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Marc's Musings

After a two week hiatus, the Fed has dumped another $100B into the financial system.

This is like George Bailey getting a loan from Mr. Potter every week to keep Bailey Brothers' Building and Loan afloat, but instead of drawing on existing deposits, Mr. Potter prints money in the back office and gives it to George.

It means the big banks are so mismanaged that the only thing keeping the economy from going into a death spiral is printing money – which itself leads to a death spiral.

Although exceptionally under-reported, Iraqi parliament did vote to eject the United States on January 5.

Esper's position that we will not leave is just another slap in the face of Iraq's sovereignty.
We may as well start dressing the military in red coats and waxing their moustaches.

California passed a bill in September intended to force companies to convert contractors to employees – but it does not force companies to keep contractors. Hundreds of Vox freelance writers were released prior to the law taking effect in January and only nine full-time positions were created to pick up the slack.

All is well though, Vox property SB Nation Executive Director John Ness invited the recently-shafted to continue contributing content sans remuneration as 'community insiders'.

Because it's the work that matters, not the eating or the light bill.

The Mayans may have gotten 2012 wrong, but they had no way of knowing that the movie version – or Island of Dr. Moreau version – of Cats wouldn't be released until 2019.

There's that word again: Coup (as in coup d'état).

People are insistent that the impeachment proceedings amount to a legalistic overthrow of the government, but somehow overlook the niggling detail that the person who becomes president in the case of a conviction is the man whom Trump hand-picked to succeed him!

For all we know, this whole thing was orchestrated by Melania because she hates being First Lady.

If you follow my posts, you have probably concluded that I am a Jack of all Tirades.

Study concludes minimal drinking increases risk of cancer - Curiously, the study defines minimal drinking as two drinks per day.

Where I come from, if you're drinking everyday you're an alcoholic!

Remember when Hillary was running for president and she was being out-polled by someone who wasn't? (Biden).

Now Biden is running for president and he's being out-polled by someone who isn't. (Hillary).

When products cannot achieve their mission of efficacy or cost through unadulterated natural sources, they adopt the moniker 'naturally derived'.

Heroin is naturally derived. So is meth. High-fructose corn syrup and BK's Impossible Whopper are naturally derived (the latter using a fungus/fermentation reproductive process for the primary protein).

Here is a list of things that are naturally-derived, but aren't necessarily good for you, even with 'naturally derived' labels:

  1. potassium cyanide
  2. politicians
  3. lead bullets
  4. lawyers
  5. hemlock
  6. opium
  7. acrylamide
  8. dimethylacrylamide
  9. zombies
  10. zither music

The former Deutsche Bank executive who died last week was widely reported to have approved several for Donald Trump.

As the executive in charge of American operations, Thomas Bowers approved loans for a number of high profile individuals, including Jeffrey Epstein.

Something overlooked in the original reporting is that Mr. Bowers died (determined to be suicide by hanging) the day before he was to be questioned by the FBI in the Epstein case.

The CDC is now contemplating the possibility of suicide being contagious.

Testifying before Congress yesterday, Bureau of Prisons Director Kathleen Hawk Sawyer informed the committee that the FBI is investigating the possibility of a criminal enterprise being involved in the death of Jeffrey Epstein.

No major news outlet is running this story on the front page.

With Epstein memes overtaking social media, one would think that the BoP director admitting a criminal investigation was underway would be front-page news.

A federal judge has ruled that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) must have probable cause before searching a person's devices. This may seem like a Pyrrhic victory because it only requires cause (we know inventing 'cause' is not a stretch) and not a warrant, but it nullifies a concept asserted and enforced by the CBP for some time: that a customs zone is not yet "America" and therefore the Constitution does not apply.

Massachusetts District Judge Denise Casper's ruling on Fourth Amendment grounds establishes that the Constitution does apply to federal agents and American citizens / legal residents regardless of where the stormtroopers think they are.

Reuters report

The Bretton Woods Agreement of 1944 tied currencies from forty-four countries to the dollar and set the value of the dollar at 1/35 of an ounce of gold ($35/ounce). The Federal Reserve Bank, a private organization not bound by U.S. treaties, proceeded to print paper notes ad infinitum, exceeding fourteen billion dollars by 1966 – more than four times the amount of gold held by the U.S. Treasury (not a bad arrangement I must say, a private bank printing notes that must be redeemed by gold held by the United States government).

When Nixon suspended the gold standard in 1971, he was simply acknowledging reality; the gold standard was meaningless. If countries could not redeem their FRS notes (dollars) for gold, then the U.S. dollar would crash, and by extension, the entire global economy (which had already started to drift from the Bretton Woods agreement because of the excessive number of FRS notes in circulation).

Having nothing to backstop the billions of pictures of dead presidents floating around the world, the United States could only hope to preserve the dollar as a reserve currency through oil trading. All OPEC oil is traded in dollars. OPEC nations’ only impetus for trading in dollars is the implicit protection of the global oil industry by the United States. President Trump has learned this the hard way, having been forced to retain troops in Syria – against his preferred judgment – to protect oil production.

The system is as despicable as it gets and there are other better ways of doing things, but until then we are the world’s police force.

*Except the Afghan War, that protects the opium trade.

While the self-styled foreign policy experts have decried the withdrawal of American forces from Syria, I have been looking for the Congressional resolution that authorized the invasion of Syria, without much luck.

Oh, didn't you know? Occupying a foreign country without invitation or consent is an act of war and violates about 6,000 treaties and international laws to which the U.S. is a signatory.

(And this "we can't abandon our allies" gibberish – which we do all the time – is the same trope used to justify nonsense wars since 1951).

“Fake” News: A story that is embellished or even fabricated to draw headlines (at best) or drive the publisher’s agenda (at worst). This is the definition many people think of when asked about fake news.

Fake “News”: A story that is reported accurately, but it is not newsworthy; it is presented to draw headlines or drive the publisher’s agenda (are you seeing a pattern here?). This is the lesser known and consequently more insidious form of Fake News. It is a simple distractive or inflammatory device and has no meaningful public interest.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in Madison, Wisconsin today that “In America, the big get bigger and the small go out. … I don’t think in America we, for any small business, we have a guaranteed income or guaranteed profitability.”

More government or more government money is seldom the answer to any problem and in this case, one would propose less government: perhaps removing some of the obstacles (paperwork, onerous regulations, etc.) to allow small farms and businesses to flourish should be considered.

(Should I read anything into the fact that the SecAg's name is "Perdue"?)

A new study by Dalhousie University in Halifax has concluded that consuming red meat does not correlate to an increased risk of cancer, diabetes, or heart disease. The World Health Organization (part of the UN) lists red meat as a carcinogen.

Experts agree that the studies concluding the dangers of red meat have been weak and unconvincing, but rather than follow the science, they are merely dismissing the new findings as "irresponsible".

“I would rather have questions that can't be answered than answers that can't be questioned.” – Richard Feynman