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: Politics

Market Economy Now a Game of Russian Roulette

Russian Roulette (game show)

Four of MF Global’s former clients have made public their experiences with the failed financial derivatives broker, each of them losing their money and two of them their businesses as a result of MF Global’s bankruptcy.

One, a commodity trading advisor who wishes to remain anonymous, described her experience when she first learned that MF Global was in trouble:

At first, as I heard, I was quite relaxed because I thought we’ve been through this a number of times in the industry. Usually the client has the opportunity to move [her] accounts—it just gets moved. [But] I knew on Monday something was fishy when they turned off my terminal…. Later in the day when [my] funds were frozen—that had never happened before. And then I knew that we were in trouble, because things were not happening in the way they were supposed to happen…. This was unprecedented.

Not only did she lose $100,000 of her own money, she lost her business as well, with three of her major European clients telling her that they never

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Options After the Supercommittee Failure

Newly Released Superman Returns Logo

Barring a miracle, the Supercommittee will announce Monday morning its failure at coming up with legislation to reduce the projected combined federal budget deficits over 10 years by $1.2 trillion, or $120 billion per year, starting in January 2013. Without enactment of these cuts, under the Budget Control Act the automatic option, called a sequester, will kick in, with $600 billion of the $1.22 trillion in cuts coming from defense spending. Social Security, Medicaid, and other low-income programs are exempt from the cuts, and cuts to Medicare would be modest.

Of course, there is the slim possiblity that the Supercommittee could come up with the cuts, in which case Congress would be expected to vote the legislation up or down without amendment. There are other possibilities too. The Supercommittee could “split the baby” and come up with a bipartisan deal that cuts less than the $1.2 trillion, leaving Congress to find the balance before the automatic cuts kick in. The Supercommittee could even hand Congress a package that includes tax increases as well as spending cuts.

But as of this writing, these possibilities appear unlikely. What appears more likely to happen is that, following a failure of the Supercommittee to present a bill, Congress will

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New York Times Distracts from the Real European Story

German Logo of the ECB.

Thursday’s article in The New York Times by writers Jack Ewing and Nicholas Kulish about the “rift” between factions over the role of the European Central Bank (ECB) was a distraction and misdirected attention from what is really happening there. The piece makes it sound as though the ECB is standing firm against pressures to have it buy up the debt from Greece and Italy in order to keep the debt “contagion” from spreading elsewhere.

For instance, the article quotes Spain’s Prime Minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, as saying that he expected the ECB to do whatever was necessary, for “this is what we transferred power for…[to] defend the common policy and its countries.” Of course Zapatero would have to say that or he would be gone, just as unelected bankers replaced elected leaders in Greece and Italy. Just a reminder as to who is in charge was reflected by the recent rise in Spain’s borrowing costs, the highest since 1997, and exceeding the “default” level of 7 percent on its 10-year bond. But nothing was said in the article that Zapatero’s comments reflected a desire to save his skin.

In fact the ECB has been taking an active role economically and politically by buying up the debt of those countries in massive amounts, already in excess of $250 billion, and manipulating interest rates to favor the newly installed rulers Mario Monti in Italy and Lucas Papademos in Greece. But authors Ewing and Kulish prefer to present the ECB as being run by “fiercely conservative stewards” who have “steadfastly resisted letting it take up the mantle of lender of last resort.” And to support that falsehood the authors enlisted the help of

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Germany’s Merkel Yields More Sovereignty to the EU

EPP Summit Helsinki 4 March 2011

At a joint briefing on Wednesday with Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced the next step towards the creation of the supra-national European state: “Germany sees the need…to show the markets and the world public that the euro will remain together, that the euro must be defended, but also that we are prepared to give up a little bit of national sovereignty…” It must be done, she said, so that the euro is “strong and inspires confidence on international markets.”

This could be done through changes in the Lisbon Treaty that comprises the basis for the European Union, or more likely through the signing into law the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) by December 31, 2012. Merkel explained that, either way, this would allow for “an intervention and oversight role in respect of the preparation of national budgets…” among the member states.

This would represent the culmination of more than 60 years of efforts by the Bilderberg Group with the help of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), David Rockefeller, and funding of the effort by the Ford and Rockefeller foundations. Joseph Retinger, one of the founders of the Bilderberg Group in 1954, was also one of the principal architects of the European Common Market. As early as 1946, in a speech to the Royal Institute of International Affairs (RIIA), the British counterpart of the CFR, Retinger said that Europe needed to create a federal union and that it would be necessary for the European countries to “relinquish part of their national sovereignty” to secure it. As noted by Andrew Gavin Marshall, research associate for the Centre for Research on Globalization, the effort to create the dictatorship of Europe goes back many years and is the creation of many hands: 

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More Recycling, Less Liberty

Trash Recycling with Disposal Containers

To celebrate America Recycles Day, the Tellus Institute published a study showing the benefits of increased recycling, by force if necessary. The Tellus Institute’s mission is “to advance the transition to a sustainable, equitable, and humane global civilization,” and has published 3,500 studies, analyses, and reports on everything from energy, water, sustainable communities, corporate social responsibility, and climate change.

Its latest study, “More Jobs, Less Pollution,” prepared for several interested parties including the BlueGreen Alliance, the Teamsters, and the SEIU, purports to provide

strong evidence that an enhanced national recycling and composting strategy in the United States can significantly and sustainably [there’s that word again] address critical national priorities including climate change, lasting job creation, and improved health.

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Obama’s Reelection Tied to Dead Weight Economy

Obama 2008 Presidential Campaign

Writing in Business Week, Hans Nichols announced that with the improvement in the economy President Obama’s chances for reelection in 2012 are improving as well.

He noted that the unemployment rate fell last month (from 9.1 percent to 9.0 percent) while unemployment claims dropped (by 10,000). And the outplacement firm of Challenger Gray & Christmas noted that government layoffs have slowed as well. Then he reviewed several different polls that showed improvement in President Obama’s ratings (each still below 50 percent), and then concluded that this mass of positive data is improving the president’s “political prospects.”

The data excluded from Nichols’ analysis shows a different picture. First, the real unemployment rate is nowhere near 9 percent, but is much closer to 15 percent, with some analysts suggesting more than 20 percent.

Second, the number of unemployed, if he had bothered to check the numbers published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), was

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Solyndra Just the Tip of the Alternative Energy Iceberg

Solar Panels

In late October White House Chief of Staff William Daley ordered a complete review of all loan guarantees the Department of Energy has made to various energy projects. The review “is a tacit acknowledgement that the loan program [that supported the now-bankrupt energy company Solyndra]…has raised enough internal concern that an outside assessment is necessary…”, according the Washington Post.

While the review is supposed to take 60 days and will no doubt be an attempt to whitewash failed efforts by the government to jumpstart the economy through its support of the green industry, a look at past efforts is more than sufficient to conclude that such “investments” are more properly labeled “boondoggles” and an enormous waste of taxpayer money.

The spin on the review is already in. When Daley named Herbert Allison, a former assistant Treasury secretary, to head it up, he said:

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Niall Ferguson Ignores God-Given Rights

Crop of Niall Ferguson

Niall Ferguson, professor at Harvard and the London School of Economics, summarized his latest book, Civilization: The West and the Rest for Newsweek magazine’s The Daily Beast by stating that he is not a “declinist” but is instead expecting an imminent collapse of the United States. He wrote: “I really don’t believe the United States…is in some kind of gradual, inexorable decline…. …in my view, civilizations don’t rise…and then gently decline, as inevitably and predictably as the four seasons…. History isn’t one smooth, parabolic curve after another. Its shape is more like an exponentially steepening slope that quite suddenly drops off like a cliff.”

As evidence Ferguson points to the lost city of the Incas, Machu Picchu, which was built over a hundred years and collapsed in less than ten. He notes that the Roman Empire collapsed in just a few decades in the early fifth century, while the Ming dynasty ended with frightening speed in the mid-17th century.

He tries to explain why the West, and especially and specifically the United States, is set up for a similar collapse through the use of

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The Best Way Back to a Gold Standard

Dollar versus DOW

In his Forbes magazine article published Thursday, Nathan Lewis makes it sound easy to get back to a gold standard. After all, it has been accomplished numerous times in history around the world, including in America following the Civil War.

The first way is a “return to prior parity,” which would mean making a dollar redeemable in gold at $35 an ounce. Lewis points out that this would be impossible as it would entail a huge shrinkage in the money supply and a consequent depression. So option one is out.

The second way is to make a dollar redeemable in gold at a figure close to gold’s current price at between $1,500 and $1,700 an ounce. Lewis notes that this would also require a major restructuring—“a long price adjustment”—in his words, and “would probably cause a recession.” Not such a good option.

Lewis says there is a third option:

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Keynesian Hacks Slander Republican Candidates

Caricatures: GOP Presidential Debate Participants

CNN’s article by Charles Riley quoted several of the Republican candidates for President out of context and then asked several unknown Keynesian economists—Keynesians believe in growing and empowering the government to stimulate the economy—to comment on those quotes. The result was a one-sided dismissal of anything the candidates had to say about the economy and how they might fix it.

For instance, Riley quoted Jonathan Lanning, an assistant professor at Bryn Mawr, as saying that “there are so many economic ‘misstatements’ being made, and it isn’t confined to any one candidate.” He went on to contend that if any of the Republican candidates were in his introductory economics class, Econ 101, they certainly wouldn’t

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Obama Counting on Myths, Errors, and Ignorance for Reelection

Obama

Nate Silver’s article in the New York Times on President Obama’s reelection chances looked carefully at three major influences that could determine the outcome in November of 2012 and concluded that the President is a slight underdog: “It is early, and almost no matter what, the election will be a losable one for the Republicans. But Obama’s position is tenuous enough that it might not be a winnable one for him.”

A skilled forecaster, Silver looked at three major factors that he thinks will influence the election: approval ratings, the economy, and the President’s opponent’s ideology. At the moment the President’s negative approval ratings across the spectrum of pollsters doesn’t concern him, and he thinks that even if the economy dips further as many are increasingly predicting, the electorate is suffering from bad news “fatigue,” and more bad news won’t really count for much. When it gets to ideology, however, it is clear that if

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Bernanke Defensive as the Fed Loses its Luster

Protest against the Federal Reserve during eve...

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s news conference on November 2 included the admission that the Fed is depending on hope and patience to see if its continuing strategies of Operation Twist and zero interest rates will grow the economy out of recession. In his session with reporters, Bernanke defended Fed actions in the face of increasing criticism from both the left and the right.

Three years after the Federal Reserve’s massive and continuing interventions in the financial markets, Bernanke was forced to admit that “recent indicators point to continuing weakness in overall labor market conditions and the unemployment rate remains elevated…and consequently [the Fed] anticipates that the unemployment rate will decline only gradually…. Moreover, there are significant downside risks to the economic outlook.” He added that “we did underestimate the pace of recovery for some fundamental reasons,” including the continuing declines in the real estate markets and “a certain amount of bad luck.”

Bernanke was forced to reduce further his estimates about the rate of

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Four Ways to Reinvigorate Private Sector Job Growth

"Big Pete" Ramagos, rigger at work o...

There was precious little good news in the latest employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for October. Employment rose by 80,000, less than economists expected, and much less than the 250,000 needed to begin to bring down the unemployment rate significantly.

But inside the numbers there was a little good news: The unemployment rate dropped slightly to 9.0 percent, the number of long-term unemployed declined by 365,000 and private-sector employment increased by 104,000. At the same time government payrolls have been decreasing, reducing slightly but inevitably the drag on the private sector that ultimately pays for that government overhead. In fact, according to the BLS,

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Jon Corzine Proves Regulation is Rigged

Our Governor

After spending the entire weekend trying to sell his company, MF Global, Chairman Jon Corzine finally capitulated, and his board declared bankruptcy on Monday morning, October 31. It was during negotiations with a potential suitor for the business, Interactive Brokers (IB), that word leaked out that customers’ monies were missing, and IB left Corzine to fend for himself. A board meeting was hastily called and ended Corzine’s dream of building another Goldman Sachs with other peoples’ money.

It isn’t as if the regulators were asleep. According to the New York Times, alarm bells went off last June when regulators from the Financial Industry Regulatory Agency (FINRA) first discovered that

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No Treats, Just Tricks: National Debt Surpasses GDP on Halloween

Trick or Treat 2008 - Halloween - Yongsan Garr...

A little-noticed event occurred at approximately midnight on Monday, October 31, 2011: The national debt of the United States exceeded, for the first time since World War II, the country’s gross domestic product. The website USDebtClock.org showed the gross domestic product crossing the $15 trillion mark for the first time on Monday, while earlier in the day the numbers from TreasuryDirect showed the total public debt outstanding at $14.993 trillion and growing by more than

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The Oil Map of the World Is Shifting to the West

Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline

Writing in the Washington Post on Friday, Daniel Yergin, author of The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power (which was adapted into a mini-series by PBS in 1992) explored the shift of oil’s epicenter from the Middle East to the Western Hemisphere, expressing his surprise that “what appeared to be irreversible is being reversed.” He explains:

The new energy axis runs from Alberta, Canada, down through North Dakota and South Texas, past a major new discovery off the coast of French Guyana to huge offshore deposits found off Brazil.

The transformation is happening not as part of some grand design or major policy effort, but almost accidentally. This shift was not planned—it is a product of

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Rick Perry’s “Cut, Balance, and Grow” Plan Doesn’t Cut Much

Rick Perry Speaks at the Values Voter Summit

Texas Governor and Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry spelled out the details of his “Cut, Balance, and Grow” flat tax plan on October 25, saying that “the U.S. government spends too much. Taxes are too high, too complex, and too riddled with special-interest loopholes. And our expensive entitlement system is unsustainable in the long run.” Perry’s plan would offer taxpayers a choice between a new flat rate of 20 percent on incomes over $50,000, or their current income tax rate. The plan would allow them to file their taxes on a postcard, eliminating the enormous current compliance costs in filing their Form 1040s. Various deductions and exemptions would be eliminated, he says, thus improving incentives for entrepreneurs to invest, create, and hire.

In addition, Perry would cap government spending at 18 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and put a freeze on

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Supercommittee Stalls with the Clock Ticking

An F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, marked AA-1, lan...

With five weeks to go to create an agreement that will cut at least $1.2 trillion from the federal budget over the next ten years, there are few indications that the Supercommittee will propose anything substantial.

Despite demands from the co-chairs of the committee, Senators Patty Murray and Jeb Hensarling, that members not speak publicly about their work, Robert Pear, writing for the New York Times, was able to glean some insight into any progress the committee is making. According to a person working for the committee, members are “still hovering at 30,000 feet,” with no landing field in sight. Members are still asking,

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The Republicans’ New Jobs Through Growth Act

job - Me gustas tu

Following the Senate’s rejection of President Obama’s jobs bill on Tuesday, Senate Republicans have offered their own jobs bill, The Jobs Through Growth Actas an alternative. Presented by Senators John McCain (Ariz.), Rand Paul (Ky.) and Rob Portman (Ohio), the bill is designed to defuse the President’s charge that the Republicans had no plan of their own as well as offer different approaches to stimulating job growth. Said Paul, “We simply cannot look to the failed policies of the last two years for an example of how to grow our economy and create jobs. More government spending and excessive regulation are the problem, not the solution. We have spent too long increasing the tax and regulatory burdens on job creators, instead of allowing them to operate more freely and create more jobs.”

McCain said “We just thought it was time to put this all into a package. I will freely admit to you that part of it is in response to the president saying we don’t have a proposal,” while Portman called it “a pro-growth proposal to create the environment for jobs…as opposed to the short-term sweetener approach of the Obama administration that simply hasn’t worked.” According to McCain, most Senate Republicans have

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Top Economists Tell How to Grow Jobs

GROWTH

Image by SamuelBenoit (.wordpress.com) via Flickr

Now that the Senate has officially and resoundingly defeated President Obama’s jobs bill (The American Jobs Act), the question remains: just how do real jobs grow?

Matt Welch, writing in the November issue of Reason magazine, reminds his readers of what doesn’t work: government promotion of ideology. The Solyndra debacle is the most recent but not the only example. In May 2010 the President gushed over the positive impact Solyndra was having in growing jobs in the “green” sector:

We invested…in clean energy because not only would this spur hiring by businesses but it creates jobs in sectors with incredible potential to propel our economy for years, for decades to come. And we can see the positive impacts right here at Solyndra…

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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.