Podcast – Global Debt at Record Level – Smartphones can Damage the Neck and Back

The world is teetering on the edge of a global financial meltdown. That’s a bit of a downer, isn’t it? But unfortunately it’s true. Global debt has risen to a new record of $217 trillion. That’s almost a quarter of a quadrillion – an unimaginable number. Even worse – it may be too late to fix it.

Smartphone users may be affecting the long term health of our necks and backs due to protracted use of smartphones while walking. And it also makes all look like 80 years olds – shuffling down the street, trying to avoid running into, or falling into something. read more

Podcast – 4.9 Percent Unemployment and No Jobs – A Look into the Future of Obamacare – Gun Rights Activist gets Sued in Texas

The Government is touting 4.9% unemployment and the Federal Reserve thinks this is great. So great in fact that they are going to start raising interest rates. But this figure is – surprise, surprise – a lie. Let’s take a look at what it really is.

Want to see what our fabulous healthcare system, Obamacare, will look like soon? Just take a look at the British socialized, single payer system and the latest reports of rationing. This is what we have to look forward to.

A County in the state of Texas is not happy with a gun rights advocate who has written to them complaining about not being to carry his weapon in the county courthouse complex. They’ve evidently decided to make an example of him.

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A Delusional Fed Governor

By: the Common Constitutionalist

John Williams was on Fox News Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo. Williams is the chief of the San Francisco Federal Reserve.

Maria asked him about job growth in the United States. She asked: “Where are the jobs in this country?” Williams started, right out of the gate, as if towing the Obama/democrat party line by saying: “Last year was an amazing year for job growth,” proudly proclaiming that there were 3 million jobs Williamscreated.

I don’t know whether he actually believes this to be an “amazing” accomplishment, but his tone sure gave every indication.

Breaking that yearly 3 million number down – that’s an average of 250,000 jobs created per month. He then claimed that not all were low paying jobs either. These were also good paying jobs.

I have no doubt that some were high paying jobs, but we all know that percentage is minuscule. Sadly there was no question or push back of that claim by Bartiromo.

What he also neglected to mention is that number, 250,000 falls far short of what’s needed just to maintain, much less grow. That number is about 350,000 per month – 400,000 or more to catch up to pre-recession levels. Remember the recession? Possibly not, being that we are supposedly 6 years removed.

Aren’t these Fed Governors are supposed to be the smartest guys (and gals) in the room? read more

We Know the Economy Stinks – So Stop Your Yellen

By: the Common Constitutionalist

It’s all about the economy, stupid! Isn’t that what democrat strategist James Carville reminded us all in 1992?

Actually, he said it as part of a 3-pronged point – “The economy, stupid” – “Change vs. more of the same” and “Don’t forget health care.”

But of course, what stuck – what everyone remembers is “It’s the economy stupid.”

Frankly, the Republicans could steal Carville’s 3-pronged slogan word for word. We are 23 years removed from Carville’s famous phrase and it’s more applicable today than it was then.

But I thought the economy has been improving. Barely a month and half ago, the Politico told us, so it must be true. They wrote that “The United States economy is increasingly the envy of a struggling world…The economy created another 252,000 jobs in December, a record 58th straight month of private sector gains. The [U3] jobless rate dropped to 5.6 percent, nearly back to normal after peaking at 10 percent in October of 2009. And the economy turned in a robust 5 percent growth rate in the third quarter of last year.” So I guess that makes us the best of the worst?

Evidently Democrats agree with this assessment as the Politico reports that Republican claims of a weak economy are just “sour grapes from partisans whose warnings of a disastrous ‘Obama economy’ look increasingly ridiculous.” read more

Got Nowhere To Run To Baby

by: the Common Constitutionalist 

I was speaking to a customer at my office last week. He is as conservative as anyone and fairly well read. He comes by to pick up supplies every once in a while and invariably the conversations turn to politics.

 

That day, we discussed everything from incandescent light bulbs to Obamacare. He began to turn the conversation into a complainathon.

 

He bemoaned the bond buying scheme by the Federal Reserve, saying that the $85 billion a month money flood can’t possibly be sustained. It was then that I told him the great news – that the Fed was paring back to a mere $75 billion a month.

 

It was as if a great weight was lifted off him. Not really. His reaction was, “Woop-di-do”! Well said. read more

Is Fed Now Making Its Next Big Mistake?

Ben Bernanke has a message for Wall Street  and Main Street: Don’t worry, expect no big changes in Fed policy — unless the  economy changes in a major way. Don’t hold your breath.

No question, the nation’s top banker has a tough job convincing investors,  producers and lawmakers he’s doing the right thing for the economy. The problem  is, the Fed has a long track record of making big mistakes, but often doesn’t  know until years later.

And it might be making one now.

While some speak of the Fed’s “success,” holding interest rates at zero and  buying $85 billion a month in Treasuries — the Fed now owns more than $3.5  trillion in U.S. debt, up from $900 billion just a few years ago — this hasn’t  brought us a normal economic recovery.

Indeed, despite the incredible stimulus, inflation remains below the Fed’s 2%  target. GDP growth is averaging an anemic 1.7% in the past year.

All told, the economy is just 3% bigger than at the end of 2007, when the  recession began. By comparison, in a normal recovery GDP is usually up 16% or  more this far into a recovery.

Unemployment of 7.6% isn’t close to satisfactory. And since last year all of  the net U.S. jobs created have been part-time positions; it’s obvious we’re in  an unprecedented employment crisis.

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Is it QE or the Titanic?

by: the Common Constitutionalist

We’ve all heard the term QE or Quantitative Easing. This is the third iteration of easing, jokingly coined as QE-Infinity. It is the demented idea of the Federal Reserve and in particular chairman Ben Bernanke.

For those unfamiliar with QE three, it is a program wherein the Fed purchases $85 billion of government debt; $45 billion in bonds and $40 billion in mortgage-backed securities. In a nutshell, unlike the other two QE’s, which were one-time massive influxes of money into the economy, and did no good, QE3 is a scheme that calls for the feds to spend that $85 billion every month. And that’s been happening month in and month out since September 2012.

Wow, the Federal Reserve must have a lot of money. Well, no… No it doesn’t and it doesn’t have to. None of this is real. That’s not quite accurate, but it’s close.

The Fed, in fact has no money. What it does have is a printing press. When it needs another $85 billion, it simply cranks up the press. Just like magic. No, not like magic. More like an illusion.

Actually, the way it works is simply this:

1.     The Fed holds a meeting.

2.     Those in the room decide how many more dollars they think the world needs.

  1. Someone walks over to a computer and adds that many dollars to the banks, with a few clicks of the keyboard.

The Fed spent more newly created money in just 15 months than it had created in its entire history up until 2008.

Have you been wondering why your money doesn’t seem to go as far as it used to? It’s not just your imagination; it doesn’t. The more money that’s out there floating around, the less it is worth.

Here is a scenario that may explain what the Fed is in fact doing to our economy. You are a manufacturer of widgets. Everything is going great until your patent runs out. All the sudden the market is flooded with widgets. Because everyone is now selling widgets it drives the price down due to the glut of product. The market reacts the same no matter what the product, whether it is widgets or dollars. It’s great for the consumer of widgets, but a glut of dollars simply decreases the buying power of the consumer.

You may have noticed there was a Fed meeting on Wednesday of this week. Okay, maybe you didn’t, but you probably noticed the stock market rocketing up 155 points that morning, then suddenly around 2 PM reversing itself and ending the day down some 87 points. That’s a 242-point swing. Why did it happen? The Fed merely hinted that it might consider tapering off it’s quantitative easing at some point. In other words, slowing the flow of easy money.

If I’m not mistaken the same thing happened last year and the stock market temporarily freaked out over it.

Everyone knows that Bernanke can’t keep this up forever. The presses will eventually have to stop, or at least slow. Bernanke is probably doing irreparable damage to our economy, but there’s no way to take that fake cash back. It’s driving down the value of the dollar, but it is propping up the stock market.

The Fed as well as the Wall Street “experts” claim that when they do start to taper off the easy money influx, the geniuses at the Fed will do it so slowly we will hardly notice. Really!

The jittery market swings in triple digits with just a sniff of a possible slowdown at some later date.

So what will really happen when the hose is finally pinched? Look out below!

Fed’s QE3 ‘Detachment from Reality’

Welcome to the U.S.W., The United States of Weimar. Hope you brought your wheelbarrow. You’re going to need it. After QE3 kicks in and the Fed starts printing money like there’s no tomorrow, the dollar won’t be worth spit.

from: World Net Daily; Rep. Ron Paul on the Fed

A member of Congress who has been pushing for more transparency, including an audit, of the Federal Reserve for years, says the announcement Friday that the quasi-governmental agency is going to print more money to try to help the U.S. economy isn’t surprising.

Nor is it smart, said U.S. Rep. Ron Paul.

“No one is surprised by the Fed’s action today to inject even more money into the economy through additional asset purchases. The Fed’s only solution for every problem is to print more money and provide more liquidity,” Paul said.

“Mr. Bernanke and Fed governors appear not to understand that our current economic malaise resulted directly because of the excessive credit the Fed already pumped into the system.”

The Federal Reserve said today it is launching its third attempt to revive the U.S. economy, once again by printing more money.

According to a report in CNN, this edition of the program will involve having the government buy $40 billion in mortgage-backed securities per month – with no set end date.

There is a petition process set up to urge members of Congress to act on plans to audit the Fed.

The report says the central bank’s objective is to keep interest rates low, and thus trigger more spending and more hiring.

The Fed has been trying to impact the economy just about since Barack Obama took over the White House, but its usual tool – lowering interest rates – is ineffective now since those rates have been approaching zero for most of that time.

“For all of its vaunted policy tools, the Fed now finds itself repeating the same basic action over and over in an attempt to prime the economy with more debt and credit,” Paul said. “But this latest decision to provide more quantitative easing will only prolong our economic stagnation, corrupt market signals, and encourage even more misallocation and malinvestment of resources.

“Rather than stimulating a real recovery by focusing on a strong dollar and market interest rates, the Fed’s announcement today shows a disastrous detachment from reality on the part of our central bank. Any further quantitative easing from the Fed, in whatever form, will only make our next economic crash that much more serious,” he warned.

There are answers to your questions about the complicated Federal Reserve issue in “End the Fed,” “No More National Debt” and “The Case Against the Fed.”

Paul for years has advocated a full audit of the Federal Reserve, which routinely shrouds its actions in secrecy. Just this week, the U.S. House on a 327-98 vote adopted a bill that would set an audit process in motion.

It now is going to the Senate, where Sen. Harry Reid previously has been receptive to the idea, although there’s no word whether he’ll take time for it now.

Paul  argued that the Federal Reserve simply is illegal. Some of his concerns have revolved around Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution, which assigns to Congress the right to coin money.

There is no mention in the Constitution of a central bank, and it wasn’t until the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 that the Fed was created. (Thanks a lot, Woodrow Wilson)

Paul previously has said, “Throughout its nearly 100-year history, the Federal Reserve has presided over the near-complete destruction of the United States dollar. Since 1913 the dollar has lost over 95 percent of its purchasing power, aided and abetted by the Federal Reserve’s loose monetary policy.”

And he’s proposed repeatedly the idea of auditing the Fed to determine exactly what it has been doing and then begin making corrections. With a book titled “End the Fed,” he’s made no secret of his ultimate goal.

That the Fed is at least partly to blame for the financial problems that have developed in the U.S. seems not to be in dispute.

It was longtime Federal Reserve chairman Ben. S. Bernanke who admitted as much.

Bernanke said it was the Fed that caused the Great Depression, the worldwide economic downturn that persisted from 1929 until about 1939. It was the longest and worst depression ever experienced by the industrialized Western world. While originating in the U.S., it ended up causing drastic declines in output, severe unemployment and acute deflation in virtually every country on earth. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, “the Great Depression ranks second only to the Civil War as the gravest crisis in American history.”

At a Nov. 8, 2002, conference to honor economist Milton Friedman’s 90th birthday, Bernanke, then a Federal Reserve governor, gave a speech at Friedman’s old home base, the University of Chicago.

After citing how Friedman and a co-author documented the Fed’s continual contraction of the money supply during the Depression and its aftermath – and the subsequent abandonment of the gold standard by many nations in order to stop the devastating monetary contraction – Bernanke added:

Before the creation of the Federal Reserve, Friedman and [Anna] Schwartz noted, bank panics were typically handled by banks themselves – for example, through urban consortiums of private banks called clearinghouses. If a run on one or more banks in a city began, the clearinghouse might declare a suspension of payments, meaning that, temporarily, deposits would not be convertible into cash. Larger, stronger banks would then take the lead, first, in determining that the banks under attack were in fact fundamentally solvent, and second, in lending cash to those banks that needed to meet withdrawals. Though not an entirely satisfactory solution – the suspension of payments for several weeks was a significant hardship for the public – the system of suspension of payments usually prevented local banking panics from spreading or persisting. Large, solvent banks had an incentive to participate in curing panics because they knew that an unchecked panic might ultimately threaten their own deposits.

It was in large part to improve the management of banking panics that the Federal Reserve was created in 1913. However, as Friedman and Schwartz discuss in some detail, in the early 1930s the Federal Reserve did not serve that function. The problem within the Fed was largely doctrinal: Fed officials appeared to subscribe to Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon’s infamous “liquidationist” thesis, that weeding out “weak” banks was a harsh but necessary prerequisite to the recovery of the banking system. Moreover, most of the failing banks were small banks (as opposed to what we would now call money-center banks) and not members of the Federal Reserve System. Thus the Fed saw no particular need to try to stem the panics. At the same time, the large banks – which would have intervened before the founding of the Fed – felt that protecting their smaller brethren was no longer their responsibility. Indeed, since the large banks felt confident that the Fed would protect them if necessary, the weeding out of small competitors was a positive good, from their point of view.

In short, according to Friedman and Schwartz, because of institutional changes and misguided doctrines, the banking panics of the Great Contraction were much more severe and widespread than would have normally occurred during a downturn. …

History records that in 1913 President Woodrow Wilson approved the Federal Reserve Act but later reflected that his actions “unwittingly ruined my country.”

Wilson said that since the U.S. system of credit is concentrated in the hands of a few, “we have become … one of the most completely controlled and dominated governments in the civilized world.”

New Additions to The Republican Platform

by:  and the Common Constitutionalist

Last week, the tea-party-supporting group Freedom Works declared victory when it saw the platform content – asserting that 11.5 of its 12 proposals had been included. (The platform calls for a tax system that is “flatter,” but not the “flat tax” FreedomWorks and other conservatives wanted.)

The human-life amendment was in the 2008 platform. In the 2012 platform, adopted and released Tuesday, there are many new planks. Here’s a sample:

A call to audit the Federal Reserve

“Audit the Fed” is a rallying cry for Ron Paul supporters and the tea party. As the Fed considers a third round of monetary stimulus, known as “quantitative easing,” the calls for more transparency in Fed decision-making have become part of the larger conversation about how to strengthen the economic recovery without sparking inflation.

The Republican Party will “work to advance substantive legislation” that brings transparency and accountability to the Federal Reserve, the platform says. The first step is through “an annual audit of the Federal Reserve’s activities.”

Romney has said that he would replace Ben Bernanke as Fed chairman, but hasn’t floated replacements, nor commented on the monetary policy planks of the platform.

A return to the gold standard?

Alongside “Audit the Fed,” this is another long-standing proposal by Congressman Paul on monetary policy. In fact, the platform does not contain the phrase “gold standard.” It refers to a commission established shortly after the inauguration of President Reagan in 1981 to “consider the feasibility of a metallic basis for US currency.”

The panel advised against such a move. “Now, three decades later, as we face the task of cleaning up the wreckage of the current administration’s policies, we propose a similar commission to investigate possible ways to set a fixed value for the dollar,” the platform says.

Protecting access to ammunition

In the wake of recent shooting rampages, calls have increased for legislation to ban high-capacity gun magazines, which allow dozens of bullets to be loaded at a time. In contrast with the 2008 Republican platform, the 2012 document stakes a position on access to ammunition.

“We oppose legislation that is intended to restrict our Second Amendment rights by limiting the capacity of clips or magazines or otherwise restoring the ill-considered Clinton gun ban,” the platform states.

The Clinton-era ban on assault weapons, enacted in 1994, included a ban on “large capacity ammunition feeding devices.” The law expired in 2004.

Reinventing Medicare and Medicaid

The Romney-Ryan proposal to reform the twin federal health-care entitlements for seniors, the poor, and the disabled is now in black and white in the 2012 platform.

“The first step is to move the two programs away from their current unsustainable defined-benefit entitlement model to a fiscally sound defined-contribution model,” the platform says. “This is the only way to limit costs and restore consumer choice for patients and introduce competition.”

Medicare moves to a “premium-support” model, a voucher-like system in which seniors use their government subsidy to purchase private health insurance or traditional Medicare. Medicaid becomes a block-grant program, in which the federal government gives a defined amount to each state, which then uses the money as it sees fit toward insuring the poor and disabled.

The platform also hints at an increase in the eligibility age for Medicare, currently 65.

“Without disadvantaging retirees or those nearing retirement, the age [of] eligibility for Medicare must be made more realistic in terms of today’s longer life span,” it says.

No more “leaks for political purposes”

In some places, the platform reads like a primal scream against the Obama administration. Exhibit A is the killing of Osama bin Laden, a huge, undisputed victory for the president that Republicans have been trying to diminish. Bin Laden is not mentioned explicitly in the platform, but information leaks surrounding the operation that left him dead have given Republicans the hook they need.

“The current administration’s leaks of classified information have imperiled intelligence assets which are vital to American security,” the platform states.

Let’s not stand up and cheer our, at least, partial victory just yet. After all, these are just words on paper and are easily manipulated and disregarded after the election, but it appears to be a step in the right direction.

Even if the election goes our way, we all know the work has just started. Those who pledge the reforms must be held to account.

Morphing Reid

Harry Reid on Illegal Immigration in 1993:

And now Harry in 2011 after spending far too much time in Washington DC, insulated from the real world:

Harry on, “Audit the Fed”, 1995

Here’s Harry just a few years ago as he’s up for relection:

Now Harry has a chance to realize his decades old dream to audit the fed and: