Archive for May 2014

Economics and monetary developments occupy co-hosts Walt Thiessen and Bill Westmiller, as they discuss Federal Reserve plans to increase interest rates and quiet efforts to re-inflate the housing bubble with easy money that will create new housing demand and stimulate financial derivatives.
 
Snowden got prominent media attention from NBC this week, while Glenn Greenwald promises a list of names - probably political and media celebrities - who have been monitored by the NSA. The hosts speculate about the various powerful institutions that may be affected by new revelations.
 
Internet companies are becoming worried about their customers demands for privacy, trying to encourage Congress to eliminate an old law that required turning over email and communications that are stored on "The Cloud" for more than six months ... with no warrants whatsoever.
 
Bill described a few of the surveillance programs that have nothing to do (directly) with the NSA. One is called "Stingray", a device used by local and state police to monitor - without a warrant - both the metadata and content of cell phone communications. The law enforcement agencies have been trying to hide its use, to avoid court challenges to prosecutions based on the information. Walt and Bill also talk about the development of license plate databases, which started years ago with "Red Light Cameras", which have grown into a pervasive network of travel information on every American driving in major cities.
 
Walt announced a new "fictional" segment for next weeks show, based on a science fictional "alternate history" of how various government invasions of privacy "were" defeated.
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Co-hosts Walt Thiessen and Bill Westmiller  deplore the passage of the  so-called "USA Freedom Act", originally intended to  restrain NSA surveillance,  but modified at the last minute to EXPAND NSA  power.  The leadership of the House of Representatives basically caved in  to every  NSA-Justice Department demand for provisions that actually extend the   Fourth-Amendment violations of the government's Surveillance State.  Bill  itemizes some of the changes that extend NSA power and authority over  otherwise  "private" communications of Americans. Walt hopes that the  gimmicks inserted  into the law will be overturned by the Supreme Court.  China and Russia  have agreed to a multi-billion-dollar deal that will  reduce U.S. control of  international oil, gas, and power, by eliminating the  U.S. dollar as the  standard for trading. Walt notes the potential effects on  energy inflation for  American consumers.  New Housing starts are still lower than they were  after World War II,  primarily because of the "bubble" created by legislation and  the "Quantitative  Easing" of the Federal banking system. Walt reviews the  effects of  expanding fiat currency as the primary cause for inflation in all  consumer prices.

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Walt Thiessen and Bill Westmiller thrash through their own views on government spending, private  surveillance, and new  forms of education.  Minor government spending cuts, called "sequestration" resulted in the loss of ONE government job. The co-hosts discuss the ways that bureaucracies deal with fixed spending levels and public  demands for transparency and  reform.  A new administration report on "big  data" didn't have any news, but Thiessen and Westmiller tackle the distinctions  between public (NSA) monitoring  and private commercial monitoring, with a few tips on how to reduce your  exposure to commercial pop-ups, ads, and other  impediments to getting web content.  Walt noted that the Common Core push has resulted in a lot of criticism  and educational alternatives being made  available to parents and students  outside the normal government schooling  bureaucracy. He describes a private school system he's working on and Bill  chimed n with a few examples of free  internet educational services that are becoming very popular. The co-hosts agree on radical changes that will make real  education possible for students in the future. 

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Walt Thiessen offers a personal commentary on his discussion of ObamaCare with a contributor to Nolan Chart, while Bill Westmiller reviews some of the recent healthcare developments that aren't making the headlines.   The Affordable Care Act isn't matching Obama's promise of an average $2,500 reduction in health insurance premiums, but the co-hosts find a host of other problems still over the horizon. Meanwhile, RomneyCare couldn't adapt to the new federal rules, so their insurance exchange crashed and won't be resuscitated for another year.   An anti-libertarian rant from arch-conservative Rick Santorum probably won't affect Rand Paul's growing support for the GOP nomination. Santorum remains in the single digits of public polling.   China and Russia have decided to work together to eliminate the "petro dollar" monopoly on fuel exchanges. The hosts speculate about the effect on FED inflation and the U.S. economy.

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Walt Thiessen and Bill Westmiller take on the week's headlines, including marijuana legalization, racial bias, hate crimes, and the U.S. economy.
 
Retired US Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens thinks marijuana should be legalized, but the sitting justices declined a suit against FDA enforcement of federal drug laws in Colorado and Oregon.
 
Donald Sterling, Cliven Bundy, and Secretary of State John Kerry are topics for bias and racial insults. The co-hosts discuss the legitimacy of hate crimes generally.
 
China is heading for Number One economy in the world, while U.S. housing continues to slump.
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