%. While a move of 0.04 percentage point may not seem like much in that period of time, it was perceptible enough in the $12 trillion Treasury market that several traders and strategists attributed it to the news about Mr. Gross.”
Attempting to explain the reasons for his departure, The Economist speculates in the essay, Overthrowing the Bond King. “There appear to be three main reasons behind Mr Gross’s abrupt exit. The immediate cause was his abrasive management style . . . Moreover, Mr. Gross’s public behavior has grown increasingly peculiar of late . . . Such mis-steps might have been forgiven had Mr. Gross’s charmed streak as an investor continued. But over the past three years, several misjudgments have caused his funds to lag.”
At this point What You Need to Know About SEC’s Investigation of Pimco, centers on a relatively small $3.6 billion ETF, exchange-traded fund.
“Apparently, Pimco went around buying up small blocks of bonds, known as “odd lots,” at discounts. Pimco then marked their prices upwards using estimates of their values derived from larger blocks of bonds.
If Pimco really couldn’t resell the bonds at the new, higher prices it seems off base. But it also seems plausible the bonds might genuinely be worth more in Pimco’s hands than they were in the hands of whoever sold them.”
The mystic that Pimco enjoyed in bond trading may have sunk from the implications of SEC snooping. Gross seems like he is sprinting for the exit, but is this all that is in play? Investor’s Business Daily paints a smiley face on the open door that Gross’ transfer of loyalties as a positive for Janus Capital Group.
Now step back from these headlines and examine the concerns that have been floated about the bond market for a very long time. Money Beat in an account suggests that aBond Bubble Will Burst in a ‘Very Bad Way’ and reports on the recent Bloomberg’s Markets Most Influential Summit.
“Bonds are at ridiculous levels,” Julian Robertson, founder of one of the earliest hedge funds in Tiger Management Corp., said on a panel at the Bloomberg Markets Most Influential Summit. “It’s a world-wide phenomenon that governments are buying bonds to keep their countries moving along economically.”
Howard Marks, the chairman of Oaktree Capital Group LLC, said interest rates are “unnaturally low today.” Leon Cooperman, founder of Omega Advisors Inc. and former partner at Goldman Sachs, said bonds are “very overvalued.”
Forecasting the direction of government bonds usually focuses on predicting what central banks will do to drive interest rates, either up or down. Since consensus in market watchers has long announced that U.S. Bonds yields are unnaturally low, the calls for a turn upward in interest rates seem ridiculously overdue in coming.
All that seems reasonable; however, the Federal Reserve is playing a much different game from the responding to the normal business cycle.
Since the financial meltdown of 2008-2009, the charts and metric gauges for predicting market movements require a complete overhaul. Betting on U.S. Bonds no longer is based solely on domestic factors.
ZeroHedge cites David Tepper Is Back, Sees “Beginning Of The End” Of Bond Bubble.
“Empirically, Tepper may be right: in the past every time a central bank has launched a massive easing program (think QE1, QE2, Twist, QE3, etc.) it resulted in aggressive stock buying offset by bond selling. The issue is when said programs came to an end, and led to major selloffs in equities, pushing bonds to newer and lower record low yields. So perhaps for the time being, we may have seen the lows in the 10Year and in the periphery. The question is what happens when Europe’s latest “Private QE” operation comes to an end: just how massive will the bond bid be when all the money currently invested in risk assets decided to shift out all in one move.
More importantly, it also explains why central banks now have to work in a constant, staggered basis when easing, as the global capital markets simply cannot exist in a world in which every single central bank stops cold turkey with the “market” manipulation and/or liquidity injections.”
Within this context, why all the hullabaloo over Bill Gross jumping ship? While price inflation is real and grossly underreported, currency deflation still persists over the last six years. Now some may claim this phenomenon proves that stability in the bond market exists. Conversely, if this measure is acceptable to institutional bondholders, are they not accepting very low returns out of fear that the economy still hangs on a precipice.
Always remember that bonds are loans that have an obligation for repayment. Stability is maintained in the core indebtedness with the reimbursement settlement of the principal. Most governments are able to string along the unavoidable roll over so that new funds are raised to refinance.
Not so in every case from private or corporate debt. Just ask the bond holders from GM, better known as “Government Motors”.
Government bonds make up the essential float in the paper trade. As long as the global collateralization of bonds is honored, the planet may be able to avoid the fate of Greece. Pimco is but a pimple when compared to the Federal Reserve’s monetization of U.S. Treasury debt.
Bond professional traders look for an edge. Firms may risk their own capital, but most brokers look to skim an easy commission. It’s the institutions who have the most at stake and need a stable bond market. When not if, the bubble busts or deflates, the air is going to escape and blow over average investors.
“Equal pay for equal work!” the mantra goes. “Women get only 73 cents on a man’s dollar!” These are oft-heard slogans, and we may well hear them again during the fall campaign with the War on Women afoot. Now, going beyond the rhetoric, it’s not widely known but nonetheless true that the intersex pay gap is attributable to different career choices men and women make: women tend to choose less lucrative fields (e.g., soft sciences instead of hard ones), work shorter hours even when “full time,” are more likely to value personal fulfillment and job flexibility over money, are more inclined to take time off, generally have less job tenure and more often decline promotions. But while I’ve examined these factors at length in the past, the topic today is something more fundamental. This is that there would be a problem with even a well-intended equal-pay-for-equal-work scheme:
Hardly anyone knows what equal work is.
And the government hasn’t the foggiest idea.
Recently I mentioned how women tennis players now receive the same prize money as the men at Grand Slam events (Wimbledon; and the US, French and Australian opens) and how this is hailed as a victory for “equality.” Yet since the women still only play best of three sets but the men best of five, this actually means the men must work longer for the same pay. Even this, however, doesn’t truly illuminate the issue: what actually constitutes “equal work” in professional tennis?
I’ll introduce the point with another example. The top 10 female fashion models earned 10 times as much as their male counterparts in 2013. Is this unequal pay for equal work? Not really.
While I don’t know if women models’ job is more labor intensive, I know they don’t get paid because they’re capable of posing, wearing clothing, standing under hot lights or parading down runways. It’s because their “work” helps to satisfy a market — and it satisfies a bigger market than the men’s work does.
Note here that while people today frown upon discrimination based on innate qualities, integral to doing the women models’ work is being female. If the male models were women, they might be able to do the same “work” and satisfy the market equally.
Likewise, does the “work” in tennis directly have to do with number of sets played? As an aspiring 12-year-old tennis nut, I’d sometimes play 10 sets a day under the sweltering summer sun, but no one thought of compensating me and I never felt oppressed. Professional tennis players earn money because they satisfy a market, and the men’s “work” does this more effectively than the women’s. And how would we characterize this more valued work?
It is success on the men’s tour — people want to see the grandest stage in the game.
Thus, the only way a woman in tennis could do work equal to that of Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal is to compete on, and succeed equally on, the ATP Tour. Of course, a woman who could would not only enjoy the same prize money (it’s greater in men’s tennis overall), but would become a sporting sensation and might very well receive endorsements dwarfing the men’s. So her “work” then could actually be greater.
There are endless more mundane examples. A woman gynecologist I know will only hire female assistants because she believes it makes her patients more comfortable. Not only is this an example of why sex discrimination is often justifiable, but what if she was forced to hire a man? If the patients were indeed less comfortable — and, therefore, perhaps less likely to visit her practice — would that man truly be doing “equal work”?
Now consider female police officers. Forget for a moment that standards on forces were long ago lowered to accommodate women based on “disparate impact” theory and that Eric Holder is currently suingthe Pennsylvania State Police for treating women equally. Imagine a study found that people in general, and the criminally inclined in particular, found male officers more imposing and therefore were more likely to mind their p’s and q’s around them. Would, then, even a highly competent female officer be able to perform “equal work”? And if not, and reflecting the phenomenon with fashion models, wouldn’t being male (or at least appearing so, to head the “transgender” argument off at the pass) be integral to the “work” of policing?
What of a female reporter in male athletes’ locker rooms? Not only wouldn’t it be allowed if the sexes were reversed, but if those men were less comfortable and less likely to be forthcoming in their comments — or even if they just had to modify their behavior — could her “work” really be equal to that of a male reporter’s?
Next, my local hardware store provides knowledgeable workers, all men, who render valuable advice on products and how to perform various home repairs. If it was determined that people found a female in that role less credible and were then not quite as likely to buy from the establishment, would even a highly competent woman be able to do “equal work” in that capacity?
What about the little West Indian restaurant, with all-black workers, I loved when I spent a few weeks in Tampa? If hiring a white person made the eatery seem less authentic and negatively affected its appeal, would that individual be able to do “equal work”? The same, of course, could be asked about a black person working in a German restaurant. In these cases race would be integral to the “work.”
And what of a homosexual Boy Scout troop leader? If his presence made parents less likely to enroll their boys in the organization, could he be capable of “equal work”?
Of course, one knee-jerk reaction here is to say that people “shouldn’t” view female cops or hardware specialists, or homosexuals differently than anyone else. But this is a moral argument of questionable morality, as it applies a bias in selectively objecting to market biases. People take little issue with gynecologists or day-care centers that won’t hire men, with male models being paid less or with ethnic restaurants hiring only non-whites. But try only hiring only male cops or employees; compensating a male hardware specialist more handsomely; or, as with Abercrombie a few years back, valuing employees who don’t wear hijabs over those who do. You may have an experience with the DOJ or EEOC that’ll make a dance with the IRS seem pleasant.
We could also talk about how we “should” value work. If we were deific or at least angelic, we would certainly value a mother-of-four’s labors or Mother Teresa’s loving charity more than Facebook and completely devalue rappers’ vulgarity. And even though I earn less than mainstream-press profferers of pablum, I consider my work infinitely more valuable. But flawed though market determinations may be, they’re still the best guide available.
Even within this worldly context, though, some may say there’s more nuance to the matter of work than my examples express. They may contend, for instance, that female police and hardware specialists might have strengths that counterbalance or even outweigh their weaknesses. And guess what?
My examples could possibly be lacking.
And this just buttresses the point: virtually no one — if anyone — can properly assess what constitutes equal work in every situation.
This is yet another reason why the matter of work and pay is none of the government’s business. Are bureaucrats, politicians and judges qualified to determine what equal work might be in the thousands of professions in America? Government isn’t God; it’s not even the market, which can be defined as economic democracy expressed through purchasing decisions. When it intrudes into the economy it’s more like Hitler trumping his generals during WWII and deciding on military strategy: an autocratic agency as incompetent as it is arrogant.
Thus far this election cycle has been a dud. Hardly a sweat is broken in the rarified air of partisan politics punditry. The only consistent factor that can always be counted upon to amuse is the reams of paper wasted on the false promises and prevarication made by the esteemed party regulars. It is easy to simply blame the entrenched incumbents or the current crop of insurgents, but it goes much deeper when an entire nation remains mute in the face of the worse run and most condemnable conduct, coming out of the District of Criminals in decades. The party in power traditionally will suffer huge losses in Congress, while the gang of “pols” out of power will start contacting real estate agents within the beltway.
What passes for political news today is not even fit to wrap fish. The meat and potatoes of journalism, once upon a time, were made up of scandals. Under the protection racket department of the media government alliance, the abuse of power never reaches the point of national saturation. The Obama administration has outdone the nastiest of offenses under Lyndon Johnson and William Clinton. The Democrats in the Senate allow Harry Reid to be the sickest dictatorial tyrant in living memory.
Customarily, the party with the majority takes the blame for failures. Yet, with each new transgression and unlawful activity, the purported opposition crew of RINOs shirks their constitutional responsibility and shutter out of fear of being labeled a racist. How sad. But that is exactly the condition and lack of courage out of the GOP leadership.
One might think the Democrats just keep digging the hole deeper that they created. Then again, many partisans will look to shift blame and pin shared responsibility on the Republican deadheads in Congress. Forgotten in the fog out of foggy bottom is that Obama owns the failed policies that have been followed after five and a half years in office.
The chaos at the border is intentional. Failure to revive the economy and implement policies that favor job creation is also deliberate. Perpetuating a foreign policy based upon defiance of international law is maintained in the proud tradition of interventionist empire building. Truly this is the institutional synergism, between both parties, that steer career politicians to the dark side. Lastly, the infamous and destructive Obamacare fiasco is the apex of social engineering.
So why won’t the political establishment respond to this laundry list of malfeasance and repeal bad legislation and caustic regulation or change the direction of national policy? It is very difficult for most Americans to accept that the political class is actively working for the downfall of the country and the substitution of a constitutional republic for the dictatorship of permanent privileged elites.
What makes this faction of ruling vermin different from previous ages is that the overriding sentiment for dominance is based upon the systematic dismantling of the nation state. The façade of protecting the homeland is pure hogwash. With the rise of the internationalism culture for governance, the motivation to legislate as if a representative was a sincere patriot has evaporated.
There are not many reasons to even project an appearance of restoring an independent and self-sustaining national economy, a civilization based upon individual liberties and a society where opportunity builds a viable middle class. No, the day that politicians had sincere respect and devotion to institutions of lawful administration and beneficial programs that actually advanced the public interest are long gone.
So why do the hard core political junkies get so exercised over the latest news on how a particular race is turning? With the bipartisan gerrymandering that takes places after each census, every state gets their chance to game the election system. Since there are a small number of elections that can be described as truly competitive, the attention garnished on the few races that could be decided by greater campaign efforts, goes under the microscope.
Back in 2010 the decisive involvement of the genuine grassroots Tea Party captured the House of Representative for the GOP. How did that work out? For traditional conservatives, this freshman class made a substantial attempt to rock the floor of the chamber. Nevertheless, let no good Congressperson go left unpunished. The leadership of the do nothing and gutless Republicans, could not bring themselves to demonstrate fiscal prudence or foreign policy statesmanship.
Sorry folks, the NeoCons are still very much in control.
For this election cycle, the Senate seems to be in play by nearly all accounts. Races for a Senate seat in Alaska, Colorado, Iowa, North Carolina and Kansas are most often talked about holding the keys to the cloakroom. It is incomprehensible that majority leader Senate Harry Reid could muster even the lowest level of respect for the way he has conducted himself in the role of the perfect obstructionist. Yet, Democrat loyalists come to the rescue of his tainted honor, no matter how offensive his behavior and conduct degenerates.
Optimism that Reid will be relegated to the closet motivates discontented votes in the few States that matter. OK, even if the slimy and seedy boss of the Democrat crime syndicate gets demoted, what might be reasonably expected from a Republican majority in the Senate?
Most would expect that the remainder of the Obama Presidency will be dead in the water. Oh, how nice if that would be true. However, be prepared. For what you have already seen from this pathological liar and pretender, who have more in common with Mobutu the African despot, may well foretell an explosive ending.
The nihilism and the mental illness that marks the behavior of this egomaniac gives little reason to think that anything will restrain his one man one rule arrogance. If you watched the blushing admiration that Barry Soetoro showered on the biggest crook that even headed up the Department of Injustice, Eric Holder; you know that this psychotic president flaunts his disgust for America, has more insults left to inflict.
The fact that Republican representatives had no stomach to impeach this madman illustrates the nature of the existential problem that plagues the very foundation of legitimacy and threatens the civil liberties of every honest citizen.
Would a GOP Senate interject backbone into the jelly spines of the legislature branch and commence a revival of in an era of “good government”? Excuse me again, only the dreamers believe that an ethical administration can and will emerge, when morality in its most basic application, is almost nonexistent in the popular culture and the secular society.
Back in the ancient days of the network news monopoly, the three broadcast organizations would sometimes pool their resources to access the same voter count. Tallying ballots always presented the risk of voter fraud. Now, the projection and predicting prognostications are so much more refined. Voter scams are so advanced, using electronic machines to program in the results that only a Boss Tweed could fully appreciate.
Ah, just knowing the time wasted on campaigning is reward enough for those who rate congressional candidates lower than your latest terrorist splinter group. The suspense for the 2014 season better start to build soon or the media moguls will need to invent a different realty show to stage.
Maybe a slight threat of citizen participation could have a remote chance to influence the results in a primary run, but that time has passed. Tuesday, the 4th of November has all the making of another day of shame. Not because there is no qualified champion to support, you already know that to be the case. But for the reason that the likelihood that if a “good” person could be elected, merely means that he or she will be destroyed by the professional caste of political untouchables.
Play ball or your days are numbered. That’s the game and what better chamber exemplifies the experience of blackmail than the “World’s Greatest Deliberative Body”.
If some stubborn and obstinate reformer sticks to their guns, just bring in the NSA for the maximum level of authoritarian extortion.
By now you should all be psyched up for making your X. Soon the latest round of illegal invaders will be getting their identity credentials and drive on over to the booth to pick their macho man official. How many more of these futile elections will it take before the pretense of voting will be just as silly as those candidate projected appearances of being a trustworthy representative of the populace?
This year’s Election Day recommendation has not changed. Show up, be vocal, express your disgust, vote third party or make a point that none of the above is your real selection. The charade of a loyal opposition to the party in power has never been so clear for even the densest “true believer” to come to their senses.
Little ever changes for the good and nothing actually reverses the direction towards national suicide. The reason is clear, it is the plan and every system is firing on all cylinders. The rest of the Obama term is poised to have deceased Americans turning in their graves. For those who claim they are still alive, prove it – show your outrage.