Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Category Archives: History

Maduro’s Second Six-Year Term Won’t Last Six Months

This article was published by the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, January 16, 2019:

This writer is happy to declare that his prediction (see Sources below) about Maduro’s longevity appears to be dead wrong. Washington has just issued credible threats that it will turn off Maduro’s cash flow by prohibiting exports of crude from his state-owned PdVSA oil company to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries.

Last Friday, this writer thought that Maduro could not only remain as Venezuela’s dictator for another six-year term, but for as long as he wished. Now his tenure is likely to be measured in months.

An unnamed White House official told the Wall Street Journal on Monday that, “until now, we have been going around the edges. Now, it’s a new dynamic: we are no longer going to be tinkering around the edges.”

Earlier the Journal pointed out that

Keep reading…

Venezuela’s Marxist President Maduro Inaugurated for Second Term

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, January 10, 2019:

Venezuela’s Marxist President Nicolás Maduro was sworn in for a second six-year term on Thursday despite his presidency being declared null and void by 13 of Venezuela’s neighbors.

In all, about 60 countries have declared that his reelection in May was illegitimate owing to his quashing of his political opponents, his use of food as a political weapon to reward those who would vote for him, and the opposition party telling its voters to abstain from voting in the rigged election. Accordingly, in an election with the lowest voter turnout in the country’s history, Maduro was reelected with 68 percent of those who voted.

The New York Times asked,

Keep reading…

Thatcher Was Right: Maduro Has Not Only Run Out of Other People’s Money, but Now They Want It Back!

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, December 19, 2018: 

British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s line about socialism always got a laugh: “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.” Marxist dictator Nicolas Maduro isn’t laughing now that the lenders of other people’s money to his failed socialist experiment in Venezuela have stopped lending. Now they want it back.

Good luck with that.

Nearly 50 major lending institutions have loaned Maduro $150 billion over the years, and they have been patient. They thought they saw light at the end of the tunnel when Maduro made a final payment of $90 million to Goldman Sachs in May on their “hunger loan.” They thought they saw more light when Maduro somehow made a $1 billion loan payment in October to some of his lenders.

And they thought they saw still more light in November when

Keep reading…

Five of Maduro’s Big Lenders Want Their Money Back. Good Luck.

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, December 18, 2018:

Five investment firms holding $380 million of one of Venezuela’s bonds demanded payment of both the principal and unpaid interest on Monday. This could be the trigger that unleashes an avalanche of claims by more than 40 creditors holding $150 billion of Venezuela’s debt.

The Marxist regimes that have controlled Venezuela for the last 20 years have finally run out of other people’s money, and now those other people want it back.

Up until Venezuela failed to make an interest payment on its outstanding bonds, patience was the strategy for the bondholders. After all, Maduro had paid back Goldman Sachs’ “hunger bonds,”which helped keep the socialist regime alive, making a final $90 billion payment on the loan in May.

In October, Maduro’s government paid $1 billion to selected bondholders to keep them from foreclosing.

This was followed in November by an agreement reached between a defunct Canadian gold-mining company and Venezuela,settling a $1.4 billion claim with a down payment of $500 million and promises to pay the balance on a quarterly basis thereafter until it was paid off.

But then Maduro breached that promise in December, and the mining company took action to start selling off shares of Citgo, owned by Maduro’s state-owned oil company, PdVSA.

That’s when the five unnamed investment firms decided it was time to get in line — perhaps first in line — to get what could be gotten from a regime that had run out of time, money, and seizable assets. Think of a 10-year game of musical chairs: That’s how long a similar process took in settling Argentina’s debt crisis in the late 1990s.

Crystallex International went bankrupt when Venezuela failed to honor its agreement to let the Canadian gold miner develop some of Venezuela’s potentially highly profitable gold reserves. Arbitration settled the amount owed Crystallex by Venezuela: $1.4 billion, but Venezuela failed to honor the agreement. Crystallex sought and obtained permission to go after Citgo, the $8 billion wholly-owned subsidiary of PdVSA. This is when Maduro made the agreement in November, sealed with a down payment of $500 million in exchange for a promise by Crystallex to back off from selling at public auction shares of Maduro’s prime income-generating asset.

That agreement was breached by Venezuela less than a month later.

Time ran out on Monday with the announcement that now requires Maduro not only to pay back interest but to pay off the $1.5 billion loan even though it isn’t due to be paid off until 2034.It’s called “acceleration,” and rightly describes the likely “acceleration” of the end of the Maduro’s mad tyranny that has driven Venezuela into unspeakable poverty and suffering for its citizens. Mitu Guilati, a Duke University professor who has been closely following the accelerating collapse of the country, said Monday’s move will prompt other debt holders to move from patience to legal action to protect their interests: “In a world in which you have limited assets, [the winner is] whoever grabs the assets first.”

For most it’s probably too late. Maduro’s only source of income is the state-owned oil company PdVSA, which owns Citgo. When oil prices were high and government control of the country’s economy was in its early stages, revenues from PdVSA allowed first Hugo Chávez and then Nicolás Maduro to provide all manner of state-provided services to the poor. Socialists from around the world applauded the Marxists’ success in raising them from poverty with their “new brand of socialism.”

Consider for example the plaudits poured out on the Marxist regime back in 2013 by David Sirota in his article in Salon entitled “Hugo Chavez’s Economic Miracle.” Wrote Sirota: “Chavez’s …full-throated advocacy of socialism and redistributionism … delivered some indisputably positive results.… Chavez racked up an economic record that a legacy-obsessed American president [Obama] could only dream of achieving.”

The dream in Venezuela has turned into a nightmare for those citizens who haven’t been able to escape. One searches Sirota’s website in vain for his apology to them. A famous quote from England’s former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher explains what is now happening in Venezuela: “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.” Maduro’s problem is now compounded by the reality that those other people now want their money back. 

On Bill of Rights Day, We Were Reminded That Venezuela Has no Second Amendment

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, December 17, 2018:

In an unhappy coincidence, the addition of the Bill of Rights to the United States Constitution in 1791 was celebrated on Saturday, the same day that Fox News reported on the lack of such protections in Venezuela that have allowed tyrants to subjugate their citizens to virtual enslavement.

Alan Gottlieb, serving as the executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) and the chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA), issued a statement on Saturday pointing to the uniqueness of the Bill of Rights and especially the importance of the Second Amendment in securing them, stating:“Despite the efforts of lobbying groups and some politicians, the Second Amendment has retained its position as the cornerstone of our Bill of Rights.The individual citizen’s right to keep and bear arms protects all of the other rights.” Gottlieb added, “Our mission is that of any citizen who values the liberty and freedom our nation symbolizes above all other nations in the world.Our Bill of Rights is the envy of every other citizen of every other country.” Joining Gottlieb’s groups in the announcement was Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (JPFO).

Gottlieb could have been speaking directly to two former citizens of Venezuela who have escaped the Marxist tyranny first installed by Hugo Chávez in 1999 and then expanded by his protégé, Nicolás Maduro after Chávez died in 2013. Now living outside the grasp of Maduro’s “collectivos” — motorcycle gangs hired, paid, and armed by him to“keep the peace” in the country’s barrios — Javier Vanegas, a former Venezuelan schoolteacher now exiled in Ecuador, and Omar Adolfo Zares Sanchez, a former mayor of a municipality in Venezuela, had their interviews published by Fox on the same day.

Said Vanegas: “Guns would have served as a vital pillar to remaining a free people, or at least able to put up a fight. [Maduro’s] government security forces … knew they had no real opposition.… It was a clear declaration of war against an unarmed population.”

Vanegas added that the people were too trusting of their government back in 2012 when the Chávez-controlled Venezuelan National Assembly enacted its “Control of Arms, Munitions and Disarmament Law”with the explicit purpose of disarming the citizenry. Said Vanegas:

Venezuelans didn’t care enough about it. The idea of having the means to protect your home was seen as only needed out in the fields. People never would have believed they needed to defend themselves against the government.

Venezuelans … always hoped that our government would be non-tyrannical, a non-violator of human rights….

[But] if guns had been a stronger part of our culture, if there had been a sense of duty for one to protect their individual rights, and as a show of force against a government power — and had legal carry been a common thing — it would have made a huge difference.

Sanchez agreed: “Without a doubt, if there had been a balance of armed defense we could have stood up and stopped the oppression at the beginning.”

Without such a threat from an armed citizenry, Maduro’s tyranny has turned Venezuela from one of the most prosperous and free countries in South America into a virtual concentration camp run by Maduro’s thugs. The murder rate in the country is almost 100 per 100,000 (in the U.S. it is less than five), and the poverty rate is nearly 80 percent.

David Kopel, research director of the Independence Institute in Golden, Colorado, stated the obvious: “Venezuela shows the deadly peril when citizens are deprived of the means of resisting the depredations of a criminal government. The Venezuelan rulers … viewed citizen possession of arms as a potential danger to a permanent communist monopoly of power.”

Kopel’s comment calls to mind (in)famous statements by two historical tyrants over that “potential danger.”Said Adolph Hitler: “The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms. History shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing.” And from Mao Tse-tung, who ruled China as chairman of the Communist Party of China from 1949 to 1976: “All political power comes from the barrel of a gun. The communist party must command all the guns. That way,no guns can ever be used to command the party.”

Americans need to appreciate the paper-thin difference between Venezuelan captives and American citizens: That difference is Founders who knew their history and built protections into the Constitution to keep the central government from exceeding its proper bounds.The Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights was added as additional security.

The country’s first president, George Washington, explained that difference: “Government is not reason, it is not eloquence — it is force. Like fire it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master; never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.”

For Venezuelans, that lesson fromhistory is being learned the hard way.

How Many Remembered Bill of Rights Day on Saturday?

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, December 17, 2018: 

That the essence of freedom is the limitation of government was expressed well by John C. Calhoun: “Governments … must derive their right from the assent … of the governed, and be subject to such limitations as they [the governed] may impose.” The Founders well knew through their study of history the dangers of government slipping its bonds, and sought, as Thomas Jefferson expressed it, to bind the central government down by the chains of the Constitution:

In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but find him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.  

George Washington, the first president of the American republic, knew the dangers of unlimited government: “Government is not reason, it is not eloquence – it is force. Like fire it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master; never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.”

Delegates from the sovereign states weren’t happy with what they had wrought, and ratification would have failed had it not been for the adoption of the first ten amendments to the Constitution in 1791, now called the Bill of Rights. It should perhaps have been called the Bill of Additional Restrictions on the Central Government, just to be sure that people knew that the bonds put in place would be strengthened by naming them instead of just assuming them.

The Second Amendment was put place behind the First so that citizens would know that the ultimate power is in the hands of the citizen, through his right to keep and bear arms. In celebrating Bill of Rights Day, Alan Gottlieb, serving as the Executive Vice President of the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) and the chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA), issued a statement on Saturday pointing to the uniqueness of the Bill of Rights and especially the importance of the Second Amendment in securing them:

Despite the efforts of lobbying groups and some politicians, the Second Amendment has retained its position as the cornerstone of our Bill of Rights. The individual citizen’s right to keep and bear arms protects all of the other rights….

Joining Gottlieb’s groups in the announcement was Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (JPFO). Gottlieb added, “Our mission is that of any citizen who values the liberty and freedom our nation symbolizes above all other nations in the world. Our Bill of Rights is the envy of every other citizen of every other country.”

Ironically, as Gottlieb was celebrating the Second Amendment, expat citizens from Venezuela were decrying its lack in their former homeland. On Saturday, Fox News published interviews with several former citizens who were now, belatedly, learning the lessons of history the hard way.



Gottlieb could have been speaking directly to two of them who have escaped the Marxist tyranny first installed by Hugo Chavez in 1999 and then expanded by his protégé, Nicolas Maduro, after Chavez died in 2013. Now living outside the grasp of Maduro’s “collectivos” – motorcycle gangs hired, paid, and armed by him to “keep the peace” in the country’s barrios – Javier Vanegas, a former Venezuelan school teacher now exiled in Ecuador, and Omar Adolfo Zares Sanchez, a former mayor of a municipality in Venezuela had their interviews published by Fox.

Said Vanegas:

Guns would have served as a vital pillar to remaining a free people, or at least able to put up a fight. [Maduro’s] government security forces … knew they had no real opposition … it was a clear declaration of war against an unarmed population.

Vanegas added that the people were too trusting of their government back in 2012 when the Chavez-controlled Venezuelan National Assembly enacted its “Control of Arms, Munitions, and Disarmament Law” with the explicit purpose of disarming all of his citizens. Said Vanegas:

Venezuelans didn’t care enough about it. The idea of having the means to protect your home was seen as only needed out in the fields. People never would have believed they needed to defend themselves against the government.

Venezuelans … always hoped that our government would be non-tyrannical, a non-violator of human rights….

[But] if guns had been a stronger part of our culture, if there had been a sense of duty for one to protect their individual rights, and as a show of force against a government power – and had legal carry been a common thing – it would have made a huge difference.

Sanchez agreed: “Without a doubt, if there had been a balance of armed defense, we could have stood up and stopped the oppression at the beginning.”

Without such threat from an armed citizenry, Maduro’s tyranny has turned Venezuela from one of the most prosperous and free countries in South America into a virtual concentration camp run by Maduro’s thugs. The murder rate in the country is almost 100 per 100,000 (in the U.S. it is less than 5), and the poverty rate is nearly 80 percent.

David Kopel, research director of the Independence Institute in Golden, Colorado, stated the obvious: “Venezuela shows the deadly peril when citizens are deprived of the means of resisting the depredations of a criminal government. The Venezuelan rulers … viewed citizen possession of arms as a potential danger to a permanent communist monopoly of power.”

Kopel was likely referring to famous – infamous – statements by two historical tyrants over that “potential danger.” Said Adolph Hitler: “The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms. History shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing.”

And from Mao Zedong (aka Mao Tse Tung, aka “Chairman Mao”) who ruled China as Chairman of the Communist Party of China from 1949 to 1976: “All political power comes from the barrel of a gun. The communist party must command all the guns. That way, no guns can ever be used to command the party.”

How many Americans knew that Saturday was Bill of Rights Day? How many know how many amendments were made and approved that fateful day in 1791? How many know that the Second Amendment was deliberately put in place as the anchor, the ultimate security, protecting all the others? How many remember that without those first ten amendments we wouldn’t have a Constitution?

George Santayana wasn’t the only individual warning of the dangers of ignoring or forgetting the lessons of history where governments are concerned. He wrote “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Edmund Burke said “Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.” Steve Berry, writing in his The Charlemagne Pursuit (2008), has his protagonist remark to his antagonist, Admiral Ramsey Langford: “It’s been my experience, Langford, that the past always has a way of returning. Those who don’t learn, or can’t remember it, are doomed to repeat it.”

A few informed Americans celebrated Bill of Rights Day on Saturday. A few now-informed Venezuelans lamented its lack in their former country on the same day.

—————————

Sources:

John C. Calhoun quote

FoxNews.comVenezuelans regret gun ban, ‘a declaration of war against an unarmed population’

WesternJournal.comAs Country Crashes and Burns, Venezuelans Offer Chilling Warning About Gun Grabbers

‘BILL OF RIGHTS STILL INCLUDES SECOND AMENDMENT,’ SAY SAF, CCRKBA, JPFO

FDR declared December 15 as BOR rights day in 1941.

Background on Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership

Background on the Second Amendment Foundation and the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms

Background on David Kopel

Background on Mao Zedong (Mao Tse Tung)

Quotes on those ignorant of history are bound to repeat it

Washington quote: “Government Is Not Reason, It Is Not Eloquence — It Is Force”

Moral Bankruptcy Leads to Financial Bankruptcy for Boy Scouts

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, December 14, 2018: 

The announcement on Wednesday that the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), which has changed its name to Scouts BSA (SBSA),is about to declare bankruptcy should surprise few. The Scouts’ “perversion files,” which first surfaced back in 2012 during a lawsuit, cost the formerly respected organization and its insurers nearly $20 million. Following its decision in 2013 to allow openly homosexual boys to join, and then in 2015 to allow openly homosexual leaders to lead them, the group’s legal fees paid tojust one of its law firms have increased by a factor of 10. In 2015, fees paid to Ogletree Deakins were $859,347; in 2016 they jumped to $3.5 million; in 2017 they totaled $7.6 million; for 2018 the numbers aren’t yet available. And those are fees paid to just a single law firm defending the group.

The decline in morality began decades ago, but has accelerated as homosexuals have flowed into the morally corrupt organization.

The organization claims that it has put in place various rules and provisions to keep sexual predators from preying opon young boys joining what they thought was a moral and upstanding organization.

However, so numerous are the lawsuits that BSA’s insurers are being sued by the BSA itself for not paying the increasing number of claims. Hence the announcement it was “considering”bankruptcy.

Membership in the group that used to honor “God, Family and Country” in its oath (A Scout is to be “trustworthy,loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave,clean and reverent”) now includes not only homosexual scouts and leaders, but also girls, in a failing effort to save itself from extinction by being“inclusive.”

Instead the organization is fading away into insignificance and irrelevance. In 1979, there were five million active Boy Scouts in the United States. Today there are 2.3 million, and that number is about to get even smaller. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints(Mormons) parted ways with the Scouts in May of this year, officially ending its affiliation and support by December 31, 2019. Its 400,000 members will be invited to be active in a Mormon group supporting the values that the Scouts have left behind. As The New American noted at the time, while the statement from the LDS church said nothing about the decline in morality being inflicted by progressives at the top of the BSA, it left no doubt that that was one of the primary causes. Said the LDS leadership: “While the Church will no longer be a chartered partner of BSA or sponsor Scouting units after December 31,2019, it continues to support the goals and values reflected in the Scout Oath and Scout Law.” To which we added: “While there was no indication from the statement of ideological or moral differences between the two organizations,one suspects this might have been a factor. In recent years the Boy Scouts have made major decisions at odds with Mormon religious convictions.”

Indeed they have. And the chickens have come home to roost. In 2012, a Portland judge discovered that Scout headquarters had been hiding a stash of what became known as the ”perversion files,” which detailed the expulsion of 1,247 Scout leaders from 1965 to 1985.Even after the court order, the Scouts continued to hide new files from public view. “One thing we’ve found, when we look at all the Boy Scouts’ cases, is a constant fight against releasing any of the documents,” said Emma Hetherington, director of the University of Georgia Law School’s Wilbanks Child Endangerment and Sexual Exploitation Clinic, founded to assist the survivors of child sexual abuse. She added: “If you really want to protect more boys, you release the names of the offenders. It’s about holding them accountable and holding the Scouts accountable. This is an organization that led the public to believe their child would be in one of the safest places they could be if they were in Boy Scouts.”

That, unfortunately, is no longer the case, which grieves this writer, the holder of the Eagle Scout designation.That award is earned by fewer than four percent of boys in the program, and only after earning at least 21 merit badges. But by trying to cater — some would save cave — to the world’s values of political correctness, (im)morality,and inclusiveness, the Scouts organization has successfully emasculated itself and is succeeding in making itself irrelevant.  

IRS Enforcement Arm Continues to Shrink

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, December 12, 2018:

Complaints over lack of sufficient funding for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) often appear at this time of year, just as taxpayers are beginning to focus on readying their tax returns due in April. This year is no exception. Whining over insufficient funding began with Dennis Ventry, the chairman of the IRS Advisory Council (IRSAC), who complained on Monday that Trump’s tax reform had created a “nightmare” for the agency. He lamented: “[IRS] personnel had to work on reform this year when they otherwise would have been working on something else. So, in some respects, it was a lost year.”

That lost year, Ventry opined, cost the federal government billions in taxes owed but not collected. And it’s all because Congress keeps cutting the IRS budget. As a result, the IRS now employs about 24,000 fewer full-time agents than it did back in 2010 (now down to a scant 76,000), with most of those cuts (17,000) coming from the tax-enforcement arm. Ventry estimates that the agency was unable to collect somewhere between$58 billion to $84 billion over the last eight years due to those cuts.

ProPublica and the Atlantic picked upon the agency’s troubles and co-published a 20-page defense of the agency,recounted its woes, and suggested that Congress (Republican-controlled, that is) was derelict in its duty to fund the agency sufficiently to collect all the taxes that were due. 

They moaned that the rich were getting away with underpaying massively while those remaining enforcement agents were going after the little guy — the taxpayer who was so poor that he claimed the“earned income tax credit” (EITC) — without mentioning that the EITC has spawned an industry fraught with fraudulent advisors helping people who don’t qualify to get the benefit anyway.

They griped that the agency’s staff had been so emasculated that it didn’t have the resources to go after “nonfilers”or those who filed but didn’t include a check for what they owed. They lamented that agents didn’t go after those taxpayers hiding funds in overseas accounts because it took too long — up to three years — to find them, tax them, and collect the amounts due.

They warned that the agency is now so weak that word is likely to get out, that cheaters will multiply, knowing that the chances of their getting caught continue to diminish: “The IRS conducted 675,000 fewer audits in 2017 than it did in 2010, a drop in the audit rate of 42 percent.” They predicted that the damage done to the agency over the past eight years is so severe that it might not ever recover: “Agency veterans wondered whether the damage of the past several years will ever be undone. And they had a greater worry: that the American public will inevitably realize how weak the IRS has become.”

Little was mentioned in the jointly published defense that most of the damage done to the agency was self-inflicted. Think Lois Lerner. Think John Koskinen. It was Lerner who directed the branch of the agency that targeted conservative groups seeking tax exemption. It was Koskinen who took over the agency just after the scandal was made public and hid Lerner’s e-mails, destroyed them, and then lied about it to Congress.Impeachment papers were prepared by the House Oversight Committee, which accused him of failing to prevent the destruction of evidence in allowing the erasure of backup tapes containing thousands of e-mails written by Lerner, and of lying to Congress. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), the committee chairman, said that Koskinen “failed to comply with a congressionally issued subpoena, documents were destroyed on his watch, and the public was consistently misled.”

Neither of these miscreants was ever charged, convicted, or sentenced, and today they remain free to enjoy their retirement pensions from the government.

Of course, targeting wasn’t a new thing under Obama. Previous presidents used the tactic to attack their enemies as far back as FDR. Said Roosevelt’s son Elliott, “My father may have been the originator of the concept of employing the IRS as a weapon of political retribution.”

Included in the impeachment papers prepared for President Nixon (before he resigned) was this: “RESOLVED, That Richard M. Nixon … endeavored to … cause, in violation of the constitutiona lrights of citizens, income tax audits or other income tax investigations to be initiated or conducted in a discriminatory manner.”

The agency may be underfunded. It may not have enough agents to prepare themselves for questions arising from taxpayers over Trump’s tax-reform act. It may be leaving money on the table as a result. But at bottom, the agency not only has brought this upon itself by its past and recent unconstitutional behaviors, it also violates the principle that what a person earns he has a right to keep. Instead, through withholding, the government stands in front of the taxpayer to get its share first, allowing the taxpayer to keep what is left. There is no sympathy from this corner. The damage done was done by the agency itself.

Who gave Powell the Power to Manipulate Markets?

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, November 30, 2018: 

With just two words – “just below” – Fed Chair Jerome Powell gave Wall Street what it was hoping to hear on Wednesday: a step back from his “we’re a long way from neutral” comments in early October. Wall Street finished the day higher by more than two percent. Here’s what Powell said that triggered the relief rally:

Interest rates are still low by historical standards, and they remain just below [emphasis added] the broad range of estimates of the level that would be neutral for the economy – that is, neither speeding up nor slowing down growth.

That’s a very long way from his previous comments that took 2,500 points off the Dow in the weeks following their issuance.

Nearly all the conversation was about Powell’s words, which were, according to Robert Pavlik, chief investment officer at SlateStone Wealth, “exactly what the market was expecting to hear. Obviously it has to do with the market reaction to his previous comments. He had to walk [them] back.”

There was much discussion over just what he meant by “neutral.” Two weeks ago, Charles Evans, the president of the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank who also sits on the Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee, didn’t know what “neutral” meant:

Keep reading…

Two Words From the Fed, and Wall Street Jumps More Than Two Percent

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, November 29, 2018: 

While Fed Chair Jerome Powell was addressing the Economic Club of New York on Wednesday, the stock market was open, and it was listening. What it was listening for exceeded its expectations and stocks jumped in the final hours of trading by more than two percent, its biggest one-day gain since the end of March.

What was “the street” listening for?

Keep reading…

Nancy Pelosi’s Real Challenge Comes January 3

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, November 28, 2018: 

For Nancy Pelosi, getting the endorsement of Democratic leaders on Wednesday for speaker of the House in the 116th Congress was easy. However, an increasingly noisy chorus of Democratic Party youngsters have promised to make the vote before the whole House on January 3 much closer. With 233 Democrats in the House, Pelosi will have to secure 218 of them to obtain the speaker’s gavel once again.

At first blush, her opponents are making a good point:

Keep reading…

Trump and Xi Square Off in Buenos Aires This Weekend

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, November 28, 2018: 

Ever since communist China saw its opportunity in 2001 and took it, its leaders have salivated over the opportunity to become the hegemon of the world. Treated as a developing nation in the World Trade Agreement (WTO), it not only took advantage of the United States but continued to abridge the agreement’s rules. In the nearly two decades since then, China has grown, thrived, and prospered at America’s expense to the point where it is a virtual hegemon in East Asia and seeks to expand its power and influence worldwide.

President Donald Trump saw the threat years ago, and now is in a position to do something about it.

The issues being covered by the media aren’t the real issues. Trump plays along. In a telephone interview with Bob Davis of The Wall Street Journal on Monday afternoon, Trump was asked what he hoped would come out of that meeting. He answered:

Keep reading…

Social Security is Defaulting on Its Promises Through Inflation

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence advisor on Friday, November 23, 2018: 

There are three ways that Social Security can face its ultimate demise: stop issuing checks; change the deal; or default over time through inflation. Whether intentional or not, the Social Security Administration has chosen Door No. 3, and the Senior Citizens League (SCL) has been blowing the whistle on the fraud for years. In June it reported that:

Over the past 18 years, Social Security benefits have lost 34 percent of their buying power, according to the findings of this study.

 

Many of the goods and services purchased by typical retirees increased several times faster than annual Social Security cost of living adjustments (COLAs) from January 2000 through January 2018.

As this writer has pointed out here, for three out of every five of the more than 60 million Americans receiving Social Security, that monthly check represents half or more of their total monthly income. Because many have not planned for the future, or been able to, by the time workers start receiving their benefits, four out of 10 will be living at or near the poverty level.

There have been previous attempts to “adjust” the purchasing power of those checks including using cost-of-living-adjustments or COLAs. For 2019,

Keep reading…

Wall Street Worries? Blame the Fed

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, November 21, 2018: 

It was Jeremy Siegel, professor of finance at the Wharton School of Business and the seer who predicted that the Dow Jones Industrial Average would see 20,000 by the end of 2015, who got it right. The stock market’s recent fall, losing 1,000 points in two days earlier this week and almost 2,500 points since early October, was caused by Jerome Powell, the head of the Federal Reserve. During an interview on CNBC’s Closing Bell on Tuesday, Siegel said, “The market is saying that the pace [of the Fed’s interest rate hikes] is a little too fast.… The market is clearly worried about over-tightening [by] the Fed.”

The decline can be traced to remarks by Powell in early October that the Fed was

Keep reading…

Fed Official Suggests Four More Interest Rate Hikes in 2019

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, November 19, 2018:  

As far as one can tell, Charles Evans, the president of the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank who also sits on the Fed’s policymaking body the FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee), never in his life swung a hammer, put on a tool belt, or had to meet a payroll. But when it comes to interest rates and their impact on the housing market, he has an opinion: interest rates are too low and should go higher, perhaps much higher. And soon. He “penciled in” possibly four more interest rate hikes next year.

But he’s not really sure what that means.

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Social Security COLA for 2019 Is 2.8 Percent, or $40 a Month

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, November 19, 2018: 

Starting in January, the 62 million Americans receiving Social Security will get a cost of living adjustment (COLA) in their benefit checks of about $40 a month. For three out of five of them, their check represents about half of their total monthly income.

For those waiting to cash in, more than half don’t have enough saved elsewhere to support a “decent” retirement, according to the Center for Retirement Research. More than 90 percent don’t have a pension plan at work and half of those who do, don’t participate. Translation: By the time they start receiving Social Security, four out of 10 will be living at or near the poverty level.

In other words, of the three legs of their retirement stool, two legs are missing and the third is getting weaker.

Trustees of Social Security just announced the dreaded “inflection point,” where they are starting to have to dip into the trust funds’ reserves to pay out the benefits. That’s due to a number of factors:

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The Federal Ponzi Scheme Hits Its “Inflection Point”

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, November 19, 2018: 

It wasn’t supposed to happen this way. After all, former Social Security commissioner Robert Ball called the scheme “social insurance” designed to help people

when earnings stop because one is too old to work or too disabled to work, or because the wage earner in the family dies, or because there is no job to be had, or when there are extraordinary expenses connected, say, with illness.

But it was a Ponzi scheme from the start, enforced by government mandate to keep people from leaving when they learned it was a scam after all. Those careful with words and their meanings knew it was a lie from the start: it was called FICA, the Federal Insurance Contributions Act, illicitly borrowing the credibility of insurance companies that didn’t go bankrupt in the Great Depression to cover up the fact it was never actuarially sound from the beginning.

The scheme is simple:

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The U.S. Treasury Just Issued a “Buy” Signal for Hard Money Investors

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, November 15, 2018:

This writer opined in this space [at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor] on Wednesday that, due to certain technical and political indicators, this would be an opportune time for hard money advocates to open or add to their holdings of precious metals. That same day, the U.S. Treasury issued its own fundamental “buy” signal. In its monthly statement of receipts and outlays of the U.S. government, it noted that although receipts jumped more than seven percent in October, year-over-year, government spending rose a breathtaking 18 percent compared to October a year ago.

Buried in the various charts and graphs was this note:

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Latest NFIB Report Confirms Robust Health of U.S. Economy

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, November 14, 2018:  

Just when concerns over the future of the U.S. economy have reached fever pitch thanks to the recent volatility on Wall Street, along comes the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) to calm those concerns. Its October report, “Small Business Economic Trends”, was summed up thus:

Overall, small businesses continue to support the 3 percent plus growth of the economy and add significant numbers of new workers to the employment pool.

 

The percent of owners with one or more unfilled openings is at a 45 year record high level.

 

Employment is growing faster than the population (210,000 per month this year to date), so the gains in jobs are being “fueled” in part by increased labor force participation.

 

Consumer optimism is also running at near-record levels, supported by rising wages and plentiful job openings.

After reviewing the numbers in each category (from “plans to increase employment” to “earnings trends”), the authors of the study concluded: “Bottom line, the October report sets the stage for solid growth in the economy and in employment in the fourth quarter, while inflation and interest rates remain historically tame. Small businesses are moving the economy forward.”

Indeed they are. The NFIB boasts membership of 325,000 small business owners, reflective of the estimated 28 million small-to-medium-sized businesses in the United States with fewer than 500 employees. That’s compared to about 20,000 companies with 500 employees or more.

And they swing a big hammer.

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Another Opportunity to Purchase Gold and Silver?

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, November 14, 2018:

With gold closing at $1,202 an ounce and silver closing below $14 an ounce on Tuesday, safe haven hard money investors have the third opportunity in three years to take advantage of such prices.

In November 2015, gold bottomed at $1,081 an ounce; in December 2016 it found support at $1,169 an ounce, and on Tuesday it dropped $1.50 from Monday’s close to finish at exactly $1,202.

Three separate studies have shown the connection between monetary uncertainty and the behavior of precious metals prices. The first, completed by Jonathan Batten, Cetin Ciner and Brian Lucey, concluded that

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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.
Copyright © 2018 Bob Adelmann