| "The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any." ~Alice Walker
May 30, 2016
clean up the Vietnam War Memorial in Venice, CA?
"On this Memorial Day one of the questions is who will clean up the Vietnam wall at Venice, California. It was defaced the other day. An officer of the Venice Chamber of Commerce called it a 'desecration.' The question is: who will clean it up?
"Maybe Jane Fonda will volunteer. The movie star supposedly regrets that, when she went to visit the North Vietnamese while our GIs were still in combat and some of them were being held as prisoners of war, she allowed herself to be photographed on an enemy anti-aircraft gun. She relates the story on her official Web site, where she called it one thing 'that I will regret to my dying day.'
"Helping to restore the defaced Vietnam veterans memorial might help Miss Fonda feel better about herself — and the veterans, too. Maybe she could get Bill Clinton to pitch in. He spent the war dodging the draft and, at one point, even fetched up in Moscow. He defeated a war hero, Bob Kerrey, in the 1992 Democratic primary in Georgia. But he’s never quite put paid the question of his default during the war." NEW YORK SUN
of our offspring are on the Social Security rolls. Three others
are advancing in that direction as fast as the calendar will take
them. They are all Baby Boomers. It's likely they
and their cohorts will put a strain on the already fraying system
of caring for the fast growing population of senior citizens.
Think of it! The first wave of Baby Boomers turns SEVENTY
How many of them piled up enough assets to sustain themselves until
they expire? Especially in the era of creeping inflation.
Those who can't pay their way to their last breath
must rely on subsidies. As their numbers grow so does the strain
on public financial resources.
What's the solution? This is one of those "third rail issues"
which politicians don't like to discuss.
Happily, today's workers are still relatively content to shoulder the
bills for caring for the elderly. By 2020 (the beginning of the
3rd decade of the 21st century) the burden of warehousing the dependent
elderly will thrust its way into the headlines, thanks to
the rapid Baby Boomer entry into retirement.
"Mexicans occasionally ask, 'If Americans don’t want drugs, why do they buy them?' The market for drugs exists in the first place because Americans very much want drugs: high-school students want them, often middle-schoolers, college kids, high-dollar lawyers, Congressmen on the Hill doing lines of coke at parties, liberals, conservatives, libertarians, the residue of the Sixties. Washington doesn’t want Americans to have their drugs. It is America’s problem." Writing from Mexico, the curmudgeonly Fred Reed on Trump's Mexican View.
from his homestead in the U.S.
P.J. O'Rourke reviews a book published 35 years ago:
"I have a teenage daughter whose continual response to the problems of
life is to say – or rather, to whine – 'That’s not fair!'
* * * *
American households are
$12.25 trillion in debt.
We bought our first automobile in 1946. It was a well used 1929 Chevrolet coupe costing $75.00. It took several months to save enough to buy that old car, but that's the way the used car business worked in those days. In 1947 we upgraded to a 1934 Chevrolet sedan. It had a built-in heater which we considered quite a luxury in the cold of a New England winter.
Today one buys a car and pays later. In fact, almost anyone can drive off the car lot in a new or "pre-owned" vehicle with a little or nothing down and a promise to make payments for a period of four or more years. No wonder it's so hard to find a place to park!
A seldom considered liability of borrowing is its effect on the future. If you have a debt of, say, $50,000.00 for cars, a boat, appliances, and what not, that means $50,000.00 (plus interest) of future income is committed and will hobble future choices. This applies to individuals, governments, and businesses which are accustomed to running on heavy debt.
Ben Franklin's long ago advice comes to mind. "Pay what you owe and you'll know what you own."
MAY BE A CHRYSOPHOBE.
Speaking of Trump. Don called Tuesday. Yup. Phone rang and J. Donald Trump launched right into his pitch.
It was rude of us, but we hung up on him. We'd hang up on Hillary
Clinton, too, but she hasn't called us yet.
In fact, we hang up on more than fifty percent of incoming telephone
calls because they are either political propaganda, commercial sales
pitches, or urgent requests for charitable contributions. We get
the feeling that we're paying for a telephone service merely as a
convenience for hucksters. Advertising hype has reached a fever
pitch. It's successful, tough. Average Americans are said
to be deeply in hock from buying more stuff than they can afford.
Over the next five months Americans will be clobbered with a barrage of
political advertising. News/enteretainment media have already
pushed Trump and Clinto into the final race for the White House even
though neither has officially been nominated by the Republican and
Democratic parties. "Presumptive candidates" they're
called. And the country seems to be almost evenly divided about
Junk phone calls are only a bit more irritating than junk emails.
We waste several minutes a day deleting an overload of email sales
But the trend to such time wasting is not new. The late Neil
Postman brought it up years ago in his book "Entertaining Ourselves to Death."
We watch friends and strangers hunched over their iPhones by the hour
as if their existence depended on their being connected at all times to
everything that is happening.
The technological age has strong attributes, but if it oversupplies us
with entertainment and hype it leaves us little time to think.
Quiet reflection and contemplation are becoming lost arts.
"Most wealth today is in digital form recorded on hard drives and transferred through routers and servers in dispersed locations. What if those servers were hacked and your electronic wealth were erased? Where would you go to get it back?"
Rickards has become quite famous by teasing listteners and readers with
question like this. A typical response is "Don't worry about
it. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation will cover any
losses to your digital currency stash." However, the FDIC has
anough cash on hand to cover only a fraction of bank deposits.
When that money runs dry the FDIC can tap into the U.S. Treasury for as
much as needed. Of course, the Treasury Department would not have
sufficient resources on hand to meet unusually heavy losses and would
be forced to toss the ball to the Federal Reserve which can create U.S.
currency with a few taps on computer keyboards and by ordering up
additional skidloads of paper currency at the Bureau of Engraving and
a vexing situation that appears to have no solid solution. Anyone
suggesting a return to a sound money policy will be laughed off the
stage. But, after 45 years of experimenting with debt-based
currency we detect a muttering of unhappiness among voters. They
seem anxious to put political leaders into office who'll make some
dramatic changes to the way government business is done.
Including, possibly, a few baby steps toward a return to the old system
of honest money.
were working in the television news business in the late 1970s when the
fear of price inflation was running high. A university journalism
intern earnestly observed, "Look. If poor people are struggling
to put food on the table and a roof over their heads why doesn't the
government just print more money and give it to them?"
She was a bright young woman and later went on to a career in the news
business. But she did not understand that wealth can't be created
out of thin air by anybody - - including the wizards in Washington,
PROMISES of wealth can be printed by the skidload, or created on gigantic computer hard drives. In fact, printed U.S. currency in circulation today are merely slips of high-grade watermarked paper declaring that the United States owes the Federal Reserve the amount that appears on the note. (A note, by definition, is an IOU.)
The bulk of U.S. dollars aren't printed slips of paper at all.
They are invisibly recorded as 1s and 0s in computers. Let's hope
the banks can stay ahead of the hackers and our account balances aren't
Paper or digital currency can be easily created. That's the problem with the fiat-currency system. The Constitution called for precious metals to serve the role of money because of their relative scarcity and ability to convey value across long periods of time. Most people, and their political representatives, hate the constraining effect of sound money - which is why the sound money issue is not included in the 2016 political debates.
Big Government: The federal government wasted more than $100 billion on overpayments last year. It knows this, even tracks it, but somehow can’t seem to stop it. Is there a better indication that government is too big? WASTE NOT, WANT NOT.
misunderstand. Our general mistrust of heavy financial debt comes only
from the history books, plus some personal experience in our youth. We
believe judicious use of borrowed money can be enormously
helpful. It's the runaway borrowing that runs us into trouble.
In 2008 consumer credit card debt had soared. The recession slammed on the brakes. But the credit cards are being more widely distributed now and credit card debt is nearly $1 trillion. Publisher Bill Bonner would point out that people are "Buying things they don't need with money they don't have."
Political angst is really beginning to
bubble as U.S. voters face the fact that their presidential choices in
November will be Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Some weeks
remain, of course, before their nominations become official - and
there's that nagging campaign of Bernie Sanders still nipping at the
edges of the Clinton bid. But the talking heads on media are
assuming the bumper stickers this fall will be either Trump or Clinton.
Conservative octogenarian Professor Thomas Sowell puts it this way: "This year's general election will offer a choice between a thoroughly corrupt liar and an utterly irresponsible egomaniac." GRIM CHOICES
So, how did we put ourselves into a jam in the matter of choices?
Sowell believes some of the blame must be placed on the American
It's true. The federal government is not authorized to dictate who may be admitted to private toilet facilities. It may cajole institutions receiving federal subsidies, such as public schools, etc., but it can't offer any Constitutional authority even then for withholding funds if the bathrooms don't suit social trends.