Monday, October 26, 2009

"It Can't Happen Here"?

In 1935, the avowed socialist Sinclair Lewis' novel "It Can't Happen Here" was published. At the time, Germany's NSDAP (National Socialist German Workers Party) had been in power for two years with its party leader, Adolph Hitler occupying the office of Reich Chancellor. The policies put in place by the German government were already generating outcries in western societies and the title of Lewis' novel appeared to refer to those events as they might apply to the American experience. Interestingly enough, Walter Duranty garnered a Pulitzer prize in 1932 for his hagiographic treatment of Joseph Stalin and his policy of collectivizing the Kulaks in Ukraine which resulted in mass starvation.

During the fourth decade of the 20th century few were the number of scholars who connected the dots and could conclude that the political/economic philosophies of Fascism and Communism were joined at the hip by an adherence to totalitarian collectivism. Most assumed that given the mutual enmity professed by the two collectivist political parties it was evidence that they were polar opposites. That error continues to this day.

Mr. Lewis' inference that the trappings of totalitarian collectivism "Can't happen here" would today fail the test of objective observation. Given the provision in the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution that "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." it is difficult to reconcile the practices of the Federal Transportation Security Administration at the nations airports with that proscription. It is one thing to assert that the possibility of a "terrorist's" hijacking of an aircraft for an attack justifies the current draconian procedures at airports of strip searching at random senior citizens and infants; but in the opinion of this writer quite another to extend this policy to include various forms of surface transportation such as busses and trains.

Although the TSA is best known for its agents at airports, the agency's Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response, or VIPR, teams stage periodic operations at bus and train stations, ports and other transportation centers. They began work in December 2006.

Thursday's daylong event was the first at a Greyhound station in Florida, said John Daly, TSA security director for the Orlando region.

The below graphic is eerily reminiscent of the scenes above in the Soviet Union and Nazi-occupied Europe of civilians being forced to submit to arbitrary searches and questioning by government officials.
One subject of the activities in Orlando who stated that he had chosen the bus over air travel to Minneapolis in order to avoid the airport indignities stated that he would "drive next time". One should not be surprised however, to, in the not too distant future, encounter highway checkpoints. In other words dear reader: "it's already here" and there is very little outrage manifested.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Run for Cover Updated

Today precious metals continue their rather steep and steady market climb with gold trading in the $1064.00/ oz range. Various pundits and gurus offer a litany of reasons causing this increase not the least of which is the continuing inflationary policies of the world's central banks led by the US Federal Reserve Bank. Some of the "experts" have been hinting that the inventories published by the various depositories are in all probability inflated. It is beyond the scope of this post to describe the so called "leasing" out on paper of these deposits and the trading of these leases in order to keep the price depressed. Suffice it to say that it is not above the scruples of the banksters in collusion with politicians to engage in such schemes to prop up the "value" of various fiat (unbacked paper currencies).

The actual amount of gold bullion on deposit at various central banks is not known with any precision but what is known is that the two major depositories of foreign gold bullion are the Bank of England and the Bank of NY. China has of late been steadily acquiring the metal in the form of bullion "bricks".
A London Good Delivery Gold Brick is a 400 oz gold brick, stamped on the bottom with the assayer (e.g. Johnson Mathey). The stamp would have the serial number and the weight of the bar to 3 decimal places.

If I were to buy gold from London and ship to say the bank of Nova Scotia, Scotia Macotta, the agent for the bank and for me would guarantee to me the purity and the weight.
For this I pay insurance, shipping fees and storage fees. If the gold comes from their own inventory, they would not assay. If it comes from another vault, then one or two bricks would be assayed.

The assay requires a hole to be drilled to make sure that gold is uniform. The core and the brick is then heated and reweighed and stamped and that new brick would have Good Delivery Status.

It would be a nightmare to assay every brick that comes to a bank.

It now seems that the Chinese asked for an assay on some of their bricks and lo and behold, some were filled with Tungsten. You can imagine the nightmare that this presents itself.

If this in fact is true, the fecal matter is about to hit the rotating ventilating device. Unless of course, it can be covered up and the "value" of most fiat currencies will not fall precipitously in relationship to gold i.e. gold at $2500.00+/oz.

Update 10/21/09 @17:04 EDT:

GLD gold bullion inventory is principally held in London
- I’ve already written about some large [allocated] physical transactions that were settled last week in London under VERY strange circumstances indicative of a shortage of physical gold bullion for good delivery.
- At the same time, significant irregularities appeared in the GLD bullion bar list

These circumstances suggest that a VERY REAL physical short squeeze is in progress RIGHT NOW and a gang of fraudsters from “fiat-crack-houses” [Central Banks] are attempting to finesse their losing over-sold hand in an elaborate Three-card Monty. With reports of independent physical audits now being conducted and mysterious happenings with GLD’s bar list – GLD has NEVER looked more suspect.
Hope you’ve all got some physical gold already.
By Rob Kirby

ht: Ol' Remus

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Coming to a Jurisdiction Near You or: As Kalifornia Goes, So Goes...?

Beginning in February, 2011 all purchasers of handgun ammunition in California will be required to provide identification and a thumbprint for the state database to be monitored by Officer Friendly. Additionally, all new firearms sold in the state subsequent to that time will be required to be "micro stamped" to imprint all ammunition utilized. The law ukase was signed yesterday by Arnold Schwarzenegger (Rino) in Sacramento.

The new law (AB 962) is a huge victory for The Brady Campaign to reduce gun violence disarm law abiding citizens.

The "good news" you ask?

The state has not yet enacted AB 602 introduced a few years ago by Assemblyman Paul Koretz (D) of San Francisco South West Hollywood. Assembly Bill 602, would have enacted a modest 10-cent fee on
each bullet sold at the retail level. "Revenue raised through this fee would
be deposited in a special Trauma Center Fund to reimburse emergency service
providers for the cost of treating firearm injuries in the state." The prior history of these "special funds" brings a smile to the face. About 95% of them have been raided for "other purposes". Think tattoo removal for former gang bangers.

Your humble blogster counts himself fortunate to have escaped Kalifornia late in 2004 but views with alarm the cancer metastatizing from that hapless land.


Hat tip: Nicholas Noel

Friday, October 09, 2009

The Fractional Reserve Bankster Scam Updated

Long time followers of this blogster's rantings understand that ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ has so many miles on his old carcass that he is often able to weave personal experiences into some of the events and issues emerging in what passes for todays media. On the other hand a few casual observers have cast doubts as to his veracity; C'est la vie.

Many years ago ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ' family was involved in the "oil patch" in California. To illustrate just how long ago we are referencing, suffice it to say that the highest quality (26 gravity) crude oil was trading at $3.60 per barrel. At that time there were active in the "business" what we called "promoters". These individuals would buy or, in most cases, lease land in areas believed to be potentially oil producing. In order to raise the capital required to drill for and produce crude oil they would form corporations or partnerships. The resulting "wildcating" more often than not produced a "dry hole" and the promoter who lived for several months/years off the capital raised would go belly up and move on to the next project.

One such individual was apparently careless in drawing up a partnership agreement and wound up serving time as a guest at the California Men's Colony in San Luis Obispo. It seems that the ownership percentages of the several partners in his firm totaled something over 120%. This is a definite no no for ordinary citizens as such activity is reserved exclusively for governments and their "licensees" in the banking business.

The only similar fraud that is perpetrated without penalty is the banking industry which operates under license from the government. The government allows banks to accept deposits, lend out 90%+ of the funds while depositors still "own" 100% of their deposit. At the same time, the borrowers of the "money" have leased the same funds subject to their loan contract which in old days could be "called in" by the bank if too many depositors demanded the cash to which they were entitled. This is called fractional reserve banking and has been engaged in since medieval times in Europe when goldsmiths issued receipts for more gold than they kept in storage. Often these goldsmiths when discovered committing this fraud were dealt with severely by the local prince. That is, until 1694 when the English crown, William III decided to be cut in on the action and issued a charter (license to commit fraud) to the Bank of England. Since then most governments have decided it is a dandy way to augment tax revenue in order to finance wars, welfare and other grandiose perks.

This was the manner in which bankers were able to create money from nothing during the era of the gold standard. At least most depositors could redeem the "receipts" for their cash (gold or silver) unless word got out that the bank had issued more receipts than it had precious metal on deposit. When this unfortunate event occurred, there would be a run on the bank and it would be in deep doo doo. Hence the origin of the term "bankrupt".

Fairly early in the twentieth century (1934) the banksters were successful in convincing the US government to assist them in the elimination of the inconveniences associated with too many depositors demanding their cash simultaneously (bank runs) and gold was also withdrawn from circulation with Federal Reserve notes being substituted. Voilá; enter the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corp which is now more or less insolvent). This whole convoluted scheme worked moderately well as long as the counterfeiters Fed did not overprint notes and confined the money expansion (inflation) to under 3% per annum. The seeds of the serious problems we are experiencing today were sown when the need arose to finance various foreign adventures (wars) and the welfare state.

Much more detailed and intellectual explanations of these events are contained here and here as well as that by my esteemed colleague Scott Angell here.

In any event, I hope to have provided at least a modicum of insight (as well as amusement) into the criminal class known as government and how it compares to the private variety.

Update: 1037 hrs EDT 10/10/09 A mere few hours after this essay was posted, Gary North published part V in his series entitled "What is Money?" here. For a more detailed and scholarly exposition on the subject of fractional reserve banking and government counterfeiting you are urged to read it.

cross posted at: Eternity Road

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Rx: More Collectivism?

Recently your humble blogster was engage in a debate on another blog comment thread with a "progressive" over the issue if California's recent and ongoing crisis caused by a flight of capital. As is predictable with most debates with many "progressives" over substantive issues the discussion ultimately degenerated into insults and personal attacks (duh).

Please forgive ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ for his concern regarding the fate of California, for that hapless state is his native land and it is depressing to witness its descent into the predictable abyss resulting from an adherence to collectivist/environmentalist policies.

A recent article in the Observer of the UK Guardian reports on the plight of the state. In typical UK leftist parlance, the "recovery" from California's woes will be the result of pursuing the very policies that have arguably resulted in the present crisis. For example the following quote:
Take Anthony "Van" Jones, [an avowed communist] a man now in the vanguard of the movement to build a future green economy, creating millions of jobs, solving environmental problems and reducing climate change at a stroke. It is a beguiling vision and one that Jones conceived in the northern Californian city of Oakland. He began political life as an anti-poverty campaigner,

["Jones continued, "Yes, the Great Revolutionary Moment had at long last come. And the time, clearly, was ours! So we stole stuff. Y'know, stole stuff. Radios, tennis shoes. Well, not everybody, of course."]

but gradually combined that with environmentalism, believing that greening the economy could also revitalise it and lift up the poor. He founded Green for All as an advocacy group and published a best-selling book, The Green Collar Economy. Then Obama came to power and Jones got the call from the White House. In just a few years, his ideas had spread from the streets of Oakland to White House policy papers. Jones was later ousted from his role, but his ideas remain. Green jobs are at the forefront of Obama's ideas on both the economy and the environment.
The question remains: "if environmentalist policies are so wonderful, why can they only be implemented at the point of the state's bayonet?"

The piece goes on to state: "California may have sprawling development and awful smog, [no clue as to what air the author is breathing] but it leads the way in environmental issues. Arnold Schwarzenegger was seen as a leading light, taking the state far ahead of the federal government on eco-issues."

However, here is the rub; by using the force of state government California has imposed costs on doing business within its borders far in excess of its 49 colleagues and diverted untold resources into the subsidizing of inefficient energy sources while prohibiting development of vast proven petroleum resources both on and offshore. Couple this with a confiscatory taxing policy on both businesses and individuals and is it any wonder that California is in serious fiscal and economic difficulties?

The editors at the Guardian appear to believe that the way out of California's woes is to pursue the policies that led to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Good luck and ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ!

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Green is Red

Occasionally ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ reads an essay on another site that leaves him aghast at its eloquence and the realization that: I've been attempting to deliver the exact same message for years. With that preamble, I herewith present for your illumination the following by William Buppert:

"When the search for truth is confused with political advocacy, the pursuit of knowledge is reduced to the quest for power"

~ Alston Chase

I am sick to death of the economically illiterate environmental nonsense peddled in the media in an endless parade of bad thinking disguised as scientific discourse. The Green movement is a collectivist enterprise hell-bent on bending every knee in obeisance to a religious orthodoxy that will cripple the advancement of mankind and create third-world nations where first-world countries used to be, exponentially increasing infant mortality rates and reducing standards of living to make all of us look back on envy at the gold-plated living conditions of medieval serfs. The movement is a nasty brew of National Socialist "blood and soil" (see Anna Bramwells’s books), Marxist bromides and a child-like vision of how the universe works.

Central planning does not work. Larger entities that use force and coercion to make others do the right thing lead to national prison camps disguised as nation-states. Here’s a short quiz for you: grab the nearest envirus and ask him how would he suggest we improve the care and feeding of Mother Earth absent government intervention? He will splutter and get a very blank look in his vapid face as the synapses collapse and fail to function properly.

Use this rule of thumb: cost and benefit analysis will usually determine the economic efficacy of a given course of action. Prices are, among many attributes, the keenest indicator of scarcity or abundance of commodities or services. If recycling is such a great idea, why don’t they pay you to do it? If wind and solar energy are such ideal means to deliver power, why do they require massive subsidy and inevitably, the theft from private owners through eminent domain and other tools of economic oppression?

Speak truth to power because the Greens now have the upper hand. The government-media complex is now fully captive to the entire Green orthodoxy. Excepting shows like Bullshit! on Showtime, none questions the prevailing belief system; it is like a form of national psychosis although I feel the same way about the worship of the State. The environmental agenda is nothing less than a total renunciation of Western civilization and the requisite privileges of clean water, electricity, effective farming and a host of other modern conveniences.

The envirus views nature as a snapshot picture of the world frozen in time and unchanging; a static portraiture of life that possesses no adaptation and dynamism. Infantile views of nature which are most likely a result from having never tread upon it or lived in it. Rarely is the hunter or long-time ruralite seduced by the Disney visions of nature that dance in the heads of the Greens. A perspective further informed by the academic and media professionals whose worldview is shaped by a hive-like collectivist vision of human society in which all individuals are to be subordinated to the whims of what’s good for the herd as directed by omniscient strangers whose fatal conceit is that they are smarter than us so they know what is best for you.

Nature is cruel and dynamic. It is a daily massacre for the lame and the newborn. Vicious spasms of violence red in tooth and claw tempered by turns of weather that can kill and nourish in the same pastoral event. Most importantly, nature is capricious in the most practical sense: the complexity is so immense as to be almost incomprehensible to human cognition. Complexity theory has tried to capture the distillate of what appears to be random phenomenon but is actually a spontaneous order much like economic market forces. Which brings us to the cruelest joke of all on the Greens: they can’t possibly know what they are talking about.

Here’s the rub: there is no question of climate change, the riddle is to what extent man is a culprit. Once a given problem set has three or more variables, it becomes impossible to establish with any certitude correlative or causative connections between A and B and C. The global climate is a complex system far too large to isolate variables and know with pinpoint accuracy what makes it tick or respond to human influences. I don’t deny that humans have an impact on the climate but no one can prove to me what the extent is. No evidence emerges that the ice ages in medieval times were anthropogenic, they were simply within the observed cycle of cooling and warming that one would expect of a planetary ecosystem dependent on solar energy as a driver and engine of weather and life. There is a reason increased sunspot activity is coincident with warming trends. Man is not apart from nature, he is a part of nature. We are part of the infrastructure and no one can even address why carbon dioxide, if a pollutant, nourishes all earthly plant life excepting certain anaerobic moss. The government does not even want to have a discussion since the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently muzzled one of its in-house climate skeptics.

Stand up to the Greens and call them on their idiocy. Question all their assumptions. Stand athwart their diktats and directives as they attempt to rule you as cattle. They are shutting down coal-fired plants by the dozen and seeking to bankrupt the nation by pursuing green technologies that the market has proven to be a technological & economic dead-end. Curiously, they object strenuously to the purest solar energy of all: nuclear energy which harnesses the power of the sun in a relatively clean fission package. One small ray of hope is the fact that the EPA will strangle and mangle all the emerging green technology. They will get all bureaucratically befuddled as the contesting envirus schisms like bird enthusiasts and wind generator proponents do battle. Pollution activists will discover the immense smog component of mass transit buses and the maintenance infrastructure. Electric car boosters will stand dumb-founded in their garages as the AC outlet fails to deliver power after the coal-fired grid is shut down through rolling brown-outs or blackouts. All done, of course, at taxpayer expense.

Under Obamunism, we have a wild ride ahead of us as the Green Reds at first have a terrific honeymoon with Middle America but soon discover the combination of economic illiteracy, scientific buffoonery and collectivist tyranny make for a lethal cocktail. It would be wonderful if we could just sit on the sidelines and observe the circus but the future of America is in the hazard. Indeed, the collectivists have other plans for us.

"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away."

~ Philip K. Dick

October 3, 2009