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Archive for the ‘The Week In Review’ Category

FrexitYet another week has come and gone, and an interesting on at that. What is more, the week ahead has the potential to prove even more interesting, most and especially due to Sunday’s French elections. Let’s take a look at it.

To Frexit or Not to Frexit

For the past four years of so, every time there’s talk about such and such a country leaving the European Union (EU), the convention has been to tack the first letter or two of said country’s name to the word “exit” to describe the event.

As far as I’m aware, the first time this was done was with Greece back in 2012. At that time, it was common to hear talk about a Grexit (Greek exit) from the EU.

Brexit, British exit, was all the rage last year. An unlike the various and sundry other “-exits” threatened the past few years, it appears that this one actually will happen. The Brexit win in last June’s vote was a joyous occasion, almost enough to make this Yank break out into a chorus of Rule Britannia.

This brings me to the possibility of a Frexit, which as I’m sure you can guess by now is short for French exit from the EU.

The first round of the French elections will be held Sunday, with the top two vote getters moving on to the final round on May 7.

This year, the buzz is all about Marine Le Pen, representative of the National Front party, whose platform includes cracking down on Muslim immigration and removing France from the EU and the ending France’s use of the EU’s common currency, the Euro.

The polls are close, and not being much of an expert on French politics, I won’t venture to predict the outcome of Sunday’s vote. But I will say that if Le Pen succeeds in winning one of the top two spots Sunday, there is an excellent chance your 401(k) plan will take notice on Monday.

This is another way of saying that should Le Pen make it through to the final round of France’s presidential election, we’re probably looking at a period of significant market volatility over the next few weeks, by which is Wall Street code speak for “this sucker’s goin’ down.”

If Le Pen wins the final election on May 7, that likely will signal the end of the EU as we know it. Frexit will be on like Donkey Kong and the euro, the world’s second leading currency behind the dollar, may very well be a thing of the past.

Globalism in the sense of centralized world political authority, of which the EU is but one expression, is ultimately a doctrine of the Roman Church-State. That is to say, it is the product of the mind of the papal Antichrist, who hates self-governing, independent nation states, for they represent an affront to his majesty, power, and right to rule the world.

To the degree that globalism prospers, Rome rejoices. To the degree that it is rejected, the followers of Christ take heart.

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Trump_Syria_MissilesThis past week, what has it brought? Quite a bit and nothing good. At least that’s how it looks from where I sit. Among the gifts that came our way were a flip-flopping president, wars and rumors of wars, and the traditional IRS tax deadline.

Put Not Your Trust In Princes

The psalmist tells us, “Put not your trust in princes, not in the son of man, in whom there is no help.” Wise words those, and one’s that Christians would do well to heed when talking politics. And the words and actions of President Trump drove this point home this past week.

America First. That was a consistent motto of Trump the candidate.

This platform was not original with Trump. It hearkened back to the days prior to WWII when a movement by that name arose. The goal America Firsters was to keep America out of WWII.

In Trump’s case, it was a reference to the many ongoing conflicts the US has found itself in.

Trump made a number of excellent statements during the campaign about having better relations with Russia and ending America’s involvement in Syria.

Trump questioned NATO calling it obsolete. And he was exactly correct in doing so.

But this past week, Trump repudiated all this.

Late last week, on the flimsiest pretext, he lobbed 59 Cruise missiles at Russia’s ally Syria. This one act likely destroyed any hope of Trump ever repairing relations with Russia and embroiled the US deeper than ever in the Syrian conflict, a war which the US has no business fighting.

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Susan_Rice,

Susan Rice

The news came fast and furious this past week I seem to say that a lot, but the past seven days have been off the charts. Let’s take a look at it.

On Trump

It seems like longer than that, but it was just last weekend that alt-media superstar Mike Cernovich revealed that Obama administration official Susan Rice was the one who requested the unmasking of Trump transition team officials.

In March Trump sent and outraged tweet claiming that Obama “wiretapped” him, which prompted howls of protest from the mainstream media. Trump had no proof they said. What do they say now?

If one were to take the term “wiretap” in the strictest literal sense, then the revelations about Rice do not support Trump’s allegation. But if we understand “wiretap” as a general term for surveillance, then, yes, the story certainly does back up Trump.

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Happy April Fool’s Day! And good April Fool that I am, I find myself hard at work once again to bring you my weekly blogging awesomeness.

Well, okay. Maybe awesomeness is a little too strong. I’ll settle for weekly blogging not-too-horribleness.

At any rate, I am kinda pumped about this week’s topic, namely the Federal Reserve. In short, I’m fed up with it.

But more than that, there are few things in life that bring joy to my heart more than the thought of dishing out a good beat down to ne’er do well boys and girls at the dear Federal Reserve.

I find it, how shall I say….cathartic. Yes, that’s it! Cathartic! And since it’s been a little while since I’ve dissed the Fed, I expect that it will prove all the more so.

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Panopticon_5.jpgEnglish philosopher Jeremy Bentham is best known today for his utilitarian ethics, in which he posited that “the greatest happiness of the greatest number is the measure of right and wrong.” This of course is far from Christian ethics which posits that the law of God is the measure of right and wrong.

Perhaps less well known is that Bentham left directions that, upon his death, his body was to be publicly dissected and his head mummified.

His requests were dutifully carried out, and the philosopher’s mummified haed actually was for many years put on public display at University College London.

But, as they say, all good things must come to an end. Eventually, the head became the object of student pranks and was removed from public view.

The college administrators who made this decision apparently did not share Bentham’s utilitarian ethics. Had they done so, they would have been forced to leave his head on public display, subject as it was to all manner of abuse. After all, Bentham’s mummified noggin provided far more happiness to far more people when it was available to the student pranksters than it ever did after it was locked away.

But there’s another development for which Bentham is famous. Oddly enough, it’s for an idea he had for a new type of prison that he called the Panopticon.

In Bentham’s words, the Panopticon was,

A building circular… The prisoners in their cells, occupying the circumference – The officers in the centre. By blinds and other contrivances, the Inspectors concealed… from the observation of the prisoners: hence the sentiment of a sort of omnipresence – The whole circuit reviewable with little, or…without any, change of place. Once station in the inspection part affording the most perfect view of every cell.

Admittedly, Bentham’s design was rather ingenious. But the idea of an all seeing eye in a guard tower, men who had the power to obverse all while they themselves remained unobservable, that’s just a bit creepy.

Thankfully, we don’t have to deal with this kind of surveillance in our everyday lives. Or do we?

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March MadnessAh, March madness, AKA man cave season. I had a boss once who always took off starting the Thursday of the first tournament game and spent his whole weekend binge watching college basketball. I’m guessing he probably wasn’t alone.

I’m not quite that hardcore, but I do love me a little college hoops too, especially when my Cincy Bearcats are playing well. Nice win tonight over K-State!

Of course, watching basketball has also manages to interfere with writing, which is why I getting a late start with this week’s TWIR, which is why this won’t get posted until Saturday. But hey, a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.

On a more philosophical note, it seems to me that March Madness isn’t limited to the basketball court, but can be found in any number of places having nothing at all to do with Mr. Naismith’s invention. Take for example…

Monetary Madness

There are few, if any, examples of mass derangement to rival the hoopla surrounding a meeting of the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee (FOMC).

Eight times a year we’re treated to weeks of speculation about the FOMC’s upcoming decision, will they or will they not raise interest rates.

These meetings, as well as the Fed chairman’s semi-annual Humphrey-Hawkins testimony before Congress, are breathlessly reported on by the mainstream media.

To give you a sense of the absurdity of the coverage, back in the day when Alan Greenspan was in charge of the Fed, there were people who believed they could tell what would be done with interest rates based upon which hand “The Maestro” used to carry his briefcase.

We were treated to another such round of absurdity this past week as Janet Yellen, high priestess of the FOMC herself, sauntered forth from the bowels of Eccles Building to announce to the world her latest oracle: The economy’s awesome and we’re hiking interest rates.

All this was reported with the utmost seriousness by the mainstream financial press who dutifully played their roll as Fed echo chamber.

All, that is, except for one.

As Zero Hedge reports, Kathleen Hays of Bloomberg TV was perplexed at just how a supposedly data dependent Fed – the Fed is always talking about how their decisions on interest rates depend on economic data – could hike interest rates at a time when hard economic data is in a downward spiral.

The Bloomberg report’s pointed questions apparently both annoyed and frightened t he high priestess who never really answered the questions put to her.

And so it goes.

An even better question then why the Fed is choosing to raise interest rates into a deteriorating economy is why the Fed should have any say in interest rates at all.

Interest rates are the price of money, and as with the price of all other goods and services, interest rates ought to be set by the free market, not the monetary politburo called the FOMC.

There is no sound Biblical, constitutional, or economic argument for central banks, central bankers, or the fixing of interest rates by them.

But while sound reason based on Scripture leads to the rejection of central banking, the Marxists love it. In fact, the establishment of a central bank was one of the Ten Planks of the Communist Manifesto. There, Marx on Engels advocated for the, “Centralization of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.”

In the US, the central bank is called the Federal Reserve Bank, AKA “The Fed.”

That’s right. The button pushing boys and lever pulling girls in the Eccles building (that the Fed’s headquarters) are the dupes, slaves, and minions of one of history’s most destructive thinkers.

Actually, if you throw in the money printing madness inspired by one John Maynard Keynes, you can make that two of history’s most destructive thinkers.

Stop the monetary madness! End the Fed!

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Obama_This is going to hurtI know. I know. I’m late with my Week In Review. I could tell you the dog ate my homework, but I don’t think that that would fly.

Actually, I blame it on the IRS.

You see, as is the case with most folks who work in finance and accounting, during the first quarter of every year I get monkey hammered at work all for the purpose of meeting some arbitrary government deadline. Oh well. At least the over time’s good money.

And not only am I late this week, but I’m also going be short owing to another government program, Daylight savings time. I have to admit I do like the late sunsets, but that whole spring forward thing? It just kills me.

So without further ado and so I can get to bed at a decent hour, let’s look at some of this week’s top stories.

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