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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

The following opinions are those of the escapee and not those of the sponsor……

Everyone wants to be treated with dignity however so many folks forget that you must act dignified if you want to be treated that way.  How many buffoons are treated with dignity?…..well, except for some unnamed politicians.

Before sugar became a highly sought after staple there wasn’t much “manufacturing in the world.  The old spice and commodities trades were merely shipping agricultural products around the world.  It was complex and dangerous but didn’t involve much processing.  Sugar on the other hand was quite complex.  You couldn’t just cut a cane and throw it on a pile and magically have sugar a couple of days later.  The cane had to be crushed with heavy rollers and then the sap had to be heated or cooked if you will right away or its composition changed.   The products of the cooking process gave not only sugar but molasses which was the heaviest and last of the residue from the process.   Once sugar became known it Europe it was highly sought after.  It was certainly not a necessity but a luxury if you will but all levels of society wanted it; hence the huge industry built up around its production in Brazil and the Lesser Antilles.  It was a true industrial process that was very labor intensive.  That is why the overwhelming majority of all slaves imported by the Portuguese, British and Dutch primarily went to those locales and not the US.  Oh, as a curious follow -up, most people forget that the importation of slaves was banned by the US in 1808, long before the War Between the States and was not opposed by the Southern States.

Silicon Vally companies are rightly associated with the green movement and renewable energy programs.  Yet the few they have are merely for show.  Those large companies, like Facebook, AOL, Google, etc, have numerous huge warehouses each filled with those servers.  Those facilities absolutely eat electricity.  There is simply no way they can use solar or wind power for their work.  In theory they could of course but it would take several square miles for each facility in windmills or solar panels.  And as we are learning quickly even if those panels or windmills are located in “remote” areas there is always someone who thinks they destroy the environment or a snail darter and sues to block them, e.g. the fight off the coast of Massachusetts over sea-based windmills.   Panels on the roof tops would only provide a tiny fraction of the needed power.   They need huge amounts of space.  Some have estimated that to power them all we would need an area the size of Arizona in solar panels.  Don’t take my word for it check it out for yourself.

Remember those 3 or 5 page essays you had to write for English or literature classes and how you agonized over them?   Well, go get a volume of the complete works of Shakespeare and leaf through it.  Even though it took him years to do them all you certainly will have a great appreciation for the sheer amount of labor he had to put into those epics.    He wasn’t writing on an eight grade level either.   How did he make those stories and poems so pithy, cogent and yet so beautifully written.

Have you seen those pictures of the Greenland ice caps and glaciers from the 1930’s?   Such an interesting story and filled with lessons for us today.  They sat forgotten after a scientific mission in 1932 for decades.  They reveal the ice and glaciers were severely depleted, worse than anything today.  Then they came back in a short period of time.  Old Mother Nature has her own way of doing things and we should be a bit more humble about thinking we have everything figured out.  

Some of the pundits on CNBC have promoted the idea that the Treasury should issue at least 500 billion of Treasury notes because the interest rates are so low.  It would be “cheap” money available to the government for whatever purpose.  As a theoretical proposition it makes sense if you need to borrow to do so at the lowest possible rate and the rates right now are on the floor.  But there is one little fly in the ointment–last I checked we were already around 15.7 trillion in debt.  To borrow that much more would require another immediate increase in the debt ceiling.   Politically it wouldn’t happen and in any event what is going to be our ultimate limit?  I mean we can’t just keep borrowing forever?  Even governments sooner or later have to pay their debts, ask the Greeks.

Do you think Frau Merkel can keep all the unruly children in check?  Maybe she should be more sympathetic with them after all they might really mean their promises this time.  What is it the 5th, 6th, 10th time?   How many times do the miscreants get to erase the blackboard and have a fresh start?   Trouble is that Dad has to buy a new car every time they wreck the old one.

The Good Book endorses the notion of the rule of law, contract rights and property rights contrary to revisionist theologians.  Just re-read the parable of the Lord with the vineyard who hired workers for his vineyard after different times of the day–some early, some mid-day, and some late in the afternoon.  But for each of them he paid the agreed price regardless of the hours worked.  Those who started early in the morning raised cain, alleging unfairness since they worked longer.  But the Lord replied with two questions–did you not agree to the wage and did I not pay it? and  Can I not do what I will with my own property?  Yes, there are other lessons there also but it does affirm the sanctity of the rule of law and importance of contract rights and their enforcement and lastly that private property was to be respected.

“A reformer should be exempt from the suspension of interest, and he must possess the confidence and esteem of those whom he proposes to reclaim.” E. Gibbon,  historian.   www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

We offer fodder for the bored and aimless mind, at bargain prices…..

Twenty odd years ago when Greece was applying for and finally admitted to the Eurozone they demanded and received a special “bailout” as their price to vote for the admission of Portugal.  They didn’t transfer to the Euro until about 10 years ago and now are on the brink of financial collapse and demanding more bailout from others.  A quote just this week from a “man on the street” in Athens pretty well sums up their problem and their attitude.  He said that all they needed to do was take the money from the rich people and everything would be fine. Of course that money would last less than a year with their public employee payrolls and pension benefits.  After that what is their next plan–to take the money from the rich in other European countries?   Good luck with that.

Do you recall what the public welfare plan was for Jamestown when it was first established?   Some of those earlier settlers didn’t want to work the fields, build the cabins and hunt for food and provide for defence.   The welfare program was pretty simple–you don’t work you don’t get to share in the food or housing.  Only those physically unable were exempt and the community provided charity but not as a government requirement.  They had a rough go of it for a couple of years but the Tidewater area of Virginia continued to grow over the years from 1609 onward until Virginia was the most populous of the Colonies.

I am going to start throwing my shoe at the TV if the commentators and pundits don’t quit using the phrase “same exact” or its more elegant version “exact same”.  Darn, doesn’t anyone at those places know how to use proper English and syntax.   Could there possibly be a more redundant phrase.   One word or the other will be quite sufficient.

Some expert continue to predict that China growth will be the engine for global economic expansion and help raise the US economy.  You might want to check the Baltic Dry Index for the last few months.  The Chinese have significantly reduced steel production, they have slowed their shipments or iron ore and coal and have even delayed or simply defaulted on a number of such shipments.  They don’t apparently plan on building nearly as much at least in the near term and thus that growth will be a pretty small engine of world growth.  Everyone best re-think that strategy.   It doesn’t hurt to remember that the Chinese economy is there for the pleasure and amusement and benefit of the Communist Party.  They still have a tight rein on that country.  If you don’t believe me, ask Bo.

Are you surprised that a member of the NLRB appointed by a Democrat just resigned and took the position as general counsel for the AFL-CIO?   One can only guess what side he was on in every issue brought before that bureaucratic board.  

Geithner says that raising questions and concerns about increasing, again, the National Debt cause people to doubt the full faith and credit of the US and its  ability to pay its bills.   I believe that that is exactly why the question should be raised and that the National Debt must be controlled immediately–so we WILL be able to pay our debts on time.  If if keeps going up there is a limit to how much our creditors will advance.  The Fed has been buying over 60% of all our new debt and the others are bound to be getting nervous.   I just wish for once the Democrats would agree that there has to be a limit on its size.  I mean can it go to 35 trillion, 50 trillion?  Surely any rational mind would agree that the sky is NOT the limit.   The current budget proposals of BO already project the Debt to almost hit 30 trillion within a decade.   If not now, when are we going to address this problem.   Cut just 1 %, a measly 1% of the actual expenditures, not projected growth rate increases, across the board and it could balance out over a few years.

Gold and the Gold standard has many critics.  They claim it has no inherent value; that it does not represent a storehouse of value.  They believe the fiat currency  is the modern world and the only way to advance and manage  a modern economy.  Certainly not all but many economists tout this approach.  But, but, but, what causes me pause is that the fact that numerous central banks around the world have been accumulating gold for the last couple of years and continue to do so even as we speak.  Those central banks are run by the same economists and left-wing politicos who denounce gold.   Do actions speak louder than words.

Well, did you get rich and retire on your Facebook stock?  Never have understood why there is much money in teenage girls talking about Fluffy their cat and their new hairstyle or clothes purchase, except other teenage girls.    No matter how many gazillion users it may have it seems from a business standpoint that it is now at least a niche market with limited upside.   But what do I know, if you think it is great then bet the farm on it.  But I would recommend if you do,  that you sharpen your other job skills and learn to like living in an efficiency apartment.

One can only laugh at the outer limits of political correctness in vogue today.  The other day on a NPR show a caller to a scientist suggested that Black holes should be called “gravity holes” to eliminate negative connotations.  Well, even on NPR the scientist was taken aback a bit.  Firstly we could note that they are called Black holes because no light can escape from them and thus they are black.  That is why they are harder to discern by astronomers.  Where is Alice, this must be Wonderland.

“I have noticed that nothing I never said ever did me any harm.”  Calvin Coolidge www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

We thought about reducing the price of opinions in light of the current economy but decided that we would go for a more upscale clientele.   

Every day there are news stories about the crisis of obesity in the USA and yet we also are made aware that about 47 million Americans are on the Food Stamp program.  Go figure.  Something seems wrong with that picture.  

What’s going on in Greece with their elections and seeming resistance to any kind of self-discipline is Greek to me.  Do they really expect that Germany and other northern European countries will gladly and forever fund their bloated government employment and government sponsored programs?   Since Man first conceived the idea of money and currency it has been true that who pays the Piper gets to call  the tune.  The Greeks have forgotten their history.

Why do some lawmakers insist that we constantly need new laws especially at the Federal level?   I just finished my continuing legal education requirement course and this year I took one on Collections and Creditors Rights.  Most of the segments were devoted to warning the lawyers for creditors about the protections afforded consumers under existing law before the CFPB and Ms. Warren became all the rage last year.  We have had in place consumer protections at the Federal level with the Fair Debt Collection Act for decades.  It is filled with protections and sanctions against unscrupulous or cheating creditors.  Likewise every State has some version of the Uniform Commercial Code and a complete chapter on Consumer Protection.  In most of them that is literally the name of the Chapter.  Consumers already could sue and even recover attorney’s fees for wrongdoing by lenders and other creditors.  Why in the devil did we need another layer on this onion?   Some politicians like to make the public think they are doing something useful for them when they are just duplicating what already exist.

You have heard of frankincense from the Christmas story and other places.  It was and is an incense highly prized for its aroma.  In the ancient world especially with no refrigeration or air conditioning it was the height of luxury to have those smells wafting through your house.  The upscale Greek or Roman of ancient days wanted it badly and this continued through to the modern age.  It comes mostly from Yemen and the Horn of Africa area (modern Eritrea and Ethiopia).  It is the sap from and tree that is tapped like we do a Maple tree and then the sap is laid out to dry to a crystal type substance and then crushed to a powder.  The Magi that brought the frankincense really got it from the south of Bethlehem, not the east.  From that region it was transported up to Egypt and then spread across the Mediterranean Sea to all the ports of call.

When Julius Caesar first invaded Britain in the mid-40’s BC it wasn’t really a conquest.  He went there twice actually but each time stayed only for a very short time.  It was more a recon in force and a blow and warning to the Brits of that age not to aid and abet his real opponents which were the Gauls of northern France who were using Britain as a safe haven and place to regroup as it were.  It was much like the modern situation with Afghanistan and Pakistan where the Taliban and Al Qaeda run to rest and reform.  It was about 80 years later when the Romans made the real and permanent invasion.  That time they ever brought a few elephants with them.  They remained there as masters of most of Britain for about 400 years until the time of the mythical or real King Arthur. 

I didn’t realize that Ms Warren and I shared so much in common.  I also per family oral history and legion have about 1/32 or 1/16th Cherokee blood.  I got those high cheek bones too and supposedly a great or great great grandma was Cherokee in Indian Territory in the post War Between the States era.  But I never listed that on any application or touted it as something special.  Never really thought about it much and still don’t know if it is even true.  But I grew up in the age before all the advantages that flow from affirmative action programs and diversity as the highest prize.   We were judged strictly on what we did or did not do.  There weren’t any grading curves.  Even when I went to law school our grades were posted publicly as was our class rank.  It was pinned to a bulletin board right outside the dean’s office for all the world to see.  There was no “good job” for those in the lower ranks, just the results of their grades compared to everyone else.   Actually, there was no praise for anyone; we just did our work and moved on.

Forward is the new and latest catchword for the BO campaign.  Reminds of that old Glenn Ford movie–“Advance To The Rear”.  Forward to what?  It is fine for the leader to stand up and say Forward men, follow me but the men got to believe in the goal and the method the leader has chosen to accomplish it.  What has happened in the last three and half years to instill confidence that BO and his academic crewmates have any clue about how to lead an economy anywhere except over a cliff?

Contrary to the apparent belief of many left wingers the US Constitution is not an aide-memoire but a real contract between the people and the government that sets out the limits on government.  The people were willing to grant the Federal government only so much power and no more; thus the 9th and 10th amendments and the Federalists Papers.

A warning of where we could be heading–“The powerful force of competition….will not disappear in a socialist Society, but ….will be sublimated.”  Leon Trotsky.   www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

Lot’s of thoughts to pass along today from the headlines of our times and times past…..

If the Individual mandate is held to be constitutional then we truly will have passed from a system of limited government to a parliamentary type system.  In upheld then any future Congress can simply state that a new law is being passed because the activity is deemed part of interstate commerce and pass anything they want.  There will be no limits as we originally intended with our Constitution.  In parliamentary systems that is the way things work.  The majority party can pass anything it likes and that is the law, period unless and until it is repealed or modified by a later parliament.  I personally like the idea of the Federal government having clear boundaries on its authority over us.  If this is upheld they could easily decide that only 5 banks were going to be allowed to operate in the future and that everyone would be required to get a debit card from one of them and use them for all purchases.  They have power over the banks already and spending your money certainly affects interstate commerce and of course the federal demographers, Census bureau, Labor department and the FBI and Homeland Security would love to have a clear track record of everything you buy.  Give it some thought.  Is that the kind of government you want? Even if they didn’t do it would you want the Feds to have that power?

Per the Federal Reserve it bought 61% of all the Treasury issues last year.  That is troubling and should concern us all.  The artificially low rates do to the Fed purchases distort and hide the true cost of our national debt.  Bernancke talks about the real demand for our debt in the markets.  The facts belie that statement.  That fact also denies his constant assertion that the Fed is not monetizing the deficits each year.  You do understand that when the Fed buys those Treasury notes they simply print up the money to do it; it is created out of whole clothe and does not represent a real increase in economic worth of our country.  It helps the federal government keep the cost of borrowing low for a while.  But even supporters of this action realize it can’t go on forever.   Sooner or later the “markets” will demand much higher rates for lending us money or the inflation dragon will begin to breathe real fire.   There is no strong demand world-wide for US debt or the Feds wouldn’t have to “buy” so much of it with their printing press.   As the political season progresses we need to pay attention to the deficits and the total debt and the real cost when we have to start paying market rates for our debt which will add hundreds of billions annually to our deficit.

Don’t rest on your oars yet about the Greek debt crisis.  The latest polls indicate that the parties that just signed and agreed to the EU bailout are in real danger of losing the elections scheduled in the next few weeks.  The opposition is vehemently opposed to the bailout and the austerity called for under it.   If they do win then the odds dramatically  that Greece will exit the Eurozone voluntarily or involuntarily.  There will be chaos again because of the fear that Portugal, Spain or Italy might be next.  Of course the Germans might sooner or later simply throw up their hands and say to hell with all of them.   Watch your stock portfolio carefully the next few months. The fat lady may have sung on the last bailout but someone might be writing a new Act to the opera.

The incident with the Jetblue pilot is a sad story.  You have to feel for him and his family for the mental torment he is obviously enduring.  The passengers must have been rightly terrified during the entire incident.  Glad all ended well and hope that man recovers his balance.

During the 5th and 6th centuries what were considered heretical sects of Christianity by the Catholic Church spread across much of the mid east and even into India and China.  Little known fact but they had monasteries and priests, the whole shebang.  Indeed about a 100o years later when the Portuguese came to Gao off the coast of India they were surprised to find many there who were “Christian”.  Of course they didn’t recognize the Pope in Rome so conflict became the rule of the day in that region.   They imprisoned many of the leaders and brought rule from Rome.  However the Nestorians as they were called endured until the Dutch replaced the Portuguese and they rose up against the Portuguese and re-established they connection to their “bishop” who held sway over that Christian sect from Baghdad.  

The peach buds have popped out already but it is that time of year.  Seven or eight weeks from now we will have fresh peaches for a couple of weeks to adorn the vanilla ice cream or to do a cobbler.   Assuming the lady of the house deigns to do a cobbler.

Are you aware that the EPA has “cops” to enforce its laws and rules?  I mean they have badges and carry guns and are authorized to arrest people and shoot them.  I mean why else do they carry guns?  Its one thing for the FBI do have this authority but the list of other government agencies that allow federal cops to use force to compel compliance with Federal rules is troubling to me.   I didn’t know they had police force til just the other day.  If environment laws have been violated them let the issues citations and impose fines but arresting people under threat of being shot? I don’t think so.  Let real cops enforce our criminal laws.

On the relationship of government and man–“A ploughman on his legs is higher than a gentleman on his knees.” Ben Franklin www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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