An Overlooked Part of The Swamp That Also Needs Draining
Here's something somebody forwarded to me today, supposedly circulating of Facebook and supposedly at least partially attributed to George Soros. Although I'm not a Facebook or a George Soros Fan, it does make sense.
It has to do with the original intent of our founding fathers that we would be served by citizens who were only temporarily serving as politicians. Most of us would agree that politicians have become a very unique privileged class which for the most part has done little to really help our country.
Since the majority of the problems Trump was elected to fix are primarily if not entirely financial, what about these interesting facts?
Consider these facts, whether they are justifiable, and whether or not they contribute to (or set a good example is solving) our financial problems:
Salary of retired US Presidents .. . . . .. . . . . .. . $180,000 FOR LIFE.
Salary of House/Senate members .. . . . .. . . . $174,000 FOR LIFE. This is stupid
Salary of Speaker of the House .. . . . .. . . . . $223,500 FOR LIFE. This is really stupid
Salary of Majority / Minority Leaders . . .. . . . . $193,400 FOR LIFE. Stupid
Average Salary of a teacher . . .. . . . .. . . . . .. .$40,065
Average Salary of a deployed Soldier . . .. . . .. $38,000
Here’s where the cuts should be made!
Warren Buffett, in a recent interview with CNBC, offers one of the best quotes about the debt ceiling:
"I could end the deficit in five minutes," he told CNBC. "You just pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election".
The 26th Amendment ( granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds ) took only three months and eight days to be ratified! Why? Simply because the people demanded it. That was in 1971 – long before computers, e-mail, cell phones, etc.
Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took one (1) year or less to become the law of the land – all because of public pressure.
Warren Buffet, in addressing these facts, once said that if each person (like I'm doing now) asked each addressee to forward this email to a minimum of twenty people on their address list and in turn asked each of those to do likewise, in just three days most people in The United States of America will have the message.
This is one idea that really should be passed around and here is the suggested essence of what knowledgeable people think should the….
The Congressional Reform Act of 2017
1. No Tenure / No Pension. A Congressman / woman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they're out of office.
2. Congress (past, present, & future) participates in Social Security.
All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. Social Security funds may not be used for any other purpose.
3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.
4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.
5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.
6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.
7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen/women are void effective 3/1/17. The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen/women.
Congress made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and go back to work.
If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people, then it will only take three days for most people in the U.S. to receive the message. It's time!
I agree that this is a very reasonable suggestion. What do you think? If Trump wants to "drain the swamp", how about draining the part of it that has flooded Congress?
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If what people say is any indication of the way they think, entrepreneurs hoping that Trumps new administration and cadre will be true friends of the people may be in for a big surprise. Just listen to what Trump's new Secretary of Treasury, Steve Mnuchin, has to say about the IRS, in his recent confirmation hearing before the US Senate. Here's the link.
Anybody who says that the IRS is underfunded and understaffed certainly doesn't have a Libertarian bone in his or her body but yes…. that's what Steve-O thinks.
What planet does he live on?!
Only an elitist bean-counter and pencil-pusher would focus on increasing the power and/or reach of an organization (the IRS) whose perception by the American public is carefully constructed on deception, obfuscation, and intimidation, and whose basic purpose only facilitates the continuance of activities the US government has no Constitutional authority to do anyway.
If you think the IRS is 'the good guys', spend some time that will be good for your patriotic soul reading any part (but especially the first two chapters) of the late, great Irwin Schiff's book, "The Federal Mafia" .
What amazes me is that Trump allowed (or condoned without correction) one of his key guys to say something like this that is absolutely not what his supporters elected him to focus on.
Also note Mr. Mnuchin's statements in this video:
1. He laments, "the tax-gap". Gee, did you know we had a tax-gap? I didn't. It's my understanding that the government has been collecting more taxes every year so where in the hell is all that money going? $150 toilet seats and US embassies in Timbuktu? Here are a few examples of the answer to that question…. but Steve-O thinks we need to spend more money on the IRS??!!!
2. He says, "This is something I'm concerned about." Wouldn't any rational person who understood Business 101 know that cutting business expenses of operation (i.e. in this case by cutting the size of inefficient and/or rogue elements of government) is a more reasonable way to increase revenue than simply making an already inefficient organization even bigger?
3. He says, "I'm concerned about the staffing of the IRS." What about all the lives ruined by the IRS? (Google "Lives Ruined By IRS" for more examples). Notice how you never hear the media defend any of those people. And you also never hear of government punishing 'their own'. (Cases in point: Lois Lerner and of course the famous "Smartest Woman In The World" Hillary Clinton).
I will admit I was very surprised to read the above-referenced article and hear Mr. Mnuchin make these statements. But…it all ties in with what I think should be the obvious danger of having, 'a great businessman' (Trump and his crew of business aristocrats) in such high authority. One would hope that he does not turn out to be one of these corporate efficiency experts who thinks replacing everybody with robots and financially 'milking the financial life out of those who remain' is the way to solve a nation's problems.
NB: Did you know that Trump's new tax plan would raise the federal income tax on the current two lowest income levels? Yeah…read about it here.
If it's not obvious yet…"No, I'm not unequivocally enthusiastic about Trump."
I don't like the fact that his new home-boys are mostly Wall Street and Banking types yet there is not one real Libertarian in the crowd. I worry that the voters' critical attention was diverted from the issue of freedom from big government to one of efficiency and honesty in government. I want both.
If it turns out that all Trump brings is cleanerbig government…there will be a lot of very red-faced voters. What we really need is cleaner and better small government. And damn sure not a bigger IRS.
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Much has been said by Trump and his supporters about “draining the swamp” but I’m wondering if the picture we see shaping up is really what a drained swamp is supposed to look like. When you drain the swamp, is it the water you want to get rid of or the dangerous animals in it?
I will admit that I supported Trump as best I could during his campaign but that was not only because I have some regard for what I know of his record but also because I had a great distaste for what I know of Hillary’s record. And Bill’s record too.
Note: Only a fool would have believed that Bill, were he to become the 'First Philanderer' in the White House, would exert a very negative influence on our nation’s affairs.
So now Trump is ‘in’, lots of people are excited, the economy appears to be bullish again, and lots of people are excited about their future.
Let’s look at the animals we see in Trump’s ‘swamp’. I’ll admit I haven’t been closely following Trump’s picks these short few weeks that he’s been interviewing and picking people for his staff, Cabinet, and various government positions but I did do some homework on the subject.
First of all..… this article that I just read makes a good point: one could be reasonably suspicious of at least some, if not all, of the people Trump has tagged for his team so far. Let's look:
How about his appointment as Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin. As that Wikipedia link mentions, Mr. Mnuchin was a former partner at Goldman Sachs.
But wait a minute!
Isn’t Goldman Sachs that outfit that we blame for a lot of the nefarious financial crap that has been going on in our economy? And isn’t it true that Mr. Mnuchin is also very close friends with that other fellow, the confirmed Nazi collaborator in WW2, who totally looks like Death Warmed Over….George Soros?
Yeah…that’s the guy!
So, if modus operandi is any clue, aren’t we seeing the same modus operandi here that Goldman Sachs (and the Rothchilds and the Rockefellers) are famous for….i.e. seeding the deck with their own loyalists and alumni?
Trump will argue of course that these are the people he needs to ‘drain the swamp’ properly because they know where all the leaks are and how to row the boat around in the murky water of Washington D.C. without hitting a submerged stump.
Nobody else, not a real outsider, was available for that job?
And then there’s Steve Bannon. Mr. Bannon also is a former Goldman Sachs investment banker alumni although not at the same high level as some of Trump’s other appointments.
In his favor, Mr. Bannon has a host of ‘rightist’ activities and is clearly very anti-globalist. And if nothing else, his resume shows him to have been a thorn in the side of many liberals and very much anti Obama and Hillary.
Other appointments to Trump’s team include:
Billionaire businessman Elon Musk who joins the President’s Strategic and Policy Forum, a group that advises the President-elect on economic matters. Musk joins other business leaders such as former General Electric CEO Jack Welch, Wal-Mart CEO Doug McMillon, and JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon.
Note: Take a look at Jamie Dimon’s background and then try to tell yourself that he’s the kind of guy who would want to ‘drain the swamp’.
Also joining Trump’s Forum is Wal-Mart CEO Doug McMillon and I will admit that I’m not a big fan of many of the things I’ve heard about Wal-Mart in recent years. They are a major, MAJOR factor in keeping lots of Communist Chinese factories going.
Non-fans of Walmart include factors such as cited here and here.
These new Trump team members may or may not be patriots but my point is that they are tainted. Draining the swamp and refilling it with the same breed of alligators isn’t what the American public really expected.
And when you consider that Trump roundly criticized Ted Cruz’s wife, Heidi Cruz, because of her former ties with Goldman Sachs and that both Elon Musk and General Electric have benefited greatly from government money over the years, one could be excused from thinking that it looks like, “business as usual in Washington.”
Tesla, when you factor in Musks’ SpaceX and SolarCity companies, have received approximately $5 billion in government subsidies (frequently in the form of tax rebates) over the years and the company probably would not have survived without them. And GE has long been a company in favor with with POTUS office holders.
Does that sound like free enterprise?
When is it cronyism and when is it not?
I’m not concluding that these appointments are unequivocally unreasonable. I remember specifically that US industrial leaders have long complained that their companies are at an international competitive disadvantage against companies headquartered in certain foreign countries who get massive support from their home governments. Case in point would be the difficulty American aircraft manufacturers (e.g. Boeing) have long had in bidding wars (for aircraft purchases from US airlines) with France’s Airbus.
Trump has picked Wilber Ross to be his Secretary of Commerce. Mr. Ross is a billionaire investor and a committed protectionist on trade who also happens to have large holdings in steel and textile manufacturing. It’s probably just coincidence that both these industries will benefit fom Trump’s protectionist trade policies.
But like I said, foreign companies have had the US at a disadvantage for many years so maybe this is international economic poetic justice.
So…we’ll just have to wait and see what these guys do.
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President-elect Donald Trump has brought at least three individuals into his new administration who are publically pro-bitcoin. Who are the individuals and what makes them interesting?
For the position of US Director of Office of Management and Budget, Trump appointed US Congressman Mick Mulvaney, a Tea Party Republican, a hardline fiscal conservative known as being very outspoken about drastically cutting federal spending on social programs. Mr. Mulvaney is also a founding member of the bipartisan Blockchain Caucus, aka the "Bitcoin Caucus" whose purpose is to help congress remain current on crypto/blockchain technologies and currency, and how to develop policies to advance them. He is also a very outspoken advocate of abolishing the Federal Reserve.
Peter Thiel, one of the original founders of PayPal, vocal bitcoin advocate, and outspoken gay billionaire has been offered a position on Trump’s transition team executive committee but has yet to accept. Nevertheless, the offer shows that Trump is not shy about bringing bitcoin advocates into his administration.
Betsy DeVoss, daughter-in-law of Amway co-founder Rich DeVoss, has been picked by Trump to be Secretary of Education but has yet to be vetted and approved by the appropriate congressional committee. Her position on bitcoin is unknown but it might be assumed that being closely associated with Amway she might be pro bitcoin. Ironically… her kids go to private schools but considering that she has always been an advocate for quality education she might possibly be presumed to be pro bitcoin.
Texas Governor Rick Perry, an outspoken advocate for bitcoin, has been nominated for Secretary of Department of Energy and is awaiting congressional confirmation.
A few other prominent politicians who have in recent years spoken positively about bitcoin include:
1. Jared Polis
A US congressman known for saying that the US dollar should be banned instead of bitcoin.
2. Dan Elder
A candidate for US House of Representatives in 2016 famous in the bitcoin community for funding his campaign solely by bitcoin and stating that bitcoin would be a way to bring integrity back to the notion of money.
3. George Galloway
A British politician and mayoral candidate in London noted for pledging to run his campaign budget on MayrosChain, a blockchain-based public expenditure management system. He stated on his funding page:
“Now, for the first time, the radically disruptive technology of blockchains can provide a technological backbone for true, 100 percent transparency. Political accountability, it seems, is about to take on a whole new meaning."
4. Andrew Hemingway
Andrew Hemingway, a Republican who ran (unsuccessfully) for New Hampshire Governor in 2014 and spoke once about using blockchain tech for elections.
5. Gulnar Hasnain
Over in London again, Gulnar Hasnain, a Green Party candidate running for a local government position, became noted for taking donations via bitcoin and also an alt coin called Onename, and a micro-tipping tool called Change Tip (recently closed).
She once said in an interview that she would like to draw attention to the positive aspects of blockchain technology and its potential to “transform democracy worldwide” and added that there were many similarities between her party and the principles of distributed ledger technologies.
She further added, “Surprisingly, the Green Party is vocal on the same issues as the bitcoin movement – more decentralised power, smaller government, a need for a shift in the concentration of power in the banking system and a more inclusive society.”
6. Rand Paul
Back in the US, everybody knows Ron Paul’s son, Rand Paul, a noted Libertarian who currently serves as Kentucky as one of its two Senators. He accepted bitcoin donations during his brief, unsuccessful campaign for US Republican Presidential nominee.
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, who officially announced his bid for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, started to accept bitcoin donations in April this year. The Washington Post called his decision to accept donations in the digital currency a "genius political move".
However, during a TechCrunch panel earlier this year, Paul said he was "an outlier" on "the bitcoin things".
That might have something to do with the reason he didn’t win the nomination…. Maybe he just wasn’t Libertarian enough. In a Bloomberg News report, he was quoted to say, "I've been fascinated by the concept of it, but I never would have purchased it myself. I'm just a little bit skeptical."
So, there are probably other politicians who are slowly evolving a positive attitude toward bitcoin and cryptocurrency if for no other reason than their hope that it might keep their sorry asses in office. Whatever happens, you can bet that as public awareness and favorability it increases, most of them will see it as a politically expedient bandwagon to jump on.
Trumps recent statements and appointments are indeed a positive thing but exactly when, where, and how the components of Trump’s administration will fall into place remains to be seen as does precisely how his new administration will deal with the massive tactical problem of (as he says) “draining the swamp”.
To say that there is a lot of inertia in the federal bureaucracy, the upper echelons of Wall Street and the global banking industry, and the US “presstitute media” would be an understatement. Such massive anti-freedom, anti-capitalistic, anti-libertarian machines as have evolved over the recent several US political administrations will take an equally long time to unravel and properly reconstruct, if for no reason other than the fact that it will take time to ferret out the dormant agents of the old regime and its way of thinking. They will not ‘go quietly’.
A few observers are speculating that Trump might try to pull a rabbit out of the federal hat by taking the US economy toward some kind of bitcoin-based monetary system.
That’s possible but, as far as it goes, there aren’t any indications that such a move is being seriously considered…yet. Plus, it’s doubtful that the existing government bureaucracy would eagerly cooperate with something so totally libertarian.
One notable speaker, author, and economic forecaster, Doug Casey, has conjectured that the US government’s only possible way to avert a total collapse of the overly debt-burdened US economy would be to come out with a federally sponsored and/or designed version of cryptocurrency… which Mr. Casey conceptually calls, “Fed Coin”. See my recent article about Fed Coin and Mr. Casey.
I agree that Trumps appointments are looking interesting but I also think it’s still too early to start popping champaign corks about what it means for bitcoin and cryptocurrency in general. For the time being, the future of such things is still in the hands of private sector entrepreneurs. Whatever the Trump administration might try to do, the devil is still in the details. And the solution to the world’s money problems are still TBA (To Be Announced).
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12 years ago I owned a home in La Jolla, had 4 cars (BMWs and a Jeep) a yacht, 4 companies and a 7 figure income. And then it slowly started collapsing, higher regulations, deeper debt, etc. Then the housing crash, etc. Obama took over, huge spending and great corruption. Bottom line, right now I have nothing but one new ready to launch company (Markethive). All debt gone but all income gone too. I am just hanging in there.
Now Trump arrives and I am more than hopeful. I am cleaning the rain gutters, digging the irrigation ditches deeper and restoring the reservoir dams.
Do you know why I say that?
It is the prophesied revival, the biggest renaissance in human history. The Rise of the Entrepreneur I have been preparing for over 20 years. (I am a bit of a prophet myself)
Reagan was only the foreshadowing of this event. It is during this revival Israel becomes the biggest energy country in history and a giant economic engine. (America is just an extension of Israel)
It is during this time the true Jews are restored to their home (hint: they aint white).
Trump is prophetic, even his name suggests that. He has already torn the deceptive veil back to reveal to the world the depth of corruption at hand.
We are on the cusp of an amazing economic nuclear explosion. Get your house in order!
Barack Obama may have finally destroyed America’s #1 advantage
In July 1944, just weeks after the successful Allied invasion of Normandy, hundreds of delegates from around the world gathered in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire to determine the future of the global financial system.
The vision was simple: America would be the center of the universe, and every other nation would revolve around the US.
This arrangement ultimately led to the US dollar being the world’s dominant reserve currency which still remains today.
Whenever a Brazilian merchant pays a Korean supplier, that deal is negotiated and settled in US dollars.
Oil. Coffee. Steel. Aircraft. Countless commodities and products across the planet change hands in US dollars, so nearly every major commercial bank, central bank, multi-national corporation, and sovereign government must hold and be able to transact in US dollars.
This system provides a huge incentive for the rest of the world to hold trillions of dollars worth of US assets– typically deposits in the US banking system, or US government bonds.
It’s what makes US government debt the most popular “investment” in the world, why US government bonds are considered extremely liquid “cash equivalents”.
As long as this system continues, the US government can continue to go deeper into debt without suffering serious consequences.
Just imagine being totally broke… yet every time you want to borrow money there’s a crowd of delighted lenders eager to replenish your wallet with fresh funds.
This may be the US government’s #1 advantage right now.
You’d think that they would be eternally grateful and take care to never abuse this incredible privilege.
But no… not these guys.
In fact, they’ve done the exact opposite. Over the last eight years the US government has gone out of its way to eliminate as much of this benefit and alienate as many allies as possible.
They’ve abused the trust and confidence that the rest of the world placed in them by racking up record amounts of debt, waging indiscriminate wars in foreign lands, and dropping bombs on children’s hospitals by remote control.
They’ve created absurd amounts of regulations and had the audacity to expect foreign banks to comply.
Plus they’ve levied billions of dollars worth of fines against foreign banks who haven’t complied with their ridiculous regulations.
(Last week, for example, New York state financial regulators fined a Taiwanese bank $180 million for not complying with NY state law.)
And they’ve threatened to banish any foreign banks from the US financial system who don’t pay their steep fines.
Abuse. Deceit. Extortion. Not exactly great ways to win friends and influence people.
It’s as if Barack Obama pulled together the smartest guys he could find to make a list of all the ways the US government would have to screw up in order to lose its enormous financial privilege… and then he went out and did ALL of them.
The US government is practically begging the rest of the world to find an alternative to the US dollar and US banking system.
Even the government of France, a key US ally, called into question continued US dominance of the global financial system after the US government slammed French bank BNP Paribas with a $9 billion fine.
There have already been some attempts to displace the United States in the financial system.
China has been aggressively setting up its own competing financial infrastructure, something called the China International Payment System.
It’s been a slow start for the Chinese, but they’re building momentum. Though I’m not sure China is the answer in the long run.
While banks around the world may not care for the long and strong arm of the US government, the Chinese government doesn’t exactly inspire trust either.
But now there really is an alternative. Technology.
Ripple, a blockchain-style protocol that’s funded by Google Ventures (among others), is now being utilized by international banks to send and receive transactions directly.
The way international bank transfers work now relies exclusively on the US financial system.
Large foreign banks have what’s called a “correspondent account”, typically at a major US bank like JP Morgan, Citibank, etc.
A correspondent account is essentially a bank account for other banks. Our company holds funds at a bank in Singapore, for example, whose US dollar correspondent account is at Bank of New York Mellon.
Foreign banks’ US dollar correspondent accounts are typically at major Wall Street banks because that’s the epicenter of US dollar transactions.
So when a bank in Australia sends US dollars to a bank in South Africa, that payment actually flows from the Australian bank’s correspondent account in the US to the South African bank’s correspondent account in the US.
The entire transaction effectively takes place using the US banking system.
Again, this gives the US government enormous power over foreign banks. Any foreign bank that doesn’t do what Uncle Sam commands can be excommunicated from the US banking system.
And without access to the US banking system, a foreign bank will be unable to transact in US dollars, and hence unable to conduct any global business.
This is a death sentence for a bank. The US government knows this and has been blackmailing global banks for years.
But now technology is providing another option.
Banks don’t have to use the US banking system anymore; they can send real-time payments internationally using the Ripple protocol.
Two months ago a Canadian financial services company sent the first-ever institutional cross-border payment to a German bank.
This isn’t some wild theory or conjecture. It’s actually happening.
Just this morning a group of 15 banks in Japan signed up to start using Ripple, and dozens of banks plan to use the protocol within the next six months.
The technology is cheaper. Faster. Superior. And it doesn’t come with any US government strings attached.
So it seems Uncle Sam may have finally shot himself in the foot for the last time.