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Post by thelivyjr » Fri Oct 16, 2020 1:40 p

THE CAPE CHARLES MIRROR October 15, 2020 at 7:00 pm

Paul Plante says:

And Dennis v. United States, 341 U.S. 494 (1951), which was a United States Supreme Court case relating to Eugene Dennis, General Secretary of the Communist Party USA who was advocating for the overthrow of the United States government, is relevant to this discussion of BLACK LIVES MATTER because in 1957, the Supreme Court in Yates v. United States restricted the holding in Dennis, ruling that the Smith Act did not prohibit advocacy of forcible overthrow of the government as an abstract doctrine, which is a very important concept we have to grasp with respect to groups like BLACK LIVES MATTER who have as part of their policy the use of violence against those who don’t bend the knee to them in submission.

They are free to incite acts of violence, all the time claiming that they are only talking about the violence they are advocating for as an abstract doctrine.

Yates v. United States, 354 U.S. 298 (1957), was a case decided by the Supreme Court of the United States that held that the First Amendment protected radical and reactionary speech, unless it posed a “clear and present danger.”

With respect to where we are now, with the Marxist group BLACK LIVES MATTER on the ascendant here in the United States of America in terms of sheer political power wielded by them, as we saw with the huge and menacing BLACK LIVES MATTER banner flying over the entrances of Albany City Hall in the Democrat-controlled sanctuary city of Albany, New York, the decision in Yates was announced on the same day as several other decisions in which communists were on the winning side, including Watkins v. United States and Sweezy v. New Hampshire with the same majority and dissent.

The day was called “Red Monday” by some anti-communists who disagreed with the decision.

FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover called the decisions “the greatest victory the Communist Party in America ever received.”

So while Yates did not overrule Dennis, it rendered the broad conspiracy provisions of the Smith Act unenforceable, and finally, in a Communist victory that would pave the way for BLACK LIVES MATTER to come on the scene today to advocate for violence as an abstract doctrine, in 1969, Brandenburg v. Ohio held that “mere advocacy” of violence was per se protected speech.

Brandenburg was a de facto overruling of Dennis, defining the bar for constitutionally unprotected speech to be incitement to “imminent lawless action.”

Welcome to the future.

The future is now.

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Post by thelivyjr » Fri Oct 16, 2020 1:40 p


"Consumer sentiment inches higher in early October as Americans look to improvement next year"

By Jeffry Bartash

Last Updated: Oct. 16, 2020 at 12:18 p.m. ET
First Published: Oct. 16, 2020 at 10:25 a.m. ET

The numbers:

Americans grew more worried in early October about a resurgence in the coronavirus and slower hiring, but optimism that the economy will get better next year pushed consumer sentiment to the best levels seen during the pandemic.

The preliminary reading of consumer sentiment index edged up to 81.2 this month from 80.4 in September, the University of Michigan said Friday.

That’s the highest level since March, just when the pandemic slammed the U.S. but the index remains well below levels seen at the start of this year.

What happened:

An index that measures current conditions slipped to 84.9 from 87.8, indicating Americans are paying close attention to the increase in COVID-19 infections.

The outbreaks appear worst in the Midwest, and if cases keep rising, it could lead to more government restrictions.

Yet consumers still think the situation will improve by early next year.

An index that measures expectations for the next six months rose to 78.5 from 75.6.

A separate question about who would win the presidential election showed that Democratic challenger Joe Biden expanded his advantage to 7 points in October from just 1 point in July and September.

The gap expanded owing to more enthusiasm among Democrats and less among Republicans.

Independent voters, however, favored President Trump by 2 or 3 points, the survey showed.

“Most elections are decided by those who are non-aligned with either party,” noted Richard Curtin, the chief economist at the group that produces the sentiment survey.

The big picture:

Higher confidence has long been associated with stronger economic growth and faster hiring.

The slight increase in early October is a good sign, but it also includes several warning flags.

The U.S. economic recovery may maintain its momentum if the spread of the coronavirus is kept under control and if Congress passes another major financial aid package.

What they are saying?

“Overall, sentiment continues to improve slowly as consumers look past the election and are hopeful about prospects for a COVID vaccine and a broader reopening of the economy,” said Thomas Simons, money market economist at Jefferies LLC.

Market reaction:

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 index rose in Friday trades.

Stocks fell on Thursday after U.S. jobless claims increased and investors grew worried about a rising number of coronavirus cases around the world.

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Post by thelivyjr » Fri Oct 16, 2020 1:40 p


"U.S. federal budget deficit soars to record $3.1 trillion in 2020"

By Greg Robb, MarketWatch and Jonathan Nicholson

Published: Oct. 16, 2020 at 2:58 p.m. ET

The numbers:

The U.S. government ran a record budget deficit of $3.1 trillion in the fiscal year that ended in September.

The massive deficit reflected the government’s effort to support the economy ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic.

The four pieces of legislation passed by Congress this year to combat the recession was by far the largest fiscal response to an economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

By comparison, the deficit in fiscal year 2019 totaled $984 billion.

Relative to the size of the economy, the deficit — at an estimated 15.2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) — was the largest since 1945, according to congressional estimates.

What happened:

The four cornavirus financial relief bills, including the $1.7 trillion CARES Act passed in March, were estimated by the Congressional Budget Office to cost $2.4 trillion combined.

The last time the government ran deficits anywhere near this big relative to the size of the economy was during World War II.

Total outlays were $6.55 trillion in the latest fiscal year, while receipts totaled $3.42 trillion.

Two of the government’s biggest three revenue sources dropped in 2020, according to the report.

Personal income taxes, the biggest income source, dropped to $1.6 trillion from $1.7 trillion in 2019 and corporate income taxes, which make up a relatively minor portion of overall revenues, also dropped, to $212 billion from $230 billion.

Payroll taxes, however, inched up, rising to $1.3 trillion from $1.2 trillion in 2019.

Big picture:

Experts say that the government will have to return to a sustainable deficit path, but that the tax hikes and spending cuts needed to accomplish this goal should be put off until the pandemic subsides.

In an outlook, the CBO said that the fiscal deficit will remain elevated over the next decade.

The lowest projected deficit over the next decade is $1.080 trillion in 2027, according to the CBO.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell and top economists have urged the two parties in Congress to put aside their differences and pass more fiscal relief, but talks on another relief package have lost momentum.

What are they saying?

“We ended the fiscal year with $21 trillion of debt – which means debt is now larger than a year’s worth of economic output."

"And this astronomical level of debt is only going to get bigger."

"It’s disappointing to see both candidates for President proposing trillions of dollars in additional debt instead of plans to save Social Security and Medicare."

"The deeper we dig this hole, the harder it will be to claw our way out,” said Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

Market reaction:

Despite the widening deficit, yields on 10-year Treasury notes have traded in a tight trading range between 0.50% and 0.80% in the past four months.

The low interest rates are holding down the government’s borrowing costs.

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Post by thelivyjr » Sat Oct 17, 2020 1:40 p

THE CAPE CHARLES MIRROR October 16, 2020 at 9:18 pm

Paul Plante says:

As to the total horse **** nature of the Marxist “science” which supports the BLACK LIVES MATTER goal of disrupting our stable-law-abiding nuclear families here in the United States of America, which so-called “science” is a seething mass of contradictions and inconsistencies held together by a glue made of pig **** and cobwebs, let’s for the moment go back to number 3, titled “The Pairing Family,” in section II, “The Family,” of “Origins of the Family, Private Property, and the State” by Frederick Engels, where we have as follows:

As to how and when this revolution took place among civilized peoples, we have no knowledge.

It falls entirely within prehistoric times.

end quotes

Now, if one is able to actually engage in critical thinking, which is somebody who is not a Marxist, because they cannot think, only absorb, one would look at those two sentences and say out loud, “my goodness, how ridiculous!”

Because in reality, the reality those of us who are not trained Marxists reside in, if one has no knowledge of something, such as this “revolution” Engels is talking about, then it would logically follow that one cannot talk about it as if it actually did exist.

But not so a Marxist – for them, it is enough that Engels said it, because when you are a Marxist, yours is not to question!

So what then was this supposed “revolution” and what relevance does it have to BLACK LIVES MATTER and their goal to disrupt our stable, law-abiding nuclear families?

Here it is, stated as follows, to wit:

Thus, on the one hand, in proportion as wealth increased, it made the man’s position in the family more important than the woman’s, and on the other hand created an impulse to exploit this strengthened position in order to overthrow, in favor of his children, the traditional order of inheritance.

This, however, was impossible so long as descent was reckoned according to mother-right.

Mother-right, therefore, had to be overthrown, and overthrown it was.

This was by no means so difficult as it looks to us today.

For this revolution – one of the most decisive ever experienced by humanity – could take place without disturbing a single one of the living members of a gens.

All could remain as they were.

A simple decree sufficed that in the future the offspring of the male members should remain within the gens, but that of the female should be excluded by being transferred to the gens of their father.

The reckoning of descent in the female line and the matriarchal law of inheritance were thereby overthrown, and the male line of descent and the paternal law of inheritance were substituted for them.

The overthrow of mother-right was the world historical defeat of the female sex.

The man took command in the home also; the woman was degraded and reduced to servitude, she became the slave of his lust and a mere instrument for the production of children.

This degraded position of the woman, especially conspicuous among the Greeks of the heroic and still more of the classical age, has gradually been palliated and glazed over, and sometimes clothed in a milder form; in no sense has it been abolished.

end quotes

Engels said it, so therefore, if you are a Marxist, that has to be true, even if the evidence before your eyes tells you it is not true, at all, for if the woman was actually degraded and reduced to servitude and became the slave of man’s lust and a mere instrument for the production of children, how then do we explain Hillary Clinton or Kamala Harris running for president of the United States of America?

And getting back to Engels, who in turn brings Marx into the discussion, we have:

Marx adds:

The modern family contains in germ not only slavery (servitus), but also serfdom, since from the beginning it is related to agricultural services.

It contains in miniature all the contradictions which later extend throughout society and its state.

Such a form of family shows the transition of the pairing family to monogamy.

In order to make certain of the wife’s fidelity and therefore of the paternity of the children, she is delivered over unconditionally into the power of the husband; if he kills her, he is only exercising his rights.

end quotes

And there it is, people – that is why BLACK LIVES MATTER are going to disrupt our stable, law-abiding nuclear families – because Karl Marx said the modern family contains in germ not only slavery (servitus), but also serfdom.

And if Karl said it was true, then to a Marxist, that is all they need to know.

See how easy it is to be a Marxist?

No thought required, and no thought allowed!

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Post by thelivyjr » Sun Oct 18, 2020 1:40 p

THE CAPE CHARLES MIRROR October 17, 2020 at 6:47 pm

Paul Plante says:

And getting back to the Marxist “science” which supports the BLACK LIVES MATTER goal of disrupting our stable-law-abiding nuclear families here in the United States of America being nothing more than a seething mass of contradictions and inconsistencies held together by a glue made of pig **** and cobwebs, let’s first go back to number 3, titled “The Pairing Family,” in section II, “The Family,” of “Origins of the Family, Private Property, and the State” by Frederick Engels, where we have as follows:

As to how and when this revolution took place among civilized peoples, we have no knowledge.

It falls entirely within prehistoric times.

end quotes

Now, focus on this: “As to how and when this revolution took place among civilized peoples ….”

What they are saying there is that in prehistoric times, there were “civilized” peoples.

Then we go a bit further, into 4. The Monogamous Family, where we now have this to consider, to wit:

It (the Monogamous Family) develops out of the pairing family, as previously shown, in the transitional period between the upper and middle stages of barbarism; its decisive victory is one of the signs that civilization is beginning.

end quotes

Now, focus in on this: “…. its decisive victory is one of the signs that civilization is beginning.”

But wait – how can that be?

If people were already civilized in prehistoric times, as Marx and Engels tell us in one place, then how is it that later in time, civilization is just beginning?

And the answer is simple – what Marx and Engels are peddling to their cult is pure BULL****, but since their followers are cultists, unable to think for themselves, this seething mass of contradictions and inconsistencies held together by a glue made of pig **** and cobwebs which is Marxist “science” sails right on by them, unchallenged, because to be a Marxist, you don’t challenge, you only accept, which thought takes us to an article in an on-line publication called Quillette published on February 21, 2019 and entitled “What My Days as a Marxist Taught Me About Modern Political Cults” written by C.K. Ryan, where we were informed as follows:

There was a time when Das Kapital was my bible.

It sits on one of the bookshelves that line my living room, alongside other artifacts from my youthful foray into Marxism.

The front cover is worn, the pages slightly frayed.

For years, I returned to those words, chewing slow on arguments unspooled in archaic prose about labour-power and the appropriation of surplus-value.

I was certain I’d found the key to understanding the modern world; a truth so pure it would end the oppression of man by man.

I’ve thought often about that sense of certainty in the years since.

I turn the memories over in my mind, amazed at my erstwhile fervency.

The sense that I, a teenager and later a young man, had found the answer to what ails the world in a text of political economy published in 1867….

That hubris, in retrospect, is shocking.

end quotes

Hubris, of course, for those not familiar with the term, is excessive pride or self-confidence, which would certainly also apply to the founders of BLACK LIVES MATTER who also believe that through Marxist ideology and dogma, they too have found the key to understanding the modern world, a truth so pure it would end the oppression of man by man, which in their case requires disrupting our stable, law-abiding nuclear families and ending white supremacy forever.

Getting back to that article, it continues as follows:

Although I would have protested the idea then, it’s become clear to me that my former sense of conviction was a secularized form of faith.

My pretense to holding an atheistic worldview coldly ruled by reason was just that: a pretense.

Marx may have been correct that religion is the opiate of the masses, but he failed to envision what his materialist conception of history would become to his followers in a secularized world.

end quotes

And the answer is that Marx has become a cult hero to his followers and his materialist conception of history has become their bible, plain and simple.

The article then continues as follows:

The link between religion and Marxism (or, more recently, identity politics) has been remarked upon by many writers, including here in Quillette.

Nevertheless, I continue to be struck by how many intelligent and empathetic young people, often on the tail end of a gradual, multi-generational rejection of God, become congregants of the radical left.

end quotes

In other words, Marx has become their God, and Marxism has become their religion, which takes us back to that article as follows:

I’ll use Christianity and Marxism to illustrate the point, but it holds for other religions and ideologies as well.

Jesus steps onto the world stage to bring forth the word of God, before sacrificing himself for the sins of mankind.

Marx rises from obscurity after revealing the unfolding logic of history and — by extension — the end point in the social organization of man.

end quotes

Except as we saw above, Marx does not reveal any unfolding logic of history – to the contrary, what Marx gives us is a seething mass of contradictions and inconsistencies held together by a glue made of pig **** and cobwebs which is Marxist “science,” where civilization starts to begin after we have been told it already began long ago.

Getting back to that article, we have:

The apostles, the closest followers of Christ, dedicate themselves to interpreting and spreading his word.

The post-Marx Marxists do the same, although the most revered figures vary depending on geography and personal preference.

For some, it’s butchers such as Stalin and Mao; for me, it was Lenin and Trotsky, the architects of the October Revolution of 1917.

Perhaps most on the nose: The Czech-Austrian communist theoretician Karl Kautsky, the most well-known follower of Marx and Engels in the immediate aftermath of their deaths, was affectionately called “the pope of Marxism.”

The Old Testament is replaced by Das Kapital or The Communist Manifesto, and the New Testament by Trotsky’s Permanent Revolution, or Mao’s On Guerilla Warfare, or Lenin’s April Theses.

Parsing these texts becomes an obsession for generations of true believers.

The rapture, that bloody apocalyptic end of days, is replaced with revolution.

And like fundamentalist Christians, many Marxists look forward to it, including the death and terror it would bring.

end quotes

Does that include the founders of BLACK LIVES MATTER?

Something to give some real serious thought to, anyway, in the light of their threats to end white supremacy forever and to disrupt our stable, law-abiding nuclear families.

Getting back to it one more time, we have:

Finally, communism marks the manifestation of heaven on earth.

end quotes

And how many times have I heard that in my lifetime about communism being the manifestation of heaven on earth!

But when?

Getting back to that article, we have:

The late British-American essayist Christopher Hitchens was a reformed Marxist.

In his 2007 book, “God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything,” he likened his youthful political convictions to religious faith thusly:

When I was a Marxist, I did not hold my opinions as a matter of faith, but I did have the conviction that a sort of unified field theory might have been discovered.

The concept of historical and dialectical materialism was not an absolute, and it did not have any supernatural element, but it did have its messianic element in the idea that an ultimate moment might arrive, and it most certainly had its martyrs and saints and doctrinaires and (after a while) its mutually excommunicating rival papacies.

It also had its schisms and inquisitions and heresy hunts.

I was a member of a dissident sect, which admired Rosa Luxemburg and Leon Trotsky, and I can say definitely that we also had our prophets…

Those of us who had a sort of rational alternative for religion had reached a terminus which was comparably dogmatic.

end quotes

Ah, yes – dogmatic, that being inclined to lay down principles as incontrovertibly true.

Sounds like Marxism to me, anyway – don’t think, just obey!

And that talk of Marxism being a secular religion, which it is, takes us back to an article in THE HILL entitled “Hillary Clinton: ‘Black Lives Matter’ is ‘very profoundly a theological statement’” by John Bowden on 09/29/20, where we have Hillary as either a true believer herself, or a Marxist running dog, to wit:

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says in a new episode of her podcast that she views “Black Lives Matter,” the rallying cry used by thousands of protesters demanding changes in the way Black Americans are treated by police, as a “theological” statement.

end quotes

For those who like myself who wish to be totally clear as to what message Hillary is trying to convey there, and to whom, the term “theological” means “relating to the study of theology,” and “theology” is further defined as the field of study and analysis that treats of God and of God’s attributes and relations to the universe; study of divine things or religious truth; divinity, which makes it appear as if Hillary is telling us that the founders of BLACK LIVES MATTER are themselves “divine,” which is to say “of, from, or like God or a god” as in “heroes with divine powers,” which takes us back to THE HILL, as follows, to wit:

In the episode released Tuesday featuring a conversation between Clinton and the Rev. William J. Barber, a supporter of the “Black Lives Matter” movement and co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, Clinton explained her thoughts on the phrase.

“When you think about the very concerted effort by one specific political party to basically own Christianity … it overlooks the role of the African American church, it overlooks, as you say, a lot of theology, a lot of history, it also overlooks this moment in time,” Clinton said.

“‘Black Lives Matter,’ I view as, you know, very profoundly a theological statement,” she added.

end quotes

And my goodness, people, since Hillary said it, who can possibly argue with her logic?

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Post by thelivyjr » Sun Oct 18, 2020 1:40 p

THE CAPE CHARLES MIRROR October 18, 2020 at 10:42 pm

Paul Plante says:

And staying for the moment with the inane statement by the ditzy airhead Hillary Rodham Clinton saying in a new episode of her podcast that “‘Black Lives Matter,’ I view as, you know, very profoundly a theological statement,” that in the light of BLACK LIVES MATTER co-founder Patrisse Cullors, a protégé of Eric Mann, a former member of the Weather Underground domestic terror organization, which bombed government buildings and police stations in the 1960s and 1970s, who herself spent years absorbing the Marxist-Leninist ideology, telling us in a newly surfaced video from 2015 where she was interviewed by Jared Ball of the Real News Network that she and her fellow organizers are trained Marxists, “The first thing, I think, is that we actually do have an ideological frame; myself and Alicia in particular are trained organizers; we are trained Marxists; we are super-versed on, sort of, ideological theories,” let us for the moment go back to the Quillette article “What My Days as a Marxist Taught Me About Modern Political Cults” written by C.K. Ryan, the pen name of a Canadian writer and essayist, published on February 21, 2019, where we had as follows, to wit:

As I can attest, there is a certain comfort that accompanies this mindset, which I suspect is similar to what religious true believers feel.

It also gives one a sense of purpose, for I was a missionary on the hunt for converts.

There were times I travelled hundreds of kilometres to participate in demonstrations that had little, if any, connection to my life, except for the hope that one day, perhaps even after my death, my efforts would help usher in the prophesized utopia.

end quotes

Keeping in mind that Marx’s pretentious crap in Das Kapital was published one hundred fifty-three (153) years ago on 14 September 1867, we have been waiting for the prophesized utopia promised to the Marxist cultists for some long time now, and long after I am gone from this earth, we will still be waiting for it, for it is a myth, regardless of any religious significance Hillary Clinton may give to the founders of BLACK LIVES MATTER as our latest “saviors,” which takes us back to the essay, as follows:

There were moments my comrades and I would even acknowledge and poke fun at this aspect of our activism: During a campaign that involved canvassing poor neighbourhoods in a major U.S. city, knocking on door after door, we began referring to ourselves as the Jehovah’s Witnesses of the revolution.

end quotes

Ah, yes, people – the revolution!

If the Marxists did not have the revolution and the prophesized utopia to follow it to peddle to the masses as their opiate, they would have nothing at all, which takes us back to the essay as follows:

One of the most evident problems with faith-based (or ersatz-faith-based) worldviews is that they arm adherents with a sense of certitude that is corrosive to discourse.

It leaves them utterly certain that they occupy the moral high ground on every issue, and so the facts must be on their side.

And if the facts prove uncooperative, they are either ignored, distorted, or simply erased.

end quotes

And there with respect to Marxism and BLACK LIVES MATTER, he just said a mouthful, because with them, there is no discourse, nor can there be, since all they have to say are simply more soundbites!

They cannot rationally justify the tenants of Marxism because those tenants cannot be justified, which takes us to this from that essay, to wit:

This is something the much-maligned French philosopher Michel Foucault understood quite well, notwithstanding all of the criticism to which he has been subject:

“The polemi­cist (a person who engages in controversial debate) .…pro­ceeds en­cased in priv­i­leges that he pos­sesses in ad­vance and will never agree to ques­tion.”

“On prin­ci­ple, he pos­sesses rights au­tho­riz­ing him to wage war and mak­ing that strug­gle a just un­der­tak­ing; the per­son he con­fronts is not a part­ner in search for the truth, but an ad­ver­sary, an en­emy who is wrong, who is harm­ful, and whose very ex­is­tence con­sti­tutes a threat.”

“For him, then, the game con­sists not of rec­og­niz­ing this per­son as a sub­ject hav­ing the right to speak, but of abol­ish­ing him as in­ter­locu­tor from any pos­si­ble di­a­logue; and his final ob­jec­tive will be not to come as close as pos­si­ble to a difficult truth, but to bring about the tri­umph of the just cause he has been man­i­festly up­hold­ing from the be­gin­ning.”

end quotes

And how much like Hillary Clinton does that sound, so perfect in every way as our Hillary really is, which again takes us back to the essay, keeping in mind that Hillary Clinton herself has a TWITTER feed where just two days ago our Hillary TWEETED “historians help tell the story of our lives and who tells it matters; I’m thrilled @UniOfOxford has named Prof. Brenda Stevenson as the first Hillary Rodham Clinton Chair of Women’s History,” as follows:

My job as a journalist requires me to spend a fair amount of time on Twitter, which I find draining and toxic.

My feed is a curated list of North American politicos and reporters, which gives me a front row seat on the outrage mobs.

I’ve concluded that many of the most active and influential culture warriors — the ones in the front pews praying the loudest, and the most ecstatically — are mentally unwell.

end quotes

And talk about saying a mouthful there, he has hit a big nail square on the head with respect to these times we now find ourselves mired in, which again takes us back to the essay, to wit:

One of the best descriptions of the ideologically possessed mind comes to us from Hungarian-British author Arthur Koestler (1905-1983).

In “The God that Failed,” a 1949 collection of essays written by ex-communists detailing their conversion to, and disillusionment from, Marxism, Koestler wrote:

“Something had clicked in my brain, which shook me like a mental explosion.”

“To say that one had ‘seen the light’ is a poor description of the mental rapture which only the convert knows…”

“The new light seems to pour from all directions across the skull; the whole universe falls into a pattern like the stray pieces of a jigsaw puzzle assembled by magic at one stroke.”

“There is now an answer to every question, doubts and conflicts are a matter of the tortured past.”

What is needed in the face of such ideological certainty is a phase shift to a more modest intellectual approach.

When I look back on my time as a Marxist, I’m struck by how little doubt I experienced.

The world is an unbelievably complex place composed of infinite shades of grey.

And anyone who thinks they have it all figured out should be mistrusted on principle.

Your favorite pundit or political theorist is just that — a pundit or political theorist, not a Moses, Mohammed or Jesus.

And there is no one ideology that will lead us to an imagined promised land.

end quotes

As I say, something to think about, anyway.

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Post by thelivyjr » Mon Oct 19, 2020 1:40 p


"Opinion: The FOMC and Fed governors have become less important as decision-making revolves around Chairman Powell"

By Vincent Reinhart

Published: Oct. 19, 2020 at 4:49 p.m. ET

Be careful what you wish for.

The Federal Reserve nowadays is much more transparent in policy setting and implementing than it was, but increased openness does not always lead to better decision making.

Changes that let sunshine into some areas have cast a shadow on other avenues of the Fed’s communications and impeded its deliberations.

They also tilt the balance of policy-making authority further to the center — with all the risks that concentration of power entails.

A long, long time ago in a financial galaxy far, far away, the Fed was cloistered, close-mouthed, and confusing to the general public.

The institution was so viewed as walled-up that William Greider’s “The Secrets of the Temple” was a best-seller.

For example, before the first policy announcement in February 1994, the Fed signaled changes in the policy rate through the type of open market operation its Domestic Desk conducted the day after a meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC).

In 1995, it beefed up the minutes released after each meeting and began preparing transcripts with a five-year publication lag.

In those days, the transcripts were viewed as a resource for historians and a mechanism for outside doubters to test the veracity of the minutes, albeit well after the fact.

In the event, these changes blew back on the quality of deliberations at FOMC meetings and public understanding of policy.

Alternative drafts of the statement circulated in advance of the meeting, channeling the conversation in preset directions.

The minutes were published with a sufficient lag to sometimes be unrepresentative of current Fed thinking.

Knowledge that their remarks would be under future scrutiny led FOMC participants to prepare them in advance and eschew improvisation.

The result was longer and more scripted meetings.

Fast-forward to the present — press conferences by the chairman after each meeting strive for new heights of openness.

But here too, human nature intercedes to create problems.

First, during an FOMC meeting, the group can relegate difficult issues in conveying policy nuance in the single sheet of paper that is their statement to the chairman’s more expansive opening remarks at the press conference.

Rather than smoothing the sharp edges of their differences in a statement voted upon, they rely on the chairman to relate a central, but more diffuse, message for which they are not personally held to account.

As a result, the FOMC statement has become less important.

Second, having summarized in the press conference the range of opinions expressed by participants, the chairman sucks the oxygen out of the public space for other official speakers.

The Fed governors and Bank presidents who line up for the media are gauged on how close they hew to the party line.

So speeches and other remarks by other officials are less important.

Third, the chairman’s press-conference remarks represent a first draft of monetary policy history, a role previously served by the FOMC minutes.

To an important extent, the press conference remarks, prepared in a tight window around the meeting, constrain any independent staff review of the FOMC’s conversation, as the chairman has already weighed in as to what was important.

As a result, the FOMC minutes are less important.

To the extent that the press conference gets information out earlier is all to the good.

To the extent that the chairman’s real-time interpretation puts guard rails around subsequent consideration of the FOMC’s discussion, something is lost.

Something is also lost as the center of attention shifts further to one official — the chairman.

Chairman Powell has not just opened the doors and windows of the Fed, he often leaves the Temple.

On Powell’s watch, officials so far have conducted 15 “Fed Listens” events with the general public across the country.

Powell has also visited Capitol Hill far more frequently than any of his predecessors.

More light on the matter can only be for the good, right?

Except, once again, the spotlight is narrow.

The chairman in town is the big news during the Fed Listens town halls.

Moreover, the chairman is building personal rapport with members of the Congress that can not be replicated by others in his policy committee.

This is not to doubt the chairman’s motives, as Powell seems sincere in his desire to strengthen the Fed’s democratic legitimacy.

After all, an institutional creature of the Congress needs the ongoing support of elected officials and the voters that put them there.

The result of this increased sunshine is to render Powell the Sun King of monetary policy.

A chair-centric committee can work for the public good — consider Paul Volcker and Alan Greenspan — or not, as with Arthur Burns.

A few years before his elevation to chairman, Powell, then a Fed governor, had the courage to represent the Fed at a relatively pointed event at the Brookings Institution on “Fedspeak.”

His advice was to sort through the chaff of Fed communication and understand that “there is a single FOMC participant who has most of the leverage in our policy discussions.”

Jay Powell has become that person — and more.

Vincent Reinhart is chief economist and macro strategist at Mellon. He worked 24 years at the Federal Reserve in various roles including secretary and economist of the FOMC.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-f ... latestnews

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Post by thelivyjr » Tue Oct 20, 2020 1:40 p


"Iowa Democrats' 2020 virtual Liberty and Justice dinner is more subdued than spectacle"

Brianne Pfannenstiel

October 18, 2020

A year after U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris brought Iowa Democrats to their feet with an impassioned speech at the state party's Liberty and Justice dinner, the now-vice presidential candidate delivered a far more subdued message Sunday at this year's event.

"All at the same time, we're experiencing the worst public health crisis in a century, the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, a reckoning on racial justice, a changing climate that is battering our coastlines setting the west on fire and devastating farmers in Iowa," she said in virtual remarks streamed at Sunday's Liberty and Justice dinner.

"And the future of health care hangs on top of it all, because President Trump is in the Supreme Court right now trying to get rid of the Affordable Care Act."

The event lacked the spectacle of last year's festivities, which drew 13 Democratic presidential candidates to Wells Fargo Arena.

There, they walked a 93-foot cat walk to pumping music, flashing LED lights and whorls of fog.

This year, the pandemic forced the event online.

The state's congressional candidates delivered pre-recorded speeches, and bar owners across the state shared cocktail recipes for drinks like the "come together margarita."

But the tone focused largely on the gravity of the moment, and Harris used her speech to target the president over his handling of the pandemic.

"While this president of course didn't bring the virus to our shores, his reckless disregard for the well-being of the American people has claimed more than 215,000 lives," Harris said.

"This is the greatest failure of any American presidency."

Harris said Trump is not alone and has been enabled by his party, including Republicans in Iowa.

"But here's the thing," she said.

"We can choose a better future."

According to a September Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll, Democratic former Vice President Joe Biden and Republican President Donald Trump are tied in Iowa at 47% to 47%.

Trump held a rally in Des Moines last week where he knocked his rival's mental acuity, accused his family of corruption and promised Iowans that "ethanol is safe" while he's in charge.

"President Xi of China, he’s 100%."

"Putin of Russia, 100%."

"… Kim Jong Un of North Korea, 100%," Trump said at the rally.

"These people are sharp, and they’re smart."

"Joe has lost it."

"In his best days he wasn’t a smart man, and everybody knows it."

Voting is already underway as county auditors across the state prepare for record-setting levels of early voting.

Brianne Pfannenstiel is the chief politics reporter for the Register. Reach her at bpfann@dmreg.com or 515-284-8244. Follow her on Twitter at @brianneDMR.

https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story ... 705771001/

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Post by thelivyjr » Tue Oct 20, 2020 1:40 p


"Fed’s Evans says fiscal and health policies more important now than further central bank action"

By Greg Robb

Published: Oct. 20, 2020 at 2:55 p.m. ET

With interest rates close to zero, what more could the U.S. central bank do if the economy needs a boost?

In the current circumstances, the Fed can’t do as much as congressional lawmakers and public-health officials, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said Tuesday.

“This is a public health safety shock."

"This is a lot about confidence of consumers, households and businesses being able to go out and do commerce."

"We really need fiscal and public health authorities to be supporting and improving the economic environment,” Evans said during a talk sponsored by the Detroit Economic Club.

The Fed is already buying $120 billion of Treasurys and mortgage-related debt per month to support financial markets and the economy.

That’s a larger pace than during the financial crisis.

The Fed could eventually decide to buy more assets, Evans said.

But the other government actions are more important, he said.

“This is kind of countercultural,” Evans said, because monetary policy makers don’t often say fiscal policy is so important, the Chicago Fed president said.

Fed officials will meet on Nov. 4-5, right after the presidential election, to set monetary policy.

Some experts think the Fed might decide to concentrate their Treasury purchases at the long-end of the curve.

The outcome of the ongoing talks between Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on another stimulus bill may play a role in any decision.

Earlier this month, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell told lawmakers that the risk of doing too little to help the economy was larger than the risk of doing too much.

Stocks were higher on Tuesday on hopes of a fiscal stimulus agreement.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 278 points.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/feds- ... 1603220122

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Post by thelivyjr » Wed Oct 21, 2020 1:40 p


"Fed’s Beige Book finds limited pace of U.S. economic growth in early October"

By Greg Robb

Last Updated: Oct. 21, 2020 at 4:31 p.m. ET
First Published: Oct. 21, 2020 at 2:29 p.m. ET

The outlook:

Economic activity in most parts of the country was “slight to modest,” according to the Federal Reserve’s latest report on economic conditions known as the Beige Book.

What happened:

Some districts report a leveling off of retail sales although demand for autos remained steady.

Low inventories have constrained sales.

Restaurant owners are concerned that cooler weather will slow sales in coming months.

Bank contacts are worried that delinquency rates may rise.

Employment levels were growing across the country but at a slow pace, the report said.

Manufacturing was the most consistent sector to add jobs across the country.

Wages only rose slightly and were often tied to how easy it was for firms to find workers.

Consumer prices rose modestly as construction, manufacturing and retail firms past along higher costs to their customers.

Businesses faced increased costs due to COVID-19.

Big picture:

The report covers the economy through Oct. 9 and is one of the last broad looks at economic conditions ahead of the presidential election on Nov.3.

It paints a fairly tepid picture.

While the U.S. economy has rebounded from the depths of the recession that began in March, many economists see the level of activity plateauing in coming months.

Fed officials have been pressing Congress to pass another coronavirus relief package to help consumers and businesses survive while the coronavirus pandemic continues to constrain activity.

What are they saying?

”The conclusions are consistent with a recovery that continues to advance in broad strokes but inconsistently & with less forward momentum than during the initial powerful rebound in May,” said Krishna Guha, vice chairman of Evercore ISI.

Market reaction:

U.S. stocks closed lower as investors were disappointed about the slow pace of stimulus talks.

The S&P 500 index closed down 7.56 points on Wednesday.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/feds- ... 1603304961

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