Week in review

Quote of the week

“There is no subtler, or surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debase the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which only one man in a million is able to diagnose.” – John Maynard Keynes

“The change they most don’t want is what we’re calling ‘the Great Correction.’ It’s a combination of several corrections at once – including a correction of the welfare state.” – Bill Bonner

Has the Power Elite Over-Reached?

by The Daily Bell

“[W]e are not sure that tighter political control [over the Eurozone] is feasible – not given all the controversy surrounding the Lisbon Treaty. We think the power elite may be in over its head in Greece. In this article, therefore, we will pick up where we left off yesterday (see EU Elite Continues to Stagger) and argue that the power elite behind the EU has overreached, partially as a result of the modern era of communication technology, and that what is going on in Europe is neither especially well thought out or practical.” more…

The Welfare State’s Death Spiral

by Robert Samuelson

“What we’re seeing in Greece is the death spiral of the welfare state. This isn’t Greece’s problem alone, and that’s why its crisis has rattled global stock markets and threatens economic recovery. Virtually every advanced nation, including the United States, faces the same prospect. Aging populations have been promised huge health and retirement benefits, which countries haven’t fully covered with taxes. The reckoning has arrived in Greece, but it awaits most wealthy societies.” more…

Root Canal Politics

by Thomas L. Friedman

“We baby boomers in America and Western Europe were raised to believe there really was a Tooth Fairy, whose magic would allow conservatives to cut taxes without cutting services and liberals to expand services without raising taxes. The Tooth Fairy did it by printing money, by bogus accounting and by deluding us into thinking that by borrowing from China or Germany, or against our rising home values, or by creating exotic financial instruments to trade with each other, we were actually creating wealth.” more…

Self-Regulation in the Corporate State: The BP Spill

by Sheldon Richman

“BP’s defenders and statist critics both have it wrong. This is not the story of a well-meaning or negligent firm operating in the free market. Negligent or not, BP is a player in a corporatist system that for generations has featured a close relationship between government and major business firms. (It wouldn’t have surprised Adam Smith.) Prominent companies have always been influential at all levels of government — and no industry more so than oil, which has long been a top concern of the national policy elite, most particularly the foreign-policy establishment. When state governments failed in the 1920s to put a lid on unruly competition and low prices, the oil companies turned to Franklin Roosevelt and the federal government, winning the cartelizing Petroleum Code, significant parts of which were revived after the National Recovery Administration was declared unconstitutional. In the 1950s, when cheap imports depressed prices, the national government imposed quotas on Middle Eastern oil. (In 1960 OPEC, a ‘cartel to confront a cartel,’ was founded.) Republican or Democratic, energy policy is not made without oil industry input.” more…

Facebook’s Gone Rogue; It’s Time for an Open Alternative

by Ryan Singel

“Facebook used to be a place to share photos and thoughts with friends and family and maybe play a few stupid games that let you pretend you were a mafia don or a homesteader. It became a very useful way to connect with your friends, long-lost friends and family members. Even if you didn’t really want to keep up with them. “Soon everybody — including your uncle Louie and that guy you hated from your last job — had a profile. “And Facebook realized it owned the network.” more…

Regulars

Politics and Such

  • TSA employees get in a fight after one steps into a body scanner and is repeatedly harassed about the size of his junk.
  • Spiegel analyzes the sovereign debt crisis. It’s a nice read. All six parts.
  • Fannie Mae wants another FRN$8.4 billion.
  • European Union leaders are irked that Britain didn’t participate in Greek bailout.
  • The true Audit the Fed bill (aka the Vitter’s amendment) failed in the Senate. We’ll get a watered down version – the Sander’s amendment. More on that here.
  • Sandoval county residents squash property tax hike by a 10-1 margin in what was a stealth election to raise their taxes.
  • Cato round-up on the Kagan nomination. Also a bit from the New American on her.
  • David Cameron is Britain’s new Prime Minister.
  • In Massachusetts 70% favor a ban on giving government benefits to illegal immigrants.
  • The nickel may be reformulated. As it stands it’s metallic value is worth more than it’s face value. Save those nickels!!!
  • Here’s your “war on drugs” in action (video 4:30). And some commentary on all of that. Especially watch and read if you support the “drug war”. I’d love to know how you rationalize this.
  • Senator Bob Bennett (R-UT) has lost his seat in convention.
  • Meanwhile in West Virginia a 14 term incumbent Democrat has lost his primary bid.
  • A nice run down of the U.S. debt problem.
  • When the market gives you the fat finger. (Daily Show outtake 4:51)
  • The cost of the Afghan and Iraq wars in February were FRN$6.7 billion and FRN$5.5 billion respectively. Meanwhile the February budget deficit was a record FRN$221 billion.
  • Iceland arrests banksters.
  • Arizona bans classes in government schools that promote ethnic chauvinism. This has the UN in a tizzy.
  • DHS begs states to spend money (that the DHS itself provides) to implement REAL ID.
  • The mortgage market has been effectively nationalized.

Miscellany

And now the numbers…

DOW Jones Industrials – 10,620.16 (+239.73/2.31%)
S&P 500 – 1,135.68 (+24.80/2.23%)
VIX – 31.24 (-9.71/-23.71%)
CSI 300 (China) – 2,868.023 (+31.234/1.10%)
BSE 500 (India) – 6,819.04 (+103.16/1.54%)
MICEX (Russia) – 1,352.01 (+63.40/4.92%)
BOVESPA (Brazil) – 63,412.469 (+541.59/0.86%)
RICI – 3,023.34 (-53.44/-1.74%)
Gold/oz – 1,227.80 (+17.40/1.44%)
Silver/oz – 19.225 (+0.774/4.19%)
Copper/lb – 313.40 (-1.05/-0.33%)
Oil/bbl (Brent) – 77.93 (-0.34/-0.43%)
Wheat/bu (CBT) – 471.50 (-39.00/-7.64%)
Corn/bu – 363.00 (-9.00/-2.42%)
EUR-USD – 1.2358 (-0.0397/-3.11%)
USD-JPY – 92.468 (+0.878/0.96%)
USD-BRL – 1.7993 (-0.0387/-2.11%)
3 Month Treasury – 0.15 (+0.03/25.00%)
2 Year Treasury – 0.78 (-0.03/-3.70%)
10 Year Treasury – 3.45 (+0.02/0.58%)
30 Year Treasury – 4.34 (+0.07/1.64%)
3 Month LIBOR – 0.45 (+0.02/4.65%)
U.S. Public Debt (official) – 12,927,411,267,929.20 (-5,502,057,271.50/-0.04%)
Baltic Dry Index (BDIY:IND) – 3,929.00 (+321.00/8.90%)

It’s late again. And i’m pretty darn tired. Breakfast tomorrow at Classic Cup on Jackson Road in Ann Arbor. I’ll be there at the usual time, around 8AM, but the real show will be from 9:30-11:30AM when Mike Cox, the Michigan Attorney General and candidate for Governor will come for a visit.

Meanwhile Rod Gillis the educator at the American Numismatic Association said in a Wall St. Journal article: “eight in 10 people make some sort of reference to the gold in Fort Knox” when speaking about how the dollar is backed. Just think about that, 80% of the people in this country still think that the dollar is more than just a piece of paper. Reflect on that for a moment.

Oh, I just finished reading A Disquisition on Government by John C. Calhoun and wrote a summary. The book was quite good. If you’re interested you can find the summary here.

Also, me and baby are starting swimming lessons again tomorrow. She loves the water so much. Otherwise just trying to get the garden going before June hits.

Have a nice weekend.

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