“He knows nothing; and he thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career.”
George Bernard Shaw
“Our great democracies still tend to think that a stupid man is more likely to be honest than a clever man, and our politicians take advantage of this prejudice by pretending to be even more stupid than nature made them.”
“I once saw a snake having sex with a vulture, and I thought, It’s just business as usual in Washington DC.”
“In the present case it is a little inaccurate to say I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty and common decency. This makes me forever ineligible to any public office of trust or profit in the Republic. But I do not repine, for I am a subject of it only by force of arms.”
“Politicians were mostly people who’d had too little morals and ethics to stay lawyers.”
George R.R. Martin
“Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance. No one in this world, so far as I know—and I have researched the records for years, and employed agents to help me—has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.” – H.L. Mencken, Notes on Democracy
I’ve written dozens of articles about the 30 Blocks of Squalor over the years. The 30 blocks are essentially from 69th Street to 39th Street encompassing the wretched potholed route from unsafe Upper Darby through the killing fields of West Philly. The fine union government workers in the Streets Department have consistently maintained Chestnut Street in a constant state of disrepair. Not that drivers notice.
When there is an accident on the Schuylkill Expressway in the morning I’m forced to run the 30 Blocks gauntlet down Chestnut Street. I’ve had to do it a few times in recent days. The expletives flowed in waves as I hit four unmarked craters in the center lane. These were not the common everyday West Philly potholes that pock the landscape like it’s the moon. At least if you see a local resident fishing in the pothole, you can avoid it.
These four separate craters were man made, or to be honest, created by a bunch of government union drones, not refilled with blacktop or marked with an orange cone. The question is whether this is utter incompetence, blatant indifference, spite or a business transaction between government drones and local tire dealers. Luckily, government traffic engineers have been too swamped to properly time the lights on Chestnut Street for the last 20 years, so no one can travel faster than 15 mph anyway. Government lessens the pain of their ineptitude through their ineptitude in another area. They call that a win win in Philly. As the light at 57th and Chestnut remains on blinking yellow for a week, it makes you wonder what pressing issues are occupying the fine highly compensated union Streets employees.
Originally posted Op-Ed via The Wall Street Journal,
These are strange monetary times, with negative interest rates and central bankers deemed to be masters of the universe. So maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that politicians and central bankers are now waging a war on cash. That’s right, policy makers in Europe and the U.S. want to make it harder for the hoi polloi to hold actual currency.
Mario Draghi fired the latest salvo on Monday when he said the European Central Bank would like to ban €500 notes. A day later Harvard economist and Democratic Party favorite Larry Summers declared that it’s time to kill the $100 bill, which would mean goodbye to Ben Franklin. Alexander Hamilton may soon—and shamefully—be replaced on the $10 bill, but at least the 10-spots would exist for a while longer. Ol’ Ben would be banished from the currency the way dead white males like him are banned from the history books.
Limits on cash transactions have been spreading in Europe since the 2008 financial panic, ostensibly to crack down on crime and tax avoidance. Italy has made it illegal to pay cash for anything worth more than €1,000 ($1,116), while France cut its limit to €1,000 from €3,000 last year. British merchants accepting more than €15,000 in cash per transaction must first register with the tax authorities. Fines for violators can run into the thousands of euros. Germany’s Deputy Finance Minister Michael Meister recently proposed a €5,000 cap on cash transactions. Deutsche Bank CEO John Cryan predicted last month that cash won’t survive another decade.
The enemies of cash claim that only crooks and cranks need large-denomination bills. They want large transactions to be made electronically so government can follow them. Yet these are some of the same European politicians who blew a gasket when they learned that U.S. counterterrorist officials were monitoring money through the Swift global system. Criminals will find a way, large bills or not.
“Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.” – Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
The lies we tell ourselves are only exceeded by the lies perpetrated by those controlling the levers of our society. We’ve lost respect for ourselves and others, transforming from citizens with obligations to consumers with desires. The love of mammon has left our country a hollowed out, debt ridden shell of what it once was. When I see the data from surveys about the amount of debt being carried by people in this country and match it up with the totals reported by the Federal Reserve, I’m honestly flabbergasted that so many people choose to live a lie. By falling for the false materialistic narrative of having it all today, millions of Americans have enslaved themselves in trillions of debt. The totals are breathtaking to behold:
Total mortgage debt – $13.6 trillion ($9.9 trillion residential)
Total credit card debt – $924 billion
Total auto loan debt – $1.0 trillion
Total student loan debt – $1.3 trillion
Other consumer debt – $300 billion
With 118 million occupied households in the U.S., that comes to $145,000 per household. But, when you consider only 74 million of the households are owner occupied and approximately 26 million of those are free and clear of mortgage debt, that leaves millions of people with in excess of $200,000 in mortgage debt. Keeping up with the Joneses has taken on a new meaning as buying a 6,000 sq ft McMansion with 3% down became the standard operating procedure for a vast swath of image conscious Americans. When you are up to your eyeballs in debt, you don’t own anything. You are living a lie.
1971 was a turning point. The gold window was closed by Nixon, leaving central bankers and politicians to debase the currency, enrich themselves, while impoverishing the rest of us. Watch your money dissipate.
Via Zero Hedge
There were a few different stories coming out over the last few days that reveal the true nature of government and the apparatchiks who use disinformation, devious machinations, fraudulent accounting, and taxpayer money to cover up their criminality, lies, and the true state of the American economy. The use of government accounting tricks to obscure the truth about our dire financial straits is designed to keep the masses sedated and confused.
A few weeks ago, to great fanfare from the fawning faux journalists who never question any Washington D.C. propaganda, they announced the lowest annual deficit of Obama’s reign of error.
For the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30 the shortfall was $439 billion, a decrease of 9%, or $44 billion, from last year. The deficit is the smallest of Barack Obama’s presidency and the lowest since 2007 in both dollar terms and as a percentage of gross domestic product.
Jack Lew, the Treasury Secretary, and Obama were ecstatic as they boasted about this tremendous accomplishment. I find it disgusting that our leaders hail a $439 billion deficit as a feather in their cap, when until the mid-2000’s the country had never had an annual deficit above $300 billion. After 183 years as a country, the entire national debt was only $427 billion in 1972. Now our beloved leaders cheer annual deficits above that figure. What a warped, deformed, dysfunctional nation we’ve become.