Jun 30, 2019

Barron's on how the current IPO boom is "no signal of a bubble" (2019)

This is not your father's IPO market.  The resurgence of IPOs is no flash in the pan, no signal of a bubble reinflated.  Instead, it reflects a shift in the way that investors and entrepreneurs approach company creation, the rich supply of mature companies that have yet to come public, and investors's insatiable hunger for growth stories.

~ Barron's, "The New - and Improved - IPO Boom," June 29, 2019

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Jun 28, 2019

H.L. Mencken on the wisdom of the average citizen

I am suspicious of all things the average citizen believes.

~ H.L. Mencken

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Paul Ehrlich on overpopulation and overconsumption

The human predicament is driven by overpopulation, overconsumption of natural resources and the use of unnecessarily environmentally damaging technologies and socio-economic-political arrangements to service Homo sapiens' aggregate demand.

~ Paul Ehrlich, 2013

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Paul Ehrlich: "Hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death" (1968)

The battle to feed humanity is over.  In the 1970s, the world will undergo famines.  Hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now.

~ Paul Ehrlich, The Population Bomb (1968)

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Jun 27, 2019

Mahatma Gandhi on good vs. evil

When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it--always.

~ Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi

Shannon Alder on living in the present

The true definition of mental illness is when the majority of your time is spent in the past or future, but rarely living in the realism of NOW.

~ Shannon L. Alder

Shannon L. Alder

Eckhart Tolle on sanity and insanity

To recognize one's own insanity is, of course, the arising of sanity, the beginning of healing and transcendence.

~ Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose

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Erich Fromm on avoiding the crowd

The fact that millions of people share the same vices does not make these vices virtues, the fact that they share so many errors does not make the errors to be truths, and the fact that millions of people share the same form of mental pathology does not make these people sane.

~ Erich Fromm, The Sane Society

Erich Fromm

Jun 26, 2019

Charles Mackay on the three causes of discontent of mankind

Three causes especially have excited the discontent of mankind; and, by impelling us to seek remedies for the irremediable, have bewildered us in a maze of madness and error. These are death, toil, and the ignorance of the future.

~ Charles Mackay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, "Understanding the Forces Behind Group Mentality, Thoughts and Actions,” p. 104

Humphrey Neill on the public investor

The public is often right during the trends, but wrong at both ends.

~ Humphrey Neill

Humphrey Neill on the difference between the crowd and individual

The crowd thinks with its heart; the individual thinks with his brain.

~ Humphrey Neill

Pat Buchanan: Trump avoiding missile strike on Iran a "defining moment for his presidency"

Visualizing 150 Iranian dead from a missile strike that he had ordered, President Donald Trump recoiled and canceled the strike, a brave decision and defining moment for his presidency. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, John Bolton and Vice President Mike Pence had signed off on the strike on Iran as the right response to Tehran’s shootdown of a U.S. Global Hawk spy plane over the Gulf of Oman. The U.S. claims the drone was over international waters. Tehran says it was in Iranian territory. But while the loss of a $100 million drone is no small matter, no American pilot was lost, and retaliating by killing 150 Iranians would appear to be a disproportionate response.


We appear to be at a turning point in the Trump presidency. Does he want to run in 2020 as the president who led us into war with Iran, or as the anti-interventionist president who began to bring U.S. troops home from that region that has produced so many wars?

~ Patrick J. Buchanan, "Trump: War President or Anti-Interventionist?," LewRockwell.com, June 26, 2019

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Walter Williams on the cost of LBJ's War on Poverty

As of 2014, U.S. taxpayers have spent $22 trillion on Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty (in constant 2012 dollars). Adjusting for inflation, that’s three times more than was spent on all military wars since the American Revolution. If money alone were the answer, the many issues facing a large segment of the black community would have been solved.

~ Walter Williams, "Reparations for Slavery," LewRockwell.com, June 26, 2019

John Maynard Keynes on capitalism and the invisible hand

Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone.

~ John Maynard Keynes

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Tim Burton on insanity

One person's craziness is another person's reality.

~ Tim Burton

Tim Burton

The Economist sees increased odds of a recession (2011)

The chances of a double dip over the coming year, which seemed relatively small only a month ago, have risen alarmingly.  If that happens, then America’s politicians will bear much of the blame.  Their prescription for a weak economy is a large slug of austerity.

~ The Economist, "Time for a double dip?  A lousy debt deal, rising fears of a recession, the danger of longer-term stagnation: America's outlook is grim," August 6, 2011

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Jun 25, 2019

Han Christian Anderson spins the classic fairy tale about deceit

Many years ago, there was an Emperor, who was so excessively fond of new clothes, that he spent all his money in dress... Time passed merrily in the large town which was his capital; strangers arrived every day at the court. One day, two rogues, calling themselves weavers, made their appearance. They gave out that they knew how to weave stuffs of the most beautiful colors and elaborate patterns, the clothes manufactured from which should have the wonderful property of remaining invisible to everyone who was unfit for the office he held, or who was extraordinarily simple in character.

~ Han Christian Anderson, The Emperor's New Clothes (1837)

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Jess Butcher on victimology

Victims believe they are impotent and that they have no sense of control over the way that events unfold.  Assuming that something has happened to you due to prejudice, whether right or wrong, is rarely the most productive response.  It prevents introspection, self analysis, and more importantly, particularly if it was due to prejudice, evaluation of new methods and techniques for circumventing your status quo.

~ Jess Butcher, "Is Feminism starting to undermine itself?," 7:50 mark

Jun 24, 2019

Caitlin Johnstone on the Iran war narrative falling apart

What we are watching with Iran is a war propaganda narrative failing to get airborne. It was all set up and ready to go, they had the whole marketing team working on it, and then it faceplanted right on the linoleum. This is what a failed narrative management campaign looks like. It is possible for us to see this more and more.

Today I have a lot more hope. It’s becoming clear that the manipulations of the US war machine are becoming more and more obvious to more and more people and that everyday, regular Americans are reacting with a healthy amount of horror and revulsion. There was always the risk that the US population would already be sufficiently paced ahead of these revelations and there would be little to no reaction, but that didn’t happen. Americans are seeing what they’re doing, and they don’t like it, and they don’t want it.

~ Caitlin Johnstone, "The Fact That Americans Need to be Deceived Into War Shows Their Underlying Goodness," LewRockwell.com, June 24, 2019

Caitlin Johnstone on propaganda and intelligence

Being susceptible to propaganda has very little to do with intelligence. You will notice that some of the smartest people you know not only fervently believe the propaganda, they are able to gaslight themselves and others more effectively than most with their own clever arguments. A high IQ does not inoculate you against propaganda, in fact it can work against you because agile minds are able to create the most convincing kinds of reframes.

~ Caitlin Johnstone, "The Fact That Americans Need to be Deceived Into War Shows Their Underlying Goodness," LewRockwell.com, June 24, 2019

Senator Hiram Johnson on war and truth

Truth is the first casualty of war.

~ Senator Hiram Johnson, 1918

(This quote is attributed to Johnson, but without any confirmed citations of original source.)

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Harold Ickes on provoking Japan towards war (1941)

There might develop from the embargoing of oil to Japan such a situation as would make it, not only possible but easy, to get into this war in an effective way.

~ Harold Ickes, U.S. Secretary of the Interior, June 23, 1941

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James Grant: negatively-yielding bonds at record $12.5 trillion

Accommodative signals from the European Central Bank on Tuesday pushed the yield on a host of securities below zero, including the not-quite blue-chip Bulgarian government three-year notes.  Some $12.5 trillion of securities worldwide are priced to yield less than nothing, an all-time record.

~ James Grant, "Bad Actors: Hamilton Pans Central Bankers," Barron's, June 24, 2019

Jun 22, 2019

David Hale on BoJ's role in stabilizing the '87 Crash

Japan played a major role in 1987-88 stabilizing our financial markets.  There was central bank intervention, $60 billion worth.  They kept their monetary policy under control through credit controls, not interest rates.  They used moral suasion over the insurance companies when (the U.S.) couldn't sell (Treasury) bonds.  They directly focused on stabilization of the American economy and financial markets.

~ David Hale, chief economist, Kemper Financial Services, "Hale Believes Economic Thinkers Will Supercede Arms Strategists," Investor's Daily, February 1, 1990

David Hale sees Japan ahead of the U.S. and Europe (per capita income) in 5 years (1990)

The projected annual growth rate of American productivity in the next five years is 1% to 1.5%.  The projection for Europe is 2% to 3%, excluding Eastern Europe.  For Japan, it's 4%.  At these rates, by the turn of the century, U.S. per-capita income will be $25,000 a year while Japan will be at $32,000 and Europe will be in the low 20s.  The gap with Japan is very big, and it reflects the low level of saving and investment in the United States.

~ David Hale, chief economist, Kemper Financial Services, "A Top Economist Frets About '80s Hangover," Investor's Daily, February 1, 1990

David Hale on the need to emulate Japan's industrial policy

The Commerce Department's going to have to be a lot tougher and a lot stronger -- an elite civil service that commands business confidence and respect.  I'm not talking so much about giving orders, but defining an agenda and ways that we can be more effective.  Whether it's tax policy, whether it's selective use of R&D subsidies, whether it's allowing consortia in areas where we need to have some antitrust change.

The Japanese have had industrial policy with certain clear characteristics.  It was market-conforming.  It was prescriptive, not proscriptive.  Business was encouraged through incentive and moral suasion.  It wasn't ordered to do things.

Japan has made all its policies interact together.  There was a very pro-saving tax policy that created a low cost of capital.  It wasn't just MITI (Ministry of International Trade and Industry) saying, 'You should invest in the car industry.'  The cost of capital was very low and you could take a five- and 10-year time horizon.

~ David Hale, chief economist, Kemper Financial Services, "A Top Economist Frets About '80s Hangover," Investor's Daily, February 1, 1990