My since long exited drummer was a gold bug. That is, he was a Fed hater, a true believer in the idea that the US should return to the gold standard and that “fiat money” was a fraud. Perhaps not that strongly, but enough to think the escape from gold and the Fed were the cause of lots of economic problems.
If you’re still checking, Mark, I still love you. That’s the arrangement of “Letter to the Taxman” we played.
Coincidental with the crash in gold is one for Bitcoins.
What is bitcoin? It’s sometimes described as a way to make transactions online — but that in itself would be nothing new in a world of online credit-card and PayPal transactions. In fact, the Commerce Department estimates that by 2010 about 16 percent of total sales in America already took the form of e-commerce.
So how is bitcoin different? Unlike credit card transactions, which leave a digital trail, bitcoin transactions are designed to be anonymous and untraceable. When you transfer bitcoins to someone else, it’s as if you handed over a paper bag filled with $100 bills in a dark alley. And sure enough, as best as anyone can tell the main use of bitcoin so far, other than as a target for speculation, has been for online versions of those dark-alley exchanges, with bitcoins traded for narcotics and other illegal items.
But bitcoin evangelists insist that it’s about much more than greasing the path for illicit transactions. …
The similarity to goldbug rhetoric isn’t a coincidence, since goldbugs and bitcoin enthusiasts — bitbugs? — tend to share both libertarian politics and the belief that governments are vastly abusing their power to print money. At the same time, it’s very peculiar, since bitcoins are in a sense the ultimate fiat currency, with a value conjured out of thin air.
Sunday was a fine day in Pasadena, warm but not incinerating like most of late summer. You could feel the fall coming on as the sun set, the heat from the afternoon leaving for the sky. And so the closest thing I still have to a family member and I took one last year’s opportunity to grill chicken in the driveway, something we hadn’t done much since the death of a close friend over a year ago.
And while enjoying the day we spent a lot of time talking about what had happened to the country. How had our demographic, the white American, become so rancid and bad? And we had no answers. How could anyone be so driven mad by hate as the current standard of the Republican Party?
In Pasadena, there are stark examples of what the last four years of austerity have wrought. California has been a smaller version, ahead of things in the rest of the country. Before the presidency of Barack Obama, it had a Republican minority that made governance impossible.
Because of the legislative rule that all law having to do with taxes and the budget requires a two-thirds majority, the unimportant party paralyzed California. It ruined the political career of one its own, the celebrity governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was torn to shreds on the horns of its extremism.
And in Pasadena, something I see every day, PCC — the city college, is now virtually undone. Sure, it still has students and the buildings are there. But because of austerity and the Great Recession, there isn’t the money to teach anyone. There’s no money to pay instructors, no money for anything. One of the jewels of the California city college network, long a way for the disadvantaged to at least get some manner of education that might help in the American labor force, sits idle. You can maybe take one course a semester.
“They come in, they’re admitted, but there are no classes. They want that basic English, basic math, all that, chemistry, history courses. And it’s full,” Scott said.
Last year the system as a whole turned away 137,000 students who could not get into a single course.
“It’s sad to think that we’re looking at a group of students who are thirsty for higher education, all of which would enrich their life and enrich the economy of California, and because of a lack of state resources, we’re having to limit it,” Scott said.
Gen said those numbers don’t even include the number of students who may get one or two courses but will take much longer to reach their goals.
He said this is especially problematic when the community colleges are often relied upon for retraining and updating skills during an economic downturn.
“It’s not happening because we’re not willing, and not because there are too few students, but because we’re not able to get funding,” Gen said.
The Republican Party, which can’t get officials elected anywhere in the state that isn’t lily white in the hinterlands or near San Diego, have brought on the destruction of everything.
And this is what Mitt Romney will deliver to the rest of the nation of he inexplicably wins in the first week of November.
The party of nihilism and know-nothing will take over, people who believe in naught but maximizing theirs and squeezing and persecuting everyone else unlike them.
A party that disbelieves science.
A demographic in which reason and truth mean nothing.
And it’s frightening.
Because so many have bought into its toxic philosophies, repellent beliefs that 50 percent of the citizenry are parasites, that the Federal Reserve needs to be destroyed, that gays, women and non-white immigrants must be hounded. The astonishing burning animosity toward everyone not the same color. There is no bottom to the vat of poison it has tapped into.
[If] these people triumph, science — or any kind of scholarship — will become impossible. Everything must pass a political test; if it isn’t what the right wants to hear, the messenger is subjected to a smear campaign.
[It's] their general hostility to anything that helps the 47 percent — those Americans whom they consider moochers who need to be taught self-reliance.
Before the weekend, the Associated Press ran another of those stories on the Heevahave Vote — the so-called “undecided voter,” and it’s lead subject, a white middle-aged man named Kelly Cox, was from California.
Who are these people who still can’t make up their minds? They’re undecided voters like Kelly Cox, who spends his days repairing the big rigs that haul central California’s walnuts, grapes, milk and more across America.
He doesn’t put much faith in either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney. But he figures he’s got plenty of time – a little more than a week – to settle on one of them before Nov. 6. And he definitely does plan to vote.
“I’ll do some online research,” said Cox, co-owner of a Delhi, Calif., truck-repair shop. “I don’t have time to watch presidential debates because it’s a lot of garbage anyway. They’re not asking the questions that the people want to hear.”
On-line research. It’s to laugh, tossed-off horseshit.
First, the debate made [these undecided voters] want to do more research on the candidates. “I need to research some of these facts,” one skeptical sounding woman said.
And they’ll research us into total failure, given their way.
Cox, said to be from Delhi, is from the other part of California, the great dusty wasteland, in this case somewhere between Modesto and Merced, that votes Republican but will have no impact due to the electoral college. (Don’t believe me? May you be stuck there some summer, driving the highway north and south.)
In this itself, the AP story was a joke. It’s banner undecided voter was someone whose vote is irrelevant next week.
Stay home, skip the on-line research, Mr. Kelly Cox.
Nationally, the state is going for Obama. His vote won’t matter at the national level. Neither candidate has bothered to campaign in the nation’s largest state.
However, at the local level it has been quite another thing. Because it’s the small extremist white minority in California that has managed to strangle the place, a lesson for the rest of the country.
Other pro-growth reforms would increase government tax revenues needed for these programs by stimulating the economy. One would be to adopt, yes, a flat tax. It would go a long way in achieving the prosperity that Mr. Obama never achieved with his monstrous spending. A flat tax would reduce taxes for many people …
Returning to a gold standard is another much-overlooked reform. Most people today, including most politicians, fail to appreciate how our current system of fluctuating currency values is a drag on the economy.
The price of gold and other precious metals jumped Friday, after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke made clear that he expects to take further action to try to boost the economy.
The Fed can try to prop up the economy by buying government bonds, lowering interest rates and other measures. Those moves can lead to inflation. And when investors believe inflation is coming, they often buy gold and other precious metals because they believe they are protections against inflation.
[Bernanke] stopped short of committing the Fed to any specific move. But he said that the central bank will do more, because unemployment is so high and the economic recovery “far from satisfactory.”
You do realize that the term Zygote, like the terms: fetus, infant, toddler adolescent, teen, adult, and senior are quantifiers and not qualifiers of biological human life. So biologically speaking a Zygote is like an adult, but just at different stages of life. Even at the oocyte stage there exists 46 unique chromosomes with the entire genetic blueprint of a new individual. Chromosomes contain tightly packed, tightly coiled molecules called DNA. DNA contains all the instructions needed for this single-cell embryo to develop into an adult …
[snip -- more stuff about abortion]
Also, for a long time the Bank of International Settlements (BIS), i.e. “the Central Bank’s Central Bank” backed a gold standard as being the basis of sound monetary policy. Having a gold standard would reign in debt spending because it would constrain Congress/ Fed from creating liabilities out of thin air. So, guess which standard the political actors will support.
I regularly run into people who rant against the government, vote Republican, who’s lives are utterly dependent upon various aspect of the social safety net.
The working class’ earning power has been so squeezed by corporate America it has fallen to the government to keep many from abject poverty.
Yet large numbers of the people dependent on government programs watch nothing but Fox News, detest the current President and argue vehemently to destroy all the things that make their lives survivable.
The New York Times has done a long story on them. It is a must read.
Ki Gulbranson owns a logo apparel shop, deals in jewelry on the side and referees youth soccer games. He makes about $39,000 a year and wants you to know that he does not need any help from the federal government.
“I don’t demand that the government does this for me. I don’t feel like I need the government,” said KI GULBRANSON, who counts on an earned-income tax credit and has signed up his children for free meals at school.
He says that too many Americans lean on taxpayers rather than living within their means. He supports politicians who promise to cut government spending. In 2010, he printed T-shirts for the Tea Party campaign of a neighbor, Chip Cravaack, who ousted this region’s long-serving Democratic congressman.
Yet this year, as in each of the past three years, Mr. Gulbranson, 57, is counting on a payment of several thousand dollars from the federal government, a subsidy for working families called the earned-income tax credit. He has signed up his three school-age children to eat free breakfast and lunch at federal expense. And Medicare paid for his mother, 88, to have hip surgery twice.
[Dean P. Lacy], a professor of political science at Dartmouth College, has identified a twist on that theme in American politics over the last generation. Support for Republican candidates, who generally promise to cut government spending, has increased since 1980 in states where the federal government spends more than it collects. The greater the dependence, the greater the support for Republican candidates.
And, here, the man who resent others who spend “his” money, doled out by entitlement check, in the same boat:
Brian Qualley, 49, has a sister who survived a brain tumor but was disabled by its removal. The government pays for her care at an assisted-living facility. Their mother scrapes by on Social Security.
Mr. Qualley said that the government should provide for those who need help, but that too much money was being wasted. Mr. Qualley, who owns a tattoo parlor in Harris, north of North Branch, said some of his customers paid with money from government disability checks.
“They’re getting $300 or $400 tattoos, and they’re wearing nice new Nike shoes that I can’t afford,”
Having played in a biker rock band for many years I’m intimately familiar with the tattoo parlor crowd. The logical mind is not one of its defining characteristics. You find no gentleness, expansive spirit or progressive value in tattoo parlors and this can hardly be news. Momentarily, I wondered why the Times even saw fit to interview someone who ran one. (The paper also uncovered a bigot — the resentment over “nice Nike shoes” being the giveaway. The reporter and editors certainly know it.)
However, scapegoating is a common characteristic of societies enduring hard times. And Paul Fussell noted in Class that the afflicted kick down at those of their own circumstance.
There’s a very thin line between disdain or contempt and outright hate between the divisions which make up our various middle-class tribes. And often there are no lines at all. Needle someone hard enough in a tribe different from yours and see it erupt.
It is easy to understand the great anger in the Tea Party, or anywhere in the hinterlands. The urge to give a presumed tormentor a good punch in the face when you get the opportunity to swing is strong and human. The presumed tormentor is usually someone within arms reach.
Here I often marvel at the many folk music videos the opposition puts on YouTube, all with more enthusiastic fans than anything from my side.
The music may be bad, the lyrics awful, the sentiment horribly misguided. It’s easy to laugh at material by people who couldn’t pass an introductory college economics course singing about Ron Paul’s love of “sound money” and returning to the gold standard.
However, one thing it doesn’t lack is gutsiness; the willingness to be taken for a fool in letting the raw shout of hurt out.
A predatory economy has set into stone conditions in which Americans now always find themselves moving down. So they’re always going to be bitter. How many people on food stamps vote for pols who want to destroy the food stamp program?
A lot more than you think, I imagine.
“There used to be room at the top,” Paul Fussell wrote in Class.
More on the Alex Jones-like cult devotion to Ron Paul in 2011 tunes written for and about him. No one else, not even pop star celebrities, comes close. The best exude sly bits of humor in the lyrics, a rare commodity in the Paul legion. It’s a demographic so sincere in belief its default position is always closer to the dour than the joyful. Paul’s apocalyptic predictions of what will happen to the country also draw survivalists and end-timers. Like him, they strongly value the hoarding of precious metals and the building of bunkers.
This lady name checks “Aden-hauer” [sic] and Charles de Gaulle!
An tongue-in-cheek almost perfect adaptation of the old classic, “Downtown.”
Ron Paul, he’s really not that old
Ron Paul, he’d rather pay with gold
Ron Paul, he’ll open up the fed
Ron Paul, drinkin’ raw milk in bed
This young fellah is trying out a poor man’s Woody Guthrie/Pete Seeger/Hank Williams soft sell approach. I like it.
Horribly unappreciated at 40-some views. If you sent them 10 dollars for every view it still wouldn’t pay for the love and money they’ve put into the Paul campaign.
Even death metal bands with Cookie Monster vocalists love the Constitution and sound money.
“When they’re talkin’ shit about Ron Paul, they’re walkin’ on the fightin’ side of me/I would suggest they shut their trap before they lose all their teeth …”
This appears absolutely true.
This is an adaptation of a Scottish fighting/dancing tune but, for the life of me, I can’t recall the title now. Check back later.
“I bet there is nobody singing about that douchebag Newt Gingrich,” writes one commenter under one of the many places it’s been uploaded to YouTube.
A rootsy hippie-ish folk lilt. Right now there’s probably someone singing something like this at a coffee house open mike near you. And I bet they’re mentioning freedom, liberty and something bad happening to the Fed. Go check, I’ll wait.
This video of Ron Paul, put together by TPM Think Progress, put a bopping electro-beat to strung together excerpts of the GOP Presidential candidates’ declarations that, well — everything in civil society, is unconstitutional.
The wee bit of music was subtle but effective, perfect for the imagery.
And it got me back onto a sampler I’d considered months ago, one dealing with the phenomenon in which Paul supporters write lots — and I do mean lots — of tunes recommending their man.
No other Republican nominee enjoys such a thing. And certainly no one on the other side of the line in the Democratic Party, not the President, nobody, comes close, either.
There is the big name, Aimee Allen, who recorded the official/unofficial “Ron Paul Anthem.” It’s the leader of the pack at about half a million hits on YouTube.
But it doesn’t capture the grass roots feel of the virtually countless homespun like-minded efforts uploaded to the web by Paul supporters. And while the glassy-eyed enthusiasm can be a bit frightening, there is no denial of the sincere fervor on display.
If you ever thought that singer/songwriters might be a little wary of putting lyrics about “sound money” and ending “inflation” and the Fed into something that must be sung with conviction, think again.
There’s no shortage.
Here then, a brief selection of American folk tunes on Ron Paul. And everyone wants him to be President.
Sprightly hot stuff with a light sense of humor, DJ von Mises, has uploaded many pro-Ron Paul dance tracks to YouTube.
Von Mises takes his name from the dead Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises, whose economic theories form the core of Paul-ian monetary policy. That they’ve all been proven disastrously wrong by the current mess is really beside the point here.
And while the tribute inherent in using the name von Mises may be lost on random listeners, to the true believers in Paul it is exquisitely resonant. (Update: Sadly, von Mises pulled this number from YouTube soon after DD linked to it. Who knew the sound money folks could be so touchy? The world’s pleasure awaits but if being a hermit is your thing, who am I to argue?)
Ron Paul will end inflation, she sings. There isn’t any inflation to speak of but it hardly matters. She is so cute, along with the soft-peddled off camera antics, even the slight lithp at the beginning works.
“This is a song I wrote this song [sic] for Ron Paul to give any help I could towards bringing our troops home and ending the federal reserve,” writes the artist on YouTube. I would never have suspected such a person to be against the printing of fiat money.
Lyrics: President Ron Paul, how the words sound good together.
Standing for liberty, sound money and peace. Healing
our nation from big government disease.
My favorite, next to the TP Paul video. (Everyone else is number 3, or lower.) The jaunty train rhythm is really hard to beat.
If you drill down through the related videos recommended as these end, you’ll begin to grasp the size of the Ron Paul Music Machine. You’ll be delighted by it. Or you could feel need for a bit of aspirin.
But does that make the [Bitcoin] experiment a success? Um, no. What we want from a monetary system isn’t to make people holding money rich; we want it to facilitate transactions and make the economy as a whole rich. And that’s not at all what is happening in Bitcoin …
[There] has been an incentive to hoard the virtual currency rather than spending it. The actual value of transactions in Bitcoins has fallen rather than rising. In effect, real gross Bitcoin product has fallen sharply.
Krugman likens Bitcoin to a “private gold standard.”
“[It] reinforces the case against anything like a new gold standard – because it shows just how vulnerable such a standard would be to money-hoarding, deflation, and depression,” he writes.
You can leave your processor on for a century and maybe see the equivalent of a few bucks worth of bitcoins. Even semi-hard days of mining them are well over.
Think of it as the citizen’s gold mining crew shown in Pale Rider, except there’s no chance you’ll find the big rock like Spider Conway before he was gunned down by Stockburn and his marshals. And no Clint Eastwood as “Preacher,” either.