"Halbig v. Burwell is about determining whether the president, like an autocrat, can levy taxes on his own."  Messrs. Adler & Cannon, WSJ 7.23.14  

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Hucksterism Gone Wild
Unmanageable Religion

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July 23rd, 2014

Confused Voters.
Is this indecision good or bad?

   The Rasmussen Pollsters surveyed only 1,000 voters, but discovered sixty-seven percent (67%) of likely U.S. voters say America is a more divided nation than it was four years ago. The national telephone survey found that just seven percent (7%) think the country is less divided now, while 21% rate the level of division as about the same."  Divided We Fall  

  This is a sort of heads up - a preview of the next three months as we're treated to poll after poll, robo-call after robo-call, pleas for political donations, and so many television political ads our heads will swim. 

  How will the mid-term elections play out?  We haven't a clue.  The country does seem to be split right down the political middle - but it's been that way for as long as we can remember, with the majority generally favoring big government over the republic devised by the U.S. Constitution.

   What Does China Want With All That Gold?
Precious metals analyst Jeff Clark thinks he knows.

   "The Chinese think differently about gold. They view gold in the context of its role throughout history and dismiss the Western economist who arrogantly declares it an outdated relic. They buy in preparation for a new monetary order—not as a trade they hope earns them a profit.

   "Combine gold’s historical role with current events, and we would all do well to view our holdings in a slightly more 'Chinese' light, one that will give us a more accurate indication of whether we have enough, of what purpose it will actually serve in our portfolio, and maybe even when we should sell (or not)."  CHINA's GOLD HOARD

   Mr. Clark will be dismissed as a whacko for his remark about China's "preparation for a new monetary order."  But when the fiat currencies of the world finally extinguish themselves - and they always do - the new money standard is very apt to the the OLD one based on a standard of gold.  What's so scary about saying "This money unit is, by definition, 'X' grains of pure gold?"   

   The classic definition of money is -  1/ serve as a medium of exchange, 2/ a store of value, and 3/ a standard of measure.  Present day currency meets only the 1st definition (by force of law).  It does not maintain purchasing power over time nor does it have any tangible weight or dimension, except for metal coins, most of which don't come anywhere close to their stated face value. 

Alfred Nobel established a Peace Prize. He doubted it would have much impact.
Much of the world's violence is giving religion a black eye.    

    On Monday we posted an interesting comment by the curmudgeonly Fred Reed about the fact that religious hatred is behind a great deal of violence that's loose in the world. "Christians, Jews, and Moslems have spent a phenomenal amount of time hating each other. It doesn’t seem to have gained them much," he said.

    As a lad we were taught that the religions of the world were the glue that held people and societies together and that among its desirable qualities was the general promotion of peace.  

    However, as far back as historians can trace animosity between theologies has all too often led to violence and bloodshed.  The Islamist attacks against non-Muslims is a case in point.  We hear that Mosul, Iraq, has been virtually swept clean of the minority group of Christians that lived there.  Their churches and icons have been destroyed.  Christians had the option of swearing fealty to Islam, or, if they stayed, being taken out and shot. 

    We are not aware of any public comment by Islamic imams in the U.S. against this violence.  Not speaking against it is, in effect, condoning it.

What causes American materialism?
Our staff curmudgeon is a retired huckster.  

   "Some people pass through life without accumulating a lot of unnecessary things, but the majority seem fascinated with acquisition.  And 21st century hyper-hucksterism makes it worse.  On our computers, radios, TVs we are overwhelmed with ads.  In our newspapers and other printed matter ads clog most of the pages.  Billboards ruin the landscape.  People even wear ads on their clothing!  They would never dream of  carrying a sandwich board in public, but they don't mind advertising beer or political views on their shirts.  It is impossible to escape advertising intended to persuade people to part with their money or principles. 

    "As a retired huckster I feel the urge to confess that I never believed my work was unethical.   Oh, sure, I felt a little twinge of guilt when I poured my heart and soul into a pitch for some product or service I would never buy for myself, but I had a mortgage to pay and mouths to feed so I did what I had to do.  

    " I advertised everything under the sun, although in the final years of my career as a huckster I drew the line at peddling financial services.  I just couldn't bring myself to hustle home equity loans and all the other loan traps banks peddle these days.  I also grew to hate the "no-money-down" car and furniture deals. 

   "Hucksterism has has always been part of Americana, but modern media have made the intensity of it frightening.  Billboards blink electronically or switch messages like venetian blinds.  Radio and TV machine-gun us with rapid-fire ads.  The vogue is "loud and fast."  Computers compress the announcer's spiel and even clip out the pauses where he or she breathed.  That's so more words can be shoved into your ears." Wild Hucksterism

   This observation was written in 2006 and the sheer volume of advertising is greater now.  A tremendous amount of money is wasted on senseless advertising.  

You thought we were kidding.  But there's a morning headline on Yahoo's financial page:
DOW 20K? Not before dumping 3,000 points.
P.S. Yahoo yanked the headline not long after it was posted.  We're not surprised.

     This question is as relevant this week as it was last week when we first posted it.  The DOW is presently waffling about the 17,000.00 mark.  It's almost as if the stock market has come to a fork in the road and can't decide which way to go.  It runs along the path to higher prices for a day or two and rushes back to think about it some more.  Than it tries the alternate road down the slope, but that's seven scarier so it returns to the intersection once more.  

   Gold and silver prices are doing the same thing.  A promising bounce above $1,300.00 and back to home base again.  For silver the bounce hits $21.00 or so but gets a nosebleed or something and retraces its steps by a dollar or so. 

   We try to remember that an ounce of gold or silver will always be 480 grains of precious metal and always swappable for necessaries.  The purchasing power of a stock certificate can drop like a free-falling elevator.  Wall Street presently has the feel of a bubble. It hasn't had a heart-stopping correction in 27 years.

    CONSERVATARIAN: Socially liberal but fiscally conservative.
Sort of libertarianish, but apparently attractive to young voters. 

   "A recent Gallup poll found that 42 percent of Americans now view themselves as politically independent — an all-time high. Polls of young people find an increasing number consider themselves fiscally conservative and socially liberal — a vague definition of what it means to be libertarian.

   "Aaron Ginn,  who works at an Internet startup in San Francisco, says the movement is embodied by the 'conservatarian'  label. That may be clunky, but at least in the Bay Area it doesn’t carry the social-conservative baggage that the word 'conservative' does." CONSERVATARIAN

< If 42 percent of people polled think of themselves as politically independent that leaves 58 percent to the Democrats and Republicans.  On election day the independents will have to choose the lesser of evils between the two major parties. 

     Based on the adjacent report from California Senator Rand Paul's reception there, among younger voters, appears to indicate some ideological change may be in the wind.  The question is - can he persuade them to jump on the GOP bandwagon. The Republican Party has so far been unable to shake its rusty image. 

     Our nephew's cartoon sums up the present state of partisan affairs:  

   "This country needs alternatives to Republicans and Democrats. However, both parties use their power and dirty tricks to make sure viable third party candidates have no chance. For example, the Republicans, aka, 'neo-cons' stole many of the primaries from Ron Paul. Voting machines and polls are rigged. Voting irregularities abound. Petitions for alternative candidates are tossed out by corrupt judges. The mainstream media continue to brainwash the public and keep them debating blue vs. red, left vs. right, Tweedle D vs Tweedle R, while both parties become more corrupt and compromised.

   "My uncle's thought on our current two-party system:

   " 'I've often used the milking stool to make my point. We have been balancing this nation on a two legged support....one leg the Democrats and the other the GOP. No sensible farmer would park his butt on a two legged milking stool. A THIRD LEG is needed for balance. Yes, I've heard all the old arguments against three party systems. But I point to the present malaise and ask "Does the two party system work?'

   "Well it works out fine for the 1/10th of 1 percent. They continually get fabulously richer and more powerful. They contribute to and control both the Republicans and Democrats. It's a win-win situation for them. Globalist policies are carried out regardless. Our Republic gets destroyed incrementally. The middle class is going away. So are our liberties.

   "Votes for Republicans and Democrats get converted into statism. Eventually, citizens find themselves in a prison constructed from their own votes. It's time for a third party. A party that supports smaller government and the Consitution. A party that is against world empire and endless wars--including the ridiculous war on drugs. The Libertarian Party can become that third leg in the stool."   --Ben Garrison

   We have a hunch Ben's timely cartoon will be grabbed and heavily circulated on the Internet.  Veterans in both the Democrat and Republican parties will hate it and will be quick to explain that a 3rd party, such as the Libertarians, don't have a prayer of attracting a significant number of voters.  It's true the Libertarians keep shooting themselves in the foot over trivia, but the idea of an alternative to the present costly, ineffective political arrangement is beginning to blossom - especially among younger voters struggling to figure out what's gone wrong and who's to blame.  

   In our view a two-legged milking stool is too tippy.  A three-legged support is better.  Alien to present thinking, to be sure, but more promising for keeping our balance.