Author Archives: R. Mitchell

Lots of Weak Economic Data Today

economy11The latest economic reports show a slowing in the U.S. economy that “experts” had failed to see coming.

Today, the National Association of Realtors released their report on the sales of existing homes. The number of previously-owned homes that sold dropped 3.3% where analysts had expected a slight increase.

Unemployment filings increased more than expected last week according to a report released today.

Thursday also saw the release of the flash reading of the mid-Atlantic Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI). The report showed that growth in orders has declined to the lowest it’s been since January of 2014.

The National Association of Home Builders Confidence Index dropped two points to 54. “Consumers are exhibiting caution, and want to be on more stable financial footing before purchasing a home,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe.

The struggle to achieve growth has come despite incredibly accommodating monetary policy from the Federal Reserve. Lately, the Feds policies seem ineffective which will likely lead to an increase in interest rates later this year – whether the economy has recovered or not.

How to Critically Think About Jade Helm 2015

Jade Helm is a military exercise intended to give America’s special forces some training in realistic, non-military environments. The “laser-like” focus on these exercises is likely keeping Americans from paying attention to more important events.

amercian-soldiers-e1268329274372What is easy to understand is that our troops would NEVER turn on Americans – because they ARE Americans. They would suffer many things rather than intern, capture or detain fellow Americans. If whomever were to attempt a coup, it would be stopped by the soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines of the United States military. *Salute*

The real threat comes from a national, heavily-militarized police force. Our boys in camo are the only realistic defense against heavy-handed national police actions. Perhaps that’s why everyone is seeking to put our military under suspicion – to make sure Americans are suspicious of our armed forces which would leave them with no effective manner in which to deal with national police helicopter gunships and armored vehicles.

The national police are not your local men and women in blue – the nationals are better funded, better armed and more loyal to the bureaucracies that pay them – the ATF, FBI, IRS, BLM, etc…

The angst against our military is unwarranted, sad and wrong. Whether you are worried about the training exercise or not, our military members would desert/mutiny rather than follow an order from Obama to attack the citizenry – have more pride in our service members than the liberals who spit on them.

Texas is the state the Jade Helm planners chose as a major action point. Not only that, but they even focused on the home of the Texas A&M Aggies. Texas A&M is just a hair under Annapolis or West Point if you’re looking to go career military.

Jade Helm is not the issue, but it might be the diversion.

Consider the rise in civil disturbances, union riots and worker walk-outs. Question the economic news being revised constantly by the powers-that-be.

Question the speed at which Al Sharpton showed up to quiet and handle the troubled Baltimore mayor.

Ask yourself why people who were protesting in Baltimore needed to be paid, who they were paid by and even worse, why they argued over how much they should get (see: #cutthecheck)

Apply critical thinking to the FIVE wal-marts that closed down on the same day for “plumbing issues.” None of them seem to be being repaired and wal-mart has been  elusive when questioned.

Americans should question Obama’s executive order to DE-militarize the police. The action isn’t wrong, but the motive is odd and/or condusing.

Critical thinking is important.

Critical thinking keys – no answers, but readers should consider these questions to discern truth:

  1. Who has something to gain by Americans questioning their military members?
  2. Why would Wal-mart suddenly, without notice, close 5 stores in 4 states and blame them all on something easy to fix like “plumbing” – again, who has something to gain?
  3. Why are Wal-mart stores being fortified with CONEX (shipping container) boxes?
  4. Why is the government shoving Jade Helm in your face?

And a final thought: When the government makes a thing obvious, look elsewhere “All warfare is based on deception.” – Sun Tzu

WTO Proves Fears on Trade Deals

It has been reported that trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) would undermine U.S. health and safety regulation. The World Trade Organization (WTO) has just proven them right.

SelectionOfPackageMeatsThe WTO just ruled that America’s Country Of Origin Labeling regulation, which requires meat producers to indicate what nation packaged meat comes from, violates global trade standards. The ruling cannot be appealed.

Having a body of non-elected bureaucrats override U.S. regulations has been a major concern of many opposing the TPP. Obama tried to allay those concerns in a recent speech about global trade deals with Pacific Rim and European countries:

“Critics warn that parts of this deal would undermine American regulation – food safety, worker safety, even financial regulations. They’re making this stuff up. This is just not true. No trade agreement is going to force us to change our laws.”

So much for that…

Now, the U.S. will have to stop enforcing the labeling rules or face tariffs or other trade sanctions.

While this regulation’s demise may not be a threat to food safety, it illustrates how easily a poorly-negotiated trade agreement can lead to the undermining of U.S. regulations. The next overridden rule may not be as superficial.

Deflation – but not why some say

The U.S. economy is beginning to swirl around the drain as a catastrophic bout of deflation may be rearing it’s ugly head. But it’s not due to Americans’ unwillingness to spend.

CNBC’s Alex Rosenberg surmises that the coming deflationary spiral is a failure of the fed’s policies to get Americans to spend more:

This despite years of ultra-loose monetary policy, which theoretically should spur inflation by making it more attractive to spend rather than save money.

The blame may need to be redirected just a bit.

Average Americans aren’t stuffing dollar bills into their mattresses or putting everything in tangible assets – they just don’t have anything left to spend. The only ones with money are the ultra-wealthy and they make up a very small part of the economic engine. The mega-rich will only drive up the price of rare art and really big boats.

The U.S. savings rate from March to April actually saw a drop that matches one of the largest in recent history from July-to-August in 2014. The money isn’t getting socked away.

The real movers of the American economy have been sidelined by free trade policies (NAFTA), expensive regulations (Obamacare) and the government taking money out of the economy instead of leaving it out to do what money wants to do – be spent.

A typical American family might have opted for a less-expensive medical plan prior to Obamacare, but now if they do, they get hit with a penalty at tax time. That moves more money from consumers to insurance companies (or the IRS) who have little reason to spend more than they have to. Insurance companies have to save those pennies for whatever new rule HHS dreams up next and every one of those rules is very expensive.

Open trade policies and unfriendly corporate tax rules have pushed lucrative manufacturing jobs and a boat-load of cash outside the country. If it doesn’t get spent here, it doesn’t grow the economy here.

The deflationary spiral isn’t because American’s don’t want to spend. It’s because Americans are cash-strapped and American businesses are being hampered by idiotic (pronounced Keynesian) economic policies.

While deflation is happening, hold on to cash if you are able – whatever it is you need will be cheaper soon.

What is Trade Promotion Authority (TPA)

Trade Promotion Authority, otherwise known as TPA allows the executive branch of the United States to negotiate trade agreements without congressional interference.

TPA is also known as “fast track” authority. The more friendly moniker truthfully labels this power as a way to make trade deals quicker. Unfortunately, they may also be made without due consideration of the consequences to American workers.

In truth, TPA allows the President to negotiate trade deals which Congress can then only vote up or down – no amendments. Without debate, the President can rush through whatever he thinks is prudent and Congress – and Americans – have to swallow the thing whole or abandon the agreement all together. Prior to the agreement being finalized, no one knows what’s in it. Should Congress have to pass legislation just to learn what’s in it?

A more deliberative approach would be to allow Congress to be party to the details of the negotiations, debate the bullet points and offer suggestions to improve the trade deal in America’s interest.

The Order of Battle for Americans: How to prioritize political efforts

With so many attacks on the “America we love” it is easy to get confused by the barrages on so many of the citizenry’s rights. Here’s how to prioritize spending and efforts to protect what matters:

  1. Free Speech: If any effort portends to silence one group in favor for another – stand up, regardless if you agree with their message or not
  2. Freedom to bear arms: Regardless of which weapon or piece of ammo someone decides to ban – you must protest -harshly – or there may be no one and no manner left by which the freedom of speech is protected
  3. Legal search and seizure: Without free speech, it is impossible to expose incidents where government authorities illegally search a premises, person or vehicle. That means, without freedom of speech, and the freedom to bear arms – there is no protection against unlawful search and seizure.

While these elements do not show the whole of the U.S. Constitution, they do represent the core. If these rights are protected, all others will remain.

It it is understandable why many on the right attack budget issues, abortion, and foreign policy. But, sometimes greater focus on the basics is what is needed.

Americans must focus first on the three basic issues of speech, self-defense and protection from illegal search and seizure until those rights are clearly defended.

First, a few facts:

  • ISIS is far away and irrelevant for almost all Americans today. Let’s let them fight over there while America solves its internal issues – albeit sad that they overran ground our heroes once took
  • Abortion will not be fixed in the next election, it may take a generation with the right messaging – but it won’t be tomorrow – it’s not ready for politics until then
  • The budget is as much a Republican problem as it is a Democrat problem

Now that we have that clear, here’s what must be a first focus:

  • Protect the speech of those you disagree with (you will be a better person than George Stephanopolous)
  • Protect everyone’s right to bear arms.. or you may soon find yourself unable to speak freely and without anyone to defend you.
  • Speak out when other’s rights to search and seizure are stolen. Now, hope your rights to free speech are heartily protected.

A simple case for simple freedoms. Would you rather live in a place where someone tells you what to say, gives you no manner in which to defend yourself and then searches you when and how they like?

To correct the ills of America, black or white, we simply need to return to a focus on the bill of rights. Rights that were written down, unalienable, for all men – equal.

Until those rights are again accepted, protected and ingrained in the American psyche.. is not everything else trite?

How to become a Political Blogger

First – you’ve chosen a difficult and thankless hobby or career. Now that we have that out of the way, here are the keys to getting more readers to realize who you are:

  • You must write about relevant topics. If you write several posts on some event from 5 years ago – no one will read it and the search engines will never find it.
  • Entertain or educate – if the reader gets nothing from your article, it is little more than a rant. hint: no one likes being ranted at.. or something
  • Don’t forget the Wh’s of journalism. Who, What, Why, When & Where – they ad to the story and help people understand what you’re writing about
  • Teach, don’t preach – when you are being talked down to.. you tune out. When you are being shown something you didn’t know, but might be interested in – you get focused.
  • Edit yourself.. then edit again. We all make mistakes, some pretty silly. Limit them as much as possible – your readers tick off mistakes and think less of your work with each one
  • Check your sources: Sure, somebody posted a story on Facebook that says Sen. WhatsHisNuts said this or that. Verify. What if he never said it and you wrote it – credibility shot, dead, forever. You won’t get that back – ever.
  • Credit your sources (or get sued). If you quote a paragraph from the NYTimes or WaPo or whatever.. quote only what’s necessary to make your point, link to the original story and SAY where you got it from (ask your editor how if you aren’t sure.)
  • Do not just copy another article: if you simply copy content from another article – that’s stealing, plagiarism and possibly copyright infringement. Under fair use, you may use a portion of a publication or article for the purpose of commenting upon it. You can only use the portion necessary to make your point – and you must make a point.
  • Write. Write a lot. Write tons of posts and ask editors to provide some insight. Conservative Daily News editors will review your posts on CDN and offer advice on how to make it more readable, entertaining and/or educational.
  • Promote: Promoting your posts is how other people learn they exist. You could write them in a notebook and leave them on your desk, but only you will ever see them. Writing on your own can often feel like having just left them in a notebook. CDN has perfected post promotion and social media. Any post you publish on CDN automatically gets access to over 50,000 followers, likers, emailers and more! We also have a youtube channel for your Vloggers or aspiring on-screen commentators.
  • Cost: Running your own site can cost 100’s of hours, hundreds of dollars and lots of frustration. CDN can help you launch your own blog, for much less once you’re ready. While you’re learning, your costs are exactly NOTHING.
  • Write for CDN: CDN has been hosting, fostering and growing talent for years. Hook into our resources, learn from our experience and grow from our contacts. If you want to be a serious news or political blogger – CDN is the place to start!

 

Internet Name Governance is Going Global – What could go wrong?

ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, is just about ready to go global – thanks to the Obama administration. But, what benefit is that to Americans?

What is ICANN?

ICANN is responsible for registering the recognizable website names everyone knows so that domain name servers can translate those names into the confusing mix of numbers that actually help browsers and computers find where they are going (ie. conservativedailynews.com currently resides at 173.236.187.168.)

The arguments for the globalization and against it are numerous. Some argue that, today, ICANN revokes names quickly when copyright infringement is claimed. Others simply claim that no government should have single hold over the naming system. More complain that ICANN should not be an unregulated private entity.

The truth is that ICANN is semi-private today. It operates under a contract from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. The contract allows for at least some level of oversight from a free and courteous government – once ICANN is released from that contract on September 30th, that oversight is gone.

The bigger question Americans should ask is if ICANN is released to be (maybe)  overseen by some conglomeration of world governments… what good is that to us? America funded the development of the internet (see ARPANET.) America fostered the good governance that allowed the freedom and explosive growth of the internet. Now, the very fundamental process for getting and maintaining an internet name is being given away to … who knows?

If the concern was the bureaucracy that congressional oversight brought to ICANN, well, having 150 nations oversee those same functions won’t be better. The cure for bureaucracy is not more of it…

Why do Americans Care About ICANN?

The average American may never interact directly or indirectly with ICANN. If you never want to have your own website with a domain name, you will not need ICANN services.

The concern is over cost, regulatory authority, foreign intervention and theft (or at least graft.)

If China is complaining about how quickly domain names are taken away due to copyright today, imagine how hard it will be to protect intellectual property once they have their hands in the naming pie?

What if ICANN decided to tax .com addresses an additional $1 tax vs. the .uk, .ca, .au… and so on? The .com address is used largely by U.S. addresses. That would mean that American companies and individuals would pay more for their web names than any other country – and be paying a tax levied by a non-U.S. entity. Then again.. ICANN already considered this very thing some time ago, but found it unworkable within the United States.

As the naming governance goes global, censorship becomes a concern:

“If you hand over domain-name registration to someone who doesn’t want certain classes of domains registered, then you’re setting up a censorship structure,” said Bill Reinsch,president of the National Foreign Trade Council, which represents businesses.

A Little History

In 1997, the Clinton administration published a paper proposing the privatization of all aspects of internet management. The fundamental reason for the suggestion was that non-governmental self-regulation was important.

That reasoning was sufficient to spur the Department of Commerce into action and was so freedom-from-government sounding as to keep public alarm to a whisper.

In January of 1998, the Department of Commerce published it’s initial rule for public comment. This framework was based on the idea of one or more private entities taking over the basic functions of the internet and the DOC having regulatory authority over them all.

In June of 1998, the DOC pulled back it’s first rule and issued the one responsible for creating today’s ICANN that would:

1) preserve the stability with the Internet; 2) provide for competition in the registration of names; 3) provide for private sector bottom-up coordination; and 4) election and representation of the various constituencies.

Autumn of 1998 saw the birth of a 510(c)(3) non-profit named ICANN.

Recent Events

In October of 2013, the leaders of organizations responsible for coordination of the Internet technical infrastructure globally met in Montevideo, Uruguay. They created the Montevideo Statement on the Future of Internet Cooperation:

  • They reinforced the importance of globally coherent Internet operations, and warned against Internet fragmentation at a national level. They expressed strong concern over the undermining of the trust and confidence of Internet users globally due to recent revelations of pervasive monitoring and surveillance.
  • They identified the need for ongoing effort to address Internet Governance challenges, and agreed to catalyze community-wide efforts towards the evolution of global multistakeholder Internet cooperation.
  • They called for accelerating the globalization of ICANN and IANA functions, towards an environment in which all stakeholders, including all governments, participate on an equal footing.
  • They also called for the transition to IPv6 to remain a top priority globally. In particular Internet content providers must serve content with both IPv4 and IPv6 services, in order to be fully reachable on the global Internet.

President and CEO of ICANN, Fadi Chehadé, praised the statement and piled on praise for the globalization of internet naming:

The global community was definitely energized by that statement to start the march toward what I would call a working ecosystem of Internet governance that is rooted in two principles: first, that we want Internet governance in a distribute, polycentric way, as opposed to a centralized, top-down way; and, secondly, we’re moving Internet governance decidedly into a moment where all stakeholders are engaged.

Chehade’s remarks are positive and hard to rebuke, but … they are oddly similar to the ignored directives from 1998. Remember these from the top section:

1) preserve the stability with the Internet; 2) provide for competition in the registration of names; 3) provide for private sector bottom-up coordination; and 4) election and representation of the various constituencies.

First, competition in the registration of names has long been forgotten by ICANN. They strong-armed organizations like the NSI (an early naming provider) into oppressive contracts that would allow ICANN to destroy NSI on a whim.

Secondly, ICANN’s record on “private, bottom-up coordination looks more oppressive than cooperative:

What did ICANN do in response to the public comment it received and the global consensus against the stranglehold charter model proposed by CP80?  ICANN adopted the stranglehold charter model for noncommercial users, defying the unanimous public support expressed for the charter drafted by noncommercial users that was created through a consensus process.  The ICANN drafted charter forces noncommercial users into arbitrary and competing constituencies — and it does not permit them to vote as an entire stakeholder group, the one thing noncommercial users were clear in the comment period about needing for noncommercial users to have any chance of influencing policy at ICANN.

Lastly, fair election and represenatation has been questionable at best:

Specifically, beginning with the Seoul ICANN Meeting in October 2009, noncommercial users and commercial users are each supposed to have elected 6 representatives to the GNSO Council.  However, as a result of back channel lobbying by the commercial constituencies who lost the advantage in numbers of councilors, the 3 new GNSO Council seats that should have gone up for election to noncommercial users, will instead become board appointments in the initial term.  This shift raises concerns that the noncommercial GNSO Council appointments will neither be representative of nor accountable to noncommercial users (the purpose of an election).  Instead, the noncommercial council appointments become the subject of intense lobbying by commercial actors clawing to get those council seats back.

These last arguments might point out why ICANN should be globalized, but hearing that the new directives are just like the last… why does this move make that better?

What’s Next for Internet Names?

It’s hard to predict where internet governance will end up. In the hands of some non-UN, chimera of selfish nations, the internet could just get tied up while they argue over the scraps from America’s table.

Justifiable concerns exist over who decides when a domain is harmful and should be taken away from the current owner. If China doesn’t like a U.K. based “China-truth” blog, can it lobby to have their domain name stripped?

If ICANN get’s subsumed, taken over or otherwise nefariously-steered, Americans will likely create a new, U.S. owned naming organization and let the rest of the world turn ICANN into a schizophrenic mess.

Simply creating a new naming organization comes with its own issues. What if the internationally-controlled ICANN won’t recognize the new American naming group? Will non-American domain name servers recognize U.S. domain names? That could cut America off from the world – or more correctly, cut the world off from America.

Without the shining light on the hill visible to the internet’s billions – freedom may be the cost. Than again, maybe that’s the intent of this whole three-decade maneuver – all started with President Bill Clinton in 1997.

SHOCK: Obama Calls for Change to How Media Reports

Obama isn’t happy with the way that the media reports on his failing economic and social policies.

At a discussion at Georgetown University on Tuesday, the President scolded the media for showing the unemployed demanding phones and other entitlements:

“I don’t know where they find them. They’re like, I don’t want to work, I just want a free Obama phone”

The media finds people to interview in actual America, not the one the President wants to pretend exists. The entitled want their Obama phones, EBT card money and everything else the left has been telling them that they should expect.

The President continued his rant against accurate reporting by  calling for an outright change to how the media reports:

“We’re going to have to change how our body politic thinks, which means we’re going to have to change how the media reports on these issues..”

How, exactly, does Obama plan to change how the media reports on these issues? Net neutrality gave the government more control over the internet and we are already dealing with the least transparent administration in history. Anything more obtrusive by the government and we’re looking at censorship – that pesky first amendment should at least slow him down.

If his idea of changing how the media reports means only telling the stories he finds palatable or in a manner that he approves, well .. that sounds a lot like N. Korea’s way of changing the body politic.

Ad Fail: McDonald’s is Lovin’ #2 .. or something [Video]

Sure, on deeper review, it’s lovin’ reminder #2. I get that, but ads are normally structured to deal with the scan we all do when something is only 30 seconds long. We don’t read the details, we scan … and when I saw this run across my baseball game all I saw was “lovin’ no.2″ and thought.. with Mickie D’s, that’s not so hard to fathom.

Oh, and having the somewhat emasculated metrosexual in the foreground probably didn’t help, but hey, he had ‘shrooms in his fanny pack.

What is the Trans-Pacific Partnership?

Secretary_Kerry_Participates_in_the_TPP_Meeting_with_Nations'_Leaders_(10152830624)While the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has been in the works for a decade, only recently has it become front-page news. What is it about the TPP that so many find objectionable?

What is the TPP trying to accomplish?

The TPP has been negotiated in near-secrecy for a decade so its exact aims are difficult to discern. Some key objectives have become public after materials were made public by infamous hacker organization WikiLeaks.

The agreement, in its current form, seems to protect the patents of large multi-nationals, creates an international tribunal that can order reparations on behalf of corporations and more.

Even better for global companies, the tribunal can order compensation for any lost profits found to result from a nation’s regulations. Philip Morris is using a similar provision against Uruguay (the provision appears in a bilateral trade treaty between Uruguay and Switzerland), claiming that Uruguay’s strong anti-smoking regulations unfairly diminish the company’s profits.

That tribunal we spoke of earlier can rule on corporation’s claims to be losing profits due to undue regulation. The nation’s may have little-to-no recourse. International law will over-rule.

Some oppose the international tribunal mentioned earlier because it be used by any participating nation’s companies to subvert regulations that Americans support. We don’t like horsemeat in our bologna or fox meat in our donkey meat (ok, that’s more a China thing, but you get the drift – and it could be our problem soon…) This pact could allow foreign companies to import unsafe or unsavory items into America – and U.S. consumers would never be the wiser. Heck, the foreign nations could petition the tribunal that U.S. regulations against fox, donkey, horse or … whatever meat are hurting their profits. raccoonAwesome! Who wouldn’t want some creamed raccoon in a jar for their babies?

It could also allow U.S.-based multi-nationals to get around regulations by claiming harm in the international tribunal – thereby over-stepping regulations on just about everything.

Who is involved in the TPP?

As of today, the agreement is being formed by twelve nations: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States, and Vietnam.

What is the History of the TPP?

In 2002, New Zealand, Chili and Singapore began trade talks as the P3 (Pacific 3) at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Meeting in Los Cabos, Mexico. Brunei joined the negotiations in 2005 making it the P4.

Not until 2008 did the United States join discussions. President George W. Bush engaged the partnership to negotiate trade liberalisation on financial services. The first U.S. involvement in the negotiations was set to be at meetings in 2009.

Obama entered office in 2009 and announced that he was seeking a broader agreement. The 2009 conference was delayed until 2010.

At the 2010 conference, President Obama advanced a proposal to limit negotiations to completing by November 2011 – negotiations are still ongoing in 2015.

Why are the contents of the TPP so secret?

The question to worry all Americans – why are the specifics of the trade agreement being kept secret and why is Congress about to allow the President to negotiate a treaty without them?

There isn’t a benevolent reason anyone has come up with.

Sure, some defend the trade pact as a winner for unions, jobs, American exports, and making sure starving albino monkeys get their porridge.. or something. But that is the justification for pushing the agreement, not why it should be done in secret.

When governments do things in secret, it is either to conceal their intent from their enemies or to conceal the same thing from their own people. This isn’t about hiding anything from ISIS, Russia, North Korea or Iran – that leaves a taste in the mouth.. doesn’t it?

The administration, other nations and even analysts have offered no valid reason to keep the TPP secret, yet Congress (Democrat and Republican alike) are working to give the President fast track authority to approve the treaty – what could go wrong?

What is the Fast Track Authority Congress Wants to Give the President?

Fast track authority (aka Trade Promotion Authority) gives the President of the United States unilateral authority in negotiating a trade agreement.

Normally, Congress has amendment and filibuster capability that can be used to shape a trade agreement. With fast-track, they get only a “yes” or “no” vote – no adding or blocking amendments.. just vote one way or the other on the deal the President negotiates.

Born in 1974 in the Trade Act of 1974, it was advanced by a President consumed with power.  In the end, the provisions it enacted did little to protect Americans, their jobs or their health.

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