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

Pew Research: Gap Between Promises and Assets Widens for State Pensions

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, April 24, 2017:

A RETIRED COUPLE FROM CALIFORNIA STOP TO FISH ...

After reviewing the investment results for 230 public pension plans for the last two years, Pew reported last Thursday that, despite strong recent stock market performance, the gap between liabilities (promises) and assets for those plans widened by 17 percent, to $1.4 trillion. Put another way, those plans should have nearly $4 trillion in assets to enable them to keep their promises. The latest data shows them with just over $2.5 trillion instead.

Said Greg Mennis, director of the project,

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The End for Venezuela Marxist Dictator Nicolas Maduro?

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, April 24, 2017: 

Português: Brasília - O chanceler da Venezuela...

Nicolas Maduro

The last time Venezuelans attempted to free themselves from the communist yoke in 2014, the effort failed. The deaths of dozens and the arrests of hundreds failed to budge the dictator who took over from Hugo Chavez at his death in March 2013: Nicolas Maduro. According to the Venezuelan Observatory of Social Conflict, there were 9,286 protests in 2014, resulting in little change. Food rationing continued, shortages mounted, inflation accelerated along with unemployment, and large swaths of civilians were reduced to subsisting on two meals a day.

Last week’s protests involving hundreds of thousands of citizens in Caracas have resulted in more than

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Three Stock Market Indicators Spell Trouble for Pension Fund Managers

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, April 24, 2017:

Warren Buffett speaking to a group of students...

Warren Buffett

Michael Lombardi is a bear. Canadian-born, Lombardi has been dishing out investment advice for decades. He is getting nervous. And so should pension fund managers trying to make up for lost time.

In his March newsletter, Lombardi looked at the Warren Buffett Indicator:

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The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 

Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.

He said to his friend, “If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light,–
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm.”
Then he said “Good-night!” and with muffled oar
Silently rowed to the Charlestown shore,
Just as the moon rose over the bay,
Where swinging wide at her moorings lay
The Somerset, British man-of-war;
A phantom ship, with each mast and spar
Across the moon like a prison bar,
And a huge black hulk, that was magnified
By its own reflection in the tide.
Meanwhile, his friend through alley and street
Wanders and watches, with eager ears,
Till in the silence around him he hears
The muster of men at the barrack door,
The sound of arms, and the tramp of feet,
And the measured tread of the grenadiers,
Marching down to their boats on the shore.
Then he climbed the tower of the Old North Church,
By the wooden stairs, with stealthy tread,
To the belfry chamber overhead,
And startled the pigeons from their perch
On the sombre rafters, that round him made
Masses and moving shapes of shade,–
By the trembling ladder, steep and tall,
To the highest window in the wall,
Where he paused to listen and look down
A moment on the roofs of the town
And the moonlight flowing over all.
Beneath, in the churchyard, lay the dead,
In their night encampment on the hill,
Wrapped in silence so deep and still
That he could hear, like a sentinel’s tread,
The watchful night-wind, as it went
Creeping along from tent to tent,
And seeming to whisper, “All is well!”
A moment only he feels the spell
Of the place and the hour, and the secret dread
Of the lonely belfry and the dead;
For suddenly all his thoughts are bent
On a shadowy something far away,
Where the river widens to meet the bay,–
A line of black that bends and floats
On the rising tide like a bridge of boats.
Meanwhile, impatient to mount and ride,
Booted and spurred, with a heavy stride
On the opposite shore walked Paul Revere.
Now he patted his horse’s side,
Now he gazed at the landscape far and near,
Then, impetuous, stamped the earth,
And turned and tightened his saddle girth;
But mostly he watched with eager search
The belfry tower of the Old North Church,
As it rose above the graves on the hill,
Lonely and spectral and sombre and still.
And lo! as he looks, on the belfry’s height
A glimmer, and then a gleam of light!
He springs to the saddle, the bridle he turns,
But lingers and gazes, till full on his sight
A second lamp in the belfry burns.
A hurry of hoofs in a village street,
A shape in the moonlight, a bulk in the dark,
And beneath, from the pebbles, in passing, a spark
Struck out by a steed flying fearless and fleet;
That was all! And yet, through the gloom and the light,
The fate of a nation was riding that night;
And the spark struck out by that steed, in his flight,
Kindled the land into flame with its heat.
He has left the village and mounted the steep,
And beneath him, tranquil and broad and deep,
Is the Mystic, meeting the ocean tides;
And under the alders that skirt its edge,
Now soft on the sand, now loud on the ledge,
Is heard the tramp of his steed as he rides.
It was twelve by the village clock
When he crossed the bridge into Medford town.
He heard the crowing of the cock,
And the barking of the farmer’s dog,
And felt the damp of the river fog,
That rises after the sun goes down.
It was one by the village clock,
When he galloped into Lexington.
He saw the gilded weathercock
Swim in the moonlight as he passed,
And the meeting-house windows, black and bare,
Gaze at him with a spectral glare,
As if they already stood aghast
At the bloody work they would look upon.
It was two by the village clock,
When he came to the bridge in Concord town.
He heard the bleating of the flock,
And the twitter of birds among the trees,
And felt the breath of the morning breeze
Blowing over the meadow brown.
And one was safe and asleep in his bed
Who at the bridge would be first to fall,
Who that day would be lying dead,
Pierced by a British musket ball.
You know the rest. In the books you have read
How the British Regulars fired and fled,—
How the farmers gave them ball for ball,
From behind each fence and farmyard wall,
Chasing the redcoats down the lane,
Then crossing the fields to emerge again
Under the trees at the turn of the road,
And only pausing to fire and load.
So through the night rode Paul Revere;
And so through the night went his cry of alarm
To every Middlesex village and farm,—
A cry of defiance, and not of fear,
A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
And a word that shall echo for evermore!
For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,
Through all our history, to the last,
In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
The people will waken and listen to hear
The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,
And the midnight message of Paul Revere.

Trump Administration Tips Its Hand, Oks Third Greek Bailout

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, April 17, 2017:

It took EURACTIV, the online source that focuses on European policymaking, to report that the Trump administration has signaled that, previous protestations to the contrary, it won’t object to a third Greek bailout. The anonymous Trump administration tipster told its reporters: “We’re looking for the Europeans to help Greece to resolve its economic problems by the Fund [the International Monetary Fund], despite the criticism of many Republicans regarding the two previous bailout programs in 2010 and 2012.”

This anonymous tip kicks to the curb protestations voiced by Trump’s Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin in February that

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Trump’s Hiring Freeze Moves From Hatchet to Scalpel

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, April 12, 2017:

English: Logo of the US Environmental Protecti...

When Mick Mulvaney, President Trump’s director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), announced on Tuesday the lifting of the president’s hiring freeze effective Wednesday, he used medical terminology: “What we’re doing is replacing the across-the-board hiring freeze [the hatchet] and replacing it with a smarter plan, a more strategic plan, a more surgical plan [the scalpel].”

In his first full day in office, newly inaugurated President Trump announced a 90-day hiring freeze that applied to all executive branch agencies, to be followed by a plan from each of those agencies as to how they will be reformed to run more efficiently. Since his OMB director wasn’t confirmed until nearly a month later, that “reform recommendation” timeline has been pushed back to June for initial drafts and September for final recommendations.

The new timeline also fits with President Trump’s budget recommendations that include

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Social Security Disability Fraud Hides the Biggest Fraud of All

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, April 12, 2017:

English: Mug shot of Charles Ponzi (March 3, 1...

Mug shot of Charles Ponzi (March 3, 1882 – January 18, 1949).

The Social Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General reported in 2015 that nearly half of the nine million people receiving SSI (Supplemental Security Insurance) benefits were being overpaid, running up $17 billion in excess disbursements over the previous 10 years.

Such overpayments were just the beginning of the story. On Monday, a former Kentucky attorney pleaded guilty to filing more than 1,700 false SSI disability claims in a scheme that netted him millions in fees that he lavishly dished out to his co-conspirators: a Social Security administrative law judge and a psychologist, among others. In his plea bargain, former attorney Eric Conn fingered Judge David Daugherty (whom he said birthed the scheme originally) and Dr. Alfred Adkins.

The fees that Conn collected ran into the millions, while Social Security dished out some $550 million in benefits to beneficiaries who willingly participated, some of them saying later that they didn’t really know what was happening but were happy to pay Conn $200 in cash under the table for his “advice” and assurance that their claims would be approved.

The setup was simple:

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Social Security Disability Fraudster Just Tip of the Iceberg

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, April 11, 2017: 

A former Kentucky attorney pleaded guilty on Monday to filing more than 1,700 fake disability applications under Social Security’s Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. The complex scheme netted Eric Conn millions in kickbacks while costing SSI an estimated $550 million in phony benefits paid out to unsuspecting beneficiaries.

Conn’s plea bargain accused his co-conspirators, psychologist Alfred Adkins and Social Security Administrative Law Judge David Daugherty along with other unnamed individuals, of working with him in the scam. Conn claimed that the scheme was hatched originally by Daugherty.

The setup was simple:

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Senators Rushing to White House With Names to Fill Judgeship Vacancies

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, April 10, 2017:  

Map of the geographic boundaries of the variou...

Map of the geographic boundaries of the various United States Courts of Appeals and United States District Courts.

In anticipation of Judge Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation by the Senate, Colorado Senator Cory Gardner began putting together a list of prospective nominees for President Trump to consider to take his seat on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals: “We’re very close to sending over our list for the district,” said Gardner on Sunday.

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) sees Trump’s opportunity to reshape the country’s legal system, calling on the president to enlist an “army of young, principled constitutionalists” to fill the openings:

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The Clock is Running Out on Trump’s Use of the CRA

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, April 7, 2017:

English: blue scissors Español: tijeras azules

The beauty of the CRA, the Congressional Review Act, is that it provides a process by which an incoming administration can look back at the previous administration’s rules and regulations and repeal, neuter, or abandon those it doesn’t like. In addition, once a rule has been repealed, the CRA prohibits it from growing back again. Call it “Roundup” 2.0 for political weeds and unwanted grasses.

What’s remarkable is that, since its enactment in 1996 as part of the Republicans’ Contract with America, it has only been used once: by George W. Bush. Congress passed five CRA resolutions under Obama but he vetoed them all. For him, no government was too big nor any regulation too outrageous.

When Marc Short, Trump’s Director of Legislative Affairs, was given the mike at the White House press conference on Wednesday, he spoke at length about the president’s aggressive use of the CRA to turn back a few of the many hundreds of burdens applied to businesses by the previous administration. Before taking questions Short said:

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Bank of America Fined Again; Board Likely to Laugh It Off

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, March 29, 2017:

Photo of Bank of America ATM Machine by Brian ...

Bankruptcy Judge Christopher Klein fined Bank of America $45 million on Thursday for deliberately and intentionally harming a young couple who got caught up the real estate collapse and had to downsize. Erik and Renee Sundquist made a down payment on a smaller home and borrowed the balance from Countrywide Home Loans. When they couldn’t make the payments on that loan, the couple was advised by Bank of America, which owned Countrywide, to default as a precondition for a loan modification in order to lower their payments.

Klein described what happened next in his ruling in Sundquist v. Bank of America as a series of events so fantastic and bizarre as to be nearly incomprehensible:

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Harry Dent, Meet Chris Hamilton

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, March 29, 2017:

For years Harry Dent (shown) has attempted to turn his demographic analyses into investment advice, with middling performance. It seems that when his advice doesn’t turn out well, he writes another book.

Take, for example, his The Demographic Cliff: How to Survive and Prosper During the Great Deflation Ahead. He contends that the economy can be traced and tracked using the behavior of consumers as they grow, mature and age. Young people marry, have families, buy homes, automobiles, and gadgets. Their acquisitions peak at around age 45 or so, and then decline over time into retirement.

His “waves” are like seasons: 

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Wall Street Facing Headwinds as Boomers Forced to Liquidate Their IRAs, 401Ks

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, March 28, 2017:

New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street in New ...

Under the law those reaching age 70 and a half must start taking their “required minimum distributions” (RMDs) from their various tax-deferred accounts. These include IRAs, 401Ks, profit-sharing plans, and SEPs. The trouble is that there are so many of them, and they control so many assets, that their RMDs are going to put enormous pressure on the stock market, according to Chris Hamilton, writing at his Econimica blog.

The Baby Boom population cohort is nearly 80 million people, and those born in 1946 are now 71, with millions following right behind. The top one percent own or control about one-third of that cohort’s assets, while the top 10 percent own more than two-thirds, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

The real question, according to Hamilton, is this:

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Aussies Know When Their Rights Are Being Violated

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, March 13, 2017:

Location of Port Arthur, where the majority of...

Location of Port Arthur, where the majority of the shootings occurred

A series of referendums from 1898 to 1900 led to the ratification of Australia’s constitution, which became effective on January 1, 1901. Unfortunately, the idea of adding a Bill of Rights similar to those contained in the United States Constitution was voted down, with the majority holding that the traditional rights of British subjects were sufficient to keep the national government in check. Some rights are included, including the right to trial by jury, the right to just compensation for government’s “acquisition” of private property, the freedom of religion, the freedom of “political” communication, and the right to vote. Missing are explicit guarantees of the freedom of association, the freedom of assembly, and the Second Amendment.

Also missing from the country is the National Rifle Association or anything like the “gun” culture present in the United States.

That’s why, following the ghastly atrocity known as the Port Arthur Massacre in 1996, it was fairly easy for the national government to pass the

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Debt-ceiling Charade Begins Again

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, March 10, 2017:

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin sent an early-warning signal to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Wednesday that “on Thursday, March 16, 2017, the outstanding debt of the United States will be at the statutory limit.” He added:

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Update on Warren Buffett’s “The Bet” (or How Your Money Finds Its Way to Wall Street)

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, March 1, 2017:

Warren Buffett speaking to a group of students...

Warren Buffett speaking to a group of students from the Kansas University School of Business (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the latest shareholder letter just released by Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett brought his fans up to date on “The Bet.” On its face it seems simple: Buffett was willing to bet good money that any S&P 500 index fund would beat, over a period of time, the performance of the best money managers in the business. But no one took him up on his wager:

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Former Reagan Economic Advisor Warns: Debt Ceiling “Hard Stop” for Economy

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, February 27, 2017:

Cabinet - Class Photo, 1984: Front row: David ...

Cabinet – Class Photo, 1984: Front row: David Stockman, Director, Office of Management & Budget; Back row : Malcolm Baldrige, Secretary of Commerce; Samuel Pierce, Secretary of Housing & Urban Development

David Stockman, former President Ronald Reagan’s director of his Office of Management and Budget from 1981 to 1985, told Greg Hunter of USAWatchdog that March 15, two days after President Trump presents his budget to Congress, will be a “hard stop” for the economy:

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Americans Eating Out Less Thanks to Higher Prices

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, February 24, 2017:

At Jamila's, a Tunesian restaurant on Maple St...

A Reuters/Ipsos survey released on Tuesday revealed that one-third of U.S. adults are eating out less frequently than they were just three months ago. Two-thirds of those staying home said it was because of higher restaurant prices. This news comes on top of reports that restaurant traffic was flat for all of 2016. In fact, the industry as a whole has gained just one percent in traffic since 2009.

Apologists for the industry offered all manner of explanations:

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Trump’s EU Ambassador: Trump Will Only Make Trade Deals With Nations, Not the EU

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, February 6, 2017:

UE-EU-2006

Ted Malloch, President Donald Trump’s proposed ambassador to the European Union, made it clear on Sunday that the administration’s goal is to destroy the European Union. During an interview on BBC on Sunday, Malloch warned that the EU is in for a rude awakening: Whether the EU powers-that-be like it or not, Trump will only deal with countries on a nation-by-nation basis. That would effectively end the supposed underlying reason for the EU.

Malloch said,

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Kansas District Court Judge Throws Out State’s Second Amendment Protection Act

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, February 3, 2017: 

Two Kansans, Shane Cox and Jeremy Kettler, engaged in the purchase and sale of a silencer in October 2015, believing they were exempt from the 1934 National Firearms Act’s requirements to register it and pay a $200 tax. They relied on the state’s Second Amendment Protection Act (SAPA) which holds:

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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.