Monday, February 6, 2012

Prediction: US War in Iran, Coming Soon

I predict with much regret that the United States will be involved in some sort of military action against Iran within the next year or two. In January 2012, US intelligence has been inspecting and analyzing Iran’s potential nuclear weapons program with help from the United Nation’s nuclear inspection team. Although the Iranian government has stated its nuclear exploration is for the purpose of energy production, US intelligence seems to be set on the idea that Iran is engaged in nuclear exploration for the purpose of acquiring a nuclear weapon, and is very close to doing so. US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta recently stated that Iran could have a nuclear weapon within a year.  Also, US intelligence officials are reporting that Iran is considering attacks on American soil in the future, even though they have not yet acquired or developed a nuclear weapon. I have a feeling this is all propaganda created by US leaders that will inevitably lead to a military action against Iran.  

To anyone who has paid attention to recent history, it should be fairly obvious that the propaganda being spread by the US Government and major media outlets about Iran is very similar to the propaganda spread about Iraq prior to the US invasion in 2003. Leading up to the US led military action in Iraq, the Bush administration stated that Saddam Hussein was acquiring weapons of mass destruction, Iraq had connections to Al Qaeda, and how Saddam was an evil dictator who hated America and potentially threatened the United State’s security. Every single one of these talking points was used by the Bush administration as justification to invade Iraq, and now they are all being used as talking points to paint Iran as the up and coming villain. For those who doubt that statement, take into consideration that in December 2011 a Federal Court ruled that Iran was linked to the 9/11 attacks.

A US military intervention in Iran will not be a NATO supported mission like the recent actions in Libya. We will most likely hear cheers of support and even receive some form of aid from certain NATO member nations, but NATO will not come together in all out support of military actions against Iran. Instead, this war will be initiated by either the US or Israel, but will be fought by both. Israel has recently stated they would attack Iran if they have reason to believe their national security is threatened by a nuclear armed Iran. As being a top contributor to Israel’s military and a number one ally to Israel, the US government will send its full support behind Israel if Israel is the first to initiate force. However, if the US is the first to initiate force, Israel will still come out and fight side by side with the US.

Iran is a theocratic Muslim nation that is ruled by corrupt leaders such as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Although this is the case, I do not believe a US/Israel led military action against Iran is necessary. I say this because I do not believe the current government claims about Iran being a threat US security. I do think it is important to keep watch over nations like Iran who are interested in developing nuclear weapons, but preemptive military force against Iran when facts do not prove it as a direct threat to the US is pure insanity. I truly hope I am wrong in this prediction and that diplomatic actions are attempted and succeed in the end, but comparing recent trends to history makes a forecasted US military action against Iran seem inevitable. 

-Liberty Mike

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Welcome To America: Where Citizens Can Be Imprisoned Without A Trial

The House and Senate have just passed the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2012, setting the budget for military spending by the federal government for the United States for 2012. This bill granted around $565 billion for the federal government to spend on military/defense purposes next year. The Congress passes a defense spending bill at the end of every year for the upcoming fiscal year; however, this year’s legislation has a very controversial amendment attached to it. That controversial amendment exists in section 1031 of the bill, which allows the executive branch to indefinitely detain US citizens who are suspected of engaging in terrorist activity without due process.

The indefinite detainment of a US citizen without being tried in a court of law is a complete violation of their right to due process. Due process in its most simplistic terms means fair treatment through the normal judicial system. The 5th amendment of the US Constitution states that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without the due process of law, indicating this provision is a complete violation of the 5th amendment. The 6th amendment also states that in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial. The infinite detainment provision of the National Defense Authorization Act also violates the 6th amendment since it deprives US citizens the right to a speedy and public trial if suspected by the executive branch of being involved in terrorist activity.
The American people should be outraged with the passing of this legislation. This bill shows Congress does not care about the Bill of Rights, and does not care about the fact they have violated their oath of upholding the Constitution by passing legislation that blatantly erases multiple Constitutional rights. Considering there are many things one can do in order for the federal government to declare them a suspected terrorist, many people charged of regular crimes could be held indefinitely without any rights granted to them once this bill becomes a law. The passing of a bill such as this is dangerous because it grants the power to the executive branch to act as its own judge and jury. US citizens should not take this lightly, and should hold their representatives accountable if they voted in favor of this bill. 283 members of the House and 86 members of the Senate voted in favor of this bill. The American people need to become active and vote those members out of office in 2012!

- Liberty Mike

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Fed's Low Interest Rates Prevent Growth!

It appears some people never learn. On Tuesday, the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee announced they would be keeping interest rates at record lows until at least mid 2013. In a statement from the FOMC, the Fed stated “To promote the ongoing economic recovery and to help ensure that inflation, over time, is at levels consistent with its mandate, the Committee decided today to keep the target range for the federal funds rate at 0 to 1/4 percent”. The FOMC has decided to keep interest rates at record lows in an attempt to pick up growth since the recovery has been slower so far this year than expected, but keeping rates this low will have the opposite effect.
After the financial collapse of 2008, the FOMC decided to lower the federal funds rate to 0-0.25% in December of 2008 to have credit flow more freely to financial institutions in an attempt for these institutions to recover after experiencing near bankruptcy. Many mainstream economists said the Fed’s decision to set interest rates at record low levels was a brilliant idea, and was necessary in order to prevent an economic depression. Government officials and the Fed stated that more liquidity in the US markets was the answer to solving our problems and putting a halt to the recession. However, the decision to significantly lower interest rates has not shown any real results in economic recovery, as the unemployment stays high, stocks have not shown any real growth, and the US dollar continues to lose its value against commodities and foreign currencies.
Although some argue that significantly low interest rates by the Fed prevented a depression after the 2008 financial collapse since we haven’t seen depression level figures for the US economy, it can be refuted by stating these artificially low interest rates have just prolonged the harsh recession that should have happened in late 2008. When the Fed decided to lower interest rates to a 0% level for the first time in its history in December of 2008, they took action in lending trillions of dollars in 0% interest loans to banks, corporations and financial institutions in the US and abroad from late 2008 to present day. These no interest rate loans have allowed these companies to pump their bank accounts full of temporary assets based off credit from the Federal Reserve. These assets have allowed companies to prop up their books and avoid having to record any significant losses as they can cover such losses with temporary cash they have on hand from the 0% interest loans.
Since the Fed has artificially propped up US markets by allowing some of the largest corporations in the world to borrow money without having to pay interest, the Fed has allowed these corporations to avoid showing losses which will be inevitable in the long run. Since the majority of the companies that are borrowing at 0% interest rates right now should have declared bankruptcy in 2008-2009, no true recovery will begin to happen for the US economy as long as they borrow money from the Fed on cheap credit to avoid having to report significant losses. The Fed’s recent decision to keep interest rates at all time lows until at least 2013 will just continue the trend these companies have been on in artificially propping up the assets on their books. The best and only decision the Fed should make at this time is to raise interest rates and allow the US economy to face reality before things get worse.
- Liberty_Mike

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Tourture Is Not Ok!

For years, the United States Military and Secret Service have been performing torture techniques on prisoners of war who have been captured by the US during its involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. The excuse the US has used for performing enhanced interrogation techniques against detainees is that the US will be able to gather beneficial information in advancing our mission in the Middle East through torture that they would otherwise not be able to capture. The use of enhanced interrogation by the US against prisoners of war has been a very controversial issue with many people in the US and around the world who disagree with the use of such techniques.
After the US military assassinated Osama Bin Laden a couple weeks ago, many questions were asked about how the military became informed of the whereabouts of Bin Laden. In attempting to find the answer to this question, Senator John McCain (ranking member of the Armed Services Committee) asked CIA Director Leon Panetta how information was gathered in finding the exact location of Bin Laden.  In Panetta’s response to McCain, he stated that the years spent interrogating Al Qaeda detainee Khalid Sheikh Mohammed through techniques such as waterboarding did not lead to any information that helped the CIA find the whereabouts of Bin Laden, and that the information gathered from Mohammed via waterboarding was actually counterproductive in their mission. In a statement made by McCain after learning this information, he said that using torture techniques against Mohammed and other detainees produced false and misleading information in finding Bin Laden. McCain also stated that he had learned the most beneficial information gathered by the CIA in finding Bin Laden was gathered by detainees through non-coercive means. Also, the exact whereabouts of Bin Laden were not fully released by any CIA detainee who had been through enhanced interrogation or not.
The US Military and secret service has been using enhanced interrogation techniques on members of Al Qaeda and other insurgents since 2002, and did not find the exact whereabouts of Bin Laden until 2011. Although some people thought such techniques were beneficial in advancing the US’s mission against Al Qaeda, it took the US 9 years after the implementation of enhanced interrogation on detainees to finally find and kill Bin Laden. Considering the capture of Bin Laden was the top objective of the US in the War on Terror and recent statements by the CIA show enhanced interrogation was more destructive than productive in completing this objective, the US government should rethink such policies. If the US wants to maintain its reputation as being the land of the free and a nation that supports human rights, it should not continue to lower itself to a level where the government views torture as a proper means in gathering information. It is time the US government ban inhumane techniques such as torture and act in a non coercive manner when attempting to gather information that will help the US succeed in fighting the war on terror.
- Liberty_Mike

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Bernanke, What Are You Talking About??

Last week, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke held the first ever Fed press conference. During this press conference, Bernanke discussed the labor market, inflation, commodity prices, the housing sector, monetary policy and the overall health of the US economy. After listening to this staged event hosted by Bernanke, it is all too clear that the press conference was nothing more than a publicity stunt by the Federal Reserve in an attempt to gain public support for recent Fed policies. Since the Federal Reserve has been under attack by critics due to a serious lack of Fed transparency, Bernanke figured that holding a press conference would be a good way to give the public more insight about the Federal Reserve’s policies to calm overall criticism. In reality, this conference gave no real insight about recent policies, and showed how out of touch Bernanke is with American consumers by stating overall inflation is not affecting the US economy.
In his opening statement, Bernanke stated that increases in commodity prices are due to geopolitical developments and robust global demand. He also stated that there have not been any indications that inflation is getting bad enough to prompt the Federal Reserve to tighten monetary policy, and that the Fed will in fact carry out the rest of their US Treasury bond purchases to complete QE2 by this summer. When asked about QE2 and whether or not the program was successful, Bernanke stated the program has been very successful so far, and that the program has led to overall better economic conditions for the US. In making these statements during the press conference, Bernanke is either trying to trick the American people, or he truly is clueless about inflation and the current devaluation of the US dollar.
Since November 2010 when the Fed took action in pursuing QE2, commodity prices across the board have increased, and the US dollar index has declined. When looking at recent increases in commodity prices and the appreciation of foreign currencies in comparison to the US dollar, it is clear that inflation of the money supply has affected the value of the dollar, and that the Fed should do the exact opposite of what Bernanke stated they would do during last week’s press conference.
Two commodities that are the most sensitive to inflation are the monetary metals gold and silver. Gold hit all time record highs in 2010, and has skyrocketed since January 2011, now priced at over $1500/oz. Silver is near all time record highs ($50/oz in the 1980s), floating around $48/oz. In November 2010 when QE2 had just been announced, Silver was priced under $30/oz. Other metals such as Platinum, Palladium and Copper have increased in price over the past few months as well. Looking at commodities other than metals, oil/gas prices have also increased. Crude oil has significantly increased along with unleaded gas and heating oil. Natural gas prices have also increased since November 2010, although the increase hasn’t been as significant as the increase of other gas prices. Most food based traded commodities such as corn, soybeans, wheat, cattle, hogs and coffee have also increased in price since QE2 began. Along with these across the board increases in commodity prices, the US dollar index has declined in the past few months to around 73, approaching a 5 year low. Foreign currencies such as the Canadian and Australian dollars have recently surpassed the US dollar in value. When looking at the numbers, it is not hard to determine that the current increase in inflation is a problem, and that it is starting to affect the American people. If Ben Bernanke and the Fed do not wake up to this reality soon and take action in tightening monetary policy, the value of the US dollar will continue to decline and American consumers will continue to see a decrease in their standard of living.
- Liberty_Mike

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Situation in Libya Proves US Involvement in the UN Irrelevant!

The United States, Britain and France have taken action in performing a bombing spree on Libya in order to enforce a United Nations Security Council vote last week to implement a no-fly zone over Libya. The intent of the UN imposed no-fly zone was to protect Libyan rebels from air attacks by Dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s forces.  Although the UN Security Council voted 10-0 in favor of enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya, 5 members of the council abstained from voting. Two of the nations that abstained from voting, China and Russia, have veto power in the Security Council, and could have prevented the UN from imposing the no-fly zone by casting a “Nay” vote. Considering 5 member nations, including the 2 with veto power, abstained from voting on this action, the United Nations has once again shown the world how irrelevant its role in global policy really is. 
The United Nations was created in 1945 for the purpose of assuring international law enforcement, providing international security, upholding human rights, and most importantly, preventing war. The organization is comprised of 5 different organs, and the Security Council is the only organ of the UN that has the power to make binding decisions that member nations agree to carry out (the other 4 organs that make up the UN only have the ability to make recommendations). The countries who voted in favor of the no-fly zone over Libya decided someone was obligated to use force against Gaddafi and his supporters due to the fact UNSC decisions must be carried out. Although 10 member nations of the UNSC voted in favor of the no-fly zone, only the US, France and Britain have taken action in enforcing the measure at the UN’s demand. It appears the other 7 member nations of the Security Council who voted in favor of the no-fly zone do not want to get their hands dirty in Libya or bear the financial costs associated with using force.
I am not sure about Britain or France, but according to the law of the United States, the US may only get involved militarily in a foreign nation after first passing through the Congress and then going to the President. The US executive branch and military do not have the authority to use force against another nation due to a resolution from any sort of governing body, such as the UN, other than the US Congress. If the federal government is going to act outside the confines of the Constitution by using force without passing a resolution through Congress and do so without the help of the majority of members of the UN, what is the purpose of the United State’s involvement in the UN at all? The United States is the top financial contributor to the UN, providing 22% of their overall funding ($598 million in 2009 alone), with all other member nations contributing significantly less. Considering the US is carrying out the situation in Libya at the UN’s request with help from only France and Britain, the United State’s involvement in the UN is worthless. As lawmakers begin to look for areas to cut wasteful spending in an attempt to fix the massive budgetary problems facing the US, federal funding to the UN would be a great place to start!


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Gas Out

All things considering, I thought that this would be a good topic for my first article since it exemplifies the need for an education reform (I'm making a bit of a joke here):

So apparently there is another petition making its way around to "boycott" selected oil companies.  The link is here:!/event.php?eid=151363471591084

After reading the article in the link, I'm certain it wouldn't's why:

"If they [Exxon, Mobil] reduce their prices, the other companies will follow suit."

My Rebuttal: hahaha yeah right! Do you even understand how global economics works? This will just turn the new companies into conglomerates.  The only way oil prices can be reduced is by controlling the price of CRUDE OIL...not boycotting two companies.

"If you don't understand how we can reach 300 Million people...well let's just face it, you just aren't mathematician."

My Rebuttal:  Actually, I am an Applied Mathematician.  There are a grand total of only 311,000,000 US citizens according to the 2010 census.  24.3% of the US population is made up of children.  YOU do the math. 

Moral of the story:  If you don't want to have to worry about gas prices, either purchase your own drilling company or buy an electric car.

-Steely Dan