Taking a peek at the news because it's all relative.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Why Did Congress Really Want to End The Penny?

Over the summer I found it odd that with all the misgivings occuring, our government was spending time on how to get rid of the penny. It sounded benign enough but being hip to this cabal for the past 6 years one knows there's always more behind curtain. Well, well, well. In typical "family values" crowd fashion, there is a malignant tumor residing right underneath the penny distraction. It turns out the bill proposed to eliminate the penny is more sinister then I thought:
...let’s look at what this bill is really all about. It is about providing the Federal Reserve with even more power by transferring two important institutions from control of the U.S. Treasury to control of the Federal Reserve. Section 8 of this bill transfers the United States Mint and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing from control of the U.S. Treasury to control of the Federal Reserve Board. I can’t begin to even describe how terrible I think this is. These are the two government institutions that are responsible for creating and printing the actual money. The U.S. Mint makes all coinage for this country and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing prints Federal Reserve Notes, U.S. passports, Treasury securities and other security documents. With these two institutions under the direct operational control of the Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Reserve has even greater control over the entire U.S. monetary system. The Federal Reserve is a private banking cartel and is not accountable to the people. They hold a couple of dog and pony shows each year with the Federal Reserve Chairman testifying in front of Congress to make the people think that the Federal Reserve is accountable to them. The Federal Reserve however is not accountable to anyone in the government and they do whatever they want. The Federal Reserve Chairman is actually nominated by the President from a list of candidates prepared in advance by the banking cartel themselves. The whole approval process is nothing more than staged theatrics to make the American public buy into all of this craziness. If the Federal Reserve Chairman were actually accountable to the people, why isn’t the Federal Reserve Chairman a cabinet level position that reports directly to the President? This very reason is why all powers of monetary creation should rest with the U.S. Treasury.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Friday Night YouTubing: Comedy Fest

Anti-recruitment video

Classic Colbert: Congressman Lynn Westmoreland can't name the 10 Commandments.

Hilarious Frank Caliendo on Letterman

Steve Bridges does George Bush

The Decider

The Speechalist

Comedy that's not supposed to be comedy

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

“Eerie” feeling that something’s unnatural about the stock market.

All the data suggests the U.S. is in trouble economically. Even the feds time and time again warn us that inflation is an issue of concern but none of these things seem to matter to the DOW one bit. The following is an amazing analysis as to why this may.
A current “eerie stillness” on Wall Street? Well, not really since the DJIA is resting some 1200 points above its mid-July lows. However, we still can’t shake the “eerie” feeling that something’s unnatural about the stock market’s action. Yeah, I know that when anyone gets “wrong footed” in the markets there is the tendency to make excuses and my firm has clearly been too cautious since those lows even though, on a trailing 12-month basis, we continue to outperform.

... there remains an eerie “bid” in the equity markets since those July lows. For example, markets typically rally, then correct by about one-quarter to one-third of that rally’s point gain, before beginning another rally phase. After that phase, they again correct by one-quarter to one-third before re-rallying. This, however, has not been the case recently. Indeed, every time it looked like the indices were about to correct, mysterious buyers materialized in the futures markets. Those “buyers” tend to widen the futures premiums so far above the cash markets that it attracts arbitrageurs. The arbs, in turn, short the futures and buy the appropriate baskets of stocks. That operation allows the arbs to “lock in” the spread between the futures price and what they paid for the basket of stocks, assuring them a risk-less profit and, in the process, driving stocks higher.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Dow Jones Industrial and The Real Economy

Check out these charts. Stunning.
In summary, the Bush economy has been great for the 30 largest companies in the U.S. and the upper 5 percentile of wage earners. The MSM has the same information that I have about the real economy and yet they persist in distorting the record of the Bush economy by emphasizing the Dow 30 record. If the Dow 30 is representative of our economy, I think Dow Jones should start another index. I would call it the Dow 30 Index of Real Wages. It would measure the growth of the 30 richest Americans. If they had an index for that, I am sure that it would make the Dow 30 look like it was underperforming. And it what not change the state of the the real economy and real wages which are both lagging behind the upper classes of our economy.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Andy Rooney: Just Tell Us Mr. President, For What?

ABC: Voting Machines Could Skew Elections

This is not a new issue. After Bush was installed as President by the Supreme Court he was swift in imposing the Help America Vote Act in 2002. Basically, this act gave billions of tax dollars to Diebold for it's voting machines and who's head honcho stated in a 2004 fundraising letter that he was "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year." *sarcasm* I'm so glad that the media has finally broken this story.*/sarcasm*
"We're taking the vote-counting process and we're handing it over to these companies — and we don't know what happens inside these machines," said Edward Felten, a professor and a researcher at Princeton's Center for Information Technology Policy, which ran the study.

Diebold called the Princeton study "unrealistic and inaccurate."

But many computer scientists, including cyber-security expert Stephen Spoonamore, disagree, pointing out that the Accuvote TS was used in the 2004 presidential election and is still used in at least four states — including all machines in Georgia and Maryland. Spoonamore said the hack attacked the operating system layer of software and would affect any touch screen machine built by Diebold.

Diebold argues that the software from the 2004 elections has been updated to fix any possible security problems. But Spoonamore is not convinced, saying Diebold's "system is utterly unsecured. The entire cyber-security community is begging them to come back to reality and secure our nation's voting."

There is also the matter of computer glitches. In primary elections and test runs this year, there were glitches with electronic voting machines from Diebold and other companies.

Machines malfunctioned in Texas, where 100,000 votes were added.

In California, directions for voters with vision problems came out in Vietnamese.

And in Maryland, screens froze and memory cards went missing.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Friday Night YouTubing: Chicken Hawk Brigade

Watch how these college age war supporters stand and clap for the war yet sit down when asked to participate in it. The hypocrisy knows no bounds. To all those who stood up for the war, run - don't walk to your nearest recruiting office.

The Deserter

This guy is fighting the "battle for ideas" right here in the comforts of his home.

Twilight Zone - No Time Like The Past:
A war-weary scientists travels back to the year 1881, to live in simpler times. But he discovers that some things never change.

An Open Letter from Pat Tillman's Brother, Kevin

Now this is what family values look like.
It is Pat’s birthday on November 6, and elections are the day after. It gets me thinking about a conversation I had with Pat before we joined the military. He spoke about the risks with signing the papers. How once we committed, we were at the mercy of the American leadership and the American people. How we could be thrown in a direction not of our volition. How fighting as a soldier would leave us without a voice… until we get out.

Much has happened since we handed over our voice:
...
Somehow American leadership, whose only credit is lying to its people and illegally invading a nation, has been allowed to steal the courage, virtue and honor of its soldiers on the ground.

Somehow those afraid to fight an illegal invasion decades ago are allowed to send soldiers to die for an illegal invasion they started.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Military Commission Act of 2006 Is Worse Than You Think

This from Constitutional lawyers :
The new law strips the right of non-citizens to seek review of their detention by a court through the filing of a writ of habeas corpus, the venerated legal instrument that for centuries has protected people from arbitrary detention, disappearance and indefinite detention without charge. The Act is also meant to erase the hundreds of habeas corpus petitions that CCR and others have brought on behalf of many of the 450 men being held at Guantánamo Bay, a move already once denied by the Supreme Court.

Further, the MCA dramatically expands the President's powers in an array of profoundly troubling ways, including permitting him to determine what constitutes torture and who may be labeled an "unlawful enemy combatant" and therefore detained indefinitely. Such scope means that non-citizens, such as those unjustifiably rounded up in sweeps after 9/11 in the U.S., could be held without charge or trial. U.S. citizens deemed to have "materially supported" hostilities against the United States could be held as enemy combatants as well. Once in U.S. custody, the law allows detainees to be subjected to stress positions, temperature extremes, sleep deprivation, and possibly waterboarding. It also defines sexual violence crimes so narrowly that some of the outrages of Abu Ghraib, such as forced nudity, would not be punishable, and defines rape and sexual abuse in a manner that is inconsistent with international law, turning back the clock on the hard-fought victories of survivors of sexual violence. At the same time, the bill provides retroactive immunity for U.S military and intelligence officials for the torture and abuse of detainees, including the widely condemned horrors which occurred at Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo.

Retroactive immunity is what Bush and his cabal needed to prevent them from being tried for war crimes because they have engaged in illegal torture from the very beginning. Those orders to torture detainees came from the very top. This egregious abuse of power will be challenged because:
According to CCR legal director Bill Goodman, the provision of the MCA that strips the right of habeas corpus is a direct violation of the suspension clause of the U.S. Constitution because it denies non-citizens a meaningful opportunity to challenge the legality of their detention. The clause states that the writ of habeas corpus can only be suspended "in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion." Goodman said recent reports of innocent men being released from Guantánamo underscore the importance of moving quickly to defeat this law:

We are not being invaded and we do not have a rebellion.
But wait there's more.
Another nasty piece of the legislation authorizes the President, on his own authority, to detain anyone, citizen or noncitizen, anywhere in the world, whom he deems to be an "unlawful enemy combatant." The definition of that term is broadly worded and would allow the President to imprison almost anyone.

If you are unlucky enough to be a noncitizen and the President detains you as an unlawful enemy combatant, you can never test the legality of your detention in court because habeas corpus has been abolished. You are there forever... or until the President changes his mind. If you are lucky enough to be a citizen, your habeas rights will not get you out quickly: The President can now detain any citizen he chooses, without charges, simply by declaring that the prisoner is an enemy combatant.

Moreover, the President is now free to abuse and even torture those detained, using the slippery language of this legislation. Many of the gross abuses we saw at Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo--stripping, hooding, hypothermia, sleep deprivation and possibly mock drowning--will be allowed to continue if the President says so. And those who authorize or carry out torture techniques will have complete immunity from criminal prosecution. Those who authorized the torture of detainees in the past will be granted retroactive immunity. When this was tried in Argentina and Chile during their "dirty wars," it was called an amnesty, and, in the end, did not work. War crimes cannot be amnestied.

Now we get to the final chapter of this awful legislation, which is concerned with the details of trials for alleged terrorists by a special ad hoc court called a military commission. Of course, such trials will occur, if they do at all, only for a very few of the 460 detained at Guantánamo or the many others detained around the world. As detainees can now be held forever without trial, why try them? To date, only ten of the Guantánamo detainees have been charged before such commissions.

The Administration has been attempting to use military commissions for five years and has not yet been able to set up one that complies with the laws of war or the Constitution. Bush's most recent effort was struck down by the Supreme Court in June. This legislation is no better: Coerced evidence is still permitted; a detainee does not get to see all the evidence against him, and a wide variety of hearsay evidence can be used.

The President has wanted such sweeping authority since 9/11. He has been getting it piece by piece. First, with the Authorization to Use Military Force, he obtained from Congress the right to go after those involved with 9/11. Then he issued an " executive order" in November 2001 granting him the authority to detain indefinitely without charges any noncitizen allegedly involved in terrorism--not just those supposedly connected to 9/11. Subsequently, he claimed the power as commander in chief to detain anyone, citizen or not, allegedly involved in terrorism or who might be giving support to those who attack the United States. The Administration argued that those so detained could be held forever, never charged and, except for US citizens, denied habeas corpus. Now Congress has placed its imprimatur on these fantasies of executive omnipotence--what can only be called the legal structure of a police state.

DHS Propose Everyone Ask Permission To Travel

The Department of Homeland Security was born under this administration for the purposes of fighting terror. It has proven to be a bloated agency with an insurmountable amount of waste yet they continue to wield unprecedented power and the money keeps coming in. They were the ones who brought looney John Mark Karr to "justice" in first-class complete with champagne.

The name, Department Homeland Security, has been criticized for being too Hitler-esque in nature. Hitler hyped up his population by using patriotic symbols and language such as referring to Germany as "The Homeland".
Never in our history have we referred to ourselves in this manner until now. If that isn't compelling enough, DHS ever expands it's tentacles without any real evidence the overreach has been effective. Yesterday Mr. Chertoff suggested the internet may breed radicalism thereby announcing the policing of it.
To help gather intelligence on possible home-grown attackers, Chertoff said Homeland Security would deploy 20 field agents this fiscal year into "intelligence fusion centers," where they would work with local police agencies.

By the end of the next fiscal year, he said the department aims to up that to 35 staffers.

This could mean a number of things none of which were mentioned so we do not yet know the scope of this task force or what constitutes "radical ideologies" in their view.

In addition to policing the internet, DHS is proposing we ask for our government's permission to travel. With the suspension of Habeas Corpus, the approval of torture, our new ideology of preemptive war, illegal wiretapping and now this, it seems to me the name of this department has turned out to be disturbingly ironic.
Should you have to ask for permission from the government before you are allowed to get on a plane or cruise ship? ("Mother, may I?")

The USA Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has proposed that airlines cruise lines, and operators of all other ships and planes -- including charter flights, air taxis, fishing vessels, etc. -- be required to get individual permission ("clearance") from the DHS for each passenger on all flights or ocean voyages to, from, or via the USA. Unless the answer is "Yes"-- if the answer is “no” or “maybe”, or if the DHS doesn’t answer at all -- the airline wouldn’t be allowed to give you a boarding pass, or let you or your luggage on the plane.

No Habeas Corpus and Torture the New Red, White and Blue

Keith Olbermann on the Military Commission Act 2006 and what it means, part 1.

Part 2