Monday, August 19, 2019

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An Elixir for Argentina’s Fiscal Dysfunction

by Steve H. Hanke, Market Oracle:

Argentina and its peso are in trouble, again. By officially replacing the peso with the U.S. dollar, Argentina’s peso nightmare would end. But, in a country in which fiscal fiddlers know many tricks, some fiscal rules must also be added to the prescription.

Dollarization should impose a hard budget constraint on Argentina. Under dollarization, which exists in 33 countries, hard budget constraints are imposed because dollarized countries must finance government spending by taxing or borrowing in either domestic or international bond markets. They cannot finance government expenditures by using a central bank, which issues a domestic currency. As a result, fiscal deficits, when they occur, tend to be relatively small. But, there has been one noteworthy, unusual case: Zimbabwe. This case merits our attention.

Failure of Supreme Court Opinions

from BATR:

Now that Brett Kavanaugh has been selected by President Trump to be the next Supreme Court Justice, the gladiator games of the confirmation process begins. Much of the attention will focus on the bitter hysteria that the Never Trump lunatics exhibit as they regress even further into denial. Those supporters who demand a Living Constitution are in a panic. They see the gains they have made over decades are fading with a court of Originalists and fear that Textualism will become the standard for the Supreme Court. The self-proclaimed enlightened zealots contend they are social justice warriors. In actuality they protect the corrupt institutions, practices and policies that progressives profess they oppose.

Police Seized Property of Close to 1,000 People in Michigan—Without Ever Convicting Them of Crimes

by Scott Shackford, Reason:

Close to 1,000 people in Michigan had their property seized by police or government officials last year even though they were neither convicted nor sometimes even charged with committing a crime.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that we have this information at all. In 2015 Michigan passed legislation that mandated local law enforcement agencies report more information to the state about the extent of their seizures. The Department of State Police just released its first report that encompassed all agencies for a full calendar year.

Law enforcement agencies across the state seized more than $13 million in cash and property in 2017. And while State Police Director Kriste Etue claims in the report’s introduction that all those seized assets were “amassed by drug traffickers,” that’s not really what the numbers show.

Colleges Can Kill Creativity By Offering One-Size-Fits-All Education

by Steven Maxwell, Activist Post:

With student debt at record levels (and a more aggressive approach to collecting those loans), combined with a diminishing guarantee of employment in their field upon graduation, more people than ever are closely evaluating the financial realities of college in the 21st century.

However, even the core aspect of a college education — acquiring the fundamentals of learning and the development of useful real-world skills and creativity — is also worthy of closer scrutiny.

By way of disclosure, I did graduate from a well-known university in the late ’90s. The following observations, criticisms and benefits of college life are not intended to dissuade everyone from attending college or steering their own children away from formal education, only to do so with open eyes and an open mind about current trends and what can likely be acquired from our so-called institutions of higher learning.

Venezuela’s Socialist Hyperinflation Turned People Back To Barter System

by Mac Slavo, SHTF Plan:

In the wake of socialist Venezuela’s massive hyperinflation, citizens have returned to the original monetary system in order to survive.  The barter system is now prevalent in the collapsed economy of the authoritarian dictator, Nicolas Maduro.

Barter is one of the best ways to trade goods, considering its almost impossible to tax those transactions and since money in Venezuela is as difficult to come by as food and medicine, that’s now the preferred method of trading goods and services. Women in Venezuela have been turning to prostitution and asking for payment in food instead of cash for a while now, and as the regime tightens its grip on the private sector, more will have to turn to trade to survive.

Trump’s Devastating Trade War Weapons

by Jim Rickards, Daily Reckoning:

The news last week was dominated by breathless headlines about the new trade war between the U.S. and China. But this trade war has been brewing for years and came as no surprise to readers of my newsletter, Project Prophesy. In fact, the new trade war is simply a continuation of the currency wars that began in 2010.

I’ve warned for over a year that President Trump’s threats of tariffs should be taken seriously, while most of Wall Street discounted Trump’s talk as mere bluster. Now the trade wars are here as we expected, and they will get much worse before they are resolved.

Will AI “Change the World” Or Simply Boost Profits?

by Charles Hugh Smith, Of Two Minds:

The real battle isn’t between a cartoonish vision or a dystopian nightmare–it’s between decentralized ownership and control of these technologies and centralized ownership and control.

The hype about artificial intelligence (AI) and its cousins Big Data and Machine Learning is ubiquitous, and largely unexamined. AI is going to change the world by freeing humankind from most of its labors, etc. etc. etc.

Let’s start by asking: who owns all this AI? This raises two other questions:who benefits as “software eats the world” (to use Marc Andreesen’s pithy phrase), and to what purpose is all this technology being applied?

Will Trump Shake off the Chains of the Banksters?

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by Gordon Duff, New Eastern Outlook:

Trump will come to Helsinki to meet Putin dragging the chains of a Russian policy few understand, none accept the origins of, a policy whose roots are suppressed as “conspiratorial” or, even more frightening, erased entirely from history.

American policy has always been driven by “the banks” but few if any know what or who “the banks” are or know the names, Schiff, Harriman, Kuhn, Loeb, Rothschild or Warburg.

Those are the chains that Trump will drag to Helsinki, the chains that will choke off détente or fall aside.

Woman’s Body Found In Trash Compactor In Anthony Weiner & Huma Abedin’s Former Apartment Building

by Tim Brown, Freedom OutPost:

Residents first thought police presence was at their apartment building in New York because of disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner and his wife Huma Abedin, but that turned out not to be the case as it was discovered that a woman’s body was found in the building’s trash compactor in Manhattan’s Union Square.

Residents first thought police presence was at their apartment building in New York on Tuesday because of disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner and his wife Huma Abedin, but that turned out not to be the case as it was discovered that a woman’s body was found in the building’s trash compactor in Manhattan’s Union Square.

Vital Listening From Batchelor and Cohen

by Turd Ferguson, TF Metals Report:

On the eve of the NATO meeting and Trump’s summit with Putin, it is absolutely essential that you take time this week to listen to this latest installment from Mr. Batchelor and Professor Cohen.

This week’s discussion could not be more timely and relevant. As Professor Cohen states, “NATO is one of the largest and most profitable corporate bureaucracies in the world”. It is imperative that you understand this fact in 2018 and nowhere else in western media will you find anyone brave enough to state it.