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Thursday, September 11, 2014

The NFL, Roger Goodell, and Local Prosecutors All Abandon Virtue

Best evidence.

Last week, I wrote a blog on how our culture has abandoned virtue. I set forth the premise that American culture has devolved from a society that honored truth to a society which routinely practices dishonesty. This moral erosion is everywhere.

I am a football nut. Shortly after TMZ released the video of the Baltimore Ravens' running back, Ray Rice, punching and knocking out his wife on an Atlantic City elevator- I received a phone call from an old friend of mine. He still works on the police department.

He asked me what I thought of the video, the two game suspension, and the 500,000 dollar fine that Rice received from Roger Goodell, NFL Commissioner. Goodell, or the NFL, had issued a statement that they had never seen the Ray Rice video.

I told my friend this was bullshit, a flat out lie. Nobody is going to levy a two game suspension and a half million dollar fine without getting or viewing the best evidence. In this case, the best evidence of what Ray Rice had done was the video.

Unfortunately for Goodell, once the country had seen what Ray Rice actually did on that elevator, we were all shocked. Not just at the paltry 2 game suspension that the NFL handed out- but the failure of local prosecutors to prosecute a clear cut case of domestic battery without the testimony of Rice's girlfriend.

Goodell and the NFL immediately denied that they had seen the video- fearing the backlash and the repercussions that are taking place now.

In fact, if Goodell levied his judgment without viewing the video- that amounts to some piss poor job performance and in that case- I would question whether or not it was time for Goodell to hit the bricks.

Yesterday, an anonymous police department official not only stated they had sent the NFL the video in April- but provided proof that the NFL had received it and had already seen it via a recorded call.

You know what clinches it for me? 

Goodell maintained his lie by stating that he "believed" nobody at the NFL had seen the video. Whenever I hear weasel language like that, I know the person is lying. When people use the term "I believe" they use that term to escape the obvious intent of their lies.

Here is the latest report on the Ray Rice video.

Goodell, having used that weasel language, is a liar, inept as a commissioner, or both. So what is it Roger? Are you a liar or just a piss poor commissioner who levies fines and suspensions without viewing the best evidence? Or are you just a crappy manager who doesn't know what the employees are doing?

I won't even discuss the cowardly prosecutors who also weaseled out of doing their jobs, pointing to the non compliant victim as proof they could not charge the case.

People make mistakes. Everyone dropped the ball here, pun intended. People fail. But the part that drives me nuts is that people like Goodell once caught, compound their failures through lying and dishonesty. That is the state of our society. These are our role models. Our President routinely pulls the same shit.

Thank you Roger for helping me prove the point that our culture has abandoned virtue. I couldn't think of a better example.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Theatre of the Absurd, A Must Read

They are crafting legislation to make depositors cover bank losses. An executive order that allows the government to seize any of your assets that it chooses. Copied in it's entirety. You gotta read this to believe it.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

IT'S YOUR FAULT: Federal Reserve Blames Americans Who “Hoard Money” For Obama's Economic Trainwreck

By Mac Slavo

Despite arguments to the contrary from the Obama administration, mounting evidence suggests that the U.S. economy is rapidly falling back into negative growth territory. More Americans are out of the workforce than ever before, median household incomes are at levels not seen since 1967, and consumer spending is coming to a veritable standstill. The crisis is apparently so significant that a Federal Reserve governor recently said U.S. policymakers are crafting regulations that will force bank depositors to cover any losses should their financial institutions fail.The question that many are asking is, how did this happen? How, after six years of recovery efforts and trillions of dollars printed, is it possible that the economy is not booming again?
This week the Federal Reserve published a report that claims to have figured it out and it turns out that the renewed economic downturn has nothing to do with foreign outsourcing, high taxation, increased health care costs for business or rising consumer prices for food and energy.
No, according to the Fed it is your fault. Apparently, you are not spending enough money. In order for the economy to recover you need to stop hoarding cash now and get out there and start buying more homes, cars, vacations, and electronics. Otherwise, you’ll only have yourself to blame when the system comes unhinged.
From the St. Louis Federal Reserve:

The issue has to do with the velocity of money, which has never been constant, as can be seen in the figure below . If for some reason the money velocity declines rapidly during an expansionary monetary policy period, it can offset the increase in money supply and even lead to deflation instead of inflation.

During the first and second quarters of 2014, the velocity of the monetary base2 was at 4.4, its slowest pace on record. This means that every dollar in the monetary base was spent only 4.4 times in the economy during the past year, down from 17.2 just prior to the recession. This implies that the unprecedented monetary base increase driven by the Fed’s large money injections through its large-scale asset purchase programs has failed to cause at least a one-for-one proportional increase in nominal GDP. Thus, it is precisely the sharp decline in velocity that has offset the sharp increase in money supply, leading to the almost no change in nominal GDP

So why did the monetary base increase not cause a proportionate increase in either the general price level or GDP?
The answer lies in the private sector’s dramatic increase in their willingness to hoard money instead of spend it. Such an unprecedented increase in money demand has slowed down the velocity of money
Top tier economists, it seems, are unable grasp why consumers have decided to hoard – in other words, save – their money even though the central bank is engaged in an unprecedented monetary expansion.
The answer is simple, really, and you don’t need to look at detailed government charts and statistics to figure it out.
American consumers have been absolutely pummeled over the last decade.
We are losing so many jobs that newly created minimum wage jobs touted by the Obama administration aren’t even making a dent.
Moreover, the price of food, electricity, gas and other essentials have risen so sharply that we’re paying nearly double for those items today than we did a decade ago.
And, as recently noted by The Economic Collapse Blog, over 77 million Americans currently have debt collection accounts and 25% of Americans have absolutely no emergency cash whatsoever.
It’s not so much that Americans are “hoarding” money, a phrase that suggests greedy people all over the country are stacking piles of cash under their mattresses. It’s that most Americans don’t have any money left to spend.
The Daily Bell says that the Federal Reserve and the U.S. government are now creating a new narrative to be spewed by their mainstream media propaganda arms, wherein the blame for this will fall squarely on the American people:
Sometimes Federal Reserve white papers attract attention and this one does because of the term “hoarding money.” This is a startling phrase and – who knows – perhaps it marks the beginning of a new meme.
Certainly the word “hoarding” is a popular one with government officials. When governments are uncomfortable with the actions of citizens for whatever reason, the term “hoarding” is often applied to stigmatize certain behaviors and encourage others.
This isn’t the first time government officials and their quasi-government counterparts have targeted “hoarders” as evil doers. They have done it before and the evidence suggests they are going to do it again as soon as the right crisis takes hold.
In 2012 President Obama signed a an Executive Doomsday Order that was designed specifically to target “hoarders” during a national emergency:
While millions of people have been preparing for the possibility of a catastrophic event by relocating to rural homesteads or farms, as well as stockpiling food, water, personal defense armaments and other essential supplies with the intention of utilizing these preparations if the worst happens, the latest executive order signed by President Obama on March 16, 2012 makes clear that in the event of a nationally deemed emergency all of these resources will fall under the authority of the United States government.
The signing of the National Defense Resources Preparedness executive order grants the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Labor, the Department of Defense and other agencies complete control of all US resources, including the ability to seize, confiscate or re-delegate resources, materials, services, and facilities as deemed necessary or appropriate to promote the national defense as delegated by the following agencies
But what is hoarding? According to David Spero of Code Green Prep, it’s whatever they say it is. Right now, tens of millions of Americans are unable to put food on the table or pay their most basic expenses, yet the Federal Reserve claims that we’re hoarding money. In an emergency, they’ll make similar claims.
Hoarding of Just About Anything Can Be Banned
These definitions are written in to the 1950 War and National Defense Defense (sic) Production Act, and so let’s see what the act itself has to say for itself.
Go directly to section 2072. That’s the key part from our perspective.
§2072. Hoarding of designated scarce materials
In order to prevent hoarding, no person shall accumulate (1) in excess of the reasonable demands of business, personal, or home consumption, or (2) for the purpose of resale at prices in excess of prevailing market prices, materials which have been designated by the President asscarce materials or materials the supply of which would be threatened by such accumulation. The President shall order published in the Federal Register, and in such other manner as he may deem appropriate, every designation of materials the accumulation of which is unlawful and any withdrawal of such designation.
So the President can simply say that anything more than (for example) a week’s supply of food (and all the other things listed) is an amount ‘in excess of the reasonable demands of personal consumption’ and then order the Army to impound everything you have in excess of that amount.
Now, as we face a crisis in America on a scale never before seen, the government is attempting to change the story. In the end, when the worst of it hits and people start rioting in the streets because they can’t afford food or shelter, they’ll turn the blame on the “hoarders” who have selfishly saved cash and precious metals, stored long-term foods for an emergency, and prepared to deal with the very situation the politicians, central bankers and business elite have created.
Once the meme is pushed in earnest across the media networks, it will only be a matter of time before the crowds turn their attention to those greedy hoarders who ’caused this crisis in the first place.’
Those who hoard resources illegally will have their supplies seized and will likely be detained for actions akin to terrorism, while those who see something and say something will be rewarded with a cut of the booty.
This may sound outlandish, until you consider that this is how all tyrants and authoritarian governments have operated since the beginning of human civilization.
Hoarders beware. They’ll be coming for you.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

First, We Abandoned Virtue- The Sunday Collage

Sorry for the delay today. There is nothing quite as enjoyable as betting two college football underdogs, (Northern Illinois and Va Tech) parlaying them on the money line for 39 dollars and having the cage cashier look at me and ask, "How did you win 600 bucks on a 39 dollar bet?" I mean she didn't even want to pay the ticket, she just stood there staring at it. Eventually I explained that parlaying dogs on the money line pays big bucks. Satisfied with my explanation, she then paid me and I drove home late- at 2 AM.

A couple of weeks ago, I was reading some interesting stuff about societies and how they eventually crumble and implode. More than a few people have postulated that the first things to go wanting are values, morals, and integrity. This was first proposed by Socrates and then expanded on by Plato as they spoke of virtue as moral excellence.

How are people supposed to understand the importance of virtue if your society doesn't teach it and your leaders don't possess it? Not only do we lack any type of "leadership by example" but when was the last time you actually heard anyone, anywhere, describe a President or a  Congressman as honest?  If all you ever see is this current day "dog eat dog mentality" from your leaders doesn't that become the standard? If you look outside politics, you see greedy corporate pirates such as the Koch Brothers, Gates, and Angelo Mozilo. If your Congressmen and women are allowed to accept bribes from lobbyists, trade equities on information they receive as they formulate laws that impact various publicly traded industries and corporations, give themselves giant raises, sweet lifetime retirement deals, and health packages outside of Obamacare- at what point does our culture accept that as the norm or worse yet, describe it as intelligent? I think they already have.

It gets worse I think. If people don't understand the importance of virtue, they begin to see it as unnecessary. They don't apologize for their lack of virtue because they don't see any reason to have it. So I think that type of moral decay has to be in place before societies crumble. When we collectively abandon civil ways of dealing with each other, abandon virtue, morals, and ethical behavior- we are ensuring our demise. It makes perfect sense. If people are setting the example, treating each other civilly, and always acting within the bounds of virtue and integrity- your society is at it's strongest. There is no moral erosion. In fact, I often think that this missing piece is the root of all of our problems. I see it everyday.

So what happened? Where did we go wrong?

Years ago, I was looking at a traffic accident report filed by one of our better officers. He had actually tried to measure the final resting position of the vehicles and some debris. There are only a couple of accepted ways to measure crime scenes and traffic accidents and it was readily apparent to me as I looked at this report- that our officer didn't have a clue how to measure. He had been out of the academy for about 5 years and so I questioned him. He told me that the academy no longer taught traffic accident investigation. I sat there, mouth agape. Of all of the things I have taken for granted- I never thought in a million years- that police academies would quit teaching traffic accident investigation. We do it every day. I had incorrectly assumed that our officers were being trained in accident investigation. Not only was I unaware of this, but I can't imagine how many motorists were adversely effected by our untrained officers.

It was my fault for assuming. More importantly and the reason I use this example is that you can't fault people for not knowing what they don't know because they haven't been taught something. Therein lies our cultural dilemma. If people don't understand the importance of virtue and acting ethically, or have never been taught, how then can we possibly expect them to behave in virtuous ways?

When I was a child, two things happened. My parents instilled a strong sense of right and wrong. Note that I had two parents. I was taught how to behave with virtue. That does not mean that I always behaved correctly- often as a child and a young adult, I did not. However, those were just my poor choices. Secondly,  children were taught civics in school and our teachers were very active and involved with this. This three pronged approach- two parents and our schools- taught us the importance of integrity, virtue, and ethical behavior.

This doesn't happen anymore. Schools quit teaching civics long ago. Two parents is an iffy proposition and chances are good that one or both parents have dismissed virtuous behavior as a waste of time anyway. Instead, they are busy working and accumulating "things."

Replacing virtuous behavior in our society is the idea that all we really need to do is comply with the legal minimums. What is barely legal is the only concern nowadays. Corporations and the pirates that run many of them, take every advantage possible. They pay the bare minimums. They routinely find ways to skirt having to pay overtime, health insurance and other benefits, and all they really care about is greed. If they can get away with something, they will. Acting responsibly and doing the right thing are no longer big concerns. Accumulating as much wealth as possible is their only concern. It is a sickness. Our political leaders lie with impunity. They engage in every greedy and self centered act just so long as they can get away with it. Some might be cash register honest- but I'm not convinced they have that much integrity. Take a look at these people- like Darrell Issa. He is a former CEO and quite wealthy. He also has an unbelievable criminal history- most of which he has gotten away with- while now acting head of the Government Oversight and Reform Committee. You cannot make this stuff up.

And watching this dog and pony show, is a culture and society that hasn't had any real or moralistic leadership since JFK and some might even argue that. Nobody leads by example any more and oddly, there are people who would argue that our current leadership is fine. Remember, you can't possibly know what you haven't been taught. It doesn't come by osmosis.

Could the slow erosion and demise of our society and culture occur because we abandoned virtue and ethical behavior for self centered-ness and materialism? Could it be that simple?

I think so.

What remains to be seen is whether our culture picks itself up, recognizes what is wrong, and gets back on track with some moral excellence or whether we continue to circle the drain. It almost makes me sorry that I'm not going to be around to see how all of this ends. If we do manage to pick ourselves up- it certainly won't be at the behest of our current government "role models." In fact, it may very well occur without them. Let's hope so.