Posts tagged “surveillance state

Drones, Investments, and the Fiscal Cliff

With the re-election of President Obama and Republicans picking-up seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, one thing is certain: the federal government will continue barrowing money at record levels to underwrite the ever growing American surveillance state.

Some sources claim the Obama administration spent nearly $80 billion in the last fiscal year building and maintaining a domestic spy apparatus.

One of most significant threats to privacy are nano-drones—small, insect like robots that can fly into homes, take DNA samples, and, with the use of small cameras, peer into the windows of dwellings.

http://www.businessinsider.com/the-future-of-micro-drones-is-getting-pretty-scary-according-to-alan-lovejoy-2012-6

One would think that his type of surveillance should be illegal, but is it?

Our nation’s highest courts have consistently ruled that privacy as it relates to a homeowner’s curtilage is not applicable from the air.  In other words, since drones have the ability to fly above a property line, advocates believe the surveillance they conduct—no matter how intrusive—would be lawful absent a court order.

On the Economic Front

With the election over and the accomplice media satisfied with the result, pundits and reporters are now, finally, deciding to focus on America’s looming debt crisis.

As things currently stand, the country is quickly approaching the so-called “fiscal cliff”—a term referring to deep cuts in military spending and staggering tax increases.

Some argue that it is better to go off the cliff now than kick-the-can down the road further, forcing our children to deal with trillions of dollars more in new Obama debt.

One such person is libertarian investor Peter Schiff, who addresses some of the challenges facing the country and individual investors in this Schiff Report video blog:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLXPmi6W9bc

A few years prior to the meltdown of housing prices, Schiff accurately predicted the bubble’s burst. Several economists, at the time, called his prediction ‘crazy.’

In this video, Schiff predicts that a severe economic crash is coming to American financial markets thanks to the big government, anti-free market economic policies emanating from Washington.

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. I, is available at Amazon.com

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, please visit:

www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2012


Before Casting Your Vote on Tuesday…

Tuesday is Election Day. Unlike many major newspapers, political hacks, and partisan bloggers, the Spingola Files (SF) is not in the business of telling Americans how to vote.  That being said SF is a site that focuses on law enforcement issues and the rights of the citizenry to live free from excessive government intrusion.

But no issue is larger than the fiscal health of the United States government.  Even though our national debt is quickly approaching that of Greece’s as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product, the German economy is not large enough to bail us out.

Right now, one of every three tax dollars collected by the federal government is used to pay just the interest on the national debt.  This amount is sure to rise even if the federal government does not borrow another penny. Why? The Federal Reserve has kept interest rates artificially low.  Those who buy Treasury bills or U.S. bonds, get a return of about 1.5 percent. However, when interest rates increase to traditionally modest levels of 5 to 7 percent, at current debt level, almost four of every tax dollars collected will go just to pay the interest on the debt. The Obama administration’s policy, pursued through the Federal Reserve, is to print more money to make these interest payments, which devalues the dollar and causes prices for commodities to rise.  This is why food prices are up 30 percent over the last four years and the cost of gasoline has nearly doubled, even in a low-growth economy.

President Obama’s 2013 proposed budget—one that would add another $1.2 trillion to the national debt in the next fiscal year—was voted down 99-0 in the U.S. Senate and 414-0 in the U.S. House of Representatives.  In other words, not one member of Obama’s own political party voted for his budget that would lead the country off the fiscal cliff.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/blog/inside-politics/2012/may/16/obama-budget-defeated-99-0-senate/

President Obama claims he can solve the budget crisis but modestly cutting spending (although he has never specified a single cut) and raising taxes on those who make over $250,000. This plan is nothing more than smoke-and-mirrors.  If every penny of those who made over $250,000 were taxed, the revenue raised could only fund the federal government for 98 days.

SF believes the only way to prevent an eventual federal government default is reforming entitlement spending, streamlining and prioritizing the defense budget, and dramatically reforming programs that provides checks to abled-bodied non-retirees to sit at home.

The fundamental rule of Economics 101 is if policy makers want more of something subsidize it; if they want less of something tax it.  But the policy of the current administration is to tax success—those who run small businesses, work overtime, and create innovative products—while subsidizing a growing underclass by elaborately spending billions of dollars on wasteful programs like food stamps, SSI, and free cellular telephone program giveaways.  Our federal lawmakers already use the tax code to punish success in order to underwrite handouts.  With the Obama administration advocating even higher taxes on producers, is it any wonder why our nation’s economic productivity has decreased each of the last three years while the number of those on the dole has increased exponentially?

As things currently stand, over 46 million Americans are on food stamps, an increase of nearly 47 percent since Obama took office.  Since 2009, food stamp growth is 75 times higher than job creation.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/blog/inside-politics/2012/may/16/obama-budget-defeated-99-0-senate/

Cleary, if the status quo stands, the United States government is an unsustainable operation.  What does this mean? In Greece, their retiree’s version of Social Security checks decreased 50 percent and their minimum wage was cut by over 20 percent.  The Greek unemployment rate is now over 25 percent, even though Germany, through the European Union, has agreed to bail them out.  No nation is large enough to bailout the United States.  If our government misses a single payment to bond holders, the global economy will collapse.

If you’re a police officer, firefighter, a member of the Teamsters Union pension fund, and the bond market collapses, you can kiss your current pension promises goodbye.  As the lyrics to that old Billy Preston song correctly surmise, “Nothin’ from nothin’ leaves nothin’.”

But besides reprioritizing defense spending, dramatically reforming poverty programs, and entitlements, the federal budget is full of pork that could be easily slashed. Let’s start with the nearly $80 billion that the federal government is spending each year constructing the American surveillance state. Have you noticed all those cameras on the Interstate or mounted at the top of poles at busy intersections, as well as the chemical sensors at weigh stations? These programs are paid for with borrowed money.  In the interim, these high-tech gadgets have done little to improve clearance rates for major crimes. Instead, over 1,100 private corporations that make-up the security-industrial complex profit from this wasteful spending that a nation at the edge of the fiscal cliff can no longer afford.

So, before casting your ballot look past the rhetoric.  As this clip from YouTube, during the 2008 campaign, suggests, pay close attention to what President Obama and Gov. Romney have done, not what they’ve said.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kuTG19Cu_Q

In other words, hold those who break their promises accountable on Tuesday.

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. I, is available at Amazon.com

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, please visit:

www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2012