The Ultimate Monopolist, The Federal Reserve, Dictates Economic Policy; The Surviving Monopolists Dictate Price And Quality (February 6, 2023)

Posted in Economy, Federal Reserve on February 6, 2023 by e-commentary.org

. . .

J          “The Federal Reserve has an almost absolute and certainly unconstitutional monopoly on economic policy in America.  Congress has abandoned its policy and oversight duties and only spends money that does not exist.  America is a command economy with an unelected cabal of buffoons many with a high school mentality sporting ‘piled higher and deeper degrees’ making fundamental decisions about investment, production, distribution and income determination in secret by decree.  The scheme and the scam have not served the public well.  So there you have it.”

. . .

K          “Eighty-nine percent of Americans think we live in a free market economy.  Over the last two decades, I have watched industry after industry after industry after industry after industry after industry taken over by one major player.  Never have as many industries been as monopolized by one major player as they are today.  That results in higher prices, lower quality and fewer innovations.  So there you have it.”

. . .

[See the book “Goliath: The 100-Year War Between Monopoly Power and Democracy” by Matt Stoller and “A tale of two worlds” by Alasdair Macleod in “Goldmoney.com” dated February 1, 2023.]

[See the e-commentary on monopoly almost a dozen years ago at On Freedom and Liberty (May 24, 2010) and the e-ssay even more years ago reflecting on the greatest institutional threat at Who Is Your Big Bad Bogeyman? (March 26, 2007).]

Bumper stickers of the week:

The bigger the top, the bigger the pop

So there you have it

The Envelope, Please:  Dramedy Of The Year For 2022:  The Federal Funds Fiasco (January 30, 2023)

Posted in Federal Reserve, Interest Rates on January 30, 2023 by e-commentary.org

. . .

K          “In a runaway vote, the ‘Federal Funds Fiasco’ show was voted the best new dramedy of the year for 2022.”

J          “The Katzenjammer Kids merge with the Keystone Cops.  And the nightmare was renewed for another season this year.”

. . .

J          “When Powell was up for reappointment, the public saw some visible signs of infighting spill and spew out.  What is clear is that the members of the Federal Reserve itself are using the positions to further enrich themselves to the detriment of the public.  The corruption is cancerous.” 

. . .

K          “Spoiler alert.  Some plot twists are in the works.  The current rate hikes have produced negative effects, yet the real effects – negative and possibly positive – lag by six to nine to twelve months and have yet to manifest.  The calm before the storm.  And because the current price rises are a supply side problem not a monetary phenomenon, the rate increases will do little to slay or even stay inflation.  Real inflation for real folks is and will really remain over at least eight percent throughout this year.  And no one believes that the Fed can raise the rates higher than six percent without breaking the entire economy into shreds and shards.”

J          “Some reality twists are in the works.  The coming recession may slow inflation, yet folks must drive and eat and shelter and live.  They may drive less, but they will continue to eat and shelter and live.”

. . .

J          “Wall Street subsists on and then front runs inside information.  For decades, the conventional wisdom was ‘Don’t fight the Fed’ and roll with the largesse.  The strategy worked even for little folks.  Today, Wall Street is actively running from and resisting what appears to be the settled policy of the Fed.  Two powerful entities running in opposite directions are primed to collide.”    

. . .

J          “Stay tuned.”

K          “The popcorn, por favor.”

. . .

[See “Rural Americans aren’t included in inflation figures – and for them, the cost of living may be rising faster” by Stephan Weiler and Tessa Conroy in “The Conversation” dated January 27, 2023.]

[See the e-commentary discussing inflation in detail and noting almost two years ago that the inflation was and is not “transitory” at Is Inflation Inflating!?!? (April 26, 2021) and assessing the current economic dilemma at The Great Checkmate And The Great Seesaw: Interesting Rates (April 11, 2022).  See also Interning For Clio:  Collecting, Protecting And Preserving The Record (April 4, 2022) and Covid-19 PanICdemic/Plague:  Basically, Back To Basics:  Finding Food; Printing Rutabagas.  Happy Earth Day! (April 20, 2020).] 

Bumper stickers of the week:

WIN  [Wipe Inflation Not So Soon]

Flight the Fed?

Portentous Developments In 2022? (January 23, 2023)

Posted in Gold, Gold Standard, Petrodollar, Russia, SWIFT on January 23, 2023 by e-commentary.org

. . .

J          “The Russian invasion of Ukraine in February. Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations does not suffice for me.”

K          “The United States weaponization of the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) system followed by the U.S. confiscation of Russian reserves in March.  The world knows beyond a reasonable doubt that the U.S. cannot be trusted.  Without elemental trust, there is nothing.  The overriding strategic concern of every nation on Earth at this time is to firewall itself from the U.S. without the U.S. perceiving the action.”

. . .

[Scrutinize, analyze and synthesize “Contrarian Thoughts on the Petro-Yuan and Gold-Backed Currencies” by Charles Hugh Smith in “Of Two Minds” dated January 19, 2023 and “Global South: Gold-backed currencies to replace the US dollar” by Pepe Escobar, the recipient of the Sixth Annual Pushitzer Prize In Commentary For 2021 (June 7, 2021), in “The Cradle” dated January 19, 2023.]

[See the e-commentary at The Cuban Missile Crisis And The Monroe Doctrine Today (February 28, 2022), Sanctions, Supply Chains And World War E (March 7, 2022) and World War E Breeds Bretton Woods III;  BW II And The PetroDollar Will RIP? (March 14, 2022).]

Bumper stickers of the week:

“To be an enemy of America can be dangerous, but to be a friend is fatal.”  Henry Kissinger

When all this social distance stuff is over, I still want people to stay away from me.

MLK Day (January 16, 2023)

Posted in Civil Rights/Civil Liberties, Society on January 16, 2023 by e-commentary.org

Probing Pithy Pronouncements (January 9, 2023)

Posted in Writing on January 9, 2023 by e-commentary.org

. . .

K          “On a lark, I jotted down the name of every writer I could recollect and then surfed the Interwaves looking up and writing down the most celebrated quotations for each individual and then reflected deeply on each quotation.  What a ride.”

J          “Then shuffle over to search for scientists, inventors, astronauts, diplomats, statespersons, entertainers, sports personalities, artists, nurses, butchers, bakers, candle sticker makers and others and then reflect deeply on each quotation.  What a roller-coaster ride.”

. . .    

[Search the e-commentary site for a quotation from your favorite human being.  If someone should be quoted here, send a suggestion.]

Bumper sticker of the week:

It is too cold outside to change this bumper sticker

2023:  Inexorable and Immanent? (January 2, 2023)

Posted in Economics, Economy, Federal Reserve on January 2, 2023 by e-commentary.org

. . .

K          “The Fed is caught between a rock and a hard place.”

J          “The Fed is caught between a hard place and a rock.”

. . .

K          “Uneasy.  Very uneasy.”

J          “Not easy.  Very not easy.”

. . .

K          “The excitement I expected in 2022 looks like it festered and percolated last year.  This year the festering and percolating brew may explode with consequence.”

J          “It could be consequential.”

. . .    

K          “Is this the year?”

J          “They will manage to punt making any big decisions and kick the can down the road and limp the economy along.  They always do.  At least so far.  To date.”

. . .

[See the e-commentary at Twenty Sixteen (January 4, 2016) and The Great Checkmate And The Great Seesaw: Interesting Rates (April 11, 2022).]

Bumper stickers of the week:

Lord, give me coffee to change the things I can change and wine to accept the things I can’t.

Coffee and friends:  A perfect blend.

Wine improves with age.  I improve with wine.

e-commentary:  19 Years Of Fun And Counting.  This, The 900th Post! Oh, And Happy Boxing Day! (December 26, 2022)

Posted in Year In Review on December 26, 2022 by e-commentary.org

. . .

          Peaking behind the curtain, lifting up the carpet, looking under the table.  Honing skills, helping folks, having fun.  Venturing answers to questions that have not yet been asked, seeking to elucidate as much Truth on as many issues in as few words as possible, striving to leave a “commentary of record” for Clio’s consideration.  Chronicling the American experiment and the American experience, the theory and the practice, the promise and the performance, and the aspirations and the aftermath.  Doing something was paramount.  

           “Polymath” was a provocative but too nerdy title; many folks are turned off by a lot of math.  “essay.org” and “e-essay.org” were taken.  “e-ssay.org” turned out to be the perfect abbreviation of “electronic essay” and the original title for this undertaking.  In the first few years, taut, short, cogent, succinct and focused “e-ssays” told people what to think rather than suggesting ideas to think about during the following week.  Reveal, don’t tell, they wisely decree.  Conversation provides a rapid ping-ponging of ideas.  After a few years, “e-commentary.org” emerged and provided “electronic commentary” using dialogue to allow the reader to listen in on the discussion rather than being told what to think.  The pieces are laced with many little lagniappes for the diligent reader to discover and deduce. 

          Over the past year, the pieces focused on the wrenching, painful and uncertain transition from a uni-polar world to a multi-polar world on an overpopulated planet burdened with debilitating debt.  Few understand what is happening; fewer are prepared for what is happening.  Interesting times. 

          The “On [Traits / Characteristics]” Series acknowledges the father of the essay, Michel de Montaigne, who explored individual traits and personal characteristics and shared personal ruminations and anecdotes about society in his celebrated collection Essais (e-ssais?).  Earlier e-ssays ruminate on respect, fear, admiration, irreverence, success, self-esteem, regret, standards/quality, loyalty, hypocrisy, honesty, empathy, joy, mudita, etc.

          The “Less Government Regulation” Series posits examples where government regulation may suffocate and free markets may suffice.  An e-commentary in the series in 2009 advocates for regulation of Google/Alphabet in an economy that is now pockmarked by monopolization of every industry in America.  Subsequent e-commentary challenges the overweening role of the Frightful FiveFacebook, Amazon, Apple, Google/Alphabet and Microsoft.  A half dozen megabanks and six media conglomerates control and manage our money and our minds.  In an economy without any price discovery, the completion of the “General Theory of Economics” is forced into remission.

          The “Boycott” Series suggests that readers treat dollars like votes in the marketplace and use them to support and reject policies and activities.  An e-commentary in the series in 2008 proposed a boycott of Facebook because it and the other tech beasts and behemoths are not friendly.  Boycotting the only supplier of an essential good or service is problematic and is addressed.  An e-commentary in 2011 proposed boycotting big banks and depositing funds in and supporting local credit unions.  An early e-commentary in 2006 implores the reader never to boycott and always to buy into the franchise, even if voting appears to and may be futile in a country with only one political party, the War and Wall Street Party.

          The “First Monday In October” Series debuted in 2010 with a discussion of “strict constructionism/originalism” in the context of gun control that should resolve the debate over the proper paradigm for all and once.  Subsequent e-commentary in the Fall series provide insight into the Supreme Court, courts and the state of the law, justice, crime and punishment in America.  The emerging irrelevance and illegitimacy of the current Supreme Court is discussed for the first times in 2011 and then in 2012 and developed in subsequent e-commentary.  Regular visits to the Court to observe the hired help further inform the analysis in the draft “Treatise on Law” now in nearly final form.

          The “Graduation Advice” Series is inspired by the national treasure “Wear Sunscreen” crafted by Mary Schmich and proposes a pithy suggestion for graduates of school and participants in life.  Advice was dispensed in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and Graduation Advice:  Transcend:  Maintain FL 44; Make A Few Discrete Dives And Diversions To TPA (Traffic Pattern Altitude) (May 16, 2022)

        The greatest threat to the Planet is the threat to the Planet.  Posed and poised and poisoned by Man.  [Wo]Man versus [Mother] Nature?  Plastics and plutonium versus People?  Is Man the mortal enemy who must be contained by whatever means?  Is a carbon fee and dividend program the long-shot market-based solution capable of salvaging the vulnerable blue marble

          Over the years other e-commentary reviews everything from the human causes to the economic consequences of actions and inaction.  e-commentary addresses everything from philosophy to foreign policy to domestic polity; from the intertwined 3Es (from energy to environment to economics); from war to war to war; from sports to technology to society; from race to class to gender; from guns to gold to the Great Wall of Canada; from war to war to a possible antidote to war; from newspapers to the press/media to journalism; from the First Amendment, to the Second Amendment, to the Third Amendment, to the Fourth Amendment, to the Eighth Amendment, to the Balanced Budget Amendment and to the Term Limits Amendment; and from A – (AIIB, CFETS, CIA, CIPS, FBI, FDIC, IMF, INE, LIBOR, MICAC, NATO, NPR, NSA, SDR, SWIFT, TARP, USA PATRIOT ACT, ZIRP) Z. 

          After considerable thought and development, the “Awards and Incentives Project” rolled out and now includes four annual awards with others under construction.

          The “Cameo In Courage Award” challenges the award given by the establishment to other members of the establishment.  Society needs an award that rewards those who are truly courageous.  Awards were made in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and Cameo In Courage Award Nominee: Julian Assange (January 31, 2022).  

          The “Noble Prize In Eco-nomics” identifies those who develop and advance eco-nomic ideas to promote the public weal and the common good.  The award serves as a challenge and counterpoise to the “Nobel Prize In E-con-omics” awarded by the Swedish Central Bank to those who advance ideas that promote the interests of the wealthy and well-connected.  Awards were made in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and Seventh Annual Noble Prize In Eco-nomics (October 10, 2022).  

          The “Noble Prize In Jurisprudence” celebrates the work of someone who really knows something about jurisprudence and the impact of courts, judges, lawyers and police on the lives and livelihoods of ordinary citizens.  The award recognizes a person who or institution that lives the conviction that men and women should establish and respect some norms and standards that are promulgated clearly to all and enforced equally in favor of and against all.  Awards were made in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and Seventh Annual Noble Prize In Jurisprudence (October 17, 2022).  

          The “Pushitzer Prize In Commentary” honors inspiring and inspirational writing that does not necessarily reflect the dominant viewpoints and worldviews.  Awards were made in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and Seventh Annual Pushitzer Prize In Commentary For 2022 (May 9, 2022)

First–hand on–the–ground dispatches from the March for Women, the March for Science, the March For Our Lives and the April 19 March are available including lists of the clever and inspiring signs sported by participants.  We march on.

          The requisite moving memoir is now available.  The book tour is still not yet booked.  However, although “Analog Knowledge Devices (“AKD”)” will soon be worth their weight in gold, this production saves paper and is only available e-lectronically.     

          WordPress was and in many ways still is a primitive and disappointing platform, but it was not Blogger.  Time to develop a better platform first.  WP did not allow one to change the font or even to tab over to create a simple paragraph.  At some time during this journey, WP did provide for “Categories” and then allowed for hyperlinks; hyperlinks are righteous.

          Over the years, a menagerie of speakers and characters such as “A” / “B” and “GO1 [Gun Owner1]” / “GO2 [Gun Owner2]” and “3” / “6” / “9” among others debuted and debated issues.  In recent years, “J” and “K” emerged as the primary characters in the ongoing dialogue and debate. The events of the last three years have divided the two of them, however the recent antics of the Supreme Court have “J” and “K” back on the same page.

      The “Bumper sticker of the week” started out as a spoof on the shallow and callow “bumper sticker” nature of our public discourse and became the playful signature sign off concluding each piece every week.

          Looking back, the undertaking is an extended serialized novel about the American experience presented in a series of weekly poems developed through dialogue that allows all of us in some small way possibly to . . . immanentize the eschaton

. . .

Bumper stickers of the week:

What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not possibly succeed under any circumstances?

“Do.  Or do not do.  There is no try.”  Yoda

“Not being heard is no reason for silence.”  Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

“It doesn’t require many words to speak the truth.”  Chief Joseph

Otter:  “I think this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody’s part.”     Bluto:  “We’re just the guys to do it.”  “Animal House” (1978)

“Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it.”  Thomas Paine

“The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.”  Marcus Aurelius

“You do not merely want to be considered just the best of the best.  You want to be considered the only one who does what you do.”  Jerry Garcia

Think big, think long.

Lawyers And E-con-omists v. Physicists And . . . Physicists (December 19, 2022)

Posted in E-con-omists, Economics, Energy, Law, Lawyers on December 19, 2022 by e-commentary.org

. . .

K          “de Tocqueville noted the outsized influence of lawyers in the young country.  At the time, e-con-omists were just transmogrifying on the world stage.” 

J          “Today, lawyers and e-con-omists are the high priests ranging the American political and economic landscape . . . and wrecking our land and lives.  We as a society need to disregard the lawyers and the e-con-omists and regard the physicists and the physicists.”

K          “How do we do it today?  I ‘upvote’ you.”

J          “You are agreeing with me again.  That is positive.”

. . .

K         “I shared a story that I reflect on frequently.  An old experienced law professor who taught comparative law in American and European law schools for over two score years shared his settled observations about the fundamental difference in training and perspective between American-trained lawyers and European-trained lawyers.  With some exceptions, an American-trained lawyer first asks:  ‘Can we get away with it?’  With some exceptions, an European-trained lawyer first asks:  ‘Is it lawful?’.”

J          “Lawyers never fail to please.  I read that about $1,400,000,000.00 in now forgiven Paycheck Protection Program loans were distributed to some of the largest law and accounting firms in the country.  About 126 law firms in the Top 300 took $809,000,000.00 in forgiven PPP loans.  About 236 accounting firms in the Top 300 took $635,000,000.00 in forgiven PPP loans.  Greed never rests; greed never sleeps.”

. . .

K          “Me neither.”

. . .

J          “Most successful e-con-omists are celebrity con artists assisting those in power to get away with unlawful activities.  By contrast, physics is reality.  Physics is truth. However, even the most recent announcements about fusion fail to reveal the true Energy Returned On Energy Invested (EROEI) and the limits of current technology. The physical world is stern and unbending and does not yield to our hopes and dreams.

K          Physics may be the true dismal science.”

J          “True enough. I refer to ‘physicists and physicists’ to get one thinking.  Maybe.  Is anyone thinking?  How about the biologists?  Physicists . . . and biologists . . . need to be the new high priests.”

. . .  

[See “The economy is moving from a tailwind pushing it along to a headwind holding it back” by Gail Tverberg at Our Finite World dated December 16, 2022; a discussion of the limits of renewable energy at “‘The New Energy Economy’: An Exercise In Magical Thinking” by Mark P. Mills at the Manhattan Institute dated March 26, 2019 and some perspective on the recent fusion breakthrough at “Scientists Have Made a Breakthrough in Fusion — but Don’t Get Carried Awayby Mark P. Mills at the Manhattan Institute dated dated December 13, 2022.] 

Bumper stickers of the week:

Many live humans; Few dead dinosaurs.

Disregard the e-con-omists; Regard the physicists.

Change your attitude; Change your latitude.

Pay your bills; Develop your skills.

So many challenges; So little time.

Disregard the lawyers and the e-con-omists; regard the physicists and the biologists. 

The Elections Clause And The Independent State Legislature Theory Confront Sound Logic And Settled Practice (December 12, 2022)

Posted in Constitution, Elections, First Amendment, Sports, Supreme Court on December 12, 2022 by e-commentary.org

. . .

J          “I had the good fortune to listen to the debate from the perspective of someone who has not been inside an American law school.  As I recall from inside an American high school, Federalist Paper Number 78 courtesy of Alexander Hamilton discusses the role, albeit limited, of the judiciary.   Fourteen years after the drafting of the Constitution in 1789, the Supreme Court in 1803 in Marbury v. Madison advanced a doctrine of robust judicial review.  The federal courts have the solemn task of determining whether acts are constitutional and what must be done if acts are contrary to the Constitution.  Even a hard-core Originalist who looks only at the text of the Constitution, the Federalist Papers and possibly other then contemporary publications does not dispute that robust judicial review is part of the settled analytical framework of the Constitution.  The Elections Clause language vests the decision in the state legislatures.  The Petitioners argue that the analysis stops there.  However, the Elections Clause language does not preclude judicial review by any court.  In addition, the analytical framework of the United States Constitution includes robust judicial review as a matter of settled practice in the Republic.  Nothing in the Elections Clause precludes a state supreme court from following the same analytical framework allowing for robust judicial review of the state’s legislative action.  The Petitioners sought . . . judicial review by the United States Supreme Court of the North Carolina Supreme Court’s . . . judicial review of actions taken by the North Carolina legislature.  Petitioners did not challenge the actual decision of the North Carolina Supreme Court, only the decision to decide.  Dismiss the petition as contrary to the text, logic, structure and history of the Clause and the Constitution, I say.”

K          “I had the good fortune to attend the show in person and from the perspective of someone who kept everything in perspective while in an American law school.  That is also my take.  The specific provision is neither incomplete nor unartfully drafted.  It says what it says on the topic but need not and does not need to say anything more.  John Marshall’s statue dominates the inside of the Court.  Any true conservative would affirm his great contribution to the development of the American court system.  The acts by state legislatures pursuant to the Clause are subject to state judicial review.”      

. . .

K          “Nice to be agreeing on something again.”

J          “I am pleased you see it my way.”

. . .

[See the e-commentary involving the goal of the Beautiful Game discussed at Expanding The Goal In Soccer (July 18, 2022).]

Bumper stickers of the week:

Beau jeu

The Twitter Files Are The Pentagon Papers Of Today

Moore v. Harper:  Say what?

Free Assange

Russia:  Advancing To Paris; Retreating To Moscow (December 5, 2022)

Posted in NATO, Propoganda, Russia, World War E, World War III on December 5, 2022 by e-commentary.org

. . .

K          “The propaganda machine occasionally spews what appears to be inconsistent messages.  According to one propagandist, the Russians are advancing to Paris.  According to another propagandist, the Russians are retreating to Moscow.  Perhaps a little inconsistent, someone might observe.”

J          “They are consistent.  The first message is designed to inculcate fear.  The second message is designed to instill hope.  They are all plays on emotion.  They are all part of the plan.”

K          “And nothing is designed to inspire thought and reflection.”

J          “By design, that is not the way it works.”

. . .

[See the e-commentary at NATO: Nations Aggressively Taking Over (March 31, 2014) (“If Bush can invade Iraq without any good reason, can Putin invade Ukraine without any good reason?”) and NATOExit? NATOExeunt? (July 4, 2016).]

Bumper sticker of the week:

Slava __________