deflation

The Evils of the Drug War

Filed in BP, deflation, o, silver, ubs by on January 21, 2011 0 Comments

Most everyone is familiar with the disastrous consequences of the war on drugs: drug gangs, drug lords, drug suppliers, gang wars, muggings, robberies, thefts, corruption of judges, prosecutors, and law-enforcement officials, murders, assassinations, overcrowded jails, asset forfeiture, and on and on. The fact is that nothing good is produced by the war on drugs. All the results are bad. If you have any doubts, just ask the people of Mexico, who have experienced the unbelievable number of 30,000 drug war deaths in the last 3 years alone. Making drugs illegal causes the price to increase, which motivates suppliers to enter the black market to make money. The state gets angry over this economic phenomenon, imposing harsher penalties and more brutally enforcing the laws. That causes prices to go up even more, which motivates more people to enter into the market as suppliers. Ultimately, the black market price gets so high that ordinary citizens are lured into the market in the hopes of scoring big financially. All the bad consequences of the drug war, however, are not the primary reason for why we should legalize drugs. Freedom is the primary reason to legalize drugs. When the state has the power to put people into jail for ingesting a non-approved substance, there is no way that people in that society can be considered free. A person is sitting in the privacy of his own living room. He decides to smoke marijuana, snort cocaine, or inject himself with heroin. The state — e.g., the members of Congress, the president, the DEA, the Justice Department — claim the authority to punish the person for doing that. But it’s that person’s mouth, it’s his body, it’s his health. Alas, not under terms of the drug war. The state says: We own you, we control you, we regulate you. You do as we say with respect to what you put into your mouth, or else. How can that possibly be reconciled with fundamental principles of freedom? A society in which freedom is genuine is one in which people are free to engage in any activity, so long as it is peaceful and non-fraudulent. That includes, at a minimum, conduct that could be considered self-destructive. You want to smoke? That’s your decision. You want to drink? That’s your decision. You want to ingest other drugs, no matter how harmful? That’s your decision. That’s what freedom is all about — the right to live your life the way you want, so long as you don’t initiate force or fraud against others. Unfortunately, statists take an opposite approach. They say that every person ultimately belongs to society and, therefore, can be controlled and regulated by the state for the benefit of society. Since a person taking drugs is harming society, the collectivist argument goes, the state can send him to his room when he is caught violating drug laws, as much as a parent can do so to a child who violates rules on what he should and shouldn’t put into his mouth. Most everyone now realizes that government officials benefit tremendously from the drug war, just as drug lords and drug gangs do. There is the ever-burgeoning business of asset forfeiture, including against innocent people, which is a way that the state helps fills its coffers without going through …

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Why Theft Is Never OK, Even When the Government Does It

Filed in BP, deflation, economy, lead, New Gold, o, sov by on January 19, 2011 0 Comments

Yesterday was the morning of my 35th anniversary on the planet. The well-wishing phone calls started early. I missed the first — from my younger sister, who is always the first to call on my birthday — and made a note to call her back later. I was awake enough to take the second call from my dad. “I realized this morning that if it’s been 35 years since you were born,” he said, “then I must be a little older than 35. I’m really just calling to remind you that you’re getting old too. I need the company.” Thirty-five is one of those milestone birthdays…the neat halfway point between the big three-oh and the bigger four-oh. In my case I got to look around and panic: I hadn’t gotten started on all those grown-up things you were supposed to start by 30 and have nearly completed by 40. Grown-ups are usually on their second or third spawn by this age. They have cars and mortgages. I’d only recently got as far as making my own meals. But at least I’d gotten exposed to enough good reading to understand that no one owed me anything, that I had to earn everything that I wanted. I feel more grown-up than most when it comes to lacking a sense of entitlement. Not only am I not entitled to goods and services; I also have to earn the goodwill of those whose help I’d count on in case disaster struck and I hadn’t prepared sufficiently. I had to be a good son and a good brother…a good friend and a good neighbor. Even if I had no loving relatives or concerned friends to rely on, however, I still wouldn’t demand the tax-born kindness of strangers. Any charity I would receive would have to be voluntarily given. And there should be enough shame involved to keep me from growing to rely on it forever. This is not a popular sentiment these days. Every effort is made by the intelligentsia and the media to convince people of the opposite… We are all children, they tell us. We need to be taken care of. And we are all owed something by someone else. That’s what governments are really for. They guide. They prohibit. They shuffle earned income to grasping hands. And they’re proud of it… Paul Krugman, cheerleader of the state writes: “One side of American politics considers the modern welfare state — a private-enterprise economy, but one in which society’s winners are taxed to pay for a social safety net — morally superior to the capitalism …

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Under the Sun of That Dream

Filed in BP, deflation, Lear, o, silver, US Dollar by on January 17, 2011 0 Comments

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” — Martin Luther King Jr. My father grew up at the bottom of a hill. My mother lived at the top of that same hill, in Washington Heights, New York City, in the 1950s and 1960s. Both were the products of refugee families. My mother’s father, an avid reader of the news, left Germany just as the Nazis began to hang signs railing against “Juden!” My dad came to America in 1954, literally on a banana boat, leaving in the middle of the night, fleeing a coup that would be followed by decades of bloody war in Guatemala. My dad’s father was a well-known journalist with connections in government. They left my grandmother and my two aunts behind to be sent for six months later. My dad was 6 years old. For years, they lived at the bottom of the hill in New York. It was a slum, and it still is. My grandfather worked at a plastic factory, from which, my dad tells me, he would come home at the end of the day and peel off bits of plastic that had melted onto his face before bed. The top of the hill, only blocks away, wasn’t so bad. Despite opposition from some family members, my parents married, and there I was raised. Growing up as a child of a mixed marriage comes to my mind this Martin Luther King Day. Today, as I do most days, I drove to the office on a congested MLK Boulevard. Over lunch, I walked past the downtown library, where flyers promote upcoming meetings offering “An Honest Discussion of Race” — a topic promised again and again everywhere. I stopped attending these lectures years ago when I realized that these talks weren’t all that “honest” and that they were not attended by anyone actually interested in discussing anything. Among my fondest childhood memories are our Sunday trips down the hill, amazingly steep it seemed, to have lunch at my grandparents’ apartment. There, my grandfather and I would eat a snack on the fire escape and watch young hoodlums in the street below messing with parked cars, harassing passing girls and generally looking for trouble. My grandmother in the kitchen would attempt to pan fry hamburgers for her American grandsons. Bottles of beer — not cans: Sunday was a special day — went around…

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Spree Killers, the Second Amendment, and Those Damned Guns

Filed in BP, deflation, Gold, Lear, o, obama, Progressive, silver, Spot Gold, target, Uncategorized by on January 15, 2011 0 Comments
Spree Killers, the Second Amendment, and Those Damned Guns

Looks like the First Amendment is safe for now…sorta… The Second, however, is in the hot seat again. Everyone is cottoning onto the fact that Jared Loughner was just a nut. Political affiliation is questionable or just plain negligible. It’s getting too hard to blame the limited government and anti-government rhetoric. Even Obama rose above political divisiveness on this one. So now that free speech is no longer being blamed, it’s time to turn our attention back to those damned guns. Loughner would very likely have ended up attacking people no matter which books he had read. The man had already made his psychotic break from morality… But if only guns weren’t available, comes the cry! Then these psychopaths couldn’t do as much harm as they do… A reader sent this: “Gary, “You write, “‘Gun-ownership supporters are getting the usual flack.’ “And so they should. “The time is ripe for the repeal of the Second Amendment. “In Australia 10 years or so ago, we had a psycho gun down a dozen people with an automatic rifle. “The government brought in sweeping powers to reduce the number of guns and make access to guns extremely difficult. “We’re a safer community because of it. Lunatics can’t get access to any gun, let alone the Arnie type. “The guns any of the people who were killed or injured the other day were not sufficient to protect them. They never were. “We didn’t need the guns in the days of the Wild West. It just encouraged thugs, criminals, and lunatics on horses to run amok. Hollywood’s glamorization of the Wild West has jaundiced our view of this mayhem. “We don’t need them now. It still just encourages thugs, criminals and lunatics to run amok killing and injuring innocent people. “Do you carry a gun?” Not right now. But I do have access to cars and knives… Consider Japan, where no one has a gun, yet insane people occasionally kill several strangers en masse with a simple kitchen knife…or with the combination of a vehicle and a dagger. In 2001 in Ikeda, Japan, eight children were killed and 15 people injured in Japan’s worst school tragedy when a middle-aged man with a history of mental illness went on a stabbing rampage at an elementary…

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Afghanistan, Iraq, Collateral Damage and the Banality of Killing

Filed in AMAG, BP, deflation, New Gold, o, sov by on January 14, 2011 0 Comments

The standard explanations for the Arizona killings are now being set forth, such as widespread violence in America and right-wing extremism. I’d like to weigh in with another possible factor, one that I can’t prove but one that I think Americans ought to at least consider: the fact that killing has now become an accepted, essential, normal, and permanent part of American life. No, I’m not referring to the widespread gun violence in America that liberals point to as part of their gun-control agenda. I’m not even referring to the widespread violence that accompanies the decades-long drug war, especially in Mexico. I’m instead referring to the U.S. government’s regular killing of people thousands of miles away in Afghanistan and Iraq, killing that has now gone on regularly for some 10 years and that has become a fairly hum-drum part of our daily lives. Six people were killed and 14 were injured in the Arizona shootings, including a woman who was shot through the head and a 9-year-old girl whose life was snuffed out. Everyone is shocked over the horror, which is detailed on the front page of every newspaper across the country. But let’s face it: Such killings go on every week in Afghanistan and Iraq and have for some 10 years. Parents, children, brothers, sisters, cousins, grandparents, friends, brides, grooms, and wedding parties. People are killed in those two countries …

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The $600 Billion Gamble

The $600 Billion Gamble

I’ve spilled so much ink on QE2 at this point that I must be beginning to sound like a broken record. So I’ll let this story speak for itself…. From Reuters by Jonathan Spicer entitled: Fed’s bond-buying could soon backfire: Plosser “ The U.S. Federal Reserve’s aggressive bond-buying plan could soon backfire unless the central bank gradually changes course to head off inflation, a top Fed official known for his hawkish stance said on Tuesday. Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Plosser said the $600-billion quantitative easing plan, known as QE2, would need to be reconsidered if the U.S. economy’s current “moderate recovery” picks up steam. The prospect of sustained price deflation — a worry for Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and other backers of the controversial QE2 plan — is highly unlikely in part because the Fed’s massive reserves will eventually flow out into the economy, Plosser added. “If the economy begins to grow more quickly and the sustainability of this recovery continues to gain traction, then the purchase program will need to be reconsidered along with other aspects of our very accommodative policy stance,” Plosser said in a speech to the Risk Management Association. “The aggressiveness of our accommodative policy may soon backfire on us if we don’t begin to gradually reverse course,” he said. It comes as recent data show the U.S. economy is slowly recovering, but also as Fed officials increasingly rally behind QE2, which in early November set the Fed to purchasing Treasury securities in an effort to rejuvenate that recovery. While some have credited QE2 for having already played a role in the rebound, Plosser said that argument likely “stretches things.” Nothing more than a $600 billion gamble…Don’t you just love the Fed? Related Articles: Hoenig: QE2 May Lead to “future instability” Hoenig: QE2 Won’t Work Hoenig: Let Troubled Banks Fail Jim Grant on the Fed’s “Mission Creep” Jim Grant: “The Fed is out of its lane” To learn more about Wealth Daily click here Advertisement Military’s Latest Energy Report Will Give You the Willies Inside, they confess a shocking truth… without any new developments, we only have 16 months of oil left! Before the media catches wind and panic drives the price of oil through the roof, I’ll show you how one group of companies solving the problem could make you filthy rich by Christmas. Click here to find out more. The $600 Billion Gamble originally appeared in Wealth Daily . Wealth Daily is a free daily newsletter featuring contrarian investment insights and commentary.

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Mass Killing Was Insanity, Not Politics

Filed in BP, deflation, democrats, Ford, Gold, Lear, New Gold, o, Spot Gold, target, US Dollar by on January 12, 2011 0 Comments
Mass Killing Was Insanity, Not Politics

It’s not the Second Amendment I’m worried about right now, but the First. According to popular opinion it was a combination of the two that got six people killed and left Rep. Gifford in critical condition. Gun-ownership supporters are getting the usual flack after Jared Lee Loughner used a gun to kill six people and injure fourteen others. But the political environment is such that a bunch of other groups are getting smeared for having ever opened their mouths… Libertarians, conservatives, Tea Party members, advocates of small governments of every stripe, anyone who’s ever criticized the government too vigorously…They’re being told to “tone it down a bit.” The complaint from lovers of the state is that we’ve gotten too vicious, that all the strong words have finally led to someone taking extreme measures. Never mind that the shooter was a just a lone nut whose main concern with government was that it was using mind control. One does not list the Communist Manifesto or Mein Kampf in one’s top ten list if one is for smaller government. In fact, anyone who thinks these books belong in the same list as We the Living — a warning against the dangers of communism — cannot be thinking too clearly. And it seems that Loughner wasn’t thinking too clearly at all. In fact, he seems to have had all the usual earmarks of the mentally unbalanced who occasionally pop up and kill somebody famous or slaughter innocents in a fast food joint or from atop a tower. Jared Lee Loughner didn’t kill and injure all those people because he listened to Sarah Palin…or because he loved liberty. He did it because he was a murderous lunatic. Never ones to let a disaster or tragedy go to waste, lawmakers immediately got to work on legislation to curb liberty a little bit more. The Left immediately went on the offensive and claimed that this was all Sarah Palin’s fault. They claimed she practically instructed the mentally unstable among us to start shooting Democrats…that with their charged rhetoric the Right had been fostering a political atmosphere ripe for violence. The Right immediately went on the defensive. They pointed out that…

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Puritanism, Paternalism, and Power

Filed in BP, deflation, euro, lead, o, Progressive, target, ubs, US Dollar by on January 10, 2011 0 Comments

“Live and let live” would appear to be a simple, sensible guide to social life, but obviously many Americans reject this creed with a vengeance. They find toleration so unpleasant that they support the imprisonment of hundreds of thousands of individuals whose personal behavior they regard as offensive. Why do so many Americans favor the use of coercive sanctions to enforce repression? Perhaps the answer lies in our history… Puritanism Politicians and other patriotic posturers like to declare that the Europeans came to America seeking freedom. The claim is at best a half-truth. In the colonial era, most Europeans arrived in North America bound in some form of indentured servitude, many of them children or convicts put out to work. Disregarding such servants, one finds that the free colonists sought mainly to improve their economic well-being. To be sure, some of them, including the early arrivals in Massachusetts, were fleeing religious oppression, but the Pilgrim Fathers had absolutely no intention of establishing a community in which individuals would be free to behave according to the dictates of their own consciences. The Puritans had already seen the light, and, by God, they intended to use all necessary means to ensure that everybody comply with Puritan standards. Far from free, their “City upon a Hill” was a hard-handed theocracy. For them, pleasure seemed the devil’s snare. Their vision of the good life was austere, and they looked askance on the possibility that others might embrace hedonism. In H.L. Mencken’s famous characterization, Puritanism was “the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.” Moreover, if the Puritans suspected that someone might be having fun, they had no compunction about using government coercion…

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A National Debt That Will Never Be Repaid

As you read this, the U.S. government owes just a sliver under $14 trillion dollars to various suckers who’ve lent it money. And it wants to borrow more. Timothy Geithner warned that a failure to raise the debt limit would mean the government would not be able to make the payments on the current debt in the very near future. Consult the official record and you’ll read that the U.S. has never defaulted on its obligations. That’s technically true…but then what about when France’s prime minister Charles de Gaulle politely asked the U.S. to hand over the gold it promised was backing the U.S. dollars held by France and other nations? “No gold for you!” Nixon was heard to say. That’s because the U.S. had printed a lot of dollars in order to pay for Lyndon Johnson’s social programs and war (among other things). There was no way that the ratio of dollars to gold held by the U.S. was still anywhere near an amount that would support the official $35/oz. What was the real price of gold with all those extra dollars floating around? Who knows? But when they were allowed to own gold again beginning in 1974 Americans bid gold up to over $887/oz in just six years. Nixon knew back in 1971 that there was no way the U.S. could make good on the dollar at the official rate. The official rate was a lie. If every yahoo with $35 U.S. were to show up at the gold window then, only a small percentage of them would get their gold. So Nixon “closed the gold window.” But a default by any other name apparently isn’t really a default. And now Mr. Geithner tells us that in order not to default, the U.S. government has to take on more debt. Remember, there are certain ways government gets purchasing power… Steal it directly by openly taxing its subjects (on income, payrolls, transactions, imports, exports, etc)… Steal it sneakily through currency debasement (inflate paper money supply or clip the coins). Borrow it. Number three really isn’t really income, however. And it often leads to number two. Geithner just admitted that if the U.S. doesn’t borrow more than the current debt ceiling allows, the government wouldn’t be able to meet its obligations. When you can’t pay for your expenses — including the interest on the debt you already owe — is it really a good idea to borrow more? Maybe you should cut up the credit card, move to a smaller apartment, sell the car and take public transportation, stop eating out so much…any of these things in any combination would help. Borrowing more to fund your lifestyle doesn’t make the list. It just guarantees there will be even more pain to reckon with later. Borrowing is what got them in this jam. Raising the debt ceiling at this point is about as healthy …

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Forget Buying in the Suburbs and Go Rent in the City

Filed in BP, Debt, deflation, inflation, lead, o, silver, Spot Gold, target by on January 5, 2011 0 Comments

It’s getting more expensive to live in Baltimore….at least if you’re a renter. According to a recent article in the Baltimore Sun rents are up more than 6% over what they were last year in the Baltimore metro area. If you count the drop in various concessions — like waived application fees or initial free rent — then the increase is even more. There is a drag on the rental market, however: the regretful buyers who now need to rent out the homes they can’t sell. Lois Foster, a Baltimore real estate agent who helps people find homes to rent and manages properties for owners-turned-landlords, said she’s seeing rents of $200 to $500 less a month than owners could have gotten two or three years ago. There’s just a lot of competition, she said. The gild is off the buying lily. All the credit that oozed out of the banks found its way into the national psyche. There it gave off a funny smelling gas that puffed up hopes and dizzied senses. Stock prices were the first beneficiaries. Fattening 401(k)s danced 1920’s-style energetic jigs with dreams of early retirement. Even as those 401(k)s and those hopes tired and finally dropped dead on the dance floor, the Fed held down interest rates and more funny air kept the nation high. People pinned new hopes on — and sent reams of borrowed new money into — real estate. That’s come to the sort of end you’d expect. While government cheerleading and easy credit drew in increasing numbers of bigger fools, the rental market found itself a lot emptier. All the people who really couldn’t afford to buy and who should have been renting were too busy buying on greater margins and not renting. Some hotspot cities like New York and Boston saw their rental markets surging along with their real estate markets…but third-stringers like Baltimore… “Cohan, with Southern Management, said some competitors were offering as much as three to four months of free rent to get people in the door in 2008 and 2009. Not anymore.” It’s no wonder that they were having such a …

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But What if the Customers Are Bigots Too?

Filed in BP, deflation, earnings, o, US Dollar by on December 22, 2010 0 Comments

And a man’s enemies shall be those of his own household… The disappointment in my old man’s voice was hard to endure. “After all so many people went through…for you to go along with people like Rand Paul… “I can’t even talk to you right now.” The subject had turned to politics again, good patrons. It often did on the drive to the airport. We got on the topic of liberty and government. When it comes down to it, I can’t ever think it’s OK to use force to get others to see or do things my way…even when it hurts my feelings. Dad was thinking of commerce. Of countertop dining and windows with “No Colored” signs. He hadn’t seen them himself. We didn’t come to this country till the late ‘70s, when he’d been in his 20s and I under three. Back home in our tiny Caribbean nation, black was pretty much all there was. I’d had more direct experience with that sort of thing, however. I’d spent a couple formative summers in the South. Not the Deep South — rural central Florida — but not quite shallow, either. There were Confederate flags on the road signs announcing the town’s name and on many of the license plates of the local vehicles. There still are. Once when I was 17, my two good buddies and I spent the day with a couple of local girls at a stream and then drove around for hours with them. It had grown dark and the pretty blonde suggested we all head back to her house to hang out a bit more. All except for me, that is… “My parents don’t allow black people in the house. I’m sorry.” It was 1994. And so that was it. My friends were more concerned about hanging out with pretty girls than they were in showing solidarity. Seventeen is apparently not the time to be making a stand. That experience stayed with me as I learned more about liberty and individual rights from the perspective of a foreign “darkie.” Was my

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Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Act

Filed in AMAG, BP, deflation, lead, New Gold, o, obama, Spot Gold, US Dollar by on December 20, 2010 0 Comments

The ongoing touchy and burning question is whether or not homosexuals are “entitled” to serve in the military, and, if so, whether or not they should be required to keep their sexual orientation to themselves. Let me start by saying that I have no interest in what consenting adults choose to do so long as those activities do not result in corpses, do not scare the horses, and are not otherwise harmful to society in general. Many of us are attracted to individuals that bewilder our friends and relatives. The question before us is whether or not some sorts of behavior and traditions should be changed to meet the desires of less than two per cent. of the population. I have no difficulty with same-sex couples who want to “live in sin,” a very old term for cohabiting without marriage, although I am against that for heterosexual couples because we all know the enormous damage done to our society by the increase in illegitimate children. In the nineteen fifties the white illegitimacy rate was 5% and that of blacks was 25%. After half a century of welfare the rate for whites is 25% and that of blacks 80%, to the widespread detriment of all of the little bastards, to use the technical term deliberately for shock effect. Does it strike you as odd that the technical term is still one of the strongest insults in our society, while no social force is leveled against those who bear children out of wedlock? Perhaps mandatory health insurance would solve the argument that gays should be allowed “to marry,” a perfectly straightforward infinitive that has never referred to anything other than heterosexual unions for the purposes of procreation, preservation of capital and family power, and perhaps even happiness. In particular, the questions are whether or not those who are openly gay have a “right” to serve in the military if they wish, with others questioning whether our fighting forces would be better or worse for their inclusion. The arguments are that a sexual deviant can be just as patriotic and competent as anyone else and they should not be denied permission to join the Marines if they want to and can get through Parris Island successfully. I’m quite willing to admit that military prowess and even genius may be — even probably are — independent of sexual orientation. As I recall, Gaius Julius Caesar was at least AC-DC, and many ancient Greeks were of the opinion that a man will fight harder under the eyes of his lover. (If we’re going to take society of two millenia ago as our standard, should modern mothers tell our sons, “Come back with your shield or on it?”) On my angle of the argument, after a life of having been the wife, daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, niece, and daughter-in-law of career military officers, I keep running into the ancient proscription against “conduct prejudicial to good order” and another about “conduct unbecoming an officer.” There are very clear rules against “fraternization” between officers and enlisted men/women, and against after lights out trysts in the barracks. More recent rules involve “sexual harassment” and rendering one’s self unfit for combat by becoming pregnant, neither of which were an issue when all the ships at sea were manned, period. I think all of us can agree that we would find it uncomfortable to shower in mixed groups, whether that meant those of both genders or those of…

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