Week in review

Quote of the week

“The wavelike movement affecting the economic system, the recurrence of periods of boom which are followed by periods of depression, is the unavoidable outcome of the attempts, repeated again and again, to lower the gross market rate of interest by means of credit expansion. There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as the result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved.” – Ludwig von Mises

Financial Dictatorship Comes to America

by Michael S. Rozeff

“The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 is manifestly unconstitutional. I pen these words just for the record. Since the Constitution has long since been tarred, feathered, and ridden out of town on a rail, unconstitutionality no longer excites much emotion or interest. What matters is only what the American people will stand for. How much power over their lives and fortunes are they willing to put up with?” more…

Don’t Trust the Brain Trust

by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

“The ghost of FDR is everywhere, haunting both Washington and New York. The terrible trouble is that the minds in power have confused an economic wrecker with an angel of mercy. They are following his confusions and prescriptions day to day in an attempted repeat of the longest economic calamity in modern American history.

“They have looked at the history of the New Deal and completely misunderstood it, believing the civics-book claptrap about how FDR saved us from the Depression, whereas the fact is that FDR’s theories and policies lengthened and deepened it to the point that the only way out that the Roosevelt administration saw was war.” more…

545 People

by Charlie Reese

“One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one president and nine Supreme Court justices – 545 human beings out of the 300 million – are directly, legally, morally and individually responsible for the
domestic problems that plague this country.” more…

The Party is Over

by Peter Schiff

“The sad reality is that we borrowed and spent our way into this crisis, and we are not going to borrow and spend our way out of it. Legitimate credit can only be supplied if there are genuine savings to finance it. Savings can’t be magically concocted into existence by a printing press, but can only be created by consumers who spend less than they earn. Efforts to fool the market will not work and will ultimately lead to a monetary disaster and runaway inflation.” more…

In the news…

  • “A computer is as good as a second pair of eyes for helping a radiologist spot breast cancer on a mammogram, one of the largest and most rigorous tests of computer-aided detection found.” The singularity approaches…
  • The pope says that the pursuit of money and success is pointless. I say, if that’s the case, why be the pope?
  • And here’s a little overview of the banking crisis in Europe.
  • Meanwhile, the Fed will be making unsecured loans and buying commercial bonds. Remember, what the fed holds as assets is what backs our currency!
  • Ford will introduce a technology that, based upon the key used to start the car, will give the car different performance characteristics. This is being billed as a useful way for keeping your teenager from going crazy behind the wheel. In short that means no 130mph cruises down the freeway at 4AM with the stereo blaring for the next generation.
  • The State of California is making its case to feed at the Federal Bailout Trough.
  • Finally, here’s an interview of some Obama supporters in Harlem… Quite interesting.

And now the numbers

DOW Jones Industrials – 8,451.19 (-1,874.19/0.82%)
Wilshire 5000 – 9,120.78 (-2,002.20/0.82%)
CSI 300 (China) – 1,906.96 (-336.70/0.85%)
BSE 500 (India) – 3,934.70 (-836.35/0.82%)
MICEX (Russia) – 700.37 (-224.18/0.76%)
BOVESPA (Brazil) – 35,609.54 (-8,907.78/0.80%)
Gold/oz – 859.00 (+25.80/1.03%)
Silver/oz – 10.60 (-0.725/0.94%)
Copper/lb – 2.1445 (-0.5455/0.80%)
Oil/bbl (Brent) – 76.03 (-13.23/0.85%)
Wheat/bu (CBT) – 5.635 (-0.7675/0.88%)
Corn/bu – 4.0825 (-0.4575/0.90%)
Dollar/Euro – 1.3417 (-0.0356/0.97%)
Yuan/Dollar – 6.8305 (-0.0116/1.00%)
Yen/Dollar – 99.025 (-6.295/0.94%)
Dollar/Real – 0.4331 (-0.0564/0.88%)
3 Month Treasury – 0.18 (-0.29/0.38%)
2 Year Treasury – 1.63 (+0.05/1.03%)
10 Year Treasury – 3.87 (+0.27/1.07%)
30 Year Treasury – 4.14 (+0.05/1.01%)
Fed Target Rate – 1.50 (-0.50/0.75%)
U.S. Public Debt – 10,266,382,646,543.59 (+117,633,362,459.40/1.01%)

I’m taking a break from ranting about failed collectivist ideologies, (i.e. socialism, communism, fascism, Nazism, Maoism, and all of the other worthless crap philosophies that the various crackpots of world history have ever come up with), that various morons of the world continue to adhere to, that is being foisted upon us at an accelerating pace, that we are embracing, that the God President Balamba will benevolently bestow upon us if only we are receptive to his sanctimonious policies, and that this time socialism can’t possibly fail! As Hegel said, the only thing we learn from history is that we do not learn from history. So I conclude we are screwed, our Constitution is worthless, and that a voluntary break up of the United States is the best possible thing that could happen to us at this point, the only way we might ever see liberty again, but since that will never happen peacefully I again conclude that we are screwed. But like I said, I’m not going to write about all of that today. Instead I turn my eyes to religion – the first taboo of civilized discussion.

A while back I was talking to some friends, one of whom noted that religion had been a prime influencer in many wars, and that it was in fact directly responsible for the deaths of an untold number of people.

The Bhagavad Gita was the inspiration for our discussion. It is a story about Arjuna, who facing a war against his own family, becomes deeply troubled. He confides this to his page, who is really an avatar of Krishna, and their conversation becomes the focus of the story, with Krishna attempting to convince him that participating in the war should in fact not trouble him. And so we had the first case (in our discussion) of how religion justifies and promotes warfare for its own ends.

And no doubt wars inspired by religion, especially in Western Civilization, are a dime a dozen. The Egyptians had them. Moses had quite few too. Then there was the Muslim expansion of the 7th and 8th century, the Crusades, the Inquisition, the current spate of Islamic Jihad, and on and on and on. It seems almost impossible to have a war without religion, or is it religion without a war. Why would philosophies that purport to exist for raising humanity out of its animalistic ways condone, or even perpetuate and encourage murder on a grand scale? The paradox is not lost upon me.

Likely it is not the fault of religion itself, but instead the opportunistic man’s innate desire to control his fellow man. To him religion is but a tool for manipulation, and doing it the name of a God in which he neither follows nor truly believes is probably easier than the alternative ways.

History shows this to be a common case and so that behooves believers to have a healthy skepticism of the men who would invoke religion as a rallying cry for war. Unfortunately such skepticism comes at the price of alienation from their fellow believers, so believers become overly eager to believe and not strong enough to question. And yet religion, as far as I can tell, contains the tools for forming the questions. It provides the guideposts for distinguishing right from wrong, reason from insanity, and truth from deception. Believers must only look at it sincerely, divorced from their sense of pride, patriotism, or prejudice. It is possible to expose a charlatan for what he is, despite the fact it is a horribly difficult thing to do.

So on that account maybe atheism is an ideology that is less susceptible to abuse. Perhaps, but even a seconds worth of shallow reflection explodes that conclusion. Most, if not all of the most terrible atrocities of the 20th century were committed by atheist regimes, with Stalin and Mao leading the pack. When it comes to war and mass murder atheism’s record is abysmal, and when considering a metric like “responsibility for number of murders per unit time”, its relatively short mainstream existence makes its destructive power rival or even exceed the destruction that has been done in the name of all religions throughout all of history.

When it comes to war, both religion and atheism appear to have an equal claim to infamy, however if we search for a common denominator and factor out all else we are left with the state. Independently of ideology, theist or atheist, it is the state that harnesses those ideologies to inspire violence and war. It is the state, regardless of the form it takes, that has been and continues to be the perpetrator of war and institutionalized mass murder. Religion and atheism in and of themselves are both straw men.

And that brings us back to the second taboo subject, politics, and in particular totalitarian ideologies, which I said I was not going to write about. And yet I can not resist making two observations. First, that state sponsored religion serves only the state and its power structure, even (especially?) when that religion is atheism. And second, that a population of people who believe in something beyond themselves is more likely to resist the temptation to create heaven on earth and to avoid statolotry (i.e. worship of the state).

Well, that’s it for this week. And what a week it was, but I’m too tired to comment on all of that right now. So off to the television to relax a bit before bed! Have an excellent weekend!

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