• Category Archives History
  • ‘Never Let A Good Crisis Go To Waste’ – And Short AMZN

    The ‘crisis’ quote above originated with Winston Churchill. Several U. S. politicians have referenced it since then (most recently Rahm Emanuel when he was Obama’s Chief of Staff). I’m sure the Wall Street snake-oil salesmen and economic propagandists are more than happy to attribute the deteriorating economic numbers to the hurricanes that hit Houston and southwestern Florida.
    Retail sales for August were released a week ago Friday and showed a 0.2% decline from July. This is even worse than that headline number implies because July’s nonsensical 0.6% increase was revised lower by 50% to 0.3% (and it’s still an over-estimate).
    Before you attribute the drop in August retail sales to Hurricane Harvey, consider two things: 1) Wall St was looking for a 0.1% increase and that consensus estimate would have taken into account any affects on sales in the Houston area in late August; 2) Building materials and supplies should have increased from July as Houston and Florida residents purchased supplies to reinforce residences and businesses. As it turns out, building supplies and material sales declined from July to August, at least according to the Census Bureau’s assessment. Furthermore, online spending dropped 1.1%. Finally, the number vs. July was boosted by gasoline sales, which were said to have risen 2.5%. But this is a nominal number (not adjusted by inflation) and higher gasoline prices, i.e. inflation, caused by Harvey are the reason gasoline sales were 2.5% higher in August than July.

    This post was published at Investment Research Dynamics on September 23, 2017.


  • Dallas School Board Designates Founding Fathers As Having “Confederate Links”

    “Just if we saw Confederacy named in it, we then highlighted it” says a school board spokesperson while describing a list which contained Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, and Sam Houston.
    The Dallas Independent School District is in damage control mode after an internal school board list was obtained by local press which shows schools under consideration for name changes due to possible “connections with slavery or the Confederacy.” News of the list, obtained by the Dallas Morning News early this week, caused outrage for the fact that it includes Texas revolutionaries and founders such as Sam Houston, James Bowie and William Travis, as well as Dallas pioneers James Gaston and William Brown Miller. It further names other early American figures who very obviously lived long before the existence of the Confederacy such as U. S. presidents Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and, inexplicably, Ben Franklin.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 21, 2017.


  • ‘Never Let A Good Crisis Go To Waste’

    The ‘crisis’ quote above originated with Winston Churchill. Several U. S. politicians have referenced it since thenm (most recently Rahm Emanuel when he was Obama’s Chief of Staff). I’m sure the Wall Street snake-oil salesmen and economic propagandists are more than happy to attribute the deteriorating economic numbers to the hurricanes that hit Houston and southwestern Florida.
    Retail sales for August were released Friday and showed a 0.2% decline from July. This is even worse than that headline number implies because July’s nonsensical 0.6% increase was revised lower by 50% to 0.3% (and it’s still an over-estimate).
    Before you attribute the drop in August retail sales to Hurricane Harvey, consider two things: 1) Wall St was looking for a 0.1% increase and that consensus estimate would have taken into account any affects on sales in the Houston area in late August; 2) Building materials and supplies should have increased from July as Houston and Florida residents purchased supplies to reinforce residences and businesses. As it turns out, building supplies and material sales declined from July to August, at least according to the Census Bureau’s assessment. Furthermore, online spending dropped 1.1%. Finally, the number vs. July was boosted by gasoline sales, which were said to have risen 2.5%. But this is a nominal number (not adjusted by inflation) and higher gasoline prices, i.e. inflation, caused by Harvey are the reason gasoline sales were 2.5% higher in August than July.

    This post was published at Investment Research Dynamics on September 20, 2017.


  • UVa Students Demand Racial Quotas, “Mandatory Education” On “Jefferson’s White Supremacy”

    Student groups at the University of Virginia have issued a list of demands that includes racial quotas and mandatory ‘education’ about Thomas Jefferson’s connection to white supremacy.
    The Minority Rights Coalition (MRC) at UVA, a coalition of minority student groups, hosted the ‘March to Reclaim Our Grounds’ on August 21 to ‘send a message to the university that we demand more from them [sic] in these times.’
    ***
    Taking that vow literally, the MRC members delivered a ten-point list of demands during the rally articulating the steps they believe UVA must take to ‘reclaim’ the campus after it was overrun by white supremacists.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 24, 2017.


  • Watch These People Sign A Petition To Remove George Washington From The Dollar Bill

    The race war in America is hitting a fever pitch, and though President Trump may have been partially joking this week when he warned that George Washington statues would be the next to be toppled, it looks like there are large swaths of Americans who actually think it might be a good idea.
    Infowars reporter Owen Shroyer hits the streets to see if President Trump was right:

    SHTF plan


    This post was published at shtfplan on August 18th, 2017.


  • The Ambergris Factor

    In the American whaling industry, which got underway during the eighteenth century, whalers slaughtered the giant Sperm whale for sperm oil, which came from the head and blubber and was important as a fuel for lamps. Another type of oil, called spermaceti from the head, became the chief ingredient in candles. While boiling up the blubber and parts of the Sperm whale, whalers occasionally noticed a very pleasing fragrance. It turns out this was a third oil-like substance, located in the intestines of the whale. Called ambergris, it became the basis for very expensive perfume. The problem was that the whalers found ambergris in very few of the whales they killed; nevertheless, the substance brought them a good income because the perfume manufacturers paid extremely high prices for it. So the whalers killed a lot of Sperm whales looking for those chosen few who had the right stuff.’ – The Fall of 1st Executive, by Gary Schulte
    Must Read Puplava: We’re in the Final Phase of Another Market Bubble
    Ladies and gentlemen, investing is a lot like whaling. Investors are constantly searching for that whale of a stock with the ‘right stuff’ . . . aka the ‘ambergris factor.’ Indeed, there have been many such ‘whales’ on the Street of Dreams since the Royal Bank of Scotland’s ‘sell everything’ advice at the January/February of 2016 stock market lows. The problem with some of these ‘whales’ is that they have become so large they are going to have a tough time continuing to grow at their previous rate; and, that’s the key, G-R-O-W-T-H. On Wall Street ‘growth’ is the pleasing fragrance that brings in buyers and makes stocks go up and way up! Moreover, growth and growth rates are what legendary investor Peter Lynch looked for in selecting stocks. As he explained in his book One Up On Wall Street, it’s all based on the arithmetic of compound earnings. To wit:

    This post was published at FinancialSense on 08/07/2017.


  • Chapter 52: Ethics vs. Efficiency

    Christian Economics: Teacher’s Edition
    ‘And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God. Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out (Deuteronomy 28:1 – 6). The various ways in which the knowledge on which people base their plans is communicated to them is the crucial problem for any theory explaining the economic process, and the problem of what is the best way of utilizing knowledge initially dispersed among all the people is at least one of the main problems of economic policy – or of designing an efficient economic system. – F. A. Hayek, ‘The Use of Knowledge in Society’ (1945).
    AnalysisEthics vs. efficiency: this debate occurs in every social system, every ethical system, and every economic system. It is the debate over the twin meanings of the word ‘right.’ The word has two meanings: one ethical, the other technical. So does the equivalent word, ‘good.’ Here are the two meanings:
    Ethics: ‘Do the right thing.’
    Efficiency: ‘Do the thing right.’
    Because of the common grace of God – and only because of it – people want to believe that the ethical system they were taught as children, and which they now teach to their children, is both accurate and reliable. They were taught that doing the right thing leads to greater wealth in the long run. They believe the words of Benjamin Franklin: ‘Honesty is the best policy.’ Franklin was on his way to becoming the richest non-slave-holding man in the North American British colonies when he wrote that in the mid-eighteenth century. The phrase had been around for well over a century.

    This post was published at Gary North on August 04, 2017.


  • Chapter 43: Medicine

    Christian Economics: Teacher’s Edition
    And the Lord will take away from you all sickness, and none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which you knew, will he inflict on you, but he will lay them on all who hate you (Deuteronomy 7:15).
    AnalysisHealing is an aspect of covenantal ethics, according to the Bible. Health is a blessing of God; sickness is a curse. This is why the early church in the New Testament used healing as a way to demonstrate God’s new work of redemption, which was evidence of the church as God’s ecclesiastical representative in history, the replacement of Israel.
    Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, ‘Look at us.’ And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, ‘I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!’ And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. And leaping up, he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God (Acts 3:1 – 8).
    The ability to heal miraculously has always been regarded by the masses as evidence of a person’s special relation to God. This same attitude prevails today in an era of scientific medicine. Medical missionaries are granted access into nations that are otherwise closed to missionaries. Political leaders regard the benefits of healing as outweighing the negatives of evangelism. Jews understood this principle in the Middle Ages. They became physicians to gain acceptance in the gentile world. Moses Maimonides, the Rambam, was the most famous Jewish theologian and philosopher of the Middle Ages. He was also the senior physician of the sultan of Cairo in the late twelfth century. Christian hospitals in the later Middle Ages were ministries of churches and ecclesiastical orders. Then there is the remarkable account written by lvar Nez Cabeza de Vaca of his eight-year trek from Florida through Texas into Mexico, 1528 – 1536. He describes the strange fact that he and his companions gained the power of healing halfway through their journey. They were welcomed by Indian tribes from Texas country to Mexico because of this. Word spread in advance that they were coming, tribe by tribe. They would probably have been killed had they not possessed this power. Instead, they were supported with food and water.

    This post was published at Gary North on July 22, 2017.


  • You Can Always Hide in Kazakhstan — Nick Giambruno/Doug Casey

    Kazakhstan is gigantic. Over a million square miles – the size of Western Europe, or the U.S. east of the Mississippi – but with only 17 million people. In the east, on its 2,000-mile-long border with China, the Himalayas rise up out of the plains, but most of the country is just vast, desolate grasslands, or steppe. Two-thirds of the people are central Asians – tall, rangy looking Orientals who speak languages in the Turkic group; one third are Russians.
    That’s information you can get out of any world atlas, and it’s not worth much, because nothing that everyone knows is worth much. What I want to do is tell you what I think it means. What’s going to happen in Central Asia in the near term and long term, and what you may want to do about it.
    My friend Rick Maybury coined the term “Chaostan” for this whole part of the world. It’s populated by dozens of tribes and ethnic groups, most of them ex-nomads speaking different languages.
    Perversely, the main things tying them together are a veneer of Soviet culture and the Russian language. And one other thing: an ingrained dislike of Russians. These folks have just never learned to appreciate the Russians conquering them, purging them, taxing them, destroying their indigenous cultures, and drafting them for their armies. They rather resent having been used as pawns in what used to be known as “The Great Game,” which was largely played between the Russians and the British in the 19th century.

    This post was published at International Man


  • The Death Of Facts

    Needless to say, none of this is true. Nowhere has Heather Mac Donald suggested that black people or any other type of person has “no right to exist”. The accusation is levelled without evidence. But as with all anti-free-speech activists today, the line is blurred not merely between actual words and violence, but between wholly imagined words and violence. Every week in America brings another spate of defeats for freedom of speech. This past week it was Ann Coulter’s turn (yet again) to be banned from speaking at Berkeley for what the university authorities purport to be “health and safety” reasons — meaning the health and safety of the speaker.
    Each time this happens, there are similar responses. Those who broadly agree with the views of the speaker complain about the loss of one of the fundamental rights which the Founding Fathers bestowed on the American people. Those who may be on the same political side but find the speaker somewhat distasteful find a way to be slightly muted or silent. Those who disagree with the speaker’s views applaud the banning as an appropriate response to apparently imminent incitement.
    The problem throughout all of this is that the reasons why people should be supporting freedom of speech (to correct themselves where they are in error, and strengthen their arguments where they are not) are actually becoming lost in America.
    No greater demonstration of this muddle exists than a letter put together by a group of students at Claremont McKenna College earlier this month to protest the appearance on their campus of a speaker with whom they disagreed.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on May 4, 2017.


  • The Main Highlights In Trump’s Sweeping Tax Reform Proposal

    In brief, the tax reform was largely in line with what was leaked and what was expected. Small surprises: the tax bracket for high income earners was 2% more (at 35%) than what Trump campaigned on, and the standard deduction has been doubled so that no married couple pays tax on their first 24k earned, Citi notes.
    As expected, no mention of border adjustment taxes. The plan also looks to repeal real estate taxes, alternative minimum tax and the death tax. Territorial taxes are also included. As we type, Mnuchin and Cohn are answering their last question.
    Below is the actual tax from the White House:
    2017 Tax Reform for Economic Growth and American Jobs
    The Biggest Individual And Business Tax Cut in American History
    Goals For Tax Reform
    Grow the economy and create millions of jobs Simplify our burdensome tax code Provide tax relief to American families – especially middle-income families Lower the business tax rate from one of the highest in the world to one of the lowest

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Apr 26, 2017.


  • Money In America

    In 1830, France was once more swept up in revolution, only this time at the end of it was installed one king to replace another. Louis-Phillipe became, in fact, France’s last king as a result of that July Revolution. The country was trying to make sense of its imperial past with the growing democratic sentiments of the 19th century. Despite being one of the richest men in all Europe and aligned with the Bourbons, he was Duke of Orleans and married to a Neapolitan princess, the reign of Louis-Phillipe I was supposed to be a milder form of dominion, the so-called citizen king or bourgeois monarch.
    Caught up in the upheaval of 1830 were many who had been aligned with the deposed Charles X. Because the citizen king was viewed as a usurper throughout much of France, his time on the throne tended to be more repressive, particularly toward those who had at least been in the Charles court and government. Among them was a Versailles lawyer named Gustave de Beaumont, who, sensing that the political winds had shifted despite the grand upheaval toward (outwardly, at least) more liberal sentiments, gained permission to get out of the country.
    Beaumont would travel to the United States ostensibly to study in grand and comprehensive detail its penal system. He set out in April 1831 taking with him a young 25-year old friend, a former magistrate who had similarly found himself of disfavor under the bourgeois monarch. The two landed in Rhode Island and traveled all over the country doing quite a bit more investigation than strictly prison life in the United States. It was, in fact, an examination of this country’s political soul.

    This post was published at Wall Street Examiner on April 21, 2017.


  • The Tax Man Is Every Company’s Customer

    Today is Tax Day in America. When April 15th happens to fall on a weekend, the IRS generously permits us to extend the filing ritual until the following Monday. But since Monday was a holiday in the District of Columbia known (without irony) as Emancipation Day, we all enjoyed an extra bonus day to comply. And for the most part, comply we do: the voluntary compliance rate, defined by the IRS as taxes timely paid as a percentage of taxes owed in aggregate, is nearly 82%. Compare this with Italy, for example, where tax evasion is a national pastime. For a nation born out of tax resistance, we Americans tend to grumble but not revolt.
    We also tend to view taxes only in terms of personal pain: the financial costs of paying, the compliance costs of dealing with the paperwork, and the psychic costs of worrying about it all. It is precisely this pain, experienced only by individuals, that upends the left-wing rationale for imposing taxes on business entities, estates, and all manner of transactions. Only people pay taxes. When someone talks about raising taxes on ‘greedy corporations,’ they’re really calling for higher consumer prices for those corporations’ goods and services.
    But the larger impact of taxation is found in the countless and profound ways it changes human activity. Charles Adams, the great tax historian, devoted his career to examining the enormous sociological and cultural impacts resulting from how states raise revenue. Adams called taxes a ‘prime mover of history,’ from ancient Egypt through the Middle Ages, from Enlightenment Europe to Colonial America and all the way up to our present world of offshore tax havens. Taxes, Adams maintained, are far from the price we pay for civilization. Instead they are mean, petty, and arbitrary, causing existential struggles for the poorest people in societies across history. Taxes not only fund wars and enrich unworthy rulers, but also create crippling distortions in every economy the world has ever known.

    This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on April 18, 2017.


  • Taxation is Theft

    With a tax code that exceeds 72,000 pages in length and consumes more than six billion person hours per year to determine taxpayers’ taxable income, with an IRS that has become a feared law unto itself, and with a government that continues to extract more wealth from every taxpaying American every year, is it any wonder that April 15th is a day of dread in America? Social Security taxes and income taxes have dogged us all since their institution during the last century, and few politicians have been willing to address these ploys for what they are: theft.
    During the 2012 election, then-Texas Gov. Rick Perry caused a firestorm among big-government types during the Republican presidential primaries last year when he called Social Security a Ponzi scheme. He was right. It’s been a scam from its inception, and it’s still a scam today.
    When Social Security was established in 1935, it was intended to provide minimal financial assistance to those too old to work. It was also intended to cause voters to become dependent on Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Democrats. FDR copied the idea from a system established in Italy by Mussolini. The plan was to have certain workers and their employers make small contributions to a fund that would be held in trust for the workers by the government. At the time, the average life expectancy of Americans was 61 years of age, but Social Security didn’t kick in until age 65. Thus, the system was geared to take money from the average American worker that he would never see returned.

    This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on April 13, 2017.


  • Stocks and Precious Metals Charts – I See Them Long Hard Times To Come

    “Governments can err, Presidents do make mistakes, but the immortal Dante tells us that divine justice weighs the sins of the cold-blooded and the sins of the warm-hearted on different scales. Better the occasional faults of a Government that lives in a spirit of charity, than the constant omission of a Government frozen in the ice of its own indifference.”
    Franklin D. Roosevelt
    Today was a ‘risk off’ day, although stocks managed to take back much of their losses after the European close.
    Gold and silver went out near their highs.
    The precious metals are jammed up against overhead resistance.

    This post was published at Jesses Crossroads Cafe on 11 APRIL 2017.