Thursday, September 22, 2016

Cam Newton

If you are a football fan, you probably recognize the name Cam Newton. Many others will recognize the name because he was the quarterback of the Carolina Panthers in the last Super Bowl when the Panthers were defeated by the Denver Broncos. Even in defeat, Newton was named the MVP of the game.

Cam Newton is 27 years old and 6”5” tall. He is big, strong young man and is a double threat as a passer and a runner on the football field. As he gains experience his coaches will convince him that he is too valuable to his team to take a chance on getting hurt by running with the football. He was successful running with the football in high school and college, but in pro-football the opponents are faster and bigger than opponents he faced before becoming a professional football player.

He played on a winning football team at Westlake High School in Atlanta, GA. He was offered scholarships from over half a dozen major college football programs. He selected the University of Florida. He had some problems at Florida and transferred to Blinn College in Brenham, TX in 2009. After completing academic work at Blinn, Newton attended Auburn and won the Heisman trophy as their quarterback.

He was rookie of the year in his first NFL season in 2011. Carolina rode his strength and leadership to a 15-1 record in 2015 and got into the Super Bowl mentioned earlier.

Cam Newton is a class act. The only reason he does not have a Super Bowl ring is that the Denver Broncos best defensive team in the NFL had an outstanding game against him. Barring serious injury, he is destined to have one of the best records in NFL history.

Following the police shooting of a Black man in Charlotte, NC and the subsequent riots and turmoil, Newton used his weekly press conference to address the situation. He continued to be a class act and took a community-oriented stance to put his leadership on display. He was obviously distressed about Black men losing their lives at a result of police shootings or other types of violence. He also reminded all of us that we have a responsibility to ourselves and our community. I will not quote what he had to say, because he related the words better than I could. If you are interested the video is available.

Newton has a position of influence and is trying to use it in a positive manner. He is a young man worthy of respect and worthy of a lended ear. I hope people listen.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Demise of the F. B. I.

Since Teddy Roosevelt ordered his Attorney General, Charles Bonaparte to create an investigative service for the Justice Department in 1908 and until 2016 the FBI has been a non-partisan investigative agency and recognized to have some of the best criminal investigators in the world. Bonaparte hired about 35 agents, taking some from the Secret Service and formed the Bureau of Investigation (BOI) headed by Stanley Finch and reporting only to the Attorney General.

The BOI existed until 1935 when the name was changed to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). J. Edgar Hoover was head of the FBI from 1924-1972 and is considered to be the most influential person in giving the FBI the character and prestige it enjoyed until 2016.

Today the FBI is not only our domestic federal law enforcement agency, but it also has responsibilities for gathering intelligence and providing security. James Comey is currently the director of the FBI and reports both to the Attorney General, Loretta Lynch and the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper.

In 2016 the FBI lost some of its prestige by allowing politics to sway its decision making. The FBI has made it clear that people with power and influence are above the law. Many people have thought that was the case for many years and it is often brushed off by thinking the people with money can afford better lawyers. That inane argument is now gone. Now we know that people with political influence are immune to FBI criminal charges. We have exclusive rules for the political class and a different set of rules that are applied more severely for the rest of us.

The demise of the FBI may be the biggest legacy item President Barack Obama takes with him as he leaves office. I think this is worse than the creation of Obamacare. I think this is worse than allowing ISIS to become a formidable terrorist organization. I think this is worse than the Iran deal that gave Iran everything they wanted in secret and gained nothing for the United States. I think this is worse than allowing the Russians to have most of our domestic uranium. I think this is worse than reducing our nuclear arsenal while China, Russia, North Korea and Iran are increasing theirs. I think this is worse than finding a Russian Spy ring working inside our country and expelling the spies without consequence to them or their country. I think this is worse than paying 1.7 billion dollars ransom to Iran for four political prisoners. I think this is worse than releasing terrorists from Guantanamo Bay to return to terrorism. I think this is worse than Obama releasing 550 criminals from federal prisons and putting them on the street with us. I think this is worse than Obama allowing hardened criminal illegal aliens to walk the streets of the USA.

The FBI may recover some prestige in time. The country may rebound from the position of weakness we are currently experiencing. I do not think J. Edgar Hoover would be happy. I do not think historians will think kindly of what President Obama, Attorney General Lynch and Director Comey have done to lower the esteem of the FBI

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Effects of QE

In the United States the central bank is the Fed or Federal Reserve Bank. Remember Ben Bernanke and quantitative easing (QE)? Let’s do a quick refresher. First, what does the term quantitative easing actually mean? QE is a device used by the central bank where they buy government securities (Bonds) in order to lower interest rates and increase the money supply in the country. The idea is by flooding the banks with more currency, regular banks would be willing to lend more money, which in turn would generate more borrowing for growth of businesses. It sounds fine in theory. But it was soon apparent the banks were gun shy about lending and people saw no means to pay back loans.

After the housing crisis began in 2006 when Bush 43 was President, The Fed took no action. Bernanke seemed to have no interest in helping the Bush administration. As soon as Obama became President, Bernanke decide he would try and help him revive the economy by applying QE1 in 2009. When that did not work, he tried QE2 in 2011. Again, no apparent help, thus QE3 in 2013.

This result of the FED buying bonds and driving down bond prices was that investors could make no money on bonds. The only place people could invest in the USA was stocks. This drove and is still driving the stock market to higher and higher values. This has created an extreme disparity between wealthy people and ordinary Americans. It also means our money has less value, thus we pay more for all imported goods. The FED also purchased home mortgages from homes that were under water and no way to unload the debt without taking a loss, so all they could do is hold on to the debt. Bernanke finally gave up and retired in 2014 and was replaced by Janet Yellen as chairman of the FED. She was Bernanke’s protégé and continued his policies.

Bernanke and Yellen did not take into consideration that the recent tax increases, both personal and corporate would kill the job market in the USA. They drove many manufacturing jobs out of the country, forced many corporations to move their headquarters out of the country and basically killed all entrepreneurship which kept new small businesses from starting.  At the same time, we were pressing forward with almost unrestricted immigration of people flooding into the country willing to work for lower wages. This meant more people without jobs, who still had mouths to feed at home and less or no take-home pay to do it with.

Now we have a situation where we have increased the cost of government by spending more on food subsidies, more people on disability, more unemployment assistance and housing for children who entered the country without adult supervision.  

Now interest rates are near zero and the FED has no means left to help with the problem, except to buy more corporate debt. The FED debt which was less than one trillion dollars in 2006 is now about $4.5 trillion. They will sit on it.

All the effort the FED has done comes to naught. They tried to help and made everything worse. The FED is now back to watching for inflation. We have more disparity in wealth, no jobs and no prospect of new jobs, higher import prices and no inflation. Everyone is in stall mode awaiting a game changer to come along. Please vote for someone who will actually help our citizens.