Category Archives: Politics

RFK On the Mindless Menace of Violence

Last night we had the pleasure of viewing “Bobby,” a movie which recounts imagined events which occured and persons who were at the Ambassador Hotel the fateful night of June 5, 1968 when Senator Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated at a campaign rally there.

The film was directed by Emilio Estevez and had a cast which was loaded with stars a diverse group of stars including Harry Belafonte, Heather Graham, Helen Hunt, Anthony Hopkins, Demi Moore, Lindsay Lohan, Christian Slater, Elijah Wood, and Estevez himself.

Despite the star-studded cast, it was Senator Kennedy himself who stole the show.  While the entire story revolved around Kennedy, no actor was chosen to play him.  Instead, Estevez included original footage and voice recoordings of Kennedy himself, essentially letting Senator Kennedy star in the film.

Estevez pulled this effect off in spectacular fashion as the presence of Kennedy in the film overwhelms the formidable supporting cast.  In retrospect, the film would have been severly hanicapped had an actor attempted to potray Kennedy.

At the end of the film, a montage of photos is run while the audio of a speech which Senator Kennedy gave at the City Club of Cleveland on the day after Martin Luther King, Jr. was assasinated, April 5, 1968.  It is titled “On the Mindless Menace of Violence,” and it is powerful.  You may read it below or listen to it by clicking here.

On the Mindless Menace of Violence

“This is a time of shame and sorrow. It is not a day for politics. I have saved this one opportunity, my only event of today, to speak briefly to you about the mindless menace of violence in America which again stains our land and every one of our lives.

It is not the concern of any one race. The victims of the violence are black and white, rich and poor, young and old, famous and unknown. They are, most important of all, human beings whom other human beings loved and needed. No one – no matter where he lives or what he does – can be certain who will suffer from some senseless act of bloodshed. And yet it goes on and on and on in this country of ours.

Why? What has violence ever accomplished? What has it ever created? No martyr’s cause has ever been stilled by an assassin’s bullet.

No wrongs have ever been righted by riots and civil disorders. A sniper is only a coward, not a hero; and an uncontrolled, uncontrollable mob is only the voice of madness, not the voice of reason.

Whenever any American’s life is taken by another American unnecessarily – whether it is done in the name of the law or in the defiance of the law, by one man or a gang, in cold blood or in passion, in an attack of violence or in response to violence – whenever we tear at the fabric of the life which another man has painfully and clumsily woven for himself and his children, the whole nation is degraded.

“Among free men,” said Abraham Lincoln, “there can be no successful appeal from the ballot to the bullet; and those who take such appeal are sure to lose their cause and pay the costs.”

Yet we seemingly tolerate a rising level of violence that ignores our common humanity and our claims to civilization alike. We calmly accept newspaper reports of civilian slaughter in far-off lands. We glorify killing on movie and television screens and call it entertainment. We make it easy for men of all shades of sanity to acquire whatever weapons and ammunition they desire.

Too often we honor swagger and bluster and wielders of force; too often we excuse those who are willing to build their own lives on the shattered dreams of others. Some Americans who preach non-violence abroad fail to practice it here at home. Some who accuse others of inciting riots have by their own conduct invited them.

Some look for scapegoats, others look for conspiracies, but this much is clear: violence breeds violence, repression brings retaliation, and only a cleansing of our whole society can remove this sickness from our soul.

For there is another kind of violence, slower but just as deadly destructive as the shot or the bomb in the night. This is the violence of institutions; indifference and inaction and slow decay. This is the violence that afflicts the poor, that poisons relations between men because their skin has different colors. This is the slow destruction of a child by hunger, and schools without books and homes without heat in the winter.

This is the breaking of a man’s spirit by denying him the chance to stand as a father and as a man among other men. And this too afflicts us all.

I have not come here to propose a set of specific remedies nor is there a single set. For a broad and adequate outline we know what must be done. When you teach a man to hate and fear his brother, when you teach that he is a lesser man because of his color or his beliefs or the policies he pursues, when you teach that those who differ from you threaten your freedom or your job or your family, then you also learn to confront others not as fellow citizens but as enemies, to be met not with cooperation but with conquest; to be subjugated and mastered.

We learn, at the last, to look at our brothers as aliens, men with whom we share a city, but not a community; men bound to us in common dwelling, but not in common effort. We learn to share only a common fear, only a common desire to retreat from each other, only a common impulse to meet disagreement with force. For all this, there are no final answers.

Yet we know what we must do. It is to achieve true justice among our fellow citizens. The question is not what programs we should seek to enact. The question is whether we can find in our own midst and in our own hearts that leadership of humane purpose that will recognize the terrible truths of our existence.

We must admit the vanity of our false distinctions among men and learn to find our own advancement in the search for the advancement of others. We must admit in ourselves that our own children’s future cannot be built on the misfortunes of others. We must recognize that this short life can neither be ennobled or enriched by hatred or revenge.

Our lives on this planet are too short and the work to be done too great to let this spirit flourish any longer in our land. Of course we cannot vanquish it with a program, nor with a resolution.

But we can perhaps remember, if only for a time, that those who live with us are our brothers, that they share with us the same short moment of life; that they seek, as do we, nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and in happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment they can.

Surely, this bond of common faith, this bond of common goal, can begin to teach us something. Surely, we can learn, at least, to look at those around us as fellow men, and surely we can begin to work a little harder to bind up the wounds among us and to become in our own hearts brothers and countrymen once again.”

We wish each and every one of you a safe and prosperous new year.

MF Global Hearings move to the Senate: Bombs dropping left and right amongst the deaf

12/13/2011 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

Today the Agricultural committee of the US Senate played host to what has become the political and financial spectacle of the year:  The Hearings on the MF Global collapse.  We have equated these hearings to professional wrestling.  While high in entertainment value, the spectators are left to wonder how much of it is real and how much of the action is staged.

 

Today, Jon Corzine, MF Global’s former CEO, the ultimate insider who has become the poster boy for the corporate and political corruption that seems to rule the day, was joined by Bradley Abelow, former President and COO of MF Global and Henri Steenkamp, who is still acting as the firm’s CFO.

 You can watch the sad spectacle on C-SPAN at the following link: http://www.c-span.org/Events/Senate-Looks-into-MF-Global-Bankruptcy/10737426222/

 

Jon Corzine takes a quick thumb to the eye at MF Global’s Wrestlmania

It appears that the addition of two more members of MF Global’s senior management team was intended to give the illusion that there may be more information forthcoming at this hearing than at the earlier hearing held by the House Agricultural Committee.  That illusion was quickly dispelled as soon as each of them opened their mouths.

 In summary, they are very, very sorry.  They are aware that this situation has undermined confidence in the markets.  They do not know where the $1.2 billion of missing client funds are.  They are pretty sure that the funds went missing from their treasury group, where the funds are held.

 Strangely, the Patriot Act of 2001, in addition to steamrolling the US Constitution, included provisions which required every banking institution in the US to “know their customer,” which in practice means that no transfer from US accounts could have taken place without the authorities being able to quickly track who the money went to.  This provision, which on its face would make theft and money laundering in US Financial institutions impossible, makes “not knowing” who the money went to an untenable defense.

Nonetheless, Corzine and his cohorts stated again and again that they have no idea where it went.

The only revelation, apart from the names of a few MF Global employees who were offered as sacrificial lambs before the inquisition style questioning, was that the CFO of North American division was apparently on vacation when the funds went missing. 

 

They never mentioned whether or not this individual had returned.

 

Corzine went as far to say that nothing he said, such as “I don’t care where you get the money, we have to make this margin call,” for example, “should have been construed” as permission to transfer client funds into MF Global operating accounts and then out to counterparties.  He is obviously slipping towards a plea and hoping to do time with his Goldman buddies at a posh jail in Manhattan.

 

By the end of the morning, nothing that was said, either by a member of the Senate or former MF Global executive, served to instill any measure of confidence.

 

The afternoon, however, looked promising.  The regulators who were on the case and had their noses close to the ground were set to testify.  CME Group Executive Chairman Terrence Duffy, MF Global Trustee James Giddens and CFTC Commissioner Jill Sommers sat down before the committee and took the obligatory oath.

 

Mr. Giddens lead off, restating the obvious.  He is in charge of ensuring that MF Global assets are liquidated and that the proceeds distributed to the creditors based on the criteria laid out in the US Bankruptcy code.  He would later state that efforts to recover assets abroad had been blocked by sovereign governments (those across the Atlantic), who are likely protecting their banks from what would be a devastating clawback of funds.

 

Then, just as we thought that the afternoon would be a snoozefest, Mr. Duffy of the CME Group dropped a bombshell.  In his opening remarks, he stated that he was “in the room” when a CME employee was on the phone with an MF Global employee who stated that Mr. Corzine had direct knowledge that client funds were missing (or in industry parlance, “loaned out”) well before the weekend of October 31st.

 

This directly contradicted Mr. Corzine’s testimony under oath in which he stated that he had “no knowledge” of the missing client funds until that fateful weekend.

 

Et tu, Brute?

 

The diversion only lasted for a moment.  The committee then proceeded to flagellate Mr. Duffy and the CME Group for defending the idea that their exchanges can properly self regulate themselves.

 

Mrs. Sommers of the CFTC was then flagellated by the committee for the failure of the government agency to regulate entities such as the CME Group and MF Global which are supposed to, if we understand correctly, self regulate themselves.

 

As today’s chapter of the spectacle came to a close, there were more questions than answers.  Like the old WWF, no scores were permanently settled and we will have to tune in Friday to see how the next stage in this drama unfolds.  It promises to be exciting, as the committee includes none other than Ron Paul (R-TX), the one man in Congress who may actually understand what happened.

 

The Witness list for Friday can be found here.

 

For those who have not been following, the MF Global situation is extremely important because a number of things that investors have been able to count on have been called into question.  A brief list of these now invalid assumptions:

 

          Client funds are properly segregated from a brokerage company’s operating funds.

          Exchanges such as the CME Group will backstop (make whole) clients in the event that one of their approved brokerage firms goes bankrupt.

          Exchanges will halt trading in the event of a bankruptcy until any missing client funds can be accounted for and that trades from customers of the bankrupt brokerage can be executed.

          Once a brokerage firm declares bankruptcy, all assets must be handed immediately over to a trustee who from that moment on has a fiduciary duty to sell the bankrupt firms assets to the highest bidder to satisfy as many creditors as possible.

          Regulatory agencies such as the CFTC have controls and monitoring in place which will prevent clients from suffering losses if a brokerage firm misappropriates their funds.

          Sarbanes Oxley has effectively eliminated corporate fraud.

          The commodity exchanges, such as the CME Group, can effectively self regulate.

          Theft is illegal.

 

Every day which passes in which there is not a full recovery of the client funds held by MF Global adds to the list of questions.  And every day that passes serves to call further into question the ability of all brokerage houses, exchanges, and government regulators to make good on their promises.

 

The MF Global situation is not simply about the bankruptcy of a large brokerage, it is about whether or not the rule of law can be trusted to operate in the financial markets of the United States of America.

 

For all of the bankruptcies and bank seizures that have occurred in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, in most cases there has been confidence that the framework of the markets could be trusted, and that the myriad of regulatory entities which are supposed to make Capitalism safe for all have everyting under control.

 

After MF Global, one has to question whether any asset, paper or physical, entrusted to a financial institution is safe.

 

In related news, Mr. Giddens (the MF Global Trustee above) announced today that JP Morgan would be probed in the MF Global investigation.

 

This can only serve to further disrupt futures markets.  Is the end of the current system nigh?

 

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint

Email: davidminteconomics@gmail.com

Key Indicators for December 13, 2011

Copper Price per Lb: $3.43
Oil Price per Barrel:  $100.02

Corn Price per Bushel:  $5.88  
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  1.96%

FED Target Rate:  0.07%  ON AUTOPILOT, THE FED IS DEAD!

Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,632 PERMANENT UNCERTAINTY

MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  2.00%
Unemployment Rate:  8.6%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  -0.1%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  11,995  

M1 Monetary Base:  $2,255,500,000,000 RED ALERT!!!  THE ANIMALS ARE LEAVING THE ZOO!!!
M2 Monetary Base:  $9,623,700,000,000 YIKES UP $1 Trillion in one year!!!!!!!

The benefits of Decentralized power, Rumblings of QE3, the clock is ticking on the currency regime

12/12/2011 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…
There is something strangely satisfying about sitting around a large indoor fire just feet away from the Christmas tree with family.  In those moments, one can partake of all that is right with the world.  It occurred to us that we all strive for these moments yet at times they can seem elusive.  Eternity is placed in our hearts, and time on earth seems to be in short supply.
As such, we must use it wisely.
We have been extolling the benefits of what we have been calling True Capitalism.  True Capitalism is what we here at The Mint humbly offer as the solution to what currently ails the world.  There is one byproduct of True Capitalism, a radical respect of life and property, which is often overlooked and is perhaps “central” to the advantage that it has over every other conceivable construct of society:
True Capitalism works to decentralize power.
In other words, it naturally evens the playing field by removing unfair advantages realized by some at the expense of others.
But isn’t that what Government is supposed to do?  Of course it is!  However, governments circa 2011 are in the middle of an unprecedented power grab.  This centralization of power, they say, is necessary in order to homogenize life as we know it and to help everything run smoothly.
Even if this were possible, there is a fundamental problem created by the centralization of power which is without resolution.  In layman’s terms, it makes for an easy target.
When we see the word target, your mind may conjure up images of vulnerability of a military attack.  However, what we have in mind is much more dangerous.  An army of lobbyists.
Herein lies the weakness of centralized power.  However good its intentions, it will constantly be under attack and subsequent influence of groups who desire this centralized power for their own benefit.  Repelling these attacks is expensive.  Succumbing to them, as is more often the case, will bankrupt a nation.
Governing is not cheap, and there are no economies of scale in it.  Rather, the larger it is, the less efficient it becomes.  Does this sound familiar?  This is what we have now thanks to the Might Makes Right ideology by which we are ruled.
Enter True Capitalism.
In a Truly Capitalistic system, the cost of the nation state drops to zero, for the nation state as we know it would cease to exist.  Does this mean that there will be not be a need for governance?  No, on the contrary, the roles which we now attribute to government will be carried out by any number of organizations.  Governance, in general, would increase, yet it would cost less!
How is this possible?  Voluntary governmental bodies are generally more responsive and efficient, in large part because the cost of governance falls directly to those individuals who desire to pay for it.
Governance has value, and its value can and is be properly set on an open market.  The phenomenon of corporations and persons choosing to reside in low tax venues represents a conscious choice of where and by whom one prefers to be governed by those individuals.
In the west, the value of the brand of government provided in the US and Europe is dropping along with its bond prices.  The fact that nations issue bonds is proof of two things:  That their service oriented businesses are failing and that they will be increasingly reliant upon their ability to forcefully relieve their citizens of their assets (commonly known as taxation) to continue operations.
In other words, they will rely on their Might, the use of force, to justify their “right” to govern.
This untenable “Might Makes Right” system that can only operate as long as people believe that the aggressor has absolute power over them.  This is why countries have flags and dictatorships have the image of the dictator plastered everywhere.  This is why people are being forced into the current banking system, taught to rely upon it, and subsequently shut out of it.
This is a reason why Modern Central Banking and the Corporations that have sprung up around the Central Banks are man’s greatest disaster.
Once the currency and banking systems of Europe and America are completely broken down, people’s blind faith in the currency and its issuer will be destroyed.  The currency regime will then quickly disintegrate
The Federal Reserve will likely allude to QE3 to the tune of $1 trillion dollars today in a desperate attempt to keep the currency regime afloat.
The clock is ticking on these failed monetary experiments.
Do you know where your money is?
Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.
Stay Fresh!

Key Indicators for December 12, 2011
Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,665 PERMANENT UNCERTAINTY

M1 Monetary Base:  $2,255,500,000,000 RED ALERT!!!  THE ANIMALS ARE LEAVING THE ZOO!!!
M2 Monetary Base:  $9,623,700,000,000 YIKES UP $1 Trillion in one year!!!!!!!

EU Treaty Exposes English and French Differences

12/9/2011 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

As many are aware, the EU ramrod “save the currency” treaty was quickly accepted by the countries who are all in on the Euro, while those who saw that drinking the Euro koolaid was likely to kill them, namely England, rejected the treaty.

For us, this exposed the fundamental differences in the English and those on the continent.

One of these differences being that the French tend to think of children as innocents who become corrupted as they age (which is why they are more apt to tolerate the immoral shenanigans of their governing class more than the Brits or Americans do), the English understand that children, as much as adults, are capable of both good and evil at any age.  They hope for the best and, at their best, prepare for the worst.

This is why the French could not believe the premise of the Lord of the Flies.  Why were these children portrayed as being aggressive to eachother?

While this observation is neither here nor there, we leave you with the French and English leaders as they interacted at the EU summit.

 

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint

Email: davidminteconomics@gmail.com

Key Indicators for December 9, 2011

Copper Price per Lb: $3.57
Oil Price per Barrel:  $99.41

Corn Price per Bushel:  $5.85
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  2.05%
FED Target Rate:  0.07%  ON AUTOPILOT, THE FED IS DEAD!

Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,711 PERMANENT UNCERTAINTY

MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  2.00%
Unemployment Rate:  8.6%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  -0.1%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  12,184

M1 Monetary Base:  $2,255,500,000,000 RED ALERT!!!  THE ANIMALS ARE LEAVING THE ZOO!!!
M2 Monetary Base:  $9,623,700,000,000 YIKES UP $1 Trillion in one year!!!!!!!

John Corzine Testifies to a Congressional Panel on MF Global Collapse

12/8/2011 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

Today the world witnessed one of the most surreal spectacles that we can imagine.  John Corzine, former CEO of MF Global, the Primary Dealer which went bankrupt on October 31st and is now missing $1.2 billion of client funds, was called on to testify by a group of men in the US Congress who are trying to understand what went wrong and how they can prevent it from occuring again.

You can see the agonizing hearing in all of its glory by clicking the link below.  Our humble observations:

1.  Neither Mr. Corzine or Congress said anything that should give any measure of confidence to participants in the global financial markets.

2.  Mr. Corzine is sorry this happened.

3.  One of the members of the panel stated the obvious “we got to find that money.”  Understatement of the year.

4.  Mr. Corzine is so confident that the client funds will be recovered that he mumbled, after being pressed by a member of the panel, that he and the other executives would personally reimburse clients in the event that it wasn’t (NOT!)

5.  Questions about the Federal Reserve’s ability to properly vet firms who are qualified to be Primary Dealers.

We didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.  Mr. Corzine looked like a large elf from the camera angle and the members of congress, in most cases, sounded less than up to the task of understanding what happened, much less being able to craft legislation which would prevent a similar event in the future.

It was like watching political professional wrestling.  The entertainment value was fairly high, excitement filled the room, but it left you wondering if what you saw was real or simply scripted and well acted by all involved.

All in all, it was a synopsis of the level corruption and ignorance that grace the halls of power in America circa 2011.

See the entire sorry spectacle courtesy of C-Span:  http://www.c-span.org/Events/Fmr-Senator-Corzine-to-Testify-in-MF-Global-Investigation/10737426111-1/

Perhaps now the Farmer and the Cowman will befriend each other, grab their pitchforks, and storm capital hill until their $1.2 billion is returned.

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint

Email: davidminteconomics@gmail.com

Key Indicators for December 8, 2011

Copper Price per Lb: $3.49
Oil Price per Barrel:  $98.57

Corn Price per Bushel:  $5.90  
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  1.97%

FED Target Rate:  0.08%  ON AUTOPILOT, THE FED IS DEAD!

Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,706 PERMANENT UNCERTAINTY

MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  2.00%
Unemployment Rate:  8.6%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  -0.1%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  11,998  

M1 Monetary Base:  $2,255,500,000,000 RED ALERT!!!  THE ANIMALS ARE LEAVING THE ZOO!!!
M2 Monetary Base:  $9,623,700,000,000 YIKES UP $1 Trillion in one year!!!!!!!

Losing even blind faith in the Euro and USD, remembering Pearl Harbor

12/7/2011 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

Today we continue to watch the relative calm in both the stock and bond markets with our jaw hanging just inches from the floor.  In our estimation, the calm, or homeostasis, is perhaps the only thing that is completely inexplicable under the current state of affairs.

Just what is that state of affairs, you ask?  A few off the top of our head:

          Downgrades or the threat of downgrades to nearly every sovereign bond on the planet

          A resulting dearth of quality assets to be used as collateral in the financial system

          A debt based economy collectively attempting to live within its means

          The resulting collapse of the debt based economy

          An imminent war in Persia

But these are simply large events that are leading to a great number of small decisions which are in turn causing more unforeseen large scale events, etc.  The result being that, much to the chagrin of the financial authorities, a majority of the world is embracing frugality.

A quick recap for those are joining us for the first time, the powers that be, the current currency regime, rely on an ever expanding amount of debt in order to continue to function.  It is a system that is based on trust and blind faith, for it offers nothing of lasting value.

In the short term, the system, if functioning properly, allows a great deal of power to be centralized.  It also encourages, albeit indirectly, nearly every sort of vice and shuns virtue.  The system tends to reward bad behavior and to promote into leadership those who are least likely to possess a moral compass.

The system is no longer functioning as designed.  The reach of the currency regime is shrinking and will continue to shrink until the only ones who maintain faith in it are the most morally decrepit individuals and institutions on the planet.  They will continue to trade their increasingly worthless paper until they realize that they are simply shuffling paper amongst themselves, long after they have completely lost any semblance of control that they had on the situation.

Much of this paper shuffling is running through the stock and bond markets, and seemingly these markets are calm.  However, the illusion of stability is being maintained at the cost of trillions of new dollars and Euros being created which are rapidly losing value against anything tangible.

In the United States, the dollar will begin to significantly deteriorate sometime in March, according to our crude calculations.  The Euro, whose handlers have been late to start the game of shameless currency debasement, is more likely to implode with the European banking system as they gag on the sewage of assets that are on their balance sheets.

The great irony of the current currency regime is that a currency which has attempted to maintain its value will become extinct, shunned for one whose value is plummeting.

The Euro and US Dollar are showing the world the two paths that a currency regime can follow to destruction.  It will be interesting to see which car ceases to operate first, the motor that runs out of gas or the one that has its gas tank overflow and goes up in flames.

Either way the economy, which is the motor of the vehicle in the metaphor we have just jumped to, is currently being retooled to run on another type of combustible, one that will last much longer than the current blend of currency gasoline which is nothing more than flammable vapors.  If the currency, and the assets which back it have real value, the economic motor will be allowed to run at a more even pace.

Gold and Silver, ready or not, here we come.  Until then, the economy is sputtering and running on fumes.

Pearl Harbor

We cannot let today pass without a few brief words about Pearl Harbor.  Like 9/11, Pearl Harbor served as a national wake-up call.  Both served as the justifications for the largest military actions and suppressions of freedom (which seem to go hand in hand) that America has known. 

The explosion of the USS Shaw during the attack on Pearl Harbor, courtesy of the US National Archives

As this day that lives in infamy passes, we pause to honor those who perished in these events and the subsequent military actions which occurred as a result of these events.  May they rest in peace, and may mankind learn to avoid the suffering and sacrifices they had to endure at all costs.

War is not necessary and must be undertaken only after every other attempt to engage and deter an aggressor has been exhausted.  It is an act of desperation, not a form of economic stimulus, and it troubles us that the widespread loss of life and property has been referred to as the force which lifted the US out of the great depression.

Those who hold to such a theory are not only following an indefensible logic, they are hurling the ultimate insult to men and women who have fought to defend Freedom throughout history.  For any “stimulus” which has been observed is not the result of the decision of a politician to go to war, rather, it is a result their tireless efforts and indomitable spirits which lifted this and many other countries from the ashes of war.

We pray that more of these heroic efforts and indomitable spirits will not be squandered in Persia.

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint

Email: davidminteconomics@gmail.com

Key Indicators for December 7, 2011

Copper Price per Lb: $3.53
Oil Price per Barrel:  $100.51

Corn Price per Bushel:  $5.82  
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  2.12%

FED Target Rate:  0.08%  ON AUTOPILOT, THE FED IS DEAD!

Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,742PERMANENT UNCERTAINTY

MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  2.00%
Unemployment Rate:  8.6%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  -0.1%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  12,020  

M1 Monetary Base:  $2,155,200,000,000 RED ALERT!!!  THE ANIMALS ARE LEAVING THE ZOO!!!
M2 Monetary Base:  $9,627,300,000,000YIKES UP $1 Trillion in one year!!!!

Revolution Fire Continues to Rage, What’s wrong with Anarchy?

For your weekend enjoyment we offer another classic Mint in its original form.  Enjoy and have a great weekend!

2/24/2011 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

Today we can hardly believe our eyes.  What appeared to be a simple revolution in a remote land, Tunisia, has begun a chain of events that may touch every person on the planet before it is through.  We will call it the “Fire” of revolution, at it seems to be catching everywhere.  The grievances of a generation are beginning to be aired in public forums from Tripoli to Madison, Wisconsin.  As you are aware, we are of the opinion that the spark for this fire began it what may appear to be a very far away place.  Washington, D.C.  
 
While many conspiracy theorists have their own, well, theories, we believe that this is collateral damage from the Federal Reserve’s misguided attempt to leave no debt unpaid by simply printing the money up to pay them.  It is simple enough to do in their ivory towers, but the consequences in the real world, in the form of trade and production imbalances, which are sometimes referred to as “Malinvestments,” are absolutely and totally destructive to balance in society.
 
The consequences of printing money are generally felt in two forms.
 
The most obvious form is what is being seen in Greece and now Wisconsin.  In these cases the government made promises to workers, retirees, and other constituents that they cannot honor.  The governments appear to be doing the honest thing and are effectively defaulting on these promises.  However, they are attempting to default at exactly the wrong moment, as the increased money supply begins to pinch workers in the developed world.  In both cases, many public workers are simply being asked to give up privileges such as the ability to take a long holiday at the beach.  In both cases, we are seeing sometimes violent evidence of just how hard it is for the government to default on its promises.
 
The less obvious and more damaging form of consequences are what we are seeing in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Algeria, Bahrain and Libya.  In these cases, the governments are not technically defaulting on promises, rather, they are seen as the scapegoats for rapidly rising food costs which threaten to drive many to the point of starvation.  These rising food costs are the indirect result of the governments in the developed world attempting to give their public employees holidays at the beach.  Naturally, with the stakes higher in the developing world, a sense of desperation has set in and the pace of and violence involved in the uprisings is markedly higher.
 
Today we will go one step further at the risk letting the FED off the hook for sparking these revolutions with their insane monetary policy.  That step is to postulate that the cause of the flood of money and credit which has lead to higher food prices stems from people’s unwavering faith in their leaders and/or elected governments.  This unwavering faith, which stems from people’s need to feel secure, generates an inertia towards demands for a nanny state, in which the government is expected to take care of every legitimate and some illegitimate needs presented to them by the people. 
 
This arrangement appears to work very well as long as the government and/or leader appear to have the means to provide for these needs.  This arrangement is also the very reason that the government and/or leader will never have the means to provide for these needs indefinitely.  You see, this arrangement generally discourages productive activity and encourages unproductive activity (commonly known as freeloading and currently justified by vague appeals to any myriad of “rights”) which eventually leads to the shortages and imbalances that are at the root of the revolutionary fires that are currently raging.
 
Is Anarchy the Answer?
Central Banks like the FED are simply the enablers of this dangerous “Social Contract” that is being defaulted upon globally before our very eyes.  Their motivation for enabling is that the arrangement is extremely profitable for their member banks.  When stripped of its veil of legitimacy, the arrangement more resembles a drug cartel than a productive banking system.
 
So if the desire for government is truly the root of the problem, as we have speculated, then would not anarchy be the solution?  No!  You say!  Anarchy is chaos and destruction!  But is it really?  In the strict sense of the word, Anarchy simply means the absence of government.  In the absence of government, people would quickly understand that they would need to protect and provide for themselves.  This understanding would be quickly followed by the realization that in order to do this they will need to deepen their productive cooperation with their fellow man or woman.
 
When theft is no longer publicly sanctioned, suddenly the Golden Rule would become the law of the land, with its fruits of peace, freedom, and abundance following soon thereafter.
 
Until people realize that they need God more than they need a government, we will watch violent struggles to fill the vacuums of power currently being created.  Struggles that often give us such esteemed leaders such as Moammar Gadhafi in Libya, whose loyal tribesmen chose to ditch multimillion dollar aircraft in the desert rather than follow his orders to bomb the opposition, and Scott Walker in Wisconsin, who apparently has not mastered the use of caller ID or plain old fashioned voice recognition.
 
Stay Fresh!
 
 
 
P.S.  If you enjoy or at least tolerate The Mint please share us with your friends, family, and associates!
 
Key Indicators for Thursday, February 24th, 2011
 

Why the morally corrupt are assured of promotion in and leadership of the Might Makes Right ideological system – Part I

11/22/2011 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

After a brief break in our faithful correspondence, we are compelled to pick up the proverbial pen to complete an incomplete thought in a vain attempt to eat Thanksgiving dinner in peace.  If you are a new reader of The Mint, we will simply relate that the Mint is the product of a deep felt agitation by its author.  It is what could be referred to as therapy.  The thoughts, once on paper, leave us in peace.  Until then, they stir, deep in our spirit, waiting to escape via these words.

How very fortunate and long suffering you are, fellow taxpayer.

Before we continue our mantra of Anarchy, True Capitalism, Natural Law, and Might Makes Right, we will share a few important observations.

First, the MF Global implosion is now reported to have left a $1.7 Billion hole in the capital base of a highly leveraged commodity and derivatives market.  MF Global was a primary dealer, one that had the unconditional trust of the exchange and other secondary commodity dealers.  It was a silent pillar of these markets.  The aftermath of their implosion, both in loss of capital and confidence, has only begun to unfold.  Commodity markets are no longer “safe” by normal standards.  This situation is best watched by your money at a distance.

Second, while Europe implodes, the US has been spending most of its time firming its position in Asia.  There has been speculation that the US is moving to aggressively devalue the dollar vis-à-vis the Yuan.  Will it be the 10:1 reverse split that we have speculated about here?  No one knows, but it would appear that the US Dollar will not serve as a reliable store of wealth in the short term.  Silver and Gold come to mind as viable substitutes as this drama plays out.

Occupiers take note of a Bolivian tactic of blocking major thoroughfares

Finally, It appears that the Occupy protesters are now wising up and using tactics which we call the Bolivian tactic, that of blocking major thoroughfares.  It is much more effective, not to mention exciting, than urban camping.  As a practical matter, if your livelihood in any way relies on a major thoroughfare being open in an area where the protests are growing, we suggest that short term contingency plans be considered.

These events and any pain they cause should be short term, maybe three to four months of adjustments, if they are allowed to simply run their course.  If the Government continues to intervene, they will plague us indefinitely.  We pray for the former and prepare for the later.

With that off our chest, we continue pondering life as we know it.  Our question today is:  Why does it seem that the worst morals seem to come out on top?  First, a glance at Isaiah:

And I will make boys their princes, and infants shall rule over them.  And the people will oppress one another, every one his fellow and every one his neighbor; the youth will be insolent to the elder, and the despised to the honorable,”  Isaiah 3:4-5

Have you ever complained about a politician?  The government?  How about your boss?  The current state of society?  If you haven’t, you are indeed a rarity in this day in age, for there is much complaining, and seemingly much to complain about.

How did we arrive at this, fellow taxpayer?  If democracy is supposed to deliver the cream of the crop in terms of leadership in the government, why does it seem that most politicians are the epitome of immoral liars?

This question was thrust upon us as we were reading the “Is there no shame” rant at zerohedge.com and came across the words “Hayek’s theory that the worst always rise to the top.”  We then perused Hayek’s theory in an excerpt from the “Road to Serfdom.”

In the section entitled “Why the Worst Get to the Top,” Hayek states that:

“There are strong reasons for believing that the worst features of the totalitarian systems are phenomena which totalitarianism is certain sooner or later to produce.

Just as the democratic statesman who sets out to plan economic life will soon be confronted with the alternative of either assuming dictatorial powers or abandoning his plans, so the totalitarian leader would soon have to choose between disregard of ordinary morals and failure. It is for this reason that the unscrupulous are likely to be more successful in a society tending toward totalitarianism. Who does not see this has not yet grasped the full width of the gulf which separates totalitarianism from the essentially individualist Western civilization.”

Suddenly, it all makes sense.  As man has generally chosen to pursue the Totalitarian, or what we call the Might Makes Right ideology, it would follow that those thrust into power should be among the most immoral, unscrupulous, human beings on the planet.

In summary, the Might Makes Right ideology unwittingly promotes the worst individuals to positions of power, as they are best suited to carry out the immoral and contradictory demands which are invariably made of the persons occupying positions of power in such a system.

Depressed?  Don’t be.  It doesn’t have to be this way.  More tomorrow.

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint

Email: davidminteconomics@gmail.com

Key Indicators for November 22, 2011

Copper Price per Lb: $3.34
Oil Price per Barrel:  $98.01

Corn Price per Bushel:  $5.98  
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  1.95%
FED Target Rate:  0.08%  ON AUTOPILOT, THE FED IS DEAD!

Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,700 PERMANENT UNCERTAINTY

MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  2.00%
Unemployment Rate:  9.0%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  -0.1%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  12,096  

M1 Monetary Base:  $2,121,700,000,000 RED ALERT!!!  THE ANIMALS ARE LEAVING THE ZOO!!!
M2 Monetary Base:  $9,644,200,000,000 YIKES UP $1 Trillion in one year!!!!!!!

Occupy Portland: Widespread Discontent meets Acceptance in Portland

On October 6th, Portland joined other US cities by kicking off its own version of the increasingly popular Occupy Wall Street protests with approximately 5,000 people amassing at Tom McCall Waterfront Park where SW Ankeny meets Naito Parkway.  While no specific manifesto has come forth, the group generally comes across as unified against corporate greed and corruption.

Approaching Occupy Portland’s ground zero, it became apparent that the perhaps the only thing that unified this loose coalition of protesters was a general feeling of discontent.  It was equally apparent that general discontent can be a powerful unifying force, and that as the marches and occupation got underway, the protesters found in one another the camaraderie that is inherent in common struggle and sacrifice.

Amongst the many and varied grievances that could be observed by reading the protesters’ signs, flags, and slogans, were:  support for the cause of the Palestinians, pleas to tax the rich, outrage against corporate greed, and long-suffering environmental concerns.   While these grievances have been longstanding for certain sectors of the population, what was most striking was the breadth of demographic and socio-economic makeup of those gathering to launch Occupy Portland.

Protesters of all Stripes Gathering to kick off Occupy Portland on Thursday, October 6th 2011

 

While students resembling John Lennon and Guy Fawkes masks tended to stand out in the crowd, the presence of veterans, college students, retirees, and stay at home mothers spoke to the wide ranging discontent that has gripped Americans who are increasingly identifying themselves as the “other 99%” in sharp contrast to the top 1%, the label that has come to represent the wealthy and corporate interests.

As the exuberance of the protesters grew and their numbers at Waterfront Park began to swell, a few blocks away, up Burnside and 5th, the mood was quite different.

Despite assurances by both the protesters and Portland Mayor Sam Adams that the protests would be peaceful, financial and governmental institutions, which imagined themselves in the path of the unannounced route of the march, were taking precautions.  Banks planned to lock their doors and the increased Police and private security presence in the neighborhood was conspicuous.

There were rumors of Anarchists from Eugene coming to cause trouble.  Adding to this perceived threat was the uncertainty of the effects on transportation in the downtown core.  Needless to say, on this autumn day, Portland did not feel like the relaxed City in which we dwell.

Thankfully, these fears were unfounded.  Both Protesters and Police are to be commended for tacitly working together to maintain the peace and dignity of the protest.  Mayor Adams went as far as to waive the City’s no camping ordinance so that protesters could pitch their tents and stay the night.

Whatever the outcome, it is refreshing to see that Occupy Portland is helping so many people to find their voice and the City of Portland, true to form, welcoming them with open arms.

Watch 180

This is a graphic, powerful 30 minute documentary which is an attempt to open the public’s eyes to the moral problem of abortion.  It opened my eyes, will it open yours?

 

Markets go up, Slovenia goes down, Dissing the State, Embracing Anarchy

9/20/2011 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

The Stock market is absolutely resilient in the face of news ranging from bad to UGLY.  Presumably, the slow motion debt market collapse occurring in Europe is priced in, and it may be this very collapse that is driving money into US equities.  In the insane “debt is money” system, the money can only go so many places, and there is currently so much money sloshing around that it is a wonder everything isn’t going up in price.

Oh, wait, it is!  The CPI came in at 0.4% for August.  Nothing to write home about but at this pace the annual CPI could hit 5%, well above the FED’s 2% target.

And we haven’t seen anything yet.  Tomorrow, the Federal Reserve will meet and be expected to “do something.”  Lately, “do something” has meant that the FED offers to throw perfectly good Federal Reserve notes at various forms of bad paper issued by companies and governments who never intend to make good on them.

At this stage in the game, it is now a given that if perfectly willing market participants won’t buy the paper, surely the FED must do it.  “So what?” say you, “Let the FED waste its own money!”  If only it were that simple, fellow taxpayer.

Unfortunately, the FED’s money, by decree, is everybody’s money.  Every bad decision by the FED reduces the purchasing power of every dollar holder on the planet, making nearly all of us involuntary shareholders of this worthless enterprise, and management at the FED has been making some very bad decisions with very large sums for about four years now.

As a concerned involuntary shareholder of the FED we are compelled to offer the following unsolicited advice:  Why not just wait until January, when the 0% FED funds “trickle” their way down to Main Street?  Then things will really be interesting.  That is when the US Dollar in its present form will go the way of every other paper currency in the history of mankind. 

Fellow taxpayer, prudence demands that one make immediate plans to replace anything that depends upon the value of the US Dollar with something real.  By the time the FED gets around to doing it for you, by introducing a New Dollar, current inaction will have caused anyone with faith in the dollar to suffer horrendously tremendous losses in relative purchasing power.

Back in the rotting old world, to quote Nabokov, the Euro debacle just became more complicated as the Slovenian government failed a confidence vote.  The President is now left trying to cobble together a government and the rest of the Eurozone will presumably have to wait at least 30 days to get Slovenia’s approval for the next round of good money to be thrown at Greece.

It is useless to point out that the Eurozone governments, like their American counterparts, are simply throwing good money after bad.  As we have observed here before, throwing money at failing enterprises is their only solution.  Besides, they have banking interests to protect.  Soon they will be spreading propaganda that ATMs won’t spit out Euros and the world will end if the Greeks are not supported.

That may be true, but these unpleasant outcomes will eventually come to pass no matter what the Euro FEDs do.

This is how the State, which by definition can do nothing but destroy wealth, operates.  Western societies, and dare we say, the entire world are now beginning to suffocate under the weight of the current form of welfare/warfare state which exists to make promises on behalf of its productive citizens to its unproductive citizens.

Then, after enslaving the productive citizens, the State then makes promises to support the banking and military interests in order to ensure that the productive citizens remain enslaved.

Is Anarchy the Answer?

At some point, each citizen decides that they are either better off becoming an unproductive citizen, working for the State taskmaster as a banker or provider of “security”, or fleeing beyond the State’s ability to enslave them.  Western society is quickly approaching the tipping point where a majority of its productive citizens will be forced to make this choice.

Faced with such facts, an intelligent fellow taxpayer such as yourself is surely asking (or should be asking, if we may prompt you), “Isn’t there a better way?”

In other words, is the State really necessary?  Today we read a brilliant essay on this very subject by Stefan Molyneux.  We encourage you to peruse it at your leisure.  You can see it by clicking on the link below:

The Stateless Society – An Examination of Alternatives

If you are limited on time, it is enough to say that Molyneux lays out compelling, logical arguments about how the free market would more effectively take care of the tasks which are currently relegated to the State.  Specifically, he examines three activities which pro-State apologists claim that the free market will not solve on its own, making the State’s existence a necessity:  Dispute Resolution, Collective Services, and Pollution.

After reading Molyneux’s arguments, it seems that now more than ever that embracing Anarchy is the answer to what ails society.

Much more than simply the answer, it is clear that the true chaos in not created by the Stateless Anarchist model, rather the present chaos is a product of entrusting the State with too much power.

How else can one explain how every present effort the Government uses to ”improve” its citizen’s lives serves to collectively impoverish them?

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint

Email: davidminteconomics@gmail.com

Key Indicators for September 20, 2011

Copper Price per Lb: $3.76
Oil Price per Barrel:  $86.43

Corn Price per Bushel:  $6.90  
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  1.94%

FED Target Rate:  0.09%  ON AUTOPILOT, THE FED IS DEAD!

Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,805 PERMANENT UNCERTAINTY

MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  2.00%
Unemployment Rate:  9.1%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  0.4%!!!   UP UP UP!!!
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  11,409  

M1 Monetary Base:  $2,101,100,000,000 RED ALERT!!!
M2 Monetary Base:  $9,540,500,000,000 YIKES!!!!!!!

Is America becoming ungovernable?

8/17/2011 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

Almost nothing of consequence happened today in the markets.  Just what one would expect on a quiet August day.   Silver and other commodities are poised to go higher, but our guess is that it will wait a month to really hit its stride.  At that point, inflation could really be a problem.

August is a time for reflection and relaxation.  Casting off the cares of the past 11 months and charging the batteries for another run.  At The Mint, we are pondering a great many things.  Our dear German friend who has been with us here in Portland the past nine months left for Frankfurt today.  She will be missed dearly by all.  It seems that Oregon had a special impact upon her as well and she commented that this season has been one of the most pleasant of her life.

Yes, Oregon is a special place.

“There is so much nature here!” she commented upon returning from a trip to Montana.  Apparently in Germany every square mile is spoken for, leaving wild animals little room to roam.  One of her chief concerns on these excursions was the bears.  Who can blame her, with the news coming out of Yellowstone at the time? 

She is heading to Barcelona to start a ministry and we wish her well, for she is now one of the family.  Hospitality blesses one in ways they cannot imagine.

August thoughts in the US are being rudely interrupted by the presidential campaigns that are warming up in Iowa and are heading to New Hampshire to continue the race in which the winner will declare themselves King of the Americans. 

As Bloom County fans may recall, when the Meadow party nominated Bill the Cat and Opus for the job, they concluded that only a complete idiot would apply after careful consideration of the job description which in there estimation included “being blamed for every problem on the planet.”

The complete idiot label came to mind after we heard a comment in a video shared with us by a friend in which Bill Hybels, the Pastor of Willow Creek, a large church in Illinois, noted that the tendency in American dialogue today is to “throw stones first” and ask questions later.  He explained that people grab onto comments and statements made by others and publicly villianize them without bothering to consider the context or verify the validity of said statements.

His remarks were made at the Willow Global Leadership Summit while addressing the interesting situation in which Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks, backed out of his contract to appear at the summit after receiving threats of a boycott from a group who claimed that Willow Creek was anti-gay.

He went on to say that this phenomenon is making America “ungovernable.”

Mr. Hybels did not go into detail as to how this phenomenon would make the country ungovernable, but the idea got us thinking.  What makes a country governable in the first place?  Do people naturally need government in order to survive?

In the sense that people need to feel protected and able to care for themselves and their loved ones, people may need the concept of government.  People, knowing their weak state on this planet, need to believe that someone is looking out for them.  This need leads them to subject themselves to the idea of government.

Inevitably, those who are entrusted with embodying the idea of government find that they are given quite a bit of power over the lives of others and quickly learn to abuse it.

This leads the subjects to seek freedom from the government while at the same time looking for someone of something else to fulfill the basic needs of protection and material well-being.  Seen this way, when a people become “ungovernable” they are rejecting the government under which they are because of a perceived or actual abuse.

It is important to note that, for people to reach this state, they must feel that they are out of options under the current government.  Economic hardship has a lot to do with how people perceive their options.  It should come as no surprise then that economic hardship is a result of policies which restrictive freedom.

Free men are infinitely more productive than slaves.  A policy change in either direction will express itself in economic results.  The results in America prove that we are a people becoming enslaved.

When things go well, no one cares who is governing.  When things go badly, they become unnaturally preoccupied with the political process.  America circa 2011 is moving towards this unnatural preoccupation.

Ironically, the more one concentrates on the government and its political processes, the more it becomes evident that the very existence of a government organized by men may be more a threat to than a protector of the basic needs of protection and material well-being.

We have stated before that in practice the governments of the world today operate like competing defense agencies.  It may be, then, that Americans are tired of the current contractor and are searching for another one; one that is less intrusive and has fewer overhead costs to cover.

Will they find it before they are completely enslaved by the current one?

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint

Email: davidminteconomics@gmail.com

Key Indicators for August 17, 2011

Copper Price per Lb: $4.03
Oil Price per Barrel:  $87.43

Corn Price per Bushel:  $7.11  
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  2.16%

FED Target Rate:  0.10%  TIGHTENING?  NOT!

Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,789 PERMANENT UNCERTAINTY

MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  2.00%
Unemployment Rate:  9.1%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  -0.2%!!!  PULL OUT THE HELICOPTERS!!!
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  11,410  TO THE MOON!!!

M1 Monetary Base:  $2,140,300,000,000 RED ALERT!!!
M2 Monetary Base:  $9,404,000,000,000 YIKES!!!!!!!

The Seeds of Revolution: Those on the Far Left and Far Right have had Enough! Can they come Together to Change the World?

In the past two weeks we have had two well delivered speeches brought to our attention here at The Mint.  One speech was delivered in Spain at the IU de Extremadura in 1999 by Julio Anguita Gonzáles, the coordinador general de Izquierda Unida at the time of this speech.

Don Julio is a communist.  In this speech, which is billed on youtube as “El Gran Discurso Antisistema” (The great anti-establishment speech), he makes compelling arguments against the establishment and the inequality which it creates and fights to maintain amongst its members.  You can see it below or by clicking here:

 

What is amazing about his speech is that he makes some of the same arguments that Tom Woods, who is perhaps the eloquent Libertarian thinker speaking today.  Mr. Woods’ recent speech on Nullification is quickly becoming an anti-establishment sensation.  You can see his speech below or by clicking here:

 

As Mr. Woods alludes to at the end of his speech, could it be that the anti-establishment thinkers of the far left and far right are closer together ideologically than they are to their mainstream liberal and conservative counterparts?

Oregon Legislature Singing “Never Gonna Give You Up!” in Harmony

A rare and courageous show of bi-partisanship by the Oregon Legislature in 2010.  Read the whole story courtesy of the StatesmanJournal.com at:

http://www.statesmanjournal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/201104121338/UPDATE/110412025

and enjoy the video!