…. Passing Events and People ….

Inventing an Alaskan Crime Wave

Alaska’s law-enforcement lobby is about to give the Last Frontier something to go with the largest mountain in the world, a grand new crime lab to be built in Anchorage.

Through an ornamental gate and fencing on the 15-acre property, along a tree-lined route, one will come to the boxy monstrosity clad with $1,000,000 of charcoal black granite.  On entry, one sees in the large atrium a grand glass-enclosed stairwell with stairs of polished marble.  The three conference rooms and sixteen bathrooms offer plenty of elbow room for the lab’s 39 employees.  One key piece of forensic equipment the size of a microwave has its very own room. The exterior recreational amenities for lab staff are to be world-class.

The public, of course, will not be allowed access to the fineries of the new lab, unless you can get past the armed guards.  Our modern crime-fighters need a lot of privacy in their work.

So, why does Alaska need a crime lab that dwarfs in size and cost the new crime labs built recently for Los Angeles and Phoenix?  Is Alaska’s need to investigate crime truly seventeen times greater than the needs of North Dakota?   Many Alaskans answer no.  For why, see http://www.alaskapolicyforum.org .

The most truthful answer to these questions so far given by the State bureaucracy is that judges and jurors expect a lot of forensic evidence at trials because they watch so many police dramas on television.  Apparently ratings in court might suffer if cases are not greatly overworked by law-enforcement.  Since about 99% of criminal charges never go to a trial, the State feels strongly that the audience in the few trials held needs to be fully entertained.

Since the crime lab workload is no greater today than it was fifteen years ago or likely fifteen years from now, at least Alaskans will not need to spend sleepless nights worrying over whether the new lab will be large enough for our leaders’ needs down the road.

And if there ends up being some extra space at the new crime lab, right here in freedom-loving Alaska, the biometrics of every American citizen could be catalogued for the Feds.  Any kind of forensic mission the FBI may dream of would be possible.  Possibly, the CIA trade will be welcome, too!  Even the KGB!

“Build the prisons and the prisoners will come”, with a lot of help from the new crime lab.

 

Wall Street has Paid Back for its Bailout with Interest!

President Barack Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Finance Committee Chairman Barney Frank, Republican House Whip Eric Cantor and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell all emphasize one fact: most of the big banks have paid the taxpayers back for their bailout. 

Plainly though, our leaders are pointing to only the tip of an iceberg.

The so-called TARP funds have mostly been repaid by the banks that plan to survive for the long-term.  These were loans from the outset.  TARP funds, $700b, were used by the big banks as monopoly money for the carry-trade from the Federal Reserve to the Treasury and for investment speculation across the globe.  What TARP funds were never used for was the purchase of troubled housing assets as the program’s law requires. 

But what about the collapse of the housing market?  Instead of using TARP loans to the big banks, the Federal Reserve, with its magic money-machine, bought toxic Wall Street securities at or near face value from all comers, no law needed, no return promises demanded, $1.8 trillion so far. This was a far better arrangement for the banks.  Short of fully re-inflating the burst real estate bubble and more, the taxpayer losses from this one “Federal Reserve policy” could nearly double the entire cost of the TARP program.  All of these government losses line the pockets of present-day bankers in the end.

From the beginning of its bailout crusade, through this window and that facility and this temporary program, etc., the Federal Reserve has handed out another two trillion dollars or so to big banks and finance companies on loan terms no sane investor would accept.  These trillions in handouts are officially withheld from public view by the Federal Reserve and Congress.  One federal institution simply refuses to talk about the money it gave away while the other hides behind its resulting ignorance.

Then there is the centerpiece of finance subsidy under American crony capitalism.

That is the free use of meg-trillions more of newly invented dollars handed to Wall Street as interest-free investment money at the expense of every saver and taxpayer in the nation and across the world.  This is known in Washington and Wall Street as increasing “liquidity’, not giving away money.  This is how interest rates are arbitrarily pushed near zero by the Fed.  Unlike other businesses, Wall Street finance mostly gets its product now for free from the government, by diluting the national currency. 

This month, Ben Bernanke proclaimed this underwriting of big Wall Street profits by the Fed will last for a further indefinite time.

So, how can all of the most important leaders in Washington, D.C., in unison, say what they do about the bankers’ bailout?  Americans hopefully are no longer quite this naive.

 

Opportunity and the United States Constitution

The passage of ObamaCare has incited a protest from Republican office-holders across the nation.  The center of hysteria is the cry that the individual mandate to buy health-insurance is the last straw for the US Constitution.  American liberty is at risk!  Lawsuits and sophistry are flying like wild.

The originator for an individual mandate in health-insurance was President Richard Nixon.  Possibly its greatest proponents since were Senators Bob Dole and John McCain and, now, President Obama. 

Congress can mandate that teenagers be drafted to fight in foreign civil wars our nation has no true stake in.  

Congress mandates every business in the nation to hand to the government a large portion of its employees’ paychecks to cover federal taxes. 

The IRS makes it a serious crime if Americans do not comply with the federal mandate to fill out a tax return every year confessing all of their economic activity.

A farmer cannot raise corn to feed to the cattle on his own farm without satisfying federal mandates first.

Yet, none of these oppressive Washington individual mandates are being challenged in court anywhere, despite the liberty litigation frenzy suddenly striking Republicans.  Their sole interest appears to be high theater in the meaningless dramas between Republicans and Democrats, showing off for the television cameras with more empty words.

Have no worries over this legal challenge actually returning us to the traditional limits on federal power once imposed by the United States Constitution.  Real liberty is nowhere on the Republicrat agenda beyond election rhetoric by some.  Our duly appointed federal judges will make quite certain of endless federal power no matter what.  The constitutional limits on federal power were tossed aside over the past one-hundred years by all three branches of government.  Sadly, there is little left now of economic liberty.

Look on the bright side.  The grand federal courthouses across the nation will make a fine background view for this way Off-Broadway Act for Republicans and Democrats.

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