Baaaaah!

Jim Quinn at The Burning Platform published an excellent and highly entertaining article “LIES, LIES & OMG MORE LIES” – worth your time.

In this post Quinn savaged the veracity of the ‘official’ government data published on a range of topics.
A few examples:
“Ignore that silly Shiller PE ratio far surpassing 1929 and 2007 levels. Ignore every historically accurate valuation method showing the stock market 70% to 129% overvalued. Wall Street shysters like Jamie Dimon, faux financial analysts, corporate media talking heads and even Donald Trump tell you this time is different. Tax cuts, amnesty for illegals, more wars, and eliminating the debt ceiling will surely spur massive economic growth. Trillion dollar deficits are always bullish. Making America Great with More Debt should drive the stock market to 30,000 in no time.”
and
“Real median household income just surpassed the level achieved in 1999. Think about that for a second. It took seventeen years for the average American family to get back to a household income of $59,000. The $59,000 of household income in 2017 doesn’t quite go as far as it did in 1999, with even BLS manipulated inflation showing an 87% increase in medical costs, 80% increase in energy costs, 51% increase in food costs, 53% increase in housing costs, and a 115% increase in college education.”
and
“One of the outrageous examples of how the government uses academic gibberish about product improvements to drastically under-report CPI is how they report new vehicle inflation. The average price of a new car in 2000 was $22,000. Today, the average price is $34,500. That’s a 57% increase. The BLS bullshit artists have the gall to report new vehicle inflation of a whopping 2% since 2000.

They have “adjusted” away 55% of the actual increase by saying airbags and other unnecessary technological baubles improved automobiles to such an extent, prices didn’t really go up. What a fucking joke. Having your ass warmed with the push of a button didn’t put the extra $12,500 in your bank account to pay for that car. And new vehicles account for 3.6% of the CPI calculation, while health insurance accounts for 1% of the weighting. Yeah, that reflects reality.”

and
“Medical care advancing by 87% since 2000 sounds substantial, but that only equates to annual inflation of 3.5%. I’d love to find anyone in this country who has only seen their medical costs rise by 3.5% per year. The blatantly shameful falsification of medical inflation is evident to anyone living through the current Obamacare nightmare. According to these BLS prevaricators, health insurance has only risen by 21% since the passage of the Obamacare abortion bill. That lie is beyond comprehension as anyone living in the real world has likely experienced insurance premium increases exceeding 100% since 2009.”

Quinn goes on and on in this vein. Quite the read.
A couple of days ago I posted “History Will Not Be Kind To Us”. Future historians will scratch their heads in wonder at why the people of this country turned into such sheep that they allowed their own government to lie to them in regard to such basic matters. One just has to step back and wonder, what is wrong with us? Are we such children that the government must lie to us top to bottom in order for us not to have a breakdown? One must wonder.
Quinn says, “I would contend it is purposeful and directed by those in power as a last ditch effort to keep the masses from revolting and hanging them from the nearest lamppost.”
I have to concur… trying to stave off the guillotines.

A Democracy?

One of the characteristics of circling the drain is that we keep passing the same spot each spin around the tub. Lately it is the ‘popular vote’ spot that we have passed by once again. We keep hearing how wrong it is that Hillary won the popular vote but not the White House. It is almost as though people think they live in democracy – when a democracy was what the founders explicitly wished to avoid.

Why would the founders want to avoid a democracy in favor of a republic? Simple reason – a republican form of government is the only form of government that protects minority rights. One might think that most people learned this by the 7th grade – but based on all of the screaming people do in the mistaken belief that they live in democracy it is obvious that people did not learn this.  Damn public schools again!

I would imagine the great majority of those wishing to live in an actual democracy would quickly regret the decision. A democracy is form of government where a majority decides. The minority has no effective rights.

I have heard people like Rachel Maddow claim that there is no difference between a republic and a democracy. I do not know if she truly believes that or if she is attempting to deceive people into believing a lie – but there is little going back from bad decisions in a democracy. Because it only requires 50%+1 to do as you wish with and to others a democracy is very susceptible to emotional arguments and the Zeitgeist – hence in a democracy the emphasis and path to power resides in deception and emotionalism. In a democracy all one must do is control the emotions of 50%+1 voters on the day they vote – and you can then do what ever you wish.

How it works. One must wonder about the motives of people who desire such a system…

History Will Not Be Kind To Us

MN Gordon, a very well respected author on the economy and markets, posted “To Hell In A Bucket” last week. It is worth your time to read.

A taste:

“There are predictions floating around that The Donald will again double the federal debt, taking us to $40 trillion.  If he and Chuckles Schumer succeed in obliterating the debt ceiling, he just may pull it off.

 

“Can you imagine how miserable the economy will be when it’s larded up with $40 trillion in government debt?  You’d be lucky if GDP merely flat lined.  The whole dang shebang will be crushed under weight of this massive debt.  And don’t get me started on corporate and private debt – that’s a whole other story.

 

“You see where this is all going, don’t you?  To hell in a bucket!

 

“You’d think runaway government debt would be a big deal for people.  But it’s not.  As I keep telling you, no one cares about the federal debt.

 

“If you want people to read your articles, you need to write about Amazon or Apple stock – or cryptocurrencies.  Tell them prices will double and then double again.  That’s what people want to hear.  So why not give it to them?”

The question is – why do we not care? When did we become so infatuated with greed that we honestly prefer reading “about Amazon or Apple stock – or cryptocurrencies.  Tell them prices will double and then double again” rather than we have – quite literally – mortgaged our future and the future of our children and grandchildren? How did we become so removed from caring about our future and the future of our offspring and the future of our country and the future of our world that the majority of people simply do not care?

In the not-too-distant future historians will ask this question and they will postulate many different answers. They will ask how society arrived at the conclusion that an Obamaphone was more important than the future of children? They will ask how society arrived at the conclusion that assuring the profitability of insurance companies came to be proclaimed a human right? They will ask how society arrived at the point where the cause-and-effect of these things became so convoluted that the majority of society could no longer determine any cause-and-effect? They will ask how an education system that should have been teaching fundamental cause-and-effect became so obsessed with its’ own greed and proclamation of rights that it failed to educate on anything related to the reality of this situation.

Future historians will not look back on us favorably.

24 Selected Paragraphs from Trump at the UN that Bear the Subtitle: In Your Ineffectual Face Barack Obama

 
 
A singularly striking thing about President Trump’s speech today to the United Nations is how much of it could not and never would have come out of the mouth of the president who preceded him. From America’s recent economic progress, to the historic success and resiliency of the Constitutional formula, to America’s positive role in the world, to aggressively confronting threats such as North Korea, Islamic terrorism, Iran and its sugar daddy nuclear deal, to opposing the brutality and oppression of Cuba and Venezuela, to resisting the corruption and cynicism of the organs of the United Nations, this speech was the manifesto of an anti-Obama. Below are some excerpts. Enjoy:
 
The United States has done very well since Election Day last November 8th. The stock market is at an all-time high — a record. Unemployment is at its lowest level in 16 years, and because of our regulatory and other reforms, we have more people working in the United States today than ever before. Companies are moving back, creating job growth the likes of which our country has not seen in a very long time.
.
But each day also brings news of growing dangers that threaten everything we cherish and value. Terrorists and extremists have gathered strength and spread to every region of the planet. Rogue regimes represented in this body not only support terrorists but threaten other nations and their own people with the most destructive weapons known to humanity.
.
Authoritarian powers seek to collapse the values, the systems, and alliances that prevented conflict and tilted the world toward freedom since World War II. International criminal networks traffic drugs, weapons, people; force dislocation and mass migration; threaten our borders; and new forms of aggression exploit technology to menace our citizens.
.
In America, we do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to watch. This week gives our country a special reason to take pride in that example. We are celebrating the 230th anniversary of our beloved Constitution — the oldest constitution still in use in the world today.
.
This timeless document has been the foundation of peace, prosperity, and freedom for the Americans and for countless millions around the globe whose own countries have found inspiration in its respect for human nature, human dignity, and the rule of law.
.
As President of the United States, I will always put America first, just like you, as the leaders of your countries will always, and should always, put your countries first. The United States will forever be a great friend to the world, and especially to its allies. But we can no longer be taken advantage of, or enter into a one-sided deal where the United States gets nothing in return. As long as I hold this office, I will defend America’s interests above all else.
.
We must reject threats to sovereignty, from the Ukraine to the South China Sea. We must uphold respect for law, respect for borders, and respect for culture, and the peaceful engagement these allow.
.
The scourge of our planet today is a small group of rogue regimes that violate every principle on which the United Nations is based. They respect neither their own citizens nor the sovereign rights of their countries. If the righteous many do not confront the wicked few, then evil will triumph. When decent people and nations become bystanders to history, the forces of destruction only gather power and strength.
.
The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. The United States is ready, willing and able, but hopefully this will not be necessary. That’s what the United Nations is all about; that’s what the United Nations is for. Let’s see how they do.
.
We face this decision not only in North Korea. It is far past time for the nations of the world to confront another reckless regime — one that speaks openly of mass murder, vowing death to America, destruction to Israel, and ruin for many leaders and nations in this room.
.
The Iranian government masks a corrupt dictatorship behind the false guise of a democracy. It has turned a wealthy country with a rich history and culture into an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed, and chaos. The longest-suffering victims of Iran’s leaders are, in fact, its own people.
.
We cannot let a murderous regime continue these destabilizing activities while building dangerous missiles, and we cannot abide by an agreement if it provides cover for the eventual construction of a nuclear program. The Iran Deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into. Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the United States, and I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it — believe me.
.
It is time for the entire world to join us in demanding that Iran’s government end its pursuit of death and destruction. It is time for the regime to free all Americans and citizens of other nations that they have unjustly detained. And above all, Iran’s government must stop supporting terrorists, begin serving its own people, and respect the sovereign rights of its neighbors.
.
Oppressive regimes cannot endure forever, and the day will come when the Iranian people will face a choice. Will they continue down the path of poverty, bloodshed, and terror? Or will the Iranian people return to the nation’s proud roots as a center of civilization, culture, and wealth where their people can be happy and prosperous once again?
.
In Saudi Arabia early last year, I was greatly honored to address the leaders of more than 50 Arab and Muslim nations. We agreed that all responsible nations must work together to confront terrorists and the Islamist extremism that inspires them.
.
We will stop radical Islamic terrorism because we cannot allow it to tear up our nation, and indeed to tear up the entire world. We must deny the terrorists safe haven, transit, funding, and any form of support for their vile and sinister ideology. We must drive them out of our nations. It is time to expose and hold responsible those countries who support and finance terror groups like al Qaeda, Hezbollah, the Taliban and others that slaughter innocent people.
.
Last month, I announced a new strategy for victory in the fight against this evil in Afghanistan. From now on, our security interests will dictate the length and scope of military operations, not arbitrary benchmarks and timetables set up by politicians. I have also totally changed the rules of engagement in our fight against the Taliban and other terrorist groups. In Syria and Iraq, we have made big gains toward lasting defeat of ISIS. In fact, our country has achieved more against ISIS in the last eight months than it has in many, many years combined.
.
For decades, the United States has dealt with migration challenges here in the Western Hemisphere. We have learned that, over the long term, uncontrolled migration is deeply unfair to both the sending and the receiving countries.
.
For the sending countries, it reduces domestic pressure to pursue needed political and economic reform, and drains them of the human capital necessary to motivate and implement those reforms. For the receiving countries, the substantial costs of uncontrolled migration are borne overwhelmingly by low-income citizens whose concerns are often ignored by both media and government.
.
We thank the Secretary General for recognizing that the United Nations must reform if it is to be an effective partner in confronting threats to sovereignty, security, and prosperity. Too often the focus of this organization has not been on results, but on bureaucracy and process. [snip] it is a massive source of embarrassment to the United Nations that some governments with egregious human rights records sit on the U.N. Human Rights Council.
.
That is why in the Western Hemisphere, the United States has stood against the corrupt and destabilizing regime in Cuba and embraced the enduring dream of the Cuban people to live in freedom. My administration recently announced that we will not lift sanctions on the Cuban government until it makes fundamental reforms.
.
We have also imposed tough, calibrated sanctions on the socialist Maduro regime in Venezuela, which has brought a once thriving nation to the brink of total collapse. The socialist dictatorship of Nicolas Maduro has inflicted terrible pain and suffering on the good people of that country. This corrupt regime destroyed a prosperous nation by imposing a failed ideology that has produced poverty and misery everywhere it has been tried. To make matters worse, Maduro has defied his own people, stealing power from their elected representatives to preserve his disastrous rule.
.
The Venezuelan people are starving and their country is collapsing. Their democratic institutions are being destroyed. This situation is completely unacceptable and we cannot stand by and watch. The problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly implemented, but that socialism has been faithfully implemented. From the Soviet Union to Cuba to Venezuela, wherever true socialism or communism has been adopted, it has delivered anguish and devastation and failure. Those who preach the tenets of these discredited ideologies only contribute to the continued suffering of the people who live under these cruel systems.
.
America stands with every person living under a brutal regime. Our respect for sovereignty is also a call for action. All people deserve a government that cares for their safety, their interests, and their wellbeing, including their prosperity. The United States of America has been among the greatest forces for good in the history of the world, and the greatest defenders of sovereignty, security, and prosperity for all.

Good Cop / Bad Cop

Maybe many years ago I was perchance consuming an adult beverage imaginably prior to the legal age of doing so. Conceivably I was drinking this beer at a public beach and for all one knows two policemen appeared. Perhaps these two policemen did the Good Cop / Bad Cop routine and one perhaps threatened to throw us in jail while the other maybe pretended to be our best friend and perhaps sympathized with twenty year olds drinking beer at a public beach at night. As the case may be the effort was perhaps so amateurish and heavy handed that we underage partiers perhaps simply rolled our eyes but lost our remaining beer – which the policeman perhaps enjoyed later that evening in a public place with their policemen friends.

The Good Cop / Bad Cop routine is probably as old as law enforcement itself.

The Good Cop / Bad Cop routine is also as old as politics as well.

An example of Good Cop/ Bad Cop in politics is the claim that only government can protect us from corporations. Examples such as Dodd-Frank and the Affordable Care Act are held out to the public as the politicians protecting us from the evil Wall Street Banks and the evil health insurance corporations. I am not questioning the evil of some of the people in these industries but the idea that government will protect you from this evil is simply absurd – the government and the corporations are all on the same team. Including Bernie Sanders.

The Dodd-Frank legislation was drafted by CitiGroup, the Wall Street bank. The Affordable Care Act, AKA Obamacare, was drafted by the former Vice President of Lobbying for WellPoint. Understand this – the legislation that the politicians are so adamant in claiming will protect you from Wall Street banks and giant health insurance companies is written by – wait for it – Wall Street banks and giant health insurance companies.

This is nothing more than the Good Cop / Bad Cop routine and at the end of the night – the politicians and corporations will drink your beer with their friends instead of you drinking it with your friends.

It is the same scam written to the tune of trillions of dollars.

How do we end this cycle of abuse and corruption and more importantly – how do we get the general public to quit supporting this government/corporate partnership to rip them off?

First of all – principles. Do you think that legislation, taxation and regulation should create situations where your money or labor is required to go to corporations? No you say? Then do not support it – regardless what politicians, celebrities, and political parties tell you to support it. When you support something that violates your principles due to a politician, celebrity, or political party saying you should support it – that will fall into the general realm of a Cult of Personality. Do not participate in a Cult of Personality. That is bad. I should not have to say ‘that is bad’ but in 2017 – well – it must be pointed out that Cults of Personality are bad.

“But but but – what the other guys want to do is WORSE!” – more Good Cop / Bad Cop. The majority of these politicians profit from the corporations – both parties. “The other guy wants to throw you in jail but I just want to take your beer – see, I am your friend!” Is that about how it works? Exactly how it works in DC.

Have some principles, have some morals, understand the effects of legislation, taxation and regulation and those who profit and gain power from it. Those profits and power are directly at your expense. If a politician, celebrity or political party tells you what legislation, taxation and regulation does – be skeptical. Be very skeptical. Chances are better than 90% that what they are telling you is a lie at least in that they will omit significant truths.

Principles, principles, principles – not Cults of Personality. This is the only answer that will prevent the politicians and corporations from taking your beer.

One Black Man’s Manifesto; One Black Man’s Rebuttal

This week, I encountered two stunning new pieces of writing. Beautiful prose flowed lyrically from each, but, they poured out wholly different ways of thinking and seeing life and race. One, The First White President by celebrated writer Ta-Nehisi Coates, declared Donald Trump a white supremacist lifted to office on dominant currents of white racism. The other, An Open Letter to Ta-Nehisis Coates, by Jamaican immigrant and De Paul Professor of Philosophy Jason Hill serendipitously ran in Commentary Magazine about the same times Coates’s piece appeared online in The Atlantic. It actually was penned to rebut an earlier book by Coates. Hill does not mention Coates’s more recent essay.
 
Despite the misalignment of content, however, the thesis and antithesis of the two men is vivid. Coates declares the American dream a racist fraud and goes on to describe, or to demand, really, a tribal world of endless conflict between white and black, grievance by black, guilt and obligation for white. All thinking, politicking, and transacting in Coates’s world happens under an overlay as inescapable as gravity of tension and distrust among human beings based on race.
.
Hill, in optimistic contrast, describes his hopes and experience as an immigrant meeting other immigrants, a welcoming society, and living out the memorable phrase of Indian immigrant Dinesh D’Souza “writing the script of your own life.”

Consider Coates’s opening paragraph, rejoined by Hill’s starting and finishing words.

First Coates:

.
It is insufficient to state the obvious of Donald Trump: that he is a white man who would not be president were it not for this fact. With one immediate exception, Trump’s predecessors made their way to high office through the passive power of whiteness—that bloody heirloom which cannot ensure mastery of all events but can conjure a tailwind for most of them. Land theft and human plunder cleared the grounds for Trump’s forefathers and barred others from it. Once upon the field, these men became soldiers, statesmen, and scholars; held court in Paris; presided at Princeton; advanced into the Wilderness and then into the White House. Their individual triumphs made this exclusive party seem above America’s founding sins, and it was forgotten that the former was in fact bound to the latter, that all their victories had transpired on cleared grounds. No such elegant detachment can be attributed to Donald Trump—a president who, more than any other, has made the awful inheritance explicit.
.
Now Hill.
.
Dear Ta-Nehisi Coates:
I read your book Between the World and Me, an elegant and poetic elegy written to your son on “the question,” as you put it, “of how one should live within a black body, within a country lost in the [American] Dream.”
***
[Y]our book, while moving, reads primarily like an American horror story and, I’m sorry to say, a declaration of war against my adopted country.
.
My fear is that Between the World and Me aims to reach far beyond the scope of the reader’s moral imagination and into the actual lives of Americans, black or white, who share this thing you refer to as the Dream. My concern is that you and your book function as deputized stand-ins for the black male and the black experience in America, respectively. And I believe that as stand-ins, both fail.
Because I write as a black immigrant who chose to live in the United States, whose biggest hope as a child was to become an American citizen, and who chose to embrace the American Dream you condemn, please consider these words my Declaration of Independence—an independence that only my beloved America could have given to me.
 
And Hill’s closing paragraphs:
.
Many more personal dreams of mine continue to be nurtured in and by America. In 32 years of living in this country, the United States has never once failed me. Becoming an American citizen was the greatest privilege of my life.
Your book reads like an American horror story because you have damned to hell the noblest and most endearing trait of those who come to this country and who love it: the Dream. You declare: “This is the foundation of the Dream—its adherents must not just believe in it but believe that it is just, believe that their possession of the Dream is the natural result of grit, honor, and good works.” Well, it is. And we, the Dreamers and achievers who continue to make this country the exceptional wonder that it is, will never capitulate to your renunciation. The world we desired has been won. It exists. It is real. It is possible. It is ours. And it should be yours, and your son’s.
Coates’s examination should prompt reflective readers to ask if his vision is accurate, and what part if any, the reader might play causing or preserving division. Hill’s declaration should  cause any reader to consider their choices and what they are making of their own circumstances. Each essay is beautifully written and, though long, will reward your time and thought.
Page 4 of 32« First...23456...102030...Last »