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September 30 , 2016

DON'T VOTE. 
Shocking as it is, a considerable number of voters are tempted to sit this one out. 

   USA Today editorializes against Donald Trump, breaking its tradition of not overtly supporting either major presidential candidate.  The Detroit News breaks its tradition of supporting Republican presidential candidates by endorsing Gary Johnson, the Libertarian.  The Wall Street Journal's Dorothy Rabinowitz endorses Hillary Clinton, complaining that Trump would be "the most unstable, unfit president in history."

     Rabinowitz adds, "Some, among the anti-Hillary brigades, have decided - in deference to their exquisite sensibilities -  to stay at home on Election Day rather than vote for Mrs. Clinton."

      Who can blame the hapless voter for being bewildered?  The tone of the campaign suggests the principal choices are a crook and a twerp.  The media bias strongly proposes an experienced politician should be elected to continue the leftist trends in governance.  After all, Americans have learned to live with it   To chose an ad-libbing showman with no political experience is said to be insane.

       We still have a bit more than five weeks of robo calls, junk email, political ads, "debates",  frantic commentaries, dire warnings, and other distractions.  Many worn-out voters will wait until the 11th hour before deciding  which candidate is the "lesser of evils."  Some will say, "Count me out.  I choose not to vote for evil. Period."  This will be followed by renewed calls for mandatory voting on the theory that they more people who vote the better will be the outcome.  What they really mean is "If more people who think like I do voted, the better this nation would be."


The Reparations-For-Slavery Question is Back.

   ITEM: The history of slavery in the United States justifies reparations for African Americans, argues a recent report by a U.N.-affiliated group based in Geneva. This conclusion was part of a study by the United Nations´ Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent, a body that reports to the international organization´s High Commissioner on Human Rights. The group of experts, which includes leading human rights lawyers from around the world, presented its findings to the United Nations Human Rights Council on Monday, pointing to the continuing link between present injustices and the dark chapters of American history. It's heresy at the moment to mention anything but the U.S. presidential election, but the subject of reparations for the descendants of American slaves shows promise of edging its way into the national conversation before the end of this decade. It has the potential of making racial divisiveness even worse. 

        By accident of birth we happen to have been born to Caucasian parents.  We have friends and acquaintances whose parents were black.  According  the United Nations Human Rights Council it is likely some of their ancestors were American slaves and they may be "subject to injustices because of it."  Therefore, we should be required to compensate them whether our ancestors were slaveholders or not.  (They weren't.)  

        The basic question is - Where is the moral logic of penalizing one segment of society, that may even abhor the idea of slavery, to compensate another segment of society whose ancestors may or may not have been slaves?  If we can prove our Yankee ancestors owned no slaves, or even indentured servants, can we be exempted from the proposed penalty?   We doubt it.     


   Does ZIRP have any effect on struggling middle-class families?

   "Thanks to ZIRP (zero-interest-rate policy) and QE (quantitative easing), every year, about $300 billion is transferred from largely middle-class savers to largely better-off speculators, financial asset owners, and the biggest borrowers during that period – corporations and the government." ~Bill  Bonner 

   How can low interest rates hurt the middle class.  Consider:  Joe and Mary Blow try to keep a couple of thousand dollars in a bank savings account but it pays less than 1 percent interest.  Some so-called interest-bearing checking accounts pay as little as 1/10th of 1 percent! Hardly a practical way to "make your money work for you."

   Meanwhile, thanks to low interest rates, the very rich can borrow gobs of money at extremely low rates....rates that are lower than they would be if the marketplace were allowed to function without government agencies tinkering with it.  Paying middle class savers nearly nothing and charging the rich below market rates when they borrow results in a de factor shift of money from the middle class to the wealthy.

    Mr. Bonner is one of the rich ones, but he sympathizes with the middle-class.  WHY THE MIDDLE CLASS IS DYING.



"We Ain't Seen Nuthin' Yet."
Mainstream news media are nearly frantic in their efforts to control the election outcome.  

   Professor Alexander Tytler published a book two-hundred and forty six years ago describing the demise of the Athenian republic.  His conclusion about the stability of democracies was that they can  run for a couple of centuries but eventually collapse when the voting majority will choose the road to ruin  voting themselves financial aid from the public treasury.                                 Cycle of Democcracy

   The writers of the U.S. Constitution knew that  and framed a republic.  ( "...if you can keep it," remarked Ben Franklin.)

    Even the flag pledge mentioned "..the republic for which it stands."  Unfortunately, through the amendment process the Constitution was watered down into a democracy and becomes more so with every election.  With the nominations of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton by the two major political parties one might suspect even the U.S. experiment with democracy shows signs of going seriously awry.  

     Clinton supporters want more government regulation of the affairs of we-the-people while Trump voters are something of a wild card.  They want to take a different path, although they aren't certain where it will lead.  The fact that the race is so close indicates a confused electorate.  

      In their "superior wisdom" mainstream news media generally feel obligated to lead the voting public to choose the  socialist candidates who will spend whatever it takes to enlarge the Nanny state to pay the bills for citizens who lag behind.  It used to be called "the welfare state" but that's politically incorrect in the 21st century.  Euphemisms rule. 

       Liberal media are naturally attracted to the idea that government must referee society, uplifting the poor and penalizing the wealthy for their "ill gotten gains".  Unfortunately, liberal reporters and commentators are usually not very well grounded on fundamental economics and conclude that it's just not fair that some people accumulate financial assets while a substantial number do not.  (Unless, of course, the rich are sports and other entertainment figures.  Media tend to forgive them their wealth.)

        The barrage of opinion masked as "news" will surely shift into high gear next week.  The Clinton-Trump TV debate Monday will probably attract a record audience.  9 - 10:30P.M.Monday  on the TV set nearest you.   


Cashlessness is not a good thing. 
Unless you want every purchase you make recorded in the bowels of comnputers.

     Harvard economists Kenneth Rogoff's new book, "The Curse of Cash," was published only two weeks ago but has drawn a barrage of criticiism - - the latest from Robert Wenzel who writes, "But there is more. His hate of cash seems to go beyond that of just a technocrat, he is almost obsessive."

     What is it that worries Wenzel so about Rogoff's scheme to take the nation cashless....or NEAR cashlessness? The Economist Who Would Ban Cash

     In criticizing cash, Professor Rogoff once said "It delivers absolute anonymity, portability, liquidity and near-universal acceptance." He concluded these qualities would lead to criminal activity. He would prefer the lion's share of financial activity be conducted electronically so Big Brother can keep better track of things.  For instance, you may be in the habit of picking up a bottle of booze each Friday afternoon on the way home for work. If you make your purchase with cash Big Brother's computers can't detect the regularity of your libation purchases.  As Rogoff himself once pointed out, Cash "delivers absolute anonymity." 


An Orlando physician thinks Hillary Clinton has Parkinson's Disease.
A fact-checking web site examines the allegation and draws a blank.

     "One of the main problems about [Dr. Ted] Noel’s diagnosis is that he doesn’t appear to have any medical training in degenerative neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease at all. Online medical records state that he’s worked as an anesthesiologist in Orlando for 36 years — which doesn’t appear to give him any kind of expertise in diagnosing neurological conditions.

     "And a quick glance at the progression of Parkinson’s disease seems to conflict with Noel’s diagnosis that Clinton has “advanced” PD. The fourth and fifth stages of PD, which are considered advanced, bring about limited movements that require a walker or wheelchair, advanced stiffness in the legs that makes it impossible to stand or walk, and hallucinations and delusions, Health Line reports.

      "Clinton’s actions on the campaign trail don’t support that idea that she has advanced PD. Her movements would be far more limited, and there’s a good chance she would be unable to walk or stand on her own.

       "In conclusion, there’s no evidence to support claims that Clinton has Parkinson’s disease — but it’s impossible to definitively prove she doesn’t have it from afar. That’s why we’re calling this one unproven.FACT OR FICTION 

   By now you've probably already seen the YouTube interview with Dr. Ted Noel of Orlando.    The retired doctor believes Mrs. Clinton is exhibiting several classic signs of suffering from Parkinson's Disease.  If you haven't seen it find the video here.  (Note.  It runs about a quarter of an hour.)

   Critics point out Dr. Noel is a retired anesthesiologist and not a neurologist.  Be that as may it is quite possible he knows more about medical practice than merely making patients unconscious prior to surgery.  

    Whatever the true nature of Mrs. Clinton's health difficulties may be we note that she will turn 69 next month and appears to be worn out from the vigors of campaigning.


                                                  Copernicus the economist

   German born (Royal Prussia) Nicolaus Copernicus died at the age of seventy shortly after the publication of his book about the revolutions of "The Celestial Spheres." He declared the sun was the center of our little corner of the vast universe and the earth and other planets revolved around it, not the popular misconception the sun revolved around the earth. 

   So the world rightly thinks of Copernicus as a pioneering astronomer who made a major contribution to science. 

   He also held a doctorate in canon law, practiced as a physician, classics scholar, translator, diplomat and in other fields. Almost always overlooked, Copernicus was also a first rate economist. In 1517 he introduced the quantity theory of money. Two years later he formulated a version of what later became Gresham's Law. (Bad money chases out good money.) 


   Is it possible economic theories of nearly 500 years ago are still valid? After all, we still subscribe to his notion that the earth revolves around the sun and not the other way around. Natural law rarely changes and the performance of the planets and sun is an example.  So is the relationship of money, the age old store of value and medium for economic exchange, in the affairs of humankind. 

   To be clear - we're separating the function of MONEY with that of PAPER CURRENCY. Paper notes have always been a promise of payment in money. Until late 1963 Federal Reserve Notes carried the explicit promise they could be redeemed in "lawful money" at any time. People once generally understood that that a written promise of redeemability in money could not simultaneously BE money. 

   The distinction has been lost through the passage of time. Today, even paper notes have lost popularity and the bulk of the so-called "money supply" exists only in the innards of computers. 

   Copernicus, the economist, believed that debasing the circulating currency would inevitably lead to price inflation. In his 1517 "Treatise on Debasement" he wrote:

 " Coinage is imprinted gold or silver, by which the prices of things bought and sold are reckoned. It is therefore a measure of values. A measure, however, must always preserve a fixed and constant standard. Otherwise, public order is necessarily disturbed with buyers and sellers being cheated in many ways - just as if the yard, bushel, or pound did not maintain an invariable magnitude." 

   This passage is a translation of something written nearly 500 years ago and his point may be obscure to the 21st century eye. 

    He speaks in terms of minted coins of gold or silver as money and points out the metallic content of money must be a "fixed and constant standard." It was for this reason the U.S. Congress declared the U.S. dollar would contain precisely 371.25 grains of silver when it set up the Coinage Act of 1792. The dollar was a strict measure of silver, not a paper promise.

    Copernicus thought the marketplace would be really screwed up if certain measures weren't strictly adhered to, such as the bushel, yard, or pound. Imagine the chaos that would ensue if the number of inches in a foot was changed from time to time, causing the measurement of heights and widths to be arbitrary. 

     Debasing the dollar is official policy, now. In fact, the Federal Reserve's goal is to remove at least 2 percent of purchasing power from the dollar each year! To illustrate how efficiently the Fed debases the U.S. dollar - - in only one century since the Fed was founded the  purchasing power of the dollar has dropped from $1.00 to less than a nickel. 

     Nicolaus Copernicus figured it out 500 years ago: Abandoning sound money inevitably leads to social turmoil. Even the most casual observer would agree that the world is not being well served by the present system of fiat currency. If he could be consulted today we feel sure he'd point to the U.S. Constitution and say "The solution is right here. Why not follow it?"  ~John Wrisley, Sept. 18, 2016


Retirement age?  Aim at 70.
    "Forget about 62, 63, or 65. More and more Americans are embracing the new reality that is retiring at 70 -- or later.

    "Many people look forward to retirement after spending years struggling through the daily grind. Unfortunately, a growing number of Americans may have to wait even longer to make their grand exit from the workforce. Although the average retirement age in the U.S. is just 63, according to a recent study by human resources consulting firm Willis Towers Watson, almost a quarter of Americans believe they won't be able to retire until age 70 or older. Worse yet, 5% are convinced they'll never be able to retire at all." 
RETIREMENT
< This item from USA Today caught our eye.  We and Missus have had some experience with the American idea of retiring in one's early 60s and enjoying a long life traveling, golfing, and all the other fine things the brochures promise.  

      We resisted it.  The Missus worked full time until she was within three months of her 85th birthday.  Relieved of early rising and having people rely upon her all day she slid quickly into a kind of despondency.  One might call it "loose ends."  Two years have passed and she's growing accustomed to retirement's "Golden Years."

       Our own retirement came at the end of the 20th century.  We had already turned 70 and made our living in a profession that catered chiefly to young people.  We've been retired for nearly 17 years and still don't think it is fun and games, rocking chairs and sunsets.    But that's just us. We advise working as long as you're able. 



John Whitehead and Lysander Spooner Tend To Distrust Big Government.

    "We get taxed on how much we earn, taxed on what we eat, taxed on what we buy, taxed on where we go, taxed on what we drive, and taxed on how much is left of our assets when we die." ~John W. Whitehead

    Any commentator who lifts a line or two from 19th century legal theorist Lysander Spooner will automatically prompt us to read all of what he has to say, and John Whitehead has a LOT.  He comments on the government's latest schemes to rob us blind and does not overlook the current push to strip us of paper currency denominated as 20, 50, and 100 dollars. He draws on some observations of the late Lysander Spooner, the irascible lawyer who understood the intended relationship between government and citizen.  

    It'll take some five or ten minutes to read, but we believe the time spent is worth it.  In fact, printing his short essay or downloading to a text file might be worthwhile if the "cashless" issue gets traction in the mainstream media after the election.  LATEST GOV'T SCAM



A millinillion dollars.
Don't worry. The fantasy of debt being wealth will end long before it spins into multiple trillions.

    "This month, thenational debt reached $19.5 trillion, up a half trillion in seven months. That’s deceptive. Add $12 trillion in America’s household debt, hundreds of trillions more in future, unfunded government promises, and what you’ve got is a very scary movie.

     "A trillion is written as a 1 with 12 zeroes. We looked for fanciful yet mathematically recognized numbers, and stopped at a millinillion, equal to 1,000 quingentillion. A millinillion is a 1 with 3,003 zeros."  GARY CHRISTOPHER,

       In 1965 we became fascinated with Congress's ploy to preserve the U.S. coinage system by switching to base metals, copper and nickel, instead of making dimes, quarter-dollars, and  half-dollars of 90 percent silver.  (Silver dollars did not circulate but were generally available for gift giving or collectors.)  

        President Johnson went on the air to tell us the new nickel clad coins would circulate at equal value alongside the silver coins.  But Gresham's Law (bad money drives out good money) came into play and the silver coins vanished from circulation very quickly.  

         President Nixon made the U.S. paper dollar a totally fiat currency in August, 1971, and the paper dollar of that year now has a purchasing power of 18¢.  How low will it go?  We haven't a clue, but irredeemable paper (or digital) currency has a sorry track record and it would be foolish for average folks to trust politicians and bankers to manage the rickety fiat currency system in the interest of Main street, America. 

         Among we worrywarts there are two schools of thought.  The dollar will be issued in greater abundance leading to a hyperinflationary explosion, or it will collapse in a harsh deflationary episode.   Either scenario will be dreadfully painful.  The one bright light at the end of the tunnel is the possibility that it will lead to the re-establishment of a sound money system of the sort that has worked very successfully in the past despite the frustration honest money causes politicians.  ~JW