And I will cause them to eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and they shall eat every one the flesh of his friend in the siege and straitness ... – King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
Commentator Peggy Noonan has written a Wall Street Journal editorial entitled, "This Is No Ordinary Scandal: Political abuse of the IRS threatens the basic integrity of our government."
Noonan is often, or at least occasionally, insightful, and in this case, I was pleased to see her sentiment conforms to an editorial I wrote last Saturday:
This is a big deal. Unlike other IRS problems throughout the years, this one features not just individual "enemies" but also a broad cross section of US citizens that are concerned about the growing unconstitutional actions of their government.
But Noonan neglects to make an important point that I will mention toward the end of this article.
Let's look at the broader picture first. The US is supposedly engaged in something like 75 wars and skirmishes abroad and the invasions of privacy taking place on the home front are equally startling.
Introducing The Daily Bell's weekly Luxury Living segment... because Memento Mori is a way of life.
This week ... Wiesmann ... "They stick to the road like geckos stick to the wall"
"Wiesmann is the leading manufacturer of puristic sports cars. The name is well established in the luxury market and there are more than a thousand good reasons for that: Until today more than 1,500 handcrafteded cars left the Wiesmann factory. The company currently utilises dealership bases in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. With a bit of luck you might not only spot a Wiesmann in the Münsterland but also on the Champs Elysées in Paris or in front of the Burj Al Arab in Dubai.
"Those fortunate enough to hear, see or even drive a Wiesmann sports car will soon realise that there are more powers involved than just a strong engine: an equally strong idea to develop fascinating sports cars combining timeless design and modern technology, hand-manufactured to customer specifications reflecting the highest individual demands – this is the trademark of the company founded in 1988 by the engineers and brothers Friedhelm and Martin Wiesmann. This is the idea that finds perfection in every Wiesmann sports car.
Gen X Has New Reason to Resent Boomers as Retirement Looks Bleak ... Generation X, the unlucky cohort of Americans who became young adults during the boom years of the 1990s only to suffer a midlife bust, is facing bleak retirement prospects, according to a study. The Pew Charitable Trusts said the typical Gen X couple, born between 1966 and 1975, only has enough savings to replace half of its pre-retirement earnings. Married Americans born during the first part of the baby boom, from 1946 to 1955, can expect to retire with about 82 percent of their income. The younger boomers, born between 1956 and 1964, can expect to quit work and make about 59 percent of pre-retirement earnings. – Bloomberg
Dominant Social Theme: The generations will have to do better ... and fight for their own. The heck with other generations.
Free-Market Analysis: In the dominant social theme, above, we've tried to illustrate the animosity that often accompanies the analysis of the "generations" in the US and abroad.
House lawmakers reach tentative deal to revamp immigration ... Prospects for passage of a major immigration bill improved on Thursday when a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the House of Representatives declared they had reached a tentative deal, resolving disputes that had threatened to torpedo negotiations. The breakthrough came at the end of a two-hour private meeting of seven Republican and Democratic negotiators. The eighth negotiator in this so-called House Gang of Eight was unavailable after undergoing surgery on Wednesday. – Reuters
Dominant Social Theme: Welcome this rationalization of a difficult problem. Congress shall decide.
Free-Market Analysis: In the US legislative system, elected officials decide who comes and goes throughout the country. It didn't used to be this way, though. The passport and visa system is only a post-War one. It seems strange but travel was a lot freer a century ago.
Credit Suisse: 'Gold Is Going To Get Crushed' ... Bearish sentiment toward gold has prices for the yellow metal tumbling again. On Wednesday, George Soros revealed through a regulatory filing that he cut his gold exposure during the first quarter. In a new note to clients, Credit Suisse's Ric Deverall forecasted that gold would plunge to $1,100 this year and eventually to $1,000 within five years. This according to Bloomberg's Maria Kolesnikova. – Business Insider
Dominant Social Theme: There is nothing positive in the gold story. Get out while you can – and never buy it again. It's just ... barbaric.
Free-Market Analysis: The repression of the gold price has turned into a timely dominant social theme, in our view. The lines are clearly drawn and insiders are signaling that the trend is down.
They are talking it down, pushing it down and forecasting further down markets.
LONG before Baobab became a lowly journalist he scraped a living as a lowly academic. "If you're so clever why aren't you rich?" was a favourite tease of his less bookish but better-paid peers. The Africa Progress Report, prepared by an expert panel led by Kofi Annan, a former UN secretary-general, was unveiled last week at the World Economic Forum conference in Cape Town, and deals with a more wounding provocation. If Africa is so resource-rich, it asks, why are its people not better educated, its children well nourished and its adults longer-lived? – The Economist
Dominant Social Theme: Africa suffers from too many resources and doesn't tax enough – and that's why it is poor.
Free-Market Analysis: In the pantheon of absurd Economist articles, this has to rank as one of the most ridiculous. There is a reason why Africa is poor but it has little to do with this outrageous and misguided analysis.
This article just appearing in The Economist is one of a series of articles that is apparently intended to form the basis of a much larger African promotion.
The financial news is getting boring. The Dow goes only one way – up. But gold fell below $1,400 per ounce yesterday.
Rather than trying to figure it out, yesterday evening we drove down to Zombietown. A friend in Washington had promised to introduce us to Neil Barofsky, inspector general of the TARP program.
You remember TARP? It was the feds' $700 billion program to rescue the US economy from a correction. Neil Barofsky was in charge of it. So we decided to go down and ask him how it turned out...
Meanwhile, in yesterday's International Herald Tribune was a small note: "Economists agree that spending cuts and tax increases have slowed the US recovery."
Readers will recognize this as the usual claptrap.
Government spending does not bring a genuine "recovery."
There are many signs of gangster state America. One is the collusion between federal authorities and banksters in a criminal conspiracy to rig the markets for gold and silver.
My explanation that the sudden appearance of an unprecedented 400 ton short sale of gold on the COMEX in April was a manipulation designed to protect the dollar from the Federal Reserve's quantitative easing policy has found acceptance among gold investors and hedge fund managers.
The sale was a naked short. The seller had no gold to sell. COMEX reported having gold only equal to about half of the short sale in its vaults, and not all of that was available for delivery. No one but the Federal Reserve could have placed such an order, and the order came from one of the Fed's bullion banks, one of the entities "too big to fail."
Bill Kaye of the Greater Asian Hedge Fund in Hong Kong and Dave Kranzler of Golden Returns Capital have filled in the details of how the manipulation worked. Being sophisticated investors of many years of experience, both Kaye and Kranzler understand that the financial press runs with the authorized story planted to serve the agenda that has been put into play.
According to the economic history books, the one great conference that resolved [global economic] tension – for a quarter century – was "Bretton Woods," a convocation of 44 countries in the White Mountains of New Hampshire less than a month after D-Day and the beginning of the end for the axis powers in World War II. What would the post-war world economy look like? That was the question in July of 1944. The answers were a loosely dollar-based world currency regime, the International Monetary Fund and what was to become the World Bank. So, do we need another Bretton Woods today? Benn Steil, editor of the scholarly journal "International Finance," has written a book that ponders this and other questions: "The Battle of Bretton Woods: John Maynard Keynes, Harry Dexter White, and the Making of a New World Order." Paul Volcker has called it "full of lessons relevant today." Alan Greenspan said it's "a must-read work of economic and diplomatic history" and The New York Times wrote that "it should become the gold standard on its topic." – PBS
Dominant Social Theme: We will build on the success of Bretton Woods with a new one.
Free-Market Analysis: The drums pound and a new global monetary pact moves closer. This is how it works way up in the rarified air of Big Money where top globalists dwell.
'Dreaded' Unwinding Easier Said Than Done ... It ought to be the clearest sign yet that the crisis is over. The Wall Street Journal's Fed-Watcher-In-Chief Jon Hilsenrath has told us that the U.S. central bank has 'mapped out' a way to dial back its mighty $85 billion- a-month bond-buying program. We don't yet know precisely how and we don't conference in Chicago, Friday, May 10, 2013. J.P. Morgan said in a note this morning that unwinding was "one of the world's most dreaded systemic events", and billionaire investor Stanley Druckenmiller said at the Ira Sohn conference last week that it would signal the end of the bull market. – MoneyBeat/WSJ
Dominant Social Theme: When the times comes to readjust the economy we're up to the task ...
Free-Market Analysis: Even top execs at JP Morgan dread the "unwinding" that Ben Bernanke has always said the Federal Reserve is capable of.
We don't believe it. Just as Fed bankers don't know how much money is too much, so they don't know how much is too little.
If The Economy Will Collapse When The Fed Stops Printing Money Then Lets Keep Printing ... Gawker's Hamilton Nolan concludes a discussion of the European Depression with his best Zero Hedge imitation: It's only a matter of time before the Fed stops pumping money into our economy and we deflate along with everyone else and then the demographic retirement bomb hits and we have fewer younger workers supporting the baby boomer retirees and health care costs explode and everyone's cranky and hope seems like a faraway dream and all the Europeans are laughing atus. So enjoy this brief moment of self-satisfaction while it lasts. – Slate
Dominant Social Theme: This money thing is not so hard to figure out. Just keep printing.
Free-Market Analysis: Every now and then the mindset of Alexander the Great reemerges and people offer the simplest solution to the most complex of problems. This is one such case.
Franken aims at reform of credit-rating system ... What is Democratic Sen. Al Franken's big idea to clean up the credit rating system? Transparency. Franken, a junior senator from Minnesota, criticizes the Securities and Exchange Commission's inaction on a 2010 amendment he sponsored that would have eliminated conflicts of interest in the credit-rating business model. "Our financial system is kind of rigged," Franken said in his first prime-time interview Monday with The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell. – MSNBC
Dominant Social Theme: Standard & Poor's and the rest made lots of mistakes. Time to fix them.
Free-Market Analysis: When global markets collapsed in 2008, it must have been quite a shock to the financial world's rating agencies, as many prestigious institutions teetering suddenly on the edge of bankruptcy had top ratings from the industry's various ratings agencies.
The IRS Was Dead Right To Scrutinize Tea Party ... Lost in the latest political scandal is a simple fact: The Internal Revenue Service was acting in the public interest when it opted to train its auditing power on the Tea Party and affiliated groups. In castigating government as the root of all evil while portraying taxation as a form of tyranny, the Tea Party is no less than a mass celebration of the evasion of the basic responsibilities of American citizenship. Common sense alone tells you that people drawn to its ranks may feel extra temptation to find ways to limit what they surrender to the rogue federal bureaucrats who have supposedly seized the nation. – Huffington Post
Dominant Social Theme: If you advocate fewer taxes it is only right and proper that you are subject to extra scrutiny.
Free-Market Analysis: This is something of a novel concept. The IRS was correct to scrutinize Tea Party and conservative nonprofit applications more closely because these entities were anti-tax.
Lawrence O'Donnell – IRS Agents Were 'Doing Their Jobs - YouTube
Dominant Social Theme: The IRS is not at fault and its agents do their best to conform to the law.
Free-Market Analysis: This video explains the statute under which the IRS was operating as regards the current scandal demanded that non-profit status be given only to those groups operating EXCLUSIVELY to promote public welfare.
But for operative purposes – and presumably to give politicians a stick for fundraising purposes – the statute was changed some 50 years ago to "primarily."
This provides the IRS with considerable latitude and can also create arguments and misinterpretations over what kind of organizations achieve tax exempt status and why.
This week's Solari Story from Catherine Austin Fitts is titled "Moving the Money." Here's a bit of the transcript:
"During the '90s I had an investment bank in Washington, Hamilton Securities, and we were developing software tools and financial vehicles that would allow us to do the equivalent of mutual funds for a place. So imagine having a community venture fund or a community REIT where in your 401K and IRA you could buy stock in something that would invest in local real estate or local business in your place. So think of it as like a little mutual fund for a place.
The theory was that if we could re-engineer the federal budget so that federal investment, instead of harming places, could build up the health of a place and the economy in a place and you could do that in these securitized vehicles then pension funds could make money on re-engineering the federal budget and healing America and rebuilding the economy as we globalized. So as globalization moved jobs and income abroad, we would have a new thing to move up. ..."