Week in review

Quote of the week

“During the bubble, everyone said, `This time, it’s different. The market can keep going up and up.’ Of course, they were wrong. And on the way down, they used the same excuse, ‘This time it’s different. If you don’t bail us out, the world economy will come to a halt.’ It’s the same story on the way up and the way down. In both cases, the story was BS.” – Vedran Vuk

The Fed is Fuelling the Catastrophe of Fast Rising Raw Material Prices

by Jeremy Warner

“There are two main ways in which policymakers are insidiously interfering with the usual rules of supply and demand for raw materials, and myriad different smaller ones. We’ll leave aside the smaller ones, such as China’s attempt to leverage its monopoly of rare earth metals for geo-political purposes, and concentrate instead on the two biggies.

“One is the policy of ultra-cheap money in advanced economies to fight the economic crisis; and the other, more commodity-specific one, is massive public subsidy for the production of bio-fuels. Food is being elbowed out by pursuit of ‘clean fuel’.” more…

Inflation Is Already Here with Lots More to Come

by Chris Mayer

“Don’t pay attention to that thing called the Consumer Price Index, or CPI. It is running at about 2%. It is an engineered figure and not to be trusted. Oskar Morgenstern, who along with John von Neumann contributed so much to game theory, once described it as a ‘mere index of doubtful validity,’ as Grant relayed.” more…

A Gift to the Drug Cartels: Will New Mexico Become the New Arizona?

by Janice Kephart

“To date, discussion of the porous Southwest border has largely left out New Mexico. That is about to change if Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources, and Tom Udall (D-N.M.) are able to pass an otherwise innocuous bill that changes which laws apply to a stretch of federal land on the New Mexico border. The bottom line is, if S. 1689, the ‘Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks Wilderness Act,’ becomes law, New Mexico will likely become the next staging ground for drug cartel and illegal alien smuggling activity, tracking what happened in Arizona. Why? The bill would change the designation of Department of Interior lands, managed by the Bureau of Land Management, from ‘public lands’ to ‘wilderness,’ severely curtailing the Border Patrol’s ability to conduct preventative, ongoing, and necessary operations due to the stringent nature of wilderness laws that are now four decades old. New Mexico would suffer the same results as those documented by the Center in the ‘Hidden Cameras on the Arizona Border’ three-part series showing the waste, destruction, and unsafe circumstances that borderlands suffer when wilderness laws (and poor federal government policy) create a vacuum of law enforcement presence.” more…

Senate Candidates Running Camouflage Campaigns

by Johh David Dyche

“[A] real return to the federalist system and limited national government found in America’s original constitutional design may also require structural reform. The Founding Fathers in their incomparable wisdom were extremely distrustful of direct, small ‘d,’ democracy. The Constitution therefore contains several limiting, small ‘r,’ republican mechanisms.

“Those that remain, like the Electoral College, deserve spirited defense. Some lost long ago, like indirect election of senators, merit consideration for revival.” more…

Regulars

Politics and Such

Miscellany

And now the numbers…

DOW Jones Industrials – 11,118.49 (-14.07/-0.13%)
S&P 500 – 1,183.26 (+0.18/0.02%)
VIX – 21.20 (+2.42/12.89%)
CSI 300 (China) – 3,379.983 (+1.328/0.04%)
BSE 500 (India) – 8,036.88 (-82.18/-1.01%)
MICEX (Russia) – 1,523.39 (+4.09/0.27%)
BOVESPA (Brazil) – 70,673.297 (+1,143.57/1.64%)
Nikkei 225 (Japan) – 9,202.45 (-224.26/-2.38%)
RICI (Commodities) – 3,520.16 (+43.47/1.25%)
Gold/oz – 1,357.60 (+32.50/2.45%)
Silver/oz – 24.564 (+1.446/6.25%)
Copper/lb – 373.35 (-6.35/-1.67%)
Oil/bbl (Brent) – 83.15 (+0.19/0.23%)
Wheat/bu (CBT) – 717.25 (+46.50/6.93%)
Corn/bu – 582.00 (+22.00/3.93%)
Rough Rice (CBOT) – 14.725 (+0.21/1.45%)
EUR-USD – 1.3947 (-0.0007/-0.05%)
USD-JPY – 80.40 (-0.979/-1.20%)
USD-HKD – 7.7508 (-0.0103/-0.13%)
USD-BRL – 1.699 (-0.0067/-0.39%)
NZD-USD – 0.7665 (+0.0197/2.64%)
3 Month Treasury – 0.11 (-0.01/-8.33%)
2 Year Treasury – 0.34 (-0.01/-2.86%)
10 Year Treasury – 2.60 (+0.05/1.96%)
30 Year Treasury – 3.98 (+0.05/1.27%)
3 Month LIBOR – 0.29 (UNCHG)
U.S. Public Debt (official) – 13,658,812,457,389.50 (-9,170,868,588.80/-0.07%)
Baltic Dry Index (BDIY:IND) – 2,678.00 (-49.00/-1.80%)

We’ve got a new logo! Have a look here. I’ll be rolling it out in various places over the next few months.

Otherwise, it’s been another busy week, but I seemed to have found a number of pretty good articles.  I’d definitely recommend the article that discusses the history of dairy. Very interesting stuff. I’m not overly enthused about the lead articles, but they do point to some important trends.

First, the money printing chickens will come home to roost, and it ain’t going to be pretty.

Next, the United States Government behaves psychopathically.

And finally, if America as an entity is to survive as it exists today, certain fundamental changes need to be imposed. As far as I am concerned all of these have to do with decentralizing political power. I may write about this at length someday, but I have not yet collected my thoughts, so you are spared the abuse, for now.

For those of you who live in California who are reading this, I’d like to hear what you think of Proposition 19.

I ran into a very good blog this week. It’s called Activist Post. Check it out here. I think if I were running a daily blog it would look a lot like that.

On the home front, Little Wife is working two night shifts, with the second one currently taking place. Also sadly, she works two night shifts the day before Thanksgiving and on Thanksgiving day. Looks like Thanksgiving shall be postponed until Saturday at our house.

Meanwhile Baby Girl has managed to fall asleep two nights in a row at 8PM. That’s a record I think.

As for me, I found some Bell’s Winter White Ale at Whole Foods today, and am quite enjoying it. The current one is empty, so I’m going to go find a new one. Have a nice weekend.

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  1. #1 by mvymvy on Monday, November 1, 2010 - 10:34

    The current system of electing the president does not deserve a spirited defense. It ensures that the candidates, after the primaries, do not reach out to all of the states and their voters. Candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or care about the voter concerns in the dozens of states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind. The reason for this is the state-by-state winner-take-all rule (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but since enacted by 48 states), under which all of a state’s electoral votes are awarded to the candidate who gets the most votes in each separate state.

    Presidential candidates concentrate their attention on only a handful of closely divided “battleground” states and their voters. In 2008, candidates concentrated over two-thirds of their campaign events and ad money in just six states, and 98% in just 15 states (CO, FL, IN, IA, MI, MN, MO, NV, NH, NM, NC, OH, PA, VA, and WI). 19 of the 22 smallest and medium-small states (with less than 7 electoral college votes) were not among them. Over half (57%) of the events were in just four states (Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania and Virginia). In 2004, candidates concentrated over two-thirds of their money and campaign visits in five states; over 80% in nine states; and over 99% of their money in 16 states, and candidates concentrated over two-thirds of their money and campaign visits in five states and over 99% of their money in 16 states.

    Two-thirds of the states and people have been merely spectators to the presidential elections.

    Voter turnout in the “battleground” states has been 67%, while turnout in the “spectator” states was 61%.

    Policies important to the citizens of ‘flyover’ states are not as highly prioritized as policies important to ‘battleground’ states when it comes to governing.

    Because of the state-by-state winner-take-all electoral votes laws in 48 states, a candidate can win the Presidency without winning the most popular votes nationwide. This has occurred in 4 of the nation’s 56 (1 in 14) presidential elections. Near misses are now frequently common. 537 popular votes won Florida and the White House for Bush in 2000 despite Gore’s lead of 537,179 popular votes nationwide. A shift of 60,000 votes in Ohio in 2004 would have defeated President Bush despite his nationwide lead of 3,500,000 votes.

  2. #2 by mvymvy on Monday, November 1, 2010 - 10:36

    State-by-state winner-take-all laws to award electoral college votes were eventually enacted by 48 states AFTER the Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution.

    The Founding Fathers only said in the U.S. Constitution about presidential elections (only after debating among 60 ballots for choosing a method): “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors . . .” The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly characterized the authority of the state legislatures over the manner of awarding their electoral votes as “plenary” and “exclusive.”

    Neither of the two most important features of the current system of electing the President (namely, universal suffrage, and the 48 state-by-state winner-take-all rule) are in the U.S. Constitution. Neither was the choice of the Founders when they went back to their states to organize the nation’s first presidential election.

    In 1789, in the nation’s first election, the people had no vote for President in most states, Only men who owned a substantial amount of property could vote.

    In 1789 only three states used the state-by-state winner-take-all rule to award electoral votes.

    The winner-take-all rule is not entitled to any special deference based on history or the historical meaning of the words in the U.S. Constitution. The current 48 state-by-state winner-take-all rule (i.e., awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in a particular state) is not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, the debates of the Constitutional Convention, or the Federalist Papers. The actions taken by the Founding Fathers make it clear that they never gave their imprimatur to the winner-take-all rule.

    The constitutional wording does not encourage, discourage, require, or prohibit the use of any particular method for awarding the state’s electoral votes.

    As a result of changes in state laws enacted since 1789, the people have the right to vote for presidential electors in 100% of the states, there are no property requirements for voting in any state, and the state-by-state winner-take-all rule is used by 48 of the 50 states.

    The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    The bill preserves the Electoral College, while assuring that every vote is equal and that every vote will matter in every state in every presidential election.

    The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes–that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    The National Popular Vote bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers, in 21 small, medium-small, medium, and large states. The bill has been enacted by the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Washington. These seven states possess 76 electoral votes — 28% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.

    See http://www.NationalPopularVote.com

  3. #3 by mvymvy on Monday, November 1, 2010 - 10:37

    Federalism concerns the allocation of power between state governments and the national government. The National Popular Vote bill concerns how votes are tallied, not how much power state governments possess relative to the national government. The powers of state governments are neither increased nor decreased based on whether presidential electors are selected along the state boundary lines, along district lines (as has been the case in Maine and Nebraska), or national lines.

  4. #4 by kungfucraig on Monday, November 1, 2010 - 11:10

    I disagree, but you are entitled to your opinion. Repealing the 16th and 17th amendment would be much better than National Popular Vote.

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