Tuesday, 13 April 2010

A sad birthday for Jefferson

A birthday tribute by Gen LaGreca to the great Thomas Jefferson.
By Marsha Enright and Gen LaGreca

On a spring day in 1743, a towering figure in world history was born: Thomas Jefferson. His skillful hand carved much of the character of America.

Today, however, what Jefferson so painstakingly crafted lies pulverized almost to stone dust. Were he alive to celebrate his birthday this April 13, instead of sipping champagne, he might want to drown his sorrow in whiskey.

What has happened to the revolutionary ideas he penned on the parchment that is the soul of America, the Declaration of Independence? How many of today’s citizens—and elected officials—understand the stirring proclamation that every person possesses certain “unalienable rights,” among which are “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”?

Today, most Americans don’t understand their rights; the entire concept has been hopelessly muddied. Many now believe that if they want or need anything—from health care, to a “decent” salary, to help paying their mortgage—that they have a “right,” through government taxation and regulation, to compel others to provide it for them. As a result, our actual rights have been eroded at an ever-increasing pace.

So, in homage to Thomas Jefferson, and with his guidance, let’s examine some features of our real rights, to set the record straight.

More on "Eco-cide"

After talking the other day about the attempt by lawyer Polly Higgins--Hippy Higgins to her few friends--to equate "eco-cide" with genocide, reader Willy S. sent me this clarification of what she means.

First, the Hippy's definition of "eco-cide:
"Ecocide is the extensive destruction, damage to or loss of ecosystem(s) of a given territory, whether by human agency or by other causes, to such an extent that peaceful enjoyment by the inhabitants of that territory has been severely diminished."
You can see an example of such a thing after the jump . . . (which I've always wanted to say) . . .

Mr Key goes to Washington [updated]

3575232 Franklin Roosevelt’s Vice President John Nance Garner famously described the job of American Vice President as “not worth a pitcher of warm spit.”  Sadly, that pretty much describes the value of John Key’s meeting earlier this morning with the American Vice President, particularly when that Vice President is Boofhead Biden.

As a meeting it would be as much use, and with as much chance of success, as trying to persuade Sione Lauaki not to pinch your beer.

Key’s real whistle-stop is his lunch with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.  It would be nice to think that John Key explained David Ricardo’s Principle of Comparative Advantage to Mr Vilsack, demonstrating that both US and NZ consumers—and consumers all around the Pacific Rim—would be better off with freer trade through the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership. This presumes, of course, that Mr Key understands that principle himself. 

Whether or not that conversation happened, Mr Vilsack will undoubtedly be telling Mr Key that whatever the multiple benefits of free trade, inefficient American farmers can’t afford to allow our cheaper and better produce to appear in American shopping trolleys, and the frank truth is that American senators can’t afford not to have the donations of these inefficient farmers.  He’ll be told quite bluntly, I suspect, that Mr Vilsack and his colleagues would rather please one inefficient American producer (who, to a Senator, is known as a donor), than please several million hard-pressed American consumers (who, to a Senator, are known as prize saps).

So let’s not get too excited about today’s meetings.  These are politicians we’re talking about, not high achievers.

summit And speaking of high expectations, that pretty much explains Obama’s much-touted nuclear summit—not so much a “beer summit” as one that will have the all-encompassing reek of patchouli, a miasma strong enough to obscure (for a while at least) several hard truths about it that will probably not make the summit communiqués.

Such as the fact that the nuclear genie is long out of the bottle, and no amount of hand-wringing is going to put it back again. (You can wish upon a star all you like, but unless you confront that basic fact you have dreams that will never come true.)

Such as the deal OBambi just signed agreeing that Vladimir Putin and Dmitri Medvedev may essentially do whatever they like with 34 tons of surplus weapons-grade plutonium. (Burn it in a breeder reactor.  Bury it out back. Play pinochle with it. Whatever.)

Or the deal that India signed with the US to re-process spent US fuel into weapons-grade plutonium (encouraging erstwhile US ally Pakistan to seek some similar favour from China).

Or the fact that the two who at present loom largest in the world’s ‘most-likely-to-push-the-button’ contest (not to mention their high-ranking in the most-likely-to-give-fissile-material-to-terrorists stakes), North Korea and Iran will both be conspicuous by their absence—conspicuous, at least, to anyone who doesn’t take the communiqués of non-proliferation summits seriously.  And, if we might continue being blunt, even if they were there they would hardly be taking the proceedings any more seriously than France’s Nicholas Sarkozy, who was quoted after leaving the White House recently as calling OBambi “insane,” and “appalled” at Obama’s “vision” of what the World should be under his “guidance” and “amazed” at the American Presidents unwillingness to listen to either “reason” or “logic.”

So we might say in summary of the summit that rather than making the world a safer place, by encouraging those who do constitute genuine threats it’s likely to leave the world less safe. Suggesting the only communiqué that might make sense would be this:

"With all of the preparations and posturing, with all of the media coverage, citizens of the world live in quiet hope that the proliferation of non-proliferation summits has peaked and that time and money can be redirected to more obtainable goals such as a Mars landing."

Everything else is just smile-and-wave.

Architectural Mini-Tutorials: ‘Wrightscapes’

Frank Lloyd Wright maintained that the fundamental intention of good architecture, specifically of his “organic architecture,” was to make human life more natural and nature more humane. Clearly, if that’s your aim, then doing that must begin with how you relating your architecture to its surroundings, and vice versa.

To put it simply, the integration of site and architecture is paramount—and no-one has done that more successfully than Frank Lloyd Wright.

Charles & Berdeana Aguar’s exceptional book ‘Wrightscapes: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Landscape Designs’ looks at the spaces outside Wright’s magnificent houses, looking at the relationship between man-made and natural—between site and house. Because in every good design, neither can be understood without the other.

The Aguar’s offer this potent summary of the principles they identify as being identified with Wright’s landscapes—and I say “potent” because they identify principles worth applying to every house that attempts that goal, not just a Wright-designed one:

Monday, 12 April 2010

JAMES VALLIANT: An Open Letter to Glenn Beck

_Valliant Guest post by James S. Valliant

Dear Mr. Glenn Beck,

As a fierce defender of the American Founding Fathers and the free market, as well as an atheist, I listened intently to your discussion of "faith" and the founding of America, April 8, 2010, on the Fox News Channel. Despite my views on religion, I have become a regular viewer because, in my estimation, the history lessons you deliver every night are enormously valuable.

However, today's discussion not only left me unpersuaded of your case, but also profoundly disturbed for the future of American Ideals. If men like you, i.e., the defenders of America's Founding Fathers, have no better an appreciation of the Founders' achievement than you displayed today, then we have a far more troubling problem than a bunch of Leftists who simply ignore the Constitution to create their vision of a socialist America.

Let me take a minute to explain why.

Arresting the Pope

For many people, the Pope is an arresting figure.  Now, two prominent atheists hope to change that slightly.  They hope to make him an arrested figure, arguing that no-one deserves it more.

Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion, and Christopher Hitchens, author of God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, plan between them to have the Pope arrested during his state visit to Britain “for crimes against humanity.”

Says Dawkins: “This is a man whose first instinct when his priests are caught with their pants down is to cover up the scandal and damn the young victims to silence.”

Says Hitchens: “This man is not above or outside the law. The institutionalised concealment of child rape is a crime under any law and demands not private ceremonies of repentance or church-funded payoffs, but justice and punishment."

The priest & paedophile scandal should be the death knell for any notion that the Church is an organisation providing moral leadership. The arrest of its putative head would be a fitting postscript to the public realisation of its clear and institutionalised moral degeneracy.

Stories about what’s planned by Dawkins & Hitchens here and here, in The Times and The Telegraph respectively. [Hat tip Marcus Bachler]

Seeing the back of Ratzinger:


Seeing the backside of God:


Seeing the back of both together: Priceless.

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Anti-Emissions Trading Scam meeting

Looks like John Boscawen and Rodney Hide are holding a North Shore meeting tonight to oppose the introduction on July 1st the National-ACT-Maori Government’s Emissions Trading Scam—described as “the most pointless tax ever inflicted on New Zealanders”—a tax on production, in the teeth of a recession, in the name of a non-problem.

Come to an URGENT PUBLIC MEETING and learn how:

  • the government and its power generators will soon be celebrating windfall profits while you’re suffering a 5% price rise.
  • petrol will soon go up 4 cents a litre because of the Scam.
  • the above rises will double to 10% and 8 cents a litre by 2013.
  • the cost of EVERYTHING ELSE will go up after July 1, as the increased cost of power and transport forces increases across the board.

Head along and ask John & Rodney why they’re supporting the government that are bringing it in.

TAKAPUNA: Monday 12 April - The Mary Thomas Centre, 3 Gibbons Road, Takapuna, 7 p.m

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Eco-cide = Genocide? [updated]

Some years ago George Reisman began warning about a dangerous new trend emerging from man-hating environmentalists—i.e., “to make an international crime out of attempts to increase production and raise living standards, to the extent that those attempts entail an increase in the discharge of greenhouse gases.” (Read his most recent warning here: ‘The Environmental Noose is Tightening.’)

The trend is now accelerating, with a UK lawyer Polly Higgins campaigning to have what she calls “eco-cide” declared as an international crime on a par with genocide, war crimes, crimes of aggression (such as unprovoked war), and crimes against humanity.

Even global warming skeptics should fall under the ambit of the law, say Higgins’s supporters, which would include anyone acting “to discourage voters and politicians from taking action to tackle global warming and climate change.”

Think about that.  Posting articles debunking Phil Jones and Al Gore would be a crime equivalent to the torture and imprisonment of innocent human beings.  And if the absurdity were fully accepted, damaging insects, invertebrates or fish—or trees, or rocks or mud puddles—would be seen as a crime on a par with the industrial-scale murder of human beings.  Nothing could more transparently reveal the man-hating ethic of environmentalism.

The implications of such an absurdity are as wide as they would be destructive.  Reisman points out a few in his 1996 book Capitalism:

    _quote In casting the production of wealth in the light of a danger to mankind, by virtue of its alleged effects on the environment, and thereby implying the need for global limits on production, the ecology movement attempts to validate the thoroughly vicious proposition, lying at the very core of socialism, that one man’s gain is another’s loss…(p. 110)
    “If the influence of the ecology movement continues to grow, then it is perfectly conceivable that in years to come, the very intention of a country to increase its production could serve as a cause of war, perhaps precipitating the dispatch of a U.N. security force to stop it. Even the mere advocacy of economic freedom within the borders of a country would logically—from the depraved perspective of the ecology movement—be regarded as a threat to mankind. It is, therefore, essential that the United States absolutely refuse to sanction in any way any form of international limitations on “pollution”—that is, on production. (p. 118)

“I regret having to say [said Reisman in 2007] that I can’t take very much satisfaction from having had this foresight. It’s like being marched to a concentration camp and saying, ‘I tried to tell everyone this is where we’d all end up.’”

Consider the absurdity of where we have ended up: a serious proposal to put the “mass-murder” of invertebrates on a par with the mass-murder of human beings. Made by people who (to paraphrase Reisman) have no problem with nuclear bombs in the hands of lunatics, but do have a problem with sane people pursuing their material self-interest by means of increasing production.  That’s what they consider dangerous and needing to be stopped.

Instead of a new law attempting to make humans equivalent to slugs, sharks and mosquitoes, we need a new ethic recognising human beings are first.

UPDATEThe Onion plumps for ridicule:

  • Pope Vows To Get Church Pedophilia Down To Acceptable Levels
        The pope said he was deeply disappointed to learn that the number of children sexually abused by priests was almost 10 times beyond the allowable limit clearly outlined in church doctrine. Admitting for the first time in public that the overindulgent touching of "tender, tender young flesh" had become a full-blown crisis, the Holy Father vowed to implement new reforms to bring the pedophilia rate back down to five children per 1,000 clergy.
        "The truth is there will always be a little bit of molestation—it's simply unavoidable," Vatican spokesperson Rev. Federico Lombardi said. "But the fact that young boys have gotten much more attractive over the past few decades is no excuse for the blatant defiance of church limits that have been in place for centuries."
  • Pope Forgives Molested Children
    Calling forgiveness "one of the highest virtues taught to us by Jesus," Pope John Paul II issued a papal decree Monday absolving priest-molested children of all sin…

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A tax on medical innovation [updated]

ADrObama-80x80 All through the ObamaCare debate I’ve been at pains to point out that the ObamaCare debate effects us here in New Zealand too: most directly because the whole world relies on American medical innovation, and if ObamaCare means anything, it is a deadly tax on medical innovation.

Think about it.  Think about “Moore's Law, which states that computing power tends to double roughly every two years.” Think about the growth of personal computing power as a model for how medical progress can and should and did happen -- and as a warning as to what sorts of progress we could lose in the future.  Consider that one of the greatly under-appreciated effects of ObamaCare
will be how it will stifle medical innovation—leading to a rapid reversal of the very medical progress that have been accelerating in recent years.

How serious is this?  Very serious indeed, says doctor Paul Hsieh. “ObamaCare, he says, “could dramatically slow the pace of medical progress, leading to millions of preventable deaths.”

Read Dr Hsieh’s article, The Deadly Tax on Medical Innovation.

UPDATE: Patent attorney Dale Halling makes a similar point:

    “The only way of reducing the long term cost of health care is through innovation.  In the few areas of medicine that are not controlled by the government and insurance, such as vision enhancement procedures [like laser eye surgery], costs have plummeted due to innovation.    Unfortunately, we have put numerous roadblocks in the way of medical innovation.  For instances, it cost $1 billion dollars and twelve years to introduce a new drug to the market due to FDA rules.  Frivolous lawsuits in our health care system not only increase the costs of health care, but result in decreased innovation due to excessive caution.  Frivolous lawsuits against vaccine manufacturers have stopped innovation in this area of medicine.  Vaccines are inexpensive medical solutions of the sort that we should be encouraging.  President Obama has proposed a seven year patent term for drug patents, down from a twenty year term, and this will reduce innovation in the pharmaceutical industry.  Drugs are much less expensive option than medical procedures.
    “If the goal is to increase the quality of medical care and reduce the long term costs, innovation is the only solution.  Nationalizing [US] health care will cause medical innovation to disappear.”

And it looks like his blog on intellectual property State of Innovation is worth checking out.  Unlike the various thieves at the Mises Institute who justify theft based on little more than ignorance of the role of the mind in production, Mr Halling understands the role of intellectual property in driving innovation and technological progress—that, as someone said, “Patents and copyrights are the legal implementation of the base of all property rights: a man’s right to the product of his mind.”

I’ll be adding his blog to my sidebar forthwith!

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GUEST POST: Whanau Ora, and The Seabed and Foreshore Act review

timwikiriwhi A guest post by Tim Wikiriwhi
“NO MAN’S LIFE, LIBERTY or property are safe while the legislature is in session,” said Mark Twain. With all the political wheeling and dealing now going on between the unscrupulous politicians of the National and Maori Parties, this observation is more true now than ever.

Two very important legislative changes are about to be implemented as part of this political bargaining and bribery: the Maori Party’s Whanau Ora scheme, and the review of the Seabed and Foreshore act.

Now it may be true that the Seabed and Foreshore act is bad legislation and in need of repeal, yet it does not automatically follow that what the shysters of National and the Maori Party are proposing is a step towards greater justice. I see it as just another grab by covetous racists for money, property and power at the expense of New Zealanders as a whole.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Interactive Ramble

Yes folks, today we’re going to try something different.

I don’t have time this morning to post the regular Friday Morning Ramble—the regular read of links and websites that lasts you all weekend!—but I’d hate for you all to miss out.  So let’s use the sort of division of labour that the internet does so well.  How about we try an Interactive Ramble, where each of you posts in the comments a site or blog or news story—or YouTube clip, what have you—that you think everyone else just has to enjoy too.

Post the title, a link, and a short note telling other readers why they’ll get something out of it.

And to start you off, here’s Dvorak—with Mr Karajan holding the baton.

KRIS SAYCE: Why Interest Rates Aren’t What They Used to Be

_Kris_Sayce_headshot Kris Sayce from Money Morning Australia serves up a lesson on interest rates that is far too simple for any of the mainstream commentators to understand.

UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown has called a general election. Unless we’re mistaken, it’ll be the first-post stimulus election for an incumbent leader of a major economy – Obama’s election doesn’t count as Dubbya was prevented from contesting a third election.

As for the UK election. We’re not sure it matters who wins, whether it’s Labour, the Tories, or a hung parliament. As far as we can see, it’ll be the same muck just a different spreader.

And finally, before we get on to today’s Money Morning, we did have a little chuckle at the misprint in today’s online edition of The Age. It seems that even in retirement, Malcolm Turnbull is having trouble getting his global warming message across:
Malcolm Turnbull having trouble getting his global warming message across
The Age later corrected their mistake to read “Threat of global warming remains.” Bless!
Then again, we’ve long suspected the global warming fear campaign is seen as a treat for those in the public service that get to spend all the expropriated tax dollars.

But today we’ll take a look at interest rates. Before we do, one thing struck us as we flicked through the Australian Financial Review (AFR) this morning.

It was the table illustrating the effect of the “Loan hikes.” In English it means how much your monthly mortgage payments will increase thanks to the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) 0.25% rate rise.

The thing that struck us was the loan examples used. We’re sure it wasn’t so long ago they used numbers such as $100,000, $200,000, $300,000 and $500,000.

Not anymore. Today it’s $250,000 as a minimum. Followed by $500,000, $750,000 and to top it off a whopping $1 million.

But who knows, maybe it’s been like that for some time and we’ve never noticed. But then again it’s hardly surprising when the median home price in Sydney is over $600,000.

Anyway, back to interest rates.

Quite frankly, the new attitude towards interest rates is perhaps the most troubling of all the issues facing the Australian and international economies.

‘Revolution is in the Air’- Michael Newberry


Michael Newberry, Revolution is in the Air, 2010, charcoal and pastel on Rives BFK, 25 x 18 inches

Says Michael of this simple gem,

    “I planned this using symbols of color: white for purity and idealism; red for blood and passion; and black for oppression. They converge in the individual and transparent glass–which only has air inside.”

One of a collection of piece in a 'Symbolic Still Life' Group Show at the Newberry Gallery in Santa Monica, coming soon.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Greenpeace activist warns: “We know where you live” [updated]

Shills for big government and attackers of the means by which human beings survive, the lid is every now and then lifted on who Greenpeace really are, and what they’re about. Which is clearly neither peace nor non—violence.

The violence was always there, however carefully it was often cloaked.  When Patrick Moore left the organisation declared ing “they [were evolving] into a band of scientific illiterates who use Gestapo tactics to silence people,” his former co-founder Paul Watson was already sinking ships in violent actions on the high seas. Scratch a “non-violent” mung-bean eating Greenpeace activist, you see, and you reveal the naked hatred beneath. The latest example is a Greenpeace zealot who declares it’s time for “direct action” against those who get in their way:

    _quote The politicians have failed. Now it’s up to us. We must break the law to make the laws we need: laws that are supposed to protect society, and protect our future. Until our laws do that, screw being climate lobbyists. Screw being climate activists. It’s not working. We need an army of climate outlaws.
    “The proper channels have failed. It’s time for mass civil disobedience to cut off the financial oxygen from denial and skepticism…
    “If you’re one of those who have spent their lives undermining progressive climate legislation, bankrolling junk science, fueling spurious debates around false solutions, and cattle-prodding democratically-elected governments into submission, then hear this:

        “We know who you are. We know where you live. We know where you work.

“And we be many, but you be few.”

Liberty Scott has the story and background to the threats: Greenwar, what happens when environmentalists get angry.

Someone should ask the the Green Party if they endorse threats like this from eco-terrorists. Or (with a cloak of Greenwash to mask the eco-terrorism beneath) they themselves are simply the Gerry Adams to the aspiring Provos of Greenpeace.

UPDATE: Julian has a great idea:

    “That quote from Greenpeace now sits on a bit of paper in my wallet. The next time a Greenpeace volunteer in the street tells me why I should share their vision, the only thing they will get from my wallet will have this quote on it.”

Freedom within a prepared environment

Montessorian Susan Stephenson has just opened the first AMI Montessori classroom in Bhutan. Here’s the story in just two pictures:

BEFORE:  Children sit still on plastic chairs at group tables in a dark, dowdy classroom.  They learn from listening to the teacher, and from posters on the wall that are all well above head height:


AFTER: A clean, sunlit classroom in which children are invited to choose their own work lesson, on which they can work at their own pace in a peaceful, beautifully appointed environment without interruption—a great example of what Dr Montessori called “freedom within a prepared environment”:



Which would you choose for your child?

Visit Susan Stephenson’s website here for more on her Bhutan adventure, or the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) website for more on the Montessori method and movement.

John Key is a sleeper agent for the Greens

He must be.  Why else—with the global warming priesthood on the run—would he and his special mate Nick Smith insist on introducing their Emissions Trading Scam on July 1st, despite business here already being in a hole, and businesses elsewhere (all our major trading partners for example) having no such imposition forced upon them—and the top twenty carbon emitters having no intention at all of shackling their producers in a similar fashion.

Calling this stupid is way too kind.  Saying it’s irresponsible state’s the obvious, but with insufficient vehemence.

Frankly, there are many more accurate words to describe it. Feel free to leave a few of them in the comments.

UPDATE: Slightly edited.


TV3 has axed its Sunrise breakfast show, effective immediately.

Both viewers are said to be upset.

Welfare for everyone?

If stimulus and bailouts are welfare for bankers-who’ve-failed, and Kiwisaver is welfare for suits-with-nothing-in-them, then surely the new politically-correct Whanau Ora scheme is just welfare for “welfare providers,” isn’t it? Welfare that is primarily to keep the likes of John Tamihere and Rongo Wetere in the manner to which they’ve become accustomed. Welfare for a Browntable of well-heeled ambulance chasers. Welfare that will end up costing us all more in the long run than the current welfare bill.

Cactus Kate reports. Here’s a slight edit of her thirty-second summary:

    _quote Quite clearly this is not some new private-sector initiative to provide services. It just means more money for Maori troughers--a transfer of your tax dollars from the black-suited hole of the public sector into the deep brown hole of the Maori troughdom upon whom are bestowed such "private" contracts…
    “All in all it doesn't solve any problems, just creates a movement of money from state sector and political apologists to Maori, many of whom have troughed for years with no measurable results to date.”

You think the Koru Club lounge is full of bone carvings now heading down to Wellington to pick up their cheques?  Then just wait until this welfare-for-Maori-Troughdom kicks in—Rob Fyfe will need to build new Koru Club lounges full of all the usual PC paraphernalia just to fit them all in.

To update what I said a couple of years ago when Turia and Sharples started floating this “war on the culture of dependency,”

    _quoteWhy's everybody so gosh-darned excited about Sharples and Turia high profile scheme—with uncapped budgets delivering unlimited payments to their mates.
    “Remember, these are still the same people who want ‘rangatiratanga’ -- which all too clearly to them just means 'independence' at your expense.  They still want something for nothing.  They're still tribalists and collectivists who think government should "fix everything, fund everything and give the Maori Troughdom the money and power to veto and control anything in their communities."

If the nature of this unabashedly race-based nonsense isn’t apparent enough now to the various cheerleaders for it, then I look forward to watching their howls of outrage when the likes of Tame Iti and Brian Tamaki start registering to be “providers.”  At least that will be some recompense for being forced to help pay for it all.

Whanau Ora? Just call it bullshit.

“Conditions left unchanged will invite a credit boom and, inevitably, a bust” [updated]

Some exceptional links indicating that while it may yet be too late, economic sense is slowly going mainstream, among commentators and even Fed officials, if not yet politicians. Gerard Jackson reckons,

    _quoteGiven the America's horrible fiscal condition I cannot see how higher interest rates can be avoided. The demands now being made on the economy by government must result in a significant reduction if not an actual end to the rate of capital accumulation exceeding population growth. This can only mean a general fall in real wages. furthermore, the government — or a government — will be driven to use inflation to engineer a very large partial default

Driven? They’re compelled:

    _quoteObama has nominated Janet Yellen to be vice chair of the Federal Reserve. This is very bad news for the US economy and signals that Obama intends to pursue a purely Keynesian approach to government. . .
    “Janet Yellen is an inflationist first and foremost. She has made it abundantly clear that all of her policy suggestions will be geared to promoting an inflationary policy. Like all Keynesians she seems congenitally incapable of grasping the dangerous microeconomic consequences of inflation for investment, jobs and the standard of living. She is in fact a very dangerous woman.

But there is at least one senior Fed official (sounding like an Austrian economist) who seems to know what time it is::

    _quote A senior U.S. Federal Reserve official said on Wednesday that interest rates kept too low for too long encourage risky financial behavior and recommended raising borrowing costs to prevent another boom and bust.
    “ ‘I am confident that holding rates down at artificially low levels over extended periods encourages bubbles, because it encourages debt over equity and consumption over savings,’ Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank President Thomas Hoenig told a group of business people.
    “ ‘While we may not know where the bubble will emerge, these conditions left unchanged will invite a credit boom and, inevitably, a bust,’ he said.”

Too right.

Inflation won’t save America: it will only dislocate the capital structure, continue to prop up malinvestments, and destroy whatever pool of real savings still exists.  Not to mention the destructive effects of a cheap dollar:

    _quoteWhy a "cheap dollar" would not save the US economy: Do the advocates of a depreciating dollar think that by merely increasing exports the US would enjoy rise in per capita investment, especially in view of Obama's crippling fiscal policies? Have these people ever given any serious thought to the actual nature of economic growth?

And the proven preference now of Warren Buffett’s bonds over US Treasuries are simply a sign that investors are now seeing the inevitable: the U.S. government is on its way to bankruptcy:

_quoteWhen it becomes clear that the U.S. government can not make good on its mounting debt obligations by taxing its citizens, its creditors, fearing the debasement of the dollar and therefore the value of their investments, will go from friends to foes, from eager buyers of those treasury bills, notes and bonds to eager sellers. It won't be pretty.

Leaving Nancy Morgan to draw a conclusion that seems almost unavoidable:

_quoteUnder the leadership of my fellow baby boomers, there is a very good chance that the America that we all know and love could end up on the ash heap of history. . . My generation could well be the first generation in American history to leave [the] country worse off than we found it.”

The conventional wisdom of the baby-boomers has been proven destructively wrong on just about everything, hasn’t it.

Just as a recovering alcoholic first needs to confront reality, effective recovery requires immediate recognition of the reality of the problem.  Sadly, if Yellen’s appointment isn’t a sign that faking economic reality via inflation is still the order of the day at the White House (just as it is here in John Key’s office), the Chairman of Obamas’s Council of Economic Advisors shows that full-blown, hog-tied, piss-blind evasion of reality may be next.

Whatever pragmatists and politicians might think, economic reality is not infinitely malleable.  There will be a reckoning, whether Summers and his clique of alleged economists recognise that or not.

UPDATE:   Perhaps to help relieve the unrelenting pessimism suggested by focussing on the destruction that has been and is continuing to destroy America—in other words, what is—to focus here on what could be and should be, and (at one time in history) almost was. i.e., Capitalism Without Guilt: The Moral Case for Freedom, a compelling 2009 lecture to London’s Adam Smith Institute on the necessary moral revolution that is needed if capitalism is to survive—or even to be discovered. (Part 1 of this 11-part video is below; the complete series is available on a single YouTube Channel.)


    _quoteCapitalism [explains Yaron] has an undisputed record of wealth generation, yet it has always functioned under a cloud of moral suspicion. In a culture that venerates Mother Teresa as a paragon of virtue, businessmen sit in stoic silence while their pursuit of profits is denounced as selfish greed.
    “Society tells businessmen to sacrifice, to serve others, to ‘give back’—counting on their acceptance of self-interest as a moral crime, with chronic guilt its penance. Is it any wonder that productive giants from John D. Rockefeller to Bill Gates have behaved as if profit-making leaves a moral stain that only tireless philanthropy can launder but never fully remove?
    “It is time America heard the moral case for laissez-faire capitalism.
    “Two centuries ago the Founding Fathers established a nation based on the individual’s rights to life, liberty, property—and the selfish pursuit of his own happiness. But neither the Founders nor their successors could properly defend self-interest and the profit motive in the face of moral denunciation. The result has been a slow destruction of freedom in America, leading us to today’s economic mess.
    “In this lecture, Ayn Rand Center Executive Director Yaron Brook demonstrates how Ayn Rand’s revolutionary ethics of rational self-interest supplied the moral foundation that previous proponents of capitalism lacked. Dr. Brook explains why individual rights are crucial for capitalism’s survival—why productivity and profit, the ‘selfish greed’ that conservatives abhor, are not vices but cardinal virtues. He explains why the world must reject sacrifice and ‘national service’ and instead proudly embrace the radical individualism their lives and happiness require.”


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