Odd Citizen

Odd Citizen
An Odd Citizen’s Search For Vanishing Freedoms

Too Bad Good Not to Post

November 30th, 2010

Here’s a story everyone should read about the total idiocy of our Federal Government, particularly but not limited to the TSA. (from http://RedState.com )

TSA search of soldiers returning from war.

A bureaucracy is an organization specifically designed to relieve anyone participating in it from taking responsibility for anything it does or making any judgment or decision at all. It is for this reason that bureaucracy is the most evil of all human inventions and the main tool of tyrants and the most prolific source of oppression and misery.

Read this story and remember it when you vote and pay your taxes.

Government Rules & Terrorist Targets

November 24th, 2010

The current bruhaha over TSA’s naked body/grope screening is symptomatic of Federal attitudes towards everyone. In the “mind” of the bureaucracy, we’re all potential criminals and miscreants.

Just take note of the signage at any Federal facility, post office, park, government office building, etc. The first thing you’ll notice is a series of stern warnings not to cheat, steal, befoul or otherwise act unrespectfully or irresponsibly. See an example from one national park below: (Also, a previous article: Signs of Government Arrogance)

Then, in case you needed to have it, rules of conduct:

And of course, a warning to “Use the Toilet:”

And of course, fire safety and motor vehicle restrictions:

So in the context of normal federal government practice of treating all citizens as potential criminals, we have TSA saving us from terrorists. Let’s examine the procedure:

1) If you get through the metal detector without an alarm, you can go on the airplane. No box-cutters, no sir! You’re safe.

2) But if you have an artificial knee or hip, or a pacemaker, then you set off the buzzer. You need a body scan or a pat-down to search for what? For the metallic object that set off the metal detector? No, not that. They’re searching for plastic explosives hidden in your underwear.

3) If you’re a person with metal parts in your body, then you’re a potential terrorist bomber.

4) If you’re a bomber equipped with plastic explosives just be sure not to set off the metal detector.

Let’s see. The logic is that people with artificial joints or pacemakers, or who forget to take off their belt with a metal buckle, are the most likely to be terrorists. No, that would be profiling, so they have to randomly pat-down old ladies, children, and airline crew members. Makes perfect sense if you are a government bureaucrat.

The truth of this logic simply isn’t. Box cutters, double edge razor blades and nail clippers won’t work to take control of an airplane when the cockpit door is reinforced and locked, and the pilot is armed. Guns can’t be concealed in properly x-rayed luggage. My suggestion is to offer free air-fares to any properly credentialed law enforcement officer who is willing to carry his loaded weapon on-board. This would greatly reduce the potential for a terrorist to use hostages as leverage to take over an airplane.

The bombers have to be dealt with long before they get to the airport. For this we need to infiltrate intelligence agents into Muslim society here and abroad. The only proper way to deal with terrorists is to arrest or kill them before they can do harm. If one of them gets to the airport then some careful profiling and screening is definitely in order. The insanity of screening every passenger as if he is a potential terrorist is obvious.

It is shortsighted to believe that terrorists will forever concentrate on passenger air as a target. We’ve already seen air cargo, commuter trains (Spain & Germany), sporting events (Olympics), Hotels (Mumbai) and other targets attacked. The fact is that shopping malls, NASCAR races, political rallies, cruise ships, and other mass participation targets, some of them with huge built-in publicity potential, cannot have escaped the interest of terrorists. To believe that TSA type screening would even be possible to guard against attacks on these kinds of targets is foolish.

Now some might say that giving government agents the power to spy on and arrest or kill terrorists sets a precedent that could be used to suppress any non-government-approved group or activity. But isn’t that what is being done with organized crime? Yes, the killing part isn’t done domestically, but it is done abroad. One could argue that foreign terrorists on American soil should be handled the same way as al-Qaeda terrorists in the cross-hairs of a Predator drone are handled. Tight laws and procedures governing the anti-terrorist effort, combined with zealous oversight of the personnel involved would be vital. And this approach would relieve innocent American citizens from being treated a criminals when we travel, gather for events, and go about our private and public activities.

It’s time to reform government security attitudes and practices, starting with TSA and extending to all other government facilities and activities.

$1.15 Billion – Holder & Pelosi Dems. Pander to Crooks

November 23rd, 2010

$1.15 Billion for what? The lame-duck Senate, by voice vote (what else?), has voted to give 70 to 80 thousand black farmers $1.15 Billion to compensate them for claimed discriminatory treatment by the U.S. Department of agriculture.

There is something wrong with this. Namely:

Much of the cause for concern is the fact that there have been vastly more claims of discrimination than there are even black farmers in America. Sworn testimony before the House Judiciary Committee by the president of the National Black Farmers Association, John Boyd, put the number of black farmers in America at 18,000.

To date, more than 94,000 individuals have filed discrimination claims.

This is the second payoff from a 1999 class action settlement, known as Pigford vs. Glickman, in which the original plaintiff Timothy Pigford, along with 400 others, sued USDA for discrimination in its allocation of loans. The plaintiffs won, but since then, the number of claimants have vastly ballooned to unanticipated levels.

Over $1 billion has already been paid out to over 16,000 people, and this second round is expected to pay off an additional estimated 70,000 – 80,000 who missed the deadline to file their initial claims.

The report states that the whole thing, after the Pigford settlement, has been concocted by Eric Holder, a few of his cronies, and the Pelosi House Democrats.

Now it’s up to the Republicans to take it apart in the new session of Congress.

What a way to run a government!

Is a Gay Military a Better Military?

November 18th, 2010

OK, I give up. I don’t really want to write about the subject, but it just won’t go away. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

The real question we should ask is, do we really need or want homosexuals in the military? Why the pressure to have openly “gay” men as soldiers? Or even “closeted” homosexuals as soldiers?

Well, here are some possibilities:

1) We can’t find enough heterosexual males capable of carrying out military duties.

2) The military combat is such a wonderful experience that it is unfair to limit this opportunity to hetrosexual males alone.

3) Our armed forces will be strengthened and our enemies intimidated by introduction of nurturing, sensitive, artistic and fashion conscious soldiers into its ranks.

4) Society demands that our heterosexual soldiers must be cured of any residual homophobia that they may secretly harbor.

5) Encouraging gays to enter the armed forces will sweep them out of the ranks of civilized civilian society.

6) Along with increased female participation, this is a way of feminizing the armed forces — so as to make them more effective warriors.

7) The “queering” of the armed forces gives the politicians and pundits another reason for excusing the non-participation of their own sons.

8)  If the armed forces become sufficiently sensitive, caring, kind, and perverted, perhaps it will reduce the likelihood of war — after all, who’d deploy the Dutch army to do anything serious?

9) The Catholic clergy is cracking down, so this gives child molesters another place to find a career.

10) The U.S. doesn’t need a military anyway.

If you can’t find facts to refute all of these on their face, then you obviously don’t understand the first thing about the military or about war.

If you agree with these arguments, then I guess there’s no hope for you, so don’t ask, don’t tell.

Only $200 Billion Reduction? Pikers!

November 10th, 2010

The President’s Commission on debt reductions is composed of sissies who want to send the budget to the salon for ‘do’, when it should be sent to a barber shop for a true haircut. Or better yet, it should be submitted to a bunch of loggers for a clear-cut. My suggestion for easy and permanent spending reductions starts at $393 Billion, twice the commission’s figure, and then goes on from there. See here.

And that’s just a start. See this.

A Day on the Arizona Border

November 10th, 2010

Two harmless guys trekked across my property yesterday and stopped to drink from the garden hose. They’d walked for five days, originating near Veracruz, Mexico — about 890 miles south of here. They said they had to pay “Mafia types” $100 each to let them continue their northward journey.

But some of this traffic isn’t so harmless. See these abstracts from TucsonCitizen.com for Monday, Nov. 8th.

    (Nogales) Nogales agents arrested an illegal alien on Wednesday who has a conviction for communicating with a minor for immoral purpose.

    (Nogales) Agents assigned to the Nogales Station arrested an illegal alien on Tuesday who has a conviction for sexual intercourse with a minor, three + years younger.

    (Casa Grande) Casa Grande agents arrested an illegal alien on Sunday who has a conviction for unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor.

    (Casa Grande) Casa Grande agents identified an illegal alien on Friday who has a conviction for Continuous Sexual Abuse of Child.

    (Ajo) Agents assigned to the Ajo Station apprehended an illegal alien with an active warrant for homicide out of Washington state, Friday.

    (Douglas) Agents from the Douglas Station apprehended an illegal alien on Friday who is affiliated with the MS-13 street gang. The subject has multiple convictions for transporting/selling narcotic substance, possession of marijuana for sale and burglary.

    (Casa Grande) Casa Grande agents located skeletal remains in the West Desert Thursday.

    (Tucson) Agents assigned to the Tucson Station working at the State Route 86 Checkpoint seized a vehicle after it fled the Checkpoint and the subjects abandoned the vehicle that was transporting more than 320 pounds of marijuana on Wednesday.

    (Ajo) Agents assigned to the Ajo Station seized a vehicle Tuesday afternoon while conducting a vehicle stop in the West Desert. Agents stopped the vehicle and discovered more than 325 pounds of marijuana, with an estimated value of more than $260,000, when a Canine Team alerted to the vehicle.

    (Willcox) Willcox Station agents working at the State Route 191 Checkpoint seized a vehicle Tuesday afternoon after a service Canine Team alerted to the vehicle. Using Non-Intrusive Inspection Technology, agents discovered a false compartment in the vehicle hiding more than 85 pounds of marijuana with an estimated value of more than $68,000.

    (Douglas) Douglas agents, using an infra-red camera on Saturday, assisted the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agency in the apprehension of a U.S. citizen in connection with more than 200 pounds of marijuana.

    (Douglas) Agents assigned to the Douglas Station seized a vehicle Thursday afternoon while conducting a vehicle stop. Agents stopped the vehicle and discovered more than 100 pounds of marijuana with an estimated value of $80,000.

    (Casa Grande) Agents assigned to the Casa Grande Station stopped a vehicle Thursday and discovered more than 200 pounds of marijuana. The occupants attempted to abscond from the vehicle and agents were able to apprehend three subjects.

FED POMO for Stock Market Manipulation

November 8th, 2010

I have a hard time bending my mind around things like interest rates, FED open-market operations, bond yields and international exchange rates, but today I found some articles that discuss these things in terms of stock prices, something I’m quite comfortable discussing.

A chain of articles, starting with
This Is What Happens When The Market Gets Addicted To Federal Reserve Smack by Charles Hugh Smith, Of Two Minds, then linked to ZeroHedge and then the original article:
A Grand Unified Theory of Market Manipulation (The Precision Report, August 2009) … adds illustrated speculation, though not yet proof that the Federal Government has been manipulating stock prices upward, at least since March of 2009, a theme I’ve discussed here since early 2009 and as recently as October 21 here. Maybe the market manipulation we’ve been observing is in plain sight in the form of POMO (Permanent Open Market Operations) of the Federal Reserve of New York.

The Precision Report says:

There is much speculation and anecdotal information regarding the rally that began March 6 2009, which have suggested the gains are the result of massive manipulation on the part of the Federal Reserve (FR) and the large institutions that dominate Treasury securities dealing, program trading and the derivatives markets. Traders have reported that traditional indicators and metrics used for market analysis stopped working for periods of time or altogether, and that correlations among markets have been erratic and quick to change. Record program trading by Goldman Sachs as reported by the NYSE, heightened focus on high frequency trading (HFT), outsized profits by the large and well-connected banks, along with unprecedented intervention by the FR in the markets only fuel the manipulation speculation.

The article reports the direct stock market intervention of the FDNY The author then goes on to observe there is a direct motivational link between the Fed’s need to sell government bonds and the price of equities. As the equities market rises, drawing investment into stocks, the bond market’s investment appeal fades so interest rates have to rise in order to attract bond buyers.

The theory for which we have the greatest supporting evidence of manipulation surrounds the fact that the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRNY) began conducting permanent open market operations (POMO) on March 25, 2009 and has conducted 42 to date. Thanks to Thanassis Stathopoulos and Billy O’Nair for alerting us to the POMO Effect discovery and the development of associated trading edges. These auctions are conducted from about 10:30 am to 11:00 am on pre-announced days. In such auctions, the FRNY permanently purchases Treasury securities from selected dealers, with the total purchase amount for a day ranging from about $1.5 B to $7.5 B. These days are highly correlated with strong paint-the-tape closes, with the theory being that the large institutions that receive the capital injections are able to leverage this money by 100 to 500 times and then use it to ramp equities.

The Federal Reserve, under Ben Bernanke has a lot of contrary pressures put upon it by politics and Wall Street. The political pressure is toward lower interest rates to favor consumers and business borrowers at the expense of interest earners such as pension funds and social security recipients.

But Bernanke must also face the reality that if interest rates go too low then nobody will want to buy government bonds. With a 14 Trillion dollar debt to finance and refinance, the inability to roll this debt over is a frightening prospect indeed. The other end of that rattlesnake is that raising interest rates by buying U.S. Treasuries, as Bernanke announced he’d do, starting now, risks stoking a hyper-inflation, making the U.S. Dollar worthless and thus stimulating an international panic to dump U.S. dollars and bonds denominated therein.

The Precision article further points out that:

Killing the stock market to lower long term yields.
If Bernanke’s biggest threat is high long term yields, the easiest way to prevent or postpone a yield ramp is to kill the stock market and create a flight to safety situation that lowers long term yields.

we revised our theory and became open to the possibility that there would not be an intentional market crash, but that Bernanke and the FRNY would engage in a dance that would see equities rise, then correct
just as Treasuries were in danger of picking up downward momentum (and yields upwards momentum), then correct again just when it appeared that equities were in danger of crashing. In retrospect, this was the more logical choice because the FRNY, with the large member banks on its board, would not have permitted another major equities downturn if it could help it. Nor would the administration have permitted this, as it needs as much political capital possible to achieve its massive reform agenda (including healthcare). Such political capital would evaporate in an instant with another major hit to 401(K)’s. Not to say that Bernanke prefers a falling stock market (which would hurt his chances of re-nomination), but it is the lesser of two evils. For those who wonder why Bernanke, an expert in depressions, is operating from the Japanese playbook that resulted in their lost decade, we submit that it is intentional and preferred to financial apocalypse.
(emphasis added)

Remember, this was written in August, 2009. Now Bernanke has been reconfirmed for another term, the mid-term election is over, and interest rates continue to be near zero. So we may be near the precipice of hyper-inflation and/or a stock market crash due to the Feds need to drive capital from equities into “safer” bonds.

The most ugly part of this is that power to trigger or prevent these events lies with a single, unelected and quite unaccountable individual, Ben Bernanke. In this realm he has God-like powers, but his godliness is more like the ancient Greek variety. The ancient Greeks perceived their gods as fallible and capricious. Their gods were also capable of over-estimating their own capabilities.

So stand back. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens next.

What Now? A Congressional To-Do List

November 3rd, 2010

Now that the Republicans have taken control of the U.S. House of Representatives and strengthened their position in the Senate, what should they now do? Here are my suggestions for the first few months:

1) Forget about 2012 and the presidential race. That’s too far in the future and a distraction. There is more serious work to do right now.
2) Defund all of President Obama’s Czars. You can do this in an afternoon thereby reducing the damage being done by these unelected, non-confirmed officials. When defunding them, make sure to defund their salaries as well as the budgets for their departments so that they will depart immediately.
3) De-fund all Obamacare boards, commissions, agencies, and other bureaucratic apparatus attached to the Obama health care legislation.
4) Immediately introduce a bill to fully repeal the Obama health care law and insist on an early roll call vote. It won’t become law even if it passes both houses of congress, but it places down a marker that every member of congress will have to take home and explain to the voters.
5) Defund all EPA carbon/CO2 regulatory apparatus. Maybe defund some other EPA pet efforts as well, just to send a message.
6) Demand a vote to preserve the Bush tax cuts for all. Don’t let the democrats get away with spin about a tax cut for the “working poor.” DO IT NOW.
7) Audit the FED. Bernanke, his predecessors, the treasury and probably Goldman Sachs have undoubtedly engaged in shenanigans that are harmful. Stop them.
8) Apply the remaining balances in the TARP and Stimulus funds to reducing the debt.

Most of these things you, congress, can do on your own, right away. Some of the harder things will take more effort and more time. They may even have to await the president’s defeat to second term. Meanwhile, you can begin to build public support by planning, presenting and promoting economic reforms along the lines of those described here.