Tags: Obama

Heading Into Midterm Elections, Confidence in Congress Hits Record Low 7%

Screen Shot 2014-06-19 at 10.51.15 AMIt’s no surprise to anyone that Americans have zero faith in their so-called “Representatives.” The vast majority of these folks are lying, thieving, white-collar criminals, and we all know it. The real question is what, if anything, are we going to do about it?

I’m not someone who believes in centralized power, and I question whether in a world with the technological connectivity we have today, if we actually need to vote for someone else to vote for us. This seems like an extremely inefficient and outdated process. I haven’t yet come to my own conclusions on what specifically might be a preferable system, but I am certainly a proponent of decentralizing government and the political process itself. For more on this concept, I suggest, reading the following post from last week: The Coming Digital Anarchy.

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Texas VA Run Like a “Crime Syndicate” Claims Whistleblower

“For lack of a better term, you’ve got an organized crime syndicate,” a whistleblower who works in the Texas VA told The Daily Beast. “People up on top are suddenly afraid they may actually be prosecuted and they’re pressuring the little guys down below to cover it all up.”

What’s worse, the documents show the wrongdoing going unpunished for years, even after it was repeatedly reported to local and national VA authorities. That indicates a new troubling angle to the VA scandal: that the much touted investigations may be incapable of finding violations that are hiding in plain sight.  

– From the excellent Daily Beast article published yesterday: Exclusive: Texas VA Run Like a ‘Crime Syndicate,’ Whistleblower Says

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past week or so, you are probably well aware of the latest in a consistent stream of scandals that have rocked the Obama Administration since he took office over five years ago. Yes, I am referring to the Veterans Affairs (VA) scandal, and while you might think you have read enough on the topic, the following article is very important.

It tells the tale of a VA hospital in Texas that had institutionalized the practice of manipulating hospital wait lists many years ago. For example, all the way back in 2011, the VA’s inspector general investigated the Central Texas health-care system in response to complaints received. Despite finding that such manipulation was rampant, not a single VA official was disciplined. As you might expect, the practice continued and the hospital highlighted in this article actually received an award in the face of an OIG investigation!

As such, this story has much wider implications than the obvious one. It demonstrates why corruption, fraud and white-collar crime is metastasizing throughout the land. The rich and powerful have recognized the rule of law has been completely suspended when it comes to them. They realize that no matter what they do, the worst thing that will happen is a slap on the wrist. So they continue to eagerly commit crimes at every conceivable opportunity. Of course, it’s the crimes of the rich and powerful that affect the largest number of people, not the impoverished youth slinging a dime bag on some ghetto corner. But which one is getting locked up?

As I have said time and time again, this suspension of the rule of law for the so-called “elites” is the most cancerous thing pervading American society at the moment. Dealing with this will go a long way to solving a lot of other problems.

From The Daily Beast:

Last week, President Obama pledged to address allegations of corruption and dangerous inefficiencies in the veterans’ health-care system. But before the president could deliver on his pledge, the scandal has spread even further. New whistleblower testimony and internal documents implicate an award-winning VA hospital in Texas in widespread wrongdoing—and what appears to be systemic fraud.

Emails and VA memos obtained exclusively by The Daily Beast provide what is among the most comprehensive accounts yet of how high-level VA hospital employees conspired to game the system. It shows not only how they manipulated hospital wait lists but why—to cover up the weeks and months veterans spent waiting for needed medical care. If those lag times had been revealed, it would have threatened the executives’ bonus pay.

What’s worse, the documents show the wrongdoing going unpunished for years, even after it was repeatedly reported to local and national VA authorities. That indicates a new troubling angle to the VA scandal: that the much touted investigations may be incapable of finding violations that are hiding in plain sight.  

“For lack of a better term, you’ve got an organized crime syndicate,” a whistleblower who works in the Texas VA told The Daily Beast. “People up on top are suddenly afraid they may actually be prosecuted and they’re pressuring the little guys down below to cover it all up.”

The current VA scandal broke in Phoenix last month, when a former doctor at a VA hospital there became the first whistleblower to gain national attention. The doctor’s allegations of falsified appointments—and veterans dying while they waited for treatment—unleashed a wave of similar claims from VA employees nationwide. In Cheyenne, Wyoming, Chicago, and Albuquerque, more VA whistleblowers came forward claiming that the same fraudulent scheduling was being used in the hospitals where they worked. At last count, the VA inspector general’s investigation had expanded to 26 separate facilities.

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Comedian Rob Schneider – “America is Sliding Very Fast Towards Fascism”

The writing on the wall is there for anyone willing to take a look and be honest with themselves. I always try to highlight when public figures have the courage to state what is really happening in this country (such as rapper Lupe Fiasco), rather than cower in a corner from fear of repercussions. Most celebrities are the biggest cowards on earth. They prance around criticizing other nations, never daring to look inward. It is disgraceful.

Rob Schneider had a lot to say in his recent interview with Chris Stigall. Here are a few of his most incisive lines:

There’s a polarization that’s happening…I do think you look can look at government and go, ‘Wow, it is out of control now,’ and if you do criticize or tend to be not directly along a liberal stand, you can get murdered. 

We don’t really have freedom of the press. It’s owned by about eight different companies, and it doesn’t really express or help the average American.

There’s also the money shot of him discussing America’s decline into fascism, which you can hear in the clip below.

In Liberty,
Michael Krieger

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The PBOC and Bundesbank Sign Pact to Turn Frankfurt into Yuan Hub….Meanwhile Obama Heads to Saudi Arabia

I haven’t paid too much attention as of late to agreements between China and other nations intended to expand the use of the yuan (renminbi) internationally, because the near-term implications always seem to be exaggerated by many market commentators. That said, this deal between the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) and Germany’s Bundesbank seems quite significant given the importance of Germany within the global economy generally and the E.U. specifically.

From Bloomberg via BusinessWeek:

Germany’s Bundesbank and the ™People’s Bank of China agreed to cooperate in the clearing and settling of payments in renminbi, paving the way for Frankfurt to corner a share of the offshore market.

The central banks signed a memorandum of understanding in Berlin today, when Chinese President Xi Jinping met German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Frankfurt-based Bundesbank said in an e-mailed statement.

Germany’s financial capital prevailed over Paris and Luxembourg in a euro-area race to win trade in renminbi, which overtook the euro to become the second-most used currency in global trade finance in October, according to the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication. The U.K. Treasury said on March 26 that the Bank of England would sign an initial agreement with the PBOC on March 31 to clear and settle yuan transactions in London.

“Frankfurt is one of Europe’s foremost financial centers and home to two central banks, making it a particularly suitable location,” said Joachim Nagel, a member of the Bundesbank’s executive board. “Renminbi clearing will strengthen the close economic and financial ties between Germany and the People’s Republic of China.”

China was Germany’s third-biggest foreign trade partner last year, with 140 billion euros in turnover passing between the two countries, according to the Federal Statistics Office in Wiesbaden. China ranks fifth among importers of German goods and is the second-biggest exporter to Germany.

German companies including Siemens AG, the country’s biggest engineering company, and Volkswagen AG are embracing the renminbi internally as a third currency for cross-border trade settlements.

“The potential is vast,” said Stefan Harfich, the Siemens Financial Services manager, who steered the introduction of the yuan at the Munich-based company in October. “The introduction of the renminbi as an official company currency will therefore have a big impact on Siemens’s business in the coming years.”

Daimler AG, the Mercedes manufacturer that sold 235,644 autos in China last year, issued 500 million yuan of one-year notes in Asia’s largest economy on March 14, in the first so-called panda bond by an overseas non-financial company.

With all that in mind, let’s not forget that Obama is currently in Saudi Arabia trying to restore ties with the Medieival Kingdom, i.e., he is trying to figure out a way to arm al-Qaeda in Syria without the American public finding out about it.

From the Wall Street Journal:

RIYADH—Barack Obama’s visit to Saudi Arabia on Friday marks a bid to warm relations that the Saudis hope will result in commitments by the U.S. president to boost the supply of sophisticated weapons to Syrian insurgents.

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3D-Printing Meets the 2nd Amendment

“This isn’t 1994. The Internet happened since the last assault weapons ban. This is a fledgling tech, but look what we’re able to do. We printed that magazine out.”

– Cody Wilson, founder of Defense Distributed

This article about the 3D-printing of gun magazines absolutely blew my mind and confirms what I had already suspected.  There is no way gun confiscation or even restrictions will ever work in the United States.  As I have been saying from the beginning, we need to confront the root causes of violence in the country (gun or otherwise) not resort to ridiculous knee-jerk reactions that won’t do any good anyway.  I expressed my thoughts on the gun debate in the following articles:  How to Spot a Hypocrite in the Gun Debate and Other Reflections on Newtown and It’s Time to Ban Suicide.

From Forbes:

Over the past weekend, Defense Distributed successfully 3D-printed and tested an ammunition magazine for an AR semi-automatic rifle, loading and firing 86 rounds from the 30-round clip.

That homemade chunk of curved plastic holds special significance: Between 1994 and 2004, so-called “high capacity magazines” capable of holding more than 10 bullets were banned from sale. And a new gun control bill proposed by California Senator Diane Feinstein would ban those larger ammo clips again. President Obama has also voiced support for the magazine restrictions.

But Defense Distributed founder Cody Wilson says he hopes the group’s recent work demonstrates the futility of that proposed ban in the age of cheap 3D printing.

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It’s Time to Ban Suicide

The results are in and it’s high time we did something about it.  According to the American Journal of Public Health, suicide surpassed car crashes as the number one cause of death by injury for Americans as of 2009.  This is unacceptable.  I demand the President hold an immediate press conference, touch the corner of his eye three or four times and insist he will do “whatever it takes” to solve this problem.  Enough is enough people.  I suggest increasingly harsh punishment for those that participate in suicide, even up to the death penalty.

The point of the above was obviously to be absurd.  To offer a ridiculous solution to a tragic and increasingly serious epidemic in this country.  The point is to hammer into people that what I wrote above is not that distinct from some of the anti-gun arguments going around in the wake of the Newtown tragedy.  Suicide is the perfect example to use, because there is no punishment that can serve as a deterrent, there is simply no easy “feel good” solution that Congress can sign into law, smile for the cameras and move on.  If we want to deal with the suicide epidemic, we must deal with the root causes.  While I am no expert on the matter, I would suggest that three of the most probable causes are: 1) Mental illness 2) The economic depression 3) A population over-medicated on prescription drugs, particularly SSRIs.  What I find interesting, is that the above three issues are probably also likely significant root causes of these mass shootings.

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Obama Wins 8 of the Nation’s 10 Wealthiest Counties…Impressive Stats for a “Socialist”

I just love these statistics posted by CNBC yesterday:

In an election that often focused on debates about class warfare, President Barack Obama was favored over multimillionaire businessman Mitt Romney in eight of the nation’s 10 wealthiest counties.

For a guy that supposedly wants to redistribute wealth, the wealthiest people sure do seem to like him.  The sad truth of the matter is that Obama is doing one simple thing.  He is paying off the poor via food stamps and disability checks so that they stay in line while the oligarchs steal everything in sight.  The middle class is squeezed in the process and is rapidly disappearing.  So in a way he is a wealth distributor, just not in the way the pundits would have you believe.  He is funneling the wealth or the middle class and non-oligarch rich to the super rich oligarchs.  The poor just get paid off to shut-up as usual.  I am once again reminded of Keynes’ famous quote:

Lenin is said to have declared that the best way to destroy the capitalist system was to debauch the currency. By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. By this method they not only confiscate, but they confiscate arbitrarily; and, while the process impoverishes many, it actually enriches some. The sight of this arbitrary rearrangement of riches strikes not only at security but at confidence in the equity of the existing distribution of wealth.

So there we have it.  Obama the socialist? No. Obama the crony capitalist coddler?  Most definitely.

Read the CNBC article here.

In Liberty,
Mike