Pakistan always has been a good example of being careful for what one wishes when it comes to democracy in Third World nations. The Pakistani people theoretically rule the unstable nuclear state. Whether that actually is positive is not so clear.
In the latest election, Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz won a strong plurality, making him the almost certain prime minister. However, that position may be a poisoned chalice. When he was last premier, for the second time, in 1999, he found himself ousted in a coup, imprisoned for months, and eventually bundled into exile.
Despite the relatively free (though violence-laden) vote, Pakistan’s political, economic, and security problems are enormous. And the dangers of a failed state reach well beyond Pakistan’s borders. As I wrote in my latest Forbes online column:
for those who worry about an Islamic Bomb in Tehran, one already exists in Islamabad. Pakistan has between 90 and 120 warheads, and is producing more plutonium than any other nation on earth. The result likely will be an expanded arsenal. Observed Tom Hundley of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting: “Pakistan could end up in third place, behind Russia and the United States, within a decade.” Yet the contest with India has left Islamabad officials “hobbled by fear, paranoia, and a deep sense of inferiority,” in Hundley’s words. At the same time, Pakistan has increasingly dispersed its warheads to frustrate any U.S. attempt to seize the weapons. The practice increases the possibility of radicals grabbing a warhead or fissile material.
Although only the Pakistani people can fix their own country, Washington could help. It should wind down the war in Afghanistan, which is a destabilizing force in Pakistan. The U.S. should reduce its use of drones, which have made America hated by Pakistanis. Washington should resist the temptation to dump ever more foreign “aid” into the corrupt and incompetent institution known as the Pakistani government. Finally, Americans should hope—and pray!—that Nawaz Sharif has learned something during his 14 years in the political wilderness.
View full post on Cato @ Liberty
Time to give up on the CFTC
by Bron Suchecki – GoldChat
Published : May 24th, 2013
Gene Arensberg has an article out on the COMEX price smash where he concludes that:
"in order for the initial 124 tonne sale to have occurred “legally” it would have had to have been 14 traders, all with zero orders open, all acting simultaneously, all acting independently, in their own self-interest, without colluding with each other to “sell-for-effect” or conspiring to foment a price smash.
In actuality, the chances that there were 14 traders who held zero open orders all acting independently, all throwing their full allowable 3,000 contracts into the gold market within a few minutes of each other are infinitesimally small."
Gene notes that hedge members have a bona fide hedger exemption "to sell more than the limit, but not without filing paperwork with the exchange" which means that "whoever blew out the gold market on April 12 is already known to the CFTC (and what documentation they used to back up their trade)."
Now I would have thought that position limits would still apply to the person whom the hedger was executing for. A quick google search brought up this 20 page client update document from a law firm. Reading through the first few pages I was confronted by stuff like this:
"To qualify as a bona fide hedging transaction under the Final Rule, a transaction or position must (1) represent a substitute for transactions made or to be made or positions taken or to be taken at a later time in a physical marketing channel, (2) be economically appropriate to the reduction of risks in the conduct and management of a commercial enterprise, and (3) either (a) qualify as one of the eight enumerated bona fide hedging transactions under the Final Rule and arise from the potential change in the value of (x) assets a person owns, produces, manufactures, processes or merchandises or anticipates owning, producing, manufacturing, processing or merchandising, (y) liabilities a person owes or anticipates incurring or (z) services a person provides, purchases or anticipates providing or purchasing, or (b) qualify as a “passthrough swap.”"
Eyes glazing over? Same here, so I then proceeded to the scroll/skim through reading method. My lay person summary: plenty of loopholes for someone to do what they want and have the CFTC running around in circles.
Now you know why the CFTC investigation into silver has been going on for years without any result.
As I said in response to this question: Do you think Bart Chilton of the CFTC is imagining things when he says its happening, or maybe he wants to be loved by the Goldbug crowd?:
"Consider that the CFTC has to deal/manage/politic two types of market participants – producers, who want prices to be high and consumers, who want prices to be low. I have seen the theory that Bart’s role is to play to or appease the consumers, which in the case of PMs means they want high prices. I really don’t know if this is the case or he is just straight up. Either way he is often very careful in what he says, and keep in mind the difference between manipulation and suppression. Bart talks of manipulation, not suppression."
To that I’d add the CFTC has to deal with a complex set of rules and regulations. When regulations get this complex market fairness and transparency is actually harmed, and the only ones who benefit are those big enough to have lawyers able to work out the loopholes.
What the market needs is straightforward commonsense rules that everyone knows in advance, just like Kid Dynamite points out in this post on cancelling trades. Or just drop the pretence and go free-for-all law of the jungle.
Having interest rates this low doesn’t help, as speculators have minimal cost in holding a position for a long time (until it blows up) or taking on large positions. This just adds to the volatility.
Time to give up on the CFTC being able to control this, just like Ted Butler did.
BTW, Perth Mint once had a new hire in our Treasury department suggest we should trade on COMEX. That got laughed at (and that was before MF Global). We will take our chances in the OTC market, where at least we can pick our counterparties, do due dilligence on them, and trade on our terms.
Statistics: Posted by DIGGER DAN — Fri May 24, 2013 5:27 pm
View full post on opinions.caduceusx.com
I hate to say “I told you so” but, well, “I told you so.”
Back in March 2010, I warned that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, a preferential trade agreement between the United States and then seven– and now 11, with the subsequent addition of Canada, Malaysia, Mexico and almost-officially Japan– other Asia-Pacific economies would be a hard slog, and that the signs towards a significant degree of liberalization were not promising. I followed that up with news about what then-United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk told a closed-door meeting with dairy lobbyists, and what it said more broadly about the administration’s commitment to free trade.
Today comes news from the latest round of TPP negotiations in Lima, Peru that industry groups have raised concerns about the way that the United States and Peru are approaching the negotiations: i.e, by negotiating with individual countries bilaterally rather than offering the same market access to all of the TPP members at once, a concept trade wonks call a “plurilateralism.” In addition, the United States is not re-negotiating market access with any of the TPP countries with which it already has an agreement (that’s six of the eleven other members).
Pluralizing the deal would be more fitting for an agreement that the Obama administration touted as being a “21st Century” agreement to reflect new world trade realities, like global supply chains. It would lessen the potential for an unholy mess that businesses find unworkable. A Wal-Mart representative said at the meeting “it’s a little hard to see how you have this very comprehensive agreement if we have bilateral market access negotiations that everybody doesn’t necessarily understand, and how you essentially plurilateralize those with common sets of rules of origin.” (Rules-of Origin are the methods by which customs officials determine the origin of a product, and thus which tariff rate should apply. They can get really messy when supply chains are complex).
So what did the U.S. and Peruvian chief negotiators say when they were called out on the self-defeating bilateral approach? They gave answers which do not pass the laugh test (the following quotes come from the same article linked to above, all emphases my added):
In response to [a] question, Weisel and Peruvian chief negotiator Edgar Vasquez both defended the bilateral approach to negotiating goods market access. Weisel argued that it makes more sense to import zero tariff rates that the U.S. already has with various TPP countries into the new agreement, rather than conducting a new market access negotiation with those countries.
Sure. It absolutely makes sense to keep already-zero tariff rates at zero. But that’s not why the United States is wanting to lock in the terms of the previously negotiated FTAs. After all, it would be relatively easy to just specify zero tariff rates again. The United States is taking a bilateral approach for one reason, and one reason only: they don’t want to risk re-opening negotiations on the decidedly non-zero tariff rates and long phase-in periods for “sensitive products,” i.e. those (like sugar, dairy, autos and clothing) that the United States keeps protected even under the terms of the trade agreements already signed.
In addition, Weisel pointed out that even if all countries took the plurilateral approach and agreed to apply the same tariff level to all other participants, they would still be faced with the conundrum of differing tariff levels because the agreement is not likely to enter into force for all TPP countries at the same time.
Why not? Because, again, the United States doesn’t actually want to open its market to goods from countries which are especially competitive in products the U.S. government wants to keep protected. At least, not for a while. Again, not exactly in keeping with a comprehensive, 21st century agreement for the new trading system.
For his part, Vasquez argued against the plurilateral approach on the grounds that it leads to tariff concessions of the lowest common denominator. For instance, it means the U.S. would extend the same long tariff phaseout on dairy to Malaysia than it does to New Zealand, even though the U.S. is not sensitive to dairy imports from Malaysia. This leads to a less ambitious outcome than the bilateral approach, Vasquez argued.
This is true as far as it goes. What Mr Vasquez is saying is that if the United States was not able to keep out products from the competitive countries alone, then they would want to “plurilateralize” (in a perverse sense) the deal by keeping out those products from all TPP countries. But how much less ambitious is that than this bilateral mess, really? What’s the point in trying to keep out, say, dairy from Brunei, or some other equally unlikely product/origin combination? The difference in terms of the trade effect would be almost zero. Why can’t we aim for a highest common denominator, where the U.S. offers the maximum level of market access (preferably total) to all countries?
The point of trade liberalization is to increase imports precisely from those countries which are the most competitive, and therefore deliver goods and services most cheaply (and/or at a higher quality or variety) than what we can produce ourselves. If the aim of negotiators is to carve out trade that would bring the most economic benefit, then they may as well save themselves a lot of time, hassle and jet-lag– not to mention saving taxpayers’ money–by staying home.
View full post on Cato @ Liberty
Daniel J. Ikenson
Pitched as a cure for Europe’s woes, salvation for the multilateral trading system, and the last best chance to restrain the Chinese juggernaut, the stakes are high for the upcoming Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations. Of course the primary objective of the TTIP is to reduce nagging impediments to commerce between the United States and the European Union. But success is far from a sure bet.
Given the numerous bilateral trade frictions that have eluded resolution for many years, the goal of a “comprehensive” agreement by the end of 2014 – the current target – is simply not credible. Success would require negotiators to lay down their calculators and spreadsheets, disavow the “exports good, imports bad” mantra of mercantilist doctrine on which they were raised, and act on behalf of their citizens instead of their domestic producer lobbies.
That outcome would be too good to be true, but there may be a certain genius to the tight timeframe: it will demand that negotiators forego excessive posturing and will limit the potential for ever-shifting political calculations to subvert progress. Regardless, success can only take the form of a less comprehensive agreement or, perhaps, a two-phased agreement where the first phase meets the 2014 deadline by achieving accord on relatively agreeable matters, while the tougher issues are relegated to a later train.
A recent paper co-published by the Atlantic Council and the Bertelsmann Foundation presented the results of a survey of American and European trade policy experts about the prospects for a successful TTIP agreement. More than half thought the negotiations would produce a “moderate agreement,” and most thought the agreement would take effect by the end of 2015 or 2016.
The relatively low hanging fruit – according to the Atlantic/Bertelsmann survey – includes the elimination or significant reduction of tariffs across multiple sectors. Averaging about 2 percent in the United States and 4 percent in Europe, tariffs are not huge impediments (on average), but their elimination would generate sizable gains because of the large volume of transatlantic trade. Agreeing to tariff cuts right away would inspire goodwill and inject momentum toward a successful outcome.
Ending restrictions on U.S. energy exports might also be among the terms of a 2014 agreement, but everything else that would reduce actual trade impediments is in the more-difficult-to-resolve category. “Regulatory process convergence across multiple sectors” and “significant convergence in regulatory regimes and standards for manufactured goods” were considered the most important issues in the Atlantic/Bertelsmann paper. But they were also viewed as among the most difficult to resolve.
To be meaningful, a 2014 agreement must include some form of regulatory coherence or mutual recognition of standards or processes. Overcoming regulatory divergences is presumed to be the source of the greatest potential gains, as it is enormously costly whenever businesses are compelled to meet different standards to participate in different markets. Many differences likely can be bridged through mutual recognition or convergence without any adverse impact on public health or safety and without crossing any red lines related to cultural preference or tradition.
Agreeing to a common standard for the length of electrical cords on household appliances (currently three feet in the U.S. and one meter in Europe), for example, would reduce production costs for appliance manufacturers and free up resources for other productive endeavors on both sides of the ocean without any public safety implications. Mutually recognizing the effective equivalence of each other’s drug approval processes would eliminate logistical redundancies, while saving industry excessive delays and billions of dollars, and reducing mortality and morbidity rates. There are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of similiar regulatory processes and standards that could be bridged through such mutual recognition or convergence.
To increase the probability of bridging these differences as part of a 2014 agreement, negotiators should consider a “negative list” approach, whereby all regulations and standards are considered candidates for reform unless and until specific exemptions are requested. This would give negotiators a better sense of the magnitude of the differences, and the public a better look at who is protecting what. One revelation is likely to be that U.S. and European regulators, seeking to preserve their bureaucratic fiefdoms, are the primary obstacles to reform.
Even in this globalized economy with transnational production and supply chains and growing import-dependent constituencies, trade negotiations are still conducted according to the mercantilist conception that improved foreign market access is the prize and conceded import market access is the cost of an agreement. The economic imperative of reform too often succumbs to the political objective of “winning” the negotiation – or avoiding the perception of having been outdueled. That’s a real shame because the real benefits of trade liberalization come from reducing your own barriers to trade and not from better access to foreign markets. Remember the AMC Pacer, the Ford Pinto, the Chrysler K-Car and other such “offerings” from Detroit in the 1970s before intensifying competition from Japan raised their game? Remember when the produce section of your grocery store was barrren in the winter? Remember when high-tech gadgets were luxury goods?
For real and enduring reform to take shape, the American and European publics must shed their complacency, challenge the status quo, and assert their rights to transact with whomever they choose, wherever they are located without having to contend with bureaucratic impediments designed to steer them to domestic sources. Success will have been achieved when the trade negotiator goes the way of the AMC Pacer.
View full post on Cato @ Liberty
Senator Reid spins out, This is not the first time the IRS was used as a tool to target political opponents. (Thanks for the newsflash Senator, guess that makes it OK)
The IRS and the income tax are very powerful tools of coercion. Do I think the tactics employed against Tea Party groups recently would be employed by a big government “conservative” against groups which challenged his or her authority?
A Brief History of Cycles and Time, Part 2 (guest essay)
May 14, 2013
Part 2 of the guest essay by Eric A.: "Because it’s time."
I am honored to publish a deeply insightful two-part essay by longtime contributor Eric A. on long-term cycles, and how they shape our spectrum of responses in periods of crisis and transformation. This essay has profound implications for our individual choices in the years ahead, and I believe it helps explain my own political/ financial philosophy outlined in my books:
Why Things Are Falling Apart and What We Can Do About It
Resistance, Revolution, Liberation: A Model for Positive Change
An Unconventional Guide to Investing in Troubled Times
Survival+: Structuring Prosperity for Yourself and the Nation
Here is Part 2 of Eric’s essay.
Let me ask you something: Do you really think your ancestors didn’t see the Depression coming in 1921 or in 1929? Of course they did. The Balloon Option-ARM mortgage had just been invented, creating a housing boom larger and even more groundless as our own, immortalized by the Marx Brothers in The Cocoanuts. They warned the world then just as we do now, and no one listened then, just as they don’t now. Why? It wasn’t time.
Likewise, do you think Hoover and Roosevelt didn’t do everything they could, whether legal or illegal to stop the endless economic decline after 1929? Of course they did. Roosevelt confiscated the entire money supply, packed the Supreme Court, and took control of the entire US economy to no avail. Henry Morgenthau, Roosevelt’s Treasury Secretary, admitted,
"We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work… We have never made good on our promises. I say after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started. And an enormous debt to boot."
And the media failing to report? I’ll show you just three graphics:
1. "We will not have any more crashes in our time." – John Maynard Keynes in 1927 (1)
2. "I cannot help but raise a dissenting voice to statements that we are living in a fool’s paradise, and that prosperity in this country must necessarily diminish and recede in the near future." – E. H. H. Simmons, President, New York Stock Exchange, January 12, 1928
"There will be no interruption of our permanent prosperity." – Myron E. Forbes, President, Pierce Arrow Motor Car Co., January 12, 1928 (2)
3. "No Congress of the United States ever assembled, on surveying the state of the Union, has met with a more pleasing prospect than that which appears at the present time. In the domestic field there is tranquility and contentment…and the highest record of years of prosperity. In the foreign field there is peace, the goodwill which comes from mutual understanding." – Calvin Coolidge December 4, 1928 (3)
4. "There may be a recession in stock prices, but not anything in the nature of a crash." – Irving Fisher, leading U.S. economist , New York Times, Sept. 5, 1929 (4)
5. "Stock prices have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau. I do not feel there will be soon if ever a 50 or 60 point break from present levels, such as (bears) have predicted. I expect to see the stock market a good deal higher within a few months." – Irving Fisher, Ph.D. in economics, Oct. 17, 1929
"This crash is not going to have much effect on business." – Arthur Reynolds, Chairman of Continental Illinois Bank of Chicago, October 24, 1929
"There will be no repetition of the break of yesterday… I have no fear of another comparable decline." – Arthur W. Loasby (President of the Equitable Trust Company), quoted in NYT, Friday, October 25, 1929
"We feel that fundamentally Wall Street is sound, and that for people who can afford to pay for them outright, good stocks are cheap at these prices." – Goodbody and Company market-letter quoted in The New York Times, Friday, October 25, 1929 (5)
6. "This is the time to buy stocks. This is the time to recall the words of the late J. P. Morgan… that any man who is bearish on America will go broke. Within a few days there is likely to be a bear panic rather than a bull panic. Many of the low prices as a result of this hysterical selling are not likely to be reached again in many years." – R. W. McNeel, market analyst, as quoted in the New York Herald Tribune, October 30, 1929
"Buying of sound, seasoned issues now will not be regretted." – E. A. Pearce market letter quoted in the New York Herald Tribune, October 30, 1929
"Some pretty intelligent people are now buying stocks… Unless we are to have a panic — which no one seriously believes, stocks have hit bottom." – R. W. McNeal, financial analyst in October 1929 (6)
7. "The decline is in paper values, not in tangible goods and services… America is now in the eighth year of prosperity as commercially defined. The former great periods of prosperity in America averaged eleven years. On this basis we now have three more years to go before the tailspin." – Stuart Chase (American economist and author), NY Herald Tribune, November 1, 1929
"Hysteria has now disappeared from Wall Street.” – The Times of London, November 2, 1929
"The Wall Street crash doesn’t mean that there will be any general or serious business depression… For six years American business has been diverting a substantial part of its attention, its energies and its resources on the speculative game… Now that irrelevant, alien and hazardous adventure is over. Business has come home again, back to its job, providentially unscathed, sound in wind and limb, financially stronger than ever before." – Business Week, November 2, 1929
"…despite its severity, we believe that the slump in stock prices will prove an intermediate movement and not the precursor of a business depression such as would entail prolonged further liquidation…" – Harvard Economic Society (HES), November 2, 1929 (7)
8. "…a serious depression seems improbable; [we expect] recovery of business next spring, with further improvement in the fall."- HES, November 10, 1929
"The end of the decline of the Stock Market will probably not be long, only a few more days at most." – Irving Fisher, Professor of Economics at Yale University, November 14, 1929
"In most of the cities and towns of this country, this Wall Street panic will have no effect." – Paul Block (President of the Block newspaper chain), editorial, November 15, 1929
"Financial storm definitely passed." – Bernard Baruch, cablegram to Winston Churchill, November 15, 1929 (8)
9. "I see nothing in the present situation that is either menacing or warrants pessimism… I have every confidence that there will be a revival of activity in the spring, and that during this coming year the country will make steady progress." – Andrew W. Mellon, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury December 31, 1929
"I am convinced that through these measures we have reestablished confidence." – Herbert Hoover, December 1929
"[1930 will be] a splendid employment year." – U.S. Dept. of Labor, New Year’s Forecast, December 1929 (9)
10. “For the immediate future, at least, the outlook (stocks) is bright.” – Irving Fisher, Ph.D. in Economics, in early 1930 (10)
11. "…there are indications that the severest phase of the recession is over…" – Harvard Economic Society (HES) Jan 18, 1930 (11)
12. "There is nothing in the situation to be disturbed about." – Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon, Feb 1930 (12)
13. "The spring of 1930 marks the end of a period of grave concern… American business is steadily coming back to a normal level of prosperity." – Julius Barnes, head of Hoover’s National Business Survey Conference, Mar 16, 1930
"…the outlook continues favorable…" – HES Mar 29, 1930 (13)
14. "…the outlook is favorable…" – HES Apr 19, 1930 (14)
15. "While the crash only took place six months ago, I am convinced we have now passed through the worst — and with continued unity of effort we shall rapidly recover. There has been no significant bank or industrial failure. That danger, too, is safely behind us." – Herbert Hoover, President of the United States, May 1, 1930
"…by May or June the spring recovery forecast in our letters of last December and November should clearly be apparent…" – HES May 17, 1930
"Gentleman, you have come sixty days too late. The depression is over." – Herbert Hoover, responding to a delegation requesting a public works program to help speed the recovery, June 1930 (15)
16. "…irregular and conflicting movements of business should soon give way to a sustained recovery…" – HES June 28, 1930 (16)
17. "…the present depression has about spent its force…" – HES, Aug 30, 1930 (17)
18. "We are now near the end of the declining phase of the depression." – HES Nov 15, 1930 (18)
19. “Stabilization at [present] levels is clearly possible.” – HES Oct 31, 1931 (19)
20. "All safe deposit boxes in banks or financial institutions have been sealed… and may only be opened in the presence of an agent of the I.R.S." – President F.D. Roosevelt, 1933 (20)
Source: Colin J. Seymour, June 2001
Man of the Year, 1938 Man of the Year, 1939
Poor enough reporting for ya? I’m sure you’d find the same reporting in the Great Depressions of 1837 and 1870, while many of you personally remember the W.I.N. buttons and pro-American quotes in the Depression of 1968-1979.
History never changes. Or, at least it changes very slowly indeed.
So here we are, like those before us, warning of our own Great Depression, of our own World War, or of even larger cycles like the fall of the English, Spanish, or Roman empires. And so far as we can tell, few listen and nothing changes. Why?
Because it isn’t time.
You think they didn’t see the rise of Fascism and WWII in the 30’s? What was the Lincoln Brigade about? You think the people of 1930 didn’t also inform each other, stall and delay the day of reckoning, and struggle to prepare? Of course they did. Just as much as we ourselves and our present government have. The delay due to their ability and willingness to intervene is already factored into the cycle.
So why didn’t war break out in 1932, 1936, or for the U.S., in 1940? It wasn’t as if people didn’t see it coming, just as we see our own war and challenges now.
Because it wasn’t time. What I mean by that is, no matter how far seeing, History, as Hari Seldon would say, is made up of the aggregate, not the individual. No individual– not even Churchill chafing under Chamberlain in 1938—could change it.
It only happens slowly, when one by one the great mass of the population have changed their minds and their behavior. Only then can history unfold. You, me, even Barack Obama, Ben Bernanke, or George Soros cannot push the great Wheel of History around because it is made of all 6 Billion of us, the whole planet, the whole market, and the sum of human understanding.
To me, this the cardinal sin of the blogosphere, or indeed of the times: that we know what is best for everyone, as writers, pundits, politicians. That we need to make the other guy "wake up." We need to make them see as we do, act as ourselves, obey our will. Isn’t this the very defect we attribute to our enemies? That they’re always galumping around telling everybody what to do and how to live?
"They"—your family, your neighbors, your country–need to wake up? Let me ask you: "How did YOU wake up?" I can answer that without knowing you: a little at first, then all at once, in your own time. Neither is the journey for any of our "waking up" complete.
Telling people what is going on is one thing, it’s free speech, expressing our opinions on where we are and how the world works. Forcing others to believe something, become something, act in a way we believe they should is the first step to violence. If you believe in and value Liberty and the free exchange of ideas as I do, don’t do it. Changing the other guy is not your job.
Given that we can’t change history, and it’s reprehensible to force yourself on others, one might ask what good is it to talk about it? Screw the other guy if he won’t learn. Ride the stock market up for every dollar. "Eat, Drink, and be Merry, for tomorrow we die." To which I would respond as Dorothy Parker, "But alas, we never do." We may not be able to change the world or the course of history, but we can prepare on our own, individual level. And that’s the key, the individual level.
Markets, governments, wars, they are aggregations that will only change on schedule after some series of remarkable events forces them to respond and adjust.
This is part of Charles Hugh Smith’s discussions of fiefdoms, feedback, and the status quo: by definition the status quo can’t change, because if it could it wouldn’t be a status quo mired in internecine wrangling; it would be smoothly evolving into a new stable system. The system as we know it can’t change, but YOU can.
And as this is the only effort that’s going to effect any change in your life vs. the tide of history, it’s also the only one you have control over and the only one that’s going to do you any good. Dmitry Orlov has mentioned this many times regarding the collapse of governments and empires, in his case, the Soviet Union.
Did the U.S.S.R. disappear overnight? No. It took time, the exact amount of time for people to recognize, test, explore, and adjust their behavior. For some slower, and others more quickly. That is to say it took years, each piece unfolding one person at a time, one personal realization and event at a time in their own order. Once the nation collapsed, did it suddenly reform into the functional and rising state Russia enjoys now?
No. Again, it took time, decades of unfolding from 1991 until 2013, another whole generation, one "turning." Not until those who carried the template of the old ways passed away and new, younger people with new thinking replaced them. Not one of them could have stopped it or hurried it along although many tried, no different than any other time in history. As for the other guy, it’s always been clear that we’re all in this together. If your neighbors have a problem, then you have a problem whether down the street or in the world. This is why we all help each other best we can according to our abilities, in our own time.
What we as bloggers and far-seers have been trying to do is to change the aggregate, which cannot be done. The aggregate WILL change, but it can only change in its own schedule. We can continue to tell the truth, but after decades of status quo, we should not expect our words to change the world, our nation, or to some extent even our community. The only thing we can realistically change is ourselves with our own actions, and that is where all real change comes from, one person: one action at a time. 6 billion tiny events, tiny tipping points, changing minds who realize themselves one by one.
So what revolutionary act can you make today? If you read OfTwoMinds.com, PeakProsperity.com or similar sites, you already know the direction of history and what may be needed by you and the nation in the years ahead. What can you do to fill those gaps and prepare in your own life? Because the Wheels of History, although grinding exceeding slow, do get there in the end, made up of the decisions of billions of human actors. You may not be able to change your nation or the desperate situation we find ourselves in, but each of you can change yourself. You can make your own lifeboat in the midst of our own national challenge or "collapse." Only through that individual preparation could we find a million safety nets which prevent collapse.
And if that is all that’s asked of you, it’s good, for that’s all that’s possible.
Start today. It’s time.
by Eric A.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Tue May 14, 2013 12:16 am
View full post on opinions.caduceusx.com
Corn planting races to 28 percent
Angela Bowman, Staff Writer | Updated: 05/13/2013
Farmers took advantage of the break in wet spring weather in a rush to plant crops before the next round of rain.
The USDA’s latest Crop Progress report showed that 28 percent of the nation’s corn has been planted, compared to 12 percent last week. This is lower than the five-year average of 65 percent and significantly behind last year’s speedy pace of 85 percent.
All reporting states made progress from last week — thanks to a window to dry weather. However, four states in particular are substantially behind their five-year average:
May 12, 2013
Two states – Nebraska (43 percent) and Ohio (46 percent) – made the biggest jump in progress this week.
The dry weather is forecast to end later this week, which puts even more pressure on farmers hustling to plant their crops.
"Psychologically, this (week) is a critical one for getting corn planted. Many analysts claim corn seeded after mid-May tends to see lower yields," Karl Setzer, a commodity trading adviser with MaxYield Cooperative in West Bend, Iowa, told Reuters in an article here.
Nationally, 5 percent of corn has emerged, which is also well behind the five-year average of 28 percent.
Soybean planting is also slow-going with 6 percent of the nation’s soybeans in the ground. Most states have reported progress in corn planting, with the exceptional of Illinois. Illinois has yet to show any soybean planting progress, putting it 19 percentage points behind its five-year average.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Mon May 13, 2013 10:40 pm
View full post on opinions.caduceusx.com
ARE YOU SMARTER THAN A KOREAN?
Posted on 11th May 2013 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues
Asians smart, Koreans cheating on SAT
This is not shocking news to me. It is a well known fact that Asian students pay thousands of dollars to have others write their essays to get into the top flight U.S. Universities. It is also a well known fact among some people that even at the best business schools in the world, Asian students pay American students to write their papers for them. I guess Asians are just as dishonest, corrupt and underhanded as Americans. That is heart warming to know. We’ve now found two things they’re not good at.
For the First Time, SAT Test Gets Canceled in an Entire Country
By Kayla Webley
Some 1,500 South Korean students who dream of attending elite American colleges are scrambling after the U.S.-based administrator of the SAT cancelled the scheduled May 4 session of the exam due to allegations of widespread cheating. It’s the first time the SAT test has been called off in an entire country.
Officials decided to cancel the exam after discovering test questions circulating in test-prep centers in the country, according to the Wall Street Journal. The College Board, which administers the SAT in the U.S., and the Educational Testing Service (ETS), the non-profit organization that develops, publishes and scores the tests, issued a statement, saying they had made the “difficult, but necessary” decision to cancel the exam. “This action is being taken in response to information provided to ETS—the College Board’s vendor for global test administration and security—by the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office regarding tutoring companies in the Republic of Korea that are alleged to have illegally obtained SAT and SAT Subject Test materials for their own commercial benefit.”
The details are scarce, but a CNN report says the prosecutors’ office confirmed it had raided several testing centers for evidence and the WSJ story notes that at least 10 staff members of test centers have been barred from leaving the country while the prosecutors’ office investigates.
Test center managers told the WSJ that the problem is widespread and that official test booklets can be purchased from brokers for about $4,575—a relatively small price to pay for families fighting to gain admittance to Harvard, Stanford and other prestigious American schools no matter the cost. According to the Institute of International Education’s most recent annual report, South Korea sent 72,295 students to study in the U.S. in the 2011-12 school year, making the country the third largest provider of foreign students to U.S. colleges after China and India. Worldwide, international student enrollment at U.S. colleges has soared in recent years with a record 764,495 foreign students attending American universities in 2011-12.
This is not the first incident of SAT cheating in South Korea. In 2007, some 900 students who took the exam in January of that year had their scores canceled after an investigation found an unknown number of students had seen at least part of the exam before the test was given. The latest incident, plus a string of scandals in the country over the past year that saw at least seven lawmakers accused of academic plagiarism, caused a South Korean national newspaper to question whether its citizens are unusual in their willingness to cheat.
But South Korea is hardly alone—the high stakes nature of the exam has fueled cheating elsewhere, although on a smaller scale. Of the nearly three million SAT exams taken worldwide each year, at least a few thousand are canceled because of suspected cheating. Several hundred other potential test takers are turned away at the door each year because of questionable identification. In 2011, 20 students in Long Island, New York were charged with cheating on the SAT—five were accused of taking the test for others and 15 were accused of paying them $500 to $3,600 to take the exams.
The College Board and ETS say they expects to be able to offer the SAT in South Korea in June, but in the meantime, and out of fear of additional problems, there have been reports of students flying to Japan and Hong Kong to take the test there in order to get their scores in time to apply for college in the U.S. this summer.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Sun May 12, 2013 2:18 am
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If I bought Hostess I would want absolutely nothing to do with the myriad of unions which took the original company down. The AFL-CIO has threatened any new owners of Hostess with a boycott if the new company goes union free.
Let them do it. My bet is that when Twinkies find their way back onto supermarket shelves people will buy them by the case.
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In an email this morning, Institute for Justice President William “Chip” Mellor was crowing, and rightly so, about IJ’s latest win for economic liberty – a decision by Milwaukee Circuit Court Judge Jane Carroll striking down the city’s 20-year-old taxicab law prohibiting competition in the taxi market. That adds one more city to the string: IJ’s attorneys have brought an end to similar taxi monopoly statutes in Denver, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, and Minneapolis.
What caught my eye here, however, was the attorney who won the case, Anthony Sanders, working out of IJ’s Minneapolis office. Back in the summer of 2002, after his first year of law school, Anthony did a bang-up job at Cato helping us put together the very first volume of the Cato Supreme Court Review.
But that’s hardly the only IJ/Cato connection. The one I’m most proud of goes back to 1989 and my very first summer intern, Scott Bullock, now an IJ senior attorney. Just last January Scott won an important civil asset forfeiture case up in Boston – that’s an obscure issue we’ve worked for years to bring to the fore. And in March, Scott won a crucial Fifth Circuit economic liberty case, resulting in a circuit split on the issue and hence a good chance that the Supreme Court will at last revisit its jurisprudence concerning this “second-class” right.
We train ’em, Chip sends ’em out to do battle in the courts, and little by little we pare back Leviathan.
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