Two Portraits from the American Civil War

Here are the portraits of famous figures from the Civil War:
The first is a Democrat. Politically, he was the polar opposite of Abraham Lincoln and the new Republican Party. He was ardently pro-slavery. He supported the Lecompton Constitution that sought to make Kansas a slave state, and favored the Dred Scott decision that threw out the Missouri Compromise and opened even Northern territories to slavery.
In 1860, this person attended the Democratic Convention. Before the party split and produced two rival nominees for president, he supported Jefferson Davis. After the split between the Northern and Southern democrats, he supported the Southern candidate, John C. Breckinridge, instead of the more moderate norther nominee, Stephen Douglas.
Our second figure looks decidedly different. He is a Union officer who worked to recruit volunteers for the Northern cause. He led a regiment into Washington D. C. to defend the capital. His quick action against the South earned him a promotion to general, and he was put in charge of Fort Monroe. While he ran the fort, the general invoked international warfare rules to declare the runaway southern slaves ‘contraband,’ effectively emancipating them, even as President Lincoln was undermining similar actions by his other generals as an attempt to capitulate to Southern slave owners.
But this Union general was brutal toward the South. In New Orleans, he was referred to as a ‘Beast.’ When he was placed in command of the Southern metropolis, one of his first actions was to execute William Mumford for his audacity in lowering the flag of the United States. Southerners saw him as exceedingly cruel, but he epitomized the image of a Northern patriot. Jefferson Davis, who had the political support of the first character, turned his ire on this second figure by publishing a list of his crimes against Southerners, futilely hoping to enrage the North.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on Dec 9, 2017.

Is Peter Thiel Trying To Break Up Google? This $300,000 Political Contribution Seems To Imply He Is…

Peter Thiel, the billionaire venture capitalist who backed President Trump (just before giving his presidency a “50% chance of ending in disaster“) and infamously helped Hulk Hogan bring down Gawker.com, has allegedly set his sights on a new target: Google. According to The Mercury News, suspicions about Thiel’s next pet project were raised after he recently contributed $300,000 to Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley just before he launched an antitrust lawsuit against the alleged search monopoly.
So far, high-profile Silicon Valley venture capitalist and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel isn’t saying publicly why he gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to the campaign of a state attorney general who’s just launched an antitrust probe of Google. But it’s not the first time Thiel has handed cash to an AG who went after Google over monopoly concerns.
Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley announced Nov. 13 that his office was investigating Google to see if the Mountain View tech giant had violated the state’s antitrust and consumer-protection laws. The Missouri attorney general said he had issued an investigative subpoena to Google. He’s looking at the firm’s handling of users’ personal data, along with claims that it misappropriated content from rivals and pushed down competitors’ websites in search results.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 16, 2017.

Study Of 10-Year State Pension Returns Highlight Full Extent Of Public Pension Ponzi

A new study of public pension returns by Cliffwater LLC has found that the median U. S. state pension plan returned just 5.9% annually over the 10 years ended June 30, 2016. Meanwhile, as Pension and Investments notes, the top performing state pension, the $15.6 billion Oklahoma Teachers’ Retirement System, was the only fund that managed to eek out a return over 7% during the same period.
U. S. state pension plans returned a median annualized 5.9% for the 10 years ended June 30, 2016, vs. 6.8% for the 10 years ended June 30, 2015, said Cliffwater’s most recent annual state pension performance report.
The average 5.7% return for the 10 years ended June 30, 2016, fell within a wide range of individual pension plan returns (3.7% to 7.1%).
Once again, the two top-performing state pension plans for the period were the $15.6 billion Oklahoma Teachers’ Retirement System, returning 7.1%, and the South Dakota Investment Council returning 6.8% for the $10.5 billion South Dakota Retirement System. In third place was the $7 billion Missouri Local Government Employees Retirement System, returning 6.7%. All returns cited are annualized figures.

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

Blowback? – Mizzou Enrollment Tumbles To Lowest Since 2008

Amid ongoing fallout from the negative media attention and student (and faculty) protests that rocked campus in 2015, the University of Missouri recently welcomed its smallest student body since 2008.
As Campus Reform has repeatedly reported, the embattled university has taken hit after hit, starting with a $32 million budget shortfall and a five-percent budget cut, followed by a seven-percent drop in freshmen enrollment heading into last school year.
As some may remember Mizzou hit the headlines after Melissa Click, a journalism professor, won infamy nationwide for her behavior during race-related protests at MU in November 2015.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 22, 2017.

Trump Tax Talk Preview: Light On Details, Heavy On Populism

Will be leaving for Missouri soon for a speech on tax cuts and tax reform – so badly needed!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 30, 2017

Later this afternoon, at 2:30pm to be exact, President Trump will take the stage at the birthplace of ‘Mainstreet USA’, Springfield, Missouri, to kickoff his push for tax reform. But, if you’re expecting details on exactly what your future effective tax rate might be and/or how your mortgage interest deduction might be impacted, then you’re likely in for a ‘yuge’ disappointment.
As Politico points out this morning, Trump’s tax speech has been drafted by White House aide Stephen Miller, the leader of the nationalist arm of the White House staff, as oposed to Chief Economic Advisor Gary Cohn which means it will be heavy of the populist flare and light on the details.
President Donald Trump will launch a major push for a sweeping tax overhaul with a speech Wednesday in Missouri aimed at convincing his base – and the rest of the nation – that he has a fresh vision for ‘unrigging’ the American economy and isn’t just repackaging the trickle-down economics of past Republican presidents.
Wednesday’s speech in Springfield is being built around the sale of tax reform as a populist policy, according to five senior administration officials. The tax speech is being drafted by senior White House aide Stephen Miller, a leader of the nationalist wing of the administration.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 30, 2017.

Missouri’s New Minimum Wage Law Will Be… Complicated

Generally when we see news of a new minimum wage law it relates to a city or state raising it. Missouri went in the opposite direction recently, instituting a rule which forbids any local government entities from instituting a minimum wage which is higher than that state minimum. (Currently sitting at $7.70 per hour.)
That’s going to cause considerable consternation for people in St. Louis who only recently received a raise to $10.00 per hour because of a municipal law. (Associated Press)
Thousands of workers in St. Louis will likely see smaller paychecks starting Monday, when a new Missouri law takes effect barring local government from enacting minimum wages different than the state minimum.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 28, 2017.

These Are The States Where $1 Million Lasts The Longest

If you had a million dollars, would you retire?
For most Americans, the answer to that question would be no. Which is especially problematic for millennials, who, having been permanently scarred by the financial crisis, are investing at lower rates than members of Generation X or the Baby Boomers, making it more difficult for them to build wealth. Furthermore, the generation that now comprises the largest share of working Americans is having trouble saving money, thanks in no small part to their $1.3 trillion in student debt.
Their present financial predicaments suggest that millennials probably won’t retire in the large numbers that members of their parents’ generation will, primarily out of necessity. Even for some baby boomers, perennially low interest rates since the crisis – and possibly from here on out – have made things more difficult for conservative savers who may now need to redo their longstanding retirement plans to make do with less.
For workers in this situation, choosing a location where they can stretch their money the furthest in retirement is paramount. Enter a new study by GoBankingRates that measures how long $1 million will last in different locations around the country.
‘A new report from GOBankingRates measures how long a million dollars would last for retirees 65 and older, state by state. It did that by multiplying the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ mean annual expenditures for that age group by a cost-of-living measure for each state, provided by the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center. The tally separated out annual spending on health care, housing, groceries, transportation, and utilities.’

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 25, 2017.

Missouri Senator Who Said “I Hope Trump Is Assassinated” Refuses To Resign

The Missouri State Senator who published a Facebook post calling for President Donald Trump’s assassination is refusing to resign despite finding herself in hot water with both the Secret Service and her fellow Democrats, according to the Kansas City Star.
In her response, State Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal struck what the newspaper described as a ‘defiant’ tone, saying that she published the post out of ‘anger and frustration’ after President Donald Trump said ‘both sides’ were to blame for an attack in Charlottesville Va. last weekend that killed one counter-protester and injured more than 20 others. She explained that it would be hypocritical for her to be punished for her speech when Trump makes similarly offensive comments on a regular basis.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 19, 2017.

Democratic Missouri Senator: “I Hope Trump Is Assassinated!”

A Missouri state senator, Maria Chappelle-Nadal (D-University City), has landed herself in a bit of hot water with with the U. S. Secret Service today after posting, then deleting, a comment on Facebook which read, “I hope Trump is assassinated!”
Unfortunately, as Chappelle-Nadal should have learned at this point in her life, the internet never forgets and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch managed to get their hands on the post:

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 17, 2017.

12 Critical Events That Are Going To Happen Over A 40 Day Period From August 21st To September 30th

We are about to witness an extremely unusual convergence of events that many believe could represent a major turning point for our nation. By now you have probably heard that on August 21st a total solar eclipse will move across the entire continental United States for the first time in decades. In fact, we have not seen a total solar eclipse cross from the west coast to the east coast in 99 years. And it will be the very first total solar eclipse that is only visible in this country since the United States first became a nation. Starting with that event, there is going to be a whole lot going on until we reach the end of September. The following are 12 critical events that are going to happen over a 40 day period from August 21st to September 30th…
August 21 – The ‘Great American Eclipse’ will sweep across portions of Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. Seven years later, another very unusual total solar eclipse will move across our nation, and when you plot the paths of both eclipses on a map, they form a giant ‘X’ right over the center of the United States.
August 23 – A FEMA exercise known as ‘EarthEX2017’ will simulate ‘catastrophes such as mega earthquakes, cyber terrorism or high altitude electromagnetic pulse attacks’…

This post was published at The Economic Collapse Blog on August 9th, 2017.

Missouri Reverses St. Louis Minimum-Wage Hike

A week ago, we reported on a study from the University of Washington that exposed how the city of Seattle’s progressive minimum wage increases, which began in 2015, are – contrary to the hopes of so many liberals – actually crushing the city’s poor.
Specifically, the study found that higher minimum wages caused a 9.4% reduction to total hours worked by low-skilled workers, or roughly 14 million hours per year. Given that a full-time employee works 2,080 hours per year, that’s equivalent to just over 6,700 full-time equivalents who have lost their jobs, just in the city of Seattle.
While the higher minimum wage law remains intact in liberal Washington State – despite the research suggesting that it’s harming Seattle’s most vulnerable workers – the Missouri legislature recently acted to prevent a similar catastrophe from playing out in St. Louis by passing what’s known as a preemption law to invalidate a city-approved minimum wage hike that was slated to take effect in late August. The hike would’ve raised the city’s minimum wage to $10 an hour, from the state-approved $7.70.

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

Getting Taxpayer-Funded Free Stuff Is not “Religious Liberty”

There seems to be some confusion among religious columnists as to what constitutes religious freedom and what does not.
In a recent column for Crisis, Thomas Ascik claims that the US Supreme Court’s ruling inTrinity Lutheran v. Comer is a victory for “the free exercise of religion.”
The ruling essentially states that church organization can now receive government grants for amenities and activities that are not specifically religious activities. In the case of Trinity Lutheran specifically, the church had applied for a government grant to repave its playground with recycled automobile tires.
The state of Missouri denied the grant to the church on the grounds that it was a religious organization. Now SCOTUS has ruled such exclusionary policies are unconstitutional.
That’s fine as far as it goes. I have no more of a problem with Trinity Lutheran receiving state funds than with Secular Daycare Brand X receiving them. In both cases, the taxpayers have been ripped off and their money handed over to someone else. The fact that Trinity Lutheran is a church is not the problem in this equation.
But, let’s not pretend that getting a government grant has anything to do with the free exercise of religion or religious liberty. In no way did the grant-selection process mean that Trinity Lutheran or its membership was prevented from freely exercising its faith. As a result of the grant going to some other organization, the building was not seized by the state, the members were not silenced, and the church’s publications were not censored.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on June 30, 2017.

Kansas City Fed Survey: February Activity Highest Since 2011

The Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Survey business conditions indicator measures activity in the following states: Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Wyoming, western Missouri, and northern New Mexico.
Quarterly data for this indicator dates back to 1995, but monthly data is only available from 2001. New seasonal adjustment factors were introduced in January 2017 and slight revisions were made to previous data as a result.
Here is an excerpt from the latest report:
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City released the February Manufacturing Survey today. According to Chad Wilkerson, vice president and economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, the survey revealed that Tenth District manufacturing activity expanded further with continued strong expectations.

This post was published at FinancialSense on 02/23/2017.

Pension Funds Face Day of Reckoning as Investment Returns Lag

The $1.9 trillion shortfall in U.S. state and local pension funds is poised to grow as near record-low bond yields and global stock-market turmoil reduce investment gains, increasing pressure on governments to put more money into the retirement systems.
With the Federal Reserve holding interest rates steady at its meeting Wednesday, the funds will continue to be squeezed by rock-bottom payouts on fixed-income securities just as stocks fall overseas and post only modest U.S. gains. As a result, pensions in Illinois, Missouri and Hawai’i this year have moved to roll back the assumed rate of return on their investments, joining the dozens that have taken that step over the past two years.
‘There’s little light at the end of the tunnel as far as pension funding is concerned,’ said Vikram Rai, head of municipal-bond strategy at Citigroup Inc. in New York. ‘I expect funded ratios will drop further. It’ll require increased pension contributions on the part of the states and local government, but most state and local governments don’t have the ability to do so.’
Pensions count on annual investment gains of more than 7 percent to cover much of the benefits that come due as workers retire. But public plans had a median increase of 1 percent for the year ended June 30, the smallest advance since 2009, when they lost 16.2 percent, according to the Wiltshire Trust Universe Comparison Service.

This post was published at Newsmax

Major M5.6 Earthquake Hits Oklahoma, Felt From North Dakota All The Way To Houston

At 7:02:44 am local time, a major, M5.6 earthquake hit 14km northwest of Pawnee, Oklahoma, and rattled a swath of the Great Plains, from Kansas City, Missouri, to central Oklahoma. It was the strongest quake to hit Oklahoma in years.
Immediate Facebook post reports indicated pictures fell off walls as far away as Tulsa. Others felt it in Norman and Wewoka in Seminole County. It lasted roughly 15 seconds. Saturday morning’s earthquake is the largest in Oklahoma since a 5.6 magnitude quake near Prague. That quake was followed by 10 aftershocks, according to the Associated Press:
The magnitude 5.6 earthquake and its aftershocks still had residents rattled Sunday. No injuries were reported, and aside from a buckled highway and the collapse of a tower on the St. Gregory’s University administration building, neither was any major damage. But the weekend earthquakes were among the strongest yet in a state that has seen a dramatic, unexplained increase in seismic activity. According to press reports the quake was felt virtually across the entire midwest, from North Dakota through Houston – a 1,300 mile stretch:

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 3, 2016.

Privately Minted Silver Coins Were Legitimate Money in the 1800s

In the early 1830s, an eastern Kentucky man named Josiah Sprinkle started minting his own coins and circulating them around the area. Eventually, government officials got wind of Sprinkle’s operation and arrested him. But he was ultimately found not-guilty in court.
How did a man minting his own coins escape the long arm of the law? Because his coins were pure silver. They were equal in value to the silver dollars minted by the US government. In fact, they were worth slightly more.
This historical oddity reveals an important truth. When money was actually silver and gold, its value was intrinsic. The value came from the metal, not a promise by the issuing government. The government didn’t have to fiercely maintain its monopoly in order to protect the ‘value’ of its fiat currency. If you had gold or silver – in whatever form – it was literally money. Josiah wasn’t doing anything wrong circulating his pure silver coins. He wasn’t ripping anybody off. His coins were worth what he promised.
A similar private coin was minted in Missouri, known as the Yocum Dollar:

This post was published at Schiffgold on JULY 7, 2016.

Meanwhile In Missouri…

A personalized license plate that reads ‘JIHAD 1′ has been allowed in the state of Missouri…. (because ‘DEATH TO THE INFIDEL” was too long?)
After examining the policies for granting or denying personalized license plates, a Department of Revenue representative told local News4 that they had no legal authority to deny the word. However, as CreepingSharia.com reports, a similar personalized license plate that read ‘J1HAD’ was rejected by the state in 2009.
The state did not provide an explanation for why that particular license was rejected while this one was allowed, according to News 4.

This post was published at Zero Hedge by Tyler Durden – Jun 19, 2016.

Here Come A Lot Of Angry Teamsters: One Of America’s Largest Pension Funds Demands A Taxpayer Bailout

Over the past few months, we have covered the unfolding saga (here and here) of the Central States Pension Fund, which handles retirement benefits for current and former Teamster union truck drivers across various states including Texas, Michigan, Wisconsin, Missouri, New York, and Minnesota, and is one of the largest pension funds in the nation, all the way through Kenneth Feinberg’s rejection of the proposal to cut benefits on behalf of the Treasury.
***
When the proposal was rejected, we said that the final resolution will be in the form of an inevitable taxpayer-funded bailout
If the Treasury won’t allow any pension cuts, and the government created safety net won’t be there to keep the benefits flowing, how will the cash continue to flow to members? With the precedent now set by the Treasury that no cuts will be allowed, the answer will likely come in the form of a massive bailout.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 05/12/2016.

Junk Economics: Michael Hudson Rages “Wall Street Has Taken Over The Economy.. & Is Draining It”

FRA Co-founder Gordon T. Long is joined by Professor Michael Hudson in discussing his concept of the FIRE economy and its influence on the production and consumption economy, along with some of his writings.
Michael Hudson is President of The Institute for the Study of Long-Term Economic Trends (ISLET), a Wall Street Financial Analyst, Distinguished Research Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City and author of Killing the Host (2015), The Bubble and Beyond (2012), Super-Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire (1968 & 2003), Trade, Development and Foreign Debt (1992 & 2009) and of The Myth of Aid (1971), amongst many others.
ISLET engages in research regarding domestic and international finance, national income and balance-sheet accounting with regard to real estate, and the economic history of the ancient Near East. Michael acts as an economic advisor to governments worldwide including Iceland, Latvia and China on finance and tax law.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 04/28/2016.

Pension System Collapse Turning Retirement Dreams into Nightmares

This article was submitted by Addison Quale, SchiffGold Precious Metals Specialist. Any views expressed are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Peter Schiff or SchiffGold.
You know the old saying. ‘There’s a sucker born every minute.’
Sadly, many Americans have been suckered into thinking their pension was going to provide a stable and comfortable retirement. But government mismanagement and central bank monetary policy are quickly turning that retirement dream into a nightmare.
Pensions have been a major contributor to the Greek financial crisis, and theAmerican system is looking increasingly Greek.
Just last week, Central States Pension Fund, one of the largest pension funds in the nation, filed an application to cut participant benefits. Central States handles retirement benefits for current and former Teamster union truck drivers across various states including Texas, Michigan, Wisconsin, Missouri, New York, and Minnesota. And in Illinois, pensions are underfunded to the tune of $111 billion.
This is not just an American phenomenon. A UK pension fund is also having serious issues and is slashing benefits.
For years, many large companies, and especially government employers, have promised their workers generous pension plans. They were told that with modest annual contributions coming out of their paychecks and employer matching funds (not to mention some taxpayer money thrown in) they were guaranteed to retire with a steady stream of passive income.

This post was published at Schiffgold on APRIL 27, 2016.