"It isn't what you don't know that hurts you;  it's what you know that isn't so!"
~Josh Billings

(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?
Who Killed Diana?

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






















































August 18, 2017

Divided We Fall
U.S. Citizenry split on Rewriting History

   Here in South Caroina a mob cannot tear down a Confederate (or any other historical memorial) without without getting into serious trouble.  Thanks to the Heritage Act approval of the removal of such historical artifacts must meet the approval of the state legislature.  The contentious fight to remove a Confederate battle flag from the statehouse grounds is still fresh in the collective memory of the Palmetto State.

     In the aftermath of the Charlottesville, VA fracas a little more than a week ago rumblings are already heard from a movement to get the legislature to rework the prohibition against iconoclasm so that anything construed as an intolerable memorial to can more easily be changed or altered. 

     This yen to eliminate historical markers moves faster elsewhere.  In Baltimore, City Council approved on Monday the dismantling of at least four monuments and this was done by city crews in the wee hours of August 16th. 

      Caught up in the spirit of the thing NYC Mayor de Blasio is reported to have tweeted Wednesday: "We will conduct a 90-day review of all symbols of hate on city property.” 

       This sounds very much like a scene from George Orwell's famous book, "1984."  Seth Lipsky, editor of the NY Sun ,picked up on that point and wrote a well reasoned article about it.   HISTORY REWRITE 


A movement called “antifa,” which is short for antifascist or Anti-Fascist Action…….

      David Stockman slams the antifa movement. "[Antifa] responses sometimes spill blood. Since antifa is heavily composed of anarchists, its activists place little faith in the state, which they consider complicit in fascism and racism. They prefer direct action: They pressure venues to deny white supremacists space to meet. They pressure employers to fire them and landlords to evict them. And when people they deem racists and fascists manage to assemble, antifa’s partisans try to break up their gatherings, including by force."  THAT  WASN'T  NO  DOG  WHISTLE

    Between now and Labor Day we may see more violent demonstrations such as the brouhaha in Virginia on Saturday.  Nowhere that we can detect have the mainstream news media made any mention of the COST of the fracas to the public treasury, but police on overtime and repairs to trampled property add up to expenses seldom included in local government budgets.

  We're all for public debate about issues, but when crowds turn into violent mobs society gains nothing .

   The mayor of New York City says a three month review of "symbols of hate" on city property is being launched. 

  We can't help but wonder how city officials will define "hate." Does it mean tearing down U.S. flags because some faction or other disagrees with present political leadership? Must memorials to George Washington and Thomas Jefferson be demolished because these men owned slaves?  Must the statue of the bull in Wall Street be destroyed on the grounds it represents "hateful greed and excessive wealth?"

"The greenback monetary cranks have always been opposed to the Federal Reserve. Why? Because the regional Federal Reserve banks are privately owned. They hate all private banking. They are committed statists. They originally were people of the Left in the late 1880's. Today, they are found on the Right, but they are in no way defenders of the free market. They want Congress in control of money. They also teach that there can and should be zero interest rates in society. This is sheer quackery. It is the equivalent of faith in perpetual motion."  MONETARY CRANKS

    It's not that we aren't aware of the fiesty rhetoric about the possibility of a military clash with North Korea - but we keep looking behind the headlines to discover how the bills for a costly conflict will be paid.  The government doesn't have any money it doesn't first take in by way of taxes or borrows with the promise of paying the loans back by future taxation.  (Generated, hopefully, by a strong economy.)

      But what of the large number of Americans who believe the nation's monetary troubles will be solved by closing down the Federal Reserve and placing the responsibility of currency creation in the hand of Congress?  Wouldn't that clean up the system and put everything on a solid track to prosperity for one and all?

       Not that we can find in any history of the matter, going back to the ancient Sumerian republic.  In fact, giving the keys to the money-printing presses would guarantee an inflationary explosion.

        Dr. Gary North has as much experience debating the question of money cranks and their faith in greeback dollars as anyone.  (See "Monetary Cranks.")

         Be aware that the U.S. Constitution gave Congress the power to SUPERVISE the integrity of weights and measures - including the weight and content of the U.S. dollar - but in no way empowered Congress to print slips of paper IOUs and claim they were "money."

          The fiat monetary systems of the world have developed a worrisome wobble.  The mainstream news/entertainment media would do a real service by reserving a small bit of time to examine the fundamentals of fiat money vs. sound money."

    Commentator Pat Buchanan will receive a lot of flack for this:  "Why not move U.S. forces off the peninsula, let South Korean troops replace them, sell Seoul all the modern weapons it needs, and let Seoul build its own nuclear arsenal to deter the North?"

    Saber rattling makes us nervous. It seems to be making Wall Street nervous, too.  Buchanan may sound like an old fashioned Peacenick  with his arguments against U.S. imperialism, but recollections of the expense and deprivations of WW2 give us pause, too. We're broke! How would we foot the bill for a major military conflagration?  WORTH THE PRICE?

    We've often thought Korean unification ought to be explored.  North and South Koreans look and sound alike. There must be plenty of North Koreans who'd like a taste of South Korean prosperity but don't know how to operate a free enterprise system. And their leader is not going to reliquish political power without a bloody fight. 

    War may be inevitable but we don't have to approve of it.

    "The debt-ceiling crisis will cause a thunderous panic among the clueless gamblers on Wall Street. And the resulting 40% plunge in the stock market will pave the way for the Donald’s eventual demise."  ~David Stockman
     Stockman,   Director of the OMB in the Reagan administration and also a former Congressman, seems particularly worried about prospects for Donald Trump, the stock market, and the economy in general.  Why he predicts a 40 percent drop in equity values we do not know, but we have had a gut feeling for a long time that many stock prices are over-valued.  When the sell-off comes it will knock serious holes in a vast number of IRAs and other retirement funds. 

          Looming on the calendar is the September 29th deadline for raising the public debt ceiling.  We're guessing Congress will raise the present $19.8 trillion ceiling after some minor fireworks.  Probably to as much as $22 trillion. 

          Just for the record:  The U.S. has never been debt free, although the federal government once upon a time would run budget surplusses which were used to pay down the debt accumulation.  In 1835, for example, a surplus of $17,857,000 reduced the outstanding public debt to $38,000!  It was never that low again. 

           The accumulated debt steadily rose until it finally topped $1 trillion on Ronald Reagan's watch in 1982.  Only 35 years later we're looking at a federal public debt accumulation twenty times that numberNo one is suggesting that it ever be paid back.

The GOP struck out on dumping ObamaCare.
Now it must deal with the debt ceiling.

    As Congress prepared to get out of town for an August vacation a letter from Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin landed on members' desks last week reminding them that if they didn't get busy and raise the public debt ceiling by September 29th he'd be hard pressed to pay government bills.

    We've been through this before. 

     The debt ceiling, just under $20 trillion, was reached in March and the Treasury Department has been using circuitous methods of paying bills which are lawful but temporary.