Our Choices Are Now Zip and We Are Boxed In
11/25/2014, Pago Pago, American Samoa
Our representatives, both Republican and Democrats, have sold us out and now only listen to wealthy private interests, as a recent Princeton study shows. The possibility of an uprising, rebellion or revolution, or even a seriously large peaceable assemblies like Occupy Wall Street are now out, because they can be quickly quashed by militarized police and the US Army, both acting under new laws that allow them to do that and put us in detention camps, if deemed necessary. Many voters -- especially Republicans -- continue to vote against their own financial interests even as the financial vise slowly tightens on the middle and lower classes from both government and the private sector
Most Americans know they are being financially injured, and also being hurt or comprised in other ways, too, but they are too inarticulate and thoughtless about it to matter or even follow leaders, if we had such leaders, which we don't. We have no leaders who adequat6ely understand the full situation. everyone see their own narrow view. The Oligarchs have outsmart us and outspent us. And they now run the show. But we haven't even figured that out yet.
We are increasing relegated to the financial and economic position that those Oligarch decide we should occupy. Too much is a done deal. While we fumbled around trying to understand pieces of the economics involved and what has happened to us, in very well organized fashion and using huge teams of lobbyists the Oligarchs have re-write the tax code and the other legislation, at the federal, state and even local level, that they wanted. We were asleep at the wheel.
An now we are badly boxed in, but many of us are even too stupid and ill-informed to even know that.
On the Technical Legality of Obama's Executive Orders on Immigration
11/25/2014, Pago Pago, American Samoa
On the Technical Legality of Obama's Executive Order on Immigration
From my law School classmate, Geoffrey Stone ---
Questions have been raised about the legality of the executive actions recently taken by President Obama in the domain of immigration policy. A group of legal and constitutional scholars, from such institutions as Harvard, Yale, Chicago, and Columbia, have looked into this question. Without expressing any view on the merits of these executive actions as a matter of immigration policy, we are confident that they raise no credible legal or constitutional issue.
A Common Cinemagraphic Mistake
11/25/2014, Pago Pago, American Samoa
Time is a man-made, artificial construct to measure motion through space. It does not cause motion through space or events that occur over time. It only measures how long they take. Causation is independent and separate. Therefore, any reversal of time does not reverse events any more than turning your watch back does.
This idea is a fabrication of Hollywood taking advantage of our ignorance regarding time and causation.
Liberals and Progressives Should Despair
11/25/2014, Pago Pago, American Samoa
Republicans and their wealthy constituents, using lobbyists and money, have a coherent, developed agenda that -- aside from the aberrant wrecking-ball Teabaggers -- is being and has been effectively implemented by the federal government acting against the public's interest. Progressives and liberals barely have a coherent overview on what has happened, much less a sensible agenda to effectively counter what is happening. We argue over tons of chicken shit, lack vision, understanding the core economics poorly and are too clueless on how to counter what has happened, as progressive commentary and literature clearly indicate.
Liberals and progressives argue among themselves but the steamroller agenda of the Oligarchs moves ahead unerringly. Inasmuch as their agenda is largely economic, economists of liberal and progressive persuasion should be at the vanguard of a any counter-effort, but they aren't there because they are too busy arguing among themselves over comparatively trivial economic matters and theories. It is distressing to watch, and worse, think that even if we did have our act together and a sensible counter agenda, we lack the money and connections in Washington to implement it.
In the meantime, the US economy has been skewed to operate hugely in the interests of the Oligarchy and significantly against the interests of the middle and lower classes who largely are not even aware that that has happened. That is how out to lunch America is. Large blocks in the middle class and less in the lower class vote in favor of the Republicans and derivatively, the Oligarchs. Talk about being out smarted, but we, as their advocates, do as miserably as I report here.
For Those Who Consider an Uprising, Rebellion or Revolution an Option
11/25/2014, Pago Pago, American Samao
We have been carefully and completely headed off at the pass and stand no chance. Local police have been militarized in both in training and equipment. They coordinate well with the federal government and US Army. Strategies at containing us have been worked out. The legal framework to hobble any effort we might collectively take has been worked out.
It is no longer a question of how we can maintain and preserve our freedoms, rights and liberties in the face of a potentially oppressive and tyrannical central government which ignores those rights and acts to quash them and intern and subject to reeducation (yes, there is an Army field manual on that as well) the outspoken segments of our citizenry. We can't. We have to take what is dished out to us. Why> Beyond what I have already explained
As we move toward a plutocracy controlling our government, we are at great risk of being seriously oppressed and many, many of us imprisoned, not by a benign soul such as Obama, but by a nasty successor we might chose. Obama is waging a weak war with the plutocrats as they buy everyone else off in government and bide their time.
The principal laws destroying our key rights which are already in place include:
1) The 'National Emergency Centers Establishment Act' which, as amended and expanded by executive order, authorizes the readying and use of FEMA and military facilities as prisons or "internment facilities" for the detainment and control of large groups of civilian internees, primarily American citizens; the "camps." First Amendments rights of assembly, travel and free speech are at issue as is the right of habeas corpus. I have the formerly classified (until leaked) Army Field Manual on the internment of civilian detainees.
2) Programs for the training and equipping of medium sized and large local police forces with military equipment to act as trained military police in regard to civilian populations, with such equipment including drones for some police departments which are intended to be used domestically and which are armable (under various executive orders and surplus and new equipment programs); First Amendments rights of assembly, travel and free speech are at issue.
3) "The Patriot Act," which by law gives the government sweeping authority to spy on "individuals inside the United States, and in some cases, without any suspicion of wrongdoing. Fourth Amendments rights are the issue. It also gives government the authority to demand that a business hand over records that may contain private financial or business information that is not pertinent to an ongoing investigation (harassing "fishing expeditions).
4) "The National Defense Authorization Act" which suspends the right of habeas corpus and allows indefinite detention of anyone without trial, including American citizens, who the government thinks might be involved, directly or indirectly, with some terrorist activity. Most rights of the Bill of Rights are at issue here. First Amendments rights of assembly, travel and free speech are at issue here along with right of habeas corpus.
5) "The Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act" which authorizes the government to bring criminal charges against Americans engaged in any assembly or peaceful, political protest anywhere in the country that the president or HS secretary decides should be temporarily off limits for that purpose for whatever reason. The bill expands current law to make it a crime to enter or remain in any area so designated, even if the person does not know it is illegal to be there. It allows for the destruction of peaceable assembly, travel and free speech under the First Amendment. Also at issue here is the knowability of the law. to avoid its violation, a Due Process right.
6) Executive orders under "the Patriot Act" which allow Homeland Security and the FBI spy on us by reviewing our posts and comments on social networks and to create dossiers on each of us who are "of interest." Fourth Amendment rights and rights of privacy are involved here.
These laws in the wrong executive hands have great potential to oppress us, with our large standing army implementing and enforcing them. The noose is closing. A blind man should be able to see that. We are being slipped up on from behind, with only the large standing army in full view in front of us. Hugely in front. The standing army is the essential tool of implementation and oppression. The Founding Fathers all understood this and understood it very well, but somehow, too many of us don't seem to get it or understand how the pieces fit together.
We are herdable like sheep, so forget revolution, uprising or rebellion. Worse, large peaceful assembly might be too much for us to ask for in the present circumstances.
Who are Some of the Key Oligarchs?
11/25/2014, Pago Pago, American Samoa
The four big banks (Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup and Wells Fargo) own control of the four largest oil companies (Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch/Shell, BP and Chevron Texaco); in tandem with Deutsche Bank, BNP, Barclays and a few other European old money families. But their control or influence over the global economy does not end with the big oil companies.
According to company 10K filings with the SEC, the four big banks are among the top ten stock holders of virtually every Fortune 500 corporation. So who then are the stockholders in these money center banks?
This information is guarded much more closely. Inquiries to bank regulatory agencies regarding stock ownership in the top 25 US bank holding companies were rejected. Then when multiple Freedom of Information Act requests were made by different groups, denial was uniformly on "national security" grounds. This is rather ironic, since many of the banks' key stockholders reside in Europe.
J. W. McCallister, an oil industry insider with House of Saud connections, wrote in The Grim Reaper that information he acquired from Saudi bankers cited 80% ownership of the New York Federal Reserve Bank- by far the most powerful Fed branch- by just eight families, only four of which reside in the US. So much again for national security. The US families or groups are the Goldman Sachs, Rockefellers, Lehmans and Kuhn Loebs of New York. The Rothschilds of Paris and London; the Warburgs of Hamburg; the Lazards of Paris; and the Israel Moses Seifs of Rome are the four in Europe.
CPA Thomas D. Schauf corroborates McCallister's claims, adding that ten banks control all twelve Federal Reserve Bank branches. He names N.M. Rothschild of London, Rothschild Bank of Berlin, Warburg Bank of Hamburg, Warburg Bank of Amsterdam, Lehman Brothers of New York, Lazard Brothers of Paris, Kuhn Loeb Bank of New York, Israel Moses Seif Bank of Italy, Goldman Sachs of New York and JP Morgan Chase Bank of New York. Schauf lists William Rockefeller, Paul Warburg, Jacob Schiff and James Stillman as individuals who own large shares of the Fed. The Schiffs are insiders at Kuhn Loeb. The Stillmans are Citigroup insiders, who married into the Rockefeller clan at the turn of the century.
Eustace Mullins came to the same conclusions in his book The Secrets of the Federal Reserve, in which he displays charts connecting the Fed and its member banks to the families of Rothschild, Warburg, Rockefeller and the others.
The control that these banking families exert over the global economy cannot be overstated and is quite intentionally shrouded in secrecy. A small club of oligarchs, to be sure. (H/T to Dean Henderson)
Why Republicans Are the Enemies of Progressivism
11/25/2014, Pago Pago, American Samoa
Now one wants to end mandatory education and go back to how things were before 1890. Another wants to use F-16's to shoot illegal aliens crossing, but he quickly backed off that position as said against the drug trade. Republicans are the enemies of progressivism because they want to end, cut, allow or privatize --
voting rights provisions,
taxes on the rich,
have government profit off student loans,
protect the rich,
stop unemployment compensation,
do nothing about the economy,
do nothing about unemployment,
not protect the environment,
adopt trickle down economics,
destroy the Fed,
subsidize rich farmers,
keep the loopholes in the Tax code,
allow over fishing,
ignore global warming,
let big banks do what they want,
end consumer protection,
not regulate guns,
end school lunches,
end head start programs,
have government support Christianity
block immigration reform,
have government spy on us,
cut educational funding,
allow pollution in all forms,
put regressivists on the Supreme Court,
block free assembly and speech,
allow military/FEMA detainment camps,
block much voter registration,
gerrymander voting districts,
privatize much done by government,
support mismanagement by the states,
preserve monopoly rents and profits,
unreasonably extend intellectual property rights,
rewrite the constitution.
support global capitalism,
allow military preemptive strikes,
cut foreign aid,
expand states rights,
allow the infrastructure to collapse,
cut the deficit,
preserve Congressional perks and benefits,
restrain other civil rights,
block campaign finance reform,
protect big banks,
abandon government ethical rules,
block judicial and other nominations,
hamper funding for the judiciary,
cut the budget of the IRS,
block economic stimulus programs,
block class actions and arbitrations,
under fund the post office,
raise regressive taxes,
block public highway expansion,
militarize local police,
charge for weather news,
cut the space budget,
under-fund scientific research,
block railway expansion,
block urban renewal grants,
under fund public transportation,
not enforce the law,
propagandize and misinform the public,
undermine and control our news media,
control university research,
violate the Geneva Accords,
spy on our allies,
monitor our social media,
abuse government classification of information,
block federal insurance supervision,
lie to the public on multiple matters,
pass unconstitutional laws,
fight new wars,
ignore mental health problems and programs,
etc., etc., etc,.
Off the top of my head . . . And Obama and many Democrats, as Republican Lites, join the Republicans on many issues here. They all are models of uncaring bad citizens who service mprivate interests and not the public interest.
On Those Who Reject Our Social Compact and Collectivism
11/25/2014, Pago Pago, American Samoa
There are shallow thinking, indoctrinated people among us in numbers who reject our social compact, the constitutional right of government to tax us, hate collective action (which is the essence of government) and who therefore hate government. They cry for freedom and liberty as the ultimate rights. Their values are better suited for living in alone out in isolated woods where there is no prospect of collective action. If they personally need help in such areas, they would go without and suffer the consequences, points they don't consider. The sentiment of invincibility from Atlas Shrugged attends their foolish romanticism.
They reject government intrusion into healthcare, social security, regulation of anything and all things, taxation, any aid or help for anyone by government and some even profess to reject traffic laws. Depending on their individual quanta of good sense, they reject the individual tenets of libertarianism only as necessary and in proportion to that good sense. They can't understand why close, urban living should require any collective action or government and they can't understand empathy. Their concept of the public welfare is whatever happenstance serves up to and heaps on us. The General Welfare, referred to in the Constitution is not a working idea for them, nor one they can appreciate.
In large measure and given their large numbers, they still do not realize they are victims of social propaganda, that there is largely no significant historical moment that is precedent to their brand of thinking. They don't realize they are in large measure the product of modern sentimentalists like Ayn Rand (who died on welfare), the Koch brothers and their friends, the Austrian School of Economics and core now of the Republican party which has been infiltrated and has abandoned the moderatism of the Eisenhower era Republicans. That party has moved sharply and quickly in the direction of the ideas of the John Birch Society. Moderate Republicans of the 1950's viewed the "Birchers" as arch extremists and laughable. No more. Their radicalism and core values are at the heart of libertarianism now, but without the virulent anti-communist spin.
Collective anything is abhorrent to the freedom and liberty crowd. It is a primitive, unthinking outlook, but, hey, who dares speak out against freedom and liberty, both of which people lose in spades when they decide to live closely together in urban settings and address common problems collectively with government under our social compact. Those of libertarian sentiment howl at all of this but themselves have no realistic, working social model for close living without collectivism except for let the blood flow in the streets from all who are figuratively injured They do not realize that interactive causation becomes substantially interfered with in such close living, so we are not individually the captains of our ships or masters of our fates much of the time. Things can happen to us more randomly because of the mix so collective social insurances of various types are necessary.
Libertarians are simply out to lunch and thoughtless here.
What Is Necessary To Reverse Labor's Falling Share Of National Income
11/22/2014, Pago Pago, American Samoa
For the last thirty-five years or so, labor's share of national income or GDP has fallen and capital's has risen. This has seriously harmed the middle and lower classes in America, which have actually sustained real income losses. It has also skewed the distribution of income in favor of the rich and caused consumption and investment to stall or decrease relatively. Savings relative to GDP has shot up as the rich hoard income. So have financial asset prices with the resulting increase in demand for them. Government's effort to provide more liquidity and lower interest rates has pushed financial asset prices even higher and it has increased hoarding and money held in off shore accounts. The velocity of circulation of money still drops and deflation lurks in the wings. The Fed has trouble reaching its target rate of inflation.
Some think this trend in labor's share will reverse itself. Other's, like this author, don't. Consider what needs to occur for labor's share of income to rise and capital's, to fall. Some or all of the following needs to happen: labor needs to replace robots and other machines installed to replace labor; interest income and income from economic rents throughout the economy would need to drop instead of continuing to rise; and, quite importantly, reported and shadow unemployment would need to drop substantially, so the percentage of the working age population employed could rise markedly.
Government policy would need to change substantially, too. Pushing excess liquidity into the economy and the banking system needs to stop. It really only enriches the already rich and encourages banks to engage in bad lending. Their asset base is loaded with bad debt, much of it relatively new. The effort doesn't work as suggested to increase investment. Depressing interest rates, which causes financial asset prices to further rise and their markets to bubble up, needs to stop as well. It too, only enriches the rich and doesn't increase investment. Investment is stalled because government and private consumption is relatively depressed, hoarding is on the rise, and deficit hawks are at the helm of government. Allowing capital to move production abroad, while then allowing it unfettered access to US markets for its resulting products, also badly injures U.S. labor's employment and its share of national income. We drown in a sea of bad, presumably unintended consequences.
Additionally, the aggregate burden of the U.S. tax system needs to be made much less regressive and much more progressive, if it is to help any reversal. It too, only relatively enriches the rich and like other such results, just skews the mal-distribution of income further. Finally, reversal in the decline of labor's share would be greatly aided by a guaranteed minimum income for all, financed by highly progressive average and marginal income taxes, highly progressive average and marginal inheritances taxes and sensible class-neutral revisions to the Tax Code in the public's interest, corking the myriad loopholes which have been drilled into it by lobbyists for the rich.
In short, by its actions and inactions, government itself has seriously compounded the problem of labor's declining share of national income, hammered the middle and lower classes and worsened the already bad distribution of income.
The bottom line, it is submitted, is don't hold your breath on any reversal of the decline in labor's share of income, for any real improvement in the mal-distribution of income or for the middle and lower classes in America to fare much better -- at least with the institutional and governmental system and arrangements we have in place, and with our present system of campaign finance.
The Core Problem Of The World Economy And With Capitalism
11/20/2014, Pago Pago, American Samoa
The core problem worldwide is productive capacity has largely out run the capacity of debt ridden and lowly paid worker consumers to buy the goods and services capable of being produced. A decade or so ago, producers sought out newly emerging consumers in developing countries to avoid the impact of the imbalance in their home countries, but that option is now waning. This leaves few good investment opportunities and the problem is fast becoming one that is global.
Productive capacities are badly out of line with consumption levels because of the skewed distributions of income, especially in China, Japan (which has a derivative problem), the United States and several, but not all European countries. The skews in these countries, except for Scandinavia, keep consumers from buying more and this is creating deflationary pressures for both commodity prices and the prices of goods, and, and it is stalling out investment.
Income distribution problems are the world's key economic problem now. Everywhere, high income earners of the world and their banks sit on cash hoards that are neither lent or spent. Banks and those controlling available or discretionary income are in effect saving the liquidity created by the Fed instead of lending it and spending it. For example, US holdings of liquid savings deposits as a percentage of GDP, has gone up dramatically from about 17 percent at the time of the 2008 crash to over 42 percent currently, even though GDP has itself risen notably. Meanwhile, the federal funds rate has dropped from about 4 percent to zero over that same interval. No real inducement to save is there.The cash hoards are not invested because there is already a glut of productive capacity relative to consumption levels and deflation threatens. Returns relative to risks are inadequate. The high income earners of the world hoard income and spend too little of it on consumption because they have relatively too much of it and therefore their marginal and average propensities to consume are relatively too low.
Capitalism stalls out with this imbalance between consumption and production and leaves anything resembling Says law in total disarray. Keynes' greatest contribution was to show us that Says law can grossly fail; however, he didn't, as here, tie any such failure directly to the mal-distributions of income. His focus was on the general business cycle and the role of "animal Spirits" among investors (a "we don't know" designation). This business cycles perspective he addressed is one thing, but the constant economic malaise from the investment/production vs. income/consumption imbalance addressed here is another matter entirely.
Keynes and his leading followers wrote between the era of robber barons in the 1890's and the early 1960's, when the income distribution problems the world faced were relatively minor. However, as Thomas Piketty, the French economist, suggests and we mostly now realize, economic growth and labor's share of income invariably stalls and falls relative to that of capital because of 1) the greater mechanization of production by robots and such, and 2) the compounding of interest. As we move toward a Marxian surplus of labor, with depressed wages and technological change geared toward displacing other workers, Labor's share of income cannot help but fall, and capital's share rise. This state of affairs skews in the distributions of income ever more rapidly. The suggestion, of course, is skewing is inevitable, but we have no corrective method of dealing with it or its consequences. So economic situations simply gets worse. Capitalism in the modern world is fatally flawed and has no corrective mechanism to remedy this problem which is becoming acute, but being ignored.
The consequences of the skew problem addressed here in turn induces world governments -- such as the US, Japan and also China until now, to pour excessive liquidity into their economies and to lower interest rates, in the hope of causing more capital investment, but the efforts fail everywhere (except until now in China) because of the relative lack of investment opportunities due to the production/consumption imbalance created by the skewed income distributions in the various countries. What happens instead of increased investment is those with high incomes hoard more, banks sit on more money and financial asset markets and housing markets tend to bubble up as is now the case in China, Japan and the United States.
These consequences of these distributional skews and their attending inter-country interactions are not well studied or understood because the neoclassical framework of economics inadequately considers these aspects of world economies and because the implicit implications offend those who sponsor neoclassical economic study and research and their spokesmen. A willful blindness attends.
Capitalism as we know it is in big trouble
On Doing Macro Economics
11/18/2014, Pago Pago, American Samoa
Many economists don't do economics at all well. Many authors on Seeking Alpha do better, but in pieces and also often missing the largest picture. I don't mean microeconomics, either, the forte of neoclassical economists. Most can do that. I mean true bird's eye macro economics with explicit or implicit normative implications, like the piece I just did on income distributions being the world economy's central economic problem or the typical work of Michael Hudson, Nouriel Roubini, Warren Mosler and perhaps James Galbraith, for examples.
Many economists see a part of the big picture, but do not see it all in the aggregate. They too often therefore scribble pieces on one or another aspect of economics, a school or an individual thinker -- Sraffa, Pigou or Bastiat or the New Keynesians or exchange rates, for examples -- but that doesn't do macro economics in the manner I describe. Hudson is my best exemplar of someone who does serious macro economics and sees the aggregate big picture with all of its pieces and knows what is going on. N. Roubini does pretty well, too. So does Warren Mosler who, ironically, is not even an economist per se. Why this state of affairs, I ask.
Neoclassical economists -- who either largely ignore the financial sector altogether, view the real economy as all that matters or have badly mistaken views on how the money, banking and finance sectors work -- are not really equipped to do effective macro economics as I describe it. That knocks a whole lot of economists out of the picture. With Keen, Hudson and Mosler, as conspicuous exceptions, the heterodox economists are typically too busy, exchanging papers, focusing on details and expanding their areas, to do serious macro economics in the manner I describe. Worse, many heterodox economists don't know neoclassical economics well enough, mistakenly viewing it as anathema. Other economists, both young and old, are too steeped on their own personal learning curves to do macro economics. These factors eliminate too many more. We all continue to learn, but, as I explain here, that is not all there is to be done.
The goal should be to do good macro economics and by that means to establish a core consensus on what is and what needs to be done, socially. We are much too scattered and dispersed in our current thinking to be anywhere close to that, regrettably. There is more unified focus on some useful macro economic issues on Seeking Alpha than there is in the mainstream economic profession. That so, economists are commensurately much less useful than we could be. Worse, we are too rigid in our stratification and segmented thinking to change much. Our corporate donors and sponsors like to keep it that way. As well, we sometime don't adequately distinguish in our thinking between immediate market dynamics and longer term static economic theories. Economists get a lot inaccurately and, worse, miss much besides, largely because of these limitations.
Once all these various groups of segment economists and these limitations are winnowed out, we have very few left who can actually do good macro economics in the sense I mean and are most useful, very few indeed. This is not intended as a criticism of the profession per se, but could be, but is more intended as a description of the current state of affairs.
This is an unfortunate state of affairs, I suggest.
The Income Distribution is America's Central Economic Problem
11/18/2014, Pago Pago, American Samoa
In the US, the money supply is not the problem. The velocity of circulation is. But why? Here is why. The money supply has increased significantly, but the truth is it largely does not matter. Nor does it matter how low interest rates go, because hoarding by the rich notwithstanding is the problem.
Banks and those controlling available or discretionary income are in effect saving the liquidity created by the Fed instead of lending it and spending it. US holdings of liquid savings deposits as a percentage of GDP, has gone up dramatically from about 17 percent at the time of the 2008 crash to over 42 percent currently, even though GDP has itself risen notably. Meanwhile, the federal funds rate has dropped from about 4 percent to zero over that same interval. No real inducement to save there.
The truth is the average and marginal propensities to spend on consumption of the top 10 percent of income earners in the US, who now receive about half of all income and spend commensurately little of it relative to those with incomes in the bottom 50 percent, are too low and they and the banks are hoarding that money and spending and lending relatively little of it. If that income not spent or lent by the rich and their banks went to the bottom 50 percent of income earners instead, America would be truly economically booming.
This is America's central economic problem and the reason for its malaise in a nutshell. But nobody and I mean nobody wants to talk about this.
What to Do About Immigration
11/17/2014, Pago Pago, American Samoa
Opinions vary. Sundry Teabaggers want all illegals shipped out of the country bar none. Some liberals want amnesty for all. Others want amnesty for children here with relatives in the country. Opinions are all over the place.
Where there is consensus in theory is we want our boarders closed or rigidly closed. That is of course is impossible. So the question becomes, what can reasonably be done about our boarders. Our present approach is -- to the extent manpower permits -- catch them crossing, process them and ship them back to wherever, across the boarder. The effort is imperfect and expensive. Many of the same faces keep appearing. Not all are from Mexico, as that country points out when it is asked for help. Central America contributes many. Cowboys with guns want open season on coyotes. One GOP candidate for the House thought we should use F-16's on crossing illegals, but backed off that when pressed and said he meant for hitting drug lords and their mules.
Liberals like amnesty for all or many because they see future Democratic voters in those allowed to stay. Republicans like some illegals because their lawns need mowing and their hedges need trimming. The idea of temporary green cards for seasonal farm workers has been around a long time. But there are leakages in the system and our Immigration Service is under-staffed and over-worked. So are our boarder guards. So are those working to process immigrants. and preliminarily screen amnesty claims.
So the questions become how to effectively regulate illegal boarder crossings at some level of success and at what level of expense. How to best process illegals and their claims and How to handle illegals 1) already in the country and working and 2) in the country, but not working. And how to handle illegals coming into the country after just crossing the boarder? Who should get green cards? Who should get a shot at later citizenship? Who should be shipped out? Should any here get amnesty? For whom and why?
We are long on questions and short on any answers supported by a consensus. A bit of a pickle. Let's see what Obama and congress will do here, if anything. Hopefully, the Teabaggers don't threaten to shut the government down again if they don't get whatever they ultimately decide is their way.
11/17/2014, Pago Pago, American Samoa
Should Internet Referenda Be Used to Establish Federal Policy and Precedent?
The technology is available. Public internet referenda would end-run efforts to buy results from our elected representative with campaign contributions. The American people would acquire a much greater say in matters before congress. Lobbyists would be significantly neutered. Informative neutral information packets, already in widespread use, could be mailed to internet voters in advance. Special encryption could be used to protect voting internet connections. Passwords could be issued to eligible voters. Some of the money could be gotten out of politics. Better enfranchised, Americans would take a much greater interest in voting.
What gets referred to referenda would be an issue but that can be solved. Policy questions and guidelines, key presidential questions and many actual decisions could easily be turned over to the public.Campaign financial reform could be passed and Washington could well be cleaned up. Turnout would be what it will be.
Representatives would lose significant power and control and they could be forced by guideline, on for example, tax reform, to get to work on things that matter to the American public. It would be highly educational for the American public which would become much better informed. I see no problems that could not be surmounted and I see huge opportunities and advantages to advance the nation.
Fraud in Our Military Is Growing
11/17/2014, Pago Pago, American Samoa
Frauds, including bribes, in the military have shot through the roof. We all know about the rape and sexual harassment problem and how they are mishandled, but now there is the fraud problem, too.
Here is an example. Fabian Barrera found a way to make fast cash in the Texas National Guard, earning roughly $181,000 for claiming to have steered 119 potential recruits to join the military. But it was a fraud because the former captain never actually referred any of them. His hand slap was three years. Justice Department lawyers describe the Barrera case as part of a recurring pattern of corruption that spans a broad cross section of the military.
Prosecutors have found their hands full: defendants who bill for services they do not provide, those who steer lucrative contracts to select business partners and those who use bribes to game a vast military enterprise. Despite numerous cases that have produced long prison sentences, the problems have continued abroad and at home with a frequency that law enforcement officials consider troubling.
"The schemes we see really run the gamut from relatively small bribes paid to somebody in Afghanistan to hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of contracts being steered in the direction of a favored company who's paying bribes," Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell, head of the Justice Department's criminal division, said in an interview.
These are our brave fighting men, or rather their attorneys are. And, hey, I am a vet.