Twittering to Death
Posterity's Debt To Me
Coping with Deflation
FDR & History
Lead us not
What Fools, We Mortals
My Immigrant Relative
The Eloquent Pogo
Unionize School Children
Hucksterism Gone Wild
EMAIL US HERE:om
The stock market
gained ground today. Gold and silver prices were pounded, and some
pundits are nervous about how fiscal events will unfold in the 2nd quarter
of 2014. Pundits must be fearful. That emotion is far more
interesting to observe than mere confidence and contentment.
News media are bored silly by dull economic news. They'd rather be telling the world
about the 1 year anniversary memorials at the Boston Marathon, the
cessation of pings in the Indian Ocean, and the Russian threat to
Ukraine. Ari Shapiro had an almost joyous tone in his voice on NPR
this morning as he described circumstances in Ukranian hot spots. He even had
explosions going off in the background, although at one point he mentioned
the effect was from a YouTube video someone had loaded on the
Interest. Imagine! Newscasters are now lifting amateur videos
from the Internet to enhance their reports! Do they track down the
video-makers in order to pay them? We have no idea. But then, we go back
to the days when a beep had to be sounded every 18 seconds when telephone
reports were taped for broadcast. A LOT has changed since those olden
We remember when tax day was March 15th. It was March
1st when it started, wasn't it? We also remember when wage
earners got the news that Uncle Sam would "temporarily" withhold
estimated federal taxes from pay packets in an effort to bring in needed revenue for
the war effort. (WW2) It was the early 1940s and we worked part-time in a
cracker bakery and wasn't seriously affected by the new rule, but many of
the full-time workers felt it was not fair to have to cough up their taxes
before they were due. That was more than 70 years ago and the
"temporary" withholding practice continues to this day.
Not many people remember when the IRS was the Internal Revenue
Bureau. In the 1950s Washington bureaucrats decided to soften the
labels on various agencies. The War Department became the Department
of Defense, the Internal Revenue Bureau became the Internal Revenue Service,
etc. The boys and girls at the public relations agencies had a field day!
* * * * * * * * *
Inflation is still less than 2 percent, annually.
the 12 months through March, the core CPI advanced 1.7 percent after
rising 1.6 percent in February.
The Fed targets 2
percent inflation and it tracks an index that is running even lower than
the CPI. The rise last month could ease concerns among some policymakers
about inflation being too low.
In March, food prices
increased 0.4 percent after rising by the same margin in February. A
drought in the West has pushed up prices for meat, dairy, fruit and
More price increases
could be on the way after food prices at the factory gate posted their
biggest gain in 10 months in March. Gasoline prices fell 1.7 percent,
declining for a third straight month.
Within the core CPI,
shelter costs increased 0.3 percent, which accounted for almost two-thirds
of the rise in the index. Rents increased 0.3 percent.
There were also
increases in medical care, apparel,
used cars and trucks, airline fares and tobacco. The cost of
recreation and household furnishings fell.
Department confirms it. Prices are higher in grocery stores, and apartment
and house rents are higher. The Federal Reserve says it aims at a price
inflation rate of at least 2 percent but hasn't been able to achieve this
goal despite inflating the quantity of credit coming into the system at
the present of $65 billion per month. (This on top of its other
credit creating activities.)
Rancher Bundy Goes to War with the
There's a lot more involved than cattle grazing issues.
"It is obvious that some
activities are favored by the Obama administration’s Bureau of Land
Management, and others are disfavored. The favored developments
include solar and wind projects. No surprise there: the developers of
such projects are invariably major Democratic Party donors. Wind and
solar energy survive only by virtue of federal subsidies, so
influencing people like Barack Obama and Harry Reid is fundamental to
the developers’ business plans.
" Ranchers, on the other hand, ask nothing from the
federal government other than the continuation of their historic
rights. It is a safe bet that Cliven Bundy is not an Obama or Reid
contributor." SYMPATHIZING WITH RANCHER BUNDY
John Hinderaker fully understands that Rancher Bundy doesn't have a
legal leg to stand on in his battle to continue grazing his cattle on
federal land for free. But the ruckus is far more involved than
merely his claim that his family used that land before there was even
a Bureau of Land Management and he intends to keep on doing so.
Hinderaker decided to dig into the confusing story more diligently
than most of the commentators who have been writing reams on the
matter. He notes, for one thing, that much of the state of
Nevada is owned by the federal government and finds the heavy hand of
Nev. Senator Harry Reid in the management of a large chunk of that
land. "Harry Reid is known to be a corrupt politician,
one who has gotten wealthy on a public employee’s salary, in part,
at least, by benefiting from sweetheart real estate deals," says
The law may not be on Bundy's side, but his battle is sure to
shine the light of discovery on shady deals involving powerful
politicians and vast public lands. That's a real plus.
repercussions on this...and weren't disappointed!
When parents die their estates
are liable for their debts, not their descendants. However, Uncle
Sam has a different take on this tradition as Mary Grice of Takoma Park,
MD, recently discovered. The government claims it overpaid her late
mother for child support 37 years ago and has intercepted Ms. Grice's tax refund
to apply as repayment. (!) Applying Refunds to Family
The Federal Trade Commission says
“family members typically are
not obligated to pay the debts of a deceased relative from their own
assets.” But Social Security officials say that if children indirectly
received assistance from public dollars paid to a parent, the children’s
money can be taken, no matter how long ago any overpayment occurred.
repercussions on this one! (THE GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCED MONDAY
IT IS PULLING BACK ON THIS PROGRAM.)
Brother isn´t watching you--but he is listening. The S.C.
Department of Health and Human Services, one of the largest,
costliest agencies in state government, pays Clemson University´s
Social Analytics Institute $50,000 a year to 'scrape data' from 150
million public, real-time feeds each day and report back to the
agency what people on the Internet are talking about. That includes
Medicaid patients who may be complaining about the application
process on Twitter or bloggers who criticize Gov. Nikki Haley´s
decision to reject Obamacare´s Medicaid expansion. But they say
they´re doing this 'social listening' in the name of customer
item from the Charleston Post and Courier helps reinforce our own
decision to avoid Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, and other popular
"social media." We know we're out-of-the-loop, a fuddy
duddy, and missing out on the social chatter.
our social media avoidance in January, 2011. ("Twittering Ourselves
to Death.") "We know we're out of sync
with society by not having a Facebook account, and we don't know the
first thing about Twitter. We don't hang out at Internet chat
rooms and we still read books the old-fashioned way having resisted the
invitation to 'Kindle.' It's not that we object to the
technological advance of gadgetry. It's just that we can't manage
our time well enough to take on any more
Nothing is as destructive as a government drowning in debt. Though the time it takes to play out varies, the narrative is always the same:
1. Government borrows too much
2. Government prints money in a desperate attempt to service debt
3. Government ultimately prints too much money, destroying its currency and the savings of all its citizens
4. Unfortunately, it often doesn’t end there. Several of the most horrific atrocities in human history were committed by hopelessly indebted governments.”
Steinhart gets the credit for this...a tidbit we picked up from
Chuck Butler's Daily Pfennig.
earth-shaking here. Not even new. This tiresome cycle
has been repeated hundreds upon hundreds of times through the ages
and the history books record the highlights and list the wreckage of
currencies that died.
Most of us
believe, deep down in our hearts, that the U.S. dollar cannot be
destroyed because of the inherent goodness and invincibility of our
great nation. But the socialist impulse overpowered the voting
majority and we must suffer the consequences.
Montana-based artist nephew conjured this clever image of the overblown
stock market. IS it a bubble? Is it about to pop? No one
can know for sure. A lot of investors are placing their bets on a bull
market continuing. On the other hand a lot of money has been pulled
out of the market in the last two trading days as many players adopt a
wait and see position.
concludes there is considerable risk in Wall Street at the moment.
We agree with him. Grrrgraphics.com
Medical doctor offers a
valuable primer on money
dollar has lost value at an increasing rate since 1971. What cost $100
in 1971 costs $2,428 now, a 96% decline. The dollar lost 75% of its
value from 1914 to 1971 and 96% from 1971 to 2014, adding up to a 99%
decline over the 100-year period from 1914 to 2014. (I used the
Inflation Calculator on shadowstats.com to obtain these
numbers.)" Currency Masquerading as Money
An eagle-eyed reader believes Dr. Miller's information, above, is
somewhat skewed. The various "inflation calculators" do
not agree. The dollar may have lost 96 percent of purchasing power
since 1914, not 99 percent. But the main point remains: The
dollar has been almost destroyed since the nation's 3rd central bank
(The Federal Reserve) was organized.
with the faintest desire to understand the money muddle should download
this extraordinarily clear essay by Doctor Donald W. Miller, Jr. He does
a superb job of explaining exactly what today's fiat currency is and how
it sunk into its present tattered condition. Miller writes clearly
and precisely. It's not one of the empty-headed opinion pieces one
encounters so often on the Internet. This one, in fact, could be
carried into a classroom and used as a teacher's guide to a basic
understanding of the difference between MONEY and debt-based FIAT
Armed with this primer on "money" one might thread his/her way
across the economic thin ice in relative safety.
book review tempts us to order Bill White's
"America's Fiscal Constitution." A few clicks of the
computer keyboard would have the 557 page tome rushing to our door from
Amazon.com. According to the review White has done a pretty good job of
tracing the nation's history of handling federal debt, and we have this
hang-up about the subject. We think the reckless amassing of debt by
the U.S. Congress is not only shameful but is a guarantee of misery for
But why do we
need another book on the subject? Why spend $35.00 to bolster our
personal conviction that unpayable debt is dangerous? What's needed
now is not another rehash of the history of debt accumulation by the U.S.
government. What's needed is a charismatic, fully informed young
leader who can ignite a firestorm of interest among young voters who may
come to realize what a rotten deal they're being handed and flock to the
voting booths to put a stop to it. As White points out, "There
was once a tradition of limiting the uses of public debt and worrying
about the burden it placed on future generations. No more."
As long as
a voting majority chooses spendthrifts instead of statesmen prospects for
our posterity are dreadful. As former Colorado Governor Lamm said
many years ago, "It's like Christmas in reverse. The grownups
get the presents and send the bills to the children."
Maybe a rock 'n
roll or hip-hop star will write a song that will inspire American youth to
begin to fight
Brendan Eich got the boot at
Mozilla...the Firefox browser company.
He gave money in 2008 to support Prop 8 in California.
"What the Brendan Eich episode
teaches us, where a man was driven from a position he had earned,
because of his beliefs, and was abandoned and left undefended by false
friends and gutless peers in Silicon Valley, is this:
"In the new dispensation,
opposition to same-sex marriage disqualifies you from leadership and
may legitimately be used to bring about the ruin of your career.
"This is the new blacklist."
The New Blacklist