Category Archives: The Mine or the Shaft

You figure it out. Which will it be? Only time will tell!

Sell the News – Qu’est-ce Que C’est

“Psychopaths [and sociopaths] have a grandiose self-structure which demands a scornful and detached devaluation of others, in order to ward off their envy toward the good perceived in other people.” ~ Robert D. Hare, Without Conscience

“The sense of responsibility in the financial community for the community as a whole is not small. It is nearly nil.” ~ John Kenneth Galbraith, The Great Crash of 1929

“In a nation run by swine, all the pigs are upwardly mobile, and the rest of us are fucked until we can put our acts together: not necessarily to win, but mainly to keep from losing completely.” ~ Hunter S. Thompson

“And where they make a desert, they call it peace.” ~ Tacitus, Agricola

Donald and His Merry Pranksters were rolling out the greatest tax cut in history today. Continue reading

To Infinity and Beyond: New Polls Show Americans Want Magical Government Benefits

Oppose All Spending Cuts

Liberals are excitedly buzzing over two new poll results in which American voters say they favor both (a) a larger federal government that provides more benefits to its citizens, and (b) a healthcare solution under which Obamacare is “improved” and “fixed” as opposed to “repealed and replaced.” Let’s address them one at a time. First, on the expansion of government, the trendiness are pointed in one direction at the moment: An NBC/WSJ survey finds that 57 percent of respondents want the federal government “should do more to solve problems” and help people, with less than 40 percent saying that Uncle Sam is already trying to do too many things. The paradox is obvious — in an age of widespread discontent and distrust of the government institutions, Americans still want government institutions to bite off even more than they’re currently, inefficiently, and often harmfully chewing. Pew finds a closer split (48/45) on the question of whether the government should be larger and provide more services versus smaller and provide fewer. But as Allahpundit notes, when asked about individual categories, the public favors increased spending on almost everything:
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America’s Financial War Strategy

America’s renewed desire to escalate military tensions is a front for America’s continual financial war, this time directed at North Korea, Syria and possibly Iran. This is likely to be the opinion of China’s strategic advisors. We analyse the geopolitics and economics behind America’s war strategy from China’s perspective, concluding that it is entering its final phase. China’s exit plan appears to be to tie the pricing of energy and then other major commodities to gold, returning to the pre-1971 status quo, when the dollar was just a settlement link between commodity prices and gold. Except this time, the dollar itself will be side-lined, so far as China is concerned, which will use the yuan instead for its empire, which will be far larger than that of the US in time, measured by GDP. Continue reading

IRS Seized $17 Million from Americans’ Bank Accounts…

… but They Were Never Charged with a Crime!

According to a report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) seized approximately $17.1 million from Americans’ bank accounts that were thought to be involved in “criminal enterprises.”

The funds seized by the IRS were said “to disrupt and dismantle criminal enterprises.” However, of the 278 investigations that took place by TIGTA, 91 percent of the funds were said to be obtained legally by businesses.

So, what does that tell us? Well, it tells us that in 91 percent of the cases, people had their money seized without being charged with a crime! Our Constitution is clear:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation. – Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution Continue reading

20,000 Union Members, Retirees at Risk of Losing Pension Benefits

Retirement funds seek permission from feds to cut benefits

Money Hole

Five union pension plans are heading toward bankruptcy in the next 20 years if the federal government does not approve benefit cuts to retirees.

In March, four unions filed applications with the U.S. Treasury Department requesting relief under a program established by the Obama administration that allows multi-employer pension plans to cut benefits in order to sustain the long-term health of the plan. The applications from United Furniture Workers Pension Fund, Alaska Ironworkers Pension Fund, Southwest Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters, International Association of Machinists of Motor City Pension Fund, and Teamsters Local 805 Pension & Retirement Plan are all being reviewed by the department, according to the Pension Rights Center. If the cuts are approved on all four applications, as many as 20,309 union members could see their retirement money drastically reduced. Continue reading

Absurd Valuations on Unprofitable Tech Stocks

The Treasury Secretary chimes in on what any market watcher should know instinctively. Mnuchin talks tech: ‘I don’t understand these valuations’, yet the price on promises and future expectation of earnings has a large amount of the equity speculators and computerized trading in a crisis of sanity. Avoiding the fundamental relationship that a stock value is based upon the ability of a company to turn a profit, has become the hottest investment hoax since Bernard Madoff was pitching his Ponzi scheme. Uber, Snapchat and Twitter may be high flyers for the smart set, but for rational venture capitalists, plunking down gambles on risky enterprises that only feed on publicity hype is a sure bet on going broke.

While angel funding, seed investment and incubation have a nice ring to their functions, what they all have in common is gaining a piece of the equity action before any IPO is sold to the investment insiders, much less the general public. What is often lost is that any new startup enterprise must develop cash flow well before any earnings can be achieved. Continue reading

Panic in the Streets

American Families Face Increasing Financial Instability

The financial situation of many middle class American households is strikingly unstable, according to a new report from the Harvard Business Review.

The Harvard Business Review finds that there is increasing trend of financial vulnerability for lower and middle class American households. According to the report, households experienced an average of five months per years in which household income increased or decreased by more or less than 25 percent.

Our first big finding was that the households’ incomes were highly unstable, even for those with full-time workers. We counted spikes and dips in earning, defined as months in which a household’s income was either 25% more or 25% less than the average. It turned out that households experienced an average of five months per year with either a spike or dip. In other words, incomes were far from average almost half of the time. Income volatility was more extreme for poorer families, but middle class families felt it too. Continue reading

Big Pharma Funds “Independent” Advocacy Groups Attacking Drug-Price Reduction Bill

ADVERTISEMENTS FROM SEEMINGLY independent advocacy groups are swamping Beltway newspapers with dire warning that recent proposals to lower drug prices will lead to dangerous consequences. In the last week alone, the ads have appeared in the Washington Post, Washington Times, Roll Call, The Hill, and Politico.

The groups placing the ads have no obvious connection to pharmaceutical companies. For instance, the American Conservative Union (ACU), one of the organizations taking out an ad, describes itself as devoted to promoting “liberty, personal responsibility, traditional values, and strong national defense.” Continue reading

The Federal Reserve is Not Federal and it Doesn’t have Reserves

NOTE: This article was published in 2007 at Little has changed in the ten years since then as far as the facts that led the United States to its current position. Much has changed in the numbers, however. For instance, during the reign of Barrack Obama, $10 Trillion was added to the National Debt. That is more than the debt added by all the presidents before him combined in over 230 years.

A few years ago, as the stock market experienced wild ups and downs, I watched 5 guest panelists on CNBC express their opinions on the reasons for the volatility. Actually, seven people interrupted and talked over one another in their zeal to get their points across. The two hosts, who were supposed to be interviewing the five panelists, spent most of the time expressing their own opinions. The one common denominator was that all seven continually referred to “The Fed,” wondering how that institution might move to solve the problem. I laughed out loud! These were supposedly sophisticated people, representatives of financial and educational institutions and think tanks. And yet they seemed to be as painfully ignorant of the truth concerning the “The Fed” (more formally known as “The Federal Reserve System”) as the average American on the street.

The simple truth is that The Federal Reserve System is neither federal, nor does it have any reserves. The Fed is a system of private banks, owned by rich foreign and American bankers. It is the biggest scam ever perpetrated upon the American people. It is the reason we have inflation. Continue reading

50-Year Look at the Dollar’s Purchasing Power vs. Gold

To understand the impact of inflation on the US dollar, it’s helpful to compare its purchasing power to gold over time. Fifty years ago, the dollar’s value was quite substantial, but over time artificially low interest rates and money printing by the Fed have helped erode the greenback’s potency. In contrast, gold’s unique ability to preserve wealth and purchasing power is easy to see when compared to the dollar over the same time period.

The following infographic shows the difference between two different savings scenarios:

An American stores $3,500 in a safety deposit box in 1967 and takes it out in 2017.

An American stores $3,500 worth of gold (100 oz) in a safety deposit box in 1967 and takes it out in 2017.

If each person then went on a spending spree, here’s what could they buy.

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Glass-Steagall Essential Banking Regulation

The central struggle since the inception of the Republic has been about the control of money. Since the U.S. Constitution clearly defines coinage, the objective of the mercantile elite was to circumvent the law and establish a National Bank. Woe to any defender of President Andrew Jackson for abolishing the Second Bank of the United States and rendering the Bankster Nicholas Biddle to his ignominious place in hell. This victory for the common man was ultimately betrayed when the Federal Reserve Central Bank was instituted with all the ills of fractional reserve banking.

Since this treachery, the country was placed completely under the bondage yoke of debt created money. In the age of J.P. Morgan, the Jackals of Jekyll Island were able to implement the Rothschild scheme of the issuance of money by a private bank with the passage of the 1913 Federal Reserve Act. The inevitable reduction in purchasing value of Federal Reserve Notes and increase in the national debt provided the backdrop to the conditions that resulted in Black Tuesday October 29, 1929. Continue reading

Round and Round She Goes

The Fed’s minutes came out today, and they were yet mildly hawkish in that vague sort of way that has preceded twenty-nine of the last two actual rate increases.

There is a theory about that because of the failure of the EU and alternatively China, the inflows of monies into dollar assets are bound to continue to drive the major stock indices higher, and will prompt the Fed to raise rates higher than many think.

This is a variant of the ‘money on the sidelines’ theory that, for whatever reasons, will be compelled to toss their wealth into overpriced assets because they have ‘no other choice.’

Now of course this is possible. The real question is, ‘how probable.’ And what sorts of things might we watch to determine if this particular scenario is genuinely falling into place. Continue reading

The IRS Has Just Made Obamacare’s Individual Mandate Optional

When President Trump signed an executive order shortly after taking office designed to weaken the Affordable Care Act, some questioned whether the instructions to federal agencies to look for ways to ease the law’s burden on businesses and individuals would have any real bite.

But on Tuesday, there can be little doubt Trump is succeeding in hastening the demise of a program that currently insures more than 9 million Americans. That’s because the Internal Revenue Service responded by weakening the health care law’s requirement that individuals either acquire health insurance or pay the penalty. Continue reading

While Elites Played Empire… AMERICA FELL APART

Dear Imperial America: the lifestyle you ordered is permanently out of stock.

Our extraordinary misallocation of national treasure and political power has set a banquet of consequences that few are willing to face, much less address head-on. If we had to sum up this vast misallocation, we might start by characterizing it as the result of a multitude of elites playing Empire with money borrowed from future generations.

We can start the list of extraordinary misallocations of national treasure with the Neocon’s endless wars of choice. Ten years ago, estimates of the total cost of the Iraq misadventure were $3 trillion: Cost of Iraq War: $3 Trillion; Cost of Solar Plants to Power all 105 million U.S Households: $500 Billion (April 10, 2008) Continue reading