Odd Citizen

Odd Citizen
An Odd Citizen’s Search For Vanishing Freedoms

Government’s Illegal Stock Market Manipulation Suspected

May 31st, 2009

As a long time observer of the stock market and an active participant I’ve been quite amazed by the stock market’s 3 month, 31.7% rise from 3/6/09 to 5/29/09 as this is being written. There is something quite strange about the pattern, in that short term corrections that normally occur in such a market are absent, or lasted only a day or so.

Given the current out-of-control politics, and increasing lawlessness of the federal government one can justifiably ask whether the market is being manipulated by the government. A Google search produced several interesting tidbits.

First, a video of an interview displayed the observation by Dan Shaffer of Shaffer Asset Management wherein he pointed to evidence of what appeared to be government intervention in the markets during the current rally. I encourage you to examine the link yourself. A summary of his comments:

“Something strange happened during the last 7 or 8 weeks. Doreen you probably can concur on this — there was a power underneath the market that kept holding it up and trading the futures. I watch the futures every day and every tick, and a tremendous amount of volume came in a several points during the last few weeks, when the market was just about ready to break, and it shot right up again. Usually toward the end of the day – it happened a week ago Friday, at 7 minutes to 4 o’clock, almost 100,000 S&P futures contracts were traded, and then in the last 5 minutes, up to 4 o’clock, another 100,000 contracts were traded, and lifted the Dow from being down 18 to up over 44 or 50 points in 7 minutes. That is 10 to 20 billion dollars to be able to move the market in such a way. Who has that kind of money to move this market?

On top of that, the market has rallied up during the stress test uncertainty and moved the bank stocks up, and the bank stocks issued secondaries – they issues stock – they raised capital into this rally. It was perfect text book setup of controlling the markets – now that the stock has been issued…” [interrupted by Richard Suttmeier].

A second little bit of information surfaced a few years ago in reference to a so-called Plunge Protection Team, whereby:

The Working Group on Financial Markets, also know as the Plunge Protection Team, was created by Ronald Reagan to prevent a repeat of the Wall Street meltdown of October 1987. Its members include the Secretary of the Treasury, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, the Chairman of the SEC and the Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Recently, the team has been on high-alert given the increased volatility of the markets and, what Hank Paulson calls, “the systemic risk posed by hedge funds and derivatives.”

The article goes on to explain how the PPT is supposed to work, by buying up massive amounts of index futures so as to squeeze shorts and produce a strong market rally. Again, please read the article.

I’m not a fan of conspiracy theories since conspiracy requires much more secrecy and trust than can usually be found in real life. However, I do believe that the government can keep dirty secrets, and perhaps this is one of them.

Back in August 2005, a Canadian financial firm called Sprott Asset Management published a study entitled “The Visible Hand of Uncle Sam” available here in PDF format. This study provides a lot of details concerning the PPT. An interesting quote from the report (Pg. 5) corresponds in an eerie way with what Dan Shaffer reported. They’re talking about the day after the 1987 crash.

Stewart and Hertzberg combined a detailed reconstruction of that Tuesday’s trading activity with extensive interviews of market participants to underscore the gravity of the situation. By approximately 12:30 p.m., trading in many large-capitalization stocks
had all but ceased, and calls for the NYSE to close grew louder. Despite remarkable pressure, though, the exchange remained open. This proved a fortuitous decision, because as the paper recounted, a stunning recovery would soon commence: In the space of about five or six minutes, the Major Market Index futures contract, the only viable surrogate for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the only major index still trading, staged the most powerful rally in its history. The MMI rose on the Chicago Board of Trade from a discount of nearly 60 points to a premium of about 12 points. Because each point represents about five in the industrial average, the rally was the equivalent of a lightning-like 360-point rise in the Dow. Some believe that this extraordinary move set the stage for the salvation of the world’s markets.

I suppose some might say that secret government manipulation of stock market prices is beneficial in that it is intended to prevent collapse. I vehemently disagree with this. If such a secret program of intervention exists, who does it serve? Why is it secret? It is apparent that it exploits the vulnerabilities of short sellers, using their losses and fear of losses to goose the market. These are citizens too, and don’t deserve to have the government plotting and acting against their economic interests.

And in the current political context, with banks attempting to recapitalize a rising market is beneficial to them. Has Geithner engaged in market manipulation in order to benefit his banker buddies? Or perhaps Obama wants a rising market as a proxy indicator of his “successful” recover program?

Stock market manipulation is a crime if done by private citizens. It is still a crime if done by the U.S. Government.

Women Should Not be Allowed in Military Combat

May 26th, 2009

On the Memorial Day holiday weekend an article appeared,
British Army to rethink ban on women in combat. This brings up a subject that is likely to emerge in the U.S. as well, especially given the present political climate. This concerns me as a citizen, a father of daughters and a combat veteran.

So what’s wrong with women in combat? A lot. And it’s much more than a question of a woman’s ability to carry a heavy load. My objections to this idea stem from the cultural changes required to accept women in a combat role.

My main objection is that men (at least in my generation) are taught to honor and protect women and children. Boys are taught not to hit girls. I think this makes good sense and is an essential element of our civilization. Sending women into combat utterly destroys this taboo.

In a war, particularly in modern insurgency situations, where much of the fighting is done within civilian occupied areas, a civilized armed force will seek to minimize casualties among women and children. But now, suppose that our armed forces and those of our enemies begin to employ women and children as combatants. Now the moral duty to protect women is shattered. After all, they’re represented by fellow soldiers and the enemy.

In our most recent wars, the U.S. military has exerted extraordinary efforts to avoid targeting women and children. This is a very inconvenient thing for soldiers to have to contend with — but it is the right thing, and they know it.

Ask any infantryman who’s fought in Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan what it felt like to be approached by a possibly threatening female who might be carrying a live grenade. What would be the moral and emotional consequence of shooting that woman? The situation has occurred all too many times. It’s ugly beyond description. Bringing females into combat roles leaves only one choice, shoot and kill the woman. And what’s next. Children?

Are western countries really so feminized that they can’t find men to fight their wars? I find that hard to believe. In WW-II the U.S. had a population (1940) of 132 million and fielded an armed force of 11.9 million. With our current population of 304 Million we’re straining to field 2.7 million in active and reserve forces.

The consequences of allowing females into combat are not good.

1) Making women combatants destroys the civilized virtue requiring protection of women and children by men. This is the paramount reason to reject involving women in military combat.

2) As shown by female casualties in the current Iraq war, the death of a woman soldier all too often produces orphans, since many of these are single mothers.

3) Women are not suited by temperament or by physical characteristics for the highly aggressive, ultra-violent pursuit of victory in battle. Much of an army’s success depends upon intimidation of the enemy. A force composed of women is far less intimidating than one consisting of macho men. Intimidation of the enemy saves lives in wartime.

4) Feminization of warfare emasculates men in a culture that already discourages duty to defend country and freedom. We need women to be mothers, children to be children. Warfare takes a toll on all participants — it is not a toll that women should ever suffer. Let the men take care of the ugly duties of warfare for which they are suited by biology and civilization.

Women are much too precious to be wasted in combat.

Lawless Government, Stunning Thuggery

May 19th, 2009

As the Obama government becomes ever more lawless certain members of congress are engaging in stunningly ugly acts of thuggery. Thanks to Freedom Watch we have this:

1) A hedge fund manager publishes his opinion in a newspaper. Nothing sinister or odd about that.

2) A senior member of congress, Barney Frank and some congressional henchmen threatens this citizen in a manner that the Godfather would find impressive. I find this behavior despicable and a criminal abuse of power.

This is no joke. It it is a serious act of criminality by an increasingly criminal government.

Plain Truth – Don’t Let Tyranny Win

May 18th, 2009

In a nutshell, here it is. The big lie. The huge threat to our freedom and our way of life.

The future is yours to decide, for now at least. Don’t waste the opportunity to preserve your liberty. Fight back against this madness.

Our Dear Leader Designs Autos Too

May 18th, 2009

In a breathtaking example of government by diktat, our Dear Leader Obama declares that cars will henceforth drive farther (35.5 mi.) per gallon of gas and emit less CO2 to “curb global warming.”

See:Obama to Set New Vehicle Rules, First Carbon Limit

Presumably the government/union dominated GM & Chrysler will oblige him — if they can, a dubious assumption to say the least. Remember, “It only has to be good enough for government work!”

What is the legal basis for this authority? We have a dictator. His friend Hugo Chavez would approve.

Tax Train A-Commin — Choo, Choo.

May 16th, 2009

A Bloomberg news report says Obama, the principal author of the current $1.8 Trillion deficit, is worried about too much borrowing and the potential for run-away interest rates. What whould we make of this? Is it a ploy to smoothe the way for government health care programs? Obama says health care costs are the reason for current economic problems.

Or is it a prelude for justification of massive tax increases?

Government Criminality

May 15th, 2009

George Will recently opined in a newspaper column that President Obama has acquired the “tincture of lawlessness.” Colorful language but a bit too delicate to describe the reality of a president showing complete disregard for the laws of the country and the Constitution he’s sworn to protect and defend.

Where is the law allowing the U.S. Government to:
1) Fire executives of automobile companies.
2) Force banks to accept government ownership.
3) Force bankruptcy provisions denying secured creditors a preferred position in bankruptcy.
4) Donating 55% ownership of Chrysler to the auto worksers union?
5) Seizing ownership of auto companies.
6) Permitting the Federal Reserve to spend TARP money any way that Geithner wants.

And now he wants to nationalize the health care industry, regulate hedge funds, set limits on executive compensation, and jigger the U.S. Census count, all without legal authority.

It would seem to me that any one of these actions should generate a lawsuit going to the Supreme Court. Where are the checks and balances?

While we’re at it, where is the law that allows the government to:
1) Interfere in education (Education)
2) Regulate business & labor (Commerce, Labor)
3) Regulate food and drugs (EPA, FDA)
4) Subsidize and supply social welfare programs (Human Services)
5) Produce entertainment via radio & TV or for politician’s enjoyment (at Lincoln Center) (public radio & tv & Various stealth programs)
6) Subsidize art (National Endowment for the Arts)
7) Regulate employment (Labor)
8) Regulate energy production and use (EPA, Engergy)
9) Provide retirement and Medical care (Social Security, Medicare)
10) Preserve a postal monopoly (?)
…. and on and on.

It’s time to do some really serious trimming, not with a scalpel but with an axe! The criteria needs to be “If the department isn’t specifically provided for in the Constitution, and only then if you can’t find something in this government department that you seriously benefit from every day, or if the department’s activities interfere with your liberties, then the whole department needs to be eliminated.” This would eliminate at least 85% of all Federal Government. Good riddence. We’d never even miss it except on payday when we’d celebrate more to spend.

Stimulus Fraud and Lies

May 6th, 2009

What Stimulus?

There are increasing reports of the economy coming back, as it always does after a recession. Like the swine flu, this recession appears to be much milder than the hype.

Did the monster stimulus pork bill nobody had time to read do the trick? Did this bring the economy back from the brink of a “Major Depression”? The answer is a resounding NO. Of the $787 Billion allocated for stimulus spending, as of 5/6/09 only about $15 Billion has actually been spent.

So if the Obama government wanted to save some money, it could pull back the authorization to spend the remaining $772 Billion, announcing major savings and victory in the fight against economic catastrophe.

As it is, there is no way to know where even the $15 Billion went. See:
Stimulus Details Not Available Until 2010 Another Obama flub (lie?) about transparency and accounting for every dime.

Furthermore, there’s no interest in Congress, especially among Democrats to monitor and control this spending. See:
Recovery Act Accountability committee members are no-show. To quote from the article:

So, too, said Earl Devaney, the ex-cop who’s now chairman of the Recovery Act Accountability and Transparency Board, charged with tracking the torrent of cash now pouring out of federal coffers.

“I’m going to have millions of citizens to help me,” he said, comparing run-of-the-mill Americans to inspectors general, the high-ranking officials charged with ferreting out waste and abuse in federal agencies.

“I’m going to have a million little IGs running around,” the chairman said Tuesday after his testimony before the subcommittee.

And perhaps that’s just as well, given the turnout of the panel tasked with keeping track of thousands of millions of dollars. Just three of the 10 members bothered to show up for the subcommittee’s second meeting, dramatically titled “Follow the Money Part II.”

So to summarize, the elected representatives don’t care where the money is going, and the public is deprived of the information needed to monitor it in the role as “little IGs running around.”

The stimulus monster isn’t doing anything that the economy won’t do all by itself. But it will result in massive inflation, stagnation, and taxation.

Repeal the rest of this monster while there’s still time.

How Republicans Can Win

May 4th, 2009

The recent defection of Arlen Specter from the Republican to the Democrat party illustrates dramatically what is wrong with American politics today. Mr. Specter changed party, not because he believed he could influence policy better as a Democrat, but because this change would allow him to continue in office. He “joined the winning team.” This says something about Mr. Specter, and in my opinion, about the current political climate as a whole. The news media, commentators, and the politicians all participate on the basis of who is winning vs. who is losing. Where to “win” is to gain votes. Little or no attention is paid to what these votes are for or against. It’s like a sport, the team that wins the most games is the winner — but the result of winning a game is a completely meaningless “score”, nothing significant is changed. But in politics, although there are winning and losing teams, the result of the wins and losses can be dramatic.

We’re now at a point where a lot of discussion is devoted to how the currently losing team, the Republicans, can and should rebuild their power and influence. There are two completely separate attitudes about this. One is the “Politics is a Game” attitude. The goal is to increase the number of Republican votes so as to win games. To this contingent it matters little what the new votes produce. Just elect more Republicans so they can again be king of the hill. Rah, rah! Our team is on the winning side. This is often described as “big tent” politics.

The alternative contingent believes the result of votes is more important than the party’s bragging rights over having a majority. What good is it to have a majority if the votes produce a result that is harmful? What good is it to be a member of a majority party that is working against everything one believes? In other words, what good is a big tent if it is filled with idiots and represented by shallow opportunists like Arlen Specter?

Personally, I took no pleasure in the past (years ago) when my team was the Republicans and they were the winning team, but this team’s entire focus was on winning (defined as electing more Republicans) — but not caring what was being won (or in this case lost through irresponsibility and government growth). So I became a Libertarian, hoping that this would provide a means of influencing beneficial outcomes. I’d switched from a strong/ineffective team to a weak/ineffective team. What to do now?

In the current situation we’re faced with a dominant “big tent” party that craves power and exercises it with reckless abandon. The big tent is filled with interest groups from all corners of the country, with a common goal to “get something” from the federal government. The idiot factor is that they don’t care a hoot where the “something” they’re wanting to get comes from or what this will do to the country, its laws, its economy or their freedoms as citizens. They’ve got their team in place, and rah! rah! they’re going to win. And, oh, by the way, their motives are pure and good. For now they are the dominant force.

In opposition we have two very weak forces, if about half of the voting population can be considered weakness. These are the weak/ineffective Republicans and the weak/ineffective Libertarians. If you believe in less government and more freedom, as I do, where should your support go?

Jeb Bush recently opined that Republicans shouldn’t look back to Reagan’s policies. It’s obvious to me that if the Republican party perpetuates the insipid politics of Bush-Clinton-Bush by following the lead of Jeb Bush, Romney and McCain, it will retain and deserve its minority status, and the Democrats will continue to push the country to the left. And if the Republicans follow the lead of the religious right, the abortion zealots, the morality in your bedroom police, it will continue to shrink. These policies are contrary to the principles of smaller, less intrusive government. Nowhere does the U.S. Constitution permit the regulation of morality by force of law.

The “culture wars” as they currently line up between the parties are as follows: Democrats believe government should tax and regulate nearly everything, but should leave morality to the individual. Republicans want less government except that they want government to forcefully impose their view of morality. This leaves no place for an individual who believes in less government overall and no regulation of morality by government. Neither Republicans nor Democrats believe in this combination of smaller, more tolerant government. Which leaves us with the Libertarians.

Although the Libertarian party preaches smaller, less intrusive government and moral tolerance, it has, of late begun to attract some strange elements, including pacifists, greens, anarchists, isolationists and xenophobes. These elements distract from the core message of the party and prevent it from being taken seriously by most citizens. This is why the closest thing to a serious Libertarian candidate, Ron Paul, chose to run as a Republican rather than a Libertarian. The Libertarians love him, but the Republicans of his district elect him. So who does more good, Bob Barr the defeated Libertarian candidate who now votes on nothing, or Ron Paul, the elected Republican congressman who opposes socialist forces in congress?

The path to power and success for the Republican party is to attract and represent Republicans, Democrats and Libertarians who believe that government should not be in the business of regulating morality, that government should respect and protect property and privacy, and that less government is better than more. Even many life-long Democrats believe in the literal interpretation of the Bill of Rights, including the second amendment. Current members of both parties are dissatisfied with regulatory excess, reckless spending, high taxes, wealth redistribution, and other social engineering schemes promoted by the Democrat party.

I quit the Republican party when it was strong but wrong. I’m inclined to rejoin the Republican party now that it is weak, humbled and seeking a proper direction. This direction should include aggressive reduction of the federal government’s size and power, restoring states rights, restoring constitutional constraints on government and staying out of the private lives and businesses of individuals. The agenda of the party should include pride in our history, patriotism and strength abroad. This is a winning combination which will, I believe, provide a political home for many individualist Democrats, Libertarians, and of course, present and past Republicans.

The Sky is Falling

May 1st, 2009

Things get to looking really strange when our senior government officials spend time advising us on the proper way to cover the mouth when coughing and admonish us to wash our hands.

But who knows, it might really be a crisis. We surely have enough of those, what with Global Warming crisis, Crisis in Pakistan, Economic Calamity, and now SWINE FLU!!!!

In case you’ve forgotten the tale and wonder how Al Gore, Ben Bernanke, Hank Paulson, Barak Obama, Janet Napolitano, Joe Biden, and other crisis mongers got their training in panic manufacturing, see HENNY-PENNY. Yes, they got it from their childhood bedtime stories. It makes about as much sense as all the above, and amuses the kids to boot.