Using Silver Dollars – Part 5

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

Silver Dollars are US money – Congress says so. In previous articles, we’ve discussed how to incorporate them into everyday commerce, allowing you to buy (POS) and sell (Invoicing) things, pay salaries (Payroll), and handle most ordinary transactions (Bill Pay) using Silver Dollars.

We’ve seen how you can use an Account to safeguard your Silver Dollars, while allowing you to deposit more and to make withdrawals. Today, we’ll look at how you can make investments denominated in Silver Dollars.

Suppose that you wanted to buy 100 shares of IBM. You could open an account at a brokerage house, deposit sufficient funds in Paper Dollars, and then instruct them – as your agent – to buy the shares for you.

They would handle the transaction, billing your Paper Dollar account, and keep your shares in their name for you. But, if you want the purchase, and/or later sale, transacted and accounted for in Silver Dollars, they cant help you. They just are not set up to work with Silver Dollars.

Now, Cambi is not a stock broker – just as we are not a bank. But, what we can do is order an item you desire, purchase it ourselves, and then resell it to you. We would add on a small profit, rather than the commission that a broker would charge. This is just as any merchant would do for any item that you would care to special order.

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The Administration Is Ruling by Decree

By Iain Murray – Re-Blogged From The Competitive Enterprise Institute

Yesterday, the Department of Labor unexpectedly issued a new rule (which it called an interpretation) that will upend thousands of businesses’ established practices. It did so with no notice, and no comment by affected businesses is either sought or allowed. Effectively, the administration is now ruling by decree.

The “administrator’s interpretation” is about an obscure categorization of employment called “joint employer.” Such a situation arises when two or more employers are jointly responsible and liable for a worker’s employment conditions. Over the past 40 years or so, new business practices have arisen whereby firms contract out or franchise parts of their business. The Department of Labor (and the National Labor Relations Board) have allowed this, treating the businesses as separate and the employees as having one employer. That is all changing very quickly.

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Welcome to the New Era of Climate

By Josh – Re-Blogged From

You’ve heard of the Holocene, and the Anthropocene…

The ‘Anthropocene‘ is a term widely used since its coining by Paul Crutzen and Eugene Stoermer in 2000 to denote the present time interval, in which many geologically significant conditions and processes are profoundly altered by human activities.

Well, hold onto your hats, er data.. Josh writes: Thanks to Robert B who thought up a great name for the era of climate science we are currently enduring…


– The Adjustocene, where no one will ever know what the temperature is.


Georgia Rep. Advances Asset Forfeiture Reform

By Logan Albright – Re-Blogged From FreedomWorks

Georgia has become the latest in a long line of states looking to reform its civil asset forfeiture program. A growing number of people are apparently waking up to the common sense idea that the government shouldn’t seize private property from people when they haven’t been convicted of – or even charged with – a crime.

State Representative Scot Turner has introduced an extremely simple piece of legislation that would, with a single line change, effectively end the practice of civil forfeiture in his state. Turner’s bill makes mandatory the formerly optional ability of courts to suspend forfeiture during an ongoing trial. In other words, the government wouldn’t be allowed to take your stuff without convicting you.

Recently a large number of states have embraced the idea of forfeiture reform, and while only a couple have successfully passed legislation, it’s notable that Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida, and others are all talking about the policy’s flaws and the need for change.

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5 Reasons Why Senate Energy Modernization Bill Is Anything but Modern

By Nicholas Loris – Re-Blogged From The Daily Signal

Several senators want to advance a massive energy bill called the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015. But there’s nothing modern about the legislation.

The bill is an extension of the same, tired “politicians know best” mentality that siphons taxpayer dollars and hands them to special interests. The policy provisions of bills like this take decisions away from households and businesses and only empower Washington, D.C.

The legislation, which totals more than 400 pages, allegedly attempts to avoid controversial provisions that would cause partisan divide. But the bill is full of provisions that should be cause for concern for American taxpayers.

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Britain Faces Energy Crisis, Engineers Warn – Green Isn’t Working

Via The GWPF

Energy bills will soar as green policies shut coal-fired power stations and cause an “electricity supply crisis”, experts say. Prices will be forced up as the UK has to import more power, according to a report by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers today. –Craig Woodhouse, The Sun, 26 January 2016

The UK is heading for a severe electricity supply crisis by 2025, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IME) is warning today. IME, which has more than 112,000 members in 140 countries says the closure of coal and nuclear plants would lead to a 40-55% shortfall amid growing demand. And the group’s new report – Engineering the UK Electricity Gap – also says plans to plug the gap by building combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) plants are unrealistic as the UK would need about 30 of them in less than 10 years. IME head of energy and environment Jenifercorr Baxter, lead author of the document, said: “The UK is facing an electricity supply crisis. As the UK population rises and with the greater use of electricity use in transport and heating, it looks almost certain that electricity demand is going to rise.” –Keith Findlay, Energy Voice, 26 January 2016


Charts With More Words Than COMEX Has Registered (Gold) Ounces!

By Bill Holter – Re-Blogged From

A reader recently sent me these charts.  I do not know who put this collection together to give credit to but I do want to say these charts pretty much tell the WHOLE STORY!  Please note each graph has grey shaded areas which identify recessions.  What we need to focus on is what has happened since the last “official” recession of 2008/2009.  I put the word official in quotation marks because it is clear something has gone very wrong since 2009, have we really recovered?

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A Dangerous Moment For Social Security

By Justin Spittler – Re-Blogged From

Social Security funds are drying up…will there be any money left when you retire?

Social Security is America’s largest federal program. In 2015, it paid out $870 billion to more than 59 million Americans.

Most Americans see Social Security as a retirement savings program. During your working life, you pay 6.2% of every paycheck to Social Security. In return, the government sends you a check every month after you retire.

However, unlike a retirement plan like a 401(k), the money you pay into Social Security doesn’t land in your own personal account. Instead, it goes into one big pot called the “Social Security Trust Fund.”

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Flooding And Planning: We Don’t Need To Live Near Rivers Anymore

By Dr Tim Ball – Re-Blogged From

Petula Clark sang, “Don’t sleep in the subway, darling. Don’t stand in the pouring rain.” More helpful advice would urge, “Don’t live in the floodplain, darling. Don’t you know it’s pouring rain?” It’s called a floodplain for a reason. The dangers of flooding mostly involve people living in dangerous places. Why are people allowed to live in these regions without being forced to accept full responsibility for their actions? They are encouraged by governments and insurance that enable bad practices, questionable, and unnecessary behavior.

There was a time when living near a river was important for transport, water supply, waste removal, and even food supply. We don’t need to live close to rivers or at least within the area identified as the floodplain. If you live there, flooding is inevitable, even if flooding protection is in place. In fact, the protection creates a false sense of security. Inevitably the protection will fail through neglect, accident, or water levels that exceed the design capacity.

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Windfarms Paid Double the Market Price to Cut Power

By Jillian Ambrose – Re-Blogged From The Telegraph

The grid operator is now taking action to avoid future wind power waste.

Wind farms were paid more than double the market price to stop generating electricity this week, despite the country facing an increased risk of blackouts this winter.

Strong wind conditions in the early hours of Monday and Tuesday morning threatened to overwhelm the grid with more subsidised power than needed, forcing National Grid to offer lucrative payouts of between £58 and £115 per MWh to turn the turbines off.

Spring arrives early in Britain following mild winter weather

The payouts stand well above the current market rate of around £45/MWh to compensate wind farms for the subsidies they might otherwise have earned.

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The End Is Near (Part 8): Apple’s Revenue ‘Falls Off A Cliff’

By John Rubino – Re-Blogged From

One by one the pillars of the recovery are toppling. Last year the Chinese infrastructure party ended and the shale oil boom went bust. More recently the FANG stocks went from pulling the market up to pushing it down. And today Apple — whose sales would always go up because everyone on Earth wants an iPhone and there were still some people in Africa and the Amazon Basin who don’t yet have one — reported that not only is its revenue no longer growing, but it might shrink in the year ahead.

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Shift the Manufacturing Jobs Away From China

By – Re-Blogged From China IQ

It seems as though everyone is complaining that China has all our manufacturing (zhìzàoyè 制造业) jobs these days, that all these “wonderful” jobs could be brought back to us.  This simply isn’t true.  All the important manufacturing jobs like engineering and welding


 (please read these two sources to learn more: market research and employment increase) still remain in the US and in the West, in general.  The truth is that we are giving all the jobs we really don’t want to foreign countries like China.  With the high emphasis on the service industry in the developed nations, I have a hard time believing the masses in the West would be willing to slave away in a sweat shop.

The real issue is that we give almost all of these textile and low-level manufacturing jobs exclusively to China.  that means a lot of capital is being handed over directly to the Chinese.  For some odd reason, it is almost like we think that it is only the Chinese that is capable of these jobs or that it is only economically feasible to pay the Chinese.  What we really need to start doing is giving these jobs to other countries, like the Philippines and Indonesia.  It is a plausible solution, since hundreds of thousands of Southeast Asian people migrate to places like Hong Kong to land very low wage and unstable work in often unsuitable working conditions:


Hong Kong alone has over 300,000 domestic helpers.  Every Sunday, these domestic helpers flood the streets of Hong Kong on their day off.  With nowhere else to go, they lay down blankets in the street, play musical instruments and card games, and call their children and family back home.

Although these domestic helpers are given a place to sleep and food to eat, they are typically only payed about US$500 a month.  As an alternative to this kind of work, I think they may find working in a factory closer to home for comparable wages as a feasible alternative.

To provide these nations with the opportunity to work in the manufacturing industry would lift their living conditions and would prevent China from receiving all the capital.  I’m not saying it is bad that the developed world pour all their money into the Chinese economy, but it isn’t really a good thing to put all eggs into one basket, especially since ties between the West and China haven’t exactly been the best these days.

Final Thoughts

I want to finish by saying that I am not really a fan of the way the developed world puts its demands upon the developing nations, forcing these people to go underpaid and essentially slaving away, performing menial tasks day-in and day-out.  This can be further extended by saying that those that are rich–from any nation–has the privilege to practically bath in money while others may be working twelve-hour shifts manufacturing things like Christmas ornaments, breathing in toxic chemicals the entire time, just to feed their families and pay the bills.

The world order under capitalism may be considered as being cruel, but at least it does provide a means for the developing countries; if the citizens of these nations are creative enough to find a niche for their economy, these countries can dominate a market, providing a opportunity for that nation to make progress.  An example of this being China and its manufacturing base or Argentina with its wines.  In the case of the low-level manufacturing industry, it might be about time to start sharing the jobs with even less developed countries than China.



By Andrew Hoffman – Re-Blogged From

Well, I may not have had “much” to say yesterday, but I SURE DO TODAY!  My god, have the “horrible headlines” multiplied in the past 24 hours (it’s early Tuesday morning), which the following two pictures summarize perfectly – in spades.

a1 a2

Yes, the Baltic Dry Index plunged 6% last week to a new all-time low, down a whopping 70% in the past five months.  Meanwhile, the Shanghai Stock Exchange, despite yet another “record liquidity injection” by the PBOC, plunged 6.4% today alone – down 46% from June’s hyper-bubble top, as it sliced through August’s spike-bottom low of 2,850 like a hot knife through butter.  The 10-year Treasury yield is back below 2.0% – “rate hike” and all; WTI crude plunged an astounding 8% yesterday alone, again, to below $30/bbl; whilst the PPT was routed in yesterday afternoon’s trading.  And how about that?  Yet again gold and silver prices rose.  Not to mention, U.S. Mint gold and silver Eagle sales; which, based on early-year results, are on pace to set new annual records.

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Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #213

The Week That Was: January 23, 2016 – Brought to You by

By Ken Haapala – The Science and Environmental Policy Project

Robert M. Carter, RIP: A splendid fellow and a great friend of scientific integrity passed this week. He inspired and encouraged many scientists to question the unsubstantiated claims that atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, mainly carbon dioxide (CO2), are the dominant cause of climate change. As a geologist he knew better. He demonstrated that the CO2 hypothesis does not stand up to rigorous testing, thus needs to be discarded or changed.

Lesser characters have labeled this testing as “cherry-picking”; confusing the use of selected data to advocate a particular hypothesis (guess) with testing a hypothesis against all relevant data. If a hypothesis fails one dataset, then it cannot be a generally acceptable scientific hypothesis.

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Did Japan Just Prove That Central Banks Are Out Of Ammo?

By Graham Summers – Re-Blogged From

The world has yet to fully digest what is currently happening in Japan.

Japan is the global leader for Keynesian Central Banking insanity. The ECB and US Federal Reserve began implementing ZIRP and QE after 2008. The Bank of Japan has been employing both ZIRP and QE since 2001.

Put simply, by the time the Great Crisis of 2008 rolled around, the Bank of Japan had nearly a decade’s experience seeing what QE, ZIRP, and the like could accomplish.

On top of this, the Bank of Japan has been the single most aggressive Central Bank post-2008. In 2013, it launched a single QE program equal to roughly 25% of Japan’s GDP (the Fed’s largest program was less than 10% of GDP).

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The Pentagon Achieves Its Ancient Aim

By Fred Reed – Re-Blogged From

[The military’s budget has room to cut, so it’s an Economic issue. This writer makes it more personal – maybe too personal. -Bob]

Those who try to understand military policy often confuse themselves by focusing on minor matters such as strategy, tactics, logistics, and armament. Here they err. For years the central goal of the military, the brass ring, has been independence from control by civilians. It has been achieved.

In time of war, the first concern of the command is to limit the flow of information to their publics. The actions of the enemy are an important but secondary consideration. Thus militaries strive  to prevent the dissemination of photos of mutilated soldiers or, as in Washington today, of governmentally tortured prisoners. In the United States, which characteristically fights wars unrelated to the safety of the country, the Pentagon must also keep soldiers from being told that they are being sacrifice for the benefit of arms manufacturers and imperialist ambitions. In wars before Vietnam, this was adroitly effected. You could go to jail for criticizing a war.

In Vietnam, something new happened. The press covered the war freely. Reporters went where they pleased, beyond the control of the military. Their publications ran the results. National magazines printed horrific photographs of what was really happening.

Truth tells. The coverage was one of the two factors that forced Washington to quit the war. The other was the passionate unwillingness of young men to be forced to fight a war in which they had no interest. The war, a source of meaning for Washington’s thunderous hawks and fern-bar Napoleons, was getting them killed.

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If the UK Were to Try and Achieve COP21 Ideas – Hold on to Your Hats!

By Philip Foster – Re-Blogged From

COP21 Paris climate conference urged that all home heating should move away from gas to be all electric. In the UK the Climate Change Act already assumes this scenario will be put into practice.1

Just how realistic is this for the UK?

There are around 16 million (16 × 106) households connected to the gas grid network in the UK.

The average household boiler is rated at 60 kiloWatt

To replace that with electric home heating would still require about the same electrical capacity. (Remember even a single electric shower is 7 kW, and an oven approaching 10 kW).2

Here’s the math(s):

16 × 106 × 60 kW = 96 × 107 =~ 100 × 107 = 109 kW = 106 MegaW = 103 GigaW

or about 1 TeraW of extra power.

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Using Silver Dollars – Part 4

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

So far in this series, we’ve seen how to put Liberty Eagle Silver Dollars in the hands of both businesses and individuals, utilizing an Exchange mechanism. We’ve used variations on procedures already available and in use elsewhere in our Economy right now.

Today, we’ll start to see how these Silver Dollars can be spent.

Suppose you have a credit card bill due or some other amount which calls for payment in Paper Dollars. One way to pay the amount would be to go to your account on your bank’s web page, and use their Bill Pay service. You enter the amount, who to pay, and where to send the check. They make the payment for you, and they charge our account.

The Cambi Bill Pay would work in similar fashion. You advise us of the payment information, and Cambi would pay the bill for you, using Paper Dollars. For this service, Cambi would bill your Silver Dollar account based on the current exchange rate.

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Bernie Sanders Says We Should be Spending Less on Health Care

By Ryan McMaken – Re-Blogged From

In the announcement of of his new health care plan this week, Bernie Sanders claimed that the US spends more on health care than any other country, and he said it as if it was a bad thing.
The claim that the US spends more than anyone else can indeed be true, depending on what measurement you use. As a dollar amount for all spending, Americans are near the top.  If you accept the World Health Organization’s, data — something that may or may not be advisable —  then the spending breakdown looks like this:
According to WHO, the US per capita spending is $8,467, followed by Norway at $6,106 and Luxembourg at $6,020.
Most of what puts the US above everyone else in this case is private spending. Rich countries in general spend more on health care since, even if one has access to taxpayer-financed health care, those with the means will often elect to pay for even more services (if the law allows). This isn’t just out-of-pocket, by the way. This is all spending in the private sector, so it includes the services already covered by a private insurance plan.  Although health care is among the most regulated and subsidized industries in the country, most government transactions are technically “private”:
Even after all that private spending, though, there’s still a whole lot of spending done by the government, and we find that in terms of government spending, the US is not an outlier at all, but is among the spendy-est of nations:
In this case, the US comes in at $4,047 behind Norway ($5,198), Luxembourg (5,061), and the Netherlands ($4,070), and is also quite comparable to Denmark ($3,801).
Wait, So Is Spending Now a Bad Thing? 
Here’s where it gets silly, though. When we’re talking about government spending on social welfare programs, the US is often condemned for not spending enough. Americans are stingy, we’re told, and are so greedy, in fact, they refuse to tax themselves to pay for more welfare programs.
The truth, however, is that the US is among the biggest spenders on welfare in general, and on health care in particular.
By this measure put out by the OECD, in terms of direct government spending on welfare as a percentage of GDP, the US comes in at 19.2 percent, which means it spends more than Australia, Canada, and Iceland. Switzerland is nearly equal to the US at 19.4 percent, and Norway is at 22 percent. So, we’re apparently to believe that this alleged “free market” and social-Darwinist system in the US is defined by a 2 to 3 percent difference in spending when compared to Norway or the United Kingdom (21.7%).
And this doesn’t even take into account all the tax breaks that the US commonly uses to reduce the tax burden on low-income households. If those are taken into account, the OECD notes, then social expenditure in the US is even higher than Norway, Luxembourg, and many others.
Nor does the government neglect health spending as part of all that spending. The US, which spends 20.3 percent of government expenditures on health, ranks with Switzerland (21.1%), New Zealand (20.3%), and Japan (19.4%):
So, if the US is spending nearly as much as, or even more than, the “generous” welfare states of northern Europe, why are we be constantly lectured about the need for more taxes and a larger role for government in everything?
Well, that’s when the advocates for even more taxpayer largesse change gears. “Don’t get me wrong,” they say. “We definitely need more taxes, and lots of them, but we need to spend those taxes differently.”
And that’s where the Bernie Sanders plan comes in. Sanders would like to overhaul the US health care system for the second time in five years, but this time, after instituting universal health care via a single-payer system, he’ll eventually make health care spending drop, and then we can cut taxes spend that tax money on something else.
How to Lower Costs: Revoke Choices for Patients
How will Sanders make the cost of health care go down? Well, that’s where things get murky, because the entire “plan” for doing this is about four pages long, and just based on the idea that administrative costs in the US are too high.
Writing in The New Yorker, James Surowiecki, who is hardly an advocate for laissez-faire, remains skeptical:

The answer in the document is vague: “Reforming our health care system, simplifying our payment structure and incentivizing new ways to make sure patients are actually getting better health care will generate massive savings.” The general idea seems to be that moving to the single-payer model will lead to a huge drop in administrative costs, and will also allow the government to use its leverage to drive down the prices of drugs and medical devices. According toan analysis that the campaign released by Gerald Friedman, a professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, costs in the new system would also rise much more slowly than they do today. Sanders claims that, all told, his plan will save ten trillion dollars across ten years.Neither the plan nor Friedman explains where those ten trillion dollars would come from.

Surowiecki concludes:

The truth is that if you want to save a trillion dollars a year in health-care spending, you can’t do it solely by cutting administrative costs and drug prices.

The fact of the matter is that high health care costs in the US are a byproduct of US consumer choices and a variety of factors far beyond the fact that administrative costs are high. Victor Fuchs writes in The Atlantic:

Why does the United States spend so much more? The biggest reason is that U.S. healthcare delivers a more expensive mix of services. For example, a much larger proportion of physician visits in the U.S. are to specialists who get higher fees and usually order more high-tech diagnostic and therapeutic procedures than primary care physicians.

Compared with the average OECD country, the U.S. delivers (population adjusted) almost three times as many mammograms, two-and-a-half times the number of MRI scans, and 31 percent more C-sections. Also, the U.S. has more stand-by equipment, for example, 1.66 MRI machines per 6,000 annual scans vs. 1.06 machines. The extra machines provide easier access for Americans, but add to cost.

Similarly, occupancy rates in U.S. acute care hospitals are much lower than in OECD countries, reducing the likelihood of delays in admissions, but building that extra capacity adds to cost. Aggressive treatment of very sick elderly also makes the mix expensive. In the U.S. many elderly patients are treated in intensive care units (ICUs), but in other countries they would receive only palliative care. More amenities such as privacy and space in hospitals and more attractive clinics also add to U.S. costs.

While the U.S. mix of services is disproportionately tilted toward more expensive interventions, the other OECD countries emphasize a “plain vanilla” mix. Compared with the U.S., the average OECD country has 30 percent more physician visits and more than 30 percent more hospital days per capita.

One can agree or disagree from a medical perspective as to whether or not all those C-sections and tests are a good thing, but the fact of the matter is that Americans seem to have no problem with taking advantage of all these “extra” health services. Old people are free to refuse intensive efforts to save their lives, and opt for the European model of letting very-ill old people die sooner rather than later to save money. But many choose procedures designed to prolong their lives instead of merely ease their pain.
These are choices that real people make, and the only way to truly cut the cost of health care such a system is to diminish the ability of people to make these choices.  Rather than leave these decisions up to the individuals, who may opt for more expensive options, these choices would instead have to be made by administrators who are primarily concerned with keeping costs under control.
Now, even if one has no particular problem with government control of the health care system, anyone whose honest about any political decision knows that there are both winners and losers, and upsides and downsides. There are upsides to single-payer type health care if all you need is some antibiotics and a hernia surgery.
However, if your problem involves difficult diagnostic problems, you may opt for the more “expensive” health care system.
But What About Outcomes?
Having been robbed of the idea that the US welfare state is unusually stingy, the advocates for more welfare must then fall back on the idea that the outcomes are worse, so, therefore, the US taxpayers must both spend more and spend differently.
The problem is that it is not at all obvious that the outcomes would be significantly different after some additional tinkering with the system.
After all, the divergence between US outcomes and the outcomes in the supposedly superior systems of western Europe can be quite small.
Here’s a map of life expectancy at birth for Europe, using OECD data. It ranges from the mid-70s in Russia and Eastern Europe, to 83 in Iceland and Switzerland. Government-provided health care is the norm throughout Europe, including Eastern Europe:
 Below is the same scale imposed on North America.
It ranges from a high of 82 in British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec, to 75 in West Virginia, Alabama, and Oklahoma. (Nearly all of Mexico is below 76 years.)
Most of the northern and Western US, however, has life expectancy levels at or above 80, putting is in the same category with Denmark, the UK, Belgium, and others.
Moreover, what we find is that, while all the US health care law is dominated by federal law, the differences in state life expectancy statistics can range by several years depending on regional factors. In other words, health care law in the US is nationwide, but health care outcomes vary significantly by region.
Logically, this would lead us to believe that health care outcomes depend on something more than mere public policy, including obesity rates, foreign born populations, and ethnic makeup. (See here for more.)
These issue can have profound effects on health outcomes, and although its been recently implied in the context of migrants that Europe is very ethnically diverse, the reality is that European countries are far more ethnically uniform, far more “white” than the US, and definitely less fat.
Indeed, if the US had an ethnic mix like Canada, where the largest non-white group is Asians (who have higher life expectancy than whites), and where the percentage of immigrants is higher than it is in the US, the life expectancy of the US would immediately increase significantly. (In North America, immigrants are healthier than natives.) Like Europeans, Canadians are also less obese than Americans.
None of what I say here should be regarded as an endorsement of the American health care system which today is largely a hodgepodge of government regulations and historical accidents that led to the creation of a system driven by huge insurance conglomerates in a response to federal public policy after World War II. It’s a system that encourages more private spending on health care, by the way.
There is, of course, nothing “free-market” or laissez faire about American health care.
However, we should also be realistic about the effects of the suggested alternatives, which seek primarily to replace a highly regulated system with a totally centrally-planned one. Both are very sub-optimal, and a shift from the current system to a new system will bring both costs and benefits for different groups.
But, this idea that a move to a European-style system of health care will slash costs is based on nothing more than pure speculation, which is why no details are provided. In the meantime, taxpayers will be expected to pay far more in taxes.  And in the midst of it all, there’s no reason to believe that outcomes will be changed significantly in light of the realities of lifestyle, demographics, and geography.

Climate Not the “Top Concern” of Business Leaders

By Eric Worrall – Re-Blogged From
Graph from Page 10 of the 18th annual global Price Waterhouse Cooper CEO Business Survey

Diagram from Page 10 of the 18th annual global Price Waterhouse Cooper CEO Business Survey

Once again global business leaders at Davos have gone off narrative, by failing to identify “climate change” as their number one priority; instead voicing concerns about “over regulation” and economic issues.

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Why Oil Prices are Likely to Remain Low for the Foreseeable Future – Shale 2.0

By Anthony Watts – Re-Blogged From

Shale Revolution Changes Everything

How the Shale Revolution Has Reduced Geopolitical and Price Risk


Opec was on the verge of claiming victory over its North American rivals last night after its strategy of squeezing out the shale industry by flooding the markets with oil appeared to be vindicated. The oil producers’ cartel said that falling prices would force lower production from its rivals by the end of this year, with American and Canadian producers particularly affected. –Marcus Leroux, The Times, 19 January 2016
When oil prices tick up, thousands of profit-seeking investors make individual decisions

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US Mint Reports Astounding Gold And Silver Demand

By Frank Holmes – Re-Blogged From


  • In a down week for most markets, silver fared the best, falling only 0.11 percent.  There was no particular story supporting the move, but note that silver really didn’t fully participate in the precious metal rally last week and perhaps had less to lose.
  • Over the past five days investors bought 26.8 metric tonnes of bullion through exchange-traded products backed by the metal, according to Bloomberg, the most since January 2015 as seen in the chart below. In addition, Reuters says gold and silver demand is off the charts; the U.S. Mint sold nearly as much gold on the first day of 2016 as in all of January 2015, with silver sales equally as astounding.

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Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #212

The Week That Was: January 16, 2016 – Brought to You by

By Ken Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project

Administration’s Energy Plan: On January 5, Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell announced the latest effort in the administration campaign against fossil fuels and reliable energy. There will be a moratorium on new leases to mine coal on federal lands for at least three years. Supposedly, the purpose is to overhaul the program that permits coal mining on federal lands (to include Indian lands) to make the pricing “fair.” The environmental industry (Big Green) has made the program controversial by objecting to it, claiming it contradicts the Administration’s Energy Plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Big Green has been active in a program to demand that fossil fuels not be used (be kept in the ground). During this Administration, Big Green was successful stopping the use of Yucca Mountain for storage of waste from nuclear power plants. Combined with its opposition to hydropower, Big Green opposes all the major sources of reliable electricity generation, a position that the Administration is adopting in reducing the supply of coal.

If the effort is successful, we can expect future rulings from the Administration on reducing the supply of oil and natural gas, to the extent that the Administration proclaims it has the power to do so – even if the Administration’s perceived power will be highly contested in the courts. It is not a matter of what is moral or ethical; it is a matter of what the Administration believes it can do.

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Using Silver Dollars – Part 3

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

Using Liberty Eagle Silver Dollars in everyday commerce carries several advantages. In Part 1, I detailed an Exchange mechanism, as well as a way to store the Silver Dollars for later use. In Part 2 of this series, we began to see the advantages as they related to a business’ sales and taxable profits.

Today, I’d like to show how employees may be paid in a mix of Paper and Silver Dollars in a way that benefits both the employee and the employer. (The pay needs to be a mix of Paper and Plastic because of the Minimum Wage. Most states have a higher Minimum than the federal rate of $7.50 per hour – in my home state of MA, the rate is $9.00.)

Here’s how it would work. Suppose you had an employee working 40 hours at $25 an hour, or $1000 for the week. As an existing employee, he may be offered perhaps a 5% premium – an incentive add-on encouraging him to participate, bringing his weekly all-paper pay to $1050. (You may or may not choose to offer an incentive to new employees.)

You would tell my company (let’s call it Cambi Money Services) the person’s name, etc, that the hours worked was 40, the incentive rate, and the pay amount. Cambi would calculate how much that comes to after tax, and that amount would be the target purchasing power. Cambi then would use the hours and the state Minimum Wage to calculate the total Paper plus Silver Dollars (eg. 40 x $9 = $360), and the after tax amount.

Using the two after tax amounts, and the Exchange mechanism, we would tell you to use your regular payroll provider, with $360 as the amount, and a Direct Deposit amount to Cambi (in Paper) which would go into a Silver account with us.

Cambi would bill you for the Paper Dollars needed to change the Direct Deposit amount into Silver. Cambi would act as both a Payroll Advisory and as a Depository. Let’s look at an example for a married worker with 4 exemptions and an Exchange Rate of 20:1.

Nominal Pay         $1000

Incentive                 5%

Pre-Tax Total       $1050

After-Tax Target  $858.48


Hours                       40

State Minimum     $9.00

Pre-Tax Total         $360

After-Tax Amount $325.66


Paper Difference   $532.82

Direct Deposit       $ 28.04


Silver Deposited    $ 28.0432

Exchange Rate          20:1

P.P. Of Silver         $560.86

Paper Pay Amount$297.62

P.P. Received         $858.48


Employer Billed

P.P. Make Up         $532.82

Exchange Fee-2% $ 10.66 (on amount exchanged)

Payroll Fee-0.5%  $ 5.25 (on pre-tax total)

Total Bill                 $548.73


Employer Cost

Employee Pay        $360.00

Cambi Bill               $548.73

FICA Match            $ 27.54

Total Cost                $936.27


Previous Pay         $1000

FICA Match           $   76.50

Total                        $1076.50

Amount Saved      $ 140.23

Percent Saved          13.0%


The fee charged by Cambi to you is for the advice on the payroll amount ($360) and on the Direct Deposit amount, and for the Account handling, so that the Dollar amount of the Direct Deposit is made as a Silver Dollar deposit. Cambi’s charge is not pay for the employee, but just a fee for services rendered to you.

So, how much profit value can an employer add to the bottom line by using the Payroll Services? Let’s assume a $10 Million sales business in MA, with $1 Million gross profit and $1 Million payroll averaging as in the example above.

The profit becomes around $600,000 after tax. The 13% you saved comes to about $130,000, or a profit bump over 21½%. How much growth can your business achieve with this much more in bottom line profit? How many more jobs can you create?

Your business benefits. Your current, and future, employees benefit. What’s not to like?

The Abject Failure of Official Global-Warming Predictions

By Monckton of Brenchley – Re-Blogged From

The IPCC published its First Assessment Report a quarter of a century ago, in 1990. The Second Assessment Report came out 20 years ago, the Third 15 years ago. Even 15 years is enough to test whether the models’ predictions have proven prophetic. In 2008, NOAA’s report on the State of the Global Climate, published as a supplement to the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, said: “The simulations rule out (at the 95% level) zero trends for intervals of 15 yr or more, suggesting that an observed absence of warming of this duration is needed to create a discrepancy with the expected present-day warming rate.”

To the continuing embarrassment of the profiteers of doom, the least-squares linear-regression trends on Dr Roy Spencer’s UAH satellite dataset shows no global warming at all for 18 years 6 months, despite a continuing (and gently accelerating) increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration, shown on the graph as a gray trace:


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Another Atrocious Week Going Out With A Bang

By John Rubino – Re-Blogged From

On days when lots of financial numbers are released, the normal pattern is for some to point one way and some another, giving everyone a little of what they want and overall presenting a reassuringly muddled picture of the economy.

Not today. A wave of economic stats flowed out of Washington, almost all of them terrible, while corporate news was, in some high-profile cases, shocking. Let’s go to the highlight reel:

Retail sales fell again in December, bringing the 2015 increase to just 2.1% versus an average of 5.1% from 2010 through 2014. This kind of deceleration is out of character for year six of a gathering recovery, but completely consistent with a descent into recession.

The New York Fed’s Empire State Manufacturing Survey index plunged to -19.37 in January from -6.21 in December. This is a recession — deep recession — level contraction. Not a single bright spot in the entire report.

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Common Stocks Crash Through The Ice

By Dr Richard S Appel – Re-Blogged From

United States equities have long been skating on thin ice. It appears they have finally collapsed through it, and are now treading water before sinking deeper. From an historical standpoint they have arguably been overpriced for most if not all of the past twenty years. Their dividend yields, price-earnings ratios, price to book values and other meaningful measures have long ago gone beyond all safe valuation parameters. For over hundred years, similar conditions have always signaled caution, if not danger. Why is it now that stocks appear to be finally breaking down, and sounding the alarm of an impending Bear Market?

There are two major guides that have endured the test of time. For at least a few generations they indicated the limits that people were willing to pay for ownership of common stocks. First, whenever the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s price-earnings ratio approached or exceeded 20:1, equities normally experienced sharp Bear Market declines. Similarly, periods when its dividend yield plunged to 3% or less usually spelled impending disaster for the fate of stock prices. A bit of history might be useful at this juncture.

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Fed Starts To Walk Back Its Rate Hike. Next Step: More QE And Bigger Experiments

By John Rubino – Re-Blogged From

That didn’t take long. A month after the Fed’s dreaded quarter-point interest rate hike, the markets tank and then come the talking heads to promise that whatever is bothering traders, Daddy will make it right.

Falling inflation expectations could mean policy rethink: Fed’s Bullard

(Reuters) – The continued rout on global oil markets has caused a “worrisome” drop in U.S. inflation expectations that may make further rate hikes hard to justify, St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard said on Thursday.

Since the dramatic fall in oil began in 2014 Fed officials have insisted the impact on U.S. price levels would be temporary, bottoming out at some point and allowing inflation to rise to the Fed’s 2 percent target.

Bullard said he has so far been willing to look beyond a slip in expectations as likely passing. But he is now worried the plunge in oil has unmoored inflation expectations as well, a fact that would make it more difficult for the Fed to lift inflation to its 2 percent target and could force officials to rethink the four quarter-point rate hikes expected this year.

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Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #208

The Week That Was: January 9, 2016 – Brought to You by

By Ken Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project

Paris Agreement – Treaty or Not? The December 26 TWTW emphasized that from a scientific and practical viewpoint the Agreement in Paris reached at the conclusion of the Conference of Parties (COP-21) of the United Nations’ Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), “Paris Agreement” is largely smoke and mirrors. It does not obligate countries to reduce Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions or countries to contribute to the “Green Climate Fund. Further, the climate science on which the fear of global warming/climate change is based is not robust and far from complete. The models used by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) fail to properly account for natural climate change and past warming periods including the one from about 1910 to 1940. These models consistently overestimate the warming of the lower atmosphere. It is here where greenhouse gas warming, chiefly from human emissions of CO2, should occur. Yet, since 1979 satellites have provided the most comprehensive data of global warming and cooling in existence. For the lower atmosphere the data show no significant warming for over a decade. As John Christy has demonstrated, lower atmospheric temperatures are calculated by three independent groups and are confirmed by independent measurements of temperatures by four sets of weather balloon data.

The recent effort by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to alter the historic surface temperature record to show recent warming has been severely criticized and has little merit. It can be considered to be a desperate act to continue fear of global warming.

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An Open Letter To The Banks

By Keirh Weiner – Re-Blogged From

Jamie Dimon, JP Morgan Chase

Brian T. Moynihan, Bank of America Michael Corbat, Citigroup


On Friday, I attended a digital money summit at the Consumer Electronics Show. I am writing to you to warn you about the disruption that is about to occur in banking. There are many startups (and larger companies too) that are gunning for you. Perhaps you have watched what Uber has done to the taxi business? Well, these guys are planning the same thing for the banking business.

Banks used to allow even a child with a $10 deposit to spread his risk across a large portfolio of loans. At the same time, banks made it possible for a corporate borrower to raise $10,000,000 from a large group of depositors. In short, the banking business is investment aggregation and risk management.

That business cannot be disrupted. The bigger it gets, the more difficult to displace. It’s like eBay, all the depositors come to the bank because that’s where they can earn interest. All the borrowers come, because that’s where they can get the money they need. The bigger the bank gets, at least in a free market under the gold standard, the safer it is for depositors.

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Jig Is Up For The Fed

By Rick Ackerman – Re-Blogged From

Traders seem obsessed lately with the ups, and mostly downs, of crude oil — so much so that every dip, feint and jiggle in energy futures is being replicated almost tick-for-tick by the S&Ps. A recent op-ed piece by Don Luskin in the Wall Street Journal asserted that falling oil prices brought on mainly by a fracking glut are crushing the world economy, but this gets it exactly wrong. In fact, falling crude prices are merely symptomatic, albeit in a big way, of deflationary forces that are starting to implode the global economy with black-hole force.

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cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

Today I depart somewhat from my usual fare of dealing with earth-rattling issues to talk more on a personal note. Next week, on the 21st, I’ll be celebrating my 70th birthday, and what a ride it’s been, so far.

I’ve been very fortunate to have married the love of my life, Maria (46 years and counting), have a great son (Rob, Jr) and daughter (Maria T) – we ran out of names, so we stopped at two – and 5 wonderful grandchildren.

Both Rob and Maria T have their own businesses (check out My grandkids sing & dance, are active in ice skating, and play various team sports. Sophie, the eldest, had the Title Role in her school’s production of A Date With Judy, and

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Double Barrelled Hidden Q.E. To Infinity

By Jim Willie – Re-Blogged From

We were just treated to a fake official rate hike, and it was cleverly executed. The recent supposed USFed rate hike was a gigantic fraud, a misdirection, a clever ploy, and an act of extreme desperation. We were told of an official 25 basis point interest rate hike. But a hike of 0.25% is nowhere to be seen.

The reality is that the USFed is so strapped, so deeply under siege, so overwhelmed, that it requires urgent help from the USDept Treasury. So they have expanded QE to become Double Barreled Hidden QE to Infinity. It has an important feature now, with national security stamped on it. This is truly the end game for the USDollar. Big thanks to Rob Kirby and EuroRaj on my colleague team for leading the way and shining the spotlight. Their abilities to see through the maze, smoke, mirrors, and din is impressive.

Consider the many points, which can be connected. As they say, connecting the dots can lead to conclusions more clearly, when the dots display a recognized picture. The deception was well organized, well planned, well delivered, and well done generally. Most financial analysts only read the headline, then gobble the false message. Most traders only read the headline, and look for quick profit while anticipating the moves by the dullard masses. Best to look for the reality, and plan for the long run survival. Take a closer look at the developments within the USTreasury market where private accounts have emerged in recent months to purchase the referenced inventory of USTreasurys that China and others are dumping.


The effective Fed Funds rate has not risen by 25 basis points. More like 10 to 15 bpts, depending upon the day. In fact, the Fed suddenly finds itself in an awkward position, with an

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Shipping Said To Have Ceased…Is The Worldwide Economy Grinding To A Halt?

B Jeff Berwick – Re-Blogged From

Last week, I received news from a contact who is friends with one of the biggest billionaire shipping families in the world.  He told me they had no ships at sea right now, because operating them meant running at a loss.

This weekend, reports are circulating saying much the same thing: The North Atlantic has little or no cargo ships traveling in its waters. Instead, they are anchored. Unmoving. Empty.

You can see one such report here.  According to it,

Commerce between Europe and North America has literally come to a halt. For the first time in known history, not one cargo ship is in-transit in the North Atlantic between Europe and North America. All of them (hundreds) are either anchored offshore or in-port. NOTHING is moving.

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Newsflash From The December ‘Jobs’ Report—–The US Economy Is Dead In The Water

By David Stockman – Re-Blogged From David Stockman’s Contra Corner

Here’s a newsflash that CNBC didn’t mention. According to the BLS, the US economy generated a miniscule 11,000 jobs in the month of December.

Yet notwithstanding the fact that almost nobody works outdoors any more, the BLS fiction writers added 281,000 to their headline number to cover the “seasonal adjustment.” This is done on the apparent truism that December is generally colder than November and that workers get holiday vacations.

Of course, this December was much warmer, not colder, than average.  And that’s not the only deviation from normal seasonal trends.

The Christmas selling season this year, for example, was absolutely not comparable to the ghosts of Christmas past. Bricks and mortar retail is in turmoil and in secular decline due to Amazon and its e-commerce ilk, and this trend is accelerating by the year.

So too, energy and export based sectors have been thrown for a loop in the last few months by a surging dollar and collapsing commodity prices. Likewise, construction activity has been so weak in this cycle—-and for the good reason that both commercial and residential stock is vastly overbuilt owing to two decades of cheap credit—–that its not remotely comparable to historic patterns.

Never mind. The BLS always adds the same big dollop of jobs to the December establishment survey come hell or high water. In fact, the seasonal adjustment has averaged 320,000 for the last 12 years!

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Using Silver Dollars – Part II

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

Liberty Eagle Silver Dollars are Dollars. They are US Legal Tender Money – Congress says so. But, Americans don’t use them as money because, until now, there has been no mechanism to facilitate it.

I previously wrote detailing a simple Exchange facility along with Accounts where individuals and businesses could store and use these Silver Dollars. Today, I’d like to explain my suggestion which would allow businesses to Invoice their sales using Liberty Eagle Silver Dollars.

First, a little background. Manufacturers sell their products in several ways, including selling to a wholesaler, to a retailer, or to the ultimate consumer. Many will sell only through one method, while others will use multiple chains of distribution.

In one interesting way, a company may use a direct sales staff to market its products, will take orders and arrange delivery from its own warehouses, but has all the billing and payments handled by a number of separate distributors/wholesalers. These frequently are smaller companies selling a product with a technological edge.  The business needs a technical staff to make the sales, but it doesn’t want to use up its resources handling a lot of billing, so it in effect hires wholesalers to do this.

The company actually sells its products to the wholesaler, who then sells them to the consumer. To the consumer, this chain of activity is all but invisible, as the invoice merely tells the consumer who to pay and where to send the check. The wholesaler doesn’t physically touch the product, but once it’s shipped, the wholesaler owns it until they are paid by the consumer.

This system is in use today for Paper Dollars. Let’s see how this can be adapted to facilitate the use of Silver Dollars.

There are two money transactions going on here. First, the ultimate customer is billed and pays the wholesaler. Then the wholesaler aggregates its sales for the manufacturer and pays for the products.

The two transactions may both be denominated in Paper Dollars, as in the current all Paper Dollar system, but that’s not required. It’s also possible for the consumer to be billed and pay in Paper Dollars, while the wholesaler is billed and pays in Silver Dollars.

Silver Eagle Coin

As an example, Company A, the manufacturer, markets and takes an order from a Customer. The order includes an invoice from Company B, the wholesaler, in Paper Dollars – $1000. The consumer pays Company B, which alerts Company A of the payment receipt. Company A then issues an invoice to Company B, denominated in Silver Dollars using the Exchange mechanism.

Assuming the Exchange Rate is $1 Silver for $20 Paper, Company B deposits/transfers the Silver Dollar amount ($1000 / 20 = $50) into Company A’s Account.

So, why would a business choose to use Silver Dollars rather than Paper Dollars? The answer lies in the favorable tax treatment which Silver Dollars receive from the IRS.

Remember, Congress says that both Paper Dollars and Silver Dollars are Dollars, even though Paper and Silver Dollars have different purchasing powers.

Consider a manufacturer with $10 Million in sales. The current sale, if it all were in Paper Dollars, would be $1000, but in Silver Dollars, it is only $50, reducing the annual sales to $9,999,050.

If the cost of doing business comes to $9 Million, the company would pay taxes on $1 Million in the all Paper world, but would pay taxes on $999, 050 in the Silver world.


                  Paper              Silver

                  ———              ———

Sales     $10 Million     $9,999,050

Costs     $ 9 Million     $ 9 Million

Profit    $ 1 Million      $ 999,050

Taxes    $ 250,000        $ 249,762.50

(eg 25% Tax Rate)


Though the purchasing powers of the sales are the same, there was $237.50 (Paper) more kept by the business using Silver Dollars for this sale. With sales using this method on $1 Million ($50,000 Silver), almost all the tax liability would be removed, raising the Bottom Line Profit Value by about 25%.

This business would have more capital available to expand its business, hire more workers, and improve its product. The three Natural Constituencies of all businesses benefit:

  • Customers get more, better products at lower prices
  • Employees get more jobs at better pay
  • Shareholders earn more and own a growing company 

We’ll see in later articles how businesses (and individuals) can use the Silver Dollars for everyday commerce (Bill Pay). And, we’ll discuss other Cambi Money Services modules including: Payroll, Point of Sale, Investments, and Money Management.

How Thunderstorms Beat The Heat

By Willis Eschenbach – Re-Blogged From

I got to thinking again about the thunderstorms, and how much heat they remove from the surface by means of evaporation. We have good data on this from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellites. Here is the distribution and strength of rainfall, and thus evaporation, around the middle of the planet.

trmm annual average evaporative coolingFigure 1. Evaporation in W/m2 as shown by rainfall data from the TRMM. It takes about 80 watt-years of energy to evaporate a cubic metre of water, so a metre of rainfall per year is equivalent to an average surface cooling of 80 watts per square metre. The TRMM satellite only covers from 40° North to 40° South.

I have held for some time that the global surface temperature is restricted to a fairly narrow region (e.g. ± 0.3°C over the 20th century) by the action of emergent phenomena (see references at the end of the post). Chief among these emergent phenomena are tropical thunderstorms. My hypothesis says that when the tropical surface temperature goes over a certain threshold, that thunderstorms emerge to put a firm cap on the temperature by cooling the surface.

Thunderstorms cool the surface in a number of ways, but the main cooling method uses the exact same mechanism used by the refrigerators that keep our food cold. Thunderstorms use a standard evaporation/condensation cycle. In one part of the cycle the working fluid evaporates, cooling the surroundings. In another part of the cycle in another location, the working fluid condenses. For a refrigerator, the working fluid used to be some form of Freon, nowadays it’s some other fluid. For thunderstorms, the working fluid is water. When it evaporates at the surface, it cools the local area, and the heat is moved from the surface to the clouds and on upwards.

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Stock Buy Backs Are Nay Votes

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

Stock prices change minute to minute based on investor perceptions and emotion. Investors compare the current price with current – and expected – earnings.

Over the longer term, it is earnings which will determine the trend of a stock’s price history. You would (correctly) expect that if Company A’s earnings rose by 25% a year for 10 years, while earnings for Company B fell by 25% a year, that the price of Company A stock would have gone up dramatically, while the stock of Company B would have fallen drastically.

One metric that investors use to compare the stock of different businesses is the PE Ratio – a simple division of the Price by the Earnings per Share (usually for the last 12 months). As optimistic investors put more money into a particular stock, the price goes up, and with it the PE Ratio also goes up.

Optimism implies that investors expect the future prospects for a business to be good. If business really is going to be good, you would expect the managers to try to put more capital to work. The business can get this capital in several ways.

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Tactical Opportunity: Sell High, Buy Low

By Nick Barisheff – Re-Blogged From

As Presented to the Empire Club of Canada Annual Investment Outlook Luncheon: Making Money in 2016 from Domestic and International Financial Markets

The market outlook for 2016 presents significant challenges and opportunities that we have not seen for 40 years.

Since I began work on creating our first bullion fund in 1998, I have generally restricted my commentary to using precious metals for strategic portfolio allocation. Everyone agrees that investment portfolios should be diversified. Since gold is the most non-correlated asset class to traditional financial assets it provides important portfolio diversification. A strategic allocation of at least 10 percent reduces portfolio risk and improves returns over the long term.

This year I’d like to discuss a tactical opportunity, a market disparity that exists because of an artificial low in the gold price, and an unsustainable high in financial assets. Everybody understands buy low and sell high. The opportunity for 2016 is to sell high, buy low.

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Bear Markets Ahead: An Interview With Market Expert Axel Merk

By IM Vronsky – Re-Blogged From

Axel Merk is the President and Chief Investment Officer of Merk Investments and Directing Manager of the Merk Funds.  He is a globally recognized expert pundit on macro trends as well as an innovator in gold and currency investing.  Axel is a sought-after speaker, contributor and author. He holds a B.A. in Economics (magna cum laude) and an M.Sc. in Computer Science from Brown University. Axel Merk is founder and chief strategist of Merk Investments, whose site is located at:

Gold-Eagle:  In 2008 the world experienced the worst economic collapse in 80+ years. This collapse triggered a global stock market crash that erased $30 trillion in wealth…when US stocks plummeted more than 50% in only 16 months.  Since that time the US Fed has pumped up the money supply like a drunken sailor, which fueled irrational exuberance in creating one of the longest periods of rising stock prices in the history of Wall Street.  Moreover, collectively Central Banks have cut interest rates over 600 times and have printed over $15 trillion in new money… money that has failed to generate sustained economic growth…but rather has been successful in propelling stock prices to all-time highs. In light of the above, do you believe we are paving the way for another stock market crash?

Axel:   In 2007, I warned about complacency in the market as a leading indicator for major turmoil; I sold just about all my equity holdings at the time. In a bubble, investors under-appreciate the inherent risks in investments, bidding up risky assets. And why shouldn’t they: rational investors perceive investments as relatively safe, borrowing money to boost returns. And just as rationally, when investors – professionals and retail alike – realize their investments were risky after all, they reduce their leverage. In 2008, there wasn’t sufficient liquid collateral and a major selloff turned into a financial crisis.

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Don’t Confuse Debt with Wealth

By Guy Christopher – Re-Blogged From Money Metals Exchange

If you don’t have a magical crystal ball to see the future, then a good history book will do the job. Understanding the past offers a full color panorama to the dangers and opportunities facing you in 2016.

Unpayable debt is becoming the Big Story of the 21st Century across the globe. Life-altering disruptions will be the norm, with little that mankind has not seen before.

In early November, Congress recklessly increased American spending and debt by another $1.14 trillion. Lawmakers long ago erased all limits to printing money and creating debt backed by nothing. The total world debt is unknown and uncountable. Pick any figure in the hundreds of trillions and you’ll be close.

Governments intend for you to pay those debts. To ensure you don’t argue, they must increase control.

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Why Is the Middle Class Shrinking?

By Steven Horwitz – Re-Blogged From The Foundation for Economic Education

Economic inequality continues to be a major political issue even as the headlines scream about terrorism and climate change. Bernie Sanders has made it a centerpiece of his presidential campaign, and other candidates have addressed it along the way. And a recent study by the Pew Research Center has added new, though misplaced, fuel to the fire of those concerned about inequality.

The Pew study has been discussed in the media, and one key point has been grossly misunderstood. Among other things, the study found that the American middle class is shrinking and is now just under half of the population. Commentators quickly began to refer to the “hollowing out” of the middle class and to tie this study to the concerns about growing inequality.

However, a close look at the data shows that the middle class has shrunk since 1971 because more members of the middle class have moved up the income ladder than down it.

Don’t believe me? Look for yourself at the terrific graphic that the Financial Times created to illustrate the data:

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Using Silver Dollars – Part I

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

Liberty Eagle Silver Dollars are money. They are US Legal Tender – Congress says so. But, as far as I know, nobody uses them in money transactions. Nobody uses them for everyday commerce.

I’d like to change that!

Silver Eagle Coin

Since last summer, I’ve been working on software and manual systems to allow everyone to use Silver to do all the things we take for granted today with paper or plastic. I’m almost done – and almost ready to start looking for customers – and I thought I’d share some of the basics with you, in a series of posts explaining both the benefits and the mechanics of how it would work.


While official money in the US includes Federal Reserve Notes and coins of various denominations and compositions, Americans are an innovative people. Unofficial money substitutes abound, including:

  • Personal & Business Checks
  • Bank Checks & Cashiers’ Checks
  • Travelers Checks
  • Credit, Debit, and Gift Cards
  • One-Pass and other Transponder Systems
  • Manufacturers & Store Coupons
  • Berkshire (MA) Bucks, Subway Tokens, & California Scrip

While nobody is required to accept any of these (or other) money substitutes, most are accepted somewhere. The Market Values and fees charged for each depend on the Free Market.

Many gas stations have one price for paper and a different price for plastic. Manufacturers Coupons return a premium from the manufacturer to the merchant when they are redeemed. At one time, Travelers Checks traded on FOREX markets for more than the equivalent paper Dollar rate.

Some businesses, notably Coin-Star, even have built a business model around charging a fee to exchange official US coins for US paper money! And, speaking of machines, vending machines have been making change for bills – with or without a purchase – for years.

So, under existing law, there is no reason why Liberty Eagle Silver Dollars cannot be used in everyday commerce. Until now, the only thing standing in the way has been the lack of a system for handling it. Such a system would need to facilitate purchases, sales, and several other types of transactions. I am building the following modules into my software/manual system:

  • Exchange
  • Asset Depository
  • Invoicing
  • Payroll
  • Bill Pay
  • Point of Sale
  • Investments
  • Wealth Management

I will go through the list during this series of posts, explaining both how each would work and why you would bother using Silver Dollars.


Today, you can’t get a Silver Dollar directly from the US Mint, and certainly not in exchange for a $1 paper Dollar. The authorizing law was worded to allow the government to treat the newly minted Silver Dollars as numismatic coins (USC 5103,5111,&5132), so that Uncle Sam can sell them to Official Dealers for the cost of the Silver content, plus a markup/profit.

The Official Dealers sell them to individuals/coin dealers, and the Silver Dollars then are freely available for purchase or sale in the secondary market. The Buy and Sell prices, and the spreads between them vary widely from dealer to dealer. (See These dealers are businesses trying to make a profit – I wish them good luck. However, the disarray in the Market hinders regular exchange of Silver Dollars.

My Exchange Module will set a “Base Rate” around which I will Exchange (I’m not a coin dealer!) Paper Dollars and Silver Dollars for a fee (I plan on 2%). Plastic Dollars also may be used, but the fee would be higher to cover the Credit Card charge.

The Base Rate would be freely available and would fluctuate during the day as the Market dictates. Initially, the Exchange will take place within other Modules of my system, but eventually, I expect to have numerous local public outlets.

Asset Depository

You can keep your Paper Dollars in a Bank. They take your money and lend it out hoping to make a profit. While Banks generally don’t go bankrupt, it does happen – every year. In some years, like during and after the 2008 credit crisis, Bank failures ran rampant.

Recent changes in the law have endangered depositors. Your money no longer is your money. Instead, you now are considered to have lent the Bank your money – unsecured. If the Bank goes belly up, you’re last in the line of creditors to be paid! And, the law now says that to “save” the Bank, your money can be taken outright to recapitalize the Bank. That’s what the term Bail-In refers to.

Still, most people are comfortable keeping money in the Bank (yes, even I have a checking account). And, for now, on average, they’re fine for keeping Paper Dollars. But, suppose you wanted to have them hold your Silver Dollars in an account for safe-keeping? I expect that many Banks would accept your $1.00 Silver Dollar deposit and would credit your account with $1.00. Of course, if you later wanted to withdraw the money, you’d get a Paper Dollar back.

But, if you came to me, I would accept your Silver Dollar for deposit and would return a Silver Dollar to you if you wanted it. Now, I’m not a Bank – and I don’t want to be. But, I will keep your Silver Dollar safe (for a nominal fee) in an account from which you could pay for things. You won’t get interest, but then again, I won’t be lending your money out and putting it at risk.


As I said at the beginning, I’m almost ready to Beta Test my system, and then start looking for customers. As you read these explanations during this series, if you have any interest in becoming a customer or franchising my system for your local area, please let me know at . (The business web site still is to come.)

Historical Application of Vaccines Had No Health Benefit or Impact on Prevention of Infectious Disease

[Economically important, but I take no position for or against. – Bob]

By Dave Mihalovic – Re-Blogged From

A summary review of data on neurological adverse events and the historical role of vaccination in the natural course of infectious disease in Switzerland and Germany, supports data from other regions with evidence that vaccines had no impact on disease prevention efforts from the early-mid to late 20th century. The data contradicts widespread misinformation campaigns by mainstream medicine which claim that vaccination led to immunization and a subsequent decline in infectious disease. The review supports other data around the world and mounting evidence that vaccine effectiveness is unproven, unjustified and lacking evidence-based medicine. The report was authored by the Department of Pediatric Rehabilitation of the Medical University of Bialystok, Poland and published in Progress in Health Sciences a division of The International Journal of Health Sciences.

There is now mass awareness on the dangers of vaccination and only education into the statistical reality of historical immunization efforts and their failure over the last century can validate the growing controversy regarding vaccine effectiveness.

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China’s Security Of Supply

By Rick Mills – Re-Blogged From


  • There is a slowing of production and dwindling of reserves at many of the world’s largest mines.
  • All the oz’s or pounds are never recovered from a mine – they simply becomes too expensive to recover.
  • The pace of new elephant-sized discoveries has decreased in the mining industry.
  • Discoveries are smaller and in less accessible regions.
  • Mineralogy & metallurgy is more complicated making extraction of metals from the mined ore increasingly more complex and expensive.
  • Mining is cyclical which makes mining companies reluctant to spend on exploration and development.
  • A looming skills shortage
  • There is no substitute for many metals except other metals – plastic piping is one exception.
  • Metal markets are small so speculation is a larger factor.
  • There hasn’t been a new technology shift in mining for decades – heap leach and open pit mining come to mind but they are both decades old innovation.
  • Country risk – resource extraction companies, because the number of discoveries was falling and existing deposits were being quickly depleted, have had to diversify away from the traditional geo-politically safe producing countries. The move out of these “safe haven” countries has exposed investors to a lot of additional risk.
  • Lack of recognition for population growth, growing middle class w/disposable incomes and urbanization as on-going demand growth factors.
  • Climate change.

Increasingly we will see falling average grades being mined, mines becoming deeper, more remote and come with increased political risk.

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We Have Bigger Problems Than Climate Change

By David M Hoffer – Re-Blogged From

It is remarkable what gems of wisdom one can find simply by sitting down and reading the IPCC AR reports and seeing what they actually say. Having spent more time than I would like to admit on WGI (the science) over the years, I decided to spend some time on WGII (the impacts). How bad is it going to be according to the collective wisdom of 97% of the world’s climate science brain trust?

Now it is a long report, it would take weeks to work through all the chapters, the tortured language, and dig into the references, many of which would be pay walled. So I went straight for sections on the economy. Now I’m not an economist, but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that anything bad that happens on a global basis will have a negative impact on our global economy. I wanted to know, if the 97% of scientists are right, how bad is it going to be? The answer blew me away. I won’t keep you in suspense, I’ll go straight to the money quote (bold theirs):

For most economic sectors, the impact of climate change will be small relative to the impacts of other drivers (medium evidence, high agreement). Changes in population, age, income, technology, relative prices, lifestyle, regulation, governance, and many other aspects of socioeconomic development will have an impact on the supply and demand of economic goods and services that is large relative to the impact of climate change. {10.10}

That’s the opening statement in the Executive Summary of IPCC AR5 WGII Chapter 10 (Key Economic Sectors and Services).

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National Black Chamber of Commerce Upsets Climate Pundits

By Eric Worrall – Re-Blogged From

The National Black Chamber of Commerce has been upsetting climate advocates, by insisting that President Obama’s clean energy plan would hurt the US economy. The response from climate advocates has been nothing short of vitriolic.

For example;

How the polluter-backed National Black Chamber misleads minorities

By Martin Luther King III December 29

Martin Luther King III is co-founder of the Drum Major Institute.

For months now, the National Black Chamber of Commerce has been warning communities of color that the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan will cause job losses and generate higher energy bills.

In fact, the opposite is true.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s first-ever limits on carbon pollution from power plants will create clean- energy jobs, improve public health, bring greater reliability to our electric power grid, bolster our national security, demonstrate the United States’ resolve to combat climate change and maybe even reduce our utility bills.

By limiting the emission of carbon dioxide, the Clean Power Plan also will slow a main driver of extreme weather, which has inflicted widespread economic damage and human misery, including death.

That’s what the National Black Chamber of Commerce neglects to mention.

Read more:

Unfortunately for Martin Luther King III’s dubious claim about energy bills, it was President Obama himself who explained that his plan will cause energy bills to skyrocket.

So what has the NBCC done, to provoke such a response? The following is an excerpt from the NBCC report on the 15th December;

3. Congress Alert: Currently, Congress is negotiating the omnibus spending legislation. One concerning provision that they are reportedly trying to slip into this trillion dollars spending package is a provision that would increase funding for the Green Climate Fund by $3B. This money uses Americans’ tax dollars to subsidize projects in foreign countries under the guise of climate change. Please let your congressperson and senators know this is unacceptable before they finish this really pork filled package.

Read more:

Back in September the NBCC held a seminar, titled How Climate Policy Hurts the Poor

Regardless of one’s personal opinions on the effect man-made greenhouse emissions have on the climate, the Obama Administration’s proposed Clean Power Plan will exact a high price on Americans and have a negligible impact – if any – on global temperatures. NERA’s economic consultants estimate a temperature reduction of only 0.018 degrees C in 2100 at a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars. In August, the Environmental Protection Agency announced its final rule to achieve a 32% reduction in “carbon pollution” from the electric power production sector by 2030.

Experts estimate a significant impact on the cost of electricity to all consumers and businesses. President Obama has kept his promise that “electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket” as a result of his policy. The poorest and most vulnerable members of society will be disproportionately harmed by these impending spikes in energy prices. Europe is already experiencing “energy poverty” where families and the elderly are being forced to choose between eating and heating. Tens of thousands did in the United Kingdom in several recent winters because they are unable to pay their electricity bills and still buy enough food. Will this happen in America next?

The world’s poorest – the 1.3 billion in developing countries who depend on wood and dried dung as primary cooking and heating fuels, smoke from which kills 4 million and temporarily debilitates hundreds of millions every year – will be condemned to more generations of poverty and its deadly consequences. Instead, developing countries desperately need to replace such primitive and dirty fuels with electricity, the most affordable sources of which are fossil fuels.

Read more:

Plenty more where that came from – the NBCC website is well worth a read.

I admire that the NBCC has chosen to steadfastly and consistently defend the interests of its members, in the face of what must be substantial political pressure to join President Obama’s climate crusade.


Fueling Gold’s 2016 Upleg

By Adam Hamilton – Re-Blogged From

Gold certainly had a rough year in 2015, grinding inexorably lower on Fed-rate-hike fears and investor abandonment.  But gold is poised to rebound dramatically in this new year, mean reverting out of its recent deep secular lows.  The drivers of gold’s weakness have soared to such extremes that they have to reverse hard.  The resulting heavy buying from dominant groups of traders will fuel gold’s mighty 2016 upleg.

Investment demand, or lack thereof, is what overwhelmingly drives the gold price.  Investment certainly isn’t the largest component of gold demand, a crown held by jewelry at roughly 4/7ths of the total.  But that is somewhat misleading, as gold’s investment merits are the primary reason Asians flock to gold jewelry.  But since global jewelry demand is fairly consistent, it’s not what drives the gold price on the margin.

Investment demand is much smaller.  According to the World Gold Council, it only accounted for 17.7% of global gold demand in 2013, 19.4% in 2014, and 22.0% in 2015 as of the end of the third quarter.  So call investment demand something like 1/5th of total world gold demand.  While that isn’t huge, it is a super-volatile demand category.  That’s where gold’s biggest demand swings emerge, driving its price.

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