When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do? -- John Maynard Keynes

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Quantitative Easing, Fed Pumping Up Wall Street, QE Trap

Andrew Huszar: Confessions of a Quantitative Easer - WSJ.com: " . . . In its almost 100-year history, the Fed had never bought one mortgage bond. Now my program was buying so many each day through active, unscripted trading that we constantly risked driving bond prices too high and crashing global confidence in key financial markets. We were working feverishly to preserve the impression that the Fed knew what it was doing. It wasn't long before my old doubts resurfaced. Despite the Fed's rhetoric, my program wasn't helping to make credit any more accessible for the average American. The banks were only issuing fewer and fewer loans. More insidiously, whatever credit they were extending wasn't getting much cheaper. QE may have been driving down the wholesale cost for banks to make loans, but Wall Street was pocketing most of the extra cash. . . ." (read more at the link above)

And now we are in a QE trap -- but few are talking about it -- yet.


Friday, November 29, 2013

Another Obamacare bombshell (video)

Obamacare bombshell: IT official says HealthCare.gov needs payment feature: "....Another day, another big, bad black eye for HealthCare.gov. A crucial system for making payments to insurers from people who enroll in that federal Obamacare marketplace has yet to be built, a senior government IT official admitted ...Henry Chao, visibly stunned Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) when he said under questioning before a House subcommittee that a significant fraction of HealthCare.gov—30 to 40 percent of it—has yet to be constructed. "We still need to build the payments system to make the payments [to insurance companies] in January," testified Chao, deputy chief information officer of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the federal agency that operates HealthCare.gov. That so-called financial management tool was originally supposed to be part of HealthCare.gov when it launched Oct. 1, but officials later suspended its launch as part of their effort to get the consumer interface part of the site ready. The tool will, when it works, transmit the subsidies that the government is kicking in for many enrollees to offset the costs of their monthly premiums...."


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Qualcomm CEO Says NSA Fallout Impacting Its Business

Government bureaucracies like NSA only think about themselves, perpetrating and expanding their power, budget, and programs, with little if any thought of all of the unintended disastrous consequences that result --

Qualcomm CEO Says NSA Fallout Impacting China Business - WSJ.com: "Chief Executive Paul Jacobs acknowledged U.S. restrictions on Chinese companies and revelations about surveillance by the National Security Agency are impacting its business in the fast-growing country. "We are definitely seeing increased pressure," said Mr. Jacobs in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. "All U.S. tech companies are seeing pressure." Mr. Jacobs stopped short of saying the pressure hurt its sales, but he did say it affected the way the company operated in China...The company doesn't build cutting edge technology there, but it does build some older trailing technologies in China. Mr. Jacobs said it is "very delicate balancing act that goes on. There's no question there is an impact." In the fiscal year ended Sept. 29, Qualcomm generated $1 billion in revenue from China."

Concepts like public service, stewardship of public funds, careful allocation and re-allocation of limited resources, limited government powers, freedom of enterprise, and individual  freedom itself, are foreign concepts in Washington DC today. Welcome to Big Brother Government. And if that puts YOU out of business, well too bad! There's always food stamps and Obama and his administration take great pride in that as do Walmart and all the other corporate welfare Queens (including Coke and Pepsi -- average SNAP recipient drinks much more sugar soda than average American) who financially profit from the SNAP program a/k/a food stamp program:

Chart of expansion under Obama of SNAP program
Obama expansion of the Food Stamp Program a/k/a SNAP --more than doubled in just three years (2008-2011) -- what a recovery!


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

This Is What a "rubber-stamp" "kangaroo" Secret Court Looks Like


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Obama, Broken Technology, Inept Leadership

Think I've been too hard on President Obama? -- read the article at the link below (quote from it follows) --

Obama's Broken Promise of Better Government Through Technology - Businessweek: "The disastrous launch of healthcare.gov,the online portal that was supposed to be the linchpin of the Affordable Care Act, has dealt a devastating blow to Obama’s vision."

Oh that vision thing again--is there somewhere one can go to opt out of the vision thing?


Monday, November 25, 2013

Malala Yousafzai (Video)

The Making of Malala - Video - NYTimes.com: "The Making of Malala

The story of Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl, told by The Times’s Adam B. Ellick, who made a 2009 documentary about her before she was an international star."


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Obama The Great Incompetent and His Inept Administration

“This is real simple,” Mr. Obama said, during a speech in Maryland on Sept. 26 (2013). “It’s a website where you can compare and purchase affordable health insurance plans side by side the same way you shop for a plane ticket on Kayak, same way you shop for a TV on Amazon. You just go on, and you start looking, and here are all the options.”(source infra)

Nothing like a clueless incompetent leader with an inept administration to boot. While the Obama administration is doing everything it can to stop anyone from talking about its incompetence -- see below for the unbelievable background to the Obamacare website mess -- even the New York Times is getting a clue of how incompetent Obama and his administration really are:

Tension and Flaws Before Health Website Crash - NYTimes.com"... questionable decisions and weak leadership...turned the rollout of the president’s signature program into a major humiliation....“Cut corners, make date,” said one specialist, who like most of the people interviewed for this article would not allow his name to be used because the Obama administration has requested that all government officials and contractors involved keep their work confidential...In the last week of September, the disastrous results of the project’s inept management and execution were becoming fully apparent....." (read more at the link above)

Wonder if Obama or anyone in his administration has ever heard, much less understands, the phrase the devil is in the details?


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Show me the money! Obama breaking records in his quest for cash

Who cares about real governing -- it's all about the money in the Obama administration --

A record-breaking fundraising spree by Barack Obama has seen him make 30 separate visits to wealthy donors since April, according to a Guardian investigation into campaign finance trips that are running at more than twice the rate of the president's two-term predecessors.(source infra)

Revealed: Obama's record-breaking effort to tap wealthy donors for cash | World news | theguardian.com: "Obama has made 30 separate fundraising trips since April – more than twice the rate of his two-term predecessors – in bid to help Democrats win in 2014 midterm elections" (read more at the link above)


Friday, November 22, 2013

New York City elects Mayor "Hollande" - Get Out While You Can

New York City elects an Hollande --

"New York has now ended 20 years of Republican mayors and voted in Bill de Blasio. He is not just a Democrat but the sort of Democrat most Europeans thought extinct, a leftwing liberal one." - The Guardian

What's coming? Higher taxes, higher crime, more regulations, less opportunity. Get out while you can.


Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Trial of Bo Xilai (video)

The Trial of Bo Xilai - Video - NYTimes.com: "The Trial of Bo Xilai,  October 25th, 2013 - An appeals court upheld a verdict of life in prison for Bo Xilai, a Chinese official who was once among China’s highest-ranking Communist Party leaders."


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Washington Disruption

Washington's (meaning the entrenched and corrupt governmental, political, K Street, and media establishment) worst nightmare: its complete disruption in the form of Edward Snowden, Laura Poitras, Glenn Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill, and their progeny, soon to be escalated, expanded, and well-funded by a multi-billionaire with the same idealistic motives, and none too soon:

An Interview With Pierre Omidyar - NYTimes.com: "Q: This next step seems focused on secrecy and transparency. What pulled you in that direction?

A: A number of things happened: Even before the Snowden leaks, we saw a number of what I would characterize as missteps by the Justice Department. We saw the Justice Department wiretap the A.P. newsroom. We saw [Fox News reporter James] Rosen being labeled as co-conspirator label in affidavits; we see the many leak prosecutions including the use of the Espionage Act. It alerted me to the fact that even in this great country of ours with this fantastic Constitution, there’s a real pressure against press freedoms that’s going on. Perhaps unintentionally in the hot pursuit of leakers and trying to protect secrets, we are really putting pressure on press freedom here. When you have mass surveillance, it’s impossible to meet the intent of the First Amendment because reporters can’t talk to sources because sources are afraid to talk." (read more at link above)(emphasis added)


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Snowden Leaks, Changing the Rules of the Game

Fascinating read in the New York Review of Books (excerpt follows) of how one man, Edward Snowden, defeated Obama, Holder and his DOJ, the NSA, and their architecture of oppression --

The Snowden Leaks and the Public by Alan Rusbridger | The New York Review of Books: " . . . architecture of oppression. In Snowden’s view, the traditional forms of oversight—secret one-sided courts and closed congressional or parliamentary committees—are inadequate, not least because they have only partial information and poor technical understanding and are frequently misled ...Lacking confidence in the courts or Congress, Snowden approached the other people who, in any modern democracy, are there to uncover truth, host debates, and hold people to account—journalists. . . . he may have thought something like this:

• The material will be highly complex to outsiders. It will take a team of people thousands of hours to reveal the full texture of what I want the world to understand. Serious mainstream newspapers sometimes do that kind of thing quite well.

• But I want this to be handled by people who are passionately, obsessively interested in this subject. People who will realize its true significance, who grasp the legal and political background, and who can return repeatedly and forensically to the subject in depth and at length. That’s what bloggers and specialist documentary makers can do well. . . . Whatever his actual reasoning, we know that Snowden chose rather cleverly. He came, via Greenwald, to The Guardian, a news organization with a huge audience (now the third-largest English-language readership in the world) and a track record of taking on some formidable organizations and individuals. He shared other documents with The Washington Post’s Barton Gellman. And he also involved two journalists—Greenwald and Poitras—who not only lived outside America but came from a completely different kind of journalistic tradition. . . ." (read more at link above)


Monday, November 18, 2013

Best Case, Worst Case, Scenarios For US In Syria

Obama’s Uncertain Path Amid Syria Bloodshed - NYTimes.com: "But as Mr. Kerry held meetings in London with representatives of Syrian opposition groups . . . in the hopes of reviving a proposed peace conference, the prospects for a diplomatic breakthrough appeared dim. Mr. Assad’s position is stronger, and the rebellion has grown weaker, more fragmented and more dominated by Islamic radical factions."

Worst Case Scenario For The US In Syria - Business Insider: ".... Yochi Dreazen of Foreign Policy reports a diplomatic push for peace talks, led by Secretary of State John Kerry, "is about all Washington is willing to provide" — even though several senior State Department officials consider that to be more bad policy. “The only person who wants the Geneva conference to happen is the secretary,” a senior U.S. official told FP. “Who’s going to show up? Will they actually represent anyone? If not, why take the risk?” All in all, the U.S. strategy in Syria has gone as badly as Assad and his allies would hope. . . ."

Best case scenario, now that the Syrian conflict is essentially between pro-Assad Syrian government forces (supported by Russia, Iran and Hezbollah) and radical Islamists (Al-Qaeda, supported by Saudi Arabia?), is to have John Kerry negotiate (with and through Putin) a peace between Assad and the remaining "good rebels"--giving them a "place at the table" in Damascus, and then the US supporting eradication of the Al-Qaeda vermin within Syria.  Any stable, secular government in Damascus is better than any radical Islamist government ever would be -- better for Syria and its people, better for the region, better for Israel, and better for US interests. And if the Saudis can't get that, too bad.


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Obama, A Victim of His Own Success

Elected without a clue as to how Washington really works (nor the world, as noted by Bill Clinton), the inexperienced freshman Senator from Illinois, rode a wave of Hope and Change right over the Clinton machine, the economic collapse of 2008, and the disastrous Bush Presidency, straight into the White House. People were joyous, Hope and Change were on the way!

Unfortunately, with few exceptions, it turned out to be more of the same. More of the same Bush administration policies-- more NSA, secret Courts, secret wars a/k/a drone attacks, more Police State, more intrusions and infringements of freedoms, including freedom of the press and other Constitutional rights, more Wall Street bailouts, more federal prosecutions for leaks, more Patriot Act insanity, more out-of-control and wasteful government bureaucracy and spending (how could anyone forget the infamous GSA scandal--which is only the tip of an iceberg of continuing gross US government waste). Meanwhile comprehensive tax reform, comprehensive entitlements reform, immigration reform, and investments in infrastructure languish because a President doesn't know how to get things done. All he can do, all he is good at, or good for, -- and after all, these are the only things that got him elected in the first place (other than just the excitement of the prospect of having the first African-American elected President) -- is make speeches, blame Republicans, and attend political fund-raising events and ceremonial functions.

His one signature achievement—health care insurance reform via the so-called Affordable Care Act a/k/a Obamacare, passed in his first term when Democrats controlled both the House and Senate—has now turned out to be an unmitigated disaster, a major embarrassment, or as one Democrat Senator predicted earlier this year, a huge train wreck.

Poor Obama, with no prior management or executive experience—in either business or government—he is now at wits’ end on how to get things done, especially now when things (e.g., Obamacare) invariably turn out bad, as they often do when allowed to just develop on their own.

I think of Ike—Dwight Eisenhower—on the eve of D-day. An historic, unprecedented massive invasion of a continent, coordinating multi-national forces (and egos), unknown risks, high probabilities of failure (even Churchill was greatly apprehensive), months in the planning—but Eisenhower was in command, he planned and knew the details, and on the eve of the launch of the operation, where was he? He was not ensconced at headquarters, surrounded by subservient staff and a sycophant news media. We know where Ike was because we have the photographic evidence-- he was with the troops, their faces already blackened in preparation for the invasion. And yet, Eisenhower had already prepared a statement taking total and full responsibility for a failed invasion, should it have occurred. That’s leadership.

In comparison, the launch of the ACA a/k/a Obamacare should have been a piece of cake. The website?—it’s not rocket science, but it does require careful planning, testing, and execution by engineers, programmers, and designers, prior to launch—ask Amazon, Google, etc. The cancelled policies? Obama (and other Democrats) should have never promised that “if you like your current health insurance policy you can keep it. Period." He (and other Democrats) either knew, or should have known, at the time, that was not true. I’ll take Obama’s word that he thought it was true at the time he said it – many, many times he and others in his administration said it -- including as recently as last year’s Presidential campaign for re-election. That fact alone shows inept leadership. He didn’t even know the consequences of  his own health insurance reform legislation! And yet he was making irresponsible, untrue promises about his program which has now negatively impacted millions of Americans whose own affordable health care insurance has been cancelled due to the requirements of Obamacare.

Mr. Obama is now in a predicament of his own making. He cannot just issue an order for all policies to be renewed, like he would have everyone believe—sorry, not only is Obamacare itself at risk of "death spiral" by the effects of such an edict, but insurance companies are regulated by both federal and state governments. (See: The White House’s Obamacare fix is about to create a big mess). Insurance policies have to be approved by state regulators. Many of those cancelled policies cannot be renewed as a matter of state law and regulation. In preparation for the roll-out of Obamacare and its requirements, the Obama administration told the states—here are the criteria ALL policies have to meet. In reliance on the instructions and regulations issued by the Obama administration, each of those fifty states over the past year(s) formulated plans and approved policies for 2014 and beyond, and told insurance companies which policies could not be issued or renewed after 2013. And now Obama changes his mind? You’re kidding right? Unfortunately for Obama, and the millions of Americans with cancelled health insurance due to Obamacare, that is not how the world works.

More on this subject:
Why Obama Can't Just Uncancel All Those Insurance Plans - Businessweek

If Healthcare.gov Isn't Fixed By December, What's Obama's Plan B? - Businessweek


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Adrian Cardenas, Losing Yourself in the Game

Recommended: article by Adrian Cardenas in the New Yorker (excerpt below) --

Why I Quit Major League Baseball : The New Yorker: " . . . In moments like these, it’s true that a batter doesn’t really hear or feel anything. You master the ability to lose yourself in the game, because that’s what you need to do—to not be conscious of being conscious. . . . When you lose yourself in the game, as you must, it’s all too easy to lose your sense of home. It didn’t take long for me to see how it happens, as I became friends with players and heard about the relationships and marriages that broke up, the relatives and close friends who faded from view, the parents or grandparents whose funerals were missed because of an expected call up to the majors. Sometimes I’d stay awake through the night, almost laughing to myself, mentally weighing the small fraction of success against the overshadowing personal and professional failure that comes with being a ballplayer." (read more at link above)


Friday, November 15, 2013

March Against the Mainstream Media November 16 (video)

Join the Media Revolution: Unplug the MSM | Call to Action - Published on Nov 14, 2013 - Abby Martin gives a call to action for a March Against the Mainstream Media on November 16 by talking about the abysmal failure of the fourth estate and the lack of public knowledge about important issues. More info: http://mamsm.info/

LIKE Breaking the Set @ http://fb.me/BreakingTheSet
FOLLOW Abby Martin @ http://twitter.com/AbbyMartin

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Obama, Promises Made, Promises Broken

Remarks by the President at GOP House Issues Conference | The White House: " . . . .The last thing I will say, though -- let me say this about health care and the health care debate, because I think it also bears on a whole lot of other issues.  If you look at the package that we've presented -- and there's some stray cats and dogs that got in there that we were eliminating, we were in the process of eliminating.  For example, we said from the start that it was going to be important for us to be consistent in saying to people if you can have your -- if you want to keep the health insurance you got, you can keep it, that you're not going to have anybody getting in between you and your doctor in your decision making.  And I think that some of the provisions that got snuck in might have violated that pledge. And so we were in the process of scrubbing this and making sure that it's tight.  . . ." --President Barack Obama - Remarks by the President at GOP House Issues Conference, January 29, 2010 (White House Transcript from link above)

Any question about who dropped the ball?


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Elizabeth Warren 2016

Democrats (and Americans) should have 2 Democratic Party choices for President in 2016--the dinosaur epoch Hillary-Billary show from the 1990s with all baggage intact, or a fresh new face--energetic, hip, female, US Senator from Massachusetts (born and grew up in Oklahoma!), whose political positioning is more mainstream Democratic Party 2016--US Senator Elizabeth Warren. As things are going now, by 2016, the public is going to be way past being tired of the Washington dysfunction, the old conventional inside the beltway politics, K Street, the empty rhetoric and now obvious incompetence of the Obamaman who always blames someone else because he can't seem to figure out how to lead or manage as Chief Executive of the USA. Republicans are going to serve up either Christie, Cruz, or Paul--and any of those three means BIG CHANGE in Washington--the winning theme for 2016. Democrats are going to serve up either Clinton or Warren. Clinton represents the past--from her own healthcare fiasco of the early 1990s to Whitewater  to Monicagate to Benghazi. Warren represents the future. Clinton wants to have a discussion about the NSA. Warren wants to kick ass (as does almost everyone else in the USA outside the political establishment). Really, who do you think the grassroots (and I am not talking about the big money of the DC-WallStreet axis of evil the Clintons have been courting for 20+ years) is going to support and get enthused about? Wall Street and the Clintons are big chums. Wall Street is terrified of Warren.

Oh, by the way, the New Republic has a good article on Senator Warren: Elizabeth Warren is Hillary Clinton's Nightmare | New Republic; as does Businessweek: Why Elizabeth Warren Should Run Against Hillary Clinton for President - Businessweek (yes, Businessweek!).

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

US Navy joins NSA in US intelligence snafus

First some low-level contract worker walks off with all of the NSA's top secret classified documents. Now the US Navy Vice Admiral who is the Navy's top intelligence officer, and the US Navy’s director of intelligence operations, were both placed on leave Friday, November 8, and their access to classified material was suspended, the Navy said in a statement. "Both admirals are being investigated for their ties to a Singapore-based defense contractor, Glenn Defense Marine Asia, whose chief executive was arrested in September on charges that he bribed other Navy officers into giving him classified or privileged information in exchange for prostitutes and cash." Two admirals face probe in Navy bribery scheme - The Washington Post.

You have to hand it to the US government and the Commander in Chief, when it comes to security and intelligence, they really run a tight ship! And these are the clowns and idiots who are keeping us safe? LOL!  Intelligence, Security, Prostitutes, Cash -- see a disconnect here? This reminds one of the US Secret Service whose whoring around finally caught up with them in Colombia.

And if you wonder why neither China nor Russia showed any interest in obtaining Snowden's documents, it's most likely both China and Russia already had everything Snowden had, long before he ever downloaded anything onto a thumbdrive. Whether somebody inside the NSA gave it to them (for prostitutes and cash?) or they used a backdoor or credentials, I'll leave for others to investigate. But remember, this is the same national security and intelligence apparatus that couldn't stop the Boston bombers (even after being given advance warning by Russia) nor make a facial ID after the suspects were caught on security cameras! And the Great Leader is a guy who, through his now National Security Advisor, tried to tell us that Benghazi was the result of a YouTube video. God help us.


Monday, November 11, 2013

US ethanol programs destroying the environment

Another example of the US government creating more problems with its legislation and programs -- in this case the unintended consequences and environmental destruction of the US government's corn ethanol programs:

From an AP news press release: "For years, corn ethanol has been a centerpiece of America's green energy strategy. President Barack Obama and his administration have described this homegrown fuel as a way to reduce greenhouse gases and to wean the country off foreign sources of oil. But an Associated Press investigation to be published Nov. 12 will highlight the environmental impact of ethanol production. As farmers rushed to find new places to plant corn, they touched off a cascade of unintended consequences, including the elimination of many acres of conservation land . . . . Readers can join a conversation with AP journalists who reported the story on Nov. 12 at 3 p.m. ET on Reddit."

There is a role for government--a very limited role. Ethanol production is not a place the US government should have EVER gotten involved. Allow the market (and innovation) to solve energy production-- and the fact is that the US is sitting on so much natural gas, that this generation and the next can pretty much do without ANY corn ethanol, while also decreasing coal burning power plants, limiting nuclear power, and reducing oil imports. The ethanol programs are nothing but corporate and corn-belt welfare. And they are destroying the environment. Repeal the programs in their entirety.

The general lesson to be learned from the past 50 years: in most cases, the US government does not solve problems--it creates more problems. Let's start doing more with less--less government.


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Obama promises to fix problem he created: millions of health policy cancellations

"If you like your health care plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what." -- Barack Obama (2009)

I see Obama came to Miami to do more fundraising--one of the few things he is good at--apparently there are still people willing to throw good money after bad, or who need something from this administration and are willing to pay big bucks for it. In the meantime, the Obamacare mess is getting worse by the minute. First the website which still isn't fixed--and now millions of cancelled health insurance policies--just sit back and watch this slow-motion train wreck created by Obama and Democrats in the US House and Senate: 

latimes.com: ". . . Administration officials scrambled Friday to find a quick fix to a problem President Obama said would never come about — millions of insurance policies canceled for people who have health plans they want to keep. But as the controversy threatened Obama's efforts to reassure fellow Democrats that he had things under control, administration officials and policy experts said they didn't yet have a plan to solve the problem without further bogging down the president's signature health reform plan. Obama said Thursday he was sorry for the mishap and promised to resolve it, but many in the health industry were surprised by the president's assertion that potential fixes were being considered and said they had not been consulted . . . Speaking Friday to a crowd of supporters in New Orleans, Obama vented his frustration about the troubled startup of the healthcare marketplaces, saying that he would personally fix the biggest problem, the healthcare.gov website, if he could. But, he said, "I don't write code." "We're working overtime to make sure it gets fixed," Obama told the audience at the Port of New Orleans. "I promise."

Oh no--another promise? How gullible are Americans? Promises, promises--it's just more jive talk or as they say in Texas: "All hat and no cattle."

Instead of field testing Obamacare in a pilot program, or stress-testing the website prior to public deployment, Obama has completely f*cked up his signature legislative achievement: the Affordable Care Act (and there's another US government oxymoron for you). The main problem now is that millions of Americans' health insurance plans (coverage they were perfectly happy with and which they could afford), are being cancelled due to the Affordable Care Act a/k/a Obamacare. As I've said before, no one still knows how big of a mess this is going to turn out to be, but come November 2014, it will hang Democrats who passed and put this ill-conceived law into effect. 

Basic tenet in health care and governance -- first, do no harm -- in other words, don't make a bad situation worse, or provide a cure that is worse than the disease. We need less government, not more. Every time the US government tries to fix a problem with more government, we get more problems. Will Washington ever learn?


Saturday, November 9, 2013

Obama's DOJ vs Levison's Lavabit

Lavabit founder says he fought feds to protect the Constitution | Politics and Law - CNET News: ""They didn't fully comprehend the implications of what they were demanding. I do know they have done it before, if that helps," Levison admitted, adding that he thinks the NSA more or less told the non-technical members of the Department of Justice to collect the information, which it followed through with without any regard for what that meant for security and privacy on the Web in an age of increasing government surveillance. "They didn't understand the industry implications," he added. Only after Levison fought aggressively, and openly said he would comply with every other demand of the court orders, did the government equip itself with a search warrant." (read more at link above)

Sad when the only ones protecting and defending the US Constitution are private citizens under attack by the US government.


Friday, November 8, 2013

The Inept President of the United States

You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time. --Abraham Lincoln

"Obama doesn’t know how to be president. He doesn’t know how the world works. He’s incompetent. He’s an amateur!” --reportedly said by Bill Clinton

The presidency: Whoops | The Economist: " . . . . in two areas where he (Obama) is unambiguously in charge—the federal health-care exchange and the NSA—he seems bored by the daily tasks of governing and reluctant to question those who work for him. The president does not seem to be a good manager, and voters have noticed (see chart at link above). . . ." (read more at link above)

He may be a great guy personally, and obviously is good at speeches and political fund-raising, but it's hard to hide incompetence in management and leadership, even when you are President of the United States.


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

NSA, Awash in Data, No Actionable Intelligence

Any damn fool can throw away billions of dollars collecting mountains and mountains of data -- but when it comes  to "NSA performance" there's no real "return on investment" -- see e.g., NSA Whistleblower: Government Failed to Stop Boston Bombing Because It Was Overwhelmed with Data from Mass Surveillance On Americans | Washington's Blog

No Morsel Too Minuscule for All-Consuming N.S.A. - NYTimes.com: "But the documents released by Mr. Snowden sometimes also seem to underscore the limits of what even the most intensive intelligence collection can achieve by itself. Blanket N.S.A. eavesdropping in Afghanistan, described in the documents as covering government offices and the hide-outs of second-tier Taliban militants alike, has failed to produce a clear victory against a low-tech enemy. The agency kept track as Syria amassed its arsenal of chemical weapons — but that knowledge did nothing to prevent the gruesome slaughter outside Damascus in August." (read more at link above)

It is obvious the NSA has been a loose cannon for years, lacks management and direction from the Office of President (he admits being clueless), and so-called Congressional oversight is a joke. Prescription:

  • scrap the secret FISA Court;
  • completely change the leadership and direction at the NSA;
  • repeal the so-called Patriot Act, and start over;
  • pardon Edward Snowden, fire Attorney General Holder and find a replacement who has some common sense and respects the US Constitution, values whistleblowers, and understands the First Amendment guarantees of free speech and a free press;
  • Cut the NSA budget to 20% of its present amount -- you'll get much better performance and intelligence. 
Now, there's some real hope and change!


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

US Media Fabrication, Snowden Clemency Plea


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Fed Is Stuck In a QE Trap

Don't look now, but Ben Bernanke is getting out at the right time, as we now know that Quantitative Easing Policy (QE ) HARMS the Economy In the Long-Run --

Architect of Japanese Quantitative Easing Policy Says QE HARMS the Economy In the Long-Run … and that the Fed Is Stuck In a QE Trap | Washington's Blog: "Many top economists have said that quantitative easing doesn’t help the economy . . . One of the main architects of Japan’s QE program – Richard Koo – Chief Economist at the Nomura Research Institute – explains that QE helps in the short-run … but hurts the economy in the long run (via Business Insider):
"Initially, long-term interest rates fall much more than they would in a country without such a policy, which means the subsequent economic recovery comes sooner (t1). But as the economy picks up, long-term rates rise sharply as local bond market participants fear the central bank will have to mop up all the excess reserves by unloading its holdings of long-term bonds.". . ." (read more at link above)
See also: The downsides of quantitative easing, Cardiff Garcia smackdown watch | FT Alphaville


Saturday, November 2, 2013

Cognitive Dissonance, US Media bias is pro-NSA

Cognitive Dissonance -- how else to explain the "liberal" but pro-Obama US media being biased pro-NSA? Little doubt that if a Republican was in the White House, that same media would be anti-NSA --

On the NSA, the media may tilt right : Columbia Journalism Review: ". . .Our findings indicate that the intense public concern about the NSA’s activities is not merely an artifact of biased coverage, since the media actually appears to be biased in the opposite direction. In a recent Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll, 54 percent of respondents disagreed with dragnet collection of internet metadata and 71 percent disagreed with warrantless monitoring of US phone calls. Public opposition to the government surveillance might be even more pronounced if overall media coverage was neutral and unbiased. . . ."

No wonder the US mainstream media is neither respected nor trusted by the American people.

But don't take my word for it--read Glenn Greenwald on the media:


Friday, November 1, 2013

NSA Congressional Oversight, Joke of the Year

The Obama administration's core values of lying and withholding information (even from elected Congressmen) are now systemic throughout all of Washington --

Congressional oversight of the NSA is a joke. I should know, I'm in Congress | Alan Grayson | Comment is free | theguardian.com" . . . Despite being a member of Congress possessing security clearance, I've learned far more about government spying on me and my fellow citizens from reading media reports than I have from "intelligence" briefings. If the vote on the Amash-Conyers amendment is any indication, my colleagues feel the same way. In fact, one long-serving conservative Republican told me that he doesn't attend such briefings anymore, because, "they always lie". Many of us worry that Congressional Intelligence Committees are more loyal to the "intelligence community" that they are tasked with policing, than to the Constitution. And the House Intelligence Committee isn't doing anything to assuage our concerns. I've requested classified information, and further meetings with NSAofficials. The House Intelligence Committee has refused to provide either. Supporters of the NSA's vast ubiquitous domestic spying operation assure the public that members of Congress can be briefed on these activities whenever they want. Senator Saxby Chambliss says all a member of Congress needs to do is ask for information, and he'll get it. Well I did ask, and the House Intelligence Committee said "no", repeatedly. And virtually every other member not on the Intelligence Committee gets the same treatment. . . ." (read more at link above)

But now, apparently, there is pushback --

Feinstein vows 'total review' of NSA - The Hill's DEFCON Hill: "“Unlike NSA’s collection of phone records under a court order, it is clear to me that certain surveillance activities have been in effect for more than a decade and that the Senate Intelligence Committee was not satisfactorily informed,” Feinstein said in a statement. “Therefore our oversight needs to be strengthened and increased.” Feinstein said that she planned to initiate a major review into all of the intelligence community’s collection methods. “The White House has informed me that collection on our allies will not continue, which I support,” she said. “But as far as I’m concerned, Congress needs to know exactly what our intelligence community is doing.""

Better late than never, I guess.


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