"Credit problems have been creeping up because consumer debt has been rising faster than incomes. "  ~Richard Fairbank (Capital One CEO)

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

Curmudgeon's   Archive.

Who Supports Whom?
One Foot in the Grave
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


September 21, 2017
  We posted this at Wrisley.com a year and a half ago.
If the theory holds true we'd better keep an eye on the precious metals barometer!

  "Price inflation has been creeping at a very slow pace, considerably lower than the Federal Reserve's goal of at least 2 percent annually. The "barometer" may be predicting higher inflation throughout the economy.  Or, maybe not. But something's going on that deserves our attention.

  "When gold/silver prices are stuck in low gear that usually means a stronger U.S. dollar.  (Strong dollar = deflation.)  When the precious metals prices are rising quickly that's a clear sign of a weaker dollar.  (Weak dollar = inflation.) 

  "OUR GUESS:  If Saudi Arabia, China, and other big holders of U.S. debt get ticked off at us and start dumping dollars the flood will have a strong effect on the purchasing power of dollars already in circulation in the U.S. A good defense against the loss of purchasing power is to hoard gold and/or silver.  But if heavy inflation is in the cards it's foolish to see the rise in metals prices as a windfall.  However, gold/silver have a very long track record for preserving purchasing power against the tide of irredeemable paper IOUs."

We haven't changed a word since April 19, 2016.

     Today the spot price of gold is down, sharply, indicating investors are not worried about a burst of currency inflation.  They're steering their dollars into stock market bets. 

      If our theory is a reasonable indicator, the gold "barometer" (dollar price) will rise when inflation is a bona fide threat and it will fall when the dollar shows strength.  As off Sept.21, 2017 the price is down sharply - probably because the Federal Reserve says it will do some basic interest tightening in December. 
(Rising interest rates tend to throttle inflation, as Fed Chair Paul Volcker demontrated in the late 1970s.)

  Mr. Bill Bonner has been watching the gyrations of the world's finances from his house in Normandy, France. We've been following Mr. Bonner's opinions since he first went into print in the 1970s. He's good at interpreting what he sees.

   "But a fractured majority party and an independent president make Congress irrelevant… and unable to do much of anything.

   "So there will be no genuine tax reform. No repeal and replace of O’care.

   "And now, with the debt ceiling out of the way, there will be no halt to the Debt Bomb Express… running wide open and bound for Hell.

   "And that means the next move by the feds will be to ban physical cash. Once the feds get cash out of the way, they have us all under control." DEBT BOMB EXPRESS

        If you don't think any of this  can happen, check out an old copy of Rene Sedillot's  "All the Monies of the World" and see what happened to hundreds upon hundreds of experiments with government issued money throughout history. It's not so much a book as it is a catalog of centuries of mistakes by politicians.
     "The Washington Post reports that a 'chilling new study' shows that large numbers of college students are hostile to free speech. They believe that shouting down speakers they don't like and committing violence against them is acceptable. They fail to recognize that 'hate speech' is protected by the First Amendment."  ~Jack Heliner

Being hostile to opinion with which one disagrees is not new, of course.  Bloody battles over religious and political opinion have raged throughout most of history.  It's discouraging, though, to see censorship of free speech being nurtured among college youth.
     It hardly contributes to a civilized society.

     The topic is bothering commentator Pat Buchanan, too.  "
In Berkeley, home of the Free Speech Movement, the university last week had to spend $600,000 to protect an invited speaker of the college Republicans from being assaulted." FREE SOCIETY

    "My cartoon shows some of the central players involved in the Deep State. Prominently featured is George Soros. He wants to break America and Europe and see western civilization replaced by a feudal, collectivist, globalist system."  ~Ben Garrison
     Ben, our artist nephew, labors at his drawing board in Montana.  The popular web site ZERO HEDGE often publishes his 'toons because they tend to agree with the site's political point of view.

     We post some of Ben's work for the same reason! 

      Frank Snyder  sees danger in excessive debt. 

     "About two-thirds of the country is living paycheck to paycheck, and another which was conducted by the Federal Reserve found that 44 percent of all U.S. adults do not even have enough money to cover an unexpected $400 expense. 

     "Most of us have grown accustomed to barely scraping by from month to month.  But that is not what being 'middle class'  is supposed to be about.  If you are in the 'middle class'  you should be making more than you are spending and building long-term wealth.

      "But just like our federal government, most of us are spending money like there is no tomorrow.  If we don’t have quite enough money for what we want to do, we just borrow more.  Right now, U.S. consumers are more than $12 trillion in debt, and it is impossible to build any real wealth when you are constantly drowning in red ink."

        Snyder is an oldtimer who has a good grasp on the dangers of excessive debt.  DESTROYING THE MIDDLE CLASS

           It's well known that Senior Citizens tend to spend a lot of time recollecting highlight of their life. We think people of all ages do that, but the elderly simply have more idle time to exercise those little trips down "memory lane."

            Our early formative years were spent in the depths of the Great Depression that enveloped the entire decade of the 1930's.  Actually, the nation was on the way to economic recoverry by 1937 but had a relapse that was not corrected until the advent of WW2. 

             We distinctly remember the development of the "a-little-down-and-a-little-along" method of acquiring big-ticket consumer goods.  By the time the war was over and we had established our own little household in 1948 the idea of saving up to buy a refrigerator had gone the way of the Dodo Bird. We had learned to buy things on the installment plan.  

              It was actually a form of deficit financing.  We pledged a porttion of our future income toward satisfying the debt, assuming we would have a future stead stream of income and that no unexpected emergencies would rise to wreck our shockingly tight budget. 

               Today taking on consumer debt is an established way of life.  It is a threat to the middle class.

When did the U.S. morph from a republic to a democracy?
And what will our democracy become?

                 We clearly recall as a kid hearing elderly politicians speak of "preserving the republic."  Even today in the oft recited flag pledge we refer to "...and the republic for which it stands."  However, at some point the concept of the republican form of government was replaced by the idea of democracy.

                 Mr. Robert Curry, author of Common Sense Nation: Unlocking the Forgotten Power of the American Idea  believes 1913 was the year  we switched  horses from the  idea of a  republic, established by the Constitution,  to  the notion of democracy.

                    Curry argues....rightly, we think....that the keys to changing the U.S. form of national government occurred when the 16th and 17th amendments were ratified and when Congress created the Federal Reserve System.  The year was 1913. 

                    And he quotes a most unlikely source when revealing one of the chief instruments the Fed uses to debauch the currency.

      "By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. By this method they not only confiscate, but they confiscate arbitrarily; and, while the process impoverishes many, it actually enriches some."  ~John Maynard Keynes.

      Keynes was right!  Curry's remarks on the matter are worth reading.  1913: THE TURNING POINT        

    "The decline from democracy to tyranny is both a natural and inevitable one." writes Jeff Thomas. "That’s not a pleasant thought to have to consider, but it’s a fact, nonetheless. In every case, a democracy will deteriorate as the result of the electorate accepting the loss of freedom in trade for largesse from their government. This process may be fascism, socialism, communism, or a basket of 'isms,' but tyranny is the inevitable endgame of democracy. Like the destruction of a sandcastle by the incoming tide, it requires time to transpire, but in time, the democracy, like the sandcastle, will be washed away in its entirety."  THE SANDCASTLE.

    Are Messrs. Curry and Thomas correct?  Will the voting majority opt for bigger government and more social safety nets? 


     The long simmering Inflation v. Deflation question:

   Make no mistake. Monetary inflation is still alive and churning the economy, although consumer prices are not yet reaching the 2 percent annual rate the Federal Reserve wants before it boosts interest rates any further.

  Inflation is evident when a boom occurs in the stock market, when gold and silver prices rise, when real estate prices trend higher, and the bond market is lackluster or declines.

  Deflation, on the other hand, generally sees a booming bond market and a collapsing stock market.  Real estate prices also decline. Banks become hard pressed to keep their noses above water, businesses fail, and general prices decline. 

  Inflation promotes a declining dollar, which is hell on creditors because they receive weaker dollars in payment. Deflation, on the other hand, is hell on debtors because they must pay back their obligation in scarcer dollars. 

   It's easy to understand the difference between money inflation and deflation. The hard task is guessing which will prevail in the immediate future.  In the 1970s price inflation occurred in double digits, then slowed to a crawl in later years. What next?  Hyperinflation?
 Possibly. On the other hand, no money inflation in human history has not eventually collapsed. 

   We keep scanning the horizon for clues.

This, from far away Australia.
   "From expiration dates on $100 notes and cash payment limits to tracking chips, internet snooping and now central bank-issued digital fiat currency, the battle plan for the war on cash is taking shape.

   "With the federal government’s Black Economy Taskforce set to hand down its final report next month, the head of the corporate watchdog has weighed into the debate with an ominous prediction.

   "On Monday, ASIC chairman Greg Medcraft predicted traditional bank accounts may be unnecessary within a decade as central banks begin issuing their own Bitcoin-style digital fiat currency."  WAR ON CASH

    Some members of the Australian parliament think letting citizens hold on to actual paper currency is a mistake - that government should create a digital currency, like bitcoin, to replace the anonymity of cash.

     Beware government operatives who complain that paper legal tender should be more tightly controlled. . .even eliminated. . . on the grounds it permits people to make transactions anonymously. 

      We'll have a lot more on this trend after the present hurricane threat eases. 
A Journalist  gives Trump a  Break.
      "Even Nancy Pelosi, spavined war-horse though she is, demurred from the laudations of Antifa in Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, the New York Times, and the Washington Post, when Antifa beat up a number of unarmed Republican supporters in San Francisco.

   "Surely the beginning of the disintegration of the entire odious assault on Mr. Trump based on the theory that he is a mad interloper from an alien planet will incite Messrs. Ryan and McConnell to lead the congressional Republicans off suicide watch. They can hold their noses, but they should put through some sensible legislation with the administration on taxes, employment infrastructure, immigration, and health-care reform."  

    Conrad Black detects a slight easing of the constant assault by the mainstream media and the political left on President Trump.

     The Muddled Masses Become Iconoclasts.
Smashing icons wastes time, energy, and money.

    "And once all the Confederates are gone, one must begin with the explorers, and then the slave owners like Presidents Washington, Jefferson and Madison, who seceded from slave-free Britain. White supremacists all." `2nd Civil War    

    The above remark by Pat Buchanan sums up the feelings of many Americans who have grown weary of the summertime frolic in public parks and streets over historical memorials.  No one seems to see the senselessness of smashing icons and none think of the heavy cost to taxpayers of providing police supervision and cleaning up after demonstrators erupt into violence. 

    The late British political leader, Winston Churchill, quite rightly pointed out that going to war against the past was an emormous waste and could seriously interfere with the present and the future. 

     Something else to consider:  Only 0.3 percent of the U.S. population have the slightest interest in the precepts of the politically extreme right.  And their chance of being elected to political office is very, very low.