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Historical Distortion

“If the facts say otherwise, then the facts must be altered.” George Orwell

There’s a word going around, used so incessantly against anyone who disagrees with the progressive ideology and said so mind numbingly often that we tend to dismiss it as just more political mudslinging; such use of the word fascism underlies an important fallacy, one that exposes it as nothing more than a distortion of facts. In order to understand what this word means, where it came from, its political genesis, and who its supporters actually are, we need to put aside the political spectrum defining right and left wing politics, which is at best misleading.

If you walk into a current college classroom for the study of political science and ask the simple question as to who was the founder of fascism, there would be few if any students or professors who would say the name Giovanni Gentile, historically credited as the “Philosopher of Fascism.” Most would say Benito Mussolini, some maybe Francisco Franco or Adolph Hitler, but they would be wrong. The word itself was not coined by Gentile; it’s the anglicization of the Latin word fasces, a tied bundle of rods with a protruding ax, the ancient Roman symbol of state power. It also became the symbol of the Partito Nazionale Fascista, Mussolini’s party, and that put the word fascism into the lexicon of political science.

Gentile, together with his mentor Karl Marx, were two of the world’s most influential philosophers in the early twentieth century; he believed in “true democracy”, i.e. the subordination of the individual to the state. It was however Karl Marx who first observed that “Democracy is the road to socialism.” Gentile was a committed socialist as fascism, like communism, is socialism. Common to both these ideologies is a strong emphasis on national identity. While Gentile has faded into historical obscurity of late, we all remember Benito Mussolini, the fascist dictator of Italy; in his day, he was considered Gentile’s ultimate disciple, who wrote the doctrinal of early fascism, “Dottrina del Fascismo”, in which he stated that “All is in the state and nothing human exists or has value outside the state.” We don’t talk in such blatant terms today but with rhetorical bromides like “We’re all in this together!”

There is one methodological difference between Gentile’s and Marx’s versions of socialism, and it’s economic. Marx was forthright against free markets, advocating for the state as a substitute. Gentile, and his disciple Mussolini, were more manipulative, promoting a corporatist economic system consisting of syndicates of labor and management, collectively with the state to set economic policy; as Mussolini stated, “Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.”

So much in high esteem was Mussolini held in his heyday that other nations sent delegations to Italy to observe and study his methods and accomplishments. Which brings us to the title of this post, and some inconvenient historical facts that progressives distort, willfully ignore or are ignorantly unaware; one of those admiring national leaders was FDR, who sent his close advisor Rexford Tugwell to Italy; upon his return, he reported that “Fascism is the cleanest, neatest, most efficiently operating piece of social machinery I’ve ever seen. It makes me envious.”

FDR was even more effusive in his admiration for this dictator, telling journalists that “I don’t mind telling you that I am keeping a fairly close touch with that admirable Italian gentleman.” Again, writing to his Italian ambassador that “There seems no question he is really interested in what we are doing and I am much interested and deeply impressed by what he has accomplished and by his evidenced honest purpose in restoring Italy.” This is not an appropriate position for an American president to take about a fascist thug; true, he became Italy’s dictator in a plebiscite, but a despot nonetheless.

The infamous National Industrial Recovery Act (NRA), known as the Blue Eagle Campaign, was modeled on Italian fascism; it created and enforced an alliance of industries, which were required to write “codes of fair competition” that effectively fixed prices and wages, established production quotas, and imposed restrictions on entry of other companies into the alliances. The NIRA was overseen by the Industrial Advisory Board, answerable only to FDR. General Hugh Johnson, an avowed admirer of fascism, ran the NIRA; his guide book was “The Structure of the Corporate State,” written by one of Mussolini’s aides. While the NIRA was at that time almost universally recognized as a fascist project, there was a purposeful great effort for disassociation following WWII; after all, how embarrassing would it be to have the patron saint of liberal democracy associated with the evils we had just defeated?

Americans need to understand their history or be subordinated by the ignorance of it; the US came dangerously close to fascism under FDR, yet most don’t realize the clear and present danger he represented. He is worshiped to this day as a great president with an unprecedented four term plebiscite; however, like today we should also understand the times he ruled in when 15,000 to 20,000 people came out to honor and mourn the deaths of the notorious killers Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. As George Orwell observed, “The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.” 

So before progressives hurl this derogatory slur at those that stand by the US Constitution and its Bill of Rights as fascists, they need to understand what that word actually means, and to remember that Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the closest thing we have had to date as a fascist leader. Further, that their support for obvious socialist policies as our current administration represents are in the tradition of Gentile and Marx. It is curious that Marx, who was Gentile’s mentor, failed to understand what his disciple and Hayek did, and that is “Fascism is the stage reached after communism has proved an illusion.”


Fed Up

“With a gun a man can rob a bank; with a bank a man can rob the world.” Carter Glass

Admittedly, this post’s title is a pun, but not meant to be so much humor as exasperation. I wrote a post on 09/25/20 titled “Remember Hyde?” for how this cabal of manipulation was created. Given the horrors of QE in the 2008 Financial Crisis, I could not imagine how much more damage this insidious institution could inflict on the American people, and I have been told that I have a very active imagination, but obviously not active enough.

As to the quote, funny how the man who co-sponsored the Federal Reserve Act, and served as both Secretary of the Treasury and Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board could say something so prescient.  But life is funny, unless you’re on the receiving end of the joke.  For today, I’m still muddling through the confusion created by Jerome Powell in his press conference regarding yet another rate hike.

I almost felt sorry for the poor schlub, caught between inflation and credit crises, but not quite; he played the old QE game that created these problems, the consequences of which were apparent to anyone who took basic economics, and predictable based on historical records. The problem is that in the musical chairs of that game, he’s left standing alone. Yes, there is Janet Yellen, but she’s a useful as a rubber crutch, so it’s poor Jerome on his own, literally. When asked why the administration promotes fiscal policies so antithetical to the Fed’s monetary fight against inflation, he basically said he had to deal with whatever arrived at his door; translation, no comment.

On one hand you can’t fault Powell for saying so as he’s not the President or Congress, but then there’s the Fed’s decision to bailout the likes of SVB with loans and assumption of debts, the very essence of QE, which is also antithetical to the Fed’s monetary fight against inflation. The message is that the Fed has no policy; in essence, its “Forward Guidance” is reactions to headline news, so tune in tomorrow. The reality is that the Fed is stuck in the quicksand of economic planning, an impossibility that statist never understand. No matter what you plan, based on whatever your theory is, the infinite number of individual choices people make, called the market, will ultimately prevail; when you attempt to dictate against that, bad things happen, and we have that in the real world now.

The market’s reaction to this was predictable; there was so much uncertainty created in the confusion of that press conference that the market tanked. Contrary to the norm that when stocks go down, bond yields go up, that didn’t happen. Further, the financial sector got hit hard as banks have a huge amount of unrealized losses given their bond holdings, not to mention that many “Zombie” corporations have loans due they may not be able to meet. So will someone please explain why Yellen keeps telling us that it’s different this time, and not the same as 2008? True the details are different, but like a soap opera, the script is the same.

As Powell was pummeled with questions about the future of rate hikes, he kept singing the 2% mantra, but refused to project when that could happen. We keep hearing about the “terminal rate”, meaning the rate at which no more hikes are required because inflation is done; that’s not likely to happen soon with inflation per the CPI still at 6%, but is it actually higher? Up until 2002 the BLS used a ten year data base to calculate the CPI, but that year it adjusted the index to a two year average as the Bush administration attempted to change the public’s perception of the economy by adjusting the calculation for inflation for a lower CPI. Since that appeared to work for Bush, why not Biden, so last year the BLS again changed its CPI calculation based on the single year of 2021; as is all too common with politics, if you don’t like the result, redefine it.

What is so meaningful anyway for inflation at 2%? It’s like “Death by a Thousand Cuts”; no single one is fatal, but taken together you get death. I remember a funny line by Jay Leno who said “I was reading in the paper today that Congress wants to replace the dollar bill with a coin. They’ve already done it. It’s called a nickel.” Pretty accurate actually; since the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 the US Dollar has lost about 95% of its value, a slow death indeed.  Another word that has crept into the lexicon of Fed Speak is “sticky inflation”, meaning that American’s perceptions of prices are responsible for persistent inflation; so if we just changed our attitude toward ticket shock the price would get lower? 

There are signs that more and more Americans are beginning to understand that the Wall Street slogan “You can’t fight the Fed!” is a dangerous submission to the ultimate manipulation of a nation’s economic health. Consider that all US currency denominations state at the top “Federal Reserve Note”; a note is a debt security obligating repayment of a loan, at a predetermined interest rate. Now imagine if you go to the Fed and attempt to redeem that note, what do you think you’ll get? Well since it’s not commodity money, all you’ll get is the good faith and trust of the US government; try taking that to the “bank” and see where you’ll get.  

Then consider that the Fed, like many of the banks under its supervision, have a huge amount of unrealized losses given its bond holdings, mortgage backed securities and what it disingenuously called “Deferred Payments” for what it owes the US Treasury now. In common sense language, when your assets are less than your liabilities, you are bankrupt; what will the new word wizards come up with to explain how the “lender of last resort” has nothing left to lend? Oh, my apologies, I forgot they have the printing press, exactly what got us into this mess to begin with. As Ron Paul once said of the Fed years ago, “The Federal Reserve system is nothing more than legalized counterfeit.”


“Tricks and treachery are the practice of fools that don’t have brains enough to be honest.” Benjamin Franklin

You have to love Benjamin Franklin who said so much with so few words. Here we have the best explanations not only for the recent bank failures, but those who rush in to save the day; not only were we initially told what later proved to be at best inaccurate, but then that there was nothing to worry about and further that the cure would not be at the tax payers expense. We’ve seen this movie before, as the saying goes, as most of us are still around who witnessed the “Financial Crisis”, so why the obvious deceptions?

We should start with the facts. SVB’s and Signature’s problems had nothing to do with crypto currencies any more than FTX’s problem, which was a Ponzi Scheme; such reports in the legacy media are at best deflections. These two banks were both very poorly managed; they bought assets such as USTs and MBSs when both had marginal yields and/or very low ratings, which comprised the majority of their assets. Now, with ever rising interest rates, these assets depreciated so much that even when sold, which was at considerable discounts, they failed to provide sufficient capital to meet the demand of depositors seeking higher yields or withdrawal of their money. What you had was a good old fashion bank run, something we were told back in 2010 the Dodd Frank Law was meant to avoid.

What we need to appreciate here is that the dilemma that these banks got into was created by the very government that came to save the day; both the Federal Reserve and the Federal Government has, through egregious print and spend policies, created high inflation, which in turn caused the need for ever higher interest rates. Further, that 2010 Dodd Frank Law, which required banks to meet high standards through what was called “stress tests”, was amended in 2018 with large bi-partisan support, lowering the standards for “medium and small” size banks in order to encourage lending.

On top of this, much of the lending by these banks was to high risk start-ups and “zombie” companies, adding to the risks already exposed by fractional banking levels greater than what was even now allowed, clearly a failure of both regulatory and supervisory practices and procedures. In fact, Gregory W. Becker, the CEO of SVB until the collapse, is a director of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, a clear conflict of interest. While it’s true that Barney Frank is on Signature Bank’s Board, he was not in public office at the time; however, it’s curious that in a recent interview he claims that the 2018 amendments to the law that bears his name had nothing to do with Signature’s collapse.

It remains to be seen if these bank failures, and the destabilization of some other “medium and small” banks, mostly regional but still important, creates a “contagion” similar to the 2008 Financial Crisis; we have been told that’s pure speculation and unlikely because this time it’s different. While it’s true that the circumstances differ as the 2008 crisis devolved from a bust in the speculative residential mortgage market as house values tanked below mortgage debt, creating a huge number of defaults, the results are basically the same, i.e. banks owned assets worth less than their liabilities. What we got was a huge bailout program by the Federal Reserve and Federal Government and the birth of “QE” as interest rates were cut to nearly nothing, and the Fed took on huge depreciated assets on their balance sheet, a practice that technically made the Fed insolvent.

Now with SVB we have the government paying higher than the FDIC $250K deposit insurance; we have to call it like it is as we have again another case of bailouts and corporate welfare at the taxpayer’s expense; for us to be told otherwise is insult on injury, which creates such a smoke and mirrors environment that we are left with the inevitable conclusion that such a deflection has become deception. Adding to that, we also have the case of First Republic Bank, a regional based in San Francisco providing wealth management for the rich. Following SVB’s demise those wealthy clients with deposits in excess of the FDIC’s insured limits headed for the exits. Under Fed direction a consortium of major banks lent $30B to address FRB’s distress; despite that, its shares continue to fall.

Pardon my skepticism, but isn’t this like a doctor spreading a disease among his patients as a remedy for one patient’s affliction? What happens to the lending banks should First Republic collapse despite the infusion of so much money? What we get from the administration is a blame for its predecessor as it was they who amended the Dodd Frank Law. What’s forgotten is that the amendment was a bipartisan action; as George Carlin famously said, “Bipartisan usually means that a larger-than-usual deception is being carried out.” What we need now is not blaming the past, but addressing the present to insure the future.

For Joe Biden to hold a press conference where he attempts to assure us that all’s well, that there’s nothing to worry about, and that the bailouts will not be at the tax payer’s expense, is a deception only the delusional would attempt. Add to this that both SVB and Signature made considerable donations for Biden’s election campaign and you have the makings of a deflection morphing as it usually does into a deception. That was only made worse by his turning his back on the press conference as he left it, refusing to answer any questions. Perhaps it’s true that there’s nothing more deceptive than the obvious.

Doom or Bloom

“What we think, we become.” Siddhartha Gautama

This quote says much about Buddhism, and much that is misunderstood. In its basic and fundamental form Buddhism is a focus on knowledge and wisdom. The one thing that is most misunderstood about Buddhism is that it is not a religion; it is neither dogmatic nor does it acknowledge the existence of any deities. Buddhism is simply a philosophy for a way of life, a way for each individual to find happiness.

Buddhism recognizes the spiritual but only as residing within our humanism. It recognizes that we as humans can suffer, but that there is a way to find and understand the cause, a way to address it, and therefore a way to end it. Buddhism represents a positive mindset that finds opportunities in everything as opposed to the negative mindset that finds despair in everything. Buddhism focuses on the present, not the past, as only through the present can there be a future. It disavows reification, relies on the empirical and avoids the confusions of the metaphysical.

This post is not about Buddhism as such as there are so many good sources available for that; it’s about the growing dominance of the negative mindset of our young. Per the latest CDC data, those between the ages of 10–24 years account for 14% of all suicides, second only to accidents as the leading cause of death in the young. The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that nearly 20% of high school students have serious thoughts of suicide and 9% have attempted it. What accounts for such desperate suffering among the young is something we as a society need to understand.

A new word bouncing around the news and social media is “Groomers”; as a “Boomer” I went to my book shelf dictionaries to find what that meant. I have Webster, Oxford, Random House, and MacMillan, but all they had for Groomers were definitions of those that groomed people and pets; so off to the internet where I find a “modern” definition as slang for “…someone who builds a relationship, trust and emotional connection with a child or young person so they can manipulate, exploit and abuse them.” Apparently in the culture wars of our time this slang definition applies to a great many people, dominantly in education, news, social media and politics.

While there are a lot of problems in the world, and historically that has always been the case, the current attitudes about them, and the approaches to solutions, more often than not border on the bizarre if not ignorance, stressing crises and doom rather than understanding. With the massive bombardment of information in the news and social media it’s easy to see how someone, especially the young, can become overwhelmed, misled and driven to despair; however, adults are supposed to be there for them, but in many cases apparently now qualify more as Groomers than mentors. Therein lies our first step in understanding what we need to do to develop a positive mindset in our children, and that is to avoid Groomers who are in a position to influence, and perhaps even indoctrinate our children with a negative mindset.

Whether the gloom is focused on war, climate, race, sex, disease, or whatever crisis is the angst of the moment, there are Groomers that will stress everything in an environment of doom, discounting if not dismissing the inherent human trait called invention, especially as the saying goes, when faced with necessity. This situation has spawned yet another modern slang word, “Doomers”, the victims of such negative manipulation. According to the same source as before, “A Doomer is a person with a pessimistic outlook on life. A Doomer feels a sense of helplessness and aimlessness and is often stricken with deep despair for life.” The definition itself is cause for concern when it refers to the most vulnerable segment of society, the children of Gen Y or Millennials, Gen Z or Centennials, Gen Alpha, and whatever alphabetic category we come up with for future generations.

A negative mindset can devolve into despair, which is a very real, debilitating disorder. While a person experiencing despair can usually function sufficiently in day-to-day tasks, if not addressed it can in turn lead to depression; even if temporary that’s a chronic state of feeling low, losing interest in what previously provided pleasure and a sense of purpose, becoming dysfunctional in doing the simple tasks for living. Often depression leads to suicidal thoughts, or even worse. With that in mind, understand Groomers to be an evil version of the Pied Piper of our day.

A closer look into this phenomenon of Groomers and Doomers finds various surveys by Gallup and others that correlated political identities with negative mindsets. While I find the left/right political spectrum to be flawed, it was interesting to see that these surveys found around 58% of those on the “right” in good mental health compared to 38% on the “left”, with moderates and independents in the middle. Similar surveys further broke down and found in these groups those in the extreme end of the spectrum, especially if espousing violence as a solution, to more likely suffer from depression.

There was no surprise here, at least on my part, to find a strong correlation between Groomers and Doomers and political ideologies like “White Supremacy” and “Wokeism”. In fact, there was more convergence and almost no divergence socially, culturally or politically among these groups where individuals become so oblivious to the issues at hand while they espouse mean and cruel behavior as a virtue, often in support of some cause that they can’t even coherently identify. The existence of such nihilism within them provides an explanation for such rampant negativity. 

There is yet another modern slang definition, this for those with a positive mindset, and that’s “Bloomers”! No, I’m not referring to old fashion ladies underwear, expressions of annoyance, or flowers; the modern day slang definition is “A person who has a positive outlook, resists self-destructive behavior and generally functions as a happy individual.” Further, it’s important to note that Bloomers have knowledge about the harsh realities of life, so this positive mindset doesn’t come from ignorance; reality doesn’t prevent Bloomers pursuing the best and happiest life possible. This positive mindset doesn’t necessarily make them the smartest people in the room either, but it does enable them to use whatever intelligence they have to their maximum benefit.

Bloomers in general are the young who have not allowed themselves to be indoctrinated into negative mindsets and therefore reach a state of maturity where instead of obstacles see opportunities; they don’t carry around the burdens of despair seeing only problems that can’t be solved, and have no interest in cancelling or hurting in any way people who don’t agree with them. Bloomers as opposed to Doomers embrace life as an adventure in “…the pursuit of happiness.” As far as correlations go, they often become entrepreneurs, despite the fact that being one comes with no guarantees for success or safety net in the event of failure.

What we need in our society is an environment, especially in education, that excludes Groomers, discourages Doomers and promotes Bloomers. In America we have a game that is very much like life and as one of its most iconic players simply told us, “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” Babe Ruth

Truth Will Out

“I’m not upset that you lied to me. I am upset that from now on I can’t believe you.” Friedrich Nietzsche

Some may recall back in the early days of the Covid-19 Pandemic that there was much speculation as to the origins of this virus.  At first we were told it came from a “wet market” in Wuhan, China, possibly from meat contaminated with diseases from bats, known to be reservoir hosts of SARS-related coronaviruses. Some scientists discounted that theory as such viruses seldom jump the species hurdle from animal to human, while others noted that SARS did so in 2003, also originating in China. 

Much speculation as to what was true or not followed, which was understandable since nothing definitive at that time was known. What was not understandable was why then did the CDC, the WHO and the NIH proceed with not only making the “wet market” theory the official account, but labeling all other explanations “misinformation”, and even worse, censoring those with alternative accounts.  It became such a censorious campaign as to cause the dismissal of many doctors and scientists who did not subscribe to the official narrative.

What was even more troubling were the accounts in the Washington Post, The Intercept, and other news articles about the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which is part of the National Institute of Health (NIH), funding gain-of-function (GOF) research through the US based nonprofit EcoHealth Alliance for the Wuhan Institute of Virology and its laboratory. This would be a direct violation of the 2014 Congressional ban on such research that makes such viruses more transmittable to humans.  Dr. Anthony Fauci was the director of NIAID at that time who claimed that “…it has not ever and does not now fund gain-of-function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.”

Despite the NIH’s refusal to release requested documents regarding such funding, Empower Oversight Whistleblowers & Research, a well-known and respected public advocacy group, sued under the FOIA in order to obtain them. They were reviewed by various scientists and journalists, such as Richard Ebright, Board of Governors Professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Rutgers University, Newsweek and The Washington Post.  Ebright concluded that “The documents make it clear that assertions by the NIH director, Francis Collins, and the NIAID director, Anthony Fauci, that the NIH did not support gain-of-function research or potential pandemic pathogen enhancement in Wuhan are untruthful.”

The conclusion was that unequivocally NIH grants were used to fund controversial GOF research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China, contrary to Dr. Fauci’s denials; such accounts were published by both Newsweek and The Washington Post.  Subsequently, under direct questioning by Senator Rand Paul at a Senate Health Committee hearing on 07/20/21, Fauci became enraged when Paul suggested he lied to Congress about the NIH funding GOF research, testily denying any such involvement.

So compelling are the facts supported by documentation that now the US Department of Energy says that Covid-19 most likely originated from an unintentional laboratory leak in China, according to a “classified document”. Following that announcement, the Director of the FBI, Christopher A. Wray yesterday said Covid-19 “most likely” originated from a “lab incident” in Wuhan, China. Despite all the documentation, facts and findings, even from their own agencies, the Biden administration inexplicably continues to insist there remains no “consensus” about whether Covid-19 leaked from a Chinese lab.

In light of the draconian and clearly unconstitutional measures the administration inflicted on Americans with lockdowns, mandates, and the censorious campaigns about so-called “misinformation”, wherein if you questioned the actions of the government, you were labelled an “extremist”, but apparently if you lied as Fauci did, you are anointed as an “expert”, this administration can’t be trusted to tell the truth as it seems to operate on Adolf Hitler’s  theory that “If you tell a big enough lie, and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.”

Further, we now learn that despite the claims from the two main pharmaceutical regimes, i.e. Pfizer and Moderna, claiming respectively in early 2020 that the efficacy of their vaccines were 95% and 90% respectively, neither one has proven to exceed even 35%, and further they now state that their vaccines are not effective against transmission. Recall that in promoting and in some cases mandating vaccines, the administration extended these two medical behemoths immunity from liability regarding any negative effects from their vaccines; how fortunate for these corporations given the growing incidence of cardiac adverse events such as myocarditis or pericarditis. The whole basis of the tyrannical medical passport system was built on a lie as we now have a frank admission from Pfizer and Moderna that their product was never tested on its ability to reduce transmission.

I do believe that the truth will out, but the issue now is what Americas make of this tragic chapter in our history where the government actually connived to not only deceive us, but to destroy the means by which we could know the truth. These lies represent egregious acts of what can only be considered intentional frauds and cover-ups by both the corporate and government actors involved. We must not forget or forgive those responsible because if we do, then what will come to pass is, as George Orwell spoke of in 1984, that “The past was erased, the erasure was forgotten, the lie became the truth.”


“Hope is waiting for someone else to do it.”

The above quote is by a character in Robert Harris’ book “Munich”, the German diplomat Paul von Hartman, in a conversation with his British counterpart, Hugh Legat; it is in reference to stopping Hitler. It takes place during the 1938 negotiations between Chamberlain and Hitler. I recently saw the movie version, which was not disappointing as often is the case. It is a very insightful understanding into the nature of hope when it is not accompanied by a plan of action; in essence a useless emotion often leading to frustration.

I heard on the news the other day about recent polls that show the majority of Americans find they are worse off now than they were in years past, and even more troubling, do not see a better future, one where they can achieve prosperity; it’s understandable that when people have positive expectations of the future that are not realized, there will be disillusionment. If those expectations, or hopes, are not accompanied with a plan of action to achieve prosperity, then all they become are disappointments waiting to happen.

What were these expectations, and perhaps even more importantly, given current circumstances were they realistic? What was puzzling to many news commentators was the concurrent news about how well the economy was doing; I’m not referring to all the political bravado on display with the administration’s victory laps given the latest economic data, I’m referring to the economic data itself. Beating all the forecasts, we have a record 517K jump in jobs created, decelerating core inflation, and increased labor force participation. So why all the doom and gloom?

There are explanations regarding the labor statistics offered by some economists, like the end of the extraordinary benefits that enabled many workers to wait until they had to get back to work, coupled with the growth in wages due to high labor demand. Then some note that the inflation stats ignore the increasing costs of food and energy. Some express concern that the Fed’s policies on interest rates are pushing us toward a recession and that labor statistics are a lag event. All of this has validity, but does that really address the doom and gloom found in various polls?

Polls also show that the majority of people find that the nation is going in the wrong direction and that its leaders appear unable or unwilling to do anything about it. Apparently the doom and gloom is more than just economic in nature. What the polls don’t tell us is what people find to be the right direction; we have the negative but not the positive feedback. Maybe the right questions are not being asked, or maybe we are looking in the wrong places for the right answer.

There’s a great study called “The Human Freedom Index”, published biennially; it’s a huge joint undertaking by the Fraser Institute in Vancouver, and the Cato Institute in DC. They work with and draw on statistical data from various organizations throughout the world that study and measure the personal, civil and economic freedoms of people in 165 countries, measuring over eighty indicators to establish rankings; they’ve been doing this for about twenty years, establishing a solid reputation based on experience, breadth and depth of objective analyses, and clarity of presentation. This latest edition was published in 2022 for the period 2018 to 2020; the lag is due to the huge data base they need to gather and analyze, a very time consuming process. What struck me as an American is the poor ranking of the US, especially compared to previous editions; for 2020, the overall ranking for the US is 23rd, lagging behind such countries like Switzerland, Sweden, and even Taiwan; it fell seven places since the prior edition. While relatively high in economic freedom, the US had appallingly low rankings in personal and human freedom, a country founded in principle to highly value those things. 

Among the statistics that jump out are the low rankings for the rule of law, freedom of movement, and the size of and regulation by government. One would hope that in the land of the free the US could manage to at least place in the top ten overall rankings, but hope is not a plan. While we have what many countries do not, i.e. a constitution that simply and clearly establishes the rule of law, we fail to protect basic rights; we have the plan, we just lack the action. This poses a loss of identity as to what differentiates the US as a country, which in turn accounts for a lack of confidence in leadership; while there have been expectations for a meaningful change with each election cycle over the last twenty years, they were crushed with one myopic administration after another.

While Americans have become painfully aware of their falling purchasing power due to bad monetary and fiscal policies, they can’t seem to grasp that the addiction to a free lunch was not a solution, but a drug making them numb to the reality that such policies contribute to the erosion of the freedoms they took for granted. They are distracted by the political theatre of endless partisan posturing, little of which addresses our problems, like crushing debt, cultural polarization, or dangerous foreign policies.

What history shows us is that the policies of a century ago led us to failed economies, rising trade tensions, expanded government, loss of liberty, rampant nationalism and ultimately catastrophic war. If this all sounds familiar it’s because here we are again, and despite our hopes to the contrary, we don’t seem to have a plan of action to change course. Hope is useless without action but aimless without a plan. Hope is not just wishing for things to get better, it involves actively making things better.

Maybe it’s time for the American people to act rather than just hope; encouragingly, we see signs of that happening. Parents are becoming more involved with their children’s education instead of just complaining about politically motivated curriculums, falling standards and failing scores. Alternatives like charter, private and home schooling are increasing rapidly. People who are not career politicians are running for local office at an increasing pace.  Some local and state governments are actively resisting the dictates of the Beltway and performing as they were intended.  There are student organizations at some universities pushing back against the draconian dictates of the administrations of higher learning.

These are just nascent and localized signs that people are beginning to understand that just hoping for change is not a plan.  There are even some in Congress that have shown the courage to propose ideas that others are afraid to even think about, like a plan to balance the budget; the resistance to such common sense, especially in the face of record debt, exposes the level of corruption that has become so imbedded in our political DNA.

It is also increasing apparent that the political class, the elitist regime that makes the hunt for power such a blood sport, is in panic as the two main political parties are fracturing along the fault lines of failed ideologies. This will become increasing obvious as we enter into yet another round of elections in 2024 that will likely be even more contentious than the last. What the American people should not just hope for, but vote for is whoever represents a true change of course away from all the failed policies that have led us to rank only 23rd in real human freedom. “He that lives upon hope will die fasting.” Benjamin Franklin


“We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men, not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes which were for the moment unpopular. We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home.” Edward R. Murrow

The amygdala is an anatomical term for the part of the brain that deals with emotions, “… the core of a neural system for processing fearful and threatening stimuli…and activation of appropriate fear-related behaviors in response…”; quite often it responds to crowd reaction without even knowing what the threat is. I always found the phrase “irrational fear” to be an oxymoron since, when you calmly think it through, it is an emotion and therefore has no rationality. What we should really fear is not the fear itself, but giving into it; seldom does anything good from that.

To calm the amygdala we are often told to slow down (except of course if it triggers fleeing from a rabid dog or some wild beast), take deep cleansing breaths and think things through in order not to be a slave to your emotions. As Aristotle put it, “He who has overcome his fears will truly be free.” Wise man that Aristotle, he knew that by controlling your fears you will find a way to overcome them, find solutions to problems and also avoid destructive and embarrassing behavior.

Unfortunately we live in a time when such wisdom is no longer accepted; emotions are more valued than reason, and fear is no longer something to be addressed as harmful, but embraced as both an ideology and a manipulative tool. Does the frontal lobe, the part of the brain responsible for logical thinking, reasoning, and managing emotions, no longer exist? Has society had a collective frontal lobotomy? We should understand that as an emotion, fear only exists in the mind where it creates a perception of danger or a threat that may not be real.

Edward R. Murrow was a courageous WWII correspondent and journalist, and a leading voice against the abuses of McCarthyism.  If he were alive today, I can only imagine his reactions to the phenomenon of “Wokeism”, that hysterical and irrational fear mongering that values subjective feeling while denying objective fact. He would caution that to allow fear to dominate would lead us into “…an age of unreason…” making us easier to control; he would be horrified that such an acute anxiety disorder became a political ideology as it did with the McCarthy hearings.

One of the main premises of wokeism, if it has any, is that anything or anyone it considers offensive is not just objectionable, but literally needs to be “canceled”; it goes so far as to redefine people, places, words or things to fit a conclusion, rather than a thought process of finding the facts to support one. While such behavior can hardly be called an ideology, anything that the woke find offensive is subject to a categorization like “racism”, “white supremacy”, “fascism” or whatever the latest fashionable derogative of the day they embrace. If the woke finds something offensive, they are entitled to destroy whatever liberties it finds in the way of their solutions, like freedom of speech, expression, property rights, etc.

This has been the historical behavior of authoritarian activists and ideologues through the ages like Napoleon, who once observed that “In politics, an absurdity is not an impediment.” They too used such tactics because they were insecure in their own positions and feared to intellectually engage with anyone who disagreed with them. They did differ with today’s woke in so far as cancellation had a more fatal meaning; that’s not to say wokeism will not evolve similarly as their day is young. For now they avoid, and even rage against any idea that they answer to any objections to their worldview; easier that way to maintain their moral superiority.

This closed vision against reality pertains to the arts too as a rejection of the joy of creation, of song, of stories that offend, whether it’s literature or the daily news. For the woke everything offends someone, even the most insignificant things, which creates a world of darkness where we are incapable of learning anything because everything is offensive. The worst fear for the woke is that there are people who don’t feel guilty about what the woke find offensive, who don’t subscribe to the ideology of fear, but have found that nothing in life is to be feared, only understood.

Somebody’s Lying

“The fact that so many successful politicians are such shameless liars is not only a reflection on them, it is also a reflection on us. When the people want the impossible, only liars can satisfy.” Thomas Sowell

If the specter of debt, whether it’s the nation’s, your town’s or your own (inevitably all the same thing) has you stressed then ask yourself if you believed the lie rather than the reality. If you believed the lie like the proverbial free lunch, yet voted based on your desire for what you knew deep down was really “impossible”, then perhaps Sowell’s quote above applies. But you’re not alone, not in an America drunk on debt that has just had the sobering cold shower of inflation and rising prices, high interest rates and falling real wages. If you buy the lie that it’s the greed of business that makes the price of energy and food so high, and you continue to support politicians that spew that nonsense, then the shame of the lie is yours because when you kill the truth, all that remains are lies.

Recently, the reality of the fact that the Fed is actually bankrupt has hit the financial news because you really can’t hide something like that.  The Fed’s own balance sheet exposes that fact as its assets are less than its liabilities.  When that occurred, the Fed quickly moved to actually violate its own stress test protocols, including GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Procedures) to make an entry it disingenuously called “Deferred Payments” for money it owes the US Treasury now; that’s a unilateral default on debt it passes off with an accounting gimmick that would have regulators in court with any bank or financial institution attempting such fraudulent behavior.

Why the Fed committed such a fraudulent act is explicable only as one may accept Madoff’s excuse for getting caught when his Ponzi scheme imploded – he ran out of money; the Fed simply fell into a scheme called Quantitative Easing (QE), which started back in 2008, and basically refers to the gimmick of the Fed “buying” UST bonds and MBS (Mortgage Backed Securities) with dollars printed as they ordered from the UST to create liquidity enabling expanded credit and therefore debt. It actually worked for a while, but like all Ponzi schemes you eventually get caught in your own devices. As inflation took off, the Fed had to raise rates, and that meant paying off a higher debt service as the value of your assets fell; the cost of bonds are the inverse of their yield, meaning interest, making the cure as bad as the disease.

Now to make matters worse, the administration went on a spending binge, which of course is contrary to the Fed’s attempt to rein in inflation.  In effect, you have the right hand fighting what the left hand is attempting to do. As Sowell so eloquently put it “The first lesson of economics is scarcity: there is never enough of anything to fully satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics.” Spending for that free lunch is what politicians do because that’s what gets votes from the very people that suffer the consequences.

The meaning of shame is the painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior; however, as Sowell noted in the quote above, politicians can be shameless liars convincing the voters that they can give them what is impossible. While the media was filled with stories about FTX, focusing more on cryptocurrencies than the actual frauds committed, the government promised investigations and hearings, virtue signaling moral superiority while causing even more economic destruction with monetary corruption and irresponsible fiscal policies.

The Newspeak never stops as the focus now is on the debt ceiling, with the usual partisan hysteria about how the world will come to an end with an economic Armageddon if this isn’t resolved immediately. As usual, whoever is in power refuses to negotiate claiming how the other side wants to deprive Americans of all sorts of things, and whoever challenges accuses the other side of gross fiduciary negligence as custodians of the national pocketbook. Few talk to the issue of the glaring absence of an approved budget since Fiscal Year (FY) 2020. For FY 2021, what the Administration and Congress did was to pass a series of five continuing resolutions, which was really not a budget but more a running account of what they spent as they went along, accumulating at the end a deficit of $2.6T, equal to about 12.5% of the US GDP.

For FY 2022 we have record spending, but we are told the deficit for that period decreased to $1.4T; are we to believe that although more was spent the deficit fell year-over-year? Assuming that’s true how then did we hit the all-time high of $31.5T in debt? Well that simply attests to the fact that the government monetized much of it through a huge currency inflation causing a painful rise in prices, and now more pain with rising interest rates. Despite all this, we are told by the administration that the economy has never been better. 

As far as the debt ceiling goes, why do we even have one if there is no ceiling on what we spend? Also, why are we told the ceiling has to be raised in order to pay the bills of what has already been spent?  If it’s already spent, the money is gone, so why do we need the ceiling raised? The fact is it’s not money already spent; its money approved but yet to be appropriated, and in order to actually spend it the restriction known as the debt ceiling needs to go higher. Hearing all the partisan ranting about this brings to mind one of my favorite Chris Isaak songs called “Somebody’s Crying.” In it, there’s a refrain that goes “I know that somebody’s lying, I know that somebody’s lying.” That somebody who’s crying is the American people trying to follow this contorted litany of lying by our politicians. We all need to understand however that there’s nothing more shameful than the consent of the victim.

Empty Promises

“We must not promise what we ought not, lest we be called on to perform what we cannot.” Abraham Lincoln

Donald Trump promised that the US would not get into another foreign war and that we would disengage from those that we had conducted for decades; that didn’t happen.  Then Joe Biden promised that, and to his credit he withdrew from Afghanistan; very badly done, but he did it. 

But Joe forgot the other part of the promise about not getting into another foreign war, and so here we are in a war in Ukraine, a country with whom we have no treaty alliance as they are not a member of NATO.  In fact, although the US had previously pushed to have Ukraine in NATO, nearly all other members said no; they don’t even want Ukraine in the EU for various reasons, including that country’s persistent history of authoritarianism and corruption; per the New York Times recent reporting, Ukraine’s cabinet ministry announced the firings of several top Ukrainian officials in the biggest upheaval in President Zelensky’s government to date due to widespread corruption.

The fact is Europe doesn’t really want anything to do with this dispute between Russia and Ukraine as they are all too well aware that not only could their involvement escalate to a wider and more dangerous conflict, but historically for over 350 years Ukraine was simply a region of Russia, culturally and ethnically Russian, and only became “independent” with the dissolution of the Soviet Union a few decades ago.  Further, Ukraine is far from a “democratic” country, and until 2014 was closely aligned with Russia, and like Russia, ruled by an authoritarian regime replete with oligarchs like their former Motherland. If not for US bullying, Europe would have remained neutral.

So what does this thug Zelensky, an authoritarian that has repressed all political opposition and his country’s press and media, have on Joe Biden that gets him to enter a proxy war, funding that regime with billions in arms and armaments, impose illegal sanctions on Russia causing horrendous harm to the EU economy with the loss of Russian energy, and risking an escalation that could lead to a nuclear war?  There is no benefit to the US, indeed not even for our European allies and is a drain on the US economy when we can least afford it. If something doesn’t make any sense it doesn’t mean there aren’t reasons to explain it; likely the reasons can be found on Hunter Biden’s laptop.

Now despite promising the American people that we will not provide the one thing that some so called “military experts” in the Senate say could turn the tide decisively in Ukraine’s favor, i.e. MBT (Main Battle Tanks), in the case of the US the Abrams M1, Biden flips over and now says we will, pledging 31 of these $10M behemoths. An odd number but apparently the rigid composition of a Ukrainian tank battalion. It has been learned that the US was pressuring its NATO allies, principally Germany and the UK, to provide MBT, but they insisted that the US lead the way or they would not contribute. It doesn’t look like there’s much consensus on the team.

Adding to the fumbling, we now learn that it will likely take considerable months for these tanks to be actually deployed in Ukraine. It’s not, as has been reported, a matter of not having the tanks; while the US Army actively deploys about 2,500 of these monsters, there are about 3,700 in storage. The issue is they have to be commissioned, an arduous process, shipped, and then there’s training on what is a highly technical and difficult weapon to operate and maintain.  Further, they were designed to be a part of a far more flexible and nimble mechanized infantry force, a format that the Ukrainian military doesn’t deploy.

As our Department of Defense has repeatedly advised the administration, these tanks are not in and of themselves a panacea for military success, even when joined by German and UK MBT, and further that providing the Ukrainians a system that they can’t afford, successfully operate or sustain, and doesn’t fit their military model could be counterproductive. In short, we potentially have a situation of a square peg in the proverbial round hole, a very deep hole of billions in armaments that may have little actual military benefit, but potentially escalate a regional conflict into a world war.

It’s become painfully obvious that this administration is following the same pattern as previous ones in jumping down a rabbit hole with little to no thought as to where it leads or the consequences of becoming engaged in a conflict that’s virtually not only none of our business, but with no clear benefit for America but with enormous risk and ever increasing costs. There was no clear goal and therefore no real strategy to achieve a goal. What we hear from supporters of this administration’s policy, if indeed there even is something approaching one, is that if you criticize it, you are supporting Putin; that’s a typical reaction we have heard with Viet Nam, Afghanistan and Iraq as if dissent means support for the enemy rather than concern for our country. It appears that Ron Paul was right when he said that “The only thing we learn from history, I am afraid, is that we do not learn from history.”


“Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead.” Benjamin Franklin

With all the news about classified documents being found in the possession of Trump, Biden and most recently Pence, little has been said as to how they came in possession of these documents. What has been said in Trump’s case is speculation that in the mad rush to vacate the White House once the reality of having lost the election set in, his staff simply dumped everything in boxes, including these documents, and hauled them off to a basement file room in Mar-a-Lago.  In Biden’s case, he just doesn’t recall how they got wherever they were found; the same is said by Pence.

But that doesn’t really explain how something that various officials and the media claim is so critical simply is “discovered” to be where it’s not supposed to be. The responsibility for the retention and security of these documents is the Information Security Oversight Office of the National Archives and Records Administration”. When a document is requested by those with the proper clearances it is brought to what the U.S. Department of Defense calls a SCIF (Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility), basically a room certified and accredited as meeting Director of National Intelligence security standards for the processing, storage, and/or discussion of sensitive compartmented information. Wow, does this stuff get thick on the tongue but apparently thin on effectiveness.

The fact is that the process is so ineffective that there have been many presidents, vice presidents and other government officials who have been found to possess classified documents outside of these SCIFs, both while in office and after they leave office, like Truman, Carter, Clinton, Obama, and of late Trump, Biden and now Pence; all have cooperatively and willingly returned such documents, with the infamous exception of Trump who first denied possession, then fought for retention with at best dubious legal tactics. 

However, we are still left with the explanation as to how, with all these seemingly strict security protocols, does this happen? Is there some secret password they use, a special nod and wink signal to leave the SCIF with this stuff in hand? As one official at the National Archives and Records Administration anonymously confided with a reporter, the SCIF is an illusion, an invention on paper; the reality is sloppy housekeeping made newsworthy once exposed.

It is still concerning that this has happened, especially in the case with Trump and Biden, both of whom have had dubious relationships with foreign governments in Russia, Ukraine and China. While the Steele Dossier has been discredited as a fabrication by a now disgraced FBI agent, Trump’s relationship and business dealings with Putin have always been concerning, but in truth no more so than Biden’s through his son Hunter with Ukraine and China. In fact, Biden had classified documents that go back 14 years to his time as a Senator, as do Hunter’s influence peddling schemes.

Now consider the case of Julian Assange, the Australian editor, publisher, and activist who founded Wikileaks in 2006, and who the U.S. Department of Justice has indicted, alleging that he conspired with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to leak and publish classified documents which showed that the U.S. military killed Iraqi and Afghani civilians and did not report the incidents. Further, during the 2016 U.S. election campaign, he published confidential Democratic Party  emails showing that the party’s  national committee conspired against Bernie Sanders in the primaries in order to get Hilary Clinton the nomination. WikiLeaks also published a series of documents which detailed the CIA’s electronic surveillance of not only US allies, but US citizens. Assange has been confined in Belmarsh Prison, London since April 2019; as of July 2022, Julian Assange is appealing the UK decision granting extradition to the US. The point is that if Julian Assange is subject to prosecution for taking classified documents, and then exposing US war crimes, rigged elections and illegal surveillances, what should we expect for both Trump and Biden? My guess is Trump and Biden will not face what Assange has so far.

Which brings to my mind the question of what exactly qualifies for something to be classified information? The government’s ready answer is whatever constitutes an issue of national security; how often have we heard that line before? So what constitutes an issue of national security? When our government was more direct and honest, which was a long time ago, the answer was any issue involving military or non-military threats against the territory of the US and its citizens, their properties, their commerce and economic security; lately it seems to be whatever the government says it is. What Julian Assange is really guilty of in the eyes of the government is exposing that which it did wrong.

So who decides what information is classified?  According to Federal law classification authority may be exercised only by the President and, in the performance of executive duties, the Vice President, agency heads and officials designated by the President. Now that’s a whole lot of people who, with little if any Congressional oversight, can simply deem information to be of sufficient sensitivity as to be classified, like war crimes, rigged elections and illegal surveillances.