Saturday, December 29, 2012

#16 Karl Denninger: One Dollar Of Capital - A Definition And Challenge

This post discusses Karl Denninger's article, One Dollar Of Capital - A Definition And Challenge posted 28 July 2012 in Bank Reform. I cannot really offer anything from this article concerning the present monetary system as the general message of this blog is more in accord with “come out of her, my people” than it is with rehabilitating or sustaining the present system or the order it supports and represents. My comments will reflect instead from Denninger's ideas, ways in which they would function in (the or an) VEN based on the observations of E. C. Riegel.

Denninger makes some interesting points, interesting from the standpoint of those attempting to define an alternative to the present system that would run in parallel and outlast and survive the old debt based systems. In this discussion, we are going to focus on finance, which is plainly stated, the ability for someone to buy something they can't afford. Much of the world's business has been maintained in this way, and as long as certain principles are adhered to as universal references, finance can continue. But everyone is aware that most of what besets the present system, and which shall ultimately break it, and its associated brutal collectivist order, is related to abuses of finance.

Denninger says, “One Dollar of Capital is simply the principle that nobody be permitted to "create credit out of thin air", thus artificially expanding the spendable supply of "money" in the system. This, and only this, is the reason for all of the bubbles and financial collapses throughout history.”

This is entirely in accord with E. C. Riegel's ideas. After citing many well known financial bubbles, Denninger continues,

This sleight-of-hand is in fact exactly identical in mathematical and economic impact to counterfeiting of the nation's currency, a crime which we all should recognize, condemn, and when it occurs the punishment should include both imprisonment and forfeiture of every dollar of ill-gotten gain.

Yes, Karl, we too are angry, as are now growing numbers of tens of millions the world over, but after all, weren't we warned long enough and in so many ways, never to deal with dishonest money lenders? Weren't we responsible for reading the fine print on all those papers we wilfully signed to get this or that, just to maintain our lives, including our lavish holiday celebration of the birth of Nimrod every year? Aren't we also in part to blame for uncritically “going with the flow”, of just “getting along” as everyone else has, sheep being led to the slaughter, for the profit and the benefit of the so called “chosen” few? The message was always the same too, “come out of her, my people.” So we have been warned. When someone offers you something you know you can't afford, you know there must be a catch.

Putting a stop to unbridled credit creation also removes the threat of "inflation" because it makes inflation by sleight-of-hand flatly impossible. It returns the ability to cause inflation to the one place where it should rest -- the entity that is supposed to be in control of the money supply, the federal government (specifically, Congress.) 

And of course, here is where we differ. But we aren't concerning ourselves with Congress, because we recognize from E. C. Riegel's clear rational observations that the framers of the US Constitution were seriously in error in believing they could grant to Congress a power over the creation of money that was akin to giving them the lawful authority to determine the orbits of the planets. As has been said many times now, for those who have been paying attention, the government should get out of the banking business, and the economy in general, and the banks and economic factors should leave the governing factor to those who can or would be engaged in that dwindling occupation.

But Denninger and we differ only slightly as regards inflation, he and Riegel are in fundamental agreement. Denninger comments further,

The bankers and their cronies have tried to hide [inflation's] impact on the common man through offshoring of labour so as to hold down "prices" in the CPI, but that's a lie too as a man who loses his high-paying job to some slave in China has his spendable income destroyed at the same time as he gets "lower prices" at WalMart. 

Simply put, for every dollar of alleged GDP there must be one of dollar of credit or currency with which to buy the goods and services produced.

Riegel would certainly see it this way too.

If you increase the denominator, that is, the number of units of either credit or currency in the system, then each unit must inevitably be worth less than it was before. Only when those units are exactly in balance with economic output is there zero inflation and protection of the currency's purchasing power. That is the definition of Sound Money.

We're going to elaborate somewhat here, the balance Denninger expects to achieve must remain within what Riegel called “price relativity” as regards all other natural factors in a transaction, except for the kinds of interventions Denninger and we agree would be disallowed in a rational and ethical system. Prices would wobble around a predictable average, especially where supply and demand are kept at near constant rates with respect to each other; the price of a gallon of whole milk in a particular area of a particular state in the US. Prices for the same item might differ significantly in other places, permitting those who normally would wish to do so, if it was profitable to them, to supply milk to a particular area at lower than prevailing prices.

This is normal economics and we agree that generally the numbers of units to measure value (money) should agree with the units of output value produced in an economy, however we must come to a much greater definition of what that word “output” consists before we have anything meaningful to discuss. How much business is transacted in that which was not produced in a given time period for which such measurements would be made, but is merely being traded for value in something else, perhaps even a better version of the same thing? Used houses, cars, boats, cabins, pianos, come to mind immediately. There are whole layers of economic activity that do not require anything new of value to be produced. Reducing the amount of money in circulation to only that which is produced, sounds good, and reasonable, but is it? We actually claim that the ultimate measure is as Karl Marx thought but couldn't understand properly, the value of human labour. Everything else should rightfully be judged in price accordingly. The only trouble is that everyone has different ideas about how much their labour is worth doing certain skilled or semi-skilled occupations. This is why money based on hours worked has got its own problems. As Riegel thought, one has to let the money value the labour, not the other way around. (The or an) VEN would do this.

Denninger's article here contains many stand out principles that can be addressed as regards the functioning of (the or an) VEN:

Banks are limited to depository institutions. They are forbidden to speculate or trade in asset markets.   

In an VEN, the “banks” are called “exchanges” and are depository institutions that do not have as part of their charter the loaning of money. You wont be able to get loans through an VEN in the usual way. These functions would be taken over by other private businesses that agree to the VEN Rules of Finance, which specifically stipulate that no extra money can ever be lawfully created; the elimination of usury. The VEN makes its money from transaction fees only, we're talking a rather low end job here in comparison to today's remunerations for bankers, except that each Independent Exchange (IE) would have a real board made up of real human beings, that would have to pass (accept) any transaction coming through their exchange as part of a credit contract. The job of each IE is to settle transactions with other IE's. Each IE having a customer at the end of each transaction. These customers / traders can be either A's (individuals) or B's (groups of individuals). An A member who lives outside the bounds of an IE is a B member to that IE.

Investment banks can trade, be involved in the capital markets or whatever else they wish. However, they are forbidden deposits, government-backed insurance of any form or any sort of public assistance.   

Well, of course Denninger is talking about the present system here. A Value Unit system automatically separates these functions, strengthens the exchange centre and gives it the authority to accept or reject contractual claims made between customers as claims of settlement in transactions involving finance credit; credit contracts.

All institutions must mark-to-market every night.   

This is a laudable goal, but as applied to the present monetary system, it will never happen, because that removes from the bankers their fictional right to set values and manipulate the markets. We prefer to say that in a Value Unit based system, “marking to market” need not apply to very many items at all if it even can be a widely determined and meaningful measurement, which it may not be, and that in general the amount of money created will never be in excess of what is required to transact honest business.

No loan may be made beyond either the marked-to-market value of the collateral pledged or the firm's own capital. This forces all lending to be self-liquidating -- either through repayment over time, or through seizure and sale of the collateral posted or through the posted capital by the lending institution.

We're nodding in general agreement here; this is generally how a Value Unit based  financial would operate. One of Denninger's readers had this to say regarding a real estate loan,

Suppose I put 25% down and the bank loans me $100K on a house.

He's suggesting that (.75)x = $100K, x = $100K / .75, x = $133,333.33

The total value of the house is $133,333.33 to the buyer and he put up $33,333.33 as a down payment. Perhaps if he had had more cash at the time of purchase, he could have gotten the same house for less money. We'll definitely cover that aspect of such transactions in a future paper on markets.

Does the bank have to have that $100K or can they create it?

All such transactions concerning real estate, as they have existed down through time, are essentially the title to the property as collateral for the loan of money to possess it; forfeiture of the terms of the loan leading naturally to forfeiture of the property. Let's look at the transaction from the financier's viewpoint and then we'll arrive at the answer Denninger's reader asked.

In any real estate transaction there is a seller and a buyer. If the buyer has cash for the property, there is no need of a middle man, a financier, and probably the price the buyer pays will be significantly lower than had he to finance it. But in most real estate sales there is need of a middleman, a financier, who can settle the claims in order to get the title (deed or whatever other specifies documentary ownership), the lender must pay off those who are selling the property, so the answer is yes, the financial institution would have to have the money. They could not create it out of thin air.

So the financier (operating under contract to both buyer and seller) buys the property from the seller. The property belongs to the financier who then arranges to sell it at a higher price to the buyer for terms. In the process the entire sum of money is loaned out and recaptured -self liquidating- and the residue between what the financier paid for the property and what he got in return is retained by the financier. Is there any inflation created by doing this? If that question asks, does it have any appreciable affect on say groceries or food prices, since there is supposedly more money in circulation, the answer is no, there isn't any; any extra money is attributed as value the buyer had to incur as part of his agreement to pay back the loan over time, rather than having the cash to complete the transaction at the time of sale.

So before the buyer and seller met in the financier's offices, the financier had the money to purchase the seller out of his property and retain the deed. (We'll discuss all the valid means for financiers to have acquired their Value Units in a future paper. Take note that in most instances the financier in a Value Unit system would have to be dealing in both Value Units and dollars or some other currencies. No IE would ever deal in anything but Value Units.) In order to get the deed, the financier would have had to settle all previous claims against the property; loans, taxes, etc. That would be the base price. If the buyer had had that much cash at the time of purchase, he could have settled the matter and NOT needed to resort to credit.

In passing, there are two reasons why down payments must be large enough in regard to the properties being financed; it's called “earnest money” that the financier assumes the buyer took some pains to secure and pledge as part of the deal and also as a hedge against default of the loan on the part of the buyer.

So the financier has bought the property from the seller at his agreed price which I'm going to assume is $100K. Observe the obvious, the financier had to have or raise $100K to buy the property. The property backed the money the financier paid for it. It's now tied up in the property. Now the buyer is sold the same property for a higher price, more value added in that he could not afford to buy it with cash at the time he did and managed to come up with $33,333.33 to settle the deal. So let's be honest folks, the buyer bought today a property worth $100K for $33.333K and a string of payments to cover the rest. That's if he did it in Value Units. It would be much more if he financed it in anything else, because no IE would ever pass a credit contract that even sniffed of compounding of interest. I'll admonish all that real estate deals were usually considered of shorter duration in ancient times than they are now, certainly for undeveloped land or land requiring remedial labour to bring it into full productivity.

So the loan would probably be much shorter but once the loan is paid off that money would disappear into what? Into what it bought, the owner's real estate. The financier would win his time value on extending his credit to the buyer, just as in usury, except that the transaction would be paid entirely as money that was created, out of the purchased price of the real estate, rather than from money that was not created as in an interest bearing loans.

What happens when a forfeiture occurs? The financier loses whatever portion of the loan that is uncollected and has to foreclose on the occupants and put the property back on the market for whatever he can get for it. If the financier is caught with more property to sell than he has money with which to work, he loses, goes out of business. One reason we want finance to be kept out of the centre of transacting business is that all finance is inherently risky, which will be covered in a future paper on markets.

If they can create it, it does inflate the money supply but it is self-liquidating, just over a much longer period of years. Is there an advantage of being an early borrower in such a system, or is such advantage, if any, only at the very beginning, in that we would soon reach steady-state?

Markets that rely on finance have such questions attached to them and the longer the period of payoff -destruction of previously created money- the more they become pertinent. But in a Value Unit based system, many such practices are disallowed as they run against acceptable risks and tend to contaminate or make lopsided any rational market.

On real estate, there may need to be two more conditions, on top of say a minimum of 20% down. One, NO programs of ANY TYPE to help people get the down payment. Two, unless there is fraud or destruction of the property, all loans are non-recourse. The bank takes the collateral and its over.

Further comment:

All credit that is self-liquidating is inherently a time-shift of demand. That's why most economists ignore it in their computations.

But if that's the use of credit (self-liquidating, irrespective of time) then credit should grow at about the rate of GDP. It hasn't -- it has grown much faster. This is proof that the intent is otherwise than what is stated.

Indeed! Which is precisely why we wont accept governments as members of the VEN from their inception. E. C. Riegel had ideas concerning how governments would be allowed to participate in (the or an) VEN, always as B members, so they would never be allowed to issue money, and in agreement with Bill Still and others, would never be allowed to go into debt. Under present circumstances, we are aware that much including the measurements of GDP, unemployment and much else, are unreliable.

Self-liquidating credit temporarily increases the money supply but when it is matched against an asset that is impounded as collateral while the money supply increases the total amount of wealth in the system does not; it is purely a swap of liquidity vs. wealth. 

I want to point out a common fallacy here. By it is purely a swap of liquidity vs. wealth the reader is attempting to come to grips with the concepts of money and assets. Liquidity of course refers to cash and that which can easily be converted into cash. Assets can be passive or active, can depreciate over time, etc. Wealth is that which produces something of value based ultimately on income over expenses; not all assets are wealth in the commonly held sense.

If someone has a lot of something, assets, even the corner on it (a near monopoly so that they are almost the only supplier), if that commodity doesn't sell at the seller's conceived prices, though he might have nearly all of it on earth, sooner or later the price he sells it for will tend to fall. Diamonds fall into this category. So in fact might oil. Both are price protected commodities. Whenever this happens, it's a sure sign that probably the natural price would be lower. Labour unions also try and protect a certain price for certain kinds of labour. The results are much the same.

If you forbid lending without 100% reserves even collateralized then you are effectively imposing a 200% reserve where collateral is taken!

This reader is referring to the well known maxim concerning cash required to maintain any retail business, known liquidity as retained replacement value; the lender would have to have at least twice the amount loaned on hand.

This would be ridiculously deflationary rather than neutral and would immediately cause all lending to become uncollateralized since the price of the loan would go up to reflect uncollerateralized status even in the presence of collateral (that is, nobody would post it as there would be no differential in price.)

We agree with this for the most part, but would suggest that everything forward from here is deflationary, since there is already too much inflation in the system, certainly in real estate, and in the government budgets for things that the government should not be doing, all paid by acquiring more debt. Terrible! Until and when this all crashes, and real estate falls to its real natural value relative to other common commodities, and governments shrink dramatically as they will indeed be forced into doing, no true and honest system can be constructed. Again, those out there asking for a fix or aching for a band-aid to the present system are warned; there is no fixing what cannot be fixed, there is no turning back to a “better time” which wasn't, there is only going forward through the Inevitable collapse and beginning again and anew by NOT doing again what has been done before. Thou shalt NOT lend at usury. “Come out of her, my people.” Denninger continues,

For banks if they wish to lend unsecured (e.g. for a credit card) they must have either sold stock to investors in the amount of the loan (and have the cash proceeds set aside), have sold bonds to investors (and have the cash proceeds set aside) or have retained earnings that they set aside.

Good heavens! We care not what path others may choose, but as for us, give us liberty or give us death. We will not have need of such unsecured loans and they will not pass the inspection of any local IE within a Value Unit system. Thus shall we be free of the unsecured credit menace, and its ability to entangle one in endless debt, once and for all. Denninger continues,

A secured loan (e.g. a letter of credit, a home mortgage for less than the home is worth, a car loan for less than the depreciated value of the vehicle, etc) may be made without capital being posted as the security is the capital.

This kind of loan and its basis are likely not going to pass muster for most financiers in a Value Unit system. What we anticipate happening in the VEN system is that as the exchanges come on line and begin trading with one another that various capitalized businesses will appear to offer legitimate financing within the Value Unit economic sphere, probably specializing in various lines of credit business. This will all be explained in a future paper.

The kinds of agreements under which these loans are made would have to pass examination of the boards of the local Independent Exchanges (IE's) through which they would pass; be settled as in a business transaction. There would be strict rules applying to board members and approved finance agreements to eliminate conflicts of interest. Failure of VEN officers or financial businesses to respect professional distance would result in officers and businesses being denied service by the admittedly private IE's. When one joins an IE, one is making a private agreement that is subject to the enforcement of the rules ONLY by the members of the VEN, not by anyone else. If you break the rules and get caught in the Value Unit system, you're out of the trading community, probably not forever, but for a good long time. We expect to have an honest monetary system, one that is completely open to everyone who needs to know, which in most cases is going to be surprisingly few people.

Would that in essence allow banks to create some money, and thus inflate the money supply, but in a very limited way? I am trying to grasp every nuance of this idea.

I happen to think that perhaps the reader has stumbled upon a realization concerning expanding money in a wasteful manner, by allowing abuses such as home equity loans, or even equity loans on classic cars or works of art. This is sort of having one's cake and being eaten by it too. One always pays more for what one cannot afford at the time of purchase and pays more later than sooner so as to shrink for the duration of the loan the available monthly budget.

Even assuming that such loans would work in a Value Unit based system, their benefit seems limited, except to those who lend money, the financiers. Under a Value Unit system, they must have it to lend to begin with, so no, they do not get to create money out of nothing, But they also cannot charge interest, so the only way a financier would be able to operate in a Value Unit based system is as a middleman, buying at wholesale and arranging terms at retail. All such financing never creates more money than is absolutely required to satisfy the transaction and certainly never asks more than was created.

However, since any asset may depreciate in value (e.g. a car) the assets must be continually marked to the market and if the liquidation value falls below the outstanding balance of the loan the bank must post actual capital for the difference on a nightly basis.

Denninger is describing a class of loans that would probably not pass muster through any IE but this just shows you what one would need to do to make loans of this kind work, and even so, what if the car is totaled, the furniture burned in a fire, the house destroyed by flood or earthquake? Those who live on credit and those issuing it both take their risks as do those who manage to own their property free and clear. Denninger has an idea, a zero barrier,

We maintain a statutory "zero barrier" on excess actual capital in all institutions that have the privilege of lending against assets, at a level high enough to prevent a negative equity event from occurring.

This actually addresses the question regarding how much reserve a lender must have on hand, how much extra cash or liquidity they must have, to more than cover their outstanding loan business.

The zero barrier should be set somewhere around 6%, the former reserve ratio before Greenspan and Bernanke began tampering with it, and any violation of that excess capital requirement must lead to immediate seizure and liquidation of the firm. Banks and Investment Banks are free to dance as close to this line as they wish, but if they cross it the consequence is immediate business failure.

Of course, Denninger is referring to the present monetary system. Under a Value Unit system, each of the lenders would be required to meet certain requirements to float “credit contracts” through (the or an) VEN. It might be that this “zero barrier” as proposed becomes one of these rules as a kind of “third rail” that automatically disqualifies the lender that breaches it from further participation in the VEN market. We'll have to look at the implications for parties to credit contracts under an VEN to determine the ramifications of a lender's sudden insolvency; we've already considered somewhat the effect of a default on a loan involving real estate. The implications for a wider variety of financing credit contracts would be similar.

All institutions that lend against assets must publicly disclose all transactions, marks and capital every night.

You can't always get this information, so even at best posted “marks to market” would be an approximations. If Denninger is limiting this to a firm's positions in a stock or bond market then we really don't care about such things as they wont exist in anything like the same form in an VEN since many business models and concepts are automatically disallowed under a Value Unit system. We will not allow “limited liability” for example, neither will we allow interest (money that is never created demanded in repayment) compounding of interest (the same as the former on steroids), nor a “public corporation” with an unlimited lifespan capable of being owned by absentee owners, no thanks. We intend to move forward with full accountability and responsible business ethics, not just more of the same.

The price of being able to lend against assets, temporarily increasing the supply of credit in the system, is that you must prove each and every day that you are not counterfeiting. Any institution can choose to avoid this disclosure requirement by lending only against its own capital and not claiming asset values [to] "secure" its lending. Since most financial institutions will not want to disclose this information, other than depository firms will likely choose to be investment banks and lend or finance only with the capital they actually raise.

This is a far reaching statement as applied to the present system, and of course financial institutions will do what they please rather than adhere to any arbitrary rules that confine their business. That's the way things are and have been and will be. But to us in the alternative movements that do not believe in either the efficacy or ethics of the present system, see it's inevitable collapse and demise, etc. we want to be thinking about how these ideas might apply to (the or an) VEN.

We have established that the financial service businesses will be separate from each local IE, that their business and the credit contracts they become a party to, must meet requirements set by the IE (rules will be promulgated to apply to all VEN relationships and will be agreed to as part of each member's private association with the VEN). We frankly anticipate credit contracts serving a far more limited role than they do today. We are far more interested in establishing a means to allow small business to get established and prosper, especially local farmers, dairymen, ranchers and local food processors. As far as we're concerned, the best way to prove who the “useless eaters” are, is take part in and take over the food producing business, returning it everywhere to local people who care about what they produce and about serving local people. We will be focusing on what Riegel described as self-financing labour in a future paper which once these ideas are understood should radically revolutionize the way we all do business.

Note that a move to One Dollar of Capital immediately resolves all derivative concerns, since every underwater position must be netted every night against actual capital. If you cannot post actual capital on an underwater position you must liquidate the position. This instantly de-fangs the derivative monster.

How much better and healthier is everyone going to be when all this “making money on money” without producing or exchanging anything of real value just goes away? None of this is of any concern to (the or an) VEN. There wont be any stocks, bonds, or derivatives although there will be certain kinds of “pay it forward” labour contracts. Denninger sums up his description of his One Dollar of Capital idea with a reference to deposit insurance. As previously noted, there wont be any need for deposit insurance for any account at any IE because none of that money belongs or shall ever belong to an IE. No IE makes loans so they don't derive their income from supposedly making loans on the reserves of their depositors. Riegel dispensed with the entire fractional reserve banking model and so shall we.

Since no institution can "create credit" there is never systemic risk. Deposit insurance would be unnecessary except that we have a 30 year history of the government refusing to do its job and even participating in book-cooking schemes; during the crisis IndyMac allegedly back-dated deposits with the OTS, its government regulator, aware of the practice and in fact the same individual allegedly responsible this time did the same thing during the S&L crisis. Because we cannot trust the government nor can we seem to prosecute government agencies and individuals successfully when their malfeasance results in the loss of customer funds, FDIC insurance must be maintained.

A reader comments ...

WHO is 'We' and; how will these standards be imposed IF the Government and the Bureaucrats cannot be trusted, controlled, restrained or punished? The problem IS NOT one of Regulatory Statutes: it IS a problem of Regulatory Capture and Corruption.

Citi-Group and Travellers were merged with the 'approval of Regulators' despite clear -absolutely 100% clear- legal prohibition to that merger.

-The Legal Prohibition DID NOT Matter!

-Laws and Rules DO NOT matter and WILL NOT be adhered to.

-There are no Structures in place to allow the Citizenry to directly challenge the activity of Government Bureaucrats.

-The Courts DO NOT Function.

-Separation Of Powers My Ass: the Courts AUTOMATICALLY side with the Government which gives them 'Legitimacy' in the first place.

-It's NOT an Unconstitutional Mandate: It's a TAX for NOT COMPLYING with an Unconstitutional Mandate!

-The Dept. of Justice does not function.

-Voter Fraud? Gun Running? Money Laundering ( at the Banks! )?

-Congress DOES NOT function. Dept. Ceiling? Pass the Bill to find out what is in it?

Promoting ANY Regulatory Regime WITHOUT True and Actionable provisions for Punishing Regulatory Inactivity and/or Collusion is -forgive Me- IDIOCY or INSANITY; -and will achieve NOTHING.



NOTHING whatsoever will be solved without merciless violent punishment of so much as attempts at Bureaucratic Exception and Regulatory Inactivity.

We merely point out that this represents a typical kind of rant these days.  Grist for our mill ultimately, as trade must and will happen and an honest money system that is rugged and durable shall long survive, regardless of what other asinine things people in other monetary systems may do [we lately may have at least one more to add to this list]  Another reader wrote:

I got an e mail from my congressperson. She wanted me to take a "tax cut survey"

First question: End all tax breaks for those making more than $250,000 a year so we can invest in infrastructure and education.

Of course she is a democrat and heavily union supported. If I were to actually waste my time filling out her little survey, what good would it do? These *******s can't even pass a budget, and we operate on continuing resolutions. If congress can't be responsible enough to pass a budget, how could they be expected to be responsible and pass one dollar of capital?

Rhetorically, they wont.  Bothering with politics to settle anything is a waste of time as Riegel pointed out.  Anything new must be done privately and on a volunteer basis.

With One Dollar of Capital Lehman could have gone broke and it would not have mattered, beyond Lehman.

We in the VEN world will want this too; if a lending institution fails it only affects them and their parties to credit contracts, not the entire monetary system.

Companies go bankrupt all the time; systemic risk only arises when you permit firms to commit acts that on any rational analysis amount to fraudulent emission of "money" such that they can imperil everyone else if their deception is forcibly recognized by the market.

We quite agree and would of course expect this in a Value Unit system. At least we understand that even in a business bankruptcy, the people involved are still people and will need to have a real (though limited) safety net to fall back on, which is what Riegel after all advocated and what (the or an) VEN will provide.

David Burton


Thursday, December 27, 2012

#15.5 Bill Still's Reports 61 thru 68

2012-7-24: #61 What is the Fed? .mov   

Banks do lend out far more than even the safest usual requirements for fractional reserve banking normally permit. Still correctly calls this counterfeiting. Riegel called it watering down the money supply, which is actually what this practice does. Informative.

2012-7-25: #62 National Debt – Bill Still 

Recap what we've learned. Fractional reserve lending, additional money creation by the Fed for the benefit of the banks, the Fed not owned by the people of the US, Federal regulators incapable of being responsible regulators (a morality gap, perhaps?). Meanwhile the US Federal government (and all the other state and local governments) borrow a trillion dollars a year and the interest payments are gigantic.

2012-7-26: #63 Interest on the National Debt  

How much could you buy with $500+ billion in interest payments on our national debt? Still tries to give us an idea of the enormity of our situation.

Still also claims that Jefferson, well he probably did out of ignorance, supported government issuance of money and that is what it says in the Constitution all right, except that it also allows the government to borrow money, of which Jefferson always disapproved. Now if it could do one, why would it need to do the other? Yeah, I know, just a dumb obvious question, right?

2012-7-27: #64 The Solution #1 – Bill

1. Forbid further government borrowing. Right.
2. End the Federal Reserve system. Sure.
3. Replace all FRN's with US notes. What happened to the last guy who tried this?
4. No more fractional reserve lending -> dollar of capital lending – Karl Denninger.

We encountered the article Denninger wrote here
and have its themes plainly in mind for a future paper.

2012-7-29: #65 The Inducement Situation – Bill

Still points out that bribing Congress would be cheaper, by far, than paying the interest payments on our national debt.

2012-8-1: #66 Jekyll Island – Bill Still   

Still is planning on being part of a movie on Jekyll Island. Terrific, especially if they can make it historically correct without making the audience too sleepy. Half the reason that money people get it over on most people is that money and money matters are inherently boring to most people or are purposely presented as such in order to make it easier for most people to outsource their thinking on money subjects. They shouldn't, obviously. Bill likes the scene of the proposed movie, the resplendently preserved old club down in Georgia. As of this point, Still and his group are looking for “angels.” Let's see if he gets it. Informative.

2012-8-18: #67 IMF Paper Supports Monetary Reform??? Bill  

This episode referenced an IMF study concerning something called The Chicago Plan which was crafted by some economists back in the 1930's but never adopted.

2012-9-1: #68 The Gold Solution is a Lie – Bill Still 

Still is correct in slighting the “gold bugs.” In its place he sees ceasing government borrowing and fractional reserve lending as the prescriptions.

We doubt anything will come of this. Therefore why not consider setting up a competitive system that runs in parallel with the present system, on basic easy to understand principles that is run by the people who participate in it, not some far off bureaucracy. Still includes those who slight the Austrian school and Ayn Rand followers. Well and good we say, except we will cherry pick some things from them where we can. Still is correct about the effect gold would have on banking; absolutely nothing. In fact the gold and then silver based money systems were started by the same people who invented fractional reserve banking centuries ago. Returning to a gold standard gets them back into their oldest game.

We have a different use for precious metals in a Value Unit system, for those who have assets they want to convert into Value Units for uses of trade, all transactions must be made in gold and silver bullion. Those who have no assets shall get for their value as decided among themselves as many Value Units as they qualify to receive for FREE. This will surely be a subject for a future paper.

From 2012-8-30, here's the gospel on the Austrian economics from Max Keiser, plus other related news.  Again, should we be surprised? Should we care?


Sunday, December 23, 2012

#15.4 Bill Still's Reports 41 thru 60

2012-3-19: #41 Roger Stone 

More on the LP Presidential race, about FORCE and fraud, and about one Roger Stone in particular. Again, E. C. Riegel strongly advised NOT to involve oneself in politics. This does not mean however that the powers that be wouldn't think twice about employing “hit men” as Stone described himself. Informative.

2012-5-19: #42 Bilderberg Bill   

Still's message to the Bilderbergs. He makes many assumptions, a few of which we disagree with, including appeals to fear, a contention shared by many that democracy is not tyranny-proof, etc. Otherwise we are primarily in agreement, especially concerning issues of debt based money and the centralizing power of banking.

Still claims here and in many other places that “money must serve the public interest.” This begs many questions. We don't think that by this point Still has critically examined this notion identified as the “public interest.” Everyone who thinks in these terms has got to get a grip on reality; you are actually asking a group of individuals you do not know and have dubious reasons to trust, to do something for you called “the public interest.” You believe that just because it has never worked that somehow we can do better. This is exceptionalism, it is irrational and should henceforth be dropped completely. Repeating something that has not worked is insanity, pure and simple, the frustration always met when trying to do something with the wrong tool, or set of tools is a common analogy.

This is what made Riegel so different, he simply cut away all these false assumptions and stated his observations clearly in hope that someone would learn and think about things differently.

2012-5-23: #43 Victoria Grant – Bill 

Still has recently attended the Public Banking Institute's conference in Philadelphia. Still identifies himself as a Quaker, claims they began public banking in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, etc. Nixon was supposedly a Quaker too. Of the many speakers at this event, Still was highly impressed with a 12 year old Canadian girl, Victoria Grant, whose father and she had been studying the debt money problem and its effects on Canada.

2012-5-24: #44 Paul Hellyer – Bill

More about how Canadians dealt with their economic / banking conditions back in the 1930's, the government nationalization of the Bank of Canada. It worked very much like the North Dakota state bank. Still and I would be in virtual agreement in terms of how much healthier the economy might perform under this system, except that this solution ignores the role and rights of each individual Canadian, American, or of the people wherever such state control of money “created in the public interest” is adopted.

Still never seems to understand that asking the government to buy what you or I want is hardly right, fair or even workable long term, even if the solution seems like a “quick fix”. Those who would have the right to create money, in this case the national government of Canada, would do so for whatever reasons suit them, not the Canadian people, Still or me or anyone else. Riegel, and I believe Milton Friedman also, have pointed this out.

Also as has been pointed out by others, and is pretty obvious, asking government officials, people we don't know in most cases, to do better than we ourselves, is attributing to them higher moral standards than the rest of us, which is hardly admissible, and also quite irrational on its face. Still and this fellow, Mr. Hellyer, seem to think that just keeping whatever is going up and running, whether it would have stood the test of honest competition, or for whatever cause, is good enough. Recall also what we've said about pragmatism; it's not even a legitimate philosophy, cares nothing for the truth and ultimately provides only a solution to appearances not reality.

Band-aids care or know nothing about underlying health concerns, causes, etc. Yet, that's what most people's economic concerns seem to follow; band-aids, just get the economy up and running by whatever means possible. We're past most of this already and it will not work, it's like placing confidence in someone you expected would be a demigod (or at least a paragon of virtue) and realize that he's just a clown. Once a clown, always a clown. You can't put lipstick on a pig and call it beautiful, etc. The world meanwhile is begging for another solution, please.

2012-5-28: #45 Bill at Philly – Bill Still

The audio is terrible, use headphones for best results. This is Still's speech before the Public Banking Institute's conference in Philadelphia. Still says that the Austrian School of economics (the gold standard), which never questions the rules under which banking and finance are conducted, was brought to America by the Rockefeller Foundation. This looks a lot like other dialectics set up deliberately by those who have decided what the solution will be to begin with; in this case centralizing power in the hands of central bankers, allowing fractional reserve lending, debt piled upon debt, etc. In this case it's either Keynesianism (spendthrift statism) or the Austrian School (the gold standard), anyone else is of course pushed to the curb.

So like politics, we may safely sit out the economics game, since they wont even acknowledge the elephants in the room; creating money with debt attached, literally as bad notes, since the amount of the debt can never be repaid out of the existing money EVER. This means that any and all money created in this way just exacerbates the problem. Then we have interest upon interest, called compounding which is usury on steroids and demands far more money back than the money originally created, thus allowing for more thievery.

The official thievery of course is taxes, which the government and all its agencies will attempt to convince you is your moral obligation to pay (with your hand over your heart, standing at attention, etc.) when they cynically know that the taxes go to paying interest on money the government loaned from the bankers first and foremost.

The second issue conventional economics of either side of the official dialectic will never criticize and condemn is fractional reserve banking which gives bankers such tremendous power over the lives of others and the fate of their property. E. C. Riegel of course dealt with both of these issues fairly and squarely. He has been among the very few who ever have.

We agree with Still's analysis of the relationship between government debt and public control of government; if the government couldn't balance its budget, it would have to raise taxes immediately and bring about immediate public ire. Still is informative about what the Founders had to fight when they were framing the Constitution and how that wording was deliberately affected. Still's critique of Kucinich's bill is correct, but this is after all a political solution being advocated; more clowns.

Evidence of faking gold with tungsten are presented as evidence; this is not a “conspiracy theory” folks. More stuff revealed about Iceland and Virginia's nullification of the NDAA. Still is getting closer to our views, but for different reasons, if only he knew.

2012-5-30: #46 Ireland – Bill Still

About the Irish vote on the latest eurozone bid to grab more power. The election went to the eurozone. This episode is instructive for what it reveals about national debt.

2012-6-3: #47 Forbes Article – Bill 

Forbes takes a cheap shot at Still. Forbes is a discredited source, as are Reuters and The Economist; so what?  Still wants to deconsolidate money power back to the states, smaller nations, etc. How about deconsolidating it all the way back to where it belongs by honest natural right; to the individual people themselves? Will Still wake up before politics saps all his vital energies? We'll just have to wait and see.

2012-6-5: #48 Greece Vote – Bill Still   

This was a sort of message to the Greek people from Still concerning their choices. It would all become a moot point soon enough; near the end of 2012, Greece is still in the eurozone and austerity measures are ... still being worked out. Still tells them, “just create the money you need.” Isn't that E. C. Riegel's message? The difference is who gets to create it; in Still's proposal, it's the Greek government that does it, funding things “in the public good”; spending it into circulation. This is what Lincoln used in part to fund his war.

The Riegel solution by comparison asks people to voluntarily set up local Riegel exchanges and the people in each locality issue their own money as needed for themselves. Still's understanding of inflation and having some agency of government either step on the accelerator when the market is low or on the break when it is high; isn't that what we have now? Is Still a Keynesian at heart? Again, he hasn't read Riegel, in this instance what Riegel said about the natural creation and destruction of money. This is a topic we'll definitely want to cover in a future paper.

Still's certainly correct about one thing though; only producing something of value will save Greece and countries like them, not continuing to borrow, allowing the bankers the right to issue money for them rather than the people doing so themselves based on what they are each capable of producing for the local Greek market first and foremost and from thence to the rest of the world. This too is a subject for a future paper.

The rest of Still's delivery places the issues as they were and are in 2012 on the record; laying blame squarely on the bankers and their debt path to eventual slavery for Greece as well as the rest of the world that falls under their sway.

2012-6-10: #49 Greece Vote 2 – Bill Still   

This is Still's continuation of the message to Greece begun in the last episode. He describes a scenario where the euro and drachma circulate together (drachma's created the way Lincoln did; by government fiat and interest free) and that the drachmas would circulate within Greece only. What this would do of course is set up immediate arbitrage between euros and drachmas, driving down the value of any drachmas, or so the logic would lend one to believe. But not necessarily. Perhaps Greeks would prefer to be paid in drachmas rather than euros and do business in drachmas locally. If that happened, nothing the pundits say is certain except what they do not say, that the people heading the present system are likely to do anything to remain in power.

Still is correct; all imports into Greece would go up in price, but this situation normally draws in those who can or would provide for less than the price of the imports and if there were drachmas even circulating only in Greece, there would soon be someone who would see this as an economic advantage and would attempt to satisfy Greek domestic demand. We are pretty much ruling out intervention by the government here and the chances of that are, of course, likely.

Perhaps, as one of Still's sources claims, the Greek central bank can print up all the euros it needs at 0% interest, but then if that were the case why all the hand wringing over Greek sovereign debt? Still points out that this was already allowed in the case of Ireland in 2011. For those who believe in law by precedent rather than statute, which is most everybody without question these days, under present circumstances of governance (think what that means concerning those who wield power or the elasticity of truth in the hands of pragmatists!), if the Irish could do it in 2011, the Greeks certainly could have done it in 2012. One would think.

Then Still tells us that the Greek central bank has already printed up more euros too. Then the rub, if the Greeks decide to do this again on their own, or pay off their sovereign debts this way, they will be kicked out of the eurozone for creating more euros without permission; thus the euro experiment is a pure game of power and certainly has nothing to do with money created “in the public interest” whatever that means. 

For the rest of it, Still has clearly doe his homework. The result is a terrible situation for Greece long term. Still's recommendation for what should be done after the euro failure is fine as far as it goes.

2012-6-13: #50 Spain – Bill Still   

Much the same as have affected all the stragglers in the eurozone continues with Spain. Still reviews the news to date. This is all for the record. So far, we're still muddling through.

2012-6-19: #51 Money Bomb – Bill 

Still gives us a run down of his personal / financial situation. He has a day job. This is typical of the researchers we're reviewing here.

2012-6-24: #52 Thanks for the Money Bomb

Still expresses his thanks. More on Still's publications, how to donate etc.

2012-6-26: #53 Greek Election Fallout – Bill Still

The political coalition of the sames in Greece; those who have formed a coalition government to deal with the country's debt problems. More instability in Greek financial affairs. Some news from Iceland. Iceland is growing at better than 4% a one year turnaround. Still calls on the rest of the eurozone nations to go back to their national currencies (without lending them into existence), etc. doing it Lincoln's way. Sure, the bankers will just go along with it, without reprisals. Of course not.

2012-6-27: #54 Nigil Farage You Tube sharing

FOX interviews Nigil Farage on contemporary eurozone news. Bill informs us of certain flaws he sees in the Libertarian Party platform, open borders, for one thing. He likes what Farage says, raises the spectre of anarchy without bothering to put the subject to critical analysis; is anarchy synonymous with chaos? We don't think so and Still needs to check his history concerning this question. All the vacuums Still imagines are filled through connivance with the same money power in FORCE today. Eliminate that power and there is nothing that could FORCE its way into any vacuum. Leaders may be as loquacious and charismatic as you please, but without funding from somewhere, they are nobodies. The same obviously goes for terrorists of all stripes. The silly idea that people are willing to fight and die for some idealistic cause, only goes so far.

2012-7-3: #55 What's The Basic Problem – Bill 

Basic Economic Questions:
Q: What's the problem with the American economy?
A: The determination of the quantity of money is out of our control.

Still is caught in a fallacy; he claims that since most people imagine that the money is created by the government, that it's the way it's supposed to be. I beg your pardon, Bill? This is calling ignorance, wisdom, if I ever heard it, with little or no further critical examination of the facts. Creating money “in the public interest” was exactly what the Whig Party that preceded the Republicans and took over from Hamilton's Federalists always wanted; let the government spend the money into the economy on “public works” or “internal improvements” which were almost always boondoggles, means of syphoning public money into private pockets, the usual suspects were always involved; corporatists and bankers.

Few even bother to define what “in the public interest” can possibly mean to the widest number of people and usually include things most people do not want the government to spend money on or otherwise involve itself in. The rest of it, Bill gets correct, how money is created, the role of debt in all of it, etc. Finally he says when it comes to politics, money talks. It sure does, but his solution doesn't fix that at all, whereas E. C. Riegel's does!

2012-7-4: #56 Audit the IRS – Bill   

A scam revealed between the IRS and illegal aliens to obtain false refunds. This is devastating to the establishment! Of course it was under reported elsewhere and even if it had been more widely reported, few would have noticed. Such are these things to most people these days.

2012-7-5: #57 Washington, DC Fireworks 2012 – Bill

2012-7-17: #58 Who Issues the Money – Bill

Oooh boy. Still continues to spread the nonsense that since an ignorant public assumes that government can and should be issuing the money “in the public interest”, whatever that is, that they should be doing so, in the same way Lincoln did, or in the same way the colonies did before the Revolution, not during the Revolution, when the Colonial scrip became worthless. Still has not read Riegel and been confronted by the obvious; governments should not be the primary buyer in any economy at all, the people themselves should be the primary buyers. Governments have nothing to sell that anyone wouldn't rather pay a reliable source, whatever it costs instead. Have you ever known of a government made product that really worked? Think of that in the widest contexts you possibly can and ask yourself whether Still's argument concerning government issuance of money “in the public interest” has any logical meaning?

Governments FORCE people to do things, including giving up their money (which is really the property of a third party, the central bank with the monopoly over issuing the money) for services that the people are FORCED to accept, some services of which people may think are good deals, while other services the people wonder just how good a deal they really are. But enough people have been bullied all their lives into believing the noble lies government people tell them that, so far, and even with all the ruckus caused by the banking and financial sectors, “the system” cranks valiantly and violently on.

The lesson, piece of information contained in this particular episode of this micro-series, is that every piece of paper currency in use around the world, everywhere, everything except the coins representing fractions of those currencies, was created as interest bearing notes; i. e. debt. What did Riegel say about this? He said that in this process the money that was created did not include the money required to pay off the interest, therefore THERE IS NEVER ENOUGH MONEY, EVER in such a system.

You can pile on more money all you want, you will only be piling on more indebtedness, which were it to be honoured would soon scoop up all the money that exists and demand even more in repayment, which is soon scooped up as assets obtained on the cheap, as is happening in Greece and soon will be happening elsewhere, unless of course it's stopped, which history shows has happened before and is likely to happen again since we refuse to obey sane and sure wisdom that usury and its practices, while seeming reasonable, are actually the foundation of organized thievery going back into ancient times.

Still would like the government to take over this money issuing function without interest bearing notes. Does anyone really think they can or would do a better job? What good would it do to empower governments with the role of first buyer in the economy? It doesn't matter what you or I think is “in the public interest”, governments the world over would vie with each other to purchase more that will keep themselves in power, more surveillance, more war making materiel, more ways to insidiously affect our lives in countless unwanted ways and especially more welfare for themselves. Still also does not know his monetary history very well, it's showing, if he thinks he can give this power that belongs to the people themselves back to the state. Is Still a statist then? Perhaps unwittingly, he is.

2012-7-18: #59 Is the Fed Part of the Govt – Bill   

The Federal Reserve is NOT part of the US Government, but superior to it, as it stands as the government's creditor and yes, it is a private corporation. This is one reason why no Riegel Monetary Exchange (RME) anywhere in the world would want to be holding the private property of some other business. That goes for all other currencies as well. This is why we came up with a solution; to have all exchanges between other currencies and Riegels handled in terms of silver and gold bullion, at prices where these precious metals freely trade. This was the intention of #2 The Price of Gold in Riegels

2012-7-18: #60 Fractional Reserve Lending – Bill Still  

This is an accurate and essential episode. Watch it many times if necessary so that you understand this key process. Still says of the banking monopoly, “they are effectively stealing a percentage form every dollar we use.” It's actually worse than that, Bill. They are demanding that we pay them back from what was never created, so there will never be enough to pay them off. This automatically creates a “musical chairs” economy everywhere so that there is no accident why people become poor as there is never enough money in circulation due to debt collection.

Still has demonstrated who wins when they get the right to create and issue the money; the banks always win. That doesn't make it right, or even in their sense, sound. In fact once you understand how fractional reserve banking really works, you may likely never want to take out a loan ever again.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

#14.7 School Sucks Project Podcasts 118 thru 130

[9-5-13: links corrected]
2012-1-19: #118 Get Out of My Way; I'm Trying to Learn (1 of 2)  

Brett's experiences with a self taught student. He focuses on the antipathy between authoritarian practices and natural interest in educational settings. Then he gets into a wide ranging discussion of schooling and education (not the same).


Kirsten Olson- Wounded by School: Recapturing the Joy in Learning and Standing Up to Old School Culture

2012-1-21: #119 Get Out of My Way; I'm Trying to Learn (2 of 2)  

Brett continues the discussion from the previous episode.

2012-1-27: #120 Live Show #1, Hour 1 - The Constitution of No Authority  

Gardner Goldsmith of Liberty Conspiracy podcasts joins Brett for this episode. Discussions of the TSA, Rand Paul and some more frank talk about Lysander Spooner on the Constitution, etc.

2012-1-28: #121 (Supplemental): Brett On Anarchast With Jeff Berwick  

Jeff Berwick of interviews Brett where he really gets down to principles and how they relate to education, society, politics, etc.

2012-2-3: #122 Gaming and Liberty  

Brett's guest is Sydney Roc, the host of Gaming and Liberty Podcast.

2012-2-19: #125 How To Spot A NARC  

Brett takes his cue from an NPR This American Life show. Brett focuses on how kids (young adults who can pass for high school kids) are converted into snitches for the police, as well as recruitment efforts for the burgeoning fields associated with law enforcement; America has the largest prison population in the developed world and “criminal justice” and “prison management” are being turned into for profit businesses. Brett's comments about what “open communities” can expect from “weirds” or other antisocial troublemakers are certainly germane to the subjects of this blog.

2012-2-25: #126 Logical Fallacies Series Preview - Two Minutes With Mitt Romney  

This is devastating to the Establishment: 20 logical fallacies in just 2 minutes!? From January 16th, 2012, in the South Carolina debate, would Romney have signed the NDAA as written? He replied yes. The crowd booed him. The rest is truly amazing. This is certainly key information; if you listen to none of these podcasts or few of them, this one is worth a listen. A difference between a Republican and a Democrat? Certainly not, all politicians engage in these fallacies. Brett just chose this small 2 minute segment. Notice that the issues would certainly work just fine for President Obama as well, since after all he signed the NDAA.

No wonder E. C. Riegel felt the way he did about politics, politicians and political action. We'll see in this short segment equivocations, appeals to emotions, to patriotism, straw-men, reductions of one's opponent's point of view, fallacies of omition, of composition, appeals to FORCE, etc.; in plain English, anything but the truth, or even any genuine respect for it.

One key issue that strikes us as relevant is that groups of people do NOT have any natural rights, which means that there are absolutely no guarantees of survival for any human institution. That's proven by history so let's get our heads accustomed to this new way of thinking quickly, it will solve many problems down the road. Only individuals have any natural rights and these are certainly not granted by any governments or anyone else as some kinds of favours, they belong to each individual as inherent in being an individual; life, liberty and property, and the right to issue one's own money if one has none is an inalienable right of every human being as an extension to the right to property, and that right does not derive from any government, organization, society or group regardless of pretensions to authority! These as we say have and will come and go.

We mention this because one of the most commonly used fallacies is argument from authority, which can easily be shown to be arbitrary and not based on any certifiable or consistent moral standard except that being the usual; to benefit themselves and their friends at the expense of everyone else, the naked use of power which is FORCE and the worst of all is when they have a monopoly on the use of FORCE. Those are the plain facts, sustained by a candid study of history.

(An example of groups NOT having rights are those who produce and presume to foist unwanted malware on your computer. Your personal computer is an extension of yourself as your personal property, every bit as much as your clothes, shoes, home, car, etc. Somewhere, often in foreign countries; but your own country can't be ruled out, there are people working in some commercial ventures to contrive unethical means of flashing ads across webpages, while you are busy doing something else, something you have chosen to do, or need to do, whatever that is. Clearly, malware is a variety of spam. How it is that anyone would actually buy anything presented to them this way is a mystery. If anything, any truly autonomous minded person would deliberately shun anything advertised in this pushy and obtrusive manner. The plain facts are that malware is trespassing and those engaged in it have no rights whatever. In fact most people wouldn't mind seeing those responsible brought to serious justice, be that vigilante justice -which is after all the basic variety, or any of the more usual kinds. Can we ever expect any government to care enough about malware trespassing to put an end to it? If they were a real protection racket, which they claim to be but obviously aren't very good at it, then they certainly would. You really want to hold your breath?)

We're also noticing how Brett's journey is beginning to coincide with Richard Grove's and the others we've introduced to this forum.

2012-3-6: #127 The Ultimate History Lesson  

Then of course, we get to Richard Grove and John Taylor Gatto. The goal is autonomy; the ability to stand as oneself outside the rest of reality so as to be able to see it clearly for oneself. Anarchy and chaos are NOT synonyms. Brett's guest is of course Richard Grove. They have now clearly crossed paths. Peace Revolution Podcasts #41 thru #45 contain the entire interview with Gatto and are linked on this blog through #13.5


James Billington- Fire in the Minds of Men
George Orwell- Animal Farm

Ray Bradbury- Fahrenheit 451

2012-3-6: #128 Live Show #4, Hour 2 - Primary Sources

Brett news, then Brett and Gardner Goldsmith 2nd hour of a previous radio show. A run down of the subjects, including exactly what I predicted would happen over 20 years ago; the eventual technological convergence of computing, education and entertainment / news; alternatives to college, alternative pathways to pursuits of competency in skills, etc. Primary sources include the original intentions of most of the social sciences developed during the 19th century; John Dewey as prominent in the formation of public education, is used as an example.  

2012-3-14: #129 Logical Fallacies Series Preview #2 - A Brief Analysis of KONY 2012

This is a longer than usual episode: perhaps Brett has been learning from Richard Grove. It's really important to get a firm grasp of this material as it's a key piece of the Trivium (Brett is really getting into it now); the middle part, logic. When it is possible to pair away all the logical fallacies and reveal the actual substance (if any) of any argument, one is better prepared to proceed to rhetoric on a topic, issue or subject, whatever it is, all as an essential part of the learning process. Brett uses “very very” a little too much near the beginning, but otherwise material is well presented.

Focus, a movie advocating the overthrow of Joseph Kony of Uganda. Considered a human rights violator, criminal overlord, etc. Kony and his LRA are held guilty of many atrocities. Then there are troops sent there, President Obama sends them forth. But this is all scripted to allow people to feel that they are doing something that matters by supporting government intervention into this problem. Brett speaks some embarrassing facts into the record.

Our interest is just how closely this point of view squares with E. C. Riegel's; avoid asking the government for help, avid politics for a solution, and that includes the state courts; “come out of her, my people”. You have to band together on a completely voluntary basis, exercising your right to trade with each other based on your right to life, liberty and property. Again, no group of people really deserves this right as the sooner a group gets formed, there must be rules to determine how they will deal with each other; the common compact. Ultimate liberty rests with individuals dealing with individuals and is one of the genuine bases for friendship! (How much has THAT among other “goods” been shoved to the side by THEIR commercialism?)

Our interest in these subjects also bears on some fundamental level with mutually accepted understandings during every deal, this is the right of contract and includes the right to EXPLICIT consent, not the usual forms of IMPLICIT consent, government agency entrapment, etc. usually against our will and our rights, and occasionally against our very safety. We'll discuss much of this further in a forthcoming paper on markets. Meanwhile this is an important and informative episode.

2012-3-20: #130 Logic Saves Lives (Introduction) - Empowerment and Self-Defence 

Brett gets into the Trivium; logical fallacies are part of the logic part of the thinking process; grammar, logic and rhetoric, in that order. We are used to logic being associated with consistency, therefore one of the logical processes is discovery and discarding of inconsistencies, as part of critical thinking. Everyone does these kinds of things naturally, but as we advance in years and are put through the schools, this ability is gradually stripped away as resistance is worn down, etc. So that we will willingly accept the yoke of collectivism in all its forms. Advertising and political interests are chief actors in this game for your mind, so that you will gradually and willingly outsource your thinking to people who have not even bothered to honestly win your confidence first. Deception and lures to this or that selfish fantasy (think and act just like them, come on join the fun, etc.) are of course part of the deal; being “cool” or “hot” included. Having a clear grasp of logical fallacies is presented as a defence system for your mind, but it can also become part of your own uniquely applied problem solving mechanism.


Monday, December 17, 2012

#15.3 Bill Still's Reports 34 thru 40

The Still Report #34 contained enough material on which to comment to comprise a blog entry all by itself. 

2012-1-3: #34 Robert Welch Critique - SR 34

They planned to waste our money and raise taxes according to John Birch Society founder, Robert Welch (1974 speech), in order to break this nation and all nations of their sovereignty, forcing them into a world government run by the same people who run the central banks. You don't have to support the ideology of the Birch Society in order to run down Welch's predictions from almost 50 years ago and recognize that a vast number of them have already come true. Indeed, what Welsh saw happening in the United States is in various stages of happening elsewhere too, so a concerted source for these policies is clearly in evidence.

1. Excessive government spending.
2. Escalating taxes.

Still maintains that this strategy employs a built in false dialectic; give more free stuff to the lowest 50% and to the biggest 1% while maintaining the graduated income tax, taxing the upper income earners. Breaking it down; no matter what, the biggest banks always come first, and that's the lesson here. Under current conditions, everything is ultimately controlled by the biggest banks. Still's solution is to forbid the government from borrowing money as Jefferson intended and secondly banks should be forever forward forbidden to create any money, national or otherwise. This is a key component of E. C. Riegel's economics, so of course we subscribe to it.

3. An increasingly unbalanced budget for Federal, state and local governments despite higher taxes.

Still, like us, understands that these problems are all tied together by who gets to create money; the government through loans from the banks. Turning things back around the way they're supposed to operate in a true complete liberty voluntary society, each human being has the inalienable right to create money and that power cannot be taken away, though even under a Value Unit system, that power isn't unlimited else the money created would have no meaning. That's a topic we will be getting into fairly soon.

4. Wild inflation; rising prices as a result of too much money in circulation.

Still argues correctly that what we really have right now is a deflation in our largest valued assets while necessities like food and energy continue to rise in price. Falling real estate prices is an indication of recovery from a balloon in real estate and false investment elsewhere so there is a deflationary trend created by falling values and insufficient value creation relative to circulating money. Put in plain English, fewer people are employed actually making things of real value, be they goods or services. Still's analysis to conclusion is correct; the intention is to doom pensioners and the poor as essentially expendable, while other sectors farther up the feeding chain get more of the available resources as they flow through the economy. Still would like to have us set up a federalized, state controlled bureaucracy to stabilize the amount of money in circulation just so we can keep a bloated government working almost the way it has, or shrinking gradually so as to minimize the pain. This plan is not realistic as it is the equivalent of forcing water to run uphill. Water seeks its own level and if it has no foundation under it forms a waterfall and that's what we'll see as government is forced to concede more control to the public at large.

A Value Unit solution sees setting up local Independent Exchanges (IE's) in every community to act as something like private savings banks, because people would be encouraged to store their saved Value Units in these exchanges, somewhat as a savings bank, but these exchanges would not have the power to lend money, as financing would be a business function that would get its loans authenticated, authorized and cleared by the independent exchanges, but would otherwise spread the risks involved with lending more money than someone may have for those larger purposes.

In the beginning, Riegel envisioned running a parallel system to the existing one and outlasting it as the present monetary system eventually fails. We admit this would be the best solution, as we would be building private relationships among local providers first and foremost and thereafter extending this network across the country and around the world. Riegel believed that once people had used Value Units (he called them value units; Valuns, we are not calling them Riegels after the man who invested them because Laurence Gilbert the Founder of the RMES has copyrighted their exclusive use), they would prefer using them to using the national currencies because they would be inflation and deflation proof, would trade immediately or with less time lapsed than is typical with a bank, and would maintain their function as measures of value much better than any bank or government created fiat currencies.

5. Government controls over wages, prices and materials supposedly to control inflation.

We are reminded of what Riegel said about this; more attempts by those who do not have a valid stake in matters they do not legitimately control attempting to do so, akin to having the government determine the lawful orbits of the planets. This practice doe not work, shall never work and is forthwith discarded as absolute usurpation by those who should be ... going off somewhere and figuring out how to make or grow something of honest value, taking their risks in a limited part of the economy rather than trying to play God.

6. Greater socialistic controls over every aspect of the economy.

Still's analysis is solid, it does deal with centralization of power. We prefer the word “collectivist” now as a more general term that covers anything from nationalism and fascism through socialism and communism, in all cases where the government attempts to level playing fields, enhance “fairness” etc. they invariable screw everything up for everyone but themselves and their backers in the banking community or from among their tax dodging friends among the wealthy, who set up fancy “think tanks” staffed with egocentric individuals who are again playing God. A Value Unit system will have none of them because we wont need them. In fact a Value Unit system is the only one capable of deciding from the basis of need what anything is actually worth.

7. Elimination of state and county limits of jurisdiction, etc.

Those who would eliminate the checks and balances and separation of powers, as they were originally intended in the US Constitution, are those who would want a centralized dictatorship that only they among a few would control and determine and define the meaning of “fairness” for everyone else, again just more people playing God instead of doing something really useful. Still sees the problem clearly as related to the banks taking control of the money, usurping that role from the government which then pulls sovereignty away from the states so the more centralized government has more power.

Riegel saw all of this as beside the point; there shouldn't be those around government buildings, etc. playing God with the rest of us. He advocated setting up a parallel system that would grow naturally as the existing system fell apart, since it is built on falsities and lies, and eventually power would become decentralized and even the largest governments would have far less power. This is what happens when the money power is returned not just to a state, which is supposed to represent the people but never really does or can, but to the people themselves as individuals. Recall that Riegel was emphatic about not allowing business or governments the right to create their own money, only individual human beings are capable of this function since only they naturally want to buy things they need. Businesses are interested in getting more people to buy things, whether needed or not, and government essentially has nothing to sell that anyone wants to buy so they FORCE the sales on these things and the decisions are made by more people playing God. In the meantime, where did any and all liability issues go?

8. Steady advance and control over the public education system.

This is what the School Sucks Project podcasts reviewed on this blog are all about. A multi-pronged solution, one that employs the sense and meaning of “come out of her, my people” is not only to come out of those institutions that are run from the perspective and for the perpetuation of banking and bankers and their government and foundation minions, but out of their organized brain washing centres as well. Still considers this merely a 10th Amendment issue. We think not, we think this is a far deeper issue.

9. More and more endless “police” conflicts around the world involving Americans.

Well, why would any nation want armed combatants from some other country on their soil for any reason? If America needs to go to war, Still says we should do so by specific acts of Congress as specified in the Constitution. But we ask, who benefits from the situation that exists? The answer is writ large in history; who always benefits from war? Not those engaged in them, nor their governments, so it must be those who manufacture the means to sustain a war and those who finance the governments engaged in it. About the best source for nailing this one down is David Astle in his difficult but rewarding read, The Babylonian Woe.

As far as enemies go, Still maintains that we'll always have them since there are those who really don't like us. Well, they might as long as they have the means, but when everyone sees who has the means and why and who really benefits, then there will be an end to war and anyone advocating it will be taken out of society as the sociopaths they are, largely through the most effective weapon available to most people; social banishment; no one will have anything to do with someone regarded as criminally insane. As individuals, such people are mere cranks, when they get together they form think tanks, foundations, government agencies, armies, etc.

Still's “howling wolves of plutocracy” likewise wouldn't be there very long if everyone knew who they were and decided not to have anything to do with them. In fact they'd soon be forced into ... more “sustainable” lifestyles. Again, there is tremendous power in the ability to socially shun someone. In a Value Unit system. those who have are already forbidden to create more because as Riegel clearly put it, they already have. The ability to create from nothing the money to buy something is restricted only to those who have little or nothing at all. Likewise, all totalitarian, power consolidating systems must be sustained by money and when the powers that control money are naturally dispersed and there is no way to get centralization back, all of it will fade away or become insignificant. War and the ability to make war are sustained through the control of the money power and the armaments businesses that naturally spring up to take advantage of lucrative government contracts. When you eliminate all of this worldwide, it just simply goes away as there are always better uses people will want for their own money.

Still does not want elimination of government, he would just like the genie put back into the bottle the framers of the US Constitution intended for it. His analysis of totalitarianism following anarchy may be correct, but we're a far distance from the limited government he envisions because government is not the only institution to have grown excessively large. Any limited liability organization is essentially already too large and rather than mergers and acquisitions, we should be discussing dismemberment and restricting operations based on real unlimited liabilities and risks. Whether government action by itself will be the means to taking apart that which should never have been allowed to form, is a matter best pursued at some later date. But again, and we'd really like to hear Still's response concerning this, it is our observation that all wars and all combatant (and civilian) casualties are the result of the greed for power of the few who are never directly involved in these conflicts, chiefly bankers and arms manufacturers, and these conflicts have relatively speaking nothing to do with fighting and dying for freedom. Once this basic read on history sinks in more widely, it will be that much harder for any madman (or woman) to get their people to go to war for anything whatsoever.

10. Appeasement to national enemies.

Yes, there was appeasement going on, there was building toward war too, all started and ... bankrolled by the same people in the same relation to the rest of the human race; those who would rather play God than do something really useful. It also bears repeating that all the enemies down through time were created, sustained, led to battle and their fates decided long before any battle took place, in the private boardrooms and meeting places of warmongers, their financiers and those whose businesses are related to outfitting and equipping those who fight and die in such wars. Again, once these historical facts are more widely known and understood, it will become ever more difficult to convince anyone to go to war as a reliable means to settle any dispute. Still favours a go slow approach though, because he doesn't want to see assets scattered to the winds before their effectiveness is required and this is probably the safest way down the militarist mountain that we're up upon. Scaling back slowly, always with an eye to where weapons are going and who is developing them are at this time preferable to any one sided disarmament programs. I'm sure many of us can agree with Still's ideas concerning scaling back recently enacted legislation as well, though again we admonish anyone that asking government to repeal an act or scale it back is like asking water to run uphill. Sometimes we will want certain specialities of government work to go away entirely, especially excessive snooping operations that accomplish little or nothing for the average individual.

Walsh had more to say about the aims of his new organization, to work toward getting the United States out of international organizations and limiting our treaty involvements with other nations, etc. All this would naturally follow escape from the money power and setting up our own in its place.

We also agree with Still concerning gold. He likewise understands the key concept of a valueless money, the measure of value without containing value in and of itself. But Still really needs to read Riegel.

2012-1-8: #35 State of the LP (Libertarian Party) Nation 1

Still makes a correction concerning Welch's speech used in the previous report where Welch says that America had been minding its own business for the last 140 years, which of course is false. In fact the government of the United States, which supposedly represents us, has intrigued against the indigenous populations here and abroad for most of the reasons supported by the greed of the few.

Still continues his report on the Libertarian Party, America's third largest political party by registration. He's still involved in the political process which as Riegel said was and is useless. We support Still's convictions, but his knowledge of all this (based from the liberty literature) is absent. He supports a kind of 10th Amendment initiative to decentralize power. We support this but consider his reliance on politics amounting to putting the cart before the horse. Jefferson was right, bank issuance must needs be suppressed, but we find the surest means of doing this would be the establishment of a new standard measure of value independent of any and all political forces that would ultimately subjugate governments everywhere to the will of the people, exposing the psychopaths and sociopaths that currently run things and forcing them into more “sustainable” lives along with the rest of us.

2012-1-16: #36 Meet the New Boss  

Taking cues from The Who, what we have now is more of the same, the new boss is just like the old boss. About a year ahead of Still here, so far the patching job is working. But it wont forever. The banking monopoly of money based on debt continues of course. He's right to blame the banks and their system for states of hunger and poverty around the world. His brief analysis is accurate; the political system is irretrievably bound up with the banks. Still's bromide, “freedom for the middle class” should be extended both upward and downward as there is no freedom for those in the middle income brackets without freedom for the poor and even those who are a little richer than middle class but still not really rich. We're all enslaved by the same business models, promoted by the banks. The false solution, gold based money is of course correctly no solution. Riegel understood this and barely mentions it as gold backing is as irrational as relying on politics for any solution. Of course, Still, involving himself in politics, pleads for money. We see in hindsight what has happened; Obama won re-election, just as I and many others easily forecast.

2012-1-31: #37 Fort Knox 

The History Channel's “America's Book of Secrets” programme is discussed, in which Still took part. 1953 was the last year the Ft. Knox reserves were audited. 1959 saw Ian Fleming's Goldfinger which described a Ft. Knox gold heist. Still has more on this story. Still admits that at one time he was a “gold bug” but over time and with more study changed his mind. So have I, but nothing has ever been like E. C. Riegel's very clear and obvious observations for he was able to see through all the ... claptrap of the economists I (and no doubt Still as well) have read, extending well back into the 18th century. It took an autodidact like Riegel to do it too, which if you have been following along, gives one a fair estimation of the current value of a college education.

2012-2-14: #38 Not So Fast Mr. Johnson   

More Libertarian politics, seeing the spending of money as the name of the game. Gary Johnson believes that none of the bankers on Wall St. committed any crimes. A segment of Still's address is included. Johnson was a former Republican governor of New Mexico, so even if he entered the race behind Still, his money and connections were clearly an advantage. Riegel saw this as the kind of thing that's inevitable in politics so why would anyone with a straight conscience want to become involved in politics? The answer is power, because Still certainly believed at this stage that state power was the only credible game in town. It isn't, people meeting and trading with each other predates state power by many centuries. It is only with the emergence of state power that we begin to experience war as a factor in life for many because now it becomes possible for certain merchants and their financial backers to persuade the greedy and egotistical leaders of states, call them by whatever name you please, to send their peoples over the brink of war which is disaster for all who engage in it. The only actual winners of any armed conflict are those who financed it, and they usually cynically support both sides so they always make a profit. Meanwhile at this point Gary Johnson promises what he obviously cannot even deliver as his previous run for the GOP presidential bid was in the red some $200,000.

2012-2-20: #39 To the Georgia Libertarian Convention  

After explaining some things concerning the LP convention in Atlanta, Georgia, the 8 major planks in Still's platform are reviewed:

The issues covered: Deconsolidation of power at every level. Again, a Value Unit system builds for each local community on up, therefore it is by nature deconsolidated. Abortion is a 10th Amendment issue certainly, no disagreement there. Decriminalization of marijuana and gay marriage are likewise seen as 10th Amendment issues, reserved to the states or the people in each locality to decide. Clawing back power by the states is mentioned. Separation of powers as a concept is central to the framers' ideas in the original US Constitution. Well of course, but since it is natural and would occur if all recourse to FORCE were excluded, it will devolve naturally through a Value Unit based system. He speaks about limiting the amount of money issued in an economy being limited by population growth and determined on a per capita (by the head) basis. This isn't new and was first encountered by me in the works of Milton Friedman, one of the very few mainstream economists I ever really liked, because Friedman always leaned in the direction of individual liberty, the hallmark of a genuine free enterprise economic system. He may be correct as far as he goes, but Still's solution amounts to setting up another bureaucracy to maintain the stupid and unworkable notion that money issuance belongs with government when as Riegel showed, it plainly does not. Concerning this point, the US Constitution was and is in error! He says go back to the Revolutionary War currency that was supposedly created in “the public interest.” The Colonials as they were known were eventually worthless. Nice try there. Again, Still has to get rid of the notion that any government can really know what “the public interest” is. They don't know and anyone that claims otherwise clearly has never critically examined this neat little phrase. Most of the rest of his remarks we have heard before, other than updates on these issues.

2012-3-2: #40 Borrowing is Good? Bill   

The current news of the time is reviewed, more borrowing from the biggest banks. It's currency wars. They did maintain through 2012 and Obama was re-elected. So it goes. It wont last however, whether the end comes next year or in 5 years or longer, it cannot last. One reason is that there are already too many people who have fallen out of this “musical chairs” economy who will be getting older with each passing month and begin to realize that there is no future for them. What are they supposed to do, go off somewhere and die quietly so that the overlords of the banks and corporations can maintain their unsustainable lives? Look at it critically and objectively. Still correctly characterizes Gary Johnson as a cynical politician who says one thing but does another; he talks the talk but doesn't walk the walk.