Archive for January, 2010

Bill/Melinda and Warren, It Is Time To Get Into The Game (January 25, 2010)

Posted in Elections, Political Parties, Politics, Society, Supreme Court on January 25, 2010 by

Now is the time for all good men and women to come to the aid of their country.  Bill/Melinda and Warren are still playing at the margins.  Now is the time to get off the sidelines and get into the game.  Funding vaccines is commendable in particular because preventive medicine is the exception in our society.  However, the body politic is sick.

The Supreme Court recently decided that democracy is a commodity to be sold in the market place to the highest bidder.  The United States of Exxon (USE).  You need to join the bidding.  The next presidential election will cost over a billion dollars.  Now is the time to invest $50 – $100 million dollars into each of six senatorial campaigns this year and elect half a dozen senators who commit to occasional independent thinking.  Political activities are not as tidy or as pretty as traditional charitable giving.  However, at this time, your country needs aid.

Bumper sticker of the week:

The best democracy money can buy.

Is The Gold Standard Really The Gold Standard? (January 18, 2010)

Posted in "Fiat ______", Economics, Gold Standard on January 18, 2010 by

. . .

G          “We need to go back to the gold standard.”

M          “Why?”

G          “To stop the government from printing fiat money.”

M          “Why gold?  Why not some other metal or something else that also has some more practical use?”

G          “The government can’t print gold.”

M          “You can’t eat gold.  It does not keep you warm. Gold has been alluring through the ages and does have some practical uses, yet it is only as valuable as it is because we ascribe value to it.  Fiat gold is not much different than fiat money or fiat currency.”

G          “We can’t trust the government.  If the government cannot issue fiat money unless it has an equal amount of gold reserves, we would not have economic problems.”

M          “The gold supply is not connected in any way with or to the desirable money supply or level of economic activity.  What if the government tried to tie the amount of fiat money to the total quantity of goods produced and to be produced and services performed and to be performed?  The ‘goods and services standard.’”

G          “You can’t trust the government.  The government will simply print as much fiat paper as it wants.”

M          “There is not enough gold in existence today in the possession of the U.S. government to begin to back even a reasonable supply of money.  What is to stop the government you can’t trust from asserting that it has enough gold reserves to support whatever paper it puts into circulation?”

G          “That’s it.  You can’t trust the government, so you need the gold standard.”

M          “Advocating for a gold standard represents a yearning for governmental responsibility.  That is understandable.  I agree.  However, the gold standard is not the gold standard.  It is the fools gold standard.  We need a ‘goods and services standard.’  The fiat money supply must be tied to the goods and services in the economy with the goal of promoting price stability.”

. . .

Bumper stickers of the week:

The Gold Standard is not the Gold Standard.

The Au Standard is the FeS2 Standard.

Adopt the “Goods and Services Standard.”

On Merit and the Meritocracy (January 11, 2010)

Posted in Education, Perjury/Dishonesty, Schooling, Society on January 11, 2010 by

. . .

D          “She was the premier applicant.  Primus inter pares.  But she did not say what they wanted her to say.”

U          “She could tutor the teachers.”

D          “I know.  Her talent is a threat.  That is another challenge but not the biggest one.  She informed us what she intended to say in the interview.  She was forthright, honest and candid.  That was the problem.  She was probably too blunt.  The other kids were tutored and grilled by their parents to say precisely what they wanted the kids to say.”

U          “Life sometimes seems to be a script of lies.”

D          “I know she is beyond devastated.  And I feel worse.  We deliberated giving her a lecture on life and encouraging her to play along.  We could have told her that she is acting out a character in one of the plays she sits down and writes without any prompting.  Mouth the lines and the lies and act your role.  Say what needs to be said.  Do what needs to be done.  It is just a game.  Play the game.  There is no truth.  I will always feel that I failed her as a parent.”

. . .


. . .

A          “They rejected him.  Not even on the wait list.  He was precisely what they claimed they seek in the brochure, yet they took only kids who are well-connected and one underprivileged youngster.  He told them that the program was sound but could be improved and noted some virtues of other programs.  He told them that success and power are not the most important things in life even though he could accept wearing the blazer emblazoned with ”Success and Power” on the crest.  He was probably too blunt and honest about everything, but that is who he is.  That was his undoing.”

F          “He is a delight to talk to, sort of an adolescent Oxford don donning a tee shirt.  What struck me is his insouciant recognition and acceptance of his genius as something of a faithful friend.  Mathematics is effortless for him and its cousin, music, is effortless.”

A          “My concern is that he will quit practicing.  He intuits without effort what others have to be told three times.  He may not work at anything.”

F          “Words are musical notes for him; he can make the language sing.  He is left brained and right brained and front brained and back brained in one big brain.  He combines five rare traits I rarely find in pairs:  courage, intellect, integrity, humanity, and curiosity.  I know what they want.  My recommendation would not have meant squat.  I could have finessed a letter for him, but I don’t have any stroke.”

A          “He knows what he’s got and now he gets it.  Now he has rejected any involvement because he says that ‘participation is ratification’ of a corrupt system or something like that.  He’ll stencil it on a tee shirt.  He is threatening to get a tattoo.”

F          “The school seeks to maximize long-run profits.  Each admission decision is a business decision.  Character is set by this age.  He is likely to challenge the system not coddle it.  That is not good for business or for the business of a profit-maximizing school.”

A          “The grand irony is that the program needs someone, if only one person, who can think independently and challenge orthodoxy.  Everyone else is moving in lock step.”

F          “When do the experts suggest informing a kid that the rewards in America go to those who lie and deceive.”

. . .

[See the “e-ssay” dated Feb. 20, 2006 titled “Perjury, The American Way” and other “e-ssays.”]

Bumper stickers of the week:

“When the truth is found to be lies    And all the joy within you dies.”

“Don’t You Want Somebody To Love” Darby Slick/Jefferson Airplane (1966)

“I would vote for you, but you know sometime you are going to be in a situation where you will say something that you think you have to say that will set someone off and then you will lose your job or something.  Larry is going to be a doctor.  He will succeed.”

The Double Ought (00) “Decadent Decade” (January 4, 2010)

Posted in Afghanistan, Bailout/Bribe, Bernanke, Bush, China, Congress, Debt/Deficits, Economics, Federal Reserve, Foreign Policy, Greenspan, Health Care, Housing, Iraq, O'Bama, Presidency, Supreme Court on January 4, 2010 by

1999:  No major wars yet percolating problems in a dozen venues; budget deficit surplus of about 236 billion dollars, although Bush inherited about a 5.7 Trillion dollar National Debt; and a boiling but unstable and slowly cooling economy.

The decade that threatened to come in with a bang sauntered in with only the traditional fire works.  Y2K may have been such an epic universal non-event because everyone realized that it was a real deadline that could neither be disregarded nor overlooked.  It was not Y2.001K.  Problems were timely addressed in a timely manner in time.  That was not the attitude for the remainder of the decade.

An outwardly non-descript and largely unknown bumbling scion who had been shepherded by others for their own purposes through an uneventful life was appointed by the Supreme Court to run things.  The ship of state sailed uneventfully for a time.  A written invitation to impending disaster delivered to and disregarded by the White House in August, 2001 was honored in September, 2001 by a quartet of airships.  The course of action was simple.  Know who we are and remain faithful to who we are.  Stay our course.  Redouble our vigilance and redouble it again (and redouble it one more time).  Too many in power and influence in the country lost their heads.  Leadership was non-existent.

A perfect storm.  An obscenely incompetent President, a flagitious and arrogant vice-President, a smug, bungling and petulant Secretary of War/Defense (Rumsfeld), hamstrung Secretaries of State (Powell and Rice), a mendacious Secretary of the Treasury in the second term (Paulson), a marginal Attorney General (Gonzales) and their ilk were not the Dream Team.  The damage they inflicted in the decade will take decades to repair.

Bush proclaimed that WeMaD (Weapons of Mass Destruction) and almost everyone joined in the madness.  No one ever made a compelling case for the invasion of Iraq.  The national press (WP, NYT and so many others) yearned for war, any war, just give us a war with photo ops and film at eleven.  The major television networks (NBC, CBS, ABC, Faux) were thrilled and went wild with glee.  It was a time, the only time, to watch their coverage non-stop to bear witness in real time to the folly and the madness.  The few dissenting voices (Warren Strobel and Jonathan Landay with Knight Ridder’s Washington Bureau, Terry Gross and guests with NPR/Fresh Air, Walter Pincus with the WP and a few dozen other courageous individuals) did not reach a wide audience.  They were voices in the darkness.  The Iraq quagmire is the greatest foreign policy blunder in American history.

Deficit spending and economic looting became the national pastimes.  Almost everyone involved in directing and controlling the economy (Reagan, Gramm and Rubin in earlier decades with the assistance of Bush, Greenspan, Paulson, C. Cox, Geithner, Summers and others in this decade) almost without exception (Brooksley Born and a few others) were committed to undermining the American economy at every opportunity for the benefit of a few.  One must concede that they succeeded handsomely.  Although they are domestic economic terrorists, their activities never became the subject of the vaunted “war on terror.”  No one ever made a compelling case for the bribery and bailout of Wall Street.  Bernanke* remains the enigma, the outsider and the ultimate insider, who did not recognize what was obvious before and after he became Chairman in February, 2006 and disregarded the advice of his colleague Edward Gramlich.

The first African-Irish-American was elected President.  There were a few things they did not tell him before he got elected that he learned quickly after he got elected.  He re-nominated Bernanke* to run the Federal Reserve which may be the only option given the limited economic talent in America.  His appointments to date are adequate, yet the administration is still seeking traction and direction.  Health care is becoming his domestic economic quagmire.  Although it is not really the job of the government to provide jobs and/or homes, the populace wants a job to go to during the day and a house to come home to at night.

About the House.  And the Senate.  Congress could be declared a natural disaster area.  The Republicans are useless, the Democrats are not particularly useful.  Forty-five percent of Americans respond to and are motivated by fear and loathing; the Republicans know and stoke their base.  The Republicans may make great strides in the November elections.  The party committed to destroying government may again be given that opportunity.

The nine members of the Supreme Court are more myopic and narrow-minded than just about any other Court in the history of the Republic.  The Court sports two religions (with one exception), two schools (with one exception), and two (mas o menos) schools of thought (with a few exceptions), yet it has two women, too.  The war at the Court and for the Court continues.  O’Bama may have an impact, although the impact of the economy on O’Bama’s future will greatly impact his impact on the Supreme Court.

The profit-maximizing universities in America should be part of the solution, but they are part of the problem; they may be more accurately described as part of the process and the processing.  They recruit, train and drill the next McNamaras and Rumsfelds.  To their credit, they adhere to a thirty-year business plan rather than the three-month strategy pursued by other businesses.

The information made public in the National Intelligence Reports over the decade patiently and exhaustively chronicles the decline of America’s role in the world after six decades of preeminence.  America has done much wrong during that time, yet America has done far, far, far more good, often with resentment and usually without thanks.  On balance, everyone is better off with the United States as the dominant superpower.  This is China’s century.

Now:  Multiple wars, battles, skirmishes and police actions with two major foreign base camps (Iraq and Afghanistan); massive and growing deficits and about a 12.3 Trillion dollar National Debt; zero private-sector employment gain and zero economic gain for the average family over the decade; and no industry to inflate other than the federal government industrial complex.

[See the “e-ssays” dated Jan. 5, 2009 titled “The Millennium to Date”; dated October 6, 2008 titled “A Bleak Day:  The Trillion Dollar Tragedy”; dated September 29, 2008 titled “Futile Efforts”; dated May 4, 2009 titled “Picking the Supreme Beings”; dated May 14, 2007 titled “Term Limits”; and dated Jan. 30, 2006 titled “Greenspan’s Legacy:  Apres moi, Le Meltdown.”]

Bumper stickers of the week:

The Recession is Over.

The Recession is Over; Let the Depression Begin

Halcyon Ano Nuevo