Archive for May 2013

Is the stock market poised for a reality check? Has the Bear been awakened?

 

               We’ve  got Gov. Rick Perry out in a public relations campaign talking up the economic prowess of “his” Texas. His low…low unemployment rate 0f 6.1% is the talk of media pundits everywhere. The front page of the USA today yesterday “informed” us that the bull market is roaring …old news …even to a print media that’s consistently a day late and several dollars short…and perhaps a sign that the bear has been awakened.

        If the United states just consisted of Texas and the stock market was just  based on the high flying  bank stocks ( forget they’re up because the taxpayer paid.)…you might think all is well on both Main street and Wall street. However, the real unemployment rate in 44 states is more than 10%. Over 3 million people are out of work….with several million more taking early retirement, working part-time…or have just plain given up on looking for a job. Low tax Texas is also low service Texas…and their below market tax rates  aren’t creating additional job…just stealing business from states that provide legitimate governmental services to it’s constituents.

   The federal reserve has been busy printing money…and the banks have prospered from interests rates that have been at near zero for a protracted length of time. How would you like to borrow money for free….and then lend it out on over-priced credit cards with interets rates of 25 to 30%?…or even better…finance payday profiteers that make upwards of 100% interest?  Even mainsteeet merchants offer two kinds of credit to it’s customers. Those with a 700+ credit score can get low cost financing….but if your below 700….the only credit services are typically  scammers whose annual percent rate isn’t even posted . The bankers have effective lobbyists that now tout “rent-to-own” financing ..which is exempt from disclosing the actual interest rate!

   With 50 million American workers making $10.00 an hour or less…how much blood can the working class give to support thoser in their gated communities? The minumum rate is so paltry…let’s see..Canada $14.00 an hour …England $15.00 an hour..and the United States at $ 7.65 an hour! With 70% of our economy “consumer” driven..their’s not a whole lot of gas left in the tank.

    The federal reserved signaled earlier this week that the “free money party” may be coming to an end. The stock market has been falling ever since…and the  gut feeling is that this bull run has ended. Joe and Jane  lunch-bucket do not possess the the purchasing power to support a corporate class that sponges both off the government and the least amoung us. Maybe this is THE WAKE-UP CALL that this country needs. Perhaps Wall street lacks empathy for it’s counter parts on Main street…feel our pain and summon your lobbyists to action!





The Backlog in V.A. Disability Claims is worse!”

“The Backlog in V.A. Disability Claims is worse!”

Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, is the man being held accountable for the Veterans Administration problems. He is also the man who was given his job by a beleaguered Pres. Obama. The most pressing problem in particular is the backlog of a huge growing inventory of claims for disability compensation; filed by wounded or ill veterans. Nearly 600,000 claims qualified as backlogged, according to both the N.Y. Times & other major media outlets. Backlogged claims are defined by the V.A. as those pending for over 125 days.

Imagine a wounded warrior unable to fully re-adjust to civilian life being without support from their government. Not for a couple of weeks or even thirty days -no . . . but for as much as four months & more!

This observer is asking the question, “why is this not at the top of our list of priorities as a people?!”    

“I’m going on record right now, in declaring my bitter anger, disgust & mistrust of our elected leaders – aka Hermes of hubris.” Instead of doing what is morally correct – Wash. embroils itself in partisan politics over the I.R.S., Associated Press & Benghazi. “These are vital concerns, no doubt, but above & beyond our concern for Americans finest? Hell No!”

The number of delayed processing of disability claims is worsening & so are complaints. Last year, veteran’s advocates tried to make the backlog a campaign issue, but, failed. Now, criticism grows louder & yet louder still. Concerned Veterans for America created a Web video calling for Shinseki’s resignation; they sponsor an online petition signed by more than 9,000 people. (R) Congressman Duncan Hunter is a Marine Corps veteran who served in Iraq & Afghanistan. He has taken up the fight calling for action. A letter signed by 67 senators urges Obama to resolve the problem.

Yet, The White House has expressed support for Sec. Shinseki, (a former four-star general). (R)Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee called the Secretary honorable & trustworthy; but raised questions about the secretary’s staff. He called for the firing of Under-secretary Allison A. Hickey, who oversees disability compensation. The Chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, (I) Bernie Sanders of Vermont, praised Mr. Shinseki for setting a deadline to end the backlog by 2015.

This also leaves us with the following additional catastrophic dilemma. That is the question of stateside suicides. Combat vets who are home & left dangling in the wind due to the V.A. backlog. These brave warriors are taking their own lives in unprecedented horrifying numbers.

Our Commander in Chief has failed his battle scared troops. Is such severely harsh criticism unfair? Well, Obama chose the man running a V.A. that clearly has failed – & he steadfastly chooses not to replace him. Now, you decide.

 

 





‘HEY DUBYA,THERE WAS AN AXIS OF EVIL…& IT WAS YOU & YOUR PARTNERS IN CRIME

 

“HEY DUBYA, THERE WAS AN AXIS OF EVIL . . . & IT WAS YOU & YOUR PARTNERS IN CRIME!”

 

By, Jay H. Berman

A Guest Commentator for ronrambles.com

Creator & Publisher, Ron Tenin

 

 

The accused “Criminal of Crawford” needs a vacation from . . . well . . . his vacation.  Asleep at the wheel for most of his eight years of continuous disaster in D.C., the inimitable G.W.B. travels frequently.  But, curiously, his destinations have not included Europe.  In 2011, he wanted to take his dirty laundry to Switzerland of all places.  The Swiss like things neat & clean, so maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.  The thing is – The “Decider” may have been advised that there was no room left on this side of the Atlantic for his evil deeds.  But, our friends across the pond weren’t having it.  Maybe “The Blair Man” might’ve tried to sneak his good ol’ buddy in by the dark of night.  Not a bad wager, considering their mutual fondness for darkness.

 

“What is going on here you ask? Oh boy, strap in readers, you’re going to love this one!”

 

I know it’s hard to believe, but Dubya really had been invited by The United Israel Appeal to speak at their gathering in peace loving neutral Switzerland.  This was back in 2011.  The Swiss love their banks & may be accused of many things, but direct military engagement is not one of them; reported ties to the Third Reich of WWII Nazi Germany notwithstanding.  Besides, that was just a minor footnote in history as far as the Swiss bankers are concerned.  After all, they have more pressing concerns, like vaults & green pieces of paper with famous Americans pictured on them

 

“But hold on now ladies & gents, it gets crazier as this story unfolds.”

 

The trip was DOA via demonstrative protestations by multiple human rights groups.  To be more precise, the planned excursion died before it even got off the ground.  Last week, ronrambles.com asked the question, “The Bush Gang, or, The Chain Gang?”  This week, we decided to look further.  Swiss officials were called upon in 2011, to intercept the former occupant of the Oval Office, & escort him to a different type of gathering, (one clearly not to his liking).  More plainly, they were flat out asked to arrest Dubya & investigate him for authorizing torture!

 

In between naptime & enjoying his milk & cookies, G.W.B. likes to gaze at a map of the world, wondering where Iraq & Afghanistan are.  Sometimes, his “handlers” figure out where he should go next.  Remember, he likes to travel, especially to Orlando, Fl., & I’ll give you one guess why.  But Europe, with all its great cities & rich culture, art, & history, also has a history of international prosecutions; so it’s really interesting that he has gone out of his way to avoid it.

 

But a Bush mouthpiece “explained” – his cancellation of the 2011 trip was due to the probability of protests, “not at all having anything to do with possible arrest.”

 

“Of course, we know Good Ol’ George would never fib, right?!”

 

Now get this . . . Switzerland is attached to the UN Convention against Torture, & Amnesty International along with the Center for Constitutional Rights have said they are obligated because of this to investigate him; which may lead to potential prosecution.

 

Swiss authorities received a memo from Amnesty International in 2011that points out Bush admitted in his own writings since leaving office, that he approved water-boarding & other forms of torture; as interpreted by the Geneva Conventions & adopted by The U.N.  This includes detentions & interrogations in Afghanistan, Abu Ghraib & Gitmo.  However, still – no top ranking U.S. officials have been investigated, & there is likewise no accountability for C.I.A. crimes in secret detention facilities, according to the Secretary General of Amnesty International.

Bush might have faced investigation and potential prosecution for torture and other crimes in international law; 147 countries are part of the UN Convention against Torture. “US authorities have failed to bring President Bush to justice & the international community must step in,” quoting Salil Shetty, Amnesty International Secretary General, who along with his organization has been unsuccessful in these efforts.  A 2,500-page complaint against Bush was ready to be filed in Swiss court on behalf of two Guantanamo detainees by The Center for Constitutional Rights; yes indeed you guessed it, back in 2011 in lieu of the derailed Swiss trip.  I tried to confirm this, but George won’t take my calls.  Rumor has it that “His Pacifiers” say I ask too many questions & G.W.B. doesn’t like questions, especially the ones about his time in the White House!

Meanwhile, Dubya “decided” to sit at home on his throne instead, & then take a nap after watching Fox News, aka “the other Comedy Channel.”  Or, “Unfair & unbalanced,” along with whatever else you wish to call it.  Oh, one more thing folks, “an un-named source” claims, that George knows what those rectangular things inside The Bush Library, containing all the paper are.  He just can’t understand why they’re not filled with nice pictures instead of all those funny looking black markings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





Where there’s smoke there’s fire? …Have the American people been burned?

The developments over the past few weeks, swirling around the White House are not only troubling, but put the president’s entire agenda in question. Once credibility is squandered one cannot help but wonder if the American people have been taken advantage of? In a court of law, once a witness has been proven deceptive everything else that spews from that witness raises doubts in the minds of fair-minded people. The tug of war between the right and left, (the Citizen’s United free-for-all), has set the stage for an ugly and divisive period in American political history.Disappointment with the recklessness of the Bush administration handed the Obama crew an American public that was ripe for fresh leadership. Who could forget that emotional night in Grant Park in Chicago when America celebrated our collective achievement with pride! We congratulated ourselves for electing a black man to the highest office in the land. Has the white man’s guilt bought the Obama administration extra chips? Can you imagine the liberal outcry if George W. Bush would have compromised the free press by stealing private information, (as has been reported by the Associated Press)?While Obama’s Benghazi explanations are dubious many administration officials have been known to massage talking points, hoping to shed the best light possible on a difficult, complicated situation. It’s unclear how serious the deception was and we may have to give them the benefit of the doubt. However, the clear assault on the First Amendment is a most troubling aspect of an administration that apparently thinks they can do just about anything in the so called “war on terror.” Who knew that war included sabotage of the American press? Any journalist, (regardless of political bent), should feel violated at the prospect of what was our “4th. Estate.”

This also raises another troubling point. Obama care was maneuvered through congress with no bi-partisan support. Obama bullied his way to health care reform, with no regard to bringing consensus and compromise to the process. You can criticize the Republican “obstructionists” but they do have a legitimate beef that they were taken for a ride; they are shoving it right back in the face of the administration. You reap what you sew. Perhaps Obama care is flawed legislation. Not including others in its final crafting may have been a serious mistake that smacks of arrogance.

The president has also taken advantage of a fearful scared America. He has allowed the proliferation and “imperialistic” use of DRONE power to violate many countries sovereignty. While killing some bad guys, the collateral damaged doesn’t seem to be square with American ideals. China is now producing drones for countries all over the world. Soon enough, the American head start will be nullified and why would we be surprised if our drone abuse doesn’t one day come home to roost here in America. Other countries are angry, and rightly so.

When Obama claims he learned about the IRS investigation of conservative groups from the media, just like the rest of us, even the most ardent liberal supporter knows that’s just plain bullshit! The administration may have laid the groundwork for a Republican resurgence in 2014 and beyond. While many liberal stalwarts will stick with the Democrats, 40% of voters call themselves moderates or independents. This large group may leave the Democrats, ushering in a new Republican agenda. Where you see continuing smoke its likely there’s other fires burning. If the liberal media turns on Obama, impeachment hearings are not out of the question. As more information surfaces it’s possible that a majority of Americans might agree. Is this fire out of control? Are American First Amendment liberties being abused by an administration that has fallen in love with itself?

 





Democratic ” “BULLY” pulpit breathing life back into the GOP?

 

                      Several months back…I went on a date…we first met in cyber-land. The benefits of online dating sometimes make sense. You get to pick the age range, general points of common interest.You can look at photo’s…and narrow the field… giving you a general idea of who you might be compatible with. You can talk on the phone and email and text..and by the time you meet in the real world you have a pretty good sense of who your meeting…not like the true blind dates of yesteryear.

            Even so,  I had no idea   what “profession” my date had. We had a nice dinner and I came to learn that my date had spent 25 years with the FBI. I found out that South Florida is home to some big time FBI offices. We had a most interesting discussion.  I had always wondered if my “blogo-sphere activism” caught the attention of the FBI. I spoke about my blog…and having 20,000+ twitter followers and garnering some  100,000+ hits per month.

      When I asked her if the FBI had a file on me ..she looked at me with a wry smile. She said most assuredly, the FBI had my “information” at there fingertips. Millions of Americans have digital files..she explained ..”that’s what the FBI does “Never mind I have never been arrested , I don’t own a gun…and never given law enforcement any reason to be wary of me…or so I thought.

     The government has unfettered access to anything and everything. Big brother…Big sister…take full advantage of public information ..private information…no warrants needed to find out pretty much anything they want on anyone. Google now reads our private emails…and if we talk about buying a new house..low and behold the Internet immediately has ads for home mortgages and furniture store specials.

   Now we find out that the Democrat’s have used that power to put the magnifying glass on those that threaten  their power. Conservative groups, tea party affiliated groups…and those Koch boys apparently received extra special scrutiny. It seems groups more favorable towards the Democrats received much less scrutiny.

   Somehow, I’m feeling some sympathy towards any group that receives uneven scrutiny based on partisan political leanings. I’m feeling that lot’s of American’s are uneasy about this slanted treatment.

Maybe the conservatives has a point when they argue government is too big…and should be smaller and less intrusive? Is there a backlash brewing in America…are regular citizens put off by government collecting information…and offering uneven treatment to it’s citizens?   Will Democratic arrogance create an unexpected backlash towards governmental manuverings? Is the Obama “bully” pulpit about to breathe life into a beleaguered Republican party?





Facebook’s founder – Mark Zuckerberg…takes it on the chin…TKO?

 

One investor who is a billionaire named Elon Musk made an announcement that created a firestorm for the man with a “Planetary Face” [i.e. - Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook fame]. Mr. Musk apparently plans to, (or has already), severed his ties to the Facebook creator. Why? By now the world knows of the severely negative controversy that swirls around the social media “boy blunder.” The Zuck Man made more than a few enemies over his political advocacy regarding immigration.

That’s just for starters, because a wide media spectrum reported the unfolding story. Traditional newspapers like U.S.A. today, & internet giant Huffington Post, are only two examples. In fact, it seems several news organizations additionally ran another story about Yammer founder David Sacks. He was formerly closely connected to Musk & is also distancing himself from Zuck brainchild, Fwd.us – the political startup at the center of this storm.

Has Fwd.us – created by Zuckerberg to advocate for immigration reform seemingly backfired? It would appear so, (at least temporarily to some degree), based upon the upheaval & uproar highlighted by investor ads being pulled or threatening such & other financial supporters, who verbalized their opposition.  Basically, the problem is said to be that Fwd.us, while advocating for immigration reform that would otherwise represent a progressive move forward – additionally supports political suicide issues. These include the controversial Keystone pipeline project along with drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Fwd.us took powerful blows to the chin for its T.V. ads that act as campaign tools for targeted government legislators who support the dangerous environmental action cited above.

Elon Musk founded electric carmaker Tesla Motors, & he is said to be against the ads which some now seem convinced are promotional tools for “Big Oil & Gas.” One media report said that Mr. Musk initially backed Fwd.us – because he agrees with a reasoned positive plan for the white – hot topic, immigration reform.  There was also word of several additional progressive groups pulling their ads from Facebook itself. If correct, it sends a signal to Zuckerberg that it is an act of protestation along the same lines as Musk & Sacks. Meanwhile, other backers of Fwd.us have remained behind it & the T.V. ads. These include Bill Gates along with other un-named tech giants.

Russ Feingold, the former Sen. from Wisconsin, & creator of liberal political action group Progressives United spoke out sharply against the founder of Facebook. Feingold & his group favor comprehensive immigration reform. But he is dead set against tying any legislation to promoting lawmakers who represent districts comprised of a clear majority of constituents, who are said to favor the Keystone & Arctic Wildlife energy projects.

The result of all this is Zuckerberg pulling campaign ads that had already run for about a week in seven states according to parties directly involved. The Huffington Post wrote that Kate Hanson made statements attempting to spin the whole mess, putting a positive “face” back on the tarnished Zuckerberg & his activities. She is a spokeswoman for Fwd.us, who logically would be expected to do all it can to plug the dike.

“More will be revealed going forward, as lawmakers & high rollers with a stake in the game duke it out!”

 





Democrats Derby Choice….RUN HILLARY RUN …Are the betting on a winner? ( Jay H Berman)

 

Quinnipiac University conducts one the nation’s largest & widely followed polling organizations.  Recently, multimedia sources reported its latest findings regarding Hillary Rodham Clinton.  At this time, according to the numbers crunchers she remains the 2016 Democratic Party Presidential nominee favorite.

Other household names may be in the running, but they all trail the former first lady & Obama’s first-term Secretary of State. Not surprisingly the polling strongly suggests Mrs. Clinton is not merely the favorite, but well ahead of the presumed field of potential Democratic contenders. If primaries were held today, she very well might leave her opponents far behind, whereby they’d be relegated to little more than “pretenders!”

The most pressing question for Democrats, even at this early stage, is whether or not she will run. Clinton has not yet made that clear, although many observers consider it a done deal & simply a matter of time before she formally announces her bid for the White House.  Few would argue that her party “rock star” spouse is ready & raring to go, go, and go! Former President Bill Clinton may be even more popular among Democrats than his also celebrated wife. The party faithful in their supposed best case scenario get what some view as a two for one victory in the making tag team tandem.

The Quinnipiac findings additionally pointed to a clear path to victory, [should Hillary not run], for a man who clearly wants to occupy the Oval Office. That of course is current Vice-President Joe Biden. He has run before, & was unsuccessful in his campaigns for the party’s nomination. But the V.P. is the clear favorite unless he has to go head to head against the formidable Mrs. Clinton. The poll cited here determined that if Hillary Clinton is his primary opponent, she may garner as much as 65% of potential voters compared to his 13%. Yet, if she is removed from the race, a vastly different potential scenario ensues. In that case, Biden should be the favorite, & by a wide margin.

Other names being tossed around & included in the Quinnipiac research include N.Y. Governor Andrew Cuomo,  Mass. Governor Deval Patrick & Va. Senator Mark Warner. The numbers in a field minus Hillary Clinton show Biden winning as much as 45% of voters compared to 4% for Cuomo & a paltry 1%, (or possibly even less), for Patrick or Warner. However, it still makes for interesting speculation nonetheless, because all three of these men have been seen as rising stars in the Democratic Party.

Interestingly, for those who love speculation – Joe Biden, [who presumably is a sure bet to toss his hat into the ring] – if he was a Republican instead, likely would be the proverbial, “next in line.” The political pundits, aka talking heads in some quarters, make it a habit of anointing the Republican Party faithful choice in this manner. But, reality usually speaks differently, & the buzz inside the GOP is a strong ticket of Jeb Bush & Marco Rubio in 2016.

So, it all boils down to the biggest question as yet unanswered. There is only one person who can & will answer the call. I’m putting my money on the first woman to hold the highest office in the land – Hillary Rodham Clinton. She’ll enjoy Bill Clinton & Barak Obama stumping for her, & . . .

“I envision Hillary catapulted into D.C. on the wings of a huge turnout, with women being the ultimate deciding factor!”