"The U.S. media capitalize on [public] division." ~Peggy Noonan

(Caveat Emptor)
News and opinion from all over the political universe.  Much of it to be taken with grains of salt.

Curmudgeon's   Archive.   

Magical Money  

Posterity's Debt To Me
The Battle for Honest Money
From Riches to Rags
Fiddler's Broken Wrist
Jack-lantern Wealth
Chance of Gold Confiscation

Poobahs of Positivism

Blood In the Streets
America Descending
Just Plain Stealing  ?
A thing to fear
Heavenly Sex
What Fools, We Mortals
Unvarnished Truth
Hucksterism Gone Wild
Religious Violence



 June 24,2017

     "Virtuosity in taking tests is affected by experience in taking tests. Like most in my generation, I was subjected to unending tests: an IQ test in the second grade when my teacher thought me retarded (as many readers still do). Some sort of Virginia test. PSATs. NMSQT. SATs. GREs. Marine Corps General Qualification Test. FSEE. And so on.

     "As I suppose others did, I learned the technique for acing tests. Run through all the questions rapidly, picking the low-hanging fruit, putting a tick mark by those questions not instantly obvious. Run through again, answering those of the tick-markeds susceptible to a minuteís thought, double tick-marking the really difficult ones. Then to the really hard ones and finally, with an eye on the clock and knowing how the tests are scored, eliminate one or two answers on the remaining ones and guess.

     "People who donít know this, and try to go straight through, may not even finish." FRED 0N INTELLIGENCE   

     All but our youngest grandchild have passed the stage of life in which they wrestled with academic testing.  We shall pass Mr. Reed's recommendations along to her in the hope his advice will aid her in her final three years of college. 

             Educationists may say Fred's all wet, but not having much exposure to formal education of our own we surmise he is right.
   We wish President Trump would behave less like a showboat and more like a thoughtful statesman.  But that is not to be.  It's not in his makeup.

       Many who voted for Trump were voting for the lesser of evils and we're pretty much stuck with it, despite the desperate moves of liberals and their supportive Main Street media.  If Trump can avoid all-out war and possibly tap the brakes a little on runaway federal government spending over his term, that's about all anyone should wish for.

      It's evident the majority of voters are all for socialism on some level.  It's not called that.  "Progressivism" is the current political label.  There's plenty of support of it in Washington.  And the people, too, like the idea of plenty of social safety nets provided through the reluctant kindness of overwhelmed taxpayers. 

     We'd prefer free-market capitalism, but that's a hard sell.

                                                              *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

   Random notes. . .Will the edginess between the U.S. and Russia over Syria blossom into all-out war? Possibly.  There are plenty of people itching for it. But its effects here at home would be far more like the deprivations of WW2, not those far away conflicts in Korea, VietNam, Afghanistan, et al. Thanks to nuclear weaponry an all out WW3 would conclude fairly quickly.  The negative effects would last for generations.

    We're having email exchanges about bitcoin, the popular cryptocurrency. We hear some investors have made a killing by swapping their dollars for  bitcoin, although we have not heard much about the winners trading their bitcoin for dollars.  If that's what they are doing, gambling for dollar wins, that's not supporting the theory that a cryptocurrency can sucessfully compete in day-to-day commerce. We can understand, however, how appealing bitcoin can be for money launderers and undergreound commercial exchanges.

For some reason society has lost sight of the fact that goods and services exchange for goods and services and that money is merely a tool to make the exchanges more convenient. Sound money also tends to carry value into the future.  It vastly beats barter when one can work for money and then hold that money until  some future date before swapping it for goods or services.  (Today's debt-based fiat currency doesn't carry value forward in time worth a damn.) 

ITEM: "Weíve racked up $1 trillion in credit card debt ó and thatís just a fraction of what we owe. Thatís according to data released this year from the Federal Reserve, which found that U.S. consumers owe $1.0004 trillion on their cards, up 6.2% from a year ago; this is the highest amount owed since January 2009. Whatís more, this isnít the only consumer debt to top $1 trillion. We now also owe more than $1 trillion for our cars, and for our student loans, data show."

      You would think consumers would be a little more cautious about spending such huge amounts of money they have not yet earned.  But the temptation to spend money one doesn''t have on things one may not really need is overwhelming.  Expecially when the skids are greased by offers of  goods and services for little or nothing down and "low,low payments" from here to eternity. 

             There is no practical solution except to hope that some little segment of the teaching profession will start instructing the tots on the reality of the consequences of perpetual debt.  It's doubtful this will happen. The lesson of excess debt must be learned the hard way.

  The latest idea appearing in print suggests getting rid of the official public debt ceiling altogether!  

            Yep.  The idea is this.  If tens of trillions of federal debt is a problem - and if default would be a catastrophe - why not end the continuing crisis by declaring the debt limit null and void?

              James Furman (who worked for the Obama administration) and Rohit Kumar (who worked for Senate majority leader Mitch McConnel) see getting rid of a deb t ceiling altogether as the rational solution.  Under the present system Congress must hike the ceiling to about $24 trilllion to accomodate shortfalls over the next four years.  That would be kicking the can down the road as there is little chance the US government can avoid living beyond its means.  The voting majority will not allow balanced budgets, let alone budget surpluses to pay down the present public debt. 

        While writing a check  to the phone company recehtlywe couldn't help but think how expensive it is to provide an audio highwy into our life for con artists of all sorts.  Robo calls even arrive now and then on our cell phone, which erupts daily with one of those "Hi, how are you today?"  calls. 

         Our offspring say one is supposed to look at the Caller ID screen and if the number is not recognizeable just ignore it.  Good advice, perhaps, for someone who can see the damned screen but we happen not to see well enough to do that.

          Long ago people used to be pestered by door-to-door salesmen.  This led to a steady business for the printers of "NO PEDDLERS"  signs affixed to home and business doors. 

           With regards to the federal government's "Do Not Call" list that turned out to be a waste of time. 

            If the robo callers would pay our phone bill we'd be happy to answer the telephone to say "No" and hang up.  But that ain't the way it works in these high tech times.

About the liberal promotion of a "cashless society". . . our local morning newspaper informs us that credit/debit card theft has increased sharply in our county. One popular method of stealing card data is the use of electronic skimmers which attach to ATMs, gas pumps, and other devices that feature a card-reading unit.

    This strikes us a recommendation to generally avoid using credit/debit cards and stick to cash - - inconvenient though it may be.  Sure, a thug could bop you on the head and make off with the $100.00 or so in your wallet, but that is unlikely even in today's tensive times. Stealing credit/debit card data is easier for techie thieves.

     We stood in line behind a college student at a local pharmacy and watched her purchase a snack and a soft drink which amounted to less than $5.00.  I wasn't surprised to see her whip out a debit (or credit) card with which to pay. She was somewhat portly and didn't need the empty calories, in our opinion. But the ease with which junk food can be bought by plastic cards makes bad choices easy. There is a certain discipline that comes from living within the total cash in your pocket.