Sunday, January 30, 2011

Friday, January 28, 2011

Obama and the Bodysnatchers

My pal, a frequent Spectator contributor and a super smart guy, Aram Bakshian, summed it up perfectly after Barack Obama's State of the Union address.

"Obama does not seem like a leader anymore," he said.

It is sadly true. This was painfully apparent in tonight's speech. It was as if the Bodysnatchers had gotten hold of Mr. Obama and put a sixth grader's brain in him. There were only a few glimpses of Obama the "intellectual" socialist on display tonight. Mostly, his speech sounded as if it could have been given by any 1958 Republican elementary school student. The problem is that this is not 1958 America.

This is a much changed America, and one that has put itself into a terribly confining box.

When Mr. Obama talks about reducing the deficit, it's almost comical. The changes he proposes are so minuscule in terms of their effect on the budget that it's as if he is saying he can throw a rock to the moon. This country's deficit is spectacularly beyond his control. Only really painful surgery -- drastic, draconian cuts in Social Security and in Medicare, and wildly higher taxes on upper income people -- will come even close to fixing the problem.

The GOP has succeeded in making the tax part of these off limits, which makes certain the problem will get even worse. Mr. Obama did not come within a mile of telling the truth about it. He has been completely boxed in by the GOP, to an extent he would find deeply upsetting if he ever admitted it to himself.

When Mr. Obama says he's going to reform American education by setting higher standards, he is just baying at the moon. Most of the nation's public school pupils are not achieving at even close to the rates of the students in other advanced nations. The problem is intensely concentrated among the nonwhite students of this nation. If wecannot find a way to get these kids working, and working hard, to reach basic educational standards, we will face educational and job force catastrophe. For their sake and for the nation's sake, they have to be helped to help themselves. Unless they can be brought up to standards of other industrial nations, we will become a third world country. This remediation can be done and must be done.

There was not one word about this in Mr. Obama's speech. He kept talking about the Sputnik moment in 1957 when the USA made a major effort to improve its science education. I can remember those days very well. The crisis is that we do not have even remotely the same kind of student population we did in 1957. Not a word about that, either.

The crisis in non-white America will kill us if we don't get it fixed, and slogans and test score measures will not do it.

Truth to tell, I don't know what will fix the problem, but I know it can be done and we had better do it.

His bragging about Afghanistan rang a bit hollow, too. If progress is indeed being made in that sad country, the soldiers I talk to do not see it. Time for them to leave. There is just no reason for us to be there any longer.

His ridiculous words about the sanctions on Iran stopping them or slowing them down were almost sad. Israeli spycraft with software is doing something, but Iran is still a super catastrophe in the making.

There were two glimpses of the old Obama -- when he slammed "subsidies" for oil companies, which of course do not get any subsidies, but have business deductions the way every other business does, he sounded every bit like the envious skinny Harvard man he once was. When he railed against tax breaks that he considered identical to government spending, that was outright socialism. That concept implies that all the income in the nation belongs to the state, and that if we let working people keep any of it, that is the same as a government expenditure. The opposite is true. The income belongs to the people, and they allow government to have some of it. But, of course, the servant has become the master now.

One final note: in its lack of eloquence, its complete absence of high points, its elementary school pedagogy, its complete absence of any interesting or memorable phrases, it was possibly the lamest SOTU speech I have ever heard.

Once again, Aram Bakshian, a far smarter man than I am, said it well. Mr. Obama just does not seem like a leader anymore, and, I will add, certainly not like an orator. This was a disappointing evening.

Ben Stein is a writer, actor, economist, and lawyer living in Beverly Hills and Malibu. He writes "Ben Stein's Diary" for every issue of The American Spectator.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Joe Rogan - The American War Machine

A very cool combination of some of my rants connected with some great video editing by a youtube user named "TheParadigmShift"
- Joe Rogan

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Economy Cannot Recover Until the Big Banks Are Broken Up


A lot of people still haven't heard that the economy cannot recover until the big banks are broken up.

But virtually all independent economists and financial experts say that it is vital to break up the giant banks, including:

  • Dean and professor of finance and economics at Columbia Business School, and chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President George W. Bush, R. Glenn Hubbard
  • Former Tarp overseer and creator of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Elizabeth Warren
  • The leading monetary economist and co-author with Milton Friedman of the leading treatise on the Great Depression, Anna Schwartz
  • Economics professor and creator of the "efficient market hypothesis", Eugene Fama
  • Economics professor and senior regulator during the S & L crisis, William K. Black
  • Professor of entrepreneurship and finance at the Chicago Booth School of Business, Luigi Zingales

Why do these experts say the giant banks need to be broken up?

Well, small banks have been lending much more than the big boys. The giant banks which received taxpayer bailouts have been harming the economy by slashing lending, giving higher bonuses, and operating at higher costs than banks whichdidn't get bailed out.

As Fortune pointed out, the only reason that smaller banks haven't been able to expand and thrive is that the too-big-to-fails have decreased competition:

Growth for the nation's smaller banks represents a reversal of trends from the last twenty years, when the biggest banks got much bigger and many of the smallest players were gobbled up or driven under...

As big banks struggle to find a way forward and rising loan losses threaten to punish poorly run banks of all sizes, smaller but well capitalized institutions have a long-awaited chance to expand.

So the very size of the giants squashes competition, and prevents the small and medium size banks to start lending to Main Street again.

And as I noted in December 2008, the big banks are the major reason why sovereign debt has become a crisis:

The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) is often called the "central banks' central bank", as it coordinates transactions between central banks.

BIS points out in a new report that the bank rescue packages have transferred significant risks onto government balance sheets, which is reflected in the corresponding widening of sovereign credit default swaps:

The scope and magnitude of the bank rescue packages also meant that significant risks had been transferred onto government balance sheets. This was particularly apparent in the market for CDS referencing sovereigns involved either in large individual bank rescues or in broad-based support packages for the financial sector, including the United States. While such CDS were thinly traded prior to the announced rescue packages, spreads widened suddenly on increased demand for credit protection, while corresponding financial sector spreads tightened.
In other words, by assuming huge portions of the risk from banks trading in toxic derivatives, and by spending trillions that they don't have, central banks have put their countries at risk from default.

A study of 124 banking crises by the International Monetary Fund found that propping banks which are only pretending to be solvent hurts the economy:

Existing empirical research has shown that providing assistance to banks and their borrowers can be counterproductive, resulting in increased losses to banks, which often abuse forbearance to take unproductive risks at government expense. The typical result of forbearance is a deeper hole in the net worth of banks, crippling tax burdens to finance bank bailouts,and even more severe credit supply contraction and economic decline than would have occurred in the absence of forbearance.

Cross-country analysis to date also shows that accommodative policy measures (such as substantial liquidity support, explicit government guarantee on financial institutions’ liabilities and forbearance from prudential regulations) tend to be fiscally costly and that these particular policies do not necessarily accelerate the speed of economic recovery.


All too often, central banks privilege stability over cost in the heat of the containment phase: if so, they may too liberally extend loans to an illiquid bank which is almost certain to prove insolvent anyway. Also, closure of a nonviable bank is often delayed for too long, even when there are clear signs of insolvency (Lindgren, 2003). Since bank closures face many obstacles, there is a tendency to rely instead on blanket government guarantees which, if the government’s fiscal and political position makes them credible, can work albeit at the cost of placing the burden on the budget, typically squeezing future provision of needed public services.
Now, Greece, Portugal, Spain and many other European countries - as well as the U.S. and Japan - are facing serious debt crises. We are no longer wealthy enough to keep bailing out the bloated banks. See this, this, this, this, this and this.

Indeed, the top independent experts say that the biggest banks are insolvent (seethis, for example), as they have been many times before. By failing to break up the giant banks, the government will keep taking emergency measures (
see this and this)to try to cover up their insolvency. But those measures drain the life blood out of the real economy.

And by failing to break them up, the government is guaranteeing that they will take crazily risky bets again and again, and the government will wrack up more and more debt bailing them out in the future.
(Anyone who thinks that Congress will use the current financial regulation - Dodd-Frank - to break up banks in the middle of an even bigger crisis is dreaming. If the giant banks aren't broken up now - when they are threatening to take down the world economy - they won't be broken up next timethey become insolvent either. And see this. In other words, there is no better time than today to break them up).

Moreover, Richard Alford - former New York Fed economist, trading floor economist and strategist - recently showed that banks that get too big benefit from "information asymmetry" which disrupts the free market.

Indeed, Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz noted in September that giants like Goldman are using their size to manipulate the market:

"The main problem that Goldman raises is a question of size: 'too big to fail.' In some markets, they have a significant fraction of trades. Why is that important? They trade both on their proprietary desk and on behalf of customers. When you do that and you have a significant fraction of all trades, you have a lot of information."

Further, he says, "That raises the potential of conflicts of interest, problems of front-running, using that inside information for your proprietary desk. And that's why the Volcker report came out and said that we need to restrict the kinds of activity that these large institutions have. If you're going to trade on behalf of others, if you're going to be a commercial bank, you can't engage in certain kinds of risk-taking behavior."

The giants (especially Goldman Sachs) have also used high-frequency program trading which not only distorts the markets - making up more than 70% of stock trades - but which also lets the program trading giants take a sneak peak at what the real (that is, human) traders are buying and selling, and then trade on the insider information. See this, this, this, this and this. (This is frontrunning, which is illegal; but it is a lot bigger than garden variety frontrunning, because the program traders are not only trading based on inside knowledge of what their own clients are doing, they are also trading based on knowledge of what all other traders are doing). Goldman also admitted that its proprietary trading program can "manipulate the markets in unfair ways".

Moreover, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, and Morgan Stanley together hold 80% of the country's derivatives risk, and 96% of the exposure to credit derivatives. Experts say that derivatives will never be reined inuntil the mega-banks are broken up - and see this - even though the lack of transparency in derivatives is one of the main risks to the economy.

The giant banks have also allegedly used their Counterparty Risk Management Policy Group (CRMPG) to exchange secret information and formulate coordinated mutually beneficial actions, all with the government's blessings.

Again, size matters. If a bunch of small banks did this, manipulation by numerous small players would tend to cancel each other out. But with a handful of giants doing it, it can manipulate the entire economy in ways which are not good for the American citizen.

In addition, as everyone from Paul Krugman to Simon Johnson has noted, the banks are so big and politically powerful that they have bought the politicians and captured the regulators. So their very size is preventing the changes needed to fix the economy.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

10 Modern Methods of Mind Control

Nicholas West
Activist Post

The more one researches mind control, the more one will come to the conclusion that there is a coordinated script that has been in place for a very long time with the goal to turn the human race into non-thinking automatons. For as long as man has pursued power over the masses, mind control has been orchestrated by those who study human behavior in order to bend large populations to the will of a small "elite" group. Today, we have entered a perilous phase where mind control has taken on a physical, scientific dimension that threatens to become a permanent state if we do not become aware of the tools at the disposal of the technocratic dictatorship unfolding on a worldwide scale.

Modern mind control is both technological and psychological. Tests show that simply by exposing the methods of mind control, the effects can be reduced or eliminated, at least for mind control advertising and propaganda. More difficult to counter are the physical intrusions, which the military-industrial complex continues to develop and improve upon.

1. Education -- This is the most obvious, yet still remains the most insidious. It has always been a would-be dictator's ultimate fantasy to "educate" naturally impressionable children, thus it has been a central component to Communist and Fascist tyrannies throughout history. No one has been more instrumental in exposing the agenda of modern education than Charlotte Iserbyt -- one can begin research into this area by downloading a free PDF of her book,The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America, which lays bare the role of Globalist foundations in shaping a future intended to produce servile drones lorded over by a fully educated, aware elite class.

2. Advertising and Propaganda -- Edward Bernays has been cited as the inventor of the consumerist culture that was designed primarily to target people's self-image (or lack thereof) in order to turn a want into a need. This was initially envisioned for products such as cigarettes, for example. However, Bernays also noted in his 1928 book, Propaganda, that "propaganda is the executive arm of the invisible government." This can be seen most clearly in the modern police state and the growing citizen snitch culture, wrapped up in the pseudo-patriotic War on Terror. The increasing consolidation of media has enabled the entire corporate structure to merge with government, which now utilizes the concept of propaganda placement. Media; print, movies, television, and cable news can now work seamlessly to integrate an overall message which seems to have the ring of truth because it comes from so many sources, simultaneously. When one becomes attuned to identifying the main "message," one will see this imprinting everywhere. And this is not even to mention subliminal messaging.

3. Predictive Programming -- Many still deny thatpredictive programming is real. I would invite anyone to examine the range of documentation put together by Alan Watt and come to any other conclusion. Predictive programming has its origins in predominately elitist Hollywood, where the big screen can offer a big vision of where society is headed. Just look back at the books and movies which you thought were far-fetched, or "science fiction" and take a close look around at society today. For a detailed breakdown of specific examples, Vigilant Citizenis a great resource that will probably make you look at "entertainment" in a completely different light.

4. Sports, Politics, Religion -- Some might take offense at seeing religion, or even politics, put alongside sports as a method of mind control. The central theme is the same throughout: divide and conquer. The techniques are quite simple: short circuit the natural tendency of people to cooperate for their survival, and teach them to form teams bent on domination and winning. Sports has always had a role as a key distraction that corrals tribal tendencies into a non-important event, which in modern America has reached ridiculous proportions where protests will break out over a sport celebrity leaving their city, but essential human issues such as liberty are giggled away as inconsequential. Political discourse is strictly in a left-right paradigm of easily controlled opposition, while religion is the backdrop of nearly every war throughout history.

5. Food, Water, and Air -- Additives, toxins, and other food poisons literally alter brain chemistry to create docility and apathy. Fluoride in drinking water has been proven to lower IQ; Aspartame and MSG are excitotoxins which excite brain cells until they die; and easy access to the fast food that contains these poisons generally has created a population that lacks focus and motivation for any type of active lifestyle. Most of the modern world is perfectly groomed for passive receptiveness -- and acceptance -- of the dictatorial elite. And if you choose to diligently watch your diet, they are fully prepared to spray the population from the above.

6. Drugs -- This can be any addictive substance, but the mission of mind controllers is to be sure you are addicted to something. One major arm of the modern mind control agenda is psychiatry, which aims to define all people by their disorders, as opposed to their human potential. This was foreshadowed in books such as Brave New World. Today, it has been taken to even further extremes as amedical tyranny has taken hold where nearly everyone has some sort of disorder -- particularly those who question authority. The use of nerve drugs in the military has led to record numbers of suicides. Worst of all, the modern drug state now has over 25% of U.S. children on mind-numbing medication.

7. Military testing -- The military has a long history as the testing ground for mind control. The military mind is perhaps the most malleable, as those who pursue life in the military generally resonate to the structures of hierarchy, control, and the need for unchallenged obedience to a mission. For the increasing number of military personal questioning their indoctrination, a recent story highlighted DARPA's plans for transcranial mind control helmets that will keep them focused.

8. Electromagnetic spectrum -- An electromagnetic soup envelops us all, charged by modern devices of convenience which have been shown to have a direct impact on brain function. In a tacit admission of what is possible, one researcher has been working with a "god helmet" to induce visions by altering the electromagnetic field of the brain. Our modern soup has us passively bathed by potentially mind-altering waves, while a wide range of possibilities such as cell phone towers is now available to the would-be mind controller for more direct intervention.

9. Television, Computer, and "flicker rate"-- It's bad enough that what is "programmed" on your TV (accessed via remote "control") is engineered; it is all made easier by literally lulling you to sleep, making it a psycho-social weapon. Flicker rate tests show that alpha brain waves are altered, producing a type of hypnosis -- which doesn't portend well for the latest revelation that lights can transmitcoded Internet data by "flickering faster than the eye can see." The computer's flicker rate is less, but through video games, social networks, and a basic structure which overloads the brain with information, the rapid pace of modern communication induces an ADHD state. A study of video games revealed that extended play can result in lower blood flow to the brain, sapping emotional control. Furthermore, role-playing games of lifelike war and police state scenarios serve to desensitize a connection to reality. One look at the WikiLeaks video Collateral Murder should be familiar to anyone who has seen a game like Call of Duty.

10. Nanobots -- From science fiction horror, directly to the modern brain; the nanobots are on the way. Direct brain modification already has been packaged as "neuroengineering." A Wired articlefrom early 2009 highlighted that direct brain manipulation via fiber optics is a bit messy, but once installed "it could make someone happy with the press of a button." Nanobots take the process to an automated level, rewiring the brain molecule by molecule. Worse, these mini droids can self-replicate, forcing one to wonder how this genie would ever get back in the bottle once unleashed. Expected date of arrival? Early 2020s.

A concerted effort is underway to manage and predict human behavior so that the social scientists and the dictatorial elite can control the masses and protect themselves from the fallout of a fully awake free humanity. Only by waking up to their attempts to put us to sleep do we stand a chance of preserving our free will.

America, have you forgotten history?

Budget Hero