Friday, December 24, 2010

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

Words by Charles Wesley, music by Felix Mendelssohn. Mendelssohn composed the music for a different occasion, but never mind that...

Hark the herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled"
Joyful, all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With the angelic host proclaim:
"Christ is born in Bethlehem"
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"

Christ by highest heav'n adored
Christ the everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold Him come
Offspring of a Virgin's womb
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
Hail the incarnate Deity
Pleased as man with man to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"

Hail the heav'n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings
Ris'n with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"

Lew Rockwell: Economic Lessons of Bethlehem

Don't trust the government blindly, trust your own judgment and hard assets of high value, and a free market brings peace and prosperity.

Here's the post from last year:

Merry Free-Market, Hard-Money, Libertarian Christmas! (12/25/2009)

There are lessons to be learned from Christmas some two thousand-plus years ago, according to a merry (and heart-warming) piece written by Lew Rockwell eight years ago.

The Economic Lessons of Bethlehem (or Who Was the Inn Keeper?)
(Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., 12/22/01 [emphasis is mine]

There's no room at the inn so they had to stay in a stable. (Cruel inn keeper!)

"Far from being cruel, the inn keeper offered what he could to satisfy a customer. As a money-making private businessman, he would have no reason to turn away "this man of royal lineage and his beautiful, expecting bride."

"In any case, the second chapter of St. Luke doesn’t say that they were continually rejected at place after place. It tells of the charity of a single inn owner, perhaps the first person they encountered, who, after all, was a businessman. His inn was full, but he offered them what he had: the stable. There is no mention that the innkeeper charged the couple even one copper coin, though given his rights as a property owner, he certainly could have.

"It’s remarkable, then, to think that when the Word was made flesh with the birth of Jesus, it was through the intercessory work of a private businessman. Without his assistance, the story would have been very different indeed. People complain about the "commercialization" of Christmas, but clearly commerce was there from the beginning, playing an essential and laudable role."

Why were they in Bethlehem to begin with?

Because of the Roman emperor's decree that everyone be counted and taxed.

"It was because of a government decree that Mary and Joseph, and so many others like them, were traveling in the first place. They had to be uprooted for fear of the emperor’s census workers and tax collectors. And consider the costs of slogging all the way "from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David," not to speak of the opportunity costs Joseph endured having to leave his own business. Thus we have another lesson: government’s use of coercive dictates distort the market."

What did Three Kings (or Three Wise Men, and Lew points out they are usually mutually exclusive) give?

Did they give the new parents some debased Roman coins? No. They gave them frankincense, gold, and myrrh. They give them hard assets of high value.

"These were the most rare items obtainable in that world in those times, and they must have commanded a very high market price.

"Far from rejecting them as extravagant, the Holy Family accepted them as gifts worthy of the Divine Messiah. Neither is there a record that suggests that the Holy Family paid any capital gains tax on them, though such gifts vastly increased their net wealth. Hence, another lesson: there is nothing immoral about wealth; wealth is something to be valued, owned privately, given and exchanged."

Herod wanted to know where Jesus was so that he could come and adore him.

Was that true? Not really. He wanted to kill him.

"...Roman Emperor's local enforcer, Herod. Not only did he order people to leave their homes and foot the bill for travel so that they could be taxed. Herod was also a liar: he told the Wise Men that he wanted to find Jesus so that he could "come and adore Him." In fact, Herod wanted to kill Him. Hence, another lesson: you can’t trust a political hack to tell the truth."

When they learned of Herod's plan to kill the newborn, what did Wise Men and the Holy Family do?

Were they resigned to the reality that the government did whatever it wanted anyway and there was no point in resisting? Hell no. Three Wise Men went home without telling Herod, and the Family fled.

"The Wise Men, being wise, snubbed Herod and "went back another way" – taking their lives in their hands (Herod conducted a furious search for them later). As for Mary and Joseph, an angel advised Joseph to "take the child and his mother, and fly into Egypt." In short, they resisted. Lesson number four: the angels are on the side of those who resist government."

"In the Gospel narratives, the role of private enterprise, and the evil of government power, only begin there. Jesus used commercial examples in his parables (e.g., laborers in the vineyard, the parable of the talents) and made it clear that he had come to save even such reviled sinners as tax collectors.

"And just as His birth was facilitated by the owner of an "inn," the same Greek word "kataluma" is employed to describe the location of the Last Supper before Jesus was crucified by the government. Thus, private enterprise was there from birth, through life, and to death, providing a refuge of safety and productivity, just as it has in ours."

Women Feel Safer after a Rape Victim (a Woman) is Hurled to the Floor by TSA Agents

Sorry to bring a disgusting piece of news on the Christmas Eve, but Ms. Gwen Washington, a black woman, and Emily Protine, a white woman, felt a little safer seeing Ms. Claire Hirschkind handcuffed and being dragged 25 yards across the floor by the TSA agents at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

I'm almost completely losing any shread of hope that I still have for the country.

From KVUE in Austin, Texas:

Early Wednesday morning, a computer glitch shut down a security checkpoint for a couple of hours at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. The line snaked out the door as many travelers waited for more than an hour and some missed their flights. One of the first people in line after that shutdown never made it through. She was arrested and banned from the airport.

Claire Hirschkind, 56, who says she is a rape victim and who has a pacemaker-type device implanted in her chest, says her constitutional rights were violated. She says she never broke any laws. But the Transportation Security Administration disagrees.

Hirschkind said because of the device in her body, she was led to a female TSA employee and three Austin police officers. She says she was told she was going to be patted down.

"I turned to the police officer and said, 'I have given no due cause to give up my constitutional rights. You can wand me,'" and they said, 'No, you have to do this,'" she said.

Hirschkind agreed to the pat down, but on one condition.

"I told them, 'No, I'm not going to have my breasts felt,' and she said, 'Yes, you are,'" said Hirschkind.

When Hirschkind refused, she says that "the police actually pushed me to the floor, (and) handcuffed me. I was crying by then. They drug me 25 yards across the floor in front of the whole security."

... Other travelers KVUE talked to say they empathize with Hirschkind, but the law is the law.

"I understand her side of it, and their side as well, but it is for our protection so I have no problems with it," said Gwen Washington, who lives in Killeen.

"It's unfortunate that that happened and she didn't get to fly home, but it makes me feel a little safer," said Emily Protine.

Dragging a 56-year old woman across the floor, handcuffed, is for "our protection" that should make us "feel a little safer".

Get that? For our protection.

One minor point: I do not think it is "the law". If it is the law, when did Congress pass it? Congress didn't pass a law that says you have to be groped in order to board a plane. This is a "regulation" that suddenly appeared after the midterm election, concocted by the Department of Homeland Security under the direction from the Obama White House.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Dominant Meme in This Christmas Season: Flash Mob Singing "Hallelujah" Chorus

Who could have imagined? (I sure didn't.) A flash mob in food courts and department stores bursting into the joyous, glorious Hallelujah chorus by George F. Handel.

This one was done back in October, in Macy's in Philadelphia. It has over 6 million hits on Youtube. Just like the one I linked the other day (that one now has over 25 million hits), look at the faces of people who were not the part of the organizers (singers).

You don't need a fancy concert hall or solemn cathedral. Handel would have been so proud.

Peace on earth. Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

News That Disappeared Very Quickly from MSM

For the umpteenth time, news that disappeared from MSM, in no particular order of importance:

WikiLeaks' leak of the US diplomatic cables that confirmed that the US taxpayers have been paying for these elites at the State Department who were revealed as bumbling idiots;

TSA's "love pats" aka sexual assault and naked body scans: now, MSM is squawking that everyone loves it after all, and/or everyone is adjusting for the sake of "security".

Now, these two makes a good juxtaposition. Recall that WikiLeak's founder Julian Assange is accused of "rape" by Swedish authorities for having a consensual, unprotected sex. TSA agents, on the other hand, grope your genitals and puts hands inside your pants and they get away with it. I suppose they call it "consensual", because you have no way, repeat, no way, to say NO unless you want to risk getting arrested and fined $11,000. If you don't say no, it is the same as saying yes, according to the TSA logic.

Moving on...

Foreclosuregate. When it does appear in the MSM, it's the same old, same old - it's just a hiccup in the process, nothing fundamental. And nothing is further from the truth. (See the vid I created, "Foreclosuregate Explained" which is in the right-side column.)

Iran and its nuclear threats to the "West". After the computer worm Stuxnet did the work, the neocons have gone quiet. For now.

Euro sovereign debt crisis, for the umpteenth time. Until the euro core (Germany, France) shows a visible sign of strain, no one cares. Now that China has stepped up to buy the euro debt at a discount, no one cares.

QE2. Ben "Bernank" and the Inkjets are printing, often twice a day. That keeps the stock market eking out gains day after day on a pathetic volume, and every talking head on MSM and the bankster economists on Wall Street are screaming "Economic recovery!" The stock market is the economy, just like it was in late 1920's.

What Congress and the White House had done during the lame-duck session, which is mercifully ending. It has been the most disastrous lame-duck session for people who value personal liberty and freedom from government interference and regulation (more in the next post). And of course the spin by MSM and the White House is that it has been the most "productive" Congress after the mid-term election.

That's it for now. BTW, have you read about a new CIA taskforce on WikiLeaks? WTF do they have to select a name like that? People are LOL, ROTFLMAO.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Assange says It Is Bank of America

AFP reports:

...In an interview with The Times on Tuesday, ...Assange also confirmed that WikiLeaks was holding a vast amount of material about Bank of America which it intends to release early next year.

I was secretly hoping that the "bank" he's been talking about was the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. I'll have to wait for Ron Paul to attack that bank...

Shares of Bank of America (symbol: BAC), which has been under pressure since the rumor spread that it was the next target of WikiLeaks, ended at $13.07 in after-hour trading.

(For traders, it was, I believe, a technical breakout from the double-bottom pattern, with the target price of $14.56. For more, see my TA blog. I'm not recommending anything here, and BAC would be the last thing I want to trade.)

Monday, December 20, 2010

China to the Rescue of EU in Sovereign Debt Crisis

I wonder how long it will take for the politically correct EU to declare China as part of Europe and offer a full membership. (Turkey should have offered to buy the euro debt.)

Bloomberg reports:

Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan said China has taken “concrete action” to help the European Union with its debt problems as he officiated the opening of a one-day forum in Beijing to discuss economic and trade relations.

...Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said in October that China supports a stable euro and won’t reduce its holdings of European bonds. The Portuguese government said last week that China had made a “clear statement” of financial support during Finance Minister Fernando Teixeira dos Santos’s visit to Beijing.

Japan's Nikkei Shinbun takes it to mean the ongoing sovereign debt crisis in Europe will abate with the Chinese purchase of the euro debt, and euro will strengthen.

China got so close to overrunning Europe during the Yuan Dynasty (a Mongolian dynasty founded by a grandson of Genghis Khan) in the 13th Century. This time, the Chinese won't even have to fight a battle. All they need to do is to buy the euro debt on a discount and stick it to Germans. They can use US Treasuries as payment.

Climate Experts in 2000: "Snowfalls Are a Thing of the Past"

As much of the UK and the continental Europe remain frozen shut, it is amusing for the non-warmers to re-read the article from March 2000 in which a leading researcher from University of East Anglia (of "Climategate" fame) proclaimed:

"Children just aren't going to know what snow is."

From Independent, 3/20/2000:

Britain's winter ends tomorrow with further indications of a striking environmental change: snow is starting to disappear from our lives.

Sledges, snowmen, snowballs and the excitement of waking to find that the stuff has settled outside are all a rapidly diminishing part of Britain's culture, as warmer winters - which scientists are attributing to global climate change - produce not only fewer white Christmases, but fewer white Januaries and Februaries.

The first two months of 2000 were virtually free of significant snowfall in much of lowland Britain, and December brought only moderate snowfall in the South-east. It is the continuation of a trend that has been increasingly visible in the past 15 years: in the south of England, for instance, from 1970 to 1995 snow and sleet fell for an average of 3.7 days, while from 1988 to 1995 the average was 0.7 days. London's last substantial snowfall was in February 1991.

Global warming, the heating of the atmosphere by increased amounts of industrial gases, is now accepted as a reality by the international community. Average temperatures in Britain were nearly 0.6°C higher in the Nineties than in 1960-90, and it is estimated that they will increase by 0.2C every decade over the coming century. Eight of the 10 hottest years on record occurred in the Nineties.

However, the warming is so far manifesting itself more in winters which are less cold than in much hotter summers. According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia,within a few years winter snowfall will become "a very rare and exciting event".

"Children just aren't going to know what snow is," he said.

In case you haven't followed these scientists and their babbling, the narrative has shifted to "global warming produces extreme weather."

They don't give up easily, do they, the Algores of the world?

But as for the UK children not knowing what snow is, that doesn't seem to be happening any time soon:

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Hindenburg Omen Confirmed On December 15

The last time that Hindenburg Omen was confirmed was back in August. Back then, Hindenburg Omen happened not once, not twice (confirming the omen), but 4 times. Traders and analysts were being fixated on the big "head and shoulders" pattern on the major stock index, which was about to break down from the neckline.

And what happened in September? The stock market rallied. So much for the Omen as a harbinger of a stock market crash, thought many people.

But Karl Denninger at Market Ticker warns us things may not be the same this time around:

- Bernanke has given no indication he cares about rising bond yields;
- Political risk is extremely high with regard to government overspending and The Fed;
- The speculative indices are at 20+ year highs;
- Low TICK alarms have been much more prevalent than high TICK alarms;
- Several momentum stocks are breaking down severely;
- The Corporate Leverage Index, after, what appeared to be a retracement move, took off bigtime in the third quarter and now stands at a ridiculous 12.

For detailed explanation for each point, follow the link.

I am paying attention, because (1) this time around hardly anyone has mentioned Hindenburg Omen; (2) the stock market indices are near the top, instead of near the breakdown point in August.

But then we have Ben "Bernank". As one of Bernank's justifications for QE2 was the ever-rising stock market to give us the sense of well being. We may find out soon enough which is bigger - Ben's Fed or the market. (I have this feeling that it's the latter, but don't underestimate Ben.)

Foreclosuregate Explained

as I see it...